Monday, August 2, 2010

Former Barnett running mate Susan Wagle endorses Huelskamp on election eve

Susan Wagle, Jim Barnett's running mate during the 2006 gubernatorial campaign, endorsed Tim Huelskamp for Congress today.
"If Republicans in the First District want to be a part of the National revolution against Obama and his liberal policies, I ask them to join me in supporting Senator Tim Huelskamp for Congress. They should reject the last minute deceitful attacks that have been flooding the First District and distort the Huelskamp record. They should send Kansas State Senator Tim Huelskamp, a strong conservative, to Congress. I am confident Senator Huelskamp will dedicate his energy and his political expertise to taking back our Country."
Barnett's choice of Wagle was one of the primary reasons he was able to win a crowded GOP field. Barnett didn't have the conservative credentials needed to win the primary, so his choice of Wagle, and her stamp of approval, was instrumental in his win. Much like McCain's loss would have been much worse without Sarah Palin, Jim Barnett doesn't win a primary with Susan Wagle. But now the tables have turned on a candidate that has yet to break out of his polling numbers from over five months ago.

On election eve I'm feeling optimistic for the Huelskamp campaign. He's now riding a significant endorsement, just one more on top of so many he's received so far. Barnett's last minute attack on Mann and Huelskamp seems to have backfired to a certain extent. The fact that Barnett has been unable to pick up any additional support over a five month period doesn't bode well for his chances where 6-10% of voters are still making up their minds.

The fact is there were more undecided voters polled in February than those who supported Jim Barnett. And in the last poll virtually the same number of people support Jim Barnett while nearly a third of voters have made up their minds, and clearly haven't decided to vote for Barnett.

Tracey Mann has billed himself a conservative but was clearly splitting some of the moderate vote with Barnett. His ill received remarks over Obama's birth certificate cause him to drop several points in the polls, most obviously because those moderate voters are now having second thoughts about their guy. That leaves undecided voters with several names to pick from, and even if they split between Mann and Huelskamp, Huelskamp comes out on top.

In addition, while Rob Wasinger has had ads up for a little over a week now they seem to have been too little too late. The number of undecided voters splitting to Wasinger over the other candidates are not significant. Further hurting Wasinger is the simple fact that his ads just aren't that good. The patronizing tone that he's taken isn't going over well, and running as the "outside" candidate but then promoting his "experience" is a contradiction anyone can get.

In what seems to be a bit of irony, with Barnett stagnant and Mann falling, it seems Huelskamp has become the default "go to" candidate. And any vote that he loses to a Wasinger, Boldra or Cobb is simply helping him and not Barnett or Mann. Either way, I think Huelskamp comes out a winner.

It will certainly be a close election and even tonight, things could change, but Huelskamp has the edge and position to pull out a win.

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