Archive for November 7th, 2006

10:02pm

With 19% reporting, Tester regains his lead! 56-42%! What’s huge is that Yellowstone county is pulling for Tester right now…I’m going out the floor, where it’s pretty rowdy right now… 

9:47pm

Tester’s lead is shrinking. With 9% reporting, he’s at 52% to Boss Hogg’s 46%. 

9:24pm

With 69% of the vote counted, Wyoming Democrat Gary Traunder leads 50-46%.

Other interesting tidbits: Kansas Democrat Boyda leads Ryun, 52-45%, with 72% reporting. Amazing. Boyda released some internal polls that showed her even or head of Ryun, but a lot of people scoffed that a Democrat could compete in Kansas. Well, guess what, folks? That would be a huge upset.

In Iowa, both contested Democrats lead, Braley with a whopping 60%! IA 1 was held by Republican Jim Nussle, who’s running for governor. Some said it was the litmus test for the war, since the electorate is split about 50-50 GOP/Dem. 60-39%, but only 18% of precincts reporting.

Indiana Democrats take all three contested House seats. Democrats have solid leads in both contested AZ races.

Wow. Democrats have already taken 17 House seats. They have a majority, folks. I believe someone owes me $5.

9:20pm

Missouri doesn’t look so good. Talent 51 – 45%. But they’re still not calling it. Exit polls? Still more left-leaning precints to report?

Meanwhile, Tester gaining ground with 4% in, 54-44%, Jones grabbing 2 points. Will Stan Jones win this election for Jon Tester? 

8:45pm

Democrat Gary Trauner 53-44% in Wyoming!

I can’t believe it!

The room has filled up now, country music plays on the speaker, the buffet is set up. Jag is running around the room. Great Falls Democrats are everywhere – union-heavy, working-class folks, very friendly. I just got invited into a room full of three generations of a very political Great Falls family and given chicken rigatoni and chatted up about Griz football. Everybody is optimistic, and the early returns, 2% reporting, have Tester up 55-43%. Too early. But good. Too early. But good. That doesn’t stop the floor from cheering wildly when they see the numbers.

Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, and Ohio Senate seats are ours. Three of six. The Democrats have also taken 11 of the needed 15 seats. Gary Trauner up by six! No news about Idaho.

8:05pm

The polls are closed. I don’t have Internet connectivity on the floor. Will be sporadic…

6:59 pm

There’s not much of a crowd here, other than the stuffed suits of the media. Oh! And mcjoan from the Daily Kos. The media – what can I say? Chilly? Aloof?

I just met some Great Falls activists. They’ve been doing GOTV this week, and think Tester has a lot of support. Very optimistic.

Max Baucus is here, too. I’ll try to corner him, but he’s d*mn elusive!

No Internet connection right now. Grr.

Democratic Menendez has been called the winner of the New Jersey Senate race. That was the GOP’s second targeted Democratic seat. Oops!

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Hey all, I just reached Great Falls and checked into my room. The convention center is still empty, except for two enormous television screens (think movie-theater size) about twenty network cameras and a bunch of suits with microphones. And the Governor!

This morning I was canvassing the Rattlesnake District. Probably picked up two votes – one person who had forgotten today was Election Day (!) and one Burns backer who didn’t know Tester supported gun rights. It was a chilly, wet day, yet everybody we spoke to had voted or was planning on voting.

Anyhow, here are some notes from a poll watcher, for what it’s worth:

Notes from a poll watcher for the Democrats: (For those who don’t know what this involves, a poll watcher holds a list of likely Democratic voters and crosses them off as they come in to vote. He/she also keeps an eye out for vote suppression.) The precinct I watched was near the university in Missoula.The election officials seemed to feel that turnout was really high, even with all the rain. At times there were lines to find out which precinct to vote in, lines to vote, lines to put the ballot in the machine. Eventually people were no longer waiting for booths to open up and just sitting on chairs or the floor to vote. A teacher brought a group of elementary school students to sit in the circle of what was, admittedly, their gym. She then held a lesson about voting. Early on, about 2/3 of the people who voted were on the list. By the time I left at noon, it was closer to 1/2. A little disheartening, but many folks who I knew were Tester supporters in their hearts were not on the list. Also, almost all of those who looked like students were not on the list.

It was pretty much impossible to guess who would or would not be on the list. Woman with long silver hair, long dangly earrings, long flowing skirt, and clogs. On the list. Man in complete camouflage outfit. On the list.

Absentee ballots seemed a big hang-up. Many folks had to vote provisionally because they either requested absentee ballots and didn’t receive them, or lost them, or didn’t know they had requested them.

Man: “I don’t know why they sent me an absentee ballot.”

Woman: “Probably because you were in Iraq last time.”

Both were on the list.

I’ll be heading out to the floor shortly. Meanwhile, Sherrod Brown has been called the winner of Ohio’s Senate race. That’s one Senate seat. Five more to go.

I realize this is old news, the “defection” of right-wing blogger John Cole, who finally cracked and disowned the GOP. But I hadn’t read his post or Kos’ response, as busy as I was with GOTV work, “activist” blogging, being a daddy, and working. But the posts are important — stirring, even — a reminder at what we’re fighting for here in Montana and everywhere across the United States.

It started with Cole’s admitting he’d had it with supporting the Republican Party. The Shiavo debacle cracked him.

In short, it really sucks looking around at the wreckage that is my party and realizing that the only decent thing to do is to pull the plug on them (or help). I am not really having any fun attacking my old friends- but I don’t know how else to respond when people call decent men like Jim Webb a pervert for no other reason than to win an election. I don’t know how to deal with people who think savaging a man with Parkinson’s for electoral gain is appropriate election-year discourse. I don’t know how to react to people who think that calling anyone who disagrees with them on Iraq a “terrorist-enabler” than to swing back. I don’t know how to react to people who think that media reports of party hacks in the administration overruling scientists on issues like global warming, endangered species, intelligent design, prescription drugs, etc., are signs of… liberal media bias.

And it makes me mad. I still think of myself as a Republican- but I think the whole party has been hijacked by frauds and religionists and crooks and liars and corporate shills, and it frustrates me to no end to see my former friends enabling them, and I wonder ‘Why can’t they see what I see?” I don’t think I am crazy, I don’t think my beliefs have changed radically, and I don’t think I have been (as suggested by others) brainwashed by my commentariat.

I hate getting up in the morning, surfing the news, and finding more and more evidence that my party is nothing but a bunch of frauds. I feel like I am betraying my friends in the party and the blogosphere when I attack them, even though I believe it is they who have betrayed what ‘we’ allegedly believe in. Bush has been a terrible President. The past Congresses have been horrible- spending excessively, engaging in widespread corruption, butting in to things they should have no say in (like end of life decisions), refusing to hold this administration accountable for ANYTHING, and using wedge issues to keep themselves in power at the expense of gays, etc. And I don’t know why my friends on the right still keep fighting for these guys to stay in power. Why do they keep attacking decent people like Jim Webb- to keep this corrupt lot of fools in office? Why can’t they just admit they were sold a bill of goods and start over? Why do they want to remain in power, but without any principles? Are tax cuts that important? What is gained by keeping troops in harms way with no clear plan for victory? With no desire to change course? With our guys dying every day in what looks to be for no real good reason? Why?

I couldn’t have written a better diatribe against the GOP myself. And every single word of this impassioned post applies doubly to Conrad Burns. This is the struggle that Montana Republicans are having as they look at themselves in the mirror in the morning. They’ve got their cr*p Party and they’re terrified of voting for a Democrat.

Kos — who you might expect to whoop with glee at a conservative defection — actually sympathizes with Cole. You see, the great Wizard of Kos was once…*gasp*…a Republican!

Lest I come off as condescending or patronizing, please understand that I left the Republican Party in 1992 for pretty much the same reasons, if in a different era. It was at the height of the Christian Coalition’s rise to power. The deficit was a mess. The politics of Lee Atwater were dragging politics into the gutter — a foreshadowing of the Reign of Rove. And really, as socially liberal as I am, I am still and always will be a strong supporter of fiscal responsibility and a healthy, robust entrepreneurial business climate. I was a Libertarian Republican in a party already moving toward its present authoritarian foundation.

I was a precinct captain for the Republican Party at the age of 16. I campaigned for Bush Sr. I door knocked, phone banked, stuffed envelopes — whatever. I have a picture somewhere of me and Papa Bush, taken during one of his campaign swings through Illinois in 1988. I dug up an old comic book I had drawn together. In the dedication page, I dedicated it to the “Republican Party”.

And despite all that work, all the emotional investment, all the fights I had gotten into because of my trust in the GOP, I had to come to a realization that it was all for naught. That what I thought and hoped the Republican Party was about really, at the end of the day, was nowhere near the reality. Coming just two years after I tore myself away from the Catholic Church, I felt like everything I had believed in for so long was a cruel lie.
I could be flip and say, “come on in, the water’s fine on our side!” But first of all, it’s not like our party doesn’t have its own problems. And more importantly, partisan fealty (especially for us political junkies), like religion, goes much deeper than the intellect. It cuts to the very core of who we are, of how we define ourselves. That’s why for many of the disillusioned, it’s simply easier to tune out or become “independent” than it is to jump in bed with the other party.

Here’s the thing. We’re a country in crisis right now. We’re embroiled in a terrible war that’s draining our financial resources and slaughtering hundreds of thousands of innocents and destabilizing the most dangerous region in the world.

We’re in a constitutional crisis: our executive has attacked the very foundations of our legal tradition in habeas corpus. Forget all the other stuff, the torture bill allows the President to jail whomever he wants and ensures they’ll never see a trial or light of day. Even if they’re innocent. Or a political prisoner, not a criminal.

We’re in a financial crisis. Our budget deficit is alarming and growing rapidly. Spending is out of control. Tax cuts targeting the wealthiest in our country are irresponsible when the middle class is burdened by out-of-control housing and health-care costs, never mind working class families.

Our Congress is corrupt, our President incompetent. Conrad Burns and Dennis Rehberg are the worst of the worst. They’ve rubber-stamped every Bush foreign policy plan. They stood by and even supported the administration as it bungled the Iraqi occupation. They lard federal budgets with pork while cutting taxes and giving subsidies to multinational corporations. They take from creeps like Abramoff — Burns changed his vote for Abramoff, Rehberg made constituents use Abramoff clients to represent them in Congress.

You conservatives may not like everything the Democratic Party stands for, but right now we can’t afford six more years of Burns and two of Rehberg. We need to right the ship, address the crucial issues affecting the country. Once things are back on track we can resume our old squabbling, the little nitpicky issues we each obsess over. But right now it’s time to save this country.

Voter Suppression Occuring

by Matt Singer

People are apparently getting phone calls telling them that since they requested an absentee ballot, they can’t vote today. The people receiving those calls didn’t request absentee ballots. Want to know something else? County clerks don’t notify people who aren’t eligible to vote today by personal phone calls — they don’t have time.

There’s plenty of evidence of other dirty trickery afoot. If you catch wind of anything suspicious, please put it in comments here so we can cull from everyone’s collective knowledge/snooping ability. The hive mind will fix it.

by Matt Singer

Someone has to do it.

  • Jon Tester wins by 1.5%. He henceforth is known as “Landslide” Jon.
  • Populist Sherrod Brown wins election to the U.S. Senate by a wide margin in what was supposed to be one of the closest elections of the cycle. The DLC’s collective head explodes.
  • Self-described democratic socialist Bernie Sanders wins election to the U.S. Senate by a wide margin (including attracting a number of Republican votes). Libertarian’s heads explode.
  • Democrats pick up a U.S. House seat in either Idaho or Wyoming. Hell freezes over.
  • Democrats win the Governorship of Colorado and possibly of Idaho, leaving the Rocky Mountain states (with the exception of Utah, and possibly Idaho) firmly blue at the state level.
  • Democrats may lose the Montana House, but not without picking up some unlikely seats (and I still think they take both chambers in Montana; it’s the PSC that I’m unsure of).
  • Conrad Burns finds a good-paying job with big oil, the telecomms, the big financial companies, or, simply, with Leo Giacometto.

Anyone else got predictions?




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