The very first thing that needs to happen is acceptance. Whether there were irregularities that bring into question the legitimacy of this election (and I think there were), the fact of the matter is that Sen Franken was declared the winner, and no party with a vested interest is contesting this. This was a close election, let there be no doubt of it, and had there not been a 3rd party candidate, Sen Franken would likely have won outright on election night. Let us not act like Democrats, who still complain that Pres Bush stole 2000 and 2004 (no evidence shows either, only what if scenarios that could cut either way). This puts Dems with 60 votes in the Senate, making a filibuster that much harder (though doable, because Dems have their DINOs that will sustain some of the filibusters).
Having said that, I think there’s a variety of election issues that we should be raising NOW, as opposed to trying to fight them in court after the election has occurred. Generally, we’ll lose at that point, as the courts (rightly) are reluctant to make a change to how the votes were counted. (more…)
Hello, virtual super majority!:
President Barack Obama‘s party to secure a critical 60-seat majority in the Senate.Ending one of the longest Senate races ever, the Minnesota Supreme Court unanimously rejected each of ‘s five legal arguments that an earlier recount of the November 4 vote had been unfair. Coleman quickly conceded., a satirist turned politician, was declared the winner of a Senate seat in Minnesota on Tuesday, clearing the way for
Franken will become the 58th Senate Democrat, the most the party has had since 1981. Two independents routinely vote with the Democrats, giving the party the 60 votes needed to clear Republican procedural hurdles known as filibusters
…”A lot is being made of me being the 60th member of the Democratic caucus. That’s not how I see it,” Franken said. “I’m going to Washington to be the second senator from Minnesota.”
…Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty said in a statement he would sign the election certificate immediately, allowing Franken, a former writer and actor for the popular Saturday Night Live television show, to join the Senate, likely next week.
A Minnesota court confirmed Monday that Democrat Al Franken won the most votes in his 2008 Senate race against Republican Norm Coleman.
Senator Coleman has one last option, an appeal to the state Supreme Court. He has 10 days to file this appeal.
After a statewide recount and seven-week trial, Franken stands 312 votes ahead. Franken actually gained more votes from the election challenge than Coleman, the candidate who brought it. The judges rejected Coleman’s argument that a state board improperly made up for a packet of ballots lost between the election.
I am one of the many who verbally piled on Senator Stevens when he was convicted of lying on his Senate financial forms, and like some others, I now admit to being wrong and not giving him the benefits of the doubt. Supporting earmarks does not prove intent on other criminal activities. In our celebrity-driven culture, the media and public are quick to convict those in the public eye, even before a hearing. In this case, we took the word of the Federal government without investigating the facts or listening to the defendant. Governor Palin was criticized in some liberal publications for not taking a stronger stand again the re-election bid of Senator Stevens, but maybe she knew the truth all along?
A federal judge criticized the government’s handling of the Ted Stevens corruptiontrial Tuesday as he considered whether to dismiss the conviction that ended the Alaska Republican’s 40-year career in the U.S. Senate. “In nearly 25 years on the bench, I’ve never seen anything approaching the mishandling and misconduct that I’ve seen in this case,”
The judge said he has seen a troubling trend of prosecutors withholding evidence in cases against people ranging from Guantanamo Bay detainees to public officials such as Stevens. He called on judges nationwide to issue formal orders in all criminal cases requiring that prosecutors turn over evidence to defendants.
It was a stinging rebuke of the Justice Department and Sullivan called on Holder to order training for all prosecutors.
Stevens is too old to run for re-election in 6 years, but in the red state of Alaska, this will help delegitimize the re-election campaign of Senator Begich.
In the wake of yet another setback, does Senator Coleman stand a chance of regaining his seat?
With the setback linked above, I think it somewhat likely that he’ll lose most to all challenges where he challenges the veracity and integrity of the count itself. That includes the 133 phantom ballots that couldn’t be located, so the election officials decided to go with the results that favored Mr. Franken.
Assuming he does lose all of those challenges, what does Sen Coleman have left? Well, there’s still some 3,700 ballots that may or may not get included in the count. My understanding is they don’t include any from Hennepin and Ramsey, as all of those ballots were settled during the recount. This is very significant, for reasons I’ll share in a moment.
Per the Minnesota Secretary of State’s website, Mr. Franken leads by 225 votes. They are also kind enough to post a county-by-county breakdown of how the votes broke down, and an estimate on the number of votes cast in each county (Why is it just an estimate? Shouldn’t they be able to determine this by now?). Using that information, I’ve been able to calculate a few things:
First, the overall percentage of votes that didn’t go to either Sen Coleman or Mr Franken (17% overall, or almost 18% excluding Hennepin and Ramsey). Second, the amount of support each candidate got (with all counties, it’s just over 41% each, while excluding Hennepin and Ramsey, it’s 44.6% to 37.5% for Sen Coleman).
What does all this mean? Assuming an even distribution of ballots, it will mean that for every ballot that gets counted, Sen Coleman will win 0.07 votes. If Sen Coleman gets all 3,700 ballots counted, it will mean he will likely net about 264 votes, which would be enough to win this race by 39 votes. Not a lot of margin for error, and it’s no surprise that Mr Franken wants to limit the additional ballots to only 700.
Several things could still happen to sway this. More ballots could be thrown out, or the judges could rule in Sen Coleman’s favor on some of his challenges. There’s reason to hope, but some things will have to go Sen Coleman’s way if he hopes to win the race.
Update: Well, it appears the testimony is in, but Sen Coleman will have to pay for it. It certainly helps to have another route to argue, and may not doom all of the challenges set forth. Mr Franken’s team is talking about another 2 weeks or so for them to complete their arguments, as Sen Coleman has rested. Wouldn’t there be irony involved in an April 1 ruling?
From the Minneapolis Star Tribune:
“Nearly 4,800 rejected absentee ballots may be considered in the Senate recount trial, according to a ruling from the three-judge panel hearing the dispute between Republican Norm Coleman and Democrat Al Franken.
The court order indicates that all absentee ballots that complied with state law should be counted, along with those where errors occurred through no fault of the voter.”
With Hennepin County’s (Minneapolis/suburbs) and Ramsey County’s (St. Paul/suburbs) not included in these 4,800 votes, expect Norm to emerge victorious when it is all said and done.
For MN Senate recount news, Minnesota Democrats Exposed is your one-stop shop.
No senator in the history of the United States has run against as many nuts, boobs, and whackjobs as our poor Norm Coleman. In 1998, he faced future 9/11 Truther Jesse “The Body” Ventura for the governor’s mansion; in 2002, Walter Mondale was his Senate opponent after Paul Wellstone died, and he just got himself into a contested race with Al Franken — who is not only extremely liberal, but an alleged professional comedian and as outrageous in his political proclamations as Ann Coulter is on the right. Think of Mark Pryor narrowly losing a Senate seat to Ann Coulter and you’ve basically got the Minnesota scenario in reverse, except that, unlike with Pryor, nobody actually thinks that Norm Coleman is a capable candidate.
Does this say more about Norm Coleman or about Minnesota, though? While it’s certainly true that Norm Coleman has all of the charisma and insight of a plastic bag, it’s got to say something that Minnesota, that perpetual “swing state,” has the longest-running blue streak of any state in the union at the presidential level. Only Minnesota failed to vote properly in 1984. (Tennessee voted for George W. Bush in 2000, so let’s not play that they-always-win-their-home-state game. Just keeping with the other M’s, even Massachusetts and Maryland voted for Reagan, okay?) Surely any state nutty enough to vote for Walter Mondale over Ronald Reagan wouldn’t mind voting for an alleged comedian such as Mr. Franken?
But still, come on. Norm lost, albeit narrowly (he makes a habit of this), to The Body in 1998, won — again, narrowly — thanks to President Bush’s massive popularity against fellow Loser Mondale himself in 2002 after the Wellstone funeral fiasco, and now appears to have (narrowly!) lost to Franken. Does Norm Coleman himself have something to do with why he keeps finding himself in extremely narrow elections with gasbags? We are speaking about the guy who said that he’d only support CAFTA if three-year-long sugar quotas were added in to the mix (what if everyone wanted their own caveat? What kind of free trade agreement would we then have?). Far be it from me to say that Norm is an exceptionally poor campaigner or politician, but his brand of perpetual loserdom combined with Minnesota’s bizarro politics makes for a rather toxic mix.
Given Coleman’s incumbency, it was too late to bump him from the ticket for someone else (and besides, who would we have run?), but the man’s got a pretty weak electoral history: he never actually reached 50% over the past ten years. So the mere fact that he finds himself contesting an election with Al Franken, of all people, shouldn’t really shock anyone. Norm should have, in theory, run away with the election: he was running as a moderate Republican with an uncontroversial record in a center-left state against a total boob. The problem is that Minnesota loves boobs (not as much as California, though: two female senators and a governor who gropes women?), and Norm Coleman is as interesting as a paperweight. (Fellow paperweight Susan Collins fared better, but she lives in Maine, and, well, so it goes.)
My solution to this snafu? Grant Puerto Rico statehood, but give Minnesota to Canada. That way, we can still have a nice, round 100 in the Senate. We’ll have lost an interesting sideshow and even our buddy Tim Pawlenty, but as a whole, we’ll have much, much saner people as part of the country.
Alex Knepper can be contacted at email@example.com.
Matt Lewis suggests that Norm Coleman is ruining his reputation and future political career by his court challenge to Al Franken’s “victory in Minnesota” which is the result of a meticulous recount using practices defined as magic. With a 225 vote margin for Franken, in 25 precincts, there were more votes counted than people who voted, multiple voting errors. Wrote the Journal of the recount process:
Minnesotans like to think that their state isn’t like New Jersey or Louisiana, and typically it isn’t. But we can’t recall a similar recount involving optical scanning machines that has changed so many votes, and in which nearly every crucial decision worked to the advantage of the same candidate. The Coleman campaign clearly misjudged the politics here, and the apparent willingness of a partisan like Mr. Ritchie to help his preferred candidate, Mr. Franken. If the Canvassing Board certifies Mr. Franken as the winner based on the current count, it will be anointing a tainted and undeserving Senator.
At this point, I don’t know who really won definitively. What I do know is that Democrats have played the same game in Minnesota that they played in Washington State back in 2004-keep counting votes until you win. And that there’s something awfully fishy about the degree to which this election has shifted. For too long, Republicans have let Senate Seats and Governor’s races go by the boards in places like Missouri in 2000, South Dakota in 2002 because there’s been a thinking in the GOP that the integrity of elections matters a whole lot less than people thinking we’re not poor sports. We should just smile and say, “Hey, you stole this election fair and sqaure. Good work.”
In Coleman’s case, he has no political future as a candidate for elected office if truly he has been bested by pornographer and tax cheat Al Franken. Not winning by a solid margin against this clown, says that Coleman doesn’t have a whole lot of image to save.
Coleman has no reason not to pursue this and challenge this sham of a counting process. Maybe through the challenge, an accurate count will help him bridge the 225-vote margin for Franken, or perhaps a court will result in a revote. Coleman ultimately has nothing to lose. To paraphrase the 109th rule of acquistion, for Coleman, “Image and an empty sack is worth the sack.”
Some New York Democrats are pushing for Caroline Kennedy to be appointed to the Senate by Governor Paterson. The main rationale for the appointment seems to be that the Senate seat was once held by her uncle.
This is what Representative Tom Reynolds had to say:
“We’re seeing a seat-warmer in Delaware, a seat-seller in Illinois, and we’re making seat-cushions in New York for, kind of, an aristocrat royalty of entitlement coming in here.”
While Blagojevich was the worst, it seems the attitude in Washington is subtly shifting towards treating Senate seats as swag and booty.
Following up on the post about the results of bailout mania, a thought occurred me. Were there any political consequences in the last election for the GOP’s support of the bailout? I did a Google search for “75-24 roll call bailout.” Here’s the top result: a list of the Senators who voted, “yea.” The authors wrote,”1/3 of the Senate is up for relection this year, if your Senator is on this list, vote them out!”
Now I’m not claiming this site was read by a lot of people. But the sentiment was out there and not just on this one site.
Here are some of the names on the “yes” list:
Ted Stevens (Alaska)
Saxby Chambliss (Georgia)
Norm Coleman (Minnesota)
John Sununu (New Hampshire)
Gordon Smith (Oregon)
So, we have 3 Senators who were defeated, 1 who was forced into a runoff on this list, as well as 1 clinging to dear life. Did the bailout play a big role in these elections?
In Georgia, I don’t think there’s any doubt that Chambliss misses a runoff without his vote for the bailout. In the first round, he got up with 49.8% of the vote, with a libertarian taking more than 3% of the vote.
I think in New Hampshire, it can be agreed that Sununu would have lost regardless.
Where things get interesting is when you take a look at the results from Alaska, Oregon, and Minnesota:
Alaska: Begich-47.9%, Stevents, 46.7%
Minnesota: Coleman, 42%, Franken, 42%
Oregon: Merkley-48.8%, Smith 45.7%
In all of these cases (except for the still-pending Minnesota), a Democrat won a plurality, not a majority of the vote. What happened? In Alaska, the Alaska Independence Party Candidate, a Libertarian, and an Independent swallowed up 5.4% of the vote. In Oregon, the Constitution Party candidate got 5.2% and in Minnesota, the Independence, Libertarian, and Constitution Party candidates carried 16% of the vote.
Voters who were upset about the bailout had choices in all these states and it didn’t necessarily mean supporting a Democrat.
I think it’s a good bet that had Stevents not supported the bailout, he would have won. Not being a convicted felon would have helped, too. The combination was deadly. Stevens actually led among voters who went to the polls on election day after he’d been convicted, but lost among voters who’d voted early. The vote couldn’t have been all about corruption as Congressman Don Young survived. I’d suggest Young survived in part because of his opposition to the bailout. Why did he oppose it?:
Young said he voted against the package because it did not enjoy wide support among Alaskans. He said he might change his position if public opinion shifted in favor of the bailout, though he remains opposed to the idea of the federal Treasury buying troubled assets with taxpayer money.
It may not be the right reason but Young at least understood on a basic level what his job was.
I also think, we wouldn’t be trying to figure out who the “Lizard People” guy was trying to vote for if not for Coleman’s support for the bailout.
In Oregon, it’s at least worthy of consideration that Smith may have survived or been closer to Merkley. The Constitution Party got 3.5% higher percentage of the vote than it did in prior elections (this itself was more than the margin between Merkley and Smith.) While I doubt Smith would have picked up every vote that went to the CP candidate had the CP not had a candidate, some voters agree about the bailout may have jumped ship to Merkley.
Bottom line: I think the bailout vote probably cost the GOP at least 1 and maybe as many as 3 U.S. Senate seats.
** CORRECTION: I double-checked Lott; the ballot was called for no one — which is still patently absurd. He accidentally copy-pasted or something (the phrase “clearly for Franken” was used twice in a row). The piece is still worth reading, of course.
…must-reading from John Lott.
Somehow, Al Franken has pulled ahead of Sen. Norm Coleman in Minnesota.
Except for 133 missing ballots from Minneapolis, the recounting of votes from the U.S. Senate race is over. According to the Star Tribune’s tabulations, Republican Sen. Norm Coleman has a 192-vote advantage over Democrat Al Franken, pending the resolution of those Minneapolis ballots and of thousands of ballot challenges.
When the recount began, Coleman held a 215-vote edge.
Now comes the hard part – the challenged ballots. The Minnesota Canvassing Boad plans to meet on December the 16th to review the recount and challenged ballots.
Coleman challenged 3,376 and Franken 3,281 ballots.
Newly reelected Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) credited Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin with firing up his base and allowing him to cruise to a victory over Democrat Jim Martin.
Chambliss heaped praise on Palin, saying she has a “great future” in the GOP.
“I can’t overstate the impact she had down here. All these folks did a great job coming in,” he said, referring to former presidential candidates Mike Huckabee and Rudy Giuliani. “They all allow you [to] add momentum to where we were in the campaign. But when she walks in a room, folks just explode.”
“The margin you see in this race, I think you can attribute to her involvement in the end,” McKoon said.
“I might point out, as I told you when we walked in, since the race is over, no one pays attention to me at all … Maybe you will walk outside with me or something later and say hello to me,” Biden said,
Republican Govs. Rick Perry of Texas, Mark Sanford of South Carolina and Sarah Palin of Alaska, led a spirited debate about the pitfalls of adding to the $10.7-trillion federal debt. “They warned that the U.S. economy could collapse”, said Governor Paterson
The most exciting politician at the National Governors Association (NGA) conference was not President-elect Barack Obama, D, nor was it the former movie action star, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, R-Calif. The politician everyone wanted was Alaska’s Gov. Sarah Palin, the former Republican vice presidential candidate.
“I still have great concerns, when much of the economic problem that we are facing today perhaps was caused by too much debt that solving those problems will not come from incurring more debt”, said Palin.
Finally, watch this…
Did Chambliss endorse Palin for 2012?
Donald Rumsfeld’s much-maligned but actually rather insightful quote about known knowns, known unknowns, and unknown unknowns should be considered a great deal more often than it is. And when shilling for a candidate that you like, taking advantage of people’s ignorance (assuming that you aren’t the ignorant one yourself, of course) can be a mighty fine tool in boosting said candidate. Kristofer should probably consider a job in spin tactics for the Palin 2012 campaign, if he’s not already angling for it, because a whole load of fallacious nonsense is coming from him, in addition to Adam Graham and Matthew E. Miller in the thread to Adam Graham’s post asserting that there is “no denying” Palin Power.
Let’s get one thing out of the way right now: I do believe that Sarah Palin helped Saxby Chambliss. Got that? Let me repeat it: I do believe that Sarah Palin helped Saxby Chambliss. So, since I do believe that Sarah Palin did help Saxby Chambliss, I do not want the peanut gallery to start asserting that I don’t believe that Sarah Palin helped Saxby Chambliss, because I do believe that Sarah Palin helped Saxby Chambliss. But although I do believe that Sarah Palin helped Saxby Chambliss, common sense and fairly standard reasoning tells us that her assistance accounted for a small fraction of the difference between the November election and the runoff results.
But the beauty of unfalsifiable is that it’s just that. No matter how much crap you throw against the wall, nothing sticks when a person really, really wants to believe something. As Simon and Garfunkel sang: a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest. (Some, of course, fall prey to that more than others.)
So…here’s what RCP has to say about this:
Chambliss received 650,000 less votes yesterday than he did on Nov. 4, while Martin received 850,000 less votes. In DeKalb County, a heavily-Democratic county, Martin received some 95,000 less votes than he did Nov. 4, while Chambliss lost only 18,000 votes. Martin won the county by 6 points less than he did on Nov. 4.
In Gwinnett, another large Atlanta-area county, Chambliss won 64%-36% yesterday, after carrying the county by just 10 points (53%-43%) on Nov. 4.
These are indeed counties that Sarah Palin visited. Romney also visited the Atlanta area. Huckabee campaigned where Sarah did, too. Why aren’t we thanking Romney for the huge win? What about Huckabee? What about Rudy? What about the multitude of other surrogates that Chambliss had out there? What possible evidence is there that Sarah Palin was the one providing for the gap? And what of Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Max Cleland, and other high-profile Democratic figures (including the illustrious Ludacris, Young Jeezy, and TI) showing up in Georgia? Why did they not have any sort of similar effect? What about the phone calls from PACs, including HUCKPAC? What about the ground game? Who was more motivated? Known unknowns. (And who knows what the unknown unknowns are.) It is utter nonsense to proclaim, as a few of you have, that Sarah Palin’s presence in Georgia accounted for a 10-point difference from the polling (Chambliss’ margin of victory by 4.8% [52.4-47.6], using last night’s total tally: 102,072; Chambliss’ real margin of victory by 14.8%: 315,219). That would mean that over 213,000 votes were brought out by Palin’s presence. Oh. Please.
What’s really at work, here? The real problem with all of this is probably simply that the polls were off. It’s difficult to determine the makeup of the electorate in a runoff election, especially in a Southern state that just had an altered turnout in November due to the first black presidential candidate being in the race, and even more so since in the runoff, a filibuster-proof Democratic majority hung in the balance. So the dynamics shifted, but the question was: in what way? Well, given the results, we can discern a few things: Republicans obviously were more motivated last night, some moderate Independents and Democrats likely prefer divided government, to whatever extent that they can get it, and blacks and young voters showed up in smaller numbers than in November. The exit polls will probably show that.
But this entire episode over the past few hours shows more than just that some people are trying to project their own desires onto what happened. Instead of stepping back and asking what really happened, the Palin boosters automatically assumed that it must have been thanks to her. Don’t believe them? Well, gosh, just ask the person that brought her out to campaign for him about her dynamic energy! (If that sort of reliable, objective, detached analysis doesn’t sway you, then what will?) Don’t you see the crowd sizes?! But anecdotal evidence is no substitute for hard data and reliable facts. Using anecdotes and crowd sizes is the same sort of faulty faux-omniscience that leads people to fall for pseudoscience, bad economic reasoning, and statistical junk. It isolates one piece of information when there are myriad pieces of data out there to work with that need to be analyzed critically. If finding out what can account for the landslide win is your goal — which, to cheerleaders, rather than analysts, it probably isn’t — then this is a fatal flaw in reasoning.
And what of the Palin 2012 boosters? Palin (and Romney, and Huckabee, and Rudy) absolutely helped to motivate the base in an unusual election where turnout was key. But she persuaded no one (good grief, she couldn’t even persuade anyone to vote for her preferred ticket when she was the one on it), and trying to use this as an example demonstrating her strength in 2012 is just utter bollocks.
OK, I’m done.
Somebody hijacked a thread to ask about the Georgia Senate run-off. Instead of that, how about we make this an official results thread. Here’s the latest from the Georgia Secretary of State:
Jim Martin (D)——768,199-41.1%
Color me surprised that Chambliss lead is holding up this well with 90% of precincts reporting. I’ll refrain from analysis until we see what the final margin is.
Okay, I know what I said, but the AP has called for it Chambliss with 72% reporting.
Jim Martin (D)——768,199-41.1%
Alright, this will be my last update until after my BlogTalkRadio show ends.
Jim Martin (D)——505,484-39.4%
63% of Precincts Reporting
Jim Martin (D)——414,532-38.2%
Votes are starting to trickle in from Atlanta now:
Jim Martin (D)——349,081-37.7%
Jim Martin (D)——309,842-37.4%
Jim Martin (D)——248,262-37.2%
Fairly significant tightening on this one, but I didn’t think anyone expected a 30 point win for Chambliss:
Jim Martin (D)——218,498-38.1%
Jim Martin (D)——160,673-34.6%
Jim Martin (D)——134,415-33.8%
20% of Precincts Reporting
Will update as I can.
Signs are pointing towards a Saxby Chambliss victory in the runoff. He has what the President-Elect might call “a righteous wind” at his back. Every poll shows Chambliss up, including the latest Democratic Public Policy Polling survey which has a 53-46% Chambliss lead:
Chambliss is up 71-28 on Jim Martin with whites. For Martin to win the runoff with that performance, the electorate would have to be 34% African American. Given that it was only 30% for the general election with Barack Obama at the top of the ballot and that early voting was less than 23% black, that does not seem particularly likely.
Chambliss is up 58-41 among those poll respondents who reported having participated in early voting, not surprising given the overwhelmingly white nature of those who have already cast their ballots. Martin will need an incredible Democratic turnout at the polls tomorrow to make up for the deficit he goes into election day with based on early voters.
Martin leads with voters under 45, but trails 68-31 with voters over 65. Senior citizens are the most reliable group of voters and likely to make up a larger portion of the electorate than they did on November 4th for this comparatively low interest election. That’s just one more hurdle to climb for the Democratic challenger.
Overall, the RCP Average has Chambliss up by a solid 5.3%.
At the same time, Intrade is almost amazingly confident of Chambliss prevailing. Yesterday, the contract on Republican Victory in the runoff closed at 93.7, as of my writing right now, it’s at 97.0. For those curious, on the Minnesota race, Norm Coleman’s contract is 79.8.
The red clay of Georgia (pictured):
Fifty-eight and counting for the Democratic Party in the United States Senate, and should incumbent Republican Saxby Chambliss lose to Jim Martin on this Tuesday’s run-off election, only one Republican vote would be required to invoke cloture to end filibusters.
A President Barack Obama and the Democrats in Congress would have a blank check to enact most all of their legislative dreams of the past forty years, and, given the economic crisis, pass it all off as “stimulus” no matter how fundamental the changes the new laws may effect.
This column is an update to our front pager last week which suggested that Jim Martin was on his own, as far as getting any personal help on the ground from the President-Elect.
It remains the case that Obama will not take the “Coverdell” challenge and repeat the mistake made by then President-Elect Bill Clinton in his 1992 appearances in a previous Peach State run-off when Republican Paul Coverdell defeated then incumbent Democrat Wyche Fowler.
However, Obama did make a radio ad touting Martin as favoring his legislative agenda; Donna Brazile reported on ABC’s This Week Sunday show that all 20+ Obama campaign offices remain open; and that Obama supporters in adjoining states have been encouraged by text message to come help turn out the vote.
So, turnout matters in run-offs, too?
Yes, we finally heard, forty-eight hours before the vote, that yes, turnout matters. DeVine Law has yet to hear an explanation from an “expert” as to how turnout would ever not matter (unless an election is fixed).
Turnout means votes. We decide elections on actual votes, hence, every winner of every election is the one who had more voters turn out for them.
Gamecock also learned since our last report that Martin has raised and spent more money Chambliss. The Drive-by dead-tree media article tries to hide this fact by headlining the supposed ominous news that the Republican raised more money from large donors, but for those Americans that can still do math, the facts are discernible.
Finally, more information from our Astute Political Observer (APO) on the ground somewhere between Douglas and Decatur:
Many Georgia Democrats remain animated to vote against Saxby based on his TV ads (that included an image of Osama bin Laden) six years ago against then incumbent Democrat Max Cleland, especially given Chambliss’ reported student and medical deferments during the Vietnam War. Cleland is a triple amputee due to injuries suffered while serving in that war.
We are also advised that deaths of children abused while under the supervision of the Department of Human Resources (DFCS pronounced dee-fax) while Martin was commissioner have been used by some of his political opponents. Ads have also reported a Martin vote for a “whopping” 30+% tax increase amendment that never became law.
As an attorney that has defended parents as their lawyer children as Guardian ad Litem and before the DFCS equivalent in South Carolina, I never could point to a case where the commissioner was in any way at fault for the errors of case workers.
The tax increase Martin voted for was one cent on the sales tax.
There are many reasons to vote against Martin, but those two are not among them.
Given new data, especially including the news from our APO near the City too Busy to Hate, we have to temper, but not withdraw, our view that Chambliss should pull this election out and keep the state as red as the clay.
Polls show that black turnout (which went 95+% for Martin) will be up to 30% lower than their percentage on Election Day.
The best reasons for voting against Martin were mentioned above: He will be a rubber stamp for the Obama agenda. That will drive GOP turnout and the argument for divided government may persuade some Democrats to pause.
“One man with courage makes a majority.” – Andrew Jackson
Last evening, I read one of the most sensible posts in the last two months on R42012. The 80+ comments that followed have left me depressed. Not because of the subtle sexism and anti-Palin rhetoric, but because of the oblivious attitude many on this site have towards the current functional state of the GOP.
I am going to take Adam’s post one step further and accuse some (the minority) elite/east-coast Republicans of unknowingly sabotaging the party and any near-future hopes of regaining control of congress or the White house.
Are you offended? Then let me explain the reality of the situation to you.
Expect President Obama and the DNC to raise $2 billion dollars over the next four years. Expect the Obama/DNC email distribution list to reach 20 million (from the current 13 million) and their online donors list to grow from the 3 million current supporters.
Today, the Republican party is in much poorer shape than it was post-Watergate and we are on the verge of handing the Democrats a filibuster-proof Senate majority. It may take our party 8 years to match the Democrats in terms of fundraising and volunteer lists. IMO, 2006-2008 may not have been rock-bottom for Republicans and we may experience further defeat.
Many conservatives believe that the 2010 mid-term elections will be a repeat of 1994, but do not hold your breath. In the eyes of the voting public, the words, ‘Republican’, ‘corruption’ and ’DC’ are virtually indistinguishable. We are just as ill thought of as we were in 2006 and might still be just as negatively perceived in 2010, when there are even more vulnerable Republican seats up for re-election then there were in 2008.
Is there any hope for the GOP? What do we have in our arsenal to compete with this Obama/DNC machine and halt the slide in our shrinking memberships lists and volunteer organizations?
Answer: Sarah Palin.
Let us put aside the 2012 campaign for a moment and review why Sarah Palin is critical to saving the Republican party from further electoral losses.
Currently, Governor Sarah Palin is the only Republican politician who is in high demand on the talk show circuit, has galliardising support, is directly or indirectly responsible for developing massive email distribution lists, growing the online presence of conservative chat rooms, networking site and blogs and has the ability to fund-raise at the level of President Bush. Since the Nov. 4th election, most of the new conservative blogs and sites have been created on behalf of Sarah Palin or created by administrators supportive of Palin and/or her conservative positions. The online growth (blogs, youtube, conservative social networking) is Palin motivated and Palin targeted.
The three largest national pro-Palin organizations, http://www.draftpalinforpresident.com/, www.teamsarah.org and the http://www.nfrw.org/links.htm have nearly 300,000 members. All three groups have a national organization, a fundraising apparatus and have utilized their membership lists, technology and networking capabilities to work on behalf of Senator Chambliss. DraftPalin and teamsarah only developed their networks in the last 45 days. These three sites, in combination with the other pro-Palin sites/blogs and networks will easily exceed the 1 million membership mark before the end of next year.
The online Palin movement is the only conservative network to adopt identical technology and networking platforms as the successful Obama Presidential campaign. The Palin movement will be the critical factor in saving many Senators and House members in 2010, which is why liberals want Palin to become insignificant and shun from the national stage. See a transcript from a recent Limbaugh show for further explanation.
Still do not believe me about Palin, then read this from Politico.
Three weeks after the Republican ticket suffered a sweeping defeat at the polls, Sarah Palin continues to dominate search engine queries, cable news and online video sites.
The only American politician who generates comparable interest is President-elect Barack Obama. No one else is close.
- Palin was the most popular Lycos search from the week she joined the ticket continuously through last Sunday,
- The Alaska governor now ranks fourth, just one spot below Obama, on the weekly Lycos 50 list.
- In September, the Anchorage Daily News reported a 928 percent spike in traffic, according to Nielsen Online.
- Her mid-October “Saturday Night Live” appearance drove the show’s highest rating in 14 years, and her Oct. 2 debate with Joe Biden was the most watched vice presidential debate ever — drawing more viewers than any of the three presidential debates between McCain and Obama.
- She ranked as the No. 2 top news search at Ask.com this week and No. 2 (after Obama) among newsmakers on the AOL 2008 year-end hottest searches list, and she occupied two slots on Politico’s list of the site’s 10 most searched terms.
- Palin also ranked fourth among Yahoo searches
- she sat for an interview with Greta Van Susteren of Fox News and delivered the show’s largest audience of the year.
- According to the Project for Excellence in Journalism, Palin was the second-leading newsmaker for the week of Nov. 10-16, trailing only Obama and ranking ahead of President Bush, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and McCain in the number of stories about her.
Some web sites and GOP activists/politicians have provided some excellent suggestions to improve the Republican party, election strategy and online and grassroots conservative activism, but without growing membership lists, fundraising dollars and motivated activists, the ideas will not materialize into success. Like her or not, Sarah Palin is the only net-positive national representative we have at the moment.
Next time you decide to repeat your Keith Olbermann talking points on Sarah Palin, remember which national GOP candidate is stumping across Georgia for Senator Chambliss, on the eve of the election. It is not President Bush, former President Bush or Senator John McCain, it is Governor Sarah Palin.
A wise choice, Senator Chambliss.
Jim Martin is on his own
Originally published by Mike “gamecock” DeVine as Legal Editor for The Minority Report
Michael Barone reports:
Democrats hope for a disproportionately large turnout of young and black voters, but Barack Obama, busy building an administration with an eye to bipartisan acceptability, seems so far unwilling to deploy the one political asset—personal campaigning by the president-elect—that seems most likely to spark such turnout.
Democrats hope, but Obama’s non-change Clinton cabinet doesn’t extend to the Peach State:
I imagine there’s some behind-the-scenes arguments among Democrats about whether Obama should (pardon the expression) march through Georgia. Bill Clinton’s campaigning for incumbent Wyche Fowler in the 1992 runoff didn’t help Clinton’s prestige but rather signaled something in the way of political weakness, because Republican challenger Paul Coverdell won. I’m guessing that Obama wants to avoid a repeat of this outcome.
Do some Senate Democrats fear the spotlight and accountability of a filibuster-proof majority?
And I’m guessing, with some basis, that at least some incumbent Democratic senators would rather not have 59 Democratic colleagues, lest they be put on the record for imposing policies like the abolition of secret ballots in union recognition elections.
An astute political observer and life-long Democratic Party activist in Metro Atlanta advises TMR’s Mike gamecock DeVine that bitterness over Republican Saxby Chambliss’ campaign TV ad against then incumbent Democrat Max Cleland, six years ago, remains a factor in the race.
The ads, which included the passing visage of Osama bin Laden, criticized Cleland’s vote against a Homeland Security bill that failed to include a Labor Union provision preventing personnel changes by the President outside grievance rules that apply to most government employees. Chambliss claimed that the vote weakened national security, thus justifying the ad.
Gamecock doubts this bitterness will be enough to drive enough blacks, that are more conservative than Democrat Martin on social issues; and young people, that were too young to vote in 2002, to the polls to unseat Chambliss in this non-Obama on the ticket run-off.
With Obama on the ballot on Election Day, Martin trailed Chambliss by 3% and was saved from defeat only because the incumbent failed to garner more than 50% of the vote as required under state law.
An updated report on this race will be filed on my blog later this weekend or Monday.
“One man with courage makes a majority.” – Andrew Jackson
[Gamecock was legal editor of The (Decatur, GA)) Champion from 2002-2006 and convered the 2002 Chambliss-Cleland race.]
In a unanimous decision this morning, the State Canvassing Board (the entity which has been charged with determining the winner of Minnesota’s U.S. Senate race) denied Al Franken’s request to include rejected absentee ballots in the recount.
This is a big victory for Sen. Coleman as it has become evident during the recount that the only way that Franken could potentially only move ahead in the vote count would be to include rejected absentee ballots in the totals.
Of course, this is still far from over and further litigation to include rejected absentee ballots is inevitable. Should a court grant Franken’s request, a replay of Florida circa 2000 will ensue with judges going ballot-by-ballot to determine whether the vote should be recorded.
But for now, Sen Coleman will likely enjoy the moral victories of prevailing on election day as well as in the official recount.
In a couple different posts, a commenter has responded to the post whether on point or not by posting a list of Senate Candidates that the GOP needs to get run in 2010:
Arkansas: Mike Huckabee
California: Arnold Schwarzenegger
Colorado: Bill Owens
Hawaii: Linda Lingle
Maryland: Robert Ehrlich
North Dakota: John Hoeven
Vermont: Jim Douglas
Don’t waste any opportunity to knock off some Senate Dems. If Steele becomes RNC chair, he needs to do everything he can to get these guys to run.
So, if I understand the suggestion, it is that the GOP go out and recruit the most popular and well-known Republicans in each state. If this is earth-shaking advice to John Cornyn and the staff of the NRSC then we’re in more trouble than I thought.
Of course, you can take issue with a lot of these picks. Senator Daniel Akaka (D-Ha.) and Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) are so well-entrenched that it would take an act of God for them to lise. Ditto Pat Leahy (D-VT.)
As for Huckabee, he’s said he’s not running. He’ll never will run for the U.S. Senate, he’s made that crystal clear. I have to wonder about the anti-Huckfolks who seem to make the argument, “Huckabee is a two-faced socialist liar and bigot who will bring a nanny state upon us and use government to impose his religion. And that’s why we want to elect him U.S. Senator.”
But beyond the logic of the individual picks, I think the meme (and there’s a variation on this on other blogs) is that what we need are the same type of leaders that have thrown us into the crapper. Are these people good, will they bring integrity back to Washington, do they represent an appealing vision that will address the issues that are on the hearts and minds of the American people? Or do they represent famous names we can throw out there in hopes we get lucky? Or are we going to spend tens of millions of dollars only to elect the corrupt losers who got us into this mess in the first place.
The job of the NRSC Chairman–and what would be far more interesting to hear of from bloggers and commenters is not a list of names that anyone could find by doing Google, but rather really innovative candidates that can sell Republicanism and help rebuild the party. At the Senate level, our party needs fresh face, not just to round up the usual suspects.
Besides, if you’re dealing with incumbent Democrats, many of these famous names will back away from the fight because they’ll tarnish they’re electoral capitol and spend it in a race they might not win. You need fighters, you need people who are eager to serve, and are worthy of it.
It’s going to be close folks. Of the three most recent polls (results below), only one has Chambliss outside of the MoE.
Thankfully, Gov. Palin is heading to Georgia on Monday and it appears that Sen. Obama will follow through with his decision to sit this one out.
Politico/InsiderAdvantage Georgia Senate Runoff Poll, conducted November 23rd, 2008.
- Saxby Chambliss 50%
- Jim Martin 47%
The Politico/InsiderAdvantage poll surveyed 523 likely voters.
Public Policy Polling Georgia Senate Runoff Poll, conducted Nov. 22-23, 2008.
- Saxby Chambliss 52%
- Jim Martin 46%
PPP surveyed 871 likely voters on November 22nd and 23rd. The survey’s margin of
error is +/-3.3%.
DSCC Georgia Senate Runoff Poll, conducted Nov. 21-23, 2008
- Saxby Chambliss 48%
- Jim Martin 46%
The poll of 600 likely voters has a 4% margin of error.
Check out some of the ballots being contested by the Coleman and Franken campaigns up in Minnesota. Coleman’s lead has been narrowed to a little over 100 votes with over 60% of precincts reporting. Looks like we’ll eke this one out by a few votes.
Here’s a pathetic claim from the Franken campaign:
It’s a vote that was “intended to go to Franken,” they say!
Here’s a pathetic claim from the Coleman campaign:
It’s an “arrow to Norm,” they say!
Check them out and witness, to steal a joke from Jon Stewart, American democracy inaction!
In the last couple weeks we’ve seen no shortage of sentiment implying that the GOP is in something akin to death throes, provided that it doesn’t come to resemble something other than the modern GOP. This post has been building in me for a while, but the latest piece by Ron Brownstein, titled The Bush GOP’s Fatal Contraction, kind of set me off.
Look, I’m not going to say that nothing bad happened to Republicans on November 4. I don’t need to repeat the litany of losses we suffered that day. If you’ve forgotten, read Brownstein’s piece. I’ve seen those numbers myself.
But I don’t think its fair to say that “Bush leaves behind a party that looks less like a coalition than a clubhouse.” It is a pretty d*mn big clubhouse. In the past few years, under a Republican President’s watch, we’ve had two wars go badly, one of which a very large chunk of the country believes was unnecessary and founded on lies, a recession begin, instances of severe corruption, sex scandals, graft, massive deficit spending, and a city go under water, the financial system collapse, and a Republican President argue for a $700 billion bailout. All that was missing was plagues of locusts, and I’d have signed up for Hal Lindsay’s newsletter. The Democrats nominated not just a political candidate, but a pop culture phenomenon, who raised three quarters of a billion dollars over the course of his campaign, who ran (at least in Virginia) on a platform of ending a foreign adventure, tax cuts for 95% of the American people, a health care plan in the middle of the free market and government-run plan, and good old fashioned mom and apple pie.
The result? The Democrat got about 53% of the vote, about the same as the first President Bush got against Dukakis. Lest you think that this can all be chalked up to the racism of those darned West Virginians, Obama only ran about eight-tenths of a point behind Congressional Democrats.
In other words, about 9 in 20 voters voted for Republicans, versus 11 in 20 Democrats. In similar circumstances like 1952 and 1920, the verdict against the in-party has been much more dramatic. This is a bad result, but it is not a “chuck the social/fiscal/defense conservatives over the edge” bad result.
Brownstein continues that “[t]he consistent thread linking the 2006 and 2008 elections was the narrowing of the playing field for Republicans even as Democrats extended their reach into places once considered reliably “red.” Pardon my colloquialisms, but “well duh.” The Republican party consistently failed to perform and to produce good results over the past four years, and when it did (in Iraq), it was too late for the 2006 elections, and just in time for the business cycle to swing negative. When the Republican party was performing well, from about 2001-2003, it looked like reliably blue areas of the country like the upper midwest and the Pacific Northwest were trending their direction, while nothing was going right for Democrats. When you have power and you govern well, the country swings your way. When you have power and you don’t the country does the opposite. Very quickly, it turns out.
The results of this election should not have surprised anyone, and if they did it should have only surprised them by how well the Republicans performed given the circumstances. When you have a President with 25% approval ratings, you don’t make advances into blue states, you struggle to hold on to purple states, and you lose some ground in red states. That’s not partisanship, that’s common sense.
And Brownstein overlooks the most important fact of all when he writes:
But to win the GOP nomination, McCain embraced Bush’s core economic and foreign policies and then selected, in Sarah Palin, a running mate who waged the culture war with a zeal that made Bush and Karl Rove look squeamish. Both decisions weakened McCain’s position with centrist voters; then the financial collapse deepened the hole.
The very important fact that he overlooks is that even with Sarah Palin and McCain’s supposed embrace of Bush’s economic and foreign policies, McCain was leading Obama before the financial collapse took place (and this was well outside the time of the regular convention bounce). Obama was reduced to making snarky comments about lipstick on pigs and old dead fish and running commercials about how McCain couldn’t send e-mails. He was getting ready to drop Keating 5 ads. In other words, up until September 15, this was a very winnable race for Republicans. It wasn’t just at the Presidential level either — between the RNC and the financial collapse, every generic congressional ballot poll had the Democrats’ lead in single digits; we also had the first poll showing Republicans leading in the generic ballot since 2004. We were headed toward a three or four Senate seat loss, rather than the seven or eight one we’re looking at today. Given the overall condition of the country even pre-AIG/Lehman Brothers, that is astounding.
If McCain had pulled it off, and Obama had received only 49% of the vote and Democrats had made minimal gains in Congress or worse, the conclusion would be either (1) that Americans are racist or (2) that Democrats just can’t win the Presidency. Sorry, but the difference between a permanent Republican majority and a pup tent Republican party isn’t 4% of the vote.
Anyway, the point of all of this is to go back to something very, very important that Patrick Ruffini wrote about a week ago, and which conservatives should ponder carefully before they start excommunicating any branch of the party or otherwise seriously altering their message. He writes:
American elections are by and large not referendums on ideologies. They are contests of personality, optics, and performance in office. This goes the same for when they win or we win — whether it’s 1980, 1994, or 2006/2008. The Democrats did not have to change their ideology to win; they needed to change the charisma level of their standardbearer and needed an economic crisis and a prolonged unpopular war.
Because ideology doesn’t matter in elections, and so much of politics depends on ephemeral characteristics like personality and who was in when the economy cycled south, the parties paradoxically have relatively wide latitude to govern ideologically without fear of public backlash once they get in. This is why cries of “socialism” were so ineffective during the campaign, and likewise why Bush got most of what he wanted in his early Presidency, even before 9/11. If Barack Obama is able to adopt far-left policies and make it look like he’s making the trains run on time, the country will enter a new liberal era not by virtue of public opinion, but by acquiesence to what appears to be competent governance. In 1993-94, the Clintons tried to move the country to the left and looked incompetent in the process. It was the latter more than the former that opened a door for conservatives in 1994.
This is spot on. Republicans didn’t lose because they were too conservative, or not conservative enough, or didn’t ban abortion, or wanted to ban gay marriage. They lost because they were given the reigns of power, and they didn’t perform. If you look at the big party changes across recent American elections: 2006/08, 1994, 1982, 1980, 1974, 1966, 1958, they share a common thread: The in-party screwed up. If the Democrats screw up, all of those glowing internal exit poll numbers about Hispanics and youth and turnout and what-not will turn as depressing for them as they did in 2002 and 2004, when we were crowing about how Republicans had won 97 of the 100 fastest-growing counties.
That’s the worst thing about this election for Republicans — our fate is not really in our hands. But in the meantime, we shouldn’t act like the results from November 4 are a 1964/1984 “will we ever govern again” result, because they weren’t. What we’re doing on this site is important, and the party does need to examine how it interacts with its online communities, how it presents its message, and how it attacks the incoming administration. But that’s ultimately for what happens when we are handed the reins of power, to try and make sure we don’t screw up again. At what point in time we’re handed the reins depends as much on the results the incoming Administration is perceived as supplying as it does anything we do in the background, but in the meantime, we’ve got a pretty darned good bedrock to build upon.
From HUCKPAC regarding the big Senate runoff between Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga) and Democrat Jim Martin.
We are dusting off the cobwebs on the phone bank tool and hooking it up to Huck PAC. We hope to begin calling on Friday. Stay tuned!!!!!
At the height of the campaign, Huckabee’s volunteer phone bank turned out tens of thousands of calls a day. A similar reaction or one close to it could help in what will be a razor tight runoff. With the Filibuster on the line, I’ll be calling this weekend and I hope many others will too.
Rasmussen Georgia Senate Run-Off Poll, conducted November 18, 2008
- Saxby Chambliss 50%
- Jim Martin 46%
- Undecided 4%
This telephone survey of 700 Likely Voters was conducted by Rasmussen Reports November 18, 2008. The margin of sampling error for the survey is +/- 4 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.
The run-off is scheduled for December, 2nd.
From the official release:
Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney announced today that he will be campaigning in Georgia for U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss on Friday, November 21, and that his Free and Strong America PAC has made a contribution of $5,000 to help with the runoff election.
Romney will be appearing at political rallies in Atlanta and Savannah , as well as at a series of private event fundraisers. Chambliss won the Nov. 4 general election, but the Dec. 2 runoff was called when neither Chambliss nor his Democratic opponent, Jim Martin, achieved 50 percent of the vote due to third party participation.
“This is a critical election whose outcome will be important to maintaining a balance of power in the Senate,” said Romney. “It is critical that Republicans safely retain the ability to filibuster in order to prevent the worst abuses of single party rule.”
Romney praised Chambliss as an outspoken leader in protecting the homeland from terrorism and called him an important voice for strengthening America ’s military and getting our economy moving again through pro-growth, low-tax policies. The $5,000 contribution from Romney’s PAC is in addition to $2,300 that the PAC donated to Chambliss during the general election campaign.
I wanted to pass this message on to the R42012 readers.
It looks like Democrats have won another Senate seat, this one in Alaska, where absentee ballots counted late yesterday pushed the Democrat into the lead. We think the lead will hold when the last ballots are counted in 6 days.
That would make 58 Democrats. Two races are still undecided.
The Republican in Minnesota is clinging to a 206 vote lead out of 2.9 million votes cast. That recount will stretch into December.
That makes the Georgia Senate runoff election, now just 19 days away, more important than ever.
Democrats are just two seats away from a 60-vote filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, where they could ignore Republican objections on any issue by getting 60 Senators to stop debate.
Consider the damage that could be done if the Democrats get to 60 seats in the Senate and have completely unchecked power. Nothing could stop them from:
We recommend all Club members donate now to help Georgia Sen. Saxby Chambliss win the runoff.
Sen. Saxby Chambliss compiled a solid, but not outstanding, record in his nearly six years in the Senate. At the end of this email, we review both the pros and cons about Sen. Chambliss, so you can learn more before deciding whether or not to donate to his campaign.
Sen. Chambliss scored an average of 86 in the Club for Growth and Citizens Club for Growth ratings of Congress between 2005-2007. That score was good enough for an average rank of 14, putting him in roughly the top 25% of the GOP caucus on economic issues.
The Democratic challenger Jim Martin is a skilled campaigner who is fairly liberal for a southern Democrat. He supports universal health care, opposes drilling in Alaska, supports the “cap and trade” proposal that would raise energy prices, supports price controls on drugs, supports energy mandates, and opposes personal accounts for Social Security. Martin also has a long record of supporting higher taxes in the Georgia Legislature.
If you prefer not to donate online, you can call us with your credit card ready at (800) 784-2741. Or you can donate by check. To donate to Saxby Chambliss’s campaign, please make your checks payable to Chambliss For Senate. (Contributions are limited to $2,300 for the runoff election and you may donate up to this amount even if you donated $2,300 to his November election. The 2007-2008 biennial limits on total candidate donations apply to this race.) Then mail your check to Club for Growth PAC, 2001 L St NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC, 20036.
Chambliss is the lead sponsor of the FairTax, a bill to replace the income tax with a sales tax. Chambliss is also one of only 11 Senators to introduce bills to cut spending.
Chambliss has an outstanding record on tax policy, voting to extend or make the tax cuts permanent. He has been a solid supporter of permanent repeal of the Death Tax. He is solid on legal reform and opposes the “card check” bill that would allow unions to organize workers without a secret ballot.
He voted against massive expansion of government run health care and against price controls on drugs.
His record on free trade is fair. In a Cato listing of all his Senate votes he voted for free trade and against trade barriers on 15 of 21 non-Cuba votes. He voted for all free trade agreements starting in 2004 for the Australia FTA, Morocco FTA, CAFTA, Oman FTA and Peru FTA. The worst blemish on his free trade record is his sponsorship of the bill that demanded China revalue its currency under the threat of a tariff. There is no evidence that Chambliss’s opponent would support any free trade agreements.
He scored a 93% in our special rating on pork barrel spending, good enough for the sixth best score in the Senate.
Here are the two key beefs some people have with Chambliss. He supported the Farm Bill (Georgia has a lot of agriculture), which obviously was a fiscal disaster. A lot of people were upset with him for working with Democrats in an attempt to craft a bipartisan compromise to expand drilling. Suffice it to say, the compromise outline was lousy, both on policy and political grounds. However, Chambliss has voted for drilling in Alaska and offshore.
We have confidence that Chambliss would almost certainly be a solid vote to uphold a filibuster on any bill that threatens economic growth.
So, you can see that with the Democrats at 58 or maybe 59 seats, we should do everything we can to stop them from getting to 59 or 60. If they have 59, then they just need to pick up one more vote from a Republican to stop a filibuster and pass any bill they want.