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Tennessee Primaries Preview

by: Crisitunity

Thu Aug 05, 2010 at 1:28 PM EDT

TN-Gov (R): Bill Haslam hopes to bulls-eye a Wamp rat tonight (and Ron Ramsey for good measure). The Knoxville mayor is generally regarded as the frontrunner in the Republican gubernatorial field, in both polling and fundraising (much of which came out of his own pocket). Rep. Zach Wamp and Ramsey (the Lt. Governor) are further back in the polls, and trying to out-conservative each other in their messaging. In fact, this is starting to look like a replay of the Michigan GOP primary earlier this week, with the self-funding 'moderate' (to the extent that Haslam apparently once signed off on a tax increase, and isn't as demagogic as the others) benefiting from a brawl between multiple conservatives.. and also in that while polling has shown Dem nominee Mike McWherter competitive against the conservative candidates, he matches up much less well against Haslam. There's also a wild card in the form of viral video star Basil Marceaux, whose late-surging candidacy may make some inroads among the anti-traffic-stop, pro-immuning crowd. (C)

TN-03 (R): Like Peter Hoekstra in MI-02, the joy of watching one of the House's most execrable members (Zach Wamp, in this case) give up his seat for a gubernatorial primary faceplant is tempered somewhat by the knowledge that he'll be replaced by someone just as nasty. There are 11 GOPers in this primary, but it's really only a two-person race, between Club for Growth-backed former GOP state party chair Robin Smith and attorney, radio talk show host, and Mike Huckabee ally Chuck Fleischmann. (Smith, you might recall, was the GOP chair during the 2008 campaign, who released the infamous "Anti-Semites for Obama" press release that had him in African tribal garb. (C)

TN-04 (R): We don't have much intel on the Republican primary here, where the main contestants are attorney Jack Bailey, and physician Scott DesJarlais, but it's worth keeping an eye on, as the victor will go on to face Rep. Lincoln Davis. Davis isn't high on anyone's target list, but in a big enough wave could get swept away just by virtue of his R+13 district. Bailey has a bit of a fundraising edge, probably thanks to connections from his former work as a Hill staffer. (C)

TN-06 (R): Let the fur fly in this Middle Tennessee district currently held by outgoing Democrat Bart Gordon. The field counts eight Republicans, with three serious contenders in former Rutherford County GOP chair Lou Ann Zelenik, state Senator Jim Tracy from the southern part of the district, and state Senator Diane Black, who represents two northern counties in the district. The mad dash, of course, is for the right, whether its immigration or misuse of government resources. Black released an internal that had her leading at 41% and Zelenik and Tracy mired in the twenties at 22 and 20, respectively. Look for sharp geographic distinctions here tonight, with each candidate having a different base in this rural-exurban district. (JMD)

TN-08 (R): For the open seat of outgoing Dem John Tanner, five Republicans have jumped into the fray. The three frontrunners -- agribusinessman Steve Fincher, Shelby County Commissioner George Flinn, and doctor Ron Kirkland -- have been busy bashing each other to bits. All sorts of accusations have been thrown around -- Flinn's been attacked for owning a hip-hop station in Memphis, while Fincher's caught flak for voting in the Democratic primary for local offices in May, and Kirkland's on the defensive for steering contributions to Democrats in the past. All three are have significant warchests to play with (Fincher $421k cash-on-hand, Flinn $275k with the ability to self-fund, Kirkland $223k). So who's going to emerge from this bare-knucle brawl? Fincher's the NRCC's preferred candidate, and a recent poll had him leading with 32 to Kirkland's 23 and Flinn's 21. This race is largely in the air (not that presumptive Dem. nominee Roy Herron's complaining), though unfortunately, we'll know the winner of this fight tonight, as Tennessee has no runoffs. (JMD)

TN-09 (D): Two years ago, Nikki Tinker's campaign against incumbent Dem. Steve Cohen was infuriating; this time, former Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton's campaign is just laughable. Whether it's claiming he'll beat Cohen 3:1, losing the CBC's endorsement to Cohen, or having less than 1/47th of Cohen's cash-on-hand, Herenton's campaign really makes you wonder. Let the mockery begin. (JMD)

UPDATE: Polls close at 8 pm ET/7 pm CT (the state is in both time zones, but apparently closing times are coordinated). As always, if you have predictions, let us know in the comments.

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SSP Daily Digest: 6/7

by: Crisitunity

Mon Jun 07, 2010 at 5:59 PM EDT

AR-Sen: The Bill Halter campaign is looking for last minute phonebanking help to seal the deal. And you can do it from the comfort of your own home.

CA-Sen, CA-Gov (pdf): The Senate GOP primary portion of the Field Poll came out over the weekend, and it's right in line with the various other pollsters finding a last-minute Carly Fiorina surge into a double-digit lead. She leads Tom Campbell and Chuck DeVore 37-22-19. (Campbell led 28-22-9 in the previous Field poll in March.) Also, it looks like Campbell's last-minute ad pitch, centered around his electability, may fall on deaf ears: 42% of primary voters think that Fiorina has the best chance of beating Barbara Boxer, while 22% think that Campbell does (and 12% think that Chuck DeVore does -- which is also about the same percentage of Californians who believe there is a 1,000 foot high pyramid in Greenland). There are also primary polls out from Republican pollster Magellan (who don't have a horse in this race), who find things even worse for Campbell: they have Fiorina leading Campbell and DeVore 54-19-16. They also give a big edge to fellow rich person Meg Whitman in the gubernatorial race; she leads Steve Poizner 64-22. The unfortunate moral of the story here: have a lot of money.

DE-Sen: New Castle Co. Exec Chris Coons is pre-emptively getting ahead of Republican charges that he raised taxes, by, instead of hiding under the bed like conventional wisdom dictates, saying 'guilty as charged' and explaining how it helped. The county wound up with a AAA bond rating and a eight-digit surplus. Coons also previewed one of his lines of attack against Mike Castle: Castle's role in deregulating the banking sector.

FL-Sen: As Charlie Crist rebuilds his team from scratch, he's rolling out a new media team that's heavy on the Democratic ties. Most prominently, Chuck Schumer's former chief of staff, Josh Isay, will be Crist's lead media person. Isay's firm SKD Knickerbocker may be best-known for helping out other moderate independents, like Joe Lieberman and Michael Bloomberg. One of the fires that Isay will have to put out as soon as he gets in the building, though, is what to do about the Jim Greer situation. Greer's lawyer is saying that Crist gave the initial OK on Greer's fundraising workaround which avoided usual party channels (which Greer allegedly turned into a scheme for filling his own pockets).

IL-Sen: Rep. Mark Kirk's very, very bad week last week just seems to be spilling over into this week. There are allegations popping up that he fibbed on getting shot at in Afghanistan too, and also evidence that he made a lot of stuff up while talking off the cuff about the Somalia situation last year. Taking a page from Richard Blumenthal, late last week he finally dropped the playing offense against the charges and instead went to the Chicago Tribune's e-board to say "I'm sorry" -- but that apology comes after letting the story fester all week.

NH-Sen: After a year and a half of having the Democratic primary to himself, there are hints that Rep. Paul Hodes might get some late-in-the-game company. Mark Connolly, the former head of the state's Securities Division who resigned to become a whistleblower in the wake of the Financial Resources Mortgage coverup (the same one that'll have Kelly Ayotte testifying before the state legislature soon), expressed some interest and said "he's angry enough to do it." (Looks like a common theme this year.) Speaking of Ayotte, it sounds like she doesn't know how to read a poll: she says she won't take drilling for oil off New Hampshire's tiny coastline "off the table."

WA-Sen: You might remember from last week that the Univ. of Washington engaged in some methodologically weird stuff by adding an extra week's worth of samples on the end of their already-released poll and re-releasing the numbers (which were nevertheless unchanged, at Patty Murray 44, Dino Rossi 40). Well, now they're re-releasing the poll yet again with even more samples, with changed toplines and with specific numbers for that tiny extra sample for the days May 24-28 (following Rossi's official announcement). The number that's getting all the press is that Rossi led Murray 42-39 in that batch, although that's only based on 221 likely voters with a margin of error of 6.6%, so its usefulness is, well, questionable. Their full numbers are now 42-40 for Murray for the entire RV sample and 46-40 for Murray for the entire LV sample (i.e. those who voted in 2006), and she leads Generic R 44-39 among RVs (and 46-41 in the May 24-28 sample), but this poll has gotten so methodologically convoluted I'm not really sure it's worth much of anything at this point.

Murray got some good news today in the form of an endorsement, and it's not from a human but a corporation: Boeing. While she's received plenty of Boeing money in the past, I'm not aware of Boeing ever having explicitly endorsed her or anyone else before (although anyone with a pulse knows that Murray has taken over for Scoop Jackson as the "Senator from Boeing"). Frankly, in the state of Washington, this is a bigger endorsement than any human politician's endorsement would be, considering the way Boeing's tendrils reach so much of the state. Finally, the field of miscellaneous Republicans kept shrinking today, as chiropractor Sean Salazar (probably the first guy to try to grab the teabagger mantle here, although he got shoved over by Clint Didier) bailed out of the race and backed Rossi.

WI-Sen: Here's a strange vulnerability for Ron Johnson in the Wisconsin Senate race: his fixation on opposing bipartisan Wisconsin state legislation making it easier for victims of childhood sexual abuse to sue their abusers. That'll require some explanation, and I assume it'll be something other than his current explanation, that such legislation would only lead to more victims of sexual abuse by making organizations likelier to sweep it under the carpet.

IA-Gov: After endorsing a variety of misspelled odds-and-ends last week ("Cecil Bledsoe," "Angela McGowen," and Joe Miller), Sarah Palin went with a big gun this weekend, and it was one who doesn't match her carefully cultivated teabagging/religious right image at all: establishment retread Terry Branstad in Iowa. Is she counting on getting repaid by Branstad in the 2012 caucuses, if she decides to give up the grifting lifestyle and take the huge pay cut associated with running for President? (Branstad also has the backing of Mitt Romney, who seems more of a kindred spirit for him.)

MI-Gov: The Schwarz is not with us after all. Joe Schwarz, the moderate ex-Rep. who got bounced from MI-07 in 2006 in the GOP primary by Tim Walberg, has decided against pursuing the independent bid in the Governor's race that he'd been threatening. On the surface, the loss of a center-right indie looks like bad news for the Dems, but depending on which two candidates match up in November, Schwarz could just have easily pulled more left-of-center votes... and in all likelihood, he wasn't going to rack up more than a few percent anyway.

NY-Gov: In their standoff with Democratic nominee Andrew Cuomo, the Working Families Party seems to have blinked first. They went ahead and nominated placeholders in the Governor, Lt. Gov, and AG slots, presumably to allow coordination with the Dem choices later. Cuomo had been leaning hard on the WFP to do so. The person most affected by this is state Sen. Eric Schneiderman, a Cuomo foe who had been considered the most likely WFP candidate for AG; instead, the WFP may wind up going with Nassau Co. DA Kathleen Rice, who's Cuomo's preferred AG for his informal "ticket."

TX-Gov: The Greens are actually going to be on the ballot in Texas this year, for the gubernatorial race? I'm as surprised as you are, but it's less surprising when you find out who's behind it: Arizona Republican consultant Tim Mooney, who set up the petition drive to get them on the ballot (and who's also a veteran of the 2004 efforts to get Ralph Nader on as many states' ballots as possible). GOP incumbent Rick Perry faces a tough race from Dem former Houston mayor Bill White, and he can have a little breathing room if the Greens siphon off a few lefties.

AR-01: Chad Causey has an interesting argument for Democratic runoff voters in the 1st not to vote for ex-state Sen. Tim Wooldridge: he's likely to bolt for the Republican Party at his earliest convenience. Causey's evidence for the flight risk posed by Wooldridge includes his very conservative voting record in the state legislature, starting with his pro-public hanging legislation. Wooldridge, for his part, said he'd never switch. The Wooldridge camp is also offering up an internal poll (no word on the pollster) claiming a 48-24 lead over Causey in the runoff.

CA-19: SurveyUSA has one last poll of the race in the 19th's GOP primary, which they've polled exhaustively (and found almost exactly the same thing each time). However, this time it's a little more interesting: there seems to be some late movement to former Fresno mayor Jim Patterson, who now leads state Sen. Jeff Denham 34-30. Ex-Rep. Richard Pombo is back at 17, with Larry Westerlund at 8. On the Dem side, it's a 26-26 tie between Loraine Goodwin and Les Marsden.

MN-06: What started out as a thorny three-way primary (when Elwyn Tinklenberg was in the race) has turned into a walk for Democratic state Sen. Tarryl Clark. Maureen Reed, a physician and former Independence Party Lt. Gov. candidate, ended her bid and endorsed Clark against Rep. Michele Bachmann. Reed had done surprisingly well at fundraising, but didn't have the institutional advantages that Clark did, especially once Clark got the DFL endorsement. Clark still has an uphill fight against Bachmann, who's insulated against likely future foot-in-mouth incidents by the district's reddish lean as well as a huge war chest.

TN-08: A Hill piece on the possibility of another NRCC-touted candidate (in the form of Stephen Fincher) going down in flames actually has some nice dirt on all three Republicans contesting the primary in the 8th. Fincher, of course, is widely noted for his hypocrisy on attacking the federal government while receiving millions in farm subsidies, but it's also been revealed that he has voted in three Democratic primaries in the last eight years, "used virtually the same TV ad as a candidate for Alabama Agriculture Commisioner" (I have to assume it was an ad from one of the "thugs," since if he'd riiiiiiipped off Dale Peterson's ad, the whole blogosphere would already know about it by now), and perhaps most pathetically, misspelled "Tennessee" in a mailer. His challengers, Ron Kirkland and George Flinn, have their own troubles; Kirkland contributed to outgoing Democratic Rep. John Tanner in 2000 and 2004, while Flinn tried to cover up a lawsuit by a contractor who wasn't paid for remodeling work.

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SSP Daily Digest: 2/15

by: Crisitunity

Mon Feb 15, 2010 at 4:11 PM EST

AZ-Sen: This is good news! For J.D. Hayworth! The right-wing anti-immigrant vote in the GOP primary isn't going to be split. Minutemen co-founder Chris Simcox ended his bid and endorsed Hayworth, not having gotten much traction on the polling front even before Hayworth's entry. In a close race, though, Simcox's few percentage points could make all the difference for Hayworth. Bad news, for the GOP, though, is that Hayworth and John McCain are planning to go all Mutually Assured Destruction on each other in the primary, with Hayworth threatening that if McCain brings up Abramoff, he'll bring up the Keating 5. Dems really need a marquee candidate here to be poised to seize the smoldering ruins.

CO-Sen: Andrew Romanoff is rolling out more endorsements, as he seems to be finally getting his primary challenge to Michael Bennet into gear in the wake of recent polling showing him outperforming Bennet in the general election. He's claiming the endorsement of more than two-thirds of the Democrats in the state House, including current majority leader Paul Weissman, as well as state Senate majority leader John Morse and former House speaker Ruben Valdez. Romanoff, of course, is a former House speaker himself, so he's got an 'in' with the legislative types.

NV-Sen: I wonder if this is the break that'll save Harry Reid's butt in November? (Especially if Sue Lowden winds up winning the GOP nomination, as she's public enemy number 1 to the state's Paulists.) The "Tea Party" has filed a "Certificate of Existence" (where can I get one of those, for whenever people doubt that I exist?) in Nevada, and will have its own candidate on the ballot in November. Jon Ashjian will reportedly be their candidate; the question still remains just how big a bite he takes out of the Republican column, though. In addition, there will also be a Reform Party candidate on the ballot and as many as five independents.

NY-Sen-B: Mort Zuckerman? Really? Maybe he's taking a page from friend Michael Bloomberg and realizing that, with enough money, any political office is within reach for a restless billionaire. The 72-year-old Daily News publisher and real estate baron is considering a race against Kirsten Gillibrand, although there's no indication of which party label he'd use. He's known as a Democrat, but it seems likely he'd pursue either an independent or Republican bid to avoid the Democratic primary (where Harold Ford Jr. already seems to be occupying the turf Zuckerman would need in order to win).

CT-Gov: Here's the top facepalm news of the day: Ned Lamont has hired a campaign manager as he officially kicks off his gubernatorial campaign, and he hired Joe Abbey, last seen... wait for it... helming Creigh Deeds' campaign.

FL-Gov: This doesn't sound very promising either, as the St. Petersburg Times looks at the growing sense of torpor surrounding the Alex Sink campaign. Sink has had little trouble fundraising and a so-so GOP opponent, but operatives are starting to worry she's walking a Martha Coakley-ish line on focusing on insider connections and with a lack of interest in mixing it up with voters or even developing a resonant message.

PA-Gov: The GOP state party endorsements came with a lot less drama than the Democrats', seeing as how they've had their candidates locked down for most of a year. AG Tom Corbett easily got the endorsement for governor over state Rep. Sam Rohrer, which was widely expected although it still piqued Rohrer's handful of right-wing supporters. The most drama was actually for the #2 slot; Bucks County Commissioner Jim Cawley managed to win the Lt. Governor endorsement on the second ballot out of a crowded field. On the Democratic side, Philadelphia-based state Sen. Anthony Williams is still expressing some interest in the race, although he's set a very high bar for entry for himself. He's sitting $1 million already, and he says if he can get that figure up to $4 million in the next few weeks, he'll jump in.

TX-Gov (pdf): There's yet another poll out of the Texas gubernatorial primaries, from a coalition of newspapers, most prominently the Austin American-Statesman. It's right in line with the other polls out recently, with Rick Perry at 45, Kay Bailey Hutchison at 29, and Debra Medina at 7. (They don't poll runoff matchups, or the Dem primary.) Houston mayor Bill White continues to make this a competitive race for the Dems in the general: he trails Perry 43-37, and Hutchison 42-34. Meanwhile, Debra Medina (who recently seemed to blunt any late momentum by revealing her truly kooky side) may have some good company, in the form of Democratic candidate Farouk Shami: he came out with some statements putting him in truther-curious territory as well. Shami is also about to announce the invention of a blow dryer that actually grows hair. (Why aim low, for merely Governor, if that's true? If it's really true, he's about to become a trillionaire.)

AZ-03: I'm not sure if this is the family name you really want, when running for office, but a new candidate is in the GOP field in the open seat race in the 3rd: Ben Quayle. The 33-year-old attorney, who hasn't run for office before, is the son of former VP and frequent punchline Dan Quayle.

FL-24: With the former CEO of the Ruth's Chris Steakhouse chain, Craig Miller, planning to run in the 24th, Democrats are spotlighting his opposition to tougher laws on drunk driving. (As a restauranteur, he would have a financial interest in getting that extra drink into his guests.) "Once 0.08 becomes law, why not 0.05 or 0.02?" he asked in a 2000 interview.

MA-10: The William Delahunt retirement rumors aren't going away, and now Glenn Thrush points to a Delahunt-out/Joe Kennedy III-in/Delahunt-endorses-Kennedy master-plan in the works. Kennedy, a Barnstable County prosecuting attorney, isn't the only Kennedy of his generation who's a possible House candidate; Politico helpfully provides a scorecard of various other Kennedys who might run for higher office in the future. At any rate, even if Joe III doesn't wind up in the next Congress, it's likely Congress won't stay Kennedy-free for very long.

OK-05: There's one less Oklahoma Republican in the primary for the open seat in dark-red OK-05. Corporation Commissioner Jeff Cloud cited non-life-threatening health concerns in dropping out of the race, although he plans to keep serving in his current job. Six different GOPers are in the field (perhaps most notably, former state Rep. Kevin Calvey), but no Dem has gotten in yet.

PA-03: One other dropout from a crowded GOP field, this time for the right to take on Rep. Kathy Dahlkemper in the 3rd. Tom Trevorrow, an ophthalmologist who made a splashy entrance recently with a big serving of self-funding and some expensive consultant hires, ended his bid just as quickly, citing his father's illness.

RI-01: A couple big names have already gotten into the race to replace retiring Rep. Patrick Kennedy, the biggest possibly being Providence's mayor David Cicilline (who surprised many by turning down a gubernatorial run this year). Cicilline would be the fourth openly-gay member of Congress, if elected. He'll have to get past William Lynch in the primary, though; Lynch, the brother of AG and gubernatorial candidate Patrick Lynch, just resigned as the state's Democratic party chair in order to run. Pretty much every prominent Democrat around is also listed as a possible candidate: Lt. Gov. Elizabeth Roberts (who also decided against a gubernatorial run), ex-Rep. Bob Weygand (of RI-02, who lost the 2000 Senate race to Lincoln Chafee), ex-LG Charles Fogarty, and even state Rep. Betsy Dennigan, who's currently running a primary against Rep. James Langevin over in RI-02. (Rhode Island seems like Hawaii, where the boundaries between the two districts seem like they're of little practical importance.) On the GOP side, state Rep. John Loughlin is already in, while former Cranston mayor and Senate candidate Steven Laffey and state party chair Giovanni Cicione are also mentioned.

TN-08: Everyone has pretty well coalesced around state Sen. (and until recently, gubernatorial candidate) Roy Herron to try to hold retiring Rep. John Tanner's seat. Democratic state Rep. Craig Fitzhugh just announced that he wouldn't run, and in a somewhat encouraging sign, said that his own polling showed that he wouldn't have trouble getting past the various Republicans seeking the seat in the R+3 (but historically Democratic) district. Instead, he didn't see a way past Herron in the primary.

VA-05: PPP has some follow-up on its previous general election poll of VA-05, looking at the GOP primary, which has the potential to be one of the biggest flashpoints in the establishment/teabagger schism. For now, chalk this one up to the establishment: state Sen. Robert Hurt leads at 22 (leading among both moderates and conservatives), with Albemarle Co. Commissioner Ken Boyd at 12. The various members of the teabagging rabble all poll in the low single digits. With 51% still undecided, though, this is still anyone's game once the ad wars begin.

CA-LG: So, Arnold Schwarzenegger dialed down his banana-republic dictator act from last week, deciding to resubmit Republican state Sen. Abel Maldonado for appointment as Lt. Governor, rather than deciding to swear him in despite not getting enough votes in the Assembly to confirm him. The legislature has another 90 days to decide what to do with him.

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TN-8: Republican Ron Kirkland raises 365K in one month

by: wtndem

Wed Feb 10, 2010 at 12:27 AM EST

Dr. Ron Kirkland (R-Jackson) has sent out a press release to the media stating that his campaign has raised 365K for his run to replace retiring Democrat John Tanner (D-Union City). The presser states the total does not include any self-endorsements or loans. State Senator Roy Herron (D-Dresden) was criticized for pushing a large fund-raising total, within a month of his jump from the Governor's race, that contained a sizable personal contribution. Whatever the case may be, Kirkland clearly is indicating he will able to fund a serious campaign to obtain his party's nomination.

The Kirkland presser clearly takes aim at the NRCC favorite in the race, farmer/gospel singer Stephen Fincher (R-Crockett County), for being the apparent pre-ordained choice of "a small circle of Washington insiders, DC power brokers, and professional fundraisers". Fincher has been touted by Republican leaders in Washington since late last year and and received sizable contributions from several key members of the House. Kirkland's presser also touts his strong connections to West and Middle Tennessee after years of service as a medical professional, insinuating a lack of breadth in Fincher's connections within the district.

A serious Republican primary is brewing in the 8th Congressional District of Tennessee. This will be a primary race worth watching.

Read the following link for the presser and the results of the Madison County Young Republican Reagan Day Straw Poll -which or course is the case with all straw polls one needs to take with a grain of salt.

Source: Jackson Sun-Blog: "Motion Carried"- Nicholas Beadle: http://www.jacksonsun.com/apps...

Note: This is all my own writing and none of this material is copied and/or pasted; please read the link for the presser and Nicholas Beadle's post on it. Also, in the original version of this diary I mis-attributed a posed question to Beadle, that was retracted in this version.

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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.

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TN-8: Herron (D) hires veteran media relations operative w/ hardball reputation

by: wtndem

Thu Jan 14, 2010 at 5:21 PM EST

The Associated Press has reported that State Senator Roy Herron (D-Dresden) has hired veteran political operative Carol Andrews as a campaign adviser for his bid to replace retiring Congressman John Tanner (D-Union City). Andrews is a known hardball player in the media relations field, with strong ties to the Tennessee political scene. She handled Harold Ford Jr.'s media relations for his 2006 US Senate bid and was at one time a VP for the high-profile political media firm Fletcher Rowley & Chao.

Read the following source links for more information concerning Carol Andrew's political resume and her relationships with the Tennessee and national media establishments.

Source Links:

AP via WRCB TV -Chattanooga: http://www.wrcbtv.com/Global/s...

Nashville Post/Post Politics (Adam Kleinheider): http://politics.nashvillepost....

Nashville Scene (Liz Garrigan): http://blogs.nashvillescene.co...

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SSP Daily Digest: 1/4

by: Crisitunity

Mon Jan 04, 2010 at 3:46 PM EST

KY-Sen: I've never heard of Bill Johnson before, but bringing six figures to the table is bound to gain some attention. The western Kentucky businessman, who's running in the Republican Senate primary, said he's loaning himself $250,000 to try and garner some notice in the big-$ primary between Trey Grayson and Rand Paul.

LA-Sen: I never thought I'd see the day when urea formaldehyde would become a campaign issue, but Democrats are hoping to use it against David Vitter in the Bayou State. Vitter (who has the backs of Louisiana's large chemical industry) has been placing a hold on a new EPA administrator's nomination, partly over concerns that the EPA will more heavily regulate formaldehyde. Unfortunately for Vitter, more than 34,000 Louisiana residents have first-hand experience with urea formaldehyde, outgassing from the paneling of their FEMA-provided post-Katrina trailers.

MA-Sen: Republican State Sen. Scott Brown has an uphill fight in this month's special election to overcome the state's Dem lean and perhaps sentimental desires to keep Ted Kennedy's seat in Democratic hands. Still, he got an endorsement from the state's most popular conservative: Red Sox great Curt Schilling.

NH-Sen: Salt shaker at the ready? ARG has a new poll out of general election matchups in the New Hampshire Senate race, showing a single-digit edge for Republican AG Kelly Ayotte over Democratic Rep. Paul Hodes, 43-36 (their last poll, from September, also gave Ayotte a 7-pt edge). They also poll Hodes against conservative upstart Ovide Lamontagne for the first time, and, in a bit of a head-scratcher, find a similar margin for the less-known and, one would think, less electable Lamontagne, who leads Hodes 37-31.

MI-Gov: Here's a Rasmussen poll that slipped our notice over the holidays; as one might expect, Santa Rasmussen had a big lump of coal for John Cherry's stocking. All three Republicans lead the Democratic Lt. Governor, as other pollsters generally find, but Rasmussen still manages to depart from the other pollsters' findings: AG Mike Cox, who has generally polled the best against Cherry, here has the smallest edge over him (only 39-34), while loudmouthed right-wing Rep. Pete Hoekstra has the biggest edge (46-32). (This poll was taken before Hoekstra's grandstanding over the attempted plane bombing, which would serve to raise his name rec outside his western Michigan home turf.) Oakland Co. Sheriff Mike Bouchard leads Cherry 42-32. One hope for Cherry, though, is that, in terms of favorables, he still has higher unknowns than any of the Republicans, giving him room to grow.

RI-Gov: Jan. 4 has been penciled in as the official launch date for Lincoln Chafee's independent campaign for Rhode Island for a while now. With it comes news that (against a backdrop of mediocre fundraising so far) he'll be dipping into the family fortune to propel his race; he just lent his campaign another $200K after starting it off with a previous $110K. Compared with Dem state Treasurer Frank Caprio's $1.5 million, Chafee has a lot of ground to make up. Meanwhile, Republicans would still like a candidate... any candidate.

AL-05: Looks like recent turncoat Parker Griffith is having a busy day today, answering his own phones and making his own coffee. Almost his entire staff resigned en masse today, unwilling to join him on his foray into the Republican fold.

CA-19: Another sort-of-well-known Republican is scoping out the new open seat in the 19th: former SoS, former Assembly minority leader, and 2004 Senatorial loser Bill Jones is considering the race. Fresno city councilor Larry Westerlund is also looking at the race, which already has state Sen. Jeff Denham and former Fresno mayor Jim Patterson in the GOP field... and, as of this afternoon, former CA-11 Rep. Dick Pombo. (I wonder if Tom McClintock is interested in running here? He's gotta be feeling restless again, having represented CA-04 for a full year now.)

MN-01, MN-02, MN-03: We might actually wind up with a Democratic former elected official running in John Kline's 2nd but not in the theoretically more-vulnerable 3rd next door. Former state Rep. Shelly Madore of Apple Valley (who was defeated by a Republican in 2008) has decided to get into the race in Minneapolis's southern suburbs. (H/t Andrew.) Speaking of the 3rd, Democratic challenger Maureen Hackett is the first to hit the airwaves with a new radio spot; she faces a primary fight with state PTA president Jim Meffert, and the winner takes on freshman Republican Rep. Erik Paulsen. Finally, as expected, it only took Republican ex-state Rep. Allen Quist a few weeks to start bringing the crazy over in the 1st, as seen in recent comments that beating "radical" Democrats in Washington is a bigger battle than beating terrorism.

NY-20, NY-Comptroller: Republican John Faso (the former Assembly minority leader and 2006 gubernatorial loser) was getting touted for a number of different races: for a run for Comptroller, against Rep. Scott Murphy in the 20th, or maybe even for NY-Sen-B if no other Kirsten Gillibrand challenger stepped up. It looks like he won't be doing any of those things, saying it's "doubtful" he'll run for anything this year. State party chair Ed Cox is pushing Emil Henry Jr. for the GOP's Comptroller slot now (Henry, a former Lehman Bros. exec, had earlier been trying to generate some interest for a gubernatorial run, apparently to little avail).

PA-04: Insiders are leaking that former W.D. Pa. US Attorney (and loyal Bushie) Mary Beth Buchanan is increasingly likely to run against Rep. Jason Altmire this year, although the word is she'll make her decision "soon." On the flipside, this may mean the likelihood of state House minority whip Mike Turzai running for the GOP is going down.

TN-08: Jackson-area physician Ron Kirkland will be joining the GOP field, now that this seat is a more tempting target with the retirement of long-time Democratic Rep. John Tanner. Kirkland joins "farmer" (or agribusiness kingpin, if you prefer)/gospel singer Stephen Fincher, who's already off to a big fundraising start.

TX-10: With a nasty hole in the lineup looming with the departure of promising candidate Jack McDonald, here's a big-time save by veteran Ted Ankrum, who'll file to take McDonald's place in the 10th. Ankrum, you might recall, was our 2006 nominee in the 10th, and his strong performance with almost no funding is what drew a lot of Dem attention to the potential winnability of this rapidly-bluening seat. (Speaking of filing, the filing deadline in Texas is today. Primaries are soon, too - March 2nd, with potential run-offs on April 13th. Check out SSP's full sortable primary calendar, if you haven't before.)

GA-SoS: With current Secretary of State Karen Handel resigning midterm in order to pursue her gubernatorial bid, Republican Gov. Sonny Perdue got the chance to hand-pick a successor. 38-year-old state Rep. Jim Cole, a member of the House's leadership, will serve out the remaining year of her term and then run for a full term in 2010. (UPDATE: Or not. Cole has already turned down Perdue's offer; former state Sen. Brian Kemp now sounds likely to be offered the job. H/t RuralDem.)

Mayors: Lt. Gov Mitch Landrieu's path to be the next mayor of New Orleans looks even easier now. His main opposition, state Sen. Ed Murray, opted to drop out, acknowledging that he didn't want to suffer through an expensive and racially-divisive (Murray is African-American) campaign.

NRCC: Looks like we're not the only ones taking notice of the NRCC's cash-on-hand problems, as the legacy media start to take notice: Politico observes that right now the NRCC has enough money to fund about one big-name House race, not the dozens they're trying to put into play with various recruiting successes.

RNC: Reid Wilson has an interesting catch: the RNC is sending money ($20K) to the local party in the Northern Mariana Islands (popu. 86,000), which, of course, don't have a voting member of the House or any electoral votes. It looks like it may be a little payback from Michael Steele, who owes his chairmanship to votes from the NMI and other insular territories.

Polltopia: Politico also belatedly picks up on another favorite theme in the liberal blogosphere: what the hell is up with Rasmussen's numbers? Nate Silver judiciously examined the issue too, over the weekend, pointing out that Rasmussen's well-documented "house effects" aren't necessarily indicative of bias per se. Rasmussen's defenders, of course, will point to Nate's ratings of Rasmussen's accuracy, which are high; fitting, as their numbers do tend to converge with reality in a race's final weeks (as we saw last November in NJ and VA). Still, one question wasn't raised in either of these pieces over the weekend: how to hold Rasmussen to account for showing out-of-whack numbers long before the election, before they start to fall in line with everyone else (and when they, by virtue of Rasmussen's frequent polling, can play a large role in shaping the conventional wisdom about who's up and who's down)?

Maps: A denizen of the forums at Dave Leip's site has put together an even better set of maps of presidential election results by county, dating back to 1840. (H/t metstotop333.)(D)

Redistricting: A reminder - if you post an entry in the redistricting contest, please e-mail your .DRF.XML file to jeffmd [at] swingstateproject [dot] com. (Instructions for finding your file are here.) This will make it a lot easier for Jeff to judge entries. And the deadline to submit your entry is fast approaching - Sunday, January 10th at midnight Eastern time. (D)

Also, on the redistricting front, Politics Magazine has a lengthy piece on Democrats' efforts to avoid getting out-hustled by the GOP in both congressional and state-level redistricting. Hint to Bill Burke's Foundation for the Future and Brian Smoot's Democratic Redistricting Trust: Reach out to the redistricting geeks here at the Swing State Project. We're a great untapped resource. One interesting note: This is the first time since the passage of the Voting Rights Act that the White House (and thus the Department of Justice) will be in Democratic hands during the start-to-finish redistricting process. (D)

Census: The Census Bureau is rolling out a $340 million ad blitz over the next few months to make sure that everyone knows about the Census and that they need to participate. The rollout includes two ads (directed by Christopher Guest and starring Ed Begley Jr., which ought to get the right-wingers a-foamin' at the mouth) during the Super Bowl, but also $80 million in ad outreach to non-English-speaking populations. Talking Points Memo also has a neat observation about Rep. Michele Bachmann, once the Census's greatest foe but who's been surprisingly quiet in her criticisms of it lately: she may need to rely on huge Census turnout by Minnesotans to keep Minnesota at 8 seats, and thus, keep her own seat (the likeliest target for elimination if the state needs to drop to 7 and Dems exclusively control the process).  

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SSP Daily Digest: 12/17

by: Crisitunity

Thu Dec 17, 2009 at 2:00 PM EST

AR-Sen: Blanche Lincoln seems like she'll take a lifeline from anyone who'll throw her one these days, and she got a big one today -- although it's not a surprise who's doing it. The nation's most famous Arkansan, Bill Clinton, authored a fundraising e-mail on Lincoln's behalf.

CA-Sen: The war of words between Chuck DeVore and the NRSC keeps flaring up; DeVore keeps claiming the NRSC won't meet with him. DeVore's camp claims they got an offer to meet with the NRSC's executive director rather than John Cornyn, which he turned down... but that came after e-mailing the NRSC once and then faxing them follow-ups twice. I must admit I share in the incredulity of NRSC spokesbot Brian Walsh, who said "Remarkably, every [other of the 60 GOP candidates who've met with the NRSC] knew how to set up a meeting with the exception of Chuck DeVore who apparently believed sending a fax to Senator Cornyn's official government office was the most direct route. That alone might demonstrate a lack of seriousness, or at least raise questions of competency, by a statewide Senate campaign." The Hill's Aaron Blake looks at this brouhaha in the context of GOP outsider campaigns in general, with a subtext wondering if DeVore's camp is intentionally miscommunicating as a means of burnishing outsider credentials (seeing as how the way to lose your Seal of Good Teabagging is by becoming one of the NRSC's golden children).

FL-Sen: Those Rasmussen numbers on the Florida Senate general election finally showed up. Like last time, and contrary to conventional wisdom, they actually show Marco Rubio overperforming Charlie Crist, vis a vis Kendrick Meek. Rubio beats Meek 49-35, while Crist beats Meek 42-36. Seems strange, but Florida pundit Mike Thomas speculates that Crist is losing ground not among conservatives (whom he never really had to begin with) but rather among indies and moderates, simply by virtue of his empty-suit opportunism, which might explain why the blank-slate Rubio is overperforming. Meanwhile, Rubio keeps trucking along on the fundraising front, as the Club for Growth has bundled $100K in contributions for him in the last month.

CT-Sen: CQ highlights one more way that price is no object for Linda McMahon; she's paying her campaign manager David Cappiello a $280K salary, which is at least double what the Rob Simmons and Chris Dodd managers make. Who's the lucky guy? It's former state Sen. David Cappiello. If that name sounds familiar, he's the guy who got spanked by 20 points by then-freshman Rep. Chris Murphy in CT-05 last year... which I'd think might be a bit of a red flag if you were a savvy businessperson looking to hire someone based on campaign skills.

NH-Sen: The fault lines are remarkably clear in the Republican primary in New Hampshire. GOP establishment candidate Kelly Ayotte was busy hitting a $1,000 per individual Washington DC fundraiser sponsored by telecommunications lobbyists yesterday, at around the same time conservative primary challenger Ovide Lamontagne was getting the endorsement of radio talk show host and Coulter-wannabe Laura Ingraham.

CA-Gov (pdf): The Public Policy Institute of California has a full poll of the California gubernatorial race (they've previously polled on approval ratings, but not the horserace). They see a race between Jerry Brown and Meg Whitman that's a little tighter (43-37 for Brown) than most pollsters have seen (although, of course, better than Rasmussen's 41-41 tie). Brown makes short work of his other Republican opposition, Tom Campbell (46-34) and Steve Poizner (47-31). Whitman also has an edge in the GOP primary, at 32 with 12 for Campbell (who's mulled moving over to the Senate race) and 8 for Poizner.

GA-Gov: Rasmussen has numbers for the Republican gubernatorial primary (sorry, no numbers for the general, which I don't think has ever been polled). This race looks pretty stable: they find Insurance Comm. John Oxendine with a sizable lead, as usual. He's at 28, doubling up on SoS Karen Handel at 14. Rep. Nathan Deal is at 13, followed by Jeff Chapman, Eric Johnson, Ray McBerry, and Austin Scott, all at 2. I wonder if this might tarnish Oxendine a little, though: it was just revealed that he took a trip to the 2007 Oscars on the tab of a major campaign contributor who was also asking, at the time, for Oxendine's intervention in an insurance dispute against Blue Cross/Blue Shield.

MI-Gov: Democratic Lt. Gov. John Cherry has been lagging his Republican opponents in the polls lately, and a new poll from EPIC-MRA shows why: no one knows who the heck he is, and those who do don't like him. Cherry is unknown to 39%, which is greater than any of his main Republican opponents. AG Mike Cox, for instance, has an unknown of 16%. (The release doesn't mention any head-to-head numbers, at least not yet.)

NE-Gov: The Democrats may actually get a good-sounding recruit in the Nebraska gubernatorial race? That probably doesn't change Republican incumbent Dave Heineman's "Safe R" status, but it's still good news. Mike Boyle (who says he's "considering" the race) was mayor of Omaha from 1981 until a recall in 1987; he's currently in his third term as a Douglas County Commissioner. Boyle also ran for governor in 1990, losing the Democratic primary to now-Sen. Ben Nelson.

OR-Gov: Former NBA player Chris Dudley officially embarked on his question to become the nation's tallest governor, announcing his candidacy in a speech that didn't give potential supporters much to judge where on the Republican spectrum he falls, other than the usual boilerplate on jobs and taxes. (He did mention in an interview, on the abortion issue, that he was "comfortable with [abortion laws] where they are now.") At least he won't have to deal with state House minority leader Bruce Hanna in the primary, who yesterday turned down conservative entreaties to get into the race.

SD-Gov: PPP threw in some gubernatorial questions in its SD-AL poll, and it looks like Republicans have a generic edge here that should keep the state house in their hands, despite nobody knowing much of anything about any of the candidates. The good news for Dems is that their candidate, state Senate minority leader Scott Heidepreim, is better known than any of the GOPers (although 57% have no opinion of him). The bad news is that Heidepreim still loses to all four GOPers, even Some Dude Ken Knuppe (although only 32-30). He also loses to Lt. Gov. Dennis Daugaard 42-29, Senate majority leader Dave Knudson 39-29, and Brookings mayor Scott Munsterman 35-30.

KS-03: Dems look to be getting closer to having a solid candidate for the open seat race in the 3rd. Kansas City, Kansas mayor Joe Reardon says he's giving it "serious consideration," and his mayoral predecessor, Carol Marinovich also said she's not ruling out a run. Hopefully only one will run, at least giving the Dems smooth sailing into what's likely to be a difficult general election.

PA-11: The NRCC has to be pleased with Hazleton mayor Lou Barletta's recently-announced third whack at vulnerable Rep. Paul Kanjorski in the 11th, and they just added him to their "Young Guns" program. He still starts on their lowest tier for now, though ("On the Radar").

PA-12: Septuagenarian Rep. John Murtha, who was briefly hospitalized this week for gall bladder trouble, is saying via his spokesperson that he has no intent to retire and will run again in 2010. This comes despite leaks of a memo written in October to the DCCC asking for legal advice on how to deal with his reelection funds if he decides to retire. (The request apparently originated with a constituent's question.)

Blue Dogs: The Blue Dogs added three new members yesterday: Scott Murphy (who I thought had been a member all along), Betsy Markey (not a surprise, given her tough district, although she's taken some courageous votes like cap-and-trade), and Kurt Schrader. The decision by Schrader -- who's near the middle of the Dem caucus, in a slightly Dem-leaning district, and usually a good vote although a bit of a budget hawk -- may raise a few eyebrows, but Blue Oregon's Kari Chisholm offers a good defense of him.

Texas: Lots to talk about as Democrats try to assemble a full slate of candidates to go with top gubernatorial recruit Bill White. Most notably, they have a former AFL-CIO executive VP interested in running for the all-important (in Texas, at least) Lt. Gov. spot: Linda Chavez-Thompson. They have another candidate interested in running for Comptroller (which ex-Rep. Nick Lampson has also scoped out): former Republican comptroller and then independent gubernatorial candidate Carole Strayhorn, who says she wants to run as a Dem this time. Finally, people are wondering whether Kinky Friedman even qualifies to run for Agriculture Commissioner. State statute requires actual agricultural experience, and Friedman is claiming that a ranch he owns with relatives has enough cattle on it for him to qualify.

Pennsylvania: The Hill points to an interesting academic research paper that examined what's going on with people who've participated in the widespread Republican-to-Democrat party switch that's remade politics in suburban Pennsylvania in recent years. As one might expect, these are affluent people for the most part (with one-third making more than $80K). Unexpectedly, though, only 53% say they were driven out by "extremism" in the GOP's positions, and they span the ideological spectrum (although with a plurality calling themselves "moderates"). Many, in fact, (over 40%) were at one point Democrats who had switched to the GOP and were now switching back.

Votes: Yesterday's House vote to lift the debt ceiling was another closely orchestrated one, passing 218-214. As might be expected, most of the most vulnerable members voted no... and also a few center-left types running for Senate who don't want to get tarred with the 'debt' brush (Kendrick Meek, Paul Hodes). They were generously given some cover by three of the retiring Blue Dogs -- Dennis Moore, John Tanner, and Bart Gordon -- who all voted 'yes,' since their seats in the lifeboat weren't needed (same with some of the other Blue Dogs facing lesser challenges this year, like Jim Marshall and John Barrow).

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SSP Daily Digest: 12/11

by: Crisitunity

Fri Dec 11, 2009 at 2:48 PM EST

AR-Sen: A labor-funded group, the Citizens for Strength and Security, is up with a six-digit ad buy in the Arkansas Senate race, attacking putative GOP frontrunner state Sen. Gilbert Baker for his pork-hungry ways. There's some speculation, though, that the real target of the ad isn't Baker but rather Lt. Gov. Bill Halter, who's publicly mulling a primary challenge to Blanche Lincoln; observers wonder if this is a sign that the SEIU and allies are firing a shot across Halter's bow, showing that they have Lincoln's back (at least monetarily) in exchange for a cloture vote on health care reform for her. With the Arkansas Democratic Party also laying out a lot of money on a pro-Lincoln TV ad, there does seem to be something concerted going on.

CT-Sen: Linda McMahon has caught a lot of attention with her splashy spending on the Senate race, blowing through $2 million in three months. Her first campaign finance report, though, is creating a whole lot of question marks. A significant amount of that money isn't itemized (as campaign finance laws would require), but rather listed as in-kind contributions from McMahon herself; this goes well beyond the usual food and travel stuff that gets listed as in-kind, to include legal fee, survey research, and technology. On the Dem side, poor Chris Dodd won't be able to attend his own Biden-headlined fundraiser because of the Senate's working weekend; his wife Jackie will be pinch-hitting for him.

FL-Sen: RNC chair Michael Steele previously warned stimulus-supporting moderates that the GOP would be "coming after them," but he dialed that back in a recent St. Pete Times interview when the subject came to Charlie Crist, suggesting a more neutral RNC stance on the Senate primary. He sounded sympathetic about Crist's job, saying being governor is "not as simple as right or left."

IL-Sen, IL-Gov: Planned Parenthood issued endorsements in the Illinois races, and just went with the establishment choices (Alexi Giannoulias and Pat Quinn), despite Cheryle Jackson making a big issue out of reproductive rights in health care reform in her Senate primary bid. Perhaps to even things out after spurning Jackson, they also endorsed in the Cook County Board president race, giving the nod to Toni Preckwinkle.

NC-Sen: We're already seeing some ideological differences in the North Carolina Dem primary field, as SoS Elaine Marshall and ex-state Sen. Cal Cunningham seek to differentiate themselves. Marshall says she'd support the public option, while Cunningham says he'd only have voted to start debate on HCR. (Campaign Diaries also has a longer piece on the race today.)

NY-Sen-B: Suffolk County Legislator (i.e. county commissioner in most states) Jon Cooper is the only elected Dem who has been moving full speed ahead on a primary challenge to Kirsten Gillibrand rather than tipping in a toe and then turning tail. (Activist Jonathan Tasini is already committed to a primary run too.) Cooper says he'll make a public announcement about his intentions next week, and considering that he's bringing along a few allies (most notably Assemblyman Charles Levine) it may point to a run... not that he's likely to pose much of a challenge to Gillibrand.

CO-Gov: The Denver Post has an in-depth look at how the state's teabaggers are in a lather over the party establishment's efforts to clear the field for ex-Rep. Scott McInnis in the gubernatorial race. With state Sen. Josh Penry and ex-Rep. Tom Tancredo pushed aside, though, they don't have anyone to hang their tri-cornered hats on, other than random businessman Dan Maes, who doesn't seem to have the name rec or money to make much of an impact in the primary.

ID-Gov: Democrats finally landed a credible candidate to go up against Butch Otter in the Idaho governor's race (one of the few anywhere in either column to rate as "Safe"). Keith Allred is a former Harvard professor who's now a mediator and consultant, who's attracted a lot of attention via his bipartisan economy-boosting group The Common Interest.

MN-Gov: Here's another campaign finance screwup, that may hurt gubernatorial candidate Margaret Anderson Kelliher. It turns out that Kelliher maxed-out donors were directed to give to the DFL, which in turn bought an expensive voter database for Kelliher's campaign's use. The money has been returned, but this may point to some favoritism on the DFL's part, because this arrangement wasn't offered to any of the other candidates.

NV-Gov: This may be an exercise in advanced tea leaf reading, but the fact that Carolyn Goodman, wife of Las Vegas mayor Oscar Goodman, has stepped down from her post on the school board is taken to mean that she may be planning on running for Las Vegas mayor in 2011 -- which would in turn suggest that Oscar Goodman will be planning on being Governor at that point.

GA-12: Bedecked in a fuschia hat, former state Sen. Regina Thomas officially kicked off her Dem primary rematch against Rep. John Barrow with an event in Savannah today. She only got 24% against Barrow last year, but may benefit from an earlier start this cycle.

TN-08: The elevation of farmer/gospel singer Stephen Fincher to "Contender" by the NRCC isn't sitting well with some other Republicans in the district who are sniffing out the now-competitive race in the wake of Rep. John Tanner's retirement. A few other Republicans, most notably Shelby County Commissioner George Flinn Jr., are interested. (Flinn is from the district's small slice of Memphis suburbs, which may be a liability though in this mostly-rural district.) Also mentioned as a potential GOP candidate is Jackson-area physician Ron Kirkland.

Cook Co. Board Pres.: There's already a poll out on the Cook County Board president race (the top slot in the nation's second-largest county, and the race that Rep. Danny Davis recently dropped out of). Incumbent Todd Stroger is in bad shape, with only 14% of the vote; he trails both Dorothy Brown at 29 and Toni Preckwinkle at 20, leading only Terrence O'Brien at 11.

Mayors: The mayoral runoff in Houston, the nation's fourth-largest city, is set for tomorrow. City controller Annise Parker (who just got Burnt Orange Report's endorsement) led in the November election; she faces former city attorney Gene Locke. A Parker victory would make Houston by far the largest city to ever elect an openly LGBT mayor.

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SSP Daily Digest: 12/8

by: Crisitunity

Tue Dec 08, 2009 at 3:18 PM EST

CT-Sen: Linda McMahon is in Washington DC this week to meet with Republican bigwigs about her bid for the Senate in Connecticut, meeting with Mitch McConnell, Jon Kyl, Orrin Hatch, and the knuckle-draggers at FreedomWorks. McMahon's visit is accompanied, however, by stories in The Hill and Politico that focus on professional wrestling's dangerous conditions, and lack of health insurance or union representation -- and are replete with quotes from former wrestlers decrying McMahon and her company.

KS-Sen: The previous few rounds of polling for Rep. Todd Tiahrt in the Kansas GOP Senate primary haven't looked so hot, but the newest offering from SurveyUSA finds him back in the thick of things. Rep. Jerry Moran now leads Tiahrt 37-34, compared with a 43-27 gap in early October. Crosstabs suggest Tiahrt has pulled back into a tie in Kansas's northeast (the Kansas City suburbs) -- with Moran dominating the rural west and Tiahrt dominating the Wichita area, the KC suburbs are the decisive region.

OR-Gov: State Republican leaders are still casting their nets about, despite former NBA player Chris Dudley bringing a lot of money to the table. With some troubled that Dudley "has not delivered any ideas at all" (and with their best-known candidate, Bill Sizemore, having gotten arraigned for tax evasion yesterday) many have now set their sights on state House minority leader Bruce Hanna, a conservative from the state's rural southwest; Hanna says he's "listening with interest" to their entreaties.

In the you-can't-make-this-stuff-up department, Jerry Wilson, founder of exercise machine maker Soloflex, was originally going to run for Governor under the banner of Oregon's Naderite Progressive Party, but somewhere along the way decided it would be better to run for one of the major party noms so he'd have a better chance, and inexplicably decided to run for a Republican. Wilson just found out that he  missed the deadline by several months to change his party registration to be able to do so (he's a Democrat), so now he's decided to run as a Democrat. (The pro-marijuana Wilson might want to, y'know, lay off it a little while he's trying to put together a political campaign.) Also on the Dem side, the state's AFL-CIO announced that it won't be endorsing in the race until at least March, which has to be seen as a victory of sorts for ex-SoS Bill Bradbury in that they don't view ex-Gov. John Kitzhaber as having the nomination locked down and are waiting to see how things shake out.

TX-Gov: With heavyweight Houston mayor Bill White having settled into the Democratic field in the Governor's race, the remaining candidates are assessing their options. Kinky Friedman was expected to drop out today, but announced that he'll take at least a few more days to meet with supporters, and with White and Farouk Shami, before pulling the plug. (Shami was a big donor to Friedman last time.) The independently wealthy Shami sounds like he's staying in, although he's now suffering the usual fate of celebrity business candidates: the revelation of his paltry voting record (including no vote in the 2008 general, and no votes in any Democratic primary elections, with at least one in a Republican primary instead). And on the GOP side, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, faced with the realization that the Senate election may not be happening any time soon, just filed for re-election to another term as LG.

FL-02: That was fast. (And not very good message discipline, either.) After confirming yesterday that he was considering a move over to Florida's statewide CFO race, Democratic state Sen. Al Lawson backtracked today and said he's sticking with his longshot primary challenge to Rep. Allen Boyd instead.

ID-01: An intramural fight is breaking out among Idaho Republican legislators, as state Rep. Raul Labrador seeks the Republican nomination to take on Rep. Walt Minnick next year. State Sen. Mike Jorgenson is demanding Labrador drop out, attacking him for his work as a -- gasp -- immigration lawyer; the two have previously clashed over immigration policy in the legislature, including Jorgenson's proposal to bar illegal immigrants from receiving state benefits. There's no clue given where Labrador's opponent, Vaughn Ward, stands on immigration issues, but it's interesting to see the same cheap-labor/close-the-borders fissures opening up here that erupted in, say, the UT-03 primary last year.

IL-14: One more dropout in the GOP field in the 14th, as young Mark Vargas, a former Defense Dept. employee in Iraq, got out of the race. Unlike other recent dropout Bill Purcell, though, Vargas endorsed Ethan Hastert on his way out the door. Jeff Danklefsen is the only minor player left on the playing field between Hastert and state Sen. Randy Hultgren.

NJ-03: The 5'9" John Adler is certainly vulnerable to wedgies and wet willies from the 6'7" Jon Runyan, but now he's vulnerable to the dreaded Rear Admiral as well. Maurice "Mo" Hill, a Toms River Township Councilor, dentist, and retired Navy rear admiral, says he'll likely run in the GOP primary against Runyan, despite local party leaders' hopes to avoid a contested primary like the one that sank their hopes last year. Hill says he'll move forward if he gets the backing of his local Ocean County party, regardless of how the other counties' organizations go.

PA-06: Chester County Recorder of Deeds Ryan Costello bailed out on his run in the GOP field in the 6th, finding all the oxygen in the race gobbled up by self-funding moderate Steven Welch and well-known conservative state Rep. Curt Schroder. Schroder, meanwhile, nailed down the endorsements of two more Republican legislators in the area: Berks County state Sen. Mike Folmer and newly-elected state Montgomery County Sen. Bob Mensch.

SC-01: Another Republican is getting into the primary against vulnerable Rep. Henry Brown in the Charleston-area 1st (joining "Tumpy" Campbell): attorney, Navy vet, and former Mt. Pleasant city councilor Mark Fava. Could this have the effect of splitting the anti-Brown vote, though? On the Dem side, restauranteur Robert "Bob" Dobbs was joined several weeks ago by commercial pilot and Air Force vet Robert Burton.

TN-08: State Sen. Roy Herron isn't getting a completely free shot in his primary to replace retiring Rep. John Tanner in rural western Tennessee: he'll face off against 34-year-old Luther Mercer II, an educator and son of a Madison County Commissioner. Meanwhile, eager to generate more Tanners, the GOP has unveiled its target list of aging House Democrats in red districts to push to retire (mostly just via press release attacks for now -- perhaps there will also be a sustained attempt to blanket their offices with brochures for oceanfront Florida condominiums as well). Recall, though, that Tanner said the prospect of a good fight was the one thing that was potentially keeping him from retiring, suggesting this has the potential to backfire in some cases.

Mayors: Lt. Governor Mitch Landrieu had said this summer that he wouldn't seek to become the next mayor of New Orleans. When most other big-names like city council president Arnie Fielkow and state Rep. Karen Carter Peterson subsequently declined, Landrieu apparently sensed a mayoralty for the taking. Now he's apparently changed his mind, and says he'll launch a mayoral campaign next week. (Landrieu narrowly lost the mayor's race to Ray Nagin in 2006.)

WATN?: 80-year-old former New York state Sen. majority leader Joe Bruno, who turned Albany into his personal fiefdom for decades, just got convicted of two felony corruption charges. And former Rep. Chip Pickering, one of the C Street House residents who bailed from a promising career after an embarrassing affair, is staying classy. He was last seen getting into a physical altercation at his young son's soccer game -- with an opposing team's soccer coach already wearing a neck brace.  

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