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Sunday, November 4, 2012

With last minute Romney surge, new targets of opportunity

New Mexico Senate seat now in play for GOP? Republican gains of Governors seats in North Carolina, New Hampshire, Montana and Washington State?

by Clifford F. Thies

Along with the "shock and awe" of the Republican Air Raids on Pennsylvania and other states formerly thought safe for Obama, have come numerous targets of opportunity.

The other side is entrenched in what they are calling their "Firewall," and what is becoming their Maginot Line, most notably Ohio, but also including Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, and Wisconsin. They have long withdrawn their forces from North Carolina, and are only maintaining DLICs (detachments left in contact) in Florida and Virginia, so as to try to keep their Senate seats from those states. In the mean time, Romney has by-passed the Firewall, making Pennsylvania and Minnesota into the Holland and Belgium of this Presidential campaign, rallying an enormous partisan army from the Tea Party, and supporting them with massive Air Raids.

At this time, the GOP is onto targets of opportunity opening up all over the map. In Indiana and Missouri, Republican candidates for the U.S. Senate who should be cruising to victory but who hurt themselves with mistaken and/or insensitive statements concerning rape, are strengthening in the polls and may eke out victories. In Montana, Nebraska and North Dakota, the Republicans appear on track to pick-up seats, although not with as strong a margin as expected in the Presidential race in those state. In Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin, Republican candidates appear to be in good positions to win in battleground states, either being neck-and-neck or just slightly behind. In Connecticut and Massachusetts, deep blue states, the Republican candidates are also in good positions.

Now comes a poll in New Mexico, albeit a Republican-friendly poll, showing that a race thought to be probable for the other side may actually be very close. Public Opinion Strategies, in a survey of 500 likely voters, shows the Republican to be tied with the Democrat, mostly because a formerly strong American Independent Party candidate has fallen to only 3 points. In the Presidential race, Romney remains behind Obama, with Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate, maintaining a high single digit position. This state could very well go Democrat for President and Republican for Senate.

In Governor races, Montana, New Hampshire and Washington have turned into toss-ups, while North Carolina has been long conceded to the Republicans. All four of these offices are currently held by Democrats.

Strictly going by RealClearPolitics ratings, only six GOP House seats look to flip Democratic, while 24 Democratic House seats look to flip Republican, with about three dozen seats too close to call, these being approximately equally divided between seats currently held by one or the other party. In terms of the overall picture, the only question appears to be how large will be the net gain for the Republican Party.

Photos - Heather Wilson for Senate NM, Ovide Lontmogne for Gov. NH, & Rob McKenna for Gov. WA.

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