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)
As we recently posted, Colorado, New Mexico, and Nevada are shaping up as key battleground states for the 2008 election. Not surprisingly, and as Kari just noted, both Senator Barack Obama and Senator John McCain are already campaigning in these three states.
From the LA Times:
The top Democratic and Republican presidential contenders, Barack Obama and John McCain, brought their campaigns to the deserts of the American West on Monday, kicking off what is shaping up to be a fierce contest for the region in November.
The majestic vistas and suburban subdivisions of Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico were among the most contested territories of 2000 and 2004, although they were often overshadowed by the struggle for electoral votes in Florida and Ohio.
"There are a limited number of possibilities to change the electoral map for Democrats," said Mark Mellman, a longtime Democratic strategist. "These three states figure prominently."
"This game is on," said Joe Monahan, an independent political analyst in New Mexico who said Monday's visits would probably be the first of many by the presidential candidates in the months to come.
From the AP:
[Senator] Obama is signaling, even before the Democratic primary formally wraps up, that he intends to fight this fall for Western states that narrowly went Republican four years ago.
New Mexico, Nevada and Colorado aren't definitely Democratic blue or Republican red. Instead, they're known as "purple states" by political junkies.
"We're going to fight as hard as we can in these states. We want to send the message now that we're going to go after them and I expect to win them," the Illinois senator said Monday.
"I'm absolutely confident that we're going to do very well west out here because people out west are independent-minded and are going to look at whether or not over the last eight years the country is better off under Republican rule. I think they're going to conclude they're not and they want fundamental change, something that I'm offering and John McCain is not," [Senator Obama] said.
[New Mexico Governor Bill] Richardson, the nation's only Hispanic governor, called the three states "fertile ground" for Obama, particularly if he courts Hispanic voters with Spanish-language ads, personal appearances and attention to their concerns, such as immigration reform.
As far as the general election goes, I am assuming at this point that the contest will be between Senators Barack Obama and John McCain. The outlines of the electoral map start with the 2000 and 2004 maps. The Pacific Coast states of California, Oregon, Washington, and Hawaii look safely blue at this point both by recent polls and by recent history. The Rocky Mountain core of the GOP, Utah, Wyoming, and Idaho looks decidedly red, as does Senator McCain’s home state of Arizona. Alaska is a long shot for Senator Obama, as is Montana, unless Governor Schweitzer is on the ticket. The swing states are Colorado, New Mexico, and Nevada. Polls go back and forth, but currently Colorado and New Mexico lean to the Democrats. Strong Democratic Senatorial candidates in those two states should help as well.
How important are those Western swing states? If the election were held today, the outcome would be very close, and Colorado and New Mexico would be crucial. Senator Kerry fell nineteen votes short of an electoral majority in 2004. Colorado and New Mexico have a combined fourteen electoral votes. Iowa, which borders Senator Obama’s Illinois and where Senator Obama is leading, has seven electoral votes. Colorado, New Mexico, and Iowa plus the rest of the Kerry states yield a Democratic majority. Take away the swing state of New Hampshire, and you get an Electoral College tie, which would throw the vote into the House. A detailed analysis of the House races suggests that would lead to a Democratic victory in 2008. Add the swing state of Nevada (five electoral votes), and there is a bit more breathing room.
There remains much uncertainty. There are dozens of imponderable factors and unpredictable events that lie between now and November. One campaign or the other could end up sweeping the election. Given a sagging economy, an unpopular war, high gas prices, an unpopular Republican incumbent, and time for the Democratic Party to heal after a long and sometimes bitter nominating process, the wind should be at the Democrats’ back. Senator Obama is planning a fifty state campaign, as he should, both for the sake of the downballot races and the future of the party. With luck the election could be a Democratic blowout, in which case Alaska and Montana and neighboring North Dakota might be in play, but then again luck is not a plan, and the election could be very close.
So how can Senator Obama cement his narrow lead in the West? First, he has to clinch the nomination. By the only metric that officially counts, convention delegates, he is very close. Oregon recently gave Senator Obama a big boost. The Montana primary is June 3rd. With help from the superdelegates, Montana could put him over the top. Second, he has to reassure important constituencies. The Latino vote is very important in the Southwest, the region we have previously argued is where future elections will be decided and a region where Senator Clinton did well, partly on the strength of the Hispanic vote. Senator McCain, to his credit, is not anti-immigrant, so Democrats will need to pay careful attention to the Hispanic community. Recently, key Hispanic leaders in California have joined the Obama camp. Having Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico on the ticket would help in the Southwest, as would, of course, Senator Clinton. The Jewish community also needs reassuring. The Jewish vote is small, but significant in the Southwest, including California, Nevada, and Arizona. Having Mayor Bloomberg of New York on the ticket would help in that regard. Mayor Bloomberg would also reassure the business community and add economic expertise to the ticket. Those “hard working white voters” we have heard so much about lately need reassuring. Governor Schweitzer of Montana would be a good cultural fit, as would be John Edwards of North Carolina or Jim Webb of Virginia. If the party needs a woman on the ticket, in addition to Senator Clinton, Governor Napolitano, Senator Feinstein, and Senator Boxer, the last three from Southwestern states, come to mind. No one vice presidential nominee can satisfy all those diverse constituencies, but the campaign as a whole has to address all their concerns. The West, particularly the Southwest, will be a key battleground in 2008. Senator Obama and the Democratic Party need to look west.
From the beginning of Western Democrat, it was recognized that the West offered the Democratic Party a way out of a recurring pattern of electoral defeat.
The primary season reaches another critical junction this Tuesday. Democrats looking to win in November would do well to visit 270toWin.com and look at the state polls. Poll numbers can be fickle things, but the overall impression is clear: Barack Obama would run much better in the West than Hillary Clinton. The margin is, in fact, the difference between victory and defeat in November.
Consider six states in the West. The first three were won by Kerry, and are must wins in 2008. The second three were lost my Kerry, but would have put him in the White House had he won all three.
The first three are California, Oregon, and Washington. According to recent state polls, Obama would win California by 27%, Oregon by 1% and Washington by 17%. Hillary would win California by 19%, lose Oregon by 3%, and tie in Washington.
The second three are Colorado, New Mexico, and Nevada. Obama would will all three by 7%, tie to 15% (two polls), and 12%, respectively. Hillary would lose Colorado by 14% and lose in Nevada by 9% (no recent poll from this source for New Mexico).
Leo Brown | March 2, 2008 | Comment on This Post (3 so far)
Nevada Presidential Caucus will take place this Saturday.
For while it seemed that the country had forgotten the Nevada Caucuses. Some in the media in the fall assumed the nomination of Hillary was a foregone conclusion, ignoring the fact that no ballots had been cast. Then Iowa broke the race wide open, and New Hampshire kept it open. Suddenly Nevada matters.
This is a new role for Nevada, and predictions will be risky. Labor is important in Nevada, and a year ago John Edwards might have expected a big boost from labor, but Obama got the big union endorsement, and the race nationally looks increasingly like a two-person contest between Barack and Hillary. Hispanic voters might have been expected to give Bill Richardson a boost, but he pulled the plug on his candidacy after New Hampshire. At least one poll gives Obama a slight edge, but this has been a tough season for pollsters lately, and the margins are slim anyway.
One tempest has been an attempt by the teachers union to stop the convenience of caucus sites set up on the Las Vegas strip for the benefit of workers there. The lawsuit is seen as being promoted by the Clinton camp. Here at Western Democrat, we favor encouraging rather than suppressing the votes of workers, regardless of which candidate it benefits.
When Vice President Dick Cheney visited BYU, it was announced that Harry Reid, the highest national office holder who is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, would also be speaking at BYU. This is in line with the Church’s long standing policy of political neutrality.
He spoke of his personal journey, his faith, and his politics:
It is not uncommon for members of the Church to ask how I can be a Mormon and a Democrat. Some say my party affiliation puts me in the minority of our Church members. But my answer is that if you look at the Church membership over the years, Democrats have not always been the minority, and I believe we won’t be for long. I also say that my faith and political beliefs are deeply intertwined. I am a Democrat because I am a Mormon, not in spite of it.
Sen. John Ensign told MSNBC today that it would be best if Craig resigns, MSNBC reported at 1 p.m. MDT.
Ensign's turning away from Craig is especially significant because he is chairman of the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee, the Senate GOP's campaign arm that raises money and develops strategy to elect Republican senators. Ensign's statement suggests that Republicans fear that a prolonged battle by Craig to keep his seat will harm other GOP candidates in 2008.
They're scared. They know Larry LaRocco is a great Democratic candidate who can win Larry Craig's seat, and this situation has become John Ensign's worst nightmare, especially with the Club for Growth trying to persuade Congressman Bill Sali (R-Way Out There) to run for the Senate seat.
The word from Washington, D.C. is that there is high-level buzz that Larry Craig will resign as soon as today.
Reporters in Washington, D.C., are hearing high-level talk that Sen. Larry Craig could resign as soon as today.
The Associated Press cites "Republican activists." News stations including CNN and Fox started reporting Thursday that national Republican leaders and White House officials were huddling to find a way to persuade Craig to step down and limit the damage his scandal could cause to the party's election hopes in 2008.
Here's to a bloody Republican primary and Larry LaRocco winning in November 2008.
Update 2: Larry Craig will resign tomorrow.
Idaho Republican Sen. Larry Craig will resign from the Senate amid a furor over his arrest and guilty plea in a police sex sting in an airport men's room, Republican officials said Friday. Craig will announce at a news conference in Boise Saturday morning that he will resign effective Sept. 30, four state GOP officials told The Associated Press, speaking on condition of anonymity.
America’s population is making a diagonal shift from the Northeast to the Southwest. Five of the nation’s largest cities are in the Southwest: Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Antonio, San Diego, and San Jose. Phoenix is now that nation’s fifth largest city, displacing Philadelphia, now at number six. Mesa and Fresno are now bigger than Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Buffalo. Seven of the ten largest American cities lie within 500 miles of the Mexican border. In 1910, in contrast, the ten largest American cities were all within 500 miles of the Canadian border.
What this means to the Democratic Party is that the Northeast and Midwest aren’t a sufficient base by themselves for the future of the party. With the GOP dominating the once solidly Democratic South, Democrats must look Southwest for growth and electoral majorities. Arizona, Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico have a combined 29 votes in the Electoral College and a corresponding number of seats in the Senate and House of Representatives. Moreover, the 2010 Census will undoubtedly raise that number beyond the current 29. Meanwhile, neighboring blue California’s population will continue to grow, reaching perhaps 60 million by 2050 with a Hispanic majority possible by 2042.
Newsweek is already predicting that the 2008 Presidential race will be decided in the Southwest. Their analysis:
The rise of the Swing-State Southwest (and the power of the Latino voters in it) is a function of timing, geography, demographics—and the Electoral College....The Southwest's ascendancy is linked to one key demographic: its vast, rapidly growing—but still politically unsettled—Hispanic vote….Generally speaking, [Hispanics are] culturally traditional, religiously devout and open to conservative appeals from the GOP. Economic populists, all too familiar with the trials of race-based discrimination, they feel an emotional bond with Democrats, too….In 2006 the Hispanic vote that went to the GOP dropped precipitously, to 30 percent. The war in Iraq was one reason, analysts say, but the main one was the war over immigration.
Given the mean-spiritedness of the recent immigration debate, the trend away from the GOP is likely to continue and even accelerate, strengthening the future Democratic base in the Southwest.
Leo Brown | July 11, 2007 | Comment on This Post (3 so far)
The GOP is losing its hold on the rural vote according to a poll reported by NPR.
A new national poll indicates rural Americans are no longer reliably Republican, and the Bush administration's conduct of the war in Iraq seems mainly to blame.
"I think there are two big headlines out of this poll," says Anna Greenberg of the Democratic polling firm of Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research. "The first is 'Republican Collapse in Rural Areas.' And the second is 'Rural is the Battleground in 2008."
But Iraq is not the GOP’s only problem.
Nick Kristoff of the New York Times zeros in on the Southwest and how the nativist wing of the GOP is alienating both Hispanics and moderates on immigration.
…the closer you get to the border, the more voters back politicians who are looking for middle ground — and punish those who follow the rant-for-ratings route.
He sees Arizona, Nevada, Colorado, and New Mexico and their combined 29 electoral votes (more than Florida’s 27 or Ohio’s 20) as potentially the biggest battleground in next year’s presidential race. And he notes that Hispanics are the fastest growing part of the electorate and make up 28% of the population in Arizona, 24% in Nevada, 20% in Colorado, and 43% in New Mexico.
Kristoff cites Democratic congressional gains in Colorado and Arizona in 2004 and 2006 as evidence that Democrats can assemble a new Western majority and quotes David Waid, Chairman of Arizona’s Democratic Party:
“Arizona is in play like never before…and the Republicans are literally handing it to us.”
Republican strategist Clint Bolick sees the same trends.
Hispanic support for Republican candidates plummeted by 10 points, to 30 percent from 40 percent, between the 2004 presidential election to the 2006 congressional election debacle, costing the GOP as many as four congressional seats. In next year's presidential election, Hispanic votes could make the difference in four Western states, including Arizona. If Republicans continue chasing Hispanic voters away, they can kiss their national electoral prospects goodbye.Here at Western Democrat, we have always believed that the future of the Democratic Party lies in the West. The GOP is doing their part to hasten that future.
Leo Brown | June 22, 2007 | Comment on This Post (2 so far)