Dec. 05 absentee ballot for overseas voters

Obama 365   McCain 173  
Senate Dem 58   GOP 41   Ties 1
House Dem 255   GOP 176   Ties 4

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strong Dem Strong Dem (258)
weak Dem Weak Dem (33)
barely Dem Barely Dem (74)
tied Exactly tied (0)
barely GOP Barely GOP (14)
weak GOP Weak GOP (39)
strong GOP Strong GOP (120)
270 Electoral votes needed to win
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Presidential polls today: (None) RSS
Dem pickups (vs. 2004): CO FL IN IA NV NM NC OH VA GOP pickups (vs. 2004): (None) PDA SMS

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News from the Votemaster

Lost and Found Ballots are Front and Center in Minnesota

Ramsey County has found 171 uncounted ballots and Hennepin County has lost 133 ballots. These ballots could determine who wins the Senate race there and will certainly play a major role if this election ends up in court. While it is easy to count the newly found ballots, it is hard to see what to do about the missing ballots. Since Hennepin County is heavily Democratic, Al Franken will no doubt argue that they should be allocated in the same proportion as the rest of their precinct but Norm Coleman will no doubt say you can't count imaginary votes. Could get interesting.

Obama Raised $750 Million for his Election

Barack Obama broke all records as he raised nearly $750 million during his election campaign. By way of contrast, in 2004, the total amount raised by George Bush and John Kerry combined was $653 million, including the federal money. Towards the end of the general election campaign, Obama was outspending John McCain by 4 to 1.

Obama May Not Need 60 Votes in the Senate

Carl Leubsdorf has a piece on Real Clear Politics that echoes a point made here often: cloture votes rarely break down entirely along party lines. Leusbsdorf points out that on many bills, senators Snowe, Collins, Specter, and Voinovich among others may be willing to vote for cloture because they do not believe the country or the Republican Party are best served by being obstructionists all the time. Furthermore, some votes, such as one blocking health care for children, would prove very unpopular in their home states.

Monthly Job Loss Worst in 34 Years

The economy shed half a million jobs in November, the biggest monthly loss in 34 years. Barack Obama benefits from this in two ways. First, it is surely going to be rough sailing in his first year as President, but it is George Bush who become the new Herbert Hoover, not Obama. Second, Obama can (and probably will) say that this terrible economy requires strong medicine to fix. If he comes with some fairly radical ideas (like universal health insurance), the consequences for the Republicans if they filibuster it will be dreadful. All Obama has to do is keep comparing 2008 to 1932 and himself to FDR. While many Republicans hate FDR, most of the country reveres him and there is a big monument to him in D.C. and no monument to Herbert Hoover.

Chris Matthews Continues to Mull Challenging Specter

MSNBC's Hardball host Chris Matthews is seriously considering moving from Maryland, where he now lives, to Pennsylvania to challenge Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) in 2010. The idea is not really so crazy as it first sounds. To start with, Matthews was a aide to former House Speaker Tip O'Neill before he became a journalist and once ran for Congress himself (and lost). No one denies that he knows a tremendous amount about politics. Second, people from the media have won elective office before. George Murphy, a singer and dancer was elected to the Senate from California in 1964. Ronald Reagan, a B-movie actor was elected governor of California as was another actor, Arnold Schwarzenegger. A recent Rasmussen poll puts Specter ahead of Matthews by a mere 3 points, and Matthews hasn't even decided to run yet.

However, as Chris Bowers points out Matthews wouldn't be the only Democrat running, so there would be a primary. Another likely challenger is Rep. Allyson Schwartz. She is likely to get backing from Emily's List and other women's groups. Yet another possible candidate is Rep. Patrick Murphy. If Gov. Ed Rendell (D-PA) were to run, he would clear the field immediately and probably defeat Specter in a landslide, but so far he has not indicated any interest in the race.

On the Republican side, Specter may face a nasty primary challenge from the right if Pat Toomey tries again. This would force Specter to move sharply to the right which would weaken him in the general election.

Women's Groups Back Carolyn Maloney to Replace Clinton in the Senate

The National Organization for Women and the Feminist Majority have jointly endorsed Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) to replace Hillary Clinton as senator from New York. Another women mentioned for the job is Caroline Kennedy, daughter of former President John Kennedy. But Gov. David Paterson (D-NY) may put personal considerations first. He is facing a likely primary challenger from state attorney general Andrew Cuomo, so appointing Cuomo to the Senate gets Cuomo out of the way. While Cuomo would no doubt like to follow his father to the New York governor's mansion, he'd probably settle for a free ticket to the Senate. It's not a bad consolation prize even though governorships of big states are considered more prestigious than senatorships (?). With small states, it is the reverse: being senator from say, North Dakota, is regarded as more desirable than being governor of North Dakota. Small-state governors sometimes run for the Senate but small-state senators rarely run for governor.

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-- The Votemaster