Skip to comments.Democrats Fear Blowout Effect in Battlegrounds
Posted on 09/23/2010 5:58:08 AM PDT by randita
CQ POLITICS NEWS
Sept. 22, 2010 11:33 p.m.
Democrats Fear Blowout Effect in Battlegrounds
By Kyle Trygstad and Steve Peoples, CQ-Roll Call
With polls showing Republicans well-positioned to win the Senate and gubernatorial contests in both Ohio and Pennsylvania, House Democratic strategists are increasingly worried about the downballot drag the top of the ticket could have in the two battleground states.
Quinnipiac University released polling over the past week that found Republicans ahead by double digits in the gubernatorial races in both states and in the Ohio Senate contest. In the Pennsylvania Senate race, former Rep. Pat Toomey (R) led Rep. Joe Sestak (D) by 7 points in a poll released Wednesday.
Democrats are worried that the enthusiasm gap among voters in the two states could be exacerbated if it appears by Election Day that Republicans are headed for blowout victories in the marquee races.
Theres no question its a problem. When the top of the ticket is hurting, it absolutely makes it more difficult for a Democrat in a swing district to win, said a Democratic strategist who has worked in both states. Voters will be looking at the gubernatorial race and going, If [Ohio Gov. Ted] Strickland is down 10 points, why the heck am I going to go out and vote?
As the party campaign committees decide where to spend and move their money over the next six weeks, their competing interests at different levels House, Senate, governor are likely to be highlighted. Spending at one level could have a big effect on candidates at another.
Between the two states, there are about 12 Democratic-held House seats that are considered highly competitive.
I think Pennsylvania and Ohio are probably the most brutal states for Democrats this year because they have so much to lose, said Tom Jensen, director of the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling. Republicans may win as many as half the seats they need to pick up the majority in Big Ten states.
In Pennsylvania, Sestak has trailed Toomey in every public poll since mid-July, although Democratic strategists still say the race will tighten as the election nears.
In the gubernatorial race, Attorney General Tom Corbett (R) has led Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato (D) in every poll, usually by double digits.
At least six Democratic incumbents in the Keystone State face tough re-election races, with Reps. Kathy Dahlkemper and Paul E. Kanjorski viewed as most vulnerable. Reps. Christopher Carney , Mark Critz , Patrick J. Murphy and Jason Altmire are in races that both parties are watching to see how they develop.
In Ohio, Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher has trailed former Rep. Rob Portman (R) in the Senate race in every poll since July and by double digits in three of the last six polls. Its nearly the same scenario for Strickland, who is running behind former Rep. John Kasich (R).
In races further down the ballot, freshman Democratic Reps. Mary Jo Kilroy and Steve Driehaus are likely to lose regardless of what happens at the top of the ticket, but Democrats such as Reps. Zack Space and Betty Sutton who are in competitive races but are viewed as having an edge could be swept under by the drag at the top of the ticket.
If Ted Strickland and Lee Fisher lose badly, it will be difficult for Democratic Congressional candidates in closely contested districts to prevail in the state, said Peter Brown, associate polling director at Quinnipiac University. If the Republicans sweep the major statewide offices in Ohio this November, that will obviously deprive them of a governor whose influence can help President Obama carry the key state in 2012.
Both parties are keenly aware of the implications that statewide drubbings will have for Democrats next cycle, when President Barack Obama and first-term Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Bob Casey (D-Pa.) all face re-election. The states are regular battlegrounds on the presidential trail, and Obamas approval rating in both states is 40 percent or lower, according to Quinnipiac.
States that have moved dramatically for the president are now moving dramatically against him, said Republican pollster Gene Ulm, a partner with Public Opinion Strategies, citing much of the industrial Midwest, including Pennsylvania.
The presidents travel schedule illustrates the importance the two states hold. According to the Ohio Democratic Party, Obama has made 10 trips to the state since his inauguration and has at least one more scheduled, for Oct. 17. Obama made his seventh trip to Pennsylvania on Monday, according to Mark Knoller of CBS News, who tracks the presidents travel.
Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. was in Ohio as recently as Monday, when he made fundraising stops in Dayton and Akron on behalf of Strickland. President Bill Clinton made two visits to Ohio this month, one for Fisher and the other Strickland.
The Ohio Democratic Party has been as proactive as any state party in readying its strategy for the difficult cycle and remains confident despite the difficult national climate.
National committee support has been and will continue to be incredibly strong for Ohio through Election Day, said Doug Kelly, executive director of the Ohio Democratic Party. Gov. Strickland is just 3 points down, were pounding our opponents with ads and on-the-ground organizing, and the Ohio Democratic Party is running the largest coordinated campaign in midterm history.
While candidates spend their own money on ads, the state party tasked itself with building a national fundraising network, as well as an extensive mobilization and get-out-the-vote effort with a sizable field staff numbering in the triple digits.
Along with receiving help from the national committees, labor plays big in Ohio and Pennsylvania. The Ohio Democratic Party has raised millions of dollars from labor groups, and the state has 2.1 million labor households.
Labor support will also come in handy if, by chance, one of the national party committees decides to pull out.
As a clue about how the various campaign committees view both states, the Democratic Governors Association has so far invested $2.8 million in Ohio, and, according to a source in the state, has promised to spend as much as it takes to get Strickland re-elected. The DGA has also given $1 million to Onorato in Pennsylvania.
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has so far stayed out of Ohio, but it launched its first independent expenditure effort of the cycle in Pennsylvania. The committee began airing its third television ad in the state last week, a nearly $500,000 buy that brought the committees total spending there so far to $2.5 million. The DSCC also upped its total commitment for Pennsylvania last week from $5.7 million to $6.2 million.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee made initial TV time reservations in five Ohio districts and six Pennsylvania districts. The Hotline reported Monday that the DCCC shifted its reservation time in Kilroys Columbus-based district, pushing it back to the last two weeks before the election.
The Democratic National Committee and Organizing for America are also major players, especially in funding, staffing and organizing coordinated campaigns in the states.
If anything, Democrats in Ohio and Pennsylvania expect the committees to increase their spending, not cancel it. But if it does happen, one Republican source with knowledge of the area says, it could have a trickle-down effect in favor of GOP House candidates.
If Democrats at the top of the ticket arent performing well and the committees pull out, advertising costs and available slots could be affected, and that could boost underfunded Republican challengers, the GOP source said.
Those are the kinds of things that can make up small margins of votes and put a few extra seats in play that werent really in play, the source said.
Ulm said there will be no magic bullet for Democrats as they balance priorities among their campaign committees.
They are going to have to practice triage. They are going to have to do what Republicans had to do in 2006, he said. Its about saving the savable and writing off those that arent savable.
Key House Races - Supporting Conservative U.S. House Candidates in 2010
Rats getting nervous.....not so sure ramming this crap down our throats was such a good idea now.....idiots!!!
If the (R) win everything in as bi a blowout as is expected (hoped), that will leave the (D) Party with only a core minority of their most extreme Left Wing zealots. Imagine a whole (D) party leadership of Kuciniches and Waters.....................
Don’t let your foot off their neck, they would do the same.
Why the fear? Only delusional Dems would have thought they could get away with what they have done.
Anybody been over to Democratic Underground lately? How’s the mood over there?
What the rank and file needs after this election is their own “tea party” candidates for union offices. Many are voting against the their own leaders and their hard earned union dues given to political candidates and positions they don’t personally support.
What is great the Dems have to defend so many normally safe seats. They will have less time and money to spend on the others.
This guy is delusional! I haven't scene even one poll that shows Strickland this close. Most polls show him 9 - 16 points down. Regardless, Ohio will be almost a clean sweep for the GOP. The Democrats have a scandal in Cleveland that has dirtied most of the Ohio Democrat Party including Strickland.
They are all Socialists!
Unfortunately, our lame duck Governor is practicing a scorched earth policy that will leave us in extremely bad shape when the good guys take over. He's also seeding the state with extremely left-wing appointments (judgeships, etc.). We will definitely have our work cut out for us.
Vote! Don’t let up. Multiple stakes must be driven through the hearts of these socialist moonbat monsters. They are bleeding our country. More stakes! More stakes!
Funny, they should have thought of that before they voted for 0bamao's healthscare.
I agree. They created this mess for themselves. Surprising to me that they still don’t see why people are sick of them.
With redistricting approaching, the worst fears of the Democrat Party are about to be realized.
We’re going to get a more or less republican governor in Michigan this year and pick up at least two GOP house seats and possibly as many as 4.
Don’t forget to fund the conservative candidates in supposedly ‘safe’ dem districts, this election cycle is unlike any we’ve seen before.
The TN State GOP smells something in the water, they are sending former Gov Winfield Dunn to campaign for Charlotte. Her HQ’s grand opening was Tues. and spokesmen for Rep Marsha Blackburn, State GOP, and Bill Halsam (TN GOP governor’s candidate) was there. We were elbow to elbow as the room was full.
GOP, Memphis Tea Party backed candidate she won 61% of the primary vote over 2 male candidates.
Charlotte Bergmann http://www.charlottebergmann.com/
Radio ad spot
The Forgotten 9th District Candidate (GOP)(Memphis, TN)
I vote like a black woman, he said in an interview. I dont know the black experience, but I know about being a minority and being discriminated against because of religion.
Cohen also compares 0 to Jesus, Palin to Pontius Pilate
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