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


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Of our perception of the political landscape

What would be our sense of the midterm landscape if Research 2000 and Quinnipiac released as many polls as Rasmussen does?

This question is not meant to denigrate Rasmussen. I am not dismissing his results by pointing out that his polls represent a set of assumptions that are on the GOP-friendly end of the spectrum of possible turnout patterns and partisan breakdown, whereas Research 2000 appears to be using assumptions that result in more favorable results for Democrats and whereas the model used by a group like Quinnipiac makes its results fall somewhere in the middle. Case in point: Quinnipiac’s new Ohio poll finds Governor Ted Strickland leading 44% to 39% while Rasmussen has him trailing by the sort of decisive margins an incumbent rarely recovers from.

Another case-in-point is Illinois. A new Research 2000 poll finds very positive numbers for Democrats, with Alexi Giannoulias leading Mark Kirk 43% to 36% and Governor Pat Quinn up by double-digits against the two Republicans who are fighting over who won the February 5th primary (46-35 against Kirk Dillard, 47-32 against Bill Brady). These numbers are almost hard to believe, but it’s unclear why that would be: Three independent polls of the Kirk-Giannoulias match-up have been released over the past month. One had Kirk leading 46-40 (Rasmussen) while the two others had Giannoulias up outside of the margin of error (Research 2000 and PPP). In short: The conventional wisdom that has emerged of a front-running Kirk and a struggling Giannoulias is certainly not backed by a polling consensus.

The problem arises not from different pollsters’ differing assumptions but from Rasmussen amazingly prolific rhythm: The pollster typically tests half-a-dozen states a week, whereas no more than two for PPP and at most one for Research 2000, Quinnipiac, Mason-Dixon or Suffolk. This has led to a situation in which the Rasmussen model of what the fall electorate will look like is dominating our understanding of the political landscape.

This is especially true in states that few if any other polling firms test. Indeed, in states that are often polled by a variety of pollsters (say New York, Connecticut, Nevada, Florida and North Carolina), we can confront Rasmussen’s findings to those of other surveys and thus avoid relying on a single poll. For instance, a new Rasmussen poll released today has Senator Richard Burr in a very solid position. Without dismissing his take on the race, we are well-served by being able to compare his numbers to those PPP released earlier this week, which had Burr looking more vulnerable.

The situation is very different in a state like Wisconsin: As far as I can see, the only non-Rasmussen poll that has been released over the past 6 months testing the Governor’s race and Russ Feingold’s vulnerability is a PPP survey dating back from November which showed Democrats in a strong position. That makes our view of Wisconsin’s political situation far more dependent on Rasmussen than is healthy. The same is true of Colorado, which only Rasmussen and Research 2000 have tested since September; the two have found very contradictory results as to Michael Bennett’s vulnerability, but since R2000 visited the state only once whereas Rasmussen has released four polls, we have grown more used to seeing Bennet in a catastrophic situation. This phenomenon is perhaps most consequential in Missouri, which no pollster but Rasmussen has tested since mid-November.

Once again, none of this is meant to suggest Rasmussen is distorting its numbers or that his polls are unreliable; after all, in many of these states (starting in Missouri) not only Rasmussen’s raw numbers but also his trendline have shown bad news for Democrats. The point is that no individual poll provides a reliable snap-shot of the electorate, Rasmussen no more than others, and that we should keep this in mind when commenting on the landscape in places like Wisconsin and Missouri.

The usual full polling round-up will come tomorrow morning.


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Poll watch: GOP dominates IN and IA, has fighting chance in VT and CA

Given how much of this week’s has had us talking about Indiana, it is no surprise that its most noteworthy poll also comes from the Hoosier State: Rasmussen tested the Senate race sans Bayh - and the results are atrocious for Democrats. Reps. Brad Ellsworth and Baron Hill would be crushed by whichever Republican they are up against: Dan Coats leads them 46-32 and 48-32, John Hostettler is up 49-31 and 46-27 and even Marlin Stutzman has decisive leads, 41-33 and 40-30. If these numbers are confirmed by other pollsters, Indiana would no doubt move towards North Dakota.

Yet, it is in not certain that other pollsters will find similar results, as we already know that Rasmussen’s number are in flagrant contradiction with Research 2000 released last week. While R2000 did not test other Democrats but Bayh, it did find Coats with a 38/33 favorability rating; Rasmussen has it at 54/27. (I’ll pass on the other weird internal of Rasmussen’s poll: How can a first-term state Senator [Stutzman] have the same name recognition as a congressman?) Given that Research 2000 had found Bayh in a far stronger position when matched-up against Hostettler than Rasmussen had found last month, it’s probably safe to say their numbers would have found Ellsworth and Hill in a far more competitive position than this Rasmussen poll does.

Does this mean we should trash Rasmussen and cherry-pick Research 2000’s survey? Of course not! But we shouldn’t do the inverse either. At the moment, only two polling outlets have tested Indiana’s Senate race and both have released surveys with no glaring problem that paint a very different landscape. (Of course, this has happened in other states, most notably in Colorado where Rasmussen and R2000 have a very different take on Michael Bennet’s electability.) We will need more polling evidence to figure out what to make of all of this, and it’s too early in the cycle to decide what’s an outlier and what’s not.

Senate

Wisconsin: To my knowledge, Rasmussen and PPP are the only pollsters to have recently tested Tommy Thompson’s prospects and their results are so at odds that it is a shame no other firm is releasing a Wisconsin poll. After all, the main reason Rasmussen’s finding that Thompson would start as the front-runner has become conventional wisdom is that they are releasing a survey of the state every few weeks, and indeed a new Rasmussen poll conducted this week finds that Senator Russ Feingold trailing Thompson 48% to 43%. Feingold’s favorability rating is a mediocre 50/48 while Thompson’s is an impressive 63/34, which is the main difference with PPP since that pollster found the former Governor rather unpopular. In any case, Thompson is not running as of now and Feingold leads two low-profile Republicans - albeit by underwhelming margins: 47% t o 37% against Westlake, 47% to 39% against Terrence Wall.

North Carolina: No surprise in PPP’s monthly look at Senator Richard Burr (yet another race that is pretty much tested by only one firm). As always, he has a comfortable lead against his rivals; as always, he is very far from the 50% threshold and his approval rating is mediocre (35/35). Against Elaine Marshall, he leads 43% to 33%; against Cal Cunningham, 44% to 32%; against Kenneth Lewis, 44% to 31%. That said, those numbers are clear improvement over the December and January numbers, since Burr only led Marshall by 5% and 7%. Another bad sign for Democrats: For the first time in January, Marshall performed better than a generic Democrat, a potential sign that her campaign was catching on, but she has once again fallen behind. PPP also tested the Democratic primary, finding Elaine Marshall ahead but certainly not by enough to look like a safe bet: She has 29% versus 12% for Cal Cunningham, 5% for Kenneth Lewis and 2% for new candidate Marcus Williams, who I had not heard of before this poll.

Illinois: Internal polls are only good insofar as the other camp chooses not to release a contradictory survey so it looks like the two parties have fought themselves to a draw in Illinois. Two weeks after Mark Kirk publicized an internal poll finding him leading Alexi Giannoulias, it is now the Democrat’s turn to release a Greenberg Quinlan Rosner survey that has him up 49% to 45%. Combine that with PPP and Rasmussen’s contrasting results (the former has Giannoulias up 9%, the latter Kirk up 6%), and thi is one race whose polls are all over the map.

Iowa: Democrats have never thought of Iowa as a strong opportunity, but given the number of their incumbents who are struggling to lead unknown Republicans it must be jarring to see Senator Chuck Grassley with 56% to 35% lead in a new KCCI-TV poll. Combine that with Grassley’s strong approval rating, and it certainly doesn’t look like there is anything to see in this Senate race.

Oregon: Rasmussen has released the first poll I am aware of that tests Senator Ron Wyden, and Democrats can be relieved that there isn’t yet another bad surprise. Wyden’s approval rating stands at 55-36, making it hard to see how the GOP can find an opening to defeat him. However, even he fails to crack the 50% threshold when matched-up against his largely unknown opponent, Jim Huffman, though his 49% to 35% lead is nothing for Democrats to get panicked by. Also today, SUSA found Wyden’s approval rating to be a respectable 50/37, which is a better spread than Jeff Merkley’s and Barack Obama’s.

Washington: While two surveys find Wyden with a strong approval rating, Patty Murray might not be holding on as well - at least according to SUSA. The senator’s approval rating has collapsed to 43% to 50%, by far the lowest SUSA has ever found Murray in 5 years of polling. So is this poll an outlier or does it serve as more evidence that the GOP can put Washington in play if it recruits a strong candidate?

Governor

Vermont: While this open race has looked like one of Democrats’ top opportunities of the cycle, Republican Lieutenant Governor would more than hold his own against a series of Democratic candidates according to Research 2000: He trails Secretary of State Deb Markowitz within the margin of error (43-41), leads state Senator Doug Racine 43% to 38% (also barely within the MoE) and has decisive leads ranging from 10% to 18% against lower-profile Democrats (Peter Shumlin, Matt Dunne and Bartlett). A major caveat: No more than 11% of Republican respondents say they are undecided in any of these match-ups, between 25% and 36% of Democrats say the same. When we account for that, Markowitz does start as the front-runner and the other Democrats have a lot of room to grow.

Iowa: Governor Chet Culver trails his chief Republican challenger Terry Branstad 53% to 33% in the latest Des Moines Register poll and 54% to 38% in a new Research 2000 poll conducted for KCCI-TV. Six months ago, those numbers would have been jaw-dropping; now they’ve come to be expected. The former Governor’s entry in the race has made Culver look like one of the surest gubernatorial losers of the year. The one thing that could save him would be for Branstad to be upset in the GOP primary since Culver is far more competitive against 3 other Republicans (in the DMR poll, he trails Vander Plaats by 3% while leading state Rep. Roberts by 5%; in R2000, he leads Vander Plaats by 3% and crushes Roberts by a surprising 22%). While he reaches 48% in Research 2000’s most favorable match-up, he doesn’t break 41% against any rival in the DMR survey. Combined with his dismal approval rating (36-53), this makes it hard to see how he could survive.

California: For a year now, Rasmussen has found tougher results for California Democrats than PPIC and the Field Poll, and its latest round of gubernatorial numbers are no different since Meg Whitman forces a 43%-43% tie against probable Democratic nominee Jerry Brown. Brown does have a wide 46%-34% lead against Steve Poizner, however. What should be comforting to Democrats is that this comes from Whitman’s remarkable popularity (56-28) rather than because Jerry Brown is unpopular (his favorability rating is a decent 53-41) or because the electorate has soured on Democrats (Obama’s approval rating is a solid 57-42). As long as Democrats don’t fall asleep as they did in Massachusetts, their attacks combined with Poizner’s should at least be able to increase Whitman’s negatives.

Interestingly, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s approval rating is a disastrous 26% to 73% in this Rasmussen poll and 19/80 in a newly-released SUSA poll. Republicans sure are lucky he is term-limited.

Nevada: The latest numbers of this Governor’s race are more encouraging than usual for Democrat Rory Reid, as Brian Sandoval’s lead is not as overwhelming as usual (44% to 35%) but then again it is a survey conducted by a Democratic firm, Grove Insight. The poll also confirms  just how much Democrats stand to benefit if Governor Jim Gibbons somehow manages to survive the GOP primary; weighed down by a catastrophic approval rating (20-75!), Gibbons would be crushed by Reid 49% to 33%. The survey also finds that Rory’s father Harry Reid is in bad shape, however: His approval rating stands at a dismal 34-63.


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Senate GOP leads in AR, NH, NV, CO, KY, IL but Reid enjoys uptick & Ayotte struggles in primary

The week’s most dramatic polls no doubt are those from Arkansas since they suggest that Blanche Lincoln’s fate is all but sealed. Rasmussen finds the senator’s favorability rating at a dismal 36-59; PPP shows her approval rating at an even more catastrophic 27-62. Her numbers against Republicans are a disaster. PPP has her down 56% to 33% against Rep. John Boozman and 50% to 35% against Gilbert Baker; Rasmussen shows her trailing by similar margins - 54% to 35% against Boozman, 52-33 against Baker, 50-34 against Curtis Coleman, 51-35 against Kim Hendren. Those are not numbers an incumbent recovers from.

The problem for Democrats is that they can hardly pull a Dodd or a Torricelli: PPP tested a variety of alternatives to Lincoln and found the GOP generally in control. The party’s only savior could be popular Governor Mike Beebe - and even then he is down 1% against Boozman and he leads Baker by an underwhelming 46% to 38%. Rep. Mike Ross trails Boozman 48-37 but ties Baker at 39%; Wesley Clark is down 51-36 and 45-39, respectively and Halter 53-30 and 45-34.

While none of these results are encouraging for Democrats, all four of her potential replacements perform better than the senator. Since Halter, Ross and Clark’s name recognition is lower and favorability ratings is incomparably stronger than Lincoln, they would also have more hope of improving their results while it is hard to envision the incumbent doing so. In short, the GOP is more likely than not to pick-up this seat but it does not mean Democrats should not at least try a switcheroo.

Senate: GOP also leads in NH, NV, CO, KY and IL…

New Hampshire: The first public poll of the GOP’s Senate primary finds that Attorney General Kelly Ayotte has her work cut out for her: Research 2000 has her only leading Ovide Lamontagne 36% to 27%, with William Binnie at 4%. If conservatives decide they can add New Hampshire to an already long list of summer primaries they want to prioritize, Lamontagne could very well pull the upset and thus give Democrats a boost in the general election. While Rep. Paul Hodes trails Ayotte 46% to 39%, leads Lamontagne 46% to 36% - a 17% differential. The bad news for Democrats, of course, is that Ayotte remains the front-runner and her high favorability ratings and early poll lead presage good things for the NRSC.

Nevada: Harry Reid arguably just received the best poll he has seen in months - and it came from Rasmussen! While his numbers remain very rough, they are for once not insurmountable: His favorability rating stands at 44/55 and he trails all of his competitors “only” by single-digits: 45-39 against Lowden, 47-39 against Tarkanian and 44-40 against Angle. Of course, an incumbent has nothing to boast about when stuck around 40%, but last month Reid trailed by double-digits in all match-ups. We’ll have to see whether this trendline is an outlier or whether it is due to Reid’s well-financed attempts to improve his image. The poll’s most interesting part is the match-up between Reid and Lieutenant Governor Brian Krolicki, who has been mulling the race ever since he was cleared of an indictement: Krolicki has the smallest lead among these four Republicans, 44% to 41%.

Colorado: No miracle for Michael Bennet in Rasmussen’s new poll: the unelected senator leads trails Republican front-runner Jane Norton by a massive 51% to 37%. That said, Bennet’s favorability rating remains (barely) positive and he should have an easier time to improve his numbers than other incumbents since he is less well-known and thus has more room to grow. And yet, his primary challenger Andrew Romanoff performs far better against Norton since he only trails 45% to 38% - a sign Democrats would be better off dumping the incumbent to start fresh? Both Democrats trail by more narrowly against Republicans Tom Wiens and Ken Buck.

Kentucky: Rasmussen’s monthly Kentucky poll confirms not only that the GOP has gained edge in this open seat (a red state’s electorate naturally gravitates rightward in this environment), but also that Rand Paul would be a far more formidable candidate than had been expected: He leads LG Mongiardo 48% to 37% and AG Conway 47% to 39%. Tray Grayson’s leads are more uneven, as his 49-35 rout over Mongiardo contrasts with his 44-40 lead over Conway. Democrats look like they’d be better off with Conway, whose favorability rating stands at 47-32, than with Mongiardo, whose favorability rating is a mediocre 45-43.

Illinois: Conducted by Rasmussen, The first public poll to test the Illinois Senate race since voters chose their nominees finds Mark Kirk leading Alexi Giannoulias 46% to 40%, a result that contradicts PPP’s recent finding that the Democrat has an 8% lead; note that PPP’s poll was conducted just before Giannoulias was hit by new questions over his family bank, so that might account for some of the difference. In any case, Illinois is one state the DSCC simply cannot afford to lose so Kirk’s early lead is an ugly one for Democrats to see.

Connecticut: Even Rasmussen agrees there is nothing to see in this race since Chris Dodd’s retirement. Thanks to a massive 70% to 26% favorability rating, Richard Blumenthal crushes Rob Simmons 54% to 35% and Linda McMahon 56% to 36%.

New York: I already reported Marist’s Senate survey earlier this week, and Quinnipiac’s poll draws the same lessons: Gillibrand starts with an edge in the Democratic primary but Harold Ford certainly has an opening (Gillibrand is up 36-18 with Tasini at 4) and the incumbent would be favored in the general election against Bruce Blakeman; however, she does not pass 50% in this survey (she leads 44% to 27%), a potential sign Blakeman could still gain traction as he introduces himself.

Arizona: John McCain and John Hayworth both released internal polls of what is shaping up to be a rough primary. As you would expect, the two camps’ numbers tell a different story. Hayworth’s survey (conducted by McLaughlin) has the incumbent leading 49% to 33% while McCain’s survey (conducted by POS) has him up 59% to 30%. Given that there is still a long time to go, that McCain is after all the GOP’s former presidential nominee and that he is better known than Hayworth, the latter set of numbers is also quite underwhelming and signals that the challenger has an opening.

Governor: White within single-digits of Perry, Michigan’s Cox leads

Texas: Since Bill White’s entry in the race, Democrats have been paying more attention to this gubernatorial race but Rasmussen is the first pollster to find a real opening for the Houston Mayor: When matched-up with Governor Rick Perry, he trails 48% to 39% - a sign of vulnerability for the incumbent since he is only up single-digits and remains under 50%. Against Kay Bailey Hutchison, White trails by a larger 49% to 36%. As such, whether the general election will be competitive depends from the outcome of the March-April primary; there is no little doubt White would rather face an incumbent with a mediocre 50-48 approval rating.

New York: David Paterson still looks to be heading towards certain defeat in Marist and Quinnipiac’s new polls. His approval rating stands at 26% in the former and 37% in the latter; that might be an improvement over his low points of 2009, but it leaves him in no position to be competitive against the ultra-popular Andrew Cuomo. Marist shows the Attorney General would crush the Governor by a stunning 70% to 23% in the primary, while Quinnipiac shows the margin to be a comparatively modest 55% to 23%. Both surveys have Paterson struggling against Rick Lazio (he trails by 3% in Marist, leads by 1% in Quinnipiac), while Cuomo crushes the former congressman by 37% and 32%.

Michigan: While some cheered Lieutenant Governor John Cherry’s early January withdrawal as an opportunity to field a stronger candidate, EPIC-MRA’s latest poll finds state Democrats are hardly saved: Attorney General Mike Cox crushes the three Democrats he is matched-up against by margins ranging from 17% to 22%. Yet, Cox is not certain of surviving the primary, since he leads 32% to 25% against Rep. Pete Hoekstra, who does not fare quite as well in the general election: He leads by 17% against Virg Bernero but only by 8% against Andy Dillon and by 7% against Denise Ilitch. The other good news for Democrats is that former GOP Rep. Schwarz is now saying he is 75% certain of running as an independent, which could lead Republicans to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

Connecticut: Democrats don’t have as clear an edge in this Governor’s race since Susan Bysiewicz dropped out, though they still lead all match-ups in Rasmussen’s new poll: Ned Lamont is up 41-33 against Lieutenant Governor Michael Fedele and 40-37 against Tom Foley while while Stamford Mayor Dan Malloy tops the two Republicans by just 1%.

New Hampshire: Governor Lynch is one incumbent Democrats will apparently not have to worry about. In Research 2000’s new poll, he crushes low-profile businessman Kimball 59% to 13%.


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Illinois has voted

The cycle’s first primaries have come and gone - and so much for surprises, at least on the Democratic side. After weeks of brutal campaigning, Illinois voters chose their general election candidates. In the Senate race, Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias held on to his position as the early front-runner. In the Governor’s race, it appears that incumbent Pat Quinn will be able to hold on since he leads by one percentage point with just 0.8% still to report, though the contest might still head to a recount.

Yet, it is the Republican side that makes for a study of contrasts as to whether GOP primaries might knock the wind out of the party’s wave prospects. In the Senate race, a moderate Republican who just last June was one of conservative groups’ ultimate persona non grata coasted to an easy victory while in heavily blue IL-10, a conservative businessman upset a moderate state legislator that would have been better positioned to defend the open seat.

Republicans nominate Kirk for Senate, Dold for House

On June 27th, Rep. Mark Kirk was one of just 8 House Republicans to support the cap-and-trade bill; these congressmen provided the winning margin, since the legislation passed by a narrow 219-212 margin. Conservatives immediately vowed to punish the culprits. Yet, Kirk coasted to the GOP’s Senate nomination last night. While the 58% he received is thoroughly unimpressive given the caliber of his opponents, the silence of conservative groups and figures who were all over NY-23 and are now going all-out in the Crist-Rubio contest was deafening. After all, Kirk’s main challenger (businessman Pat Hughes) was no less credible than Doug Hoffman and he did reach out to politicians like Senator Jim DeMint.

There are obviously very good reasons for conservatives to give Kirk a pass: His candidacy is the main reason this Senate race is considered competitive. Kirk was able to survive in tough cycles in his blue-leaning district, so his ability to appeal to centrist voters and even some Democrats has been proven. Illinois is no Florida and Hughes is no Rubio, so working to defeat the congressman was a much graver blow to Republican electability.

Such considerations hardly stopped conservatives in NY-23, where many activists were quoted as saying they did not mind Bill Owens’s victory as long as Dede Scozzafava was defeated. Yet, Kirk is the second Republican in a row to benefit from a party-over-ideology reflex (conservatives rallied around Scott Brown despite the likelihood that he will position himself as a moderate senator), which could help reassure the GOP that the rise of Tea Partiers will not lead their candidates to be systematically Scozzafavad.

And yet, Republican voters also complicated their party’s hope of defending IL-10, the blue-leaning district Kirk is vacating to run for Senate.

IL-10 voted for Kerry by 6% and for Obama by 23%. To prevail, the Republican nominee looks he would need to duplicate Kirk’s ability to appeal to voters who typically vote Democratic and the GOP thought it had found such a contender in state Rep. Beth Coulson, who has a moderate reputation. Yet, businessman Bob Dold went after Coulson from the right and last night won by a surprisingly decisive margin.

Given the district’s leanings, this leaves Republicans at a disadvantage. Whether or not a red wave submerges Democrats elsewhere, Dold does not look like a good fit for this suburban Chicago district. Yet, the NRCC might ultimately be saved by the result of the Democratic primary, in which voters also chose their weaker general election candidate - albeit this is far more debatable and minor a point than the one regarding Dold’s victory over Coulson.

Indeed, IL-10’s Democratic nominee will be the party’s failed candidate against Kirk in the 2006 and 2008 cycles: Dan Seals beat out state Rep. Hamos by a narrow 49% t0 48% margin. While countless of Republicans in far more marginal districts fell, Kirk pulled it off on both occasions while Seals massively underperformed relatively to Barack Obama last year, leading to obvious questions as to whether nominating him for a third consecutive time might not cause the party trouble; whatever Seals’s qualifications, the bottom-line is that voters twice rejected him and that these defeats left him with far high negatives than Dold starts with.

A Coulson-Seals match-up might have been a carbon copy of the Kirk-Seals races, with the disappearance of the GOP’s incumbency advantage compensated with the shift in the national environment. But against Dold, Seals starts as the slight favorite. Needless to say, Democrats need this seat as a cushion against the GOP’s probably big gains elsewhere.

Democrats choose Giannoulias

Chicago Inspector General Dave Hoffman started his relentless attacks Giannoulias back in the fall and he was helped last week by reports that federal regulations were clamping down on Broadway Bank, the bank owned by Giannoulias’s family at which he himself worked as a manager. Yet, it did not prove enough to bloody the state’s Treasurer: He prevailed 39% to 34%, a narrower margin than was expected last fall but enough to move him to the general election.

Cheryle Jackson received a decent 20%, but her defeat eliminates one of the only candidates who could have ensured that the Senate contains at least one African-American come 2011. The maintenance of just that minimal level of diversity in the Senate now rests on the shoulders of Rep. Kendrick Meek.

In recent weeks, the conventional wisdom has been that Giannoulias could be Democrats’ weaker general election contender given the ethical questions that surround him. I wasn’t convinced Democrats had much to lose by nominating him until these questions took on a new dimension last week, though I still think that the state Treasurer is (very) arguably better positioned than Hoffman to ensure the Democratic base and minority voters turn out.

In any case, I suspect that the general election result is far more likely to depend on the national environment than on the identity of the Democratic nominee: Since we already knew there will be no incumbent, Republicans will not be able to turn the spotlight solely on an unpopular opponent and will have to hope that independents and moderate Democrats are willing to turn their back to Barack Obama. Can the president carry Giannoulias across the finish line in his home-state?

GOP also chooses its challengers in IL-8, IL-11 and IL-14

All eyes were also on IL-14, where Ethan Hastert was looking to take on Rep. Bill Foster. Yet, the former Speaker’s son fell 4% short against state Senator Randall Hultgren. My debatable sense is that this is the better result for the GOP since Hastert’s family ties opened him to obvious Democratic attacks while Hultgren already has a base and electoral experience. Yet, it remains to be seen how much the NRCC prioritizes IL-14 (the district did vote for Obama) so Hastert’s ties to national Republicans could have been helpful to the GOP. Overall, IL-14 is probably Democrats’ most (only?) endangered Illinois seat.

In IL-11, freshman Rep. Debbie Halvorson might have found herself in a tougher race if the state’s filing deadline was not so early but Republicans were left with an underwhelming list of candidates. Yet, the winner of yesterday’s 5-way primary is the one candidate who seemed to at least attract the NRCC’s attention: Air Force veteran Adam Kinzinger. His fundraising strength also suggests that Republicans are paying attention to the district; Halvorson enters the general election favored, but we’ll keep an eye on this race.

IL-08 is another district in which Republicans failed to recruit a candidate capable to take advantage of a red wave and the GOP nomination yielded a candidate who is even more of a question mark than was expected; in a recent overview of the race by The Daily Herald, Joe Walsh chose to highlight primarily his desire to reform “ill-conceived” Medicare and Social Security, which is hardly a winning issue. For him to defeat Rep. Melissa Bean would require a red wave so huge that it remains at this point hard to envision.

Since both gubernatorial primaries are too close to call, it would be futile to analyze the results before knowing for sure who the nominees will be. While Governor Pat Quinn seems likely to hold on to his lead over Treasurer Dan Hynes on the Democratic side, state Senator Bill Brady’s 500-vote lead (with 99% precincts reporting) in the GOP primary is very fragile since the remaining votes were cast in Cook County, where Brady is very weak.


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NRSC smiling: Giannoulias undercut by family bank, Thompson & Grassley lead, Boxer struggles

Illinois: Giannoulias leads Kirk but is damaged by family bank’s woes

Democrats have been getting so many dismal Senate polls lately that PPP’s Illinois survey must have come as a breath of fresh air: Alexi Giannoulias has a 42% to 34% lead over Mark Kirk, an advantage that’s all the more significant since the two have comparable name recognition. While in normal circumstances it would be nothing unusual for a Democrat to lead by 8% in IL, the rare surveys that have been completed of this match-up have found a virtual tie. Kirk has slight leads against the two other Democrats in the race,  (38-36 over Cheryle Jackson, 37-36 over David Hoffman) but both have low name recognition and thus have room to grow among Democrats. Finally, Kirk’s favorability rating is weaker than I would have expected (27-22).

Yet, the Kirk campaign has reason to smile today: Giannoulias, who has always been surrounded by ethics questions, is now finding himself connected to a story that could easily have repercussions on his general election prospects. Financial regulators are clamping down on Broadway Bank, the bank owned by Giannoulias’s family at which he himself worked as a manager:

Broadway Bank… has entered into a consent order with banking regulators requiring it to raise tens of millions in capital, stop paying dividends to the family without regulatory approval, and hire an outside party to evaluate the bank’s senior management… [Giannoulias has] faced criticism for his past role at the bank and the $70 million in dividends the family took out of the bank in 2007 and 2008 as the real estate crisis was becoming apparent.

In a cycle in which voter anger over politicians’ unwillingness to punish the financial sector’s irresponsibility is threatening to submerge Democrats, this story risks connecting Giannoulias to the very industry the electorate has turned against. Even if the controversy does not grow any more, this could give his opponents efficient ammunition to use in their ads - though this is more likely to profit Republicans than his Democratic rivals: the primary is taking place in only 5 days. If this story gets a lot of play in the coming days, it could cost Giannoulias but his opponents don’t have much time to take advantage.

On the other hand, Hoffman and Jackson had already been attacking Giannoulias over his banking background, so they could easily integrate this latest round of Broadway Bank questions in their campaign. In fact, Jackson called for Giannoulias’s withdrawal tonight, while Hoffman indicted his electability, saying that this story “provides further evidence of what a disaster Mr. Giannoulias would be as the Democratic nominee for Senate.”  At the very least, Kirk’s campaign will be watching to see how it can best take advantage of the Treasurer’s woes.

Wisconsin: Thompson leads Feingold as GOP looks for new options

In testing a match-up between Russ Feingold and Tommy Thompson, Rasmussen found the Republican leading 47-44; Feingold is weighed down by Obama’s mediocre approval rating (46%) and by his own rating’s dip in negative territory (47-48). It’s not the numbers that are remarkable (no one really doubted the race would become competitive if Thompson jumped in), but the fact that Thompson might actually run. In fact, the GOP is growing so confident it is now looking for back-ups: the latest rumor concerns the possible entry of Rep. Mark Neumann, who is currently in a contested gubernatorial primary. Yet, I believe Neumann wouldn’t be allowed to transfer his fundraising haul from one race to the other and he presumably would be reluctant to give up what he’s already raised.

California: Boxer struggles against Campbell

Last week, The Field Poll and Rasmussen gave us contrasting findings on Barbara Boxer’s vulnerability, with the latter showing the California senator managing only small leads against her Republican competitors. PPIC came out with its own poll today, and their results are in between Rasmussen’s an Field’s: Boxer only leads Campbell 45% to 41%, which is actually outside of the margin of error, and she is ahead of Fiorina and DeVore by 8%. In the GOP primary, Campbell leads 27% to Fiorina’s 16% and DeVore’s 8%. It is becoming increasingly obvious that Democrats have to start worrying about their California standing, especially if Campbell wins the Republican primary (we still have to see whether he can compete enough financially to do that).

Indiana: Pence was not the end the road

I proclaimed that the GOP was left in Stutzman and Hostettler’s hands too early, and Democrats breathed a sigh of relief too soon: Rep. Mike Pence’s decision not to run for Senate did not put Republicans off of Evan Bayh’s trail. They are now courting Secretary of State Todd Rokita, who has held statewide office since 2004. Rokita said yesterday that he was considering the race, which goes to show just how dramatically recruitment prospects can improve when the national environment looks so promising.

This reminds me of what happened in NC in 2008. After May polls found Kay Hagan with a surprise post-primary lead over Elizabeth Dole, the senator managed to grab large leads over the summer but Democrats had smelled blood and did not let go, committing millions to the state before seeing evidence the race would be competitive. Similarly, the GOP has smelled blood in Indiana. But there is a catch: The filing deadline comes in just three weeks (February 19th) and signatures have to be collected. This means Rokita will have to make up his mind quickly one way or another and that the NRSC will have little time to search for back-ups if he passes.

Iowa: Grassley crushes Democrats

If Democrats had some hope of challenging Senator Chuck Grassley, it has long become obvious that the perfect storm they would need to pull off such an upset cannot happen; the national environment makes it tough for Democrats to compete against unquestionably vulnerable incumbents like Burr, let alone against veteran lawmakers like Grassley. Today, Rasmussen gave us confirmation that there is next to nothing to see in this race: Not only does Grassley lead Bob Krause and Tom Fiegen 59% to 26% and 61% to 25%, respectively, but his margin against Democrats’ most touted candidate (attorney Roxanne Conlin) is almost as wide: 59% to 31%. We can’t not contrast those numbers with those of Democratic incumbents who are trailing challengers who are just as low-profile as Krause or Fiegen.


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With one week to go, Illinois primaries get heated

Governors across the country better be paying attention to what is happening in Illinois because Pat Quinn’s primary troubles are a testament to the many ways in which the economic crisis has endangered incumbents’ standing. Forced to take budget-cutting measures to adjust for declining revenues, most governors have gone down routes that can easily be attacked by their opponents. While targeting programs for the poor is often the easiest way out politically since the lower-class tends to not be organized, one of the solutions Quinn implemented - reducing prison costs - was bound to be exploited by his rivals.

Aimed at prisoners with short sentences, the Meritorious Good Time Push program allowed them to be paroled before their term ended, thus reducing the number of inmates incarcerated at any one time and by extension the costs associated with them. Yet, controversy erupted last month as the AP reported that many prisoners had received credit for time they served in county jails and were thus released from the state penitentiary weeks before the 61 days they were required to have served before qualifying for the program.

Quinn’s primary challenger, Comptroller Dan Hynes, immediately recognized the issue’s potential. Not only did he indict the governor’s responsibility in the mix-up, he also made the very existence of the program his main angle of attack, accusing Quinn of having failed to protect Illinois residents. Hynes has relentlessly attacked the governor over these issues in recent weeks, including at debates, which has put Quinn on the defensive - the governor ended up calling the early release program a “mistake” and tried to pin the blame on the state’s prisons director.

Taking pages out of George H. W. Bush’s playbook, Hynes is airing an ad that accuses Quinn of being indirectly responsible for a crime committed by an inmate who was released early. “This man was let out of prison early by Pat Quinn. He’s now been arrested for assaulting a woman for four hours, choking and beating her,” the narrator says. “A governor’s bad judgment does have consequences. It’s time to release Pat Quinn from his job.”

However successful Hynes’s relentless focus on the prison program, none of his attacks has been as brutal, and none could come to define the primary as much as, his ad featuring former Chicago Mayor Harold Washington, a hero not only in the African-American community but also among reformers. The ad features 20-year old footage of Washington saying that he wish he had not hired Quinn as the city budget director; “Pat Quinn is a totally and completely undisciplined individual who thinks this government is nothing but a large easel on which to do his PR work,” Washington is heard saying.

This ad has dominated exchanges in the final days of the campaign past few days, making Quinn’s camp even more apoplectic as it was over the prison release attacks. Their response: This is a ludicrous attack considering the comptroller’s father Tom Hynes went all-out to oust Washington in the 1987 mayoral race. But there is no question that this is quite a damaging attack; if any readers follow Illinois politics closely, I would be interested in knowing whether this footage is new or whether it had already surfaced in past cycles.

Smelling blood, Hynes has been blasting Quinn on many issues, and This Sun-Times column captures the spirit of the race; it’s certainly not surprising Hynes has been so successful at demolishing Quinn’s reputation given his family’s prominent role in Illinois’s Democratic machine, which surely gives his camp experience in taking care of political business. In fact, Quinn seems to be thinking about his opponent’s father quite a lot these days, as the governor went afterTom Hynes directly in their latest debate. “I think Pat Quinn has become disoriented,” Hynes responded. “He thinks he’s running against my father. I know you’ve been in politics 30 years, but my father retired 15 years ago. Maybe you should, too.” You can sense these two Democrats will be great friends once the primary is over.

Hynes’s attacks have taken their toll: What two months ago looked like it would be an easy victory by the new governor has turned into a toss-up, and it is likely that Hynes is pulling ahead.

This morning, PPP released the first poll to find Quinn trailing; while the margin is only 41-40, the momentum is all on the comptroller’s side. Yesterday, a new Chicago Tribune poll already had found Quinn sinking, since his 44-40 lead compared very unfavorably to his 49-23 early December lead; of course, Quinn is particularly vulnerable because he was never elected governor, but that is still a brutal turnaround. Seeking to drive the narrative of his momentum, Hynes released an internal poll of his own finding Quinn with a 44% to 37% lead, as well as a dismal 36% to 60% approval rating among Democrats. (The Chicago Tribune’s numbers were much better for Quinn, 43-31, though the topline results are worse.)

On the Republican side, the primary is totally impossible to predict with no less than 6 candidates having a credible shot at the nomination. PPP’s survey finds Kirk Dillard, Andy McKenna, Bill Brady, Jim Ryan, Adam Andrzejewski all within 19% and 11%, with Dan Proft at 7%; the Chicago Tribune finds a similarly confused situation. (The primary does feature one ad worth seeing, as McKenna is now attacking Dillard’s Republican credentials because the state senator featured in an Obama ad during the 2008 Iowa caucuses.)

Senate

While it hasn’t gotten as personal as the Quinn-Hynes showdown, the Democrats’ Senate primary has gotten competitive as well. Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias was seen as the front-runner as soon as he entered the race, thanks in part to his statewide post and to the large fundraising muscle he demonstrated within weeks of his entry, and the latest surveys suggest he has managed to maintain his position. The Chicago Tribune has him receiving 34%, with 19% going to Cheryle Jackson and 16% to former Chicago inspector general David Hoffman; PPP has similar results, with Giannoulias at 32%, Hoffman at 20% and Jackson at 18%.

The airwaves have primarily been used by Giannoulias and Hoffman’s campaigns, since Jackson did not raise enough money to mount a major advertising offensive. (Note that Jackson is one of just a few candidates nationwide upon which rests the hope that the Senate will have at least one African-American member come 2011.) The challenge these candidates have faced is fairly simple: which candidate can best distance himself or herself from Rod Blagojevich’s shadow?

Hoffman has been particularly aggressive in attacking Giannoulias, tying him to Blagojevich by indicting his ethics and relating him to Tony Rezko, whose name you surely remember from the presidential race. “Who will take on Washington’s spending and Wall Street abuses? Not Alexi. He was chief loan officer when his family’s bank gave a million dollars to Blagojevich crony and convicted felon Tony Rezko, then let Rezko bounce a half-million in checks,” argues a recent ad:

Giannoulias answered with the usual shame-on-my-opponent-for-going-negative ad. Giannoulias has spent more time attacking on issues, notably going after Hoffman’s support for free trade and his stance that the Bush tax cuts should not expire until the economy improves. Is that enough to conclude that Hoffman is more of a moderate while Giannoulias is ideologically a mainstream Democrat? Well, Giannoulias has a corporate background, which got him a seat on the board of the Edgewater Chamber of Commerce, certainly not what progressives dream of in a senator; interestingly, Jackson has served on the board of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce.

Yet, it would be a surprise if the election is decided by any substantive difference between the candidates. Given Giannoulias’s background and the fact that Hoffman has constructed his entire career on building good government credentials, the former Chicago inspector general is clearly banking on Democratic voters wanting to throw out any suspicion that might befall them that they have not turned the page of the Blagojevich era; given Illinois’s recent history, we can sure forgive these voters if they’re having a hard time trusting any politician is clean, let alone a former bank manager as Giannoulias is. Jackson faces her own problem: she was Blagojevich’s spokesperson.

That said, I am not convinced that there is a clear electability difference between these 3 Democrats, though that is something we shall have a better idea of as the general election unfolds since it does not look like Democrats will avoid facing Rep. Mark Kirk. They would have liked nothing more than seeing conservative activists Pat Hughes upset Kirk in the GOP primary. Yet, Hughes never managed to become the new coming of Doug Hoffman, the best sign yet that Democrats’ post-NY-23 hope that Tea Partiers would give Republicans major headaches hasn’t materialized just yet. PPP showed Kirk crushing 42% to 9%; the Chicago Tribune had him leading 47% to 8%.


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Rasmussen showers Senate Dems with troubling polls: GOP leads in 5 Dem-held seats

In the heels of his polls from Connecticut, Ohio and Pennsylvania’s Senate races, which he released earlier this week, Rasmussen conducted surveys from other states, finding worrisome signs for Democrats across the board. It speaks to this year’s reversal of fortunes that the best news the party can muster is that Lee Fisher (who was in the lead for much of the year) is staying afloat in Ohio while Alexi Giannoulias has pulled ahead to a lead within the MoE in staunchly blue Illinois.

Put all of this together, and we find that this week Rasmussen has released polls of 5 Senate races Dems are defending in which Republican candidates lead at least one match-up: Connecticut, Colorado, Illinois, Nevada, Pennsylvania. (And that still leaves out Arkansas and Delaware, which get us to 7 highly endangered Democratic seats.) On the other hand, the trendline are positive for Democrats in some of these polls, suggesting that the party might have already hit rock-bottom in some of these states; in particular, Rasmussen’s poll is I believe the ever to find Giannoulias with any sort of lead over Mark Kirk!

Let’s start by stating what needs to be said from the get go: Rasmussen’s results have been more favorable to Republicans than any other pollster’s all year, so these surveys represent the worse of the spectrum of possibilities for Democrats. Yet, it would be a mistake for Democrats to dismiss these results as outliers. First, the consistency with which Rasmussen’s results are skewed to the right means that the discrepancy is due to differing turnout models (and there is for now little evidence with which to say that theirs is wrong). Second, Rasmussen’s results are increasingly less divergent with those of other pollsters; PPP, Quinnipiac and Mason-Dixon have all recently found similar results in states like NV, PA and OH.

Colorado

Colorado is one state that has been so underpolled that we haven’t had a good idea of the incumbent’s vulnerability. This week, Rasmussen gave us a rare look into Michael Bennet’s prospects - and things look very ugly for the senator, who trails three Republicans challengers: 46% to 37% against former Lieutenant Governor Jane Norton, 42% to 41% against former state Senator Tom Wiens and 42% to 38% against District Attorney Ken Buck. In September, Rasmussen had Bennett leading Buck by 4% - and that was a more favorable result to the Democrat than PPP’s August survey.

Weighed down by a negative favorability rating (39-46), Bennet looks very vulnerable: I don’t have to tell for any incumbent to be stuck at 40% or to trail against opponents who are as low-profile statewide as Wiens and Buck is a dismal showing. Complicating matters is that state Speaker Andrew Romanoff is performing at similar levels: He faces a slightly larger deficit against Norton (45% to 34%), a slightly smaller one against Buck (41% to 39%) and the same one against Wiens (41% to 40%). Given that Romanoff is not an incumbent, that he can appeal to undecided voters as an outsider and that he has a positive name recognition, he is certainly in a position to make the case that he is more electable than Bennet. (A reminder: Bennet has never  before faced voters in any election.)

Nevada

Harry Reid might face smaller deficits, but his position is arguably far shakier than Bennet because he has far less room to grow as en entrenched incumbent and because his favorability rating is truly atrocious (40% to 57%). Furthermore, he trails former Assemblywoman Sharron Angle 47% to 43% in the very first survey testing her candidacy; a staunch conservative, Angle is reputed the weakest of Reid’s potential opponents so that the senator cannot even muster a lead against her is an ugly sign. Furthermore, Reid trails both Sue Lowden and Danny Tarkanian 49% to 43%.

The good news for Reid is that he has improved his numbers from Rasmussen’s prior poll of the race: In September, he trailed Lowden by 10% and Tarkanian by 7%, so perhaps his early efforts to improve his image have yielded results. Furthermore, the fact that the results are the same whoever Reid’s opponent confirms that voters aren’t voting Republican because they are enamored with any of the choices but only because of how much they have grown to dislike their senator; unfortunately for Reid, it won’t be easy for him to take advantage of that fact since he is too well-known to easily escape having this race be a referendum on his tenure.

Illinois

Democrats face far less of an uphill climb here, but Illinois is so blue that the party has nothing to boast about consideirng Rep. Mark Kirk’s competitive results: The Republican congressman, who has a stronger favorability rating than any of the 3 Democratic candidates, is within the margin of error in all match-ups. He trails Alexi Giannoulias 42% to 39%, leads Cheryle Jackson 42% to 39% and leads Dave Hoffman 42% to 38%. Just as in Nevada, Democrats can take some comfort in the trendline: Rasmussen’s summer poll had Kirk leading by 3%, while the October survey had a tie.

In fact, I believe this might be the first survey to find Giannoulias with any sort of lead because PPP’s only survey also had a tie while an internal GOP poll had the Republican leading by 7% earlier in October. This could due to the fact that Democrats are occupying airwaves right now: Their primary, which is coming up in February, is more obviously competitive, and Giannoulias and Hoffman are already up on air. (I don’t believe the same is true for Kirk.) Another reassuring nugget for Democrats is that Barack Obama’s approval rating remains strong in his home state (58% to 42%), so Republicans still have to show they can convince state voters to go against their usual party loyalty.


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Filing deadline passes in Illinois: Burris will not be on the 2010 ballot, Biggert will

Illinois is the only state whose filing deadline is the year before Election Day: As of last week, no new candidate can jump in any of the state’s contests, which enables us to determine what will be next year’s battle fields in a way we cannot elsewhere.

The biggest news comes from what is the state’s marquee contest: The Senate race. While Roland Burris had long already announced he would not seek a full term, he had left the door open to changing his mind; he recently declared he was considering jumping in after all. But he did not make his move, and the deadline is now past. Burris will not be on the ballot in 2010.

Rep. Judy Biggert will, however. At the start of the cycle, Democrats were hoping that the congresswoman would call it quit rather than seek another term at 72; an open race in IL-13 would have been highly competitive: the district for Barack Obama by 9%. Yet, Biggert filed for re-election, so the GOP can breath easier. (Note that an open seat race might be tougher for the NRCC to defend in 2012, with Obama at the of the ticket.) Democrats are likely to nominate Scott Harper, their 2008 nominee. Harper received a respectable 42% of the vote last year, but given how favorable the environment was for him, it’s tough to see Biggert fall in 2010 if she survived 2008.

Those are the two most important tidbits I can see perusing through the Illinois Board of Election’s databases, but we can now have a clear idea of the landscape in a number of key races. Here’s an overview.

Senate

Alexi Giannoulias, Cheryle Jackson and David Hoffman headline the Democratic field in a primary that has long already become heated; Greenville city councilman Willie Boyd, businessman Corey Dabney, attorney Jacob Meister, Robert Marshal are also running, for a total of 7 candidates. Jones LeAlan will be the Green Party nominee.

On the Republican side, Rep. Mark Kirk is the heavy favorite to win the nomination but conservatives have 3 months to topple him: For all the talk about Florida, Illinois features the first test of whether moderates can win GOP primaries this year. Yet, here the hard right has no champion as prominent as Marco Rubio. Businessman Pat Hughes has positioned himself as the leading alternative to Kirk, but he’ll have to deal with the presence of six other candidates on the ballot: former alderman John Arrington, former judge Don Lowery, Thomas Kuna, Andy Martin, school board member Kathleen Thomas and former financial director Bob Zadek.

Governor

The Democratic primary should be a two-way race between Governor Pat Quinn and Treasurer Daniel Hynes; this could help Hynes by not splitting the anti-incumbent vote, or it could Quinn since it’s hard to see primary voters dissatisfied enough with their governor that his challenger could reach 50% of the vote. However, community activist William Walls and attorney Ed Scanlan will also seek the nomination.

The Republican side is just as crowded as we had come to expect. The biggest news is former Attorney General Jim Ryan’s decision to run. He does seem more prominent than his party rivals, but he was last seen in state politics when he lost the 2002 gubernatorial race to Blagojevich so we’ll have to see whether he do better now that he’s been out of the public spotlight for 7 years. In the primary, he’ll face a number of credible candidates: former party chair Andy McKenna, state Senator Bill Brady, Adam Andrzejewski, state Senator Kirk Dillard, consultant Dan Proft and DuPage Co. Board chair Robert Schillerstrom. The winner is unlikely to receive more than a small plurality.

Rich Whitney will be the Green Party’s nominee. He had already ran in 2006, receiving 10% of the vote - a rare show of force by a third-party contender, all the more admirable given that Chris Daggett’s failure to break 6% shows just how difficult it is to receive substantial support.

IL-10: The only open House seat

The state’s marquee House contest is the open race in IL-10. On the Democratic side, not much surprise: state Rep. Julie Hamos and 2006-2008 nominee Dan Seals will headline the field, though they’ll also be facing Elliot Richardson and Milton Sumption. On the Republican side, the GOP’s strongest recruit is state Rep. Elizabeth Coulson, who has a moderate enough reputation that as to have some hope of winning a district Obama won with 61% of the vote.

Here conservatives face the same dilemma as in the Senate primary, where there are many candidates looking to take on Mark Kirk. Here, Coulson will face 6 Republicans: William Cadigan, businessman Robert Dold, businessman Dick Green, Paul Hamann, financial consultant Patricia Bird and veteran Arie Frediman. Dold, who has worked in Congress and has roots in local activism, looks to be the most apt to derail Coulson’s bid but the crowded GOP field will make it easier for her to clinch the nomination.

Other Houses races

IL-06 is bound to be a disappointment for Democrats. Conservative Rep. Peter Roskam was one of the few Republicans to win a highly competitive race in 2006, and he survived by a large margin last year against a candidate the DCCC was once touting. This year, Democrats did not find a challenger to Roskam until the final days of the filing period, when Ben Lowe jumped in the race, announcing he’ll focus on foreign policy. Even though Obama won this district by 13%, Roskam is heavily favored to win re-election next year.

In IL-08, Democratic Rep. Melissa Bean should also expect a far calmer cycle than she faced in 2006 and 2008. After she won a red-tilting seat in 2004, Republicans had put a clear target on its back, but the NRCC has now new junior lawmakers to take aim at. Who knows what can happen if the environment becomes highly toxic for Democrats, but none of Bean’s six challengers look like they’ll be able to endanger the incumbent.

If freshman Democratic Rep. Debbie Halvorson faces any difficulty winning re-election in IL-11, it will be because she has not had time to entrench herself or because the environment is tough for her party, not because the GOP put much time ensuring she has a strong challenger. 5 Republicanshave filed for the race; at least one - Air Force veteran Adam Kinzinger - met with NRCC officials, suggesting he might attract the national party’s attention if he first survives an unpredictable primary.

In IL-14, Ethan Hastert, an attorney best known for being the son of former Speaker Dennis Hastert, will have competition for the right to take on Democratic Rep. Foster: state Senator Randall Hultgren, maintenance manager Jeff Danklefsen, Mark Vargas and James Purcell all filed for the GOP nomination. Bizarrely, the only person who filed to run as a Green candidate (Dan Kairis) is a member of the Illinois Minutemen who previously ran as a Reform Party candidate; could the Green nominee attract votes from the right?

In IL-16, finally, Republican Rep. Dan Manzullo will face a rare credible challenge from Freeport Mayor George Gaulrapp, a race I previewed last month.


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Crist’s unforced error reveals moderate Republicans’ growing nervousness

On CNN last night, Charlie Crist committed an inexplicable mistake that’s as revealing of the terror that has now gripped moderate Republicans as anything that happened in NY-23. Asked about Barack Obama’s wintertime stimulus package, he denied having supported it: “Well, I didn’t endorse it,” he said. “You know, I didn’t even have a vote on the darned thing. But I understood that it was going to pass and I wanted to be able to utilize it for the benefit of my fellow Floridians.”

Asked to clarify his comments today, Crist once again claimed that he had only supported a bill that had already passed to ensure Florida get its fair share. “The bill that passed wasn’t exactly what I would want to vote for. But it’s what passed,” he said. “And so once this happens, you know, I think it’s important to embrace it, fight for Florida’s fair share and do what’s right for the state.”

You readers hopefully have a better memory than the Florida governor, so I don’t need to remind you of just how unambiguously false his comments are.

On February 3rd, before the stimulus bill’s passage, Crist wrote to the White House to express his support for the bill’s passage. A week later, as congressional Republicans were doing their best to project a unified front, Crist appeared at a rally with Obama in Fort Myers to promote the stimulus bill. “We know that it’s important that we pass a stimulus package,” he said. “This is not about partisan politics. This is about rising above that, helping America and reigniting our economy.” Crist went as far as to contact Florida’s Republican congressmen to urge them to support the stimulus; that none of them did does not erase his attempt to convince them.

In case that was not enough proof: On May 19th, after he declared his candidacy for the open Senate seat, Crist said he would have made the “pragmatic” decision to vote in favor of the stimulus package if he had been in Congress.

That Crist thought his comments would attract him anything but ridicule is very surprising. Why he would want to downplay his enthusiastic support for the stimulus isn’t at all.

It’s been a while that Crist has been at the very top of conservatives’ target list. But back in May, that was problematic but not that worrisome. Crist was dominating in polls, he was crushing Rubio fundraising-wise and he looked like the GOP’s main hope of defending the Senate seat. His victory looked so ineluctable that he even managed to keep the Club for Growth from getting involved!

But all of that has changed. For one, there have been signs that Marco Rubio’s primary challenge is catching fire, with two recent polls finding the former Speaker dramatically cutting into the governor’s lead; in a broader sense, the economic crisis has finally caught up with Crist, whose approval rating among the general electorate has been dropping.

Most importantly, the events of the past few months (the Tea Partiers’ August mobilization, the wild campaign in NY-23) make conservatives look like a major threat: There is now evidence that their movement is willing to go all-out against the GOP establishment and that the Republican base will be receptive. All of the energy conservative harnessed in NY-23 could now unleash itself on Florida.

In fact, it already has: The Club for Growth, which has officially still not endorsed Rubio but which is sending increasingly clear signs that it will get seriously involved in Florida, just unveiled a TV ad hitting the governor for supporting the stimulus package:

That final image is of course typical of primary campaigns: Ned Lamont successfully used Joe Lieberman’s embrace with George W. Bush during their 2006 showdown, and Joe Sestak is sure to make the most of footage showing Arlen Specter accompanying Bush. It’s now Crist’s turn to be portrayed as a Democrat in a Republican’s clothing, and given all that has transpired in recent months it’s no surprise that he is nervous.

Other Republicans are just as nervous, in fact. This week, we learned that Illinois Rep. Mark Kirk is soliciting Sarah Palin’s endorsement. Kirk has been considered one of the GOP’s top Senate recruits, but that’s because he is centrist enough to win in this blue a state. For him to appear as a political ally of a woman even Christie and McDonnell were keeping their distances from would seriously injure his prospects.

That he’s looking to take such a risk can only be explained by the fact that the Club for Growth is now considering targeting him, with many other conservatives have put him on their target list ever since he supported the Waxman-Markey bill in June.

Conservatives have so terrified moderate Republicans that they’ve gotten Kirk to endanger his general election prospects, just as they’ve gotten Crist to make an inexplicable statement that could come back to haunt him in the year ahead.

As such, there is no question that the governor’s growing primary troubles are making the entire Senate race competitive. Sure, it’s not like  Democrats can’t expect to easily win the general election if they get to face Rubio rather than Crist (Rubio is no Doug Hoffman) but the governor is injuring himself at this point - just like Kirk is in Illinois.

Where just a few months ago, there was nothing to see but Crist’s coronation, there is now an increasingly unpredictable Senate race - and that puts Kendrick Meek back in the game. Florida joins Kentucky, Missouri, New Hampshire, Ohio, North Carolina and, to a lesser extent, Louisiana in the list of Democratic opportunities.


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Polls find good news for GOP: McDonnell up 19%, Kirk manages Illinois tie, trouble for Gillibrand

It’s all but over in Virginia’s gubernatorial race, at least if SUSA’s latest poll is to be trusted: Bob McDonnell leads Creigh Deeds by a stunning 59% to 40%!

Sure, SUSA has long been the friendliest pollster to McDonnell. But that in no way addresses the trendline (the Republican has gained 8% in two weeks) nor the fact that other polls are also finding Deeds in free fall: Just this morning, I noted that WVEC had released the first non-SUSA poll since August to find a double-digit margin.

What’s particularly ugly for Deeds is that the poll’s sample is far less skewed towards the GOP than it has been in recent months: 47% of respondents reported voting for Obama in 2008, versus 44% in SUSA’s 3 prior polls. So how come Deeds trails by 19%? He is down 71% to 27% among independents and trails by 10% among Northern Virginians… I am obviously skeptical that either of those groups will vote for McDonnell this decisively, but the mere fact that we are discussing it as a possibility tells us all we need to know about Deeds’s prospects.

A more competitive contest that will be held on November 3rd is Maine’s vote on gay marriage. Two recent polls had found the “no” (the pro-gay marriage position) holding a decisive lead, but PPP contradicted those findings by finding a tie, 48% to 48%. As PPP notes, that means that the results will come down to turnout: The fewer voters go to the polls, the more the electorate is likely to be old and the less gay marriage will be likely to survive. That makes the issue very hard to poll.

On to 2010 races: Paterson, Gillibrand in trouble

Jon Corzine might be improving his fortunes in New Jersey, but David Paterson isn’t able to mount any sort of comeback in neighboring New York. Siena’s monthly poll finds his approval rating as dismal as ever - 19%. In the Democratic primary, he is crushed by Andrew Cuomo 70% to 20%; in the general election, he trails Rudy Giuliani 56% to 33%. Though he musters a 39% to 37% edge against Rick Lazio, Cuomo destroys Lazio 66% to 21%.

By now, I fail to feel any astonishment whatsoever at the sight of an incumbent governor trailing by 50% - a testament to how certain it is that Paterson will lose his re-election race if either Cuomo or Giuliani jump in the race. I am somewhat surprised that the governor has failed to improve his approval rating at all, however. He did receive some good news in recent months, after all, starting with his success in resolving some of the state’s institutional paralysis when he convinced state courts to let his Lieutenant Governor appointment stand.

Another New York incumbent who is not in good shape is Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. Though we are talking about a whole different situation than Paterson - her favorability rating, which stands at 28-26, is not comparable to the governor’s - her deficit when matched-up with Giuliani is only marginally smaller than Paterson’s: She trails by a large 53% to 36%. Former Governor George Pataki also leads Gillibrand, 46% to 41%.

The senator is lucky there is still no evidence either Giuliani or Pataki will run for governor. In fact, the former mayor is turning out to be quite a political force independently of the Democrats’ woes: 53% of respondents want him to run for some office in 2010, versus 43% who would rather he did not. There could be no better test of the electorate’s receptiveness to Giuliani.

Illinois’s Senate race is a toss-up

Another Senate seat the GOP might have a chance of picking-up is Illinois’s, where Rasmussen confirms that Rep. Mark Kirk makes the race highly competitive: Kirk ties Alexi Giannoulias 41% to 41%, he leads Cheryle Jackson 43% to 39% and he’s more decisively ahead of David Hoffman, 47% to 37%. Illinois’s political leanings mean that Democrats are slightly favored to have a tie resolved in their favor, if for no other reason than because Barack Obama would probably get involved in his home-state.

Yet, the bottom line is that Kirk is electable enough that he’s able to overcome Illinois’s “blue state status” and appeal to enough typically Democratic-voting electors to push a statewide official (Giannoulias) into a tie. And before you object that this is a Rasmussen poll, let me remind you that no survey has found Giannoulias with a meaningful lead; a PPP poll released over the spring also found a tie.

One of the most interesting nuggets in this poll is the lack of a significant differential between Giannoulias and Jackson’s performance, despite the former’s far stronger name recognition. If other polls find a similar result, that could mean a more contested Democratic primary since it would prevent Giannoulias of an electability argument. Second, this suggests to me that Kirk is winning over nearly all swing voters, leaving the Democratic base to his opponents. That he isn’t pulling away in those conditions is a testament to how difficult it’ll be for Kirk to actually cross the finish-line.

Vitter leads by double-digits, again

A Southern Media and Opinion Research poll has Senator David Vitter leading Rep. Charlie Melancon 48% to 36% - a margin similar to that of the recent Rasmussen survey, which had the incumbent up 46% to 36%.

The good news for Melancon is that Vitter is under the 50% mark (albeit narrowly) and that a 12% deficit, albeit significant, can be overcome - especially by a challenger who has room to grow by virtue of lower name recognition. The good news for Vitter is that the electorate is not looking to replace him, and the 2007 scandals do not appear to have left much of a map: His favorability rating stands at 57%, which makes him difficult to beat.

The one poll that should excite liberals: Americans love the public option

I typically stay away from polling on Obama’s approval rating or on policy matters, but The Washington Post’s health care survey is dominating the week’s political discussion to too great an extent to ignore it: 57% of respondents support a public option and that 51% say they’d rather health care reform pass without Republican support but with a government-administered plan (versus 37% who said the inverse).

Those findings have emboldened progressives in their demand that a public option be included in the merged bill that will make it to the Senate floor, and it looks like even conservative Democrats are using it as cover! Today, Ben Nelson expressed openness to the opt-out mechanism (in my view as clear a sign as any that progressives have been making a lot of progress on this issue) and in doing so he displayed his familiarity with the WaPo’s figures.


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Senate polls show Specter struggling to stay afloat, find a rare sign of Crist’s vulnerability

3 polls, and little good news for Arlen Specter

In one of the ugliest polls for Arlen Specter since the longtime senator switched parties, Rasmussen’s latest poll of the Democratic primary finds the Senator’s lead down to just four points over Joe Sestak, 46% to 42%. That’s not quite as catastrophic a situation as Specter faced in the Republican primary against Pat Toomey, but it is a brutal deterioration of Specter’s standing: He led by 19% in June.

Specter’s lead is evaporating before Sestak even starts hammering the incumbent and reminding voters of all the reasons that made Specter a Republican for decades. Once ads start airing showing Specter praising George W. Bush, what will remain of his remaining 4%? Specter will need all the help he can get from Barack Obama - and the $8.7 million he now has in the banks will obviously come handy.

A major caveat: A Susquehanna Polling and Research survey released a few days ago finds Specter with a far larger lead (44% to 16%). Obviously, this is nothing for Sestak to celebrate - but neither does it qualify as good news for Specter: As long as he is well under 50%, the huge name recognition differential that separates him from Sestak doesn’t entitle him to get much comfort out of this 28% lead.

Another reason Specter will not want to draw much attention to that Susquehanna poll is that his numbers among the general electorate are atrocious - just as they are atrocious in two other surveys released over the past few days:

  • In Susquehanna, his re-elect is down to a dismal 31%, and he is locked in a dead heat with Pat Toomey (42% to 41%).
  • A poll by GrassrootsPA, a Republican firm, has Specter leading 46% to 43% - which is less good than Sestak’s 43% to 38% lead.
  • Rasmussen, finally, has Toomey leading 45% to 40% against Specter but trailing 38% to 37% against Sestak.

Rasmussen’s general election poll is actually a slight improvement for Specter over the June poll, which found him trailing Toomey by a bizarre 12%. Even holding that as a clear outlier, the picture that emerges out of these three polls is still one of an unpopular incumbent struggling to make it to the general election and in an undoubtedly vulnerable position if he does make it.

And it is quite remarkable that both GrassrootsPA and Rasmussen find Sestak running better in the general election than Specter. I have long said that Democrats would face a huge enthusiasm deficit if they let Specter move on to the general, and that problem has only been aggravated in recent months: Democrats already face a motivational gap, and they really can’t afford to give their base any more reason to be indifferent.

A rare sign that Crist might be growing vulnerable

Most U.S. congressmen who run for Senate are considered to have a good shot at winning, but Rep. Kendrick Meek finds himself the heavy underdog against Charlie Crist. Meek’s solution: Release an internal poll that finds some promising results. While we might not think of a survey that has Crist leading 47% to 31% as particularly good news for Meek, the Democrat is trying to attract our attention to the finding that Meek leads 45% to 43% among voters who know both candidates.

I don’t have room in this post to list all the ways in which this is a meaningless figure. 1. It’s an internal survey. 2. We are talking about a small subsample (just 25% of respondents know Meek) with a big MoE. 3. This subsample is skewed to the left: Voters who know Meek are most likely to be living in Southern Florida (starting with those who live around his district) and thus be far more Democratic than the electorate at large.

To the extent that the poll finds a comforting thought for Meek, it’s nothing new: The name recognition differential between the two contenders is so large that it obviously impacts the results and Meek can close some of the margin just by introducing himself to voters. But we have long known this would not be enough: Meek is running against a quasi-incumbent who is so popular (an approval rating hovering above 60%) that Democrats have had no opening.

This is why the far more interesting Florida survey released this week is an Insider Advantage poll that finds Crist’s approval rating falling all the way down to 47%, with 41% disapproving.

We’ll have to wait to see whether this survey is an outlier. For now, let’s just say it’s a rare - a first? - sign that the economic crisis that has plunged so many of the country’s governors in a dismal political situation might be catching up with Crist. If this trend is confirmed, we might suddenly have a race on our hands: Just as the Culver, Strickland and Ritter are facing far more competitive contests than expected, Crist might find it hard to stay afloat if voters start blaming him for the state’s economic and fiscal woes.

Let’s not forget that, before even moving on to the general election, Crist will have to survive another grueling legislative session and the no doubt brutal attacks of Marco Rubio and his allies.

Another internal poll, this one in Illinois

Mark Kirk has less to prove than Kendrick Meek to the extent that he is already considered one of the NRSC’s best gets, but we have nonetheless seen very little polling from the Illinois Senate race. Kirk’s campaign sought to remedy that by releasing an internal poll that shows him leading Democratic front-runner Alexi Giannoulias 42% to 35%. The poll also tests the primary, finding it to be uncompetitive with no evidence that GOP voters are rejecting the relatively moderate Kirk.

Sure, this is an internal poll but the few public surveys that have been conducted have also found worrisome results for Democrats (a springtime PPP survey had Giannoulias and Kirk tied). A public poll conducted today might not find Giannoulias trailing outside of the MoE, but the fact that Democrats are in real danger of losing Illinois comes as no surprise. This is one of seven seats the GOP has already made highly competitive, and Democrats are in no position to be complacent about any of them.


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Weekly 2010 update: MA, VT, LA and CO find themselves in flux

A busy week on the midterm front leaves a number of races shuffled up. Massachusetts suddenly has a special election on the horizon; Vermont unexpectedly ended up with an open Governor’s race that is sparking the interest of three different parties; two Iowa congressmen announced they would not seek statewide office; Louisiana’s Senate race got interesting with Charlie Melancon’s entrance in the race; and Colorado’s took several turns with Bob Beauprez’s exit and still-to-be-confirmed Denver Post reports that Ken Buck will pull the plug on his campaign while Andrew Romanoff will challenge Senator Bennet in the Democratic primary.

More on Colorado’s latest developments, which would seriously alter the state’s political landscape if they came to pass, once we know a bit more about Romanoff and Buck’s plans; if the latter does exit the race, it would seem to confirm other reports that indicate former Lieutenant Governor Jane Norton is preparing to run for the Republican nomination.

One other important storyline I did not get to cover this week is Chicago Inspector General David Hoffman’s entry in the Illinois Senate race. This unexpected development makes the primary a 3-way race - just as it was expected to be before Schakowsky, Kennedy and Daley all pulled out. While Giannoulias remains the front-runner, Hoffman’s corruption-fighting and anti-machine credentials could play well in the state’s post-Blagojevich context - and we might hear much more about Blago in 2010 depending on whether a trial takes place. Also, Hoffman’s entry improves Cheryle Jackson’s prospects: As the contest’s only female and non-white candidate, she can hope for an opening - especially if Hoffman concentrates his attacks on Giannoulias.

In South Carolina, meanwhile, Attorney General Henry McMaster became the fourth Republican to announce he will run for Governor. With Lieutenant Governor André Bauer all but certain to enter the race, the primary could be a 5-way affair with 2 statewide officials (McMaster and Bauer), one congressman (Greshman Barrett) and two state legislators (Larry Grooms and Sanford ally Nikki Haley). In the backdrop, of course, are the various Sanford scandals that are unfolding. How will candidates manage that? in a crowded race, can Haley power herself to victory on the basis of Sanford loyalists? will Bauer’s attempts to take a harsher stance against Sanford hurt him or help him in the primary?

As always, I list all the changes I have logged in during the week to the “retirement watch” and recruitment pages. Written in red are those politicians who announced their definite plans rather than simply expressed interest or stroke speculation. First, updates to Retirement Watch:

Will retire Governor Jim Douglas (VT)
Rep. Charlie Melancon (LA-03)
Will not retire Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01)
Rep. Steve King (IA-05)
Will not resign Rep. Bill Young (FL-10)

Second, updates to the Senate recruitment page: General Russell Honore

AR-Sen, Dem state Senator Bob Johnson added to list
CO-Sen, GOP former Rep. Bob Beauprez will not run
IL-Sen, Dem Rep. Bruce Braley will not run
IL-Sen, Dem Chicago Inspector General David Hoffman announced run
IL-Sen, GOP retired judge Don Lowery is running
LA-Sen, Dem GOP
General Russell Honore added to list
LA-Sen, Dem state Sen. Erik LaFleur will not run
Rep. Charlie Melancon announced run
MA-Sen, Dem Rep. Michael Capuano added
Attorney General Martha Coakley added
Rep. William Delahunt added
Rep. Barney Frank added
Vicky Kennedy added
former Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy II
Rep. Stephen Lynch added
Rep. Edward Markey added
Rep. James McGovern added
University Chancellor and former Rep. Martin Meehan added
MA-Sen, GOP businessman Jeff Beatty added
former Ambassador Chris Egan
former Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey
former Governor Mitt Romney will not run
former U.S. Attorney Mark Sullivan added
VA-Sen, GOP Governor Jim Douglas will not run

Third, updates to gubernatorial recruitment:

IA-Gov, GOP Rep. Steve King will not run
SC-Sen, GOP Attorney General Henry McMaster confirmed run
professor Brent Nelsen dropped out (back in July)
TX-Gov, GOP rancher Hank Gilbert announced run
VT-Gov, GOP Governor Jim Douglas announces retirement
Lt. Gov. Brian Dubie added to list


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Strict Standards: array_filter() expects parameter 2 to be a valid callback, non-static method K2::strip_trackback() should not be called statically in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-content/themes/k2/app/classes/k2.php on line 458

Strict Standards: array_filter() expects parameter 2 to be a valid callback, non-static method K2::strip_trackback() should not be called statically in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-content/themes/k2/app/classes/k2.php on line 458

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    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
  • All good things must come to an end

  • 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 remains on the table

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55
  • Results thread, part 2: Dems suffer staggering losses in House and legislatives races, limit damage in statewide races

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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