Senate 2004 analysis, August

The outlook for the 2004 Senate contests has been updated. I've included a prediction on the Illinois race, which is all but over. Granny D will get a higher percentage of the votes in New Hampshire than will Keyes in Illinois. The Republican Party in Illinois sure knows how to insult the voters. Imagine, the photo-op of Keyes declaring residency.  We can only hope that Keyes get wide coverage, so as to impact the chances of Democratic house seat pick-ups from Illinois that are on the table:  Christine Cegelis vs. Henry Hyde, Melissa Bean vs. Phil Crane, and Tari Renner vs. Jerry Weller (I'm going to be updating the Governor and House coverage this week).

There are two primaries this week. If anyone wants to predict the outcome, and you nail it, I'll mention it in a followup post on the results. In Georgia, there is a run-off between Democrats Oxford and Majette. Oxford has been un on the air a lot ("Tractor" is his run-off ad), and Majette has not been up on the air, relying on her plurality showing in the primary, and an Atlanta turnout. The latest filing by Majette, on July 21st, showed Majette only had $70K cash on hand. Meanwhile, Oxford had put $1M of his own money into the race as of June  30th, and has a million and more where that came from. If anything, an Oxford win, and the money he'd pump into the race, would force Chuck Todd to flip Georgia and Illinois in the National Journal Senate Rankings.

Also on Tuesday, the CO primaries. Coors had the Tarrance Group(R) release a poll done in mid-July showing him with a 53-43 lead over Schaffer for the Republican nomination. As the recent Denver post poll shows, it's likely much closer:

A Denver Post poll published Friday showed Coors was favored by 45 percent of 400 likely GOP voters while Schaffer was backed by 41 percent. The lead falls within the poll's margin of error of 5 percentage points. Salazar, meanwhile, was favored by 67 percent to just 21 percent for Miles, according to a similar poll of Democrats. Miles surprised Salazar by winning top billing on the primary ballot at the state Democratic Party convention in June. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee turned around and surprised Miles by refusing to back him -- or even acknowledge he was in the race... Salazar has raised the most money in the race, $2.9 million, compared with $321,367 for Miles... Coors has a big financial advantage, raising $2.2 million to $769,000 for Schaffer, which allowed Coors to splash his face on television ads across the state. btw, the DSCC finally did get around to at least mentioning Mike Miles on the DSCC webpage profile of the contest.

Retaking the Senate for Dummies, August Update

Right now, the Senate is 51-48-1 Republican-Democrat-Independent, However, Jim Jeffords caucuses with Democrats and Zell Miller caucuses with Republicans. Thus, the Senate is really a 52-48 GOP majority.

According to the most recent polls, Democrats are poised to take Republican seats in four states: Alaska, Colorado, Illinois and Oklahoma. On the other hand, Republicans are poised to take only one Democratic seat, South Carolina (I'm considering Miller's seat to be a Republican seat):

Alaska, Ivan Moore Research,
Knowles   46.1
Murkowski 43.9
Obviously, this is pretty tight. However, Knowles's has a +22 favorable ratio compared to Murkowski's +7. Throw in Murkowski's primary challenge, and Knowles looks like the favorite.
Colorado, Mason Dixon,  6/15-18
Salazar  47
Coors	40

Salazar  49
Schaffer 35
Salazar holds a huge lead over the easily admirable Mike Miles in the Democratic primary, so I won't show the Miles match-ups here. While Salazar is only up by seven against Coors in this trial heat, Salazar's favorable ratio stands at +26, compared to +3 for Coors (they have equal name recognition in the state). That is a formula for victory in November.

No polls yet between Obama and Keyes, but remember that Obama was beating Ryan by around twenty and Ditka by seven before both decided to quit / not run. Obama might be able to manage 70% of the vote.

Oklahoma Consumer Logic, 6/8-12
Carson	42
Colburn  39
Like Alaska, this is clearly pretty tight. Also, these results were taken before Colburn handily won the GOP primary, so they might be very different right now. Still, this poll shows that Carson is probably ahead by a small amount, so I am putting it in the pickup category.

South Carolina, SUSA,
7/10-12, MoE 3.8
DeMint	   48
Tenenbaum   41
Right now, this looks like a GOP gain, but Tenenbaum is certainly not finished. No non-partisan internals to report from this race.

If this were how things went on Election Day, the Senate would become a 50-49 Democratic majority, pending what would almost certainly be a runoff election in Louisiana. Assuming for a moment that Kerry wins the Presidency, then the Senate would be 49-49 with a Louisiana runoff in December and a Massachusetts special election in February. These days, I like our chances in special elections.

Now, most of these races could easily change, and other races could start to enter the picture, especially Florida, Missouri, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and South Dakota. However, retaking the Senate is anything but a bleak picture, even if it will require Democrats to win most of the close races. Combine this with Kerry's strong standing against Bush, and I can almost start fantasizing about progressive Supreme Court nominees.

LT Senate trend

This is an interesting chart for political junkies detailing, back through the end of 1978, who has held the seats in the US Senate. One interesting not that is made deals with the number of states with both Senators from Same Party, which is a possible sign of polarized voting. The numbers of those states, from 1978 to 2004, confirm it's the case: 23, 23, 25, 27, 28, 29, 27, 29, 29, 30, 31, 36, 36.

Money in the Florida US Senate contest & overall

This is the contest of retiring Democratic Sen. Bob Graham's seat, and it's an expensive contest. In terms of available money, For Democrats, Deutsch had $4.2M as of June 30th, Castor had about half that amount, at $2.2M, and Penelas about 1.4M. For Republicans, Martinez had $2.5M, McCollum $1.7M, Gallagher $1.6M, and Byrd had about $1M.  By June 30th, over $14M had been spent by the candidates, and with another $14M raised, the amount spent in the primary alone, will exceed $30M, and will likely exceed $50M, making spending in this contest (number 2 currently) number 1 by the time of the November election.

That's a lot of money. Corzine spent more than anyone else ever to join the Senate, over $63M in the primary and general elections combined in 2000. The record had previously been held by California Republican Michael Huffington, who spent $30M in a losing Senate bid in 1994. Though it's not been a single candidate spending tens of millions in Florida, cumulatively, it's become one of the most expensie statewide contests. In terms of total spending, Clinton vs the GOP in New York, 2000, at $91M is the most spent. But the amount being spent in the Florida Senate contest is pretty much a non-story, it's part of a wider phenomenon.

The 1996 elections cost around $2.4 billion.

The 2000 elections cost around $3.2 billion.

How much will the 2004 elections cost?

You are making a difference

Last week, the DSCC sent out an email featuring the writing skills of Matt Stoller, this week, the DSCC sent out an email from me hitting the theme. I know it seems like practically every email sent out by the Party is about money, and mine is no different :) It's mainly a matter of hey, you're on the list, now might be the right time for you to give, if it is it is... anyway, it can't hurt, especially since the DSCC helped edit my scribble into something a bit more compelling (hopefully):

Dear DSCC friend,

I know that most of you have heard of the blogging phenomenon. Our featured voice this week was one of the first bloggers. Blogging comes from the term "web log" and is considered a running commentary on anything.  Political blogs provide unfiltered analysis and commentary on any political news of the day; bloggers will be in full force next week at our party's convention. This week we have Jerome Armstrong,  one of the editors of the political blog,

Jerome's message--like Matt's last week--is a reminder that the support you give us can and will make the difference--today and on November 2nd. With your voices, your votes, and yes, your contributions, we can take back the Senate. Please remember to contribute to the DSCC today.

Now, on with Jerome.

I believe that John Kerry is going to win the Presidency, but without a Democratic Senate on his side, he'll be blocked at every turn by Republicans. This is one of my favorite photos, it is with US Senator Tom Harkin during the 2004 Iowa caucuses, an inspiring moment for me. When John Kerry becomes President I want the voice of  Tom Harkin leading the charge on the floor of the Senate, not the divisive agenda of Trent Lott and Rick Santorum.  I know that you do as well - working together we can make it happen!

Now people like you and me can make a difference.  Maybe we can't afford to write a $2,000 check like the Bush-bundlers.   But, together we can give our Senatorial candidates the support they need to win.  We can make it known that Democratic Senatorial candidates like Barack Obama and Erskine Bowles have our backing, because they want the same things we do: quality education for children, a Supreme Court that protects our personal and civil liberties, and a more secure future for generations to come.

In the Senate, Democrats only need 2 seats to win the majority back from the Republicans.  It's a fight--there are nearly 10 contests nationwide that are toss-ups.  At the beginning of 2004, chances looked so-so for Democrats. But things are breaking our way, especially with recent developments in Colorado and Illinois -- the political map has really changed in our favor.

If you want them to win, and I know you do, the DSCC needs your contribution today. The dollars you give today will go to the campaigns with the greatest need, in the tightest races. Your contribution can make the difference. Please make a donation today and help change these words into action- click here and contribute what you can.

I started writing about politics online in 2001 not knowing if anyone would be interested in what I had to say.  I soon found out that I was one of a thousand new voices willing to work hard to change the direction of this nation.

Online grassroots activism has already made a huge impact. We helped bring the campaigns of Dean and Clark to prominence through thousands of small dollar donations and many hours of volunteer campaign work.

The McCain Feingold campaign finance regulations gave Democrats the opportunity to embrace grassroots activists and harness the power and strength of millions of new donors. We have a made difference already and along they way added a new and active voice to the democratic dialogue. Something we should all be proud of.

Thanks for all your efforts in helping to secure a Democratic majority in the Senate!

Jerome Armstrong


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