September 14, 2006


In R.I., a Model for Voter Turnout: Employing Senate Primary Strategy May Give GOP an Edge (Jim VandeHei and Chris Cillizza, 9/14/06, Washington Post)

The turnout campaign that Republican operatives used to help pull Sen. Lincoln D. Chafee to victory in the Rhode Island primary was a potent demonstration of how money and manpower can transform a race even in an unfavorable political environment -- and a preview of the strategy that national party officials say they plan to replicate in the most competitive House and Senate races over the next 55 days.

In the past two national elections, in 2002 and 2004, Republicans outperformed Democrats in bringing their backers to the polls, but many Democrats and independent analysts have suggested that the competition may be different this year, in part because of slumping morale among GOP activists. But Chafee's performance -- combined with reports of late-starting organization and internal bickering on the Democratic side -- suggest that the Republican advantage on turnout may remain intact even as many other trends are favoring the opposition.

The Republican National Committee, convinced that Chafee is the party's only chance of keeping a seat in a Democratic-leaning state, spent $400,000 to ship 86 out-of-state volunteers and several paid staff members to Rhode Island. They targeted not just Republicans but also independent voters during the final days of the campaign, following a blueprint developed months ago by the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the Chafee campaign.

The effort helped Chafee survive a spirited challenge from Cranston Mayor Stephen Laffey by boosting primary turnout to an all-time high.

Mehlman to spend $60M, five times Dean’s $12M (Alexander Bolton, 9/13/06, The Hill)
The Republican National Committee (RNC) will spend its entire bank account, $60 million or more, helping Republicans try to retain control of Congress in the midterm elections.

The looming spending spree appears to have spurred Democratic House leaders to reach agreement over how much the Democratic National Committee (DNC) will help counter this onslaught.

The relationship between the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) and DNC has been rocky. There is dispute over whether it took House Democratic Caucus Chairman James Clyburn’s (S.C.) intervention to broker the deal announced yesterday under which part of the DNC’s $12 million will be funneled to 40 House races.

Democrats are counting on voters to turn out because they're angry about gas prices, Terri Schiavo, gay marriage bans, New Orleans and spying on terrorists.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 14, 2006 8:21 AM

Dems probably figure they can take over the House to start impeachment hearings. With the news trending toward the GOP lately this seems even more unlikely.

Posted by: AWW at September 14, 2006 12:17 PM