Yeah, I think the commenters have this right. Haven' you guys been skewering rassmussen polling questions for having a pretty reliable Republican stance?
Also, wasn't one of the main selling points of Ginny Schrader's campaign the fact that her district voted for Schrader in the trial election once they learned how anti-choice her opponent was? It's amazing how that worked out.
I was hoping that someone would take a shot at Bill Thomas after his comments about giving African Americans higher social security benefits, but giving women less through what he called a "gender adjustiment." Pity no one will have the chance.
Looking at the results, I think turnout was just really, really, low. The weather in Illinois stunk. Lots of challengers did better than expected: Claypool, Cegelis, Eisendrath ... Oberweis put up a better showing than polls showed. In a normal turnout primary, I think Duckworth would have taken 55-60% of the vote, perhaps more. Still lots of loyalty to Christine, but it wouldn't have looked so close.
We should also all be incredibly impressed with Cegelis's GOTV operation. And she deserves something where she can gain stature for building the grassroots Democratic party in a place where people thought the party couldn't exist. But Duckworth is still going to be a great candidate when it comes to the general.
Both states have very unpopular Republican Governors, and neither state has a contested Governor or Senator's race. The assumption, I think, is that Electioneering can make a bigger difference when there aren't many important top-ticket races; the DCCC can just direct mail all the Democrats in the district on "Bush" to juice turnout.
Between July 4th and November, we're going to be treated to Iran, Iran, Iran, gay, Iran, War on Christmas, Iran, Iran, Bush wants to spy on Al Qaeda and Democrats don't, Iran, Democrats have just as many ethical problems as Republicans, Iran, gay, Iran, Iran, Iran.
Had McDermott and DeGette shown up, the outcome would have been 216-214. Somewhere, there is a meeting where political advisers pick which "moderate" Republicans get to vote "nay" to highlight their "independence". The same was true for DR-CAFTA.
It's worth checking out the 6th CD archives from the Archpundit, who covers Illinois politics.
His take is that it's a Bad Thing that Cegelis has been unable to raise money in pure fundraising quarters. Also, she spent an awful lot of money, despite the fact she really didn't have much in the way of operations. Regardless of how progressive she is, she stands no chance of winning if she can afford to send out direct mail, run some radio ads, and respond to the GOP candidate's ability to set the agenda.
I also think Rahm wants as many Democratic Veterans as he can get his hands on. Duckworth, Hackett (if he can be convinced to run for the House), Murphy ... each of these guys will help build the story that the troops are Democrats, which is going to be important for party ID in lots of districts. Duckworth is an awesome story and if she can be convinced to run as a Democrat I would see a hard time passing her up.
First and Foremost, Virginia has no blue "cities" but many blue "towns". Almost all the cities that are independent cities are either strongly Democratic or lean Democratic.
Second, it's not terribly surprising that Kaine did 6-7% better than Kerry in all portions of the state. Since Kaine doesn't really need to run against the national party, he's insulated from attacks for being like Howard Dean, Ted Kennedy, Hillary Clinton, and all the other Democratic politicians who have been put in the "looney" bin despite being very moderate for the most part.
Third, Virginia is one of the states moving fastest towards the Democratic column, behind Nevada, Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Vermont, Maryland, and California. Now, in some cases that's the "Nader effect", as some uber-liberals sat out the 1996 election and voted for Nader in 2000, but I doubt that's the case in Virginia.
Fourth, the net effect of a favorite son nomination is roughly 10-14 percentage points. Warner would likely win the state somewhere between 58-42 and 64-36. However, that's still not enough to get to 270, and Democrats would have to expand the map either by increasing Democratic party identification, driving down Republican party identification, or hoping Warner's popularity bleeds into places like West Virginia. Alternatively, a sufficiently popular figure from a red state -- say, Brian Schweitzer, Bill Richardson, Janet Napolitano, or John Edwards -- would do the trick.