Rather unusually, Suffolk included Blumenthal & Malloy twice in their head-to-head questions: once as the Dem candidate, and once as the Working Families Party candidate. Each got about 3-4% as the WFP candidate. I've never seen a pollster do this in New York, where the practice of fusion voting is best known.
IL-Gov (PPP): Pat Quinn (D-inc) 41 (35), Bill Brady (R) 42 (42)
FL-22 (Susquehanna for Sunshine State News): Ron Klein (D-inc) 44, Allen West (R) 47
MA-04 (Fleming & Associates for WPRI): Barney Frank (D-inc) 49, Sean Bielat (R) 37
MD-01 (Monmouth): Frank Kratovil (D-inc) 42, Andy Harris (R) 53
MI-03 (EPIC/MRA): Pat Miles (D) 37, Justin Amash (R) 46
MN-01 (Grove Insight (D) for Project New West): Tim Walz (D-inc) 50, Randy Demmer (R) 34
MS-04 (Tarrance Group (R) for Steven Palazzo): Gene Taylor (D-inc) 41, Steven Palazzo (R) 43
NC-11 (Greenberg Quinlan Rosner (D) for DCCC): Heath Shuler (D-inc) 54, Jeff Miller 39
NM-02 (Tarrance Group (R) for Steve Pearce): Harry Teague (D-inc) 41, Steve Pearce (R) 50
NY-20 (Public Opinion Strategies (R) for Chris Gibson): Scott Murphy (D-inc) 42, Chris Gibson 44
OR-05 (SurveyUSA for KATU-TV): Kurt Schrader (D-inc) 41, Scott Bruun (R) 51
Note: Among the 10% who have already voted, Schrader leads 47-46. This continues a pattern we've seen in other SUSA polls (and also some, but not all, of the early voting numbers by party registration).
PA-06 (Monmouth): Manan Trivedi (D) 44, Jim Gerlach (R-inc) 54
PA-17 (Susquehanna for ABC27 News): Tim Holden (D-inc) 58, Justin Argall (R) 28
• CT-Sen: I hope Joe Lieberman has a nice lobbying firm picked out for a job starting in 2013. PPP threw in some Lieberman-related questions in their Connecticut sample, and he generates genuine bipartisan support in terms of the desire to replace him with someone else (72% of Dems, 63% of indies, and 61% of GOPers say "someone new"). He has 31/57 approval, including 20/69 among Dems. In a three-way with Dem Chris Murphy and GOPer Jodi Rell, Lieberman finishes 3rd, with Murphy winning 37-29-17. Substitute Peter Schiff for Rell and it's about the same: 39-25-19. If Lieberman goes the full GOP, he still loses a head-to-head with Murphy, 47-33.
• IL-Sen: Barack Obama's coming to town today, on behalf of Alexi Giannoulias. No stumping though, just two fundraisers. (On a related note, though, Obama will be in Oregon on Oct. 20 to appear with gubernatorial candidate John Kitzhaber.)
Dan Onorato (D): 36 (37)
Tom Corbett (R): 47 (46)
These races just don't seem to budge. Muhlenberg's newest numbers are just where they were a few weeks earlier, and they're pretty much at the median for all pollsters' averages in these races.
• VA-Sen: More looking ahead to 2012: George Allen is probably figuring that 'macaca' has faded into the mists of time, and he's starting to publicly let it be know that he's interested in a rematch with the man who beat him, Jim Webb. No formal preparatory activities, but it seems like he's engaging in some pre-emptive GOP field-clearing.
• WA-Sen: Here's something we haven't seen in a while: a poll with a lead for Dino Rossi. Of course, it's a Republican poll (from Fabrizio & Associates, on behalf of American Action Forum (that's AAF, not AFF)), so take it with some salt, but it's a reminder that this race is far from a done deal and that things may have tightened since that polling bulge for Patty Murray a few weeks ago. Rossi leads Murray 48-42 in a 9/26-27 sample.
• WV-Sen: You've probably already heard about this story: the NRSC has pulled an ad that it had started running in West Virginia featuring stereotypically blue-collar guy sitting around a diner grousing. Well, if they seem a little stereotypical, it's because they were intended to be, if you read the details from the NRSC's casting call for the ad that was shot in Philadelphia, asking for a "'hicky' blue collar look" and listing the various blue-collar clothing items that they should wear, including "John Deer [sic] hats (not brand new, preferably beat up)."" Somehow, I'm not hopeful this flap will become a game-changer in the race, but maybe it'll help West Virginians see what Beltway Republicans really think of them. The NRSC is in fact distancing itself from the ad, throwing the talent agency under the bus.
Meanwhile, this seems like a richer vein to mine: the ongoing and seemingly growing controversy of John Raese's residence. He owns a Florida mansion, where his wife and kids spent most of their time. But Dems are trying to raise questions about whether Raese is a West Virginia resident at all, and are asking whether he's filed West Virginia income taxes (Florida, as you might know, doesn't impose income taxes).
• NM-Gov: Can a race have too much internal poll leaking? There seems to be more tit-for-tat in this race than any. In response to yesterday's Diane Denish internal showing a 3-point race, today Susana Martinez brandishes a POS internal from 10/3-5 giving her a 51-42 lead over Denish.
Andrew Cuomo (D): 55 (49)
Carl Paladino (R): 37 (43)
Undecided: 6 (7)
Either Carl Paladino had a huge primary bounce that quickly faded, people who hadn't been paying close attention a few weeks ago suddenly found out that Paladino is a sputtering rage volcano who'd be a huge liability in office, or Quinnipiac put up a big stinky outlier a few weeks ago. (Probably a little of all three.)
• WI-Gov: Marist for McClatchy (9/26-28, likely voters, no trendlines):
Tom Barrett (D): 43
Scott Walker (R): 51
Ooops, we missed that there was a gubernatorial half to that Marist poll from a few days ago.
• AL-02: I don't know which is a bigger story here: that Bobby Bright is the first Democratic incumbent to announce, pre-election, that he won't vote for Nancy Pelosi for Speaker, or that he's trailing in a Martha Roby internal after having, for most of the cycle, seemed safer than a lot of other incumbents in less hostile districts... although the announcement seems pretty clearly motivated by the polling trends here. He says he certainly won't vote for John Boehner, though, saying he wants to vote for a centrist "more like me." Roby's poll comes from POS, giving her a 45-43 lead (with the memo saying their July poll gave Bright a 49-41 lead). Bright still overperforms the generic ballot by a wide margin, which is 51-32 for the GOP in this R+16 district.
• CT-01: Merriman River Group (who put up a surprising poll finding Chris Murphy trailing in CT-05 yesterday) are out with another poll that should give some pause: they find John Larson only ahead by 7 against no-namer Ann Brinkley, 52-45, in what's Connecticut's bluest (D+13) congressional district. For what it's worth, this district is eleven points bluer than D+2 CT-05, so the spread (Murphy was down 5) is consistent... but also remember that Merriman was about five points to the right of where everybody else was seeing the statewide races in that big pile of CT polls from the last couple days, so feel free to adjust accordingly.
• IL-17: Yep, we've definitely got a real race here this time, after Phil Hare got away unopposed in 2008. He's up only slightly over Bobby Schilling in a POS internal (which I assume is on behalf of the Schilling camp, as the NRCC has been using Tarrance in this district), leading 38-37 in a 9/26-27 sample.
• IN-02: EPIC-MRA for WSBT (10/1-3, likely voters, no trendlines):
Joe Donnelly (D): 48
Jackie Walorski (R): 39
Mike Vogel (I): 6
These numbers (which include leaners) look pretty good for Donnelly, in the first public poll of the race (although he's seemed to fare OK in partisan polls of the race, compared with many other vulnerable Dems, leading in both AFF and Susan B. Anthony List polls). Donnelly has 47/32 faves, while Walorski is at 32/35.
• NY-23: Here's one more Republican internal, that was taken before Doug Hoffman officially pulled the plug on his Conservative Party bid, but suggesting that he wasn't having much of an effect this year anyway. In the POS poll taken for the NRCC 9/22-23, Matt Doheny leads Dem incumbent Bill Owens 51-37. (Somehow they didn't leak what percentage Hoffman was getting... obviously it couldn't be more than 12%... but they do tell us 68% of Hoffman supporters would, in the alternate, support Doheny.)
• PA-07: Monmouth (10/4-6, likely voters, no trendlines):
Believe it or not, this is the first public poll of this race, and it's definitely better than the conventional wisdom on this race would dictate: although Bryan Lentz is still losing, it's by a 4-point margin. It's a seat that leans Dem-enough that even with a strong GOP candidate and a strong GOP tailwind it looks like it'll still be at least close. (That conventional wisdom seems founded largely on a June Meehan internal giving him a 21-point lead.) One other interesting tidbit: Joe Sestak, the district's current Rep., is leading Pat Toomey 49-46 within the district in the Senate race. He'd need to be cleaning up by a much wider margin than that, here, to be competitive statewide.
• WA-08: Let's throw in a Democratic internal poll to break up the monotony. It's from one of the few Dem challengers who seem to be keeping things within striking distance, Suzan DelBene. She trails GOP incumbent Dave Reichert by only 48-44 in a Fairbank Maslin poll taken 10/4-5 (where they gave Reichert a 9-point lead in August). That coincides, perhaps not coincidentally, with Dave Reichert finally having to come out and say "no, I don't have brain damage." Reichert, you may remember, had to have emergency surgery after getting hit in the head by a tree branch in March. Reichert's fitness had been the subject of increasing whispers and question marks in recent months, some of which may have rubbed off on his poll numbers.
• Early voting: Fun fact of the day: early voting is up 50% over this point in time over the 2006 midterm, with nearly 6 million votes already having been cast. This, of course, is in large part because states have, in the intervening years, made it easier to vote early. (Nearly 30% of votes were cast early in 2008; officials don't expect this year's numbers to reach that peak, though.) At any rate, it looks like early voting is increasingly here to stay, and campaigns will have to adjust their strategies accordingly. (I.e. planning for the "September Surprise" instead?)
• Demographics: Now these are some interesting numbers: a chart breaking down the "voting-eligible" (not just "voting age") population by percentage in each state, eliminating non-citizens as well as prisoners and ineligible felons. And here's an interesting statistic: despite the fact that we haven't completed the dang fence, the percentage of non-citizens in the U.S. has actually dropped from 2006 (8.6%) to 2010 (8.3%), partly because the government has processed a backlog in citizenship cases and partly because the lousier economy has made the U.S. a less attractive destination.
• SSP TV:
• AR-Sen: Blanche Lincoln uses Bill Clinton as surrogate to talk about John Boozman's privatization mania
• PA-Sen: The Club for Growth does some stimulus act cherry-picking to portray Joe Sestak as a sockpuppet for the sockpuppet lobby
• WV-Sen: The DSCC hits John Raese on outsourcing
• ND-AL: The NRCC attacks Earl Pomeroy for taking money from the insurance industry
• SD-AL: Stephanie Herseth Sandlin's newest ad focuses on her work on parochial issues, while Kristin Noem's ad says Sandlin's gone Washington
• CT-Sen: Remember how Linda McMahon was touting how the WWE dialed things back to "PG-rated" entertainment this decade? That didn't seem to take into account some corporate synergy between WWE and the Girls Gone Wild empire, who collaborated on a 2003 pay-per-view. My Left Nutmeg has the rundown on GGW's greatest legal hits, and also some compare and contrast with WWE's own most luridly misogynist moments from its pre-PG days.
• IN-Sen: Brad Ellsworth, after a few weeks in the dark, is going back on the air with an ad hitting Dan Coats on outsourcing, including his lobbying ties to job-shippers and his own NAFTA vote in the early 90s. However, it looks like this ad is coming out of the Ellsworth campaign coffers, as the DSCC (contrary to a brief flurry of reports) still doesn't seem to be buying any time here.
• MD-Sen: Washington Post (9/22-26, likely voters, no trendlines):
Barbara Mikulski (D): 61
Eric Wargotz (R): 29
Here's the Senate half of WaPo's last Maryland poll, with Barbara Mikulski looking like she might match the 65% she got in her 2004 re-election. Her lead is 59-24 among RVs, so Maryland, like many solidly blue states, has less of an enthusiasm gap problem than the swing states. Her opponent's problem is, naturally, name rec: he has 10/9 favorables, with 81% with no opinion.
• NV-Sen: Sharron Angle will be in Washington DC tomorrow, fundraising at the NRSC headquarters at a minimum-$500 event replete with many lobbyists and ex-Senators. If that causes a little head-spinning cognitive dissonance for you -- in the wake of revelations of her inexplicably tape-recorded summit with Tea Party candidate Scott Ashjian in which they both agree that the GOP has been corrupt since, oh, at least 1994 -- well, then, clearly you're not a Republican.
• CA-Gov: While Meg Whitman and Jerry Brown have actually gotten down to some debating lately, tomorrow's planned debate is suddenly off... and without any explanation it's by mutual agreement, not purely a Whitman pullout (while she retrenches in the wake of her illegal employment arrangement with her housekeeper). If you're wondering what the first poll of the race taken since the story broke looks like and whether it's hurting Whitman, well, there's a box called "Rasmussen" down at the bottom of the digest...
• CO-Gov: Here's a little more info on what happens to the Colorado GOP if Dan Maes doesn't reach 10% in the gubernatorial race. You probably know they get stuck in "minor party" status, which affects their ballot position in both 2012 and 2014. But (this is new, at least to me) it also has major fundraising ramifications for state legislative candidates in those cycles, halving what they can raise from individual donors.
• MA-Gov: Tim Cahill, whose right-leaning indie campaign lost its wheels months ago and last week seems to have lost most of its chassis as well too, still plans to go on the air with $1 million worth of attack ads (his only ads so far have been positive, which may explain why he's polling in the single digits). And here's the good news... he's going after Republican Charlie Baker. If he were to join Baker in training his guns only on Deval Patrick, that could be a problem, but he won't. (Makes me wonder if he was a Patrick plant all along? Probably not, but it'd be one of the greatest stories in the history of ratfucking if true.)
• NY-Gov: Now here's one big financial disparity, at least on paper. Andrew Cuomo's warchest, as of required reports last week, is more than $19 million CoH. That contrasts sharply with Carl Paladino's $209K. Of course, Paladino can write his own checks, and has promised to spend up to $10 million of his own money if necessary. (Even if he did, that'd still be a 2:1 disadvantage, with little likelihood of 'recouping' that money in the form of a win, so don't count on it.) Cuomo spent almost $3 million on TV ads in the last few weeks, so he's leaving nothing to chance.
• AL-02: Greenberg Quinlan Rosner for DCCC (9/26-28, likely voters, 8/23-26 in parentheses):
Not a typo. The numbers seem to have stayed exactly the same over the last month, since GQR's previous internal on behalf of Bobby Bright. In this climate, consistency is good.
• IA-01: If, like me, you've been wondering why AFF is pouring $800K into the race against Bruce Braley in the 1st, which no observer has taken much interest in or seen any smoke coming from, well, now you have an answer: Sandy Grenier is the head of AFF. She's also running for state Senate in her spare time... in Iowa. In other words, she's pouring money into a race that's her own personal hobby horse, at the expense of other races that are actually competitive. (And that's not even the main point of the article... it turns out that Grenier, like so many other members of the current wave of GOP candidates, is a big believer in sucker-punching the government with one hand even as you take money from it with the other. Her family has received over $935K in farm subsidies over the last 15 years.)
• NY-20: Grove Insight for DCCC (9/28-30, likely voters, no trendlines):
Scott Murphy (D-inc): 51
Chris Gibson (R): 38
We haven't seen an internal in this district until now. While the numbers are nice, this actually isn't as good as Siena's poll of the district mid-September, which put Murphy up 54-37.
• WV-03: Anzalone Liszt for Nick Rahall (9/27-29, likely voters, no trendlines):
Nick Rahall (D-inc): 59
Spike Maynard (R): 34
With the DCCC out with a poll a couple weeks ago giving Rahall a 55-37 lead (and even that round of AFF polls showing him up by 16), I think it may be time to stop discussing this race as competitive. What's most remarkable here is that the Dems manage to have a 47-37 edge on the generic ballot question, and Maynard (a controversial ex-state Supreme Court justice) still manages to underperform that low bar.
• DCCC: Now who's copping out on their DCCC dues payments? CQ finds that the Congressional Hispanic Caucus has been particularly remiss on making its payments, with only junior leadership member Xavier Becerra having paid all his dues as of the Aug. 24 tally. (Two more, including CHC chair Nydia Velazquez, report having paid up since then.) Some members cite failure to move immigration reform as a reason for holding out and giving directly to cooperative individual Reps instead.
• AL-St. Sen.: Despite having a 25-10 20-15 Democratic edge in the Alabama state Senate, many observers are thinking it's high on the list of legislative chambers that could flip this year, given a perfect storm of local and national dynamics. And this isn't going to help: 4 different members of the 35-person body got snared in a federal probe of a bingo operation. One is a retiring Republican, but the others are a Dem running in a tossup seat, a Dem running in a safe seat, and an independent running for re-election who was expected to caucus with Dems next session (Harri Anne Smith, whom you might remember from the AL-02 2008 GOP primary). This scandal looks like it'll drive the legislative race conversation in the state for the remaining weeks.
• NY-St. Sen.: There are four more polls from Siena of state Senate races in New York, showing two pretty safe incumbents (one from each party) but two open seats in true tossup territory. The safe-ish incumbents are Dem David Valesky in SD-40 (beating Andrew Russo 50-40) and GOPer James Alesi in SD-55 (beating Mary Wilmot 55-35). The other two races seem close mostly because of their screwy circumstances. In the Hudson Valley's GOP-held SD-40, GOPer Greg Ball (an inflammatory teabagger out of step with a district more amenable to moderate GOPers) leads Dem Michael Kaplowitz 45-44. And in Buffalo-area Dem-held SD-58, GOPer Jack Quinn (not the ex-Rep., but a relative) leads at 42, but that's because Tim Kennedy (on the Dem and Con lines) is at 39 and William Stachowski (whom Kennedy beat in the Dem primary) is at 12 on the WFP and IP lines.
• State legislatures: At SSP, we're always about finding ways for you to maximize the leverage you get out of your political contributions, and there's no better way to do that than through giving at the state legislative level, where a little money can go a long way (especially a lot of vulnerable chambers and redistricting looming.) The DLCC is out with its second list of Essential races, in the contests they consider important ones in the quest to hold important legislative chambers.
One other resource you should check out is the "Win Big By Thinking Small" ActBlue page, courtesy of Progressive Kick. They have 18 different progressives in important state legislative races all in one place. (One name you might remember is Patsy Keever, who ran in NC-11 in 2004.)
• SSP TV:
• CT-Sen: The DSCC is out with an ad simply called "Bad" focusing on Linda McMahon as bad CEO of WWE; meanwhile, the McMahon camp is out with an ad calling Richard Blumenthal a liar for the nth time over his Vietnam service
• MD-Sen: Barbara Mikulski seems to have an easy race, but is still hitting the airwaves touting her education record
• OH-Gov: John Kasich says that 400,000 Ohio jobs were lost under Ted Strickland's watch (without, of course, guessing at how many of those job losses were proximally related to the devastation of the credit market in the wake of the collapse of Lehman Brothers)
• CA-03: Ami Bera hits Dan Lungren for using ethical loopholes to party with lobbyists in Hawaii
• FL-12: Faced with a state Rep. opponent, Dem Lori Edwards tries running against Tallahassee instead of Washington (and against big insurance, while she's at it), in what's definitely today's most cut-through-the-clutter ad
• PA-11: Paul Kanjorski keeps going to the well of how bad a mayor of Hazleton Lou Barletta was
• NRCC: The NRCC is out with freakin' 27 different ads today... you can see the full list at their blog, and even watch them if you have 13½ minutes of your life you don't want to get back
• AR-Gov: Mike Beebe (D-inc) 51%, Jim Keet (R) 41%
• AR-Sen: Blanche Lincoln (D-inc) 37%, John Boozman (R) 55%
• CA-Gov: Jerry Brown (D) 49%, Meg Whitman (R) 44%
• NM-Gov: Diane Denish (D) 41%, Susana Martinez (R) 51%
• PA-Gov: Dan Onorato (D) 41%, Tom Corbett (R) 53%
• WY-Gov: Leslie Peterson (D) 25%, Matt Mead (R) 61%
• AK-Sen: If anything makes clear the depth of the NRSC's change of allegiance from Lisa Murkowski to Joe Miller, check out the list of five different NRSC-organized, Senator-filled fundraisers that'll be held on Miller's behalf next week. Murkowski, meanwhile, is shrugging off the loss of her leadership post (which went to John Barrasso) and ranking committee position, seeming more focused on the mechanics of her write-in bid. She's going to have to do a little better than this, though (although Alaska doesn't require precise spelling of write-ins): the original version of the ad telling people about her write-in bid directed people to a URL that misspelled her name (LisaMurkwski.com). (I wonder if some cybersquatter has already grabbed that URL by now?)
• AR-Sen: Ipsos, on behalf of Reuters, is out with a look at Arkansas, a Senate race that's hardly worth looking at anymore. Nevertheless, they show a closer race than anybody else has lately: Blanche Lincoln trails John Boozman by "only" 14, a 53-39 gap among LVs. Lincoln's favorables seem to be improving a bit too, but time's running out for a full-fledged comeback.
• CO-Sen: Here's a tantalizing tidbit, although it doesn't have any bearing on the current race, just likely to exacerbate the seemingly-escalating war between the NRSC and Jim DeMint. It turns out the NRSC gave the maximum $42K to Jane Norton, just four days before the GOP primary. Not much of a vote of confidence in Ken Buck, is it?
• NH-Sen: Unfortunately, where many Republican primaries have dissolved into acrimony afterwards, we're seeing lots of unity in New Hampshire. Ovide Lamontagne is helping to raise funds for narrow victor Kelly Ayotte at a DC fundraiser scheduled for Sep. 27.
• WA-Sen: Considering the play this has gotten in the local press, this small comment on a parochial issue looks to be a major faceplant for Dino Rossi... he dared depart from the party line on the mighty Boeing. He suggested that Boeing should get no favorable treatment from the Pentagon in its competition with Airbus (whose efforts are subsidized by European governments) over who gets to build the next-generation Air Force tanker. (To put that in context, that would be like a candidate going to Iowa and dissing ethanol, or going to West Virginia and dissing coal.) Boeing had already explicitly endorsed Patty Murray, but now she has a nuclear-grade weapon to use against Rossi in the Boeing-dependent swingy suburbs.
And here's a hat tip to Horsesass's Goldy, who spots some interesting details in the fine print of that Elway Poll from last week. People were surprised when that CNN/Time poll found a reverse enthusiasm gap for the Dems in Washington (with Murray faring better among LVs than RVs), but Elway actually shows something similar. The 50-41 topline was LVs, but pushed leaners. Include only the "definite voters" and that pushes up to a 13-pt lead for Murray (43-30). I don't have one good explanation for this phenomenon, but I'd guess it's a combination of a) Dems being more diehard liberal in Washington and less swingy and/or sporadic than in other states, b) the economy being somewhat better in Washington than many other places, and c) teabagger ennui after Clint Didier lost the primary to establishment leftover Dino Rossi.
• NM-Gov: We've got dueling banjos internals in the Land of Enchantment. Susana Martinez whipped it out first, rolling out a POS poll from last week with a 50-40 lead for her. Not to be outdone, Diane Denish pulled out her own poll from GQR from the same timeframe, showing that Martinez is leading "only" 49-44. Um... take that?
• NY-Gov: Rick Lazio is hedging on what exactly he's going to do with his spot on the Conservative Party line, sounding like he wants to wait and see how Carl Paladino fares before making up his mind. Meanwhile, Andrew Cuomo got a pretty significant endorsement, from NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg, which may sway a few moderate indies but is probably mostly helpful from a GOTV organizational standpoint within the city. Meanwhile, you might have also heard something about a poll of this race today? I've heard a few rumblings. Anyway, we're deferring discussion of today's Quinnipiac poll until the Siena and SurveyUSA polls, due tomorrow, also come out, offering us a better yardstick.
• RI-Gov, RI-01: Quest for WJAR-TV (9/15-17, likely voters, no trendlines):
Frank Caprio (D): 36
John Robitaille (R): 13
Lincoln Chafee (I): 24
Ken Block (M): 2
David Cicilline (D): 49
John Loughlin (R): 26
This is probably the biggest lead we've seen for Frank Caprio in the Governor's race, and also the first post-primary poll of the race in the 1st, which looks to be an easy race for Providence mayor David Cicilline despite being an open seat in a dangerous year. The poll also finds the Dems easily winning the LG, AG, SoS, and RI-02 races.
• TN-Gov: Crawford Johnson and Northcott for WSMV-TV (registered voters, trendlines from early July):
Mike McWherter (D): 24 (34)
Bill Haslam (R): 55 (60)
Undecided: 19 (6)
I'm not going out on a limb by saying we can expect Bill Haslam to win the Tennessee governor's race. The only odd thing here is that this is WSMV's second poll of the race, and the number of undecideds has shot up dramatically since July (of course, it's a mystery how there were so few back then).
• FL-22: Anzalone-Liszt for Ron Klein (9/14-16, likely voters, no trendlines):
Ron Klein (D): 48
Allen West (R): 40
While this isn't an awe-inspiring lead for Klein in his own internal, it's a good topline and there are some interesting numbers in the fine print. Most notably, West's unfavorables have tripled (to 26%) since May as people have started paying attention.
• MA-04: OMG, even Barney Frank's in trouble! (In case you couldn't tell, I was being sarcastic.) (Or was I?) Anyway, the Republican candidate running against Frank, Sean Bielat, is out with a poll from GOP pollster On Message giving Frank a 48-38 lead over Bielat. I suppose a ceiling of 38% is plausible for a no-name GOPer in this part of Massachusetts, which went 63% for Obama but includes a lot of exurbs and went narrowly for Scott Brown in the special election, but I'm unclear on how he gets much further than that.
• PA-03: Franklin & Marshall (9/14-19, registered voters, no trendlines):
Kathy Dahlkemper (D-inc): 38
Mike Kelly (R): 44
This seems to be the first truly independent poll of this race, although we've seen various internals and Republican third-party polls all showing Dahlkemper in trouble, though not always losing. Franklin & Marshall opts for the "losing" side, although it's slightly less severe among RVs (42-38).
• VA-05: Benenson Strategy Group for Tom Perriello (9/14-16, likely voters, no trendlines):
Tom Perriello (D): 44
Rob Hurt (R): 46
Jeff Clark (I): 4
Not much difference here than that DCCC poll by Global Strategy Group a few weeks ago that also saw Perriello down by 2. Again, not the most appetizing numbers for rolling out when it's your own internal, but at least it's some pushback against those SurveyUSA numbers.
• WA-09: Benenson Strategy Group for Adam Smith (9/18-20, likely voters, no trendlines):
Adam Smith (D): 54
Dick Muri (R): 35
Hmmm, speaking of pushback against SurveyUSA numbers, here's an internal from the Adam Smith camp (who were seen as being in a close race in a public poll from over the weekend). Now these are the kind of internal poll numbers we like to see... although the very fact that Adam Smith should have to be releasing internal polls in the first place is, well, a sign of the times.
• DCCC: Here's some interesting money shuffling from the DCCC, which might portend an increased focus on GOTV. A CQ piece detailing some miscellany from their report this month included a number of transfers from the DCCC to state Democratic party committees. That includes $196K to Ohio, $142K to Arizona, and $132K to Arizona.
• American Crossroads: Wasn't the "Crossroads" myth about selling your soul to the devil? At any rate, Politico is out with a nauseating story that's a stark counterpoint to the normal old committee numbers that we released this morning: while the Dems have advantages at the committee level, they're getting crushed in outside TV spending by third-party groups, to the tune of $23.6 million for GOP ads to $4.8 million for Dem ads. (Of course, some of that is money that in previous cycles would have gone to the RNC, which is way out of whack (or "wack," as Michael Steele might say) and unable to do much with its usual task of helping state committees... making the GOP more reliant than ever on hoping that their air saturation can overcome disadvantages in the ground game.)
The largest of these groups, of course, is American Crossroads, which is out with six new attack ads in different Senate races: Illinois ($482K), Kentucky ($235K), Nevada ($320K), New Hampshire ($643K), Ohio ($260K), and Pennsylvania ($226K). I know the teabaggers like to think that when the 2010 election is written in the history books, the story will be about some sort of populist uprising, but more likely, their useful idiocy will be long forgotten and the story will be about the uprising of a dozen or so billionaires, leveraging tens of millions on ads in order to save themselves hundreds of billions in taxes.
• SSP TV:
• CT-Sen: The state Democratic party goes after Linda McMahon, looking at job cuts she oversaw at WWE
• MO-Sen: The DSCC wades back into Missouri, looking at how Roy Blunt keeps his corruption all in the family
• MD-Gov: A DGA-allied group hits Bob Ehrlich for being in the pocket of utilities during and after his gubernatorial term
• IL-10: Dan Seals goes negative against Bob Dold!, hitting him on social security and abortion rights
• IL-14: Nancy Pelosi's coming for you! Booogetyboogetyboogety! (or so says Randy Hultgren's second ad)
• NC-02: Renee Elmers found the money to run an ad? Well, it is cable only... Anyway, it's about the Burlington Coat Factory mosque, despite that Bob Etheridge says he doesn't support it
• PA-11: Paul Kanjorski again goes negative on Lou Barletta on the bread and butter stuff, hitting for him opposition to a State Department security forces training center for the district
• PA-17: Even Tim Holden's hitting the airwaves with two different ads, one that's a soft bio spot for himself, and then an attack on his opponent's role in legislative pay raises
• WA-08: Suzan DelBene's second ad is against negative against Dave Reichert, especially for opposing financial reform
• AK-Gov: Ethan Berkowitz (D) 34%, Sean Parnell (R-inc) 54%
• CA-Gov: Jerry Brown (D) 47%, Meg Whitman (R) 46%
• IL-Sen: Alexi Giannoulias (D) 41%, Mark Kirk (R) 44%, LeAlan Jones (G) 4%
• ME-Gov: Libby Mitchell (D) 27%, Paul LePage (R) 45%, Eliot Cutler (I) 14%
• MI-Gov: Virg Bernero (D) 38%, Rick Snyder (R) 51%
• NY-Sen: Charles Schumer (D-inc) 58%, Jay Townsend (R) 36%
• AR-Sen: Move along, nothing to see here. Talk Business, via Hendrix College, is out with another poll of the Arkansas Senate race. They find John Boozman leading Blanche Lincoln 56-29, with 5 for indie Trevor Drown. (The previous Talk Business poll, taken by Zata|3, had it at 57-32.)
• DE-Sen: Trying to put his money where his mouth is, Jim DeMint, via his Senate Conservatives Funds, is going on the air with a new cable TV spot on behalf of Christine O'Donnell. The buy is for at least $250K. As I expected, it makes very obvious hay out of Harry Reid's dumb reference to Chris Coons as his "pet."
• FL-Sen: This is a long read, but worth checking out, not just from a partisan standpoint but also as insight into the constant revolving door between politics, big law, academia, and the nebulous world of "consulting." It's a thorough going-over of Marco Rubio's finances over the years, looking at some of the already-known stuff (his foreclosure problems and overuse of state party credit cards) but also at the connections that have gradually allowed him to enrich himself.
• KS-Sen, KS-Gov: SurveyUSA finds... brace yourselves... Republicans in the lead in Kansas! The Senate race appears to be out in no-man's land, with Jerry Moran leading Lisa Johnston 66-24. The Governor's race, however, remains moderately interesting, with Sam Brownback up over Tom Holland 59-32. Still not a good result, but that's a 15-point swing in Holland's favor from last time, as he now leads among self-described moderates.
• KY-Sen: This poll from last week is probably interesting enough for the front page... but it's getting more than a little stale, after our having repeatedly fumbled attempts to write it up, so we're just dropping it off here (figuring many of you have already seen it on over at Daily Kos). PPP, on behalf of Big Orange, finds that Rand Paul leads Jack Conway 49-42. On the plus side, not much of an enthusiasm gap here, thanks to Paul's polarizing nature; it's just a solidly red state.
• LA-Sen: Two different polls in Louisiana tell different stories. Dem pollster Bennett Petts & Normington, on behalf of the DSCC, sees a 10-point race, with David Vitter leading Charlie Melancon 48-38. On the other hand, Republican pollster Magellan sees it as an 18-point race: 52-34. The truth, as is often said, probably lies somewhere in between.
• UT-Sen: The Senate half of the Dan Jones poll (for the Deseret News and KSL-TV) finally showed up. In what could be called "not a surprise," the Republican is winning in Utah. Mike Lee (who turfed out Bob Bennett at the state convention) is easily beating Sam Granato, 52-25.
• WA-Sen: Here's a nice story about hypocrisy... or hypoc-Rossi, in this case. Dino Rossi made a campaign stop at a Whidbey Island shipyard last week, one that's nearly doubled its workforce from 130 to 210. Turns out, though, that the shipyard received $841K in stimulus funds, and the yard's owner says the expansion is a direct result of the stimulus. (Interestingly, Rossi, without any guidance from Admiral Ackbar, may have sailed right into A TRAP: he showed up at the invitation of the yard's owner, who has donated to Patty Murray in the past.)
• WI-Sen: If that Rossi hypocrisy story seems kind of small potatoes to you, well, don't worry, because Ron Johnson seems to have, over the last few weeks, been exposed as the absolute master of hypocrisy about engorging yourself on the government teat all the while raging against it. While he can claim that building-a-rail-spur-to-Pacur thing was in the distant past, now it comes out that in March 2009, in his role as board member of Oshkosh's Grand Opera House, he sought stimulus funds for renovations to the opera. Y'know, the stimulus bill that's KILLING US ALL AND ALL FUTURE GENERATIONS!!1!
• WV-Sen: Joe Manchin has had good relations with the state-level Chamber of Commerce, who've backed him in the past. They must have put in a good word for him with the national organization, as now the US Chamber of Commerce is endorsing him too, quite the rarity for a high-profile Dem.
• FL-Gov: Rick Scott's previous defense against the massive Medicare fraud problems at his former healthcare company Columbia/HCA was that he'd have stopped them if only he'd known they were going on (which, considering his job was to run the company, should have demolished his credibility right there). But now it's been revealed that his legal team was keeping him apprised, at least on the issue of trying to skirt a federal anti-kickback law.
• FL-22: They've had to call out the biggest fundraising gun of all for Ron Klein, seeing as how he's up against a nutty opponent but one with a direct line into seemingly hundreds of thousands of teabaggers' wallets in Allen West. Barack Obama will fundraise for Klein in the Miami area on Oct. 11 (at the home of former NBA star Alonzo Mourning).
• MS-01: The Tarrance Group is out with another Alan Nunnelee internal giving him a single-digit lead over Travis Childers in the 1st: this time, he's up 48-41.
• NY-23: Would you believe the NY-23 count is still going on? Although it seems like Matt Doheny is the likely victor in the GOP primary, with a 582-vote lead right now, 1,969 military and overseas ballots remain to be counted. In Friday's count, Doug Hoffman added 207 votes while Doheny added 177.
• American Crossroads: Rove, Inc., seems to be becoming the main conduit for billionaires looking to put their thumbs on the electoral scales but skeptical of the Michael Steele-helmed RNC: they raised $14.5 million in the last 30 days, almost doubling their year-to-date total.
• NRCC: The NRCC is out with a bonanza of IEs in 23 different districts (click the FEC link for specific numbers): PA-11, VA-09, PA-08, WI-07, NJ-03, PA-03, IL-14, MI-01, MI-07, PA-07, NC-07, IL-11, AL-02, AZ-01, CA-11, FL-02, KY-06, MS-01, TN-08, TX-23, VA-05, IN-02, and IL-10.
• SEIU: So, while the CoC is endorsing the Dem in West Virginia, the SEIU is endorsing the not-Dem in Rhode Island: they've thrown their backing behind indie Lincoln Chafee. (United Nurses and Allied Professionals will also endorse Chafee today, and the AFL-CIO is currently meeting about which way to go.) The SEIU is also out with a couple IEs of their own, spending $250K against Tim Walberg in MI-07 and $435K against deep-pocketed Jim Renacci in OH-16.
• SSP TV:
• CO-Sen: The DSCC is out with three different ads focusing on various aspects of Ken Buck's nuttery, including the 17th Amendment and opposition to common birth control methods • CT-Sen: Richard Blumenthal's ad focuses on pushback against various Linda McMahon misrepresentations
• FL-22: Ron Klein calls out Allen West for his various veiled calls for armed uprising
• HI-01: Charles Djou's first ad of the general is a positive spot listing accomplishments from his short time in office
• IL-10: Bob Dold! ties Dan Seals to Nancy Pelosi in a health care-themed ad
• PA-10: Here's the winner of the day: Chris Carney quickly and effectively summarizes the nasty links between Tom Marino and Louis DeNaples
• PA-15: Charlie Dent goes after John Callahan's bookkeeping as mayor of Bethlehem
• WI-08: Steve Kagen dips into the well of 50s-era public-domain stock footage to hit Reid Ribble on his calls for Social Security phaseout
• MD-Gov: Martin O'Malley (D-inc) 50%, Bob Ehrlich 47%
• MD-Sen: Barbara Mikulski (D-inc) 54%, Eric Wargotz (R) 38%
• NH-Gov: John Lynch (D-inc) 48%, John Stephen (R) 46%
• NY-Gov: Andrew Cuomo (D) 54%, Carl Paladino (R) 38%, Rick Lazio (C) 0% because Rasmussen didn't bother to include him
• WI-Gov: Tom Barrett (D) 43%, Scott Walker (R) 51%
• WV-Sen: Joe Manchin (D) 50%, John Raese (R) 43%
• AR-Sen: Mason-Dixon takes another look at the Arkansas Senate race, on behalf of Arkansas News Bureau. Blanche Lincoln hasn't gotten any deader than she was before: she trails John Boozman 51-34, with 4 for other minor candidates (no real change from the last time they polled, back in May pre-primary, where Boozman led 52-35). Lincoln's faves have improved a smidge: now 30/47, instead of 28/53.
• DE-Sen: Whooo, where even to begin? The national media is just starting to dig into Christine O'Donnell's gigantic and eminently mineable opposition file, with NPR and ABC detailing her history of getting fired from right-wing think tanks and her suing for discrimination in response, of IRS audits that she blamed on "thug politics" and liens that she blamed on "computer errors," of failure to pay for her college, and of using her campaign money to pay the rent on her house as it's also her campaign headquarters. We also know about her stance on AIDS prevention, thanks to helpful tipsters in the comments. At least O'Donnell's faring well in the fundraising department, raising $1 million since her victory (with Chris Coons raising only $125K, showing the harmful effects of a short-of-the-endzone victory dance). Not leaving things to chance, reports are coming in that Joe Biden will campaign for Coons "next week" and that the DSCC is starting to put money into Delaware, starting with an $85K buy in the Salisbury market.
The establishment isn't budging much on her: the state's virulently anti-O'Donnell GOP chair, Tom Ross, is staying in place (though calling for "unity"), and Karl Rove, although he sorta backed down in the face of a Rush Limbaugh broadside, is still challenging O'Donnell to be "honest" to voters about her difficulties... and again running through the list of all those difficulties in his media appearances. Meanwhile, O'Donnell strips.... her website, perhaps at the urging of the NRSC; after her nomination, all issues stuff vanished and it just became a donation ask. Still, Harry Reid seems to be doing all he can to fuck this up, issuing a strange quote that should play right into the whole "Obama/Reid/Pelosi agenda!!1!" messaging, expressing enthusiasm for Chris Coons but calling him his "pet."
• NV-Sen, NV-Gov (pdf): Part of the CNN/Time onslaught yesterday was polls of Nevada (which we're relegating to the digest, as this state, as we've complained before, is veering rapidly into over-polled territory). This raised some eyebrows for showing a Sharron Angle lead over Harry Reid (42-41, with 5 for Scott Ashjian) among LVs, but that's only a point or three off from the narrow band of results that Mason-Dixon and Rasmussen have been consistently generating. (Reid leads 42-34-7 among RVs.) Many people (starting with Jon Ralston) also seemed surprised by some crosstabs weirdness, showing the race a dead heat in Democratic-favorable Clark County but giving Reid a big lead in swingy Washoe County. Brian Sandoval leads Rory Reid 58-31 in the Gov race.
• CA-Gov: It's official: Meg Whitman is now the biggest self-funder in political history, having shown that piker Michael Bloomberg how it's done. She gave her campaign another $15 million, which brings her personal spending on the race to $118 million overall.
• CO-Gov: Dan Maes just picked up Scott McInnis's former campaign manager, George Culpepper, so it seems like the local GOP establishment isn't totally abandoning him. The Colorado Independent has an in-depth piece, though, with a more nuanced look, based on interviews with at least a dozen county GOP chairs. Some of them fully back Maes, some grudgingly do so, some back Tom Tancredo, and some are still in a state of shock.
• GA-Gov: After doing some pushback yesterday, Nathan "Let's Make a" Deal had to admit today that, yes, he is in some personally dire financial straits, saying his debts are even bigger than the $2.3 million loan that's outstanding... but also saying that he isn't releasing any more financial records to the press. It also turns out that he never disclosed that loan to the state Ethics Commission on his financial disclosure form, which he's now scrambling to update.
• MI-Gov: EPIC-MRA's out with yet another poll of the Michigan gubernatorial race; I think we can start relegating their frequent polls of this pretty-much-out-of-reach race to the digest, too. They give Rick Snyder a 53-29 lead over Virg Bernero (a slight improvement for Snyder over 51-29 three weeks ago).
• UT-Gov: OK, what kind of a world is it when we're faring better in the Utah governor's race than we are in Michigan? Not like this is a competitive race either, but it could be a good dress rehearsal for a 2012 rematch (remember that this 2010 race is a special election). Dem Peter Corroon trails Gary Herbert by "only" 21 points, 52-31, in a poll taken by Dan Jones & Associates for the Deseret News and KSL. The numbers haven't really changed since their previous poll in April (where Herbert led by 20).
• CA-11: As with 2008, Jerry McNerney rolled out endorsements from some local elected Republicans, as part of a list of 16 county supervisors and mayors who are backing him. Maybe most notable is the backing from the mayor of Manteca (or, in Spanish, Lard), Willie Weatherford, who had previously backed GOP primary loser Brad Goehring.
• CO-03: Here's a boost for John Salazar, in a suddenly-tough race in this rural western district against Republican Scott Tipton: he got the backing of the National Rifle Association, with an "A" rating.
• IA-02: Another warning sign for David Loebsack: the Mariannette Miller-Meeks campaign is out with another internal poll, showing her creeping closer than her previous one. The Tarrance Group poll has her trailing Loebsack by only 1 point: 41-40 (with 6 for a Libertarian). She could do some damage her with more money.
• LA-02: Lawyer Ron Austin dropped out of the LA-02 race today, where he was an independent candidate. This is really the first I'd ever heard of him, so I can't imagine he'd have been much of a factor here; I can't glean whether he was running on the left or the right, but he is African-American, so that in itself may shift at least a handful of votes in Cedric Richmond's direction in what may yet turn out to be a close race. Two other no-name indies remain.
• MD-01: One other internal poll got leaked to the Fix today, too, and this one's a pleasant surprise for the Dems. Frank Kratovil is still claiming a lead over Andy Harris, who just won the GOP nod for a rematch. Kratovil's poll by Garin-Hart-Yang gives him a 45-39 lead. (When I say "still," Kratovil released an earlier internal with a 5-point lead. Harris has released two internals of his own giving him a lead.)
• MO-04: Here's the good news: Ike Skelton got a shared endorsement from Missouri Right to Life, along with GOP challenger Vicky Hartzler. The bad news is: Skelton has generally had that endorsement to himself in the past.
• NY-14: Give Reshma Saujani credit for one thing: she's persistent. She's already announced that she'll try again in 2012 to unseat Carolyn Maloney in the NY-14 Dem primary.
• NY-23: Local teabaggers (or at least one of them) sound pretty upset with Conservative nominee (and GOP primary loser) Doug Hoffman, meaning that he, rather than the GOP nominee, may find himself in the third-wheel position this time around. Mark Barie, chairman of a local Tea Party organization criticized Hoffman for a listless campaign run by outsiders with little familiarity with the district. He threw his support behind Matt Doheny, who appears to have narrowly won the GOP primary despite a late close by Hoffman in late counting.
• CfG: The Club for Growth launched a five-state buy in Senate races, to a total tune of $1.5 million (no word on specific allocation). The states under assault are Colorado, Florida, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.
• NRCC: Two different rounds of TV ad buys came from the NRCC today. The first one was in WA-03 ($900K) and NM-01 ($300K), and a second one covers PA-10 ($595K), NH-01 ($1 mil), NH-02 ($1 mil), FL-08 ($817K), FL-24 ($817K), and VA-09 ($?).
• SSP TV:
• CA-Sen: Barbara Boxer goes negative against Carly Fiorina in a new spot, hitting her on (what else?) her failed tenure at HP
• MO-Sen: A new spot against Roy Blunt from Dem group Commonsense Ten (never heard of 'em, either) hits his consummate insider credentials
• PA-Sen: Yet another ad from Pat Toomey, this one featuring an oppressed doctor who doesn't like HCR (who just happens to be a big Republican activist too, not the ad says that)
• WA-Sen: Dino Rossi's first negative ad features him personally narrating an attack on Patty Murray (instead of using the off-camera voice of doom); he calls her "part of the problem"
• NV-Sen: Harry Reid's newest TV spot, by way of fighting back against Angle's attacks on immigration issues, just goes ahead and says it: it calls Sharron Angle "crazy"
• NY-Gov: Andrew Cuomo doesn't want to leave anything to chance despite his big lead (he has the money to burn, at any rate), and he's out with a new bio ad (not that he needs much introduction)
• PA-Gov: Dan Onorato tries introducing himself to Pennsylvania again, this time with a shorter 30-second ad that helpfully lets people know how to pronounce his name
• TX-Gov: Even Rick Perry's going negative: three different ads go after Bill White, two trying to tie him to Barack Obama and one attacking his handling of Hurricane Rita
• VT-Gov: The RGA wades into Vermont with a negative ad against Peter Shumlin, hitting him on taxes
• CT-04: Jim Himes has not one but two new ads, stressing his independence and debt hawkishness
• KS-03: Stephene Moore's first ad plays up her day job as a nurse
• ND-AL: Earl Pomeroy has two different anti-Rick Berg ads, one of which focuses on his crazy plans to drill for oil in Theodore Roosevelt National Park
• NH-02: Ann McLane Kuster (who's now rebranded herself as "Annie Kuster") goes negative on Charlie Bass in her first ad, framing him as failed retread
• NY-20: Scott Murphy's newest spot focuses on his own personal record of job creation as businessman before entering Congress
• TX-17: Chet Edwards is out with a positive ad, touting his work on veteran's issues like VA health care
• WA-02: John Koster tries to cram both a negative ad and a positive ad into a discordant 30 seconds
• WI-07: Sean Duffy plays up his lumberjack credentials, saying he'll "take an ax" to Washington (I'll admit, that's kinda clever)
• CO-Sen: Michael Bennet (D-inc) 45%, Ken Buck (R) 49%
• DE-Sen: Chris Coons (D) 53%, Christine O'Donnell (R) 42%
• NH-Sen: Paul Hodes (D) 44%, Kelly Ayotte (R) 51%
• NV-Gov: Rory Reid (D) 39%, Brian Sandoval (R) 52%
• PA-Gov: Dan Onorato (D) 39%, Tom Corbett (R) 49%
• WA-Sen: Patty Murray (D-inc) 51%, Dino Rossi (R) 46%
Another August come and gone with Labor Day leaving too. This means that summer is officially over and if you live in the East Coast, you will agree. Everyone knows August as the month where people go on vacation and/or want to install air conditioners. August also has another name on it that not many people mention: the bad month for Democrats and/or Obama. In August of 2004, Kerry was down in the polls due to the swift boat ads. In August of 2006, the generic ballot was tied. In August of 2007, Hillary was crushing Obama. In August of 2008, Palin was nominated and tied the race (until she crashed of course but that comes later.) In August of 2009, people came to town hall meetings to parrot talking points by Republicans that denounced the healthcare bill and spread lies about death panels. Now August of 2010 is a month where Obama's poll numbers are low because the economy was supposed to recover in a day. Rome was built in a day too. Also, this August showed bad polling numbers for many of the Senate candidates.
Yes, I am finally getting to the subject of this post: Senate races. August is always a bad month people so we should not be too worried about losing the Senate because it always gets a little better. Still, my Senate rankings are going in the Republicans' favor because my rankings show the way the races stand now. Many races though will start seeing action soon but were quiet in August. Alaska is an exception where Lisa Murkowski (R) was primaried out by Joe Miller (R), a teabagger who makes the race closer. It is not close enough to put in the rankings though. Other races that are shifting are Florida Senate with Kendrick Meek (D) taking votes from Charlie Crist (I) who may caucus with the Democrats if he wins. Other races with movement include Pennsylvania and Ohio. I am not keeping Nevada on the list although some pundits suggested Republicans will vote for extremist Sharron Angle (R) holding their nose. As I see Republicans like Nevada's first lady Dawn Gibbons endorse Harry Reid (D), I just cannot put this race on the line. I have also removed Missouri from the list although Carnahan can make it closer once she reminds Missouri why 61% of the voters supported her in 2008. I am predicting a 6 seat pickup for the Republicans. Enough talk about the races though, here are the rankings with a description on each race:
1. North Dakota OPEN Bryon Dorgan (D)
North Dakota is known for electing personally popular politicians regardless of the party. Governor John Hoeven (R) is anything but an exception to this rule.
Ranking: Safe Republican
Previous Ranking: 1
2. Arkansas Blanche Lincoln (D)
One of the Democrats' last holdouts in statewide offices was Arkansas. Lincoln won a primary against Lieutenant Governor Bill Halter (D) when most pundits thought he would win. She will definitely not have the same luck while running against Rep. John Boozemen (R).
Ranking: Likely Republican
Previous Ranking: 2
3. Indiana OPEN Evan Bayh (D)
Bayh jumped out of the race as Dan Coats (R) jumped into the race. Coats is known as a former incumbent, a lobbyist and this is supposed to be anti incumbent year, right? Actually, it is an anti Democratic incumbent year. The Democrats nominated sheriff Brad Ellsworth (D) from Evansville in southern Indiana, a critical area for Democrats to win so they can win statewide. The campaign has not gotten into full mode. Although Ellsworth should narrow the margin a bit, it is the wrong year and he is not doing well enough in the urban areas.
Ranking: Likely Republican
Previous Ranking: 5
4. Delaware OPEN Ted Kaufman (D)
Rep. Michael Castle (R) is running against New Castle County Exec. Chris Coons (D) and due to Castle's popularity, it looked like an easy win for him. Now the race suddenly got more interesting. The Tea Party Express which kicked out Lisa Murkowski (R) in Alaska now is supporting Christine O'Donnell (R) in the primary against Castle. They are going to pour in their money. Most polls show Coons winning against O'Donnell so if she wins the primary, expect the race to fall down the list. If Castle wins, Coons is still in trouble.
Ranking: Lean Republican
Previous Ranking: 4
5. Pennsylvania OPEN Arlen Specter (D)
First, the Senate race that kept changing was Florida. Although Florida does keep shifting, so does Pennsylvania. First, Specter switched parties and became a Democrat. Then congressman Joe Sestak (D) from the Philadelphia suburbs challenged him. Sestak won by 8 points, shocking the Philadelphia establishment. Sestak won by using an ad blitz but now he is sinking the polls against Pat Toomey (R). Toomey primaried Specter in 2004, ran as a conservative and lost. Toomey is now running to the center and Sestak is doing...nothing. He plans to do an ad blitz really close to election day. I do not think it will work this time though because most voters will have made up their minds.
Ranking: Lean Republican
6. Colorado Michael Bennett (D)
Bennett (D) faced a challenge from the left and Bill Clinton in Andrew Romanoff (D) in the primary. Bennett survived, defying a late surge for Romanoff. Now Bennett faces Ken Buck (R). Although Buck is leading by a few points, he is a prone gaffe machine who rivals Sharron Angle. Buck said that the difference between Jane Norton (his primary opponent) and him was that he did not wear high heels. Also, Buck said he liked the education system of the 1950's. He did not say which part of the country's education system. Did he mean the South? Bennett has not spent much time defining Buck yet which Bennett needs to do if he wants to win.
Previous Ranking: 8
Status: Toss Up/Tilt Republican
7. Illinois OPEN Roland Burris (D)
This race is another one where the leader in the polls keeps switching. First, Mark Kirk (R) from the Chicago suburbs was winning against Alexi Giannoulis (D). Then Kirk lied about his military credentials...more than once. Giannoulis though has problems with his family's bank. Therefore, both candidates are tied. Kirk is a moderate and it is a Republican year. Giannoulis though will get the support of the strong Democratic party in Chicago and Illinois's Democratic lean. This is a race that should have a recount if there is one but I expect Giannoulis to win by 1-2 points.
Status: Pure Toss Up
Previous Ranking: Not on top 10
8. Florida OPEN George LeMieux (R)
This race used to be much higher up in the rankings. Now with Kendrick Meek's (D) primary win, this race is shifting in Marco Rubio's (R) favor. Charlie Crist (I) used to be leading in the polls but Meek received a post primary bounce. It also though could be a permanent boost. Whatever it was, Crist lost his lead in the polls and is now a few points behind Rubio. It may be a temporary bounce for Meek but even so, Crist is getting squeezed from both sides of the aisle. Expect this race to fall off the line if Crist does not get his act together.
Status: Toss Up/Tilt Republican
Previous Ranking: 4
9. Washington Patti Murray (D)
I had a diary on the county baselines of Washington recently where I mentioned how Washington State is the New Jersey of the west. Here, Republicans always think they finally have the candidate but the voters always side with the Democrat. In New Jersey though, that trend broke with Chris Christie (R) winning the Governorship last year. Now former moderate Dino Rossi (R) is vying for statewide office for the third time. Rossi first ran for Governor and lost after a long recount in 2004. He ran for Governor again in 2008 and lost by a not so recountable margin, 53%-47%. Washington State has an interesting primary system where all candidates regardless of party run and the top two vote getters advance to the general election. Murray got 46% in that election and since it was not a high turnout election for Democrats, this looks like a close race.
Status: Toss Up/Tilt Democratic
Previous Ranking: Not on Top 10
10. Kentucky OPEN Jim Bunning (R)
I was going to put a race like Wisconsin in for this spot but this morning, I saw a poll showing the two candidates Rand Paul (R) and Jack Conway (D) tied. Although Conway is not from the crucial coal counties in east Kentucky, he is a strong candidate from Louisville which Democrats rely on now to win in Kentucky. Paul is well known for outrageous comments like suggesting businesses should decide whether African Americans can come and that Kentucky has no drug problem. Although Paul is a poor candidate and Conway is a good one, the year and Kentucky's Republican lean is probably too strong for Conway to beat.
Status: Toss Up/Tilt Republican
Previous Ranking: 10
AR-Sen, AR-01: Bill Clinton is heading back home to Arkansas to do events for Blanche Lincoln (probably not a good use of resources) and Chad Causey (better use of resources). Incidentally, Politico notes that Causey's primary opponent, Tim Wooldridge, still has yet to endorse him. Jeez.
DE-Sen: It's official: The Tea Party Express has spooked Mike Castle into going up on the air before the primary, to a six-figure tune. In fact, the Hotline's Jeremy Jacobs has an unusual level of detail on the nature of the buy, noting that "Castle has purchased $113K worth of airtime for Aug. 31 to Sept. 6 in the Salisbury, MD, media market," as well as "$26K worth of time on cable in New Castle County and $42K on radio."
NH-Sen: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is throwing down for a big buy against Paul Hodes. As the Hotline notes, the Chamber's FEC filing says they're spending $1 million, but apparently the buy is for less - a spokesbot will only say that it's "sizable." You can see their ad at the link.
AK-Gov: Republican Bill Walker, who held Gov. Sean Parnell to just 50% in the GOP primary while taking 33% himself, is talking to the Alaska Independence Party about filling their ballot line, since the AIP's nominee, Don Wright, has withdrawn from the race. Remember that in 1994, Dem Tony Knowles very narrowly won the gubernatorial race because an AIP candidate split the right-wing vote, taking 13%.
FL-Gov: I'm not sure whether these are new names or not, but Alex Sink is trying to stick it to Rick Scott by putting out a list of ten Republican elected officials in central and south Florida who have endorsed her campaign. Speaking of Scott, he's reportedly going to tap state Rep. Jennifer Carroll, an African American legislator from the Jacksonville area, to be his running mate.
NM-Gov: Local blog New Mexico FBIHOP has two new ads, one each from Republican Susana Martinez and Dem Diane Denish. NWOTSOTB in either case.
AZ-03: Dem Jon Hulburd is hitting noted d-bag Ben Quayle where it hurts: on Christian radio. Politico has the audio of the ad, which of course references TheDirty.com, but NWOTSOTB.
CA-47: Ya know, usually when we do an Obama Alert! or a Biden Alert! we're at least a little bit excited at the prospect that the (V)POTUS is doing an event for some Dem or other. But once in a while, it just makes me nervous. This is one of those occasions. Joe Biden is headlining a fundraiser for Rep. Loretta Sanchez in DC on Sept. 15th. I'm thinking a rating change might be in order here soon.
MD-01: Dem Frank Kratovil is up with his first ad of the season. NWOTSOTB.
NJ-12: The so-called "Emergency Committee for Israel," led by jerkass extraordinaire Michael Goldfarb and backed by lunatics like Bill Kristol and Gary Bauer, is now targeting Rep. Rush Holt with their latest bullshit. Holt, for his part, is fighting back, calling the ads "blatant lies" and trying to convince cable companies to pull them.
ND-AL: A break for Rep. Earl Pomeroy: The House's Office of Congressional Ethics said earlier this week that they were dropping an investigation into Pomeroy's fundraising practices.
NY-01: If anything saves Tim Bishop's bacon, it might be the fact that the Republican primary has been a festering pit of raw sewage, with outraged attacks traded among Bishop's GOP rivals daily - or more often. In fact, the three-way nature of the race seems to have tripled the likelihood of open warfare at any given moment - and it also makes things damn confusing at times. Anyhow, it looks like Chris Cox is hitting Randy Altschuler for failing to show up to a debate... but then the third dude, George Demos, also had a staffer show up at Altschuler's offices and catch him on camera, right when the debate was supposed to start. Meanwhile, Cox also won a court ruling allowing him to fight Altschuler for the Conservative Party nomination, but he'll have to run as a write-in.
NY-13: Another nasty New York primary also continues to get nastier. Local establishment fave Michael Allegretti keeps piling on attacks against Mike Grimm, the golden boy of national GOP figures like Rudy Giuliani and John McCain. Among other things, Allegretti is pointing out that Grimm has never voted in a single Republican primary in the 13th CD.
OH-17: Jim Traficant got beamed back on to the ballot yesterday, running as an independent. He'll face Dem Rep. Tim Ryan and Republican Jim Graham, who has raised bupkes.
PA-15: PA2010 is reporting that Dem John Callahan is going up on the air with his first ad, perhaps as early as today. NWOTSOTB, and we also don't have a link to the ad yet, but we'll try to bring it to you once it's public.
TX-23: Republican Quico Canseco is refusing to meet with the editorial board of the San Antonio Express-News, claiming they have an "inherent bias" in favor of Dem Rep. Ciro Rodriguez. Only problem: The paper endorsed the last two Republicans who ran against Ciro.
WI-07: Republican Sean Duffy is finally scrambling on to the air with a positive bio spot. Dem Julie Lassa was up with her first ad last week, and the DCCC made its first independent expenditure (anywhere in the nation) here earlier this week. NWOTSOTB, though CQ notes the ad will air "in the Wausau-Rhinelander, Duluth-Superior, Minneapolis-St. Paul and LaCrosse-Eau Claire markets".
WV-03: Republican Spike Maynard is out with a new ad (watch it here) in which he says he wants to "stop the Obama-Rahall-Pelosi war on coal." That a serious mouthful, dude. (James Hell sez: "He should add Rand Paul to the list!") Anyhow, props to the Charleston Daily Mail for these details: "The ad is the first of two ads that will be released by Maynard's campaign as part of a $100,000 ad buy in the Beckley-Bluefield and Charleston-Huntington TV markets."
For Nick Rahall's part, he's apparently going to go on the radio with biographical spots to "familiarize folks with the congressman and his record." Uh, the guy has been in office since before I was born. The paper also reports that Rahall "is expected to run TV ads starting in late September." Can't say I love that pace.
Cat Fud: Think Progress has carefully stacked up an entire pallet's worth of cat fud tins in one of those lovely supermarket displays. They've assembled a long list of Republican primary losers who have refused to endorse the winners. I can think of two more off the top of my head: Pamela Gorman, who didn't want to catch Ben Quayle's cooties in AZ-03, and of course Lisa Murkowski, who maybe kinda sorta doesn't feel all that warmly about the guy who just called her a whore (or a john, take your pick) before the ballot counting was even over. Recall any others?
DSCC/DCCC: This is actually the same link that I got all emo about in that CA-47 item up above, but anyhow, uh, Obama Alert! The POTUS will be in NYC on September 22nd to do a joint event for the two congressional party committees.
AR-Sen: Quelle surprise: The AFL-CIO, which was a major supporter of Bill Halter, won't endorse Blanche Lincoln in the general.
NV-Sen: Your daily dose of Angle Crazy comes courtesy Greg Sargent:
MANDERS: We have domestic enemies. We have home-born homegrown enemies in our system. And I for one think we have some of those enemies in the walls of the Senate and the Congress.
ANGLE: Yes. I think you're right, Bill.
PA-Sen: Karl Rove's gang of ne'er-do-wells is out with an ad attacking Joe Sestak. NWOTSOTB.
WI-Sen: Weirdo Ron Johnson has a new ad out, trying to sell himself as just a reg'lar guy. NWOTSOTB, but the "ad is airing statewide on cable and broadcast TV starting Tuesday, according to a campaign spokeswoman." Meanwhile, the new right-wing group American Action Network is dropping a $325K ad buy against Russ Feingold. Some background on the group (whose backers include Nixon hatchet man Fred Malek - whataguy!) here.
HI-Gov: Wow. Former Rep. (and recent special election loser) Ed Case went somewhat against type and endorsed Neil Abercrombie over Mufi Hannemann in the Dem gubernatorial primary. The "centrist" Case seemingly had more in common with Hannemann, the urbane mayor of Honolulu, than Abercrombie, the septuagenarian progressive. And Case didn't just issue some anodyne statement - he utterly lambasted Hannemann:
Case called him "the most dangerous politician in a generation," adding that Hannemann governs "by fear and intimidation."
"He is the product and clear choice of a political machine that must end. While professing unity, he's practiced the politics of division, exploiting rather than healing differences of race, origin and economic status," Case said.
CO-03: Republican Scott Tipton is touting an internal poll from Magellan, showing him with a 49-43 lead over Rep. John Salazar. Salazar says his own internals have him leading. One FYI about this (and most other) Magellan polls: It's a one-day sample, much like Rasmussen, and - I would guess - does not include callbacks. Nate Silver previously laid out in great detail how a lack of callbacks can negatively affect poll quality.
KS-04: Raj Goyle is up with a positive bio spot touting his "Kansas values." NWOTSOTB, though this district is centered around Wichita, which is a pretty cheap media market.
Meanwhile, Dem Rob O'Leary is out with his first TV ad, which interestingly enough calls for an end to the war in Afghanistan. NWOTSOTB, and WARNING - AUTOPLAYING YOUTUBE. Very annoying.
MI-07: AFSCME has a new ad out hitting Republican retread Tim Walberg for his votes in Congress, though I think the messaging is a little muddled. Anyhow, NWOTSOTB just yet, but presumably the union will have to file an IE report soon.
NJ-12: GOPer Scott Sipprelle claims he's launching his "third positive, issue-based cable television commercial this summer." First off, check out the ad (which attacks "Washington politicians right at the start") and then tell me if you think it's "positive." Secondly, I'm guessing that this ad is much closer to a "video press release" (as Nathan Gonzales calls them) than a real buy, given that this district lies mostly in the #1-most expensive media market in the country (and the rest is in Philly, which ain't exactly cheap), and that Sipprelle acknowledges it's a cable-only buy.
NY-14: It seems like a long time ago now, but remember when Carolyn Maloney came oh-so-close to primarying appointed Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand? Well, it's an old memory indeed, seeing as Gillibrand is hosting a breakfast fundraiser in Manhattan for Maloney next week.
OH-16: Jim Renacci is up with his first ad of the general election campaign - which I can only assume is targeted at his race against me for NYC Zoning Board. But it's weird that he keeps talking about Ohio, no? Anyhow, a spokesman says the ad "is part of a $250,000 two-week buy" on both broadcast and cable. Do you think it's running on New York 1?
OH-17: Jim Traficant missed the deadline to file as a write-in candidate, but his supporters are still hoping for a favorable ruling from SoS Jennifer Brunner on whether Traficant can appear as an independent. If not, they are supposedly threatening to go to court.
PA-04: Great, another one of these. Much like Joe Donnelly, Jason Altmire has a new ad up claiming he that he's "not afraid to stand up to the president - and Nancy Pelosi." Lovely. NWOTSOTB.
PA-10: It's nice when Republican delusions help us win campaigns. Here's Tom Marino's latest:
"My generation and probably the generation that follows me, we are going to have to step up to the plate and say," he said. "We are not going to get Social Security," he said. "But we are going to pay into it to get this debacle squared away. So if I have to sacrifice my Social Security to get it squared away ... because we can't take Social Security away from people that are on it now.
• FL-Sen: Charlie Crist has to be feeling good about having limited this damage: few major Republican donors have switched over from Crist to Marco Rubio, after his switch to an independent campaign. Only five of Crist's donors who gave more than $200 pre-switch have given similar amounts to Rubio since then, totalling only $6,340.
• LA-Sen: Clarus Research, on behalf of local TV station WWL, finds a somewhat closer Senate race in Louisiana than other pollster have; they see David Vitter leading Charlie Melancon 48-36 (with Vitter sporting a 51/37 approval). Vitter's also in solid shape in his primary (suggesting that Chet Traylor internal was pretty thoroughly ginned-up with "informed ballot" questions); Vitter leads Traylor 74-5, with 3 for Nick Accardo.
• MO-Sen: The Missouri Senate race, not the recipient of much national attention until just recently, is now at the epicenter of ad spending. The DSCC is plowing $4 million into ads here (along with $1.3 million in KY-Sen), while Karl Rove-linked American Crossroads is also launching a new ad in Missouri, as well as one in NV-Sen. The combined buy is for $2 million (no word on how it breaks down between the states); maybe not coincidentally, Crossroads raised $2 million in July, almost all of which came from exactly two donors (prominent conservative donors Harold Simmons and Jerry Perenchio).
• WA-Sen: Maybe that usual calculus of adding Dino Rossi and Clint Didier votes in the primary to see if they add up to the Patty Murray votes shouldn't apply... Didier just held a press conference today to announce that he's not endorsing Rossi (at least not yet). He said he'd back Rossi if he promised to pledge to support no new taxes, sponsor an anti-abortion bill, and... get this... never vote for anything that would "increase the federal budget." We'll have to see if Rossi even bothers dignifying that with a response.
• WV-Sen, WV-Gov: A new "MindField Poll" (yes, that's what they call it) by local pollster R.L. Repass finds an unsurprisingly large lead for Gov. Joe Manchin in the Senate special election; he leads GOPer John Raese 54-32, and is sitting on a 65% approval. They also look at the gubernatorial election in 2012 in the post-Manchin world, and find GOP Rep. Shelly Capito in the best shape. She beats all Democrats mentioned: Senate President (and Governor, if Manchin quits) Earl Ray Tomblin (43-29), state House Speaker Rick Thompson (44-29), Treasurer John Perdue (44-32), and SoS Natalie Tennant (40-37). Former Republican SoS Betty Ireland was also polled, but loses to all the Democrats (by margins as large as 44-24 to Tennant).
• CO-Gov: On what seems like a quest to be the first ever major party candidate to get 0% in a gubernatorial race, Dan Maes is busy pissing off his one remaining clutch of supporters, the teabaggers, with his choice of the somewhat centrist Tambor Williams as his running mate. She was a supporter of anti-TABOR Referenda C and D, but more aggravating to Maes backers is that although she says she's anti-abortion, she's taken some notably pro-choice votes in the leigslature. Maes hasn't lost any major endorsers over it, but is running damage control on the right.
• IL-Gov: It seems like Pat Quinn may be racing Maes to the bottom, in terms of campaign woes. He and his media team -- David Axelrod's former firm, AKPD -- parted ways, seemingly at Quinn's decision. AKPD doesn't seem to sad to be heading out the door; their terse statement about the parting of ways was, "We and the Quinn campaign agreed that our divergent approaches to disciplined, professional communications are incompatible. We wish Pat well."
• FL-08: Daniel Webster is getting some last minute help on the stump in the closing days of the Florida primary campaign. Mike Huckabee (who endorsed Webster a long whiel ago) will appear with him this weekend.
• FL-22: Here's a hilarious little piece on Allen West's attempts to surround and conquer his district, rather than actually do anything in it: he just opened his new campaign office in West Palm Beach... in FL-23. He recently also held a town hall in FL-19, and perhaps most significantly, lives in Plantation, in FL-20. (It is worth noting the 22nd is one convoluted-looking district.)
• Mayors: That vaunted "anti-incumbent" year hasn't panned out much in the primaries, but there is one other race coming up soon that looks like it's on track for a loss by an incumbent. A new Clarus poll of the Washington, DC mayoral race finds Vincent Gray leading incumbent mayor Adrian Fenty, 39-36, in the Democratic primary.
• AL-Gov: Ron Sparks (D) 34%, Robert Bentley (R) 58%
• AR-Sen: Blanche Lincoln (D-inc) 27%, John Boozman (R) 65%
• RI-Gov: Frank Caprio (D) 38%, John Robitaille (R) 20%, Lincoln Chafee (I) 32%
• RI-Gov: Frank Caprio (D) 40%, Victor Moffitt (R) 17%, Lincoln Chafee (I) 33%
• WY-Gov: Leslie Petersen (D) 24%, Matt Mead (R) 58%