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Category Archive for ‘Georgia’ at Campaign Diaries
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Archive for the 'Georgia' Category


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North Carolina’s Senate primary takes shape

Elaine Marshall, Cal Cunningham and Kenneth Lewis have not occupied jobs from which they would take high-profile stances on controversial issues, so their ideological profiles aren’t clear at all at this point of North Carolina’s Senate campaign. Yet, despite my early sense that there would be few substantive faultlines in this Democratic primary, it looks like the candidates are looking to position themselves differently after all.

In an interview with RealClearPolitics, Cunningham sounds the notes of what looks like a cautious, centrist campaign. He in particular praises the escalation in Afghanistan and he seems to be emphasizing the fact that if he were in the Senate now he wouldn’t commit to more than voting to “start” debate on the health-care bill. [Update: Both these issues contrast him with Marshall. Not only has she long come out in favor of a public option, but she has released a statement opposing the president's Afghan surge.]

What is striking to me in Cunningham’s position is not that he is crafting himself a moderate image, but that he is doing so while facing a uphill Democratic primary in which he needs to get a lot of traction; the one poll released so far has him coming in third, trailing Marshall by 37%. (As a side note: It is fairly silly for The Hill to compare this primary to last year’s Novick-Merkey as an example of DSCC officials taking a candidate who was trailing and carrying him to victory. In that case, Merkey was the elected official while Novick was an activist, so the former faced far easier a climb while the latter’s early lead had come at a surprise.)

How would he position himself in the general election if he is sounding such notes at the beginning of the Democratic primary? It goes without saying that NC is no staunch blue state, but let’s not forget Creigh Deeds’s failings: Facing a disaffected base, Deeds mounted too centrist a campaign to build a winning electoral coalition and he distanced himself from Barack Obama to such an absurd extent as to give up his best resources to turn out NoVa. As a statewide official, Marshall has been able to find a balance between appealing beyond the base while motivating her party; we’ll have to watch to see whether Cunningham can avoid repeating Deeds’s mistakes.

As importantly, how does Cunningham expect to overcome his early deficit if not by running the type of insurgent campaign candidates typically mount to overcome better-known front-runners? The answer here seems evident: He is expecting heavy support from the Democratic establishment. We have long known that the DSCC distrusts Marshall and that it played a leading role in recruiting Cunningham to the race months after Marshall’s entry. It looked probable national Democrats had promised him financial help to beat the Secretary of State, and we are now getting more confirmation of that in the form of a local TV news segment that reports the DSCC might be preparing to spend “millions” to help Cunningham beat Marshall.

I’ll let you decide whether that would be a good use of DSCC money considering how much work the committee has to undertake to save Democratic seats in Colorado, Nevada, Connecticut, Delaware, Pennsylvania - not to mention to have a shot at promising open seats in Missouri, New Hampshire, Kentucky and Ohio. After all, we haven’t even heard the DSCC spend much time touting Kendrick Meek, which might be a good idea considering the fact that the GOP primary is increasingly certain to be a blood bath.

Faced with the threat of the DSCC taking action against her, Marshall is looking to play the card played by so many Republicans around the country: Bemoaning the national party’s involvement against local activists’ wishes. As an establishment figure herself, Marshall is obviously far less credible voicing that argument than are the likes of Pat Hughes, of Ken Buck and of The Union-Leader; in particular, it remains to be seen whether she can indeed attract the clear support of local activists and whether she’ll be able to raise enough money to mount a solid campaign if the DSCC moves to cut her fundraising network.

Yet, for now Marshall is at least managing to get some good publicity out of the situation, as the TV news segments I linked above attest to, and she is also drawing positive attention from progressive blogs. Marshall is very far from becoming a blogosphere darling - Cunningham’s allies are still gunning to get him to occupy that position - but if she succeeds in that direction it could help her ensure she has some resources and help prevent her rivals’ from gaining momentum too quickly.

Two Dems who voted against the health-care bill face primaries

I confess I am spending a disproportionate amount of time covering this race, so let’s move on to other interesting Democratic primaries - starting with that pitting Rep. Allen Boyd and state Senator Al Lawson: I wrote last week that the latter had opened the door to dropping out of the race to run for statewide office, but Lawson quickly backtracked, ruled out running for CFO and confirmed he would take on the conservative incumbent. Given that Lawson was already facing difficulties fundraising, this won’t help him make the case that he is committed to this primary but he can at least point out that it’s not like he has anything to fall back on since he is term-limited out of the legislature next year.

Boyd’s response is as bizarre as it gets. He is now airing a TV ad touting his efforts to reform health care - from ending a cap on lifetime benefits to putting a ban on preexisting conditions. The catch: He voted against the health-care bill last month! Yet, his ad is a reminder of the sort of financial advantage incumbents enjoy since Lawson certainly can’t match Boyd’s ability to air ads 9 months from the primary.

In GA-08, meanwhile, Rep. John Barrow is facing a rematch of his 2008 primary against state Sen. Regina Thomas, who just announced she’d try again in 2010. In this swing district whose population is 44% African-American, Thomas attracted a fair amount of attention last year and she worried Barrow enough that the incumbent got Barack Obama to cut an aid helping him; yet, Barrow ended up triumphing 74% to 26%. That makes it hard to see how Thomas could pull off a victory this year, let alone a competitive race, but she could try getting traction over Barrow’s vote against the health-care bill last month.


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Yet another Dem drops out of a House race, but NRCC suffers two recruitment failures

A few days after the DCCC lost state Rep. Todd Book in the OH-02 race, another Democratic candidate has dropped out of a House race: former state Insurance Commissioner Paula Flowers announced she was ending her campaign TN-03, left open by Republican Rep. Zach Wamp’s gubernatorial campaign.

Just like OH-02, TN-03 was a very tough district for Democrats to contest: John McCain got 62% of the vote last year, increasing George W. Bush’s margin of victory by 2%. And yet, the DCCC had enough success in comparatively conservative districts in the past cycle that it seemed possible an open race would become competitive; Flower’s entry was a good sign for Democrats since a former statewide official can be expected to have the campaign skills and the profile to succeed in conservative territory.

Her withdrawal, coupled with state Senator Andy Berke and Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield’s springtime announcements that they wouldn’t run, leaves the GOP in firm command of the race.

At this point, the 2010 cycle is shaping to be favorable enough to Republicans that they probably won’t have to worry about keeping such red districts no matter who Democrats nominate; as such, Flower’s decision (just like Book’s last week) doesn’t really impact the House landscape. But it does speak to decreasing Democratic confidence: The party doesn’t have to buy into the GOP’s excessive optimism to admit that they won’t have as much success on offense as they did in 2006 and in 2008.

That said, the NRCC did suffer through two recruitment failures today.

In TX-17, the reddest district held by a Democrat (John McCain received 67% of the vote), it looks like the GOP will once again fail to field the strongest challenger possible against Rep. Chet Edwards. State Senator Steve Ogden just announced that he would not challenge the ten-term incumbent in what is a top Republican priority. (A reminder: Edwards is a rare Democrat who was targeted by Tom DeLay’s mid-decade redistricting who survived the 2004 elections, which is why he represents such an absurdly hostile district.)

That said, this is one district where it might not matter who the GOP nominates. In 2008, Rob Curnock ran a low-profile campaign but received 46% of the vote; he is now back for a rematch. Edwards has practically no Democratic base to rely on; if conservative voters are as angry as indicators suggest, it will be tough for the congressman to win cross-over support as he always does. After all, Edwards survived the 1990s but this is the first time he’ll have to run for re-election with a Democratic White House since his district was redrawn.

In GA-08, meanwhile, Rep. Jim Marshall has been dodging all the potentially most damaging bullets. This week-end, state Senator Ross Tolleson opened the door to a 2012 run but he announced he would not challenge Marshall next year. (Note that Marshall happens to be one of the most conservative House Democrats, so this is one case in which Blue Dogs are not vaulting to the top of the NRCC’s target list.)

The GOP has other candidates in the race (notably businesswoman Angela Hicks and a former county party chairman) but Marshall has proved an elusive enough target that he should be able to dispatch non top-tier opposition - unless the environment is very toxic for Democrats, but we aren’t there yet and in that case Republican recruitment could matter little anyway. It is true that Marshall had a very close call in 2006, but that race intervened just after Georgia Republicans (inspired by their Texas colleagues) had redrawn his district.

In both GA-08 and TX-17, redistricting could soonafter change the district’s make-up. At the moment, the GOP controls the process in both states, so even if they fail to pick-up either seat they could be in a position to make these districts even tougher to hold for a Democrat. (In this scenario, stakes are lowered for the 2010 House results since GOP takeovers would be likely in the years ahead.) Yet, Democrats could pick-up Georgia’s governorship or the Texas House next year; that would give them a voice in the redrawing process and force an incumbent-protection map; as such, if the GOP fails to pick-up the seats next year it could become harder for them to do so in the future.

And another potential headache is emerging for the NRCC in NJ-03: Just a few days after I wrote that it was up to football player Jon Runyan to show he has the political skills to be a serious candidate, he confirmed that rookie candidates are risks when he contradicted the statement he had issued shortly before, denied he was committed to challenging Rep. Adler and added he was only “exploring his options.” His spokesperson has since said that was meant in jest (?!), but this only confirms it might not be the best idea for Runyan to go back to the NFL until the season is over and thus launching his campaign.


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In Georgia, Roy Barnes launches fourth gubernatorial bid

In their quest to regain their footing in the South, Democrats have scored somewhat of a a coup in Georgia: Roy Barnes, who served six years in the state House, fifteen years in the state Senate and four years as Governor (1998-2002) just announced that he will be seeking his old job back in 2010.

This will be Barnes’s fourth gubernatorial campaign. After losing the 1990 Democratic nomination to eventual turncoat Zell Miller, Barnes successfully ran to replace him in 1998 - winning the general election by 9%. Four years later, Barnes lost his re-election race by 5% in what was seen as an upset; Republican Sonny Perdue benefited from the favorable winds that boosted the GOP across the country but especially in the South: On the same day, Georgia Senator Max Cleland lost just as unexpectedly by an even larger margin and Democratic Governors in Alabama and South Carolina lost their re-election races.

A solid general election contender…

Barnes’s long political experience, name recognition and credibility make him a strong contender for Democrats. His 2002 re-election defeat was due as much to the political environment as to his own standing with voters and Barnes looks to have remained relatively popular: A Research 2000 poll taken in April show 45% of respondents hold a favorable impression of their former Governor (including 69% of Democrats and 42% of independents) while 35% have an unfavorable one (including 32% of independents).

That same survey showed Barnes trailing Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine by just 2% and leading Secretary of State Karen Handel by 6% in gubernatorial match-ups. (Tested against incumbent Johnny Isakson in a Senate match-up, Barnes trails by 4%.) All of these Republicans are known commodities; more than just name recognition, Barnes’s competitiveness reflect general election electability - not a small feat for a Southern Democrat.

One of the most controversial issues of Barnes’s gubernatorial term was his decision to modify the state flag. The 1956 flag prominently featured the Confederate Emblem and many were clamoring for a change. After years of controversy, Barnes got the state legislature to adopt a compromise flag. While that version still featured a small Confederate symbol, it provoked an outcry and the issue played a major role in the 2002 race: Perdue promised to call a referendum asking voters to choose their flag. (The current version, adopted in 2003, is modeled after the Confederacy’s first flag rather than after the better-known emblem.)

It might seem bizarre to think that this issue could play a decisive role again, but could Barnes’s bid to serve a second term as Governor be derailed by the flag issue again? Would Georgia Republicans try to warn voters that Barnes would try to change the flag again? And how will Barnes address an isuse that has come to be viewed as one of his defining legacies? (Note that Barnes’s 2001 flag contains as obvious a Confederate reference as Perdue’s 2003 flag, so it’s not like the Democrat had had the courage to do away with the emblem entirely.)

… first needs to survive a crowded primary

All of this said, the significance of Barnes’s entrance should not be overstated: State Democrats retain enough of a bench that they have a number of other electable candidates - so much so that Barnes looks guaranteed to be facing quite a crowded primary. Attorney General Thurbert Baker, House Minority Leader DuBose Porter and former Secretary of State David Poythress are all already running, and most would make credible general election contenders.

This means that Barnes will have to fight for the Democratic nomination before thinking ahead to the general election. Yet, he starts as the clear front-runner: A Strategic Vision poll taken back in April shows him crushing Baker 56% to 29%, with 4% and 2% going to Porter and Poythress; a recent Insider Advantage poll shows Barnes dominating even more clearly.

As an African-American, Attorney General Thurbert Baker would be able to mount a strong challenge if he mobilized black voters but it won’t be easy for him to do so given that he has a conservative profile - even by the standards of Georgia Democrats and especially on racial issues. (Baker played a prominent role fighting the liberation of in the case of Genarlow Wilson, the black teenager who was convicted to ten years in prison for engaging in oral sex with a 15-year old girl, who was white.)

What about the Senate race?

Barnes was also mentioned as a possible challenger to Senator Johnny Isakson, and the Research 2000 poll I cited above suggests he would have started in a promising position. Obviously, today’s announcement takes care of that possibility but his decision to run for Governor (rather than stay out of politics) could still provide an opening for the DSCC: Ambitious Democrats like Baker, Porter and Poythress are now clear underdogs to win their party’s nomination - let alone claim the Governor’s Mansion. Could they be convinced to switch gears and run for Senate instead?

To be a sure, it would be a tough race but Isakson’s numbers suggest he could be vulnerable to a top-tier challenge and that the DSCC should strive not to waste an opportunity as they did in 2008: While Saxby Chambliss was obviously vulnerable, Jim Martin was not a solid enough candidate and he rose to prominence too late in the cycle. A higher-profile contender and an earlier DSCC involvement could have yielded an additional Democratic seat on November 4th.


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Polls pouring in: Gillibrand trailing, Isakson vulnerable and Paterson at rock bottom

It’s become routine for New York polls to find catastrophic numbers for David Paterson, but the magnitude of his collapse never ceases to amazes. The latest pollster to find dismal news for the Governor is Marist, which had not polled the state in two months:

  • Paterson’s approval rating has fallen to 19%, a drop of 7% since March. If it’s any consolation to the Governor, other polls have found him with lower ratings… like 17%.
  • The Democratic primary numbers are truly extraordinary: Andrew Cuomo reaches a staggering 70% compared to 21% for Paterson! While I believe Cuomo’s 70% is the highest he has ever received in a poll, Paterson fell as low as 11% in Siena’s April survey.
  • In the general election, Paterson is crushed by Rudy Giuliani 56% to 32% (he barely wins the Democratic vote); he even trails Rick Lazio, 40% to 37%. In March, Giuliani led by 15% and Lazio trailed by 12%.
  • Adding insult to injury for Paterson, a general election involving Cuomo would barely be competitive: Against Lazio, Cuomo leads 67% to 22% (that’s right, 48% better than Paterson); against Giuliani, he leads 55% to 38%.

It is difficult to find anything new to say about Paterson’s plight. Every week that passes only worsens the situation for the Governor: The media continues to hit on the state’s budget deal, Paterson’s secret MTA rescue plan has become a source of derision, and it is becoming difficult to even conceive of the Governor running for re-election. In fact, it looks like Paterson is starting to drag Kirsten Gillibrand down with him. The Marist poll finds that the recently appointed Senator’s numbers have worsened since March:

  • Gillibrand trails former Governor George Pataki outside of the margin of error, 46% to 38%. (In March, she was ahead 45% to 41%.) Pataki receives nearly a third of the Democratic vote and he leads among independents by 12%. Gillibrand’s numbers are particularly underwhelming in New York City.
  • Against another Republican, Rep. Peter King, Gillibrand does leads 42% to 31%; but that is a far smaller margin than the 21% lead she enjoyed in March.
  • Gillibrand manages a narrow lead against Rep. Carolyn Maloney, 36% to 31%; many are undecided.
  • For the first time in a Marist poll, the share of voters who say they do not know enough about Gillibrand to form an opinion is under 50%- but only 19% say that Gillibrand is doing a good or excellent job (18% in March) while 10% say she is doing a poor job (versus 5%); the rest give her average marks.

New York polls typically only tested Gillibrand against fellow Democrat Carolyn McCarthy, and I believe this is the first time she is matched with Rep. Maloney. The conventional wisdom is that Maloney is better positioned to take on Gillibrand because she has a far larger war chest. That her result is similar to that of McCarthy in other polls does not contradict that: Maloney and McCarthy are largely unknown to voters outside of their congressional district, and their lack of name recognition prevents one of them from posting stronger numbers than the other this early in the cycle.

Update: SUSA just released a New York poll testing the incumbents’ approval ratings - and the result is negative for the Senator: 36% approve of her performance, versus 39%.

Yet more polls: On Friday, Research 2000 released a poll from Georgia. While freshman Senator Johnny Isakson isn’t considered particularly vulnerable, this survey suggests he could be in for a competitive race.

His favorability rating is at a mediocre 47/41 and he remains under the 50% threshold against two potential  Democratic candidates: He leads former Governor Roy Barnes 47% to 43% and he is ahead of Rep. Jim Marshall 48% to 40%. Those are encouraging numbers for Democrats, but there is one key problem: Neither Barnes nor Marshall are expected to jump in the Senate race. Will the DSCC manage to recruit a low-profile candidate and get him noticed, as they did in 2008?

At least, it looks like the party will be able to put the open gubernatorial race in play and thus not waste the potential for a Democratic revival that the 2008 results revealed. Research 2000 tested six general election match-ups involving 3 Democrats and 2 Republicans. All margins are between 2% and 6%, with no candidate breaking ahead:

  • Republican Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine leads Barnes 46% to 44%, Attorney General Thurbert Baker 47% to 42% and former Secretary of State David Poythress 47% to 43%.
  • Republican Secretary of State trails Barnes 45% to 39%, Baker 42% to 40% and Poythress 43% to 39%.

As we have discussed repeatedly in recent weeks, Georgia’s gubernatorial race is one of the most open in the country and this poll confirms that there is no front-runner. Might the crowded nature of the field be reason enough for one of the many Democratic contenders (Barnes is mulling a run, Baker, Poythress and House Minority Leader Porter are already running) to jump over in the Senate race instead?

Last, and probably least, is a Louisiana survey released by Southern Media & Open Research. The poll finds Senator David Vitter enjoying a solid approval rating (58%). While there are some signs of trouble lurking among white voters (only 35% of which say they will definitely vote for the Senator and 39% say they will consider someone else), the fact of the matter is that only 22% of white voters say they will definitely vote for someone else.

That’s hardly a sign that conservative-leaning voters are so incensed by Vitter’s prostitution scandal that they are looking to replace him in 2010. And even if they did, a challenger has yet to emerge against the Senator. In short: Vitter is definitely looking less vulnerable than he did six months ago.


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Recruitment tidbits, from Colorado to New Hampshire

One more Republican out in Colorado

Colorado Republicans profess their conviction that Governor Bill Ritter and Senator Michael Bennet can be beaten in 2010. For now, however, they have no candidate willing to take on either Democratic incumbent.

Last month, Attorney General John Suthers announced he will not run for Senate and for Governor despite the GOP urging him on; former Rep. McInnis also said he would not run for Senate, adding he had not made up his mind about the gubernatorial race. We now get a third Republican to rule out the possibility of a statewide run: Mike Hillman, a former state Senator who led the state Senate’s Republican caucus and served as state Treasurer for one year, recently announced that he would not challenge Ritter or Bennet.

Hillman would not necessarily have been a top-tier candidate. He has not held elected office for three years now, and he has never won a statewide election: he became Treasurer when the incumbent was deployed to Iraq and he lost the 2006 election to serve a full term to a Democrat, Cary Kennedy. Yet, he would have been a credible enough candidate that his decision is yet another worrisome development for the GOP.

Former Rep. Bob Beauprez remains the most likely Republican to run for something, but his humiliating defeat in the 2006 gubernatorial election does not speak well of his electability. And speaking of defeated Colorado Republicans, KDVR TV has a must-see report for anyone who followed the 2008 Senate cycle: Bob Schaffer, the Republican who lost Colorado’s open seat to Mark Udall after being hammered over his ties to Jack Abramoff and for committing silly errors in his TV ads, has remade himself into a margarita pitchman as his wife and he have launched a company.

Sununu, Shea-Porter, Nadeau: NH fields remain uncertain

In New Hampshire, both parties are still scrambling to figure out the political landscape in the aftermath of the Judd Gregg saga. The first question, of course, is whether the Senator has actually retired. You will remember that Gregg had said he would “probably not” run for re-election in 2010, so how much credence should we lend to his statement?

In an interview with The Concord Monitor, Gregg phrases his plans in clearer terms: “I’m not running,” he said without any qualifiers. Gregg went on to offer praise for John Sununu, confirming that the state’s Republican establishment wants the former Senator to run despite Sununu’s clear defeat last fall. (It’s hard to blame the GOP, given how weak their bench is.)

As for Democrats, Rep. Paul Hodes is not guaranteed a clean run to his party’s nomination. Fellow congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter is still leaving the door open to a statewide run, as she told reporters last week. And there is now another Democrat who is looking at a Senate race: Former State Supreme Court Justice Joseph Nadeau, who retired in 2005 after spending 26 years on the bench, has expressed interest in a run. (Ben Smith reports he has a record of fairly liberal decisions.)

A primary between Hodes and Shea-Porter would be highly competitive. Given her electoral record and her come-from-behind victories in the 2006 House primary and 2006 and 2008 general elections, it would be a mistake to underestimate Shea-Porter. On the other hand, Nadeau would undoubtedly be the underdog if he were to face a one-on-one duel with Hodes, considering that the latter has extensive political networks.

Little buzz in Georgia

Finally, in Georgia, Republican Senator Johnny Isakson unsurprisingly announced yesterday that he would run for a second term. While he is not expected to face a difficult race, Democrats would like to field a strong candidate to see whether they can get some traction as they did in 2008 against Saxby Chambliss. For now, they are having no luck, as The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports. State Rep. Rob Teilhet and former Governor Roy Barnes both ruled out Senate runs when interviewed by the paper.


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House Republicans recruit in GA-12, MD-01

To reconquer a majority in the House, Republicans will have to put in play the red-leaning districts that have fallen in Democratic hands. That will require the GOP to conduct some excellent recruitment for the next few months: They cannot afford to let Democratic incumbents in districts like AL-02, ID-01, MD-01 or VA-02 get entrenched - not to mention all the seats Republicans lost in 2006.

Yesterday, we learned that state Senator Andy Harris is interested in a rematch against now- Rep. Frank Kratovil in MD-01. Harris himself revealed that he is set to meet with NRCC officials to discuss a possible 2010 run.

MD-01 was one of the most improbable sites for a Democratic pick-ups. It is a very conservative district in which John McCain crushed Barack Obama by 18%; in 2004, Bush had triumphed by 26%! Yet, Republican divisions allowed Democrats to score an upset.

The seat was in the hands of Rep. Wayne Gilchrest, a moderate Republican whose centrist positioning so annoyed conservatives that they funded Harris’s primary challenge last year; Harris knocked off Gilchrest in the February 13th primary, giving the DCCC hope it could contest the seat. Gilchrest’s decision to endorse the Democratic nominee boosted his chances, and Kratovil ended up beating Harris by less than 3,000 votes.

In other words, Harris’s decision to run in 2008 is the principal reason MD-01 is now in Democratic hands, and he is thus probably not the best candidate Republicans can run in 2010. For him to jump back in the race could reopen the wounds of the 2008 primary, allowing Democrats to portray Harris as too conservative for the district.

That said, there is no question that Kratovil will remain one of the most vulnerable Democratic incumbents because the moderate Republicans that supported him in 2008 might desert him in 2010. For one, the national environment is unlikely to be as toxic for the GOP as it was over the past two cycles, meaning that independent voters could stop behaving like partisan Democrats; that is probably all Republicans need in districts like MD-01.

Second, will moderate Republicans want to punish Harris in 2010 as much as they did in 2008? If the state Senator runs, Gilchrest could once again attempt to rally support against him; but he will certainly have less of a voice now that he is no longer a congressmen.

In brief: Harris is not the strongest challenger the GOP could file given what happened in 2008, but he would remain a credible challenger.

GA-12 meanwhile, is another district Republicans need to contest. Sure, it does not tilt red (Bush narrowly prevailed here in 2004, but Obama beat McCain by 9%), but it was specifically designed by the state legislature to be competitive. This was demonstrated by the 2006 election, in which Rep. John Barrow barely survived a strong Republican challenge.

Yet, the GOP barely contested the seat in 2008, allowing Barrow to cruise to a 32% victory. That could have been a fatal error for Republicans, as that kind of easy victory is sometimes all an endangered incumbent needs to entrench himself durably in a district.

We will soon know how solid Barrow’s position now is, as Republicans have found a candidate to run against Barrow: retired Army Lt. Col. Wayne Mosley, who served in Afghanistan and Iraq and who has enough wealth to self-fund his candidacy. He has already indicated that he intends to spend half-a-million dollars of his own money. (Republicans were hoping that Mosley would run in the 2008 cycle, but he ended up frustrating the GOP’s efforts - leading to Barrow’s easy victory.)

At the very least, Mosley’s entrance in the race puts GA-12 on the radar screen of 2010. An important question will be African-American turnout: Higher participation rates in 2008 helped Obama soar to a 9% victory in this Bush district. Will black voters come out in equally high numbers in a non-presidential year?


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2008 in review: The states that mattered

2008 is coming to a close, and it was such a crazy year that it is easy to forget some of the storylines that kept us entertained in the first part of the year. In an effort to review the major events of the year, here is a ranking of the 15 states that mattered the most in 2008.

1. North Carolina

The Tar Heel state was the epicenter of the 2008 election, and the state whose results were the most dramatic. First, it played a tremendous role in the Democratic primaries: Obama’s triumph in the May 6th primary effectively ended Hillary Clinton’s run. Later, North Carolina’s presidential, senatorial and gubernatorial races all unexpectedly became toss-ups, along with NC-08.

On the Senate side, the NRSC and DSCC invested millions on behalf of Kay Hagan and Elizabeth Dole. In the presidential race, the Obama campaign lavished attention on the state while McCain’s refused to take the Democratic threat seriously given that Bush had defeated Kerry by double-digits in 2004. By the time the GOP realized it needed to defend North Carolina, it was too late: the state’s 15 electoral votes might not have been decisive, but the millions McCain had to spend in the state and the time Palin wasted crisscrossing the state might have been.

Even if all of these forces had not been enough to earn North Carolina the top spot in this list, the November 4th results dramatically shook up the state’s politics as Democrats - Barack Obama, Kay Hagan, Bev Perdue and Larry Kissell - swept all of the state’s competitive races. This confirmed the changing demographics of North Carolina (and, more generally, of the mid-Atlantic states), and this certainly puts Republicans in a defensive position going forward.

2. Virginia

No state’s swing towards the Democratic Party was as important as Virginia’s. A historically red state, the Old Dominion had changed a lot since it gave George Bush two easy victories and Democrats had (poll-fueled) high hopes for the 2008 cycle after statewide successes in 2005 and 2006. The state’s relatively large size made it a must-win for the GOP: John McCain had virtually no path to an electoral college majority without Virginia’s 13 electoral votes.

This guaranteed a very heated general election campaign: We were treated to endless media coverage of Virginia’s race, countless polls, a heavy focus on the ground game, extensive analysis of the state’s geographical dynamics, lengthy exposes on the importance of Northern Virginia. McCain’s aides were perhaps the only people in the country not to take the Democratic threat seriously until the end of the summer: The GOP’s lateness in investing in the state sealed McCain’s fate.

Obama’s 6% victory confirms the Old Dominion’s metamorphosis, and it was accompanied by other Democratic triumphs: Former Governor Mark Warner easily won the open Senate seat previously held by a Republican, which means that both of the state’s Senate seats are now held by Democrats. And Democrats picked-up three House seats, taking control of the state’s House delegation. In fact, Perriello’s victory in VA-05 was the only true Democratic upset in the entire country - a fact that captures just how much Virginia swung in 2008.

3. Iowa

As 2008 started, all eyes were turned to Iowa, as both parties’ caucuses looked entirely unpredictable. The results set the tone for the rest of the year: Barack Obama’s triumph put him on track to winning the Democratic nomination while Mitt Romney’s stunning defeat left him crippled - opening the door to John McCain’s comeback.

Iowa also boosted Obama in the general election: It quickly emerged as the Bush state most likely to switch to Obama, allowing the Democrat to count on a sure gain of 7 electoral votes and accordingly focus on other red states. This didn’t prevent McCain from incomprehensibly contesting Iowa in the final weeks of 2008: The Republican nominee kept visiting the Hawkeye State and continued to spend on the state airwaves. Thus, not only was Iowa an easy pick-up for Obama, but it wasted the GOP’s time and money.

4. Alaska

Who could possibly have predicted a year ago how central a role Alaska would play in 2008? We had some inkling that Ted Stevens could face a difficult re-election race, but nothing had prepared us for what was to come. First came Barack Obama’s unexpected competitiveness in general election polls, Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich’s Senate candidacy and Lieutenant Governor Sean Parnell’s Club of Growth-backed primary challenge against longtime Rep. Don Young.

Then came the summer, and with it a stunning sequence of events that transformed The Anchorage Daily News as the daily political bible throughout the second half of 2008. Ted Stevens’s indictment threw havoc in the Senate race; the Young-Parnell primary was so close as too be unresolved for weeks; McCain decided to tap Governor Sarah Palin as his running-mate, which led hundreds of journalists to swarm Alaska and every single one of the state’s quirks to be exposed to the rest of the country; Ted Stevens’s expedited trial opened in DC and was marred with repeated prosecutorial errors that threatened to dismiss the entire case; and Stevens was convicted on all seven counts just one week before Election Day!

As if all of that was not enough, November 4th brought its own share of drama: Rep. Young’s survival was undoubtedly the biggest upset of the night, and Sen. Stevens (now a convicted felon) hang on to a 3% lead for ten days after the election before the count of the remaining ballots allowed Begich to clinch a 1% victory. If anything, this entire sequence confirmed just how staunchly Republican a state Alaska remains.

5. Michigan

The Wolverine State long looked like it would be the most important battleground of the 2008 election, and its culturally conservative electorate was supposed to represent Obama’s struggles with blue-collar voters. Instead, Michigan will be remembered as one of the most decisive states of 2008 because of how uncompetitive it became in the fall. (It is easy to forget how vulnerable Michigan looked last spring given Obama’s 16% victory.)

McCain’s truly stunning decision in early October to withdraw from the state was the first clear sign that his campaign was running out of options, and Michigan became a symbol of how quickly blue-collar voters swung to the Democratic column once the financial meltdown replaced cultural concerns with economic ones. The GOP’s complete collapse had dire repercussions in down-the-ballot races, starting with the defeat of two Republican incumbents in MI-07 and MI-09.

And Michigan also played an important role in both parties’ primaries in the first half of 2008. On the GOP side, the state became Mitt Romney’s last stand, and Romney’s victory against runner-up McCain allowed him to go on to die another day. On the Democratic side, primary day itself was insignificant given that only Clinton and Dodd’s names were on the ballot; but the situation became a complete quagmire as the primary season progressed and Clinton demanded Michigan (and Florida)’s delegates. A revote seemed likely for a while and the issue reached a climax at the DNC’s Rules and Bylaws Committee meeting in May.

6. Nevada

If Republicans might afford no longer being competitive in New Mexico (see below), they cannot also let go of Nevada. But the 2008 results suggest that might have already have happened. At the time of George Bush’s 3% victory in 2004, the state had as many registered Republicans as registered Democrats. This year, Democrats have a decisive edge of 100,000 voters, and that was enough to propel Obama to a 12% triumph, an impressive 15% swing from the 2004 results.

In fact, most people forget that picking-up nothing but New Mexico, Nevada and Iowa (the three red states he won the most decisively) would have been enough for Obama to win the White House. Forget Ohio, Virginia and Colorado, then: The Silver State was more decisive than all of them.

Making Nevada even more entertaining in 2008 was the very competitive Democratic caucuses that resulted in a confusing lawsuit about at-large caucus locations, complete chaos during the proceedings, a narrow Clinton victory and Obama’s accusations of fraud. The state also hosted a competitive House race won by Democrats.

7. New Mexico

New Mexico is too small and too Western a state to attract that much media attention, but those who follow politics closely know that the state’s transformation is as dramatic as any. After seeing dramatically tight finishes in 2000 and 2004, New Mexico decisively swung blue this year. Perhaps most importantly, it did so early in the year, providing Obama with a second sure pick-up (after Iowa) and leaving him only five electoral votes away the White House.

In fact, Obama’s victory looked so certain that no one was surprised at his 15% triumph on November 4th - but that’s a stunning 16% swing from the 2004 results. And the state also colored itself blue on other levels: Tom Udall easily picked-up the Senate seat occupied by Republican Pete Domenici and Democrats comfortably conquered GOP-held NM-01 and NM-02, leaving them with full control of the state’s entire congressional delegation!

8. Pennsylvania

To this day, it is difficult to explain why McCain chose the Keystone State as his last stand. All polls showed Obama leading by double-digits, Democrats had posted dramatic registration gains in the four years since John Kerry’s victory in 2004, and Obama had a massive ground game in place throughout the state. Perhaps McCain thought that if one state displayed the Bradley effect, it would be Pennsylvania and its culturally conservative Democrats; perhaps it was just that McCain had to make a last stand somewhere. Whatever the reason, Pennsylvania became the state to follow in the final weeks of the general election, and an avalanche of polls gave us plenty to talk about daily.

And it’s not like we had been ignoring the state before October. The relentless - and somewhat excessive - focus on Pennsylvania was launched in the Democratic primaries: Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama devoted themselves to the state’s April 22nd primary for six long weeks that saw no other contest. These six weeks were marked by bittergate and Jeremiah Wrigth, making the PA primary into a case study of Obama’s appeal among blue-collar voters.

The primary result was not favorable to Obama, and it sparked months of articles in all media outlets analyzing Obama’s chances in the Keystone State. Could he hold on to Clinton voters? Could he capture the blue-collar electorate? Was race losing him votes? How about Biden’s suburbs in Scranton? How about the ever-shifting Philly suburbs? How about Ed Rendell’s big mouth?

Pennsylvania’s importance was magnified by the abnormally large number of vulnerable Democratic incumbents, including Jack Murtha who was added at the last minute after he called his district’s residents “racist.” Democrats triumphed on Election Night, holding on to all their endangered seats (somewhat unexpectedly saving PA-11) while picking-up PA-03.

9. Colorado

The Centennial State proved to be one of the most important in the general election. A traditionally Republican state, Colorado looked like a toss-up from the beginning of the year and both parties (and the press) treated it accordingly. Both campaigns invested significant sums to run ads, articles were written about the state’s demographics, dozens of polls were conducted throughout the summer and fall. Furthermore, Democrats organized their party’s convention in Denver, allowing the media to review the state’s competitiveness for an entire week.

Unlike Ohio and Florida, Colorado had not usurped its status as a battleground state. Barack Obama, who trailed in very few of the state’s polls, looked very well positioned to capture the state’s 9 electoral votes; this means that Colorado looked like the red state most likely to fall to Obama’s column along Iowa and New Mexico - and that would have been enough to give him the presidency! This is why McCain’s stunning late-October decision (reported by CNN’s John King) to scale back his Colorado campaign was tantamount to his conceding the entire election.

Colorado thus sealed the GOP’s defeat in the presidential election, but the importance of the state’s blue turn is magnified by the results of the congressional elections. Colorado hosted a competitive Senate race in which a large number of independent groups spent significant amounts; Mark Udall picked-up the seat for Democrats. And socially conservative Rep. Marylin Musgrave’s double-digit defeat in CO-04 was one of the most emblematic House results of November 4th.

10. Ohio

Ohio’s influence on the presidential election has been overrated. In 2004, John Kerry did tie his presidential prospects to Ohio, but that was certainly not the case with the Obama campaign. Indeed, it was hard to see a scenario under which Obama lost Nevada, Virginia and Colorado (all states that would have been enough to clinch the White House) but somehow prevailed in Ohio. Yet, the Buckeye State was regularly portrayed as Ground Zero of the election, and received a corresponding amount of media attention.

That said, Obama’s 4% victory was highly symbolic of his progress among the very same voters that massively rejected him during the Democratic primaries. Ohio’s March 4th contest had become Hillary Clinton’s last stand, and it looked like Obama might manage to pull an upset; but Ohio voters rallied behind Hillary, ushered in the narrative of Obama’s troubles among blue-collar voters and prolonged the Democratic primaries by three months!

Ohio was also a very important state at the congressional level. Democrats picked-up three of the four House races they were contesting, an impressive result that left them in control of the state’s House delegation. In particular, Democrats defeated Rep. Chabot, a perennial target whose defeat can be attributed to the rise in African-American turnout.

11. New Hampshire

The Granite State played an decisive role in both parties’ primaries. McCain’s comeback victory in the January 8th primary was not enough for him to clinch the Republican nomination, but it transformed him overnight from an unlikely contender into the man to beat. Whether this represented a good development for the GOP can be debated for the years to come. On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton’s victory was not unexpected given the polls of the preceding six months, but it proved to be the biggest shocker of 2008 by the standards of Obama’s post-Iowa boom - enough of a shocker to throw the Democratic primaries into a five month-long overtime.

New Hampshire continued to be a topic of conversation as the year progressed, as it hosted competitive presidential, senatorial and House elections. In fact, New Hampshire long looked like a Kerry state that could fall in McCain’s column, and polls found a toss-up until the end of September, when Obama put the state away.  In the Senate race, former Governor Jeanne Shaheen and incumbent Senator John Sununu waged a heated rematch of their 2002 battle; while Shaheen led from the first through the last day, the GOP was convinced Sununu could pull a comeback. And in NH-01, Rep. Shea-Porter long looked like one of the most endangered Democratic incumbents; she narrowly survived on November 4th.

12. California

As usual, no one paid attention to California’s presidential election, but the Golden State got two sizable consolation prizes. On February 5th, it hosted the most important Super Tuesday primary battles for both parties: John McCain’s easy victory was the last straw that pushed Mitt Romney out of the race; and Hillary Clinton’s sizable win allowed her to survive an otherwise-disappointing day. Later , Proposition 8 was placed on California’s ballot, guaranteeing that voters witness a heated political battle. The state’s airwaves were inundated by vicious ads attacking gay rights, and liberal groups were too slow at taking the threat seriously. On November 4th, many were following Prop 8 just as closely as the presidential election - and its passage put a dent in an otherwise great night for Democratic activists.

13. Minnesota

Minnesota played an important role in the general election alone, but not a particularly crucial one. Along with states like Washington, Oregon and Wisconsin, Minnesota was one of those blue states that Republicans were hoping to contest but that got out of reach after Obama’s September surge. That said, Republicans were always surprisingly hopeful about Minnesota. Their decision to organize the GOP convention in the Twin Cities and Governor Pawlenty’s presence at the top of McCain’s veepstakes ensured that the state remained in presidential new.

And there were plenty of other storylines that made Minnesota an ultra-political state this year. It all started with the state’s February 5th caucus: No one paid attention to it before the results were announced, but it is through his huge victories in caucus states like MN, CO and WA that Obama opened an insurmountable delegate lead. Later, the state hosted two competitive House seats, including Michelle Bachmann’s re-election race in MN-06 that became one of the most high-profiles in the country after the incumbent’s rant against Obama’s “anti-American” activities.

And do I even need to mention the Senate race between Al Franken and Norm Coleman? The contest was one of the year’s most entertaining even before a virtual Election Night tie launched a still-unresolved recount process. Coleman and Franken aired what were arguably the most vicious attack ads of the cycle - not to mention the lawsuits that the two camps hurled at each other in the last week of October or the presence of a colorful third-party candidate and Jesse Ventura’s flirtations with a run!

14. New York

The Empire State might be an unconventional choice for a spot in the list of states that mattered given that it was competitive in neither of the primaries nor in the general election. In fact, New York arguably lost influence in 2008 since the dream of an all-New York general election came crashing down with Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani’s prospects.

That said, two major storylines kept us entertained. First was the scandal that engulfed Governor Eliot Spitzer last spring. In a matter of days, Spitzer went from potential presidential candidate in 2016 to looking like a political pariah forced to resign because of his foolish hypocrisy and potentially criminal actions. With Spitzer’s departure, David Paterson became the state’s first African-American and the nation’s first legally blind Governor.

The second storyline is the continued agony of the Empire State’s once-dominant Republican Party. In November, the GOP lost the majority in the state Senate for the first time in decades - and with it its last seat of power in state politics; Republicans also lost three House seats. Democrats now control a remarkable 26 of the state’s 29 districts. And no race symbolized the state GOP’s collapse as much as the NY-13, where rising Republican star Vito Fossella was forced to retire after a DUI scandal uncovered his marital infidelities and where a bizarre sequence of events revealed the extent of the GOP’s disarray.

15. Georgia

At the start of the year, few people would have predicted that this Republican-trending state would be a central battleground. But the closer we got to the election, the more eyes turned towards the Peach State. Barack Obama’s fairly stunning early-summer decision to invest resources in Georgia gave him a strong ground game and the state became the case study in the increase in black turnout (especially since the state’s election board updated its early voting statistics daily). This gave Democrats hope that they would do well across the South, and my last presidential ratings moved Georgia to the toss-up column.

The GOP’s under-performance extended to the Senate race. No one rated Senator Saxby Chambliss as endangered for much of the cycle (I ranked his race 17th in July), but the Democratic enthusiasm combined with the economic crisis plunged Chambliss in an unexpectedly difficult re-election race against Democratic nominee Jim Martin. The November 4th saw Chambliss falling just short of the 50% necessary for an immediate victory, throwing the race in a runoff campaign during which Georgia had the country’s undivided attention!

Honorable mentions go to Florida, which all but guaranteed that McCain would be the GOP nominee before crushing his presidential hopes in the fall; Wisconsin, which arguably gave Obama his most important primary victory; Indiana, which hosted one of the most competitive Democratic primaries before emerging as the most stunning of general election battlegrounds; Missouri, which gave Obama a crucial Super Tuesday victory before damaging its reputation as a presidential bellwether in the general election; and Louisiana, which treated us to a last-minute stunner on December 6th.


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Chambliss triumphs and GOP saves the day

And thus ends the Democrats’ dream of a 60-seat majority.

Polls ended up being widely wrong, as pollsters were unable to model turnout accurately. Unfortunately for Democrats, the error was not in their favor but in Saxby Chambliss’s. The Republican Senator crushed his opponent by a substantial margin tonight. With 97% of precincts reporting, he led 57,4% to 42,6%.

Simply put, the Democratic base deserted the polls while conservatives were even more energized than anticipated - a stark reversal from the enthusiasm gap we had observed for the past three years and the turnout differential that carried Democrats to stunning victories in three special elections this spring.

As a result, what was a 3% squeaker on November 4th transformed itself into a 15% rout - and a rare triumph for the GOP.

Of course, it is not surprising that Republicans would be more interested in going to the polls given that they were treated to visits by all of the party’s luminaries over the past few weeks. The GOP made sure that all of their voters remembered that a Chambliss victory was essential to keeping Democrats from a filibuster-proof majority. Democratic voters, meanwhile, must not have gotten the message that electing Martin could help Barack Obama implement his agenda in Washington.

Republicans will now crow that Georgia’s results mean that Obama’s honeymoon is over and that they should expect strong gains in 2010. “You have delivered a message that a balance of government in Washington is necessary,” Chambliss said today, “and that’s not only what the people of Georgia want but what the people of America want.” This is somewhat disingenuous, however. This is Georgia we are talking about, after all, a red state in which Democrats have had trouble winning any statewide race throughout the decade.

Also, the magnitude of Chambliss’s victory is bound to ignite talk about the strength or the permanence Obama’s electoral coalition. Much was made of the fact that red states like Georgia turned purple on November 4th (Obama only lost the state by 5%), and the surge in African-American turnout held promises for Democratic candidates. Was that dependent on Obama’s presence on the ballot, and will other Democrats not be able to bring out those sporadic voters? Here again, it would be somewhat disingenuous for Republicans to start celebrating: the spring’s three special elections in heavily Republican territory  demonstrated that Democratic enthusiasm went far beyond Obama’s candidacy.

But then again, Republicans cannot be blamed for drawing larger conclusions after such unexpected scope. After all, they have not had a good election night in quite a while.


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On the eve of Georgia’s runoff

On the eve of Georgia’s runoff, Democrats appear to have been outworked - and that is not something we have said much over the past two cycles. Saxby Chambliss has spent more money than his opponent, his campaign has been more apt at mobilizing their base in the state’s early voting program and top Republican surrogates have blanketed the state in an effort to energize conservative voters.

Today, it was Sarah Palin’s turn to travel to Georgia (she appeared with Chambliss in four separate events) and she is likely to prove a boost to the Republican Senator’s prospects. However unpopular Palin became among independents and Democrats, there is no doubt that she also energizes conservatives - and for the GOP base to turn out is probably all Chambliss needs tomorrow.

On the other hand, Barack Obama did not end up traveling to Georgia, nor did he cut a TV ad for the Democratic nominee. Other possible nationally known surrogates - whether Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden - also chose not to get involved, and the biggest name Martin got on his side was Bill Clinton. (The former President held one event whose location was changed at the last minute.) Martin did get Ludacris to campaign with him today - a choice that could help raise the runoff’s profile but that comes with a fair amount of political risk.

That African-Americans made up less than 23% of early voters (compared to more than 34% in the run-up to November 4th) confirms that Democrats have found it difficult to motivate their base to go to the polls again.

The last poll of the campaign, released today by PPP, shows Chambliss grabbing a 53% to 46% lead (up 1% from last week). Worse for Martin, Chambliss leads by 17% among those who have already voted - a stark reversal from the first round vote. Martin is not only suffering from poor black turnout but also from his weakness among white voters, of which he only captures 28%.

All Georgia polls released since November 4th have found Chambliss ahead, anywhere from 2% to 7%. Worse still is the fact that Martin never held a lead in any of the pre-November 4th polls, only managing to tie Chambliss.

If this runoff was an ordinary Election Day, there would be little suspense: a candidate who trails so consistently is highly unlikely to pull off a victory. However, this is no ordinary contest. It is being held a month after a high-intensity election and turnout is likely to fall dramatically. It is simply impossible to predict who will turn out to vote, and while all signs point to higher Republican turnout it would not be surprising if that does not hold.

In 2006, Democrat Ciro Rodriguez defeated a GOP incumbent in a December runoff in TX-23 after trailing in the November vote and in runoff polls. Republican voters were demoralized by their party’s recent defeat and they did not vote in sufficient numbers to defeat Rodriguez.

For Martin to pull off a similar feat tomorrow would constitute an upset, of course, but he does have the ground game to pull it off. Dozens of Obama staffers did move to Georgia in early November to pull Martin through and the AFL-CIO is investing significant resources to help him. After all, the stakes are certainly high enough that Democrats ought to stay motivated:

Tomorrow’s result could put Democrats one step closer to their ambition of a 60-seat majority - or it could finally squash that dream for good.


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In brutal ads, GOP accuses Jim Martin of endangering children

Stung by a series of stunning special election losses over the past three years, the GOP is leaving nothing to chance in Georgia and it is unleashing a series of brutal ads against Jim Martin that paint the soft-spoken and little-known former state Senator as a danger to Georgia families. Molestation, drugs near schools, drunken driving, child prostitution and domestic abuse - Martin has apparently had a hand in it all.

There truly seems to be something about Saxby Chambliss’s races that brings out the worst tricks of the GOP playbook. Freedom’s Watch latest ad, in fact, could go down as one of the most vicious of the 2008 cycle. The ad pursues an attack that Republicans have been using for the past few weeks, as it accuses Martin of not looking up for the safety of children. It blames Martin for having voted against stiffer penalties for domestic abuse and drunk driving:

[youtube="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rw7H6qsT0hs"]

Freedom Watch complements its message with images of a sleeping child and frightening footage of an man who is about to hit his wife. The ad crosses all lines with flashing images that strongly suggest a man actually slapping a woman:

freedomswatch

(Note that this could be one of the last ads Freedom’s Watch produces, as the conservative group is about to disintegrate due to a lack of funding. Freedom’s Watch was one of the major players of the 2008 cycle, boosting Republican candidates in a number of races in which the NRCC and NRSC were unable to stay on par with their Democratic counterparts.)

The NRSC is also busy painting Martin as a child abuse-inducer. The Republican committee’s latest spot accuses the Democratic nominee of being soft on child molesters and dealers who sell drugs near schools. “Raising taxes, easy on criminals, too extreme,” concludes the announcer:

[youtube="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k1jYqfQhOVc"]

Democrats, meanwhile, are seeking to make this election into the carbon copy of Chambliss’s 2002 election, when the Republican had attacked Vietnam veteran and triple-amputee Max Cleland for lacking patriotism. This time, they are pointing out that it is particularly offensive to accuse Martin of endangering children’s safety since his own daughter was kidnapped when she was eight years old. A recent Democratic ad directly evokes that horrendous event to hit back on Republican attacks though Martin does not choose to engage Chambliss particularly strongly:

[youtube="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BG40hEXVEf8"]

Unfortunately for Democrats, who were hoping that last week’s weak black turnout would improve as we get closer to the election, the latest data shows that African-Americans still make 22.5% of early voters (a total of 345,564 Georgians had cast an early ballot as of Wednesday evening). Unless the share of the black vote is substantially higher on Tuesday, a Martin victory is more than improbable.


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Poll watch: Chambliss keeps the lead, Reid is vulnerable

All Georgia polls released since November 4th have found a narrow lead for Saxby Chambliss, and the latest Research 2000 survey (the group’s third runoff poll) is no exception: The Republican Senator leads 52% to 46%.

The trendline is stable, as Chambliss led by 6% in a poll released last week; two weeks ago, Research 2000 found him ahead by 3%. Very interestingly, each of Research 2000’s polls has found an increasingly Republican likely voter universe. In this latest survey, respondents say they voted for Chambliss by 10% on November 4th (he led Martin by 3% on that day), suggesting that Martin has progressed among some voters but that his base is not planning to turn out at a high enough level to carry him to victory.

That has been the consensus we had already reached using other indicators (early voting demographics, number of high-profile surrogates). Polls like Research 2000’s confirm that Martin remains the underdog - but he is certainly not out of the race as he remains in close contact with the incumbent and could certainly be carried across the finish line with a surge of Democratic excitement.

Meanwhile, another Research 2000 poll tested Nevada’s 2010 Senate race, and it looks like Harry Reid better hope that his potential rivals get disqualified early (as I wrote about this morning) because he certainly deserves the title of most endangered Democratic incumbent.

The poll only tested a match-up between Reid and GOP Rep. Porter, who just lost his re-election race in NV-03 three weeks ago. Reid is only ahead 46% to 40% - well under the 50% vulnerability threshold.

Needless to say, for the Senate Majority Leader to post a 6% lead two years before the election against a potential challenger who only mustered 42% in his own re-election race a few weeks ago is not a good sign. The poll’s internal numbers paint an even grimmer picture, as only 38% of respondents approve of Reid’s performance (versus 54%) and only 32% want him to be re-elected (versus 41%). This will be a top-tier race if the GOP finds a good recruit - and that’s a big if, of course.

Finally, Quinnipiac tested New York’s mayoral race, which will take place next fall. The situation is still somewhat confused since city politicians were preparing for an open race until Mike Bloomberg managed to reform the term limit law to be allowed to run for a third term. Of all the Democrats who were eying the race, how many will now dare run against Bloomberg and his unlimited cash?

Two potential candidates are Rep. Anthony Weiner and City Comptroller William Thomspon. Bloomberg leads against both, 50% to 34% against Weiner and 49% to 34% against Thompson. And while Bloomberg’s lead might be larger because New Yorkers don’t have a good sense of either of these two Democrats, the poll also finds that 66% of respondents approve of his job performance. That popular an incumbent is very hard to beat. (Note that Bloomberg’s approval rating is actually declining, as it stood at 75% in the previous Quinnipiac poll. The Mayor has taken a few hits since then, especially during the term-limit debate.)

One potential wild card in this race is that Bloomberg will most probably run as an independent, while he ran as a Republican in 2001 and 2005. Will Republicans nominate a candidate of their own, then? If they find a contender with some stature, his votes would most likely come from Bloomberg’s ranks. Could that endanger the incumbent?


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Chambliss remains in the lead in Senate runoff

[Updated with new Martin ad] Georgia’s Senate runoff promises to be tight, but with a week to go before voters return to the polls all signs still suggest that Jim Martin remains the underdog.

For one, Republicans still look like they will have an edge in mobilizing their camp despite the enthusiasm gap that plagued them throughout 2008. For one, early voting statistics find that African-Americans are still voting well under their share of the electorate. After eight days of voting, blacks made up 22,5% of the early electorate (236,992 voters have already cast their ballot).

Second, more Republican politicians are traveling to Georgia. John McCain, Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney already crisscrossed the state while Sarah Palin just announced that she would stump with Chambliss next Monday. Such gestures have the potential to impact the race: In a low-turnout election, for the conservative base to find itself fired up the day before the election could boost Chambliss’s numbers.

Bill Clinton came to Georgia on behalf of Martin, but Barack Obama’s absence from the state remains very noticeable. In fact, given that Martin seems to be facing a drop among black and young voters, a visit by Obama might be the only way for Martin to energize the Democratic base enough to score an upset next Tuesday. Jim Martin’s new ad leaves no doubt that the Democratic candidate is hoping to ride Obama’s coattails, even though Georgia is a conservative state that went for McCain. Martin pledges to “helpBarack Obama pass a middle-class tax cut”:

[youtube="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6SxyiY3uVkU"]

While the concerns of Obama’s team that he would waste some of his political capital if he went to Georgia but Chambliss got re-elected are understandable, does he not already risk being tied to a Martin defeat given that he recorded a radio ad and a robocall?

Meanwhile, three new polls released over the past 24 hours find Chambliss ahead - though the margin remains narrow enough that anything is possible:

  • Chambliss leads 52% to 46% in a Public Policy Polling survey. PPP adds that it did not find a drop in African-American participation, but it is estimating that the runoff electorate will be significantly older than that of the general election - a development that is sure to favor the Republican.
  • Chambliss leads 50% to 47% in a Politico/Insider Advantage poll. Unlike PPP, IA weighted the black vote - and it did so at 25%, significantly lower than on November 4th but higher than the early vote proportion.
  • The DSCC released an internal poll showing Chambliss ahead 48% to 46%. No additional details were provided.

Given the difficulty of polling lower-turnout contests, the most useful data is a poll’s trendline - but Research 2000 is the only pollster to have released two runoff surveys for now (Chambliss expanded his lead). PPP will release a second poll on Monday.

Looking ahead to 2010, PPP tested hypothetical match-ups between Republican Senator Johnny Isakson (easily elected to a Dem-held open seat in 2004) and potential challengers. The poll’s primary finding is that Isakson remains mostly unknown; he leads both Democrats (Attorney General Thurbert Baker and Rep. Jim Marshall) by single-digits and is under 50%, suggesting that he is beatable. But Isakson does not look vulnerable enough for now for top-tier Democrats to jump in the race. Perhaps would they be more inclined to do so if Martin knocks off Chambliss next Tuesday?



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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 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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