• 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!
• Weather: Forecasts today call for plagues of locusts in Arizona, frogs falling from the sky in Illinois, periodic blood showers in Pennsylvania, hellfire and brimstone in Ohio. Partly sunny in California.
• AK-Sen: The rumor mill over the last few days has had the NRSC turning its attentions back to Lisa Murkowski, whom they'd once shunned, seeing her as their best plan for holding Alaska as Joe Miller seems to lag. (Of course, they may have semi-consciously been doing that for weeks, running ads hitting Scott McAdams instead of hitting Murkowski.) Miller, for his part, is dismissive, saying he didn't need them to win the primary.
DC Dems are finally showing some interest here... maybe it was a conscious decision to avoid the taint of Washington in this race, or more likely it was just being blind to the possibility of a pickup here until the last moment. Bill Clinton is robocalling on McAdams' behalf, and the DSCC finally rolled out a TV ad here over the weekend (anti-Murkowski, not anti-Miller). Here's what's probably motivated them: the final Hays Research poll, this time on behalf of the DSCC (instead of the IBEW like the last ones). Its results: Miller 27, McAdams 26, "another candidate you have to write in" 25, and undecided 21. That's close. With the specter of analyzing tens of thousands of write-in ballots for intent, and the attendant legal challenges, it will almost assuredly be weeks before we have a winner in Alaska. UPDATE: Just got late word of yet another poll here, from yet another local pollster: Dittman. I don't know who, if anyone Dittman is working for, but they're pretty Murkowski-friendly results: Murko 37, Miller 26, McAdams 22.
• DE-Sen: Despite having essentially no chance of winning, somehow Christine O'Donnell got more media coverage than any other candidate this cycle, according to a Pew study. (Thanks, Gawker!) Of course, it's hard not to, when she provides us with so much good material, as with her closing argument fail: she'd planned on 30-minute blocks of TV time on the local Fox affiliate and on public access, but somehow neither happened, owing to miscommunication and flat-out never getting around to purchasing the time on Fox. A remarkable end to a remarkable campaign.
• PA-08: I imagine you'll be hearing a lot of stories today and in the following days about voter "suppression" (from the Dems) and "fraud" (from the GOP), but we're already getting a jump on it in the 8th: both sides are alleging irregularities in absentee ballots. 8,000 ballots have been sequestered at the Bucks County courthouse already, so assuming the margin is less than that, here's another one we can already expect to find its way into court.
• AL-Gov (Univ. of S. Alabama): Ron Sparks (D) 35%, Robert Bentley (R) 48%
• CA-Sen, CA-Gov (Suffolk): Barbara Boxer (D-inc) 52%, Carly Fiorina (R) 43%; Jerry Brown (D) 50%, Meg Whitman (R) 42%
(Bonus: Kamala Harris leads Steve Cooley 35-34 in the AG race, and "no" leads "yes" on Prop 19 55-40)
• CA-Sen, CA-Gov (SurveyUSA for KABC): Barbara Boxer (D-inc) 45%, Carly Fiorina (R) 40%; Jerry Brown (D) 46%, Meg Whitman (R) 38%
(Bonus: Gavin Newsom leads Abel Maldonado 42-34 for LG, and "no" leads "yes" on Prop 19 46-44)
• CA-Sen, CA-Gov (PPP): Barbara Boxer (D-inc) 52%, Carly Fiorina (R) 43%; Jerry Brown (D) 53%, Meg Whitman (R) 42%
(Bonus: "no" leads "yes" on Prop 19 45-48)
• CA-20 (SurveyUSA for KFSN): Jim Costa (D-inc) 42%, Andy Vidak (R) 52%
(note: this poll population is 37% Hispanic, compared with 67% in reality) (also, the DCCC responded with a poll giving Costa a 47-41 lead, although they neglected to leak the pollster's name) (UPDATE: The pollster is Bennet Petts & Normington, with the sample over the same 10/21-24 period as SurveyUSA)
• CT-Sen, CT-Gov (Quinnipiac): Richard Blumenthal (D) 54% (54), Linda McMahon (R) 42% (43); Dan Malloy (D) 48% (49), Tom Foley (R) 43% (42)
• FL-08 (Susquehanna for Sunshine State News): Alan Grayson (D-inc) 41% (36), Daniel Webster (R) 48% (43), Peg Dunmire (T) 4%
• GA-Gov (InsiderAdvantage): Roy Barnes (D) 41%, Nathan Deal (R) 47%, John Monds (L) 5%
• ID-Gov, ID-Sen, ID-01, ID-02 (Mason-Dixon for Idaho newspapers): Keith Allred (D) 30%, Butch Otter (R-inc) 52%; Tom Sullivan (D) 20%, Mike Crapo (R-inc) 64%; Walt Minnick (D-inc) 44%, Raul Labrador (R) 41%; Mike Crawford (D) 17%, Mike Simpson (R-inc) 67%
• IA-Gov (Global Strategy Group for Chet Culver): Chet Culver (D-inc) 40%, Terry Branstad (R) 46%
• IL-Gov (MarketShares for Chicago Tribune): Pat Quinn (D-inc) 39% (39), Bill Brady (R) 43% (38), Scott Lee Cohen (I) 5%, Rich Whitney (G) 4%, Lex Green (L) 2%
• IL-Sen (Anzalone-Liszt for DSCC): Alexi Giannoulias (D) 38%, Mark Kirk (R) 36%, LeAlan Jones (G) 7%, Mike Labno (L) 4%
• KY-Sen (PPP): Jack Conway (D) 40%, Rand Paul (R) 53%
• KY-03 (RiverCity for Todd Lally): John Yarmuth (D-inc) 41%, Todd Lally (R) 37% (note: n = only 239, yet they claim MoE of 4.5%)
• LA-02 (Anzalone-Liszt): Cedric Richmond (D) 49%, Joe Cao (R-inc) 32%
• NY-20 (Siena): Scott Murphy (D-inc) 42% (54), Chris Gibson (R) 51% (37)
(The Murphy camp leaked an internal from Global Strategy Group today, although only saying a 3-point lead without specific toplines)
• OH-Gov, OH-Sen (Quinnipiac): Ted Strickland (D-inc) 43% (41), John Kasich (R) 49% (51); Lee Fisher (D) 36% (34), Rob Portman (R) 53% (55)
• OH-Sen (Wilson Research, not apparently on anyone's behalf): Lee Fisher (D) 38%, Rob Portman (R) 49%
• OH-Sen (Univ. of Cincinnati for Ohio newspapers): Lee Fisher (D) 39%, Rob Portman 58%
• PA-Sen, PA-Gov (Ipsos for Reuters): Joe Sestak (D) 46%, Pat Toomey (R) 46%; Dan Onorato (D) 43%, Tom Corbett (R) 49%
(Sestak leads 46-42 among RVs, and even Onorato leads 46-43 among RVs)
• PA-Sen, PA-Gov (Muhlenberg): Joe Sestak (D) 40% (42), Pat Toomey (R) 48% (47); Dan Onorato (D) 39% (41), Tom Corbett (R) 50% (49)
• PA-08 (POS for Mike Fitzpatrick): Patrick Murphy (D-inc) 40%, Mike Fitzpatrick (R) 50%
• PA-10 (Lycoming): Chris Carney (D-inc) 45%, Tom Marino (R) 39%
• SD-Gov (Neilson Brothers): Scott Heidepriem (D) 40%, Dennis Daugaard (R) 43%
• VA-09 (SurveyUSA for WDBJ): Rick Boucher (D-inc) 46%, Morgan Griffith (R) 47%
• WI-Gov (Mellman Group, not apparently on anyone's behalf): Tom Barrett (D) 45%, Scott Walker (R) 47%
• 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%
• KY-Sen: The Beltway chattering class seems to have either moved on from "Aqua Buddha," or taken it as a given that it just backfired on Jack Conway. Josh Green at the Atlantic does some actual, y'know, reporting on what's happening on the ground, though, and finds that the ad (and its rebuttal), and their aftermath, are still completely driving the conversation in Kentucky. Local GOP pols still seem to think that Rand Paul will squeak by in the end, but it's thrown him deeply off message and the refusal to debate again doesn't look good on him. (UPDATE: Actually, Greg Sargent just reported that the Conway camp is taking down the Aqua Buddha ad. To clarify "taking down," though, this was a planned move, as it reached the end of its original run, to be replaced by this sales tax ad.)
• PA-Sen: Barack Obama will be making a four-state swing through the east coast and midwest over the weekend prior to the election; one of the stopping spots will be Philadelphia, where he'll be doing a canvassing event. He'll also be doing rallies in Chicago, Cleveland, and Bridgeport, Connecticut (indicating they're still leaving nothing to chance with Richard Blumenthal).
• CA-Gov: Meg Whitman breaking self-funding records has become something of a dog-bites-man story around here, but one more for old times sake: she spent $23 million in the first half of October, bringing her all-cycle total to $163 million. Jerry Brown, by contrast, spent $14.6 million in that period, bringing his all-cycle spending to $25 million.
• CO-Gov: I doubt this is much of a game-changer, but it may help flip a few more Colorado Springs area votes in Tom Tancredo's direction (if there were any Dan Maes supporters left there). Rep. Doug Lamborn became perhaps the most prominent elected Republican in Colorado to publicly come out in support of Tancredo, rather than Maes.
• MN-Gov: The RGA must be seeing something the polls aren't telling them, because they're still fighting till the end in Minnesota. (Of course, if one committee has money to throw at unlikely races and see what sticks, it's the RGA.) They just gave $1 million to third party group Minnesota Future to run more anti-Mark Dayton (and probably anti-Tom Horner) ads. (You may remember Minnesota Future from the whole Target contribution controversy. Interestingly, Hubbard Broadcasting, owner of local TV station KSTP, also was just identified as having given $25K to Minnesota Future. Y'know, because they're part of that liberal lamestream media.)
• FL-24: And here I'd thought we'd dodged something of a bullet when Karen Diebel got sent packing to spent more time guarding her swimming pool. Sandy Adams, who seems likely to be the next Representative for the Space Coast, has come out in favor of the "biblical teachings" rather than the theory of evolution. I look forward to hearing her proposals for a faith-based space program next.
• ID-01: The Tea Party Express finally endorsed Raul Labrador in the 1st. However, that comes only after they tried to endorse Democratic incumbent Walt Minnick as their token Dem fig-leaf and he rejected the endorsement (over racist statements by one of their, at the time, key members).
• Early voting: Ohio Democrats are pointing to an edge in early voting, where they're leading 44 percent to 34 percent for Republicans in votes cast so far. The Republicans are claiming the edge after three days of early voting in Florida, with a 148,000 vote edge, although Dems pointed out that was about where the numbers were in the 2006 election.
• Redistricting: Here's a good counterpoint to several articles that have shrugged off the possible large Republican advantage on the redistricting front coming out of this election, one that actually looks at the actual number of House seats that are likely to be influenced. Extrapolating likely control of state governorships and legislatures, the GOP will have "untrammeled" control over 125 House seats while Dems will control only 62, a worse outcome than 1990 or 2000. (43 are in commission-based states or at-large states, with 205 drawn by divided governments.)
• Chamber of Commerce: This article was been making the rounds, but it's a must-read if you haven't already done so and you're interested in the "dark money" that's swamping the transparent money, this cycle more than ever. The NYT digs into what corporations are using the national Chamber of Commerce as a pass-through for their contributions, including Prudential, Dow Chemical, and Dutch insurer Aegon.
• SSP TV:
• AZ-Sen: This looks like John McCain's last ad, as it's a soft-focus closing argument type of spot
• CO-Sen: The League of Conservation Voters hits Ken Buck on environmental issues
• DE-Sen: Here's the first Chris Coons ad to take on Christine O'Donnell directly, saying she lives in the "Twilight Zone"
• NV-Sen: Harry Reid rolls out endorsements from various local business leaders in his newest ad
• WA-Sen: Waiting until the end to go after Dino Rossi for his anti-abortion stance seems to be tradition now, in order to swing any last-minute moderate women who haven't decided, and the DSCC piles on
• HI-Gov: Barack Obama, fresh off his Colleen Hanabusa spot, also cuts an ad touting Neil Abercrombie
• RI-Gov: The DGA keeps pounding on Lincoln Chafee over the tax hikes he'd like (I've also heard the RGA is buying an ad here on behalf of John Robitaille, though I haven't seen a link)
• WV-03: Ewwww... Spike Maynard plays the terrorist card against Arab-American Rep. Nick Rahall
• MoveOn: MoveOn seems to have saved their powder for one huge blast at the end, running ads in eight Senate races and 20 House races (here's their WI-08 ad), helping only Dems who voted in favor of HCR
• Sierra Club: The Sierra Club is out with ads boosting Democratic incumbents in FL-22, MI-07, and AZ-08 • 60+ Assoc.: The AARP's evil doppelganger is running two spots, a two-fer in Arizona hitting both Raul Grijalva and Gabby Giffords, and... here's a new one... Solomon Ortiz in TX-27
• MN-Gov: Mark Dayton (D) 44%, Tom Emmer (R) 41%, Tom Horner (I) 10%
• NY-Gov: Andrew Cuomo (D) 51%, Carl Paladino (R) 37%
• NY-Sen: Charles Schumer (D-inc) 59%, Jay Townsend (R) 31%
• SD-AL: Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D-inc) 44%, Kristi Noem (R) 49%
With only two weeks remaining, it's time for another round of updates to our Senate, Gubernatorial, and House ratings. With DCCC triage in full effect, giving us a clear picture of who's on the very wrong side of the House firewall, you may notice that this is the first time we've added House incumbents to the "Lean Republican" column. (In an interesting bit of symmetry, FL-24 was also the first race in 2008 where we dropped an incumbent -- Tom Feeney -- to "Lean D," also about two weeks prior to the election.)
DE-Sen: Lean D to Likely D
FL-Sen: Lean R to Likely R
OH-Sen: Lean R to Likely R
WI-Sen: Tossup to Lean R
IL-Gov: Lean R to Tossup
ME-Gov: Lean R to Tossup
NH-Gov: Likely D to Lean D
SC-Gov: Likely R to Lean R
AR-04: Safe D to Likely D
AZ-07: Safe D to Tossup
AZ-08: Lean D to Tossup
CA-11: Lean D to Tossup
CA-20: Likely D to Lean D
FL-24: Tossup to Lean R
GA-08: Lean D to Tossup
ID-01: Tossup to Lean D
IL-11: Tossup to Lean R
IL-17: Lean D to Tossup
IN-08: Lean R to Likely R
MA-04: Safe D to Likely D
MI-15: Safe D to Likely D
MN-08: Safe D to Likely D
MS-04: Likely D to Lean D
NC-08: Lean D to Tossup
NJ-12: Likely D to Lean D
NY-04: Safe D to Likely D
NY-22: Safe D to Likely D
OH-01: Tossup to Lean R
OH-06: Likely D to Lean D
OH-09: Likely D to Safe D
OH-13: Tossup to Lean D
OH-15: Tossup to Lean R
OR-04: Safe D to Likely D
PA-03: Tossup to Lean R
PA-07: Lean R to Tossup
TX-17: Tossup to Lean R
WA-08: Likely R to Lean R
28 of these changes favor Republicans; 9 races (DE-Sen, 3 of the 4 gubernatorial races, and 5 House races, including the Ohio implosion duo) have moved in the Democratic direction.
MO-Sen: Republican media trackers tell Politico that the DSCC has cancelled $1.3 million worth of ad buys in Kansas City and St. Louis for the final week before the election. The DS tried to push back, saying that "decisions are made on a week-to-week basis," but as Swingnuts well know, cancelling early reservations now subjects you to forfeiting deposits - and means you have to pay higher rates if you decide to go back in later. In other words, late cancellations are not made lightly.
WV-Sen: John Raese has one simple request. And that is to have sharks with frickin' laser beams attached to their heads!
NV-Sen: So maybe some of that cash earmarked for Missouri is going to Nevada instead. On the heels of Sharron Angle's eye-bursting $14 million haul, the DSCC is making its first ad reservations in the Silver State, apparently for a million bucks a week.
GA-Gov: Wow, Nathan Deal really is the epitome of the corrupt scumbag who thinks the purposes of getting elected to public office is to use his position for personal gain. As the AP explains: "While in Congress, Republican Nathan Deal lobbied Georgia's attorney general and top state environmental officials to allow the development of a landfill that he and his business partner wanted next to their auto salvage yard...." Note that though this involves Deal's auto salvage business, this is actually a different scandal from the one which inspired him to resign from Congress (there, he had lobbied the state from his perch in the House to preserve a questionable vehicle inspection program from which he profited immensely).
NY-Gov: For the trouble of offering a half-assed, bullshit, "I'm sorry if you were offended" non-apology, Carl Paladino has now lost the backing of the right-wing rabbi, Yehuda Levin, who helped pen the anti-gay speech which got Paladino into such hot water to begin with.
Relatedly, a truly awesome catch by Politico's Maggie Haberman: She digs waaay deep to link a story at the Orthodox-oriented news blog Voz Iz Neias (Yiddish for "What's News?") about Paladino's flubbed outreach in the Orthodox community. Though it's getting far less play than his homophobic outburst, Paladino also attacked a bunch of big-time rebbes (Hasidic leaders) for supposedly being suckered into going soft on the libruhl Andrew Cuomo (who had also done the ritual meet-and-greets in Hasidic communities). Several prominent rabbis are now rebuking Paladino for waltzing on to their turf and making such presumptuous accusations against some of their own. So not only did Paladino piss off half the state thanks to this trip, he pissed off the very people he was trying to win over! In a word: fail.
CA-03: There aren't a whole lot of bright spots these days, but one of them is definitely Dan Lungren. The former state AG managed to win in 2008 against a badly underfunded opponent with less than 50% of the vote, and has been getting his ass kicked in fundraising literally every quarter this cycle by Ami Bera. So with his back against the wall, Karl Rove is coming to the rescue. American Crossroads/Crossroads GPS is launching ads in the district on Friday, but NWOTSOTB as yet.
CA-45: You know I'm a ratfucking fetishist, so of course it warms my heart to hear that Dem Steve Pougnet is doing his best to prop up teabagger Bill Lussenheide. He's targeting Republicans with robocalls that say Lussenheide is the "true conservative" - but he's also sending out mailers to the same households describing him as "extreme" and "dangerous" while calling Rep. Mary Bono Mack a "raging liberal." I imagine the idea is that what's "extreme" and "dangerous" to normal people is actually appealing to crazies. I also love the fact that Bono Mack's people whined that this was a "dirty trick" - just shows they are a bunch of weenies who don't know how to fight.
LA-02: Man, it seems like most pols in Louisiana care about party loyalty as much as the writers of LOST cared about not pissing off their fans after six fucking years of slavishly watching that goddamn... uh, where was I? Oh yeah, state Rep. Juan LaFonta, who got pasted in the Democratic primary by Cedric Richmond, has decided to endorse Republican Rep. Joe Cao for re-election. This does not seem like the winning move to me. (And screw you, J. J. Abrams!)
OH-09: This comment has the flavor of Star Trek nerds debating whether Captain Picard ever wore the Federation dress uniform while on the bridge of the Enterprise D during season 4... only, except, you know, this guy is actually trying to be serious. Rich Iott's spokesbot pleaded with Politico to understand that no, it was an SS uniform, not a NAZI uniform! I'm sure that will please John Boehner, who, as it turns out, gave $5,000 to Iott last month. Think he wants his Reichsmarks back?
PA-03: Paging Mark Twain... Mark Twain to the white courtesy phone. The AFSCME evidently thinks that rumors of Kathy Dahlkemper's demise are at least somewhat exaggerated, since they're dropping $350K on ads on her behalf. Triage is a tricky business.
WI-08: Aaron Blake tweets that the DCCC is "pulling out" of the 8th CD, but as is often the case, the picture is more nuanced. First off, AFSCME just dropped $750K here (to which Blake alludes). Secondly, Kagen is personally wealthy. In fact, in 2008, he was the 28th-richest member of the House, with a net worth of anywhere between $7 and $20 million. Hopefully his investments haven't taken too bad of hit the last couple of years and he can still afford to spend large (he gave his campaign almost $900K last cycle).
GA-08: Jim Marshall's anti-Pelosi ad actually has hippies in it - for reals
NY-20: Fuck yes - Scott Murphy's latest lacerates Chris Gibson for supporting repeal of the healthcare reform bill. Murphy, like Earl Pomeroy, knows the only way to win is to go loud and proud
TN-04: Lincoln Davis lacerates Scott DesJarlais for reportedly threatening his ex-wife with a gun - and threatening to kill himself. Stories like this were a big reason why Don Sherwood and Randy Kuhl both lost
ID-01: On behalf of Walt Minnick, the mother of a woman murdered by her abuser hits Raul Labrador for his failure to support laws that would protect women in abusive relationships
MA-06: Republican Bill Hudak hits Rep. John Tierney on a story we've been somewhat remiss in covering here: namely, his wife's recent guilty plea for tax fraud. By referring to "Tierney's family," the ad makes it sound like Tierney himself was involved, but Hudak gets away with this legerdemain because the wife's brother (family by marriage, I suppose) was also involved. The ad is only running on cable (Hudak had less than $100K on hand at the end of August)
America's Families First Action Fund: Sounds like a GOP group, but it's actually Dem to the bone: $80K against David Schweikert (AZ-05); $403K against David Rivera (FL-25); $94K on mail against Bob Dold! (FL-25); $200K against Randy Hultgren (IL-14)
EMILY: $520K against Tom Ganley (OH-13); $212K against Cory Gardner (CO-04); $20K against Frank Guinta (NH-01)
NEA: $1.4 million against Ken Buck (CO-Sen); $306K against Harold Johnson (NC-08)
The boys down at SSP Shipping & Receiving are, frankly, completely overwhelmed with the influx of incoming polling to report. That's why we gotta dish 'em out with no added frills, bulk-style. Our latest dose:
Dan Maffei (D-inc): 39 (46)
Ann Marie Buerkle (R): 40 (39)
Undecided: 21 (17)
Take that last one with a grain of salt, though -- note that directly before the head-to-head top line question, McLaughlin asked if voters would like to send an Obama-supporting Democrat to Congress or a Republican who would provide a "check and balance".
FL-Sen: Kendrick Meek, sensing that time is running out, decided to reject the endorsement of the Sierra Club. Why? Because they wanted to co-endorse Charlie Crist, and Meek needs to do anything he can to differentiate himself from the governor, since they're largely drawing from the same pool of voters these days. Meek tried to cast this as a principled stance, saying "The Sierra Club has chosen to stand with a governor who stood on stage applauding as Sarah Palin chanted, 'Drill, Baby, Drill.'"
MO-Sen: The Smart Media Group is saying that the DSCC has cancelled two weeks worth of ad buys in Missouri. Given how often the tea-leaf reading has been wrong with all this ad stuff, I'd like to see further confirmation before making up my mind about what this means. (And guys, I don't think you're using cutesy hashtags properly.)
Congressional candidate and veteran political consultant Steve Raby once ran four north Alabama political action committees that authorities say were used to route $200,000 from a Dothan casino owner to a state senator in a vote-buying scheme. Raby says he relinquished control of the PACs weeks before the money transfers.
And this is just not a headline you ever want to see in your own race:
Raby: I have not been accused of doing anything wrong
AR-04: Here's a race that's not on a lot of folks' radars but probably should be, just because of the nature of the year & state. Republican Beth Anne Rankin is out with a one-day robopoll from Diamond State Consulting Group that shows Rep. Mike Ross leading by just a 44-41 margin, with 5% going to Green Party candidate Josh Drake. A poll from July had Ross up 55-33. But does Rankin have the resources to take down the Lord Satrap of the Blue Dogs? Ross had $1.1 million on hand as of June 30; Rankin, just $70K.
CT-04: Believe it or not, Merriman River Group is a Democratic pollster. But they sure have been putting out all kinds of numbers this week which are at odds with... well, everyone else's numbers, particularly in CT-Sen and CT-05. In their most recent effort, they have Rep. Jim Himes at 49 and Republican Dan Debicella at 47, so I'll be really curious to see if internals bear this one out. There are at least two things I don't like about this poll: First off, they report numbers to decimal places, which is a bad practice because it gives a false sense of accuracy. Secondly, they refer to Himes's opponent as "Dan DeBicella" throughout. C'mon, guys.
CT-05: Speaking of CT-05, here's another poll from Chris Murphy (courtesy the Gotham Research Group), showing him up 48-34 over Sam Caligiuri. Murph's last poll had a similar 50-38 margin. The only thing I don't like here is the weak swipe at robopollsters (like Merriman) in the press release: "An automated computer survey can't tell who is actually picking up the phone - a registered voter in the Fifth District, or a voter's 10 year old cousin visiting from South Carolina." Chris - we love you, man, but we know you can do better.
ID-01: In response to some rumor-mongering that showed up the other day in Roll Call, Walt Minnick said he "has no intention of changing parties." I think the Parker Griffith party switch actually was a very good thing for us, as it demonstrated what is likely to happen to any other Dems who follow suit - you'll get teabagged to death.
KS-01: In the race to succeed Rep. Jerry Moran (who is running for Senate), Republican Tim Huelskamp leads Democrat Alan Jilka by a 63-26 margin, according to SurveyUSA.
KY-06: Dueling internals in Eastern Kentucky. First up is Ben Chandler, whose poll from the Mellman group has him up 52-40 over Andy Barr. That's actually a decline from his numbers a few weeks ago which had him up 53-33, but Barr's gain seems pretty understandable - and importantly, Chandler hasn't slipped. (These numbers are also backed up by a recent Braun poll.) Meanwhile, Barr's survey has it 48-47 in favor of the Republican, which are the best numbers we've seen from his camp all cycle.
TX-17: Chet Edwards also has an internal poll out, from Bennett, Petts and Normington. It's not particularly good news: Bill Flores leads 46-42. Still, it's better than the most recent Flores own-poll, which had him up 55-36.
VA-05: Jesus, what is with this guy? Teabagger Jeff Clark has been pulling the Hamlet act more melodramatically than anyone since Mario Cuomo. Now he's claiming he might drop out of the race because he's being excluded from a series of debates between Rep. Tom Perriello and Republican Rob Hurt. Some of his backers say they might file a legal challenge, but that seems dubious.
NH-Sen: Even though Democrats on the Hill were too fucking stupid to schedule a vote on the Obama tax cuts which would have given them great campaign fodder, props to Paul Hodes for cutting an ad on the issue regardless. Hodes says he supports extending middle class tax cuts, but is very explicit that he wants to let tax breaks for the wealthiest expire - unlike Kelly Ayotte
NV-Sen: Hah, if this works, I'll be impressed: Sharron Angle's ad hits Reid on a few votes (like the stimulus), and also includes this gem: Reid's vote against Tom Coburn's retarded "no Viagra for sex offenders" poison-pill amendment to the healthcare reform bill
KY-Sen: Jack Conway has succeeded in getting a false and misleading ad by the "First Amendment Alliance" pulled off at least one television station, Louisville's Fox 41.
WI-Sen: On the other side of the equation, Russ Feingold is being forced by the NFL to alter an ad which featured some footage of embarrassing end zone victory dances, including Randy Moss taunting Green Bay Packer fans. Could this really have been a mindless goof by Feingold's media team? The Hotline's Tim Alberta had the same thought I did: This sure was a good way to get plenty of free media coverage for this ad. (Judging by the number of Twitter mentions, at least, this ploy worked - if it was indeed the plan.)
AZ-08: The Smart Media Group is reporting that the DCCC has cancelled all of their ad buys in Tucson except for the final week of October. I suppose there are three ways you can interpret this news. The first is that Gabby Giffords is cruising and doesn't need much help. The second I'll call "panzers reconsolidating": She's basically doomed. And the third lies between the two: The D-Trip is performing triage, figuring that Giffords is strong enough to have a chance on her own, while other more fragile campaigns are in greater need of help. Choose your own adventure!
NY-24: Mike Arcuri is a lucky man. As you may recall, he created a new third party just so that he could have an extra ballot line to run on (and perhaps draw in a few votes from people who like him personally but can't stomach the thought of pulling the lever for a Democrat). The problem: He called it the "New York Moderates" party, but state law forbids any party name from including the words "American," 'United States," "National," "New York State," "Empire State," or any abbreviation of those. Fortunately, a court ruled that he was able to retain the line by renaming it just the "Moderates" party.
MO-Sen: Robin Carnahan: $2.1 million raised, "on par with" Roy Blunt
PA-Sen: Joe Sestak (D): $3.2 million raised, Pat Toomey (R): $3.8 million raised
CO-Gov: John Hickenlooper (D): $361K raised from 9/16-29, Dan Maes (R): $28K raised, Tom Tancredo (ACP): $149K
OH-Gov: Ted Strickland (D): $1.6 million raised from 9/3-10/4
CT-Sen: Sources tell Aaron Blake that the DSCC has added $1.2 million to its buy here
OH-01: The Campaign for Working Families throws down $125K for ads to help Steve Chabot (R)
OR-05: CULAC the PAC chips in $34K for mail on behalf of Rep. Kurt Schrader (D)
NV-Sen: Harry Reid's latest is actually half-positive/half-negative, and concludes by calling Sharron Angle "a foreign worker's best friend"; Angle's newest is a race-baity spot that - jeez - features footage of scary brown people sneaking through a fence (wish I were kidding)
PA-Sen: The DSCC also has an ad out that's fairly race-baity, talking about Pat Toomey's support for sending jobs to China - complete with Asian-style gong noises that were embarrassing even when John Hughes brought us Long Duk Dong more than a quarter-century ago
GA-Gov: In a reversal of the usual roles, Republican Nathan Deal paints himself as the friend of teachers (and education in general) in his first attack ad
NY-Gov: Andrew Cuomo continues to sound like an anodyne Republican in his ads (cut wasteful government, blah blah), and says that Carl Paladino's "anger is not a governing strategy"
AL-05: Steve Raby goes back to his mailbox to criticize Mo Brooks for being a DC tool (and then litters)
CA-45: In this Steve Pougnet ad, little kids singing bowdlerized versions of the "Miss Mary Mack" (Mary Bono Mack, get it?) schoolyard rhyme are annoying
CO-07: In an ad with weak production values, Ryan Frazier attacks Ed Perlmutter for supporting the stimulus and cap-and-trade
FL-12: Dennis Ross recites some conservative pabulum
FL-25: In a minute-long spot, Joe Garcia uses news coverage to revisit the David Rivera ramming-a-delivery-truck-carrying-his-opponents-flyers incident
ID-01: Walt Minnick can't resist hitting the illegal immigration theme again - and he, too, features footage of Hispanic-looking people. Just uck
MN-06: A Tarryl Clark ad with really low production values stands out only because the otherwise serious-sounding female announcer declares: "Michele Bachmann: Not doing [bleep] for the people of the sixth district" (yes, there's an actual bleep sound) [UPDATE: Gah, it's just a fucking web ad.]
NC-02: Bob Etheridge hits one of my favorite attack ad topics: Renee Ellmers' support of a 23% national sales tax
NV-03: As she did in her last ad, Dina Titus compares Joe Heck to Sharron Angle, this time attacking his record on education
NY-13: Big fucking surprise: Despite voting against healthcare reform, Mike McMahon is getting attacked on it anyway - for not supporting repeal, and for just generally siding with Pelosi & Obama. Will Democrats never learn? Don't answer that
NY-20: Chris Gibson attacks Scott Murphy for supporting the stimulus. Man, it was a damn long time ago, but remember how much traction Murphy got last year by attacking Jim Tedisco (lol) for opposing the stimulus? (Not surprised to see the ad in that link has since been removed)
OH-18: Oh man. Clearly polls must be showing Dems that attacks on Republicans for wanting to send jobs overseas must be especially potent, 'cause here's another one, from Zack Space. No gong in this one, though - instead, he features a prototypical Chinese dragon, and then even has the announcer say a mock "thank you" in Chinese! I really can't wait for this election to be over