Tuesday, May 12, 2009

We'll take those. Thanks.

Clubber Lang: I'm the baddest man in the world.
Rocky Balboa: You don't look so bad to me.
Today, Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call is up with an extensive look at two potential congressional race rematches. Kilroy v. Stivers and Driehaus v. Chabot.
Stivers is contemplating running again, and if he does so, he’ll join former Rep. Steve Chabot as the second Ohio Republican to have a rematch of a 2008 race next year. Without President Barack Obama at the top of the ticket, national Republicans believe Stivers and Chabot are their best shot to defeat freshman Democrats as the party seeks to regain some of the territory it has lost recently in the Buckeye State.
The author nails the most important aspect of these rematches.


Right now, Driehaus and Kilroy have to be particularly nervous if normal midterm election turnout models hold up. It is safe to say both are using the power of incumbency to do whatever they can to save their seats.

And they are getting quite a bit of help from Speaker Pelosi.
The House wants to increase Members’ office budgets next fiscal year by almost 15 percent, partly because 2010 is an election year and lawmakers anticipate a surge in franked mail.

In a recently released budget request, the House Chief Administrative Officer asked appropriators to raise the Members’ Representational Allowances — which fund everything needed to run offices, including salaries, travel and supplies — by $90 million, citing increases “due to the election year cycle.”

“In an election year the expenditures increase and then decrease in a non-election year,” the request reads.
How bold has Pelosi gotten as Speaker?

So bold that she sees no ethical issue with wanting to use a massive increase in federal tax dollars for campaign purposes.

Just so we're clear, this $90 million can be used to send the Congressman back to have more events in his or her district, or they can send more mail/brochures to their constituents that promote their agenda.

From my time on the Hill, I remember having some interesting options for targeting mail sent to the District. For example, Kilroy could send out a brochure touting her stance on Medicare to voters 55 and up in Franklin County. It's totally legal and these increased funds provided by Pelosi ensure voters in Kilroy and Driehaus' districts will see much of it.

But these rematches will ultimately come down to three important variables:
  • Turnout
    Favors both Republicans
  • Money
    While Kilroy has a solid head start, these races are both high profile enough that there will be no massive financial advantage for any candidate
  • State of the Economy
    Ohio isn't turning itself around anytime soon. And it is safe to say the economy will be issue number one in the Ohio Governor's race. Highlighting these deficiencies can only benefit the Republican challengers.
No matter what happens, it's good to see the 2010 races will have more excitement beyond the Guv race.

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