Right now, both Mark Begich and Ethan Berkowitz are trailing in their respective races for the House and the Senate. But it is in no way certain that they will lose, because right now there are potentially 100,000 uncounted early votes.
I was at the Interior Democrats results-watching party in Fairbanks this evening, and it very quickly became clear that the results, as shown, simply do not comport with electoral reality. How do we know this? Simple: look at the numbers.
AK-Sen: As one would expect, the first poll since Sen. Ted Stevens was indicted shows Democrat Mark Begich surging. In the new Rasmussen Reports poll, which was in the field yesterday, Begich is up a net 9 points since the last poll three weeks ago.
Begich 52 (48) Stevens 44 (49)
Not surprisingly, Stevens' favorables tanked although I continue to be amazed by the apparent lack of outrage among Alaskans at their senior senator.
Stevens is now viewed favorably by 43% of Alaska voters, down from 54% before the trial began. Still, even after the guilty verdict, 52% of voters say Stevens is about as ethical as most politicians. Fifteen percent (15%) say Stevens is more ethical than most of his peers while 31% say he is less ethical. These reactions say as much about perceptions of politicians as they do about Stevens.
Begich earns positive reviews from 57%, little changed from the previous poll.
On the other hand, some not so good news out of Minnesota.
MN-Sen: A new Rassmussen Reports poll of that race shows Norm Coleman with his first lead in a Rasmussen poll since mid-September (10/22 results in parentheses):
Coleman 43 (37) Franken 39 (41) Barkley 14 (17)
That's an almost unbelievable 8 point turnaround in less than a week. I'll have to see if other polls confirm a Coleman surge before I believe it. But it does appear that two factors are coming into play in the movement toward Coleman: 1. the ridiculous endorsement of Coleman by the Minneapolis Star-Tribune and 2. third-party candidate Dean Barkley.
...the latest survey, taken Tuesday night, shows Coleman solidifying his GOP base by taking votes from Barkley and also pulling Democratic votes away from Franken. [...]
Barkley is supported by 10% of Democrats and five percent (5%) of Republicans. That's a three-point gain among Democrats and a loss of five among GOP voters from last week's survey.
Thirty-four percent (34%) of unaffiliated voters support Coleman, while 29% back Barkley and 27% Franken. These numbers remain largely the same compared to a week ago.
NC-Sen: And coming in as one of the ugliest ads of the cycle is an Elizabeth Dole ad that accuses Kay Hagan of being "godless" and even has some woman's voice at the end, over a picture of Hagan, saying "There is no God!" -- the implication is clear.
...Hagan is an elder at the First Presbyterian Church in Greensboro, NC, has taught Sunday School and accompanied youth mission trips.
Hagan is not taking this lying down. She held a press conference this morning with her family and her minister to denounce the ad and has threatened legal action if the ad is not pulled within 24 hours. Good for her. She refuses to be Chamblissed.
So, it's time for one final push for our Road To 60 candidates who are in need of our help. We have an opportunity to defeat corruption, divisive Rovian politics and one of the biggest faux moderate Bush enablers in the Senate next Tuesday. Got to the Road To 60 ActBlue page and give what you can. I've set an ambitious goal of 300 total donors by Saturday. If you haven't given yet, please do so, even if it's just $5 of $10.
Yesterday, after his conviction on 7 felony counts, Ted Stevens declared his innocence and asked "Alaskans and his Senate colleagues to stand with him."
At least two did: Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), a stalwart Stevens friend who testified on his behalf at trial.
John McCain for his part, self-professed maverick and fighter of all matters of corruption in Congress...well, he had to sleep on it.
GOP presidential candidate John McCain, already fighting a political environment hostile to Republicans, said Tuesday morning that Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) should resign from the Senate. [...]
"It is a sign of the health of our democracy that the people continue to hold their representatives to account for improper or illegal conduct, but this verdict is also a sign of the corruption and insider-dealing that has become so pervasive in our nation's capital," McCain said. "It is clear that Sen. Stevens has broken his trust with the people and that he should now step down. I hope that my colleagues in the Senate will be spurred by these events to redouble their efforts to end this kind of corruption once and for all."
Stevens has no intention of resigning, of course. His entire plan was to have an early trial result in his exoneration, which would then enable him to cruise to re-election in 7 days. Well, that sort of backfired. Now, conventional wisdom is that Stevens will lose his Senate seat to Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich and if he doesn't, will be expelled from the Senate shortly after election day (and Governor Palin would have to declare a new election to fill the spot -- one in which she herself would be able to run.) Let's not let it get to that point, shall we?
To his credit, Begich has never run overtly against Stevens' corruption and now that he's been convicted, is taking nothing for granted. From a Begich campaign e-mail blast:
As you have probably heard, Senator Stevens, my opponent in next week's election, has been convicted on seven felony counts of failing to disclose more than $250,000 in gifts from his friends. The last year has been a difficult one for Alaska, but Alaskans are strong and stand ready to move on to new, ethical representation in Washington.
While some may believe these convictions mean certain victory, this election is far from over. Senator Stevens remains a formidable opponent. [...]
Will you stand with me during these final 7 days of the election - helping me stay on TV, radio, and traveling around Alaska? We cannot give up, the stakes are too high.
This election is not about the verdict decided in a DC courtroom - that verdict will be delivered next week by Alaska's voters. Help me continue talking with them about the future of our country.
Bumped, Charlie Cook says that "The idea that Republicans could lose nine Senate seats is no longer implausible." 60 is within reach. Jerome
Last weekend, Blue America launched a fundraising contest for some of our great Democratic Senate challengers around the country: each donation equals 1 vote, even if it's just $1 and the candidate who gets the most votes gets $5,000 donated to his campaign. So far they've raised over $36,000 for 5 Senate challengers.
I noticed that three of the challengers on Blue America's list -- Mark Begich, Jeff Merkley and Rick Noriega -- are also on our Road To 60 ActBlue page, so Howie Klein suggested a promotion that could benefit both of our fundraisers. The first 20 people who donate $25 or more to any of those three candidates here at our ActBlue page AND vote over at the Blue America Act Blue page ($1 or more), will receive the book 50 Simple Things You Can Do To Fight The Right. The contest ends on Saturday, so between now and then, let's see if we can add at least 20 new donors to these three great senate challengers' coffers.
The beauty of the Blue America contest is that it rewards a candidate's ability to rally his base, and so far Rick Noriega has managed to out mobilize the others. Since Saturday, Noriega has raised more than $17,000 on the Blue America page alone. Noriega has always had a strong netroots and grassroots base -- that's how he got into the senate race in the first place. But no doubt there's another reason Noriega is inspiring such an outpouring at this point. He has spent the last week in his capacity as Lt. Col. in the Texas National Guard helping parts of Texas hit hardest by Hurricane Ike. Read KTinTX's diary about it -- including a video from Noriega himself -- HERE.
Jeff Merkley is the newest member of the Road To 60 Act Blue page. We decided to add Speaker Merkley in honor of both his true progressive principles AND the closeness of his race. He proved his values to us with his response to the White House's bailout proposal (you can watch video of him speaking out about it HERE.) We know that a Senator Merkley would not sit idly by and accept a taxpayer bailout proposal without demanding that there be true oversight and a stake in it for the taxpayers. If Wall St. is going to get bailed out, Main St. had better get something out of it too. And he proved the closeness of the race to us this week as well with a new poll showing him up 2 points and climbing. Gordon's gotta go and Jeff looks poised to send him packing.
Mark Begich has impressed me from the moment I met him in Austin. There was no pandering to the bloggers, just Mark being Mark, a Red State Democrat speaking to a group that likes its Democrats as ideologically pure as we can get them. But, remarkably, there was very little gap between us. Here was a guy who had figured out how to run and win in a place where Democrats rarely do -- especially as the Mayor of Anchorage where Democrats are notoriously weak -- without sacrificing his progressive principles. Here's a guy who is running on a platform of renewable energies in a state whose wealth depends on oil. Here's a guy who talks openly about Alaska being ground zero in the fight to stop global warming. How he's done it is by producing results as Mayor. Funny how competence and strength of principle can overcome partisan devotions. And we're seeing that in the polls, as Begich has been polling ahead of Ted Stevens even in the post-Palin polls. Mark begich appears to be one of our best chances at a pick-up but he, like the others, still needs our help as we enter the final 40 days.
Mark Begich, our Road To 60 candidate running for the US Senate from Alaska, has a new ad up that I think should be a blueprint for challengers on how to do a personal confessional bio ad well.
"What do I do today that twenty years from now or thirty years from now makes a difference in that nine year old that I see today."
The contrast between Begich and Ted Stevens could not be more stark. Help take down Stevens -- and his best buddy Sarah Palin -- by contributing to Begich over at our Road To 60 Act Blue page today. Let's get him over the 60 donor threshold by end of today.