ActBlue now in Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Texas

Bumped from the diaries -- Jonathan... I can tell you that I, personally, have been looking forward to this day for some time

I'm proud to announce that you can now use ActBlue to support Democratic candidates for state office in Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Texas! Special thanks to Annatopia and the TexRoots who pulled in the remaining funds we needed for Texas.

(For those who missed it, last month we activated Active Blue in Indiana, Iowa, Maine, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.)  

So now what?

  1. Fundraise for state candidates!  Just visit the directories (IN | IA | ME | OR | PA | SD | TX | WI), choose a candidate, and click "start fundraising".

  2. Spread the word by alerting your contacts in these states that we're now up and running.  You can also help by contributing to Texas candidates— a check in the mail is a great way to let campaigns know how they can use ActBlue.  

  3. Help us expand to more states— Please contribute here and start fundraising here, and see the extended text for details.

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First 2006 Governors Forecast, Part II: The Top Democratic Targets

Part One: The Big Picture

Part two of the forecast focuses on the twelve races that estimate to have at least a 40% chance to switch parties. Nine of these seats are currently held by Republicans, and three are currently held by Democrats. These are the top tier races, and looking at our strength in this list has to bring a smile to even the most pessimistic Democrats out there.

Top Tier Democratic Targets (In alphabetical order; New York is already in the bag)
  • Alaska. Democratic candidate: Ethan Berkowtiz
    For the second time in two years, the deep red state of Alaska has appeared high on a Democratic target list. However, unlike in 2004, this time Democrats are favored to take the seat. Governor, former Senator and father of a Senator Frank Murkowski is, to put it as politely as I can, in deep shit. He has a hideous sub-30 approval rating that has been low since time immemorial. No incumbent wins, or even comes close, with an approval rating like that. Dems are almost certainly going to pick one up here, which is excellent. If he does well as Governor, Berkowitz could one day become a Democratic Senator from Alaska.

    (Update from the comments: Murkowski is facing two primary challengers. If he loses the primary, this seat becomes a lot less winnable).

  • Arkansas. Democratic candidates: Mike Beebe and Bill Halter
    This is an open seat because Republican Huckabee can't run again. Overall, Democratic chances look pretty good here. A Rasmussen poll from last month showed Beebe up ten on Republican Asa Hutchinson, which was nearly identical to the lead Beebe had in an October poll from the University of Arkansas. Zogby actually shows Hutchinson slightly ahead, but that is an internet poll. Beebe is the attorney general, so he will probably win the Democratic primary, and have a very good shot in the general. While Arkansas is one of the five most conservative states in the country, it remains a generally Democratic state. We look pretty good for a pickup here.

  • California. Dems: Phil Angelides and Steve Westly
    The big prize. This is quite possibly the most important race in the entire country in 2006. Flipping this seat alone would put Democrats on the brink of having Governors in states with more than half of the national population. It was also reverse one of the worst Republican power grabs of the last decade, and deprive the national wingnut party of one of their "moderate" spokespeople. Schwarzenegger is clearly vulnerable. The Field poll, which is the only poll that really matters in California, puts the race at a dead heat. The good news is that Arnold's approval ratings and trial heat numbers are under forty, so that incumbent rule would place him in severe danger. The bad news is that Arnold has something like $100M+ for this campaign, so he can go nuclear against the Democratic nominee. Normally, a Republican Governor with low approvals in a solid blue state would be finished, but all that money sends shivers down my spine. Right now, I'd say this is a toss-up.

  • Colorado. Bill Ritter, (Update from the comments: Gary Lindstrom has dropped out)
    This is Bill Owens's open seat. Dems across the country should be singing John Denver tunes this year. The Vast Left Wing Conspiracy is fully operational in Colorado, and in 2006 it is going to get even better. You can expect the big gains we made in Colorado in 2004 (and 2005) to be replicated in 2006. Ritter looks very strong in Colorado right now, and the strong possibility of a Democratic trifecta, coupled with a Democratic majority in the congressional delegation, is very real. If only I could share with the blogosphere what I have seen concerning the progressive operation in Colorado. I'm telling you, when Democrats are once again in power across the country and Republicans are writing their strategic equivalents to The Republican Noise Machine, What's the Matter With Kansas, and Crashing the Gate, they will devote an entire chapter to what started happening in Colorado three years ago. We have closed the infrastructure and conspiracy gap here, and now Republicans are the ones facing a gap. I feel very confident that we will score more big wins in Colorado this year.

  • Maryland. Dems: Martin O'Malley, Doug Duncan
    Another outstanding pickup opportunity for Democrats. Baltimore mayor Martin O'Malley is the favorite to defeat Republican incumbent Eldrich. Zogby shows O'Malley with a commanding lead and favorable trends. In fact, the only poll that has not shown O'Malley up comfortably is Rasmussen, but even Rasmussen admits that the it had poll showing Erhlich up was an outlier. Not to take anything away from Duncan, who I hope stays in the race, but O'Malley is young, cool and charismatic. He should already be Governor, but unfortunately was urged to get out of the race in 2002 so someone named Kennedy to blow it for the Dems. Look for for people like O'Malley and Spitzer to run for President one day.

  • Massachusetts. Dems: Deval Patrick, Tom Reilly
    Mitt Romney made the right decision to get out of Doge before Dodge voted him out. In an unusual twist, Democratic chances of taking this seat actually dropped when it became an open seat. Right now, Patrick and Reilly are even in the Democratic primary, and most polls (Zogby, Suffolk, State House News) show both candidates ahead of likely Republican nominee Kerry Healy (it's a relief to see that Irish-Americans will be represented in the race :-) ) Patrick seems to have the mo' on the Democratic side, and he also seems to have grassroots support. The winner of the Democratic primary will probably become the first Democratic Governor of Massachusetts in a long, long time.

    (Update from sco in the comments: "Yesterday, Millionare Republican Christy Mihos (former member of the Turnpike Board) decided he was going to run for MA Governor as an independent, mostly because he thought he was going to lose to Kerry Healey. So, it will be a three-way race now, and the conventional wisdom is that Mihos is going to steal more votes from the GOP than the Dems")

  • Minnesota. Mike Hatch, Steve Kelley, Beck Lourey, Kelly Doran
    In something of a surprise to me, Democrats appear to have a good chance to defeat Republican Tim Pawlenty in Minnesota. Rasmussen and Zogby both show Pawlenty a little behind his challengers, which is very bad news for an incumbent. I remain worried about what I notice to be a disturbing entry of Thune-esque blogging in Minnesota (MN is also the national capital of right-wing blogging), but I am also heartened to see a fairly substantial, highly targeted Democratic online response. Considering the new tactics and many close races, Minnesota is possibly the most interesting state to watch this year.

  • Nevada. Dem: Dina Titus, Jim Gibson
    This is another open seat. The Democratic candidates appear to be very close in the primary, and to likely Republican nominee Gibbons in the general (see Zogby and Rasmussen). I have no special insight on this race. It looks like one that we can win, but our chances here seem lower than pretty much every other race I have listed thus far.

  • Ohio Dems: Ted Strickland
    Another open seat race where Democrats are favored to take over. Sitting Republican Governor Bob Taft has the lowest approval rating of any statewide elected official in history (probably). Rasmussen shows Strickland surging against both major Republican contenders. Zogby shows Strickland tied with Blackwell, which I suppose is worrying. I wonder how much Strickland has to win by in order to, you know, actually take office, considering that Blackwell operates the election machinery in Ohio.
Feeling good yet? Those are nine races that Democrats have a good chance at taking over from Republicans, six of which they are favored to win (CA, MN and NV are toss-ups). The six sates where Democrats are favored combine for 11% of the national population. The three toss-up states make up 15% of the national population. If we win the six seats where we are favored plus the toss-up in California, we will almost certainly take over a majority of total Governorships and a population majority in Governorships, no matter what happens elsewhere. We are looking really, really good among Governors in 2006.

The third and final part of the forecast, which I will release tomorrow, will focus on the top tier Republican targets (IL, IA, ME, PA, WI), the second-tier Democratic targets (AL, FL, RI, SC), the second-tier Republican targets (KS, MI, OR) and the strangest race of all, Texas.

First 2006 Governor Forecast, Part I: The Big Picture

This part of the forecast only deals with the big picture of the Governor picture. The second part, which I hope to have up tonight or tomorrow morning, will give a brief rundown of the competitive races. As always, I am open to comments and possible corrections--Chris

Following in the footsteps of my regular Senate forecast, and my new House forecast first released earlier this month, we now arrive at the completion of my forecast trilogy: Governors. I have held off on this one the longest, mainly because Governors races are much trickier to forecast than either House or Senate races. These races tend to be trickier than federal races because partisan voting tendencies at the federal level generally do not apply to Governors. For example, the four most pro-Democratic states in terms of Presidential voting tendencies all have Republican Governors (New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Vermont). In the same vein, some of the most pro-Republican states in terms of Presidential voting tendencies have Democratic Governors (Wyoming, Oklahoma, Kansas and Montana). Another reason these races tend to be more difficult to forecast is because financial information on the races is not generally available. Campaign finance and disclosure laws for Governors races are on a state-by-state basis, and there is no central location where these numbers are reported.

Now, having said all that, I am going to give this a go anyway. First, look at these two maps.

This is the current Governor's map. Republican control 28 states, and Democrats control 22. Now, here is another map:

This is the Governor's 2006 election map. Blue states are either forecasted as safe for Democrats in 2006, or as not up for re-election. Red states are either forecasted as safe for Republicans, or as not up for election. Purple states are states that I forecast to be competitive in 2006, at least for now. As you can see from the differences between the two maps, far more Republican held seats, fourteen, are danger than are Democratic held seats, eight. The population numbers tell an even more dramatic tale:
  • Democratic safe: 26% of the population
  • Republican safe: 13% of the population.
  • Democratic endangered: 12% of the population
  • Republican endangered: 49% of the population
Even though the Democratic base in 2006 is twice the size of the Republican base, fully half of the nation is under threat of switching from a Republican Governor to a Democratic Governor (except in Texas, where the threat is mainly to switch to Independent). Another 6.5%, represented by the state of New York, has already all but switched. This goes a long way toward describing just how tremendous the Democratic opportunity is this year, and just how severe our deficit has been in Governorships since 1994. In the extended entry, I discuss both of these issues in greater detail.

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