• HI-Sen: Ex-Rep. Ed Case said he expects to decide by "mid-April" whether he'll seek Hawaii's open Senate seat. Case also says that the Merriman River Group took a poll for him and claims he kicked ass in both the primary and general-but he's only released a couple of selected toplines (click the link if you want them). PPP will have an HI-Sen general election poll out on behalf of Daily Kos/SEIU in the next couple of days.
• ME-Sen: Democrat Hannah Pingree, former Speaker of the state House and daughter of 1st CD Rep. Chellie Pingree, left the state legislature earlier this year. Only 34, she's lately been managing the family's inn & restaurant and serving on a local school board, so she seems like a good potential candidate to run for office once again-perhaps even to challenge Sen. Olympia Snowe. But Pingree just gave birth to her first child a week ago, which probably makes her less likely to get back into the game this year.
• MI-Sen: A GOP operative passes along word to Dave Catanese that Pete Hoekstra is turning down the chance to appear at some Lincoln Day dinners-which this source thinks is a sign that Hoekstra isn't planning to run for Senate. Hoekstra's would-be pollster (the same guy who was basically spinning lies about PPP last week) vociferously disputes this interpretation. We'll see, but I personally think Hoekstra is going to tell us he plans to spend more time building turtle fences with his family.
• MT-Sen: Activist Melinda Gopher says she is contemplating a primary challenge to Dem Sen. Jon Tester. She explains her reasoning here. She received 21% of the vote and finished third in the Dem primary for MT-AL last year. I could not find any FEC reports for her.
• ND-Sen, ND-AL: Another good catch by Greg Giroux: ex-Rep. Earl Pomeroy (D) just closed his federal campaign account. While it's not dispositive, of course, this probably means he's not interested in seeking his old seat, or the retiring Kent Conrad's spot in the Senate. Note that Pomeroy didn't completely slam the door on a gubernatorial run, but I'm guessing that's not terribly likely, either.
• NM-Sen: New Mexico's Republican Lt. Gov., John Sanchez, sounded very much like a candidate on a recent trip to DC. He spent some time slagging ex-Rep. Heather Wilson (the only declared candidate so far) in an interview with The Hill, criticizing her moderate credentials, but also being careful to try to put a little daylight between himself and the teabaggers. Sanchez indicated he'd decide "in the spring," and perhaps hinted he'd announce on or around April 15th... because it's totally not teabaggish to make a fetish out of Tax Day. He also says he'll be back in Washington next week to meet with the NRSC (this trip was occasioned by a gathering of the all-important National Lieutenant Governors Association).
• FL-22: Ex-Rep. Ron Klein (D) definitively slammed the door on a rematch this cycle, saying he's "looking forward to the private sector" (he's taking a job with the law firm of Holland & Knight). But he did hold out the possibility he might return to office some day (he's only 53). The same article also mentions a new possible Democratic candidate (despite the entrance of West Palm Beach Mayor Lois Frankel in recent days): state Rep. Joseph Abruzzo, who says he's keeping his options open. (Abruzzo, hardly alone among Democrats, backed Charlie Crist over Kendrick Meek in last year's Senate race.)
In other news, a firm called Viewpoint Florida released a very questionable poll pitting Rep. Allen West against Frankel. Really, the only reason you'd put out a survey of a district which is guaranteed to get reshaped is because you're hoping to set a narrative among people who don't know better (like, say, the tradmed... this piece doesn't even mention the word "redistricting"). In addition, the poll is way too Republican, and also purports to be of "likely" voters, about one billion years before election day.
• MI-09 (?): The question mark is there because who knows what districts are going to look like, or where state Rep. Marty Knollenberg-who says he's considering a run for Congress-will wind up when all is said and done. That name ought to sound familiar: Marty's dad is, of course, George McFly ex-Rep. Joe Knollenberg, who lost to current 9th CD Rep. (and potential redistricting victim) Gary Peters in 2008. Of note, Marty sits on a redistricting committee in the state lege, so maybe a House race is his... density.
• NY-25: This is the kind of news I like to hear! Dan Maffei, who lost a heart-breaker last year, sent an email to supporters saying that he is "strongly considering running again" for his old seat. Maffei was always a great vote and a strong progressive voice, despite his decision to take a job after the election with the annoying "moderate" group Third Way. (I don't begrudge the guy needing to eat, though, and the market was pretty saturated with one-term Democratic ex-Congressmen in need of a job.) We don't know how this district will wind up, of course, but I'd be surprised if there were nowhere for Maffei to run.
• NY-26: Teabagger David Bellavia looks pretty doomed-despite having enough signatures (in theory), he failed to file a key piece of paperwork with the Board of Elections, which will probably terminate his candidacy. It's all the more poignant because, according to this article, the other campaigns said they would not challenge his signatures-and seeing as he submitted just 100 more than the 3,500 target, it's a good bet he was in the danger zone. (Is it really true that Republican Jane Corwin said this, though?)
Speaking of Corwin, she's got a third ad out, once again returning to small business themes (as she did in her first spot), rather than the negative attacks in her second ad.
• PA-17: Tim Holden could be in that rare bucket of Democrats who might not actually benefit from their seats being made bluer in redistricting. The conservative Holden could have Lackawanna County added to his district, according to a possible GOP plan, which might open him up to a primary challenge from the left. It would also move a couple of ambitious pols from the county into his district, including Lackawanna County Commissioner Corey O'Brien (who attempted to primary ex-Rep. Paul Kanjorski last year) and Scranton Mayor Chris Doherty. PoliticsPA also says that Holden's 2010 primary challenger, activist Sheila Dow-Ford, is "rumored" to be considering another run. (Dow-Ford lost 65-35 in a race fueled in large part by Holden's vote against healthcare reform.)
• VA-05: Last cycle, few establishment figures were as absolutely hated by the teabaggers as now-Rep. Robert Hurt. He won his primary with just 48%, against a typically fractured People's Front of Judea/Judean People's Front field. (We really need an acronym for that. PFJJPF, anyone?) The teabaggers have now taken to protesting Hurt's votes in favor of continuing budget resolutions outside of his district office, but given their feeble efforts to unite around a standard-bearer last time, I'm skeptical that they have the organizational power to threaten Hurt next year.
• Wisconsin Sup. Ct.: The Greater Wisconsin Committee is running a very negative new ad against Republican Justice David Prosser, accusing him of refusing to prosecute a child-molesting priest back when he was a D.A.-and explaining that the same priest went on to molest other kids after a parish transfer.
• Census: New York City pols, led by His Bloomberginess, got wiggy almost immediately after seeing the Census Bureau's largely stagnant new population figures for the city. Pretty much everyone is convinced that NYC grew by more than 2.1%, because, they say, the bureau undercounted immigrants. And here's a pretty good supporting piece of data: The city added 170,000 new homes over the last decade, so how could it grow by only 166,000 people? (There are no huge swaths of abandoned properties in New York, though the Census does claim vacancies increased.) As a result, city officials are planning to challenge the figures (which they think should be about a quarter million higher). But it's worth noting that a similar challenge 20 years ago wound up failing.
• Votes: The New York Times is getting into the party unity score game, finding that (according to their methodology) 14 Dems have voted with Team Blue less than 70% of the time this Congress. It's pretty much just a list of the remaining white conservative Blue Dogs who sit in red districts, though three names from bluer districts stand out: Dennis Cardoza (CA-18); Jim Costa (CA-20); and Gary Peters (MI-09).
• Louisiana: A state Senate committee passed a plan for redistricting its own lines last Thursday; a vote by the full body could come this week. Notably, the new map increases the number of majority-minority districts from 10 to 11. Things are delayed on the House side, though.
• Virginia: A teachable moment in Virginia: Democrats in the state Senate adopted a rule that would limit the population variance in any new maps to no more than ±2%, while Republicans in the state House are using a ±1% standard. This issue often comes up in comments, but it's simple: For state legislatures, courts have said that a 10% total deviation is an acceptable rule of thumb-that is, if the difference in population between the largest district and the smallest district is no more than ±5% of the size of an ideal district, then you're okay. However, at least one map which tried to egregiously take advantage of this guideline (total deviation of 9.98%) was nonetheless invalidated, so while the "ten percent rule" is still probably a reasonable safe harbor, it may not be a sure thing. For congressional maps, it's even simpler: Districts have to be perfectly equipopulous unless the state can justify the difference as necessary to achieve legitimate state policy. (For instance, Iowa state law forbids splitting counties to draw a federal map; this is considered an acceptable goal by the courts, so Iowa's districts have slight variances.)
• MO-Sen: Well, it looks like Claire McCaskill has been trying to make me look like an idiot. After this site's repeated smack-downs of the "airplane" story as Politico-fueled b.s., it turns out that there is quite a bit more to it: McCaskill now says she owes $287,000 in unpaid property taxes on the plane. That's quite a bit. Of course, she says she's paying them, and she's also having her husband sell the plane - and she further notes that this problem only came to light because she reviewed the plane's records herself. But how do you forget to pay over a quarter mil in taxes? Man.
In other MO-Sen news, former state GOP chair Ann Wagner was in DC last week meeting with the NRSC about her bid. She still claims her first preference is to run for Senate, but based on the quotes in Roll Call's piece, it's sounding more and more like Rep. Todd Akin (R) will get in and she'll run for his seat. Of course, who knows what MO-02 will look like in a few months....
• PA-Sen: The National Journal's Alex Roarty says that Ed Stack, longtime CEO of Dick's Sporting Goods and Pittsburgh native, is thinking about seeking the GOP nomination to challenge Sen. Bob Casey. Stack is, of course, very rich.
• ND-Gov: Horse's mouth: Ex-Rep. Earl Pomeroy (D) is leaving the door just slightly ajar to a gubernatorial run, saying "I am not excluding anything nor am I focusing on politics right now." But he repeatedly told the Fargo-Moorhead Forum that he was concentrating on his new legal/lobbying job at Alston & Bird in DC.
• WV-Gov: SoS Natalie Tennant released a poll from GQR showing acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin leading the Dem primary field with 31, but with herself just behind at 27. Treasurer John Perdue is at 14, while state House Speaker Rick Thompson and state Sen. Jeff Kessler take 5 apiece.
• CA-36: Debra Bowen got her first endorsement from a member of Congress: Rep. Judy Chu, who filled Hilda Solis's 32nd CD seat when the latter became Secretary of Labor. Several other local officials have also endorsed. Also of note: The Courage Campaign is holding a candidate forum on Thursday, and if you click the link, you can submit a question.
• IA-03: Longtime SSPer (and blogger in her own right) desmoinesdem points out that Nancy Pelosi is coming to Iowa to do some fundraisers with Rep. Leonard Boswell, including one at the home of 2010 Dem Senate nominee Roxanne Conlin. Is this a suggestion to Christie Vilsack that perhaps she ought not run?
• KS-04: One political scientist is calling him "the congressman from Koch" - and you'll probably want to as well. Mike Pompeo, a loathsome man hated by many fellow Republicans, took in $80K in donations from Koch employees, was supported by the Koch front group Americans for Prosperity, and, for good measure, hired a Koch Industries attorney as his chief of staff. (Or more like, David and Charles installed a fixer to make sure their new paisan did as he was told.) Pompeo's been delivering: He's promoting legislation to defund a new consumer complaints database, and an EPA catalog of greenhouse-gas polluters. Personally, I think this dickbag could be very vulnerable to a GOP primary.
• NY-26: Crazy Jack Davis and David Bellavia both filed signatures to appear on the ballot as independents - but of course, now the fun can truly begin. If you weren't already aware, New York has just about the most draconian requirements for petitions in the land - they can be invalidated for as little as using the wrong color ink. I'd be pretty surprised if the GOP didn't try to nuke both of these guys from orbit, though Davis might be invulnerable, since he said he submitted over 12,000 petitions. Bellavia's camp would only say that they submitted "more" than the required 3,500. Unless he has at least double that number, once Christian Szell starts asking "Is it safe?", it's a good bet that Bellavia won't survive scrutiny.
• OR-01: Kari Chisholm of Blue Oregon has an excellent roundup of recent OR-01 stories, so I'm going to recommend you click through for his summaries and links. Two items of note: Republican state Sen. Bruce Starr says he won't challenge Rep. David Wu, and Wu is apparently starting to actively fundraise again, with an event this week in Portland. I've gotta ask: Who the heck would want to show up to such a thing?
• AZ-St. Sen.: A recall effort is underway against notorious Republican state Sen. Russell Pearce, the architect of Arizona's infamous anti-immigrant legislation known as SB1070. The leader of the best-organized group claims they have thousands of signatures and are meeting their goals, but they aren't releasing any actual numbers.
• NYC-Mayor: Another Republican campaign, another fortune embezzled. Mike Bloomberg hired John Haggerty to forklift over a million bucks to the state's Independence Party, but instead, Haggerty laundered most of the cash through a consulting firm he owned and spent $750K on a home in Queens. Now a judge says that the evidence of Haggerty's guilt is "overwhelming." Can't say I feel too bad for Bloombo! (Other recent similar incidents involved Rep. Frank LoBiondo of New Jersey and ex-Rep. Chris Shays of Connecticut.)
• California: California Republicans are doing their best to ruin whatever advantages the state's new top-two primary system might give them - on purpose. While the top-two might free more moderate GOPers from the ultra-conservative stranglehold on primaries, the activist base wants none of that. Starting in 2014, the party will conduct "pre-primaries" by mail and award their formal endorsement to whoever wins those beauty contests. These people will get assistance from the state party and will also be listed as the "official" GOP candidate for that race. David Atkins thinks, though, that this is a feature, not a bug: The CA Republican Party needs just 1/3 of the members of one of the chamber of the state legislature to maintain California's absolutely dysfunctional system of state governance, and this helps ensure that they elect uncompromising crazies to the few seats they do win - which is all they require.
• California: Good news: The Republican firm that was a finalist to serve as the redistricting commission's mapping consultant was unanimously rejected in favor of an Oakland company called Q2 Data and Research. And while Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, which was selected as the panel's law firm, does have some well-connected Republican partners in their DC office (like Ted Olson and Miguel Estrada), it's big enough that you'll probably find the entire gamut from good to evil working under their umbrella (so let's hope we get "good").
• Louisiana: This Times-Picayune piece details the backroom wrangling going on over Louisiana's congressional map, which painfully has to shrink from seven to six seats. Scroll down to that grey call-out box on the left for links to actual maps. I believe we linked the Gallot maps before, but the Kostelka and Jackson maps should be new. (You'll find them at the end of some very long PDFs.) I note that of these plans seem to keep one Dem district by marrying New Orleans with Baton Rouge.
• New Jersey: NJ legislators are being weirdly good about not sharing their proposed state maps with the public, but folks who have seen them are chatting up reporters. One such person, Monmouth University pollster Patrick Murray, thinks that the GOP is running afoul of the edicts set by commission boss Alan Rosenthal, and could get in trouble for their attempts to over-reach.
• FL-Sen: With everyone fixated on the three retirements in the Senate in the last week (although the Fix makes the good point this morning that by this point in the 2010 cycle, there had already been four retirements), Bill Nelson seems compelled to point out that he won't be one of them. In front of as many reporters as possible (at an AP gathering), he confirmed today that he's running again.
• MO-Sen, MO-06: Wow, this is out of nowhere (although I'm not sure whether this is going to have any legs beyond today), but potentially very interesting: Republican Rep. Sam Graves is suddenly expressing some interest in the Senate race, calling it a "great opportunity." He's been in the House since 2000 and is chair of the Small Business Committee, so giving that up would be a big move. He may be seeing the diminished likelihood of a Jim Talent run and sensing there's room for another establishmentarian-type candidate to go against the more tea-flavored Sarah Steelman. (This would open up MO-06 in the state's rural northwest, which was Dem-held before Graves but has shifted to the right, currently R+7; Dems tried to make it competitive in 2008 and didn't get any traction.)
• ND-Sen: Ready for a whole lot of names of people who might run for Senate? In fact, let me just blockquote the Bismarck Tribune, rather than transcribing it laboriously:
The list of Republicans whose names are being thrown out include Gov. Jack Dalrymple, Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley, Rep. Rick Berg, Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, Tax Commissioner Cory Fong, Public Service Commissioners [Brian] Kalk and Kevin Cramer, Sen. John Hoeven's state director Shane Goettle, GOP state treasurer Bob Harms, and Great Plains Software developer Doug Burgum.
As for Democrats, names circulating include both [ex-state Sen. and radio host]Joel and [ex-AG] Heidi Heitkamp, former state Sen. Tracy Potter, USDA Rural Development Director Jasper Schneider, state Sen. Mac Schneider, U.S Attorney Tim Purdon, Conrad's state director Scott Stofferahn and former Byron Dorgan staffer Pam Gulleson, former agriculture commissioner Sara Vogel, former state Rep. Chris Griffin, State Sen. Tim Mathern of Fargo, Senate Minority Leader Ryan Taylor and even Earl Pomeroy.
The Bismarck Tribune article also gets a number of these people on record, although their comments are all various degrees of noncommittal. Kent Conrad tipped his hand a bit yesterday, giving nods in the Grand Forks Herald to both Heitkamps, as well as to Schneider. One other Dem who got mentioned a lot yesterday, Roger Johnson (the president of the National Farmers Union) has already said he's not interested. And in what's not a surprise, the Tea Partiers aren't happy with anyone of 'em (although some had some words of praise for Berg), but are still promising to "battle for control."
• VT-Sen: It looks like Republican state Auditor Tom Salmon's Facebook attacks on Bernie Sanders weren't just the work of a bored guy at work but, as many speculated, part of a coordinated plan to move toward a run against Sanders; he's now publicly saying that he he's interested in the race. Color me puzzled: why would Salmon (who was a Democrat until a year and a half ago) go after an entrenched institution like Sanders in 2012 when he could run for Gov. against Peter Shumlin, who's just getting situated and won by only a narrow margin in 2010?
• KY-Gov: This one gets filed straight to the Department of Foregone Conclusions, but it was made official today: Republican state Sen. president David Williams and Ag Comm. Richie Farmer filed their candidacy papers today, to go up against incumbent Dem Steve Beshear in November.
• WV-Gov: We're getting some pushback/clarification from Shelley Moore Capito's team regarding claims from gubernatorial candidate Betty Ireland that she wasn't going to run for Governor; a spokesperson says the only thing that's off the table is a run in the special election for Governor (which we know now will be held this November). She's still open to a bid for either Governor or Senate in 2012. Dave Catanese also wonders whether Capito's timeline is a little longer, i.e. a 2014 run against Jay Rockefeller (or for his open seat, if he retires, seeing as how he'll be 77 then). It's also looking like the candidates for November's special election will be picked by primary rather than by the parties; acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, who was the main impediment to a 2011 election until yesterday's supreme court ruling, says he's working with SoS (and likely Dem primary opponent) Natalie Tennant to set special primaries in motion.
• NY-13: Ex-Rep. Mike McMahon seems to be laying groundwork for a rematch against Mike Grimm, who defeated him narrowly in 2010. He reached out to members of the Staten Island Democratic Association at a meeting last night.
• OR-01: Rep. David Wu has always struck people as a little odd (many of you probably remember his Klingons speech), but it seems like something has intensified lately, and it's starting to come out in the open. It's been revealed that in the last few months, he's lost a number of his key staffers amidst complaints about his public behavior, including his chief of staff (who left to join a Rep. with less seniority) and his communications director (who left without having another job lined up, which is even more highly unusual, especially in this economic climate). This chief fundraiser and chief pollster also say they don't plan to work with him any longer. This is a D+8 district with a robust Dem bench, which is good because this may be a difficult story for Wu to shake, especially given general rumblings of discontent with him that have been building over time.
• Mayors: Philadelphia mayor Michael Nutter looks like he's in good shape for his 2011 re-election, according to a new poll from Municipoll. Nutter's at 47-39 against Generic D primary opponent, wins a three-way primary against Bill Green and Anthony Williams 46-21-18, and wins a three-way against Sam Katz and Williams 44-22-21. Interestingly (though consistent with the original coalition that elected him), Nutter has stronger support among whites (64% favorable) than he does among African-Americans, at 45%. (Nutter is black.) Nutter also just secured the support of the Laborers union. Even further down the weeds in Philly, Republican state Rep. (and, briefly, former speaker) Dennis O'Brien will run for a vacant city council seat in NE Philly. That's good news, because it might free up his state House seat and make any Dem attempt to retake the state House in 2012 easier, seeing as how his seat is one of the most Dem-leaning seats held by a Republican.
• Minnesota: Two stories developing in Minnesota; one, the legal battle over 2012 redistricting has already begun, with Minnesota its first flashpoint. With the GOP controlling the legislature (but not the governorship), Dems have filed a suit seeking an injunction requiring legislators to submit proposed redistricting plans directly to the court (where they'll probably wind up anyway, regardless of how this suit goes). Also, Minnesota GOP legislators are seeking to emulate their next-door neighbors in Wisconsin in making it more difficult to vote, seeking to push a voter ID bill.
• Redistricting: You may remember some Republican laments from a few days ago about the apparent failure of their MAPS program to raise the money needed to coordinate redistricting at a national level; those fears seem to be spreading, including to ex-Rep. Tom Reynolds, who's spearheading the process for the GOP this year. Part of the problem seems to be that they spent so much money winning control of state legislatures in November that nothing was reserved for coordinating the subsequent redistricting. Nathan Gonzales also previews how state legislators from both parties are currently hunkering down in Washington learning (since many weren't in office in 2000) the redistricting process from the ground up; in particular, they're learning the new technologies (like GIS programs like Maptitude), which obviously have come a long way since the last round of redistricting.
• Census: Hats off to the Census Bureau, who, just in time to go with their upcoming onslaught of 2010 data, have launched a new and improved version of American FactFinder (the main research tool on their site), a significant improvement over the rather clumsy and unintuitive existing version. I wouldn't go so far as to call the new version intuitive either, but it makes multi-variable searches and customized maps much easier.
North Dakota Democratic Sen. Kent Conrad announced today that he will not seek reelection, creating a potentially prime pickup opportunity for Republicans in a GOP-leaning state.
"After months of consideration, I have decided not to seek reelection in 2012," Conrad said in a statement. "There are serious challenges facing our State and nation, like a $14 trillion debt and America's dependence on foreign oil. It is more important I spend my time and energy trying to solve these problems than to be distracted by a campaign for reelection."
Not the way I'd like to see this cycle start!
UPDATE: Roll Call has some more insights into Conrad's motivations, and possible Democratic successors:
Sources close to the Democrat told Roll Call Conrad made a final decision over the holidays and that it was for personal reasons, not political. After 26 years in the Senate by the end of his current term, the Budget Committee chairman will be ready for new challenges, the sources said....
But the early decision gives the party plenty of time to find a top-tier candidate to run in his place. Former Rep. Earl Pomeroy's name has already been floated as a potential candidate, though Pomeroy and former Chief of Staff Bob Siggins recently joined Alston & Bird to work on the firm's health care team.
UPDATE 2: No, actually, Pomeroy's not sounding like a candidate, according to his just-posted comments at Politico Arena (though optimists might point out it's not quite a Sherman-esque statement):
I'm about two weeks into a new job. I've changed course and I'm not looking back.
The Hill has more extensive lists of potential other candidates for the Dems:
The strategist listed former Rep. Earl Pomeroy (D-N.D.), former state Attorney General Heidi Heitkamp (D) and her brother, broadcaster Joel Heitkamp, as possible candidates....
On the Democratic side, state Senate Minority Leader Ryan Taylor is considered a contender for statewide office, and state Rep. Corey Mock, who ran for secretary of state last year, is also being mentioned as a possible candidate....
• CT-Sen: Democratic Rep. Chris Murphy is sounding very likely to challenge Joe Lieberman in 2012, at least if this WSJ piece primarily on Lieberman's re-election chances is any indication. It quotes Murphy as "definitely considering" the race and says his decision may be only weeks away, given the nature of permanent campaigning these days. Meanwhile, Paulist economist Peter Schiff (whose rather quixotic bid wound up with him deep in third place in the GOP primary in 2010) is saying he'd like to run for office again, but 2012 won't be the year, citing the likelihood of a Linda McMahon run and his inability to compete against her money. Finally, Lieberman himself has his mind on his money and his money on his mind, too... he's hungry enough for money that he's reaching out to his new friends from the No Labels movement and asking them to consider donating to politicians they don't necessarily agree with. Interesting argument (especially considering that the No Labels people are probably the likeliest people out there to agree with Lieberman).
• MA-Sen: Long-time Boston mayor Tom Menino has occasionally gotten some coverage as a possible opponent to Scott Brown in the 2012 Senate race, but he's taking his name out of consideration, saying he'll never run for anything but even more terms as mayor. Menino also offered some warnings to potential Dem candidates about the race, saying "There's nobody that can beat him." (Recall that Menino caught some flak for not really deploying the Boston Dem machine full-force on Martha Coakley's behalf during the special election, so it's unclear whether he's truly fearful of Brown or just engaging in a little concern trolling on Brown's behalf.)
• MI-Sen: Here's another indicator (after last month's PPP poll that had her mired in the 40s) that Debbie Stabenow could have a tough race in 2012, given the right GOP opponent. A Glengariff Group poll for the Detroit News doesn't include any head-to-heads, but gives her 37/39 approvals, and a 23% definite re-elect (vs. 43% someone new). Of course, the GOP will need to cough up someone more imposing than Tim Leuliette, the only publicly interested candidate so far.
• MN-Sen: I hadn't heard Rep. John Kline (the GOP Rep. in MN-02, who labors in right-wing anonymity thanks to a lot of cover from noisy neighbor Michele Bachmann) get associated with the 2012 Senate race before, and after today, he probably won't again. He told a talk radio interview over the weekend that his "plate was full."
• MT-Sen: There's been an uptick in speculation that Denny Rehberg may not run for Senate after all, given that he just landed a slot as not just one of the Appropriations cardinals (regarded by Beltway insiders as the uppermost tier in the House pantheon) but the subcommittee chair in charge of HHS, letting him carry the banner on any HCR repeal efforts. However, he's still being coy about his 2012 plans (and in fact getting a little meta about the endless Beltway media parsing of political career planning), saying a decision is "down the road... which is similar to around the corner."
• NE-Sen: This has been pretty clearly telegraphed for a while now, but Republican state treasurer Don Stenberg is saying he's "quite likely" to get into the Senate race. That, of course, would set up a high-profile primary with another statewide GOPer already a formal candidate, AG Jon Bruning. Meanwhile, GOP state party chair Mark Fahnelson removed an image from his personal blog of Ben Nelson inside a red bullseye. In good Republican fashion, he reaffirmed that he himself, in fact, was the victim in all this.
• NV-Sen: Hoping for Sue Lowden to be the 2012 Senate nominee for the GOP? Don't count your chickens before they hatch, because she's saying she won't consider running if Dean Heller is going to run (she would do it only if both John Ensign and Heller didn't run). Rather candidly, she admitted that she had no shot of beating Heller in a GOP primary. Meanwhile, Sharron Angle has decided that, having had a shot at the big time, another run for the state Senate would just be chicken feed at this point. She says that she won't seek the seat being vacated by resigning former GOP floor leader Bill Raggio (to whom she lost in a 2008 primary), although without saying anything more about another NV-Sen run or a NV-02 run if Heller runs for Senate.
• TX-Sen: Here's another poll showing a Senator who may have a rough go of it in 2012, although in Kay Bailey Hutchison's case, the real hurdle is likely to be the GOP primary. A Blum & Weprin poll for various Texas newspapers found Hutchison with a 46% approval among all registered voters, and only 56% among Republicans. Hutchison, of course, has not given any indication whether she's running for another term or not.
• LA-Gov: That gubernatorial election is only 10 months away, and Louisiana Democrats still seem to standing around scratching their heads wondering who their nominee will be. With GOP incumbent Bobby "Kenneth the Page" Jindal sitting on a $7.2 million war chest and, while not super-humanly popular anymore, still in positive territory, willing victims do not seem forthcoming. Dems seem most interested in somebody who can self-finance, which would probably be oft-rumored Shaw Group CEO Jim Bernhard, although other more remote possibilities include losing Lt. Gov. candidate Caroline Fayard, PSC Commissioner Foster Campbell (who finished 3rd in the 2007 primary), retired Gen. Russell Honore (who was briefly the subject of speculation for a GOP primary challenge to David Vitter last year), and even a return engagement from ex-Gov. Kathleen Blanco.
• AZ-08: Best wishes to Gabby Giffords for what will no doubt be a long, slow recovery after this weekend's shooting. Physicians say that she is rapidly improving and may be removed from her breathing apparatus in several days if progress continues.
• ND-AL: This has implications for North Dakota's House seat, but also potentially for the Senate seat in 2012, if Kent Conrad (last seen ramping up to start advertising already) does a sudden turnaround and opts for retirement. Ex-Rep. Earl Pomeroy (who's 58) is joining DC law firm Alston & Bird and says "I don't see myself running for office again."
• NM-02: Similarly, Harry Teague has announced that he won't run again for his old seat or anything else, saying he has no plans to seek another office. The 61-year-old (and independently wealthy) Teague plans to return to his family oilfield business.
• Mayors: Another day, another poll showing Rahm Emanuel way in the lead (albeit not out of runoff territory yet). This one's from Anzalone-Liszt on behalf of the Teamsters, and while it shows Carol Mosely Braun gaining ground (thanks to dropouts from Danny Davis and James Meeks), she's still far behind. It's Emanuel 42, Mosely Braun 26, Gerry Chico 10, and Miguel Del Valle 7. (November's Teamster poll was Emanuel 36, Mosely Braun 13, Chico 10.) Meanwhile, Chico can now boast an endorsement from Rep. Luis Gutierrez, which seems like a bit of a thumbed-nose at Emanuel (who used to be Gutierrez's neighbor in the House). And on the other side of the country, San Francisco has a newly-minted interim mayor: city administrator Ed Lee, who will fill in for the next 10 months as Gavin Newsom becomes Lt. Governor. The main thing that clinched it for Lee (who will be the city's first Asian-American mayor) was his promise not to run for the job in the November election. One of Newsom's last acts was to appoint a new DA in San Francisco, too (to replace the state's new AG, Kamala Harris): he promoted police chief George Gascon to that job.
• WATN?: Where are they now? On the prison bus, that's where. At least that's the case with former Republican House majority leader Tom DeLay, just sentenced this morning to three years on conspiracy charges associated with laundering corporate money into campaign donations.
• AZ-Sen: There have been vague rumblings that maybe Jon Kyl, the GOP's 68-year-old #2 in the Senate, may not be running for another term... but that seems to be coming into sharper relief all of a sudden. Kyl has refused to publicly discuss his plans, the GOP's state chair is saying Kyl is not likely to run again, and people are starting to notice that he's sitting on only $620K CoH and hasn't engaged in any fundraising yet. (Although it's likely, once he decides, that he could quickly do whatever fundraising was needed to win.)
• CT-Sen: Ex-Rep. Rob Simmons sounds torn about another Senate run in 2012, and refuses to rule it out. However, he sounds unenthused, not so much because of his odds in the general as the likelihood of butting heads with the NRSC in the primary, whom he thinks has a fixation on Linda McMahon and her self-funding ability. Meanwhile, Rep. Chris Murphy is busy framing his "no" vote on the tax compromise in populist terms, clearly trying to set up some contrasts with Joe Lieberman.
• NE-Sen: I'd thought AG Jon Bruning was supposed to be some sort of killer-app for the local GOP to go against Ben Nelson, but you wouldn't know it by the way they've kept casting about for more talent. Local insiders are still publicly airing their wish list, adding a couple more prominent names to it: Rep. Jeff Fortenberry and state Auditor Mike Foley. One lower-tier option is also floating her own name: state Sen. Deb Fischer, who represents that big empty north-central part of the state and says she'll decide on a run once the legislative session is over.
• OR-Sen: Best wishes for a quick recovery to Ron Wyden, who will be undergoing surgery on Monday for prostate cancer. While it sounds like he'll be back on his feet soon, he'll be unable to vote for anything next week, which could complicate the final rush to wrap up stuff in the lame duck.
• TN-Sen: Bob Corker occasionally gets mentioned, at least in the rightosphere, as the possible recipient of a tea party primary challenge in 2012. The Hill finds that this may be fizzling on the launching pad, for the very simple reason that no one seems to be stepping forward to consider the race.
• WI-Sen: PPP is out with its poll of the 2012 GOP Senate primary, with another one of those let's-test-everyone-and-their-dog fields, but unlike some of the other states they've looked at in the last few weeks, a U.S. Rep. wins, rather than a statewide figure. Paul Ryan (who probably gets enough Fox News attention to trump the disadvantage of representing only 1/8th of the state) is far in the lead at 52. Ex-Gov. Tommy Thompson (who if he didn't run this year surely isn't going to in 2012) is at 14, ex-Rep. Mark Green is at 9, AG JB Van Hollen and new Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch are at 6, new Rep. Sean Duffy is at 5, and already-forgotten 2010 contender Dave Westlake is at 1.
• IN-Gov, IN-09: Baron Hill says he most likely isn't going to be running for anything in 2012, not Governor, and not his old seat in the 9th, saying he's looking into private sector jobs for now, though also leaving the gubernatorial door "slightly open." Interestingly, he seemed more enthused about a run for Governor in 2016 (which may be a tougher road to hoe, if there's an entrenched GOP incumbent then instead of an open seat like 2012), although he also commented that "I don't know if I'll be alive in 2016."
• MO-Gov: In case there was any doubt, Democratic incumbent Jay Nixon confirmed that he'll run for re-election as Governor in 2012. Nixon also said that he's raised $1 million for that race just since November; he'll need it.
• WV-Gov: For what it's worth, two of the state's largest unions would like to see an expedited special election to replace Joe Manchin. Democratic House Speaker (and likely gubernatorial candidate) Rick Thompson agrees with them, saying there's a constitutional conflict of interest in acting Gov./Senate president Earl Ray Tomblin's dual position. In what may not be a surprise, Tomblin disagrees, saying that the law is clear that the special will be held in 2012.
• CA-06: Rep. Lynn Woolsey is seeming like she may be one of the first retirements of the cycle, if the flurry of activity among lower-level Marin County politicos jockeying for position is any indication. The 73-year-old is publicly weighing retirement, and state Assemblyman Jared Huffman has already formed an exploratory committee to run in her stead. State Sen. Noreen Evans, Sonoma Co. Commissioner Shirlee Zane, and Petaluma mayor Pam Torliatt are also listed as possible replacements.
• FL-25: It certainly didn't take newly-elected Rep. David Rivera to get in legal trouble, and it's something completely new, instead of anything having to do with that whole let's-run-that-truck-off-the-road incident. He's under investigation for an alleged $500,000 in secret payments from a greyhound track that he helped out to a marketing firm that's "run" by his septuagenarian mother.
• ID-01: Don't count on a rematch from Walt Minnick (or a run for higher office in Idaho, either): he says he's done with elective politics. An oft-overlooked fact about Minnick: he's a little older than your average freshman, at 68. He wasn't going to be in the seat for much longer or look to move up anyway.
• NY-14: Remember Reshma Saujani, after losing the Dem primary in the 14th, said "I'm definitely running again" and "There's no way I'm going to be ones of those folks who runs, loses, and you never see them again." Well, fast forward a few months, and now she's definitely not running again, although she may be looking toward a run for something in 2013 at the municipal level.
• DCCC: The DCCC held its first real strategy session of the cycle yesterday, and the list of top-tier targets that emerged is pretty predictable (Dan Lungren, Charlie Bass, Charlie Dent, Bob Dold!) except for one: Leonard Lance, who's proved pretty durable so far. They may be counting on Lance's NJ-07, which occupies roughly the middle of the state, to get tossed into the blender in the redistricting process.
• Votes: Here's the vote tally from yesterday's vote in the House on the tax compromise. It was a very unusual breakdown, with Dems breaking 139 yes/112 no and the GOP breaking 138 yes/36 no, with the "no"s coming generally from each party's hard-liners, in a manner vaguely reminiscent of how the TARP vote broke down. (Also, some defeated or retiring Blue Dogs still voted "no," like Allen Boyd, Gene Taylor, and Earl Pomeroy... while Dennis Kucinich was a "yes.")
• History: Here's an interesting story about the end of a little-known but important era in North Dakota politics: the effective end of the Non-Partisan League, a vaguely-socialist/populist farmers' party that cross-endorsed Democrats for many decades, and had an outsized influence on the state (as seen in their state-owned bank and similar enterprises). With Byron Dorgan retired, most NPL stalwarts dead or aging, and agribusiness having replaced the family farm, it looks like the end of the NPL's line.
• Redistricting: Dave Wasserman is out with a preview of next week's reapportionment, and he's rightly treating it like the NCAA playoffs draw, in that there a bunch of states on the bubble of getting or losing seats. Here's how that plays out:
Georgia, Nevada, and Utah are all but certain to gain an additional seat in the House, while Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania are all but certain to lose a seat and Ohio is all but certain to lose two seats.... the ten states in contention for the "last five" seats in the House (in order of likelihood to make the cut) are South Carolina, Florida, Minnesota, Washington, Texas, New York, California, Arizona, North Carolina, and Illinois.
He's also been tinkering around with Dave's Redistricting App, and has some maps that you'll want to check out. Maybe most interestingly, there's a solution to the IL-17 problem that actually makes it more Democratic while letting Aaron Schock and Bobby Schilling get much better acquainted with each other (the Fix also takes a look at Illinois today, coming up with similar ideas). Also worth a look: a good 10-district Washington map that gives Dave Reichert a heaping helping of eastern Washington.
• Site news: Due to holiday travel, other time commitments, and hopefully what will be a very slow news week, the Daily Digest will be on hiatus all next week. Don't worry, though: I'll make sure to be around on the 21st for the Census reapportionment data release (hell, maybe I'll even liveblog the news conference), and if there's any important breaking news, someone will get it up on the front page. In the meantime, happy holidays from the whole SSP team!
• AK-Sen: As is often the case, Alaska dominates our headlines today. Perhaps biggest in its implications is a hot-off-the-grill ruling from a judge that says that the state can't provide a list of possible write-in candidates for people in the voting booth. Obviously, that hurts the cumbersome-named Lisa MukroskyMorkoskiGibr Murkowski. Also, in the good news (well, maybe not, considering how far her star has fallen in-state) column for Joe Miller: Sarah Palin will be returning to the Last Frontier to stump for him tomorrow.
On the bad news front for Miller, though, first, he had to shout "I LIE!" yet again. That's a confession from his own work e-mails, over his now-well-known reprimand for hijacking (and covering up his tracks) of co-workers' computers to rig a local Republican online straw poll. That's at the core of his Fairbanks personnel files, released last evening after he declined to appeal their release to the state supreme court. On top of that, now the Army is investigating his use of its soldiers from Fort Richardson to act as his personal paramilitary force during their off-hours; in addition to rules prohibiting active military members from involvement in political campaigns, it's unclear whether they had their commander's permission to seek outside employment.
• CA-Sen: Here's some good news; Carly Fiorina bounced back quickly from her hospitalization yesterday for an infection associated with her breast cancer recovery, and left the hospital today. She'll be back on the trail tomorrow, says her campaign.
• CO-Sen: Would you believe this is the biggest-money Senate race anywhere in the country? It is, if you go by outside group expenditures. 27 different IE groups have spent nearly $25 million in Colorado, with the NRSC leading the way. (Nevada will still probably wind up the most expensive overall, factoring in the candidates' own accounts.) Meanwhile Ken Buck is in the news for two other reasons, first, his questioning of the separation of the church and state... handled more elegantly than Christine O'Donnell's palm-to-forehead method, but still probably a liability as he seeks to downplay his extremism. And also, he's now agnostic on whether he'll support Mitch McConnell for GOP leader (Buck, of course, owes Jim DeMint big-time for getting him as far as he's gotten).
• WV-Sen: Wow, this stuff literally writes itself. John Raese, under fire from Joe Manchin and the DSCC for his Florida mansion (and, for all practical purposes, residency), is now going to have to put some spin on this. The current item on the agenda for the Palm Beach planning commission: approval for Raese to replace a six-by-eight-foot "giant dollhouse" on his property with a fourteen-by-fifteen-foot "glass conservatory," perfect for those real-life Clue re-enactments. I know that's a problem that most West Virginians grapple with on a day-to-day basis.
• AZ-Gov: Now here's an October Surprise that's pushing the envelope (close to a November Surprise). Old documents reveal that Jan Brewer, a state Senator at the time, was involved in a 1988 auto accident where she was suspected at the time of driving under the influence. While she was immune from arrest at the time because the legislature was in session, it's not clear why the case wasn't pursued after that.
• MS-04: This might provide a small boost (dozens of votes?) to Gene Taylor: the Republican who lost the primary to state Rep. Steven Palazzo threw his backing to Taylor. Joe Tegerdine, interestingly, was the Tea Party candidate in the GOP race (with Palazzo the establishment pick), and finished with 43% of the vote; Tegerdine seemed to frame his decision very much in terms of pissing off the Republican establishment, in fact.
• Dark Money: If you look at only one link today, it should be this one, where a picture is worth way more than 1,000 words. It shows the octopus tentacles linking all the various shadowy outside groups that have poured in hundreds of millions of undisclosed dollars, and how they all kind of link back to Republican leadership. It's almost worthy of Glenn Beck's blackboard (well, if it had Woodrow Wilson and Diego Rivera on there somewhere).
• DNC: To quote Don Brodka, "if I wanted smoke blown up my ass, I'd be at home with a pack of cigarettes and short length of hose." Nevertheless, the DNC is out with a memo today showing in various ways how the Republican wave hasn't materialized, at least not in the form of early voting patterns so far, that's worth a look-see (especially the graphs).
• SSP TV:
• CO-Sen: The DSCC has two spots in Colorado, both with citizens reciting the litany of why they can't vote for Ken Buck • IL-Sen: The DSCC links Mark Kirk to George W. Bush, while Alexi Giannoulias trots out the Obamas in his own ad
• MO-Sen: I seriously can't summon up anything interesting to say about the last ads from Roy Blunt and Robin Carnahan; it's been that sort of race
• NV-Sen: The DSCC finishes in Nevada by pointing out how Sharron Angle consistently brings teh crazy
• PA-Sen: The DSCC hits Pat Toomey on outsourcing yet again, while Pat Toomey goes blandly autobiographical for his closing spot
• WA-Sen: The DSCC's parting shot is to hit Dino Rossi over his web of connections to unsavory real estate and lending partners
• WI-Sen: Both candidates close by ragging on each other; Ron Johnson hits Russ Feingold for only being fake "mavericky," while Feingold asks why Johnson is being so vague and cagey about his agenda
• WV-Sen: The DSCC's newest ad hits John Raese on the Florida residency issue yet again
• ND-AL: This may be the most interesting ad of the day: Earl Pomeroy faces the camera and says "I'm not Nancy Pelosi, and I'm not Barack Obama" (yeah, that's pretty evident by looking at you); he pivots off people's anger to say they'll be even angrier, though, if Republicans go against the farm bill, Social Security, and so on
• WA-08: Suzan DelBene's last ad beats the 'change' drum, and focuses on the Seattle Times endorsement again
• IL-Sen: Alexi Giannoulias (D) 42%, Mark Kirk (R) 46%, LeAlan Jones (G) 5%
• MD-Sen: Barb Mikulski (D-inc) 56%, Eric Wargotz (R) 38%
• NV-Gov: Rory Reid (D) 35%, Brian Sandoval (R) 58%
• OR-Gov: John Kitzhaber (D) 46%, Chris Dudley (R) 49%
• WI-Gov: Tom Barrett (D) 42%, Scott Walker (R) 52%
• WV-Sen: Joe Manchin (D) 49%, John Raese (R) 46%
(ooops, time for Scotty to get in line with everyone else on this one!)
Here's the last batch of 10 of the Hill House polls by Penn Schoen Berland. The sample periods were a mix of Oct. 16-19 and Oct. 19-21, with each sample with a 4.9% MoE. With previous rounds focusing on freshmen, open seats, and sophomores, this one deals with some of the most endangered veterans:
• CO-03: John Salazar (D-inc) 43%, Scott Tipton (R) 47%
• FL-02: Allen Boyd (D-inc) 38%, Steve Southerland 50%
• GA-08: Jim Marshall (D-inc) 37%, Austin Scott 50%
• IN-09: Baron Hill (D-inc) 46%, Todd Young (R) 44%
• IA-03: Leonard Boswell (D-inc) 49%, Brad Zaun (R) 37%
• ND-AL: Earl Pomeroy (D-inc) 45%, Rick Berg (R) 44%
• PA-11: Paul Kanjorski (D-inc) 43%, Lou Barletta (R) 48%
• SC-05: John Spratt (D-inc) 39%, Mick Mulvaney (R) 49%
• TX-17: Chet Edwards (D-inc) 40%, Bill Flores (R) 52%
So, 4 out of 10 isn't bad, considering the crowd we're looking at here (including the DOA-for-months Chet Edwards and Allen Boyd). Especially noteworthy is IA-03... who would have thought, even a few months ago, that chronically underperforming Leonard Boswell would be well on his way to re-election and possibly even not the most endangered Iowa Dem?
What's the overall damage? 31 of the total 42 Hill polls had Republicans in the lead, 4 ties, and 7 Dem leads. (Remember, 2 of those were GOP-held seats.) Mark Penn's take on what that means overall (remember, we're talking Mark Penn here, so take with salt as necessary):
"We didn't even poll in about 15 districts that are already too far gone for Democrats. So that, along with our entire series of polls, points to something in the range of a 50-seat gain for Republicans."
(I'm wondering what 15 he's talking about? Considering that they polled NH-01, TN-08, WA-03, WI-07, MI-01, AR-01, CO-04, IL-11, MD-01, NM-02, OH-15, PA-03, VA-02, and VA-05 earlier, that means I can count only AR-02, IN-08, LA-03, TN-06, NY-29, KS-03, and OH-01 in the "too far gone" category. Either he knows something about eight other races that nobody else does, or his math is a little fuzzy. Maybe he's counting FL-08 and WI-08, but even then he'd still owe us six more.)
• AK-Sen: Congrats to Scott McAdams, who just cleared the McMillion hurdle with $1 million in fundraising so far. The majority of contributions were from Alaska, with 88% contributions of $200 or less.
• KY-Sen: Matt Taibbi's new Rolling Stone article as he works the Rand Paul beat is a must-read even if it doesn't have any revelations as freaky as the "Aqua Buddha" story, although there's some vague and anonymous racism from the newsletter that his snarky secret society put out. The prize-winning quote, though, deals with the Tea Partiers don't seem terribly phased by any of this:
("Well, I used to use that cologne myself," was the response of one Tea Partier to a question I posed about "Aqua Buddha")
• MO-Sen: American Crossroads has declared victory in Missouri, and is pulling out of advertising there, where Roy Blunt has a consistent but single-digit lead. (As for the actual party committees... well, it's probably not relevant, seeing as how Crossroads and its ilk have made them basically irrelevant this year.)
• NV-Sen: Harry Reid racked up a couple endorsements from the big-in-Nevada gaming industry, including PokerPAC. He also got the endorsement of the former chair of the RNC, Frank Fahrenkopf, who warned of the threat Sharron Angle (with her ties to anti-gambling Gary Bauer) might pose to the state's gaming industry.
• PA-Sen: Ah, sweet Schadenfreude. The Club for Growth is having to plug $1 million into the Pennsylvania Senate race in order to bail out their former boss, Pat Toomey.
• WI-Sen: Yet another story with Ron Johnson with his hand in the trough he so regularly decries: he says he's not quite sure how five of his employees (and 10 dependents) at his plastics firm Pacur wound up on BadgerCare, the state's health insurance program for the poor. That would seem to contradict previous statements from the Johnson camp that all Pacur full-time employees are covered by the company's plan.
• AZ-07, AZ-08: I know John McCain has refudiated all his old mavericky ways, but did he actually have to go so far as to violate his signature piece of mavericky legislation, the McCain-Feingold Act? He recently cut spots for GOP candidates in the 7th and 8th, in which he and Jon Kyl appeared, and paid for them out of Friends of John McCain (his campaign committee). Dems have filed FEC complaints against McCain, saying that if he coordinated with the Ruth McClung and Jesse Kelly campaigns, he would've been limited to $4,800 contributions to each (they'd be legal independent expenditures if there was truly no coordination).
• CO-03, CO-04: The gang-that-couldn't-shoot-straight strikes twice, in two different neighboring Old West districts. In the 3rd, an anti-abortion group has been hitting the airwaves attacking Ken Salazar. That's fine, but Ken Salazar is the Secretary of Interior. His brother (the one with the mustache) is John Salazar, the Rep. from the 3rd. OK, understandable, since they're brothers... but how do you explain the confusion in the 4th, where not just some outside group but the Cory Gardner campaign mixed up Betsy Markey with Massachusetts Rep. Ed Markey? They accused her of voting for the Obama budget, which she didn't; that was the other Markey.
• FL-25: I don't know how far this will get, but give local Dems in south Florida credit for audaciousness. A Joe Garcia backer filed a lawsuit trying to get David Rivera removed from the ballot. The suit alleges that Rivera should be removed because of state election finance disclosure irregularities, concerning Rivera's mysterious claims of being a contractor to USAID despite USAID saying he wasn't. While they cite a comparable case where a state senate candidate was recently stricken from the ballot from similar problems, I'm wondering if it may be too late to do anything about that even if it succeeds on the merits (although if it only serves to move the USAID deception into the spotlight, that's good too).
• MO-04: More triage news... on the Republican side? Despite news of a Vicky Hartzler internal poll yesterday that showed a tied race, the NRCC is packing up, at least from the Kansas City market. I wonder if that has more to do with feeling neighboring KS-03 is locked down, as there are other smaller media markets in the 4th where they might still spend, but I think this has to count as at least a partial pullout.
• SD-AL: This is an interesting counterpoint to the anti-Pelosi (or at least Pelosi-skeptical) tide that seems to be rising among threatened Blue Dogs, including Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (who's in the skeptic camp): GOP challenger Kristi Noem is saying that if she wins her race, she's not sold yet on John Boehner as Republican leader, but would like to see who else might run. Recall that Noem previously politely told Sarah Palin to stay far away from her race, so this isn't the first time she's pantomimed independence.
• Early voting: There's been some buzz today about a CBS News story that says that Dems are doing better than expected in early voting, although it's kind of shy on actual numbers. It mentions that Dems have outpaced GOPers in early voting in Iowa, Maryland, North Carolina, and Clark Co., Nevada, while there's a Republican edge in Florida and Colorado. Jon Ralston, of course, has more data on Nevada, while Politico has some Iowa tidbits, involving early ballot requests in IA-03 (where 50% of requests are from Dems, but where Dems are 36% of the electorate) and IA-02 (51% of the requests, 38% of the electorate).
• SSP TV:
• CO-Sen: Women's Voices Women Vote Action Fund is out with a "high six-figure" buy in Colorado, with the first TV ad to take on Ken Buck's failure to prosecute that 2005 rape case (the "buyer's remorse" incident)
• KY-Sen: The DSCC hits Rand Paul on his support for the 23% sales (aka "fair") tax
• NV-Sen: Sharron Angle wonders how Harry Reid made all that money in her new ad (helpful fact from Jon Ralston: he was a millionaire even before he was in the House)
• WV-Sen: Outsourcing seems to be the hot button issue coming out of focus groups that works for the Dems these days, as the DSCC keeps hitting John Raese on it with their new spot
• AZ-03: Jon Hulburd has another TV ad against Ben Quayle, poking at his values and overall maturity
• HI-01: Colleen Hanabusa's new ad has a special guest star in the form of Barack Obama
• IN-09: The SEIU goes after Todd Young on Social Security privatization
• NH-01: Carol Shea-Porter, in her own ad, also works the SSP angle against Frank Guinta
• VA-05: Is the DCCC trying to drive up indie teabagger Jeffrey Clark's numbers? They're out with a spot hitting Robert Hurt for all the tax-raising he did in the state legislature
• IL-Gov: Pat Quinn (D-inc) 37%, Bill Brady (R) 45%, Rich Whit(n)ey (G) 2%, Scott Lee Cohen (I) 6%
• MO-Sen: Robin Carnahan (D) 43%, Roy Blunt (R) 52%
• ND-AL: Earl Pomeroy (D-inc) 42%, Rick Berg (R) 52%
• NY-Sen-B: Kirsten Gillibrand (D-inc) 54%, Joe DioGuardi (R) 33%
• SC-Gov: Vincent Sheheen (D) 38%, Nikki Haley (R) 47%
• CT-Sen: I hope Joe Lieberman has a nice lobbying firm picked out for a job starting in 2013. PPP threw in some Lieberman-related questions in their Connecticut sample, and he generates genuine bipartisan support in terms of the desire to replace him with someone else (72% of Dems, 63% of indies, and 61% of GOPers say "someone new"). He has 31/57 approval, including 20/69 among Dems. In a three-way with Dem Chris Murphy and GOPer Jodi Rell, Lieberman finishes 3rd, with Murphy winning 37-29-17. Substitute Peter Schiff for Rell and it's about the same: 39-25-19. If Lieberman goes the full GOP, he still loses a head-to-head with Murphy, 47-33.
• IL-Sen: Barack Obama's coming to town today, on behalf of Alexi Giannoulias. No stumping though, just two fundraisers. (On a related note, though, Obama will be in Oregon on Oct. 20 to appear with gubernatorial candidate John Kitzhaber.)
Dan Onorato (D): 36 (37)
Tom Corbett (R): 47 (46)
These races just don't seem to budge. Muhlenberg's newest numbers are just where they were a few weeks earlier, and they're pretty much at the median for all pollsters' averages in these races.
• VA-Sen: More looking ahead to 2012: George Allen is probably figuring that 'macaca' has faded into the mists of time, and he's starting to publicly let it be know that he's interested in a rematch with the man who beat him, Jim Webb. No formal preparatory activities, but it seems like he's engaging in some pre-emptive GOP field-clearing.
• WA-Sen: Here's something we haven't seen in a while: a poll with a lead for Dino Rossi. Of course, it's a Republican poll (from Fabrizio & Associates, on behalf of American Action Forum (that's AAF, not AFF)), so take it with some salt, but it's a reminder that this race is far from a done deal and that things may have tightened since that polling bulge for Patty Murray a few weeks ago. Rossi leads Murray 48-42 in a 9/26-27 sample.
• WV-Sen: You've probably already heard about this story: the NRSC has pulled an ad that it had started running in West Virginia featuring stereotypically blue-collar guy sitting around a diner grousing. Well, if they seem a little stereotypical, it's because they were intended to be, if you read the details from the NRSC's casting call for the ad that was shot in Philadelphia, asking for a "'hicky' blue collar look" and listing the various blue-collar clothing items that they should wear, including "John Deer [sic] hats (not brand new, preferably beat up)."" Somehow, I'm not hopeful this flap will become a game-changer in the race, but maybe it'll help West Virginians see what Beltway Republicans really think of them. The NRSC is in fact distancing itself from the ad, throwing the talent agency under the bus.
Meanwhile, this seems like a richer vein to mine: the ongoing and seemingly growing controversy of John Raese's residence. He owns a Florida mansion, where his wife and kids spent most of their time. But Dems are trying to raise questions about whether Raese is a West Virginia resident at all, and are asking whether he's filed West Virginia income taxes (Florida, as you might know, doesn't impose income taxes).
• NM-Gov: Can a race have too much internal poll leaking? There seems to be more tit-for-tat in this race than any. In response to yesterday's Diane Denish internal showing a 3-point race, today Susana Martinez brandishes a POS internal from 10/3-5 giving her a 51-42 lead over Denish.
Andrew Cuomo (D): 55 (49)
Carl Paladino (R): 37 (43)
Undecided: 6 (7)
Either Carl Paladino had a huge primary bounce that quickly faded, people who hadn't been paying close attention a few weeks ago suddenly found out that Paladino is a sputtering rage volcano who'd be a huge liability in office, or Quinnipiac put up a big stinky outlier a few weeks ago. (Probably a little of all three.)
• WI-Gov: Marist for McClatchy (9/26-28, likely voters, no trendlines):
Tom Barrett (D): 43
Scott Walker (R): 51
Ooops, we missed that there was a gubernatorial half to that Marist poll from a few days ago.
• AL-02: I don't know which is a bigger story here: that Bobby Bright is the first Democratic incumbent to announce, pre-election, that he won't vote for Nancy Pelosi for Speaker, or that he's trailing in a Martha Roby internal after having, for most of the cycle, seemed safer than a lot of other incumbents in less hostile districts... although the announcement seems pretty clearly motivated by the polling trends here. He says he certainly won't vote for John Boehner, though, saying he wants to vote for a centrist "more like me." Roby's poll comes from POS, giving her a 45-43 lead (with the memo saying their July poll gave Bright a 49-41 lead). Bright still overperforms the generic ballot by a wide margin, which is 51-32 for the GOP in this R+16 district.
• CT-01: Merriman River Group (who put up a surprising poll finding Chris Murphy trailing in CT-05 yesterday) are out with another poll that should give some pause: they find John Larson only ahead by 7 against no-namer Ann Brinkley, 52-45, in what's Connecticut's bluest (D+13) congressional district. For what it's worth, this district is eleven points bluer than D+2 CT-05, so the spread (Murphy was down 5) is consistent... but also remember that Merriman was about five points to the right of where everybody else was seeing the statewide races in that big pile of CT polls from the last couple days, so feel free to adjust accordingly.
• IL-17: Yep, we've definitely got a real race here this time, after Phil Hare got away unopposed in 2008. He's up only slightly over Bobby Schilling in a POS internal (which I assume is on behalf of the Schilling camp, as the NRCC has been using Tarrance in this district), leading 38-37 in a 9/26-27 sample.
• IN-02: EPIC-MRA for WSBT (10/1-3, likely voters, no trendlines):
Joe Donnelly (D): 48
Jackie Walorski (R): 39
Mike Vogel (I): 6
These numbers (which include leaners) look pretty good for Donnelly, in the first public poll of the race (although he's seemed to fare OK in partisan polls of the race, compared with many other vulnerable Dems, leading in both AFF and Susan B. Anthony List polls). Donnelly has 47/32 faves, while Walorski is at 32/35.
• NY-23: Here's one more Republican internal, that was taken before Doug Hoffman officially pulled the plug on his Conservative Party bid, but suggesting that he wasn't having much of an effect this year anyway. In the POS poll taken for the NRCC 9/22-23, Matt Doheny leads Dem incumbent Bill Owens 51-37. (Somehow they didn't leak what percentage Hoffman was getting... obviously it couldn't be more than 12%... but they do tell us 68% of Hoffman supporters would, in the alternate, support Doheny.)
• PA-07: Monmouth (10/4-6, likely voters, no trendlines):
Believe it or not, this is the first public poll of this race, and it's definitely better than the conventional wisdom on this race would dictate: although Bryan Lentz is still losing, it's by a 4-point margin. It's a seat that leans Dem-enough that even with a strong GOP candidate and a strong GOP tailwind it looks like it'll still be at least close. (That conventional wisdom seems founded largely on a June Meehan internal giving him a 21-point lead.) One other interesting tidbit: Joe Sestak, the district's current Rep., is leading Pat Toomey 49-46 within the district in the Senate race. He'd need to be cleaning up by a much wider margin than that, here, to be competitive statewide.
• WA-08: Let's throw in a Democratic internal poll to break up the monotony. It's from one of the few Dem challengers who seem to be keeping things within striking distance, Suzan DelBene. She trails GOP incumbent Dave Reichert by only 48-44 in a Fairbank Maslin poll taken 10/4-5 (where they gave Reichert a 9-point lead in August). That coincides, perhaps not coincidentally, with Dave Reichert finally having to come out and say "no, I don't have brain damage." Reichert, you may remember, had to have emergency surgery after getting hit in the head by a tree branch in March. Reichert's fitness had been the subject of increasing whispers and question marks in recent months, some of which may have rubbed off on his poll numbers.
• Early voting: Fun fact of the day: early voting is up 50% over this point in time over the 2006 midterm, with nearly 6 million votes already having been cast. This, of course, is in large part because states have, in the intervening years, made it easier to vote early. (Nearly 30% of votes were cast early in 2008; officials don't expect this year's numbers to reach that peak, though.) At any rate, it looks like early voting is increasingly here to stay, and campaigns will have to adjust their strategies accordingly. (I.e. planning for the "September Surprise" instead?)
• Demographics: Now these are some interesting numbers: a chart breaking down the "voting-eligible" (not just "voting age") population by percentage in each state, eliminating non-citizens as well as prisoners and ineligible felons. And here's an interesting statistic: despite the fact that we haven't completed the dang fence, the percentage of non-citizens in the U.S. has actually dropped from 2006 (8.6%) to 2010 (8.3%), partly because the government has processed a backlog in citizenship cases and partly because the lousier economy has made the U.S. a less attractive destination.
• SSP TV:
• AR-Sen: Blanche Lincoln uses Bill Clinton as surrogate to talk about John Boozman's privatization mania
• PA-Sen: The Club for Growth does some stimulus act cherry-picking to portray Joe Sestak as a sockpuppet for the sockpuppet lobby
• WV-Sen: The DSCC hits John Raese on outsourcing
• ND-AL: The NRCC attacks Earl Pomeroy for taking money from the insurance industry
• SD-AL: Stephanie Herseth Sandlin's newest ad focuses on her work on parochial issues, while Kristin Noem's ad says Sandlin's gone Washington