Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Arkansas, Hawaii election day thread

Conventional wisdom says Senator Arlen Specter needs relatively high turnout today to prevail against his Democratic challenger Joe Sestak, who has gained a lot of support in the last month and has a narrow lead in the polling average. It's been rainy today in the Philadelphia area, which isn't good for turnout, but many people may vote after work if it clears up a little. I learned from Michael McAuliff that there's a large ethnic Slovak population in the Pittsburgh area, which could give an edge to Sestak if turnout is high. I hope Sestak will win, but I don't feel confident about that at all.

Swing State Project previews the other Pennsylvania races here. The special election to fill Jack Murtha's seat in PA-12 will attract the most attention. it's the only House district in the country that voted for John Kerry in 2004 and John McCain in 2008. Jeffmd posted pretty district maps and analysis here.

In Kentucky's Senate race, it looks like the Republican primary will end with a humiliating defeat for the establishment candidate, Trey Grayson. Rand Paul is the very likely winner there. In the Democratic primary, the more progressive and probably more electable Jack Conway has been gaining on Dan Mongiardo in the polls, but it looks too close to call.

In Arkansas, Senator Blanche Lincoln had to fill out a provisional ballot at her polling station, because she had requested an absentee ballot and not returned it. Oops! Unfortunately, she seems to have a comfortable lead over Bill Halter. The main question today is whether she will be kept under 50 percent of the vote, forcing a runoff election. Also unfortunately, Congressman John Boozman, the strongest potential Republican candidate, looks set to win the GOP primary easily.

The special election in Hawaii's first district is just a disaster. Ed Case should not have jumped into this race when most of the locals had already backed Colleen Hannabusa. As a result, those two are going to split the Democratic vote, and Republican Charles Djou will win a plurality. DavidNYC is also right; Neil Abercrombie should not have resigned from this seat, which forced the special election. He should have either held the seat while running for governor or declined to seek re-election in 2008. Let's hope we can win this seat back in November with the Democratic vote united behind one candidate.

Post any comments, predictions or tips on election results sites in this thread.

CORRECTION: Ballots for the Hawaii special election will count if they arrive in the mail by Saturday, May 22.

UPDATE: Conway leads in Kentucky with more than two-thirds of the precincts in, but his strongest areas appear to have reported already. The number crunchers at Swing State Project predict he will win narrowly, but it's too early to know.

UPDATE: Politico is continually updating results here. Conway leads by about 20,000 votes (46 percent to 41 percent) with nearly 80 percent of precincts reporting. Rand Paul easily won the Republican primary with nearly 60 percent of the votes that have been counted.

UPDATE: The Kentucky Democratic primary has been called for Jack Conway, who leads by about 5,500 votes. It's been a while since Democrats won a U.S. Senate election in Kentucky, but the Conway/Paul matchup is the most favorable one we could have hoped for.

The Pennsylvania Democratic primary has been called for Joe Sestak, who leads 53 percent to 47 percent (about 44,000 votes) with 74 percent of precincts reporting. Specker didn't get the turnout he needed in Philadelphia.

With about 21 percent of precincts reporting in Arkansas, Lincoln leads Halter 45 percent to 41 percent. If those numbers hold, the race is headed to a runoff. I have no idea what part of the state has already reported.

UPDATE: Conservative Democrat Mark Critz has beaten Tim Burns in the special election to serve out the remainder of Murtha's term in PA-12. The same two candidates won their parties' respective primaries, so will face off in November. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee will be very pleased to have won this one, especially given the likely outcome in HI-01.

MORNING UPDATE: With almost all the votes counted in Arkansas, Lincoln leads Halter by 44.5 percent to 42.5 percent, with D.C. Morrison taking in 13 percent. (Boozman avoided a runoff on the Republican side.) The next three weeks will be tricky for Lincoln to navigate. I also have to wonder whether the president will cut more ads for her or make a campaign visit. Toward the end of the Pennsylvania race Obama didn't do much for Arlen Specter despite earlier promises from the White House.

Critz's margin over Burns was 53 percent to 45 percent in an R+1 district where Obama's approval is only around 33 percent. I have to agree with Matt Lewis, who said last night, "Republicans should be very concerned about the margin of defeat in PA-12. NRCC has major questions to confront." I also think we'll see President Bill Clinton campaigning for Democratic candidates in a lot of rural and/or working-class districts this fall. Stumping for Critz on Sunday, Clinton told the crowd, "Maybe [Burns] should move to California, if he wants to run against Nancy Pelosi."

Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Arkansas, Hawaii election day thread

Conventional wisdom says Senator Arlen Specter needs relatively high turnout today to prevail against his Democratic challenger Joe Sestak, who has gained a lot of support in the last month and has a narrow lead in the polling average. It's been rainy today in the Philadelphia area, which isn't good for turnout, but many people may vote after work if it clears up a little. I learned from Michael McAuliff that there's a large ethnic Slovak population in the Pittsburgh area, which could give an edge to Sestak if turnout is high. I hope Sestak will win, but I don't feel confident about that at all.

Swing State Project previews the other Pennsylvania races here. The special election to fill Jack Murtha's seat in PA-12 will attract the most attention. it's the only House district in the country that voted for John Kerry in 2004 and John McCain in 2008. Jeffmd posted pretty district maps and analysis here.

In Kentucky's Senate race, it looks like the Republican primary will end with a humiliating defeat for the establishment candidate, Trey Grayson. Rand Paul is the very likely winner there. In the Democratic primary, the more progressive and probably more electable Jack Conway has been gaining on Dan Mongiardo in the polls, but it looks too close to call.

In Arkansas, Senator Blanche Lincoln had to fill out a provisional ballot at her polling station, because she had requested an absentee ballot and not returned it. Oops! Unfortunately, she seems to have a comfortable lead over Bill Halter. The main question today is whether she will be kept under 50 percent of the vote, forcing a runoff election. Also unfortunately, Congressman John Boozman, the strongest potential Republican candidate, looks set to win the GOP primary easily.

The special election in Hawaii's first district is just a disaster. Ed Case should not have jumped into this race when most of the locals had already backed Colleen Hannabusa. As a result, those two are going to split the Democratic vote, and Republican Charles Djou will win a plurality. DavidNYC is also right; Neil Abercrombie should not have resigned from this seat, which forced the special election. He should have either held the seat while running for governor or declined to seek re-election in 2008. Let's hope we can win this seat back in November with the Democratic vote united behind one candidate.

Post any comments, predictions or tips on election results sites in this thread.

CORRECTION: Ballots for the Hawaii special election will count if they arrive in the mail by Saturday, May 22.

UPDATE: Conway leads in Kentucky with more than two-thirds of the precincts in, but his strongest areas appear to have reported already. The number crunchers at Swing State Project predict he will win narrowly, but it's too early to know.

UPDATE: Politico is continually updating results here. Conway leads by about 20,000 votes (46 percent to 41 percent) with nearly 80 percent of precincts reporting. Rand Paul easily won the Republican primary with nearly 60 percent of the votes that have been counted.

UPDATE: The Kentucky Democratic primary has been called for Jack Conway, who leads by about 5,500 votes. It's been a while since Democrats won a U.S. Senate election in Kentucky, but the Conway/Paul matchup is the most favorable one we could have hoped for.

The Pennsylvania Democratic primary has been called for Joe Sestak, who leads 53 percent to 47 percent (about 44,000 votes) with 74 percent of precincts reporting. Specker didn't get the turnout he needed in Philadelphia.

With about 21 percent of precincts reporting in Arkansas, Lincoln leads Halter 45 percent to 41 percent. If those numbers hold, the race is headed to a runoff. I have no idea what part of the state has already reported.

UPDATE: Conservative Democrat Mark Critz has beaten Tim Burns in the special election to serve out the remainder of Murtha's term in PA-12. The same two candidates won their parties' respective primaries, so will face off in November. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee will be very pleased to have won this one, especially given the likely outcome in HI-01.

MORNING UPDATE: With almost all the votes counted in Arkansas, Lincoln leads Halter by 44.5 percent to 42.5 percent, with D.C. Morrison taking in 13 percent. (Boozman avoided a runoff on the Republican side.) The next three weeks will be tricky for Lincoln to navigate. I also have to wonder whether the president will cut more ads for her or make a campaign visit. Toward the end of the Pennsylvania race Obama didn't do much for Arlen Specter despite earlier promises from the White House.

Critz's margin over Burns was 53 percent to 45 percent in an R+1 district where Obama's approval is only around 33 percent. I have to agree with Matt Lewis, who said last night, "Republicans should be very concerned about the margin of defeat in PA-12. NRCC has major questions to confront." I also think we'll see President Bill Clinton campaigning for Democratic candidates in a lot of rural and/or working-class districts this fall. Stumping for Critz on Sunday, Clinton told the crowd, "Maybe [Burns] should move to California, if he wants to run against Nancy Pelosi."

PA-12 dimensional chess stuff

$800K worth apparently to help Critz, from the DCCC.

But, its tough to see how the special election in PA is going to show that the HCR, or Health Insurance reform bill, is vindicated by the Democrat winning, since the Democrat is running away from it:

Critz contrasts an ad put up by Republicans saying that Critz would vote the “liberal agenda” in Congress by saying “That ad’s not true. I opposed the health care bill. And I’m pro-life, and pro-gun. That’s not liberal.”

You can see the commercial here. Its actually a pretty poor ad, with his voice missing and all. I do like the transition though, to it being about jobs (though the outsourcing claim is blah); but I'm not sold that he's making the deal by turning off whatever liberal Democrats there are in PA-12 in the first place.

PPP has a look at the numbers:

Some Democrats may not be thrilled Mark Critz is emphasizing his opposition to the health care bill as he seeks to replace John Murtha in the House, but after polling the district it's hard to see that as anything but necessary for survival. Only 28% of voters in the district express support for it with 59% opposed. Even Democrats there support it by just a 43/39 margin.

Obama's overall approval rating in the district is 33%, with 57% of voters disapproving of him. It's hard to imagine any Democrat winning an open seat this year where the President is that unpopular but it's still a close race. We'll have the full numbers out tomorrow.

PA-12: After Murtha

With the sudden death of Rep. John Murtha following complications from gall bladder surgery, the race is to succeed him is beginning to take shape. According to Pennsylvania state law, Governor Ed Rendall must set a date for a special election within the next ten days. A likely date is May 18, when the state’s primary elections will take place. Special elections costs the state huge sums of money so it is probable that Governor Rendall will go with an already established election day in an effort to save cash in a time of tight state budgetary constraints.

While Murtha had held the seat in PA-12 since 1974, the early read is that the race will be competitive. In the 2008, the McCain-Palin ticker narrowly won the district with a 1,000 vote margin over Obama-Biden. It was the only district in the nation that voted Democratic in the 2004 presidential race that was carried by McCain four years later.

On the GOP side, there are two candidates in the race: a local business Tim Burns and the 2008 candidate William Russell who Murtha defeated comfortably 58% to 42%.

On the Democratic side, we are blessed with a true progressive with deep ties to the hard-scrabble district and with impeccable credentials who had already entered the race in a primary challenge to Murtha back in May 2009. His name is Ryan Bucchianeri.

Ryan is a seventh-generation Pennsylvanian who was born and raised in the district. He attended the US Naval Academy graduating in 1997 and later earned a degree in Public Administration from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. He has served his country in tours of duty in the Middle East, has worked in the private sector and can speak to issues from national security to job creation to drug trade policy to military affairs.

Here's Ryan in his own words on why he's running for Congress:

In Washington, I'll focus on issues that matter most to Western Pennsylvanians:

Job creation and economic development for the entire district. I will work to diversify our economy and bring opportunity to a region that has suffered too long from economic decline. With new opportunities, young people will stay and thrive in the region - energizing it for generations to come - instead of leaving for opportunities elsewhere.

A commitment to quality education. The quality of our education remains critical to America's prosperity at home and performance in a global economy. I will ensure we redirect the necessary focus to early childhood education, reform and invest in primary and secondary education, and enable higher education opportunities for all. I'll fight to ensure equality of opportunity in our schools, fair pay for teachers, and reduce the crippling financial burden of college tuition.

Affordable and accessible health care. While debate in Washington rages on with no clear end in sight, 60,000 of our friends and neighbors in the district remain uninsured - with nearly 1,000 having to declare bankruptcy because of medical bills last year alone. I support a strong public option and believe it is the best vehicle that will allow us to adequately address the quality, cost, and coverage challenges of our healthcare system. I'll work towards legislation that truly addresses the long-term costs of health care and fully-protects Medicare. I'll fight for coverage that is affordable, universal, portable, and covers pre-existing conditions - coverage you can't lose if you're laid off or get sick, and coverage that includes prevention, mental health, and dental care on an equal basis.

I'm running for Congress to serve the people of Western Pennsylvania - not the special interests of high-powered lobbyists who continue to maintain their power at our expense. Until we have new leadership in Washington we will continue to suffer the financial and ethical consequences of irresponsible earmarks and a power structure designed to keep incumbents in office.

I count Ryan as a personal friend. When I think of Ryan the word that comes to mind is integrity. His progressive credentials are solid: he supports a public option, he's for marriage equality and for the repeal of DADT, he strongly supports a woman's right to choose. Ryan comes from a family of public educators so he understands the importance of making America's public schools second to none. But really what sets Ryan apart is that he is a humble, hard-working guy committed to making sure all Americans have the same of freedom of opportunity that we have traditionally enjoyed in this country but that is now under assault by three decades of GOP policies that have favored the powerful over the interests of our once broad middle classes.

We have a rare opportunity to replace a mainstream Democrat with a progressive Democrat that boasts an incredible life story. He's a man who has served his country and who could go anywhere and do anything in life but who feels that he has a higher calling by returning to his Western Pennsylvania roots and serving to protect their interests.

You can learn more about Ryan by visiting his campaign website. Please join me in supporting Ryan Bucchianeri by contributing to his campaign. Getting Ryan elected to Congress is my highest priority right now. Any help you can offer is deeply appreciated. Thank you!

The Northeast - Continuing the realignment in 2010?

That the Northeast has been trending blue in recent cycles is self evidently true. Will it continue in 2010?

Below the fold for all the details and hey go check out the <a href="http://wiki.opencongress.org/wiki/Project:RaceTracker">2010 Race Tracker Wiki over at Open Congress</a> for all your House, Senate and Gubernatorial needs.

(Cross posted at Daily Kos, Swing State Project and Open Left)

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