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BLOG ARCHIVE:

November 1-15, 2004
October 16-31, 2004
October 1-15, 2004
September 16-30, 2004
September 1-15, 2004
August 16-31, 2004
August 1-15, 2004
July 16-31, 2004
July 1-15, 2004
June 16-30, 2004
June 1-15, 2004
May 16-31, 2004
May 1-15, 2004
April 16-30, 2004
April 1-15, 2004
March 15-31, 2004
March 1-14, 2004
February 15-29, 2004
February 1-14, 2004
January 17-31, 2004
January 1-16, 2004

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BLOG ARCHIVE: OCTOBER 16-31, 2004

SUNDAY NIGHT OPEN THREAD. The race is almost over ...
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.31.04 |

TRACKING THE BATTLEGROUND STATES. Polls open in less than 48 hours and here is what it looks like right now ..

  • ARKANSAS - Mason-Dixon: Bush-51%, Kerry-43%.
  • COLORADO - Zogby: Bush-50%, Kerry-45%, Others-4%. Mason-Dixon: Bush-50%, Kerry-43%.
  • FLORIDA - Zogby: Kerry-49%, Bush-47%, Others-2%. Mason-Dixon: Bush-49%, Kerry-45%.
  • IOWA - Zogby: Kerry-47%, Bush-46%, Others-3%. Mason-Dixon: Bush-49%, Kerry-44%. Des Moines Register: Kerry-48%, Bush-45%, Nader-1%.
  • MICHIGAN - Zogby: Kerry-48%, Bush-47%, Others-2%. Mason-Dixon: Kerry-47%, Bush-45%.
  • MINNESOTA - Zogby: Kerry-49%, Bush-46%, Others-3%. Mason-Dixon: Bush-48%, Kerry-47%. Minneapolis Star-Tribune: Kerry-49%, Bush-41%.
  • MISSOURI - Mason-Dixon: Bush-49%, Kerry-44%.
  • NEVADA - SurveyUSA: Bush and Kerry tied with 49% each. Zogby: Bush-50%, Kerry-46%, Others-1%. Mason-Dixon: Bush-50%, Kerry-44%.
  • NEW HAMPSHIRE - Mason-Dixon: Kerry-47%, Bush-46%.
  • NEW JERSEY - SurveyUSA: Kerry-54%, Bush-42%.
  • NEW MEXICO - Zogby: Bush-52%, Kerry-43%, Others-3%. Mason-Dixon: Bush-49%, Kerry-45%.
  • OHIO - Zogby: Bush-49%, Kerry-44%, Others-4%. Mason-Dixon: Bush-48%, Kerry-46%.
  • OREGON - Mason-Dixon: Kerry-50%, Bush-44%.
  • PENNSYLVANIA - Zogby: Kerry-49%, Bush-46%, Others-3%. Mason-Dixon: Kerry-48%, Bush-46%.
  • VIRGINIA - SurveyUSA: Bush-51%, Kerry-47%. Richmond Times-Dispatch: Bush-49%, Kerry-40%.
  • WEST VIRGINIA - Mason-Dixon: Bush-51%, Kerry-43%.
  • WISCONSIN - Zogby: Kerry-52%, Bush-44%, Others-2%. Mason-Dixon: Kerry-48%, Bush-46%.

This one is going down to the wire.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.31.04 |

US SENATE RACE UPDATES. COLORADO (Zogby): Attorney General Ken Salazar (D) - 49%, brewery magnate Pete Coors (R) - 46%, Others-1%. FLORIDA (Zogby): Former Education Commissioner Betty Castor (D) - 48%, former US Housing Secretary Mel Martinez (R) - 45%, Others-2%. (New York Times): Castor-47%, Martinez-44%. ILLINOIS (WBBM-TV/SurveyUSA): State Senator Barack Obama (D) - 66%, former Ambassador Alan Keyes (R) - 27%. INDIANA (WXIN-TV/SurveyUSA): US Senator Evan Bayh (D) - 61%, frequent candidate Marvin Scott (R) - 34%. IOWA (Zogby): US Senator Chuck Grassley (R) - 69%, former State Senator Art Small (D) - 23%, Others - 2%. KANSAS (Kansas City Star): US Senator Sam Brownback (R) - 59%, railroad engineer/union lobbyist Lee Jones (D) - 26%. LOUISIANA (MRI): Congressman David Vitter (R) - 47%, Congressman Chris John (D) - 21%, State Treasurer John Kennedy (D) - 15%. NEVADA (Zogby): US Senator Harry Reid (D) - 56%, anti-gay activist Richard Ziser (R) - 36%, Others - 1%. OHIO (Zogby): US Senator George Voinovich (R) - 55%, State Senator Eric Fingerhut (D) - 35%, Others-1%. PENNSYLVANIA (Zogby): US Senator Arlen Specter (R) - 54%, Congressman Joe Hoeffel (D) - 31%, Others - 3%. UTAH (Deseret Morning News/DJ&A): US Senator Bob Bennett (R) - 65%, former Attorney General Paul Van Dam (D) - 22%, frequent candidate Gary Van Horn (Const) - 2%. WISCONSIN (Zogby): US Senator Russ Feingold (D) - 57%, construction executive Tim Michels (R) - 37%.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.31.04 |

GOVERNOR RACE UPDATES. INDIANA (WXIN-TV/SurveyUSA): Former US Budget Director Mitch Daniels (R) - 52%, Governor Joe Kernan (D) - 44%. NEW HAMPSHIRE (ARG): Governor Craig Benson (R) - 52%, former UNH Trustee John Lynch (D) - 44%. (UNH): Benson-47%, Lynch-42%. (Research 2000): Benson-48%, Lynch-47%. UTAH (Deseret Morning News/DJ&A): Former Ambassador Jon Huntsman Jr. (R) - 54%, former law school dean Scott Matheson Jr. (D) - 38%, frequent candidate Ken Larsen (Personal Choice) - 1%.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.31.04 |

CONGRESSIONAL RACE UPDATES. Lots of new polls. COLORADO CD-7 (Denver Post/Mason-Dixon): Congressman Bob Beauprez (R) - 46%, District Attorney Dave Thomas (R) - 40%, retiree Clyde Harkins (Const) - 3%. ILLINOIS CD-8: The DCCC is on the air in the final days with a $500,000 TV buy for challenger Melissa Bean (D). The DCCC spot attacks Congressman Phil Crane (R). The NRCC countered with a new anti-Bean spot. IOWA CD-3 (KCCI-TV/Research 2000): Congressman Leonard Boswell (D) - 52%, attorney Stan Thompson (R) - 43%. MAINE CD-1 (WCSH-TV/SurveyUSA): Congressman Tom Allen (D) - 55%, former State Senator Charlie Summers (R) - 39%. MAINE CD-2 (WCSH-TV/SurveyUSA): Congressman Mike Michaud (D) - 53%, development executive Brian Hamel (R) - 40%. NEW MEXICO CD-1 (Albuquerque Journal): Congresswoman Heather Wilson (R) - 51%, State Senate President Richard Romero (D) - 43%. NEW MEXICO CD-1 (Albuquerque Journal): Congressman Steve Pearce (R) - 50%, former State Rep. Gary King (D) - 38%. PENNSYLVANIA CD-13 (Keystone): State Senator Allyson Schwartz (D) - 53%, physician Melissa Brown (R) - 35%. UTAH CD-1 (Deseret Morning News/DJ&A): Congressman Rob Bishop (R) - 64%, Logan City Council Chair Steve Thompson (D) - 21%, Charles Johnston (Const) - 2%. UTAH CD-2 (Salt Lake Tribune/Valley Research): Congressman Jim Matheson (D) - 44%, former State Rep. John Swallow (R) - 39%. UTAH CD-2 (Deseret Morning News/DJ&A): Matheson-51%, Swallow-41%, Others-3%. UTAH CD-3 (Deseret Morning News/DJ&A): Congressman Chris Cannon (R) - 55%, police captain Beau Babka (D) - 25%, Others-4%. WASHINGTON CD-5 (KHQ-TV/SurveyUSA): State Rep. Cathy McMorris (R) - 55%, hotel management company owner Don Barbieri (D) - 38%.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.31.04 |

HALLOWEEN OPEN THREAD. Boo! So -- speaking of Halloween -- what candidate scares you the most?
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.31.04 |

SATURDAY EVENING OPEN THREAD. Just giving you more space to keep the debates going ...
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.30.04 |

"... AND SHE'S BEEN POLLING AT 6% ??" Who is Sheila Bilyeu, the Independent candidate for US Senate in Oklahoma who may be the spoiler in the race? Polls routinely place her in the 3-7% range in the hot Carson/Coburn open seat contest. Bilyeu -- a former school counselor and self-described liberal "Justice Activist" -- was briefly a peace candidate for the Green Party's Presidential nomination earlier this year in the DC primary. This summer, Bilyeu placed last at the Green convention with just 2 delegates on the first ballot. She was previously a 1986 candidate in the Democratic primary for Texas Governor against incumbent Mark White (but she captured only 4% of the vote). It would be polite to describe Bilyeu as "eccentric." Over the past 20 years, she has filed numerous lawsuits against the federal government -- all dismissed by the courts -- in which she demanded the removal of a secret radio transmitter that the military purportedly planted in her head sometime in the 1970s. She has told reporters that the device mostly sends her negative messages that are critical of her. In one lawsuit, Bilyeu claimed that President Clinton had ordered her "gassed" and had stolen her dog. If you doubt her claims, Bilyeu has this response: "Before you write me off you should search for the truth and if you did you would find that I do have a radio type device in my head. An x-ray could confirm it for you. If I was crazy there are plenty of people who would have been glad to put me away." Is she willing to have her head x-rayed so her claims can be proved or disproved. She answers that there is unlikely to be any doctor willing to provide an honest answer of his findings for fear of drawing the ire of her secret enemies. So, if Bilyeu actually won and became an elected federal official, would the secret Fed implant start transmitting positive messages into her head?
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.30.04 |

DEATH OF THE REFORM PARTY. Populist billionaire Ross Perot's once impressive Reform Party USA is clearly in its death knells. Just check out the official homepage of the Reform Party of Iowa. A new message posted there today reads (in its entirety): "Obituary: The Reform Party of Iowa passed away at 3:27 CDT October 29, 2004. Her life was marked with strife and turmoil. She will be missed, her last request was that she would never be involved in politics ever again. - Theodore Webster, late Chair. Reform Party of Iowa, deceased." Amusing. For what it is worth, Ralph Nader is the RPUSA's Presidential nominee this year.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.30.04 |

IF THIS IS ANY INDICATOR ... Broward County, Florida -- which happens to be where Politics1 is based -- is the Democratic stronghold and second most populous county in Florida. In 2000, Gore carried the county by a margin of roughly 250,000 votes -- nearly enough to give him a statewide win. However, in 2000, the state's turnout average was 67% and Broward only had a 57% turnout. Voter interest in this election, however, appears to be sharply up. In 2000, the Sun-Sentinel reports that 127,000 voters cast absentee or early ballots in Broward. By contrast, as of the close of voting on Friday -- with three more "early voting" days to go and with four more days until the deadline for absentee ballots to be mailed back -- 215,000 Broward voters had already cast ballots. This has to be bad news for the Bush campaign. According to the Florida Secretary of State's office, some Florida counties are now projecting an expected turnout in the astounding 80-85% range. A Miami Herald survey on Friday also found that Kerry is holding a comfortable lead in Miami-Dade County. A big Broward and Miami-Dade turnout could be enough for a Kerry victory in the state -- as those two counties have a combined total of more than two million registered voters -- unless those Dem votes are offset by large enough numbers for Bush elsewhere in the state. And -- FYI -- if turnout in runs anywhere even close to these projections, then the polls we're seeing (regardless of whom they are projecting in the lead) may be wildly off the mark because they appear to be undersampling huge chunks of the electorate. Just some thoughts to ponder.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.30.04 |

BIN LADEN RESURFACES. Terrorist network leader Osama bin Laden released a new videotape on Friday in which he had a direct message for the American voters. "Your security is not in the hands of Kerry or Bush or al Qaeda," he said, explaining that future actions by the al-Qaeda terror network towards the US would depend on US policies in the Middle East. In the video, bin Laden looked surprisingly healthy. To help prove that the video was new, he even referenced recent election problems in Florida -- and worked in a few snide jabs at Bush. However, the real motive behind the video seemed to be a simple desire to subtly gloat that -- despite Bush's famed "We'll smoke him out" boast -- he is still free, able to communicate, and still in control of al-Qaeda. Neither Kerry nor Bush appeared to politicize the tape, as both simply vowed that they would work to bring bin Laden to justice and defeat al Qaeda.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.30.04 |

BOB SMITH ENDORSES ... KERRY?? Do you remember former US Senator Bob Smith (R-NH)? Smith -- who briefly left the GOP four years ago to pursue the Constitution Party's Presidential nomination (because he complained the Republican Party was insufficiently conservative) -- was defeated for re-election in 2002 and moved to Florida earlier this year to sell real estate. Smith unexpectedly weighed into the Presidential race Friday by endorsing John Kerry for President. "Because of the courage and character you demonstrated in Vietnam, I believe you when you say that you'll do a better job than President Bush to win the peace in Iraq, as well as to win the war against terrorism ... President Bush has failed to restrain federal spending, sending our deficit spinning into the stratosphere. I well remember that you were one of a handful of Democrats who crossed the aisle to forge a bipartisan coalition in the Senate to balance the federal budget ... John, for each of these reasons I believe President Bush has failed our country and my party. Accordingly, I want you to know that when I go into the booth next Tuesday I am going to cast my vote for you," explained Smith.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.30.04 |

SATURDAY OPEN THREAD. Face off .. your choice of topics.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.30.04 |

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: Jef Hall, Democrat for Congress in Wisconson CD-6; Patsy Allen, Green for Congress in Maryland CD-3; Paul Hodes for Congress in New Hampshire CD-2; Jim Harrell, Democrat for Congress in North Carolina CD-5; Steve O'Malley, Republican for Congress in Massachusetts CD-6; Pam Johnson, Democrat for Wisconsin State Assembly AD-38; Oregon's GOTV Bus Project; and reader Brad Cox, who sent an assortment of materials from his area..
Posted by Ron Gunzburger -10.30.04

TRACKING THE BATTLEGROUND STATES. Here's the picture as we head (thankfully!!!) into the final weekend...

  • COLORADO - Zogby: Kerry-50%, Bush-46%.
  • FLORIDA - Quinnipiac University: Bush-49%, Kerry-46%. Zogby: Bush-48%, Kerry-46%. Los Angeles Times: Bush-51%, Kerry-43%.
  • IOWA - Zogby: Kerry and Bush still tied with 45% each. ARG: Bush-48%, Kerry-47%, Nader-1%.
  • MARYLAND - Baltimore Sun: Kerry-56%, Bush-39%. For a brief while, Maryland appeared competitive. Not any longer.
  • MICHIGAN - Zogby: Kerry and Bush tied with 47% apiece. Detroit News/MRC: Kerry-47%, Bush-42%, Nader-1%.
  • MINNESOTA - Zogby: Kerry-47%, Bush-44%. University of Minnesota: Bush-47%, Kerry-44%.
  • NEVADA - Zogby: Bush-51%, Kerry-44%.
  • NEW JERSEY - Strategic Vision: Bush and Kerry tied at 44%, with Nader at 1%.
  • NEW MEXICO - Zogby: Bush-47%, Kerry-44%.
  • OHIO - Zogby: Kerry-46%, Bush-45%.
  • OREGON - ARG: Kerry-50%, Bush-46%. KATU-TV/SurveyUSA: Kerry-50%, Bush-47%.
  • PENNSYLVANIA - Quinnipiac University: Bush-49%, Kerry-47%. Zogby: Kerry-49%, Bush-46%. Los Angeles Times: Bush and Kerry tied with 48% each.
  • WASHINGTON - Seattle Post-Intelligencer/Mason-Dixon: Kerry-50%, Bush-45%.
  • WISCONSIN - Zogby: Kerry-50%, Bush-46%. ARG: Kerry-48%, Bush-47%, Nader-1%.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.29.04 |

US SENATE RACE UPDATES. SOUTH DAKOTA (KOTA-TV/Zogby): Former Congressman John Thune (R) - 49%, US Senator Tom Daschle (D) - 46%. COLORADO (Zogby): Attorney General Ken Salazar (D) - 53%, brewery magnate Pete Coors (R) - 42%. WASHINGTON (Strategic Vision): US Senator Patty Murray (D) - 49%, Congressman George Nethercutt (R) - 41%. NORTH CAROLINA (Raleigh News & Observer/Research 2000): Congressman Richard Burr (R) - 47%, former White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles (D) - 46%. WISCONSIN (Zogby): US Senator Russ Feingold (D) - 59%, construction executive Tim Michels (R) - 36%. OHIO (Zogby): US Senator George Voinovich (R) - 58%, State Sen. Eric Fingerhut (D) - 27%. IOWA (Zogby): US Senator Chuck Grassley (R) - 68%, former State Senator Art Small (D) - 27%. FLORIDA (Zogby): Former US Housing Secretary Mel Martinez (R) and former Education Commissioner Betty Castor (D) tied at 45% each. FLORIDA (Insider Advantage): Castor-46%, Martinez-43%. FLORIDA (Quinnipiac University): Martinez-49%, Castor - 46%. ILLINOIS (Research 2000): State Senator Barack Obama (D) - 67%, former Ambassador Alan Keyes (R) - 25%. KENTUCKY: You can tell US Senator Jim Bunning (R) is getting desperate in his self-destructive re-election race against State Senator Dan Mongiardo (D) in these final days. The latest tactic from the Bunning camp: imply that Mongiardo is gay. State Senate President David Williams (R) -- a Bunning surrogate speaker on the trail -- frequently uses this line: "We don't want to trade that one-two punch for a limp wrist." State Senator Elizabeth Tori (R) -- another Bunning supporter -- told a GOP audience this week that she has served with Mongiardo and "I'm not even sure the 'man' applies to him in the word 'gentleman.'" Williams and Tori both claim they are only trying to imply the Dem is a weak person, and not that he is gay. Mongiardo responded that "Bunning has sunk so far down in the mud that now he's dragging other people into the mud with him."
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.29.04 |

GOVERNOR RACE UPDATES. MISSOURI (Kansas City Star/Research 2000): Secretary of State Matt Blunt (R) - 46.5%, State Auditor Claire McCaskill (D) - 44%. WASHINGTON (Seattle Post-Intelligencer/Mason-Dixon): Attorney General Chris Gregoire (D) - 48%, State Sen. Dino Rossi (R) - 43%. WASHINGTON (Strategic Vision): Gregoire-46%, Rossi-42%.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.29.04 |

HOUSE RACE UPDATES. LOUISIANA CD-3 (New Orleans Times-Picayune/Verne Kennedy): State Sen. Craig Romero (R) - 26%, lobbyist Billy Tauzin III (R) - 25%, lobbyist Charlie Melancon (D) -14%, State Rep. Damon Baldone (D) - 7%, former Congressional aide Charmaine Caccioppi (D) - 6%. Major movement by Romero, who trailed Congressional scion Tauzin by 16-points in the last VK poll. SOUTH DAKOTA (KOTA-TV/Zogby): Former State Senator Larry Diedrich (R) - 47%, Congresswoman Stephanie Herseth (D) - 46%. Herseth has led in all polls until this one. Diedrich gaining or an anomaly? VIRGINIA CD-10: Surprisingly, this race must be drawing into the competitive category. How else can one explain why Congressman Frank Wolf (R) is suddenly on the air with a TV spot blasting former Congressional aide James Socas (D) as "carpetbagger from California" who owns a home in California but only rents an apartment in Virginia. The spot even has a comical surfer who says "Dude, Surf's Up, Socas!" Wolf, a 24-year incumbent, has raised nearly $1.2 million. Socas has raised $566,000. COLORADO CD-3 (KUSA-TV/SurveyUSA): State Rep. John Salazar (D) - 48%, former State Natural Resources Director Greg Walcher (R) - 45%. WASHINGTON CD-8 (KING-TV/SurveyUSA): King County Sheriff Dave Reichert (R) - 49%, radio talk show host Dave Ross (D) - 43%.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.29.04 |

ANOTHER BIZARRE CAMPAIGN STORY. In Florida, a 46-year-old man tried to drive his car up onto the sidewalk this week in Sarasota when he saw Congresswoman Katherine Harris (R) and a group of campaign supporters standing at an intersection waving at motorists. Witnesses told police that a silver colored car sped up and hurtled onto a sidewalk, heading straight for Harris, before quickly swerving away at the last moment and driving away. According to published reports, real estate investor Barry Seltzer later admitted he tried to ram his car into Harris and her friends. "I intimidated them with my car. I was exercising my political expression," said Seltzer to the police. He was arrested and charged with felony aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Seltzer may also face federal felony charges because of Harris' governmental position. A state judge ordered Seltzer held for now without bond. Harris, meanwhile, is already back campaigning on that same street corner again. "We love being on the street corner. I think this was an isolated incident," said Harris to the Sarasota Herald Tribune.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.29.04 |

... AND YET ANOTHER BIZARRE CAMPAIGN STORY FROM FLORIDA. In Florida -- yes, again -- 18-year-old Steven Soper is under arrest because of his political views in support of President Bush. Well, sorta. When Soper's girlfriend of two year told him she thought she was going to vote for Kerry, an argument ensured. According to the police report, Soper became so upset with her that that "he dragged" her into his home and "beat her and held her hostage with a screwdriver." The attack "led to a standoff" with the police, which led to Soper being shot with an electric Taser gun and arrested. The girlfriend was reportedly shaken but not seriously injured. "He's crazy about Bush," she told the Palm Beach Post. She could have ended her sentence after just the first two words. Perhaps Mr. Soper will get a chance behind bars to meet Mr. Seltzer.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.29.04 |

FRIDAY OPEN THREAD. Prediction time. I'd suggest that all of our regulars post their predictions in this thread -- and be sure to cover all of the top Governor, US Senate and US House races. On November 2, we will all finally learn which of you are the smart ones and which of you are simply the partisan cheerleaders.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.29.04 |

TRACKING THE BATTLEGROUND STATES. Less than a week to go and the poll numbers keep rolling in. Here are the latest ...

  • ARIZONA - Rasmussen: Bush-50%, Kerry-45%, Badnarik-3%.
  • COLORADO - Zogby: Kerry-49%, Bush-47%.
  • IOWA - Zogby: Bush and Kerry tied with 45% apiece.
  • MICHIGAN - Zogby: Kerry-49%, Bush-45%. Detroit News/MRC: Kerry-45%, Bush-44%, Nader-1%.
  • MISSOURI - Kansas City Star/MRI: Bush-49%, Kerry-45%.
  • NEVADA - Rasmussen: Bush-49%, Kerry-47%, Nader-2%. Zogby: Bush-49%, Kerry-46%.
  • NEW JERSEY - Quinnipiac University: Bush and Kerry tied with 46% each, and Nader at 2%.
  • NEW MEXICO - Zogby: Bush-48%, Kerry-43%. Rasmussen: Bush-48%, Kerry-44%, Nader-2%, Badnarik-1%.
  • VIRGINIA - Hampton Roads Pilot/Mason-Dixon: Bush-50%, Kerry-44%.
  • WASHINGTON - SurveyUSA: Kerry-51%, Bush-45%.

The Washington Post reported that the number of battleground states is surprisingly expanding. Kerry finds himself having to unexpectedly defend Hawaii (note: two of the larger pro-Dem 527 groups went on the air Wednesday with anti-Bush spots in the Aloha State). However, the newspaper reports that Kerry is suddenly increasing his efforts and spending in two states -- Arkansas and West Virginia -- that they had previously thought unwinnable.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.28.04 |

US SENATE RACE UPDATES. SOUTH DAKOTA (Sioux Falls Argus-Leader/KELO-TV): US Senator Tom Daschle (D) - 49%, former Congressman John Thune (R) - 47%. WASHINGTON (KING-TV/SurveyUSA): US Senator Patty Murray (D) - 55%, Congressman George Nethercutt (R) - 41%. FLORIDA: An interesting development in the TV ad wars. While Republicans in many hot Senate races are airing attack spots trying to link their Dem opponents to "liberal" John Kerry, polling in Florida must be showing that ties to Kerry are a plus. Betty Castor (D) is on the air with a new TV spot that pictures Kerry and says that Castor promises to be a vote in the US Senate in support of Kerry's agenda. NEVADA (Zogby): US Senator Harry Reid (D) - 59%, anti-gay activist Richard Ziser (R) - 30%. WISCONSIN (Zogby): US Senator Russ Feingold (D) - 57%, construction executive Tim Michels (R) - 38%. OHIO (Zogby): US Senator George Voinovich (R) - 54%, State Sen. Eric Fingerhut (D) - 32%.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.28.04 |

GOVERNOR RACE UPDATES. WASHINGTON (KING-TV/SurveyUSA): Attorney General Chris Gregoire (D) - 49%, State Sen. Dino Rossi (R) - 47%.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.28.04 |

HOUSE RACE UPDATES. INDIANA CD-2 (South Bend Tribune/Research 2000): Congressman Chris Chocola (R) - 55%, attorney Joe Donnelly (D) - 40%. KENTUCKY CD-3 (Louisville Courier-Journal/Bluegrass): Congresswoman Anne Northup (R) - 57%, Jefferson County Clerk of Courts Tony Miller (D) - 33%. NEBRASKA CD-3 (Omaha World Herald): Congressman Tom Osborne (R) - 86%, hairdresser Donna Anderson (D) - 8%. Why did anyone bother to poll this race? (Note to our bloggers: Look for Arch-C to predict a stunning Anderson upset victory.)
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.28.04 |

ANOTHER BIZARRE STORY FROM THE TRAIL. In Maryland, State Senator E.J. Pipkin -- the GOP nominee for US Senate -- is having to deal with a political stalker. A former police officer who apparently has an axe to grind with Pipkin has placed a large "Vote Pipkin" sign on top of his car ... and then covered his car with hand-drawn swastikas. Pipkin's wife is Jewish and he is rather upset by the guy's actions. He's already obtained a restraining order from a local judge that bars the man from coming within a set distance of Pipkin, his family, and his campaign offices. So, for now, the man continues to drive his car around in the general vicinity of Pipkin events (but just far enough away to not get arrested) and parks the vehicle in visible spots along the highway.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.28.04 |

REPORT FROM IRAQ: IRAQI SPECIAL FORCES ... AND A LIBERTARIAN CANDIDATE IN THE 1/23. Before we get to our latest report from Iraq by our friend and special correspondent Lt. James Crabtree of the 1/23 Marines in northwestern Iraq, we learned an interesting political tie to one of the guys in the 1/23. It turns out that LCpl Paul Hansen of 1/23 A Company is also the Libertarian nominee for Congress in Texas CD-8. Hansen, who works as a UPS supervisor and is also an activist in the Texas Libertarian Party in his civilian life, was among the 1/23 Marines who shipped off to Iraq back in August. Hansen's military service is yet another example of the diversity of opinions (and actions) within any and every political party. That said, on to James' report ...

Dear Readers of Politics1.com,

Greetings once more from the desert of western Iraq. I've got lots of interesting items to share with you and will do my best to fit them all into this update. First off, we are really seeing the effects of the radio calls we did a few weeks ago. The letters and boxes are starting to come in better then ever. It's truly inspiring to get letters from people that say they saw us on this webpage or heard us on the radio. It does wonders for boosting morale. We've also received more correspondence from our Texas elected officials: Congressmen Jeb Hensarling, Randy Neugebauer, and Congresswoman Kay Granger sent nice personalized notes wishing us well. We also got a letter from California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. I've made sure to add these great letters to our growing "Wall of Thanks" in one of the main hallways.

We've also had a lot of good fortune in setting up more radio calls. Today the Marines and sailors called in again to "The Sam Malone Morning Show" in Houston on KRBE 104.1FM. It went great! Tomorrow the Austin folks will be on the air once more with Sammy and Bob on KVET 1300AM, and on Friday the San Antonio area troops will be heard on KISS FM 99.4. The two upcoming calls will both be aired at 8 am Central. I'm continuing to work on arrangements for the Corpus Christi/Harlingen and Shreveport areas, but have not had much luck as of yet.

The focus of today's update is on some of our new neighbors here in Camp Lonestar: the Iraqi Shawani Special Forces soldiers. I've been able to spend some time around them and they are a really friendly and hard working group. Here's my report ...


Sgt Sullens, me, and HM2 Saba (on the right side) with a
platoon of the Iraqi Shawani Special Forces.

The young Iraqi Lieutenant smiles easily and laughs as his American counterpart tries to speak in Arabic. For the ever friendly and outgoing Lieutenant Nehad (I'm using his first name only for security reasons), it is a pleasure to attempt to teach an American Lieutenant how to speak in his native tongue. Tall, skinny, and only 25 years old, Lieutenant Nehad has seen and done more in his life than most people would ever hope to endure. Hailing from a large family in a nice Baghdad neighborhood, he graduated from Iraq's prestigious military academy. Like his grandfather before him, he chose to serve as an officer in his nation's military. He has now seen a regime he hated fall from power and lives in a country that is truly facing some gigantic obstacles. Still, he is full of optimism about his future though and it's easy to see why after spending some time with his men.

The "Shawanis" are named after their founder -- General Shawani -- and are the hardest working and best-trained troops Iraq has to offer. General Shawani is now the head of Iraq's intelligence office and -- as someone whose sons and brothers were killed by Saddam Hussein -- he is bent on ensuring that his nation never returns to a dark period like Saddam's reign. The Shawani soldiers appear to be a positive step in that direction. They range in age from 17 to 55, come from all over the country, and are very eager to learn tactics and techniques from the US Marines. 2nd Lt. Scot Kleinman, 25 years old and a graduate of UC San Diego, has been tasked by 1/23 to train the Shawanis. He is assisted by Sgt Andrew Sullens, 26, a Texas A&M student from Katy, Texas; HM2 Scott Saba, 37, a paramedic from Plymouth, MA; and Sgt Tim Weaver, 27, a heavy construction equipment manager from Crosby, TX. Together, the four of them must work with the interpreters to teach the Shawanis everything from fire team maneuvers, first aid, spotting land minds and IEDs, to speaking basic English and ensuring that the Iraqis are properly paid and feel at home within the camp.


Sgt Sullens works with a Shawani soldier on fire team tactics.

The only one in the group of the Shawanis that seems to speak any English is Lieutenant Nehad, but all of his men are gregarious and quick to learn. It is with a good deal of enthusiasm that they run through their fire team assault practice and also shout words they learn like stop, mine, danger, and weapon. The Marines respond in kind with the Arabic word for "good." As Lieutenant Nehad says, "We are like brothers. We work together." It appears that his men fully embrace that comment. "It's an honor to teach them because they are so eager to learn and do well," says Lt. Kleinman. "These guys are the future of Iraq and they pick things up really quickly." Sgt. Sullens agrees and adds, "There is a great deal of mutual respect between us and the Shawanis. You can tell they want to learn everything they can." Each period of instruction begins with a joke told by one of the interpreters and surprisingly some of the jokes actually translate well in Arabic.


Some of the Shawani Special Forces (SSF) guys and me.
Despite the looks of it in the photo, they are really friendly folks.

Over the course of dinner in the chow hall with a USMC officer, Lieutenant Nehad talks more about his family and his life. "I have never been outside of Iraq. Saddam would not allow officers to leave country," he says. He then smiles and says, "I have never been to Mecca. One day I hope to." He also adds that he is not married because, under Saddam, he felt like he did not earn enough money to have a wife. Lieutenant Nehad is greatly interested in learning more about America. His dinner companion tells him that he wants to teach him about baseball and the Lieutenant smiles and says he will teach his "brother" how to play dominoes. This moment is one that probably would never make the news. The simple dinner conversation wouldn't be a sensational enough story for the "if it bleeds, it leads" style of journalism, but in reality it is conversations and experiences like this that must happen everyday if Iraq is to eventually become a free and peaceful country. These events happen far more than most people will ever realize and they -- and not more bombs or money -- are the true answer for how to make this country the type of place where Lieutenant Nehad can one day raise a family in peace and prosperity. Until then, the Shawanis and Marines will continue to train and work together as brothers.

Well, that's all the time and space I have for this report. Thank you as always for all of your support!

Semper Fi,
James

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 - 10.28.04 |

THURSDAY OPEN THREAD. Talk amongst yourselves.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.28.04 |

TRACKING THE BATTLEGROUND STATES. Lots of new polls coming out every day. A dizzying amount of conflicting raw data, but here they are ...

  • FLORIDA - Zogby: Bush-49%, Kerry-45%. ARG: Kerry-49%, Bush-46%, Nader-1%. Insider Advantage: Kerry and Bush tied at 46% each. SurveyUSA: Kerry-50%, Bush-48%. Gallup: Bush-50%, Kerry-43%. Rasmussen: Kerry and Bush at 48% each. WPLG-TV in Miami reported Tuesday night that approximately 58,000 absentee ballots purportedly mailed out on October 7-8 are "missing" and were "never delivered" to voters. The Supervisor of Elections claims the ballots were sent out. The post office denies they have more than "a handful" of undelivered ballots. Bottom line: 58,000 voters without their requested ballots.
  • OHIO - Zogby: Bush-46%, Kerry-44%. SurveyUSA: Kerry-50%, Bush-47%. Rasmussen: Bush-50%, Kerry-46%. ARG: Kerry-49%, Bush-47%.
  • PENNSYLVANIA - ARG: Kerry-50%, Bush-47%. Zogby: Kerry-49%, Bush-45%. SurveyUSA: Kerry-53%, Bush-45%. Keystone: Kerry-51%, Bush-46%. Rasmussen: Kerry-49%, Bush-46%.

So, who is really winning?
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.27.04 |

US SENATE RACE UPDATES. COLORADO (Zogby): Attorney General Ken Salazar (D) - 50%, brewery magnate Pete Coors (R) - 44%. FLORIDA (Zogby): Former US Housing Secretary Mel Martinez (R) and former Education Commissioner Betty Castor (D) tied at 47% each. LOUISIANA (Verne Kennedy): Congressman David Vitter (R) -51%, Congressman Chris John (D) - 17%, State Treasurer John Kennedy (D) - 15%. OKLAHOMA (Wilson Research): Former Congressman Tom Coburn-41%, Congressman Brad Carson-38%, Sheila Bilyeu (Indep) - 6%. Has anyone noticed that the number of undecideds continue to grow in this race?
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.27.04 |

GOVERNOR RACE UPDATES. MISSOURI (SurveyUSA): Secretary of State Matt Blunt (R) - 52%, State Auditor Claire McCaskill (D) - 44%. INDIANA (Research 2000): Former US Budget Director Mitch Daniels (R) - 48%, Governor Joe Kernan (D) - 45%. NEW HAMPSHIRE (Franklin Pierce College): Governor Craig Benson (R) and former UNH Trustee John Lynch (D) tied at 45% apiece.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.27.04 |

HOUSE RACE UPDATES. LOUISIANA CD-3 (Verne Kennedy): Lobbyist Billy Tauzin III (R) - 32%, State Sen. Craig Romero (R) - 16%, lobbyist Charlie Melancon (D) -16%, State Rep. Damon Baldone (D) - 5%, former Congressional aide Charmaine Caccioppi (D) - 5%. LOUISIANA CD-7 (Verne Kennedy): Physician Charles Boustany Jr. (R) - 31%, State Senator Willie Mount (D) - 22%, State Senator Don Cravins (D) - 18%, Lafayette Parish School Board member David Thibodaux (R) - 10%. MISSOURI CD-5 (Kansas City Star/MRI): Former Kansas City Mayor Emanuel Cleaver (D) - 46%, businesswoman Jeanne Patterson (R) - 41%. NEBRASKA CD-1 (Omaha World Herald): Former Lincoln City Councilman Jeff Fortenberry (R) - 42%, State Senator Matt Connealy (D) - 38%. NEBRASKA CD-2 (Omaha World Herald): Congressman Lee Terry (R) - 60%, State Senator Nancy Thompson (D) - 30%.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.27.04 |

BIZARRE DEBATE PERFORMANCES. Two more folks will clearly be joining US Senator Jim Bunning (R-KY) in the "2004 Debate Hall of Fame" for bizarrely bad performances. In Pennsylvania's open CD-8 race, attorney Ginny Schrader (D) entered a bizarre performance. In her opening statement of the televised event. She began by blasting her opponent for a nasty NRCC attack spot that had recently aired. The debate moderator tried repeatedly to interrupt and stop Schrader as she blasted the attack spot and demanded that her GOP opponent apologize for the spot. When the moderator cut off Schrader's microphone and her opponent remained silent, Schrader simply stalked off the set before the questioning could get started. If you thought that was bad, in Indiana's CD-3, insurance agent Maria Parra (D) was even worse. Last week, Parra froze on the TV set while filming the opening remarks of the only televised debate of the campaign. Parra broke into tears and ran off. Congressman Mark Souder (R) said he was willing to start again for Parra, who returned but demanded that everyone leave the set (except the candidate and essential TV station staff) as she was suffering from stage fright. On "take two" on the nearly deserted set, Parra made it through her opening before she got to the first question. Rather than give her views about the Iraq War, Parra ripped off her microphone, hurled an insult at Souder for being a "bad" legislator, and again ran off the set in tears. Parra's stage fright this time was so bad that she could not return. The station has decided not to run the "debate" on the air. Just pathetic.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.27.04 |

WEDNESDAY OPEN THREAD. Have at it.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.27.04 |

THE POLITICS1 ELECTORAL FORECAST - PART TWO. We pick up where we left off yesterday (oh yeah, and we forgot to include Maryland when we originally posted Part One yesterday, but we've gone back and added it in). So, let's continue ...

NEBRASKA - US HOUSE: Former Lincoln City Councilman Jeff Fortenberry (R) will win the open CD-1 seat by a decent margin. In CD-2, Dems had hopes of ousting Congressman Lee Terry (R). State Senator Nancy Thompson (D) has run a respectable race -- and Dems have claimed she was within striking reach -- but she will fall far short of her goal.

NEVADA - US SENATE: Senate Minority Whip Harry Reid (D) will have no problem whipping his Religious Right opponent by a wide margin. US HOUSE: CD-3 Congressman Jon Porter (R) was expecting a competitive race from wealthy gaming industry executive Tom Gallagher (D). Gallagher has spent a lot of money -- and at one point narrowed much of the gap -- but Porter regained his footing and should hold on by a comfortable margin.

NEW HAMPSHIRE - GOVENOR: Former UNH Board of Trustees Chair John Lynch (D) has run a very smart, very aggressive campaign -- but it won't be enough. Governor Craig Benson (R) will win a second term by an unimpressive amount. US SENATE: Incumbent Judd Gregg (R) only faces nominal opposition. US HOUSE: Dems like to pretend that both seats are competitive contests. They're not. Both incumbents will win by comfortable margins.

NEW JERSEY - US HOUSE: Several challengers -- including Anne Wolfe (D) in CD-5, Steve Brozak (D) in CD-7, and Bill Spadea (R) in CD-12 -- have made spirited runs ... but all of the incumbents will win big again.

NEW MEXICO - US HOUSE: Congresswoman Heather Wilson (R) in CD-1 is yet again facing a tough challenge from State Senate President Richard Romero (D). Romero has run a strong campaign, and this is a swing district. Still, Wilson will survive by a very close margin. In CD-2, Congressman Steve Pearce (R) is also facing a competitive race, but he'll win by a decent amount.

NEW YORK - US SENATE: Incumbent Chuck Schumer (D) will win re-election by a landslide margin. US HOUSE: In CD-27, voters have a choice between Erie County Comptroller Nancy Naples (R) and State Assemblyman Brian Higgins (D). Naples is a GOP "centrist" and Higgins is a "conservative" Dem -- meaning both share similar views. While this district is currently held by a moderate GOP incumbent, the district is very pro-Dem in most contests. Look for Higgins to win a close race and score a Dem pickup. In CD-29, State Senator Randy Kuhl (R) has taken some hits in recent days from the unlawful release of sealed divorce papers which alleged that Kuhl had drunkenly threatened his then-wife with shotguns. Still, Kuhl has artfully spun the story into one that questions the integrity of opponent Samara Barend (D) -- a former Hillary Clinton campaign aide -- for having her campaign illegally obtain the files. Kuhl will win by a decent margin. All the other incumbents will win re-election, even though a few are facing marginally competitive races.

NORTH CAROLINA - GOVERNOR: Incumbent Mike Easley (D) will win re-election over former State Senate Minority Leader Patrick Ballantine (R) by a wide margin -- probably somewhere in the 10-20 point range. US SENATE: Former White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles (D) held the lead in this open seat race for a year, until Congressman Richard Burr (R) closed the gap and then narrowly moved ahead in the final few weeks. Bowles has run a decent -- albeit safe -- campaign, but Burr's conservative views are more in line with the state's electorate. Burr will win a close race and score a GOP pickup. US HOUSE: Congressmen Charles Taylor (R) in CD-11 and Brad Miller (D) in CD-13 are both facing attractive, aggressive challengers. Both incumbents, however, will survive. Taylor's numbers could be rather close, but he'll still win. State Senator Virginia Foxx (R) in CD-5 and State Rep. Patrick McHenry (R) in CD-10 are certain winners in their respective open seat contests.

NORTH DAKOTA - Think of ND as an incumbent "safe zone." Governor John Hoeven (R), US Senator Byron Dorgan (D) and Congressman Earl Pomeroy (D) will all win re-election by wide margins.

OHIO - US SENATE: Incumbent George Voinovich (R) will win another term by a landslide margin. US HOUSE: Congressional incumbents in CD-1, CD-3, CD-4, CD-9 and CD-14 are all facing competitive races of varying degrees, but all of the Ohio incumbents will surivive.

OKLAHOMA - US SENATE: Next to Florida, this Senate race is the hardest to measure. Congressman Brad Carson (D) is a conservative, and probably the best prospect his party could have placed into this open seat race. Former Congressman Tom Coburn (R) is hardcore Religious Right conservative who speaks his mind -- sometimes thoughtfully, sometimes recklessly. Coburn's own party leadership doesn't particularly like him (but it didn't matter much, as he beat their hand-picked candidate in the primary). If Coburn was more circumspect, he'd win this race easily. However, Coburn isn't and the race is thus neck-and-neck. Despite his failings as a candidate, Coburn will eke out a very narrow victory. US HOUSE: State Rep. Dan Boren (D) will easily win the open CD-2 seat.

OREGON - US SENATE: Incumbent Ron Wyden (D) will roll to another landslide victory. US HOUSE: In CD-1, Congressman David Wu (D) was already locked in a tight contest with wealthy businesswoman Goli Ameri (R) even before nearly 30-year-old allegations of sexual assault recently surfaced involved Wu. Ameri is raising the issue in her TV spots, and the race is hot -- but Wu will still win another term. Congresswoman Darlene Hooley (D) is also facing a rather well-funded challenge in CD-5 from former Lake Oswego School Board Chair Jim Zupanic (R). Still, Hooley will win by a decent margin.

PENNSYLVANIA - US SENATE: Incumbent Arlen Specter (R) -- who barely survived his primary against a conservative rival -- will win a very respectable victory over Congressman Jim Hoeffel (D). The presence on the ballot of conservative activist Jim Clymer (Constitution) will make the race a few points closer than it would otherwise be, but Specter will be back for six more years. US HOUSE: In CD-8, Bucks County Commissioner Mike Fitzpatrick (R) is probably too conservative for most in this district, but he'll still be able to keep this seat in GOP hands. However, he should expect a real primary challenge from a GOP moderate in two years. In CD-13, the third time won't be the charm for surgeon and frequent candidate Melissa Brown (R). State Senator Allyson Schwartz (D) will win this open seat. State Senator Charlie Dent (R) will win the open CD-15 seat. In CD-17, Congressman Tim Holden (D) will survive yet again in this GOP-leaning district.

RHODE ISLAND - No competitive races worth watching here.

SOUTH CAROLINA - US SENATE: The GOP will score a pickup here, as Congressman Jim DeMint (R) will defeat State Superintendent of Education Inez Tenenbaum (D) by a comfortable margin. DeMint has made some gaffes in recent weeks, but Tenenbaum's initial perceived strength appears to have been overrated. US HOUSE: What's old is what's new. Former Congressman Bob Inglis (R) will win DeMint's open seat (which was actually Inglis' seat before DeMint held it).

SOUTH DAKOTA - US SENATE: Incumbent Tom Daschle (D) is a top target of the NRSC, but he isn't going anywhere. He's locked in a close contest with former Congressman John Thune (R). The race is so tight that most poll numbers have reflected a virtual tie for months now. In the end, Daschle will win by a rather slim margin. US HOUSE: Congresswoman Stephanie Herseth (D) -- who was just elected in a June special election -- will win a full term by re-defeating former State Senator Larry Diedrich (R). This time, Herseth is backed by the NRA and will win by a much better margin than her slim initial victory four months ago.

TENNESSEE - US HOUSE: Congressman Lincoln Davis (D) will handily survive his rematch in CD-4 from Tullahoma Alderwoman Janice Bowling (R). Nothing else worth watching in the state.

TEXAS - US HOUSE: House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's inspired re-redistricting in Texas has put several Democratic incumbents at risk. Then again, that was DeLay's plan. In large part, DeLay will achieve his goal. In CD-1, look for low-key former District Judge Louie Gohmert (R) to defeat Congressman Max Sandlin (D) in a close vote. In CD-2, Congressman Nick Lampson (D) will likely lose his seat by a slightly wider margin to former District Judge Ted Poe (R). In CD-17, Congressman Chet Edwards (D) will survive DeLay's redrawing plan and defeat State Rep. Arlene Wohlgemuth (R). In CD-19, freshman Congressman Randy Neugebauer (R) will defeat 13-term Congressman Charlie Stenholm (D) by a wide margin. In CD-25, Congressman Lloyd Doggett (D) will defeat State Public Utility Commission Chair Becky Armendariz Klein (R) by a decent margin. In CD-32, Congressman Pete Sessions (R) will defeat Congressman Martin Frost (D) -- the top target of DeLay's plan -- by a few points. Other "sure bet" new members of Congress will be Justice of the Peace Al Green (D) in CD-9, attorney Mike McCaul (R) in CD-10, accountant Mike Conaway (R) in CD-12, State Rep. Kenny Marchant (R) in CD-24, and former Secretary of State Henry Cuellar (D) in CD-28. The end result for DeLay's plan: a GOP pickup of five seats (six, if you consider that it forced Congressman Ralph Hall in CD-4 to switch parties just before the close of filing earlier this year).

UTAH - GOVERNOR: Former law school dean Scott Matheson Jr. (D) is a quality candidate with a great family name, but it won't be nearly enough for him to defeat former Ambassador Jon Hunstman Jr. (R). Huntsman will win by a comfortable margin, likely in the 10-20 point range. US SENATE: Incumbent Bob Bennett (R) will win again by a landslide margin. US HOUSE: The NRCC keeps targeting CD-2 Congressman Jim Matheson (D) -- Scott's brother -- for defeat. The GOP are stuck, however, with a highly flawed candidate who won a divisive, close primary and made no attempt to heal the bitter wounds. Look for Matheson to win big.

VERMONT - GOVERNOR: Incumbent Jim Douglas (R) is a GOP moderate who will have no problem overcoming a big Kerry victory here. He'll defeat Burlington Mayor Peter Clavelle (D) by a comfortable margin. US SENATE: Vice President Dick Cheney may want Senator Pat Leahy (D) to "F*** Off" -- to use his oft repeated quote -- but Vermont voters won't grant his wish. Leahy will crush millionaire businessman Jack McMullen (R). US HOUSE: Congressman Bernie Sanders (Independent) is popular and will win again by a solid margin.

VIRGINIA - US HOUSE: Dems are making an aggressive run at the open CD-2 seat. While the region has a huge military population, Iraq War veteran David Ashe (D) will not be able to overcome the district's strong GOP tilt. State Del. Thelma Drake (R) will win the seat.

WASHINGTON - GOVERNOR: State Senator Dino Rossi (R) is the strongest GOP candidate to run for Governor here in nearly a quarter century. Attorney General Christine Gregoire (D) is a flawed, but still fairly strong, contender. In the end, Gregoire will keep the office in the Dem column by a 6-10 point margin. US SENATE: Incumbent Patty Murray (D) got a lucky break when retiring Congresswoman Jennifer Dunn (R) passed on the contest. Instead, Congressman George Nethercutt became the GOP candidate. Despite Murray's potential vulnerabilities, Nethercutt was never able to narrow the gap. Murray will win big. US HOUSE: In the open CD-5 race, State Rep. Cathy McMorris (R) will win by a comfortable margin and keep this seat in the GOP column. Dems, however, will score a pickup in the open CD-8 race. Radio talk show host Dave Ross (D) and King County Sheriff Dave Reichert (R) -- two populists who were both Independents until less than a year ago -- are locked in a highly competitive race. In the end, Ross will win by a few points.

WEST VIRGINA - GOVERNOR: Secretary of State Joe Manchin (D) will win this open race by a very wide margin over developer Monty Warner (R). US HOUSE: CD-2 is somewhat competitive, at best, but all the incumbents are safe.

WISCONSIN - US SENATE: Republicans had dreams of knocking off liberal Incumbent Russ Feingold (D), but it isn't going to happen. Construction executive and former Army Ranger Tim Michels (R) is an attractive candidate, but Feingold will win by a comfortable margin. US HOUSE: State Senator Gwen Moore (D) will easily win the open CD-4 seat. The state has a few other marginally competitive races, but don't look for any upsets.

WYOMING - US HOUSE: Congresswoman Barbara Cubin (R) is potentially vulnerable, but only in a GOP primary. She'll have no problem winning another term. Perhaps -- if she makes more of an effort to show up in Congress for votes in her next term -- Cubin's perceived vulnerabilities will start to fade.

THE PRESIDENCY - No lengthy analysis of "Bush will win state X and Kerry will win state Y." The race is close, but Bush's numbers are weak for an incumbent. Late breaking undecideds typically go against an incumbent, especially in Presidential races. Senator Kerry will defeat President Bush, but it won't be a Reagan-style landslide. In fact, it is possible that we could see a reverse of 2000: Bush may win the popular vote and lose the electoral vote. I think Bush will score wins by landslide vote margins in many of the states he carries, while Kerry will only score modest (or even razor thin) wins in many of the states he carries. That will cause the national vote total to look much closer than the race will be in terms of electoral votes. The end result: Kerry will finish with somewhere in the neighborhood of 280-300 electoral votes. Nader will finish third, somewhere in the 0.7% to 1% range. In order of finish: Badnarik, Peroutka and Cobb will follow next in fourth, fifth and sixth places (but the differences in overall vote totals will be so small that the order could change). Of course, if we somehow capture or kill Osama "Wanted Dead or Alive ... We'll smoke him out" bin Laden in the next week -- or something similar happens -- all this could change.

THE SCORECARD - PRESIDENCY: Dem pickup. GOVERNORSHIPS: GOP +1. US SENATE: No net change. Look for Dem pressure on Senator Linc Chafee (R-RI) to switch parties and give Dems control next year if Edwards is the VP. US HOUSE: No net change. (Note: Feel free to re-check my math on all these picks.)

Okay, my cards are all on the table. And, yes, I'm a Dem ... and, yes, I'm personally supporting Kerry (actually, I'm the Broward County Co-Chair of the Kerry Legal Team for Election Day) ... but this is how I'm calling the races. Agree or disagree, but you can add up my scorecard on November 2nd and see how these picks match up with the end results.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.26.04 |

TUESDAY OPEN THREAD. Use this to discuss everything else that's going on in the world of politics.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.26.04 |

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: Thomas Higgins, Democrat for Congress in Alaska; and some of the folks involved with the Unofficial Bill Lee for Governor page (R) in Delaware.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger -10.26.04

THE POLITICS1 ELECTORAL FORECAST - PART ONE. So, at long last, here are our fearless predictions for the upcoming elections. We'll go state by state covering all of the gubernatorial and US Senate races, plus the key US House contests. If a race isn't mentioned, it's because we just don't see it as highly competitive. And, at the end, we'll get around to predicting the big race. Do we have any inside info? No. Did I just pick all the candidates I liked? No. So ... agree or disagree with my picks, but we'll all know how good or bad they really were by the middle of next week.

ALABAMA - US SENATE: Incumbent Richard Shelby (R) will win re-election in a landslide over his gadfly opponent. US HOUSE: As for the Congressional contests, all of the incumbents will be back for another term next year.

ALASKA - US SENATE: Former Governor Tony Knowles (D) has led in the polls from the start over US Senator Lisa Murkowski (R). The incumbent has had to deal with baggage from the nepotism that caused her to be appointed by her father, to problems her centrist views caused with the conservatives within her own party. Knowles must overcome a massive Bush landslide in the state, and he will (but not by much).

ARIZONA - US SENATE: Incumbent John McCain (R) only faces nominal opposition. US HOUSE: In CD-1, Coconino County Supervisor Paul Babbitt (D) never proved to be the threat that national Dems had anticipated against Congressman Rick Renzi (R). In CD-2, Congressman Trent Franks (R) will win re-election by a wider margin than he first did two years ago.

ARKANSAS - US SENATE: Incumbent Blanche Lincoln (D) should have no problem scoring a comfortable victory over her vastly under-financed and little-known opponent. US HOUSE: Congressmen Vic Snyder (D) and John Boozman (R) drew credible opponents, but both men should easily win.

CALIFORNIA - US SENATE: Former Secretary of State Bill Jones (R) never really threatened the re-election chances of US Senator Barbara Boxer (D). Jim Gray (Libertarian) will probably score one of his party's best showings in any race in the nation, but still finish in the single digits. US HOUSE: In CD-3, former Congressman Dan Lundgren (R) will easily win this open seat. In CD-20, former State Senator Jim Costa (D) will win this open seat. State Senator Roy Ashburn (R) has narrowed the gap in recent weeks, but the seat will stay in Dem hands.

COLORADO - US SENATE: Did you know that there are 16 candidates in this open seat race? The lead has switched back and forth in recent polls in this contest between Attorney General Ken Salazar (D) and brewery magnate Pete Coors (R). Coors' support in the polls appears to be softer than that of Salazar, as Coors' leads have been slim and transitory. Salazar should win, but it will be very close. Score this a Dem pickup. US HOUSE: In the open CD-3 race, Salazar's brother -- State Rep. John Salazar (D) -- will defeat State Natural Resources Director Greg Walcher (R) in an upset. The crowded GOP primary was rather divisive, and Salazar has run a strong campaign. Dem pickup. In CD-4, Dems (and the gay community) have targeted Congresswoman Marilyn Musgrave (R), who was the prime sponsor of the failed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. Former State Senate President Stan Matsunaka (D) has run an aggressive rematch, but Musgrave will win another term. In CD-7, Congressman Bob Beauprez (R) won the closest congressional race in the nation two years ago. This time he should win by a more comfortable amount.

CONNECTICUT - US SENATE: Former clothing industry executive Jack Orchulli (R) should stick to fashion trends, because he isn't going to beat US Senator Chris Dodd (D). He won't even come close. US HOUSE: Look for an upset in CD-2, as former Norwich City Councilman Jim Sullivan is carried to a narrow victory over Congressman Rob Simmons (R), based on the strength of the big Kerry margin of victory here. Sullivan is a GOP centrist and fairly popular with his constituents, but Sullivan has driven home the message that a vote for the likable and moderate Simmons is a vote for Tom DeLay to stay in control of the House. Dems would also like an upset in CD-4 -- for the same reasons -- but Congressman Chris Shays (R) should win a surprisingly close contest over Westport Selectwoman Diane Farrell (D). Congresswoman Nancy Johnson (R) -- the third RINO in the Connecticut delegation -- should win an easy re-election race.

DELAWARE - GOVERNOR: Former Judge Bill Lee (R) is a credible, thoughtful candidate -- but his best chance was four years ago, when the GOP establishment rejected him in the primary by a margin of less than 50 votes. Governor Ruth Ann Minner (D) isn't exciting, but she's well-liked and will win re-election by a decent margin.

FLORIDA - US SENATE: This is the hardest open Senate race in the nation to predict. Frankly, former US Housing Secretary Mel Martinez (R) and former State Education Commissioner Betty Castor (D) both have an equally good chance of winning. Martinez won a very divisive primary, and some of those wounds haven't healed yet. His primary campaign conduct also hurt his credibility with the media, who formerly praised him. Without all of this, I think Martinez would have otherwise won the seat. I'm calling this race for Castor, but it will be very, very close. US HOUSE: Congressman Allen Boyd (D) is conservative enough that he'll survive the energetic challenge in CD 2 from State Rep. Bev Kilmer (R) -- and by a better margin that originally anticipated. Dems would like to see Congresswoman Katherine Harris (R) as vulnerable in CD-13, but she'll easily win a second term. Former State Rep. Connie Mack IV (R) in CD-14 and State Senator Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D) in CD-20 will both win open seats by landslide margins. Look for DWS to become one of the new rising Dem stars in DC.

GEORGIA - US SENATE: The Republicans will score a pickup in this open seat race. Congressman Johnny Isakson (R) will easily defeat Congresswoman Denise Majette (D). All I can guess is that Majette ran this unwinnable race simply to build her name recognition for a statewide run for some office like Lieutenant Governor or Secretary of State in 2006. US HOUSE: Controversial former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney (D) is a safe bet to win the open CD-4 seat, as is former State Senate Majority Leader Tom Price (R) in the CD-6 seat, and State House Minority Leader Lynn Westmoreland (R) in the open CD-8. Dems hoped to oust freshman Congressman Phil Gingrey (R) in CD-11 and Max Burns (R) in CD-12, but both should survive -- Gingrey by a wide margin, Burns by a small amount.

HAWAII - US SENATE: Incumbent Dan Inouye (D) should have no problem cruising to a big victory for an eighth term in the Senate. US HOUSE: Former CNN Asia news anchor Dalton Tanonaka (R) appeared to be an attractive candidate in CD-1, but he won't come close to defeating liberal Congressman Neil Abercrombie (D). As an aside, look for Duke Bainum to win the open race for Honolulu Mayor.

IDAHO - No competitive races worth watching here.

ILLINOIS - US SENATE: This is the most obvious Dem pickup race to call. State Senator Barack Obama (D) will defeat bombastic former Ambassador Alan Keyes (R) by a landslide margin, paving the way for Keyes to move back to his real home in Maryland. US HOUSE: College professor Dan Lipinski (D) will easily win the CD-3 being vacated by his father (and done so in a rather underhanded manner to give the seat to his son without any real election contest), but watch for him to draw a real opponent in two years. In CD-8, business consultant Melissa Bean (D) will score a major upset when she defeats Congressman Phil Crane (R) -- the most senior GOP member of the House. Crane's inattention to the district caused his problems, and many of his GOP colleagues in DC clearly do not think much of him. Still, this is a GOP district, so Bean is likely to be a "one-termer."

INDIANA - GOVENOR: Former US Budget Director Mitch Daniels (R) -- President Bush's "My Man Mitch" -- will defeat Governor Joe Kernan (D) by a margin of several points. Kernan only succeeded to the governorship last year when incumbent Frank O'Bannon (D) unexpectedly died from a massive stroke. Not that Kernan has done a bad job, but Daniels has run a good campaign. GOP pickup. US SENATE: Incumbent Evan Bayh (D) will easily win another term. US HOUSE: Moderately competitive contests in CD-2, CD-8 and CD-9, but all the incumbents will survive.

IOWA - US SENATE: Incumbent Chuck Grassley (R) will roll to a massive re-election victory. US HOUSE: Congressmen Jim Nussle (R) in CD-1 and Leonard Boswell (D) in CD-3 both face competitive challenges, but both will survive. Nussle will win by a bigger margin than will Boswell.

KANSAS - US SENATE: Incumbent Sam Brownback (R) will win big over his three minor opponents. US HOUSE: Congressman Dennis Moore (D) will yet again survive another tough challenge. As always, it will be rather close -- but he'll survive to fight another day.

KENTUCKY - US SENATE: Incumbent Jim Bunning (R) would be well on his way to a landslide win, had his behavior not taken a turn to the belligerent and bizarre in recent weeks. The state's leading newspapers have since questioned Bunning's mental ability to serve, and the two big papers both endorsed State Senator Dan Mongiardo (D). Despite Bunning's self-inflicted wounds, he'll survive -- likely with a win in 5-9 point range. US HOUSE: Congresswoman Anne Northup (R) again faced a competitive challenge this year, but she should win by a better margin than her usual lackluster showings. In CD-4, celebrity parent and retired TV news anchorman Nick Clooney (D) will help the Dems hold onto this open seat. Manufacturing consultant Geoff Davis (R) should have won this race on his second try, but he has run an uninspiring campaign.

LOUISIANA - US SENATE: GOP chances look good for a pickup here, but this race will not be decided on November 2. Look for Congressman David Vitter (R) to place first in the open, multi-party primary by a wide margin over his nearest rival. However, he will fall short of the majority mark needed to avoid a December 4 run-off. Congressman Chris John (D) will advance to the run-off by narrowly edging out State Treasurer John Kennedy (D) for second place. US HOUSE: Former State Health Secretary Bobby Jindal (R) -- the GOP nominee for Governor last year -- will win the open CD-1 seat without need of a run-off. In the open CD-3, telecommunications lobbyist Billy Tauzin III (R) -- the son of the retiring incumbent -- will place first in the six-way primary. State Senator Craig Romero (R) is likely to qualify for the other run-off berth, with sugar industry lobbyist Charlie Melancon (D) narrowly edged out. Party switching Congressman Rodney Alexander (R) will score an outright win on November 2 in CD-5, but he won't finish far about the 50% mark against his two weak opponents. In the open CD-7, State Senator Willie Mount (D) and surgeon Charles Boustany Jr. (R) are the two candidates most likely to advance to the December run-off.

MAINE - No competitive races worth watching here.

MARYLAND - US Senate: Incumbent Barbara Mikulski (D) may be little, but she'll win by a big margin. No competitive US House races worth watching here.

MASSACHUSETTS - No competitive races worth watching here.

MICHIGAN - Populist former State Senator and surgeon Joe Schwarz (R) will win the open CD-7 seat by a comfortable margin over his four opponents.

MINNESOTA - US HOUSE: Child safety advocate Patty Wetterling (D) has run a hard-charging race against Congressman Mark Kennedy (R) in CD-6, but he'll still win another term by several points. That victory should help position Kennedy to run for the US Senate in two years. Dems once had hopes of running a real race against Congressman John Kline (R), but he'll win easily in CD-2.

MISSISSIPPI - No competitive races worth watching here.

MISSOURI - GOVERNOR: State Auditor Claire McCaskill (D) scored an upset victory in the primary over embattled Governor Bob Holden, but her luck will run out on November 2nd. She's going to be hurt by a likely Bush win in the state. Secretary of State Matt Blunt (R) will win by at least a few points. GOP pickup. US SENATE: US Senator Kit Bond (R) should easily dispatch the challenge from State Treasurer Nancy Farmer (D) by a very healthy margin. Dems thought she had promise, but Farmer never really cut into Bond's wide early lead. US HOUSE: State Rep. Russ Carnahan (D) will easily win the open CD-3 seat, and former Kansas City Mayor Emanuel Cleaver (D) will do likewise with the open CD-5 seat. Dems seem to think they can beat Congressman Sam Graves (R) in CD-6 -- or at least come close -- but I don't see that happening.

MONTANA - GOVERNOR: Wealthy farmer Brian Schweitzer (D) started this open contest as the frontrunner and has remained so ever since. Secretary of State Bob Brown (R) is liked and trusted, but just won't come close enough to stop Schweizer's momentum. Dem pickup. US HOUSE: Not a competitive race.

TOMORROW: In Part Two, we'll cover the races in Nebraska to Wyoming ... and the all-important Presidential race. So, how are these picks stacking up against yours?
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.25.04 |

MONDAY OPEN THREAD. Whatever.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.25.04 |

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: Congressman Bernie Sanders, Independent for re-election in Vermont; Michael Badnarik, Libertarian nominee for President; and to Rick Knox & Associates, a conservative political consulting firm in Jackson, Mississippi, who sent some great pins from races they've worked on.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger -10.25.04

TRACKING THE BATTLEGROUND STATES. FLORIDA (Sayfie Review/Insider Advantage): Bush and Kerry tied at 46% each, and Nader at 2%. HAWAII (Honolulu Advertiser): Bush-43.4%, Kerry-42.6%. IOWA (Iowa Newspaper Assoc/Central Surveys): Kerry-46%, Bush-45%. MICHIGAN (EPIC/MRA): Kerry-49%, Bush-43%, Nader-1%. NEW JERSEY (Fairleigh Dickinson Univ.): Kerry-47%, Bush-41%, Nader-1%. OHIO (CNN/USA Today/Gallup): Kerry-50%, Bush-44%. OHIO (Ohio University): Kerry-49%, Bush-43%. PENNSYLVANIA (Allentown Morning Call/Muhlenberg College): Kerry-48%, Bush-46%. PENNSYLVANIA (Quinnipiac College): Kerry-47%, Bush-41%.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.24.04 |

WEEKEND OPEN THREAD. I'm busy writing my predictions for the top races around the country (they'll be online on Monday) ... so discuss whatever you'd like until then.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.24.04 |

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: Gary Bastian, a gay GOP activist in New York who is distributing a button that reads "Gay Republicans ... Holding our noses and voting for Bush 2004"; the Colorado for Kerry/Edwards campaign; and Ryan Kiesel, Democrat for Oklahoma State Representative (Dist 28).
Posted by Ron Gunzburger -10.24.04

TRACKING THE BATTLEGROUND STATES. Today's update will be shorter than normal as I'm busy studying for a complex test I'm taking Friday morning related to my "real" job ... but, here's the abbreviated latest news. COLORADO (KUSA-TV/SurveyUSA): Bush-52%, Kerry-45%. In related news, the same poll shows that the proposed state initiative to scrap the winner-takes-all system for the state's Electoral College votes appears to be headed for certain defeat. FLORIDA (Quinnipiac College): Bush-45%, Kerry-43%. IOWA (WHO-TV/SurveyUSA): Bush-51%, Kerry-45%. MICHIGAN (WDIV-TV/SurveyUSA): Kerry-51%, Bush-44%. NORTH CAROLINA (Asheville Citizen-Times/Mason-Dixon): Bush-51%, Kerry-43%, Badnarik-1%. WISCONSIN (University of Minnesota): Bush-48%, Kerry-47%, Nader-2%. FYI: We just updated our P2004 Ballot Access page, so check it out to see which third party candidates qualified for ballot spots in the various states.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.22.04 |

US SENATE RACE UPDATES. COLORADO (KUSA-TV/SurveyUSA): Brewery magnate Pete Coors (R) - 50%, Attorney General Ken Salazar (D) - 46%. Toss-Up. OKLAHOMA (KFOR-TV/SurveyUSA): Former Congressman Tom Coburn (R) - 47%, Congressman Brad Carson (D) - 41%, frequent candidate Sheila Bilyeu (Indep) - 8%. Toss-Up. GEORGIA (WXIA-TV/SurveyUSA): Congressman Johnny Isakson (R) - 55%, Congresswoman Denise Majette (D) - 39%. Safe GOP.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.22.04 |

REPORT FROM IRAQ: KEEP OFF THE GRASS. 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,

Hello once more from Camp Lonestar at the beautiful Al-Asad air base. At my request, my Mom recently sent me a Sonny and Cher CD because I wanted a a copy of their song "I've Got You Babe." For those of you who remmeber the Bill Murray comedy "Groundhog Day," you'll know why I asked for that song. Many days it feels like everyday here is a repeat of the day before, just like movie. In that film, he awakes every morning to the sound of Sonny and Cher's hit blaring out of his radio alarm clock to find he is, yet again, stuck repeating the same day. Each morning now in the battalion's S-1, we play that song as a tribute to our lives here in Iraq. It always seems to make us laugh. Perhaps it'll become our theme song.


This sign was recently posted in good humor outside our headquarters here
in order to make sure our "nice" landscaping stays so immaculate.

Anyone that followed the news over the last week knows that our area was busy for us, but I'm glad to report everyone here is well. Lance Corporal Spivey was shot in the leg, but he's going to make a full recovery and stay here with us. He was the Marine that was quoted in the ASP Dulab story I wrote about the Iraqis fishing with hand grenades. He and two other Marines also did a phone interview with the Shreveport Times yesterday. Our Marines did an exceptional job in their operations and the full details of their operations will be told down the road.

We've also received a recent influx of care packages. The Houston Texans football team sent us a bunch of DVDs of one of their football games. It was a nice surprise. Another nice surprise has been an increase of females back in America wishing to correspond with some of our single Marines. I don't think anything makes these guys happier than getting a letter or an email from a pretty girl. One of those letter was from Melissa Salter and her fellow sorority sisters of Kappa Delta Sorority of Louisiana Tech. They said they read the updates on Politics1 and want to adopt some of our Marines. They also enclosed a nice photo of four of the sorority sisters. They are all attractive and it made our day to get a photo like that, as we don't see a lot of pretty stuff out here. We also got a nice letter today -- along with a US flag that was flown over the US Capitol building -- from Congressman Silvestre Reyes (D) of El Paso, Texas. It's awesome to get something like that. I've hung the flag up in one of the main hallways of our headquarters building along with all of the other letters we have received from elected officials.

This week I'm going to revive our "Marine of the Week" series by profiling Lance Corporal Jason Hagerup from our Weapons Company based out of Austin, Texas. Hope you enjoy meeting him.

Jason Hagerup

In a land that can sometimes turn quickly hostile and dangerous, the Marines of 1/23 have an ace in the hole for any problems they may encounter by calling forth their Quick Reaction Force (QRF). They are a well- trained unit that can spring into action and make an unpleasant situation much better with some skillful driving and a few well-aimed rounds from their weapons systems. For Lance Corporal Jason Hagerup, a 22-year-old from Seguin, Texas, the days spent on the QRF are much like being a fireman waiting for the alarm to sound. As a .50 caliber machine gunner, Jason is in a position to get the job done should the need arise. With a laid back demeanor, he willingly talks about his experiences driving through the Iraqi country side and describes the times he's been able to interact with the local population. "The Iraqi people are usually friendly and the kids are like kids anywhere. They always want candy," says Jason. He also recounts the pleasure he has had in trying to speak with those Iraqis that have a broken grasp of the English language. Perhaps his enjoyment from speaking with the local population springs from the fact that as a student at Texas State University in San Marcos, he is a Mass Communications major.

Being a .50 caliber gunner requires that Jason stand inside of the vehicle's ring mount during the entire mission and be ready to use the powerful weapon if need be. He describes riding in the ring mount as being "Like skiing in the desert. You just hold on tight to the .50 cal's spade hand- grips, the wind blows in your face and against your goggles, and there is sand as far as you can see." He has also had his mind put more at ease since his arrival here in the theatre of operations. "I think I was actually more nervous about this deployment during the time we spent in California training, prior to coming here, than I am now. While we were in the U.S. the situations were notional, but here they are actual and I can see exactly how our training applies to what we do here. That gives me a certain peace of mind that I had not yet found before we got here," explained Jason. Even with all of the proficiency and training however, he ads that he still "breathes a sigh of relief and takes a deep breath" whenever his patrol finally returns back to the relative safety of the camp. Once back inside the wire he says he tries to get something to eat, wash off the dust as best he can, and get some sleep. He never knows when the next call may come. One thing he does know however is that when he gets back to the states he plans to take a trip to visit his Grandfather in Chicago -- a place where vehicles cruising down the JFK or Dan Ryan Expressway don't have .50s despite the fact their owners might wish they did.

Well, that's all the time and space I have for this report. One last note: most of the Marines here are very excited about the Houston Astros amazing late season run. The way we figure it, with all of us here in Iraq, it would be our luck that the Astros will probably win it all. Also, the squadron that shares our camp with us flies C-130 transport planes and is based out of the NY area. They call themselves The Yankees and wear the New York Yankees insignia on their flight suits. It would have made for some interesting conversations if the Yanks and Astros had squared off against each other in the World Series. Maybe Steinbrenner -- in his rage over being beaten by the BoSox -- will now dispatch George Costanza over here to make the squadron either pay royalties or remove their insignia?

Semper Fi,
James

P.S. The Houston area Marines are making another phone call to The Sam Malone Morning Show on KRBE 104.1FM on Wednesday, Oct. 27th at 6:10am Houston time. Hopefully a bunch of the Marines that were not on last time will be able to get on this time.

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 - 10.22.04 |

FRIDAY OPEN THREAD. I just checked our site traffic stats yesterday and saw that Politics1 is now recording an astounding 35.6 million hits, 1.85 million page views, and over 1 million UNIQUE user sessions monthly at our current rate. That's a new record for Politics1. Not bad for a little indy site ... so my appreciative thanks to all of you for your great support!!
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.22.04 |

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: Congressman Tim Holden, Democrat for re-election in Pennsylvania CD-17; Melissa Bean, Democrat for Congress in Illinois CD-8; and, an unexpected package from overseas filled with recent campaign materials from former British Member of Parliament and current Member of the European Parliament Nirj Deva of the the Conservative Party.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger -10.22.04

TRACKING THE BATTLEGROUND STATES. FLORIDA (Orlando Sentinel/Mason-Dixon): Bush-48%, Kerry-45%. FLORIDA (Univ. of North Florida): Kerry-45%, Bush-44%, Nader-2%. IOWA (Zogby): Kerry-51%, Bush-48%. MAINE (WCSH-TV/SurveyUSA): Kerry-51%, Bush-45%. NEW HAMPSHIRE (Rasmussen): Kerry-49%, Bush-47%, Nader-1%. NEW HAMPSHIRE (ARG): Bush-48%, Kerry-47%, Nader-1%. NEW JERSEY (Strategic Vision): Kerry-44%, Bush-43%. NEW MEXICO (ARG): Kerry-48%, Bush-46%, Nader-1%. OREGON (CNN/USA Today/Gallup): Kerry-53%, Bush-45%. TENNESSEE (Zogby): Bush-50%, Kerry-48%. TENNESSEE (WBIR-TV/SurveyUSA): Bush-60%, Kerry-38%. The SurveyUSA poll seems closer to reality in TN than Zogby's new numbers. WASHINGTON (Strategic Vision): Kerry-50%, Bush-45%. WEST VIRGINIA (Zogby): Bush-49%, Kerry-46%. WISCONSIN (Wisconsin Public Radio/St. Norbert's College): Kerry-48%, Bush-43%, Nader-2%. WISCONSIN (ARG): Kerry and Bush tied at 47% each, and Nader at 2%.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.21.04 |

US SENATE RACE UPDATES. ALASKA (KTUU-TV/Ivan Moore): Former Governor Tony Knowles (D) - 47%, US Senator Lisa Murkowski (R) - 45%, frequent candidate Jim Sykes (Green) - 1%. Knowles continues to lead, but barely. Toss-Up. FLORIDA (Univ. of North Florida): Former State Education Commissioner Betty Castor (D) - 38%, former US Housing Secretary Mel Martinez (R) - 35%. Huge amount of undecideds remaining. Toss-Up. LOUISIANA (WDSU-TV/Southern Media): Congressman David Vitter (R) - 43%, Congressman Chris John (D) - 17%, State Treasurer John Kennedy (D) - 11%. Lots of undecideds here, too. NEVADA (Las Vegas Review-Journal/Mason-Dixon): US Senator Harry Reid (D) - 59%, anti-gay activist Richard Ziser (R) - 32%. Safe DEM. CALIFORNIA (Los Angeles Times): US Senator Barbara Boxer (D) - 55%, former Secretary of State Bill Jones (R) - 33%. Safe DEM. OKLAHOMA & ILLINOIS: US House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL), campaigning in his homestate, unexpectedly made his predictions this week on two US Senate races in comments he gave to the Arlington Heights Daily Herald. "We have a race in Oklahoma that we are probably not going to win. That's a Republican seat we are probably going to lose. Same thing in Illinois," said Hastert. KENTUCKY: More bizarre behavior from embattled US Senator Jim Bunning (R). While Bunning and his opponent -- State Senator Dan Mongiardo (D) -- had agreed to participate in another televised debate on Tuesday night, Bunning skipped the face-off without any advance notice or explanation. Mongiardo instead appeared alone on statewide TV and answered media questions. No comment from the Bunning campaign about the strange disappearance. "Dr. Dan" is touting a campaign poll that shows the race tied, but there are not yet any independent polls that back this up. The new WHAS-TV/SurveyUSA polls still shows Bunning leading Mongiardo by a 53% to 39% vote. The DSCC, however, is ramping up their interest: they're dropped $466,000 into the race within the last two weeks. Even Republican insiders now concede that they are rather troubled about the incumbent's electoral chances if he keeps acting so erratically. All this has prompted us to move this contest from the "GOP Favored" category to: Leans GOP (and it is rapidly heading into "Toss-Up" range).
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.21.04 |

GOVERNOR RACE UPDATES. NEW HAMPSHIRE (ARG): Governor Craig Benson (R) - 50%, former UNH Board of Regents Chair John Lynch (D) - 44%. Benson seems to be regaining a modest lead in recent days. Toss-Up. INDIANA (WXIN-TV/SurveyUSA): Former US Budget Director Mitch Daniels (R) - 51%, Governor Joe Kernan (D) - 43%. Leans GOP.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.21.04 |

US HOUSE RACE UPDATES. NEVADA CD-3 (Las Vegas Review-Journal/Mason-Dixon): Congressman Jon Porter (R) - 50%, gaming executive Tom Gallagher (D) - 35%. Gallagher is very wealthy and has also raised a good amount of money, but Porter keeps solidifying his lead. Dem chances for a gain here are dwindling. GOP Favored. SOMETHING IN -- OR ON -- THE AIR. The NRCC launched an attack spot against the Dem opponent of Congressman Sam Graves (R) in Missouri CD-6. Congressman John Sullivan (R) in Oklahoma CD-1 and Congressman Mark Kennedy (R) in Minnesota CD-6 also both went on the air this week with attack spots against their respective opponents. We didn't think any of these three were particularly competitive contests but -- with this taking place -- perhaps their internal polls are showing them something that we don't know. Otherwise, why spend big bucks to run TV attacks that name and blast challengers who are perceived as lagging rather far behind? Interesting.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.21.04 |

THURSDAY OPEN THREAD. Your turn.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.21.04 |

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: Doug Dodd, Democrat for Congress in Oklahoma CD-1; and US Senator Russ Feingold, Democrat for re-election in Wisconsin.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger -10.21.04

TRACKING THE BATTLEGROUND STATES. Lots of new state polls out ... and many show conflicting results. COLORADO (CNN/USA Today/Gallup): Bush-51%, Kerry-45%, Nader-1% among LV's ... and Bush-49%, Kerry-47%, Nader-1% among RV's. MISSOURI (KSDK-TV/SurveyUSA): Bush-51%, Kerry-45%. NEVADA (KVBC-TV/SurveyUSA): Bush-52%, Kerry-45%. NEW HAMPSHIRE (Suffolk University): Kerry-46%, Bush-41%. NEW JERSEY (WABC-TV/SurveyUSA): Kerry-51%, Bush-43%. NEW JERSEY (Quinnipiac College): Kerry-49%, Bush-45%. NEW JERSEY (Newark Star-Ledger/Rutgers Univ.): Kerry-48%, Bush-38%. OHIO (WCPO-TV/SurveyUSA): Kerry-49%, Bush-47%. OHIO (Univ of Cincinnati): Kerry-48%, Bush-46%. OHIO (FOX News/Opinion Dynamics): Bush-49%, Kerry-44%. OHIO (ABC News): Kerry-50%, Bush-47%. OREGON (Portland Tribune/Research 2000): Kerry-50%, Bush-44%, Other-3%. VIRGINIA (WSLS-TV/SurveyUSA): Bush-50%, Kerry-46%. WASHINGTON (KING-TV/SurveyUSA): Kerry-52%, Bush-45%.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.20.04 |

US SENATE RACE UPDATES. COLORADO (CNN/USA Today/Gallup): Attorney General Ken Salazar (D) - 49%, brewery magnate Pete Coors (R) - 48% among LV's ... and Salazar-51%, Coors-45% among RV's. COLORADO (Rocky Mountain News/POS): Coors-45%, Salazar-40%. Toss-Up. OKLAHOMA (KWTV-TV/Wilson Research): Former Congressman Tom Coburn (R) - 42%%, Congressman Brad Carson (D) - 39%, frequent candidate Sheila Bilyeu (Indep) - 4%. The leads swaps back and forth on an almost daily basis. Toss-Up. WASHINGTON (KING-TV/SurveyUSA): US Senator Patty Murray (D) - 56%, Congressman George Nethercutt (R) - 38%. This contest never lived up to its hype. Safe DEM. CALIFORNIA (KABC-TV/SurveyUSA): US Senator Barbara Boxer (D) - 57%, former Secretary of State Bill Jones (R) - 35%. Safe DEM. OHIO (FOX News/Opinion Dynamics): US Senator George Voinovich (R) - 58%, State Senator Eric Fingerhut (D) - 28%. OHIO (Univ of Cincinnati): Voinovich-62%, Fingerhut-35%. Safe GOP. MISSOURI (KSDK-TV/SurveyUSA): US Senator Kit Bond (R) - 56%, State Treasurer Nancy Farmer (D) - 38%. Safe GOP.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.20.04 |

GOVERNOR RACE UPDATES. WASHINGTON (KING-TV/SurveyUSA): Attorney General Christine Gregoire (D) - 50%, State Senator Dino Rossi (R) - 44%. Race remain competitive -- and Rossi still appears to be the GOP's best chance at winning the governorship here in over 20 years. However, these numbers still look almost exactly as they did nearly two months ago. Leans DEM. NEW HAMPSHIRE (Suffolk Univ): Governor Craig Benson (R) - 44%, former UNH Board of Regents Chair John Lynch (D) - 42%. The two men held a spirited TV debate earlier this week, but it will be a few days before we see what effect that has on the race. Toss-Up. MISSOURI (KSDK-TV/SurveyUSA): Secretary of State Matt Blunt (R) - 50%, State Auditor Claire McCaskill (D) - 44%. This is Blunt's widest lead to date. Toss-Up.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.20.04 |

US HOUSE RACE UPDATES. PENNSYLVANIA CD-17 (ARG): Congressman Tim Holden (D) - 48%, attorney Scott Paterno (R) - 36%, musician Russ Diamond (Libt) - 1%. Holden is a perennial NRCC target, but it looks like he's going to survive again in the GOP-leaning district. Paterno is the son of the legendary Penn State football coach. DEM Favored. ARIZONA CD-1 (Northern Arizona Univ): Congressman Rick Renzi (R) - 53%, Coconino County Supervisor Paul Babbitt (D) - 30%, technology consultant John Crockett (Libt) - 3%. The DCCC had high hopes for the Babbitt campaign, but that now seems like ancient history. GOP Favored. CONNECTICUT CD-2 (Univ of Connecticut): Congressman Rob Simmons (R) - 49%, former Norwich Councilman Jim Sullivan (D) - 40%. Simmons has gained a few points over the past two weeks, but the poll also has a few warnings for the centrist GOP incumbent. Bush trails Kerry in the district by 16-points, and 41% said Simmons was doing an excellent/good job versus 43% who said fair/poor. The district's top newspaper also endorsed Sullivan this week. Still, I'm keeping the race in the same category, but keep an eye on this one. Leans GOP. ILLINOIS CD-8: Attorney David Phelps -- who captured 31% against Congressman Phil Crane in the GOP primary earlier this year -- crossed party lines this week to endorse Crane's Democratic opponent Melissa Bean. "I believe in the principles of the Republican Party. But I cannot blindly back my party's candidate when we have such an excellent opportunity to elect someone who is deeply connected to our community and would do so much more for us than Phil Crane. Not only do I strongly endorse Melissa Bean and encourage every Republican who voted for me in the primary to do the same," said Phelps. Crane, the most senior member of the US House, is under attack by Bean and local newspapers for his excessive junketeering and purported inattentiveness to the district. National GOP leaders have been helping Crane in recent weeks. If re-elected, Crane is a leading candidate to be the next chair of the powerful House Ways & Means Committee. The House Republican Leadership passed over Crane in favor of a more junior GOP member the last time the chairmanship came open. Leans GOP. TEXAS CD-20. Underdog challenger Roger Scott (R) filed a police complaint against Congressman Charlie Gonzalez (D) this week relating to a purported physical altercation that took place at a TV studio immediately after the end of their debate. A TV news producer said he heard "a loud altercation." Scott told police that Gonzalez assaulted him. According to Scott, the Congressman called him "a little sh**" and "grabbed my arm and started squeezing it." Gonzalez demanded to know if Scott -- who attacked Gonzalez' views -- had ever bothered to even look up his voting record. "Yes, I've seen your voting record and let go of my arm," answered Scott. Gonzalez denied Scott's account, but snidely added that he "didn't realize [Scott] was such a delicate soul." Safe DEM.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.20.04 |

REPUBLICAN SEX VS. DEMOCRATIC SEX. ABC News actually conducted a poll this week on the comparative sex lives of Democrats and Republicans. 56% of Republicans and 47% of Democrats said they were "very satisfied with their sex life." Also, 33% of Dems and 26% of Republicans said they had faked orgasms. If I'm reading this right, I think that implies Republicans have better sex lives (or, at least, have set the bar on "satisfaction" at a much lower mark). Nader, presumably, will call a press conference to denounce the Dems and media for trying to block him from having sex (although I think Nader sex would likely be a solo act with a full-length mirror). No word about Libertarian sex lives ... but I'd think that would probably involve a trapeze, numerous consenting adults, some handguns, a bunch of marijuana, and Mike Badnarik giving participants a lengthy lecture on constitutional rights.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.20.04 |

WEDNESDAY OPEN THREAD. C'mon guys ... a little better behavior in the blog threads. Please. Play nicely or I'll send y'all to "time-out." Postscript (that will only mean something to our regular bloggers): Through IP addresses, we were able to identify the faux racist SLIM JIM blogger was really a screen name of a JHU college senior. Case closed.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.20.04 |

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: Anne Wolfe, Democrat for Congress in New Jersey CD-5.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger -10.20.04

TRACKING THE BATTLEGROUND STATES. ARKANSAS (KTHV-TV/SurveyUSA): Bush-51%, Kerry-46%. COLORADO (Rocky Mountain News/POS): Bush-47%, Kerry-42%, Nader-3%. FLORIDA (WFOR-TV/SurveyUSA): Kerry-50%, Bush-49%. NORTH CAROLINA (WBTV-TV/SurveyUSA): Bush-50%, Kerry-47%. OREGON (Riley Research): Bush-48%, Kerry-43%. PENNSYLVANIA (KDKA-TV/SurveyUSA): Kerry-51%, Bush-45%. WISCONSIN (Rasmussen): Kerry-48%, Bush-47%, Badnarik-1%, Nader-1%. In related Nader news ... Native-American activist and author Winona LaDuke -- who was Ralph Nader's VP runningmate in 1996 and 2000 on the Green Party ticket -- broke with her former partner and endorsed Kerry for President on Monday. In Virginia, Nader's state campaign coordinator surrendered himself to law enforcement authorities. He was indicted on 10 counts of election fraud for allegedly filing fraudulent petitions. And, speaking of election fraud, an Ohio man who was purportedly collecting voter registration forms for the NAACP National Voter Fund was arraigned Monday on felony election fraud charges. The man -- who CNN reports had seemingly been under the impression that he was going to be a paid a combination of cash of crack cocaine -- filed forms in the names of Mary Poppins, Michael Jackson, and nearly a hundred other fake names.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.19.04 |

US SENATE RACE UPDATES. FLORIDA (WFOR-TV/SurveyUSA): Former US Housing Secretary Mel Martinez (R) - 49%, former State Education Commissioner Betty Castor (D) - 47%. FLORIDA (Tallahassee Democrat/Mason-Dixon): Martinez and Castor tied with 45% each. FLORIDA (SayfieReview.com/Insider Advantage): Martinez-42%, Castor-40%. Toss-up. LOUISIANA (Verne Kennedy): Congressman David Vitter (R) - 47%, Congressman Chris John (D) - 20%, State Treasurer John Kennedy (D) - 17%, State Rep. Arthur Morrell (D) -3%. Leans GOP for a majority win in the open November primary. NORTH CAROLINA (WBTV-TV/SurveyUSA): Congressman Richard Burr (R) - 47%, former White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles (D) - 45%. Toss-Up. PENNSYLVANIA (KDKA-TV/SurveyUSA): US Senator Arlen Specter (R) - 48%, Congressman Joe Hoeffel (D) - 41%, conservative activist Jim Clymer (Const) - 6%. Hoeffel usually trails by a much wider margin in the polls, so it will take another one or two to tell if he is narrowing the gap or whether this survey was just an anomaly. Clymer will be a real factor if this race tightens. GOP Favored. ARKANSAS (KTHV-TV/SurveyUSA): US Senator Blanche Lincoln (D) - 57%, State Senator Jim Holt (R) - 38%. Safe Democrat. ILLINOIS: Former Ambassador Alan Keyes (R) may lose his Senate race by the widest margin ever in Illinois history on November 2, but he is sure to win one contest this election: King of the Outrageous Statements. Sure, candidates in other states have tried to out-do Keyes in recent weeks, but Keyes bounced back in fine form this weekend. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Keyes proclaimed at a rally on Saturday that children raised by gay couples are certain to become victims of incest. "If we do not know who the mother is, who the father is, without knowing all the brothers and sisters, incest becomes inevitable. Whether they mean it or not, that is what will happen," explained Keyes. WISCONSIN (Rasmussen): US Senator Russ Feingold (D) - 53%, construction executive Tim Michels (R) - 43%, technology consultant Arif Kahn (Libt) - 2%. Democrat Favored. NEW HAMPSHIRE (Concord Monitor/Research 2000): US Senator Judd Gregg (D) - 67%, retiree Doris "Granny D" Haddock (D) - 17%. Safe GOP. SOUTH CAROLINA: File this away in the "You call this 'helping'?" category. Richard Perry, Chief of Staff to US Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), has taken a leave from his job on Capitol Hill to join Congressman Jim DeMint's Senate campaign. Perry told the Columbia State that DeMint needs him "since all that screw-up with the homosexuals and that stupid comment" about wanting to fire unwed, pregnant school teachers. To compound this public relations fiasco, DeMint's campaign manager actually told the newspaper that Perry's job "will be to accompany DeMint ... and keep him from saying such things."
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.19.04 |

GOVERNOR RACE UPDATES. NEW HAMPSHIRE (Concord Monitor/Research 2000): Governor Craig Benson (R) - 48%, former UNH Board of Regents Chair John Lynch (D) - 44%. The lead here is shifting back and forth every few days. Toss-Up. NORTH CAROLINA (WBTV-TV/SurveyUSA): Governor Mike Easley (D) - 52%, former State Senate Minority Leader Patrick Ballantine (R) - 40%. Democrat Favored.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.19.04 |

TUESDAY OPEN THREAD. In 2002, I didn't write any election predictions because folks said they preferred it then. Well, when I asked yesterday about 2004, the vote was like 95% FOR predictions. So, yes, I'll start writing them up. Look for them to appear early next week.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.19.04 |

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: Al Weed, Democrat for Congress in Virginia CD-5.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger -10.19.04

TRACKING THE BATTLEGROUND STATES. A little preface: I hadn't been using the Strategic Vision polls because are a GOP polling firm that conducted these polls on their own without any media/academic client (they did them solely for publicity purposes). However, over the past few weeks, I've observed that their numbers seem to generally be in the same ranges as the other established pollsters working for media organizations. Thus, I'll start adding their new numbers to the mix. FLORIDA (Washington Post): Bush and Kerry tied with 48% apiece, and Nader was at 1%. FLORIDA (Strategic Vision): Bush-49%, Kerry-45%, Nader-1%. Florida is so vital that Bush, Kerry, and Edwards all criss-crossed the state this past weekend. MICHIGAN (WSBT-TV/Research 2000): Kerry-48%, Bush-43%, Nader-2%. MICHIGAN (Strategic Vision): Kerry-48%, Bush-40%, Nader-1%. MINNESOTA (Strategic Vision): Kerry-47%, Bush-45%, Nader-1%. NEW HAMPSHIRE (Concord Monitor/Research 2000): Kerry-49%, Bush-45%, Nader-2%.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.18.04 |

GOVERNOR RACE UPDATE. MONTANA (Montana State Univ.): Farmer/businessman Brian Schweitzer (D) - 43%, Secretary of State Bob Brown (R) - 28%. Something seems really off with these MSU numbers, as the same poll last month showed Brown only trailing by 4-points -- and nothing controversial has taken place in that race since then. Leans Dem.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.18.04 |

US SENATE RACE UPDATES. FLORIDA (Strategic Vision): Former US Housing Secretary Mel Martinez (R) and former State Education Commissioner Betty Castor (D) again tied, now with 47% each. Toss-up. GEORGIA (Strategic Vision): Congressman Johnny Isakson (R) - 54%, Congresswoman Denise Majette (D) - 39%. GOP Favored. OKLAHOMA (KSWO-TV/SoonerPoll.com): Congressman Brad Carson (D) - 43%, former Congressman Tom Coburn (R) - 41%, Sheila Bilyeu (Indep) - 2%. Carson's 3-point rise over the past week is likely attributable in part to the endorsement he scored a few days ago from former Oklahoma football coach Barry Switzer. Toss-Up. SOUTH DAKOTA (Rasmussen): US Senator Tom Daschle (D) and former Congressman John Thune (R) tied at 49% each. Toss-Up.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.18.04 |

BUSH IN '88, '92, '00, '04, '08 ...? Nope, according to Florida Governor Jeb Bush (R), he will not be a candidate for President in 2008 no matter what happens to his brother George on November 2nd. "I'm not going to run for president in 2008. That's not my interest," said Jeb to ABC News on Sunday. Jeb's mother, Barbara Bush, made some comments at this summer's Republican National Convention that she expected that would be the last convention nominating one of her children for President. "It's enough," she said at the time.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.18.04 |

READING THE TEA LEAVES? Election predictions: Haven't decided if I should write 'em up or not this year. In 1998 and 2000, I did so (and with one of the highest rates of accuracy -- near 90% if you counted only the competitive House and Senate races, but around 97% if you counted all federal races -- of any of the political forecasters). In fact, in 2000, the only Senate race I called wrong (Robb vs. Allen) was the one I amusingly predicted in writing that I was likely calling it wrong -- but was rolling the dice on a long-shot hunch. So, should I make predictions on the Governor, US Senate, and competitive US House races ... or not? Give me your thoughts.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.18.04 |

REPORT FROM IRAQ: SANDSTORMS, POLLING PLACES, AND TEXAS CONGRESSMEN. 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. Hope all is well with you and yours back in CONUS (Marine-speak for the Continental United States, though they still use that term for Hawaii and Alaska, too -- so who knows what that is all about).

We're busy here right now and I'm sure -- if you have been following the news -- you will have a pretty good idea about some of what our Marines have been up to.

I just wanted to share a photo with you that I took on Tuesday of a really strong sandstorm that served to make everything look orange. I had to venture out in it for a bit and it was a surreal experience. Everything looked like what Voyager saw when it landed on Mars.

We've also been able to keep up our "Operation Write-In" campaign. Here's a picture of some of our Marines filling out their ballots at our little polling place. We even printed up and posted "Vote Here Aqui" signs to make everyone feel more at home.

Finally, we got another great letter from a Member of Congress yesterday. Congressman Mac Thornberry (R-TX) -- from the Panhandle area -- sent a nice letter that referred to us as the "Fighting Texans," mentioned that he enjoyed seeing our updates on Politics1, and said he's sure the families appreciate them as well. I've added his letter to our growing "wall of letters" in our headquarters building.

That's all I have time for now. I'll write another update again when I can. Thanks for everything! Oh, and today -- well, the day that I'm writing this -- is the Navy's birthday. Happy Birthday Navy!

Semper Fi,
James

P.S. I also got an email from Bob Cole yesterday of KVET radio and he said, "this was the single greatest radio-event I've EVER been a part of. Thank you very much, let's begin planning the next one." I feel the same way and once we can we are going to set up phone calls to radio stations in San Antonio and Shreveport as well.

P.P.S. Just have one quick note to add: Congressman Gene Green (D-TX) -- who represents Houston -- sent us a huge box of stuff that arrived today. It was filled with beef jerky, power bars, pens, flags, pocket US Constitutions, toilet paper, etc. It was awesome to get it. He also enclosed a nice personal note as well as a letter he sent to the Marine Corps Commandant about improving our phone system for our Marines. I just hope that the powers that be in the USMC don't come down on me, because I was never complaining about our phones in the updates. I think I simply mentioned in one update that the waits for a phone could be long. I never expected a US Congressman to take that issue up with the Commandant! I showed my CO the letter the Congressman had sent to the Commandant -- as well as what I've written about the phones -- and the CO laughed and said not to worry about it. I'd never said anything untrue or critical about the phones anyway, but I just wanted to give my CO a heads up just in case. Thanks for everything. I think this shows how many folks read Politics1.

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 - 10.18.04 |

MONDAY OPEN THREAD. Just an idea, but use today's thread to name the sub-Presidential campaign websites you like best ... regardless of whom you support..
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.18.04 |

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: Matt Blunt, Republican for Missouri Governor (FYI: Check out the negative McHolden.com site some Blunt volunteers just independently launched). An aside: Sending us a pin can create good karma, too. We thanked Peter Corroon, the Democrat for Salt Lake County (Utah) Mayor, for sending us a pin on October 11th ... and, the very next day, his embattled opponent (the incumbent) quit the race. We can't guarantee you the same results if you send us a pin, but it certainly wouldn't hurt your chances!
Posted by Ron Gunzburger -10.18.04

WEEKEND OPEN THREAD. You pick 'em.
Posted by Ron Gunzburger - 10.16.04 |

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