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Category Archive for ‘NY-13’ at Campaign Diaries
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Archive for the 'NY-13' Category


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Congress: Democrats continue aggressive expenditures, bring up Social Security

Last time we checked in the complete chaos of NY-13 and the field of ruins that Staten Island’s Republican Party has become, retiring Rep. Vito Fossella was plotting his comeback - though I noted that for him to work his way on the ballot would require either the Republican Party’s nominee Robert Straniere or the Conservative Party’s nominee to die, move out of New York State or offered nominations for judgeship.

I naively assumed that none of those requirements could be met, but that just goes to show that I have yet to understand that anything can happen in NY-13. First, the Conservative Party’s nominee was offered a judgeship nomination, accepted but he was replaced without Fossella giving any public signs that he was looking for the Conservative Party’s slot on the ballot. The reason to that soon became apparent as Manhattan’s Republican Party unexpectedly decided to offer Straniere a judicial nomination!

While there is no confirmation of this and Fossella has not admitted that he was looking to run for re-election, many Republicans were clearly hoping that this would be a way to get him on the ballot. But Straniere, who has a dismal relationship with much of the district’s GOP establishment, fired back that he has no interest in judgeship, had not even been informed that such a nomination was coming and he formally rejected it yesterday.

Six weeks from Election Day, the field thus appears set, and it’s improbable Fossella can now find a way to enter the race. And as the GOP candidate lacks the support of many in his own party, NY-13 remains this year’s most likely Democratic pick-up.

Meanwhile, the DCCC continues its aggressive expenditures. After investing in 15 districts on Tuesady, the DCCC poured in $1.6 million more yesterday - all of this while the NRCC is still unable to budget any ads in any House districts anywhere in the country. Just like yesterday, let’s break down the DCCC’s latest spending (the full list is available here):

  • Defense: The DCCC is investing for the first time in a pair of very vulnerable districts, LA-06 and WI-08. Also, the DCCC puts in more money behind ads in PA-10 (this round of expenditure is an impressive $130,000) and NH-01 (where the DCCC’s new total is a high $600,000).
  • Open seats Dems were hoping to have already secured by now: The DCCC continues to pour in huge amounts of money in districts that six months ago looked like fairly easy pick-ups but that have since considerably tightened. Those include NJ-07, NM-01, OH-15 and OH-16; the DCCC just invested between $100,000 and $150,000 in all four, bringing its total in each to more than half-a-million in each (except NM-01, where it’s getting close). Now, the DCCC has also taken its first and smaller buy in NJ-03 - a district that was also once leaning Democratic but where the DCCC is clearly no longer feeling confident.
  • Seats that are (and were expected to be) toss-ups: One of the day’s biggest buy is the DCCC’s first buy (of nearly $150,000) in NV-03, where Rep. Porter is highly vulnerable. The DCCC also adds to prior spending in IL-10, NY-26, NC-08 and OH-01 (the two latter in the six figures). It is particularly interesting to see the DCCC willing to spend nearly half-a-million at this point against Rep. Hayes in North Carolina, as the committee was criticized for not moving in at all in 2006, when Hayes’ challenger fell by about 300 votes.
  • Districts Democrats were not expected to contest: After KY-02 and MD-01 yesterday, the DCCC makes its first move in NM-02, a conservative open seat few people would have predicted would be competitive a year ago. The DCCC also continues to invest in PA-03 (nearly $100,000), confirming that Rep. English has become one of the Democrats’ top targets.

It is interesting to see the DCCC’s investment decisions as they tell us where the House battle is being waged. It is one thing for party strategists to spin candidate X’s potential and incumbent Y’s vulnerability, but putting money behind those claims goes much beyond spin and demonstrates a sincere belief that those seats are real opportunities or are truly threatened. That is why it is so fascinating to see that the DCCC is willing to move in places like NM-02, KY-02 and MD-01 and to get confirmation that it has not at all closed the deal in the four Ohio and New Jersey open seats - districts that seemed all but lost for Republicans in the spring.

Meanwhile, what strategies Democrats employ in their ads is also an interesting measure of what themes will dominate the final stretch - and what we have seen over the past few days is the DCCC and DSCC seizing on the financial crisis to resurrect the Social Security theme. We had not heard about this much all year, but Wall Street’s instability allows Democrats to pounce on Republican candidate for their past support for Bush’s privatization plan. (This also goes to show that economic concerns dominating the news at this crucial time isn’t just a boost to Obama’s chances but also to Democratic prospects down-the-ballot.) For instance, the DCCC’s LA-06 ad uses this theme to discredit Bill Cassidy:

[youtube="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xpIXnqDD0CQ"]

And the DSCC is up with two new attack ads against Gordon Smith on this subject. Here is the first, and here is the second:

[youtube="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZAyPU8Jsti4"]


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House: More confusion in NY-13 and the DCCC’s aggressive expenditures

Given how NY-13 seemed to be at the center of the political universe for much of the early summer, it’s hard to believe that I have not had to write about this race since July 11th. But rumors that Rep. Vito Fossella is plotting a political comeback is sure to launch another round of confusion in Staten Island’s House seat.

Here’s where things stand: After weeks of a chaotic saga in which all of the GOP’s possible contenders (down to the fourth-tier) declined to run, the Republican nomination went to former Assemblyman Robert Staniere, a figure so loathed by many in the local GOP establishment that only one Republican official is backing his party’s nominee. Democratic candidate McMahon’s task is made easier by the fat that the Conservative Party (a force in New York politics) has fielded its own candidate, attorney Paul Atanasio.

In brief, NY-13 is the most vulnerable of the GOP’s House seats, and is rated likely takeover in my latest ratings. After these cataclysmic few months, it can’t possibly get worse for Staten Island’s GOP, and some might be wondering whether the party might have been in better shape sticking with its adulterous DUI-ing incumbent. That has apparently given Fossella some ideas, and a poll is now reportedly running in Staten Island testing Fossella’s name.

Since the primary has passed, Fossella would have to convince one of the candidates currently on the ballot to step down - and they can only do that by dying, moving out of the state or being nominated to run for judgeship. If the local GOP is determined enough to get Fossella in, it could perhaps pull some strings and get Atanasio a shot at a judgeship (would they do the same for Staniere), though that remains rather unlikely - not to mention that it would be difficult for Fossella to run and win on a third-party line.

While this might end up having only a minimal impact on the battle for the House - it’s difficult to see how even a Fossella comeback could save NY-13 for the GOP - it certainly increases the race’s entertainment value.

Meanwhile, the DCCC is stepping up its independent expenditures at an aggressive rhythm, and in a stark contrast to the NRCC which remains in a very difficult position financially. Swing State Project tracks the committee’s expenditures, and its latest weekly summary shows how the spending so far (and it’s already mid-September) has been disproportionately Democratic. On the one hand, the NRCC has only invested a few thousand dollars in five districts - three of which (ID-01, PA-03 and AL-02) are seats that the GOP should never have to defend in the first place. All of the NRCC’s latest expenditures are polling related.

The DCCC, meanwhile, is up on air in a large number of districts - and a lot of these expenditures are fairly significant. That is particularly the case in some of the Democratic-held vulnerable seats where the GOP cannot really afford to play for now (most of the available money is likely to go on defense) but where the DCCC is rushing to the rescue of its endangered incumbent. $575,032 have already been spent in PA-11, and nearly $400,000 in TX-22. Other vulnerable Democratic seats the DCCC is paying attention to include AL-05 and CA-11 (where the National Association of Realtors PAC has just spent half-a-million dollar on a media buy on behalf of Rep. McNerney).

As for offense, for now the DCCC is spending a lot of money in the districts in which it is best positioned, GOP-held districts in which most analysts are already giving the Democrats’ a slight advantage. The DCCC has already spent $169,758 in AZ-01, more than $100,000 in AK-AL and VA-11. In NJ-07, an expensive district which is looking more competitive than Democrats were hoping it would be, the DCCC has already spent more than $273,000, a lot of it on advertisement! The same is true in OH-15 and OH-16, two open seats that were once considered to be leaning Democratic but where the GOP remains competitive; the DCCC has now spent more than $250,000 in both districts. In NM-01, the DCCC is reaching the $150,000 mark. One very interesting district is NC-08, a district the DCCC neglected in 2006 (the Democrat lost by a bit more than 300 votes) but where they just dumped more than $119,000 and are airing this ad. The DCCC is also firing its first salvoes in MN-03, in the form of a direct mailer.

But it is in IL-11 that the DCCC appears to be going all-out, as it has now almost spent $500,000 to help paint the district blue. Like some of the districts listed above, this is somewhat of a disappointment, as IL-11 was once rated likely takeover in my ratings before slipping back to a more competitive lean takeover as the GOP found a decent candidate, self-funder Marty Ozinga. He has proved surprisingly competitive in the months since, and the DCCC looks determined to lock this seat. Their latest ad is worth a look since it combines a charge Democrats are making against Republicans across the country (proximity to Bush) with an accusation that is being used by Republicans against Al Franken up in Minnesota (failure to pay taxes). And keep in mind, the DCCC is spending a lot of money attacking Ozinga:

[youtube="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=puglAngblN0"]

The NRCC has yet to spend anything on any of these districts - whether NM-01, AZ-01, IL-11, PA-11 or the other districts I mentioned. That is fine in some places (Ozinga can use his own money in IL-11), but not in others (it will be difficult for NJ-07’s Leonard Lance to respond by himself in the expensive New York City market). At the House level, where voters pay less attention and the press has less coverage, such financial discrepancies can make a big difference.


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House: Jackson files in LA-06, NY-13 remains chaotic and DCCC gives an idea of the fall landscape

LA-06 has become one of the most endangered Democratic-held seats. Just two months ago, when Don Cazayoux prevailed in this conservative-leaning seat, it looked like he would head into November a clear favorite since it is very rare for a special election victor to lose in the next general election. But yesterday, state Rep. Michael Jackson said it was “very likely” that he would file as an independent. Today was the filing deadline and we can confirm that Jackson did file and that he will run as an independent.

I already provided some background about how this could impact the race yesterday so I will not go into more analysis here, except to say that the November contest is now sure to be a three-way battle, with two Democrats and a Republican whose name will not be Woody Jenkins. That could be enough for Bill Cassidy to win the seat back for the GOP.

Democrats can take comfort in the latest developments in NY-13, where the situation remains chaotic. Yesterday was the filing deadline and Republicans still had not come up with a candidate to endorse. Their solution was to file a petition on behalf of… Frank Powers, their previous candidate who died last month! Why would they do this? Every filing petition includes a 5-person committee that can appoint a replacement if the candidate drops out or die, and the Staten Island GOP is hoping to gain some more time to find someone, anyone willing to run in NY-13. But here’s the catch: Since Powers died before the petition was filed, it is unclear whether the replacement law will apply in this case and whether Staten Island Republicans will be able to place another candidate on the ballot.

4 other candidates filed for the GOP primary, making it increasingly likely that one of them will get the nod. The most likely candidate is thus Paul Atanasio, a member of the Conservative Party who is being pushed by Brooklyn Republicans (though many of their Staten Island counterparts want nothing to do with him). It will take Democrats to mess up just as badly for Republicans to have a chance at keeping this seat. NY-13 is as close to being a sure pick-up as it can be.

Finally, the DCCC continues to flex its financial muscle. On June 30th, we got word that the committee had reserved air time for the fall in three races with expensive media markets: NY-13, OR-05 and CO-04. By reserving time early the DCCC can get a discounted rate and the money can be refunded if the DCCC chooses to not run these advertisements after all because the races no longer look competitive in a few months. Now, the DCCC has striked again. Including the ad buys mentioned above, it has now reserved air time for 31 districts for up to $35 million! 19 of them are held by Republicans.

Courtesy of Politico, here is the full list (Dem-held seats are in italics). Remember that the amount of money is as much a reflection of a seat mattering more than of how expensive a market is:

  • AK AL – Young — $586K
  • AZ 01 – Renzi (OPEN) — $1.7M
  • AZ 05 – Mitchell — $1.7M
  • CO 04 – Musgrave — $667K
  • CT 04 — Shays — $697K
  • FL 16 – Mahoney — $1.5M
  • FL 24 — Feeney — $1M
  • IN 09 – Hill — $1.6M
  • KS 02 – Boyda — $1.2M
  • KY 03 – Yarmuth — $659K
  • LA 06 – Cazayoux — $723K
  • MI 07 – Walberg — $1.5M
  • MI 09 – Knollenberg — $1.1M
  • MN 03 – Ramstad (OPEN) — $1.4M
  • MO 09 – Hulshof (OPEN) — $941K
  • NC 08 – Hayes — $1.6M
  • NH 01 – Shea-Porter — $564K
  • NJ 07 – Ferguson — $1.8M
  • NM 01 – Wilson (OPEN) — $1.3M
  • NM 02 – Pearce (OPEN) — $1.2M
  • NV 03 – Porter — $916K
  • NY 13 – Fossella (OPEN) — $1.3M
  • OH 01 – Chabot — $928K
  • OH 15 – Pryce (OPEN) — $1.2M
  • OH 16 – Regula (OPEN) — $1.3M
  • OR 05 – Hooley (OPEN) — $1.2M
  • PA 04 – Altmire — $554K
  • TX 22 – Lampson — $1.1M
  • TX 23 – Rodriguez — $707K
  • VA 11 – Davis (OPEN) — $1.3M
  • WI 08 – Kagen — $475K

That the DCCC is able to budget such amounts of money is obviously a terrific display of force and a demonstration of their ability to play defense while also going after some long shot Republican seats. The inclusion in this initial wave of seats of open but conservative districts like MO-09 and NM-02 as well as non-open races that are still considered second-tier (FL-24, MI-07 and MI-09) says a lot about their determination to expand the map. While all of these seats have been talked about for a few weeks now, races in marginal districts typically only become competitive in the fall. And consider that the DCCC demonstrating that it will be active in these districts will allow Democratic candidates to fundraise more effectively.


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House: GOP in trouble in second-tier races, with some rare poll numbers from Florida

It is telling of the difficulties Republicans are facing that they have to worry about Alabama. The Montgomery Advertiser published an article today that examined the possibility that Democrats could gain a majority in the state’s delegation. To do so, they would have to successfully defend a difficult open seat (AL-05) and conquer two GOP-held seats (AL-02 and AL-03). Ironically, AL-03 is much more Democratic than AL-02 (Bush won the former with 58% and the latter with… 67%) but it is AL-02 that is generating the most buzz: Democrats are touting the candidacy of Montgomery Mayor Bobby Bright, a candidate so conservative that Republicans were trying to recruit him to run under their own party banner.

Meanwhile, the GOP’s road is getting tougher in AZ-08, where freshman Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is running for re-election against Republican state Senator Tim Bee. The GOP incumbent who retired in 2006, Jim Kolbe, grabbed quite a few headlines last weeks when he withdrew his support from his party’s current candidate. While Kolbe provided no explanation for his move, it is probably due to Bee’s casting the last and decisive vote in favor of placing an anti-gay marriage amendment on the November ballot. Kolbe, who was one of the only openly gay congressmen, was sure to have been disappointed by Bee’s prominent role in that vote.

If he does not return to the Republican fold, Kolbe’s absence will be noticed and commented on at length in the coming months. It will hamper Bee’s efforts to reclaim the seat. Kolbe’s moderate profile allowed him to remain popular in this somewhat swing district and his refusal to stand by Bee will help Giffords’s efforts to paint the Republican as too conservative for the region. (As a side to the story, not that Arizona remains the only state to ever have voted down an anti-gay marriage amendment, back in 2006).

In NY-13, finally, it looks increasingly certain that Mike McMahon will pick-up the seat come November, completing a Democratic take-over of all of New York City’s seats. Staten Island Republicans have still not settled on a candidate and seem unable to do so after quite literally all their choices declined to run one after the other. Former GOP Rep. Guy Molinari admits to TPM that it looks likely that McMahon will emerge the victor and confirms that current discussions are focused on whether businessman Paul Atanasio (who is registered conservative, not Republican!) would be an acceptable choice. In fact, it looks like there is a serious split between the Brooklyn GOP and the Staten Island GOP — and Republicans only have a few days left to collect signatures to have a candidate placed on the ballot!

To finish this House round-up with some exciting (and rare, since House contests are not often polled) polling data , Bendixen & Associates released the results of three House races in South Florida:

  • In FL-18, GOP Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen is comfortably ahead of Annette Taddeo, 51% to 38%.
  • In FL-21, GOP Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart narrowly leads Raul Martinez 41% to 37%.
  • In FL-25, GOP Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart narrowly leads Joe Garcia 44% to 39%.

The Diaz-Balart brothers have been targeted by Democrats for a few months now: Raul Martinez and Joe Garcia are two very strong candidates that could give the GOP incumbents the most difficult re-election campaign of their careers. Yet, it remains unexpected to see both of them struggling this much, as both is under 50% — a vulnerability point for any incumbent. Ros-Lehtinen appears much more protected than her two South Florida colleagues, even though Taddeo’s name recognition is certainly inferior to Martinez and Garcia’s.


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Down-the-ballot: DCCC flexes financial muscle, GOP candidate shy away from party label

We have known for months that the DCCC’s massive financial advantage would have a dramatic impact on this year’s House battle. We got our first taste of this dynamic when Democrats forced the RNCC to spend millions defending four long-shot open seats (Democrats won three of them) whereas the GOP was unable to help their highly-touted recruit in IN-07 in March. Now, we got another proof that Democrats will put their lead of $40 million (!) to use. Last week, the DCCC reserved more than $4 million of air time to be used in the fall:

  • $2.1 million in the NYC market (which covers NY-13)
  • $1.2 million in the Portland market (which covers OR-05)
  • $600K in the Denver market (which covers CO-4)

These markets are expensive (particularly the NYC one), and by reserving time early the DCCC can get a discounted rate. The RNCC cannot follow the DCCC here, since they only have about $6 million in the bank right now and cannot afford to just spend it away right now. But, you might ask, why would the DCCC spend any money on NY-13 when the race looks like a sure-winner for Democrats already and even in OR-05, where the abortion scandal hitting the GOP nominee makes it a difficult win for Republicans? This money can be refunded if the DCCC chooses to not run these advertisements after all because the races no longer look competitive in a few months.

Even if the networks might impose a small penalty, the DCCC will have shown its determination to winning these three seats in the process, perhaps scaring away potential opponents in Staten Island (where Republicans still have found no challenger at all willing to defend the last GOP-held seat in New York City). It will also show that no seat is beyond targeting for Democrats this year, no matter how expensive an advertising campaign might be.

More troubling news for Republicans in Washington state, where new election rules allow candidates to choose what party label will appear next to their name. TPM reports that two major candidates are shying away from the “Republican” label and choosing to associate with more unconventional appellations. Dino Rossi, running for governor, will write “GOP party” next to his name, while Curt Fackler, a county chairman for Republicans, will run for insurance commissioner with no party label! This will surely hurt other Republicans on the ballot — including John McCain, who already has to battle in neighboring Oregon with the state’s Senator Gordon Smith touting his bipartisan proximity to Barack Obama.

Meanwhile, in Kansas’s Senate race, Senator Pat Roberts shows that he is taking no chances. Barely on the radar screen until a few weeks ago, this contest became potentially interesting when a few polls in recent weeks have shown Roberts holding a smaller lead than expected against former Rep. Slaterry. But Roberts is now airing his third ad, touting his suport for the airline industry.

Finally, in OH-02, a new internal poll for Victoria Wulsin suggests a competitive race with a sure edge for Rep. Schmidt:

  • Jean Schmidt leads Wulsin 41% to 33%. Confirming Schmidt’s well-known unpopularity is her approval rating, which is a dismal 33%.

While it’s good for a challenger to hold an incumbent under 50%, two factors should tamper Democratic enthusiasm here: (1) this is an internal poll and (2) Wulsin is already known as this is a rematch of the 2006 battle, which Schmidt won 51% to 49%. She has gotten more entrenched over the past 1.5 years, making her more difficult to beat.


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Down-ballot: NY’s GOP sinks further and Gordon Smith embraces Obama

Just when you think New York’s GOP could not possibly sink further, prompting me to write a post titled “The last throes of New York’s Republican Party, ” the state’s Republicans manage to attract even more ridicule. Following the tragic death of their last-minute candidate Frank Powers, the Staten Island GOP has been brainstorming for possible replacements in NY-13. All high-profile candidates — District Attorney Donovan, state Senator Lanza and city councilman Odda — once again declared that they would not run, leaving a list of second-tier candidates who would already face long odds to defeat Democratic candidate Mike McMahon.

But over the past 24 hours, the two potential second-tier candidates have also ruled themselves out! The first is former Assemblyman Matthew Mirones, who declared “I’ve decided on a personal level not to get back into the political arena at this time.” Some Republicans were hopeful about Mirones because he could self-fund his candidacy. His decision seemingly ensured that NY1 reporter Lisa Giovinazzo would get the GOP’s endorsement. She already seemed to be the consensus choice in May before Republicans unexpectedly settled on Powers instead. But today, Giovinazzo stunned nearly everyone by telling the New York Times that she will not run for Congress!

Keep in mind that this is a GOP-held seat in a district that is not that inhospitable to the party. That Republicans are unable to find any candidate willing to run speaks to how dismal the situation of New York’s GOP has become. Forget finding a second or third tier candidate, the party is now hoping to find any candidate at all. The only decent contender the GOP could still turn to is state Supreme Court Justice Joseph Maltese, but he would have to resign his judicial seat before even starting a run and his name has not been mentioned for a few days. The New York Times reports that the only names the GOP is now circulating aren’t even Republicans, as the party could choose to cross-endorse the candidate of the Conservative Party or the Independent Party. And keep in mind that there were some suggestions earlier this week that the GOP might decide to cross-endorse McMahon!

Democrats are having much less recruitment trouble this cycle, as candidates are more eager to run in election years where everything seems possible. Now, the DCCC looks to have put in play LA-07, a conservative district. State Senator Don Cravins has announced he will run against Rep. Charles Boustany and he will be a very strong challenger to the Republican who won an open seat in 2004 following the retirement of a Democratic congressman — underscoring that this is not an impossible seat for Democrats to win despite the fact that Bush won the district with 60% of the vote in 2004 (55% in 2000). LA-07 has a sizable African-American population which could help Cravins this year. This race remains likely retention for the GOP, but it enters the list of contested seats.

It’s also worth pointing to a new poll of NC-10 released by the independent group PPP that implies that it might be worth looking at this seat:

  • In a seat Bush won with 67%, McCain only leads Obama 52% to 31% and heavily-favored GOP incumbent Patrick McHenry is ahead of Daniel Johnson 49% to 38%. The only bright spot for the GOP is that gubernatorial candidate Patrick McCrory is polling at the level he needs to win (55-30%).

NC-10 is on few people’s radar screen and it remains to be seen whether the DCCC can expand the map that much, even with their massive amount of cash-on-hand. If they find that they have money left, they will have a vast array of seats to choose from to test the Republican incumbent, and it looks like NC-10 will be one of them. (There were also a number of Senate polls released today but I will include those in the poll roundup).

Meanwhile, Oregon’s Republican Senator Gordon Smith followed up his ad featuring the endorsemeng of two Democratic state legislators with a new spot touting his relationship with… Barack Obama! Sure, Oregon is not Mississippi’s first district, where the NRCC tried to hurt the Democratic candidate by running ads about his being endorsed by the Illinois Senator, but for a GOP Senator to feel that Obama is a shoo-in enough in Oregon to justify airing this ad is nothing short of remarkable:

Of course, this says as much about Obama’s chances in Oregon (where polls show him with a lead, albeit not an overwhelming one) as they do about Gordon Smith’s electoral strategy: Appeal to the independents by promoting his bipartisan image and his ability to work across the aisle. Smith has been doing his best to demonstrate his moderate credentials since the beginning of this cycle, when it became evident that the Senator had a target on his back and that his state’s blue leaning would threaten to make him into a new Chaffee.

Smith’s ad comes with risks: If the Republican senatorial candidate is praising Obama, it will make McCain’s hope to contest the state that much more difficult. Furthermore, it might confuse voters as to where Smith stands. After all, the Senator is a McCain supporter. And it will make Smith that much more vulnerable to Obama supporting his opponent Merkley, as it will be justifiably interpreted as a sharp rebuke. Obama wasted no time issuing a statement to remind voters/journalists that he was supporting Merkley.

Finally, to follow up on my discussion of the FISA bill last week, it is worth pointing out to a report that finds that the 94 Democratic House members who once opposed similar FISA bills but voted yes last week received an average of $3000 more from telecommunication companies than Democratic house members who remained opposed to the bill. Nothing surprising here — the power of lobbyists in Washington has been well documented — but still a depressing. The report lists the contributions to all those members, some of which have received a lot of money (and those include many beyond the leadership, including a number of blue dog conservative Democrats who were no doubt going to be the first ones to switch). Note that the Senate vote on the measure was delayed to July, by the way.


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OR-heavy down-ballot thread: Sen. Smith touts Dem endorsements and GOP House candidate hit by abortion scandal

Running for re-election in liberal-leaning Oregon, Gordon Smith has long known that he will have to fight hard to win re-election. Though Democrats threw him a lifeline by failing to recruit one of their strongest candidates, their nominee Jeff Merkley is solid enough to keep the race competitive. Smith has been preparing for more than a year by moving towards the center on enough issues to coherently argue that he is no Bush lackey, particularly on the Iraq War: Smith was one of the first Republicans to break with the Administration and start critiquing the war effort — though his new ad is disingenuously forcing that trait by describing him as “one of the first to stand up to George Bush and other Republicans to end this war.”

This latest ad features a Democratic state representative and a Democratic state Senator endorsing the Republican Senator, praising him for his bipartisanship:

Keep in mind that while Bush is certainly very unpopular in Oregon, this is not the bluest state in the country we are talking about. The extent to which Smith is trying to shake off the GOP label and claim the bipartisan mantle is remarkable and revealing of how much trouble Republican incumbents are in this year solely because of their party’s dismal ratings. And the fact that elected Democratic officials are willing to participate in his advertisement efforts speaks to the fact that the Oregon Democratic Party has not really gotten its act together. Smith has led in all polls of the race, though his advantage is within single-digits and he comes in under 50% — a sure sign of vulnerability. Given Al Franken’s troubles in MN, the DSCC is sure to devote as much resources to this race as necessary.

Meanwhile, Oregon Republicans are letting the open seat of OR-05 slip out of their hands despite it being one of only two competitive Democratic-held open seats. You might remember that, back in May, Mike Erickson was viciously attacked by his primary opponent Kevin Manni for having paid his girlfriend’s abortion years ago. Right to Life blasted Erickson immediately, but all that drama unfolded too late to damage Erickson in a state in which most voters sent their ballot in early via mail. Erickson prevailed in the primary, leading Democrats to rejoice that the GOP had nominated a candidate too damaged to be competitive in the general and some Republicans are refusing to support Erickson.

Now, the woman whose abortion Erickson allegedly paid for has been contacted by the Oregonian and she confirms Mannix’s story. She reveals being particularly angered by Erickson’s denying the story and his attempts at campaigning as a pro-lifer: “Tawnya, a registered Republican, said she received a campaign flier with a photo of Erickson next to a baby, touting his endorsement by the anti-abortion group Oregon Right to Life. The mailer made him out to be “some sort of safe haven for babies, and honestly, it made me sick,” she said.” Erickson denies the story entirely — but this isn’t going to help his already rocky relationship with local conservative activists.

In other — tragic — House news, the candidate endorsed by the Staten Island GOP to run for Vito Fossella’s House seat in NY-13 passed away yesterday. The Republican Party turned to Powers on May 29th after a slate of potential GOP candidates declined to run for this Republican-held seat, in a reflection of the long odds the party faces in keeping its last New York City seat. The GOP will now presumably reconvene to endorse another candidate, and the names of some candidates who had previously declined to run (starting with state Sen. Lanza) are being mentioned again. Democratic candidate Michael McMahon was already favored to win this seat that has now gone through months of unexpected and at times tragic news.

Moving on to the Senate, South Carolina was never on anyone’s list of vulnerable Senate seats, but a party always likes to have some sort of credible challenger in case the incumbent has a meltdown, commits a huge blunder or has some senior moment (see Kentucky in 2004 and Virginia in 2006). Well, it turns out that SC Democrats might have nominated… a Republican to take on Senator Lindsay Graham. Bob Conley has had a long relationship with the GOP and, while he claims to have left the party back in 2000 or 2001, he won a spot on the Republican Party’s Horry County executive committee in February 2007. While he pledged to be a Democrat when filing his candidacy papers and thus resigned from the GOP, this shouldn’t push the DSCC to attempt anything in SC even if Graham suffers the worst scandals over the next few months.

Finally, the roll call of the House vote on the FISA bill is now up, and 128 Democrats voted nay versus 105 who voted yea, including many of their prized pick-ups of 2006 (Altmire, Gillibrand, Arcuri, Boyda, Sestak, Pennsylvania’s Murphy), many of whom represent more or less conservative districts. Of the two Udalls who are looking to upgrade to the Senate, New Mexico’s voted Nay and Colorado’s voted yea. The former is more of a shoo-in than the latter. As Glenn Greenwald reports, there is some massive fundraising going on to punish Democrats supporting the bill and the sight of activists is set on Rep. Barrow of GA-12 (one of the most conservative Dems in the House, even though he represents a district won by Kerry). Remember that a heated primary is being held in that district, but Obama chose to cut an ad for Barrow last week.


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House: No family feud in NY-13, VA-11 gets settled

In a disappointing finish to a farcical storyline, the race in New York’s 13th congressional district just got a bit less traumatizing for Republicans. They have caught no break in this contest ever since Vito Fossella was arrested on DWI charges, as they have suffered through the incumbent retiring in disgrace, Democrats fielding one of their best opponents, the strongest Republican contenders declining to run, the Staten Island GOP being forced to settle for a second-tier candidate and that candidate’s son announcing that he would run as the Libertarian candidate, making sure that no one would be able to take his father’s candidacy seriously.

But yesterday, the Libertarian Party’s Manhattan chapter (which also controls Staten Island) voted to give is nod to Susan Overeem. The chapter’s spokesman explained that “has the better grasp of what it meant to be a Libertarian.” This removes the threat of the ballot being shared by a Francis M. Powers and a Francis H. Powers and will allow the Republican candidate to campaign without having to continually answer the charges voiced by his son (who seemed quite determined to see his father lose). This in itself is a relief for the GOP who will fight hard to avoid extinction in New York State.

Democrats remain favored to this seat. Not only was the recruitment success of the two candidates clearly unbalanced but it will be hard for Republicans to survive in any open seat that is remotely competitive at the presidential level.

Another such district is VA-11, vacated by Rep. Tom Davis and at the top of every Democrat’s target list. Northern Virginia has been rapidly trending Democratic and it is responsible for Tim Kaine’s election in 2005 an Jim Webb’s in 2006. Yet, the strength of the dispute between former Rep. Leslie Byrne and Gerry Connolly, the chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, threatened the Democrats’ confidence. Byrne, who occupied this seat from 1992 to 1994 and who lost a close race for Lieutenant Governor in 2005, ran a liberal campaign to remain relevant versus the machine of Connolly, who portrayed himself as a moderate Democrat.

Last night, Virginia voters went to the polls (turnout was only 5%) and gave a resounding victory to Connolly, who thus becomes the Democratic nominee for the general election and the favorite to succeed Tom Davis. He will face Republican businessman Keith Fimian, whose principal strength is that he could self-fund his candidacy in an expensive media market and thus keep the race somewhat competitive. But it would be a big upset surprise if Connolly were to lose. Northern Virginia has been the Democrats’ beacon of hope for years and they have been impatiently waiting for Davis to step down to seize this seat.

Democrats dejected that Virginia Democrats lost an opportunity to elect a more progressive politician might be comforted by the primary results in Maine’s 1st district, where Chellie Pingree survived a late push by Adam Cote, who ran a more moderate campaign. This seat, left vacant by Tom Allen’s senatorial run, is the more Democratic of Maine’s two districts which positions Pingree well to defeat Republican Charles Summers and become the first woman to be elected in this district. Note that this primary was essentially a general election and — to further heighten the stakes — a probable stepping stone for a Senate candidacy once Sen. Snowe, Sen. Collins or Sen. Allen retire (well if Allen wins in November he is unlikely to retire for a while, but you get my point).


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Down-ballot: Franken continues to sink in MN, GOP drowns in NY-13

Al Franken’s Minnesota campaign is not going well. Facing a shrewd incumbent with the reputation of a solid campaigner, Franken had no room for error. Yet, his campaign started tanking with revelations of Franken’s tax problems and with the controversy over his 2000 allegedly-pornographic essay in Playboy, a controversy that led a Democratic congresswoman state that she was not sure she could support Franken’s campaign. Now, it is the turn of Planned Parenthood to blast Franken for his 2000 essay in an e-mail which explained that it was difficult to see how the organization could endorse Franken and that they deplored “the misogynist remarks of some of these statements and find them degrading to women.”

In parallel, a second controversy has now erupted over a joke related to rape that Franken helped write on SNL in 1995 (visit that link for full explanation); the skit did not ended up airing as it received weak laughs at a dress rehearsal. The state GOP, which acknowledged having had the tape in hand for a while but only releasing it now, was ready to launch an immediate offensive as Republicans are blasting the former comedian. And Rep. McCollum, the Democratic congresswoman whose criticism had already made news last week, used the day’s news to distance herself from Franken even further. “It is appalling that anyone could characterize rape, a violent and horrible crime, as a joke,” she said.

Given the slow tickle of stories about Franken’s years as a comedian, there is very little doubt that the GOP has a whole series of similar scandals to use against the Democratic candidate. After all, Franken was a comedian and skit writers for years and his name is sure to be involved in many similar stories. Worried that it will be impossible to mount any sort of credible general election campaign under the threat of the GOP unleashing a new chapter of their apparently formidable oppo research file, Democrats are reportedly now considering their options besides Franken, including Mike Ciresi’s possible jump back in the race.

Al Franken’s prodigious fundraising abilities will be hard to match by any replacement candidate, not to mention that his early start was one of his main assets. After all, Senator Coleman was never going to be an easy incumbent for Democrats to defeat. But for a candidate who just two months ago was receiving sustained praise for a strong transition from comedy to politics, the change of tone in Franken’s coverage is brutal. Franken’s main task has always been the need to be taken seriously, and the ease with which Republicans are transforming him back into a goofy figure leaves him few paths to being elected.

Meanwhile, the saga of NY-13 continues to get more absurd after a month of unexpected developments: First, there was Vito Fossella’s arrest for drunk driving followed by the revelation that he was taking his mistress on taxpayer-funded congressional trips and Fossela’s subsequent retirement, the two top Republicans from the districts declining to run and the Staten Island GOP’s stunning decision to endorse the candidacy of Francis H. Powers, the island’s largely unknown former representative on the MTA board. Meanwhile, Democrats got one of their strongest candidate in the race.

As if this was not enough to get Democrats confident that they would pick up the last New York City district that was under Republican control, Francis H. Powers’s son (who, to make matters more complicated, has the same first name: Francis M. Powers) announced today that he would run for Congress too as the Libertarian nominee! His objective? Defeating the Republican Party and, as he explained himself, “A vote for my father is a vote for the straight Republican ticket.” He denied that he was doing this to get back at his father, though he acknowledged that he was motivated by the opportunity to give the Libertarian Party a wide audience by creating the spectacle of a son running against his father.

Now, there is the possibility that the son will not make it to the ballot as he needs to collect 3,000 signatures. But if he does this is sure to prove very distracting to the Republican candidate’s campaign; it would have been so under any circumstances, but the fact that the two have the same name would render the situation impossible to follow. As for the entertainment-value of this controversy and how much Francis H. Powers will be unable to escape constant talk of this development, his priceless reaction to his son’s announcement sets the tone: “I’ve tried very hard for many years to help my son. Unfortunately, he’s rejected everyone’s help to live a healthy lifestyle. Regardless of whether he wants to run for Congress, I still stand ready to help him move his life in a positive direction.”

Lifestyle, really? The young Powers is a married man with children, not a drug addict currently in a rehab clinic, as his father’s statement would imply. The Staten Island Advance provides an explanation: “A Republican source said that Powers was referring to his son’s ‘carefree’ lifestyle in the music business.”


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House: The GOP has Staten Island blues

Each passing week brings more troublesome news for House Republicans. It is now the end of May, and we are still talking about recruitment failures, albeit for a race that just opened up a few weeks ago. Vito Fossella’s decision to not seek re-election in NY-13 opened up a swing district in what is New York City’s only competitive seat. But in the space of two weeks, New York Republicans have suffered a series of setbacks which have transformed NY-13 from a likely hold for Republicans into a lean pick-over for Democrats.

The district is separated between Staten Island and Brooklyn, and the Staten Island parties typically endorse a candidate that is then in a strong position to become the party’s nominee in the general election. This year, however, Democrats have been engaged in somewhat of a fight between the party’s Brooklyn branch and Staten Island branch, with Stephen Harrison, a Brooklyn lawyer who was already in the race before the Fossella scandal and who was the party’s nominee in 2006, drawing 43% of the vote, refusing to drop out despite Staten Island’s insistence that the nominee has to be from the island. Yesterday, the island’s Democrats endorsed city councilman Mike McMahon, who represents Staten Island and who immediately announced that he had the support of Brooklyn leaders.

McMahon, who was among the DCCC’s top choices as soon as news broke that Fossella might retire, is the favorite to win the nomination though he could have a nasty fight on his hand with Harrison. But the situation is much worse among Republicans. First, Staten Island DA Daniel Donovan — who had recently been reelected borough wide with 68% of the vote — announced he would not run. Then, it was the turn of Stephen Fiala, the commissioner for jurors. And finally, the GOP’s third choice, state Senator Andrew Lanza, also declared that he would forgo a congressional run.

This is not the first time that all potential Republican candidates refuse to run in a district that is held by the GOP and that should be not an impossible hold for the party. After all, Staten Island leans Republican and Bush did carry the district in 2004. Tonight, Staten Island’s GOP nominated Frank Power, who is thus likely to be the Republican nominee for this open seat. As described by the Staten Island Advocate, Power serves on a whole bunch of boards; his most important position currently is to serve as Staten Island’s representative on the MTA board. One factor that could save Republicans here: Power looks like he might have the ability to self-fund his candidacy, which is a huge factor in a district as expansive as any in the NYC market. But the unbalance between the two parties recruitment success and the fact that the Democratic machine will help McMahon win his primary make the Staten Island Councilman the new favorite to replace Fossella.

More generally, Staten Island’s drifting out of Republican hands could prove disastrous for the state GOP as they have relied on having a stronghold in this island, especially since their grip on Long Island has steadily — and at times dramatically — eroded. Both Rudy Giuliani and Mke Bloomberg got their winning margin here in 1993 and 2000, though the 1993 campaign is particularly associated with Staten Island since a secession referendum boosted turnout on the island.

In other House news, an internal poll conducted for the campaign of Mary Jo Kilroy in OH-15 finds good news for Democrats:

  • Kilroy leads state Senator Steve Stivers 47% to 37% in a district currently held by Republicans.

Like any internal poll, this one ought to be taken with a grain of salt. Kilroy lost one of the tightest House races of the 2006 cycle and the retirement of Rep. Pryce made her an early favorite to pick-up the seat. But Stivers’s candidacy is one of the NRCC’s most successful recruitment coups and it has kept the race on the toss-up list. For now, Kilroy benefits from a higher name recognition and she is clearly boosted by Bush’s low approval rating (only 35% in this district).


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Down-the-ballot: Yet another GOP recruitment failure, tight races in MS and OR (Update: and NC)

A significant number of down-the-ballot news this morning, but to start with don’t forget to check my newly updated Senate rankings. House ratings should follow as quickly as possible. The day’s first development concerns NY-13, where Republicans are hitting yet another recruitment wall. Rep. Vito Fossella’s decision to retire in November created yet another open seat headache for the GOP in a Democratic-leaning seat in a Democratic-leaning state. It is hardly surprising, then, that potential Republican candidates would be reluctant to attempt a run here.

Yesterday, Staten Island DA Dan Donovan, who was recently re-elected with 68% of the vote in a borough-wide vote that covers a large portion of the NY-13 district, took himself out of the running. Donovan had been heavily courted by the national party and he was the clear favorite to take the Republican spot on the November ballot. Donovan did not cite any specific reasons but his desire to continue working as a DA to complete the tasks he has started.

The road thus just got that much tougher for Republicans to hold on to this seat. They will now turn to state Senator Andrew Lanza but recruiting state senators is not what New York’s Republican Party wants to be doing considering that their majority in that chamber — their last seat of power in the Empire State — hangs by a thread.

Meanwhile, Republicans are continuing their offensive against Al Franken in Minnesota’s Senate race. After Franken’s self-induced debacle over taxes, which has already considerably weakened the challenger, the GOP is now doing what we knew they would do sooner or later: Use Franken’s comedian past as opposition research material. I am doubtful this kind of attack can work, as shown by Sen. Allen’s attempt to use Jim Webb’s strangely graphic novels against him in the 2006 campaign. That effort probably backfired, and as long as Franken can portray himself as a credible candidate that ought to be taken seriously, the press will continue marveling at the comedian-to-politician transition. In further news from this race, former Governor Jesse Ventura is now considering jumping in as an independent, in what would obviously make the contest wild and unpredictable.

Furthermore, we got a series of polls from Senate and House races:

  • First, Research 2000 polled the Mississippi Senate race and found Senator Wicker leading Ronnie Musgrove 46% to 42%. A DSCC poll a few days ago found Musgrove up 8% and with a better favorability rating.
  • Second, the DSCC released yet another internal poll, this one from the Oregon Senate race. It shows Gordon Smith leading Jeff Merkley 45% to 42%, and the poll was taken before the May 20th primary, so any post-primary bounce for Merkley would not be recorded here.
  • Update: Third, a conservative institute, the Civitas Group, just released a poll showing Elizabeth Dole ahead by only 2% against Kay Hagan, 45% to 43%. One more proof that the NC-Sen race is much more competitive than was thought just 3 weeks ago.
  • Update #2: A Rasmussen poll of the New Hampshire race confirms that Sununu is the most endangered incumbent this cycle, as he continues to trail his challenger Jeanne Shaheen, 50% to 43%.

Both results are satisfactory for Democrats as they confirm that these two races are toss-ups heading into November. The OR numbers are an internal poll but they correspond to the latest Rasmussen poll of the race. Also, MS polls are likely to show very differing results over the next 6 months because the margin would vary widely if you adjust the proportion of white and black voters by just a point or two. If Obama heads the ticket pollsters will have to decide how much to weigh black turnout, and those decisions will impact the numbers that are released.

Finally, two — rare and very exciting — new House polls were released:

  • In CO-04, an internal poll for the Markey campaign shows Rep. Musgrove leading Democratic challenger Betsy Markey 46% to 42%.
  • In MO-06, another race that is on everyone’s toss-up list shows reassuring news for GOP incumbent Sam Graves, who leads Kay Barnes, the former Mayor of Kansas City, 49% to 39%. Barnes’ support among registered Democrat is (still?) weak.

The Graves campaign attracted a lot of attention last week by hitting Barnes for a fundraising trip she took to San Fransisco with Nancy Pelosi and aired a truly remarkably over-the-top ad that seems to come right out of SNL’s ad-parody efforts. The ad is too recent to be said to have have influenced the SUSA poll and it will be interesting to see how it impacts the race. Barnes is already out with a brutal response ad, but here’s the original spot:


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NY-13: Democrats get a shot at another open seat

After three weeks of uncertainty, Rep. Vito Fossella was not able to sustain the combined pressure of the Republican leadership and of the New York tabloids. Arrested for a DWI, Fossella found himself in the midst of a sex scandal as it was revealed that he was driving to see his mistress, Laura Fay, and daughter. And ethical considerations soon found their way in, as reports emerged that Fossella had taken Laura Fay on congressional trips…

Fossella first looked like he was hours from resigning but his friends and allies backtracked as the conventional wisdom became that Fossella was planning on running for re-election, boosted by a SUSA poll that showed him retaining a strong approval rating. But the pressure looks to have been too strong, as Fossella ended up quitting:

After a great deal of consideration, I have made the decision not to seek re-election to the United States House of Representatives this November. This choice was an extremely difficult one, balanced between my dedication to service to our great nation and the need to concentrate on healing the wounds that I have caused to my wife and family.

Fossella thus becomes the second New York politician in the space of three months to fall quite stunningly. Both Spitzer and Fossella were young hotshots who had much larger ambitions — Spitzer was often rumored to be eying a presidential run, while Fossella (who was first elected to the House at 32) was a quickly rising star.

Fossella’s decision also implies that he will not be resigning, so there will be no special election to fill his seat. That is a huge relief to House Republicans, as a low turnout special election would probably have sealed their doom in this swing district that leans ever so slightly Democratic. Bush won here by 11% in 2004 but he lost to Gore in 2000.

Naturally, an open seat will also be a huge headache for Republicans who will struggle to keep any New York seat in their column in November — let alone an open one. Some are saying that Fossella’s retirement is a relief for Republicans because they would have had a tough time holding the seat with the incumbent running again. I do not necessarily agree with that assessment. If no new ethical breached were revealed, I believe Fossella would not have been fatally wounded by this scandal, as the SUSA poll I referenced confirms.

This scandal could have effects further down the ballot. National Republicans are looking at state Senator Andrew D. Lanza to replace Fossella, but that would be a nightmare for Albany Republicans who are clinging to the slimmest of majorities in the state Senate, the last seat of power controlled by the New York GOP. Democrats have their own problems in this district. The district is split between Brooklyn and Staten Island (mostly in the latter) and Democrats have been engaged in a rather nasty (and silly) exchange over whether it is proper for a Brooklyn Democrat to take the party’s nod.

The two candidates who were already running prior to the Fossella scandal were both from Brooklyn, in particular City Councilman Domenic M. Recchia Jr. from Coney Island. Other Democrats who are now looking to join in and are playing up their Staten Island allegiance are state Senator Diane Savino, city counilmember McMahon and Assembly Member Mike Cuisck. All three represent some portion of Staten Island (Swing State Project provides more details about those three potential candidates).



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  • What remains on the table

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  • Confusion in Connecticut (Updated)

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

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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
  • 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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