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Jay Cost: Can the GOP Hold FL 16?
RealClearPolitics ^ | October 9, 2006 | Jay Cost

Posted on 10/09/2006 6:48:55 PM PDT by RWR8189

Over the weekend, a few articles were published that argued that the GOP stands a chance in FL 16. Do they? This is an interesting question, one worth taking a second to investigate.

First off, most proponents only argue for the possibility that Republican state representative Joe Negron, the man the state party selected to "accept" Foley votes, has a chance. Their objections seem to be against the argument that a Mahoney win is a foregone conclusion. So -- it is not as though they are giving Negron better than even odds. They are just asserting that the odds are non-zero.

The best argument to this effect is district partisanship. Bush carried FL 16 easily in both 2004 (by 8%) and 2000 (by 6%). Republicans outnumber Democrats by a wide margin in this South-Central district. However, even though it is an extremely powerful determinant, partisanship is not really an immediate determinant of congressional vote choice. Most people don't vote for a guy they dislike because he caucuses with the correct party. Partisanship seems to help form the context that helps create evaluations of the candidates on the ballot. Another background determinant, more powerful than district partisanship, is level of political information. Political information is one reason you often see Republicans voting for Democratic incumbents, and vice-versa. They simply do not know anything about the other person on the ballot -- and, for most voters, the choice is ultimately based upon evaluations of the two candidates.

In other words, candidate evaluation is the immediate cause of vote choice -- what the voter thinks of the two candidates is usually how he will vote. Personal partisanship is one factor that goes into the evaluation - people are inclined to evaluate positively those who share their party ID. But so also is information - people cannot fully evaluate those about whom they know nothing.

My feeling is that while district partisanship is indeed an asset for Negron, voter information is a huge and decisive liability. Negron is simply "asking too much" of voters in the district.

For voters in Florida's 16th Congressional District to cast a ballot for him, they are going to have to possess unique information to even begin to evaluate him as a candidate. Not only do they need to know things about him to develop sufficiently positive opinions of him, they also need to know that he is actually on the ballot. This forms a prerequisite for Negron's victory because -- in a Foley v. Mahoney match-up -- Mahoney wins in a walk. This is Negron's major problem, and I would estimate that it is a decisive one. There will be a lot of voters on Election Day who do not know of the situation, or at least know of it sufficiently well enough to be able to vote for "Foley." They will walk into the voting booth, perhaps knowing a little bit about Negron from advertisements or mailings, perhaps knowing enough to intend to vote for him, but will be surprised to see Foley's name on the ballot next to Mahoney's. As ultimately their choice boils down to which man they prefer more, they will vote for Mahoney.

Why is this the case? It is not because average voters are stupid, mind you. It is because they just do not know as much about politics as you do. Their store of political knowledge is much smaller. If you are reading this post, it probably means that you can be counted as a political elite - so defined by partisanship, issue salience, level of information, etc. You, therefore, are not like the average voter. Unfortunately, the pundit class usually fails to make the proper distinctions between the elite voter and the average voter - but the differences are very important. The latter know much less about politics than the former. As information is a prerequisite for vote choice, Negron has a huge disadvantage.

(Side note: for those who might be inclined to think I am being condescending, I assure you that I am not. The issue here is knowledge base, not intelligence. I think that the media/pundit class is actually condescending when it comes to the average voter. Compare our arguments about FL 16. Which is more condescending: to argue that voters will not know what a vote for "Foley" means; or to argue that they will know, but that they are so shallow and focused on symbolism that they cannot "hold their noses" long enough to vote for their political interests, and instead vote against those interests?)

For Negron, the way to overcome this is to get the message out. Theoretically, he could overcome it. The problem is a lack of political information - which could be supplied with a sufficient number of dollars spent on advertising run for a sufficient length of time. His task would be to make sure that his minimal winning voting coalition understands the situation - that half-plus-one of the partisan electorate (a) knows that a vote for "Foley" is a vote for Negron and (b) prefers Negron over Mahoney. At most, district partisanship inclines the electorate in FL 16 toward (b). It does not speak to (a), which is a necessary condition - and a hard one to meet.

So -- I would say that the answer to the title question is "No." Negron might have district partisanship aiding him, but a vote for him requires a level of information that is just too great for the average voter to acquire just 4 weeks before Election Day.



TOPICS: Editorial; Government; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections; US: Florida
KEYWORDS: fl16; foley; foleyfallout; gop; jaycost; mahoney

1 posted on 10/09/2006 6:48:56 PM PDT by RWR8189
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To: RWR8189

I think Republican voters are intelligent and will educate themselves about their Congressional vote.
I disagree with Jay.


2 posted on 10/09/2006 6:52:52 PM PDT by ConservativeGreek
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To: RWR8189

"Most people don't vote for a guy they dislike because he caucuses with the correct party. "

And all people don't vote for a guy they dislike who also caucuses with the wrong party.


3 posted on 10/09/2006 6:54:23 PM PDT by frankjr
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To: RWR8189

Sure they can if the RNC is not afraid to offend Howard Dean with ads that expose the democrats


4 posted on 10/09/2006 6:55:55 PM PDT by MaineVoter2002 (If you dont vote on election day, who are you electing?)
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To: RWR8189
"Not only do they need to know things about him to develop sufficiently positive opinions of him, they also need to know that he is actually on the ballot. "

What kind of idiot is this guy? First of all, the entire nation is being bombarded by this story 24 hours a day. More people know Foley's name than the name of their own congressman. Does he really think the voters in Foley's own district aren't following the story including who is replacing him on the ballot? And second, I would guess that a majority of voters vote for the man on the ballot with the (R) or (D) after their name rather than for the man whose character and values they've carefully assessed. On one hand this guy grossly underestimates the awareness of the average voter, and then with the other he turns right around and grossly overestimates their interest in the personal in depth philosophies of the man they are voting for.

5 posted on 10/09/2006 7:00:47 PM PDT by Rokke
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To: RWR8189
Jay's basic problem is he takes all polls equally seriously. Rassmussen did a poll that found only 36% of respondents felt Hastert should resign. He shows NO movement in Bush's approval numbers. Even Gallup had to admit in their latest push poll that the Republican base is rock solid and has not budged an inch by Foley.

So why should I trust polls run by the same junk media that lied to us about everything from calling Florida for Gore in 2000 when the Republican heavy pan handle polls were still open to what is going on in Iraq today?

It is about turn out people. It is who shows up and voted. EVERY Oct we go thru the Leftist noise machine attempt to call the election weeks BEFORE it is over.

Funny thing, it is always the Republicans that are in trouble every Oct of an election year, never the Democrats.

6 posted on 10/09/2006 7:02:34 PM PDT by MNJohnnie (Evil Dooer, Snowflake, Conservative Fundamentalist Bush Bot Dittohead reporting for duty!)
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To: MNJohnnie

Jay Cost is the only election analyst I actually pay any attention to at all.


7 posted on 10/09/2006 7:06:28 PM PDT by Strategerist (Those who know what's best for us must rise and save us from ourselves)
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To: MNJohnnie
"Funny thing, it is always the Republicans that are in trouble every Oct of an election year, never the Democrats."

Which is a great point. When was the last election in which the media predicted doom for the democrats?

8 posted on 10/09/2006 7:07:36 PM PDT by Rokke
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To: MNJohnnie
It is about turn out people. It is who shows up and voted. EVERY Oct we go thru the Leftist noise machine attempt to call the election weeks BEFORE it is over. Funny thing, it is always the Republicans that are in trouble every Oct of an election year, never the Democrats.

Agree 100%.

9 posted on 10/09/2006 7:07:38 PM PDT by jveritas (Support The Commander in Chief in Times of War)
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To: RWR8189

Maybe the republicans in FL can petition the New Jersey Supreme Court to have Foley replaced on the ballot before election day.


10 posted on 10/09/2006 7:09:51 PM PDT by KoRn
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To: RWR8189

This is my district. It has been all over the news, and the front page every day. Voters here know Foley is off the ballot. However, they don't know anything about the guy that replaced him.
I would like to see some ads. That would make a big difference.


11 posted on 10/09/2006 7:10:34 PM PDT by kara37
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To: RWR8189
There will be a lot of voters on Election Day who do not know of the situation, or at least know of it sufficiently well enough to be able to vote for "Foley." They will walk into the voting booth, perhaps knowing a little bit about Negron from advertisements or mailings, perhaps knowing enough to intend to vote for him, but will be surprised to see Foley's name on the ballot next to Mahoney's.

I may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer, but it seems to me that if these people are not sufficiently well informed to know of the situation that a vote for Foley is a vote for Negron, then they surely are not aware of the Foley fiasco either.


12 posted on 10/09/2006 7:12:31 PM PDT by HawaiianGecko (Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a rain dance.)
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To: bill1952; samantha

would you guys care to chime in on this thread? Maybe even contact the analyst at Real Clear Politics and "educate" them about the difference between remote theoretical punditry vs. analysis based on local knowledge?


13 posted on 10/09/2006 7:13:18 PM PDT by Phsstpok (Often wrong, but never in doubt)
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To: Rokke
I live in Foley's district, in fact I never voted for him because he is pro-choice. With that said I will definitely be voting for Negron, he is very Conservative. My Mother got a call the other day to let her know that a vote for Foley is a vote for Negron, so they are getting the word out. Also they will have signs placed in voting precincts to let voters know that a vote for Foley is a vote for Negron.I like Jay Cost, but he has to remember we don't know Tim Mohoney either, we know Joe Negron better. So I think his thinking is off here.
14 posted on 10/09/2006 7:15:47 PM PDT by jmj3jude
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To: jmj3jude

Your short post on FreeRepublic is worth volumes more than Jay Cost's "expert analysis". Thanks.


15 posted on 10/09/2006 7:17:46 PM PDT by Rokke
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To: jmj3jude

So you're saying that Foley's name is still on the ballot?


16 posted on 10/09/2006 7:22:46 PM PDT by queenkathy (The shampoo promised me extra body and I gained 3 pounds)
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To: RWR8189

I thought the Fl. Election board just ruled that the precincts should post signs everywhere saying that in order to vote for Negron, vote for Foley. That should clear up the confusion, shouldn't it?


17 posted on 10/09/2006 7:24:42 PM PDT by CharlesWayneCT
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To: RWR8189

Jay is twisting himself into knots to deny eltisism. If you have to work so hard to deny the obvious charge, it's worth considering there is some truth in the accussation.

This is yet another opinion piece from RCP that argues for the Dems. Was the merger with the MSM worth it Jay? Beyond financial side benefits of course. I used to enjoy the site. Now, not so much.

Let me tell you what I find condecending. I find the fact anyone would think one district becoming the focus of the nation and even world, would translate into as you put it a lack of a "knowledge base". Their Congressman is all over the late night comedy shows, national papers, talk shows, and yet voters are blissfully unaware a new candidate exists? Give me a break.


18 posted on 10/09/2006 7:24:46 PM PDT by Soul Seeker (Kobach: Amnesty is going from an illegal to a legal position, without imposing the original penalty.)
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To: queenkathy

Simple solution: vote a straight R ticket.

The Dems want to make this an us-vs-them election.

Give it to them.

Vote for victory. Vote for security. Vote Republican.


19 posted on 10/09/2006 7:27:04 PM PDT by filbert (More filbert at http://www.medary.com)
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To: queenkathy
So you're saying that Foley's name is still on the ballot?

Even if his name is on the ballot, you can bet that there will be numerous republican volunteers informing each voter with signs and word-of-mouth that a vote for Foley equates to a vote for Negron as they enter the polling location. There will not be any doubt on election day. If the republicans indeed hold a solid advantage in numbers in that district, Negron should be elected, maybe even with a larger margin than Foley would have since Foley was as much a democrat as he was a republican.
20 posted on 10/09/2006 7:29:38 PM PDT by AaronInCarolina
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To: RWR8189

I think if RATs in Missouri can educate themselves enough to vote for a dead man and thus elect the Widow Carnahan, the Republicans can figure out that Negron is running in place of Foley. A RNC advertising blitz wouldn't hurt anything though.


21 posted on 10/09/2006 7:35:15 PM PDT by jgilbert63
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To: Soul Seeker
"they will vote for Mahoney" ............ Yes of course, I will vote for anyone "the press" tells me to. If I hear that Mahoney will win, then I guess I will stay home and consider my vote as non essential. (Yeah Right!)Negron has my vote even if I have to press Foley's name on the screen.
22 posted on 10/09/2006 7:38:00 PM PDT by Bringbackthedraft
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To: Rokke

Jay is a great analyst--he's telling the party this one is harder than they think, and they can win only with an impossibly hard campaign over the next 4 weeks.


23 posted on 10/09/2006 7:46:39 PM PDT by the Real fifi
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To: filbert
I also heard on our local news, that Mahoney and Foley will have a debate in couple of weeks. But if I didn't know about it, I would vote the straight R ticket. We have to remember that the base is who comes out on these mid-term elections, and they often follow politics more. This is where I strongly disagrees with Jay Cost, who by the way I always look forward to reading. But it has been really hard lately, he seems so negative towards the republicans.
24 posted on 10/09/2006 7:57:18 PM PDT by jmj3jude
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To: Phsstpok

This is a very unique situation,but one that we are excited to make go our way. We are pumped,Joe Is pumped,and is more than up to the Job. Joe Is more Conservative than Mark,and is a pragmatic environmentalist. He is Cuban and can relate to a lot of Spanish Dems that have been told by the local fraudulent Demorat Party that they could not vote for Pubbies unless they were registered as Pubbies. Lying Ba$tards got away with it for a long time,but we are changing that. We not only have quite a few Latins here in my County, we have more than a handful of Gay Republicans and Dems that do not like being trashed as pedophiles by the DNC/DBM. This County is very diverse,and People get along and are friendly. Charlotte County(western edge of district 16) is typical of SW Florida,it is Conservative Pubbie. we have Farming and Ranching areas in two middle counties in the district and they are Dems but vote Pubbie. In the Eastern area of the District Negron is well known and liked because he was/is the term limited State Rep for that Area. Foley/Negron opponent Mahoney did Push Polling twice starting last year hinting that Mark was gay,and thinking they could get Pubbies to not vote for him for that liefstyle. They were wrong,we really like Mark and already knew about his Gayness, and appreciatd the job he did for us as our Rep. We are really upset at Mahoney,and we went from ignoring him to really hating him with a passion. His deceit,lies,underhandedness are why we do not have access to the employees that we knew,trusted and could be counted on that worked for Mark. One gal worked for the last three 16CD congressmen,and is fantastic. we blame Mahoney for this attempted hijacking of a CD. You cannot get much more pumped than we are in this CD. We are upset with Mark,but he is getting needed help and we wish him the best,we will always care for him and his Family. He did the right thing,and we have moved on .


25 posted on 10/09/2006 7:57:42 PM PDT by samantha (Cheer up,the Adults are in charge,but need reinforcements very soon.)
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To: RWR8189

I think Jay is discounting the GOP "Get Out the Vote" efforts a little too much. I don't know what the situation in that District is, but in many places the GOP has plenty of phone volunteers who call the voters registered as GOP to make sure they know what the situation is.

This seat is by no means a given for the Dem.


26 posted on 10/09/2006 8:06:25 PM PDT by speekinout
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To: CharlesWayneCT
I thought the Fl. Election board just ruled that the precincts should post signs everywhere saying that in order to vote for Negron, vote for Foley. That should clear up the confusion, shouldn't it?

I think I heard somewhere that the RATs are protesting and opposing this???

27 posted on 10/09/2006 8:15:47 PM PDT by danamco
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To: Bringbackthedraft
"they will vote for Mahoney" ............ Yes of course, I will vote for anyone "the press" tells me to. If I hear that Mahoney will win, then I guess I will stay home and consider my vote as non essential. (Yeah Right!)Negron has my vote even if I have to press Foley's name on the screen.

All these talking heads think that all us (R's) totally stupid and are not able to think for ourselves!!!

28 posted on 10/09/2006 8:25:24 PM PDT by danamco
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To: All

Don't quite get this. Someone sufficiently uninformed about the Negron replacing of Foley probably also never heard of Foley's resignation in disgrace. They'll vote Foley anyway. Negron still wins.


29 posted on 10/09/2006 8:28:14 PM PDT by Owen
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To: danamco

I think that there might be a law that says that political postings can't be within a certain distance of the polling places, but regardless of whether there is such a law or not the dems are protesting the signs because the claim that it gives Negron an unfair advantage. (Kind of ironic if you consider the unfair advantage that the Dems have right now. Not only is Negron's name not the ballot, in order to vote for Negron you have to cast your vote to an infamous name on the ballot. And then the Dems have the nerve to talk about an unfair advantage.)


30 posted on 10/09/2006 10:47:49 PM PDT by old republic
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To: Owen
Yes, Ashcroft lost his Senate seat to a guy 6 feet under.
31 posted on 10/09/2006 10:53:32 PM PDT by Red Steel
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To: Phsstpok
." Negron might have district partisanship aiding him, but a vote for him requires a level of information that is just too great for the average voter to acquire just 4 weeks before Election Day.

Yeah, there might be a few dogs and cats around here who don't know about this.- but they are Democrats, anyway.

32 posted on 10/10/2006 6:29:45 AM PDT by bill1952 ("All that we do is done with an eye towards something else.")
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To: queenkathy
So you're saying that Foley's name is still on the ballot?

Yes. By Florida law, it must remain.

33 posted on 10/10/2006 6:32:59 AM PDT by bill1952 ("All that we do is done with an eye towards something else.")
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To: bill1952

Wait, the dems are opposed to educating voters that a vote for Foley is for Negron but want ballots in 10 different lanquages???


34 posted on 10/10/2006 6:35:50 AM PDT by sachem longrifle (proud member of the fond Du lac band of the Ojibwa people)
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To: ConservativeGreek

If I was a Floridian living in the 16th District, I'd be offended at his insinuation that I am stupid.


35 posted on 10/10/2006 6:37:51 AM PDT by no dems (I'll take a moral Mormon over a demonic Democrat or repugnant RINO anyday.)
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To: RWR8189

Since WWII there have been, I think 17 federal elections won by write-in candidates.

The Republicans CAN win both TX 22 and FL 16.

Now, as to whether they will or not, that depends on GOTV, to include the presence at polling places of Republican volunteers.

The entire focus of the Democrats, smartly, is on depressing Republican enthusiasm. In spite of this, Republicans will have to fight the good fight to win what they CAN win this election cycle.


36 posted on 10/10/2006 7:49:22 AM PDT by Redmen4ever
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To: CharlesWayneCT; RWR8189; jmj3jude

"I thought the Fl. Election board just ruled that the precincts should post signs everywhere saying that in order to vote for Negron, vote for Foley."



Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought that the board had ruled that precincts *could* post signs, not that they *had to* post signs. Did the ruling give the Negron campaign the right to post signs, or did it give precinct chairmen (who may be Democrats) discretion to decide whether or not to post signs?

Negron will have to spend a lot of money in voter education, but I think it's certainly doable. Republicans on the ground are confident that it can be done.


37 posted on 10/10/2006 8:05:51 AM PDT by AuH2ORepublican (http://auh2orepublican.blogspot.com/)
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To: samantha

"He is Cuban and can relate to a lot of Spanish Dems that have been told by the local fraudulent Demorat Party that they could not vote for Pubbies unless they were registered as Pubbies."



To clarify a common misconception, Joe Negron is not Cuban, his grandfather was from Puerto Rico. While the percentage of Hispanic voters in the FL-16 is rather small, every vote helps, and I hope that Negron's background will get him a few more votes from Hispanics.


38 posted on 10/10/2006 8:09:27 AM PDT by AuH2ORepublican (http://auh2orepublican.blogspot.com/)
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To: ConservativeGreek

I trust the Republican voters to know what's going on, but it's the large number of independent voters who tend to vote Republican who won't have a clue and will recoil at voting for Foley.


39 posted on 10/10/2006 8:09:48 AM PDT by HostileTerritory
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To: jmj3jude

This should be the simple message in FL 16:

A vote for Foley is a vote for Negron, and a vote for Mahoney is a vote to install liberal Democrat Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House.


40 posted on 10/10/2006 8:12:38 AM PDT by mwl1
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To: Rokke

"Which is a great point. When was the last election in which the media predicted doom for the democrats?"


1994, for sure.


41 posted on 10/10/2006 8:14:40 AM PDT by Preachin' (Enoch's testimony was that he pleased God: Why are we still here?)
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To: Preachin'

Not true. The media never peddled the idea that the GOP would make substantial gains in 1994. In fact, the commentators called it a "temper tantrum" after the fact.


42 posted on 10/10/2006 8:16:01 AM PDT by mwl1
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To: RWR8189

the author of the article is full of it since ANY news cylce can undo an election.


43 posted on 10/10/2006 8:22:17 AM PDT by longtermmemmory (VOTE! http://www.senate.gov and http://www.house.gov)
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To: ConservativeGreek

For heaven's sake. Can not the Pub voters there, pull the lever with Folley's name, hold their noses, and realize that they are voting for Joe N??? They are not W. Palm Beach Dem voters. Have the RNC teach the district voters to vote correctly. This seat should be held.


44 posted on 10/10/2006 10:11:57 AM PDT by phillyfanatic
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To: mwl1

"Not true. The media never peddled the idea that the GOP would make substantial gains in 1994."

Then you simply didn't watch what I watched. I saw it all over the place.


45 posted on 10/12/2006 2:54:24 AM PDT by Preachin' (Enoch's testimony was that he pleased God: Why are we still here?)
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