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SSP Daily Digest: 2/14

by: Crisitunity

Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 3:05 PM EST

AZ-Sen, AZ-06: Rep. Jeff Flake, who announced his bid today, had to wait only a few hours before getting a valuable (for the GOP primary, at least) endorsement from the Club for Growth; he's a natural fit for them, given his draconian budgetary views and laissez-faire social views. Even before Flake had announced, his potentially strongest rival for the GOP nod, ex-Rep. John Shadegg had announced that he wasn't going to run. Shadegg's AZ-03 replacement, Rep. Ben Quayle confirmed that he won't be running either. The same goes for another Republican freshman, Rep. David Schweikert (that article also helpfully points out that famous Arizona residents Meghan McCain and Bristol Palin, who've both accomplished so much in the social media sphere in their short lives, are both too young to run for Senate). Former NFL player Kurt Warner has also taken himself out of consideration.

Buried in a Roll Call article on the whip race to replace Jon Kyl are a few more interesting bits: Trent Franks is "not expected" to run, while state Senate president and prime mover behind SB 1070 Russell Pearce is "out," but "plans to run" for AZ-06, being vacated by Flake. There's not much to report on the Dem side today, but there are further reports that ex-Gov., and current DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano (who didn't poll well against Kyl according to PPP a few weeks ago, although they didn't test her against Flake) has been calling around to gauge her support.

CT-Sen: Ex-SoS Susan Bysiewicz rolled out her own long list of endorsements from local Dems, in response to a list unveiled several weeks ago by primary rival Chris Murphy. While Murphy's list was heavy on the 5th District, naturally, Bysiewicz's list is heavy on the 2nd District (which is interesting, as it may be an indication that Rep. Joe Courtney has decided against running... or it may be a preventative shot across Courtney's bow). Bysiewicz is from Middletown, which is in the 2nd although kind of on its periphery. In terms of the Republican field, there was a straw poll taken of state Tea Party Patriots members this weekend. Given the sample size of 54 and the self-selecting nature of the nuttiest of the nuttiest, it's barely worth mentioning, but they found Linda McMahon only barely winning with 15 votes, compared to Peter Schiff's 14. Rob Simmons and Tom Foley each got 6, with state Sen. Scott Frantz at 5 and Danbury mayor Mark Boughton at 4.

FL-Sen, FL-13: Like I've said before, don't count out Republican Rep. Vern Buchanan for the Senate; the owner of numerous car dealerships is sitting on a big campaign account, has wealthy friends, and can self-fund too. And now he's publicly saying he's "not ruling it out."

MO-Sen: Over the weekend in Joplin was the first public joint appearance between the two announced GOP candidates so far, Sarah Steelman and Ed Martin. While they superficially only attacked Claire McCaskill, Martin sneaked in some anti-Steelman attacks by implication, saying that he'll support "tort reform every time" and "take on the public sector unions." (While Steelman has the support of the DC-based tea party astroturfers, the local teabaggers are skeptical of her insufficient purity on those two issues.)

NV-Sen: Given behavior lately that might charitably be described as "erratic," I've pretty much given up on trying to figure out Sharron Angle's plans (her travel schedule seems to take her mostly to early presidential states these days, in case you had any doubts about the scope of her delusions of grandeur). But now she's talking about Nevada Senate again, saying that she'd like to talk to John Ensign before deciding whether or not to challenge him in the primary.

NY-Sen: As she becomes better-known to New Yorkers, Kirsten Gillibrand's numbers keep going up. Siena's newest poll finds her at 57/18 favorables, with a 52% re-elect (including even a plurality among Republicans). Liz Benjamin also notes that two Republican 2010 Gillibrand challengers - Joe DioGuardi (whom Gillibrand flatted) and David Malpass (whom DioGuardi beat in the GOP primary) - are both still considering the race. Ex-LG "Batshit Besty" McCaughey (who once ran for governor on the Liberal Party line) was also down in DC this past weekend, once again relishing her role as healthcare fabricator-in-chief at the loonier-than-thou CPAC conference - and also possibly trying to raise her profile for a potential run (something we noted a couple of weeks ago). Bring it on!

OH-Sen: Newly elected state Treasurer Josh Mandel got some buzz at some point last month, and here's some more for him: the Plain Dealer, in a longer piece wondering why the Republican field (in what could be a pickup opportunity with the right candidate) isn't taking shape at all, points to him as a possible alternative in the face of disinterest from the A-list. Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor seems to be working on building her portfolio (taking over the state Dept. of Insurance), suggesting a plate too full for a Senate bid, while Reps. Jim Jordan and Steve LaTourette are enjoying their newfound majority. Mandel seems to have the best fundraising chops of anyone beyond that initial top tier.

VA-Sen, VA-01: Here's one more Republican name to add to the list in Virginia, and it's kind of an unexpected one, in that usually low-profile guys with safe red districts in the House tend to stay where they are. The 1st's Rob Wittman is saying he's "considering" the race, along with the requisite "never say never."

WI-Gov: The AFL-CIO is already weighing into Wisconsin, even though the next gubernatorial election is three and three-quarters years away. In response to Scott Walker's ham-fisted attempt to limit collective bargaining rights for most state employees, the union is taking to the airwaves with TV spots. Obviously, the target isn't the next election but swinging public opinion against the members of the state legislature, who'll have the final say on the matter. (As a more general question, though, I've gotta wonder if we'll see much more of this type of issue advertising in off-years in the future, as we move more and more into "permanent campaign" mode and the ground needs to be seeded for the on-years.)

WV-Gov: With Saturday's filing deadline come and gone, we have an official list of all the candidates in the gubernatorial special election, and with 14 names total, it's a doozy. Not much in the way of surprises, though; the only person expected to run who, in the end, didn't seems to be Dem state Sen. Brooks McCabe. For the Democrats, it's acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, state Sen. Jeff Kessler, SoS Natalie Tennant, state Treasurer John Perdue, state House speaker Rick Thompson, and some dude Arne Moltis. For the Republicans, it's ex-SoS Betty Ireland, Putnam Co.  Prosecutor Mark Sorsaia, state Sen. Clark Barnes, state Del. Mitch Carmichael, ex-state Del. Larry Faircloth, and some dudes Bill Maloney, Cliff Ellis, and Ralph William Clark.  National Journal's Sean Sullivan makes a good observation that in fields this crowded and in a state without runoffs, ballot position (which studies have shown can add 1-3% to a candidate's vote) may actually wind up making the difference here. The positions were determined by random draw; for the Dems, Tomblin is at the top while co-frontrunner Tennant is at the bottom. For the GOP, Ireland is 7 out of 8, while Maloney is listed first.

CA-36: LA city councilor Janice Hahn keeps rolling out more endorsements in her attempt to get an early lock-down on the Dem nomination in the special election. Three big ones: two very relevant to California (new Assembly speaker John Perez, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein), one, um, not so much (Dick Gephardt).

NY-10: Gov. Andrew Cuomo just tapped Democratic Assemblyman Darryl Towns to be the state's new Homes and Community Renewal agency. Ordinarily, a special election in the remarkably-blue AD-54 would be too far in the weeds even for us, but you may recognize his name: he's the son of long-time Rep. Ed Towns. The 76-year-old Towns is routinely viewed as a candidate for retirement (and his son a likely replacement), so this move is a puzzle: is it a sign that the elder Towns isn't going anywhere (perhaps permanently fastened to his House seat by all the moss growing there), or perhaps a way for the younger Towns to burnish his credentials a bit and differentiate him a bit from his somnolent dad?

NY-26: One more name to strike off the Republican list in the 26th (not that I'd known he'd been on the list): Assemblyman Dan Burling said he wouldn't run, and threw his support behind fellow Assembly member Jane Corwin for the nomination.

Redistricting: This local news piece on redistricting in Indiana exposes the most mind-numbing and tedious part of the process, one that gets easily overlooked: the process of turning census data into precinct data, seeing as how precincts exist in their own little world apart from blocks and tracts. Even though Indiana was one of the earliest to receive their data, this data-cleaning process is expected to take several weeks before the legislature can even begin tackling the numbers. Also, Indiana is one of the states that will allow citizens to get their hands on the data to try making their own maps... but because of licensing issues of some sort, they won't be making the data available online. If you're in-state, you can drop into one of a number of stations they'll be setting up around the state where you can tinker with the data in person, though.

Site news: DavidNYC here. I'm back from my vacation and I've had the chance to read through all of the comments (every last one) in the post where I announced our impending move to Daily Kos. While many of my replies are "thank yous" for the very kind expressions of support you offered, I also did my best to answer specific questions where I could. Rest assured that this won't be the last I'll have to say on the subject before we make the changeover. I'll also take this opportunity to encourage you to create an account over at Daily Kos if you don't have one already, and to play around with the new site (DK4 just launched this past weeked). (D)

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SSP Daily Digest: 1/28

by: Crisitunity

Fri Jan 28, 2011 at 3:57 PM EST

CT-Sen: The Chris Murphy/Susan Bysiewicz primary still could turn into a chaotic battle royale, based on this week's indications. Rep. Joe Courtney is "leaning toward" the run (although that's not Courtney's own words, just another insider's interpretation), and says he'll have a decision soon. Ted Kennedy Jr. also doesn't have anything official to say, but he does seem to be stepping up his appearances around the state, including one in Bridgeport next week. One Dem we can probably rule out, though, is former state Treasurer and former Hartford deputy mayor Frank Borges, who disputed reports that he was looking into the race. Here's also one other Republican who might make the race who seems to have access to big fundraising pools, although it seems like he'd be starting in a big name rec hole against, say, Linda McMahon: state Sen. L. Scott Frantz, who represents wealthy Greenwich in the state's southwestern tip.

MI-Sen: After sounding pretty thoroughly disinterested in his few public comments about the possibility of a Michigan Senate race, ex-Rep. and 2010 gubernatorial primary loser Peter Hoekstra is now publicly expressing some interest. He says that he's "considering it" and will make a decision in a few months. There's also a poll out of the GOP primary from GOP pollster Strategic National (no word on whose behalf the poll was taken) showing Hoekstra well in the lead, which may be prompting him to get more interested: he's at 33, with Terry Lynn Land at 15 and Saul Anuzis at all of 1, with 50% still undecided.

ND-Sen: Rep. Rick Berg has been mentioned often as a potential GOP candidate for the open seat being vacated by Kent Conrad, and chatter seems to indicate the local party seems to have him at the top of the list in terms of someone to unite behind to avoid a divisive primary. Moving from the House to the Senate after only one term is still a pretty unusual move (although it may be less momentous in an at-large state). (In fact, here's a trivia question for you all, for which I don't know the answer: who was the last person to successfully jump to the Senate after only one term in the House? I can't even think of a one-termer getting his party's nomination since 1994, when Dem Sam Coppersmith ran and lost an open seat race in Arizona to Jon Kyl.) There's one other name bubbling up to add to the list of the ten-or-more Republicans already listed as possible candidates: Fargo-area state Sen. Tony Grindberg.

NE-Sen: You might remember that the mysterious GOP dark money group American Future Fund ran some radio ads in North Dakota last month and Kent Conrad was announcing his retirement within a few weeks after that? Not that there's likely a causal relationship there, but maybe they're feeling like lightning might strike twice, and now they're running a similar ad against Ben Nelson in Nebraska.

TX-Sen: San Antonio mayor Julian Castro had already given some vague statements of not intending to run for the Democratic nomination for the open Senate seat, but put a finer point on that today by announcing that he's kicking off his campaign for a second term as mayor. One Republican who has expressed some interest in the race but doesn't seem likely to run is Rep. Mike McCaul from TX-10; the likelier scenario, at least according to one expert, is that McCaul plans to run for state Attorney General in 2014, which will probably be vacated by current occupant Greg Abbott moving up to the Lt. Governor slot, presuming that David Dewhurst either becomes Senator or doesn't run again in '14.

UT-Sen: You thought that Hasselbeck vs. Cromartie Twitter fight was exciting? That's got nothing on a good social media smackdown between rival right-wing astroturfers Club for Growth and Tea Party Express. In the wake of TPX head Sal Russo's comments yesterday praising Orrin Hatch, CfG just dissed TPX, saying they seem "to like Hatch's record in support of TARP, earmarks..." Roll Call has more on the Club's plans to go aggressively after Hatch. Russo also seems like he's getting undercut by his fellow TPX leader, Amy Kremer, who says that Hatch isn't off the hook yet and will be under their microscope for the cycle.

VA-Sen: Jamie Radtke, the only person in the race so far offering a challenge from the right to presumed GOP frontrunner George Allen, let everyone know yesterday where she'd stand, putting in an appearance at the initial unveiling of the Senate Tea Party caucus (and its four members... or five if you count Pat Toomey, who was willing to speak to them but not join). Other interesting reading regarding Virginia is this profile of Jim Webb which doesn't offer many surprises but is a good overview of his ambivalence about the Senate race is pretty much in keeping with everything else about him. And buried in another boilerplate article is a pretty sharp smack at Allen from a fellow GOPer and the last person to successfully pivot from getting bounced out of the Senate to winning a later race (in 1988), Slade Gorton. Gorton says Allen, to win, will first need to apologize to voters, saying "I don't see anything from him about how he screwed up, even though he did."

LA-Gov: See you later, Al Ater. After some semi-encouraging statements about a possible candidacy, the Democratic former Secretary of State now says he won't run for Governor this year. That still leaves the Dems without any sort of candidate to go against Bobby Jindal, with the clock definitely starting to tick louder.

WV-Gov: Don't get too comfortable with the idea of a primary to pick the gubernatorial candidates in West Virginia (tentatively set for June 20); the legislature still has to enact that and there are some grumblings that it might not happen because of the expense involved, which would mean party conventions instead. That could give a boost to one of the less-known Democratic candidates who have stronger relations to organized labor, like House speaker Rick Thompson or treasurer John Perdue. The article also mentions a few other Republicans whose names are emerging in the race, most notably Putnam Co. Prosecutor Mark Sorasia (who'll be participating in an upcoming candidate forum), also mentioning former state Sen. Steve Harrison and state Del. Troy Andes.

CT-05: The dance cards in the 5th district are definitely filling up. On the Democratic side, Audrey Blondin is saying that she'll run; she's a former Selectwoman from Litchfield, a member of the state party committee, and briefly ran for SoS in 2005. Also considering the Democratic primary is J. Paul Vance, the former leader of the Waterbury board of aldermen and a narrow loser to Michael Jarjura in the 2009 Dem mayoral primary. On the Republican side, Mike Clark is in; he's Farmington town council chair but he's best known for leading the FBI team that took down corrupt Gov. John Rowland, and was on Tom Foley's LG short-list. Several other possible names on the Republican field that are mentioned include state Sen. Kevin Witkos, Torrington mayor Ryan Bingham, and one possible heavyweight in the field (and the guy who actually was Foley's running mate), Danbury mayor Mark Boughton.

FL-25: Freshman Rep. David Rivera seems to be in a world of trouble, with an entirely new angle on his corruption arising courtesy of an AP investigation: he paid himself nearly $60K in "unexplained" campaign reimbursements during his eight years in the state legislature. Between that and the already mounting investigation by Florida authorities and the FEC into potential payoffs from a dog track, there's apparently growing discontent with him behind the scenes in Republican leadership, who may be feeling pressure to make an example out of him as part of their "drain the swamp" promises (although Ethics Committee rules prevent them from using that vehicle, since they can't take up matters that are already under criminal investigation). Rumors persist that both parties are already sounding out candidates for a potential special election. He isn't getting much public support from John Boehner, whose only on-the-record comments are that he's taking a wait-and-see attitude on how things unfold.

WI-01: Is this just a bit of monkeying around with Paul Ryan now that he's temporarily a celebrity, or are Dems seriously thinking about making a target out of him now that he's more notorious? (He's in what's currently an R+2 district, certainly within reach in a Dem-friendly year with a good candidate, and leads veteran House Republicans in terms of ideological out-of-whackness with his district lean... though that may have changed with the newest crop of teabaggers) At any rate, mailers are being sent out to voters in his district, having a bit of sport with his Medicare-voucherization proposals.

Chicago mayor: We Ask America is out with another poll of the Chicago mayoral race (taken during the brief period when it looked like Rahm Emanuel might have been off the ballot). It looks like, as speculated, the whole debacle may have actually increased sympathy for Emanuel (with 72% of respondents saying his name should stay on the ballot), as this is the first poll to show him over the magic 50% mark that would help him avoid a runoff. He's at 52, with Gerry Chico at 14, Carol Mosely Braun at 11, and Miguel del Valle at 4. It also provides support for the theory that Chico, not Mosely Braun, would have been the chief beneficiary if Emanuel had gotten kicked off, as Chico led a Rahm-free option at 33, with Mosely Braun at 17 and del Valle at 7 (with 38 undecided).

Nassau Co. Exec: This may pretty much spell doom for any future political efforts by Republican Nassau Co. Exec Ed Mangano, who was elected in a narrow upset over Tom Suozzi in 2009. Mangano has, since then, closely stuck to the teabagger/underpants gnome playbook of governance (step 1: cut taxes; step 2: ???; step 3: profit!), and lo and behold, found his county government insolvent. The state government has been forced to step in and seize control of the finance in the county on Long Island, one of the nation's wealthiest.

Redistricting: I can't see this going anywhere legislatively even if Dems still held the majority (and I'm not sure it would pass constitutional muster anyway), but Heath Shuler and Jim Cooper are introducing legislation in the House that would switch every state away from partisan redistricting to requiring use of a five-person bipartisan commission. (They're picking up the flag from fellow Blue Dog John Tanner, for whom this was a personal hobby horse for many years until he recently left the House, but they may also have some personal stake in wanting this to succeed, seeing as how they suddenly find themselves in states where the Republicans now control the trifecta.) Also, the public rumblings of worry from prominent Republicans about how the GOP isn't financially or mentally prepared for this round of redistricting (something that seems dramatically out of character for them) seem to keep coming, this time from Ed Gillespie.

Voting: Montana seems to be taking a cue from its nearby neighbors Oregon and Washington, and moving toward a vote-by-mail system. The measure cleared the House and will soon move to the state Senate. Despite the fact that the GOP controls that chamber and this was a Democratic bill, there was enough Republican support to move it forward. (Studies have shown that vote-by-mail tends to noticeably increase participation by traditionally-Democratic constituencies that ordinarily aren't very likely voters.)

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SSP Daily Digest: 12/16

by: Crisitunity

Thu Dec 16, 2010 at 2:41 PM EST

CA-Sen: Despite getting only a small vote share in the GOP Senate primary this year (as conservatives decided to go with the slightly-more-electable Carly Fiorina), Chuck DeVore is talking Senate again, for 2012, when Dianne Feinstein will presumably run for re-election. Or is he? All he's saying is that he's likely to run in 2012, but hasn't decided what office. Senate is the only thing that's available, though, which makes his statement seem kind of strange (unless he's talking about trying to rejoin the state Assembly). If Barbara Boxer could still win by 10 points in a terrible year, the more-popular Feinstein in a presidential year is an even more daunting target, meaning that DeVore may be the only prominent GOPer crazy enough to take on the task.

MA-Sen: Nobody really has any idea whether or not Vicki Kennedy plans to run for Senate -- she'd probably have a massive field-clearing effect in the Dem primary if she did -- but Joan Vennochi is seeing some signs of the groundwork for a run, looking at Kennedy's stepped-up routine of public appearances around the state.

OH-Sen: Rep. Jim Jordan had probably been the GOPer most associated with a potential run against Sherrod Brown this cycle, but now he's publicly saying that he's "leaning heavily against" the run. He has a plum job coming up as head of the right-wing caucus (the Republican Study Committee), which is often a leadership springboard, and given his ultra-safe district, that may be a more appealing track than rolling the dice on a Senate run. Auditor and soon-to-be Lt. Governor Mary Taylor (who you may recall got a few weeks of Senate speculation in 2009 when conservatives were casting about for someone more charismatic and less wonky than Rob Portman) may be next in line.

PPP is out with its primary numbers for the GOP side, too, and they find that Jordan was actually in first place among those few people who actually know him. It's one of those everybody-but-the-kitchen-sink fields where the guy with the name rec winds up winning out: Incoming AG and ex-Sen. Mike DeWine (who's quite unlikely to run, given his new job) leads at 27, with ex-SoS Ken Blackwell at 17, new SoS Jon Husted at 11, Jordan at 10, Taylor at 7, Rep. Steve LaTourette at 6, new Treasurer Josh Mandel at 5, and state Sen. Kevin Coughlin at 2.

PA-Sen: Quinnipiac's new poll of the Pennsylvania Senate turned out to not be that revealing, seeing as how they only testing Bob Casey Jr. against Generic R. (Although they can be forgiven, given the paucity of GOP candidates willing to reveal themselves yet.) At any rate, Casey is in good shape, although the percentage of people with no opinion seems strangely high, maybe reflective of his low-key nature. He beats Generic R 43-35, and has an approval of 39/29 (55/16 among Dems, 28/42 among GOPers, and 36/30 among indies).

House: Politico has another list of possible rematches among the ranks of defeated Dems. Some of these you're probably already familiar with (Frank Kratovil, Glenn Nye, Phil Hare, and Alan Mollohan(?!?)), but other names now weighing another bid include Dina Titus, Steve Driehaus, Carol Shea-Porter, and Bobby Bright. Mark Schauer says he's waiting to see what the GOP-held Michigan legislature does to his district, and Ron Klein is waiting to see how his district responds to Allen West.

NY-St. Sen.: Craig Johnson lost his case concerning the result in SD-7 (in which the balance of the state Senate hangs) at the Appellate Division level, who found there wasn't a basis for a full hand recount. Johnson is still planning to appeal to the Court of Appeals. (In New York, for some screwed-up reason, the Supreme Court is the court of general jurisdiction and the Court of Appeals is the highest appellate court. Also, hamburgers eat people.)

Switchers: Courtesy of the Fix's Aaron Blake, here's a list from GOPAC of all the state legislators who've switched parties in the last month, if you're having trouble keeping track. There's a list of 20, although almost all come from three states (Alabama, Georgia, and Louisiana). Also an interesting note: we've actually found someone who just switched from the GOP to the Democrats, although you have to go even further into the weeds: Luzerne County (in Pennsylvania) Commissioner Steve Urban. Before you get too excited, though, the move seems to be mostly driven out of personal pique stemming from Urban's recent loss in a state Senate race.

California: It looks like California's switch to a Washington-style "top two" primary is a done deal. It survived a court challenge, with the state Supreme Court refusing to block a challenge to two of its provisions. (One of the provisions is one way in which it'll differ from Washington: in California, party affiliation can be listed only if one belongs to a party that's officially recognized by the state, while in Washington, you can list yourself as belonging to whatever crazy made-up party you want.)

CfG: The Club for Growth is issuing one of its litmus test warnings, saying that primaries will result for GOPers who defy its will... and it's over one of the less controversial things on the current docket: the omnibus spending bill (which contains... gasp!... earmarks.)

Votes: The House, as you're probably well aware, easily passed repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell yesterday (although its Senate future is hazy; ask again later). The 15 Dem "no" votes are mostly Blue Dogs in socially conservative districts (with nine of them not coming back, either via loss or retirement), with one key exception: Artur Davis, still seeming completely intent on maxing out on his frequent douchebag miles before leaving. The 15 GOP "yes" votes are more interesting, a mix of departing moderates (Castle, Djou, Cao, Ehlers), remaining moderates in well-educated (and presumably low homophobia) districts (Biggert, Reichert, Dent, Platts), GOPers with substantially gay constituencies (Bono Mack, Ros-Lehtinen, Diaz-Balart... and we can double-count Cao), die-hard libertarians (Paul, Flake, Campbell), and in his own category, David Dreier.

WATN?: Dede Scozzafava, perhaps as a reward for, in her own round-about way, giving us the gift of Bill Owens in NY-23, is in talks to get a job in the incoming Cuomo administration. The exact position hasn't been defined, but will be something about "streamlining" government.

Demographics: Here's an interesting piece in the Democratic Strategist that does some demographic slice-and-dice of the House seats where Dems lost. Some of it isn't a surprise (losses occurred where race and education overlap, as the white working class particularly turned right), but it adds an important variable to the mix that nobody else seems to have noticed: manufacturing. There's a definite correlation between losses and how reliant the district is on a manufacturing economy.

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SSP Daily Digest: 12/2

by: Crisitunity

Thu Dec 02, 2010 at 6:23 PM EST

AK-Sen: You might recall that yesterday the state of Alaska asked to intervene in Joe Miller's state-court case disputing the Senatorial election, demanding an expedited result. Now the judge is allowing Lisa Murkowski herself to intervene in the case as well; she says the state wouldn't adequately represent her interests, and she's still trying to get an additional 2,000 ballots out there (that weren't counted for her) counted for her as icing on the cake.

FL-Sen: He isn't even in the House yet, but there's growing buzz for Daniel Webster for the 2012 Senate race, as a possible opponent to Bill Nelson. Of course, as far as I can tell from today's article, that buzz seems to be coming from Webster's own coterie, but it's not the first time I've heard his name associated with the race. (Reading between the lines, it looks like Rep. Vern Buchanan -- whose myriad lawsuits regarding campaign finance chicanery and his car dealership seem to have faded into the background -- is another name to keep an eye on here.)

MO-Sen: Sarah Steelman already has one key backer, in the event the quest for the GOP nomination in Missouri turns into a heated primary. The Club for Growth is already lining up behind Steelman, not formally endorsing but sending around a press release touting her and also taking some swipes at Jim Talent for his earmark-lovin' ways.

NM-Sen: More Some Dude news in New Mexico, where another random guy who lost a NM-02 primary is getting in the GOP Senate field: Greg Sowards (who lost the 2008 primary to succeed Steve Pearce). Further up the food chain, ex-Rep. Heather Wilson seems to be on GOPers' wish list, but she says she isn't focused on that. (I can't see her running unless Jeff Bingaman decides to retire, and since he has fundraisers planned in coming months, he doesn't seem to be acting like a retiree.)

NV-Sen: The big news yesterday was that John Ensign is no longer considered a target for investigation by the DOJ, in connection to that whole ooops-sorry-I-boned-your-wife-here-have-a-lobbying-job thing. He still faces internal Senate Ethics grilling, which could lead to discipline or even expulsion. How are we supposed to feel about this? A bad day for objective justice, perhaps... but probably a net plus for the Democrats, seeing as how this makes it likelier that Ensign runs again and survives a GOP primary (which a recent PPP poll, before this news, already showed him in position to do so) and enters the general election in weakened form. The local GOP seems to be reading this the same way, still feeling very leery about an Ensign run and very much preferring to see Rep. Dean Heller as their 2012 candidate.

VA-Sen: With Prince William Supervisor Corey Stewart already firing some potshots across George Allen's bow in advance of 2012's GOP Senate primary, now it seems like Allen's camp is returning fire with some heavier-gauge guns. Stewart has to run for re-election to his current job in 2011, and Allen's camp is supposedly vowing to encourage backers to pour in financial support to Stewart's opposition in that race (whoever that might be), in order to decapitate a Stewart run before it can materialize.

MN-Gov: This is taking damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don't to a new level: Tom Emmer's team's wave of frivolous (and when I say frivolous, I'm not being hyperbolic, as you can see here) ballot challenges in the Minnesota recount has mounted so high that officials have had to add more counting tables... and now Emmer is threatening to sue over the fact that they've added more counting tables, saying that that somehow indicates bias against Emmer. The SoS says that adding more tables can't possibly violate any rules. At any rate, moving on to Day 4 of counting, the official tally now finds that the numbers have still barely budged: Mark Dayton has gained 17 votes since Election Day while Emmer has gained 14, with 84% of the vote recounted, meaning there's really no path to victory here for Emmer.

VT-Gov: We mentioned yesterday that Peter Shumlin brought his GOP opponent, Brian Dubie, into his inner circle, and now he's doing the Team of Rivals thing with his closest competitor from the Dem primary. Ex-Lt. Gov. Doug Racine, who Shumlin beat by 100-or-so votes, is being brought on board as Shumlin's head of the Agency of Human Services, where his key task will be starting up the state's planned single-payer health care system.

WV-Gov: Democratic SoS Natalie Tennant is making even more candidate-ish noises, saying she's "strongly considering" a gubernatorial run, especially if it occurs in 2011, which would mean not having to give up her current job. Not only are acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and state House speaker Richard Thompson expected to run for the Dems, but state Sen. Jeff Kessler and state Treasurer John Perdue are also interested.

MA-01, MA-02: The news from the Bay State is that veteran Democratic Reps. John Olver and Richard Neal are both publicly saying that they're running for re-election. In any other year, that would be purely yawn-inducing, but this year, that's fascinating, as it potentially sets them up on a collision course. My expectation was the Massachusetts redistricting conundrum would probably be solved by a retirement from the 74-year-old Olver, and parceling out pieces of the 1st into Neal's 2nd and Jim McGovern's 3rd. With Olver and Neal both sticking around, the subtraction is likelier come from the Boston area, where it seems likely that at least one Rep. will vacate in order to take on Scott Brown in 2012 (which would make sense since not only is Mike Capuano sounding the likeliest, but his Cambridge-based 8th is the state's most depopulated district)... but if none of them take the plunge, the lost seat may come the state's west. Complicating matters even further is that Pittsfield-based ex-state Sen. Andrea Nuciforo has already announced that he's running in the MA-01 primary in 2012, Olver or not. (Would she he run in a primary against both Amherst-based Olver and Springfield-based Neal if they all get smooshed together?)

NY-01: As we mentioned yesterday, Tim Bishop's team is urging Randy Altschuler to "give in to the math." Yesterday's gain from the first day of counting challenged ballots was a net gain of 27 more for Bishop.  

Redistricting: Here's one more comprehensive redistricting resource to add to your pile, if you haven't already seen it. The Brennan Center's guide includes a rundown on who controls what and what procedures are used state-to-state.

New York: This is a staggeringly large number, that somehow seems disproportionate to the rather blasé NYT headline: "New York City Board of Elections Finds 200,000 Votes a Month After Election." It's a mishmash of affidavit, absentee, and military ballots that apparently were just now added to the totals. 80,000 of those ballots were from Queens alone, which is 31% more than that borough reported on Election Day. While there were some close races in Queens, the city says that this wasn't enough to reverse the results in any election (and the one race that could have been worrisome, SD-11, actually saw a gain for Tony Avella, who beat GOP incumbent Frank Padavan, from 53-47 to 54.3-45.7).

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SSP Daily Digest: 10/7 (Afternoon Edition)

by: Crisitunity

Thu Oct 07, 2010 at 3:35 PM EDT

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.)

NH-Sen, NH-Gov: American Research Group (10/3-5, likely voters, 9/9-14 in parens):

Paul Hodes (D): 42 (32)
Kelly Ayotte (R): 47 (46)
Undecided: 7 (20)

John Lynch (D-inc): 51 (42)
John Stephen (R): 41 (40)
Undecided: 6 (14)
(MoE: ±4%)

Wow! Wild fluctuation in an ARG poll! I'm sure that's never happened before! Well, at any rate, if all undecideds are rapidly breaking toward the Dems, I guess we can call that good news.

PA-Sen, PA-Gov: Muhlenberg for Allentown Morning Call (9/28-10/4, likely voters, 9/18-23 in parens):

Joe Sestak (D): 38 (39)
Pat Toomey (R): 45 (46)

Dan Onorato (D): 36 (37)
Tom Corbett (R): 47 (46)
(MoE: ±4%)

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.

NY-Gov: Quinnipiac (10/1-5, likely voters, 9/16-20 in parens):

Andrew Cuomo (D): 55 (49)
Carl Paladino (R): 37 (43)
Undecided: 6 (7)
(MoE: ±2.9%)

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
Undecided: 6
(MoE: ±4.5%)

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
Undecided: 7
(MoE: ±4.9%)

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):

Bryan Lentz (D): 45
Pat Meehan (R): 49
Undecided: 7
(MoE: ±3.8%)

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

Rasmussen:
NV-Sen: Harry Reid (D-inc) 46%, Sharron Angle (R) 50%

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SSP Daily Digest: 9/17

by: Crisitunity

Fri Sep 17, 2010 at 3:29 PM EDT

AK-Sen: All signs are now pointing toward a Lisa Murkowski write-in bid, although nothing is official yet. But she's inviting supporters to a "campaign kickoff" tonight, which are certainly not the words of someone ready to go gently into that good night. She seems undeterred by the fact that the Tea Party Express already fired a shot across her bow yesterday, warning her to be a "good team member" and saying they'll resume spending money against her if she does. Meanwhile, hilarious and slightly damning news on the Joe Miller front, as it turns out that he, like so many other teabagger candidates this year, was a recipient of $14K in farm subsidies over the decade for a thousand acres of land he owned near Fairbanks. Y'know, subsidies from the federal government that he hates so much, in order to pay for the otherwise-unprofitable way of life that he chose. (Can you even grow anything near Fairbanks? That may be the most surprising part of the story to me.)

DE-Sen: Christine O'Donnell and Chris Coons faced off in their first appearance together, and O'Donnell seemed to be doing a lot of rhetorical distancing from the O'Donnell that had existed up until Tuesday. Meanwhile, O'Donnell is now facing the wrath of multiple ex-aides, all willing to dish to Politico on the trainwrecks that were previous O'Donnell campaigns.

IL-Sen: Illinois-based Republican-linked robo-pollster We Ask America is out with their second poll of the IL-Sen race, giving Mark Kirk a 39-36 link over Alexi Giannoulias. That's better than their previous offering, which gave Kirk a 6-point edge.

WI-Sen: Russ Feingold's "Cheddarbomb" sounds like it was very successful, bringing in at least $435K in one day's worth of contributions.

AR-Gov: With yesterday's PPP NH-Gov poll, I think it's now safe to say that Mike Beebe is officially the nation's safest Democratic incumbent governor this year. The gubernatorial half of yesterday's Mason-Dixon poll on behalf of Arkansas News Service is out, and Beebe leads Republican challenger Jim Keet by 21 points, 54-33. (One other very important detail: currently, Beebe has $2.5 million CoH, while Keet has $9,000.) Given the state's turn to the red this cycle, Dems should be glad that they aren't defending an open seat here, though, as in the open Lt. Governor race, Dem state Sen. Shane Broadway is barely leading Some Dude (Mark Darr) 36-34.

CA-Gov: Well, my cynicism has been eased a bit, I guess: Bill Clinton will be giving Jerry Brown the full endorsee treatment and not just throwing him a bone, including stumping on his behalf (and Gavin Newsom's behalf too) in mid-October.

HI-Gov: It feels like the primary season wrapped up on Tuesday, but there's one last race that needs to be previewed: the Democratic gubernatorial primary in Hawaii, which will be settled in their regularly scheduled election tomorrow. The race pits ex-Rep. Neil Abercrombie against former Honolulu mayor Mufi Hannemann in what's literally a clash of titans (the 72-year-old Abercrombie can bench-press 272 lbs., while former basketball player Hannemann is 6'7"). Hannemann seems to running a bit to Abercrombie's right, at least on social issues, and Abercrombie seems to have the late momentum based on polling and fundraising. The linked WaPo article points to some intriguing behind the scenes drama (with Dan Inouye behind Hannemann and Ed Case behind Abercrombie) and the racial resentments stirred by the race (Abercrombie is white, Hannemann is Samoan).

NM-Gov: The DGA is keeping the pressure on in New Mexico, hitting Susana Martinez again on staff bonuses and sweetheart deals. Bill Clinton, who's increasingly turning out to be the #1 Dem surrogate on the stump this cycle, is also now scheduled to stump on Diane Denish's behalf on Oct. 14 in the heavily-Latino northern town of Espanola.

NY-Gov: This may be the dumbest idea in the history of political advertising: send intentionally bad-smelling mailers to people's houses. Carl Paladino is trying to make the point that "something smells" in Albany, but there has to be a smarter way to do it than invading people's houses to intentionally physically sicken them.

CO-04: Hot on the heels of the NRA backing John Salazar next door in the 3rd, now they're also endorsing Democratic freshman Betsy Markey in the similarly rural, reddish 4th.

MI-09: There's a poll out in the 9th from a previously unknown (to us) pollster (The Rossman Group/Team Telcom) giving Rocky Raczkowski a small lead over Dem freshman Gary Peters, 45-41. Thanks to Paleo in the comments, we know that the Rossman Group is a PR firm associated with state-level GOP operative Audrey Perricone, so salt this one as you see fit.

NY-23: All that hoping paid off, and now the cat is now officially in the dryer! A replay of the special election is on, as Doug Hoffman, who narrowly lost the GOP primary to Matt Doheny, is saying that he is going to stick with the Conservative Line no matter what. (More accurately, Conservative party chair Michael Long, who's basically been Hoffman's puppetmaster for the last year, is the one saying that.)

TN-04: Sure, we've all been accused of harassment, intimidation, and physical abuse, but... oh, wait. We haven't? Well, Republican candidate Scott DesJarlais was accused by his ex-wife of all of that, in divorce filings from a decade ago. It's unclear how much this'll affect the direction of the race, though; buried deep in the Roll Call article is word of a late August internal poll on Lincoln Davis's behalf (released in response to a DesJarlais internal showing him within 4 of Davis), giving Davis a 51-40 lead. (No word on who Davis's pollster is.)

Mayors: Primary-defeated Dem incumbent Adrian Fenty somehow won the Republican mayoral primary. There wasn't a candidate, and Fenty got more write-in votes than anyone else. It didn't sound like Fenty was interested in turning coats and running again under the GOP aegis, and now the DC BoE is arguing that he couldn't anyway, as he would have had to be a member of the Republican Party as of the election date.

IE Tracker:
MO-Sen: $124K from Commonsense Ten against Roy Blunt
WV-01: $439K from American Future Fund against Mike Oliverio
NC-02, VA-09: $341K from Americans for Job Security against Bob Etheridge, $431K against Rick Boucher
AL-02: $414K from AFF against Bobby Bright
SC-05: $191K from AFF against John Spratt
NJ-03: $170K from AFF against John Adler
MI-01: $304K from AFF against Gary McDowell
GA-08: $346K from AFF against Jim Marshall
MI-07: $501K from AFF against Mark Schauer

SSP TV:
PA-Sen: The DSCC rides to Joe Sestak's rescue with an ad tying Pat Toomey to George Bush's deficit-swelling tax policies, while the Club for Growth tries to walk a delicate balance, thanking Sestak for his military service before laying into his voting record
AZ-Gov: Terry Goddard's out with not one but three different ads using footage of Jan Brewer's tongue-tied performance at last month's debate, one of which focuses on her unproven allegations about headless bodies in the desert (and ending with the tagline "Is this the best Arizona can do?")
KS-Gov: The Kansas Moderate Majority PAC runs an anti-Sam Brownback ad hitting him on the flat tax, while Brownback is out with two ads of his own
MI-Gov: Virg Bernero's on the air, hitting Rick Sndyer for outsourcing jobs while he was head of Gateway
ID-01: Walt Minnick actually hits Raul Labrador for being too soft on illegal immigrants, saying it's "good business" for Labrador's immigration law practice
MI-01: 2 ads from Gary McDowell, one about cleaning up the Great Lakes and one hitting Dan Benishek on Social Security privatization
TX-17: Chet Edwards is doing the distancing-from-DC-Democrats game in his newest ad
WA-08: Suzan DelBene's first TV ad starts negative against Dave Reichert, hitting him on his financial reform vote and on earmarks, of all things

Rasmussen:
IN-Sen: Brad Ellsworth (D) 34%, Dan Coats (R) 50%
MA-Gov: Deval Patrick (D-inc) 45%, Charlie Baker (R) 42%, Tim Cahill (I) 5%
WI-Sen: Russ Feingold (D-inc) 44%, Ron Johnson (R) 51%

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SSP Daily Digest: 9/16

by: Crisitunity

Thu Sep 16, 2010 at 3:57 PM EDT

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)

Rasmussen:
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%

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SSP Daily Digest: 8/27 (Evening Edition)

by: Crisitunity

Fri Aug 27, 2010 at 8:19 PM EDT

FL-Sen: Well, so much for the secret ballot. The Palm Beach Post deduced that Jeff Greene voted for himself... inasmuch as his vote was the only vote for himself in his entire precinct. It was a 2-to-1 vote (literally... Kendrick Meek got 2). Even his wife didn't vote for him, although that's because she isn't registered to vote in the county. (Marco Rubio got 26 votes in the same precinct.) Meanwhile, Charlie Crist seems to have lost some of his footing after a convincing Meek victory in the Dem primary; he flip-flopped on health care reform in the space of one day, saying in a TV interview that he would have voted for health care reform, then, after the Rubio camp started flagging that, saying later in the day that he actually wouldn't have voted for it. I get that he wants to appeal to both Dems and moderate GOPers, but he has to be less transparent than that.

IL-Sen: Bad news for Alexi Giannoulias: the Constitution Party slate just got struck from the ballot, so Randy Stufflebeam won't be there to siphon right-wing votes from Mark Kirk. Libertarian candidate Mark Labno will be on the ballot, though, as a Kirk alternative (as will Green LeAlan Jones).

IN-Sen: This is sort of pushing the outer limit of when it's a good idea to release an internal, but it looks like the Brad Ellsworth camp needed to let people know that he's still in this race. His own poll, via Garin Hart Yang, finds him trailing Dan Coats 49-38. The race is closer among those who actually know Ellsworth, but his six-week-long ad buy is about to end, so his name rec problems may persist.

KY-Sen: Jack Conway is joining Elaine Marshall on the Alan Simpson-pile-on, seconding calls for the firing of Simpson from the Social Security commission in the wake of his "milk cow" comments. Meanwhile, Rand Paul has apparently brushed up on his elementary math skills recently, as he's now backtracking on previous pledges to erase the nation's federal budget deficit in one year.

MO-Sen, MO-04: Although this poll from Missouri State University (on behalf of TV station KY3) looks good for Robin Carnahan, it's got some methodological issues that we just aren't comfortable with. It was taken over the period of Aug. 7-22, is of registered (not likely) voters, and it also wound up with a sample that was 63% female, although they say they weighted for various demographic factors. At any rate, it shows the race a dead heat, with Roy Blunt leading Robin Carnahan 49-48. It also took looks at three House races in the Show Me State, although with MoEs in the 7% ballpark. In the 4th, Ike Skelton has a 47-35 lead over Vicki Hartzler. Two GOP-held seats look to be pretty uneventful: in the open 7th, Billy Long leads Scott Eckersley 51-23, and in the 8th, Jo Ann Emerson leads fundraising maven Tommy Sowers 64-17.

WI-Sen: Seems like it was just this morning we were discussing the second instance of Ron Johnson's flagrant hypocrisy when it comes to railing against government involvement in the market, except when it comes to government aid for his own business... and now we're up to a third instance before the day's even out. On Wednesday it came out that in 1985 he'd gotten $2.5 million in government loans to expand his plastics business, and now it's come out that in 1983, two years earlier, he'd gotten a separate $1.5 million loan for a $4 mil total.

NM-Gov: The DGA is out with a new ad against Susana Martinez in the gubernatorial race, hitting her for $350K in bonuses handed out in her prosecutor's office. NWOTSOTB, but we're told it's a statewide saturation buy.

VT-Gov: The final count from the SoS office in the Dem gubernatorial primary seemed to get finished ahead of schedule, as numbers today gave Peter Shumlin a 197-vote win over Doug Racine. Racine said that he would go ahead and request a recount; state law provides for a taxpayer-funded recount for a candidate trailing by less than 2% (seems like a pretty generous recount policy compared with most states). In keeping with the primary's very civil tone, both candidates continued to praise each other and say they understood the recount choices.

CO-07: Republican pollster Magellan (which put out an internal for Scott Tipton in CO-03 last week) is out with a poll in the 7th as well now, although this appears to be on their own, not as an internal for Ryan Frazier. At any rate, their poll gives a 40-39 lead to Republican Frazier, over incumbent Dem Ed Perlmutter. (10% opt for "some other candidate.")

MS-04: Thanks to Haley Barbour, the previously low-dollar campaign of state Rep. Steven Palazzo just kicked into higher gear (or into gear, period). Barbour held a fundraiser for Palazzo that raised $177K, which will help his uphill campaign against Democratic Rep. Gene Taylor.

SC-05: Another POS poll in the 5th on behalf of GOP state Sen. Mick Mulvaney has him making up ground on Rep. John Spratt; the two are now tied at 46-46. Spratt led by 2 in a previous POS poll in May. Spratt retorted to CQ that in his own polling he was ahead with "breathing room," but declined to provide specific numbers.

Ads: Other ads for your consideration today include not one but two new ads from Roy Barnes, going negative against Nathan Deal (on the ethics issue, but also general Washington-bashing). In OH-Gov, Ted Strickland is also out with a double-shot of ads, hitting John Kasich for his free-trading past. Chet Edwards is out with an anti-Bill Flores ad in TX-17 accusing Flores of lying about having voted for GOPer Rob Curnock in 2008 (he didn't vote at all that day), while the Club for Growth is out with a PA-Sen ad that calls Joe Sestak "liberal" several hundred times in the space of 30 seconds.

Rasmussen:
AZ-Sen: Rodney Glassman (D) 31%, John McCain (R-inc) 53%
FL-Gov: Alex Sink (D) 36%, Rick Scott (R) 41%, Bud Chiles (I) 8%
NM-Gov: Diane Denish (D) 43%, Susana Martinez (R) 48%
SC-Gov: Vincent Sheheen (D) 36%, Nikki Haley (R) 52%
WI-Gov: Tom Barrett (D) 44%, Scott Walker (R) 47%
WI-Gov: Tom Barrett (D) 44%, Mark Neumann (R) 48%

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SSP Daily Digest: 5/26 (Afternoon Edition)

by: Crisitunity

Wed May 26, 2010 at 3:21 PM EDT

Idaho: The numbers from Idaho's primary election last night that everyone is focused on is state Rep. Raul Labrador's somewhat surprising victory over Vaughn Ward in ID-01, by a 48-39 margin. This means that the NRCC-preferred, Sarah Palin-endorsed candidate lost... although given the way Ward's wheels fell off over the last few weeks, Republicans may be breathing a sigh of relief. Not that Labrador may turn out that well either, as he's poorly-funded and apparently not a favorite of the local establishment (as he's tight with ex-Rep. Bill Sali). Democratic freshman Rep. Walt Minnick may actually be feeling... dare I say it... confident going into November?

ID-02 had some eyebrow-raising numbers too, consistent with mediocre primary performances from establishment incumbents on both sides of the aisle in previous months; Rep. Mike Simpson -- not exactly a moderate, but certainly not the flamethrower you'd expect in such a dark-red district - had an unexpectedly rough time in the GOP primary, winning against Chick Heileson only 58-24. And incumbent GOP governor Butch Otter, who'd looked dominant in polling, got a teabagging of his own, scoring only 55% while rancher Rex Rammell (the only guy around with a name even manlier than "Butch Otter") got 25%, as apparently there was a lot of resentment on the right over Otter's failed attempt to raise the state gas tax. Dem nominee Keith Allred has a fundraising lead over Otter and good bipartisan credentials as former head of group Common Interest; combined with Otter's underperformance in the primary, that leaves us thinking Allred might have a legitimate shot here.

CA-Sen: Anti-abortion group the Susan B. Anthony List (whom you might remember from their involvement in the WV-01 Dem primary) is getting involved in California, in support of Carly Fiorina. They're spending $215K in IEs, as Fiorina opposes the pro-choice Tom Campbell in the GOP primary.

IN-Sen: The spotlight is starting to turn back toward Dan Coats' lobbying past, with state Democrats demanding that Coats disclose a full list of his lobbying clients. Coats (who worked for law firm King & Spaulding as a lobbyist) is citing attorney-client privilege as a reason for keeping mum, although recent court cases have made clear that the privilege doesn't extend to lobbying activities.

KY-Sen: No matter how pure you try to be, someone's always going to be more pure than you: dissatisfied with Rand Paul's sops to Republican orthodoxy, the Libertarian Party is saying that they're planning to run a candidate against him in November. They're accusing Paul of having deviated from the Libertarian line on social issues and foreign policy. Meanwhile, the Paul camp's emergency retooling continues apace; he's hired Jesse Benton as his new campaign manager (to replace David Adams, who was the behind-the-scenes equivalent of Some Dude). Benton's not a GOP establishment figure, though; he was the communications director for the 2008 Ron Paul presidential campaign.

NV-Sen: The feathers are flying in the Nevada GOP primary, where the Club for Growth is taking aim at the very large target on Sue Lowden's back, hitting her for voting to raise taxes while in the state Senate and her previous support for Harry Reid. The CfG, of course, endorsed opponent Sharron Angle last week.

CA-Gov: MoveOn co-founder Peter Schurman apparently got tired of polling at 1% in the Democratic primary, and ended his recently-launched bid against Jerry Brown. Seeming satisfied that Brown has been stepping up his game lately, he threw his backing to Brown.

FL-Gov: It's looking like insiders are realizing that Bill McCollum screwed up by letting wealthy health care magnate Rick Scott run rampant on their airwaves for the last month, letting him get a major foothold in the GOP primary. Now rumors suggest that an unnamed independent group is about to start a major advertising blitz on McCollum's behalf, to try and level the playing field.

NV-Gov:  The most recent batch of polls have shown incumbent GOP governor Jim Gibbons down but not out in the Republican primary. But with the primary only a few weeks away, this new poll from the RGA by POS looks like Gibbons is in too deep a hole to dig out of: Brian Sandoval is at 50, with Gibbons at 27 and Mike Montandon at 11.

NY-Gov: It's convention time in New York, and now that Andrew Cuomo isn't playing coy any more, his first order of business is picking a running mate. He's chosen Rochester mayor Robert Duffy for the position. Duffy will still need to win his own primary, though, before getting joined to the ticket (a la Scott Lee Cohen in Illinois). Cuomo also got welcome news from the Independence Party: he'll be getting that centrist third party's line on the ballot in November. (The IP backed Eliot Spitzer last time, but rich weirdo Tom Golisano three times before that.)

OH-01: In the War of the Steves, Republican ex-Rep. Steve Chabot is out with a poll giving himself a substantial lead over freshman Democratic Rep. Steve Driehaus. The poll by POS gives Chabot a 53-39 lead. That's actually a smaller Chabot lead than that notorious Firedoglake poll from January, but regardless, Driehaus is going to need huge African-American turnout in Cincinnati if he's going to pull this out.

OH-16: If that wasn't enough, there's also a Republican poll of the 16th giving a significant lead to Jim Renacci, who has a 47-35 lead over fellow Democratic freshman Rep. John Boccieri. The press release touts this as an independent poll, but it was conducted by Republican pollster Fabrizio, McClaughlin, & Associates, and it was paid for by the innocuous-sounding U.S. Citizens Association who, if you go to their website, have a major ax to grind over health care reform (for which Boccieri was a 'no' to 'yes' vote).

TN-06: Illegal immigration isn't the kind of issue you'd expect to take center stage in rural Tennessee, but in the race to succeed retiring Bart Gordon, the two main GOP contestants are trying to outflank each other to the right on the issue. State Sen. Jim Tracy is accusing state Sen. Diane Black of trying to water down legislation requiring local authorities to report the arrest of illegal immigrants to ICE.

Polltopia: Jonathan Chait joins the chorus of Rasmussen doubters, pointing nicely to Rasmussen's role in the cycle of right-wing epistemic closure. Nate Silver also an interesting tidbit that promises to be part of a forthcoming larger revamping of his pollster ratings, one that seems likely not to see Rasmussen in as positive a light as his previous ratings: he finds that while Rasmussen was OK in 2004 and 2006,  its performance in 2000 was way off, as they missed seven states, with a Republican bias of 3.5%.

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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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