The Campaign Spot

Predictions for the May Primaries…

Sometimes I’m really right (Massachusetts special Senate election) and sometimes I’m not. I see things similarly to John Miller.

My sense of how things play out today:

Pennsylvania Senate primary, Democrats: Joe Sestak 52 percent, Specter 48 percent. I’m less confident of this one than I was a few days ago. Almost all of the momentum is on Sestak’s side, the crowds for Specter’s events have been small, and the White House is reportedly preparing for a Specter defeat.

But the polling shows a high number of undecided voters – at least 10 percent in most polls –  and I wonder if those folks just stay home. Sestak’s had plenty of time to make the sale to these folks, and has advertised heavily. He’s caught up close to Specter, but you would figure in this environment, running against an 80-year-old five-term incumbent who was a Republican up until about a year ago, he should be able to roar ahead. I’ll stick with my original prediction, but if Specter ends up eking out a victory by the skin of his teeth, thanks to a better organization, I won’t be surprised. And, of course, Pat Toomey will be pleased.

Arkansas Senate Primary, Democrats: Blanche Lincoln 49 percent, Bill Halter 47 percent, Other 4 percent. This one is rather moot, as it will probably go to a runoff, but I think that Lincoln is safe in a primary this year. Again, Halter’s had a lot of time to close the sale in an anti-incumbent year, and still trails most polls.

Arkansas Senate Primary, Republicans: Rep. John Boozman way ahead of everyone with 47 percent; he and Gilbert Baker are in a runoff.

Kentucky Senate Primary, Democrats: Daniel Mongiardo over Jack Conway. Yeah, you don’t care about this one.

Kentucky Senate Primary, Republicans: Rand Paul over Trey Grayson. Won’t be close, something like 56 percent to 44 percent.

Pennsylvania’s 12th District Special House Election: Republican Tim Burns over Mark Critz by a hair. I feel more confident knowing that Cook Political Report’s Dave Wasserman is making the same call. There’s more enthusiasm on the Republican side, but Critz is running in a district with a lot of Democrats. Independents appear to be breaking pretty heavily to Burns. Critz hasn’t been that bad a candidate, but he’s in a district where Obama’s approval is low, Pelosi is disdained, the health care bill is hated, cap-and-trade is seen as a job killer, and unemployment is high. What is he supposed to talk about? What is he supposed to campaign on?


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