• AZ-Sen: After some rumors yesterday that she wasn't getting much traction with her phoning around, DHS Sec./ex-Gov. Janet Napolitano confirmed today that she wasn't going to run for the open Senate seat in Arizona, preferring to remain in the Obama administration. (Roll Call has a list of some of the weedier Dem possibilities, beyond the top tier of Rep. Gabby Giffords and Phoenix mayor Phil Gordon: Rep. Ed Pastor, Board of Regents vice chair Fred DuVal, former state party chair Don Bivens, 2010 AG candidate Felicia Rotellini, and current state party chair/2010 Treasurer candidate Andrei Cherny.) On the GOP side, Rep. Jeff Flake seems already positioning himself for the general while opening himself up for a challenge from the nutty right, telling the birthers to "accept reality." Flake also just picked up an endorsement from a similar budget-focused, social-issues-downplaying prominent House member, Paul Ryan.
• IN-Sen: State Treasurer Richard Mourdock, who plans to soon announce his GOP primary challenge to Richard Lugar (with next Tuesday the more-or-less official launch date), leaked a few poll numbers from an internal. He says that "just over half" of GOP primary voters are inclined to re-elect Lugar, while Lugar pulls in only 27% support among self-described tea-partiers. The poll didn't "include" a head-to-head between Mourdock and Lugar, which I'll assume means they aren't reporting results that were pretty heavily in Lugar's favor, rather than that they just accidentally forgot to poll that particular question. Here's new one piece of ammo that tea partiers can use against Lugar to make their point that he's gone Washington, though: a revelation that Lugar stays in a hotel when he visits Indiana (Lugar owns a farm in-state, but conditions there are "rustic").
• PA-Sen: Quinnipiac is out with another Pennsylvania poll, one that finds Bob Casey Jr. in better shape than their previous poll, where he was in decent shape too. He beats a Generic R 45-35 (up from 43-35 in December), and his approvals are up to 44/24 (from 39/29). Voters approve of Barack Obama (51/44) and Pat Toomey (41/21) as well, in another indication of ebbing anger.
• VA-Sen: Tell the ground crew to break out the tarps, because we've got a Kaine delay. Ex-Gov. Tim Kaine, at the top of the Dem establishment's wish list for the open Senate seat, is announcing that he won't have anything to announce when he addresses tomorrow's Jefferson-Jackson Dinner. He still sounds genuinely conflicted; expect an announcement "later in the month or early next month."
• VT-Sen: He stopped well short of actually announcing anything, but Dem-turned-Republican state Auditor Tom Salmon seems to be moving apace toward an uphill challenge against Bernie Sanders, saying he'll announce his decision on March 4 or 5. He's looking more committed in that he's leaving his day job: he also just announced he won't run for another term as Auditor.
• WV-Gov: The overcrowded (and likely low-turnout) Democratic primary in West Virginia may be decided by a few thousand votes, so any possible advantage counts here. And here's one for SoS Natalie Tenannt, the only Dem woman running: she just got the endorsement of EMILY's List.
• CA-36: The Republicans have managed to scrape up at least one credible candidate for the special election in the dark-blue 36th, where the main battle in the top 2 primary will be fought between Democrats Janice Hahn and Debra Bowen but conceivably he could sneak into the final round if he consolidates all the district's GOP votes. Mike Webb is City Attorney for Redondo Beach (popu. 63K).
• MN-06, MN-08: This is an interesting possibility for ex-state Sen. Tarryl Clark, who lost last year to Michele Bachmann in the GOP-leaning 6th... although it's entirely dependent on the redistricting pen. There's the possibility that her town of St. Cloud (to the west of the Twin Cities) may get appended to the 8th, which starts in the metro area's northern exurbs and heads up to Duluth. A run against vulnerable GOP frosh Chip Cravaack in a Dem-leaning district in a presidential year would be a much better bet for her. The question would be, though, whether Clark would have much luck in the DFL primary if she has to run against someone from the Iron Range, which tends to be insular-minded and would still be the bulk of the district's population.
• SD-AL, FL-02: I don't know how many of you were pining for a 2012 rematch from Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (about which there were some rumors this week), and I really can't imagine that any of you were hoping for a return engagement from ur-Blue Dog Allen Boyd, but it's looking like neither one is on track to happen. Both are rumored to be about to take on K Street lobbying jobs instead, which is, of course, not the usual comeback path.
• AK-Sen: There's yet another lawsuit coming out of the Joe Miller camp, this one filed in state court. It essentially rehashes claims he's already made at the federal level, but adds two new allegations: voters without identification were allowed to take ballots in some precincts, and that in a few precincts handwriting samples suggest that the same person completed multiple ballots. Miller's ultimate goal is a hand count of the entire race, which could delay Lisa Murkowski's swearing-in past January. The question, however, is starting to arise: who's paying for all this? None of Miller's former friends seem interested any more: the NRSC has gone silent, and the Tea Party Express still offers verbal support but isn't ponying up any money. Only Jim DeMint continues to offer any financial support (with a Joe Miller fundraising button on his Senate Conservatives website).
• MT-Sen: This could complicates matters for Denny Rehberg, turning this primary into an establishment vs. teabagger duel. Two right-wing groups, Concerned Women PAC and Gun Owners of America, have already lent their support to businessman Steve Daines, who has already announced his bid for the GOP nod here.
• NY-Sen: Kirsten Gillibrand has to do it all over again in 2012 (this one was just a special election), and rumors are that former Bush administration official Dan Senor, who spurned a run this time, is interested in a run next time. It's hard to imagine, if Gillibrand could top 60% in a year as bad as this, that Senor could somehow overperform that in a presidential year.
• MN-Gov: The recount is officially on. The State Canvassing Board, whom you all got to know really well in early 2009, ruled that the 8,770 vote lead for Mark Dayton is less than one-half of a percentage point and that an automatic recount is triggered. The count starts on Monday and should end in mid-December, allowing time for swearing in on Jan. 3 (unless things really go haywire). This comes after a variety of legal maneuvering from both sides, including a fast Minnesota Supreme Court ruling against Tom Emmer, in response to his desire to force counties to comb through voter rolls and eliminate votes that were "excessively cast." No word yet on whether the Board will honor Dayton's request for ways to streamline the process (and minimize Emmer's chances for challenges).
• MT-Gov: There had been rumors that Democratic ex-Rep. Pat Williams would seek the Dem gubernatorial nomination (potentially setting up a match with his successor, ex-Rep. Rick Hill), despite being 72 years old. He's now saying that he won't. Williams is so old-school that he used to represent MT-01, before the state got smooshed together into one at-large district.
• CT-05: Random rich guy Mark Greenberg, who finished third in the GOP primary in the 5th this year (although with nearly 30% of the vote), says he'll be running again in 2012. Added incentive: he says he expects this to be an open seat as Chris Murphy runs for Senate.
• FL-17: Newly elected Frederica Wilson is already challenging the old ways of the House... going after the long-standing prohibition against wearing hats on the House floor. She says it's "sexist," saying that women's indoor hat use is different from men's. Wilson owns at least 300 hats, she says. (If Regina Thomas ever makes it to the House, maybe the Hat Caucus can gain some momentum.)
• MD-01: Recently-defeated Frank Kratovil seems like one of the likeliest losses to run again in 2012, especially since the Dem-controlled Maryland legislature is likely to serve him up a much Dem-friendlier district (as many of our in-house mapmakers have suggested). He isn't saying yes yet, but says he will "consider" it.
• NH-02: Another possible re-run is Ann McLane Kuster, who performed pretty well in a narrow loss to Charlie Bass in the open 2nd. There have been lots of Beltway rumors that her run is imminent, and some are pointing to encouragement straight from the White House for her to try again.
• NY-01: We've essentially finished the absentee ballot count, and the news is very good here: Tim Bishop, after leading by only 15 last night, is now leading by a comparatively-gargantuan 235 with all absentees counted. However, we're nowhere near a resolution, as attention now turns to the court battle over 2,000 challenged ballots (Randy Altschuler has challenged 1,261, while Bishop has challenged 790). Still, Bishop's spokesperson is saying they're "very confident" that they've won this one.
• NY-23: Yeesh, Bill Owens is actually saying he might vote for John Boehner for Speaker or abstain instead of Nancy Pelosi when it comes to a floor vote, saying Pelosi is too liberal. (This despite saying he voted for her, rather than Heath Shuler, in the caucus vote.) Also, not that it matters at this point, but this race wound up being closer than the Election Day count indicated: Matt Doheny picked up 1,982 previously-unknown votes in the recanvass of Fulton County, taking Owens' margin down to 1,795 overall, and making it all the clearer that we owe this victory entirely to 3rd-party bearer-of-cat-fud Doug Hoffman.
• Odds and ends: The Fix has a massive list of people considering rematches in 2012, most of which we've already dealt with before (including Kuster and Kratovil, above). Other names that we haven't listed include Brad Ellsworth (either for Gov, Senate, or his old IN-08), Christine O'Donnell in Delaware (not unexpected, since she runs every 2 years anyway), Glenn Nye, and Allen Boyd (despite his losing very thoroughly to Steve Southerland).
• AL-St. House: The inevitable realignment at the legislative level in Alabama finally happened, and happened all at once instead of slow drips. Four conservative Democrats in the state House changed to the GOP, bringing the GOP numbers up to not just a majority but a supermajority in one fell swoop. The Madison County (Huntsville) Clerk also announced her switch, too.
• CA-AG: At this point, it's all over but the shouting in the AG race, as Kamala Harris now leads Steve Cooley by 43,000 votes (with 500K votes still left to count). While the AP hasn't called it, LA Weekly has decided it's a done deal.
• Chicago mayor: Roland Burris has aparently thrown his well-traveled hat into the ring for the Chicago mayoral race, as he'll need a new job in a week or so. Supporters filed his candidate paperwork yesterday, the deadline for filing (although he has yet to officially say that he's running). Somehow, I can only see this helping Rahm Emanuel, by further splitting the African-American vote (already divided between Danny Davis and another ex-Senator, Carol Mosely Braun).
• Redistricting: There's been some sudden buzz about switching North Carolina to an independent redistricting commission (which, of course, has to do with the GOP seizing control of the state legislature). In what is not a surprise, though, the GOP has no interest in giving up its newfound power, saying that (despite a recent PPP poll showing wide support for such a commission) there isn't any time to move on the constitutional amendment that would create a commission (something that they generally supported up until, y'know, this month). Also on the redistricting front, check out the Fix's latest installment in its state-by-state series, focusing today on Indiana, where GOP control over the trifecta is likely to make things worse for IN-02's Joe Donnelly (just how much worse, we have yet to find out)... and, if they wanted to experiment with dummymanders, possibly IN-07's Andre Carson, too.
• Demographics: Here's some interesting demographic slice-and-dice from the Washington Post: Dems increased their vote share in big counties (500K+) from 49% in 1994 to 54% this year, but lost even further in smaller counties, from 43% in 1994 to 39% this year. The districts the GOP won were disproportionately older, whiter, and less educated. And on a related note, check out these maps and the interesting ways they represent population density around the U.S. Note any similarities between these maps and where Democratic votes are concentrated?
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.)
14 of these changes favor Republicans; 6 races have moved in the Democratic direction. If anything, we're seeing a continuation of the pattern where the Dems in some high-profile statewide races seem to have bottomed out and there's a little bounce-back, but where things seem to be keeping on worsening in the House. (Although that probably doesn't have as much to do with the overall national atmosphere continuing to get worse, as it just does with additional polling coming to light that lets us see more underserved races in sharper relief.)
Margins & Errors: Marc Ambinder tweets about supposedly close internals on both sides in OH-Gov... If the gang at NBC is to be believed, Joe Miller might be turning into Bizarro Scozzafava: "Miller's getting close to being in free-fall if some private polling is to be believed."... The Fix faithfully transcribes a batch of NRCC polls, without firm names, sample sizes, or field dates
• AK-Sen: The elections officials in Alaska are out with some further guidance on just how stringent they'll be about misspellings of Lisa Murkowski's name: "Murkowsky," for instance, will probably be OK, but misspellings of "Lisa" (hard to misspell, but anything's possible in a state that elected Sarah Palin, I guess) won't. Also, are MurkStrong bracelets on the horizon? They've said it's acceptable for voters to wear wristbands with Murkowski's name printed on them into the ballot booth, as long as they don't show them to other people.
• IL-Sen: Alexi Giannoulias offers up an internal poll from Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, taken Oct. 10-12, giving him a 44-41 lead over Mark Kirk (with 4 for LeAlan Jones and 3 for Mike Labno). I don't know how much confidence to get filled with here (especially in view of Nate Silver's seeming ratification of the +5 rule on internal polls, in fact saying it's more like a +6)... but with most public pollsters, even Rasmussen, showing this race to be a game of inches, maybe this is truly worth something.
• NV-Sen: Here's a clear illustration of burn rate, especially when your fundraising strategy is centered around direct mail appeals to small donors (including me... I just got another Sharron Angle snail-mail pitch yesterday). Despite her $14 million 3Q haul, her CoH is $4.1 million. That's almost exactly the CoH that Harry Reid just announced ($4 mil, based on raising $2.3 mil in 3Q).
• FL-Gov: Wow, the next Alex Sink attack ad writes itself. It turns out that Rick Scott was actually sued by the state of Florida (the same state, of course, that he's vying to lead) in the late 90s for insider trading at the same time that the FBI was investigating assorted malfeasance at Columbia/HCA. (The case never went to trial, getting subsumed into the larger federal case.)
• RI-Gov: This is pretty late in the game to fall into this state of disarray: Lincoln Chafee's campaign manager, J.R. Pagliarini just resigned. It wasn't over any sort of disagreement (or, Tim Cahill-style, over the candidate's hopelessness), though, but rather because of the impropriety of having received unemployment benefits at the same time as working on the Chafee campaign (which he attributes to a payroll snafu). With or without Pagliarini, though, there's already a cloud of disarray hanging overhead, as seen by how little attention the Chafee camp seems to have drummed up surrounding their own internal poll giving them a 34-30 lead over Frank Caprio (with John Robitaille at 15).
• CA-11: It was just yesterday that I was pointing out how clownish OR-04 candidate Art Robinson was a big proponent of eliminating public education altogether. Well, now it's turned out that David Harmer, certainly a "serious" candidate by standard media definitions, is of essentially the same mind, having made the same argument in a 2000 op-ed article in the widely-read San Francisco Chronicle.
• FL-02: At this point I don't expect to see Allen Boyd back in Congress next year, but this poll seems weird even if you feel the same. It's from someone called P.M.I. Inc., only mentioned in a rather sketchily-reported article from the right-leaning Sunshine State News site (complete with a tasteless headline that sounds like something I would write) that doesn't make it clear whether this is an independent poll or taken on someone's behalf (and doesn't include dates or MoE). It shows Steve Southerland leading Allen Boyd 56-30, with two independent conservative candidates pulling in an additional 14 percent of the vote.
• GA-02: With Mike Keown having released a poll showing him trailing Sanford Bishop by only 1, Bishop is rather predictably out with a poll of his own today. The Oct. 7-10 poll from Lester & Assocs. gives Bishop a 50-40 lead. (Keown's poll was taken several weeks earlier, before the DCCC started running ads here.)
• MN-07: Here's one more race where there were "rumors" (without an actual piece of paper) about a competitive race, where the incumbent Dem whipped out an internal to quash that. This is one of the more lopsided polls we've seen lately: Collin Peterson leads Lee Byberg 54-20 in the Sept. 28 poll from Global Strategy Group.
• NY-17: And here's one more mystery poll (expect to see lots more of these bubble up in the coming weeks): it shows Eliot Engel at 31 but leading his split opponents: Conservative York Kleinhandler at 25 and Republican Tony Mele at 23. The poll is from somebody called "YGSBS." Considering that "YG" is the initials of the proprietor of the blog where this poll first emerged (yossigestetner.com), and the "forthcoming" crosstabs still don't seem to have arrived, color me a little suspicious.
• WV-03: Yet another internal poll in the why-are-we-still-talking-about-it WV-03 race: Dem Nick Rahall leads Spike Maynard by 19, in an Anzalone-Liszt poll from Oct. 10-12.
• Fundraising: Here are some fundraising tidbits: via e-mail press release, Taryl Clark just announced $1.8 million last quarter, giving her $1 million CoH. (In any other House race, that'd be huge, but she's up against Michele Bachmann.) Two other fundraising machines who are sort of the polarizing ideological bookends of Florida also reported: Alan Grayson reports $967K last quarter while Allen West reports $1.6 mil (although no CoH numbers, important as his campaign relies heavily on direct-mail churn). Finally, CQ has some assorted other numbers, including $626K for Rick Boucher in VA-09, $700K for Dan Debicella in super-expensive CT-04, and $507K for Andy Harris in MD-01.
• RGA: And here's the biggest number of all: yesterday the RGA reported $31 million in the 3rd quarter, which gives them a lot of leverage in the closing weeks in the tight races. (Bear in mind, of course, that a lot of that would have gone to the RNC instead in a more competent year.)
• Polltopia: Nate Silver adds some thoughts on the cellphone debate, reignited by new Pew findings that we discussed yesterday. His main takeaway, one that I agree with whole-heartedly, is don't just go start adding 5 points in the Dem direction on every poll you see, simply because the cellphone effect isn't likely to apply uniformly in every population and in every pollster's method.
• SSP TV:
• AK-Sen: Lisa Murkowski finally, as promised, rolls out Ted Stevens dancing with a vacuum cleaner endorsing her from beyond the grave, in a one-minute ad
• KY-Sen: The NRSC is still pouring money into Kentucky (consider that good news), with another boilerplate Conway = Obama ad
• NV-Sen: The Harry Reid team must have spent all last night in the editing suite, as they're already using Sharron Angle's words from last night's debate, on health insurance coverage exemptions, against her
• PA-Sen: If internal polling and press release content are any indication, they've finally something that works against Pat Toomey: China, and outsourcing more in general (which explains why the DSCC is out with another ad on the topic, and also pointing out that in Toomey's last ad that, during the period where he was being a "small businessman" by owning a restaurant, he was really an absentee owner while being a large businessman in Hong Kong)
• WA-Sen: Ditto the DSCC's new ad in Washington, up against Dino Rossi (which, I'll admit, is a strange tack in Washington, one of the most pro-trade states you'll see, and where Patty Murray is a regular vote in favor of trade agreements)
• MO-04: Vicky Hartzler's ace in the hole? She has an ad up with footage of Ike Skelton telling fellow Rep. Todd Akin where to stick it, with repeated obscenities bleeped out (hmmm, that would just make me want to vote for Skelton more)
• NRA: The NRA is out with a planned $6.75 million buy in a number of statewide races, including a few of their Dem friends, but mostly on behalf of GOPers; you can see a variety of their TV ad offerings at the link
• CA-Gov: Jerry Brown (D) 50%, Meg Whitman (R) 44%
• CO-Gov: John Hickelooper (D) 42%, Dan Maes (R) 12%, Tom Tancredo (C) 38%
• CT-Sen: Richard Blumenthal (D) 51%, Linda McMahon (R) 46%
• DE-Sen: Chris Coons (D) 51%, Christine O'Donnell (R) 40%
• HI-Gov: Neil Abercrombie (D) 49%, Duke Aiona (R) 47%
• NV-Gov: Rory Reid (D) 40%, Brian Sandoval (R) 55%
• PA-Gov: Dan Onorato (D) 40%, Tom Corbett (R) 54%
• CA-Gov: Another few weeks go by, and Meg Whitman keeps smashing the barriers on over-the-top self-funding: she's spent $140 million out of pocket over the entire cycle now. Here's the number that's gotta suck for her, though: Jerry Brown, having spent all of $10 million so far this cycle, is sitting on $22 million in reserves for the remaining month, allowing him to compete on perhaps an even financial footing for the last month. Whitman's cash reserves are $9 million, but even if she cuts herself the biggest check of all to re-up, there's only a finite amount of TV time left for her to buy. Truly the story of the ant and the grasshopper.
• NM-Gov: The Diane Denish camp keeps up the onslaught of internal polls showing her behind but within arm's length of Susana Martinez. This time, the poll is from Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, and gives Martinez a 49-46 lead. That still feels kind of "meh" to me, but there's an interesting kernel in the fine print: Martinez has fallen into net negative favorables for the first time (39/42, down from 42/31 in August), suggesting the ad war is having its effect.
• OH-Gov: I'm going to wait until I start seeing these kind of numbers in public polls before I start getting too optimistic about whether Ted Strickland's comeback really has legs, but here's another strong internal from his camp. The Feldman Group poll taken 10/3-5 gives Strickland a 46-42 lead over John Kasich, and finds Strickland with 47/40 favorables.
• CA-03: Ami Bera continues to be a fundraising force among Democratic challengers (not that he has much high-profile competition on that front); he raised $550K in 3Q, and $2.1 million raised over the cycle. He beat incumbent Dan Lungren yet again, who raised $480K for a $1.7 mil total.
• FL-02: We still haven't seen any public polling of this race, but here's a second GOP poll for challenger Steve Southerland giving him a double digit lead over Allen Boyd (the first one was an NRCC poll from the Tarrance Group way back in May, giving Southerland a 52-37 lead). This one's from National Research (presumably on Southerland's behalf?), taken 9/29-30, giving Southerland a 46-30 lead.
• VA-05: The US Chamber of Commerce gave its backing to Robert Hurt, not much of a surprise as he's the kind of non-threatening establishment conservative that wing of the GOP tends to like. Tom Perriello picked that up and is using it as a cudgel that seems to combine various elements that have apparently polled well for Dems (outsourcing and Citizens United), saying that the endorsement means "foreign money" is pouring into the race now, citing companies in Bahrain, Russia, and China that give money to the US Chamber.
• DCCC: Here's some more detail on the various ways in which the DCCC is, um, advancing in other directions (we told you about their pullout in AZ-08 last night, which probably has to do with Gabby Giffords having enough money to pull her own weight). They've also reduced buys for one week in a few other districts: a mix of ones where they seem genuinely hosed (CO-04, TX-17, FL-24, and the KS-03 and IN-08 open seats), one that seems a true tossup but where our guy has money (Harry Teague in NM-02), and one that's looking like a pickup (LA-02). The DCCC will be using at least some of that money putting out a new brushfire that popped up in NY-23, where Doug Hoffman's ceasing and desisting makes the race a tossup, and where they're spending $500K.
• NRCC: Speaking of CO-04 and being hosed, here's some additional evidence: the NRCC is taking $700K out of the 4th, and moving it next door to another race that's looking decidedly tossup-ish: John Salazar's CO-03.
• Redistricting: This may be the single best use of money anywhere by Dems this cycle: they're finally putting some money into Florida's redistricting amendments that purport to make the process less subject to gerrymandering. Over $1 million has flowed from Democratic groups to Fair Districts Florida, who are behind the measures. Fair Districts is ostensibly nonpartisan, but obviously the net effect of a less partisan map would be to dismantle one of the most effective Republican gerrymanders anywhere.
• Polltopia: With dramatically different results (especially in the generic ballot tests, but also in head-to-head polls) popping up that often seem to have very different definitions of "likely voter," Mark Blumenthal looks at the various ways pollsters cobble together their LV models. There's a marked difference between the way academic pollsters and partisan pollsters do it, revealing major disparities. If you haven't seen it already, this should be required reading.
• Independent expenditures: The folks at Zata|3 have put together a very useful table, adding up and comparing DCCC and NRCC independent expenditures in all the districts where they've weighed in. (The NRCC has spent a lot more so far, despite their cash shortfall vs. the DCCC. The D-Trip seems to be saving up for a massive blast in the final weeks. Or maybe just saving up for 2012.) They also have charts for the DCCC and NRCC that break down each district's expenditures by category (media buys, production, internet, etc.).
• SSP TV:
• CO-Sen: The DSCC hits Ken Buck for his enthusiasm for privatizing everything he can get his hands on
• CT-Sen: The Chamber of Commerce has a fairly boilerplate ad against Richard Blumenthal for being too anti-(big) business
• KY-Sen: There are six different ads embedded in this Inquirer article, several of which you've already seen (including the DSCC ad on Medicare deductibles), but including a new Rand Paul campaign ad on the "Conway = Obama" theme; separately, the NRSC has a new ad here on Conway waffling on extending Bush tax cuts
• MO-Sen: The DSCC has yet another ad about Roy Blunt and his lobbyist friends
• NY-Sen-B: Kirsten Gillibrand's out with a second bio ad that seems specifically aimed at the upstate market, pointing out her roots in that part of the state
• PA-Sen: Joe Sestak's new ad points to what we junkies have long known, that Pat Toomey's free market fundamentalism has given him aggregator ratings even more conservative than Rick Santorum
• WI-Sen: A second cookie-cutter ad from the Chamber of Commerce, this one targeting Russ Feingold
• KS-Gov: Tom Holland's out with his first ad of the cycle, a comparison spot that's half negative against Sam Brownback, half positive intro of Holland
• TX-Gov: Bill White's newest ad rebuts some of Rick Perry's claims about his mayoral leadership and lists his various commendations
• AZ-05: The National Education Association gets into the ad war in a big way, hitting David Schweikert for being anti-public education (this buy is part of a $15 million initiative on the NEA's part, also including TV in OH-13 and mailers in NC-08)
• CO-04: EMILY's List is still sticking around in the 4th, bolstering Betsy Markey with an anti-Cory Gardener spot that's a mother of a child with autism addressing Gardener not wanting to require insurers to cover that
• AZ-Gov: Terry Goddard (D) 39%, Jan Brewer (R-inc) 55%
• CT-Sen: Richard Blumenthal (D) 54%, Linda McMahon (R) 43%
• IL-Gov: Pat Quinn (D-inc) 38%, Bill Brady (R) 46%, Rich Whitney (G) 4%
• IL-Sen: Alexi Giannoulias (D) 41%, Mark Kirk (R) 45%, LeAlan Jones (G) 4%
• MD-Gov: Martin O'Malley (D-inc) 49%, Bob Ehrlich (R) 41%
• RI-Gov: Frank Caprio (D) 30%, John Robitaille (R) 22%, Lincoln Chafee (I) 33%
• WV-Sen: Joe Manchin (D) 44%, John Raese (R) 50%
Swing State Project is rolling out another round of updates to our House, Senate and Gubernatorial race ratings charts. This may seem like an alarming large number to do all at once, especially since almost all the changes are favorable to Republicans, but that's not in response to any particular event or series of events. Mostly, we're just playing catchup after having been a little slow in performing a global update since late July, and obviously the general environment deteriorated over August for Dems (although we might have seen a slight uptick in their fortunes, at least in terms of generic ballot tests and mindless Beltway CW, in the last week).
AZ-Sen: Races to Watch to Safe R
CT-Sen: Likely D to Lean D
IN-Sen: Lean R to Likely R
MO-Sen: Tossup to Lean R
OH-Sen: Tossup to Lean R
PA-Sen: Tossup to Lean R
AZ-Gov: Tossup to Lean R
CO-Gov: Lean D to Likely D
CT-Gov: Tossup to Lean D
IL-Gov: Tossup to Lean R
ME-Gov: Tossup to Lean R
NH-Gov: Safe D to Likely D
NM-Gov: Tossup to Lean R
NV-Gov: Lean R to Likely R
WI-Gov: Tossup to Lean R
AR-02: Lean R to Likely R
AZ-01: Lean D to Tossup
AZ-05: Lean D to Tossup
CA-47: Likely D to Lean D
CO-03: Likely D to Tossup
CO-07: Likely D to Lean D
CT-05: Likely D to Lean D
FL-02: Lean D to Tossup
IA-01: Safe D to Likely D
IL-11: Lean D to Tossup
IL-14: Lean D to Tossup
IL-17: Likely D to Lean D
KY-03: Likely D to Lean D
LA-02: Likely D to Lean D
ME-01: Safe D to Likely D
ME-02: Safe D to Likely D
MI-07: Lean D to Tossup
MI-09: Likely D to Lean D
NY-29: Lean R to Likely R
OR-05: Likely D to Lean D
PA-03: Lean D to Tossup
PA-07: Tossup to Lean R
PA-08: Lean D to Tossup
SC-05: Lean D to Tossup
WA-02: Likely D to Tossup
WA-03: Tossup to Lean R
39 of these changes favor Republicans; 2 races have moved in the Democratic direction.
• AR-Sen: Move along, nothing to see here. Talk Business, via Hendrix College, is out with another poll of the Arkansas Senate race. They find John Boozman leading Blanche Lincoln 56-29, with 5 for indie Trevor Drown. (The previous Talk Business poll, taken by Zata|3, had it at 57-32.)
• DE-Sen: Trying to put his money where his mouth is, Jim DeMint, via his Senate Conservatives Funds, is going on the air with a new cable TV spot on behalf of Christine O'Donnell. The buy is for at least $250K. As I expected, it makes very obvious hay out of Harry Reid's dumb reference to Chris Coons as his "pet."
• FL-Sen: This is a long read, but worth checking out, not just from a partisan standpoint but also as insight into the constant revolving door between politics, big law, academia, and the nebulous world of "consulting." It's a thorough going-over of Marco Rubio's finances over the years, looking at some of the already-known stuff (his foreclosure problems and overuse of state party credit cards) but also at the connections that have gradually allowed him to enrich himself.
• KS-Sen, KS-Gov: SurveyUSA finds... brace yourselves... Republicans in the lead in Kansas! The Senate race appears to be out in no-man's land, with Jerry Moran leading Lisa Johnston 66-24. The Governor's race, however, remains moderately interesting, with Sam Brownback up over Tom Holland 59-32. Still not a good result, but that's a 15-point swing in Holland's favor from last time, as he now leads among self-described moderates.
• KY-Sen: This poll from last week is probably interesting enough for the front page... but it's getting more than a little stale, after our having repeatedly fumbled attempts to write it up, so we're just dropping it off here (figuring many of you have already seen it on over at Daily Kos). PPP, on behalf of Big Orange, finds that Rand Paul leads Jack Conway 49-42. On the plus side, not much of an enthusiasm gap here, thanks to Paul's polarizing nature; it's just a solidly red state.
• LA-Sen: Two different polls in Louisiana tell different stories. Dem pollster Bennett Petts & Normington, on behalf of the DSCC, sees a 10-point race, with David Vitter leading Charlie Melancon 48-38. On the other hand, Republican pollster Magellan sees it as an 18-point race: 52-34. The truth, as is often said, probably lies somewhere in between.
• UT-Sen: The Senate half of the Dan Jones poll (for the Deseret News and KSL-TV) finally showed up. In what could be called "not a surprise," the Republican is winning in Utah. Mike Lee (who turfed out Bob Bennett at the state convention) is easily beating Sam Granato, 52-25.
• WA-Sen: Here's a nice story about hypocrisy... or hypoc-Rossi, in this case. Dino Rossi made a campaign stop at a Whidbey Island shipyard last week, one that's nearly doubled its workforce from 130 to 210. Turns out, though, that the shipyard received $841K in stimulus funds, and the yard's owner says the expansion is a direct result of the stimulus. (Interestingly, Rossi, without any guidance from Admiral Ackbar, may have sailed right into A TRAP: he showed up at the invitation of the yard's owner, who has donated to Patty Murray in the past.)
• WI-Sen: If that Rossi hypocrisy story seems kind of small potatoes to you, well, don't worry, because Ron Johnson seems to have, over the last few weeks, been exposed as the absolute master of hypocrisy about engorging yourself on the government teat all the while raging against it. While he can claim that building-a-rail-spur-to-Pacur thing was in the distant past, now it comes out that in March 2009, in his role as board member of Oshkosh's Grand Opera House, he sought stimulus funds for renovations to the opera. Y'know, the stimulus bill that's KILLING US ALL AND ALL FUTURE GENERATIONS!!1!
• WV-Sen: Joe Manchin has had good relations with the state-level Chamber of Commerce, who've backed him in the past. They must have put in a good word for him with the national organization, as now the US Chamber of Commerce is endorsing him too, quite the rarity for a high-profile Dem.
• FL-Gov: Rick Scott's previous defense against the massive Medicare fraud problems at his former healthcare company Columbia/HCA was that he'd have stopped them if only he'd known they were going on (which, considering his job was to run the company, should have demolished his credibility right there). But now it's been revealed that his legal team was keeping him apprised, at least on the issue of trying to skirt a federal anti-kickback law.
• FL-22: They've had to call out the biggest fundraising gun of all for Ron Klein, seeing as how he's up against a nutty opponent but one with a direct line into seemingly hundreds of thousands of teabaggers' wallets in Allen West. Barack Obama will fundraise for Klein in the Miami area on Oct. 11 (at the home of former NBA star Alonzo Mourning).
• MS-01: The Tarrance Group is out with another Alan Nunnelee internal giving him a single-digit lead over Travis Childers in the 1st: this time, he's up 48-41.
• NY-23: Would you believe the NY-23 count is still going on? Although it seems like Matt Doheny is the likely victor in the GOP primary, with a 582-vote lead right now, 1,969 military and overseas ballots remain to be counted. In Friday's count, Doug Hoffman added 207 votes while Doheny added 177.
• American Crossroads: Rove, Inc., seems to be becoming the main conduit for billionaires looking to put their thumbs on the electoral scales but skeptical of the Michael Steele-helmed RNC: they raised $14.5 million in the last 30 days, almost doubling their year-to-date total.
• NRCC: The NRCC is out with a bonanza of IEs in 23 different districts (click the FEC link for specific numbers): PA-11, VA-09, PA-08, WI-07, NJ-03, PA-03, IL-14, MI-01, MI-07, PA-07, NC-07, IL-11, AL-02, AZ-01, CA-11, FL-02, KY-06, MS-01, TN-08, TX-23, VA-05, IN-02, and IL-10.
• SEIU: So, while the CoC is endorsing the Dem in West Virginia, the SEIU is endorsing the not-Dem in Rhode Island: they've thrown their backing behind indie Lincoln Chafee. (United Nurses and Allied Professionals will also endorse Chafee today, and the AFL-CIO is currently meeting about which way to go.) The SEIU is also out with a couple IEs of their own, spending $250K against Tim Walberg in MI-07 and $435K against deep-pocketed Jim Renacci in OH-16.
• SSP TV:
• CO-Sen: The DSCC is out with three different ads focusing on various aspects of Ken Buck's nuttery, including the 17th Amendment and opposition to common birth control methods • CT-Sen: Richard Blumenthal's ad focuses on pushback against various Linda McMahon misrepresentations
• FL-22: Ron Klein calls out Allen West for his various veiled calls for armed uprising
• HI-01: Charles Djou's first ad of the general is a positive spot listing accomplishments from his short time in office
• IL-10: Bob Dold! ties Dan Seals to Nancy Pelosi in a health care-themed ad
• PA-10: Here's the winner of the day: Chris Carney quickly and effectively summarizes the nasty links between Tom Marino and Louis DeNaples
• PA-15: Charlie Dent goes after John Callahan's bookkeeping as mayor of Bethlehem
• WI-08: Steve Kagen dips into the well of 50s-era public-domain stock footage to hit Reid Ribble on his calls for Social Security phaseout
• MD-Gov: Martin O'Malley (D-inc) 50%, Bob Ehrlich 47%
• MD-Sen: Barbara Mikulski (D-inc) 54%, Eric Wargotz (R) 38%
• NH-Gov: John Lynch (D-inc) 48%, John Stephen (R) 46%
• NY-Gov: Andrew Cuomo (D) 54%, Carl Paladino (R) 38%, Rick Lazio (C) 0% because Rasmussen didn't bother to include him
• WI-Gov: Tom Barrett (D) 43%, Scott Walker (R) 51%
• WV-Sen: Joe Manchin (D) 50%, John Raese (R) 43%
• AK-Sen: Two positive developments in the Alaska Senate race, as Scott McAdams seeks to introduce himself in this suddenly-competitive race. He was the recipient of a Mark Begich-headlined fundraiser yesterday in Washington DC, and he's also out with a radio ad stressing his Alaskan roots and that he'll keep fighting for "schools, hospitals, roads, and other nuts and bolts" - both key ways to differentiate himself from Joe Miller. As for Lisa Murkowski's plans, she's saying that she'll make her intentions known by Friday whether she wants to make a write-in bid (but her plans to return to DC might be a "no" tea leaf).
• DE-Sen: After running far, far away from Christine O'Donnell last night, the NRSC has done an about-face today, giving her the maximum $42K (with Mitch McConnell chipping in his own $5K). I'd be surprised if they give any more than that; this seems like an attempt to placate the base before they go ballistic. Mitt Romney is also backing O'Donnell and giving his own $5K, apparently more worried about getting past the base in the 2012 GOP primary than support for O'Donnell might look for him in the 2012 general. Meanwhile, for those hoping for outright support for Chris Coons from Mike Castle, the Castle camp has said there won't be an endorsement. (Assistance can take a variety of other forms, though, that aren't as likely to be apparent.) Finally, if you're wondering about how Christine O'Donnell sees herself within the Middle Earth context, now you can find out.
• NH-Sen: Although New Hampshire recount law would allow Ovide Lamontagne to seek a recount (since he finished within 1.5% of the total votes cast), he just opted against such an action, conceding the race to Kelly Ayotte. He had until the end of the day to request it.
• AK-Gov: It's the last day to get his name on the ballot in Alaska in any capacity (and not really at issue, since the AIP and Libertarians weren't open to subbing him as their candidate). That leaves 2nd place GOP gubernatorial finisher Bill Walker with a write-in bid as his only option, too, and he sounds like such a bid is "unlikely."
• CA-Gov: I don't know if all is truly well now between Bill Clinton and Jerry Brown, or Clinton is just feeling that he's adequately established himself as the alpha dog in the wake of Brown's capitulation following their ill-advised sparring, but Clinton gave his endorsement to Brown. It remains to be seen what exactly Clinton does on Brown's behalf, though.
• CO-Gov: Tom Tancredo is able to stay on the ballot, said a U.S. District Court judge yesterday. He'd been the subject of a challenge from local GOPers, but the judge ruled that it wasn't relevant that Tancredo had been a member of the Republican Party up until launching his Constitution Party bid.
• FL-Gov: The DGA just plowed $1 million into the Florida governor's race, showing that they indeed think this (thanks to Rick Scott's presence) is one of their best pickup opportunities but also that the route to doing so will be through a whole lot of money.
• GA-Gov: Nathan Deal is fighting back against reports that he's in such financial disarray right now that he might need to sell his house to avoid default on a large business loan. The $2.3 million loan is due on Feb. 1, which exceeds the Deal family's net worth. (This was an investment in a business started by his daughter which failed completely; it's entirely separate from the family auto salvage business that's at the heart of the Ethics complaint that chased him out of the House.)
• MD-Gov: Looks like we won't have any lingering bad feelings here, unlike a lot of other establishment/Tea Party GOP primaries: Brian Murphy, who lost badly to Bob Ehrlich, has offered his endorsement to Ehrlich "if he's willing to accept it."
• DSCC: I guess Charles Schumer looked at yesterday's election results and decided he didn't have much to worry about in November from Jay Townsend. He just transferred $1 million to the DSCC from his own cash yesterday, on top of a previous $1 million in August. That leaves him with "only" about $22 million CoH... about the same amount of cash on hand that the DSCC has!
• DCCC, NRCC: The DCCC and NRCC are out with slew of independent expenditures advertisements. (Expect to see that phrase in every digest for the next month and a half.) The DCCC rolled out three new IEs in HI-01, MI-01, and AL-02. The NRCC's buy is in 10 districts: most significantly in IN-02 (for $135K), but also AZ-01, CA-11, FL-02, MS-01, TX-17, VA-05, WI-07 (for $79K), and TN-08 (for $105K). If you want more details on the NRCC's bid, you can check out the actual FEC filing.
• Self-funders: The Wall Street Journal has a helpful rundown on how self-funders are faring this year. As with, well, pretty much every other year, they're faring quite poorly. Of the 10 biggest self-funders in this cycle's Senate races, only three actually are still running (Linda McMahon, Carly Fiorina, and Ron Johnson); the other seven (Jeff Greene, Steve Pagliuca, Bill Binnie, David Malpass, Sue Lowden, Jim Bender, and Terrence Wall) all fell by the wayside, often in spectacular fashion. Same story in the House, where only three of the top 10 self-funders (Tom Ganley, Randy Altschuler, and Matt Doheny) are still functional.
• Redistricting: Any SSP readers out in Arizona? Here's your chance to get out from behind Dave's App and actually get your hands on the real thing! The state's nonpartisan redistricting commission is seeking applications from the public for appointment to the 5-member commission.
• SSP TV:
• 60+ Assoc.: The health care astroturfers are running anti-Dem ads in WI-03, WI-08, NY-01, NY-20, and PA-10
• AFF: AFF launches a total $2.3 million buy in seven Dem districts: AL-02, GA-08, MI-01, MI-07, NJ-03, SC-05, and WV-01
• American Crossroads: Rove, Inc., is spending $330K on a MO-Sen ad and $550K on a CO-Sen ad
• FL-Sen: The US Chamber of Commerce hits Charlie Crist, pointing to his many flip-flops
• NV-Sen: The Sharron Angle camp has another anti-Harry Reid ad, calling him "the best friend an illegal immigrant ever had"
• NY-Sen-B: Kirsten Gillibrand's out with her first ad, more or less explicitly introducing herself despite her two years or service
• NC-02: Bob Etheridge isn't leaving anything to chance this year, rolling out an ad that's mostly a pleasant bio spot
• OH-18: I mentioned Zack Space's anti-NAFTA ad yesterday, but here's an actual link to the ad
• PA-06: Jim Gerlach's first ad has him stepping away from the Republican label, saying he's "an independent voice for taxpayers"
• PA-10: Chris Carney's ad goes there, hitting Tom Marino on his ties to sketchy casino entrepreneur Louis DeNaples
• SC-05: Mick Mulvaney's new ad hits John Spratt for having gone native in Washington
• WI-07: Is the DCCC taking a page from the Fred Davis "Celebrity" ad that seemed to bizarrely work against Obama? Their new ad against Sean Duffy is rife with clips from his days on The Real World
• FL-Sen: Kendrick Meek (D) 23%, Marco Rubio (R) 41%, Charlie Crist (I) 30%
• OH-Gov: Ted Strickland (D-inc) 43%, John Kasich (R) 50%
• PA-Sen: Joe Sestak (D) 41%, Pat Toomey (R) 49%
• VT-Gov: Peter Shumlin (D) 49%, Brian Dubie (R) 46%
• VT-Sen: Patrick Leahy (D) 62%, Len Britton (R) 32%