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Category Archive for ‘NH-02’ at Campaign Diaries
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Archive for the 'NH-02' Category


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Open seats: Field takes shape in Kennedy’s RI-01, Charlie Bass seeks to recapture NH-02

RI-01: Prominent candidates seek Kennedy’s seat

Patrick Kennedy’s retirement is sure not causing recruitment headaches for Democrats, as two major candidates have already entered the race: Providence Mayor David Cicilline, who was expected to run for Governor but chose not to do so, and state Democratic Party chairman William Lynch. A number of other Democrats could still enter the race, for instance Reps. Edwin Pacheco and Jon Brien (here’s a full rundown), but Cicilline and Lynch will surely not complain that Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Roberts (another politician who unexpectedly passed on the Governor’s race) stuck to her plan of seeking re-election rather than running for Kennedy’s seat.

Cicilline has a progressive reputation; while I am not sure about Lynch’s ideological profile, his brother (Attorney General Patrick Lynch) is running for Governor as the liberal alternative to centrist Treasurer Frank Caprio so it would be somewhat confusing if William campaigned to Cicilline’s right. Note that Cicilline would be a more dominant candidate if all of Providence was contained in the district, but Rhode Island’s largest city is divided between RI-01 and RI-02; if he prevailed, Cicilline would be the third person elected to Congress as an openly gay politician.

Of course, winning the Democratic primary will not be enough as the GOP is hoping state Rep. John Loughlin can be competitive despite the district’s red lean. But the biggest wild card remains Buddy Cianci, the former Mayor of Providence who recently spent four years in federal prison and who as been mentioned as an independent candidate. While I was not sure whether to take the possibility seriously at first, Cianci himself said he is considering the race. While his conviction for racketeering would be too much for any politician to overcome, Cianci probably kept enough residue support from his 25 years as mayor to be a player in a 3-way race. While Cianci would probably draw more votes from Loughlin (he was a Republican in his first decade as Mayor, though he quit the party in 1982) but he could also put victory within his reach by lowering the share of the vote the GOP nominee needs.

NH-02: As expected, Charlie Bass is running

Charlie Bass’s decision to seek his former House seat won’t come as a surprise, but he had left enough bizarre hedges to his previous statements of interest that Democrats might have been still hoping he would end up not running. In 2006, Bass lost in an upset against Democrat Paul Hodes, who is now his party’s probable Senate nominee. While NH-02 is the more Democratic of New Hampshire’s two seats (it gave John Kerry a 5% victory and Barack Obama a 13% triumph), this open seat is very dangerous territory for Democrats since New Hampshire is the type of state in which independents’ partisan swings have big consequences (as we saw in 2006, as few other states were submerged by such a large blue wave).

As a 12-year congressman with a relatively moderate profile (he led a GOP rebellion against Tom DeLay in 2005, he is pro-choice, he chaired the Main Street Partnership), Bass should make the most of the year’s GOP bent; a UNH poll released last week found him handily leading Democratic candidates. Yet, his moderate credentials could also mean trouble in the GOP primary: The party’s 2008 nominee, radio talk show host Jennifer Horn, is also running and she is known as more of a conservative. Bass is certainly worried enough that he is moving to embrace Tea Partiers: “As far as the tea party movement is concerned I love em. God bless every single one of them,” he said last week. “Because you know what their agenda is exactly the same is mine. They want a new environment in Washington.”

The Bass-Horn primary will not be the district’s only ideologically loaded contest, as Democratic voters will have to choose between attorney Ann McLane Kuster and Katrina Swett, a former Lieberman ally who lost to Bass in 2002. Emily’s List has endorsed Kuster, which should guarantee she can be competitive against the well-funded Swett, who has money left over from her short-lived Senate campaign in 2008. I am somewhat surprised that more Democrats have not entered the race, since the party does have a deeper bench of elected officials than Kuster and Swett’s front-running status would indicate.

Democrats have yet to give up on KS-03; GOP might do so in DE-AL

With Kansas Democrats are suddenly enjoying an unexpected streak of good recruitment news in the two statewide races (more on that later), they aren’t quite ready to give up KS-03, a district that might be tough to hold but that did vote for Barack Obama in 2008. While Kansas City Mayor Joe Reardon’s exit was a big blow to the party’s prospect, Democrats are now hoping to recruit either state Senator Kelly Kultala or the retiring incumbent’s wife Stephene Moore. (While the Kansas City Star is reporting she is interested, that would be a surprise since it would mean the current congressman would be back on the campaign trail and still in D.C. rather than retired.) KS-03 remains one of the GOP’s top opportunities, but it is not quite as far gone as LA-03 and TN-06, which Democrats appear to have all but given up.

One district that could soon join the ranks of uncontested open seats is DE-AL, left open by GOP Rep. Mike Castle. Not that this district isn’t already considered likely to switch to Democrats, but it looks like the NRCC will also cross the district off its list now that businessman Anthony Wedo has dropped out. Why was the GOP so high on Wedo and not on businessman Fred Cullis, who is running? The reason seems to be all about money: Wedo would have self-funded his campaign while Cullis doesn’t seem likely to do so.


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Poll watch: Bayh crushes Coats, Pomeroy & Shea-Porter struggle, GOP solid in PA

Less than three weeks from Texas’s primaries

Earlier this week, PPP shook up our expectations as Kay Bailey Hutchison suddenly looked in danger of being knocked out of the runoff by libertarian Debra Medina. Since then, three new Texas surveys have been released, all with a differing take on what is likely to happen on March 2nd. Research 2000 finds a likely runoff between Rick Perry and Hutchison, who come in at 42% and 30% with Medina at a still-impressive 17%. The University of Texas has Rick Perry closer to a first round victory (he is at 45%, with 16% still undecided) and a stunningly close race for second, with Hutchison at 21% and Medina at 19%. Finally, a poll conducted by two partisan firms shows Hutchison in front of Medina (27% to 19%) but Perry so close to 50% that it might not matter.

But all of these surveys were conducted before Medina attracted fire not only from the mainstream press but also conservatives like Glenn Beck for expressing openness to the possibility that the government was involved in bringing down of the World Trace Center. “I think some very good questions have been raised in that regard,” she said. “There are some very good arguments, and I think the American people have not seen all of the evidence there, so I have not taken a position on that. I’m certainly not into mind control or thought policing people.” This has gained a lot of coverage and should negatively affect her numbers. The question is: Does it help Perry cross 50% on March 2nd?

Two of these surveys also tested the general election, both finding Houston Mayor Bill White well within striking distance. In R2000, he trails Perry only 46% to 42%; he’s down 47-41 against Hutchison and 44-43 against Medina. The margins are larger according to the University of Texas, but both Perry and Hutchison are well under 50% (they lead 44-35 and 43-34, respectively); Medina and White are tied at 36%.

Bayh might not be that vulnerable after all

The week’s other very interesting poll comes from Indiana, where Research 2000 is the first pollster to test former Senator Dan Coats since he announced he was planning a political comeback two weeks ago. And the result is far less favorable than what the GOP was hoping to see: Coats’s favorability rating is only 38-34, weaker than former Rep. John Hosettler’s, which stands at 40-33. Evan Bayh, whose favorability rating stands at a solid 61-33, demolishes Coats 55% to 35%; against Hostettler, he is up by a narrower yet solid 53% to 37%.

A major reason Bayh has been painted as vulnerable in recent week is a Rasmussen survey showing him struggling against Mike Pence and against Hostettler; R2000 paints a very different situation, so it will certainly be interesting to see where other polls pit the race. Yet, Coats sure doesn’t look like a game-changer - and perhaps we should not be surprised at that: remember that he has not had his name on a ballot since 1992. The past 10 days have marked the first time most Indiana residents have heard about him in over a decade, and the coverage has been remarkably negative, which explains the rough welcome Coats has gotten as he has started to hit the trail.

House

VA-05: Given the number of House surveys that have found Democratic incumbents sinking (SUSA in AR-02, IN-09 and OH-01, most notably), we could have expected Rep. Tom Perriello to be in far worse shape than PPP finds him in. One of the NRCC’s top targets, Perriello is tied against state Senator Robert Hurt, 44% to 44%; the Democrat manages leads ranging from 4% to 10% against other GOP candidates. (While they might have a lower-profile, don’t forget how often we have seen unknown Republicans grab leads against incumbent Democrats lately.) Making matters more complicated is the prospect that former Rep. Virgil Goode, whom Perriello defeated in 2008, run as an independent: Boosted by a 57-28 favorability rating, Goode ties Perriello at 41%, with Hurt at 12%.

ND-AL: Tom Pomeroy might be keeping his head above water, but Earl Pomeroy is more vulnerable than is commonly believed, at least according to Rasmussen’s new poll. Like many of his colleagues, the 17-year incumbent finds himself trailing against Republicans he probably would have crushed in most cycles: against state Rep. Rick Berg, he is down 46% to 40%. While he maintains a 45-44 edge over Kevin Cramer, he has defeated him twice before, making this result underwhelming. Pomeroy does have a 47-38 edge over low-profile Paul Schaffner, but even then he remains under the 50% threshold. Put ND-AL in the column of truly endangered districts few expected would be vulnerable as 2009 started.

NH-01 and NH-02: In addition to releasing a Senate race (see below), UNH conducted a poll of both of New Hampshire’s districts, finding a very tough landscape for Democrats. (An important caveat: the margin of error is a large 6.2%.) In NH-01, Rep. Carol Shea-Porter is in a truly terrible position, failing to garner more than 33% whoever she faces and leading 43% to 33% against former Manchester Mayor Frank Guinta. In NH-02, left open by Democrat Paul Hodes, former GOP Rep. Charlie Bass would be favored to regain his old seat if he runs: He leads Ann McLane Kuster 39% to 28% and Katrina Swett 37% to 30%. Sure, Bass’s name recognition is higher but New Hampshire does seem fertile ground for Republicans this year.

Senate

New Hampshire: Two different polls found remarkably similar results and confirmed what surveys have found over and over again since last fall, namely that Attorney General Kelly Ayotte has built a comfortable but stable lead over Rep. Paul Hodes. UNH has her ahead 41% to 33% while Rasmussen pits it at 46% to 39%. However, other Republicans are weaker: Hodes leads decisively against Ovide Lamontagne (38-29 in UNH, 44-38 in Rasmussen), while it is closer against William Binnie (he’s up 34-30 in UNH, trails 42-41 in Rasmussen). A recent Research 2000 poll showed that Ayotte is far from certain of winning the primary, but the fact that Hodes is trailing against a relatively unknown businessman is a bad sign for voters’ willingness to vote Democratic.

Missouri: Rasmussen might be the only pollster to find Robin Carnahan trailing outside of the margin of error, but today marked the second poll they have released with such a finding: Weighed down by Barack Obama’s 40-59 approval rating, Carnahan trails Rep. Roy Blunt 49% to 42%. Though Carnahan would likely have an edge in normal circumstances, Missouri is conservative enough that it should not surprise us to see Blunt carried by the GOP currents.

North Dakota: No miracle for Democrats in North Dakota, where Governor John Hoeven looks even more formidable than conventional wisdom dictates according to Rasmussen’s latest poll. Not only does he enjoy an eye-popping 85% approval rating, but he crushes state Senator Potter and former Attorney General Heidi Heitkamp 71-17 and 65-29, respectively. This has got to be all the more frustrating for Democrats that Heitkamp’s has a respectable favorability rating (54-36).

Louisiana: Here’s one race Democrats will not be contesting come November. It’s been obvious for weeks that Rep. Charlie Melancon’s hopes of pulling off an upset have been fading, but the Rasmussen survey with Senator David Vitter leading 57% to 33% is brutal for Democrats. With a 67% to 26% favorability rating, Vitter’s standing bears no trace of the D.C. Madam scandal.

Pennsylvania: With Senate Democrats in bad shape in Delaware, Arkansas or Nevada, they cannot afford to lose but Rasmussen finds Pat Toomey leading Arlen Specter and Joe Sestak by decisive margins: 47-38 and 43-35, respectively. I’ve said it before, and I’ve said it again. I am not sure how a five-term senator can survive trailing by 9% and struggling to break 40%, while Pennsylvanians should be more open to voting for the lesser-known Sestak; that also explains why Toomey is further from 50% in the latter match-up. Yet, Specter manages to keep a comfortable lead in the primary: 51% to 36%. That might have been an encouraging back in the fall, but three months from Election Day, the time has come for Sestak to gain traction.

Governor

Colorado: Rasmussen confirms that replacing Governor Bill Ritter with Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper has improved Democratic prospects. While Ritter was weighed by a negative approval rating, Hickenlooper is popular (his favorability rating is 56-36); while Ritter trailed Scott McInnis in most late 2009 surveys, Hickenlooper leads 49% to 45%. That might not be anything for Democrats to celebrate, but it does leave them in a better position not just to defend the Governor’s Mansion but perhaps also the Senate seat.

Ohio: The good news for Ted Strickland is that his numbers are no longer in free fall. The bad news is that he stopped the bleeding too late not to look highly endangered. Weighed down by a negative approval rating (46-53) and facing a challenger that appears popular (John Kasich’s favorability rating is 47-30), Strickland trails 47% to 41% according to Rasmussen; that’s slightly less than in January, but it leaves him in a rough spot. Might Ohio Democrats have something to learn something from Colorado?

Illinois: The first poll taken since the Illinois primary found Governor Pat Quinn in a stronger position than he looked to be a few weeks ago, perhaps due to a bounce resulting from the coverage of his victory. Against state Senator Bill Brady, Quinn leads 42% to 31%, with 4% going to Green Party nominee Rich Whitney; against state Senator Kirk Dillard, who trails the GOP primary by 400 votes and has not conceded, Quinn is up 41% to 35%. An important caveat: The poll was conducted by Victory Research, a group I had never heard before.

Pennsylvania: Now that he has gotten rid of Jim Gerlach’s primary threat, Attorney General Tom Corbett looks unstoppable in Rasmussen’s latest poll: He crushes Jack Wagner 49-29, Joe Hoeffel 51-29 and Dan Onorato 52-26. While this is nothing we haven’t seen before, and even if we account for Rasmussen representing the GOP-friendly end of the polling spectrum, the margins by which Corbett is demolishing his opponents bode ill for other Pennsylvania Democrats.

Michigan: Rasmussen’s poll of this wide open race confirms the GOP can be optimistic since Republican candidates lead 11 of 12 trial heats. Only Speaker Andy Dillon  manages a 36-35 edge over Attorney General Mike Cox, though he trails 40-32 against Sheriff Mike Bouchard and 41-34 against Rep. Pete Hoekstra. The other important match-ups concern Lansing Mayor Van Bernero, who trails by 6%, 9% and 13%, respectively. This poll is somewhat surprising, since EPIC-MRA has repeatedly shown Cox to be the strongest Republican in the general election; it is also striking that Democrats looked to be in worse shape when Lieutenant Governor John Cherry was in the race. Cherry never looked to be within striking distance, whereas Bernero and Dillon do.


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In Hawaii, an ideologically significant Democratic primary

As the health care debate is currently confirming, primary results are just as consequential for Congress’s balance of power as those of the general election. That is particularly the case in heavily blue districts, which sometimes elect Blue Dog Democrats.

One Democrat who compiled a centrist voting record in a heavily liberal district is Ed Case, who represented Hawaii’s 2nd District from 2002 to 2006. That year, he left his seat to challenge Senator Daniel Akaka in the Democratic primary, falling by just 9% in a tense contest that was fought on generational grounds as much as ideological ones.

While in the House, Case joined the Blue Dog Coalition and sided with Republicans on high-profile votes like the 2004 Patriot Act reauthorization, the 2004 bankruptcy reform the 2005 Real Id Act and the 2006 permanent repeal of the estate tax; he was not yet in the House for the Iraq War resolution, but he later said he would have supported it. (One area in which he has a progressive record is gay rights; back in 1997, he was a rare Democrat to battle an amendment to Hawaii’s constitution banning gay marriage. He later introduced legislation legalizing civil unions.)

Case now wants to return to Congress, and he has chosen to run in the state’s other House district, which is open due to Neil Abercrombie’s gubernatorial run. HI-01 is almost as Democratic as Case’s old district; while John Kerry won by only 6%, Al Gore prevailed by 16% and Obama by a startling 42%. In short, this is the type of district in which the Democratic nominee’s ideological orientation won’t matter in the general - the type of district progressives need to win if they want to diminish centrist influence in Congress.

Given the record of Case’s first term, it would be a setback for liberals if they let him replace Neil Abercrombie, who is a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

In the Democratic primary, Case will face state Senate Majority Leader Colleen Hanabusa, who just announced her candidacy this week-end. Hanabusa has twice already failed to make it to the House - both times in the 2nd district. In 2002, she came in third in the Democratic primary won by Case; in 2006, she lost by a tiny margin of less than 1% to current representative Hirono. Since this double loss, she managed to rebound by becoming the first woman to lead either chamber of the state legislature in 2006.

(A bizarre side note: This means that both of HI-01’s leading candidates have ran in HI-02 before; one of them has done so twice, the other has actually represented that other district.)

Hanabusa has already secured the obviously consequential support of Emily’s List, which indicates nothing more than support for abortion rights. So can Hanabusa answer progressive hopes to see Abercrombie’s seat remain in progressive hands? An extensive Nexis search makes it hard to answer the question in a definitive way. Not only do the word “bipartisanship” and “progressive” both pop up, but most of the articles concern her take on local politics and procedural battled she waged against the state legislature’s former leaders.

But most of the evidence (from her years as a labor attorney, during which she represents union members, to her defense of affirmative action and her comfort with increased spending) suggests that she would at the very least be a mainstream Democrat - in other words not joining Blue Dog ranks.

Hanabusa drew national attention this spring when she contributed to letting a bill legalizing civil unions die. While she supported the legislation, she chose not to bypass the committee process after the bill unexpectedly stalled because of a 3-3 deadlock in the Senate Judiciary Committee. From the AP: “Civil union supporters lacked the political willpower to go against Senate President Colleen Hanabusa…”  To the extent she insisted she still favored the bill (the article later states, “Hanabusa acknowledged that the public may not understand how she can support civil unions but oppose holding a vote”), this episode is more a reflection on her legislative style than her ideological orientation.

All in all, then, what is a rematch for a different congressional seat should be one of the cycle’s most obviously ideologically significant Democratic primaries, and one to watch in trying to determine how much leeway the White House and the congressional leadership will have to implement the Democratic agenda in 2011-2012.

Another Democratic primary that could shake up as similarly is New Hampshire’s 2nd District, left open by Paul Hodes. Here, Republicans have a stronger chance of picking-up the seat but NH-02 is blue enough that a GOP victory won’t be due to the Democratic nominee’s orientation but to the national environment. Former Lieberman ally Katrina Swett is running in the Democratic primary; while she’s sure to face competition - attorney Ann McLane Kuster is proving a capable candidate - the field hasn’t entirely taken shape yet so we’ll still talk about it in the future.


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House: Castle looks safe in Delaware, GOP fields getting crowded in New Hampshire

Castle looks safe in House race

Last week, PPP released a poll of Delaware’s Senate race that found GOP Rep. Mike Castle leading Beau Biden 44% to 36%. The next day, PPP also published the results of a House match-up, and the results are even better for the longtime Republican representative. Even if the Democrat’s dream candidate (former Lieutenant Governor John Carney) were to jump in the race, Castle would easily win re-election: He leads 49% to 32% against Carney, 56% to 21% against New Castle County Executive Chris Coons.

Sure, Castle is under the vulnerability threshold of 50%, but that rule might not apply to a Castle-Carney contest as much as it usually does: Carney is already a well-known politician (35% of respondents don’t have an opinion of him, which is obviously much lower than is typical for a House challenger) and for him to trail Castle by 17% suggests that Delaware’s sole representative will be favored to hold on to his seat as long as he chooses to run for re-election.

If Castle and Carney’s internal polls are telling a similar story, this could have two important consequences. First, it might make Carney less likely to jump the race, as a second defeat in as many cycles would be fatal to his political career (Carney lost a hard-fought gubernatorial primary in 2008). Second, Castle feeling reassured that he will not face a competitive House race no matter who the DCCC recruits could incite him not to jump in the Senate contest: at 70, why sign up for a difficult campaign if you can stay where you are with little effort?

GOP works to find New Hampshire candidates

Republicans have a lot to think about in the Granite State. A Senate and a House seat will be open while the state’s other district (Carol Shea-Porter’s) is vulnerable to a Republican challenge. And while no Republican has hinted to considering a Senate run, plenty are eying the two House races.

In open NH-02, we already knew that former Rep. Charlie Bass was considering running for his old House seat back; we now learn that the GOP’s 2008 nominee, radio host Jennifer Horn, is also considering a run. It will not be easy for the GOP to reclaim a district that has anchored itself in the Democratic column (Obama won by 13%), but Bass would undoubtedly be a stronger contender than Horn, who lost by 17% in 2008. (Granted, that was a particularly disastrous year for New Hampshire Republicans.)

In NH-01, meanwhile, Shea-Porter is sure to face a credible challenger, though it now looks fairly unlikely that she could face a third consecutive match-up with former Rep. Jeb Bradley. Manchester Mayor Frank Guinta is mulling a run and has already met with NRCC officials; businessman Jim Wieczorek and John Stephen. In 2008, Shea-Porter was boosted by the bruising Republican primary that opposed Bradley to Stephen; the attacks the two men exchanged helped the Democrat secure a general-election victory. Could she benefit from the same dynamic next year? Or will the threat of a top-tier Republican challenge push her to run for Senate?

Virgil Goode files candidacy papers in VA-05

Last months, Democrat Tom Perriello had to wait weeks for his upset victory against then-Rep. Virgil Goode to be finalized. Yet, Goode is making a move to seek a rematch uncharacteristically early: He has already filed a candidacy statement with the FEC. Goode is insisting that this should not be taken as a sign that he has decided to run; he explained that he has received “unsolicited” donations, and that election law requires him to file a statement with the FEC if he has more than $5,000 in contributions to declare.

On the other hand, Goode has undoubtedly been acting like a candidate. Over the past few weeks, he has been traveling around the district claiming credit for the appropriation money directed at the district that was introduced in the stimulus bill. Furthermore, Goode has a significant sum remaining in the bank - more than $150,000 - and he will be able to use that left-over money in a 2010 race.

As a freshman Democrat sitting in a red-leaning district, Perriello is undoubtedly a vulnerable incumbent. Yet, he would no doubt welcome the opportunity for a second race against Goode. Not only are former congressmen not often the best of candidates, but Goode’s polarizing profile and his history of controversial statements boosted Perriello’s bid. It is difficult to see Goode losing the Republican primary if he indeed seeks it, but the GOP could find a stronger contender.


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Path clearing for Hodes: Swett runs for House rather than Senate, Bass might follow

As we learned he would yesterday, Rep. Paul Hodes officially jumped in the New Hampshire Senate race by posting a statement on the liberal blog Blue Hampshire.

As important in today’s news from the Granite State was The Union Leader’s report that Katrina Swett is preparing to jump in NH-02, the district left open by Hodes. (Interestingly, Swett’s husband Richard occupied this seat in the early 1990s.)

With centrists out, Senate nomination will go to a progressive

Prior to this report, Swett was mentioned as a possible Senate candidate. After all, she had tried to run against John Sununu in 2008. (She withdrew from the race when Jeanne Shaheen jumped in the race.) Given that Hodes is not as towering as Shaheen, it was very much possible that Swett would choose not to step aside this time.

With her exit from the Senate race, with Governor John Lynch’s ruling out a congressional run and with Hodes’ decision to jump in, only one potential Democratic Senate contender remains unaccounted for, Rep. Carol Shea-Porter.

This all but guarantees that the party’s nomination will go to one of the state’s two representatives, which is great news for liberals since both Hodes and Shea-Porter are known as progressives while Swett and Lynch are centrists. (Swett served as the national co-chairwoman of Joe Lieberman’s 2004 presidential campaign; two years later, she supported Lieberman’s candidacy even after he lost the Democratic primary against Ned Lamont.)

Swett’s decision also allows the DSCC to continue hoping that the primary field can be cleared for Hodes. That could give the party a head start while Republicans sort out their primary. (New Hampshire holds relatively late primaries, in August, so avoiding a bruising fight can be very useful.) In fact, the DCCC is likely to also put pressure on Shea-Porter not to run for Senate since that would leave her swing House district endangered.

Heading towards a Swett-Bass rematch in NH-02?

Of course, Swett’s move also has consequences in the open NH-02 race. Democrats have enough of a bench in the district that Swett is likely to face a competitive primary, perhaps against a few state legislators. This is a blue-leaning district that Obama won by 13% in November, so liberals would certainly be wasting a huge opportunity to send a progressive to Congress if they let Hodes be replaced by Swett.

That said, Swett has quite a weapon that make her a very credible primary candidate: money! Not only does she has extensive connections (both her husband and father were Democratic congressmen), but she already has a large amount of campaign cash stocked up from years past, as Blue Hampshire reports. That money will allow her to mount a strong House race no matter who runs against her. In fact, it might be enough to scare most Democrats away from the race!

We also got news today that former Rep. Charlie Bass, the Republican incumbent Paul Hodes defeated in 2006, is leaning towards running for his old House seat back rather than jumping in the presumably-open Senate race. Given that Bass is one of only a few Republicans who can hope to win the statewide race, his passing on the Senate seat would be a big blow to the NRSC and one less obstacle on Hodes’ path.

On the other hand, Bass’s entry in the House race should worry the DCCC. Bass first won the seat in 1994 against then-Rep. Richard Swett and he held it for the next twelve years, winning a series of double-digit victories in 2000, 2002 and 2004. In fact, his 57% to 41% victory in 2002 was against Katrina Swett. NH-02 might have swung to the blue column over the past few years, but Bass would be a credible enough challenger for the GOP to hope for a pick-up.


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Crazy New Hampshire: Lynch set to appoint Newman, Hodes wasting no time

New developments are unfolding so quickly in New Hampshire that it is hard to keep track of all the news. It was just yesterday that Judd Gregg’s appointment as Commerce Secretary was confirmed, but Governor John Lynch has reportedly already made his choice.

He is expected to appoint Bonnie Newman, who is a Republican - and probably not the most centrist Republican Lynch could have found. Not only did she serve as Gregg’s chief of staff, but she also worked under Ronald Reagan and Bush 41.

Newman is being compared to Maine’s two moderate Republican Senators, who occasionally vote with Democrats; it remains to be seen how often Newman will break with her party, but we should not expect her to be a reliable cross-over vote. At the very least, she should be more amiable to Democratic arguments than the reliably conservative Gregg. (I am still stunned by the fact that a Democratic President appointed a conservative Republican to his Cabinet and led to a Democratic Governor appointing a Republican to the Senate, but I already explained my grievances last night. It will now be interesting to watch whether Lynch suffers any fallout among state Democrats.)

As far as the 2010 elections are concerned, the most important question is whether Newman will run for re-election. She is generally described as a caretaker who will leave the seat open for the taking next year. That said, Newman is only 63, so she could very well decide to seek a full term if she enjoys life in the Senate over the next few months. While New Hampshire is clearly trending blue, Newman could emerge as a strong contender - just look at Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins’s resilience in increasingly Democratic Maine!

For now, however, the most likely scenario is that Newman will not run in 2010 - and that would New Hampshire into the GOP’s fourth open seat of the cycle, along with Ohio, Florida and Missouri. (Iowa, Texas and Kentucky could follow.) Gregg was already endangered (he was sixth in order of vulnerability in my Senate rankings), but his departure creates a huge headache for Senate Republicans. In fact, New Hampshire’s open seat will undoubtedly be the toughest for Republicans to defend.

Democratic Rep. Paul Hodes is wasting no time. The Union Leader reports that Hodes is set to announce his candidacy this week, and that is great news for Democrats. (Before the events of the past few days, Hodes was already mulling a challenge to Judd Gregg; it is thus not surprising that he decided on running so quickly after leaning that Gregg will not be on the ballot in 2010.)

Hodes, who defeated a Republican incumbent in 2006, represents half of the state, he is popular and is known as a good fundraiser. Other than Governor Lynch, he is probably the strongest candidate Democrats could field - and liberals should be happy to end up with Hodes as the nominee since he is fairly progressive while many of the state’s Democratic officials (like Lynch) are moderate-to-conservative.

Hodes’s move will have immediate consequences down the ballot, as it will create a tricky open seat in NH-02. The district was occupied by Republicans until 2006 (for 88 of the past 95 years, to be precise!), so the GOP can certainly hope to contest this race. At the very least, this will be the most promising Democratic-held district to open up so far this cycle! However, Democrats can take comfort in the fact that NH-02 has been trending blue: Al Gore won it 49% to 48% in 2000, but Barack Obama triumphed 56% to 43%.

Two other Democrats are said to be looking at the race. The first is Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, who was also mulling a challenge to Gregg; Shea-Porter is also progressive, and she is regularly underestimated. Few believed she could win the Democratic primary in 2006 and no one believed she could beat the Republican incumbent in the general election; last fall, many expected Shea-Porter to be defeated in her first re-election race. Her repeated victories testify to her ability to connect to voters and motivate her supporters; she should certainly not be dismissed if she decides to run against Hodes in the primary. The second is Katrina Swett, the former national co-chairwoman of Joe Lieberman’s presidential campaign; Swett is a centrist who withdrew from the 2006 Senate race when Jeanne Shaheen jumped in.

Another important question: Governor Lynch had ruled out a Senate run last month, but will he reconsider now that Gregg is out of the picture? If he does run, will he not face trouble winning the Democratic primary against Hodes since he just appointed a Republican to the Senate?

On the Republican side, the field is more uncertain. For one, we will look for confirmation that Newman will actually retire. Then, all eyes will turn on former Senator John Sununu, the highest profile Republican left in the state. This could be Sununu’s best hope for a political comeback, but how electable would he after being crushed by Shaheen in his 2008 re-election race? At the very least, Sununu would guarantee that the GOP has a shot at keeping the seat. Another potential Republican candidate who has already acknowledged his interest is former Rep. Charlie Bass, who was unexpectedy defeated in 2006. Also mentioned is Manchester Mayor Frank Guinta, who has the merit of not having lost a race in recent years!

Note: Dashle just withdrew his appointment to HHS Secretary, a stunning setback for the Obama Administration. The question becomes: Will the President appoint a Democrat?


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Shea-Porter eyes New Hampshire Senate race

Of all the speculation that is already surrounding the 2010 cycle, Rep. Carol Shea-Porter’s early determination to seek the New Hampshire Senate seat is perhaps one of the most surprising.

In 2006, Shea-Porter scored what was perhaps the biggest upset of the cycle, relying on an extensive grassroots network to defeat the DCCC’s favored candidate in the primary and then unseating Rep. Jeb Bradley in the general election. Bradley sought a rematch with Shea-Porter this year, making NH-01 one of the most endangered Democratic seats of the country - but Shea-Porter held on, 52% to 46%.

It looks like Shea-Porter is already looking to move up further, as Politicker reports that she is aggressively positioning herself for a Senate run against longtime Republican incumbent Judd Gregg. She could be just weeks away from opening an explanatory committee - the first step towards a statewide run.

A challenge to Gregg would be a very difficult race, but (as 2006 and 2008 have shown) it would be foolish to underestimate Shea-Porter’s abilities as a candidate. She might not be a career politician, but she has demonstrated her ability to beat expectations, energize her base and appeal to New Hampshire’s famed independents. That she represents the state’s more conservative half could also be an asset, as she might thus reduce Gregg’s margins in Republican areas.

That said, Shea-Porter has certainly not had time to entrench herself in her district, so it is doubtful that her constituents feel connected to her enough to stay faithful to her in a statewide run - especially if she faces Gregg. Furthermore, her retirement from NH-01 would create a difficult open seat for Democrats to defend, particularly in a midterm election.

The DSCC’s dream candidate is popular Governor John Lynch, who received 70% of the vote in his re-election race last month. New Hampshire Governors serve two year terms, so Lynch would have give up his position to challenge Gregg - making it somewhat unlikely he will do so.

It is nonetheless surprising that Shea-Porter is positioning herself for a run before Lynch has provided any hint as to his intentions. It might be a way to declare her intentions before fellow Rep. Paul Hodes, who represents the state’s more Democratic district since 2006. (He picked-up the seat at the same time as Shea-Porter.)

Hodes is also mentioned as a possible candidate, but he might shy away from jumping in and thus jeopardize his House seat without even being sure of making it to the general election. Unlike Shea-Porter’s, Hodes’s House seat is relatively safe so he can afford to take his time.

All of this is occurring in the context of extensive transformations in what was once a Republican stronghold. The state GOP was decimated in 2006 (they lost both House seats and control of both chambers of the state legislature); this year, John McCain was crushed by 9% last month while Republican Senator John Sununu lost his re-election race.

On the other hand, Republicans also gained 11 seats in the New Hampshire Assembly, gave Shea-Porter a close call - not to mention that New Hampshire was the only Kerry state which Obama won by single-digits! The state has not yet joined the rest of New England in burying the Republican Party.

Lynch, Hodes and Shea-Porter colliding in a Democratic primary would be a wonderful opportunity for Republicans to regain some of their positions. Sure, a three-way battle is very much unlikely, but it is looking plausible that both Hodes and Shea-Porter might run, opening up the state’s entire House delegation (a reverse image of New Mexico this year - and that did not turn out so well for Republicans).


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Rating changes, House edition: Final house cleaning

This is not the time for grand narratives about the state of the House battle: I offered one in my preceding rating updates on Saturday, but some final house-cleaning was in order: Too many once-competitive but now-safe Democratic seats had been left in the list, and I also moved two new GOP-held seats to the lean Democratic column (though another one moved back to the toss-up category).

We will soon know the breakdown of the 111th Congress. Surprises surely await us, but there is no question Democrats will be very disappointed if they net less than 20 seats. Who could have predicted just six weeks ago that only losing a net 20 seats would be a great moral victory for Republicans?

  • Safe Democratic: 211 (+4)
  • Likely/Safe Democratic: 231 (+1)
  • Lean/Likely/Safe Democratic: 246 (+1)
  • Toss-ups: 26
  • Lean/Likely/Safe Republican: 163 (-1)
  • Likely/Safe Republican: 149 (-1)
  • Safe Republican: 124 (-2)

AZ-05, lean Democratic to likely Democratic: Democrat Harry Mitchell won a late-breaking race in 2006, and Republicans immediately put him on their target list. But the environment is simply too toxic for the GOP for Mitchell to be seriously endangered. Taking no risks, the DCCC has invested more than $1.3 million in the district, while Republican nominee David Schweikert has gotten no national help; the Club for Growth, which had endorsed him, has barely spent any money on his behalf.

CA-50, likely Republican to lean Republican: Republicans are increasingly nervous about some of the districts they hold in California, as they fear that Barack Obama’s coattails combined with weak Republican turnout could boost Democratic candidates in CA-03, CA-26, CA-46 and CA-50. The DCCC has invested in none of these districts, but an upset cannot be ruled out in any. CA-50 looks the most promising for Democrats; Rep. Bilbray barely prevailed in a high-profile special election back in 2006.

ID-01, toss-up to lean Democratic: That such a conservative district could find itself in the lean take-over column is entirely due to Rep. Bill Sali, who is despised but much of his state’s GOP establishment - as well as by many voters. Sali is a controversial provocateur who gained national headlines recently by heckling his opponent’s chief of staff while he was delivering a television interview. The latest polls show Democratic nominee Walt Minnick has a slight lead. But this is Idaho, so no Republican incumbent will ever be a clear underdog and the race remains highly competitive.

IN-08, likely Democratic to safe Democratic: The Bloody Eight is known for tight races, but freshman Rep. Ellsworth (who crushed an incumbent Republican by 22% in 2006) has little to fear against Republican nominee Greg Goode. Ellsworth was expected to at least have to swim counter-current in a presidential year, but Barack Obama’s stunning gains in the Hoosier State give Ellsworth cover.

MN-03, lean Democratic to toss-up: Barack Obama managed to avoid a racialization of the presidential campaign, but this House race has been marked by repeated controversies over the GOP’s treatment of Aswhin Madia’s ethnicity - first in statements by Republican officials about Erik Paulsen “fitting the demographics of the district” and then in a polemic over whether the GOP darkened Madia’s skin color in a campaign commercial. While such controversies can certainly hurt Republicans, minority candidates rarely benefit when racial cues are injected in a race. Both parties have invested huge resources in the district, and the SEIU has also been helping Madia. SUSA’s two latest polls have shown Paulsen erase a deficit and move into an edge, however, and the district has a slight Republican lean which Madia will have to overcome.

NE-02, lean Republican to toss-up: GOP Rep. Lee Terry did not take the threat represented by Jim Esch seriously enough for far too long, while Esch has been campaigning for years now (he lost to Terry by 10% in 2006). Both parties have invested more than $500,000 in the district, but Esch will be able to rely on Barack Obama’s organization in a district whose stand-alone electoral vote Obama is trying to win. Terry has been distributing mailers targeting “Terry-Obama” voters, a remarkable admission that Democrats are making gains in Omaha.

NH-02, likely Democratic to safe Democratic: Republican nominee Jennifer Horn has had little money to spend against Rep. Hodes, and state Republicans have focused whatever fire power they have at protecting Sen. Sununu and unseating Rep. Shea-Porter. Rep. Hodes will be a Republican target in cycles to come, but it looks like he will coast to re-election today.

NM-02, toss-up to lean Democratic: This is a conservative district, but Barack Obama’s gains in the state will hep Harry Teague (in this district) and Martin Heinrich (in NM-01). But a dominant dynamic in this district has been money: Both nominees are wealthy, but Teague has donated far more to his campaign and has benefited from a high $1,5 million the DCCC has poured in the race. By contrast, not only has the NRCC failed to invest a dime in the district, but Ed Tinsley himself has stopped airing advertisments, meaning that the GOP’s camp has gone dark in the district.

OH-18, likely Democratic to safe Democratic: Who would have thought two years ago that Republicans would barely attempt to contest one of the most Republican seats represented by a Democrat? Zach Space won this race in 2006 in bizarre conditions, as Rep. Ney was indicted and retired in the last stretch before the election. Republican nominee would already not have had the stature of a serious contender in a neutral environment - let alone in one that favors Democrats.

PA-08, likely Democratic to safe Democratic: Rep. Patrick Murphy won one of the tightest states in the country in 2008, and Republicans were vowing to contest the race. Retired Marines lieutenant Colonel Tom Manion might have made this a competitive race in another year, but with no help from the RNCC, he is unlikely to topple a Democrat incumbent in a district that voted for Al Gore and John Kerry.

And also, two new seats are added to the ratings: CA-45 and MI-08. Neither was talked about until this past week, and neither Rep. Bono Mack nor Rep. Rogers are likely to lose their seats. But given that Republicans are very worried about their prospects in California and in Michigan, a (truly stunning) upset cannot be ruled out. And while there are a lot of incumbents that are unlikely to lose in my ratings currently, we will see some highly unexpected results tomorrow (who thought IA-02 or NH-01 could fall in 2006).

Full ratings here.


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Down-ballot polling: Hagan closes strong, Georgia heading to runoff, GOP set to pick up PA-11

The gigantic amount of presidential polling that has been released today leads me to do something I haven’t done for a while: devote a separate post to congressional polling. There is a large number of competitive Senate and House races, and they have tended to be overshadowed by the presidential race, so we might as well give them more room tonight.

At the Senate level, most of the attention tomorrow should be devoted to those races that look the most unpredictable, starting with Minnesota where there is no consensus as to which candidate has the lead. Al Franken and Norm Coleman have come out ahead in a number of surveys over the past few days, and the main disagreement between different outlets appears to be over the Barkley factor. Some surveys find Barkley drawing disproportionately from Democrats (for instance today’s SUSA poll), while others find him playing less of a spoiler effect, in which case Franken does much better.

In Georgia, meanwhile, three new polls suggest that the Senate race is likely to head into a runoff. Chambliss comes narrowly ahead in all three but there are very few undecided left for him to get over 50%. Furthermore, we know that at least SUSA predicts African-Americans to make up the same share of the electorate as they did four years ago (26%, up from 25%); given that African-Americans make up 35% of early voters (which are likely to be more than half of all voters), it would mean that tomorrow’s voters are overwhelmingly white for the racial breakdown to be at the 2004 level.

In the two races that are rated lean take-over in my latest ratings, Kay Hagan and Mark Begich confirm that they have the lead; Hagan especially appears to have pulled ahead even more in the final days, possibly because of the controversy over Dole’s Godless ad.

At the House level, both parties get good news: Democrats are looking good in AK-AL and their incumbents in NH-01 and IN-09 are heading into Election Day in a better position than most would have predicted a few months ago. Furthermore, VA-05, a district that has only recently been added to the list of competitive districts, looks ripe for a pick-up.

On the other hand, the GOP is poised to pick up PA-11, as Rep. Kanjorski is finishing in as week a position as he started. And SUSA’s dual polls from Minnesota bring good news to Republicans, as Erik Paulsen is not only alive but slightly ahead in MN-03 while Rep. Bachmann has stopped the bleeding.

  • Minnesota, Senate race: Coleman leads 44% to 39% in a SUSA poll, with 15% going to Barkley; Coleman led by 2% two weeks ago. Barkley draws 15% of Democrats and only 8% of Republicans.
  • North Carolina, Senate: Kay Hagan leads 51% to 44% in a PPP poll, expanding her lead and coming ahead by 15% among those who have already voted. Hagan leads 50% to 43% in a SUSA poll; she led by 1% two weeks ago.
  • Georgia, Senate: Saxby Chambliss leads 48% to 46% with 4% for Buckley in a PPP poll. Chambliss leads 48% to 44% in a SUSA poll, with 5% for Buckley; SUSA predicts blacks will make up 26% of the electorate; the two candidates are tied if we recalculate it with blacks making up 31% of the electorate (they made up 35% of early voters). Chambliss also leads 48% to 44% in a Strategic Vision poll.
  • New Hampshire, Senate: Jeanne Shaheen leads 48% to 42% in UNH’s final poll conducted Friday through Sunday.
  • North Carolina, Governor: Bev Perdue leads 49% to 48% in a PPP poll.
  • Washington, Governor: Christine Gregoire leads 50% to 48% in a University of Washington poll and in Strategic Vision.
  • Safe(r) seats: Mark Warner leads 62% to 36% in a PPP poll of Virginia’s Senate race. Jay Nixon leads 54% to 39% in a SUSA poll of Missouri’s gubernatorial race. Mitch Daniels leads 60% to 37% in a PPP poll of Indiana’s gubernatorial race.
  • In MN-06, Michelle Bachmann leads 46% to 45% in SUSA, a margin that is well within the MoE; it’s a slight improvement for Bachmann over Tinklenberg’s 47% to 44% lead 10 days ago.
  • In MN-03, GOP candidate Erik Paulsen leads 46% to 41% in SUSA after seizing a 1% lead a few days ago and trailing by 3% last month.
  • In PA-11, Republican challenger Lou Barletta leads 51% to 45% against Rep. Kanjorski in a new SUSA poll.
  • In VA-05, GOP Rep. Goode only leads 50% to 47% in the latest SUSA poll; he led by 13% a month ago and by 34% in August.
  • In NH-01, Rep. Shea-Porter leads 46% to 41% in UNH’s final poll conducted Friday through Sunday. Rep. Hodes leads 52% to 31% in NH-02.

I imagine a few more congressional polls might be released by mid-day tomorrow, but that will probably not change the fact that we have not seen any independent polling from a huge number of House races that are currently listed as vulnerable on my House ratings. And in some districts in which polling was released, we might not have gotten numbers in more than a month or two (say AL-02 or CO-04, for instance). This means that the results in a number of House races will be largely unpredictable and we should expect some big surprises - just as in 2006.


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Tuesday polls find tight Senate races, large number of competitive red states

So much for that tightening. Not only does Barack Obama extend his lead in four out of the seven major tracking polls (the three others show no movement), he also hits a double-digit lead in two major national polls, Pew and NBC/Wall Street Journal.

What is most problematic for McCain is that he is stuck in the low 40s in most national survey that are being released. Of the nine national polls released today, only three have him above 42%, with McCain hitting a low of 38% and a high of 46%. This is certainly not a good range for a presidential candidate to be stuck in, especially as Obama comes in at 50% or above in seven of these polls. With 13 more days of campaigning left, John McCain is not closing the gap nationally.

The electoral college situation remains highly precarious for McCain, though taken individually a number of polls show signs of life for the Arizona Senator. In today’s polls from red states, Obama only has a lead outside of the margin of error in Insider Advantage’s survey from Colorado - and his advantage there has decreased in each of the past three polls from the institute. Polls in Florida, Indiana, Nevada and (three different surveys) in North Carolina all show the race within the margin of error - underscoring that they are still very much in play.

However, it is remarkable that McCain doesn’t have any sort of lead in any of these states, not even within the margin of error, not even in one of the three North Carolina surveys. Florida, Indiana, Nevada and North Carolina are not states Obama needs to prove himself in, they are states McCain needs to sweep before he can even think of playing catch-up in Colorado - and today’s surveys once again show that for McCain to win them all will require him to recover enough nationally for such a sweep to be plausible. On to the full roundup of the day’s polls:

  • Obama opens a wide 52% to 38% lead in Pew’s national poll of registered voters; he leads 53% to 39% among likely voters. The poll was taken Thursday through Sunday, and it is a 4% gain for Obama over the previous week. Obama has opened a 21% lead over who would best handle the economy.
  • Obama leads 52% to 42% in an NBC/Wall Street Journal national poll. Sarah Palin’s favorability rating hits negative territory (-9%) for the first time. The poll was taken Saturday through Monday.
  • Obama gains in four out of seven trackings, the three others stable. Obama gains 0.7% in IBD/TIPP (47% to 41%), he gains 2% to lead 50% to 42% in Zogby, and he gains 1% to lead 47% to 41% in Diego Hotline. He also gains in Gallup’s likely voter models, so he is now up 52% to 41% among registered voters, 52% to 42% among likely voters expanded and 51% to 44% among likely voters traditional. Rasmussen (50% and 46%), Research 2000 (50% to 42%) and WaPo/ABC (53% to 44%) have the race stable. To recap, Obama’s leads in the tracking are: 4%, 6%, 6%, 8%, 8%, 9%, 10%.
  • Obama leads 48% to 46% in a PPP poll of Florida. Obama led by 3% three weeks ago.
  • Obama leads 46% to 41% in an Insider Advantage poll of Colorado. Obama led by 6% two weeks ago and 9% a month ago, however.
  • Obama leads 48% to 46% in a PPP poll of Indiana.
  • The candidates are tied at 47% in a SUSA poll of North Carolina. Obama trailed by 3% two weeks ago. This is the first SUSA poll of NC in which McCain has not led.
  • Obama leads 48% to 45% in a Civitas poll of North Carolina. Without leaners, his lead is 47% to 42%. Among voters who have already voted, Obama leads 64% to 32%.
  • Obama leads 51% to 43% in a SUSA poll of Wisconsin.
  • McCain leads 52% to 43% in a Rasmussen poll of West Virginia. He led by 8% in late September.
  • Safe states: McCain leads 59% to 35% in a SUSA poll of Oklahoma. McCain leads 58% to 37% in a SUSA poll of Wyoming (Bush won the state by twice as much). Obama leads 56% to 32% in a Chicago Tribune poll of Illinois. McCain leads 54% to 43% in a Rasmussen poll of South Carolina. McCain leads 54% to 41% in a SUSA poll of Kentucky.

Meanwhile, in down-the-ballot polls:

  • Jeanne Shaheen leads 50% to 43% in a Research 2000 poll of New Hampshire’s Senate race. She led by 9% last month.
  • McConnell and Lunsford are tied at 48% in a SUSA poll of Kentucky’s Senate race.
  • Kay Hagan leads 44% to 41% in a Civitas poll of the North Carolina Senate race.
  • Hagan leads 46% to 45% in a SUSA poll of North Carolina’s Senate race. She trailed by 1% two weeks ago.
  • Al Franken leads 39% to 36% with 18% to Barkley in a Star Tribune poll of the Minnesota Senate race. He led by 9% three weeks ago. There are no indications as to which candidate Barkley is drawing the most votes from, and that could be important given how week Barkley’s support is (only 18% of his supporters say they strongly back him); on the other hand, Barkley could surge if voters come to think he is electable.
  • Inhofe leads 51% to 39% in a SUSA poll of Oklahoma’s Senate race. He led by 16% two weeks ago, but 22% six weeks ago.
  • Three polls of North Carolina’s gubernatorial race: Bev Perdue leads 48% to 44% in a PPP poll, and 41% to 40% in a new Civitas poll. But McCrory leads 46% to 43% in SUSA poll.
  • Gov. Daniels leads 57% to 36% in a PPP poll of Indiana’s gubernatorial race.
  • In WY-AL, GOP candidate Cynthia Lummis leads 50% to 44% in a new SUSA poll.
  • In ID-01, Democrat Walt Minnick leads 51% to 45% against Rep. Sali in a new SUSA poll.
  • In NH-01, Rep. Shea-Porter leads 48% to 43% in a Research 2000 poll. She led by 1% last month.
  • In NH-02, Rep. Hordes leads 49% to 43% Research 2000 poll. He led by 13% last month, so quite an improvement for his Republican challenger.

These polls underscore just how wide the range of possible Senate scenarios is. While Hagan has inched ahead and while an incumbent stuck in the low 40s is not a good sign, Hagan has not put the race ahead yet; and a number of seats (including Minnesota and Kentucky, as revealed by these polls) are complete dead heats at the moment. As for New Hampshire, Shaheen has not widened her lead over the past month, but Sununu is no longer gaining either, something he seemed to finally be doing in mid-September. With two weeks to go, it looks increasingly unlikely that the incumbent Senator can pull off an upset in the Granite State.


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Down-ballot: Bailout backlash, heated ad wars, GOP lead in NY-26 and tie in WY-AL

Last night, I explained that the bailout package has the potential of rocking congressional races over the next few weeks, as challengers from both parties are likely to campaign against any deal that is struck. While most of the opposition is coming from House Republicans right now, it is a Democrat - Jeff Merkley - who aired the first ad bringing up the bailout.

But it is another Democrat, Rep. Kanjorski (PA-11) who could be the most endangered if there is any voter backlash against the bailout. Kanjorski is a chairman of the subcommittee on capital markets, and is heavily involved in the Capitol Hill negotiations. A Politico piece about the race specifies that Republican Lou Barletta is “cautiously supporting” a bailout, but he will not have to cast a vote on it and he is looking to attack Kanjorski on related topics - for instance campaign contributions he received from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. In Florida, it is a Democratic challenger who is using the exact same argument - questioning how much oversight Rep. Feeney (FL-24) could have exercised when he was taking contributions from the mortgage industry.

Meanwhile, the ad wars are heating up in the final stretch before the election - so much so that some are now starting to hurt those that are airing them. In KY-02, the DCCC’s decision to invest in the race in this conservative district was viewed as a major development a few days ago. But a local TV station has decided to pull the ad off the air after advice from its counsel. The ads charged that the company GOP candidate Guthrie works for shipped jobs to Mexico, something the Guthrie campaign denied, threatening legal action. Anytime a TV station is moved to pull an ad, it is obviously a major victory for the candidate who was under attack as it allows him to complain about their opponent’s negativity and put him on the defensive.

Meanwhile, Wayne Parker, the Republican candidate in AL-05 is airing an ad against Democrat Parker Griffith, a former radiation oncologist. The ad uses an internal peer review that Parker obtained that charges that Griffith under-radiated patients at his cancer treatment center in order to generate more future revenues. The ad suggests that such allegations led Griffith to leave the hospital:

[youtube="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZhYOcP2JKFo"]

Meanwhile, let’s take a look at some polls from down-the-ballot races - starting with statewide votes:

  • SUSA finds that California’s Proposition 8 could still pass, as the yes vote is trailing only 49% to 44%.
  • Merkley leads 45% to 40% in a Research 2000 poll of Oregon’s Senate race. This is the second poll in a row to find the Democrat taking a lead, the first to have him ahead outside of the MoE.
  • Shaheen only leads 41% to 40% in a Suffolk poll of New Hampshire’s Senate race.

The conventional wisdom appears to be that Prop 8 banning gay marriage is heading to defeat, but polling data has suggested that the contest could go either way, with the no (the pro-gay marriage position) only holding a narrow advantage. One reassuring thought for “no” proponents is that the “no” tends to gain as Election Day approaches as undecideds usually break towards that vote - but that might be more applicable in the case of confusing proposals.

The four Senate polls find results that are very interesting - though not surprising. In the MS Senate race, Wicker does appear to hold a narrow advantage - something we could not have said a few months ago. In Oregon, however, I believe this is the largest lead Merkley has ever held, and it comes in the heels of a SUSA survey in which Merkley picked up 14% and took a narrow 2% lead. The economic crisis appears to be boosting Democrats in Oregon, and Gordon Smith’s hard hitting crime ads don’t appear to have done him much good.

The most puzzling poll numbers these days are coming from New Hampshire. Sununu seized a 7% lead ever in a Rasmussen poll earlier this week, but that does seem to be an outlier as no other survey is finding Sununu with any sort of lead - let alone one outside of the margin of error. That said, Shaheen does look to be losing ground. Not only is her lead down to single-digits now, but a number of surveys have her leading only within the MoE. The recent ad campaign by the NRSC and by Sununu could be having an effect, as is McCain’s apparently improving the GOP brand in the Granite State.

  • In NY-26, Alice Kryzan trails Republican Chris Lee 48% to 37% in a new SUSA poll. As if that wasn’t bad enough, Kryzan’s primary opponent Jon Powers takes 5% on the Working Families party line, while the candidate on the Independent Party line gets 3% despite the fact that he will not be on the ballot and Lee’s name will be on the IP ballot line. Certainly a tough poll for Democrats in a district they have been looking at for months.
  • In WY-AL, Research 2000 finds a tie at 42% between Democrat Trauner and Republican Lummis. Trauner led by 3% in a poll taken in May. One potential problem for Trauer: Most undecided are Republican voters, which underscores how difficult it will be for him to raise from the low 40s to the high 40s.
  • In NH-01, Rep. Shea-Porter is up 44% to 43% to former Rep. Bradley in the Research 2000 poll. (In NH-02, Rep. Hodes leads 47% to 34%.) The margin of error is a very large 6%, however.
  • In NV-03, Dina Titus released an internal poll showing her leading 46% to 37% against GOP Rep. Porter. A July survey had her up by 4%.
  • In NM-01, an internal poll for the Heinrich campaign finds the Democrat leading Darren White 48% to 42%, up from a 3% lead in June.
  • In KY-02, Brett Guthrie leads 49% to 43% in a new SUSA poll. Democrat David Boswell led by 3% in a June poll, so this is a bounce for the Republican in what is a conservative district.

All six of these districts are highly competitive, and the DCCC has started pouring money in all of them but WY-AL. These polls suggest that all four justify those investments - except perhaps in NY-26, a district many expected to be a strong pick-up opportunity but where Chris Lee starts with a clear lead. Note that a DCCC poll had Kryzan leading by 10%, but it also had a lot of undecided. Meanwhile, Shea-Porter and Bradley are engaged in a heated battle that will likely go down the wire - and the presidential race could have a big impact on who wins this House race.

In NM-01, Heinrich is slightly favored but Democrats were looking to be more secure in this open seat by this point. When looking at these NM-01 and NV-03 surveys, keep in mind that internal polls might need to be taken with a grain of salt, but that trendlines are nevertheless useful - and here they both favor the Democrats. As for KY-02, this is the district in which the DCCC ad was pulled; Republican Guthrie had been trailing in the previous polls, as well as in Boswell internals, so the GOP should be relieved that he appears to be gaining in this conservative district. Guthrie should be further helped by McCain’s coattails. Furthermore, Guthrie has been airing ads for far longer, helping him improve his position.


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Poll watch: Michigan swings Obama, Merkley gains, GOP competitive in Alaska races

The battle lines are getting clearer in the presidential race. With Iowa and New Mexico leaning Obama and the Democrat inching ahead in Colorado, keeping the Kerry states would be enough to get Obama to the White House - and he can even afford to lose New Hampshire since a tie favors Obama. With that in mind, we will keep a particularly sharp eye on polls from Colorado, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Minnesota.

And today’s news is good for Obama: he continues to post a narrow but consistent advantage in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, and Michigan appears to be breaking open in his favor. Three out of five surveys released today have him leading between 8% and 13%, a margin supported by Marist’s 9% earlier this week and Obama’s 5% (7% among registered voters) yesterday. However, Mason Dixon does find a tie in the Wolverine State today.

As long as those five states break Obama’s way, the other states lose importance, so forgive my glancing over the latest toss-up poll from Ohio, McCain’s semi-comforting 8% lead in West Virginia or Obama’s two three 1% leads in New Hampshire. And don’t forget Rasmussen North Carolina survey that I wrote extensively about early this morning. Another poll of importance is Obama’s 5% lead in the latest NYT/CBS poll.

First, the five polls from Michigan:

  • Obama leads 48% to 38% in an EPIC-MRA poll of Michigan. Obama led by only 1% in a EPIC-MRA survey taken just a few days ago.
  • Obama leads 51% to 38% in a Detroit Free Press poll of Michigan conducted by Selzer & Co. Obama leads by 15% when voters are asked which candidate they trust on the economy.
  • The candidates are tied in a Mason Dixon/NBC poll of Michigan. Here, McCain does well in the Detroit suburbs (home of Reagan Democrats), which is key to a victory here.

It’s not a surprise that Michigan would be the state in which we would see the biggest shift as the conversation turns to the financial crisis, as this is among the most hard-hit state economically. But it is a major development, as the McCain campaign (and polls) had long regarded Michigan as the GOP’s biggest opportunity to pick up a blue state. However, note that both campaigns have recently been spending more in Pennsylvania than in Michigan, suggesting that the Keystone State is being recast in its traditional role of most-vulnerable-Democratic-state.

On to other presidential polls, including the three polls from Pennsylvania:

  • Obama leads 47% to 42% in a new CBS News/New York Times national poll. This is the same margin as last week. McCain reclaims the lead among independents.
  • Obama leads 49% to 45% in a Rasmussen poll of Pennsylvania taken Wednesday. He led by 3% in a poll taken on Saturday, so a stable race.
  • Obama leads 50% to 44% in a SUSA poll of Pennsylvania.
  • Obama also leads 46% to 45% in a Suffolk poll of New Hampshire.
  • Obama leads 52% to 41% in a SUSA poll of Oregon. He led by 3% last month.
  • Obama only leads 49% to 44% in a SUSA poll of Maine, which could make him lose one 1EV - and one he cannot afford to lose if he loses New Hampshire as well. (This poll does find McCain leading among 18-34 year old voters.)
  • McCain leads 50% to 42% in a Rasmussen poll of West Virginia. That is a more reassuring lead than other surveys have found lately, and keep in mind that Obama is not investing in the state (though some WV markets overlap with markets from swing states in which Obama ads are running).
  • Safe red states: McCain leads 51% to 42% in a Rasmussen poll of Arkansas.

Meanwhile, in down-the-ballot polls:

  • Jeff Merkley has gained 14% in two months in SUSA’s poll of Oregon’s Senate race and taken a narrow lead (within the MoE), 44% to 42%. Constitution Party candidate Dave Brownlow gets 8%, probably helping Merkley.
  • Two polls from Alaska’s Senate race find close races: Farleigh Dickinson has Begich leading 47% to 43%, Ivan Moore finds Begich leading 48% to 46% (he led by 3% two weeks ago).
  • Two polls from AK-AL find that Don Young is still alive: Farleigh Dickinson has Berkowitz leading 47% to 41%, Ivan Moore has Berkowitz leading 49% to 44% (he led by 17% two weeks ago). Berkowitz’s unfavorability rating has shot up in Ivan Moore.
  • Kay Hagan leads yet again in a Rasmussen poll of North Carolina’s Senate race - the second Rasmussen took over the past 7 days. She had a 6% lead last week (her largest yet), 3% today: 48% to 45%.
  • Susan Collins does not tremble in a SUSA poll of Maine’s Senate race. She continues to crush Tom Allen 55% to 39%.
  • Jeb Bradley leads Democratic Rep. Shea-Porter 45% to 42% in a UNH poll. He led by 6% in July. Paul Hodes leads by 12%  in his district.
  • An internal poll for the Nye campaign finds the Democrat closing the gap in VA-02, but she still trails 45% to 40%.
  • [Corrected, previous write-up of MI-07 was horribly mistaken] Democratic challenger Mark Schauer of MI-07 released an internal poll finding him leading 42% to 36% against Rep. Walberg. He led by 3% in a May survey.
  • Safe seats: Biden and Markell lead in SUSA polls of Delaware’s senatorial and gubernatorial races. Kerry leads in Massachusetts.

Some excellent news for both parties, as Democrats will be heartened that Hagan and Merkley continue to be more than competitive despite GOP ads stepping up their attacks. MI-07 is undoubtedly one of the Democrats top targets, and any incumbent polling at 36% (even in an internal poll) is in danger. But Republicans will take comfort in the fact that neither of Alaska’s races appear to be over, as the two GOP incumbents are making somewhat of a comeback. The question now is how voters will react to the month-long coverage of Stevens’ trial. Odds are that the coverage of the Senator’s corruption will also hurt Young’s standing.



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  • All good things must come to an end

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    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no 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 'EST/-5.0/no 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 'EST/-5.0/no 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 'EST/-5.0/no 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 'EST/-5.0/no 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 'EST/-5.0/no 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 'EST/-5.0/no 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 'EST/-5.0/no 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 'EST/-5.0/no 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 'EST/-5.0/no 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 'EST/-5.0/no 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 'EST/-5.0/no 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 'EST/-5.0/no 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 'EST/-5.0/no 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 'EST/-5.0/no 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 'EST/-5.0/no 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 'EST/-5.0/no 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 'EST/-5.0/no 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 'EST/-5.0/no 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 'EST/-5.0/no 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 'EST/-5.0/no 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 'EST/-5.0/no 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 'EST/-5.0/no 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 'EST/-5.0/no 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 'EST/-5.0/no 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 'EST/-5.0/no 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 'EST/-5.0/no 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 'EST/-5.0/no 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 'EST/-5.0/no 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 'EST/-5.0/no 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 'EST/-5.0/no 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 'EST/-5.0/no 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 'EST/-5.0/no 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 'EST/-5.0/no 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 'EST/-5.0/no 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 'EST/-5.0/no 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 'EST/-5.0/no 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 'EST/-5.0/no 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 'EST/-5.0/no 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 'EST/-5.0/no 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 'EST/-5.0/no 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 'EST/-5.0/no 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 'EST/-5.0/no 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 'EST/-5.0/no 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 'EST/-5.0/no 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 'EST/-5.0/no 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 'EST/-5.0/no 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 'EST/-5.0/no 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 'EST/-5.0/no 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 'EST/-5.0/no 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 'EST/-5.0/no 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 'EST/-5.0/no 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 'EST/-5.0/no 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 'EST/-5.0/no 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 'EST/-5.0/no 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 'EST/-5.0/no 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 'EST/-5.0/no 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 'EST/-5.0/no 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 'EST/-5.0/no 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 'EST/-5.0/no 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 'EST/-5.0/no 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 'EST/-5.0/no 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 'EST/-5.0/no 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 'EST/-5.0/no 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 'EST/-5.0/no 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 'EST/-5.0/no 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 'EST/-5.0/no 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 'EST/-5.0/no 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 'EST/-5.0/no 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 'EST/-5.0/no 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 'EST/-5.0/no 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 'EST/-5.0/no 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 'EST/-5.0/no 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 'EST/-5.0/no 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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