Saturday, November 20, 2004

BIPAC: Electing Business to Congress

BIPAC: Electing Business to Congress: "On July 16th, BIPAC supporters had the opportunity to hear from the four campaign committees on their predictions for this fall. Not surprisingly, both sides foretold of great success and, oftentimes, with each side expecting to win the same race!

Micaela Isler, PAC Director of Household International and Chairman of BIPAC’s PAC Council, moderated the panel comprised of Chris LaCivita (Political Director, National Republican Senatorial Committee), Andrew Grossman (Political Director, Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee), Michael Matthews (Political Director, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee) and Steve Schmidt (Communications Director, National Republican Congressional Committee).

With 14 Democrat and 20 Republican-held seats up for grabs in the Senate, it is understandable why the NRSC and DSCC are not willing to concede victory to the other side in any of the races this cycle.

You Like Potayto and I Like Potahto

Andy Grossman with the DSCC said that he did not expect a big change in the make-up of the Senate (perhaps a 2 – 3 seat pick-up by the Democrats) and certainly anticipates that the Democrats will maintain the majority.

Chris LaCivita with the NRSC offered his differing view and highlighted the Minnesota, South Dakota and Missouri races as their top three challenger races. Both sides acknowledged that the South Dakota Senate race will be a real nail biter up until the end, with less than 10,000 votes making the difference as to whether Sen. Tim Johnson (D) will be returning to Washington.

Both differed on the outlook for the Texas Senate race, with LaCivita suggesting that any money spent in Texas by the DSCC is money wasted. Grossman indicated that recent polls have shown Kirk tied with Cornyn and that significant dollars would be invested by the DSCC in the Texas Senate race.

The NRSC indicated that they feel confident about the Arkansas and New Hampshire Senate races, while acknowledging they are competitive. The DSCC highlighted the Colorado and Oregon races as places where the Republican candidates may be "out of step" with voters in their state, and projected that the Oregon Senate election will be the sleeper race for Democrats this cycle.

The Senate races in Maine, Oklahoma and Kentucky were mentioned as long shots for Democrats, but not without potential for pick-ups and some possible movement.

You Say Tomayto, I Say Tomahto!

On the House side, Democrats need to pick up six seats in order to regain the majority, and with 47 seats without incumbents running, it is certainly mathematically possible. However, the NRCC was optimistic on its projections for this Fall to retain the majority.

The NRCC is predicting that Republicans will fare well in each of the four member vs. member match-ups that occurred due to redistricting. The seats that were cited as most vulnerable were: Rep. Connie Morella (R-MD 8), the MD 2 open seat, Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV 2) and Rep. Rob Simmons (R-CT 2). The NRCC dismissed any talk of Rep. Henry Bonilla’s (R TX 23) risk, citing polls that show him 30 points ahead.

The DCCC highlighted Georgia and Iowa as their two greatest states with opportunities, achieved through redistricting.

Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off?

With all of the differing views as to what will actually take place, it may lead one to suggest that we "call the whole thing off"…but with so much at stake, we know that the business community must continue to fight for its place at the table and not cede control of the debate to the not-so-pro-business side.

Telling the Business Story

During lunch, Alex Castellanos with National Media and Evan Tracey of Campaign Media Analysis Group briefed attendees on what to expect from interest groups this cycle. Castellanos noted that pro-business groups tend to play a fourth quarter game whereas the not-so-pro-business groups become energized much earlier, and thus are prepared to mobilize easily in the last 72 hours of the campaign. Castellanos re-emphasized the BIPAC point that American business has a very good story to tell, but business is the only one who can tell that story.

What Really Matters to Business

BIPAC’s Bernadette Budde wrapped up the day by highlighting the 12 races (9 House and 3 Senate) that exemplify how business should be evaluating races. The races she selected were based upon the issue coalitions that would result from the election or defeat of a candidate, as well as what it would mean for the composition of committees in the 108th Congress.

The Mid-Course Connection conference was hosted by BIPAC’s PAC Council. The PAC Council seeks to develop a strong and vibrant PAC community and increase the political effectiveness of the American business community in electing pro-business candidates to Congress. The PAC Council does this by hosting monthly workshops, conducting one-on-one PAC check-ups and issuing PAC primers about subjects important to the PAC community.

If you would like more information about the PAC Council, please contact Lacye Tennille or Heather Alfano at (202) 833-1880."


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