• AZ-Sen: The NYT has a piece about Dems tip-toeing around the Senate race as they wait for Gabby Giffords to recover (and make a decision), but I think it adds very little to the conversation. There isn't really any new information in the piece, so you can probably skip it.
• MA-Sen: Wow, the DSCC is doing a bang-up job on MA-Sen this week. A couple of days ago, they conned Roll Call into writing a piece which argued that the lack of a Democratic candidate was actually a good thing and all part of some devious plan. Now comes word that they've managed to leak a poll that shows Scott Brown with a ridiculous 73% approval rating and supposedly beating all comers by double digits. Aren't they supposed to only leak polls when they've got good news to share? Sheesh. This is just so sloppy. (Also, 73% approval? Really? Might want to think about hiring a new pollster for this race.)
Anyhow, another Dem is feeling out the race: Gerry Kavanaugh, who was once Ted Kennedy's chief of staff and is now a political consultant, says he's "thinking about" a run. Kavanaugh has never run for office before.
• MO-Sen: This is pretty weird. Tons of documents, including a lot of emails, generated during GOPer Sarah Steelman's tenure as state treasurer have disappeared, and the new treasurer (who is a Dem) is saying in response to freedom of information requests that they simply can't be found. As Catanese says, this ought to give Steelman's primary opponents some good fodder... especially if any of the missing docs ever turn up.
• NV-Sen: Rep. Shelley Berkley's leaked a poll (taken for her by the Mellman Group) which shows her up 42-38 over Republican Rep. Dean Heller in a hypothetical Senate race. The more I think about it, the more I feel this really is Berkley's moment and that she should definitely go for it. I think Obama's going to run a very strong campaign here, and I just think the timing is right.
• MI-Gov: Republican-linked pollster Marketing Research Group gives Gov. Rick Snyder the best numbers he's seen so far, with a 42-38 job approval rating. But spiderdem shows just how implausibly favorable to Snyder the sample composition is.
• UT-Gov, UT-01: Interesting: GOP Rep. Rob Bishop refused to answer a question about whether he plans to challenge Gov. Gary Herbert, instead seeming to make some crack about ex-Gov. John Huntsman's run for president. Herbert has raised some teabagger ire for signing an immigration reform package that would, among other things, allow for guest workers (the nutters call it "amnesty") - basically, the opposite approach from Arizona. I'm not sure if Bishop's expressed his views on this legislation, but he's definitely a hard-core anti-immigrant zealot.
• WV-Gov: Treasurer John Perdue is out with his first ad - and it's a two-minute long (!!) behemoth.
• AZ-01: This is an old (May 2010) but interesting article on ex-Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick's relationship with Apache Indians in her former district, who constitute an important voting bloc. I highlight it because, of course, she just announced her intention to seek a rematch against Republican Paul Gosar. Apache leaders, who supported her first election bid in 2008, felt betrayed over her support of a controversial copper mine on what they consider to be sacred land and walked away from her last year. However, as sacman701 points out, Kirkpatrick's vote drop-off in Apache County in 2010 was very minimal.
• MN-08: Here's something else interesting (okay, every bullet in the digest is an unparalleled gem and I love them all equally): Dem Lt. Gov. Yvonne Prettner Solon, who used to be a state Senator, is supposedly considering a run against freshman GOPer Chip Cravaack, according to a Politics in Minnesota source. One problem, as the piece notes, is that if she won, Republican Senate President Michelle Fischbach would become the new Lieutenant Governor. As someone who lived through the near-death experience of having Pedro Espada half-a-heartbeat away from the governor's mansion, I wouldn't blame Minnesota Dems if they wanted Prettner Solon to stay put!
• NY-01: I think a key reason why Dem Rep. Tim Bishop was able to hang on by the skin of his political teeth last year was because of the exceptionally nasty three-way GOP primary on the other side of the aisle - one which took place very late (September) to boot, giving eventual winner Randy Altschuler little time to recover. So it's very heartwarming to see that another 2010 candidate, George Demos, is already slagging Altschuler for failing to win "in a year Republicans couldn't lose." Both men are considering rematches, and according to Dave Catanese, are meeting with the NRCC. Cat fud comin'!
• PA-03: This is also interesting (there I go again!): Ex-Rep. Kathy Dahlkemper is considering a rematch against GOP frosh Mike Kelly. I say "interesting" because I wouldn't have considered her among the likeliest batch of people to seek a comeback, and I don't think I'd really heard her name since last November. Anyhow, Dahlkemper says she's spoken with the DCCC, and while she wouldn't announce a timetable for a decision, she doesn't want to wait until the fall (as she did in 2007 when she first ran). The same article also mentions another potential Dem candidate whose name has come up in recent days but apparently hasn't ruled anything out: Erie Mayor Joe Sinnott.
• WI-07: Sean Duffy's handlers seem to have a very 19th century understanding of the Internet: They've demanded the already-infamous video of him moaning about getting by on $174K a year get removed on copyright grounds. This is sure to make the story go away. Actually, I've changed my mind: They have a decidedly 21st century appreciation of the 'net: After they sent a takedown letter to Talking Points Memo, TPM re-posted a shorter version of the video - which now, in a reverse Breitbart claim, Duffy's people are saying was selectively edited. Of course, this is bullshit, but they've succeeded in getting CNN to repeat it as fact.
• Wisconsin Sup. Ct.: This is really interesting (wow, I just can't help myself today): Craig Gilbert of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel points out that there are two key special elections in the state's two biggest Democratic counties on Tuesday, which of course coincide with the Supreme Court race. One we've mentioned before: In Milwaukee, voters will replace their former County Exec, who was none other than Scott Walker. The Dem there, Chris Abele, has devoted his campaign to linking his Republican opponent with Walker. Meanwhile, in Dane County (home of Madison), the exec decided last year to leave in the middle of her term, prompting a new election. While Dane is reliably liberal, Milwaukee isn't always, but given the contours of this year, Gilbert thinks the voter surge in Milwaukee is more likely to be left-leaning. But you should really read the whole piece, as there's a lot of interesting data (and a cool chart) that I can't convey in one short bullet.
• PPP: Politico has a feature-type piece about our buddies at Public Policy Polling, with some details about the deal with DK/SEIU, and a longer discussion of how PPP really has not becomes viewed as a left-leaning Rasmussen... mostly because their numbers are actually, ya know, good.
• Arkansas: Despite strenuous GOP opposition, Arkansas Dems are moving ahead with their so-called "Fayetteville finger" plan that moves the city into Dem Rep. Mike Ross's 4th CD. They did pass a new, somewhat modified plan (you can see a map at the link), but it still preserves the extension into Fayetteville. (Several Republicans plans have gotten voted down as well.)
• Louisiana: Hah! Remember that fucker Michael Jackson, who ran as an independent in 2008 and cost Dem Rep. Don Cazayoux his hard-won seat in Congress? Well, in his role as state Rep., he's put out a propose congressional map that would create two majority-minority districts in Louisiana. I assume they have no chance of seeing the light of day, though. You can find it here.
• Missouri: The first proposed congressional redistricting plan has emerged from the Missouri state House, and it looks pretty much exactly like what you'd expect: Russ Carnahan's district has been flushed down the oubliette. (Map at link.) The state Senate plans to release a map soon, too.
• Mississippi: Mississippi has a serious redistricting logjam, and with the end of the legislative session fast approaching, no one seems inclined to give in. The article I've linked says that Gov. Haley Barbour could call a special session, but Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant (who after a big initial setback seems to have reasserted himself as the GOP's point man on redistricting) seems almost eager for the impasse to continue. If it does, that would mean two sets of elections: one this year under the old maps, and one next year under new maps. Bryant is really starting to warm to this, because Republicans would very likely take control of the state House this November under the existing lines, which would then give them a free a hand. But if a new plan (with a Dem gerrymander in the House) goes into place this year, it gives Democrats at least something of a chance of holding the House - which is why House Speaker Billy McCoy's over-reach was really so stupid.
• New Jersey: Things are coming to a head in the Garden State, with the final vote on a redistricting plan by the members of the state's bipartisan commission scheduled for noon on Sunday. What the maps actually will look like is anybody's guess, as the panel's leader/tiebreaker, Alan Rosenthal, has ordered repeated revampings. (Chris Christie has also been seen leaning heavily on the panel members.) Leaked maps (we haven't actually seen copies of them, but apparently everyone is willing to describe them to reporters) seem rife with intra-party intrigue, with several Dem state legislators who've fallen out of favor (including ex-acting Gov. Richard Codey) getting the short end of the redistricting stick. At the Congressional level, the same dynamic is playing out, with rumors that Rep. Frank Pallone of NJ-06 is the House member likeliest to get dealt the worst hand. Apparently he's also out of favor with the currently ruling Dem power brokers, who'd like to derail him from an anticipated statewide run. (The whole story is worth a read, for a guided tour of the byzantine behind-the-scenes working of New Jersey politics.)
• Virginia: The Virginia Public Access Project has some cool interactive charts you can play around with which show how the various redistricting proposals would affect the state legislature.
These "do-over" questions from Public Policy Polling are, of course, off in hypothetical-land and don't have an immediate application (other than to encourage high-information partisan types like us to find a convenient desk and start pounding our heads on it). But they are certainly remarkable, and starting to put together, brick by brick, a real picture of the pendulum swinging back incredibly rapidly among fickle midwestern swing voters. Today, it's Michigan's turn, where they find that if the 2010 gubernatorial election were re-done, Democratic mayor of Lansing Virg Bernero would edge out Rick Snyder.
In a way, that's even more startling reversal of fortune than PPP's previous results in Wisconsin and Ohio, as Snyder ran as a centrist and superficially reasonable guy, instead of an out-and-proud jackass like John Kasich and Scott Walker, and wound up winning by 18 points instead of squeaking by. (Although the composition of the electorate seems to have changed a lot since 2010, suggesting a lot of Democrats sat on their hands that year and are now asking themselves why... PPP's electorate went only 49-43 for Snyder, with 8% didn't vote/don't remember.)
The problem for Snyder is that he isn't governing the way he campaigned; 36% are now saying he's "too conservative," and that has dragged his overall approval rate down to 33/50... one of the shortest honeymoons ever, as now he's in almost as bad a shape as Jennifer Granholm was when she left office. Snyder's on the wrong end of public opinion on all the prominent policy questions: there's 49/37 support for a constitutional amendment guaranteeing collective bargaining rights, 59/32 support for collective bargaining for public employees, and 32/50 opposition for Snyder's probably-unconstitutional attempt to take over and dismantle faltering municipalities. The one bit of good news that Snyder can take away from this: he's recall-eligible after only six months in office, but voters are leaning against that, with 38% in support and 49% against.
To start with it may be worth highlighting the numbers from each of those previous three diaries.
SENATE - GOP +5
GOVERNORS - GOP +5
SENATE - GOP +6
GOVERNORS - GOP +7
SENATE - GOP +7
GOVERNORS - GOP +7
I call that a trend. And not a good one. Unfortunately these final projections continue that trend.
WA (Not at all confident here. And it will probably take several weeks to see if I'm right.)
NV (Polling could well be unreliable here but I have to go with it. Hope I'm wrong.)
CO (Bennet has held on well here but I suspect the year is too much for him.)
IL (Still possible that unexpected Dem turnout can save Alexi.)
PA (Sestak has closed fast but I don't think it will be quite enough.)
CA (This one was a worry at times but I think most of us always felt confident enough.)
WV (Still say he was crazy to push for an election this year but it looks like Manchin will get away with it.)
WI (Poor campaign from Feingold but may not have mattered. His principles are both admirable and frustrating all at the same time.)
AK (Murkowski likely pulls it off but weird things happen up there. No result of the three would shock me.)
DE (Chris Coons will be my favorite Dem Senate Freshman. Not that there is much competition.)
CT (Another that caused a few nerves but the fundamentals always suggested retention.)
MO (The state may be trending away but I think, like many before her, Robin will be back.)
NH (Many say Hodes ran a poor campaign. I don't buy it. The year made it impossible here with so many indies.)
KY (Paul would have won even without Conway ad own goal. At least he will be entertaining.)
OH (Nobody was beating Portman this year with all that cash.)
FL (Rubio may or may not be a national figure in waiting but Crist is certainly done on that front.)
NC (Biggest recruiting fail of the cycle but even someone like Cooper may have struggled with the environment.)
IN (Surprisingly lackluster campaign from Ellsworth.)
AR (The state has finally broken to join the rest of the region in becoming Republican.)
LA (Vitter is scum but the electorate down their think Obama is scummier.)
ND safely in the GOP column.
OR (Kitzhaber turned things around just in time.)
VT (If Rasmussen says Shumlin is leading I'm more than happy to believe him for once.)
FL (Biggest consolation prize of the night.)
CT (Late momentum for Foley probably keeps this Republican.)
OH (Strickland may well yet pull this out. Would be a another great consolation prize.)
IL (Can turnout save Quinn? Probably not but possible.)
CA (Money can't buy you love and all that. Always preferred nostalgia myself.)
MN (I wonder what would have happened here without the perennial third wheel?)
MA (Very impressed with Patrick's recovery. Cahill makes little difference in the end.)
HI (Abercrombie recovering from a few shaky polls.)
CO (Suspect Tancredo's ceiling is 45 percent.)
RI (Chafee ain't a Dem but Caprio makes him as good as.)
NH (Nature of the year that this ended as close as it did.)
PA (D, R, D, R. Like clockwork.)
TX (Very hopeful White has another run in him.)
GA (Environment means no return for Barnes despite Deal's ethical issues.)
NM (Denish weighed down by Richardson and national environment but Martinez a good nominee anyway.)
WI (Barrett never could shake bad environment and Doyle's unpopularity.)
SC (Tighter than many expected but Haley wins nevertheless.)
ME (Hoping Cutler can pull a shocker here but probably not.)
MD (Senator O'Malley in the future perhaps? Maybe the cabinet?)
NY (I suspect Paladino may well cost the GOP some House seats.)
AR (Beebe bucks the tide quite easily.)
NV (One Reid was quite enough already.)
MI (Figure that Bernero may out perform the polls a little but still won't get close.)
AZ (Hating Brown people saves Brewer her job.)
OK (Nobody really ever expected to be even remotely competitive here did they?)
IA (Culver may well have lost to any Republican. He never had a chance agianst Branstad.)
TN (There are many worse people than Haslam that could be winning this for Republicans.)
KS (I do wonder if this would have been competitive in a better year. Parkinson may even have had an outside shot this year.)
AL (Sparksmania didn't quite materialize.)
ID (Otter polls surprisingly weak once again but that hardly matters up here.)
AK (Ethan Berkowitz meet Tony Knowles. You have much in common.)
WY safely in the GOP column.
SENATE - GOP +8
GOVERNORS - GOP +7
I've not written any diaries of my own since joining the site earlier this year, but after reading hoosierdems's excellent analysis of Indiana earlier this week, I thought I'd give it a go. Here I'll analyze each of the races in Michigan this year, including a short prediction for the State House, State Senate, Supreme Court and ballot initiatives.
WARNING: This diary will be long, so if you're looking for brevity, it may not be for you. Also, standard disclaimer that I have dogs in a couple of these fights; friends are managing Rob Steele's campaign and volunteering for many other candidates, as well as working for the Michigan Republican Party. I will do my best not to let this color my analysis, however.
I'll begin with the biggest-ticket races, and by far the most boring of the cycle.
Republican businessman Rick Snyder managed to survive a 5-way Republican primary to challenge populist Dem and Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero in the general election. Bernero upset the more establishment choice, House Speaker Andy Dillon in the Democratic primary himself. Since then, however, he has struggled to raise money (only $2 million raised for the cycle compared to Snyder's $11 million), and to move beyond his base of progressive Dems and union activists. In no survey has he trailed by less than 12 points, and he consistently loses all regions of the state to Snyder (including Lansing-based Mid-Michigan) except for the city of Detroit. In the crucial Wayne-Oakland-Macomb tri-county area, Snyder leads by about 10. Though likely the most boring, this race could have the most far-reaching effects downticket; if depressed Dems stay home rather than vote for a likely loser in Bernero, it could be a bad night for Dems all over in Michigan.
Final Prediction: 58-41 Snyder
Because Lieutenant Governor is elected on the gubernatorial ticket, the next race in Michigan is for Attorney General. Here establishment Republican former Congressman (and MI Ag Secretary, and judge, and everything else under the sun) Bill Schuette won the GOP nomination at the Republican convention, albeit by a smaller margin than many expected after a Tea Party revolt nearly pushed Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop over the top. In a closely contested Democratic convention vote, Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton edged trial lawyer and Wayne State Regent Richard Bernstein. Bernstein dropped out thereafter and decided not to contest the nomination (Democratic conventions aren't binding in MI).
This race has also been fairly boring: Democrats have attacked Schuette for allegedly being in the pocket of corporations and for being bad on the environment, while Republicans have attacked Leyton for allegedly being soft on crime. Pretty standard AG campaign. Leyton has suffered from some of the same money problems as other statewide Dems, and has been for the most part unable to respond effectively to TV ads by the Michigan Republican Party and others. Because of name recognition, money, a GOP year and Leyton's association with the city of Flint, Schuette will win this in a walk.
Final Prediction: 56-43 Schuette
The race to replace outgoing GOP Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land initially seemed to be the most interesting of the top-tier races. A slew of generic Republicans lined up to face the hard-working Democratic nominee Jocelyn Benson. Benson, a Wayne State University law professor and Jennifer Brunner disciple, had been campaigning for nearly a year before the Dem convention, hitting just about every county and local Democratic party in Michigan. She faced only token opposition at the convention and cruised to the nomination.
The outlines of this race only began to emerge after Oakland County Clerk and 2006 LG nominee Ruth Johnson got into the Republican race late, making her the most visible and well-known candidate. She ultimately prevailed at the convention on the 2nd or 3rd ballot (depending on whom you ask).
Though Benson has run a spirited campaign, and comes off much better on TV (her debate with Johnson on Tim Skubick's On the Record was uncomfortable to watch), she hasn't been able to shake either the D next to her name or the attacks leveled on her by Republican groups. Though this race has the potential to close in the last week if Benson uses some of her 500k on TV time in Metro Detroit, she likely won't be able to overcome Johnson this year. Look for her to run for something in 2012 or 2014. For now, Johnson wins comfortably.
Final Prediction: 54-45 Johnson
The dynamics of the Supreme Court races got very interesting this year when Elizabeth Weaver, the Republican-appointed swing justice on the otherwise 3-3 Court(often siding with the Democrats) cut a deal with Gov. Jennifer Granholm to retire in exchange for Granholm to appoint a judge from Northern Michigan. Weaver had had a falling out with other Republicans on the Court, particularly Robert Young. In exchange for Weaver's retirement, Granholm appointed now-Justice Alton Davis, who will be running along with Oakland Circuit Court Judge Denise Langford-Morris as the Democratic candidates for the cycle's two seats. Republicans re-nominated Robert Young for the seat he currently holds, and put up Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Mary Beth Kelly for the seat currently held by Davis. All public polling has shown the two Republicans leading the races by 5-10 point margins, and the Republicans have had the benefit of strong TV advertising on their behalf. The two Democrats have had trouble raising money, for their part, and have only been able to afford sparse TV advertising. Give the advantage in this race to the Republicans.
Final Prediction: Robert Young retained, Mary Beth Kelly elected
This would result in a 4-3 Republican court, from a 4-3 Democratic SC now.
This race appears to have tightened somewhat in recent weeks, with Democratic State Rep. Gary McDowell within single digits of Republican nominee Dan Benishek, a heart surgeon. Benishek beat out Republican State Senator Jason Allen by a very small margin in the September primary.
There is also a conservative independent in the race,Glenn Wilson, who seems to be drawing more votes from Benishek than McDowell (a point echoed by his former campaign manager, who quit for this reason). Wilson has been unable to use much of the $2 million he had hoped to dump into the race for campaign finance reasons, but has perhaps been buoyed by Democratic psy-ops. In recent weeks, the State Democratic Central Committee has sent mailers to Republican-oriented voters with messages like "Glenn Wilson has a dangerous plan to shrink size and scope of government," obviously designed to move conservative support to Wilson.
Still, the most recent polls give Benishek a small lead, while McDowell has not led this year. Notably, surveys show Benishek winning by a nearly 10-point margin in the Lower Peninsula and carrying places like Alpena (where his signs are everywhere). This is important, because counterintuitively, most of the votes in this district are actually cast in the LP. If Benishek maintains this and continues to run close in the UP, where he has a solid base in the west (McDowell's is in the east), he'll win.
Final Prediction Benishek 46-44-9
This is Michigan's most conservative district, at R+7. Though Democrats made gains here in 2008, this was largely a result of elevated African American and Hispanic turnout in Muskegon and elsewhere, coupled with McCain's abandonment of the state. Congressman Pete Hoekstra retired this year to run unsuccessfully for Governor, leading to a crowded Republican primary to replace him. In the end, State Rep. Bill Huizenga beat out Tea Party favorite Bill Cooper and others to emerge as the GOP candidate. He faces Democrat Fred Johnson in the general election. Though Johnson is a credible enough candidate, this race will not be competitive, especially with the Tea Party so active in Western and Northern Michigan this year.
Final Prediction: Huizenga 60-40
Republican Congressman Vern Ehlers retired from Grand Rapids-based MI-03 this year, leaving the seat up for grabs. Republican State Rep. Justin Amash beat out Sen. Bill Hardiman and two other establishment candidates to win the GOP primary, while the Democrats nominated attorney Pat Miles. Though some have speculated that Amash is too far to the right of the district that elected moderate GOPer Ehlers, this race won't be competitive. Ehlers endorsed Amash shortly after the primary, and he has been aided by the Club for Growth and others in his bid. Public polling places Amash ahead by 9-10, his internals have him up 19. Splitting the difference, his lead is probably in the 12-14 range. Miles has been plagued by poor name recognition and mediocre fundraising, and will need to hope for astronomical African-American turnout in Grand Rapids to keep this close. Miles will likely show up in other races soon, however. I wouldn't be surprised to see him run for a State Senate seat in the area and win soon.
Final Prediction Amash 54-44
This district winds its way from Traverse City in the north, down through Mount Pleasant to Owosso. It's GOP Rep. Dave Camp country, and will continue to be for the foreseeable future. His opponent is Some Dude Jerry Campbell.
Final Prediction Camp 63-35
Democratic Rep. Dale Kildee's district takes in the plurality-black city of Saginaw and majority-black Flint. Though some Republicans in the state want to dream that this seat is "in play," Kildee is safe against Some Dude John Kupiec.
Final Prediction Kildee 59-39
Though this district is actually pretty evenly split (R+0 PVI), with ubermajority-black Benton Harbor and heavily-Dem Kalamazoo, it's also quite rural. Moderate Republican Rep. Fred Upton has held the district for a long time, and survived a Tea Party primary challenge from former State Rep. Jack Hoogendyk this year. He'll cruise to re-election over 2008 retread Don Cooney.
Final Prediction Upton 54-43
Oh, how I've come to hate this race. In 2008, Mark Schauer beat Tim Walberg by a slim margin to take this seat for Democrats. He went on to vote for the stimulus, cap and trade, and the health-care bill, which should have left him dead in the water in this moderately Republican district. But read on, me hearties.
The trouble began brewing in the Republican primary. A political newcomer, attorney and veteran Brian Rooney challenged Walberg for the right to take on Schauer. Rooney, while still a conservative, came off as much more moderate, likable, and truly sane than Walberg. Rooney raised money on par with Walberg and had a strong campaign team, but simply couldn't overcome the name recognition and Club for Growth advantages that Walberg had built in. He lost, and lost badly. Thus 2008 loser and general dickwad Tim Walberg will be the Republican nominee against Schauer again this year, making what should be a sure thing much closer.
Why, you ask? Because Walberg pissed off many Republicans in the district by primarying and beating former Republican Rep. Joe Schwarz. While ordinarily this would have been an upgrade (Schwarz was out in left field even on economic issues), the sleazy way Walberg beat him in the primary, combined with inflammatory and generally dumb statements in the general election (and in office) turned many against him. He barely beat organic farmer and liberal doormat Sharon Renier in 2006, then lost in '08. Now the GOP decides to run him again.
Meanwhile, Schauer has built a truly formidable campaign machine. He has 35 people working full-time on his re-election plus volunteers; Walberg has 2 and volunteers. Schauer has spent $2.2 million bucks in addition to money from the DCCC, SEIU, AFSCME, Sierra Club and LCV. Walberg has been forced to depend heavily on the NRCC and the Club for Growth because he's raised little (state Republicans shut their wallets after he won the primary). Democrats want Schauer in the leadership if he wins and gets a more favorable district, and he's running the campaign to do it. Public polls give Schauer a small but serviceable lead; Walberg's internals have him with a comical double-digit advantage. Walberg will also be hurt by the fake Tea Party candidate on the ballot, giving him a further obstacle to overcome (as if he couldn't create more himself). This one will come down to the wire on Nov. 2, but I'm not optimistic for my team.
Final Prediction: Schauer 49-47
Republican Rep. Mike Rogers scared off Democrat Kande Ngalamulume, and was left without a serious opponent. Not sure if Democrat Lance Enderle managed to get on the ballot after all, but it won't matter.
Final Prediction: Rogers by a bunch
Another race I'm pissed off about. None of the marquee Oakland County candidates decided to take on freshman Democrat Gary Peters (Sheriff Mike Bouchard was so certain of his gubernatorial chaces, and Majority Leader Mike Bishop just knew he'd be the next AG). Peters won this seat over corrupt old GOP bastard Joe Knollenberg in 2008 (even I didn't vote for Joe that year, I went Libertarian), and like Schauer, he also voted for just about all major Dem legislation in this swing district. In the end, Republicans nominated former State Rep. and veteran Rocky Raczkowski to challenge Peters. Though polling has shown varying leads for each candidate, the race will likely be very close. Peters has to hope for major turnout in plurality-black Pontiac, while Raczkowski needs the Tea Party voters that put him over the top in the primary to turn out in droves (and Snyder's coattails here won't hurt either). I think Peters pulls it out here, but only just; if Snyder depresses Dem turnout, he could be a casualty.
Final Prediction: Peters 49-48
It's Candice Miller, yo. Northern Macomb is strongly GOP, while the Thumb can be swingy, but is culturally very conservative. Miller will romp over Demcratic fireman Henry Yanez.
Final Prediction Miller by a bunch
Thad McCotter's an odd, odd dude. I've met him a few times, and the way he speaks (all the time) leaves you with the impression that he's just disgusted by everything. Still, this GOP rep isn't being seriously challenged this year after surviving in 2010. Luckily for him, State Sen. Glenn Anderson and State Rep. Marc Corriveau didn't decide to go for the promotion in this Western Wayne County district. He'll beat Democrat and teacher Natalie Mosher in a walk.
Final Prediction McCotter 58-40
New Ways and Means Chairman Sander Levin currently holds this solidly Dem district. Anchored by majority-black Southfield, it also takes in the most Democratic parts of Macomb County, like Warren and Sterling Heights. Levin will have no trouble with Republican insurance agent Don Volaric.
Final Prediction: Levin 61-36
This Detroit and Grosse Pointes district ousted Congresswoman Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick in the primary in favor of State Sen. Hansen Clarke. Clark will win the general, and will no doubt provide better representation for the city than another Kilpatrick. Clarke beats Grosse Pointe businessman John Hauler, no sweat.
Final Prediction: Clarke 75-25
John Conyers' wife, a former Detroit City Councilwoman, is currently in jail on bribery charges. He also misses many, many important votes, and he has been chastised for using staffers to do menial chores for him. But this is Detroit; corruption is part of the game and people love Conyers for some reason. In a just world he'd lose, but in reality, Conyers stomps Republican businessman Don Ukrainec.
Final Prediction: Conyers by I can't count that high
Democratic Congressman John Dingell is old. Like, really old. And a guy named John Dingell has held this seat since before your momma and your momma's momma were born (depending on your age, very possibly true). He's also facing a very strong challenge this year from Republican doctor Rob Steele (sounds like a Bond villain). Yet this district is anchored in the People's Republic of Ann Arbor and Downriver Detroit. Though Steele is running the campaign of his life, and comes off much better on television, in person and in debates, he won't be able to overcome the partisan lean of this district. Some polling to the contrary aside, Dingell wins by single digits.
Final Prediction: Dingell 53-46
So after this cycle, we end up with an 8-7 Republican congressional delegation, from an 8-7 Dem one now.
I won't go through these races in detail, but the GOP currently holds a 21-17 advantage in the State Senate. Based on candidates, polling and the year, I think they expand this to about 24-13. The Dems lost probably their best pickup opportunity when State Rep. Robert Jones, the Dem candidate for a Kalamazoo-based Senate seat, died unexpectedly of cancer. His replacement will probably be unable to overcome the advantage this leaves his Republican opponent, Tonya Schuitmaker with.
Republicans need 12 seats for a tie here, and 13 to take back the 110-member State House. I think there are two possible scenarios for the House: if turnout is about average and Dems come out in spite of the bloodbath at the top of the ticket, they'll maintain a 2 or 3 seat majority in the House. If turnout is lower or simply more skewed in favor of Republicans and against incumbents, Republicans take the House by a couple of seats. This one remains up in the air, though I think the massive spending by the RGA and the cash-rich Michigan Republican Party bodes well for Rs.
Proposal 1 (Constitutional Convention)
This is just about the only bipartisan initiative on the ballot ever. Both progressive and conservative, Chamber and unions alike oppose a new convention. They'll get their wish.
Final Prediction: NO 60-40
Proposal 2 (Ban felons from political office)
Public support for this proposal regularly polls in the 70s. It's a lock
Final Prediction: YES 80-20
These are, based on the polling, news and what inside information I'm able to get, the best projections I can make for now. What do you guys think?
TX-Gov (University of Texas): Bill White (D) 40, Rick Perry (R-inc) 50
Bonus: UT also tested a wide range of down-ballot races.
VA-02 (Christopher Newport University): Glenn Nye (D-inc) 41, Scott Rigell (R) 42
Margins & Errors: The DSCC supposedly has some internal with Alexi Giannoulias up 2 in IL-Sen, but this is some NRCC-style crap with no details other than the toplines... Some MI-Gov poll shows that the race still sucks... Frank Guinta is touting an internal in NH-01 that supposedly has him up 53-37, but there isn't even word of the pollster's name
• AK-Sen: I thought Joe Miller (last seen praising the COMMUNISTS!!1! in East Germany for their wall-building skills) wasn't going to talk about his personal life anymore (i.e. personal stuff like his on-the-job politicking while working for the borough of Fairbanks)? Well, now he is, and he's openly admitted on CNN that he was disciplined by the borough for an ethical violation. "John, I'll admit I'm a man of many flaws," he said. Apparently one of those flaws was using his various co-workers' computers while they were away for lunch to rig an online poll intended to displace Randy Ruedrich as state GOP chair, then wiping out their caches to cover his tracks, then getting caught when the wiped caches were discovered. Miller said he was reprimanded and docked pay as a result. However he maintains the incident had nothing to do with his departure from the office a year and a half later (which others maintain was imminently before he was about to be fired). So... a guy is possibly about to go from not being able to hack it as a contract attorney for a city of about 25,000, to a Senator, in the space of about a year? Geez, only in America.
• CT-Sen: Linda McMahon's no slouch either on the self-funding front: she loaned herself $20 million last quarter, bringing her all-cycle total to $41.5 million. (No word, of course, on how much of that $20 million actually has been or will be spent.) Meg Whitman was heard sniffing disdainfully and saying McMahon should call once she reaches the eight digits.
• DE-Sen: Sometimes, it's best to keep your mouth shut and let everyone assume you're a fool, rather than open your mouth and categorically prove it. The highlight of last night's debate:
Republican Senate nominee Christine O'Donnell of Delaware on Tuesday questioned whether the Constitution calls for a separation of church and state, appearing to disagree or not know that the First Amendment bars the government from establishing religion....
"The First Amendment establishes the separation, the fact that the federal government shall not establish religion," Coons said.
"The First Amendment does?" O'Donnell interrupted. "You're telling me that the separation of church and state is found in the First Amendment?"
• KY-Sen: With Aqua Buddha suddenly back dominating coverage of this race, no one's really stopped to ask Aqua Buddha lady what she thinks of all this. She thinks that Jack Conway's ad's tone is over-the-top, but agrees with the fundamentals, that it's an accurate reflection of Rand Paul's past views and that he should acknowledge that he's just changed his religious views since then (instead of playing the victim).
• MA-Sen: Wait, the 2010 election hasn't happened yet? Still not too early to talk about 2012. Rep. Mike Capuano, runner-up in the Dem primary in the special election and considered the likeliest opponent against Scott Brown in two years, is openly "mulling" the race, although his official line is "Talk to me in December."
• NV-Sen: We finally have some confirmation on what we'd suspected, regarding Sharron Angle's burn rate, thanks to Salon's crack team. She may have raised $14 million, but she also spent $5.3 million on direct mail expenses last quarter in order to get that money. $920K of that went to BaseConnect and its affiliates, with $1.5 million to somebody called Patton-Kiehl, who seemed responsible for the actual printing and postage. Another $4 million went to TV ads, leaving her with the $4 million CoH she reported.
• MD-Gov: This one looks closer and closer to being wrapped up in favor of Martin O'Malley. On top of today's Gonzales poll, there's also news that the RGA is scaling things back in Maryland, planning to spend less than $200K for Bob Ehrlich in the final two weeks. O'Malley may also benefit from an across-the-aisle endorsement (although it's from a figure who's committed his fair share of apostasies): ex-Rep. Wayne Gilchrest gave him his backing today.
• MN-Gov: Here's one more across-the-aisle endorsement (the only kind we'd bother reporting on, at this stage in the game). Tom Horner, the Independence Party candidate in Minnesota, got an endorsement from Mike Ciresi, a wealthy attorney who you might remember from losing the 2000 DFL Senate primary to Mark Dayton (wonder if there are any hard feelings there?) and ran again for Senate in 2008 but dropped out pre-convention. That may make things a smidge harder for Dayton, who needs Horner to draw votes mostly from the R column.
• AL-02: This has to be one of the weirdest IEs of the cycle: Blue America is spending in AL-02 of all places, and they're spending $48K against Bobby Bright. I guess they hate Blue Dogs just that much.
• FL-22: You know, if you're fighting allegations that you have links to the outlaw biker gang conveniently known as the Outlaws, probably the best way to do that is by not having bikers providing security at your rallies. Well, that's what happened at an Allen West appearance, where bikers physically drove off a Ron Klein tracker. Video is available at the link. (At least "Sympathy for the Devil" wasn't playing in the background.)
• NC-07: Here's some interesting scuttlebutt out of the 7th, where Mike McIntyre is joining the I-won't-vote-for-Pelosi brigade but where he's also saying that he's heard that she won't be running for Speaker again. (That would, of course, presume having a majority; no word on whether he's heard if she plans on running for minority leader.) Relatedly, even Mike McMahon, who's looking like a good bet to survive his red-leaning district this year, is now sounding noncommittal but at least Pelosi-skeptical.
• OR-04: Wondering who the mysterious Concerned Taxpayers of America are, who've trained most of their advertising firepower on Peter DeFazio, turning this into at least a mildly competitive race? Well, it turns out there's a grand total of two of them, each of whom has ponied up hundreds of thousands of dollars. One of them, Robert Mercer, appears to be the one with the beef against DeFazio, probably because he's a hedge fund manager and takes issue with DeFazio's leadership on taxing major hedge-fund transactions.
• VA-05: I guess demanding the moon and the sun when you make your initial offer in a negotiating session is a good strategy, but independent teabagger Jeffrey Clark may have taken that ridiculously far in his attempts to negotiate a dropout from the race and an endorsement for GOP candidate Robert Hurt. Clark offered to drop out if he got the chance to debate Hurt one-on-one, and then if subsequent polling didn't have him at 25% of the vote! Hurt has refused to appear any at any debates where Clark is included, and doesn't seem any likelier to do so now.
• WA-08: I know it's fashionable to paint Dave Reichert as not being one of the sharpest tools in the shed, but it's hard not to do so when he gives you so much material: at a forum with opponent Suzan DelBene, confessed in response to a question that he wasn't familiar with the Glass-Steagall Act. (The resurrection of Glass-Steagall was one of the main things being debated as part of the financial reform package passed this year.)
• DCCC: Here's some activity from the D-Trip that doesn't bode well: they've started going on the air in NC-11 for Heath Shuler, previously thought safe based on most of the polling we've seen so far but has been in the crosshairs of a lot of third-party advertising from folks like Americans for Job Security. (NWOTSOTB.) They're also increasing their buys in the coming weeks in neighboring districts SC-05 (John Spratt) and NC-07 (Mike McIntyre). Also, file this under a sorta-kinda triage decision: the DCCC is cutting off ads in NM-02, on behalf of Harry Teague. Chris Van Hollen says they're leaving Teague in "great position," which (shades of Steve Kagen here) is probably code for "he's personally wealthy" and it's time for him to buy his own bandaids.
• Polltopia: PPP is letting you choose an unprecedented six states to poll in, as part of their final round of polling. They must be renting some extra robots, because they're planning to poll 18 different states the week before the election, although 12 states (basically, the most obvious ones) are already locked in. Go vote!
• SSP TV:
• CA-Sen: EMILY's List is out with a TV spot featuring an opera guy singing a ditty about Carly Fiorina (and her time as Hewlett-Packard CEO)
• NV-Sen: Both the DSCC and NRSC are out with ads; the DSCC says that while you're angry, don't take it out by voting for Sharron Angle, while the GOP says Harry Reid lives in a fancy hotel and parties with supermodels
• WA-Sen: One of the Dems' few big-money behind-the-scenes groups, Commonsense Ten, looks at Dino Rossi's cozy connections
• WV-Sen: Joe Manchin's new ad just flat out says "John Raese uses people"
• CA-Gov: Too bad this is only a Jerry Brown web ad, because it's one of the most effective ones we've seen this cycle: it ties Meg Whitman to unpopular Arnold Schwarzenegger, matching them quote for quote (UPDATE: Good news, everybody! The ad is going to be running on television, despite its one-minute length! It's that good.)
• TX-Gov: Bill White's new ad hits Rick Perry on his rental mansion
• SC-02: Joe "Yewwwwww Laaaaaah!" Wilson talks about dodging mortar fire in his newest ad (mortar fire that apparently landed on the other end of the airport while on what Rob Miller has been calling a Congressional junket, but that's OK)
• TX-17: Here's a sign that Chet Edwards has done something to show that he's stemmed the bleeding (or at least that he called in some serious favors), as the DCCC's back on the air here with an effective ad about bailout funds for Bill Flores' oil company
• Original recipe Rasmussen:
• KY-Sen: Jack Conway (D) 42%, Rand Paul (R) 47%
• MI-Gov: Virg Bernero (D) 34%, Rick Snyder (R) 54%
• NV-Gov: Rory Reid (D) 37%, Brian Sandoval (R) 56%
• Extra crispy Rasmussen (aka Fox/Pulse):
• CA-Gov: Jerry Brown (D) 48%, Meg Whitman (R) 43%
• CA-Sen: Barbara Boxer (D-inc) 48%, Carly Fiorina (R) 44%
• CO-Gov: John Hickenlooper (D) 40 45%, Dan Maes (R) 10%, Tom Tancredo (C) 45 40%
• CO-Sen: Michael Bennet (D-inc) 45%, Ken Buck (R) 46%
• MO-Sen: Robin Carnahan (D) 43%, Roy Blunt (R) 49%
• OH-Gov: Ted Strickland (D-inc) 43%, John Kasich (R) 49%
• WV-Sen: Joe Manchin (D) 45%, John Raese (R) 48%
FL-Sen: Suffolk (10/14-17, likely voters, no trendlines):
Kendrick Meek (D): 22
Marco Rubio (R): 39
Charlie Crist (I): 31
FL-Gov: Suffolk (10/14-17, likely voters, no trendlines):
Alex Sink (D): 45
Rick Scott (R): 38
Misc.: In the AG race, Pam Bondi (R) leads Dan Gelber (D), 38-30. Also, a poll by Voter Survey Service (aka Susquehanna) for the right-wing Sunshine State News site has Adam Putnam (R) leading Scott Maddox (D) in the Ag Comm'r race, 40-35. Tea Party candidate Ira Chester takes 14%.
Tom Barrett (D): 41 (28)
Scott Walker (R): 50 (44)
Undecided: 6 (17)
Margins & Errors: The Fix publishes an alleged WA-Sen poll without either field dates or sample size... Bill Kristol (yeah, that Bill Kristol) claims he has his hands on an OH-10 poll - he has the n, but won't say the pollster's name, who paid for the poll, or when it was taken... Pollster.com has a PDF from ccAdvertising with numbers for WV-Sen, WV-01, and WV-03 - but not only does ccA report to hundredths of a percent, they get taken to the woodshed by Mark Blumenthal for refusing to divulge the poll's sponsor
The boys down at SSP Shipping & Receiving are, frankly, completely overwhelmed with the influx of incoming polling to report. That's why we gotta dish 'em out with no added frills, bulk-style. Our latest dose:
Dan Maffei (D-inc): 39 (46)
Ann Marie Buerkle (R): 40 (39)
Undecided: 21 (17)
Take that last one with a grain of salt, though -- note that directly before the head-to-head top line question, McLaughlin asked if voters would like to send an Obama-supporting Democrat to Congress or a Republican who would provide a "check and balance".