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SSP Daily Digest: 12/30

by: Crisitunity

Thu Dec 30, 2010 at 2:59 PM EST

AK-Sen: With the book about to close on 2010, so too is the last outstanding race of 2010, the Alaska Senate race. Today the state is planning to certify Lisa Murkowski as winner of the race, including hand-delivering the certification papers to Washington DC so there won't be any possible obstacles to Murkowski's swearing-in next week (and ensuing temporary loss of state clout). This, of course, follows a legal one-two punch to Joe Miller's hopes: last week's loss at the Alaska Supreme Court, which upheld the trial court's decision that the write-in votes for Murkowski were properly counted, and then this week's ruling by a federal district court judge dismissing his related federal suit and lifting the hold on the race's certification. Miller will not stand in the way of the certification, although he says he is still considering whether to continue litigating the matter (which, if he did, would feature the 9th Circuit as the next stop).

The most ironic part of the whole tale is that the Tea Party Express, in their ill-advised RINO hunt, seem to have only succeeded in making Murkowski into more of a free agent. If you've noticed that Murkowski seems to be toeing the GOP line less since winning the election without running under the GOP banner, you're not alone: she was the only Senate GOPer to vote with the Dems on all four big action items during the lame duck session (the tax compromise, DADT repeal, START, and the DREAM Act).

DE-Sen: SSP isn't about re-litigating old elections, but this is indeed relevant because Christine O'Donnell, looking to capitalize on her newfound celebrity, may yet be a fourth-time candidate for the Senate against Tom Carper in the future. That fourth run might be more difficult, though, if she's in prison... perhaps possible as it seems like the federal government has decided it's had enough of her once-every-two-years grifting tours and is now criminally investigating her use of campaign funds for personal purposes during her 2010 campaign. Anyway, she put out a truly epic statement today on the matter that ought to have you reaching for your copy of the DSM, so laden with paranoia and delusions of grandeur it is.

MA-Sen: While everyone seems to be wondering which U.S. Rep. will step into the gap if nobody named Kennedy runs for the Senate, there's always the outside possibility that someone with a business background and lots of his own money tries to move to the head of the pack in the Bay State. Robert Pozen may fit that bill, and he's apparently been talking to party insiders about the possibility. The investment banker-turned-Harvard Business professor has some liabilities, though: he served briefly in Mitt Romney's cabinet, which may help his bipartisan bona fides but could be poison in a primary, and his personality has been described as [John] "Silberesque," which would just be all-purpose poison.

MI-Sen: If the NRSC ever had any interest in Tim Leuliette as their Senate candidate in Michigan, that probably evaporated this week. The auto-parts magnate just said that he's not comfortable with self-funding his campaign and wouldn't put much of his "large fortune" into a run. Considering that that was the main (if not only) selling point for a candidacy from an otherwise unknown political newcomer, that should pretty much be end-of-story.

MO-Sen, MO-Gov: A poll from Republican pollster Wilson Research (commissioned by consulting firm Axiom Strategies) has (big surprise) good news for Republicans in it, most notably Jim Talent. The ex-Sen. has a significant lead in a rematch against Claire McCaskill, ahead 51-40. Talent seems to have a big electability edge over Sarah Steelman, who's tied 44-44 with McCaskill. McCaskill's approvals are 48/45. They also look at the Governor's race, finding a more competitive race than PPP did but not the lead that a Peter Kinder internal showed. They find Dem incumbent Jay Nixon leading Kinder 45-42, with Nixon's approvals at 52%. Worth noting: the poll's a little stale, taken Dec. 1-2.

ND-Sen: It's starting to look like Kent Conrad will face some serious opposition from Republicans this cycle (assuming the 62-year-old runs for re-election), although it's not clear exactly from whom. Perhaps the heaviest-hitter available, the state's ex-Gov. and the former Bush administration Agriculture Secretary, Ed Schafer, has just ruled it out. For now, the likeliest-sounding one right now seems to be Brian Kalk, one of the state's three Public Service Commissioners, a statewide elected position. Kalk says he's giving it "serious thought," which contrasts with oft-mentioned AG Wayne Stenehjem's statement that he doesn't have "any plans" (although not closing "any doors" either) and with newly-promoted Gov. Jack Dalrymple, for whom it's the "last thing" on his mind.

NE-Sen (pdf): In case you weren't sure whether or not Ben Nelson's in trouble for 2012, um, yes, he's in trouble. Republican pollster Magellan is out with a poll finding Nelson with an overall 29/59 re-elect, and trailing GOP AG Jon Bruning 52-38. He's also trailing state Treasurer Don Stenberg (not yet a candidate, but sounding likely to run as well) 46-40. Hopefully we'll get a look from PPP at this one soon for confirmation. It seems like the Dems are already treating Bruning as a serious threat, though, with the state party trying to throw obstacles in his path by filing FEC and IRS complaints against Bruning over shoddy campaign-committee setup.

VA-Sen: So apparently all you have to do is append "Tea Party Activist" to your job description, and all of a sudden you're magically promoted from Some Dude to Very Serious Candidate Worthy of National Media Attention. Or at least that's the case with the campaign announcement from Jamie Radtke, head of the Judean People's Front People's Front of Judea Virginia Federation of Tea Party Patriots, whose main claim to fame seems to be organizing a gathering of 3,000 'baggers in Richmond. At any rate, Radtke is the first actually announced GOP candidate. Meanwhile, Jim Webb seems to be moving closer to making a decision on whether to run for re-election (though no clues on how he feels), saying he'll sort it out over the holiday break and make an announcement in the first quarter of 2011.

IN-Gov: This comes as a surprise, since there had been a lot of buzz about her as the nominee, with increasing moves from Rep. Mike Pence toward a presidential run instead. But Becky Skillman, Indiana's Lt. Governor, recently announced that she wouldn't run for Governor in 2012, citing "minor health issues." Does this make likelier a Pence gubernatorial run, now that he'd have an easy stroll to the nomination? And if Pence doesn't run, that seems to point to a truly wide open field, as no one seems to have contemplated a GOP field that didn't include Pence or Skillman. Who else might step up? (I hear Mike Sodrel may still be looking for a job...)

NC-Gov: Rounding out the troika of Republican polls showing Dem incumbents in trouble is one from North Carolina from Civitas, who have coordinated with a variety of pollsters and this time went straight to the big daddy of GOP pollsters, POS. The poll finds GOP former Charlotte mayor Pat McCrory cruising in a rematch against Dem incumbent Bev Perdue, who never really seemed to gain her footing after a narrow 2008 win: he leads her 51-36 (with Perdue getting only 64% among Democrats).

WA-Gov: Two interesting developments mean this race isn't as open-and-shut as I'd thought. One is that there's increasing buzz linking Dow Constantine, just elected in 2009 as King County Executive, to the governor's race. I've regarded Constantine (who's 47) as a very likely Governor starting in 2020, but with Dems seeming a little edgy that none of their biggest-name candidates (Rep. Jay Inslee, whose WA-01 is centered in suburban Snohomish Co., Snohomish Co. Exec Aaron Reardon, Spokane-based state Sen. majority leader Lisa Brown) are from their stronghold of King County while likely GOP candidate Rob McKenna is, there might be some pressure on Constantine to move up his timetable. (It's worth noting that Gary Locke became Gov. in 1996 after three years as King Co. Executive.) The other develompent is that Chris Gregoire isn't categorically ruling out an attempt at a third term, which she's legally entitled to do but Just Isn't Done. (Although she might point out that the last time it was tried, 1972, Dan Evans was successfully re-elected... in fact, the last time a Republican was re-elected Governor in Washington.) She registered as a 2012 candidate with the Public Disclosure Commission, in order to "keep her options open." (UPDATE: Big h/t to meekermariner, who points out in comments that this Gregoire article is nearly two years old, leaving me to wonder why Politico was linking to it with such enthusiasm. At any rate, the Gregoire committee remains open today, although that in itself isn't much of a suggestion that a third term may be in the offing.)

WV-Gov: This week was the deadline for filing briefs for the lawsuit that's attempting to move up the special election to replace Joe Manchin up to 2011. We still don't have an answer to when it will happen, but at least we know who's on what side in the case: the state's major unions (including the AFL-CIO and WVEA) want it sooner, and so does likely candidate and Dem state House speaker Rick Thompson. State Auditor Glen Gainer supports the expedited election too, while SoS Natalie Tennant (another possible Dem candidate) has basically punted on the issue. And if you're wondering about Joe Manchin's decision to duck DADT and DREAM Act votes in order to enjoy family holiday festivities, it seems like it wasn't, first and foremost, a self-protecting profile in cowardice. With Manchin having survived probably his toughest challenge, he's more interested now in clearing the way for ally and acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, and not interested in provoking a social issues-based civil war within the state Dem party that could undermine Tomblin's shot at getting elected to a full term.

OH-01: Guess who's sounding like he's gearing up for a rematch? Steve Driehaus, in an interview with the Cincinnati paper, took a variety of potshots at Steve Chabot, calling him a Boehner "follower" and saying he shouldn't "sit too easy." Driehaus has previously said he's "open" to another attempt. (This is Cincinnati-based district is notorious for steep dropoff in African-American voting in off-years, so if any time would be the right time for Driehaus to try again, 2012 would be it.)

LA-St. House: There was a long period of threatening and flirting, but now it's official: state Rep. Noble Ellington switched to the Republican Party, formally flipping control of the state's lower legislative chamber to the GOP for the first time since Reconstruction. Functionally, it may not make much perceptible difference, since there was already a Republican speaker, and many Dems were already quite conservative.

NY-St. Sen.: Looks like the end of the line in one other outstanding race (which ultimately had the balance of the New York state Senate in play): the state's Court of Appeals said no thanks to incumbent Dem Craig Johnson's appeal of a lower court decision that said there didn't need to be a hand recount of machine votes in New York's 7th District. GOPer Jack Martins had been declared the winner in the race by several hundred votes, handing the state Senate back to the GOP by a 32-30 margin.

PA-St. Sen.: Pennsylvania's state Senate has been even more stubbornly Republican over the years than New York's, and it looks like the Dems are going to have play a bit more defense there in an upcoming special election. Democratic minority whip Michael O'Pake (the state's longest-serving legislator) died several days ago at age 70, leaving a vacancy in SD-11 that will need to be filled by special election at some point between March and May (date TBD). On paper, this looks like the kind of district that would be a major test case for whether the Dems are going to continue their run of bad luck in the Keystone State from the 2010 election: while it works out to about D+4 (going 59/40 for Barack Obama and 51/48 for John Kerry), it also gave 55% of the vote to Tom Corbett and 50.6% to Pat Toomey this year. However, this may all boil down to bench strength in a traditionally-Dem district (centered on the blue-collar city of Reading, although made purple by inclusion of its suburbs, too): insiders from both parties are treating Democratic former Berks Co. Commissioner Judy Schwank as "prohibitive favorite."

Approvals: PPP does us the favor of consolidating all their year-end Senate approval ratings and gubernatorial approvals in one (or two, really) places. In the Senate, the most popular Senator overall, in addition to most popular one up in 2012, is Amy Klobuchar (59/29); while outgoing Roland Burris is the overall goat, Joe Lieberman is in worst shape of anyone up in 2012 (33/54). Among the few governors facing 2012 re-election, Jack Markell is tops at 50/32 (with Jay Nixon not far behind at 44/30), while Chris Gregoire fares the worst, in case she actually runs (although this might dissuade her sudden interest in a third term); her 40/53 is actually a worse spread than Bev Perdue's 35/44.

Redistricting: The Fix has a good piece on redistricting out, that should pretty much serve as the last word on why GOP purely-redistricting-related House seat gains are likely to be limited to the single digits for 2012: thanks to their 2010 overperformance, they're thoroughly maxed out in the big four prizes where they have total control (Texas, Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania). That's compounded by, in Florida, the new Fair Districts initiative, and in Texas, the need to create at least two more VRA districts while still protecting Blake Farenthold. Also, here's one other redistricting implication that's gotten totally overlooked in all the last few weeks' discussion: although California didn't lose or gain a seat, there's been enough population shift within the state (thanks to stagnation in the Bay Area and rapid growth in the Inland Empire) that the net result will be the moving of most of one district from NoCal to SoCal. It'll be interesting to see whether the new independent commission is able to do that in a way that lightly shifts boundaries southwards and protects the jobs of all 53 incumbents, or if someone from the north actually gets turfed out and an effectively new seat opens up in the south.

Chicago mayor: A lot has happened in the Chicago mayoral race since we last checked: first, Rahm Emanuel cleared the first hurdle in ascertaining that he is, indeed, a Chicago resident and not a Kenyan (although there will be inevitable courtroom appeals for weeks to come, with opponents willing to go to the state Supreme Court). The Chicago Board of Election Commissioners last week rejected claims that Emanuel had abandoned his Chicago residency when he went to work in the White House. Also, we've seen two of Emanuel's erstwhile opponents drop out of the race, narrowing the number of African-American candidates but still leaving that part of the field split between Danny Davis (last seen publicly urging Bill Clinton against coming to Chicago to campaign for Emanuel) and Carol Mosely Braun. State Sen. James Meeks dropped out, saying he didn't want to further split the black vote, and Roland Burris also withdrew, via press release, from the race (although it's unclear whether he ever really was in the race, since he never made any public appearances). Finally, we got another poll of the race from We Ask America, which may be most noteworthy for showing Gerry Chico in position to make the runoff. They find Emanuel at 44, Chico at 12, Braun at 8, Davis at 7, Miguel Del Valle at 6, and Meeks at 4.

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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: 12/7

by: Crisitunity

Tue Dec 07, 2010 at 3:19 PM EST

DE-Sen: Here's an amusing look back at the Delaware race, where it turns out that Christine O'Donnell raised $7.3 million over the course of the campaign (a somewhat large improvement on her $63K from her previous Senate bid) and then proceeded to lose by 16 points. O'Donnell apparently had the same problem that I suspected that Sharron Angle did (though we don't have any confirmation on Angle yet)... there weren't any media outlets with available slots to pour all that late-breaking money into.

MO-Sen: Jim Talent has offered his timeline on publicly deciding whether or not to run for Senate (which has seemed to get less likely over the last few days, if you believe the scuttlebutt). He won't decide until the New Year, and possibly won't announce anything until the state GOP's Lincoln Day festivities in mid-February.

MT-Sen: PPP offered some GOP Senate primary numbers, although I'm not sure how useful they are given that Marc Racicot, the former Governor and RNC chair, eats up a lion's share despite not having really ever been associated with the race. (Although, who knows... maybe this will suddenly prompt him to get interested.) At any rate, the two guys with name rec, Racicot and Rep. Denny Rehberg, are at 40 and 37, respectively. The two little-known guys who are actually the ones running (so far), Steve Daines and Neil Livingstone, are at 5 and 4.

RI-Sen: Although John Robitaille seems to be getting all the attention in terms of the GOP's pick to challenge Sheldon Whitehouse, Warwick mayor Scott Avedisian is still stoking the fires of vague interest. Avedisian is a moderate and an ally of newly-elected Gov. Lincoln Chafee.

WA-Sen: The race against Maria Cantwell seems to already be a casualty write-off for the GOP, seeing as how the state's entire viable GOP bench (aka Rob McKenna) will most likely be running for Governor. The state GOP's usual M.O. in such situations is to turn to some random rich guy as a place-holder (see Mike McGavick, Cantwell's 2006 opponent, or oft-threatened but never-happened candidate John Stanton), but it may turn out that Clint Didier, the tea partier whose GOP primary bid against Dino Rossi didn't go anywhere and who's now interested in trying again, gets left holding the bag this time. Didier, who refused to endorse Rossi and castigated him at every turn, isn't likely to be able to count on much NRSC or even state GOP goodwill this time, though.

MN-Gov: Nothing like a little post-electoral cat fud, even if it means exiling pretty much your entire pantheon of elder statesmen. The state GOP just excommunicated more than a dozen key moderate Republicans who had jumped ship to support Independence Party candidate Tom Horner in view of Tom Emmer's extremism. These aren't just run-of-the-mill PCO-types, either: the list includes an ex-Senator (David Durenberger) and two ex-Govs (Arne Carlson and Al Quie). And if you're wondering how Emmer is faring in the court of public opinion amidst the recount non-drama, PPP's out with a snap poll: by a 68-22 margin, voters think it's time for Emmer to give up (which matches the 68-21 margin of people who think that Mark Dayton was the election's rightful winner).

OH-17: Wondering who the third-party candidate who fared the best was, in this year's House races? It was none other than ex-con ex-Rep. Jim Traficant, who picked up 16.1% of the vote against Tim Ryan, the best showing of any indie with both Dem and GOP opponents (and he did it without spending a penny). He fared better than Randy Wilkinson in FL-12, who ran a more credible campaign and was widely viewed as a potential spoiler. In fact, Wilkinson finished 3rd at 10.7%; some random conservative, Dan Hill, got 12% in NE-03 by running to Adrian Smith's right, although that was a race that Dems barely contested. What about MI-01's Glenn Wilson, who made waves for approximately one day with his pledge to spend $2 million of his own money (although it's dubious if he spent more than a fraction of that)? He barely registered, at 7%.

WV-01: Here's an unexpected comeback, and probably one that's not a good idea. Alan Mollohan, who couldn't survive a Dem primary and most likely wouldn't have won the general even if he'd gotten over the first hurdle, is publicly expressing his interest in running in 2012 for his old seat. He's opened an FEC account for '12 and has been reaching out behind the scenes.

NY-St. Sen.: This is basically a Hail Mary at this point, but when it's the chance to tie the state Senate, it's a chance you take. Craig Johnson officially filed an appeal yesterday of the judge's ruling certifying Jack Martins as winner in SD-7 (giving the GOP a 32-30 edge there). He's asking for a hand count, to see if any votes were missed in the state's switch this year to electronic voting machines. Given the recent abject fail in finding all the votes cast in Queens, it's not out of the realm of possibility.

Redistricting: The Fix has another installment in its ongoing redistricting previews, this time focusing on Georgia. The GOP-controlled state legislature should have little trouble adding a GOP-friendly 14th seat in Atlanta's northern tier of exurbs, where most of the state's growth has occurred. The real question will be whether they can do anything to turf out either of the two remaining Dems in slightly lean-Dem districts in south Georgia, Sanford Bishop or John Barrow? Although neither of their seats are truly minority-majority, the VRA might be implicated if their seats get messed with too much. Bishop's GA-02 is likely to be shored up in order to make freshman Austin Scott safer in the 8th. Barrow seems like an easier target, but to do so would not only risk VRA litigation but also make Jack Kingston's 1st less safe, meaning incumbent protection might be the result.

Demographics: There was a massive dump of U.S. Census data yesterday, although none of it is the actual hard count from 2010 (which is due by the end of the month, including state populations for reapportionment purposes). Instead, this is the Demographic Analysis (used to estimate undercounts in the actual count, although there won't be any adjustments made to the counts for redistricting purposes in this cycle). The big number was the total population estimate, ranging from 306 million to 313 million, with a midrange estimate of 308.5 million (which would put the average House district, for redistricting, at 709K). Also worth noting: Hispanics accounted for essentially the nation's growth in youth population in the last decade, and Hispanics have grown from 17% of the nation's under-20 population in 2000 to 22% now; without Hispanics, the number of young people would have actually gone down since 2000.

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SSP Daily Digest: 12/6

by: Crisitunity

Mon Dec 06, 2010 at 2:43 PM EST

AK-Sen: This shouldn't come as a surprise and I highly doubt that Joe Miller would listen to anything Mark Begich would say even if it weren't a surprise, but Begich is now encouraging Miller to drop his pointless challenge to Lisa Murkowski so Murkowski can get sworn in on schedule and the pork can continue to flow to the Last Frontier. Meanwhile, Miller is now actually saying that he would have gotten away with it, if it weren't for those meddling Inuits. In a Washington Times column, Miller blames the Native Alaskan corporations for backing Murkowski (via the Alaskans Standing Together PAC), and even (gasp! call the Fox voter fraud hotline!) putting boots on the ground to teach people how to spell "Murkowski" and bus people to the polls!!1!

FL-Sen: If you were wondering if there was still a flicker of possibility that Jeb Bush was going to run against Bill Nelson, that's pretty much extinguished: Bush himself acknowledged that over the weekend, admitting there's a major problem given his support for immigration reform (and opposition to Arizona's new law) that puts him at odds with the ascendant teabaggery. Mike Haridopolos is also letting everyone know that he wouldn't be running if Bush were going to run, but that he's gotten Bush's green light. (The latter article also includes a few additional GOP names that we haven't seen yet in connection with this race, like sophomore Rep. Tom Rooney and Adam Hasner, the former state House majority leader.)

IN-Sen: State Sen. Mike Delph is waving his arms around madly trying to get the tea partiers' attention for a possible primary against GOP apostate Richard Lugar, with a widely-circulated post to his own blog saying that he's "increasingly concerned" with Lugar's actions, especially support for the DREAM Act. The real question is whether state Treasurer Richard Mourdock gets in; Lugar's best shot at getting through, like Dan Coats in the 2010 Senate primary, is to have the multiple teabaggers cannibalizing each others' votes.

NV-Sen: Democratic Rep. Shelly Berkley is mentioning some sort of timeline for deciding on whether to run for the Senate against John Ensign (or whoever decapitates him in the GOP primary): she's saying early 2011, probably before mid-February. Worth noting: she's sitting on $1.1 million CoH, more than your average Rep. and a good head start for a Senate bid.

WV-Sen: John Raese, who has run and lost four times statewide, is pretty much ruling out another run for office, aware that it's probably not a good investment of his family fortune. Also, he says he's "worn out" (and probably wants to spend more time with his new glass conservatory). As for who will actually run, Shelly Moore Capito is naturally at the top of the GOP's wish list, but it sounds like she's more interested in running for Governor in 2012, making a run from some other self-funding B-lister against Manchin seem likely.

MN-Gov: Tom Emmer's legal team, over the weekend, pulled a large number of frivolous challenges: 2,600 of them, all from Hennepin County (Minneapolis). Between this token act of perceptions-management, and signals from Emmer attorney (and ex-state supreme court chief justice) Eric Magnuson that Emmer isn't likely to prevail, it looks like we may actually get some resolution on this sooner rather than later.

CA-11: I'm not sure if anyone was still wondering if David Harmer had conceded this race, as Jerry McNerney declared victory nearly a month ago and the AP also called it a few weeks ago, but he finally pulled the plug over the weekend. Harmer says he has no plans to run again.

VA-09: Um, oooops. Here's one veteran Dem who seems to have gotten caught with his pants down, when a late move in the polls in what had previously seemed an OK race (recall the spike in the last SurveyUSA poll of this race) seemed to come too late for him to do a last-minute ad blitz. Rick Boucher had by far the most money left over of any House Dem who lost: $699K. (Chris Carney came in second with $262K.)

House: Here's a long pointless list of races where the loser is operating in the usual "not ruling another run in or out" post-election mode: Glenn Nye in VA-02, Tom Perriello in VA-05, Chet Edwards in TX-17, Patrick Murphy in PA-08, and Republican Ilario Pantano in NC-07.

DCCC: Another changing of the guard at the DCCC: Robby Mook is taking over as executive director, from Jon Vogel. He's following the same path as Vogel, having led the DCCC's independent expenditure arm during the 2010 cycle.

NY-St. Sen.: The last two races in the New York state Senate are more or less resolved. Suzi Oppenheimer, as expected, has been declared the victor, and GOP opponent Bob Cohen has conceded. Craig Johnson, on the other hand, has lost, or at least was on the wrong end of the recount, although he plans to appeal. Assuming nothing changes in SD-7, the GOP will control the Senate 32-30 for this session.

Redistricting: In Massachusetts, Democratic Secretary of State Bill Galvin is floating the idea of switching to an independent redistricting commission (albeit one that would apparently be non-binding). That's odd, since if there's one state where the Dems have firm control of the trifecta, it's the Bay State. As you might expect, Dem legislative leaders are expressing little interest in the idea. They're moving full speed ahead on the 2012 process, with state Senate president pro tem Stan Rosenberg in charge just as he was in 2002. As far as tea leaves for who might get protected in the elimination of that tenth House seat: I'm not sure if Rosenberg would be considered a John Olver ally, but it's worth noting that Rosenberg is, like Olver, from Amherst, and succeeded Olver in the state Senate, taking over Olver's old seat in 1991 upon Olver's special election to the House.

Discuss :: (216 Comments)

SSP Daily Digest: 11/30

by: Crisitunity

Tue Nov 30, 2010 at 3:59 PM EST

AK-Sen: Joe Miller lost yet another courtroom round yesterday, although this one was kind of inconsequential from a legal standpoint: he'd wanted his court challenges to the election to be held in his town of Fairbanks, but the venue will be the state capital, Juneau, instead. In most states that wouldn't be a big deal, but given the difficulty of getting from one town to the other, that provides one more logistical disincentive for Miller to continue his lost cause.

FL-Sen: After having spent every day for the last two years laboriously typing out "Alexi Giannoulias" over and over, now I'm going to have to get used to "Mike Haridopolos." The newly minted Republican state Senate President is already acting Senate-candidate-ish, doing the DC circuit today, including a visit to the all-powerful US Chamber of Commerce.

ME-Sen: Maine-area tea partiers are breathlessly telling everybody that they've found a primary challenger to Olympia Snowe who is "credible" and has the financial resources to become an "instant contender." The problem is, they're stopping there and not saying specifically who the mystery person is, although an announcement allegedly will happen in early 2011. (UPDATE: There's one useful piece of news buried deep in the article, actually: Chellie Pingree says she won't run for the Dems for this seat in 2012.)

MO-Sen: This may be the most interesting news of the day: despite a likely run from a former one of their own (Jim Talent), the NRSC is actively encouraging Sarah Steelman's interest in the race, with John Cornyn assuring her that they'd stay neutral in a Talent/Steelman primary. As a former state Treasurer, she seems to have more credible chops than the Sharron Angle/Ken Buck axis that cost the GOP a couple seats this year, but still has enough credibility with the tea partiers so that it looks like the NRSC isn't trying to shove them back in the attic; they probably also think a female candidate might match up better against Claire McCaskill.

MN-Gov: The numbers didn't budge much during the first full day of the Minnesota gubernatorial recount (where Mark Dayton leads by just shy of 9,000): Dayton gained 20 votes, while Tom Emmer lost four, after 44% of the ballots were recounted yesterday. Emmer challenged 281 ballots; Dayton challenged 86. While there weren't any write-ins for "Lizard People" this time, there was one vote cast for "Who Farted?"

MO-Gov: Republican Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder's interest in running against his boss, Dem Jay Nixon, has been pretty clearly telegraphed for years already, but he's starting to make that look more tangible. He now says he won't run for another term as LG, and he also appeared at last week's RGA conference in San Diego.

NY-01: Tim Bishop lost some minor ground with the counting of military ballots in the last House race still undecided. There weren't very many of them, but they broke pretty heavily in Randy Altschuler's way: 44-24. Bishop's lead is now apparently 215.

WA-08: Maybe this one is better filed as "WATN?" Suzan DelBene, who narrowly lost to Dave Reichert, has landed on her feet; she was just appointed by Chris Gregoire as the new director of the state Dept. of Revenue. It's unclear, though, whether this is intended to raise her statewide profile and give her some governmental experience for future runs, or if this takes her off the table for a 2012 run in WA-08 (or hypothetical WA-10).

NY-St. Sen.: Democratic state Sen. Antoine Thompson conceded to GOP challenger Mark Grisanti yesterday in the Buffalo-based SD-60. That means there are 31 GOP-held seats in the New York Senate; to get to a 31-31 tie, the Dems will need to hold both Suzi Oppenheimer's SD-37 (looking likely) and Craig Johnson's SD-7 (not looking likely, as he trails by several hundred, with the exact number not clear yet). (Or alternately, they could, as occasionally rumored, flip Grisanti, who was a Dem up until when he ran for the race and will essentially need to be one in order to be re-elected.) Thompson's loss is, in fact, pretty mystifying -- I knew this was a Dem-heavy district, but it went 77-22 for Obama (the equivalent of D+24 based on just 2008 numbers)! Ordinarily, a Dem would have to be under indictment or in dead-girl/live-boy territory to lose in that kind of district; in fact, everyone seems mystified, but the theory is that an upsurge in white votes in that district motivated by the candidacy of local fave Carl Paladino pushed Grisanti over the hump (although there are claims (we don't have the data to confirm yet) that Andrew Cuomo still managed to win in the 60th, which would tend to counteract that theory).

State legislatures: We already mentioned four party-switchers from the Dems to the GOP in the Alabama legislature, following the change in the majority there, but there's also a handful of other changes to mention (though not as many changes as we saw in 1994): 13 changes in 5 states. That includes 5 in the Georgia House and 1 in the Georgia Senate, 1 in the South Dakota Senate, 1 in the Maine House, and in 1 in the Louisiana House (which had the consequence of officially flipping the chamber to GOP control, although that body already had a GOP speaker). Politico has more on the changes in the south (in a rather hyperbolically titled article).

DSCC: It's official: Patty Murray is the one who got left holding the burning bag of dog doo. She signed on for a second stint as head of the DSCC for the 2012 cycle. She also ran it during the 2002 cycle, when the Democrats lost two seats.

DGA: One of the other Dem holes needing to be filled also got filled today: Martin O'Malley, fresh off a surprisingly easy victory in Maryland (and possibly looking at something bigger in 2016), is taking over the helm at the DGA. With only a couple troublesome holds on the horizon in 2012, I'd imagine this job was a little easier to fill than the DSCC.

Demographics: Democracy Corps (or GQR, if you prefer) is out with a memo that's worth a read. Most of it is about messaging, which is a little outside SSP's scope (though still worth a read, in terms of what worked, and mostly didn't work, in 2010, and what recent polls have shown works better going forward). There's also some discussion of demographics, though, in terms of what kind of a turnout model they're expecting (or at least hoping for) in 2012.

Discuss :: (286 Comments)

SSP Daily Digest: 11/15

by: Crisitunity

Mon Nov 15, 2010 at 4:12 PM EST

AK-Sen: As it gets more and more apparent that victory isn't going to come on the write-in-challenges front, the Joe Miller camp seems to be admitting as much. However, they aren't preparing to concede, as they see one last ace in the hole: absentee ballots, which are still trickling in. The last to arrive (ahead of Wednesday's deadline) will be the military overseas ballots, which Miller expects will break heavily in his favor (seeing as how many military members nearing the end of their commitment are probably looking forward to a profitable career on Miller's paramilitary goon squad). With Lisa Murkowski's lead holding at 40-35, though, it's unclear whether military ballots would show up in sufficient numbers to turn the tide even if they broke widely for Miller.

DE-Sen, WV-Sen: Congratulations today to Chris Coons and Joe Manchin, both of whom are being sworn into the Senate this afternoon for the lame-duck session. It's also the first day on the job for Earl Ray Tomblin, who becomes the new West Virginia Governor in Manchin's absence. If you're wondering about Mark Kirk, he'll be sworn in next week thanks to vagaries of Illinois law. (If I may be allowed a brief moment of alma mater pride, Coons appears to be the first Amherst alum elected to the Senate since the ill-fated Thomas Eagleton.)

MA-Sen: You may remember a boomlet that peaked last week for Senate speculation concerning Setti Warren, the "rock star" mayor of Newton. Well, that's over, as he's now saying his "intent" is to finish his term, which runs through 2013. However, a different young up-and-coming mayor of one of the Bay State's larger cities is now poking the Senate race with a stick: Will Flanagan, the 30-year-old mayor of the much more blue-collar Fall River, is gauging the race.

TX-Sen: The Fix has a look at possible primary challengers to Kay Bailey Hutchison, who, with her bungled gubernatorial run and her TARP vote, seems to have painted a big target on her back aimed at Texas tea partiers looking for a promotion. Former SoS Roger Williams and former Railroad Commissioner Elizabeth Ames Jones are already in the race (dating back to when it was expected that KBH would be on her way to the Governor's Mansion at this point), but the bigger names to watch are Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and Railroad Commissioner Michael Williams. Dewhurst is establishment but has the personal wealth to get a foothold here, while Williams has no money but is the favorite of the tea party set. Dallas mayor Tom Leppert is also mentioned as a wild-card. One Dem who won't be making the race is former Houston mayor Bill White, who in wake of his gubernatorial loss says he won't pivot to a Senate race. That probably frees up the Dem Senate slot for former comptroller John Sharp, who was going to run in the hypothetical special election that never happened and already has a big stack of cash saved up for the race.

CT-Gov: If you're hearing zombie lies from Republican friends about the Connecticut gubernatorial race being stolen by the urban machines, here's a handy debunking point: exit polls show that the huge falloff in votes in Bridgeport neatly tracks the statewide falloff in Dem crossover votes for the Republican candidate in general from 2006 (when the broadly-popular Jodi Rell ran) to 2010.

KY-Gov: One more Republican to keep in mind as a potential challenger in next year's off-year gubernatorial election: Jefferson County Clerk Bobbie Holsclaw. That's kind of a big step up to Governor, so it seems like she might be starting with a high negotiating position with the party to try to worm her way into the SoS slot instead (assuming Trey Grayson follows through on plans to run for AG instead).

NC-02, TX-27: Here are updates on two of our outstanding races: recounts have been officially approved in both of 'em. Six counties in the 27th will be recounted, per Solomon Ortiz's request, as he trails by about 800. In the 2nd, the canvass was officially certified with Bobby Etheridge trailing by 1,489, but he'll be pursuing a recount as allowed under state law. While neither of these prospects looks that hopeful, we can take some solace in that the likely victors, Blake Farenthold and Renee Elmers, are some of the most amateur-hour entrants into the new House and hopefully likely to help define the new face of the Republican Party.

NY-29: Best wishes for a quick recovery to soon-to-be-sworn-in Tom Reed, who literally just arrived in Washington and was immediately sickened by it. He was diagnosed with a blood clot in his lungs and says he'll be released in one or two days, ready to get to work.

WA-01, WA-03: I'd hoped that Brian Baird was going to take his unique variety of douchiness to the private sector for good, but it looks like his strange retirement decision may have been an inspired case of district-shopping instead. He's moving to Edmonds in Seattle's northern suburbs, which just happens to be in the 1st District. Assuming that Jay Inslee follows through on his widely-known plans to run for Governor, lo and behold, the 1st will be an open seat in 2012. The 1st (which is a pretty safe district in its current configuration, and will probably keep similar lines in redistricting) has to be more appealing than the 3rd, which redistricting will probably move from a true swing district to a light-red one, as liberal Olympia will probably have to be exchanged for a Columbia Gorge-centered district that's based in Vancouver but that runs east into conservative Yakima County. (Which, unfortunately, would be tailor-made for Jaime Herrera, who's Latina but living in the Vancouver burbs, and will make her much harder to dislodge.) For more detail on Washington's likely 10-district map, see here.

NY-St. Sen.: Here's an update on the three races that are holding New York State Senate control in the balance. Dem incumbent Craig Johnson trails by only 427, and seems to be gaining at a rapid clip as absentee votes get counted, so the trajectory indicates he might pull ahead by the end. Things seem more locked in with two more Dem incumbents, though: Suzi Oppenheimer leads by 504, while Antoine Thompson trails by 597. Wins by Johnson and Oppenheimer would set up a 31-31 tie.

Chicago mayor: The election's been over for two weeks, and it's already time for the first new edition of SSP TV: Rahm Emanuel kicked off his mayoral bid with his first TV spot already. Rep. Danny Davis also made it official this weekend, launching his bid and dubbing himself the "grassroots" candidate. (He looks like he'll be giving up his House seat only in the event that he wins the mayoral race.)

DSCC: After some hopeful signs that Michael Bennet might be willing to take on the role of DSCC head, he said "no thanks" late Friday. At this point, Beltway pundits seem to think that the shortest straw has Patty Murray's name on it.

RGA: Texas Gov. Rick Perry signed on for another cycle at the helm of the Republican Governor's Association. I've seen speculation that he's doing it mostly to shut down rumors that he's really running for President, although it should be a pretty sleepy gubernatorial cycle and he might be able to juggle both tasks (since most big states elect governors during the midterms, and only a few open seats loom... Indiana, North Carolina, and Washington may be the highest-profile races).

Redistricting: The Wall Street Journal has a good overview of what to expect with redistricting, and they seem to come to the same conclusion that I have: that the downside for the GOP of their strong performance in Dem-held red districts is that it means there are a lot fewer opportunities to turf anyone out through aggressive gerrymandering, and instead their efforts are going to have to more defensive, oriented toward shoring up the deadwood that washed ashore. Meaning, of course, that predictions of another large redistricting-driven gain in the House for the GOP aren't likely to come to pass, although it will still make it harder for the Dems to regain significant ground.

A couple articles are also out today dealing with the biggest redistricting prize of all, California, although whether it's a prize or not has much to do with what happens with the newly-created (by Prop 20) congressional redistricting commission; this week, out of the pool of 36,000 applicants, 36 finalists for the commission's citizen slots will be picked. Of particular interest is what exactly happens with the seats in northern Los Angeles's San Fernando Valley, where there's a push underway to get a Hispanic district. (Worth noting: CA-28 already has a Hispanic majority, although Howard Berman seems pretty primary-proof there, and there don't seem to be enough parts and pieces elsewhere in the Valley to create another neatly-shaped one.)

Demographics: Here's a big surprise, on the demographic front: there are reports that there are 100,000 fewer Hispanics in Arizona than there were when SB 1070 passed. That may not have a big impact on voting behavior (since those emigrants are probably unlikely voters), but a big impact on redistricting, where the possibility of a third VRA district in Arizona looms. Or maybe not... since the census only cares where you were on April 1, much of that fleeing may not have happened yet at that point.

Dave's App: Exciting news from over in the diaries: version 2.0 of Dave's Redistricting App is available. You can check out all the details at the link, but two major improvements including use of street maps (making urban work much easier) and ability to save JPGs. Redistricting is going to be one of Swing State Project's main preoccupations over the next year, and Dave's App is one of the best tools we have in our arsenal.

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SSP Daily Digest: 11/11

by: Crisitunity

Thu Nov 11, 2010 at 2:59 PM EST

AK-Sen: Joe Miller made a drive toward the hoop with his attempt to get an injunction to force the state to stop counting write-in ballots that weren't spelled precisely "Lisa Murkowski," but a federal judge stuffed that back in his face late yesterday, denying the immediate injunction and saying there's no risk of irreparable harm; the question, of course, will continue in the courts, just at a more leisurely pace while the count goes on. As for the actual counting (which began yesterday, and went through about 20% of the total), things have seemed to continue on pace for Murkowski to hold on. 89% of the write-ins were unchallenged for Murkowski. 8.5% of the ballots were challenged by Miller observers, but only 1.4% of ballots were successfully challenged. Only 164 of the 19,203 ballots analyzed had write-ins other than Murkowski (including, amusingly, two people who wrote in Joe Miller). Roll Call points out that Murkowski would be on track to win even if Miller's injunction succeeds, considering what a small percentage of ballots are being challenged in the first place, which makes it look like Murkowski's remarkably painstaking campaign of instructing people how to spell her name paid off.

IN-Sen: If there's a Republican who's guilty of the crimes of attempting to legislate and not punching Dems in the groin at every opportunity, it's Richard Lugar. Between that and his age, he's at great risk of a teabagging in 2012 (assuming he doesn't retire), and there's already a line forming of potential primary rivals expressing interest, including state Treasurer Richard Mourdock, state Sen. Mike Delph, and 2010 primary loser Don Bates.

MA-Sen: Here's another piece handicapping potential challengers to Scott Brown; while most of the names are familiar (Mike Capuano, plus assorted other Kennedys and Reps.), it adds one more to the mix that I haven't heard but certainly seems plausible: Gov. Deval Patrick, whose stock has risen lately with a surprisingly comfortable re-election.

VA-Sen: Beltway Kremlinologists are analyzing Jim Webb's pronouncements, notably ambivalent about another Senate run, and announcing that he's sounding even iffier now. While George Allen seems to have the inside track on the GOP nomination, filling a hole left by Webb would be a big question mark for the Dems. Ex-Gov and DNC chair Tim Kaine seems like the likeliest bet, although Tom Perriello also gets a mention.

FL-22: Somehow I suspect someone from GOP leadership paid a visit to Allen West and gave him a refresher course in political discipline, as he abruptly reversed course and decided that his bomb-throwing best friend from the right-wing radio world, Joyce Kaufman, won't be his chief of staff. As we talked about yesterday, the main problem might not be her long track record of outrageous statements but the Ethics and FCC problems that might result if she kept her day job too.

NY-29: While everyone knows that Joe Manchin, Chris Coons, and Mark Kirk are gaining early entry to the Senate for the lame duck session (because of the special election status of their elections), there's also one new House member also getting that privilege. Recall that David Paterson bumped the special election to replace Eric Massa all the way back to November to coincide with the general election, so Tom Reed is set to be sworn in next week too (gaining the seniority edge over his myriad fellow GOP freshmen). (UDPATE: Several folks have pointed out that Marlin Stutzman, just elected to IN-03 in a dual special/general in the wake of Mark Souder's resignation, also gets the same treatment next week.)

DSCC: The quest for a DSCC leader just goes on, as no one wants to be left holding that flaming bag of dog doo. Al Franken took himself officially out of the running. Even Chuck Schumer, who everyone regards as the fallback position if no one else steps up, is still adamant that he isn't going to take it either.

Money: I don't think the Dems could have salvaged the House even if it hadn't been for the huge last-minute outlays of advertising cash from American Crossroads and assorted other 527s, but it certainly helped the GOP run up the score in the close, late-breaking races. At any rate, it's good to see that at least someone on Team Blue is recognizing that we're behind the 8-ball on the dark money front, and at least for the short term it's a can't-beat-'em-join-'em scenario. David Brock from Media Matters is on the case, trying to pull such a mega-527 together to start corralling high-dollar Dem donors.

CO-St. House: This is a pleasant surprise: the Dems may yet be able to hold onto the state House in Colorado (which would let them keep the trifecta, if that happened). The GOP is claiming a 33-32 majority right now, but the race in HD-29, where incumbent Debbie Benefield apparently lost to Robert Ramirez by 208 votes, is at least back on the table with 687 more votes discovered that need to be counted. (Of course, it's worth being skeptical about her taking nearly 2/3s of those outstanding votes.)

NY-St. Sen.: Here's the situation with the Senate in New York, where it may be weeks before we know who's in charge. The GOP has paper-thin leads in two Dem-held seats: Mark Grisanti leads Antoine Thompson in a Buffalo-area seat, while Jack Martins leads Craig Johnson in northern Nassau County. (There's also one other race not yet called, where incumbent Dem Suzi Oppenheimer still leads.) Dems have asked for recounts in both the races where they're trailing, so this is apt to drag on. If the leads hold, the GOP will retake control the Senate 32-30 (assuming Grisanti cooperates with them, which sounds like it may not be a done deal). If Dems turn one around, the clusterfudge gets even nuttier, as it'll be a 31-31 tie, which should let Dem Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy be the tiebreaker but promises endless litigation over just what sort of powers the still ill-defined LG position even has.

WATN?: Three different names from Florida are considering their options today. One is Jim Davis, not the creator of Garfield but rather the five-term ex-Rep. who left the House in 2006 to run for Governor (and lost to Charlie Crist), who's now looking for a political third act as Tampa mayor. The election to replace termed-out Pam Iorio will be held in March. Another name is Rod Smith, a former state Sen. whom you might remember losing the 2006 Dem gube primary to Davis, and losing in 2010 as Alex Sink's running mate; he's set to take over as Dem state party chair, as Karen Thurman looks like she's finally getting put out to pasture after another terrible cycle. Finally, there's Alan Grayson, who's going to need a new job in a few months; he says he's likely to run for something again someday, not wanting to waste the large supporter base online that he built over the last few years.

Polltopia: Scot Reader has a very interesting look at the success rates for internal polls this cycle (of which there were an unprecedented number released). He finds that GOP internal pollsters performed better than Dem internal pollsters this cycle, to the extent that firms like POS were pretty close to the mark. (Although it's worth noting that, while public polling of Senate and Gov races was close to the mark -- with the exception of Nevada, where the internal polling was much closer -- it also tended to underestimate Republican support in the House, in the end.) If his name sounds familiar, he's the guy behind the Polltrack twitter feed (now renamed Pollmaven), which we strongly urge you to follow.

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Weekly Open Thread: What Races Are You Interested In?

by: James L.

Fri Jun 13, 2008 at 5:55 PM EDT

We thought we'd shake things up this week by including a caption contest in our weekly thread of open banter. So let's see what you can come up with for this photo of state Sen. Craig Johnson (D-NY):

Have at it!

(Belated hat-tip: The Albany Project)

Discuss :: (30 Comments)

NY-SD7: Special Election Results Open Thread

by: James L.

Tue Feb 06, 2007 at 8:02 PM EST

A lot is at stake tonight in the special election to fill New York's 7th State Senate district.  Our guy, Craig Johnson, has a lot going for him: money, mo', and Spitzer (I hear that he's a steamroller).  The Republicans have... well, what do they have other than a pile of dirty tricks?

I won't be able to liveblog the results tonight due to an exam tomorrow, but I'm sure that Newsday will put something up as polls close at 9PM Eastern.  And for the best coverage of the night's events, you can't do much better than the folks over at the Albany Project.

Let the games begin.

UPDATE: Results here.  With 242 of 264 EDs counted, Craig Johnson has just pulled ahead by 800 votes... C'mon, Han old buddy, don't let me down.

UPDATE 2: Whoa, make that a 2000+ vote lead for Johnson!  Very nice!

UPDATE 3 (DavidNYC): Craig Johnson wins! Go Team Blue!

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NY-SD7: 3rd Craig Johnson for NY State Senate TV Ad Is Up

by: SteveWFP

Wed Jan 31, 2007 at 1:33 PM EST

Here's the third Craig Johnson (D-WFP) for State Senate TV commercial.  Craig is running in a Feb 6 special election for an open New York State Senate seat in northwestern Nassau County.

Eliot Spitzer's ad man Jimmy Siegel directed the ad; you can see Siegel's first two ads for the Johnson campaign here and here.

In the ad, titled "How to Save," five accountants from the Seventh Senate District take O'Connell to task for her record of raising taxes.

Be sure to read about the O'Connell audit scandal and sign up to be part of the Johnson campaign GOTV push!

6 days until Election Day!

Volunteer | Donate

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