News from the Votemaster
Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) pleaded not guilty yesterday to the seven felony charges on which he was indicted. His attorney asked for a trial before the election so Stevens could clear his name before facing the voters. He also asked for a change of venue to Alaska. The judge did not render a decision on these requests. The trial is expected to take 1-3 weeks. Alaska Republicans do not know what to do and are suddenly looking closely at the other primary candidates who previously couldn't get the time of day from conservative groups.
Race is already entering into the campaign. The McCain campaign has been running an ad juxtaposing Obama with nubile white women (in particular, Britney Spears and Paris Hilton, neither of whom is connected to Obama in any way). In the 2006 Senate race in Tennessee, the Republicans ran ads linking the Democratic candidate, a charismatic young black congressman, Harold Ford, with a sexy white woman winking at him. The ad worked. Ford had been leading before the ad and tanked after it ran, never recovered, and ultimately lost the election to Bob Corker. The take-away message: overt racism with sexual overtones is a winner in the South. So why not try it elsewhere? The NY Times editorial board called it ugly.
The NRSC is way behind the DSCC in fundraising. As of June 30, the NRSC had only $24 million cash on hand to the DSCC's $46 million. NRSC chairman Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) has thought of a source for getting more money: other Republican senators. Many senators who are not up for reelection this year have substantial reelection funds that they may legally donate to the NRSC and Ensign would like them to step up to the plate and do so. For example, Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL), who is up in 2010, has $13 million in the bank. He doesn't need that. As long as he is still breathing in 2010, he'll be reelected. Arlen Spector (R-PA) is also up in 2010 and has $5 million cash on hand, but he can expect a huge battle since Pennsylvania is a fairly blue state and the Democrats will go after him with everything they can muster (assuming he doesn't jump ship and become an independent after the 2008 election). The only other Republican senator with over $5 million in the bank is Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), but she is toying with running for governor, in which case she will need to hoard her pennies. CQ Politics has a list of the cash on hand figures.
Quiz: Who are these people are why are their pictures here?
Answer: All of them are running for President as the candidate of some established political party. From left to right they are
Some of these parties have quite a long history. The Prohibition Party was founded in 1869 and has been running candidates for office ever since. Other parties, such as the Boston Tea Party are freshly minted. More on third parties here. In addition to candidates running on a party ticket, there are also numerous independents running, such as Ralph Nader.
Lots of polls today. Quinnipiac University has polls showing Florida and Ohio as statistical ties, with Obama leading by 2% in each state. In Pennsylvania, Obama is ahead by a solid 49% to 42%. Montana is also a statistical tie, with McCain ahead by a mere 1%. This is the second poll showing that this normally dependably red state may be up for grabs this year. If McCain has to fight hard to win Montana, that signals trouble ahead.
Please note that Ohio didn't go blue today because there was a Rasmussen poll whose midpoint was within a week of the Quinnipiac poll and they were averaged. See the "Map algorithm explained" link above for more.
We have the first post-indictment poll in the Alaska Senate race, from Rasmussen. Anchorage mayor Mark Begich (D) has increased his lead. He is now ahead 50% to 37%. Stevens' best hope is to have the trial quickly and be acquitted. If the indictments are still hanging over his head on election day, he's doomed. The downside of a quick trial is that if he is found guilty, he is not only finished and going to jail, but the conviction of the longest-serving Republican senator in history is going to be huge news nationally and have a terrible effect on the Republican brand just before the election.
One House poll today, in IN-09. Baron Hill and Mike Sodrel have battled for this seat over and over. It looks like Hill will hang onto it.
-- The Votemaster