What Will Happen On Election Day

October 27, 2010

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Although I’m not much of a rah-rah political person, I do enjoy following things from an analytical viewpoint.  Here are my thoughts on what will happen on election day and beyond.

Christine O’Donnell will lose the race for the Senate in Delaware and return to her coven.  (That’s a joke – I don’t really think she is a witch).  There is some speculation that she may also cost the GOP the Pennsylvania race.  The logic is that O’Donnell has been quite visible in the Philadelphia market (grab a map, for those who aren’t familiar with the area) and that Democrats may be playing a winning game by saying that Pat Toomey is another Tea Party candidate … with the implied message that Toomey = O’Donnell.  It’s possible that this is not the reason that Joe Sestak has been making up substantial ground … Evan, any thoughts?

Marco Rubio leads a three way race in the Florida Senate race.  Former governor Charlie Crist is in the race as an independent.  You’d think Crist would be in a unique position to paint his opponents (Rubio and Democrat Kendrick Meek) as being the anti-Crist  …

Senate Majority leader Harry Reid continues his battle royale with Sharron Angle.  The compact nature of Nevada’s media market make it fairly inexpensive to run ads that reach a high percentage of constituents.  A loss by Reid would force the Democrats to choose a new leader.

In Alaska, incumbent Lisa Murkowski (a Republican) is running as an independent and has been polling roughly even with GOP candidate  Joe Miller (with both candidates comfortable ahead of Democrat Scott McAdams).  With Alaska lagging several hours behind Iowa,  I’ll be going to bed about the time the polls close up north.  At some point in the evening, the number of write-in votes that were cast (i.e. that someone marked the circle for write-in) will be known … but not who they were cast for.  If the write-in totals are high enough to put the winner in doubt, then the write-in votes will be tallied – and wrangled over in court.  The Democrats will probably laugh all the way to the bank, as they see Republicans spend millions of dollars deciding which conservative should represent Alaska.

In South Carolina, Republican Jim DeMint will score a decisive win over Democrate Alvin Greene.  Greene scored a stunning victory in the Democratic primary, despite having done negligible campaigning – leading to some accusations of fraud.  Greene was later indicted on a felony obscenity charge.  The real question to me – why didn’t another Democrat jump into the race and make it a three way contest?  As it stands, Greene is getting roughly 20% support in the polls.

In the governor’s races, Jerry Brown is starting to distance himself from former eBay CEO Meg Whitman, who has spent around $150 million (wow!) of her own money into her campaign.  Whitman’s campaign has been sidetracked by the revelation that she once employed an illegal alien as a made (and the allegations that the Whitman family were aware of this and did nothing). 

In Illinois, my former landlord (Bill Brady) is running a close race with incumbent Pat Quinn, who got his gig when Blago was forced out in the midst of a corruption scandal.  I don’t know Brady personally. but we had (legal) free cable when his management company got the rent checks, and had to pay for cable when another company replaced them.  Sure, it was only $17 (around 2000) and only a couple dozen channels, but nonetheless was a pretty sweet deal.

What do I see happening on the grand scale?  I see the GOP taking back the House and the Democrats probably retaining  slim majority in the Senate – quite possibly 51-49.  I also see the end of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s tenure on the Supreme Court.  Ginsburg doesn’t want to be replaced by a conservative, and will likely retire while Obama is still choosing justices rather than risk dying in office and having President Palin choose her replacement.  What’s one likely characteristic of the Justice that will replace Ginsburg?  Youth.

Speaking of Ginsburg … time for a bit of trivia. Whom did she replace on the Supreme Court?  Byron “Whizzer” White, the former NFL star.  White took the term student-athlete to the highest level – leading the NFL in rushing in 1938 and 1940 being awarded two bronze stars for his service in World War II – and then embarking upon a legal career which took him to the peak of his profession.  You may agree or disagree with his opinions, but it’s hard to argue that he didn’t live an amazing life.  Whizzer died in 2002 at the age of 84.

Is Lisa Murkowski Cheating?

September 30, 2010

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[Editor’s note: You may find more political articles from me as November approaches.  I’m not affiliated with either party.  I lean left on quite a few issues, but am quite conservative on others.  However, the intricacies of the process and the probabilities of certain events intrigue me – and it’s likely that this will serve as the basis for most of my articles.]

Lisa Murkowski, Republican Senator from Alaska, was defeated in the GOP primary by Joe Miller, a candidate backed by Sarah Palin.  Following her defeat, Murkowski announced that she will be mounting a write-in candidate for her senate seat – much to the disappointment of Republican leaders.  Former speaker of the house Newt Gingrich went so far as top say that Murkowski is “fundamentally cheating.”

The reason for the concern is obvious.  Either Miller or Murkowski would be a cinch to beat Democrat Scott McAdams head-to-head.  However, it is possible that Murkowski’s write-in candidacy will pull enough votes away from Miller to allow McAdams to pull off a victory with around 35% of the vote.  That’s a worst case scenario, of course – a Rasmussen poll from September 19 showed McAdams trailing both Miller and Murkowski.  It’s a wild card, though – and a risk the Republicans would prefer to avoid.

But is Murkowski – and other candidates who lose primaries but remain in the race – actually cheating?  By losing the primary, they have certainly given up the right to be listed as the Republican or Democrat on the ballot.  But it’s worth noting that this is all the primaries decide – the person who will be officially endorsed by the party.  They don’t determine a candidate’s overall eligibility for the race.  Murkowski can’t be the endorsed Republican in the race, but she’s certainly entitled to remain in the race in any other fashion – the Republicans have no control over that.  The Republicans and Democrats should not be given special priority on the ballots, and certainly should not be allowed to rule other candidates ineligible.

Of course, the other question is whether or not Murkowski’s run is a good idea.  Probably not.  She may have been better served to wait until 2014 and lock horns with Mark Begich.  You may remember that Begich narrowly defeated the late Senator Ted Stevens at a point when Stevens was neck deep in corruption charges.  Clearly, this helped the Begich campaign, and he might not be able to win against Murkowski.  A Murkowski win against Begich would result in both of Alaska’s senators being Republicans – something that would likely curry favor with Republicans.  Her current write-in campaign has only served to anger them.  Murkowski was currently removed as the ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee as retribution for her campaign.

Across the country, in the state of Delaware, there is a situation that is very similar, yet very different.  Mike Castle, backed by the GOP establishment, was upset by Tea Party favorite Christine O’Donnell in the primary.  The only person happier than O’Donnell was her Democratic challenger, Chris Coons.  Coons was trailing Castle badly in the polls – but leading O’Donnell by a wide margin.  Overnight, this race turned from an almost certain Republican win to an almost certain Democratic win.

What could save the bacon for the Republicans?  Well, if Mike Castle were to run as a write-in candidate, he might be able to eke out a win and put the seat into GOP hands.  He’s mulling the possibility and has until the end of today to decide.  The wrinkle in this is that it’s going to be awfully hard to portray Castle as playing within the rules while at the same time painting Murkowski as a cheater.