US Mid-Term Election Campaign Reader

 

Colorado GOP Looking to Replace Dan Maes in Governor's Race
Colorado Pols, a Colorado political news site, reports that Republican "emissaries" met on Friday with Republican Gubernatorial nominee Dan Maes in an effort to persuade him to drop out of the race for Governor.

According to an anonymous Republican source, GOP Chair Dick Wadhams is not among those involved in the meeting in an effort to keep some official distance from the process. The message from Republicans is that there will be no outside money and no fundraising assistance for Maes if he stays in the race, but if he drops out there could be support for him for future opportunities.

Republican leaders have been conspicuous in their public silence about Maes, and that silence was apparently part of the plan leading up to today's meeting. Top Republicans wanted to let Maes have a few days to himself after the election, hoping that their lack of attention would show him that he doesn't have the support he would need to win in November.

From what we have heard over the last 24 hours, however, Maes is unlikely to agree to any terms that would see him remove himself from the race for Governor because he truly believes that he has earned the nomination. As part of a last-ditch effort, top Republicans may try to get Maes to agree to their choice for a running mate, in hopes that a stronger Lieutenant Governor could be in a position to take over the ballot at some point.

It's important to keep in mind that these discussions are not really about finding a candidate who can win the governor's race in November. As we first reported in mid-July, Republicans recognize that their chances at beating Democrat John Hickenlooper are close to zero. What they want now is to find someone who can excite the GOP base and not be a drag on the ticket -- both for Ken Buck's U.S. Senate bid and for the downballot races. Maes can't win, and neither can a potential replacement; but at least a potential replacement isn't regularly being mocked both locally and nationally as a joke of a candidate. Maes' much-discussed "U.N. Bicycle Plot" is bad enough when he's just one of several candidates running in a Primary, but now it's the Republican candidate for Governor saying these things. That's a lot different.

Portman Holds Narrow Lead in Ohio Senate Race
Republican Rob Portman holds a narrow lead over Democrat Lee Fisher, the current Lieutenant Governor of Ohio, in the race to succeed Senator George Voinovich according to a poll conducted by Reuters/Ipsos. Portman, director of the Office of Budget and Management and the U.S. Trade Representative under former President George W. Bush, leads Fisher 43 percent to 36 percent among likely voters.

In the Ohio Governor's race, former nine term Republican Congressman John Kasich leads incumbent Democrat Ted Strickland by 48 percent to 39 percent among likely voters. Meanwhile, the Ohio Democratic Party has just released a 60 second spot hitting Kasich for running from his Lehman Brothers background. In 2008 Kasich was proud to state, "I work on Wall Street." In 2010, Congressman Kasich has been seeking to downplay his eight years as managing director at Lehman Brothers, claiming he operated out of a two-man office in Columbus.

There's more...

US Mid-Term Election Campaign Reader

 

Colorado GOP Looking to Replace Dan Maes in Governor's Race
Colorado Pols, a Colorado political news site, reports that Republican "emissaries" met on Friday with Republican Gubernatorial nominee Dan Maes in an effort to persuade him to drop out of the race for Governor.

According to an anonymous Republican source, GOP Chair Dick Wadhams is not among those involved in the meeting in an effort to keep some official distance from the process. The message from Republicans is that there will be no outside money and no fundraising assistance for Maes if he stays in the race, but if he drops out there could be support for him for future opportunities.

Republican leaders have been conspicuous in their public silence about Maes, and that silence was apparently part of the plan leading up to today's meeting. Top Republicans wanted to let Maes have a few days to himself after the election, hoping that their lack of attention would show him that he doesn't have the support he would need to win in November.

From what we have heard over the last 24 hours, however, Maes is unlikely to agree to any terms that would see him remove himself from the race for Governor because he truly believes that he has earned the nomination. As part of a last-ditch effort, top Republicans may try to get Maes to agree to their choice for a running mate, in hopes that a stronger Lieutenant Governor could be in a position to take over the ballot at some point.

It's important to keep in mind that these discussions are not really about finding a candidate who can win the governor's race in November. As we first reported in mid-July, Republicans recognize that their chances at beating Democrat John Hickenlooper are close to zero. What they want now is to find someone who can excite the GOP base and not be a drag on the ticket -- both for Ken Buck's U.S. Senate bid and for the downballot races. Maes can't win, and neither can a potential replacement; but at least a potential replacement isn't regularly being mocked both locally and nationally as a joke of a candidate. Maes' much-discussed "U.N. Bicycle Plot" is bad enough when he's just one of several candidates running in a Primary, but now it's the Republican candidate for Governor saying these things. That's a lot different.

Portman Holds Narrow Lead in Ohio Senate Race
Republican Rob Portman holds a narrow lead over Democrat Lee Fisher, the current Lieutenant Governor of Ohio, in the race to succeed Senator George Voinovich according to a poll conducted by Reuters/Ipsos. Portman, director of the Office of Budget and Management and the U.S. Trade Representative under former President George W. Bush, leads Fisher 43 percent to 36 percent among likely voters.

In the Ohio Governor's race, former nine term Republican Congressman John Kasich leads incumbent Democrat Ted Strickland by 48 percent to 39 percent among likely voters. Meanwhile, the Ohio Democratic Party has just released a 60 second spot hitting Kasich for running from his Lehman Brothers background. In 2008 Kasich was proud to state, "I work on Wall Street." In 2010, Congressman Kasich has been seeking to downplay his eight years as managing director at Lehman Brothers, claiming he operated out of a two-man office in Columbus.

There's more...

US Mid-Term Election Campaign Reader

 

Colorado GOP Looking to Replace Dan Maes in Governor's Race
Colorado Pols, a Colorado political news site, reports that Republican "emissaries" met on Friday with Republican Gubernatorial nominee Dan Maes in an effort to persuade him to drop out of the race for Governor.

According to an anonymous Republican source, GOP Chair Dick Wadhams is not among those involved in the meeting in an effort to keep some official distance from the process. The message from Republicans is that there will be no outside money and no fundraising assistance for Maes if he stays in the race, but if he drops out there could be support for him for future opportunities.

Republican leaders have been conspicuous in their public silence about Maes, and that silence was apparently part of the plan leading up to today's meeting. Top Republicans wanted to let Maes have a few days to himself after the election, hoping that their lack of attention would show him that he doesn't have the support he would need to win in November.

From what we have heard over the last 24 hours, however, Maes is unlikely to agree to any terms that would see him remove himself from the race for Governor because he truly believes that he has earned the nomination. As part of a last-ditch effort, top Republicans may try to get Maes to agree to their choice for a running mate, in hopes that a stronger Lieutenant Governor could be in a position to take over the ballot at some point.

It's important to keep in mind that these discussions are not really about finding a candidate who can win the governor's race in November. As we first reported in mid-July, Republicans recognize that their chances at beating Democrat John Hickenlooper are close to zero. What they want now is to find someone who can excite the GOP base and not be a drag on the ticket -- both for Ken Buck's U.S. Senate bid and for the downballot races. Maes can't win, and neither can a potential replacement; but at least a potential replacement isn't regularly being mocked both locally and nationally as a joke of a candidate. Maes' much-discussed "U.N. Bicycle Plot" is bad enough when he's just one of several candidates running in a Primary, but now it's the Republican candidate for Governor saying these things. That's a lot different.

Portman Holds Narrow Lead in Ohio Senate Race
Republican Rob Portman holds a narrow lead over Democrat Lee Fisher, the current Lieutenant Governor of Ohio, in the race to succeed Senator George Voinovich according to a poll conducted by Reuters/Ipsos. Portman, director of the Office of Budget and Management and the U.S. Trade Representative under former President George W. Bush, leads Fisher 43 percent to 36 percent among likely voters.

In the Ohio Governor's race, former nine term Republican Congressman John Kasich leads incumbent Democrat Ted Strickland by 48 percent to 39 percent among likely voters. Meanwhile, the Ohio Democratic Party has just released a 60 second spot hitting Kasich for running from his Lehman Brothers background. In 2008 Kasich was proud to state, "I work on Wall Street." In 2010, Congressman Kasich has been seeking to downplay his eight years as managing director at Lehman Brothers, claiming he operated out of a two-man office in Columbus.

There's more...

News Wrap: Enthusiasm Gap Narrows, Obey Retires

Two big process stories today, in a good news/bad news sort of way for Democrats. The good news is that the latest Gallup poll shows Democrats are catching up to the Republicans in the enthusiasm gap, a number almost if not just as important as the generic ballot. According to Gallup,

Republican registered voters' enthusiasm about voting in this year's midterm elections has declined significantly in recent weeks. As a result, Republicans' advantage over Democrats on this measure has shrunk from 19 points in early April to 10 points in the latest weekly aggregate.

In late March and early April, after Congress' passage of healthcare reform, both Republican and Democratic registered voters became more enthusiastic about voting in this year's elections. Republicans' enthusiasm peaked at 54% "very enthusiastic" in late March and early April, but is 43% in the latest weekly update, from April 27-May 2 -- essentially where it was before healthcare passed. By contrast, Democrats have more or less retained the slightly higher level of enthusiasm they showed right after the healthcare bill milestone.

The specific numbers are 43-33.

The bad news is that House Appropriations Chair David Obey is retiring. According to the Hill, this announcement comes "much to the shock of his colleagues." This is our 18th open seat, compared to 21 open Repub seats. Obey pointed to the death of two former colleagues, Jack Murtha and Charlie Willson, and said he's "bone tired." He is 71 and has been in Congress for 41 years, and is the fourth longest serving member of the House. In the latest National Journal rankings, he was listed as thte 70th most liberal House member, and came in at 21 the previous year.

We should be able to hold this seat, but it won't be easy. His district, the Wisconsin 7th, went to Obama with 56% of the vote, but Kerry only had 51%, and this year the Republicans have a strong candidate in Palin-endorsed district attorney and sportscaster Sean Duffy. At least there's plenty of time to recruit a candidate, with a primary on September 14 and filing deadline on July 13. What's more, First Read claims the Democrats have a deep and strong bench in the district, naming ten potential candidates. The flip side, of course, is that it might help in anti-incumbent year to say hey, two of our top House leaders won't be leaders next year (ex-Chairman Rangel being the other).

Barack Obama Poll Numbers and the Midterm Elections

Over at Pollster, President Barack Obama is starting the new year with a collective average job approval that is a net negative (48.1% disapprove to 48.0% approve). If you filter out Rassmussen and internet polls, Obama climbes to 50.4% approval (see Nate Silver on the Rassmussen dustup).

Some of the "clap louder" crowd have recently taken to arguing that Obama's 80% approval ratings among Democrats means that Obama doesn't have a base problem. But is looking at approval among all Democrats an adequate way to measure Obama's "base" support? The following numbers put some context around how many Democrats actually constitute the base:

The most basic definition for "base" is the people who help you win elections. But there are lots of ways to quantify that. If by "base" you mean "email list total" then 18% of the people who voted for Obama are part of the base. If you mean contributors, then less than 6% of those who voted for Obama are part of the base. If you mean volunteers, it drops down to just over 2%.

In short, the Obama "base" is a very small percentage of the national political landscape and there is little reason to believe that national polls of Democrats represent the base. For instance, even if every single person on Obama's email list was a Democrat, every single one could disapprove of Obama according to the poll numbers Administration supporters are citing as showing Obama is in good shape.

"Base" isn't a measure of political breadth, but of political depth.

So is Obama in good shape? And is what is good for Obama's poll numbers also good for Democrats heading into the midterms?

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