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John MacMurray

SSP Daily Digest: 11/18

by: Crisitunity

Wed Nov 18, 2009 at 5:00 PM EST

CT-Sen: Linda McMahon has picked up a major critic in her Senate run: one of her former employees, in the form of 66-year-old former pro wrestler Superstar Billy Graham. Graham is a physical wreck from his days in the WWF, thanks to steroid abuse and a number of hip replacements, with no pension or health care from WWE. He plans to keep dogging the McMahon campaign as McMahon keeps trying to sanitize her previous career.

FL-Sen: Charlie Crist is dropping the smiley above-the-fray approach; he's promising to step up direct engagements with Marco Rubio, now that it looks like we've got a real race on our hands. Crist will go after Rubio for failure to move important pieces of conservative legislation during his time as state House speaker.

KS-Sen, KS-04: This seems to exist mostly as whispers and rumors, but there's word that Rep. Todd Tiahrt, not getting much traction in polls or fundraising or endorsements, may drop out of the GOP Senate primary against Rep. Jerry Moran. (Tiahrt's people pushed back against the idea, saying they're relying on movement grassroots forces that things like "polls" don't pick up on. They actually also tried redbaiting Moran over his sponsorship of legislation to allow American travel to Cuba, indicating they won't go quietly.) The question of Tiahrt running for House instead also presents a conundrum for state Rep. Raj Goyle in KS-04, who's turning into one of the Dems' best 2010 challengers -- would Goyle be better off running in an open seat, or against the 16-year vet Tiahrt in what's shaping up to be an anti-incumbent year?

KY-Sen: There had been some talk about Cathy Bailey (a wealthy Bush Pioneer and W's ambassador to Latvia), back when the GOP was still casting about for an alternative to Jim Bunning. All of a sudden, she's back, saying she's considering the race and sounding none too pleased with Trey Grayson (too "moderate" for her tastes) and Rand Paul (too "extreme"). I can't see her winning the primary, but with her money, she could conceivably peel away enough mainstream GOP votes from Grayson to flip the primary to Paul.

MT-Sen: It looks like Max Baucus may have suffered some residual damage from his high-profile role in health care reform; he's down to 44% approval, from 67% approval at this point two years ago, according to an MSU-Billings poll. He's lagging all other statewide officials, including Jon Tester (56/25) and Brian Schweitzer (62/20). The problem seems to be that Baucus gets only 67% approval among Dems, compared with 81% for Tester and 82% for Schweitzer; a plurality of Montanans, including 73% of Dems, support a public option, so Baucus's decline among Dems doesn't seem hard to diagnose.

NC-Sen: Former Lt. Gov. Dennis Wicker said he won't be running for Senate, although he'd strongly considered it. With Rep. Bob Etheridge's recent "no" also, it's looking more and more like SoS Elaine Marshall will have a lightly contested path to the Dem nomination (her main opponent is attorney Kenneth Lewis).

NH-Sen: One other important "no" in a Senate race: RNC member and one-time House candidate Sean Mahoney, who had been making lots of candidate-like noises, said he won't run in the GOP field. If you look a few moves ahead in the chess game, that's good news for us, as having Mahoney out of the race means fewer votes split on the field's right flank, giving right-winger Ovide Lamontagne a stronger shot at taking out establishment fave Kelly Ayotte, which would give Dems a much weaker opponent in the general.

WI-Sen: Former Gov. (and brief presidential candidate) Tommy Thompson isn't ruling out a Senate bid, although it seems unlikely; he'll make a decision "next year." Thompson's rather strange statement is that he's "looking at governor, looking at senator, and looking at mayor of Elroy. One of the three." Seeing as how this is similar to the NY-Sen-B or ND-Sen races (an unlikely challenge to materialize, but one that would be a hot race if it did), SSP is moving the Wisconsin race back on to the big board, as a Race to Watch.

WV-Sen: Congratulations to Robert Byrd, who hit an astonishing milestone today: the longest-serving Congressperson of all time. Byrd (a Representative from 1952-1958 and a Senator since 1958) has been in Congress for more than 25% of Congress's existence.

KS-Gov: Kansas Dems have finally nailed down a solid candidate to take on retiring Sen. Sam Brownback in the gubernatorial race. Retired pharmaceutical company executive Tom Wiggans will carry the flag for the Democrats in this uphill fight. (H/t Mike Nellis.)

NY-19: I was tempted to put this story on the FP just so I could run the headline "Ball busted!" Roll Call is sounding pretty pissed off at having gotten initially snookered by Greg Ball and his sketchy poll from yesterday. His internal poll only sampled two-thirds of the district (Westchester, Putnam, and Dutchess Counties), oversampling Republican Putnam County and leaving out Orange and Rockland Counties altogether, counties where Hall won last year. Ball's backers say they'll do a more traditional poll soon and are still pleased with their findings.

PA-10: Good news for the GOP: they've found an elected official who's interested in going up against Blue Dog Dem Chris Carney in the sprawling, red-leaning 10th, where they've been struggling with recruitment. The bad news is: Snyder Co. Commissioner Malcolm Derk is 27 (and is hard-pressed to look 17 -- check out the photo at the link), and Snyder County, deep in the hills, has a population of 38K and is at the wrong end of the district from the population centers.

WI-08: A line is forming among GOP challengers to Rep. Steve Kagen, and now there's a former state legislator among them. Ex-state Rep. Terry McCormick served three terms and then lost the 2006 primary in WI-08 against then-state Rep. John Gard when it was an open seat, and now she's back for another try. There are a couple county supervisors in the race, but the NRCC seems to like Reid Ribble, a businessman who can bring his own money to the race.

CA-St. Ass.: Republican Orange County Supervisor Chris Norby finished first in the special election (to replace "Hot Mike" Duvall) in AD-72 last night. His 37% wasn't enough to avoid a second round. He'll face Democrat John MacMurray (who finished second at 27%) and a Green Party candidate; two other Republicans, Linda Ackerman and Richard Faher, pulled in 20% and 13% respectively, so if Norby consolidates the GOP votes in this red-leaning seat (which falls within CA-40 in the US House) he's on track to holding the seat.

NRCC: Pete Sessions, emulating the Dems' spread-the-field strategy of recent cycles, says he wants to have 435 districts that Republicans are playing in. He may have missed an important piece of information: the Illinois filing deadline is past, and the Republicans are already guaranteed not to be playing in IL-01 and IL-04. Well, 433 is close.

Mayors: There are dueling internal polls of the upcoming Houston mayoral runoff, one of the two big mayoral races left on the table (Atlanta being the other one). City controller Annise Parker leads former city attorney Gene Locke, 47-34 in her own poll, while in Locke's poll, Parker has a narrower 43-39 lead.

Demographics: NDN, a liberal think tank that spends a lot of time on Latino issues, has done some projecting of 2010 re-apportionment, and likes what it sees. They see Texas gaining four seats, and possibly three of those could be drawn as Hispanic-influence seats in Dallas, Houston, and the Rio Grande Valley. They also see Florida gaining a seat, and recommend creation of a Hispanic-influence seat in central Florida (where much of the state's growth, both overall and among Hispanics, has been).

Parties: CNN has a poll that points to the current disparity between the parties: Democrats are a lot more tolerant of the big tent. 58% of Dems prefer to see nomination of candidates who can beat the Republicans, even if they don't agree on all the issues, while 51% of Republicans prefer to see candidates who agree with them even if they have a poor chance of beating the Democrat.

Votes: Donkeylicious has an interesting project reminiscent of SSP's own PVI/Vote Index, looking at Dems and seeing how they match up with their districts' leans. A lot of the same names show up among bad Dems as we found, but they do some interesting breaking things down by region and by freshman or sophomore status.

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SSP Daily Digest: 11/17

by: Crisitunity

Tue Nov 17, 2009 at 4:26 PM EST

AR-Sen: PPP's Tom Jensen has some interesting crosstabs from their AR-02 poll, which shed some light on Blanche Lincoln's unique set of problems. Lincoln generates only lukewarm enthusiasm from her base: Barack Obama gets a 78% approval among Dems in the district, Rep. Vic Snyder is at 75%, and Mark Pryor is at 61%, but Lincoln is at only 43%, with 30% of Dems thinking she's too conservative (although that may be coming to a head right now with her obstructionist role in the health care debate, which may not be much of an issue one year from now). Moving to the left, though, will cause her to lose votes with independents, though, among whom 49% think she's too liberal.

CT-Sen, CT-05: Local GOP party poohbahs are sounding eager to push state Sen. Sam Caligiuri out of the Senate race, where he's rather, uh, underutilized, and into the 5th, for a race against Democratic Rep. Chris Murphy; Caligiuri says he'll consider it. Problem is, Justin Bernier is already running there, and has had some fundraising success and gotten NRCC "Young Gun" status; as you might expect, Bernier is crying foul.

FL-Sen: Charlie Crist has been trying to hide from his previous stimulus support, but Rolling Stone's Tim Dickinson has the goods on him, dragging out an old interview from spring in which Crist says "absolutely" he would have voted for the stimulus had he been in the Senate at the time. Here's one bit of good news for Crist, though; Marco Rubio's once-perfect A rating from the National Rifle Association is about to drop, thanks to Rubio's compromise (from back when he was House speaker) on the take-your-gun-to-work law that recently became law.

IL-Sen: Former Chicago Inspector General David Hoffman has an internal poll of his own now, and while it doesn't give numbers for the Dem primary matchup between Hoffman and frontrunner Alexi Giannoulias, it does point to some vulnerabilities for Giannoulias. The poll claims that without message-testing, GOP Rep. Mark Kirk leads Giannoulias 40-37 and leads Hoffman 40-30, but once positives and negatives are read, Kirk beats Giannoulias 47-30 and Hoffman beats Kirk 42-36. The negatives involve the Giannoulias family bank, which apparently has been connected to Tony Rezko. Meanwhile, Kirk took an embarrassing hit from the conservative Chicago Tribune editorial board, whose response to Kirk's flip-flopping and fearmongering on trying terrorists in New York boiled down to "Give us a break." Wondering why Kirk is so transparently turning into a right-winger? Kirk's looking increasingly nervous about erstwhile opponent Patrick Hughes, who is currently seeking out a Jim DeMint endorsement.

KY-Sen, NH-Sen: The NRSC is claiming it's not getting involved in primary fights with fundraising, but you can't make party leadership's intentions any clearer than when Mitch McConnell hosts a fundraiser in New York on Dec. 7 for Trey Grayson and Kelly Ayotte. With both candidates facing mounting anti-establishment challenges, it seems like the bad publicity back home generated by these appearances -- more grist for the movement conservative mill -- might outweigh the financial benefit.

NJ-Sen: Now that recently unemployed TV pundit Lou Dobbs has some time on his hands, he told Bill O'Reilly he's considering a run for the Senate in New Jersey. There isn't a seat available until 2012 (when Dobbs will be 67) -- he'd be going up against Bob Menendez that year. Dobbs vs. Menendez? Hmmm, you can't get any more weighed down with symbolism than that.

SC-Sen: The county GOP in Berkeley County (in the Charleston suburbs) was prepared to have its own censure vote against Lindsey Graham, but they called off the vote after Graham's chief of staff promised to meet with them first.

CA-Gov (pdf): Lots of people have taken notice that the Republican field in the governor's race isn't a diverse bunch: three sorta-moderates from Silicon Valley. San Jose State University took a poll of those who would seemingly know the candidates the best: Republican likely voters in "Silicon Valley" (Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties, plus small parts of Alameda and Santa Cruz Counties). Perhaps thanks to Tom Campbell's tenure in the House representing much of this area, he has a wide lead, at 39%, compared with 11 for Meg Whitman and 7 for Steve Poizner.

MI-Gov, MI-08: In case there was any doubt that Rep. Mike Rogers (the Michigan one) was going to run for re-election to his House seat and not for governor, we found a statement from way back in February to that effect. (H/t to Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood, a blog devoted to all things MI-08.)

MN-Gov: Rasmussen looks at the still-coalescing primary fields in the Minnesota governor's races, and seems to be finding very name-recognition-driven results right now. On the Democratic side, most of the votes are going to former Senator Mark Dayton and Minneapolis mayor R.T. Rybak; both poll at 30, trailed by state House speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher at 8 and former state legislator Matt Entenza at 6. On the Republican side, ex-Sen. Norm Coleman dominates, with 50%; however, he's not in the race, at least not yet, and is probably the only name that people know. Among the rest of the rabble, former House minority leader Marty Seifert is doing the best, at 11, with 5 for Laura Brod and 1 for Tom Emmer.

OR-Gov: Most people have already mentally ruled out Rep. Peter DeFazio from the governor's race, but he just said that he's still somewhat interested, and that he won't be making up his mind on it until... next March? He doesn't seem too concerned about the delay, as Oregon law would let him transfer over his federal dollars and he alludes to private polling showing him in a dead heat with John Kitzhaber. While I still doubt he'll follow through, that raises the question of who might fill a vacancy in OR-04; it's looking less and less like it would be Springfield's Republican mayor Sid Leiken, who was just fined $2,250 by the state for the phantom poll that may or may not have been conducted by Leiken's mom.

TX-Gov: Little-known fact: Kay Bailey Hutchison, despite the seeming overall malaise in her campaign, has a big edge in endorsements from Texas House Republicans. She has the endorsements of 10 of 20 (including Kay Granger, Kenny Marchant, and Michael Burgess), perhaps indicative of Rick Perry's increasingly strident anti-Washington rhetoric. (Not that that will help much when the actual electorate is in an increasingly anti-establishment mood.) A couple other Dems are looking at the race: hair care magnate Farouk Shami (who's willing to bring his own money to the race) is officially launching his campaign on Thursday, while El Paso-based outgoing state Sen. Eliot Shapleigh is publicly weighing a run.

FL-19: West Palm Beach mayor Lois Frankel, who would have been maybe the highest-profile possible primary challenger to state Sen. Ted Deutch in the upcoming special election in the 19th, has decided not to run. Deutch has been endorsed by outgoing Robert Wexler and has an increasingly clear path to the nomination. Meanwhile, the only GOPer looking interested in running in the dark-blue district is Ed Lynch, who lost to Wexler last year.

IL-06: Here's a little more information about Benjamin Lowe, who's the only Dem running in the 6th against Peter Roskam. While he's something of a political unknown, it turns out he's well-connected in the religious left community as well as the green jobs movement. He's a graduate of evangelical Wheaton College (which is in the district) and has been active in the last few years in organizing students at other evangelical colleges on issues of environmental stewardship.

NY-13: I don't know if anything can top last year's NY-13 race for political trainwrecks, but the Staten Island GOP may have gotten switched onto that same track again. Michael Allegretti, a 31-year old who caught attention for raising $200K for the race already, is a lawyer who also owns a share of the family business, Bayside Fuel and Oil -- which employed Gambino family capo Joe "Joe Butch" Corrao for several decades. Over $40K of Allegretti's contributions came from family members working for Bayside. To add to the made-for-TV drama: Allegretti's potential Republican primary opponent, Michael Grimm, was on the FBI squad charged with investigating said crime family.

NY-19: Republican Greg Ball -- who puts the "Ass" in Assemblyman -- is out with an internal poll putting him within single digits of Rep. John Hall. Hall leads the Hall/Ball matchup, 48-43 -- although for some reason the poll was taken only in the portion of the district that's east of the Hudson River. Hall still has strong favorables, at 57/25, while Ball is at 40/28.

NY-23: Recounting in NY-23 is still on track to see Rep. Bill Owens remain in the House; Doug Hoffman is down 2,951 votes with 6,123 left, so about the best he can hope for is to lose by about 2,000. The Hoffman saga just got weirder when yesterday Hoffman, goaded along by his patron Glenn Beck, unconceded on national TV -- yet today, his spokesperson un-un-conceded, not that any of that is legally binding, of course.

NRCC: If the Republicans are going to make a serious dent in the Democratic edge in the House next year, they're going to have to refill the NRCC's coffers, which are still lagging the DCCC. Party leadership smacked down members in a closed-door session, trying to get them to pony up their $15K dues. The Hill also has an interesting profile of CA-22's Kevin McCarthy, an up-and-comer who's the NRCC recruitment chair now and likely to head the NRCC at some point in the near future. Turns out that McCarthy is quite the student of Rahm Emanuel.

Mayors: SurveyUSA polls the runoff in the Atlanta mayor's race, and they have quite the reversal of fortune for Mary Norwood, who led all polls before November and finished first in the election. State Sen. Kasim Reed, who finished 2nd, now leads Norwood, 49-46. Reed leads 69-25 among African-American voters, indicating that he picked up almost all of 3rd-place finisher Lisa Borders' support.

Special elections: Two legislative specials are on tap tonight. The big one is California's AD-72, a Republican-leaning seat in the OC left vacant by the resignation of Mike Duvall (who resigned in disgrace after bragging about his affair with a lobbyist). It seems to be mostly a contest between two GOPers, Orange County Supervisor Chris Norby and activist Linda Ackerman (who's been making much of Norby's four divorces). Since this is California, assuming one of the Republicans doesn't finish over 50%, it'll move on to another round where the top Republican faces off against Dem John MacMurray. Also, in Mississippi, there's a contest in Biloxi-based HD-117, to replace Republican state Rep. Michael Janus; candidates aren't identified by party on the special election ballot, but the contestants are Patrick Collins (who ran against Janus several times) and Scott DeLano.

Redistricting: You might want to check out the website called "Redistricting the Nation," presented by GIS software company Avencia but full of fun widgets. Most interestingly, you can evaluate the compactness of any congressional district by four different criteria, and see the worst offenders in each category.

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