PJ Media

The Battle for America: Around the Nation, Sept 8, 2010

Pajamas Media is covering the historic November elections on the ground in battleground states all over America. We have correspondents in more than a dozen states and are looking for more. The following is our first weekly round-up from our coast-to-coast Battle for America 2010 correspondents.


ILLINOIS

Bill Baar reports:

The Chicago Tribune’s latest poll showed Republican Mark Kirk and Democrat Alexi Giannoulias stalemated. Each took 34% of those polled. Both campaigns seem stuck despite charges of resume puffing, mob bankers, and starting today: Kirk lied on WMDs in Iraq.

Over a fifth of Illinois voters seem to be singing “mom didn’t raise me to vote for Mark Kirk” or Alexi Giannoulias — depending on Mom’s politics — and refusing to side with any candidate, while sideshow candidates threaten to drain votes away from the main battle. The Green’s LeAlan Jones took 6% and Libertarian Mike Labno another 3% in the Trib poll, and Randy Stufflebeam of the Constitution Party fights on in the courts for ballot space.

Stu Rothenberg wrote a “clunker” economy surfs Kirk to the Senate for the GOP. Yesterday’s announcement from Mayor Daley that he’ll not run for re-election in 2011 raises fears donors will hold back on giving to Giannoulias and instead save their money for the big mayoral race in 2011, further draining the money pool to fuel any wave for Giannoulias. That’s the only race that really counts for Chicago Democrats.

MARYLAND

Michael Swartz reports:

With primary voting already underway, signs are pointing toward the long-awaited “grudge match” for governor between incumbent Democrat Martin O’Malley and Republican Bob Ehrlich, whom O’Malley ousted in 2006.

Ehrlich finally joined the air war this week, debuting his first campaign television ad after nearly two months of O’Malley being unchallenged on Maryland’s televisions. And in more good news for the former governor, Ehrlich’s fundraising swamped O’Malley’s during the most recent reporting period by a nearly 3:1 margin.

The mere formality for Ehrlich is getting by insurgent conservative candidate Brian Murphy once the primary voting closes next week; however, respected state political commentator Blair Lee thinks Murphy could get a third of the GOP vote. This begs the question of whether conservative grassroots support for Ehrlich will sag again as it did in his 2006 re-election effort. Since Ehrlich still has a significant disadvantage in cash on hand against O’Malley, the grassroots will be more important to his cause.

CALIFORNIA

Tim Daniel reports:

September 1, 2010, was the one and only debate night.

Debate highlights: Carly Fiorina was attacked for her $100,000,000 golden parachute. Boxer was long on talk and short on achievement. She defended yes ma’am and was boxed-in during the combative debate.

However, in this bluest of blue states, the Fiorina v. Boxer match is still essentially a statistical tie.

FLORIDA

Stephanie Maier reports:

The latest Rasmussen poll shows Florida Republican gubernatorial candidate Rick Scott neck-and-neck with Democrat and current Florida CFO Alex Sink, 45% to 44%, respectively (the remaining were either undecided or favored another candidate).

Independent candidate Bud Chiles, son of the late Florida Governor Lawton Chiles, will drop his bid for governor in support of  Alex Sink. Chiles’ withdraw is expected to bring additional votes to Sink.

Republican Rick Scott named Jacksonville state Representative Jennifer Carroll as his running mate. In 2003, the U.S. Navy veteran became the first black female Republican elected to the Florida legislature, and if victorious in November, she will become Florida’s first black lieutenant governor. (Democratic challenger Alex Sink already announced Senator Rod Smith of Alachua County as her running mate in late August.)

The Libertarian Party candidate for governor, John Wayne Smith, has been removed from the November ballot by the Florida Secretary of State’s office for apparently failing to file certain documents on time. Smith contests the allegation. He would have been the first Libertarian gubernatorial candidate in Florida.

VIRGINIA

Mary Beth Niemeyer reports:

Life in VA-5 (incumbent Tom Perriello (D) vs. challenger Robert Hurt (R)) continues as before:  Everybody hates everybody else, and they’re telling the pollsters about it. Last weekend, SurveyUSA dished up terrifying news for Perriello. Not only is he down a whopping 26 points, he’s lost further traction amongst independents and the constituency which first gave him his job — the youth vote in Charlottesville. The DCCC, however, claimed on September 2 that Perriello and Hurt are in a statistical tie, and reminded all interested parties that Perriello still has plenty of ad money to play with. Meanwhile, the Rothenberg Political Report is saying the hell with everybody and listing the race as a “Toss-Up, Leans Republican.”

CONNECTICUT

Jane Genova reports:

With two months left in the midterm campaigns, the most action in blue state Connecticut is coming in the U.S. Senate race between populist Attorney General Richard Blumenthal (D) and wealthy former World Wrestling Entertainment owner Linda McMahon (R). A July Quinnipiac University poll showed Blumenthal with a 10-point lead over McMahon, down from 20 in June.  On September 16, President Obama will fundraise for Blumenthal. That is being positioned by McMahon as a sign of desperation. Meanwhile, Blumenthal had a high-profile media victory with his role in ending Craigslist adult services. McMahon had setbacks with the death of two former WWE wrestlers, ages 29 and 48.  After Labor Day she will be hit with negative ads. The question is if her war chest can fund an effective push-back.

In other races, surprisingly abortion is an issue in this socially moderate state. Among candidates opposing abortion are the GOP’s Martha Dean, candidate for attorney general, and Mark Boughton, candidate for lieutenant governor. Both defeated their pro-choice opposition.

TEXAS

Kristin Esparza reports:

As mid term elections get nearer in the state of Texas, accusations of everything from money mismanagement to racism are passing back and forth between the Democrat nominee, former Houston Mayor Bill White, and the Republican incumbent, Rick Perry. At the same time, a fire burned down the storage facility holding the voting machines for Texas’ largest county, leading many to question whether or not it was intentional; and if so could it change the outcome of the elections?

The illegal immigration debate is rearing its head in Texas as well, as city councilmen in Tomball, just outside of Houston, are proposing laws that would prevent illegals from buying, working and renting in the city. Will candidates for larger offices in this border state chime in with their views, or stay out of it in hopes of gaining votes from Hispanic voters? The pressure is on in Texas, and with voting time approaching it won’t be letting up soon.