News from the Votemaster
Real political junkies are paying a lot of attention to two upcoming special elections for vacant House seats in the South. In LA-06, which was vacated by Richard Baker (R) to take a $1 million job with a hedge fund, Democratic state house member Don Cazayoux is facing off against Republican newspaper publisher Woody Jenkins on May 3. Since the district has a PVI of R+7, Jenkins should be able to win it easily. However, Cazayoux just released a poll showing him ahead 49% to 42%. Jenkins did not release any competing polls of his own. However, the DCCC has already spent $270,000 in the district, more than double what the NRCC has spent there. The difference is that the DCCC has about $38 million in the bank vs. the NRCC's about $5 million. This race puts NRCC chairman Tom Cole (R-OK) in a real bind: try to match the Democrats in a district that Bush carried by a wide margin twice or hoard your pennies for later races. But losing a strong Republican district on a day with no other news scheduled (especially after the loss in IL-14) is going to be very demoralizing to Republican House members. It is expected that DCCC chairman Chris van Hollen (D-MD) is going to keep pouring money into this race to force Cole to either ante up or fold. Here is more information about LA-06.
Even more surprising is the special election race in MS-01 to fill the seat Roger Wicker occupied before being apppointed to the Senate to fill Trent Lott's seat. MS-01 runs along the top of the state and is R+10. This should be easy of the GOP to hold, The election is April 22, and if no candidate achieves 50%, there will be runoff on May 13 between the top two. The main Democrat is Travis Childers, the chancery clerk of Prentiss County. The main Republican is Southaven mayor Greg Davis. The NRCC is starting to spend money here, which means they have to be at least a bit worried. So far the DCCC hasn't jumped in, but an internal Democratic poll shows the race to be a statistical tie, so Van Hollen may dump some money here to force Cole to respond. More here. Special elections like these are often bellwethers for what is going to happen later in the year.
In the debate this week, Hillary Clinton made the point that if Barack Obama can't stand up to her relatively mild attacks, how is he going to manage when the Republicans start going after him? Certainly a valid point. The flip side of the coin is what are the Democrats going to throw at McCain? For a sneak preview, take a look a www.youngerthanmccain.com with its funny video pointing out that McCain is older than the Golden Gate Bridge, Coke in cans, FM radio, and quite a few other things. It is clearly designed to impress young people with the point that McCain is a throwback to a long-gone era. If Obama is the Democratic nominee, could some Republicans make a similar funny video pointing out his callow youth?
No new polls today.
Here are the delegate totals from various news sources rounded to integers. If you have been watching these scores day by day you probably have noticed a slow but steady movement towards Obama. Almost every other day another superdelegate announces for him. A month ago, the average of these seven sources showed Obama with a lead of 127 delegates. Today that lead is 145 delegates, a net gain of 18 in a month. As discussed here Tuesday, if Hillary Clinton has a good day next week in the Pennsylvania primary, she would be very lucky to pick up 20 delegates, which would put her back even where she was a month ago. While the drip-drip-drip of delegate announcements every few days doesn't make much news, Obama is gradually building a lead that is going to be hard to surpass, in large part due to the delegate allocation rules the Democrats use. Even with a really solid win in Pennsylvania, Clinton won't pick up that many delegates. The NY Times has a story about how the Wright flap, bittergate, and the debate hasn't convinced very many superdelegates to announce for Clinton. In fact, the reverse is true as noted above.
Needed to win: Democrats 2024, Republicans 1191.
Here is another source for delegate totals.
-- The Votemaster