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SSP Daily Digest: 2/15

by: Crisitunity

Tue Feb 15, 2011 at 4:43 PM EST

AZ-Sen: A GOP polling firm, Summit Consulting, is out with a poll that gives Maricopa Co. Sheriff Joe Arpaio the lead in the nascent Republican field to replace the retiring Jon Kyl. Arpaio is at 21, with Rep. Jeff Flake and ex-Rep J.D. Hayworth both at 17, ex-Rep. John Shadegg at 12, and Rep. Ben Quayle at 6. An Arpaio-free version found Flake at 22, Hayworth at 20, and Shadegg (who has made clear that he's not running) at 17. Although this poll wasn't announced as being on anyone's behalf, there's an important caveat: Summit is raising money for Arpaio's re-election campaign as Sheriff. This seems a consistent pattern for Arpaio over the years: float his name for higher office, rake in contributions, apply those toward his next Sheriff campaign, rinse and repeat. Meanwhile, although previous reports had had him unlikely to run for Senate, Rep. Trent Franks from current AZ-02 is now on the record as "exploring that option."

ME-Sen: Here's an amusing tidbit about Andrew Ian Dodge, now running a tea party challenge of sorts to Olympia Snowe: he's the subject of some suspicion in certain right-wing circles on account of his British background (which may explain why he cheekily showed up with his birth certificate at his campaign launch). Prime evidence for this strange line of attack is a comment he posted to a blog several years ago where he copped to being a Lord of the Manor in Gorleston, Suffolk. (Politico's Dave Catanese titled his article on this "Snowe challenger is a British Lord..." which isn't quite right. "Lord of the Manor" isn't part of the peerage system (which just plain old "Lord" would be), but just a weird holdover from the feudal system of property rights, an indicator that someone in his family owned property there long ago). (One other thing I noted, though, thanks to the magic of Wikipedia: Gorleston is actually in Norfolk, not Suffolk. WHAT ELSE IS ANDREW IAN DODGE LYING ABOUT!!!!11!!!?!)

NE-Sen: We've mentioned state Sen. Deb Fischer before as a potential dark-horse candidate on the Republican side in Nebraska, and now she seems to be stepping things up, at least to the extent of contacting Roll Call and letting them know that she's interested. She represents the empty north-central part of the state, and could stand out as an interesting third-wheel in a Jon Bruning/Don Stenberg rumble by being the only rural and female candidate.

NM-Sen: PPP finally released the GOP primary portion of last week's New Mexico Senate poll, and... common theme in a lot of their polls... find the most electable candidate for the general losing the GOP primary because of various apostasies. Libertarian-flavored ex-Gov. Gary Johnson trails ex-Rep. Heather Wilson in a hypothetical 3-way, 35-27, with Rep. Steve Pearce at 17, Matt Chandler and Dianna Duran both at 6, and John Sanchez at 4. (Not that it matters, since Johnson has confirmed he's sticking with his long-shot presidential bid. In fact, unless Jeff Bingaman unexpectedly retires, I'd be surprised if any of these GOPers bothers to get in.)

NV-Sen: Rep. Dean Heller is out with an internal poll that has him way ahead of John Ensign in the GOP primary, and, accordingly, he seems to be accelerating his plans to run. The poll gives Heller a 53-38 lead in a head-to-head, and also sees him winning a 5-car pileup: it's Heller 39, Ensign 23, Danny Tarkanian 17, Sharron Angle 14, and John Chachas 3. Faced with the possibility of a much harder race against Heller than Ensign, possible Dem candidate Rep. Shelley Berkley is saying that it wouldn't dissuade her if Heller were the nominee, but she's continuing to "seriously look at" the race but is also in "no rush" to decide. You know who is in a rush, though? The DSCC. Jon Ralston says they're already talking to Democratic SoS Ross Miller too, in case they need a Plan B.

TX-Sen: Hmm, here's an interesting place for a Senate scoop to come from: the student newspaper at Claremont McKenna College in California. CMC alum Rep. David Dreier is the linchpin in this game of telephone: he told them that a fellow alum is indeed running for the Senate, and by process of elimination, that would point to former Dallas mayor Tom Leppert, considered a likely candidate on the GOP side. Leppert, however, wouldn't confirm to the student paper that he was running.

UT-Sen: Another Dan Jones poll in Utah takes a look at the Senate race, and this one isn't as weird as the last one (which included Jon Huntsman, who seems, to my eyes, to be running for Vice-President instead): it's a straightforward poll of Orrin Hatch vs. Jason Chaffetz (although it's still a poll of all Utah residents). At any rate, Hatch leads Chaffetz 44-34; among self-identified Republicans, Hatch actually does better, 51-35 (although trailing among "very conservative" voters). Of course, there are various ways this primary might still not happen; Chaffetz could break 60% at the state GOP convention, or Hatch could (a la Bob Bennett) finish third at the convention behind Chaffetz and a teabagger to be named later. Asked for comment, Chaffetz only said he's a "definite maybe" about the race, and may choose to stay in the House.

VA-Sen: We might have an answer pretty soon on whether Tim Kaine plans to run for the Senate, now that Jim Webb is out. He reportedly will consult with Barack Obama on the matter in the next couple days (gee, I wonder what Obama will suggest?), and Kaine also has announced plans to speak at the state's Jefferson-Jackson Dinner this weekend, which seems like a place to make a 'yes' announcement (as it would be kind of a buzzkill to go there and tell everyone 'no'). There are also rumors... poorly sourced ones at that, so don't get your hopes too high... out there of a GOP-sponsored poll showing not just Kaine but also Tom Perriello leading George Allen, so keep your ears to the ground for more on that.

MT-Gov: Add one more state Senator to the mix in the Montana gubernatorial race, this time on the Dem side. Larry Jent says he'd like to run statewide, and it'll probably be for governor. (He'd join other current or former state Sens. Dave Wanzenried on the Dem side, and Corey Stapleton and Ken Miller for the GOP.)

LA-03, LA-07: Two Louisiana papers have had articles in the last few days on Louisiana redistricting and its likeliest casualty, new Rep. Jeff Landry, who was elected with tea party rather than establishment backing and, accordingly, doesn't have much of a leg to stand on when the establishment draws the maps in the coming months. It's looking likelier that a map more favorable to the more senior (and tighter with leadership) Rep. Charles Boustany will be the result. The state's redistricting special session of the legislature will be held Mar. 20.

NY-15: While there's still plenty of time left for him to reverse course and announce his retirement (hint, hint), Charles Rangel yesterday announced that he's filing for re-election in 2012 to a 22nd term.

NY-26: While they've been downplaying their chances for success in the R+6 26th, local Dems are hard at work looking for a candidate. It's hard to tell who's on the short list right now, though: one list featured Erie Co. Comptroller Mark Poloncarz, Erie Co. Clerk Kathy Hochul, and Amherst town board member Mark Manna (the only one who actually lives in the district), but doesn't seem to feature oft-mentioned Kathy Konst. Another insider mentions two possible Dems Republican candidates from the private sector: Dan Humiston and Chris Jacobs. There's one familiar face you can scratch off the Dem list, though: 2008 candidate Jon Powers says he's not looking to be considered.

WA-02: Snohomish Co. Councilor and narrow 2010 loser John Koster is "weighing" another run against Rick Larsen, although he's waiting to see what the 2nd looks like after redistricting. The 2nd (currently D+3) needs to lose population, but it could become swingier if the losses come around Everett, or become bluer if the losses come in eastern Snohomish County.

Chicago mayor: One more new poll to report in Chicago, another one from We Ask America (on behalf of the Chicago Retail Merchants Association). It has the highest Rahm Emanuel number yet, at 58. Gery Chico is 2nd at 24, Miguel del Valle at 10, and Carol Moseley Braun at 6. The poll was in the field on Sunday, the same day that Moseley Braun, apparently by way of referring to The Producers, compared Emanuel to Hitler, so the impact of her latest gaffe may not even have impacted on this sample. (Given the current trajectory of her poll numbers, she may actually receive a negative number of votes at the actual election on Feb. 22.)

Special elections: There are not one but two special elections for vacant state Senate seats in California tonight, although neither one should offer much drama thanks to their strong partisan leans. The one you're probably already aware of is SD-28 in the LA's South Bay suburbs (overlapping much of CA-36), where Democratic ex-Assemblyman Ted Lieu is likely to fill the seat left by the death of Jenny Oropeza. He faces seven other candidates, so he might not break 50%, requiring a runoff then. The other race is in SD-17, centered on Lancaster in the high desert north of LA, where Republican Sharon Runner is expected to beat the only other candidate, Democrat Darren Parker. (Runner is trying to take over the seat from her husband George Runner, who vacated to join the state Board of Equalization.)

Nebraska: Believe it or not, there are multiple interesting things afoot in Nebraska. Most significantly, the proposal to switch Nebraska to a winner-take-all allocation of electoral votes (instead of allotting some by CD, which allowed Barack Obama to sneak away with 1 Omaha-area EV) is entering committee; it's expected to be easily approved by the ostensibly nonpartisan but Republican-controlled unicameral legislature. There are also competing bills in the legislature on changing the size of said legislature, one to reduce it from 49 to 45, the other to expand it to 50 (neither one is expected to go anywhere, though). Also, Nebraska just picked its nine members for its redistricting commission; there will be five Republicans and four Dems on the (again, ostensibly nonpartisan) body.

WATN?: Ex-Rep. Mike Arcuri, who lost in NY-24 in November, is now working in the private sector at a major law firm in Syracuse. It may be a tea leaf that he might be interested in another run that he's staying in the area instead of heading for the more lucrative world of K St., or it might be nothing. At any rate, he's doing better for himself than Republican 2006 CA-47 loser Tan Nguyen, who just got sentenced to one year and one day in federal prison for obstruction of justice related to charges of voter fraud, for sending out flyers intended to suppress the district's Latino vote.

Polltopia: If you think that polling was way screwier than usual over the 2010 cycle, or that it was better than ever, you're both wrong. It was pretty much the same as always, according to Mark Blumenthal. According to a study by National Council on Public Polls, the average candidate error in 2010 was 2.1%, very comparable to other midterm elections. (The accuracy seems to improve in presidential years, perhaps thanks to more frequent polling.) Interestingly, though, even though the error rate didn't change much, there were many more polls (25% this cycle, compared with 11% in 2006) conducted in the last week before the election with results that fell outside the margin of error (cough Rasmussen cough). They found that live interview polls (2.4%) did slightly better than autodialed polls (2.6%), but, surprisingly, polls conducted over the internet (mostly just YouGov) did the best with a 1.7% error rate.

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SSP Daily Digest: 2/14

by: Crisitunity

Mon Feb 14, 2011 at 3:05 PM EST

AZ-Sen, AZ-06: Rep. Jeff Flake, who announced his bid today, had to wait only a few hours before getting a valuable (for the GOP primary, at least) endorsement from the Club for Growth; he's a natural fit for them, given his draconian budgetary views and laissez-faire social views. Even before Flake had announced, his potentially strongest rival for the GOP nod, ex-Rep. John Shadegg had announced that he wasn't going to run. Shadegg's AZ-03 replacement, Rep. Ben Quayle confirmed that he won't be running either. The same goes for another Republican freshman, Rep. David Schweikert (that article also helpfully points out that famous Arizona residents Meghan McCain and Bristol Palin, who've both accomplished so much in the social media sphere in their short lives, are both too young to run for Senate). Former NFL player Kurt Warner has also taken himself out of consideration.

Buried in a Roll Call article on the whip race to replace Jon Kyl are a few more interesting bits: Trent Franks is "not expected" to run, while state Senate president and prime mover behind SB 1070 Russell Pearce is "out," but "plans to run" for AZ-06, being vacated by Flake. There's not much to report on the Dem side today, but there are further reports that ex-Gov., and current DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano (who didn't poll well against Kyl according to PPP a few weeks ago, although they didn't test her against Flake) has been calling around to gauge her support.

CT-Sen: Ex-SoS Susan Bysiewicz rolled out her own long list of endorsements from local Dems, in response to a list unveiled several weeks ago by primary rival Chris Murphy. While Murphy's list was heavy on the 5th District, naturally, Bysiewicz's list is heavy on the 2nd District (which is interesting, as it may be an indication that Rep. Joe Courtney has decided against running... or it may be a preventative shot across Courtney's bow). Bysiewicz is from Middletown, which is in the 2nd although kind of on its periphery. In terms of the Republican field, there was a straw poll taken of state Tea Party Patriots members this weekend. Given the sample size of 54 and the self-selecting nature of the nuttiest of the nuttiest, it's barely worth mentioning, but they found Linda McMahon only barely winning with 15 votes, compared to Peter Schiff's 14. Rob Simmons and Tom Foley each got 6, with state Sen. Scott Frantz at 5 and Danbury mayor Mark Boughton at 4.

FL-Sen, FL-13: Like I've said before, don't count out Republican Rep. Vern Buchanan for the Senate; the owner of numerous car dealerships is sitting on a big campaign account, has wealthy friends, and can self-fund too. And now he's publicly saying he's "not ruling it out."

MO-Sen: Over the weekend in Joplin was the first public joint appearance between the two announced GOP candidates so far, Sarah Steelman and Ed Martin. While they superficially only attacked Claire McCaskill, Martin sneaked in some anti-Steelman attacks by implication, saying that he'll support "tort reform every time" and "take on the public sector unions." (While Steelman has the support of the DC-based tea party astroturfers, the local teabaggers are skeptical of her insufficient purity on those two issues.)

NV-Sen: Given behavior lately that might charitably be described as "erratic," I've pretty much given up on trying to figure out Sharron Angle's plans (her travel schedule seems to take her mostly to early presidential states these days, in case you had any doubts about the scope of her delusions of grandeur). But now she's talking about Nevada Senate again, saying that she'd like to talk to John Ensign before deciding whether or not to challenge him in the primary.

NY-Sen: As she becomes better-known to New Yorkers, Kirsten Gillibrand's numbers keep going up. Siena's newest poll finds her at 57/18 favorables, with a 52% re-elect (including even a plurality among Republicans). Liz Benjamin also notes that two Republican 2010 Gillibrand challengers - Joe DioGuardi (whom Gillibrand flatted) and David Malpass (whom DioGuardi beat in the GOP primary) - are both still considering the race. Ex-LG "Batshit Besty" McCaughey (who once ran for governor on the Liberal Party line) was also down in DC this past weekend, once again relishing her role as healthcare fabricator-in-chief at the loonier-than-thou CPAC conference - and also possibly trying to raise her profile for a potential run (something we noted a couple of weeks ago). Bring it on!

OH-Sen: Newly elected state Treasurer Josh Mandel got some buzz at some point last month, and here's some more for him: the Plain Dealer, in a longer piece wondering why the Republican field (in what could be a pickup opportunity with the right candidate) isn't taking shape at all, points to him as a possible alternative in the face of disinterest from the A-list. Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor seems to be working on building her portfolio (taking over the state Dept. of Insurance), suggesting a plate too full for a Senate bid, while Reps. Jim Jordan and Steve LaTourette are enjoying their newfound majority. Mandel seems to have the best fundraising chops of anyone beyond that initial top tier.

VA-Sen, VA-01: Here's one more Republican name to add to the list in Virginia, and it's kind of an unexpected one, in that usually low-profile guys with safe red districts in the House tend to stay where they are. The 1st's Rob Wittman is saying he's "considering" the race, along with the requisite "never say never."

WI-Gov: The AFL-CIO is already weighing into Wisconsin, even though the next gubernatorial election is three and three-quarters years away. In response to Scott Walker's ham-fisted attempt to limit collective bargaining rights for most state employees, the union is taking to the airwaves with TV spots. Obviously, the target isn't the next election but swinging public opinion against the members of the state legislature, who'll have the final say on the matter. (As a more general question, though, I've gotta wonder if we'll see much more of this type of issue advertising in off-years in the future, as we move more and more into "permanent campaign" mode and the ground needs to be seeded for the on-years.)

WV-Gov: With Saturday's filing deadline come and gone, we have an official list of all the candidates in the gubernatorial special election, and with 14 names total, it's a doozy. Not much in the way of surprises, though; the only person expected to run who, in the end, didn't seems to be Dem state Sen. Brooks McCabe. For the Democrats, it's acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, state Sen. Jeff Kessler, SoS Natalie Tennant, state Treasurer John Perdue, state House speaker Rick Thompson, and some dude Arne Moltis. For the Republicans, it's ex-SoS Betty Ireland, Putnam Co.  Prosecutor Mark Sorsaia, state Sen. Clark Barnes, state Del. Mitch Carmichael, ex-state Del. Larry Faircloth, and some dudes Bill Maloney, Cliff Ellis, and Ralph William Clark.  National Journal's Sean Sullivan makes a good observation that in fields this crowded and in a state without runoffs, ballot position (which studies have shown can add 1-3% to a candidate's vote) may actually wind up making the difference here. The positions were determined by random draw; for the Dems, Tomblin is at the top while co-frontrunner Tennant is at the bottom. For the GOP, Ireland is 7 out of 8, while Maloney is listed first.

CA-36: LA city councilor Janice Hahn keeps rolling out more endorsements in her attempt to get an early lock-down on the Dem nomination in the special election. Three big ones: two very relevant to California (new Assembly speaker John Perez, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein), one, um, not so much (Dick Gephardt).

NY-10: Gov. Andrew Cuomo just tapped Democratic Assemblyman Darryl Towns to be the state's new Homes and Community Renewal agency. Ordinarily, a special election in the remarkably-blue AD-54 would be too far in the weeds even for us, but you may recognize his name: he's the son of long-time Rep. Ed Towns. The 76-year-old Towns is routinely viewed as a candidate for retirement (and his son a likely replacement), so this move is a puzzle: is it a sign that the elder Towns isn't going anywhere (perhaps permanently fastened to his House seat by all the moss growing there), or perhaps a way for the younger Towns to burnish his credentials a bit and differentiate him a bit from his somnolent dad?

NY-26: One more name to strike off the Republican list in the 26th (not that I'd known he'd been on the list): Assemblyman Dan Burling said he wouldn't run, and threw his support behind fellow Assembly member Jane Corwin for the nomination.

Redistricting: This local news piece on redistricting in Indiana exposes the most mind-numbing and tedious part of the process, one that gets easily overlooked: the process of turning census data into precinct data, seeing as how precincts exist in their own little world apart from blocks and tracts. Even though Indiana was one of the earliest to receive their data, this data-cleaning process is expected to take several weeks before the legislature can even begin tackling the numbers. Also, Indiana is one of the states that will allow citizens to get their hands on the data to try making their own maps... but because of licensing issues of some sort, they won't be making the data available online. If you're in-state, you can drop into one of a number of stations they'll be setting up around the state where you can tinker with the data in person, though.

Site news: DavidNYC here. I'm back from my vacation and I've had the chance to read through all of the comments (every last one) in the post where I announced our impending move to Daily Kos. While many of my replies are "thank yous" for the very kind expressions of support you offered, I also did my best to answer specific questions where I could. Rest assured that this won't be the last I'll have to say on the subject before we make the changeover. I'll also take this opportunity to encourage you to create an account over at Daily Kos if you don't have one already, and to play around with the new site (DK4 just launched this past weeked). (D)

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AZ-Sen: Kyl to Announce Retirement

by: James L.

Thu Feb 10, 2011 at 10:26 AM EST

From the Politico:

Sen. Jon Kyl will announce his plans to retire at a press conference in Arizona later today, a source confirms to POLITICO.

Kyl's retirement could make this into a competitive race, depending on who pulls the trigger for Team Blue. (Kyl's own numbers were fairly strong against a number of high-profile Dems.) More as we get it.

UPDATE: 6th CD GOP Rep. Jeff Flake is very likely to enter the race in the coming days. The Politico has some comments from a few other possibilities, including Brock Landers himself:

Former Rep. John Shadegg told POLITICO he was "very surprised" at the news and called Kyl's retirement "a loss for Arizona and a loss for the nation."

"I hope that the rumors are wrong. I hope Jon Kyl is running again," he said, declining to discuss his interest in the seat.

Reached on his cell phone, first-term Rep. Ben Quayle said he had no comment on Kyl's plans, accused the reporter of calling the wrong number and then hung up.

In a text message, former Rep. J.D.  Hayworth wrote, "stay tuned."

ANOTHER UPDATE: Real Clear Politics reports that Janet Napolitano (Democratic ex-Gov. and current DHS Sec.) has been calling around about the race. It also mentions the possibility of GOP Gov. Jan Brewer, who's termed-out and can't run again in 2014... and since every other Rep. in the state has been mentioned, Trent Franks too. Via the Twitter, there's word of two more guys who've been hitting the phones: Democratic Phoenix mayor Phil Gordon, and Republican Maricopa Co. Sheriff Joe Arpaio (the repellent Arpaio, who's in his 70s, seems to threaten to run statewide every two years and then not do it, though).

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SSP Daily Digest: 7/29 (Afternoon Edition)

by: Crisitunity

Thu Jul 29, 2010 at 4:05 PM EDT

CT-Sen: Now that was fast. Only days after his bizarre and probably hopeless parachuting back into the long-abandoned Connecticut Senate race, Rob Simmons just got the primary endorsement from the state's largest newspaper, the Hartford Courant. That's a pretty clear indicator of how they feel about Linda McMahon. Meanwhile, out in Crazy Town, former presidential candidate Steve Forbes weighed in, giving an endorsement to Paulist economist Peter Schiff.

KY-Sen: Rogue ophthalmologist Rand Paul is certainly a glass-half-full (or mountain-half-still-there?) kind of guy. He's come out in favor of the environmentally destructive mountaintop removal method of coal mining, justifying it, true to form, with economics gobbledygook: "the land is of enhanced value, because now you can build on it." In fact, it's really just a branding problem: "I think they should name it something better."

WA-Sen: Here's a rather unexpected endorsement: hard-right kingmaker Jim DeMint is coming out in favor of Dino Rossi, who was very much a moderate back when he ran for governor in 2004. I suppose Rossi taking the plunge as the first major Senate candidate to call for repeal of financial reform was enough for DeMint's satisfaction. I still have to wonder why Rossi would seek out this kind of endorsement, as it's certainly not going to help matters in the general election in this blue state; is he actually feeling enough heat from Sarah Palin-backed Clint Didier in the primary that he needs to go to the right-wing well?

WI-Sen: If you've been following the Wisconsin Senate race, Ron Johnson has been vacillating all week on whether or not to sell his hundreds of thousands of dollars in BP stock and plow it into his campaign, move it into a blind trust, or just tape all his stock certificates together and use them to club baby seals. Now he's just saying he's going to sit on it and sell when market conditions are favorable -- not because it's the right thing to do, just because he wants a better profit on it.

NH-Gov: PPP also has gubernatorial general election numbers are part of their New Hampshire sample. We'd been wondering if John Lynch, whose previous PPP numbers were kind of lukewarm, might be ready to sneak onto the list as Likely D, but today's numbers seem to suggest otherwise. (In fact, the once-unassailable Mike Beebe may now be likelier to fill that role.) Lynch's approvals are up to 52/36, and he leads his likeliest GOP opponent, ex-state HHS director John Stephen, 51-34. He also leads Jack Kimball 52-29, Karen Testerman 52-28, and Frank Emiro 48-28.

NV-Gov: Rory Reid just got gifted some serious help in the Nevada governor's race (and having seen him on the stump at Netroots Nation, he's going to need all the help he can get...), via a gaffe from Brian Sandoval. Sandoval has denied previous allegations that he'd said on TV that his kids didn't look Hispanic, but now Univision has dug up the tape. Perhaps even more troublesome for Sandoval: he said that in the context of his kids' appearance being why he was not worried about his kids being racially profiled under Arizona's new law.

NY-Gov: Unfortunately, Carl Paladino has confirmed that no cat fud will be served in the general election in November (not that Andrew Cuomo, polling over 60%, needs any shenanigans to win). Paladino says he won't puruse a third-party bid on the yet-to-be-named teabagger ballot line if he loses the GOP gubernatorial primary to newly-minted Islamophobe Rick Lazio.

AZ-03: John McCain waded into the overstuffed GOP primary field in the race to replace retiring Rep. John Shadegg to flag a favorite. He's backing state Sen. Jim Waring. McCain had his choice of endorsers to pay back (Waring, as well as Vernon Parker and Ben Quayle, are supporting McCain, while Sam Crump is the only out-and-proud J.D. Hayworth backer in the field).

CA-47: While there's nothing really newsworthy going on the 47th, Politico has a very interesting look below the surface at this forgotten race in a demographically-complex district. Both Loretta Sanchez and GOP challenger Van Tran seem aware that the Vietnamese minority in this low-turnout Hispanic-majority district is the district's electoral linchpin.

DE-AL: Michelle Rollins was supposed to be the moderate in the GOP field in Delaware, but the wealthy philanthropist seems to be going the full Sharron Angle. She joined the swelling Republican ranks of candidates saying that extending unemployment benefits just takes away people's motivations to go out and get real jobs.

FL-08: The main story here may be that Zogby, the pollster ubiquitous in 2004 and once though to be in the Dems' pocket, is now reduced to doing internal polls for low-priority GOP House candidates? Anyway, they did a poll on behalf of attorney/talk show host Todd Long (the guy who almost successfully primaried Ric Keller in 2008). Long's poll gives him a 46-38 lead over Rep. Alan Grayson. Of course, Long isn't a likely bet to emerge from the primary (which he shares with ex-state Sen. Daniel Webster, state Rep. Kurt Kelly, and rich guy Bruce O'Donoghue), and there's no mention of primary numbers.

IN-03: If this were two years ago, an open seat in the 3rd (especially with 2006 candidate Tom Hayhurst on board) might have been a good pickup opportunity. Not so this year, apparently. GOP nominee state Sen. Marlin Stutzman is out with an internal from American Viewpoint giving him a 56-29 lead. Hayhurst has the financial advantage, though, and may be able to use that to make up at least some of that ground.

KS-04: SurveyUSA has one last pre-primary look at the primary races in the 4th. There's a lot of movement in the 4th, where businessman Wink Hartman seems to be rapidly deflating (as the carpetbagging issue may have gotten some traction) and moderate state Sen. Jean Schodorf is quickly gaining (as people realize the other candidates are all wackos). RNC committee member Mike Pompeo is still in the lead, though, at 31. Schodorf is at 24 (up 8) and Hartman at 21 (down 8), with 13 for Jim Anderson. On the Dem side, state Rep. Raj Goyle's ad blitz seems to have had its desired effect, which was to raise his name rec and prevent him from getting VicRawl'd. (Ah, sweet memories of 2008.) Having trailed Some Dude Robert Tillman in the previous SUSA poll, Goyle now leads 63-19.

KY-03: This race seemed to move onto the map (albeit just barely) with Republican Todd Lally having narrowly outraised Democratic Rep. John Yarmuth last quarter. Yarmuth seems to be acting quickly to squelch any sense that he's in unusual trouble, though, rolling out an internal from Cooper & Secrest that gives him a 58-32 lead over Lally.

OK-05: Everyone in the Beltway seems to be wondering a) what the heck went wrong with state Rep. Kevin Calvey, who was deemed frontrunner in the GOP primary in the 5th based on his Club for Growth and American Conservative Union backing, but finished second, and b) who the heck is James Lankford? The youth camp director and newbie to politics won thanks to grassroots mobilizing in the social conservative community. At any rate, this sets up a GOP runoff that's similar to a number of others we've seen in southern states: a faceoff between the CfG and Mike Huckabee (a Lankford endorser) sub-wings of the right wing.

DCCC: Here's an interesting piece from National Journal that runs the DCCC's list of 60-some districts for ad buys through some demographic sifting. It's based on "quadrants" developed by Ronald Brownstein (which are pretty simple, really, just education and racial diversity -- we've been working behind the scenes here at SSP on something similar but more sophisticated, which hopefully will see the light someday soon). As you might expect, most of the vulnerable seats, and the DCCC's ad buys are in the low-education, low-diversity (i.e. mostly white) districts, which is where Obama tended to perform the weakest in 2008.

Rasmussen:
IL-Gov: Pat Quinn (D-inc) 37%, Bill Brady (R) 44%
MO-Sen: Robin Carnahan (D) 43%, Roy Blunt (R) 49%
OR-Sen: Ron Wyden (D-inc) 51%, Jim Huffman (R) 35%
WI-Sen: Russ Feingold (D-inc) 46%, Ron Johnson (R) 48%

On the Rasmussen front, it's also worth checking out Chris Bowers' latest Senate projections at Open Left. He ran separate Rasmussen-free and Rasmussen-included versions, and the difference is remarkable.

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SSP Daily Digest: 5/13 (Afternoon Edition)

by: Crisitunity

Thu May 13, 2010 at 3:34 PM EDT

AZ-Sen: A little tension here between John McCain and retiring Rep. John Shadegg? Shadegg has endorsed McCain (along with the rest of Arizona's GOP House delegation) but was publicly laughing along with the Morning Joe crew to John McCain's new TV ad on border security (which marks a big 'ol flip-flop for the one-time pro-immigration reform McCain).

NV-Sen: Everyone's abuzz today about the new Mason-Dixon/LVRJ poll that has right-winger Sharron Angle moving into contention in the GOP primary, mostly as Sue Lowden's expense. The numbers suggest that may have more to do with Angle's higher profile after getting the Tea Party Express endorsement, rather than blowback from Lowden having laid an egg. We'll have more on that poll once we have the general election numbers. Danny Tarkanian still seems to be in the thick of things, though; he's touting an internal poll that has him tied with Lowden at 30-30, with Angle hanging back at 15. Tarkanian may also be able to blunt Angle's surge a bit with a far-right endorsement of his own, from Minutemen co-founder Jim Gilchrist.

NY-Sen-B: Rep. Peter King took a pass on challenging Kirsten Gillibrand after much public pondering, but today he's announcing that he's backing Bruce Blakeman in the GOP primary among the various lower-tier candidates who did get in.

CA-Gov: Yesterday, Steve Poizner rooted around in his change jar and found an extra $2.5 million to go toward a final push in the GOP gubernatorial primary. Meg Whitman was unimpressed, raising the stakes with another $5 million (bringing her own campaign-long total to $64 million of her own money). "That's not a ludicrous waste of money. Now this is a ludicrous waste of money," she was overheard saying in an Australian accent.

CT-Gov: Stop the presses! Rudy Marconi is out of the Democratic field for the gubernatorial race. Since this is probably the first you've heard of him and you may be thinking he's the guy who invented the radio, no, he's the First Selectman of Ridgefield. He was the last minor Dem to fall, making it a two-man fight between Ned Lamont and Dan Malloy. (Marconi endorsed Lamont on the way out.) Both Lamont and Malloy picked up some labor endorsements too, although it seems like Malloy got the bigger score, in the form of the SEIU's two largest locals in the state. Lamont got the Laborers.

MA-Gov: It looks like the RGA's hard hit on indie Tim Cahill (echoes of their attacks on Chris Daggett in New Jersey) may have had the desired effects. A Rasmussen poll this week showed Cahill lagging into the teens, in the third place, with GOPer Charlie Baker moving up (unfortunately for them, it also seemed to suggest some Cahill votes moving to Patrick too, as he moved up even more than Baker and pushed into the 40s, but I suppose that's part of the GOP's plan to try and minimize Cahill and turn it into a traditional two-man race). It also blunted a social conservative uprising: a number of RNC national committee members had moved to stop the RGA from spending money on Charlie Baker because of his tolerant social views, but many of them withdrew that request shortly after seeing the polls indicating that the GOP attacks were actually working. UPDATE: National Journal has some additional background, and it seems like the back-down may have had more to do with some hard arm-twisting from Haley Barbour than a sudden epiphany on the part of the recalcitrant Iowans.

MN-Gov: Looks like Margaret Anderson Kelliher, despite her DFL endorsement, is far from having things locked down in the Democratic primary. The United Steelworkers endorsed one of her opponents who didn't bother with the party process, ex-sen. Mark Dayton.

NV-Gov: One small tidbit from yesterday's poll by Dem pollster Fairbank Maslin, that raised a lot of eyebrows over its NV-Sen numbers, escaped our attention. They also found Rory Reid within striking distance of likely GOP nominee Brian Sandoval, 46-41. (No word on a Reid/Gibbons result.)

NC-07: Now here's one of the last places I'd expected to see an intramural cat-fud fight. After attracting some good notices from the NRCC (including addition to the "On the Radar" tier) based on respectable fundraising and Iraq vet credentials, Ilario Pantano got over the 50% mark in the GOP primary. But now his two vanquished rivals, 2008 nominee Will Breazeale and Randy Crow, are uniting to fight against Pantano in the general. This doesn't sound like a typical lame case of sour grapes: Breazeale, a vet himself, says he has a "moral obligation" to fight Pantano over his actions in Iraq. It turns out Pantano was charged with murder after shooting two Iraqis in his custody, although charges were eventually dropped. Pantano faces Dem Rep. Mike McIntyre, who's had little trouble holding this R+5 seat so far.

NY-01: With three rich guys duking it out in the GOP primary, Newt Gingrich, for some reason, waded into the fray to endorse the seemingly richest of the bunch: Randy Altschuler.

WI-07: One more prominent local Dem decided against competing in the primary to replace retiring Rep. David Obey, leaving state Sen. Julie Lassa pretty much the consensus pick. Former state Sen. Kevin Shibilski said he liked the idea of getting in, but recognized the importance of avoiding a contested primary.

West Virginia: Highly motivated voters in both parties this year? Guess again, if West Virginia's primary is any indication. Turnout in the Mountain State was actually a record low, with only 166,000 votes cast, or 14% of registered voters.

Florida: Mason-Dixon's Senate and Governor poll included a whole bunch of downballot races too, offering a mixed bag for Dems. Maybe the most noteworthy finding: Dem ex-Tallahassee mayor Scott Maddox is leading the Ag Commissioner race, 31-30. That's surprising, since the GOP fielded a top-tier opponent (in fact, several tiers above what this kind of race usually attracts) in the former of retiring Rep. Adam Putnam. In the CFO race, GOP state Senate president Jeff Atwater leads Dem ex-state Rep. Loranne Ausley, 33-26. For the AG race, they don't poll the general but look at both primaries (where undecideds rule the day). On the Dem side, state Sen. Dan Gelber (who had run for Senate for a while) leads state Sen. Dave Aronberg (who really should be running in FL-16 instead) 15-12, while on the GOP side, Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp leads Pam Bondi 13-10.

Demographics: While we're talking about Florida, Josh Goodman has some interesting number-crunching about where the growth in Florida is, and what that may mean for redistricting. The fastest-growing counties in the state seem to be the dark-red exurbs around Jacksonville (like Clay County), but that's counterbalanced somewhat by the fast growth in the Orlando area, where the growth isn't quite as fast but where there's also a Democratic trend in the electorate.

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SSP Daily Digest: 2/12

by: Crisitunity

Fri Feb 12, 2010 at 2:23 PM EST

AZ-Sen: The establishment is moving in to shore up John McCain's re-election bid, as the rest of Arizona's GOP congressional delegation endorsed yesterday (over their former colleague J.D. Hayworth): Jon Kyl, plus Reps. Trent Franks, John Shadegg, and Jeff Flake. Yesterday McCain also got a perhaps more surprising endorsement yesterday, from Grover Norquist, who's been supportive of a lot of insurgent bids this year... but Norquist is more interested in purely economic issues and may not have much common cause with the more resentment-based social conservative politics of Hayworth.

CO-Sen: Here's a sign of life for the strangely low-profile Andrew Romanoff primary campaign: he just got the endorsements of two of the state's major unions, the Teamsters and the UFCW. Michael Bennet did just vote to confirm Craig Becker to the NLRB, but the unions take issue with his lack of support for the card-check provision of EFCA. Meanwhile, Tom Wiens is offering one of the strangest excuses I've ever heard for his failure to get much traction in the GOP primary: there are a whole lot of Nortons in Colorado, and people reflexively will vote for any of them.

IN-Sen: Another day, another damning revelation about Dan Coats' lobbying past. Today, it turns out that his lobbying firm, King & Spalding, was lobbying on behalf of Bank of America at a time it was seeking patent approval for a formula that would help companies evaluate whether and how to outsource their operations to lower-overhead countries.

NC-Sen: Richard Burr has drawn a primary challenger as he seeks his first re-election the Senate. Asheboro city councilor Eddie Burks, however, doesn't have the kind of high-profile position that's likely to make much of an impact. But even weirder is the nature of the challenge. You'd think he might get some traction if he reached out to the teabaggers and accused Burr of being insufficiently bloodthirsty, but instead it's a surprisingly level-headed critique of Burr's inaccessibility and general anonymity.

NY-Sen: Speaking of random primary challenges, now Chuck Schumer is facing one too, from Phil Krone, an Illinois and/or Florida political consultant who was just involved in Dan Hynes' unsuccessful campaign. Krone says he'll dive in only if he can raise $10K in contributions before April 1; given the strangeness of his bid, even that seems kind of a high bar to reach.

NY-Sen-B: Finally, there's one other carpetbagging primary challenge that's only slightly less random: that of Harold Ford Jr. against Kirsten Gillibrand. This latest discovery isn't likely to help Ford's case much: Ford claims that paying New York taxes has helped make him a New Yorker... except he hasn't paid any New York income taxes. Ford has continued to maintain Tennessee residency, which is convenient, seeing as how Tennessee doesn't have an income tax on wages. I guess what he meant is that he pays sales tax on all his New York pedicures.

WI-Sen: Ex-Gov. Tommy Thompson sure likes keeping his name in the news. Despite his recently signing on to work for a hedge fund on agribusiness matters (and his various other private sector projects, including being a partner at DC biglaw firm Akin Gump, he's still refusing to rule out a Senate bid. "I'm going through a process," he says cryptically.

NY-Gov: Looks like we will have David Paterson to kick around for at least a few months more. Despite the mounting tsunami of crap threatening to engulf him, and facing very likely annihilation by Andrew Cuomo in the Democratic primary, Paterson has been e-mailing supporters to tell them that on Feb. 20 or 21 he'll officially launch his bid to stay Governor. He is adopting the "outsider" mantle for his run, since, of course, nothing says "outsider" more than being the sitting Governor of New York.

MI-03: CQ compiles a list of a truckload of different Republicans who might seek the seat opened up this week by retiring Rep. Vern Ehlers in the Grand Rapids-based 3rd. Prime contenders include state Sens. Bill Hardiman and Mark Jansen, former state Rep. Jerry Kooiman, and former state Sen. Majority leader Ken Sikkema, all of whom say they'll decide soon. Former Lt. Gov., and gubernatorial candidate, Dick Posthumus, has ruled out a bid, and it seems unlikely that SoS Terri Lynn Land (who'd been associated with the seat when Ehlers retirement rumors popped up early last year) will run, as she might have her sights on the LG slot. While the GOP has the stronger bench here, Dems who might run include former state Reps. Michael Sak and Steve Pestka, and state Rep. Robert Dean.

NY-20: One seat that should be attractive to Republicans, given the narrowness of Rep. Scott Murphy's special election victory, is the 20th, but it's proven be one of their biggest recruiting headaches. Assemblyman Marc Molinaro is the latest GOPer to decline. Jim Tedisco, who lost to Murphy in the special, shut down his account from that election but hasn't fully ruled out another run. Murphy is already sitting on $1.4 million, which certainly acts as a deterrent.

OH-06: The rural, Appalachian-flavored 6th (at R+2, and a negative trend from Kerry to Obama) is another district that should be a Republican target, but where Rep. Charlie Wilson hasn't drawn a serious opponent yet. Some Dude, however, has stepped up, in the form of businessman Bill Johnson. Johnson had been considering a run next door in the 17th (where he lives) against Rep. Tim Ryan, but recently seemed to realize the 6th would be easier sledding.

CA-LG: The confirmation of Abel Maldonado as California's new Lt. Governor has become a bizarre clusterf@ck. First off, there's the question of why legislative Democrats would want to keep Maldonado in his Dem-leaning, pick-up-able Senate seat instead of promoting him to the entirely harmless LG slot. Clearly the Senate Dems like the idea of getting to the magic 2/3s mark, as Maldonado's appointment cleared the Senate easily, but then enough Dems in the Assembly voted against it that his appointment failed, with 37 voting yes and 35 voting no. Confused? Well, some would say that he needed 41 votes (a majority of the 80-seat chamber) in order to be confirmed. Arnold Schwarzenegger is claiming victory, though, and planning to swear in Maldonado anyway, claiming that there would need to be 41 votes against Maldonado for the confirmation to fail. Several election law experts say Ahnold has a good point with that, although there's guidance from a 1988 state treasurer appointment that says otherwise. Looks like this is headed to the courts.

Teabaggers: Ed Kilgore picks apart the recent CBS poll regarding the tea party movement, and comes to the same conclusions that I've been teasing out... that there's really nothing new in the movement, and that it's just the most conservative elements of the Republican coalition in just a particularly revved-up, radicalized mood, and with a handy new name to distinguish themselves. This is particularly seen that 62% of them have a favorable view of the Republican party, despite their vague claims to be a movement separate from the parties.

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SSP Daily Digest: 2/11

by: Crisitunity

Thu Feb 11, 2010 at 4:21 PM EST

CA-Sen: The latest in palace intrigue in California supposes that Meg Whitman managed to pave the way for Tom Campbell's exit from the gubernatorial race and move to the Senate race, culminating in a private appeal to Campbell from Arnold Schwarzenegger to switch (using a soft touch, instead of the alleged sledgehammer that the Steve Poizner camp accuses Whitman's camp of wielding). Campbell says no, he made the decision all on his own (helped along by some internal polling, no doubt).

FL-Sen: Continuing his role as right-wing kingmaker, or rainmaker, or rainy kingmaker, Jim DeMint orchestrated a moneybomb over recent days for upstart Florida candidate Marco Rubio that pulled in over $140K.

SC-Sen: Attorney Chad McGowan, as close as the Dems have to a leading candidate to take on Jim DeMint this year, ended his campaign, citing family demands. It's possible, though, that McGowan's exit may lead to a slight upgrade (although not likely the kind that puts the race into play): Charleston Co. Commissioner Vic Rawl is now contemplating making the race, and self-financing Mullins McLeod is weighing a switch over from the gubernatorial bid where he's made little headway in a better-defined Democratic field.

TX-Sen: It's looking less and less likely that the Texas Senate special election is ever going to happen (most likely, Kay Bailey Hutchison will wind up serving out the rest of her term in ignominy). If she does resign at some point, though, it doesn't look too promising for Democrats. PPP tested a generic ballot on the race, with Generic Republican winning 53-38. Former comptroller John Sharp may be in position to overperform Generic D a bit, but it'd still be an uphill climb. For one thing, he'd be running against Barack Obama's very low 33/61 approval in Texas.

CT-Gov: Former state House speaker Jim Amann ended his bid for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination today. That he was even in the race may be news to most Connecticut residents, given his low-single-digits support in recent polling, and Ned Lamont and ex-Stamford mayor Dan Malloy gobbling up most of the oxygen.

MI-Gov: In the wake of Denise Ilitch's surprising decision to stand down, a different Democrat got into the gubernatorial field: former state treasurer (from the 1980s) Bob Bowman. He's been out of state for a long time, most recently as the CEO of major league baseball's interactive media wing, but if he's willing to self-finance, he could be an interesting wildcard here.

WI-Gov: Details are sketchy, but a Democratic internal poll by the Mellman Group finds a very tight gubernatorial race, quite in line with what other pollsters have seen. Democratic Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett leads Republican Milwaukee Co. Exec Scott Walker 40-39. There's no word on a Barrett/Mark Neumann matchup.

AL-05: Another catastrophic success for the NRCC, as they blasted their newest member with some friendly fire. Pete Sessions sent out a fundraising letter to AL-05 voters letting them know that their "Democrat in Congress has been falling in line with Nancy Pelosi's destructive liberal agenda.." One small problem: Parker Griffith is now, quite famously, a Republican.

AR-01: Unlike the deeply troublesome KS-03 and LA-03, thanks to their deep Arkansas bench, Democrats don't seem to be having trouble finding a replacement to run for the seat of retiring Rep. Marion Berry. The latest to step up is state Sen. Steve Bryles, who represents Blytheville in this mostly-rural district's northeast corner.

AZ-03: It looks like a big Democratic name may be interested in tackling the GOP-leaning open seat left behind by retiring Rep. John Shadegg, after all. Phoenix mayor Phil Gordon has opened up an exploratory committee to consider a run, and has set a three or four-week timetable for deciding. Democratic attorney Jon Hulburd is already running and has had some fundraising success as well, so it seems unlikely he'd get out of the way for the more conservative Gordon.

CA-19: An internal poll by POS offered by state Sen. Jeff Denham shows the Republican candidate with a solid lead over his carpetbagging neighbor, ex-Rep. Richard Pombo. Denham leads Pombo 28-12 in the GOP primary, and that expands to 38-11 when voters were informed that outgoing Rep. George Radanovich has endorsed Denham.

CA-44: Yet another internal poll, this one from Tulchin and released by Democratic challenger Bill Hedrick, who came within a few thousand votes of upsetting Rep. Ken Calvert in 2008. Calvert has lousy re-elects - 38% say 'yes' while 41% say someone else - but Calvert leads a head-to-head against Hedrick, 49-35.

FL-21, FL-25: New names are already surfacing for potential candidates in the 25th, where Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart is creating an open seat by leaving for the somewhat safer 21st, vacated by his retiring brother, Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart. One name moving to the forefront is termed-out Republican state Sen. Majority leader Alex Diaz de la Portilla. However, it sounds like Mario plans to endorse state Rep. David Rivera (who's currently running for state Senate) instead. Two other possible GOP names include state Sen. Alex Villalobos, and Carlos Curbelo, currently an aide to Sen. George LeMieux. Joe Garcia, who came close to taking out Mario in 2008, seems to be the Dems' preferred candidate (although he previously ruled out a re-run, he might reconsider with an open seat).

IA-01: Republicans landed Some Dude to run against Rep. Bruce Braley in the Dem-leaning 1st, a district which hasn't been on anyone's radar so far: insurance salesman Brian Cook. The NRCC had previously touted businessman Rod Blum for the race, but he says he's leaning against a bid.

MA-10: Yet one more internal poll, and this one's a little alarming for Democratic Rep. Bill Delahunt, who nobody thought of as a target until his district went strongly for Scott Brown in the Senate special election. The McLaughlin poll on behalf of Republican former state treasurer Joe Malone gives Malone a 37-34 lead over Delahunt among likely voters. Delahunt is still in positive territory, approval-wise, at 44/33.

MS-01: Maybe this is the oppo that insiders said would sink Fox News pundit Angela McGlowan's House bid before it got out of the gate. In a radio interview last year, she suggested that gun owners should include an inventory of their guns on their federal tax forms, and in defending the idea went on to talk about "crazies... stockpiling guns." Starting out in a probably gun-loving district with a proposal that wouldn't pass muster among House Democrats, and framing it with decidedly lefty-sounding language... well, that's probably a deal-breaker.

NC-08: Free advice to candidates, not just Democrats but anyone: don't waste time worrying about what people are saying in the anonymous comments section of blogs. (And, yes, I realize the irony of that coming from an pseudonymous blogger.) But most of all, don't actually get so hot under the collar that you weigh in in the comments section and embarrass yourself in the process. Tim D'Annunzio seems to be the leading GOP contender in the 8th, thanks in large measure to his self-funding, but his recent foray into the comments section at the Charlotte Observer (to defend his machine-gun-shooting fundraiser) may have cast his candidacy in a decidedly amateurish light.

OH-14: Here's a swing district that has consistently eluded Democrats, where they've finally nailed down a challenger. Retired judge Bill O'Neill is back for another whack at Rep. Steve LaTourette in the suburban 14th. O'Neill ran against LaTourette in 2008 and didn't get much traction that year, though.

Census: Here's some good news on the redistricting front: the Census Bureau has given states the green light to decide whether to count prisons as part of the local population, or whether to count prisoners according to their previous place of residence. The Census will provide states with 'group quarters' information to help them with the process. That's an especially big deal in New York, where the legislature is considering legislation that would count prisoners by previous residence, which would decidedly tip the balance away from GOP-leaning rural areas and back toward the cities.

Redistricting: Some bad news on redistricting, though, from South Dakota (although, with its at-large House seat, it'll really only have an impact on state legislative redistricting). A legislative committee shot down plans to switch to an independent redistricting commission. Democrats proposed the idea, and unsurprisingly, the plan died along party lines (not much incentive for the GOP to switch, as they control the trifecta and probably will for the foreseeable future).

Dogcatcher: With Martha Coakley's announcement that she's going to attempt to run for re-election, the whole idea of getting elected dogcatcher is back on people's minds. You may recall we had an extended thread on the matter some months ago... and here's an interesting discovery. There's an actual place in America - Duxbury, Vermont - where it's an elective position. (H/t David Kowalski.) Zeb Towne's term expires in 2010, so we'll keep monitoring this race as events warrant.

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SSP Daily Digest: 2/9

by: Crisitunity

Tue Feb 09, 2010 at 4:51 PM EST

AZ-Sen: As the Arizona GOP Senate primary heats up, ex-Rep. J.D. Hayworth has pulled in a prominent backer, one of the state's unfortunately most popular politicians: Maricopa Co. Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Arpaio - a hero of the anti-immigrant set who'd been the subject of calls to get into the gubernatorial race this year - wrote a fundraising letter for Hayworth that's being sent around nationally.

FL-Sen: Marco Rubio got two more endorsements today from the GOP's right flank: from Indiana's Rep. Mike Pence, #3 in the House GOP and a favorite of the social values set, and on the economic-conservative side of the party, bathtub-drowning fan Grover Norquist.

NH-Sen (pdf): A couple different polls are out today in the New Hampshire Senate race, although both from pollsters in the "take with salt" category. UNH looks at the general election, finding a lead for Kelly Ayotte over Paul Hodes that's about in line with most other pollsters: 41-33. Hodes leads the lesser GOPers in the race, though; he beats Jim Bender 36-27, William Binnie 34-30, and Ovide Lamontagne 38-29. What about that thorny GOP primary, though? Republican internal pollster Magellan has some answers, although it's not clear if this poll was on the behalf of any particular candidate. They see Ayotte at 37%, but contrary to that recent R2K poll, they have Binnie in second place at 23% and Lamontagne back at 12. (Binnie seems to be the most moderate in the field, and gained a lot of attention, at least in the Boston media market parts of the state, for running ads on behalf of Scott Brown in Massachusetts.) In case anyone was wondering about the GOP gubernatorial primary, that's in there too, although nobody has any idea who these candidates are: Jack Kimball beats Karen Testerman 18-5.

AL-Gov: There's one other interesting poll from a Republican pollster of a Republican primary (this time in Alabama); it's from Baselice, and they're explicit about not working on behalf of any of these candidates. Former higher ed system chancellor Bradley Byrne has a narrow lead, and he has a lot of company. Byrne is at 20, followed closely by wingnut judge Roy Moore at 17. Real estate developer (and gubernatorial spawn) Tim James is at 8, state Rep. Robert Bentley is at 4, state treasurer Kay Ivey is at 3, and former Economic Development Dir. Bill Johnson is at 2.

AL-05: Democrats now have two candidates lined up to go against Parker Griffith (or whatever other GOPer teabags him out of a job): the new one is attorney (and former Air Force JAG) Mitchell Howie. Howie is young and doesn't have electoral experience, but is the grandson of a well-loved local physician. Prominent attorney Taze Shepard made his candidacy official today as well (via press release).

AL-07: EMILY's List weighed in with an endorsement in the Democratic primary in the 7th. Interestingly, they showed their hand even though there are two women well-positioned in the field - and they went with attorney Terri Sewell, who's something of the moneyed-interests candidate in the race with ties to outgoing Rep. Artur Davis, rather than the more progressive option of Jefferson Co. Commissioner Shelia Smoot.

AR-02: Add one more Dem to the field in the 2nd, to replace retiring Rep. Vic Snyder. Assistant Attorney General John Adams launched a bid today, although it's unclear whether he'll pose much of an obstacle to state House speaker Robbie Wills.

AZ-03: One of the widely-expected candidates to run in the open seat vacated by Rep. John Shadegg has decided not to get involved, after all. Shadegg's former chief of staff Sean Noble said he won't run. The field is already top-heavy with Republicans, including former state Sens. Pamela Gorman and Jim Waring (both of whom resigned to run, per state law), former state Rep. Sam Crump, Paradise Valley mayor Vernon Parker, and former Paradise Valley mayor Ed Winkler.

CO-03: Hat-tip to Daily Kos's Steve Singiser, who, while rummaging through the used-polls bin, found a stale Republican internal poll of the race in the 3rd that hadn't caught anyone's notice before. It points to a close race in the Republican-leaning, mostly-rural district; Democratic Rep. Pete Salazar leads GOP state Rep. Scott Tipton (who lost the 2006 race to Salazar) 46-44.

NH-01, 02 (pdf): Both of the New Hampshire House races are looking like tossups, according to the same UNH poll mentioned above. In the 1st, they find Rep. Carol Shea-Porter in bad shape against any of her GOP challengers; she loses 43-33 to Frank Guinta, 36-33 to Bob Bestani, 36-33 to Rich Ashooh, and 39-32 to Sean Mahoney. (Of course, UNH repeatedly showed her in a tight spot in 2008 until the closing weeks of the campaign - although without Obama coattails this year, she may not get that late boost.) And in the 2nd, Dems only win one potential matchup: Katrina Swett beats Jennifer Horn 30-26. Swett loses to Charlie Bass 37-30, while Ann McLane Kuster loses to both Bass (39-28) and Horn (28-25). (One other caveat: these are small samples, with 6.2% MoEs.)

NJ-02: Add Rep. Frank LoBiondo to the long list of establishment Republicans getting a good teabagging this year. Schoolteacher and tea partier Michael Conte will challenge LoBiondo in the GOP primary. Conte seems most put out about LoBiondo's cap-and-trade vote, and supports opening up the Jersey Shore to offshore oil drilling. (Somehow, I can't see that part being popular.)

TX-14: The epidemic of own-eating on the teabagging right has reached French Revolution proportions, to the extent that now Ron Paul, pretty much the spiritual forefather of the movement, is facing not one but three teabagging primary challengers. Weirdly, one of their knocks against Paul is that he's "too extreme," and also that he's against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan... all pretty suggestive that there's nothing "new" about the Tea Party movement, just that it's a catchall for conservative Republicans who are feeling extra-agitated about things.

TX-32: The DCCC has been stepping up its attacks on Rep. Pete Sessions, maybe in part to keep the NRCC head pinned down a bit, but also because they may sense this is one of the few places where they have a legitimate shot at playing offense. Between the district's rapidly changing demographics, Sessions' ties to Ponzi schemer "Sir" Alan Stanford, a serious primary challenge from a teabagger, and good fundraising from Dem challenger Grier Raggio, there may be some substance to that.

IL-LG: With Dan Hynes having taken his name out of consideration for the now-vacant LG slot for the Dems in Illinois, Lynn Sweet runs down the top contenders. First on the docket is state Rep. Art Turner, who finished second to Scott Lee Cohen in the primary and now has state House speaker Michael Madigan's stamp of approval. Other possibilities include state Sen. Rickey Hendon, state Sen. Terry Link, or state Rep. Mike Boland (all of whom fared worse in the primary), or if they want to go with a woman, either state Rep. Julie Hamos (who narrowly lost the IL-10 primary, and is now campaigning for the LG slot) or VA Deputy Sec. Tammy Duckworth.

CfG: A couple more endorsements, as the Club for Growth picked the zaniest of the bunch in a few competitive primaries in dark-red seats that are open. They endorsed former state GOP chair Robin Smith in TN-03, and businessman Mike Pompeo in KS-04.

NRCC: Here's a good catch from the Boston Phoenix: the NRCC is really putting the "guns" in "Young Guns," as a whopping total of 4 of the 64 members of its offense program are women - with only one, Martha Roby (in AL-02) looking like she's in position to possibly make it through both the primary and general.

NY-St. Ass.: There are not one, but four, special elections for open seats in New York's Assembly tonight, all resulting from legislators getting elected to something better-paying in November. The Democrats are defending seats in Queens (although there the Republican lineholder is a lifelong Democrat), Suffolk County, and Westchester County, while the Republicans are defending a Nassau County seat.

Polltopia: More back-and-forth in the discussion over the polls that SurveyUSA performed for Firedoglake, that we may have accidentally triggered (pointing out the dramatically low young-voter composition of the polls). SurveyUSA's Jay Leve responded "vehemently" (Mark Blumenthal's words) to last week's critique from poli sci professor Alan Abramowitz, while Blumenthal offers some interesting graphs showing the disparity between the SurveyUSA numbers and actual Catalist records. PPP's Tom Jensen offered some qualified support for SurveyUSA, though, by pointing out that even if you "weighted up" the youth numbers to the levels seen in Catalist (the Dems' voter database), it wouldn't tend to impact the topline numbers by a significant amount.

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SSP Daily Digest: 1/20

by: Crisitunity

Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 3:50 PM EST

CO-Sen, CO-Gov: After some flirtation with the idea of switching over to the open seat Governor's race, or even endeavoring to become Lt. Governor, former State House speaker Andrew Romanoff announced yesterday that he's going to keep doing what he's doing (despite having made little headway at it so far): challenging appointed incumbent Michael Bennet in the Democratic Senate primary. Romanoff also threw his support to Denver mayor John Hickenlooper in the gubernatorial primary.

FL-Sen: I wonder if we'll see more of this from insurgent Democratic candidates. Former Miami mayor Maurice Ferre, looking for some sort of angle to use against front-running Rep. Kendrick Meek for the Democratic Senate nomination, has come out against the current health care reform plan (although not against HCR in general), calling it "a special interest plan that raises taxes and favors insurance and pharmaceutical companies."

KS-Sen: The PMA scandal has mostly left House Democrats tarred with its brush, especially crusty old-school guys from that Appropriations clique, like John Murtha and Pete Visclosky. However, it's now expanding to take in a key Republican member on Appropriations - one who's in a tight battle for a promotion to the Senate and can't afford to get besmirched in any way. The House ethics panel is now looking at the links between Rep. Todd Tiahrt's donations and defense earmarks.

NY-Sen-B: Rasmussen checks out the race that's suddenly on everyone's mind (and that doesn't even exist yet, although Harold Ford Jr. just took a monthlong leave of absence from Merrill Lynch to "explore" the race - I wonder if he'll be doing most of his recon by helicopter). They find numbers very similar to local pollsters Marist and Siena: Kirsten Gillibrand beats Ford, 48-23 (with a surprisingly large 10 for "some other," presumably Jonathan Tasini although maybe it's more just "anybody else, please"). Where Rasmussen parts ways with the other pollsters is Gillibrand's high favorables (and high knowns, period): they have her at 59/27.

OH-Sen, OH-Gov: Take this with a bag of quick-melting rock salt, if you choose, as it's a poll commissioned by Ohio Right to Life and conducted by Republican pollster Wenzel Strategies. Still, the numbers clock in pretty close to what Rasmussen has been seeing lately. They see John Kasich with a 43-33 lead in the Governor's race, and Rob Portman up in the Senate race: 37-31 over Lee Fisher and 40-35 over Jennifer Brunner.

MD-Gov: One more poll, and it actually shows a Democrat in reasonably good shape. Incumbent Gov. Martin O'Malley is up 9 points against the GOP's best possible offering, potential candidate ex-Gov. Bob Ehrlich, 48-39, according to local pollster Gonzales Research. (Gonzales saw it an 11-point race last September.) O'Malley's approvals (46%) could use some improvement, but considering that Ehrlich hasn't sounded likely to get in (although he might be doing a rethink given last night's events), there are certainly many other races higher on the worry-about list.

AL-05: If Rep. Parker Griffith thought he'd be welcomed with open arms into the Republican fold, well, he's got another thing coming. The only good news for him from last night's meeting of the Madison County (i.e. Huntsville) Republican Executive Committee was that, in the end, they decided not to attempt to get Griffith removed from the primary ballot as a Republican. The real question of the meeting, though, was whether it would be better strategy for Republicans to try to beat him in the primary or via an independent candidacy in November.

AR-02: Democratic candidates who sound committed to running to replace retiring Rep. Vic Snyder are already piling up - and we haven't even gotten to Lt. Gov. Bill Halter or ex-Gen. Wesley Clark yet. State House Speaker Robbie Wills today stopped short of saying he's running, but says he's "excited" about running. State Sen. Joyce Elliott also sounds very likely to run, while Public Service Commissioner Paul Suskie is in the "seriously considering" stage.

AZ-03: On the other side of the aisle and of the country, Republicans from the deep local bench are piling into the open seat race in the 3rd, vacated by Rep. John Shadegg. Paradise Valley mayor Vernon Parker is ending his long-shot gubernatorial campaign and heading over to the 3rd, and he's being joined by state Sen. Jim Waring (who's dropping his state Treasurer campaign to do so). They join already-in state Sen. Pamela Gorman and state Rep. Sam Crump.

IL-10: State Rep. Julie Hamos and Dan Seals continue to split key endorsements in their primary fight for the Democratic nod in the open 10th. Hamos got the endorsements of both the Chicago Tribune and Sun-Times, while Seals picked up the smaller-circulation Daily Herald's endorsement.

ND-AL: Add one more confirmed name to the list of GOPers sniffing out the at-large House seat in North Dakota, hoping John Hoeven's Senate bid gives them some coattails against the entrenched Democratic incumbent, Rep. Earl Pomeroy. Former House majority leader Rick Berg kicked off his campaign yesterday.

TN-04: Rep. Lincoln Davis has been pretty much assured a bumpy ride, thanks to Tennessee's rapidly-reddening status. He got a new Republican challenger today, in the form of attorney Jack Bailey. It's unclear whether the never-before-elected Bailey will be stronger than physician Scott DesJarlais (or can even get past him in the primary), but he's a former Hill staffer (ex-CoS for Missouri Rep. Scott Akin) so he probably still has a full Rolodex for fundraising purposes.

TN-08: State Sen. Roy Herron keeps looking like he'll have an easy path to the Democratic nomination to replace retiring Rep. John Tanner. Former state Rep. Phillip Pinion, an oft-floated name, said he wouldn't get into the race.

OR-Init: Oregon voters have a chance to deal a major setback to the coalescing conventional wisdom that voters prefer service cuts to tax hikes to plug state budget gaps, with Measures 66 and 67. The state legislature passed raises in the $250,000-plus tax bracket and certain corporate income taxes, which are now subject to a people's veto (via an all-mail special election with a deadline of Jan. 26). Well-regarded local pollster Tim Hibbitts, paid for by a coalition of local media, finds both measures passing: 52-39 for 66 and 50-40 on 67.

Mayors: One other election result from last night: Jefferson Co. Commissioner William Bell defeated attorney Patrick Cooper in a runoff, to become Birmingham, Alabama's new mayor, 54-46. Cooper had won the most votes in the general, but Bell seemed to consolidate previously-split African-American votes.

Polltopia: One more interesting follow-up on the increasing democratization of polling (on the heels of yesterday's piece by Mark Blumenthal): the Hill looks at the increasing move by groups like Firedoglake and the PCCC toward commissioning polls - and even has an anecdote about PPP's Tom Jensen getting berated by a nameless Beltway person for broaching the unmentionable and polling potential alternatives to Harry Reid.

Social media: At some point during the flurry of activity yesterday, Swing State Project shot past 1,000 Twitter followers (gaining more than 100 yesterday alone). Not a follower yet? Check us out. You can also receive SSP updates via Facebook, if you're one of those Luddites who like to read things that are longer than 140 characters.

Discuss :: (17 Comments)

SSP Daily Digest: 1/19

by: Crisitunity

Tue Jan 19, 2010 at 4:40 PM EST

Believe it or not, the world continues to turn today, even outside Massachusetts...

Site News: A minor site change: We've had to disable HTML on user bio pages (like this one). We apologize if this winds up killing your links or spewing ugly HTML characters in your bio, so you may want to edit yours if so. You can still post links - they just won't be HTML-ized. The reason we did this is because spammers have been exploiting the bio pages to post links to their own sites. It's easy for us to catch them when they post comments or diaries, but harder to stop them from creating new accounts. This takes away their incentive. Suck on it, spammer scum! (D)

NV-Sen: I don't know what you envision when you see "probe" and "John Ensign" in the same sentence, but this is rich: the FBI is getting involved in the investigation, indicating this may go beyond the Senate Ethics Committee, headed in the direction of a criminal inquiry. The Feds have been contacting former aides about the Hampton affair.

NY-Sen-B: Ex-Rep. Harold Ford Jr. just seems to be digging his self-inflicted hole deeper, as he runs damage control from the NYT profile that portrayed him as a helicopter-riding, pedicure-getting richie-rich. For his new interview with the Daily News, he insisted that it be limited to his rationale for running, not "issues" (issues, of course, are for the little people). Still, that contrasts with his defense of the pedicure thing, about which he said: "This race isn't about feet, it's about issues." Meanwhile, observers are wondering if Al Sharpton (who has endorsed Kirsten Gillibrand) is telegraphing a potential switch in sides.

IA-Gov: Ex-Gov. Terry Branstad is out with an internal poll showing him in commanding position in the Republican primary as he seeks to regain his old job, despite the discomfort some social conservatives have with him. Branstad polls at 62%, followed by Bob Vander Plaats lagging at 18%, with Christopher Rants at 4 and Rod Roberts at 2.

IL-Gov: Next door in Illinois, though, where things don't seem quite as settled in the Republican primary, three different candidates are citing polls that claim to have them in the lead. State Sen. Kirk Dillard has an internal that has him leading at 22, with state party chair Andy McKenna at 14 and ex-AG Jim Ryan at 10 - which is odd, since the Chicago Tribune's poll several weeks ago gave Ryan a substantial lead and saw Dillard in fourth place. McKenna also claims to have a poll with him in the lead, although he didn't even bother giving any details. Dillard seems to be the "moderate" horse in the GOP race, with endorsements from ex-Gov. Jim Edgar, Rep. Judy Biggert, and even the Illinois Education Association (hopefully only as far as the primary goes).

TX-Gov: Rasmussen is out with fresh polls of the Texas governor's race, and this time, they're even doing the general, now that it got competitive, with the entry of Democratic Houston mayor Bill White. As one might expect, both incumbent Rick Perry and GOP primary rival Kay Bailey Hutchison lead White, and KBH overperforms Perry. Hutchison leads White 52-37, while Perry leads 50-40. (In the unlikely event White faces off against Paulist activist Debra Medina, he wins 44-38.) More interestingly, Medina seems to be getting a serious foothold in the GOP primary, which seems like it has the potential to push the Perry/Hutchison battle to a runoff, keeping Perry below 50%. Perry leads Hutchison and Medina 43-33-12.

MI-Gov, MI-13: The amazingly brief gubernatorial campaign of state Sen. Hansen Clarke ended yesterday, after about one week in existence. It seems like party insiders steered him in a different direction, saying that he's been offered big financial support if he takes on vulnerable (in a primary) Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick instead, and he says he's strongly considering that race now. Kilpatrick (mother of embattled former mayor Kwame Kilpatrick) nearly lost a 3-way primary in 2008.

AZ-03: One aspiring House Republican didn't wait long to announce her run to fill the recently-vacated seat of Rep. John Shadegg. State Sen. Pamela Gorman announced her campaign.

MI-07: One more race that hasn't drawn much scrutiny yet but where it looks like Dems will have to play hard defense is in the 7th. Freshman Rep. Mark Schauer faces a rematch with ex-Rep. Tim Walberg, who is now promoting his own internal poll showing him with 46-37 edge over Schauer. There's been some establishment skepticism over whether the polarizing Walberg is "electable" enough, which may really be the point of the poll: it also shows attorney Brian Rooney, the supposedly more palatable (but currently less-known) GOPer, trailing Schauer 39-31.

PA-04: Republicans are banking on former US Attorneys to get them back a few House seats in the Keystone State, and they got one of their desired recruits. Mary Beth Buchanan, one of the chief enforcers among the "loyal Bushies," has apparently decided that she'll take on Rep. Jason Altmire in the GOP-leaning 4th in Pittsburgh's suburbs, and may announce her candidacy later this week.

WV-01: The NRCC had hoped to put a scare into longtime Democratic incumbent Alan Mollohan, frequently drum-beating his name as a potential retirement. Unfortunately for them, Mollohan has filed his paperwork to seek a 15th term in Congress. (J)

OH-Lt. Gov: Ted Strickland announced today that he's tapping ex-Franklin Co. Judge Yvette McGee Brown to be his running mate. Brown is the president of the Center for Child and Family Advocacy, a Columbus organization based at the Nationwide Children's Hospital. (J)

Mayors: Another election to keep an eye on is a runoff for Birmingahm's next mayor. The seat became vacant in October upon the conviction of Larry Langford on corruption charges. Langford and other insiders have endorsed William Bell (who currently holds Langford's former seat on the county conmission). Naturally, Patrick Cooper is running against Bell on a change platform. The campaign has been full of nasty accusations and innuendo with many glad it's coming to an end. (T)

Polltopia: Mark Blumenthal looks at the rapidly reducing cost of polling, and only sees even more of a proliferation of it in the near future as robo-calling gets within the reaches of the masses, even the crazy bloggers. Even Rasmussen is getting into the act, with plans to spin off a new service that will allow anyone to poll on anything for a fee of $600. That leaves Blumenthal wondering how to screen in the future for proper quality and against abuse of time-honored standards.

Discuss :: (17 Comments)
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