• 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.
• 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.
• AK-Sen: There's yet another lawsuit coming out of the Joe Miller camp, this one filed in state court. It essentially rehashes claims he's already made at the federal level, but adds two new allegations: voters without identification were allowed to take ballots in some precincts, and that in a few precincts handwriting samples suggest that the same person completed multiple ballots. Miller's ultimate goal is a hand count of the entire race, which could delay Lisa Murkowski's swearing-in past January. The question, however, is starting to arise: who's paying for all this? None of Miller's former friends seem interested any more: the NRSC has gone silent, and the Tea Party Express still offers verbal support but isn't ponying up any money. Only Jim DeMint continues to offer any financial support (with a Joe Miller fundraising button on his Senate Conservatives website).
• MT-Sen: This could complicates matters for Denny Rehberg, turning this primary into an establishment vs. teabagger duel. Two right-wing groups, Concerned Women PAC and Gun Owners of America, have already lent their support to businessman Steve Daines, who has already announced his bid for the GOP nod here.
• NY-Sen: Kirsten Gillibrand has to do it all over again in 2012 (this one was just a special election), and rumors are that former Bush administration official Dan Senor, who spurned a run this time, is interested in a run next time. It's hard to imagine, if Gillibrand could top 60% in a year as bad as this, that Senor could somehow overperform that in a presidential year.
• MN-Gov: The recount is officially on. The State Canvassing Board, whom you all got to know really well in early 2009, ruled that the 8,770 vote lead for Mark Dayton is less than one-half of a percentage point and that an automatic recount is triggered. The count starts on Monday and should end in mid-December, allowing time for swearing in on Jan. 3 (unless things really go haywire). This comes after a variety of legal maneuvering from both sides, including a fast Minnesota Supreme Court ruling against Tom Emmer, in response to his desire to force counties to comb through voter rolls and eliminate votes that were "excessively cast." No word yet on whether the Board will honor Dayton's request for ways to streamline the process (and minimize Emmer's chances for challenges).
• MT-Gov: There had been rumors that Democratic ex-Rep. Pat Williams would seek the Dem gubernatorial nomination (potentially setting up a match with his successor, ex-Rep. Rick Hill), despite being 72 years old. He's now saying that he won't. Williams is so old-school that he used to represent MT-01, before the state got smooshed together into one at-large district.
• CT-05: Random rich guy Mark Greenberg, who finished third in the GOP primary in the 5th this year (although with nearly 30% of the vote), says he'll be running again in 2012. Added incentive: he says he expects this to be an open seat as Chris Murphy runs for Senate.
• FL-17: Newly elected Frederica Wilson is already challenging the old ways of the House... going after the long-standing prohibition against wearing hats on the House floor. She says it's "sexist," saying that women's indoor hat use is different from men's. Wilson owns at least 300 hats, she says. (If Regina Thomas ever makes it to the House, maybe the Hat Caucus can gain some momentum.)
• MD-01: Recently-defeated Frank Kratovil seems like one of the likeliest losses to run again in 2012, especially since the Dem-controlled Maryland legislature is likely to serve him up a much Dem-friendlier district (as many of our in-house mapmakers have suggested). He isn't saying yes yet, but says he will "consider" it.
• NH-02: Another possible re-run is Ann McLane Kuster, who performed pretty well in a narrow loss to Charlie Bass in the open 2nd. There have been lots of Beltway rumors that her run is imminent, and some are pointing to encouragement straight from the White House for her to try again.
• NY-01: We've essentially finished the absentee ballot count, and the news is very good here: Tim Bishop, after leading by only 15 last night, is now leading by a comparatively-gargantuan 235 with all absentees counted. However, we're nowhere near a resolution, as attention now turns to the court battle over 2,000 challenged ballots (Randy Altschuler has challenged 1,261, while Bishop has challenged 790). Still, Bishop's spokesperson is saying they're "very confident" that they've won this one.
• NY-23: Yeesh, Bill Owens is actually saying he might vote for John Boehner for Speaker or abstain instead of Nancy Pelosi when it comes to a floor vote, saying Pelosi is too liberal. (This despite saying he voted for her, rather than Heath Shuler, in the caucus vote.) Also, not that it matters at this point, but this race wound up being closer than the Election Day count indicated: Matt Doheny picked up 1,982 previously-unknown votes in the recanvass of Fulton County, taking Owens' margin down to 1,795 overall, and making it all the clearer that we owe this victory entirely to 3rd-party bearer-of-cat-fud Doug Hoffman.
• Odds and ends: The Fix has a massive list of people considering rematches in 2012, most of which we've already dealt with before (including Kuster and Kratovil, above). Other names that we haven't listed include Brad Ellsworth (either for Gov, Senate, or his old IN-08), Christine O'Donnell in Delaware (not unexpected, since she runs every 2 years anyway), Glenn Nye, and Allen Boyd (despite his losing very thoroughly to Steve Southerland).
• AL-St. House: The inevitable realignment at the legislative level in Alabama finally happened, and happened all at once instead of slow drips. Four conservative Democrats in the state House changed to the GOP, bringing the GOP numbers up to not just a majority but a supermajority in one fell swoop. The Madison County (Huntsville) Clerk also announced her switch, too.
• CA-AG: At this point, it's all over but the shouting in the AG race, as Kamala Harris now leads Steve Cooley by 43,000 votes (with 500K votes still left to count). While the AP hasn't called it, LA Weekly has decided it's a done deal.
• Chicago mayor: Roland Burris has aparently thrown his well-traveled hat into the ring for the Chicago mayoral race, as he'll need a new job in a week or so. Supporters filed his candidate paperwork yesterday, the deadline for filing (although he has yet to officially say that he's running). Somehow, I can only see this helping Rahm Emanuel, by further splitting the African-American vote (already divided between Danny Davis and another ex-Senator, Carol Mosely Braun).
• Redistricting: There's been some sudden buzz about switching North Carolina to an independent redistricting commission (which, of course, has to do with the GOP seizing control of the state legislature). In what is not a surprise, though, the GOP has no interest in giving up its newfound power, saying that (despite a recent PPP poll showing wide support for such a commission) there isn't any time to move on the constitutional amendment that would create a commission (something that they generally supported up until, y'know, this month). Also on the redistricting front, check out the Fix's latest installment in its state-by-state series, focusing today on Indiana, where GOP control over the trifecta is likely to make things worse for IN-02's Joe Donnelly (just how much worse, we have yet to find out)... and, if they wanted to experiment with dummymanders, possibly IN-07's Andre Carson, too.
• Demographics: Here's some interesting demographic slice-and-dice from the Washington Post: Dems increased their vote share in big counties (500K+) from 49% in 1994 to 54% this year, but lost even further in smaller counties, from 43% in 1994 to 39% this year. The districts the GOP won were disproportionately older, whiter, and less educated. And on a related note, check out these maps and the interesting ways they represent population density around the U.S. Note any similarities between these maps and where Democratic votes are concentrated?
• 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.
• Weather: Forecasts today call for plagues of locusts in Arizona, frogs falling from the sky in Illinois, periodic blood showers in Pennsylvania, hellfire and brimstone in Ohio. Partly sunny in California.
• AK-Sen: The rumor mill over the last few days has had the NRSC turning its attentions back to Lisa Murkowski, whom they'd once shunned, seeing her as their best plan for holding Alaska as Joe Miller seems to lag. (Of course, they may have semi-consciously been doing that for weeks, running ads hitting Scott McAdams instead of hitting Murkowski.) Miller, for his part, is dismissive, saying he didn't need them to win the primary.
DC Dems are finally showing some interest here... maybe it was a conscious decision to avoid the taint of Washington in this race, or more likely it was just being blind to the possibility of a pickup here until the last moment. Bill Clinton is robocalling on McAdams' behalf, and the DSCC finally rolled out a TV ad here over the weekend (anti-Murkowski, not anti-Miller). Here's what's probably motivated them: the final Hays Research poll, this time on behalf of the DSCC (instead of the IBEW like the last ones). Its results: Miller 27, McAdams 26, "another candidate you have to write in" 25, and undecided 21. That's close. With the specter of analyzing tens of thousands of write-in ballots for intent, and the attendant legal challenges, it will almost assuredly be weeks before we have a winner in Alaska. UPDATE: Just got late word of yet another poll here, from yet another local pollster: Dittman. I don't know who, if anyone Dittman is working for, but they're pretty Murkowski-friendly results: Murko 37, Miller 26, McAdams 22.
• DE-Sen: Despite having essentially no chance of winning, somehow Christine O'Donnell got more media coverage than any other candidate this cycle, according to a Pew study. (Thanks, Gawker!) Of course, it's hard not to, when she provides us with so much good material, as with her closing argument fail: she'd planned on 30-minute blocks of TV time on the local Fox affiliate and on public access, but somehow neither happened, owing to miscommunication and flat-out never getting around to purchasing the time on Fox. A remarkable end to a remarkable campaign.
• PA-08: I imagine you'll be hearing a lot of stories today and in the following days about voter "suppression" (from the Dems) and "fraud" (from the GOP), but we're already getting a jump on it in the 8th: both sides are alleging irregularities in absentee ballots. 8,000 ballots have been sequestered at the Bucks County courthouse already, so assuming the margin is less than that, here's another one we can already expect to find its way into court.
To start with it may be worth highlighting the numbers from each of those previous three diaries.
SENATE - GOP +5
GOVERNORS - GOP +5
SENATE - GOP +6
GOVERNORS - GOP +7
SENATE - GOP +7
GOVERNORS - GOP +7
I call that a trend. And not a good one. Unfortunately these final projections continue that trend.
WA (Not at all confident here. And it will probably take several weeks to see if I'm right.)
NV (Polling could well be unreliable here but I have to go with it. Hope I'm wrong.)
CO (Bennet has held on well here but I suspect the year is too much for him.)
IL (Still possible that unexpected Dem turnout can save Alexi.)
PA (Sestak has closed fast but I don't think it will be quite enough.)
CA (This one was a worry at times but I think most of us always felt confident enough.)
WV (Still say he was crazy to push for an election this year but it looks like Manchin will get away with it.)
WI (Poor campaign from Feingold but may not have mattered. His principles are both admirable and frustrating all at the same time.)
AK (Murkowski likely pulls it off but weird things happen up there. No result of the three would shock me.)
DE (Chris Coons will be my favorite Dem Senate Freshman. Not that there is much competition.)
CT (Another that caused a few nerves but the fundamentals always suggested retention.)
MO (The state may be trending away but I think, like many before her, Robin will be back.)
NH (Many say Hodes ran a poor campaign. I don't buy it. The year made it impossible here with so many indies.)
KY (Paul would have won even without Conway ad own goal. At least he will be entertaining.)
OH (Nobody was beating Portman this year with all that cash.)
FL (Rubio may or may not be a national figure in waiting but Crist is certainly done on that front.)
NC (Biggest recruiting fail of the cycle but even someone like Cooper may have struggled with the environment.)
IN (Surprisingly lackluster campaign from Ellsworth.)
AR (The state has finally broken to join the rest of the region in becoming Republican.)
LA (Vitter is scum but the electorate down their think Obama is scummier.)
ND safely in the GOP column.
OR (Kitzhaber turned things around just in time.)
VT (If Rasmussen says Shumlin is leading I'm more than happy to believe him for once.)
FL (Biggest consolation prize of the night.)
CT (Late momentum for Foley probably keeps this Republican.)
OH (Strickland may well yet pull this out. Would be a another great consolation prize.)
IL (Can turnout save Quinn? Probably not but possible.)
CA (Money can't buy you love and all that. Always preferred nostalgia myself.)
MN (I wonder what would have happened here without the perennial third wheel?)
MA (Very impressed with Patrick's recovery. Cahill makes little difference in the end.)
HI (Abercrombie recovering from a few shaky polls.)
CO (Suspect Tancredo's ceiling is 45 percent.)
RI (Chafee ain't a Dem but Caprio makes him as good as.)
NH (Nature of the year that this ended as close as it did.)
PA (D, R, D, R. Like clockwork.)
TX (Very hopeful White has another run in him.)
GA (Environment means no return for Barnes despite Deal's ethical issues.)
NM (Denish weighed down by Richardson and national environment but Martinez a good nominee anyway.)
WI (Barrett never could shake bad environment and Doyle's unpopularity.)
SC (Tighter than many expected but Haley wins nevertheless.)
ME (Hoping Cutler can pull a shocker here but probably not.)
MD (Senator O'Malley in the future perhaps? Maybe the cabinet?)
NY (I suspect Paladino may well cost the GOP some House seats.)
AR (Beebe bucks the tide quite easily.)
NV (One Reid was quite enough already.)
MI (Figure that Bernero may out perform the polls a little but still won't get close.)
AZ (Hating Brown people saves Brewer her job.)
OK (Nobody really ever expected to be even remotely competitive here did they?)
IA (Culver may well have lost to any Republican. He never had a chance agianst Branstad.)
TN (There are many worse people than Haslam that could be winning this for Republicans.)
KS (I do wonder if this would have been competitive in a better year. Parkinson may even have had an outside shot this year.)
AL (Sparksmania didn't quite materialize.)
ID (Otter polls surprisingly weak once again but that hardly matters up here.)
AK (Ethan Berkowitz meet Tony Knowles. You have much in common.)
WY safely in the GOP column.
SENATE - GOP +8
GOVERNORS - GOP +7
• KY-Sen: The Beltway chattering class seems to have either moved on from "Aqua Buddha," or taken it as a given that it just backfired on Jack Conway. Josh Green at the Atlantic does some actual, y'know, reporting on what's happening on the ground, though, and finds that the ad (and its rebuttal), and their aftermath, are still completely driving the conversation in Kentucky. Local GOP pols still seem to think that Rand Paul will squeak by in the end, but it's thrown him deeply off message and the refusal to debate again doesn't look good on him. (UPDATE: Actually, Greg Sargent just reported that the Conway camp is taking down the Aqua Buddha ad. To clarify "taking down," though, this was a planned move, as it reached the end of its original run, to be replaced by this sales tax ad.)
• PA-Sen: Barack Obama will be making a four-state swing through the east coast and midwest over the weekend prior to the election; one of the stopping spots will be Philadelphia, where he'll be doing a canvassing event. He'll also be doing rallies in Chicago, Cleveland, and Bridgeport, Connecticut (indicating they're still leaving nothing to chance with Richard Blumenthal).
• CA-Gov: Meg Whitman breaking self-funding records has become something of a dog-bites-man story around here, but one more for old times sake: she spent $23 million in the first half of October, bringing her all-cycle total to $163 million. Jerry Brown, by contrast, spent $14.6 million in that period, bringing his all-cycle spending to $25 million.
• CO-Gov: I doubt this is much of a game-changer, but it may help flip a few more Colorado Springs area votes in Tom Tancredo's direction (if there were any Dan Maes supporters left there). Rep. Doug Lamborn became perhaps the most prominent elected Republican in Colorado to publicly come out in support of Tancredo, rather than Maes.
• MN-Gov: The RGA must be seeing something the polls aren't telling them, because they're still fighting till the end in Minnesota. (Of course, if one committee has money to throw at unlikely races and see what sticks, it's the RGA.) They just gave $1 million to third party group Minnesota Future to run more anti-Mark Dayton (and probably anti-Tom Horner) ads. (You may remember Minnesota Future from the whole Target contribution controversy. Interestingly, Hubbard Broadcasting, owner of local TV station KSTP, also was just identified as having given $25K to Minnesota Future. Y'know, because they're part of that liberal lamestream media.)
• FL-24: And here I'd thought we'd dodged something of a bullet when Karen Diebel got sent packing to spent more time guarding her swimming pool. Sandy Adams, who seems likely to be the next Representative for the Space Coast, has come out in favor of the "biblical teachings" rather than the theory of evolution. I look forward to hearing her proposals for a faith-based space program next.
• ID-01: The Tea Party Express finally endorsed Raul Labrador in the 1st. However, that comes only after they tried to endorse Democratic incumbent Walt Minnick as their token Dem fig-leaf and he rejected the endorsement (over racist statements by one of their, at the time, key members).
• Early voting: Ohio Democrats are pointing to an edge in early voting, where they're leading 44 percent to 34 percent for Republicans in votes cast so far. The Republicans are claiming the edge after three days of early voting in Florida, with a 148,000 vote edge, although Dems pointed out that was about where the numbers were in the 2006 election.
• Redistricting: Here's a good counterpoint to several articles that have shrugged off the possible large Republican advantage on the redistricting front coming out of this election, one that actually looks at the actual number of House seats that are likely to be influenced. Extrapolating likely control of state governorships and legislatures, the GOP will have "untrammeled" control over 125 House seats while Dems will control only 62, a worse outcome than 1990 or 2000. (43 are in commission-based states or at-large states, with 205 drawn by divided governments.)
• Chamber of Commerce: This article was been making the rounds, but it's a must-read if you haven't already done so and you're interested in the "dark money" that's swamping the transparent money, this cycle more than ever. The NYT digs into what corporations are using the national Chamber of Commerce as a pass-through for their contributions, including Prudential, Dow Chemical, and Dutch insurer Aegon.
• SSP TV:
• AZ-Sen: This looks like John McCain's last ad, as it's a soft-focus closing argument type of spot
• CO-Sen: The League of Conservation Voters hits Ken Buck on environmental issues
• DE-Sen: Here's the first Chris Coons ad to take on Christine O'Donnell directly, saying she lives in the "Twilight Zone"
• NV-Sen: Harry Reid rolls out endorsements from various local business leaders in his newest ad
• WA-Sen: Waiting until the end to go after Dino Rossi for his anti-abortion stance seems to be tradition now, in order to swing any last-minute moderate women who haven't decided, and the DSCC piles on
• HI-Gov: Barack Obama, fresh off his Colleen Hanabusa spot, also cuts an ad touting Neil Abercrombie
• RI-Gov: The DGA keeps pounding on Lincoln Chafee over the tax hikes he'd like (I've also heard the RGA is buying an ad here on behalf of John Robitaille, though I haven't seen a link)
• WV-03: Ewwww... Spike Maynard plays the terrorist card against Arab-American Rep. Nick Rahall
• MoveOn: MoveOn seems to have saved their powder for one huge blast at the end, running ads in eight Senate races and 20 House races (here's their WI-08 ad), helping only Dems who voted in favor of HCR
• Sierra Club: The Sierra Club is out with ads boosting Democratic incumbents in FL-22, MI-07, and AZ-08 • 60+ Assoc.: The AARP's evil doppelganger is running two spots, a two-fer in Arizona hitting both Raul Grijalva and Gabby Giffords, and... here's a new one... Solomon Ortiz in TX-27
• MN-Gov: Mark Dayton (D) 44%, Tom Emmer (R) 41%, Tom Horner (I) 10%
• NY-Gov: Andrew Cuomo (D) 51%, Carl Paladino (R) 37%
• NY-Sen: Charles Schumer (D-inc) 59%, Jay Townsend (R) 31%
• SD-AL: Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D-inc) 44%, Kristi Noem (R) 49%
• AK-Sen: I thought Joe Miller (last seen praising the COMMUNISTS!!1! in East Germany for their wall-building skills) wasn't going to talk about his personal life anymore (i.e. personal stuff like his on-the-job politicking while working for the borough of Fairbanks)? Well, now he is, and he's openly admitted on CNN that he was disciplined by the borough for an ethical violation. "John, I'll admit I'm a man of many flaws," he said. Apparently one of those flaws was using his various co-workers' computers while they were away for lunch to rig an online poll intended to displace Randy Ruedrich as state GOP chair, then wiping out their caches to cover his tracks, then getting caught when the wiped caches were discovered. Miller said he was reprimanded and docked pay as a result. However he maintains the incident had nothing to do with his departure from the office a year and a half later (which others maintain was imminently before he was about to be fired). So... a guy is possibly about to go from not being able to hack it as a contract attorney for a city of about 25,000, to a Senator, in the space of about a year? Geez, only in America.
• CT-Sen: Linda McMahon's no slouch either on the self-funding front: she loaned herself $20 million last quarter, bringing her all-cycle total to $41.5 million. (No word, of course, on how much of that $20 million actually has been or will be spent.) Meg Whitman was heard sniffing disdainfully and saying McMahon should call once she reaches the eight digits.
• DE-Sen: Sometimes, it's best to keep your mouth shut and let everyone assume you're a fool, rather than open your mouth and categorically prove it. The highlight of last night's debate:
Republican Senate nominee Christine O'Donnell of Delaware on Tuesday questioned whether the Constitution calls for a separation of church and state, appearing to disagree or not know that the First Amendment bars the government from establishing religion....
"The First Amendment establishes the separation, the fact that the federal government shall not establish religion," Coons said.
"The First Amendment does?" O'Donnell interrupted. "You're telling me that the separation of church and state is found in the First Amendment?"
• KY-Sen: With Aqua Buddha suddenly back dominating coverage of this race, no one's really stopped to ask Aqua Buddha lady what she thinks of all this. She thinks that Jack Conway's ad's tone is over-the-top, but agrees with the fundamentals, that it's an accurate reflection of Rand Paul's past views and that he should acknowledge that he's just changed his religious views since then (instead of playing the victim).
• MA-Sen: Wait, the 2010 election hasn't happened yet? Still not too early to talk about 2012. Rep. Mike Capuano, runner-up in the Dem primary in the special election and considered the likeliest opponent against Scott Brown in two years, is openly "mulling" the race, although his official line is "Talk to me in December."
• NV-Sen: We finally have some confirmation on what we'd suspected, regarding Sharron Angle's burn rate, thanks to Salon's crack team. She may have raised $14 million, but she also spent $5.3 million on direct mail expenses last quarter in order to get that money. $920K of that went to BaseConnect and its affiliates, with $1.5 million to somebody called Patton-Kiehl, who seemed responsible for the actual printing and postage. Another $4 million went to TV ads, leaving her with the $4 million CoH she reported.
• MD-Gov: This one looks closer and closer to being wrapped up in favor of Martin O'Malley. On top of today's Gonzales poll, there's also news that the RGA is scaling things back in Maryland, planning to spend less than $200K for Bob Ehrlich in the final two weeks. O'Malley may also benefit from an across-the-aisle endorsement (although it's from a figure who's committed his fair share of apostasies): ex-Rep. Wayne Gilchrest gave him his backing today.
• MN-Gov: Here's one more across-the-aisle endorsement (the only kind we'd bother reporting on, at this stage in the game). Tom Horner, the Independence Party candidate in Minnesota, got an endorsement from Mike Ciresi, a wealthy attorney who you might remember from losing the 2000 DFL Senate primary to Mark Dayton (wonder if there are any hard feelings there?) and ran again for Senate in 2008 but dropped out pre-convention. That may make things a smidge harder for Dayton, who needs Horner to draw votes mostly from the R column.
• AL-02: This has to be one of the weirdest IEs of the cycle: Blue America is spending in AL-02 of all places, and they're spending $48K against Bobby Bright. I guess they hate Blue Dogs just that much.
• FL-22: You know, if you're fighting allegations that you have links to the outlaw biker gang conveniently known as the Outlaws, probably the best way to do that is by not having bikers providing security at your rallies. Well, that's what happened at an Allen West appearance, where bikers physically drove off a Ron Klein tracker. Video is available at the link. (At least "Sympathy for the Devil" wasn't playing in the background.)
• NC-07: Here's some interesting scuttlebutt out of the 7th, where Mike McIntyre is joining the I-won't-vote-for-Pelosi brigade but where he's also saying that he's heard that she won't be running for Speaker again. (That would, of course, presume having a majority; no word on whether he's heard if she plans on running for minority leader.) Relatedly, even Mike McMahon, who's looking like a good bet to survive his red-leaning district this year, is now sounding noncommittal but at least Pelosi-skeptical.
• OR-04: Wondering who the mysterious Concerned Taxpayers of America are, who've trained most of their advertising firepower on Peter DeFazio, turning this into at least a mildly competitive race? Well, it turns out there's a grand total of two of them, each of whom has ponied up hundreds of thousands of dollars. One of them, Robert Mercer, appears to be the one with the beef against DeFazio, probably because he's a hedge fund manager and takes issue with DeFazio's leadership on taxing major hedge-fund transactions.
• VA-05: I guess demanding the moon and the sun when you make your initial offer in a negotiating session is a good strategy, but independent teabagger Jeffrey Clark may have taken that ridiculously far in his attempts to negotiate a dropout from the race and an endorsement for GOP candidate Robert Hurt. Clark offered to drop out if he got the chance to debate Hurt one-on-one, and then if subsequent polling didn't have him at 25% of the vote! Hurt has refused to appear any at any debates where Clark is included, and doesn't seem any likelier to do so now.
• WA-08: I know it's fashionable to paint Dave Reichert as not being one of the sharpest tools in the shed, but it's hard not to do so when he gives you so much material: at a forum with opponent Suzan DelBene, confessed in response to a question that he wasn't familiar with the Glass-Steagall Act. (The resurrection of Glass-Steagall was one of the main things being debated as part of the financial reform package passed this year.)
• DCCC: Here's some activity from the D-Trip that doesn't bode well: they've started going on the air in NC-11 for Heath Shuler, previously thought safe based on most of the polling we've seen so far but has been in the crosshairs of a lot of third-party advertising from folks like Americans for Job Security. (NWOTSOTB.) They're also increasing their buys in the coming weeks in neighboring districts SC-05 (John Spratt) and NC-07 (Mike McIntyre). Also, file this under a sorta-kinda triage decision: the DCCC is cutting off ads in NM-02, on behalf of Harry Teague. Chris Van Hollen says they're leaving Teague in "great position," which (shades of Steve Kagen here) is probably code for "he's personally wealthy" and it's time for him to buy his own bandaids.
• Polltopia: PPP is letting you choose an unprecedented six states to poll in, as part of their final round of polling. They must be renting some extra robots, because they're planning to poll 18 different states the week before the election, although 12 states (basically, the most obvious ones) are already locked in. Go vote!
• SSP TV:
• CA-Sen: EMILY's List is out with a TV spot featuring an opera guy singing a ditty about Carly Fiorina (and her time as Hewlett-Packard CEO)
• NV-Sen: Both the DSCC and NRSC are out with ads; the DSCC says that while you're angry, don't take it out by voting for Sharron Angle, while the GOP says Harry Reid lives in a fancy hotel and parties with supermodels
• WA-Sen: One of the Dems' few big-money behind-the-scenes groups, Commonsense Ten, looks at Dino Rossi's cozy connections
• WV-Sen: Joe Manchin's new ad just flat out says "John Raese uses people"
• CA-Gov: Too bad this is only a Jerry Brown web ad, because it's one of the most effective ones we've seen this cycle: it ties Meg Whitman to unpopular Arnold Schwarzenegger, matching them quote for quote (UPDATE: Good news, everybody! The ad is going to be running on television, despite its one-minute length! It's that good.)
• TX-Gov: Bill White's new ad hits Rick Perry on his rental mansion
• SC-02: Joe "Yewwwwww Laaaaaah!" Wilson talks about dodging mortar fire in his newest ad (mortar fire that apparently landed on the other end of the airport while on what Rob Miller has been calling a Congressional junket, but that's OK)
• TX-17: Here's a sign that Chet Edwards has done something to show that he's stemmed the bleeding (or at least that he called in some serious favors), as the DCCC's back on the air here with an effective ad about bailout funds for Bill Flores' oil company
• Original recipe Rasmussen:
• KY-Sen: Jack Conway (D) 42%, Rand Paul (R) 47%
• MI-Gov: Virg Bernero (D) 34%, Rick Snyder (R) 54%
• NV-Gov: Rory Reid (D) 37%, Brian Sandoval (R) 56%
• Extra crispy Rasmussen (aka Fox/Pulse):
• CA-Gov: Jerry Brown (D) 48%, Meg Whitman (R) 43%
• CA-Sen: Barbara Boxer (D-inc) 48%, Carly Fiorina (R) 44%
• CO-Gov: John Hickenlooper (D) 40 45%, Dan Maes (R) 10%, Tom Tancredo (C) 45 40%
• CO-Sen: Michael Bennet (D-inc) 45%, Ken Buck (R) 46%
• MO-Sen: Robin Carnahan (D) 43%, Roy Blunt (R) 49%
• OH-Gov: Ted Strickland (D-inc) 43%, John Kasich (R) 49%
• WV-Sen: Joe Manchin (D) 45%, John Raese (R) 48%