March 24, 2014, 08:45 am
Dems try to debunk Nate Silver
By Alexandra Jaffe
Democrats are pushing back against a nonpartisan election forecast that predicts Republicans have a better-than-even chance of taking back the Senate this fall.
In a new memo, Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Executive Director Guy Cecil raises questions about an analysis out this weekend from statistician Nate Silver and insists Democrats are “up for the challenge” this fall.
“We don't minimize the challenges ahead. Rather, we view the latest projection as a reminder that we have a challenging map and important work still to do in order to preserve our majority,” Cecil writes.
He points to Silver’s prediction in August 2012 that Republicans would take back the Senate, when Democrats actually netted three seats that November, as evidence of how easily the election-year tide can change.
And he argues that Democrats have a stronger message than Republicans heading into the midterms, and notes the substantial investment the DSCC is making in turnout operations in competitive Senate seats as evidence the party will hold its fragile six-seat majority despite a difficult political environment this cycle.
“Most Democratic candidates are out-polling, out-fundraising, and out-campaigning their Republican opponents up and down the map. We’re going to hold the majority again in November because Democrats are fighting for the middle class and Republicans are fighting for Washington special interests like the Koch Brothers, the Tea Party, and their reckless and irresponsible agenda that voters despise,” Cecil writes.
Still, the decision by the DSCC to push back on the analysis is an indication of the difficult climate Democrats are facing heading into the fall.
Recent polling in a number of competitive Senate races has shown the tide shifting in favor of Republican candidates, after GOP outside groups, led by the Koch brothers-backed Americans for Prosperity, poured tens of millions in ObamaCare attack ads into key Senate states.
Republicans look to have the advantage in nearly all of the four targeted red states held by a Democratic incumbent, and have expanded the map to Colorado and New Hampshire with strong recruits. In blue-leaning open swing state Michigan, polling out earlier this year showed the likely Republican nominee Terri Lynn Land holding a small but steady lead over expected Democratic nominee Rep. Gary Peters.
But Cecil declares in the memo that the election-year conversation has been “one-sided” because of the millions spent by GOP outside groups, and that Democrats are ready to respond.
“The Koch brothers and other Republican allies have spent months outspending Democrats, presenting only one (false) side of the story. Many of our candidates and allies are now starting to advertise and the DSCC will spend considerable resources making sure that voters see a clear choice in this election,” he writes.
And Cecil argues that Republican candidates could undermine their chances in some of those races, just as weak candidates did in a handful of key races in 2012.
He concludes by touting the party’s chances in a number of open states and the two states they’re hoping to flip, but notably makes no mention of South Dakota, an open Democratic-held seat where the party failed to draw a strong candidate.
“It’s clear that Republican Senate candidates, even candidates favored by Washington insiders, are pandering to the far right and embracing the reckless and irresponsible agenda of the Koch Brothers that will prove costly in a general election. Democrats have strong incumbents, great recruits in Michigan, Iowa, West Virginia and Montana, and are playing offense in Kentucky, Georgia, and Mississippi,” Cecil writes.