Saturday, November 01, 2008

Blue America-- Closin' Out The Cycle


Jim Himes (D-CT), ahead by 0.7%, is in Blue America's closest race

Everyone I know who knows him tells me Washington Post commentator Chris Cillizza is a swell guy. I believe it. But it doesn't make him any more perceptive in a job that calls on basically one thing: perceptivity. Yesterday he posted his list of the 50 districts most likely to change hands on Tuesday. And in a year when Democrats are likely to sweep the (substantially expanded) playing ground, Cillizza's pick of #1 district to change hands-- so the whole reportage looks more Inside-the-Beltway Balanced-- is one held by nominal Democrat Tim Mahoney (FL-16).

First of all, good riddance to Tim Mahoney. I wish he could take his liege lord, Rahm Emanuel with him into obscurity but it's far more likely that he'll go back to being an open Republican like he was his whole life until 2006. And, yes, he will lose his battle for re-election.

Looking over Cillizza's list though-- and I'm not denying that he's a swell guy-- makes me think of another swell guy, the top music critic for the biggest newspaper in the city I once lived in. I was running a small, indie record label at the time and the critic came late to a concert that one of the bands on my label was opening. He asked me how they did and I told him they were effin' stupendous. In the next morning's review he said they were "effin' stupendous." I may be misremembering the exact words but I'd bet anyone that list was put together by Cillizza with the... um... help, of the DCCC, the NRCC and the lame rear view mirror Beltway prognosticators who always come late to the party and who influence, and are influenced by, the other two. Many of his individual analyses are spot on-- although the DCCC tried selling me the exact same self-serving one for Carol Shea-Porter that he uses-- his rankings, though, look more like a balancing act with an eye on his sources' sensibilities than on an honest, or accurate assessment of the races.

That said, let's take a look at one of the races his sources have persuaded him to move up the list dramatically: Larry Kissell (NC-08), who goes from #34 to #25. "In 2006," he writes, "Rep. Robin Hayes (R) beat unknown Democrat Larry Kissell by 329 votes. Two years later Kissell is back and far better organized and funded. And, in a district where one in every four voters is black, Barack Obama's presence at the top of the ticket should help Kissell. A bellwether race to keep an eye on."

At Blue America we decided keeping an eye on it didn't suit our purposes. As I mentioned on Thursday at a story on how the Inside the Beltway Democratic Establishment is cynically using the "free trade" issue to win votes while already plotting to betray the voters they are wooing, Larry Kissell is not a man that will ever be brow-beaten by some corrupt corporate shill like Rahm Emanuel into selling out his constituents' interests. For North Carolina voters, dramatically hurt by the job-killing trade policies of Bush and Emanuel, "fair trade" is a do-or-die issue.

Blue America decided to run a few thousand TV ads in North Carolina that addresses the issue head on. Take a look at the ad which, I'm told, has been hard to avoid for anyone in the district who watches cable TV:

While Jacquie was busily buying up every single available spot that Elizabeth Dole hadn't already grabbed for her ad accusing Kay Hagan of being "godless," she came up with another idea. "Why not run the ad on broadcast TV?" she suggested. She managed to get us a great deal for a few Sunday NASCAR and college football spots on ABC-TV. I hear a lot of people in NC-08 watch those programs.

Blue America also bought TV spots-- different ads-- to remind people what awful representatives Dave Reichert, Mean Jean Schmidt, Dana Rohrabacher, David Dreier, Charlie Dent, Joe Knollenberg and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen have been. We were depressed when we looked at the pricing of ads for NJ-05, where Dennis Shulman is in a close battle with one of the most heinous members of Congress, Scott Garrett. Look at the confirmation we got in the mail for a few of the spots we ran in Mean Jean Schmidt's district just east of Cincinnati:

A 30 second spot on CNN costs $20 between 7pm and midnight and between 9am and 4pm, it's $13. NJ-05 is in the most expensive media market in the country. A single 30 second spot for Dennis on CNN between 6pm and midnight costs $2,167 (and between 10AM and 6pm, $1,084).

Yesterday Chris Van Hollen, chair of the DCCC was campaigning in New Jersey with Dennis and was awestruck by the palpable enthusiasm for our candidate there on the grassroots level. He pledged $83,000 in radio ads on the spot. That's the maximum amount the DCCC can coordinate through a state party. It still doesn't come close to those million and a half dollar TV buys the DCCC is doing for the anti-choice reactionaries they seem so comfy with in the old slave holding states, but it's so cool that they give a little somethin' to the progressives too.

Saturday morning, the Blue America races that have public polls show a mixed bag for our candidates:

CA-04: Charlie Brown- 43.5 vs McClintock- 44.9
CA-26: Russ Warner- 37.0 vs Dreier- 49.0
CT-04: Jim Himes- 43.6 vs Shays- 42.9
FL-08: Alan Grayson- 47.6 vs Keller- 40.4
FL-18: Annette Taddeo- 35.8 vs Ros-Lehtinen- 49.1
FL-25: Joe Garcia- 42.4 vs Diaz-Balart- 46.1
MI-07: Mark Schauer- 44.6 vs Tim Walberg- 35.1
MI-09: Gary Peters- 42.8 vs Knollenberg- 39.0
NH-01: Carol Shea-Porter- 48.0 vs Bradley- 40.4
NJ-05: Dennis Shulman- 37.0 vs Garrett- 48.0
NM-01: Martin Heinrich- 47.5 vs White- 42.9
NY-25: Dan Maffei- 43.5 vs Sweetland 28.5
NY-29: Eric Massa- 49.3 vs Kuhl- 42.9
NC-08: Larry Kissell- 52.0 vs Hayes- 45.2
OH-02: Vic Wulsin- 38.5 vs Mean Jean- 43.6
TX-10: Larry Joe Doherty- 40.2 vs McCaul- 44.5
VA-05: Tom Perriello- 40.5 vs Goode- 52.6
WA-08: Darcy Burner- 50.4 vs Reichert- 46.1

We'll be hosting a last minute chat at Firedoglake with one of Blue America's favorite all-time candidates, Vic Wulsin (D-OH) at noon (PT).

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At 10:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good work!!! Very nice.


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