NH-Sen a toss-up again?

NH-Sen between progressive champion Paul Hodes and likely Repub contendor Kelly Ayotte was supposed to be one of the marquis races of the cycle, a perfect chance for a Democratic pick-up in a Repub year. And yet five different polls have had Ayotte leading by double digits, and only 2 of 16 polls had Hodes cracking 40 points - that is, until now.

A new PPP poll out today shows that this race has turned into a dead heat: Ayotte 45, Hodes 42 with 13% undecided. I was right - Palin's endorsement backfired, and Hodes' ads against Ayotte were good ones. He is also now leading two of the other GOP candidates for the first time. Obama has a net approval rating at 49-47, and the health care bill also does better than in the nation at large, tied at 47-47. Focusing on health care could actually help Hodes with GOTV rather than lose him votes.

PPP's polls are automated, so I look forward to a new live interviewer poll, but at least they have a three-day frame unlike Rasmussen's one. One thing I like is that respondents said they voted for Obama by a 48-45 margin, much lower than the actual 54-45 results. That's probably a decent way of reflecting what 2010 voter turnout may be.

The next poll will tell us if this is an outlying fluke or not. I doubt it, given that it's not coming out of the blue, but after an aggressive Democratic push and several developments favorable to Hodes. To enshrine the results and keep the momentum going, donate to Hodes at our ActBlue page.

I wasn't able to make it to Netroots Nation, but Hodes was there. Here's a message he taped to bloggers beforehand highlighting his progressive agenda.

Paul Hodes to progressives: Stop Cowering!

I was thinking about writing a post about how the left never stands together when attacked the way the right does. See Jones, Van. No need for that piece now - Senate candidate Paul Hodes (D-NH) beat me to the punch with an amazing diary at Daily Kos called "Weak Knees." Hodes doesn't call out the White House specifically, but he does mention Shirley Sherrod, so take this as a thinly veiled swipe at Tom Vilsack and the Adminstration for being the ones to "buckle." Here's an excerpt, and please, read the whole thing and support Hodes at our ActBlue page.

I’m sick and tired of Democrats getting weak knees every time the right-wing media flexes their muscles.

The firing of Sherrod over what turned out to be a heavily (and deceptively) edited video of her remarks is the latest example. When the far right bulldozes, too many of us buckle...

We have no excuse for not fully understanding what the far-right is capable of in terms of hateful and deceitful rhetoric. From Glenn Beck to Rush Limbaugh to Andrew Breitbart – they’ve shown us time and again exactly how willing they are to distort the truth...

The bottom line is that the longer we let the right-wing media control our political rhetoric by spreading misinformation, the more we fail to deliver the change we promised and fight for our progressive ideals.

And every time we respond to their attacks with weak knees and cowering in the corner, we give them credibility. Even worse – we encourage them to keep it up.

It's also at Huffington Post.

NH-SEN: Palin’s endorsement of Ayotte bad news for both of them

Governor Pundit Sarah Palin endorsed Kelly Ayotte in the New Hampshire Repub primary for U.S. Senate yesterday. Palin is not well-loved in New Hampshire, and this endorsement is just one more that undermines her credibility as a Tea Party leader and enhances her status as a national hypocrite. (Ayotte’s Democratic opponent, sophomore Rep. Paul Hodes, is featured on MyDD’s Going on Offense page at ActBlue.)

Palin’s support might not be good news for Ayotte, for at least three reasons. One, a December poll found less than half of Republican voters in NH-01 think Palin is qualified to be President. Two, the Palin-McCain McCain-Palin ticket lost by 9% in New Hampshire in 2008 despite McCain’s previous popularity in the state. And three, she was booed during a high-profile ’08 rally in Laconia for referring to NH as part of “the great northwest.” In fact, as far back as last July the DSCC thought it would be a good idea to link Ayotte to Palin. Remember also that a national NBC/WSJ poll found that general election voters are overwhelmingly leery of Palin-backed candidates, at a margin of 52-25. Is this a case of Palin doing the DSCC’s work for them?

But then again, that’s probably exactly why Palin is wading into the race. This endorsement isn’t about Ayotte and it’s not about Hodes – it’s about Palin. Ayotte is closer to the Repub establishment than she is the Tea Party, and she’s currently the front-runner for the party’s nomination. Or in other words, she’s currently the front-runner to play queen-maker during the 2012 primaries. An endorsement of, say, Ovide Lamontagne might have made more Tea Party sense, but Palin cares more about 2012 than she does 2010. She pulled this same kind of stunt with establishment figures Terry Branstad in IA-Gov, Carly Fiorina in CA-Sen, and John McCain in AZ-Sen. Indeed, this pro-establishment behavior is starting to cost her with the Tea Party.

The endorsement comes at the same time that Hodes is going on the air with a second ad focused on Ayotte’s shoddy record as state Attorney General:

Kill three birds with one stone by donating to Hodes: capture an important Senate seat, embarrass Palin, and help boost a progressive stalwart.

Only 4 Hours Left

- Bumped one last time. -N

Books close tonight at midnight EDT for the FEC’s second fiscal quarter. As the third quarter is traditionally the weakest for fundraising, this is our last best shot to show progressive strength before November. That’s why MyDD features eight candidates who are Going On Offense at ActBlue. We’ve got four Senatorial candidates, two Gubernatorial candidates, and two House candidates. 5 of the 8 are running for open seats and one is challenging a Repub incumbent. Please help by donating $5 or more to at least two of them - and if that's too much to ask, you can still share this post on Facebook and Twitter with the gadgets below!

If you’re a fan of MyDD on Facebook, you’ve seen our recent fundraising appeals for Alan Grayson, Jack Conway, Matt Dunne, and Bill White. I've also featured White (TX-GOV) and Paul Hodes (NH-Sen) in full posts of their own. While I have personal affinities for Hodes and Dunne, my two favorite races are KY-Sen and TX-Gov. These races hold both symbolic and practical importance. Winning in KY-Sen would keep Rand Paul out of office (not to mention that Conway was my favorite primary candidate), and winning in TX-Gov would allow us to undo the corrupt redistricting legacy of Tom DeLay once the 2010 census is complete. Plus, think about the message progressive victories in Texas and Kentucky in an allegedly anti-Democratic year would send!

Other Going On Offense candidates include Robin Carnahan in MO-Sen, Russ Feingold in WI-Sen, and Tom White in NE-02. For descriptions of these candidates, visit the ActBlue page, and please pick at least two to support. Even just $5 each means a +1 in the contributor list, and that goes a long way. Please give before tonight’s deadline.

Bill White (TX-Gov) $
Matt Dunne (VT-Gov) $
Jack Conway (KY-Sen) $
Robin Carnahan (MO-Sen) $
Paul Hodes (NH-Sen) $
Russ Feingold (WI-Sen) $
Alan Grayson (FL-08) $
Tom White (NE-02) $

NH-SEN: Support Paul Hodes Before Tomorrow's Deadline

One of our ActBlue Going on Offense candidates is Paul Hodes of New Hampshire, a two-term Congressman running for an open Repub Senate seat. I met Hodes on several occasions while going to college in New Hampshire. He's a good guy with a love of his state and a thorough dedication to progressive principles, but needs our help to win this seat.

Howard Dean sent a fundraising e-mail to Hodes supporters yesterday. The progressive champion writes:

From our small business economy to our individual liberties and our precious natural resources – there’s a way of life we fight to protect here in New England. Unfortunately it’s become painfully clear that the Republicans are more interested in protecting Big Oil, Big Banks, and any other special interest that comes their way.

That’s why I’m doing everything I can to send Paul Hodes to the U.S. Senate to represent New Hampshire. Paul will tackle the tough fights - like protecting our environment. We can count on him to stand up to Big Oil, to hold BP accountable for cleaning up the Gulf, and to work towards ending our dependence on fossil fuels.

But if Paul is going to win in November, he’s going to need your help too. The crucial end-of-quarter filing period is upon us, and Paul has to meet his fundraising goal so he can compete with the onslaught of special interest money. Please be one of the 100 donors that Paul needs to make a donation before midnight June 30.

New Hampshire's a neat place. Manchester is increasingly a glorified Boston suburb, but you also get miles and miles of rugged wilderness in the North Country and the White Mountains. A state that arms itself, wears flannel, and obsesses about its motto ("Live Free or Die") like no other state yet still votes for progressive Democrats is okay by me. And vote Democratic it does - in 2006, Dems took back both houses of the state legislature, both House seats, and the state's five-member Executive Council. In 2008, a Republican Senator was tossed out and Obama carried the state's electoral votes.

But now those gains are in danger, and to an inept candidate. State attorney general Kelly Ayotte has faced criticisms for her handling of a major financial case; here's Hodes' ad summing up the scandal.

If Ayotte isn't the nominee, it's because a tea party candidate gains steam in the last few weeks before the September primary. This seat was supposed to be one of our easiest pick-ups, yet Paul is now behind in every poll. This remains a crucial race to stopping the tea party flood, but Democrats won't win without Netroots help. Please, give to Paul Hodes before tomorrow's FEC deadline.

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