Jan. 28 absentee ballot for overseas voters

Senate Dem 58   GOP 41   Ties 1
House Dem 257   GOP 178  

Map of the 2010 Senate Races
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strong Dem Strong Dem (57)
weak Dem Weak Dem (0)
barely Dem Barely Dem (1)
tied Exactly tied (1)
barely GOP Barely GOP (5)
weak GOP Weak GOP (1)
strong GOP Strong GOP (35)
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Senate polls today: (None) RSS
Dem pickups (vs. 2004): (None) GOP pickups (vs. 2004): (None) PDA

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News from the Votemaster

Witnesses Called in the Minnesota Election Trial

Norm Coleman's legal team called witnesses to the stand yesterday in his battle to have the results of the Minnesota Senate election reversed. Monday they brought in photocopies of rejected ballots but the court rejected the photocopies, so yesterday the actual voters were brought in. However, not all of them were helpful. One voter sheepishly admitted that the reason the sigatures on his ballot application and on the ballot envelope did not match is that his girlfriend filled out the ballot application and signed it (which is illegal and a reason to reject the vote). Another voter said he voted in person but when shown his absentee ballot, then changed his tune and denied that he voted in person. The trial will continue today.

Gillibrand Sworn In as Senator

Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) became Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) yesterday as she was sworn in to the Senate. She will occupy the seat held by Hillary Clinton until last week. As a result of one woman replacing another one, the number of women in the Senate remains constant at 17.

Gillibrand must stand for election in 2010 in order to be able to serve during the final two years of Clinton's term. Then in 2012, she will be up for reelection for her first full term. A first poll shows that she is in good shape, with her approval/disapproval among Republicans at 56%/27% and among Democrats at 41%/35%. Her greater popularity with Republicans than with Democrats shows the (over)importance of single symbolic issues. Gillibrand is a strong supporter of gun rights so the Republicans like her and Democrats dislike her for this reason. But in reality, she is a very loyal Democrat. The Washington Post has assembled a list of 13 key votes in the House. On 12 of the 13 key votes, she supported the party position, for a 92% party loyalty rating. The one time she opposed the party line was when she voted yes on HR 2206, which provided funding for the Iraq war but required benchmarks to be met, an issue that split the Democratic caucus. She was joined in voting yes by Nancy Pelosi and Henry Waxman, two of the most liberal representatives. Finally, on the day she was appointed to the Senate, she switched her position on same-sex marriage from supporting civil unions to fully supporting gay marriage. She is certainly a generic Democrat and way to the left of senators like Ben Nelson (D-NE), Byron Dorgan (D-ND), and Harry Reid (D-NV). Yet everybody is fixated on her position on gun control, something Congress rarely votes in. Ah, the wonders of single-issue politics.

The Republicans have chosen the minority leader of the New York State Assembly, James Tedisco, as their candidate to run for Gillibrand's House seat, even though he does not live in the district. The Democrats have not made their choice yet.

Sarah Palin Creates a Political Action Committee

Sarah Palin has set up a PAC called SarahPAC. Political action committees collect money from donors and spend it on worthy causes--like electing the people they are named after. The new Website does not specify which people are to be elected to which offices, however. It merely has vague talk about rejuvenating the Republican Party (English translation: it is considered poor form to announce you are running for President before the midterm elections; collecting money is fine though).

Just in case anybody forgot how big Alaska is, the site's logo shows Alaska superimposed on the contiguous 48 states, completely obliterating Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, and South Dakota as well as parts of other states.

Mongiardo Will Challenge Bunning in Kentucky

Lieutenant Gov. Daniel Mongiardo (D-KY) has announced that he will challenge Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY) in 2010. It is likely that Kentucky Attorney General, Jack Conway, will also announce for the Senate, leading to a Mongiardo-Conway primary fight. In 2004, Bunning beat Mongiardo by 1 point at the same time that George Bush was crushing John Kerry by 20 points. Either Democrat has an excellent chance of unseating Bunning--unless he retires first.

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