Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Campaign Updates (6/16/09)

WAYLA has decided to start bringing you periodic updates of campaigns and elections. Today we’ll look at some Senate race developments here in the U.S. as well as the presidential election in Iran.


Republican Senate candidate Pat Toomey has had an impressive few weeks with money, as it turns out, according to his campaign announcements on Monday. Not only has he brought on state GOP fundraisers Amy Petraglia and Carey Dunn to his campaign, but also his opponent’s former Finance Director, Louisa Boyd. She left Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA) after he switched parties back in April.

Additionally, Toomey has now raised $1 million. While it’s still less than Specter (who has $6.7 million cash-on-hand) it’s still an impressive milestone. It’s also important to mention that Specter may have to take on Rep. Joe Sestak (D-PA) - who currently has $3.3 million cash-on-hand in his federal account) in a primary. Primaries cost money too, and this one might bring down Specter’s (or Sestak’s) budget while Toomey can continue to raise money.


Conservative Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) today announced his endorsement of Marc Rubio for the 2010 Florida Senate race. DeMint chose not to endorse the NRSC’s pick - Gov. Charlie Crist - because the popular governor is too moderate.

Yet despite the backing of conservative activists and DeMint, Rubio is still trailing Crist in money and the polls. A recent Quinnipiac poll, for example, finds Crist ahead with primary voters about 54% - 23%.

On the other side of the spectrum, Rep. Ron Klein (D-FL) made it official that he will not pursue the Senate seat, and joined fellow south-Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Shultz (D-FL) in endorsing Miami’s Rep. Kendrick Meek (D-FL). Meanwhile, Rep. Corrine Brown (D-FL) is talking about running for that seat herself.


Another Republican has joined the race to take Sen. Blanche Lincoln's (D-AR) seat. Tom Cox, a conservative activist who ran his state’s Tea Party protests, announced his candidacy on Monday. He will join state Senator Kim Hendren and businessman Curtis Coleman in a primary.

One thing that could hurt his candidacy: last year federal authorities raided his boating business and arrested 15 illegal immigrants. He told the Associated Press he had "every reason to believe [the workers] were legal and they were wonderful employees." Explaining that to GOP Primary voters in Arkansas might be difficult.


Continuing to follow the Iranian presidential election closely, we did a post yesterday in which we found no conclusive evidence that the election was either rigged or clean. Although it felt like a tough point to make with how the Iranian opposition supporters are reacting (and now how some GOP politicians are reacting) the bloggers at FiveThirtyEight.com apparently agree with us - for the most part.

On Saturday, Nate Silver argued that the statistical analysis trying to prove a rigged election is not very compelling. Then on Sunday he posted the results of the election by province and used his own analysis to argue again that the results are ambiguous to charges of rigging. Finally, on Monday he suggested that voter intimidation may have been a bigger factor in Ahmadinejad’s victory than fraudulent ballot counting. Of course, in that Monday post he was largely refuting the very poll we referred to in our own post.

Meanwhile, Renard Sexton argued that while the analysis of election-rigging is inconclusive, he points out some fishy numbers coming out of Tehran. Not only is Ahmadinejad’s vote percentage outside of a statistical trend, but he defeated reformist Medhi Karroubi (note: NOT the main challenger, Mir Hossein Mousavi) by some unlikely margins. Today, Sexton commented on the announced recount by the Guardian Council and the proposed re-vote, and what course of action would be best depending on what dirty election tricks actually took place.

For all these stories and more, stay tuned.

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