The Experts Weigh In With Their Electoral College Predictions

(Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)




If you haven’t entered the First Quadrennial Recovering Politician Electoral College Contest, you’ve got until tomorrow, Tuesday at 6:00 AM EST.  Here are the details for your chance to win 2 FREE lower-arena tickets to the defending national champion University of Kentucky Wildcat basketball team’s official home opener at Lexington’s Rupp Arena, versus Lafayette University, on Friday, November 16 at 7:00 PM.  Remember, the first step is to become a member of the RP’s new Facebook page,, and provide your predictions in the post marked “Designated RP Electoral College Contest Post.”  The award will be presented to the individual who most accurately predicts the final Electoral College vote, with tiebreakers of predicting the Senate and Housr partisan compositions after the election.

The 2008 Electoral College Map

As a service to all of you procrastinators out there, our experts — contributing RPs and friends of RP — have weighed in on their predictions.  You can choose to go with one of their picks, or stick with your own and feel smarter than a recovering politician.

So here goes.  Feel free to comment below, but remember according to the rules, only comments at the Designated RP Electoral College Contest Post at the RP Facebook page will be qualified for the grand prize.


The RP:  Obama 303, Romney 235.  (Obama wins WI, NV, IA, NH, CO, VA and OH; Romney squeaks out the narrowest victory in FL); Senate: 50 Dems, 48 GOP, 2 Indy; House: 239 GOP, 196 Dems

Contributing RP Rod Jetton:

President–  Romney 277 and Obama 261.  Romney takes the true toss ups of NH, CO, IA and WI, while holding the safer states of FL, NC and VA.  Obama keeps OH, MN, MI, NV and PA.  The auto bailout keeps Obama with Ohio, but Ryan and the debates help Romney hold WI which Ohio is not required on their path to victory.  PA will be close but O will hold on there.  R wins popular vote 52-48. With unemployment at 7.9% and even worse, gas prices up over $3.50, it is amazing that any incumbent could even keep it close.  When we add in how Obama seemed to have a bit of the Bush 42 attitude of not really wanting to mess with a re-election campaign plus the Libya debacle it is hard to see Obama winning.  Romney is a solid steady campaigner that nobody loves, but he has a good resume and seems to be up to the job of fixing the economy.

Senate–  D-52 and R-46. (I-2)  The Republicans will pick up a few seats but the weak candidates will keep them from taking the majority.  My state of Missouri is a good example of that.  McCaskill was in bad shape and should have been defeated in 2012 but with all Akin’s messaging problems she is poised to survive.

House – R-237 and D- 198.  There will not be a big change in the House and Romney’s debates and October surge will help Republicans down ticket in many of the battleground seats.

Jordan Stivers (Friend of RP): Obama 280, Romney 258; Senate:  R-47, D – 51, I-2; House:  R-237, D-198

Contributing RP John Y. Brown, III: Election Day will be followed by Wednesday….and, if all goes as planned, followed by Thursday. Short of cataclysmic fallout on Tuesday night, Thursday more than likely will be followed by Friday. And then we will probably see something resembling what we used to call “the weekend.”

Friend of RP Zac Byer (traveling with VP GOP nominee Paul Ryan): My head still says Romney tops out at 256, but after visiting 6 swing states in the last 56 hours, and my gut says otherwise: Romney: 277, Obama: 261; 51 D, 47 R, 2 I; 238 R, 197 D

Contributing RP Jeff Smith: Obama 277, Romney 261; Senate: R-48, D – 50+2I; House: R-240, D-195

Ron Granieri (Friend of RP):  Obama: 280, Romney: 258; Senate: 51-49 Dems (with independents); House: 245-190 Reps

Contributing RP Nick Paleologos: Obama 275. Romney 263.

Steven Schulman (Friend of RP): Whatever Nate Silver says.

Contributing RP Jimmy DahrougObama 275, Romney 263; Senate: Dems 51 GOP 47; 2 Indy;  House: GOP 241  Dems 194

David Snyder (Friend of RP): Obama wins 290-248.  Senate – 51 Democrats 47 Republicans, 2 Independents.  House – 234 Republicans, 201 Democrats

Contributing RP Greg Harris: Obama: 332, Romney: 206 (Polls indicate presidential race is neck and neck among “likely” voters. Obama’s lead is greater among “registered” voters. These votes, under-represented in polling, will redound to Obama’s advantage in states like FL and CO.); Senate: R-44, D – 54, I – 2; House: R-232, D-203

Robert Kahne (Friend of RP): Obama: 332, Romney: 206. Senate: D:53 (inc 2 IND) R: 47. House: D: 205, Rep: 230

Contributing RP Jason Grill: Obama gets 294 and Romney 244; Senate – 52 D 46 R  2 I; House – 234 R 201 D.  

And watch this for more of Jason’s analysis:

Jason Grill & Steve Schulman: Quick Thoughts on Romney

Good pick for the Republican base, but not enough. Obama/Biden will get a second term.





Romney v2.0. Not very imaginative, but that's Romney.

The RPs Debate Roger Clemens: Steve Schulman Leads Off

As an irregular feature, Mondays at The Recovering Politician are sometimes reserved for great debates among the contributing RPs and Friends of RP.  Click here for a link to the prior debates.
Today, the following question is posed:  Should superstar pitcher Roger Clemens, recently acquitted of lying about using performance enhancing steroids, be admitted to Major League Baseball’s Hall of Fame?
Steven Schulman, this site’s resident baseball expert — and the second best owner in his fantasy baseball league — leads off:
First, a few disclaimers:  Roger Clemens was for many years my favorite baseball player.  Until he signed with the Yankees.  Then he was dead to me.
Ok, that’s behind us.  The question is whether the acquittal of Clemens on the charges of lying to Congress and obstruction of justice make him more or less likely to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, and, in any case, whether he should be elected notwithstanding the charges (both legal and moral) against him.
The realist point of view is that the writers who are empowered to elect players to the Hall of Fame are highly unlikely to be persuaded by the verdict in a criminal proceeding.  The prosecution’s burden in a criminal court is to prove the facts “beyond a reasonable doubt.”   For Hall of Fame voters, the burden appears to be “well, I personally think so, for whatever reason.” For their own reasons – either moral objections or simple embarrassment that they themselves failed to uncover (or to reveal their own knowledge of) steroid use – writers are objecting to anyone from the 1990s into this century who even has a hint of steroid use.
Jeff Bagwell – who ranks among the best first basement ever (in the major leagues, not just my Rotisserie baseball team) – has failed in two tries to be elected to the Hall of Fame, simply because his body type and the era in which he played raise suspicions of steroid use.  Accordingly, Clemens’s acquittal will hardly move the needle for the knights of the keyboard who guard the gates to Cooperstown. 

Read the rest of…
The RPs Debate Roger Clemens: Steve Schulman Leads Off

The RPs Debate Romney Bullying: Steven Schulman Trollops

[Click here to follow the entire RP Debate]

How about this thought experiment:

What if the victim had been a girl, and he had ripped off her bra because she dressed like a beatnik?  No groping, nothing sexual, just mean.


If that is different, why?


Also, the analogies to using alcohol and marijuana ring quite hollow. Those are personal experiments, not harassment of others.

This conduct is surely not disqualifying by any stretch – I don’t think anyone  is saying that it is.  But the contrary position — that it deserves no attention at all — is not realistic.  This is one of the things that goes into the basket of judging character, and Romney’s recent behavior, his marriage, etc., that voters can and should look at to get a picture of the man who wants to be our president.

The RPs Debate Romney Bullying: Steven Schulman Weighs In

[Click here to follow the entire RP Debate]

Well, I know *I* never would write and produce a song like that about Jimmy (much less memorize the lyrics and continue to sing it 25 years later). But we have all done things we regret as teens, particularly in groups.

So, given the commonality of this experience, why is it relevant to the presidential race?

The reaction to it by Romney is what is most relevant, and can give us some clues about how he views “the other.”

Ironically, for a person from an insular and sometimes persecuted minority, he does not seem to have much empathy for the “other” — particularly gay men and women.  The last GOP administration suffered greatly from this kind of lack of empathy, and led us into some horrible human rights abuses against Muslims and those perceived to be different.  Abu Ghraib and racial profiling at airports were only some of the more obvious symptoms, but that lack of empathy also contributed to the polarized atmosphere in Washington.

Our Contributors Predict the Iowa Caucuses…

After two years of campaign, hundreds of pundit prognostications, and thousands of cable news sound bites, at long last, what you’ve been waiting for…

Our fearless contributors — Contributing RPs, Friends of RP and RP Staff — offer their predictions for tonight’s Iowa caucuses.

And you can too — please give us your predictions in the Comments section below.

Without further ado…(Click on their name to find out their background)…

The RPPaul 30%; Romney 25%; Santorum 21%; Gingrich 7%; Perry 6%; Bachmann 4%, Huntsman 1%.  I don’t think Rick “Man On Dog” Santorum’s organization is strong enough to take advantage of his surge.  I also think Paul’s support is underestimated in the polls because his grassroots support is so fervant, and the tin foil hat crowd among his followers are fearful of pollsters.  Remember Pat Robertson?

Michael Steele: Click here for his exclusive-to-The-RP report from Iowa.

Jeff Smith: Santorum 27; Romney 23; Paul 23; Perry 11; Gingrich 9; Bachmann 6. I think some Bachmann/Gingrich/Perry folks walk in to their caucus, see how outnumbered they are by Sant-mentum, and get on the bandwagon.

Jason GrillRomney, Paul, and Santorum will finish first, second, and third. The order though is more “up in the air” than George Clooney was in his recent Oscar nominated movie. Organization and friends twisting other friends arms at the caucuses will decide the order of the top three. If Romney finishes third that WILL be news and change the race somewhat moving forward. He will be seen as an even weaker front runner if this happens. Also, it will be interesting to see where Perry and Gingrich finish tonight. Keep a lookout for their percentages at the end of the night. A fourth place finish for Perry over Gingrich will signal a potential showdown with Romney in South Carolina. Lastly, I am anxious to see how Huntsman finishes in next week’s New Hampshire primary after skipping Iowa.

Mark Nickolas: Paul (25%); Romney (23%); Santorum (22%); Gingrich (11%); Perry (10%); Bachmann (6%).  Iowa requires a level of commitment from supporters unlike anywhere else. Those with the best state organization and strongest levels of commitment do especially well (Paul and Paul). Also, since Independents and Dems can participate if they want to cross over — as Indies did for Obama in ’08 — that’s likely to help Paul the most. Nefarious (aka loyal) Dems are going to support anyone but Romney to ensure a protracted GOP race, with Paul and Santorum benefitting most. 

Rod Jetton:  I think Ron Paul will just nip Romney and Rick Santorum will get third. Newt probably finishes in 4th. The Ron Paul forces are dedicated and with his numbers going up they and their friends have started believing he can win. They will turn out and surprise all the experts. 

Greg Harris: Santorum – 26%; Romney – 25%; Paul – 21%; Gingrich – 12%; Bachman – 8%; Perry – 7%; Huntsman – 1%.  Santorum’s diligent grassroots work throughout the State this past year will pay off, resulting in more ardent caucus warriors advocating his case, and moving some on-the-fence Bachman and Perry supporters.  Ron Paul’s fanatical base will still assure him over an over 20% showing.  The minority moderate voters will hold their noses and back Romney.

Read the rest of…
Our Contributors Predict the Iowa Caucuses…

Pro Bono Dude Quoted in CNN Story

Friend of RP Steven Schulman, best known to the world as “Pro Bono Dude,” was quoted in a CNN story, “Hard Times for Lawyers Spell Pro Bono Cuts”:

At Akin Gump, a prominent law firm in Washington, D.C., Steve Schulman, head of the pro bono practice, notes, “as a firm, we are a bit leaner, so, of course, pro bono hours are down.” A firm restructuring trimmed nearly 200 attorneys from its roster since 2007, which has resulted in a reduced pro bono case load, Schulman says.

Akin Gump lawyers have racked up 48,000 free hours so far this year, and the firm expects to be close to last year’s 57,000 total hours. Such work, he says, “is still a draw to recruit top law students.”

Larger firms also have deeper pockets to cover expenses, such as travel, to pursue a pro bono case. But, Schulman maintains, that while “our attorneys are on salary, which is a fixed cost, and it doesn’t cost that much to generate an extra free hour, the cost to the firm of these hours is not zero.”

Click here to read the full story.

Steven Schulman: The Collapse of The RP

My team, beset by an epic collapse and management dysfunction, has me angry, depressed and sleepless. The seeds of this disappointment were sown when I lived in Boston, a recent college grad who stayed in the cradle of idle young men (a tradition that started with the Sons of Liberty, the first Bostonians with way too much time on their hands).

Back in the late 1980s and early 1990s, I had the good fortune to live in easy proximity of the leadership of the franchise that has so disappointed me this year. I watched faithfully as ownership built some great teams, and even though we both spent plenty of time at Fenway, I could not truly call those my own. It was only this year that I allowed myself to buy in fully, but given past performance, I should have known that heartbreak was more likely than a shower of Champagne.

Our Entourage. From Top left, clockwise: The author's much better looking brother, the RP, the author, and Turtle

I am, of course, talking about the recent disastrous performance of OVFTY Charts and my co-owner, The RP. Fantasy football is killing me. (Yes, I am also a Red Sox fan, but two World Series wins in the recent past has assuaged the pain of this year’s flop.)

While Jonathan and I have enjoyed Rotisserie league baseball as rivals over the course of 22 seasons, it was only his year that we decided to co-own a team. Because The RP has matched me with 6 titles in our Rotisserie league over its long history, I had high expectations. OK, so neither of us know anything about football, but how hard could it be for two men with absurdly expensive educations and penchants for obsession over the most trivial matters? (For Jonathan, politics; for me, Slovakian mud wrestling.)

Read the rest of…
Steven Schulman: The Collapse of The RP

Steven Schulman: Waiting on Super Action

One of the best aspects of my wonderful job is that I get to touch so many different areas. In the morning I am a human rights lawyer, advising refugees; by mid-day I am a civil rights litigator; in the early afternoon, I discuss micro-finance with my transactional partners; later I go to Capitol Hill to lobby for improving our immigration courts; and in the evening – at least on this evening – I work on education reform.

I had the pleasure tonight to host a panel of educators prior to a screening of the documentary “Waiting for Superman,” which addresses the failings of the U.S. public education system. In Akin Gump’s New York office we had Richard Barth, CEO of KIPP; Jason Levy, Principal of NY CIS 339 in the Bronx; and Rafiq Kalam Id-Din III, a former law firm associate and the founder of Teaching Firms of America-Professional Preparatory Charter School in Brooklyn. Our panelists were open and honest, and led a spirited debate about the film, the state of the public school system, and the opportunities to fix it. I won’t repeat what was said, in part because I didn’t ask the panelists for permission to quote them on the record, and in part because there is already plenty written that summarizes the debate well (including here, here, and here), but mostly because seeing this film made me think about our country more broadly.

Read the rest of…
Steven Schulman: Waiting on Super Action

Steven Schulman: The Greatest Job in the World

I have the greatest job in the world — or so I am told nearly every week or so, typically by a law student, but sometimes by colleagues and adversaries.  No, I am not the shortstop for the Boston Red Sox (Jed Lowrie is doing just fine, thank you very much). 

I am a partner at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, an international law firm with more than 800 attorneys around the world.  And not just *any* partner, but the Pro Bono Partner, leading a firm-wide practice group in which more than 550 of my colleagues work every year, collectively devoting nearly 60,000 hours annually to a wide variety of indigent clients and public interest causes.  I work very hard, but I rarely bill an hour.

How did I get this gig?  Well, like many such stories, this one starts with a large Nigerian coming to my office one spring afternoon.  

On that day more than 13 years ago, I was a litigation associate at an even larger international law firm, Latham & Watkins.  My practice consisted primarily of advising large corporations facing all manner of antitrust issues, from mergers and acquisitions being challenged by the Department of Justice to competitors suing over allegedly wrongful conduct.  To put it bluntly, my practice was as relevant to a Nigerian man as the Washington Nationals are to the National League pennant race.

Placing Nigeria on a map...

But there he was, because I had raised my hand at a litigation group lunch when someone asked for help in this Nigerian’s immigration court case.  Once we settled into a conference room, Tolu introduced himself and then his quite large family — both physically and numerically.  My charge: get them asylum.  Second place: deportation back to Nigeria, likely to return to the prison where he had been detained and tortured for his pro-democracy activism.  I had never set foot in an immigration court, not could I confidently place Nigeria on a map.  But I did have enough legal training to figure it all out, and enough pressure, given the stakes, to motivate me to work as hard as I would for any paying client.

Obviously, we won, or else I would still be worrying about how to get approval for the merger of the largest and second-largest widget makers in the North American market.

Winning Tolu’s case set me on an unusual path, one that eventually led me to focus on pro bono practice half-time (at Latham) and then full-time (when I joined Akin Gump in 2006). 

It consequently led Jonathan to place on me the moniker of “recovering antitrust lawyer.”  I resisted this label at first – after all, I did not surrender my law firm credentials or lifestyle, and count among my partners some fine antitrust lawyers.  I am still very much part of the law firm world.  Then again, the recovering politicians who contribute to this site are in similar positions – at once quite engaged in politics, even if no
longer serving in office. 

Tolu and family

Like these RPs, I don’t reject my former practice. Rather, I embrace the law firm model and ethos, but work to improve our firm by pushing it to meet the lofty ideals of our profession. Representing Tolu, and subsequently other refugees from all over the world, inspired me not just to do this work myself, but to enlist others to use theirtalents to serve the less fortunate among us.  I continue to be inspired by my colleagues, who selflessly give their time to advise the KIPP charter schools or fight for Social Security benefits for disabled clients. 

My fellow Akin Gump attorneys show every day that the billable hour isn’t the only law firm value, as much as the profession has been driven to act more like a bottom-line business.

And now a tribute from another refugee advocate:

Steven’s Links: