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.
New Mexico Senator Jeff Bingaman has endorsed Senator Barack Obama. In his endorsement, Senator Bingaman said:
Our nation faces a daunting number of critical challenges: reasserting America’s leadership in the world, meeting our needs for energy independence, addressing global warming, making healthcare accessible and affordable, positioning our economy to effectively compete globally, and extricating ourselves from the war in Iraq, to name a few.
To make progress, we must rise above the partisanship and the issues that divide us to find common ground. We must move the country in a dramatically new direction.
I strongly believe Barack Obama is best positioned to lead the nation in that new direction.
With this endorsement, Senator Obama is now a more popular choice among his Democratic Senate colleagues than Senator Clinton by the narrow margin of 14 to 13.
Seven of the thirteen Western states have Senators up for election this year: Alaska, Colorado, Idaho, Oregon, Montana, New Mexico, and Wyoming. The Republicans are defending six of these seven Senate seats. Montana’s Max Baucus is the sole defending Democratic incumbent in the group, and his seat is considered safe. Colorado, Idaho, and New Mexico will be open seats, and Wyoming will have both their Senators up for re-election, due to the death of Senator Craig Thomas in 2007.
Colorado and New Mexico look like the best opportunities for Democratic pick ups, and both states are considered swing states in the 2008 presidential contest. Our candidates, Mark Udall in Colorado and Tom Udall in New Mexico, are cousins from the long prominent Udall family.
The remaining campaigns are still shaping up. The contests in Alaska and Oregon could be particularly interesting. Senator Stevens (R-Bridge to Nowhere) is the poster child for pork gone wild and an opponent of transparency in government. The Iraq War puts Oregon’s Gordon Smith in a bind. He voted for the war and has been a Bush enabler. Yet he has broken with the Bush administration on the war, and hence will be at odds with Senator McCain on that issue.
Outside magazine has a great profile on cousins Tom and Mark Udall. Go read it and learn more about one of the great Western Democratic families.
While you're at it, please give Tom and Mark Udall some of your spare change, to assist their campaigns to bring more and better Democrats to the Senate (and more and better Udalls).
Click here to contribute to Tom Udall's campaign to take back Pete Domenici's seat in New Mexico.
Click here to contribute to Mark Udall's campaign to turn Colorado bluer than it already is.
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)
In a release, the DNC points out that turnout on Super Tuesday was stunningly high throughout the West -- which bodes well for the general election.
• In Colorado, Democrats saw twice the number of caucus-goers as Republicans—119,184 to 55,845. Yesterday’s turnout was eight times higher than that of turnout from 2004 when only 15,000 participated. [Denver Post, 2/6/08]
• In Idaho, 21,224 people caucused for Democrats, far exceeding anyone’s expectations, and forcing officials to print more ballots. [AP, 2/5/08; cnn.com, 2/6/08]
• In Arizona, 368,828 people turned out for Democrats, far exceeding the record of 239,000. [cnn.com, 2/6/08]
• In New Mexico, more than 152,000 ballots were cast, far surpassing the 2004 number of 104,000 in 2004.
• And in Utah, 122,617 people came out for Democrats, far exceeding the 33,839 who participated in the 2004 primary. [cnn.com]
It's going to be a good year.
It's beginning to be a sign of the times for beleaguered GOP candidates: poor fundraising numbers as compared to their Democratic party counterparts. The race for the New Mexico Senate seat being vacated by Pete Domenici is no exception, where Congressman Tom Udall outraised the combined totals of his GOP challengers in the 4th quarter of 2007.
U.S. Rep. Tom Udall raised more than $1 million for his Senate bid during the fourth quarter of 2007, beating the combined total raised by the two leading Republicans in the race, U.S. Reps. Steve Pearce and Heather Wilson.
Udall, the Democratic frontrunner, raised just over $1 million and spent about $118,000 during the quarter, and began 2008 with more than $1.7 million in the bank.
What's more impressive is that Tom Udall didn't raise money during the entire quarter, but only from about Thanksgiving on. As for his opponents:
Wilson came in second in fundraising for the quarter, raising just under $517,000. She spent just under $194,000 and begins 2008 with almost $1.1 million in the bank.
Pearce reported raising just under $426,000 for the quarter, spending just under $206,000 and having almost $820,000 on hand.
So let's get the 1st quarter of 2008 started off right, and show the powers that be that the netroots are solidly behind Tom Udall. Let's put this United States Senate seat back in the hands of a progressive Democrat.
kencamp | January 31, 2008 | Comment on This Post (0 so far)