Skip to comments.Democrat Down Cycle (On the defensive in key Senate races/Lieberman looks good/Mineta's successor)
Posted on 06/25/2006 9:13:37 PM PDT by nickcarraway
Democrat National Committee chairman Howard Dean is seeing polling numbers that are making him a nervous man. Recent internal polling data for Senate races from Washington state, Minnesota, Michigan, Missouri, and Maryland -- with the exception of Missouri, which is a GOP defense -- shows Democrat support cratering if not crumbling around the edges.
Missouri's seat -- held by Sen. Jim Talent-- "was one we'd targeted as winnable, along with Pennsylvania, and all of those other seats weren't ones we were overly concerned about, even Maryland, where we think we have two strong candidates on our side," says a DNC staffer. "But now we're seeing bad signs inside our polling data and folks here aren't happy."
Why should they be? In Maryland, where Rep. Ben Cardin is leading in fundraising, former Rep. Kweisi Mfume is actually ahead of Cardin in name recognition and support in some Democrat polls. Republican Lieutenant Gov. Michael Steele is currently garnering greater support among African-Americans than any other Republican in recent state history.
In Michigan, where there is a contested Republican primary to face off against Sen. Debbie Stabenow, Democrats across the state are seeing support collapsing, and Stabenow is now considered in danger by her own party. In Minnesota Rep. Mark Kennedy (R) is polling ahead of expectations, and in Washington state, Democrat Sen. Maria Cantwell is now the No. 1 Republican target in the 2006 cycle as her polling numbers slide.
"The problem is this: we've committed huge amounts of resources on the state level in anticipation of that investment paying off in getting out the vote," says another DNC staffer. "Dean has taken heat for spending so much money. Right now, that investment isn't looking very good and no matter what anyone says, we're nervous. Things were never as good as people were saying they were, and now the numbers are confirming that."
Dean especially has been taking heat from Sen. Chuck Schumer, head of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, and from minority leaders Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi about the amount of upfront spending the DNC has been making. They had been pressing for the DNC to invest funds into the House and Senate campaign committees so that the funds could be used for important races.
"We had targeted Pennsylvania and Maryland as high cost races," says an outside Democrat political consultant. "After that, you're looking at Missouri and Minnesota as races we really wanted to win. Now, we're looking at spending a lot more in Maryland and Minnesota, and a lot more than we probably budgeted in Washington and Michigan. That means less for other states. The upshot is if the numbers hold or continue to get worse, we aren't winning the Senate."
LIEBERMAN'S OPPORTUNITY All of that bad Democrat news makes the ongoing saga between Connecticut Democrat, Sen. Joe Lieberman, and his party all the more interesting. At a time when his party can ill afford to alienate centrist constituencies across the country, it is doing just that with Lieberman, and some senior Republicans are wondering whether they shouldn't get into the fight to help Lieberman despite the fact that a weakened Lieberman could mean a win for their expected nominee in the state, Alan Schlesinger.
"Lieberman has been a more loyal American and a real leader for our nation than some of the men we have on our side of the aisle in the Senate," says a Republican fundraiser. "I don't want to see Lieberman lose to a leftist nut like Ned Lamont."
Lamont is a communications executive who is challenging Lieberman in the Democratic primary. Lamont has run almost exclusively as an anti-war, MoveOn.org candidate. Recently, Lieberman's former running mate, Al Gore, refused to support Lieberman, and just yesterday, Sen.Russ Feingold refused to support his colleague.
There have been rumors that Lieberman, were he to lose the Democratic primary, would run as an independent. To that end, some members of his campaign have been quietly preparing petitions to collect the necessary 7,500 signatures that are required for submission the day after the August 8th primary.
An independent Lieberman scares Democrats, if only because they fear he will increasingly side with Republicans in a newly aligned Senate. "I don't know why they are treating him so badly at a time when they should be trying to embrace him a bit more, if only for his vote," says a Republican. "You sense that guys like Feingold are talking to the wrong people, the nutty left. Feingold listens to them, does what they tell him, and then when it comes time to actually do something, they don't have the power or the votes to really help. Lieberman isn't a marginal guy. Feingold is. The environment right now is just crazy."
WON'T FLY Some Bush administration and senior Senate staffers are warning the White House away from one of the potential replacements for departing Transportation Secretary Norm Mineta: Federal Aviation Administration head Marion Blakey. Blakey, who previously served as chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, is considered a strong candidate.
But the FAA is mired in trouble right now, with failing infrastructure and poor career management, political infighting, and trouble with outside contractors who have failed to resolve technology problems the FAA was aware of but chose not to pursue.
"Now just isn't her time," says a Senate staffer. "We've suggested to the White House that they look in another direction."
Just proof that these polls were cooked up by the dems to try to put a happy face on an imploding party. Don't know where this will wind up, but it looks like at the very least the pubs will hold their margin and at best will pick up 2-3 seats. Santorum is definitely in trouble, but Talent is a victim of fraudulent polls.
I suggest Tommy Thompson to replace Mineta.
I still say Kean Jr can win in NJ.
The GOP is blessed to have such opponents, but unfortunately it comes at a price for our country in general.
That makes no sense to me. Democrats when they think they are a big winner already don't turn out all that well. Republicans when they think they are in trouble unite behind their candidates and do all they can to get out the vote.
What the media does, to use a football analogy, is cause the Democrats to think they are ahead when they are behind. Thinking they are ahead they go into a prevent defense when they are really behind on the scoreboard.
It just makes no sense.
This is a sign of a party that's falling apart. Can you imagine Bush refusing to support Cheney in a senate race?
Dean has lasted a lot longer as DNC head than most of us thought he would. That shows how out of touch they are, keeping a volatile lunatic in that position. I thought Terry McA was bad, but Dean alienates even more potential supporters.
Dean is the perfect cult leader. I think the DNC understands that but are powerless to stop him until he causes a massive crash and burn in November.
I dunno, Tf. Mcawful was a total serial loser and crook, but never felt any rebuke................FRegards
Not this time. The lunatic left is responsible for Dean being where he is. Dean was ready to take his cult and form a 3rd party so the DNC swallowed hard and gave him the job. No the DNC establishment have hated him from day one.
I saw a part of a debate between him and Menendez on C-SPAN today. He came across as more conservative than I had originally thought. C-SPAN keeps incorrectly identifying him as a Democrat candidate on the screen.
Liberal elitism rules the day in the MSM.
Watching it fall apart bit by bit is fascinating.
I'm thinking that the very last thing Lieberman wants during a Democrat primary is Republican support.
I'm very pleased with the work Jim Talent is doing and will do all I can to see him re-elected.
It reminds me of the way they act before the Presidential debates. Saying things like, "Gore is going to destroy Bush." and "Kerry is much smarter than Bush and is going to wipe up the floor with hime."
The better thing for them to do would be to set up expectations exactly the opposite of that, but their smug arrogance just won't let them.
Yep, if you don't run like you are 20 points down you will lose by 20 points down.
As we saw with the "Debates" after Kerry was the clear candidate, it's simply done to keep up the ratings....
If the Media reports that the Dems are crumbling, and have no chance at winning, how can they generate those much-needed ratings??
Just as in 2004, they NEED close races and biased polling to keep folks interested in thier coverage..
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