electoral politics

Mitch and the Mailers

A Kentucky GOP mailer intended to deceive voters in the 2014 election.

Narratives.

Detail: Eric Lewis, "Animal Nuz #223".  1 November 2014.  Via Daily Kos.Eric Lewis certainly shows confidence, titling his latest installment of Animal News (#223), “Buh-Bye Mitch Edition”. And whatever we might believe about the polling, the averages, the aggregators, the modelers, year-six elections, or Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s advantage in the numbers heading into election day, it really does seem as if the incumbent’s campaign senses greater insecurity in those numbers; of all the close races leading toward what is predicted to be a Republican triumph, the senior senator from Kentucky has one of the most visible advantages.

Then again, he did fall back to trying to cover his Social Security gaffe with an astoundingly innovatinve campaign argument: “I’m not announcing what the agenda would be in advance.” Far be it for us to pretend to be any arbiter of all things, but something seems amiss about that formulation.

And that would have been what it was, except, well, Lewis has a point with is sensational “headline”:

Senator McTurtle’s illeglally deceptive mailer is just one of many signs his campaign is starting to panic.”

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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell

Mitch McConnell

This paragraph from Sam Stein is either amusing or unsettling, depending on how one’s sense of humor is feeling today:

The Huffington Post asked the McConnell campaign that very question the day after the debate. We asked the campaign the same question twice more that day. Then, we posed the question to them seven more times over the subsequent nine days. We also called the campaign twice. The campaign never responded.

The story here is simple; a bit over two weeks ago, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell faced his Democratic challenger, Alison Lundergan Grimes in the only debate of the Kentucky race for U.S. Senate. During the debate, Mr. McConnell called for the end of the PPACA. Except Kynect, the Kentucky health care exchange, has been quite successful, so the question arose whether the senior Kentucky senator would destroy that, too. “The website can continue,” McConnell explained.

Questions arose immediately as to what that statement actually meant in terms of practical function; without the rest of the ACA, Kynect would be generally useless, an advertising portal for a private market sector infamous for finding ways to renege on its contracts in order to increase its bottom line by refusing to fulfill its obligations. Without some detail to the other, this is what Sen. McConnell seems to have told Kentucky: You can have the damn website, but you’re screwed, anyway. Vote for me!

One might be tempted to think persistent questions from press and public pushed Team Mitch to find an answer. Split the difference; they found a punch line.

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Kansas

Great Seal of Kansas (detail)

This is how it goes:

Despite dropping out of the Kansas Senate race this week, Democrat Chad Taylor will remain on the ballot, Republican Secretary of State Kris Kobach announced on Thursday.

Taylor’s name could draw votes from independent Greg Orman, who is locked in a competitive race with Republican Sen. Pat Roberts. Orman has not said which party he will caucus with if he wins, and national Democrats are hoping he might deliver them an unexpected seat in November amid an uphill battle to hold the Senate.

Kobach told reporters that candidates must declare they are “incapable” of serving if elected in order to withdraw their name from the ballot.

“The law is the law,” Kobach said, according to The Kansas City Star.

Kobach’s decision could spur a legal fight, however. Taylor said in a statement that he had specifically asked and had been explicitly told by Kobach’s office that he would be allowed to remove his name if he followed the procedures they laid out.

(Sarlin)

Confused? Well, sure, why not? Still, though, for those to whom Kris Kobach’s name is already familiar, it is quite clear what is going on. Kris Kobach wants Chad Taylor on the ballot for the same reason Taylor and Kansas Democrats want him off.

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