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State of the Race: One Week Out

My final call ...

I don't like to wuss out by calling three states "tossups" (NH, VA, CO), but the fact that Obama losing all three wouldn't impact his ability to win gives me an out in this case. In the case of NH, I belive it's the safest for Obama, but I'm suspicious that if polling has failed to detect a few points worth of votes that may exist for Romney due to the economy, then the state neighboring where Romney served as Governor might be the first canary in that coal mine. Virginia and Colorado are legitimately more narrow in polling ranges. If forced to pick, I'd probably throw VA to Romney and CO to Obama. That would put my "no tossup" math at 290-248 Obama.

The changes in 538's data since the last check-in ...

Eastern Time Zone            OCTOBER 30                 OCTOBER 17
Pennsylvania    [+0.2]  51.9 - 47.0 (Obama +4.9)   51.8 - 47.1 (Obama +4.7)   
Virginia        [+0.8]  50.0 - 49.4 (Obama +0.6)   49.5 - 49.7 (Obama -0.2)   
North Carolina  [+1.1]  48.3 - 51.1 (Obama -2.8)   47.7 - 51.6 (Obama -3.9)   
New Hampshire   [-0.1]  50.8 - 48.5 (Obama +2.3)   50.8 - 48.4 (Obama +2.4)   
Florida         [+0.4]  49.1 - 50.3 (Obama -1.2)   48.9 - 50.5 (Obama -1.6)   
Ohio            [+0.2]  50.5 - 48.4 (Obama +2.1)   50.3 - 48.4 (Obama +1.9)   

Central Time Zone            OCTOBER 30                 OCTOBER 17
Wisconsin       [+1.0]  51.6 - 47.8 (Obama +3.8)   51.1 - 48.3 (Obama +2.8)
Iowa            [+0.8]  50.7 - 48.5 (Obama +2.2)   50.2 - 48.8 (Obama +1.4)

Mountain Time Zone           OCTOBER 30                 OCTOBER 17
Colorado        [+0.5]  49.8 - 49.2 (Obama +0.6)   49.5 - 49.4 (Obama +0.1) 
Nevada          [+1.1]  51.0 - 48.1 (Obama +2.9)   50.3 - 48.5 (Obama +1.8) 

If Obama wins Virginia, big night for Dems. If Obama pulls off an upset in Florida, game over. If Romney wins New Hampshire, cross your fingers and keep a close eye on Ohio for the rest of the night.

I'll be focused on a much smaller speck of the map for this election. So mapping and poring over national data will wait quite a bit longer on my part.

A few other final, somewhat fearless predictions:

- TX-14: Lampson vs Weber ... I think you can get away with just watching Jefferson County on this one. If Lampson passes the 60% hurdle, and there aren't any wild turnout differences from years' past, he can win this one. Obama won the county with 51% in 2008. Lampson, again, won 67% in 2004 - his last time to run there. If the world of Jefferson County - today - still has enough swing voters for Lampson, then there'll be something good to be said about what Democrats in Texas accomplished.

- TX-23: Gallego vs Canseco ... I have no feel for this one, but expect it to be as competitive as the district ever was from 2006 on. Just based on Gallego's appeal outside of Bexar County, I'm optimistic about him pulling off the win. That should post the post-E-Day newsies enough to say something nice about Democrats in the state.

- SD10: Davis vs Shelton ... I've been skeptical about Davis' odds in a status quo district. But she's run about as well as I can see from my distant corner of the state. Obviously, this one has a big impact on what legislation comes out of the Senate during the 2013 session in Austin. So I'll hope beyond hope that Davis is successful.


Aggreblogging for EV Eve

Some fleeting thoughts as Early Voting approaches ...

» Speaking of Early Voting ... apparently, it's a threat to the American Way of Life. Who knew? It doesn't seem to have bothered me much, even with our unusually late primaries here in Texas. Talking to voters earlier just doesn't seem to be very problematic if you ask me.

» Sen. Gallegos passed away on Tuesday. The parlor game of Musical Politicians is underway. I had only fleeting moments involving the Senator, both involving redistricting. What was clear from both instances was that he had a lot of respect among civic leaders and he was definitely a fighter.

» Noted for tonight's viewing: An Interview with Marsden and Noll on the Idea of America as a Christian Nation

» Finally, a report on the race for CD14 that makes sense. Mathematically speaking, I believe the key in that race will be whether or not Lampson gets 60% in Jefferson County. If he does, he likely wins this thing. And for comparison, Lampson got 68% there in his losing 2004 contest.

» Abby Rapoport on True the Vote. And for good measure, the Department of Justice will be keeping an eye on Texas during Early Vote.

» Some interesting reading on Heather Gerken's "federalism all the way down". I still owe myself a reading of "Dissenting by Deciding" after reading the nickel version in Democracy Journal.

» Presently staring at books by Diane Ravitch and Shane Hipps on my Kindle bookshelf. Plus, there's about 3-4 easy choices for diving into based on a read of the sample download. Here's hoping the days after Election Day are peaceful and productive.


Election-Eve Aggreposting

A random assortment of election coverage as I take care of my own State Rep district. I'll be back in action Tuesday night.

» KHOU: Allegations of dirty politics arise in civil court judge race
I've been in campaigns for judges who were under attack from a lawyer scorned. It's rarely fun. But it also makes me more sympathetic for Judge Kirkland over the lady with fake supporters.

» Chron: Crowded field vies to succeed Ron Paul in US House
Nearly a dozen candidates crammed into a brief overview. It is what it is. But this'll be phase two of my year. It'd be easier reading if people got over the fact that this district has very little in common with the district Ron Paul has been representing since 2005.

» New Yorker: Cory Booker: The Dilemma of the New Black Politician
» National Journal: The Emerging Democratic Divide
Two articles that really deserve to be read alongside of each other. The strain of belief within the Democratic Party that believe in things like free markets, entrepreneurship, and liberalized trade isn't dead. Its just not on the Sunday talk shows and is increasingly hard to find in DC. The voters are still there, though. Knock on a door or two in a any Democratic district and you'll find them easily enough. That said, there are a lot of electeds who need to drop the DC-centric talking points and reflect their district a little more. Kudos to Cory Booker for letting that happen ... on a Sunday talk show, no less.

» New Yorker: Do We Still Need the Voting Rights Act? (Jeffrey Toobin)
There's room for improvement in a nation where multicultural areas are proliferating. It would also be a good thing to see greater protections afforded to Asian populations (spoken as one who is campaigning in one such area that has been fractured into no less than 5 different State Rep districts!). But the short answer is ... yes. Until there's any reasonable discourse allowed on the topic from the far right, the middle ground will just be a continuation of the same 60's era solution applied for as long as SCOTUS allows.

» Chron: Census count stirs up debate (Jeannie Kever)
The Chron follows up with some Texas reactions toward the single biggest issue known to mankind the brouhaha over the American Community Survey. There's also an update that Houston will get an answer to their appeal on undercounting in the city in a couple of weeks.

» Texas Observer: House District 26: As Fort Bend Goes

Fort Bend has been called a bellwether county so often that it’s easy to become skeptical about the use of the term ....

I'm too overworked to have enough patience to dig through the archives for where I might have first made mention of this. I'm fairly certain I had to have been part of the early crowd, though. But the article is more of a snapshot of the HD26 contest. Unfortunately, the court didn't maintain a more competitive district in this instance.

» 538: Swing Voters and Elastic States
After doing my own round of number-crunching of historical voting patterns in HD137 as well as the daily ritual with the Early Vote rosters provided by the County, its actually very soothing to read someone else's work with election data for a change.


A Quick Aggre-blogpost for the Day …

Apologies for the dearth of blogging. The last half of the past week got a bit busy. A couple of things to note very quickly, though:

- Kuff interviewed all of the HD137 candidates last week. Gene Wu is a client, so I'm biased in my preference.

- This week, Kuff gets to CD14, where Nick Lampson gets the grilling.

- Stace moved into my 'hood. He won't last a month.

- Oh, and this happened when I picked up the guitar and hit record. It's not me singing ... I just play guitar.


The latest phase of plucking away at my noisemaker has been to explore some songs that I grew up loving in order to learn from other guitarists and develop a little better knowledge of song structure. This tune was exactly as much fun as I anticipated the project being, although I'm sure the neighbors have a different opinion. Next up is Pat Benatar's "Hit Me With Your Best Shot." Another Neil Giraldo solo. And if it goes well over next weekend, I might do another Benatar tune to maximize this chapter of the learning experience.


The San Antonio Do-Over

I can't imagine that the news has escaped anyone who stumbled onto this post, but new maps are out from the San Antonio Court. It basically starts the process of nailing down the primary elections, though there's still a ray of light that CD25 may be restored by the DC Court as an Austin-centric district for Lloyd Doggett whenever they issue their opinion.

The stuff that matters for Harris County is as follows:

- Three competitive district: HD137 (really more of just an open seat than it is competitive for the General), HD144, HD149. HD134 is just after each of those in terms of competitiveness. I know that there's an enormous core of activists from that area who will likely itch to see the seat go Dem again. As drawn, I think it's just going to be tantalizingly out-of-reach for the decade ... barring any kind of scandal, of course.

- The real losses in the region seem to be as follows: HD26 retains the Charlie Howard water faucet and hence remains prohibitively Republican.

- On taking the good with the bad: So I've been re-drawn into House District 137, as they've added more of Gulfton. I'll happily be voting for Gene Wu in the primary. But I'm also drawn into Congressional District 7. Ya know, because all them Gulfton Hispanics really have a lot in common with Hedwig Village and Jersey Village. Draw your own landscaping/nanny/housekeeper jokes. But I don't see any of those Village folks dining at the China Star Buffet or any of the numerous and wonderful taquerias in my neighborhood. CD7 starts the decade as 58.7%-40.4% McCain-Obama. We'll see if the numbers move any during the decade.

- Southeast Texas' CD14 remains pretty much as-is/was. It hasn't changed dramatically since the Lege passed their version of the district. Which means good things for Nick Lampson. The average Dem in both Federal and State races in 2008 got 47% in the district. And none of those candidates polled like Lampson has in Jefferson County. I traveled to the Texas City and Beaumont leg of the Campaign Kickoff on Monday and the crowds at both were impressive. Kuff riffs off of the Chronicle's report on the Texas City event.

- Two long-distance district to note. First, the I-35 district (conveniently enumerated as CD35) that covers part of south San Antonio and SE Austin. I'm assuming Doggett runs there for the time being. We know that the Bexar County Tax-Assessor, Sylvia Romo, is running. And we have no word on Ciro Rodriguez, but I don't see him challenging Doggett. I'll refer you back to the post I did with the primary numbers when we had the Lege's iteration of the district. Doggett may gain a bit by not having to run against a better-known candidate, even if Romo's nothing to sneeze at. But given the fact that no Anglo candidate has ever beaten a Hispanic candidate in the prior version, I'd expect to see a similarly tough road for Doggett with this district as well.

- Secondly, CD33 in the DFW Metroplex. It's definitely an ugly duck in terms of geography and demographics. But anything that undoes the single biggest injustice of the 2003 map is progress. No client work going on there, but I'm a fan of State Rep. Marc Veasey. It could get real interesting if a strong Hispanic candidate from Dallas gets in, though.

- For anything else concerning this phase of redistricting, you're just not doing it right unless you read Michael Li's blog. I've got all the raw data hacked for the Almanac and offer no guarantees for how soon before I have the pages updated for each.


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