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July 24, 2006

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One more point about the money? Several GOP representatives: Ney, Lewis, DeLay, plus Senator Burns -- I know there are more -- are dumping all their money into defense funds. Katherine Harris will soon be joining these guys, though Nelson has already lapped her so far, the contest is over unless the GOP can replace her. The NHGOP is also tapped, from having to pay for their little crank phone call crime from 2002.

I'm sure Congressman Jefferson is tapping his freezer stash campaign fund for lawyers fees. But still, that's not even a drop in the bucket compared to how much the GOP is spending to stay out of jail.

When all your campaign funds go to your criminal defense lawyers, it doesn't matter how much you raise (except in the case of Lewis, who will have an easy reelection even though he spends every cent on his lawyers).

Despite the large amounts the DSSC has raised, taking the Senate seems more difficult. Incumbent Senators have raised huge amounts of cash. While few if any Dem incumbents or open seats seem endangered, taking more than 5 GOP Senate seats (RI, PA, OH, MO, MT) seems iffy, with only AZ and KY also in play, and maybe VA, although Webb's fundraising has lagged.

There are so many targets of opportunity on the House side that picking up 15 doesn't seem as hard, with so many seats in play. Gerrymandering has its limits, and one consequence is that the Dems actually have more solid seats (182) per the Cook Report than the Rs (179).

Zach Space doesn't show up on my charts because Ney had such a large war chest, but he far outraised Bob Ney in Q2, and Ney has been spending faster than he can raise money, probably on his defense. Ney is still ahead on COH, but the seat is clearly one of the GOP's most vulnerable. That makes 20 really strong challenges. Thanks for the reminder.

Mimikatz

You forgot one of the Senate seats, one that looks increasingly doable: CT.

I know, I know, we already have the seat. But think about how much easier it will be for Give 'Em Hell Harry to maintain party discipline, even in a narrow minority, if Joementum is gone.

Curious what the expectations of those here are if the Dems do win the majority in the House? What do folks hope they would do and what would represent satisfaction and disappontment?

The House must originate tax bills. That alone is worth taking the chamber. No more tax cuts, and perhaps the rollback of a few. The Dems could use the budget rules to prevent use of the filibuster against these bills in the Senate. End earmark abuse and the scams run out of the Appropriations Committee.

Raise the minimum wage. Expand student loans. Pass other legislation that Dems and what GOP moderates are left support. Begin investigating misuse of intel and the NSA wiretaps. End the harrassment of scientists by the Energy Committee and get started on global warming. Henry Waxman has a bunch of things he's been working on almost alone.

Missouri and its Senate seat...

Today is Claire McCaskill's 53rd birthday. A great way to wish her happy birthday is to go to ActBlue and chip in $53: http://actblue.com/directory/search?q=federal-senate&state=MO

Help take back this seat from Jim Talent-less.

My favorite part, if the Dems take the House? Congressman Waxman with subpoena power. A thing of beauty, I tell you.

Well, for that matter, I'll take Conyers with subpoena power, too.

Via TAPPED, here's another article that argues it's money and not gerrymandering as such that accounts for low turnover and lopsided margins in congressional races. He says that in 1992 the parties spent half the money in 84 districts and in 2004 they spent half in just 11 districts.

This makes the DCCC Red to Blue program, now up to 33 candidates running for R-held seats with more to come, a good sign. The Dems do seem to be expanding the field this time around.

Are you sure there isn't a similar effort on the (R) side?

Hotline hasn't noticed as many ads from R-leaning groups (aside from GOP primaries in MI-07, UT-03, RI-SEN, and elsewhere) as D-leaning groups, but I've seen a few for Santorum on cable already.

Could it be that the GOP side is just targeting their ads more carefully?

Newsie

A lot of that, so far, I imagine is going to primaries--in Rhode Island-Sen, and my local MI-7, where the fundies are trying to take out pro-choice Shwarz.

Newsie--It is possible. But the Hill article I referenced about the independent groups here specifically said there was mcuh less activity on behalf of zGOP candidates and that they were looking to other members to raise money for the embattled.

One other factor is GOTV. The RNC, with all its cash, is running the GOP's GOTV. Chuck Todd listed this as one of the areas of uncertainty about the Dems.

Is there a credible Dem candidate in MI-7? If there is, and if Schwarz is taken out, that seat becomes instantly competetive.

The link to Chuck Todd's article is here

Hmmm, OK, right after posting that comment I went to DKos, where I saw this diary, which says there's a four way primary, and the candidate the diarist described as the "leading" candidate had raised less than $7,000 for the whole campaign.

If Schwarz loses his primary, we'll have missed a great pick-up opportunity.

MI-7...

If Schwarz loses, then Fred will end up being a somewhat credible candidate, running against a lot of fundie money. Fred will run well in the district, with his military background and (soutern?) accent.

One of the other candidates is the local marijuana activist, one is the woman who ran last time (having won because so many Dems voted Schwarz in the primary), don't know about the last.

But it took Fred a couple of months to get around to really campaigning. So yeah, we could be better prepared for this...

So, where did all the money come from? It matters whether it came from corporations or citizens.

Waxman with subpoena power... be still my beating heart!

I was not paying attention during Iran/Contra, but in my efforts to catch up, I continue to run across names and events referencing Iran/Contra. "Mistakes were made" might have cut it in the early 80's from Ronnie the Wonderful, but we're now post-Katrina; global warming, climbing gas prices, millions of Americans with zero health insurance, and a weakening economy in 2007 will create a radically different legislative context than the early 1980's.

Limp-wristed gutlessness could cut it pre-Katrina and pre-Iraq; this time around, the Dems either need to get serious about what it takes to clean up government and run a post-welfare state in a global economy, or else they need to pack it up.

As for Bruner; her opponent (Reichert) is a good guy. Unlike Ney, Cunningham, and Lewis, it's fair to say that Reichert is a decent person and long time public servant (although he's definitely conservative). This is an instance of two good people, and two good candidates; he's a former sheriff; she's out of Microsoft. That congressional district has voted Republican 'forever.' Reichert is not disliked by those that I know; they're just absolutely fed up with Bu$hCo, lying, and war. Voters needed a way to protest Bush, but still feel good about it. Bruner demonstrates what happens when a smart person, with good professional credentials, pulls a good campaign together and raises money to fund it. "Moderates" are disgusted with the 'incompetent' Rep's, and plenty are willing to pony up money for a highly qualified candidate (Bruner), who appears to be a competent problem solver. Nothing mysterious about that.

Also, it's been my experience that good business people see the relationship between ethical behavior and long term profitabillty. Although it is true that many corporations do 'pay off' both parties, the biz folks that I know are quite well versed in who is actually competent, and who's not. It's my clear sense that some of those same corporate Rep's are personally really fried at being 'shaken down' in that K Street scam. In addition, some long-time Rep's who work in fields related to medicine or biotech are seething at the Bu$hCo veto of stem cell research. Nothing more eloquently underscored the Bu$hCo ignorance of science -- and ignorance of the emerging biotech economic sector -- than that stem cell sabotage. Too many people are too heavily invested (financially, professionally, personally) in building up the research facilities it took to get this far -- that stem cell 'red-meat-to-the-fundie-base' was a slap in the face, and an insult to people engaged in cancer research and related fields. Stupendously clueless.

Yes, all that money will help to buy ads ("Together, We Can Do Better") on a media that runs its news organizations like a wing of the RNC. I'm sure they're grateful for the revenue.

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