Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Election 2006: Some non-preliminary thoughts

One reason I've been sporadic in blogging lately is that this is an election year, and I try to do actual politics, instead of just writing about it. This is a busy season:

- Missouri's filing period for November's partisan elections ends today. The LP is fielding 20-odd candidates (down from a high of, I believe, 42), including congressional challengers in all nine districts. Last Friday, I accompanied Tamara Millay (and our sons) to Jefferson City so she could enter the race for 2nd District, US House of Representatives. I'm just starting in on her campaign site (I actually didn't expect her to run for some reason, so I'm late getting started).

- Local/municipal non-partisan elections are next week. Last weekend, I attended a local board of alderpersons candidate's "meet and greet" (hot dogs, chips and soda, that kind of thing). My neighbor is also running, and I'll be supporting her, but both candidates are very credible (they're also both write-ins -- the incumbent pulled a surprise and didn't seek re-election). I ran into the sitting county executive, my district's state senator, and a former state senator at the event (the mayor, too), which tells you how seriously people take their local politics in my town of 700-odd residents.

- The city's board has put their measure to eliminate the elected position of city marshal (and replace it with an appointed "compliance officer") on the ballot again, and I intend to beat it again, so that's several hours of door-to-door this weekend in my city -- and I plan to work another campaign in another city as well. Then, of course, I need to work the polling place on election day.

And the election cycle is just getting started, folks. It will die down just a bare bit after next Tuesday's elections, but not for long and not much. I'm already populating Tamara's campaign calendar with county fairs, local festivals, meetings of interest, and so forth, and pushing hard to get others to buy into my "laboratory precincts" idea in the 11th State House district/2nd Congressional District (so we have a four-tier slate to promote, including our statewide candidates, which is conveniently located in an area with lots of LP activism and near where the statewide candidates live).

Election results predictions:

- The Democrats currently have four seats to the Republicans' five in the US House delegation from Missouri. It's a bit of a long shot, but I believe that that can be reversed, and that the Democrats may even be able to make it 6-3, by taking the 6th and/or 9th districts.

- Unless something in the trend I'm seeing changes dramatically, Democrat Claire McCaskill is going to beat incumbent Republican Jim Talent like a drum in November, which will be a US Senate pickup for the Democrats.

- Blood is in the water, and even some Republican analysts now think the Dems may pick up 15 or more seats in the House to get a majority. I'm still not completely sold on that idea, but it isn't out of the realm of possibility. It took the GOP awhile, but they're finally sobering up and stopping their giggling about Howard Dean. His "50-state strategy" is working -- the number of "safe" Republican districts that can act as moneybags for closer contests has gone way down.

- Libertarian Party news takes longer to spread. There's a potential winning congressional race in a state I'm not going to name right now. In Texas, 2004 LP presidential candidate Michael Badnarik has raised more than $100,000 for his congressional campaign. I don't believe that race is winnable, but Badnarik's surprised me before. I do think that he has double-digit potential there (an independent who apparently spent little or no money in that district in 2004 polled 6%). Here in Missouri, we're well-set to maintain our ballot access (2% or more in a statewide race -- our auditor candidate should easily beat that, and if the Senate race turns into a blowout, our candidate may do it there, too), and may pull ahead of the usual LP vote range a bit in some areas.

- The Progressive Party (i.e. the Greens) is petititioning for ballot access. There are pros and cons in that for the LP. I believe the pros (additional exposure of Missourians to "third party" candidates, opportunities to work together on events that pull people away from the duopoly addiction) outweigh the cons (part of the non-ideological, knee-jerk "natural third party" vote will split between them and us). If nothing else, I regard the presence of other third parties on the Missouri ballot as a good measuring stick: Until we can beat the Dems and Reps, we can try to make ourselves sharper by outpolling our "equals").

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