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News: Updated Feb. 29

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News from the Votemaster

Today's the day all the political junkies have been waiting for. The question everyone has been hanging on has been answered, namely, what job does Mark Begich want?

On the off-chance you missed this, if you Google "The bridge to nowhere" you will find over 50,000 hits, all of them describing the pet project of Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) for spending $320 million of the taxpayers money to build a bridge from Revillagigedo Island (pop. 13,950 including Ketchikan) to its airport to spare its residents a $5 ferry ride. Outside of Alaska he is the poster boy for pork barrel legislation gone berserk, but within the state he is seen as the guy who is trying to bring home the bacon. Stevens has served longer in the Senate than any Republican ever, which is good, but will be 91 at the end of his next term, which is bad for such a young state. In July 2007, the FBI and IRS raided his home as part of a corruption probe.

This event launched a small war between Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), chairman of the DCCC, and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), chairman of the DSCC. Both of them want popular Anchorage mayor Mark Begich (D) to run for Congress, only Schumer wants him to challenge the badly weakened Stevens and Van Hollen wants him to run for the House against Rep. Don Young (R-AK), who is also under investigation for corruption.

Schumer has $30 million in the kitty but Van Hollen has $34 million. Undoubtedly they got into a bidding war for Begich's services. Well, now we know what Begich is going to do. He is running for the Senate. In a way, this is not a total surprise, since Alaska has only one House seat, so both House candidates and Senate candidates have to run state wide, and if you are running state wide, why not go for the bigger prize, the Senate? The real decision was probably based on Begich's perception of whether Stevens or Young was more badly damaged by corruption issues. Neither one is a spring chicken, but Stevens is older. If the national race is Obama vs. McCain, this one will be an echo of that, with a good-looking charismatic young guy against Mr. Experience. In any event, all of a sudden Alaska will be a huge battleground. Now that the Democrats have the mayor of the largest city in the state as their man, they will fight tooth and nail to defeat Stevens. Here are their pictures.

Ted Stevens
Ted Stevens (R)
            Mark Begich
Mark Begich (D)

Forbes has a Website where you can fill in numbers to try out various scenarios for the remaining Democratic primaries to see what the delegate totals are. Thanks to Political Wire for the pointer.

Here is another poll for Texas. It is very close there, but Hillary Clinton's once huge lead has vanished. The momentum is with Barack Obama. She needs to win big there to get back in the race. For him, a small win will do.

State Pollster End date Clinton Obama McCain Huckabee Paul
Texas Public Strategies Feb. 25 46% 43% 59% 29% 5%

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

Here are the delegate totals from various news sources rounded to integers (Democrats Abroad has 11 delegates split into 22 half delegates). The sources differ because in most caucus states, no delegates to the national conventions have been chosen yet, just delegates to the district, county, or state convention. Also, some sources try to count the PLEOs (Party Leaders and Elected Officials) and unpledged delegates, who also get to vote at the convention. When different reporters call a PLEO and hear "Well, I like Hillary, but Barack has his charms too" they may score it differently.


Source Clinton Obama BHO-HRC Edwards McCain Romney Huckabee Paul
Washington Post 1277 1375 +98   1014   257  
NY Times 1212 1304 +92 12 845 142 205 5
AP 1276 1378 +102 26 1013 257 257 14
CNN 1267 1369 +102 26 1033 255 247 16
ABC 1276 1380 +104 33 944 273 252 14
CBS 1265 1373 +108 26 916 166 210 10
MSNBC 1262 1323 +61   822 282 243 14

Needed to win: Democrats 2025, Republicans 1191.

Here is another source for delegate totals.

-- The Votemaster
WWW www.electoral-vote.com