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Category Archive for ‘AK-Sen’ at Campaign Diaries
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Archive for the 'AK-Sen' Category


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Poll watch: Crist in free fall, Burr under 50, Alaska Republicans looking safe

Charlie Crist is in free fall. Just one week after Quinnipiac released the very first poll with Marco Rubio leading the Florida Governor in the GOP’s Senate primary, Rasmussen finds Crist even further down: Rubio leads 49% to 37%, a dramatic turnaround from the December tie and from Crist’s 22% August lead. Crist has sure not said his last word, but given that Rubio is just starting closing the name recognition gap the governor certainly has his work cut out for him.

It is important to keep in mind that Crist’s collapse has at least as much to do with the woes that are befell incumbent governors as with conservatives’ hostility: His approval rating among the electorate at large has fallen to 51% to 47%. That might be a respectable level, but it is nowhere near’s Crist 74-26 in December 2008, his 60-36 in June 2009 and his 52-45 in December - an undeniable downward trend that creates quite a conondrum for the governor: The hard right has long already turned against him, and Rubio has an excellent shot of winning the support of moderate Republicans who disapprove of Crist for reasons that little to do with conservatism.

Both Republicans crush Kendrick Meek in the general election: Rubio leads 49% to 32% and Crist leads 49% to 33%. As I have written before, Florida is undeniably not in the top-tier of Democratic opportunities, but it is worth waiting to see what the numbers will look like at the end of August, when Meek will have spent the summer introducing himself to voters while his two rivals will have poured in their millions into attacking each other.

Rasmussen’s gubernatorial poll of Florida’s Governor race confirms what Quinnipiac found last week: Republican Bill McCollum has opened a lead against Democrat Alex Sink: He is up 46% to 35%, whereas he had a 5% edge in December. While Sink’s name recognition is lower, her net favorability rating is surprisingly mediocre (39-34) while McCollum’s is solid (53-30). Sink will also have to struggle with Barack Obama’s dismal approval rating (42-58), which is all the more interesting considering Rasmussen’s North Carolina poll, which I discuss below, finds his rating at a stronger 48-52.

Alaska: Murkowski is safe, Young is strong

While PPP’s Alaska survey contains no surprise, it is newsworthy considering how rarely the state is polled. PPP found that both of the GOP’s federal incumbents - Senator Lisa Murkowski, Rep. Don Young - enter 2010 in a strong position to secure an additional term.

Murkowski faced a very tough race in 2004, when she was plagued by nepotism charges since her father appointer her to the Senate. Yet, she has a decent approval rating in 2010: 52% to 36%. PPP did not test a named opponent, since none has emerged, by the senator does lead a generic Democrat by a solid 52% to 25% - a margin that bears no trace of vulnerability.

Young’s standing is not as solid but the representative enters 2010 in a far stronger position than he looked to be in 2008, when he barely survived the Republican primary and the general election. His approval rating is still mediocre (43% approve, 41% disapprove) but he has a large 49% to 34% lead against state Rep. Harry Crawford. While his failure to break 50% threshold does suggest he is not fully safe, he spent much of 2008 trailing Ethan Berkowitz by decisive margins before emerging as the victor in November so Democrats would understimate him at their peril. Furthermore, Young has long faced ethical questions but rumors that he might be indicted have been circulating long enough that it does not look like he has to worry about meeting Ted Stevens’s fate.

NC: Even Rasmussen has Burr under 50% while Civitas shows open primary

Senator Richard Burr is holding on to his dubious distinction of the cycle’s most (only?) endangered Republican Senator: A new Rasmussen poll has him under the 50% threshold against Secretary of State Elaine Marshall, though he leads 47% to 37%. Against former state Senator Cal Cunningham, Burr is ahead by a larger 50% to 34%.

That said, it obviously says a lot about the shape of the cycle that the most vulnerable Republican is ahead by double-digits. Furthermore, Rasmussen has his approval rating far stronger than other pollsters: 56-32. This goes against the main finding of surveys like PPP and Civitas, which had shown that Burr was surprisingly little-known; for instance, PPP’s latest poll had Burr’s approval rating at 36/33. Don’t be surprised if the DSCC pays more attention to the state than Burr’s numbers might warrant: Democrats would be well-served to force the GOP to serve some of its resources in North Carolina, since that is money that cannot be used in states like California or Wisconsin.

For now, Democrats’ main hope is that their candidates gain notoriety in the run-up to the May primary, just as had happened to Kay Hagan in 2008. A Civitas poll released last week confirms that none are imposing figures: Marshall only gets 14%, Lewis gets 7% and Cunningham gets 4%, with 75% of respondents undecided. This means the next few months might be decisive as these Democrats will have a chance to monopolize the press coverage and the state’s airwaves without facing a barrage of GOP ads seeking to define them. (I would be surprised if the Marshall-Cunningham-Lewis showdown grows very negative, let alone as ugly as it would need to get for the nominee to emerge wounded out of the primary.)

WI: Disappointing poll for Tom Barrett

Democrats have been upbeat about their chances to defend Wisconsin’s governorship ever since Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett entered the race, but Rasmussen finds him trailing his two Republican opponents: 42% to 38% against former Rep. Mark Neumann and a decisive 48% to 38% against Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker. The favorability ratings confirm not only that Barrett might not be as popular as he has been touted to be, but also that Walker could be a formidable force: his rating is 56-27, compared to 46-35 for Neumann and 44-41 for Barrett.

These numbers might matter beyond the Governor’s race. I doubt there have been any public polls testing the Republican primary, but based on Rasmussen’s favorability ratings it certainly is not a stretch to describe Neumann as the underdog against Walker. That’s exactly what Republicans have been saying in making the case that Neumann should switch over to the Senate race if Tommy Thompson decides not to challenge Russ Feingold.

That said, a party often “wastes” candidates on one race while neglecting another so it would certainly not be surprising for Neumann to stick in the Governor’s race. (One precedent that comes to mind is North Carolina in 2008: The DSCC was pleading with Lieutenant Governor Beverly Perdue and Treasurer Richard Moore to have one of them challenge Elizabeth Dole rather than go after each other in the gubernatorial primary. At the end of the day, none of it mattered because of Kay Hagan but Democrats could not have known just how weak of an incumbent Dole would turn out to be.)


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Palin will not run for Senate

Sarah Palin had denied harboring any Senate plans before, but this time we have to take her seriously: The not-so-long-ago-indispensable Anchorage Daily News reports that the Alaska Governor will host a fundraiser for Senator Lisa Murkowski. “The governor has no intention of running for the senator’s seat in 2010,” added a Palin spokeswoman. “[She] thinks the senator is doing a great job and that’s why she’s looking forward to hosting a fundraiser for her.”

Alaska’s 2010 field

To those who were hoping that the 2010 cycle would bring a climactic finale to the internal feud of the Alaska Republican Party, this development is surely disappointing. After the Palin-Frank Murkowski showdown of 2006, after the Parnell-Young and Palin-GOP legislators battles of 2008 (not to mention the Stevens saga), how fun would it have been to follow Palin and Parnell’s assault on Lisa Murkowski and Don Young? Alaska would become ground zero in the battle for the soul of the Republican Party - all of it against the backdrop of the 2012 presidential campaign.

Those who are hoping for some Alaska action should not despair, as Young suggested last week that former Senator Ted Stevens should challenge Palin in the gubernatorial primary now that he has been cleared of his felony convictions. Yet, and while Stevens has shown enough political resilience to perhaps be tempted by such a move, that remains a very far-fetched scenario - and Young admitted as much.

With Palin’s threat out of the way, Lisa Murkowski now looks like one of the safest incumbents in the country: There are no other Republicans who might challenge her, and she certainly has nothing to worry about with Ted Stevens, a political ally whom she defended over the past few months, urging President Bush to grant him a pardon. (Pardon my EFCA obsession, but she is currently the only GOP Senator to have explicitly opened the door to supporting a watered-down version of the bill; might this help her get there?)

As for the general election, If former Governor Tony Knowles failed to unseat Murkowski in 2004, if Ethan Berkowitz manged to lose to Young in 2008 and if Mark Begich only beat a convicted felon by 4,000 votes, how is a Democrat supposed to beat Murkowski in 2010? For those looking to keep an eye on possible Murkowski opponents, Berkowitz and state Senator Hollis French are mentioned as possible candidates.

Palin’s plans

That Palin had to announce a fundraiser for people to take her Senate denials seriously speaks to how much all of the Governor’s moves are interpreted through the 2012 prism. Indeed, it would have made sense for Palin to run for Senate: In the primary, she would have positioned herself as a conservative crusader; she could have endeared herself more to the Republican base and used the race as a rehearsal for the presidential primaries.

Had she won, Palin would have acquired a national platform with which to talk about federal issues and from which to take a leading role in opposing Barack Obama. This is the same exact reason Charlie Crist might be interested in leaving Florida’s Governor’s Mansion to run for Senate. Yet, Crist would be the overwhelming favorite to win the open Senate seat; Palin would need to defeat an incumbent in a primary. Her camp understandably decided that the risk was too great for Palin to lose everything; had Murkowski prevailed, how would Palin have remained a credible presidential contender?

Palin’s next decision involves the gubernatorial race: Should she run for re-election, or should she retire? If she chooses the latter option, we will know for sure that she is planning a presidential run. Mitt Romney’s transparent moves in 2005-2006 helped his opponents stock up tons of oppo research in preparation for 2007-2008, but for Palin to be transparent might not make much of a difference since she is already treated her as a presidential contender.

For Palin to leave office would allow her to spend the final months of the 2010 cycle traveling around the country helping other Republican candidates (which is what Romney is expected to do); and she would then be free to travel around Iowa and New Hampshire in 2010 and 2011. If she runs for re-election, however, things might get tricky: Alaska is quite far from Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, making it difficult for the state’s Governor to do quick trips to those states and to combine campaign events with official duties.

Before she even thinks of 2010 and 2012, however, Palin better get her escalating war of words with Levi Johnston. I really could not care less what went on over the past year between the Johnstons and the Palins, but the story is getting so messy that is certainly has the power to hurt the Governor’s presidential aspirations - especially in a Republican primary. Whatever the truth, it makes no sense whatsover for Palin and her entourage to keep pushing back against Levi’s statements and risk making this into a bigger story.


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Who knew Alaskan politics could be this entertaining, continued

In an unexpected move, the Department of Justice decided this week to drop the charges against former Alaska Senator Ted Stevens. This will effectively void Stevens’s conviction on seven charges related to lying about gifts on financial disclosure forms.

An internal review reportedly revealed that problems of prosecutorial misconduct looked to be even more wide-reaching than previously reported - and that’s saying a lot considering how much controversy the prosecutors created last fall: They repeatedly failed to provide the defense team all the evidence they were using, and they presented evidence in court that they knew was false. Now, The New York Times reports that those involved in the case could be facing ethics charges of their own.

In October, I wrote that the prosecution’s actions should make us uncomfortable with the prospect of a guilty verdict. Whatever you think of Stevens’s culpability, this is a good move by the Department of Justice. (If only they were as willing to crack down on prosecutorial misconduct in lower-profile cases.)

The DoJ’s decision does not clear Stevens of suspicion. Their move was not due to the merits of the case but to procedural issues. The charges that the Senator was facing are still as damning, and the defense he offered during his trial still has as many holes. It is thus somewhat jarring to see Republican Senators rush to embrace their former colleague.

What is understandable, however, is the GOP’s frustration at having lost a Senate seat over a conviction that would be overturned a few months later (by a Democratic Attorney General, no less). Those who followed the 2008 election will remember how closely we monitored this case, whose outcome looked likely to determine the fate of the Senate race opposing Stevens and Democrat Mark Begich. Summer polls had shown Begich with a wide lead, but the margin shrank as Election Day neared. The court’s late October decision looked like it would seal his fate, but even then the longtime Senator only lost by 4,000 votes - an extraordinary show of political muscle for a convicted felon.

β€œI always knew that there would be a day when the cloud that surrounded me would be removed. That day has finally come,” Stevens said this week. “It is unfortunate that an election was affected by proceedings now recognized as unfair.” Minority Leader Mitch McConnell made a similar point. β€œIt literally cost us a seat,” he said. And thus comes the GOP’s new cause: Putting pressure on Begich to resign and trigger a special election. Sarah Palin herself has called for Begich’s resignation.

Such an arrangement would make little sense since Begich has no responsibility whatsoever in what unfolded in that courtroom last fall. If Senators started resigning every time questions were raised about their election, we would have special elections every few months. What about the GOP’s 2002 victories? Republicans were greatly helped by Iraq’s intrusion in the national debate; should Republican Senators who won tight victories (Coleman, Sununu) have resigned once it became clear that talk of weapons of mass destruction and of ties between Al Qaeda and Iraq proved misleading? After all, Republicans were far more responsible in unfairly skewing elections in 2002 than Democrats were of messing with Alaska’s process last year.

Rather than create trouble for Democrats, Stevens’s rehabilitation will have consequences on the Alaska GOP’s internal feuds.

The most amusing scenario Republican Rep. Don Young, a Stevens ally who said that the former Senator should challenge Sarah Palin in the gubernatorial primary in 2010. What a race that would be! And what a way for the state GOP’s civil war to continue after heated episodes in 2006 and 2008!

On the other side are old-school Republicans like Stevens and Young who have build their careers on bringing back money from Washington and who employ slightly less conservative rhetoric; unfortunately for them, they have also been plagued by allegations of corruption and of ethical misconduct. Senator Lisa Murkowski belongs to this latter camp; in fact, she is moderate enough that she is now one of the few GOP Senators who could save EFCA.

Let’s recap some of the recent episodes of this battle. In 2006, Palin defeated Lisa Murkowski’s father Frank in the GOP’s gubernatorial primary. In 2008, Young and Parnell faced off in a bruising primary; Palin and the Club for Growth helped Parnell, but the incumbent narrowly survived. Last fall, some of Palin’s harshest critics were Republican lawmakers from Alaska. (”She’s not prepared to be governor. How can she be prepared to be vice president or president?” declared then-state Senate President Lyda Green. “Look at what she’s done to this state. What would she do to the nation?”) And more recently, Palin’s decision to refuse a third of the stimulus money antagonized many in the state legislature.

Next year, Palin could choose to challenge Murkowski in the senatorial primary; Parnell recently suggested that he might seek a rematch against Young; and at least one prominent state Republican is now on the record suggesting that Stevens should challenge Palin. All these races might very well fizzle, but for now Alaska remains a state to follow.


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Poll watch: The Kennedy disaster, Palin loses to Murkowsky

Just a day after I argued that Caroline Kennedy could make a weak general election candidate because of her struggles on the trail and her lack of engagement with policy matters, Public Policy Polling released a poll testing Kennedy and Andrew Cuomo against the most probable Republican candidate, Rep. Peter King. The result is an unmitigated disaster for the former first daughter.

While Cuomo crushes King 48% to 29%, Kennedy is locked within the margin of error: She has a 46% to 44% edge. Stunningly, a quarter of Democrats say that they would turn their back on the dream of Camelot and cast a ballot for King!

Yes, Kennedy has not even been appointed. Yes, she would not face voters until November 2010, and she would certainly have time to improve her image and position herself as a hard-working incumbent until then. But let’s put these numbers in full context. Kennedy carries one of the most famous last names in American society, she has high name recognition, and she was supposedly a darling of the Democratic base; King, by contrast, is one of New York’s 29 representatives, and his name recognition isn’t particularly high. Most respondents can only situate him based on his party affiliation, and this is the staunchly blue Empire State we are talking about.

A poll released in such a context should have found very favorable results for Kennedy, not a tie. That the survey is being released before she is even appointed and before King declares his candidacy only makes it look worse for Kennedy, not better.

Worse still, Kennedy’s loss of standing since early December makes it difficult for her camp to argue that she would improve her numbers as New Yorkers get to know her as the incumbent. If a Senator Kennedy performs the same way as candidate Kennedy has over the past few weeks, Peter King would have a very good chance to score an upset indeed.

Finally, Kennedy performs 27% worse among white voters than does Cuomo; she trails by 9% while the Attorney General leads by 18%. Over the past few decades, white ethnics have been the vulnerability point for New York Democrats and King has already been pressing his case among that constituency by touting his modest roots and opposing them to a Kennedyesque entitlement.

Given that Alaska has become one of the most reliably Republican states in the country, whoever emerges out of the GOP’s Senate primary would be a shoo-in for the general election. That might make a Senate run an attractive option for Governor Sarah Palin if she feels like defeating incumbent Senator lisa Murkowski is not too difficult a task.

Two weeks ago, a Research 2000 survey found that Palin would crush Murkowski in a Republican primary. Today, however, a new poll commissioned by a conservative radio host finds the reverse result, 57% to 33% in Murkowski’s favor. The survey also finds that both women have strong approval ratings.

This poll suggests two things. First, Palin should be very careful about what she chooses to do: It would naturally be a disaster for her presidential ambitions if she were to not run for a gubernatorial re-election in 2010 but lose the Senate primary, leaving her out of a job. Second, we should not trust polls from Alaska; something about the state makes surveys extremely unreliable. Such a big disparity between two surveys taken over a similar period is a clear indication of that, as is the massive polling error every single polling outfit committed when testing Ted Stevens’s and Don Young’s re-election race.


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2010: Matthews inching away, Palin’s Alaska strength

Over the past few weeks, speculation has been increasing that Chris Matthews laid the groundwork of a Senate run only in order to improve the terms of his contract with MSNBC. Call me naive, but I chose to believe that Matthews couldn’t be that much of a cynic. But the latest developments suggest that Matthews might indeed be inching away from a jump into politics that just a few weeks ago looked all but certain.

Consider this interview with the president of NBC (Matthews’s employer):

Q: Right, Mr. Zaidi could take over for Chris when Chris goes off to run for office.
A: [Chris Matthews] is not running for office.
Q: He’s not?
A: I don’t think so. Well, look, if he were running for office, he wouldn’t be on TV.

Matthews has indicated he will announce his decision in the weeks ahead; while an exit would certainly shake-up the race, other Democrats (Reps. Schwarz and Murphy, for instance) were already looking at the race and it’s not like Matthews was scaring other Democrats away.

Meanwhile, a new Research 2000 poll confirms that Alaska is one of the reddest states in the country. The survey tests all three of 2010’s statewide races and finds little for Republicans to worry about. In particular, the poll confirms that Sarah Palin remains highly popular in her home state: She enjoys an approval rating of 60% and she would be favored to win whatever job she runs for in 2010 - including the Senate seat currently held by fellow Republican Lisa Murkowski:

  • In a primary showdown with Murkowski, Palin demolishes the incumbent 55% to 31%.
  • In the Senate’s general election, Palin beats former Governor Tony Knowles 53% to 39% and demolishes state Senator Hollis French 58% to 27%. Murkowski would also be favored to win the general election if she makes it there: She leads Knowles 49% to 41% and French 56% to 27%.
  • No danger for Palin in a gubernatorial general election, as she crushes Knowles 55% to 38% and posts a strong re-elect of 51%, while only 16% want to replace her.

Needless to say, a Murkowski-Palin battle would be one of the most entertaining races of the 2010 cycle if Palin chooses to go down that path. In 2006, Palin defeated Murwkoski’s father (then the incumbent Governor) in the GOP’s gubernatorial primary, so this would constitute the second episode of a family feud. As if that was not enough, Palin’s running for Senate would attract national spotlights as it would be viewed as the prelude of a presidential run in 2012 or 2016.

Whichever Republican makes it to the general election in the gubernatorial and senatorial races should have little to worry about. While Knowles keeps Murkowski under 50% in the Senate race, he is unlikely to run after consecutive defeats in the 2004 Senate race (against Murkowski) and the 2006 Governor’s race (against Palin). This leaves the House race for Democrats to focus on. Rep. Don Young’s survival was the second biggest upset of the 2008 cycle (after Anh Cao’s victory in New Orleans). Young trailed Democratic nominee Ethan Berkowitz throughout 2008, often by huge margins; but he ended winning by 5% despite the ethics scandals surrounding him. Research 2000’s poll now finds him leading Berkowitz 49% to 46% despite an atrocious approval rating.

As we learned in 2008, Alaska voters only consider voting for a Democrat if the Republican nominee is a convicted felon; and even there Ted Stevens got much closer to winning re-election than most people expected.


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Make it 58

Mark Begich has defeated Alaska’s legendary Ted Stevens to earn himself a place in the U.S. Senate, making this the first time a Democrat has won a federal election in Alaska since 1974. This seat becomes the Democrats’ 7th pick-up of the year, raising their total to 58 seats with two more Republican incumbents still hanging in the balance.

24,000 ballots were counted today, and they broke towards Begich just as earlier questioned and absentee ballots had. The Democratic nominee dramatically increased his lead from 1,022 to 3,724 votes. This means that Stevens would not be able to overtake Begich no matter how overseas absentees break (such ballots are allowed to arrive until tomorrow as long as they were postmarked by Election Day). It also means that there will be no recount, as Begich’s lead of 1.18% is more than the double of the recount threshold.

This completes an extraordinary election in which one of the most towering figures of American politics found himself embroiled in an FBI investigation, then indicted, then tried a month before the Election and convicted with only one week of campaigning left. It is a testament to Stevens’ immense stature that Begich only prevailed by a few thousands votes. No other incumbent could have remained within single-digits after becoming a convicted felon.

Begich’s election keeps the Democrats’ hope of reaching 60 seats alive and dependent on a Georgia runoff and a Minnesota recount. It also leaves Sarah Palin no immediate path to join the Senate, rendering moot the speculation that she might have run in the spring special election that would have probably followed a Stevens victory. Some say that Palin might challenge Senator Murkowski in the GOP’s 2010 primary, but that would undoubtedly be a dangerous path to take.

I would also like to point that the current landscape looks exactly like my final Senate ratings I released the week-end before the election:

  • All seven GOP-held seats that I had rated as likely or lean Democratic (Alaska was in the latter group) have turned blue.
  • The two GOP-held seats that I had rated as likely or lean GOP (Mississippi and Kentucky) were won by the Republican incumbents.
  • The two GOP-held seats that I had rated as toss-ups (Georgia and Minnesota) remain undecided.

This goes to show that there were no upset results in this year’s Senate races, and while Gordon Smith and Ted Stevens resisted longer than we might have expected, that was due more to delays in counting than in the closeness of their races: Jeff Merkley won by 3% and Begich by more than 1%, margins that in other states would have been enough to lead for much quicker calls.

Original post, four hours ago: With 14,000 more Alaska ballots counted out of the 24,000 that will be tallied today, Mark Begich has more than doubled his lead to 2,374 votes. The remaining ballots are currently being counted, and the Division of Elections expects to release more results between 4pm and 5pm (that’s between 8pm and 9pm ET).

The race is technically not over yet, but Stevens would need to win about 65% of the remaining ballots, making it difficult to imagine how he could overtake his opponent. More to come in the coming hours.


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A busy day in Senate politics

The stakes might not be as high as those of Election Day, but the next 24 hours will be crucial for the future of three Senate seats: One Senator will be disciplined, another will claim victory and a third will be one step closer to emerging victorious.

In Alaska, all of the remaining 24,000 ballots (about 8% of the total of votes cast) will finally be tallied. For now, Democratic nominee Mark Begich leads by 1,022 votes. As I explained on Friday in my analysis of where the outstanding ballots are located, Ted Stevens has no more obvious reservoir of votes as his strongholds have finally reporting. On the other hand, the state’s most Democratic area has also finished counting, so the fate of the election is in the hands of Juneau, where Begich did very well, and the Anchorage region, where both candidates have strong districts.

Due to the time difference, we should not expect any results before late afternoon/early evening. If the margin between Begich and Stevens is within 0.5% tonight (it now stands at 0.35%), a recount can be requested - but that shouldn’t prevent us from having an infinitely clearer idea of who is likely to represent Alaska in the next Congress.

Ted Stevens at least (temporarily) dodged one bullet as the Senate’s Republican caucus delayed an internal vote on whether to expel Stevens until Alaska’s count is over. But the day of reckoning has arrived for Joe Lieberman as Senate Democrats are currently holding a meeting on how to discipline their party’s former vice-presidential nominee.

Last week, momentum seemed to be building in favor of Lieberman retaining his Homeland Security chairmanship; then, a number of high-profile Senators (including Lieberman-ally Tom Carper) spoke out against Lieberman, suggesting that Lieberman could lose the chairmanship after all. But the AP reported yesterday that a deal had been struck to allow Lieberman to keep the prized chairmanship, but strip him of the gavel of lesser subcommittees. The vote will be held via secret balloting, so we are unlikely to know any vote breakdown (results are expected within the next few hours).

If Lieberman is indeed stripped of his chairmanship, the new congressional parlor game will undoubtedly be to guess whether Lieberman jolts to the Republican caucus, though it would most certainly be unfair for Lieberman to claim that the treatment he is receiving is unfair or unusual. The New Republic’s Jonathan Chait points out that no sitting congressman had backed a member of the opposite party since 1964 when two Democrats supported Barry Goldwater, and that resulted in their losing their seniority. Lieberman’s decision to help Norm Coleman in Minnesota has also put Lieberman at odds with his caucus.

Finally, in Minnesota, the State Canvassing Board meets today to certify the results of the November 4th election, even though there could be some drama as the Franken campaign is seeking to block the certification to force the counting of hundreds of rejected of absentee ballots.

In another unexpected twist, the certified margin is now expected to be a lead of 215 votes for Norm Coleman - up from the 206 vote margin we had been stuck at for the past week. A mandatory audit of 200 precincts netted nine extra votes for the Republican Senator, giving him a slightly larger cushion. (This is also a warning to Democrats that, despite the emerging conventional wisdom, a recount is not guaranteed to boost their candidate.)

The recount will start tomorrow - though some counties will not launch the process before Thursday or Friday. Updated tallies are expected to be posted daily, but remember that the biggest changes are unlikely to happen until December 16th, when the Minnesota canvassing board convenes to review challenged ballots.


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Roller coasters: Begich solidifies lead, CA-04 tightens

You can blame Alaskan election officials for their dreadfully slow counting pace, but you can’t fault them for not spending that time preparing ridiculously detailed lists of which ballots we should expect to be tallied at what time. Their latest release, which came out late last night, provided a counting timeline by region, informing us that about 14,000 of the remaining votes would be tallied today.

And when the Alaska’s Division of Election finally updated their totals this evening, it was once again Mark Begich who gained the most, extending his lead from 814 to 1022 votes (or 0.35%).

There are still more than 25,000 ballots to be counted, and the state will get through them on Monday and Tuesday. On paper, that is more than enough for Stevens to reverse the tide but the situation is now looking more precarious for the incumbent Senator: If the state’s counting timeline was respected, it means that all outstanding votes from the conservative stronghold Mat-Su valley (which includes Sarah Palin’s Wasilla) were processed today, so that there are no more ballots to be counted in the region that would be most likely to fuel a Stevens comeback.

On the other hand, the state’s most pro-Begich area (the so-called “Region IV,” based in Nome) also finished reporting today - meaning that the Democrat’s biggest reservoir of votes has also exhausted its resources. However, Begich is in the lead and it is up to Stevens to now close that gap. That a third of the day’s votes came from the GOP’s strongest area does not bode well for Stevens.

Still to be counted - based on the timeline listed above coupled with this results map - are:

  • Thousands of absentee ballots from Juneau: This is an area in which Begich did very well, especially in the two districts in which almost half of the remaining votes are located (the 2nd and the 5th), both of which went for Begich by double digits.
  • Thousands of absentee ballots from Fairbanks: This is an area in which the candidates were about tied, making it unlikely that that the remaining ballots will break decisively in one direction or another (the 8th district went for Begich big, the 11th and 12th for Stevens big - but they should balance each other).
  • About 15,000 ballots (both early and questioned) from Anchorage and its suburbs. Both candidates have good results in various areas of this region, and the ballots appear to be fairly evenly divided, making it difficult to predict how these ballots will break - but the one thing that we know is that Stevens will have to perform very well here if he is to close the gap.

Meanwhile, the situation is somewhat more confused in CA-04, where new tallies continue to pour in daily without our having a clear sense of where the numbers are coming from nor how many ballots remain to be counted. As of last night, Republican nominee Tom McClintock led by more than 1,200 votes - but the margin was cut to 533 this morning. It has now risen up to 691.

The reason for this roller coaster is that the margin is tightening dramatically every time Democratic-friendly Nevada County is releasing new tallies - while McClintock is gaining when El Dorado County (where he leads narrowly) counts more votes. These two counties still have tens thousands of uncounted ballots, but the biggest contingent of remaining ballots will come from Placer County, which has not released any new tally since November 5th - meaning there are tens of thousands of absentee and early votes remaining to be counted there. McClintock won 50.8% of the vote of that county so far, but it is impossible to predict how this race will end until we get a better idea of how Placer’s absentees are breaking.


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Begich grabs lead as Alaska finally counts its ballots

In a dramatic day that turned the Alaska Senate race on its head, 60,000 ballots were tallied and Mark Begich came from behind to surge into an improbable 814 vote lead, inching Democrats closer to their 7th Senate pick-up!

When the day started, the Democratic nominee trailed by more than 3,000 votes with more than 90,000 ballots left to be counted. The state’s Division of Elections (which has transformed Alaska’s ballot counting into a farce for the second time in just a few months) deigned to finally turn its attention to those ballots - and with results coming in from across the state, Begich performed strongly enough among absentee and early voters to more than erase Stevens’s advantage.

The race is far from over, however. About 35,000 ballots remain to be counted, certainly more than enough for Stevens’s to make up his deficit. The remaining ballots will not start being counted until Friday, and the counting might extend all the way to the 19th (see my calendar of upcoming events).

Yet, Mark Begich should now be considered slightly favored. For one, Begich gained throughout the day, underscoring that many of his voters chose to cast an absentee or early ballot; second, all the districts that decided to wait a few more days to count their remaining votes are rural districts that Begich handily won in the original count. In other words, Stevens’s strongholds have mostly reported and it is difficult to see how the incumbent Senator could reverse today’s trend.

Today’s events are a huge - though perhaps temporary - relief for Democrats, who were left shell-shocked on Election Day by Stevens’s lead in what they considered to be a relatively safe pick-up. (I had left the state rated lean take-over rather than likely take-over because of Stevens’s stature in the state.) Even if Stevens was kicked out from the Senate, Republicans would have been likely to keep the seat in a special election given how reliably conservative a state Alaska has proven itself to be.

Begich’s comeback might also be a relief for Senate Republicans, who were not looking forward to having to take disciplinary actions against the longest-serving member of their party. And if Stevens fails to pull ahead when the remaining ballots are counted, it could mean a closed door to Sarah Palin’s ambitions, as rumors had it that the GOP’s former vice-presidential nominee is considering running for Senate if a special election has to be called.

Unfortunately for Democrats, Begich was not able to pull Ethan Berkowitz along with him. Berkowitz was clearly favored to defeat Republican Rep. Don Young heading into Election Day, but the embattled incumbent pulled what is perhaps the biggest upset of the 2008 cycle and is looking to hold on to his lead as he is currently ahead by more than 15,000. That means that it is now practically impossible for Berkowitz to come out on top and that AK-AL will likely be called soon in the GOP’s favor. [Update: As expected, the AP has called AK-AL for Young.]

In other counting/recounting news from around the country:

  • CA-04: Republican nominee Tom McClintock has slightly expanded his lead over the past two days as counties continue to count the tens of thousands of absentee ballots that are left to be counted. There are still enough votes for Charlie Brown to come from behind but there is no evidence for now that absentee ballots are likely to favor him. We should expect more updates in the days ahead.
  • OH-15: Both candidates are in full campaigning mode as they seek to contact the hundreds of voters who cast a provisional or flawed absentee ballot and now have to verify their identity or provide additional information. The margin between Stivers and Kilroy has held at 146 votes for most of the past week, but tens of thousands of provisional ballots remain to be counted - and Democrats are confident that Kilroy will pick up the most votes. These ballots will start being tallied on Saturday, but we should not expect to see any result before Thanksgiving.

Meanwhile, there is nothing to expect from Minnesota’s Senate and VA-05 until the votes are certified and recounts are launched.


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Both parties confronted with painful Senate dilemmas

As Congress prepares for a lame-duck session that could start next week, both Senate caucuses are getting ready to confront rogue members of their own party.

On the one side, Democrats are taking action against the man who just eight years ago was their vice-presidential nominee. On the other side, Republicans have to figure out how to deal with their longest-serving member who just happens to be a convicted felon. (The upcoming count of thousands of Alaska ballots could also spell the end of Stevens without his colleagues’ intervention.)

For now, most of the action is taking place on the Democratic side as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid informed Joe Lieberman that he could be stripped of his chairmanship of the Homeland Security. Since then, contrary reports have circulated about whether Lieberman was offered a smaller committee, whether he might join the Republican caucus if he is stripped of his chairmanship and whether Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have privately defended him.

What we do know is that Reid will call for a vote over Lieberman’s chairmanship at next week’s meeting of the Democratic caucus next week. The vote will take place via secret balloting, making the process much more unpredictable. Democrats have no plans to kick Lieberman out of their caucus as of now, so any such decision would have to be Lieberman’s alone. (The Connecticut Senator has kept a liberal enough persona that it is hard to imagine him caucusing with the GOP; Reid himself has said, after all, that Lieberman has been a more reliable vote for many Democratic caucuses than many of his own Senators.)

53 Democrats will participate in this vote: all the sitting Senators except Barack Obama and Joe Biden as well as the six newly elected ones (the two Udalls, Shaheen, Warner, Merkley and Hagan). The only tea leaves we have to read for now are Chris Dodd and Evan Bayh indicating that they do not want to punish Lieberman, while Chuck Schumer and Dick Durbin are said to be lobbying against him. Schumer’s position could influence members of the 2006 and 2008 class, all of whom have had a long relationship with the DSCC chairman.

Obviously, any hint Obama provides as to how he would want Lieberman to be treated could have a big influence. His spokesperson released a vaguely-worded statement to TPM today, indicating that Obama did not want to stand as a referree on the chairmanship question and he did not mind the Connecticut Senator staying in the Democratic caucus. The two matters are of course entirely separate, and Lieberman could risk further backlash if he is seen as blackmailing his colleagues into leaving him in his post in exchange for his staying in the caucus.

Meanwhile, the Republican caucus is unable to rejoice in the Democrats’ trouble since they have a fish to fry: the potential re-election of Ted Stevens, who was recently convicted on felony charges. It would be up to Harry Reid to call a floor vote over whether to expell Stevens, but both parties want Republicans to take the first step here: For Democrats to take the lead could be seen as politicizing the matter, and for the GOP to let them do so would make them look weak on corruption.

Mitch McConnell is reportedly holding discussions with his colleagues about how they should proceed, but South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint has made it his personal crusade to oust the Alaska Senator. Last week, DeMint indicated that he would press the full Senate to hold an expulsion vote. Now, he is planning a somewhat scaled-back effort: calling for a vote to expel Stevens from the Republican caucus. Either move would force the hand of the Senate leadership and precipitate matters more quickly than Reid and McConnell might be wanting to proceed and it would indicate that Stevens’ colleagues are unwilling to wait for his appeal to be completed.

If Stevens survives the full count of last Tuesday’s ballots and is then expulsed from the Senate, all bets are off as to who would replace him. Mark Begich would surely wage another bid in the special election that would be held in the spring, but is it plausible to expect any Democrat to win in Alaska after their disappointing results over the past six years? This could very well be a golden opportunity for Sarah Palin to move to Washington after all.


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Calendar of upcoming events

This might have been the first Monday in weeks without a 6pm wave of Rasmussen presidential polls, but there are plenty of other events to look forward to! With three Senate seats remaining in limbo, the 2008 cycle is far from over - but it is sometimes difficult to know what we are waiting for and when we should expect to see some resolution.

Why it takes Alaska so atrociously long to count ballots (especially after their primary debacle) will most probably remain a mystery to us all, but there are other questions that have more obvious answers: When will Minnesota’s recount start, for instance, and when should we expect results? When will Alaska to start counting the tens of thousands of ballots that have remained intact? Here is a handy calendar of upcoming events:

  • November 10th: Deadline for Minnesota counties to canvass and certify their results. It remains unclear how many counties still have to report their updated tallies.
  • November 12th: Alaska expects to get through about 50,000 it has left to count, as the state’s election division informed us in this press release and in this strangely detailed chart of how many ballots will be counted on Wednesday in different parts of the state.
  • November 18th: Minnesota Canvassing Board certifies results, allowing for the recount to begin.
  • November 19th: Alaska has to finish counting and reviewing all early and absentee ballots, the complete geographic chart of which is available here, once again courtesy of the state Elections Division.
  • November 24th: Certification of the results in VA-05
  • November 25th: Certification of Alaska’s results
  • December 2nd: Georgia Senate runoff
  • December 4th: In VA-05, whichever candidate comes out trailing in the November 24th certification can ask for a recount.
  • December 5th: Minnesota (re)counting must end.
  • December 6th: LA-04 general election (preview)
  • December 15th: Electors convene in every state and cast their presidential and vice-presidential ballot.
  • December 16th-19th: Minnesota canvassing board meets to finish assembling recount results.
  • January 6th: Congress convenes to count the electoral votes cast on December 15th.
  • January 20th: Inauguration

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Absentees, provisionals, recounts and runoffs: Update on the 10 remaining congressional seats

Three days have passed since Election Day, but there are still a number of undecided races, pending recounts and uncounted provisional, early and absentee ballots. Here’s a rundown of these contests and where they stand, starting with the presidential election:

  • North Carolina: The Tar Heel state was called for Obama yesterday, completing a stunning Democratic sweep in a state that voted for George W. Bush by 13% in 2004. Democrats also picked up a Senate seat (Hagan defeated Dole by 9%), kept the governorship and the lieutenant governor. (Correction: Democrats did not expand their majority in the state legislature, as a reader points out.)
  • Missouri: McCain is holding on to a 6,000 vote lead, a large enough margin that several media outlets (including MSNBC) have called the state for the Arizona Senator. That would mean 2008 one of the only elections in the past century that the Show Me State has not sided with the winner.
  • Nebraska’s 2nd district: Obama did not win Montana or North Dakota, but it looks like he might still grab one of Nebraska’s electoral votes. McCain still leads by a few hundred votes in this Omaha-based district, but there are still more than 15,000 early and provisional votes to be counted. The Omaha World Herald thinks those should be enough for Obama to grab the lead.

Omaha’s totals are further further evidence that voters held back from voting Democratic all the way down the ballot even as they cast a ballot for Obama, as Omaha’s vulnerable Republican Rep. Terry survived with 52% of the vote. In other words, the Democrat’s presidential candidate outperformed a local Democrat in a conservative area!

At the Senate level, three races remain undecided now that Oregon has gone Democratic:

  • Georgia: Saxby Chambliss has barely missed the 50% threshold, and though there are still a few thousand ballots left to be counted it is difficult to see them going in the Republican’s direction by a big enough margin for him to cross the threshold. This would mean that the race is going to a runoff, about which we will surely have more to say in the weeks ahead. Both candidates have already started campaigning, as Jim Martin is already up with an ad appealing to Obama’s popularity (yes, this is Georgia) and as Chambliss is scheduling McCain (and perhaps Palin!) to stump with him. Both campaigns have the same preoccupation: Keep their supporters energized.
  • Minnesota: There are no provisional, early or absentee ballots left to be counted in this race, but the Coleman-Franken gap kept shrinking yesterday. Why? As counties go back to verify their totals and tabulations, they discover mistakes and typos and correct them. As a result, Franken’s deficit is now down to 239 vote. Whatever the margin by certification, there is no doubt that the race will head to a recount… which would not be held until December. The recount would be conducted by hand, and election officials would try to determine the intent of the voter on ballots that the machine has not recognized. That could mean as much as 6,000 voters being added to the total, making the outcome wildly unpredictable.
  • Alaska: This race could keep us occupied for weeks - months even. Ted Stevens’s advantage stands at 3,257 votes with tens of thousands of absentee and provisional ballots left to be counted (estimates put the number of remaining votes between 50,000 and 74,000). However, these ballots will not be counted for about 10 days (taking us back to the absurd GOP House primary in late August which took weeks to be resolved). If Stevens wins, there are signs that he will be kicked out of the Senate - perhaps as early as in the late November/December session. That could mean that Alaska is forced to hold a special election sometime in the spring. Given that Begich couldn’t put Stevens away, could he win against another Republican - Palin or Parnell, for instance?

If Democrats somehow win all three of these races, they could still get to 60 Senate seats - but Republicans have a slight edge in each for now. As for the House:

  • AK-AL: The race is unlikely to be called until the tens of thousands of remaining ballots are counted, but Republican Rep. Don Young probably has too large a lead to lose his seat. His victory would be the biggest upset of the 2008 cycle - and a remarkable survival for an incumbent that was first expected to lose the primary, then the general election.
  • CA-04: In a conservative race Democrats were feeling increasingly optimistic about, Charlie Brown could be headed to his second heart-breakingly close race in a row. Republican McClintock has been increasing his lead since Wednesday morning and is now ahead by 709 votes. But there is still an estimated 48,000 uncounted votes that should be processed in the days and weeks ahead, so this is still anyone’s game.
  • CA-44: This is a race that was on no one’s radar screen, and I do mean no one. Yet, Republican Rep. Calvert is leading 51% to 49% (or 4,000 votes) with tens of thousands of absentee ballots left to be counted. Calvert has a clear edge heading into extra innings, but we should still keep an eye on the race.
  • MD-01: Things are looking good for Democratic candidate Frank Kratovil in this conservative open seat. He has more than doubled his lead since Wednesday morning and is now on top by 2,003 votes. There are a significant number of ballots left to be counted, but Andy Harris would have to win 59% of them to save the seat for Republicans.
  • OH-15: A massive counting glitch by the AP led them to overstate Republican candidate Stivers’s lead by 12,000 vote for much of Tuesday night and Wednesday, but that has now been fixed: Only 136 votes separate Stivers from Mary Jo Kilroy (who already lost a close race in 2006), with thousands of provisional ballots left to be counted, especially in Kilroy-friendly Franklin County. Two years ago, Kilroy cut her opponent’s advantage by half after provisional ballots were counted, gaining about 1,500 votes. That is giving Democrats hope she can replicate those gains this year and give her party a third Ohio pick-up.
  • VA-05: Tom Perriello’s lead jumped from 31 votes to more than 800 yesterday, and has now settled at 751. Perriello has a clear advantage and has declared victory, but some counties are still reviewing their results and an undetermined number of absentee ballots remain to be counted. So advantage to Democrats here, but this could be headed to a recount.
  • WA-08: Ballots have to postmarked by Tuesday, November 4th to be valid, and only about 70% of all estimated votes have been counted. We should not get a final result in this race until next week. But Rep. Dave Reichert looks to be relatively well positioned as he is slightly increasing his lead the more votes are being reported, especially in King County, the Democratic part of the district. Reichert now leads by a relatively comfortable 5,000 votes.

As of now, Democrats stand at 19 net pick-ups (255 seats), and are not at risk of losing any more seat of their own. That means that the possible range is from +19 to +26 - though the final number is likely to be far closer to lower number as a Democratic pick-up is looking improbable in AK-AL and CA-44. On the other hand, Democrats are looking very well positioned in MD-01 and VA-05.



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  • What remains on the table

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  • Confusion in Connecticut (Updated)

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  • Results thread, part 2: Dems suffer staggering losses in House and legislatives races, limit damage in statewide races

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  • Election Night results thread: Rep. Boucher’s fall first surprise of the night

  • Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55

    Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55
  • Election night cheat sheet

  • Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55

    Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55
  • Final ratings: Democrats brace for historic losses

  • Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55

    Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55
  • What to watch for down-ballot

Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55

Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

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