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Category Archive for ‘CT-04’ at Campaign Diaries
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Archive for the 'CT-04' Category


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NRCC lands new recruits against Himes and Bishop

At the start of the cycle, Republicans weren’t expected to pay close attention to CT-04 and NY-01, two wealthy districts that rank 17th and 21st in terms of median income among congressional districts nationwide. But perhaps the concentration of upper-income is giving the GOP confidence they can take advantage of the wealthy’s potentially growing discomfort against Democrats? After all, if they are resting their hopes on voters who leaned left last cycle now swinging to the GOP, the Northeast’s upper middle-class might be a better bet than Hispanics.

As such, we’ve been hearing quite a bit about both for months, and Republicans have now landed two credible candidates they hope will be enough to make these races competitive.

A state Senator against Himes

Let’s start with Connecticut, since this is a district we have gotten used to: Chris Shays was at the top of the Democrats’ target list for three cycles before being dislodged by Jim Himes last fall. At the end of July, Republicans blew their best shot at taking back the seat when state Senate Minority Leader John McKinney said he would not run. But they will now go into 2010 with a credible shot nonetheless: State Senator Dan Debicella has just announced he will challenge Himes.

On paper, Debicella is less compelling than McKinney, who is the son of the district’s former congressman and is serving in the Senate since 1999. Debicella was first elected in 2006, has far lower name recognition and is only 34, which is not an easy age at which to win a federal race. Yet, his youth should help him mount an outsider campaign, and his degrees from Wharton and from the Harvard Business School could potentially offset inexperience charges. In 2006 and 2008, he faced competitive races in tough cycles and won by 8% and 4%, respectively, so at least he has campaign experience and knows how to run an election.

CT-04 remains a tough proposition for Republicans: They might have held the seat for decades, but it gave Barack Obama a massive 60%. Yet, the district’s demographics are not that of a typical Democratic district - the median income is far higher than that of Connecticut’s other districts - and whether Himes has to worry about re-election at all should depend on independent voters’ mood come 2010. At least, Debicella offers the GOP a chance to hope if the environment does sour for Democrats.

A political novice in Long Island

Moving to Long Island, we find another district with high median income: Alongside more modest neighborhoods, New York’s 1st District encompasses wealthy enclaves like the Hamptons. The district took a swing to the right after 9/11 and it hasn’t come back to its strongly Democratic roots: While Al Gore won the district by 8%, John Kerry narrowly lost it and Obama only prevailed by 4%.

That’s as bad a trend as Democrats will see outside of the Deep South and the Appalachians, and it puts Rep. Tim Bishop in a tricky situation. Ever since winning a tight race in the 2002 midterms, he hasn’t had much to worry about but the NRCC is feeling emboldened by what they say is local anger against Bishop’s voting ways; they point to a town hall held in June at which the congressman had to be escorted out by the police.

Frankly, a disrupted town hall might have been a compelling talking-point two months ago, but after the events of the past two weeks I think most of us will agree this says more about the right’s strategy of forcefully shutting down town halls than about Bishop’s vulnerability.

In any case, the GOP has recruited a candidate to go along its claims: Businessman Randy Altschuler jumped in the race this week. He might not have run for office before but, as a former fundraiser for John McCain, he at least has some idea of how elections work - which is more than we can say for other businessmen who suddenly take an interest in politics. For Republicans, his most compelling trait might be that he could fund his own campaign, allowing the NRCC not to have to worry about financing a candidate it’s not yet sure of.

When the environment is tough for incumbents, a businessman with no obvious qualifications for office and deep pcokets can be all it takes for a party to pick up a seat; otherwise, Altschuler will have to prove he has the necessary campaign skills, display policy positions that make him electable and hope that Bishop really is as vulnerable as the GOP believes.


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The ups and downs of NRCC recruitment

Yesterday, I highlighted some of the Democrats’ good House news - particularly their ability to avoid giving the GOP unnecessary openings. Within a few hours, yet another Democratic representative announced that he will not vacate his seat in 2010: Rep. Jim Matheson ruled out mounting a gubernatorial run, even though he is one of the only Democrats who could have taken advantage of the shuffle created by Governor Huntsman’s resignation. Matheson’s UT-02 is a red-leaning district that would have been very tough for Democrats to defend, so that sound you hear is yet another sigh of relief from the DCCC.

Yet, House Republicans are still as determined to go on the offensive next year: NRCC Chairman Pete Sessions just said that he was hoping to seriously contest 80 Dem-held districts come 2010! That’s an obviously unrealistic number, at this juncture ridiculously so, but at least Sessions is trying to change momentum after two disastrous cycles in which the GOP was stuck on the defensive. And Sessions went on to unveil its Young Guns program, the GOP’s equivalent of the DCCC’s Red to Blue. The initial list includes 13 challengers Republicans think are top-tier recruits:

Martha Roby (AL-02); Van Tran (CA-47); Cory Gardner (CO-04); Dennis Ross (FL-12); Charles Djou (HI-01); Vaughn Ward (ID-01); Adam Kinzinger (IL-11); Andy Harris (MD-01); Frank Guinta (NH-01); Jon Barela (NM-01); Steve Pearce (NM-02); Steve Chabot (OH-01); Steve Stivers (OH-15)

FL-12 is a GOP-held open seat, so that’s not an offensive opportunity. Of the 12 challengers on the list, some definitely should be on this list (AL-02, CO-04, ID-01, NH-01, NM-02, OH-01, OH-15); one seems to me to be weaker than other candidates the GOP could field (Andy Harris in MD-01); and a number continue to seem like wishful thinking (CA-47, HI-01 and NM-01 seem like too heavily Democratic to be worth the NRCC’s efforts). I am struck by OR-04’s absence: The NRCC spent so much time recruiting Sid Leiken that I’d expect him to now get more attention.

Meanwhile, the NRCC’s recruitment districts in other districts is having mixed results - as you can see from the round-up below.

NRCC misses its best shot at CT-04

CT-04 is not the most obvious of Republican targets - Obama prevailed by 20% last fall, helping dislodge Chris Shays - but the NRCC had been talking up Rep. Jim Himes’s vulnerability. That was perhaps because Himes is a freshman, perhaps because the district’s blue drift is bound to decrease and perhaps because the GOP was counting on recruiting a top challenger: State Senate Minority Leader John McKinney, who has a moderate reputation and whose father represented the distrist from 1971 to 1987.

After weeks during which he flirted with a run - even traveling to Washington to meet with NRCC officials - McKinney has just announced he will not challenge Himes in 2010. That’s a huge blow to the GOP’s prospects in this already tough district. Other credible Republicans might run - state Senators Rob Kane, Dan Debicella and Rob Russo are mentioned - but none have the advantage of McKinney’s last name.

Childrers draws top-tier challenger

After winning a springtime special election with surprising ease last year, Travis Childers did not have to worry much about his first re-election race in November. But 2010 should be very different: State Senator Alan Nunnelee, who has served in the legislature since 1994, just filed a candidacy statement. His entry makes this race a top priority for the NRCC.

Nunnelee has has better name recognition than your average challenger; his role as Appropriations Committee Chairman should make it very easy for him to raise money; and his prominence gives him the best shot at avoiding the GOP a divisive primary (in 2008, Republican divisions helped Childers scored an upset). In a district that gave McCain 62% of the vote, can Childers survive a well-funded challenger who is able to unite the GOP? Remember: MS-01 is one of those Southern districts that swung to the GOP in 1994.

GOP can now search for strongest challenger in VA-05

No one doubts that Tom Perriello is a very vulnerable incumbent: The only true surprise winner of the 2008 cycle, Perriello benefited from a favorable environment and he will now have to run without the benefit of Obama’s coattails. But a crucial question surrounded the race: Would the GOP make the most of its opportunity by fielding its strongest possible candidate? Former Rep. Virgil Goode, whom Perriello defeated in 2008, was very interested in seeking a rematch and he was acting like a candidate.

Yet, he just announced that he would pass on the race, which is undoubtedly good news for the NRCC:  A longtime congressman, Goode is a well-known entity in the district so it would not have been easy for him to overcome voters’ decision to kick him out. Furthermore, his very conservative politics and his history of controversial statements are an increasingly bad fit for this blue-trending district. With Goode out of the picture, the NRCC can turn to fresher faces who can fashion themselves a more appropriate profile: State Sen. Robert Hurt and state Del. Rob Bell are potential contenders.

VA-11: Fimian is back

In 2008, Gerald Connolly’s victory in the VA-11 open race was slightly underwhelming: He came to the race with a far higher profile, had a much longer time to prepare his campaign and he benefited from Obama’s Northern Virginia coattails. The major explanation for why the race remained somewhat competitive was Republican Keith Fimian’s deep pockets. Through self-funding, this wealthy businessman was able to spend far more money than he would have had his fate rested in the NRCC’s hands.

That’s why Fimian’s announcement that he will seek a rematch meets the GOP’s only hope of contesting this district in 2010: While the district is now too Democratic for the NRCC to accept spending much money and for Republican donors to be convinced to invest, a self-funder can test Connolly’s vulnerability without needing much national attention.


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House: Connecticut GOP recruits more successfully than Michigan Dems

Connecticut: Republicans find challengers left and right

The Connecticut GOP has managed to drag the Senate race into the list of competitive seats and they are favored to keep the Governor’s seat. They are now hoping that the Democrats’ weakness at the top of the ballot proves an opportunity for the GOP at over levels  - starting with House races in three Connecticut districts represented by Democrats first elected in 2006 or 2008. Over the past few days, the GOP’s recruitment efforts advanced in all three - though it remains to be seen whether Republican challengers will have at these blue-trending seats.

In CT-04, two prominent Republicans are expressing their interest in challenging Rep. Jim Himes: State Senate Minority Leader John McKinney and state Senate Deputy Minority Leader Rob Kane. Either could make CT-04 a race to watch. For one, Himes is a freshman, and one’s first re-election race can be the trickiest. Second, CT-04 has a history of voting for Republicans: Himes’s 2008 victory made him the district’s first Democratic representative since 1969! Until 1987, the district was represented by Stewart McKinney, father of the John McKinney mentioned above; that could make the latter a more credible candidate in the eyes of Republicans.

On the other hand, CT-04 is heavily blue (Obama prevailed 60% to 40%, but Kerry had only won by 6%). Democrats targeted former Rep. Chris Shays for many cycles, and his 2008 loss looked to be final step of the Northeast’s realignment: Shays, who was arguably the most liberal Republican congressmen, was the last GOP representative from New England.Deprived of Shays’s entrenchment (he served for more than 21 years), how are Republicans supposed to stay competitive in such a Democratic district?

In CT-05, Justin Bernier confirmed what had already become conventional wisdom. Earlier this month, Bernier resigned from his position as director of the state’s Office of Military Affairs, a move that looked to be the prelude to a congressional run. This week, he confirmed his candidacy, and signaled that to run against Obama’s economic policies and Congress’s “reckless spending and reckless behavior.” It is somewhat puzzling that Bernier is taking such a path given that this district voted for Obama 56% to 42%. (On the other hand, John Kerry and George W. Bush tied at 49%.)

Insofar as the GOP was hoping to recruit a top-tier candidate, Bernier’s announcement is a good get for the NRCC: He has enough stature to be taken as a serious candidate and attract the attention of Republican donors. But Murphy has proved to be a formidable who scored very impressive victories over the past two cycles over then-incumbent Rep. Nancy Johnson and state Senator David Cappiello. Will he prove vulnerable at all in 2010?

Finally, in CT-02, former Hebron Board of Finance member Matthew M. Daly announced he would run against Rep. Joe Courtney. But it will take Republicans a much better recruitment coup to hope to score an upset in 2010. CT-02 is solidly Democratic (Obama won the district by 19%) and Courtney is already a sophomore lawmaker; Daly does not have enough stature to pose a serious threat to Courtney.

MI-11: While denying interest, Anderson keeps door open

Sitting in a blue-trending district that has been hit hard by the economic crisis, Rep. Thad McCotter is one of the Democrats’ top targets in 2010. Yet, after two cycles in which no prominent challenger emerged to benefit from the pro-Democratic environment, the DCCC is still having difficulty finding a credible challenger to jump in the race.

Last month, state House Speaker Andy Dillon announced that he would not run. That development prompted local Democrats to launch a movement to draft state Senator Glenn Anderson in the race. Anderson represents Livonia in the state Senate, and that could have allowed him to cut into McCotter’s base, as the representative also resides in that town.

Yet, Anderson just declared in an interview with the Livonia Observer that he would “likely campaign next year for a second four-term state Senate term in a district.” Indeed, the timing is not ideal for Anderson: Not only is he not term-limited, but he would have to give up his Senate seat since he is up for re-election this cycle. It would make sense for him to wait until the 2012 cycle to challenge McCotter.

On the other hand, Anderson did not close the door to a run. “I wouldn’t rule it out,” he said, “but I’m not encouraging [the draft movement].” most of the article is devoted to Anderson insisting that he is focused on doing his job in the state Senate. In short, Anderson answered what any politician says when trying to avoid clarifying his plans: He denied interest without ruling out anything, and subtly encouraged speculation to build while looking committed to his constituents. It is definitely worth keeping an eye on the state Senator.


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Guilty of dismal fundraising, NRCC spent whatever money it had well

Oklahoma Rep. Tom Cole briefly flirted with another stint as NRCC Chairman but decided not to oppose the candidacy of Texas Rep. Pete Sessions. The GOP’s campaign committee will thus start the 2010 battle with new leadership, eager to recover after two disastrous cycles that saw Democrats pick up more than 50 seats.

To mark the end of Cole’s rule, it seems appropriate to take a look back at the past two years - recruitment, fundraising, expenditures - and pinpoint a few areas Sessions will have to improve.

What is particularly depressing for the GOP is that its recruitment was not that terrible. For one, the NRCC had managed to recruit a number of top challengers to freshmen incumbents: Jim Sullivan in CT-02, Dean Adler in CA-11 or Tom Bee in AZ-08 were all highly touted early in the cycle. Lou Barletta in PA-11, Melissa Hart in PA-04, Mike Sodrel in IN-09, Anne Northup in KY-03 and Jeb Bradley in NH-01 were also huge threats. The NRCC similarly fielded unexpectedly strong contenders in many GOP-held open seats (Darren White in NM-01, for instance).

Needless to say, all the candidates on this list lost on November 4th; some of them had even completely disappeared from our radar screen - quite a stunning development given their early high-profile. Given the pro-Democratic political environment, however, non-incumbent Republicans had practically no hope of victory - and we all treated them as such.

The NRCC’s huge problem, of course, was its dismal fundraising performance that left the committee in an extremely precarious financial position. This forced the NRCC to pull the plug on some of its top challengers and then make even more painful decisions as to which incumbents it should abandon. It will not be easy for Sessions to do a better job: It is extremely unlikely that Republicans will regain control of the House in 2010, which means that lobbyists and donors are likely to keep filling Democratic coffers. This should guarantee that the DCCC enjoys yet another cycle of financial dominance.

Within this context of budgetary restrictions, it is worth taking a look at the NRCC’s fall expenditures to test whether Cole’s team made the right set of choices with whatever little money they had in hand.

The snubbed districts: First of all, here is the list of high-profile districts in which the NRCC invested nothing: AZ-03, CT-04, CA-04, IL-10, IN-09, KY-03, MD-01, MI-09, NC-08, NM-01, NM-02, OH-16, OR-05, PA-04. It is worth adding CO-04 to the list, as the NRCC pulled the plug on Rep. Musgrave two weeks before the election.

Some of these reflect very good calls on the NRCC’s part, particularly in AZ-03. Democrats made a lot of noise about that race, and the DCCC poured in about $2 million; yet, the NRCC did not take the bait and Rep. Shadegg prevailed by double-digits. Similarly, the NRCC was right to estimate that Reps. Knollenberg, Hayes and Musgrave as well as open seat candidates in NM-01, NM-02 and OH-16 were in particularly bad shape. Democrats picked-up all of these seats, and none of them were close. Finally, good for the NRCC to not delude itself into thinking that it could defeat Democratic incumbents in KY-03, IN-09 and PA-04.

However, the GOP’s refusal to fund McClintock in CA-04 and Harris in MD-01 was most definitely a mistake. Harris lost by 1% and McClintock’s race is still undecided. Both districts are heavily conservative, so there was no possible blow back for national Republicans getting involved (unlike, say, in CT-04).

Defensible investments: As for the races they did fund, the NRCC’s decisions are a mix between golden investments and wasted money. While the GOP lost AL-02, AL-05, FL-08, FL-25, ID-01, MI-07, NH-01, NJ-03, NY-29, OH-01, PA-03, PA-11, VA-02 and WI-08, for instance, it seems hard to argue with the NRCC’s determination to defend these seats, all of which ended up being relatively close. The NRCC should however be faulted for not having invested more in some of them (ID-01 and VA-02, in particular). In some of these districts, the GOP invested significant sums (more than $1 million each in MI-07 and OH-01, for instance) but the DCCC simply had enough money to always outspend its counterpart.

Similarly, the NRCC’s decision to heavily defend KY-02, MN-03, MO-09, NE-02, NJ-07 and WY-AL were an important factor in huge Election Day saves - and the committee’s investments in KS-02, LA-06 and TX-22 (more than $1 million in the latter) helped Republican challengers scored pick-ups. (The NRCC should have been a bit more aggressive in Kansas, even though Lynn Jenkins did end up winning.)

Mistakes: All in all, there were few obvious mistakes in the GOP’s investments - except the largely unnecessary $600,000 spent in MO-06, the decision to go after Rep. Murtha with half-a-million dollars at the last minute and the committee’s determination to help Rep. Porter in NV-03. Another small mistake was CO-04: Even though they did end up abandoning Rep. Musgrave, they first spent nearly $900,000 on a seat that leaned towards a Democratic pick-up early in the fall - but perhaps not enough to justify an NRCC snub in a what is still a conservative district.

The NRCC is guilty of a number of other miscalls, but it is hard to blame them given that the DCCC also miscalculated in the same same districts. Perhaps the biggest such mistake occurred in NY-24, where Democratic incumbent Arcuri won an extremely tight race in a district absolutely no one was paying attention to.

The second biggest mistake was FL-21, a GOP-held district everyone thought was highly competitive and in which the NRCC spent more than $1.5 million. Rep. Diaz-Balart ended up winning by 16% - but the DCCC had invested considerable sums as well, as both parties believed that Diaz-Balart was endangered. Similarly, the GOP spent more than $300,000 defending IN-03 and more than $600,000 in NY-26. Neither race was tight on Election Night; yet, the DCCC wasted much more money on those two districts so the mistake here belongs to Democrats.

Finally, the NRCC rushed into VA-05 much too late, spending more $140,000 at the last minute to save Rep. Goode (the race has not been called yet, but it appears that Goode will go down by a few hundred votes); few people saw Perriello has a big threat to Goode - and the DCCC’s expenditures suggest they had not either. Provided he remains in the lead, that makes Perriello’s into this cycle’s Shea-Porter and Loebsack.


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DCCC goes on one of its last spending sprees

With a week remaining before Election Day, all campaigns and national committees are budgeting their final advertising push and buying media time to last them through November 4th. The DCCC has poured in nearly $15 million in almost 40 districts already this week. More investments are likely to come today and tomorrow, first because the DCCC has left out a number of districts in which it regularly invests and because it appears that the NRCC has yet to make its last round of expenditures. But the DCCC’s $14 million latest spending spree gives us a good idea of which seats Democrats are the most committed to. (Most of the following numbers come from SSP’s always very handy House expenditure tracker.)

In three districts did the DCCC go for broke; all are currently held by the GOP: In IL-10, the DCCC just poured in an impressive $929,279, bringing its total investment in the district to more than $2 million. (This is partly explained by the fact that IL-10 is in the expensive Chicago market). In NV-03, the DCCC bought more than $750,000 of air time against Rep. Porter, bringing its total to more than $2.3 million. And in IL-11, $600,000 worth of advertisement (and a total that surpasses $2 million) should help Debbie Halvorson win this open seat.

Another group of seats - here again predominantly GOP-held - saw massive investments of more than $500,000. Those include the once-safe AZ-03, NC-08, NH-01, NM-01, OH-15 (the total surpasses $2 million in each of these five districts), MN-06 (the DCCC has now spent more than $1 million in two weeks on Bachmann’s seat) and the conservative NM-02 (for a total of $1.5 million). This makes New Hampshire’s Carol Shea-Porter the most protected Democratic incumbent, and confirms the remarkable development by which the DCCC has poured more effort in AZ-03 than in many seats that were more obviously competitive.

Also notable are the DCCC’s expenditures that top $400,000. Here again the list is made up of Republican seats: MD-01, MN-03 and OH-01 (total spending in each now tops $2 million), MI-07 and MI-09 (total spending in each tops $1 million), CA-04 and NY-26. Between $200,000 and $400,000, we have AZ-01 (an open seat that is considered an easy Democratic pick-up but where the DCCC has now spent more than $2 million), CO-04, KY-02, MO-09, FL-24 (all now more than $1 million total), FL-21, FL-25, NE-02, OH-02, NY-29, FL-08, IN-03 and IN-09. Rounding up six-figure expenditures are AK-AL, CA-11, CT-04, LA-06, NJ-03 and NJ-07 (all more than $1 million total), AL-05, ID-01, KS-02.

A few observations about this spending spree. First, the DCCC did not expand the map this week. The only new seat they invested in yesterday is FL-08, a district that has looked highly competitive for weeks and that I just moved to the lean take-over category this past week-end. Also noteworthy is NE-02, where the DCCC’s media buy this week is eight times higher than it was last week. However, there are a number of districts we have been talking about lately in which the DCCC is not playing despite the massive loan it took last week; those include California’s seats, IA-04, FL-13, FL-18 or even SC-01 where the DCCC has not followed up on a small investment it made last week. Furthermore, the national committee appears to have given up on MO-06, which was once considered a top opportunity but in which the DCCC has not bought air time for two weeks now.

Second, Democrats seem to be very comfortable about playing defense. They have largely pulled out of AZ-05, AZ-08 or MS-01, all districts that the GOP had high hopes of contesting; they have not had to spend a dime in places like KS-03 or NY-20, seats Republicans had vowed to contest. And they do not seem to feel particular energy in many of the blue seats in which they are investing. However, we do know that the DCCC is starting to air this ad in PA-12 on behalf of Murtha, though they have yet to report that expenditure.

The NRCC, meanwhile, posted a few expenditures over the past two days though a lot more should come tonight. Noteworthy investments include $375,000 spent in WY-AL, more than $250,000 in NE-02 and MO-09, more than $100,000 in MO-06, IN-03. What do all these districts have in common? They are extremely heavily Republican (Bush won IN-03 with 68% of the vote, for instance, and let us not even talk about WY-AL) and Republican candidates are in such a bad state that the NRCC is forced to spend its money in such districts.

(There is something to be said against the NRCC’s decision making, and we might talk about this more in the coming week: Swing seats like NM-01 or OH-16 will likely be lost for a decade or more if Democrats pick them up, yet the NRCC is not spending a dime there. Conservative seats like WY-AL or IN-03 would be likely to fall back into GOP hands in the coming cycle or two, but the NRCC is spending all of its resources in such places.)

Let’s take a closer look at Southern Florida, where the battles in FL-21 and in FL-25 have become truly vicious. Both seats are in the same Miami media market, and they are represented by the (Republican) Diaz-Balart brothers. So Democrats have decided to save money - and just air an ad targeting both Diaz-Balarts:

[youtube="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpMgxd3aiWo"]

The GOP’s response in FL-25 is also fascinating because it bears such a close resemblance to what is going on in the presidential race. Democratic candidate Joe Garcia is blasted for being in favor of “redistribution of the wealth,” underscoring how much Republicans are banking on Joe the Plumber at this point:

[youtube="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JTm91xZQhl0"]


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Poll watch: Obama remains strong in red states, holds large leads in Virginia

We have reached the stage of a campaign where one day’s polling cannot but be confusing, as the growing volume of data that is released guarantees that results will appear to be discordant. That is the case today in the national polls (Obama’s lead ranges from 4% to 9%, with tracking polls going in both directions) and state polls, where Obama posts big gains and jumps to huge advantages in some polls while slipping in others.

So let’s take all of the polls together and try to break through the noise to find an overall picture. For one, it’s far too early to say that the race has tightened in a meaningful way. Yes, McCain appears to have cut his deficit to the single-digits whereas a large number of polls had him down double-digits last week; but there is little sign that McCain has made any more ground - and he remains in an extremely precarious position in the electoral college.

Yes, McCain does get some relatively good news today as he recaptures a narrow lead in Rasmussen’s Ohio and Florida polls  - both are well within the MoE, but they represent meaningful shifts from last week’s polling. But many polls show Obama improving his position over the past week, suggesting that there is no clear trend towards McCain. In today’s polling, Obama is showing no sign of weakening among blue states and he remains strong in the two red states that are the most endangered, Colorado and Virginia, either of which would make him president.

In fact, in today’s polls alone, Obama leads outside of the margin of error in five red states where a win would put him above the top. McCain leads outside of the margin of error in zero such state, and he cannot even muster a significant advantage in Georgia. Obama, by contrast, leads outside of the MoE in Ohio, where a Suffolk poll gives him his biggest lead of the general election; in two polls of Virginia, one of which has him leading by 10%; in Colorado; in two polls of North Carolina, both of which have Obama gaining over the past week and one of which has him opening his largest lead ever of 7%; and even in Missouri.

(More on this later, no doubt, but John King is now suggesting on CNN is that the McCain camp is looking to give up on Colorado which would quite literally make no sense as that would concede enough electoral votes to Obama to get him president. That would mean that the McCain campaign is banking everything on winning Pennsylvania.)

That most trend lines are generally small and inconsistent suggest that most of the evolutions that have been recorded over the past five days are statistical noise, and that is good news for Barack Obama. On to the full roundup of the day’s polls:

  • Obama leads 51% to 46% in a CNN national poll. He led by 8% two weeks ago, but he remains above 50%.
  • Obama leads 53% to 44% in an ABC/Washington Post national poll (the poll was conducted Thursday through Sunday). He led by 10% last week, so his lead is holding, though the internals show some progress for McCain. Less voters think that McCain would be a continuation of Bush’s policies. and 36% think McCain understands economic problems (up from 28%). But McCain’s main arguments appear to be washing away: asked who they would want to handle an unexpected crisis, 49% pick Obama versus 45% for McCain. The ABC/WaPo poll is a new daily tracking poll, so expect daily updates.
  • [Update: Obama leads 54% to 41% in a CBS/New York Times national poll conducted over the week-end among people that were already interviewed right before the first debate. Obama led by 5% before the first debate. 98% of those who said they would vote for Obama are sticking him; 88% of McCain's supporters are sticking with him; among those who were undecideds, 52% are now backing Obama, 36% are now backing McCain.]
  • So much for the tracking polls converging. 4 have movement towards Obama, two have movement towards McCain. They show Obama ahead by: 4%, 5%, 6%, 6%, 8%, 9%.
  • The detail: Obama gains 1% in Research 2000 (50% to 42%), in IBD/TIPP (47% to 41%). He gains 3% in Zogby to lead 50% to 44%. Obama also gains in Gallup, now leading 11% among registered voters, 9% in the expanded model of likely voters and 5% in the traditional model (all three represent gains). But McCain gains 2% in Rasmussen and in Diego Hotline (respectively 50% to 46% and 47% to 42% for Obama).
  • Obama leads 51% to 42% in a Suffolk poll of Ohio. This is Obama’s largest lead in this state since the general election started. The poll was taken Friday through Sunday.
  • McCain leads 49% to 47% in a Rasmussen poll of Ohio. The poll was taken Saturday. The state was tied in a poll taken late last week, Obama led in a poll taken last week. Rasmussen’s Ohio polls have generally been good for McCain.
  • Obama leads 51% to 44% in a PPP poll of North Carolina, with Barr at 2%. Obama led by 2% last week. The poll was taken Saturday and Sunday.
  • Obama leads 51% to 48% in a Rasmussen poll of North Carolina. The two were tied last week.
  • Obama leads 51% to 45% in a SUSA poll of Virginia. He led by 10% two weeks ago, by 6% a month ago. The main difference from the previous poll is that the partisan breakdown is a bit more favorable to Republicans; Obama gains a bit among independents. The poll was taken Saturday and Sunday.
  • Obama leads 54% to 44% in a Rasmussen poll of Virginia. Obama led by only 3% last week. This poll was taken Thursday.
  • McCain leads 49% to 48% in a Rasmussen poll of Florida. Obama led by 5% last week and by 7% two weeks ago.
  • Obama leads 51% to 46% in a Rasmussen poll of Colorado. He led by 7% last week. The poll was taken Saturday.
  • McCain leads 45% to 44% in a Suffolk poll of Missouri. The poll was taken Friday through Sunday.
  • Obama leads 49% to 44% in a Rasmussen poll of Missouri. The poll was taken Saturday. Obama led by 3% the previous two weeks.
  • Obama leads 48% to 40% in a Susquehanna poll of Pennsylvania. This is the first survey taken since late September with Obama “only” up single-digits!
  • Obama leads 50% to 44% in a SUSA poll of Minnesota. McCain led by 1% in the previous poll.

Down-the-ballot:

  • Kay Hagan leads 49% to 42% in a PPP poll of North Carolina’s Senate race. Chris Cole gets 4%. Hagan led by 2% last week.
  • Norm Coleman leads 41% to 39% in a SUSA poll of Minnesota’s Senate race, with Barkley at 18%. Two weeks ago, however, Coleman led by 20%.
  • Mark Warner leads 61% to 36% in a Rasmussen poll of Virginia’s Senate race. He leads 60% to 36% in SUSA.
  • In NJ-03, a DCCC poll finds Democratic candidate John Adler leading 43% to 35%. He led by 4% two weeks ago. Undecideds have decreased from 29% to 22%.
  • A pair of Illinois polls conducted by Democratic firm Bennetts, Petts and Bormington: In IL-11, Debbie Halvorson leads 50% to 29%; in IL-10, Rep. Kirk leads 47% to 41%.

Senate: Hagan remains on top in North Carolina, as we have now grown used to, though this is certainly a larger lead than in last week’s poll. Meanwhile, yet another poll confirms that Georgia is highly competitive but Democrats have to get going: 20% of registered voters have already cast their ballot, so the DSCC has to make a big push soon if it wants Martin’s surge to not come too late.

House: No surprise in the one independent poll of the day (CT-04), but Democrats lead in larger margins than we have seen of late in Dem polls of IL-11 and NJ-03. One thing that is not surprising is that undecideds are breaking towards the Democrat in NJ, however. That is the usual pattern in NJ politics.


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Poll watch: ND back in contention, OH resists Obama; Dems strong in CT-04, not in MO-06

Today’s presidential polling is rather useless since these surveys were taken before a debate - and released after. None of these polls - including the five tracking polls - tell us what impact the debate might have had. That said, they provide a useful baseline with which we can compare polls released in the upcoming days.

John McCain gets some good news in this round-up - but only because any survey that has him within striking distance has now become great news for the GOP. Rasmussen’s new Ohio poll has the candidates tied just three days after Obama seized his first lead in Rasmussen polling; and both Gallup and Rasmussen tracking polls have tightened a bit, with McCain rising to a level he had not experienced in two to three weeks. In fact, Gallup’s “traditional likely voter model” has Obama leading within the margin of error - a reminder that turnout will be key.

That said, Obama undoubtedly remains in command; the tracking polls have him ahead between 4% and 11%. Furthermore, Obama seizes the lead in a North Dakota poll - the second survey in a row (after a “Forum poll”) from the state to show that it might be highly competitive after all (Obama withdrew from the state in September). Obama also looks competitive in the race for Omaha’s district. Furthermore, he continues to consolidate his position in blue state - coming in with his biggest lead yet in Pennsylvania and expanding his advantage in Oregon. On to the full roundup of the day’s polls:

  • The tracking polls have Obama in command, but McCain has made some gains in the run-up to the debate (all the trackings were taken before yesterday’s proceedings). Obama leads 50% to 46% in Rasmussen, the first time since September 25th McCain is higher than 45%; he leads 51% to 40% in Research 2000, 49% to 41% in Hotline, 49% to 44% in Zogby. In Gallup, Obama’s lead among registered voters and the expended model of likely voters is 6% (his smallest in two weeks); among the traditional model of likely voters, Obama leads by 2%.
  • The candidates are tied at 49% in a Rasmussen poll of Ohio. The poll was taken Tuesday night, before the debate. A poll taken on Sunday night and released on Monday had Obama leading by 2%; that was the first time Obama had ever lead in a Rasmussen poll from this state.
  • Obama leads 53% to 37% in the Morning Call tracking poll of Pennsylvania, his largest lead yet in the survey! In fact, it is Obama’s largest lead ever in Pennsylvania.
  • McCain leads 48% to 44% in NE-02, according to a poll released by Democratic-form Anzalone Lizst.
  • Obama leads 56% to 39% in a Rasmussen poll of Connecticut. He led by 12% last month.
  • Obama leads 59% to 35% in a SUSA poll of Massachusetts.
  • I am only including this because I try to include every poll I find, but this is probably the least trustworthy institute we have seen lately… A CNU Virginia poll has Obama leading 53% to 47%. The previous CNU poll had McCain leading by 9% but it had sampled almost no 18-29 year old and black voters were dramatically under-represented. This time, 58% of respondents are female.
  • I also do not think much of Zogby’s self-selected interactive (online) polls, but here are there nonetheless. Zogby showed McCain leading in Pennsylvania by comfortable margins when no one else did, now Obama is ahead; Zogby had Obama ahead comfortably in North Carolina when all polls had McCain up within the MoE, now Obama is narrowly ahead. In other news: McCain is up in Ohio and Indiana, Obama leads in Florida, New Mexico, Virginia, narrowly in Colorado and Nevada.

Meanwhile, in down-the-ballot polls:

  • The candidates are tied at 47% in a Rasmussen poll of Oregon’s Senate race. Smith led by 1% in mid-September. Rasmussen does not seem to have included the Constitution Party candidate.
  • In CT-04, Democratic challenger Himes leads 48% to 45% against Rep. Shays in a new SUSA poll.
  • In MO-06, GOP Rep. Graves leads 51% to 40% in a new SUSA poll. He led by 9% a month ago.
  • In OR-05, Democrat Kurt Schrader leads 51% to 38% in a new SUSA poll.
  • In KY-03, Rep. Yarmuth opens a large 57% to 41% lead against former Rep. Ann Northup in the latest SUSA poll.
  • In MN-06, a DCCC internal finds GOP Rep. Bachmann holding on to a 42% to 38% lead.
  • In NE-02, Rep. Terry is up 48% to 47% only in an internal poll for his Democratic opponent.
  • In CA-46, a seat that was deemed safe as of two weeks ago but that the GOP has been increasingly worrying about, a Capitol Weekly article reveals that Republican internals have the race within the margin of error.

Senate: Like North Carolina, Oregon remains highly competitive in all recent polling, making it unclear why so many Republicans seem to be resigned to losing both. That said, an incumbent below 50% is rarely in a good position, and Smith’s often vicious attacks ads have not sufficed to disqualify Merkley.

House: SUSA’s survey from MO-06 is perhaps the best polling news Republicans have gotten in weeks. This is a district Democrats are heavily targeting, and that the NRCC has started to invest in. Yet, Kay Barnes has made no progress whatsoever and Graves remains in a strong position. However, the rest of the surveys bring good news to Democrats. For one, Himes is in a strong position in CT-04 while Democrats look like they have made districts that were not supposed to be vulnerable competitive (NE-02, MN-06 and CA-46).

Meanwhile, Democrats have little to worry about in many of the seats Republicans were excited about picking-up. Northup’s candidacy was supposed to be one of the NRCC’s great recruitments, but she is quickly falling in Kentucky; and OR-05 was one of only two competitive Dem-held open seats before the GOP candidate got involved in a series of scandals relating to abortion and suscipicous trips.


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RNCC works on firewall, DCCC invests in new districts and passes $1 million mark in many

As the time comes for the party committees to buy time for the upcoming week, the DCCC’s ability to flex its financial muscle and will seats to become competitive once again makes itself felt. The DCCC spent more than $8 million on more than 40 districts, moved in four new races it had not yet spent any money on while seemingly withdrawing from two, and passed the $1 million mark in a number of these contests. The GOP, by contrast, appear to have largely given up on playing offense and are building a firewall around a few incumbents; the NRCC’s meager resources hardly allow it to dream of a better defense.

As always, the DCCC and NRCC decision to invest will not make a candidate, though a decision to pull out can certainly break an underfunded challenger or a swamped incumbent. But beyond illustrating the two parties’ financial disparities, a detailed look at where the two parties are spending money lays out the electoral map and tells us which seats people who are paid to track House races full-time (and who have inside information and polling we do not have access to) think will be competitive, or not.

With that said, let’s use our now familiar classification to break down the latest House expenditures:

  • Republican investments

The GOP is in such a difficult financial situation that its mere decision to spend money on a race says a lot about how they view (and how their private polling tells them to view) a race. If the GOP is spending money on a race that is supposed to be competitive, it means they think that this particular seat is more likely to be saved than others; if they spend money on a race that was not yet viewed as that competitive, it means we probably don’t have enough information and that district is indeed highly vulnerable.

In the latter category is FL-21, where the NRCC just spent more than $500,000. This district is in Miami’s media market, so advertising there is difficult. The DCCC has not spent any money on the district for now, however, so the GOP might be successful in building a firewall here. (More on the GOP’s FL-21 efforts below.) Also in the latter category is MO-06, where incumbent Sam Graves is not currently considered to be in as much trouble as other Republicans - but the NRCC is evidently worried about his prospects and intent on keeping him, as they spent more than $100,000 in one their only six-figure investments to date.

In the former category is NM-01, the open seat that I am currently rating lean take-over. The NRCC is not spending money here, but Freedom’s Watch and the Republican Campaign Committee of New Mexico are each spending more than $200,000. (Democrats are spending heavily in both NM-01 and MO-06.) The NRCC also threw in modest amounts in LA-06, PA-03 and WI-08. (Update: It looks like the RNCC is looking to spend a lot of money in NH-01 - as much as $400,000, confirming its strategy of putting a lot of money in a handful of races.)

  • New DCCC investments

Democrats are now spending for the first time in four districts, two of which are obvious choices (CO-04 and NY-29) and two of which are true shockers (IN-03 and NE-02). While it might be surprising that the DCCC has not opened its wallet to hit Musgrave yet, the congresswoman has been hit by more than half-a-million worth of advertisement by the Defenders of Wildlife PAC, and that might have convinced the DCCC that its involvement was not (yet) needed. But now that the DCCC is moving in, it is clearly determined to make a splash: its first buy is an impressive $345,000.

As for IN-03 and NE-02, they demonstrate the Democrats’ determination to expand the map: neither of these seats was supposed to be even close to competitive, and I confess IN-03 isn’t even on my House ratings for now. That will be corrected soon, as the DCCC’s decision to invest a serious amount of money (it has already bought more than $150,000 and has committed about half-a-million) means that the district is indeed competitive. Democrats aren’t bluffing in NE-02 either, as they have brought more than $130,000 worth of ads.

  • Districts where the DCCC has now spent more than $1 million

This is not a guarantee that the Democratic candidate will, but it certainly means that the DCCC has put a high priority in winning these races: AK-AL, AZ-01, AZ-03 (!), AZ-05, MN-03, NC-08, NH-01, NJ-07, OH-15, OH-16. In other districts, the total passes $1 million when the DCCC’s investment is added to that of NARPAC (National Association of Realtors). In PA-11, for instance, that total reaches $1.8 million; if Rep. Kanjorski loses reelection, it will just how incredibly vulnerable he had become.

  • Districts the DCCC is playing defense

The DCCC continued to invest in AL-05 (now almost half-a-million total), CA-11, AZ-05 (nearly $250,000 this week, bringing the total to $1.2 million), LA-06, MS-01, NH-01 (the total now reaches $1.2 million), PA-10, TX-23 and WI-08. More surprising is the DCCC’s decision to dump huge resources in IN-09 (almost $300,000 this week), a district that looks increasingly safe for Baron Hill. However, the DCCC looks to have stopped advertising in FL-16 (Mahoney’s district…) and AZ-08, where Rep. Giffords looks relatively secure. Both districts could be moved accordingly in my upcoming rating changes.

  • Districts that were not so long ago considered long shots

I already mentioned IN-03 and NE-02, but those are just the tip of the iceberg as the DCCC continues to pour in money in races that were not considered that competitive as of this summer! New spending in AL-02 raises the total to more than half-a-million, an impressive sum for this relatively cheap media market. The DCCC’s spending totals in AZ-03 are truly staggering, as this is a district no one thought of as that competitive until ten days ago - and the DCCC just dumped in about $369,000. In MD-01, a large new buy brings the Democratic total to almost $900,000. (The Club for Growth is helping the Republican here with more than $200,000). Other noteworthy buys in this category are KY-02, MO-09, NM-02, PA-03, VA-02. In all these districts, the DCCC is not bluffing and is putting serious money behind its hopes of riding a blue tsunami.

  • Districts Democrats were expecting to pick-up more easily

Most of the DCCC’s biggest overall expenditures belong in this category, in what is at the same time good news for Democrats (it allows them to solidify their prospects) but also disappointing ones (since they would have liked to spend some of money elsewhere). Perhaps the most surprising development is the DCCC’s decision to invest nearly $350,000 in AZ-01 (bringing the total to $1.3 million), a race Democrats are expected to win relatively easily. The DCCC also just spent more than $200,000 in NM-01, OH-15 and OH-16 (bringing the total in each to more than $1 million), three open seats that Democrats are one point were hoping to have an easier time with. Other districts in this category are IL-11, NJ-03, NJ-07 and VA-11.

  • Districts that are and were expected to be competitive

This category contains the least surprising ad buys since the races were expected to be competitive since the beginning. Particularly noteworthy buys include the DCCC’s buy of about $300,000 in NC-08 (total of more than $1.3 million), more than $200,000 in MI-07, NV-03, NY-26, OH-01 and WA-08. Combined with AFSCME’s spending, the Democratic buys in MI-07 have an impressive size. The DCCC also spent in CT-04, FL-26, IL-10, MI-09, MN-03 and MO-06.

While it would be too long to take a detailed look at the committees’ new ads, it is worth taking a quick look at the themes these new spots are emphasizing. On the Democratic side, the day’s biggest news undoubtedly comes from the DCCC’s decision to heavily invest in IN-03 and attack longtime Representative Souder for having been changed by Washington:

[youtube="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eijpzkDXfIM"]

On the Republican size, the biggest news by far is the RNCC’s massive investment in FL-21. The GOP might have chosen this district because of the scandals that have long surrounded Democratic candidate Raul Martinez, a controversial figure who has enough baggage for the GOP to seize easily. The ad’s closer says it all - “We know Martinez is corrupt enough for Washington, but that doesn’t mean we should send him there:”

[youtube="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JroM8wR1sCQ"]


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House rejects bailout, keeps financial crisis on front page

The House threw another wild card in the campaign today by rejecting the bailout plan by a somewhat comfortable margin (228 noes, 205 ayes). This could mean many things to the world economy, to the Wall Street meltdown and to the Capitol Hill negotiations - but this is and remains a campaign blog, and 5 weeks from Election Day a story like this is likely to have quite significant electoral repercussions.

The Bush Administration and most lawmakers were hoping to be done with the bailout debate by now, and the most obvious consequence of today’s vote is that the financial crisis and the bailout will remain on every newspaper front page for the days to come. This is very worrisome news for Republicans, who have been steadily going down in the polls since the political focus massively turned to the economy. John McCain tried to seem more in control of the story by suspending his campaign last Wednesday, but that gamble doesn’t appear to have done him much good and polls continue to show Barack Obama with a large lead on who can best manage a financial crisis and economic issues.

For John McCain to have hope of pull off this election, upcoming news cycles need to be dominated either by breaking international news or by character-based stories. The GOP was very successful in propagating the latter the first half of September, but Wall Street’s meltdown makes it difficult for lipstick-related controversies to go viral - and it now looks like that trend will continue.

But there are a lot of questions surrounding the bailout’s failure and what political impact it might have:

  1. Will there be another vote, and will the outcome change?
  2. Who will get the blame? Right now, the House GOP is blaming Nancy Pelosi, John McCain is blaming Barack Obama, and Democrats are blaming Republicans. It would seem that it will be easier for Dems to win this argument, since 67% of House Republicans voted against it, while a majority of Democrats supported it.
  3. Is it even a bad thing for one party be assigned blame here? Most polls show that the bailout plan was deeply unpopular, and it is telling that most endangered incumbents from both parties (with some rare exceptions like Reps. Kanjorski, Kirk, Mahoney, Porter and Shays) voted against it. Five weeks from Election Day, those representatives who would be the most likely to feel voter anger did not want to take the risk to go back home and be hit by their opponents on this issue

So could the failure help McCain if voters come to be grateful that Republicans blocked the bill? That might have been the case had the Arizona Senator chosen to take a more oppositional stance. But tens of millions of viewers saw McCain defend the principle of the bailout at the Friday debate and said that “sure,” he would support it. In fact, not only did McCain not oppose the bailout deal but he moved to take ownership of congressional negotiations with his campaign suspension last Wednesday and insisted that he would be able to bring House Republicans on board.

This is what McCain’s campaign manager Steve Schmidt said yesterday on Meet the Press: “What Senator McCain was able to do was to help bring all of the parties to the table, including the House Republicans, whose votes were needed to pass this.” To the extent that it is House Republicans who caused the bill’s collapse today, McCain’s decision to suspend his campaign looks like it could backfire even more than the week-end’s tracking polls suggested. On the other hand, Barack Obama had less at stakes in the day’s vote since he hadn’t invested himself as publicly as his opponent - though enough to not look like he did not care about the issue.

As for congressional elections, the fact that so many endangered incumbents voted against the bill somewhat removes this from becoming a major issue in the final weeks of the campaign, at least at the House level. For instance, Suzanne Kosmas of FL-24 had positioned herself to hit Feeney, but his negative vote today complicates that maneuver (though she can still use his ties to mortgage companies). In districts in which the incumbent voted for the bill (PA-11, FL-16, IL-10, NV-03 and CT-04, for instance), expect the challengers’ to make this an issue, even if some of them had said they were open to the bill themselves.


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Ad wars: DCCC keeps up aggressive spending, invests in deep red KY-02 and MD-01

The NRCC still hasn’t spend a dime of its meager war chest on advertisement for its House candidates, but the DCCC continues to pour money in races across the country. A rundown of the committee’s spending just over the past two days reveals how wide-reaching they are casting their net (via SSP’s always useful expenditure tracker):

  • First, the DCCC is putting some more money in defense, somewhat puzzlingly in AZ-08, more understandably in AL-05, AZ-05 (nearly $170,000) and in FL-16. This is the DCCC’s first investment in FL-16, which is expected to be one of the toughest seats for Democrats to defend.
  • Some of the offensive money is going to open seats that are already considered to be leaning Democratic. Did the DCCC really have to just buy more than $80,000 worth of air time in VA-11? and what about the $183,000 it just spent in AZ-01 yesterday?
  • Then, there is the money that is going to open seats that Democrats were hoping to have already secured by now. Seats like NJ-03, NJ-07, NM-01, OH-15 and OH-16 fall in this category, but this time the only new expenditure is a spending spree in IL-11, bringing the DCCC’s total to more than $700,000, even as Halvorson continues to weaken in recent polls.
  • The DCCC is starting to gear up spending in a third group of states in which it only recently airing ads - seats that are (and were expected to be) toss-ups. The DCCC is up with new spending in MN-03 (nearly $200,000 of ad buys were bought over the past two days), MI-09 and MI-07. In CT-04, the DCCC seems intent to once again go all out against Rep. Shays, with a new media buy bringing the committee’s total to more than $300,000.
  • Finally, and this is by far the most interesting group, the DCCC is pouring some big money in heavily conservative districts, which is a major show of confidence that these seats are actually ripe for pick-up. The DCCC is putting in nearly $100,000 in AL-02, nearly doubling its previous total (that is some significant money in the relatively inexpensive AL market). And the committee is buying air time for the first time in KY-02 (nearly $90,000) and MD-01 (nearly $150,000!).

Those final two races are particularly fascinating, as KY-02 and MD-01 are both open seats that few people would have believed a few months ago could be competitive. But polls have shown both Kentucky’s Boswell (polling history) and Maryland’s Kratovil (via a recent DCCC poll) in a strong position, but the DCCC’s decision to move in is nonetheless remarkable - and certainly reminescent of their decision to contest IL-14, MS-01 and LA-06 this spring. At the time, the GOP could afford to spend back, but that is not an option this time. Whatever money the NRCC has will have to be used on more obviously vulnerable districts.

KY-02 is a district Bush won with 65% of the vote in 2004, so the DCCC’s half-negative/half-positive ad takes the road Democrats take in a state like Kentucky: with a populist message, the ad hits Brett Guthrie for supporting NAFTA and accuse his company of having shipped jobs to Mexico:

[youtube="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AnQCMR_q2JY"]

Another ad that is noteworthy because of how it closely it echoes one we have seen on the presidential race is the DCCC’s spot in CT-04. The spot uses footage of Shays’ saying that the “economy is fundamentally strong” and juxtaposes it to Bush and McCain saying the same thing. The message, of course, is not only that Shays is out of touch but also that he is and will remain a Republican (Shays is the last GOP House member from New England):

[youtube="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gpIVzbJd5R0"]

Meanwhile, the Senate committees are airing ads of their own - and there the NRSC is doing more of an effort to stay on par. As I noted last night, the NRSC has just started airing its first ad in Louisiana; and it has accompanied that with new spots in Colorado, Oregon and Mississippi. While all of these touch on issues that the NRSC has already attacked these Democrats for, the attack against Musgrove is perhaps most noteworthy since it signals the GOP’s determination to use attack Musgrove’s ethics and to scale up its attacks:

[youtube="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZWrifDuOVYI"]

On the Democratic side, the DSCC has a new ad against Coleman; it also released two new spots against Wicker (watch one here) that attack the Mississippi Republican for having voted in favor of his own pay raise 9 times. By itself, that charge doesn’t seem enough to me to get voters to throw out an incumbent, though the DSCC might be able to connect it to a broader narrative. But the most noteworthy ad is the DSCC’s spot against Ted Stevens, as it directly brings up the Senator’s indictment:

[youtube="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ysM63lmaWY"]

Given that Stevens’s trial is now set to remain in the news almost daily in Alaska for the next four to five weeks, it is not essential for Democrats to attack Stevens on his indictement, but it is essential to tell voters that Stevens would no longer be effective in helping Alaska. Stevens’ main campaign argument is that he has the seniority to bring funds to his state, and this spot argues that Stevens has lost his clout by being stripped of his committee assigments, for instance.


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Poll watch: Dead heats in Michigan, Florida as NC poll finds second tie ever; Hagan leads

There are now enough polls released every day that it becomes difficult to find a consistent trend out of all the noise. Or perhaps there is no trend to be observed other than the race’s continuing tightness. Of the four Florida and Michigan polls that were released over the past 36 hours, all are well within the margin of error.

That said, both candidates have good news in today’s poll delivery. For McCain, staying so close in Michigan in polls taken during the financial crisis is a testament to how big an opportunity this state continues to be for him. And McCain has leads outside of the MoE in Ohio and Missouri today, though the latter is not such an unqualified blessing: the GOP was hoping to be close to closing the deal by late September, but a 4% margin is not going to dissuade Obama from competing in the Show Me State. And yet another poll finds that McCain can breath easier in North Dakota.

For Obama, staying so close in Florida is a relief given that numerous polls have found McCain gaining since early August. We saw last week that McCain is now spending more than a million dollars a week in the Sunshine State, something the GOP once thought it could avoid. And Obama’s double-digit lead in Iowa confirms that the state’s 7 electoral votes are increasingly solid in his column: This is the third poll in the past two weeks to find Obama leading by double-digit (after SUSA and Selzer & Co). Finally, North Carolina’s PPP poll is only the second ever (after Rasmussen’s April poll) to find a tie. At the very least, this forces the GOP to continue pouring money in the state - something they have been doing this month.

On to the day’s full roundup:

  • The tracking polls are showing a stabilizing race: Obama took a 48% to 47% advantage in Rasmussen yesterday (his first lead in 10 days) and maintained it today; Research 2000 found Obama up 8% yesterday, and up 7% (49-42) today. Diego Hotline has Obama leading 45% to 44% for the third straight day, and Gallup showed Obama increasing his lead to 6% yesterday (hitting 50 for only the second time ever) but back down to a 49% to 45% advantage today.
  • Obama leads 43% to 42% in an EPIC-MRA poll of Michigan. Obama led by 2% in July and August. When respondents are presented with a full-ticket match-up, Obama leads 45% to 42%. The poll was conducted Sunday through Wednesday.
  • Obama leads 48% to 46% in an ARG poll of Michigan. He leads among independents but is relatively weak among Democrats.
  • McCain leads 47% to 45% in a Miami Herald poll of Florida. It was conducted Sunday through Wednesday. Obama has a 9% edge on the economy. McCain gets 17% of former Clinton supporters.
  • McCain leads 48% to 42% in a Ohio News Organization of Ohio. The poll is somewhat dated - it was taken the 12th to the 16th. 19% of independents are undecided.
  • The candidates are tied at 46% in PPPs poll from North Carolina. Bob Barr gets 5%. Only once before had there been a tie in North Carolina (Rasmussen’s April survey). 58% of respondents rate the economy as their biggest concern. The poll was conducted from the 17th to the 19th.
  • Obama leads 53% to 39% in a Research 2000 poll of Iowa. Obama leads by 18% among independents.
  • McCain leads 49% to 45% in a Research 2000 poll of Missouri. In the July poll, Obama led by 5% - but that was somewhat of an outlier.
  • McCain leads 53% to 40% in a Research 2000 poll of North Dakota. He led by only 3% in July.
  • Obama leads only 50% to 46% in a Rasmussen poll of Maine. There is no breakdown by district, but if Obama cannot win statewide by a larger margin he would be in danger of losing the first district’s EV.
  • McCain leads 51% to 45% in a Rasmussen poll of South Carolina, a surprisingly close result.
  • Obama leads 54% to 43% in an ARG poll of Connecticut.
  • Obama leads 54% to 39% in an ARG poll of Maryland.
  • McCain leads 59% to 36% in an ARG poll of Tennessee. Obama gets 27% of the white vote.

Meanwhile, in down-the-ballot polls:

  • Kay Hagan leads Elizabeth Dole 46% to 41% in PPPs poll of North Carolina’s Senate race. She led by 1% last week.
  • Chris Shays and Jim Himes are tied at 45% in an internal poll for the Himes campaign in CT-04.
  • Sam Graves leads Kay Barnes 51% to 42% in a SUSA poll of MO-06.
  • Jim Risch leads Larry LaRocco 56% to 33% in a Research 2000 poll of Idaho’s Senate race, a clear improvement over his 10% lead in July.
  • Lindsay Graham leads 50% to 41% in a Rasmussen poll of South Carolina’s Senate race. This was accompanied by an improbably tight presidential survey, so take the tightness here with a grain of salt as well.

This is the second time Hagan is posting a 5% lead, testifying to how unpredictable that Senate race has become given that other surveys are still showing Dole ahead. This is a race in which the presidential coattails will play a crucial factor. It’s unlikely Hagan can win if McCain wins in a blowout, but she would look very strong if Obama is within 2-3% of McCain.

Today’s polls also find more worrisome news for down-the-ballot Democrats, starting with Graves’ expanding his lead in MO-06, in what is one of the Democrats’ most coveted seats. We have seen this trend for a few weeks now: Democrats are not improving their position in the second-and-third tier races, the ones that would transform a strong congressional night into an amazing one.


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Congress: New round of DCCC expenditures, Lunsford invokes McCain

Two days ago, I detailed some of the DCCC’s recent expenditures to point out that Democrats were already investing heavily in House races while the NRCC was remaining silent. Such discrepancies are especially important in the House battle: While Barack Obama and John McCain saturate the airwaves with millions worth of ads ads and voters also hear about them in nightly news and in newspapers, House races don’t get anywhere near the same level of exposure - making any investment that much more valuable.

Last night, the gap continued to widen as the DCCC dumped $1.75 millions worth of advertisement in 15 districts (via Swing State Project), 12 of which are currently held by Republicans. Some of these buys are quite significant. A rundown:

  • Defense: $82,615 in AL-05, $101,893 in AZ-05 (total: $295,997), $493,422 in NH-01
  • Toss-ups: $70,800 in CT-04, $41,066 in IL-10, $114,848 in NC-08, $118,428 in OH-01
  • Districts Dems at some point hoped to win easily: $82,615 in AZ-01, $40,953 in IL-11 (total: $525,936), $116,541 in NJ-07, $144,011 in NM-01 (total: $291,726), $111,899 in OH-15 (total: $385,491), $152,748 in OH-16 (total: $424,936)
  • Less obvious: $32,645 in AL-02, $88,552 in PA-03

The NRCC has yet to spend anything in most of these districts, and if it has it’s been to conduct a poll (like in PA-03) rather than air ads. On the other hand, this is not the DCCC’s first investment in many of these districts, but it is in others. This represents, for instance, the DCCC’s first media buy in OH-01, CT-4, and IL-10, but also in Democratic-held NH-01.

The GOP primary was held recently and former Rep. Bradley won his party’s nomination; he doesn’t have that much money left yet and the feelings of much the Republican base are still bruised. The DCCC is trying to exploit this opening with a truly big ad buy. Among other interesting buys is the DCCC’s decision to pursue PA-03, a district that would not have been on most people’s minds a few weeks ago. Also, keep in mind that the cost of running ads varies widely depending on the media market, so $80,000 in Alabama actually buys you a lot of air time.

Most of these ads buys will be negative spots attacking Republican candidates - and most of them will probably contain grainy images of President Bush. As we have discussed before, the impact of this on the presidential race will be very interesting (though hard to track). Will it amplify Obama’s message against McCain and make sure that voters are thinking about Bush when casting their ballots? Or will it just make that argument banal when Obama uses it? Here is, for instance, the DCCC’s new spot against Bradley in NH-01. Since there is the most money behind this ad, it seems logical to choose this one to link to in this post:

[youtube="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GI_gbrirgtk"]

Meanwhile, a new ad by Bruce Lunsford in the Kentucky Senate race is using an interesting strategy: Using footage of McCain’s convention speech to hit Mitch McConnell’s for fitting the description of the “me-first country-second” insider politicians McCain is crusading against. The ad points out that McConnell voted for the “infamous” Bridge to Nowhere twice:

This is an obvious echo to Gordon Smith’s ads in Oregon’s Senate race in which he tied himself to Barack Obama, the difference being that Smith was touting his own ties to someone from the opposite party while this one uses McCain (who has had famous clashes in McConnell) to hit a member of the same party. It’s also a more obvious move for Lunsford than it was for Smith, given that Oregon is much more competitive at the presidential level than Kentucky is. Now, it will be interesting to see (1) whether McCain issues a release defending McConnell (as Obama did in Oregon) and (2) whether other Democrats running in red states use a similar strategy.

Finally, the DSCC’s new ad in Alaska’s Senate race is worth noting, as it hits Stevens on ethics without focusing on his indictment, thus echoing an ad put out by an independent group last week (with a significant $500,000 buy). Stevens still looks very competitive despite the fact that he was indicted in mid-July and he is running ads touting his clout in Washington to make the point that, whatever his ethical missteps, he brings money to Alaska and helps the state’s residents. Democrats know that Stevens’ indictement will be in the news in the next few weeks: his trial is set to start in a few days. What they need to fight against is Stevens’ argument that he still does good for Alaska, and that’s what this ad is arguing. “It’s not about Alaska anymore,” says the announcer:

[youtube="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QwlE8y-t8Jk"]



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  • All good things must come to an end

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    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 remains on the table

  • 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
  • Confusion in Connecticut (Updated)

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

  • 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 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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