The Live Blog (Election Day Version)

We’ll have the Mother Of All Live-Blogs tonight as the returns come in. John Robert Butler and I will be taking turns posting stuff, and we’ll go LATE into the night.

But this one will go until about 6:00 tonight until we turn it over to Mother…

6:10 p.m. – Election returns are starting to come in, so we’re going to shift over to the Election Night Live-Blog.

6:00 p.m. – We missed this yesterday, but if the GOP picks up nine seats tonight it’s not going to stop a Democrat majority according to Sean Trende at RealClearPolitics

…With this in mind, here’s a list of the top five potential Senate party switchers and a discussion of how likely each one is to switch:

#5.    Mark Pryor – This Arkansas senator has to be looking at what is happening to the senior senator from his state with dread.  After all, the question isn’t whether Blanche Lincoln is going to lose – it is by how much.  Pryor’s voting record is actually the slightly more liberal of the two, and he’s going to have another two years of voting on the Democratic leaderships’ priorities if Schumer or Durbin is the leader.

But at the end of the day, it is hard to see this switch happening.  Pryor is a scion of a prominent Democratic family in Arkansas, and he isn’t so far to the right that he’s completely out of place in the Democratic caucus.  He’ll probably gut it out for four years and hope the environment improves.  Chance of a switch:  <1 percent.

#4.    Joe Lieberman – Most readers will be shocked to see Lieberman this far down the list.  After all, he endorsed John McCain, left the Democratic Party based on his support for the Iraq War, and torpedoed the “public option” in the health care bill. And as an independent, technically wouldn’t even have to switch parties – he’d just have to caucus with the Republicans.

But Lieberman could have switched parties in 2006 and handed control of the Senate back to the Republicans, but didn’t. It probably would have made more sense back then when the Iraq War was a hotter issue.  Lieberman’s apostasies tend to be on discrete issues – his overall voting record is just to the right of middle of the Democratic Party.  At the end of the day, he really is a Democrat, and it is hard to see him feeling comfortable in a Southern-dominated Republican caucus.  Chance of a switch: 1-2 percent.

#3.    Jim Webb – Jim Webb is already a two-time party switcher.  The former Reagan Administration official switched to the Republicans during the Vietnam War, and then switched back to the Democrats at some point in the 2000s.  The biggest reason for his most recent turnabout, the Iraq War, has faded into the background of the national debate, and he actually may feel more at home with Republicans than Democrats on some issues.

But there are two reasons this probably won’t happen.  First, Webb is really a man without a party.  He’s a Jacksonian, and part of this is a strong streak of economic populism that is out of place with the modern GOP.  Second, and more importantly, he’d have to make it through a GOP Convention to secure renomination, which seems almost impossible.  It’s more likely he’ll hang up his spurs after one term.  Chance of a switch:  2-3 percent.

#2.    Ben Nelson – Nelson is without a doubt the most conservative Democrat in the chamber, and with good reason:  He represents one of the most Republican states in the Union.  On a wide swath of issues, from abortion, to taxation, to gun rights, he is already a far more certain vote for Republicans than Democrats.

There’s just one little thing.  He already voted for the Democrats’ health bill, destroying his credibility with Republicans.  If he were going to switch parties, it would have made sense during the Bush Administration, or during the health care debate.  It’s almost certain that he’d get the “Specter treatment” in the 2012 Republican primary.  He may choose to take his chances with the general electorate.  More likely, the 69-year old Nelson will just retire.  Chance of a switch: 5-10 percent.

#1.    Olympia Snowe – For all the talk of a switch among Democrats, the most likely switch probably comes from the Republicans.  Snowe had to be watching with horror as Arlen Specter left the party in advance of a surefire primary loss, and then fellow moderates Lisa Murkowski and Mike Castle lost Senate primaries to very conservative candidates.  Her party has nominated a very conservative candidate for governor in two successive elections, as Maine moderate and liberal Republicans have switched their registration to Independent or Democrat.

She’s already cast a vote for a version of the health care bill, which makes her odds of surviving a primary challenge in 2012 fairly slim.  But she also has to fear the “Specter treatment;” if she were going to make this move, it probably would have made more sense to make it in early 2009, giving her four years to build up her Democratic credentials.  Chance of a switch:  15-20 percent.

While Snowe is a bit scary as a potential GOP switch, Trende might be selling Pryor and Nelson short. Nelson might have to do a maxima mea culpa with Nebraska voters and he’d still get primaried, but he has absolutely no chance of being reelected in 2012 if he stays a Democrat.

5:30 p.m. – Some local turnout information indicates Louisiana is going to be a laggard by national standards but it’s a little better than initially expected

First Assistant Secretary of State Tom Schedler said a spot-check of clerks of court around the the state at mid-afternoon indicated a steady flow despite constant rain in many areas.
“People are turning out in higher numbers than we thought,” Schedler said.

Schedler had forecast about a 30 percent turnout, but said based on the level of calls his office has received and reports from clerks of court, the minimum number could inch closer to 33 percent of the state’s 2.93 million registered voters.
   
“It’s been like that all day,” Schedler said of frequent 15-minute waits in lines at large parish precincts.

He said his office has received aiout 1,000 calls from people asking for information on where they can vote. “That’s a lot more than normal,” Schedler said.

4:45 p.m. – Can we get a group “awwww” for Alan Grayson?

Heavy turnout in the Florida 9th Congressional District appears to show that incumbent Democrat Alan Grayson may be in trouble. According to the Orlando Sentinel there is a larger than expected crowd waiting to vote in the district.

The Sentinel is also reporting that overall vote turnout may approach 44%, a high amount for midterm races. Furthermore, Republicans are usually known for a higher turnout in midterms, meaning that the people of the district may be coming out to throw out Grayson.

It appears that Grayson is on the ropes as polls are showing him consistently behind Republican Daniel Webster. Webster was also helped by Grayson’s heavy-handed polls accusing him of being a member of the Taliban and dodging the draft, which were both obviously false.

All together now… Awwwwwwwwww.

And now a word from our sponsor…

4:40 p.m. – And now Jim Geraghty at NRO

I don’t have the exits, but folks I know in the media and political worlds are getting their first glimpses.

Indicator Number One: I am told that one Democratic strategist, helping a television network with Election Night analysis, just declared that the Democrats were experiencing something on par with mass murder. The GOP counterpart looked at the same numbers and concluded the Democrats are, so far, not getting the urban turnout they need; suburban and rural areas are seeing big turnouts.

Indicator Number Two: One Republican who is seeing early indicators in Florida says, “if this holds, we win everything.”

And via an e-mail Democrat Steve Kagen (Wisconsin incumbent in a tough race with Republican Reid Ribble) blasted out to his supporters that has now gone viral…

Dear XXXX,

We have just been going over the morning voting numbers — and turnout isn’t where we need it to be in our strong areas.

This race is going to be a squeaker — and every vote will count.

Please call your friends, family and neighbors and make sure they vote. If you can get five of your friends to vote, we will win.

You can register to vote at your polling place. Find your polling location by clicking here. Please forward this email to your friends in the district.

Sincerely,

Julie Heun, Campaign Manager

Kagen4Congress

4:30 p.m. – Quick bit of housekeeping – we’re going to be switching to the Election Night live-blog at about 6:00. So there’s another hour and a half of updates to be found at this post.

More anecdotal turnout stuff, this via Ace Of Spades

Low in Maine cities. Democratic strongholds, I assume.

In Connecticut, low in Democratic areas, high in Republican areas. Do you smell what Linda McMahon is cookin’? The People’s Upset?

In Wisconsin, Democratic turnout isn’t what they need it to be.

Via a tipster, in Florida, turnout is over +15 advantage for Republicans. That’s not as high as I’d like Republican turnout (come, guys, Jeeze). But it’s a big advantage.

Also, R’s have reversed the D advantage in early voting from 2008, and now lead in that category by nearly as big a margin as D’s led in 2008.

Update: Based on my tipster: You can expect all the people you thought would win in Florida to win… I guess the next question is, “Can we expect the longshots like Karen Harrington to win too?”

In Colorado, 74,000 more Republicans have already voted than Democrats.

It’s low overall in Virginia, which I take to be a good sign, as my operating assumption is that conservative voting is higher than normal and Democrat voting is much lower than normal. That’s an assumption, but I’d say it’s a strong one.

That means that Patrick Murray has a real shot to knocking off Jim Moran.

4:15 p.m. – Whoa. As of noon today, the voter turnout numbers in Colorado…

DEM–419444

REP–493399

UAF–291152

TOTAL–1211297

If that holds up, not only will Ken Buck win big, but Tom Tancredo is the next governor up there. Aspen’s going to have to secede from the state.

4:10 p.m. – OK, some of the national stuff is starting to pour in a little. And it’s good. Anecdotal, certainly. But it’s good.

Some f’rinstances:

For 25 years I’ve lived in Brookline, where Republicans admit they’re Republicans at their own risk. Yet I haven’t seen so many lawn signs for a Republican since a few courageous matrons put a “Weld for Governor” placard on their lawn in 1990 and paid the price: social suicide. They were promptly shunned at Whole Foods. Their poor children sat alone in the cafeteria.

It says something huge about Barney Frank’s fall from grace that a few brave Brookline-ites are ready, again, to risk their neighbors’ wrath.

Here’s what I’m seeing: a few dozen small and discreet Bielat signs, mostly in South Brookline on the West Roxbury line, where there’s more diversity. That is, you can actually question Al Gore’s prediction that the Cape will be underwater by 2025 and not be jettisoned from The Great Books Club.

Another

If the first six hours of voting in Election 2010 is any indication, Save Jerseyans, then Rep. John Adler (D) and his fellow House Dems are in for a world of hurt this evening.

For starters, Save Jersey sources report light turnout in Cherry Hill (Camden County). Cherry Hill is John Adler’s home base. It’s also the largest Democrat town in the Third Congressional District. Keep in mind that Adler only won in 2008 by a little more than 4-points. Without strong turnout in Cherry Hill and a few other “blue” key towns (Burlington, Willingboro), Adler’s goose is cooked! The freshman congressman simply won’t be able to amass enough votes in Burlington County to overcome Runyan’s anticipated margins in deep-red Ocean County.

Perhaps more interestingly for veteran campaign watchers, the “4 Million Dollar Man” Frank Pallone seems to be experiencing similar GOTV troubles up in North Jersey.PolitickerNJ.com reports that turnout is very light in CD-6′s Democrat stronghold of Plainfield (Union County). A weak showing in true-blue Plainfield could facilitate an historic upset victory for Tea Party darling Anna Little provided, of course, that she racks up a solid margin in battleground Monmouth County.

And more:

Pennsylvania’s 8th congressional district in suburban Philadelphia will be a must-watch race this evening. In 2006, Democrat Patrick Murphy narrowly ousted freshman Republican Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick. Four years later, the Irishmen are fighting in a rough-and-tumble rematch.

Fitzpatrick, an old friend, just phoned from the trail. “Turnout is consistently high, from the upper end of the district to lower Bucks County,” he says. “People are coming to the polls and seem intent on casting a vote — they’re not so interested in talking to poll workers or taking literature. They’re showing up to send a message.”

“Bucks County is a swing county,” Fitzpatrick says. “The county and the district is closely divided and voters pay attention.” He predicts that the “collar counties to the city of Philadelphia will swing conservative this year because they’re fiscal conservatives to the core and they don’t appreciate the high taxes and high spending of the current administration.”

Fitzpatrick notes that the state GOP slate, which includes U.S. Senate candidate Pat Toomey and gubernatorial nominee Tom Corbett, will likely do well in the ‘burbs, where voters in the past have been known to split their ballots.

“It seems as if people are coming in and voting, without discrimination, for a straight Republican ticket,” Fitzpatrick says. “I have not seen any breakage at all. While some of the races may be closer than others, I think the entire Republican ticket will do well in Pennsylvania, notwithstanding a serious voter disadvantage statewide, where Democrats hold a 1.2 million registration lead. Even in our district, where Democrats outnumber us, the voter turnout will be stronger for Republicans. We have greater intensity.”

“There are a number Democrats who are showing up and indicating, affirmatively, that they’re voting Republican,” Fitzpatrick adds. “This is a very interesting year, and it’s the kind of election you see about once in a generation. I’ve got to tell you, I’m enjoying the fact that turnout is high, and that voters are very engaged in the issues. It’s all pretty positive.”

It all brings this to mind…

3:45 p.m. – By the way, get The Expendables when it comes out on pay-per-view. Strike a blow for freedom.

Hooray for Hollywood!

3:30 p.m. – Uh, oh. Coonsy’s coming up short on numbers.

Most polls have predicted that the closely watched Delaware Senate race between Democrat Chris Coons and Republican tea-party favorite Christine O’Donnell was going to be anything but close. One poll last week had Mr. Coons up by 10 points, while all the others gave him a far more comfortable margin.

But Democrats in Delaware remain skittish.

In a noon email alert to supporters, Coons campaign manager Christy Gleason said close monitoring of voter turnout in the state’s 41 representative districts showed “lower turnout in New Castle and Kent counties than we’re comfortable with.”

To win, Mr. Coons will have to get heavy support from Democrats and independents in New Castle, the state’s most populous county. In the primary, Ms. O’Donnell drew heavy support from the state’s other two counties, Kent and Sussex, which skew more to the right.

Via Gateway Pundit.

3:00 p.m. – The Washington Examiner’s Tim Carney says that what’s going to happen tonight really isn’t all that shocking a phenomenon; all it really represents is the country coming home to its roots…

The biggest category of GOP gains will be the “snap-backs” — seats Democrats took from Republicans in 2006 and 2008 thanks to the Democratic wave, Obama coattails, and Republican scandals and extravagance.

For instance, Republican Thomas Marino is a strong favorite to win back Pennsylvania’s 10th District. Democrat Chris Carney won this seat in 2006 after a mistress-strangling allegation took down GOP congressman Don Sherwood. Similarly, Democrat Jerry McNerney in 2006 knocked off Rep. Richard Pombo (R-Calif.), who was caught up in the Jack Abramoff mess. McNerney is now trailing in that race.

Snap-backs happen every election, especially after wave years (11 freshman Republicans lost in 1996), but usually not to this extent.

Most of the 50 Democrat-held House seats that Real Clear Politics has classified “likely Republican” or “leaning Republican” would be snap-backs — the Democrats won 19 of them in 2008 and 11 in 2006. Another 13 of the 2006-08 Democratic pickups are in the “toss up” category. So the GOP could gain 43 seats — enough for a majority — just by taking back seats that were recently theirs.

Carney also says “the country is returning to where it was politically before the Republicans threw away their majority in 2006 and 2008 through overspending, two wars, and rampant corruption.” He asserts this is fundamentally a Republican country. I’d say it’s more fundamentally a conservative country than Republican. If the GOP would actually embrace conservatism and govern according to its principles, Carney might become correct after all.

1:30 p.m.John Gizzi at Human Events notes that there are 37 statewide races going on today like the one we’ll have in Louisiana next year. And those are expected to shift to Republicans on a tectonic scale – just in time for redistricting. The importance of controlling some 30-odd governorships and state houses will make for some long-term Republican governance when it comes to the House of Representatives…

With the next census to be held in 2011, redistricting of the 435 U.S. House districts will follow in all 50 states.  In most states, governors and state legislatures will oversee this process.  Given the likelihood of a GOP sweep of statehouses in 2010, the odds are strong that Republicans will have the upper hand in redistricting and thus maintain the majority in the House they are almost certain to win on Tuesday.
         
Along with making major gains in governorships, Republicans are also likely to increase their ranks dramatically in state legislatures.  Democrats currently control legislatures in 27 states and hold 55 percent of the legislative seats nationwide.  As Governing Magazine reported last week, “With just over one-third of the state legislative chambers up this fall considered ‘in play’—that is, rated tossup, lean Democratic or lean Republican—the Democrats are on the verge of losing a net of four to 12 Senate chambers and six to 15 House chambers. In none of the previous five cycles was there ever this wide a difference in projected risk between the two parties.” (Emphasis added).

1:15 p.m.Moon Griffon had Caroline Fayard on his show this morning. You tell me how this guy holds himself out as a “conservative” radio host. Softball after softball after softball.

She’s glib, and she sounds like a Democrat version of Bobby Jindal. She’ll come off like a superstar when she’s not challenged. And Griffon rolls over and asks for a belly-rub.

12:55 p.m. – The Joseph Cao-Tony Perkins fiasco over the weekend isn’t over. Today, the Greater New Orleans Republicans took a vicious shot at Perkins for the Family Research Council’s attack on Cao…

“Tony Perkins and his organization’s de-facto endorsement of Cedric Richmond is one of the strangest political gambits in a state known for bizarre politics. Rather than supporting one of the most pro-life members of Congress, Mr. Perkins has decided to join ranks with President Barack Obama, New Orleans City Hall and Democratic US Senator Mary Landrieu by working against Cao’s bid for re-election.”

“Perhaps Mr. Perkins spends too much time in Washington and isn’t aware how Congressman Cao has helped restore integrity and honor to a seat that was tarnished by its previous occupant. And perhaps he is ignorant of Congressman Cao’s ironclad commitment to protect the unborn. Or that splitting the conservative vote in the Second Congressional District will lead to the election of a liberal Democrat who will advance an agenda Mr. Perkins and the FRC supposedly opposes.”

“Mr. Perkins’ actions are irresponsible, politically unsound and will result in the election of the most socially liberal member of the US House of Representatives from Louisiana in the history of our state.”

“The Greater New Orleans Republicans encourages Republicans, independents and conservative Democrats to support the re-election of Congressman Cao and not fall for Perkins’ ploy that is similar to trickery used by Democrats in the northeast to split the conservative vote in order to allow a liberal Democrat to win election to Congress.”

“The choice is clear for the voters of the Second District: Cao or Richmond.”

“Tony Perkins and his organization’s de facto endorsement of Cedric Richmond is one of the strangest political gambits in a state known for bizarre politics. Rather than supporting one of the most pro-life members of Congress, Mr. Perkins has decided to join ranks with President Barack Obama, New Orleans City Hall and Democratic US Senator Mary Landrieu by working against Cao’s bid for re-election.”

“Perhaps Mr. Perkins spends too much time in Washington and isn’t aware how Congressman Cao has helped restore integrity and honor to a seat that was tarnished by its previous occupant. And perhaps he is ignorant of Congressman Cao’s ironclad commitment to protect the unborn. Or that splitting the conservative vote in the Second Congressional District will lead to the election of a liberal Democrat who will advance an agenda Mr. Perkins and the FRC supposedly opposes.”

“Mr. Perkin’s actions are irresponsible, politically unsound and will result in the election of the most socially liberal member of the US House of Representatives from Louisiana in the history of our state.”

“The Greater New Orleans Republicans encourages Republicans, independents and conservative Democrats to support the re-election of Congressman Cao and not fall for Perkins’ ploy that is similar to trickery used by Democrats in the northeast to split the conservative vote in order to allow a liberal Democrat to win election to Congress.”

“The choice is clear for the voters of the Second District: Cao or Richmond.”

It’s raining like hell in New Orleans today. That helps Cao a great deal. If he ends up winning this thing, it’s entirely possible Perkins’ attack will fade into the woodwork. But if Cao loses a squeaker, there will be lots of people in Louisiana looking for Perkins’ scalp.

12:20 p.m. – It’s no secret that Democrats are going to try to steal as many of these races as they can, but Soren Dayton’s piece at Redstate.com today is well worth reading as a summary of what’s going on today…

Chicago, where I grew up and lived for 26 years, has been the butt of jokes about corruption and election fraud. This behavior has seeped across the border at times into Indiana. For example 31 people were convicted for voter fraud in the 2003 East Chicago (Indiana) Democratic mayoral primary. At the very least, this year the Illinois Democratic Party and election apparatus has become the butt of jokes. Thirty-five counties sent absentee ballots late to military voters, including the county with the largest military vote. (incidentally, Mark Kirk, the Republican candidate for Senate is a Navy Reserves vet) The Illinois Democratic Campaign Committee, chaired by Senator Dick Durbin, sent out nearly 1,000,000 absentee ballot applications late, with return addresses to the state party. A similar operation in Bucks County, PA has resulted in all the absentee ballots to be impounded.

11:20 a.m. – Back to some local interest, it seems that the Louisiana Democrat Party has failed to file 48-hour campaign finance reports, as required by law starting 20 days out from Election Day. They’ve given $750,000 in “in-kind” campaign donations to Caroline Fayard without making any disclosure as to where the money has come from. The last time DEMOPAC made a filing, as we reported on the Hayride, it revealed that Calvin Fayard was laundering money to his daughter’s campaign through the state Democrat Party.

They’ve gone dark after that. Not only that, they’re thumbing their noses at the state ethics board…

State Party chairman Buddy Leach said Monday that the party does not have to file what are known as 48-hour reports because it is not a political action committee.

But the state’s top ethics administrator disagreed Monday.

Under state law, candidates or political committees supporting or opposing candidates for a major office must during the 20 days prior to an election report contributions over $1,000 within 48 hours of their receipt.

Leach said party filings are governed by federal law. “Federal law does not require the party to file 48-hour reports,” he said.

But Louisiana’s chief ethics administrator Kathleen Allen said the Democrats are a political committee as defined by state law.

And political committees, which are sometimes referred to as PACs, are required to file the reports if they take in and expend money in conjunction with a state election, Allen said.

“There’s no exception for political party committees,” said Allen.

The state GOP hasn’t filed 48-hour reports either, it should be said, but their explanation is they’re not doing anything. That in and of itself is worth complaining about, particularly given the primary dustup between Roger Villere and Jay Dardenne in the Lieutenant Governor’s race, but at least it’s not illegal.

Anybody want to know whether those unfiled 48-hour reports would show more cash from sketchy LLC’s Calvin Fayard owns?

11:05 a.m. – Here’s something which might be of value. It’s from an e-mail which originated at the Center For Security Policy, and it talks about who’s going to run the House committees after the Republicans take over…

* Intelligence: The current ranking member, Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-Michigan) is retiring after an unsuccessful bid for Governor of Michigan.  Several people have told me the likely new chairman is Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas); one report indicated that Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Michigan) may also be in the running.

* Foreign Affairs: Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Florida) is currently Ranking Member and will likely be the next chairman.

* Armed Services: Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon (R-California) is currently Ranking Member and will likely be the next chairman.

* Judiciary: Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) is currently Ranking Member and will likely be the next chairman.

* Homeland Security: Rep. Peter King (R-New York) is currently the Ranking Member.  However, several sources have indicated that King may be up against Republican Conference limits on how long the same Member can serve in a leadership position on a committee.  The Republican rules are ambiguous as to whether time spent as a Ranking Member counts towards that limit, but Boehner’s office has said that time spent as the Ranking Member DOES count.  So this may come down (I’m told) to whether Boehner wants to grant King a waiver to let him assume the Chairmanship – this gets complicated for Boehner, because he may want to get rid of other Chairmen, and it’s politically difficult to grant waivers for some guys and not others.  Stay tuned. 

* Appropriations: Rep. David Obey (D-Wisconsin) is retiring, and Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-California) is the Ranking Member.  However, he may run into the same issue as King, above.  Some have speculated that Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Kentucky), the current Ranking Member on the DHS subcommittee, may be vying for the chairmanship.  Stay tuned. 

10:45 a.m.InTrade is awesome stuff, as everybody knows. The prediction market has some interesting prices on the election…

  • GOP House Control: 96.5 (100 is the maximum price)
  • Democrat Senate Control: 47.0
  • Sharron Angle: 68.0
  • Barbara Boxer: 90.0
  • Russ Feingold: 5.0
  • Christine O’Donnell: 7.0
  • Patty Murray: 63.9
  • Rand Paul: 94.0

10:35 a.m. – Quin Hillyer’s predictions in the American Spectator:

All along this cycle, I haven’t known how to account, numerically, for the expected vote fraud, or for the growing habit of early voting, or for the union/Obama organizing which has never been put to the test in a non-presidential year before. My calculations and intuition were both thrown off by these elements, and by what I saw as headwinds, described above. Now I see them not as headwinds but as cross-winds, and have tried to adjust accordingly. And still I am going to be all squirrelly about this, and say that these predictions aren’t made with much confidence. These predictions are made humbly. I even considered saying that these aren’t really official predictions, that they are just guesses, and that I really don’t have an official set of predictions this year. Talk about a cop-out!!

But I can’t get away with that. I offer all those caveats above, but I need to be held to account. So, with many misgivings, I guess you can shove these picks in my face if I’m wrong, because they do amount to my official, final predictions. They are based on overwhelming data, and on the Democrats’ utter failure to make a coherent case for keeping themselves in office. They are based on a palpable feeling in the electorate that it is time to rein in the growth of government, and that Republicans are the only party that  might accomplish that, even if the public doesn’t really trust the Republicans either. And they factor in the crosswinds and a little bit of intuitive re-adjustment that has taken place in the last five days.  All of which leads to…. drum roll, please….

These numbers: In the House, by the time the new House is officially seated in January, the GOP will hold 246 seats. In the Senate, the GOP will hold 51. These numbers may include party switchers. Maybe, maybe not. But those are the numbers. Please don’t throw rotten tomatoes if I’m wrong.

10:30 a.m. – Greg Sargent is an irritating turd, but in small doses he can be informative. And in this case, the DNC dumped its Election-Day Talking Points on him. When you’re watching cable channels tonight, see how many of these make their way to the airwaves.

Democrats knew that 2010 would be an uphill battle for three reasons: 1) the party of the President historically loses seats in midterm elections; 2) too many people are looking for work or struggling to get by as a result of 8 years of irresponsible economic policies (and despite creating more private sector jobs in the last 8 months than President Bush did in 8 years); and 3) the sheer number of seats we’re defending this year as a result of the successes of 2006 and 2008, including 49 Democratic Representatives on the ballot this year whose districts John McCain won in 2008.

· But as a result of the hard work of the President, Democratic campaigns, the DNC, OFA, coordinated campaigns, campaign committees, and committed Democratic volunteers, our candidates are more competitive today than in previous comparative mid-term elections and in the best position possible for success.

· Despite these historic and economic headwinds, Democrats are now positioned to hold onto the Senate and have prevented Republicans from yet locking down the seats they need to secure the House.

· As recently as six weeks ago, there were predictions that Democrats would lose the House, the Senate and all of the major governorships. Now, we are competitive on all three fronts.

· We have great candidates running great races. Building off of the work Democratic candidates have done this election season, the DNC has now spent or raised an unprecedented $115 million for candidates and campaigns this year – including nearly $24 million dollars in disbursements to 20 battleground states across the country to ensure that Democratic campaigns have all the resources they need to get out the vote.

· Because of this unprecedented midterm effort – which includes DNC/OFA staff and/or volunteers in all 50 states and 435 Congressional districts, cutting edge new media tools, paid media targeting core Democratic voters and first-time 2008 voters, and the largest ground game in the history of midterm elections – we are confident that our voters will be going to the polls today.

· While the Republican Party has had to shut down its deployment program and rely on tens of millions of dollars in undisclosed special interest donations from shadowy front groups, Democrats have raised millions of dollars from everyday Americans, made millions of calls and knocked on millions of doors in the closing days of the election.

· Over the past six months, we’ve made over 80 million voter contacts. That’s twice as many as Republicans have made during the entire year.

Overcoming the Enthusiasm Gap

· Our efforts have made a difference. Notwithstanding one of the most advantageous political climates in decades, Democrats have closed the enthusiasm gap, and the so-called Republican “tidal wave” has failed to manifest itself in the early vote.

· On a variety of key metrics – from fundraising to GOTV to early voting numbers – Democrats have shown that they are invested in this election far more than the pundits or the prognosticators would have ever believed.

· Since Labor Day, more than 250,000 people – from Boston to Los Angeles to Columbus and Las Vegas — have turned out to hear the President lay out the choice in this election. Hundreds of thousands more volunteers and voters have watched the President’s rallies via live stream.

· After the President’s rallies – in states like Pennsylvania and California – Democratic candidates have not only seen a bump in the polls, we have also seen an increased number of volunteers and a boost in voter enthusiasm. Just over the last weekend volunteers contacted over 6 million voters at the doors and on the phones.

· In the last several months, the so-called “enthusiasm gap” has closed significantly.

Polling by Ipsos/Reuters shows Democrats have narrowed the gap, with a poll in mid-October showing that 72% of Democrats rated themselves an 8-10 on a scale on a 10-point scale of likelihood to vote, up from 66% in late July. (Ipsos/Reuters, 10/11) While the poll finds Republicans are still somewhat more likely to vote than Democrats, overall, the gap has decreased by 15 points since July. (Ipsos/Reuters, 7/25)

· And we’ve closed the gap on the generic ballot.

o In the most recent Washington Post/ABC and Pew polls, Democrats closed the gap on the traditional ballot among likely voters, from -13 points in early September to -4 points today. And in the Pew poll, Democrats actually lead Republicans on the generic Congressional ballot among registered voters.

· We also saw a clear positive trend for Democrats in the early vote data coming in from across the country. In fact, in our key states and targeted races, Democrats outpaced Republicans in early voting in a host of key states including such stateds as Nevada, Ohio and Iowa.

Republicans Not Well Regarded

· The American people remain frustrated with the state of the economy and that makes things even more difficult for Democrats, who would have faced electoral challenges even in the best of times.

The party of the President tends to lose seats during midterm elections. But that trend should not be confused with a surge in popularity for Republicans. After all, Republicans favorability continues to lag behind Democrats and Republicans are less popular today than Democrats were when they took control of Congress in 2006 or when GOP took control in 1994.

· In a recent NBC/WSJ poll, the Republicans favorability rating stood at 31%-42%, compared to Democrats’ 38%-45% favorability rating. And the Republicans’ approval ratings lag far behind that of the President who had a favorability rating of 48% to 43%.

· After spending 20 months playing politics and failing to find common ground to solve the nation’s problems, it is no surprise that the Republican brand is so low.

· Regardless of the final results, and because of the historical and economic headwinds, we know that Republicans will gain seats on Tuesday. With that gain comes a shared responsibility to govern.

· Unfortunately, Republicans are already ignoring that responsibility. Instead of taking this opportunity to propose real solutions to create jobs and grow the economy, House and Senate Republican leaders continue to say that they are not willing to compromise on issues of importance to the American people and they are more interested in spending the next two years working to deny President Obama a second term than they are in working on the issues the American people care about.

· The President and the Democratic Party will continue to work to improve the economy and to fight to move America forward, regardless of the outcome of today’s elections.

· And while we continue to face historical headwinds going into the midterm election, we are confident that the hard work of Democratic candidates across the country and the efforts of the President, the DNC/OFA, the campaign committees will put these candidates in the best possible positions to win.

Getting Out the Vote Today

· We are urging Democrats across America to get out and go to the polls today. Because all over the country, there are races that will be decided by a few thousand or even a few hundred votes. So every vote counts and we won’t be taking any vote for granted.

· We’re going to keep working hard to get out the vote until the last polls close, and I am confident that we can hold onto the Senate, hold onto the House, and win important races all across the country.

You saw it. They’re getting their asses handed to them today and it’s Bush’s fault. He’s the gift that keeps on givin’.

10:20 a.m. – This is pretty instructive. Per the Daily Caller, the Congressional Black Caucus won’t say whether it will welcome black Republicans into the fold after folks like Tim Scott, Allen West, Ryan Frazier and Bill Marcy make their way to Washington…

While the CBC officially has not been clear about who they will allow in next year, Democratic Rep. James Clyburn, a CBC member and House majority whip, said last month that he would welcome a black Republican.

“If Tim Scott is interested in joining the caucus, he would be welcome,” he said.

But CBC Chairman Barbara Lee implied a few weeks later in an interview with The Economist that black Republicans would be welcomed only if they conform to the group’s liberal guidelines. “The CBC has an agenda,” Lee told The Economist. “Our agenda is about lifting people out of poverty, providing middle-class tax cuts, supporting climate-change legislation. Do [incoming black Republicans] embrace this agenda?”

West has apparently said he’d join. Scott has said he’s leaning against it. It would be great if these guys told the CBC to stuff it and set up a caucus with Republicans of Hispanic and Asian descent.

10:05 a.m. – National Review has something interesting on what’s happening in Florida

  • Final numbers show that for the first time since early voting began in 2004, more Republicans than Democrats cast early ballots. The Miami Herald estimates that this amounts to an early jump-start of approximately 100,000 votes for Republican gubernatorial hopeful Rick Scott, or a five percent lead.
     
  • Politico takes us back inside the claims that former President Bill Clinton suggested to Kendrick Meek that dropping out of Florida’s three-way Senate race would be best for the party. This time, unnamed sources say that the White House was involved, and that the plan was discussed way back in April, when Crist was first contemplating an independent Senate run.
     
  • Clinton made a pit stop in Orlando on Monday night, speaking to approximately 1,000 rally attendees in an attempt to bolster Meek’s campaign and the Democratic ticket. No mention was made, according to the Palm Beach Post, of the drop-out drama.
     
  • Crist’s last minute sales pitch includes a suggestion that he has covert supporters who will take him over the top: “At virtually every stop,  at almost every place we went, a Republican or a Democrat would come up to me and whisper to me and say, ‘Listen, my uncle’s an elected representative. He’s a Republican. I don’t want the cameras to see me, but I want you to know my whole family is going to vote for you but we haven’t told a soul.’ It’s like this covert operation around Florida.”
  • 10:00 a.m. – Seems like there will be lots of these send-ups of the stupid Hollywood propaganda videos for Obama from 2008. This one is an opening salvo…

    9:40 a.m.Mike Bayham does a nice job setting the scene for what’s going to happen tonight. We already know what’s going to happen, unlike in 1994 when it was a big surprise for Republicans to take over the House of Representatives…

    But things are different now. Competition in the cable news realm and the expansion of their reach has denied the networks of their de facto monopoly of news on election night. Election results are posted real-time in some states and polling data is readily available from news and politics sites, with the most prominent being Real Clear Politics.

    Political junkies in New Jersey can easily follow a US House race in Mississippi.

    If video killed the radio star, than the internet ruined the surprise.

    Now the political party on the ropes can hear the Jaws music playing as the dorsal fin advances towards the victim.

    2010 will be the reverse of 1994. The US House of Representatives has been conceded to the GOP for weeks now, with only polished liars from the Democratic end arguing otherwise. They encourage their most die-hard supporters to stand, like Linus from Peanuts, in the pumpkin patch (or National Mall), awaiting the big surprise.

    9:30 a.m. – A little local stuff: WVLA-TV (Channel 33 in Baton Rouge) has a story up on the web in which pollster Eliot Stonecipher says he thinks Gov. Jindal has missed the boat on the 2012 elections.

    “I think Bobby Jindal missed it on the first round,” says pollster Elliott Stonecipher.  “He’s young enough to survive for another one, and he needs it.”

    Stonecipher says Jindal needs to focus on the state’s issues before worrying about national platforms.  He also thinks that Jindal might make a move out of the state faster if Caroline Fayard wins the lieutenant governor’s race.

    Some video of what else Stonecipher said at the Baton Rouge Press Club yesterday…

    Jindal’s galivanting around the country might have gotten him on the DNC’s oppo research list, but nobody is talking about him as a presidential candidate. One has to wonder what the hell Stonecipher is talking about when he says that a Caroline Fayard win tonight would make it more likely the Governor would take a gig outside of Louisiana, though; that makes no sense at all.

    9:15 a.m. – Does anybody else find it peculiar that Hillary Clinton has been as far away from America as possible this election season? All hands on deck, this ain’t.

    And yesterday, she was in Malaysia. Where she said this…

    “The political winds blow back and forth but I think you will find that President Obama is a pretty steady captain of the ship…So no matter what happens in our election, you will see him … continuing to promote his agenda, which I think is right for America and right for the world.”

    Right. And one of the things a good captain does is lock mutinous sailors in the brig. Which is where Hillary is. At least until July or so, when she breaks out, raids the armory and gets swords and pistols for the majority of the crew.

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