News from the Votemaster
Today is the final election day of the primary season. Montana (16 pledged delegates) and South Dakota (15 pledged delegates) vote today. Then it is up to the supers to leap off that damn fence into one camp or the other. Many insiders think it will be wrapped up this week. If Obama wants the voters to end it rather than the supers, he will need to get about 25-30 supers to declare for him today.
With the campaign winding down, the retrospectives are going to begin. Richard Cohen has a good starter. His says this campaign has brought out the worst this country has to offer. Twenty percent of the voters in Kentucky said they wouldn't vote for a black person. Hillary Clinton, an otherwise good senator and no more ambitious than most of her male colleagues, has been turned into a witch by her detractors. Bill Clinton's legacy is forever changed for the worse. Our innocent youth of Iowa is long gone.
But the two primaries aren't the only elections today. In fact, they aren't even all that important given how few delegates are up for grabs. There are high profile congressional primaries in Alabama, California, New Jersey and New Mexico today as well as lower-profile ones in Iowa, Montana, and South Dakota. In Alabama, there are primaries for two open House seats, AL-02 (Terry Everett) and AL-05 (Bud Cramer). Everett is a Republican and Cramer is a Democrat. Both are retiring.
In CA-04, the Republicans have had a bloody primary between Tom McClintock and Doug Ose. This is the district currently being represented by scandal-ridden John Doolittle. It is R+11, so the nomination is worth fighting for. Democrat Charlie Brown, a retired Air Force colonel who ran in 2006 and lost, is unopposed. While the district is heavily Republican, he is flush with cash and undamaged by a nasty primary.
In New Jersey, there are senatorial primaries in both parties. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) will win his by 30+ points, but the Republican one is a three-way race. New Jersey also has primaries in two open House seats. In NJ-03, two Republicans, Lockheed Martin VP Chris Myers and Ocean County freeholder Jack Kelly have been bashing each other over the head with everything they've got. Democratic state senator John Adler got a free pass. Adler has no serious primary opponent, lots of cash, a slight Democratic lean to the district (D+3) and New Jersey is a blue state. No matter which Republican wins, Jim Saxton's seat looks like it will flip to the Democrats. The other open seat in New Jersey is NJ-07, where Mike Ferguson (R) is retiring. The Republican candidates are state senate minority leader Leonard Lance and Kate Whitman, daughter of former governor Christine Todd Whitman. The Democrat is Linda Stender, who ran in 2006 and lost.
The biggie is New Mexico where practically the whole state is up for grabs. Sen. Pete Domenici (R-NM) is retiring, officially due to brain disease but unofficially because he is up to his brain in the U.S. attorneys scandal. New Mexico has three congressional seats, and all three representatives want the promotion to the Senate. Unfortunately for the Republicans, two of them are Republicans, Heather Wilson and Steve Pearce, and they are bashing each other's brains out in a nasty, bitter, primary. The winner, who will probably also be suffering from brain damage (not to mention wallet damage and image damage), will take on the state's lone Democratic congressman, Tom Udall, of the famous Udall family. Polls show that the primary race is close but Udall will easily beat either one of them. Tom's cousin, Mark Udall, is favored to win the Colorado Senate seat being vacated by Wayne Allard. If both win, the Udall tradition of public service will continue with two cousins in the Senate.
Since all three representatives are running for the Senate, there are primaries in all three districts in both parties. Thus the entire congressional representation of the state except for Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) will change in January. Since New Mexico is a swing state for the presidency as well, expect both John McCain and the Democratic nominee to show up here often to campaign for the White House, Senate, and House all at once.
The changing of the guard is upon us. The two longest-serving senators are seriously ill. Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) underwent surgery for a brain tumor yesterday and Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV), the longest serving senator ever, was hospitalized again yesterday. Byrd was injured in a fall earlier this year and then reacted badly to the antibiotics that were presecribed for it.
Here are the last primary polls. The ARG poll in South Dakota is nutty. Maybe they couldn't find 500 Democrats to interview.
Obama has about 2076 delegates now. He'll probably get about 17 from today's primaries, making 2093. This puts him 25 delegates shy of the 2118 mark. If he doesn't get the nomination tonight, he'll get it tomorrow. This is the beginning of the end of the primary season. It's been a wild ride.
Needed to win: 2118
Here is another source for delegate totals.
-- The Votemaster