Archive for August, 2010

Manchin Raese Race Heats Up

Monday, August 30th, 2010

These are not normal times.  A Rasmussen poll taken after Saturday’s special primary election reveals a close race developing for the U. S. Senate seat of the late Senator Byrd. It appears the big factor is the “drag of Barrack Obama” is having on Governor Manchin.

Manchin’s Challenges

Sunday, August 29th, 2010

After Saturday’s election I have had time to reflect on the forthcoming November election while completing a driving vacation.

You may recall a Rasmussen survey in July where seventy-one percent (71%) of West Virginia voters approved of the job Governor Manchin is doing as governor, while 28% disapproved. 

The same report found that only 32% of the state’s voters approve of the job Barack Obama is doing as president after receiving 43% of the state’s votes in the 2008 Presidential Election.  Rasmussen reported in July – note July – that Sixty-seven percent (67%) disapprove.  According to the report this is a higher level of criticism in West Virginia than results found nationally in the Rasmussen Reports.

Therein lays one of the three challenges facing Governor Manchin in the November election. 

The first challenge is apathy among West Virginia voters.  Early numbers says only 12% voted Saturday.  It is likely everyone expected Manchin to be successful.  If that is the case he has a serious problem.  Elections are won on turnout.

Secondly, President Obama will be a drag on Governor Manchin.  Just look at the way West Virginians viewed Barack Obama in July.  Manchin must find a way to disconnect himself from the policies of Obama – even those he previous thought might be of value to our State.

Third, the spending record of John Raese is well known.  You can bet within days candidate Raese will be up with radio and television ads defining Governor Manchin.  Even though Manchin is viewed favorably by voters this can be dangerous.

All one has to do is look at recent primary elections across the country to see these are not normal times. 

Television ads, image building and other modern campaign techniques carry the day in normal times.

The winner in this Senate race will be determined by turnout.

Coming To The USA?

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

Healthcare reform continues to drive the mid-term elections and the down fall of President Obama.  While traveling I had an opportunity to read the comments of the new president of the Canadian Medical Association.   He appears to be sounding the alarm of what to expect from the Obama administration’s health care initiative passed by the Democrats in Congress.  The Globe and Mail Canada’s National Newspaper carried this story.  Read and decide

Morning After Reading

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

Thought I would share some of my morning reading.  It will not cheer our Democratic readers and Republicans should not cheer too soon.  Along time ago it was said “a day is a year in politics”.

House Democrats, already facing a perilous midterm landscape, wake up this morning to a bracing round of Midwestern polling data from the conservative American Action Forum. The group’s new survey, conducted across nine Democratic-held congressional districts by the GOP firm Ayres McHenry, shows Republicans with a five-point edge in a generic ballot test. They currently lead Democrats by a gap of 38 percent to 33 percent. By a lopsided 65 percent to 26 percent, voters in the districts said the country is on the wrong track. The district-by-district polls, each of which tested 400 likely voters, showed Democratic incumbents trailing in SIX of the competitive races.

SEAT BY SEAT: Iowa Rep. Leonard Boswell and Michigan Rep. Mark Schauer are both down by 10 points to their GOP challengers. Ohio Reps. Steve Driehaus and Mary Jo Kilroy trail by two and five points, respectively, while a third Ohio congressman, John Boccieri, is behind by 14 percentage points. In Wisconsin’s 8th Congressional District, Democratic Rep. Steve Kagen – not viewed as one of the cycle’s most endangered members – is facing a 10-point deficit against Republican Reid Ribble. Just three of the incumbents tested were ahead: Indiana’s Joe Donnelly and Ohio’s Betty Sutton, each of whom had a two-point lead; and Missouri Rep. Russ Carnahan, who was 16 points ahead of challenger Ed Martin. Get the full data here.

THE BIGGER 2010 PICTURE – “Dems privately fear House prospects worsening” – POLITICO’s VandeHei, Isenstadt and Allen: “In conversations with more than two dozen party insiders, most of whom requested anonymity to speak candidly about the state of play, Democrats in and out of Washington say they are increasingly alarmed about the economic and polling data they have seen in recent weeks. They no longer believe the jobs and housing markets will recover … They are even more concerned by indications that House Democrats once considered safe – such as Rep. Betty Sutton, who occupies an Ohio seat that President Barack Obama won with 57 percent of the vote in 2008 – are in real trouble. ‘Democrats kept thinking: “We’re going to get better. We’re going to get well before the election,”’ said one of Washington’s best-connected Democrats. ‘But as of this week, you now have people saying that Republicans are going to win the House. And now it’s starting to look like the Senate is going to be a lot closer than people thought.’”

GAME CHANGE: DEMS PRIVATELY FEAR THE HOUSE IS GONE – Jim VandeHei, Alex Isenstadt and Mike Allen: “Top Democrats are growing markedly more pessimistic about holding the House, privately conceding that the summertime economic and political recovery they were banking on will not likely materialize by Election Day. … A Democratic pollster working on several key races said, ‘The reality is that [the House majority] is probably gone.’ His data show the Democrats’ problems are only getting worse. ‘It’s spreading’ … Republicans need to pick up 39 seats, and polls show most voters still have a downbeat view of the GOP’s ability to govern … ‘We have been saying for the past 18 months this will be a politically challenging environment,’ said DCCC Chairman Chris Van Hollen. ‘That being said, we will retain the majority in the House. All of what you are hearing is the inside-the-Beltway chatter.’ A top House Democratic strategist conceded pessimism is spreading rapidly – but mainly in Washington. This strategist said the mood among individual candidates, many of whom enjoy a considerable cash advantage, is more upbeat.”

Political Tidbits…..

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

WV voters will participate in two firsts this week …..a Saturday election…..and a special election to choose a United States Senator… will be interesting to see if a Saturday election improves turnout.

Governor Manchin’s low key campaign may impact turnout by Democrats…..but the John Raese campaign has been anything but low key…..but you can bet Manchin will work on apathy before the fall election……and Raese will focus on turnout…..if Saturday turnouts a winner for him.

Across the nation Republicans have been turning out in record numbers…..political pundits call it…..enthusiasm…..and energy…..or could it be “throw the rascals out”?

After yesterday’s election voter disaffection with Washington does not appear to be dissipating…..or that Republican energy and enthusiasm are weakening.

Turnout was the story in Florida yesterday…..Republicans despite a 750,000 disadvantage in registration compared to Democrats…..brought far more people to the polls…..1.125 million Republicans cast ballots in the Governor’s race…..909,000 Democrats voted in the Democratic Senate primary…..both races were heated and close as voting day neared.

Can the WV Republican Party create enthusiasm……..and strategic campaigns…..built on a goal of turnout in November… support their strong candidates for Congress…..that is the question.

Or will Democratic incumbents…..had enough time to prepare for the test.

Money Poll

Saturday, August 21st, 2010

Polls are where you look to see how a candidate is doing.  Inside political observers “follow the money”.   Below is my Saturday morning reading.  You decided how it looks at this point in the mid-term election.


“RNC has just $5m for final push,” by Jonathan Martin: The RNC “has just over $5 million in the bank for the final stretch of the 2010 mid-term election campaign, according to an unannounced filing with the FEC disclosed Friday night. The report also indicates that the national party headed by embattled chairman Michael Steele is carrying just over $2 million in debt. … It indicated that the committee brought in slightly more than $5.5 million in July – less than half of what the DNC raised – while spending $11 million. The RNC’s money woes have many party leaders and operatives deeply worried about whether the GOP will be able to take full advantage of an otherwise promising election cycle. Of most concern are get-out- the-vote activities that are typically funded by the national committee. … The DNC released its July fundraising numbers earlier this week, reporting that it had just over $10.8 million on hand while also carrying $3.5 million in debt.

The RNC’s struggles come as other Republican committees show signs of momentum. The National Republican Congressional Committee outraised its counterpart, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, $8.5 million to $6.2 million in July. The DCCC, however, has just under $36 million in the bank while the NRCC has about $22 million. The National Republican Senatorial Committee appears to be closing the cash gap on its Democratic counterpart, raising $4.2 million to the Democratic committee’s $4.4 million in July. These committees each have more than $20 million heading into the fall. Meantime, the Republican Governors Association has about $40 million to spend on the fall elections, significantly more than its Democratic counterpart.

OUTSIDE MONEY – The dogged KENNETH P. VOGEL reports that American Crossroads “pulled in more than $2 million from last month, and this week spent $454,000 on ads supporting Republican Rob Portman’s Ohio Senate campaign … American Crossroads accepted $1 million each from the trust of former Univision chairman Jerry Perenchio and from an agricultural interest controlled in part by Texas billionaire Harold Simmons. But the FEC reports reveal only half of the effort being waged under the American Crossroads umbrella, which includes the Crossroads PAC and … American Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies, or GPS … Together they have raised $17.6 million … Crossroads GPS announced Friday that it had launched more than $2 million worth of so-called issue ads criticizing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Missouri democratic Senate candidate Robin Carnahan during their campaigns. … The Crossroads groups, part of a vast effort by political and interest groups on the right to offset the overall financial advantage held by Democrats and their allies, have set an ambitious fundraising goal of between $50 and $60 million.”

Mitt Romney Says Grow Jobs & Shrink Government

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

Today’s reading uncovered an Op-Ed by Governor Mitt Romney in the Boston Globe.  He addresses the important concern of most West Virginian’s to “Grow Jobs and Shrink Government.

It’s August

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

Everyone knows the media searches for an August story.  Well Obama gave it to them.  He just cannot stand to take a vacation or be quite when others are resting and playing in August.  Guess that is why he stirred up the mosque story.  You may want to read more from today’s Washington Post.

Political Tidbits

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

Here is what I have been reading today…..political newsletters are great…..don’t you agree?

 Arianna Huffington’s “Third World America: How Our Politicians Are Abandoning the Middle Class and Betraying the American Dream,” out Sept. 7: “During the 2008 campaign, Barack Obama’s guiding principle was that he ‘would not forget the middle class.’ Indeed, David Plouffe, Obama’s campaign manager, told me after the election, ‘We held that North Star in our sights at all times. We made mistakes along the way, but we always remembered that we were running because, as Barack put it, the dreams so many generations had fought for were slipping away.’ Well, you’d need a pretty powerful telescope to see the North Star these days.

“According to Plouffe, Obama and his team decided that he should make a run for the White House because ‘the core leadership had turned rotten’ and ‘the people were getting hosed.’ But the extent to which the people have continued to be hosed and the middle class assaulted becomes shockingly clear when the baby steps taken to bail out Main Street are compared to the all-hands-on-deck, no-expenses-spared bailout of Wall Street. …. The middle class is teetering on the brink of collapse just as surely as AIG was in the fall of 2009.” $16.19 on Amazon


W.Va. Gov. Joe Manchin has already raked in $418,000 for his Senate bid so far, reports POLITICO’s Shira Toeplitz. Sen. Jay Rockefeller helped him raise about $200,000 at an Aug. 3 event held at the Rockefellers Washington, D.C. home. Mining company owner John Raese, who trails Manchin by double digits in the polls, has already put in more than $320,000 of his own money into the race.


Drudge banner, with shot of Obama extending a fist, “’LET’S REACH FOR HOPE’,” links to AP story by Ben Feller, in Milwaukee: “Flying thousands of miles to reap millions of dollars, President Barack Obama is dashing across the country to help his party retain power, essentially offering one familiar argument: Republicans don’t solve problems. ‘Don’t give in to fear,’ Obama said Monday in his latest ominous vision of a country led by the opposition party. ‘Let’s reach for hope.’ Obama has settled on his message for the pivotal midterm elections, which means what he said Monday in Milwaukee will sound like what he says Tuesday in Seattle and Wednesday in Miami. He is covering more than 8,000 freewheeling miles in three days, the kind of personal attention that gets donors to the door.”


Two-thirds of the 2010 primaries are concluded and there are just 11 weeks left before Election Day. Here’s Morning Score’s weekly list of the candidates and campaigns that have the most to gain or lose in the week ahead:

(1) Sarah Palin, who has seen a string of her endorsed candidates go down to defeat in recent GOP primaries, has a handful more on the ballot Tuesday, notably Wyoming gubernatorial candidate Rita Meyer and Washington Senate candidate Clint Didier; (2) Ken Buck, who’s battling valiantly – he’s an Ivy Leaguer, dammit!– to avoid getting swept up in the GOP wingnut meta-narrative; (3) Jeff Greene, who’s looking like a guy you want to party with but maybe that’s all – his favorable/unfavorables in this weekend’s Mason-Dixon Florida poll were at an eye-catching 16%/41%; (4) Sen. Patty Murray, whose performance in Washington state’s jungle primary Tuesday will be closely monitored for signs of November trouble — she’ll likely finish under 50 percent, but by how much? (5) Sen. David Vitter, who, to paraphrase George Washington Plunkitt, saw his opportunities and took ’em by seizing on the Ground Zero mosque issue in Obama-averse Louisiana and using it to hammer Democratic Rep. Charlie Melancon.


OBAMA HELPS THE GOVS TO HELP HIMSELF – POLITICO’s Carol Lee and Alex Burns report the president has homed in on three of the only states that offer competitive gubernatorial contests this year and also are likely to be pivotal in his 2012 re-election campaign-Florida, Ohio and Wisconsin. “The importance of those three states to the 2012 map is not lost on the White House. With the political muscle governors can bring to a presidential campaign, electing Sink, Strickland and Barrett – or some of them – could offer Obama a powerful firewall against any Republican opponent two years from now.”


LIZ CHENEY: “I guess President Obama was for the mosque before he was against it. You can quote me. Sent from my iPhone.” 


STANDING ALONE – You just have to see this picture in the NYT story about Wisconsin……and his speech as three-day campaign swing through five states that is intended to shore up the fortunes of Democratic candidates still willing to stand beside him and his deteriorating approval ratings.

Eighteen Month Tradition

Thursday, August 12th, 2010

During the nearly twenty-five years Jenny and I spent in Washington we learned about the eighteen month burnout of political appointees.  This was true for White House staff, a cabinet office, or an Assistant Secretary in a department. 

I thought you might find it fun and interesting to read a New York Times story about the eighteen month burnout.