Senate Election 2012
It seems that GOP candidates still have not learned that they are better off not speaking about rape and abortion. Just weeks after Todd Akin’s infamous “legitimate rape” comment, another conservative has stated his views on the issue - this time Indiana Senate candidate Richard Mourdock:
“I know there are some who disagree and I respect their point of view but I believe that life begins at conception. The only exception I have to have an abortion is in that case of the life of the mother. I just struggled with it myself for a long time but I came to realize: “Life is that gift from God that I think even if life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.”
Now, I should get one thing out the way here. I personally find Mourdock’s comments to be callous, and as someone who does not personally believe in a deity, I could never imagine telling a woman who was impregnated by a rapist that it was “God’s will” to carry to term a baby fathered by a vicious attacker and forced on her through the most violent of means. It seems remarkably insensitive and lacking compassion.
But it’s not at all inconsistent or illogical given the thinking of pro-lifers. If you’re someone who genuinely believes that life begins at the moment of conception, it doesn’t matter to you the circumstances. I’ve always thought it to be very dishonest for “pro-life” candidates to be against abortion, but leave exceptions for rape and incest. If you believe that unborn fetuses have full human rights, then the only possible time you could be okay with ending that life is if another life is at stake or if you believe it is compassionate due to severe birth defects. And even then, that’s debatable.
Unlike many on the political right (arguably) in America, I’m not going to argue for Todd Akin to drop out. In fact, I am going to argue that he should stay in his Missouri Senate race, as a sort of painful yet absolutely necessary medication for the Republican Party.
Akin, as I’m sure you are aware, is the bozo who went on the radio and said that in cases of “legitimate” rape, a woman’s body would shut down the pregnancy, thus abortion should be illegal. It has got to be the dumbest thing said in politics over the past ten years, if not the past fifty. Nevermind that there is no way for a woman’s body to know that it is being raped, and then determine it must abort on its own (I don’t even think a woman’s body can abort pregnancies like that), you just don’t put “legitimate” and “rape” in the same sentence, period, unless there is a “not” between them.
In any case, despite the national party disavowing the fool, and numerous calls from conservative leaders and conservative media outlets, Akin has decided to remain in the race. (He’s even attacked Mitt Romney for calling for him to step down.) Despite this monumental tomfoolery, I believe it would be good for the GOP to have Akin remain in the race…
…and then lose disastrously in November.
Ted Cruz, who was backed by the Club for Growth and FreedomWorks, has won the Republican nomination for United States Senate in Texas, defeating Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst in the runoff last night by roughly 12 points:
Ted Cruz, the former solicitor general supported by the Tea Party, defeated long-time Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, R-Texas, in a primary runoff that effectively decides who will serve as the next U.S. Senator from Texas.
The Associated Press called the race for Cruz the first 22 percent of votes counted showed him with 53 percent support, as Roll Call noted, despite Dewhurst loaning himself over $24 million during the primary.
Cruz received strong support from Tea Party figures such as Sarah Palin and Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., whose Senate Conservatives Fund spent $1.3 million on behalf of Cruz and raised another $700,000 for his campaign.
“This is another victory for conservatives and it shows that the Tea Party can still defeat the Republican establishment if it wants to,” said Senate Conservatives Fund executive director Matt Hoskins. “This wasn’t a fluke. Ted Cruz was massively outspent in a state of 25 million people and he still won. If conservatives can win a race like this in Texas, they can win anywhere.”
Our own Chris Frashure blogged yesterday that Delegate Bob Marshall (R-Va.), a U.S. Senate candidate, has introduced a bill in the Virginia House of Delegates that would direct the state government to refuse to comply with the National Defense Authorization Act’s indefinite detention provisions. Chris writes:
Virginia Delegate and now U. S. Senate candidate Bob Marshall, author of the famous Virginia Healthcare Freedom Act, has introduced a bill into the General Assembly to address the indefinite detention prevision (sic) of the National Defense Authorization Act that President Obama has signed and codified into law. Specifically, the bill “[p]revents any agency, political subdivision, employee, or member of the military of Virginia from assisting an agency or the armed forces of the United States in the investigation, prosecution, or detainment of a United States citizen in violation of the Constitution of Virginia.”
Marshall’s bill is just the latest way that opposition to Section 1021 of the NDAA is being expressed at the state level. As we reported earlier this month, Montanans have launched an effort spearheaded by Oath Keepers founder and president Stewart Rhodes to recall their entire congressional delegation for casting votes in favor of the NDAA. But Montanans don’t have to wait to be rid of Tester and Rehberg. They can reject them both in this year’s U.S. Senate election by drafting a viable GOP primary opponent to Rehberg before the June 5 primaries who can then take the fight to Tester over the NDAA.
The writing is on the wall for Republicans — they will not take the Senate in 2012. Polls have closed in the races that were being closely watched, but some are still too close to call. As has been noted in previous day, Republican candidates blew their party’s chances in Indiana and Missouri thanks to their comments about abortion in the context of rape. Others, including Sen. Scott Brown and Josh Mandel just weren’t strong enough to compete against in tough states.
Here is how these races stand as of 10 PM (red is for the GOP and blue is for Democrats and the projected winner is on the right with the color of the text being the party in control of the seat after tonight’s election):
If you’re pulling for Mitt Romney, you can’t be excited with what exit polls reported. Sure, exit polls aren’t definitive, but they do provide an indicator of what to expect. Based on what we’re seeing, the 2012 electorate is roughly the same as 2008, especially in swing states. This is an ominous sign for Romney’s campaign.
Currently, Romney is trailing President Barack Obama in Ohio, which is a must win. He’s ahead in Virginia, but the northern part of the state hadn’t reported at last look. Exit polls show each of these states to be very close, but Ohio may be too far gone for Romney, which means that the night could end early.
Here’s the Electoral College as of 9 PM. Polls have close in Florida, Minnesota, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, but no projections have been made.
Looking at some of the Senate races, Richard Mourdock is trailing Rep. Joe Donnelly in the Indiana race. Josh Mandel is down to Sen. Sherrod Brown in Ohio by a hefty margin. Sen. Scott Brown is losing in Massachusetts, though it’s still early. George Allen is currently leading Tim Kaine in Virginia. Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) was projected to win re-election.
Last week, we went over the Senate races that are being watched around the country, noting that it was increasingly unlikely that Republicans would take back that chamber this year. As explained, Republicans thought they had the numbers — and they did, at least on paper. However, the campaigns in states ripe for a takeover haven’t gone that well. Perhaps the best examples of this are, as noted before, Todd Akin in Missouri and Richard Mourdock in Indiana, both of which came under fire about controversial comments on abortion in the circumstance of rape.
So with that, here are my predictions for the 15 races that have been so hotly contested this year, including any that are expected change hands. The color of the state is the current party in control of the seat (obviously, red is for the GOP and blue is for Democrats) and the predicted winner is on the right with the color of the text being the party in control of the seat after the election.
This race was one Republicans were counting on to take back the Senate this year. Things haven’t really worked out as planned in other races, but Rep. Denny Rehberg could knock off Sen. Jon Tester in what is going to be a very close election. According to the latest poll in the race from Mason-Dixon, Rehberg holds a 4-point lead over Tester, though inside the margin of error:
The poll showed 49 percent for Rehberg, who is Montana’s U.S. House representative, and 45 percent for Tester, the first-term incumbent. Only 1 percent said they’re voting for Libertarian Dan Cox and just 5 percent were undecided.
Mason-Dixon Polling & Research of Washington, D.C., conducted the poll early last week for Lee Newspapers, interviewing 625 registered Montana voters who said they are likely to vote in Tuesday’s election.
The poll has an error margin of plus or minus 4 percentage points.
Rehberg’s lead is only a single percentage point different than what he had six weeks ago in a Lee Newspapers poll, which showed him with a 48-45 advantage over Tester.
“Rehberg’s just kind of kept that little lead on Tester,” said Brad Coker, managing director for Mason-Dixon. “The general rule is it’s harder for an incumbent to make up ground with undecided voters. Here, you have two incumbents.”
On Friday, we took a look at the battle for control of the United States Senate, noting that Republicans, who once had high-hopes to gain a majority in that chamber, are very likely to fall short at the polls tomorrow. Their struggles to take control of the Senate can really be highlighted by races in Indiana and Missouri, where the Republican nominees have struggled after making controversial comments about abortion and rape.
Todd Akin’s misstep in Missouri, where he is likely to lose to Sen. Claire McCaskill, who was thought to be the most vulnerable Democrat in the Senate, has been well documented. More recently, however, are Richard Mourdock’s troubles in Indiana.
It has been a bumpy ride for Rep. Jeff Flake in his bid for the open United States Senate seat in Arizona. Flake’s campaign was forced to spend money during his bid for the Republican nomination thanks to Wil Cardon, a largely self-funded rival.
While he won the GOP nomination by a health margin, the damage had been done to Flake’s campaign coffers. On the other hand, Richard Carmona, the Democratic Party’s nominee in the race, was able to raise and money because he didn’t have a primary challenger.
Carmona has been largely slamming Flake for being a “career politician,” echoing charges made in the Republican primary. He’s also slammed Flake for allegedly cutting benefits for veterans, which is a misleading claim, and for allegedly being weak on environmental issues. The attacks coupled with Carmona’s claims of being able to work across the aisle with Republicans looked like they were having some affect, that is until Flake’s team rolled out one of the best ads of any race across the country this year.
The ad featured Cristina Beato, who served as Acting Assistant Secretary at the Department of Health and Human Services, recounting an incident during which she, a single mother, was awakened by the sounds of Carmona beating at her front door one night. Beato, who was Carmona’s boss at DHHS, explained in the ad that she was scared for herself and her kids. Looking directly into the camera, Beato says, “Carmona is not who he seems. He has issues with anger, with ethics and with women,” adding that he “should never, ever be in the U.S. Senate.”