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    2014 Election Tag

    If Texas politics is the wild west, then the Wendy Davis campaign is currently on a slow jog through the desert at high noon. Twitter exploded this evening when a member of the College Republicans in Virginia caught the "@WendyDavisTexas" Twitter account (Davis's personal account) claiming that a picture of several College Republicans actually showed Davis supporters:

    For Colorado Democrats, voter fraud isn't just a way of life---it's an awesome way of life. James O'Keefe has released more raw footage showing employees of three separate Democratic groups in Colorado---Work For Progress, Greenpeace, and the Rep. Joe Salazar campaign---directly condoning James' suggestions about how to commit voter fraud using mail in ballots. Watch: This isn't just criminal---it's enthusiastically criminal. Progressives like Donna Brazile may believe that allegations of voter fraud are "a big ass lie," but the only big ass lie I'm seeing is the lie Democrats in Colorado are telling when they say they're working for fair and equal representation for the citizens of their state. John Fund at National Review points out that Colorado officials have repeatedly warned legislators about the very real prospect of mass-mailed ballots being used to commit voter fraud:

    If you missed the debate between Scott Brown and Jeanne Shaheen in New Hampshire last night, consider yourself lucky. Brown did very well despite the tremendous odds stacked against him. The debate was sponsored in part by the University of New Hampshire and moderated by the not-at-all biased Chuck Todd of NBC News. Scott Brown went out of his way to tie Shaheen to Obama's poor record and at one point, she helped him out. While many Democrats are running as fast as they can from Obama, Jeanne Shaheen admitted that she has voted with Obama 99% of the time. The Washington Free Beacon caught this moment:
    Jeanne Shaheen Admits To Voting WIth Obama 99% Of Time Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D., NH) admitted Tuesday night that she has voted with President Barack Obama 99% of the time. At her second debate against Republican senate candidate Scott Brown, Shaheen conceded the fact after being pressed by a debate moderator. After reminding Shaheen of her voting record the moderator questioned Shaheen, “How does your voting record sort of jive with serving the citizens of New Hampshire?” Faced with the facts, Shaheen admitted to the number and tried to pivot. “Scott Brown talks a lot about one survey and 99% of the time I voted with the president,” Shaheen replied, “but the numbers I’m proudest of are the 259 people now working at the Berlin prison because I was able to get the prison open after it sat empty for two years.”
    Here's the video:

    We're less than 6 hours into the first day of early voting in Texas, and we've already documented evidence of first (electoral) blood between gubernatorial candidates Greg Abbott and Wendy Davis. Behold: These tweets source back to Abbott's recent interview with the San Antonio Express-News editorial board, in which he brushed aside questions regarding a hypothetical (and highly unconstitutional) scenario regarding a ban on interracial marriage (click through to Salon if you hit a paywall):
    In an interview with San Antonio Express-News editorial board, flagged by Talking Points Memo, Abbott, who is married to a Latina, objected to answering the “hypothetical” question. “Right now, if there was a ban on interracial marriage, that’s already been ruled unconstitutional,” he told the paper. “And all I can do is deal with the issues that are before me … The job of an attorney general is to represent and defend in court the laws of their client, which is the state Legislature, unless and until a court strikes it down.” Challenged on the vagueness of his answer, Abbott continued to evade the question. “Actually, the reason why you’re uncertain about it is because I didn’t answer the question. And I can’t go back and answer some hypothetical question like that,” Abbott said.
    He didn't "evade" their "gotcha" question; he stated that the ban would be unconstitutional and moved on. But even if we allow ourselves to assume that there is indeed some sort of secret Greg Abbott Interracial Marriage Ban Conspiracy brewing at campaign headquarters, there's still a bit of a problem with Davis's allegations:

    We've reported several times on Democratic candidates' unwillingness to be associated with Obama's failed Administration, but things just got a little bit more embarrassing for the President and his supporters. At yesterday's GOTV rally for Maryland gubernatorial candidate Anthony Brown, Democrat supporters who had waited hours for the chance to see the President speak reportedly walked out once Obama began his remarks. Reuters reports:
    President Barack Obama made a rare appearance on the campaign trail on Sunday with a rally to support the Democratic candidate for governor in Maryland, but early departures of crowd members while he spoke underscored his continuing unpopularity. ... "You've got to vote," Obama repeated over and over at a rally for Brown in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, near Washington. Democrats have a history of not turning up to vote in midterm elections. "There are no excuses. The future is up to us," Obama said. A steady stream of people walked out of the auditorium while he spoke, however, and a heckler interrupted his remarks.
    Reuters and Politico both filed stories about the walkout, and soon after those reports hit Twitter, Maryland Democrats furiously attempted to spin the stories in their favor. Jeff Quinton over at The Quinton Report did a great job curating the panicked tweets of Maryland Democratic Party representative Yvette Lewis. (I've republished a few here, but you really should click through for the full meltdown.)

    Salon.com said This may be the worst race-baiting campaign ad since Willie Horton. Greg Sargent at WaPo announced Willie Horton is back!. The freaking out was over an NRCC-sponsored ad linking Rep. Lee Terry's (R-Neb.) Democratic opponent to convicted murderer Nikko Jenkins, who also happens to be African American. The ad attacks state Sen. Brad Ashford over his support for the state's "good time" laws, and blames those laws for Jenkins' early release. It doesn't mention Jenkins' race. Here's the ad: Here's the original Willie Horton Ad:

    Yesterday I posted an article detailing what a recent Pew data dump tells us about how voters most likely will behave through early voting and the end of the 2014 election cycle. We already know that hard Democrats' minds won't be changed in time for the midterms, and that instead we should be contacting both independents and likely Republicans to ask for their votes. "Ask" is key, and if (extremely) early returns from key states like Wisconsin and Florida are any indication, Republicans' boots on the ground efforts are working. In Wisconsin, for example, both candidates and pollsters agree that the gubernatorial election between incumbent Republican Scott Walker and Democrat challenger Mary Burke will be decided by which party turns out the most voters.
    "The Governor's getting 96% of Republican voters; Mary Burke's getting 94% of Democrats. There is just no crossover vote this year," said Charles Franklin, a Marquette University Law School pollster. 60% of registered voters say they've been contacted by a party or candidate since July, according to the new Marquette University Law School poll. 29% say they've been contacted by just Republicans. Half that, 14%, from strictly Democrats. "Democrats have really learned a lot in the last few cycles about technology of voter contact. Republicans have been mounting a very aggressive phone bank campaign, so both parties know that turnout is the key here. The unknown: how will their voters respond? Who will wake up on Tuesday morning and go "I don't feel like going out today?' Or who will go out and say 'my vote counts.' It could make the difference," said Franklin.

    Let's face it, Alison Grimes hasn't been helped by any of her recent missteps regarding whether she voted for Obama. She repeated the refusal to answer the question on local TV again:
    U.S. Senate Candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes continues to refuse to say who she voted for in the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections. On Friday, Grimes sat down with WYMT’s Steve Hensley for a taping of an episode of “Issues & Answers: The Mountain Edition.” Here is an excerpt from the interview: Steve Hensley: “You've also said in the past that you voted for Hillary Clinton in the 2008 presidential primary so what's the difference?” Secretary Grimes: “In 2008 I was not Secretary of State and what happened at that convention is all on record so nothing that wasn't already fully disclosed was offered up. It's a matter of principle as I told Bill Goodman, I'm the chief elections official. It is a constitutional right provided in Kentucky's constitution for all Kentuckians to cast their ballot in privacy.” Hensley: “If President Obama offered to campaign for you in Kentucky, would you accept?” Grimes: “Well, I've said I speak for myself, Senator McConnell doesn't understand that. He and his henchmen have spent about 50 million dollars trying to put Barack Obama on the ballot this year. He's not, I am.”

    A new data dump from Pew Research suggests that political campaigns might want to abandon any last-ditch efforts to change minds prior to this year's midterm elections. A continuous panel survey of 3,154 adults showed that this years likely voter demographic is more polarized than the average American. This polarization also affects level of involvement in local and national politics: the more ideologically oriented the voter, the more likely they are to be politically active. Only 40% of the population is expected to participate in the November midterms, but those who do plan on voting won't necessarily be checking the box because they believe in the power of democracy. Pew found a strong correlation between ideological polarization, and voting as a way to hit back at the opposing party.
    Hostility to the opposing party is a key marker of polarization and is a strong motivator to vote, especially among conservatives and Republicans. Ideology and partisan antipathy are related: Those holding ideologically consistent opinions are far more likely than others to view the opposing party negatively, and even to view it as a threat to the nation’s well-being. Among Republicans and Republican leaners with a very unfavorable view of the Democratic Party in the current survey, 65% are likely voters, compared with only 49% among Democrats with a very unfavorable view of the Republican Party. Those who are less hostile to the opposite party are considerably less likely to vote. Among Republicans, 40% of those with a mostly unfavorable view of Democrats are likely to vote, and only 23% of those with positive views (or who offer no opinion) of the Democratic Party are likely to vote. On the other side, 33% of Democrats with a mostly unfavorable view of the Republican Party are forecasted to turn out, as are 19% of those with positive views of (or no opinion about) the GOP.
    In addition to being polarized, both Republican and Democrat voters remained loyal to their party as the midterm cycle progressed. 91% of Republicans and 92% of Democrats have remained ideologically consistent, and haven't changed their minds regarding which candidate they plan on voting for in November. 10-17-2014-3 Who has had a change of heart? Independents have---and they're trending Republican.

    Deadspin, which is part of Gawker Media, ran a story yesterday that Cory Garnder, the Republican running for Senate in Colorado who is ahead in the polls, had faked his high school football career. Deadspin Cory Gardner Lying Football It was game over according to the cheerleading section on Twitter. As they were high-fiving each other and ordering extra beers for the post-election celebration, a funny thing happened.  The story turned out to be false.

    In a recent debate, Colorado Democrat Mark Udall was asked which of Obama's policies he would oppose if elected. He couldn't name one. Here's a video by the Washington Free Beacon: Udall's campaign has focused on the tired Democratic Party meme of the war on women, earning him the nickname "Mark Uterus." Nia-Malika Henderson of the Washington Post recently reported:
    Mark Udall has been dubbed ‘Mark Uterus’ on the campaign trail. That’s a problem. Colorado Democratic Sen. Mark Udall has talked about contraception and abortion more than just about any other 2014 candidate. Roughly half of his ads are about women's issues. The focus has been so intense that Udall has been nicknamed "Mark Uterus," with local reporter Lynn Bartels of the Denver Post joking that if the race were a movie, it would be set in a gynecologist's office. In a debate between Udall and Rep. Cory Gardner last week, Bartels, who moderated, used the moniker to describe him.
    Udall's campaign has been so shallow that the editors of the Denver Post have endorsed his Republican challenger, Cory Gardner.

    A progressive organization called the Agenda Project Action Fund has produced a new ad which attempts to politicize Ebola by blaming its spread on Republicans and budget cuts. Sahil Kapur of TPM reports:
    Brutal New Ad Blames GOP Spending Cuts For Ebola Deaths (VIDEO) The one minute ad, called "Republican Cuts Kill," splices grueling images of body bags and workers in hazmat suits with footage of top Republicans like Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (KY) and House Speaker John Boehner (OH) calling for spending cuts. It also features 2014 Republican Senate candidates Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Cory Gardner of Colorado, Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Pat Roberts of Kansas. The spot was produced by the Agenda Project Action Fund, the same progressive group that has made controversial anti-Republican ads such as "Granny Off the Cliff." The group's spokeswoman, Erica Payne, said Monday the ad would air in Kentucky, North Carolina, South Dakota and Kansas — all of which feature competitive Senate races that could swing the majority.
    Here's the ad: Oh, where to begin?

    Last week, the Wall Street Journal released a report on Barack Obama's latest push to fulfill his most famous campaign promise---achieving the permanent closure of U.S. detention facilities at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Senior administration officials are saying that the President is serious about coming through on the Gitmo closure, and is considering taking executive action to get the job done. The Wall Street Journal's report reveals Obama's two most likely routes to bypass Congress:
    He could veto the annual bill setting military policy, known as the National Defense Authorization Act, in which the ban on transferring detainees to the U.S. is written. While the veto wouldn’t directly affect military funding, such a high-stakes confrontation with Congress carries significant political risks. A second option would be for Mr. Obama to sign the bill while declaring restrictions on the transfer of Guantanamo prisoners an infringement of his powers as commander in chief, as he has done previously. Presidents of both parties have used such signing statements to clarify their understanding of legislative measures or put Congress on notice that they wouldn’t comply with provisions they consider infringements of executive power.
    Similar efforts are likely on immigration, "climate change" and other areas where Obama is unable to obtain congressional approval. Whichever option he chooses, he's sure to meet with political backlash that won't be limited to anger at the White House. Although the 2014 midterms will be behind us by the time the President makes the choice to act, the use of executive action on the issue could have a detrimental effect on democrats seeking election (or re-election) in 2016.
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