Rep. Rush Holt talks to Blue Jersey about the Health Care law and House vote

Late yesterday afternoon, I had the opportunity to speak with Rep. Rush Holt about the then-upcoming vote in the House to repeal the Health Care bill passed and signed into law last year.  In addition to thanking the Congressman on behalf of Blue Jersey, we discussed a few things about the vote to repeal, and also noted that it was a good day for New Jersey Democratic Congressmen – Rep. Pallone took a high profile role in denouncing the political theater that the House Republicans were performing and Rep. Andrews not only spoke out as well but also had a very entertaining discussion with a Republican Congressman on Tuesday night’s Hardball.  

Rep. Holt’s floor speech from yesterday afternoon can be seen here, and below the fold is a flavor for what we discussed during a roughly 20 minute discussion (I tried to get exact quotes but since I couldn’t type that fast, assume that below is roughly what was said but maybe not exact):

Poll: Rush Holt leads by eight

I’ve been waiting for the new Monmouth University Poll of Congressional District NJ12 (PDF) and it’s good news:

Congressman Rush Holt has slightly widened his lead in the race for New Jersey’s 12th Congressional District, according to the Monmouth University Poll. The incumbent Democrat garners support from 51% of likely voters in the district, which is identical to his support level from two weeks ago. However, Republican Scott Sipprelle’s support has slipped by 3 points to 43% in the current poll…

The Monmouth University Poll was conducted by telephone with 1042 likely voters from October 25 to 27, 2010. This sample has a margin of error of +/- 3.0 percent.

51% is enough to win but not enough to take anything for granted.  Volunteer this week to help our best Representative.  

I’m Shocked, Shocked, David Frum is Voting Republican,

David Frum, the former Bush Speechwriter who was fired from the American Enterprise Institute for criticizing the Republican Party, offered a commentary on NPR’s “Marletplace,” on 10/27.

Click Here

Frum stated:

“I know, I know, I know! There’s Christine O’Donnell, Rand Paul and Sharron Angle. Never mind Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin and Fox News. There’s the crazy guy in Texas who says that revolution is “on the table.” And anyway, what kind of fiscally conservative party campaigns on a pledge to protect Medicare exactly as it is? … “Yet I will, nevertheless, be voting the straight Republican ticket on Nov. 2 …

Unlike Frum, I am voting a straight Democratic ticket. I know that:

  • Joe Miller handcuffed a reporter who asked a question he didn’t like,

  • Carl Paladino exercises his right to free speech and transmit racist jokes and pornographic e-mails,

  • Christine O’Donnell doesn’t understand that the phrase “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” establishes a separation of church and state,

  • Sharron Angle believes in “Second Amendment remedies” to election results and

  • Rand Paul appears to condone violence and intimidation –

and that’s part of it.

You Don’t Have To Be A Rocket Scientist To Know Nazi Reenactors Are Bad

Cringe. Promoted by Rosi

Remember when Scott Sipprelle’s allies were asking New Jersey, “What does Rush Holt have against Israel?” by running an ad full of bogus numbers?

Well, if Scott Sipprelle gets elected to Congress on Tuesday, the man he’ll be voting for as Speaker of the House is John Boehner. The same John Boehner who is spending the weekend before election day campaigning alongside someone who belonged to a club where men dress up like Nazi SS officers.

Ohio Republican House candidate Rich Iott, center

The Republican claims it’s history, but the behavior is considered so horrendous that it is illegal in Germany.

So if Scott Sipprelle and his friends want to ask what Rush Holt has against the state of Israel, perhaps he ought to be asked what makes his friends think it’s OK to pretend they’re Nazis?

APP Endorses Rush Holt, and reminds every Democrat why they must vote

The APP’s endorsement of Rush Holt rightfully says a lot of good things about him, but I want to point to this as really summarizing the choice voters face in districts throughout the state and country:

Siprelle offers little more than current GOP/Tea Party talking points – or, rather, a single talking point: saying “No!” to every Democratic initiative over the last two years without offering much in the way of new ideas. He seems to long for a return to the policies that led the country into the Great Recession, including extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. And when he does come up with ideas, they are nonstarters.

Monmouth University Poll: Holt leads, but it’s close

Monmouth University just released a new poll of the 12th Congressional District (NJ12) and they have Rush Holt on track to win re-election — but it’s a close race:

In the election for New Jersey’s 12th Congressional District, Rush Holt faces his toughest challenge in a decade.  The Monmouth University Poll finds the incumbent Democrat leading Republican Scott Sipprelle by 51% to 46% among likely voters in this district.

New Jersey’s 12th District stretches across the geographical waist of the state.  Holt leads by 63% to 33% in the western part of the district, which includes much of Mercer County and part of Hunterdon County.  Sipprelle, on the other hand, holds a 58% to 38% advantage in the eastern, Monmouth County, portion of the district.  However, in the central portion, comprised mainly of Middlesex County and part of one Somerset County town, it’s a much closer race – 50% for Holt to 46% for Sipprelle.

“This is not unfamiliar territory for Holt, as his first two races were won by very narrow margins.  However, redistricting in 2002 added more Democratic voters to the 12th and gave Holt comfortable wins.  This year, though, he has to contend with the national anti-Democrat, anti-incumbent wave,” said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute.

Holt is our best New Jersey Representative in my opinion so if you have an opportunity to volunteer for him this should motivate you.

The margin of error is 3.9% since there are 690 likely voters in the sample.  

Tyler Clementi and the Fight for Civil Rights

Rush Holt attended last night’s forum on the Rutgers campus in the wake of Tyler Clementi’s suicide. The Trevor Project Lifeline and other help numbers are listed after the jump, if you know somebody who might like to have them.  – promoted by Rosi

The fight for equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals is the next front in America’s struggle for civil rights.

The milestones of America’s progress have marked fights for equal rights, liberty, and justice for all.  The enduring struggle – to grant women the right to vote, to end Jim Crow, to provide opportunity and accessibility to individuals with disabilities – helps define who we are as a nation.

The tragedy of Tyler Clementi’s death – like the suicides of three other teens in three other states whose deaths reportedly are linked to anti-gay bullying and abuse – is part of that struggle.

Scott Sipprelle advertises like Blagojevich

promoted by Rosi

Scott Sipprelle just released a new radio ad, blasting Rush Holt for saying that government spending has made us a “richer country.”

Not the best sound bite, I’ll admit, but consider this from Jonathan Alter:

The economy was losing 740,000 jobs a month in January 2009, when Obama took office. If we stayed on the pace we were on, we would have had — without exaggeration — another Great Depression, with 20 percent unemployment by the end of 2009.

Like it or not, the February 2009 stimulus spending/tax relief bill curtailed the gusher that was the Bush era job-hemorrhaging. And it might have been more effective had it been bigger. Do not forget that the stimulus was limited to $787 billion in the Democrats’ (unsuccessful) effort to attract Republican votes in the House.

And while Sipprelle wants to heap more tax cuts on the wealthiest, keep in mind that the stimulus bill was the biggest middle class tax cut since Ronald Reagan was president.

Sipprelle’s knock on Holt kind of reminds me of Republican’s contention that, ‘Government spending didn’t end the Great Depression — World War II did.’ (Because those battleships were built by tax cuts for the wealthiest, right?)

But in any case, it’s especially entertaining how Sipprelle’s ad men are bilking him with unnecessary time. The name is “SIPPRELLE” for crying out loud. It’s about average length, and not at all hard to pronounce. Unlike other names:

And Blago’s is more believable because it’s a kid! You have two grown ladies who don’t know how to pronounce SIPPRELLE? Come on.

Scott, for a self-proclaimed fiscal conservative, you ought to know when to close your wallet.

Rating How Competitive New Jersey Congressional Districts Are: Nate Silver’s PPI Index

Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight.com has just introduced his new “Partisan Propensity Index” (PPI). If you’ve been following elections closely, you’re probably already familiar with the Partisan Voting Index (PVI) from Cook, and similar statistics from Swing State Project. Cook’s idea is to look at how each Congressional District voted for President compared to the nationwide average. So, for example, the NJ5 district (Garrett’s) is rated R+7, meaning it voted 7 points more Republican than nationwide, while NJ13 (Sire’s) is rated D+21. You can see why Democrats had such a hard time even with a good candidate against Garrett, and why Republicans didn’t seriously contest NJ13 when Menendez left it. Unlike Congressional races, where often one candidate is hardly covered in the news and has hardly any campaign budget, the two party’s Presidential candidates are well known. The PVI index is widely used to identify competitive districts.  

Here’s Silver’s idea:

Are there any systematic differences in the ways that votes tend to fall for the Congress, as opposed to the Presidency? Are certain districts better or worse for Democrats, or Republicans, than PVI alone would suggest?

It turns out that there’s one other factor which is fairly useful to look at, which is socioeconomic status. Relative to how they do for the Presidency, Democrats are somewhat more likely to win races for Congress in poorer districts, and somewhat more likely to lose them in wealthier ones. Another way to put this is that a split ticket of Republican for President, Democrat for Congress is more likely to occur in a poor district, whereas a split ticket of Democrat for President, Republican for Congress is more likely to occur in a wealthy one.

Click through for the statistical analysis he uses. Silver expresses his PPI index as the chance for Democrats to win an open seat in an average election cycle, based solely on two factors: the recent Presidential Vote and the percentage of the population with incomes under $25,000/yr.  Here are the results for New Jersey:

District Name PVI PPI
NJ11 Frelinhguysen R+7 2.5%
NJ5 Garrett R+7 3.2%
NJ4 Smith R+6 10.9%
NJ7 Lance R+3 13.9%
NJ3 Adler R+1 27.9%
NJ12 Holt D+5 62.9%
NJ2 LoBiondo D+1 66.0%
NJ6 Pallone D+8 85.2%
NJ9 Rothman D+9 88.8%
NJ8 Pascrell D+10 96.6%
NJ1 Andrews D+12 97.0%
NJ13 Sires D+21 99.95%
NJ10 Payne D+33 99.998%

The main lesson, if you take this ratings seriously, is that New Jersey’s wealth makes the battleground Congressional districts lean Republican compared to how they vote at the Presidential level. In many states, the R+3 and even the R+7 districts have a great chance of going Democratic at the Congressional level, but here NJ5 and NJ7 are actually quite unfavorable, and should vote for the House like R+14 districts in the rest of the country. When we evaluate how our candidates did, it’s worth keeping this effect in mind.

Frank LoBiondo’s district is the poorest in New Jersey, and by this measure is slightly better for Democrats than Holt’s district, but we are stuck with the echo of 1994. In case it’s not obvious, being an incumbent matters, scandals matter, and cycles can be more or less Republican than the average cycle, and you should always remember that the most likely outcome doesn’t always happen. All of our 2010 races have incumbents so the percentages definitely do not apply. Also, this is the last election in the current districts.