• CT-Sen: Murphmentum! Rep. Chris Murphy, in the race to replace Joe Lieberman, seems to have a sizable early edge in both the primary and general elections, at least according to his internal poll from the Gotham Research Group (with a Jan. 3-5 sample period, so pre-Murphy's campaign launch and pre-Lieberman's retirement). In the primary, he leads a two-way race against Susan Bysiewicz, 40-31. In the general, he leads Linda McMahon 54-35 and leads Rob Simmons 46-34 (which is quite the testament to McMahon's toxicity). The spread on the primary numbers is close to the 47-35 mystery poll that was widely mentioned on Murphy's announcement day, although the Murphy campaign reiterates that that poll wasn't theirs.
• MN-Sen: Norm Coleman (currently heading American Action Network, who were big players on the dark money front in 2010) is saying that he's not ruling out another run for office, although couching that by saying he's enjoying being out of the news on a regular basis. No indication what he wants to run for, though.
• MO-Sen: Here's one more name to add to the list for Missouri... or to add back to the list, after briefly being off the list while the pursued the chairmanship of the RNC. Ann Wagner, a former ambassador to Luxembourg, former RNC vice-chair, and former campaign manager to Roy Blunt (can't get much more GOP establishment than that resume), is publicly weighing the race again. (She says she'd defer to Jim Talent, though, but that's looking less likely.) And here's an early endorsement for Ed Martin, the former MO-03 candidate who's emerging as something of the tea party favorite in the field, if he decides to run; he got the endorsement of Phyllis Schlafly, Missouri-based 80s right-wing icon who still has a lot of pull in social conservative circles.
• OH-Sen: Rep. Jim Jordan is back in the news for saying that he's "leaning against" a run against Sherrod Brown. If I recall correctly, he's been "leaning against" the race for months, so things don't seem to have changed much here.
• LA-Gov: Louisiana Democrats seem to be turning their attention toward something that's previously eluded them: a potentially willing candidate to go up against Bobby Jindal. Former SoS Al Ater, well-regarded for getting the state electoral system back in gear after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, still sounds pretty noncommittal, perhaps most about the idea of spending his own money on the race (self-financing seems to be the Dems' main criteria for the race, and while Ater has money, he doesn't sound happy about spending much of it).
• IA-03: Christie Vilsack is seemingly moving toward a run for the House in 2012, meeting with donors and labor leaders to lay some groundwork. This seems strange, though, because all three of the state's House Dems say they're running for re-election, including 77-year-old Leonard Boswell. (Vilsack would be likeliest to run in the 3rd, or whatever the Des Moines-area district will be called once redistricting happens.) She won't make a formal decision until April, when the new four-district redistricting maps will be unveiled, but for now it looks like, unless she's going to run against Steve King, there's a collision course with an existing Dem.
• Chicago mayor: Fresh off a surprising setback in the Illinois Appellate Court, which reversed lower court rulings that he was a Chicago resident and eligible to become mayor, Rahm Emanuel has appealed to the state Supreme Court; they've announced they'll hear the case on an expedited basis, with no oral arguments, so we should be out of limbo pretty soon. There was a brief period where it looked like the city was going to go ahead and start printing ballots without Emanuel's name (which would basically be the kiss of death), but also today, a stay was ordered that pushes back the ballot printing until the case is fully decided. Also, in case you though this was all just about a legitimate case of differences in statutory interpretation, with grownups disagreeing about what an inadequately-specific law means, guess again. (Forget it, Jake. It's Chicago.) It turns out that two of the three Appellate Court judges on the case were slated by the 14th district Alderman Edward Burke, a local powerbroker who's a staunch Emanuel rival and a key Gery Chico backer. This leads to the question of whether supreme court justice Anne Burke, who may have a certain loyalty to Edward seeing as how she's married to him, will recuse herself from the Emanuel case.
• Omaha mayor: There's one special election on tap today: a recall election in Omaha, against mayor Jim Suttle. There's no scandal or malfeasance alleged, just anger about over usual teabagger grievances like "excessive taxes, broken promises, and union deals," as well as the unspoken obvious: while it's an ostensibly nonpartisan job, Suttle's a Democrat. (Omaha seems particularly trigger-happy about recalls; Mike Boyle was successfully recalled in 1987.)
• Senate: Somehow it doesn't seem unusual, but what George Allen is attempting (and what Jim Talent could attempt, too) is, in fact, highly unusual. Only five Senators have lost re-election and then come back to the Senate... but most of them (Slade Gorton most recently) were elected to their state's other Senate seat. What Allen is doing is even more unusual: defeating the guy who beat you six years ago in order to reclaim your seat seems to have happened all of once in history. Thanks to UMN's Smart Politics, it looks like the one time was in 1934, when Rhode Island Democrat Peter Gerry (the great-grandson of Elbridge Gerry, in case you're wondering) beat one-term Republican Felix Hebert, who had knocked him out in the GOP tsunami of 1928.
• DGA: The Democratic Governor's Association announced its new hires for the cycle, including the Patriot Majority's Dan Sena as its political director. We're especially happy to see their new hire for communication director: friend-to-the-site Lis Smith, last seen on Ted Strickland's campaign.
• Redistricting: There's some redistricting-related drama looming in New York, where the Senate Republicans are backing away from promises of a non-partisan redistricting map. Andrew Cuomo has signaled that he'd veto any map that wasn't non-partisan, but is now suggesting he can negotiate on that, in exchange for other priorities. There was also a smaller battle in Georgia, won by Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle (who, in his role as Senate president, got to reassert his authority over the process), where the stakes are lower since the GOP controls the trifecta. The battle was against Senate president pro tem Tommie Williams... Williams is from the south (unlike Nathan Deal, Cagle, and the House speaker, all from the north) and has a stake in keeping the underpopulated southern part of the state's interests represented at the table.
One of the big question marks for redistricting is Florida, where the initiative that passed, limiting gerrymandering, still has to run the gauntlet in the courts; the GOP in the state House are joining the suit against the initiative that was filed jointly by Mario Diaz-Balart and Corrine Brown (not surprising that they'd support it, since the GOP controls the trifecta and the legislature would get to resume gerrymandering if it's struck down). Finally, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette takes a look at Pennsylvania redistricting prospects, concluding (rightly, in my estimation) that the axe is likely to fall in the southwest corner of the state because of its stagnant population, and suggesting that the likeliest removal from the House will be the loser of a Jason Altmire/Mark Critz mashup.
• 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.
• MA-Sen: Well, that was a nice week off from forward-looking horse-race reporting. On to 2012: one of the first Dem names being floated as a potential challenger to Scott Brown is someone I'd never heard of till now, but who seems to have 'rock star' frequently appended to his name: Setti Warren, the mayor of the very affluent yet very liberal suburb of Newton. Warren, who is African-American, has been mayor of the city of 93,000 (which is 3% black) for only a year.
• NV-Sen: In case it just wasn't clear what an astoundingly well-handled re-election effort came from Harry Reid's camp this year, check out Jon Ralston's re-cap. He recounts how the groundwork was laid years ago, lopping off potential challengers until the weakest one was left standing, details the post-primary ad blast that defined Angle permanently, and also goes into how Reid's team never lost faith that their own internal polls (the same ones Ralston saw) were right and the public polls were wrong.
And then there's the 2012 race, already fascinating, with the first question being whether the unpopular and impoverished John Ensign even tries to run again. The LVRJ looks at the four top Dem contenders and six potential GOP challengers as well, including (could lightning strike twice?) Sharron Angle. The article also looks at potential musical chairs and open seats in the House, given the imminent creation of a Dem-leaning NV-04 and the possibility of multiple House members running for Senate.
• UT-Sen: One guy who shouldn't feel too confident going into 2012 is Orrin Hatch, despite his state's GOP lean: Bob Bennett's death by teabagging is a huge red flag, and now a poll from Mason-Dixon for the Salt Lake Tribune has him at a 40% re-elect, with 48% saying "someone else." (Of course, that 48% no doubt includes both Dems and Tea Partiers.) No head-to-head numbers in the general or primary, though.
• VA-Sen: Jim Webb has sounded notably ambivalent about the prospect of a run for re-election in 2012; it's also been evident in his fundraising so far. A recent interview has him still continuing that tone, say he's "still sorting that out" and seeing him venting about the White House.
• WV-Sen: I suspect this isn't likely to have the desired effect, but it certainly can't hurt them to ask: the GOP is already leaning on newly-elected West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin to change parties. They're offering him his pick of committee assignments (in the minority, natch) and citing the difficulty of running downticket from Obama in 2012 in WV.
• CA-Gov: Here's a nice bit of early perceptions-setting: Jerry Brown has ditched the offer of swank transition headquarters on Sacramento's K Street (apparently Sacto has its own K St. that serves a similar purpose?) in favor of keeping operations at his old campaign HQ in Oakland. Shades of the old Plymouth Duster from 35 years ago! (Although it's worth noting that the Duster, though considered an econobox at the time, today holds a minor place in the muscle car pantheon.)
• IN-Gov: So this Mike Pence for Governor thing may not be a done deal yet. Moving to Gov was clearly done with an eye toward an eventual run for President (as nobody, if you're not named James Garfield, gets elected Prez straight out of the House). But he still seems to be gauging the possibility of a 2012 run straight from the House, buoyed by his popularity at the last Value Voters Summit and the lack of a dominant player in the current GOP field. He says he'll make a decision by the end of the year.
• MT-Gov: This small state will have a big gubernatorial race in 2012, with Brian Schweitzer term-limited. Former Republican Rep.-at-large Rick Hill has just announced he's running; Hill served from 1997 to 2000 before retiring because of health issues which he says have been resolved. Two other GOPers, former state Sens. Corey Stapleton and Ken Miller, are also running; no Dem has thrown his hat in yet.
• KY-AG: This could be an interesting matchup, of the Senate race that could have been. The Kentucky off-year elections are in just one year, and Trey Grayson (the SoS, and loser of the GOP Senate primary) is looking for a promotion of sorts, to AG. That would put him up against Dem Jack Conway (loser of the Seante general), who presumably will be running for re-election.
• DGA: One committee that can feel pleased with its mild overperformance (not that -5 seats is a good thing, of course, especially what with the heartbreaker in Florida, but there was some definite beating of the spread going on here) is the DGA. Director Nathan Daschle lays it out in a memo that's worth reading if you need something to feel good about, pointing out that the GOP's gain is explicable purely by the races that the DGA didn't financially contest (KS, MI, OK, TN, and WY).
• Leadership: It looks like we can call off the Pete Sessions Deathwatch. He'll be back for another term at the helm of the NRCC (after abandoning plans to run for majority whip, which looks like it'll fall effortlessly to Kevin McCarthy). Whether he can maintain the NRCC's gains this next cycle will be the real test of Sessions' abilities; although he'll get some aid from redistricting, there's an awful lot of deadwood washed up on the beach that'll need protecting. Also, John Cornyn will almost certainly also be back at the NRSC, eager to finish what he got halfway through this cycle.
Meanwhile, as we mentioned last night, the DSCC chair is the hot potato that no one, even Charles Schumer, wants to hold. The main unresolved issue for the Dems is the minority whip race, which pits Steny Hoyer and Jim Clyburn against each other in the #2 spot on the truncated leadership ladder in the minority. Surpisingly, it seems like Hoyer may (despite what looks like Nancy Pelosi efforts to box him out) be able to pull this out, given some crossover support from many members of Pelosi's camp (notably Ed Markey and Jerry Nadler). Progressive Caucus leadership (like Lynn Woolsey and Raul Grijalva) has lined up behind Clyburn, though. Here's one weird suggestion for breaking the stalemate (from Jesse Jackson Jr.): both should get out of the whip race, and co-run the DCCC together (which, with Chris Van Hollen out, is also without a head right now).
• IL-Sen: Serial exaggerator Mark Kirk has a new one on his hands: he was previously claiming that he was the driving force behind a bill that cracked down on companies that do business with Iran (but that got turned into a Howard Berman bill so it could pass the Democratic House, says Kirk). Berman says that's not the case at all, and that his committee didn't even consider the Kirk version of the bill.
• NV-Sen: Sharron Angle had possibly the weirdest ever visit to a group of Latino high school students, first telling them that those weren't supposed to be Latinos in her ad featuring scary-looking dark-skinned persons crossing the border. Maybe those are actually Arabs, and maybe they're crossing the Canadian border, she mused? She then turned the tables back on the students, saying that "I don't know that all of you are Latino. Some of you look a little more Asian to me." Asian like... Middle Eastern terrorists, maybe? With Sharron Angle speaking, who even knows?
• IL-Gov: Whitey no more? Green Party candidate "Rich Whitey" will apparently get ballots in select Chicago wards changed back to his actual (and preferred) name, Rich Whitney. Apparently there was enough time to reprogram all the machines if crews work overtime.
• SC-Gov: I'm not sure whose side to take here: on the one hand, it's good to see the DNC putting money into the late-breaking South Carolina governor's race, where internals see it as a mid-single-digits race and a real opportunity now. On the other hand, South Carolina Dems just sound pissed, saying the $100K expenditure is too little too late (which is probably true).
• CA-03: Here's an eye-catching independent expenditure: American Crossroads (aka Rove, Inc.) is pouring $682K into a TV buy against Ami Bera in the 3rd. That would tend to support the idea that Dan Lungren, who's lost the fundraising game to Bera every quarter, is also putting up some middling internals too.
• PA-07: Now this isn't good, especially this late in the game: the Pennsylvania state Teamsters suddenly revoked their endorsement of Bryan Lentz. There's no official word on what caused the rift, but it seems to relate back to Lentz's sponsorship of a bill that cracks down on construction firms that misclassify workers to avoid paying taxes.
• OH-St. House: The Cleveland Plain Dealer has a good profile of 10 of the most important races in one of our most important legislative chambers, where Dems have a small edge (53-46) and need to hold it for redistricting purposes. It's a mix of suburban Cleveland, suburban Columbus, and the rural southern part of the state.
• AFL-CIO: Here's an interesting memo out from the AFL-CIO's political director today suggesting that they've made a lot of under-the-radar progress in the last few weeks, redirecting members who weren't engaged or were flirting with the Republicans. In particular, Pennsylvania stands out, where they're finding that Joe Sestak now has a 55-26 lead among union members, up from only 45-39 at the start of September. They also point out that Joe Manchin now has a 40-point lead among union members in another union-heavy state, West Virginia.
• Early voting: Early voting gets underway today in Florida and Texas, along with five other smaller states. Adding in the states where voting has already started, that means the election is truly afoot in nearly half of all states.
• Debates: We're adding a new component to our digests: courtesy of our friends at C-SPAN, a list of all the debates that are on tap and on the air each night on C-SPAN. Because if you're reading this, we know you can't get enough politicking:
8 pm ET: WV-Sen
9 pm ET: WI-07
10 pm ET: IL-11
11 pm ET : AZ-05
• SSP TV:
• AK-Sen: Lisa Murkowski may be the only Republican running a pro-pork campaign, with her new ad talking about how Joe Miller will cut off the flow of federal funds to Alaska
• CO-Sen: Michael Bennet hits Ken Buck on Social Security privatization and his hardcore pro-life positions
• KY-Sen: Jack Conway moves quickly along from the 'Aqua Buddha' ad, turning the conversation back to mine safety, while Rand Paul continues to whine about it, spending an ad touting his Christian faith
• MO-Sen: Roy Blunt tries out a little Medicare sleight-of-hand (the whole HCR-cut-Medicare!!1! line)
• NH-Gov: The DGA, via local group Citizens for Strength and Security, hits John Stephen for retaining his campaign manager even after he received a restraining order for stalking
• NRCC: If you've ever wanted to watch 40+ Republican House ads in one sitting, here's your chance
• AK-Gov: Ethan Berkowitz (D) 39%, Sean Parnell (R-inc) 52%
• CO-Sen: Michael Bennet (D-inc) 45%, Ken Buck (R) 47%
• CT-Gov: Dan Malloy (D) 49%, Tom Foley (R) 45%
• HI-Sen: Dan Inouye (D-inc) 53%, Cam Cavasso (R) 40%
• MA-Gov: Deval Patrick (D-inc) 47%, Charlie Baker (R) 42%, Tim Cahill (I) 6%
• NV-Sen: Harry Reid (D-inc) 47%, Sharron Angle (R) 50%
• UT-Gov: Peter Corroon (D) 29%, Gary Herbert (R-inc) 66%
• UT-Sen: Sam Granato (D) 29%, Mike Lee (R) 54%
• WA-Sen: Patty Murray (D-inc) 49%, Dino Rossi (R) 46%
• AK-Sen: In the avalanche of various other acts of hypocrisy and self-dealing that have come out about Joe Miller in the last few weeks, somehow I missed this one: not only did he avail himself of low-income hunting and fishing licenses, but his family has received assistance from Medicaid and similar state-level Denali Kidcare. Somewhere, his most ardent supporters are hurling their copies of Atlas Shrugged into the fireplace in disgust, learning that their mighty Producer is nothing more than a parasite, weakly availing himself of every program under the sun designed to enslave man. (And somewhere, either heaven or Rick Barber's fevered imagination, James Madison is hurling his copy of the Federalist Papers into the fireplace, upset that this ostensible patriot is availing himself of such a plainly unconstitutional program.)
• DE-Sen: I think this had been made pretty clear few weeks ago, but Mike Castle reiterated it in as official terms as possible on CNN yesterday: he's not endorsing anybody in the Senate race.
• FL-Sen: Very-tanned centrist GOPer governors gotta stick together, and Arnold Schwarzenegger just gave his probably-not-worth-much backing to Charlie Crist yesterday. The Marco Rubio camp may have gotten the last laugh here, though:
"When it comes to inflicting 'Collateral Damage' on the economy, Charlie Crist and Arnold Schwarzenegger are definitely 'Twins.' Charlie's flip-flops have made him a master at telling 'True Lies.' We all know the only thing Charlie cares about is the next election. But this year, Florida will take an 'Eraser' to 'The Running Man.'" - Rubio campaign spokesman Alex Burgos, responding to Schwarzenegger's endorsement of Crist.
• PA-Sen: I wouldn't start popping the champagne cork (or even buy a bottle of champagne) yet, but the DSCC seems to be seeing some negative-ad-driven progress in Pennsylvania. They've released an internal poll, via Garin Hart Yang, that actually gives Joe Sestak the lead. He's up 44-42 over Pat Toomey, in a poll taken Oct. 8-10. With leaners pushed, Sestak expands to a 47-44 lead. No public pollster has seen anything like that (at least yet).
• WA-Sen: If you're wondering what's up with the huge disparities in Washington Senate numbers between the live-caller and auto-dialed polls, you're not alone. Nate Silver doesn't exactly have answers, pointing to unique Washington variables that confound pollsters, like its (almost entirely) vote-by-mail status and its large number of cellphone-only users. But he does have some interesting charts showing that Rasmussen and SurveyUSA have consistently overestimated GOP performance all decade long in Washington (while, at the same time, Elway has overestimated Dem performance).
• WV-Sen: Hot on the heels of PPP's poll showing Joe Manchin back in the lead, the DSCC is out with an internal poll showing similar numbers. The GQR poll from Oct. 7-12, the height of "hicky" mania, gives Manchin a 49-44 lead over John Raese, whose 40/38 faves lag Manchin's 63/28.
• CA-Gov: All previous political self-funding records are quickly receding in Meg Whitman's rearview mirror, as she just plowed another $20 million into her gubernatorial bid, bringing her all-cycle total to over $141 million.
• WV-Gov: I don't know what West Virginians' aversion to comprehensible succession laws is, but after emerging from the morass of how to replace Robert Byrd, now the legislature is grappling with what to do with the Governor position if Joe Manchin manages to win the Senate special election. Legislative lawyers say that unless the legislature takes some sort of action, Senate President Earl Ray Tomblin would take over as "acting governor" for the entire remainder of Manchin's term, until the regularly scheduled Nov. 2012 election... but that there would be two elections that day, one for the full four years and one for the lame-duck period.
• FL-25: I look forward to seeing David Rivera's explanation:
Over the past seven years, Republican state Rep. David Rivera repeatedly said in sworn documents that his main source of income, outside of his salary from the Legislature, came from consulting work he did for the U.S. Agency for International Development. But USAID has no record of ever hiring Rivera -- now a candidate for Congress -- or his company.
• KS-04: SurveyUSA has shown an unexpectedly close race (for an open seat in a dark-red district in this climate), with several polls in high single digits, so GOP nominee Mike Pompeo is offering some pushback with an internal from Cole Hargrave Snodgrass & Associates from Oct. 10-11. His poll gives him a 48-31 lead over Raj Goyle. (You may recall that this pollster works with the Club for Growth, and is responsible for highlights like this one. Senator Dick Zimmer vouches for their accuracy!)
• NY-24: Richard Hanna's out with an internal poll, courtesy of McLaughlin (no dates given by Politico, and with a big fat MoE of 5.6%). Hanna leads, but only by 46-43. Considering that Hanna is trying to push back against not a Mike Arcuri internal but an honest-to-gosh public poll (from Siena) with an Arcuri lead of 8, that seems like kind of weak sauce.
• MN-06: Today's fundraising highlight is that Michele Bachmann pulled in $5.4 million in the third quarter. Interestingly, it looks like she'll report "only" $3.4 million cash on hand, suggesting a similar phenomenon as Sharron Angle (for whom there weren't any CoH numbers at all), where there's a lot of churn going on not just for a TV blitz but also for widespread nationwide direct-mail marketing, which is expensive. (Just ask Joe Cao.) While these numbers certainly don't bode well as far as unseating Bachmann this year, the bright side is that's money that low-information voters might otherwise have given to GOP House challengers in tight races who could have actually leveraged that money a lot more effectively.
• TX-27: Even if you're a political junkie like us, yesterday's internal poll was probably the first you've ever heard of Blake Farenthold. The DCCC fills in some blanks, suggesting that you're probably not likely to hear too much about him in the future, either. He's somehow sitting on a negative $5K in cash, and... I'm not quite sure how this happened, but he appears on the front of what appears to be some sort of local tea party-oriented publication, in pajamas, in the company of what appears to be some sort of sex-industry professional (and not as an example of what not to do, but apparently because said publication is endorsing him). Yeah, I'm just as confused as you; you'll have to check out the link.
• WA-08: Ordinarily, we don't report on newspaper endorsements, since they don't seem to move many votes and are usually pretty predictable based on each paper's e-board leanings. We'll make an exception in this case, since Dave Reichert largely owes his continued existence to the Seattle Times, who've clung to him as, in their eyes, the last remaining exemplar of the old-style moderate Republicanism they fetishize. So it's a strange and wondrous thing to see them turning their back on him in favor of Suzan DelBene.
• Blue Dogs: CQ has an interesting piece about the yawning leadership gap at the Blue Dogs, where two of its key members, John Tanner and Dennis Moore, are skedaddling. It cites a number of possible new heads (most notably Allen Boyd and Jim Matheson), but there's a certain amount of cart-before-horse here, because the Blue Dogs are disproportionately in the crosshairs this cycle and it's unclear how many of the key ones (Boyd, especially, as well as Stephanie Herseth Sandlin) will even be back.
• DLCC: The DLCC is out with its third and probably final installment in its "Essential Races" series, pointing you (and your contribution dollars) toward 15 more legislators in key races that might determine chamber control in some of the most important state legislatures.
• Money: More evidence that the advantage by the Democratic committees and individual members was pretty illusory, given the myriad ways (527s and 501(c)(4)s, oh my) that the wealthy have to plow nearly-unlimited money into political races: an alliance of groups (Karl Rove's American Crossroads and Norm Coleman's American Action Network, as well as a new one, Commission on Hope, Growth, and Opportunity) is planning a $50 million ad blitz focused on some relatively underserved House races. This includes IN-02, CO-07, and even Maurice Hinchey's NY-22. (H/t Nathan Gonzales.)
• SSP TV:
• IL-Sen: Mark Kirk revisits the Broadway Bank yet again with his newest ad
• LA-Sen: A solid ad from Charlie Melancon, hitting David Vitter on outsourcing and cozying up to BP
• MO-Sen: Robin Carnahan tries some anti-Washington (including congressional pay raises) shots at Roy Blunt
• PA-Sen: VoteVets boosts Joe Sestak with a hit on Pat Toomey for voting against veterans' benefits
• CT-Gov: The RGA has a boilerplate attack ad on Dan Malloy as tax-raising career politician
• HI-Gov: It's not your imagination, this race is looking competitive, at least if the DGA is advertising here: they're out with an anti-Duke Aiona ad
• IL-Gov: Pat Quinn's new ad actually comes close to saying that Bill Brady will kill your dog if you vote for him.
• OH-Gov: Ted Strickland's ad goes back to the basics: hitting John Kasich on his outsourcing Wall Street ways
• SC-Gov: The RGA is having to advertise and staff up in SC-Gov, probably much to their chagrin, as this looks like it's turning into a real race: their new spot calls Vincent Sheheen liberal, morphs him into Obama, and does all the usual
• IL-17: The SEIU backs up one of labor's biggest backers in the House, Phil Hare, with a 10-day buy for $317K in the Quad Cities, for an ad hitting Bobby Schilling on free trade and outsourcing
• PA-06: Manan Trivedi's new ad goes after Jim Gerlach and 'special interests'
• PA-08: VoteVets is also out with a spot in the 8th, hitting Mike Fitzpatrick on veterans' benefits votes during his brief stay in Congress
• WI-03: The National Federation of Independent Business is out with a slew of new ads that includes softening up not-quite-top-tier Dem districts, with 10-day ad buys including not just WI-03 but also CA-11, CO-03, MO-03, NY-19, NY-23, PA-10, OH-16, and SC-05.
• ME-Gov: Libby Mitchell (D) 32%, Paul LePage (R) 35%, Eliot Cutler (I) 21%
• NH-Gov: John Lynch (D-inc) 53%, John Stephen (R) 43%
• NV-Sen: Harry Reid (D-inc) 48%, Sharron Angle (R) 49%
• OH-Gov: Ted Strickland (D-inc) 45%, John Kasich (R) 48%
• OR-Sen: Ron Wyden (D) 52%, Jim Huffman (R) 36%
• WV-Sen: Joe Manchin (D) 46%, John Raese (R) 49%
• CO-Sen: This probably doesn't count as an October Surprise since it made a big media impression five years ago, but it's suddenly popped back into view, and making things dicier for Ken Buck, already on the wrong end of a sizable gender gap in the polls. Buck refused to prosecute a rape case as Weld Co. DA five years ago (despite the police having recommended charges), and the alleged victim is now back in the news. She has a taped recording of their meeting (transcript available at the link) in which he seems to blame the victim and suggest that the case wouldn't pass muster with a jury.
• FL-Sen: Mason-Dixon (10/4-6, likely voters, 9/20-22 in parens):
Kendrick Meek (D): 21 (23)
Marco Rubio (R): 42 (40)
Charlie Crist (I): 27 (28)
With Marco Rubio way ahead, it looks like a Kendrick Meek dropout (rumored on Friday) and a cobbling-together of some sort of Meek/Crist hybrid cyborg would be the only way for the non-Rubio forces to get an advantage in this race. However, Meek's definitely not acting like a man who's dropping out, if getting the president of the United States to cut a radio ad for you is any indication.
• WV-Sen: Remember that "hicky" ad that the NRSC ran, and then promptly got apologetic over, once the casting call instructions got leaked? (I know, that was last week, a lifetime ago in politics...) Now it sounds like it just kept running anyway, through last Friday for several days after the story broke, despite promises to take it down.
• NM-Gov: Yep, this is definitely the most over-polled, or at least over-internal-poll-leaked, race around. Today it's Diane Denish's turn to retaliate, and she's out with another poll from one of her apparently two pollsters, Third Eye Strategies, with a 46-46 tie (a little stale, taken 9/21-23). I think we get the general idea, already: Denish sees a tie, Susana Martinez sees a high-single-digits lead for herself, public pollsters see something in between. (UPDATE: That's odd... we reported this poll several weeks ago. Not sure why it's back in the news today.)
• CA-47: This is the kind of unity that Loretta Sanchez (last seen alienating her district's small but politically active Vietnamese community with an ill-advised remark) probably doesn't like to see: apparently there was a major rift with the Vietnamese Republican community that just got sealed up, as long-time Van Tran rival Janet Nguyen (an Orange County councilor) gave a late-game endorsement to Tran.
• CT-02, CT-03: Merriman River Group hits the quinella in Connecticut, with polls of the two House races in the Nutmeg State that aren't interesting. In the 2nd, despite getting some touting when she got in the race, GOPer Janet Peckinpaugh is making little impression against Joe Courtney, trailing 55-41. And in the 3rd, Rosa DeLauro is the state's safest Dem, leading Jerry Labriola 58-37.
• FL-22: Endorsements from primary challengers, especially at this stage in the game, are interesting only when they go to the guy from the other party. But that's what's happening in the 22nd, where the guy who lost to Allen West, David Brady, gave his backing to Democratic incumbent Ron Klein today. (So too did several minor-league local elected GOPers, including Palm Beach mayor Jack McDonald.) Says Brady, apparently from the sane wing of the GOP (to the extent that the Palm Beach Post endorsed him in the primary): "I ran against Allen West. I debated him and I can tell you: Allen West is too extreme for this community."
• MS-04: Dueling polls in the 4th, where everything still averages out to a Democratic lean but unfortunately this is looking like one more real race. GOP state Rep. Steven Palazzo offered a poll a few weeks ago saying incumbent Gene Taylor led by only 4, and now Taylor says, no, he's leading by 8 (without giving us any other useful information, like the toplines, let alone the pollster or dates). Hmmm, that's only a difference of four points, so why show your hand, especially in such haphazard fashion? Somehow I don't think Taylor would be a very good poker player.
• NY-22, NY-25: Bill Clinton showing up in upstate New York to stump on behalf of Dan Maffei, that's not a surprise, as this race seems to be competitive. But also Maurice Hinchey in the 22nd? We haven't gotten any smoke signals out of that district before, but that's an indication that something may bubbling under here. (It's a D+6 district, and Hinchey barely won in '94.)
• OH-01: One more unfortunate though unsurprising triage decision to report: Steve Driehaus seems to have run out of time at the DCCC, who are canceling their remaining ad buy in the Cincinnati market for the next two weeks. The deadline for reservations cancellations is coming up soon, so we'll soon know who else gets the shortest straw drawn for them.
• PA-10: After seeing a incumbent Chris Carney up by single digits in a recent public poll from Lycoming, GOP challenger Tom Marino rummaged around in his poll drawer and pulled out one from the Tarrance Group giving him a 47-42 lead on Carney. (No word from the Fix on the dates, though.)
• TN-04: One last GOP internal to throw into the mix: a POS survey (from 9/27-28) on behalf of Scott DesJarlais shows him tied with Dem incumbent Lincoln Davis, 42-42. We haven't seen any public polling of this race (and may not, as the NRCC doesn't seem to be pushing this one hard, maybe on the off chance that it's the kind of district that'll flip in a wave regardless of what they do), but Davis claimed an 11-point lead in a late August internal.
• House: If you're thinking that it seems like there are a lot more races in the "Tossup" and "Lean" categories this year, you're not alone. Nate Silver quantifies various ways in which there are way more competitive races this year than in other recent cycles, including number of races where there are polls within single-digits, where there are polls period, and where there are major financial contributions.
• Redistricting: This is an interesting, if counterintuitive, piece from HuffPo on redistricting, which proposes that we'll be in better shape in 2010 redistricting than 2000 redistricting because (based on projected gubernatorial and state legislative outcomes) we'll have more control over the process in more important states: oddly he leaves out California, but also including Florida, Illinois, Michigan, and Virginia (all states where there was a GOP trifecta last time), and Minnesota and New York (where we might get the trifecta this time)... while the states where the GOP will improve its position aren't as large (Alabama, Indiana, Tennessee... with Georgia the most significant one). The article also gets into the nitty-gritty of where the population growth within the fast-growing states has occurred (i.e. among minorities).
• Polltopia: You might have noticed that Political Wire briefly had some Senate polls up today from somebody I've never heard of before, called "TCJ Research." Those polls mysteriously vanished after Nate Silver, vanquisher of bogus pollsters, showed up on the scene with a simple tweet:
A Wordpress blog getting ~500 hits a day on posts like "October Giveaway: 32 Gigabyte Apple iPad!" suddenly commissions 5 polls? Not likely.
• SSP TV:
• IL-Sen: Two different ads from the DSCC attacking Mark Kirk, hitting him for his House voting record and also revisiting Kirk's misrememberment of his military record
• NC-Sen: Elaine Marshall's finally out with a TV spot, going after Richard Burr for helping to break the economy
• WV-Sen: While John Raese nods to the 'hick' ad semi-apologetically before changing the subject back to Washington Dems, Joe Manchin seems to be trying to out-hick the hick ad by touting his pro-gun and anti-environment credentials in one fell swoop by (I kid you not) shooting a copy of the cap-and-trade bill
• IL-Gov: The most famous Illinoisian, Barack Obama, cuts a radio spot on behalf of Pat Quinn
• RI-Gov: The DGA pounds Lincoln Chafee one more time from the right, accusing him of being a tax-hiking hippy
• FL-22: Ron Klein moves past the boring fixation on Allen West's tax liens and onto the really juicy stuff about 2nd Amendment remedies
• MN-06: Taryl Clark hits Michele Bachmann on Social Security
• PA-03: Kathy Dahlkemper touts her pro-life credentials in her new ad, explaining her siding with the Stupak bloc on health care reform
• VA-02: The DCCC's IE unit points the "hypocrite" arrow at Scott Rigell, for making hundreds of thousands of dollars off "Cash for Clunkers"
• WI-08: Ditto the DCCC ad in the 8th, where they hit Reid Ribble for making hundreds of thousands of dollars for his roofing business off stimulus projects
• CT-Gov: Dan Malloy (D) 49%, Tom Foley (R) 44%
• FL-Gov: Alex Sink (D) 47%, Rick Scott (R) 50%
• FL-Sen: Kendrick Meek (D) 19%, Marco Rubio (R) 50%, Charlie Crist (I) 25%
• GA-Gov: Roy Barnes (D) 41%, Nathan Deal (R) 50%
• GA-Sen: Michael Thurmond (D) 38%, Johnny Isakson (R-inc) 53%
• MN-Gov: Mark Dayton (D) 40%, Tom Emmer (R) 38%, Tom Horner (I) 15%
• NE-Gov: Mike Meister (D) 24%, Dave Heineman (R-inc) 66%
• NH-Sen: Paul Hodes (D) 44%, Kelly Ayotte (R) 51%
• NM-Gov: Diane Denish (D) 43%, Susana Martinez (R) 52%
• NV-Gov: Rory Reid (D) 40%, Brian Sandoval (R) 53%
• OR-Gov: John Kitzhaber (D) 48%, Chris Dudley (R) 46%
• SD-Gov: Scott Heidepriem (D) 33%, Dennis Daugaard (R) 57%
• TX-Gov: Bill White (D) 42%, Rick Perry (R-inc) 53%
• WA-Sen: Patty Murray (D-inc) 46%, Dino Rossi (R) 49%
• Angus-Reid: Some of you might have gotten excited about the California numbers offered up today by Angus-Reid (a well-established Canadian pollster, but apparently making their first foray into the States). Well, don't, because they're using an RV model, and more importantly, it's an Internet sample. (Now presumably there's some scientific selection behind it, not just a "click here!" banner ad, but we're highly skeptical nonetheless, especially since that seemed to produce notably pro-Dem results in California.)
• CA-Gov: Jerry Brown (D) 53%, Meg Whitman (R) 41%
• CA-Sen: Barbara Boxer (D-inc) 55%, Carly Fiorina (R) 39%
• OH-Gov: Ted Strickland (D-inc) 46%, John Kasich (R) 48%
• OH-Sen: Lee Fisher (D) 42%, Rob Portman (R) 53%
CO-Sen: Clinton alert! The Big Dog is doing a rally for Sen. Michael Bennet in Denver on Oct. 18th. Interestingly, Bill had endorsed Andrew Romanoff in the primary.
CT-Sen: Open seat fans, start getting ready for the 2022 cycle! In a weird attempt to channel 1994, Linda McMahon says she will serve a maximum of two terms. Uh, okay.
NY-Gov: The Carl Paladino charm offensive continues:
Flame-throwing Republican Carl Paladino erupted again, declaring yesterday that being gay is "not the example that we should be showing our children."
"I don't want [children] brainwashed into thinking homosexuality is an equally valid and successful option - it isn't," Paladino said to applause at a meeting with Hasidic Jewish leaders in Brooklyn's Williamsburg section.
In a version of the speech distributed by a rabbi, the anti-gay rant went further, charging there is "nothing to be proud of in being a dysfunctional homosexual."
Getting less play, but likely to damage him among the very community he was trying to reach out to, were Paladino's remarks attacking Orthodox Jewish "power brokers" who supposedly have conned key rabbis.
AZ-07: While my feeling is that Raul Grijalva probably does have a competitive race on his hands, I'm not sure this Politico piece really adds much in the way of new news. All we have is that one Magellan poll which showed the race tight, and a lot of whispers. It's almost like Politico is holding up a mirror at the edge of a rippling pond and - lo and behold! - making the ripples appear to be twice as broad as they actually are. The only real tidbit here is that Rep. Xavier Becerra, a member of leadership, recently exhorted Congressional Hispanic Caucus members to give to Grijalva.
MI-07: Former Rep. Joe Schwarz once again endorsed Mark Schauer, the man who beat Tim Walberg - aka the man who beat Joe Schwarz in the GOP primary in 2006. Schwarz also backed Schauer in 2008 (and previously backed Walberg's opponent Brian Rooney in this year's Republican primary).
NJ-03: This is the kind of thing which makes the bedwetters at newspaper editorial boards wring their hands like mad men, but as far as I'm concerned, it's just good politics. The Courier-Post has a detailed story explaining how Democrats helped mysterious teabagger Peter DeStefano get on the ballot. No one except us junkies care about process stories, so I think Dems should be doing a lot more of this kind of thing.
NY-02: NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg heads outside city and party lines to endorse Democratic Long Island Rep. Steve Israel.
SC-05: Yet another Republican hypocrite. John Spratt's been hitting Mick Mulvaney for his involvement in a real estate development deal that received a $30 million loan from Lancaster County and then went south - but not before Mulvaney flipped the property for a profit. Now Mulvaney says, "I believe small business needs government to get out of the way." Spratt fired back: "When he needed $30 million, he didn't go to his bank, he didn't go to private sources, he went to county government." Spratt's also been running an ad on this issue.
TX-17: Man, yet another similar story. Here Dave Michaels of the Dallas Morning News' lede says it all: "The Republican challenger who has assailed Rep. Chet Edwards for supporting taxpayer bailouts once led his company through a bankruptcy that let it avoid a $7.5 million debt to the U.S. government." The piece goes on to note that (predictably) Flores "insists that private companies shouldn't rely on the government for subsidies or financing." Of course he does.
Chamber of Commerce: The LA Times has a piece noting that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has been digging deep to help a bunch of Blue Dogs late this cycle, including TV ads on behalf of Jim Marshall (GA-08), Glenn Nye (VA-02), Frank Kratovil (MD-01), Travis Childers (MS-01), and Bobby Bright (AL-02). These spots are taking the form of "issue" ads so as to avoid election-related regulations - you can see one example here.
DGA: The DGA says it raised $10 million in the third quarter and has $13 million on hand. Allied groups have some $3 million in cash. Politico says the RGA is expected to top these numbers.
DE-Sen: A shadowy third-party group has a funny new ad out supporting Zerata the Enchantress... uh, I mean, Christine O'Donnell
IL-Sen: A new spot from MoveOn hits a topic Dems nationwide have been making a big issue of recently: foreign money being used to potentially support Chamber of Commerce election activities
KY-Sen: Another Jack Conway ad hitting Rand Paul for his $2,000 Medicare deductable scheme - and his desire to increase payments to doctors
LA-Sen: Wow. This must-see ad from David Vitter takes the cake as by far the most racist ad of the 2010 cycle
WV-Sen: Joe Manchin attacks John Raese for the "hicky" ad casting call - and the fact that Raese wife is registered to vote in Florida and can't even vote for her husband. A second ad could have been written and produced by Republicans
SC-Gov: Vince Sheheen goes after Nikki Haley for double-speak on economic issues, though I think it tries to cram too many things in, and the drum-beat kind of interferes with the audio
IL-17: The conservative American Future Fund says they're dropping half a million bucks on a new ad campaign targeting Rep. Phil Hare - here's what they're spending it on
LA-02: Joe Cao has a pretty good ad hitting Cedric Richmond on ethical issues
MA-10: Dem Bill Keating has a good ad nailing Jeff Perry for the illegal strip-search business that took place on his watch as a police sergeant
MN-01: GOPer Randy Demmer has a comparison spot, going after Tim Walz for the usual (healthcare, cap-n-trade, etc.) and then finishing with some positive bio-ish crap
PA-08: Patrick Murphy attacks Mike Fitzpatrick for raising property taxes
SC-02: Rob Miller goes after Joe Wilson for spending taxpayer money on travel to Hawaii and France
• AK-Sen: Joe Miller finally got around to belatedly filing his financial disclosures, maybe feeling he had something to hide. He really shouldn't, because he's just like the rest of us: he's carrying a lot of credit card debt. He owes between $35K and $80K on three separate charge accounts, and also owes himself $103K for a campaign loan. That, my friends, is fiscal conservatism you can believe in. (His biggest asset seems to be undeveloped farmland worth at least $250K, apparently the same Delta Jct. land for which he was receiving farm subsidies.)
• FL-Sen: Here's a freaky rumor (and I think it's nothing more than that, as everything seems to be business as usual with the Kendrick Meek camp today, at least on the surface). The Wall St. Journal alludes to increased chatter that a Meek/Charlie Crist deal might be in the works for Meek to drop out of the race and clear the way for Crist to take all the left-of-center votes.
• IL-Sen, IL-Gov: The DGA is out with an internal poll of Illinois, via Global Strategy Group. The poll, though, has better news on the Senate front than the gubernatorial battle. Alexi Giannoulias leads Mark Kirk by 3: 40-37, with 3 each to the Green and Libertarian candidates. On the other hand, Pat Quinn, who's popped up in the lead in a couple polls lately, trails Bill Brady by 1, at 36-35, with 4 for Green Rich Whitney, 2 for Lex Green, and 6 for Scott Lee Cohen. Just the fact that Quinn seems to be climbing back into the thick of things at this late date seems to be newsworthy in itself, though.
• MO-Sen: As is often the case with these advancing-in-a-different-direction stories, there have been some mixed signals about whether the DSCC is packing up in Missouri. Hotline is observing that this seems to be at least partially the case: they've canceled buys from Oct. 11 to Oct. 25, although the buy still seems intact for the last week before the election. They've spent $1.8 million in Missouri so far, but probably will be looking to spend that money on defense in West Virginia, or maybe even Washington, which seems to be slowly edging back onto the map.
• NV-Sen: We might expect a steady stream of endorsements on a regular basis from now until the election for Harry Reid from not-insane Republicans. Two were just unveiled in the last few days. One is from Bill Raggio, the former Republican leader in the state Senate (and a legislator since 1972), who has particular reason to dislike Sharron Angle, as she tried to primary him out of his Reno-area seat in 2008. The other is Dema Guinn, the widow of the recently deceased ex-Gov. Kenny Guinn, who also says that her former husband would have backed Reid in this case too.
Andrew Cuomo (D): 57 (49)
Carl Paladino (R): 34 (40)
Other: 5 (8)
Undecided: 3 (3)
I think we can conclude that both those previous Quinnipiac and SurveyUSA polls -- the two ones that came out simultaneously and had the big New York races in single digits, spurring a wave of panic -- were some combination of a perfect wave of primary bounce and big honkin' outlier. These races have resumed looking pretty much the way they have all cycle except for those two blips.
We also have NY-Sen-A numbers (60-30 for Chuck Schumer over Jay Townsend in SurveyUSA, and 63-32 in Quinnipiac), and NY-AG numbers (Eric Schneiderman leads Dan Donovan 46-40 in SurveyUSA, and 43-32 in Quinnipiac). Quinnipiac also has Thomas DiNapoli leading Harry Wilson 49-31 in the Comptroller race.
• AK-Sen: It's never a dull moment with Joe Miller in the race. Hot on the heels of the news that he believes that federal unemployment insurance is unconstitutional, today comes the news that his wife went on unemployment after leaving a job in 2004, and that Miller did not disown his wife for betraying the Founding Fathers. But wait, it just gets more interesting: the job Miller's wife left was working for... Miller himself. He hired his wife as a part-time clerk when he was working for several years as a magistrate judge for the federal district court (y'know, for the federal government he just hates so much). Local gadfly (and Lisa Murkowski ally) Andrew Halcro is, in fact, suggesting that Miller was forced to fire his wife because the blatant nepotism may have been a violation of court policies. (Of course, Miller's response was that Murkowski's not one to talk about nepotism.)
And on top of that, now it's come out that Miller is a full-on Seventeenther. In other words, part of the new crop of right-wingers who want you to vote for him so he can take away your rights to vote for him in the future.
• HI-Sen: Term-limited GOP Gov. Linda Lingle is saying she'll "take a look" at a Senate bid in 2012. That seat's current occupant, Dan Akaka, is 86 years old, so it's not clear whether he'll run for another term or not. Lingle is probably the only Republican on the bench in Hawaii with enough juice to make a Senate race, especially an open seat one, competitive.
• IL-Sen, IL-Gov: Mark Kirk is out with an internal poll (from Fulcrum), giving him a much larger lead than, well, anyone else, considering that most pollsters have seen this within a point or two either way. His poll says he leads Alexi Giannoulias 42-33, with 2 for the Green Party's LeAlan Jones. (The same poll also shows Bill Brady leading Pat Quinn 39-27 in the Governor's race.) Sitting on a big cash advantage, Kirk has reserved most of his entire kitty ($5.2 million) on ad buys for the remaining month.
• WI-Sen: Russ Feingold seems determined to follow Nancy Boyda down the path of integrity/obscurity. He's telling the DSCC (who haven't advertised yet on his behalf) to back off and let him fight the election himself. Says Feingold: "I consider it to be outside help of a kind that is uncontrolled and tends to believe in a philosophy of slash-and-burn politics. That's frankly not who I am. I don't want to win that way."
• NH-Gov: Univ. of New Hampshire (9/23-29, likely voters, July in parentheses):
John Lynch (D-inc): 51 (54)
John Stephen (R): 34 (29)
Considering that UNH's sample had Paul Hodes down by 15 and Carol Shea-Porter losing too, it's pleasantly surprising to see John Lynch hanging in there with little trouble (in contrast to several other recent polls, such as UNH's in-state rival for weird results, ARG).
• WV-Gov: I guess the 2010 election is over already? Because the conversation today already seems to be changing to 2012. Republican state Sen. Clark Barnes (whom you might remember for briefly getting in and then getting out of the field in WV-01 last year) says he'll run for governor two years from now.
• NY-20: Finding himself on the very wrong end of both a Siena poll and a Scott Murphy internal, Chris Gibson offers up a POS internal of his own, taken 9/27-28, showing that he's still within striking distance. He says he trails Murphy 42-38.
• VA-05: Here's one more Dem poll from the 5th that shows Tom Perriello is narrowly trailing, but not officially dead yet. Rob Hurt leads Perriello 44-43 in a poll sponsored by the League of Conservation Voters and the SEIU (no word on who the pollster is, though). (UPDATE: The pollster is David Dougherty, and the memo is here. The sample was taken 9/20-23 with a 4.4% MoE.)
• American Crossroads: Remember back when we all laughed at American Crossroads for not raising any money, apparently because they were waiting for the million-dollar checks from their half-a-dozen billionaire donors to clear? Ha ha, boy, those were simpler times. Anyway, Democracy 21 and the Campaign Legal Center are going to the IRS to ask for an investigation of Crossroads GPS, one tentacle of the group that's organized as a non-profit "social welfare organization" or 501(c)(4). The larger Crossroads is a PAC, but GPS itself isn't supposed to participate in campaigns. Rather than take it up with the FEC, which has fallen into chaotic uselessness because of empty seats on the commission, they're going straight to the IRS, alleging tax law violations instead.
• MO-Sen: Roy Blunt raised $2 million in 3Q, no CoH given
• PA-07: Pat Meehan raised $725K, giving him $1.5 million CoH
• SSP TV:
• AK-Sen: Two different ads, one a coordinated spot between the Joe Miller camp and the NRSC that's a bio spot for Miller, the other a Tea Party Express one-minute extravaganza that calls Lisa Murkowski a liar, a fraud, and various other things
• IN-Sen: Here's a link to that Brad Ellsworth ad we mentioned yesterday, where he literally calls Dan Coats a sellout over that all-covers album he released outsourcing
• KY-Sen: The DSCC rolls out an ad hitting Rand Paul on his proposed $2,000 Medicare deductible, while Paul's newest ad returns to the Jack Conway=Obama theme
• MO-Sen: Robin Carnahan goes back to the theme of Roy Blunt's cozy DC insider relationships
• NY-Sen-B: Joe DioGuardi's first ad is an intro spot, as well as bemoaning the dwindling American Dream
• WA-Sen: The DSCC revisits Dino Rossi's days as a state Senator, including support for cutting unemployment benefits and the minimum wage
• WI-Sen: Russ Feingold takes the GOP to task for prematurely celebrating short of the end zone
• WV-Sen: John Raese follows the NRSC's lead with his own ad doing the Joe Manchin=Obama thing
• FL-Gov: The DGA's out with a Florida ad with various law enforcement officials bashing Rick Scott's Medicare fraud
• NH-Gov: Here's the ad of the day: John Lynch leaps out of the gate and punches John Stephen in the nose over scandals at New Hampshire's HHS Dept.
• OH-Gov: Ted Strickland, bedecked in camo, reminds the state's hunters who got the NRA's backing
• PA-Gov: Well, at least Tom Corbett isn't saying Dan Onorato = Obama, but he is saying Onorato = Ed Rendell
• RI-Gov: The DGA hits Lincoln Chafee from the right? Their new ad says that vulnerable Rhode Islanders can't afford all the new taxes Chafee wants
• FL-24: Suzanne Kosmas hits Sandy Adams over the Paul Ryan roadmap
• PA-04: Oh, good... more kids complaining about how their allowance isn't big enough to cover all the debt they're going to have to pay off, courtesy of Keith Rothfus
• AZ-Sen: Rodney Glassman (D) 33%, John McCain (R-inc) 54%
• CA-Sen: Barbara Boxer (D-inc) 49%, Carly Fiorina (R) 45%
• CO-Gov: John Hickenlooper (D) 43%, Dan Maes (R) 16%, Tom Tancredo (C) 35%
• CO-Sen: Michael Bennet (D-inc) 45%, Ken Buck (R) 50%
• Rasmussen (appearing as Fox/Pulse):
• CT-Gov: Dan Malloy (D) 47%, Tom Foley (R) 41%
• CT-Sen: Richard Blumenthal (D) 52%, Linda McMahon (R) 42%
• MO-Sen: Robin Carnahan (D) 42%, Roy Blunt (R) 50%
• NV-Sen: Harry Reid (D-inc) 46%, Sharron Angle (R) 49%
• OH-Gov: Ted Strickland (D-inc) 43%, John Kasich (R) 49%
• OH-Sen: Lee Fisher (D) 37%, Rob Portman (R) 53%
• WV-Sen: Joe Manchin (D) 43%, John Raese (R) 48%
• AK-Sen: Daily Kos just added Scott McAdams to its Orange to Blue list, so if you're still looking to throw some money in his direction, you can do so via Big Orange. Meanwhile, Lisa Murkowski is trying to gear up her write-in campaign, and with Ted Stevens having been laid to rest this week, she's mulling whether to roll out those ads featuring Stevens that she had ready to go pre-primary but pulled because of his death. This can't be good news for Murkowski, though: Rep. Don Young, more from the Murkowski/Stevens wing of the local GOP than the teabagger wing, is having a bout of self-preservation and is staying neutral, not endorsing anyone in the race. Finally, here's one more page in Joe Miller's ongoing saga of milking the system that he hates so darn much: when new to Alaska (but after he'd bought his expensive house and started working as an attorney), he obtained an indigent hunting/fishing license that required an income of less than $8,200/yr.
• DE-Sen: Christine O'Donnell says she attended Oxford. Oh, no, wait, she took a course from something called the Phoenix Institute that "rented space from" Oxford. Why am I not surprised?
• FL-Sen: I always figured that the early love affair between the local teabaggery and Marco Rubio wouldn't last; he seemed more from the mainstream Jeb Bush camp and it seemed more a marriage of convenience based on his charisma but mostly on the fact that he wasn't Charlie Crist. Anyway, he's pretty much severed the relationship and making a break for the establishment with his latest revelation, that he decided several months ago against privatizing Social Security after concluding the idea "doesn't work." (If Ken Buck gets elected, I wonder how long it'll take him to make the same move?)
• IL-Sen: The DSCC is keeping on pouring money into the Land of Lincoln, bolstering Alexi Giannoulias. They're adding another $400K to the pile, for another week on the air.
• KY-Sen: The NRSC is taking the opposite tack, engaging in a little advertisus interruptus and pulling out for a week from Kentucky. (They claim they're doing so from a position of strength, naturally.) Meanwhile, this is kind of small ball ($1,400 in contributions from three guys), but it's still the kind of headline you probably don't want to see if you're Rand Paul, especially once you've made your feelings on the Civil Rights Act clear:
Conway camp calls on Paul to return money from white separatists
• NY-Sen-B: Marist (9/19-22, likely voters, 5/3-5 in parentheses):
Marist gives you a buffet of different numbers of choose from, as it's 54-42 for Gillibrand when leaners are pushed, or it's 55-36 when polling just registered voters (meaning there's an enthusiasm gap worth 8 points here). They also find Chuck Schumer having no problems in the other Senate race, leading Jay Townsend 58-37 among LVs (and 63-32 among RVs).
• WI-Sen: Ron Johnson's one act of political participation prior to this year -- testifying before the state legislature in opposition to the bipartisan-supported Wisconsin Child Victims Act -- is getting a second look in the press. His main interest in opposing the bill was that it could lead to corporations or other business entities being held liable for acts of employees, worried about the "economic havoc" it would create (and worried that those meddling "trial lawyers" would benefit). Think Progress has video of the testimony.
• WV-Sen: This seems like a new one to me... John Raese is actually paying people to write letters to the editor on his behalf. Not just offering them McCain Bucks that can't be redeemed for anything in the real world, but running an actual contest giving money to people who get the most letters published. Also, I'll give John Raese credit for being himself even when he's being followed around by reporters. Here's his reaction to finding out that the NRA endorsement went to Joe Manchin:
Raese speaks angrily into the phone, his words full of threat: "Tell them that I have an A plus rating with them, and that if they are fair they should include that. Tell them about the polling. Tell them I'm riding an elephant." Raese pulls the cell phone away from his ear, hands it back to Patrick the driver, and says "That has made it a lot harder."
• CT-Gov: Little known fact: did you know that Jodi Rell still hasn't endorsed Tom Foley yet, despite only weeks to go? Foley's camp is saying it's imminent, but it looks like Rell has summoned up even less enthusiasm in the general as she did for her Lt. Gov., Michael Fedele, in the GOP primary.
• FL-Gov: Here's an interesting endorsement for Alex Sink: she got the backing of term-limited Republican state Sen. Alex Villalobos. Villalobos is also backing Charlie Crist (and even Dan Gelber in the AG race), so this exactly a sign of the Republican edifice collapsing, though.
• IA-Gov, SD-AL: Add one more to the long list of Dems who are getting a nice NRA endorsement as their box-of-Rice-a-Roni-and-can-of-Turtle-Wax-style parting gift on their way out the studio door. Chet Culver just got the backing of the gun lobby. (One state to the north, they also just backed Stephanie Herseth Sandlin today.)
• CA-44: PPP for Democrats.com (9/24-26, likely voters, no trendlines):
Bill Hedrick (D): 38
Ken Calvert (R-inc): 49
Despite being woefully underfunded, Bill Hedrick's keeping the race competitive in his rematch against Ken Calvert (recall that he almost won, out of nowhere, in 2008). How he makes up that last 12 points in this climate, though, I'm not sure.
• FL-22: Harstad Research Group for Project New West (9/20-22, likely voters, no trendlines):
Ron Klein (D): 48
Allen West (R): 43
There's lots of back-and-forth in the polling of the 22nd, with each side sporting their own internal with a lead in the last week. Dem pollster Harstad weighs in with another one going in Ron Klein's column.
• KS-03: Moore money, Moore problems? Retiring Rep. Dennis Moore is still busy emptying out his campaign coffers, transferring $100K more to the Kansas Democratic party (on top of a previous $100K in June). That's probably with the understanding that the money will be used to pay for their newest mailer in support of Stephene Moore, running to succeed her husband.
• NH-01, NH-02: American Research Group (9/22-26, likely voters, no trendlines):
Carol Shea-Porter (D-inc): 40
Frank Guinta (R): 50
Ann McLane Kuster (D): 36
Charlie Bass (R): 38
Here are some unusual results from ARG! (although should we expect anything else?): they find Carol Shea-Porter getting keelhauled in the 1st, while the open seat battle in the 2nd is a swashbuckling battle (contrary to other polls we've seem of these races, where the 1st has been a tossup or a narrow CSP advantage while the 2nd has looked bad).
• PA-08: I've been patiently waiting here for actual toplines for more than a day, but it seems like they aren't forthcoming... so I'll just let you know there's a Harstad Research Group poll (on behalf of SEIU and VoteVets, not the Patrick Murphy campaign) out in the 8th that gives Murphy a 3-point lead over Mike Fitzpatrick and an 8-point lead among voters who voted in 2006. It was taken Sept. 20-22.
• WI-07: Garin Hart Yang for Julie Lassa (9/26-27, likely voters, in parentheses):
Julie Lassa (D): 41
Sean Duffy (R): 42
Gary Kauther (I): 7
I don't know how good a sign this is, releasing an internal where you're still trailing in a Democratic-leaning district. Lassa needs to let the donors know she's still in this, I suppose.
• WV-03: Global Strategy Group for DCCC (9/23-26, likely voters, no trendlines):
Well, here's one district where all the polls (even the one from AFF) are consistent in showing a nearly-20 point edge for long-time Dem Nick Rahall.
• NY-St. Sen.: Four polls from Siena of key New York State Senate races have, on the balance, bad news for the Democrats: Darrell Aubertine, the first Democrat in several geological epochs to hold SD-48 in the North Country, is trailing GOP opponent Pattie Ritchie for re-election, 48-45. Brian Foley, in Long Island-based SD-4, is also in a tough race, leading Lee Zeldin 44-43. Meanwhile, two Republican incumbents are looking fairly safe: Frank Padavan, who barely survived 2008 in Dem-leaning Queens-based SD-11, leads ex-city councilor Tony Avella 56-32, while in SD-44, Hugh Farley leads Susan Savage 55-37. (I'd rather see them poll the open seat races; that's where the Republicans are at more risk.)
• Mayors: There aren't a lot of big-city mayoral races where the decisive vote is in November (most were wrapped up in the primaries), but one interesting one is Louisville, where the longtime Dem incumbent Jerry Abramson is leaving in order to run for LG next year. Dem Greg Fischer (who you may remember from the 2008 Senate primary) is beating Republican city councilor Hal Heiner 48-42, according to SurveyUSA.
• DLCC: You probably saw yesterday that the DLCC is out with a first round of 20 "essential races" for controlling key state legislative chambers. Well, over in diaries, now they're soliciting suggestions for further additions to the list, so please add some suggestions from races that are near and dear to your own hearts.
• SSP TV:
• CA-Sen: The Chamber of Commerce, trying to salvage this dwindling race, tries to hang the "career politician" tag on Barbara Boxer
• CO-Sen: The DSCC goes after Ken Buck on Social Security again
• CO-Sen: The NRSC runs an anti-Michael Bennet ad, hitting him on his support for health care reform
• DE-Sen: The DSCC crams as much Christine O'Donnell insanity as it can into 30 seconds
• IL-Sen: Mark Kirk goes back to where he began, with another bio spot of small town boy made good
• PA-Sen: Joe Sestak's newest ad keeps on trying to tie Pat Toomey to Wall Street
• WV-Sen: The DSCC goes after John Raese for supporting eliminating the minimum wage and his own ooopses at his own company
• CT-Gov: The DGA hits Tom Foley on outsourcing in his former career as textile magnate
• MI-Gov: The RGA hits Virg Bernero on spending as mayor (OMG! he spent $1,277 on pencils!)
• NM-Gov: Another Susana Martinez attack ad hits Diane Denish for some bungled solar power thingamajig
• TX-Gov: Here's a mindblowing stat: the DGA has never paid for advertising in Texas... until now. They're out with an attack on Rick Perry, calling him what nobody wants to be called this cycle ("career politican")
• KY-03: Todd Lally's out with two ads, one a bio spot, the other a pretty funny attack on John Yarmuth using the K-Tel greatest hits album motif
• MI-07: Tim Walberg has to call on his mom for help: not to do any polling on his behalf, just to appear in an ad about Social Security
• NC-02: This was probably inevitable... AJS weighs into the 2nd with an ad using Bob Etheridge going apeshit on a poor innocent little tracker
• NC-11: Repent now or Jeff Miller will forever cast you into the fiery pits of Nancy Pelosi's hell!
• ND-AL: Earl Pomeroy touts how well he cooperated with George W. Bush! (on Medicare Part D, though, which probably plays well among North Dakota's aging population)
• PA-08: Outsourcing must be polling well for the Dems these days, as Patrick Murphy hits Mike Fitzpatrick on that
• VA-05: Indie candidate Jeff Clark scrounged up enough money to advertise? And he's attacking GOPer Robert Hurt? That's good enough for me
• CT-Gov: Dan Malloy (D) 50%, Tom Foley (R) 40%
• WV-Sen: Joe Manchin (D) 46%, John Raese (R) 48%
• Fox/Pulse (aka Rasmussen):
• CO-Gov: John Hickenlooper (D) 44%, Dan Maes (R) 15%, Tom Tancredo (C) 34%
• CO-Sen: Michael Bennet (D-inc) 43%, Ken Buck (R) 47%
• IL-Gov: Pat Quinn (D-inc) 36%, Bill Brady (R) 46%, Rich Whitney (G) 8%
• IL-Sen: Alexi Giannoulias (D) 40%, Mark Kirk (R) 42%, LeAlan Jones (G) 7%
• OH-Gov: Ted Strickland (D-inc) 43%, John Kasich (R) 45%
• OH-Sen: Lee Fisher (D) 37%, Rob Portman (R) 50%
• WA-Sen: Patty Murray (D-inc) 48%, Dino Rossi (R) 47%
• WI-Gov: Tom Barrett (D) 45%, Scott Walker (R) 49%
• WI-Sen: Russ Feingold (D-inc) 44%, Ron Johnson (R) 52%