Obama's Most Amusing Super Tuesday Wins

I have been amused by all the excitement about Barack Obama's red state wins in a number of states.  Making the claim that he carried these states as though somehow the weight of his victories in those places offset his defeats in California, New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts would offend reason were they not just so damnably amusing.  Let's look at the numbers on these great victories being touted across the web today.

Idaho

Obama 16,880
Clinton, 3,655
Edwards 137

That's right, 20,672 Democrats in Idaho(to put this in perspective, 23,000 men died or were wounded at the Battle of Antietam on just one single day in September 1862.)

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"I won't Let Anyone Swiftboat This Country's Future"

WHAT DOES SHE HAVE TO DO???

The woman from New York is running an epic campaign! And she is standing history on its head. Hillary Clinton has now smashed every barrier arrayed against a woman staging a serious run at the Presidency. She proved on Super Tuesday that in only a few months she could well become the Democratic Party candidate for President of the United States.

But in the nation's media you will not read that her campaign is either historic or a phenomenal first.

You also will not read that she is supported by more of the Democratic Party base than her opponent, believes more in Democratic Party ideals and puts the Democratic Party's welfare first. And this is why in her victory speech she proudly and defiantly  declared,

"I won't let anyone Swiftboat this country's Future!"

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The Blue-ing of Alaska

It looks like all of that massive Republican corruption in Alaska is taking its toll on the party, with the Senator who has represented the state for about 80 percent of its life and the Congressman who has represented the state of about 70 percent of its life both trailing their respective Democratic challengers in new head-to-head non-partisan Research 2000 polling commissioned by Markos:

If 2008 election for Congress were held today, for whom would you vote for if the choices were between Ethan Berkowitz, the Democrat, and Don Young, the Republican?

Young (R) 42
Berkowitz (D) 49

If 2008 election for U.S. Senate were held today, for whom would you vote for if the choices were between Mark Begich, the Democrat, and Ted Stevens, the Republican?

Stevens (R) 41
Begich (D) 47

In both of these races it looks like the greatest potential problem for the Democrats could come in the form of a successful primary challenge for either/both Stevens and Young. Indeed, Young recently earned himself a seemingly credible challenger in the form of state Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux.

In the event that both Young and Stevens make it out of their party's primary, it seems likely that both races will be among the most competitive in the nation next year. On the Senate side of the ledger, a Stevens-Begich race could be as high as the Democrats' fifth best pick-up opportunity (behind Mark Warner in Virginia, Tom Udall in New Mexico, Jeanne Shaheen in New Hampshire and Mark Udall in Colorado, perhaps in that order and perhaps not). On the House side, I wouldn't give Young much more than a slight edge, if even that, given the Republican-leaning nature of the state (no Democrat has won a federal election in the state since 1974), and I'd more likely rank the race in the toss-up range.

If you want to go back through and get some information on these races, between Todd, SenateGuru and me there's a whole lot of posts in both the AK-Sen tag and the AK-AL tag here on MyDD.

And just to add... In case folks were wondering, I have finals here at Berkeley law starting tomorrow morning, so I'm probably going to be a bit quiet in the coming days. Thanks for bearing with me, though. -- J

Update [2007-12-10 13:37:27 by Todd Beeton]:If I can just jump into Jonathan's post for a second, looking at the internals of the poll, it's interesting to note that it isn't Republicans who are abandoning Young and Stevens, although they're more inclined to support Berkowitz over Young than they are to support Begich over Stevens. The real story here appears to be independents who favor the Democrats by at least 20% margins in both races. This is particularly important in Alaska where, according to 2008 Racetracker wiki, the partisan breakdown is as follows:

As of Oct. 3, 2007:
Dem. - 67,860 (14.26%)
Rep. - 117,504 (24.69%)
Non-Part.-74,772 (15.71%)
Undecl. - 183,397 (38.54%)
Other - 32,296 (6.79%)

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AK-AL: Young's Numbers Continue to Lag

It's not so good when an incumbent's negative rating grows by 10 points from the spring to the fall, or when that incumbent's negative numbers are higher than his positive numbers, or when that incumbent's strong negative numbers are nearly as high as his overall positive numbers. But such is the case for Alaska's longtime Republican Congressman Don Young, according to new polling from the state.

11/129/176/154/5Very Positive13111820Somewhat Positive21222231Neutral1618157Somewhat Negative18201816Very Negative30262322DK/Refused2233

Polling not only shows that Young, whose legal woes have caused him to spend $450,000 on a legal defense fund, is having trouble among voters. It also shows that Young is trailing Democratic challenger Ethan Berkowitz by a 51 percent to 45.5 percent margin. So at this point, the Democrats' greatest fear in this race might not be that Young will run a strong campaign but rather that he will opt to do what Mike Ferguson did today and so many other Republicans in both the House and the Senate have already done -- opt for retirement.

Alaska Still Doesn't Look Pretty for the Republicans

From top to bottom, the Alaska Republicans' brand has become quite tarnished in recent years -- unsurprisingly so given the lack of scruples with which GOP politicians in the state have undertaken their jobs. Karl Vick has a bit of a rundown of the situation in the state on the front page of The Washington Post today.

When the FBI came looking for corruption in Alaska politics, it found an excellent perch in Suite 604 of the Baranof Hotel in Juneau, the state capital. There, a profane septuagenarian named Bill Allen did business throughout a 2006 special session called to set taxes on the oil industry. With hundred-dollar bills in his front pocket for ease of access when lawmakers turned up with their hands out, the oil-services company executive turned in a bravura performance before the pinhole camera that federal agents installed opposite his favorite chair.

"Let me count first here," Allen said, shushing a former statehouse speaker as he counted out a bribe in video footage entered as evidence in the lawmaker's September trial, one of several crowding the docket of the federal court here.

On another tape, Pete Kott, the former Republican speaker of the Alaska House of Representatives, crowed as he described beating back a tax bill opposed by oil companies. "I had to cheat, steal, beg, borrow and lie," Kott said. "Exxon's happy. BP's happy. I'll sell my soul to the devil."

[...]

Officially, the scandal has remained confined to Juneau, where Alaska lawmakers had grown so accustomed to operating under the presumption of impropriety that several of them embroidered ball caps with the letters CBC, for "Corrupt Bastards Club." (An Anchorage coffeehouse now offers Corrupt Bastards Brew.) But with signs that the investigation is brushing against Alaska's lone congressman, Don Young (R), and its longtime and venerated senator Ted Stevens (R), residents of the Last Frontier are experiencing a rare spasm of soul-searching.

Just how bad are things for Young, for instance? Check out the Anchorage Daily News.

Now Young's campaign donations are going for another purpose. He's spent nearly $450,000 on criminal defense lawyers so far this year after he learned of an FBI investigation into his relationships with political donors, who include a Florida real estate developer seeking a highway ramp near his undeveloped land.

Young's problems aren't just legal at this point. As a result of all of the poor press that he has been receiving in recent months, Young has also seen his standing among Alaska voters fall precipitously, with his favorable rating falling from 51 percent in April to 33 percent in February. With up and coming Democrat Ethan Berkowitz, a former state Representative who was his party's Lieutentant Governor nominee in 2006, in the race and actually leading Young 51 percent to 45.5 percent, it looks like Young's seat is very much up for grabs.

That's not the only problem for the Republicans in the state. Senator Ted Stevens, whose numbers have also taken a real hit, is reported to be under federal investigation for his improprieties. And according to Markos, Stevens may (relatively) soon get as strong a challenger as he's ever seen.

A source close to Begich told me that Begich asked some of those Senators about schools in the area -- evidence that he's seriously considering the bid. I talked to multiple sources in DC and Alaska with insight into this race, and the consensus is that Begich is seriously leaning toward a run, but is in no hurry to announce. An Alaska source says the final decision will be made in the next two months, so as to give another candidate a chance if he passes. So I think we can assume if we hear nothing from Begich by the end of the calendar year, it's because he's decided to make the race. In that eventuality, Begich plans on holding off as late as he can to make an announcement. His camp is confident in Begich's fundraising capabilities that, coupled with the low cost of television in the state, he can be most effective in a short race (it's how he ran and won his mayoral race after two previous losses). The filing deadline in Alaska is June 2, 2008, though he's not expected to wait that long. Expect any official announcement to come between March and May 2008. But again, if we hear nothing from Begich by the end of the year, we can probably assume he's running.
Begich's numbers statewide are actually pretty good -- better, in fact, than those of Stevens. In a sense, the biggest concern for Democrats in this race is that Stevens will opt not to run for reelection or loses a renomination battle early enough in the campaign that a stronger Republican is able to replace him on the ballot. But aside from this concern, this would be one of the better pick up opportunities for the Democrats in 2008 in the case of a Begich candidacy.

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