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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

Gender Equality in the US House: A State-by State Quarter-Century Report Card (1989-2014)

A study of 5,325 congressional elections finds the number of female U.S. Representatives has more than tripled over the last 25 years, but the rate at which women are elected to the chamber still varies greatly between the states.

Political Crumbs

Final Four Has Presidential Approval

By edging Michigan in the final seconds Sunday, the University of Kentucky guaranteed that one school in the Final Four this year would be located in a state that was not carried by President Barack Obama in 2012. (Connecticut, Florida, and Wisconsin had previously earned Final Four slots over the weekend). Across the 76 Final Fours since 1939, an average of 3.1 schools have been located in states won by the president's ticket during the previous election cycle. All four schools have come from states won by the president 29 times, with the most recent being the 2009 Final Four featuring Connecticut, Michigan State, North Carolina, and Villanova. On 30 occasions three Final Four schools have been located in states won by the president, with two schools 11 times and only one school six times (the most recent being 2012 with Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville, and Ohio State). There has never been a Men's NCAA Division I Final Four in which no schools were located in states carried by the president's ticket.


Three for the Road

A new Rasmussen Poll shows Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker in a dead heat with likely 2014 Democratic nominee Mary Burke. Walker is seeking to win his third consecutive election after prevailing in 2012's recall contest. Eight of his predecessors accomplished this feat: Republicans Lucius Fairchild (in 1869), Jeremiah Rusk (1886), Robert La Follette (1904), Emanuel Philipp (1918), John Blaine (1924), Walter Kohler (1954), Warren Knowles (1968), and Tommy Thompson (1994). Three others Badger State governors lost on their third campaign: Democrat George Peck (1894), Progressive Philip La Follette (1938), and Republican Julius Heil (1942). One died in office before having the opportunity to win a third contest (GOPer Walter Goodland in 1947) while another resigned beforehand (Democrat Patrick Lucey in 1977 to become Ambassador to Mexico). Overall Wisconsin gubernatorial incumbents have won 35 of 47 general election contests, or 74.5 percent of the time.


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