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Category Archive for ‘OH-01’ at Campaign Diaries
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Archive for the 'OH-01' Category


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An epic polling roundup to get our minds off Massachussetts

Research 2000 and ARG just released two of Massachussetts’s final polls - if not the final polls. ARG found a 7% lead for Brown (52% to 45%), up 4% from where he was just last week. Research 2000, meanwhile, found… a tie: Scott Brown and Martha Coakley receive 48% apiece, a testament to how unpredictable the contest remains heading into Election Day. While at this point any poll that doesn’t have Brown ahead is a relief for Democrats, I don’t have to tell you that even that survey is rough for Coakley: Just last week, Research 2000 found her ahead by 8%, which makes this yet another poll to found stunning momentum for the Republican.

Yet, Research 2000 also confirms the hypothesis I enunciated this morning, as an update to last night’s post: Coakley performs better in polls that include Libertarian nominee Joe Kennedy, who will be on the ballot tomorrow. Pajamas Media and PPP, which gave Brown large leads yesterday, did not include Kennedy at all; surveys that have the race within the margin of error do include Kennedy, who for instance receives 3% in Research 2000. There’s every reason to believe that Kennedy is drawing his voters from the conservative camp, so if the race is close his presence on the ballot could allow Coakley to shave off a few points off Brown compared to PPP’s survey. (ARG’s website appears to be down, so I cannot determine whether they included him.)

It’s hard to think of anything but Massachussetts, but let’s try to do just that: Over the past week, there was so much news to cover that I ignored an avalanche of polls, to which I’ll now get to. Now that we’ve entered 2010, there will be more and more surveys released weekly - even daily - so I will obviously not attempt to cover each one in as much detail as I did over the past year; I will however start with polls that are testing election we’ve seen little data on. Today, those consist in 3 House districts and 2 Western Governor’s races.

(Yes, this is a fairly long post… but I let polls accumulate without covering them for more than a week, so I wanted to get to them all at once to make sure I can focus on Massachussetts and other important news after this!)

Three House races find mixed results for Dems

NC-08: PPP managed to find a freshman Democrat from a swing district with solid standing! In NC-08, a district that swung from Bush to Obama, not only does Rep. Larry Kissell have a strong approval rating (45% to 30%), but he displays no sign of vulnerability in three match-ups against his challengers, leading Lou Huddleston 55% to 37%, Tom D’Annunzio 54% to 38%, Hal Jordan 55% to 39% and Harold Johnson 53% to 39%. Sure, none of these Republicans have much name recognition, but consider all the polls we have seen recently in which incumbent Democrats have struggled to mount any sort of lead against unknown opponents. Yet, not only is Kissell up big but he’s also topping 50%.

ND-AL: The DCCC is relieved Rep. Earl Pomeroy decided to seek re-election, but it doesn’t mean he is a shoo-in to win another term. A new poll by Research 2000 finds him solidly ahead of all of his competitors Kevin Cramer and Duane Sand, but he fails to clear 50% against either. (He’s ahead 46-24 and 47-22, respectively.) This is all the more problematic when you consider that Republicans are 5 times more likely to be undecided than Democrats, so the GOP candidates have a lot of room to grow once they introduce themselves, and the NRCC especially has hope in Cramer (North Dakota Public Service Commissioner). In short: Pomeroy has a good standing and he is clearly favored to win re-election, but he is not safe.

OH-01: If Kissell and Pomeroy look strong, Rep. Steve Driehaus is sinking according to a SUSA poll commissioned by FiredogLake. We already knew that this freshman Democrat was one of the most endangered of the cycle (he is facing a rematch against the Republican he ousted in 2008, and OH-01 is a district with a substantial African-American population, so a drop in black turnout compared to the past cycle would be particularly hurtful to his chances), but SUSA’s numbers are uglier than even optimistic Republicans surely expected: Driehaus trails 39% to 56% for former Rep. Steve Chabot. I don’t need to tell you the odds that an incumbent who trails by 17% might win re-election. (Coincidentally, this is the same exact margin SUSA found against Rep. Vic Snyder on Friday.)

An unexpected Dem opportunity in UT, door is closing in OK

Utah: Democrats were excited at Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Coroon’s decision to challenge Governor Herbert, and a Deseret News poll confirms that Coroon could make the race well-worth watching: Herbert leads 48% to 35%, down from his 56-32 lead back in November. There’s no question that Herbert is heavily favored, but Coroon does represent one third of the state’s population in a capacity that ensures he is a visible presence. At the very least, Coroon’s presence on the ballot could help Democrats ensure that Rep. Jim Matheson isn’t a victim of any potential red wave.

Oklahoma: Whatever Oklahoma’s staunchly conservative status, Democrats had enough of a bench they were expecting to mount a highly competitive bid to defend the state’s governorship. (Governor Henry is term-limited.) Yet, a Tulsa News poll finds that Lieut. Gov. Jari Askins and Attorney General Drew Edmonson are no match for Rep. Mary Fallin; despite their strong favorability rating (Edmonson’s stands at 51-31), they trail the Republican 52% to 36% and 51% to 39%, respectively. A former Lieutenant Governor, Fallin is well-known and popular (54% to 29%). Democrats shouldn’t entirely give up, but the race most certainly leans Republican.

Connecticut and North Dakota won’t be competitive

From the moment Senators Byron Dorgan and Chris Dodd retired two weeks ago, we have known that the races to replace them are unlikely to be competitive. Three new poll confirm that John Hoeven and Richard Blumenthal are very heavily favored to be sworn into the Senate come January 2011.

North Dakota: Richard 2000 finds Hoeven leading 56% to 32% against Ed Schulz, 55% to 34% against former AG Heidi Heitkamp and 56% to 32% against Jasper Schneider. Sure, Hoeven’s lead doesn’t quite reach “overwhelming” status, but looking at the internals it’s hard to see a path to victory for whoever Democrats nominate: There are few undecideds, including among Democratic voters; Hoeven enjoys near unanimous support among Republicans; and he has daunting leads among independents.

Connecticut: We’ve already seen a few surveys displaying Blumenthal’s dominance, but over the past 5 days Quinnipiac and Research 2000 both released surveys confirming it. In Research 2000, Blumenthal leads Rob Simmons 54% to 35%, Linda McMahon 56% to 34% and Peter Schiff 56% to 33%. In Quinnipiac, whose brutal numbers for Dodd were as responsible for driving the narrative of his doom than those of any other pollster, his leads are gigantic: 62% to 27% against Simmons, 64% to 23% against McMahon, 66% to 19% against Schiff. Everything can happen if Democrats aren’t careful (see neighboring Massachussetts), but Blumenthal isn’t Martha Coakley.

CO, NH, NV, OH: 4 key Senate races, 7 rough polls for Senate Democrats.

Ohio: Democrats led this open race for much of 2009, but Rasmussen’s new poll is its second in a row to find Rob Portman has grabbed the edge. He leads Lieutenant Governor Lee Fisher 44% to 37% and Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner 43% to 40%. These numbers are very interesting because the Democratic establishment holds Fisher to be a stronger candidate; yet, Portman increased his lead against Fisher whilelosing ground against Brunner! Overall, then, the two parties are roughly where they were in early December.

Colorado: This week, we received three surveys testing Colorado, which until this week an underpolled state:

  • Rasmussen has by far the worst set of results for Democrats: Senator Michael Bennet trails former Lieut. Gov. 49% to 37%, and he’s also behind lower-profile Tom Wiens (44% to 38%) and Ken Buck (43% to 38%). Former Speaker Andrew Romanoff trails Norton and Wiens by the same margin but is only behind Buck by 1%.
  • In response to these ugly numbers, Bennet released an internal poll, which might have found better results but he is still behind Jane Norton, 43% to 40%.
  • Finally, just this afternoon Research 2000 released the best news Bennet has received in quite some time: Bennet leads Norton 40% to 39%, Buck 41% to 38% and Wiens 42% to 38%; Romanoff trails Norton by 2% but leads Buck and Wiens by 1% and 2%.

There is quite a lot of disparity between these three surveys, and Bennet’s camp will be delighted that he finally manages a lead in a poll - even if it’s well within the MoE. That said, it is clear from all of these surveys that Bennet is stuck at 40% - a dismal place for an incumbent to be, even an appointed one. Colorado remains a major problem for Democrats.

New Hampshire: Another tough Rasmussen poll, since it shows that what once looked like a Democratic-leaning open seat might now be leaning Republican: Attorney General Kelly Ayotte leads Rep. Paul Hodes 49% to 40%. (This is roughly the same margin Rasmussen found in September.) Hodes does led lower-profile Republicans Ovide Lamontagne and Bill Binnie 45% to 38% and 43% to 37%, respectively. This is

Nevada: With everyone now aware that Harry Reid is one of the Democrats’ most vulnerable senators, there’s been speculation that the party might try to convince him to pull a Chris Dodd, as in retire for the good of the party. But a new poll released last week revealed that Democrats don’t have a Blumenthal-like savior:

  • PPP found Harry Reid trailing Sue Lowden 51% to 41% and Danny Tarkanian 50% to 42% - very ugly margins for a longtime senator against second-tier challengers. Yet, the Republicans enjoy similar margins against other Democrats! Rep. Shelly Berkley trails by 8% against both; Rose Miller trails by 10% and 11%, respectively. Only Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman manages to stay on an equal footing: he ties Tarkanian at 41%, leads Lowden 42% to 40%.
  • If PPP’s numbers were ugly, how can we describe Rasmussen’s? Here, Reid is crushed Lowden 48% to 36% and Tarkanian 50% to 36%! He manages to stay close to former Assemblywoman Sharron Angle, but even here he’s stuck at 40%, trailing 44% to 40%.

If polls showing other Democrats doing better than Reid started piling up, the party could hope to convince him to retire; but PPP’s survey cuts that hope short (Research 2000 will also soon release a similar poll), which allows Republicans to feel increasingly confident about picking-up Nevada.

OH, NV and MA: 3 key Governor’s races, three tough polls for Dems

Ohio: If Ted Strickland started 2009 as the clear favorite, he starts 2010 trailing former Rep. John Kasich. Rasmussen finds him trailing 47% to 40%, which is actually a 2% improvement over December’s numbers. Other surveys have found a closer race, but there’s no question that Strickland is in for a very tough battle.

Nevada: Rory Reid is in as much trouble as his father, only the position they’re vying for is different. Sure, Reid manages to lead incumbent Governor Jim Gibbons 43% to 36% in Mason Dixon’s poll, but considering that Gibbons is even more unpopular (his favorability rating is 18% to 53%) than David Paterson that doesn’t mean much; the favorite to win the Republican nomination, Brian Sandoval, crushes Reid 53% to 31%! In a three-way race involving Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman, who is considering running as an independent, Sandoval and Goodman are close (35% to 33% for the former), with 20% for Reid. There’s no mystery as to why: Reid’s favorability rating is 25% to 35%, Goodman’s 43-15 and Sandoval’s 36-5. Hard to explain Reid’s numbers by anything but his last name.

Massachussetts: Two new polls confirm that Martha Coakley isn’t the only struggling Massachussetts Democrat:

  • PPP shows that Governor Deval Patrick has a dismal approval rating of just 22%. In three-way races involving Treasurer Tom Cahill (as an independent) and one of his 2 Republican opponents, Patrick is ahead but he receives less than 30% (!) and leads whoever is in second place by just 2% or 3%. In both match-ups, the 3 candidates are within 8%.
  • The Boston Globe poll is more favorable to Patrick: His favorability rating is a bad but not horrendous 39/50 and his leads over Cahill are a bit larger. If the GOP nominee is Charlie Baker, Patrick receives 30, Cahill 23% and Baker 19%; if the GOP nominee is Mihos, the numbers are 32, 23 and 19 for Mihos.

Much will depend on how Cahill positions his campaign. A former Democrat, he has been inching closer to the right since announcing he would run as an independent, for instance asking a conservative Republican state legislator to join his ticket.

Democrats’ silver lining is definitely Connecticut

Not only did Chris Dodd’s retirement all but guarantee Democrats will save Connecticut’s Senate seat, but Research 2000 shows they can look forward to in the Governor’s race - and also the 2012 Senate contest. Susan Bysiewicz, who just dropped out of the race last week, was in a very strong position: she led Lieutenant Governor Michael Fedele 52% to 33%, Tom Foley 51% to 35% and Mark Boughton 52% to 32%. But the Democrats left in the race look solid as well: Ned Lamont leads 46-36, 46-37 and 46-34 while Dan Malloney is up 44-35, 43-37 and 44-34, respectively.

Research 2000 also tested the 2012 Senate race. In a two-way general election match-up between Joe Lieberman and Chris Murphy, the representative leads the independent senator 45% to 26% - it’s quite stunning to see such a longtime senator fail to receive more than a quarter of the vote. Not only does Murphy crush Lieberman among Democrats (71% to 20%), but also among independents (41% to 22%). Democrats might fear a lot of losses in 2010, but at least Lieberman looks to have too low support to have much hope to win re-election in 2012.


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Fundraising: A few noteworthy Q1 reports

Regular readers of this blog have presumably noticed that I rarely talk about fundraising strength at the congressional level. While money has obviously a lot of influence on electoral results, I do believe that too much is read in candidates’ financing reports, especially given how early we are in the cycle: That Jerry Moran outraised Todd Tiahrt by $100,000 in the first quarter of 2009 will not be a big factor in the identity of the next Kansas Senator. To the extent that small fundraising differences do play a role in campaigns, they are largely due to the media’s choice to play them up: The more press coverage Moran gets for slightly outraising Tiahrt, the more Republican donors will view him as the establishment’s consensus choice.

That said, there are interesting stories buried in the fundraising reports - and here are those I think are important enough to be signaled.

Outraised House incumbents

While I am weary of dismissing a challenger because he had a lousy fundraising quarter, a challenger outraising an incumbent is undoubtedly a sign of strength - one that is so rare that it will get the attention of the national party. Based on Swing State Project’s very useful fundraising chart, this has only happened in 3 House races:

  • TX-10: It remains to be seen whether the district has drifted leftward enough to be open to voting for a Democrat, but Jack McDonald - a wealthy high-tech executive who supported George W. Bush’s campaigns and who is expected to self-fund his campaign - will certainly have the financial resources to test Rep. McCaul: The Republican incumbent raised $98,000 compared to $311,000 for McDonald.
  • OH-01 and CA-48: The differential in those districts is nowhere as big as in TX-10, but Democratic Rep. Steve Driehaus and Rep. John Campbell found themselves slightly outraised. That is less significant in OH-01, where Republican Steve Chabot is running for the seat he lost in 2008 and thus already has a strong fundraising network, than in CA-48, where former Irvine Beth Krom is more of an unknown.

All eyes were on Jim Bunning

For the past few months, the Kentucky Senator has been warning that his fundraising will be lousy and preemptively laying the blame on the NRSC’s mixed signals and on Mitch McConnell’s monopolizing Kentucky’s fundraising networks. Well, we now know the numbers: Bunning raised $263,000 in the first quarter and he has $375,000 of cash-on-hand. While most observers are describing the total as weak (sure, he was outraised by Dan Mongiardo), I do believe his report could have been far worse (there was talk of 5-figure sum). Bunning might not have the most daunting of war chests, but he certainly has sufficient funds to pursue re-election - and that is the relevant metric in this race.

If Republicans are hoping to force Bunning to retire by keeping his contributions down, they will need to send stronger messages to GOP donors. And it looks like they are trying: McConnell is scheduled to host a fundraiser in Kentucky for Senator John Thune, who is as safe as can be in South Dakota. That is quite a diss for Bunning, who was already complaining that it was difficult for him to raise funds because McConnell was already asking for donations for his 2014 campaign. Will Bunning throw another fit?

Less than $1,000 for Burris

Above, I wrote that I was weary to dismiss a candidate because he had a lousy fundraising quarter, but that candidate still needs to have enough funds to start a campaign! Illinois’s embattled Senator Roland Burris has only raised $845 in the first quarter of 2009. Sure, Burris has faced a disastrous start to his Senate tenure, but he certainly has enough supporters that he would have been able to raise more than that amount had he tried. More than Burris’s ability to win next year’s primary, his fundraising report should make us question whether the Senator has any intention of seeking a full term in 2010.

Young stays on the “retirement watch”

Rep. Bill Young, now the longest serving Republican in the House, has never faced a competitive re-election race. It is thus not surprising to see him put no effort in fundraising - only $1,000 raised in the first quarter. But do not take this as sign that Democrats will be able to swamp Young financially now that they finally recruited a credible opponent: Young has a healthy $412,000 of cash-on-hand and he could easily raise a lot of money in a short time span - a lot of people would love to donate to the ranking Republican member of the Appropriations Committee.

On the other hand, Young’s fundraising report certainly solidifies his place on the list of potential retirees. Now that Young has drawn a threatening opponent and the DCCC has set its sight on him, Young has to get in the mood of a serious campaign. While he can raise money, will he want to? Will he accept the fact that he now needs to solicit funds - after decades in which raising $1,000 was enough? We shall see in the upcoming months.

Frontline Democrats

Just as in the past cycle, the DCCC is clearly pushing its most endangered members to fundraise, fundraise, fundraise. Most members of the “Frontline program,” which regroups vulnerable Democratic incumbents, posted very strong fundraising numbers - many of them over $300,000 (especially John Adler, Gary Peters). While Carol Shea-Porter is attracting some criticism for posting the lowest number in the group, her six-figure haul is nothing to be ashamed of. Shea-Porter beat the odds twice in 2006 against high-profile and far better-funded opponents; in 2008, many once again saw her as a goner based on her weak fundraising. But Shea-Porter’s ability to mobilize grassroots support should no longer be doubted.

Pennsylvania’s Senate primary

Three Democratic representatives are mentioned as possible Senate candidates. While all raised significant sums in the first quarter - from $364 for Patrick Murphy to $535 for Joe Sestak - cash-on-hand totals are widely different. Sestak, who was first elected in 2006, has an eye-popping $3.3 million stocked up in the bank; Schwarz has $2.1 million; and Murphy “only” has $252,000. If these Democrats challenge Arlen Specter, they would be able to transfer these funds into their new Senate war chest. That would give Sestak and Schwarz a 15:1 and 10:1 head-start over Murphy; and it would also allow them to start at the same level as Specter.

Meanwhile, Joe Torsella (the only Democrat to have already declared his candidacy) reported raising nearly $600,000 since he jumped in the race in February. I have argued before that Torsella should not be underestimated - and his first fundraising report certainly confirms that he has what it takes to mount a very credible bid for the Democratic nomination.


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House: Gerlach looks for way out, Chabot looks for way in

Yesterday, Rep. Jim Gerlach created an explanatory committee for a possible gubernatorial run in 2010. While he did insist that he had not made up his mind about which office to pursue, he has been sending signals that he intends to run statewide for months.

Gerlach’s retirement is one of the worst possible news for House Republicans. Philadelphia’s suburbs have been trending increasingly Democratic over the past decade, and Gerlach has been sitting on increasingly precarious territory. His district (PA-06) voted for John Kerry 52% to 48% in 2004; four years later, it swung to Obama by 13% as the Democrat crushed McCain 58% to 41%.

Needless to say, Democrats would be favored to pick-up the district if Gerlach were to leave his House seat for a statewide run, and the GOP cannot afford giving up seats this easily if it wants to get back on the offense in 2010. On the other hand, PA-06 is sure to be hotly contested even if Gerlach does run for re-election - and that is probably why the Republican is looking for a way out.

Gerlach won his first three elections (in 2002, 2004 and 2006) by a tight 51% to 49%. In 2008, he was expected to cruise to victory since Democrats had nominated the little-noticed Bob Roggio; but when all the votes got counted, Gerlach prevailed by a narrow 52% to 48% margin. That result must have shown Gerlach that it is only a matter of time until a stronger Democratic challenger channels the district’s lean to unseat him. And making matters worse is the prospect of the upcoming redistricting: Pennsylvania is slated to lose a seat, and Democrats would undoubtedly make sure that Gerlach’s district is redrawn to make his 2012 re-election impossible.

In other words: We should not be surprised that Gerlach is eying the gubernatorial mansion even if his odds of surviving the Republican primary are not that high. Pennsylvania has a closed primary so nominees tend to be decided by the GOP’s base - and that does not match with Gerlach’s moderate profile.

The fact that former Rep. and arch-conservative Pat Toomey is also looking to jump in the gubernatorial race makes it that much more difficult to imagine Gerlach prevail in a contest that Toomey would ensure is fought on ideological lines. Gerlach would need a few conservative candidates to divide up the conservative vote to allow Gerlach to prevail with a plurality.

The NRCC got better news from Ohio, where former Rep. Steve Chabot announced that he would run to regain his seat, OH-01,  in 2010. He was defeated last year by then-state Senator Steve Driehaus, 52.5% to 47.5%.

In his seven terms in Congress, Chabot faced (and beat back) a number of tough challenges, a sign that he knows the district and that he will be a top-tier candidate in 2010. But he will have to face the district’s changing political allegiance: OH-01 swung to the blue column by a dramatic 13% between 2004 and 2008, which is a larger change than the state at large. Bush won the district 51% to 49% five years ago, while Obama prevailed 55% to 44%.

This is partly explained by the district’s significant African-American population, which voted in greater numbers than usual. That 2008 was a presidential year was clearly a huge boost to Driehaus’s campaign, and Chabot is right to point out that Driehaus could face a difficult re-election race once he is deprived of Barack Obama’s coattails. OH-01 is one of the districts that will test the resilience of Obama’s coalition, especially if Chabot is running.

On the other hand, Republicans should not make the same error as they did in 2008, when they treated the victory of many freshmen Democrats as flukes that would quickly be undone once the environment changed. Sure, some of them were (TX-22, for instance), but Democrats elected in districts that were clearly becoming blue (like Carol Shea-Porter in NH-01) proved less vulnerable than the GOP anticipated.

Furthermore, running defeated politicians is very helpful in terms of name recognition, campaigning skills and fundraising abilities, but it is not necessarily the best path. A few attempted a similar comeback in the 2008 cycle, but none succeeded.


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Guilty of dismal fundraising, NRCC spent whatever money it had well

Oklahoma Rep. Tom Cole briefly flirted with another stint as NRCC Chairman but decided not to oppose the candidacy of Texas Rep. Pete Sessions. The GOP’s campaign committee will thus start the 2010 battle with new leadership, eager to recover after two disastrous cycles that saw Democrats pick up more than 50 seats.

To mark the end of Cole’s rule, it seems appropriate to take a look back at the past two years - recruitment, fundraising, expenditures - and pinpoint a few areas Sessions will have to improve.

What is particularly depressing for the GOP is that its recruitment was not that terrible. For one, the NRCC had managed to recruit a number of top challengers to freshmen incumbents: Jim Sullivan in CT-02, Dean Adler in CA-11 or Tom Bee in AZ-08 were all highly touted early in the cycle. Lou Barletta in PA-11, Melissa Hart in PA-04, Mike Sodrel in IN-09, Anne Northup in KY-03 and Jeb Bradley in NH-01 were also huge threats. The NRCC similarly fielded unexpectedly strong contenders in many GOP-held open seats (Darren White in NM-01, for instance).

Needless to say, all the candidates on this list lost on November 4th; some of them had even completely disappeared from our radar screen - quite a stunning development given their early high-profile. Given the pro-Democratic political environment, however, non-incumbent Republicans had practically no hope of victory - and we all treated them as such.

The NRCC’s huge problem, of course, was its dismal fundraising performance that left the committee in an extremely precarious financial position. This forced the NRCC to pull the plug on some of its top challengers and then make even more painful decisions as to which incumbents it should abandon. It will not be easy for Sessions to do a better job: It is extremely unlikely that Republicans will regain control of the House in 2010, which means that lobbyists and donors are likely to keep filling Democratic coffers. This should guarantee that the DCCC enjoys yet another cycle of financial dominance.

Within this context of budgetary restrictions, it is worth taking a look at the NRCC’s fall expenditures to test whether Cole’s team made the right set of choices with whatever little money they had in hand.

The snubbed districts: First of all, here is the list of high-profile districts in which the NRCC invested nothing: AZ-03, CT-04, CA-04, IL-10, IN-09, KY-03, MD-01, MI-09, NC-08, NM-01, NM-02, OH-16, OR-05, PA-04. It is worth adding CO-04 to the list, as the NRCC pulled the plug on Rep. Musgrave two weeks before the election.

Some of these reflect very good calls on the NRCC’s part, particularly in AZ-03. Democrats made a lot of noise about that race, and the DCCC poured in about $2 million; yet, the NRCC did not take the bait and Rep. Shadegg prevailed by double-digits. Similarly, the NRCC was right to estimate that Reps. Knollenberg, Hayes and Musgrave as well as open seat candidates in NM-01, NM-02 and OH-16 were in particularly bad shape. Democrats picked-up all of these seats, and none of them were close. Finally, good for the NRCC to not delude itself into thinking that it could defeat Democratic incumbents in KY-03, IN-09 and PA-04.

However, the GOP’s refusal to fund McClintock in CA-04 and Harris in MD-01 was most definitely a mistake. Harris lost by 1% and McClintock’s race is still undecided. Both districts are heavily conservative, so there was no possible blow back for national Republicans getting involved (unlike, say, in CT-04).

Defensible investments: As for the races they did fund, the NRCC’s decisions are a mix between golden investments and wasted money. While the GOP lost AL-02, AL-05, FL-08, FL-25, ID-01, MI-07, NH-01, NJ-03, NY-29, OH-01, PA-03, PA-11, VA-02 and WI-08, for instance, it seems hard to argue with the NRCC’s determination to defend these seats, all of which ended up being relatively close. The NRCC should however be faulted for not having invested more in some of them (ID-01 and VA-02, in particular). In some of these districts, the GOP invested significant sums (more than $1 million each in MI-07 and OH-01, for instance) but the DCCC simply had enough money to always outspend its counterpart.

Similarly, the NRCC’s decision to heavily defend KY-02, MN-03, MO-09, NE-02, NJ-07 and WY-AL were an important factor in huge Election Day saves - and the committee’s investments in KS-02, LA-06 and TX-22 (more than $1 million in the latter) helped Republican challengers scored pick-ups. (The NRCC should have been a bit more aggressive in Kansas, even though Lynn Jenkins did end up winning.)

Mistakes: All in all, there were few obvious mistakes in the GOP’s investments - except the largely unnecessary $600,000 spent in MO-06, the decision to go after Rep. Murtha with half-a-million dollars at the last minute and the committee’s determination to help Rep. Porter in NV-03. Another small mistake was CO-04: Even though they did end up abandoning Rep. Musgrave, they first spent nearly $900,000 on a seat that leaned towards a Democratic pick-up early in the fall - but perhaps not enough to justify an NRCC snub in a what is still a conservative district.

The NRCC is guilty of a number of other miscalls, but it is hard to blame them given that the DCCC also miscalculated in the same same districts. Perhaps the biggest such mistake occurred in NY-24, where Democratic incumbent Arcuri won an extremely tight race in a district absolutely no one was paying attention to.

The second biggest mistake was FL-21, a GOP-held district everyone thought was highly competitive and in which the NRCC spent more than $1.5 million. Rep. Diaz-Balart ended up winning by 16% - but the DCCC had invested considerable sums as well, as both parties believed that Diaz-Balart was endangered. Similarly, the GOP spent more than $300,000 defending IN-03 and more than $600,000 in NY-26. Neither race was tight on Election Night; yet, the DCCC wasted much more money on those two districts so the mistake here belongs to Democrats.

Finally, the NRCC rushed into VA-05 much too late, spending more $140,000 at the last minute to save Rep. Goode (the race has not been called yet, but it appears that Goode will go down by a few hundred votes); few people saw Perriello has a big threat to Goode - and the DCCC’s expenditures suggest they had not either. Provided he remains in the lead, that makes Perriello’s into this cycle’s Shea-Porter and Loebsack.


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DCCC goes on one of its last spending sprees

With a week remaining before Election Day, all campaigns and national committees are budgeting their final advertising push and buying media time to last them through November 4th. The DCCC has poured in nearly $15 million in almost 40 districts already this week. More investments are likely to come today and tomorrow, first because the DCCC has left out a number of districts in which it regularly invests and because it appears that the NRCC has yet to make its last round of expenditures. But the DCCC’s $14 million latest spending spree gives us a good idea of which seats Democrats are the most committed to. (Most of the following numbers come from SSP’s always very handy House expenditure tracker.)

In three districts did the DCCC go for broke; all are currently held by the GOP: In IL-10, the DCCC just poured in an impressive $929,279, bringing its total investment in the district to more than $2 million. (This is partly explained by the fact that IL-10 is in the expensive Chicago market). In NV-03, the DCCC bought more than $750,000 of air time against Rep. Porter, bringing its total to more than $2.3 million. And in IL-11, $600,000 worth of advertisement (and a total that surpasses $2 million) should help Debbie Halvorson win this open seat.

Another group of seats - here again predominantly GOP-held - saw massive investments of more than $500,000. Those include the once-safe AZ-03, NC-08, NH-01, NM-01, OH-15 (the total surpasses $2 million in each of these five districts), MN-06 (the DCCC has now spent more than $1 million in two weeks on Bachmann’s seat) and the conservative NM-02 (for a total of $1.5 million). This makes New Hampshire’s Carol Shea-Porter the most protected Democratic incumbent, and confirms the remarkable development by which the DCCC has poured more effort in AZ-03 than in many seats that were more obviously competitive.

Also notable are the DCCC’s expenditures that top $400,000. Here again the list is made up of Republican seats: MD-01, MN-03 and OH-01 (total spending in each now tops $2 million), MI-07 and MI-09 (total spending in each tops $1 million), CA-04 and NY-26. Between $200,000 and $400,000, we have AZ-01 (an open seat that is considered an easy Democratic pick-up but where the DCCC has now spent more than $2 million), CO-04, KY-02, MO-09, FL-24 (all now more than $1 million total), FL-21, FL-25, NE-02, OH-02, NY-29, FL-08, IN-03 and IN-09. Rounding up six-figure expenditures are AK-AL, CA-11, CT-04, LA-06, NJ-03 and NJ-07 (all more than $1 million total), AL-05, ID-01, KS-02.

A few observations about this spending spree. First, the DCCC did not expand the map this week. The only new seat they invested in yesterday is FL-08, a district that has looked highly competitive for weeks and that I just moved to the lean take-over category this past week-end. Also noteworthy is NE-02, where the DCCC’s media buy this week is eight times higher than it was last week. However, there are a number of districts we have been talking about lately in which the DCCC is not playing despite the massive loan it took last week; those include California’s seats, IA-04, FL-13, FL-18 or even SC-01 where the DCCC has not followed up on a small investment it made last week. Furthermore, the national committee appears to have given up on MO-06, which was once considered a top opportunity but in which the DCCC has not bought air time for two weeks now.

Second, Democrats seem to be very comfortable about playing defense. They have largely pulled out of AZ-05, AZ-08 or MS-01, all districts that the GOP had high hopes of contesting; they have not had to spend a dime in places like KS-03 or NY-20, seats Republicans had vowed to contest. And they do not seem to feel particular energy in many of the blue seats in which they are investing. However, we do know that the DCCC is starting to air this ad in PA-12 on behalf of Murtha, though they have yet to report that expenditure.

The NRCC, meanwhile, posted a few expenditures over the past two days though a lot more should come tonight. Noteworthy investments include $375,000 spent in WY-AL, more than $250,000 in NE-02 and MO-09, more than $100,000 in MO-06, IN-03. What do all these districts have in common? They are extremely heavily Republican (Bush won IN-03 with 68% of the vote, for instance, and let us not even talk about WY-AL) and Republican candidates are in such a bad state that the NRCC is forced to spend its money in such districts.

(There is something to be said against the NRCC’s decision making, and we might talk about this more in the coming week: Swing seats like NM-01 or OH-16 will likely be lost for a decade or more if Democrats pick them up, yet the NRCC is not spending a dime there. Conservative seats like WY-AL or IN-03 would be likely to fall back into GOP hands in the coming cycle or two, but the NRCC is spending all of its resources in such places.)

Let’s take a closer look at Southern Florida, where the battles in FL-21 and in FL-25 have become truly vicious. Both seats are in the same Miami media market, and they are represented by the (Republican) Diaz-Balart brothers. So Democrats have decided to save money - and just air an ad targeting both Diaz-Balarts:

[youtube="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bpMgxd3aiWo"]

The GOP’s response in FL-25 is also fascinating because it bears such a close resemblance to what is going on in the presidential race. Democratic candidate Joe Garcia is blasted for being in favor of “redistribution of the wealth,” underscoring how much Republicans are banking on Joe the Plumber at this point:

[youtube="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JTm91xZQhl0"]


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Spending, spending, spending (and some cutbacks)

It might be very little compared to a $700 billion bailout, but it’s a lot of money but most other standards: Every presidential, congressional and gubernatorial campaign saved its ammunition for these final two weeks, and money is now flying left and right.

In this game of piling expenditures, woe to whoever is left behind! Or should some cutbacks perhaps be taken as good news by candidates? The Denver Post reveals tonight that the DSCC will pull-out of the Colorado Senate race because it feels that Mark Udall is now in a “commanding position” - a remarkable decision by a party committee that has a lot of cash, and a clear sign that Chuck Schumer wants to spend as much of it as possible in Georgia and Kentucky.

(While true that Schaffer has not in a single poll all year and that Udall has been ahead by double-digits in some of the latest surveys, Udall hasn’t exactly been able to put the race away either and a number of independent groups are in the state pummeling Udall, so the DSCC better be sure of what it’s doing. On the other hand, the NRSC appears to have pulled out of Colorado as well, and Udall had far more cash on hand than Schaffer at the end of the third quarter, guaranteeing that Udall has a substantial advantage in the final stretch.)

Two Republican congressmen for whom a cutback could be disastrous news, however, are Reps. Musgrave and Bachmann of CO-04 and MN-06. In the former, the NRCC bought $375,000 of air time for this week yesterday, but it will not be spending anything in the final week of the campaign. (Could they not have decided that yesterday and saved themselves the $376,000?) In MN-06, the NRCC had not yet invested any money but had reserved ad time for the final two weeks; no longer.

(It is more difficult to know what to make of this Minnesota cutback: It is certainly not a sign of confidence on the part of the NRCC given that the race just became highly competitive 5 days ago, so could it be a concession? While Bachmann is viewed as more vulnerable today than she was before her rant on anti-Americanism, she doesn’t seem to be vulnerable enough at all for Republicans to despair of holding her seat. Perhaps the GOP saw how much money Democrats were preparing to pour in the district and realized there was no way it could even attempt to match that?)

While the NRCC is busy deciding which of its incumbents to abandon, the DCCC is deciding which safe-looking red districts it should spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in. The result of their deliberation resulted in a stunning new spending spree in 51 districts (SSP has the full list) - six of which are first time investments: KS-02, CA-04, MN-06, SC-01, WV-02 and WY-AL!

The most fascinating of these buys is no doubt KS-02, as Rep. Nancy Boyda had insisted that the DCCC pull out of the district because she wanted to run the campaign herself; the DCCC had canceled its reservations. But now that GOP challenger finished the third quarter in a strong position financially, national Democrats apparently decided they couldn’t afford to stay true to their word. But consider a minute the three latter districts I just listed: We knew that CA-04 and WY-AL were highly competitive, but it is still remarkable to see Democrats spend more than $200,000 in such conservative areas - and let’s not even talk of SC-01, which was on no one’s radar screen as of one week ago.

The rest of the DCCC’s investment covers districts they have already been spending in, but some of their expenditures remain nonetheless breathtaking in their attempt to expand the map onto red territory. And consider that this money comes on top of the $4 million the DCCC spent on Monday and Tuesday in other districts. (I reviewed those expenditures here.) That brings the DCCC’s total expenditures over the past three days to about $16 million; the NRCC, meanwhile, spent around $5 million.

In a number of districts, the DCCC is going all-out. They just spent more than $400,000 in 8 districts (to which we should add NC-08 and IL-10, in which they spent more than that amount yesterday). More than $643,000 is being spent on NV-03 for this week alone! The DCCC is spending nearly $600,000 in IL-11, more than $500,000 in NH-01, NJ-03 and OH-01, more than $400,000 in IN-09, MN-06 and VA-11.

The committee has now spent more than $1 million in all of these districts except MN-06, even though it is somewhat puzzling that they are choosing to pour so much money in IN-09 and VA-11, two districts in which the Democratic candidates are now heavily favored (particularly in VA-11). Might that money not have been better spent elsewhere? The same was true of the $300,000 the DCCC spent yesterday in AZ-01, bringing its total there to nearly $2 million.

That said, the rest of this money will go a long way towards boosting Democrats who are facing tough races (Shea-Porter, for instance) or who are on the brink of putting the race away (NV-03 and IL-11). An investment that could prove particularly important is NJ-03: GOP candidate Myers has been unexpectedly competitive in this open seat, but state Senator Adler has a huge financial advantage in what is an expensive district to advertise in. With this much money spent by the DCCC, Adler will swamp Myers, whose main hope now is that New Jersey voters are fed up with Democrats.

The DCCC also spent significant amounts (more than $300,000) against the Diaz-Balart brothers in FL-21 and FL-25, in the pair of contested Michigan districts (MI-07 and MI-09), in MO-09, NM-02, NY-26, NY-29, OH-16 and VA-02. More than $200,000 were poured into CA-04, CA-11, FL-24, MN-03, NM-01, OH-02, OH-15, TX-23, VA-05, WV-02, WY-AL and 8 more districts saw (including IN-03, KY-02 and NE-02) buys of more than $100,000. What is once again remarkable is the depth of the Democrats’ investment: they are leaving almost no stone unturned - extending their buys to places few Democrats were even dreaming of a week ago and pouring huge amounts of money in some of the second-tier races they are hoping to take-over.

It is hard to think of GOP-held districts that could potentially be vulnerable and that the DCCC has not invested in. Perhaps the California districts we have been hearing about over the past week? Meanwhile, the NRCC is struggling to keep up. Apart opening its wallets in 20 districts yesterday, it spent in a few more today, but only crossed the six figure mark in IN-03, KY-02 and NE-02, NV-03 - all GOP-held districts, two of which were not deemed vulnerable as of 14 days ago (IN-03 and NE-02). For the GOP, the bottom is falling out. How much can they now salvage?


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Congress: NRCC spends money (!), Stevens trial enters final stage

Spending: After weeks of holding back on TV advertisements because of its meager budget, the NRCC finally unloaded over the past two days, buying more than $4 million worth of ads in a total of 20 districts. And some of these buys are quite large - perhaps unexpectedly so.

Over the past two days, the NRCC spent more than $400,000 in two red district (MN-03 and WA-08), $300,000 or more in CO-04, MI-07, NH-01 and PA-11, more than $200,000 in MO-09, NY-26, NY-29, OH-02 and OH-15, more than $100,000 in LA-06, MO-06, NJ-03, NJ-07, OH-01, PA-03 and WI-08 and less than $100,000 in AL-02 and AL-05. (Alabama media markets are inexpensive, so the NRCC’s spending those two districts is substantial.)

To this list should also be added districts in which the NRCC bought ad time at the end of last week, so that they will not have to invest more money to stay on air for a few more days. Those include: FL-21, ID-01, VA-02. Furthermore, Politico reports that the NRCC has just made expenditures it has not yet reported (and will likely do so by tonight) in three more districts, KY-02, IN-03 and NE-02 - three very conservative districts, the latter two of which were not expected to be competitive as of a month ago.

This spending offers a fascinating window into the GOP’s view of which blue seats are competitive and which red states are salvageable or deserve defending. Some omissions of vulnerable red seats continue to be glaring, particularly FL-24, NM-01, NC-08, NV-03, OH-16. That the NRCC is spending so much money helping Rep. Walberg in MI-07 while investing nothing in Rep. Knollenberg’s MI-09 is telling of the latter’s vulnerabilities. However, there are some surprises in the list.

The first is MN-03, the heated open seat in which the GOP has just poured in a huge amount of money: a week ago, the NRCC was reported to be moving out of the district and allocating that budget to MN-06 (Bachmann’s seat) instead. Clearly, the NRCC has since then decided that the district is still winnable. Similarly, Reps. Musgrave and Kuhl in CO-04 and NY-29 look to be trailing, so it is curious that the NRCC has decided to invest some of its limited expenditures into saving them. The calculation is surely that it is always easier to pull incumbents through rather than salvage open seats or help challengers.

Meanwhile, the DCCC posted far less expenditures yesterday than it usually does on Tuesday, including a strange omission of a number of seats in which it has been on air for weeks (the New Mexico, Ohio and New Jersey open seats, for instance). That suggests that there are still DCCC expenditures to come today, which will up the Democrats’ total (they have, after all, a lot of money to spend), but a few investments are very noteworthy.

The ease with which the DCCC invests amounts which appear prodigious when spent by the NRCC tells us all we need to know about the parties’ financial disparity. The DCCC just poured in a stunning $566K in IL-10. This is an extensive district to spend in because of the Chicago media market, certainly, but it is certainly a large buy - especially considering that Rep. Kirk appears to be gaining in recent polls. The committee spend more than $400,000 in NC-08, bringing its total investment in that district to nearly $2 million (the NRCC has spent nothing). The new spending is more than $300,000 in AZ-01, AZ-03, CO-04, MD-01 and almost reaches $200,000 in AL-02 (as I said, that is a lot of money to spend in an Alabama media market).

Given that nearly everyone has long expected AZ-01 to be among the easiest pick-ups for Democrats, it is somewhat bizarre that the DCCC is pouring that much money in the district, but that is their only defensive-looking move (if that can be said about a red district). Apart from that, the overall picture is as remarkable as last week: The NRCC is building a firewall in second-to-third tier seats while the DCCC is spending heavily on seats it should not even be thinking about: more than $700,000 of Democratic money spent in one day in AZ-03 and MD-01?! Who would have thought that would be possible just four weeks ago?

Alaska: Ted Stevens’s trial enters its final stage today, as the case will be handed to the jury which will start its deliberations. The always-useful Anchorage Daily News provides an overview of yesterday’s closing arguments - and through them a recap of what has happened in the trial over the past month. While Stevens’s defense made some important gains over the past month - in particular getting the judge to throw out some evidence - the trial’s last few days were not kind to the Alaska Senator. The government’s chief attorney got Stevens to lose his temper at times during his cross-examination, and she ridiculed his claim that a chair that had been in his house for seven years was a “loan” rather than “a gift.”

As soon as the jury returns, we shall have a much better idea of the dynamics of the race, as it is looking more likely every day that the trial’s verdict will also decide Stevens’ electoral fate. A new just-released Ivan Moore poll confirms that Stevens has closed the gap and that the race is now a dead heat; an acquittal would be likely to boost Stevens on top, while a guilty verdict would make it difficult for him to pull through. But what happens if the jury only partially acquits Stevens? He is, after all, being tried on seven different charges, so a guilty verdict might not be as damning as the prosecution would want it to be.


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RNCC works on firewall, DCCC invests in new districts and passes $1 million mark in many

As the time comes for the party committees to buy time for the upcoming week, the DCCC’s ability to flex its financial muscle and will seats to become competitive once again makes itself felt. The DCCC spent more than $8 million on more than 40 districts, moved in four new races it had not yet spent any money on while seemingly withdrawing from two, and passed the $1 million mark in a number of these contests. The GOP, by contrast, appear to have largely given up on playing offense and are building a firewall around a few incumbents; the NRCC’s meager resources hardly allow it to dream of a better defense.

As always, the DCCC and NRCC decision to invest will not make a candidate, though a decision to pull out can certainly break an underfunded challenger or a swamped incumbent. But beyond illustrating the two parties’ financial disparities, a detailed look at where the two parties are spending money lays out the electoral map and tells us which seats people who are paid to track House races full-time (and who have inside information and polling we do not have access to) think will be competitive, or not.

With that said, let’s use our now familiar classification to break down the latest House expenditures:

  • Republican investments

The GOP is in such a difficult financial situation that its mere decision to spend money on a race says a lot about how they view (and how their private polling tells them to view) a race. If the GOP is spending money on a race that is supposed to be competitive, it means they think that this particular seat is more likely to be saved than others; if they spend money on a race that was not yet viewed as that competitive, it means we probably don’t have enough information and that district is indeed highly vulnerable.

In the latter category is FL-21, where the NRCC just spent more than $500,000. This district is in Miami’s media market, so advertising there is difficult. The DCCC has not spent any money on the district for now, however, so the GOP might be successful in building a firewall here. (More on the GOP’s FL-21 efforts below.) Also in the latter category is MO-06, where incumbent Sam Graves is not currently considered to be in as much trouble as other Republicans - but the NRCC is evidently worried about his prospects and intent on keeping him, as they spent more than $100,000 in one their only six-figure investments to date.

In the former category is NM-01, the open seat that I am currently rating lean take-over. The NRCC is not spending money here, but Freedom’s Watch and the Republican Campaign Committee of New Mexico are each spending more than $200,000. (Democrats are spending heavily in both NM-01 and MO-06.) The NRCC also threw in modest amounts in LA-06, PA-03 and WI-08. (Update: It looks like the RNCC is looking to spend a lot of money in NH-01 - as much as $400,000, confirming its strategy of putting a lot of money in a handful of races.)

  • New DCCC investments

Democrats are now spending for the first time in four districts, two of which are obvious choices (CO-04 and NY-29) and two of which are true shockers (IN-03 and NE-02). While it might be surprising that the DCCC has not opened its wallet to hit Musgrave yet, the congresswoman has been hit by more than half-a-million worth of advertisement by the Defenders of Wildlife PAC, and that might have convinced the DCCC that its involvement was not (yet) needed. But now that the DCCC is moving in, it is clearly determined to make a splash: its first buy is an impressive $345,000.

As for IN-03 and NE-02, they demonstrate the Democrats’ determination to expand the map: neither of these seats was supposed to be even close to competitive, and I confess IN-03 isn’t even on my House ratings for now. That will be corrected soon, as the DCCC’s decision to invest a serious amount of money (it has already bought more than $150,000 and has committed about half-a-million) means that the district is indeed competitive. Democrats aren’t bluffing in NE-02 either, as they have brought more than $130,000 worth of ads.

  • Districts where the DCCC has now spent more than $1 million

This is not a guarantee that the Democratic candidate will, but it certainly means that the DCCC has put a high priority in winning these races: AK-AL, AZ-01, AZ-03 (!), AZ-05, MN-03, NC-08, NH-01, NJ-07, OH-15, OH-16. In other districts, the total passes $1 million when the DCCC’s investment is added to that of NARPAC (National Association of Realtors). In PA-11, for instance, that total reaches $1.8 million; if Rep. Kanjorski loses reelection, it will just how incredibly vulnerable he had become.

  • Districts the DCCC is playing defense

The DCCC continued to invest in AL-05 (now almost half-a-million total), CA-11, AZ-05 (nearly $250,000 this week, bringing the total to $1.2 million), LA-06, MS-01, NH-01 (the total now reaches $1.2 million), PA-10, TX-23 and WI-08. More surprising is the DCCC’s decision to dump huge resources in IN-09 (almost $300,000 this week), a district that looks increasingly safe for Baron Hill. However, the DCCC looks to have stopped advertising in FL-16 (Mahoney’s district…) and AZ-08, where Rep. Giffords looks relatively secure. Both districts could be moved accordingly in my upcoming rating changes.

  • Districts that were not so long ago considered long shots

I already mentioned IN-03 and NE-02, but those are just the tip of the iceberg as the DCCC continues to pour in money in races that were not considered that competitive as of this summer! New spending in AL-02 raises the total to more than half-a-million, an impressive sum for this relatively cheap media market. The DCCC’s spending totals in AZ-03 are truly staggering, as this is a district no one thought of as that competitive until ten days ago - and the DCCC just dumped in about $369,000. In MD-01, a large new buy brings the Democratic total to almost $900,000. (The Club for Growth is helping the Republican here with more than $200,000). Other noteworthy buys in this category are KY-02, MO-09, NM-02, PA-03, VA-02. In all these districts, the DCCC is not bluffing and is putting serious money behind its hopes of riding a blue tsunami.

  • Districts Democrats were expecting to pick-up more easily

Most of the DCCC’s biggest overall expenditures belong in this category, in what is at the same time good news for Democrats (it allows them to solidify their prospects) but also disappointing ones (since they would have liked to spend some of money elsewhere). Perhaps the most surprising development is the DCCC’s decision to invest nearly $350,000 in AZ-01 (bringing the total to $1.3 million), a race Democrats are expected to win relatively easily. The DCCC also just spent more than $200,000 in NM-01, OH-15 and OH-16 (bringing the total in each to more than $1 million), three open seats that Democrats are one point were hoping to have an easier time with. Other districts in this category are IL-11, NJ-03, NJ-07 and VA-11.

  • Districts that are and were expected to be competitive

This category contains the least surprising ad buys since the races were expected to be competitive since the beginning. Particularly noteworthy buys include the DCCC’s buy of about $300,000 in NC-08 (total of more than $1.3 million), more than $200,000 in MI-07, NV-03, NY-26, OH-01 and WA-08. Combined with AFSCME’s spending, the Democratic buys in MI-07 have an impressive size. The DCCC also spent in CT-04, FL-26, IL-10, MI-09, MN-03 and MO-06.

While it would be too long to take a detailed look at the committees’ new ads, it is worth taking a quick look at the themes these new spots are emphasizing. On the Democratic side, the day’s biggest news undoubtedly comes from the DCCC’s decision to heavily invest in IN-03 and attack longtime Representative Souder for having been changed by Washington:

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

On the Republican size, the biggest news by far is the RNCC’s massive investment in FL-21. The GOP might have chosen this district because of the scandals that have long surrounded Democratic candidate Raul Martinez, a controversial figure who has enough baggage for the GOP to seize easily. The ad’s closer says it all - “We know Martinez is corrupt enough for Washington, but that doesn’t mean we should send him there:”

[youtube="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JroM8wR1sCQ"]


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House: NRCC finally opens wallet, still no match for DCCC

While Democrats have been pouring in millions in House races, the RNCC has been unable to follow suit. Armed with only $14 million as of the end of August (about $40 million less than its Democratic counterpart), the Republican committee had to save its resources for the final stretch. Last week marked the NRCC’s first fall advertising in two hotly contested districts (PA-03 and WI-08) and the committee once again opened its wallet yesterday, spending about $800,000 to buy in five districts.

Four of these districts are held by Republicans, and only in WI-08 is the NRCC on the offensive. The NRCC is also spending in AL-02, PA-03, MI-07 (more than $200,000) and OH-01 (more than $300,000). The two latter buys are very significant - perhaps surprisingly so given the NRCC’s low budget overall. Politico reports that the NRCC has budgeted more than $2 million for these two districts alone.

The committee thus appears to be focused on building a strong defense in its second-tier seats and concentrating its resources in a few districts rather than diluting them in many races and having an effect in none. Indeed, it is remarkable that the NRCC’s expenditures are not going to the party’s most endangered districts, even in the Ohio and New Jersey open seats where the GOP looks unexpectedly competitive. Instead, the NRCC is choosing to invest in districts that a few months ago looked relatively safe for the GOP: Who would have thought that AL-02 (a district Bush won 2:1) would be one of the NRCC’s first five media buys?

And even on the day in which the NRCC started to step up its expenditures, the DCCC’s expenditures served as a reminder of how significant a financial discrepancy there is between the two committees: the DCCC spent more than $7 million yesterday in 41 districts. That’s right, Democrats spent in 36 more districts than Republicans and outspent them more than 8:1! And some of these buys are very significant. A quick overview using our familiar classification (Swing State Project offers the full list):

  • AK-AL should be a category of its own, as the DCCC poured in a stunning $777,254 in the district. This is a relatively cheap market, so this probably (and hopefully for the DCCC’s budget) is intended to buy ad time throughout October all the way to Election Day.
  • Defense: The DCCC is taking nothing for granted, and continues to spend money in Dem-held seats, even those in which the incumbent is looking relatively comfortable. The DCCC spent almost $350,000 in NH-01 (bringing its total to more than a million), more than $230,000 in AZ-05, around $180,000 in FL-16 and IN-09, about $150,000 in LA-06, PA-10 and PA-11. The DCCC also bought time in: AL-05, AZ-08 and TX-23. The New Hampshire ad buy is especially significant, as two recent polls have shown Shea-Porter in a slightly better position than before and Democrats are looking to bury Jeb Bradley before he has a chance to financially recover from a truly bruising primary.
  • Surprising offense: The DCCC’s decision to continue pouring in money in AZ-03 (almost $300,000 yesterday) is surprising, given that this seat was in few people’s radar as of last week. And it might not be as surprising anymore to see the DCCC invest in AL-02, KY-02 and MO-09 (more than $100,000), MD-01 and NM-02 (more than $200,000), but don’t forget how conservative all of these seats are, and how unlikely it was as of two months that the DCCC would make such a prolonged play in them. The DCCC also took a substantial buy in VA-02, a district many thought would not be as competitive this year.
  • Expected offense: The DCCC might be pushing the GOP’s third tier, but it is still as committed to the first and second. Two new big buys in OH-15 and OH-16 put the DCCC’s total above $1 million! And the DCCC continues investing in other open seats that Democrats were once hoping to win more easily - NM-01, NJ-03, NJ-07, IL-11, VA-11. The DCCC is sparing no expenses in seats that are and were expected to be highly competitive, including MN-03 and NC-08 (almost $300,000), OH-01, FL-24, NV-03, NY-26 and MI-09 (more than $200,000), as well as MO-06, CT-04, IL-10, MI-07 and PA-03.

This might seem repetitive to say, and I certainly do not want to sound like a broken record, but the importance of this funding cannot be understated. House candidates do not get as much free media as presidential contenders, and not that many voters watch debates between House candidates… The ground game, direct mailers and a presence on TV airwaves are crucial to the fate of many of these districts, and committee spending can be very important in tipping the balance. While candidates themselves have substantial amounts of money, some of them cannot pull out a win by themselves and the DCCC can ensure that Democrats running in third-tier contests have a shot - while also blooding little-known Republican candidates in open seats.

In fact (via Swing State Project), the RNCC looks to have just secured an $8 million loan - a significant sum that should ensure that the Republican committee can invest in enough districts to avoid disaster, but certainly not enough to offset the Democrats’ advantage (which was $40 million as of the end of August). But Republicans might as well pull all the stops this year: it is unlikely they will face such a potential of a blue tsunami in 2010, making it worth getting indebted now.

Two other notes on House races through a state-level lens. In Michigan, the local GOP seems to be in a state of panic after McCain’s pull-out. I already noted this a few days ago, but Politico has a new story documenting Republican anxieties that Reps. Walberg and Knollenberg are now in graver danger as they cannot rely on McCain’s ground game. Keep in mind that Michigan was truly expected to be one of the ultimate battlegrounds of this presidential election, so these incumbents can hardly be blamed for assuming that McCain’s turnout operation would be in place on November 4th to rally the conservative base.

In New Jersey, Republicans are looking surprisingly competitive in two open seats that many thought Democrats would be favored to win. Recent polls have shown the GOP candidates in NJ-03 and NJ-07 leading within the margin of error. That might be due to New Jersey’s independent voters’ reluctance to vote Democratic in September before undecideds break for the blue team in October, but there will be one year in which voters’ distrust for Trenton will backfire on Democrats, and this could very well be it. The trial of a New Jersey Democrat is giving Republicans an opening to blast state Senator Adler for his connection with controversies surrounding earmarks. Adler recently had to say “I’m not corrupt” - and it’s never a good sign when a politician feels forced to utter such words. Adler has a substantial financial advantage (especially when combined with the DCCC), so Myers can use any free media he can get - and this could help.


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Poll watch: Ahead in OH, CO, NV, Obama jumps to huge lead in 3 PA polls; Stevens stays in the game

Today’s numbers are perhaps not as dramatic as yesterday’s, but the overall picture is still as rosy for Barack Obama. And it’s not necessarily because of any number in red states: it is his continuous surge in the four blue states (NH, PA, WI and MN) McCain is actively contesting that is the most remarkable.

In Pennsylvania, three new polls show Obama leading by double-digits - between 10% and 15% - a shocking development in a high-priority state in which the GOP is pouring big sums of money. In Minnesota, a survey shows Obama up by 14%. And his lead is in high single-digits in three polls from New Hampshire and Wisconsin. If he sweeps all four (as seems increasingly likely), Obama would be in an extremely favorable position. He would anchor himself at 264 votes, and he would need only one more of the competitive red states.

Today’s polls show how many he would have to choose from: Obama leads outside of the margin of error in Nevada, Colorado and Ohio (any one of which could be decisive) and is ahead within the MoE in Florida, North Carolina, and a second poll from Ohio. And Indiana continues to look highly competitive. Nothing here is as stunning as Obama’s double-digit leads in two Virginia polls yesterday, but these encouraging results nonetheless - and revealing of how much catching up McCain has to do over the next four weeks, starting with tonight’s debate. On to the full round-up:

  • The tracking polls show Obama in a dominant position, though Diego Hotline has Obama suddenly “collapsing” to a 2% lead. That does seem like an outlier, however, as all other polls show Obama remaining in a solid position: He leads 51% to 42% in Gallup (+1), 52% to 44% in Rasmussen and 51% to 40% in Research 2000 (-1). And we now have a fifth tracking poll, released by Reuters/Zogby. Its introductory numbers have Obama leading 48% to 45%.
  • Obama leads 55% to 40% in a SUSA poll of Pennsylvania. He led by 6% last week.
  • Obama leads 54% to 40% in a Rasmussen poll of Pennsylvania. He led by 8% last week and 4% two weeks ago.
  • Obama leads 48% to 46% in Mason Dixon’s poll of Florida. He also led by 2% in a poll taken two weeks ago.
  • Obama leads 49% to 43% in a PPP poll of Ohio. McCain led by 4% in early September. Obama has gained among registered Democrats: he is now at 84% (up from 78%).
  • Obama leads 48% to 45% in a CNN/Time poll of Ohio, with 3% for Nader and 2% for Barr. In a two-way race, he leads 50% to 47% (he led by 2% three weeks ago).
  • Obama leads 49% to 48% in a CNN/Time poll of North Carolina, with 2% for Bob Barr. In a two-way race, the two candidates are tied at 49%. McCain led by 1% three weeks ago.
  • Obama leads 50% to 42% in a CNN/Time poll of Wisconsin, with Nader at 4% and Barr at 1%. In a two-race race, he leads 51% to 46% (he led by 3% three weeks ago).
  • Obama leads 52% to 42% in a SUSA poll of Wisconsin. Obama gets 90% of the Democratic vote.
  • Obama leads 51% to 43% in a CNN/Time poll of New Hampshire, with Barr at 3% and Nader at 1%. In a two-way race, Obama leads 53% to 45%.
  • McCain leads 48% to 46% in a CNN/Time poll of Indiana, with Barr at 5%. In a two-way race, McCain leads 51% to 46% (he led by 6% three weeks ago).
  • The candidates are tied at 46% in a Research 2000 poll of Indiana. McCain led led by 1% last week.
  • Obama leads 54% to 40% in a Minnesota Public Radio poll of Minnesota taken in the days after the VP debate. In the days before the debate, Obama’s lead was 47% to 43%. The margin of error is a large 5% on the post-debate sample.
  • Obama leads 55% to 39% in a SUSA poll of California.

Meanwhile, in down-ballot numbers:

  • In a SUSA poll of Proposition 8 in California, the yes has taken a narrow led for the first time - 47% to 42%.
  • Ted Stevens captures a 49% to 48% lead in Rasmussen’s latest poll from Alaska’s Senate race. Begich led by 3% in early September and by 13% in late July.
  • Beverly Perdue recaptures the lead in the latest PPP poll of North Carolina’s gubernatorial race. She is ahead 46% to 43%.
  • In OH-01, a Research 2000 poll has Democrat Steve Driehaus leading Rep. Steve Chabot 46% to 44%.
  • In OH-16, a GOP-held open seat, a Research 2000 poll has Democrat Boccieri leading Schuring 48% to 38%.
  • In MI-07, an internal poll for the Schauer campaign shows him leading GOP Rep. Walberg 46% to 36%.
  • In PA-11, an internal poll for the Barletta campaign shows him leading Rep. Kanjorski 47% to 39%. The previous Barletta poll had him ahead by 4%.

Statewide: SUSA has shown Proposition 8 has a higher chance of passing than in PPIC’s polls, but this is the first time the “yes” vote has been ahead in any survey that I am aware of - a reminder that this is very much a high stakes battle. Both parties have some good news, as Beverly Perdue and Ted Stevens are showing signs of life. But it is important to remember that the Alaska Senate race now looks entirely dependent on his trial verdict. If it is a tie now, Stevens would probably lose if found guilty and probably survive if acquitted.

House: More independent House polls, raising the number to 13 today! And the numbers are encouraging for Democrats: OH-16 is rated lean take-over in my rating, but it remains highly competitive, so it is good for Boccieri to open up some space. OH-01 and MI-07 are both GOP-held districts that are rated toss-ups, but both incumbents are in precarious positions if these numbers are to be believed. As for PA-11, Democratic Rep. Kanjorski is the most vulnerable Democratic incumbent, and this is one of only three Dem-held districts that are currently rated lean take-over, so Barletta’s numbers confirm what we have been seeing over the past few months.


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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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Dems awake to good polls: Obama leads in CO, MI, ties NC; strong numbers for Ohio Dems

It’s early in the morning, but we already have enough survey data for an entire polling thread! Particularly noteworthy are Quinnipiac’s latest release from four battleground states (CO, MI, MN and WI, which all favor Obama), and SUSA’s polling data from four highly competitive House districts in Ohio - especially since SUSA has also released presidential match-ups for three out of those four districts (there again finding good news for Obama).

Overall, this polling roundup brings good news to Democrats, as Obama leads in a number of swing states, posts yet another outside-of-the-MoE Michigan lead, and get some encouraging results from down-the-ballot races as well.

Note that Quinnipiac’s polls are somewhat dated and taken over an entire week (as are most of Quinnipiac’s surveys); they were in the field from the 14th to the 21st - so throughout the financial crisis and its immediate aftermath. But they have a very large sample (more than 1,300 likely voter in each state) and a relatively small margin of error (under 3%). That said, here’s the full roundup of morning’s polls:

  • Obama leads 49% to 45% in a Quinnipiac poll of Colorado. He trailed by 1% in August and 2% in July; Obama’s edge is outside of the MoE. Obama gets 68% of Hispanics, McCain leads by 7% among whites.
  • Obama leads 48% to 44% in a Quinnipiac poll of Michigan. The margin is the same as late July and is outside of the MoE. 58% of voters say the economy is the most important issue, and respondents think Obama understands that topic better 50% to 38%.
  • Obama leads 47% to 45% in a Quinnipiac poll of Minnesota, the same margin as in late July.
  • Obama leads 49% to 42% in a Quinnipiac poll of Wisconsin. He led by 11% in late July, but 7% is most definitely on the larger size of recent results.
  • Obama leads 47% to 45% in a Mason Dixon poll of Florida. That’s well within the poll’s MoE. Even more encouraging for Obama: he leads by 6% in the Tampa region.
  • The candidates are tied at 45% in a Civitas poll of North Carolina. Two weeks ago, McCain led by 3%; this is in fact the first time McCain has not led in a Civitas poll of this state.
  • Finally, SUSA released House polls from four Ohio districts. In three of them, they also polled the presidential race - and found significant improvements for Obama over Kerry’s performance in each. In OH-01, Bush won 51% to 49% in 2004 (his statewide margin); Obama leads 52% to 43%. In OH-02, Bush led 64% to 36% of the vote in 2004; McCain leads 58% to 39%. In OH-16, Bush won 54% to 46%; McCain leads 48% to 46%. Those shifts would put Obama in a strong position in the statewide race.

Let’s focus in more carefully on two states. First, North Carolina, where the race looks to be tightening indeed: this is the second poll in three days (after PPP’s poll) to find the race tied in the Tar Heel state - something that had not happened since one April survey that looked like an outlier. Second, Michigan: This is the third poll in a row (after Marist and Rasmussen) to find Obama’s lead outside of the margin of error, which should be a huge relief for the Democrat. We will be in a position to talk more about Colorado once PPP releases their poll later today.

Meanwhile, in down-the-ballot polls:

  • In OH-01, Rep. Chabot leads Democratic challenger Steve Driehaus 46% to 44% in a SUSA poll. Black turnout will be key to deciding this race.
  • In OH-02, Rep. Schmidt leads Democratic challenger Wulsin 48% to 40% in a SUSA poll.
  • In OH-15, Democrat Mary Jo Kilroy leads 47% to 42% against Steve Stivers in a SUSA poll. Kilroy led by 3% in early August.
  • In OH-16, Democrat John Boccieri leads 49% to 41% against Kirk Schuring in a SUSA poll. Schuring’s favorability rating is far lower, so perhaps the DCCC’s ads are functioning.
  • Elizabeth Dole leads Kay Hagan 43% to 41% in a Civitas poll of North Carolina’s Senate race. Before leaners are included, Hagan was up 41% to 40%.
  • Mark Udall leads 48% to 40% in a Quinnipiac poll of Colorado’s Senate race. The contest was tied in July.
  • Al Franken has gained ground but trails 49% to 42% in Quinnipiac’s poll of Minnesota’s Senate race. Coleman led by 15% in July.
  • A stunning internal Democratic poll of ID-01 has Walt Minnick leading GOP Rep. Bill Sali 43% to 38%. One possible problem in the poll is that it is convincing those final 19% of undecided that is bound to be the most difficult for a Democratic candidate in a staunchly conservative district.

OH-15 and OH-16 are among the highest priorities for House Democrats, as demonstrated by the hundreds of thousands the DCCC is already spending in these districts. To be fair to Republicans, many expected them to be in a much worse position in both of these open seats by this time, and the fact that they have managed to keep OH-15 competitive in particular is a testament to Mary Jo Kilroy’s struggles. Kilroy was favored to beat the incumbent in 2006 but narrowly lost, and she now has to battle the high unfavorables that she has left over from that race. OH-01 is a also a top Democratic target (and another narrow 2006 loss), though that contest has always been expected to be tight.

In Senate race, Civitas’s North Carolina numbers are a reminder that Dole still has some life in her but also further confirmation of Hagan’s momentum. Quinnipiac has Coleman leading by a larger margin than other surveys (SUSA, Rasmussen, Minnesota Public Radio) have shown lately, but Quinnipiac doesn’t appear to have included third-party candidate Dean Barkley. As for Colorado, the race has been static for more than a year: Udall is in the lead, but he has not closed the deal



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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 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
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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 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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