Recapping Yesterday’s Primaries

Yesterday, House and Senate primaries were held in Connecticut, Florida, Minnesota and Wisconsin. First, for the I-cannot-believe-she-won-AGAIN race: Michele Bachmann with 80% of the vote. Thanks, I feel better for sharing the insanity.

In Connecticut, there were no surprises. Chris Murphy won over Susan Bysiewicz 67.5% – 32.5% to capture the Democratic nomination. He will face, and easily win against, Linda “WWF” McMahon, who captured 72% of the vote over Chris Shays on the Republican side. This is currently Joe “Turncoat” Lieberman's seat. It will be gratifying when this seat returns to its Democratic place in the Senate in January. And yes, I'm sure Murphy wins. There were no surprises in the House primaries, with most races being uncontested. 

In Minnesota, incumbent Senator Amy Klobuchar captured 90% of the primary vote, and will be challenged by, and will win against, Kurt Bills. There were some interesting state house outcomes. with the longest-serving Republican being tossed out by a teabag challenger. But in the national House races, only one surprise. Rick Nolan edged out Tarryl Clark to take on freshman teabagger Chip Cravaack, who is legitimately vulnerable.

On to Wisconsin. Tommy Thompson managed to win the Republican Senate primary against three tea bag challengers. This sets up a heated race between the former governor and Tammy Baldwin, who ran uncontested. This is the seat Herb Kohl is retiring from, and yes, Herb is from the family that owns the chain Kohl's. The polls in the head-to-head have been close, with Thompson slightly ahead. Thompson was a popular governor, and former Federal official. For a Republican, his health care stance is relatively decent, and he did good work in Wisconsin on health matters. Tammy Baldwin is a long-term pol, having held local and state positions before being the first woman from Wisconsin elected to Congress. She was also the first openly-gay non-incumbent ever elected to Congress. She is serving her 7th term. In her first two races, she captured 53% and 55% of the vote, and has consistently won with more than 60% ever since. She voted against invading Iraq. I'm looking forward to the next sets of polls, because it is possible that teabaggers will either come in as “undecided” or “other”, which may propel Baldwin to the lead. The Wisconsin House races were uneventful, and mostly uncontested.

And finally, we have Florida, Florida, Florida. (I still miss you Tim Russert.) Betcha $10,000 that Mittens wished he would have waited a couple days to announce Paul Ryan. John Mica, a 10-term Republican redistricted to run against freshman teabagger Sandy Adams, won with 61% of the vote. Cliff Stearns has apparently lost to veterinarian Ted Yoho, but Stearns has refused to concede, and the vote has not been certified as of this writing. It's close: under 800 votes. Stearns can be blamed, in part, with the rest of the blame resting on Karen Handel, with the implosion of the Susan G. Komen foundation. Karen Handel was the one who got the organization to cut Planned Parenthood funding because of an “on-going Congressional investigation.” Stearns WAS the “Congressional investigation.” Good riddance.

In the Florida 9th, Alan Grayson will be back on the ballot, running against Todd Long, who won over John Quiñones and others on the Republican side. This puts Grayson in a stronger position. 

Connie Mack IV will be challenging Bill Nelson in the Senate race. Every time I think of baby Mack, I am reminded of the 1992 Eddie Murphy movie The Distinguished Gentleman. Baby Mack is a mere shadow of former Connie Macks. This one is married to Mary Bono Mack, Sonny Bono's widow, and holder of her own Congressional seat. The two of them like to spend time together more than they like to go to work. Connie Mack IV has the 7th worst record for missed votes.  Mack claimed that Nelson missed 56% of the votes, but it turns out that number was from a long time ago, and recently Nelson missed one vote. Total. Nelson is on track to re-election not just because Baby Mack doesn't show up, and generally voters want their elected representatives to go to work, but also because Nelson is very, VERY pro-Medicare, and Ryan on the ticket makes Medicare all they're going to talk about in Florida, with a side order of Social Security.

Don't understate the importance of the Ryan pick in the Florida primaries: on the front page of every major paper in Florida on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday were headlines reminding Floridians about Ryan and Medicare and NOT the primary elections. 

Remember:

Elections are won one voter at a time.
Get yours today.

The Fear is Palpable

Crossposted from Democratic Convention Watch

Today is Tuesday the 5th of June.

In California, they're trying out the new jungle primary system, as well as a number of ballot initiatives. (See the full list here.) The full 9th Circuit will release its decision today on whether it will review the 3-judge panel's decision overturning the gay marriage ban. There's a non-binding primary in Montana for the GOP, and a binding primary for the Democrats. The closed party primaries held today in New Jersey are binding on both sides. There are also binding primaries on both sides in New Mexico and South Dakota, as well as the North Dakota Democratic side. Generally, this would be all over the news, especially the California primary, but instead all eyes are on Wisconsin.

 More after the jump.

In the Badger State, they're expecting turnout of about 65%, and if that threshold is cleared, there's a high probability that America and our two-party system will survive to fight another day. The lower the threshold, the higher the chance that we have seen the end of the two party system for a generation, and the higher the probability that we will see street protests that rival those this year in Greece, Portugal, Spain and Canada. 

The spending in Wisconsin on the recall is something like $30 million on the side of evil, and about $3 million on the side of truth and light. To a lot of us outside the Beltway, we're very disappointed that the DNC declined to engage, and that the sole peep from our president was a single tweet last night, which said”

@BarackObama It's Election Day in Wisconsin tomorrow, and I'm standing by Tom Barrett. He'd make an outstanding governor. –bo

Inside the beltway, they're saying that Obama was right to steer clear as that would have made it a “partisan issue” instead of a state issue, but we'll see.

The state Democrats, along with the unions, have knocked almost a million doors, and phone banked almost a million homes, they expect to do even more today. If Barrett wins today, it is the triumph of many very hard-working, dedicated boots on the ground who will convince people in the third gubernatorial recall in US history (the others were in 1921 and 2003) that their votes matter. In a state where the airwaves are ruled by Walker's cronies' money, AND THEY CHEAT, a win will be exclusively due to the power of grassroots, of handshakes, a triumph of what elections are supposed to be – issues and actions. 

Don't underestimate the power of money in elections, and be aware that the Walker contingent is so full of lies that they've sunk this low:

Reports began to surface Sunday from around Wisconsin that those canvassing for Governor Scott Walker were informing residents that if they had signed a recall petition that there was no need for them to vote today as their signature was their vote.

WE know that's not true, but most people aren't smart where politics and elections are concerned. Hopefully voters took the time to listen to the two debates, wherein Barrett stuck to the facts and Walker sidestepped, ignored questions and outright lied. Hopefully, the voters are paying attention to the fact that Walker is the only governor with a legal defense fund, and is on the cusp of indictment. Hopefully they value schools and human beings over corporate tax cuts and the selling of public lands as paid deer-hunting “farms”. 

This is the first election where the full force of Citizens United is being felt, or the second if you include the GOP presidential primary fiasco. When the votes are finally tallied, which likely won't be until early tomorrow at the earliest, will we suddenly be a plutocracy? That's question number one. Followed by the question of Milwaukee County: will the same voters who turned out in 2008 for Barack Obama come out today? If so, it will be a clear victory for Tom Barrett no matter what happens in the rest of the state. Milwaukee County is that populous, and Obama won with 62% of the vote. There are a number of people who've been interviewed who are voting for Walker NOT because they like him, but because they don't like the recall process. Are these people a large number, or just who the media chose to focus on?

Whatever the outcome, we need to learn from this situation going into November: we need to become even more focused on the idea that EVERY VOTE MATTERS. Turnout counts. Grassroots is all we've got left to fight the half million dollar (and up) donations made by the über rich. 

In my household, the fear is truly palpable, and it will be a long night. Fingers crossed the dawn brings joy.

Another Off-Shore Victory For The Off-Shore Banker

Missouri

This Saturday, Republicans voted again in Missouri’s caucus. The Republicans already had a primary there on February 7 and Santorum won every county across the state. Most Caucuses feature two events. A Presidential preference vote where people select the candidate of their choice, and a second vote in which each voters select one of their neighbors to represent them at the County level. The first vote is the vote which everyone talks about on TV, but it is the second vote that actually counts. Everything boils down to delegates. The networks guess the delegate counts will be similar to the Presidential preference vote, but that is unclear. It depends on whose supporters actually stay to the end of the meeting  for that final vote, and it depends on how the county convention goes one or two months later.

Missouri is unique in that the Presidential preference vote did not occur yesterday on caucus night but occurred rather last month. Romney belittled Santorum’s victory at that time saying that no delegates were at stake, but the contest yesterday was impossible for the major networks to clearly report on, so they basically ignored it.

Missouri allows each county to set its own rules. The resulting confusion led to turmoil at several sites. In St. Charles County, the caucus was cancelled and a Ron Paul supporter was arrested amid disputes over the rules. See video above.

The moral is that estimating delegate counts is premature before the dust settles and the county and district conventions play out.

Puerto Rico
Today, Romney scored an impressive victory in Puerto Rico hitting the 50% threshold necessary to lock up all 20 delegates for himself. (Puerto Rico and some states have a rule whereby you win all of the delegates if you get a majority of the votes. If no one gets a majority of the vote, then the delegates are divided proportionately among those who get at least 15%. Thus it is a big deal if you hit 50%.)

Santorum had announced that he favored statehood for Puerto Rico only if it made English its sole official language. However, 95% of Puerto-Ricans speak Spanish at home, so this was not a popular stand for Rick Santorum to take. See our Q&A for more information on the voting in the various US Territories.

Debates
A debate was originally scheduled for tomorrow evening. However, Romney withdrew and the debate was cancelled. No more debates are currently on the primary calendar.

Illinois
Oddsmakers at inTrade give Romney a 92% chance of winning this Tuesday in the Illinois primary. This would probably be his first victory in the continental United States since Super Tuesday.

The Romney campaign had been challenging Santorum signature petitions in several Illinois counties. BuzzFeed reported that the Romney campaign dropped these challenges. It was not immediately clear why they called off their lawyers, but now Politico reports that Santorum had countered that Romney’s signature petitions were all notarized in Boston while Illinois law requires that they be notarized in Illinois. Continuing the legal battles may have invalidated Romney’s candidacy throughout Illinois, so the two campaigns called a legal truce.

Louisiana
Then this Saturday is the Louisiana primary. InTrade gives Santorum a 79% chances of winning there.

 Other Key Dates

  • Republican National Convention, August 27-30, Tampa, FL
  • Democratic National Convention, September 3-6, Charlotte, NC
  • Presidential Debate, Wednesday, October 3, Univ. of Denver, Denver, CO
  • Vice-Presidential Debate, Thursday, October 11 at Centre College, Danville, KY
  • Presidential Debate, Tuesday, October 16, Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY
  • Presidential Debate, Monday, October 22 at Lynn University, Boca Raton, FL
  • General Election, Tuesday, November 3

Color Key  
Romney: Orange.
Santorum: Green.
Gingrich: Purple.
Paul: Gold.
Rick Perry: Blue.
No votes: Black.
Yet to vote: Grey.


States Won
Mitt Romney: NH FL NV ME AZ MI WY WA VA VT MA ID AK OH GU MP AS HI PR
Rick Santorum: IA CO MN MO TN OK ND KS AL MS
Newt Gingrich: SC GA
Ron Paul: VI


Next Contests  
Mar 20: IL
Mar 24: LA
Apr  3: MD DC WI  
Apr 24: CT DE NY PA RI
May  8: IN NC WV
May 15: NE OR
May 22: AR KY
May 29: TX
Jun  5: CA MT NJ NM SD
Jun 26: UT

Deep South Votes: Santorum Wins, Gingrich Places, Romney Shows

Today, Republicans voted in Alabama, Mississippi, Hawaii and American Samoa.

  • Santorum won the Alabama primary with 34.5%, Gingrich came second with 29.3%, just ahead of Romney with 29.0%, and Paul scored 5.0%.
  • Santorum won the Mississippi primary with 32.9%, Gingrich 31.3%, Romney 30.3%, and Paul 4.4%.
  • Romney won the Hawaii caucus with 45.4%. Santorum came with 25.3%. Paul was third with 18.3% winning the largest island while Romney won the smaller islands.
  • No vote totals are available from the US Territory of American Samoa, but Romney is projected to win all 9 delegates.
    Update: Only 70 Republicans participating in the caucus since “it’s rare in American Samoa for anyone to officially register as a Republican or Democrat because local elected officials don’t run on party lines.” This means that 13% of caucus goers in American Samoa will be eligible to vote at the Republican National Convention!

Speculation is increasing that Newt Gingrich may drop out of the race. He will probably suspend his campaign and keep his pledged delegates in order to give himself an important role at the Republican National Convention.

  • This Saturday, Republicans will vote again in Missouri’s caucus. The Republicans already had a primary there on February 7 and Santorum won every county across the state. No delegates were awarded in the primary, but Santorum hopes to repeat his success in the Missouri caucus.
  • On Sunday, Puerto Rico will be the final US Territory to vote.
  • This is quickly followed by the Illinois primary on Tuesday. Oddsmakers at inTrade give Romney a 71% to 75% chance of winning in Illinois. This would probably be his first victory in the continental United States since Super Tuesday.
  • Then the following Saturday is the Louisiana primary. InTrade gives Santorum a 72% to 85% chances of winning there.
     Other Key Dates

    • Cancelled PBS/NPR Debate, Monday, March 19 at 9pm ET, Portland, OR
    • Republican National Convention, August 27-30, Tampa, FL
    • Democratic National Convention, September 3-6, Charlotte, NC
    • Presidential Debate, Wednesday, October 3, Univ. of Denver, Denver, CO
    • Vice-Presidential Debate, Thursday, October 11 at Centre College, Danville, KY
    • Presidential Debate, Tuesday, October 16, Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY
    • Presidential Debate, Monday, October 22 at Lynn University, Boca Raton, FL
    • General Election, Tuesday, November 3

    Color Key  
    Romney: Orange
    Santorum: Green
    Gingrich: Purple
    Paul: Gold
    Rick Perry: Blue
    Not voted: Grey


    States Won
    Mitt Romney: NH FL NV ME AZ MI WY WA VA VT MA ID AK OH GU MP AS HI
    Rick Santorum: IA CO MN MO-primary TN OK ND KS AL MS
    Newt Gingrich: SC GA
    Ron Paul: VI


    Next Contests  
    Mar 17: MO-caucus
    Mar 18: PR
    Mar 20: IL
    Mar 24: LA
    Apr  3: MD DC WI  
    Apr 24: CT DE NY PA RI
    May  8: IN NC WV
    May 15: NE OR
    May 22: AR KY
    May 29: TX
    Jun  5: CA MT NJ NM SD
    Jun 26: UT