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News & discussion on house and senate races

 
 
nimh
 
Reply Wed 6 Oct, 2004 04:18 pm
I don't think there's a thread focusing on them yet - even though the off-chance of the Democrats gaining control over the Senate would arguably have as great an impact as a presidential win.
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nimh
 
  1  
Reply Wed 6 Oct, 2004 04:23 pm
Here's one report about a race that has all the fierceness of the national one - but sharply veers off from the usual political fault lines, apparently. Coburn vs Carson in Oklahoma.

Quote:
Turnabout in Okla. Senate Race
Democrat Carson Backs Iraq War; Deficit Worries GOP's Coburn

By Lois Romano
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, October 4, 2004; Page A07

TULSA, Oct. 3 -- At times it was hard to tell who was the Democrat and who was the Republican in what has shaped up as one of the most important Senate races in the country.

Oklahoma's Senate candidates faced off on NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday, with Rep. Brad Carson (D) repeatedly embracing GOP policies and President Bush, and Republican Tom Coburn, a former House member, invoking John F. Kennedy's name and suggesting as "evil" a $442 billion budget deficit brought on by a GOP Congress and administration. [..]

But Coburn spent much of his time during the 30-minute debate defending himself, whereas Carson was able to advocate his own moderate credentials, and draw his differences with Democratic presidential nominee John F. Kerry on key topics such as Iraq. He said he disagrees with Kerry's statement that Iraq was a "wrong" war.

"I supported the president and the resolution when it came through Congress," Carson said. "I believe that our success in Iraq is critical to our future. And I believe that, if anything, we should be more vigorous in destroying the sanctuaries that terrorists have carved out for themselves."

Coburn and Carson are locked in a nasty race for the seat being vacated by Republican Don Nickles. Polls show Carson leading after a month of aggressive campaigning and advertising, coupled with revelations about Coburn's work as a doctor and some odd comments by Coburn that the Carson campaign ensured made it into the public domain.

Moderator Tim Russert pressed Coburn on some of those issues. He asked Coburn to explain a recent comment that he would have voted against the USA Patriot Act, which Carson supports. Coburn said, "I support the president's policies. I would have voted for the Patriot Act. . . . I said I had some concerns. Anytime that we are asked to give up freedom to maintain our freedom, I have some concerns with it."

Coburn was also asked about a recent remark characterizing the race as a choice between "good and evil." Coburn, a family doctor, maintained that it was not a personal comment about Carson, but a general comment about values in the country. [..]

Coburn found himself having to pronounce what should be a given -- his support of Bush -- when Russert asked about his endorsement of conservative commentator Alan Keyes for president against Bush in the 2000 primary.

Coburn did not retreat from another controversial comment he made in August, when he suggested that those who perform abortions should be subject to the death penalty.

"In many states we don't have the death penalty. In other states we do," he said. "But I believe that we have to stay on the side of life. If somebody intentionally takes life at any stage throughout the country, except to save a life, and that's innocent life, I think we have to use the law that's on the books to respond to that, I sure do."
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dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Wed 6 Oct, 2004 06:06 pm
In Colorado, Ken Salazar (democrat) was considered a shoe-in to replace Ben NightHorse Campbell (republican) until Pete Coors won the primary and is spending the mega-bucks to bring him into contention for the Senate race.
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 6 Oct, 2004 06:08 pm
I have no idea what's up here. I've been focused on Kerry/ Bush.

That ain't right. I'll do some research.

Yeah, Dem-controlled Senate would be huge.
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realjohnboy
 
  1  
Reply Wed 6 Oct, 2004 06:29 pm
Nimh...you are something else, something else, indeed.
Most Americans can't get beyond polls re the national popular vote:
B @ 46% vs K @ 45% or whatever, ignoring or ignorant of the whole Electoral College thing which you understand well.
And now you are going to get into analyzing our Congressional races?
You are awesome, and I mean that sincerely.
Amsterdam, that's like...where is it? Somewhere in Europe, isn't it?
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joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Wed 6 Oct, 2004 10:15 pm
Sabato's Crystal Ball (click on Senate or House for congressional races).
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nimh
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 Oct, 2004 06:30 pm
Rasmussen notes that "the race to replace John Edwards as North Carolina's next U.S. Senator" is now "too close to call".

Its latest survey shows Republican Richard Burr with 47% of the vote and Democrat Erskine Bowles with 45%.

It notes that "during the summer, most polls showed Bowles with a double-digit lead." I remember seeing a couple of earlier polls last month also already showing the race very close, though with Bowles still in the lead.

In terms of reasons for the shift, Rasmussen points to Burr's effective advertising campaign this fall, which "has highlighted Bowles' working relationship with former President Bill Clinton".
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Baldimo
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 Oct, 2004 06:35 pm
nimh wrote:
Rasmussen notes that "the race to replace John Edwards as North Carolina's next U.S. Senator" is now "too close to call".

Its latest survey shows Republican Richard Burr with 47% of the vote and Democrat Erskine Bowles with 45%.

It notes that "during the summer, most polls showed Bowles with a double-digit lead." I remember seeing a couple of earlier polls last month also already showing the race very close, though with Bowles still in the lead.

In terms of reasons for the shift, Rasmussen points to Burr's effective advertising campaign this fall, which "has highlighted Bowles' working relationship with former President Bill Clinton".
My guess would be that they want a Senator that will be around to work on state issues instead of being gone all the time. Didn't a local paper that supported him refer to Edwards as MIA?
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nimh
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 Oct, 2004 07:49 pm
Baldimo wrote:
My guess would be that they want a Senator that will be around to work on state issues instead of being gone all the time. Didn't a local paper that supported him refer to Edwards as MIA?

You might want to look into this thread, Baldimo.

"During his five years in the Senate, Edwards voted 1,551 times out of 1,626 roll-call votes"
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 Oct, 2004 08:56 pm
Cheney SAID that Edwards was known in North Carolina as "Mr. Gone." Bear, who lives in North Carolina, said "huh"? The record seems to indicate that there would be no reason for him to be called that.

I haven't researched that one yet, if I find anything interesting I'll add it to the lying liar thread.
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 Oct, 2004 08:59 pm
OK, found something. Will post there. (It was "Senator Gone", not "Mr. Gone.")
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littlek
 
  1  
Reply Thu 7 Oct, 2004 09:14 pm
we've got some pretty dull races going on. Our issues aren't that exciting either. We are so not a swing state. We are however going in that direction, I think. As the burbs get more and more infused with people from other areas coming for the high tech and bioscience jobs - or, at least, that's what I think is happening.
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Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Fri 8 Oct, 2004 02:19 am
Re: News & discussion on house and senate races
nimh wrote:
I don't think there's a thread focusing on them yet - even though the off-chance of the Democrats gaining control over the Senate would arguably have as great an impact as a presidential win.

Thanks for starting this thread, nimh!

After I had asked you about this subject in your "bookie" thread, I found the "Congress 2004" page at pollingreport.com. (No idea why I had failed to notice it before.) On the face of it, it looks as if the Democrats' chances aren't so 'off' at all. They appear to have gained a lot of ground after the Republican convention, and they are leading by 3-4% in all the recent polls for the congressional elections. Unless self-serving redistricting has a strong enough impact to offset this lead, the odds aren't looking too bad for the Democrats at all.
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nimh
 
  1  
Reply Sat 9 Oct, 2004 05:42 pm
Re: News & discussion on house and senate races
Thomas wrote:
On the face of it, it looks as if the Democrats' chances aren't so 'off' at all. They appear to have gained a lot of ground after the Republican convention, and they are leading by 3-4% in all the recent polls for the congressional elections. Unless self-serving redistricting has a strong enough impact to offset this lead, the odds aren't looking too bad for the Democrats at all.


Hmm ... the race sure is tight in a lot of Senate races ... but the problem is that the Dems, in order to win a majority in the Senate, would need to basically win all of them.

More Republicans are continuing, their seats not up for election this year, than Dems, which means that there'll in any case be 36 Republicans and 30 Democrats in the Senate.

Then there's the races that are considered safe. According to a page I'll link in below, some 12 Republicans and 14 Democrats are considered safe for reelection. That makes for 48 Republicans and 44 Democrats.

Now 50-50 isn't enough - I believe it's the VP who then casts the deciding vote. So in case we end up with a President Bush again, the Dems would need 51 seats to control the Senate. (That's "control" in the loosest way possible of course, re: the Dems that often vote along with the government). Which means they need to win 7 out of 8 of the Senate seats that are considered "up for grabs".

There's a wonderful little interactive map on those Senate races (here come the link) here at the LA Times. Click the words "flash map" in that paragraph. If the bookmark didnt work and you ended up at the top of the page, click "Now: Senate Poll Tracker" underneath the Presidential EV tracker map-thingie. You'll get the contenders in each race and the latest poll.

At the moment, the Dem candidates are indeed leading in 6 out of 8 "up for grabs" races, be it often with tiny margins. But even that would only get them at 50/50 ...

There's a chance - but it's an off-chance.
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nimh
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Oct, 2004 10:28 am
In Colorado, Democrat Salazar is facing Republican Coors. You've probably heard about it.

Factoid #1: "It has been a decade since any Democrat has won a major election in Colorado -- except for Salazar, who [..] was twice elected attorney general. He won his 2002 reelection campaign by a 20-point margin."

Factoid #2: ""The old math of the state was that you would win as a Democrat by driving up the margins in the metro counties around Denver," says Mandy Grunwald, Salazar's Washington-based media consultant. "But there just aren't enough votes there for a Democrat anymore, even a centrist Democrat. You really need to build a coalition that goes beyond that. And what Ken has been able to do in his past campaigns is reach into rural areas. He's one of them. He's not a Denver candidate."

So far, Salazar's new formula has been working. A mid-September Rocky Mountain News poll showed him with a 59-to-35 point advantage over Coors among rural voters--even as Bush leads Kerry among those voters by three points."

Overall, Salazar and Coors are currently locked in a statistical tie in the polls. Here's the full story:

Quote:
KEN SALAZAR, DEMOCRATIC SUPERSTAR.
Crossing Over


by Michael Crowley

Post date 10.07.04 | Issue date 10.18.04

Trinidad, Colorado

If Denver is the heart of Colorado, Trinidad is a capillary. It's a dusty little outpost about 200 miles south of the mile-high city and just north of the New Mexico border. Trinidad is a weary-looking place whose main drag is peppered with boarded-up shops and dank saloons and whose main attraction is a grim memorial honoring fallen miners from this coal-rich region. It is a typically depressed rural town, in other words. But Trinidad also has a bizarre claim to fame. It is unofficially known, according to the Lonely Planet travel guide, as "the sex-change capital of the USA."

As we drove into Trinidad last week, I asked Ken Salazar about this strange honorific. At the time, Colorado's Democratic nominee for Senate was at the wheel of my car-- a courteous gesture to facilitate my note-taking and one that seemed typical of a man without a self-important bone in his body. As we rolled through wide-open plains, Salazar, who grew up on a ranch not far from here, was in his element. He had traded the suit and tie he wears as Colorado's attorney general for a Western denim look: jean jacket, blue jeans, and the white cowboy hat that has become his trademark.

You might suspect Salazar of wearing a costume until you hear him talk about the region. As we passed through different counties, he effortlessly ticked off their populations and translated their Spanish names. ("We're in Las Animas County. It means, 'The Spirits.'") He explained what year towns were founded and what their main industries are. Just off Trinidad's main street, we passed an impressive red brick building. "They are known for their brick in this town," Salazar remarked matter-of-factly. "I have one on my desk." Salazar said all this in his unalterably placid voice; he projects an inner tranquility that suggests a man who has just tucked his children into bed or enjoyed a very thorough massage.

And, yes, he knows about Trinidad's gender-bending specialty. "Yeah," Salazar chuckled, the little grin expanding. "There was a doctor here who developed a specialty in sex-change operations, so people from around the country would come here." He pauses, choosing words carefully. "Shows you the diversity of America."

As a 49-year-old up-and-coming Democrat, Ken Salazar hasn't been one-tenth as hyped as the younger, swooninducing Barack Obama. But, should he win his tight race here--and several recent polls have shown him with a small-to-medium lead over beer baron Pete Coors--he'll join Obama in Washington as a new Democratic rock star. As a senator, Salazar would become one of the most prominent Latinos in national politics--second only to New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson. (Florida's Republican Senate candidate, Mel Martinez, is also hoping to join this club and signal to Latinos that the GOP is their ally, making it all the more important for Democrats that Salazar succeed.) If elected, Salazar would bring to Washington a claim few other Democratic minority politicians, including Obama, can make: He will have survived a competitive statewide election in a pro-Bush state with the help of conservative swing voters and even some Republicans.

Which is why Salazar has driven for hours to reach Trinidad. Given that Colorado has 190,000 more registered Republicans than Democrats, Salazar can't count on Democratic cities like Denver and Boulder for victory. He needs to rack up huge margins in more conservative rural areas-- in places like Trinidad. Once in town, Salazar met with a group of enthusiastic Democrats at a local party office. Most gushed over him. But one skeptic challenged the mood. "A lot of people go to Washington and become federal-minded," the man says. "Are you gonna become federal minded?" Salazar slowly raises his arms, spreads open his palms, and looks the man in the eye. His hands are marked from working on his ranch. "These calluses on these hands will never let me forget from where I come," Salazar says. The man nods his head in approval. And soon, Salazar is back in the car, headed off to another lonely rural town.

Colorado is rough turf for Democrats. As it happened, Salazar first hopped into my car outside Colorado Springs, just a few miles from the national headquarters of Dr. James Dobson's rabidly religious-conservative organization Focus on the Family (which I later heard broadcasting a radio program warning against the indoctrination of young people with the "homosexual agenda"). The state offers a microcosm of the problem Democrats confront nationally: the skepticism of culturally conservative rural voters has outweighed the party's support in big cities, and Christian-conservative and pro-military voters in exurbs like Colorado Springs offer Republicans a firm bulwark. As a result, it has been a decade since any Democrat has won a major election in Colorado--except for Salazar, who, after a career as a lawyer and an aide to former Governor Roy Romer, was twice elected attorney general. He won his 2002 reelection campaign by a 20-point margin.

Salazar's success so far has little to do with ideology; he is not a policy wonk. He is a fairly moderate Democrat whose differences with the national party are more tonal than substantive. Salazar never talks about party control of the Senate, for instance, and has yet to appear publicly with John Kerry. Yet his overall platform--which calls for preserving President Bush's middle-class tax cuts, more "urgency" on homeland security, and more international support in Iraq--roughly mirrors Kerry's.

Rather, Salazar's two key assets are personal. The first is his ability to connect with rural voters who might otherwise be skeptical of a Democrat. Those calloused hands are no fraud: He is one of eight children to grow up on a ranch in a farming area in south-central Colorado with no telephone, power lines, or running water. "We brought in water in fifty-gallon buckets," Salazar explains. "We were poor; we didn't have money for almost anything." This hardscrabble identity has so far been crucial to Salazar's rise. "The old math of the state was that you would win as a Democrat by driving up the margins in the metro counties around Denver," says Mandy Grunwald, Salazar's Washington-based media consultant. "But there just aren't enough votes there for a Democrat anymore, even a centrist Democrat. You really need to build a coalition that goes beyond that. And what Ken has been able to do in his past campaigns is reach into rural areas. He's one of them. He's not a Denver candidate."

So far, Salazar's new formula has been working. A mid-September Rocky Mountain News poll showed him with a 59-to-35 point advantage over Coors among rural voters--even as Bush leads Kerry among those voters by three points. "A lot of people have approached us and said, 'I'm voting for Bush, but I'm also voting for you, Ken,'" says Salazar Press Secretary Cody Wertz.

Salazar's second advantage is his ethnicity. Latinos now make up nearly one-fifth of Colorado's population, and their numbers are growing fast. Although Colorado Latinos lean Democratic, as they do nationally, they are susceptible to Republican appeals. (In 2000, Bush carried Colorado with the help of 33 percent of its Latino voters.) But the News poll showed Salazar leading Coors among Latinos by 68 percent to 23. And, while Latino voters often turn out in low numbers, the Salazar campaign is hoping they will vote in droves for one of their own. "A theory behind the Salazar campaign, particularly with Latino voters, is that they are going to turn out people who usually do not turn out," says Eric Sondermann, a Colorado Democratic consultant. One possible predictor of what could happen, Sondermann recalls, was the 1983 campaign of Denver Mayor Federico Pena, who triumphed thanks in part to a surge in Latino turnout.

Yet, while he would be just the fourth Latino to serve in the Senate (and the first in more than 25 years), like Obama, Salazar has avoided depicting his candidacy as a historic civil rights crusade. "It's not something that Salazar seems to have played up to this point," says Denver pollster Lori Weigel, who conducted the News survey. As a result, Salazar hasn't been branded as an "ethnic" candidate, and his support among white voters--among whom he is roughly tied with Coors--hasn't suffered. When Weigel's survey asked voters what phrases came to mind when they thought of the candidates, large chunks of voters offered such responses for Salazar as "attorney general," "Democrat," and "positive values." An observant 2 percent even offered "cowboy hat." But "Latino" didn't register.

Salazar's success is particularly impressive when you consider the strength of his opponent. The Coors family is the closest thing Colorado has to royalty. From the site of its sprawling brewery complex in the Denver suburb of Golden, the Coors empire stretches across the state--encompassing downtown Denver's Coors Field, thousands of Coors billboards, and the ubiquitous Silver Bullet brew itself. But being Mr. Beer has proved complicated for Coors. During his primary campaign, a right-wing group attacked Coors for running TV ads featuring "scantily-clad girls and frenzied drinking scenes" that were "degrading to women and nearly pornographic." Coors the candidate and Coors the company--which has spent years trying to recover from discrimination charges and resulting liberal boycotts--fled from one another over the issue of gay marriage. After Coors said he would support the federal marriage amendment, the brewery even launched a $1 million ad campaign in the gay press affirming that "[w]e do not support discrimination against the glbt community--via legislation or otherwise"--suggesting, by implication, that its chairman does. More recently, the deaths of two Colorado college students in separate binge-drinking tragedies have left Coors regretting some recent musings about the benefits of a lower legal drinking age.

But the key to the race so far has been Salazar's impressive ability to reverse traditional party stereotypes against Coors. During Colorado's 2002 Senate race, Democratic nominee Tom Strickland blew a lead against GOP Senator Wayne Allard after Allard depicted himself as the champion of hard-working rural voters and Strickland as an effete Denver "lawyer-lobbyist." This time, Salazar has turned Coors into the rich Denver elitist. Salazar often speaks of having "walked in the shoes" of ordinary Coloradans. And he savaged Coors with a TV ad featuring Coors's dunderheaded comment, "I don't know what a common man is." As a result, Coors has been stuck with a two-dimensional image. Weigel's poll found that voters linked Coors with terms like "beer" and "businessman"--and not with campaign themes like tax cuts or security. Coors has tried to fire back by tagging Salazar as a faux-cowboy lawyer in league with liberal Democrats, but so far the image hasn't stuck.

Maybe that's because it isn't true. Soon after his visit to Trinidad, Salazar stopped in the even smaller, sadder town of Walsenburg, about half an hour north along I-25. Speaking before a group of local Democrats who shivered against a bracing early fall wind blowing in from the plains, he once again sounded almost as if he were in his hometown: "I have been through this road probably two hundred to three hundred times." And no one doubted him for a moment.

Michael Crowley is a senior editor at TNR.
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Oct, 2004 03:15 pm
I just read that Russ Feingold -- probably my favorite active policitician -- is facing a serious challenge for the senate in WI. That would suck. I've been counting on Feingold racking up the experience and then becoming an absolutely kick-a$$ presidential candidate in 2016 or so. It was startling to see in the article that he's being accused of being a "career politician" with 22 years' experience -- I think of him as this young newcomer type, then realized that I first met him 15 years ago. Yoiks.
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Oct, 2004 03:16 pm
(By the way, when did "career politician" become a pejorative? Isn't experience a GOOD thing?)
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nimh
 
  1  
Reply Mon 11 Oct, 2004 05:22 pm
EDIT: Wrong thread ...
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nimh
 
  1  
Reply Wed 13 Oct, 2004 11:01 pm
From electoral-vote.com:

[File under: Senate / Kentucky]

Quote:
Senate news: Some weird stuff is happening in a couple of Senate races. Salon.com reports that Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY), who was expected to coast to an easy re-election over state senator Daniel Mongiardo, has been acting very strangely. Among other things, he tore up his agreement to debate Mongiardo in Lexington, KY, and insisted on being in the Republican National Committee headquarters with no audience or reporters present and the debate held over a satellite link. He refused to debate live so it was taped and will air tonight. People who have seen the tape say Bunning appears to be reading from a TelePrompter, leading to speculation that the 73-year-old Bunning is ill, possibly with Alzheimer's.


Found indirectly through electoral-vote.com, on www.politics1.com :

[File under: Senate - Oklahoma]

Quote:
COBURN WARNS OF "RAMPANT LESBIANISM." It seems that every time that former Congressman Tom Coburn (R) pulls close to Congressman Brad Carson (D) in Oklahoma's US Senate race, Coburn goes and makes another stupid comment. Well, there he goes again. Carson's campaign released a tape recording Monday they just obtained of comments that Coburn apparently made to an audience a few weeks ago. Here's what Coburn said: "Our [campaign] rep down here in the southeast area, he lives in Colgate and travels out of Atoka. He was telling me lesbianism is so rampant in some of the schools in southeast Oklahoma that they'll only let one girl go to the bathroom. Now think about it. Think about that issue. How is it that that's happened to us?" This pronouncement was apparently news to everyone in the Colgate area. "He knows something I don't know. We have not identified anything like that. We have not had to deal with any issues on that subject -- ever," said Colgate School Superintendent Joe McCulley. "I don't believe that [report] ... [our attorneys] haven't said anything to me about that," added the Executive Director of the Oklahoma State School Boards Association. These kind of frequent gaffes were what worried GOP leaders in DC when Coburn announced his candidacy -- and was what prompted them to back his failed primary opponent.
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nimh
 
  1  
Reply Thu 14 Oct, 2004 08:06 am
Their designations seem to lean a little Republican, but if you click on the states you get lots of interesting polling info:

Senate2004: Competitive Races Overview
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