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News from the Votemaster            

Florida Race Dividing Democrats     Permalink

The Florida Senate race is causing major headaches for the state's Democrats. On the one hand, some of them (especially black voters) feel loyalty to Kendrick Meek, a young black congressman trying for a promotion to the Senate. The problem is that he trails both Gov. Charlie Crist (?-FL) and Marco Rubio (R) badly in the polls and few people think he can win. On the other hand, some Democrats think that Crist might caucus with the Democrats and at least has some chance to win. They argue that a vote for Meek is a wasted vote. Former Representative Robert Wexler, a Democrat, strongly endorsed Crist yesterday and told his many supporters to vote for Crist. So while some people thought Crist's independent candidacy would split the Republican vote, what has happened is that he divided the Democratic vote.

A similar pattern seems to be developing in Alaska. When Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) refused to give up after losing her primary and decided to run as a write-in candidate, many Democrats thought she would divide the Republican vote and thus give Democrat Scott McAdams a chance. But Murkowski is drawing much of her support from Democrats and thus hurting, rather than helping, McAdams.

In both Florida and Alaska, what Democratic voters seem to be saying is that they do not want a tea partier in the Senate and will sacrifice the local Democrat and vote for a moderate Republican to deny the tea partier a victory. In a sense this becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy though. If most Democrats refuse to vote for the Democrat, then the Democrat won't win, but if all the Democrats vote for the Democrat, at least in Florida, he might win.

Democrats Forced to Triage Candidates     Permalink

With Democrats in trouble in so many races, the DSCC is having to decide which candidates to support and which to cut loose and let sink or swim on their own. Tough Senate races are underway in at least eight states: Colorado, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, Nevada, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Wisconsin, and DSCC chairman, Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) has to decide how to spend his limited budget. Menendez has already abandoned Arkansas, Indiana, Ohio, Louisiana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, and Florida as lost causes. No doubt Menendez is polling the eight states where all is not yet lost like crazy to see which ones he might be able to save with a big injection of money. At the moment, the Democrats' best prospects appear to be Colorado, Illinois, Nevada, and West Virginia, but that could change in the coming weeks.

The chance of winning is not the only factor Menendez has to consider when drawing up his budget. Some states, like Nevada and West Virginia, are cheap to advertise in and others, such as Illinois and Pennsylvania, are expensive. A milion dollars goes a long way in West Virgina but not nearly so far in Pennsylvania. Also to be considered is the color of the state. It doesn't take a lot to convince people in Illinois to vote for Democrats; they normally do it without much urging, whereas West Virginia is a harder sell. Finally, some candidates, like Alexi Giannoulias (IL), are already badly damaged whereas others, like Joe Manchin (WV) are very popular. From all these factors, a decision has to be made about where to put resources.

Whitman to Debate Brown on Spanish-Language Television Today     Permalink

With Maidgate a confusing jumble fresh in everyone's mind, the debate tonight between gubernatorial candidates Meg Whiteman (R) and Jerry Brown (D) could be the decisive event in the governor's race. Many Latinos have become suspicious of Whitman, who called her maid "family" and then unceremoniously threw her out on the street at the start of her campaign when it was clear she was going to be a liability. Tonight she will get her one--and perhaps only--chance to redeem herself in the eyes of Latino voters, who comprise 21% of California's voters. It is generally accepted that a Republican candidate needs at least 30% of the Latino vote to win statewide here.

One has to wonder if Whitman ever heard the name Zoe Baird (Bill Clinton's first nominee for Attorney General who was shot down for having employed an illegal nanny). Whitman has spent $120 million on television ads so far. It might have been wiser for her to have spent $119 million on ads and $1 million to buy Nicky Diaz Santillan's silence. Probably there will be a poll within a few days of the debate and we'll have a better idea of how much damage has been done.

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