Posts Tagged ‘Senate’

It’s Not Over Yet

November 8, 2008

There are still three contested Senate elections: Stevens in AK, Chambliss in GA, and Coleman in MN.  They’re still going through absentee and contested ballots in Alaska, Chambliss will be heading into a runoff in December, and Coleman’s stuck in a very close recount.  All three could use money and on-the-ground support.

Stevens is asking for $75,000 more to cover costs and could always use more help from lawyers/ballot observers.  Check out his website to see how to help.  (Even if you don’t like Stevens but are sympathetic to Republicans, you might consider helping him.  If Stevens wins, he could resign or by expelled from the Senate.  A special election would find a replacement to fill out the rest of his term; there’s some controversy about the powers of the Gov. of Alaska, Sarah Palin, to appoint a temporary replacement.)

Coleman’s leading Franken by just a few hundred votes in Minnesota.  Franken’s trying to whip up cash and volunteer time from his supporters.  You can help Coleman counter Franken here.  With numbers this close, a few votes here or there could make a huge difference.

Chambliss will be the longest-term commitment.  Everyone seems to think that a runoff is very likely, since no candidate got over 50% of the vote.  Chambliss led his Democratic challenger 49.8 to 46.8, but don’t expect this runoff to be a cakewalk.  The Democrat’s already using Barack Obama as a way of trying to drum up support, and you can bet that Democrats across the nation will be willing to pour money and effort into this race if they think it could pull them over the 60-vote mark in the Senate.  On the Republican side, McCain has already confirmed that he will be campaigning for Chambliss, and Palin might help out, too.  The date of the runoff is December 2.  You can volunteer with Chambliss’s campaign here and contribute here.

If Republicans win at least one of these seats, they can keep Democrats below 60 votes in the Senate.  Winning all three would give the Republicans 43 votes, a workable minority.  (If the Democrats push Joe Lieberman too far, he could decide to caucus with the Republicans, giving them 44 votes.)  If you’re serious about putting the brakes on or seriously interrogating Barack Obama’s agenda, here’s your chance.

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The Ground Game

October 30, 2008

We’re getting near the time when on-the-ground effort is going to make a big difference.  And I’m not just talking on the presidential level—I’m talking on every level, from city council to state senate to Congress to president.

Even if you don’t live in a “swing” state, there could be a lot of close Congressional races.  Even Illinois has some House races where some effort could tip the scales in favor of the GOP.  Your district seems solid one way or another—what about the district next door?  Maybe your state isn’t a swing state, but the one a few miles to east could be.

The polls are narrowing.  Obama’s got a killer organization out there, and he’s got loads of money.  It’s gonna take a lot of effort to counteract that.  Even though the Democrat-controlled Congress is enjoying levels of approval in the teens, there are a lot of races out there where Republicans are in trouble.

If you want to stop “major redistributive change,” now’s the time to act.

You want an end to the Barney Frank style of oversight, casting aspersions of racism and prejudice rather than trying to find real solutions to real problems?  Now’s your chance.

You want to fight back against the Obama “truth squads” and state officials snooping into the records of critics of Hope and Change?  Get out there and convince people to vote with you.

So you want to get involved?  There are countless ways you can help out.  Check out the Action Center at McCain’s website.  Or the Take Action page at the GOP’s site.  You can even phonebank from home! It’s that easy!

Contact the campaigns of your local House or Senate candidate.  Most webpages have a place where you can volunteer.  Congress is really really really important. And there are some races out there that could be decided by a very small margin. There are swing House races all over the country.  I’ve got a list of some swing Senate races here.

Ace is doing some great work coordinating GOTV networking here.  And he has some other good GOTV ideas.

If you can go out and pound on some doors for a campaign, great.  If you can help put up some signs for a campaign, great.  If you can drive campaign workers from one place to the next, great.  If you can photocopy things at a local campaign office, great.  If you can phonebank for a few hours, great.  If you can convince your Aunt Milly to pull the lever for the GOP, great.

Don’t back down.  Don’t give up.  Don’t lose hope.  Concentrate concentrate concentrate.  A few hours now could make a huge difference for the politics of the next few years.  So go outside, enjoy that beautiful fall weather.  Stay on that phone, make just one more call at the phonebank.  These races will be won step-by-step, vote-by-vote.

In the comments below, feel free to post what GOTV opportunities you know about or reports of your experiences canvassing/phonebanking/etc.  Also, you Myspacers and Facebookies out there, consider trying to build some enthusiasm among your online friends.  Send a GOTV message around (use mine if you want!); check out the online communities of  your different candidates.

Protecting the Second

October 30, 2008

Dave Kopel has an extensive examination of the viewpoints on the Second Amendment for the candidates for Senate races and select House races.  If gun rights are a big issue for you, definitely check out the list.  I’ll excerpt a few here (the grades are from the NRA and the Gun Owner’s of America):

California
McClintock has been an outstanding leader on right to arms issues in California. His 2001 speech on the subject in a classic, displaying a deep understanding of the importance of firearms ownership to a free society.

House, 4th District: Republican Tom McClintock (A,A) vs. Democrat Charlie Brown (B-,NR).

Florida
Five of the 50 most-competitive House races this year are here. Four of them involve pro-gun Republican incumbents facing anti-gun Democrats. The one endangered Democrat, Tim Mahoney, gets mixed grades and faces a pro-gun challenger.

Kentucky
Senate: Republican Mitch McConnell (A,B) vs. Democrat Bruce Lunsford (?,NR).

House, 3rd District: Republican Anne Northup (A,A-) vs. Democrat John Yarmuth (F,F).

Louisiana
Republican John Kennedy (A,A) vs. Democrat Mary Landrieu (C,F).

Minnesota
The Minnesota Senate vote could determine the outcome of many future filibusters.

Senate: Republican Norm Coleman (A,B) vs. Democrat Al Franken (F,F).

House, 3rd District: Republican Erik Paulsen (A,A) vs. Democrat Ashwin Madia (D,NR).

House, 6th District: Republican Michele Bachmann(A,A-) vs. Democrat Elwyn Tinklenberg (AQ,C).

New Hampshire
Senate: Republican John Sununu (A,A) vs. Democrat Jeanne Shaheen (F,F).

House, 1st District: Republican Jeb Bradley (A,A) vs. Democrat Carol Shea-Porter (F,C-).
Governor: Republican Joe Kenney (A) vs. Democrat John Lynch (C) .

New Mexico
Senate: Republican Steve Pearce (A,A) vs. Democrat Tom Udall (C-,F).

North Carolina
In the open seat race for governor, the race is close between Republican Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory (B-) and Democratic Lt. Gov.
Beverly Perdue (A). Running for president in 2000, Republican Senator Elizabeth Dole (A,A) took criticized concealed handgun carry. But in the Senate, her voting record has been good. In a very tight contest, her opponent is Democrat State Sen. Kay Hagan (F,F). 8th District, south-central N.C.: Republican Rep. Robin Hayes (A,A) vs. Democratic schoolteacher Larry Kissell (AQ,B-).

Washington
Democratic Governor Christine Gregoire (C-) has a rematch with Dino Rossi (A), from whom she may have stolen the 2004 election. 8 District, eastern King and Pierce Counties: Republican Rep. Dave Reichert (B+,A-) vs. Democrat Darcy Burner (F,NR).

These statistics could certainly be helpful in places like North Carolina, New Hampshire, and Kentucky.

Polls 10/30

October 30, 2008

The races are narrowing a bit in New Hampshire.  Over the past few days according to one poll, John Sununu has narrowed Jean Shaheen’s lead from 14 to 8 points.  Some polls show Shaheen with a lead of about 6.  That can be made up.  Sununu could strengthen his support with Republicans a little, and he really needs to work on independents: emphasize oversight and things like the Washington Post‘s almost-endorsement of him.  The race is also tightening for NH-01, as former Rep. Jeb Bradley trailed the incumbent D by only 2 points—42-44.  There’s been a big swing in Bradley’s favor over the past few days.  This race is winnable.

In Minnesota, Norm Coleman now has a lead over Franken, 43-39 (there’s a third-party candidate running relatively strong, so there aren’t as many undecided voters as that poll may make it seem), according to Rasmussen: it’s been a six-point swing since last week.  Coleman may have the momentum now.  He needs to keep pressing.

Begich is up  8 over Ted Stevens in Alaska.

A new North Carolina poll shows Dole trailing by four; some have her trailing by less.  This could be tight.

The Next Issues

October 29, 2008

David Frum  has a provocative post up about how dealing with the aftermath of the government’s “bailout” of financial institutions will shape the political debates of the upcoming years:

How will you use and how quickly will you unwind the huge ownership position the US government has taken in the nation’s banks and financial institutions?

Paul Krugman recently advanced the idea that the government may be obliged to order banks to lend money. (This was his answer to the old “pushing on a string” problem – the government can insert capital into banks, but what if the banks are too frightened to use this capital?)

I don’t myself think we are anywhere close to this being necessary – but what if it should happen? You do not have to be very anxious to imagine great possibilities for abuse. Will this lending have to be regionally “balanced”? Should unionized firms be favored? Or firms that locate manufacturing plants in America? How about special consideration for minority owned firms? Etc. Etc. Etc. Etc.

Right now, everybody agrees that government ownership is undesireable. But people will get used to anything. Four years from now, some in Washington may well who want to retain a small ownership stake as a way to enhance government monitoring and regulation. And even if today’s mood persists, the terms and conditions of reprivatization will surely prove bitterly controversial, with Democrats pushing for the toughest possible terms (even at the risk of prolonging government ownership) and Republicans pushing for the speediest possible liquidation (even at the risk of receiving a lower price than might be available later).

It’s this consideration, even more than foreign policy, that motivates me to vote for John McCain. I know I can count on him to dislike government ownership – to shun any political use of financial power – and to liquidate as rapidly as possible.

Barack Obama? I worry that he’ll succumb to the temptation to abuse this power for utopian ends. Whether he is (or was) a socialist in any dictionary definition way I do not know. I doubt it. But there’s no question that he’s a redistributionist and a utopian. I heard yesterday a clip of him speaking at a rally a few days ago. He urged supporters to keep working till the very end because, “Power does not surrender.” It’s a phrase of pure Alinskyism, a reminder that with all that Obama has left behind in his upward quest, the habits of mind he learned in his 20s remain in place underneath.

Whatever exactly Obama may have meant by his words, they count as a warning: He sees wealth as power – and power as something to be taken and used. I prefer leaders who think in terms of markets – and see markets as spheres for choice and freedom.

Oversight and balance are crucial. This is a radical expansion of government powers, and the consequences are great.  Democratic leadership doesn’t need to be given a blank check.

Also at National Review, Andy McCarthy has an interesting essay on one means by which Obama may choose to effect his “redistributive change”: the ratification of the International Covenant of Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights:

In 1966, with key help from the Soviet Union, the United Nations began promoting a monstrosity of a treaty known as the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). It is chockablock with exactly the things Obama would say government must do on your behalf: provide housing, clothing, education, health care, employment, a living wage that accounts for comparative worth (meaning the government, under the guise of preventing discrimination, determines what you are paid), limited labor hours, paid vacation and holidays, paid parental leave, nearly unrestricted trade unionization, social security (including “social insurance”), “equitable distribution of world food supplies in relation to need,” and so on.

This economic-justice compact was so patently socialist that, even at the height of his Great Society and War on Poverty, President Lyndon Johnson declined to sign it. So did Presidents Nixon and Ford. But alas, there is always Jimmy Carter. Thirty years ago, he signed the ICESCR, but it has languished ever since, never ratified. President Clinton lauded the treaty but shrank from prodding the senate, where staunch Republican opposition made the required two-thirds approval margin a pipedream.

Obama, by contrast, expects to have the wind at his back, at least for a time. Gone is the Republican Congress of the Clinton years. Despite their appalling performance and historically low approval ratings, cocky Democrats expect to pad their congressional majorities. They anticipate inching close to 60 seats, or beyond. With an assist from the usual GOP moderates — who’d no doubt be anxious to join a charismatic new president in a bipartisan effort to “improve America’s image in the world” — the 67 votes needed for ratification could be attainable.

The Constitution stipulates that, once ratified, a treaty becomes the supreme law of the land. No longer would Obama need to worry about the “essential constraints” that relegate our fundamental law to “a charter of negative liberties.” Federal judges would now be unleashed to direct the redistributions necessary to ensure a “living wage” and the ICESCR’s remaining laundry list of economic rights. Congressional Democrats, egged on by ACORN and its hard Left allies, would craft legislation to further codify, explain and expand on them.

Though reporters are reluctant to break through the fog of Obama secrecy, maybe one of them could bother to ask Obama/his campaign whether he would support the ratification of the ICESCR?

Cusp Senate Races

October 29, 2008

For those of you wondering which campaigns could benefit from some money in the last week of the election season, here’s a list of nine cusp Senate races, where a few extra dollars could make a difference:

Georgia: Saxby Chambliss has a very thin lead.  It had been falling, but now it seems to be hovering around two or three points.  This is a very winnable seat, but Obama-driven turnout could push Chambliss’s Democratic opponent over the finish line.  Chambliss needs all the help he can get to ensure that this seat stays in Republican hands.

MinnesotaNorm Coleman‘s been locked in a really tight race with Al Franken.  While he’s now trailing a few points, Coleman could definitely win.  His brand of moderate, center-right politics and his willingness to cooperate in a bipartisan fashion give him a solid chance this year in Minnesota.  He can appeal to independents and moderate Democrats while also bringing along the Republican mainstream (he’s recently been endorsed by the Star Tribune, which has also endorsed Obama).  While various politicians and candidates have been trying to whip up a public frenzy, Coleman has shown a helpful calmness.

MississippiRoger Wicker has anywhere from a slim lead to a slightly more commanding one.  He was appointed to fill Trent Lott’s Senate seat, so he’s not a fully planted incumbent yet.  This seat should definitely stay in Republican hands, and some more help could ensure that.

North Carolina: Elizabeth Dole seems to be in some trouble, and, after enjoying slightly more substantial leads, she now trails her Democratic opponent by a little.  According to Open Secrets, she doesn’t have that much cash on hand anymore.  She’s massively outspent her Democratic opponent already, but maybe a little more money will make the difference.

New Hampshire: I’m probably a softy on John Sununu‘s chances, but New Hampshire is the land of political surprises, and Sununu’s the kind of candidate who really matches the free-spirited ethos of the Granite State.  The Democrats have spent a lot of money on this race, and his opponent has something like a five-point lead at the moment.  But Sununu’s a fighter and, on many issues, has been a real ally of the libertarian-right.  He’s a fiscal moderate, a defender of privacy rights and the Second Amendment, and an opponent of reckless immigration plans.  The Republican caucus would be well-served by Sununu’s victory in November.

KentuckyMitch McConnell‘s in a similar position to Dole in some ways.  He’s outspent his Democratic opponent by a wide margin, but he now only has a small lead.  As of September 30, he had about $5 million on hand (and his opponent had a lot less), so money might not be the most pressing issue for McConnell.  But Kentucky is a place favorable to Republicans, and this seat is one the GOP really doesn’t want to lose.  It’s defensible.

Louisiana: I’ll add John Kennedy‘s name here because he doesn’t have that much cash on hand right now and because this may be the GOP’s best hope for a pick-up.  Sen. Landrieu has outspent him by a 3:1 margin, but he only trails her by about 10 points now.  After a contentious debate, there may be an opening for Kennedy.  If LA Gov. Bobby Jindal’s going to throw his political capital into this race and aggressively back Kennedy, this race could be a little closer than some recent polls suggest, and it could swing in the GOP’s direction.  The least I can do is include his name on this list.

New Jersey: I’ll add Dick Zimmer‘s name here because I’m a dreamer.  Two polls have now shown this to be less than a ten-point race, and Zimmer seems to be closing the gap with incumbent Dem. Sen. Lautenberg.  Plus, there are two close House races in NJ (03 and 07); more Republican enthusiasm could help those candidates, too.  Lautenberg’s outspent Zimmer by at least 9:1, and Zimmer doesn’t have that much cash on hand.  If the race really is that close without much spending by Zimmer, even a small infusion of cash could translate into a big difference in popular support.

Oregon: This is a tough case.  Gordon Smith used to be leading, but now he’s fallen behind.  Though he’s massively outspent his Democratic opponent, he has never, in over a year of polling, enjoyed support above 50%.  The Obama wave in Oregon might be too powerful for Smith to overcome, but he has a long track record as a moderate Republican survivor, and he has the backing of a number of newspapers (including the state’s largest).  The fight’s not over in Oregon yet.

UPDATE:  See also Why Congress Matters.

Looking on the Bright Side

October 27, 2008

To wash away the taste of some pretty bad news, here’s a new splash of hope for the GOP in the Senate.  In New Jersey, former Congressman Dick Zimmer has closed the gap a little with Democratic incumbent Sen. Frank Lautenberg.  He’s now trailing by only 7 points, 41-48, according to one poll.  In September, the gap was 40-51.  Lautenberg may be losing the support of independents.  He used to lead 60-33, but now it’s 37/43 Zimmer/Lautenberg.  The number of undecided independents has shot up.  This could be an opening for Zimmer, and the GOP may have a better chance of winning this Senate seat than, say, keeping Virginia’s.    The Philadelphia Inquirer has recently endorsed Zimmer.  If he can keep up the image of social moderate and fiscal realist, he could peel away enough independents to make this a very competitive race.  Do the independents of NJ really want an unchecked, hard-left Democratic Congress and president?

NYT Rejoices in the Ethics of Chris Dodd

October 21, 2008

Well, actually, the NYT editorial board takes the Senate banking committee chair to task for his refusal to release documents about his “favorable” mortgage rates from Countrywide:

After reports emerged in June about him having received favorable treatment on two home mortgages from the Countrywide Financial Corporation, Senator Christopher Dodd, a Democrat from Connecticut, promised that he would release documents to support his contention that he never benefited financially from the terms of the loans.

The senator has failed to keep his promise, and his excuses are wearing ridiculously thin.

“I think it will become obvious at the time when it’s the right time, and I’ll explain that at the time when I do so,” Mr. Dodd said last week after a speech in Norwich, Conn., according to The Hartford Courant.

When asked to elaborate, he said: “My answer is what it is, and in the right time, it will be there.”

Mr. Dodd’s original explanation for the loans were not much of an improvement, frankly. He says he knew he was on a V.I.P. list at Countrywide, once the nation’s largest mortgage lender and one of the early casualties of the financial collapse — and now the target of dozens of lawsuits over predatory lending. But he said he did not “seek or expect” preferential treatment, which has left everyone wondering what exactly the V.I.P. list was for.

Meanwhile, Mr. Dodd continues to serve as chairman of the Senate banking committee. He has been a member of the committee for much of his 28 years in the Senate. He is a leader in shaping legislation that will bail out the mortgage industry, which has given him generous campaign support over the years, particularly during his recent, unsuccessful campaign for president.

Gotta love that Democrat transparency!

Swing State New Hampshire?

October 21, 2008

On the presidential level, Obama leads McCain 50-43, and his lead is growing, but the Congressional races show closer races and Republicans closing on a number of them, according to this new Concord Monitor poll:

The poll showed Democrats holding an edge in every major state race. In the Senate race, former governor Jeanne Shaheen retains her long-held lead over Republican incumbent Sen. John Sununu, 50 to 43 percent. That race continues to tighten, however, with Shaheen holding steady at 50 percent and Sununu gaining 2 points since last month’s poll.

In the House, both incumbent Democrats have widened their leads, though both fall short of the 50 percent mark seen as the key threshold of safety for an incumbent. In the 2nd District, Rep. Paul Hodes leads Republican Jennifer Horn, 49 to 35 percent. Both Hodes, a Concord lawyer, and Horn, a Nashua talk show host, have gained slightly since the September poll, which showed their margin at 47 to 34.

In the 1st District, Rep. Carol Shea-Porter leads former representative Jeb Bradley, 48 to 43 percent, a margin at the outer edge of the 6-point margin of error in the House race polls. Since last month’s poll, Bradley’s support has held at 43 percent, while Shea-Porter has picked up 4 points.

The numbers don’t look too good for Jennifer Horn, but both Sununu and Bradley seem to be within striking distance.  New Hampshire’s known for having a lot of sudden surprises (think of Clinton’s primary win in 2008), so these races could swing the Republicans’ way.

MN Senate 10/21

October 21, 2008

New poll update.  It’s close:

Franken 39
Coleman 41
Barkley 18

A lot will depend on how Barkley (I)’s people decide to go.  Will they stay for him or split for either Franken or Coleman?