AZ-SEN: Last-Minute Drive
Arizona has been off the radar screen pretty much this entire election year. Governor Napolitano is safe, the NRCC pulled out of AZ-08, giving Gabrielle Giffords the race after pro-Klan candidate Randy Graf won their primary, and Sen. Jon Kyl looked to not be in danger of losing his re-election campaign against self-funded businessman Jim Pederson. All of a sudden, however, seemingly out of nowhere, the DSCC is buying up any spare air time, because the early numbers look amazing:
According to our October 29 to 31 survey of 745 likely Arizona voters, fully 30% of the Arizona electorate has already voted. We expect that perhaps up to two-fifths of the voters in this election will vote early or by absentee ballot.
In our October 8 to 31 tracking polls (since early voting started) we have interviewed a total of 594 early voters. Among these early voters, Jim Pederson is leading Jon Kyl by 4 points: 44% for Pederson compared to 40% for Kyl, with 4% for other candidates and 12% refused.
This 4% Pederson lead is all the more remarkable since registered Republicans and Democrats are equally likely to have voted early, and in fact there are more Republicans than Democrats in this early-voting sample of 594 respondents.
Furthermore, our latest tracking poll shows that Jim Pederson’s margin among early voters is growing as we get closer to the election and as this bloc of early voters expands to virtually one-third of the electorate.
Apparently Pederson has been using his war chest to put up a ton of ads and make sure his name ID is up. With a Democratic wave criss-crossing the country, that was probably a decent strategy. Having a shot in Arizona would really help, as it expands the margin of error for taking back the Senate. Kyl is a reliable rubber-stamp for the Bush Administration. As if there needs to be a reason beyond that, he was involved with Sen. Lindsay Graham in sending a fake debate to the Supreme Court in an amicus brief:
Apparently this entire 8 page colloquy--which is scripted to read as if it were delivered live on the floor of the Senate, complete with random interruptions from other Senators--never took place. It was inserted into the Congressional Record in written form just prior to passage of the bill.
Lyle Denniston at SCOTUSblog--who appears to have been the first to pick up on this juicy story last Thursday--noted that the authenticity of the floor debate was disputed by Hamdan's attorneys in their reply to the Government's brief. Hamdan's attorneys pointed out that the C-SPAN footage for Dec. 21, 2005--the date this debate supposedly took place--shows no sign of Senators Kyl or Graham (or, for that matter, the other Senators who appear in the record) [...]
What we have are two Senators falsely suggesting--to the highest court in the land--that an imaginary dialogue inserted in the Congressional Record was in fact a live floor debate which reveals the definitive intent of Congress. If all this is true--and it certainly appears to be--Senators Kyl and Graham have some explaining to do.
I would again be amazed if Pederson managed to pull this rabbit out of the hat, but the fact that a popular Democratic governor is also on the ballot will help him. And in this quirky year, with the wave building, anything can happen.
UPDATE: Looks like Arizona Rep. J.D. Hayworth, the grade-A asshole whose surrogates said "No wonder there are anti-Semites in a SYNAGOGUE, is down two points in his re-election race. A wave in the desert!