September 14, 2011

Two Republican Victories in Congress

Patrick Laverty

The Republicans won two US House seats by special election yesterday, in Nevada and New York. In Nevada, Republican Mark Amodel won the seat replacing Dean Heller who was appointed to replace John Ensign. The Nevada win wasn't unexpected as that district has never elected a Democrat in its history, but a 22-point victory was bigger than expected.

The more surprising result was Republican Bob Turner winning in New York's 9th district, a seat previously held by Mark Weiner, of Twitter fame. Turner's 8-point win doesn't sound like much until you learn the demographics of the district.

the district is registered three to one in favor of Democrats and the Queens party machine is strong, they had over 1,000 volunteers in the district in a get out the vote effort knocking on doors over the weekend and the past two days. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has spent more than $500,000 in television ads in the district.

Outside groups also poured money in the race and Sheinkopf estimates that the Democrats could have outspent Republicans “six or eight to one” in the race.

So if this is a heavily Democratic district with a great volunteer effort and a huge war chest and still loses, that can't be a good sign for Democrats and President Obama heading into the 2012 election season.

Turner ran a campaign that could and probably should be replicated here in Rhode Island. The focus of his campaign was to run against Congress and President Obama rather than his opponents. This makes great sense as Congress always has horrible popularity polls. Currently, has a job approval rating of just 13%. President Obama has an approval rating of 44% and disapproval of 51%. Turner came pretty close to blatantly admitting his focus was on the President and not his Democratic opponent. One of the campaign issues was the President's stance on borders in Israel, and Turner admitted:

“It’s not about my position or his [Weprin] which are pretty identical, it’s the president’s position and if you are with the party or against it, simple as that and will this district, which is surprisingly overwhelmingly Democratic, will they go along with the president and be able to be taken for granted as it were or will they send this message of protest and dissatisfaction,” Turner told ABC News.

Maybe a similar strategy could be adopted by candidates in RI running against David Cicilline, Jim Langevin and Sheldon Whitehouse. Run against the body instead of the individual and put a focus on the job approval ratings. Individual polling numbers are often quite higher than those for Congress as a whole. However, in spite of his 17% approval rating in March, I'd be willing to guess that Cicilline might be pleased to get up to a 13% job approval rating pretty soon.

Only fourteen months to find out whether this was a sign of things to come.

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The voters in Turner's district are highly educated and engaged, and they were furious at Obama for throwing Israel under the bus. RI voters are dumb as dirt, apathetic, and couldn't care less if Israel was overrun by Arab countries. The only way you can win a race in RI is by putting a D next to your name and buying everyone off. Best chance is to start hitting the senior centers with free pasta.

Posted by: Dan at September 14, 2011 10:55 PM

Indeed, the NY-9 is an amazing victory, made all the sweeter by the observation of Debbie Wasserman SCHUUUUULTZ:

It’s a very difficult district for Democrats

... um, yeah. It voted Democrat for nine plus decades. Absolutely, it's been an intractably difficult district for Democrats, Madam Chairwoman.

Posted by: Monique at September 14, 2011 11:20 PM

The increasingly buffoonish Barry Zero has outdone McGovern in pathos: at least Mcgovern held Massachusetts and Brooklyn.
Look for Barry to carry just 15 states and the District Of Corruption.

Posted by: Tommy Cranston at September 15, 2011 1:52 PM

Whole lot of excitement over a congressional seat that will not even exist next November. The Republicans' premature jubilance is exceeded only by the Dems" premature panic.
Really, is Zionism going to work as a campaign elsewhere? Or in a regular election?

Posted by: bella at September 15, 2011 4:50 PM

I'm sure you would not have been excited if the Demoncrap had won in Nevada...correct? Yes the district may go away. But the statement has been made. There is no denying it. Dems held that seat for what...90 years??

Posted by: ANTHONY at September 15, 2011 11:26 PM

That seat was going even if Weiner were still sitting in it - the modern Tammany Hall crowd couldn't control him. The Republican victory was a rebuke to the political machine that put up the male version of Martha Coakley. Call me when Turner beats a scandal-free Democratic incumbent (unless redistricting puts him up against a Long Island Republican incumbent).

Posted by: bella at September 15, 2011 11:54 PM

Bella has an excuse for everything. I'm not saying that all of her arguments are without merit, I'm just making the observation - she has an excuse for literally everything.

Generally speaking, you don't want to be the person with an excuse for everything because people will stop listening to you about anything.

Posted by: Dan at September 16, 2011 7:48 AM

"The Republican victory was a rebuke to the political machine that put up the male version of Martha Coakley."

Not many people know that Coakley lost to Brown in Mass. for ole pervert Kennedy's seat. EVERYONE knows Hussein Obama especially the Jewish in the district. This was a referendum on Obama. Staying in denial about this will not aid you in the real world. Obama would lose to Ron Paul if the election were held today.

Posted by: ANTHONY at September 16, 2011 8:27 AM

"Obama would lose to Ron Paul if the election
were held today."

From your lips to God's ears.

Posted by: Patrick at September 16, 2011 8:58 AM

I never cease to be amazed at how both parties overplay their hand over the results of a special election.
I'm sure the next time a Republican wins a low turnout state legislative or city council race somewhere, that will be interpreted as a rebuke of Obama (who, BTW, has an approval rating more than double that of the U.S. House). And Obama's relative low rating can probably be attributed to libs who are tired of his kowtowing to the right when things get tough.

Posted by: bella at September 16, 2011 12:18 PM

"who, BTW, has an approval rating more than double that of the U.S. House"

That's nothing to be proud of. So did Bush. So does that make him a good president in your eyes? Congress always his horrible job performance ratings, usually in the teens.

Posted by: Patrick at September 16, 2011 1:51 PM


Pelosi has had more facelifts than Congressional favorability ratings points.

Posted by: ANTHONY at September 16, 2011 3:50 PM

I deleted my original remark as too crass.
Let's just say your statement speaks for itself.

Posted by: joe bernstein at September 16, 2011 4:43 PM

Why delete it? I'd probably have found it pretty amusing (although I'd hate to imagine how you'd react if I'd played the race card LOL).

Posted by: bella at September 18, 2011 12:58 PM
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