November 4, 2006


Poll: Burns, Tester in dead heat (CHARLES S. JOHNSON, 11/04/06, Billings Gazette)

After months of campaigning and millions of dollars of advertising, it all comes down to this: Republican Sen. Conrad Burns and Democratic challenger Jon Tester are running dead even, a new Gazette State Poll shows.

A telephone poll of 625 registered and likely Montana voters shows each man favored by 47 percent of respondents. Five percent of the voters are undecided, while Libertar-ian Stan Jones was the pick of 1 percent.

Conrad Burns, Survivor?: GOP control of the Senate is hanging by a thread, and the thread may be Conrad Burns. (Byron York, 11/03/06, National Review)
On Thursday, Burns got the biggest help of all, when President Bush visited Billings, drawing a big, enthusiastic crowd. The president got a lot of applause when he emphasized — pretty late in the game for some GOP strategists — the issue of federal judges and what would happen to the confirmation process should Democrats win control of the Senate. “I want you to hear this loud and clear,” Bush told the crowd. “If the Democrats controlled the Senate, John Roberts would not be the chief justice today. He’d still be waiting for the Democrats to give him a hearing for his seat on the Court of Appeals. If the people of Montana want good judges, judges who will not legislate from the bench, judges like John Roberts and Sam Alito, you vote for Conrad Burns for the United States Senate.” That’s the kind of message that works well in Montana.

To say that Burns supporters were grateful for the Bush visit would be an understatement. There’s been a lot of talk this year about states where GOP candidates might not benefit from a presidential visit. Montana isn’t one of them. Burns has also benefited from appearances by Vice President Dick Cheney, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, and other Senate colleagues Mike Crapo, John Thune, Larry Craig, Ted Stevens, Pat Roberts, and others.

Tester hasn’t had that sort of high-profile, come-to-Montana support from top Democrats. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid hasn’t been there in a long time. John Kerry hasn’t been around. Nor have stars like Barack Obama. It’s true that Obama did attend a fundraiser for Tester last week — one that raised about $300,000 — but it was held in San Francisco, not Montana, and Tester traveled to the home of Susie Tompkins Buell, a major donor to liberal causes, to attend. Tester has also received money from Democratic senators like Barbara Boxer and Democratic wannabe senator Al Franken. He has also collected a lot of small donations from so-called “netroots” activists; he is a particular favorite of the Berkeley-based DailyKos website.

All that has created an opening for Burns to criticize Tester, with some merit, as the darling of out-of-state liberals who want to support his candidacy but don’t want to hurt it by actually showing up in Montana. “His friends are too liberal for Montana,” says Klindt. “Why won’t he bring Ted Kennedy to Montana? We’d love to see Ted Kennedy. What about John Kerry?”

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 4, 2006 9:24 AM

Someone should ask Montanans why Kerry 'owns' a retreat in CO but not in MT. After all, Ted Turner owns a ranch in MT, and lots of other 'trendy' clelebrities do, too.

Burns should run an ad showing Tester flying around to Hollywood, New York, the Bay area, and elsewhere, filling his pockets with money. And then just show the state outline, and ask the question - "where's Jon? - he didn't pay the proper taxes here, and he doesn't fund-raise here. Why does he want to be your Senator?"

If Chafee is the only incumbent Republican Senator to lose on Tuesday, Tim Russert is going to have to use a lot of red on his whiteboard. And Katie will be wearing black on Weds. night.

Posted by: jim hamlen at November 4, 2006 10:37 AM

Expect a bunch of these stories about various Republican Senators/Senate hopefuls who were dead and buried by both the Lefty press and the "conservative base."

I haven't made my picks above for the election, since I'm unsure about the House -- tho I think it'll end up closer to the status quo than to a Dem majority -- but I would not at all be surprised to see the Republicans actually increase there majority. We may lose Ohio and even Penn, tho I think Santorum might just pull it out, but Maryland and NJ seem ripe for us, and it's hard to see Montana or Mizzou going blue.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at November 4, 2006 12:24 PM

Jim - to your point saw elsewhere several people arguing that the polls, due to the GOTV and the way the polls are being calculated, are understating GOP by about 3-5%. If true then the GOP holds MO, VA, MT and picks up MD and NJ. PA and OH would be close. MI and even WA (recent poll had McGavick almost within MOE) become possible pickups. RI (based on some bloggers) is supposedly getting tight and could stay GOP. MN seems too far out but if Pawlenty has a good night it might trickle down.

I'm staying at -2 GOP senate above but hopefully that turns out to be too pessimistic.

Posted by: AWW at November 4, 2006 1:01 PM

Jim, I don't think Kerry even owns his own shoes, never mind the CO real estate. Don't you remember during the campaign when asked about his $8,000 bicycle, he said it belonged to the family aka Teresa. Ditto the SUV's and other toys.

I believe she put his name on the Boston house, so he could borrow against it for campaign funds to be repaid by contributions.

I'm surprised she hasn't dumped him by now. He's obviously not going to be president and he can't stop looking stupid and saying stupid things, so why is she keeping him around?

Posted by: erp at November 4, 2006 2:04 PM