Oct. 02

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New Senate: DEM 47     Ties 1     GOP 52

New polls: CO KS SC
Dem pickups: (None)

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Kansas Courts Says the Democrats Need Not Name a Candidate

In what is probably the end of a long saga, a Kansas district court unanimously ruled yesterday that the Kansas Democratic Party does not have to name a replacement for Chad Taylor, who withdrew as the Democratic nominee last month. Republican Secretary of State Kris Kobach had been pushing very hard to get the Democrats to name someone, anyone, hoping that at least a few voters would choose the Democrat over independent Greg Orman, who is Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) main opponent now. It appears that that fight is over now and no Democrat will appear on the ballot.

Pat Roberts is in Trouble, but Not a Dead Man Walking

With another poll showing independent Greg Orman leading Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS), this time 46% to 41%, the situation in Kansas is becoming critical for the Republicans as the loss of this seat could cost them control of the Senate, The Washington Post has an article on the race and gives three reasons why Roberts is in big trouble and three reasons why he is not, as follows.

Why Roberts is in trouble.
  1. He is behind. Incumbents are supposed to be behind unknown challengers in October
  2. His favorability rating in Kansas (39%) is lower than President Obama's (41%)
  3. Only 61% of Republicans support him. Losing 39% of your base is not good for an incumbent

Why Roberts is not in trouble.
  1. 61% of Republicans support Roberts before the Republicans have even started to attack Orman
  2. Most voters don't know Orman. The Republican attack machine will position him way to the left of Nancy Pelosi
  3. Republican voters will hear that a vote for Orman is a vote to keep Harry Reid as majority leader

Court Orders North Carolina to Keep Same-Day Registration

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit has ordered the state of North Carolina to continue to allow voters to register on election day. A lower court had upheld a new law passed by the Republican-controlled state legislature that eliminated election-day registration but the Appeals Court said that the law violated the federal Civil Rights Act. The state may ask for an en banc ruling, with all the judges on the 4th Circuit voting or it may appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Changes to Election Procedures Close to the Election Are a Bad Idea

There have been numerous court challenges to election laws and procedures this Fall in a multitude of states. Election law expert Rick Hasen argues that making any changes to the law or procedures this close to an election just adds confusion to the process and may scare voters away from the polls. The Supreme Court itself has recognized this danger in Purcell v. Gonzalez (2006). As more cases involving election law and procedures head to the Supreme Court with so little time left before the midterms, the Court may simply say: "Interesting case. We'll take it up in January."

Republicans Begin Spending on House Races

For months the Republicans feared that Republican donors would put all their money into Senate and gubernatorial races and leave Republican House members high and dry. Now the cavalry has arrived and money is beginning to flow into House races. The American Action Network, Congressional Leadership Fund, and Chamber of Commerce are all putting up more than a million dollars in October and several other conservative groups are putting up large amounts as well. Still, the DCCC had $9 million more than the NRCC as of Aug. 20, so both sides will be spending freely this month.

Manchin Says that Energy-Producing States Will Be Dead without Landrieu

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) is arguing that if Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) loses her reelection battle, it will be tough for not only the oil producing states but also for the coal states as well (such as West Virginia). Landrieu is chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources committee. If she loses, the top Democrat will be Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA), who will be either chair or ranking member, depending on which party controls the Senate. Landrieu is from an energy-producing state and often sides with the oil and coal companies. Cantwell is from a state where environmental concerns dominate the discussion over energy and is certain to be a lot less friendly to oil and coal companies. This is what Manchin is worried about and is not-so-subtly suggesting that people from energy-producing states ought to be helping Landrieu.

Today's Senate Polls

State Democrat D % Republican R % I I % Start End Pollster
Colorado Mark Udall* 47% Cory Gardner 48%     Sep 29 Sep 30 Rasmussen
Kansas     Pat Roberts* 41% Greg Orman 46% Sep 27 Sep 30 Suffolk U.
South Carolina Brad Hutto 28% Lindsey Graham* 46%     Sep 21 Sep 28 Winthrop U.

* Denotes incumbent

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