The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Michelle Nunn Pulls a Grimes?

Posted on | October 16, 2014 | 22 Comments

Trouble for Democrats in Georgia:

Another Democratic Senate candidate has refused to say whether she voted for President Obama: This time it was Michelle Nunn in Georgia.
The same question has tripped up other red-state Democrats on the campaign trail. On two occasions over the past week, Kentucky’s Alison Lundergan Grimes has been panned for her refusal to answer the question, twice citing the “sanctity of the ballot box” as her reason for keeping mum.
Nunn was approached by a tracker who asked her if she voted for the president in 2008 or 2012. Nunn did not respond and kept walking towards the venue she was headed to. In the video captured, a member of her entourage faces the tracker and asks, “Would you leave her alone?”?

This could sabotage all hope for Democrats to maintain control of the Senate in next month’s election. After Grimes got “tripped up” over whether she voted for Obama, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee pulled its TV ads off the air in Kentucky. Although the Grimes campaign says they’ve still got plenty of money ($4 million), the DSCC move was a clear signal that Grimes’ blunder is viewed as a fatal error. There was only one TV debate between Grimes and Mitch McConnell, she blew it, and Democrats know she blew it. If we can now therefore say Mitch has got Kentucky in the bag, that changes the map in the Senate mid-term campaign.

As of today, 10 Senate races are rated toss-ups by Real Clear Politics, where the ratings are based on poll averages. Of those 10 seats, seven are held by Democrats and three by Republicans, while each party holds 46 seats rated either “likely” or “leaning.” If we rule out any unexpected meltdowns in one of those “likely/leaning” races, we see that the odds of a Republican takeover are roughly 2-to-1: The GOP must get to 51 seats to control a Senate majority; 46 seats are more or less locked up for them; and of the 10 “toss-ups,” 70% are held by Democrats, who are more that twice as vulnerable of losing half of those 10.

The seven toss-up states where the Senate seat is currently held by Democrats are: Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Louisiana, New Hampshire, and North Carolina.  The three toss-up states where the Senate seat is currently held by Republicans are: Georgia, Kansas and Kentucky. But as we have seen, Kentucky just started looking like a loser for Democrats; if so, that would effectively put Republicans at 47 seats; and what if Nunn’s blunder takes Georgia off the map?

Polls had shown Nunn, daughter of Georgia’s legendary Democrat Sen. Sam Nunn, gaining ground against Republican businessman David Perdue. The difficulty facing the GOP in Georgia is that Michelle Nunn doesn’t have a prior legislative record, so she can play the “moderate” card and thereby avoid debating any issue where Democrat policies are controversial. However, now the question is asked, “Did you vote for Obama?” She can’t run away from it, you see, and if she tries to run away from it, she looks like a phony.

It’s too early to tell whether Nunn can recover in Georgia, but if she can’t, a Perdue win there and a McConnell win in Kentucky — assuming all the “likely/leaning” states break as predicted — puts the GOP at 48 seats, meaning they only need to win three of the remaining eight toss-up races to take control of the Senate. Now, let’s suppose that troubled Republican incumbent Sen. Pat Roberts can’t hang on in Kansas. That would be bad for the GOP, but it’s likely to be offset by Democrat Sen. Mark Begich’s defeat in Alaska.

Understand we’re counting hypotheticals now, but if the GOP wins both Kentucky and Georgia, if Roberts loses in Kansas and if Begich loses in Alaska, you would then have six remaining toss-ups and Republicans would need to win just two of those to get to 51 seats.

It’s hard to see Democrat Sen. Mark Pryor holding off the challenge from Tom Cotton in Arkansas, and Democrat Sen. Mary Landrieu’s hope is obviously fading in Louisiana. Analyzing the battle for the Senate on a race-by-race basis, then, you see that Michelle Nunn’s problems in Georgia could be the crucial linchpin; if Nunn unravels in the final 19 days of the campaign, Harry Reid loses the gavel.

Overall, despite the many hypotheticals and contingencies, the trend is now running strongly against Democrats, in part because of factors beyond control of the rival parties. That is to say, the ISIS threat in Iraq and the Ebola threat here — both of which have made President Obama look incompetent — are undermining support for Democrats, no matter what happens in the day-to-day battles between GOP and Democrat candidates in each of the key states.

The latest poll in Iowa, for example, shows Republican Joni Ernst widening her lead over Democrat Bruce Braley. Is that a result of Ernst’s campaign strategy and a reflection of her good qualities as a candidate? Yes and yes. However, Ernst is also a beneficiary of the general trend nationwide, which is anti-Obama and anti-Democrat.

It’s by no means safe to predict a Republican victory on Nov. 4, but Democrats have just two chances of holding the Senate majority — and Slim keeps checking his watch and looking toward the door.



22 Responses to “Michelle Nunn Pulls a Grimes?”

  1. Mike G.
    October 16th, 2014 @ 8:10 am

    Two chances…slim and none?

  2. Evi L. Bloggerlady
    October 16th, 2014 @ 8:45 am

    I did not see Nunn beating Perdue, but the tightening race was disconcerting. Rookie mistake, especially with how it played out for Grimes. Then again, Obama is that toxic right now.

  3. Finrod Felagund
    October 16th, 2014 @ 9:44 am

    51 isn’t good enough. We need 53 or 54 to have a RINO margin, really, and I think we have a strong shot of getting there. The no tossups map has us at 53 currently.

  4. RS
    October 16th, 2014 @ 10:00 am

    Back when I was a Democrat, I liked Sam Nunn. I even wrote him a letter begging him to run for president. His departure from the party was one of several factors precipitating my bidding the Dems adieu. Sadly, it would appear that his daughter only inherited his looks, –Don’t bother; I self-denounce–and not his judgment.

  5. Evi L. Bloggerlady
    October 16th, 2014 @ 10:35 am

    Plus the cycle in 2016 is way bad for the GOP. Even with 53 or 54 it could shift back easily, which would be a disaster if Hillary wins the WH.

  6. McGehee
    October 16th, 2014 @ 10:47 am

    Nunn has only ever been an activist and a lobbyist. Electing what amounts to a high-dollar community activist to the U.S. Senate has proven to be a bad idea in recent years.

  7. JeffersonSpinningInGrave
    October 16th, 2014 @ 10:47 am

    The dems are saying they haven’t pulled the 60 mill out of KY, but are re-directing it into “get out the vote” efforts, like busing people to the polls (and, if history is any guide, encouraging fine young Dems to vote early, vote often, and honor grandma’s memory by making sure her vote counts too).

    True? I don’t know. But it actually makes some sense if they figure there aren’t enough undecided voters at this point to make much difference. Hey, if you can’t convince voters, make with the dirty tricks. It’s worked for them before.

  8. Bob Belvedere
    October 16th, 2014 @ 11:05 am

    No matter the outcome, the GOP will have failed – only the degree of the FAIL is in doubt.

    They should have walked away with the Senate, but they persist in not giving us any reason to vote for Republicans.

    Cryin’ John stays silent on the issues of the day and Granny Mitch minces words.

    I will not be voting for anyone who is not a conservative.

  9. WyBlog - To Democrats, asking "did you vote for Obama" is worse than "when did you stop beating your wife"
    October 16th, 2014 @ 11:05 am

    To Democrats, asking “did you vote for Obama” is worse than “when did you stop beating your wife”

    Sorry Dems, you own this turkey. His policies are on the ballot November 4th. And that means you’re in for a rude awakening.

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  11. David, internet troll
    October 16th, 2014 @ 12:07 pm

    Didn’t you read the article, Mike? I can’t believe you asked that question. The chances are Slim and Nunn. Duh. 🙂

  12. Adobe_Walls
    October 16th, 2014 @ 12:29 pm

    In the end it gets down to hate over hope. Obviously there’s no reason believing that electing Republicans will in any way help to restore our liberties or this Republic. But if enough people’s hate for the proggies is stronger than their lack of hope for and faith in Republicans they may do better than the stats would indicate. Of course that still leaves unanswered the question of to what purpose?

  13. Quartermaster
    October 16th, 2014 @ 12:43 pm

    It was prolly before he got his morning coffee. Nolo caffeinedre.

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  15. DeadMessenger
    October 16th, 2014 @ 3:19 pm

    I was just thinking that we haven’t really talked about the possible impact of election fraud at all.

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    October 16th, 2014 @ 3:21 pm

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  17. Mike G.
    October 16th, 2014 @ 3:22 pm

    No coffee plus posting from my “smarter than me” phone.

  18. JeffersonSpinningInGrave
    October 16th, 2014 @ 4:36 pm

    My rule of thumb is to expect dems to cheat by at least a couple of points, at least that’s the correction factor I use when I peruse poll numbers.

  19. theoldsargesays
    October 16th, 2014 @ 6:26 pm

    I see that you are a generous and compassionate person.

    Those people don’t give a rat’s are for freedom, fairness or equality and will lie, cheat, steal and kill in order to …PROGRESS.

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