Tuesday, November 07, 2006

ELECTION DAY THREAD

2:20 a.m.
Stem-cell has cracked a million and is up by more than 25,000 votes (about 10,000 more people voted against stem-cell initiative than voted for Talent). Tobacco tax is dead. Minimum-wage increase has 76-percent approval. McCaskill and Montee both crack the million-vote mark.

2:00 a.m.
At this rate it looks like Democrats may well retake the U.S. Senate (McCaskill wins, Webb holds on in Virginia, Tester wins in Montana). Freepers get angry while DUers gloat about McCaskill.

Susan Montee, the new Missouri auditor, is quite the fresh deal. She's outdrawing McCaskill by more than 35,000 votes.

One more thing about the Greene County statehouse races. Each state rep's district in Missouri covers about 34,000 people. The two districts now belonging to Democrats -- Sara Lampe's 138th and Charlie Norr's 137th -- had the two lowest vote tallies in the county.

In the 137th, a total of 8,166 votes were cast.

In the 135th, Charlie Denison got 9,864 votes. In the 139th, Shane Schoeller got 8,379 votes. In the 140th, Bob Dixon tallied 8,952 votes.

The good side for Greene County Democrats: Three of their four defeated candidates for the Missouri House still earned more than 40 percent of the vote.

The problem for local Democrats: Their strongholds ain't so strong when it comes to voting. A devoted campaign worker was walking the northside late Tuesday, knocking on doors to get people out to vote before the polls closed at 7 p.m. A surprising, and disheartening, number of people said thanks, but no. On their lawns were signs for Democratic candidates.

1:30 a.m.
McCaskill wins.

1:15 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 8
McCaskill is ahead by about 35,000 votes now. More than 3,300 reporting precincts, with another 400 to go. Stem-cell initiative has pulled ahead by more than 10,000 votes.

Roy Blunt has to look at Tuesday with pause. Two years ago, local Dems spend a quarter-million dollars and ran a credible "name" candidate in Jim Newberry. Blunt won Greene County, 65-33. This time out, Jack Truman ran (despite the wishes of official Dems). Truman dabbles in porn production and lives in Lamar. Randy Turner at The Turner Report has been following this story since since last March, and it's a hoot.

With virtually no funding and absolutely no credibility, Truman bested Newberry's high-water mark in Greene County by a point-and-a-half. Truman didn't matter; it was Blunt's weakness. He was held to 62 percent in Greene County. A buttload of votes, sure, but:

•In 1998 he got 71 percent of the vote.
•In 2000 it was 70 percent.
•In 2002, 72 percent.
•Being held to 65 percent in 2004 was considered a remarkable accomplishment for Democrats.

The three-point drop in Greene County that Blunt experienced on Tuesday shows the fervency of anti-GOP sentiment across the country. A red-drenched county like Greene had a significant drop in support for a powerful, popular Republican congressman. In a more moderate political environment, a guy like Blunt could have been red meat for hungry Democrats.

The 7th District numbers are equally blunt for Blunt. Two years ago he trounced Newberry, 70-28. This time out, a no-name gained three while Blunt lost four (66-31). He also lost his majority whip's job. Blunt has never served in the minority, having come to Congress in 1997. His mentor, Tom DeLay, is gone, and the Dems have captured DeLay's old seat. Does Blunt bide his time and hope the Missouri GOP dream scenario comes true? It goes this way: Reliable but aging warhorse Kit Bond retires. Gov. Matt Blunt appoints Roy "Dad" Blunt as Senator. Governor leaves his icky Jeff City job and runs for Dad's old seat in Congress. A dynasty is preserved.

Observation: The national Republicans may have taken a smacking on Tuesday, but the Missouri GOP is a machine like few others, especially when it comes to last-minute negative mailings.

11:50 p.m.
At this late stage, Claire McCaskill is still behind by 45,000 votes, but Jim Talent's lead is shrinking. McCaskill drew 42.5 percent of the vote in Greene County -- a full two points better than expected, and above the alleged threshold for keeping Republicans safe in statewide elections.

Locally, Democrats did not do as well as expected. While Sara Lampoe easily trounced Steve Helms, Doug Harpool lost to Norma Champion in the state senate race. An aside about that senate race: It is a testament to the GOP's ability to churn out the vote. Four years ago, Champion garnered 25,900 votes to defeat Craig Hosmer (he drew 24,400 votes). This time out, Harpool earned almost 27,000 votes -- but Champion increased her vote total from 2004 by more than 8,000.

In local state rep races, Jamie Schoolcraft and James Owen did not win. Nancy Hagan ran a better-than-expected showing but still lost by 10 points.

Charlie Norr won a northside state rep's seat, but let's put it in perspective. Norr won with about 4,600 votes. By comparison, Tonya Cunningham suffered the greatest defeat among Dems in other state rep races -- and she drew 4,800 votes. The Democrats own north Springfield, but turnout there was terrible, less than half of the Hagan-Charlie Denison dust-up.

Of course, Dems did pick up one state representative's seat in Springfield, and that's better than a total blank.

Off to crunch some numbers and analyze. Statewide, stem cell looks like it's squeaking back. The tobacco tax looks less likely to resurrect. Minimum wage will probably pass with 80 percent of the vote.

6:30 p.m.
Early returns from Kentucky and Indiana offer a mixed bag, but signs are clear that there will be no cakewalk, especially for Republicans. In Indiana, incumbent Republican congressman John Hostettler (waltzed in during the 1994 GOP takeover) is getting crushed, 70-30. His sister was his campaign manager. Nice job, kids.

This afternoon, CNN broke programming in "The Situation Room" to let us know that Britney Spears has kicked her husband to the curb. Nothing more needs to be said about the states of American politics and media.

Local Dems are holding their watch party at the Clarion Hotel. We were there in 2002, when the party quickly became a wake. A changed atmosphere seems to be in the air.

Local bloggers are gathered at the Patton Alley Pub, churning out analysis and otherwise typing the good fight. Find the stuff on Rhetorica's Springfield Citizen-Press site.

===

Voted earlier and not often. Heavy turnout in Greene County. The county clerk says turnout could top 50 percent, maybe even hit 55 percent before the polls close at 7 p.m. Translation, please.

Off-year elections are the equivalent of the opening act at a concert. Could be good, could knock your socks off, but the crowd is there for the headliner -- in this case, the presidential election cycle.

In November 2004, 68.5 percent of registered voters in Greene County -- 126,258 people -- cast ballots. That's the power of a presidential election.

Two years before that, in November 2002, turnout was 47.74 percent. That's 84,548 voters. And that was a strong off-year showing.

The off-year election of 1998 -- the Clinton scandal was all the buzz -- drew only 41.57 percent of registered voters, or 67,598 people.

Are people more interested in politics this year than in 2002 or 1998? Yes. Lingering wars tend to draw out the activist in many otherwise docile people.

Does that mean Democrats are free and clear to celebrate? No more than they were in 2004, when so many were certain that John Kerry would win the White House.

As of August 2006, there were 180,071 registered voters in Greene County. Leaving that number static, a 55-percent turnout means more than 99,000 voters -- more than triple the primary turnout.

6 comments:

Young Jim said...

Just got done voting, 890 showing where you deposit ballots about 40 minutes ago...Got home and got three calls in a row from the Republican team urging me to get out and vote. Phones off the hook for now

Anonymous said...

Britney looked pretty good on David Letterman last night too . . . maybe our 3 year dry spell is over!

Exit Poller said...

Early returns in all precincts show an overwhelming majority of voters clearly believe Ron Davis sucks...

Cowboy Yoda said...

An eye on Jasper County Missouri keep.
Eye of the storm become it could.

Anonymous said...

The only sure thing... if Repubs control the legislature in 4 years, the 137th gets gerrymandered like heck.

Big lesson to local Dems... should have focused more on minimum wage instead of stem cell and medicaid cuts.

Anonymous said...

“Mississippi gets more than their fair share back in federal money, but who the hell wants to live in Mississippi?” Mr. Rangel said.

Be proud, Democrats.