Politics: Toward the 2014 mid term elections

It is no secret that Republicans do a better job of getting out the vote than the Democrats, at least in the mid term elections.

Many liberals cheered when Michele Bachmann announced that she wouldn’t be running for reelection in 2014, but I wasn’t one of them. Reason: with Ms. Bachmann in the race, we had a chance to pick up a red district. Now, that chance has been greatly diminished, possibly to the point of hopelessness.

Yes, it is easy to pick up on her crazy comments and her general lunacy. What we sometimes miss is that she had enough influence with the Tea Party crowd to get enough people to take crazy conspiracy theories “seriously” and to give cover to like minded Republicans who share the same policy goals but are more restrained in their public statements. Other GOP candidates can benefit by looking “sane by comparison”.

Rachel Maddow sums it up very well here.

IL-17 There is some talk that Bobby Schilling might run again. As far as IL-17, remember that President Obama won this district 57.6-40.6 but Bustos only won 53-47. One might infer that 4-5 percent of the voters in this district voted for both Obama and for Schilling (?); I also noted that Schilling was careful to keep some distance between his campaign and Mitt Romney’s, even though Mr. Schilling is a dyed in the wool tea party Republican.

So, this race is far from certain; GOTV operations will be essential.

May 31, 2013 Posted by | Cheri Bustos, IL-17, politics, politics/social, republicans | , , | 1 Comment

Election Recap: Part I: my experience, Koehler and Bustos (IL-17 US House, IL-46, State Senate)

Workout notes Easy 4 mile walk over lunch.

Election Recap, Part I
I’ll probably keep a stream of these coming.

Personal Experiences

This election, I broke down my activities as follows:
National: mostly money to the Obama campaign.
Local: I attended fund raisers for the Koehler and Bustos campaign (several) and attended the Bustos-Schilling debate, and I spent money on each. I wrote a letter to the editor for Mr. Koehler. On election day, I did an “almost complete” walk route (had to double back to get rain gear) and part of another route. The idea: make sure our people got to the polls. Basically, I knocked on doors (about 80 total) and hung “please vote” door hangers on the door knobs.

Here is one of my routes (the morning one, with the “double back” to get rain gear:

Note: I did NOT count this as “training mileage” :-), though I get in a 5 mile run prior to starting this.

I probably put in another mile in the late afternoon, quitting when it got too dark to read the house numbers easily.

In between routes, I hung out at the Peoria Democrats headquarters and got to say “hi” to Ms. Bustos and Ms. Gordon (uncontested race) and the other volunteers. I spent part of the evening at the Democratic victory party for Senator Koehler.

About the canvass What was very different this time is that I canvassed in a neighborhood that I was familiar with; I actually knew many of the people whose houses I visited. Also, many recognized me because several of my regular running or walking training routes goes through that neighborhood. They “know” me as the old man who is always running or walking in the neighborhood.

I got encouragement and in one of the other neighborhoods, I got the “way to go” fist pump.

How the Dave Koeher race went
Many were worried as Pat Sullivan was well known and, up to the start of the race, reasonably well liked. He had success in small business and he resurrected some properties along the riverfront. Those accomplishments are genuine. He also had a lot of money backing him: the Republican party establishment, Aaron Schock (US House, IL-18) and my City Council Person Barbara Van Auken (who I worked for when she first ran).

He then ran some very negative ads; Koehler responded and then the Sullivan campaign screamed bloody murder. There were Sullivan signs all over the place, but ultimately, not enough votes. Note: Sullivan’s debate performances were very poor.

It ended 54-46 Koehler.

The Bustos race Bustos took on Tea Party Incumbent Bobby Schilling. Given that the IL-17 district was gerrymandered to make it more Democratic friendly, this was a tough sell for Mr. Schilling. He couldn’t be too antagonistic toward President Obama (who lead by 15 points in this district) but he could ill afford to lose what conservative support that he had.

Tactics: the NRCC ran some deceptive ads for him and he came out with a flier called The Illinois Democrat which featured him.

It didn’t work and Bustos won 53-47 (18,500 votes); she picked up her margins in Rock Island as well as in sections of Rockford and Peoria:

She won Fulton county by 200, Knox county (Galesburg) by 1200, Peoria County (part of it; the other part is in IL-18) by 8400, Rock Island by 6600, Tazewell by 200 (part of the county), Whiteside by 200 and Winnebago (part of Rockford) by 8700. Or put another way, her margin came from Rock Island plus parts of two larger cities.

November 8, 2012 Posted by | 2012 election, Cheri Bustos, dave koehler, Democrats, IL-17, IL-18, Illinois, Peoria, Peoria/local, politics, politics/social, walking | Leave a comment

The Real Winner Tonight…..

Well, of course I am happy that President Obama won tonight.

I am happy that Dave Koehler won: (IL-46 State Senate)

I am happy that Cheri Bustos won (IL-17 US House)

But the real winner are The Math Nerds:

One is the battle of the nerds versus the traditional pundits. The outpouring of Hate for Nate has been awesome to watch; much of it is coming from the right, but a fair bit also from mainstream pundits who rely on their ineffable sense of “momentum” or whatever rather than polls.

Obviously I side, professionally and temperamentally, with the nerds here — not just Nate Silver, but Sam Wang, Drew Linzer, Pollster, and more. I’d like to think I’d be on their side even if the numbers were pointing the other way.

The point is that relying on data rather than hunches is my style; I’d hate, professionally, to see the voices in the air people get this right, simply because the polls were wrong.

As Krugman says “Math is Hard”:

First of all, from what I can see a lot of people have trouble with the distinction between probabilities and vote margins. They think that when I say, “state level polls overwhelmingly suggest an Obama victory”, I’m also saying “state level polls suggest an overwhelming Obama victory”, which isn’t at all the same thing. We have a lot of polls, almost all of which say that Obama will win Ohio; but they don’t by any means say that he’ll win it in a landslide.

Second, people clearly have a problem with randomness — with the fact that any poll, no matter how carefully conducted, has a margin of error. (And the true margins of error are surely larger than the statistical measure always reported, since sampling error isn’t the only way a poll can go wrong). Specifically, what I think people don’t get is the fact that when there are many polls of a state, some of them are bound to be outliers — not, or not necessarily, because the pollsters have done a bad job, but because there’s always noise in any sampling procedure.

What this means is that if you look at all the polls, you’re very likely to find one or two that tell you what you want to hear: Rasmussen has Ohio tied! Susquehanna has Pennsylvania tied! And it’s very tempting to select those polls and trumpet them — a temptation you really want to resist. The point isn’t necessarily that these are bad polling firms (as it happens, they are, but that’s beside the point); it is that even good pollsters will produce an occasional off result, and you really, really don’t want to start picking and choosing those off results to make yourself feel good.

So in a many-poll world, you really have to adopt some kind of averaging procedure and stick to it. Different poll aggregators have chosen slightly different methods, and it would be worrisome if they were telling different stories. But they aren’t: they’re all saying Obama advantage[…]

But people seem to have a trouble with math IF it goes against what they want to be true, or what “their gut” says is true.

November 7, 2012 Posted by | 2012 election, Barack Obama, Cheri Bustos, politics, politics/social, poll, statistics | 4 Comments

I’m Loving This…so far….

Workout notes 5.1 mile run (Cornstalk course) in 52:25.
Then I ate breakfast and walked a couple of routes for my candidates (IL-46: Dave Koehler, US IL-17 Cheri Bustos) who are ahead. Yeah, it rained for most of the time and my feet got cold. But lunch with Lynn and her friend helped. I also got to see Cheri Bustos and Jehan Gordon.

The Presidential race:

I like what I see in the Senate Race: Claire McCaskill, Elizabeth Warren, Joe Donnelly.

So far, so good.

November 7, 2012 Posted by | 2012 election, Barack Obama, Cheri Bustos, Claire McCaskill, Mitt Romney, political/social, politics, politics/social, running | Leave a comment

5 November 2012: calm before the storm?

Workout notes
Heavy legs from yesterday, but I had enough in the tank to do a weight workout followed by 2 easy miles on the treadmill (10:10/9:00); I last .5 mile was 8:30.

Weights: shortened a bit:
pull ups: 5 sets of 10; last set was broken 7/3 (change grip to rotated)
rotator cuff
bench: 10 x 135, 3 sets of 5 x 170.

military: 2 sets of 15 x 45; curls: 2 sets of 10 x 30 dumbbell, 2 sets of 10 x EZ curl (one set with 10/5 on each side, one set with 2 10’s on each side)
pull downs: 3 sets of 10; 1 with 162.5, 2 with 150
rows: 3 sets of 10 x 60 lb. Also crunches.

My favorite Obama ad of this election season:

This is a good Dave Koehler ad:

Cheri Bustos

The bookies
Election odds:

3 bookies have it 1/4 or 4/17 Obama
5 have it 2/9 Obama
1 has it 21/100 Obama
7 bookies have it 1/5 Obama
2 have it 2/11 Obama
1 has it 1/6 Obama

November 5, 2012 Posted by | 2012 election, Barack Obama, Cheri Bustos, Political Ad, politics, poll, running, weight training | Leave a comment

Republican Dirty Tricks in IL-17, with video (and yes, I voted today!)

Workout notes Weights plus an untimed 5 mile walk. Weights: 5 sets of 10 pull ups, rotator cuff, 3 super sets of (rows: 10 x 200 Hammer machine, 10 x 160 pull downs, 10 x 52.5 curls (pulley)), bench press: 10 x 135, 8 x 165, 6 x 165, 5 x 165, incline: 2 sets of 7 x 135, 2 sets of 15 x 45 (dumbbell) military press (seated). I did vertical ab crunches as rest between sets.

IL-17 is a redistricted Congressional District in Illinois; it was redrawn after Illinois went from having 19 Congressional Districts to 18.

Historically: Lane Evans won it in 1982 and represented it until Phil Hare won it in 2006. But in 2010, Phil Hare was upset by a Tea Party Republican named Bobby Schilling.

However the district has been redrawn to be even more Democratic; currently Barack Obama leads by 15 points.

The Bustos-Schilling race has been close; by Election Projection:

10/25/12 Stuart Rothenberg Pundit Change: Tilt DEM to Toss-up
10/15/12 Public Opinion (R) Schilling 51% – Bustos 44%
10/18/12 GBA Strategies (D) Bustos 49% – Schilling 45%
10/13/12 RATING CHANGE: Weak Schilling to Weak Bustos
10/09/12 WeAskAmerica Bustos 46% – Schilling 46%
10/10/12 RATING CHANGE: Weak Bustos to Weak Schilling
10/04/12 Anzalone Liszt Research (D) Bustos 45% – Schilling 44%

So, the Republicans are fighting tooth and nail to hold this seat. So watch out for the dirty tricks!

We have this ad from the NRCC:

Wow! There are some problems here though. For one, Ms. Bustos isn’t a member of that country club and never was. Also, this improvement was for water main repair, and had started BEFORE she took her seat.

More here.

Now there is this:

What you are seeing is a newspaper tabloid style mailer called “The Illinois Democrat” which is an extended ad for Bobby Schilling. You have to dig deep into the ad to find a mention that Mr. Schilling is the Republican candidate.

That isn’t a surprise; at the last Schilling-Bustos debate, Mr. Schilling failed to mention Mitt Romney once, but did have a few good words to say about President Obama.

Here is my (7 minute) video commentary.

October 28, 2012 Posted by | 2012 election, Cheri Bustos, IL-17, IL-18, Illinois, Peoria, Political Ad, political/social, politics, politics/social, republicans, walking, weight training | 3 Comments

Republican dirty tricks: IL-17

I got this (a newspaper-like mailer) in the mail today: it is called “Illinois Democrat” but is advertising for Bobby Schilling, the Republican (tea party) candidate for IL-17. This is outrageous.

What a dirt bag….typical Republican behavior in this area.

October 28, 2012 Posted by | 2012 election, Cheri Bustos, Political Ad, politics, republicans political/social, republicans politics | 4 Comments

Strong Performance by Cheri Bustos in the Peoria Debate (IL-17)

I just got back from a debate between candidates for the US House (IL-17): Cheri Bustos is the Democratic challenger whereas Bobby Schilling is the Tea Party Republican incumbent.

Note: the race is close: over the past few weeks there have been polls that showed (in chronological order) : Schilling by 2, Bustos by 1, Bustos by 4. Note: in this district, President Obama leads by 15 points.

So, it was clear: neither side could antagonize Obama supporters; in fact neither candidate mentioned Mitt Romney ONCE whereas both praised President Obama to at least a degree.

Of course, Mr. Schilling did so deceptively: he mentioned that President Obama didn’t want to “raise taxes on the job creators”. But when Mr. Schilling said that, he was responding to Ms. Bustos talking about the plan to let the upper income Bush tax cuts expire and President Obama was talking about the middle class. Mr. Obama did agree to some compromises in order to get some indirect stimulus passed (payroll tax holidays, extension of unemployment benefits, etc.)

Mr. Schilling also talked about President Obama signing some free trade agreements and tried to conflate these with earlier trade agreements (e. g. NAFTA), and he attempted to defend Mr. Ryan’s Medicare “Voucher” plan (which it indeed is), though he didn’t mention Mr. Ryan either.

Ms. Bustos kept pounding away at Mr. Schilling’s party line adherence to the Republican “trickle down economics” policies.

Note: Mr. Schilling fired at attack (on something that Ms. Bustos 401K plan invested in and has since divested in) and Ms. Bustos pointed out that a Republican ad, which Mr. Schilling “mostly” stood by, was fiction. Mr. Schilling did say that he “didn’t agree with all” of those Republican PAC attack ads though he didn’t mention what he didn’t agree with and he did call them “factual”

(they were “factual” in dollar amounts and in that they involved a road that ran by Ms. Bustos’ house and goes to a country club…which Ms. Bustos does NOT belong to…and the 625K project was approved BEFORE Ms. Bustos took office)

I think that Ms. Bustos better connected with her potential constituencies as, well, she genuinely holds their values.

Personal note: after the debate, Ms. Bustos told me that she could see me shaking my head when Mr. Schilling was repeating his RNC talking points.

My wife said that Ms. Bustos came off as more authentic.

But ultimately the voters will have to decide.

October 26, 2012 Posted by | 2012 election, Cheri Bustos, IL-17, Illinois, politics, politics/social | 1 Comment