The Note: Friends and Enablers


Sen. Joe Lieberman's (D-CT) fate will be decided today as Connecticut Democrats take to the polls to choose their party's Senate nominee. Polls opened at 6:00 am ET and close at 8:00 pm ET.

Voters are choosing between Lieberman, who is the fight of/for his political life, and political newcomer Ned Lamont, in a race that has largely been about Lieberman's support for the Iraq war, about that famous embrace of President Bush, about the battle for the heart and soul of the Democratic Party, and about which political reporters can cram the most clich├ęs into their copy.

There are no pooled network exit polls. The Connecticut Legislation and Elections website (LINK and LINK) will be updated continually, as soon as information comes in. The state is using a brand new system, which may or may not work. Should the system not work, officials are prepared with a spreadsheet and the site should be updated at roughly fifteen minute intervals with results.

Lever machines will dominate in today's primary, with a smattering of optical scan voting places. And here is a chart, courtesy of the excellent folks at the AP, detailing the timing of the reporting of results on election night in 2004 to use as a guide for tonight.

First Reports from Counties: 8:35 pm ET

20% of Precincts Statewide by: 10:00 pm ET

90% of Precincts Statewide by: 1:01 am ET (Wednesday)

100% of Precincts Statewide by: 9:44 am ET (Wednesday)

Given all the new voters who signed up, and the fact that this is a new August primary in the state, it is not clear at all what the early returns will mean and who will benefit from the vote that is still "out" at any given moment, so The Note recommends an afternoon nap.

If the race is super close, outstanding ballots, including from overseas, could lead to the kind of Florida/overtime situation with which at least one of the candidates is quite familiar.

If Lieberman pulls it out, get ready for the bloggers to explain why they still won. If Lieberman loses, get ready for a lot of national and Connecticut Democrats to argue (publicly and privately) that he shouldn't run as an independent -- and get ready for a Joe-ment of truth, as the incumbent decides if he wants to ignore those calls.

Channeling Lieberman adviser Dan Gerstein, Cynthia McKinney's campaign manager, John Evans, says it best in this morning's Los Angeles Times: "It's like when you have a room full of roaches: You go in, turn the light on and they scatter. When people think you're weak, they defect. Only the true at heart stick around."

Sen. Lieberman makes six campaign stops across the Nutmeg State today after he and his family vote at 9:30 am ET in New Haven, CT. The Lieberman primary night gathering spot is at the Goodwin Hotel in Hartford, CT.

Ned Lamont voted earlier this morning in Greenwich, CT. Lamont intends to go around and thank volunteers and campaign staffers at various campaign offices before making his way to this primary night locale -- the Four Points Sheraton in Meriden, CT.

Colorado, Michigan, and Missouri also hold primary elections today. In Colorado's 7th congressional district, Democrats will see an end to a bruising primary battle between state Sen. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) and former Rep. Peggy Lamm (D-CO); the victor will face Republican candidate Rick O'Donnell in the fall. A Republican primary in Michigan, meanwhile, tests the power of incumbency: Rep. Joe Schwarz (R-MI), a moderate targeted by the anti-tax Club for Growth, opposes former Rep. Tim Walberg in the Republican primary.

Michigan is home to two important statewide races as well. A noncompetitive Republican gubernatorial primary will set in stone the ballot in one of the most highly celebrated and carefully watched races nationwide: that between Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D-MI) and Republican/self-funder Dick DeVos. In addition, first-term Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) will learn the identity of her Republican opponent for the fall -- Rev. Keith Butler or Sheriff Michael Bouchard.

Finally, Georgians choose between Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-GA) and Hank Johnson (D) in a closely contested run-off today. The race is largely a referendum on the controversial incumbent Democrat. In July's primary McKinney garnered 47 percent of the vote to Johnson's 44 percent, eking him out by fewer than 1500 votes in the final tally.

Polls opened at 7:00 am ET and close at 7:00 pm ET. LINK

The Associated Press highlights all of today's key races: LINK

At 2:15 pm ET the Federal Reserve releases its decision on interest rates. Many analysts believe Chairman Ben Bernanke will decide not to raise rates because of growing signs that the economy is slowing. ABC News' Dan Arnall expects the markets to rally if no change in the key interest rate is announced.

Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) attends AFSCME's 97th Internationalist Convention in Chicago, IL. She addresses the nation's largest union of government workers at 12:30 pm ET. LINK

Former Sen. John Edwards (D-NC) journeys to Montana as part of his ongoing efforts to help raise the minimum wage in states across the country. At 3:00 pm ET, Sen. Edwards joins "Raise Montana," the Montana minimum wage coalition in Helena, MT. At 3:45 pm ET, he answers journalists' queries on the steps of the state Capitol. And at 8:15 pm ET, Sen. Edwards treks to the Governor's Mansion to fundraise for the Montana Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee.

Gov. Romney (R-MA) attends the send-off ceremony for a Massachusetts National Guard unit heading to Kosovo at 11:00 am ET in Concord, MA. At 1:00 pm ET, with some representatives from the Boston Celtics beside him, he intends to sign legislation recognizing basketball as the official sport of the Commonwealth.

Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) continues his bus tour across Pennsylvania today. LINK

RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman travels to Ohio today. He is scheduled to make closed press remarks (with Q &A) to grassroots volunteers in Maumee, OH and Cleveland, OH. He is also expected to make closed press remarks (with Q&A) at a Lucas County fundraiser in Toledo, OH and at a fundraiser for Ken Blackwell's gubernatorial campaign.

But Buckeye State journalists should not worry about a total media blackout. Mehlman is scheduled to do local press (1 radio and 3 television interviews) and he meets with grassroots volunteers at the Lorain Victory Center in Avon, OH at an open press event.

Sen. Lieberman's primary politics: Joe-mentum?:

"Lamont's Lead Slips On Eve of Primary," Washington Post. LINK

"One theory for Lamont's slipping support was that he has been damaged by Lieberman radio ads on black stations hitting the challenger for his longtime membership, terminated this year, at an exclusive Greenwich country club. The Lamont campaign responded by seeking out rap artists to phone black stations and remind listeners that Lieberman had once targeted rap music for promoting violence and drug use."

"It's Down To The Wire," the Hartford Courant wrapping up the race's last few days with a balanced look at the impact of the Q-poll. LINK

"Lieberman and Lamont Battle to the Wire," the New York Times describes Lieberman's nine events and unconventional ad on the penultimate day of campaigning -- a "sharply different" tactic from Lamont's limited public events and news conference with reporters. LINK

"Lieberman shows signs of cutting into Lamont lead, poll shows," the Associated Press LINK

"Late Lieberman surge makes race a tossup," the Washington Times. LINK

"Lieberman Finds his Mo-Joe," the New York Post on Lieberman narrowing in on double-digit poll. LINK

"On Day Before the Vote, Lieberman Exudes Relentless Optimism," the New York Times on the Senator seemingly upbeat. LINK

"Lieberman makes final push before Conn. primary," Boston Globe. LINK

Sen. Lieberman's primary politics: analysis:

On his "Political Punch" blog, ABC News' Jake Tapper brings you his musings from the Nutmeg State on what to look for today. LINK

Since Passover has long, well -- passed, Chris Cillizza of the breaks with tradition and poses the five questions instead of the usual four. LINK

"Lieberman's Troubles Go Beyond War," Washington Post's Dan Balz reports in a story that suggests Lieberman has lost touch at home and that a Lieberman loss would be "the most significant primary defeat for an incumbent Democratic senator since . . . Sen. J. William Fulbright . . . fell to then-Gov. Dale Bumpers in 1974." LINK

On GMA this morning, ABC News' George Stephanopoulos discussed the Lieberman/Lamont showdown and his recent trip to the Nutmeg State, Noting that the race feels more like a presidential primary rather than a Senate primary and that it will undoubtedly "send political shockwaves throughout Washington and the nation if Lieberman loses today."

"Lieberman Woes Scratch Surface Of Anti-Incumbent Sentiment," Wall Street Journal.

"Lieberman's Primary Challenge a Referendum on Voter War Anger," Bloomberg News. LINK

"Liberal bloggers come to the fore," Boston Globe on the blogosphere's influence in Lieberman-Lamont. LINK

"As Joe goes, so many Dems: Party musn't write off centrists," Boston Herald. LINK

Sen. Lieberman's primary politics: op-eds and editorials:

"Liberal McCarthyism," Lanny Davis in a Wall Street Journal op-ed on the "scary hatred" emanating from liberal bloggers.

"Beyond Connecticut. . .," the New York Post ed board backs Lieberman, accusing Democrats who believe the Iraq war is not worth it "dead wrong." LINK

"Clueless in Connecticut," New York Daily News editorial endorses Lieberman, warning Lamont supporters that if they choose Lamont over Lieberman, "Democrats in Connecticut will be losing a leader. And they'll be gaining a man who is at best a cipher and at worst a shameless panderer on matters of central importance to American security." LINK

"Things that would make Daddy go 'Hmmm'," the Las Vegas Review Journal with an op-ed from former Rep. J.C. Watts (R-OK) wondering aloud, "When Sen. John McCain disagrees with conservatives and sides with moderates or even liberals on an issue, he's hailed as a hero. But when Sen. Joe Lieberman disagrees with Democrats and sides with Republicans on matters of national security, he's a traitor to those same Democrats." LINK

"A Preview for November," Washington Post's E.J. Dionne. LINK

". . . if Lieberman miraculously survives, it will be because he finally realized that the last thing an incumbents wants to be this year is George Bush's friend and enabler."


"DeLay is leaning to another surprising move -- stepping aside and supporting a write-in candidate for his old seat," writes Mike Allen on his Time Magazine blog. LINK

"Final order keeps DeLay on ballot," Houston Chronicle on Justice Scalia's rejection of the GOP's case and the question of whether DeLay will face Lampson. LINK

"DeLay to remain on ballot," Dallas Morning News. LINK

"Texas Republicans Abandon DeLay Fight," the Associated Press. LINK

"GOP Loses Bid to Drop DeLay from Texas Ballot," Washington Post. LINK

Ney drops out:

"Ney declines new run for House," the Washington Times reporting Rep. Boehner (R-OH) was quietly prodding his Buckeye State colleague to quit the race. LINK

"Ohio Law May Affect Contest for Ney's Seat," Wall Street Journal. LINK

In a must-read, the Wall Street Journal's Jeanne Cummings reports that state Sen. Joy Padgett, "Mr. Ney's handpicked successor, could fall under a part of Ohio election law dubbed the 'sore loser' provision. It prevents a candidate who loses in one primary from running in another during the same election cycle. Earlier this year, Padgett was the primary running mate of gubernatorial hopeful James Petro, who lost to the ticket of Ken Blackwell and his running mate, Ohio State Rep. Tom Raga."

"Embattled Rep. Ney Won't Seek Reelection," Washington Post's Jonathan Weisman reports in a story that Notes the role played by House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) in cautioning Rep. Ney that he could "not expect a lucrative career on K Street" if he lost his House seat for the party. LINK

Expect an aggressive response on this from the DCCC.

Note that Amy Walter is quoted as saying that the Cook Political Report will keep the race in OH-18 rated a tossup for now.

"Ney's Exit Shakes Up GOP Ticket," Columbus Dispatch. LINK

"As Allies Stood Aside, Ney's Options Shriveled," Columbus Dispatch reports that critical Democratic ad campaigns coupled with an inability to fundraise led to Ney's abrupt withdrawal yesterday. LINK

"Ohio Republican Tied to Abramoff Will Retire," the New York Times on Rep. Ney's pullout from re-election, giving the GOP party "a better shot at hanging onto his seat." LINK

"Trouble for Ney Began at 2004 Indian Affairs Hearing," Roll Call Notes that Ney's troubles began with the November 2004 hearing of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee in which Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) linked him with former lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

ABC News/Washington Post poll:

"There are new warning flares for Republicans in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll: Fifty-three percent of Americans call themselves "anti-incumbent," and the fewest since 1994 approve of their own representative's performance in Washington," writes ABC News Polling Director Gary Langer.

"Anti-incumbency is as high now as it was in summer 1994, before the last election in which control of Congress changed hands. And it peaks not just among Democrats and liberals, but among traditional swing voters as well. Sixty-one percent of independents, for example, say they're anti-incumbent this year."

"The danger for Republicans is underscored by their deficit in vote preference. Fifty-two percent of registered voters say if the election were today they'd support the Democrat in their congressional district, 39 percent the Republican -- steady for nine months running. Among anti-incumbent voters, nearly two-thirds support Democrats for the House."

"House Incumbents At Risk, Poll Finds," the Washington Post's Peter Baker and Claudia Deane. LINK

2006: landscape:

"GOP Leaders Are Hoping to Turn the War Into a Winner," the GOP strategy memo that the Los Angeles Times obtained cites the Iraq war proving to be an advantage for Republican candidates and suggested they emphasize "foreign threats" and "national security issues." LINK

"Iraq War Shaping Midterm Election," the Associated Press. LINK

"Congress full of fortunate sons -- and other relatives," USA Today on Congress boasting more sons and relatives of governors and other elected officials than ever, and the number might expand after November. LINK

"Republican Candidates Increase Share of Business PAC Donations," Bloomberg News on businesses "wagering" on continued GOP control of Congress rather than "hedging" their bets with Democrats. LINK

2006: House:

"4th District Democrats Fight Down to the Wire," Atlanta Journal-Constitution on the heated race between incumbent Rep. Cynthia McKinney and challenger Hank Johnson. LINK

"Congresswoman Is in Unforeseen Struggle for Seat," the Los Angeles Times Notes that some voters are fed up with Rep. McKinney's talk and many Georgia Democrats worry that she may be a political liability. LINK

"The stakes today: two House seats," the Rocky Mountain News ed board on the closely watched 7th congressional district and the new electronic vote centers in Denver and Douglas county. LINK

"Democrats Are Ready to Help Save Social Security," House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) in a letter to the editor of the Washington Post. LINK

"Lawmaker to seek 2nd District post: Marrero hopeful cites probe of incumbent," the New Orleans Times-Picayune on Rep. Jefferson (D-LA) appearing to have himself a challenger for his seat. LINK

2006: Senate:

"The Power of 5: A Predicted 19% Turnout Today Means 1 Voter Will Have More Clout," Detroit Free Press on today's Michigan primary. LINK

"'Pathetic' Turnout Predicted," Detroit News. LINK

"Santorum Campaign Perseveres Despite a Couple of Breakdowns," Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. LINK

"Talent, McCaskill agree to televised debate," the Kansas City Star reporting that Sen. Jim Talent and Democratic rival Claire McCaskill plan to debate on "Meet the Press" in October. LINK

"McCaskill, Talent spend election night on opposite sides of state," the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. LINK

"Keep Senate race honorable," a Tennessean editorial implores voters, politicians, and the media to keep the upcoming Senate race between Rep. Harold Ford Jr. (D-TN) and GOP opponent Bob Corker dignified, as it will be the seat that replaces Dr./Leader/Sen. Bill Frist. LINK

"Sparks fly at Senate forum," the Herald Tribune Notes that Rep. Katherine Harris (R-FL) "went on the defensive" at a forum yesterday as opponent Will McBride demanded an apology for a racially charged comment made by a Harris supporter. LINK

"Steele Fleshes Out His Positions on the Iraq War, Immigration and Other Issues," the Washington Post. LINK

2006: Governor:

"In Governors' Races, Top Issues Get Test," AP. LINK

In the Florida gubernatorial contest, Sen. McCain endorsed Attorney General Charlie Crist's campaign for Governor, per a Crist campaign press release. Sen. McCain plans to campaign across the Sunshine State with Crist in mid-August, per the campaign. LINK and LINK

"Beauprez wins as plan fails," the Denver Post on Initiative 88 not ending up on November's ballot as positive for GOP candidate Bob Beauprez. The issue over taxpayer refunds could have possibly split the Republican Party. LINK

"Strayhorn data show state staff used for campaign," Houston Chronicle on Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn's use of public employees to prepare her appearances as an independent gubernatorial candidate. LINK

"Candidates rip GOP education policy," Boston Globe on a forum yesterday attended by all Massachusetts gubernatorial candidates but Republican Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey (R-MA). LINK

"Women's groups unsure of Healey," Boston Globe on the ostensibly pro-choice Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey's (R-MA) refusal to fill out women's groups' questionnaires. LINK

"How to make an elephant disappear," a New York Daily News op-ed point out that New York Republicans "head for the hills" rather than support GOP candidate John Faso, who's running against clear frontrunner Eliot Spitzer. LINK

"Terrace Hill rivals support increasing state's minimum wage," the Des Moines Register on some common ground found between Jim Nussle and Chet Culver. LINK

"Topinka serves up `taste' of agenda: Public works, school spending top her list, but details to come," the Chicago Tribune. LINK


"Contempt for Congress," Washington Post's David Broder. LINK

Broder has Gov. Huckabee calling the refusal of the GOP leadership to reconcile the House and Senate immigration bills "dysfunctional," Gov. Romney's wife, Ann, likening the spectacle of Congress to "two guys in a canoe that is headed for the falls" hitting each other with their paddles, and Gov. Richardson saying that Congress has gone from "unresponsive to hopeless."

We are quite certain that Gov. Richardson will smile broadly when he sees David Broder put his name in print for the second time in as many days in the Dean's NGA coverage.

"Poll: Giuliani Tops Sen. Clinton for '08," the Associated Press on the potential battle for the Empire State's electoral votes. LINK

2008: Republicans:

"Aide insists Romney is just being civil," Boston Globe on Gov. Mitt Romney's (R-MA) reference to the Civil War as the war of "Northern aggression" at a South Carolina cocktail hour. LINK

"Allen on tour to woo voters," the Washington Times on Sen. George Allen (R-VA) "embarking on a multiweek tour of the commonwealth" to depict himself "as an outsider more comfortable with 'all ya'll' than Beltway insiders." LINK

"Allen's 'Listening Tour' Puts Him on Familiar Path," the Daily Press on Sen. Allen's statewide campaign travels yesterday. LINK

"Road Trip Lands Allen in Area," the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star. LINK

"Heavy hitter," the Washington Times on President Bush's expected Aug. 23 appearance at a private fundraiser for Sen. Allen at the home of former RNC Chairman Ed Gillespie. LINK

"Just Like Others Considering a Presidential Bid, Pataki Unveils a National Energy Plan," the New York Times. LINK

"Gov fuels Prez campaign with energy plan," the New York Daily News on Gov. Pataki's national energy plan. LINK

"Pataki's Energy Plan," the AP. (No mention of those TWU local 100 hecklers.) LINK

2008: Democrats:

"Hil praises doc she's blocking as FDA chief," the New York Daily News Notes that despite Sen. Clinton's praise of the FDA chief nominee, she said she'd continue to block Dr. Eschenbach's confirmation until the FDA decides whether or not to approve the non-prescription sale of Plan B. LINK

"Iowa governor stumps for candidates in Ohio," the Youngstown Vindicator on Gov. Tom Vilsack's (D-IA) recent visit. LINK

"Richardson's loyalty: Sweet on NH, but still seeing Nevada," the Union Leader questions Gov. Bill Richardson's (D-NM) omission of a pledge to campaign in New Hampshire instead of Nevada during a New Hampshire appearance last week. LINK

The Clintons of Chappaqua:

"Open season out east: Clintons to hit Hamptons during the height of Dems' annual fundraising blitz," Newsday. LINK

"Demand Better Health Care, Clinton Urges," the Cleveland Plain Dealer on former President Bill Clinton's keynote address at the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists convention. LINK

The Schwarzenegger Era:

"Governor in Talks With Tribe Over Expanding Gambling," the Los Angeles Times on Governator agreeing to a tentative deal, which would allow a frequent critic of his -- the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians -- to open up a third casino in the Palm Springs area. LINK

"Angelides Unveils Reform Plan," the Los Angeles Times on Schwarzenegger opponent's plan to restrict political corruption. LINK

"Angelides calls Schwarzenegger big-time pal of business," San Francisco Chronicle on the California gubernatorial race. LINK

Politics of immigration:

"Immigration march targets Hastert," the Chicago Tribune reporting that two immigration marches planned for Chicago are aimed to pressure the Speaker to move the immigration debate forward. LINK