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RealClearPolitics Politics Nation Blog

 

Blog Home Page --> House -- Arizona -- 08

Biden: If Dems Can Hold GOP Seats, Bipartisan 'Dam' Breaks

Raising money for a top GOP target in 2010, Vice President Biden predicted that if Democrats can hold on to traditionally Republican-leaning districts, Americans will see more bipartisanship in the nation's capital as "hidden" Republican votes emerge.

"It's not that Republicans are bad guys. This is just the bet they've made," Biden told a few dozen people at a fundraiser for Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) near his home in Delaware today. "They're going to put their chips on movement in the 35 seats in the House that have been traditionally Republican districts and trying to take them back. If they take them back, this the end of the road for what Barack and I are trying to do."

Republicans are "moribund in terms of ideas," Biden said, and winning seats like Giffords' in the midterms is "their one shot." If they fail, "the dam is going to break" he said.

"If they don't break the back of our effort in this upcoming election you're going to see the things we said we're for happen," he said. "All the hidden Republicans that don't have the courage to vote the way they want to vote because of pressure from the party ... it will break the dam and you will see bipartisanship."

Continue reading "Biden: If Dems Can Hold GOP Seats, Bipartisan 'Dam' Breaks" »

Giffords Up In AZ

As we reported on The Scorecard this afternoon, Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords leads in two polls taken in recent months in her Tucson-based district. The polls, taken for both Giffords and her challenger, show different margins, but the freshman leads by a number outside the margin of error.

A poll for Giffords' challenger, State Senate President Tim Bee, was conducted by Arizona Opinion, a leading Republican polling firm in the Copper State, between 5/15-23 among 500 likely voters for a margin of error of +/- 4.4%. Giffords and Bee were tested.

General Election Matchup
Giffords..........47
Bee.................40

A poll for Giffords' campaign obtained by The Scorecard tells a different story. The Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research survey, conducted June 18-22 among 502 likely voters for the same 4.4% margin of error, also tested Giffords and Bee.

General Election Matchup
Giffords..........59
Bee.................35

The Tucson-based district is likely to be a key battleground this year, as both parties have signaled their willingness to get involved. President Bush visited last week for a fundraiser benefiting Bee, which the campaign estimated pulled in a whopping $500,000, while the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee reserved $705,000 worth of advertising time in the district.

Bush To AZ

President Bush will head to Tucson later this month to help a top Republican challenger raise some serious money. The visit comes at an important time for State Senator Tim Bee, the Arizona Senate president, who this week lost a prominent supporter in what will be a tough battle against freshman Democrat Gabrielle Giffords.

The president will stop by a private home on July 18, the Arizona Capitol Times reported Thursday, and will join bigwigs for a fundraiser benefiting Bee, the Republican National Committee, the National Republican Congressional Committee and the Pima County Republican Party. Bee and Giffords both raised nearly $475,000 in the First Quarter, but the Republican trails his Democratic opponent by a wide margin; Giffords is one of the best fundraisers in the Democratic freshman class, with $1.67 million through the end of March.

Bush will head to the home of a couple of prominent Republican fundraisers and will be hosted by Sandy Froman, a former president of the National Rifle Association, and Jim Click, an auto dealer who plays a big role in Arizona GOP politics.

Bee can use the money and the press it will generate after losing a campaign co-chairman next week. Seeking to replace Giffords in the Eighth District, which borders Mexico and New Mexico and stretches west to Tucson, Bee is hoping to follow in the footsteps of ex-Rep. Jim Kolbe, who retired in 2006. Kolbe, who joined Giffords on stage during her victory party that year, had initially backed Bee but last week pulled his support, the Sierra Vista Herald writes.

Kolbe refused to tell reporters why he was withdrawing his backing, though speculation centered on a measure the State Senate put on the November ballot that would constitutionally ban same-sex marriage. Bee, as Senate president, sponsored the measure and shepherded it through the chamber. Kolbe is openly gay, though neither he nor the Bee campaign would say that was the reason for the pulled support.

Kolbe never had trouble keeping the seat in Republican hands, and it gave President Bush four- and seven-point wins in 2000 and 2004, respectively. But Giffords, herself a former state senator, scored one of the biggest takeover wins of 2006 after a competitive Republican primary produced an immigration hardliner decidedly against the Kolbe mold. In an unusual twist, both the National Republican Congressional Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee ran ads in the GOP primary that year, and the hardliner, Randy Graf, narrowly beat a more moderate candidate.

Along with the boatloads of money she's pulled in, Giffords got great press when she got married late last year to Mark Kelly, who she met while on a young leaders exchange trip to China. Kelly isn't as well-known in the district as his wife is, but as the commander of the most recent mission aboard the space shuttle Discovery, he could be quite a draw at fundraisers.

Still, in two weeks, it will be Bush who draws out the big donors, and the big bucks, on Bee's behalf. Both candidates are expected to have good quarters when they report to the Federal Elections Commission next week.