The Note: Results Matter

WASHINGTON, Sep. 13

With a hot-off-the presses ABC News poll showing that terrorism has inched up in importance in the 2006 midterm elections (raise your hand if you are surprised), here's what you need to know about Tuesday's primary results:

Rhode Island GOP Senate primary - 99% reporting

Lincoln Chafee 54%

Stephen Laffey 46%

New York DEM Senate primary - 99% reporting

Hillary Clinton 83%

Jonathan Tasini 17%

Maryland DEM Senate primary - 93% reporting

Ben Cardin 46%

Kweisi Mfume 38%

AZ-08 GOP primary - 99% reporting

Randy Graf 43%

Steve Huffman 37%

AZ-08 DEM primary - 99% reporting

Gabrielle Giffords 54%

Patty Weiss 31%

Rhode Island:
Sen. Lincoln Chafee's (R-RI) win over Cranston Mayor Steve Laffey dealt the Democrats a setback in their uphill climb to take back control of the Senate. Whereas the NRSC was prepared to concede Rhode Island to the Democrats if Laffey had prevailed, polls show Sen. Chafee running about even with Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse. If nothing else, Tuesday's results showed that the RNC's 72-hour program is alive and well. It also showed that Dan Ronayne can sell anything -- even an anti-Bush, anti-tax cut, anti-Iraq war, anti-Alito, anti-putting-Osama-Bin-Laden-to-death Senator. Rhode Island voters: get ready for a steady diet of 41, FFLOTUS, Sen. McCain, and FLOTUS.

New York:
Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) nearly cleared the 85.3% anti-anti-war bar set by The Note yesterday. Having vanquished Jonathan Tasini, she now faces the equally daunting task of defeating former Yonkers Mayor John Spencer in November. The question that answers itself: how much will the New York and national media give a megaphone to any outrageous charge Spencer makes, by web video, press release, or carrier pigeon?

Maryland:
Rep. Ben Cardin's (D-MD) win over former NAACP head Kweisi Mfume should strengthen the Democrats hand in November against the GOP's candidate, Lt. Gov. Michael Steele (R-MD).

AZ-08:
NRCC Chairman Tom Reynolds (R-NY) has identified Arizona's eighth congressional district as one of the three toughest seats for Republicans to hold onto in 2006--and that was before immigration hard-liner Randy Graf beat Steve Huffman, the NRCC's preferred candidate.

Minnesota:
By winning the Democratic nomination for an open House seat in a reliably Democratic Minnesota district, state Rep. Keith Ellison is expected to become the first Muslim in Congress.

Big picture:
Democrats need to worry that low-turnout in a lot of places suggests that there may not be a tsunami building for November. And in New York, can a likely top of the ticket sweep help Democrats put more U.S. House races in play?

President Bush attends an RNC fundraiser at the Evermay mansion in Georgetown which is expected to raise $850,000. The President will be introduced by RNC Chair Ken Mehlman.

According to one House Democratic official, Rep. Murtha today plans "to speak on the war's negative impact on military readiness and will announce plans to introduce a no confidence resolution on Rumsfeld."

At 10:45 am ET, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid hold a press conference with national security experts following a meeting at the U.S. Capitol. Former Clinton Secretary of State Madeline Albright, former Supreme Allied Commander Europe of NATO and retired U.S. Army General Wesley Clark and former Carter National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski will speak to the group and make remarks to the media following the meeting.

Providing a convenient peg for anyone to look at the Connecticut House races, Rep. Chris Shays (R-CT) holds his second hearing on "Iraq: What Will It Take to Achieve National Reconciliation?" in Rayburn 2154.

Meanwhile, the DCCC's A-list is coming to DC for a "March to the Majority" reception at the Sewall-Belmont House on Capitol Hill. They will also be meeting with the House Democratic caucus, DCCC staff, and the AFL-CIO.

Rep. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) unveils a new progressive vision on "Health Care for All," Washington, DC.

Former Gov. Mark Warner (D-VA) hosts a fundraiser for his Forward Together PAC, in New York, NY.

All the "Mortgage Moms" out there will want to keep an eye on a 10:00 am ET "Housing Bubble and the Economy" hearing being held by the Senate Banking Committee in Dirksen 538.

An 11:00 am ET rally is planned on the West Front of the Capitol with members of Congress, business leaders, and others to demand that border security be paired with immigration reform. Commerce Secretary Carols Gutierrez and NALEO officials hold an 11:00 am ET press conference on immigration reform on the Cannon Terrace.

Earlier today, NRSC Chair Elizabeth Dole (R-NC) was slated to address Women Impacting Public Policy at the Hyatt Regency in Washington, DC. Amy Walter of the Cook Political Report speaks to the same group at 10:15 am ET.

The New America Foundation holds a 2:30 pm ET discussion with George Soros on "The Age of Fallibility."

The Georgetown University Law Center holds an address, "The Feminist Case Against Abortion." Serrin M. Foster, president of Feminists for Life of America participates.

Gubernatorial candidate Phil Angelides (D-CA) will be Sam Donaldson's guest on ABC News Now's "Politics Live" at 1:35 pm ET. The Schwarzenegger campaign is charging "improper and unethical behavior" on the part of the Angelides campaign in its role in obtaining and leaking to the media a controversial audio recording of Gov. Schwarzenegger. How will Angelides respond to those charges? Be sure to tune into ABC News Now's "Politics Live" at 1:35 pm ET. LINK

The Senate resumes consideration of the port security bill (HR 4954). The first vote will occur at 12:15 p.m. Further votes are possible throughout the day.

The House meets at 10:00 am ET to consider HR 4893 to amend Section 20 of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act to restrict off-reservation gambling, to consider:

ABC News poll:
ABC News is out with a new poll this morning that will likely bring smiles to (or at least ease the grimaces and furrowed brows of) the faces of those Republican donors the President plans to address at Evermay today. The new poll numbers should also provide some good fodder for the President when he heads to the Hill tomorrow to pump up the Republican conference.

"Terrorism has inched up in importance in the 2006 midterm elections and Republicans have regained an edge in trust to handle it – helping George W. Bush's party move closer to the Democrats in congressional vote preference," writes ABC News' Polling Director Gary Langer.

"The Republicans lead the Democrats in trust to handle terrorism by 48-41 percent among registered voters in this ABC News poll, a flip from a seven-point Democratic advantage last month. And 16 percent now call terrorism the top issue in their vote, a slight five-point gain."

"The Republicans' edge on handling terrorism is still vastly below their 35-point lead on the issue heading into the 2002 midterm elections. But it's still their best issue – the one Bush rode to re-election. And part of their gain is among independents, the key swing voters in any election: They now split between the parties in trust to handle terrorism, after favoring the Democrats by nine points last month."

Tuesday's primaries: overview:

On "Good Morning America," ABC News' Jake Tapper said, "A few weeks ago the political landscape looked a lot scarier for Republicans and incumbents, but two things have changed. One, voters have started paying more attention after Labor Day -- and two, the White House and Republicans have started making a more aggressive case. Now, Democrats still have a pretty good chance of capturing the House, but get ready. . . for a nasty bitter election season."

Tapper also filed for ABCNews.com. LINK

"Mr. Chafee's victory, with 53 percent of the vote, dealt the Democrats a big setback in their bid for control of the Senate," reports the New York Times in its primary day wrap which also includes a the Graf victory in Arizona, the Ellison victory in Minnesota, and the results in Maryland. LINK

Primary results: Rhode Island:

The middle ground won against the test of the "country's politics of polarization" according to Robert Tanner of the Associated Press, although his broad thematic did not sweep up, say, every House race in, say, Arizona. LINK

USA Today's Susan Page writes that Chafee channeled his "maverick record to appeal to independent voters," who helped buoy him to victory against Steve Laffey. LINK

The Providence Journal reports that the Rhode Island GOP came out in record numbers yesterday, resulting in another win for Sen. Chafee in the Republican primary against Laffey. The article predicts that Chafee's race against the similarly pedigreed Sheldon Whitehouse will be a "WASP preppy political Olympics." LINK

Whitehouse experienced his own exciting victory, running away with nearly 82% of the vote. LINK

Per the Washington Post's Shailagh Murray and Zachary A. Goldfarb, Democrats believe Chafee "compromised his general election chances by waging a negative campaign marked by pointed attack ads and by accepting such high-profile Republican Party help." LINK

Amy Fagan of the Washington Times reports that former Pennsylvania Senate candidate and current Club for Growth President Pat Toomey said the strength of Laffey's challenge "shows that the power of our ideas will be an influential factor in this election cycle." LINK

Chafee's win was in large part due to the Republican committees' $1million in negative ads, but the Wall Street Journal points out that it remains unclear if the GOP can spend that sizable amount to defend a growing list of contested incumbent elections in the general election. LINK

As for that 264-hour program, one RNC official Notes this morning that the RNC made 198,000 voter contacts in the 11 days leading up to the primary.

Primary results: New York:

"By performing strongly among a liberal, antiwar primary electorate, [Sen. Clinton] showed that her vote for military action in Iraq in 2002 did not damage her political standing as it did with Senator Joseph I. Lieberman," writes Pat Healy of the New York Times of Clinton's 83 percent vs. 17 percent victory. LINK

Anne Kornblut of the New York Times writes up Sen. Clinton's low-key primary day. LINK

Former Yonkers Mayor John Spencer defeats K.T. McFarland in the Republican primary to take on Sen. Clinton in November. LINK

Andrew Cuomo handily beat Mark Green by 20 points in their battle for the Democratic nomination for state attorney general. Jonathan Hicks of the New York Times reports Green said he will never again run for office. LINK

Yvette Clarke wins the contentious primary in NY-11 -- which is tantamount to winning the seat -- with 31 percent of the vote, likely sending a black woman to Congress to fill the seat once held by the first black woman elected to Congress, Shirley Chisholm. Here's the New York Times with more. LINK

The New York Observer's Steve Kornacki Notes Mike Dukakis' advice for Sen. Clinton in confronting "The Question": "If she has any intention of at least considering a run for President, she's got to be open and honest about it." LINK

The New York Observer's Jason Horowitz on Jennifer Cunningham's key role in revamping Andrew Cuomo's image and campaign. LINK

"Turnout was a miniscule 13 percent among registered Democrats," write Fred Dicker and Stephanie Gaskell of the New York Post. LINK

The New York Daily News reports that John Spencer refused to take K.T. McFarland's concession phone call. LINK

Primary results: Arizona:

In this marquee race, Graf got 43.2 percent to Huffman's 37.2 percent.

The DCCC's Burton reacted to the AZ-08 results by saying: "This is obviously an embarrassment for national Republicans. A lot has been made about Randy Graf's extremist views on a lot of issues. But the thing that may haunt him most is his support for the elimination of Medicare."

The Democratic candidate will be Gabrielle Giffords.

AP: "Arizona GOP Primary Won by Conservative" LINK

More from CQ: LINK

Azcentral.com reports that the race between Democrats Don Chilton and Herb Paine in AZ-03 is still too close despite 99.6% precincts reporting. Herb Paine currently trails by only 24 votes with one precinct left to report. The Democratic candidate will face incumbent Rep. John Shadegg (R-AZ). LINK

Primary results: Maryland:

Rep. Cardin beat Mfume in the Democratic primary yesterday. Cardin will face Michael Steele (R-MD) in November. The Baltimore Sun article also cites a Wall Street Journal/Zogby Poll which shows Cardin beating Steele 49.4 percent to 40.2 percent. LINK

Washington Post: LINK

Washington Post: LINK

Washington Times: LINK

Primary results: New Hampshire:

Carol Shea-Porter defeated the DCCC's pick Jim Craig for New Hampshire's 1st U.S. House District in the Democratic primary. Despite raising one-fifth of the money Craig did, Shea-Porter upended Craig with a strong grass-roots campaign. Shea-Porter's political ambitions began when working on the Wesley Clark's 2004 presidential campaign. LINK

Primary results: Washington, DC:

The Washington Times: LINK

There are too many Washington Post stories to link to.

The DNC-DCCC deal:

They may not talk to one another; but they've reached a deal.

Working through the DNC's Tom McMahon and the DCCC's Karin Johanson, DNC Chairman Howard Dean and DCCC Chairman Rahm Emanuel (D-IL) have reached a deal whereby the DNC will contribute $60,000 for each of Emanuel's top 40 House races for a total of $2.4 million towards a DCCC field operation being headed up by the legendary Michael Whouley.

On top of the $2.4 million coming from the DNC, the DCCC plans to spend $6 million of its own money on Whouley's field operation.

Despite his "yeah, we're happy" talk in the New York Times, the DCCC's Bill Burton tells The Note: "Any party committee always wants more money. But the fact is we're going to have the money we need to get out the voters we need where we need them."

The DNC's $2.4 million contribution towards the DCCC's field operation is part of a larger $12 million in hard dollars that the DNC will be investing in coordinated campaigns and state parties to help Senate, gubernatorial, and state legislative candidates.

The New York Times' Adam Nagourney Notes that the RNC 'has said it will spend more than $30 million of the $176 million raised this cycle to finance Republican turnout efforts, most of it going to House and Senate races." LINK

The politics of 9/11:

With an entertaining lede, the New York Times' Hulse and Rutenberg explore the to and fro over the President's 9/11 speech and its fallout at both ends of Pennsylvania Ave. Be sure to Note Ron Bonjean's baldly open reminder about which party has determined the playing field. LINK

The Los Angeles Times' Wallsten looks at the Reid/Pelosi request for equal air time from the networks between now and the election and the continued controversy stemming from President Bush's 9/11 Oval Office address. LINK

Politics of warrantless wiretapping:

Sen. John Rockefeller (D-WV) will address Democrats' concerns about their efforts to oversee the NSA program in a speech today on the Senate floor, Notes the Washington Post's ageless Walter Pincus. LINK

Bush Administration agenda:

Per the Washington Post's Peter Baker, "President Bush said yesterday that he senses a 'Third Awakening' of religious devotion in the United States that has coincided with the nation's struggle with international terrorists, a war that he depicted as 'a confrontation between good and evil.'" LINK

2006: House:

The Wall Street Journal's David Rogers profiles Rep. Heather Wilson's (R-NM) efforts to win New Mexico's First District voters by proving her independence in this election's "two-part" test for the President.

Per the Washington Post's Jonathan Weisman, Rep. Wilson will stand by her bill's system of checks over the wiretapping program when the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence takes it up, putting herself at odds with House GOP leaders. LINK

ABC's Jake Tapper blogs about his trip to the Nutmeg State to evaluate the vulnerability of three key Republican House members. LINK

Christopher Keating of the Hartford Courant reports that former FLOTUS Barbara Bush raised $70,000 for embattled Rep. Chris Shays (R-CT) at a $100-per-person fundraiser in Stamford yesterday.

Said Mrs. Bush: "This is not going to be an easy election . . . There is no better example than Connecticut to show just how volatile an election year this is." LINK

The Washington Times says that Vernon Robinson, a long-shot candidate for a U.S. House seat from North Carolina who describes himself as a black Jesse Helms, invested $30,000 in the cable television spot that shows a pair of black hands crumpling a letter. "You needed that job," the ad says. "And you were the best qualified. But they gave it to an illegal alien so they could pay him under the table." It is almost identical to the 1990 ad that Helms used to beat Harvey Gantt. LINK

National Review's Ramesh Ponnuru pens a New York Times op-ed theorizing that Republicans losing the House in November could potentially provide a silver lining for conservatives. It is almost convincing. LINK

2006: Senate:

The Washington Times reports that tension is building on the Catholic University campus this week in Washington as the school prepares to welcome PA Dem Senate candidate Bob Casey to give the prestigious 38th annual Pope John XXIII Lecture tomorrow at the university's law school. LINK

Ned Lamont delivers a speech entitled "Real Security in a Dangerous World" kicking off a statewide security tour at 12:45 pm ET in New Haven, CT. He intends to continue to call for a timetable for withdrawal of American troops from Iraq and plans to hit Lieberman on his voting attendance record on Iraq related votes.

"President Bush failed in the execution of this war, and Senator Lieberman failed to hold him accountable. Since the start of the Iraq war, Senator Lieberman has missed more than half of all votes on the war," Lamont plans to say according to speech excerpts obtained by The Note.

According to Andrew Miga of the Associated Press, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) is sick of being blamed for "just about everything, maybe except the weather" by Ned Lamont (D-CT). LINK The Hartford Courant's Pazniokas and Lightman Note that Lamont is criticizing Sen. Lieberman for missing eight votes last week that included six on Iraq. LINK

According to Malia Rulon of the Cincinnati Enquirer, for a mere $10,000, you can have your photograph taken with President Bush when he fundraises for Sen. Mike DeWine (R-OH) on Sept 25. The only question then is how much more would you pay to include Sen. DeWine in that picture as he has "spoiled the Grand Old Party by scheduling no public appearances with the President." LINK

The Las Vegas Sun's Coolican and Mishak report that Democratic Senate hopeful Jack Carter benefited in one way from being hospitalized with colitis, with a visit from his former-President father: "The story line was heartwarming and easy to tell - humane former president visits sick son - and the result was a publicity jolt that's almost impossible to put a value on." LINK

But Coolican and Mishak Note less enthusiastically, "Still, the former president's presence raises questions about the viability of Jack Carter's challenge to Sen. John Ensign, the well-funded Republican incumbent. Namely, Carter is running largely on the strength of name recognition he's borrowing from a one-term president who lost Nevada three times and is no favorite of Republicans in the state."

2006: Governor:

With polls showing Deval L. Patrick's (D-MA) lead over Christopher F. Gabrieli (D-MA) and Thomas F. Reilly (D-MA) climbing, the campaign for the Democratic nomination for Massachusetts governor turned contentious yesterday. LINK

In the Texas gubernatorial race, Kinky Friedman (I-TX) is still recovering from his "crackheads and thugs" statement about Katrina evacuees in Houston. Critics say that he could lose the Black vote as a result. Friedman has released a new ad, which depicts him as a "Good Shepherd" of state government. LINK

The Schwarzenegger Era:

There is nothing more energizing than watching Steve Schmidt in high dudgeon. If not an Academy Award, the man at least deserves a Golden Globe.

"All in all, the day provided a stark illustration of the contrasting fortunes of Schwarzenegger and Angelides as the race for governor enters its final two months, with the governor largely on offense and his rival struggling to gain any attention at all," writes Michael Finnegan of Gov. Schwarzenegger's visit to a Latino marketplace to sign a minimum wage hike bill into law contrasted with the Angelides campaign holding a damage control press conference over the acquiring and leaking to the media a controversial audio recording of Gov. Schwarzenegger. LINK

"The episode is perhaps the singular snapshot of the sleepy governor's race, in which Mr. Schwarzenegger has trotted far ahead of Mr. Angelides but once again has found that his biggest liability can be the space between his nose and his chin," writes Jennifer Steinhauer of the New York Times. LINK

Mayor Michael Bloomberg (R-NYC) is heading to California next week and is scheduled to participate in a Schwarzenegger fundraiser, reports the New York Daily News' Michael Saul. LINK

Clintons of Chappaqua:

Former President Clinton met with bloggers from MyDD, DailyKos, Liberal Oasis, CarpetBagger, TalkLeft, and other Dem blogs in his Harlem office. LINK

2008: Republicans:

John Bresnahan of Roll Call Notes former Speaker Gingrich's efforts to legally challenge the raid of Rep. William Jefferson's (D-LA) Capitol Hill office. LINK

John J. Monahan of Telegram & Gazette describes Deval L. Patrick (D-MA) as a new challenge to Gov. Mitt Romney ruining issues of economy, health, and education while Gov. Romney "believes government doesn't have a role." LINK

2008: Democrats:

Frederic J. Frommer of the Associated Press discusses Sen. Russ Feingold's (D-WI) anger at President Bush's use of the phrase "Islamic fascists." While Sen. Feingold questions the reasoning for the President's rhetoric, the RNC labels his response as "overreaching political correctness." LINK

John Hood of Up and Coming Magazine wonders when someone is going to tell the Democrats that "Hillary Rodham Clinton" is the frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination. He analyzes the DNC's changes to the primary schedule to favor Sen. John Edwards (D-NC) as a South Carolina primary "sure is convenient." LINK

Matthew Murray of Roll Call discusses Sen. Joe Biden's (D-DE) frankness about running for President in 2008. Despite the "time honored tradition" of down-playing actual motives, Sen. Biden speaks "straight with voters."

GOP agenda:

Harold Meyerson writes in a Washington Post op-ed that the GOP party's alleged lack of ideas leaves them only with a "scaring and sliming" strategy. LINK

Baker on Bush:

In the forthcoming Texas Monthly, Evan Smith talks with James Baker about his new book, "Work Hard, Study. . .and Keep Out of Politics."

Asked if he ever remembers looking at George W. Bush at "any point" and "thinking, 'This guy could be president,'" the former Secretary of State says: "No, I don't remember. We all thought it was going to be Jeb." LINK

Literary corner:

After last night's Gotham City soiree for "Applebee's America" LINK (held appropriately enough, at the Times Square Applebee's), the Sosnik/Dowd/Fournier roadshow heads to Boston today for a David Gergen-moderated event at Harvard's Institute Politics LINK, where the book's research began. Thursday night, of course, the author trio comes to Washington, where a mobbed book party awaits them, complete with bipartisan bonhomie.