Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Tiberi "Feeling the Heat" in OH-12

This morning, I saw Robinson signs in parts of town where I'd never seen yard signs, period. Later this morning, somebody emailed me a link to this video:

Of course, I'd seen it before, it was posted here before (I think) it had even made its official debut, and I knew it was great. What was important was that other people (folks not connected with the campaign) were sending the link.

Later in the day, I found out that Tiberi had launched very Tiberi-like attack: a negative mailer arriving in the final days of the campaign. From what I hear the gist of the mailer is that Robinson is like Pinocchio, justifying the assertion by re-iterating the claims made in the complaint that was unanimously rejected by the screeners at the Ohio Elections Commission.

Now, I'm certainly not dismissing the potential effects of the mailer, as I've seen attacks such as "my opponent didn't vote in special elections some years" and "my opponent has three houses, therefore anything he says about where he lives is a lie" gain traction and contribute to the defeat of Dems. I will be debunking this mailer as soon as I can get my hands on a physical copy or a decent scan, but for now the existence of the mailer is good news.

Why? As recently as last week I was discussing this race with someone who has been watching it as closely as I have, and we agreed that in the absence of public polling, the best sense of the state of the race we could get was Tiberi's behavior. The logic behind this was that the person with the most up-to-date polling on the race was likely to be Tiberi himself. Tiberi's behavior up until then had been that of an incumbent who expected to win comfortably.

The negative mailer, however, is more consistent with a candidate who thinks he's in a race. You don't voluntarily raise the name recognition of a challenger, and acknowledge that people are listening to his/her message, unless you really believe that people are familiar with your opponent and listening to what they have to say.

You might write this off as wishful thinking, but tonight I actually got some confirmation. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's website has a story up (attributed to Politico, but I haven't found it there yet) that talks about the negative effect McCain is having on Republican congressional candidates. That story contained this precious gem:

In Ohio, a perpetual battleground state, Obama’s strength outside Columbus threatens Rep. Pat Tiberi, a typically safe incumbent who is feeling the heat this fall, according to two lawmakers familiar with his plight.
Multiply sourced confirmation that Tiberi is "feeling the heat." Better yet, the worry is not so much about expanded African-American turnout in Columbus (which is where most people have looked at Obama's potential effect on this race), it's the fact that Obama is running so strong outside of Columbus.

Time to turn it up to 11.

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