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Live Blog: Convention Politics and the Fall Elections II

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10:15 a.m. "Convention Politics and the Fall Elections" returns as the second panel this morning at the Humphrey Institute's series of forums entitled, America's Future: Conversations about Politics and Policy during the 2008 Republican National Convention. The discussion is moderated by Lawrence Jacobs (Director, Center for the Study of Poltiics and Governance, Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota). The panelists are:

* Norman Ornstein (Resident Scholar, American Enterprise Institute)
* Stuart Rothenberg (Editor and Publisher, The Rothenberg Political Report)
* Vin Weber (Chairman, National Endowment for Democracy and Partner, Clark and Weinstock)

10:23 a.m. The panel is talking about Sarah Palin - her selection and RNC speech. Ornstein says Tim Pawlenty was vetted quite thoroughly -- he was "given the full body cavity search" while Palin was "allowed to walk around the metal detector." Ornstein says McCain has now energized the base with the Palin selection; he needed to do this because McCain was someone originally supported by just about 12 percent of the GOP last year.

10:25 a.m. Palin's position on abortion, creationism, and sex education differ from that of McCain, Ornstein says.

10:28 a.m. Weber says people who know Palin and have worked with her says she is an impressive person to work with. That said, Weber believes if you look at her resume she is short on qualifications. Weber believe Palin can connect with an audience even with those who may not agree with her on the issues.

10:33 a.m. Rothenberg says the Republican Party will be punished 'down ballot' in the 2008 election, but the 'McCain brand' is more popular than the 'Republican brand' and therefore he is running a tight race with Obama.

10:36 a.m. Rothenberg was on the floor last night and says everyone, including moderate Republicans, were electrified by Palin.

10:45 a.m. Ornstein says the McCain campaign is going to quarantine Palin, having her give speeches and talk to local press, but not the national press (and that she will go before Sean Hannity long before she talks to Tom Brokaw).

10:51 a.m. Rothenberg says the types of groups McCain needs to draw into his camp to win the election are: the 2004 Bush coalition, the old white working class Democratic constituency (former Reagan Democrats), older voters, and military voters. Rothenberg says Palin is not going to attract Hillary voters and if he does attract some women it will be older, married women who tend to vote Republican anyway.

10:58 a.m. Ornstein says it will remain a 4 or 5 point race until the debates.

11:10 a.m. Rothenberg says there will be a 10-15 seat gain for the Democrats in this election in the U.S. House and 5-6 seats in the Senate. He says it all has to do with the Republican brand and disastisfaction with Bush.

11:15 a.m. Regarding the Minnesota U.S. Senate race, Rothenberg calls it a toss-up, with a slight edge to Coleman. Weber thinks Coleman is going to win, but not by a large margin. Both agree that Franken's high negatives will be difficult to overcome.

11:17 a.m. Weber does not see much impact by third parties in the 2008 presidential race, though if Ron Paul had launched a third party campaign, that would have been another story. Weber says "Ron Paul believes things that Republicans want to believe, but can't."

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Remains of the Data

Plurality-Winning Governors Elected At Century-Long High Water Mark

The rate of gubernatorial candidates elected without the support of a majority of voters is at its highest level since the 1910s.

Political Crumbs

Seeing Red

Congressman Nick Rahall's failed bid for a 20th term in West Virginia this cycle, combined with a narrow loss by Nick Casey to Alex Mooney in Shelley Moore Capito's open seat, means that West Virginia Democrats will be shut out of the state's U.S. House delegation for the first time in over 90 years. The Republican sweep by two-term incumbent David McKinley in the 1st CD, Mooney in the 2nd, and Evan Jenkins over Rahall in the 3rd marks the first time the GOP has held all seats in the chamber from West Virginia since the Election of 1920. During the 67th Congress (1921-1923) all six seats from the state were controlled by the GOP. Since the Election of 1922, Democrats have won 76 percent of all U.S. House elections in the Mountain State - capturing 172 seats compared to 54 for the GOP.


Home Field Advantage?

When the 114th Congress convenes in a few days, Maine will be represented by one home-grown U.S. Representative: Waterville-born Republican Bruce Poliquin. With the departure of Millinocket-born Mike Michaud, who launched a failed gubernatorial bid, the Pine Tree State was poised to send a House delegation to D.C. without any Maine-born members for the first time since 1821. Three-term U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree (born in Minnesota) coasted to reelection as expected, however Poliquin edged Kentucky-born Emily Cain by 5.3 points to keep the streak alive. Since 1876, a total of 208 of the 222 candidates elected to the nation's lower legislative chamber from the state have been born in Maine, or 94 percent.


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