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For years, Princeton Freshman have trampled sidewalks of town and campus alike with impunity, despite consistent popular support among upperclassmen for a return to the days when the Frosh had to walk on the grass. Now, thanks to recent successful efforts to eliminate rights of a minority group in California and other states, the upperclassmen have a strategy to restore Traditional Perambulatory Values here on campus. "Princeton Proposition 8," a student group dedicated to saving our sidewalks, is collecting signatures in order to put Frosh sidewalk use up for a vote of the student body. The group had tremendous success yesterday, gathering signatures from more than 300 supporters!

Below the fold are more photos from yesterday and this morning.

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(In the final days of an election, there is so much information from so many races, it's difficult to stay on top of every story and understand the subtle dynamics often at play on the ground. Thankfully, we have an expansive 50-state blogosphere to match our 50-state strategy. Over the last two weeks of the campaign, we've asked leaders of the state blogospheres to provide insight into late developments and share the stories of their states in a series we're calling "Listening to the Locals." SusanG)

For a state that hasn't elected a Republican to statewide office since 1997, New Jersey has a remarkably red congressional delegation. In each election since 1998, the Garden State has sent elected seven Democrats and six Republicans to the House of Representatives.

Now, ten years after Rush Holt upset Mike Pappas in NJ-12, Democrats are once again on the offensive in New Jersey. For most of the cycle, the open seat races in NJ-03 and NJ-07 attracted the most attention. Indeed, John Adler and '06 Blue Majority alum Linda Stender have run fine campaigns and are worthy of your support. But in the past few weeks, a third New Jersey House race-the 5th district contest between progressive Democratic challenger Dennis Shulman and far-right Republican incumbent Scott Garrett-has quickly become one of the most competitive in the country.

With a PVI of R+4.4, NJ-05 is undoubtedly a Republican-leaning district. For 22 years, it elected moderate Republican Marge Roukema by overwelming margins, but as Shulman likes to say, "Scott Garrett is no Marge Roukema." Garrett's lifetime ACU rating of 100 separates him from the state's other five Republican Congressmen, who have lifetime ratings ranging from 61.38 (Chris Smith) to 70.23 (Jim Saxton). His voting record places far to the right of even mainstream Republicans. Garrett was one of 39 members of the House to vote against a ban on cockfighting. He was one of 34 members to vote against the COPS Improvement Act, which will help put 50,000 police officers on the street in the next six years. And he was one of just 13 members to vote against fellow NJ Republican Chris Smith's bill to provide funds for the Museum of the History of Polish Jews.

Yet despite Garrett's extremism, previous challengers have had little success against him. In 2002, well-funded former Republican Anne Summers lost by more than 20 points. In 2004 and 2006, Dorothea Anne Wolfe and Paul Aronsohn struggled to raise money and lost by 17 and 11 points respectively. In the state's second-most Republican district, it will take a near perfect Democratic campaign to win, even against someone as reactionary as Scott Garrett.

Shulman's campaign is the best-run in the state and probably one of the best in the country. During the summer, the Shulman campaign attracted the attention of the national press, as the New Yorker, Time Magazine and the Washington Post all ran profiles of the candidate. At the same time, the campaign aggressively reached out to the netroots, and in September, Shulman landed one of the last spots on the Orange to Blue list. They have attacked Garrett's ethics with punishing ads hitting him for taking money from the industry he oversees on the House Financial Services Committee and for claiming $41,000 in property tax breaks meant for farmers because his brother sells $700 in shrubs. On the fundraising front, Shulman has raised over $1 million so far, and is approaching spending parity with the incumbent.

The Shulman campaign's efforts are starting to pay off. Last week's R2K poll had Shulman closing the gap on Garrett from 15 to 7. As bad as the topline numbes are for Garrett, the internals look even worse. R2K has McCain leading by 12 in NJ-05, just two points off of George W. Bush's 2004 margin; this seems to conflict with the last four statewide polls have Obama opening Kerry's margin of victory from 6.5 to at least 15 points. Right now, Shulman probably trails by 2 or 3 rather than 7. That's why the DCCC has moved Shulman to the Red to Blue list, the NRCC has him on its "death list," and the Club for Growth is rushing to Garrett's aid. That's why Garrett is resorting slimy mailers which the Record editorial page editor Al Doblin called "something nastier than mud." While he's more than happy to send out smear mailers, he won't take questions from local reporters:

Earlier this morning, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg endorsed Dennis Shulman. The Bloomberg endorsement is a big deal. Half of New Jerseyans have a favorable opinion of the mayor, while just 20% view him unfavorable. Bloomberg's endorsement will help Shulman especially among independents, more than one in five of whom still have "no opinion" of the Democrat.

Right now, this race is up for grabs. If we rally behind Dennis in his race against the Michelle Bachmann of the East, we will win. If you live in North Jersey or New York City, come to the district to volunteer. Please visit our ActBlue page and give to all of our candidates, but especially to Dennis Shulman.

Read: Blue Jersey
Give: Blue Jersey ActBlue Page

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Sat May 31, 2008 at 09:19 PM PDT

PR Delegate Predictions

by Scott in NJ

I decided to take a crack at predicting the district-by-district results in Puerto Rico's presidential primary. While I do take into account the mayoral endorsements that I could find, I based my prediction largely on demographics. One of the two polls of the commonwealth suggests that college-educated or higher-income Puerto Ricans are more likely to support Obama than non-college educated or lower income voters.

Disclaimer: I could be totally wrong. All the numbers below the fold.

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Tue May 20, 2008 at 02:41 PM PDT

OR/KY predictions.

by Scott in NJ

Oregon: Obama 57-Clinton 43
Kentucky: Clinton 60-Obama 35

Details below the fold

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There's a little over a week before the North Carolina primary, so I figured I'd take a shot at some district-by-district prognostication.

NC-01:
Stretching across the coastal plain from I-85 in the west to Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds in the east, the rural, heavily black 1st district covers much of North Carolina's tobacco country. It is by far the poorest in North Carolina, with a median household income of just over $28,000, and it is also the most heavily Democratic. The district is represented in Congress by G.K. Butterfield, a civil rights lawyer and former state supreme court judge who won the seat in a 2004 special election triggered by the retirement of Frank Ballance in 2004. Butterfield has endorsed Obama.

About 60% of the Democrats in this district are African-American, so Obama should carry this six-delegate district with the 58.3% he needs to take a fourth delegate. A 5-1 delegate split here would require a 3:1 victory, which is possible but unlikely. In the end, too many white voters will turn out in the first for Obama to break 75%. The district will split Obama 4, Clinton 2.

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Blue Jersey is reporting that the New Jersey Democratic State Committee will choose former governors Brendan Byrne and Jim Florio as the state's two add-on superdelegates. Both Byrne and Florio have endorsed Hillary Clinton for President.  The New Jersey Democratic State Committee will choose the state's at-large and add-on delegates on Thursday, according to Green Papers (though I've heard they're actually voting Wednesday night).  Unless the circumstances change in the next couple days, Clinton will take both superdelegates even though she won the state by a relatively narrow 54-44 margin.

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Clinton supporter/Senator Evan Bayh suggested earlier today that the Republican Attack Machine will misconstrue Obama's comments to smear him in the general election:

"I don’t believe he is an elitist," Bayh said "His comments were open to interpretation, that’s the problem and the Republicans will use that ruthlessly against him, that’s the problem.

"I'm concerned that statements like this, even if they are taken out of context, can be used very effectively by the other side to keep us from getting the change that we need."

It turns out Obama won't have to wait for the general elections for his words to be "taken out of context" and used "ruthlessly against him". That's because Hillary Clinton, in Indianapolis earlier today, called Obama's remarks "elitist and out of touch."

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I explained earlier this evening in a comment that Senate Democrats cannot unilaterally revoke Lieberman's committee assignments, but since then a diary calling for Reid to do just that has shot to the top of the recommend list.  With that in mind, I am posting a revised and extended version of my earlier comment as a diary, so that people don't unfairly ask Harry Reid and the Senate Democratic caucus to do something they cannot actually do.

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Update: Obama & Clinton just voted no in the Senate.
The motion to concur passes 80-14 in the Senate.

NO votes in the Senate
Democrats: Clinton, Obama, Boxer, Feingold, Whitehouse, Dodd, Kerry, Leahy, Kennedy, Wyden.
Independent/Socialist: Bernie Sanders
Republicans: Burr, Coburn, Enzi

The House cast one vote on the disaster relief (which passed overwhelmingly, only the RSC nuts and Kucinich voted against it) and one vote the war funding.  If I'm not mistaken, the Senate vote was on the entire package, which explains why only 14 senators voted no.

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This is the third in a series of diaries on competitve New York State Senate races. Here are the first and the second.

Competitve Races
Sen-34: Inc. Jeffrey Klein (D,W) - Jospeh J Savino (R,C) SOLID D
Sen-49: Inc. David J Valesky (D,W) - Jeff Brown (R,I,C) TOSS-UP
Sen-35: Inc. Nicholas Spano (R,I,C) - Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D) TOSS-UP
Sen-42: Inc. John Bonacic (R,I,C) - Susan Zimet (D,W) TOSS-UP
Sen-40: Inc. Vincent Leibell (R,I,C) - Michael Kaplowitz (D,W) LEANS R
Sen-02: Inc. John J Flanagan (R,I,C) - Brooke Ellison (D,W) LEANS R
Sen-24: Andrew Lanza (R,I) - Matthew Titone (D,W) - Charles Pistor (C) LEANS R
Sen-41: Inc. Stephen Saland (R,I,C) - Brian Keeler (D,W) LEANS R
Sen-03: Inc. Caesar Trunzo (R,I,C) - Jimmy Dahroug (D) - David Ochoa (W) LEANS R
Sen-15: Inc. Serphin Maltese (R,I,C) - Albert Baldeo (D) LIKELY R
Sen-11: Inc. Frank Padavan (R,I,C) - Nora C Marino (D,W) LIKELY R
Sen-56: Inc. Joseph A Robach (R,C,I,W) - Willa Powell (D) SOLID R
Sen-52: Inc. Thomas W Libous (R,I,C) - Mark Trabucco (D,W) SOLID R

Much, much more below the fold.
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The NJ State Supreme court just ruled that the state must provide all of the rights and benefits of marriage to same sex couples. The decision gives the state legislature 180 days to either modify the marriage laws to allow gay marriage or to grant all of the rights and privileges of marriage to same-sex couples. In that sense it is similar to the Vermont decision. You may recall NJ already has a Domestic partnership act, but this is insufficient in granting rights to same-sex couples, as we saw from the Laurel Hester story. The decision was 4-3, but the dissenters in an opinion of outgoing chief justice Poritz took an even more pro-marriage equality stance. So really, the decision to grant same-sex couples all of the rights and prviliges of marriages was unanimous. The fight for full marriage equality now goes to the New Jersey State Legislature.

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Wed Oct 18, 2006 at 03:07 PM PDT

New York State Senate Races: Update

by Scott in NJ

Last month, I wrote about a dozen contested races for the New York State Senate. Since then, candidates have filed the 1-month pre-election campaign finance compiling report, scheduled and participated in debates, and won endorsements. The playing field has changed somewhat. I overlooked the 2nd District, where Brooke Ellison is mounting a serious challenge to incumbent John Flanagan. In the 40th District, Mike Kaplowitz has gained support from the state party establishment in his race against Vincent Leibell.

Two recent polls underscore how vulnerable the Republican majority in the New York State Senate could be. In a September poll run by the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, 67% of Monroe County voters said that state legislators have not "done anything noteworthy on [their] behalf." Earlier this week, Elliot Spitzer led John Faso 68-22 in a Siena University poll , carrying every region of the state by at least 40 points. The same poll found that 60% of upstate voters felt that the state was on the wrong track.
Poll

Which underfunded Democratic candidate would stand the best chance to win a well-funded campaign?

27%8 votes
6%2 votes
10%3 votes
24%7 votes
24%7 votes
6%2 votes

| 29 votes | Vote | Results

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