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Josh Marshall

Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.

Articles by Josh

This clip off the AP Wire ...

Its operation riddled with errors, Voter News Service abandoned its state and national exit poll plans for Election Night, depriving media organizations of information to help analyze the vote.

The decision did not affect VNS' separate operation for counting the actual vote. VNS also hoped to have limited information from the exit poll surveys to give its members guidance in projecting winners for individual races.

Still, it was a major setback for VNS _ a consortium consisting of ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, Fox and The Associated Press. VNS had completely rebuilt its system in response to the 2000 election, when television networks twice used its information to make wrong calls in the decisive Florida vote for the presidential election.

Maybe the VNS is toast? Florida and now this?

We're just going to have to call this real time news reportage. A number of different number sets are floating around. And the most consistent thing I'm hearing is that the VNS system has somehow broken down or that they themselves aren't trusting their numbers. More soon when I feel I have something I can confidently report ...

I have it on good authority that these are the first looks at where we're going tonight. A '+' means a Dem advantage ...

AR +18

CO +20

SD +2 or +4

MN +3

NH +6

MO -10

TX -10

GA -3

NC -4 or -6

You'll notice that in a few cases there's two possibilities. This reflects conflicting information I'm getting. But on balance the outlines seem clear so I'm passing them on. Bear in mind though, these are the earliest sounds. Just indicators...

So here we are, the night before the big day. We've got all the contest entries in -- about 200 of them. And about a dozen friends of the site were kind enough to stick their necks out and make their own predictions for the races tomorrow. So I suppose it would be pretty lame of me not to have the guts to do the same.

So I'll try to be as candid as I can and perhaps the late hour will assist with that. If you're a regular reader of TPM you may have realized that I sometimes have a ... well, let's say a rather admiring sense of my own ability to predict political happenings. Frankly, in the last two election cycles I've done a pretty good job of it. But I'll be honest: I'm realllllllly confused about what's going to happen tomorrow.

There was one spread of numbers I was pretty confident about 48 hours ago -- a nice Democratic pick up. Then on Monday I was much less sanguine about the Democrats' prospects. As of near 2 AM on Tuesday morning I'm somewhere weirdly in between.

So let me go through the races and tell you where I think they'll all end up.

Arkansas: This is one of the few that seems straightforward to me. Hutchinson is a big-time born-again who attacked Bill Clinton for his infidelities. Then he did the wild thing with one of his own staffers, divorced his wife and married the staffer. And that's just not a good set of facts. I guess you could call him a born-again adulterer. And it never went down that well with the folks back home. He's consistently down in the polls. As nearly as I can tell most Republicans have simply written him off. Pryor wins; Dem pick-up.

Minnesota: Man, this one is a mystery to me. The polls are all over the place. I always thought that the whole brouhaha over the memorial/rally was really overstated. But whether I'm right on the merits is sort of beside the point. Republicans used it very effectively. And at the least it seems to have really blunted the Dems' momentum. I watched most of the debate on Monday morning. For the first few minutes Mondale struck me as old and rather feeble and that worried me. But he recovered and I thought he did a pretty good job. Not that he killed Coleman or anything. I thought he did pretty well too. But I'd say on balance Mondale helped himself more because he seemed energized and on top of things. I guess I figure that at the end of the day the combination of the political complexion of the state, Mondale's stature and the extreme motivation of the Democratic base win it for the Democrats. Part of me keeps telling myself that you just don't lose a race because your guy died. But this may simply be a moral argument that I've tricked myself into believing is a political argument. So I say that Mondale wins this and possibly even by a decent margin. But I'm far from sure of this one. Mondale wins; Dem hold.

South Carolina: Sanders ran a pretty good race. The Social Security thing helped him at the end. And he could still win. But I don't think he pulls it out. Probably closer than some people imagine. A few days back the Dems' internal tracking polls had the race dead-even. But I think Graham takes this one. Graham wins; GOP hold.

Colorado: I had only been watching this race sort of out of the corner of my eye. And I'd only really been paying attention to the spread which usually had Allard up by at least a point or two and often by more. But then I focused on it a bit and realized that he was seldom getting over like 40%. For an incumbent so late in the race that's just lethal. And a number of the most recent polls have Strickland, the Democrat, ahead. Strickland clearly seems to have the momentum and Allard's numbers are ones that normally spell defeat. So, not certain on this one. But definitely think Strickland, the Democrat, wins. Strickland wins; Dem pick-up.

Missouri: This one's been back and forth. The consensus is that Talent is a solid campaigner and Caranahan isn't much of a campaigner at all. A week ago it really seemed like she was toast. She seems to have recovered a lot in the last few days. I could see the Dems winning this. But my gut tells me probably not. One unfortunate side note: I've heard from a few people tonight that a solid GOTV effort could win it. But the Carnahan campaign apparently hasn't really put together a solid good ground operation and there's a degree of disorganization at the ground level. So I'm not sure on this one but I figure Talent wins. Talent wins; GOP pick-up.

South Dakota: As regular readers know I've written a lot about this campaign. The Zogby poll has Johnson up by four and CNN/Gallup has him down by three. Common sense and other information tells me that this race is actually dead-even, fifty-fifty. And that means it's going to be won on the ground. I started saying before a lot of people did that I thought Johnson was going to win that race. And that sense was based on a conclusion I reached early on that Johnson's campaign operation and particularly its organization on the ground was far superior to Thune's. Given that, I always figured that if Johnson went into the election without being behind that he would win the race through superior organization on the ground. That's pretty much exactly where we seem to be. So I think Johnson wins this one. But man is it close. Johnson wins; Dem hold.

Georgia: On this one I'm afraid I've got some bad news. I talked to a friend of mine tonight who knows Southern politics about as well as anyone I know. And he thought things looked bad for the Democrats in the South. This combined with various other info makes me pessimistic about Cleland. The one hope here is that Georgia Republican state-wide candidates always do seem to choke at the final moment -- particuarly in the off-years. But I'm just not sure it's going to happen in this case. I haven't been watching all the numbers that closely. But the feel I get on this one and what I hear from people whose judgment I trust isn't good. I'm giving this to the Republicans. Chambliss wins; GOP pick-up.

New Hampshire: This is another one where the numbers show it pretty much even. But I've got good sources on this one. And I'm pretty confident that Shaheen wins this one. Her strong momentum did seem to fizzle a bit, stalling at the dead-even point. But my understanding is that Shaheen has a very good operation on the ground. So I think she pulls it off. Shaheen wins; Dem pick-up.

Tennessee: I haven't been following this race too closely but the CW seems to be that Alexander will win. So I'll go with that. This does mean, unfortunately, that the chronically lame Lamar Alexander gets to become a member of the Senate. But what can you do? Alexander wins; GOP hold.

Iowa: This one's done. The number spread may not end up being all that big. But in win or lose terms this one's been over for a while. Harkin wins; Dem hold.

New Jersey: I've invested a lot in saying -- and taken a fair amount of grief for saying -- some time ago that Douglas Forrester was toast. And well ... he's toast. The Dem's a decent campaigner; the Republican's a sorry goof; it's a Dem-trending state; the polls all have at least a ten point spread. Get the butter ready for spreading. Forrester's done. Lautenberg wins; Dem hold.

Texas: This is where things get interesting. And this is one of the reasons I really don't know what's going to happen tomorrow. Kirk was supposed to be out of this. But a couple recent polls show the race basically even. What's more the Dem's internal polls have shown it this way for a while. I hear, but don't know, that the Republicans' polls have shown something similar. There's a lot of excitement on the ground for Dems, with some really solid turnout in early voting. I guess Cornyn also just doesn't strike me as a very appealing candidate. The truth is that I really haven't a clue how this race is going to turn out. Let's delay a call here until we get done with North Carolina.

Louisiana: I haven't been following this race that closely. But from what I hear, I figure she has to go into a run-off and then wins there. Landreau wins; Dem hold.

North Carolina: This one is another mystery. The TV reportage I saw tonight made it sound like Bowles had peaked too early and that it was slipping away from him. But I hear some different stuff from party types in the state. They seem to feel they're peaking at just the right time and that they can do this. Now a Bowles win would have the added benefit of keeping Liddy Dole out of public life. And for me this would be a really good thing since she is music to my ears in roughly like a sharp rock dragged slowly over a window pane. So here's the deal with Texas and North Carolina. I don't know which one -- maybe neither -- but I really think Democrats are going to pull one of these out. Different people I talk to point me in different directions. But I really sense that of them is going to come out Democratic.

I'd add that all up and give more of a run-down. But honestly I'm too damn tired. That's the best I can come up with. But man is it ever close and is it ever going to be a long night...

The results are in! We have election predictions from Kenny Baer, Michael Barone, Peter Beinart, David Brooks, Mark Cunningham, Robert George, Paul Glastris, Robert Reich, Russ Smith, Andrew Sullivan and Michael Tomasky. Enjoy. And remember, you can still send in your entry to the TPM election prediction contest until 9 PM EST this evening.


Kenny Baer, Super-Connected, Uber-New Dem

AR -- Pryor.
MN -- I'll go out on a limb, and call it for Coleman. The GOP learned its lesson from 2000, and has played this masterfully. This race is a real dead heat, and I'll predict that Mondale's debate performance will remind everyone why he was no match for Reagan on TV. It'll be tight, but Coleman is an attractive alternative. Coleman wins. And Humphreyism is dead.
SC -- I still think Sanders can do it. THeir internals have it close. BUt if pushed, I'll give it to Graham. Graham.
CO -- I love Zogby's recent numbers. Strickland is the real deal, and CO now has to be considered real battleground territory. Strickland by 2.
MO -- Appointed Senators never win re-election, and Jean Carnahan is no exception. The numbers are tightening, but Talent wins.
SD -- I thought that this state was lost. But my prairie upset is in MN. So I'll say that South Dakotans want Daschle in charge. Johnson holds on.
GA -- Cleland holds on. Barnes at the top of the ticket helps enormously.
NH -- Shaheen has run a masterful race. Shaheen.
TN -- It would take years to mend all the fences to elect a Dem to the Senate in TN. Lamar!
IA -- Harkin. But watch Jim Leach lose.
NJ -- That scream you hear is Bob Torricelli yelling at the tv screen as his arch-enemy Frank Lautenberg takes his Senate seat.
TX -- In the end of the day, Cornyn wins.
LA -- Landrieu does not make it to 50, and loses in the run-off.
NC -- The Bowles surge is not enough. Liddy Dole wins.
By the time they count and litigate all the votes from LA's run-off, the Senate stays at the current make-up, 50-49-1. Daschle then resigns as majority leader and announces his exploratory committee...

[Late Word ... Baer called TPM world HQ six minutes before the 5PM posting deadline and flipped his picks for Minnesota and South Dakota.]


Michael Barone, US News

Here are my predictions.
Arkansas: Pryor (D)
Minnesota: Coleman (R)
South Carolina: Graham (R)
Colorado: Allard (R)
Missouri: Talent (R)
South Dakota: Thune (R) (but who really knows?)
Georgia: Cleland (D)
New Hampshire: Sununu (R) (I've switched back and forth on this one)
Tennessee: Alexander (R)
Iowa: Harkin (D)
New Jersey: Lautenberg (D)
Texas: Cornyn (R)
Louisiana: Landrieu (D) ahead, but fails to get 50%
North Carolina: Dole (R)

Turnovers are Arkansas, Minnesota, Missouri, South Dakota, so that would leave the Senate 51 Repubs, 49 Demos (including Jeffords). Somehow I suspect that one of the Republican turnovers I predicted won't happen--South Dakota to me is the iffiest, though of course who knows about Minnesota.


Peter Beinart, The New Republic

Arkansas-Pryor
Georgia--Cleland
Iowa--Harkin
Minnesota--Mondale
Missouri-Talent
South Carolina-Graham
Colorado--Strickland
South Dakota--Johnson
New Hampshire--Shaheen
Tennessee--Alexander
Texas--Cornyn
North Carolina--Dole
Lousiana--Landrieu under50%
New Jersey--Lautenberg
Dems plus 1 or 2 pending Landrieu runoff


David Brooks, The Weekly Standard

The Senate will be 51-49 Republicans, putting Jeffords in the Dem column. That means the Democrats are going to win in Arkansas, Colorado, South Dakota, Iowa, New Jersey and New Hampshire. The Republicans are going to win South Carolina, Missouri, Minnesota, Georgia, Tennessee, Texas and North Carolina. Louisiana will take another three weeks, but in the end Landreau will lose in what will become a national race in one state.


Mark Cunningham, New York Post

This works out to no net change, I think. But I'll make my master prediction Dems +1. But Mo. wildcard confirms a bunch of judges ...

Arkansas -- Dem
Minnesota -- GOP
South Carolina -- GOP
Colorado -- Dem
Missouri -- GOP
South Dakota -- GOP
Georgia -- GOP
New Hampshire -- Dem
Tennessee -- GOP
Iowa -- Dem
New Jersey -- Dem
Texas -- GOP
Louisiana -- Dem, after the runoff
North Carolina -- why won't they make that woman STOP? Republican


Robert George, New York Post

Dems 53*
GOP 46
Ind 1

Arkansas -- Pryor 53, Hutchinson 47
Minnesota -- Mondale 50, Coleman 48
South Carolina -- Graham 52, Sanders 48
Colorado -- Strickland 54, Allard 46
Missouri -- Carnahan 50.5, Talent 49.5
South Dakota -- Johnson 53, Thune 47
Georgia -- Chambliss 51, Cleland 49
New Hampshire -- Shaheen 51, Sununu 49
Tennessee -- Alexander 55, Clement 45
Iowa -- Harkin 54, Ganske 46
New Jersey -- Lautenberg 53 Forrester 45
Texas -- Kirk 50.5, Cornyn 49.5
Louisiana -- Landrieu 46, Terrell (23) -- runoff in December
North Carolina -- Dole 52, Bowles 48

*Dem net pick-up of three seats,pending the outcome of Louisiana -- though I'm going out on a serious limb with Texas. Mama always told me I shouldn't go near that Infamy Pool...


Paul Glastris, The Washington Monthly

Arkansas: Pryor beats Hutchinson D+
Minnesota: Mondale beats Coleman
South Carolina: Graham beats Sanders
Colorado: Strickland beats Allard D+
Missouri: Carnahan beats Talent
South Dakota: Johnson beats Thune
Georgia: Cleland beats Chambliss
Hew Hampshire: Shaheen beats Sununu D+
Tennessee: Alexander beats Clement
Iowa: Harkin whoops Ganske
New Jersey: Lautenberg toasts Forrester
Texas: Cornyn beats Kirk
Louisiana: Landrieu (eventually) beats Perkins
North Carolina: Dole beats Bowles
total Democratic gain: 3 seats


Robert Reich, former Labor Secretary & Massachusetts Gubernatorial Candidate

Arkansas: Pryor wins
Colorado: Allard wins.
Louisiana: Landrieu wins eventually, but not until December runoff.
Minnesota: Mondale wins.
South Dakota: John Thune wins.
Texas: Cornyn wins.
Georgia: Cleland.
North Carolina: Dole.
Missouri: Talent.
New Hampshire: Shaheen.
Tennessee: Alexander.
Iowa: Harkin.

Result: We don't know until December which party runs the Senate.


Russ Smith, New York Press

Final spread for Senate: 50 GOP, 49 DEM, 1 IND.
GOP picks up +1 in House
Dems net 5 in statehouses. KKT loses in MD, Romney wins MA. And upset is Simon in CA. Otherwise, Midwest bloodbath for GOP.
In Senate: MN: Coleman by 1 pt.
AR: Hutchinson by 2 pts.
South Carolina: Graham by 6.
CO: Allard by 2.
South Dakota: Johnson by 3.
NH: Shaheen by 4.
TN: Lamar by 5.
MO: Talent by 2.
NJ: Lautenberg by 6.
GA: Cleland by 6.
TX: Cornyn by 4.
LA: Runoff.
Iowa: Harkin by 8.
NC: Dole by 0.5


Andrew Sullivan, Andrewsullivan.com

AR: Pryor D
MN: Coleman R
SC: Graham R
CO: Allard R
MO: Talent R
SD: Johnson D
GA: Chambliss R
TN: Alexander R
IA: Harkin D
TX: Cornyn R
LA: Landrieu (w/ runoff) D
NC: Bowles D
NH: Shaheen D


Michael Tomasky, New York Magazine

1. Ark., Pryor, +3. Housekeepergate shows Hutch desperation.
2. Minn., Mondale, +2.5. Or at least Rick Kahn better hope so!
3. So. Car., Graham, +5. But that's pretty close for South Carolina.
4. Col., Strickland, +3.5. On the wings of the Ideopolis.
5. Mo., Talent, +1.5. Unless they move East St. Louis to St. Louis tonight.
6. So. Dak., Johnson, +3. Because of TPM's great exposes, natch.
7. Ga., Cleland, +2. Roy Barnes's big margin in gov. race the diff.
8. N.H., Shaheen, +4. Like foliage, she's peaked well.
9. Tenn., Alexander, +6. So he finally wins something. Huzzah.
10. Iowa, Harkin, +5. Helped by Wellstone eulogy. Really.
11. New Jersey, Lautenberg, +9. Thanks to Fritz, now seems as if he's been in for months.
12. Texas, Cornyn, +3. Although if polls are undersampling black vote...
13. La., Landrieu, 46. No five-oh, in other words, but run-off won't be decisive and she'll win it.
14. No. Car., Dole, +1.5. But God how I'd love to say otherwise.

Dems pick up three, Reps pick up one, so new Senate, BCS:
Dems 52
Reps 47
Inds 1

BCS = Before Chafee Switches.


See it for yourself. Just added to the TPM Document Collection is the flyer distributed in African-American precincts this morning in Baltimore, Maryland, which tells voters they must pay off all parking tickets, traffic tickets, back rent and outstanding warrants before voting. You gotta see it to believe it. Also, note incorrect date of election day. Republicans? Voter suppression? Oh, C'mon ...

God, are these races gonna be close. Not too many posts today. I'm swamped working on an article about voter suppression and voter fraud. If anything truly stunning pops we'll run with it, though. This afternoon at five we'll be posting election predictions from Michael Barone, Andrew Sullivan, Robert Reich, Russ Smith, uber-Dem-insider Kenny Baer and others ...

Republican party? Voter suppression? Oh c'mon ...

This clip out of the AP's reportage from McAllen, Texas ...

Two poll watchers representing Republican U.S. Senate candidate John Cornyn were removed from polling places amid accusations of voter intimidation in Hidalgo County.

The decision to eject the two GOP workers, one watching early voting in McAllen, the other in Edinburg, was made by early voting supervisors Thursday and confirmed Friday by Teresa Navarro, Hidalgo County's elections administrator.

The dismissals follow Navarro's decision Thursday to ban local Republican activist Tom Haughey from all early voting places for allegedly interfering with the work of presiding judges and their election clerks. Dave Beckwith, a spokesman for Cornyn, said there were two sides to every story.

"Inappropriate behavior at polling places is never condoned by our campaign. However, there are conflicting stories as to what happened," Beckwith told The Monitor in McAllen. "I hope that a pretext is not being made to disregard Republican poll watchers on a methodical basis because we need poll watchers from both parties to ensure confidence in the integrity of the election."

One of the poll watchers, Joseph Hopkins, declined to comment to The Associated Press.

A telephone number for the other poll watcher, Laura Mason, was not listed and she could be not be reached on Friday night.

In McAllen, a voter reported Hopkins to an early voting supervisor for making a "racist remark." Hopkins is said to have joked, "I'm just a poll watcher but I don't see many Poles. I just see a lot of Mexicans."

In Edinburg, Mason was accused of "repeatedly talking to and harassing" voters, including an elderly woman who said she was "confronted." An early voting supervisor warned Mason and later removed her. When Mason came back to the polling place Friday, Navarro asked her to leave.

"We cannot have this sort of behavior by poll watchers," Navarro said. "Poll watchers are not permitted to talk to voters, never mind harass them. I will continue to defend my early voting supervisors and the rights of all legitimate voters to cast their vote without the threat of intimidation."

Navarro said an election observer from the Secretary of State's office arrived in Hidalgo County Friday, one day ahead of schedule, after she expressed her concerns to the office.

And so it goes ...

As true aficionados of these hallowed pages know, this site is coming up on its second anniversary. Specifically, the debut of TPM came on November 13th 2000 with a post about uber-right-wing-attorney Ted Olson, now going under the label of Solicitor General of the United States. So of course a big gala celebration is going to be held on the 13th.

But, wait,wait, let's go further back into the pre-history of TPM. Don't be afraid, we'll go through it together ... TPM started during the 2000 recount when news really did change almost every hour or every day and unlike almost any other political story in more than a century the country's entire constitutional order was in uncharted territory and, in a sense, in danger. But there was a sort of pre-Talking Points Memo just before the election: a contest to see who could come closest to predicting who would win the presidency, what the percentages would be, who would win the House and the Senate, and so forth.

You can see the results of the contest here -- Check it out. It's like a serious TPM relic. Amazing stuff, I assure you.

Now needless to say the whole matter of the presidency turned out to be rather more complicated than we'd imagined. But, you know, let's just not get into that right now.

In any case, it's time for another contest. Tell us your predictions for the United States Senate.

Here's the deal.

1. First predict the final partisan split, how many GOPs, how many Dems, etc.

2. Then make your call for the fourteen Senate races in Arkansas, Minnesota, South Carolina, Colorado, Missouri, South Dakota, Georgia, New Hampshire, Tennessee, Iowa, New Jersey, Texas, Louisiana and North Carolina. (In your email write each state on a line and then the party or candidate name of the winner. So like this ...

Tennessee Democrat
New Jersey Republican
Missouri Democrat

Please do it this way and not in discussion form. Otherwise it'll be impossible to go through them.

3. If you want you can then predict the actual spread in as many of the races as you choose.

The way the contest will be scored is that we'll go from one tier to the next. If you get the overall spread right you advance to the next section. If you don't get it you're out. Then if you get each Senate race right, you'll advance on to the tabulation of individual spreads in specific races. The person who gets either all the races right or who gets all the races right and the most race percentages right, wins.

Is all this clear? Frankly, I'm not even sure it is to me. But whatever... You get the idea.

All entries must be received no later than 9 PM East Coast time on Monday evening. Send them to contest@talkingpointsmemo.com. The results will be announced after they're tabulated and after the results of the various races are known -- which frankly may take a while.

As for the prize: fame, celebrity and renown among TPM readers worldwide.

If you look at CNN or MSNBC or pretty much any of the major news sites this weekend, you see a similar picture: President Bush and President Clinton barnstorming the country. It's a very revealing picture.

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