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October 12, 2004

Right Wing 3rd Parties Might Swing PA Sen. Race

By Andrew Dobbs

From a DKos Diary Entry (reccomend this one- it is good), Arlen Specter's once inpenetrable lead is slowly deflating as more people learn who Joe Hoeffel is and as conservatives bolt the party. Quoting an unlinked article from the Harrisburg Patriot News:

Specter says Hoeffel supporters pulled what he believes is a "dirty trick" by helping Jim Clymer, a Lancaster County conservative attorney - who opposes Specter, abortion and gun control, in that order - to get on the ballot. (...)

But for Specter, Clymer might be one opponent too many. Specter has watched his numbers fall from the safe, just-over-50-percent range, to the more tenuous, 45-46-point range, as Clymer rose from 2 percentage points months ago, to 7 points among likely voters in the Keystone Poll last week.

That poll shows Specter leading Hoeffel, 44 percent to 35 percent, among likely voters, 46-32 among registered ones.

But it also shows Hoeffel getting the support of only half of self-described Democrats, and shows half of the voters haven't heard of Hoeffel. So he has a lot to do, but also a lot of relatively easy ground to gain. As the Democratic nominee, Hoeffel figures to get, at minimum, 42 to 44 percent on Election Day.

So, do the math: If Clymer gets the 7 percent he is polling and Libertarian Betsy Summers gets 1 to 2 percent, as Libertarians can get statewide, that leaves 91 percent to be split between Specter and Hoeffel. That means you don't need 50 percent to win, just 45.6 percent.

If the Pat Toomey crowd boosts the conservative Clymer up near 10 percent - his political mentor, Peg Luksik, reached double figures twice when both major parties nominated abortion-rights supporters, like Hoeffel and Specter are -"Arlen is in a lot of trouble, very vulnerable at that point," said Sen. Vince Fumo, D-Philadelphia, a longtime quiet Specter ally.

That's right, the Constitution Party candidate and the Libertarian might soak off enough Right wing votes from the moderate Specter to allow the disappointing Hoeffel campaign to actually eek out a victory. Pat Toomey has repeatedly endorsed Specter, but most of his supporters simply aren't having it.

This is a great strategy and we really need to start promoting this where available. I was hoping for Aaron Russo, a charismatic, wealthy Hollywood producer to pick up the Libertarian nominationa as he would have been a formidible threat to Bush. Instead Michael Badnarik- who I met last week, incidently (he has lots of nose hair)- a nutjob got the nomination. Still, Dems should look into spending a few hundred bucks in swing precincts for every kind of race to put out some cheap Libertarian fliers. If we can split conservatives- social versus business, statist theocrats versus libertarian types- we can break the party in half and have a period of Democratic dominance.

Keep an eye on PA, it might just give us some ideas for the future.

Posted by Andrew Dobbs at October 12, 2004 05:35 PM | TrackBack


Watch Kentucky.

Posted by: keith g at October 12, 2004 07:47 PM
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