Apologies to readers expecting an election projection update last week. Unfortunately, while it was largely finished, my laptop was stolen from my house on Friday morning. All of the information that I had on it is now lost and will require a fresh start. It also means that my access to a computer is limited. Hopefully updates will resume shortly, but until I can purchase a new laptop, they will likely be intermittent. It’s horrible timing with just a little over a month until election day.
Archive for September, 2010
9:10 p.m. (9/15): Lamontagne has conceded the race for the GOP’s Senate nomination. In other news from yesterday’s primaries, a new poll out of Delaware shows that Democrat Chris Coons leads Republican Christine O’Donnell 50-34. That’s a bigger lead than he had in previous polls and may seem to indicate that even some Mike Castle voters are backing Coons.
2:54 p.m. (9/15): Well, it’s the day after the primary. Ayotte has been declared the winner by the Secretary of State in New Hampshire, even though counting continues. Ovide Lamontagne has until 5:00 pm to decide whether he will seek a recount. The margin is 1,500 votes.
1:24 a.m.: Kelly Ayotte’s lead has expanded to over 1,200 votes. It seems that she will eke it out after all. This will be the last post of the night. What an exciting end to the primary season!
Ayotte – 38.4% (42,538)
Lamontagne – 37.3% (41,301)
Binnie – 14.0% (15,491)
Bender – 8.6% (9,526)
1:00 a.m.: The lead has changed in New Hampshire. Kelly Ayotte has pulled ahead of Ovide Lamontagne by 700 votes. Ayotte is winning every county in the state except for the two largest: Rockingham and Hillsborough. Both of these counties are along the Massachusetts border. Ayotte’s strongest counties are along the sparsely populated Vermont border. At the current rate, it appears that she will probably pull it out, but it is still too close to call.
Ayotte – 38.4% (36,865)
Lamontagne – 37.7% (36,150)
Binnie – 13.8% (13,619)
Bender – 8.5% (8,416)
12:50 a.m.: The Tea Party takeover of the Republican Party seems almost complete. Christine O’Donnell’s victory over Mike Castle raises an interesting question: will the Tea Party decide the Republican nominee in 2012? Of course there are many more offices for them to run in as well, but right after the midterms end, the focus will shift to the presidential election. With huge victories across the country inside the Republican Party for Tea Party candidates, directly against the wishes of party leaders, it is reasonable to conclude that the same thing could happen to their presidential nominee. They certainly are not going to nominate another moderate like John McCain. At any rate, Democrats should feel even more confident in their chances of re-electing Barack Obama.
12:30 a.m.: Chris Coons, the Democratic candidate for Senate in Delaware, has released the following statement:
With Christine O’Donnell, we face an ideology rather than a record. One of Sarah Palin’s newest “Mama Grizzlies,” O’Donnell will fight to roll back a woman’s right to choose and lead the charge against stem-cell research, falsely claiming that this ground breaking research exploits women. She has a record of supporting discrimination against gays and lesbians, and pressing for public schools to teach creationism.
Even more shocking is that despite the fact that she has no plan for putting Delawareans back to work and wants to open our coastlines to more dangerous off-shore drilling risks, she truly believes that she’s the right candidate for Delaware.
Make no mistake — Sarah Palin, Jim DeMint, Michelle Bachmann, and the Tea Party Express will invest to make sure O’Donnell joins them in Washington. We cannot let Joe Biden’s seat fall into ultraconservative hands – into the grasp of a candidate who is out of touch with Delaware and the challenges we face.
12:28 a.m.: Even the Republican Party is writing off Christine O’Donnell. Fox News reporter Carl Cameron states that the NRSC will not spend any money on the Delaware Senate race.
11:24 p.m.: Here’s a little nugget for the upcoming general election race between Chris Coons and Christine O’Donnell. The Tea Party candidate faces a steep uphill battle against the Democrat according to polling firm PPP. They posted this information on their Twitter feed:
@ppppolls: Only 31% of Delaware voters think Christine O’Donnell is fit to hold public office
@ppppolls: And O’Donnell’s fav/unfav is 29/50
@ppppolls: Castle primary voters supports Coons over O’Donnell 44-28 in general election
The only people in the state that seem to like O’Donnell have just voted for her in the primary. Coons will win almost all Democrats, a substantial number of independents, and a decent amount of Republicans.
11:14 p.m.: Tea Party candidate Carl Paladino has defeated former Congressman Rick Lazio in New York’s GOP primary for governor. With 47 percent of precincts reporting, Paladino leads Lazio 67-33%. All of that fear-mongering over the “9/11 mosque” didn’t help Lazio one bit.
11:00 p.m.: Here’s an update from New Hampshire. Tea Party candidate Ovide Lamontagne’s lead is down to just 5 points after initially leading by about 20 points when the night began. In raw votes, the difference is only 2,000 with many left to be uncounted. Not all of Lamontagne’s lead is shifting to Ayotte, though. Binnie has seen a 4 percent rise in the past few hours and Bender a little over 1 percent. Their votes may very well play spoiler.
Lamontagne – 41.8% (18,959)
Ayotte – 37.1% (16,806)
Binnie – 11.8% (5,351)
Bender – 7.9% (3,597)
23.3% of precincts reporting
9:49 p.m.: Here are the final results from Delaware. Let the civil war in the Delaware GOP begin.
Mike Castle – 46.9% (27,021)
Christine O’Donnell – 53.1% (30,561)
100% of precincts reporting
It’s hard to see how Castle’s voters could turn around and vote for O’Donnell in November. Given the swift negative turn that this campaign took and the vicious nature of the attacks, these wounds are not going to heal in a little over a month’s time. Election day is fast approaching and this primary will be fresh on the minds of Castle’s supporters. Expect Democratic nominee Chris Coons to have a field day with the material that the Republican Party used against O’Donnell.
9:25 p.m.: Pundits will begin to question how it was possible for Mike Castle to lose this race against a woman that is currently unemployed and has no experience. Look no further than last year’s town hall meeting where a constituent confronted him over President Obama’s birth certificate. The Republican Party has moved to the far right extreme, even in traditionally Democratic states like Delaware. This should be a wakeup call for national Republicans. They may have a good year yet in 2010, but long-term, this is not the foundation you want to build your party on. Watch the video below:
9:16 p.m.: The AP has reported that Tea Party candidate Christine O’Donnell will be the winner in the Delaware GOP Senate primary against Mike Castle. That makes her the 8th Tea Party candidate to defeat mainstream Republicans in Senate primaries across the country. In my updated Election Projection later tonight, Delaware will move into the Likely Democrat column.
9:11 p.m.: The numbers are going in the right direction for the Congressman, but with over 3/4 of the vote already counted, Mike Castle is quickly running out of time to gain on Christine O’Donnell. Her lead is nearly 4,000 votes.
Mike Castle – 46.1% (21,683)
Christine O’Donnell – 53.9% (25,331)
77.5% of precincts reporting
In New Hampshire, Kelly Ayotte is losing her home county of Hillsborough 54-31 with over a quarter of precincts reporting. The race is slightly closer statewide, but still a blowout at this point in time.
Lamontagne – 50% (8,564)
Ayotte – 33.1% (5,670)
Binnie – 9.2% (1,581)
Bender – 6.6% (1,132)
7.3% of precincts reporting
8:36 p.m.: Updated numbers out of Delaware show O’Donnell maintaining her roughly ten point lead over Congressman Mike Castle with 13.8 percent of precincts now in. The numbers in New Hampshire remain unchanged.
Mike Castle – 45.3% (3,378)
Christine O’Donnell – 54.7% (4,081)
13.8% of precincts reporting
8:28 p.m.: The first results are in out of Delaware and it’s not looking good for Mike Castle:
Mike Castle – 43.7% (769)
Christine O’Donnell – 56.3% (991)
4% of precincts reporting
8:13 p.m.: Tonight is a big night in determining whether Republicans will even have a chance at winning the Senate this fall. In order to do so, they need to hold their Senate seat in New Hampshire and pick-up Joe Biden’s former Senate seat in Delaware. Both seats were seen as leaning towards the GOP, but that goes into doubt if Tea Party candidates win. Below are early results from these two states.
Lamontagne – 52.7% (6,047)
Ayotte – 31.8% (3,643)
Binnie – 7.8% (897)
Bender – 6.7% (764)
Lamare – 0.7% (83)
5.3% of precincts reporting
Early results out of New Hampshire are shaping up well for the Tea Party:
Lamontagne – 52.9% (5,584)
Ayotte – 31.7% (3,346)
Binnie – 7.7% (814)
Bender – 6.6% (694)
Lamare – 0.7% (76)
5% of precincts reporting
Today is primary day in several states across the nation. Among them are two highly important Senate primaries in Delaware and New Hampshire. Tea Party candidate Christine O’Donnell led the more moderate Mike Castle in the most recent polling out of the state, 47 to 44, although it was within the margin of error. This is a meteoric fall for Castle, who just a few months ago was seen as a shoe-in for the seat. Castle led his Democratic opponent, Chris Coons, by double digits. O’Donnell trailed Coons by double digits and appears likely to lose the race in November if she wins tonight. Polling places close at 8 p.m. Eastern Time in Delaware and since it is a small state, results should not take very long to come in.
A similar situation could happen in New Hampshire where the state’s Attorney General, Kelly Ayotte, is in a tight four-way race to win the nomination for Senate in the seat held by retiring Republican Senator Judd Gregg. Like Castle, Ayotte was seen as a favorite of winning both the primary and the general election (although one could argue that Castle is a stronger general election candidate, given his 30 years of winning statewide races). Magellan Strategies released a poll just yesterday with Ayotte’s lead slipping to just four points: 35% – 31%. Tea Party candidate Ovide Lamontagne jumped from being in the teens to now in the low 30s. The momentum is clearly on his side and could very well pull the upset. KyleBell.com will have complete results and a recap of today’s events once the numbers begin coming in.
The Republican Party has begun an offensive push against Tea Party candidates across the country. The Tea Party has defeated more mainstream Republican Senate candidates that were backed by the party. After the upset victories of Tea Party candidates in Alaska, Colorado, Florida, Kentucky and other states, Republicans have decided to resort to litigation and complaints with federal election regulators.
The first case comes out of Delaware, where moderate Congressman Mike Castle is fighting desperately to avoid a similar upset that Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski just suffered a few short weeks ago to a far-right Tea Party opponent. The Republican Party in Delaware filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission, accusing Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell of illegally collaborating with the Tea Party Express. As CQ Politics is reporting it:
The complaint alleges that the O’Donnell campaign is “knowingly accepting illegal campaign contributions from the Tea Party Express PAC.” It cites two “alarming” instances:
– O’Donnell has knowingly accepted excessive contributions from the Tea Party Express that were directly solicited on behalf of the O’Donnell campaign, according to the filing.
– O’Donnell has accepted illegal excessive contributions from the Tea Party Express by engaging in a statewide coordinated communications effort in support of her campaign. This means, according to the complaint, that every advertisement that is being run by the Tea Party Express in support of Ms. O’Donnell is a violation of Federal law.
The Chairman of the Delaware Republican Party said that she “needs to immediately call upon her third party supporters to cease and desist this illegal behavior.” With the primary coming on Tuesday, there is no chance that the FEC will make a ruling in time, which makes this complaint quite odd. If O’Donnell wins the nomination and the FEC finds wrongdoing, sanctions against her campaign would undercut her ability to win a general election campaign. Tea Party voters could easily see this as Republican Party leaders bullying their candidate (Sarah Palin endorsed O’Donnell on Friday). The fact that such an unusual complaint would be filed just a few days before the primary suggests that Republicans are extremely worried about Castle’s prospects on Tuesday.
The second complaint comes out of Colorado, where the Republican Party is attempting to prevent bomb-throwing former Congressman Tom Tancredo from appearing on November’s ballot for governor. Tancredo decided to run after the Republican nominee, Dan Maes, refused to drop out. The deadline for dropping out was today, leaving no chance for a new nominee. With all of this in-fighting going on, Republicans may be the worst enemy of Republicans right now.
We’re getting closer to the midterm elections. As such, I will be posting my projections more frequently. Today, we’re going to have a look at the West Coast:
Incumbent: Lisa Murkowski (R) – Defeated
Challenger(s): Joe Miller (R), Scott McAdams (D)
What a difference a few weeks make. Not even two weeks ago, Lisa Murkowski was ahead by double digits in the polls and was expected to cruise towards re-election. That ended after a week of ballot counting in which Sarah Palin-backed Tea Party candidate Joe Miller narrowly defeated Murkowski by 1,100 votes. Miller is a far-right candidate that has stated he wants to eliminate Social Security, that President Obama is “bad for America”, and that he will refuse earmarks to Alaska. Traditionally, Alaska has enjoyed nearly two dollars back for every one dollar that they send to Washington. While it’s popular to talk about deficit reduction, most voters back home expect you to bring home the bacon, especially in small states like Alaska. If this race is going to be close, which I expect it will be, it will be solely because the Republicans nominated an extremist candidate. Democratic nominee Scott McAdams, like Joe Miller, has no statewide experience.
Incumbent: John McCain (R)
Challenger(s): Rodney Glassman (D)
Prediction: Leans Republican
John McCain dispatched of former Representative J.D. Hayworth quite easily in Arizona’s GOP primary. With nearly 60 percent of the vote, McCain more or less ensured his re-election, even though he spent over $20 million to win the primary. The Democrats nominated a city councilman in Rodney Glassman. Whether this race becomes the least bit competitive will depend on if the national party decides to spend in Arizona, which seems unlikely given the number of other competitive races across the country. Still, McCain’s image has been badly tarnished since the presidential campaign just two years ago.
Incumbent: Barbara Boxer (D)
Challenger(s): Carly Fiorina (R)
Prediction: Leans Democrat
At least one thing is sure: two females will continue to represent California in the U.S. Senate. Barbara Boxer has a long streak of tough races and she survived in 2004, a rough year for Democrats. Her opponent, Carly Fiorina, is the former CEO of HP (she was terminated by the board of directors). While Fiorina brings a strong resume to the table, the fact that she is anti-abortion in a state that hasn’t elected a statewide anti-abortion candidate in decades does not bode well for her. On the plus side, she brings a lot of money to the table in a highly expensive state. If Meg Whitman can manage to buy the governor’s mansion with the $100+ million that she’s spent so far, Fiorina might manage to win this Senate seat. At this point, though, it’s still leaning towards Boxer.
Incumbent: Daniel K. Inouye (D)
Challenger(s): Cam Cavasso (R), Edward Pirkowski (R), John Roco (R)
Prediction: Likely Democrat
Not much to say for Hawaii’s Senate race other than it will probably have the nicest Election Day (weather-wise) of any of the races in the country. Daniel Inouye will win re-election easily.
Incumbent: Harry Reid (D)
Challenger(s): Sharron Angle (R)
Prediction: Leans Democrat
Sharron Angle is the best thing that happened to the Democratic Party in Nevada. Her statements have ranged from crazy to downright bizarre (she claimed that the news media exists to report the news as she wants them to – this even confused the Fox News reporter conducting the interview). She called a bill that Congress passed to ensure that teachers and police officers were not laid off “laundered” money. She supports abolishing the Department of Education, privatizing Social Security and Medicare, and believes that the United States should withdrawal from the United Nations. Much like the other Tea Party candidates across the country, Angle is her own worst enemy. Even with an approval rating below 40 percent, Harry Reid just might manage to squeak by with the help of the Tea Party.
Incumbent: Ron Wyden (D)
Challenger(s): Jim Huffman (R)
Prediction: Likely Democrat
Ron Wyden is a popular and reasonable senator that garners a lot of respect from both Republicans and Democrats. He will win re-election easily.
Incumbent: Patty Murray (D)
Challenger(s): Dino Rossi (R)
Prediction: Leans Democrat
Patty Murray was seen as a shoe-in not too long ago. Now that two-time Republican gubernatorial nominee Dino Rossi is challenging her, it could be a close fight (he lost both races by small margins). President Obama won Washington with 57 percent of the vote and has been a fairly reliable state for Democrats for the past couple decades. In fact, a Republican hasn’t held Murray’s seat since 1986 and the state hasn’t voted for a Republican at the presidential level since Ronald Reagan’s 1984 rout of Walter Mondale. It could be relatively close, but Murray is still the favorite. If Republicans have any hope of taking back the Senate, which is extremely unlikely, they would have to knock down incumbents like Boxer and Murray.
As we move along throughout the election cycle, I am going to continue to add new races to our list. While I do that, I am also going to make adjustments along the way to races where significant movement is seen.
Arkansas – Conservative Democrat Blanche Lincoln is badly trailing her Republican challenger Congressman John Boozman. While it was already expected that she would lose, the race is being moved from Leans Republican to Likely Republican. Polling shows Lincoln not just trailing by double digits, but nearly 30 points. It’s no longer a question of “if” Senator Lincoln loses, but instead “how much” she loses by.
Florida – Democratic candidate Kendrick Meek disposed of billionaire challenger (and former Republican) Jeff Greene 57 to 31 percent in the primary. Despite this, he is only garnering around 15 percent in the polls. Independent Charlie Crist’s main problem is not that he is an incumbent governor (he’s actually quite popular), but that he is relying on winning a sizable portion of Democrats, independents and Republicans. It’s not an easy task, but he has a far better shot of doing it than Meek, who has never even faced a challenger since he was elected to Congress in 2002. Polling has shown a tightening of the race, essentially a tie between Crist and conservative Republican Marco Rubio. This race is moving from Leans Democrat (assuming Crist was to caucus with the Democrats) to Toss-Up.
Wisconsin – Russ Feingold was caught off guard when public polling showed a close race against a no-name challenger. Interestingly, shortly after the Gulf oil spill disaster, the Republican candidate suggested that he would support oil exploration in Lake Michigan. Feingold was quick to criticize him with a TV ad highlighting his position on drilling in one of Wisconsin’s biggest tourist attractions. While Feingold will likely ultimately succeed in winning re-election, current polling suggests that we should move the race from Likely Democrat to Leans Democrat.
Below is a map of the Senate races that we have covered so far: