The Note: How The West Was Won (Or Lost)

Oct 27, 2010 9:09am


THE MAP TO NOV. 2. Republicans and Democrats agree that it's tight as a tick in Colorado where Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet is battling GOP challenger Ken Buck. Recent polls out of the Rocky Mountain State show the race in a dead heat. The Nevada contest between Sen. Harry Reid and Republican Sharron Angle also remains close as both sides continue to trade sharp attacks in the final week of campaigning. Democrats are banking on a robust ground game effort in the state, with a major assist from labor unions, and AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka was there on Tuesday to stump for Reid: "Do it for Harry Reid! He's our champion," Trumka said, adding: "Harry Reid knows what he's doing. He knows what we need — and how to deliver it."

In California where virtually every major Democratic surrogate has gone over the last week, Sen. Barbara Boxer is holding on to a lead against Republican Carly Fiorina, but there’s still time for a comeback. That’s what the National Republican Senatorial Committee was hoping earlier this week when they poured an additional $3 million into the California race. Politico’s Molly Ball hears: “At the heart of the GOP investment is a belief that the race is much closer than Tuesday’s Public Policy Polling survey, which showed Boxer up 52-43, or last week’s Los Angeles Times poll that gave the incumbent an 8-point lead.” ( One wild card in the race is Fiorina’s hospitalization for complications from breast cancer reconstructive surgery, which has temporarily taken her off the campaign trail. Fiorina's chief of staff Deborah Bowker said in a statement on Tuesday that Fiorina won’t be gone long. “While this will impact her campaign schedule today, Carly is upbeat and her doctors expect her to make a quick and full recovery and be back out on the campaign trail soon,” Bowker said in a statement. (

And it’s all Wild, Wild West in Alaska. Democratic and Republican sources see incumbent senator and write-in candidate Lisa Murkowski looking strong against Republican challenger Joe Miller and Democrat Scott McAdams, however at least one political operative in the state expects that we'll be waiting until early December before we have a winner.

ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, Amy Walter and John Berman talk to Nate Silver of the New York Times about the Alaska race and other tight Senate contests on the “Good Morning America” political pre-game show #GMA645 today.

BILL’S CRYTAL BALL. In an exclusive interview with ABC’s Jonathan Karl on Tuesday, former President Bill Clinton, who has been a tireless campaigner on behalf of Democrats this election season, weighed in on the midterm landscape. "If we want it bad enough to go out there and work for it, I think we'll get it," Clinton told Karl. "This is the largest number of close races I've ever seen across America. I've never seen it like this." More from Karl’s conversation with Clinton, who was campaigning in Chicago on behalf of Senate candidate Alexi Giannoulias: “The former president said Democrats are having a hard time getting their message out, in part, because the news media focuses more on politics than on the substantive differences between candidates. He said he can relate to President Obama's troubles. ‘Anybody who has ever been there will tell you how hard it is to get a fact-based message out,’ Clinton said. ‘It's what happened to me in '94. When you get in, you want to do things,’ he said. ‘There's almost an inverse relationship in how much you accomplish and what people know about it.’”

CLOSING ARGUMENTS. It’s that time of the election season again. Candidates are making their final pitches to voters on the stump and in television commercials, hoping that the messages they send in the last days of the campaign is what will stick with voters at the ballot box. We’ll be taking a look at some of those “closing arguments” this week:

Marco Rubio: The Florida Republican Senate candidate, who is up by double-digits in the latest polls, unveiled a two-minute video on Tuesday that looks more like a kick-off for a presidential run. You need to go 292 words into the ad before you even hear Rubio mention that he’s running for the Senate. “America’s the greatest country in the world. But it didn’t get that way by accident. And it won’t stay that way automatically. Every single generation before us has been asked to make sacrifices. Some went to war. Others survived depressions. But every American generation confronted the great challenges of their time, and because they did, we live the life we do today,” Rubio says in the ad. “If we stay on this road Washington has us on right now, we will risk the essence of what makes us exceptional. We will lose what makes us unique.”

Earl Pomeroy: The North Dakota Congressional candidate sounds downright apologetic in a new television spot.  “I know I’ve disappointed you with a vote here or there,” Pomeroy says in the spot. “But you can always count on the fact that I do what I do for the right reason.” One of the votes he is referring to would surely be the one he cast in favor of the Obama administration-backed health care reform bill. One of the votes he is referring to would surely be the one he cast in favor of the Obama administration-backed health care reform bill.  “I’m not Nancy Pelosi, I’m not Barack Obama,” he says. “My opponent says I’ve gone Washington. Well, I have traveled — home to North Dakota every weekend and eight times to Afghanistan and Iraq for briefings and to support our troops.”

Joe Manchin: The West Virginia Senate candidate calls his opponent John Raese’s ideas “crazy” in a television ad he released on Tuesday. The ad features clips of Raese saying: "I don't agree with minimum wage” and "We don't need the Department of Education." The ad’s narrator does not mince words: "John Raese's ideas are crazy."

ON THE TRAIL: President Obama spends another day at the White House today. This afternoon he tapes an interview for the “Daily Show” with Jon Stewart for tonight’s broadcast — three days before Stewart's “Rally to Restore Sanity” in Washington this weekend. Vice President Joe Biden is on the road in Philadelphia this morning to headline a rally for Democratic Congressional candidate Bryan Lentz.


Don’t miss even more exclusive political insights from ABC’s Amy Walter, George Stephanopoulos  and John Berman on the “Good Morning America,” pre-game show, #GMA645.


ON TODAY’S “TOP LINE”:  ABC’s Rick Klein welcomes Arizona Senate candidate Rodney Glassman, a Democrat who is running in long-shot bid against GOP Sen. John McCain. “Top Line” also features National Journal’s White House Managing Editor Matthew Cooper. Watch “Top Line” LIVE at 12:00 p.m. Eastern.


Keep your eye on ABC’s updated House, Senate and governor’s race maps right here:


UPDATED ABC iPAD APP IS HERE: The update to the ABC News iPad app includes some great election features including an interactive map that will show real time results on election night and the "What If?" game in which user can select the races they think could tip the balance of power in the House and Senate.  You can start the game with ABC news race ratings and then predict your own winners and losers. On election night continue to play along, and watch the returns come in. How to get it? Download the app free from the iTunes store.



THE SPENDING EDGE. Despite all the talk of outside group spending in this election cycle, especially on behalf of GOP candidates, Democratic candidates are spending big, according to the New York Times’ Michael Luo and Griff Palmer, who crunched the numbers: “Even with a recent surge in fund-raising for Republican candidates, Democratic candidates have outraised their opponents over all by more than 30 percent in the 109 House races The New York Times has identified as in play. And Democratic candidates have significantly outspent their Republican counterparts over the last few months in those contests, $119 million to $79 million.”

MILLER TIME. Alaska GOP Senate candidate Joe Miller will be getting some high-profile help on Thursday in the form of a visit from former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and her husband, Todd. The pair will headline a rally for Miller on Thursday in Anchorage. Mike Huckabee, Rep. Michele Bachmann and Sen. Jim DeMint will also reportedly appear at the rally by video.

CALLING IT IN. ABC’s Ann Compton reports: “With a hip hop beat playing in the background, President Obama called into a Dallas urban radio station this morning, bluntly appealing to Democrats to vote early which is allowed in Texas. And at the prodding of host Rickey Smiley, an Obama supporter, the President speculated on how he might govern if Republicans score big gains in Congress next week.‘My hope is at some point, once the election’s over, Republicans are less focused on  trying to score political and more focused on getting stuff done for the people,” he answered. “All I can do  is keep on reaching out to them  offering them opportunities to work with me.’


THE NUMBER: 9,000 miles

The distance of the roundtrip flight between Hawaii and Washington, DC, which Republican Rep. Charles Djou makes every week. As ABC’s Joshua Miller reports, Djou is locked in a tighter-than-expected race with Democratic challenger Colleen Hanabusa in the home state of President Obama, which he won by more than 70 percent in 2008. From Miller’s report: “No incumbent candidate for federal office in Hawaii, Democrat or Republican, has ever lost in the history of the state — so Djou has history on his side. But Democrats are quick to point to the fact that President Obama won the district — which includes the President's hometown of Honolulu — with more than two-thirds of the vote in 2008. … Political prognosticators say despite the Democratic makeup of the district, the race is truly a toss-up.”



@PoliticalTicker: "Sink's debate text explanation in doubt" -

@NRSC: AP – Poll: Toomey reasserts lead in Pa.'s Senate race - #pasen

@HowardKurtz: Who grabs the most credit for the GOP comeback: Tea Party, Palin, Steele, Haley, Beck? Obama? I ask the insiders.

@ChristineOD: Really? It’s NOT about the economy? It is about the economy and whether or not we'll send yes men to Washington. #desen

@AriFleischer: Wow. I met House R cand Allen West (FL-22, PalmBeach, Boca) last night. Ret Army Lt. Col, runs on American exceptionalism/honor. Impressive



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