But before we start talking about implications, let’s review the situations.
- NY-09. This D+5 seat was vacated by Anthony Weiner after pictures surfaced… and I don’t need to end that sentence: it’s never good for a politician’s career when the phrase ‘pictures surfaced’ is used to describe his or her situation. The race thus is between Republican Bob Turner and Democrat David Weprin… and Democrats are even now going frantic. They’re going frantic because an independent pollster now shows Turner in the lead (which has been consistent with other polling trends); they’re going frantic because Tuner has picked up several key endorsements from prominent New York Democrats (over Weprin’s – really, President Obama’s – Israel policy); and they’re going frantic because the entire Weprin campaign effort seems to be infected with incompetence, starting at the local level* and working all the way up to the DCCC itself. The Democrats have dumped half a million dollars in this race, and are right now grimly contemplating the possibility that this half a million is buying them bupkis.
- NV-02. Meanwhile, this R+5 district is increasingly looking like a retention for the GOP. Dean Heller vacated the seat after being tapped to become Senator John Ensign’s replacement (Ensign, as you probably remember – and you probably were happy to forget – left office under what we shall charitably call ‘under a cloud’); Republican Mark Amodei will be facing Democrat Kate Marshall. The DCCC has essentially written this district off, at this point: their primary strategy, if you’ll pardon the pun, was to get Democratic Secretary of State Ross Miller (elections have consequences, people) to sign off on a winner-take-all election (which would have splintered the Republican vote), only to be told no by the courts. Since then, Marshall hasn’t been able to make anything stick – including linking Amodei with Paul Ryan’s Medicare reform plan – and Amodei is favored to win. Incidentally, the Right has put about 750K into this race, including about $500K from the NRCC.
…and that leads to a couple of points that I’d like to make. Democratic operatives have been busily trying to argue that the amount of money that the GOP has dumped into the Nevada race – which by all accounts is a healthily-Republican district – shows the weakness of the Republicans (for an example of this argument, see this Washington Post article). This argument may be less seen over the next three days, seeing as the DCCC is currently trying to put out the fire in NY-09 by throwing money onto it and hoping that it’ll smother, but it’s still there. Another argument – see FireDogLake** for that example – is that NY-09 is just representative of the ‘anti-incumbent’ sentiment that’s supposedly out there. No doubt we’ll all hear other excuses for failure in the next two days, not to mention the classic “GOTV will save us!” line that traditionally comes as a harbinger of DOOM.
However. If both NY-09 and NV-02 go Republican on Tuesday night – and I think that the odds are good that we’re picking up both – then those arguments are going to collapse utterly. Yup, the GOP spent a lot of money to keep NV-02 away from the Democrats, who wanted that seat badly. And? The Democrats did the same thing in NY-09. Money spent in a successful defense may or may not have been wisely spent; money spent in an unsuccessful defense was rarely wisely spent. And as for anti-incumbency sentiment… well, there is definitely that mood out there. But if it’s still only going to end up biting Democrats on the rear (remember, Mark Amodei is just as much, or as little, an ‘incumbent’ as David Weprin is), well…
Moe Lane (crosspost)
*It is cruel of me to link to this video, I know. But politics ain’t beanbag.
**I suggest that people start taking FDL a bit more seriously, by the way. While a Hard Left site filled with unpleasant people, it has nonetheless started to realize that merely boot-licking the Democratic party leadership is not a viable long-term survival strategy for the netroots. Its increasing willingness to criticize its own party openly and with heat may not be making an impact now, but if 2012 turns out to be the Great Shellacking 2 for the Democrats, they’re going to be in a position to eventually do to the Democrats what, say, RedState does to the Republicans now. Which is to say, growl, and have their growls taken seriously by the party leadership.
What? I certainly hope that they’ll be offended by the implication that I think that, someday, they might be the RedState of the Left. But it’s not my fault that they want their own version of what we have.