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Morning Jay: Delaware Senate, Boren Cruising, Nevada Polls, and More!

6:30 AM, Sep 13, 2010 • By JAY COST
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1. Delaware Primary.  The stakes are high in Delaware as First State Republicans are set to choose between moderate Republican Mike Castle and conservative, Tea Party-backed Christine O’Donnell.  PPP is now finding a statistical tie between the two, and the battle has turned conservative allies against one another.

Morning Jay: Delaware Senate, Boren Cruising, Nevada Polls, and More!

I’ve made it clear where I stand.  I share the concern of many that Castle is a moderate whose loyalty to GOP causes will be questionable. Even so, that concern has to be balanced against the question of O’Donnell’s electability.  This, after all, is Delaware - not Utah, not even Pennsylvania.  A whopping 48 percent of 2008 voters called themselves Democrats.  That's an extraordinary party registration advantage that a conservative like O'Donnell will have a severe challenge in overcoming, but a moderate like Castle will not.

For instance, let’s suppose that the odds that a Senator Castle would repeal Obamacare are 50 percent.  Let’s also assign him a 75 percent chance of election in November.  Finally, let’s suppose that the Democrat Chris Coons would certainly not vote to repeal Obamacare should he win.  The chances that the Republicans will get another vote to repeal Obamacare if they nominate Castle can thus be calculated as .5 X .75 = .375, or 37.5 percent.

Meanwhile, let’s suppose that O’Donnell would certainly repeal Obamacare, but her path to victory is much narrower, at just 25 percent.  In that case, the chances that the Republicans will get another vote to repeal Obamacare if they nominate O'Donnell can thus be calculated as 1.0 X .25 = .25, or 25 percent.

Under these assumptions, the chances of repealing Obamacare would actually increase with a Castle nomination.

Generally speaking, all Republicans are best served by strategic thinking in pursuit of a shared goal: the most conservative Congress possible.  In some instances, that actually means supporting moderates over conservatives.  I think this is one such instance. 

This issue becomes all the more salient given the need for the GOP to win a whopping 19 seats in just two cycles if a full repeal of Obamacare is to be assured.

2. Boren Cruising.  Democrat Dan Boren of OK-2 released a poll last week showing him with a better than 2:1 edge over his Republican opponent, leading 65-31.

What’s going on here?  Boren’s eastern Oklahoma district has historic ties to the Democratic party, but it gave George W. Bush 59 percent of the vote, then gave John McCain 64 percent.  How can Boren be so safe in a year when the macro conditions for the Democrats are so miserable?

The answer probably has to do with his voting record. Boren voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, against cap-and-trade, and against health care.  And Boren didn't just vote against Obamacare. He told Fox News:

They can break my arms. They can do whatever they want to. They'll never get my vote -- ever. They'll have to walk across my dead body if they want my vote on this issue.

It’s hard for Republicans to connect him to the unpopular items of the Obama agenda.

Boren’s ostensible safety suggests that this midterm election is not reducible to voters who are angry over the economy blindly raining down vengenance upon any unfortunate soul with a “D” at the end of his or her name.  Instead, one’s proximity to the Democratic agenda looks like it will be a factor, as it was in 1994.  I think that is a big reason why Boren appears safe, as does Gene Taylor of MS-4.

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