Is the McCain camp giving up on Colorado and New Mexico?
From CNN’s Jon King
While Iowa, New Mexico and Colorado are still officially listed as McCain target states, two top strategists and advisers tell CNN that the situation in those states looks increasingly bleak. Iowa and New Mexico always have been viewed as difficult races, but the similar assessment of Colorado reflects a dramatic shift for a campaign that had long counted on the state.
"Gone," was the word one top McCain insider used to describe those three states.
It’s not over until it’s over, and Nevada and Montana remain in play in the West, but this is good news for our Western strategy.
Update October 21. The McCain camp is pushing back on the report they're losing hope in Colorado. See this link.
Update October 23. Though Senator McCain is headed to Colorado Friday, Republicans are reportedly slashing their television advertising in Colorado's three biggest television stations.
See this link.
Update October 29. CNN reports Senator Obama has doubled his lead in Colorado.
Polling in other Western states and swing states around the country continues to look favorable for Senator Obama and Democrats in general. Tonight's inspiring broadcast will surely help.
On Friday, I had a chance to chat with DNC Chairman Howard Dean. Naturally, I asked him about the Western strategy.
Over at BlueOregon, Jeff Alworth (who joined me on the call) has the write-up. Here's what Dean said about the West:
"We’re ahead in New Mexico, Nevada and Colorado right now. We think the road to the White House leads through the west, and if we win those three states, I think Barack Obama will be the next president. [Even] Montana is in play. We're only down two there."
Not only that, but Dean's 50-state strategy is a key underpinning to Obama's 50-state strategy - which includes the West and extends beyond it:
"What Barack is trying to accomplish is something Bush willfully chose not to do. Barack wants to be president of all America, not just the half that agrees with him. The reason he’s adopted the fifty-state strategy is because he wants to be the president even of people who don’t agree with him so he can reunify the country. That’s what I find so refreshing, a candidate that wants to bring people together instead of what McCain is doing by driving them apart. So being a player in every region of the country matters: North Carolina, Virginia is in play, there’s the western states that we talked about that are in play—and that hasn’t happened for a long, long time. And I think that’s the kind of President Barack Obama will be, someone who cares about all the American people, not just those who agree with him."
Good stuff. Let's bring this one home, folks.
Kari Chisholm | September 15, 2008 | Comment on This Post (0 so far)
Here at Western Democrat, we have previously made the case for Bill Richardson for President or Vice President. But consider another prominent Western Democrat for the currently open position of Democratic nominee for the Vice Presidency, namely Brian Schweitzer, Governor of Montana.
The vice presidential nominee has four roles: to help the ticket win in November, to serve as a loyal part of the new administration, to assume the presidency should disaster strike, and, under happy circumstances, to lead the party eight years hence. Governor Schweitzer is an attractive candidate for all four tasks.
Governor Schweitzer would be a great candidate. He is the popular Democratic governor of a red to purple state who knows how to appeal to Republicans and Independents. He would reinforce the Obama message of turning the page on the red/blue divide of the last decade. He has a natural, folksy charm that would play well on the national stage. He is from way outside Washington in a year when voters are hungry for change in Washington. He does not play into the GOP stereotype of an out of touch Eastern liberal, yet he effectively champions Democratic issues such as education and healthcare. He does not have a trail of potentially controversial votes on wedge issues in the Senate. He is old enough to be successful and experienced both in the private and public sectors, including international experience, while young enough to be a vigorous campaigner. He understands national issues that are particularly important to the West such as energy and water, the West being rich in energy, but chronically short of water. He could help swing crucial states in the West. Montana has only three electoral votes, but he would automatically put his state in play. Neighboring North Dakota is potentially swingable and has three electoral votes. In the rest of the West, Nevada, Colorado, and New Mexico, with a combined nineteen electoral votes, will be critical battlegrounds, and having a Westerner on the ticket would help. The sum total is the equivalent of swinging one big state, which is about the best that a vice presidential nominee can hope to do. Moreover, Governor Schweitzer would be a reassuring choice for a number of wavering constituencies all across the country that the party needs in November.
Governor Schweitzer could serve in an Obama administration without carrying any baggage from the long contest for the nomination. He would bring executive experience to the new administration. He could represent Western and rural constituencies inside a White House with an urban and Midwestern President. And though his easy and down-to-earth demeanor tends to hide it, his successes in life and politics are the natural product of a first-rate mind. Of course, only Senator Obama can tell us if their two personalities are a good working fit.
Given all these assets, I would feel very comfortable with a President Schweitzer should he ascend to the nation’s highest office, ideally eight and a half years hence, after having served President Obama loyally and well.
Leo Brown | June 5, 2008 | Comment on This Post (5 so far)
The networks have called Montana for Obama, and enough superdelegates have declared to make Senator Obama the nominee.
Barack did well in the Intermountain West all this primary season. The Rockies are not Appalachia.
It is an historic night but important tasks lie ahead this summer: uniting the party and selecting a vice president.
Gubernatorial is a wonderful word meaning pertaining to governors. Governors do a lot of the heavy lifting when it comes to good government, though they generally get less press these days than senators and, of course, presidents, unless they are very good or very bad.
While the Senate contests in the West this year offer excitement and good pickup opportunities, the gubernatorial elections present a much more settled picture, with one notable exception.
Nationally 28 Democrats and 22 Republicans hold governorships. In the West the totals are seven for the Democrats (AZ, CO, MT, NM, OR, WA, WY) and six for the GOP. Nationally, there will be eleven gubernatorial contests on November 4, 2008. Six of those seats are currently held by Democrats and five by Republicans. Three of those eleven contests are in the West, namely in Montana (D), Utah (R), and Washington (D).
In Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer, a star among Western Democrats, is looking strong. When Time magazine did a lengthy piece on The Democrats’ New Western Stars (Jan. 19, 2007), it was Governor Schweitzer’s photo they led with. Click here to watch Governor Schweitzer explain how elections are won in Montana.
In Utah, the GOP has held the governorship for 24 years, and Republican Governor Jon Huntsman, Jr. will be hard to beat.
In Washington, however, the contest promises to be exciting, because Democratic Governor Christine Gregoire won a squeaker in 2004, complete with recounts and a court case.
Washington is a fairly Blue State. Though potentially a swing state, it has put its electoral votes in the D column in the last five presidential contests and is represented in the Senate by two Democratic Senators. Six of the nine House members from Washington are Democrats. In addition to the governorship, both chambers of the state legislature are controlled by Democrats. All politics is local, as the saying goes, but national trends--war, recession and an unpopular Republican in the White House--will be important, too. Click here for Governor Gregoire’s own website.
If you were tired of a few voters in a handful of states determining the nominee, this is your year. If you are told only the big states count, don’t believe it. Every state counts, and every voter counts. In the West the remaining contests are
Wyoming March 8 (caucus)
Oregon May 20 (primary)
Montana June 3 (primary)
Montana and South Dakota (also on June 3 and partly in the West) will be the last contests before the convention, unless a couple of states that jumped the gun earlier in the year have a “do over.”
Democracy may be messy, but I prefer it to the alternatives.
Over a year ago, we speculated on a Richardson Obama or an Obama Richardson ticket. What I wrote then still looks good to me. Of course, it has been clear for some time that Richardson would not be at the top of the ticket. The Richardson campaign never caught fire, and Governor Richardson wisely ended his campaign. Obama-Richardson could still be a viable ticket in the West and Midwest, but will it happen?
What concerns me and what should concern a lot of Western Democrats is that the GOP may be poised to nominate a Western candidate who can reach across party lines (McCain), while the Democratic Party may be poised to nominate (again) an uncharismatic Easterner who would have difficulty reaching across party lines and who has little appeal in much of the purple West (Clinton). Hillary is a known quantity, and her negative numbers in the West will be very hard to change.
Recent polls in Colorado, Nevada and Arizona have found similar distaste for Clinton.
She's carrying huge negatives out here," said Floyd Ciruli, an independent Colorado pollster who said Democratic congressional candidates would have to highlight their differences with the national party to be successful next year. "It's that liberal East Coast image that is so hard to sell in the West."
One key advisor to a prominent Democratic congressional candidate, who asked not be to identified discussing tensions within the party, went even further. "It's a disaster for Western Democrats," he said. "It keeps me up at night."
Jay over at 4&20 blackbirds points to a Hill article that gets into the ongoing debate (which we all for sure wish would stop) of who can really take credit for the Democratic win in the Senate, especially for Tester winning in Montana.
Of course, Sen. Schumer of New York is saying that it was the great database they helped build, but Jay has other thoughts:
Here’s what I know. I wouldn’t have joined the Missoula Democrats, volunteered for Tester, or started blogging without Dean’s infrastructure.
The voter lists were nice… but about a gazillion organizations had similar lists. How many of you Democratic-leaning Montana voters received phone calls this election, raise your hands! And how many of you received like a gajillion phone calls?
Jon won that race. Montanans won that race. Thanks for all the money, though.
There's something to be said for DC based power types taking too much credit for wins in the West. Conrad Burns would still be a Senator had not Tester decided to run (at least I'm convinced of that). Tester was the right guy at the right time, and no amount of really great data would have put a bad candidate over the top.
If anyone is going to take credit, the organization that put the race in the well trained hands of Montanan Democrats deserves some credit. But, Montanans deserve the most.
According to the Center for Public Policy and Administration at the University of Utah, Montana is expected to consider moving their primary election from June 3 to February 5 - joining Western states Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah (plus Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Missouri, and North Carolina). Prior to February 5, elections will be held in Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, and South Carolina.
From the CPPA newsletter:
It is very likely that Montana’s legislature will introduce a Western States Primary Election bill when its session begins on January 3. Legislation could move Montana’s presidential primary election from June to February for the 2008 election – and in line with primaries in Utah, New Mexico, and Arizona. Although a 2005 bill died in the Montana Senate, legislation this year appears to have stronger bipartisan support, including that of Democratic Governor Brian Schweitzer and Republican Secretary of State Brad Johnson.
A full Democratic primary calendar is available at Wikipedia.
This is wonderful:
The New West Project, headquartered in Denver, will conduct research and develop strategies to secure and exploit recent Democratic gains in the Western states, party sources said.
At least four Western governors - Janet Napolitano of Arizona, Bill Richardson of New Mexico, Brian Schweitzer of Montana and Bill Ritter, Colorado's governor-elect - are expected to lead the group's advisory council, the sources said. Incoming Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, Sen. Ken Salazar of Colorado and other members of Congress will provide "strategic guidance."
Reid confirmed the creation of the new organization, which he said would "build upon the leadership of people such as governors Napolitano, Richardson and Schweitzer" and "work to focus attention on the West."
This is a high level group. Consider the Western Strategy in play, my friends. It is wonderful to see this sort of institutional arrangement that will only benefit our local, state and national candidates long term. It looks like part think tank, part strategy firm, part communications development - all aspects that will be welcome by the plethora of candidates that will be running these next few cycles to take advantage of our our new promise out here in the west.
The best part of the article? The quote from an unnamed "Western Democrat":
As an example of what the new organization may do, the Western Democrat said that political professionals would analyze such questions as "the difference between first- and second-generation Hispanic voters, ... what motivates them and how we communicate with them," as well as "why a recent transplant from California, who has voted Republican all her life, is now voting for Democrats."
Good question, "Western Democrat" - it just leaves me amazed to see our namesake invoked so strikingly in an article. Methinks the author of the article, John Aloysius Farrell , might just be an reader of our humble site. If so, thanks for the article John - we'll be watching for you in the future.
It's great to have a new project designed for this express purpose and examining the multitude of new questions that are arising from the new political climate in the West. Now, if any of those people involved in the project are paying attention it would behoove them greatly to include netroots and blog outreach as an element of the project. You see, since major political focus has been absent from the West for awhile the netroots and blogosphere have been proliferating and recruiting top candidates all over the place. It would be an essential element of any plan that you should put together.
Here's the The New West Project!
Landon Mascareñaz | December 6, 2006 | Comment on This Post (0 so far)