Senator Al Franken

Still impressive and still awesome:

Lots of things are discouraging these days - but Al in the Senate sure ain't one of them.

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PPP: Chambliss Maintains Lead

A new Public Policy Polling survey (1,276 LVs, Nov. 29-30, MOE +/- 2.7%) of the Georgia Senate race shows Saxby Chambliss continuing to hold a steady lead over Democrat Jim Martin in tomorrow's run-off (11/24 results in parentheses.)

Chambliss 53 (52)
Martin 46 (46)

If Chambliss does win tomorrow, it looks as though it will be due to a combination of overwhelming support among white voters and a not high enough turnout among African-Americans to put Martin over the top.

Chambliss is up 71-28 on Jim Martin with whites. For Martin to win the runoff with that performance, the electorate would have to be 34% African American. Given that it was only 30% for the general election with Barack Obama at the top of the ballot and that early voting was less than 23% black, that does not seem particularly likely.

Chambliss's advantage among white voters on Nov. 4th was similar: 70-26. What is way down is the percentage of early voters who are African-American. Sean Quinn reminds us:

Whatever turns out to be the case, at the close of early voting Wednesday, according to the Secretary of State's office 345,564 had voted, and 22.5% of those votes were African-American, an ominous dropoff from the 34.5% of black early voters for the general election.

But with the uncertainty surrounding the turnout, this race should still be considered anyone's game.

Still, according to Georgia Democratic Party spokesman Martin Matheny, thousands of volunteers were hard at work across the state knocking doors in the rain and making phone calls on Jim Martin's behalf. The lines on Election Day will be much shorter than during the general election, given the much shorter ballot, and Democrats here think that most of its voters are going to turn out on Runoff Day itself.

You guys have really stepped up to donate to Jim Martin over at our Road to 60 ActBlue page. Since being added to the page on Nov. 6th, Martin has received 71 donations for a total of $3,342. Great work. Today, however, I encourage any last minute donations to go through the DSCC. Every donation of $5 or more made up until 9pm Eastern tonight will be matched 2 to 1. So give to Martin HERE to help the GOTV effort on the ground. This entire election is about turnout and your dollars can still have a very real impact.

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GA-Sen: 2 Days Out

As we approach Tuesday's run-off, a lot going on in the Georgia Senate race.

  • On Fox News Sunday today, Chris Wallace picked up on a moment featured in one of Jim Martin's ads in which Chambliss stated his version of "I really don't know that much about the economy." In the process, Wallace caught Chambliss in a lie trying to explain away his own ignorance.

    Watch it:

  • Laura Packard has another entry in her "On the bus with Jim Martin" series. Read it at Blog For Democracy.

  • The Alaska Daily News rips into Sarah Palin for campaigning for Saxby Chambliss:

    The man who couldn't bring himself to serve in the military said a man who left three limbs behind in war was a weakling who would turn the country over to terrorists.

    Chambliss was a congressman during the 9-11 attacks. Congressional Quarterly's "Politics in America 2006" noted that Congressman Chambliss "quipped that one route to security would be for local sheriffs to 'arrest every Muslim that comes across the state line.'"

    So there you have the fine American that Palin is trying to re-elect to the U.S. Senate.

    Gov. Palin's eldest joined the Army and has been deployed to Iraq. As a justifiably proud military mom, she might ask herself why she is using her conservative star power to support such a reprehensible Republican chicken hawk.

  • Barack Obama may not be going to Georgia to stump for Jim Martin but his online and campaign infrastructure sure is contributing to the cause. Per this MyBO post, you can get cracking on making phone calls for Jim Martin from home HERE and you can find your local field office and sign up for a GOTV shift HERE.

  • In Georgia or know someone who is? Jim Martin's website has all the voting info you could want including a link to the Secretary of State's poll location finder.

  • And now for your moment of zen:

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Road To 60: Martin Within 2

A new poll conducted by the Mellman Group for the DSCC and Jim Martin campaign (600 LVs, Nov. 21-23, MOE +/- 4%) has Jim Martin trailing Saxby Chambliss by just 2 points in the Dec. 2nd run-off:

If the December 2008 run-off election for U.S. Senate were held today and the candidates were Democrat Jim Martin and Republican Saxby Chambliss, for whom would you vote, or are you undecided?

Chambliss 48%
Martin 46%

You'll recall that on election day, Martin lost by 3%, with Chambliss getting just a hair under 50%. Here, Chambliss is performing worse vis a vis his election day vote share than Martin is, which is good news for Martin, although it's all within the MOE.

Martin has gotten a boost in recent days from a radio ad from Barack Obama and campaign appearances from Bill Clinton and Al Gore. At the heart of the Martin message is what worked so well for Obama and Democrats all over the country this cycle:

Gore cast Chambliss as the heir to the failed policies of the Bush administration. Gore memorably lost to Bush in 2000 in a bitter race that was decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.

"The Bush-Cheney-Chambliss philosophy has been tried and not only found out to be wanting, it has been found out to be a catastrophe," Gore said.

"It's time for him to go," Gore said of Chambliss.

Gore ended his 10-minute speech with a cry of "change is coming to Georgia." He was drowned out by the enthusiastic crowd.

Hey, if it ain't broke.

It's also about casting Martin as President-elect Obama's partner in change. While Republicans argue that Chambliss is crucial to keeping Obama's Democratic majorities in check, the Democratic argument is that Martin will bolster those majorities and, essentially, obstruct the obstruction that has paralyzed Washington for the last 2 years.

From the DSCC press release:

"As every day brings more proof of just how badly Saxby Economics has failed, Georgians are showing they want a leader who will work with Barack Obama to fix the economy, not a politician who blocks change for the middle class."

Ultimately, of course, since this is a run-off, the question is who will show up on Dec. 2nd? Do Georgia's voters want change more than they want to keep the change Obama offers in check?

Let's help make sure it's the former by giving to Jim Martin's campaign at our Road To 60 ActBlue page.

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Road To 60: MN-Sen Recount Update

Some interesting developments since earlier this week when Al Franken seemed like Mr. nice guy when it came to challenging Coleman ballots. As of this posting, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune website, with 64% of votes recounted, Franken has made up 95 votes to close to within 120 votes of Coleman. It should be noted, however, that this number is with Franken challenging 848 of Coleman's ballots and Coleman challenging 821 of Franken's. Remember that all challenged ballots get removed from the count until they can be assessed by the canvassing board.

Nate Silver explains:

Meanwhile, the number of ballot challenges -- cases in which one or both candidates appeal an initial ruling my local elections judges -- has increased significantly. Among ballots added to the Secretary of State's totals since last evening, the Franken campaign has challenged 7.5 out of every 10,000 ballots, and the Coleman campaign 7.2 out of every 10,000. These figures are more than double the number of challenges on the first two days of the recount process.

Interestingly, contrary to what the tally is showing, the Franken campaign earlier today claimed that the difference between him and Coleman is actually under 100 votes.

...the Franken campaign claims the true difference is much less than that when you take into account disputed ballots that aren't included right now in the totals but are likely to be resolved pretty easily by the state canvassing board.

Even if a challenged ballot is taken out of the total recount pool for the time being, the Franken campaign thinks it has an idea of what the numbers will eventually look like based on the opinions of the election workers at the individual sites -- and they think the real Coleman lead right now is less than 100 votes...

How can this be? Check out this video from The Uptake to get a sense of just how liberally Coleman is challenging, no doubt to give the illusion that he has a wider lead than he actually does.

Clearly all these votes will be placed in Franken's column ultimately, it's just that in the short term there's no downside to Coleman's challenging them and the upside is the illusion of a bigger lead than he truly has. Nate does see a downside in the long run, however:

The disincentive to challenge ballots is precisely this sort of thing -- challenges that look so ridiculous that they'll weaken your ability to take the moral highground. If the Coleman campaign is on the ball, they'll be ready to show similar frivolities from the Franken campaign as well. The Uptake also reports that the Secretary of State is also taking under advisement a proposal to make all challenged ballots available for public viewing on a website.

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