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News from the Votemaster

Ridge Not Running for the Senate     Permalink

Former Pennsylvania senator Tom Ridge (R) announced yesterday that he will not run for the Pennsylvania Senate seat currently occupied by Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA). Ridge undoubtedly concluded that he would lose to Pat Toomey for the same reason Specter concluded that he would lose to Toomey: the loss of 200,000 moderate Republicans during the Clinton-Obama primary last year moved the Pennsylvania GOP far to the right, strongly favoring a conservative like Toomey. The problem with Toomey is that he has almost no chance of winning the general election against any Democrat.

This announcement also increases the likelihood that Rep. Joe Sestak (D-PA) will challenge Specter to a primary since the winner of the Democratic primary will be the sure winner of the general election. With Ridge as the Republican candidate, Sestak knew he would first have to defeat Specter in a bitter primary, and then exhausted and broke, would then have to take on the popular Ridge. Now he can count on having to fight only one election: the Democratic primary. If he wins that, it's basically over. The Ridge announcement is very bad news for the Republicans since whether the Democratic nominee is Specter, Sestak, or someone else, the seat is lost.

A Sestak-Specter primary would be ironic for Specter. The reason he gave for quitting the GOP is that he didn't want his 28-year record in the Senate to be judged by Republicans only, with Democrats and independents left out. If the real election turns out to be the Democratic primary, then he will be judged by Democrats alone, with Republicans and independents left out. He might be better off being judged by partisan Democrats rather than partisan Republicans, but neither option is as good for him as being judged by all voters.

Romney Moves to New Hampshire     Permalink

Former Massachusetts governor Willard "Mitt" Romney is selling his houses in Utah and Massachusetts and moving to Wolfeboro, New Hampshire. Supreme Court Justice David Souter is moving to New Hampshire because he grew up there and loves the state. Romney is moving there because he is running for President already and being a resident of New Hampshire might help him with the New Hampshire voters in 2012. Also, logistically, he can drive to any town in the state in a couple of hours. In contrast, it takes Alaska governor Sarah Palin nearly an entire day to get there to campaign. If she goes on scheduled airlines, she can leave Anchorage at 8 A.M. and get to Manchester, NH five minutes past midnight, with a change of planes in Chicago. Alternatively, she can fly to Boston in 9 hours and then drive up, which takes an hour or two, once she gets out of the airport, depending on her destination. Clearly, Romney will have a huge advantage in terms of number of hours he can spend on the ground campaigning and number of towns he can visit. But she is immensely popular with parts of the base and he is not.

Estimates of Reapportionment after the 2010 Census Published     Permalink

Chris Bowers at Open Left has put together a nice table showing the definite, probable, and possible gains and losses for various states after the 2010 census and the likely effect on the 2012 election. The biggest winner is Texas, which will gain 3 or 4 House seats. The primary losers are states in the Northeast and the Rust Belt.

2012 Presidential Rundown     Permalink

Larry Sabato has an initial rundown of possible presidential candidates in 2012. Barring something very unforeseen, the Democrats will nominate Barack Obama for a second term. Republican possibles include Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, Mark Sanford, and Tim Pawlenty. But it is very, very, early, and a dark horse like Gov. Jon Huntsman (R-UT) could come out of nowhere, just as Mike Huckabee did in 2008.

Minority Status Makes Recruiting Tough for Republicans     Permalink

The Republicans' minority status in both the Senate and House is making it hard to recruit candidates. Many talented Republicans have passed up a chance to run for Congress on the grounds that fighting a bloody campaign only to become a freshman in a powerless minority in the U.S. Senate or House is not worth it. Mark Nicolas has a piece with some specifics. For example, Florida GOP chairman Jim Greer won't take on freshman Suzanne Kosmas (D-FL) and former representative Thelma Drake won't take on Glenn Nye (D-VA). Republicans might have decent shots at knocking off Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) and Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO)--except they have no viable candidates. All in all, it is a downward spiral. Without good candidates, it is hard to become the majority and if you are not the majority it is hard to find good candidates.

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-- The Votemaster