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Tags: Pat Toomey

Toomey Surprised By Senate Vote to Reject Obama DOJ Nominee



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Our first interview at CPAC is with Senator Pat Toomey (R., Pa.), who says he was surprised by the Senate’s vote to block Debo Adegbile’s nomination to head the Justice Department’s civil rights division. Toomey, among the leaders of the effort to reject the nomination of Adegbile in part because of his role in the defense of convicted cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal, says he expected one or two Democrats to vote against the nomination. Instead, seven Democrats voted with Republicans.

Toomey also discussed his relationship with gun owners after last year’s gun-purchase background-check proposal, cosponsored with Senator Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.).

Tags: CPAC , Pat Toomey

The NRA Will Be Scoring the Background-Check Vote



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As mentioned in today’s Morning Jolt, the NRA will indeed be scoring all of the upcoming votes on background checks and gun owners. But this doesn’t necessarily mean a full-scale divorce between the NRA and the background-check co-sponsors, West Virginia Democrat Senator Joe Manchin and Pennsylvania Republican Senator Pat Toomey.

Wednesday evening, Chris Cox, executive director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action, issued a letter that indicated that yes, the proposal would be “scored” by the organization.

In addition, the NRA will oppose any amendments offered to S. 649 that restrict fundamental Second Amendment freedoms; including, but not limited to, proposals that would ban commonly and lawfully owned firearms and magazines or criminalize the private transfer of firearms through an expansion of background checks.  This includes the misguided “compromise” proposal drafted by Senators Joe Manchin, Pat Toomey and Chuck Schumer.  As we have noted previously, expanding background checks, at gun shows or elsewhere, will not reduce violent crime or keep our kids safe in their schools.  Given the importance of these issues, votes on all anti-gun amendments or proposals will be considered in NRA’s future candidate evaluations.

Rather than focus its efforts on restricting the rights of America’s 100 million law-abiding gun owners, there are things Congress can do to fix our broken mental health system; increase prosecutions of violent criminals; and make our schools safer.  During consideration of S. 649, should one or more amendments be offered that adequately address these important issues while protecting the fundamental rights of law-abiding gun owners, the NRA will offer our enthusiastic support and consider those votes in our future candidate evaluations as well.

We hope the Senate will replace the current provisions of S. 649 with language that is properly focused on addressing mental health inadequacies; prosecuting violent criminals; and keeping our kids safe in their schools.  Should it fail to do so, the NRA will make an exception to our standard policy of not “scoring” procedural votes and strongly oppose a cloture motion to move to final passage of S. 649.

I still suspect that the NRA knows that Pat Toomey is probably the best ally they’re going to get elected statewide in Pennsylvania – and that they’re pretty happy with Manchin overall, too. Perhaps the pair are destined to go into future elections with a “B” grade from the organization. (Joe Manchin spoke at the NRA convention back in 2011.)

The deal reflects some basic political realities: Toomey was elected in 2010, and so he’ll next appear before the voters in 2016, a presidential-election year with high turnout. You’ve heard Pennsylvania described as Philadelphia on one side, Pittsburgh on the other, and Alabama in the middle, but the real battleground that determines statewide elections is the Philadelphia-suburb counties. As I summarized it last cycle:

[Republicans] are increasingly optimistic about Bucks County, where about 435,000 are registered to vote. Toomey won this county over Joe Sestak in the 2010 Senate race, 53.2 percent to 46.8 percent. But the other major suburban counties, Montgomery County (with 553,104 registered voters) and Delaware County (about 395,000 registered voters) are looking like tougher nuts to crack for Republicans this cycle, compared with Bucks County.

These are classic “soccer mom” suburban counties, and the Philadelphia Inquirer is a big media influence here. It is a tough corner of the state in which to sell an uncompromising stance on gun issues.

Toomey needs to be able to say that after Sandy Hook, he did his best to do something — particularly if or when, God forbid, there is another horrific massacre in 2016. Whether or not the bill passes is almost immaterial; he just needs to be seen by those soccer moms as a guy who tried his best to work out a bipartisan compromise to slightly lessen the odds of another massacre. As a Second Amendment fan, you don’t have to like that, but you do have to recognize it.

So when you see folks like Jacob Sullum write . . .

. . . it is hard to see a logical connection between the Newtown murders and the proposal offered by Manchin and Toomey. But that does not matter, because it makes them feel as if they are doing something to prevent such crimes. And isn’t that what laws are for, to make legislators feel better? President Obama certainly seems to think so. Notice that Manchin implicitly endorses Obama’s view that anyone who fails to support new gun controls does not have “a good conscience.”

The cold, hard truth is that yes, this and almost all legislation relating to guns is meant to make lawmakers and the public feel like they’ve done something. Because as we’ve all noted, the only policy that could have prevented Sandy Hook was confiscation of all privately held firearms. But when lawmakers in suburban districts go back and do their town hall meetings, they need to say either A) see, I passed “X” or B) I tried to pass “X.” They will get these questions the next time some lunatic goes on a spree-killing.

Anyway, Toomey summarizes:

WHAT THE BILL WILL NOT DO

The bill will not take away anyone’s guns.

The bill will not ban any type of firearm.

The bill will not ban or restrict the use of any kind of bullet or any size clip or magazine.

The bill will not create a national registry; in fact, it specifically makes it illegal to establish any such registry.

The bill will not, in any way at all, infringe upon the Constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens.

At Red State, Erick Erickson disputes that, contending that the way the bill is written, doctors can add their patients to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, and suggests that they can be added for no real reason. 

The provision could spur a debate on just who should be able to determine if someone is psychologically imbalanced in a way that makes them a threat to others. As I have mentioned in previous Jolts, the only person who can currently place a person on the can’t-buy-a-gun list is a judge. If you see or encounter someone who behaves in a manner that makes you think they’re likely to go on a shooting spree, your employer, school principal, or university administrator can’t do a darn thing about it (other than involve law enforcement and try to get that person before a judge). Sometimes a psychiatrist can explicitly tell the police that her patient had confessed homicidal thoughts and was a danger to the public, as in the case of the Aurora shooter, and the police will do nothing.

Tags: Background Checks , Guns , Joe Manchin , NRA , Pat Toomey

Some Early, Early, Early Running Mate Thoughts



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Over on the home page, I offer a “Part Two” of sorts to last week’s interview with Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey, a look at his prospects to be the running mate on the GOP ticket in 2012. The downsides are pretty clear — Toomey was only elected in 2010, he’s rather serious, earnest and wonkish, and there’s no guarantee that he would bring the state of Pennsylvania into the GOP column.

But the upsides are pretty considerable: He’s the rare Tea Party favorite (former head of the Club for Growth who was taking on Arlen Specter as a sellout back when most people heard the word “RINO” and thought of wildlife) who graduated Harvard; he’s a blue-collar family success story who worked in both the heights of international finance on Wall Street and Asia and also was a successful small businessman, running pizza joints and sports bars in Allentown, Pennsylvania. He’s no rookie to government having served in the House from 1998 to 2004, but he’s also no creature of Washington or the establishment. He’s a Catholic, reliable pro-life social conservative. In three of his last four years in the House, Toomey scored a perfect 100 percent on the American Conservative Union’s voting scorecards. He opposed TARP from the beginning. And… well, with Pennsylvania appearing to be in play this cycle… maybe he would bring the Keystone State home for the Republicans; doing so would almost eliminate any realistic route for Obama to get 270 electoral votes.

Tags: Pat Toomey

Sen. Pat Toomey’s Illuminating Proposal



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Over on the home page, I have a chat with Sen. Pat Toomey, Pennsylvania Republican and member of the now-disbanded supercommittee. Toomey received a lot of grief over his proposal that would have matched $750 billion in spending cuts to $250 billion in tax increases — a combination of slightly lower rates and eliminated or reduced deductions for the top two income brackets.

While Toomey is tight-lipped about conversations behind closed doors on the supercommittee, there were numerous reports that some Republicans on and off it were willing to accept tax hikes beyond $250 billion. His proposal — and the Democrats’ wholesale rejection of it — helped illustrate that to much of the president’s party, tax increases are not about increasing revenue to reduce the deficit and debt, but a punitive measure designed to hurt those who liberals believe have prospered too much in America.

Tags: Pat Toomey

His Selection Would Mean a Lot to You and Toomey



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It’s way too early to think about running mate options for the Republican presidential nominee in 2012. And there is no shortage of good options for whoever ends up winning the nomination.

But this morning, Quinnipiac surveys Pennsylvania’s registered voters and finds first-term Sen. Pat Toomey has a 45 – 28 percent approval rating, and some fans of Toomey are wondering aloud, “hey, he would make a good running mate, wouldn’t he?

Tags: Pat Toomey

Arlen Specter Avoids an Uncharacteristically Classy Exit



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This morning’s edition is the last Morning Jolt of 2010 – a pleasant surprise for me from the editors, and hopefully not too unpleasant a surprise for you. Regular morning updates will resume January 3, 2011. But in the unlikely chance you find yourself going through withdrawal as the Christmas holiday approaches… seek psychological help immediately. If that fails, you can check the midday Three Martini Lunch podcasts, as Greg Corombus and I are slated to continue those each weekday through the New Year. And, of course, this spot will update as news warrants…

Don’t Let the Door Hit You, Arlen.

Just think, America: 2011 will bring us a world free from sitting Sen. Arlen Specter, Whatever-Pa.

He went out with… well, not a bang. I suppose we could say he raged, raged against the dying of the Senate career and perks of incumbency.

Specter did an effective job of immolating any minute shreds of sympathy Tim Carney had for him: “This morning I was starting to feel a bit sad about Arlen Specter’s departure from the Senate. While I rooted heartily for his defeat in 2004 and 2010, I consider him to be stubbornly independent of special interests, which is a rare and laudable thing in Washington. But then I watched his farewell address — or as he called it, his “closing argument.” The former Republican and Democratic Senator showed why he was called “Snarlin’ Arlen”: His closing argument was an angry, petty, mean, self-serving screed that betrayed a total lack of self-awareness. … He attacked the “activist” Supreme Court for infringing on Congressional prerogative — this is the man who killed Robert Bork’s nomination out of fear Bork would overturn Roe v. Wade. It’s hard to think of a decision in the last 50 years that was more “activist” and trampled more on legislative prerogative, but Specter has called Roe ”inviolate.” Speaking of Bork, this was where Specter showed his petty meanness. He gratuitously brought up Bork in his speech, saying, “Justice Bork — excuse me … Judge Bork.” Stay classy, Arlen. The climax of the speech was his thinly-veiled complaint that Pat Toomey primaried him, and that Jim DeMint was ready to endorse Toomey. This shows too much “ideological purity,” shows the power of “right-wing extremists,” and amounts to ‘cannibalism.’”

At Hot Air, Allahpundit exclaims, “How un-self-aware did it get? Dude‘Mr. Specter, who changed parties after he determined that his support for President Obama’s economic stimulus made him unelectable in a Republican primary, said that under the current political environment, a senator could be severely penalized for one vote cast out of thousands, making compromise impossible.

“Repeatedly, senior Republican senators have recently abandoned long-held positions out of fear of losing their seats over a single vote or because of party discipline,” Mr. Specter said.’ Remember, this is a guy who became a Republican in the first place only because he thought he couldn’t win the Democratic primary for Philadelphia D.A., then flatly admitted to switching parties last year because he thought it would improve his chances of being reelected. And switching parties also meant switching principles, or whatever the word “principle” might mean as applied to Specter: Remember how his views on health care “evolved” just in time to justify voting for ObamaCare? You can watch the whole thing at C-SPAN but here’s the bit of him whining about cannibalism. Somewhere a single tear rolls down Charlie Crist’s cheek.” 

I’ll give Paul Mirengoff of Powerline the last jab at the end of Specter’s bizarre, lengthy career: “Arlen Specter delivered his farewell speech to the Senate today. He pretentiously called it his “final argument” but at least managed, I hope, to avoid citation to Scottish law.”

Senator Pat Toomey can’t get here soon enough.

Tags: Arlen Specter , Pat Toomey

Come to Think of It, It’s a Much Better Senate Now.



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I like this assessment from Campaign Spot reader Mark:

Maybe I’m making lemonade out of lemons, but if I look at the seats the Republicans won, I feel pretty good.  Look at who we are trading for.

1.  I’m originally from Wisconsin, so I’ll start there.  Ron Johnson for Russ Feingold.  I’m sure Feingold is a decent husband and father, but he is Madison’s senator.  The rest of the state does not care for him.  He claims to be independent, but most of his votes against Democrats were because they didn’t go far enough. So, gain a businessman and manufacturer and lose a lawyer and one of the most liberal members of the Senate who was often out of step with most of his state.

2.  Pat Toomey for Arlen Specter.  Think about it.

3.  Marco Rubio for Mel Martinez/George LeMieux (who?).

4.  Mark Kirk, someone David Brooks called a dedicated and competent public servant, for Roland Burris (or even Barack Obama).  Maybe not as liberal as I would like, but look who he is replacing.  Unless he goes the full Arlen Specter, this seat is much more conservative (not to mention competent and honest).

5.  Rand Paul for Jim Bunning. I am starting to like Rand Paul a bit more.  What once looked a little crazy is starting to look more like thoughtfulness and principle.

6.  Kelly Ayotte for Judd Gregg.  I hope she works out.  I really liked Senator Gregg.  The only change that may not be an outright significant upgrade is due mostly to the quality of the retiring incumbent.

7.  Rob Portman for George Voinovich.  A real professional for a mediocrity.  I’ll take this trade up also.

8.  Joe Manchin for Robert Byrd.  I would have preferred a Republican, but this trade is good for conservatives.

I would have liked more Republicans, but for now, the ones elected seem to represent real quality.

He forgot a few: Mike Lee for Bob Bennett in Utah. John Boozman for Blanche Lincoln, a conservative Republican against a so-called conservative Democrat who usually fell in line when her party needed her. In Indiana, Dan Coats for Evan Bayh, another so-called conservative Democrat who rarely seemed to be there when conservatives needed him. It’s a real trend when you consider John Hoeven for Byron Dorgan in North Dakota.

I would note we have two more potential big upgrades pending in Alaska and Washington.

Tags: Marco Rubio , Pat Toomey , Ron Johnson

An Odd Split Between House and Senate Races at This Hour



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What weird results at this hour.

I’m hearing great nervousness about Toomey, which I would not have expected, yet the Republicans are doing quite well in the House races in Pennsylvania.

A similar story in Illinois, where Mark Kirk is trailing, but the outlook in at least four House races is looking good . . .

Tags: Mark Kirk , Pat Toomey

Our First Glimpse of the Morning Vote in Pennsylvania . . .



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Okay, I’m posting this with the insistence that everybody understand this for what it is: An exit poll, conducted by a college-associated polling institute (Muhlenberg), done from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. this morning in Pennsylvania:

Turnout: 47 percent Republican, 47 percent Democrat, 6 percent independent.

Senate: Pat Toomey (R) 51 percent, Joe Sestak (D) 47 percent

Governor: Tom Corbett (R) 55 percent, Dan Onorato (D) 43 percent

15th congressional district: Charlie Dent (R) 53 percent, John Callahan (D) 42 percent

Obviously, things can change in the midday, afternoon and evening votes . . .

Tags: Joe Sestak , Pat Toomey

Reason for Cautious Optimism in Pennsylvania



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In yesterday’s Jolt, I told folks not to let their blood pressure rise as they watch tracking polls like the Morning Call’s ones in Pennsylvania. As Obi-Wan notes, in the short term, polls go up a bit, they go down a bit, like the stock-market averages. The gradual trend is more important than each day’s shift of a few percentage points back and forth.

Well, the tracking poll does seem to be showing a trend:

  10/20 10/21 10/22 10/24 10/25 10/26 10/27
Toomey 41% 43% 43% 45% 46% 47% 48%
Sestak 44% 43% 43% 42% 42% 42%

40%

Of course, tomorrow we could see Toomey lose some ground. But the overall movement in the race seems to be in his favor.

Tags: Joe Sestak , Pat Toomey

Today’s Target for Campaign Help: GOP Senate Candidates.



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A Long Island reader writes in, “We really need some up-front and easy-to-follow links for contributing to the campaigns of folks like Joe Miller, Carly Fiorina, Sharron Angle, and Christine O’Donnell, etc., etc. You’d think these links would be front and center, but generally it’s catch-as-catch-can.”

Here you go:

I think Marco Rubio in Florida is doing all right, and Linda McMahon in Connecticut can obviously self-fund, but there are the links, just in case. I feel similarly confident about Ron Johnson in Wisconsin, Rand Paul in Kentucky, and in fact Mark Kirk in Illinois. (All of those campaigns will now write in saying “Hey, we can always use more donations, pal!”)

Tags: Carly Fiorina , Christine O'Donnell , Joe Miller , Pat Toomey , Sharron Angle

Everyone Worried About Pat Toomey’s Lead Should Read This



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For those who are worried about Pat Toomey’s sudden slip in the polls in Pennsylvania — and I was among them — you’ll want to read this analysis from “Number Cruncher,” a finance/political junkie who spends even more time breaking down polls than I do.

Your readers should calm down. This race isn’t that close, or even closing. The only thing closing is the pollsters’ prediction of who to consider a likely voter. Looking at the Quinnipiac results, I find them very encouraging for Toomey, specifically among Independents. Taking the Quinnipiac crosstabs and applying 2004, 2006, 2008, and my predicted 2010 Likely voter model, the results are as follows:

2004: The last good GOP year, Pennsylvania exit poll crosstabs came in with party ID at 41 percent Democrat, 39 percent Republican, 20 percent Independent. If you apply this breakdown to Quinnipiac’s sense of how each group is voting, it results in a 2.1 percent Toomey win. This year is the most likely turnout comparable to use based on history only, and one I believe understates GOP support in general.

I think Quinnipiac is using something akin to this year as their turnout mode, but 2004 has me scratching my head, namely the 41 percent Democrat party ID support.

It was a very good year for the GOP, yet if you look at party splits we see only a 2 percent upward tick for Democrats in the 2006 exit polls, when the Democrats had a landslide election — in this election Santorum lost by 18 points!.

This is the danger of comparing Presidential and Mid-term elections. A plausible explanation of this can be found in this study from Univ. of PA The exit poll Bush support versus actual support hurt Bush by 6.5 percent. In other words, this year’s exit poll party ID is likely off base.

In fairness to the exits on CNN, they appear to have been adjusted somewhat (they all seem to tie out to the actual results), but I recall as the article study does there might be problems.

Simply stated: How does Specter win by 9 percent in 2004 and Santorum lose by 18 percent in 2006, where the electorate only turned out 2 percent more Democrats? The answer something is wrong — a 2 point party split does not make up 27 percent points, not with a candidate like Santorum who did not have any significant ethics problems. So while I won’t fault Quinnipiac for targeting 2004 as a sanity check, it’s the best one historically, it is nevertheless a problematic data point.

So let us take a few breaths and look at the worst case scenarios for Toomey — applying 2006 and 2008.

2006: Assuming a 2006 turnout percentage — the last big Democrat midterm year, with 43 percent Democrat, 38 percent Republican, 19 percent independent — the race is a dead heat, with Toomey trailing by only 0.6 percent under Quinnipiac’s cross-tabs.

This is fatal news for Sestak! When applying the Quinnipiac cross-tabs for the biggest Democrat midterm election since 1974, yields at best a .6% win for Sestak . . . Can we stop worrying?

2008: So then we look at the biggest Democratic Presidential year since 1964. Cross tabs came in with party ID at 44 percent Democrat, 37 percent Republican, 17 percent Independent.

To believe the race could duplicate this is to say you need to be smoking peyote. Assuming this turnout, including historic Philadelphia turnout . . . at best puts this still a dead heat, with Toomey trailing by just 1.4 percent.

So where is this race really at? Follow me.

Scenario One: Presume Pennsylvania’s turnout will be 36.5 percent Democrat, 37 percent Republican, 24.5 percent Independent. Applying these targets to Quinnipiac’s split yields a pretty easy to call 52.6 percent to 46.9 percent, or 5.7 point victory for Toomey. The way I came up with my splits is to take the 2008 Rate 44-37-17, and adjust based on Rasmussen’s summary of Party Affiliation percentage change in Nov 2008 versus Sept 2010.

Scenario Two: The problem with Scenario One is that while I capture the change of party affiliation, I assume a presidential year base model rather than a mid-term election. In a midterm turnout will be lower — 50 to 70% of a presidential year, which means only the more enthusiastic voters will turn out. Some expect this to be anywhere from 3 to 7 points — overall advantage to the GOP. My model takes a more conservative view with the Dems falling to 34 percent, the GOP up to 38 percent, and Independents to 28 percent. This gives Toomey a very comfortable 9 point win (and is consistent with many polls, with the same cross-tabs as Qunnipiac and PPP).

Scenario Three: But there is another problem with this assumption, which is the Tea Party as an affiliation. As noted, the GOP support has gone down since 2008. How is this possible? The emergence of the Tea Party. Tea Party Independents are going to vote and to be blunt, they will not be voting Democrat. Many of these voters also will not be telling any pollster they “are” Republicans. Going with a cruder model, but one that tries to capture the Tea Party, using flimsy data and guess-timates, I believe the Electorate in Pennsylvania is 34 percent Republican, 37 percent Democrat, 19 percent Tea Party-Independent, and 10 percent Moderate-Independent. Applying the Quinnipiac cross tabs where Republican and Tea Party have the same levels of support for Toomey, and where Moderate-Independents favor Sestak 53 percent to 47 percent yields . . . a 12 point Toomey win.

Thus I believe the margin race will end up between 9.1% and 12%, which is to say I will go out on a limb by taking the midpoint, and predicting Toomey beats Sestak by 10.5 percent.

Bottom line: nothing has changed with this race other than the pollsters’ predicted turnout models.

Separately, a few weeks ago Number Cruncher offered to bet a Ruth’s Chris steak dinner that Tom Tancredo would be the next governor of Colorado. I took the bet, and now I’m starting to worry I’m going to be paying for a filet mignon.

Tags: Joe Sestak , Pat Toomey , Tom Tancredo

Quinnipiac: Toomey Only Leads by Two



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Quinnipiac offers new numbers in Pennsylvania:

The race for Pennsylvania’s U.S. Senate seat is now a statistical dead heat with Republican Pat Toomey getting 48 percent of likely voters to 46 percent for Democratic U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

This compares to a 50 – 43 percent likely voter lead for Toomey, a former congressman, in a September 22 survey by the independent Quinnipiac University.

Toomey is beating Sestak 88 – 8 percent among Republicans and 56 – 35 percent among independent voters.  But Sestak is winning 89 – 7 percent among Democrats. Thirteen percent of Toomey’s voters and 9 percent of Sestak backers say they might change their mind before Election Day.  The 5 percent of undecided voters includes 9 percent of independent voters.

“Pennsylvania is a blue state and Democrats there have begun to come home,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. “They are more engaged than they were earlier in the race.  This is not unusual, especially in off-year elections. Democrats often engage later in the campaign than do Republicans.  The political environment is more favorable now for them, as evidenced by President Barack Obama’s improved, but still decidedly negative, job approval rating.”

President Obama gets a negative 44 – 53 percent job approval rating, compared to a negative 40 – 56 percent September 22.

One of my readers is worried:

I refuse to believe that in a year where my state is going to elect a Republican Governor, give 4-6 house seats back to the Republicans, return 0 house seats to the Democrats, with no Philadelphia presence in state or local races (no mayoral race, no Philadelphia based candidate in the governors race) that the state is going to send a Democrat who voted for the trifecta of stimulus, cap and trade, and healthcare to the Senate.Yet after watching the debate tonight I am getting concerned.  

Sestak is difficult to dislike, and even tougher to debate.  The only one who makes up facts more glibly than Joe is Boxer out in California.

Oh, come on. We’ve all watched Joe Biden.

 His nonsense about 200 terror trials under George Bush, his plan to save Social Security, his support for PAYGO, his We the People crap, it is stunning.  But I must say he sells this BS well.

I could be critical because I am expecting perfection or seeing bogeymen where they don’t exist, but I thought Toomey looked off balance tonight.  I was really surprised that he didn’t push back harder on what the economy looked like in January 2005 when he left the Congress and what has happened to it since Sestak came to Congress.  At one point Sestak talked about coming to Congress in the middle of the recession and Toomey let him get away with it.  There was no recession in January of 2007!!

Sestak just released a new ad with his cute dog and cute family.  Something about hating to vote for the bailouts but had to vote for them to clean up after the Toomey/Bush years, just like he hates to clean up after the dog, but hey, you gotta do it.  Unreal.

I think a lot of fact-based accusations don’t stick to Sestak because he is smart enough not to address them.  Ask him about his support for CAIR and he talks about running a battleship in the Persian Gulf.  Ask him about cutting half a trillion bucks from Medicare and you’ll get a story about his daughter with brain cancer who would be dead without his vote for healthcare, or his time in the military and their bang up family medical plan, or both.  But certainly nothing about Medicare will appear in the answer. So while it is great that some pro-Israel PAC is dropping a million bucks in Philadelphia the next two weeks, I don’t see their money working much.

What would work is an ad showing job creation from 1999-2005 or the unemployment at that time and another one showing the same numbers from 2007-2010.  Hope someone gets on that before victory becomes defeat.

I notice in the Quinnipiac poll, only 14 percent of Pennsylvanians think the economy is getting better.

Tags: Joe Sestak , Pat Toomey

Bad News for Toomey, Good News for Portman



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Panic! Panic! A second poll has Pat Toomey trailing in Pennsylvania!

Democrat Sestak now leads Republican Toomey 44 percent to 41 percent with 15 percent undecided, a Morning Call/Muhlenberg College Tracker poll shows.

. . . It’s hard to explain Sestak’s latest apparent comeback. There’s a sense that faithful Democrats are paying closer attention in the closing weeks as President Barack Obama crisscrosses the country making the case for keeping Democrats in charge.And Sestak’s campaign appears adept at using an opponent’s own words against him in political TV ads. On air now is a commercial showing Toomey, a former Lehigh Valley congressman, saying his voting record is “hard to distinguish from Rick Santorum’s.”

Oh, and in Ohio . . .

Republican Rob Portman heads into the home stretch with a 55 – 34 percent likely voter lead over Democratic Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher in the race for Ohio’s U.S. Senate seat, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

The independent Quinnipiac University survey, conducted by live interviewers, finds Portman’s lead statistically unchanged from his leads of 55 – 35 percent September 17 and 55 – 36 percent October 6.

“Given that Lt. Gov. Fisher has been trailing Portman by roughly 20 points since the fall campaign got underway, there’s not much reason to think he can close that gap appreciably in the final two weeks of the campaign,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.  “Other than self-identified Democrats, it is hard to find a demographic group that supports Fisher.”

Tags: Joe Sestak , Lee Fisher , Pat Toomey , Rob Portman

Are Pennsylvania Democrats Suddenly Waking Up?



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The sample in the last poll in Pennsylvania from Public Policy Polling before today: 46 percent Democrat, 44 percent Republican, 9 percent independent/other.

The sample in the new poll in Pennsylvania from Public Policy Polling from today: 48 percent Democrat, 41 percent Republican, 11 percent independent/other.

Headline from Public Policy Polling: “The race for Senate in Pennsylvania has seen dramatic movement over the last two months and Joe Sestak has now taken the slightest lead over Pat Toomey, 46-45. On PPP’s previous survey of the state, in mid-August, Toomey led by a 45-36 margin.”

Why, it’s almost as if a more heavily Democratic sample dramatically alters the results!

PPP says they see an enormous awakening among Democrats, worth 5 percent in the past two months. We’ll see.

UPDATE: For perspective:

The 2004 exit poll in Pennsylvania: 41 percent Democrat, 39 percent Republican, 20 percent independent.

The 2006 exit poll in Pennsylvania: 43 percent Democrat, 38 percent Republican, 19 percent independent.

In 2008, the exit polls in this state split 44 percent Democrat, 37 percent Republican, 18 percent independent.

Tags: Joe Sestak , Pat Toomey

Pennsylvania: The DSCC’s $9 Million Botched Investment



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This is amazing:

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has invested more than $4.7 million in the Keystone State to date, not including the nearly $1.2 million it spent on Sen. Arlen Specter ’s failed primary bid. The overall investment, expected to exceed $9 million by Election Day, is more than any other state in the nation.

And look at how much good that money has done them!

Pat Toomey devours DSCC resources like Galactus.

Tags: DSCC , Joe Sestak , Pat Toomey

If You’re Ahead by 6, 30 Days Out, History’s on Your Side.



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An interesting new rule of thumb from Nate Silver:

Senate candidates who have a lead of between 6 and 9 points in the simple polling average, with 30 days to go until the election — about where Mr. Toomey’s lead stands now — are undefeated since 1998.

That is a fantastic way of looking at things for Pat Toomey, as well as for Roy Blunt in Missouri, Rand Paul in Kentucky, Kelly Ayotte in New Hampshire, Ron Johnson in Wisconsin, Marco Rubio in Florida, and Dan Coats in Indiana.

Oh, and John Boozman in Arkansas, John Hoeven in North Dakota, and incumbents Richard Burr in North Carolina and David Vitter in Louisiana, but . . . come on. Those races have been effectively over for a while.

It’s ominous news for Carly Fiorina in California and Christine O’Donnell in Delaware. As for the rest of the big Senate races — Nevada, Washington, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, and West Virginia . . . well, we’ll have to wait and see.

Tags: 2010 , Dan Coats , Kelly Ayotte , Marco Rubio , Pat Toomey , Rand Paul , Ron Johnson , Roy Blunt

In New York, GOP’s Paladino Trails Cuomo by Only 6? Only 6?!?



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Two shockers from Quinnipiac this morning, each one making the other a wee bit suspect.

In Pennsylvania

Republican Pat Toomey has hit the magic 50 percent mark as he leads Democratic U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak 50 – 43 percent in the race for Pennsylvania’s U.S. Senate seat, according to a Quinnipiac University poll of likely voters released today.

Pennsylvania likely voters disapprove 56 – 40 percent of the job President Barack Obama is doing, the independent Quinnipiac University survey, conducted by live interviewers, finds.  This first general election survey of Pennsylvania likely voters in this election cycle cannot be compared to earlier surveys of registered voters.

I’m sure Team Toomey will take it, but a seven-point margin is actually one of the better ones Sestak has seen lately.

But here’s the holy-smokes-can-this-be-real one:

Republican Carl Paladino, aided by a 4 -1 margin among Tea Partiers, trails New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, the Democratic candidate for Governor, 49 – 43 percent among likely voters, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

Only 18 percent of New York State likely voters consider themselves part of the Tea Party movement, but they back Paladino 77 – 18 percent.

Cuomo leads 87 – 8 percent among Democrats while Paladino leads 83 – 13 percent among Republicans and 49 – 43 percent among independent voters, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University survey, conducted by live interviewers, finds.  This first likely voter general election survey in New York in this election cycle can not be compared with earlier surveys of registered voters.  

I’ve been lamenting for weeks that a bunch of strong GOP House candidates in New York were going to be hurt by the lack of top-of-the-ticket help or even a competitive statewide race among the big three: the governor’s race and the two Senate races. Well, Paladino, who’s pledging to clean up Albany with a baseball bat, looks like he’s in a competitive race.

Tags: Andrew Cuomo , Carl Paladino , Joe Sestak , Pat Toomey

Toomsday Cometh Ever Closer



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TOOMSDAY! “Pat Toomey (R) leads Rep. Joe Sestak (D) by 9 points, 45 percent to 36 percent with 19 percent undecided.”

Tags: Joe Sestak , Pat Toomey

Pat Toomey, Raising Funds in Response to Obama’s Visit



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President Obama is campaigning/fundraising in Philadelphia today for Joe Sestak. The Pat Toomey campaign is responding with an online fundraising effort of their own to raise $20,000 today online; they’re aiming for $20K on the 20th.

The important thing for Sestak is that Obama’s appearance will cement him to the popular president in the minds of Pennsylvanians . . . wait, did I say popular president?

Tags: Barack Obama , Joe Sestak , Pat Toomey

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