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SSP Daily Digest: 5/19

by: Crisitunity

Wed May 19, 2010 at 4:36 PM EDT

CA-Sen: Good news for Tom Campbell, in the form of the Senate half of M4's poll of the California GOP primary: he leads Carly Fiorina and Chuck DeVore, 33-28-15. (Of course, with his plans to briefly go dark to conserve funds, that gives Fiorina a chance to play catchup when the margin's not that big.) Bad news for Campbell, though: the NRA has him in its metaphorical crosshairs, sending out a mailer to members attacking Campbell and, while not endorsing, offering kind words for Fiorina and DeVore.

CT-Sen: This is going to make it a lot easier for Richard Blumenthal to make the case that the "in Vietnam" controversy is something of a cheap shot. A longer-form video release of the appearance (provided, ironically, by the Linda McMahon campaign, undercutting their own hatchet job) where the offending phrase occurred have him correctly referring to having "served in the military, during the Vietnam era" in the very same speech. That's not stopping Vietnam vet Rob Simmons, who, sensing an opening, has rolled out web advertising with "Blumenthal Lied About Vietnam" in very large letters.

Blumenthal is getting more explicit backing from Democratic bigwigs now, as his mea culpa/attempt to get back on the offense seems to have had the desired effect. Rep. Chris Murphy, the likeliest guy to pick up the pieces if Blumenthal had to bail out, offered his unqualified support; so too did Howard Dean. And here's one thing that's actually good about Rasmussen's one-day, no-callback samples: they can strike fast. They polled Connecticut, and while the trendlines aren't appealing, they find Blumenthal still beating McMahon even in the heat of the moment before the story has had time to digest, and beating the other, unmoneyed GOP opponents by pretty wide margins. Markos has some really nice pushback against Rasmussen in general, today, asking why they always poll quickly when there's the potential for a good Republican narrative but not when the narrative doesn't fit (as seen in their failure to poll the Sorta Super-Tuesday primaries).

FL-Sen: Charlie Crist has been trying to woo union support, starting with a speech at the state AFL-CIO convention this weekend. It's another indication that he's trying to move squarely onto Kendrick Meek's turf and monopolize as much of the left-of-center vote as he can, now that he's free from his GOP shackles. Meanwhile, quixotic Democratic candidate Jeff Greene has apparently been seen wooing Ukrainian strippers, in 2005 on his 145-foot yacht while cruising the Black Sea. Not so, claims his campaign spokesperson; he was busy traveling with his rabbi at the time instead.

KY-Sen: In case you needed one more data point on how thin-skinned Rand Paul and how likely a meltdown from him is at some point before November, here's an anecdote from last night: he refused to take the customary concession call from Trey Grayson, at least according to the Grayson camp.

NC-Sen: Here's a big score for Elaine Marshall: Third-place finisher Kenneth Lewis gave his backing to Marshall in her runoff against Cal Cunningham. This move isn't so surprising, given that Lewis's supporters, like Rep. Eva Clayton, were already gravitating toward Marshall, but it ought to steer much of Lewis's African-American and youth base in her direction as well.

NV-Sen: Three items, all of which are very, very bad for Sue Lowden. First, the Club for Growth finally weighed into the Senate primary, and they backed right-winger Sharron Angle (maybe not that surprising, since they backed her in the 2006 primary for NV-02). That ought to give Angle a further shot of adrenaline, though, on top of her Tea Party Express endorsement and polling momentum. Lowden is also still bogged down in controversy over her luxury bus, doubling-down on her claims that use of the $100K vehicle was leased despite also having stated elsewhere that the bus was "donated" (which means it would have needed to be reported as an in-kind contribution). That's nothing, though, compared to the (by my count) quintupling-down on Chickens-for-Checkups, simultaneously trying to fight top Nevada journo Jon Ralston on the fact that, yes, people are bartering for health care while trying to claim that she never actually said anything about Chickencare at all.

NY-Sen-B: The only GOP big name left who hadn't said anything definitive about participating in the GOP Senate primary for the right to get creamed by Kirsten Gillibrand finally said a public "no." Orange County Executive Ed Diana said he'll stick with his current job, to which he was elected in November to a third term.

UT-Sen: Looks like that teabaggers' victory in Utah might be short-lived. Bob Bennett seems to be more interested than before in running as a write-in in the general (where, despite the complex dynamics of a write-in campaign, he faces better odds with the broader electorate than with the narrow slice of extremists running the GOP convention). We may know tomorrow what his plans are, as he emphasized "Stay tuned tomorrow."

WA-Sen: If Dino Rossi really is still interested in running for Senate, this isn't a particularly good way of showing it. Rossi is scheduled to make a blockbuster appearance on May 25... to give opening remarks at a dinnertime seminar for local real estate investors focusing on strategies for profiting off foreclosures. Because nothing says "I'm a man of the people" than knowing all the ins and outs of how to profit off the people's misery.

AL-Gov: Artur Davis is out with an internal poll, that seems mostly oriented toward countering the sense that he's losing ground among his African-American base. The poll shows Davis leading Democratic primary rival Ron Sparks 46-33. It also shows Davis leading 50-25 among African-Americans (despite the defections of some prominent local black groups), while trailing Sparks 42-41 among whites.

FL-Gov: Bill McCollum is going to have to start taking moneybags Rick Scott seriously, and he's striking hard, sending out a press release calling him an "embarrassment" and a "fraud," presumably in reference to allegations leveled against Scott's health care firm. Scott's ginormous introductory ad buy is now estimating at $6.3 million.

KS-Gov: Sam Brownback is drawing some heat for taking things out of context. Now, politicians take things out of context all the time, but his sleight-of-hand in attempting to fight efforts to more tightly regulate the business of car loans to military members may be a fridge too far.

"CNN Money on May 13 reported that 'Raj Date ... agreed that the additional (Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection) regulation might cause some dealers to stop arranging loans," Brownback said in the letter.
But Brownback's letter did not include the rest of Date's comment, which was this, "There will be some dealers who say, 'If I have to play by an honest set [of] rules, then I can't be in this business anymore.' I'm not going to shed any tears for these dealers."

MA-Gov: You may recall last week's Rasmussen MA-Gov poll where, in an effort to find some sort of good news, they found that, if liberal activist Grace Ross somehow beat incumbent Dem Deval Patrick in the primary, she would lost to GOPer Charlie Baker. Well, it's looking like Ross is in danger of not even making it onto the ballot. The state SoS says she has only a little more than half of the 10,000 signatures she needs; Ross promises an announcement tomorrow morning on her next step. (The upside for Patrick, if Ross qualifies for the primary though, would be $750K in public financing for his campaign, which he wouldn't be entitled to if he were running unopposed.)

ME-Gov: There's been some ongoing controversy in the sleepy Maine governor's race about how Republican candidate Steve Abbott (former CoS to Susan Collins) wound up with GOP voter lists, but this is a strange turn: the state Republican party chair, Charlie Webster, is now saying that Abbott's camp flat-out "stole" it.

GA-09: The special election to replace Nathan Deal (where GOPers Tom Graves and Lee Hawkins are in a runoff) seems to have winnowed the Republican field for the regularly-scheduled GOP primary, too. Former state Senate majority leader Bill Stephens has dropped out of contention in that field.

HI-01: Even if something incredibly dramatic happens between now and Saturday's drop-dead date in the special election in the 1st, things are still pretty much cast in stone. In the all-mail in election, now 43% of all ballots sent out have been returned.

IN-03: State Sen. Marlin Stutzman (whose name rec is sky-high right now after running fairly well in the GOP Senate primary against Dan Coats) says that he's going to strike while the iron is hot, and get into the race to replace resigning Rep. Mark Souder. Other GOPers confirming that they'll run include state Rep. Randy Borror, Ft. Wayne city councilor Liz Brown, and recent primary loser Phil Troyer. Another recent primary loser, Bob Thomas, is a potential candidate.

OH-16: After having found an excuse to hide behind the door the last time Barack Obama came to Ohio, Rep. John Boccieri was proudly with him when he visited Youngstown yesterday. Perhaps he can sense a bit of a turning of the tide? Troublingly, though, Senate candidate Lee Fisher wasn't present.

PA-12: PPP digs through the data from their last pre-election poll in the 12th and finds what may really have done the Republicans in. There's one entity in the district even more unpopular than Barack Obama (who had 30% approval), and that's Congressional Republicans, who were at a miserable 22/60. In nationalizing the election, Tim Burns tied himself to the nation's least favorite people of all.

PA-19: After having surviving his primary last night despite publicly seeking another job, it looks like Rep. Todd Platts exposed himself to all that danger for no reason at all. Platts announced yesterday that the Obama administration had let him know that he wasn't going to be selected for the Government Accountability Office job he'd been angling for.

CT-AG: Here's one of the weirdest career crash-and-burns I've seen lately: SoS Susan Bysiewicz went in a few months from likely next Governor to somehow not even eligible to run for the lower-tier job she dropped down to. Connecticut's Supreme Court unanimously ruled that she didn't meet the criteria for legal experience required to become AG, reversing a lower court's decision. Former Democratic state Sen. George Jepsen now has the AG job pretty much to himself. At any rate, with Bysiewicz now combing the "Help Wanted" section, that gives the Connecticut Dems a fallback plan for the Senate if Richard Blumenthal does need to bail out (although Bysiewicz may be seriously damaged at this point too).

OR-St. House: Here are a couple races with interesting implications that I forgot to watch last night: two Republican state Reps. from the high-desert parts of Oregon (the state's Republican stronghold) committed the unthinkable heresy of not only bipartisanship but supporting tax increases to close the state's budget gap. Both Bob Jenson and Greg Smith survived their primaries, though, after teabaggers, right-to-lifers, and even their state House minority leader turned their wrath against them.

Arizona: One other election result from last night that most people, us included, seemed to overlook was Proposition 100 in Arizona. In a surprise, at least to those people who think that it's a rabidly anti-tax year (which would be those people who didn't pay any attention to Measures 66 and 67 earlier this year in Oregon), the people of this red state voted by a fairly wide margin for a temporary sales tax increase as part of a package of changes to close the budget gap. It's a victory for Jan Brewer, actually, who backed the plan (perhaps feeling safer to do so, having solidified her position with her support for the "papers please" law).

1994: When you have a wave, a lot of dead wood washes up on the beach. Prompted by '94 alum Mark Souder's mini-scandal and resignation, Dana Milbank looks back at the wide array of scoundrels and rogues who were swept in in 1994.

History: History's only barely on the side of Blanche Lincoln when it comes to runoffs. It turns out that the person who finishes first in a runoff wins 72% of the time, but when that's limited only to runoffs in primaries, the success rate is only 55%... and Lincoln's victory over Bill Halter last night was a particularly close one.

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GA-09: Nathan Deal Plans to Resign

by: Crisitunity

Mon Mar 01, 2010 at 1:19 PM EST

Even though this district in the exurban and rural areas north of Atlanta is R+28 (4th worst in the nation), certainly not the kind of terrain that's going to give us a special election pickup, I'm going to call this good news for two reasons:

Rep. Nathan Deal announced Monday that he will quit his job in Congress on March 8 to concentrate on his campaign for governor of Georgia....

Once Deal resigns, a special election will be scheduled to fill out the rest of his term. It's possible the state could look to hold the special election July 20 to coincide with the regularly scheduled primaries. The state also has runoffs scheduled for Aug. 10.

First, this is good news because one less Republican in the House means that, when it's time for the Democrats to pass health care reform, that's one less Democrat Nancy Pelosi has to rustle up to vote 'yes.' The resignations of Robert Wexler and Neil Abercrombie [and death of John Murtha] set her back two three votes, but Deal's resignation moves the needle back one. And second, Nathan Deal is the last man standing among the Democrats in the House who switched over to the Republicans in the wake of 1994, so there's simply a sense of good riddance.

The special election is likely to attract all the same participants who are already running in the primary for November. On the Republican side, this includes state Sen. Lee Hawkins, state Rep. Tom Graves, and former state Sen. Bill Stephens. Democrats still seem to be searching for a candidate.

RaceTracker Wiki: GA-09

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SSP Daily Digest: 5/27

by: Crisitunity

Wed May 27, 2009 at 2:42 PM EDT

FL-Sen: Some guys just don't seem to be getting the message that the NRSC is trying to consolidate support for Charlie Crist and shut down the competitive primary challenge from former state House speaker Marco Rubio. Thing is, these are some major players, starting with Mike Huckabee, whose latest fundraising e-mail from HuckPAC cited Rubio. (Rubio was one of Huckabee's early backers in the GOP presidential primary.) Also, today Jeb Bush Jr. (son of the former Governor) endorsed Rubio. The elder Bush remains on the sidelines and probably will continue to do so... but this seems like the kind of thing someone in Jr.'s shoes doesn't do without consulting dad (especially when you share the same name).

IL-Sen: When you're facing long odds in a primary and sitting on $845 in funds, the words "FBI wiretap" aren't likely to make your situation better. A just-released transcript of a conversation with Rod Blagojevich's brother Robert shows Roland Burris promising to "personally do something" for Blago, although without creating the impression he was "trying to buy an appointment." In the meantime, although he hasn't announced re-election plans, Burris persists in acting like a candidate for 2010, taking a swing through a number of downstate cities this week.

OH-Sen: Rob Portman had a Memorial Day weekend he'd probably like to forget, as he visited to the Dayton-area VA Hospital on Sundary to do a little meet 'n' greet. Not only did he get a chilly reception from officials, who told him that campaigning on federal property is illegal, but from the vets as well, who peppered him with questions about Bush administration cuts to the VA budget, while Portman was OMB director.

MI-Gov: Unfortunately-named Republican Attorney General Mike Cox made it official; he's running for Michigan Governor. Cox finished third in the one poll so far of the GOP primary, but the winner of the poll was Oakland Co. Executive L. Brooks Patterson (who has since announced he won't run), and Cox, who's also based in the Detroit suburbs, is likely to benefit from Patterson's absence.

AL-Gov: As expected, Bradley Byrne, the chancellor of Alabama's Two-Year College System and a former state Senator, announced his candidacy for Governor today. In a very cluttered GOP field, observers give Byrne something of front-runner status.

MO-07: State Senator Gary Nodler is publicly announcing something tomorrow, most likely that he's running for the open 7th District seat being vacated by Roy Blunt. It's already a crowded field, but a March internal poll gave Nodler the edge with 35%, leading state Sen. Jack Goodman and auctioneer Billy Long at 25% each. Nodler has the "my turn" factor working for him, as he lost the GOP primary for this seat the last time it was open, losing to Blunt in 1996.

PA-10: The GOP seems to be floundering in its efforts to find a candidate to take on sophomore Rep. Chris Carney in this R+8 district in northeastern Pennsylvania. All they have lined up so far is Lackawanna Trail School Director Dan Naylor and chiropractor David Madeira; Dan Meuser, who narrowly lost last year's GOP primary to Chris Hackett, is "keeping his options open" but unlikely to run.

PA-11: Scranton Mayor Chris Doherty, in an interview, wouldn't rule out running in a primary against weary Rep. Paul Kanjorski. (Doherty definitely sounds interested in moving up to something, although more focused on the open Lt. Gov. slot. Former Philadelphia controller Jonathan Saidel may have the inside track on that job, though.) This follows news that Lackawanna County Commissioner Corey O'Brien is also interested in Kanjorski's job.

PA-12: Another possible changing of the guard in Pennsylvania: former State Dept. employee and Navy officer (and Navy Academy placekicker) Ryan Bucchianeri announced he'll challenge John Murtha in the Dem primary. Somehow I doubt this is the kind of challenge that would prompt the 77-year-old Murtha to shrink in fear and contemplate retirement; more likely, Bucchianeri is positioning himself in case the increasingly cumulative weight of investigations into Murtha's earmark quid pro quos takes Murtha down.

WI-03: Rep. Ron Kind hasn't faced a serious challenge since his first election in 1996 in his Dem-leaning (D+4) rural Wisconsin district, but he may face an honest-to-gosh state Senator in 2010. Dan Kapanke is strongly considering making the race.

GA-09: State Representative Tom Graves jumped into the field for the GOP primary to replace retiring Rep. Nathan Deal (who's running for Governor). Expect a crowded GOP field in this R+28 district: former state transportation board chair Mike Evans, former state Sen. Bill Stephens, county commissioner Mike Cowan, and activist Jeremy Jones are all already in.

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SSP Daily Digest: 5/7

by: Crisitunity

Thu May 07, 2009 at 2:56 PM EDT

PA-Sen: Well, something finally went right for Arlen Specter. After Specter got condemned to the basement on all his committees on Tuesday night, Majority whip Dick Durbin doled out a little charity this morning by giving up his own chair (Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Drugs) and handing it over to Specter (apparently without Pat Leahy's say-so). I'm wondering what Specter had to do behind the scenes to smooth things over; if the rumors flying that Specter is poised to re-flip-flop back to supporting EFCA are true, that's probably the answer.

NY-Sen-B: Rep. Carolyn McCarthy is still making noises about a primary challenge to Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, but with her frequent caveats about stepping aside if someone younger takes on the challenge, it seems like she's doing it more to yank Gillibrand's chain on gun control issues. Gillibrand has been a reliable vote in favor of gun controls since entering the Senate, going so far as to co-sponsor the current bill to close the gun-show loophole. McCarthy confesses to being "very happy about it. I just want her to stay there."

NH-Sen: Judd Gregg tells CQ that wherever he goes, he's bombarded by Republicans begging him to run for another term in the Senate. He says he'll listen to their entreaties, but he's "comfortable with where" he is.

AK-Gov: Governors in general are having a rough go of it these days, and now even the once-mighty Sarah Palin is suffering, falling to a mundane 54/41 favorable rating according to Hays Research. Senator Lisa Murkowski, by comparison, is still at 76/18.

OK-Gov: Ex-Rep. J.C. Watts is still publicly undecided about the governor's race, and kicking the can down the road on a formal decision. Reading between the lines of his statement, it sounds like he's having some trouble fundraising, saying "You don't take on something like this unless you know you will have the resources to do it."

CO-04: The GOP got the candidate it wanted, to go up against freshman Rep. Betsy Markey in this now R+6 district. State House minority whip Cory Gardner, who represents the vast emptiness of eastern Colorado, announced that he'll be running. Univ. of Colorado regent Tom Lucero is already in the hunt for the GOP nod.

MN-06: One day after former Independence Party Lt. Gov. candidate Maureen Reed said she'll be a Dem candidate in 2010, the 2008 candidate, Elwyn Tinklenberg, confirmed he'll be running again, against one-woman gaffe machine Michele Bachmann.

CA-47: GOP Assemblyman Van Tran made it official, setting up his exploratory committee for an uphill bid against Rep. Loretta Sanchez in this D+4 Latino-majority district in the heart of the O.C. (Discussion underway in Gus Ayer's diary.)

ID-01: Idaho state Treasurer Don Crane spent the last week glad-handing GOP leaders and fundraisers in Washington, DC, fueling speculation that he's ready to challenge frosh Democratic Rep. Walt Minnick next year. Would his candidacy dampen the spirits of ex-Rep. Bill "Brain Fade" Sali, who is currently mulling a rematch? (J)

GA-09: When you have an R+28 district, the only question about an open seat is what variety of wingnut you're going to get next. Former state Senator Bill Stephens (who lost the SoS primary to Karen Handel in 2006) announced he'll run to succeed Rep. Nathan Deal, retiring to run for governor. Former state Transportation Board chair Mike Evans is already seek the GOP nom.

IL-11: The GOP has lined up Air Force Captain Adam Kinzinger to run against freshman Rep. Debbie Halvorson in the Chicago suburbs. His exploratory committee is open, but he's currently serving in Iraq and won't be able to make a formal announcement until summer.

MI-11: We've got somebody willing to step up against Bad Thad McCotter in this Dem-trending seat in the economically hard-hit Detroit suburbs: fundraising consultant Natalie Mosher. The DCCC sounds like it's going to keep looking for someone else, but if that fails, bear in mind that McCotter barely won in 2008 against a different Dem nobody.

GA-12: When you're running for office, it's important to sell yourself... but not oversell yourself. Surgeon and Iraq vet Wayne Mosely, who's running against Rep. John Barrow in the D+1 rural Georgia district, recently tweeted that the NRCC rated his race as one of the top 3 in the nation! Uh, no, there's no ranking system, responded the NRCC, although they did concede that they were "very excited" about Mosely's candidacy.

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