Support Tom Daschle in 2004

As most of the readers here know, I think Tom Daschle is up against the toughest of all odds in the US Senate of all the incumbents, so show your support by visiting his website, signing up for their email newsletter to follow the campaign, or make a contribution. Instead of my making the case, let me share from the back and forth I had with one of the staffers from Tom Daschle's campaign, who can state the urgency of Daschle's case better than I can:
The challenger/open seat races in place like CO, AK, and elsewhere are huge and exciting and deserving of all of our attention and support - but there's only one incumbent Dem Senator who's facing a challenge of this magnitude this cycle.  And if we lose Daschle, we not only lose the Senate leader, but we lose any chance of winning back the Senate.

There can be little doubt the kinds of things we saw in '02 (against Cleland et al) will happen here this time.  The 3rd party negative ads started back in April, and this race really began more than a year ago before we even had a opponent.  Polls have shown a range, but it's South Dakota - with Johnson's 528 vote win in '02, and Stephanie Herseth's squeaker just last week, close elections are the norm here.  Especially with a candidate like John Thune, who's making his second go at it, with all the resources of the national GOP, as well as a tradition of voter suppression on the Indian reservations.

And that last point should be stressed, as Nick Confessore posted on TAPPED the other day, following last week's special election in SD:UH, INDIANS ARE ALLOWED TO VOTE, TOO. A couple of months ago, there was some rightfully ticked-off chatter in the blogosphere regarding the stupid and quasi-racist notion that, quote, if it weren't for the black vote, the Democrats would be nowhere. (The clearest example of this came a couple of years ago from CNN analyst Bill Schneider, who explained on-air that Democrats were so "dependent" on the black vote that without them, the 1992 and 1996 elections would have been nail-biters and George W. Bush would have won an overwhelming electoral victory over Al Gore.) Josh Marshallnicely paraphrased this as the equivalent of saying "the Dems are just hopelessly sucking wind among real voters and thus have to resort to padding their totals with blacks." It's a dumb thought experiment in the sense that, of course if you strip either party of a big voting constituency, they would be less competitive. And it's quasi-racist in the implication that African-Americans somehow don't or shouldn't count.

Something similarly offensive is going on when Rep. Tom Davis, (R-Va.), the former National Republican Campaign Committee Chairman, says of Stephanie Herseth's narrow win in South Dakota, "If you take out the Indian reservation, we would have won."

One can't help but wonder if this is exactly what the GOP intends to do for November's rematch. After all, it was just two years ago that Republican operatives --- abetted by their media shills -- tried to suppress the reservation vote with scurrilous and malicious charges of widespread voter fraud. (For background, see here, here, here, and here.) Somehow, I think we'll be seeing more of that this fall.

--Nick Confessore

The two DKos Senate picks

I'll vote for Nancy Farmer and Tony Knowles, you too?

There's more...

Obama the #1 takeaway for the Dems in the US Senate

A new Tribune/WGN-TV poll finds Democratic nominee Barack Obama holding a lopsided lead over Republican Jack Ryan in the Illinois US Senate race:
Obama 52
Ryan 30
Undecided 18
May 21-24, 600 registered voters statewide, MoE +/- 4
In Chicago, the poll shows Ryan trails Obama 74 percent to 15 percent, while among black voters Ryan is being trounced 91 percent to 4 percent. Among white voters, Obama leads Ryan by 46 percent to 34 percent, the survey found. This poll is great news for Democrats throughout the state ticket, and Kerry too. Illinois, which Bush contested in 2000, is not even going to be close in 2004. Suffice to say, the IL US Senate seat is the most solid takeover for the Democratic Party. Obama doesn't have the deal closed, but the possibility of Ryan climbing back into this race becomes more remote.

Second Tier Senate contests

There are a number of US Senate elections that are not quite top tier, where the Democrat is a longshot, but that are worth watching to see what develops.  Here are some updates on those contests, feel free to add any that are missed.

  • Pennsylvania:  In the Quinnipiac poll just out, ncumbent Republican Sen. Arlen Specter has a 49 -- 37 percent lead over Dem U.S. Rep. Joseph Hoeffel. Specter is laying low right now, busily replenishing a warchest. The next report of numbers will be tell a lot about where this race is going. Through April 7th, Specter had outraised Hoeffel by an 8:1 clip. Hoeffel has the benefit of being able to work alongside Kerry's campaign, which is just the sort of thing that might push him over the top, if he manages to make it a close contest.

  • Kentucky: Republican Senator Jim Bunning's political standing is arguable weak, and Democratic State Senator Daniel Mongiardo's name ID is lackluster.  The biggest problem for Mongiardo is that Kentucky is no longer considered a battleground state at the Presidential level, so he'll be doing battle without that organizational wind at his back. A Garin-Hart-Yang (D) Bunning ahead of Mongiardo by 48 - 39 percent, with 13 percent undecided. Bunning has the financial edge by about an 8:1 margin. Mongiardo recently had a campaign shakeup, so maybe that will put a spark in their efforts.

  • Missouri: Democratic candidate Nancy Farmer has done well in fundraising to date, trailing the Republican incumbent Kit Bond by a 4:1 margin. In 1998, Bond won his 3rd term with just 53 percent, and Farmer has already won a statewide race at Treasurer. The latest polling is from Feb., showing Bond ahead of Farmer by a 49 - 39 margin. Missouri being a battleground is going to help Farmer. Dem Gov Holden is also running for re-election, and is considered by many to be the most vulnerable incumbent in the nation. The Democratic Party will have to fight hard to keep MO out of the Blunt/Bond/Bush column in Nov., if the GOP sweeps the state in that trifect, the Democratic Party there is in the dumps.

  • Ohio: Democratic candidate Eric Fingerhut is trying to oust the somewhat popular incumbent Senator Voinovich. The latest poll from last month shows Voinovich with a 47 - 32 percent lead; and Fingerhut trails by a 10:1 margin in funds raised for the campaign.   Ohio is a battleground state, and Kerry & ACT are going to have strong GOTV efforts; Voinovich won with a 56% margin in 1998 against a lackluster candidate; and Ohio voters have to be tiring of the Republicans running the state into the ground, but to break their habit, Fingerhut will need a big break to close the margin.

  • New Hampshire: Democratic challenger Burt Cohen has done well in fundraising, and trails incumbent Senator Judd Gregg by just a 3:1 margin. Cohen lacks name ID, as reflected in an April ARG poll that found Gregg ahead by a 54 - 13 percent margin. Cohen does have a strong Democratic message, and took advantage of the Presidential primary by starting his ground game early, and has a strong statewide organization. New Hampshire though, has experienced a fairly strong economy, and Gregg has a high 50's to 60's percent approval rating, according to two recent UNH polls, and was re-elected with 68% in 1998; and most likely, Republican Gov. Benson is going to coast to re-election.

The common thread in these races is that the Democratic candidate trails by double-digits, and needs to close it to single-digits over the next couple of months to move into a top-tier race.  It can be done, Chambliss in Georgia is a good example from 2002, and from 2000, Cantwell in Washington St.  But the top-tier of US Senate races in 2004 is crowded already. The Republican side of held seats (IL, OK, CO, AK) and on the Democratic side of held seats (GA, SC, FL, NC, LA, SD).

Hey DC, there's still a primary in Colorado

On Saturday, Mike Miles won "a mild upset by drawing 51% of the delegates at the State Democratic Convention", posts Colorado Luis.  Well, it shouldn't be mild; instead, it should wake up DC. About a month ago, I complained that the DSCC wouldn't even list Mike Miles as being in the running on their DSCC Senate roundup page, (Colorado Atty. General Ken Salazar (D) v. Pete Coors or former Congressman Bob Schaffer). Then while in DC this last week, I found out that two well-known Democratic organizations had already backed Ken Salazar for the General nomination. Now, these organizations are privately funded, and can do as they please; but the DSCC is funded by Democratic Party members like us throughout the nation, including Colorado, and of those Democrats there, 51% of them at the state convention just said that Mike Miles should be their nominee.  

Doesn't, at the least, Mike Miles warrant a mention on the DSCC's website?


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