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  Politics and Elections - March, 2006
Friday, March 31, 2006
Polling news
Here's the latest on some of the hotly contested races.

  • Illinois Governor:  Topinka statistically tied with Blagojevich
        Poll shows Topinka leading 43% to 41%.  Febrary poll showed Blagojevich leading 42% to 36%.

  • New Jersey Senator:  Menendez and Kean are neck and neck
        Polls disagree on who is leading, but consensus is that this race is very close.  With a large number of undecideds, however, the edge still goes to the quasi-incumbent in this heavily Democratic state.

  • Pennsylvania Governor:  Swann leads Rendell by 6 points
        Rendell is in trouble, but again almost a third of voters are undecided - an advantage for the Demcratic incumbent in blue PA.  However, if these numbers stay in Swann's favor, I may have to change my call on this one.

  • New York Senate:  McFarland leads Spencer for GOP nod
        Looks like McFarland has a strong lead in the quest to be creamed by Hillary Clinton.  File this poll in your totally useless information bin.

  • Florida Governor:  Leaders emerge in party races
        Republican Crist and Democrat Davis lead their respective party races.  Both Crist and Gallagher lead Davis, but less than half have even heard of the Democrat.

    Update: 

  • Washington Senate:  Maria Cantwell comfortable in GOP poll
        Incumbent has a 10-point lead over Mike McGavick in latest Strategic Vision poll.  Even though her approval rating is below 50% (49%), her disapproval rating is very low - only 32%.

    posted by Scott Elliott at 11:55am 03/01/06 ::

  • Thursday, March 30, 2006
    Surprise, surprise:  Ahnold is polling well
    A new poll is out in California which seems to indicate news of the Governator's demise may have been premature.  He currently leads both possible Democratic challengers by substantial margins.  So this race should be a weak GOP hold now, right?  Well, not so fast.  A full 30% of voters remain undecided, and only 37% of Californians approve of the job he's doing.

    On the other hand, when the pool of respondents is pared down to likely voters alone, that approval number nears 50%.  Furthermore, a full 71% say they like Schwarzenegger personally, including an impressive majority (57%) of Democrats.  Things are definitely looking up for Ahnold right now.  I'm not willing to pull the trigger and change this race's rating just yet, but I am fighting the urge.  Stay tuned...

    posted by Scott Elliott at 12:30pm 03/30/06 ::
    Wednesday, March 29, 2006
    When is breaking a law not against the law?
    When it applies to illegal immigration.  This won't really happen, will it?  Help make it stop; call your senators.

    If that riduculous idea becomes law, we will be able to say for sure, at least in this case, that crime really does pay.

    posted by Scott Elliott at 11:25am 03/29/06 ::
    Tuesday, March 28, 2006
    FEC won't regulate internet politics
    This is significant news for The Blogging Caesar and all political bloggers of all political stripes.  Looks like they won't be carrying me off in handcuffs - at least not for now.

    posted by Scott Elliott at 11:55am 03/28/06 ::
    War, money, and politics
    The Futurist is a new blog that shows some real promise.  Kartik Gada, the editor over there, has written a two-part piece exploring the correlation between the prosperity and form of government of a country and likelihood that that country will be involved in a war.  It is a very interesting read and demonstrates the impact for peace that developing capitalistic democracies can have.

    Here's part one.
    Here's part two.

    Welcome to my blogroll Kartik.

    posted by Scott Elliott at 11:40am 03/28/06 ::
    WI:  Field clears for Green
    Rep Mark Green appears headed for the GOP nomination for governor in Wisconsin after the withdrawal of Scott Walker, his only legitimate competitor in the primary race.

    posted by Scott Elliott at 10:55am 03/28/06 ::
    Sunday, March 26, 2006
    Call to prayer on the Lord's day
    Afghan Christian prisoner Abdul Rahman is now looking at the possibility of freedom.  During this time when persecution of our Christian brethren is front and center in the eyes of the world, I want to call Christians here in America to unite in prayer that God would be glorified.  Let us pray for the release of this man, yes, but more importantly, let us pray that through this episode God would be given the maximum glory and His kingdom would receive the maximum benefit.

    Verseoftheday.com, a daily devotional website Mrs. Blogging Caesar visits every day, had a most appropriate scripture reference today in view of Abdul Rahman's current predicament.  It comes from Philippians 1:29:
    For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him.
    Phil Ware, the site's editor, adds these thoughts...
    When we read the book of Acts, we find the disciples overjoyed at suffering "for the sake of the name."  Since Jesus has already victoriously passed through that kind of ordeal, we should consider it a privilege [] to share in his sufferings, not just a hardship.  The truth of our commitment is often best shown to the skeptical when we are "under fire."  So let's keep our character when under attack and rejoice, because we've seen in Jesus what happens when God's children are faithful even at the cost of their lives.
    So as we pray for Abdul and the rest of the body of believers in Afghanistan, may our prayers be that God will enable him to keep the faith until the end, even if that end (on earth) is premature.  We know that God is glorified the by good works of His saints in this life, for Jesus commands us in the gospel of Matthew to...
    Let [our] light shine before men in such a way that they may see [our] good works, and glorify [our] Father who is in heaven.
    Sometimes, though, beyond our good works, God requires of us our very earthly lives.  So, if the Lord sees fit to allow Abdul to die for Him in the presence of his captors, we can rest in the assurance that God is also glorified in the deaths of His saints.

    posted by Scott Elliott at 9:45pm 03/26/06 ::
    Saturday, March 25, 2006
    Calling all (conservative) bloggers
    I know how much I enjoy having other blogs link to one of my posts.  And I like to link to posts from other bloggers as well.  However, trying to track all these races makes it hard for me to search through all the great blogs out there for good material to link - not to mention everything else life has me doing.  So, in order to enable me to post links to more good stuff, I'm calling on my fellow bloggers to help me out.  If you're a blogger and you're particularly happy with something you've posted, send me an email.  I will check out any tips I get and link to the ones I really like.  The more publicity bloggers get - especially the good ones - the better.

    posted by Scott Elliott at 11:50pm 03/25/06 ::
    Thursday, March 23, 2006
    RATING CHANGE ALERT:  Drum roll please...
    We had a little fun in the comment thread here today.  Last night, I told my readers that a rating change was in the works for one the 2006 races I'm tracking.  I asked my readers to predict which race would be affected.  Some guessed the Montana or Missouri Senate race would flip to blue.  Others - those who don't know The Blogging Caesar very well - suggested that it had to be a pro-GOP switch since I was making a big deal about it.  They added the PA governor's race to the mix.

    Well, it is time to reveal which race has jumped to the other side of the aisle.  Is that drum rolling?  With the absolute worst approval rating in the Senate and a very damaging scandal hanging like a millstone from his neck, Conrad Burns is on political life-support.  He is trailing multiple Democratic candidates in the polls and is facing a battle in the GOP primary.  At this point, I'm rooting for State Senate Minority Leader Bob Keenan to take Burns out in the primary to preserve a fighting chance for the GOP to hold onto this seat.  Since I don't see that happening right now, this race has to be considered a weak DEM gain.  So there you have it, folks.  The Senate projection now stands at 53R, 46D, 1I.  Let the reactions begin...

    posted by Scott Elliott at 11:00pm 03/23/06 ::
    Wednesday, March 22, 2006
    The John William Pope Civitas Institute
    I'm super excited about this development.  The Civitas Institute, a North Carolina-based conservative think tank, is conducting a two-day conference on April 7-8.  Called the "North Carolina Conservative Leadership Conference 2006," this seminar will bring together several prominent conservatives for a number of issues forums and speeches addressing many of the hot button concerns of our time.

    As part of their focus on getting the word out about the conservative viewpoint and conservative solutions, Civitas invited a few bloggers to sit in and live-blog the proceedings at the institute's expense.  Yours truly was included among them, and I've accepted their generous offer!  This will be the first such event I've attended wearing my blogger's hat, so you can understand my excitement.

    In addition to my reactions to the different issues forums, my readers will get a first-hand account of speeches by Arizona Representative J.D. Hayworth, Virginia Senator and probable 2008 presidential candidate George Allen, and other dignitaries.  I can't wait!  If you don't want to wade through my perspective here at Election Projection, you can actually be a part of the conference yourself.  If you are a conservative living in the Raleigh-Durham area or can make the trip here, Civitas is inviting you to attend.  Click here for more information on how to sign up.

    posted by Scott Elliott at 11:10pm 03/22/06 ::
    MI:  Unrest brewing among the natives
    There's a new poll out that shows not all the displeasure in today's political scene is directed at Republicans.  In Michigan, voters are unhappy with the whole lot of elected officials.  From the report:
    Michigan voters appear to be in a foul mood early in this election year, unhappy with incumbent elected officials and overwhelmingly unhappy with the direction of the state, according to a poll released Wednesday.  The poll of 600 registered voters by MRG of Lansing found Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm with only a narrow, 43%-41%, lead over Republican challenger Dick DeVos, and Republicans Attorney General Mike Cox and Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land both under 50%.
    Hat tip:  Alex at Polipundit.

    As you probably already know, I only follow the Senate, House, and gubernatorial races here at Election Projection, so the notable news in this clip is the dead heat in which Gov. Granholm finds herself.  DeVos is performing much better than I had anticipated at this early point in the race, and with lots more of his own Amways and means to flood the airways with ads, he must be considered a near break-even bet against the incumbent.

    Things change so rapidly in political campaigns so this poll doesn't move me to change my rating on this race.  That might come if we see a couple of polls over the next 6 weeks or so showing DeVos' gains continuing.  For now, though, I have to stick with Granholm, albeit with more hope of being wrong.

    However, there will be a rating change coming tomorrow.  One of the 100+ races I'm currently tracking has shifted, and the result has produced a new call.  I'm going to post the change tomorrow night.  Until then, see if you can identify which one it will be.  Post your guess in the comment thread of this post.

    posted by Scott Elliott at 10:25pm 03/22/06 ::
    Are you worried about the 2006 elections?
    Chris Bowers of MyDD.com is worried.  Interesting perspective from a liberal blogger.

    posted by Scott Elliott at 2:20pm 03/22/06 ::
    Illinois primary recap
    Yesterday there were no real surprises in the primary contests in Illinois.  In the race for governor, Judy Topinka won her GOP primary by 6 points with Jim Oberweis placing second.  That sets up an interesting matchup between her and incumbent Rod Blagojevich who easily fended off a primary challenge by Edwin Eisendrath.  Blago won with 70% of the vote.  He is considered the slight favorite in the general election at the point here at Election Projection.

    In the race for the GOP nomination in Democrat Melissa Bean's 8th district, David McSweeney won comfortably over Kathy Salvi, giving him the early edge to represent this Republican-leaning district in 2007.  Iraqi veteran Tammy Duckworth, who lost both legs in a helicopter crash, did prevail in her primary race in district 6.  Her victory sets up another interesting race in this district.  The Blogging Caesar currently rates the race as possibly competitive.  We'll have to keep an eye on it as the campaign progresses to see if it merits being moved into the competitive category.

    Turnout was very light and was not expected to get above 33%, the mark attained during the 2002 elections.  Check the Illnois state page to see the party nominees for the rest of the congressional races.

    posted by Scott Elliott at 10:30am 03/22/06 ::
    Tuesday, March 21, 2006
    Illinois Primary Results
    Rather than work my fingers bare trying to keep up with the returns, I've decided to simply link to the Chicago Tribune where professionals are at work updating the primary election scoreboard.

    Here's the link where you can find more results than you'll ever need.

    As for me, I'm signing off.  I'll have a recap up sometime tomorrow and will update Illinois' state page with any pertinent results.

    posted by Scott Elliott at 11:00pm 03/21/06 ::
    Illinois primary results tonight on Election Projection
    Just wanted to let you know I'll be posting results from today's primary elections in Illinois tonight.  Aside from being a big state in which an embattled governor seeks re-election, Illinois features a race involving a double-amputee Iraqi war veteran.  Tammy Duckworth is vying for the Democratic nod to challenge for CD 6, a seat vacated by GOP heavyweight Henry Hyde.  She is favored in the primary, though District 6's Republican lean will make it difficult for her to win in November.  On Election Day look to this race as an indication of how much wind is blowing at the Democrats' back nationally.  If she wins, it will mean the Republicans are in danger of sustaining extensive losses across the nation.

    In the GOP primary race to meet Gov. Blagojevich, Illinois will choose between pro-choicer and statewide office holder Treasurer Judy Topinka and several more conservative candidates.  She is favored to win the nomination and, if victorious, will make a formidable opponent for the weakened Democratic incumbent.  Though Illinois has moved sharply to the left, Blagojevich's troubles and the less-partisan nature of the governorship makes a GOP victory a good possibility with a strong standard-bearer.  As a staunch pro-lifer, The Blogging Caesar has mixed feelings about her candidacy, but things being what they are, I'll try to look at the bright side of a Topinka primary victory.  At least the GOP will put forth the one with the best chance to topple the incumbent.

    posted by Scott Elliott at 6:15pm 03/21/06 ::
    Monday, March 20, 2006
    Poll:  After three years, how's it going in Iraq?
    The latest edition of Election Projection's Weekly Poll is up.  This month marks the third anniversary of the start of the war to dethrone Saddam Hussein.  Points of view on the situation three years after are a varied as can be.  What's your point of view?  Be sure to participate in the poll by entering your answer and then feel free to discuss it in the comment thread here.

    posted by Scott Elliott at 3:10pm 03/20/06 ::
    Saturday, March 18, 2006
    NY CD 24 - Sherwood Boehlert (R) to retire
    Yesterday, GOP Representative Sherwood Boehert announced his decision not to seek a 12th term in the House.  Boehert is a moderate Republican not unlike Maine's two senators, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins.  The seat his departure opens up is in an evenly-split district that gave President Bush narrow victories in 2004 and 2000 with 53% and 48% of the vote, respectively.  Because the GOP is undeniably in worse shape heading into this year's elections than they have been in the recent past, The Blogging Caesar feels this race must be deemed a weak DEM gain, at least initially.

    posted by Scott Elliott at 11:15am 03/18/06 ::
    The Viking sails again
    Good news to report.  Viking Pundit is back!  Thanks to everyone who posted words of encouragement both here and over at the temporary VP site I created.  So glad you're back, Eric!

    Also, Betsy Newmark as gotten her blog back as well.  As I mentioned earlier, she had someone swipe her url while her site was gone.  Apparently, things have been worked out, and my fellow Raleighite is up and running again.  Welcome back, Betsy!

    Aaahhh, all is well in the blogosphere.

    posted by Scott Elliott at 9:50am 03/18/06 ::
    Friday, March 17, 2006
    Save the Viking!
    One of my very favorite bloggers, Eric Lindholm, has experienced a major malfunction with his blog at vikingpundit.blogspot.com.  Others, such a Betsy Newmark of Betsy's Page, have had the same miserable thing happen to them as well.  Someone even snarfed up Betsy's site.  I didn't want that to happen to Eric, so I grabbed his url while the site was down.

    I've been in contact with Eric, and he is weighing his options.  He's even thinking about hanging it up.  The blogosphere is better with the Viking at the helm.  I would like my readers to go over to his site - which I'm keeping safe for him - and enter a comment encouraging him to keep up the fight and stay at his post.

    Help keep Viking Pundit alive!!

    posted by Scott Elliott at 11:45am 03/17/06 ::
    Money can't buy ... this senate seat
    They say money can't buy happiness.  That is true.  After Katherine Harris' decision to stay in the Florida senate race citing her commitment to spend up to $10 million of her own money, I think we'll find out that money can't buy her a place in the Senate either.

    When I heard Harris was going to make an announcement, I got all excited thinking she was finally coming to her senses and leaving the race.  I had visions of a stronger candidate taking out the very vulnerable Bill Nelson and gaining a seat for the GOP.  But alas, her announcement was simply to reiterate her intentions to obliterate the GOP chances at defeating Nelson.

    I have no problem with Harris - other than her candidacy in this race, that is.  I don't think, as many liberals do, that she acted out-of-line in 2000.  I think given more time and separation from that event, she might even be a force to contend with in Florida.  I just believe that time is several years off.  It may very well be that by rushing into this candidacy, she is sabotaging her own political future which might have been very bright indeed.  Pity for her, pity for Florida, pity for the GOP.

    posted by Scott Elliott at 11:30am 03/17/06 ::
    Wednesday, March 15, 2006
    Two year's ago today my parents departed this earth bound for their Savior's loving arms.  Some of you may remember that day.  I posted news of their deaths shortly after the shooting occurred.

    For those who aren't aware, my parents, Larry and Jean Elliott, served as international missionaries through the Southern Baptist Convention for 25 years in Honduras.  In 2004, they answered God's call to go to Iraq as relief workers dedicated to showing the Iraqi people God's love through humanitarian programs such as water purification projects.  Shortly after arriving in Iraq, while they were on fact-finding tour of the country, terrorists ambushed their car and killed four of the five occupants, including my parents, Karen Watson, and David McDonnall.  David's wife Carrie survived the attack but was severely wounded.

    Last year, I wrote a letter to my parents that shared a bit of my heart one year later.  Every word of that letter is still true today.  This year, I thought I'd post some words I spoke at their memorial service a couple weeks after their passing.  The words are the lyrics to a popular Christian contemporary song which I rewrote to fit my parents' lives.  For those familiar with Ray Boltz, these words can be sung to the tune of "Thank you."

    Thank You for Living for the Lord

    My father's gone to heaven
    and mother's with him there.
    They walk upon the streets of gold
    Bathed in the Father's care.

    Amid the angels singing
    Another sound they hear.
    They turn and see this young man
    And he is smiling ear to ear.

    And he said, "Friends you may not know me now"
    And then he said, "But see
    You shared with me in prison
    In 1973.

    So many times you would come to share
    I felt your love from the start.
    Then on my knee I said a prayer
    I asked Jesus in my heart."

    (Chorus)
    Thank you for living for the Lord
    I am a life that was changed.
    Thank you for living for the Lord
    I am so glad you gave.

    Now a couple comes up to them
    And says, "We remember the time
    You came into our foreign land
    We saw your love sublime.

    You lived in a house like ours;
    Your lives showed us the way
    To find abundant life in Christ.
    And that's why we're here today."

    (Chorus)

    One by one they're coming
    Far as the eye can see
    Each life somehow touched
    By your lives of charity.

    Jesus is glorified
    From the west unto the east
    Through the lives that you gave
    And now you're seated at the feast.

    Now that you're in heaven
    So many more will come.
    As you laid down your lives
    The Father's will was done.

    Now Jesus takes your hand
    And you stand before the Lord.
    He says, "Children look around you.
    Great is your reward."

    (Chorus twice)

    The example of my parents lives is truly a testimony to the love and glory of our Heavenly Father.  I still miss them so much, but I know they are unimaginably happy in the arms of the Lord.

    Filed under:  Larry and Jean Elliott 
    posted by Scott Elliott at 12:25am 03/15/06 :: link
    Tuesday, March 14, 2006
    DeLay's chances assessed by "professionals"
    I'm still mulling over my plan of action for covering all the races in this year's election season.  This website takes a lot of work, and making the most of the time I spend on it is critical.  I am contemplating several strategies, and I'll let everyone know when I settle on something.  For now, here's an interesting discussion by four professional political analysts about the re-election prospect of embattled GOP heavyweight Tom DeLay and Texas' 22 House District.  As you know, I'm projecting DeLay to lose at the present time, a consensus shared by the "professionals."

    posted by Scott Elliott at 1:10pm 03/14/06 ::
    Saturday, March 11, 2006
    Election 2006 - full speed ahead
    Last November we began a 50 state preview tour when I posted a preview of Alabama.  Yesterday, our tour came to an end with the addition of Wyoming's preview.  Now, it's onward and upward with Election Day 2006 dead in our sights.  In gearing up for the election season, I've made some enhancements to the website.

    First, you probably noticed the summary banner near the top of the page.  That little feature will give my readers an at-a-glance status report on Election Projection's outlook.  Second, I've built an election calendar so you can track filing deadlines, primaries, and runoffs for all 50 states.

    Finally, looking forward, I plan to keep a regular schedule of updates.  I hope everyone likes the changes.  Please come back everyday to get your election fix.  Oh, and spread the word to all your friends because the more folks come by, the more time I can justify investing in making the site even better.  For those of you who were with me in 2004, you know how much fun is in store here at Election Projection in the coming months.

    posted by Scott Elliott at 10:15pm 03/11/06 ::
    Lordy, lordy, Caesar's forty
    They say life begins at 40.  Well, time to prove'em right!  Woohoo!!

    posted by Scott Elliott at 10:10pm 03/11/06 ::
    Friday, March 10, 2006
    "Equality in Wyoming" - 2006 preview
    Senate Race:  Wyoming is as red as they come, and in the partisan game of Senate elections, any threats to incumbent GOP senators are just as likely to come in the primary here as in the general election.  This time, however, incumbent Craig Thomas faces no real threat anywhere.  Military weapons engineer Dale Groutage will be on the ballot, but Thomas will win 65%+ of the vote.  Like the race for Massachusetts' senate seat is to liberals, this race is to coservatives - call it a (very) strong GOP hold.

    Governor's Race:  Wyoming's similarities with Massachusetts don't stop at the non-competitiveness of its senate races.  They extend to the governorship as well.  Just as Massachusetts has been known to select a GOPer as governor, so too have Wyomingans felt good about electing a Democratic governor.  Dave Freudenthal won here in 2002, and he is well-positioned to return to Cheyenne again next year.  Cynthia Lummis, Wyoming state treasurer, and former state Rep. Fred Parady will benefit from Wyoming's deep red political makeup.  It won't be enough, though, for either of them to wrest the governorship away from the well-liked incumbent.  This race actually looks like a strong DEM hold right now.

    Check out more on Wyoming here.

    posted by Scott Elliott at 1:15pm 03/10/06 ::
    Thursday, March 9, 2006
    "On, Wisconsin! Forward!" - 2006 preview
    Senate Race:  Democrat incumbent Herb Kohl may not be as well-known as his fellow Wisconsin senator, Democrat Russ Feingold, but he is perhaps less likely to lose his place in the Senate.  Even a prominent, first-tier candidate on the GOP side would be hard-pressed to unseat him.  Maybe that's why none of the four men currently running for the GOP nomination brings any real weight to this race.  Only former Governor Tommy Thompson would have given Kohl a run for his money.  He's not running, so make this race a strong DEM hold.

    Governor's Race:  James Doyle is not quite as safe as Senator Kohl.  But the aforementioned ex-Governor Thompson doesn't appear to be up for the task of reclaiming his old job - a fact that allows Doyle to breathe a lot easier.  The two candidates on the GOP side are solid, but they likely don't have what it takes to win in November.  Congressman Mark Green will probably give Doyle a stiffer test than Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker.  Either one could pull an upset, but for now The Blogging Caesar gives the incumbent the edge.

    House District 8:  A lot of money is flowing into this race for Mark Green's open seat.  From allergy clinic magnate Steve Kagen's deep pockets to Emily's List's backing of Nancy Nusbaum, the Democrats will be well-funded as they try to win this moderately heavy GOP district.  The GOP is not short on cash either with Wisconsin House Speaker John Gard sitting on nearly half-a-million at the end of 2005.  Gard is the favorite right now to win the nomination over fellow GOP House member Terri McCormick.

    This is another House seat that leans toward the GOP but could swing the other way in the event of a stiff leftward breeze come early November.  For now, though, The Blogging Caesar is rating it a weak GOP hold with some minor reservations.

    Check out more on Wisconsin here.

    posted by Scott Elliott at 11:55pm 03/09/06 ::
    Roe v. Wade for men?
    This is interesting.  Danny Carlton makes some good points, I think.

    posted by Scott Elliott at 10:55pm 03/09/06 ::
    Wednesday March 8, 2006
    "Almost heaven, West Virginia" - 2006 preview
    Senate Race:  Democrat Robert Byrd's tenure in the U.S. Senate is, should we say, older than the trees, younger than the mountains.  For a half-century, Byrd has been perched on Capitol Hill.  Two different decisions over the last year have assured Democrats of seeing one of their own continue to fill this seat in the ever-reddening state of West Virginia.  First, Byrd decided to run again.  Second, the GOP's newest favorite West Virginia daughter, Rep. Shelley Capito, decided to stay in the House and not challenge for the Senate seat.

    Had both these individuals chosen a different route, this race would be a weak GOP gain.  If one or the other had made a different choice, this race would be a weak DEM hold.  As it is, Byrd will win without problem - strong DEM hold.  In a state whose rightward drift has been more like a sharp right turn over the last two elections cycles, West Virginia's two Democratic senators will keep their seats until they decide to leave.  When that happens, mark the words of The Blogging Caesar:  Shelley Capito will become a senator.

    Check out more on West Virginia here.

    posted by Scott Elliott at 11:55pm 03/08/06 ::
    "Hoping for the future of Washington" - 2006 preview
    Senate Race:  Oh what could've been!  I understand Dino Rossi's reluctance to challenge Democratic incumbent Maria Cantwell for this Senate seat.  After all, if your heart's not in it, a year of hard work on the campaign trail and then uprooting your family to move to Washington D.C. can be a real sour prospect.  So, I don't blame him for opting out.  I just regret the golden opportunity to win this seat for the GOP going asunder.

    Many will recall the 2004 gubernatorial race here in which Christine Gregoire lost the race to Rossi and then found enough previously undiscovered votes in King County to be declared governor anyway.  (Ok, so I let a little bias show - that's still pretty much what happened.)  In the aftermath of that contested result, speculation swirled about Rossi's possibilities to unseat Cantwell in 2006.  Polls at the time showed him well ahead of the incumbent.  All that was for naught, however, and his conspicuous absence from the ballot gives Cantwell a strong advantage.  Still, with a moderate and wealthy GOP challenger in Safeco CEO Mike McGavick, the Senator must still be prepared for a fight.  Right now, The Blogging Caesar calls this one a weak DEM hold.

    House District 8:  Dan Reichert is a conservative in a moderate suburban district.  He narrowly won his seat in 2004 due in part to his celebrity as a newsmaking sheriff.  From the get-go, Democrats have targeted Reichert as an incumbent vulnerable to defeat.  Former Microsoft executive Darcy Burner heads four women seeking the Democratic nomination, though Burner appears to be the heavy favorite.

    Given his incumbency and his 5:1 fundraising advantage, The Blogging Caesar is calling this race a weak GOP hold.  However, if a stout gust is blowing nationally in the Democrats' direction come Election Day, this seat could be swept out from under Mr. Reichert.

    Check out more on Washington here.

    posted by Scott Elliott at 6:00pm 03/08/06 ::
    Tuesday March 7, 2006
    "The Old Dominion of Virginia" - 2006 preview
    Senate Race:  GOP incumbent George Allen has one eye on a White House run in 2008 even while seeking re-election to the Senate.  Former Virginia Governor Mark Warner decided to focus both eyes on 2008 instead of challenging for Allen's seat in the Senate in 2006.  Warner's decision has cleared the way for Allen to keep that seat without a whole lot of worry.

    Some would say Allen will face at least a moderate threat in November from former Navy secretary James Webb or businessman Harris Miller.  The Blogging Caesar is not concerned.  I will be very surprised if Allen wins this race by less than 8 points.  Had Warner opted in, this race would be a tossup, and my job of picking one man or the other would be very difficult.  Instead, Allen will win comfortably.

    Check out more on Virginia here.

    posted by Scott Elliott at 11:50pm 03/07/06 ::
    "Freedom and unity on Vermont's green mountain"
    - 2006 preview
    Senate Race:  Jumpin' Jim Jeffords, whose defection from the GOP in 2001 gave the Democrats a short-lived majority in the Senate, is calling it quits after 3 terms.  His departure opens the door for a true socialist to take a seat in the Senate.  "Independent" Bernie Sanders currently represents Vermont in the U.S. House and is a self-professed socialist.  He is also the odds-on favorite to become Vermont's next senator.

    With the Democrats in Vermont more than happy to see Mr. Sanders replace Jumpin' Jim, neither of the GOP's two possible nominees, healthcare entrepreneur Richard Tarrant and retired military man Gregory Parke, has much of a chance of winning.  Come to think of it, Democrat Larry Drown, who is also running, doesn't either.  The Blogging Caesar confidently calls this race the first and only strong IND hold.

    Governor's Race:  In an uber-liberal state like Vermont, the GOP has managed to compete well for the Executive Mansion.  Moderate Republican incumbent Jim Douglas has served two terms as governor here, and Vermonters don't seem inclined to deny him a third term.  His 61% approval rating bodes well for his re-election chances in November.  Even in this liberal haven, State Senator Scudder Parker will have a real tough time unseating Governor Douglas.  Easy call:  Strong GOP hold.

    At Large House District:  Although not listed as a competitive race, this seat merits discussion since it is a likely gain for the Democrats.  With Sanders' probable transfer to the opposite wing of the Capitol, State Senate President Pro Tem Peter Welch, a Democrat, is in line to take Sanders' current seat in the House.  Only a possible run by Progressive State Rep. David Zuckerman, which might split the liberal vote in Vermont, could give National Guard General and GOPer Martha Rainville a prayer of prevailing in this one.  Until then, the Democrat remains the heavy favorite.

    Check out more on Vermont here.

    posted by Scott Elliott at 4:00pm 03/07/06 ::
    "Utah works" - 2006 preview
    Senate Race:  Utah is one of the reddest states in the Union.  Orrin Hatch has been a conservative senator here for more than 25 years.  He is well-liked and well-funded.  He will win a sixth term in November by a landslide.  For the small minority of Kerry fans here in Mormon country, internet company founder Pete Ashdown will be the Democrat on the ballot.  I'll make it 65%-35% in favor of the incumbent.

    Check out more on Utah here.

    posted by Scott Elliott at 12:20pm 03/07/06 ::
    Monday, March 6, 2006
    "The yellow rose of Texas" - 2006 preview
    Senate and Governor's Races:  Senate GOP incumbent Kay Bailey Hutchison contemplated mounting a challenge to GOP governor Rick Perry.  Her decision to remain in the Senate secured two races at once for the GOP.  The first, her Senate seat which she won with over 65% in 2000, will once again be a Republican landslide.  The second, the contest for Rick Perry's governorship, avoided a heated primary battle which might have given the Democrats a chance for victory.  Instead, Perry will also cruise to victory.  Thank you, Ms. Hutchison, you chose wisely.

    House District 22:  Perhaps no other Republican, save George W. Bush himself, is so hated among liberals in this country than Tom DeLay.  And the charges that have led to his much-publicized indictment have liberals jumping for joy at the chance to gain a Thune-vs.-Daschle-like unseating of their second-worst Republican enemy.

    Unlike normal campaigns, this race features a settled nominee from the challenging party and a primary battle for the incumbent party.  DeLay should win the GOP nomination again, but Democrat Nick Lampson, a former U.S. representative, will be hard for the weakened incumbent to overcome.  As much as I wish for DeLay's fortunes to improve, I must go with the challenger to win and give liberals the revenge they've so long sought.

    Check out more on Texas here.

    Update:  I've tried not to add updates to these state previews.  I want to wait until I go through all of them before re-visiting any of them.  However, I missed a significant aspect of the 2006 elections in Texas.  That is the Texas redistricting case which is being heard in the courts.  A verdict which nullifies Texas' current congressional districts may have a far-reaching impact on the election.  And the effects are impossible to guage until that time comes.

    One other note:  Perry faces not one but three note-worthy challengers - Democrat Chris Bell, and independent candidates Carole Strayhorn and Kinky Friedman.  All of these candidate could get over 10% of the vote.  That said, Perry will still win easily.  He may not get 50%, but his margin of victory will be comfortable.

    posted by Scott Elliott at 11:00pm 03/06/06 ::
    "Ol' Rocky Top Tennessee" - 2006 preview
    Senate Race:  The Good Doctor will call it quits in 2007 after two terms and a few years as Senate Majority Leader.  Bill Frist pledged to serve only two terms and now has his sights on a White House run in 2008.  Harold Ford, Jr is an African-American whom a lot of Tennessee Democrats are high on.  He is attempting to win this red state open seat for the Democrats.

    Running on the Republican side are three legitimate candidates any one of whom will be formidable in the general election.  Former Chattanooga Mayor Bob Corker, a more moderate Republican, is facing two conservative former congressmen in Ed Bryant and Van Hilleary.  Hilleary lost the gubernatorial race in 2002 against current governor Phil Bredesen.

    This primary race is a tough call, and the eventual winner will be in for a battle against Ford.  (Rosalind Kurita is also running for the Democratic nomination, but I don't expect her to threaten the high-profile Ford.)  However, all three are currently leading Ford in the polls.  One negative Ford has is his family.  Their troubles are probably a main reason Ford's unfavorable numbers are actually even with or greater than his favorables.  In the end, The Blogging Caesar believes Tennessee's slight GOP lean will be enough to carry the GOP to a weak hold here.

    Governor's Race:  One strange aspect of the political situation here in 2006 is the miserable field of GOPers poised to challenge Democratic incumbent Phil Bredesen.  Even with Tennessee's redish hue, the GOP was unable to muster even a marginal candidate to face the one-term governor who narrowly won in 2002.  This is an easy call for The Blogging Caesar:  Strong DEM hold.

    Check out more on Tennessee here.

    posted by Scott Elliott at 8:00pm 03/06/06 ::
    Poll:  How did you find out about Election Projection?
    The latest edition of Election Projection's Weekly Poll is up.  With the election season just now getting underway, I thought it would be interesting to find out how people discovered my website.  Even if you haven't voted before in EP's Weekly Polls, please do so this time.  I would really appreciate it if everyone would vote.  Thanks a bunch!!

    Update:  Since it appears many are not responding to the poll, I figured I'd put this post back in rotation.  If you haven't voted yet, please do.

    posted by Scott Elliott at 11:10pm 03/06/06 ::
    Friday March 3, 2006
    "The people rule under God in South Dakota"
    - 2006 preview
    Governor's Race:  I could just about write "ditto" and be done with South Dakota.  The outlook for 2006 here closely mirrors South Carolina's.  First of all, the only race to handicap is the race for governor.  Second, like South Carolina, South Dakota is deep red, and the incumbent GOP governor is a shoo-in for re-election.  The only piece of entertainment value in this race is the possible candidacy of TV personality Pat O'Brien.  If he were to run, he would line up on the Democratic side.  Does anyone know if he has decided one way or another?  With him in the race, The Blogging Caesar might shift it into weak GOP hold territory.  For now, South Dakota's governorship is securely in the GOP's hands.

    Check out more on South Dakota here.

    posted by Scott Elliott at 1:45am 03/03/06 ::
    Wednesday March 1, 2006
    "Beneath the palmettos in South Carolina" - 2006 preview
    Governor's Race:  Mark Sanford is a Republican governor in a deep red state.  He's up for re-election.  Victory should be in the bag, right?  Well, actually, yes it is.  Somewhat like the GOP in Ohio, the Democratic party is hurting in this state, and, as a result, Sanford's mediocre first term will be rewarded with another.

    State Senator Tommy Moore and Florence Mayor Frank Willis will fight it out in the primary for a chance to go up against Sanford, though several others are also contemplating a run.  However the Democratic primary turns out, The Blogging Caesar rates this race a strong GOP hold.

    Check out more on South Carolina here.

    posted by Scott Elliott at 10:15pm 03/01/06 ::
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