Thursday, October 30, 2008

Analysis: Which congressional races are you watching and why?

Did you know that there is more than a presidential election happening on November 4 (the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November)?

Time Dot Com 08 Congressional Races to Watch

Take a look at the 17 races discussed in the above pieces. I haven't read all of them yet, but the ones I've read are well done and make me want to do more research and find out more. You should do that too (there are House and Senate races that are discussed).

All 435 members of the House are up for election every two years. A third of the Senate is up for election every two years (6 year terms, of course).

Bonus Question: With the conviction of Ted Stevens of Alaska, can the Democrats pick up enough seats in the U.S. Senate to get to 60 votes? This would allow them to pass a cloture motion with 60 votes and stop any Republican filibusters (implied bonus, bonus questions: is this a threat to Pluralism and will Joe Lieberman (I) caucus with the Democrats to help them get to the 60 vote supermajority). The fun and intrigue are just beginning...

Advanced Placement Politics and Government
(AP POGO: Hopping from one topic to the next...)

34 comments:

Mr. Bretzmann said...

I know this is supposed to be about the Congressional races, but here's a link to a presidential election Electoral College Vote screensaver. Brilliant!

http://www.cannonade.net/ElectoralCollege.html

Mr. Bretzmann said...

http://www.centerforpolitics.org/crystalball/article.php?id=LJS2008103001

http://rothenbergpoliticalreport.blogspot.com/2008/10/2008-house-ratings_29.html

RyanO said...

That screensaver is pretty much the greatest thing since John King's magic touch screen.

Mr. Bretzmann said...

http://swingstateproject.com/showDiary.do?diaryId=3641

The above is a good map of when the polls close throughout the country. If you believe the current polling, the presidential election may be over quickly since VA, FL, PA and OH polls all close by 7:30 (our time).

(I too love the screensaver. I haven't turned my laptop off for two days!)

Alexk said...

I am watching the race in Alaska, it will be interesting to see if Ted Stevens becomes the first convicted felon to server as congressmen.

ericag said...

Hey Mr. Bretzmann,

My Environmental Design Professor told in class that if you are wearing a campaign shirt supporting either candidate, they won't let you vote. Is that possible? I asked him if it was just an AZ thing and he said it was a national thing. I thought it was freedom of speech.

Mr. Bretzmann said...

It is definitely not a national thing. In Wisconsin you can wear a campaign shirt, button, etc. as long it is not considered "electioneering". In Wisconsin there are laws about how close to a polling place you can do "electioneering" (i.e. handing out pamphlets or fliers, or waving a sign or telling people who to vote for). If poll workers think that you are engaging in electioneering they are supposed to ask you to stop. So, let's say you're running around the gym with your Pro-Ron-Paul shirt on yelling "Vote for Ron!" they can say, please stop that. If you're just standing in line with a shirt on they shouldn't be able to tell you to stop wearing it AND they definitely cannot take away your right to vote because you are exercising your right to free speech (with certain aforementioned restrictions). To find out a more credible answer to your specific AZ question, call 866-OUR VOTE and ask them. That's what they are there for (oh, and ask your professor to cite the source of his/her information AND bring a sweatshirt to put on over your shirt just in case they try to take away your vote by engaging in extra-legal activities).

d gunderson said...

I really haven't followed the congressional races as much, but after reading about some of those races I'm very interested. It seems that many of the races are tight where they thought it would be a landslide like with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. He won 65 percent of the vote at his last election. I also would like to watch Alaska, because I had no idea that Ted Stevens is a convicted felon. Also it is interesting that New York City could loose its only Republican.

Johnny B said...

Mr. Bretzmann,

Did you know that you always have the most amusing answers while still getting your point across?

:]

ericag said...

Thank you.

Addie said...

I think the race between Kirk and Seals is interesting- it mirrors what's happening in the presidential election on more than one level. it's funny how that works.

That's odd how no one's running against Jim sensenbrenner. i think someone should.



maybe i will...

Vince said...

When I looked at the link you posted I was just looking around at the different titles to the articles, and I found that in almost all the articles it says somewhere that the GOP is losing this, or behind in that. For this election I'm not looking at a particular race, just curious to see how many seats will switch from party to party. My guess is that the democrats will reach the 60 mark and that many of these congressional elections will be very close.

kylem27 said...

I am honestly not watching any congressional races. I am too distracted with the ever tightening polls of the presidential race.

Kyle K said...

To be completely honest I haven't been watching any congressional races. But after skimming through some of these articles I am kind of disappointed that I haven't because a lot of them seem pretty interesting. Seeing how close some the races are when our book says that incumbents win most of the time is pretty cool.

Ryan K said...

I find what Vince said very interesting. It does seem that most of those headlines put the spotlight on the democratic candidate in the race. In my opinion it seems as if there will be an overturn of seats in congress to the democratic side. If this will end up causing cloture in the senate I am not sure but it looks as though even if the democrats will not have cloture they will have an extremely strong majority. This could bring many of the same benefits with it.

Alli B said...

Like everyone else I will be watching the race in Alaska with Ted Stevens. I think it will be interesting to see if he'll be able to pull off a win. I was also suprised to read that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and his opponent are very close in the polls. It would be a huge shock if he lost his election.

The Democrats definitely have a chance at picking up enough seats to get to 60 votes. There are a lot of close congressional races and if the votes go their way they'll be able to pull it off.

Jenni F said...

I just skimmed the headlines and a few articles, but I agree with Vince and Ryan. What we ought to be looking at is not an individual race, but the congressional races as a whole.

Addie, I would vote for you!

JakeK said...

I'm watching the Coleman-Franken race in Minnesota rather closely. Norm Coleman-R, a rather popular incumbant, is in danger of losing his senate seat to former SNL writer Al Franken. Why? Because a third-party candidate, Dean Barkely, is taking in about 15% of the vote-most of which are lean-conservative voters. It should be interesting to see if the democrats could score a seat from a republican stronghold in their quest for 60 seats(PLEASE NO!!!).

ryanh said...

I am not really paying particular attention to any one race. I am looking more at the congressional seats as a whole seeing how many will turn over to democrats now. It is obvious the GOP is failing miserably this election.

tyler l said...

Honestly I havent been watching the congressional races very much. I am more intrested with the presedential race.

JamieW said...

ohhhhh myyyyy goodness!
the electoal college screen saver was the best thing that happened to me all day.

I AM SO EXCITED :-)

If you're 18.... GO VOTE!

arletap said...

Not only are classes canceled tomorrow for fear of students being shot by snipers, but I managed to get my hands upon a ticket to the Obama rally tomorrow in Grant Park.

I love college.

joannaz said...

Oh Leta stop your gloating!

JamieW said...

Dear Arleta,
I hate you :-)
Love,
Jamie

P.S I decked out my wall in my room with Obama posters and such that I received for free today from College Democrats.

P.S.S Remember to vote!!!!!!!

Johnny B said...

Obama wins the first district to vote! (Dixville Notch, NH)

Obama 16
McCain 5

Article

Okay. Can anyone tell I'm excited?

Johnny B said...

Edit:
Obama 15
McCain 6

JamieW said...

ELECTION DAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!
ahhhhhhhhhhh.

guess who is going to watch her laptop screen ALL day..ME!
i guess i'll take a break to go take an exam or two and attend class but other than that...

it's just me and my laptop :-)

OOOOOOOO- MAMA! :-)

Mr. Bretzmann you need to wear your West Wing jacket today.
I think it might help.

Johnny B said...

I voted today. :]

arletap said...

The West Wing jacket should remain tucked away in the furthest corner of a dark closet. It would just jinx the election.

And I wish I were in Muskego right now to just see Mr. Bretzmann in all his election-excitement glory. I can only imagine.

Mr. Bretzmann said...

Thanks Johnny B for the vote of confidence in my responses! I like yours too.

Grant Park should be exciting and historical regardless of who wins. AZ should be exciting and historical if Sen. McCain wins...the most exciting come from behind victory since Harry Truman!

I won't be in Illinois, I'll be at home with my T.V. and picture-in-picture working overtime. I'll have my laptop working on websites (electoral-vote.com) and filling in my own Electoral Vote excel spreadsheet (available at mnsd.k12.wi.us and then find it on Moodle).

I hadn't thought about wearing my West Wing Jacket (it's actually a big suede shirt), but it sounds like a great idea. And since Mrs. Kaczmarek gave me a West Wing backpack for my birthday and it contains a West Wing embroidered blanket and other picnic paraphernalia...I think I may have a West Wing Election Night Picnic!

By the way, Johnny B. brings up Dixville Notch. They vote just after midnight on Election Day AND there is a great West Wing episode about Dixville Notch and how they try to win their votes so that the story is positive about their candidate for the next 12 hours.

What a great show, what a great day, what a great country. Just go vote!!!

States to watch for the presidential election:
Ohio
Florida
Virginia
North Carolina
Pennsylvania

If Obama wins them, it's a short night of election fun. If they split them or McCain wins them, it should be a long and exciting night. Could Nevada decide this election?

GOTV, baby!

JamieW said...

Why am I not surprised you have a West Wing backpack?

I feel like there's a flaw in the voting system.
If you vote abstentee...
YOU DON'T GET A STICKER :-(

nathanl said...

I must say, I'm still amazed Ted Stevens won in Alaska. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

shannon_o said...

I agree with Nathan it will be interesting. Tuesday was a great night of elections and I'm excited to see the changes that will be made.

mevanoff said...

I would like to see how that "supermajority" would play out in our Congress. I think that it may solve a lot of problems or just create a lot more in our country.