AK-Sen: Joe Miller is taking a vow of omertà, insisting that he simply won't answer any more questions about his personal background. He's also taking a page right out of the Sarah Palin playbook, whining that he's been the victim of "journalist impropriety," and making up stories about reporters gaining access to his "confidential file," in "violation of the law." I despairingly think that Miller won't pay the price for this that he ought to - look at Rick Perry, who refuses to meet with newspaper editorial boards, as an example.
Also of note: Miller is trying to unring that Seventeenther bell a bit - but not really. His stance now is that a constitutional amendment to eliminate the direct election of senators is not "practical," but sure sounds like he'd love to do it if he could. What a weirdo.
NV-Sen: Clinton alert! The Big Dog will be in Nevada today to campaign with Harry Reid.
WV-Sen: Clinton alert (retroactive)! Bill Clinton was in Morgantown yesterday, campaigning for Joe Manchin. He made a point of saying that the "hick-y" ad "burns me up."
KS-Gov: This creeptastic story is finally getting some play in the Kansas gubernatorial race. Back around 2002 or so, Sam Brownback was roommates in Washington, DC with a radical cleric named Lou Engle. You might remember Engle as the Talibangelist who led a "prayer" rally in Uganda right when the country was debating passage of a bill which would have implemented the death penalty for homosexuals. Though he later tried to distance himself from the measure, at the time, Engle "praised the country's 'courage' and 'righteousness' in promoting the bill. In the past, Engle has also donated to Brownback's campaigns, and Brownback has done events with him as recently as last year. Seemingly caught off-guard by all this, the Brownback campaign had no statement in response.
NY-Gov: When you've lost Rudy Giuliani... His Dingusness attacked fellow Republican Carl Paladino over his anti-gay remarks, calling them "highly offensive" and saying Paladino should apologize. Not really sure what Rudy's angle is here, though.
TN-Gov: Republican gubernatorial nominee Bill Haslam poured in another $2.8 million of his own money in the third quarter, for $4.3 mil total. He's also raised a pretty amazing $12.5 million from outside donors, all told; combined, this apparently makes for a new Tennessee record. (Recall that Haslam had a very competitive GOP primary.) Dem Mike McWherter hasn't released 3Q nums yet, but he's raised just a fraction of what Haslam has.
FL-22: Barack Obama did a fundraiser last night at the home of former NBA great Alonzo Mourning (which we mentioned to you back in SSP Amazing Digest #88). The event raised a million bucks, split between the Ron Klein campaign and the DNC. In attendance were Miami Heat players Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade (but not LeBron James), as well as Magic Johnson.
ME-02: Looks like Jason Levesque is going to have to beg his mom for rides to campaign rallies: the Republican just got his license suspended, after three speeding convictions in the past year. Lifetime, he has 18 driving-related convictions (including nine for speeding), and his licenses has been suspended three times.
NV-03: Joe Heck has a serious problem wrapped around his neck like a twenty-pound goiter. It's called Sharron Angle, and he just doesn't know what do with it. When asked directly by a voter whether he planned to vote for his own party's senate nominee, Heck responded: "I'm waiting to see all of the evidence before I make my choice."
NY-01: Biden alert! The VPOTUS is coming to NYC to do a fundraiser for Tim Bishop on Oct. 26th. Seems awfully late in the game to be raising scratch, but I suppose a Biden event is such a sure thing that Bishop can max out the campaign credit cards against the expected take.
OH-09: As he watches his candidacy circle the drain, Rich Iott lashed out at the top-ranking Jewish Republican in the Milky Way, Eric Cantor, who had repudiated him a day earlier:
"I think that Representative Cantor did what so many career politicians do. He reacted before he had all the facts. He didn't know the whole story. He didn't understand what historical reenacting is all about, or the education side of it. And he just made a decision without all the facts. My opponent here is cut out of the same cloth. Those are the people who passed the health care bill before they knew what was in it. The same folks who passed the stimulus bill...."
Because comparing the minority whip to Democrats is a good idea for a Republican candidate with a future, right? Anyhow, for those of you who perhaps wanted to hold out hope that Iott was just some weird LARPer (but I repeat myself), please review this paragraph taken from the website of his fellow Nazi re-enactors:
Nazi Germany had no problem in recruiting the multitudes of volunteers willing to lay down their lives to ensure a "New and Free Europe", free of the threat of Communism. National Socialism was seen by many in Holland, Denmark, Norway, Finland, and other eastern European and Balkan countries as the protector of personal freedom and their very way of life, despite the true underlying totalitarian (and quite twisted, in most cases) nature of the movement. Regardless, thousands upon thousands of valiant men died defending their respective countries in the name of a better tomorrow. We salute these idealists; no matter how unsavory the Nazi government was, the front-line soldiers of the Waffen-SS (in particular the foreign volunteers) gave their lives for their loved ones and a basic desire to be free.
OR-04: There's no direct quote here, but the Douglas County News-Review reports that Rep. Peter DeFazio "says he favors replacing Pelosi as speaker if Democrats retain their majority." DeFazio has long had an antagonistic relationship with Pelosi, most recently coming to a head with his refusal to vote for the stimulus, allegedly from the left.
OR-05: These Republicans have no respect for Godwin's Law, do they? Speaking of the healthcare reform bill, Scott Bruun said:
"From a social perspective, it's right up there, I would argue - probably the fugitive slave law was worse. But still, the healthcare bill was pretty darn bad."
The Fugitive Slave Act, which "required any runaway slaves who had escaped their bondage and were living free in the Northern states be returned to their owners" - and was one of the causes of the Civil War. Right on!
PA-03, PA-12: Biden alert (retroactive)! The VPOTUS did a fundraiser in Pittsburgh with both Reps. Kathy Dahlkemper and Mark Critz in attendance. The Hill makes a big deal out of the fact that this event didn't take place in Critz's district - but I'm just going to guess that there are a lot more wealthy Dems in the P'burgh area than in the 12th CD.
PA-06: Can an internal ever be too good? Well, you tell me if you believe this Susquehanna survey that Jim Gerlach is touting, which has him up by a massive 61-31 spread. Still, now would be a good time for Manan Trivedi or the DCCC to show us something different.
PA-11: If Paul Kanjorski somehow, improbably, survives once more, he will owe his fortune yet again to the realtors, who have already spent three-quarters of a million on ads on his behalf, after spending a million bucks last time.
Polltopia: Time to help PPP pick their next state to poll.
FL-Gov: In a move we've seen a few times this cycle, Alex Sink is trying out the long-form political ad, this time with a 2-minute spot detailing Rick Scott's Medicare fraud and his attempts to hide from it
WA-08: In her third ad, Suzan DelBene hits Reichert on raising taxes & shipping jobs overseas
AFSCME: Throws down $750K against Republican roofer Reid Ribble (WI-08) and $628K against GOPer Mike Fitzpatrick (PA-08)
NRA: Almost $3 million in senate buys (here & here)
AK-Sen: Another great catch by the Mudflats, and I'm ashamed I missed this one myself. In trying to explain why he applied for an indigent hunting license (for people making less than $8200/yr), Joe Miller claimed he was on a merit scholarship at Yale. Fortunately, Mudflats catches something about my alma mater that managed to slip my mind: Yale doesn't offer merit scholarships. What lie will come next from the Miller camp?
CT-Sen: Heartless bastard Linda McMahon said she wants to lower the minimum wage - and even admitted she didn't fucking know what the current minimum wage is! I love it when zillionaire assholes think that the guys on the bottom rung should be shoved down a rung further. Eh, fuck you, Linda McMahon.
Connecticut's Working Families Party also took this opportunity to slam McMahon and endorse Dem Richard Blumenthal, who will benefit from having the WFP line. (Connecticut, like New York, allows fusion voting.) In case you were wondering, all five of CT's Congressmembers have the WFP's backing, as does gubernatorial nominee Dan Malloy.
DE-Sen: When called on the fact that her LinkedIn page made the extremely lulzy claim that she'd studied at Oxford, Christine O'Donnell claimed someone else had posted the profile. Now a different version has been uncovered at ZoomInfo (which says the profile was claimed - presumably by O'Donnell - through a "double opt-in process"), and it, too, has the Oxford bullshit. I'd say "busted!", but is this even remotely a surprise?
KY-Sen: Have you seen Jack Conway's excellent new ad about Kentucky's drug problem? Well, Rand Paul thinks it's "kind of tacky and really dishonest and kind of creepy." Mike Donta, the man featured in the ad who lost his son to drug addiction, said Paul's childish reaction is an "insult," both to him and other families battling this problem.
And one other important note: The ad buy that the DSCC supposedly cancelled here has been "bought back," according to Aaron Blake.
OH-Sen: The Cleveland Plain Dealer obtained an internal Lee Fisher finance document, which lays out a bunch of different scenarios for keeping the campaign financially afloat in the final month of the race. It's not a pretty picture - one nuclear option involves laying off ten staff members to pay for TV time. And worst of all, Fisher apparently raised less than a million bucks in the quarter. Sigh.
WV-Sen: Despite John Raese's efforts to paint him as weak on coal, Dem Gov. Joe Manchin secured the endorsement of the West Virginia Coal Association, which "represents 90 percent of the state's coal producers."
HI-Gov: He doesn't sound quite like an anti-vax nutter, but Republican Lt. Gov. Duke Aiona is refusing to get a flu shot himself, saying he's "not convinced that vaccines are more beneficial that harmful," despite encouraging state residents to get vaccinated. Yeah, that's helpful.
CO-04: If I had my dream job, newspaper writers would refer to me as "Democratic ratfucker DavidNYC," because really, I love nothing more than a good ratfuck. So kudos to "Our Community Votes," which is running a radio ad "attacking" a conservative independent candidate, ostensibly in the hopes of raising his profile and making him more appealing to wingers. It's not clear who's behind the group, but "public records shows that it shares Washington, D.C., office space with other groups tied to Steve Rosenthal, a longtime labor movement and Democratic strategist and former political director of the AFL-CIO." And there's real money behind this buy, too: $100,000 worth.
CO-07: The douchebags at the American Future Fund are spending $560K trying to unseat Ed Perlmutter, and apparently in a first for them, this includes a canvass operation, not just ad buys.
IL-10: Another day, another legal hassle for Bob Dold! The FEC dinged him for failing to report a $17,000 expenditure for "a motor coach that was used in Dold's ads as part of a bus tour." Dold submitted amended reports which showed several other expenditures and debts that somehow went missing from his earlier filings. How do you just forget about $17,000? Bob Dold!
WA-08: Ugh - this is pathetic. Evidently the League of Conservation Voters - another one of those ostensibly liberal groups that loved to endorse so-called "moderate" Republicans - enjoys getting abused. Earlier this year, Dave Reichert admitted that he occasionally votes a pro-environment line simply to remain in office. Despite this, the LCV is endorsing Reichert on account of his cap-and-trade vote. Glad to see they admire sincerity so much.
Site News: The Swing State Project just enjoyed its biggest month ever, with over 700,000 pageviews and more than 350,000 visitors. Here's hoping the trend continues!
MO-Sen: Robin Carnahan attacks Roy Blunt for being a "prodigious pork-meister." Does anyone else think this is as lame and boring as when Republicans try to pin this on us?
NV-Sen: Harry Reid has led the way with relentless, hard-hitting, and just plain good attack ads this cycle. Yeah, Sharron Angle provides a lot of fodder, but all Republicans have weak spots. This ad nails her for trying to repeal a law which requires insurance companies to cover mammograms
WV-Sen: Joe Manchin hits John Raese with his own words, including Raese's infamous "I made money the old-fashioned way - I inherited it" gem
CO-Gov: Dan Maes (yeah, I know!!) has a really boring minute-long intro ad. No word on the size of the "buy," but I doubt he could even afford to run Google ads on SSP
FL-25: Two ads from GOPer David Rivera - the first a boring spot about cutting government spending (check out the weird artifacts bouncing off his shirt at 27 seconds - you think YouTube? or is the broadcast version also messed up?); the second, a litany of attacks on Joe Garcia (and the production values are weak here, too). Meanwhile, Garcia has a much better ad hitting Rivera for the infamous "ramming a truck off the road" incident
IL-10: Bob Dold! thinks that Dan Seals is a job killer
ME-02: Fuck, these veteran ads always make me well up a bit. Another good one on VA health clinics, from Mike Michaud (his first in four years)
Concerned Taxpayers: $92K for GOPer Art Robinson (OR-04) and $47K against Frank Kratovil (MD-01)
FIRST!... Amendment Alliance: $117K against Harry Reid (NV-Sen) (Topic: The First Amendment Alliance doesn't care about the first amendment or alliances. Discuss)
Realtors: $1.3 million spread among Bill Foster (IL-14), Pat Tiberi (OH-12), Ken Calvert (CA-44), and Dave Reichert (WA-08), including polls
Revere America: George Pataki's band of fuckwits is spending over $400K on ads against Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01) and over $350K against John Hall (NY-19) (note second buy was made 9/17 but report filed 9/30 in violation of FEC rules)
One more poll for the pile with a high-single-digits lead for Barbara Boxer, this time from the very trustworthy PPIC. They also look at the Governor's race (see below) and a few initiatives: they find Prop 19 (pot) passing 52-41 and Prop 25 (simple majority budget) passing 48-35, but also finding Prop 23 (suspending greenhouse gas limits) passing 43-42.
• IN-Sen: We'd speculated that this was a possibility back around the time of the Indiana GOP primary, when Dan Coats (an unusually tepid gun supporter as far as GOPers go) won. The NRA today endorsed his Democratic opponent, Brad Ellsworth, who's pretty much walked the pro-gun line in his red House district. (I know we'd said we'd shut up about NRA endorsements of conservaDems, but this one actually has the potential to move some votes in a key race.)
• PA-Sen: Susquehanna for Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (9/23-26, likely voters, no trendlines):
Joe Sestak (D): 42
Pat Toomey (R): 45
I wish this had come out in time for our monstrous Pennsylvania wrapup from early this morning, as it's an interesting post-script. Susquehanna (a Republican pollster, but one who've demonstrated that they know what they're doing in Pennsylvania; for instance, they got the PA-12 special pretty close to right) sees it as a surprisingly close race, finding Sestak within 3. Is this the first sign of Sestak closing, or is this just the optimistic edge of the stable mid-single-digits band that the race has usually been pegged at?
• CA-Gov: PPIC (9/19-26, likely voters, 7/6-20 in parentheses):
Jerry Brown (D): 37 (46)
Meg Whitman (R): 38 (40)
Other: 7 (-)
Undecided: 18 (14)
Unfortunately, this poll closes out the end of a run of remarkable luck for Jerry Brown of polls showing him spiking into the lead (although there's a lot of movement from both candidates to "Other," though I'm not sure who that would be). Importantly, though, the polling period ended before Meg Whitman's illegal housekeeper problem burst into public view. The SEIU is doing its part to keep the issue front and center, pumping $5 million into a Latino outreach effort that's largely field efforts but also includes an ad starting in a few days hitting Whitman on the housekeeper issue. Whitman's also doing her part to keep it in the news, saying she'll employ the scoundrel's last refuge -- a polygraph test -- to prove she was unaware.
• NY-Gov: Marist (9/27-29, likely voters, 9/14-19 in parentheses):
Andrew Cuomo (D): 53 (52)
Carl Paladino (R): 38 (33)
Rick Lazio (C): - (9)
Undecided: 8 (6)
Marist strikes back quickly with another poll following up on the news that Rick Lazio is no longer a candidate, preferring to enjoy the great prestige that comes with a trial court judgeship in the Bronx. At any rate, they don't see anything changing other than what you'd expect: most of Lazio's voters from the Conservative line gravitated over to GOP nominee Carl Paladino, with a few, unappetized by the bombastic Paladino, joining the ranks of the undecided.
• OR-Gov: One major explanation for how Chris Dudley has made a major race out of what looked like an easy Dem pickup hold a year ago is... money. (As with so many other races this year...) Dudley has raised $5.6 million all cycle long, as of Tuesday's reporting deadline, more than doubling up on John Kitzhaber's $2.6 million, the largest disparity between the two parties ever seen in an Oregon gubernatorial race. (The SEIU has been running ads on Kitzhaber's behalf, and the DGA has $750K ready to go, but that's still a big deficit.)
• RI-Gov: Fleming & Associates for WPRI-TV (9/22-26, likely voters, no trendlines):
Frank Caprio (D): 33
John Robitaille (R): 19
Lincoln Chafee (I): 30
There's been a general trend in the last month or two toward the Democrat, Frank Caprio, in this race. But the newest poll (apparently the first of this race from Fleming & Associates), on behalf of local TV stations, shows a much closer race, with Caprio up only 3 on his indie opponent, Lincoln Chafee.
• GA-08: American Viewpoint for Austin Scott (9/26-27, likely voters, late July in parentheses):
Jim Marshall (D-inc): 38 (44)
Austin Scott (R): 46 (39)
Undecided: 13 (14)
Well, there's only one alarming GOP House internal poll today, unlike yesterday's onslaught. (Also, note the hypertrophied margin of error, based on an n of 300.) Still, this is another race that's tended to be on the "Lean D" or at least "Tilt D" side of the equation, and one more juggling ball that the DCCC is going to have to keep in the air.
• ME-01, ME-02: Critical Insights, like last time, included both Maine House districts as part of their poll, so we actually have some trendlines now. In the 1st, Chellie Pingree is expanding her lead over Dean Scontras, 54-26. However, in the 2nd, Mike Michaud's lead over Jason Levesque is a little smaller, down to 44-32 (from 48-28). (In a way, that's reassuring, because that's evidence that Critical Insights didn't just stumble into a much Dem-friendlier batch, and that the flight from Paul LePage seems real.)
• DSCC: The DSCC is having to put some money into Connecticut, a race they probably thought they could avoid spending on when Richard Blumenthal got into the race. They're starting with a smallish $250K, though. Other DSCC outlays today include $720K in CO-Sen, $464K in IL-Sen, $362K in MO-Sen, and $386K in WV-Sen.
• NARAL: NARAL rolled out endorsements of twenty different Dems running in House races, almost all of whom received $5K each. You can click for the full list, but it includes Cedric Richmond, Steve Pougnet, John Hulburd, and Joe Garcia on offense (the rest are defensive picks).
• SSP TV:
• AK-Sen: Lisa Murkowski's out with two different ads, one hitting Joe Miller as outsider, the other a PSA-type ad that verrrry slowly and carefully explains to people how to vote for her
• KY-Sen: Here's a powerful new ad from Jack Conway hitting Rand Paul on the drug issue yet again, complete with tombstone and tagline "He doesn't know us" (interestingly, though, the DSCC is following the NRSC's lead here with an ad buy cancellation for the week of the 5th) (UPDATE: Looks like the DS un-cancelled)
• MO-Sen: Roy Blunt hits Robin Carnahan over the stimulus, pointing out that another member of the extended Carnahan clan got money for his wind farm
• WI-Sen: Russ Feingold tries going back to firing up the base, running an ad based on the merits of health care reform
• MI-01: The NRCC weighs in with an ad in the 1st, an endless circle of meta wherein Dan Benishek attacks Gary McDowell for attacking
• WI-07: Julie Lassa goes back to the theme of Sean Duffy having prematurely abandoned his day job as DA to run for the House
• AJS: Americans for Job Security tries again in VA-09 (remember that's where their previous ad got bounced for being too egregious), as well as in CO-03 and NY-24
• CO-Sen: Michael Bennet (D-inc) 43%, Ken Buck (R) 51%
• FL-Sen: Kendrick Meek (D) 21%, Marco Rubio (R) 41%, Charlie Crist (I) 30%
• IA-Sen: Roxanne Conlin (D) 37%, Charles Grassley (R-inc) 55%
• KY-Sen: Jack Conway (D) 38%, Rand Paul (R) 49%
• MA-Gov: Deval Patrick (D-inc) 47%, Charlie Baker (R) 42%, Tim Cahill (I) 6%
• NV-Gov: Rory Reid (D) 40%, Brian Sandoval (R) 53%
• NV-Sen: Harry Reid (D-inc) 48%, Sharron Angle (R) 47%
• OH-Gov: Ted Strickland (D-inc) 42%, John Kasich (R) 50%
• WA-Sen: Patty Murray (D-inc) 47%, Dino Rossi (R) 48%
• WI-Sen: Russ Feingold (D-inc) 42%, Ron Johnson 54%
Swing State Project is rolling out another round of updates to our House, Senate and Gubernatorial race ratings charts. This may seem like an alarming large number to do all at once, especially since almost all the changes are favorable to Republicans, but that's not in response to any particular event or series of events. Mostly, we're just playing catchup after having been a little slow in performing a global update since late July, and obviously the general environment deteriorated over August for Dems (although we might have seen a slight uptick in their fortunes, at least in terms of generic ballot tests and mindless Beltway CW, in the last week).
AZ-Sen: Races to Watch to Safe R
CT-Sen: Likely D to Lean D
IN-Sen: Lean R to Likely R
MO-Sen: Tossup to Lean R
OH-Sen: Tossup to Lean R
PA-Sen: Tossup to Lean R
AZ-Gov: Tossup to Lean R
CO-Gov: Lean D to Likely D
CT-Gov: Tossup to Lean D
IL-Gov: Tossup to Lean R
ME-Gov: Tossup to Lean R
NH-Gov: Safe D to Likely D
NM-Gov: Tossup to Lean R
NV-Gov: Lean R to Likely R
WI-Gov: Tossup to Lean R
AR-02: Lean R to Likely R
AZ-01: Lean D to Tossup
AZ-05: Lean D to Tossup
CA-47: Likely D to Lean D
CO-03: Likely D to Tossup
CO-07: Likely D to Lean D
CT-05: Likely D to Lean D
FL-02: Lean D to Tossup
IA-01: Safe D to Likely D
IL-11: Lean D to Tossup
IL-14: Lean D to Tossup
IL-17: Likely D to Lean D
KY-03: Likely D to Lean D
LA-02: Likely D to Lean D
ME-01: Safe D to Likely D
ME-02: Safe D to Likely D
MI-07: Lean D to Tossup
MI-09: Likely D to Lean D
NY-29: Lean R to Likely R
OR-05: Likely D to Lean D
PA-03: Lean D to Tossup
PA-07: Tossup to Lean R
PA-08: Lean D to Tossup
SC-05: Lean D to Tossup
WA-02: Likely D to Tossup
WA-03: Tossup to Lean R
39 of these changes favor Republicans; 2 races have moved in the Democratic direction.
Libby Mitchell (D): 25
Paul LePage (R): 38
Eliot Cutler (I): 11
Shawn Moody (I): 4
Kevin Scott (I): 1
More stink lines for Democrats from this open seat race. The only other polls we've seen, from PPP and Rasmussen, have also showed the tea-flavored LePage with a clear edge, though none of these polls were taken in time to measure the impact of the news that LePage's wife is under investigation for receiving homestead tax exemptions for her properties in both Maine and Florida. (LePage also had a profanity-laced freakout in front of news cameras after being questioned on the issue.)
At the very least, the House numbers offer a brighter outlook for incumbent Dems Chellie Pingree and Mike Michaud.
Some have cited Maine's first district as a potential upset this fall, pointing to Pingree's underwhelming 10-point win in 2008 (a spread that Obama doubled against McCain). It looks like Pingree is still underperforming against the not terribly well-funded businessman Dean Scontras (who tried but failed to win the GOP nomination in '08). However, it's looking like the 2nd District race may end up to be quite a bit closer:
Mike Michaud (D-inc): 45
Jason Levesque (R): 38
Levesque has raised a bit of money that has enabled him to actually go on the air, and we recently flagged this race as one worth keeping a wary eye on. The numbers suggest that Levesque is the candidate with more room to grow:
This race is probably going to tighten up because 21% of Republicans are undecided while only 10% of Democrats are. Michaud has his party base pretty much locked up at 81% while Levesque's getting only 65% of his party as many remain undecided. Michaud is also leading 43-34 with independents despite the fact that they disapprove of him by a 34/46 margin.
Both of these are interesting races. Neither incumbent has locked up their re-election, but their GOP opponents will probably need some help in overtaking them. The NRCC may have more opportunities this fall than they can afford.
CO-Sen: Like so many Republicans who rail against pork, Ken Buck still loves to gorge himself. Buck signed an anti-earmarks pledge pushed by Americans for Prosperity, but as Weld County DA, he asked then-Rep. Marilyn Manson Musgrave for a $2 million in federal funding for "expansions of North Range Behavioral Health center in Greeley." He also "won $235,000 earmarked for the Weld County Gang Task Force." In non-explaining this rather glaring contradiction, Weld said it "doesn't mean I don't want to change the system." In other words, vote for me because I'm a hypocrite.
FL-Sen: Marco Rubio agreed to participate in a debate with Charlie Crist and Kendrick Meek, and then proposed six more. Adam Smith of the Tampa Bay Buzz explains how this play might really squeeze Crist:
Charlie Crist is almost always good on TV, but this poses a real problem for him. In a three-person debate, it would be Rubio and Meek each taking turns hitting Crist and pressing him on flip-flops and inconsistencies. It's hard to stay above the fray when you're the main target.
But skipping most of the debates is equally problematic. If Meek agrees to these debates and the networks agree to televise them with or without all three candidates, Crist would be letting Meek raise his profile as the Democratic alternative to Rubio.
Tom Jensen also describes another rock-and-hard-place problem for Charlie: Kendrick Meek is starting to eat his lunch among Democrats, so how can Crist regain that support? Well, he could pledge to caucus with the Democrats... but that would, of course, hurt him among Republicans. Mark Blumenthal also has an in-depth post on the subject, looking at things from Kendrick Meek's perspective and wondering if he has a path to victory. Blumenthal concludes that Meek has a lot of room to grow, but thinks wining would be a "tall order."
KY-Sen: Rand Paul knows that when you are in a deep hole, you bring in a back-hoe. Then, you start using some C4. Finally, you send in an army of ten million moles. At last, once you can finally hear the sound of Chinese being spoken, you know you are deep enough - and you reiterate your opposition to doing anything about the drug problem in Eastern Kentucky.
NC-Sen: Elaine Marshall has become the first (I think) challenger so far to call for former WY Sen. Alan Simpson's resignation from what Atrios calls the "cat food commission" (not cat fud commission, sadly) - aka the president's stupid deficit commission. Simpson, if you haven't heard yet, wrote a vile email to the head of the National Older Women's League, calling Social Security "a milk cow with 310 million tits" - and telling his correspondent to "get honest work."
NV-Sen: His Mayoralness Michael Bloomberg will be hosting a fundraiser for none other than Harry Reid at Bloombo's home in September. The Hill notes that Bloombleman has endorsed both Dems and GOPers this cycle, including Michael Bennet and Joe Sestak for the good guys, and Mark Kirk and Mike Castle for the bad guys.
Getting back to Nevada for a second, both Reid and Angle have new ads up, which you can view here. Reid has really been smacking Angle relentlessly over all the crazy shit she's said - so I think you can understand why I said yesterday that it feels "limp" for Ron Klein to go after the similarly insane Allen West over tax issues rather than teh crazy. Anyhow, NWOTSOTB, though the Reid campaign says the ad "will be added to its rotation of statewide spots."
WI-Sen: Wait, could there actually be room in this digest for a second Republican hypocrite? Hell yes! And it's a repeat performance. It turns out that Ron Johnson's plastics company Pacur received a HUD grant in 1979 to build a railway line out to its factory. This is on top of the $2.5 million federal loan Pacur received in the mid-80s to build an addition to the factory. As one blogger says, Ayn Rand must be rotating in her crypt. Don't forget what Dagny Taggart did for a living!
AZ-03: Ben Quayle started a post-victory press conference by doubling down on his previous jerk-assedness, repeating his claim that "Barack Obama is the worst President in history.'" The douche really doesn't fall far from the bag, huh. Meanwhile, Quayle's former buddies at TheDirty.com were hit with an $11 million default judgment in a defamation suit brought by one of the many people they've wronged over the years. The only problem, however, is that the plaintiff's attorneys appeared to have crumbed the play by naming the wrong business entity in their lawsuit. Hooman Karamian, the scumbag behind the website, says that neither he nor his company was served process, which could seriously imperil the award. In any case, all this legal wrangling is gonna make it a little harder for Quayle to get past this issue, methinks. (And Karamian, for that matter, says that he'll stop blogging about Quayle's involvement with the site once he "admits that he is Brock Landers".)
"Dan Webster is deader than Elvis. ... He is the ultimate establishment candidate," Grayson quipped Wednesday, the morning after Republican voters picked the veteran former state legislator to run against him in District 8. ...
Grayson, of Orlando, is a bare-knuckle campaigner who has already begun referring to Webster as "Taliban Dan," for what he considers to be Webster's extreme religious views. Grayson made it clear his campaign plans a heavy onslaught of attacks against Webster's voting record.
"Stay tuned. You'll see: We'll be putting it out day after day, week after week," Grayson said. "Very soon people are going to realize that Webster can't possibly win."
While he's often infuriating, you gotta respect Grayson for being balls-out, and not sounding like such a wuss like so many other Democrats.
FL-17: The Miami Herald has an interesting post-mortem on the Dem primary in the 17th CD. Given the heavily Haitian population in the district, it seemed likely that it could send the first Haitian-American person to Congress. But the four candidates of Haitian descent in the race split the vote, allowing state Sen. Frederica Wilson to carry the day with 35% (a number which, given the huge size of the field, was actually considered pretty high).
FL-24: Put the can-openers away, boys - no cat fud here. Karen Diebel emerged from hiding to endorse state Rep. Sandy Adams, the winner of the GOP primary. Diebel lost by about 0.8%, but obviously this means no recount.
ME-02: Businessman Jason Levesque is up on the airwaves in his bid to upset Blue Dog Mike Michaud, touting his desire to reign in government spending. Levesque has raised over $250K for his bid, so you may want to consider adding this one to your list of races that are bubbling under. (JL)
NM-02: The other day, we mentioned that the Defenders of Wildlife threw down another $125K on a new attack ad against GOPer Steve Pearce. The New Mexico Independent has the ad, if you'd like to watch it.
NC-07: Here's something you don't see every day: Dem Rep. Mike McIntyre's 2008 Republican opponent, Will Breazeale, is endorsing him. Breazeale really has it in for GOP nominee Ilario Pantano - Breazeale attempted a repeat bid this year, but was beaten by Pantano in the primary. The odd thing is that the McIntyre campaign specifically said "no comment" in regard to the endorsement. Any thoughts on why?
NC-08: Larry Kissell is touting a new internal poll from Anzalone-Liszt, showing him beating Republican Harold Johnson 49-32, with Libertarian Thomas Hill at 7. The only other interesting finding actually released in the memo is Johnson's faves, 32-25.
NV-03: Actually, it turns out AFSCME's buy was a lot bigger than we thought: $750K, according to independent expenditure reports, rather than the $240K reported by the Smart Media Group. AFSCME really seems to like buying in three-quarters-of-a-million chunks.
NY-01: Randy Altschuler is out with a new ad attacking Republican rival Chris Cox for living in New York City, rather than in Suffolk County. (Apparently, Cox is crashing at his uncle's house in the Hamptons.) NWOTSOTB.
NY-13: GOPer Michael Allegretti has a new ad out, frenetically edited in the Dale Peterson style, which includes a "man on the street" declaring that Allegretti "is a paisan! He's one of us!" And here's an interesting detail the ad alludes to, which I think we missed: Allegretti's opponent Mike Grimm apparently has no job and has debts which far exceed his income, according to financial disclosure forms. Gotta wonder how he can afford to run for Congress in NYC.
NY-14: Looks like the New York Post got caught trying to ratfuck the Dem primary here in my backyard. Those scuzzes tried to claim that Hillary Clinton - you know, the Secretary of State - was "unofficially" backing Reshma Saujani. Clinton confidantes and the State Department have called bullshit, though, stating that the Secretary of State does not engage in partisan politics. Duh. Nice try, Posties.
SD-AL: In politics, going after a candidate's record traffic infractions is usually a rinky-dink play, but it turns out that Republican Kristi Noem's record behind the wheel is very troubled:
KELOLAND News checked the records for all five candidates for U.S. House and Governor; Noem has the longest list of violations, including 20 speeding tickets, three stop sign violations, two seat belt violations, and no driver's license. Noem also has six court notices for failure to appear and two arrest warrants.
Yikes! Meanwhile, Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin is out with a new ad that, mercifully, doesn't feature her son's poop, but instead speaks in dour tones about how liberals in Washington are wrecking the heartland. Pretty bleak, defeatist-sounding stuff. (JL)
Earlier in the day, Markos billed the likely matchup between Maine's Rep. Tom Allen (D) and Susan Collins (R) for control of her Senate seat in 2008 as a "battle of the titans", which leads me to ask: does Allen really have what it takes to win this thing?
Now, I'm not trying to say that Allen is a weak candidate. In a state with only two House districts, it's clear that Allen would be a fairly serious threat to an entrenched Collins. But with a Senator as popular as Collins (who enjoys a whopping 73% approval last November, according to the latest SUSA tracking poll in November), Allen will have to execute a perfect campaign in order to win.
Let's check his track record as of late. Here's how he fared in 2006, according to CNN:
Allen (D): 61 Curley (R): 31 Kamilewicz (I): 8
And here's his 2004 performance:
Allen (D): 60 Summers (R): 40
Allen's district has a PVI of D+6.2. His House colleague, Democrat Mike Michaud, occupies a seat that's a shade less Democratic at D+3.5. In his sophomore re-election bid in 2004, he won by a margin of 58-39, a margin very similar to Allen's, who had been serving since 1998 by this point. In 2006, Michaud crushed his Republican opponent by a 70-30 margin.
Now, there are a lot of dynamics left unstated here: Kamilewicz, his 2006 third-party opponent, ran a peace campaign that probably cut into his left flank, although it only cost a mere $42,000. And while Allen enjoyed a 4-1 spending advantage over Republican Darlene Curley in 2006, he didn't exactly saturate the market with his total expenditures of $650,000. But the point I'm trying to make is this: winning with 60%, especially in a Democratic year such as 2006, doesn't leave me feeling overwhelmed.
Does anyone have a better sense as to why Allen hasn't been able to peak above 60% since 2002?