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SSP Daily Digest: 3/31

by: James L.

Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 7:56 AM EDT

  • IL-Sen: Have I mentioned lately that Mark Kirk is an utter wiener? No? Well, Mark Kirk is an utterly predictable wiener. After charging gung-ho in the direction of "Repeal!", Kirk has decided to quickly drop his push to roll back healthcare reform, preferring instead to remind everyone how expensive it is.

  • NV-Sen: Here's some bitter tea for fans of right-wing vote-splitting. It appears that Tea Party candidate Scott Ashjian is facing criminal charges for theft relating to bad checks he allegedly wrote for his asphalt business. Ashjian won't have to withdraw his candidacy if arrested, but headlines like these can't help him syphon off any substantial amount of votes from the GOP's flank.

  • PA-Sen: Arlen Specter landed a huge endorsement in his primary battle against Joe Sestak yesterday, with the news that the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO has elected to back the five-term incumbent.

  • TX-Sen: Kay Bailey Hutchison will announce her future plans in San Antonio this morning, flanked by Mitch McConnell and John Cornyn. I think it's probably a safe guess to say that she's likely going to serve out the remainder of her term, despite her many promises otherwise.

  • FL-Gov: Republican Bill McCollum leads Democrat Alex Sink by 49-34 according to the latest Mason-Dixon poll of the race.

  • GA-Gov: 31 douchebags Republican state legislators have signed a resolution calling for the impeachment of Democratic AG Thurbert Baker after his refusal to challenge the constitutionality of the recent healthcare reform legislation. Baker, who has been struggling in the polls for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination against ex-Gov. Roy Barnes, is probably enjoying the free publicity, if nothing else.

  • MA-Gov: State Treasurer Tim Cahill got busted for sending out a mass fundraising solicitation for his Independent gubernatorial bid to state legislators from his official e-mail account, which is a violation of Massachusetts campaign finance rules.

  • MD-Gov: Former Gov. Bob Ehrlich confirmed on Tuesday that he will attempt a comeback against Democrat Martin O'Malley this year.

  • AR-01: This one ranks pretty low on the list of unexpected political news. Retiring Democratic Rep. Marion Berry will endorse his former chief of staff, Chad Causey, for the Dem nomination to succeed him. Causey also recently picked up the support of the Arkansas AFL-CIO.

  • FL-19: At least one of these things may strain your credulity. Republican Ed Lynch, running in the April 13 special election to replace Democrat Robert Wexler in the House, says that his fundraising has seen "probably a thousand percent increase" since Congress passed healthcare reform, and that "polling we've done" shows him ahead of Democrat Ted Deutch. Of course, his campaign isn't coming forward with any evidence of the existence of any such polls.

  • GA-12: Republican Ray McKinney, a nuclear power project manager who lost the GOP primary in 2008 for the right to take on John Barrow, says that he's going to try again this year. McKinney joins Thunderbolt Fire Chief Carl Smith, retired businessman Mike Horner, activist Jeanne Seaver and restaurant owner George Brady in the GOP primary.

  • MI-13: Metro Detroit pastor Glenn Plummer, the founder of the African American Christian Television Network, has announced that he'll challenge Carolyn Cheeks-Kilpatrick in the Democratic primary, joining state Sen. Hansen Clarke for a three-way race. Don't expect Plummer to be a progressive choice, though: he freely admits that he voted for Bush in 2004, spoke to a GOP convention that same year, and has also used his pulpit to argue in favor of a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. Yuck.

  • MO-03: Rusty Wallace -- not the NASCAR champion, but a CAD technician and avid teabagger -- will join the highly-touted Ed Martin in the Republican primary for the right to upset Dem Rep. Russ Carnahan.

  • MO-07: It looks like a couple of high profile candidates have slipped under the wire for the race to fill the seat of Senatorial aspirant Roy Blunt. Ex-state Rep. Steve Hunter will become the ninth GOP candidate in the mix, which some local observers suspect may be a ploy from one of the other candidates to syphon off votes from state Sen. Gary Noodler, who shares Hunter's regional base. For the Democrats, Scott Eckersley, an attorney who served in ex-Gov. Matt Blunt's administration, also filed to run for this R+17 seat. Eckersley settled a wrongful termination lawsuit with the state last year after alleging that he was dismissed for raising questions within the administration over the destruction of controversial state e-mails. Eckersley isn't committed to a run, though, and said he filed in order to keep his options open.

  • NV-03: Ex-state Sen. Joe Heck (R) is leading Democratic frosh Rep. Dina Titus by 40-35, according to a new internal poll conducted by Wilson Research Strategies for Heck's campaign.

  • NY-29: Local Democrats still haven't settled on a nominee for the special election in this upstate New York district, but at least we now know the names of six of the potential candidates:

    The interviewed candidates include Southern Tier native Matthew Zeller, former Allegany County District 4 Legislator Michael McCormick, David Nachbar, a former state Senate candidate and businessman from Pittsford, Rush-Henrietta Central School District teacher David Rose, and Assemblyman David Koon, D-Perinton. Mary Wilmot, an aide to Gov. David Paterson, was the lone women interviewed.

  • PA-10: I never thought I'd say this, but why can't we have more Dems like Chris Carney? After harshly criticizing Sarah Palin for putting his House district in literal cross hairs, Carney defended his HCR vote to a local TV station:

    "You can't vote worried about your career, you have to vote the right way," Carney said. "You have to vote your conscience and for me this was a vote of conscience."

    Remember when the GOP tried to recruit Carney to join their caucus?

  • SC-05: John Spratt is a true hero. Just a day after filing for re-election in the face of persistent retirement rumors fueled by NRCC schemers and beltway natterers, Spratt has announced that he's been diagnosed with early stage Parkinson's disease. Spratt insists that his symptoms are mild and that his condition won't impede his ability to serve in Congress -- or run a vigorous re-election race.

  • SD-AL: Physician Kevin Weiland has dropped his plans to challenge Stephanie Herseth Sandlin in the Democratic primary, citing his concern for party unity. Weiland issued a joint press release with Herseth Sandlin announcing the news, and based his decision partly on assurances from Herseth Sandlin that she would not vote to repeal healthcare reform. (Hat-tip: doug tuttle)

  • TN-06: Democrats have finally found a candidate to run for the seat held by retiring Democratic Rep. Bart Gordon. Marine Capt. Ben Leming, an Iraq War veteran, received permission from the secretary of the Navy to file his candidacy. However, Leming can't actively campaign until his active duty ends on May 1st.

  • WA-01: This seat isn't on anyone's radar, but Republican businessman James Watkins recently released an internal poll, conducted by Moore Information, showing him trailing Democrat Jay Inslee by 41-27.

  • WI-03: Is this what state Sen. Dan Kapanke signed up for when he decided to run for Congress against Democrat Ron Kind? Kapanke jumped into the race with much fanfare in the anticipation that Kind would bail on the race to run for Governor. That didn't happen, and now Kapanke is facing a primary from ex-banker Bruce Evers, who has some truly wild ideas on constraining government spending.
  • James L. :: SSP Daily Digest: 3/31
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    The end of the first quarter fundraising period is today
    If you want to make any contributions, now's the time to do it.

    On TX-Sen, FL-19, and MI-13......
    First, did anyone ever really believe Hutchison would resign if she lost the Gov primary?  I always took it for granted she would serve out her term if she lost.

    Second, in FL-19 has Deutch been actively campaigning?  After the MA-Sen special it's a big mistake to take anything for granted in a bad environment, especially in a low-turnout special where a lot of our voters might be doubly UNmotivated by both natural inertia from being in power instead of the outs and believing this seat is a gimmee

    Third, in MI-13 an interesting tidbit on demography, Hansen Clarke is half-Indian-American/half-black.  I believe, with a vague recollection that isn't necessarily completely correct, his mom is black and his dad was Indian, and dad either died when Hansen was young or was otherwise absent.  I met him once, Hansen is very friendly, a very nice and down-to-earth dude.  And he is a good liberal.

    Clarke is one of two half-Indian-American/half-black candidates running this year, the other being Democrat Kamala Harris vying to succeed Jerry Brown as California Attorney General.

    43, male, Indian-American, Democrat, VA-10

    WOW, this is NICE!!!
    Ohio Senate and Governor numbers.




    Proud member of the Indiana Democratic Party from IN-9.  

    Have to say, did not see that one coming
    I'll have to see another poll before I feel really good about this one.  That being said, these numbers actually look SOFT for the Dems.  I can't imagine any of the Dems only winning the NE part of the state by 10.  Also, if Strickland keeps up those numbers in the SE, he will cruise.

    26, D, MO-05, Hispanic

    [ Parent ]
    I know!
    I can't remember seeing a democrat leading in an open seat Senate race in a LONG time.  

    Proud member of the Indiana Democratic Party from IN-9.  

    [ Parent ]
    You beat me to it
     On another subject, I do not want to cherry pick polls but I have noticed that Quinnipec usually leans 1 or 2 points to the left (definitely not as far to the left as Rasmussen goes to the right.) I have not heard about any big developments out of Ohio recently so this might be the Obama healthcare bounce finally starting to materialize and trickling down to other candidates.  

    for more election analysis, visit  http://frogandturtle.blogspot....

    17, CA-06,  

    [ Parent ]
    Quinnipiac isn't a bad pollster but as I recall they had Corzine up in NJ. (Although they might have released a later poll showing Christie slightly ahead. can't remember.)

    21, dude, RI-01 (registered) IL-01 (college)
    please help Japan. click "donate funds" in upper right and then "Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami."

    [ Parent ]
    New York Governor Race
     From Rasmussen. No real surprises here. Cuomo is posting big leads over all the Republicans.

    for more election analysis, visit  http://frogandturtle.blogspot....

    17, CA-06,  

    Oh my god!
    A Democrat in a tough district concerned about something more important than keeping his job!  (Referring to Carney).

    Follow the elections in Georgia at the 2010 Georgia Race Tracker.

    "Weiland issued a joint press release with Herseth Sandlin announcing the news, and based his decision partly on assurances from Herseth Sandlin that she would not vote to repeal healthcare reform." he didn't run on a promise she wouldn't try to repeal HCR?  That's a lamer deal than what Stupak got.

    Top ten signs you're an SSPer #1: your favorite song is "Panic At Tedisco" and no one understands what you mean.

    we successfully primaried Sandlin we would likely lose the seat. The state is conservative, and Sandlin's personal popularity is the main factor in her political success. I don't blame her for being more conservative, at the end of the day she has an excuse for her conservative voting record while someone like Lynch doesn't.

    Proud member of the Indiana Democratic Party from IN-9.  

    [ Parent ]
    I know SD is conservative
    I'm going to school there (am there now).  I'm not in favor of primarying Sandlin, I'm just saying that the liberal dems here (I know a lot of them) put a lot of effort in trying to scare sandlin, and ended up with two candidates (Hildebrand and DR. what's his face) saying no.  Meanwhile, Thune is unopposed with plenty of time to build a campaign for the presidency (If he wins  the presidency, my girlfriend wants to leave america)

    Top ten signs you're an SSPer #1: your favorite song is "Panic At Tedisco" and no one understands what you mean.

    [ Parent ]
    A lot of folks are miffed over that AFL-CIO endorsement, and the way Berry has been working behind the scenes to get Causey elected.  The union wasn't going to endorse anyone in AR-01, but Berry swung into their convention and then, miraculously,  his successor got it.  This despite the fact that Causey's issue positions on things the AFL-CIO cares about are rather pitiful.  The whole thing is just puzzling.

    Melancon to drop Senate bid for Lt. Gov bid?
    Isn't Jindal
    planning to abolish the position?  Go back to your House seat and keep your powder dry, Charlie!

    34, WM, Democrat, FL-11

    [ Parent ]
    But try getting 2/3rd of the members in both houses to eliminate an attractive job for when their term limited.  

    [ Parent ]
    Seems unlikely, per the cited article
    Likewise, David Gereighty , Treasurer of the State Democratic Party, noted that Melancon was unlikely to abandon his bid for the U.S. Senate, but admitted, "there is great anger in the Democratic base that Charlie voted against the Health Care bill.

    Nevertheless, the article sounds like rumors spread by FDL-style activists in Louisiana, to try to intimidate Melancon out of the Senate race.

    Nevertheless, I appreciate the info.

    [ Parent ]
    This makes me a little queasy
    After all, aside from Burr, Vitter is basically the only vulnerable incumbent Republican in this cycle. Although the race is clearly Lean-to-Likely GOP, I feel like Melancon could at least divert some resources from the NRSCC into the state.

    For daily political commentary, visit me at and

    [ Parent ]
    Seems to be Lean-R at best
    unless I missed some close poll results.

    "I'm not a member of any organized political party, I'm a Democrat!"
    --  Will Rogers  

    [ Parent ]
    I meant Likely-R at best

    "I'm not a member of any organized political party, I'm a Democrat!"
    --  Will Rogers  

    [ Parent ]
    FL-Gov: Mason-Dixon continue to dispel their own reputation.

    FL-19: Lynch "leads" the same way Harmer "lead" Garamendi in his own polling.

    NV-03: Yet again a GOP pollster shows one of their challengers leading a Dem incumbent with huge numbers of undecideds. Titus is in a race but I simply don't believe those numbers.

    SC-05: As I said in the post announcing his filing - Extra kudos. Would have been much easier to walk away. These are the people who should be rewarded for their bravery both political and personal.

    Ed Cox does not give up!
    Even with a millionaire (or two?) in the race to take on Kirsten Gillibrand, he is (supposedly) trying to get a former Massachusetts governor to run! Cox has supposedly asked Bill Weld and former Rep. Jim Walsh to run against Gillibrand. A state party spokesman denies it.

    He's just desperate...
    You can tell he really doesn't think they can win this seat (and that Pataki is not running) since he's trying to pressure Rick Lazio into switching races.

    It's funny how everybody thought Paterson made such a mistake when he appointed Gillibrand to the seat rather than Andrew Cuomo. Didn't William Weld endorse President Obama in 2008? After the kind of treatment he got from the GOP in 2006 when he lost the gubernatorial nomination to John Faso, I don't think he would want to wade back into politics.  

    [ Parent ]
    He is desperate
    But when you want to make a respectable showing, you stick with one person. Every week he is meeting with someone new. Once someone he likes gets in the race, he is trying to convince someone else to get in. Malpass has the money and background, they should rally around him and avoid a primary. Ed Cox is about as competent as Michael Steele.  

    [ Parent ]
    There's no shame in losing this seat, especially since Giuliani and Pataki bailed.  The shame is in how they're doing it.  Better to pick someone and put up a respectable showing.

    The Crolian Progressive: as great an adventure as ever I heard of...

    [ Parent ]
    Steve Hunter
    I know him personally along with his wife.  His wife lost a GOP primary for a county position as an incumbent by a 2-1 margin.  She was a disaster.  I am shocked he has filed.

    Libertarian secular Republican, MO-7

    IN-03: Hayhurst (D) flip-flops on health care
    I'm a big booster of Tom Hayhurst in IN-03 as the sleeper race of 2010, but I'm going to have to take issue with Hayhurst's flip-flop on the health care bill.

    Here's Hayhurst, March 6:

    Bipartisanship is desperately needed overall in Washington, he said, and on the current [health care] legislation, he'd side with the other party.

    "I would vote against the bill there now," he said. "I think the Republicans are probably right. We need to start over."

    And Hayhurst, March 22:

    Hayhurst said the basic tenets of the [health care] bill were good, but if elected, he hoped to improve on the legislation.

    "With regard to my job in November, after it passes, my job will be to make it more cost effective," Hayhurst said.

    C'mon Tom, you're a doctor.  You can say you're for health care.  Either way, flip-flopping is not the way to gain voter trust.

    The Crolian Progressive: as great an adventure as ever I heard of...

    I don't think that's a flip flop.
    He was against the bill and wanted to start over.  Once it passed, he wanted to make it more cost effective.  Seems perfectly consistent to me.

    34, WM, Democrat, FL-11

    [ Parent ]
    I want to agree with you
    because I like Hayhurst.  Maybe you're right.

    The Crolian Progressive: as great an adventure as ever I heard of...

    [ Parent ]
    In fairness to Hayhurst
    I know I've personally felt about 50 different ways about the healthcare bill at one time or another. Honestly, haven't a lot of people? (witness the epic debates on SSP or um, anywhere else)

    The good thing is that now that it's passed, he's adopted a posture of "it's not perfect (or totally terrible) but I can make it better." I'm good with that attitude.

    My fave sleeper race, btw, is Tommy Sowers in MO-8. Lazy longtime incumbent, pitch-perfect underdog profile, significant local Blue Dog strength, etc.

    Kansan by birth, Californian by choice, and Gay by the grace of God.

    [ Parent ]

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