The 2011 gubernatorial race doesn't look to be much of a challenge for the Republicans to hold; neither Dem nominee, either Hattiesburg mayor Johnny Dupree or businessman and Morgan Freeman chum Bill Luckett, comes anywhere close. (If you're wondering why they didn't poll anyone stronger, nobody else is coming; the field is already closed.) The Republican primary -- between Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant, whom I expect is the favorite based on being the only of the five candidates with name rec over 50% or positive favorables (32/27), businessman Dave Dennis, and retired general and county commissioner Hudson Holliday -- is where the real action will be, but it doesn't seem like PPP polled the primaries.
Travis Childers (D): 33
Roger Wicker (R-inc): 51
Jim Hood (D): 36
Roger Wicker (R-inc): 50
Mike Moore (D): 38
Roger Wicker (R-inc): 48
Ronnie Musgrove (D): 35
Roger Wicker (R-inc): 52
Gene Taylor (D): 36
Roger Wicker (R-inc): 48
With no Dem challenger on the horizon for Roger Wicker (who beat ex-Gov. Ronnie Musgrove in 2008, after previously being appointed by Haley Barbour to succeed Trent Lott), PPP throws the entire Dem bench up at the low-profile Wicker and finds that nothing really sticks, as he has a pretty strong 51/23 approval, including 33/29 among Dems. If anything, it gives a relative sense of what Dems are best liked here... it's probably ex-AG Mike Moore, who polls within 10 and has 39/23 favorables.
• 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!
• FL-Sen: It seems like the "permanent campaign" is pretty much the new normal these days, as everybody's already talking about who's gonna run in 2012. In Florida, the list of potential GOP challengers to Bill Nelson is deep even if Jeb Bush doesn't follow through on an unlikely bid. Appointed (and soon to be ex-)Sen. George LeMieux seems to be ramping up for a bid, although he might suffer for his Charlie Crist ties. Other GOPers mentioned include Rep. Connie Mack IV, state House majority leader Adam Hasner, state Senate president Mike Haridopolos, and newly-elected Rep. Daniel Webster.
• MA-Sen: As for the Dem field in Massachusetts, one prominent potential candidate is staying mum for now. Boston mayor Tom Menino welcomes the attention but is "focused on being mayor."
• MT-Sen: And then there's Montana, where freshman Jon Tester is probably one of the most vulnerable Senate Dems. At-large GOP Rep. Denny Rehberg is usually the first name you hear mentioned in that context, but he seems to be in no hurry to decide. Two other GOPers are making moves, though: businessman and losing 2008 Lt. Gov. nominee Steve Daines, and Neil Livingstone, CEO of a "crisis management firm" and frequent anti-terrorism talking head, are both actively looking at the race.
• WV-Sen, NE-Sen: It looks like Joe Manchin's spokesperson's denial yesterday of any interest in switching parties wasn't vehement enough, because Manchin had to reiterate that, no, he isn't considering it; in addition, Senate GOP spokespersons said those conversations alleged by Fox News apparently never even took place. The same situation applies in Nebraska, where Ben Nelson says that not only is he not interested in switching but that no one has reached out to him to do so. Encouragingly, at least from a rhetorical standpoint, Nelson also says "the party hasn't left me."
• MS-Gov: With two well-liked former Reps. idling around wondering what to do next year (Gene Taylor and Travis Childers), you'd think the Dems might actually be able to field a competitive candidate for Mississippi next year. According to at least one local pundit, a Childers comeback doesn't seem likely (more interested in state party chair), while Taylor seems to have running for something in mind but potentially just his old seat again in '12.
• OH-Gov: Here's a good post-mortem on Ted Strickland from Jonathan Chait, which suggests that Strickland managed to keep things close (despite the rest of the wipeout in Ohio) because a solid campaign that focused on just the right amount of populism. He ran well ahead of national Dems on average among groups like seniors and persons with high school educations.
• FL-22: Is Allen West the Bizarro World version of Alan Grayson? He's an ideological mismatch with his Florida district that leans the wrong way away from his party let alone his own amped-up version of its message, he has no built-in self-censor like most politicians, and he was elected more so by nationwide online supporters than the locals. And now he's hiring from his own echo chamber, turning for his Chief of Staff not a Capitol Hill pro but the conservative talk show host who helped bolster his campaign. Joyce Kaufman is the one who said on her show this summer that "if ballots don't work, bullets will."
• NY-23: Doug Hoffman is truly the gift that keeps on giving. The election's over, and he's still giving. He now says he didn't mean to send out a statement that he put out last week post-election, calling local Republican bosses the real "spoilers in this race." (Hoffman, of course, pulled in 6% of the vote last week, saving Bill Owens yet again.)
• NY-25: Trailing slightly with the absentee-counting process looming, Dan Maffei (like Tim Bishop in NY-01) is requesting a hand count of ballots (the electronic voting machines generate a paper trail). A judge also ruled that both camps may inspect the list of 11,000 absentee ballot requests, a prelim to each camp developing the list of which ballots they want to challenge.
• DCCC: It's sounding more and more like Rep. Steve Israel will be on tap to head the DCCC for the 2012 cycle. He was one of the three key deputies at the DCCC last year (along with Joe Crowley, who seems to be edging away from the job, and Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who seems interested too but not in as strong a position with the Pelosi-led core of leadership).
• House: Here's an interesting piece of trivia: only eight (8) House Dems did better, percentage-wise in 2010 than they did in 2008. Most are from safe urban districts (most notably Nancy Pelosi herself, despite the seven figures the right-roots raised for her opponent), although Jim Himes and Chellie Pingree were in competitive races and managed to gain ground.
• Polltopia: PPP puts together a helpful table of approval ratings on the various Senators up for re-election in 2012. It corresponds pretty closely with the general conventional wisdom about who's vulnerable: Joe Lieberman is in worst shape at 33/54, followed by Claire McCaskill and Debbie Stabenow (who actually are in slightly worse condition than John Ensign, though his problems go well beyond his approvals). Interestingly, the best-liked Senator statewide (Olympia Snowe at 56/34) may also be one of the most vulnerable, not in a general but to a teabagging in the GOP primary.
• 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!)
• AK-Sen: I hope the Alaska journalist corps is fueled up on coffee and is ready to go on a week-long dumpster diving binge, because the mother lode just got opened up. A state superior court judge just ordered that Joe Miller's Fairbanks borough personnel records get released, saying the people's right to know trumps Miller's privacy concerns. The release won't happen until tomorrow, though, to allow time for an Alaska Supreme Court decision if necessary.
• CA-Sen: The polls can't seem to decide whether the California Senate race is tightening, loosening, or staying basically the same, but it was enough to finally get Carly Fiorina to do what the NRSC had probably hoped she would have done months ago: she put $1 million of her own money into the race. (She'd spent $5 mil of her own on the primary, but nothing since then.) On top of that, the NRSC is throwing an additional $3 million into the race for the last week, while Barbara Boxer is calling the bluff with $4 million from her account for ads of her own.
• NV-Sen: As we expected, Harry Reid's been keeping up a steady drip-drip of endorsements from prominent Republicans around Nevada. The most recent one: term-limited state Sen. Dean Rhoads, who represents almost all of the state (geographically) except Clark and Washoe Counties. (H/t LookingOver.)
• FL-Gov: Wow, Bill McCollum actually ate his own cat fud. With little time left on the clock, he swallowed any remnants of his pride and endorsed primary rival Rick Scott, the guy he swore he'd never endorse.
• RI-Gov: Interesting approach from a blue state Dem: Frank Caprio just told the President to "shove it," in reaction to Barack Obama's apparent decision not to endorse him when he was in Rhode Island today. Payback for Lincoln Chafee's Obama endorsement in '08? Or reverse payback for Caprio's reported flirting with a party switch? Or elaborate theater staged for Caprio's benefit, to help distance himself from the White House?
• OH-Gov: Obama and Biden alert! The Dynamic Duo are adding yet another campaign stop in Ohio, where saving Ted Strickland seems to be one of the White House's top priorities. On Sunday, both will appear with Strickland, and then there'll be a Biden/Strickland stop later in Toledo.
• CA-47: Um, maybe someone should tell Van Tran that taking a page from the Carl Paladino playbook isn't really a good idea right now... Tran's out with foul-smelling scratch-and-sniff mailers in the district, hitting Loretta Sanchez for the "stench of Washington."
• CO-04: Add one more body on the plague wagon: the DCCC brought out Betsy Markey on Friday. They announced that they won't be spending any more on the 4th this cycle. They'd previously drawn down their efforts here, but now they're fully pulling out. (If there's a bright spot, this is probably their last triage move... with one week left, there's really no time left to cut anyone else off.)
• FL-12: Is there a growing sense of Republican worry in this district? They shouldn't lose an R+5 district in this climate, but they have probably the most credible 3rd party Tea Party challenger anywhere here, in the form of an actual county commissioner, Randy Wilkinson, who internals polls have seen taking gobbling up double-digit vote shares. They're taking the problem seriously enough to have Newt Gingrich doing robocalling on behalf of GOP nominee Dennis Ross, suggesting that Wilkinson is a plant from next door's Alan Grayson.
• IN-02: Oooops. Jackie Walorski ran footage in a web video of a South Bend neighborhood as an example of a neighborhood "in ruin" from Democratic policies. The residents of the neighborhood are now deeply offended, saying their neighborhood is hardly ruined at all, and are demanding an apology.
• KS-03: In a more normal year, this might be enough to do some serious damage in a close race: just-released police records show that Kevin Yoder (the GOP's nominee here) refused to take a breath test during a 2009 traffic stop. He pled guilty to speeding, also received a citation for not taking the test, and it was left at that.
• MS-04: Look who's in a bit of a panic, and revealing his true stripes: Gene Taylor just let his district's voters know that he isn't one of those Demmycrats at all! Why, he even voted for John McCain in 2008, he says.
• PA-11: Bill Clinton's traveling schedule takes him to three blue-collar districts that were, in the '08 Dem primaries, some of the most die-hard Clinton districts anywhere, now all home to pitched battles. He's appearing in the 11th tomorrow in support of Paul Kanjorski (who we'd expected, a few months ago, to be the first Dem incumbent we wrote off, but who seems to still be in the thick of things). On Thursday, he also visits PA-03 and PA-15.
• VA-05: If you weren't already sold on Tom Perriello's particular brand of awesome, check out the highlight reel of some of the best clips from his most recent debate with Rob Hurt.
• WA-06: Here's an internal poll that's a real head-scratcher, that requires a bit of explanation. Rob Cloud, the same doofus who runs against Norm Dicks every cycle (four times in a row now) and gets crushed, claims to have an internal poll out giving him a four-point lead over the long-time Dem. (Well, four if you do your own math. For some reason, the poll gave actual respondent totals only, 609 to 558 with 95 undecided. If that strange method doesn't by itself set off alarm bells, the polling firm is someone called Wenzel (out of Ohio), a company I'd only heard of once, when they polled OH-Gov and OH-Sen last year on behalf of Ohio Right to Life... but (h/t to quiller) it turns out have a regular gig as WorldNetDaily's pollster and have been responsible for extremely leading-question-rife polls about Barack Obama's citizenship. And on top of all that, Dicks won the Top 2 primary (the most reliable poll possible) with 57% of the vote, with a combined GOP vote share of 43% (of which Cloud got a pathetic 29%),which shouldn't imply much vulnerability. On the other hand, Dicks' district is "only" D+5, one of the least-blue districts that isn't home to an on-the-radar race... and moreover, Dicks has seemed pretty invisible as far as I can tell, compared with next-door neighbor Adam Smith who's in a similarly D+5 district but got a polling-related wake-up call and has been working his butt off lately. So, uh... who knows?
• NRCC: Eager to maximize last-minute take-over opportunities, the party of fiscal responsibility is throwing some more debt on the pile. The NRCC just took out a $20 million line of credit to fund some more late-in-the-game advertising.
• Dark Money: Just as the actual universe's mass is mostly composed of dark energy and dark matter, so too the political universe is apparently mostly composed of dark money these days. Hotline's Jeremy Jacobs has an excellent piece that pulls together all the GOP spending by shadowy third-party groups, fleshing out the IE picture greatly, and also showing a remarkable amount of avoidance of duplication of efforts in the districts. They couldn't actually be coordinating their efforts behind-the-scenes, you think? (Not that that's illegal, as far as I know.)
• IEs: Speaking of IEs, if you haven't been following spiderdem's weekly series over in the diaries regarding the back-and-forth battle of the independent expenditures between the DCCC and NRCC, you absolutely should. It rounds all the numbers up in one handy place, and puts them in the context of the probable lay of the land.
• SSP TV:
• AK-Sen: Here's that NRSC ad mentioned late last week, where they hit Scott McAdams in a preemptive attack to keep him from shooting the gap (and here's the SOTB: $75K)
• CA-Sen: No more giddy Carlyfornia Dreaming here, with a dour ad from the Fiorina camp hitting Barbara Boxer for California's dire economic straits
• FL-Sen: Marco Rubio's closing statement is a plain talk-to-the-camera spot saying "Reclaim America!"
• WI-Sen: Russ Feingold's out with the ad that he should have run about two months ago, making fun of Ron Johnson's whiteboard and platitudes
• NM-Gov: Susana Martinez makes the Diane Denish/Bill Richardson connection about as explicit as humanly possible in her new spot
• FL-22: Ron Klein seems to have finally moved away from Allen West's homeowners association liens, with the Outlaws gang connections too juicy even for him to ignore
• ID-01: Walt Minnick cites his independence and rags on Raul Labrador for getting his own last ad pulled for its bogusness
• MN-06: Taryl Clark hits Michele Bachmann for, well, being a "celebrity"
• VA-05: Robert Hurt goes after Tom Perriello for being a Washington insider
• CA-Gov: Jerry Brown (D) 48%, Meg Whitman (R) 42%
• CA-Sen: Barbara Boxer (D-inc) 48%, Carly Fiorina (R) 46%
• CT-Sen: Richard Blumenthal (D) 56%, Linda McMahon (R) 43%
• IN-Sen: Brad Ellsworth (D) 34%, Dan Coats (R) 52%
• MD-Gov: Martin O'Malley (D-inc) 52%, Bob Ehrlich (R) 42%
• ND-Sen: Tracy Potter (D) 25%, John Hoeven (R) 72%
• PA-Gov: Dan Onorato (D) 45%, Tom Corbett (R) 50%
• PA-Sen: Joe Sestak (D) 44%, Pat Toomey (R) 48%
• RI-Gov: Frank Caprio (D) 28%, John Robitaille (R) 25%, Lincoln Chafee (I) 35%
• SD-Gov: Scott Heidepriem (D) 36%, Dennis Daugaard (R) 55%
• TX-Gov: Bill White (D) 42%, Rick Perry (R-inc) 51%
Rather unusually, Suffolk included Blumenthal & Malloy twice in their head-to-head questions: once as the Dem candidate, and once as the Working Families Party candidate. Each got about 3-4% as the WFP candidate. I've never seen a pollster do this in New York, where the practice of fusion voting is best known.
IL-Gov (PPP): Pat Quinn (D-inc) 41 (35), Bill Brady (R) 42 (42)
FL-22 (Susquehanna for Sunshine State News): Ron Klein (D-inc) 44, Allen West (R) 47
MA-04 (Fleming & Associates for WPRI): Barney Frank (D-inc) 49, Sean Bielat (R) 37
MD-01 (Monmouth): Frank Kratovil (D-inc) 42, Andy Harris (R) 53
MI-03 (EPIC/MRA): Pat Miles (D) 37, Justin Amash (R) 46
MN-01 (Grove Insight (D) for Project New West): Tim Walz (D-inc) 50, Randy Demmer (R) 34
MS-04 (Tarrance Group (R) for Steven Palazzo): Gene Taylor (D-inc) 41, Steven Palazzo (R) 43
NC-11 (Greenberg Quinlan Rosner (D) for DCCC): Heath Shuler (D-inc) 54, Jeff Miller 39
NM-02 (Tarrance Group (R) for Steve Pearce): Harry Teague (D-inc) 41, Steve Pearce (R) 50
NY-20 (Public Opinion Strategies (R) for Chris Gibson): Scott Murphy (D-inc) 42, Chris Gibson 44
OR-05 (SurveyUSA for KATU-TV): Kurt Schrader (D-inc) 41, Scott Bruun (R) 51
Note: Among the 10% who have already voted, Schrader leads 47-46. This continues a pattern we've seen in other SUSA polls (and also some, but not all, of the early voting numbers by party registration).
PA-06 (Monmouth): Manan Trivedi (D) 44, Jim Gerlach (R-inc) 54
PA-17 (Susquehanna for ABC27 News): Tim Holden (D-inc) 58, Justin Argall (R) 28
• CO-Sen: This probably doesn't count as an October Surprise since it made a big media impression five years ago, but it's suddenly popped back into view, and making things dicier for Ken Buck, already on the wrong end of a sizable gender gap in the polls. Buck refused to prosecute a rape case as Weld Co. DA five years ago (despite the police having recommended charges), and the alleged victim is now back in the news. She has a taped recording of their meeting (transcript available at the link) in which he seems to blame the victim and suggest that the case wouldn't pass muster with a jury.
• FL-Sen: Mason-Dixon (10/4-6, likely voters, 9/20-22 in parens):
Kendrick Meek (D): 21 (23)
Marco Rubio (R): 42 (40)
Charlie Crist (I): 27 (28)
With Marco Rubio way ahead, it looks like a Kendrick Meek dropout (rumored on Friday) and a cobbling-together of some sort of Meek/Crist hybrid cyborg would be the only way for the non-Rubio forces to get an advantage in this race. However, Meek's definitely not acting like a man who's dropping out, if getting the president of the United States to cut a radio ad for you is any indication.
• WV-Sen: Remember that "hicky" ad that the NRSC ran, and then promptly got apologetic over, once the casting call instructions got leaked? (I know, that was last week, a lifetime ago in politics...) Now it sounds like it just kept running anyway, through last Friday for several days after the story broke, despite promises to take it down.
• NM-Gov: Yep, this is definitely the most over-polled, or at least over-internal-poll-leaked, race around. Today it's Diane Denish's turn to retaliate, and she's out with another poll from one of her apparently two pollsters, Third Eye Strategies, with a 46-46 tie (a little stale, taken 9/21-23). I think we get the general idea, already: Denish sees a tie, Susana Martinez sees a high-single-digits lead for herself, public pollsters see something in between. (UPDATE: That's odd... we reported this poll several weeks ago. Not sure why it's back in the news today.)
• CA-47: This is the kind of unity that Loretta Sanchez (last seen alienating her district's small but politically active Vietnamese community with an ill-advised remark) probably doesn't like to see: apparently there was a major rift with the Vietnamese Republican community that just got sealed up, as long-time Van Tran rival Janet Nguyen (an Orange County councilor) gave a late-game endorsement to Tran.
• CT-02, CT-03: Merriman River Group hits the quinella in Connecticut, with polls of the two House races in the Nutmeg State that aren't interesting. In the 2nd, despite getting some touting when she got in the race, GOPer Janet Peckinpaugh is making little impression against Joe Courtney, trailing 55-41. And in the 3rd, Rosa DeLauro is the state's safest Dem, leading Jerry Labriola 58-37.
• FL-22: Endorsements from primary challengers, especially at this stage in the game, are interesting only when they go to the guy from the other party. But that's what's happening in the 22nd, where the guy who lost to Allen West, David Brady, gave his backing to Democratic incumbent Ron Klein today. (So too did several minor-league local elected GOPers, including Palm Beach mayor Jack McDonald.) Says Brady, apparently from the sane wing of the GOP (to the extent that the Palm Beach Post endorsed him in the primary): "I ran against Allen West. I debated him and I can tell you: Allen West is too extreme for this community."
• MS-04: Dueling polls in the 4th, where everything still averages out to a Democratic lean but unfortunately this is looking like one more real race. GOP state Rep. Steven Palazzo offered a poll a few weeks ago saying incumbent Gene Taylor led by only 4, and now Taylor says, no, he's leading by 8 (without giving us any other useful information, like the toplines, let alone the pollster or dates). Hmmm, that's only a difference of four points, so why show your hand, especially in such haphazard fashion? Somehow I don't think Taylor would be a very good poker player.
• NY-22, NY-25: Bill Clinton showing up in upstate New York to stump on behalf of Dan Maffei, that's not a surprise, as this race seems to be competitive. But also Maurice Hinchey in the 22nd? We haven't gotten any smoke signals out of that district before, but that's an indication that something may bubbling under here. (It's a D+6 district, and Hinchey barely won in '94.)
• OH-01: One more unfortunate though unsurprising triage decision to report: Steve Driehaus seems to have run out of time at the DCCC, who are canceling their remaining ad buy in the Cincinnati market for the next two weeks. The deadline for reservations cancellations is coming up soon, so we'll soon know who else gets the shortest straw drawn for them.
• PA-10: After seeing a incumbent Chris Carney up by single digits in a recent public poll from Lycoming, GOP challenger Tom Marino rummaged around in his poll drawer and pulled out one from the Tarrance Group giving him a 47-42 lead on Carney. (No word from the Fix on the dates, though.)
• TN-04: One last GOP internal to throw into the mix: a POS survey (from 9/27-28) on behalf of Scott DesJarlais shows him tied with Dem incumbent Lincoln Davis, 42-42. We haven't seen any public polling of this race (and may not, as the NRCC doesn't seem to be pushing this one hard, maybe on the off chance that it's the kind of district that'll flip in a wave regardless of what they do), but Davis claimed an 11-point lead in a late August internal.
• House: If you're thinking that it seems like there are a lot more races in the "Tossup" and "Lean" categories this year, you're not alone. Nate Silver quantifies various ways in which there are way more competitive races this year than in other recent cycles, including number of races where there are polls within single-digits, where there are polls period, and where there are major financial contributions.
• Redistricting: This is an interesting, if counterintuitive, piece from HuffPo on redistricting, which proposes that we'll be in better shape in 2010 redistricting than 2000 redistricting because (based on projected gubernatorial and state legislative outcomes) we'll have more control over the process in more important states: oddly he leaves out California, but also including Florida, Illinois, Michigan, and Virginia (all states where there was a GOP trifecta last time), and Minnesota and New York (where we might get the trifecta this time)... while the states where the GOP will improve its position aren't as large (Alabama, Indiana, Tennessee... with Georgia the most significant one). The article also gets into the nitty-gritty of where the population growth within the fast-growing states has occurred (i.e. among minorities).
• Polltopia: You might have noticed that Political Wire briefly had some Senate polls up today from somebody I've never heard of before, called "TCJ Research." Those polls mysteriously vanished after Nate Silver, vanquisher of bogus pollsters, showed up on the scene with a simple tweet:
A Wordpress blog getting ~500 hits a day on posts like "October Giveaway: 32 Gigabyte Apple iPad!" suddenly commissions 5 polls? Not likely.
• SSP TV:
• IL-Sen: Two different ads from the DSCC attacking Mark Kirk, hitting him for his House voting record and also revisiting Kirk's misrememberment of his military record
• NC-Sen: Elaine Marshall's finally out with a TV spot, going after Richard Burr for helping to break the economy
• WV-Sen: While John Raese nods to the 'hick' ad semi-apologetically before changing the subject back to Washington Dems, Joe Manchin seems to be trying to out-hick the hick ad by touting his pro-gun and anti-environment credentials in one fell swoop by (I kid you not) shooting a copy of the cap-and-trade bill
• IL-Gov: The most famous Illinoisian, Barack Obama, cuts a radio spot on behalf of Pat Quinn
• RI-Gov: The DGA pounds Lincoln Chafee one more time from the right, accusing him of being a tax-hiking hippy
• FL-22: Ron Klein moves past the boring fixation on Allen West's tax liens and onto the really juicy stuff about 2nd Amendment remedies
• MN-06: Taryl Clark hits Michele Bachmann on Social Security
• PA-03: Kathy Dahlkemper touts her pro-life credentials in her new ad, explaining her siding with the Stupak bloc on health care reform
• VA-02: The DCCC's IE unit points the "hypocrite" arrow at Scott Rigell, for making hundreds of thousands of dollars off "Cash for Clunkers"
• WI-08: Ditto the DCCC ad in the 8th, where they hit Reid Ribble for making hundreds of thousands of dollars for his roofing business off stimulus projects
• CT-Gov: Dan Malloy (D) 49%, Tom Foley (R) 44%
• FL-Gov: Alex Sink (D) 47%, Rick Scott (R) 50%
• FL-Sen: Kendrick Meek (D) 19%, Marco Rubio (R) 50%, Charlie Crist (I) 25%
• GA-Gov: Roy Barnes (D) 41%, Nathan Deal (R) 50%
• GA-Sen: Michael Thurmond (D) 38%, Johnny Isakson (R-inc) 53%
• MN-Gov: Mark Dayton (D) 40%, Tom Emmer (R) 38%, Tom Horner (I) 15%
• NE-Gov: Mike Meister (D) 24%, Dave Heineman (R-inc) 66%
• NH-Sen: Paul Hodes (D) 44%, Kelly Ayotte (R) 51%
• NM-Gov: Diane Denish (D) 43%, Susana Martinez (R) 52%
• NV-Gov: Rory Reid (D) 40%, Brian Sandoval (R) 53%
• OR-Gov: John Kitzhaber (D) 48%, Chris Dudley (R) 46%
• SD-Gov: Scott Heidepriem (D) 33%, Dennis Daugaard (R) 57%
• TX-Gov: Bill White (D) 42%, Rick Perry (R-inc) 53%
• WA-Sen: Patty Murray (D-inc) 46%, Dino Rossi (R) 49%
• Angus-Reid: Some of you might have gotten excited about the California numbers offered up today by Angus-Reid (a well-established Canadian pollster, but apparently making their first foray into the States). Well, don't, because they're using an RV model, and more importantly, it's an Internet sample. (Now presumably there's some scientific selection behind it, not just a "click here!" banner ad, but we're highly skeptical nonetheless, especially since that seemed to produce notably pro-Dem results in California.)
• CA-Gov: Jerry Brown (D) 53%, Meg Whitman (R) 41%
• CA-Sen: Barbara Boxer (D-inc) 55%, Carly Fiorina (R) 39%
• OH-Gov: Ted Strickland (D-inc) 46%, John Kasich (R) 48%
• OH-Sen: Lee Fisher (D) 42%, Rob Portman (R) 53%
Not much to see here other than the remarkable consistency over the almost one year's period since the previous Selzer poll of this race. (I just learned a new word today, while searching for how to describe this race, linked to the Chet Culver vortex: "syntropy." It's synergy + entropy.)
• NH-Sen, NH-Gov: American Research Group (9/22-26, likely voters, Dec. 2009 in parentheses):
Paul Hodes (D): 32 (36)
Kelly Ayotte (R): 46 (43)
Undecided: 20 (21)
John Lynch (D-inc): 42
John Stephen (R): 40
ARG, mateys! Here be a mighty treasure trove of undecided scallywags! (And here be the gubernatorial link.)
• OH-Sen, OH-Gov: Univ. of Cincinnati for various Ohio newspapers (9/16-20, likely voters, 5/11-20 in parentheses):
Lee Fisher (D): 40 (47)
Rob Portman (R): 55 (46)
Undecided: 5 (6)
University of Cincinnati hasn't been in the field for a while, so they missed the very steady decline of the Dems in Ohio, making it look like more of a sudden collapse. At any rate, this is actually Ted Strickland's best non-internal showing since early August.
• WA-Sen: Commonsense Ten is out with a $412K independent expenditure in the Washington Senate race, on Patty Murray's behalf. (Wondering who they are? This Hotline article from July explains how they're something of a Dem answer to groups like American Crossroads, as well as giving some legal background on just how it came to be that the super-wealthy can give endless money to 527s to spend endlessly on IEs.) Meanwhile, there are dueling ads in Washington. As one might expect, Patty Murray lets Dino Rossi hang himself with his own anti-Boeing words, while Rossi hits Murray on her support of tarps. (Since most Washingtonians own several tarps -- they only thing that allows them to go camping during the ten rainy months of the year -- I don't see what the big deal is.)
• WV-Sen: The Dems are definitely getting active in here: the AFL-CIO is out with a huge direct mail blitz in West Virginia, and the DSCC is placing a major ad buy there starting tomorrow. In the meantime, John Raese, Tweeter and Facepage aficionado, is sticking to the GOP party line on global warming: it's all volcanoes' fault! (Wait... I thought it was sunspots. They'd better get their stories straight.)
• AK-Gov: Bill Walker, after weeks of dithering in the wake of losing the GOP gubernatorial primary, has formally decided against a write-in bid (despite having an easier-to-spell name than Murkowski). No word on an endorsement of either Sean Parnell or Ethan Berkowitz, although Berkowitz has been steadily reaching out to Walker.
• GA-Gov: With Nathan Deal not really having done much to deflect the attention being paid to his family's imminent financial collapse, now he's having to run damage control on another issue: his campaign is accused of having spent $135K to lease aircraft from a company where Deal himself is a part-owner. State ethics law bars candidates from using campaign funds for personal benefit, although the open legal question here is whether this turns into "personal benefit."
• NM-Gov: Third Eye Strategies for Diane Denish (9/21-23, likely voters, no trendlines):
This is kind of odd... we just got a Diane Denish internal poll from a totally different pollster (GQR) in the middle of last week. Does she have two different pollsters working for her? At any rate, the news is decidedly better in this one, showing a tie where last week's poll had her down by 5.
• TX-Gov: Blum & Weprin for Texas newspapers (9/15-22, likely voters, 2/2-10 in parentheses):
Bill White (D): 39 (37)
Rick Perry (R-inc): 46 (43)
Kathie Glass (L): 4 (-)
Deb Shafto (G): 1 (-)
Undecided: 8 (13)
The Texas race is extremely stable (check out the flatness in Pollster's regression lines, with a mid-single-digits spread). While I'd like to think that Bill White can get over 50% on his own, his best hope at this point might be for Libertarian candidate Kathie Glass to start taking a bigger share (presumably out of Rick Perry's hide, via the same crowd who went for Debra Medina in the primary).
• FL-24: Hamilton Campaigns for Suzanne Kosmas (9/22-23, likely voters, 8/25-29 in parentheses):
This is the first internal we've seen from Team Kosmas, and while it's not the kind of numbers that fill you with great confidence (up 2 in one's own internal), it is an indicator that we're still looking at a Tossup here instead of Lean R (which is where some of the other prognosticators have been sticking this one). The movement in Kosmas's direction suggests that voters have found out more about the crazier side of Adams in the wake of her surprise primary victory.
• MS-04: Tarrance Group for Steven Palazzo (9/21-22, likely voters, December 2009 Tarrance Grop poll for NRCC in parentheses):
Gene Taylor (D-inc): 45 (68)
Steven Palazzo (R): 41 (24)
(MoE: ± ?%)
There were reports last week that the NRCC was starting to smell smoke in this race (despite having an underfunded, low-name-rec candidate in Palazzo), and was going to try out a round of polling. Seems like their hunch may be right, as long-time Rep. Gene Taylor (who hasn't given Dems much reason to take interest in him lately... well, ever, really) is up only by single-digits in a new poll from the Palazzo camp.
• PA-10: Momentum Analysis for Chris Carney (9/23-25, likely voters, no trendlines):
Chris Carney (D-inc): 46
Tom Marino (R): 38
Chris Carney, having been slightly on the wrong end of a public poll from the Times-Leader (and on the very wrong end of that sketchy AFF poll last month), rolls out an internal giving him an 8-point lead over Tom Marino. Marino (who's pretty underfunded, although the NRCC is starting to get involved) is little-known (only 26/24 faves), so this is going to be one of many races where the Dem's survival is based on localizing in order to fend off Generic R.
• PA-16: I'm not sure what to make of this: the uphill campaign of Lois Herr (going against Joe Pitts in the 16th, which is solidly Republican but moved a lot in the Dems' direction in 2008) is out with a second internal poll from PPP that has her within single digits of the GOP incumbent. Pitts leads 41-34, which seems kind of bizarre considering that we're seeing polls in Pennsylvania with incumbent Dems losing by larger margins than that in much friendlier districts.
• SD-AL: Bennett Petts and Normington for Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (9/22-23, likely voters, no trendlines):
Here's one race that seems to be becoming a little more comfortable for the Democrats. (Recall that Herseth Sandlin led in the last Rasmussen poll of this race, after months of trailing.) I wonder how much of that has to do with the reveal of Noem's atrocious driving record, given voters' memories of leadfooted ex-Rep. Bill Janklow?
• DLCC: If you're looking to really micro-target your financial contributions to where your dollars get stretched the furthest and the leverage is the greatest (given the knife-edges on which many state legislatures, and the entire 2012 redistricting process, rest) the DLCC has rolled out its "Essential Races" program. This points to some of the tightest races in the tightest chambers; the link details their first wave of 20.
• CA-Init: There are some Field Poll leftovers to look at, concerning three of the biggest initiatives on the ballot this year. The news is good all around, although the margins aren't decisive: Proposition 19 (marijuana legalization) is passing 49-42 (it was failing 44-48 in the July Field Poll). Proposition 23 (undoing greenhouse gases limiting legislation) is failing 34-45. And maybe most importantly, Proposition 25 (allowing budget passage with a simple majority) is passing 46-30.
• Florida: Mason-Dixon's latest Florida poll (we gave you Sen and Gov numbers over the weekend) has a lot of miscellany in the fine print that's worth checking out. They find the GOP leading narrowly in three major downballot races: Pam Bondi leads Dan Gelber in the AG race 38-34, Jeff Atwater leads Loranne Ausley in the CFO race 29-27, and Adam Putnam leads Scott Maddox in the Ag Comm race 36-32. They also find that Amendment 4 has a shot at passing; it's up 53-26, although bear in mind that you need to clear 60% for a Florida initiative. Amendment 4 would require localities to put changes to comprehensive zoning plans up to a public vote; Josh Goodman has a good discussion of it today along with several other initiatives in other states that may pass despite having both sides of the entire political establishment lined up against them.
• SSP TV:
• FL-Sen: Marco Rubio rolls out his first ad en espanol, a biographical spot
• PA-Sen: How many freakin' ads has Pat Toomey come out with? Anyway, here's another one
• CT-02: Joe Courtney stresses his independence, especially regarding TARP
• CT-05: Chris Murphy's new ad focuses on stopping outsourcing
• PA-03, PA-11: The DCCC is out with new ads in the 3rd and 11th, continuing the trends of hitting Mike Kelly as out-of-touch millionaire and hitting Lou Barletta for sucking as Hazleton mayor
• AL-Sen: William Barnes (D) 30%, Richard Shelby (R-inc) 58%
• CT-Sen: Richard Blumenthal (D) 50%, Linda McMahon (R) 45%
• DE-Sen: Chris Coons (D) 49%, Christine O'Donnell (R) 40%, Mike Castle (I) 5%
• GA-Sen: Michael Thurmond (D) 36%, Johnny Isakson (R-inc) 52%
• IA-Gov: Chet Culver (D-inc) 37%, Terry Branstad (R) 55%
• ND-Sen: Tracy Potter (D) 25%, John Hoeven (R) 68%
• SC-Sen: Alvin Greene (D) 21%, Jim DeMint (R-inc) 64%
AK-Sen: Lisa Murkowski is seeking clarification on just how expansively the state elections board will view misspellings or variants of her name. Lt. Gov. Craig Campbell, who's in charge of all this, previously said he leans "toward a liberal view" of how to count Murkowski ballots, but now he's refusing to get more specific. See you in court?
O'DONNELL: You know what, evolution is a myth. And even Darwin himself -
MAHER: Evolution is a myth?!? Have you ever looked at a monkey!
O'DONNELL: Well then, why they - why aren't monkeys still evolving into humans?
FL-Sen: Former Rep. Robert Wexler became one of the most prominent Democrats to break ranks and endorse Charlie Crist. Wexler, who has long had a close relationship with Crist, famously abandoned his party earlier this year by resigning his seat in the middle of the term, before the final votes on healthcare reform.
FL-Gov: Douchebag zillionaire Rick Scott really just out-did himself with only three words. When asked if he had forked over another million bucks to his campaign (he had), Scott responded: "I don't know." I guess it's easy to forget writing seven-figure checks when you're Rick Scott!
IA-Gov: This race has been depressing for a long while now, and the latest news is no different. A Selzer poll for the Des Moines Register shows GOPer Terry Branstad crushing Gov. Chet Culver 52-33. Just ugh.
ME-Gov: Greenberg Quinlan Rossner (D) for Libby Mitchell (9/22-24, likely voters, July in parens):
Libby Michell (D): 34 (32)
Paul LePage (R): 38 (44)
Eliot Cutler (I): 10 (8)
Shawn Moody (I): 8 (5)
Kevin Scott (I): 2 (2)
Undecided: 7 (10)
Mitchell also says her internal shows LePage's favorability weakening from 33-19 to 38-36 over the same timespan.
AZ-01: CQ got ahold of a month-old internal poll for Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick by Lake Research Partners, which shows the race to be very tight. Kirkpatrick had a 43-39 lead over Republican Paul Gosar. But of course, we're talking about late August. Who knows what's changed since then.
CO-03: Nice catch by Colorado Pols. Check out Republican Scott Tipton trying to backpedal away from his earlier statements that he'd eliminate the Department of Education:
Tipton said his plan for that department is the same as his plan for the entire federal government, to cut it in half. He said he plans to do that without cutting government services....
That is some seriously lulzy shit right there, my friends. Even better is the fact, as CO Pols points out, that Tipton already tried to back away from this plan ("slice the gov't in half") a few days ago, but he's already re-un-flip-pivot-flopping back to it. Man.
CT-05: Smaller, fun-size cat fud: Mark Greenberg, who lost in the GOP primary to Sam Caligiuri, showed up on Caligiuri's hometown to make an endorsement... of the Republican running in Rosa DeLauro's district. A Caliguri endorsement sounds unlikely.
FL-22: I'm not a big fan of Politifact for a variety of reasons, but they sink their teeth into a good one here. At a recent candidate forum, Allen West claimed, "If you look at the application for a security clearance, I have a clearance that even the president of the United States cannot obtain because of my background." This is obviously insane, points out Politifact, because security clearances exist because of a presidential executive order... which is signed by, uh, the president. The other possible way of viewing this (which is what West's campaign proudly says is their view) is as a birther-esque claim that grew out of right-wing email forwards. This "school of thought" holds that Obama's shaaady personal background means that he'd never have gotten security clearance by normal means (if he hadn't been elected). Yeah, okay.
MS-04: Remember when, a few weeks ago, Heath Shuler suggested that he might run for Speaker of the House? Well now Rep. Gene Taylor is the latest ConservaDem to take up residence in fantasy-land, saying that he'd prefer 78-year-old Ike Skelton for Speaker, rather than answer a question about whether he'd vote for Nancy Pelosi again. Taylor also refused to answer how he'd react if Republicans approached him about a party switch.
NV-03: In response to a claim by the Smart Media Group that the DCCC was cancelling a week-long buy on behalf of Rep. Dina Titus, the D-Trip announced that three panzer divisions were reconsolidating on the Eastern front the cancellation was actually a sign of strength. Later that same day, perhaps realizing that sounded like bullshit, the same Dem spokesman said that the party was still committed to a million-dollar ad buy.
PA-10: After an AP report cited an anonymous Dept. of Justice source on this story, the Scranton Times Tribune obtained an on-the-record statement from the DoJ confirming that the department has no record of having given approval for then-US Attorney Tom Marino to serve as a reference on a casino license application for his buddy Louis DeNaples. If you've been following this story, you know that DeNaples was a possibly-mobbed-up "businessman" who was under investigation by Marino's own office - and when Marino got busted for providing the reference, he resigned in disgrace, and then took a sinecure with DeNaples. Marino claimed back in the spring that he had received permission from the DoJ to give a reference for DeNaples, but this has clearly turned out to be bullshit. Dem Chris Carney has gotten a lot of mileage out of this so far.
While we're on the subject, Maine-based pollster Critical Insights tested this race for the Wilkes-Barre Times Leader. They found Marino ahead of Carney 40-36. But the n on this poll was extremely low - just 196 LVs.
PA-11: The Times Leader also polled the 11th CD. Again, with a very small sample (211 LVs), they found Republican Lou Barletta leading Rep. Paul Kanjorski by a 43-32 margin. The Kanjorski campaign blistered the poll, offering some slightly dumber lines of attack ("Makes you wonder if The Times Leader didn't cook the numbers") and some sharper ones (noting that the TL doesn't seem to be very adept at polling, given that last week they tested the Lt. Gov. race, even though Pennsylvanians don't elect the LG separately). They also questioned the partisan makeup of the sample, and its small size.
NRCC: The NRCC just made $3.2 million in expenditures on a ton of different races - too many to list here. It looks like it's mostly for paid media, as well as a bunch of polls in a number of districts. Be interesting to see if any see the light of day.
SSP TV (by James L.):
DE-Sen: Chris Coons' latest ad touts reform and fiscal conservatism
KY-Sen: Jack Conway's out with a great ad that personalizes Rand Paul's nagging hostility to federal anti-drug funding
FL-Gov: Alex Sink attacks chrome-domed creep Rick Scott for attacking her over the Florida state pension fund
CO-04: Dem Rep. Betsy Markey paints Cory Gardner as a career politician with his hand in the trough
FL-08: Dem Rep. Alan Grayson takes off the gloves... and straps on a set of brass knuckles. In his latest ad, he paints his Republican opponent as a radical religious fundamentalist, going so far as to call him "Taliban Dan Webster". In another ad, Grayson hits Webster for his Vietnam deferrals. Also worth mentioning is this ad, which came out two weeks ago but went unmentioned here, where Grayson resurrects his famous "briefcase" theme from last cycle.
HI-01: GOP Rep. Charles Djou responds to the DCCC's latest attack ad
IA-03: Dem Rep. Leonard Boswell unleashes a decent ad hitting Brad Zaun on "personal responsibility" hypocrisy
IL-14: Dem Rep. Bill Foster goes after GOP state Sen. Randy Hultgren for his company's role in fueling the mortgage crisis (and profiting from it)
NY-13: Frosh Dem Rep. Mike McMahon's first ad touts his accomplishments and votes, including his vote against healthcare reform
OH-15: Dem Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy touts her votes, while, in another ad, smacks Steve Stivers over his support of a national sales tax.
OR-05: A six-pack of seniors form a chorus to sing Dem Rep. Kurt Schrader's praises, and wave their hickory walking sticks in Republican Scott Bruun's direction
PA-11: GOPer Lou Barletta responds to Paul Kanjorski's attacks
• FL-Sen: Well, so much for the secret ballot. The Palm Beach Post deduced that Jeff Greene voted for himself... inasmuch as his vote was the only vote for himself in his entire precinct. It was a 2-to-1 vote (literally... Kendrick Meek got 2). Even his wife didn't vote for him, although that's because she isn't registered to vote in the county. (Marco Rubio got 26 votes in the same precinct.) Meanwhile, Charlie Crist seems to have lost some of his footing after a convincing Meek victory in the Dem primary; he flip-flopped on health care reform in the space of one day, saying in a TV interview that he would have voted for health care reform, then, after the Rubio camp started flagging that, saying later in the day that he actually wouldn't have voted for it. I get that he wants to appeal to both Dems and moderate GOPers, but he has to be less transparent than that.
• IL-Sen: Bad news for Alexi Giannoulias: the Constitution Party slate just got struck from the ballot, so Randy Stufflebeam won't be there to siphon right-wing votes from Mark Kirk. Libertarian candidate Mark Labno will be on the ballot, though, as a Kirk alternative (as will Green LeAlan Jones).
• IN-Sen: This is sort of pushing the outer limit of when it's a good idea to release an internal, but it looks like the Brad Ellsworth camp needed to let people know that he's still in this race. His own poll, via Garin Hart Yang, finds him trailing Dan Coats 49-38. The race is closer among those who actually know Ellsworth, but his six-week-long ad buy is about to end, so his name rec problems may persist.
• KY-Sen: Jack Conway is joining Elaine Marshall on the Alan Simpson-pile-on, seconding calls for the firing of Simpson from the Social Security commission in the wake of his "milk cow" comments. Meanwhile, Rand Paul has apparently brushed up on his elementary math skills recently, as he's now backtracking on previous pledges to erase the nation's federal budget deficit in one year.
• MO-Sen, MO-04: Although this poll from Missouri State University (on behalf of TV station KY3) looks good for Robin Carnahan, it's got some methodological issues that we just aren't comfortable with. It was taken over the period of Aug. 7-22, is of registered (not likely) voters, and it also wound up with a sample that was 63% female, although they say they weighted for various demographic factors. At any rate, it shows the race a dead heat, with Roy Blunt leading Robin Carnahan 49-48. It also took looks at three House races in the Show Me State, although with MoEs in the 7% ballpark. In the 4th, Ike Skelton has a 47-35 lead over Vicki Hartzler. Two GOP-held seats look to be pretty uneventful: in the open 7th, Billy Long leads Scott Eckersley 51-23, and in the 8th, Jo Ann Emerson leads fundraising maven Tommy Sowers 64-17.
• WI-Sen: Seems like it was just this morning we were discussing the second instance of Ron Johnson's flagrant hypocrisy when it comes to railing against government involvement in the market, except when it comes to government aid for his own business... and now we're up to a third instance before the day's even out. On Wednesday it came out that in 1985 he'd gotten $2.5 million in government loans to expand his plastics business, and now it's come out that in 1983, two years earlier, he'd gotten a separate $1.5 million loan for a $4 mil total.
• NM-Gov: The DGA is out with a new ad against Susana Martinez in the gubernatorial race, hitting her for $350K in bonuses handed out in her prosecutor's office. NWOTSOTB, but we're told it's a statewide saturation buy.
• VT-Gov: The final count from the SoS office in the Dem gubernatorial primary seemed to get finished ahead of schedule, as numbers today gave Peter Shumlin a 197-vote win over Doug Racine. Racine said that he would go ahead and request a recount; state law provides for a taxpayer-funded recount for a candidate trailing by less than 2% (seems like a pretty generous recount policy compared with most states). In keeping with the primary's very civil tone, both candidates continued to praise each other and say they understood the recount choices.
• CO-07: Republican pollster Magellan (which put out an internal for Scott Tipton in CO-03 last week) is out with a poll in the 7th as well now, although this appears to be on their own, not as an internal for Ryan Frazier. At any rate, their poll gives a 40-39 lead to Republican Frazier, over incumbent Dem Ed Perlmutter. (10% opt for "some other candidate.")
• MS-04: Thanks to Haley Barbour, the previously low-dollar campaign of state Rep. Steven Palazzo just kicked into higher gear (or into gear, period). Barbour held a fundraiser for Palazzo that raised $177K, which will help his uphill campaign against Democratic Rep. Gene Taylor.
• SC-05: Another POS poll in the 5th on behalf of GOP state Sen. Mick Mulvaney has him making up ground on Rep. John Spratt; the two are now tied at 46-46. Spratt led by 2 in a previous POS poll in May. Spratt retorted to CQ that in his own polling he was ahead with "breathing room," but declined to provide specific numbers.
• Ads: Other ads for your consideration today include not one but two new ads from Roy Barnes, going negative against Nathan Deal (on the ethics issue, but also general Washington-bashing). In OH-Gov, Ted Strickland is also out with a double-shot of ads, hitting John Kasich for his free-trading past. Chet Edwards is out with an anti-Bill Flores ad in TX-17 accusing Flores of lying about having voted for GOPer Rob Curnock in 2008 (he didn't vote at all that day), while the Club for Growth is out with a PA-Sen ad that calls Joe Sestak "liberal" several hundred times in the space of 30 seconds.
• AZ-Sen: Rodney Glassman (D) 31%, John McCain (R-inc) 53%
• FL-Gov: Alex Sink (D) 36%, Rick Scott (R) 41%, Bud Chiles (I) 8%
• NM-Gov: Diane Denish (D) 43%, Susana Martinez (R) 48%
• SC-Gov: Vincent Sheheen (D) 36%, Nikki Haley (R) 52%
• WI-Gov: Tom Barrett (D) 44%, Scott Walker (R) 47%
• WI-Gov: Tom Barrett (D) 44%, Mark Neumann (R) 48%