AK-Sen: Lulz. Ex-state Rep. Andrew Halcro is still carrying the torch for a Murkowski Libertarian bid, despite the fact that the Alaska Libertarian Party voted to reject having Murkowski on their ticket over the weekend. Halcro is telling The Hill (and anyone else willing to listen, apparently), that he thinks the Libertarians would be willing to reconsider, as long as Murkowski is the one who reaches out directly. And maybe he's actually got something there, as the state Libertarian chair, Scott Kohlhass, said yesterday that "as a sitting senator, we'd always be open to sitting down and talking to Lisa Murkowski." This is the same guy who, we remind you, previously announced that Murkowski was unwelcome on their ticket due to "fundamental differences". Make up your minds already!
It's also worth noting that Murkowski didn't sound all that interested in carrying this fight on to the general election in her concession speech last night. While she didn't endorse Miller, she spoke of her plans for the future, saying that she was looking forward to "coming home" at the end of her term. I don't think a Libertarian bid, or a write-in campaign, is in the cards.
Meanwhile, the NRSC has been busy trying to convince the world that Joe Miller has this shit locked. On Monday, they released a Basswood Research poll (8/28-29, likely voters) showing Miller leading Sitka Mayor Scott McAdams by 52-36. PPP tested the race around the same time and found Miller ahead by only 47-39.
FL-Gov: The St. Pete Times is hearing "considerable buzz" that Bud Chiles, the son of legendary former Democratic Gov. Lawton Chiles, will pull the plug on his independent gubernatorial candidacy. Chiles, who seemed to be having a net-neutral impact on the race due to his support from Dixiecrat-flavored voters, reportedly was spotted having lunch with Democrat Alex Sink in Miami yesterday. Is an endorsement on tap?
WI-Gov: Jesus. Are these the kind of headlines that you really want to be generating?
Wis. cand. runs fighting ad aimed at attack victim
Scott Walker is up with a new ad in which he dons boxing gloves and vows to "go the distance" against Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. Barrett, as you may recall, was brutally attacked while intervening in a domestic violence incident at the Wisconsin State Fairgrounds last summer, sustaining injuries from which he may never fully recover. Talk about not thinking through all the angles...
CT-05: GOP state Sen. Sam Caligiuri won the endorsement of the Independent Party of Connecticut yesterday, meaning that he'll appear on the ballot against SSP hero Chris Murphy on both the Republican and Independent lines.
IA-03: Dem Rep. Leonard Boswell rolled out an endorsement Monday from architect Mark Rees... who was most recently seen losing the Republican primary for the nomination to challenge Boswell back in June. Rees, who drew 4% in the GOP primary, says that he's backing Boswell because the Republican nominee, state Sen. Brad Zaun, is too far to the right "on all the issues".
NV-03: AFSCME shelled out $750K for attack ads on GOPer Joe Heck, and they're out with their second ad in the series, a thirty-second spot on the topic of Social Security privatization.
NY-24: Here's a double-dose of bad news for Mike Arcuri. First, the New York Board of Elections recommended that Libertarian Ernest Logan Bell be removed from the ballot after coming up short on valid ballot signatures. (Never fear, fans of liberty, Bell's encouraging his supporters to write-in his name in November.) Next, it seems that Arcuri's "NY Moderates" Party line is in jeopardy. Republicans in the district pointed out the existence of a state statute that says that ballot lines aren't allowed to include the words "New York." Election officials say that may cause Arcuri's indie line to go up in smoke, but are putting off a final decision on the matter until September 16th. Arcuri's attorney, for what it's worth, says that the party name will merely change to "Moderates". Good luck with that.
VA-09: Benenson Strategy Group (8/18-22, likely voters) for Rick Boucher:
Rick Boucher (D-inc): 55
Morgan Griffith (R): 32
Is that too optimistic for Boucher? Perhaps, but it's not entirely far-fetched, either. A July poll by SurveyUSA -- not the most Dem-friendly pollster this cycle -- had Boucher up by 52-39. Despite the bottom falling out for so many Democratic incumbents in tough districts, Boucher appears to have more staying power than some of his colleagues.
WI-07: At SSP, we always try to give you the Size Of The Buy where possible. We reported yesterday that the DCCC was hitting the airwaves with their first independent expenditure ad of the cycle against ex-Real World star Sean Duffy. Turns out the buy is for $36,500 -- not breaking the bank by any means, but House party committees rarely saturate the airwaves in August.
Via Greg Giroux, AFSCME is up with a new ad today hitting Republican hopeful Jim Renacci, who is challenging first-term Dem Rep. John Boccieri, on the issue of Renacci's support for a 23% sales tax:
And we definitely have some word on the size of the buy:
AMERICAN FEDERATION OF STATE COUNTY AN - C90011172
1. Opposes Candidate: James B Renacci (H0OH16097)
Office Sought: House of Representatives, Ohio District 16
Date Expended = 08/09/2010 Amount Expended = $750000.00
Purpose: TV ads Totally Unacceptable Deadbeat
That's a monstrously huge buy for this time of year, and there's no word on whether that money is being spread out over multiple weeks or multiple ads. Boccieri is pretty high on the list of vulnerable Ohio Dems this cycle, so it's nice to see AFSCME try to get out and define Renacci before he can define himself.
IL-Sen: Crain's Chicago Business is reporting that a teabaggish libertarian, Michael Labno, appears to have survived challenges to his petitions and will likely appear on the ballot this fall. Presumably this is good news for Alexi Giannoulias.
NV-Sen: Who knew he was even gone? Sketchball and possibly ersatz teabagger Scott Ashjian had apparently been AWOL for some time, but Jon Ralston has been keeping tabs. The erstwhile Ashjian put out his first press release in however long yesterday, to remind the world that he exists. It also serves the remind the world that he does not know how to use spell check.
AR-01: GOPer Rick Crawford just caught a break: conservative indie candidate Richard Walden just dropped out of the race and threw his backing to the Republican.
IN-09: Another similar story to the AR-01 item above: Indie Ron Kimsey has bailed on the race, in order to help Republican Todd Young beat Rep. Baron Hill.
NM-02: In one of the first independent expenditures aimed at the general election, Defenders of Wildlife plunked down $125,000 for a two-week buy to air an ad against GOP retread Steve Pearce. Big problem, though: The Pearce campaign put out a press release saying they got KOAT-TV to take down the ad on the grounds that it was false and misleading. Really hate to see a Dem ally stumble out of the gate like this.
NY-14: Talk about chutzpah: Reshma Saujani baselessly attacked Carolyn Maloney for the fact that the 9/11 healthcare bill failed to pass, carping that "A real leader would have passed this bill years ago." Not only did this bill fail purely due to Republican obstructionism, I'd like to know where Saujani was lobbying on this legislation "years ago." Fortunately, the attack has generated some swift blowback: the president of the Uniformed Firefighters Association says he supports Maloney's efforts, and the head of the NY AFL-CIO said Saujani's charges were "absolutely ridiculous." Now, the chief of the Uniformed Fire Officers Association (a different outfit) has also chimed in, slamming Saujani for her "disingenuous and offensive" attacks.
PA-15: Say what you will about Bill Clinton, but the man is touring America like a fuggin' champ on behalf of Democratic candidates this year. In addition to stumping on behalf of Joe Sestak yesterday, Clinton stopped by the Lehigh Valley to help Dem John Callahan raise $150K for his race against GOP incumbent Charlie Dent. (JL)
WV-01: Politico reports that the AFL-CIO is threatening to remain neutral in this race, rather than back Dem Mike Oliverio, who hasn't exactly compiled a very pro-labor record. (Indeed, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers endorsed his Republican opponent, David McKinley.) It could of course all be a ploy to extract promises out of Oliverio. (If so, good.) In any event, the AFL will decide on an endorsement this weekend.
KY-Sen: Wendell Ford, the Democrat who held this seat before retiring Sen. Jim Bunning, endorsed AG Jack Conway. Conway is running a TV ad touting the endorsement, but no word (sigh) on the size of the buy. Meanwhile, Rand Paul is sticking both thumbs in the eye of the Kentucky GOP establishment: He says he's not sure if he'll support Mitch McConnell as Republican Senate leader. Given that McConnell has done everything in his power to flush Paul down the toilet, this isn't so shocking, but it is extra-juicy.
NY-Sen-B, NY-14: The Working Families Party endorsed both Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Rep. Carolyn Maloney. NY-14 wannabe Reshma Saujani whinged about the "establishment endorsing the incumbent," which is pretty rich, given that she herself signed a letter last summer asking Maloney not to challenge Gillibrand. Not too surprising, though, given that Saujani claimed last week she hasn't "issue-tested or poll-tested" - even though she conducted a $50,000 focus group earlier this Spring.
MI-Gov, MI-12: Troy businessman David Kniffen's gubernatorial signature drive fell short, so he's decided instead to run against Rep. Sandy Levin in this D+12 district.
CA-36: Blue America PAC has thrown down a $13K independent expenditure on behalf of Marcy Winograd, who is challenging Dem Rep. Jane Harman in the primary.
FL-22: After attacking Marco Rubio for going ever-so-slightly wobbly on Arizona's new immigration law, Allen West has now turned his fire on Jeb Bush. Even if this guy somehow wins, he's going to have a hard time staying on anyone's good side.
HI-01: Another one of those polls with too many significant digits: An outfit I hadn't previously heard of, Aloha Vote (which is a subsidiary of a Mass. consulting shop called Merriman River Group), has Charles Djou at "39.5", with Colleen Hanabusa and Ed Case at "25.5" apiece. Half of the sample had already voted, and among that group, Djou was at 45%.
IA-01: Some Dude Mike LaCoste is dropping out of the GOP primary less than a month before election day. A couple of Republicans remain in the race against Rep. Bruce Braley, but really, the GOP has wound up with stems and seeds here.
NC-08: Three Republicans who failed to make the runoff in the race to challenge Rep. Larry Kissell - Hal Jordan, Lou Huddleston, and Darrell Day - all endorsed rival Harold Johnson today, over crackpot freakazoid Tim D'Annunzio. What's more, Johnson is in DC today and tomorrow to meet with NRCC chief Pete Sessions and other key GOP honchos. Dems just have to hope that D'Annunzio, who's already plowed a million of his own into his campaign, keeps spending like an RNC official at a bondage club.
NY-01: A nice score for Rep. Tim Bishop: Bill Clinton is doing a $1000-a-head fundraiser for him in NYC on June 2nd.
NY-13: Though he's repeatedly denied his interest, GOP ex-Rep. Vito Fossella - best known for a drunken driving arrest and fathering a child with a woman other than his wife - is supposedly interested in making a comeback attempt. In other words, he's got perfect Republican values. Fossella would have to make a decision by next month, when nominating petitions must be circulated.
PA-12: Crikey - another quarter mil on paid media from the NRCC on this race. You can see the new TV ad, which hits Pelosi, here.
WI-07: It looks like Dems are quickly rallying around state Sen. Julie Lassa to fill retiring Rep. Dave Obey's considerable shoes. Lassa has held office since 1998, first as a state representative, then as a state senator since 2003. She would not have to give up her current office to run for Obey's seat. Meanwhile, Wausau attorney Christine Bremer says she won't run, while state Rep. Donna Siedel sounds like she's still considering it (albeit tepidly).
CA-Sen: Just a day after President Obama did three fundraisers for her campaign, Sen. Barbara Boxer says she expects the POTUS to be back next month for another event in San Francisco.
FL-Sen: The US Attorney's Office, the FBI and the IRS are all investigating the possible misuse of credit cards by state Republican Party officials - a case which has already led to the indictment of former House Speaker Ray Sansom. In a separate investigation, the IRS is looking at Marco Rubio's tax records to see if he misused his party credit cards for personal expenses. Meanwhile, state Rep. Tom Grady becomes the latest Charlie Crist ally to pull away from the campaign.
PA-Sen: PoliticsPA says that, according to a source, Joe Sestak's week-long TV ad buy is "worth" $930,000. It's not clear to me whether that's how much Sestak is actually spending, though - it's possible to lock in lower rates by reserving time in advance, which his campaign may have done here (thus inflating the "worth" of the buy). Meanwhile, in an email to supporters, Sestak is decrying Arlen Specter's attacks on his service in the Navy as "Swift Boat-like."
ME-Gov: Greenberg Quinlan Rosner (D) for Libby Mitchell (4/11-14, likely voters, no trendlines):
Libby Mitchell (D): 36
Steve Rowe (D): 16
Pat McGowan (D): 13
John Richardson (D): 4
Rosa Scarcelli (D): 3
If these names - all of whom are running in the Maine Democratic gubernatorial primary - aren't familiar to you, follow the link to the Hotline for some background details.
MN-Gov: Dem Matt Entenza is going up on the air with TV and radio ads after the DFL's statewide convention this weekend - but of course, no word on the size of the buy. Speaking of the convention, things are about to either get very interesting or a lot simpler in the MN gubernatorial race. Entenza and ex-Sen. Mark Dayton, who can both self-fund, are both saying they'll fight on through the primary, while the two apparent frontrunners, state House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher and Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, are pledging to abide by the convention's endorsement.
AL-05: Notorious turncoat Rep. Parker Griffith is still sitting on $20K that various Democratic lawmakers have given him, supposedly because they haven't asked for it back. This includes money from Rahm Emanuel, Nydia Velazquez, Rosa DeLauro and the retiring Bart Gordon, among others. Gordon, for what can only be bizarre, unspecified reasons, isn't asking for his money back. Rahm, since he's serving in the White House, won't make a formal request, but twists the knife, saying "Whether the contribution is returned or not will be left up to Rep. Griffith's conscience." As for the rest of you dudes, DEMAND YOUR MONEY BACK!
CA-19: SurveyUSA (4/16-19, likely voters, 3/15-17 in parens):
Jeff Denham (R): 27 (25)
Jim Patterson (R): 26 (26)
Richard Pombo (R): 16 (13)
Larry Westerlund (R): 6 (7)
Undecided: 25 (29)
Seriously, of all the races they could poll? I realize this is on behalf of a media client, but still.
DC-AL, UT-AL: Sigh. Legislation which would have given the District of Columbia an actual voting seat in the House is yet again being derailed. Republicans insist that any such bill also eviscerate any remaining gun control laws in the district, and they've frightened enough conservative Dems into supporting such an amendment that you can't have one (the voting rights bill) without the other (the gun provision). The pro-gun measure has become even more absurd, though, such that Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton asked Steny Hoyer to pull the bill altogether. On the Senate side, Orrin Hatch had spazzed about the fact that the bill's other sop to Republicans (a temporary extra seat for Utah) would have been at at-large district - he wants to be able to re-draw the lines (and presumably screw Dem Rep. Jim Matheson) - and said he was glad the bill got scuttled.
HI-01: The D-Trip just spent another $55K on a second negative TV ad attacking Charles Djou, which you can see here. Meanwhile, in light of recent polling showing this unusual jungle race to be incredibly tight, SSP is changing its rating from "Lean Dem" to "Tossup.
MI-01: Term-limited Dem state Rep. Gary McDowell will apparently run to succeed Bart Stupak. McDowell is from the Upper Peninsula, which Crisitunity aptly described as the district's "cultural center of gravity." One possible holdup, though, is that it sounds like McDowell may be willing to defer to former House Democratic Floor Leader Pat Gagliardi, who has not yet made up his mind.
NY-29: Dem Matthew Zeller, tapped by county leaders as the Democratic nominee in the (potential) special election to succeed Eric Massa, formally launched his campaign on Monday. However, it's starting to look like there won't be a special election after all, which means there will be a primary. If that winds up being the case, businessman David Nachbar (who withdrew his name from consideration for the special) has said he might run.
WV-01: Rep. Alan Mollohan is going on the air with a TV ad that attacks his primary opponent, state Sen. Mike Oliverio, "for his ties to a conservative-leaning organization of state legislators." Oliverio had previously launched an ad attacking Mollohan on ethical grounds. No word on the size of either buy.
Alaska: Alaska's state legislature voted to increase its size, by two seats in the Senate and four in the House. AK's population has tripled since statehood fifty years ago, but its lege had remained constant in numbers. What's more, its rural districts are enormous, and would have gotten even larger after redistricting as the population concentrates in the state's few big cities.
Polling: Reid Wilson, diving into recent FEC reports, notes that few Dems commissioned polls in the first quarter of this year - and among those who have, pretty much no one is sharing the data with the public. However, Reid doesn't say whether Republicans have spent similarly on internal polling in the past quarter, or how Q1 2010 compares with prior years.
RNC: God bless Michael Steele. Under his stewardship, the RNC decided to blow $340K to hold a big staff meeting in... Hawaii. Because that's both convenient and inexpensive. If Dems suffer anything less than an utter blowout this fall, we'll be able to thank Steele in no small part.
WATN?: Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, who already served 99 days in jail for obstruction of justice (among other things), may be headed back to prison for probation violations (including hiding assets).
It is in this spirit that I am writing to let you know I am supporting Bill Owens for Congress and urge you to do the same.
It's not in the cards for me to be your representative, but I strongly believe Bill is the only candidate who can build upon John McHugh's lasting legacy in the U.S. Congress. John and I worked together on the expansion of Fort Drum and I know how important that base is to the economy of this region. I am confident that Bill will be able to provide the leadership and continuity of support to Drum Country just as John did during his tenure in Congress.
In Bill Owens, I see a sense of duty and integrity that will guide him beyond political partisanship. He will be an independent voice devoted to doing what is right for New York. Bill understands this district and its people, and when he represents us in Congress he will put our interests first.
Please join me in voting for Bill Owens on Tuesday. To address the tough challenges ahead, we must rise above partisanship and politics and work together. There's too much at stake in this election to do otherwise.
Well, I take back what I said about "reading between the lines" of Scozzafava's statement yesterday. It's good to see her doing the right thing here, and I'm sure it will only enrage the teabaggers further. ("See! She wasn't a real Republican, just like we said!") Quite a few other folks are also switching to Owens, among them the New York State United Teachers union, which had previously spent about $50K on Dede's behalf (see below). Several other unions are following suit, including the AFL-CIO and a local branch of the United Auto Workers. And Scozzafava's husband, Ron McDougall - himself a union official - also endorsed the Democrat:
"This has been a difficult day for my family. But the needs and concerns of the men and women of the 23rd Congressional District remain paramount," McDougall said. "As such, I wholeheartedly and without reservation endorse the candidacy of Bill Owens."
"As a life-long labor activist, I know that Bill Owens understands the issues important to working people. On the other hand, Doug Hoffman has little regard for the interests of workers."
"Hoffman's opposition to the Employee Free Choice Act, coupled with his support for the failed policies of the Bush Administration make him a poor choice to serve the citizens of the 23rd Congressional District."
Of the two, Bill Owens is by far the superior and only choice.
The Democratic candidate has demonstrated a willingness to listen to people about ways in which he could help the district as their representative in Washington. Mr. Owens has remained focused on the economy and job creation throughout his campaign. At the same time, he has shown an understanding of the military, a keen desire to help dairy farmers, an ability to work with labor unions and an eagerness to learn more about the vast, 11-county district that he hopes to represent.
Also, below is a chart summarizing all independent expenditures in the NY-23 race from Sept. 23rd (the first time outside groups spent money here) through Oct. 31st:
Club for Growth
Susan B. Anthony List
National Republican Trust
National Organization for Marriage
Campaign for Working Families
Gun Owners of America
Family Research Council
As noted above, the NYSUT (the union behind VOTE/COPE) just switched over to Owens from Scozzafava.
It really seems like Dede Scozzafava can't catch a break, huh? First, it looks like Lindsay Beyerstein caught Scozzafava talking out of both sides of her mouth about the card-check provision of the Employee Free Choice Act. Dave Weigel sums up:
In September, Scozzafava's campaign claimed she opposed the "card check" provision of the Employee Free Choice Act. But at the same time, she told the AFL-CIO, in a candidate questionnaire, that she supported EFCA's provision that "would require employers to honor their workers' decision to join a union after a majority of them signed a union authorization card or petition."
In an attempt to nail down exactly where the Janus-faced Scozzafava stands on the issue, Weekly Standard reporter John McCormack got a bit more than he bargained for. McCormack did succeed in finding out Scozzafava's views on card check (she says she supports it - at least, today), but the candidate was remarkably unwilling to answer any other questions. McCormack's persistence didn't exactly pay off:
I spotted Scozzafava later as she was walking to the parking lot, and asked her: "Assemblywoman, do you believe that the health-care bill should exclude coverage for abortion?" She didn't reply. I asked her twice more. Silence.
After she got into her car, I went to my car and fired up my laptop to report the evening's events.
Minutes later a police car drove into the parking lot with its lights flashing. Officer Grolman informed me that she was called because "there was a little bit of an uncomfortable situation" and then took down my name, date of birth, and address.
"Maybe we do things a little differently here, but you know, persistence in that area, you scared the candidate a little bit," Officer Grolman told me.
"[Scozzafava] got startled, that's all," Officer Grolman added. "It's not like you're in any trouble."
Calling the cops on a reporter doesn't seem like a winning move to begin with; getting into an intramural battle with a conservative publication seems even more foolhardy. Nonetheless, a Scozzafava flack emailed Politico to claim that McCormack "repeatedly screamed questions" at the candidate. Other attendees said that McCormack was "quiet" during the event, so who knows. A spokesman for Conservative Doug Hoffman's campaign opined:
If any police investigation needs to take place, it should be of Dede Scozzafava, for impersonating a Republican.
Meanwhile, the Scozzafava camp decided to continue its fued with the Weekly Standard, releasing an email exchange between McCormack and another Republican spokesman to TPM about whether Scozzafava would vote for John Boehner as speaker should she win election. (The Scozzafava guy just comes off as squirrely.) The attacks on McCormack prompted Weekly Standard honcho Bill Kristol to weigh in, branding the Scozzafava campaign "desperate."
But really, this is all a minor nuisance (albeit one a struggling Republican campaign can ill afford). The real news for Dede is worse - much worse. The Club for Growth just announced a brand-new $300K moneybomb on ads attacking Scozzafava for (what else) being a "liberal." At the same time, the SEIU just dropped $82K on mailers for Dem Bill Owens, and the D-Trip threw down $132 grand on media buys. This brings the DCCC's total spending to $520K.
Meanwhile, former GOP Majority Leader Dick Armey will campaign for Hoffman, while Susan Collins and Florida Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite (srsly?) will stump for Scozzafava. Owens is probably feeling a bit more stoked than the competition about the help he's getting - tonight President Obama held a fundraiser for him in New York City.
And finally, all three candidates agreed to a one-hour debate on Oct. 29th, though it won't be broadcast until Nov. 1st.
It looks like the independent expenditure war in New York's 23rd District is heating up in a big way. The Club For Growth reported a $275,000 media buy attacking Democrat Bill Owens and Republican Dede Scozzafava earlier this evening with the FEC, on top of a $15K direct mail piece in support of Conservative candidate Doug Hoffman.
The party committees are also in the thick of it, too: the NRCC upped their ad buy against Owens by $35K, raising their total tab for the open seat race to just north of $150,000. The DCCC dropped another $65K on media buys earlier this week, too, bringing their total amount spent on Owens to $127K. I'd expect those buys to snowball in the coming days, as the committees try to neutralize the Club For Growth's investment.
A roundup of all the independent expenditures filed by the DCCC and the NRCC from October 27th through November 2nd -- essentially the last real week of expenditures:
As you can see, the DCCC outspent the NRCC by a greater than 2-to-1 margin int he final week of the campaign, and by a greater than 3-to-1 margin over the entire campaign. Would I have preferred to see some of this money spread out more? Of course. But it'll only take us a few more hours to pinpoint the races that got away from us.