NE-Sen: 164 questions for Mike Johanns

When we got word that the format of Scott Kleeb's debate against Mike Johanns in Grand Island, Nebraska last Thursday night allowed Scott to ask Mike a direct question, there was no question what our campaign would do.

We turned that debate question over to Scott's Nebraskan supporters.

Our campaign sent out an email across Nebraska and in response Scott received 164 questions to ask Mike Johanns at the debate. Now, while these questions speak a great deal about how Nebraskans feel about Mike Johanns, we think they speak even more powerfully about the concerns Nebraska's voters have about the future of our nation.

Tonight, I'd like to invite you to take a look at what amounts to a snapshot of Nebraska and the issues facing our nation in 2008...

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A look at the 2008 Senate races, mid-October edition

Bumped - Todd

With the election less than 3 weeks away from us, it's time for another look at all the 2008 Senate races.  There are 35 seats up for election because of a scenario in Wyoming and Mississippi where both seats are up, due to the passing of Craig Thomas and the resignation of Trent Lott, respectively.  Obviously, quite a few of the races are considered "safe" for the incumbent.  So what are the competitive races?

Again, just to be clear, I don't do predictions.  Every time I do, horrible things happen.  So I won't even make an actual prediction on the Virginia Senate race, because doing so would effectively jinx Mark Warner.  So, I'll rank these in terms of tiers.  The top tier will be the races where the party holding the seat has a legitimate chance of switching (but I ain't guaranteeing anything).  The second tier are races that could become top tier races, but are not at this point.  Tier III are ones where a major event would need to happen for the seat to come into play.  And the safe seats?  Well, Mike Gravel has a better shot at winning the presidency than those incumbents have of losing their races.

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NE-Sen: Omaha, Obama, Believe

The fact that Obama is actively competing for the 2nd district of Nebraska is HUGE for Scott. This is a perfect example of the power of coattails. Let's help make sure the road to 60 runs through Nebraska by throwing Scott some love HERE - Todd

Tonight the Obama for America campaign opened an office in North Omaha, bringing their total offices in NE-02 to two.

Believe.

North Omaha Obama Rally

Scott Kleeb, who early voted today, was in attendance, you can see the photos below...

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Red State Democrats Rising

As Barack Obama has risen in the polls nationally and in much of the state polling, we're seeing some pretty dramatic movement among downticket Democrats as well, particularly Senate candidates in red states.

GA-SEN Today kos alerts us to the remarkable fact that a new Research 2000 poll he commissioned confirms what Survey USA found last week: the Georgia Senate race between Democrat Jim Martin and Republican Saxby Chambliss is currently all tied up.

Research 2000 for Daily Kos. 9/29-10/1. Likely voters. MoE +/- 4%

Chambliss (R) 45
Martin (D) 44

Being that this is the third poll in a row to show this race within 3 points or less (within the MOE,) I agree with Kos, this is now a top tier race.

TX-SEN Another red state Democrat showing impressive gains is Road to 60 candidate Rick Noriega running against John "Big John" Cornyn of Texas. I've been waiting for this race to tighten and it looks as though it finally is (August numbers in parentheses.)

Rasmussen Reports, September 29, 500 LVs, 2008, MOE +/- 4.5%

Cornyn (R) 50 (48)
Noriega (D) 43 (37)

Rasmussen's pretty much the only pollster in polling this race, so I'd like to see other polls confirm this trend. I'd also like to see Cornyn drop, not rise, especially his favorability rating, which is currently at 57/30. His cheesy black and white ads can't really be helping him, can they? Whatever it is that's driving this race, it's apparent that at the very least Noriega is rising at a faster rate than Cornyn and it could just be a matter of whether Noriega has enough time to get his message out.

NE-SEN Last but not least, it's great to see some movement in Nebraska. The Scott Kleeb campaign has always said to be patient, as Scott works to get his name ID up, his numbers would rise. Interestingly, the place he's always done the worst simply because they don't know him is Omaha -- ya know, where the Democrats are. Now, we're finally seeing that movement.

Rasmussen Reports, September 30, 2008, 500 LVs MOE +/- 4.5%

Johanns 52 (56)
Kleeb 38 (31)

While 14 points is still a large hurdle to overcome, a 25 point lead dropped down to 14 points is a summer well-spent. And now the great news that Obama is actively competing for Nebraska's second congressional district can only help Scott. Expect this race to get tighter still as Omaha's voters learn they have a progressive Democrat to vote for down ballot as they vote for Obama at the top.

Among these three races we have what potentially could be our 61st, 62nd and 63rd seats in the Senate. Could it be that in shooting for 60 we were being conservative?

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Saturday Evening Senate Thread

Charlie Cook, typically overly-cautious with his election predictions, finally concedes what we've known for a while:

It seems farfetched that Republicans would lose Stevens, Sununu, Dole, Coleman, Smith, and Wicker, in addition to relinquishing the even more endangered open seats in Virginia, New Mexico, and Colorado, but a net loss of nine seats...is no longer implausible. In 2006, the odds against a six-seat Republican loss were equally strong, but it happened.

History shows, moreover, that close Senate races tend to break in the same direction, as they did two years ago.

The bottom line is that things have gotten worse for Senate Republicans over the past few weeks, so much worse that a magnitude of losses that seemed impossible just a few months ago now seems entirely possible.

We're coming up on the end of the fundraising quarter, all the more important to contribute to our Road To 60 ActBlue page. Help us get to 120 contributors and $10,000 raised by Tuesday at midnight.

In the meantime, here's some Senate race news to chew on:

  • Does the Road to 60 run through Kentucky? It's starting to look like it might. Last week, Survey USA released a poll showing Democrat Bruce Lunsford gaining 15 points in 6 weeks to come within 3 points of Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Clearly an outlier, right? Wrong.

    U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Democratic challenger Bruce Lunsford are knotted in a statistical tie for McConnell's seat, according to the latest Courier-Journal Bluegrass Poll.

    The poll found that each candidate would get the support of 41 percent of likely voters if the election were held today. But McConnell nudged ahead 45-44 when undecided respondents who were leaning toward a candidate were included into the poll results.

    BruinKid listed this as the 10th most likely Republican seat to topple in his latest Senate rankings. Looks like Lunsford's in for an upgrade.

    Give to the Bruce Lunsford campaign HERE.

  • Thanks to some strong recent polling for Democratic challenger and Road To 60 candidate Kay Hagan, both Charlie Cook and Stu Rothenberg have moved the NC Senate race from Leans Republican to Toss-up. Hell, even Pollster's trend estimate for the race currently has Hagan up by 2%. Sen. Elizabeth Dole is in trouble and she knows it. In 2006 Dole spent 13 days in North Carolina; in 2007, that was up to 50; this year: 97.

    Give to the Kay Hagan campaign HERE.

  • Classic. Oregon Democratic Senate challenger Jeff Merkley came out boldly against the $700 billion bailout plan and is actually running against Sen. Gordon Smith on it. So Smith finally decides to engage, with what The AP calls a "hastily called news conference Friday night."

    By running the ad -- and attacking Smith on the campaign trail -- Merkley "is putting his personal and partisan interest above that of scores of thousands of Oregonians" and other Americans, Smith said...

    "Part of being a U.S. senator is actually understanding and reading bills of this magnitude, and not prejudging when the stakes are this high," said Smith, a two-term Republican who is locked in a tight battle for re-election with Merkley, the Oregon House speaker.

    Merkley "is not showing leadership. He is showing partisan opportunism. This is a profile in cowardice," Smith said.

    Wow, can you say pot calling the kettle black? Man, Merkley is the one driving this debate and he is the one showing leadership. And all Smith can do is whine about it.

    More of this please. Give to the Jeff Merkley campaign HERE.

  • Congratulations to Rick Noriega, who won Blue America's Senate challenger contest with 917 votes and almost $20,000 raised. Here's Rick with a strong message for incumbent John Cornyn on the economy and the bailout (h/t Burnt Orange Report):

    You can give to the Rick Noriega campaign HERE.

Only 8 more donors at our Road To 60 ActBlue page to get us to 120 total contributors and just $103 more in donations will get us to a total of $10,000 raised. Please help us pass these benchmarks by Tuesday at midnight to help our great Senate challengers win Barack Obama 60 seats in the Senate for an actual working Democratic majority. Imagine that!

[editor's note, by Todd Beeton]Slightly revised to reflect updated fundraising numbers.

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