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    MA-5: Is There Hope For The GOP?

    Interesting article out yesterday from CBS News and the state of financial race for the upcoming Special Election in Massachusetts.

    With two weeks to go until the special election to replace Rep. Martin Meehan (D-Mass.), Republican Jim Ogonowski is closing the financial gap with his better-funded Democratic opponent, Niki Tsongas.

    Both candidates filed their last fundraising reports before the special election. Between August 16 and September 26, Ogonowski raised $200,500 and banked $221,000. Tsongas raised significantly more money — $600,000 plus a $50,000 personal loan – but spent heavily on television ads on broadcast in the expensive Boston media market. She ended the period with $240,000 cash-on-hand.

    It would be great to see some new polls in this race to see how competitive it really is and whether the GOP really has a true shot of winning this seat. The only poll I have seen was this previous Survey USA poll that showed Ogonowski within 10% of Tsongas.

    Posted by Dave at 2:45 pm
    Filed under: Congress | Comments (11)

    11 Responses to “MA-5: Is There Hope For The GOP?”

    1. Wes says:

      If Ogonowski wins, then that says voters aren’t thrilled with the way the Dems are running Congress. I doubt he will, but certainly momentum seems to be carrying him for now. The GOP can go on offense if it gets a miracle and wins back a Massachusetts House seat. Doubtful, but we shall see.

    2. CambridgeREP says:

      This will frankly be a victory for the GOP if Ogonowski comes with 5 points of Tsongas, and I hope the national media gives the face the attention it deserves. I’ve seen her run a few TV ads–I live in the neighboring district.

      Polling is notoriously bad for House races, especially in ones like this, where turnout will be quite low. But the fact that the Democrats haven’t talked openly about their internal polling showing Tsongas doing better than the SUSA #s, and the fact that some bigshots–such as Nancy Pelosi–have come out to help her speaks volumes.

    3. RC says:

      So I need to know why this article makes you think there is hope . . . . Basically, she had more money, and now he has almost as much because she spent more on ads. I hope you guys haven’t started chilling the champagne for this one.

    4. Daniel says:

      1. Indeed a close-call here could signal that hte Democrats aren’t in as strong a position as they hope they are, despite the good situation they have in the House (check out these House Rankings).
      2. A new poll from the AP has Giuliani first, as always, with Thompson close behind. On the Dem side, Edwards is in single-digits!

    5. Dariel says:

      MI-7 (Rep. Walberg): Walberg defeated a more moderate incumbent Republican in the primary, and Democrats were not ready with a strong candidate in the general election. Walberg is way too conservative for his district, so the seat should be competitive

      This one was listed as “leaning retention”. I doubt if he will win a second term. He is WAY TOO conservative for this district and many are unhappy with him. In fact, there was a recall petition started this summer. I believe it was dropped just recently when Mark Schauer (D), the current minority leader in the State Senate, announced that he was going to run for that seat. If the Democrat does win this seat, it will be the first time in decades that a Democrat has represented this district. But, there is a real possibility that this could happen.

    6. Snaploud says:

      This might be a close race (meaning within four points at best for Republicans), but I don’t see a Republican win here. Kerry won the district with 58%, and Republicans haven’t held this seat since the other Tsongas beat out a Republican incumbent in 1974 (technically, the Republican left in ’75).

      All that aside, Republicans did get fairly close in 1990 against Atkins (D) (about a four point difference). That’s why Marty Meehan was able to get rid of Atkins in the 1992 primary.

    7. KSGOPinCollege says:

      With the changing electoral map, anything is possible. I think Ogonowski’s indepedendent streak and grassroots campaign could give him the edge. Note that he’s positioning himsels as a challenger to the establishment and Tsongas as a Washington, DC insider. And this is confirmed by Tsongas bringing Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, and the Clintons to stump for her. Ogonowski is running his own cmapaign–hasn’t brought in any Republicans.

      Many in the GOP said the same thing about Kansas in 06. Despite Bush’s unpopularity and the war, there was now way that KS 2nd District could go Dem. Ryun ended up losing to Boyda by 4 points in a race that was no one’s radar until the final days (In ’04, he had beaten Dem. Boyda by 10 points). Boyda ran an “under-the radar, low cost grassroots campaign that paid off.

      The same thing could happen for Ogonowski in MA.

    8. Wes says:

      Daniel, the district Walberg represents is a solidly Republican one. It’d take a political tsunami for any Dem to capture the seat, especially with Hillary atop the ticket. More interesting to me is the likelihood that several Dems who won in tight races against Republicans last year–Nick Lampson, for instance–look likely to crash and burn next year. Although the GOP is cooked next year, that they could possibly regain some seats in congress is not outside the pale, especially since many deep-red areas will vote en masse to remove anyone who will support Hillary’s agenda once she becomes President.

    9. lisab says:

      the reason it is close is because when the district was created they gave it the cities of lowell and lawrence (heavily dem cities) and then a bunch of potentially republican cities like concord, acton, and stow.

      the median incomes of the poor cities in this district are in the high 70’s to low 80’s. the median incomes of the poor cities are in the 20’s and 30’s. so it really is a district of old money towns and combat zones.

      the reason it almost supports the republican candidates is that the rich people are terrified of their poor neighbors — with good reason — i wouldn’t go to lawrence or lowell in the daytime …

      but … lawrence and lowell are not very politically active. it is mostly hispanic and asian immigrants. they just don’t vote much. if they ever did district 5 would be 99% dem. the point being if the election really gets close the dems will just have a voting drive in the poor hispanic neighborhoods and thus win. the gop has very little chance

    10. lisab says:

      “the median incomes of the poor cities in this district are in the high 70’s to low 80’s.”

      sorry, should be the rich cities …

      that is concord of revolutionary fame by the way. a starter house here would probably be over 500k

    11. Richard G says:

      Since our last two GOP reps were ousted in 1996, nary a GOP candidate has even gotten 40%. If Ogonowski even gets within 10 points in the GE, it is a sign that maybe even in the Bay State people aren’t enamored of the Dems. Especially since the Tsongas name is almost as sacrosanct in this Commonwealth (especially that district) as the Kennedy name.

      When this district was formed in 1992, it was created specifically with the intention of electing a Republican. It was a tit-for-tat deal the then GOP governor Weld struck with the inner city state pols in exchange for an inner-city district designed to give an advantage to minorities. As previously mentioned, the GOP with a hard-right candidate (McGovern) in 1990 – before redistricting even, came within a couple points of ousting the then incumbent Chester Atkins. If Atkins hadn’t been ousted by Meehan in the primary, there is a good chance that the GOP candidate – Paul Cronin – would have taken the district, even as Clinton beat Bush Sr. by 20 points.

      So as Mass. districts go, this is one of the GOP’s better prospects. Still, if Ogonowski does well, even falling short of victory, it will be a good sign that maybe the GOP is not completely down for the count.