With Labor Day marking the traditional kick-off date for election season, Tim Johnson Watch will be back with more complete coverage of Tim Johnson's run for the fourth of his promised three terms in the House of Representatives.
It looks like Johnson may be in for more of a race than he expected when he announced that he would break his three-term-limit pledge
First, according to the latest FEC
discolures (through 6/30/06), Johnson leads his opponent, David Gill
in fundraising by a mere $70,000 ($194,484 vs. $123,487), a remarkably weak showing by an incumbent. By way of contrast, for the 2004 election Johnson outraised Gill by $533,478 to $102,352. To make matters worse for Johnson, he actually trails
Gill in individual contributions ($114,121 vs. $70,713), a category he more than doubled Gill in last time around. It's the PACs that's keeping his campaign office lights on -- $7,500 from nuclear power giant Exelon, $6,500 from AT&T, $2,500 from the beer lobby, $2,000 from big tobacco, $2,000 from major Iraq war contractor
Parsons Corp., etc.
Second, those weak fund-raising numbers reflect what appears to be a seismic shifts in the electorate away from George Bush and his rubber-stamp supporters in Congress. Non-partisan analyst Charlie Cook
describes it as follows:
Republicans are facing a motivation deficit unlike anything they've seen at least since 1982 and probably since 1974, the post-Watergate midterm.
Labor Day weekend marks the unofficial beginning of the fall campaign. And if the political climate remains as it is today -- a very big "if" -- Republicans will likely lose the House and their dominance of the nation's governorships but hang on to the Senate by a thread. Every sign points to a reappearance of the "time for a change" dynamic....
Ultimately, the GOP's biggest challenge heading toward November 7 is getting its people out to vote. When a party's voters are disillusioned and disinclined to participate, candidates' leads in pre-election polls can disappear in the blink of an eye. And some who appeared headed toward victory end up giving concession speeches.
C. Cook, Chilling Numbers for the GOP, 9/2/06 (emphasis added). And today the AP is reporting that Southern women are turning away from the GOP over Iraq.