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News: Updated May 04

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News from the Votemaster

Despite the hotly contested primaries in North Carolina and Indiana Tuesday, the big political news today is not about the presidential race but about Congress. In LA-06, centered around Baton Rouge, state representative Don Cazayoux (D) defeated former state representative and local newspaper publisher Woody Jenkins (R) in a special election to fill the seat vacated by Richard Baker (R), who resigned from the House to become a lobbyist. Cazayou got 49% of the vote to Jenkins' 46% in a race with major national implications. LA-06 is a heavily Republican district with a PVI of R+7 that has been in Republican hands for 33 years. President Bush got 59% of the vote here in 2004.

Both the DCCC and NRCC advertised heavily here. The NRCC referred to Don Cazayoux (a Cajun name) as "Don Tax You" and claimed he is a "liberal," which is a big insult in rural Lousiana. They also tried to tie him to boogeyman Barack Obama and boogeywoman Nancy Pelosi. The whole nine yards. At this point, the Republicans assume Barack Obama will be the Democratic nominee and LA-06 was a field test of their November strategy to paint him as a big-government, high-tax, arugula-eating, orange-juice-drinking, Ivy League, out-of-touch liberal. Only it didn't work, even in a very conservative area. The next field test is scheduled for May 13, when Travis Childers (D) dukes it out with Greg Davis (R) in a runoff for Sen. Roger Wicker's old seat in MS-01.

By tomorrow every Republican in the House is going to be thinking "There but for the grace of God go I." If a well-known strongly conservative GOP candidate with 28 years experience in the state legislature can't win an open seat in a heavily Republican district that the GOP has held since 1975, what is going to happen in the many open seats and marginal Republican districts in November? To make matters worse for the GOP, the DCCC has $44 million in the bank (of which it spent $1.2 million on this race) to the NRCC's $6 million (of which they spent $500,000 in LA-06).

For the record, state senator Steve Scalise (R) defeated psychology professor Gilda Reed (D) yesterday in an (R+18) race in LA-01 that was barely contested. Reed's Ph.D. thesis was about the effects of drugs on rats; although appropriate for Congress, it wasn't enough.

Below is a list of House seats where the winner of the 2006 election will not be running in November. With the results of LA-06 now in (and the victory of scientist Bill Foster (D) in IL-14, another heavily Republican district, in March), DCCC chairman Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) is going to be showering money on all 19 Republican-held districts with a PVI less than R+10 in the hopes of picking them off. The only open seats the Democrats have to worry about are OR-05 (Darlene Hooley) and AL-05 (Bud Cramer). And, of course, Foster and Cazayoux have to run again in November, probably against the guys they already beat.

District 2006 winner Party PVI Reason for Vacancy
MD-04 Albert Wynn Dem D+30 Wynn lost the Democratic primary to Donna Edwards
CA-37 Juanita McDonald Dem D+27 McDonald died; Laura Richardson (D) won special election
CA-12 Jackie Speier Dem D+22 Tom Lantos (D) died; Jackie Speier (D) won a special election in April 2008
NY-21 Michael McNulty Dem D+9 Apparently had enough after 10 terms; age: 60
IN-07 Julia Carson Dem D+9 Carson died; her grandson, Andre Carson (D) won a special election for her seat
MA-05 Marty Meehan Dem D+9 Meehan resigned to run U. Mass Lowell; Niki Tsongas (D) won a special election
CO-02 Mark Udall Dem D+8 Running for Wayne Allard's Senate seat
ME-01 Tom Allen Dem D+6 Running against Susan Collins for the Senate
NM-03 Tom Udall Dem D+6 Running for Pete Domenici's Senate seat
NY-25 James Walsh GOP D+3 Apparently didn't stomach another hard-fought race like 2006
NJ-03 James Saxton GOP D+3 Apparently had enough after 12 terms; age: 64
NM-01 Heather Wilson GOP D+2 Running for Pete Domenici's Senate seat
OR-05 Darlene Hooley Dem D+1 After 32 years in public service, she's had enough
IL-11 Jerry Weller GOP R+1 Probably due to growing scandals
VA-11 Tom Davis GOP R+1 Wants to make money in private sector plus tough fight expected
MN-03 Jim Ramstad GOP R+1 Not known; he could easily be reelected
NJ-07 Mike Ferguson GOP R+1 Not known
OH-15 Deborah Pryce GOP R+1 No. 4 is GOP leadership; minority is no fun (?)
AZ-01 Rick Renzi GOP R+2 Would be defeated due to corruption scandals
FL-15 Dave Weldon GOP R+4 Unknown; he is a mere stripling at 54
OH-16 Ralph Regula GOP R+4 At 82 and in the minority, he's had it
IL-14 Dennis Hastert Dem R+5 Former Speaker Hastert (R) resigned; scientist Bill Foster (D) won special election
IL-18 Ray LaHood GOP R+5 Unknown; he is only 61
NY-29 Tom Reynolds GOP R+5 Would have faced a very difficult race
VA-01 Jo Ann Davis GOP R+5 Davis died; replaced by Robert Wittman in a special election (R)
NM-02 Steve Pearce GOP R+6 Running for Pete Domenici's Senate seat
OH-07 David Hobson GOP R+6 Unclear; maybe his age (71)
AL-05 Bud Cramer Dem R+6 After 9 terms, he just had enough
MO-09 Kenny Hulshof GOP R+7 Running for governor
LA-06 Richard Baker Dem R+7 Baker quit to be a lobbyist; Don Cazayou (D) won a special election
LA-04 Jim McCrery GOP R+7 Ranking member of Ways and Means, sees he will never chair it
CA-52 Duncan Hunter GOP R+9 Running for President
CO-06 Tom Tancredo GOP R+10 Made an abortive run for President
MS-01 Roger Wicker GOP R+10 Wicker was appointed to Lott's Senate seat; special election May 23
OH-05 Paul Gillmor GOP R+10 Paul Gillmor (R) died; replaced by Robert Latta (R) in a special election
PA-05 John Peterson GOP R+10 Age and health reasons
MD-01 Wayne Gilchrest GOP R+10 Gilchrest was defeated in the primary by Andy Harris
CA-04 John Doolittle GOP R+11 One scandal too many
KY-02 Ron Lewis GOP R+13 Not known
AL-02 Terry Everett GOP R+13 Unclear; he is a mere 70 and could serve 10 more years
MS-03 Chip Pickering GOP R+13 Got bored waiting for a Senate vacancy
LA-01 Bobby Jindal GOP R+18 Jindal was elected governor in 2007; special election won by Steve Scalise
WY-AL Barbara Cubin GOP R+19 Probably forced out by GOP leadership;she so right wing she almost lost in 2006
GA-10 Charlie Norwood GOP R+23 Norwood died; replaced by Paul Broun (R) in a special election

In response to the Obama endorsements this week by former DNC chairmen Joe Andrew and Paul Kirk, Hillary Clinton released the names of seven former DNC chairs who support her. DNC chairs are very partisan and want what is best for the party, so this list may give Clinton some extra help with the primaries this week.

Speaking of primaries (and caucuses), in what has to be the closest race this cycle, Barack Obama won the Guam caucuses (really a primary) yesterday by a margin of seven votes, 2264 to 2257. Each candidate will get four pledged half-delegates. While neither candidate visited Guam (a tropical paradise in the Pacific Ocean), Guamos (?) got a lot more attention than usual, as the candidates ran ads on Guam and made repeated conference calls to the island. Like Puerto Ricans, permanent residents of Guam are American citizens but cannot vote in federal elections (but can vote in party primaries, if the party so chooses).

Three new primary polls today. Zogby has Indiana a statistical tie, but pretty much all the other pollsters put Clinton 5-10% ahead there.

State Pollster End date Clinton Obama
Indiana Zogby May 02 42% 43%
North Carolina Zogby May 02 37% 46%
Oregon Rasmussen May 01 39% 51%

In eccentric New Hampshire, John McCain leads both Democrats. His image of a maverick definitely helps him there.

State Clinton McCain Start End Pollster
New Hampshire 44% 47% Apr 25 Apr 30 U. of NH
State Obama McCain Start End Pollster
New Hampshire 43% 49% Apr 25 Apr 30 U. of NH

The polling results for all primaries and caucuses are available as a Web page and in .csv format.

Here are the delegate totals from seven news source. Not all of them have included the Guam results yet.


Source Clinton Obama Obama-Clinton
Washington Post 1593 1724 +131
NY Times 1599 1733 +134
AP 1607 1742 +135
CNN 1599 1736 +137
ABC 1602 1743 +141
CBS 1601 1735 +134
MSNBC 1603 1738 +135

Needed to win: 2025

Here is another source for delegate totals.

-- The Votemaster