We Mean Green

16 Jul

Yesterday was the deadline for all federal candidates to report their fundraising numbers, costs, and available cash on hand for the second quarter. While there were no major surprises from the released totals, there were some important trends to take note of. First, the numbers:

(Amount Raised in April-June Quarter/Total Available Cash on Hand)

AR-01

Chad Causey (D) $416,000/$90,000

Rick Crawford (R) $131,000/$221,000

Clearly, Chad Causey has positioned himself quite well for November by building upon the momentum that he gained in the weeks leading up to his runoff victory against the now completely discredited Tim Wooldridge. Make no mistake, Rick Crawford will be a tough opponent in the fall, both because of the current political climate in that region of the state and because of the available cash Crawford has after facing far less resistance in his primary win than did Chad (a theme for most of the office-seeking GOPers here). Nevertheless, we feel confident about Causey’s chances. He has been able to tap into some of the anti-Washington sentiment of his district’s voters, while at the same is able to talk of his experience of getting things done with the outgoing Congressman Marion Berry. Unlike some of the Democrat primary candidates of the spring, he has cultivated his built-in network of connections to his advantage, but is still seen as a fresh face. Crawford will have a hard time pigeon-holing Causey on a variety of national issues that Repugs are currently screaming about, which is really all Rick has brought to this debate so far. Things look good for a progressive voice coming out of AR-01.

AR-02

Joyce Elliott (D) $367,000/$106,000

Tim Griffin (R) $378,814/$315,663

No major surprises here for us, though many local pundits seem a bit puzzled about how Timmy! and the shadowy operatives behind him have allowed that “feminist black radical” to even be in the game. In recent weeks, Joyce has solidified her support among all wings of the party, and seemingly even those lukewarm to her previously have become ardent and passionate in defending her against traditional slime-ball attacks, like the ones first lobbed at her from fellow Dem Robbie Wills. Make no mistake, those Roveian attack mailers were the best thing that happened to her campaign; they consolidated Democratic support in a district that’s been sending fairly progressive Dems to D.C. for a long time.

To be sure, this race is still favorable to Griffin because of his connections, money, the professional political operatives working in his camp, and the current anti-Obama sentiment in this state. But of all the congressional districts, we know this is the one where Obama is supported most. As Joyce (hopefully) begins to really sell the story of “Timmy! = Rove = George W. Bush = WRONG for America and Arkansas,” we may see this race turn into a microcosm of what we have seen nationally over the past decade: Bush loyalists vs. New Generation Obama Dems. We know the anti-everything Teabaggers will vote Griffin, but how big will their numbers be? True “Tea Party” principles would prevent one from voting for a Bush surrogate, with all their expansion of federal debt and government power. So, this race will turn on who is most effective at selling people on who Timmy! really is. Voters know Joyce. Voters need to know Timmy!, because we’re pretty sure they’ll be fairly disappointed once they do.

AR-03

David Whitaker (D) $9,045/$9,846

Steve Womack (R) $256,777/$21,239

With all due respect to the Whitaker campaign, we’ve stopped pretending there’s some magical way that he could have a shot in hell in the race for NWA. Even with some more chatter and activism coming from progressives in that part of the state, we still have a long way to go. Perhaps the changing demographics of that area will spell Dem victories later — but that’s going to be much later, unfortunately. Womack emerged as a force and future leader with Repugs after an impressive primary win vs. the Palin/DeLay/Teabagger-backed Cecile Bledsoe.

AR-04

Mike Ross (D) $252,000/$1.1 million

Beth Anne Rankin (R) $66,969/$68,649

Rankin has offered very little to voters thus far, except one highly-important factoid: she’s NOT Mike Ross. Despite his incumbent status and decided money advantage, national pundits like Dick Morris (who, unfortunately, has toured the state this week) say Ross’s seat is actually up for grabs. It would be a hell of an upset, but it’s clear Ross suffers from a lot of what Senator Lincoln suffers from – angry Republicans AND angry progressives who are all pretty fed up with wishy-washy “Blue Dog” Democrats who’s only real principles seem to be self-serving and completely detached from party loyalty or even common sense.

AR-Sen

Blanche Lincoln (D) $2,651,524/$1,886,132

John Boozman (R) $622,912/$483,923

John Gray (G) N/A

Some might think this is something big for Blanchey. Well, it’s not, though having plenty of money is never a bad thing. Blanche has to have a decided money advantage to even be allowed in the ballpark to play. She’ll burn through her funds quickly as she begins buying TV ads again next month in a desperate attempt to present voters who the “real” John Boozman is. While she’ll have plenty of ammo to go at him, it will take some weeks to begin to sway moderates and independents (many of whom have turned against her) back into her camp, if it’s even possible at this point. In addition, though it may fly in the face of conventional wisdom, Boozman has never been much of a fundraiser, yet has been able to score impressive win after impressive win thus far in his career, his primary night showing against the likes of the well-funded Gilbert Baker and cult hero Jim Holt being a testament to this notion. He has just found a way to be incredibly respected among all wings of his party, despite lacking whopping donation totals or having much charisma while out on the trail. The best formula for defeating him in November was highlighting his status as “Washington insider” and all the unsavory connections that come with it, and taking apart his voting record. He holds many fringe beliefs that are out of the mainstream, even for many of the state’s right-of-center voters. However, as we know, there’s no way for Blanche to be successful with this mode of attack, given her record. She’ll try, to be sure, and it will look silly to people who truly know where she’s stood on the issues. It will also allow a fairly unsophisticated politician like Boozman to be able to hang in there well in the debates and have a nice and tidy rapid response to just about anything Lincoln hits him with.

There was one way to keep this senate seat in the hands of Dems, and that was to elect someone who lacked years of questionable votes in Washington and who really could really compare and contrast themselves to their opponent and let voters decides which direction to take.

We didn’t choose Bill Halter, however, and here we are.

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One Response to “We Mean Green”

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  1. We Mean Green | Blue Hog Report: Arkansas's Source for Progressive … | Welcome2Green - July 16, 2010

    […] the rest here: We Mean Green | Blue Hog Report: Arkansas's Source for Progressive … var a2a_config = a2a_config || {}; a2a_config.linkname="We Mean Green | Blue Hog Report: […]

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