The Daily Kel

Blog for Kelly Lamrock, M.L.A. for Fredericton-Fort Nashwaak, New Brunswick

Monday, November 06, 2006

U.S. Midterm Elections -- Ten Races To Watch

Tomorrow, voters in the United States will decide whether or not to bring to a close a Congress that has run up a huge deficit, allowed ideology to replace reasoned debate, and abandoned any notion of independent oversight of the executive.

Needless to say, I am eager to see the results -- although any progressive who follows U.S. politics knows to be trepidatious until the votes are counted.

In any event, since other bloggers like Politics NB are eagerly posting predictions. Here are mine, along with some key races to watch.

THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

10. IDAHO-1: In a state that went nearly 2-to-1 for Bush, you'd think the GOP nominee would automatically win. That thought seemed to motivate everyone but Elmer the Safety Elephant to run for the Republican nomination. This crowded field allowed Dan Sali, an extreme right wing candidate funded entirely by the Club For Growth lobby group, to win the nomination with just over 20% of the vote. Sali is quite a character; in addition to being cited for lawsuit fraud by his own physician he has alienated many in his own party -- Idaho's other GOP Congressman said he wants to throw him out a window, and the Speaker of the Legislature said he was "a complete fricking idiot". The Dems nominated sane-looking Larry Grant, a moderate running with the line "If you're a Republican looking to vote for Larry Grant, you're in good company".

9. ILLINOIS-6: In Henry Hyde's old seat, Dems run Iraq vet Tammy Duckworth, who lost both legs in combat. Always classy towards soldiers, the GOP candidate has mostly been noted for unfortunately accusing Duckworth of wanting to "cut and run", and Photoshopping her picture in attack ads to darken her skin and alter her eyes to draw more attention to her Asian heritage. Classy. Duckworth, BTW, is one articulate, bright woman.

8. NORTH CAROLINA -11: Heath Shuler bombed as an NFL quarterback. Taking on Abramoff-purchase, er, client Charles Taylor, he may break 50% -- which is more than I could say for this Blue Dog Dem's completion percentage when I drafted him in my football pool.

7. NEW YORK-20: Kirsten Gillibrand, who I've written about before, really deserves to beat John Sweeney, who never met a White House talking point he wouldn't read. Gillibrand is a remarkably articulate candidate who seems able to go offscript on education and foreign policy and sound very reasonable. Sweeney's personal attacks seemed to get cut short when an Albany newspaper reported a domestic abuse 911 call from his house. The polls seemed to go south, too-- although it's gonna be a squeaker.

6. TEXAS-22, FLORIDA-14: Lump these together. No way Dems would win these if not for Tom DeLay and Mark Foley, the two disgraced incumbents. Because of their post-nomination immolations, they've left Republicans having to try to boost a write-in candidate against Dem Nick Lampson in DeLay's seat and (good luck) having to get Florida voters to vote FOR the lecherous Foley in order to get the GOP replacement elected.

5. COLORADO-4: As troops die in Iraq and poverty rates go up, Marilyn Musgrave says stopping consensual same-sex relationships is the most important issue in America today. After a surprise interview where she was asked "If you could stop a gay marriage or save an American soldier, which would you do?", she stopped giving interviews and hoped to fly below radar in this GOP-heavy District.

4. NEW YORK-24: Sleaziest attack ad. GOP national campaign runs an ad claiming Michael Arcuri, the Dem Attorney-General, called a phone sex hotline from a hotel and charged the taxpayer. Staffer came forward with phone recirds and said he actually mistakenly called the number. Phone records show a call under 1 minute to the 800 line, followed by a call to an identical number with a local number which happened to be the court services office. GOP knows this, won't pull the ad until stations refuse to run that garbage. Justly, Arcuri's lead widens and even the local GOP candidate begs his party to pull the hatchet job.

3. WYOMING-AL: Dem Gary Trauner deserves to beat GOP non-entity Barb Cubin. When she threatened to "slap" a wheelchair-bound Libertarian candidate who pointed out her unfortunate ties to Jack Abramoff, Trauner got traction. She tried to fix it by saying she got the idea from Rush Limbaugh saying he's like to slap Parkinson's-ravaged Michael J. Fox for campaigning for stem-cell research. Nice role model, Congresswoman.

2. WASHINGTON-08: Dave Reichert, who denies global warming and votes the party line on Iraq, runs into smart, successful businesswoman Darcy Burner who's running because her husband, serving in Iraq, was denied proper armour by chickenhawk Reichert's vote.

1. SOUTH DAKOTA-AL: If Dems are smart, their '08 ticket will be Barack Obama-Stephanie Herseth. Herseth is on the brink of turning this red state's lone seat into a stronghold through (gasp) simply taking rational stands on the issues. Check out her web site and the ads -- this woman has national-level skills.

DEMS GAIN 27 SEATS AND TAKE HOUSE.

QUICK SENATE PREDICTIONS

10. Vermont: Socialist Indy Bernie Sanders wins Senate seat. Rush Limbaugh rushes for candy and painkillers.

9. Connecticut: Indy-by-necessity Joe Lieberman actually has "Joementum" and beats Ned lamont. Reminder to Dems -- preaching to the choir doesn't get it done.

8. Rhode Island: GOP incumbent Linc Chafee closes in race by running ad reminding people he would NOT vote for Bush in last presidential election. In a tight Senate race, Bushies grin and bear it. Chafee may be GOP upset of the night, but I'm still picking Dem Sheldon Whitehouse.

7. Maryland: race got tight at the end, but state should be blue enough to get Dem Cardin home.

6. Tennessee: Harold Ford tries to be first black Southern senator. GOP opponent Corker runs attack ad that plays -- get this -- jungle drums whenever Ford's name mentioned. Gotta love Republicans. Of course, Corker opened up a lead, and I think the GOP holds very ugly.

5. Missouri: Every poll seems to show a tie. On a hunch, I'll pick Dem Claire McAskill in a squeaker.

4. Virginia: "Macaca"-spewing bully George Allen gets his comeuppance from Dem veteran Jim Webb. Second most-deserving GOP loss of the night, next to....

3. Montana: Conrad Burns makes Jim Bunning look like a rocket scientist. He is a target of Abramoff probe and claims he doesn't need to ask Bush about Iraq plan because "I think he's got a plan, he ust doesn't want to tell anyone what it is because we'll just screw it up." maybe that's why he's in tough against Jon Tester. Tester's got the best ads this cycle -- check out his site -- and I think competence wins in the end.

2. Ohio: Sherrod Brown beats a pretty decent GOP incumbent, Mike DeWine in this swing state.

1. Pennsylvania: After 12 years of taking extreme positions in this red state -- like arguing that homosexuality is like "man on dog" and arguing for states' rights to criminalize contraception, Rick Santorum loses to moderate pro-life Dem Bob casey Jr.

DEMS TAKE MT, VA, RI, OH, MO & MN TO CARRY SENATE 51-49