Friday, August 19, 2011

Laurie Halverson to challenge Doug Wardlow in 38B

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usOn Monday Laurie Halverson filed paperwork declaring her intention to run for the state house seat currently held by everyone's favorite dyed-in-the-wool tea-partier, Doug Wardlow.

For those of you unfamiliar with Rep. Wardlow, he is one of the many freshman swept into office in the great GOP wave of 2010, defeating Mike Obermulluer 52-48, to reclaim his father's former seat. Back in June of this year, during the limbo period after the legislative session ended and the shutdown began, Alec attended a forum that Wardlow was on and got to see him in action firsthand.

This was Wardlow's position on negotiating for those who don't remember:

When negotiating, you cannot compromise your principles with your opponent, because if you compromise they won't negotiate with you because you don't have a principled base to compromise from.

When I updated the Senate hPVI numbers earlier this year I noted that Senate district 38 was the one that had moved the most in the Democratic direction, going from R+6 to R+2. Assuming it doesn't change too much in redistricting, something we really can't be sure of, it should be a very winnable race.

That's why it's nice to see a strong DFL candidate get into the race, from the Eagan Patch:

Halverson since 2006 has served on the Eagan Advisory Parks and Recreation Commission, and has been an active leader for the Eagan Foundation, according to a news release. She graduated from the College of St. Catherine in St. Paul with a degree in political science, and has a Master of Public Affairs from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota, the release states.

Doug Wardlow is one of the more vulnerable of the GOP freshman class and having a credible challenger running against him makes it that much better of an investment of time and money for anyone looking for races to help with next year.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

T-Paw missed his moment

Tim PawlentyLooking back at the 2008 Presidential election it's hard for me not to conclude that Barack Obama's March 18th speech on race was the most important single moment for his candidacy. Certainly without his 2004 Democratic Convention speech he likely doesn't even get to that point in the first place, but without the speech on race, at the height of the Jeremiah Wright controversy, he would probably not be President now.

Tim Pawlenty's 2011 Presidential campaign has a similarly singular moment you can point to as the end and it wasn't the Iowa straw poll.

I wrote this on June 8th in response to a PPP poll that showed Pawlenty in double digits for the first time:

This is the best showing for Tim Pawlenty in a national poll so far, going from only 5% on May 10th into the low double digits in three weeks. This rise in his support coincides with his official campaign announcement and subsequent media blitz, so it could be a temporary spike, or it could be upward momentum, we'll have to wait and see.

Four days later, on Fox News, Pawlenty uttered a line perfectly designed to destroy Mitt Romney, "ObamneyCare." It seemed like Tim Pawlenty had finally taken the gloves off and would start attacking the front runner. Not only the front runner, but a candidate who occupied almost the same exact political space as him.

And the very next day is the day his campaign died.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Wisconsin Aftermath

SolidarityDemocrats managed to win just two state Senate seats in Wisconsin yesterday, falling short of the three they needed to take back control of the state Senate. It was a disappointing, but hardly surprising outcome, after all, these Republicans had survived the 2008 blue wave.

The thing that stood out to me as I'm looking over the results this morning is the incredible accuracy of Public Policy Polling in the races they polled, check it out (actual results in parenthesis):

Jennifer Shilling (D): 54 (55)
Dan Kapanke (R-inc): 43 (45)
(MoE: ±3.4%)

Jessica King (D): 48 (51)
Randy Hopper (R-inc): 49 (49)
(MoE: ±2.7%)

Shelly Moore (D): 42 (42)
Sheila Harsdorf (R-inc): 54 (58)
(MoE: ±2.7%)

Fred Clark (D): 47 (48)
Luther Olsen (R-inc): 50 (52)
(MoE: ±2.8%)

Everyone they had at 50% and over won their race and they weren't off by more then a couple of points on any of the races. For unprecedented state legislature recall elections happening in the summer they got about as close as could possibly be expected.

So kudos to PPP for doing excellent work and for anyone still skeptical of the automated polling concept, take note, some automated pollsters are not as sloppy and methodologically unsound as Rasmussen is.

Monday, August 8, 2011

When to fade a sharp

Picture of a roll of cashFair warning; I'm bringing some sports betting terms into this post because these were the terms that I felt best articulated the credit downgrade issued by S&P on Friday and Nate Silver's resulting post.

In sports betting a "sharp" is someone who knows what they're doing, they're the smart money. If you've seen the movie "Casino," Robert De Niro's character is a sharp.

Betting with the sharps is a good way to make money in sports betting, but it's not that easy. Some sharps are so well known and so good that when they make a bet the whole market reacts, and a flood of money will come in on the same side as the sharp. Most books will watch these sharps moves as well and adjust their lines accordingly.

To alleviate this, many sharps, because their bets are so influential, will purposely bet a line one way early in the week in an effort to push the line in a direction to their liking and then at the last minute money will pour in on the other side of their initial wager.

Because of these reasons betting with the sharp's isn't always easy and for many sports bettor's, finding a sharp to bet with isn't nearly as profitable as finding a square to bet against.