Republicans Resigned to Idea of Big Losses

Discussion in 'Politics' started by ZZZzzzzzzz, Nov 4, 2006.

  1. November 4, 2006
    Republicans Resigned to Idea of Big Losses

    WASHINGTON, Nov. 4 — The battle for Congress rolled into a climactic final weekend with Republican Party leaders saying the best outcome they could foresee was losing 12 seats in the House, but that they were increasingly resigned to losing at least 15 and therefore control of the House to Democrats for the first time in 12 years.

    Democrats and Republicans said the battle over the Senate had grown fluid going into the final hours before the election Tuesday. Democrats said they thought they were almost certain to gain four or five seats and still had a shot at the six they need to take control. Republicans were pouring money into Senate races in Michigan and Maryland this weekend to take advantage of what they described as last-minute opportunities, however slight, in states currently held by Democrats.

    Party strategists on both sides, speaking in interviews after they had finished doing their last polls and making their final purchases of television time, said they were running advertisements in more than 50 Congressional districts this weekend, far more than anyone thought would be in play at this stage.

    Nearly all of those seats are held by Republicans, underscoring the degree to which President Bush and his party have been forced onto the defensive two years after Mr. Bush claimed that his re-election had given him the political capital to carry out an ambitious domestic and foreign agenda.

    As the final weekend began, the two parties made their final tactical moves as their candidates sparred over the war, the economy, corruption and competence and elaborate get-out-the-vote efforts campaigns were rolled out. At stake was not just control of the House and Senate, but potentially the course of the Bush presidency in its last two years and in particular the debate over how to proceed in Iraq.

    Democrats bought advertising time in yet another House race that had long been considered safe for Republicans, that of Representative Marilyn Musgrave of Colorado. Mr. Bush appeared at a rally in Ms. Musgrave’s district on Saturday morning, part of a late flurry of campaigning by the president aimed at shoring up struggling Republicans in some of the reddest states in the country, including Nebraska and Kansas. In another bit of news that sent a chill through many Republicans, a University of New Hampshire Poll showed Representative Charles. Bass, a popular moderate Republican who had not been seen as vulnerable this year, trailing his opponent.

    “It’s the worst political environment for Republican candidates since Watergate,” said Glen Bolger, a Republican pollster working in many of the top races this year.

    Joe Gaylord, who was the political lieutenant to Newt Gingrich when Mr. Gingrich led the Republican takeover of the House in 1994, said that based on polling he had seen in recent weeks, he expected his party to lose from 25 seats to 30 seats Tuesday. That general assessment was repeatedly echoed in interviews by Republicans close to the White House and the Republican National Committee.

    “It’s very grim,” Mr. Gaylord said. “Things are dreadful out there.”

    Representative Thomas M. Davis III, Republican of Virginia and a veteran party strategist, noted a significan number of races remained very close, adding: “There’s no question we’re going to take a hit. The only question is how hard it would be.”

    Still, some Republicans, and some Democrats, said Republicans could be bolstered by structural advantages that could at the very least minimize the party’s losses. Aides to both parties said that at least 20 races were close enough that struggling Republican incumbents could be pulled to victory by the party’s sophisticated get-out-the-vote operation. Karl Rove, Mr. Bush’s chief political adviser, has assured nervous associates that the Republican turnout operation would help save the party from electoral disaster.

    “There are a lot of seats on the bubble and that is why turnout makes such a difference,” said Representative Eric Cantor of Virginia, the deputy Republican whip. Representative Thomas M. Reynolds, the New York Republican heading his party’s effort to hold the House, said: “Turnout will be key to us in these three dozen races that are close across the country.” In a sign of how unexpectedly challenging the climate is for Republicans, Mr. Reynolds has had to devote much of his time to his own tough re-election battle.

    And for all the deep unhappiness that polls show with Congress, Mr. Bush, his party and the war Iraq, only about 10 percent of House races could be considered even remotely competitive. That figure stands as a reminder of the enduring power of incumbency, and of how a dominant party, the Republicans in this decade, can protect themselves by drawing Congressional districts that serve as bulwarks during stormy seasons, like this one. There are 34 incumbent House members and one senator running for re-election unopposed.

    “If the Democrats end up with 53 percent of the national vote and still don’t get a majority in the House, which is conceivable, it’s a clear sign that this Republican structural advantage has really kicked in,” said Gary C. Jacobson, a political scientist at the University of California, San Diego.

    Ken Mehlman, the Republican national chairman, said in an interview that the “race for the House remains very close and I believe we will keep our majority. And I think the Senate, in the last week, has been very good for Republicans and very difficult for Democrats.”
  2. His Democratic counterpart, Howard Dean, offered a different reading of the electoral environment. “I don’t think you can take anything for granted, but I’m extremely excited about how well we’ll do,” Mr. Dean said.

    “The president is spending the last Sunday of the campaign in Nebraska!” he exclaimed, alluding to that state’s largely Republican status. “Who would have ever thought that?”

    Appropriately enough for a campaign that has been marked by searing negative advertisements and personal attacks, the campaign-closing round of advertising, which in more typical years has consisted largely of soft and gauzy 30-second spots in which the candidate makes an earnest and final pleas for support, was this weekend led by another round of dark charges on topics including coddling terrorists, raising taxes, and episodes of personal indiscretion.

    “Drunk Driving. Arrests. Federal investigations,” an announcer says in a new advertisement aimed at Representative John E. Sweeney, a New York Republican, by his opponent, Kirsten Gillibrand. “A campaign of lies.”

    And across the country, but particularly Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Montana, massive voter turn-out operations began rolling into their final 72-hour plans, with one more round of telephone calls and personal visits to voters who have long ago been identified and whose names have been stored in voter vaults along with their demographic information and political history.

    In the Senate, Republicans girded themselves for what stragegists from both parties described as the almost certain defeat of Senators Mike DeWine of Ohio, Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania. They said that Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island was also probably headed for defeat.. Democratic hopes of wining a seat in Tennessee seem to have faded in recent days, while their chances of unseating Senator George Allen of Virginia appear to be on the rise, leaders in both parties said.

    Senator Conrad Burns of Montana, a Republican who has been struggling all year in the face of a tough challenge by Jon Tester, was said by aides in both parties to have grown stronger in recent days. Officials from both parties said they were watching to see if Mr. Bush’s visit to Montana on Thursday would help Mr. Burns hold on to a seat that many Republicans had long ago written off.

    Republicans said they were still hopeful of unseating Senator Robert Menendez, Democrat of New Jersey, after pouring $5 million into his state over the past 10 days. But some analysts said the onslaught might prove to have been too late to make a difference.

    In the final days, in what some senior Republican strategists said was something between a long-shot and a Hail Mary pass, Republicans were spending money in an effort to win an open seat in Maryland, hoping that African-Americans in the state would desert the Democratic Party and vote for Michael Steele, a black Republican running for the seat. In Michigan, the Republican party invested money to defeat Debbie Stabenow, the Democratic incumbent.

    Senator Charles E. Schumer, the New York Democrat leading the party’s the effort to win the Senate, said that “things are looking better for us,” but that Democrats still faced a challenge in taking the Senate.

    “I would not predict it at this point,” he said. “I would say it’s going to be very close one way or the other. The odds of it being four, five or six seats are higher than it being three or seven.”

    In the House, Democrats now seem all but assured of picking up open Republican seats in Arizona, Iowa and Colorado, along with the Ohio seat of Bob Ney, who plead guilty to corruption charges and stepped down Friday. Republicans who party leaders said seemed headed for defeat on Tuesday include Curt Weldon of Pennsylvania, and Chris Chocola and John Hostettler of Indiana. Other likely Democratic pick-ups include the seat being vacated by Katherine Harris, who is running for Senate and the upstate New York seat being vacated by Sherwood Boehlert.

    Officials in both parties said more than 20 House contests remained very tight, which is why Democrats could end up capturing a total of 30 seats or more seats or falling short of the 15-seat gain they need to take control, depending on turnout and last-minute shifts. A number of respected independent analysts, including Stuart Rothenberg and Charles Cook, have predicted that Democrats could gain 35 seats or even more.

    It is possible that no Democratic incumbent will be knocked out of office, though Republicans have made a concerted effort to unseat two Democrats in Georgia.

    Faced with diminishing opportunities, Republicans have continued through the final weekend to spend money to hold on to two other seats vacated by Republicans who left under clouds: Mark Foley of Florida and Tom DeLay of Texas. The fact that the party had to pour resources into those two races, along with others in which incumbents had been hurt by their own scandal, or tainted by the fall-out from the Foley page scandal, was said by Republican strategists to be one of the biggest problems they faced.

    “The scandal seats have clearly hurt us and put us at a disadvantage,” said Carl Forti, a senior strategist with the National Republican Congressional Committee.

    Officials in both parties said in the end, this election has become a test of whether the institutional protections that Republicans had built to carry them to victory, redistricting and a powerful turn-out machine, could protect them during the stormiest of election seasons.

    “This is one of those major national elections, more powerful on its force than all of the gerrymandering,” said Representative Rahm Emanuel, the Illinois Democrat leading his party’s effort co capture the House. “History says that every decade there is a major nationalized midterm election. And this is it.”
  3. Yet another thread containing yet another "cut and paste" from ZZZtroll.

    Thanks dipshit.
  4. Another popup troll from Longshorns...who by the way, can't handle the truth...

  5. ______________________________________________

    Keep this thread around til Wed we may want to take another look at your credibility.
  6. You must have me confused with the message, I am just a messenger....

    By the way, are you going to put a bullet in your head if the republiklans do lose any power come Wednesday?


    We can hope....

    Then again, a major head wound in the head of a dittohead resulting in brain damage is of course quite redundant....