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Category Archive for ‘MO-Gov’ at Campaign Diaries
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Archive for the 'MO-Gov' CategoryPage 2 of 3


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Primary results: Is there anything to see in Georgia’s Senate race?

A number of states held primaries yesterday, giving us a better sense of some general election line-ups.

The Democratic primary for the Georgia Senate race was held on July 15th but as no candidate crossed 50% the two top vote-getters went on a runoff: DeKalb County Chief Executive Officer Vernon Jones and former state Rep. Jim Martin. Jones is a controversial candidate who faced allegations of harassment and rape in the past and who endorsed and voted for George W. Bush in both 2000 and 2004 - out-Zelling Zell Miller. Martin, on the other hand, waged a campaign critical of the President and he appears to have gotten the votes that went to the other candidates in mid-July: Jones edged Martin by 6% last month; last night Martin crushed Jones yesterday 59% to 41%.

The DSCC’s Chuck Schumer immediately released a statement calling this a “winnable race.” If Democrats were to have any hope of making this contest competitive, they were indeed hoping for a Martin victory. The latest poll, released in July, showed Senator Saxby Chambliss leading Martin by 11% and leading Jones by 30%. But do Democrats have a realistic chance of pulling an upset in Georgia? Georgia is perhaps the one state that has resisted to the country’s Democratic trends - at least if we look at 2006 - and Chambliss is showing no obvious sign of vulnerability. And however “impressive” Martin is, he is clearly far from the strongest candidate Democrats could have recruited.

Yet, it would be foolish to rate Chambliss as safe. He is a freshman incumbent, often the most vulnerable kind, and has not had time to entrench himself. The DSCC has enough money to launch an attack on the Senator and test how weak his support is. It is unlikely that the race will enter the top-tier, but given the year’s Democratic lean Martin cannot be discounted. In fact, whatever chance he has might rest on the presidential race and whether the Obama campaign can boost black turnout as it claims it will.

Meanwhile, the night’s high-profile Republican primaries were defeats for the more conservative candidates. Kansas certainly featured the purest ideological contrasts of the night. The state GOP is famously divided between its moderate and conservative wing, and their feud has escalated in the past few years to threaten the state’s Republican loyalty. A number of high-profile GOPers have switched parties or become independent, and last night was just another episode. In the primary in KS-02, former Rep. Jim Ryun, defeated in 2006, represented the conservative wing whereas state Treasurer Lynn Jenkins represented its moderate wing. Despite lower name recognition, Jenkins prevailed by a narrow margin - 51% to 49%.

She will now take on Democratic Rep. Nancy Boyda, who is one of the most endangered Democrats of the cycle. It is difficult to assess the race until we know how deep the wounds from the GOP primary. If Ryun had won the nomination, Boyda could have counted on cross-over votes from moderate Republicans; but how will the district’s more conservative voters react to Jenkins’s general election candidacy? If there is one state in which they could desert the polls in protest, it’s in Kansas. (In another highly ideological GOP primary in the state, Phil Kline, who prosecuted abortion providers as state Attorney General a few years back, lost his party’s nomination for county district attorney even though he was the incumbent.)

In Missouri’s gubernatorial GOP primary, US Rep. Kenny Hulshof defeated more out-spoken conservative state Treasurer Sarah Steelman 49% to 45% after Steelman waged a vigorous campaign in which she ran as the outsider intent on reforming Washington, blasting Hulshof for having lost his conservative ways - particularly on the issue of spending. Steelman promised to reign in on D.C.’s spending habits - a winning issue in Republican primaries. But the campaign took very negative turns on other issues as well, as Steelman aired some very harsh ads on issues like ethanol and illegal immigration (these ads give some perspective on just refreshingly tame the Democratic presidential primary was in comparison.)

These spots - particularly the one on immigration - could seriously hurt Hulshof in the general election, where he will take on another state official, Attorney General Jay Nixon. Hulshof starts as the underdog (the race is rated “lean take-over” in my latest gubernatorial ratings; polling history) and he will be hurt not only by his party label but also once again by his inside-the-beltway status. In a year in which voters appear to have both an anti-GOP and an anti-Washington reflex, Hulshof has two big handicaps to overcome.

Both parties held competitive primaries in Hulshof’s old district, MO-09. Bush won the district with 59% of the vote in 2006, and the GOP starts with a clear edge; but Democrats have been touting their chances in seats like this one ever since they won their string of three special elections in red territory this spring. At least, the NRCC will not have to spend too much money fighting for this district as GOP voters nominated a self-funder, former state Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer who is now an insurance agency owner. The Democratic nominee is state Rep. Judy Baker, who defeated her more conservative (and former Speaker of the state House) opponent on the strength of the district’s urban center. The DCCC has reserved close to $1 million of TV time for the fall, and the race is rated lean GOP in my latest House ratings.


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Down-ballot: DSCC attacks Dole and Smith, while Stevens sinks and MO-06 tightens

In mid-July, news emerged that the DSCC had reserved up to $6 million of air time in North Carolina from September onward, in an effort to make Senator Dole the Democrats’ 9th target. We soon learned that a similar investment was being made in Maine and that the DSCC had already started airing ads in Mississippi on behalf of Ronnie Musgrove. Now, it appears that the DSCC is not even waiting for the fall in North Carolina, as it bought $400,000 worth of advertising to be spent over 11 days (from today to August 11th):

[youtube="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ByDv0hTP4Jc"]

The ad notes that an “effectiveness ranking” had placed Dole in 93rd position. “Elizabeth Dole, after 40 years in Washington, not as effective as you might think,” is the ad’s tag line: “She can’t fix gas prices from 93rd place, or create jobs, and she sure hasn’t fixed immigration from 93rd place.” The ad is a bit misleading: Dole might have been in D.C for a long time, but she has only been in the Senate for 6 years - and seniority counts for a lot when we are talking about legislative power. And it is not necessarily a convincing argument that a new Senator with even less seniority would yield more power in the chamber.

On the other hand, NC remains a conservative-leaning state and Dole’s profile is not that of an extremist, so Democrats have to hit Dole on process issues rather than try to connect her to Bush or portray her as out-of-touch. Dole remains vulnerable, as was demonstrated by the long series of polls released throughout May finding a toss-up race between Dole and Kay Hagan. It took Dole’s running a wave of ads for her to get back on top. The Democrats’ gambit here is that an incumbent who needs a big media buy to reclaim the lead is weak and can just as easily lose it back. Live by ads, die by ads - that’s why the DSCC is spending so much money here.

The same is true in OR. The DSCC is answering Gordon Smith’s latest ad (which I described this morning) with an attack ad that is devoted to (what else) energy issues. Note that the situation is similar to that in Mississippi: the incumbent has a lot of cash and is already running ads, whereas Merkley has financial difficulties.

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

“The oil and gas industry has given Gordon Smith’s campaign nearly three hundred thousand dollars,” claims the ad, exhibiting these proofs of Smith’s ties “to big oil.” The ad’s visuals are used by countless other candidates from both parties right now, from the very top (McCain against Obama) to House races (an independent group against Musgrave), to suggest that the price of oil is rising because of a candidate’s actions or inaction. The goal is to prevent Smith for accumulating good will among Democrats and independents with his maverick-looking ads.

Meanwhile, the day’s down-the-ballot polls include Ivan Moore’s latest delivery from Alaska, which was in the field on Wednesday and Thursday - in the immediate aftermath of Stevens’ indictment:

  • Begich now leads by a staggering 56% to 35%. In Ivan Moore’s July 22nd poll, Begich was already ahead, 51% to 43%. Moore also polled the GOP primary, where Stevens still appears solid, leading against real estate developer Cuddy 59% to 19% (Stevens got 70% a week prior). Wealthy businessman Vickers does not (yet) get much support.
  • In North Carolina’s Senate race, Research 2000’s latest poll finds Elizabeth Dole leading 50% to 42%. The previous poll of the race was taken in late April, before the Hagan bounce of early May, so it is not a useful trendline point.
  • In the Texas Senate race, Senator Cornyn is now ahead 47% to 37% in Rasmussen’s latest poll, 50% to 39% when leaners are included. In early July, he was ahead by 13% and 17% in June - though the margin was only 4% in May (other polling institutes found a similarly tight margin at the time).
  • In MO-06, Rep. Sam Graves has lost his lead against Kay Barnes and is now only ahead 48% to 44% in SUSA’s latest poll. In May, Graves led by 10%.
  • Finally, SUSA also polled Missouri’s gubernatorial race and finds the race tightening as we approach the GOP primary. Jay Nixon leads Kenny Hulshof 48% to 42% and Sarah Steelman 50% to 41%. In May, he led by 24% and 25% respectively.

The Moore poll finds Stevens in even worse shape than yesterday’s Rasmussen poll; but it suggests that Stevens has a chance to win the primary… so the main hurdle for the GOP will be convincing him to drop out (as I explain in my morning analysis). With Alaska slowly joining the lean take-over column, it is that much more urgent for the GOP to defend their second-tier seats - starting with TX and NC. It might be too late for the NRSC to not have to invest in the latter, but it simply cannot afford to see the Texas race become competitive: it does not have the resources to help Cornyn while also defending seats like MS, OR and MN, NH and CO.

As for the MO-06 race, it promises to be one of the fall’s hot spots. Last time we checked in, Graves was airing gay-baiting ads hitting Barnes’s “San Fransisco values.” Barnes replied with a strongly-worded response. Two months later, the race has tightened in the Democrat’s favor and the DCCC included this race in the list of districts it will air ads this fall. MO-06 is making its way towards the toss-up column.


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Polls: Obama up 9 in Quinnipiac, 8 in WaPo, 6 in NYT; Landrieu, Udall lead GOP opponents

After yesterday’s flurry of state polls, the main presidential survey of the day comes from Quinnipiac’s national numbers: Obama leads 50% to McCain’s 41% based on a 19% advantage among women and a 94% to 1% lead among African-Americans. This is a larger lead than we have seen in the past few national polls.While McCain isn’t expected to do well among black voters, getting an abysmal 1% would be a catastrophe for him in a number of states.

[Update: Two new national polls were released late afternoon:

  • Washington Post/ABC: Obama leads 50% to 42% among registered voters. Among all adults, Obama leads by 12%; among likely voters, he is up 49% to 46%. The poll identifies Obama's weakness as foreign affairs, as 63% of voters think McCain has a better knowledge of world affairs, versus 26% for Obama. They also trust McCain more to handle a major crisis.
  • New York Times/CBS: Obama leads 45% to 39%. This poll explored racial differences in public opinion, finding for instance that only 34% of whites think race relations are in bad shape, versus 60% of blacks. And the poll finds that only 30% and 24% of whites have a favorable opinion of Barack and of Michelle.]

A key finding in the Quinnipiac poll is that Obama and McCain have the same lead among registered Democrats and registered Republicans, respectively. Among independents, the two are tied at 44%. Yet, Obama has a large lead. What does that tell us? What I have been saying quite often by now: The shifts in partisan identification means that all Obama needs to do is secure his Democratic base and not fall too far behind among independents — a key difference with 2004 and the reason moving to the center seems to me like a strategic blunder.

Quinnipiac also finds that Obama leads 57% to 35% in blue states (those that voted for Kerry by more than 5% in 2004) though McCain is only up 47% to 44% in red states. In states in which the election was within 5% four years ago, Obama crushes his rival 50% to 39%. This confirms what we have been seeing over the past few weeks at the state level: the epicenter of the electoral college battle is moving in red territory, with marginally blue states looking solid for Obama and marginally red states looking like true battlegrounds.

Case-in-point in today’s PPP poll from South Carolina, one of the most solidly red states of the South:

  • McCain leads Obama 45% to 39%, with 5% for Bob Barr. Obama’s lead among black voters is 77% to 10% and he can expect to increase that share.

Yes, summer polls are probably overstating Barr’s support, making McCain look weaker than he ought to be. But there is no question that a single-digit lead in South Carolina is disturbing news for the Republican. After all, while Demcrats entertain hopes of flipping VA, NC and perhaps even GA and (some dream) MS, South Carolina just seems to be even more out-of-reach. Can Obama’s campaign force McCain to be this much on the defensive?

Also note a fun Rasmussen poll that was released today that pits Obama and McCain against others. While Obama leads McCain by only 2%, he would lead Bush 54% to 34%, which is not surprising but still shocking. He also leads Romney by 8% and Huckabee by 11%. As for McCain, he would fare more poorly against other Dems: Clinton leads by 8% and Gore by 7%.

The day’s other polls come from congressional and gubernatorial races:

  • In the Colorado Senate race, PPP found Mark Udall leading Bob Schaffer 47% to 38%.
  • In the Louisiana Senate race, Rasmussen shows Mary Landrieu with a narrow lead over John Kennedy, 51% to 45%. That’s an improvement for Landrieu over last month, when she was ahead 47% to 44%.
  • In Missouri’s gubernatorial race, Jay Nixon shows no sign of weakening as he leads his Republican competitors 52% to 35% (against Hulshof) and 53% to 34% (against Steelman).
  • And in Washington’s gubernatorial race, Rasmussen finds incumbent Christine Gregoire leading Dino Rossi 49% to 43%.
  • Update: As a commenter amicably points out, the Rossi campaign released an internal poll conducted by Moore Information that has the two candidates tied at 45%.
  • And in Michigan’s uncompetitive Senate race, Carl Levin still crushes his opponent. In South Carolina, Lindsay Graham is 22% ahead of his opponent, a “Democrat” who seems to be much more of a Republican (literally).

None of these results are surprising: In Colorado, Udall has pulled ahead and other institutes have found him leading by the same 9-10% margin. Louisiana’s race promises to remain tight to the end but Landrieu remains ahead — albeit by consistently narrow margins. The most recent poll, for instance, found her down to a 6% lead, the same result as Rasmussen. Democrats should at least be reassured that Kennedy is not an unknown and thus should has less room to grow than the average challenger.

As for the gubernatorial races, Nixon is now regularly ahead by very significant margins because of a combination of an intense GOP primary and of the Democratic fundamentals of the year that make open seats that ought to be toss-up lean blue from the get-go. And Washington’s race remains tight: not much has changed since 2004 but Gregoire’s party identification and the power of incumbency give Gregoire an advantage.

Finally, two House polls were released yesterday — but they were both internal polls, so take them with a grain of salt:

  • In PA-03, an internal poll for the Democratic candidate Kathy Dahlkemper shows her leading incumbent Phil English 41% to 40%.
  • In OH-16, an internal poll for the Republican candidate Kirk Schuring finds him leading Democrat John Boccieri 40% to 34%.

Both set of numbers go against the conventional wisdom. While Rep. English is believed to be vulnerable in a swing district, his district is rarely included in the top tier of House races. If Dahlkemper has already fored English in a toss-up, it could be the beginning of the end for House Republicans. As for OH-16, this open seat is generally believed to be leaning Democratic: It is a tight district and Boccieri is one of the Republican’s top recruits. The fact that undecideds have not been pushed that much helps Schuring here and is the mark of the poll having been taken for his campaign: The Democrats’ strength in 2006 was that a large number of independents were behaving as Democrats, an effect that is muted when a poll keeps such a large number of undecideds .


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Wednesday polls: Tight numbers from Missouri, New Jersey and NM-01

In my most recent presidential ratings, I moved Missouri from the toss-up to the lean McCain column to suggest that the GOP has a slight edge here though the Show Me State remains very competitive. Today, two polls found a slight edge for John McCain:

  • In Rasmussen’s poll, McCain recovers from a 1% deficit in early June to take a 47% to 42% lead — the same trend as in SUSA’s last poll.
  • McCain’s favorability rating is much stronger than Obama’s: 58-43 versus 50-49.
  • In PPP (which is becoming quite a prolific pollster), McCain is leading 49% to 46%.

Two other presidential polls were released today:

  • In New Jersey, Rasmussen finds the race tightening a bit since the June poll. Obama now leads 44% to 39%. Here again, McCain’s favorability rating is stronger — and he only has 38% unfovarability rating!
  • In Alabama, a new survey finds McCain leading by 13%, 49% to 36%. While comfortable, this is still half of the margin Bush won by in 2004.

Whatever New Jersey polls say, and even if McCain trails by as small a margin as he leads by in Missouri, it is almost certain that the latter will be hotly contested and that the former will not be a particularly hot battleground state. The GOP wasted millions in New Jersey in 04 and 06, and, despite McCain’s belief that he can appeal to independent voters, his campaign is unlikely to go in the state’s expensive media markets unless it has some very credible evidence that it is worth the effort. Also, consider that Obama often leads by much higher margins in the Garden State (a poll found him up by 16% just last week), whereas Missouri is almost always close.

Moving on to down-the-ballot races, a number of interesting polls were released:

  • In New Jersey, Rasmussen finds Sen. Lautenberg leading his Republican challenger 49% to 36%. Just last month Rasmussen shocked us by finding the margin down to 1% — though that appeared to be an outlier.
  • In Missouri, a number of polls had found Jay Nixon with a big lead over his competitors. Two polls out today suggest the margin is smaller than expected. For Rasmussen, Nixon leads Rep. Kenny Hulshof 49% to 38% and state Treasurer Sarah Steelman 46% to 37%. He led by more than 20% last month.
  • PPP’s survey finds even tighter margins, 10% and 5%.
  • Finally, Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research released an internal poll for the Heinrich campaign in NM-01, one of the hottest House races of the cycle. It shows Martin Heinrich leading Darren White 47% to 44% — within the poll’s margin of error.

As Missouri’s gubernatorial primary approaches, the two Republican candidates have been airing ads and increasing their campaigning rhythm, so it is not surprising to see them reduce the gap. That they are still trailing by such a large margin is a bad sign for their chances to keep the gubernatorial mansion.

As for NM-01, it was one of the Democrats’ biggest heartbreaks in 2006 when Rep. Heather Wilson barely survived. But Wilson’s political career has since then ended, as the Republican congresswoman relinquished her Dem-leaning seat to run for Senate… and lost the primary last month. White is as strong a candidate the GOP could have found in the district, and that might have been enough in most cycles. But in a wave election like 2008 is shaping to be, it is hard for even the strongest candidates to overcome their district’s fundamentals.


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Non-Senate down-ballot: Who will beat Don Young first?

In my most recent House ratings, I described the disastrous state of the New York Republican Party and its inability to truly contest the three seats Democrats picked up in 2006 and that were supposed to be at the top of the Republican wish-list. I confess that I had not paid enough attention to NY-20, where the GOP believes it has found a strong candidate to take on Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand in a district Bush won by 8% in 2004. They are running former state Secretary of State Sandy Treadwell who has the advantage of being very wealthy and thus having the means to self-fund his candidacy.

Gillibrand is one of the House’s best fund-raisers (perhaps even the freshman Democrat who has raised the most) and thus Treadwell’s wealth will not allow him to swamp her with his spending, but it will come in handy to keep tabs on her own spending and keep the race competitive. In fact, Treadwell is already running ads, months before his party’s primary. This is early for a House challenger to go up on air, and Treadwell is clearly intending to send the message that he ought to be taken seriously and that he will have the resources necessary to compete — whether or not the NRCC has any funds left to come to his rescue.

Also today, we got three House polls about two districts:

  • In AK-AL, Democrat Ethan Berkowitz beats incumbent Don Young 58% to 38%! But Young also trails in his party’s primary against Lieutenant Governor Steve Parnell, 37% to 34%. In a Berkowitz-Parnell match-up, the Republican leads 43% to 38%.
  • In KY-03, a SUSA poll shows that Rep. Yarmuth trounces former GOP Rep. Northup (whom he narrowly defeated in 2006) 57% to 40%!
  • In response, the Northup campaign released an internal poll also taken early June that shows the Democrat leading 51% to 43%.

It looks certain that Young will no longer represent Alaska come January 2009. The only question seems to be who will beat him first? If Republicans keep him as their candidate, Democrats will surely capture the seat. There have been other polls that have shown Young trailing Berkowitz by double-digits. But if Parnell, backed by the Club for Growth, manages to become his party’s nominee, he will have transformed this lean takeover seat into a much better deal for Republicans. It is rare for the Club for Growth to be in a position to help the party by toppling an incumbent (remember PA-Sen in 2004 and RI-Sen in 2006), and it will be interesting to see how they deal with that.

Yet, it does look like Alaska voters have gone sour on the GOP generally, as the latest Senate poll shows Stevens struggling and we have seen a few surveys with Obama surprisingly close to John McCain. Don’t forget that the corruption scandal that is sinking Young and Stevens has also endangered many other Anchorage GOP lawmakers and, while Parnell is not associated to the investigation, there were plenty of examples in 2006 of “cleaner” Republicans being tarnished by the mere association with the corrupt incumbent (see OH-18, for instance).

As for KY-03, there is a reason the Northup campaign did not release its internal poll until SUSA found even worse numbers. Republicans believe that Yarmuth’s victory in 2006 was an accident, despite the fact that this is the only Kentucky district to have voted for John Kerry over George Bush. Northup’s decision to run for her old seat was seen as a major victory for Republicans, as the moderate former representative has the name recognition and profile necessary to take back this district. Yet, the fact that she cannot hold Yarmuth under 50% despite the fact that her own name recognition is probably as good (if not better) than her rivals has to be worrisome for her campaign.

Finally, two gubernatorial polls bring good news for both parties:

  • In Missouri, Rasmussen finds that Democratic Attorney General is increasing his lead over his two Republican opponents, leading Rep. Kenny Hulshof and State Treasurer Sarah Steelman by 20% and 22% respectively.

Both seats are currently held by Republicans, and both are heavily contested. This is in fact the first poll released since Long Thompson won the Democratic primary (by the thinnest of margins) and it contradict the previous surveys that found a toss-up race with the incumbent greatly endangered. We will have to see other surveys to know whether this one can be classified as an outlier or whether the election is swinging towards Daniels.

As for Missouri, it is not surprising to see Nixon ahead. After all, the Democrat is well-known statewide and who has been campaigning for this position since 2004. But the huge margin by which he is now leading in numerous polls testifies to Missouri’s swing towards the Democratic Party and is reminiscent of other unexpectedly easy wins that Democrats enjoyed in open seat races in 2006 (Minnesota’s senatorial race between Klochubar and Kennedy and Colorado’s gubernatorial race). Nixon’s increasingly comfortable lead is a very good sign for Barack Obama’s chances in the Show Me State.


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Senate: OR and KY pick their nominees, Dem leads in MS

The week’s biggest political news continues to be Ted Kennedy’s health condition, as the longtime Massachusetts Senator was released from the hospital today in seemingly excellent condition. It is still difficult to talk about the political consequences of these developments as we know too little about Kennedy’s condition and his plans.

Meanwhile, the Oregon and Kentucky Senate races were set last night as two contested primaries were settled. In Oregon, state House speaker Jeff Merkley narrowly bested Steve Novick who ran a surprisingly strong campaign and ended up 4 percent short of victory. The DSCC thus got its wish, though there were few indications that Merkley would be a particularly stronger candidate against GOP incumbent Gordon Smith. The latest Rasmussen poll shows Smith besting Merkley by only 3 percent, though that by far the best poll Merkley has seen.

The DSCC’s choice also won in Kentucky, as Bruce Lunsford handily beat businessman Greg Fisher. Lunsford, who lost the 2007 gubernatorial primary, will now face a Senate giant, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. The Senator looked to be very vulnerable in the fall but a series of recruitment failures by Democrats made his a much safer bet. Lunsford should not be able to do much more than take advantage of the toxic environment for the GOP; even if elected, he would be a very conservative Democrat. He endorsed Republican Ernie Fletcher in 2003’s gubernatorial race after he did not get the Democratic primary, and has donated to McConnell’s senatorial campaign.

Meanwhile, two new polls from Senate races that were supposed to be second-tier at best are bringing good news for Democrats:

  • In North Carolina, it is SUSA’s turn to confirm that Elizabeth Dole is in very real danger. She leads state Senator Kay Hagan 50% to 46%, a very narrow margin for an incumbent facing a little-known opponent. This is a contest in which Obama boosting black turnout could have a very real effect down-the-ballot. One area Hagan will have to work on: independents prefer Dole by 16%.
  • In Mississippi, an internal poll released by the DSCC shows former Governor Ronnie Musgrove leading Republican incumbent Roger Wicker 48% to 40%. Like every partisan poll, this has to be taken with a grain of salt but it does paint a worrisome picture for the GOP. Musgrove is well-known and well-liked (his favorability rating is 57% to 30%) while Wicker is still mostly unknown 5 months after his appointment to fill Trent Lott’s seat. That does mean that he has room to grow in the coming months.
  • Update: Rasmussen released a new poll from Colorado, showing Udall slightly expanding his lead against Schaffer. He is now ahead 47% to 41%. Given how tough the past month has been for Schaffer, it is a disappointment for Dems that they are not further ahead and a relief for the GOP that all is not lost.

Both North Carolina and Mississippi have Democrats licking their lips at the extent to which they are expanding the map this cycle. It is numbers like this that make a 60-seat majority not as utopian a dream as was thought just a few weeks ago. The numbers in Mississippi are particularly interesting as they confirm a prior poll taken in late 2007 that showed Musgrove in the lead. Remember that Democrats were trying to force a special election in March, before Wicker had time to develop an incumbency advantage. A lower court judge ruled in their favor but the state Supreme Court overturned that decision. This poll suggests that Musgrove could be Senator now if Democrats had gotten their wish, but the road could get tougher in the months ahead as Wicker improves his name recognition and the GOP advantage of a presidential year kicks in.

In other down-the-ballot but non-Senate news, here are two polls from 2 of the only 4 contested gubernatorial races, both released by SUSA:

  • In what is shaping to be an unexpectedly tight race, Beverly Perdue has a small lead over Republican Pat MacCrory, 52% to 45%. Both won a contested primary on May 6th. A Rasmussen poll released last week showed MacCrory besting Perdue.
  • In Missouri, however, it will be very difficult for the GOP to even keep the race competitive as they are running against Jay Nixon who has been preparing for this race for years. He is trouncing the two Republican candidates running for this open seat, by 25% and 26%.

The primary victory of Charlotte Mayor MacCrory means that the North Carolina gubernatorial race is the GOP’s best pick-up chance among all the Senate and governor’s contests. That the race remains a toss-up speaks to the Republicans’ disadvantage this cycle.


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Friday polls: Obama suffers WV blues, Cornyn struggles again

3 days after North Carolina and Indiana, Hillary Clinton is showing no sign of withdrawing from the race; no matter how low her chances to get the nomination (and Rasmussen has just announced that he will soon cease his tracking poll of the Democratic nomination race!), this means that we should pay attention to the upcoming primaries again. If Obama performs disastrously, it would put him on the defensive again in the final weeks of May, perhaps buying Clinton the time she needs to continue to June 3rd and embarrass the Illinois Senator.

This applies to Kentucky, of course, but also to West Virginia which votes in 4 days:

  • A new ARG poll shows Clinton leading 66% to 23%. Obama fails to get 20% among white voters.
  • An Orion Strategies poll with too large a margin an error finds a similar margin, with Clinton leading 63% to 23%.

We have long known that Obama’s worst region was the Appalachians, as he lost by similar voting margins in the counties of Ohio, Pennsylvania and North Carolina that border Kentucky and West Virginia; given the demographic determination of these elections, it doesn’t appear there is much Obama will be able to do to avoid this large a defeat (to put things in perspective, only Arkansas has voted for Clinton by a bigger margin).

Meanwhile, we got a series of general election polls in the past two days. Keep those numbers in mind for they will serve to determine whether Obama gets a bump from his being proclaimed the presumptive nominee in the coming days and weeks:

  • In Rasmussen’s tracking, Obama leads McCain 47% to 44% (the first time he has led for consecutive days for two months) and Clinton leads 48% to 43%. In Gallup, Obama leads McCain by 1% and Clinton leads by 2%.
  • UPDATE: How frustrating must today’s Gallup numbers be for Hillary Clinton. Not only does Obama fail to pull away despite this being the third day after NC and IN, but Clinton has suddenly jumped up to a 48% to 44% lead against McCain (which I believe might be her biggest lead ever in Gallup tracking) while Obama leads 46% to 45%.
  • A Rasmussen poll in Missouri, however, has McCain leading both Democrats. He has a 48% to 41% lead against Obama and 45% to 43% against Clinton. Last month, he led Obama by 12% and Clinton by 9% so this is actually quite an improvement for Democrats. Obama’s favorability rating is only at 46% — equal to Clinton’s and much lower than McCain’s.
  • In Georgia, Rasmussen finds McCain comfortably leading both Democrats, 53% to 39% against Obama and 48% to 37% against Clinton.
  • In Rasmussen’s Wisconsin poll, McCain leads yet again — this time in a blue state — beating both Democrats 47% to 43%. This is a big boost for Clinton who led by 11% at the end of March. Obama’s favorability rating — at 51% — is lower than McCain’s (58%). Note that McCain’s “very favorable” rating is much lower (only 14%), suggesting that his support is soft.
  • A Research 2000 poll from Texas, meanwhile, does not confirm how tight Rasmussen had found the race last week (both Democrats within single-digits) but the race is not as much of a blowout as in past cycles: McCain leads Obama 52% to 39% and Clinton 53% to 38%.
  • Finally, Hotline published its latest national poll and finds Clinton leading McCain 46% to 43% and Obama ahead 47% to 43%. McCain leads both Democrats by double-digits among independents, a troubling sign, but both Democrats have markedly improved their showing since the end of March when they both trailed. Proving how much McCain overperforms, Democrats lead the generic presidential ballot by 14% (15% among independens).

Democrats were used to leading Republican candidates in a whole list of red states back in 2007… until John McCain became the nominee. Trailing in both Wisconsin and Missouri is not a good place to start for Democrats considering they are supposed to be the heavy favorites to win this year’s election. The question then is how these numbers will evolve in the coming weeks. Will Obama’s becoming the presumptive nominee and the media’s round of celebration boost his numbers, in a traditional post-victory popularity boost? Will Clinton’s staying in the race blunt the impact of that?

Finally, a few very interesting down-the-ballot polls:

  • Research 2000 polled the Texas Senate race and found a 47% to 43% lead for Senator Cornyn versus state Senator Noriega. Back in September, Cornyn was leading by 16%.
  • This is the same margin of a Rasmussen poll released a few days ago.
  • Meanwhile, Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon is opening a large lead against both his Republican rivals for the open gubernatorial race. He is leading state Treasurer Sarah Steelman and congressman Kenny Hulshof 51% to 35%.

Both of these polls are great news for Democrats. Missouri is the most vulnerable gubernatorial seat and Nixon has basically been running since 2004. Governor Blunt’s surprise retirement actually gave the GOP a bit more hope but it looks like Nixon could put this away quickly. As for Texas, the fact that two polls within one week show this tight a race is truly shocking and suggests that we were wrong to completely overlook this state in assessments of this year’s Senate picture. Noriega always had the potential to make the race competitive but TX-Sen was a second-to-third tier race at best: Too big and conservative a state, too well-funded an incumbent, not a well-known enough challenger. We shall know in the coming weeks if the DSCC can count on expanding the map to the Lone Star State.


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Governor rankings: Top four races get more interesting

Presidential years are not the most active in terms of gubernatorial races, and 2008 is no exception, with only 11 states holding elections, only 5 of which are not entirely safe for the incumbent party. But there has been some movement within those 5 races, as many of them have gotten considerably (and unexpectedly) more competitive in the past few months.

The retirement of Gov. Blunt in Missouri, the heated Democratic primaries in North Carolina and Indiana, the candidacy of Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory, and Dino Rossi’s attempts to rouse passions in Washington all guarantee that these 4 states will remain competitive to November and keep things interesting on the gubernatorial front. And since both parties control 2 of these 4 most contested governorships, Republicans can at least be relieved that things look more even-handed here than in the Senate and the House.

The previous gubernatorial ratings, written in December, are available here.

Toss-up (2 R, 1 D)

1. Missouri (Open)

Missouri’s gubernatorial race made a lot of news comparatively to other gubernatorial races. The showdown between Republican Gov. Blunt and Democratic Attorney General Jay Nixon had started as early as 2004, and the incumbent’s growing unpopularity had given the early lead to Nixon. But Blunt unexpectedly announced his retirement in late January.

Republicans hurried to find a nominee and they will now have to decide between two strong candidates, congressman Kenny Hulshof and state Treasurer Sarah Steelman. Either would keep the race competitive but Nixon undoubtedly has a head start given that he has been preparing his campaign for so long — and that the state’s voters have turned sour on their Republican administration.

2. North Carolina (Open; Previous ranking: 4)

Republican at the federal level, North Carolina remains blue at the state level, and Democrats looked favored to keep the governor’s mansion next year with two strong candidates — Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue and state Treasurer Richard Moore — battling for the Democratic nomination. But two factors have made the race more competitive.

(1) The Democratic primary is staying very competitive and now going negative, with Moore needing to shake up the race to contest Perdue’s early edge. (2) Republicans got a potentially very competitive candidate in the race with with the entry of Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory. Polls show McCrory in toss-ups against both Perdue and Moore, with the Democrats holding the slightest of edges.

The GOP primary is also contested, however, and it remains unclear who will emerge to claim the party’s nod. We will now more about the state of play in North Carolina after the May 6th primary.

3. Indiana (Gov. Daniels; Previous ranking: 2)

Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels is certainly unpopular and vulnerable, but it is difficult to precisely assess the general election before Democrats settle their nomination race on May 6th. Architect Jim Schellinger has been the establishment’s favored candidate and has far outraised his opposition, but former Rep. Jill Long Thompson could emerge the winner due to higher name recognition. The Indianapolis Star reports that Schellinger’s campaign has been a disappointment while Thompson has been very active and that his fundraising edge could be drowned amidst the presidential race if Clinton and Obama spend millions in ads here in the next few weeks.

Lean Retention (2 D)

4. Washington (Gov. Gregoire; Previous ranking: 3)

The 2004 campaign never really stopped in Washington, where Republican Dino Rossi lost by 129 votes on the third count after leading the first two ballot counts. Christine Gregoire started off a controversial term and has done her best to overcome the partisan rancor of her first election. Rossi announced his second gubernatorial candidacy in late 2007, and he has been campaigning hard since then, hoping to rouse the passions of 2004, bringing up the recount on the trail to undermine the legitimacy of Gregoire’s incumbency. This race will be tight (and bitter) to the end but Gregoire has been able to somewhat regain her footing over the past few years and built some good will which give her a slight edge to start with.

Check the full rankings with all 11 races here.


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Down-the ballot polls have good news for Democrats

Forgive me for two poll-related entries in a row, but interesting surveys were released this evening from down-the-ballot races. First, a poll from Minnesota’s Senate poll released by SUSA. It shows Sen. Norm Coleman and Al Franken in a toss-up, with Coleman edging out the former comedian 47% to 46%. Coleman leads Democrat Mike Ciresi by a wider margin, 51% to 40%.

This is first and foremost excellent news for Franken. Most polls until recently had Ciresi and Franken running at the same level against Coleman, but this is the second poll in a row that has Franken running significantly better. The designation of the nominee in MN is largely an insider’s game, so Franken will be able to make great use of the electability argument.

It also confirms that the DSCC has managed to make Minnesota into a top-tier race, something neither Oregon nor Maine — races that were until recently mentioned in the same breath as Coleman’s. This alone will guarantee that the DSCC invests heavily here, and hope that the Democratic nominee is boosted by presidential coattails (note that Dems have not had many close Senate races fought on blue states over the past few cycles).

Second, we get a Missouri Governor’s poll from Rasmussen. Gov. Blunt unexpectedly announced he was not running for re-election last month, starting a scramble among state Republicans. Democrats had a candidate running for years already, Attorney General Nixon. And Rasmussen shows him leading big in what is now an open race, 46% to 35% against state Treasurer Sarah Steelman and 48% to 30% against Rep. Kenny Hulshof who recently announced she would leave her House seat and run for the governor’s mansion.

Missouri is one of the only competitive governor’s races in 2008 (with Indiana and North Carolina), but the first poll that tests someone else than Blunt suggests that Nixon has the clear upper-hand. The fact that a Democrat has such a large lead in an open race also suggests that the state might be looking to move towards Democrats, good news for them in the presidential race as well.


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House GOP loses three more members, and Kentucky filing deadline marked by last-minute chaos

It seems blasphemous to cover anything but the presidential races right now given the high drama of both the Democratic and Republican races right now (though the GOP contest will be much less exciting from now on), but it’s hard to ignore that still more Republican-held House seats have opend up since Monday.

VA-11: I first reported on rumors of Tom Davis’s imminent retirement on Monday, and it is now being confirmed. VA-11 shoots up to the very top of Democratic opportunities, and Leslie Byrne, the Democratic candidate, carried the district handily in her statewide campaign for Lieutenant governship in 2005. Check the analysis of VA-11 I wrote on Monday.

MO-Gov and MO-09: Governor Blunt’s unexpected retirement last week prompted Republican confusion, and there has been a lot of jockeying around among the state GOP. With statewide officials already in the race, all eyes were on the state’s representatives. Would any of them seek to win the Governor’s mansion and leave their seat open? On Monday, Kenny Hulshof from MO-09 announced she was jumping in the gubernatorial race. That gives Republicans a strong candidate to take on Democratic Attorney General Nixon for governor, but it means one more House seat to defend. Fortunately for the GOP, MO-09 leans Republican, so it does not represent a gigantic headache for Republicans; but it is definitely the type of district Democrats had some success in at the last midterms.

Chaos in KY-02: As if Rep. Ron Lewis’s retirement was not shocking enough, but the manner in which he did it is just stunning. The filling deadline in Kentucky was expiring yesterday at 4pm, and Ron Lewis had let out no sign that he was planning on retiring. Minutes before the deadline, the wife of his chief of staff Daniel London went to the SOS office to withdraw Lewis’s name and file papers for London instead! Lewis’s ploy to get his chief of staff nominated failed as state Sen. Brett Guthrie had somehow heard of the possibility of this happening and was also waiting at the SOS’s office. Guthrie immediately filed his own candidacy papers, setting up a Guthrie v. London primary. (Read the detailed wrap-up of this ridiculous ploy over at CQPolitics).

In any case, KY-02 is now an open seat. And Democrats have a strong candidate in the race, state Senator David Boswell, who had filed thinking he would compete against Lewis. (Democrats must be very relieved they made sure to file a candidate here). KY-02 is a strongly Republican district. Bush prevailed here with about 65% of the vote, though Lewis only got 55% in 2006 in an under-the-radar race that the underfunded Democrat kept surprisingly close. Republicans are favored, but it is unclear at this point how strong Brett Guthrie might be in the general election, so we will have to keep a close watch on this race.

KY-03: Republicans got some good news in another Kentucky race, as former Rep. Northup jumped in the 3rd district race against John Yarmuth, who defeated her in 2006. This had also been rumored for the past week or two, but Northup’s intentions had not been fully confirmed. KY-03 is a good district for Democrats, and Yarmuth will likely keep it for a few cycles if he manages to beat the well-known Northup next year. It is worth noting that Northup lost the GOP’s gubernatorial primary last year against incumbent Fletcher, though the moderate credential that did her in in that primary are likely to play well in the KY-03 general election.

KY-Sen: Kentucky’s Senate contest was the hottest race this November, where the DSCC was pushing hard to get Treasurer Luallen or AG Stumbo to jump in the race. Both announced they would not run since then, and now that the filing deadline passed the field is set. The Democrats filed attorney Andrew Horne, businessman Greg Fisher and a last-minute addendum is Bruce Lunsford who lost the gubernatorial primary in 2007 to now-Governor Beshear. Lunsford is a centrist Democrat who is distrusted by his party’s activists, so it is unclear what the dynamics of this primary will be. There is no question that the field is much weaker than it could have been, and that the DSCC did not do well at recruiting here.


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Down-the-ballot diary: Gov. Blunt unexpectedly retires, FL-21 gets competitive

Surprising news out of Missouri, where Republican Governor Matt Blunt, 37, has announced that he will not be seeking re-election next year. Blunt was serving his first-term as governor after a tight election in 2004, and he was preparing for another very tight battle against Attorney General Jay Nixon, who basically started running 3 years ago.

Blunt had already raised millions of dollars but he was plagued by low approval ratings and he trailed in most polls against Nixon. So it is unclear whether an open seat here is bad news for Republican. They have a fairly good bench in the state — representatives and statewide officials — and any one of them could mount a strong run against Nixon, potentially stronger than Blunt would have been able to. That said, surveys from Missouri all year have shown that the state is looking to move to the blue column as Democrats are being more competitive than usual; Nixon has won plenty of statewide elections himself and he has been running for a while now, so this should stay a very competitive race.

Given that there are almost no competitive governor’s seats, most people will remain focused on this race (as well as North Carolina’s which is much more competitive than expected with the entrance of Charlotte’s GOP Mayor).

Meanwhile, in Oregon, Gordon Smith is continuing his efforts to appear bi-partisan and moderate in preparation for his re-election battle next year. After it became clear that Smith had a target on his back, he quickly embarked on this strategy, distancing himself from his party on the war. More recently, he introduced a bill to extend domestic partnerships to federal employees. Today, Smith has sent a letter to President Bush along with 7 Democratic Senators and no other Republican. The letter only asks the president to launch in investigation into Bhutto’s death, but it is a rather transparent attempt at bi-partsanship, and one that is likely to start paying dividends. Smith is not particularly unpopular and the Democrats have not recruited a top-tier challenger against him. If Smith manages to distance himself from the R next to his name, it’s going to be hard for the DSCC to make him vulnerable.

Finally, some House news from FL-21, where Democrat Raul Martinez, former mayor of Hialeah, is entering the race against GOP Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart in a Miami-area district that leans Republican. Martinez is a very well-known figure. It is worth noting that the DCCC is also looking to challenge other Republican Reps representing the Miami region, so this area could become the hottest battleground of the 2008 elections.

Diaz-Balart and Martinez will go all-out for the Cuban vote. They are already exchanging jabs as to who is tougher on Castro. Here’s from the Miami Herald article I linked to above: “Díaz-Balart has told The Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald that Martinez’s return is part of a ploy by Fidel Castro sympathizers to lift or weaken the U.S. trade embargo on Cuba.” Another big topic in the campaign will likely be Martinez’s 1990 indictment for extortion and racketeering. Martinez claims the charges were politically motivated and still has strong support among the state’s Democratic Party but he remains a controversial figure.


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Yet more polls, as SUSA just keeps it coming

Today is poll-heavy, and my postings are reflecting that. Survey USA just keeps the polls coming today. It released surveys from Iowa and Minnesota this morning, and it now continued with Ohio, Missouri and Wisconsin, all crucial swing states in any presidential race.

First up, Ohio, arguably the most important of purple states.

  • Hillary Clinton demolishes her opponents, leading Giuliani 49% to 40%, Romney 51% to 40%, Huckabee 51% to 39%. But she ties McCain at 45%.
  • Obama, however, runs poorly: He trails Giuliani 46% to 40% and McCain 47% to 38%. And barely musters a one point lead against Romney and Huckabee (43-42).

As always, it’s important not to put to much in electability comparisons in the Democratic field, given that numbers are rarely consistent — though McCain is almost always by far the strongest Republican. These numbers suggest that the state will likely be as tight as it was in 2008, especially when combined with this morning’s Rasmussen Ohio poll which had a complete toss-up.

Next comes Wisconsin, one of the tightest races in both 2000 and 2004. And it leans slightly Democratic:

  • Clinton beats Giuliani 45-42, Romney 47-42, Huckabee 49-40, but she is crushed by McCain 49-42.
  • Obama does better, besting Giuliani 48-40, and McCain 46-44. He crushes Romney 53-35 and Huckabee 52-36.

At this point, we really have to admire not that McCain runs best among GOPers, but just how much better he runs. And with that we are off to Missouri, where SUSA confirms Rasmussen’s numbers from today:

  • Clinton is ahead of Rudy 49-43. She also leads McCain 50-46, Romney 51-41, but the race is tight against Huck 49-47.
  • Obama actually trails Huckabee 47-45, though he wins his three other match-ups. 47-42 against Giuliani, 49-39 against Romney and 47-44 against McCain.

Surprisingly, Huckabee runs better than any other Republican here. Is that a reflection on his own popularity? Or, more likely given that he has low name recognition, are the other candidates just weighted down by their own unpopularity?

Also, Missouri does look to be one of the most promising 2004 red states for Democrats, as it is leaning in favor of Clinton and Obama pretty consistently at this point. With its 11 electoral votes, Missouri is clearly a major player, and it could very well tip the balance. While all eyes are on Ohio and Florida, Missouri could emerge as a key battleground.

  • Down-the-ballot: NC-Sen and MO-GOV

Meanwhile, we also got some surveys form senatorial and gubernatorial races. In North Carolina, PPP contained senatorial numbers:

  • In the Senate race, State Senator Kay Hagan trails Elizabeth Dole 51% to 39%. Banker Jim Neal is behind 52% to 37%.

Elizabeth Dole is clearly starting off favored, and she is above 50%; but leading unknown challengers by such margins will not reassure Republicans that she is safe, and Democrats might soon regret not having fielded a stronger candidate.

And in Missouri, we get confirmation that Governor Blunt is trailing Attorney General Nixon in his re-election race, 47% to 42%. Most polls are showing a tight race here with Nixon slightly ahead — which explains why the race is ranked first in our latest Governor Rankings.



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

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

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

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

    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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