Thursday, August 31, 2006

Mfume Down with Three Weeks Left and Two Separate themselves in DC

A new poll shows that Kweisi Mfume's hope of being a United States Senator from the Commonwealth of Maryland may be just a dream. The Gonzales Research and Marketing Strategies survey showed the former Congressman and NAACP chief down by 13 points to Congressman Ben Cardin (

Mfume, who received a boost this week when Maryland Congressmen Al Wynn and Elijah Cummings endorsed him, is not yet out of the race but will need a massive get out the vote effort in the African American community to win. That major effort is needed to makeup for the lack of support the poll shows he has among white voters.

That major election day push is now feasible with the late endorsement from Representatives Wynn and Cummings, whose get out the vote efforts are legendary in the commonwealth and will have to be if Mfume is to top Cardin in the primary on September 12.

That same day the Democratic primary for Mayor of Washington DC will be held and if a SurveyUSA poll is correct the next Mayor of the nation's capital will be either Linda Cropp or Adrian Fenty (

Cropp, the City Council president and Fenty, Councilman from Ward 4, have separated themselves from the five person field and are garnering the support of 70% of those who were polled.

The race comes at a period of transition for the city creating a new racial dynamic for the next Mayor, who could be the last African American mayor in DC for a longtime.

For an outlook on the DC race click here to a piece on the Groff/Ellison Political Report. (PDF)

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Cummings, Wynn Endorse Mfume

Washington Post reports:

Maryland's two black congressmen will formally endorse Kweisi Mfume's U.S. Senate bid today as Mfume and his chief Democratic rival, Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin, strive to lock up support from African American voters.

This is fairly significant for Mfume, who - by most accounts - hasn't been running what experts might call a stellar campaign. Fundraising has been a challenge; his ads are late and it's taken him a while to get these two critical CBC endorsements. But, to his credit, Mfume knows how to scrap being from the old school of hard knocks. And, he's got better name recognition - particularly throughout Black Maryland - than Cardin.

For Mfume, he faces a stiff Reticence Level amongst White Democrats. White voters in Maryland sure enough know Mfume and some even like him - but: are they willing to put a brother in the Senate? So he'll need Black Democrats to get him over that hump.

A couple of reasons why Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) and Rep. Albert Wynn (D-MD) are suddenly coming around after more than a year of speculation:

- Cummings realizes that he has a better chance of leveraging his power-base in Baltimore with a brother in the Senate rather than a White dude. It's pure culture and the mathematics of familiarity. Go with what you know. But, there is also real fear that Black Republican and Senate candidate Lt. Gov. Michael Steele - especially with endorsements from Russell Simmons and Cathy Hughes and other key figures - will win this race. Steele, hailing from Black money rush Prince George's County, Maryland, is sure to look out more for his home base in P.G. than Baltimore. On the flip side of that equation, a Senator Mfume would be more inclined to look out for his home base of B'More, translating into federal dollars for Cummings district.

- Wynn's endorsement is a bit more complicated, because Wynn is really concerned about Wynn right now. Even though he knows a Senator Steele will probably be the best thing to happen to P.G. County since big name retailers started moving in (depending on how you look at that), he's fighting for his political life right now in a tight race against primary challenger Donna Edwards, a fierce Black community activist who is making headway by blasting Wynn's vote for the Iraq War and characterizing him as not "progressive" enough. That message is resonating with Black P.G. voters. Wynn believes he gets instant street cred by endorsing Mfume.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Williams Easily in Michigan

Late last week it looked as if Amos Williams' bid to become the Democratic Attorney General nominee in Michigan would be tough as opponent Scott Bowen came to the Sunday party convention with the support, allegedly, of Governor Jennifer Granholm.

But as floor fight for the nomination began in earnest in Cobo Center it was clear that Williams, an attorney from Detroit, would clinch the nomination Judge Bowen conceded the race and Williams became the party's pick to take on incumbent Attorney General Mike Cox in November.

To learn more about Williams' campaign click here

Swann's Campaign Slows...Again

He seems to claw to within winning distance and then seems to fall back. Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Lynn Swann was down 10 points in a poll released by Strategic Vision just a week and a half, but in a new Rasmussen Reports Poll finds the Republican nominee down by 12 ( this week.

Swann will have to battle the increasing favorability rating of incumbent opponent Ed Rendell and find a way to decrease a Reticence Level of 40% (only 60% of Republicans polled support the former football star) to make this a race again.

Blackwell Drops Further Behind

The latest Rasmussen Reports Poll shows that GOP gubernatorial nominee Ken Blackwell has a huge uphill climb to become Ohio's first African American governor.

The poll,, has the current Secretary of State down by 25 points to Democratic nominee Congressman Ted Strickland and suffering from a preposterous Reticence Level of 41% (only 59% of Republicans support Blackwell in the poll). Cong. Strickland, according to the poll, is immensely popular and receiving nearly unanimous support from Democrats (Reticence Level of only 12%) and appears to be on his way to Columbus.

However, as most pundits know campaigns in Ohio are won on the ground and maybe Mr. Blackwell has a ground blitzkrieg planned for election day -- it appears he's going to need one.

Massachusetts Race A Dead Heat

The Democratic primary for Governor of Massachusetts appears to be a dead heat just 3 weeks from the primary election according to a Boston Globe poll (

The poll, released on August 23, shows Deval Patrick leading the three man primary by 4 points among registered Democrats most likely to vote. Among Dems and independents Patrick lead is only 1 point over businessman Chris Gabrieli and 3 points over Attorney General Tom Reilly.

Patrick, a former US Assistant Attorney General, has led the race for most of the spring and summer has the lowest unfavorable rating of the three and enjoys a favorable ranking of 51%.

The primary is September 19th.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Ford Leads in Tennessee...According to Ford

An internal poll conduced for US Senate candidate Harold Ford, Jr. shows the Congressman from Memphis leading his Republican opponent by two points (

The poll, conducted by Benenson Strategy Group, also shows Ford with a 55% favorable rating compared to GOP nominee and Chattanooga Mayor Bob Corker's 48%.

The survey is not necessarily out of step with other independent polls that showed Ford trailing Corker by 4 to 6 points.

Internal polls are used constantly by candidates to track the impact of recent ads, momentum and news stories.

Mixed News for Patrick in Massachusetts

After cruising along for the past several months with a lead in the Democratic primary for Governor of Massachusetts former US Assistant Attorney General Deval Patrick is now behind in one poll and clinging to a 4 point lead in another

In the 7 News-Suffolk University Poll Patrick trails venture capitalist Chris Gabrieli by 8 points but leads presumptive GOP nominee Lt. Governor Kerry Healey in a general election match-up 38% to 30%. Gabrieli's lead is the first of the campaign season and comes on the heals of a recent barrage of television ads.

Despite those ads a SurveyUSA poll released yesterday however, shows Patrick with a 4 point lead over Gabrieli and the other candidate Attorney General Tom Reilly. The margin of error in the poll is 4.8% meaning this race in their view is a dead heat.

The race, despite leads by Patrick in the double digits through the summer and spring, was bound to be close and with the primary scheduled for September 19 the race certainly is tightening.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Rep. Rangel Ends Silence and Endorses...

Venerable Congressman Charles Rangel (D-NY) was trying to stay out of the Democratic primary for Attorney General in New York. The Democratic primary is a pitched battle between Andrew Cuomo, Mark Green, Charlie King and Sean Patrick Maloney and will be settled on September 12. Mr. King is the only African American in the AG primary.

However, after attacks on Mr. Cuomo by Mark Green, Rep. Rangel decided to endorse Mr. Cuomo a former US Secretary of Housing in the Clinton adminstration. Mr. Cuomo, the son of former NY Governor Mario Cuomo, was on Mr. Rangel bad list just two years ago when Mr. Cuomo decided to run for Governor in the Democratic primary against H. Carl McCall, who was bidding to be the state's first African American governor.

While Mr. McCall won the primary (but lost the general election to Governor Pataki) the race caused some hard feelings in the African American community. Some of those feelings have thawed though and several other African American elected officials stood with Mr. Rangel to show support for Mr. Cuomo.

However, not all big name African American icons are supporting the Cuomo effort, as former Mayor David Dinkins earlier this campaign endorsed Mark Green.

Flippin' the Script

Hip Hop mogul Russell Simmons is known as a supporter of liberal candidates and causes. However, the left leaning Simmons will host a fundraiser for GOP Maryland Senate candidate Michael Steele on Thursday in Baltimore.

The event, co-hosted with Radio-One CEO Cathy Hughes and rap trailblazer DJ Kid Capri, will add not only dollars to the Steele campaign, but may add credibility for the Lt. Governor in the African American community. Mr. Steele not one to shy away from the black community may be able to use the event to boost his efforts in the community and push him toward the 20% plus of the African American vote he'll need to win in November, especially if he faces Congressman Ben Cardin. Rep. Cardin faces former Congressman and President of the NAACP Kweisi Mfume in the Democratic primary on September 12.

Williams Appears Headed Toward Victory

At the Michigan Democratic convention on Sunday the story maybe the bitterly close Governor's race involving incumbent Governor Jennifer Granholm and GOP nominee Dick DeVos, but the other big story could be Amos Williams clinching the party's nomination for Attorney General. Inside sources tell Black Races that Mr. Williams' internal polls have him with a commanding 5 to 1 edge if the nomination comes to a vote.

Mr. Williams is joined in the primary by Scott Bowen and Geoffrey Fieger but Democratic heavyweights Congressman David Bonier, Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and major labor organizations have signed up with the Williams effort.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Maryland Senate Race Still Very Close

A new Rasmussen Reports Poll shows that the race for Senator from Maryland remains very tight (

Regardless of who the Democratic nominee happens to be, either former Congressman Kweisi Mfume or current member of Congress Ben Cardin, Lt. Governor and presumptive GOP pick Michael Steele gives each a run for their money.

Steele is down two points to Mfume and only 5 points to Cardin and enjoys a higher favorable rating than either. The most interesting part of the poll to us however is the support among Democrats that Steele is receiving. Against Cardin 20% of Dems polled said they would support Steele and against Mfume 21% of Democrats said they would vote for Steele. If those numbers hold and Steele finds a way to carve out 20% plus of the African American vote (no small feat) the seat currently held by Democrat Paul Sarbanes could switch parties.

The Cousin Jeff Manifesto...

BET personality & public relations executive Rev. Jeff Johnson's somewhat lengthy mixed rebuttal/explanation regarding his new association with OH Sec. of State Ken Blackwell's campaign transformed itself into a sort of modern Black political manifesto.

It's truly unfortunate that a credible activist with Johnson's track record should suffer such scorn and have to justify himself through an open letter. Too many Black people cry foul when the predominant White society creates an intellectual barrier against free thought, yet are quick to police other Black people's views ...

However, we also see this as an opportunity where "Cousin Jeff" - as he is affectionately known on BET - makes quite a compelling and very significant point:

That post-civil rights shift brings us in many cases to where we currently exist: the era of the professional activist. The post civil rights leadership provided by many we know and some we don’t know has been both incredibly effective in some areas and simultaneously negligent in others. We have seen great gains by many people of color as a result of much of their work. However, many of our leaders and organizations are now supporting these same alliances without the manifestation of social or policy changes for our community.

Certainly, Johnson's new affiliation is bringing much glee to Republicans and conservatives seeking to attract just enough Black votes to hold Democrats at bay in November. And, yes, we hear the familiar cackle of certain public Black conservative commentators who believe the "new" Black political strategy is a mass defection to the GOP.

But, the real point is not that simplistic. Johnson argues for a much more independent, smarter and effective strategy that leverages party alliances rather than buying into them. Part of that strategy assumes that we're savvy enough to use both major parties for whatever purpose serves our best interests - not the other way around. On that point, we completely agree with Johnson.

In retrospect, Johnson had to have known he'd get this kind of reaction. If truly caught unaware by it, perhaps - being the public relations expert that he is - a preemptive and personal press release prior to Blackwell's announcement could have avoided some of the backlash. Instead, there's a hint of bad coordination, and Johnson writes as though he may be privately displeased with the Blackwell media machine. That all said, he comes off surprised or a bit flat-footed by the firestorm - we could be mistaken. Whereas we srongly disagree with the "sell-out" accusation, we can see how Johnson stands to gain from this sudden spurt of publicity. It definitely broadens his audience beyond the hip hop generation/progressive youth activist crowd and positions him as a leading voice in that new strategy taking shape.


Friday, August 18, 2006

Swann Within Ten

A just released Strategic Vision poll shows GOP hopeful Lynn Swann closing the gap in his race for Governor of Pennsylvania (

Previous polls, including one released yesterday, show Swann down by up to nearly 20 points. But the Strategic Vision survey only has him trailing incumbent Governor Ed Rendell by 10 points. A three point increase from a Strategic Vision's poll a month ago.

The bad news in the poll is that Governor Rendell tops 50% for the first time in a Strategic Vision poll for this race.

Other polls have Rendell topping 50% and nearing 60% in some cases.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Ford Hanging Tough

Running campaigns for the United States Senate are not easy, especially when you are an African American running in the south, but Congressman Harold Ford (D-TN) seems to be holding his own in the contest with Republican nominee Bob Corker.

The most recent Rasmussen Reports Poll,, shows that Ford trails Corker by six points in the race for the open Tennessee Senate seat being vacated by Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist. Ford has trailed Corker by anywhere between three to six points in surveys taken this election year, but the gap has never widened.

Despite that consistency overtaking Corker will be tough. Corker is highly likeable and Ford is facing a high Reticence Level (the lack of support from the candidate's party) from Democrats. To win the Congressman from Memphis will have to run a sharp and mistake free campaign and increase his support from his party.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Candidate Implosion

One bad story, depending on the severity, probably won't end a campaign. Two bad stories gets people talking and slows the campaign but you can weather it. Three bad stories brings the effort to a halt and four, well four is implosion.

Minnesota State Representative Keith Ellison (, a candidate for the US House in Minnesota's fifth congressional district, finds himself in the implosion category.

Over the past few weeks and months the media has covered stories about:

1. The suspension of his driver's license for 38 unpaid parking tickets;
2. 17 moving violations since 1990;
3. The lack of tax payments to both the IRS and the state in five of eight years in the 1990's, totaling over $19,000 resulting in a lien being placed on his house and car; and
4. The late filing of Federal Campaign Finance forms.

While the taxes and tickets have been paid, the steady drip of bad media may cost Rep. Ellison in the four person primary election to be held on September 12th. Ellison shocked the political world by winning the DFL's convention in May and was consider the leading contender to replace retiring Congressman Martin Sabo.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

An Even Dozen

The qualifying period for candidates in Louisiana closed Friday at 5:00pm central time and embattled Congressman William Jefferson will face 12 opponents in the Louisiana primary on November 7th (click here for complete list of candidates ( If no candidate receives 50% or more in November the top two candidates will enter a run-off on December 9.

Congressman Jefferson, who is under an FBI investigation for bribery, had his office raided by investigators in May and has seen two former aides plead guilty to various charges, was the first African American from Louisiana to be elected to Congress since Reconstruction.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Football Player, TV Announcer, Candidate and Now Author

Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Lynn Swann announced yesterday that he is releasing a book that details his hopes and visions for the Keystone state. The book, entitled "A New Direction: My Plan for a Better Pennsylvania" will be given out at campaign stops and can be purchased for $10.00 from Swann's website (

Releasing a book is not uncommon for candidates, although usually done by presidential candidates, but Mr. Swann may need the added attention and vehicle. The GOP nominee trails incumbent Governor Ed Rendell by double digits and a quarter of the citizens polled in a recent survey are neutral or unsure of how they feel about him (click here to view the poll
The race is still within reach but the Swann campaign needs something to jump start their effort, maybe "A New Direction" is the answer.

Here They Come Congressman

The qualifying period for candidates to run for office in Louisiana began yesterday and the opponents to embattled Congressman William Jefferson began to sign up right away. The first to drop off his paper was state Senator Derrick Shepherd.

Senator Shepherd was followed by:

Regina Bartholomew -- Attorney with Orleans Parish School Board;
Troy Carter -- Former State Representative and City Councilman;
Karen Carter -- State Representative (expected to file on Friday) ;
Gregory "Rhumbline" Kahn -- Businessman; and
M.V. "Vinney" Mendoza -- Former Congressional Candidate

Those 6 candidates may not make up the final field as the qualifying period ends Friday at 5pm central time.

Congressman Jefferson, who is still under federal investigation for bribery, filed his papers on the first day of qualifying which was Wednesday.

In other congressional races Artis Cash, ( the Pastor and Founder of the Shreveport Christian Church, filed his papers to run in Louisiana's fourth congressional district against incumbent Republican Jim McCrery. will continue to list the candidates as they file during the qualifying period ( ).

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

GA - McKinney's Loss A Signal of Change to Come ...

Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-GA) is now former Rep. as she gets severely beaten in last night's District 4 run-off against former Dekalb County Commissioner Hank Johnson, Jr. Recent observations and Johnson camp worry over McKinney's ability to tap into a political mobilization machine at the eleventh hour seemed unfounded as turnout was relatively low last night.

Analysts predict this is the beginning of the political end for the outspoken McKinney, who trailed by 18 percentage points with 100% of precincts reporting. As we see in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

“It’s the end of her political career,” University of Georgia political scientist Charles Bullock said. “I can’t think of anyone who’s come back from two primary defeats. It’s done some real damage to the notion that she’s got this loyal electorate that she can snap her fingers and mobilize.”

The defeat means McKinney will carry a double-loser label — she was beaten by fellow Democrat Denise Majette in 2002 — a fact that is likely to make it difficult for her to raise money for future races. Johnson, meanwhile, will be in prime position to consolidate his power and broaden his political base on what McKinney considered her home turf.

However, more than likely, McKinney will use this loss to portray herself as a political martyr taken out by a two-prong attack from Republicans seething over her vitriolic anti-Bush rhetoric and 9/11 theories and a rather active Jewish electorate angered over remarks from her father and her pro-Palestinian stands. There is an active segment within the Black political spectrum that will, predictably, paint her loss as part of a larger "design" to oust outspoken African American politicians. We agree with this assessment to some degree - African American activists/social justice advocates who opt to enter the political realm are in for rude awakenings once they find their original platforms silenced by compromises, legislative art and back room deals. The unfortunate side of that equation is that it further disenfranchises the truly disadvantaged.

Our prediction: the Johnson win in District 4 signals the continuing devolution of the "authenticity assumption." Black candidates and elected officials beware: taxpayers, especially those African American, realize that it takes money to go to the market. It will take much more than fiery sermons, disruptive protests and civil rights language to stir districts, specifically areas that are heavily Black. Overall, majority African American districts are still naturally attracted to candidates that look like them. But, as the educated and affluent Black middle and professional class continues to grow, voters are gravitating increasingly to candidates that are skilled in the business of governing. Voters want to know what you can do for them, not how well you say it.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Survey Says Butler Wont Get it Done Today

In a SurveyUSA poll released on the eve of today's primary in Michigan, Rev. Keith Butler finds himself down by 23 points ( to Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard in the Republican contest for the US Senate. The winner of the race will face incumbent Democrat Debbie Stabenow.

Butler, a former Detroit City Councilman, has trailed by at least 20 points in most polls since mid-June after trailing by only five points in May and June. Both Butler and Bouchard trail Senator Stabenow by double digits, but Bouchard seems to have a better chance at knocking off the first termer in the fall.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Johnson Tops 50% on Eve of Run-Off

In a poll released less than 24 hours before the run-off for the Democratic nomination for the US House of Representatives in Georgia's fourth congressional district, upstart challenger Hank Johnson has a 13 point lead over embattled incumbent Cynthia McKinney The race is's "Key Black Race of the Moment."

While Ms. McKinney gained six points since the last poll, the Insider/Advantage Majority Poll released today has Former DeKalb County Commissioner Johnson (listen to his interview on Ascent Perspectives past the magical 50% mark. That is up only one point since their July 31 survey, but Mr. Johnson maintains the double digit lead that he has enjoyed since the beginning of the run-off campaign.

Commissioner Johnson forced the run-off by finishing second to Congresswoman McKinney in the July 18 primary election (click here for primary results

The winner takes on GOP nominee Catherine Davis in November.

Listen to Peter Groff and Charles Ellison's take on the McKinney/Johnson race on Ascent Chamber

Friday, August 04, 2006

Patrick Sees Lead Halved in Latest Poll

The tight race for the Democratic nomination for Governor of Massachusetts has tightened even further according to the a recent Survey USA poll

Former US Assistant Attorney General Deval Patrick still leads the three man race, but businessman Chris Gabrieli trails by only 5 points. A Survey USA poll taken in June had Patrick leading the venture capitalist by 13 points. However, a State House News Poll at the end of June had Gabrieli trailing Patrick by 1o points.

The new Survey USA poll interestingly had Patrick receiving more support from Hispanics than African Americans by a point, but showed 43% of African Americans supporting Gabrieli and Attorney General Tom Reilly. 43% is a number that must concern the Patrick team in race that promises to be very close.

The winner of the September 19 primary takes on presumptive Republican Lt. Governor Kerry Healey.

African American Dems Lose Primary But the Seat May Not Be Lost

Just as we thought could happen 11 African American candidates split the vote in yesterdays Democratic primary in Tennessee's fourth congressional district.

The 11 candidates garnered 68% of the vote and captured nearly 52,000 votes, however, white State Senator Steve Cohen topped all candidates with 23,616 and 31% of the vote to become the Democrats choice to replace Congressman Harold Ford, Jr. who won the party's nomination to run for the United States Senate (for results click here

Ford will face Chattanooga Mayor Bob Corker for the seat being vacated by Senator Bill Frist.

In Ford's former congressional seat, a district drawn specifically to elect an African American member of Congress and held by an African American for over 30 years, Cohen is set to take on GOP pick Mark White who won a four person race including Derrick Bennett.

But the fall race may not be set yet. Rumors persist that Ford's brother Jake is considering the race and will run as an independent. The website is set, though not populated with content, and numbers in the district are there, but the questions presented are interesting.

  • Will African American dems voted against their party nominee?
  • Will African Americans vote for the younger Ford out of habit of voting for a Ford and because he's African American?
  • If they do vote for Jake Ford, will they do so in impressive enough numbers that Mark White pulls a Cohen (and slips in as the winner because the Democrat vote is split)?
  • If Jake Ford runs what will be impact on his brother's race for the US Senate?
  • If brother does run does Congressman Ford support his party's nominee or his brother?
  • and if he supports his brother how does the party respond?

All these questions will be answered soon enough but they didn't even have to be asked if the African American community had coalesced around a candidate or two in the first place.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Swann Campaign Showing Life

In the most recent Groff/Ellison Political Report, we noted the near stagnant nature of Lynn Swann's campaign for Governor of Pennsylvania. Mr. Swann bolted from the gate in January, even running within the margin of error in a couple of polls, but seemed to have slowed to a crawl by late spring.

However, the latest Rasmussen Reports Poll ( shows some life in the Swann campaign. This poll has incumbent Governor Ed Rendell up only 10 points compared to the 13 point bulge he held just 3 weeks ago and the 24 point gap he opened up in June according to a Quinnipiac poll. The poll also shows the former Pittsburgh Steeler Wide Receiver with a favorable rating of 59%, but Governor Rendell tops that favored by 62%.

The bigger problem for the Swann effort may be the level of reticence he is receiving from the party. Only 67% of Republicans in the poll said they plan to vote for the Hall of Famer a Reticence Level of 33%, while Governor Rendell is drawing support from 73% of Democrats.

Feeding Frenzy in Tennessee

Tonight when the polls close and Harold Ford, Jr. and Bob Corker (probably) begin to size each other up for their battle for the United States Senate, many eyes will be on Tennessee's ninth congressional district to see who will replace Rep. Ford in the United States House.

The black-majority district, which has had African American representation for over 30 years, sees 15 candidates (11 African Americans) seeking to replace Rep. Ford (click here for a list of the candidates Despite the 60% African American population in the Memphis area it appears the leading candidate is a white State Senator named Steve Cohen.

Senator Cohen has been in the Tennessee Senate for 24 years and has a liberal voting record and a deep relationship with the African American community. Cohen contested for this seat before, but lost to Ford, Jr., when Ford Sr. retired in 1996 losing by 26 points. However, this time in a crowded field and the African American candidates potentially splitting the vote, Cohen may slip through.

A recent poll commissioned by Nikki Tinker showed Cohen with an 11 point advantage over Tinker and Joe Ford, Jr. (the Congressman's cousin) and leading Julian Bolton by 20 points. But what is amazing about the poll,, is that if you take the total of the 5 African American candidates ranking in the poll you come up with 48% to Cohen's 28%. The rest is for those who are undecided and for the other 9 candidates. If African Americans could have coalesced around one (or two or three...) candidates the chances of keeping African American representation in the ninth would have have been a near certainty, but now...

Steve Cohen, if successful tonight and in November, may end up being a fine Congressman with the best interest of the community in his mind, heart and vote (as his legislative record indicates), but when the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) is on the verge of historical power, 21 members are ranking members and set to assume chairpersonships if the Democrats take control in November, the CBC needs all the votes it can gather to make the historical power historically meaningful. Something the bevy of African American candidates in the ninth should have thought about.

The winner takes on the GOP nominee who will also be tapped tonight. The three man Republican primary includes Derrick Bennett.

Sabato's Crystal Ball - Republican Prospects in '06 Very Troubling ...

Larry Sabato, University of Virginia Center for Politics, examines the possibility that Democrats may regain control of Congress in his latest analysis:

But now, with a quarter of time elapsed between that pulse-reading and the election, surer signs are emerging that something more substantial than a "micro-wave" is heating up this summer. Historical trends and big picture indicators--generic congressional ballot tests and approval ratings of President Bush's job performance in particular - have always been heavily stacked against the GOP in this "sixth year itch" cycle, but aggregations of more race-specific indicators are now suggesting that Republicans are headed for their most serious midterm losses in decades.

As national discontent over gas prices, Iraq, and general instability in the Middle East percolate, approval ratings of Congress, the president, and the national direction continue to languish at torrid depths. But as the Crystal Ball has cautioned again and again, Democrats cannot truly capitalize on the withering political climate faced by the GOP unless they succeed in convincing large numbers of voters to evaluate their home-state Republican candidates through the powerful lens of national displeasure. In other words, the size of Democrats' gains will be contingent upon how well they play the game of guilt by (Bush) association as Republicans seek to escape the shadow of their unpopular chief executive.

Beyond playing "guilt-by-association," Democrats must also devise a better, more substantive platform. Voters aren't that stupid and electoral attitudes are local. There are signs a new Congress is in the works come November, but some of this speculation may be pure hype if Democrats are unable to manage better voter turnout and create resonating policy themes.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Not Dead Yet, McKinney Closes the Gap

Reports of her political demise may have been premature. Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, after a fiery debate with run-off opponent Hank Johnson on Monday saw a bump in the most recent poll

In a InsiderAdvantage/Majority Opinion Poll survey released yesterday McKinney found herself down to former DeKalb County Commissioner Johnson by 15 points with 17% undecided. That is change of 10 points for McKinney, who was down by 25 points in last weeks poll. The bad news for the Congresswoman is that Johnson stands at 49% and saw a small increase himself compared to the last poll(

The two face off Tuesday in a run-off for the nomination of the Democratic Party in Georgia's fourth Congressional district. The winner will face GOP choice Catherine Davis.


In the closest race yet for an African American running for statewide office, Kansas state Senator David Haley captured the Democratic nomination for Secretary of State by a razor thin 317 votes ( in yesterday's primary.

Senator Haley topped political science professor Robert Beattie to set up a rematch with current Secretary of State Ron Thornburgh who won the Republican primary by blasting Haley's state Senate colleague Kay O'Connor by 43 points.

Secretary of State Thornburgh looks unbeatable, but Senator Haley is a smart, savvy, up and comer in Kansas politics who learned some lessons in his 2002 race with Thornburgh and will be riding the coattails of Kathleen Sebelius the state's popular Democratic Governor.