2006 Midterm Election results

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This thread is for discussing the 2006 Midterm Election. Make sure you watch the Daily Show’s Midwestern Midterm Midtacular series (archives available on the Comedy Central website, 1 hour special tonight) to get in the right frame of mind.

It will be interesting to watch the results, because there is a fair bit of evidence that politicians have been running from “intelligent design” this year, at least when they are trying to appeal to voters in the middle (get-out-the-base efforts, e.g. phone calls to likely supporters, seem to be different).

And the press has been paying attention in a number of races. See the NCSE news summary on Kansas, and the story about the Ohio Board of Election race between Deborah Owens-Fink and challenger Tom Sawyer: “Evolution Debate at Center of Ohio Board of Education Race.” There is little polling for such elections, and voter turnout is typically very low for (a) midterm elections and (b) local races. So it is very hard to predict how things will turn out.

State-wide races are also important to watch – notably, Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum is facing a tough challenge, and has been running from ID ever since the Kitzmiller v. Dover loss (before that, he was the biggest friend the ID movement had in Congress). The issue has also come up in Michigan and dozens of other states.

I know that the official Kansas election returns are here. But please post links to the returns for other races, news stories on the issue, etc.

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Science standards in Kansas will be changed again, in some way that will not try to redefine “science” as a subject that includes non-natural explanations for phenomena in nature. … I will be making sure that a curriculum perspective ... Read More

Science standards in Kansas will be changed again, in some way that will not try to redefine “science” as a subject that includes non-natural explanations for phenomena in nature. … I will be making sure that a curriculum perspective ... Read More

72 Comments

While it is heartening that this election seems to be garnering a high level of public involvement quite rare for a midterm election, I can’t help but be concerned about America’s ability to keep its elections fair and honest. There have been a rash of reports of voter intimidation in varying places over the last few days, and today there are recurring reports of major problems getting electronic voting machines to work at polling places in several major cities at least. The media has been covering such things, but usually using the terminology “minor glitches”– a rather blase way of putting things that to some extent whitewashes the way that these “minor” issues can effectively shut down entire polling stations or reduce their operation to a crawl, inspiring people to turn away from the polls. It is worrying that the problems caused by our hasty embrace of electronic voting machines just seem to get worse and worse with every election, yet by and large this remains a non-issue in American politics.

Anyway, I’d be curious to see exactly what the tally is of elections in which Intelligent Design/Creationism has been an issue or otherwise come up during the campaign. Nick mentions some school board races in which this is an important issue, and there was the post here about the SC superintendent of education race the other day, but I’m having trouble keeping track of exactly where the creation/evolution issue has cropped up during this election. Harris and Santorum have both endorsed ID, right? Who else? Have any noteworthy politicians specifically come out against IDC or for science education this election?

We have been tracking this at NCSE, evolution/creationism has come up in election news stories in something like 26 states that we know of. Reporters have been asking candidates the question quite a bit this year.

Nick, you mean just on the news page? I’ll take a look, thanks.

“Have any of you received a illegal, Republican-funded robo-call?”

Yawn. So this is this year’s whiny Democrat made-up b.s. “election crisis” lie. Well, at least it’s not the same, tired, old charges that they trot out every two years. The “electronic voting/exit poll” meme in 2004 was so stupid and blatently silly, yet the nutball lefty alternative media lapped it up. I guess in 2008, the ‘rats will be complaining that the Republicans made it rain, but just in predominantly ‘rat districts…

…aaand our first election troll! Comes complete with unmerited smug attitude, attacks on the educated, intelligent section of the populace and complete disregard for facts.

Thanks for stopping by; don’t forget to drool on your way out!

Nick, you mean just on the news page? I’ll take a look, thanks.

No, the news page currently just has the bigger stories. We have been keeping a generic tally as we collect the news stories – probably it will be published in NCSE Reports after the election.

A story on Kansas summarizes the situation there:

Board of Ed races decide how much power moderates will have CARL MANNING Associated Press

TOPEKA, Kan. - Moderates will control the State Board of Education next year, ending the reign of conservatives who pushed anti-evolution standards back into Kansas schools. The only question is by how much.

Going into Tuesday’s elections, moderates held a 6-4 majority and, depending on voters, it could jump to 8-2.

Incumbent conservative Republican John Bacon faced Democrat Don Weiss, both of Olathe. Another incumbent conservative, Republican Ken Willard, of Hutchinson, was opposed by Democrat Jack Wempe of Lyons, a former state Board of Regents member.

Republican moderate Sally Cauble of Liberal faced Democrat Tim Cruz, a former Garden City mayor. Cauble defeated conservative incumbent Connie Morris of St. Francis in the August primary.

Republican moderate Jana Shaver, of Independence, faced Democrat Charles Kent Runyan of Pittsburg, vying for the seat of retiring conservative member Iris Van Meter.

Democratic board member Janet Waugh of Kansas City was unopposed.

[…]

This looks like the pre-results story, that they will fill in as the results come in.

There was a report from York County, Pennsylvania, that a touch-screen machine, when straight-line Democrat candidates was selected, produced Republican Rick Santorum in the lineup:

Natalie Engdahl, 92, of Manchester Township said Republican U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum’s name came up as one of four Democrats on the straight ticket she’d chosen. Had she not checked to ensure accuracy of her vote, it would have gone to the wrong party, she said.

She called a man in charge of operations at the Susquehanna Trail polling place; they negated the vote, she recast the ballot and the correct names were listed, Engdahl said.

There was a report from York County, Pennsylvania, that a touch-screen machine, when straight-line Democrat candidates was selected, produced Republican Rick Santorum in the lineup:

Natalie Engdahl, 92, of Manchester Township said Republican U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum’s name came up as one of four Democrats on the straight ticket she’d chosen. Had she not checked to ensure accuracy of her vote, it would have gone to the wrong party, she said.

She called a man in charge of operations at the Susquehanna Trail polling place; they negated the vote, she recast the ballot and the correct names were listed, Engdahl said.

Mark, a recurring problem that I’ve heard reported with Diebold voting machines as far back as 2004 is that they’ll sometimes reset certain votes as if they had been cast for the first person on the ballot. This is invariably the incumbent, which lately means it’s the Republican. I don’t know if this was the problem in the story you mention, but I’d suspect it was.

If this problem hasn’t been fixed by 2008– and I see little indication Diebold ever really fixes problems– maybe Republicans will finally start to see the problem with Diebold, because by then this bug will be much more frequently reassigning votes to Democrats…

I got to vote using optical scan today, since I moved from Georgia to North Carolina. Diebold’s corrupt machines aren’t going to mess with my ballot this year.

We voted on Diebold machines this year for the first time. Fortunately, ours have got a paper ballot that prints and you can double check - mine checked out perfectly, which I was happy about.

What surprised me was how busy it was - it was a grey rainy day, and we were voting in the midmorning, as usual. And we had to wait in line to vote. There were about six people ahead of us, and by the time we got to the machines, there were about six behind us.

We’ve never had to wait in line before - not even in 2004.

We voted on Diebold machines this year for the first time. Fortunately, ours have got a paper ballot that prints and you can double check - mine checked out perfectly, which I was happy about.

What surprised me was how busy it was - it was a grey rainy day, and we were voting in the midmorning, as usual. And we had to wait in line to vote. There were about six people ahead of us, and by the time we got to the machines, there were about six behind us.

We’ve never had to wait in line before - not even in 2004.

I voted early (yesterday), and the turnout was bery heavy. They had both paper and electronic voting. I didn’t see a single person opt for the electronic machine.

I got a robo-call from the Republicans twice this election cycle… and one from the Democrats.

Of course, given that these calls are #$*&(#$ing annoying and really tick me off, maybe it was two calls from the Democrats trying to besmirch the Republicans and one from the Republicans trying to besmirch the Democrats. Candidates have been known to put their opponent’s fliers under windshield wipers for the same reasons. :-)

I am, however, not aware that these calls are illegal. Last I heard they were only illegal for private businesses, with exceptions made for charities and political organizations. They SHOULD be totally illegal. A few years ago, I had moved in with my sister when she needed help with the rent. I was unfamiliar with the apartment and I cut my finger rather badly, but couldn’t find the bandages. I reached for the phone to call her to ask where they were when the phone rang. It was a robo-call that lasted OVER TEN MINUTES. Hanging up on them didn’t break the connection and I was unable to use my phone for the entire duration of the idiotic pitch. I’d have been in a really bad way if my injury had been something serious and I needed to call 911.

I am, however, not aware that these calls are illegal. Last I heard they were only illegal for private businesses, with exceptions made for charities and political organizations.

Automated calls are legal, but under FCC laws they must identify their source at the beginning of the message. The ones that are being branded as illegal are the ones that do not clearly identify their source– for example, by beginning the call pretending to be the opposing candidate, then admitting who the call is really from at the end.

Some of them are also illegal in New Hampshire, where the state “do not call” list law makes no exception for political calls. The National Republican Campaign Committee placed a bunch of calls violating this rule until the state attorney general yelled at them and they agreed to stop.

There was a report from York County, Pennsylvania, that a touch-screen machine, when straight-line Democrat candidates was selected, produced Republican Rick Santorum in the lineup:

Natalie Engdahl, 92, of Manchester Township said Republican U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum’s name came up as one of four Democrats on the straight ticket she’d chosen. Had she not checked to ensure accuracy of her vote, it would have gone to the wrong party, she said.

She called a man in charge of operations at the Susquehanna Trail polling place; they negated the vote, she recast the ballot and the correct names were listed, Engdahl said.

I don’t know if this says anything about this report, but the ACLU-PA Law Blog, of Kitzmiller v. Dover fame, relays a news story that says that several reports of voting problems in the York region were false.

So we have to be skeptical.

In general, though, I continually wonder **why doesn’t everyone just switch to optical scan cards??** Benefits:

* Paper ballot for manual recount * Computer counting at high accuracy (optical scan has the lowest error rate, I’ve heard) * No hanging chads * Same ballots can be used in vote-by-mail * No “pure computer” system

For the vision-impaired and the like, you could have a vote-by-computer machine that prints out an optical scan ballot.

It seems so obvious to me, and I think they use optical scan ballots in most of California, but many places have spent millions on the touch-screen machines, and all they have gotten for it is decreased confidence in the system.

Nick Matzke Wrote:

State-wide races are also important to watch — notably, Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum is facing a tough challenge, and has been running from ID ever since the Kitzmiller v. Dover loss (before that, he was the biggest friend the ID movement had in Congress).

From what I read, it was not clear if he was rejecting ID as Judge Jones would describe it (including the designer-free phony “critical analysis”), or was merely rejecting teaching ID as the Dover board advocated, but still advocating the phony “critical analysis,” aka the replacement scam, like the DI.

Does anyone have reference to a clearer answer?

RE: Santorum,

Frank J Wrote:

Does anyone have reference to a clearer answer?

Santorum inserted the Discovery Institute authored (more specifically, Phillip Johnson authored) “Santorum amendment” into the “No Child Left Behind” education bill. The sole purpose of that language was to grease the skids for creationism. Has Santorum been trying to “finesse” his position since the Dover debacle? Don’t know; don’t care. Is any “clearer answer” really necessary for a voter to decide on Santorum?

Looks like the Dems are gonna have a nice night in Ohio… It’s pretty much been known that Strickland was going to win the Governor’s race for a while, but several local news stations are giving the race to him now that some results are coming in. Haven’t heard much on the BOE elections… http://www.wkrc.com/Default.aspx I think these elections here in Ohio are very important, for obvious reasons…

MSNBC, among others (CNN) are calling for Santorum (R-PA) and DeWine (R-OH) to lose their seats.

Webb had pulled ahead of Allen in VA but it’s within 10 votes at 71% so it may go down to absentee ballots. The 3rd party candidate who withdrew still got 17,000+ votes (so far) and thus had she not been there at all it would have been a huge difference, likely a big win for Webb spoiled.

I just looked at the Ohio Board of Education returns so far. It’s early, I assume, but this looks impressive to me:

District 7 Sawyer, Thomas C. – 6,095 / 51.49% Fink, Deborah Owens – 3,290 / 27.79% Kovacs, David – 1,661 / 14.03% Jones, John T. – 791 / 6.68% Total Votes – 11,837

District 7 Sawyer, Thomas C. — 6,095 / 51.49% Fink, Deborah Owens — 3,290 / 27.79% Kovacs, David — 1,661 / 14.03% Jones, John T. — 791 / 6.68% Total Votes — 11,837

If that holds, that’s great news… I was kind of worried about the BOE elections, as I wasn’t sure how well-educated the voters were on the issues.

Kansas update:

Member, State Board of Education 003 Precincts Reporting: 15 of 295 D-Don Weiss 10305 / 48 % R-John W. Bacon 11063 / 52 % Member, State Board of Education 005 Precincts Reporting: 36 of 612

D-Tim Cruz 1221 / 32 % R-Sally Cauble 2631 / 68 %

Member, State Board of Education 007 Precincts Reporting: 27 of 463

D-Jack Wempe 4393 / 55 % R-Ken R. Willard 3666 / 46 %

Member, State Board of Education 009 Precincts Reporting: 55 of 431 D-Charles Kent Runyan 6137 / 48 % R-Jana Shaver 6726 / 52 %

Holy moly – 8 times as many votes are in, and the twofold percentage advantage is holding:

District 7 Sawyer, Thomas C. 57,962 / 59.02% Fink, Deborah Owens 25,922 / 26.40% Kovacs, David 9,414 / 9.59% Jones, John T. 4,902 / 4.99%

Total Votes 98,200

Still less that 1/3 of precincts reporting…

Democratic governor Kathleen Sebelius has won in Kansas – it looks like she has 2/3 of the vote:

Sebelius claims victory

Tuesday, November 7, 2006

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Democratic Gov. Kathleen Sebelius won re-election Tuesday night, defeating Republican challenger Jim Barnett in a race that wasn’t viewed as a serious threat to prevent her from capturing a second term.

With 10 percent of precincts reporting, Sebelius had 63 percent of the vote against 36 percent for Barnett, a senator and physician from Emporia.

The call for Sebelius was based on a number of factors, including voter turnout, previous voting patterns, and a statistical analysis of the vote from voter interviews conducted for The Associated Press by Edison Media Research and Mitofsky International.

ID was also an issue favored by Republican candidate DeVos in Michigan. According to CNN:

Democratic Granholm (Incumbent) 333,030 54% Republican DeVos 273,425 44% Libertarian Creswell 3,841 1% Green Campbell 3,662 1% Taxpayers Dashairya 1,247 0%

17% of precincts reporting

Katherine Harris got trounced in Florida. She’s the kook who told some fundie group that only Christians should be in government and that the separation of church and state is “a lie”. She’s also the one who, as Florida Secretary of State, stole the election in Florida for Bush in 2000 by refusing to recount the votes.

Santorum has conceded. A rather, um, lively news story:

Nov 7, 2006 10:25 pm US/Eastern Sen. Rick Santorum Loses Seat To Casey

(AP) PHILADELPHIA Pennsylvania voters handed the U.S. Senate’s No. 3 Republican his first political defeat Tuesday, rejecting conservative stalwart Rick Santorum in favor of Democrat Bob Casey, the mild-mannered son of a former two-term governor.

Santorum, a strong voice for conservatives in Washington, had long been a polarizing figure in Democratic-leaning Pennsylvania.

With 38 percent of precincts reporting, Casey had 782,245 votes, or 61 percent, and Santorum had 504,270, or 39 percent.

A disciplined Casey stuck to his I’m-not-Santorum message throughout his campaign, accusing the Republican senator of pursuing a rigid ideology that put him out of step with Pennsylvanians.

Interesting campaign slogan…

Unable to gain ground on the front-runner, Santorum mounted ever harsher attacks against his Democratic opponent, in the end accusing him of “aiding and abetting terrorism and genocide” through state pension investments.

Santorum raised $25 million and Casey $15 million, making it the most expensive Senate race in Pennsylvania history.

Money isn’t everything…

Of those who voted for Casey, only a slight majority said their vote was a show of support for Casey rather than a vote against Santorum, according to an Associated Press exit poll.

Thus the “I’m not Santorum” campaign, I guess.

“Casey is not my cup of tea but at least he’ll be restrained by the Democratic Party,” said physics professor Tony Verbalis Jr., a Democrat from Fountain Hill who voted for Casey. “Santorum is a nutcase. He’s in far-right la la land. He wants to bomb Iran. I don’t feel he’s representing us.”

The random voter just happens to be a physicist…

Coin Wrote:

Automated calls are legal, but under FCC laws they must identify their source at the beginning of the message.

Ah. Well, all calls are illegal if they don’t identify their source. I regularly hang up on people who don’t announce their identities up front.

So it looks like the pro-science folks will have the 6-4 majority for the next two years…at which point I think 4 pro-science candidates, and only one creationist, will fact re-election (the opposite of 2006, where it was 4-1 the other way). Is this a permanent see-saw dynamic in Kansas? An example of self-organization theory where a political system locks into a steady cyclical pattern?

Thats why the Democratic Governor of Kansas wants to amend their constitution to take power away from the State Board of Education. Hopefully she will succeed in that endevour; then the creationists can sit on the Board and blather nonsense all they want without endangering the education of Kansas students.

Given the high profile of the creationism issue in the Ohio board of education races, particularly with Fink in Akron, what does this say about the true support for creationism in Ohio, as opposed to what flawed polls have stated?

Mike remarked

Given the high profile of the creationism issue in the Ohio board of education races, particularly with Fink in Akron, what does this say about the true support for creationism in Ohio, as opposed to what flawed polls have stated?

I’ll have some analysis of that later today.

RBH

This just in: Steve Reuland’s mom says that there will be a run-off in the South Carolina race. So that won’t be resolved tonight.

My Mom may have lied to me. I can’t find any indications of an impending run-off from any news articles I’ve looked at, so the race may be decided in the recount. It’s close enough that a recount, especially if it includes uncounted absentee ballots, could put Floyd over the top. Cross your fingers.

Gee, the poor fundies seem to be baffled as to why nobody voted for them:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15627022/

Some excerpts:

Ballot measure losses jolt the religious right Anti-abortion, stem cell, same-sex issues all falter; leaders left wondering

From the country’s heartland, voters sent messages that altered America’s culture wars and dismayed the religious right - defending abortion rights in South Dakota, endorsing stem cell research in Missouri, and, in a national first, rejecting a same-sex marriage ban in Arizona.

Conservative leaders were jolted by the setbacks and looked for an explanation Wednesday. Gay-rights and abortion-rights activists celebrated.

The verdict on abortion rights was particularly clear. Oregon and California voters defeated measures that would have required parents to be notified before a girl under 18 could get an abortion, and South Dakotans - by a margin of 56 percent to 44 percent - rejected a new state law that would have banned all abortions except to save a pregnant woman’s life.

Anti-abortion leaders said the GOP shared some of the blame for the defeat. The Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer, president of Human Life International, said President Bush and other top Republicans failed to campaign strongly for the South Dakota abortion ban and against the Missouri stem cell measure.

‘Family values’ issues lose steam “While South Dakotans fought valiantly to defend their babies, we once again witnessed an almost total lack of support from the national leadership,” Euteneuer said.

The anti-abortion group Operation Rescue said the election results meant any legislation from Congress restricting abortion would be “virtually impossible” for the next two years.

“America has voted and the bloody results have placed the most vulnerable among us, the pre-born, in the crosshairs for continued extermination,” said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman. Janice Shaw Crouse, a conservative analyst with Concerned Women for America, suggested that Republicans - some of them entangled in corruption and sex scandals - had lost some of the selling power of the “family values” themes they had pushed in recent elections.

“Families had such high hopes when conservatives were in power; they ended up discouraged, disappointed and disillusioned,” she said.

Reminds me of that fundie moron a few years ago who told the press he was completely unable to explain why poll after poll after poll showed that people view fundies as intolerant and hate-filled – “we’re actually very loving people”, he said. (snicker) (giggle) BWA HA HA HA !!!

Indeed, right here on PT, we have Clueless Craig, who seems to honestly have not the vaguest idea, none at all, why I called him a pride-filled self-righteous holier-than-thou (literally) prick.

Geez. I think these people really DO live with their heads up their ass.

Dudes, you KNOW the fundies had a bad day when a group of voters prefered to knowingly elect a **DEAD PERSON** rather than re-elect a Republicrat:

http://msnbc.msn.com/id/15622299/?GT1=8717

Dead woman wins county commissioner’s race S.D. candidate gets 100 votes; official says voters knew she was deceased

Updated: 11:41 a.m. ET Nov 8, 2006 PIERRE, S.D. - A woman who died two months ago won a county commissioner’s race in Jerauld County on Tuesday.

Democrat Marie Steichen, of Woonsocket, got 100 votes, defeating incumbent Republican Merlin Feistner, of Woonsocket, who had 64 votes.

Jerauld County Auditor Cindy Peterson said she believes the county board will have to meet to appoint a replacement for Steichen. Peterson said she’ll check with the state’s attorney to be sure that’s the process.

Peterson said voters knew Steichen had died.

“They just had a chance to make a change, and we respect their opinion.”

(snicker) (giggle) BWA HA HA HA HA AH AHA HA HA AH AHA HA HA HA AHAH !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I haven’t laughed this much since the fundies had their head handed to them in Dover.

:)

Conservative leaders were jolted by the setbacks and looked for an explanation Wednesday.

Try this one: the vast majority of people in the US simply do not agree with the fundie agenda, and don’t want it imposed on them.

That might explain why the ONLY way the fundies can get anything introduced is to sneak around behind everyone’s back, in stealth campaigns, where voters don’t know what’s going on until after they’re already in office.

In every instance where voters HAVE known what’s going on, the fundies have been ejected.

Ponder upon that for a few minutes.

“Families had such high hopes when conservatives were in power; they ended up discouraged, disappointed and disillusioned,” she said.

Geez, the fundies are such cluelessly naive chumps that they **can’t even see** that the Republicrats are just using them like three-dollar whores. (snicker) (giggle) BWA HA HA HA HA HA HA AH AHA HA HA AH A !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Here in Kansas, we’re glad we have a 6-4 moderate BOE majority, but really mad that two creationists, Bacon and Willard, have retained their seats in Districts 3 and 7. Bacon’s a CPA, Willard an insurance salesman (and soon to become head of either the state or national Association of School Boards!).

Their challengers were Don Weiss in District 3 and Jack Wempe in District 7.

Weiss has an extensive background in education. So does Wempe, as well as being a well-known public figure.

The church vote must not be underestimated in heavily RRR areas. Bacon did virtually no campaigning. I don’t know about Willard. But they don’t have to. Churches do it for them.

You know, “evilution” is the worst thing that could be taught to their kids. John Calvert (IDnet) got into the ID fight because he didn’t want his grandkids taught they came from monkeys. ‘Cause, see, if they’re taught they’re animals, they’ll act like them. Then they’ll stop killing each other for the heck of it, despoiling the environment, lying, cheating and stealing.Like Haggard, Foley et al.

Oops. I guess that’s not what he meant.

The church vote must not be underestimated in heavily RRR areas. Bacon did virtually no campaigning. I don’t know about Willard. But they don’t have to. Churches do it for them. (my emphasis)

If this is true, the IRS should be contacted about the campaigning. IANAL, but my understanding is that they can be stripped of their tax exempt status for political activity, as several right wing christian groups already have (if I am remembering correctly).

“Families had such high hopes when conservatives were in power; they ended up discouraged, disappointed and disillusioned,” she said.

no kidding!

NPR noted that approximately 30% of those identifying as ‘evangelican xians’ actually voted democratic in this election.

they’re pretty pissed, I’d say.

Along with School Board results in Kansas, it’s worth noting the defeat of Attorney General Phill Kline. See http://curricublog.org/2006/11/08/k[…]s-evolution/

Also, I apologize for multiple trackbacks. I didn’t know that would happen when I do intermittent saves while editing a post that was published earlier (it doesn’t happen during intermittent saves prior to publishing the first time). Nick, please feel free to delete (as if you would need me to say that :) ! )

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Nick Matzke published on November 7, 2006 12:16 PM.

DO GEESE SEE GOD? (And should we even try to know?) was the previous entry in this blog.

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