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TRACKING THE BATTLEGROUND STATES. ARKANSAS (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Zogby): Bush-46%, Kerry-45%, Nader-2%. The state was once sorta close, then Bush grabbed a big lead, and now it's close again. FLORIDA (SayfieReview.com/Insider Advantage): Bush-47%, Kerry-44%. THIRD DEBATE: The various overnight polls gave a slight edge to Kerry for winning debate #3. Only time will tell if the debates have any effect on the ultimate outcome.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.15.04 |

GOVERNOR RACE UPDATE. VERMONT (WCAX-TV/Research 2000): Governor Jim Douglas (R) - 51%, Burlington Mayor Peter Clavelle (D) - 37%, Justice of the Peace Hardy Macia (Libt) - 1%. Clavelle has unsuccessfully tried to make the Iraq war an issue by arguing that the war (i.e., Bush) is diverting national resources away from states, but Vermonters aren't blaming the centrist Douglas for the war. GOP Favored. INDIANA (South Bend Tribune/Research 2000): Former US Budget Director Mitch Daniels (R) - 46%, Governor Joe Kernan (D) - 43%, businessman Kenn Gividen (Libt) - 2%. Daniels and Kernan have also broken state fundraising records. Daniels raised $14.7 million to date and Kernan already raised $13.5 million. Leans GOP.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.15.04 |

US SENATE RACE UPDATES. FLORIDA (SayfieReview.com/Insider Advantage): Former US Housing Secretary Mel Martinez (R) and former State Education Commissioner Betty Castor (D) are now tied with 43% each. VERMONT (WCAX-TV/Research 2000): US Senator Pat Leahy (D) - 67%, businessman Jack McMullen (R) - 21%. Safe Dem. ARKANSAS (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Zogby): US Senator Blanche Lincoln (D) - 60%, State Senator Jim Holt (R) - 32%. Safe Dem. WISCONSIN: Move US Senator Russ Feingold (D) to the safe list. The NRSC looked at the race and, this week, cancelled the $1.2 million TV ad buy it planned to make on behalf of construction executive Tim Michels (R). "At this current time, we are not putting the money behind the time we had reserved. I think we're assessing the playing field on a day-to-day basis ... We also know we have limited resources," said the NRSC's spokesperson.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.15.04 |

US HOUSE RACE UPDATES. CONNECTICUT CD-4 (Univ of Connecticut): Congressman Chris Shays (R) - 44%, Westport Selectwoman Diane Ferrell (D) - 37%. The same poll shows the district also favors Kerry by a 12-point margin. Leans GOP. INDIANA CD-2 (South Bend Tribune/Research 2000): Congressman Chris Chocola (R) - 54%, attorney Joe Donnelly (D) - 38%. GOP Favored. KANSAS CD-4 (KWCH-TV/SurveyUSA): Congressman Todd Tiahrt (R) - 61%, Wichita School Board Member Michael Kinard (D) - 31%. Safe GOP. FLORIDA CD-22. Florida Democrats won a symbolic court victory this week that they have the right to run a substitute nominee in the place of former Wilton Manors Jim Stork (D), who withdrew on September 15 for health reasons. Based upon the court ruling, party leaders selected veteran campaign consultant and former Congressional aide Robin Rorapaugh as the new Dem nominee to face Congressman Clay Shaw in November. Even if it is too late to reprint absentee ballots or reprogram electronic voting machines in some counties, votes cast for Stork will simply be counted as votes for Rorapaugh. Safe GOP.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.15.04 |

FRIDAY OPEN THREAD. What else is going on in politics?
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.15.04 |

SEND A PIN = GET A FREE PLUG HERE. Here's my open offer for every campaign (and campaign supporter): send me a button or pin from the Governor, US Senate, Congressional, Statewide Office, etc., campaign you are involved in -- feel free to add a sticker and brochure -- and I'll place a link to official campaign site here on our homepage blog in a daily "thank you" note. (FYI: Presidential coattails items always appreciated!) My address: Ron Gunzburger, 409 NE 17 Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301. Today's thanks go out to: Michael Peroutka, Constitution Party nominee for President.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger -10.15.04

TRACKING THE BATTLEGROUND STATES ... AND THE FINAL DEBATE. ARIZONA (Northern Arizona University): Bush-49%, Kerry-44%, Badnarik-1%. IOWA (Chicago Tribune): Bush-47%, Kerry-45%, Nader-1%. IOWA (ARG): Bush and Kerry tied at 47% apiece. MINNESOTA (Chicago Tribune): Kerry-45%, Bush-43%, Nader-2%. OHIO (Chicago Tribune): Kerry-49%, Bush-45%. OREGON (ARG): Kerry-49%, Bush-44%. WISCONSIN (Chicago Tribune): Kerry-47%, Bush-43%, Nader-2%. THE THIRD DEBATE: Actually, I thought it was rather a yawner. Bush and Kerry both played it very safe. Each man came prepared with their memorized attack sound bites and poorly delivered jokes (and generally unfunny ones at that). The debate certainly won't change the look of the race -- as it generally lacked news or fireworks -- so expect the contest to stay razor close for these final three weeks. In retrospect, if I had known it was going to be this dull of an affair, I wish they had let Cobb, Badnarik, Peroutka, Nader, Brown ... heck, even the two rival Prohibitionist tickets ... into the debate to liven it up.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.14.04 |

"WHAT'S THE STORY WITH SENATOR BUNNING?" US Senator Jim Bunning (R-KY) looked like a lock to win re-election a few months ago, but his erratic behavior since then has started to raise serious questions about his mental health. The state's leading newspaper -- the Louisville Courier-Journal -- editorialized Wednesday that "Jim Bunning continues his descent into conduct that members of his own party find disturbing and that his opponent accurately describes as unbecoming of a U.S. Senator ... Bunning apparently can't grasp that the reason for all the speculation about his health and stability is his own very visible, very offensive behavior ... Bunning's fellow Republicans are among the most chagrined and are desperately offering this or that excuse for his actions." Bunning implied at a campaign event that his Italian-American opponent, State Senator and surgeon Dan Mongianardo (D), looked like he could be one of Saddam Hussein's sons. When there was a demand for an apology, Bunning turned even more surly and countered that "Dr. Dan" owed him an apology for spreading rumors about his health. Bunning also surrounded himself with an extra-heavy set of security bodyguards that virtually keep most of the public and media at a distance from him at events. Bunning falsely claimed a union endorsement he didn't win. The strangest of all was his conduct related to Monday's televised debate with Mongionardo. At the last minute, Bunning claimed he had to fly back to DC for important Senate votes (note: there were none scheduled or held). Instead, he agreed to appear in the debate from a remote location: the private studio in the RNC headquarters in DC. During the debate, it appeared to viewers that Bunning was reading his comments from a TelePrompter device. On Tuesday, Bunning's campaign acknowledged that Bunning did use the device -- but tried to explain he wasn't cheating. Under the debate rules, both men were allowed to bring and refer to written notes. Bunning's spokesman said the TelePrompter was within the rules because it was just another form of notes. Mongiardo's campaign cried foul, saying it was "an outrageous abuse of the agreement" and "cheating." Expect lots more stories from the Kentucky media in the coming days questioning Bunning's mental "health and stability" -- to quote the Courier-Journal -- unless he can find a way to answer the growing concerns. In more bad news for the incumbent, the state's other leading newspaper -- the Lexington Herald-Leader -- endorsed Mongiardo on Wednesday. Bunning is still a strong favorite, but the DSCC started to pour money into Mongiardo's campaign this week now that they smell the feignt scent of blood in the water.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.14.04 |

US SENATE RACE UPDATES. SOUTH CAROLINA (WCSC-TV/SurveyUSA): Congressman Jim DeMint (R) - 46%, State Superintendent of Education Inez Tenebaum (D) - 43%. DeMint's recent gaffes seem to be cutting his once commanding lead. And, FYI, there are four other Senate candidates on the SC ballot: two from the far left and two from the far right. GOP Favored. PENNSYLVANIA (Quinnipiac College): US Senator Arlen Specter (R) - 55%, Congressman Joe Hoeffel (D) - 36%. Safe GOP.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.14.04 |

US HOUSE RACE UPDATES. ARKANSAS CD-2 (KTHV-TV/SurveyUSA): Congressman Vic Snyder (D) - 57%, State House Minority Leader Marvin Parks (R) - 35%. Democrat Favored. COLORADO CD-3 (KUSA-TV/SurveyUSA): Open seat contest. State Rep. John Salazar (D) - 49%, State Natural Resources Director Greg Walcher (R) - 44%. Toss-up. KENTUCKY CD-3 (WHAS-TV/SurveyUSA): Congresswoman Anne Northup (R) - 54%, Clerk of Courts Tony Miller (D) - 41%. Northup could be heading to her first comfortable re-election victory. GOP favored. NEW YORK CD-29: Yesterday was "sex scandal day" for Congressman David Wu (D-OR) ... and today it is already someone else's turn. There is a potentially damaging scandal breaking involving State Senator John "Randy" Kuhl (R), who is a heavy favorite to win this open House seat. Somehow -- and Kuhl's campaign is blaming the campaign of opponent Samara Barend (D) -- a copy of Kuhl's sealed 2000 divorce file was "accidentally" photocopied and released. Anonymous copies were mailed to newspapers throughout the district. They haven't printed it, but the liberal Raw Story website is running the story in great detail. The most damaging allegations from the file: that Kuhl cheated on his wife, had a major alcohol problem, and that during a drunken argument at a dinner party at their home Kuhl grabbed two shotguns and menacingly pointed them at his wife. Kuhl held a press conference to say that the release of the file was an act of "orchestrated political sabotage." Kuhl's ex-wife joined him for the press conference, adding that most divorces are "inherently adversarial" and that the divorce ultimately did not end on bad terms. However, she didn't directly retract her allegations from the divorce filings. Kuhl is still favored, but stay tuned to see if this story has legs.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.14.04 |

THURSDAY OPEN THREAD. ¿Que pasa?
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.14.04 |

SEND A PIN = GET A FREE PLUG HERE. Here's my open offer for every campaign (and campaign supporter): send me a button or pin from the Governor, US Senate, Congressional, Statewide Office, etc., campaign you are involved in -- feel free to add a sticker and brochure -- and I'll place a link to official campaign site here on our homepage blog in a daily "thank you" note. (FYI: Presidential coattails items always appreciated!) My address: Ron Gunzburger, 409 NE 17 Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301. Today's thanks go out to: Tracy Velazquez, Democrat for Congress in Montana; Alan Parks, Republican for Congress in West Virginia CD-1; Dave Thomas , Democrat for Congress in Colorado CD-7; and Central Pennsylvania Friends of Kerry/Edwards, local Presidential grassroots group.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger -10.14.04

TRACKING THE BATTLEGROUND STATES. Three new state polls. MINNESOTA (Minneapolis Star-Tribune): Kerry-48%, Bush-43%, Nader-2%. OREGON (KATU-TV/SurveyUSA): Kerry-53%, Bush-44%. PENNSYLVANIA (Quinnipiac College): Kerry-46%, Bush-43%.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.13.04 |

"WU, LOOK, IT'S A SEX SCANDAL!" Congressman David Wu (D) was already facing a competitive challenge in Oregon's CD-1 from wealthy telecommunications consulting firm owner Goli Ameri (R) before a double-shot of bad news broke for him on Tuesday. The Portland Oregonian reported on a 1976 incident involving Wu and his then-girlfriend. In the incident, Wu was detained by his university's campus police for questioning after an incident in which "his ex-girlfriend said he tried to force her to have sex." At the time, Wu had obvious scratches across his neck and face. Wu was not arrested after the woman "ultimately declined criminal prosecution and did not file a formal disciplinary complaint." Wu quickly responded with a written statement: "Twenty-eight years ago, I had 2-year romantic relationship with a fellow college student that ended with inexcusable behavior on my part. As a 21-year-old, I hurt someone I cared very much about. I take full responsibility for my actions and I am very sorry. I was disciplined by Stanford University for my behavior and I worked with a counselor. This single event forever changed my life and the person that I have become. I was sorry for my actions 28 years ago and I remain sorry to this day." If that wasn't bad enough news for him, the Portland Oregonian also endorsed Ameri for Congress as a candidate "with the potential to be a more effective member of Congress." The paper previously supported the incumbent. Wu is the first Taiwanese-born person to serve in Congress. If elected, Ameri would be the first Iranian-born member of Congress.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.13.04 |

US SENATE RACE UPDATE. GEORGIA: If a new Atlanta Journal-Constitution/Zogby poll is accurate, the increased volume of TV spots from Congresswoman Denise Majette (D) has started to close the gap against Congressman Johnny Isakson (R) -- but she still has a very long way to go. The numbers: Isakson-49%, Majette-34%. GOP Favored.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.13.04 |

US HOUSE RACE UPDATE. COLORADO CD-7: According to a new Denver Post/Mason-Dixon poll, freshman Congressman Bob Beauprez (R) is holding a 10% lead over Jefferson County State's Attorney Dave Thomas (D). Beauprez was elected by a bare 121-vote margin two years ago. Interestingly, Beauprez has a 38% favorable rating and a 25% negative rating -- surprisingly weak numbers for an incumbent. However, Thomas may have big trouble bridging the gap against Beauprez as the challenger holds a dismal 16% favorable rating versus a 27% negative rating. GOP Favored.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.13.04 |

WEDNESDAY OPEN THREAD. Whatever.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.13.04 |

SEND A PIN = GET A FREE PLUG HERE. Here's my open offer for every campaign (and campaign supporter): send me a button or pin from the Governor, US Senate, Congressional, Statewide Office, etc., campaign you are involved in -- feel free to add a sticker and brochure -- and I'll place a link to official campaign site here on our homepage blog in a daily "thank you" note. (FYI: Presidential coattails items always appreciated!) My address: Ron Gunzburger, 409 NE 17 Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301. Today's thanks go out to: Barack Obama, Democrat for US Senate in Illinois; Mike Liffrig, Republican for US Senate in North Dakota; Citizens United to Protect Our Public Safety, Schools, and Communities, a Maine committee opposing the Palesky tax cap initiative; and Robert Schroeder, Republican for New Jersey Governor 2003.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger -10.13.04

US HOUSE RACE UPDATE. TEXAS Congressman Martin Frost (D-TX) is waging a spirited challenge against Congressman Pete Sessions (R) in the newly redrawn Texas CD-32. Frost -- a former DCCC Chair -- was US House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's #1 target of the 2003 redrawing of district lines that DeLay encouraged. Frost's district was cut apart and divided among four new, strongly GOP districts. Ultimately, Frost filed in the new district that was already represented in large part by Sessions. According to a new Dallas Morning News poll, Frost is in trouble but is not dead yet. The numbers: Sessions-50%, Frost-44%. Also, 18% of the poll respondents said they "could still be persuaded to vote for another candidate" -- meaning that Frost will have a tough time closing this gap. According to recent FEC reports, Frost has raised $3.1 million to date and Sessions has raised $2.8 million.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.12.04 |

COBURN WARNS OF "RAMPANT LESBIANISM." It seems that every time that former Congressman Tom Coburn (R) pulls close to Congressman Brad Carson (D) in Oklahoma's US Senate race, Coburn goes and makes another stupid comment. Well, there he goes again. Carson's campaign released a tape recording Monday they just obtained of comments that Coburn apparently made to an audience a few weeks ago. Here's what Coburn said: "Our [campaign] rep down here in the southeast area, he lives in Colgate and travels out of Atoka. He was telling me lesbianism is so rampant in some of the schools in southeast Oklahoma that they’ll only let one girl go to the bathroom. Now think about it. Think about that issue. How is it that that’s happened to us?" This pronouncement was apparently news to everyone in the Colgate area. "He knows something I don't know. We have not identified anything like that. We have not had to deal with any issues on that subject -- ever," said Colgate School Superintendent Joe McCulley. "I don't believe that [report] ... [our attorneys] haven't said anything to me about that," added the Executive Director of the Oklahoma State School Boards Association. These kind of frequent gaffes were what worried GOP leaders in DC when Coburn announced his candidacy -- and was what prompted them to back his failed primary opponent.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.12.04 |

PARTICULARLY OBNOXIOUS BLOGGERS (AND CENSORSHIP). I've received a whole bunch of complaints in recent days that I should block one particularly obnoxious blogger from making further postings -- particularly on the threads related to the 1/23 Marines. While I have blocked a few individuals from posting here in the past, I am unable to do so in the case of individuals who connect to the net with unassigned IP addresses through some of the larger ISPs (AOL, cable companies, etc.). The blogger many of you have complained of is among those who fall into this category. Blocking him would only result in a very temporary blocking of his access. However, I would offer a suggestion: ignore him entirely. And, if needed, I'll delete any inappropriate postings by him. Finally, I'd remind everyone that the wonderful thing about free speech is that it more easily allows us to identify the village idiots who live among us.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.12.04 |

REPORT FROM IRAQ: RADIO CALLS AND ABSENTEE VOTING. Our latest report from Iraq by our friend and special correspondent Lt. James Crabtree of the 1/23 Marines in northwestern Iraq.

Dear Readers of Politics1.com,

Howdy once again from the Al-Anbar Province of Iraq. Our battalion continues to be busy in our area of operations and I've got more things to write about then I have either the time or space for. These updates seem to be growing more and more popular based upon the volume of emails and letters I've received about them. In fact, in the last week I've gotten letters from four Texas Congressmen: Sam Johnson, Martin Frost, Ralph Hall, and John Carter. They represent both major parties. Each wrote a really great letter in support of our battalion and all of them appear to have seen the updates on Politics1 because they mention things in their letters that they wouldn't know about otherwise (or they come right out and say they enjoy the updates). This is a nice surprise. I've posted these Congressional letters in a main hallway in our building so that all the Marines and sailors can see them.


GunnerySgt Sepeda and SSgt Mireles wait in line, while
LCpl Alanis speaks on the air with Bob Cole on KVET.

Well, this past Friday we were able to use our satellite based phone network to call in live to "The Sammy and Bob Show" in Austin on KVET radio. The folks at the station were exceptionally generous to us. In fact, our Marines ended up spending over a half-hour on the air during prime morning rush hour. The producer told me later that they have received a tremendous response from folks that called in to the studio wanting to write letters and send care packages. You can now go to www.kvet.com to listen to clips from the program. My only regret is that many of the Marines from the Austin area had spent the day conducting operations and were unable to make it to the phone. The good news is that KVET wants to do the call again, so we should be able to get some of the guys on there that missed-out last time. I also want to extend my thanks to Jay Vise, Bob Cole, and Sammy Allred for making the call possible. They were great to us throughout. It's also interesting to note that Bob Cole sounds the same off the air as on.

Friday actually turned into a full-blown Austin media day as some of the Marines also spoke with KLBJ-590 AM for a recorded radio interview and also with Fox-7 TV in Austin. Each of those calls was conducted late at night here in Iraq and most of the Weapons Company Marines were well asleep by that point. I can't say I blame them. They'd been up since 0100 and had spent a day conducting a sweep through a town near us. I'd say it was definitely a case of sleep being more important than the opportunity to speak to a reporter in Austin.

Last night was the big UT vs. OU football game. Our battalion recently received a nice big screen TV and put it to good use (above) with over 150 Marines packed into a tent to watch the game via the Armed Forces Network. Most of those watching were for the Longhorns, but there was a small and vocal group that was glad to see OU win. As a Longhorn alum, I was disappointed to see them lose, but I was grateful that so many of the troops were able to escape their surroundings for a few hours. It was also nice to be able to see green grass and rain on the TV. What a sight!

This Wednesday I'm kicking off our Operation Write-In campaign. We have 500 Federal Absentee Write-In Ballots for those who have still not received their requested absentee ballots. No one from Travis County has received a ballot yet, so I'll be voting this way too unless my ballot shows up by the 13th. Luckily many other counties and parishes were much better than Travis County and thus many of the Marines and sailors have already cast their votes. I'm just glad we have the write-in ballots as a back up plan. The write-in effort will go for 24 hours a day for three straight days. We plan to have all the ballots mailed by the 15th in order to get them to the county clerks on time. I'm also hoping to take a trip to our forward operating base in Hit (pronounced "Heat") in the next few days in order to see Charlie Co and give them their ballots. I spoke with their CO, Major Rodriguez, today and he's all for it. I guess when I get down there you could say I'm in Hit (Heat.) Well, maybe that doesn't sound so good. Ha.

Well, that's about all I have time for in this report ... except for this: I've enclosed a photo of a directional sign that SSgt Moser and Sgt Sullens came up with a la the old TV show M*A*S*H. It has directional arrows for all of the main towns that our Marines and sailors are from, as well as some spots like Timbuktu and the North Pole. The sign is located in the heart of our camp.

Finally, I hope these reports read like a conversation between you and I. They certainly aren't being written to win a Pulitzer or impress any Shakespearian scholar. Take care and thanks for everything!

Semper Fi,
James

P.S. Secretary Rumsfeld visited our base today. He didn't get down to our area to see the 1/23 Marines, but its still cool that for a moment we were on the news because of his visit. The radio here played a news report from the states that said "The Secretary of Defense made a surprise visit to a Marine base in Iraq today....." Shoot, we knew about that a week ago. It's just an example of things we know about that the media isn't aware of.

P.P.S. The parents of LCpl Schick -- the Marine who recently suffered serious injuries -- started a website called www.jacobschick.org. Check it out.

If you'd like to send the 1/23d any care packages, please address the packages to Lt Crabtree, 1/23 H&S Co, Unit 41900, FPO, AP 96426-1900 ... and James will ensure that whatever you ship gets distributed to the Marines in the 1/23. If you'd like to read more about our adopted 1/23 Marine battalion in Iraq, please click here.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.12.04 |

TUESDAY OPEN THREAD. Anything at all.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.12.04 |

SEND A PIN = GET A FREE PLUG HERE. Here's my open offer for every campaign (and campaign supporter): send me a button or pin from the Governor, US Senate, Congressional, Statewide Office, etc., campaign you are involved in -- feel free to add a sticker and brochure -- and I'll place a link to official campaign site here on our homepage blog in a daily "thank you" note. (FYI: Presidential coattails items always appreciated!) My address: Ron Gunzburger, 409 NE 17 Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301. Today's thanks go out to: Ken Salazar, Democrat for US Senate in Colorado; Congresswoman Ginny Brown-Waite, Republican seeking re-election in Florida CD-5; Bob Casey Jr,, Democrat for Pennsylvania State Treasurer; and Bill Lee, Republican for Delaware Governor.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger -10.12.04

TRACKING THE BATTLEGROUND STATES. COLORADO (Denver Post/Mason-Dixon): Bush-50%, Kerry-41%, Others-2%. COLORADO (CNN/USA Today/Gallup): Bush and Kerry tied at 49% for each, and Nader at 1%. COLORADO (KUSA-TV/SurveyUSA): Bush-52%, Kerry-44%. Very different and confusing numbers from three new polls. NEW HAMPSHIRE (Manchester Union Leader/Franklin Pierce College): Kerry-49%, Bush-42%, Nader-1%. Kerry has gained a few points. NEW JERSEY (Newark Star-Ledger/Rutgers Univ.): Kerry-47%, Bush-40%. Kerry is up 4% and Bush is up 1% since the same poll last month. NEW JERSEY (Fairleigh Dickinson Univ.): Kerry-49%, Bush-41%. NEW MEXICO (CNN/USA Today/Gallup): Bush-50%, Kerry-47%. A shift towards Bush among LV's. OREGON: The Portland Oregonian -- a newspaper that endorsed Bush in 2000 over Al Gore -- this weekend endorsed Kerry. WISCONSIN (CNN/USA Today/Gallup): Bush-49%, Kerry-46%. Bush still holds narrow lead.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.11.04 |

"HEY, PAY SOME ATTENTION TO US!" Not that it was an original stunt or anything, but Green Party Presidential nominee David Cobb and Libertarian Party Presidential nominee Michael Badnarik were both arrested Friday evening outside the site of the second Bush-Kerry debate. Both men attempted to physically push their way into the building as an act of civil disobedience to protest their exclusion from the debate. And, as was both desired by the candidates and expected by the onlookers, both were arrested and detained for a short time. Ralph Nader similarly appeared outside the site of the first debate in Miami and demanded his inclusion, but he did go so far as to be arrested. Pat Buchanan and others have used this symbolic publicity stunt when they were Presidential candidates in recent years. Alan Keyes even announced he was on a hunger strike during the late stages of the 1996 primary season to protest his exclusion (note: magazine essayist Michael Lewis reported that Keyes appeared to amazingly keep all his weight on during his supposed "hunger strike"). But the Cobb/Badnarik stunt did achieve something: it caused us to mention them here again.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.11.04 |

US SENATE RACE UPDATES. COLORADO (Denver Post/Mason-Dixon): Attorney General Ken Salazar (D) - 46%, beer magnate Pete Coors (R) - 44%. COLORADO (CNN/USA Today/Gallup): Salazar-54%, Coors-43%. COLORADO (KUSA-TV/SurveyUSA): Salazar and Coors tied with 48% apiece. Salazar is clearly drawing cross-over votes, as he is running well ahead of Kerry in each survey. Toss-up. FLORIDA (Quinnipiac College): Former US Housing Secretary Mel Martinez (R) -48%, former State Education Commissioner Betty Castor (D) - 47%. FLORIDA (Tallahassee Democrat/Mason-Dixon): Martinez-46%, Castor-41%, Dennis Bradley (Veterans) - 1%. Martinez has narrowly overtaken Castor within the past week, confirmed by several polls. Toss-Up. GEORGIA (WXIA-TV/SurveyUSA): Congressman Johnny Isakson (R) - 57%, Congresswoman Denise Majette (R) - 35%. Why did Majette give up her safe House seat for this? Safe GOP. NEW HAMPSHIRE (WMUR-TV/Univ of NH): US Senator Judd Gregg (R) - 62%, campaign reform activist Doris "Granny D" Haddock (D) - 21%. Safe GOP. OKLAHOMA (KOKH-TV/SoonerPoll): Former Congressman Tom Coburn (R) - 39.8%, Congressman Brad Carson (D) - 39.2%. After two debates, Coburn has eliminated his deficit and the two are essentially tied. Toss-Up.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.11.04 |

GOVERNOR RACE UPDATES. NEW HAMPSHIRE (Manchester Union Leader/Franklin Pierce College): Former UNH Trustee Board Chair John Lynch (D) - 47%, Governor Craig Benson (R) - 42%. Lynch seems to have some momentum in recent weeks, so we're reclassifying this race from "Leans GOP" to the "Toss-Up" category. This could be one of those unexpected "sleeper" races to watch.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.11.04 |

HOUSE RACE UPDATES. NEW HAMPSHIRE CD-1 (WMUR-TV/Univ of NH): Congressman Jeb Bradley (R) - 58%, attorney Justin Nadeau (D) - 25%. Safe GOP. NEW HAMPSHIRE CD-2 (WMUR-TV/Univ of NH): Congressman Charlie Bass (R) - 53%, former Assistant Attorney General Paul Hodes (D) - 28%. Safe GOP.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.11.04 |

ONLY IN CALIFORNIA. On Thursday, a Marin County group named Baring Witness tried a ... ummm .. unique way to draw attention to the fact of California's rapidly approaching October 18th deadline to register to vote in the Presidential election. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, seven women and one man stripped off their clothes and laid upon a grassy hillside at a spa -- using their bodies to spell "OCT 18" -- as other group members cheered, read poetry aloud, sang, and signed-up spa patrons as new voters. Liberal activist Donna Sheehan founded the group two years ago to organize Marin County women to strip down and spell anti-war slogans on beaches, ball fields and pastures. "We're not unlike crop circles. We appear suddenly and mysteriously, and we are all shapes and sizes," she explained. The goal was to encourage the female patrons of the spa to register to vote. "Although this event is a little unusual and certainly a first for the Marin County Registrar, we support any effort that legitimately encourages citizens to involve themselves in the electoral process. Single women are under-represented in the electorate," said Marin County Registrar of Voters Michael Smith. He arrived at the event after the disrobing portion had ended.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.11.04 |

MONDAY OPEN THREAD. Yup, I'm back at work in Florida. Now it's your turn: another open thread..
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.11.04 |

SEND A PIN = GET A FREE PLUG HERE. Here's my open offer for every campaign (and campaign supporter): send me a button or pin from the Governor, US Senate, Congressional, Statewide Office, etc., campaign you are involved in -- feel free to add a sticker and brochure -- and I'll place a link to official campaign site here on our homepage blog in a daily "thank you" note. (FYI: Presidential coattails items always appreciated!) My address: Ron Gunzburger, 409 NE 17 Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301. I received several packages of buttons when I was on the road last week, so I'll space out the thanks for those campaigns over the next few days so they don't all get lumped together into one big posting. Today's thanks go out to: Peter Corroon, Democrat for Salt Lake County (Utah) Mayor; Congressman John Shimkus, Republican seeking re-election in Illinois CD-19; Jack Wagner, Democrat for Pennsylvania Auditor General; and Don Richards, Democrat for Pennsylvania State Senate SD-33.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger -10.11.04

TRACKING THE BATTLEGROUND STATES. FLORIDA (WBBH-TV/Mason-Dixon): Bush-48%, Kerry-44%. FLORIDA (Quinnipiac College): Bush-46%, Kerry-42%. Bush lead still holding in Florida. IOWA (Univ. of Minnesota): Kerry-48%, Bush-47%. Can Governor Vilsack deliver for Kerry?. MAINE (WCSH-TV/SurveyUSA): Kerry-49%, Bush-47%. Nader and Cobb could be factors here. NEW HAMPSHIRE (ARG): Kerry and Bush tied at 47% apiece. NEW JERSEY (Quinnipiac College): Kerry-49%, Bush-46%. Kerry still leads, but he should be running better than this in Jersey. OHIO (ARG): Kerry-48%, Bush-47%. Lead switches again, but still way too close to call. NEW MEXICO (Albuquerque Journal): Kerry-46%, Bush-43%. PENNSYLVANIA (KDKA-TV/SurveyUSA): Kerry-49%, Bush-47%. PENNSYLVANIA (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review/Keystone): Kerry-48%, Bush-41%. PENNSYLVANIA (ARG): Kerry-48%, Bush-46%. Three new polls give PA to Kerry, so the see-sawing lead switches again here.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.08.04 |

US SENATE RACE UPDATES. ALASKA (KTUU-TV): Former Governor Tony Knowles (D) - 48%, US Senator Lisa Murkowski (R) - 45%, Jim Sykes (Green) - 2%. Toss-up. PENNSYLVANIA (KDKA-TV/SurveyUSA): US Senator Arlen Specter (R) - 54%, Congressman Joe Hoeffel (D) - 35%, Others/Undecided-11%. Safe GOP. INDIANA (WXIN-TV/SurveyUSA): US Senator Evan Bayh (D) - 66%, college professor Marvin Scott (R) - 28%. Safe Dem. SOUTH CAROLINA: Congressman Jim DeMint (R) created more controversy for his US Senate campaign this week, although he still remains the frontrunner. After saying in a debate a few days ago that he would not favor allowing any openly gay educators to teach in the public schools, DeMint added on Tuesday that he also would not want to see "a single woman who was pregnant and living with her boyfriend" teaching in the public schools. On Wednesday, DeMint apologized for the comment about unwed pregnant teachers: "Sometimes my heart disengages from my head and I say something I shouldn't and that's what happened yesterday ... and I apologize." DeMint's campaign spokesman also clarified that he would not work to enact a law barring gay persons from working as teachers -- although DeMint did not retract his comments opposing out gay teachers. State Superintendent of Education Inez Tenenbaum is the Dem nominee in the open seat race. US Senator Fritz Hollings (D) is retiring.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.08.04 |

GOVERNOR RACE UPDATES. INDIANA (WXIN-TV/SurveyUSA): Former US Budget Director Mitch Daniels (R) - 48%, Governor Joe Kernan (D) - 47%. Leans GOP. NEW HAMPSHIRE (Univ of NH): Governor Craig Benson (R) and former UNH Trustee Board Chair John Lynch (D) are tied at 43% apiece. The race is close, but this poll could be an anomaly. Leans GOP. UTAH (Deseret Morning News/KSL-TV): Former Ambassador Jon Huntsman Jr. (R) - 49%, former law school dean Scott Matheson Jr. (D) - 40%. UTAH (Salt Lake Tribune): Huntsman-49%, Matheson-33%. Open seat. GOP Favored.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.08.04 |

HOUSE RACE UPDATES. CONNECTICUT CD-4: Congressman Chris Shays (R) -- one of the most centrist Republicans in Congress -- is considered to be the frontrunner in his competitive re-election contest against Westport Selectwoman Diane Farrell (D). So why is he already sounding like someone who expects to lose? He told that AP on Thursday that he may run for Bridgeport Mayor next year if he loses his House seat next month. "I would probably think about running for Mayor of Bridgeport. It's a city with so much promise," said Shays. The state is heavily Democratic, but Shays has always attracted enough cross-over votes each election to survive by reasonably comfortable margins. Leans GOP. NEW MEXICO CD-2 (Albuquerque Journal): Congressman Steve Pearce (R) - 46%, former State Rep. Gary King (D) - 38%. GOP Favored. NEW MEXICO CD-3 (Albuquerque Journal): Congressman Tom Udall (D) - 64%, District Attorney Gregory Tucker (R) - 21%. Safe Dem. WASHINGTON CD-5 (KHQ-TV/SurveyUSA): State Rep. Cathy McMorris (R) - 51%, hotel executive Don Barbieri (D) - 39%. Open Seat. GOP Favored. UTAH CD-2 (Deseret Morning News/KSL-TV): Congressman Jim Matheson (D) - 63%, former State Rep. John Swallow (R) - 31%, computer programmer Jeremy Petersen (Const) - 1%. Dem Favored.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.08.04 |

REPORT FROM IRAQ: ROAD TRIP. Our latest report from Iraq by our friend and special correspondent Lt. James Crabtree of the 1/23 Marines in northwestern Iraq.

Dear Readers of Politics1.com,

Greeting once more from ever-sunny Al-Asad, Iraq. Yesterday I received a letter from a mom in Washington who has a daughter assigned to a Marine support unit here at Al-Asad. She had seen these updates on the webpage and did not have a mailing address for her daughter yet, so she sent the letter to me and asked that I deliver it for her. I feel a bit like the character in the movie "Saving Private Ryan." This is a large base and -- as an infantry battalion -- we are well away from the support units. But, Mrs. Rattray, rest assured that I'll get the letter to her -- though it may take some time.

Rather that profile one individual Marine this week for our "Marine of the Week" series, I decided this week to write about one of our Marine platoons. Hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed spending time with these motivating Marines.

The old Iraqi Ammunition Supply Point (ASP) located in the middle of the desert in Dulab is a quintessential example of barren desolation. Everywhere one looks they are confronted by the stark imagery of hot powdery sand and thousands upon thousands of old unexploded pieces of ordnance. The Marines of Bravo Company are the ones responsible for guarding this huge and remote location in order to keep anti-coalition forces from stealing and using 155 howitzer rounds and the like for improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Virtually everyday an Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit detonates a large portion of the ammo so that it will never be used. The days on this post are often long and exhausting, but these Marines understand the vitality of their mission and enjoy being able to show a visitor how they do their job.

The other day I was fortunate to be able to go out on a convoy to ASP Dulab with the Marines from the 3rd platoon of Bravo Company based out of Austin, TX. Led by Staff Sergeant (SSgt) Jesse Noriega, a 30-year-old police officer from San Antonio, Texas, "Bravo 3" was to conduct a Relief In Place (RIP) with their counterparts from Bravo's 1st platoon, which is from Bossier City, Louisiana. SSgt Noriega, as the convoy commander, had to ensure that every Marine in the convoy understood the mission and their role in the event that the convoy struck a mine or was attacked by an IED or small arms fire. After the last details had been covered in depth, it was time to mount up and head out of the gate. Marines who had been joking and talking moments before now quite literally put on their game face as they headed out into the sometimes unforgiving wilds of Iraq.


On the road to ASP Dulab.

One small child waved as the convoy drove past his town and he pointed at his mouth in the hopes that someone would toss him candy. Iraqi vehicles that appeared to defy the laws of physics and engineering rumbled past the convoy in the opposite direction. The road to ASP Dulab is only two lanes wide, but it is considered a main highway to the Iraqis. The Marines maintained a constant watch along the route looking for anything that might indicate that a landmine or IED is near. This is no small task at 50 or 60 miles an hour. Fortunately the convoy encountered no problems along the route and ultimately arrived on time to the small command post manned by Bravo 1.


A message written in sandbags on the hill overlooking ASP Dulab.


From the top of the hill, the view in all directions looks like this.

Bravo 1 is led by Captain Shayne McGinty of Bossier City, Louisiana. His platoon was staged and ready to conduct the RIP with SSgt Norreiga's Marines. As soon as the change over was completed his Marines would be able to return to the friendly confines of Camp Lonestar and for the first time in days be able to take a shower, eat a hot meal, and sleep in a bed. Needless to say, Bravo 1's morale was high. As always, the details of how exactly the posts are stood and what the platoon does to accomplish its mission can not be told to the general public, but it requires everyone in the platoon doing their share and involves many long and lonely nights. Lance Corporal (LCpl) Kenneth Avery from 1st platoon is a 31-year-old employee of Halliburton from Shreveport, LA, and he describes ASP Dulab well when he says, "It is a getaway in the middle of nowhere. It's like you are lost from the rest of the world." LCpl Jesse Spivey, a 29-year-old financial analyst for State Farm from Bossier City, LA, has spent nine months with Bravo Company and he echoes LCpl Avery's sentiments. He also tells an interesting account of seeing some local Iraqis in the Euphrates River. "One day one of our patrols was near the river when we saw a huge splash and a few seconds later heard the sound of an explosion. It turned out the Iraqis were fishing in the river with hand grenades," said Spivey. This is certainly something that most American game wardens would not allow.


Marines from Bravo Company at one of their many
Observation Posts (OPs) that surround the perimeter of ASP Dulab.

After all of the changing over was completed Bravo 1 bid adieu to Bravo 3 and began the trek back to Al-Asad. The convoy, like its predecessor, ran well and it wasn't too long before we arrived back within 1/23's camp. For LCpl Justin Page, the return to the battalion's area is bittersweet in some respects. The 24-year-old Texarkana, TX, native has been with the company for four years and says, "I'd rather be out there so that we can catch someone." Thus far Bravo Company has seen its share of action and has been successful in keeping the ASP securely guarded despite its enormous size.

Often times Marines like to speak of the Corps as a spear and they say that those out on the patrols and standing the posts are the ones that are on the "pointy tip of the spear." Marines like LCpls Spivey, Page, and Avery are typical of the Marines in Bravo Company and are proudly part of that pointy tip. It is a pointy tip that hangs over the heads of the terrorists like the Sword of Damocles.

Well, that's all I have time for in this report. Please keep the letters and packages coming and thank you for all of your support!

Semper Fi,
James

P.S. Sgt Garcia-Ovando, who as a Cpl was the first Marine of the Week profile sometime back, was promoted to Sgt on October 1st. Congratulations to him and all of our Marines who earned promotions this last month.

P.P.S. One note to add is that the live call-in to the "Sammy and Bob Show" on Austin's KVET 1300AM/98.1FM is set for 7:10 am this Friday. I'm pretty excited about it. This is the top rated radio show in Austin, has been around for years, and I used to listen to it on my way to high school.

If you'd like to send the 1/23d any care packages, please address the packages to Lt Crabtree, 1/23 H&S Co, Unit 41900, FPO, AP 96426-1900 ... and James will ensure that whatever you ship gets distributed to the Marines in the 1/23. If you'd like to read more about our adopted 1/23 Marine battalion in Iraq, please click here.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.08.04 |

FRIDAY OPEN THREAD. Okay, I skipped Thursday and jumped right to Friday (posted late Thursday) so I can attend the wedding ceremony/party on the beach here -- and not deal with coming back afterwards and writing the new articles. Don't worry ... we'll return to our regular posting hours next week. And -- BTW -- congrats to my cousin Emily and her new husband Jake on their wedding.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.08.04 |

THURSDAY OPEN THREAD. Because of family/scheduling matters and time zone considerations related to the wedding I'm attending here in Hawaii, the news updates for Thursday and Friday will likely not come online each day until around 2 pm. We'll return to regular posting hours next week. Until then, feel free to post anything you'd like here.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.07.04 |

VEEP DEBATE. Vice President Dick Cheney (R) and US Senator John Edwards (D) debated on Tuesday evening, with both men recording strong performances. Initial polls indicate both men performed well. An ABC News poll conducted immediately after the close of the debate showed that 43% of viewers thought Cheney won the debate, versus 35% that said Edwards won, and 19% who said the debate ended in a tie. Oddly, the same poll showed that Bush led 51% to 48% among viewers before they watched the debate -- but that Bush led by a reducted margin of 50% to 49% among the same viewers after they watched the debate. The debate was a sharper and more free exchange of ideas that last week's more rigidly restricted Bush-Kerry debate. Bush and Kerry will meet again on Friday for a "town hall" style debate with questions from uncommitted voters.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.06.04 |

TRACKING THE BATTLEGROUND STATES. MISSOURI (KSDK-TV/SurveyUSA): Bush-49%, Kerry-47%. Kerry has considerably narrowed the gap here. NEW HAMPSHIRE (Univ of NH): Bush-50%, Kerry-45%. Bush retakes see-sawing lead. NORTH CAROLINA (WBTV-TV/SurveyUSA): Bush-52%, Kerry-45%. Despite "favorite son" Edwards as the VP candidate, Bush still holds a decent lead. OHIO (WKYC-TV/SurveyUSA): Kerry-49%, Bush-48%. Kerry has trailed in most recent Ohio polls. WASHINGTON (KING-TV/SurveyUSA): Kerry-54%, Bush-43%. Kerry continues to hold a comfortable edge.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.06.04 |

US SENATE RACE UPDATES. NORTH CAROLINA (WBTV-TV/SurveyUSA): Former White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles (D) - 47%, Congressman Richard Burr (R) - 46%. Burr appears to have eliminated the 10-point gap that haunted him for months in this open seat race. Toss-up. OHIO (WKYC-TV/SurveyUSA): US Senator George Voinovich (R) - 58%, State Senator Eric Fingerhut (D) - 34%. Safe GOP. CALIFORNIA (KABC-TV/SurveyUSA): US Senator Barbara Boxer (D) - 53%, former Secretary of State Bill Jones (R) - 36%. Safe Dem. WASHINGTON (KING-TV/SurveyUSA): US Senator Patty Murray (D) - 57%, Congressman George Nethercutt (R) - 38%. Safe Dem. MISSOURI (KSDK-TV/SurveyUSA): US Senator Kit Bond (R) - 59%, State Treasurer Nancy Farmer (D) - 34%. Safe GOP.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.06.04 |

GOVERNOR RACE UPDATES. INDIANA (Indianapolis Star): Former US Budget Director Mitch Daniels (R) - 46%, Governor Joe Kernan (D) - 43%, businessman Kenn Gividen (Libt) - 3%. Leans GOP. MISSOURI (KSDK-TV/SurveyUSA): Secretary of State Matt Blunt (R) - 47%, State Auditor Claire McCaskill (D) - 46%. Toss-up. NORTH CAROLINA (WBTV-TV/SurveyUSA): Governor Mike Easley (D) - 56%, former State Senate Minority Leader Patrick Ballantine (R) -38%. Dem favored. WASHINGTON (KING-TV/SurveyUSA): Attorney General Christine Gregoire (D) - 51%, State Senator Dino Rossi (R) - 41%. Leans Dem. VERMONT: Some candidates duck debates -- particularly incumbents -- but not this year in the Green Mountain State. Governor Jim Douglas (R) and challenger Burlington Mayor Peter Clavelle (D) have agreed to participate in 18 "town meeting" style debates around the state. They have already help five debates, with 13 more still on the schedule. If you think 18 is a lot, Douglas and his then Dem opponent debated 40 times (repeat: FORTY times!!) in the 2002 open seat content. Clavelle wanted 40 debates this year, but Douglas said he didn't have the time to do that many again. Leans GOP.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.06.04 |

US HOUSE RACE UPDATES. CONNECTICUT CD-2 (Univ. of Connecticut): Congressman Rob Simmons (R) - 38%, former Norwich City Councilor Jim Sullivan (D) - 34%. Leans GOP, as Simmons had high approval rating in the poll. If Simmons loses, it will largely be because of a backlash against Bush (who trails Kerry by 19% in the district). NEW MEXICO CD-1 (Albuquerque Journal): Congresswoman Heather Wilson (R) - 45%, State Senate President Richard Romero (D) - 44%. Dems hold a 13-point registration edge in this district. Toss-up. PENNSYLVANIA CD-15 (Allentown Morning Call/Muhlenberg College): State Senator Charlie Dent (R) leads developer Joe Driscoll (D) by a vote of 53% to 20% for the seat being vacated by Congressman Pat Toomey (R). Safe GOP.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.06.04 |

WEDNESDAY OPEN THREAD. Whatever.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.06.04 |

TRACKING THE BATTLEGROUND STATES. FLORIDA (WFOR-TV/SurveyUSA): Bush-51%, Kerry-46%. The lead in the Sunshine State continues to swing back and forth. NEVADA (KVBC-TV/SurveyUSA): Bush-50%, Kerry-46%. Bush continues to hold a slight edge. NEW JERSEY (WABC-TV/SurveyUSA): Kerry-50%, Bush-45%. NJ continues to remains surprisingly close in what is normally a solid Dem state. NEW JERSEY (Bergen Record/Research 2000): Kerry-50%, Bush-42%, Nader-2%. OHIO (Columbus Dispatch): Bush-51%, Kerry-44%, Nader-4%. Ohio is to the Bush campaign what NJ or PA are to the Kerry campaigns: a costly effort to hold a base it should normally hold. PENNSYLVANIA (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette/Mason-Dixon): Kerry-45%, Bush-44%. Still remains neck-and-neck.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.05.04 |

US SENATE RACE UPDATES. FLORIDA: For the first time since the this race began, former US Housing Secretary Mel Martinez (R) now leads in the polls. The new WFOR-TV/SurveyUSA poll shows him leading former State Education Commissioner Betty Castor (D) by a vote of 50% to 46%. Those numbers are nearly identical to the margin that Bush leads Kerry in the same poll. US Senator Bob Graham (D) is retiring. Toss-up. OKLAHOMA: Congressman Brad Carson (D) continues to lead former Congressman Tom Coburn (R) in the open seat race to replace retiring incumbent Don Nickles (R). The KOKH-TV/SoonerPolitics now pegs the race at Carson-44%, Coburn-37%. Carson has avoided the "liberal" tag that Coburn tried to hang on him, while Coburn has repeatedly shot himself in the foot with a series of embarrassing statements. Leans Dem. SOUTH CAROLINA: A new Charleston Post & Courier/Mason-Dixon poll shows Congressman Jim DeMint (R) leading State Superintendent of Education Inez Tenenbaum (D) by a wide vote of 50% to 38%. DeMint continues to bang away with a theme centered around "the three-G's" (God, guns and gays), and it seems to be working. DeMint this week said he would support adopting a "don't ask/don't tell" law for the public schools that would ban out gay educators from teaching in the public schools. US Senator Fritz Hollings (D) is retiring. GOP favored.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.05.04 |

N.C. GOV RACE UPDATE. A new Winston-Salem Journal/Mason-Dixon shows that Governor Mike Easley (D) continues to hold a strong lead in his race for re-election over former State Senate Minority Leader Patrick Ballantine (R) by a vote of 53% to 36%. Dem favored.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.05.04 |

US HOUSE RACE UPDATES. NEVADA CD-3: Congressman Jon Porter (R) spent a bunch of money in recent weeks on a heavy TV buy and it appears to have paid off. The new Las Vegas Sun/BS&R poll says Porter is widening his lead over wealthy gaming executive Tom Gallagher (D). The numbers: Porter-54%, Gallagher-33%. UTAH CD-2: It's time to take Congresman Jim Matheson (D) off the endangered list. The latest Salt Lake Tribune tracking poll shows that Matheson has moved far head of former State Rep. John Swallow (R). Matheson now leads Swallow by a vote of 55% to 30%. Swallow narrowly won a very nasty GOP primary a few months ago and has been unable to unify his base in the aftermath. The Salt Lake Tribune also conducted polls of the state's other two Congressional districts and found both incumbents very safe. Congressman Rob Bishop (R) is leading by 33-points in his CD-1 race, and Congressman Chris Cannon (R) leads his nearest opponent by 37-points in CD-3.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.05.04 |

TUESDAY OPEN THREAD. Tuesday night is VP Debate night. Any thoughts? Will this debate have any effect?
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.05.04 |

THE POST-DEBATE SPIN CONTINUES. Polling data in from Thursday's debate pretty clearly shows that viewers -- by a rather comfortable margin -- thought John Kerry won the first debate. The Bush campaign's new spin on the debate, according to the Washington Post, is that they are generally satisfied with the President's performance but "acknowledged [Bush]... could have done better" and that "they plan some retooling" before the two men next debate. SurveyUSA polled voters -- on behalf of various media clients -- in 35 states. Voters in 26 of those states said Kerry "clearly won" the debate, voters in just 8 states said that Bush "clearly won," and voters in one state said that there was "no clear winner" of the debate. Both Bush and Kerry strategists said they expected the race to tighten by the time the debates end on October 13. The Kerry camp thought the debates would be a factor in the narrowing stats, while the Bush campaign told the Post the shift will likely be caused by "a natural tightening as the election nears." It looks like this one will go down to the wire.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.04.04 |

... AND UPDATES ON A FEW DOWN-BALLOT RACES. ARKANSAS: Incumbent US Senator Blanche Lincoln (D) continues to looks strong in her race for re-election against under-financed challenger State Senator Jim Holt (R) -- although Holt has narrowed the gap by 10-points since the same poll of two months ago. The latest KTHV-TV/SurveyUSA tracking poll now places the race at: Lincoln-54%, Holt-40%. Lincoln has raised $5.6 million to date, versus just $35,000 for Holt. KANSAS: In CD-4, Congressman Todd Tiahrt (R) looks to be cruising to an easy re-election win. A new KWCH-TV/SurveyUSA poll shows Tiahrt leading Wichita School Board Member Michael Kinard (D) by a vote of 63% to 31%. KENTUCKY: Former Congressman Tom Barlow (D) filed paperwork late last week to be a write-in candidate in CD-1 against incumbent Ed Whitfield (R). Political unknown Billy Cartwright is the official Democratic nominee in the race. Barlow lost for re-election to Whitfield in 1994, then lost races for US Senate in 1996 and 2002, and another run for his old seat in 1998 ... so Whitfield should still feel pretty safe. NORTH CAROLINA: The numbers in the open US Senate are rapidly closing. The new Asheville Citizen-Times/Mason-Dixon poll shows former White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles (D) leading Congressman Richard Burr (R) by a 45% to 44% vote. The same poll last month showed Burr trailing by 10%. SOUTH DAKOTA: US Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D) continues to hold a tight lead over former Congressman John Thune (R). The new Rapid City Journal/Zogby poll has Daschle leading Thune by a vote of 48% to 46%. This race is still very close. The same poll also shows Congresswoman Stephanie Herseth (D) widening her lead over former State Senator Larry Diedrich (R). The numbers: Herseth-51%, Diedrich-43%. WISCONSIN: According to the new WisPolitics.com/Harris poll, US Senator Russ Feingold (D) looks in good shape to win re-election. He leads construction executive Tim Michels (R) by a vote of 52% to 39%.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.04.04 |

MONDAY OPEN THREAD. Yup, I'm still in Hawaii. I tried surfing for the first time ever in Waikiki on Saturday (mild waves, see right) ... and, now that I'm staying at a house in Hanalei bay in Kaua'i, I'll take some more lessons on some bigger waves (but nothing like those giant ones you see in surf competitions) this week. Gotta admit I'm not paying lots of attention to politics this week, so that's where this open thread comes into play ... so YOU folks can post all the other stories you've been following in the blog.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.04.04 |

SEND A PIN = GET A FREE PLUG HERE. Here's my open offer for every campaign (and campaign supporter): send me a button or pin from the Governor, US Senate, Congressional, Statewide Office, etc., campaign you are involved in -- feel free to add a sticker and brochure -- and I'll place a link to official campaign site here on our homepage blog in a daily "thank you" note. (FYI: Presidential coattails items always appreciated!) My address: Ron Gunzburger, 409 NE 17 Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301. When I return home from my road trip on Sunday, I'll post an updated list of thank you's.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger -10.04.04

DEBATE THE DEBATE. As a political writer, I'm in the unusualy position of having not (yet) seen the debate. I was on a rather lengthy flight and when I finally heard it (on the radio), it was with everything being translater simultaneously into Korean (which I don't speak), so I had trouble hearing it well in English. You folks, however, saw it ... so feel free to spin sway with your take on who won and who lost, and what effect it will have on the race.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.01.04 |

THE BEST AND WORST OF CONGRESS. One annual set of insider ratings I always enjoy reading are Washingtonian magazine's annual review of the best and worse of Congress. A large number of the top Congressional staffers from both parties are surveyed to determine the winners. So, you may ask, who are the smartest members of Congress? On the Senate site, it was a virtual three-way tie between Senators Bill Frist (R-TN), Robert C. Byrd (D-WV) and Dick Lugar (R-IN). On the House side, Congressmen Bill Thomas (R-CA) and Barney Frank (D-MA) were by far the top finishers. Byrd was also named the biggest "C-SPAN Ham" in the Senate. And the dumbest legislators? Rick Santorum (R-PA) and Patty Murray (D-WA) tied for the honor on the Senate side, while Duke Cunningham (R-CA), Kathryn Harris (R-FL), Patrick Kennedy (D-RI), Karen McCarthy (D-MO) and Loretta Sanchez (D-CA) took the prize in the House. Meanest legislators? Arlen Specter (R-PA), Ted Stevens (R-AK) and Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) all made the list for the fourth time, and Bill Thomas easily won on the House side. Nicest? Walter Jones (R-NC), Lois Capps (D-CA), Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), and Mary Landrieu (D-LA). Funniest: Barney Frank and Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS). Frank "has been the 'funnyman' nearly every year we’ve asked," added the magazine. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX) performed poorly, as staffers overwhelmingly named her for three dubious honors: biggest showboater, biggest C-SPAN Ham, and "biggest windbag." And who are the unheralded heroes on the Hill -- the "workhorses" who actually put in the hours and get the job done? Senators Harry Reid (D-NV) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Congressmen Bill Thomas, Dave Obey (D-WI) and John Spratt (D-SC) took this true honor.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.01.04 |

FRIDAY OPEN THREAD. Okay ... confession time: I'm writing this on my laptop just feet away from the lapping waves on the beach in Waikiki. On Saturday I head over to Kauai for a week for my cousin Emily's wedding. I'll post from there each day but ... for today ... I'm slacking off a bit and enjoying the day and great locale. That said, use this thread to discuss anything other than the debate.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.01.04 |

SEND A PIN = GET A FREE PLUG HERE. Here's my open offer for every campaign (and campaign supporter): send me a button or pin from the Governor, US Senate, Congressional, Statewide Office, etc., campaign you are involved in -- feel free to add a sticker and brochure -- and I'll place a link to official campaign site here on our homepage blog in a daily "thank you" note. (FYI: Presidential coattails items always appreciated!) My address: Ron Gunzburger, 409 NE 17 Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301. Today's thanks go out to: Tony Knowles, Democratic candidate for US Senate in Alaska.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.01.04

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