Friday, April 25, 2008

Taking the Leg. - House Side

It's a little complicated to rate each seat in those districts where both are up for grabs, so I'll start with those where only one is really in potential danger.

Seats to Protect

LD 5 (R+14) - 2004 candidate and former Navajo County GOP Chair Sylvia Tenney Allen, who came 348 votes (0.4%) from Jack Brown, is making another run. Given the closeness of the previous race, Brown is in real trouble.
Race Rating: Toss-Up

LD 10 (R+4) - I know the party loves this district (I'm honestly not sure why since Jackie Thrasher's running mates have pulled down only 19%, 19.9%, and 19.4%), but a 4-way primary, come on (and Leonard Clark among them!). Anyway, the party can send Bittner on Horizon to throw barbs at the Speaker (and embarrass the party in the process) all they want, but he's not going anywhere. Thrasher, on the other hand, is at real risk from Doug Quelland's comeback tour.
Race Rating: Toss-Up/SlightD

LD 11 (R+4) - Attorney Troy Foster and 2007 Phoenix Council Candidate Jon Altmann are competing for the right to join Adam Driggs and take on Mark DeSimone. We saw DeSimone just squeak into office in a great year, so I'd be worried about the quality of the GOP contenders. Still, he is an incumbent, so he's probably got a slight edge, just not a big one.
Race Rating: Toss-Up/SlightD

Foster failed to file. Altmann will be Driggs' running mate and the challenger to DeSimone.

LD 24 (R+7) - Russ Jones is running a single-shot campaign. As you should know by now, I'm a big believer in single-shot campaigns. Plus, it worked for him in 2004. Looks to me like Theresa Ulmer's is out and Russ Jones is back in. LD 24 will have its traditional split House representation once again. Of course, Ulmer is an incumbent, so I can't call her a goner yet. And it could be Pancrazi that's in trouble, but she did almost 6 points better than Ulmer in 2006, so I figure she's the one in trouble.
Race Rating: Leans Republican

On Offense

LD 9 (R+9) -
If it weren't for Sheri Van Horsen and her near victory in 2006 (she came less than 800 votes from beating Rick Murphy), this race would be nowhere on this list. Now that Bob Stump is running for Corp. Comm., Van Horsen's got a great shot at the open seat. Progressive Majority candidate Shawn Hutchinson will be joining her on the ticket. Former LD chair Debbie Lesko is likely the front-runner to join Murphy on the ticket, but a Mark Proctor is also in the race.
Race Rating: Leans Republican

Debbie Lesko confirmed as Murphy's running mate. Van Horsen and Hutchinson are the Dem ticket.

LD 20 (R+3) -
Assuming there are no additions the field here, there will only be one real Dem here, Kyrene School Board member Rae Waters. GOP candidates are Majority Whip John McComish, who is trying to complete his conversion into real House GOP leadership material, along with good ol' Jeff Dial, rubberized asphalt enthusiast Frank Schmuck, and moderate (he supports public education, that makes him a moderate Republican) former cop Andy Swann. I know nothing about Rae as a candidate, so I have to give the GOPers a little leg up for now.
Race Rating: Leans Republican

LD 21 (R+9) -
Everybody knows the rundown here. Phill came within 0.9% of beating Warde Nichols in 2006 and he's back for another single-shot run.
Race Rating: Leans Republican

LD 30 (R+7) - The GOP's gonna have a whole new ticket here, so now is as good a time as any to take a single-shot to this district. Andrea Dalessandro is doing just that. A single-shot in 2006 came 5 points away from knocking off incumbent Jon Paton. That isn't great, but it's respectably close and gives us some reason to hope that the fast-moving Dalessandro (she already has her $5's in) can put a scare into a couple of GOP newcomers. Speaking of the newcomers, the GOP primary voters will choose between good ol' Frank Antenori, third-time candidate David Gowen, 2002 SoS candidate Sharon Collins and moderate Doug Sposito.
Race Rating: Likely Republican

Complete Messes

LD 23 (R+4) - Incumbent Rep. Pete Rios is retiring, leaving first-termer Barbara McGuire as the only incumbent. The Republicans have 3 candidates competing in the primary. The headliner is former Democratic Rep. and 2006 GOP Senate candidate Cheryl Chase. The entire 2006 House ticket fills out the rest of the primary field. Two-time previous candidate Frank Pratt is a rich pool builder. John Fillmore is a businessman, too, and is also the Prez of the AJ GOP club. Three Democrats join McGuire in our primary. First among them is former Rep. Ernest Bustamante (ironically he served along Chase as her seat-mate). Arizona Emerge aficionado Krista Pacion will run a strong campaign. Dorian Bond, whose ADP member page says he aspires to serve in Congress, is also running. I'd like to say McGuire is safe, but then I remember that she beat Pratt by less than 300 votes to win her seat in the first place; and Chase, well, anybody that can even put up a fight against a Rios in a great Democratic year like 2006 scares the crap out of me. McGuire should be a solid favorite to win reelection, but it's no sure thing. As for the other seat, it's just too hard to call.
Race Ratings: McGuire's seat - Likely Democratic, Open Seat - Toss-up

LD 25 (R+1) -
Incumbent Manny Alvarez is running for Senate, leaving Jennifer Burns as the only incumbent in the race. She will be joined on the GOP ticket with her 2002 and 2004 running mate, David Stevens, who is president of the Christian Medical and Dental Association and a friend of the Center for AZ Policy. The Democratic ticket is also set. Richard Boyer, 2006 Corp Comm candidate, former NH legislator, and bucket hat enthusiast is making a run for a much smaller lower house than the one in which he served in NH. Patricia Fleming, who pisses me off by calling herself a fiscal "conservative," is also running. Burns looks pretty likely to hold her seat, but this is district has a slight Democratic lean at legislative level, so we've got a distinct edge in holding Alvarez' seat.
Race Ratings: Burns' seat - Leans Republican, Open Seat - Leans Democratic

The unfortunately spelled Timathy Davies is the other GOP candidate in the race.

LD 26 (R+4) -
The Democratic ticket here is composed of the 3 candidates who went before the Pima County Board to replace Lena Seradnik. Rep. Nancy Young Wright was chosen out of that process. The PC's preferred candidate, Don Jorgenson, will be joining her in running for the House. Cheryl Cage, the third candidate, just jumped into the Senate race (I've updated my post on the Senate races to reflect this). The Republicans have a three-way primary. Trent Humphries, a blogger for Arizona Eighth, is clearly the favorite of the conservative blogs. He looks pretty clearly the favorite to make it through the primary. Vic Williams is the LD26 Vice Chair. Marilyn Zerull has an annoyingly awful website.
Race Ratings: Young Wright's seat - Leans Democratic, Open Seat - Toss-up

Saturday, April 19, 2008

In Case You'd Forgotten...

Oh, yeah, we've stick got picks to make. Like I did for Ohio and Texas, I'm valuing PA at 20 points. Evidently, I never posted the updated and correct standings after calculating them 6 weeks ago. Here they are:

1) JJ 603.5
2) Joel 594
3) Joaquin 579
4) Geoff 565
5) Devin 535.5
6) Matt 347.5

UPDATE: JJ, Joaquin, Devin, and I have HRC. Geoff and Matt wishfully picked Obama.

New Standings:
1) JJ 623.5
2) Joel 614
3) Joaquin 599
4) Geoff 565
5) Devin 555.5
6) Matt 347.5

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Watching the PA Polls

Here´s my best Mark Blumenthal impression (I recommend both of his recent posts analyzing PA polls).

The top-line numbers in PA polls have been all over the place for some time now. I just took a few minutes to look through all of the crosstabs and to read Blumenthals analyses and I´ve got a quick guide to reading PA polls.

1) Look at the gender crosstab. This is the most obvious point. More women will vote than men, so Obama had better do at least as well among men and Clinton does among women. There´s a second point to this. As Blumethal concludes and the polls seems to indicate, Obama´s hope for a surprise win comes from improvement among non-college educated white men. Since college-educated men have been fairly stable (and have probably made up their minds), and African-American men ought to be the most stable voting bloc of all in this primary, large swings in the male vote should be due largely to changes among the key group. If Obama´s up around 10 points in a given poll, that´s a good sign.

2) See if Clinton has substantial African-American support. Just like we saw before South Carolina and other states, African-Americans have begun to coalesce around Obama in PA. Still, several polls show Clinton with 20% of the AA vote. It´s not likely that Obama can win under such conditions. Check to see if he´s pulling a general election-esque 90/10 split.

3) If they have religion, look at the Catholics. Obama´s gonna win Prots by a small margin. The polls say that and so does my gut. However, the few polls that actually publish religion crosstabs show his getting crushed by 30 and 40-point margins among Catholics. Obviously, he can´t have that happen and expect to win. And since our important swing group is non-college educated white men, the Catholic question is another tool of indirectly tracking where that group is at any moment. Look to see if Obama is pulling down 40% of the Catholic vote. I haven´t done the math to confirm that´s what he needs, but my gut tells me he can´t win without at least coming close to that.

So, the 3 Keys to Obama Victory (and looking for one in a poll): 1) About a double-digit lead with men, 2) 90/10 split among AAs, and 3) 40% of Catholics.

Happy Poll Reading!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Taking the Leg., Still Possible?

On the Senate side, the good news is that Meg Burton-Cahill in LD17 and Rebecca Rios in LD23 are getting a pass. For a second I was going to include Amanda Aguirre in LD24, because the CCEC shows no one filed against her, but then I realized that everyone freaking out about losing Yuma wouldn't make much since without a Republican to lose to. Now I've figured out that traitor Robert Cannell is running, but I'm still curious why he's not listed on the CCEC page. It's also good news that Manny Alvarez doesn't have to contend with Jennifer Burns in LD25, instead getting Arzberger's 2006 opponent, Mary Ann Black (Arzberger won 57.6%-42.4%). That gives us an edge in holding the seat. Of course, the drastically bad news comes from LD24, where Cannell's ghost candidacy is a huge problem, and LD26, where I guess the plan is to tell Indies to vote for Hershberger in the primary. Any route to 16 seats includes LD26 and almost certainly includes LD24, so these are not encouraging developments.

Even though our capitulation in LD26 essentially precludes any chance at the Senate majority, we can still focus on building for 2010 and beyond. Winning a majority requires us to take all of our base districts (2, 13-17, 27-29), add all of the swing districts (10-11, 20, 23, 25-26), and then getting at least one more seat that should normally go Republican, of which 24 and 30 are the best options. So one priority is going after every swing district, every time. Of course, if we're handing them LD26, we can only go after 5 of the 6 swing districts, so I guess that's the goal (God, that pisses me off). You all know how much I love Ted Maish in LD20. I would be less than shocked if he pulled off the upset. In LD10 and LD11 we're running re-run candidates from 2006. Anybody know anything about how Martin Monroe and Ann Wallack do as candidates?

Beyond that, we're in the territory where we'll need at least one win to eventually get to 16 (especially if we fork over our one foothold in that territory, LD24). LD12 features a Progressive Majority candidate, astrophysicist Angela Cotera, but she's got to contend with John Nelson, who's been elected by that district so many times they might not know how to turn him down even if they'd wanted to. I'm all about Georgette Valle, the 83-year-old former long-time Washington state Rep. running in LD30, and that race might be a fun one to watch, even if it doesn't turn out to be as competitive as we might hope. The only other notable race is LD6, where we have a...hold on a minute, that can't be right...yep, we have a primary.

I rank LD24 as a toss-up. LD20, too (I shit you not, I'm believer). LD25 is Likely Democratic. LD10, 11, 12, and 30 are Likely Republican. All others are safe for the incumbent party (except where they decline to field a candidate, goddammit!).

UPDATE: Cheryl Cage has entered the LD26 Senate race. If Al Melvin wins the GOP primary, the race will be a toss-up. If Hershberger wins, it's a Lean Republican. Since I'd bet on Melvin, I'll call it a toss-up for now.