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Strict Standards: call_user_func_array() expects parameter 1 to be a valid callback, non-static method K2::filter_post_comments() should not be called statically in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/plugin.php on line 166

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

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

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

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

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

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

Strict Standards: array_filter() expects parameter 2 to be a valid callback, non-static method K2::strip_trackback() should not be called statically in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-content/themes/k2/app/classes/k2.php on line 458
Category Archive for ‘Review’ at Campaign Diaries
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Archive for the 'Review' Category


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

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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

2009 in review: The biggest shockers

If yesterday I listed the 10 worst surprises the parties received in 2009, today I will take a look at the year’s biggest shockers. The categories might sound similar, but by the latter I mean events that left us stunned and dumbfounded as they happened rather than trends. Only one item of this list - Arlen Specter’s party switch - duplicates yesterday’s; there were many other items I could have chosen from, as 2009 was rather wild at times.

1. Sarah Palin resigns

6 months have passed, but it’s still impossible to rationalize what can possibly have gone through Sarah Palin’s head for her to step up to the podium on July 3rd and announce she would resign from Alaska’s governorship within months. The move confounded everyone’s expectations and left even her most ardent supporters speechless. We were all left to wonder what her motivation was (preparing the 2012 campaign, freely roaming the country, escaping negative coverage, becoming a Giuliani-like perpetual GOP star, making money) and whether she even had a plan.

In particular, resigning barely past the halfway point of her first term is bound to hurt presidential ambitions, which we had assumed she harbored; but she seems to have bought into her own rhetoric that the lack of experience is an electoral asset, so we can’t even assume from this that Palin has ruled out a 2012 bid. Her unbelievably rambling statement made the entire episode that much more confusing since she offered no coherent explanation for her decision, as if doing so would make her look like one of those typical Washington politicians she is fond of denouncing, those who make it clear to their constituents why they are leaving their office.

2. Mark Sanford calls a press conference

It’s easy to forget that the scandal started before there were any hints that it would become a sex scandal: Our attention was first drawn to South Carolina when the governor’s staff admitted that Mark Sanford had gone hiking along the Appalachian Trail without informing his staff, family and even less so those officials who should have called on to replace him and intervene in case of an unexpected crisis. Within hours, the media had tracked Sanford all the way to Argentina, had ambushed him as he got off the plane and had revealed that there could be a woman in the story; by the next day, Sanford called a press conference and admitted to an affair with a woman who in later interviews he would call his soul mate. Sanford’s downfall wasn’t quite as complete as that of Eliot Spitzer, but the reputation of one of the country’s most conservative governors was ruined, costing him his position as one of the GOP’s national leaders and blowing a hole in any presidential ambitions he might have had.

3. Dede Scozzafava withdraws

NY-23’s special election was bizarre from beginning to end. Democrats nominated a complete unknown who wasn’t even a Democrat, just because he could spend some of his own money; Republicans nominated a candidate who was to the Democrat’s left on some issues; and conservatives threw everything they had in the race to show they were a force in GOP politics. The result was an ideologically and strategically confusing campaign that saw surprisingly vicious Republican infighting and the improbable rise of Doug Hoffman into the position of de facto GOP nominee. Even then, nothing could have prepared us for Dede Scozzafava’s decision to withdraw from the race just four days from Election Day. Her unexpected move, which has few precedents I can think of, threw the race into chaos; and if it initially looked like it would boost Hoffman, her later decision to endorse Owens allowed the Democrat to win the day just 2%.

4. Bloomberg scores only a tight victory

What was there to see in New York City? Mayor Mike Bloomberg had beat his own records of self-funding, he had blanketed the city with advertising and reached out to every voter who might possibly consider voting for him; polls found him leading by wide margins, the media ignored the race and Democrats were entirely uninterested in helping their nominee, the under-funded Comptroller William Thompson. Yet, Election Night saw a shockingly tight voting count that led networks to pull their initial call in Bloomberg’s favor: The Mayor ended up prevailing by an unexpectedly narrow 5%.

Of course, this result should not have come as such a surprise. Back in September, I had argued that the primary results a deep anger among the New York electorate that could only pose major problems for Bloomberg. Yesterday’s results proved beyond the shadow of a doubt that a severe backlash was indeed brewing. How New York’s Democratic officials fail to pick-up tremors of that on the ground when it had been brewing for months is beyond comprehension and suggests that a substantial portion of the party (including the White House) thought it had more to gain by having Bloomberg in the Mayor’s Mansion. At the end of the day, however, Democrats are left wondering what might have been if they had done more to counter the roughly $200 Bloomberg spent for every vote he received.

5. Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize

Even though I first read that Obama had received the Nobel Peace Prize on the New York Times’s homepage, I thought it was some elaborate joke. Even if Barack Obama has improved international dialogue, he had been in office for only nine months; he had yet to devote much attention to foreign policies; and he was leading a country into two wars, one of which he was preparing to escalate; and he was drawing fire from critics who charged out he was not doing to break with George W. Bush’s national security policies. While I still fail to comprehend this decision, I doubt those who agree with it would say they weren’t surprised when they first heard about it.

6. Arlen Specter’s party switch

Not only was Arlen Specter’s switch consequential, but it also was very unexpected. Sure, there were always some rumors circulating that it might make sense for the senator to run as a Democrat, but I confess that I for one did not give them much credence: A Republican senator for three decades, Specter had never been one of the most liberal members of the GOP caucus. If he suddenly looked isolated (along with the Maine senators), it was only because the likes of Jeffords, Chaffee and Smith had left the chamber and because Republicans who before the 2000s would have been willing to cooperate with Democrats were now more comfortable in the role of the opposition. But the instinct of self-preservation does wonders: Specter stunned the country by giving Democrats their 60th seat and the threat of Sestak’s primary challenge has forced him to become a reliable vote for the leadership.

7. Iowa legalizes gay marriage

Gay-rights activists had received little good news since California passed Proposition 8 in November 2008; who could have expected that their next big victory would come not from a staunchly liberal state but from Iowa? On April 3rd, the Iowa Supreme Court issued an unanimous ruling authorized same-sex marriage, giving the movement a new momentum that led to three other states also legalized gay marriage, this time through the legislative route: New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine. Sure, Maine voters later repealed the law, but the fact that gay couples would gain the right to wed in 3 new states in 2009 (not to mention that Washington became the first state to establish a same-sex union through the ballot box, since RI-71 passed in November) was certainly not a given at the end of 2008.

8. The VA results: The size of Deeds’s primary victory, McDonnell’s Fairfax victory

Virginia’s Democratic primary was long such a tight affair that three contenders (Creigh Deeds, Brian Moran and Terry McAuliffe) had very credible shots to the nomination until the final weeks of the race; that’s when Deeds, boosted by a Washington Post endorsement, suddenly gained unstoppable momentum. On Election Day, he triumphed surpassing 50% of the vote, a result no one could possibly have foreseen just 10 days before. Unfortunately Deeds went on to a disastrous general election campaign and to a November result that was just as stunning as that of June: Bob McDonnell prevailed in Fairfax County, the motor of Democrats’ Virginia momentum.

9. Judd Gregg changes his mind

It was surprising enough when Barack Obama announced he was tapping this Republican senator to be his Secretary of Commerce; but it was downright stunning when Judd Gregg announced he was withdrawing from the president’s Cabinet and that he intended to fully retire from political life come 2010. This meant the best of all possible worlds for Democrats: Not only did the party avoid giving a Cabinet position to such a conservative politician, but they still have a shot at an open seat in 2010. (Governor Lynch had made it clear he would appoint a Republican to fill Gregg’s seat, so Democrats wouldn’t have made an immediate gain based on Gregg’s resignation.)

10. The Caroline Kennedy mess

Once she threw her name unto the Senate ring with a confidence characteristic of those who think they can get whatever they want even though they have done absolutely nothing that might justify their getting tapped, Caroline Kennedy was at least expected to back it up by showing signs of competence. Instead, her month-long quest for Hillary Clinton’s seat was a disaster: She fumbled her way through interviews, angered county chairmen by what they told the press looked like her indifference and managed to draw insistent comparisons to Sarah Palin. As if all of that wasn’t surprising enough to see, the final hours of her quest for the seat were the most stunning still: After we learned that she had withdrawn her name from consideration ensued an absurdly chaotic night. Kennedy’s camp clearly had no idea what was going on; the New York Times reported having read a letter from Kennedy in which she said she had changed her mind once again; and it all ended with Kennedy’sstatement announcing she was indeed no longer looking for the Senate seat. This confusing end was the fitting end to a messy month.

11. The New York coup

Who knew elected officials could be as transparently venal as Hiram Monserrate and Pedro Espada? After throwing the New York state Senate in Republican hands by switching parties, the duo threw Albany into disarray for more than a month as they delayed committing to either party until they got rewards for it. Espada ended up convincing Democrats to give him the Majority Leader post in exchange for his return, and he has since gotten himself other favors. But until the situation was resolved, New Yorkers were treated to a daily comedy of the absurd: Both parties held parallel legislative sessions, Albany came to a complete standstill and the New York Post sent in a clown to add to the festive atmosphere.


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2009 in review: The parties’ 10 worst surprises

2009 began with George W. Bush still in the White House; it ends with Barack Obama. It began with Democrats looking confident they would expand their majorities in both chambers; it ends with some Republicans harboring hopes they can take back at least one chamber of Congress. It began with a left delighted to get rid of George W. Bush and a right stunned by the magnitude of the knock-out punches it had received in 2006 and in 2008; it ends with a left that is growing increasingly vocal about its disagreements with the Democratic leadership, and a hard-right that has rebuild itself, partly on the GOP’s back.

While coming up with top 10 lists might have been a better fit fit for an Election Year like 2008 (The biggest shockers, The states that mattered, The hottest races)  than for a more disjointed year like 2009, what better way to reminisce about the year? Here is my first attempt to remember some of the wilder trends of the year: The 10 worst surprises the parties received this year.

1. For the GOP: The Charlie Crist-syndrome

Republican leaders were hoping for a revitalized right to take on the Obama administration; what they did not expect was that a resurgence would come at the expense of the GOP establishment. Yet, one of the dominant storylines of the year has been Republicans’ brewing civil war: In their efforts to push the country rightward, Tea Partiers have taken aim at GOP politicians as much as they have targeted Democrats, and that is seriously complicating parties’ calculations heading into 2010. Doug Hoffman’s success at overtaking Dede Scozzafava in the NY-23 would have been unthinkable in another political environment, but it’s given the hard-right confidence heading into the new year.

While the issue is partly an ideological one, the battle first and foremost pits an activist movement versus a compromised establishment: At the beginning of the year, it looked like one of tensions’ main victim would be Roy Blunt (hardly a centrist). While Blunt escaped the prospect of a bruising primary, establishment Republicans across the country are facing major opposition. Kelly Ayotte in New Hampshire, Jane Norton in Colorado, Trey Greyson in Kentucky, many House challengers and, most significantly, Charlie Crist. The Florida governor’s collapsing fortune is undoubtedly one of the year’s worst surprises for the national GOP leadership. It has transformed their biggest recruitment coup into a nightmare, as it threatens to make what looked like a safe hold into ground zero of Republican divisions.

2. For Democrats: Corzine’s loss

By early November, it had become so obvious that Jon Corzine was in huge trouble that his defeat was not considered a surprise. But it’s worth remembering just how long it took for Democrats to recognize that they really could lose the Garden State. Even as the year started, they pointed to the many New Jersey Democrats who had pulled ahead in the final weeks of the campaign (John Kerry in 2004, Corzine himself in 2005, Bob Menendez in 2006). But Corzine was stuck at lower levels than Democrats had been in any of these other races; he was a longtime incumbent voters were refusing to keep in office; and the environment was a tough one for his party. The result: Chris Christie will be sworn in come January, an outcome few Democrats would have deemed possible 12 months ago.

3. For the GOP: A wave of retiring Senators

As 2009 began, Senate Republicans were hoping to put behind them two dismal cycles but their prospects were immediately endangered by a rapid wave of GOP senators announcing they would not seek re-election in 2010: Mel Martinez’s decision was hardly the worst news Republicans could have received, but Judd Gregg, George Voinovich and Kit Bond’s announcements were game-changers. Given how the year progressed, it’s doubtful any of these three would have been in much trouble but NH, MO and OH are now the NRSC’s biggest headaches - and Democrats’ best opportunities. (Over the summer, Jim Bunning announced he would also retire, but that does not count since it delighted Republicans.)

4. For Democrats: Chris Dodd and Harry Reid’s unpopularity

In the midterm elections of a Democrat president, the DSCC cannot be surprised it’s facing difficulty defending open seats (Illinois and Delaware, for instance), freshmen (Colorado) or red states (Arkansas). Yet, Connecticut was on no one’s radar screen last year: Just how shockingly unpopular Chris Dodd has become was a surprise to most observers last spring, and it has made a seat that Democrats weren’t expecting to even think about one of the GOP’s biggest opportunities of the cycle. Similarly, Harry Reid looks far more personally vulnerable than was believed as the year started: That he would be one of the most endangered Democratic senators if the GOP found a strong candidate was a given, but Reid’s standing is so weak that he is trailing by double-digits against third-tier challengers. Defeating these two powerful senators would obviously be a huge coup for the GOP.

Relatedly, I don’t think anyone has truly understood how David Paterson could have grown that unpopular in such a short time span. This should ultimately not hurt Democrats, as Andrew Cuomo still looks likely to jump in the race, but the New York Governor’s collapse into depths of unpopularity is astonishing: his favorability rating was long stuck under 20%, which is as low as can a scandal-tarred politician will fall, let alone someone who wasn’t hit by a major controversy.

5. For Democrats: Veteran House members are suddenly endangered

After the huge gains they scored in 2006 and in 2008, House Democrats were expecting to spend 2010 defending their newly acquired seats. What they surely did not expect is to see so many of their entrenched lawmakers at the very top of the GOP’s target list - and with apparently reason to worry. Reps. Snyder, Spratt, Skelton, Mollohan, Pomeroy, Herseth-Sandlin, Berry, Bishop and many others find themselves in the NRCC’s cross hairs: While unseating some of these districts might be wishful thinking on Republicans’ part, polls (in AR-02, for instance) have confirmed that at least some of these incumbents are in far worst districts than they have been for much of their political career. When added to the many freshmen and sophomore Democrats who are vulnerable, the GOP’s efforts to expand the map could pay dividends next November.

6. For the GOP: The loss of NY-20 and NY-23

For all its talk of an improving environment, the GOP suffered two shocking special election losses this year. Everything was lined up for Republicans to pick-up Gillibrand’s NY-20 and hold on to McHugh’s NY-23: They had well-known candidates whereas Democrats had such a little bench they were forced to tap complete unknowns, the districts’ had a history of voting Republican, liberal turnout was supposed to be low, the GOP nominees led big in early polling. Yet, Scott Murphy and Bob Owens, who just 365 days ago had absolutely no political experience (and in the latter’s case wasn’t even a Democrat), are now sitting in the House.

7. For the GOP: Arlen Specter’s party switch

For all their losses in the 2008 cycle, Republicans were at least relieved they were able to prevent Democrats from reaching 60 seats. Yet, even that collapsed in April 2009, when Arlen Specter shocked the political world by announcing he would become a Democrat. And it got even worse for the right, as Joe Sestak’s decision to mount a primary challenge forced the senator to immediately tack to the left, giving Democrats a reliable vote for their biggest priority of the year, health-care reform. Sure, Joe Lieberman watered the bill to such an extent that Olympia Snowe couldn’t really have asked for much more, but having to win over a Republican would have obviously complicated Harry Reid’s calculations even further.

8. For Democrats: Appointment headaches

It’s one thing for a party to suffer because the incumbents who are up for re-election have grown unpopular, it’s quite another for it to invent huge headaches for itself. Yet, that’s exactly what Democrats did early in 2009. Barack Obama’s decision to tap Joe Biden, Ken Salazar and Hillary Clinton meant that four Senate seats found themselves vacated; as if that was not enough, the appointment processes by which they were going to be replaced became absurdly messy - and it’s now a major reason Democrats are facing the prospect of big Senate losses. In Delaware, Governor Minner’s disgraceful decision to appoint a caretaker to keep the seat for its previous occupier’s son has backfired on Democrats, as it allowed Mike Castle to run for an open seat. In New York, the bizarre weeks that preceded Kirsten Gillibrand’s appointment are partly responsible for David Paterson’s reputation of ineffectiveness and they created a lot of rancor among state Democrats.

In Colorado was the only uncontroversial process, no one has really understood why Bill Ritter chose to appoint Michael Bennet, a little-known Democrat with no electoral experience and no proven ability to hold on to the seat; Bennet now decisively trails in 2010 match-ups, and it’s hard to think other Democrats wouldn’t have been in a better position. But the worst situation is obviously that of Illinois, where the governor was arrested for trying to sell Obama’s Senate seat; the scandal is forcing Roland Burris not to run for re-election and it could also endanger the party’s control on the Governor’s Mansion. Who could have thought a party could self-destroy to this extent?

9. For Democrats: The Virginia collapse

“No state’s swing towards the Democratic Party was as important as Virginia’s,” I wrote at the end of 2008. Indeed, Democrats were on a roll in the Old Dominion: Since 2001, they had won two successive Governor’s races, picked-up both Senate seats and many House seats and Barack Obama had even won the presidential race by a decisive 5%. Their optimism about the state’s blue trends makes their collapse all the more painful: It’s not so much that Bob McDonnell won the Governor’s race (Republicans were considered slight favorites to win seat all year) but the sheer magnitude of his victory that has gotten state Republicans back on track. Not only did McDonnell destroy Creigh Deeds, but he did so by recapturing areas of the state that were starting to look unwinnable for his party - starting with Fairfax County! Added to Democrats’ other losses of the year in Northern Virginia, that suggests that their progress was far more fragile than they were hoping for at the end of 2008.

10. For Democrats: Lieberman’s willingness to transparently shed all principle to gain revenge

Joe Lieberman had fully backed George W. Bush’s national security policies, he had defied his party’s rules by running as an independent in 2006 and he endorsed John McCain in the presidential race. Yet, many Democrats clung to the belief that he would be a reliable vote for the party’s top domestic policies: After all, Lieberman had never looked like a staunch centrist on economic or fiscal matters, and he has been a strong ally of Connecticut labor groups. But 2009 revealed that Lieberman’s quest for revenge has made him willing to sacrifice all he once might have believed as long as it can make miserable for liberals.

The fact is that he did more to weaken the Senate health-care bill than all other conservative Democrats’ combined: Ben Nelson, Mary Landrieu and Blanche Lincoln looked reluctant to mount a full blown assault on the public option before Lieberman announced he could never vote for it, and all of them were willing to sign-on to the Medicare buy-in compromise. Worst still than Lieberman’s positions is the matter he stated them: His sociopathic behavior in the final weeks of the negotiations - his refusal to attend the Gang of Ten meetings, the sudden reversal of his willingness to back the deal, his describing as a monstrosity what he had brought up himself in September - suggests he is relishing torturing the left to an extent few could have foreseen in early 2009.

And happy new year!


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McCain revisits September 2008

Nine months after his presidential defeat, John McCain gave an interview to The Wall Street Journal in which he revisited the fateful September sequence that drove his numbers down irremediably. Yet, he embellished the facts enough that a little reality check is in order.

First, McCain did his best to justify his September 24th decision to suspend his campaign. He acknowledged what most of us had diagnosed within hours of his announcement - that the move was “impetuous and rash:”

You have no idea the pressure I was under. I remember being on the phone with President Bush, Vice President Cheney, the Treasury secretary and [Fed Chairman Ben] Bernanke. They assure me the world financial system is going to collapse if I don’t vote for the bill. So I do the impetuous and rash thing by saying, look, I have got to go back to Washington and see how I can help. And by the way, so did Obama but it was McCain that was the impetuous one.

McCain is right that his campaign suspension did not play well with voters, as it allowed the Obama campaign to portray him as erratic. But I do want to tweak the rest of his account. Given the circumstances of McCain’s decision, he really should not expect many people to believe he was motivated by the good of the country rather than electoral considerations. The suspension was just the latest in a series of dramatic gambles through which McCain tried to shuffle up the race (think Britney Spears and Sarah Palin), and it came just as we were discussing how McCain had lost all the control of the campaign narrative - something no trailing candidate can afford to do.

If McCain’s motivations are up for debate, however, what he did after he returned to Washington is not - and that’s where his attempt to compare his actions to Obama’s truly fails. On September 26th, the White House convened a meeting with congressional leaders of both parties; McCain and Obama were present. Within hours of the meeting, news reports revealed that McCain had remained silent throughout the meeting, only offering a vague statement at the end that avoiding lending a hand to House Republicans or to the administration.

Over the next few months, numerous journalists reported additional details about that meeting: Obama had spoken at great length about what needed to be done to quell the financial crisis while McCain had repeatedly refused to speak, deferring to other people present in the meeting. And it goes on: Over the following days, Obama called numerous House Democrats urging them to support the bailout while McCain was generally described as absent from the proceedings.

Add to this the fact that it’s McCain who made a big show of announcing he was suspending all campaign activities (not to mention attempting to delay the VP debate), and we perhaps get a sense of why McCain’s actions were described as impetuous and Obama’s are not.

Second, McCain claimed to the WSJ that he was on his way to victory until the financial crisis melted his presidential aspirations along with the stock market:

We were three points up on September 14. The next day the market lost 700 points and $1.2 trillion in wealth vanished, and by the end of the day we were seven points down. We lost the white college graduate voters, who became profoundly disillusioned with Republicans. And by the way, that was the way it ended up. We lost by seven points.

It is entirely true that McCain’s poll numbers surged the first two weeks of September - he even scored an impressive 10% lead in a Gallup that gave heartburn to all Obama supporters. In fact, you will remember that this period as the only time in the general election in which Democrats were really concerned that the election might not go their way.

Yet, how can we possibly not take into account the fact that this early September period consisted in the Republican convention’s immediate aftermath? While McCain’s surge was a bit bigger than most of us expected, a bounce was certainly expected and we were always aware that a bounce is bound to fade. I wrote on September 7th:

We will now have to wait a few more days to see the state of the race once the post-convention emotions have settled. Earlier this week, Obama reached his highest levels ever in the tracking poll - 51% in Rasmussen and 50% in Gallup - but he quickly lost his gains. Now, McCain looks to be at a historic highs, and should receive good numbers again in tomorrow’s tracking deliveries (the first entirely taken after McCain’s acceptance speech). But while McCain’s results in polls taken on Friday and Saturday were surely going to have improved, what will voters remember by next Tuesday, Wednesday night?

To have made the convention matter, Republicans needed to do more than grab a lead in the topline numbers - they need to affect voters’ trust in Obama’s experience and change their view of the proximity between McCain and Bush. While the GOP had certainly seized an edge over the day-to-day campaigning (McCain had far more control over the campaign narrative over those 2 weeks), we never saw any evidence that the fundamentals of the race had changed: The electorate still wanted to kick out Republicans, Democrats had gained a huge registration advantage and the GOP’s hope that Palin would take care of the enthusiasm gap looked like wishful thinking. 

Furthermore, even in this time period McCain committed unforced errors that made it clear he would not be able to keep Obama on the defensive for long, whether or not the economy had erupted as the top fall story: McCain’s all-out war on the press was an incredibly foolish decision given that any campaign reporting had to transpire through the media. While journalists typically refrain from pointing out that political attacks are false, the GOP’s anti-press rhetoric was so intense that the media no longer held back; Republicans’ refusal to edit themselves after their claims had been debunked or the sex-ed for kindergartners ad also contributed to cementing the campaign narrative of a truth-twisting McCain.

Frankly, this became such a huge problem for the Republican in the days leading to September 14th that he would have had trouble keeping his credibility straight had the Wall Street meltdown not occurred; if anything, the financial crisis gave him an opportunity to turn the sex-ed/Palin page and reveal himself as a leader - which is exactly what he tried to do by suspending his campaign. Unfortunately for Republicans, that move massively backfired.


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2008 in review: The biggest blunders and juiciest scandals

Of course it’s 2009, but for the final recap of 2008, I put together two final “top ten” lists: the biggest blunders and the juiciest scandals. You’ll find them both below. Enjoy!

The biggest blunders:

1. Clinton neglects the caucus states

2. “The fundamentals of our economy are strong,” again

3. McCain suspends his campaign

4. Obama’s “bitter” Americans

5. Rudy Giuliani’s late-state strategy

6. The Clintons’ race gaffes: Bill compares Obama to Jesse Jackson; Hillary describes Obama’s weak support among “hard-working Americans, white Americans”

7. McCain abandons the until then-effective celebrity attack in late August

8. McCain thinks it can afford to antagonize the media in September

9. Elizabeth Dole airs the Godless Americans ads

10. Michelle Bachmann’s “anti-American” rant & Murtha’s describing Western Pennsylvania as “racist”

Honorable mentions go to McCain’s “100 years” in Iraq, which would have made the cut had it played any kind of role in the general election; to Barack Obama’s presidential seal; to Joe Biden’s bizarre comments in October predicting Obama would be tested, which would have made the cut had Obama’s numbers tanked; to McCain’s obsessive focus on Iowa in the final weeks of the general election, which is far less defensible than his concentrating on Pennsylvania; to Hillary Clinton’s Bosnia story; and to McCain’s “that one” in the second debate, which crystallized the narrative of a mean-spirited candidate.

I considered adding McCain’s “I’ll have to get back to you” when asked how many houses he owned, as well as the entirety of Sarah Palin’s train-wreck of an interview with Katie Couric, but neither of these events were a blunder per say: McCain and Palin did not commit mistakes there as much as be forced to admit they did not know the answer to a question and do their best while coming across as incompetent, respectively.

The juiciest scandals:

1. Elliot Spitzer and the Emperors Club VIP

2. Rod Blagojevich and Obama’s Senate seat

3. Ted Stevens’s trial

4. Jeremiah Wright’s sermons

5. John Edwards’s mistress

6. Tim Mahoney’s mistress and blackmail

7. Vito Fossella’s DUI

8. Rudy Giuliani’s Hampton-gate

9. Mike Erickson, the Cuba trip and a forced abortion

10. Sarah Palin’s shopping spree


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2008 in review: The hottest races

2008 was filled with almost weekly election days, from the Iowa caucuses on January 3rd to Louisiana’s general election on December 6th. Here’s a ranking of the most entertaining races of the 2008 cycle - those that saw the most drama, those that kept us on edge.

1) Clinton vs. Obama: The endless race

No three paragraph write-up can do justice to the all-out war between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Their battle was launched in January 2007, a full year before the first ballots were cast. It ended 18 months later, after 54 contests in every single state (and more), two dozen debates, upset victories, and acrimonious charges of fraud, sexism and racism.

Any posts touching the Clinton-Obama battle invariably sparked dozens of comments. By the spring of 2008, we were all familiar with the profiles of all superdelegates, understood the confusing mechanisms of caucuses, could
justify Texas’s incomprehensible voting system and could explain the importance of a congressional district having an odd or an even number of delegates.

Sure, their contest didn’t look like much of a race until October 2007, and it was difficult to find Hillary Clinton a path to victory after she lost the Wisconsin primary on February 20th; but this was a polarizing battle that obsessed the entire country for more than a year - much longer than the comparatively tame general election. .

2) The GOP primaries: A year with five front-runners

It is easy to forget how much more delightfully suspenseful the Republican primaries were until the very end of 2007. While Hillary Clinton looked like the inevitable Democratic nominee, the GOP’s nomination could have gone to any of five candidates: Rudy Giuliani, whose front-runner status in the media looked comically artificial to anyone who carefully followed presidential politics; Mitt Romney, who led in Iowa and New Hampshire for most of the fall; Fred Thompson the savior; Mike Huckabee, who took everyone by surprise in November; and John McCain, who no one was paying much attention to anymore.

In fact, the race was so open at the end of December 2007 that McCain, Romney, Giuliani and Huckabee had equally plausible paths to the nomination. As I explained then, “all these scenarios look stunningly unlikely, though one of them will come to pass. The question then is which of them is the least far-fetched at this point?” This complex question led to countless calculations throughout the fall: Could Giuliani wait until Florida to get his first win? Could Romney’s rivals stop him if he won Iowa? Could Romney get the nomination if he lost Iowa? What would be McCain’s next step if he prevailed in New Hampshire? Would Huckabee’s rise help Giuliani? Would Giuliani’s fall help McCain? What about Thompson’s?

The 26-day period between the Iowa caucuses and the Florida primary saw so many ups-and-downs as to barely leave us time to process all of these questions, and John McCain’s unlikely emergence gave Democrats plenty to agonize over since McCain looked (by far) like the most electable of the Republican candidates.

3) McCain vs. Obama: Entertaining but lacking suspense

The stakes were high in the general election, and there was plenty of drama to keep us all hooked - most of it provided by the McCain campaign: The celebrity ads, the Sarah Palin pick, the campaign suspension, the raucous town halls, the Ayers card and McCain’s condescending debate persona instantaneously roused up partisans from both parties. A daily deluge of polls and statistics kept everyone on edge, even when all we were watching was whether Obama’s 15% Pennsylvania lead would collapse to 14%, and a seemingly endless stream of parodies and of YouTube videos  kept us all entertained.

That said, it is hard to ignore the fact that this race lacked suspense - except for a brief period in early September that saw McCain storm into a lead in the immediate aftermath of the Republican convention. The election was Barack Obama’s to lose from the first days of the general election, and that is obvious from some of my posts back in June. The factors that made the election somewhat suspenseful were McCain’s willingness to gamble, the (unrealized) fear of a Bradley effect, and the Democrats’ paranoia that they might snatch defeat from the jaws of victory - just as in 1988, 2000 or 2004.

4) California’s Proposition 8

Liberal groups did not take Proposition 8 seriously enough until it was already too late, and the No’s fundraising did not pick-up quickly enough to defeat the huge war chest amassed by the Mormon Church. But the referendum became the center of attention just as the presidential race seemed settled for Barack Obama, allowing us all to devote more time to following the multi-million California campaign and its painfully brutal ad campaign.

Conservatives frustrated that they were making no progress in the presidential race sought revenge in the Golden State, further increasing the vote’s already high stakes: A “no” victory would have meant that voters had directly approved gay marriage for the first time and would have made it very difficult for social conservatives to stop same-sex marriages across blue America, starting in New York. Instead, Prop 8’s narrow passage halted California’s gay marriages and prolonged the battle, as a counter-proposal is sure to spring us some time in the next few years (if Prop 8 even survives a court challenge).

5) Minnesota: Coleman vs. Franken vs. Barkley vs. Ventura

Norm Coleman and Al Franken waged the most vicious campaign of the cycle, airing increasingly brutal ads that made both men look unattractive. The hardest hitting spot was undoubtedly this late October NRSC ad that compiled all of the GOP’s attacks: Franken “lashes out at those who disagree,” “humiliates minorities,” “demeans women,” “makes child abuse a joke” and “laughs at the disabled.”

Ouch. The race also featured Coleman’s “Angry Al” ads; the Democrats’ colorful responses (for instance the “running man” ad); Coleman’s own ethics problems, culminating in the October suit scandal; the last-minute lawsuits that the two camps hurled at each other and Jesse Ventura’s flirtations with a run. Perhaps most significant was Dean Barkley’s third party candidacy: Polls showed Barkley hovering around 20%, making it very plausible that he could pull off an upset if Coleman and Franken continued hammering each other.

The race would have made the cut even if the election had been resolved on November 4th, but that only proved to be the prelude to a controversial recount, sea-sawing leads, confusing courtroom drama, and days of political porn live ballot counting by the state canvassing board!

6) Alaska: Ted Stevens vs. Ted Stevens

Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich’s candidacy in early 2008 ensured that the Alaska Senate race would be competitive, but it took Ted Stevens’s best effort to make the race one of the most entertaining of the cycle. Stevens’s indictment upended the race and forced us to take the candidacy of Vic Vickers (a complete unknown and non-Alaskan - but wealthy enough to mount a bizarre run) in the Republican primary.

Later, Stevens obtained an expedited trial, tying his electoral fate to an October trial that getting us hooked to the legal minutiae of a DC courtroom - and there was a lot of drama to follow there as well, from the prosecution’s gross misconduct to the jury deliberations that featured a violent juror and a disappearing one. And how can we not rate include on this list a race that saw an incumbent Senator become a convicted felon one week from Election Day?

As if all of this was not enough, the race was decided long after ballots were cast, giving us two extra weeks of drama and suspense.

7) North Carolina: Elizabeth Dole vs. DSCC

Chuck Schumer was determined to bring down Elizabeth Dole, and he did not rest until Election Night returns showed the incumbent Senator trailing by a wide margin. The first clear sign that the DSCC was serious about North Carolina came in mid-July, when the committee reserved an impressive $6 million worth of advertising for the fall; we were soon treated to a long series of Democratic ads blasting Dole’s ineffectiveness, conservativeness, absenteeism and age. Dole’s responses were disproportionately brutal, from her “fibber Kay” dog comparison to her Godless American attack.

Combine all of this brutality with Dole’s status as a political celebrity, with the high stakes of the election (and the Democrats’ quest for 60 seats) and with our continued disbelief at witnessing North Carolina’s swing to the left, and this race certainly ranks as one of the year’s most entertaining.

8) NY-13: GOP sabotages itself in bizarre soap opera

Staten Island has always been a Republican stronghold, and there was no suggestion that Democrats had any chance to pick-up NY-13 until Rep. Vito Fossella was arrested for a DUI in Northern Virginia. The soap opera that followed is worthy of being made into a movie someday. First came revelations that Fossella had fathered a child in an extramarital affair and that he had taken his mistress on taxpayer-funded congressional trips; Fossella soon announced he would not seek re-election. Then, we witnessed a stunning series of Republicans refusing to run in what should have been a reliably red district.

The Staten Island GOP ended up endorsing a largely unknown candidate, Francis Powers - the island’s representative on the MTA board. But the election threatened to degenerate in a family farce when Powers’s son announced he would run against his father as a third-party candidate, leading Francis to express his disapproval of his son’s “lifestyle.” The farce soon became a tragedy when Powers passed away mid-June, and the GOP was back where it started: After more contenders passed away, the Republican Party and Conservative Party publicly split and the GOP endorsed a candidate despised by most of the party’s establishment, leading a number of Republican officials to endorse the Democratic nominee. And as if all of this was not enough, Vito Fossella attempted a comeback a few weeks from Election Day!

The result: Democratic candidate Mike McMahon won by 28% in a district that had voted for Bush by 10% in 2004.

9) Oregon: Gordon Smith weighted down by George Bush

For much of 2008, Oregon’s Senate race looked like the ultimate toss-up: There was no obvious reason for Gordon Smith to be vulnerable but his party’s unpopularity, making his re-election campaign the bellwether of national trends. Smith waged a particularly shrewd campaign, and what made the race particularly entertaining was the fact that he went to both extremes of campaigning.

On the one hand, he went unexpectedly far in portraying himself as a non-partisan, centrist Senator (His ads featured endorsements by Democratic state lawmakers and touted his relationship to Democratic Senators John Kerry, Barack Obama and Ron Wyden), so much so that it might have cost him votes on the Right. On the other hand, Smith never hesitated to air brutal ads against his challenger Jeff Merkley; in fact, his spots attacking Merkley on rape issues might very well be the low points of the 2008 Senate battle.

10) LA-06: Democratic miracle, Democratic disaster

Louisiana’s 6th district kept us entertained throughout the year. First came a springtime special election, which Democrats weren’t supposed to even try contesting given the district’s conservative nature. But Democratic candidate Don Cazayoux proved competitive, and the DCCC and NRCC waged an entertaining expenditure wars that culminated in Cazayoux’s upset victory in one of the year’s most roller-coaster election nights.

But this Democratic miracle soon gave way to a nightmare, as state Rep. Michael Jackson filed as a independent candidate in the November election. Jackson threatened to take African-American voters away from Cazayoux and thus fatally splinter his electoral coalition. That is exactly what happened in November: Despite polls showing Cazayoux ahead, Republican Bill Cassidy defeated him 48% to 40%.

Honorable mentions go to MN-06, which beame the highest profile House race after Michelle Bachmann’s mid-October “anti-American” rant; Mississippi’s Senate race, in which former roommates hammered each other in a brutal ad war; CO-04, swarmed by outside groups; PA-11, where colorful Republican Lou Barletta led an incumbent Democrat throughout the year before falling short on Election Day; and NY-26, since any race with a stunningly bloody primary and extended courtroom drama should be on this list.


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2008 in review: The biggest shockers

2008 was filled with upsets, from Mike Huckabee’s Iowa triumph to the Democrats’ special election victories in the spring and to Obama’s general election victory in Indiana.

Yet, we had come to expect all of these events by the time they unfolded. Huckabee’s victory was an upset by the standards of the preceding six months and of the millions Mitt Romney spent in Iowa, but he started climbing in the polls early enough for us not to be stunned on January 3rd.

Here’s a list of the top ten shockers of the years, those events that no one saw coming, those that were so stunning that they left us shell-shocked!

1. Clinton wins the New Hampshire primary

Hillary Clinton ran well ahead in New Hampshire polls throughout the fall of 2007, but Barack Obama’s victory in Iowa unraveled Clinton’s campaign. Her New Hampshire numbers collapsed overnight, Obama’s rallies attracted huge adoring crowds, and the January 5th debate left Hillary on the defensive. By Election Day, Clintonites were preparing to be trounced in the Granite State and speculation was flying that her camp was considering an immediate withdrawal.

The rest, as they say, is history. Clinton won a stunning victory that prolonged the Democratic primaries by five months and left the Obama campaign searching for answers

In retrospect, Hillary’s comeback should not have been that much of a shocker. Bounces are intrinsically volatile, and the question was never whether Obama could make that bounce permanent but whether his surge would last long enough to carry him through the finish line. And there were only five days between Iowa and New Hampshire, such a compressed period that the electorate was bound to shift in much higher proportions than in a typical election. Most polls that showed Obama leading by double-digits were taken over the week-end, in the immediate aftermath of Iowa, and there is simply no way that any poll in the field at the height of Obama’s buzz could have picked up Clinton’s comeback. (Other factors that fueled Hillary’s victory were her gains among women and the last-minute decision of many independents to vote for McCain in the GOP primary.)

But all of these attempts to rationalize the results will never erase just how shocked we all were to see Hillary Clinton victorious just hours after staring political death in the face .

2. McCain picks Sarah Palin

Her name was mentioned in the Republican veepstakes, including by Campaign Diaries. But did anyone really expect John McCain to pick Sarah Palin as his running-mate? This bombshell dropped just hours after the end of the Democratic convention, leaving absolutely everyone scrambling to find information about the little-known Governor of a little-known state.

Within hours, we were treated to a flurry of revelations, the most high-profile of which would surely earn a spot on this list if I was willing to consider them separately. Who could have expected on the morning of August 29th that within six days Republican delegates would be cheering a former member of the Alaska Independence Party, a pregnant teenager and her high school fiancé?

What is most fascinating about the Palin pick is that it left Republicans (and many of McCain’s top surrogates) just as stunned as the rest of us! As the press broke stories, the McCain campaign looked completely unprepared to deal with issues it had clearly never heard of - which was quite painful to watch given that modern political campaigns are supposed to control everything down to the smallest detail. In fact, subsequent reports revealed that Palin’s name had emerged as a serious contender in the final days before McCain was set to announce his choice, leaving too short time for the vetting process. (For a larger discussion about the effect Palin had on the general election, check here.)

3. Eliot Spitzer is forced to resign

A headline popped up on The New York Times’s website on March 10. Within two days, Governor Eliot Spitzer had resigned, completing one of the quickest downfalls in political history.

After easily taking-over New York’s governorship in 2006, Eliot Spitzer looked set to become a major player in Democratic politics. He did suffer through a rough first year in Albany, but nothing that looked serious enough to durably damage his national ambitions. His days as Attorney General had earned him a reputation as a superactive crusader who prosecuted white-collar criminals with zeal, and not a single rumor had circulated about his (possibly criminal) ties to an elite prostitution ring until the NYT dropped the bombshell on an otherwise quite Monday afternoon.

That Spitzer was also known for prosecuting prostitution rings certainly increased our shock - not to mention how hypocritical it made him look. And the speed in which the state legislature started talking of impeachment and in which Spitzer accepted to resign was also breathtaking.

4. McCain withdraws from Michigan

In the afternoon of October 2nd, everyone’s attention was focused on the upcoming vice-presidential debate when Politico reported the stunning news that the McCain campaign was pulling the plug on Michigan - no more TV ads, no more mailers and the entire staff relocated to other states.

The Wolverine State and its culturally conservative, racially sensitive electorate had long looked like Obama’s biggest vulnerability, but the campaign’s sudden turn to economic issues dramatically undercut McCain’s support among blue-collar voters. Even so, the GOP had already bet so much on Michigan that no one had seen McCain’s withdrawal coming - starting with the GOP’s state officials who publicly expressed their anger. Even Sarah Palin revealed that she had been unaware of the campaign’s Michigan plans in what was one of her most bizarre interviews.

5. McCain suspends his campaign

By the end of September, McCain’s gains in the first half of the month had been erased and the Arizona Senator had once again fallen behind. And with the Wall Street meltdown shifting the conversation to the economy, he had lost the control of the narrative - something no trailing candidate can afford to do. With his back against the wall, McCain knew he had to take huge gamble.

And just as he had at the end of August, McCain delivered. On September 24th, he announced that he would suspend his campaign and seek a delay in the first presidential debate in order to focus on the financial crisis, immediately setting off cries of astonishment in already over-politicized office buildings and college campuses across America! McCain’s dramatic move certainly shook-up the race; unfortunately for Republicans, it massively backfired on the Arizona Senator who emerged looking erratic and indecisive.

6. Stevens is indicted

We had known for months that Ted Stevens was under investigation for money he had allegedly received in exchange for legislative favors, and his July 29th indictement was the logical continuation of a process that had started a long time ago. Yet, for any sitting Senator to be indicted is so rare as to be truly shocking news, especially when the indictment drops four months before said Senator is up for re-election!

Stevens’s indictement was yet another headache for Senate Republicans to deal with, as it seemed to practically ensure they lost the seat and got Democrats one step closer to a 60-seat majority. (As the next few months showed us, Stevens would have probably survived the November vote had he not insisted on an expedited trial that found him guilty.)

7. Ann Cao defeats Rep. Jefferson in New Orleans

Yes, Rep. William Jefferson was indicted on corruption charges and had been stripped of his committee assignments - but LA-02 is a heavily African-American district that is more Democratic than any red district is Republican! And even if the stars were aligned for an upset in New Orleans’ December 6th vote (the off-date election day caused a dramatic drop in black turnout), such districts simply never elect a Republican and practically no one thought that Ann Joseph Cao could prove an exception to that rule.

Yet, New Orleans residents had apparently had enough of their representative’s corruption and Cao defeated Jefferson by 3% in what should be described as one of the biggest upsets of the decade. An ecstatic John Boehner soon proclaimed, “The future is Cao.”

8. Rod Blagojevich is arrested

We long knew that Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich had legal problems, and we had even learned that the FBI was wiretapping some of his private conversations - and this is prior sense that something smelled fishy in Springfield is the reason this scandal is ranked so much lower than Eliot Spitzer’s.

But nothing prepared us for the December 9th news that Blagojevich had been taken into custody by FBI agents on corruption charges, nor for the shocking allegation that he had attempted to sell the Senate seat left vacant by Obama. What made the day so surreal was the quasi-insane scope of Blagojevich’s schemes: The prosecutor’s complaint document alleged a plot to shake down Warren Buffet, extort money from Bill Gates, cut a deal with a labor union, and even prepare a presidential run in 2016!

And the charges surrounding Obama’s Senate seat are just the tip of the iceberg! Blagojevich faces numerous other accusations, for example of having announced an $1.8 billion plan to construct new highways in exchange for a highway contractor’s pledge to raise half-a-million dollars for his upcoming campaign.

9. Obama is ahead in AK/IN/MT/NC/ND for the first time

By November 4th, Indiana, North Carolina and Montana had undoubtedly become toss-ups in the presidential election and it no longer seemed wild to predict an upset in North Dakota. Yet, all of these states used to be staunchly Republican states (Bush won Indiana by 21% in 2004, for instance) and a Democratic victory would have been unthinkable at the start of the cycle.

It took a long time for us to get used to thinking of any of these states as competitive, and it is doubtful whether anyone really believed Obama could pull any of them off until the first poll from each state that showed Obama in the lead. Every single one of those surveys was so shocking that they single-handedly upended every assumption we ever had about that state! Here’s a rundown:

  • On June 24th, a SUSA poll showed Obama ahead in Indiana by 1%. I wrote: “Today’s shocker comes in the form of a SUSA poll from Indiana — not the first state you think of when you wonder where the next exciting presidential poll will come from.”
  • On July 3rd, a Rasmussen poll had Obama ahead by 5% in Montana. I wrote: “This is obviously a stunner: Montana went for Bush by 20% in 2004, and even though the state’s Governor and two Senators are now Democrats, Montana is still considered a staunchly red state.”
  • On August 12th, Obama led his first Alaska poll, 45% to 40%. I wrote: “Today’s polling delivery does contain a surprise: The first Alaska poll to find Obama ahead (for that matter, this is probably the first Alaska presidential poll in quite a while to find any Democrat ahead)!”
  • On September 4th, a DFM Research poll found Obama leading by 3% in North Dakota. I wrote: “Seeing a Democratic presidential candidate leading by any margin here is truly remarkable.”
  • Finally, on September 25th, I devoted an entire post to a Rasmussen poll fro North Carolina with Obama leading 49% to 47%: “Today, the world as we know it changed in yet another red state: Obama has his first lead in North Carolina.”

Obama only won two of these five states, and by tiny margins. But these states proved extremely consequential, forcing Republicans to invest resources in North Carolina and Indiana at the expense of states like Colorado and Minnesota.

10. McCain’s rivals give him a free pass throughout January

This item might seem minor in comparison to the other stunners of this list, but the reluctance of McCain’s rivals to attack him throughout January remains for me the most incomprehensible event of the entire year!

The Arizona Senator was far behind throughout the fall of 2007, but he had emerged as a top contender by the first days of 2008. His New Hampshire victory left him as the man to beat; one more win looked like it would be enough for McCain to close the deal (which is exactly what happened).

Given that situation, I am still at a loss to explain why McCain’s rivals failed to challenge McCain throughout the South Carolina campaign - starting with the January 10th debate which left the Arizona Senator entirely unscathed. In my write-up of that debate, I asked, “Do Rudy Giuliani, Fred Thompson and Mike Huckabee want John McCain to be the GOP nominee?”

As puzzling was Mike Huckabee and Fred Thompson’s decision to not attack McCain from the Right in South Carolina despite the fact that a loss for either men was tantamount to the end of their presidential ambitions. Unlike 2000, then, no one arose to point out McCain’s apostasy on issues dear to social conservatives and McCain prevailed by 3%. A few days later, it was Rudy Giuliani’s turn to do the same in Florida, where he mysteriously gave up on an opportunity to capitalize on a rare major policy disagreement - McCain’s opposition to a national catastrophic fund, which Giuliani favors.

In fact, Huckabee spent more time praising the Arizona Senator than criticizing him. As Romney and McCain were engaged in some harsh rhetoric over the former’s alleged support of a withdrawal timetable, Huckabee rushed to McCain’s rescue.


Honorable mentions go to McCain’s unexpectedly flashy first celebrity ad featuring Britney Spears; to John Edwards’s unexpectedly early withdrawal a week before Super Tuesday; to Don Young’s November 4th survival; to McCain’s thoughtless mid-September decision to once again state that “the fundamentals of our economy are strong;” and to the dramatic September 7th Gallup poll that found McCain leading by double digits, leaving all Obama supporters speechless!


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2008 in review: The states that mattered

2008 is coming to a close, and it was such a crazy year that it is easy to forget some of the storylines that kept us entertained in the first part of the year. In an effort to review the major events of the year, here is a ranking of the 15 states that mattered the most in 2008.

1. North Carolina

The Tar Heel state was the epicenter of the 2008 election, and the state whose results were the most dramatic. First, it played a tremendous role in the Democratic primaries: Obama’s triumph in the May 6th primary effectively ended Hillary Clinton’s run. Later, North Carolina’s presidential, senatorial and gubernatorial races all unexpectedly became toss-ups, along with NC-08.

On the Senate side, the NRSC and DSCC invested millions on behalf of Kay Hagan and Elizabeth Dole. In the presidential race, the Obama campaign lavished attention on the state while McCain’s refused to take the Democratic threat seriously given that Bush had defeated Kerry by double-digits in 2004. By the time the GOP realized it needed to defend North Carolina, it was too late: the state’s 15 electoral votes might not have been decisive, but the millions McCain had to spend in the state and the time Palin wasted crisscrossing the state might have been.

Even if all of these forces had not been enough to earn North Carolina the top spot in this list, the November 4th results dramatically shook up the state’s politics as Democrats - Barack Obama, Kay Hagan, Bev Perdue and Larry Kissell - swept all of the state’s competitive races. This confirmed the changing demographics of North Carolina (and, more generally, of the mid-Atlantic states), and this certainly puts Republicans in a defensive position going forward.

2. Virginia

No state’s swing towards the Democratic Party was as important as Virginia’s. A historically red state, the Old Dominion had changed a lot since it gave George Bush two easy victories and Democrats had (poll-fueled) high hopes for the 2008 cycle after statewide successes in 2005 and 2006. The state’s relatively large size made it a must-win for the GOP: John McCain had virtually no path to an electoral college majority without Virginia’s 13 electoral votes.

This guaranteed a very heated general election campaign: We were treated to endless media coverage of Virginia’s race, countless polls, a heavy focus on the ground game, extensive analysis of the state’s geographical dynamics, lengthy exposes on the importance of Northern Virginia. McCain’s aides were perhaps the only people in the country not to take the Democratic threat seriously until the end of the summer: The GOP’s lateness in investing in the state sealed McCain’s fate.

Obama’s 6% victory confirms the Old Dominion’s metamorphosis, and it was accompanied by other Democratic triumphs: Former Governor Mark Warner easily won the open Senate seat previously held by a Republican, which means that both of the state’s Senate seats are now held by Democrats. And Democrats picked-up three House seats, taking control of the state’s House delegation. In fact, Perriello’s victory in VA-05 was the only true Democratic upset in the entire country - a fact that captures just how much Virginia swung in 2008.

3. Iowa

As 2008 started, all eyes were turned to Iowa, as both parties’ caucuses looked entirely unpredictable. The results set the tone for the rest of the year: Barack Obama’s triumph put him on track to winning the Democratic nomination while Mitt Romney’s stunning defeat left him crippled - opening the door to John McCain’s comeback.

Iowa also boosted Obama in the general election: It quickly emerged as the Bush state most likely to switch to Obama, allowing the Democrat to count on a sure gain of 7 electoral votes and accordingly focus on other red states. This didn’t prevent McCain from incomprehensibly contesting Iowa in the final weeks of 2008: The Republican nominee kept visiting the Hawkeye State and continued to spend on the state airwaves. Thus, not only was Iowa an easy pick-up for Obama, but it wasted the GOP’s time and money.

4. Alaska

Who could possibly have predicted a year ago how central a role Alaska would play in 2008? We had some inkling that Ted Stevens could face a difficult re-election race, but nothing had prepared us for what was to come. First came Barack Obama’s unexpected competitiveness in general election polls, Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich’s Senate candidacy and Lieutenant Governor Sean Parnell’s Club of Growth-backed primary challenge against longtime Rep. Don Young.

Then came the summer, and with it a stunning sequence of events that transformed The Anchorage Daily News as the daily political bible throughout the second half of 2008. Ted Stevens’s indictment threw havoc in the Senate race; the Young-Parnell primary was so close as too be unresolved for weeks; McCain decided to tap Governor Sarah Palin as his running-mate, which led hundreds of journalists to swarm Alaska and every single one of the state’s quirks to be exposed to the rest of the country; Ted Stevens’s expedited trial opened in DC and was marred with repeated prosecutorial errors that threatened to dismiss the entire case; and Stevens was convicted on all seven counts just one week before Election Day!

As if all of that was not enough, November 4th brought its own share of drama: Rep. Young’s survival was undoubtedly the biggest upset of the night, and Sen. Stevens (now a convicted felon) hang on to a 3% lead for ten days after the election before the count of the remaining ballots allowed Begich to clinch a 1% victory. If anything, this entire sequence confirmed just how staunchly Republican a state Alaska remains.

5. Michigan

The Wolverine State long looked like it would be the most important battleground of the 2008 election, and its culturally conservative electorate was supposed to represent Obama’s struggles with blue-collar voters. Instead, Michigan will be remembered as one of the most decisive states of 2008 because of how uncompetitive it became in the fall. (It is easy to forget how vulnerable Michigan looked last spring given Obama’s 16% victory.)

McCain’s truly stunning decision in early October to withdraw from the state was the first clear sign that his campaign was running out of options, and Michigan became a symbol of how quickly blue-collar voters swung to the Democratic column once the financial meltdown replaced cultural concerns with economic ones. The GOP’s complete collapse had dire repercussions in down-the-ballot races, starting with the defeat of two Republican incumbents in MI-07 and MI-09.

And Michigan also played an important role in both parties’ primaries in the first half of 2008. On the GOP side, the state became Mitt Romney’s last stand, and Romney’s victory against runner-up McCain allowed him to go on to die another day. On the Democratic side, primary day itself was insignificant given that only Clinton and Dodd’s names were on the ballot; but the situation became a complete quagmire as the primary season progressed and Clinton demanded Michigan (and Florida)’s delegates. A revote seemed likely for a while and the issue reached a climax at the DNC’s Rules and Bylaws Committee meeting in May.

6. Nevada

If Republicans might afford no longer being competitive in New Mexico (see below), they cannot also let go of Nevada. But the 2008 results suggest that might have already have happened. At the time of George Bush’s 3% victory in 2004, the state had as many registered Republicans as registered Democrats. This year, Democrats have a decisive edge of 100,000 voters, and that was enough to propel Obama to a 12% triumph, an impressive 15% swing from the 2004 results.

In fact, most people forget that picking-up nothing but New Mexico, Nevada and Iowa (the three red states he won the most decisively) would have been enough for Obama to win the White House. Forget Ohio, Virginia and Colorado, then: The Silver State was more decisive than all of them.

Making Nevada even more entertaining in 2008 was the very competitive Democratic caucuses that resulted in a confusing lawsuit about at-large caucus locations, complete chaos during the proceedings, a narrow Clinton victory and Obama’s accusations of fraud. The state also hosted a competitive House race won by Democrats.

7. New Mexico

New Mexico is too small and too Western a state to attract that much media attention, but those who follow politics closely know that the state’s transformation is as dramatic as any. After seeing dramatically tight finishes in 2000 and 2004, New Mexico decisively swung blue this year. Perhaps most importantly, it did so early in the year, providing Obama with a second sure pick-up (after Iowa) and leaving him only five electoral votes away the White House.

In fact, Obama’s victory looked so certain that no one was surprised at his 15% triumph on November 4th - but that’s a stunning 16% swing from the 2004 results. And the state also colored itself blue on other levels: Tom Udall easily picked-up the Senate seat occupied by Republican Pete Domenici and Democrats comfortably conquered GOP-held NM-01 and NM-02, leaving them with full control of the state’s entire congressional delegation!

8. Pennsylvania

To this day, it is difficult to explain why McCain chose the Keystone State as his last stand. All polls showed Obama leading by double-digits, Democrats had posted dramatic registration gains in the four years since John Kerry’s victory in 2004, and Obama had a massive ground game in place throughout the state. Perhaps McCain thought that if one state displayed the Bradley effect, it would be Pennsylvania and its culturally conservative Democrats; perhaps it was just that McCain had to make a last stand somewhere. Whatever the reason, Pennsylvania became the state to follow in the final weeks of the general election, and an avalanche of polls gave us plenty to talk about daily.

And it’s not like we had been ignoring the state before October. The relentless - and somewhat excessive - focus on Pennsylvania was launched in the Democratic primaries: Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama devoted themselves to the state’s April 22nd primary for six long weeks that saw no other contest. These six weeks were marked by bittergate and Jeremiah Wrigth, making the PA primary into a case study of Obama’s appeal among blue-collar voters.

The primary result was not favorable to Obama, and it sparked months of articles in all media outlets analyzing Obama’s chances in the Keystone State. Could he hold on to Clinton voters? Could he capture the blue-collar electorate? Was race losing him votes? How about Biden’s suburbs in Scranton? How about the ever-shifting Philly suburbs? How about Ed Rendell’s big mouth?

Pennsylvania’s importance was magnified by the abnormally large number of vulnerable Democratic incumbents, including Jack Murtha who was added at the last minute after he called his district’s residents “racist.” Democrats triumphed on Election Night, holding on to all their endangered seats (somewhat unexpectedly saving PA-11) while picking-up PA-03.

9. Colorado

The Centennial State proved to be one of the most important in the general election. A traditionally Republican state, Colorado looked like a toss-up from the beginning of the year and both parties (and the press) treated it accordingly. Both campaigns invested significant sums to run ads, articles were written about the state’s demographics, dozens of polls were conducted throughout the summer and fall. Furthermore, Democrats organized their party’s convention in Denver, allowing the media to review the state’s competitiveness for an entire week.

Unlike Ohio and Florida, Colorado had not usurped its status as a battleground state. Barack Obama, who trailed in very few of the state’s polls, looked very well positioned to capture the state’s 9 electoral votes; this means that Colorado looked like the red state most likely to fall to Obama’s column along Iowa and New Mexico - and that would have been enough to give him the presidency! This is why McCain’s stunning late-October decision (reported by CNN’s John King) to scale back his Colorado campaign was tantamount to his conceding the entire election.

Colorado thus sealed the GOP’s defeat in the presidential election, but the importance of the state’s blue turn is magnified by the results of the congressional elections. Colorado hosted a competitive Senate race in which a large number of independent groups spent significant amounts; Mark Udall picked-up the seat for Democrats. And socially conservative Rep. Marylin Musgrave’s double-digit defeat in CO-04 was one of the most emblematic House results of November 4th.

10. Ohio

Ohio’s influence on the presidential election has been overrated. In 2004, John Kerry did tie his presidential prospects to Ohio, but that was certainly not the case with the Obama campaign. Indeed, it was hard to see a scenario under which Obama lost Nevada, Virginia and Colorado (all states that would have been enough to clinch the White House) but somehow prevailed in Ohio. Yet, the Buckeye State was regularly portrayed as Ground Zero of the election, and received a corresponding amount of media attention.

That said, Obama’s 4% victory was highly symbolic of his progress among the very same voters that massively rejected him during the Democratic primaries. Ohio’s March 4th contest had become Hillary Clinton’s last stand, and it looked like Obama might manage to pull an upset; but Ohio voters rallied behind Hillary, ushered in the narrative of Obama’s troubles among blue-collar voters and prolonged the Democratic primaries by three months!

Ohio was also a very important state at the congressional level. Democrats picked-up three of the four House races they were contesting, an impressive result that left them in control of the state’s House delegation. In particular, Democrats defeated Rep. Chabot, a perennial target whose defeat can be attributed to the rise in African-American turnout.

11. New Hampshire

The Granite State played an decisive role in both parties’ primaries. McCain’s comeback victory in the January 8th primary was not enough for him to clinch the Republican nomination, but it transformed him overnight from an unlikely contender into the man to beat. Whether this represented a good development for the GOP can be debated for the years to come. On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton’s victory was not unexpected given the polls of the preceding six months, but it proved to be the biggest shocker of 2008 by the standards of Obama’s post-Iowa boom - enough of a shocker to throw the Democratic primaries into a five month-long overtime.

New Hampshire continued to be a topic of conversation as the year progressed, as it hosted competitive presidential, senatorial and House elections. In fact, New Hampshire long looked like a Kerry state that could fall in McCain’s column, and polls found a toss-up until the end of September, when Obama put the state away.  In the Senate race, former Governor Jeanne Shaheen and incumbent Senator John Sununu waged a heated rematch of their 2002 battle; while Shaheen led from the first through the last day, the GOP was convinced Sununu could pull a comeback. And in NH-01, Rep. Shea-Porter long looked like one of the most endangered Democratic incumbents; she narrowly survived on November 4th.

12. California

As usual, no one paid attention to California’s presidential election, but the Golden State got two sizable consolation prizes. On February 5th, it hosted the most important Super Tuesday primary battles for both parties: John McCain’s easy victory was the last straw that pushed Mitt Romney out of the race; and Hillary Clinton’s sizable win allowed her to survive an otherwise-disappointing day. Later , Proposition 8 was placed on California’s ballot, guaranteeing that voters witness a heated political battle. The state’s airwaves were inundated by vicious ads attacking gay rights, and liberal groups were too slow at taking the threat seriously. On November 4th, many were following Prop 8 just as closely as the presidential election - and its passage put a dent in an otherwise great night for Democratic activists.

13. Minnesota

Minnesota played an important role in the general election alone, but not a particularly crucial one. Along with states like Washington, Oregon and Wisconsin, Minnesota was one of those blue states that Republicans were hoping to contest but that got out of reach after Obama’s September surge. That said, Republicans were always surprisingly hopeful about Minnesota. Their decision to organize the GOP convention in the Twin Cities and Governor Pawlenty’s presence at the top of McCain’s veepstakes ensured that the state remained in presidential new.

And there were plenty of other storylines that made Minnesota an ultra-political state this year. It all started with the state’s February 5th caucus: No one paid attention to it before the results were announced, but it is through his huge victories in caucus states like MN, CO and WA that Obama opened an insurmountable delegate lead. Later, the state hosted two competitive House seats, including Michelle Bachmann’s re-election race in MN-06 that became one of the most high-profiles in the country after the incumbent’s rant against Obama’s “anti-American” activities.

And do I even need to mention the Senate race between Al Franken and Norm Coleman? The contest was one of the year’s most entertaining even before a virtual Election Night tie launched a still-unresolved recount process. Coleman and Franken aired what were arguably the most vicious attack ads of the cycle - not to mention the lawsuits that the two camps hurled at each other in the last week of October or the presence of a colorful third-party candidate and Jesse Ventura’s flirtations with a run!

14. New York

The Empire State might be an unconventional choice for a spot in the list of states that mattered given that it was competitive in neither of the primaries nor in the general election. In fact, New York arguably lost influence in 2008 since the dream of an all-New York general election came crashing down with Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani’s prospects.

That said, two major storylines kept us entertained. First was the scandal that engulfed Governor Eliot Spitzer last spring. In a matter of days, Spitzer went from potential presidential candidate in 2016 to looking like a political pariah forced to resign because of his foolish hypocrisy and potentially criminal actions. With Spitzer’s departure, David Paterson became the state’s first African-American and the nation’s first legally blind Governor.

The second storyline is the continued agony of the Empire State’s once-dominant Republican Party. In November, the GOP lost the majority in the state Senate for the first time in decades - and with it its last seat of power in state politics; Republicans also lost three House seats. Democrats now control a remarkable 26 of the state’s 29 districts. And no race symbolized the state GOP’s collapse as much as the NY-13, where rising Republican star Vito Fossella was forced to retire after a DUI scandal uncovered his marital infidelities and where a bizarre sequence of events revealed the extent of the GOP’s disarray.

15. Georgia

At the start of the year, few people would have predicted that this Republican-trending state would be a central battleground. But the closer we got to the election, the more eyes turned towards the Peach State. Barack Obama’s fairly stunning early-summer decision to invest resources in Georgia gave him a strong ground game and the state became the case study in the increase in black turnout (especially since the state’s election board updated its early voting statistics daily). This gave Democrats hope that they would do well across the South, and my last presidential ratings moved Georgia to the toss-up column.

The GOP’s under-performance extended to the Senate race. No one rated Senator Saxby Chambliss as endangered for much of the cycle (I ranked his race 17th in July), but the Democratic enthusiasm combined with the economic crisis plunged Chambliss in an unexpectedly difficult re-election race against Democratic nominee Jim Martin. The November 4th saw Chambliss falling just short of the 50% necessary for an immediate victory, throwing the race in a runoff campaign during which Georgia had the country’s undivided attention!

Honorable mentions go to Florida, which all but guaranteed that McCain would be the GOP nominee before crushing his presidential hopes in the fall; Wisconsin, which arguably gave Obama his most important primary victory; Indiana, which hosted one of the most competitive Democratic primaries before emerging as the most stunning of general election battlegrounds; Missouri, which gave Obama a crucial Super Tuesday victory before damaging its reputation as a presidential bellwether in the general election; and Louisiana, which treated us to a last-minute stunner on December 6th.



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

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

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

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

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

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

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    Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for '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
  • All good things must come to an end

  • Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for '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
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  • Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for '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
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  • Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55

    Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55
  • Results thread, part 2: Dems suffer staggering losses in House and legislatives races, limit damage in statewide races

  • Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55

    Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55
  • Election Night results thread: Rep. Boucher’s fall first surprise of the night

  • Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55

    Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55
  • Election night cheat sheet

  • Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55

    Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55
  • Final ratings: Democrats brace for historic losses

  • Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55

    Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55
  • What to watch for down-ballot

Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55

Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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