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Category Archive for ‘TX-10’ at Campaign Diaries
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Archive for the 'TX-10' Category


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For DCCC, a week-end of disappointing news

Realizing that I had not updated my House ratings since late May, I put together a new classification this week-end. I was interested in seeing whether an overall look at the landscape would show it really has deteriorated as much for Democrats as the past few months’ fragmented analyses have suggested. While I expected the trends I found (the number of even potentially GOP competitive has plunged and the number of highly competitive Democratic seats has skyrocketed), I have to admit that the discrepancy is clearer than I had anticipated. Details will be coming later this week. For now, suffice it to say that Democrats have been receiving such a continuous drip of bad news that even New Year’s week-end brought them 3 disappointments.

In KS-02, promising Democratic candidate state Senator Laura Kelly announced she was ending her campaign against freshman Rep. Lynn Jenkins. While Kelly always faced an uphill climb (unseating an GOP incumbent in a district that voted for John McCain by 12%), she had experience winning in hostile territory since her legislative district is Republican; also, Kelly could have gotten an opening from the fact that Jenkins faces a tough primary against state Senator Dennis Pyle, who charges the congresswoman has revealed herself as a non-conservative in her first year. (Reminder: Jenkins claim to fame in 2009 was her comment that the GOP needs a “great white hope” to oust Obama.)

Kelly’s exit is part of the broader story of the debacle that is the Kansas Democratic Party. Republicans are uncontested in the open Senate and Governor’s seats; at the moment, we can say the same about KS-03, the House seat left open by Rep. Dennis Moore: While Democrats are still hoping Kansas City Mayor Joe Reardon and former Mayor Carol Marinovich will enter the race, they are still looking for a candidate 6 weeks after Moore’s retirement. At this point, Democrats have their strongest Kansas candidate in KS-04 (left open by GOP Rep. Thiart), which is bizarre because this district is more conservative than KS-02 and KS-03 and more conservative than Kansas at large!

In AL-05, Public Service Commissioner Susan Parker announced she would not challenge recent party-switcher Parker Griffith. She becomes the second prominent Democrat to do so this week, since Ron Spark stuck to the Governor’s race on Tuesday. Parker was never as likely as Sparks to get in, because a House campaign would have meant giving up her safe seat on the Public Service Commission (whereas Sparks is an underdog in his statewide race); on the other hand, Parker was known to have congressional ambitions since she was looking to run for the open House seat back in 2008. The DCCC signaled it preferred (self-funder) Parker Griffith, and the rest is history.

As is to be expected in a Southern state, Democrats have a decent bench of local officials so the party could still field a known entity (for instance, state Rep. Randy Hinshaw). Yet, the district’s conservative drift combined with what is shaping up to be a good environment for Republicans would have made the general election challenging for even the most formidable of Democratic candidate, let alone for the party’s second choice candidates.

In TX-10, not only did surprisingly well-financed Democrat Jack McDonald unexpectedly end his campaign two weeks ago, but his party’s second choice has now ruled out a run after spending a few days considering the possibility: 2008 nominee Larry Doherty (a former TV Judge on the show “Texas Justice”) will not seek a rematch against Rep. McCaul. While Doherty gained attention in the final weeks of the campaign, the final result was underwhelming (he lost 54-43, the same margin as Obama) so it’s not like he would have stricken McCaul with fear. But he would at least have been a prominent contender, attracted coverage, met some fundraising success.

Thus, he might have faced a very uphill climb but he would at least have forced the GOP to pay some attention to the district. Even with the speculation that McCaul’s 2006 opponent Ted Ankrum might file for a rematch tomorrow (which happens to be the filing deadline), TX-10 will now most likely completely leave our radar screen.

That gets us to the reason these developments are so problematic for Democrats. Sure, it’s been a while since the DCCC last dreamed of big 2010 gains. Sure, KS-02, AL-05 and TX-10 would have been tough districts to win in any environment - just look at the 2008 results - let alone next year’s. But Kelly, Parker, McDonald and Doherty would have put these districts on the map; they would have forced the GOP to keep an eye on them. Since national committees’ first duty is to protect their incumbents, the NRCC would have had to spend money defending Reps. Jenkins, Parker and McCaul.

The GOP is now free to use that to expand the map, to put more Democratic districts in play, to target more congressmen who haven’t faced competitive races in decades but who might reveal themselves to be very vulnerable if only the NRCC finds the resources to go after them. If Democrats want to protect Reps. Berry, Snyder, Hall or Mollohan, they better make sure not to keep some GOP districts in play, even if it’s only marginally.


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Dems struggling to find candidate in Alabama, Texas

For a few days, Democrats found themselves hoping they could still recapture AL-05 - which would not only be helpful on a political level, but also on a viscerally personal one: What better way to get back at a turncoat than to end his political career? Yet, their most obvious shot at contesting the district evaporated today: Agriculture Commissioner Ron Sparks ended days of speculation that he might challenge Parker Griffith by announcing he would stick to the Governor’s race instead.

The emergence of Sparks’s name as a potential House candidate was not just fruitful thinking on Democrats’ part. Not only had he himself declared he was considering the move, but it would have made perfect sense. Sparks is currently a double underdog in the Governor’s race: He faces an uphill climb to beating Rep. Artur Davis in the Democratic primary, and even if he does beat Davis Alabama is too red a state for Republicans not to be favored in the general election. If he had ran in AL-05, however, Sparks would have coasted to the Democratic nomination and arguably had a stronger shot in the general election: Not that the district is bluer than the state at large, but it has a long history of voting Democratic in non-presidential races. In fact, it has never voted for a Republican in a House race.

Spark’s exit from the House race does not mean Democrats are out of option. For one, Public Service Commissioner Susan Parker would make for a strong candidate; but the problem with this former state Auditor isn’t so much her electability but the fact that it would be very risky for her to run: She is up for re-election in 2010, so challenging Griffith would mean giving up a safe position for a tough race. Other names are also floating, but AL-05 is conservative enough that Democrats are unlikely to be competitive unless they nominate a top-tier contender who has already developed a long relationship with voters.

Of course, even if Democrats fail to contest the seat it won’t mean Griffith can expect an easy cycle, as his two Republican opponents are proving themselves determined to take him down. (Remember: Alabama has a runoff system so Griffith cannot benefit from his opponents’ divisions.) If we heard more about Mo Brooks over the past week, Lee Phillip ensured he would not be forgotten by sending a mailer to the district’s Republican households attacking Griffith’s ties to national Democratic leaders:

To make matters worse for Griffith, we are for the first time hearing that the NRCC did not commit to helping win the primary - at least that’s what GOP sources are telling Politico. It is somewhat incomprehensible that the congressman accepted to switch parties in such conditions: He must have known that it would not be easy for him to be accepted by local Republicans, so how could he not insist that his switch be accompanied by a financial commitment? Sure, he is no Arlen Specter but it still seems to be something the NRCC would have ended up accepting.

Another district in which Democrats are having recruiting difficulties is TX-10: I already wrote about the district last week, when Jack McDonald’s surprisingly dropped-out of the race. But the catch is that the filing deadline is this coming Monday, and Democrats now have absolutely no one seeking their party’s nomination. Sure, targeting Rep. Michael McCaul isn’t the DCCC’s priority but failing him to field any candidate would be a big setback: The incumbent looked surprisingly weak in 2008, so Democrats shouldn’t allow him to calmly build up his profile while running unopposed. It looks like 2008 nominee Larry Joe Doherty is taking a look at the race in the wake of McDonald’s withdrawal, but his supporters only have 5 days to convince him.

In fact, Democrats are facing a broader Texas problem: A SSP diarist shows that, while are all 12 Democratic incumbents have drawn opponents, only 9 of 20 Republicans are facing challengers! Running unopposed at the moment are: Ultra-conservative Rep. Gohmert (TX-10), Rep. Poe (TX-02), Rep. Johnson (TX-03), Rep. Hall (TX-04), Rep. Culberson (TX-07), Rep. Brady (TX-08), Rep. McCaul, Rep. Granger (TX-12) and Rep. Thornberry (TX-13). Like McCaul, Culberson had shown some signs of weakness in 2008.

Of course, Democrats have no chance of ever winning most of these 11 districts, but that does not mean that this discrepancy won’t have deleterious effects on the party’s performance up and down the ballot: The lack of Democratic challengers could negatively affect turnout since Bill White will be the only Democrat at the top of the ballot in more than a third of the state!

One district in which neither party is having any difficulty recruiting, meanwhile, is WA-03. Hotline On Call walks us through the latest developments in the race to replace retiring Rep. Brian Baird. As I wrote earlier this month, Democrats were already facing an ideologically clear choice between centrist state Rep. Deb Wallace and more mainstream state Senator Craig Pridemore. Another high-profile candidate has emerged: ex-state Rep. Denny Heck has not run for office since the 1980s, but he remained involved in political circles and could use his personal funds to finance his campaign. It’s unclear how he would position himself vis-a-vis Wallace and Pridemore. On the GOP side, I am surprised no elected official has emerged to challenge 31-year old state Rep. Jaime Herrerra (other state legislators’ names were being floated), but she is sure to face competition; conservative activists are perhaps looking for a candidate to rally around.


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Dems get bad news in two red districts they’d made 2010 priorities

Within hours of Parker Griffith’s defection, the DCCC got two other signs that the political winds have shifted over the past year, transforming strong Democratic opportunities into long-shots. Indeed, at the start of the cycle Democrats had not given up the hope of scoring substantial gains: With California looking like it has untapped resources and a number of GOP incumbents coming out of the 2008 cycle with an aura of vulnerability , 2010 was the opportunity to pick-up additional seats.

One such incumbent is Rep. Michelle Bachmann. Defeating her has been a liberal priority ever since she became one of the far right’s leading spokespeople, and the party has recruited strong challengers against her: state Senator Tarryl Clark and Maureen Reed, a doctor who has been insisting she will now bow out for Clark and who’s been able to maintain herself due to surprisingly strong fundraising. With Bachmann regularly in the news for some statement or another, Democrats have been hoping these candidates can appeal to independents and perhaps even moderate Republicans.

Yet, a new PPP shows Bachmann is a strong position to win a third term. Not only does she have a solid approval rating (53% to 41%), including 51% approval among independents, but she has large leads against both Democrats: 55% to 37% against Clark, 53% to 37% against Reed. While her challengers are less-known that the incumbent, the poll doesn’t suggest respondents are reluctant to vote for Bachmann since she easily crosses the 50% threshold in both match-ups. There is no substantial pool of voters who are turned off by the incumbent and are looking for an alternative.

Given that MN-06 was one of the DCCC’s top eight offensive priorities according to comments made over the summer by the committee’s executive officer, these numbers sure are rough.

PPP compares Bachmann’s standing to that of Herseth Sandlin, the South Dakota Democrat who led her top competitor 46% to 39% in a poll released last week. Both incumbents have a similar approval rating spread (+12% and +11%, respectively), yet the latter has a far smaller lead and fails to cross 50%. That’s striking considering the fact that Herseth Sandlin has coasted to triumphant re-elections in 2006 and 2008 whereas Bachmann has struggled to win on both occasions. This suggests that many voters typically open to voting for a Democrat are very reluctant to do so this year, whereas there is no such qualms among those who typically lean right.

This situation might not limit Democratic opportunities in districts like LA-02, DE-AL, PA-06 and IL-10, and it doesn’t prevent the party from winning swing seats like MN-03 and the California districts that swung to Obama. But it does make it tough to envision a Democratic challenger pick-up a red district like MN-06, which did give McCain a 8% victory: Wave or no wave, the sort of cross-over voting this would be required is unlikely to occur in the midterm election of a Democratic president.

That situation is surely weighing hard on the mind of candidates who are challenging Republican incumbents in challenging districts: They got in at a time Democrats seemed like they could do anything, and they’re now stuck in races that look rather unwinnable - or at least far more difficult to pull off. One such candidate was businessman Jack McDonald, who was challenging Rep. Michael McCaul.

TX-10 is one of those districts which are bound to be very competitive some time in the future due to demographic changes, and while we aren’t there yet the past three presidential results are telling: Bush won by 33% in 2000, he won by 24% in 2004 and McCain won by 11% last year. That same day, McCaul was held to 54% by a Democrat who was barely noticed by national observers until the final weeks of the campaign. His 2010 opponent, however, was noticed within the first few months of 2009: He massively outraised the incumbent in the first quarter ($311,000 to $98,000), a rare discrepancy that he managed to repeat in the second and third quarter. Reporting nearly $1 million in contributions in an off-year is certainly enough to get national Democrats’ attention: The DCCC’s executive officer also included TX-10 among the party’s top eight priorities.

Fast forward to December: While the DCCC is no longer as focused on playing offense, it is nonetheless excited when McDonald finally formally announces a run (he had only formed an exploratory committee for most of 2009). But in a bizarrely speedy twist, McDonald announced last night that he was dropping out. There are only 10 more days before the filing deadline and $1 million in contribution that just evaporated: Gone are Democrats’ chances of contest the district. McCaul will most probably coast to an easy re-election.

For one of the party’s eight priorities to suddenly go completely off the map is quite a blow, not only because of what it does to TX-10 but also because of what it says about Democrats’ mood elsewhere. Consider that the party’s top recruit also recently dropped out in another of the DCCC’s top priorities: OH-02! I was never convinced that race merited an inclusion on that list when there were so many more promising districts in California, but at the very least this speaks to Democratic fortunes in those races the DCCC was looking to focus on.

If these developments are troubling for the DCCC, they’re all the more worrisome for Blue Dogs. We already knew that the coalition will lose many members (senior members are retiring, a number of junior recruits will probably lose their re-election races, and one of their members just became a Republican yesterday!), but we are now learning that they’re unlikely to gain any new members. The districts Democrats pick-up next year will be in districts like DE-AL and IL-10, which are unlikely to elect a conservative; Democrats who were looking to join Blue Dogs (McDonald and Maureen Reed have both been using that label to describe themselves) are running in districts that are looking like increasingly tough propositions for the party. Democrats might lose seats next year, but it won’t necessarily make it that harder for Nancy Pelosi to pass her priorities.


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The electoral consequences of changes in districts’ racial composition

One often used measure of a district’s vulnerability to takeover is its presidential vote, but the 2008 cycle has made matters confusing. What should we do with districts whose 2008 movement far exceeds the national movement?

For instance: Should national parties trying to decide how much attention to devote to IN-9 look to 2004 (an 18% Bush victory) or 2008 (a 1% Obama district) as most reflective of the district’s partisan leanings?  That question can be translated in another way: Should we hold Obama’s over-average gain in that particular district as a fleeting consequence of ephemeral circumstances (for instance an unbalance in campaign spending) or as the reflection of a more fundamental demographic and partisan transformation?

This morning, Swing State Project published a fascinating analysis of congressional districts’ racial composition changes between 2000 and 2008 that helps answer that question. The post has lot of important demographic tidbits. First, clear evidence of the gentrification of urban districts, especially in New York: four of the ten districts with the biggest white gain (in terms of percentage) are in NYC. Second, confirmation that African-Americans are increasingly moving into the suburbs, especially in Georgia: the two districts that have seen the largest African-American growth are in the Atlanta suburbs.

There are a lot of ways in which to read this data, but the point of my post is to point out the electoral consequences: Some of these districts with big demographic changes are also on the list of those that swung to Obama by big margins. That means that their political movement is a long-term transformation - one that is likely to continue in the foreseeable future, very seriously endangering Republicans and solidifying Democrats who occupy these seats.

All of these questions are particularly important for the DCCC to ponder in California, where 9 districts (8 of them represented by a Republican) swung from Bush to Obama - all in large movements ranging from 15% to 20%. And 3 of these 9 are on the list of 25 districts in which the share of the white population decreased the most!

  • One is represented by a Democrat: Jerry McNerny’s CA-11. It was 64% white in 2000, when it voted for Bush by 8%; it is now 51% white, and voted for Obama by 10%.
  • Two are represented by Republicans: McKeon’s CA-25 and Lungren’s CA-03. The former was 57% white in 2000, when it voted for Bush by 14%; it’s now 44% white, and it voted for Obama by 1%. The latter was 74% white in 2000, when it voted for Bush by 14%; it’s now 63% white, and it narrowly went for Obama.

When deciding which California seats are worth targeting, the DCCC should look very closely at CA-25 and CA-03, as they can now point to a concrete demographic reason that these districts so dramatically swung to Obama in 2008. By contrast, the NRCC might reconsider the high priority it’s put on CA-11: The district’s quite dramatic demographic evolution over the past 8 years makes the GOP pointing to Bush’s victories inadequate. McNerny looks less vulnerable.

Similar conclusions can be drawn in other districts, starting with Dem-held districts where incumbents can breath easier:

  • NV-03 (Titus): 69% white to 59% white; 1% Gore to 12% Obama
  • VA-11 (Connolly): 69% white to 57% white; 7% Bush to 15% Obama
  • CA-10 (vacant): 65% white to 55% white; 12% Gore to 32% Obama

Note that VA-11 is a very interesting case, as no one would point to the 2000 or 2004 results to argue that Connolly should be considered vulnerable. Northern Virginia’s blue drift has been accepted by most as a long-term phenomenon, and Obama’s 15% victory is recognized as a better indicator of Connolly’s (lack of) vulnerability. Also: I am only including CA-10 because a special election is coming up, and this gives us a useful indicator as to whether the GOP has a chance of defeating Lieutenant Governor Garamendi.

Then, we have GOP-held seats about which Republicans have reason to start worrying:

  • FL-12 (Putnam): 72% white to 63% white; 10% Bush to 1% McCain
  • TX-24 (Marchand): 64% white to 52% white; 36% Bush to 11% McCain
  • TX-10 (McCaul): 66% white to 55% white; 33% Bush to 11% McCain
  • FL-15 (Posey): 78% white to 69% white; 8% Bush to 3% McCain
  • NJ-07 (Lance): 79% to 70% white; 1% Bush to 3% Obama

Pay particular attention to FL-12, which will host an open seat race in 2010 since Putnam is running for statewide office. Based on the district’s giving Bush two large victories - not only 10% in 2000, but 16% in 2004 - the district is described as hostile to Democrats despite the 2008 election’s near tie. However, the fact that the partisan evolution coincidences with quite a stark demographic change suggests that we should pay more attention to last year’s results when deciding whether Democrats have a chance at picking-up the seat.

TX-24 and TX-10 still remain too conservative to be top-tier opportunities for the DCCC, though Democrats are mounting a spirited challenge to McCaul. Yet, it is clear that the demographic evolution is so rapidly threatening GOP dominance over these regions that it is probably only a matter of time before Democrats grow truly competitive.

That gets us to one final observation: The demographic problem the GOP faces in these districts is only the preview of a broader challenge they’ll face nationally as the share of the white population decreases in the United States as a whole. This will be a problem for Republicans at the presidential level and at the House level; it’s not like other districts will get whiter in a way to benefit Republicans because the GOP is losing its grip on the district I listed above. Republicans have to urgently find a way to update their electoral coalition; that they’ve alienated Hispanic voters in recent years certainly won’t help.


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The DCCC and NRCC’s priority lists

In an interview with the National Journal’s Congress Daily (via SSP), the DCCC’s executive director and the NRCC’s political director listed what they saw as their party’s 5-6 top pickup opportunities, each adding a number of promising second tier races.

Of course, these lists correspond to nothing tangible. Neither men promised to pour in money in these districts, nor did they commit to treating these races as competitive come the summer of 2010, nor did they suggest that other contests were not worth their time. And yet, it is certainly worth taking a look at their responses, as they provide us an early outline of where the 2010 midterms will be fought.

Target DCCC rating CD rating
DE-AL: Mike Castle Tier 1 Toss-up
FL-10: Bill Young Tier 1 Lean retention
LA-02: Ann Cao Tier 1 Toss-up
MI-11: Thad McCotter Tier 1 Lean retention
PA-06: Jim Gerlach Tier 1 Toss-up
MN-06: Michelle Bachmann Tier 2 Lean retention
OH-02: Jean Schmidt Tier 2 Likely retention
TX-10: Michael McCaul Tier 2 Likely retention

And the NRCC’s target list:

Target NRCC rating CD rating
ID-01: Walt Minnick Tier 1 Toss-up
MD-01: Frank Kratovil Tier 1 Toss-up
NH-01: Carol Shea-Porter Tier 1 Lean retention
OH-01: Steve Driehaus Tier 1 Lean retention
VA-02: Glenn Nye Tier 1 Lean retention
VA-05: Tom Perriello Tier 1 Toss-up
AL-02: Bobby Bright Tier 2 Toss-up
AL-05: Parker Griffith Tier 2 Lean retention
CO-04: Betsy Markey Tier 2 Toss-up
FL-08: Alan Grayson Tier 2 Lean retention
FL-24: Suzanne Kosmas Tier 2 Lean retention
MS-01: Travis Childers Tier 2 Lean retention
OH-15: Mary Jo Kilroy Tier 2 Lean retention

The first thing we can’t help but notice is that the NRCC’s list is longer, with 7 “tier 2″ races compared to 4 for the DCCC. That might be a trivial point, but it also speaks to a simple fact: After two cycles in which they picked up most low-hanging fruits, Democrats now have far more obviously vulnerable seats to defend than Republicans. (In my ratings, 27 Dem-held seats are categorized as “toss-up” or “lean retention,” compared to 18 GOP-held seats.)

The second striking fact is that the DCCC’s list, albeit shorter, contains more surprises than the NRCC’s. Democrats are really that optimistic about OH-02 and TX-10? Sure, Schmidt is strikingly unpopular and McCaul has drawn a very well-funded opponent, but they also hold conservative districts and decisively won competitive races in the tough 2008 environment. Sure, neither is safe, but it’s certainly a stretch to list them in the top 8 pickup opportunities.

It’s not even like the DCCC has an interest in hyping its commitment to unseating McCaul: They’ve already landed a top contender, so they don’t need to attract another one. Recruitment needs might account for the inclusion of another district, however: I am not surprised that MI-11 is on the list but I don’t think it is correct to put it this high since Democrats are experiencing a dreadful time landing a challenger to the obviously vulnerable McCotter.

By contrast, no district on the GOP’s list is a surprise inclusion. Republicans don’t have to think creatively but go after any Democrat who recently picked-up a swing district: All 12 of these districts are occupied by first or second-term Democrats - so all have been lost by the GOP in the past two cycles. That tells you all you need to know about how differently the two parties’ different approaches to the midterms.

The only district that might be worth discussing individually is MS-01: In such a conservative district, there is no doubt that Childers is vulnerable but the Democrat won his first re-election race with enough brio that it remained to be seen whether Republicans would go all-out against him in 2010. His inclusion could thus be the one newsworthy item of this list, as it takes care of any suspicion we might have had that the NRCC would give Childers a pass.

The explanation of this differential in surprises might very well be the same as the one for the list’s different lengths - Democrats have less obvious targets, so the DCCC gets to think more creatively. But that does not account for the fact that their list is missing many seats that I would say are better targets than MI-11, OH-02 and TX-10. In fact, 3 of the 6 GOP-held seats that I listed as toss-ups in my ratings are not on this list: AK-AL, IL-10 and WA-08! Also missing are any of the 8 ripe California district (some of which, like CA-03, are more promising than others), FL-25 or MN-03.

The NRCC’s list also contains a few omissions. First, while it is heavy on races from Florida, Virginia and Ohio races, the absence of any district from Pennsylvania (and, to a lesser extent, New Mexico and New York) is striking considering the long list of vulnerable seats in the Keystone State: PA-03, PA-04, PA-10 and PA-11 will all be 2010 battlegrounds.

Second, the NRCC’s most glaring omission is ID-01, a heavily red seat that looks to be the GOP’s best shot at a pick-up. This week, Republicans landed a top recruit: state House majority leader Ken Roberts announced he challenge Minnick. This is enough to put the incumbent in a very difficult position: The district is conservative enough that, as long as Republicans nominate a credible candidate who isn’t weighed down by scandal, they will be favored to pick-up the seat. (As far as I can tell, Roberts is the first high-profile challenger to jump in the race, though others like Attorney General Lawrence Wasden are also considering doing so.)

Update: As Cristinuity points out in the comments, ID-01 is included - so no need to read anything into that omission. That only reinforces the basic situation: Minnick is in trouble,  even more so now that Roberts is in.


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TX-10: McCaul will run for re-election

In disappointing news to Democrats, Texas Rep. Michael McCaul will not retire from the House. McCaul had expressed interest in running for the position of Attorney General next year, but his latest comments leave no doubt that he is running for re-election.

TX-10 is an elongated and gerrymandered district that stretches from Houston’s Harris County all the way to the outskirts of Austin. It voted for George W. Bush by 24% in 2004 and for John McCain by 11% last fall. It’s conservative territory - but it is undoubtedly trending towards Democrats. Houston’s suburbs have seen a boost in their Hispanic population, and districts like TX-10 could undergo a profound political transformation over the next few years.

That said, it makes little sense to discuss long-term evolution in Texas districts. The state could gain as many as three House seats following the next census, and that would mean yet another big round of redistricting that could leave the electoral map unrecognizable. In the immediate future, then, McCaul’s announcement deprives the DCCC a shot at an interesting open seat. Sure, Republicans would have been favored to keep the district, but the race would have been competitive.

With McCaul running for re-election, the NRCC is spared the headache of having to defend an open seat - but that does not mean that Republicans are out of the wood. In 2008, McCaul was held to 54% by a Democrat who was barely noticed by national observers until the final weeks of the campaign. Now, he has a already drawn a strong Democratic challenger. Wealthy businessman Jack McDonald just made news by massively outraising McCaul in the first quarter of 2009 - $311,000 to $98,000, a discrepancy no other challenger came even close to matching.

On the other hand, McCaul clearly retains the upper-hand. For one, the district’s demographics have yet to change enough for TX-10 to be ready to switch over its party allegiance. Second, McCaul did not under-perform relatively to McCain, which at least suggests that he is not handicapped by a personal vulnerability. Third, the Democrats’ decent performance in 2008 was driven by a boost in minority turnout that is unlikely to hold next year. Fourth, Jack McDonald might have trouble mobilizing the district’s Democratic activists given that he supported George W. Bush’s presidential bids.

McCaul’s decision keeps the list of retiring representatives to twelve - 8 of them Republicans. None of these GOP-held open seats looks promising for Democrats, though I have argued that FL-12, MI-02 and OK-05 could all potentially emerge as competitive races.

Only one other Texas representative is mentioned as a potential retiree: Republican Rep. Ralph Hall, 85, currently the oldest serving member of the House. Hall represents TX-04, a staunchly conservative district that gave McCain 69% of the vote - almost as much as Bush received in 2004 (70%). In other words, Democrats do not have much to hope for even if Hall decides to retire.

In fact, in what is a predictive consequence of excessive gerrymandering, very few Texas districts have the potential to be competitive next year. Only three of Texas’s 32 districts had the presidential candidates within single-digits:

  • TX-23, picked up by Democrat Ciro Rodriguez in 2006, voted for Bush 57% to 43% in 2004; it gave Barack Obama a 3% victory - great news for Rodriguez.
  • TX-27, represented by Democratic Rep. Solomon Ortiz, swung to Obama by an impressive 18%: It gave Bush a 55-44 victory in 2004 and Obama a 53-46 victory.
  • TX-32, held by current NRCC Chairman Pete Sessions, also shifted leftward last fall: Bush won the district by 20% in 2004 but McCain was held to 53% of the vote - enough to put the district on our radar list. African-Americans and Hispanics make up more than 40% of the district, which also has a sizable Jewish community. Will Democrats be able to recruit a good candidate to take advantage of these openings and tie up the NRCC Chairman in his home district?

The most eye-popping transformation occurred in TX-28, represented by Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar: The district swung by a stunning 20% in the space of four years (from an 8% victory for Bush to a 12% victory for Obama). That should make Cuellar feel much better about his future bids. On the other hand, it looks unlikely Democrats will be able to recapture TX-22 now that they cannot benefit from the bizarre circumstances of Tom DeLay’s retirement. Freshman Rep. Pete Olsen, who unseated Democratic Rep. Lampson in 2008, is protected by TX-22’s conservative tilt: McCain won the district 58% to 41%.


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Fundraising: A few noteworthy Q1 reports

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

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

Outraised House incumbents

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

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

All eyes were on Jim Bunning

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

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

Less than $1,000 for Burris

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

Young stays on the “retirement watch”

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

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

Frontline Democrats

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

Pennsylvania’s Senate primary

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

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


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Second-tier House races draw challengers

Bernier’s almost in, but is Murphy even vulnerable?

Looking to rebound after two calamitous election cycles in which they lost three House seats, Connecticut Republicans are hoping to contest CT-05, the least Democratic of the state’s five districts. And they just got a credible candidate to take a step towards the race: Justin Bernier resigned from his position as an executive director of the state Office of Military Affairs in what is almost certainly a step towards a congressional run. “I’ve been meeting with [Republican] party leaders across the state about running,” Bernier said. “I should have a decision in the not-too-distant future.”

That said, is Rep. Chris Murphy even vulnerable? CT-05 might be the least Democratic district of the state, but Obama crushed McCain 56% to 42%. (On the other hand, John Kerry and George W. Bush tied at 49%.) Moreover, Murphy has proved to be a formidable politician who has scored two very impressive victories over the past two cycles. In 2006, he crushed then-Rep. Nancy Johnson by double-digits in what was supposed to be one of the tightest elections of the year. In 2008, the NRCC touted state Senator David Cappiello as one of its most promising recruits; by the summer of 2008, no one was paying any attention to CT-05 and Murphy crushed Cappiello 59% to 39%.Can Bernier do any better?

California’s blue drift inspires Beth Krom

Last fall, eight solidly red California districts represented by Republican congressmen swung leftward and voted for Barack Obama. And just like that, 8 representatives found themselves on the Democrats’ target list. Most of them will probably be able to cruise to re-election in 2010, but the DCCC is sure to keep an eye on these races and good recruits could be all Democrats need to make a major push.

CA-48 is one of these eight districts, and Rep. Campbell just got himself a credible challenger: former Irvine Mayor Beth Krom has announced her candidacy, and her pre-existing relationship with Democratic activists should enable her to build a strong campaign infrastructure. Irvine only covers part of the district (the city’s population is estimated at 200,000), but the fact that it is not a Dem-leaning city should further boost Krom’s electability argument.

McCaul’s plans are unclear in TX-10, but he is already drawing a challenger

Earlier this year, we learned that Rep. Michael McCaul was considering running for Texas’s Attorney General position. Yet, his spokesperson reportedly said last week that the congressman would run for re-election in 2010. There seems to be little confirmation of that, and McCaul remains on the list of potential retirees; but this certainly suggests that Democrats should not get ahead of themselves and start celebrating the prospect of an open seat.

On the other hand, Democrats are close to recruiting a credible candidate to challenge McCaul: John T. “Jack” McDonald, a high-tech executive just formed an explanatory committee. McDonald’s main asset would be fundraising, as his business ties and his personal fortune should allow him to raise donations and fund his own campaign. On the other hand, McDonald donated to both of George W. Bush’s re-election campaign - and that certainly won’t get party activists excited.


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Rumors: Voinovich and McCaul Mull Exit, Florida and Missouri Search Senate Candidates

Throughout December, politicians across the country promised they would use the holiday period to reflect on their electoral plans and come to some decisions. It is no surprise, then, that the first few days of 2009 are so rich in retirement and recruitment drama. In fact, there should be plenty more in the weeks ahead and the rumor mill is working full time.

Ohio, and Voinovich’s retirement:

Kit Bond’s somewhat unexpected retirement announcement has made Republicans paranoid that other Senators are looking to follow suit, and it did not take long for articles to pop up about Ohio’s George Voinovich, who is in his 70s. Today, The Columbus Dispatch and Political Machine are both reporting that he is very seriously looking at the possibility of retirement; the latter story hints that Voinovich might be coming out with an announcement as early as next week.

Both parties have candidates waiting in the wings (see my Senate page for more background), and an open race would be hotly contested by both parties. But there is no question that a Voinovich exit would be horrendous news for the GOP at a time they already have a lot to deal with.

Florida, and Sink’s candidacy:

Former Governor Jeb Bush’s decision not to run for Florida’s open Senate race has freed up other Republicans who are now considering a bid; but Democrats are still waiting for their towering figure, state CFO Alex Sink. The latest speculation was sparked by an interview Sink gave to St. Petersburg Times. She notes that “open seats like this don’t come around very often” and describes herself as “very strongly considering” running. It would be hard to blame the DSCC if they got excited by such comments, and it does sound like Sink is leaning towards a run.

Missouri, and the GOP nomination:

Barely 24 hours have passed since Kit Bond’s announcement that he will not seek re-election, but there have been plenty of maneuvering among Missouri Republicans. Politico reports that former Senator Jim Talent was likely to jump in the race; and Rep. Roy Blunt also looks like a probable candidate now that his son (outgoing Governor Matt Blunt) touted his father’s prospects. And former state Treasurer Sarah Steelman told The St. Louis Dispatch that she was “thinking about it.”

As I suggested yesterday, it looks like the GOP will not be able to avoid a divisive, crowded (and thus unpredictable) primary. To make matters worse, Republicans are already taking shots at each other, with Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder criticizing Steelman’s words on Bond. That confirms that Steelman’s candidacy could make this a particularly bruising primary, since it could lead to a replay of the alliances of the 2008 gubernatorial contest that left nominee Kenny Hulshof to weak to run an effective campaign.

An open seat in Texas?

Rep. Michael McCaul is considering a run for state Attorney General, a position that is now occupied by a man who is rumored to be eying Texas’s Lieutenant Governorship. McCaul’s move would open TX-10, a staunchly conservative district that gave George Bush 62% of the vote in 2004 but that has been rapidly trending leftward due to a rising Hispanic population. In fact, McCaul’s re-election race became unexpectedly competitive in the final weeks of the 2008 cycle. But the DCCC never invested in the district, and McCaul survived by 11%. In other words, Republicans would be favored to hold on to an open House seat, but Democrats would have a shot at scoring an upset.


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Rating changes, House edition: GOP continues to lose grip on base districts

It is hard to believe that there are only three full days of campaigning let before Election Day, but in a number of districts the die might already have been cast due to the high proportion of voters who have already cast their ballot. The results might very well have already been decided, for instance, in NV-02, NV-03, OR-05, NC-08 or CO-04.

Even if nothing has been cast in stone in most of these districts, there is little campaigns can do at this point but focus on their GOTV efforts and hope that the presidential coattails will help them. The slightest change in the electorate’s breakdown could yield dramatic consequences at the House level (for instance, a boost in black turnout could be all Democrats need in at least half-a-dozen GOP-held seats), and any GOP uptick in the final days could save the party a large number of seats. Indeed, many of the Republican incumbents who have become endangered only over the past few weeks will stand or fall together.

If Democrats have a strong wind behind their back on Tuesday, we should expect a shockingly high number of races that are currently rated likely Republican to fall to the opposition. If turnout is lower than expected among sporadic voters or if late deciders break towards the GOP, the party’s second and third tier races might weather the storm.

For now, all indications point to the former scenario. Of the 14 rating changes I am introducing today, 11 favor Democrats, and yet another GOP-held seat migrates to the lean Democratic column, bringing the grand total to a staggering eighteen. (By contrast, only three Dem-held seats are rated lean or likely take-over.) To make matters worse, a number of Republican incumbents who were only recently added to these ratings (let alone to a competitive category) are being moved to the lean retention column. Who would have thought just a month ago that SC-01, TX-07, TX-10 and VA-05 would look like battlegrounds in the week-end heading into the election?

This, more than anything else, is what should terrify Republicans. The political environment is putting seats in play that would never even be mentioned in any other year. If the GOP does not pull off a strong ground game over the next… 72 hours, its House caucus risks being decimated.

Note, when reading these ratings, that a “lean” designation means that the race tilts towards one candidate but that the contest remains highly competitive and that an opposite result would not be surprising. A “likely” designation signals that a candidate is strongly favored and that the opposite result would be a considered a stunning upset - though we should certainly expect a number of those on Tuesday nights. There is simply not enough data on House races to draw exact conclusions as to which district are the most vulnerable.

  • Safe Democratic: 207
  • Likely/Safe Democratic: 230
  • Lean/Likely/Safe Democratic: 245
  • Toss-ups: 26
  • Lean/Likely/Safe Republican: 164
  • Likely/Safe Republican: 150
  • Safe Republican: 126

Full ratings available here.

AK-AL, lean Democratic to likely Democratic: Any hope Rep. Don Young might have had to overcome the ethical scandals that surround him and survive Tuesday’s vote evaporated with Ted Stevens’ conviction. The state GOP’s corruption troubles and Young’s ruined reputation were once again cast in the spotlight. Ethan Berkowitz has been leading Young for months, and Democrats are poised to win their first federal race in this state since the 1970s.

FL-24, lean Democratic to likely Democratic: Rep. Tom Feeney was caught in the worst position a politician can find himself in: He was so damaged by reports of his ties to Jack Abramoff that he simply had to air an ad apologizing - but in so doing he might very well have sealed his fate. Even Republicans no longer believe Feeney can survive, and the NRCC has not spent a dime on his behalf; Democrats, meanwhile, have spent more than $1,1 million and have ensured that the Abramoff-funded Scotland trip remains on voters’ minds with some hard-hitting ads of their own. The only poll we have seen of late has been a DCCC internal showing Kosmas leading by 23%; that might have seemed excessive, but the GOP’s failure to release a counter-poll reveals just as much about the state of the race as the DCCC’s poll.

IN-03, lean Republican to toss-up: This is not a district Republicans should worry about for a single minute. George Bush got 68% of the vote in 2004 - but Rep. Mark Souder only prevailed by 8% in 2006 against an underfunded opponent. This year, Democratic attorney Michael Montagano is attracting more attention and he is being helped by national Democrats. Both congressional committees have engaged in the district over the past few weeks, with the DCCC outspending its counterpart 2:1. It would be a true upset for Souder to lose, but two recent polls confirm that the race is now a dead heat and Montagano from Barack Obama’s remarkable ground game in the Hoosier State. Who would have thought a Democratic presidential candidate could help down-the-ballot candidate in such a conservative district?

KY-03, lean Democratic to likely Democratic: What was expected to be one of the hottest races of the 2008 cycle has turned out into an easy re-election campaign for Rep. Yarmuth. Anne Northup, the incumbent who Yarmuth narrowly defeated in 2006, is poised to suffer her third high-profile defeat in as many years (she also lost the GOP’s gubernatorial nomination in 2007). Recent SUSA polls show Yarmuth with a wide lead, and the DCCC has not bothered investing a dime in the district. Given how much money Democrats have, would they not have moved in this race if they thought Yarmuth was endangered?

MO-06, lean Republican to likely Republican: This has perhaps been the most disappointing race for Democrats this year. Former Kansas City Mayor Kay Barnes was one of their top recruits, but as other Democrats got more and more competitive, Barnes faded away. Perhaps this was due to Rep. Graves’ quick hit on his opponent: his spring ad attacking Barnes’ San Fransisco values provoked much controversy, will surely be remembered as one of the most memorable ads of the year and might have discredited Barnes. SUSA’s latest poll has Rep. Graves jumping to a shocking 18% lead, and, in the surest sign that Graves has gotten himself out of trouble, the DCCC has dropped out of the district for the past two weeks. All of this said, if there is one year in which a Democratic challenger can beat all the odds and unexpectedly prevail, it’s this one - so don’t completely rule out an upset.

MS-01, lean Democratic to likely Democratic: Travis Childers won a high-profile special election in May, and it is rare for voters to fire an incumbent after only a few months. The DCCC has poured in more than $200,000 over the past few months, while the NRCC has not engaged. Childers should be boosted further by the surge in African-American turnout that is manifesting itself in Southern states that propose early voting.

NC-05, off the map to likely Republican: It seems insane to put this district on our radar screen, and frankly, it is insane. But in the current environment, no Republican incumbent who is facing a credible Democratic challenger can be entirely safe, particularly in a state like North Carolina where the electorate has so dramatically shifted blue.

NY-26, toss-up to lean Republican: While the race remains highly competitive, we can now say that Republican candidate Chris Lee has a slight advantage. Alice Kryzan’s unexpected victory in the Democratic primary led hurts her party’s efforts to win the seat, and, despite the DCCC spending almost $2 million in this seat, a recent independent poll shows Lee grabbing a double-digit lead. That might be overstating his advantage, as New York Republicans are an endangered species, but Democrats are no longer as optimistic as they were in the spring.

PA-03, toss-up to lean Democratic: Democratic challenger Kathy Dahlkemper was always considered a good recruit by Democrats. but this was never supposed to be a top-tier race. But we got our first taste of how vulnerable Rep. Phil English was when the NRCC chose to make one of its very first investments here. Unfortunately for Republicans, that did not prevent the DCCC from significantly outspending its counterpart (and pouring in a total of $1.5 million over the past 6 weeks). Pushed by the Democratic wind, Dahlkemper is in a strong position to knock off the incumbent Republican. An English victory would certainly not be shocking, but the race now narrowly tilts Democratic.

PA-12, lean Democratic to toss-up: The situation is getting worse by the day for Jack Murtha ever since he described Western Pennsylvania as a “racist” area. The comments have attracted a huge amount of attention in the local media, and the GOP is moving to make sure that every voter is aware of the controversy by Tuesday. A bombshell exploded today as it was revealed that the NRCC had bought $465,000 worth of air time to use against Murtha, guaranteeing that his comments continue to receive one play. Given that the NRCC has had to pull hte plug on a number of endangered Republican incumbents, for them to invest this much money in this seat means that they are very confident that Murtha’s comments have been a game changer.

SC-01, likely Republican to lean Republican: Republican incumbents in districts with a substantial African-American population are in grave danger of falling to the boost in black turnout that we have been already seeing in states like North Carolina and Georgia. This race was nowhere on our radar’s screen at the beginning of October, and Rep. Brown certainly remains favored. But an upset by (openly gay) Democrat Linda Ketner is looking increasingly plausible. The DCCC has only invested limited resources in the district ($70,000), but that could be due to Ketner’s ability to spend her own money.

TX-07, likely Republican to lean Republican: The DCCC might not have spent anything in this district, but that is not necessarily because they don’t believe it is competitive: Democratic challenger Michael Skelly is a wealthy business executive who has donated a lot of money to his own campaign and he entered October with more than $1 million of cash on hand. That might not be enough by itself to knock off a Republican incumbent in a conservative district, but it certainly contributes to making the race competitive. And while Bush obtained a huge percentage of the vote here in 2004, Texas Republicans are worried that their numbers will deflate now that their former Governor no longer is on the ballot.

TX-10, likely Republican to lean Republican: This district might be ever so slightly less Republican than TX-07, but Bush got more than 60% of the vote in 2000 and in 2004 - underscoring just how difficult it will be for Democrats to score a shocking upset. But Democratic candidate and lawyer Larry Joe Doherty has raised enough money to be a credible contender and contest the district even without the DCCC”s help. Until we know the post-Bush state of Texas Republicans, Rep. McCaul has a target on his back and a Research 2000 poll released this week showed the incumbent leading by only 4% - and well under 50%.

VA-05, likely Republican to lean Republican: Rep. Goode is so entrenched in this district that he has run (and won) as a Democrat, an independent and a Republican. Now, he is finally facing a difficult re-election race in a state that is quickly shifting away from the GOP. The DCCC has invested more than $600,000 in the district over the course of three weeks, confirming that we should keep a close eye on this district. A victory by Democratic challenger Tom Perriello would no longer be a shocker.

Full ratings available here.


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Poll watch: Obama dominates in Colorado, varying fortunes for GOP incumbents in long-shot districts

Another day, and another round of polls show no sign of tightening. In fact, there is nothing in today’s release for McCain supporters to grasp as a potential sign of hope. In the national polls, it is Newsweek’s turn to find Obama leading by double-digits. Taken together, the day’s eight national surveys paint a very similar picture: Obama is at or above 50% in seven of the eight polls, and McCain is in the low 40s in all eight, oscillating between 40% and 44%.

This is where the race has stood for weeks, with most of the movement occurring within those ranges. That both candidates’ numbers have been so static throughout October makes it difficult to see how McCain could benefit from some last-minute shifting.

At the state level, there wasn’t a lot of polling released today, but the Rocky Mountain News’s poll of Colorado is very important, as it suggests that Obama has opened a commanding lead in a crucial state. More than a quarter of registered voters (and more than 30% of the number of 2004 voters) have already cast a ballot in this state, so time is pressing for McCain to change voters’ minds. Keep in mind that McCain needs to win a blue state if he loses Colorado. And how likely is that to happen? Obama is closer to winning South Dakota than McCain is to winning Pennsylvania in today’s polls. Enough said.

  • Obama leads 52% to 40% in a Newsweek national poll. Among registered voters, he leads by 13%. (Obama led by 11% two weeks ago.) This survey confirms that Sarah Palin’s image has deteriorated, as it is the first Newsweek poll in which Palin’s favorability rating is a net negative.
  • Obama maintains his dominant position in the tracking polls. He extends his lead by 1% in Rasmussen (52% to 44%) and Gallup (51% to 43%). The margin remains stable in Research 2000 (52% to 40%), Hotline (50% to 43%), Washington Post/ABC (53% to 44%) and IBD/TIPP (46% to 42%). Obama loses 1% in Zogby, but remains largely ahead 51% to 42%. So his leads are: 4%, 7%, 8%, 8%, 9%, 9%, 12%.
  • Obama leads 52% to 40% in a Rocky Mountain News poll of Colorado. The poll was taken by GOP firm Public Opinion Strategies.
  • Ohio: Obama leads 49% to 46% in a University of Cincinnati “Newspaper poll.”(McCain led by 2% two weeks ago). Obama leads 51% to 44% in a PPP poll (he gets 86% of Democrats and leads independents by 12%).

Meanwhile, in down the ballot polls, where we get a lot of news from House races:

  • Jeanne Shaheen leads 52% to 46% in a Rasmussen poll of the New Hampshire Senate race. She led by 5% three weeks ago.
  • In MO-09, GOP candidate Bruce Luetkemeyer leads 47% to 42% in a Research 2000 poll. He led by 9% a month ago.
  • In AL-02, GOP candidate Jay Love leads 47% to 45% in a Research 2000 poll. However, the share of the African-American vote is about half of where it ought to be.
  • In IN-09, Democratic Rep. Baron Hill leads 53% to 38% in a SUSA poll. He led by the same margin last month. Hill leads by 32% among the 12% of the sample that has already voted.
  • In NJ-05, Rep. Garrett leads 47% to 40% in a Research 2000 poll. He led by 15% a month ago.
  • In SC-01, GOP Rep. Brown leads 48% to 37% in a Research 2000 poll. 32% of African-Americans are undecided, versus only 10% of white voters, so Democratic challenger Linda Ketner has room to grow.
  • In SC-02, GOP Rep. Wilson leads 47% to 45% in a Research 2000 poll. Here again, most undecided voters are African-American, which could boost Democratic challenger Miller’s numbers.

Beyond the obviously competitive races of AL-02 and MO-09 (both of which look competitive though the Missouri numbers must be a relief for Republicans), Daily Kos commissioned Research 2000 to conduct surveys in a number of long-shot races. NJ-05, SC-01, SC-02, TX-10 and NC-10: These are all races that were on no one’s radar screen as of two weeks ago.

Keep in mind that Democrats are unlikely to win more than a few of these late breaking races, but any pick-up in this list would be considered a huge upset and icing on the cake for Democrats. In all of these districts but TX-10, the Republican incumbent leads outside of the margin of error, though only Rep. McHenry crosses the 50% threshold. That justifies our keeping a watch on NJ-05, TX-10, SC-01 and SC-02.


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Rating changes, House edition: DCCC continues to expand map

For the final stretch to Election Day, I am launching a new format for my Senate and House ratings. For the past 14 months, I have offered detailed descriptions of every Senate and House race, but that takes me too long for me to be able to update my ratings frequently enough now that the field of play is in constant flux. So I will only list those districts whose ratings is being changed with a brief explanation, and will thus hopefully be able to make this a regular feature over the next 23 days. (Senate and presidential rating changes should both come within 48 hours.)

As is to be expected, the environment continues to be toxic for the GOP and that is leading Democrats to continue making gains at the House level. Of these 9 rating changes, eight favor Democrats and two more GOP-held seats (NY-29 and OH-15) move to the lean take-over category. In some districts the GOP’s headaches are facing are exacerbated by local factors (that is the case for instance in Michigan, where McCain’s pull out means trouble for Reps. Walberg and Knollenberg), while in others Democrats are riding the national wave of voter discontent - how else to explain that the GOP is looking to invest in MN-06 or that the DCCC has poured in money in AZ-03 or NE-02?

Here is an overview of the new outlook:

  • Likely/Safe Democratic: 210 seats (+1)
  • Lean/Likely/Safe Democratic: 238 seats (+3)
  • Toss-ups: 29 seats (-3)
  • Lean/Likely/Safe Republican: 168 seats
  • Likely/Safe Republican: 157 seats (-2)

IN-09, lean Democratic to likely Democratic: Republicans have not been able to gain as much traction as in past years for what is the fourth straight match-up between Baron Hill and Mike Sodrel. Hill won in 2002 and 2006, Sodrel won in 2004. Barack Obama’s unexpected strength in the Hoosier State has undercut the GOP’s hope that presidential coattails would carry Sodrel through the finish line as they did in 2004, not to mention that Hill will benefit from Obama’s strong ground game while the McCain campaign has spent little time organizing Indiana. Recent independent polls have found Hill leading by double-digits.

MI-09, lean Republican to toss-up: Rep. Knollenberg’s prospects have collapsed over the past month. This is a swing district (Bush prevailed with 51% of the vote in 2004), and it is filled with Reagan Democrats - one of the constituencies that have been moving to the Democratic Party because of the financial crisis. And McCain’s decision to pull out of the state is devastating for Knollenberg, who was partly relying on the presidential campaign’s turnout effort to mobilize his own supporters. Democratic candidate Peters has been polling ahead or even; Peters leads by 11% in a DCCC poll, but the DCCC’s internal numbers in many districts have been far more favorable for Democrats than those of other firms; an independent poll and an internal poll for Peters find the race within single digits. That sounds more believable, but what also seems certain is that Knollenberg is way under 50% - in fact, he looks to be stuck in the low 40s, deadly territory for an incumbent, especially when he can’t count on a superior ground game to help him.

MN-06, likely Republican to lean Republican: Democrat Elwyn Tinklenberg is a solid contender but he had failed to get much traction up until now, and Rep. Bachmann was considered relatively safe this year, but the NRCC evidently does not feel this way as they are reportedly divesting resources out of highly competitive MN-03 and into MN-06. That will certainly help protect Bachmann (especially if the DCCC doesn’t move in) but it still signals that she is more endangered than expected.

NE-02, off the map to lean Republican: Democrats have been mentioning this race for a while, but this is conservative enough a district for a Republican incumbent to be given the benefit of the doubt. But the DCCC’s unexpected decision to invest significant resources in the race - they have already spent more than $200,000 - puts it on the list of competitive races, especially when you combine the DCCC’s investment to Obama’s efforts in the state (the presidential campaign has opened 2 field offices in Omaha, forcing Sarah Palin to come and campaign). Democrats are making a rare push to organize Omaha, and that puts NE-02 in play.

NV-02, likely Republican to lean Republican: Nevada Democrats are riding the momentum of big registration gains, while Republicans are being weighed down by the unpopularity of their governor, not to mention the GOP’s national difficulties. That gives an opening to Jill Derby, who is back for a rematch in this conservative district. An independent poll recently found Rep. Heller leading but under 50% and in single-digits, so the race is certainly competitive.

NY-29, toss-up to lean Democratic: Republicans currently hold six seats in the Empire State, and Democrats have been targeting four of them - including three in upstate New York. Of these four seats, NY-29 is the only one featuring an incumbent. Rep. Kuhl barely survived the 2006 cycle, and Democrat Eric Massa is back for a rematch. It is never easy to topple an incumbent, but New York’s Republican Party is in disarray and Kuhl looks highly vulnerable. Three polls released over the past week (one by SUSA, one by Research 2000 and one released by Democrats) show Massa leading outside of the margin of error, with Kuhl in the low 40s. That’s not a good place to be for an incumbent. Add to that the DCCC’s commitment to fund this race, and Democrats have a slight edge.

OH-15, toss-up to lean Democratic:  If the political environment didn’t favor Democrats, Republicans would be very well positioned to defy the odds and retain this district. Mary Jo Kilroy hasn’t been a strong campaigner (she was favored to pick-up the seat in 2006 but fell short in one of the GOP’s most unexpected victories of the cycle) and Republican state Sen. Stivers is a strong recruit. But this is not a neutral year, and any Republican would face an uphill fight in an open seat in a swing district like OH-15. A recent SUSA poll and an internal DCCC poll find Kilroy leading by single-digits, and that is where the race should be on paper as well: Kilroy underperforming but able to hold on to a slight lead. Add to that the DCCC’s commitment to win this seat over (they have already spent more than $1 million dollar!), and the picture looks even bleaker for the GOP.

TX-07, off the map to likely Republican: An independent poll showing a single-digit race and an incumbent under 50% is enough to warrant a race a place in these ratings. This contest could still move up depending on how aggressive Democrats are at pursuing it, but this is certainly an unlikely district for them to score a pick-up.

WA-08, toss-up to lean Republican: This should be one of the Democrats’ top priorities this cycle. Rep. Reichert barely survived against Democratic challenger and netroots favorite Darcy Burner in 2006 (51% to 49%) and Burner is back for a rematch. She has proved a solid fundraiser, and Obama should help bring out the Democratic base. In the current pro-Democratic climate, races like this should be moving towards Democrats; yet, multiple independent polls (including a couple from SUSA and one from Research 2000 released this week) find Reichert with a comfortable lead and hovering around the 50% mark. One explanation is that the heavy fire Burner endured in 2006 left her with high negative ratings and too bruised to mount as strong a challenge this year. Second, the Chamber of Commerce is targeting the Democrat with a sizable $400,000 ad buy, while the DCCC has not inexplicably not spent any resources on Burner’s behalf.

Full ratings available here.



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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