Georgia runoff leaves no chance of 60-seat majority

We’re destined to find out whether the Republican minority in the U.S. Senate can break the record number of filibusters they set in 2007 and 2008.

Republican incumbent Saxby Chambliss dramatically improved on his November 4 showing to win the runoff Senate election in Georgia by at least 10 points. The result doomed Democratic hopes of a 60-seat majority in the upper chamber.

It’s disappointing but not too surprising. Chambliss would have won outright on November 4 if not for Georgia’s unusual state law requiring the winner to receive 50 percent of the vote. Furthermore, Chambliss would have received 50 percent if not for extremely high black turnout with Barack Obama at the top of the ticket, which benefited Democratic Senate candidate Jim Martin. Also, a Libertarian candidate won enough votes from Georgia conservatives last month to keep Chambliss from winning a majority.

I appreciate the tremendous campaign that Martin ran, which made a race out of what was supposed to be a Kansas or Oklahoma-style romp for the incumbent in this very red state. Unfortunately for Martin, turnout was light today, especially among black voters any Georgia Democrat needs to have a chance of winning a statewide election.

Democrats still have a chance to gain a 59th seat in the Senate, depending on what happens this month in Minnesota. The state canvassing board will consider thousands of challenged ballots, and the margin between Al Franken and Norm Coleman appears to be very slim. The outcome may depend on whether more than 1,000 absentee ballots that were rejected because of clerical errors are counted. Many observers expect this contest to end up in court. It’s also possible that the U.S. Senate could get involved, as it did following an extremely close and disputed Senate race in New Hampshire in 1974.

Don’t despair, Democrats: we still have a decent number of Senate pickup opportunities in 2010. Just today, Florida Republican Mel Martinez announced that he does not plan to run for re-election.

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Why hasn't EMILY's List gotten behind Becky Greenwald?

Maybe someone out there who knows the inner workings of EMILY’s List can explain to me why this group has not put money behind Becky Greenwald, the Democrat challenging loyal Republican foot-soldier Tom Latham in Iowa’s fourth Congressional district.

I have been going over the list of Democratic women running for Congress whom EMILY’s List is supporting, with a particular focus on the six challengers most recently added to this group in early August. I do not mean to knock any of those candidates, and I recognize that every race has its own dynamic.

However, after comparing Greenwald’s race to those of other candidates, I remain puzzled that EMILY’s list is not more involved in IA-04.  

Follow me after the jump for more.

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Someway, somehow, Michigan and Florida votes must be counted

As I’ve written before, I believe that some compromise must be found to seat delegates from Michigan and Florida at the Democratic National Convention.

By “compromise,” I don’t mean the Obama campaign’s proposal to give both Clinton and Obama 50 percent of the delegates from each state, which would disregard the will of the people. I mean a compromise that would reflect how Democrats in those states voted.

I was open to a re-vote, but that idea has been killed in Florida and appears less and less likely in Michigan.

Obama supporter Gordon Fischer celebrates the way they Obama campaign ran out the clock on re-votes.

Obama supporter noneed4thneed doesn’t see why Obama should back a re-vote in Michigan.

Obama supporter Chris Bowers made a much stronger case that Obama should want a re-vote in Michigan, since it would very likely allow him to wrap up the nomination in June rather than having things drag out to a floor fight at the convention.

To my mind, the key question should be not what is best for Obama, but the principle of counting people’s votes and the pragmatic need for Democrats not to alienate voters in two large states.

We cannot afford to go into the general election having angered Democrats in Michigan and Florida, particularly since both Obama and Clinton currently trail John McCain in Ohio and Pennsylvania.

New polls suggest that an overwhelming majority of Florida Democrats want their votes to be counted, and one-fourth of them may leave the Democratic Party if that does not happen.

Look, Obama fans, if you are so confident that your guy will hold on to his lead in pledged delegates and the popular vote, you should have been lobbying for re-votes. Now that a re-vote is off the table for Florida and possibly Michigan, you should be open to some compromise that reflects the way Democrats voted (such as cutting the number of delegates from each state in half).

This situation is screwed up, and many parties are to blame, but the rank-and-file Democrats in those states did not create this problem.

It will be suicide for Obama to go into the general telling Michigan and Florida voters, “I’m sorry, you broke the rules, I don’t care about letting you have a say in the primaries.”

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Obama fears a re-vote in Florida and Michigan

Since Barack Obama’s supporters claim he is running a people-powered campaign, I’m surprised they are not more upset that he is working behind the scenes to derail any plan for Michigan and Florida to redo their primaries.

As you know, the DNC stripped both states of their delegates for moving their primaries up to January. No one campaigned in either state, and Hillary Clinton won both primaries, although in Michigan hers was the only name on the ballot, with supporters of Obama and other candidates voting “uncommitted.”

Given how close this primary campaign is, and how important Michigan and Florida are in the general election, it seems only logical to find some compromise that would allow delegates from those states to be seated at the Democratic National Convention this summer. I understand why Obama doesn’t want to accept the delegate allocations from the January primaries, because he didn’t campaign in either state.

However, I don’t see the rationale for his campaign ruling out re-votes in both states. Why does Obama fear taking a few weeks after Pennsylvania to campaign in Michigan and Florida so that Democrats can express their preferences? Money is not a problem for him–he has more cash on hand than Clinton.

One compromise that seems sensible to me is a mail-in election in both states, which would be much less costly than restaging an ordinary primary. But Obama’s co-chair in Michigan has ruled that out, claiming that

“It disenfranchises people who need to participate and there are many questions with regard to security.”

Hunter said the Obama campaign will accept nothing but a 50-50 split of Michigan delegates between Clinton and Obama, who removed his name from the January ballot here in protest of the early date.

I don’t understand how a mail-in ballot disenfranchises anyone. If anything, the experience of Oregon shows that it would lead to much greater participation.

And what justification is there for a 50-50 delegate split out of Michigan? That is essentially the same thing as not counting Michigan voters at all.

But wait, it gets better: Obama is a co-sponsor of a bill in the U.S. Senate called

“The Universal Right To Vote By Mail Act”, which declares that NOT ALLOWING mail in voting in every state (28 do through absentee balloting) disenfranchises voters […]

That’s right, Barack Obama, who thinks all states should allow mail-in voting, has suddenly decided in the middle of a tough primary that it would not be fair to let Michigan and Florida Democrats mail in ballots.

He appears to be afraid of losing high-turnout elections in those states. And no wonder: he seems to do a lot better in lower-turnout caucuses (in some states getting two, three or four times as many delegates as Clinton) than in large-state primaries.

In addition, the demographics of Florida (lots of seniors, Latinos and Jews) and Michigan (lots of working-class whites and Catholics) seem to favor Clinton.

Talk Left commenter Steve M (a Clinton supporter) linked to these comments at the Michigan Liberal blog, in which Obama supporters in Michigan criticize the stance his campaign is taking against a re-vote.

Does Obama want to go into a general-election campaign having demanded that Florida and Michigan residents not have their votes counted in the primary?

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Florida primary results open thread

Sigh. McCain pulled this one out and is the clear front-runner, especially since Rudy Giuliani is going to endorse him. I was hoping Rudy wouldn’t finish in the top three in a single state.

On the bright side, Romney has more money, and conservative groups are starting to target McCain, with ads such as this one comparing McCain to Hillary Clinton:…

Results with 77 percent of precincts reporting:

McCain 615,203 (36%)

Romney 531,139 (31%)

Giuliani 252,925 (15%)

Huckabee 228,687 (14%)

Paul 55,070 (3%)

Thompson 20,231 (1%)

Clinton 753,543 (50%)

Obama 497,341 (33%)

Edwards 218,899 (14%)

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