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Is this the year Gejdenson goes down? 
Connecticut CD 02 - Congressman Sam Gejdenson vs. State Representative  Rob Simmons

In the three elections from 1992 and 1996 he won by a total of less than 10% in all three elections combined - including a 21-vote margin in 1994.  We’re talking about Democrat Sam Gejdenson of Connecticut’s 2nd CD.

Connecticut’s 2nd CD comprises the eastern part of the state and is made up of 54 small towns and cities.  Clinton topped Dole by 21% in 1996.  Perot captured 27% of the vote in 1992 – one of his best districts in the nation.   

In those three elections Gejdenson was faced by former Republican State Senator Ed Munster.  In each race, the hardworking Munster was outspent by at least 3-1 and as much as 10-1.  In the 1994 cliffhanger a third party candidate captured 15% of the vote, mainly in strong Republican areas of the district, swinging the final vote to Gejdenson. 

Gejdenson has racked up one of the most liberal voting records in Congress.  In the last few years he moved out of the district to his wife’s mansion down the shoreline. 

After an easy re-election in 1998, many expected the tough challenges to Gejdenson to be over.  Then came Rob Simmons.

Simmons is a State Representative from Stonington and has a distinguished military record in Vietnam including earning two Bronze Stars.  He served with the CIA and went on to work for Senators John Chafee and Barry Goldwater.

Simmons has proven to be an adept fundraiser, already raising over $850,000.  Not as much as Gejdenson but almost twice as much as any previous challenger. 

The addition of Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman on the national Democratic ticket was supposed to add 10 percentage points to Democrats around the state as energized Democrats turned out to support their favorite son.  But the Lieberman coattails have grown shorter and shorter as the election cycle dragged on. 

And Gejdenson has made some serious errors.  Earlier in the campaign he was forced to fire two staffers after it was revealed they were responsible for spreading rumors that Simmons had been responsible for torturing prisoners when he was in the CIA.  This also earned an uncharacteristic apology from the normally bombastic Gejdenson.

Based on the extreme liberal voting record and the closely match fundraising contest, we are predicting Rob Simmons will upset Congressman Sam Gejdenson.


High Tech Seat Seen Pivotal in Control of Congress
California CD 15 - Democrat Mike Honda vs. Republican Jim Cunneen

When Tom Campbell won California’s 15th Congressional District in a special election in 1995, he beat the best the Democratic Party could muster.  It was the first race the Democrats utilized their Anti-Newt strategy. 

Unfortunately for them, moderate (okay, I’ll admit it, he’s liberal) Campbell can be called many things, but Newt clone is not one of them.  He had a record from a previous stint in Congress that he could point to.  That, and an opponent with enough dirt in his background allowed Campbell to win the Democratic leaning district by 20 percentage points. 

Now Campbell has decided to make a run at U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein and the race for his seat is shaping up to be one of the pivotal seats for the control of Congress.

The Democrats have fielded Assemblyman Mike Honda, a former teacher, while the Republicans have his colleague, Assemblyman Jim Cunneen, a legislative staffer before winning a seat in the Assembly.  Both are very close on most issues – But that hasn’t stopped Cunneen from labeling Honda as a liberal.  Each support abortion rights and some form of gun control.  Both were named legislators of the year by the American Electronics Association – not insignificant in this high tech district. 

In the end, this is a district that supports Democrats. Campbell was an anomaly in 1995.  Clinton won by 16 points in 1992 and 18 points in 1996.    Honda received almost 10,000 more votes than Cunneen in the March blanket primary. 

We predict Mike Honda, bolstered by a strong showing for Al Gore in the 15th CD will emerge the victor on November 7th.


Low Key Senator in tough re-election battle
Michigan Senate - Senator Spencer Abraham vs. Congresswoman Debbie Stabenow

Only one sitting Michigan Republican senator has been re-elected since the end of World War II: Sen. Robert Griffin in 1972.  Could this trend hold or will Spencer Abraham break the Republican curse.  The latest polling data and the latest trends are no help.  They show the race a dead heat.

In 1994 Spencer Abraham was elected with 52% of the vote.  He is, by nature, a quiet, low key Senator which hurt him in the beginning of the campaign and also made him seem vulnerable to the Democrats.  Abraham’s personality is in stark contrast to his opponent, Rep. Debbie Stabenow.  She is outgoing, and personable and an able campaigner. 

Abraham began the campaign with an early media blitz.  This helped him open up an early lead that has now been eroded by Stabenow.  Another factor in this race, like all races these days, has been the influx of outside groups.  Independent television and radio advertising are being run all over the state by such groups as the Americans for Tax Reform, the Sierra Club, FAIR (an anti-immigration group that attacked Abraham), and the Michigan Democratic Party.  All of this will make a difference, but will not turn the tide in any particular direction in a decisive manner.

Abraham has some very distinct advantages that Rep. Debbie Stabanow cannot control. 

The GOP controls the governorship and both houses of the state legislature.  This is good news for Abraham and so is George Bush’s new surge among voters in Michigan.  Bush has closed the gap between himself and the Vice President.

Also, The NRA and former Chrysler Chairman Lee Iaccoca are on the attack against Al Gore.  The NRA is targeting gun carrying union members and Lee Iaccoca is featured in a new GOP ad warning auto workers that Al Gore wants to take away their jobs. 

Although Bill Clinton carried Michigan twice by margins above the national average, is predicting that Al Gore will lose Michigan and Senator Spencer Abraham will be re-elected and will break the GOP curse in Michigan.


The Real Subway Series
The open New York Senate Seat - Hillary! vs. Congressman Rick Lazio

“Lazio is Pulling Ahead” was the headline in Tuesday’s New york Post.  A new Zogby poll actually has Lazio with a solid 5 point lead.  Also, this week the New York Newsday surprisingly endorsed Rick Lazio and had some harsh words for Mrs. Clinton.  This is all good news for Rick Lazio, but in the end it’s not going to matter.

The reality is Al Gore leads George Bush by too large of a margin for Lazio to have a chance.  Plus the Clinton’s will do whatever it takes to win this race. The Clinton campaign will, no doubt, go nuclear the last few days of the campaign destroying Rick Lazio in the eyes of those all important undecided voters and will make sure that New York city turns out for her tilting the race in Mrs. Clinton’s favor.

In fact, the race will be so close that the winner will not be declared until a week later after the mail-in ballots and absentee ballots are counted.  According to the Albany Times Democratic and Republican state leaders have secured a court ruling impounding absentee ballots until after election night. 

This means that voters in New York and the rest of the nation may have to wait as long as Nov. 13th to learn that the first lady is going to make history by becoming the junior Senator from New York.

The election will be close, extremely close, but we are predicting Mrs. Clinton the winner by the slimmest of margins on Nov. 7.

Tuesday, October 31 Prediction

A House Manager faces the music
California CD 27 - Congressman Jim Rogan vs. State Senator Adam Schiff

This is the third time Jim Rogan and Adam Schiff have faced each other in an election.  The first time was in a special State Assembly election in 1993 and then again in the regular general election.  In both races Jim Rogan came out on top.  

The 27th CD encompasses Pasadena, Glendale and parts of Los Angeles.  Long a Republican bastion, anchored by conservative Glendale, the 27th has been trending Democratic for the last decade.  It also has the largest Armenian population outside of Armenia.

Rogan brings a varied background to the race.  The son of a welfare mother, Rogan put himself through law school and had a successful career as a prosecutor before being appointed as the youngest Municipal Court judge in California.  He served in the Assembly for less than four years, where he quickly became Republican Floor Leader, before running for Congress in 1996.

Adam Schiff was also a prosecutor for the County of Los Angeles.  He ran for State Senate in 1996, swept into power in the Democratic landslide that year.  

Earlier this year, many observers had written Rogan off.  The districts drift to the left, a strong opponent, and the wrath of the Hollywood crowd spelled doom for the conservative Republican.  Adam Schiff was the new darling of the Democratic Party attracting millions of dollars in contributions from those seeking revenge for Rogan's role in the impeachment hearings. 

But there are several factors working in Rogan's favor.  The presidential race has taken a turn for the worse for Al Gore in California.  There will be an unprecedented Republican get-out-the-vote effort in the region.  Republicans will more than likely turn out in much higher numbers than Democrats.  Also, there is a more competitive than expected State Senate race for Schiff's seat.  The Republican is of Asian decent and has worked hard in the Asian community.  They will turn out to vote for the Republican and Rogan should benefit. 

The only Armenian-American anywhere on the ballot is a Republican, albeit a weak one, running for State Assembly.  In the primary election for the seat Democrats had a choice between an Armenian and an Hispanic.  They chose the Hispanic and there is still some hard feelings about that in the Armenian Community who consider this their seat.  Expect Rogan to reap some benefits from this important swing constituency in the district.   

Based on his compelling story and positive external factors, predicts Congressman James Rogan will be re-elected to a third term.


Monday, October 30 Prediction: 

Virginia U.S. Senate - Chuck Robb vs. George Allen

The latest poll in Virginia has the race at a virtual dead heat.  Former Governor George Allen leads U.S. Senator Chuck Robb 48% to 46% among likely voters.  This is good news for Democrats and the campaign of Chuck Robb who have been barraging Virginia television sets with $10 million worth of campaign commercials.  The majority of these commercials blast Allen’s record on education, gun control and abortion.  This television effort has helped close the once 8 point gap George Allen used to enjoy over Robb.

But in the end, Chuck Robb, “the invisible Senator,” as George Allen and most Republicans in Virginia like to call him, will be fired. 

Allen holds a huge advantage with George Bush at the head of the ticket in Virginia.  Bush is currently leading Al Gore statewide by nine points.  Also, the Republican resurgence in Virginia, ironically started by George Allen, which last year took over both houses of the legislature is now going to make its other Senator a Republican. predicts former Governor George Allen will defeat incumbent U.S. Senator Chuck Robb.


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View expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Political USA.

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