Archive for November 8th, 2006

By Jay Stevens 

I haven’t read Eric Coobs site in a long time. Too much white supremacist action over there. It’s bad for the soul. But I was dying of curiosity. How would he react to Burns’ loss? With fire and brimstone and a cry for a recount? A lawsuit over some phantom phone call his second cousin received a month ago? Weeping with frustration over the lost seat, and all the work put in to defend it?

Hardly.

We get a smug brush off:

I’m not all that bothered by Tester winning. These things have to happen in politics.

Oh, you’re not bothered? But wait! Wasn’t Tester the guy who’d hand over the United States to terrorists? Isn’t Tester “cutting and running” and giving victory to terrorists? What about all those taxes we’re going to see that you claimed Tester was going to foist on us?

It doesn’t necessarily bother me that Eric has revealed in the after-election hububub that he really didn’t mean anything he said. That he doesn’t seem to really care about any of the policy issues that politicians wrangle over. It was obvious enough to a discerning reader. Fair enough. Amoral people exist.

What gets me is that his rhetoric may have actually caused some people to waste their votes on Burns. What if some poor rube happened on his site and actually believed the apocolypse would be coming, thanks to the election of Jon Tester? Coobs doesn’t believe it. He just says it. And he probably thinks we play the same game, that I make stuff up about habeas corpus and Abramoff scandals just to scare people into voting Democratic.

Only thing is, I don’t make stuff up. I am earnest. Burns is crooked and deserved to be sacked. He rubberstamped bad and un-American domestic “anti-terror” measures. His position in Congress enabled a half-wit prep-school cheerleader to nearly run the country aground. These are serious issues that need fixing. That’s why I blog. That’s why I back Tester.

Next up: a Burns’ indictment for his Abramoff-related doings? If so, then you bet I’m going to call Eric out on that. And Bob Keenan. And Marc Racicot. And every Montana GOPer who claimed that the whispers about Abramoff were just a Democratic fantasy. You see, I believe Montana voters need to know the truth about their candidates before they vote. If it turns out the Montana GOP knew any of this stuff, then those responsible should be held accountible.

Remember, this is the same party that thought it appropriate to cover up the existence of a sex predator among their ranks for political purposes. In comparison, selling votes is child’s play, everyday happenings.

by readbetween

Here’s why. (Sorry if this is a little far afield from Montana. It is compensatorily jaw-dropping.)

In Florida’s 13th Congressional District, Republican Vern Buchanan registered 400 more votes than Democrat Christine Jennings. Buchanan declared victory but Jennings has refused to concede because voting machines in Sarasota County, one of three counties that the 13th crosses, registered no votes in House the race on 18,382 — or 12.9% — of the ballots.

According to results posted by the Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections, 140,664 votes registered in the U.S. Senate race and 140,448 votes registered in the governor’s race that were also on the ballot. By contrast, only 123,901 votes registered in the House race, a gap of over 16,000 votes. In fact, about 4,500 more votes registered in the race for Public Hospital Board than in the hotly contested congressional race.

Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections Kathy Dent speculated that a negative campaign had led many voters to skip voting in the race but undervote totals in other counties for the same race were significantly lower. Also, undervoting was much higher in the regular and early voting that uses electronic voting machines — 13.9% and 17.6% respectively — than in the absentee voting within Sarasota County, which amounted to undervoting of only 2.5%. Of course, absentee voting requires a paper ballot.

There will be a recount but, in this race, there’s no real recount to be had; these are paperless touchscreen vote holes. Dent offers this consolation to the Sarasota Herald Tribune: “After the fact, there’s not a lot we can do about it.”

In other news, by a wide margin, Sarasota County voters demanded paper ballots with optical scan equipment. Florida’s Secretary of State wants a federal judge to declare their decision unconstitutional.

Maybe it’s time for election reform.

Thank You

by Matt Singer

This list is by no means exhaustive, but there are a number of people who deserve recognition and appreciation for this victory.

It’s easy to Monday morning campaign manage and I’ve done a fair amount of it myself, but at the end of the day, there is one crucial metric in politics: winning or losing. The people below won. Good for them.

Jon, Sharla, Shon, Jess, Scooter, Bill, Truxton, Molly, Matt, Mat, Andy, Mark, Denver, Dan, Mike, Preston, Rob, Dave, David, Marie, Dayna, Deb, Kim, Rikki, Vinnie, Steve, Casey, Adam, Audrey, Kendall, Mike, Jan, Doc, Theresa, Sarah, Ross, Bill, Alex, Jamee, Sam, Bryce, Linda, dad, mom, grandma, Brian, Max, Barrett, Melanie, Stacey, Kevin, Pat, Carol, John, Jay, Don, Jason, Neal, Jim, Shane, Gerik, John, Nick, Luke, Chrstina, and all the other volunteers, staff, interns, donors, and supporters — the ones I met and worked with and those who were doing their own thing somewhere else.

Elections are an exercise in faith. In order for them to work, you have to go do ridiculous things like knock on doors when it is pouring rain dragging a few last voters to the polls. Those 1 or 2 voters you get to the polls are unlikely to swing the election. But you do it knowing that hundreds of other people are doing the same damn thing. So, to everyone out there who was doing the same damn thing, thanks. We made a difference.

We won.

Update: Clearly, I’m confused. I just accidentally signed this post Jon Tester. Jon is not posting to 4 and 20 Blackbirds. Matt is just a little tired. Sigh.

by Matt Singer
Virginia has been called for Webb. Webb’s victory puts Dems in control of the Senate. That puts Max Baucus back in the chairmanship of the Finance Committee, in a key position to determine tax policy, health care legislation, and trade agreements. He’ll also be well-situated to kill any other attempts to privatize Social Security.

by Matt Singer

The Senator-unelect from Montana is refusing to concede saying that we should wait to count all the votes. Right now, 2,847 votes separate the two. Secretary of State Brad Johnson has essentially said the race is over. The ballots remaining to be counted? Roughly 1,000 provisional ballots and an unknown number of military ballots. Assuming that there are several thousand military ballots as of yet unreturned (anyone know when they cut off counting ballots coming from military?) and that all of the provisionals get counted, it is still highly unlikely that anything reverses.

Still, Burns can’t say goodbye. No surprise there. But there’s another question I’d like to ask of Burns and his army of press flacks: Is the Senator or his campaign currently planning any lawsuits or other challenges to the results? Or are they simply waiting and seeing?

Links…

For those of you just waking up…Jon Tester wins!

Burns unveils brilliant new campaign strategy a few hours too late. But then, why would Jason Klindt start telling the truth now? More likely is that Burns doesn’t want to talk with reporters. Or can’t, heh heh.

In other news, Mr. “we’ve got to do something about the blogs” is still in power. Class act Lindeen was sorrowfully overshadowed by the frenzy surrounding the Senate race. Montana’s loss.

Meanwhile, the minimum wage initiative swept to victory! (Mull this over my dextra friends: gay marriage is more popular than the $5.15 minimum wage…)

Courtney Lowry recaps the Senate race.

Jonathan Weber recaps the West’s races.

Western Democrat on the victories of…well…western democrats. Richard! Pombo! Gone! Outdoorsfolk of the world, rejoice! But poor Dennis R. lost a good friend.

The Big Sky Blog was there last night…with pics! I enjoyed meeting the man behind the blog. Good times!

If you witnessed any attempts at voter fraud, you may be eligible for a reward. Let’s get this cr*p out of elections, okay? That’s something we can all agree on.

Will Burns back out gracefully? Jason doesn’t think so. But based on what Burns said back in 2000, he won’t demand a recount.

Montana Jones doesn’t like Frank Miele. Um…who?

The many and varied reasons why the Republicans tanked yesterday.

Dems capture more than just the US Congress…

Democratic take over of Congress is makes Tony Blair nervous. Can you say “Downing Street Memo,” anyone?

Kevin Drum thinks yesterday’s wave was as a result of Karl Rove forgetting the center.

Rumsfeld resigns!

Hastert will step down!

by Matt Singer

If you were to sit down and write an article about how to win a statewide election in Montana, you would probably think the Tester strategy was suicide.

Tester lost Yellowstone County, albeit narrowly, meaning that we now have two statewide officeholders who failed to carry Billings (the other being Brad Johnson).

Tester didn’t come close to carrying rural Montana. In fact, rural Montana went pretty overwhelmingly for Burns.

Tester didn’t win by carrying senior citizens — regular voters — by a wide margin. In fact, according to exit polls, he narrowly lost them.

Tester won by putting up a huge margin in Missoula County, turning out his base, relying on urban progressives, and young voters.

In other words, despite the biographical similarities, Schweitzer and Tester could not have won two more different campaigns. Schweitzer received 61% of the vote in Missoula, carrying a 13,000 vote margin. Tester received 64% of the vote in Missoula, carrying a nearly 15,000 vote margin — despite lower turnout in 2006. Meanwhile, in a decent example of how small county returns came in, look at Musselshell. Schweitzer pulled 37% of the vote. Tester came in six points lower — at 31%. Similar trends occured all over rural Montana.

So, let’s cut to exit polls. In 2004, Schweitzer did well among male voters, getting by with virtually no gender gap. Tester had one, albeit small. Schweitzer got 52% of young voters. Tester pull 56%. Schweitzer got 69% of the votes of voters over 65. Tester got merely 48%.

Schweitzer posted his best numbers among the working class ($15,000-$30,000 a year in income) with 62% of the vote. Tester drew only 51% of this crowd.

In 2004, Schweitzer won the rural vote 50%-48%. Tester lost it this year 53%-45%. Schweitzer won both “Urban West” and “Eastern Montana” while Brown won “Rural West.” Tester only won the Urban West, won it by a wider margin and its share of the electorate increased.

In other words, Tester just may be the first urban elected official to ever come out of Montana. He got elected with a polarized electorate in a state where a polarized electorate should have helped the Republican. He also made big gains in terms of cementing young Montanans as Democrats — something that Schweitzer has done well since winning election.

Finally, Democratic claims regarding early vote and same-day registration appear to be vindicated. These two changes in election law may very well have changed the fate of this election.
It appears that legislative races did not go as well as we might have hoped, but there are a lot of signs of life in those down ballot races.

Tester wins…

Posted by touchstone 

Yay, Tester!

A bit anti-climatic, but good news. Great news. I want to run around with Missoula Tester supporters…but first I want to sleep. Anybody up for a weekend bash? Say Saturday night? I went to Great Falls to yell, scream, and shake our next Senator’s hand. I didn’t get to do that. But we can still yell. Anyhow.

Some things to mull over:

Congratulations to all you hard-working volunteers out there. We won by less than a percentage point. Your get-out-the-vote efforts worked. We neutralized the GOP’s “vaunted” machine. In Missoula, turnout was in the high sixties, and that’s not counting the same-day registration or the uncounted absentee ballots. In the end, just as many had suspected it came down to people-power. Advantage, ours.

Congratulations to Jon Tester, the new poster boy of the Western Democratic movement. Everyone in Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, Nevada, and Colorado wins. They’ll all be after us in 2008 and catering both parties’ policies towards our free-rangin’ sensibilities. Whether you’re a Democrat or a Republican, you’re going to like the extra attention paid to individual liberties, fiscal conservatism, and politicians catering to the middle class. Um, about frickin’ time.

Congratulations to Jon’s family, who went through the sh*t with him. Get some sleep.

Congratulations to the voters of Montana. You demonstrated (just barely) that character does matter. You have chosen a man who will make a great Senator. We all win. I truly believe that.

Congratulations, the United States of America. We have given you Jon Tester. Many of you do not deserve him, but y’all let things get a little out of hand back there. Ditching Rumsfeld is a very nice start…

By readbetween

I’ve done some quick tabulation of Montana’s legislative races based on AP’s unofficial tally. Sorry there’s no fancy map.

In the Senate, where Democrats had a 27-23 advantage in the last session, the Republicans have tied it up if, the current numbers hold, by taking seats formerly held by Democrats in SD 15 and SD 25. SD 15 is Jon Tester’s former seat; it went to the GOP by a 70-30 margin. SD 25 is the Billings contest between Roy Brown and Margie McDonald for the seat that used to belong to Democrat Brent Cromley; currently Brown’s advantage is 157 votes, a 51-49 marging. If Brown’s lead survives provisional ballotting (and there was a lot of it is the anecdotal report out of Yellowstone County), the Senate will be tied 25-25.

In the House, the following districts look like safe gains for the GOP: HD 13, HD 38 and HD 43. In addition, HD 8 and HD 58 also look like GOP pickups though they are closer. The Democrats seem to have picked up HD 3, HD 36, HD 49 and HD 62 for sure along with a tentative lead in HD 63.

In HD 77, Democrat S. Hogan is within 21 votes of GOP incumbent S. Mendenhall but trailing. Similarly, in HD 1 Democrat E. Carney is within 18 votes of GOP incumbent R. Heinert.

Finally, in HD 12, Constitution Party candidate Rick Jore beat Democrat incumbent Jeanne Windham handily.

By my math, which I need to recheck when I try to flesh out some of what’s happening in the House races (and get near a spreadsheet), the Republicans have picked up five seats and the Dems have picked up five as well. That’s a wash unless HD 1 or HD 77 turns into something different, which is entirely possible, EXCEPT that Democrat Windham is gone. The alignment looks like 50 Republicans, 49 Democrats and 1 Constitution.

To recap, based on unofficial numbers and my potentially erroneous notebook scribbling, the Montana Senate is tied 25-25 and the House breaks down with a Republican majority of half: 50 Rep. – 49 Dem. – 1 Const.

by Matt Singer
Alright, conservative friends. You can all stop that “Matt Singer suicide watch” or whatever it was. ‘Cause it is looking clearer and clearer that we won. Jon Tester has declared victory. With it, the Democrats take the U.S. Senate. We also took the U.S. House. It’s time to get this country back on track.

I’m only now looking more closely at state election results. There’s some interesting things happening out there. More later.

Update:  The AP calls it for Tester!

Their statement:

Both Jon Tester and Jim Webb have won their races in Montana and Virginia but want to make sure that every vote is counted. We expect to have official results soon but can happily declare today that Democrats have taken the majority in the U.S. Senate.Montana Vote Situation: Jon Tester leads Conrad Burns by approximately 1,700 votes (as of 11am EDT) and counting. In Silver Bow County (Butte), a Democratic stronghold, votes are still being counted but Tester is winning there with 66% of the vote. We expect to gain the majority of these uncounted votes and to add to Tester’s margin.

Montana Process: When the counting phase is completed, a canvass will verify the vote tallies. That process could take as long as 48 hours, and must begin within three days and end within seven. Unless the canvass shows the margin to be within π of 1%, there is no recount. As the loser, Burns would have to request the recount. When the votes are all counted, we expect to be outside that recount margin.

Virginia Vote Situation: Jim Webb is up by approximately 8,000 votes and once the provisional ballots are counted, we expect Webb’s margin to increase. (Please note that VA absentees were included in the tallies from last night.)

Virginia Process: A canvass is underway to verify the results and we expect that process to finish within a day or so. To be in recount, the margin needs to be less than 1% and Allen (as the loser) would have to request it. Because of Virginia voting laws, the margin would have to be much tighter than it currently is to see any change in the outcome. Given the current margins, that is highly, highly unlikely.

Well, it’s a close one. But in a close one, I’d rather be up and we are by over 1,000 votes. Burns will probably push this into a recount and file some lawsuits and some such, but we’ll be ready. After all, I know I got 4 or 5 hours of sleep last night. I’m in fightin’ mode.

It’s shortly after 6am on a crazy morning. The latest CNN count has Tester up by 1,500; that seems to have a more up-to-date count than the state’s count, which has fewer votes shown and a 3,000 vote gap. This is a nail-biter. For all of you who pounded the streets, rang on doorbells, and made the calls…well, this part will show how well you did. And for all you who b*tched about the calls…well…I expect you feel a little differently about that now…

Last night was a little surreal. First there was next to no Internet connectivity in the convention hall, which makes it hard on a blogger. Then there was the dismantling of the party itself around midnight – 1am, because another group needed the hall today. Those of us who were left – maybe a hundred or so – marched off to the casino/bar, just to be told by Tester about the Yellowstone recount. To make things especially weird, he waded in amongst us, just like always, except with about four photographers snapping pictures as he went, flashes going – pop pop pop – in the semi-dark. I think most of us were a little stunned. Especially when Tester left and the bar made last call.

I got connectivity to the Net at about 2am last night and submitted a short piece to the Missoula Independent. A little news watching, then bed, circa 3:30am. Now I’ve got to drive back to Missoula, so I won’t be able to post for a few hours. I’m sure you all are glued to your radios and televisions just as I am, and you won’t be relying on this blog for the final tally.

It’s a helpless feeling, isn’t it? Watching the numbers get tallied and re-tallied, and Gallitin County taking its sweet time to not only let its people vote, but to count the d*mn numbers. And the Yellowstone recount – grrr.

We sort of all knew it would come down to the wire, didn’t we? But, honestly. How could so many people vote for Conrad Burns? It’s amazing. What a spin job. I made a $5 bet with a conservative friend that Burns would be indicted by January 1. We’ll see. So far, I’ve been doing all right with the $5 bets, eh Mart T?

What Are We Waiting For?

According to CNN.com, we’re still waiting for the following precincts:

  • Cascade (39%)
  • Fergus (75%)
  • Gallatin (78%)
  • Glacier (50%)
  • Lake (9%)
  • Lewis & Clark (2%)
  • Lincoln (57%)
  • Meagher (100%)
  • Mineral (50%)
  • Phillips (77%)
  • Yellowstone (100%)

I think that Yellowstone one is good for us. We won it. That’s a few thousand more net votes. I think what will come out of Cascade, Glacier, and Lake will be good. Mineral might be OK. Gallatin could be about even. The rest is probably less than idea, but the truly bad numbers are in and we’re still up by 4,000.

Looks like it’ll be close. I’m going to be.




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