News from the Votemaster
Republicans are worried that the surging independent in the South Dakota Senate race, Larry Pressler, is really a secret Democrat. Pressler has denied this and has said that he has supported both Democrats and Republicans in the past. Last week he said he was a "friend of Obama" but he has clarified that to mean he wants to work with Obama, not that he supports the President up and down the line.
Like Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS), Pressler has come under attack for not owning a house in South Dakota. He replied that his wife works in D.C. but he owns farmland in South Dakota. The issue of residency keeps coming up this year, even though being a Senator is really a full-time job and not one in which senators really live in their home states, zip over to D.C. to pass a couple of laws, then zip home again.
While independent Senate candidate Greg Orman of Kansas is wealthy, he is by no means a billionaire. His net worth is below $100 million according to documents he has filed. But a surprising number of billionaires are coming out of the woodwork to help him, including investors Peter Ackerman and John Burbank, as well as Michael Bloomberg, and Jonathan Soros. Since the Republicans are pouring money into the state, largely to tar and feather him, being able to fight back helps.
In their second televised debate, Iowa Senate candidates Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA) and state senator Joni Ernst (R), fought over environmental issues. Ernst wants to eliminate the Environmental Protection Agency, saying the states can handle the job. Braley argued that she doesn't care about clean air and clean water.
Another hot issue is the Keystone XL Pipeline. When it was first proposed, Braley supported it; now he opposes it, and Ernst jumped all over him for flip flopping. Braley replied that at first he thought the oil (which would take extremely dirty Canadian tar sands to Texas for refining and export) would create American jobs and benefit American consumers, but after a closer look, now thinks it won't create so many jobs and the oil will be largely exported. The proposed route of the pipeline will not pass through Iowa, but it will pass through neighboring states and a break could pollute underground water supplies used in much of the Midwest.
Braley also went after Ernst for attending a secret meeting with the Koch brothers saying they are wonderful. Ernst replied that she never promised them anything in return. To a large extent, this shows what is wrong with politics. It is no doubt true that she didn't make any explicit promises to them. If she wins and votes the way they like, they will continue to support her. If she doesn't vote as they want, they will find a primary opponent to support in 2020. Nothing has to be written down.
Ad buyers for campaigns have long known that there is only so much television time and if other candidates have already bought it, you can't. But many ad buyers always thought the Internet could not sell out. That's not entirely true it turns out. In particular, ads on YouTube are especially popular. A buyer can purchase an ad that the viewer has to watch all the way through before getting at the content requested. For a given piece of content, if a campaign buys the lead-in video until Nov. 4, then it is sold out and other campaigns can't have it. While there are an infinite number of cat videos, videos that people actually look at are smaller in number and the good ones are already gone.
Campaigning takes time--a lot of it. When incumbents hit the campaign trail or go beg for money, they often miss votes and committee meetings associated with their elected offices. All of a sudden, missed meetings are becoming a big deal, just like not owning a house in your state. In particular, North Carolina house speaker Thom Tillis has been lambasting Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC) for fundraising. He said she did cocktails while ISIS grew. But people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. She shot back that he has missed official business in the legislature so much that his hometown newspaper called for him to give up his leadership role. Other candidates, in Iowa, Colorado, and New Hampshire have also fought over attendance records. This kind of attack works best when the candidate doing the attacking is not an elected official who has actual duties to attend to.
Georgia is the site of competitive races for governor and senator but the secretary of state, Brian Kemp (R), seems to be taking his time processing about 40,000 new voter registrations. His lack of interest in getting these processed fast led civil rights groups to file a lawsuit against him, charging voter suppression. According to the groups, some of the forms were turned in months ago, even as far back as March.
There are two marquee races in Georgia. Michelle Nunn (D) and David Perdue (R) are in a very close race for the Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) and Jimmy Carter's grandson, Jason Carter, is challenging Gov. Nathan Deal (R-GA). Both races are very close and the candidates could easily be separated by fewer than 40,000 votes.
The whole concept of "election day" is obsolete now, with 33 states offering some form of early voting. In 2012, the Democrats made a huge effort to get their votes banked early. Now the Republicans are starting to follow suit. Iowa, a key battleground, has had voting for two weeks. Georgia, another one, starts today. With two hot races there (for senator and governor), both parties are working hard to get their voters to vote early there.
A federal judge ruled yesterday that Alaska's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. The state immediately said it would appeal the decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, even though that court has already struck down similar bans in Idaho and Nevada.
This issue injects another variable into the tight Senate race in the state. On the one hand, Alaska is a conservative state, which might play out with Republican Senate candidate Dan Sullivan attacking "judicial activism." But the state also has a deep libertarian tradition, so Sen. Mark Begich (D-AL) might reply by saying it is none of the government's business telling people who they can marry. The judge who made the decision, Timothy Byrgess, was appointed to the bench by George W. Bush and confirmed by a Republican-controlled Senate.
New polls in Georgia and Iowa reinforce the conventional wisdom that the races in both states are essentially ties. The money will continue to pour into both states in the final three weeks as control of the Senate could hinge on these races. if one party wins both, it is likely to control the Senate.
|State||Democrat||D %||Republican||R %||I||I %||Start||End||Pollster|
|Georgia||Michelle Nunn||46%||David Perdue||46%||Oct 07||Oct 09||Landmark Communications|
|Iowa||Bruce Braley||46%||Joni Ernst||47%||Oct 03||Oct 08||Selzer|
* Denotes incumbent
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Oct12 Secret Money Dominates Campaigns
Oct12 Not All Large Donors Are Secret
Oct12 Candidates Call in the Big Guns in Iowa
Oct11 Washington Post Model Gives Republicans 95% Chance of Capturing the Senate
Oct11 Denver Post Endorses Cory Gardner
Oct11 Blank-Slate Candidates Are on the Rise
Oct11 Federal Election Commission Has Stopped Functioning
Oct11 Hillary's Potential Opponents Won't Attack Her
Oct10 Supreme Court Shoots Down Wisconsin Voter ID Law
Oct10 Federal Judge Strikes Down Texas Voter ID Law
Oct10 Study: Voter ID Laws Reduce Turnout
Oct10 Roberts and Orman Debate in Kansas
Oct10 Landrieu Fires Her Campaign Manager
Oct10 Republicans' End-game Strategy Comes into Focus
Oct10 Have the October Surprises Already Happened?
Oct10 Huckabee Threatens to Leave Republican Party over Same-Sex Marriage
Oct09 Supreme Court Reinstates North Carolina Voting Restrictions
Oct09 Could There Be a Real Horse Race in South Dakota?
Oct09 Pollsters Predict Republican Senate--Maybe
Oct09 Brownback Tries to Blame the Media for His Troubles
Oct09 Could Colorado in 2014 Be the Prototype for America in 2016?
Oct09 Politics Affects the Response to Ebola
Oct09 Conservatives Attack Karl Rove
Oct08 Republicans Abandon Terri Lynn Land
Oct08 Rural Voters Abandon Roberts in Kansas
Oct08 Nunn and Perdue Engage in a Slugfest
Oct08 Judge Throws Out Gerrymandered Virginia Congressional Map
Oct08 Gubernatorial Contests Could Affect House Races
Oct08 Ted Cruz Poaching on Huckabee/Santorum Territory
Oct08 Republican Presidential Candidates Audition before Donors
Oct07 The Battle about Who Can and Will Vote
Oct07 The Election Is in a Month and Nobody Cares
Oct07 Sparks Fly in Colorado Debate
Oct07 Republicans Don't Want to Talk about Supreme Court and Same-Sex Marriage
Oct07 Tillis Accused of Conflict of Interest in Real Estate Deal
Oct07 Republicans Brace for a Free-for-all in 2016
Oct07 Will the Democrats Have Their Own Adelsons and Friesses in 2016?
Oct07 Conservatives Attempting to Build a Permanent Ground Force
Oct06 Is 2014 a Repeat of 2006?
Oct06 Obama Will Speak on the Economy Thursday
Oct06 Boehner Backs Gay Republican Candidates
Oct06 Bill Clinton to Campaign in Arkansas
Oct06 Do Debates Matter?
Oct06 Democrats Pouring Money into Firewall States
Oct06 $100 Million Could Pour into a Georgia During a Runoff
Oct06 Is the Romney Boomlet a Result of a Weak 2016 GOP Field?
Oct05 Could Control of the Senate Be Decided in Quinhagak?
Oct05 It May Take a Long Time to Count All the Votes in Alaska
Oct05 Democrats Starting to Rely on Super PACS