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News from the Votemaster

Scott Brown Makes Freudian Slip

Former Massachusetts senator Scott Brown has filed to run for the Senate seat currently occupied by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH). Only on the form, he was supposed to say which party's nomination he wants and he left that field blank. The Federal Election Commission sent him a polite letter gently inquiring which party he belongs to. He is going to have to admit it is the Republican Party, even though, by and large, New Hampshire is a blue state and Shaheen is quite popular.

It is not unprecedented for a person to serve as senator from more than one state. James Shields certainly holds the record though. He first represented Illinois in the Senate starting in 1849, even though he had not been a citizen for the nine years prior to his election (which the Constitution requires). This detail led to the Senate to refuse to seat him, creating a vacancy and a special election. This time around he had been a citizen for 9 years and he won the special election. After losing reelection, he moved to Minnesota and was one of the state's first senators. Later he moved to Missouri and won election to the Senate there. None of this is going to help Brown though. He is going to be labeled a carpetbagger from today until the election and it will probably be enough to defeat him since residents of New Hampshire definitely have a clear identity of themselves and do not think of New Hampshire as North Massachusetts. At least three polls taken this year give Shaheen a double-digit lead over Brown. Although Shaheen was born in Missouri, she has lived in New Hampshire for 41 years, so she is pretty much immune to being called a carpetbagger. Also, before she was senator, she was elected governor of New Hampshire three times, so she has deep roots in the state.

But before Brown even gets to face Shaheen, he first has to win a very contested Republican primary where he will face former senator Bob Smith and tea party favorite Karen Testerman. He is certainly better known in the state than either of them, but they are going to be throwing bombs at him for 5 months, since the New Hampshire primary is Sept. 9. He is capable of raising lots of money, but he will have to spend much of it during the primary season in the expensive Boston media market. All in all, it should be exciting and fun to watch, but Shaheen is the clear favorite at this point.

Republican Poll Shows Landrieu Ahead in Louisiana

Normally, partisan polls should be taken with a bucket of salt and polls this early aren't always worth much in many cases, but a new Magellan Strategies poll is perhaps noteworthy. It shows Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) ahead of Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) 39% to 26%. What is special about this poll is that Magellan Strategies is a Republican shop, and partisan pollsters never release polls that make the other side look better than it really is. So it can be presumed that Landrieu is leading Cassidy by at least 13%, maybe more.

Louisiana has a jungle primary, with all candidates listed on the same ballot. If no candidate gets 50%, the top two candidates face each other in a runoff a few weeks later. Most likely they will be Landrieu and Cassidy, so a lot depends on how the voters who supported the minor candidates in the primary vote in the runoff. Sometimes these are protest votes and when push comes to shove, they will go with a known quantity. This is not to say that Landrieu is home free. By no means, but media reports that she is a dead woman walking are overblown. It will be a hotly contested race, but it is far from clear who will win in the end.

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---The Votemaster
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