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Category Archive for ‘SD-Sen’ at Campaign Diaries
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Archive for the 'SD-Sen' 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 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

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Weekly 2010 update: House Dems get themselves 2 unexpected headaches

Last night, city comptroller Annise Parker was elected Mayor of Houston on a 53% to 47% vote, making Houston the largest city to elect a gay mayor after a runoff election that was marked by explicitly homophobic campaigning. This vote added to gay rights activists’ ballot-box successes this year: Washington State passing RI-71, Chapel Hill’s mayoral race, a local referendum in Kalamazoo, Georgia electing its first gay African-American legislator. That track record has been understandably overshadowed by Maine’s vote on gay marriage, but Parker’s victory (combined with California preparing to elect its first gay Speaker) caps the year favorably.

In national politics, this week’s dominant story is that House Democrats got themselves two unexpected headaches. First is Brian Baird’s out-of-nowhere retirement announcement, which makes the swing WA-03 district a prime pick-up opportunity for the GOP; second, Neil Abercrombie’s resignation creates a tricky special election that gives a Republican a chance to capture HI-01 with a plurality of the vote. The other high-profile development came from MA, where Martha Coakley and Scott Brown won their party’s nominations to face off in the January Senate special election. In other news:

In Nevada, Harry Reid’s prospects might still take a turn for the worse. Lieutenant Governor Brian Krolicki, who was at the top of the NRSC’s list when the cycle started, was eliminated from contention when he was indicted on charges of misappropriation and falsification of accounts. This week, a court dismissed the charges as overly vague, potentially enabling Krolicki to mount a challenge to the Senate Majority Leader. While his spokesperson initially said he would not be running but reports now say he is considering jumping in. We would have to see how much lasting damage Krolicki’s image endured because of his indictment, but his entry should still be a step-up for the GOP.

In Rhode Island, Linc Chaffee’s prospects of winning the Governor’s Mansion improved this week as the sole Republican in the race (businessman Rory Smith) announced he was dropping out. If the GOP fails to file a credible contender, Chaffee would become the contest’s right-most option despite the fact that he will be running as an independent. Rhode Island is a staunchly blue state in Democrats have a strong bench, but a Lieberman-Lamont type scenario would help the former Senator’s political comeback.

In Alaska, Governor Sean Parnell (who was elevated to that position after Sarah Palin’s resignation) got himself a primary challenger:  former Speaker Ralph Samuels, who left the legislature in 2008 to work as a vice-president for Holland America Line. Samuels made it clear that the catalyst that pushed him towards a run was Parnell’s support for taxes on oil companies Palin pushed during her tenure. As such, it will be interesting to see how fiscal conservatives react considering Parnell has been a protege of the Club for Growth.

In South Dakota, Matt McGovern dropped out of the Senate race, depriving Democrats of the one challenger they had found to John Thune. The party would be well-advised to field a credible contender: While Thune will be the overwhelming favorite no matter who Democrats nominate, if he does not have to work for his re-election at all he would be free to travel around the country, building a network that would be useful for a future presidential campaign.

In Idaho, it’s still highly unlikely that Governor Butch Otter will have to sweat to win re-election; but from the sound of this article, the state’s political establishment was shocked to learn that former professor Keith Allred would challenge him as a Democrat. Allred had formed a citizens group that had acquired clout in Boise, and he had a nonpartisan profile that had won him many allies in both parties. Democrats now seem delighted at his unexpected gubernatorial candidacy, which could make the race worth watching - but the bottom line is that Idaho is ranked the 35th most vulnerable race (out of 37) in my latest gubernatorial ratings.

Finally, we are still waiting to find out whether to Southern senators will face primary challenges. This week, the buzz surrounding Louisiana Secretary of State Jay Dardenne and Arkansas Lieutenant Governor Brian Halter increased, as the former stated again that he was considering challenging David Vitter and the latter traveled to D.C. to meet with some union leaders and progressives about the possibility he might run against Blanche Lincoln.

As always, I list all the changes I have logged in during the week to the “retirement watch” and recruitment pages. First, updates to Retirement Watch:

Will retire Rep. Brian Baird (WA-04)
Will resign Rep. Brian Abercrombie (HI-01)
Will not resign Rep. Mike Capuano (MA-08)

Second, updates to the Senate recruitment page:

KY-Sen, Dem doctor James Buckmaster is running
retired customs officer Darlene Price is running
businessman Maurice Sweeney is running
KY-Sen, GOP businessman Bill Johnson is running
Gurley Martin is running
consultant Roger Thoney is running
MA-Sen, Dem Attorney General Martha Coakley won nomination
MA-Sen, GOP state Senator Scott Brown won nomination
NC-Sen, Dem former state Sen. Cal Cunningham announced run
Chapel Hill Mayor Kevin Foy wlll not run
NV-Sen, GOP Lieutenant Governor Brian Krolicki added
SD-Sen, Dem Matt McGovern dropped out

Third, updates to gubernatorial races:

AK-Gov, GOP former state Rep. Ralph Samuels announced run
ID-Gov, Dem Keith Allred announced run
NH-Gov, GOP Karen Testerman announced run
OR-Gov, Dem Soloflex founder Jerry Wilson is running
RI-Gov, GOP businessman Rory Smith dropped out
TX-Gov, Dem teacher Felix Alvarado is running
Bill Dear is running
hair products magnate Farouk Shami is running

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Don’t count on South Dakota to supply any competitive race in ‘10

Prominent politicians seem to have taken the 4th of July week-end to finalize their 2010 plans, as the past two days have brought an avalanche of electoral announcements. The latest to make up her mind is South Dakota Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, who today announced she will seek re-election rather than run for higher office.

While her decision is a blow to her party’s prospects in the gubernatorial race, it’s hard not to portray this as good news for Democrats. Had she sought a new position, she would have been the clear underdog and she would have created a nightmare for the DCCC at the House level: The GOP would have been favored to pick-up an open seat, especially in a midterm election that could be fought in a tough environment for Democrats.

This scenario would also have been catastrophic for Senate Democrats. South Dakota’s sole representative is typically the front-runner to eventually move up to the higher chamber (Tom Dashle, Tim Johnson and John Thune all first served in the House). While Republicans have a deep enough bench that many of their politicians could win an open Senate seat, Democrats are in hostile territory so their nominee will need to already be a formidable contender. As such, Herseth Sandlin is the DSCC’s most (only?) credible hope to hold on to Tim Johnson’s seat once the longtime Democratic Senator retires (presumably in 2014).

And yet, Herseth Sandlin had been flirting with the prospect of seeking higher office for months. Earlier this year, press outlets even reported that she was “planning” a gubernatorial run, and the congresswoman also said she was also looking at challenging Senator Thune. Thus, today’s announcement was no preordained conclusion and it is a genuinely newsworthy development.

Herseth Sandlin’s decision takes care of most of the questions we had about South Dakota’s 2010 cycle: We can already say that it is is highly unlikely any of the state’s three major races will be competitive next year. Let’s look at them in order.

House: Herseth should coast but keep an eye on Nelson

Herseth Sandlin might not be representing the most hospitable district, but she has easily own her re-election races (she received 69% in 2006 and 68% in 2008). Small states like the Dakotas like to hold on to their congresspeople because their only hope for exercising political influence is to have senior legislators, so Herseth Sandlin’s entrenchment should allow her to serve many more terms in the House.

One potential obstacle: In signaling interest in a House bid, Secretary of State Chris Nelson has specified he might run even if Herseth Sandlin seeks re-election. The Democrat’s popularity and incumbency would make her the clear favorite, but South Dakota is conservative enough that Nelson would have a shot at an upset.

Governor: The GOP primary will determine the victor

Mike Rounds is term-limited, so this will be an open race. But Herseth Sandlin was the only Democrat in any position to contest the race. The GOP has controlled the Governor’s Mansion since 1979, and they’re likely to extend that streak for another four years though it remains to be seen who will emerge as the GOP nominee. A number of Republicans are already in the race, including state Senator Dave Knudson, Lieutenant Governor Dennis Daugaard and Brookings Mayor Scott Munsterman.

Senate: Thune is safe

However much Democrats would love to beat Dashle’s slayer, it doesn’t look like John Thune has anything to worry about. Just like in the gubernatorial contest, Herseth Sandlin was the only potential challenger to pose a potential threat and even she would have been unlikely to get very far: An April poll showed Thune up 12%. The conservative Senator, who has been rising in the GOP leadership, should thus be able to spend the 2010 cycle traveling the country, helping fellow Republicans and building good-will for a potential presidential run in 2012.


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GOP Senators: Arlen Specter pursues aggressive strategy, John Thune looks safe

Who knew Specter had this much fighting left in him?

If anyone thought that Arlen Specter no longer had enough fire to beat back Pat Toomey, this past week should be enough to dispell your doubts. Three days ago, the Pennsylvania Senator launched the first attack ad of the 2010 cycle; accusing Toomey of being one of those responsible for today’s financial mess. That unexpectedly aggressive approach sent a clear signal: Specter will not go down without a fight.

On Friday, Specter provided another sign that he will not wait for the campaign to pick-up (or even for voters to start paying attention) to pound on his nemesis. He sent a letter to the President of Club for Growth:

Dear Mr. Toomey,

I understand from numerous press reports that you are soon to leave the Presidency of the Club for Growth to run for the U.S. Senate.

In recent weeks as you have shifted your attention from a long-planned run for Governor to another Senate campaign, you have criticized the TARP bill I voted for last fall. Given the Wall Street background of your members, it seems clear that many of them would have received TARP monies.

Please gather a list of the contributors to the Club for Growth by contributor name, date, amount and whether they received TARP money and if so, how much and when.

Sincerely,

Arlen Specter

With this amusing letter, Specter is hoping to discredit Toomey’s attacks on his own support for the bailout and the stimulus bills by pointing out that Toomey’s attacks are funded by those funds! More generally, he is pursuing the same objective as in his ad: Connect his opponent to the economic crisis by saying that Toomey’s policies are those that got us in the financial mess and that Toomey’s constituencies are wealthy businessmen whose shady dealings are responsible for today’s situation.

The latter argument should be more effective than the former. As I pointed out three days ago, conservative voters are unlikely to agree with Specter that Toomey’s deregulative, laissez-faire economic proposals are responsible for the economic crisis. On the other hand, populism can take a conserative form just as it can accompany a leftist discourse. The conservative base certainly shares the anger over executive pay or  businessmen benefiting from bailout funds. Specter can benefit if he links Toomey to those people - but can he do so without tarnishing himself, since that he voted for the bailout and the stimulus bills?

Thune displays no vulnerability

Few people expect Tom Daschle and Stephanie Herseth Sandlin to challenge Senator John Thune in 2010, but some Democrats have voiced hoped that the DSCC can pull off such recruitment coups for South Dakota’s Senate race to get on the map of competitive races.

A new Research 2000 poll suggests that Thune would be the clear favorite even if top-tier Democratic opposition were to materialize:

  • Against former Senator Tom Daschle, Thune leads 53% to 40%. Against Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, he is ahead 51 to 39%. Neither Democrat breaks into the double-digits among Republican respondents, and both decisively trail among independents.
  • All three have good favorability ratings. While Thune’s is the strongest, 57% to 32%, Sandlin is not far behind, 53% to 31%. A high 43% have an unfavorable opinion of Daschle, however (versus 50%).
  • The poll’s last finding is that Obama’s favorability rating is barely in the positives, 47% to 45%. South Dakota is a red state, however, so this is not unexpected.

Sure, Thune’s leads are not overwhelming. But his two opponents are as strong as Democrats can dream of fielding, so for him to break 50% and post double-digit leads tells us all we need to know about his vulnerability. In particular, Thune shows no sign of weakness when we consider the poll’s internals. Daschle and Herseth Sandlin are important enough to at least be able to count on their own party’s loyalty, and they get to to 39-40% on the strength of the state’s Democratic vote; Thune dominates the rest of the electorate.

Even if Daschle and Herseth Sandlin are actually considering jumping in the Senate race, such numbers are sure to keep them away. After all, Daschle has already suffered two near-fatal blows to his political career - his 2004 Senate loss and the scandals that forced him to withdraw his nomination to Obama’s Cabinet this spring; another failure would surely leave him out of the political game for sure. As for Herseth Sandlin, she undoubtedly has higher ambitions. But she is far more likely to jump in the open gubernatorial race if she decides to leave her safe House seat.


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The electoral consequences of Obama’s Cabinet picks

Ever since Barack Obama’s election, there has been intense speculation surrounding his Cabinet positions. A lot of it has concerned the electoral consequences of tapping Governors, Senators and House members: Would the seat switch parties, who would take over, and what would it mean for the 2010 landscape?

Now that Obama has filled his Cabinet, it is time to offer is a rundown of elected officials who were nominated, those who were rumored but did not make the cut - and what all of this means to the political landscape.

Those who were tapped

  • Hillary Clinton, New York

The unexpected news that Hillary Clinton was being considered for a Secretary of State position captivated the political class throughout November. The deed was finally consummated, capping a remarkable year for Hillary and Barack. Clinton’s nomination also opened a vacancy in one of the country’s largest and most Democratic state, focused everyone’s attention on Governor David Paterson and subsequently on Caroline Kennedy, added a Senate race to the 2010 line-up and provided the GOP a glimmer of hope of picking-up a seat.

  • Tom Dashle, South Dakota

Some Democrats dreamed of Dashle challenging John Thune to a Senate rematch in 2010 - a scenario that is now foreclosed by Dashle’s appointment as HHS Secretary. However, it was always very unlikely that Dashle would jump in the race, so Obama’s pick changed very little electorally.

  • Rahm Emanuel, IL-05

IL-05 is a Chicago-based district that is heavily Democratic. Such an open seat can only mean one thing: A chaotic intra-party battle between dozens of city-level Democrats who have been waiting for years to move up the ladder, with no possibility that a Republican even dream about winning the seat.

  • Janet Napolitano, Arizona

Janet Napolitano’s appointment to the Homeland Security Department is Obama’s one nomination that has already cost Democrats a seat. Republican Secretary of State Jan Brewer will take over as the state’s Governor. Given that Brewer was already mentioned as a possible contender for an open seat in 2010 (Napolitano would not have been able to run due to term limit laws), it seems a safe bet to say that she will run now that she can do so as an incumbent. This gives Republicans the clear upper hand in what was expected to be one of the most competitive open seats of 2010.

  • Bill Richardson, New Mexico

Richardson’s Cabinet prospects seemed to end with Hillary Clinton’s nomination to Foggy Bottom, but the New Mexico Governor will be reborn as Obama’s Secretary of Commerce. A Democrat, Lieutenant Governor Diane Denish, will take over and will thus have the upper-hand in the 2010 gubernatorial election. Due to term-limits, Richardson was not allowed to run for re-election which means that the seat would have been open. But Denish, who was already considered a likely candidate before Richardon’s nomination, can now run as an incumbent.

  • Ken Salazar, Colorado

Ken Salazar’s nomination to the Interior Department created the fourth Senate vacancy due to Barack Obama’s victory. Democratic Governor Bill Ritter will choose Salazar’s successor, and Democrats have a deep enough bench in Colorado that Ritter has plenty of contenders to choose from. (I summarized the politics of this appointment two days ago.) Salazar’s departure from the Senate gives an opening to Republicans, but two factors minimize its impact. First, Salazar was up for re-election in 2010, so this will not add an additional seat for Democrats to defend. Second, Salazar was not safe to start with.

  • Hilda Solis, CA-32

Rep. Solis’s appointment as Secretary of Labor was unexpected, but the special election that will be triggered after Solis’s confirmation won’t give the DCCC many headaches: CA-32 is a very Democratic district that gave John Kerry 62% of the vote in 2004.

  • Tom Vilsack, Iowa

Vilsack’s unexpected nomination as Secretary of Agriculture has one immediate electoral consequence: we are now sure that Vilsack will not run for Senate in 2010. Vilsack might have been the only Democrat strong enough to credibly challenge Senator Chuck Grassley. Vilsack’s nomination might also make it more likely that Grassley run for re-election since he no longer has to worry about spending two grueling years on the campaign trail. All of this said, a Vilsack candidacy was only a possibility, and many considered it unlikely.

Those who were not:

  • Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, Maine

Some Democrats were pushing the idea of tapping one of Maine’s two moderate Senators as one of the Republican Cabinet members Obama had promised in order to allow Maine’s Democratic Governor to appoint their (Democratic) successor.

  • John Corzine, New Jersey

After Larry Summer’s name faded in mid-November, John Corzine was mentioned as a possible Secretary of the Treasury. This would have elevated State Senate President Richard Codey as acting Governor, a position he already occupied after Jim McGreevey’s resignation in 2004. It would also have meant a far more entertaining gubernatorial race in 2009.

  • Arthur Davis, AL-07

Rep. Davis is said to have statewide ambitions - perhaps as early as 2010 - so this seat could soon be open, but Democrats have little to worry about: This is a heavily Democratic and African-American district that gave Kerry 64% of the vote in 2004.

  • Chet Edwards, TX-17

First mentioned as a vice-presidential contender over the summer, Edwards saw his name back in the mix during Obama’s transition efforts. Edwards represents a heavily Republican district, and it would have been very difficult to envision Democrats holding on to his seat in a special election had Edwards joined Obama’s Cabinet.

  • Jennifer Granholm, Michigan

Michigan’s Governor was mentioned as a top contender for a number of positions, including Secretary of Energy and Secretary of Labor. Her appointment would have elevated Democrat John Cherry in the Governor’s position and given the Democratic Party the early upper-hand in the 2010 gubernatorial election. As it stands now, Granholm is term-limited and the race will be one of the country’s most competitive open seats.

  • Stephanie Herseth, South Dakota

Rep. Stephanie Herseth was mentioned as one of the finalists for the Secretary of Agriculture positions, and her appointment would have been a nightmare for House Democrats. South Dakota remains a Republican enough state that the GOP would have had a great shot at reclaiming the seat in a spring special election. This could have consequences down the line for Tim Johnson’s Senate succession.

  • John Kerry, Massachusetts

The former presidential candidate was rumored to be the most likely to be picked as Secretary of State and Massachusetts Democrats were already preparing for a 2009 special election (there is no gubernatorial appointment in the state). But Hillary Clinton’s unexpected emergence thwarted Kerry’s hopes - and those of the hundreds of Massachusetts Democrats who have been waiting for decades for Senate and/or House seats to open up.

  • Colin Peterson, MN-07

Rumored to have been on the short list for Secretary of Agriculture alongside Rep. Herseth, Peterson’s appointment would have triggered a difficult special election for Democrats. Now Chairman of the House’s Agriculture Committee, Peterson is entrenched and senior enough that he can keep his seat blue, but MN-07 is a Republican-leaning district that gave George Bush big winning margins and that narrowly went for John McCain this year.

  • Jack Reed, Rhode Island

Just like Chet Edwards, Jack Reed made a strong apparition in the summer’s veepstakes, and his name was mentioned as a possible Secretary of State. One reason his prospects might have been thwarted is that Rhode Island’s Governor is a Republican, so a Reed appointment would have resulted in an additional GOP Senator.

  • John Salazar, CO-03

Salazar’s name was often mentioned as Secretary of Interior but his brother - Senator Ken Salazar - ended up getting the nod. This is a relief for House Democrats, as CO-03 is a Republican-leaning district that would have been tough to defend in a special election. (That said, we might still have a vacancy in CO-03 since John is on the list of Democrats who could be appointed to Ken’s Senate seat.)

  • Kathleen Sebelius, Kansas

The Kansas Governor seemed certain to land in Obama’s Cabinet. She had been on his vice-presidential short list and was considered a top contender for a number of positions, including Secretary of Labor. Her statement withdrawing her name from Cabinet considerations was thus one of the biggest surprises of this transition period. (It is of course unclear whether Sebelius issued the statement because she genuinely wanted to help Kansas through the economic crisis or because she had already been told she was unlikely to get an appointment.)

In any case, her withdrawal preserves the governorship in Democratic hands (the next-in-line is a Republican); it could have a huge impact on the upcoming open Senate race. Democrats have not won a Senate race in this state since 1936, and Sebelius is probably the only Democrat who stands a chance. A Cabinet appointment would have barred her from running and would have guaranteed that the Senate race remain in Republican hands.


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Senate rating changes: Dems lead in 6 GOP-held seats, hope to sweep 11

As the GOP’s nightmare scenario continues to unfold, Democrats are making progress where it matters most, and four of the eleven seats Democrats have hope of picking-up today shift towards them: Virginia enters the safe take-over category, Colorado finally migrates up to the likely Democratic column (a move Democrats were hoping would happen a year ago), Oregon moves out of the toss-up column and Mississippi enters it. Oregon’s move means that six GOP-held seats are now considered to be at least leaning Democratic - though Gordon Smith and Elizabeth Dole are still highly competitive.

Tight Senate seats tend to break overwhelmingly in one direction on Election Day: Witness 2006, where Democrats nearly swept the toss-up races and 2002-2004, when Republicans did the same. And this is what puts Republicans in a precarious position: In addition to these now six Dem-leaning seats, three are rated toss-ups (Alaska, Minnesota and Mississippi) and two (Kentucky and Georgia) are barely hanging on as lean Republican.

If the political winds continues to push Democratic candidates in the next 10 days, Democrats could very well pull a near-sweep of these five races, scoring nine to eleven pick-ups. Even if the GOP manages to stop the bleeding, it is difficult to see how they can avoid losing at least five seats.

However, two outside factors could save Republicans from a Democratic sweep and allow them to salvage Alaska and Georgia’s race even if November 4th turns out to be a blue tsunami. First, of course, is the Ted Stevens trial. If the jury acquits Stevens, the Alaska Senate race would move to the lean Republican column. If the decision has not come by November 4th (as the deliberations keep being delayed), all bets are off.

Second, a blue wave would not only have to carry Jim Martin ahead of Saxby Chambliss for him to score a victory on November 4th, it would also have to get him across 50%. If neither candidate crosses that threshold (and that is very much possible given the candidacy of Libertarian candidate Allen Buckley), a runoff will be held on December 2nd. Such a runoff would seem to favor Sen. Chambliss. For one, Barack Obama would no longer be at the top of the ticket, which would make a boost in black turnout unlikely (African-Americans make up 35,4% of early voters for now, far higher than in 2004). Second, voters might not be looking to punish Republicans anymore by December 2nd, especially if Obama wins the presidency and if Democrats have already secured a big Senate majority. That would make it far easier for the GOP to argue that keeping Chambliss is necessary to not give Democrats too large a majority.

Virginia, likely take-over to safe take-over: Barack Obama is leading the state’s presidential race by double-digits in the latest polls, so what is the chance that Mark Warner stumbles? Jim Gilmore’s campaign has been a catastrophe from the start, and the state GOP will regret having barred Tom Davis’s path to the nomination.

Colorado, lean take-over to likely take-over: In what has been one of the most puzzling races of this cycle, nothing that either candidate did was moving poll numbers. Mark Udall remained consistently ahead by single-digits for more than a year despite expectations that he would be able to rapidly pull away. Even the revelations about Bob Schaffer’s connection to Jack Abramoff and the abortion and sweat-shop labor controversies that surrounded his trip to the Mariana Islands failed to significantly help Udall. Similarly, the GOP thought they were making progress when the public mood turned in favor of oil drilling; Republicans believed that would hurt Udall, who is a staunch conservationist, and even Udall must have thought the same thing since he abruptly reversed his stance on drilling in the late summer. Yet, Udall’s defensive summer position made no dent in his modest polling lead.

Over the past month, however, the race appears to have decisively broken in Udall’s favor. The economic crisis has hurt Republicans across the country, and nowhere more so than in open seats. In a supreme sign of confidence, the DSCC announced this week that it was pulling out of the state, no longer believing that Udall needed their help. The NRSC did the same yesterday, pulling its ads out and shifting the resources it had devoted to helping Schaffer to other more salvageable seats. While Colorado might not be as much of a lock as New Mexico and Virginia, it has become highly unlikely that Schaffer can pull off an upset.

Oregon, toss-up to lean take-over: Sen. Gordon Smith has been aware that he is vulnerable since the first days of the cycle and has done his best to prepare, but the environment is simply too toxic for Republicans - particularly in a blue state like Oregon. All polls suggest that Obama will crush McCain in the state, significantly outperforming Al Gore and John Kerry, a clear sign that Oregon’s independent voters are behaving like Democrats. The DSCC has been hammering Gordon Smith for months for his proximity to George Bush and for his party label, and it is remarkable that all of Smith’s ads touting his bipartisanship (some of which were quite effective) have not protected him. As if that was not enough, the Democratic surge of the past six weeks has perhaps damaged no Republican as much as Gordon Smith.

Merkley has now inched ahead in the latest polls and, while Merkley’s advantage remains narrow, Smith is stuck in the low 40s - very dangerous territory for an incumbent. That Merkley looks to be slightly ahead now is particularly significant because… Election Day is happening right now in Oregon. All voting is conducted via mail in Oregon, and the ballots arrived at voters’ home this week; these ballots have to be returned (not postmarked, returned) by November 4th, which means that most of the electorate will have voted by the middle of the next week. (As of Thursday, the ballots of 13% of registered voters had already arrived, with many more probably on the way.) All of this means that Smith has far less time than other endangered Republicans to try and turn the tide, and he will not benefit from any last-minute GOP surge.

All of this said, Smith is by no means out of the game, and this rating change is merely meant to reflect that Merkley now has a slight advantage. In particular, this is a race in which the GOP’s argument against unified government could resonate, and the liberal-leaning Oregonian endorsed Smith last week, warning against the possibility of a 60-seat Democratic Senate. That said, Smith is here plagued by the same problem we talked about above: Republicans have not yet started to make fear of a unified government the center of their congressional campaign, and even if they do that in the coming days, it might be too late in Oregon where many voters will have already cast their ballot.

Mississippi, lean retention to toss-up: Republicans felt much better about this state in the first half of September. Sarah Palin’s selection had invigorated the conservative base, and the post-convention GOP surge looked like it would be to put away races in very Republican areas. But things have shifted quite dramatically since my last rankings, and Ronnie Musgrove has gained as the conversation has turned to the economy. Research 2000 and Rasmussen have both showed him closing the gap Sen. Wicker had opened during the summer.

But there is another factor that has led me to move this race to a more competitive category: We have always known that Musgrove’s fortunes were tied to the level of black turnout, as race is the best predictor of the vote in Mississippi (Kerry got 14% of the white vote in 2004). Would Barack Obama’s presence at the top of the ticket boost African-American turnout? While we don’t have a response to that question in Mississippi, the early voting data that is being reported out of North Carolina and Georgia suggest that African-Americans are very motivated and that they might very well make up a far greater proportion of the electorate as they did in 2004. If that pattern holds in Mississippi, it could push Musgrove over the top.

This campaign has been particularly vicious, with both sides and the national committees exchanging brutal spots, with Democrats going after Wicker on economic issues (his votes against the minimum wage, for instance) and the GOP attacking Musgrove’s gubernatorial record. The Republican attacks have been more personal, as a subtext of the anti-Musgrove campaign has been the Democrat’s divorce as well as his efforts to change the Confederate-inspired state flag while he was governor; the GOP is also airing a gay-baiting ad tying Musgrove to the “homosexual agenda.”

Kansas, likely retention to safe retention: Democrats had some hope that former Rep. Slattery could make this a race, and some summer polls showing Republican Sen. Roberts under 50% gave them hope; even the Kansas press started noticing that there was a Senate race worth covering. But a wave of advertisement has allowed Roberts to regain his footing, despite a memorable ad by Slattery, and the incumbent is now leading by huge margins in the latest polls.

Texas, likely retention to safe retention: Late spring, Sen. Cornyn looked even more endangered than his neighbor from Kansas, as a string of polls showed him barely ahead of Democratic challenger Rick Noriega, a state Senator who might not have been a top-tier candidate but was certainly credible enough to exploit Cornyn’s vulnerabilities. Unfortunately for Democrats, Noriega never caught fire, and Cornyn’s poll numbers - while not as stellar as they could be - put him safely ahead. The main factor that explains why Texas did not become more competitive while North Carolina, Kentucky and Georgia have joined the top-tier is money: It takes a lot of it to wage a campaign in the Lone Star State because of the high number of media markets one has to cover - many of which are very expensive. Noriega’s fundraising was not strong enough to get around that problem, and this also prevented the DSCC from moving in.

South Dakota, likely retention to safe retention: The race was kept in the potentially competitive category based on the possibility that Sen. Johnson’s health condition worsened and gave an opening to his Republican opponent, but Johnson has managed to coast his way to the election remarkably smoothly. South Dakota was once considered as one of the most competitive races of the cycle, but there has been nothing to see ever since Johnson announced he would run for re-election.

Full ratings and rankings are available here.


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Congressional ad watch: Smith and Landrieu attack opponents, candidates introduce themselves

To an unusual degree, posts today have focused on new TV spots - from Obama, Franken and McCain - so let’s continue in that vein with this must-see response to McCain by Paris Hilton (yes, it’s real). “He’s the oldest celebrity in the world… but is he ready to lead?” asks the spot in an obvious parody of McCain’s “celeb” ad. Hilton goes on to call McCain the “very old” “wrinkly white-haired dude” and she proposes her unexpectedly articulate energy policy!

Meanwhile, and more seriously: In Oregon, the past few ads released by Gordon Smith have touted the Senator’s bipartisan credentials to appeal to independents, though Smith also released attack ads in July accusing Merkley of wanting to raise taxes. The DSCC replied with an ad hitting Smith over energy issues after an earlier ad tied the incumbent to President Bush. Now, Smith is out with a negative ad that accuses Merkley of wasting taxpayer money redecorating the offices in the legislature, even attaching price tags to different furniture items:

Merkley has little money to go on air (this is one race in which cash-on-hand disparity matters) and Smith is taking the opportunity to define the still-unknown Democrat as a tax-and-spend liberal. In July, he released ads arguing that Merkley likes taxes… and here is the complementary charge that he likes to spend. This ad looks like a caricature, and that’s because the “tax-and-spend liberal” figure has become such a staple of GOP ads. They seem (and are) silly, but viewers are used enough to the tax-and-spend attack that the overarching narrative becomes part of the political conversation. How well they succeed will depend on whether Merkley has the resources to respond before Smith succeeds in defining him. The DSCC is committed to the race, but can only do so much work.

In Louisiana, meanwhile, both candidates released ads this week. On the one side, Republican John Kennedy, trying to run as a reformer. His new and somewhat humorous ad (you can watch it here) says he will get Congress to spend less because… he is personally cheap. The ad shows him saving pennies and bringing his brown bag lunch to the office: “One leader is so tight, he squeaks,” says the ad, which also reviews Kennedy’s record. Senator Mary Landrieu has another idea on how to introduce Kennedy to voters: attack him for his flip-flops, party switch and for being a… liberal! Landrieu notes that Kennedy ran for AG as a Democrat, endorsed Kerry in 2004 and that Republicans called him a liberal during his Senate campaign:

Landrieu’s goal to (1) undermine any honest reformer approach Kennedy might try to portray and (2) take away any enthusiasm conservatives might have for Kennedy. Landrieu is the only truly endangered incumbent Democrat this year, and her main obstacle is the red-lean of the state she represents. If she convinces voters that her opponent isn’t a Republican, however, it might offset the unfavorable terrain she must fight on.

In other Senate advertising, two incumbents are airing positive ads. In Maine, Susan Collins ad on energy (you can watch it here) confirms that all ads on this topic could be aired by just about everyone, from either party, and that most candidates endorse the same lofty goals. This is what makes the energy issue appealing to so many candidates: it allows them to look centrist and pragmatist - two adjectives Collins needs as a Republican incumbent in a Democratic state.

Then, there is South Dakota: A year ago, we weren’t even sure if Tim Johnson would run for re-election. Now, he is facing minor opposition in what is looking like an easy re-election race. But Johnson’s ads are still interesting because they feature a candidate still struggling with health issues. In fact, Johnson’s opening ad - released last week (you can watch it here) - was entirely devoted to his health, with the Senator admitting that he was still working on his speech. Yesterday, he unveiled the second part of his advertising campaign (you can watch it here) by highlighting his accomplishments since he “came back to the Senate.” The ad claims Johnson has not missed a single vote.

Moving on, we have two ads with a very similar message by two Democrats running in red areas. In Idaho, Larry LaRocco’s ad (you can watch it here) reviews the problems the country is facing - jobs, inflation - and calls for “change.” In NC-08, repeat candidate Larry Kissell airs his first ad (view it here) against Rep. Hayes. “We cannot afford two more years of this,” argues the Democrat, speaking directly to the camera and citing rising oil prices and lost jobs. He calls for “a new voice.” The distrust in the GOP is the main reason Democrats have a chance in states and districts like these, making these calls for generic “change” the logical type of ad they should run.

In WA-08, finally, Darcy Burner is one of the best-funded House challengers: she raised more in the second quarter and she has more cash-on-hand than her opponent, GOP incumbent Rep. Reichert. That allowed her to release a 60-second biographical ad (watch it here) highlighting, among other things, her life story, her brother serving in Iraq, her preparing a plan to get the US out of Iraq and her work on the Chinese toy issue. The 2006 race took some nasty terms, and Burner was attacked by her opponent for her inexperience. That she can afford a 60-second ad (with a much larger scope) is a good way for her to reintroduce herself to voters and start inoculating herself against those same attacks by highlighting substantive policy work she has done.


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Wednesday polls: Merkley takes his first lead in Oregon’s Senate race, though Dole and Roberts increase their lead

Democrats have targeted Gordon Smith since the very first days of the cycle. Along with New Hampshire, Maine and Minnesota, Oregon was part of the original list of the DSCC was determined to go after. But a disappointing recruitment process followed by primary difficulties for Jeff Merkley made Democrats anxious that they could be wasting an opportunity here — just as they seem to be doing in Maine. Well, Democrats finally got some good news from the race with the first poll to find Merkley leading the Republican incumbent:

  • After two straight polls that found Smith leading by single-digits, Rasmussen released its July survey today with Merkley narrowly ahead of Smith, 43% to 41%. When leaners are included, the two candidates are tied at 46%.

Make no mistake, this will not be an easy race for Democrats. Smith has always known he has a target on his back and he has prepared himself — even airing ads linking himself to Barack Obama! Projecting as moderate an image as possible is essential for Smith given Oregon’s increasingly blue profile, but it seems that even might not be enough. Forget Susan Collins, Gordon Smith is the most at risk of being Chaffee-ed this year.

Beyond Oregon’s Senate poll, we can launch our usual poll roundup, starting with a national poll:

  • The latest Reuters/Zogby poll finds Obama slightly increasing his lead. He is now ahead 47% to 40%, though he only has a 3% lead among independents.

This is now the fourth national poll in two days showing Obama with a high single-digit lead, after Quinnipiac’s 9%, the NYT’s 6% and the Washington Post’s 8%. Just as in yesterday’s Quinnipiac survey, it is striking to see Obama leading comfortably overall but not among independents. In 2008, Democratic candidates can win based on their base and on voters who have come to identify with the party since 2004, as long as they can hold roughly even among independents. I stand by what I said yesterday: This confirms to me that it is a “strategic blunder” for Obama to emphasize his centrist positions. In Rasmussen’s Oregon poll, Smith and Merkley get the same percentage of the Republican and Democratic vote respectively and Smith leads among independents by a fairly large 10% — though he trails overall!

Next comes a wave of state presidential polls:

  • SUSA’s poll of North Carolina finds McCain’s lead narrowing to only five percent, 50% to 45%. Obama gets 94% of the black vote but only 31% of the white vote.
  • In Oregon, Rasmussen shows Obama up 46% to 37%, a lead comparable to what he posted last month.
  • In Washington, Moore Information — a Republican firm — finds Obama leading 47% to 37%.
  • And California’s most reputable survey, the Field, has Obama crushing McCain 54% to 30%.
  • No surprises in Kansas, finally, as McCain is up 20% in Rasmsussen’s latest poll, 52 to 32%. That’s up from a 10% lead last month.

No surprises on the Pacific Coast, with Obama holding strong in all three of these states — increasingly so in Oregon and Washington, places Democrats should always be careful in. North Carolina remains an interesting state, with poll after poll showing McCain holding on by the tightest of margins. Note that SUSA’s sample includes 19% of black voters, whereas the 2004 exit poll shows that 26% of voters were African-American (and some predict an increase in black turnout). That shift alone might allow Obama to make up the difference of the SUSA poll.

But Obama will have to improve his share of the white vote to be truly competitive in this Southern state - or in any Southern state except Virginia. Kerry got 27% of whites here four years ago, roughly what Obama got in this SUSA poll. But the good news for Democrats is that Obama does not need to come close to McCain among Southern white voters: combined with overwhelming support from black voters, a significant boost among white voters is all Obama needs to win North Carolina. If 25% of the electorate is black and Obama gets around 90% of that vote, 36% of the white vote would be enough to carry the state.

Finally, a number of down-the-ballot polls:

  • In North Carolina’s Senate race, SUSA finds Elizabeth Dole jumping up to a 12% lead, up from the 4% in May.
  • The state’s gubernatorial race remains a complete toss-up, with Beverly Perdue at 47% and Pat McCrory at 46%.
  • In South Dakota’s Senate race, Tim Johnson has no problem as he crushes his Republican opponent 60% to 35%.
  • Finally, in the Kansas Senate race, Rasmussen breaks the long series of polls finding Sen. Roberts surprisingly weak by now showing him leading Jim Slattery 57% to 30%.

The Dole-Hagan numbers continue to disappoint Democrats, though SUSA’s poll does nothing but confirm what other institutes have already shown: Hagan received a dramatic boost following her primary victory in early May, but Dole’s ad campaign since then have allowed her to create some gap again. She rebounded by 15% in one month in Rasmussen, jumped back up double-digits in Civitas and PPP.

And the Democrat’s quest to find new seats to put in play is also countered today by Rasmussen’s Kansas results; but keep in mind that Research 2000 and Cooper Associates had also found unexpectedly tight numbers. What might have changed in the past few weeks? Taking no chances, Roberts started airing his first ad two weeks ago.


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GOP loses potential Senate candidates, prevents open House seats

With filing deadlines fast approaching, all congressional committees are working furiously to recruit top candidates in races that were supposed to be competitive but where no one has stepped forward. The Democrats have had their own share of disastrous recruitment efforts (in North Carolina and Kentucky, most noticeably), but the Republicans have had a much tougher time fielding candidates in a year most indicators are suggesting might be as blue as 2006.

One of the most disappointing races for the NRSC has to be South Dakota, which was one of only two obvious targets for them (along with Louisiana). But Tim Johnson’s stroke at the end of 2006 made the race that much more difficult for the GOP; despite his health problems, Johnson did not retire (confirming how immovable Senators tend to be) and the wave of sympathy that surrounded him probably convinced a few Republicans — starting with Gov. Rounds — to not jump in.

Now, Republican hopes were pinned on former Lt. Gov. Steve Kirby, who would already have been a very low-tier candidate (Johnson crushes him in a recent poll). But now Kirby has announced that he will not run, making it that more difficult for Republicans to make this race competitive. Their hopes are now in the hands of Joel Dykstra, the assistant Majority Leader in the state House. Dykstra was also trounced by Johnson in that same poll and it very improbable that the NRSC will do much to help him considering how many other seats it has to worry about.

Another GOP disappointment has been Iowa, where Democratic Senator Tom Harkin has faced very close re-election races in the past. The NRSC was hoping to field a strong challenger again and test Harkin’s vulnerabilities. It quickly became clear, however, that none of the potentially strong Republicans were wiling to jump in the race. There was some speculation that Rep. Steve King, one of the Republican congressmen who is furthest to the Right but who is popular in his district, might jump in, but he squashed that today by announcing that he would not run for Senate and run for re-election in the House. There’s at least a consolation for the GOP here — they will not have to defend one more House open seat!

King made more news today when he went after Obama and suggested that his election would lead terrorists to go “dancing in the streets.”

It does matter. His middle name does matter. It matters because they read meaning into that and the rest of the world, it has special meaning to them. They’ll be dancing in the streets because of his middle name. They’ll be dancing in the streets because of who his father was and because of his posture that says pull out of the Middle East and pull out of this conflict.

Republicans appear to be developing a strategy of getting people who are already known for their extremist statements (and are thus less susceptible of being influenced by pressure and scrutiny) to go after Obama for his middle-name and perpetuating the Muslim smear.

Passing on Arkansas, in which Republicans are apparently leaving freshman Sen. Pryor uncontested, the next item of news is NY-29, where the GOP also avoided an open seat. This one would have been very difficult, too, as Rep. Kuhl barely won against challenger Eric Massa in 2006, 51% to 49%. Kuhl had been hinting that he might call it quits this time, which had Republicans worried about defending his seat. His announcement that he will run for re-election sets a rematch of the 2006 election, as Massa is again running against him.

Update: The New York Times giant headline at this minute: “Spitzer linked to prostitution ring”! There are very few details right now, but this obviously looks like a major story that could have huge consequences in New York politics.


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Friday polls: Diverging margins in Mississippi, and the state of do-over primaries

The Democratic candidates are preparing for two more contests in the next few days — Wyoming and Mississippi — on which there has been no public polling. Until today, that is. Two polls were released of the Mississippi primary, which is expected to go heavily for Obama. The share of the African-American population in this primary could be higher than in any other contest’s — but these polls suggest that the higher a state’s black population the more whites vote for Clinton. We had witnessed this racial polarization in South Carolina and Georgia, and now here it is in Mississippi:

  • ARG shows Obama leading 58% to 34%, a very large margin that hides big disparities: Clinton wins white voters 61% to 22%, while Obama carries African American voters 87% to 11%.
  • Insider Advantage — which has had a very good track record in most states it has polled, and which picked up Clinton’s Texas rise first — shows Obama up only 46% to 40%. Now, IA itself acknowledges that Obama’s margin is likely higher because a full 20% of black voters tested in this poll are undecided, putting Obama at 66% — he will almost certainly be much higher on Tuesday. But IA also shows Clinton winning an astonishing 71.8% of the white vote.
  • Another very strange result in which both polls are consistent is that Clinton does better among men than among women, which suggests that Mississippi white men are not willing to back a black candidate…

If this level of racial polarization holds on Tuesday, it would provoke some very strange delegate distribution scenarios, as Clinton and Obama would both be close to being shut out in different parts of the state depending on the racial make-up of different districts.

Meanwhile, Rasmussen came out with two very interesting polls today from Florida and Michigan, testing the two candidates in possible do-overs. The results are very different:

  • In Michigan, Clinton and Obama tie at 41%. In January, Clinton had gotten 55% of the vote without any opposition.
  • In Florida, Clinton gets 55% to Obama’s 39%, which is a healthy lead. On January 29th, Clinton had beaten Obama 50% to 30%.

It goes without saying that Clinton is likely a few points below Obama in a Michigan caucus if she can only tie him in a primary, so that poll is not a good sign for the Clinton campaign. One of their most important arguments is Obama’s inability to win the largest states, and an Obama win in Michigan — particularly after Clinton broke 50% on January 15th — would make it much more difficult for Clinton to put forward her big state edge.

Another interesting poll this morning — also from Rasmussen — tests the South Dakota presidential race:

  • McCain beats Clinton 50% to 38%, and beat Obama 48% to 38%.
  • Yesterday’s SUSA poll of South Dakota had McCain up Obama by 4% and up Clinton by 12% as well.

A very Republican state that Bush won by overwhelming margins, South Dakota is much closer than anyone would expect in both of these polls.While it is very unlikely that either Democrat will end up within single-digits in South Dakota (and if they have a chance of winning here it probably means that they are on their way to routing McCain). But it does coincidence with a lot of evidence that the Mountain states — usually among the most reliable for Republicans — are flirting with Democrats this time around. SUSA showed Obama with a narrow lead in North Dakota and taking some electoral votes in Nebraska.

Finally, we have a few polls from congressional races:

  • Rasmussen accompanies its presidential poll with a Senate survey (it’s actually the other way around), and it confirms that Democratic Senator Johnson has very little to fear next year. He crushes both his (declared and potential) Republican opponents by significant margins and gets 62% and 63%.
  • Meanwhile, Michigan pollster EPIC releases a survey from MI-07, where Democrats are confident they can get freshman Rep. Walberg in trouble. The poll shows Walberg leading Democrat Schauer 51% to 40%, but after a biography of both candidates is read the Democratic candidate edges out Walberg 49% to 48%.

Polls with biographies are obviously very shady, since no candidate gets to define himself in a vacuum, and no House candidate can possibly introduce himself to 100% of voters (not even close). The poll does show a baseline vulnerability for Walberg, but he does get above 50% in the first match-up, and that should reassure him a bit. But given the financial advantage the DCCC has over its counterpart this cycle, they are sure to test incumbents like Walberg and unless the RNCC can step in to help he is likely to see his numbers drop in the coming months.


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IL-14 special election heats up, SD and NC Senate races do not

3 months after the special election in OH-05 unexpectedly saw a last-minute deluge of ads by the national committees, the special election in IL-14, former Speaker Hastert’s district, is heating up. The election is set for March 8th, and while this is a red-leaning district Democrats believe they can take it from the GOP. An internal poll for the Foster campaign released earlier this week has the Democrat leading 45% to 41% for the GOP candidate, Oberweis — and while an internal poll always has to be taken with a grain of salt it is the second internal that Foster is releasing without a response by Oberweis.

Now, in a sure sign that this race is indeed very competitive, the DCCC and NRCC have jumped in with advertisements of their own. The NRCC is spending $900,000 as of now, with the DCCC in with a bit more than $600,000. This is very significant, because the Republican committee is far behind Democrats in money. In fact, this sum represents a bit less than 1/6th of their total cash on hand at the end of January!

In December, Republicans ended up winning OH-05 on a comfortable score, but they had to spend millions to do so. And this illustrates the problem the GOP is facing in the coming months: There are many seats like OH-05 and IL-14 that could be competitive next year, especially since so many GOP congressmen are retiring. The DCCC has a lot of money to spend and will do so liberally, testing GOP strength left and right — just as they did in OH-05 and now in IL-14. They want to expand the map and stretch the GOP resources. The NRCC is responding right now — and it saved Latta in Ohio — but it will not be able to do so everywhere in the fall. Democrats are hoping that this forces Republicans to defend the reddest seats in priority, leaving some of their most vulnerable districts undefended — not to mention that the NRCC can hardly hope to spend any money trying to pick up Democratic-held seats if it has to defend places like IL-14.

Make sure to check my House ratings that I updated last Saturday. Since Saturday is often a low-criculation day, you might have missed it. IL-14 is rated as a toss-up.

  • Recruitment in SD-Sen and NC-Sen

The news for Democrats is not so good, however, in North Carolina. The filing deadline passed yesterday and they have to settle for the two candidates they have had for a few months now, state Senator Kay Hagan and investment banker Jim Neal. Most polls have shown that sen. Elizabeth Dole is a weak incumbent who could be beatable with the right candidate, but it is unlikely that either Hagan or Neal will be able to give her that strong of a challenge. The DSCC is hopeful that they will prove to be strong candidates, and it is certainly possible — after all, the DSCC has enough funds to weaken Dole and give an opening to their challenger — but recruitment here has to be disappointing for Democrats.

In South Dakota, it’s Republicans that are having recruitment problems. Senator Tim Johnson was for long considered to be a potential retirement, but there now is little doubt that he is running again and Republicans have not been able to find a strong challenger against him. Governor Rounds was rumored for a while but he is showing no indication of wanting to jump in. With the filing deadline fast approaching, former Lieutenant Governor Steve Kirby is rumored as a potential candidate, but it does not look like he would be a very strong one. For one, Kirby was in office only for 2 years until 1995 and he lost a variety of primaries since then. Not to mention that he is a more than controversial figure because of his involvement in transforming cadaver skin into cosmetic surgery products (as Kos’s Markos is writing a lot about).

Now, the DSCC is releasing a poll that shows Johnson defeating Kirby… 70% to 19%. The poll also shows Johnson with a 72% approval rating. Sure, this is an internal poll but this kind of number does point to how difficult it would be for Republicans to unseat Johnson even with the right candidate, and how unlikely it is for them to get it competitive unless they get a first-tier candidate in (i.e. Gov. Rounds).


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Morning diary: John Edwards strong in the general election

  • Rasmussen finds Edwards strong nationally

Rasmussen has just released a national poll pitting John Edwards against John McCain and Mitt Romney, and finds the Democrat expanding the leads he had a month ago. Against McCain, Edwards leads 47% to 38%, while he beats Romney by a massive 50% to 34%. This is much better than both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton do against McCain, as they are both about tied with the Arizona Senator in Rasmussen polls.

Two days after the Philadelphia debate, that supposedly so hurt Hillary Clinton, it is useful to look at Rasmussen’s tracking poll, which now has Clinton at 43%, followed by Obama at 21% and Edwards at 11% — roughly what it was before the debate. So for now at least, the Hillary has stumbled storyline isn’t confirmed by polls. Though it could still happen after a few more days of evolving media narrative.

  • Senate news update

The Washington Post thinks it is now likely that Tom Udall jumps in the New Mexico Senate race, confirming information that I reported on Thursday. Meanwhile, Lieutenant Governor Diane Denish has announced she will definitely not run for Senate because she wants to stay in New Mexico, which ensures she is running for Governor in 2010 (and that she likely will have the field all to herself). Denish had also been heavily recruited by the DSCC who viewed her as much more competitive than Chavez, so the fact that she took herself out of consideration is further indication that the DSCC is confident that Udall will end up jumping in — and starting off the race the favorite.

In other Senate news, Mount Blogmore gave hope to Republicans yesterday by reporting that Governor Rounds had visited the NRSC headquarters in Washington, which would imply he was thinking about jumping in the South Dakota Senate race against Democratic incumbent Tim Johnson. This would be amazing news for the GOP indeed, and surprising one at that since all indications were that Rounds was staying out this cycle. However, Rounds’s camp said that he did absolutely not visit the NRSC, as reported by the blog who said he had. Rounds is likely not lying, but still something to keep an eye on.



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

    Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

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

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

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

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  • 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 'EDT/-4.0/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 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

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

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

    Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

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

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

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

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

  • Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

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

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

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

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

    Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

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

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

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

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55
  • Results thread, part 2: Dems suffer staggering losses in House and legislatives races, limit damage in statewide races

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

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

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

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

    Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

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

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

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

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55
  • Election Night 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 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

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

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

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

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

    Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

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

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

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

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

  • Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

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

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

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

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

    Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

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

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

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

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

  • Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

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

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

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

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

    Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

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

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

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

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

Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

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

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

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

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

Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EDT/-4.0/DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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