News from the Votemaster
Note: The general election software hasn't run since 2004. As IT people, know, software tends get rusty if not used regularly. It might take a couple of days to get it properly oiled. As an aside, all the 2004 and 2006 postings and data are still on the Website (see Previous elections on the menu under the map).
Barack Obama won the Montana primary as expected (56% to 41%) but Hillary Clinton won a surprising upset in South Dakota, 29,559 votes to 23,086 in this sparsely populated state. But dozens of supers endorsed Obama as the polls closed out West pushing Obama over the finish line. Although Clinton has not conceded, it is now virtually certain that Obama will be the Democratic nominee for President. Clinton said that she would be available for Veep. In his speech, Obama praised Clinton effusively and said it was an honor to have competed against her. In truth, he owes a lot to her. She made him a far better candidate than he was in January. He didn't mention her future role in his speech. Clinton as Veep brings up all manner of issues, but we'll leave Veep discussions for another day. There is too much news today.
Obama's historic victory is the not only the lead story in the U.S., it is the lead story just about all over the world, including England, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Holland, India, China, etc. Either way it would have been historic, of course, but seen objectively, there is more prejudice against blacks than against women, so having a black nominee is a bigger breakthrough in a sense than a female nominee. While women haven't made it to the very top, they are well represented one level down: there are 16 women senators and 8 women governors. One state (Washington) has a female governor and two female senators and two others (California and Maine) are represented in the Senate by two women. There is one black senator and one black governor. However, polls have shown that for some people race is still a hot-button issue and for others gender is, but for far more, being too old is a disqualifier.
Now let's look at what happened in the other primaries yesterday.
In New Mexico, Rep. Steve Pearce narrowly defeated Rep. Heather Wilson for the GOP Senate nomination. Polls show he will go down in flames to the Democratic nominee, Tom Udall, in the general election though. Because all three sitting representatives were running for the Senate, there were primaries in all three congressional districts in the state. The matchups will be:- NM-01: Martin Heinrich (D) vs. Darren White (R)
- NM-02: Harry Teague (D) vs. Edward Tinsley (R)
- NM-03: Ben Lujan (D) vs. Daniel East (R)
The combination of being a swing state for President, an open Senate seat, and three open House seats is going to make New Mexico a prime battleground in the Fall.
California held primaries in dozens of districts. The one watched most closely was CA-04, where Rep. John Doolittle (R) declined to run again due to the many scandals he is involved in. There was an intensely bitter Republican primary, with perennial candidate Tom McClintock defeating millionaire Doug Ose. Although the district is very conservative, McClintock doesn't live in the district and may be too much of a firebrand even for this district. His Democratic opponent, Charlie Brown, is a retired Air Force colonel who ran against Doolittle in 2006 and lost narrowly. A district to watch. Could be lots of fireworks here.
Another state that held hot primaries is New Jersey. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) was easily renominated and will face lobbyist Dick Zimmer (R) for the Senate race there. Lautenberg, despite being 84, is the odds-on favorite. More interesting is what happens in the two open House districts. Twelve-term incumbent Jim Saxton decided to retire from his seat in NJ-03 in this D+3 district. Chris Myers (R), mayor of Medford, NJ, won the Republican primary and will face state senator John Adler (D), who did not face any serious primary opponent. In another closely split district, state senator Leonard Lance (R) won a bitter primary battle and will now take on assemblywoman Linda Stender (D), who ran in 2006 and narrowly lost to the incumbent, Mike Ferguson (R), who is retiring.
In Alabama, there are two open House seats. In AL-02, Montgomery mayor Bobby Bright won the Democratic nomination. On the Republican side there will be a runoff. This is the seat occupied by retiring congressman Terry Everett. It is a very Republican district (R+13), but after Travis Childers 8-point win in nearby MS-01 in May, even this one may be in play. In any event, Bright has six weeks to get his campaign going while the Republicans, state representative Jay Love and state senator Harri Anne Smith clobber each other. In AL-05, which is moderately Republican (R+6), Parker Griffith won the Democratic nomination. The Republican race will also require a runoff on July 15. The candidates are insurance executive Wayne Parker and businesswoman Cheryl Baswell Guthrie. Parker is favored. With the likely candidates Parker Griffith and Wayne Parker, undecided voters can post big signs in their yards "Vote for Parker."
While everyone is focused on the White House, under the radar something is stirring in the Senate. The Democrats actually have a shot at getting 60 seats there. A year ago nobody would have thought that within the realm of possibility. A link to the Senate map is given to the right of the map above. It will be updated daily as new polls come in. It currently shows the Democrats projected to win 58 seats. Now Kentucky is surely an outlier. Minority leader Mitch McConnell is in for a serious fight, but ultimately he will prevail. Call it 57-43. But this map assumes the Republicans will hold their seats in Maine (Susan Collins), Minnesota (Norm Coleman), and Oregon (Gordon Smith). All three of those will be huge battlegrounds. If the Democrats manage to win all three, they might get 60 seats. It seems unlikely, but not impossible. The most likely outcome now seems to be something like 55-58 Senate seats. While a 43-seat Republican minority can fillibuster all it likes, getting 43 dispirited and powerless Republicans to stick together will test all of McConnell's political skills. If the Senate ends up, say, 57-43, and Obama is President, he will try to pick off individual senators on specific bills. For example, on children's health care, the two ladies from Maine, Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, can probably be convinced to at least vote for cloture. Furthermore, Arlen Spector (R-PA), who is up for reelection in 2010 and is moderate on many issues will offered numerous goodies for his state in return for his support. Since these votes are not needed to pass bills, just to invoke cloture, a Republican who votes for cloture but votes against the bill can say "I think the Senate should vote on major issues, not get stuck in procedural issues, but I voted against the bill."
The Webpage covering the hottest House races is listed under the map (and here). It will be updated whenever there is a development on the House front. We have an uncommonly large number of seats in which the 2006 winner is not running for reelection (45) as well as many seats where the 2006 winner is very much under fire this time. For example, in NC-08, an unknown high school teacher, Larry Kissel (D), with no money and no experience and no help from the national party came within 329 votes of unseating multimillionare textile heir and long-time incumbent Robin Hayes (R). You can bet that race (with the same candidates in 2008) will be intensively watched by the national parties this time. There are many more like that, so check out the House page regularly.
SurveyUSA released several general election polls today even though the polls themselves were taken about two weeks ago. The new polls are listed below the map. A number of Pearce vs. Udall polls for the New Mexico Senate seat have been added to the data base.
Needed to win: 2118
Here is another source for delegate totals.
-- The Votemaster