Posted on | October 10, 2010 | 30 Comments
BOSTON — Just got back from Sean Bielat headquarters, where one volunteer said she’s starting to sense a “Scott Brown feeling” about the campaign against Barney Frank. Logged onto my e-mail and saw a tip to a Politico article about a race on the other side of the country:
Add Rep. Raul Grijalva to the growing list of Democratic worries this election season.
Party operatives say there’s increasing concern that the Arizona Democrat’s reelection bid could turn into a “sleeper” race for Republicans after Grijalva — responding to enactment of a tough new immigration law — called for an economic boycott of his own state amid a housing crisis and record unemployment.
Four Democratic sources from different parts of the country said that there is new attention to a race that was long considered in the bag.
And a recent poll, obtained by POLITICO, found that Grijalva and Republican challenger Ruth McClung, a real-life rocket scientist, were in a dead heat, even though Washington prognosticators have declared the deep-blue seat safely Democratic.
As they work to buttress their majority against a coming Republican storm, Democrats can ill afford to spend time or resources defending incumbents in seats where they should have a clear advantage. But the Grijalva seat potentially being in play is a sign of the increasingly expanding Republican playing field for the midterm elections. . . .
A couple weeks ago, when I first blogged about Ruth McClung’s campaign in AZ-7, it was basically as favor to an Arizona friend. Here was an excellent candidate running a g0od grassroots campaign and, as always, I love a scrappy underdog. Grijalva’s stupidity in calling for a boycott of his own state was so remarkable as to deserve another mention.
There was a chance for an against-the-odds upset but, honestly, I never expected to see a poll three weeks before Election Day showing a dead heat in AZ-7. Look at the data: Grijalva’s negatives are 47% against a positive of 39%, while Grijalva’s “deserves re-election” number is a mere 36% against 50% for “give new person a chance.” This is an incumbent in serious trouble.
To have these kind of results, when McClung reported a mere $16,000 cash on hand in early August — incredible!
Go give Ruth McClung $20 — do it now — but then come back while I tell you what this one poll, in one deep-blue district, means for the larger picture Nov. 2.
Three words: BIG RED WAVE.
Progressive pollster Nate Silver notes that an “uprecendented number” of House seats (87 in all) are now rated as competitive by the Cook Political Report — and AZ-7 isn’t even on Charlie Cook’s radar! So if a poll shows a “safe” Democrat in serious trouble against an underfunded challenger the “experts” haven’t even noticed, what percentage of those “competitive” Democratic seats will go Republican?
And how many more allegedly “safe” Democrats are actually in danger?
That’s the big story here. Barney Frank’s MA-4 seat isn’t on Charlie Cook’s radar, either, but Sean Bielat clearly has Barney on the defensive here. The only Massachusetts seats ranked by Cook are the open MA-10 seat (“leans Democrat,” with a no-name Democrat against Republican Jeff Perry) and MA-5 (“likely Democrat” with Republican Jon Golnik challenging Niki Tsongas).
If Bielat can beat Barney — and Barney seems to be sweating it now — then those Perry and Golnik will also be riding that Big Red Wave, here in Massachusetts where “Downtown Scotty Brown” already proved the Democrats can be beat. Just last night, thanks to my friend Pete Da Tech Guy, I interviewed three candidates — Bill Gunn in MA-1, Tom Wesley in MA-2, Marty Lamb in MA-3 — all of whom are running hard in districts that Scott Brown won in January.
If that Big Red Wave hits on Nov. 2, there are no “safe” Democrats. Ray McKinney could beat John Barrow in GA-12, Joel Demos could beat Keith Ellison in MN-5, Charles Lollar could beat Steny Hoyer in MD-5, John Dennis could beat Nancy Pelosi in CA-8.
Ace of Spades HQ points out that everyone can volunteer to make get-out-the-vote calls. But you can do a lot more than that. There are competitive races in every state and there are lots of “safe” Democrats who have scrappy grassroots underdog Republican challengers who might win, if they can catch a break or two. (Look at MA-6, where John Tierney was “safe” until his “Married to the Mob” scandal broke.) Find a Republican challenger near you, and volunteer to help their campaign. Or if you can’t do that, try to give $20 or $50 to a good candidate.
Back during the NY-23 campaign last year, I wrote a Hot Air Green Room post called, “Memo to the Grassroots: Stop Asking What You Can Do, and Start Doing What You Can.”
That’s the kind of balls-to-the-wall effort it will take to make that Big Red Wave come crashing ashore Nov. 2.
The GOP needs to pick up 40 seats to take the Speaker’s gavel away from Nancy Pelosi. But why stop at 40? Why not 50, 60, 70, 80? Why not push it to the max and hand Obama, Pelosi and Reid the biggest mid-term wipeout in American political history?
That Big Red Wave is you. Make it happen.
UPDATE: Just got off the phone with Sean Bielat. We only talked about 10 minutes. Then he had to go build more fuckin’ robots.
UPDATE II: Ace likes rocket science almost as much as he likes robots. Also, check the Memeorandum thread.