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SSP Daily Digest: 12/8

by: Crisitunity

Wed Dec 08, 2010 at 2:39 PM EST

CT-Sen: Following his loss in the CT-Gov primary after leading the polls almost all the way, I hadn't heard much discussion about Ned Lamont making a repeat run against Joe Lieberman for the 2012 Senate race. Lamont confirms that, saying he's "strongly disinclined" to try again.

FL-Sen: Here's a dilemma for temp Sen. George LeMieux, as he gave his farewell speech from the Senate floor. Acknowledge the man without whom he'd be utterly unknown and thus not in a position to run again for Senate in 2012... or invoke said man, whose name is utterly mud in Florida GOP circles, thus reminding everyone of those connections that can only hurt in a 2012 primary? In the end, basic human decency prevailed, and LeMieux thanked Charlie Crist for appointing him.

ME-Sen: This is pretty big news, as everyone has been treating newly-elected Gov. Paul LePage's imprimatur as a make or break for Olympia Snowe's hopes in a GOP primary in 2012. LePage, of course, was the tea party choice in the primary, and his say-so would go a long way toward either encouraging or discouraging a teabagger challenge to Snowe. LePage just came out with a statement of support for Snowe in the primary, saying he'd back her in the face of a possible primary challenge.

MO-Sen: Sarah Steelman continues to rack up support from the GOP's far-right, as she girds for a possible GOP primary showdown against ex-Sen. Jim Talent. Steelman met with Jim DeMint, the Senate's de facto kingmaker of the tea party set, and those involved expect DeMint's Senate Conservative Fund to back Steelman shortly (which would be his first endorsement of the 2012 cycle).

PA-Sen: Moran gets brain? Perhaps sensing the steep uphill climb of a challenge against the Casey name brand in Pennsylvania in a presidential year, random rich guy John Moran has done an about-face on a threatened possible Senate run that first emerged last week. Another central Pennsylvanian, though, state Sen. Jake Corman, seems to be interested in taking on Bob Casey Jr.

UT-Sen: In case there was any doubt about Orrin Hatch running again -- in his 70s and facing a likely difficult primary/convention -- well, he is. He released a statement this morning saying "I intend to run, and I intend to win." That comes in the face of the formation of a new leadership PAC by Rep. Jason Chaffetz, which would likely point to stepped-up fundraising efforts in the face of a intra-party challenge. (Hatch is sitting on $2.32 million CoH, while Chaffetz has $179K. If the targeted audience isn't all Utahns but a few thousand nuts at the state convention, though, money is less of an issue.)

IN-Gov: Soon-to-be-ex-Sen. Evan Bayh is issuing something of a timeline regarding whether or not he runs for his old job as Governor again in 2012. Bayh says he'll make a decision by the end of the year, and is saying it's a "possibility but [not] a probability." (Rep. Baron Hill and Evansville mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel are other fallback options.)There's no timeline, though, from Rep. Mike Pence, who probably would be the strongest candidate the GOP could put forth, but seems more interested in going straight for the Presidency. One GOPer who isn't waiting for Pence's decision is Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman, who has moved forward on fundraising although she hasn't officially declared anything. Soon-to-be-Rep. Todd Rokita warns not to underestimate Skillman.

MN-Gov: This is kind of a moot point in view of his concession this morning, but in case you're wondering what suddenly motivated Tom Emmer to drop his challenge to Mark Dayton and move on, this was probably the last straw: yesterday the Minnesota Supreme Court denied his petition asking for all counties to perform a reconciliation of number of voters with number of ballots cast. With the recount already done, the reconciliation would have been the only practical way of even stringing this thing out for a while longer, let alone finding an extra 9,000 votes.

MO-Gov: In marked contrast to the recent PPP poll giving Jay Nixon a clear edge, Republican Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder (now looking more like a candidate than ever) is pointing to an internal poll by American Viewpoint taken way back in late September that gives him a 47-38 lead over Nixon. The poll finds Nixon still popular, though, with 51% approval.

ND-Gov: Today was the first day on the job for North Dakota's new Governor, ex-Lt. Gov. Jack Dalrymple, who took over as John Hoeven resigned in order to join the Senate soon. Hoeven is the first-ever North Dakota Governor to resign voluntarily. Taking over as Lt. Gov. is ex-US Attorney Drew Wrigley. Dalrymple will be watched carefully as to what happens in 2012: he could either run for election to a full term, or move over to a Senate run against Kent Conrad.

MN-08: Newly-elected Rep. Chip Cravaack will have one of the tougher re-elects of any of the new House Republicans (he's in a D+3 district that includes the Dem stronghold of Duluth), but one of the bigger-name Dems in the district is saying he won't be the challenger. State Sen. Tom Bakk (one of the 5,589,358,587,568,120 people who ran for the DFL gubernatorial nomination this year) is staying where he is, especially since he's about to become minority leader.

GA-St. House: One more D-to-R party switcher to report, and it's a fairly big name within the confines of the Georgia legislature: Doug McKillip, who was previously #2 among Democrats. Interestingly, he's not from a dark-red rural district but represents the college town of Athens, and he says he'll be better able to agitate for the University's needs from within the majority... although, that, of course, would depend on getting re-elected again from that (presumably blue) district.

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MN-Gov: Emmer Will Concede

by: James L.

Wed Dec 08, 2010 at 11:08 AM EST

It's Dayton time:

It's over.

Republican Tom Emmer will concede the 2010 Minnesota governor's race this morning to Democrat Mark Dayton, a Republican source with direct knowledge confirmed to the Pioneer Press.

Emmer's 10:30 a.m. concession means he will not contest the election in court - thus averting a scenario that could have kept Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty in office past the scheduled Jan. 3 swearing-in of the next governor, the source said.

I guess he figured that his chances at the World Court in the Hague weren't that great.

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SSP Daily Digest: 12/7

by: Crisitunity

Tue Dec 07, 2010 at 3:19 PM EST

DE-Sen: Here's an amusing look back at the Delaware race, where it turns out that Christine O'Donnell raised $7.3 million over the course of the campaign (a somewhat large improvement on her $63K from her previous Senate bid) and then proceeded to lose by 16 points. O'Donnell apparently had the same problem that I suspected that Sharron Angle did (though we don't have any confirmation on Angle yet)... there weren't any media outlets with available slots to pour all that late-breaking money into.

MO-Sen: Jim Talent has offered his timeline on publicly deciding whether or not to run for Senate (which has seemed to get less likely over the last few days, if you believe the scuttlebutt). He won't decide until the New Year, and possibly won't announce anything until the state GOP's Lincoln Day festivities in mid-February.

MT-Sen: PPP offered some GOP Senate primary numbers, although I'm not sure how useful they are given that Marc Racicot, the former Governor and RNC chair, eats up a lion's share despite not having really ever been associated with the race. (Although, who knows... maybe this will suddenly prompt him to get interested.) At any rate, the two guys with name rec, Racicot and Rep. Denny Rehberg, are at 40 and 37, respectively. The two little-known guys who are actually the ones running (so far), Steve Daines and Neil Livingstone, are at 5 and 4.

RI-Sen: Although John Robitaille seems to be getting all the attention in terms of the GOP's pick to challenge Sheldon Whitehouse, Warwick mayor Scott Avedisian is still stoking the fires of vague interest. Avedisian is a moderate and an ally of newly-elected Gov. Lincoln Chafee.

WA-Sen: The race against Maria Cantwell seems to already be a casualty write-off for the GOP, seeing as how the state's entire viable GOP bench (aka Rob McKenna) will most likely be running for Governor. The state GOP's usual M.O. in such situations is to turn to some random rich guy as a place-holder (see Mike McGavick, Cantwell's 2006 opponent, or oft-threatened but never-happened candidate John Stanton), but it may turn out that Clint Didier, the tea partier whose GOP primary bid against Dino Rossi didn't go anywhere and who's now interested in trying again, gets left holding the bag this time. Didier, who refused to endorse Rossi and castigated him at every turn, isn't likely to be able to count on much NRSC or even state GOP goodwill this time, though.

MN-Gov: Nothing like a little post-electoral cat fud, even if it means exiling pretty much your entire pantheon of elder statesmen. The state GOP just excommunicated more than a dozen key moderate Republicans who had jumped ship to support Independence Party candidate Tom Horner in view of Tom Emmer's extremism. These aren't just run-of-the-mill PCO-types, either: the list includes an ex-Senator (David Durenberger) and two ex-Govs (Arne Carlson and Al Quie). And if you're wondering how Emmer is faring in the court of public opinion amidst the recount non-drama, PPP's out with a snap poll: by a 68-22 margin, voters think it's time for Emmer to give up (which matches the 68-21 margin of people who think that Mark Dayton was the election's rightful winner).

OH-17: Wondering who the third-party candidate who fared the best was, in this year's House races? It was none other than ex-con ex-Rep. Jim Traficant, who picked up 16.1% of the vote against Tim Ryan, the best showing of any indie with both Dem and GOP opponents (and he did it without spending a penny). He fared better than Randy Wilkinson in FL-12, who ran a more credible campaign and was widely viewed as a potential spoiler. In fact, Wilkinson finished 3rd at 10.7%; some random conservative, Dan Hill, got 12% in NE-03 by running to Adrian Smith's right, although that was a race that Dems barely contested. What about MI-01's Glenn Wilson, who made waves for approximately one day with his pledge to spend $2 million of his own money (although it's dubious if he spent more than a fraction of that)? He barely registered, at 7%.

WV-01: Here's an unexpected comeback, and probably one that's not a good idea. Alan Mollohan, who couldn't survive a Dem primary and most likely wouldn't have won the general even if he'd gotten over the first hurdle, is publicly expressing his interest in running in 2012 for his old seat. He's opened an FEC account for '12 and has been reaching out behind the scenes.

NY-St. Sen.: This is basically a Hail Mary at this point, but when it's the chance to tie the state Senate, it's a chance you take. Craig Johnson officially filed an appeal yesterday of the judge's ruling certifying Jack Martins as winner in SD-7 (giving the GOP a 32-30 edge there). He's asking for a hand count, to see if any votes were missed in the state's switch this year to electronic voting machines. Given the recent abject fail in finding all the votes cast in Queens, it's not out of the realm of possibility.

Redistricting: The Fix has another installment in its ongoing redistricting previews, this time focusing on Georgia. The GOP-controlled state legislature should have little trouble adding a GOP-friendly 14th seat in Atlanta's northern tier of exurbs, where most of the state's growth has occurred. The real question will be whether they can do anything to turf out either of the two remaining Dems in slightly lean-Dem districts in south Georgia, Sanford Bishop or John Barrow? Although neither of their seats are truly minority-majority, the VRA might be implicated if their seats get messed with too much. Bishop's GA-02 is likely to be shored up in order to make freshman Austin Scott safer in the 8th. Barrow seems like an easier target, but to do so would not only risk VRA litigation but also make Jack Kingston's 1st less safe, meaning incumbent protection might be the result.

Demographics: There was a massive dump of U.S. Census data yesterday, although none of it is the actual hard count from 2010 (which is due by the end of the month, including state populations for reapportionment purposes). Instead, this is the Demographic Analysis (used to estimate undercounts in the actual count, although there won't be any adjustments made to the counts for redistricting purposes in this cycle). The big number was the total population estimate, ranging from 306 million to 313 million, with a midrange estimate of 308.5 million (which would put the average House district, for redistricting, at 709K). Also worth noting: Hispanics accounted for essentially the nation's growth in youth population in the last decade, and Hispanics have grown from 17% of the nation's under-20 population in 2000 to 22% now; without Hispanics, the number of young people would have actually gone down since 2000.

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MN-Gov: Dayton Wins Recount

by: DavidNYC

Sat Dec 04, 2010 at 2:34 PM EST

No surprise:

Democrat Mark Dayton has won his bid to become Minnesota's next governor, defeating Republican state legislator Tom Emmer after a recount, according to updated vote results released Friday by the Minnesota Secretary of State.

Dayton, a former U.S. Senator, lead Emmer by more than 8,715 votes with 99.99 percent of all ballots recounted.

An additional 765 ballots remain challenged by the Emmer campaign, too few to affect the final outcome.

But from what I understand, Emmer has vowed to take this one all the way to the World Court in the Hague, so it might be a few decades or so before we can put this one to bed.

(Hat-tip: LookingOver)

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SSP Daily Digest: 12/3

by: Crisitunity

Fri Dec 03, 2010 at 3:02 PM EST

FL-Sen: This probably isn't the way that GOP state Senate President Mike Haridopolos, acting very candidate-ish this week, wanted to kick off a Senate bid. He just had to settle with the state's Commission on Ethics, admitting to a litany of campaign finance violations for failing to properly fill out financial disclosure statements. As far as a penalty goes, though, expect a slap on the wrist; the state Senate's Rules Committee, rather than the Commission, actually assigns the penalty, and Rules is now led by Haridopolos's GOP Senate President predecessor, John Thrasher.

PA-Sen: There's word of a rather Ron Johnson-style random rich guy interested in taking on Bob Casey Jr. in 2012: John Moran, who owns a logistics and warehousing company in central Pennsylvania and is willing to spend some of his own money to get elected. In other words, another federal-government-hater whose riches are largely dependent on an infrastructure put in place by the federal government (in this case, ex-Rep. Bud Shuster, who's pretty single-handedly responsible for the creation of central Pennsylvania's luxurious web of highways and the rise of trucking as the backbone of that area's economy). Also, if you want to look back at a comparison of the 2010 Senate race vs. the 2006 Senate race (where Casey was elected), Greg Giroux has a very interesting spreadsheet showing which counties had the biggest drops in vote percentages and raw vote numbers.

RI-Sen: We mentioned a few weeks ago that John Robitaille, last seen coming close in the gubernatorial contest won by indie Lincoln Chafee, was on the wish list for a GOP Senate bid against Sheldon Whitehouse, and now he's saying out loud that he's "seriously considering" it. (Of course, Robitaille's closeness mostly had to do with a split in the left-of-center vote between Chafee and Dem candidate Frank Caprio, but let's just let the NRSC think they can win this one in hopes they spend some money here.)

UT-Sen: It looks like Orrin Hatch is not only running for re-election in 2012 (where retirement had been considered a possibility for the septuagenarian, no doubt facing a serious teabagging this cycle), but ramping up for a fierce fight at the state nominating convention (which is where Bob Bennett lost, not even making it to the primary). One of his key allies, state GOP party chair Dave Hansen, is reportedly about to resign from that position and start working directly for Hatch's campaign.

MN-Gov: Tom Emmer held a press conference today in the face of a winding-down recount where the numbers didn't budge, and instead of throwing in the towel, he said he's going to fight on to the end, and threatened to keep on fighting even after the end, alluding to the possibility of legal action over the ballot reconciliation issue (saying the recount was merely "a step in the process"). Meanwhile, seeking to be the ones wearing the white hats here, Mark Dayton's team said they'll withdraw all their remaining frivolous challenges. That's a total of only 42 challenges, though, as more than 98% of the frivolous challenges came from Emmer's team.

NY-01: After another day of looking at challenged ballots, Tim Bishop continued to add to his lead. He netted another 12 votes, bringing his overall lead to 271 over Randy Altschuler. Challenges to a total of 174 ballots were dropped by both campaigns, leaving about 1,500.

NY-15: Usually there isn't much speculation that a Governor is about to run for a U.S. House seat, unless it's an at-large state or the Governor has fallen way down the food chain. If you're talking about David Paterson, he may have fallen even further down the food chain than that, though (into dogcatcher realm). At any rate, Paterson quashed any speculation that he would run for Charles Rangel's seat (despite his dynastic links to the seat, as his dad, Basil Paterson, is a key ally to Rangel as two of the so-called "Gang of Four"). It's not entirely clear that Rangel won't still be running in 2012, considering how he seems to utterly lack the 'shame' gene, although Paterson suggested state Assemblyman Keith Wright and city councilor Inez Dickens as possible replacments.

Committees: Both the NRSC and DSCC are starting the 2012 cycle from a place of parity: deep, deep in debt. The DSCC has $713K on hand and $6.7 million in debt, while the NRSC has $519K on hand and $6 million in debt. Even worse numbers are in the House: the DCCC has $19.4 million in debt and the NRCC has $12 million in debt.

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SSP Daily Digest: 12/2

by: Crisitunity

Thu Dec 02, 2010 at 6:23 PM EST

AK-Sen: You might recall that yesterday the state of Alaska asked to intervene in Joe Miller's state-court case disputing the Senatorial election, demanding an expedited result. Now the judge is allowing Lisa Murkowski herself to intervene in the case as well; she says the state wouldn't adequately represent her interests, and she's still trying to get an additional 2,000 ballots out there (that weren't counted for her) counted for her as icing on the cake.

FL-Sen: He isn't even in the House yet, but there's growing buzz for Daniel Webster for the 2012 Senate race, as a possible opponent to Bill Nelson. Of course, as far as I can tell from today's article, that buzz seems to be coming from Webster's own coterie, but it's not the first time I've heard his name associated with the race. (Reading between the lines, it looks like Rep. Vern Buchanan -- whose myriad lawsuits regarding campaign finance chicanery and his car dealership seem to have faded into the background -- is another name to keep an eye on here.)

MO-Sen: Sarah Steelman already has one key backer, in the event the quest for the GOP nomination in Missouri turns into a heated primary. The Club for Growth is already lining up behind Steelman, not formally endorsing but sending around a press release touting her and also taking some swipes at Jim Talent for his earmark-lovin' ways.

NM-Sen: More Some Dude news in New Mexico, where another random guy who lost a NM-02 primary is getting in the GOP Senate field: Greg Sowards (who lost the 2008 primary to succeed Steve Pearce). Further up the food chain, ex-Rep. Heather Wilson seems to be on GOPers' wish list, but she says she isn't focused on that. (I can't see her running unless Jeff Bingaman decides to retire, and since he has fundraisers planned in coming months, he doesn't seem to be acting like a retiree.)

NV-Sen: The big news yesterday was that John Ensign is no longer considered a target for investigation by the DOJ, in connection to that whole ooops-sorry-I-boned-your-wife-here-have-a-lobbying-job thing. He still faces internal Senate Ethics grilling, which could lead to discipline or even expulsion. How are we supposed to feel about this? A bad day for objective justice, perhaps... but probably a net plus for the Democrats, seeing as how this makes it likelier that Ensign runs again and survives a GOP primary (which a recent PPP poll, before this news, already showed him in position to do so) and enters the general election in weakened form. The local GOP seems to be reading this the same way, still feeling very leery about an Ensign run and very much preferring to see Rep. Dean Heller as their 2012 candidate.

VA-Sen: With Prince William Supervisor Corey Stewart already firing some potshots across George Allen's bow in advance of 2012's GOP Senate primary, now it seems like Allen's camp is returning fire with some heavier-gauge guns. Stewart has to run for re-election to his current job in 2011, and Allen's camp is supposedly vowing to encourage backers to pour in financial support to Stewart's opposition in that race (whoever that might be), in order to decapitate a Stewart run before it can materialize.

MN-Gov: This is taking damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don't to a new level: Tom Emmer's team's wave of frivolous (and when I say frivolous, I'm not being hyperbolic, as you can see here) ballot challenges in the Minnesota recount has mounted so high that officials have had to add more counting tables... and now Emmer is threatening to sue over the fact that they've added more counting tables, saying that that somehow indicates bias against Emmer. The SoS says that adding more tables can't possibly violate any rules. At any rate, moving on to Day 4 of counting, the official tally now finds that the numbers have still barely budged: Mark Dayton has gained 17 votes since Election Day while Emmer has gained 14, with 84% of the vote recounted, meaning there's really no path to victory here for Emmer.

VT-Gov: We mentioned yesterday that Peter Shumlin brought his GOP opponent, Brian Dubie, into his inner circle, and now he's doing the Team of Rivals thing with his closest competitor from the Dem primary. Ex-Lt. Gov. Doug Racine, who Shumlin beat by 100-or-so votes, is being brought on board as Shumlin's head of the Agency of Human Services, where his key task will be starting up the state's planned single-payer health care system.

WV-Gov: Democratic SoS Natalie Tennant is making even more candidate-ish noises, saying she's "strongly considering" a gubernatorial run, especially if it occurs in 2011, which would mean not having to give up her current job. Not only are acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and state House speaker Richard Thompson expected to run for the Dems, but state Sen. Jeff Kessler and state Treasurer John Perdue are also interested.

MA-01, MA-02: The news from the Bay State is that veteran Democratic Reps. John Olver and Richard Neal are both publicly saying that they're running for re-election. In any other year, that would be purely yawn-inducing, but this year, that's fascinating, as it potentially sets them up on a collision course. My expectation was the Massachusetts redistricting conundrum would probably be solved by a retirement from the 74-year-old Olver, and parceling out pieces of the 1st into Neal's 2nd and Jim McGovern's 3rd. With Olver and Neal both sticking around, the subtraction is likelier come from the Boston area, where it seems likely that at least one Rep. will vacate in order to take on Scott Brown in 2012 (which would make sense since not only is Mike Capuano sounding the likeliest, but his Cambridge-based 8th is the state's most depopulated district)... but if none of them take the plunge, the lost seat may come the state's west. Complicating matters even further is that Pittsfield-based ex-state Sen. Andrea Nuciforo has already announced that he's running in the MA-01 primary in 2012, Olver or not. (Would she he run in a primary against both Amherst-based Olver and Springfield-based Neal if they all get smooshed together?)

NY-01: As we mentioned yesterday, Tim Bishop's team is urging Randy Altschuler to "give in to the math." Yesterday's gain from the first day of counting challenged ballots was a net gain of 27 more for Bishop.  

Redistricting: Here's one more comprehensive redistricting resource to add to your pile, if you haven't already seen it. The Brennan Center's guide includes a rundown on who controls what and what procedures are used state-to-state.

New York: This is a staggeringly large number, that somehow seems disproportionate to the rather blasé NYT headline: "New York City Board of Elections Finds 200,000 Votes a Month After Election." It's a mishmash of affidavit, absentee, and military ballots that apparently were just now added to the totals. 80,000 of those ballots were from Queens alone, which is 31% more than that borough reported on Election Day. While there were some close races in Queens, the city says that this wasn't enough to reverse the results in any election (and the one race that could have been worrisome, SD-11, actually saw a gain for Tony Avella, who beat GOP incumbent Frank Padavan, from 53-47 to 54.3-45.7).

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SSP Daily Digest: 12/1

by: Crisitunity

Wed Dec 01, 2010 at 3:35 PM EST

AK-Sen: The state of Alaska is intervening in the Joe Miller state-level lawsuit over the counting of write-in votes, asking for an expedited ruling. They'd like the whole thing to be over and done with by Dec. 9, so that there's no delay in seating Alaska's next (or same) Senator. The state's filing also, amazingly, says that the court should find for the state "unless Miller provides proof to back up claims of fraud." Actually provide proof of something?!? Sounds like a bunch of lib'rul elitists with all that emphasis on "facts," instead, of y'know, common sense.

IN-Sen: Richard Lugar is pretty much daring a tea-partier challenge at this point, gladly painting his own target on his back with his own paintbrush. He was the only Republican up in 2012 who voted "no" on the proposed earmark ban that didn't pass the Senate yesterday. (Seven other GOPers voted no, but they aren't up this cycle and are from the already out-and-proud porker side of the party anyway, like Lisa Murkowski and Thad Cochran.) Perhaps most galling to the teabag set, Lugar actually invoked Article I of the Constitution in doing so.

MI-Sen: While everyone waits on Peter Hoekstra to see if he runs, a random rich guy who's been a big behind-the-scenes donor for the Republicans is making some noises about a 2012 bid against Debbie Stabenow. Tim Leuliette has been "considering" the race and calling around to gauge support. Interestingly, his job until October was CEO of an auto parts distributor, Dura Automotive; wonder how he'll spin the Obama administration's auto industry bailout (without which he'd probably be wearing a barrel and selling pencils on a street corner).

WA-Sen: I know everyone here likes maps (especially maps with lots of blue on them), so here's an interesting one that shows just what any Republican running statewide in Washington is up against: it's a precinct-by-precinct map of the three Puget Sound counties (King, Snohomish, and Pierce) showing how they voted in the 2010 Senate race. Seattle (which is about 10% of the state's total vote) has simply become the nut that's impossible for Republicans to crack; Patty Murray got 82% of the vote there, and lost 1 out of 960 precincts.

LA-Gov: A survey from Southern Media & Opinion Research (mmmmm... smores) shows Bobby Jindal's popularity coming down to relatively normal levels from its extreme highs back of his initial years, just in time for his re-election bid in 2011. He has a 55% approval, compared with 77% in 2008, and his re-elects are 39/35, not that there's much of a compelling Democratic bench here anymore to take advantage of those undecided voters. Interesting post-script: the survey was paid for by random rich guy Lane Grigsby, whose individual IEs almost single-handedly defeated Don Cazayoux in LA-06 in 2008.

MN-Gov: After a second day of recounting in Minnesota, nearly 70% of all the votes have been accounted for. The SoS is saying that Mark Dayton is now down 38 votes from the Election Day totals while Tom Emmer is down 1 (and not going to make up that nearly 9,000 vote margin at this rate). Mark Dayton's team, however, is claiming a net gain of 205 in the recount based on allocation of ballot challenges. Sensing that the recount isn't doing anything to change the outcome, Emmer's team is starting to change the topic to post-recount litigation, perhaps focused on allegations that "reconciliation" (matching the number of votes to the number of voters in each precinct) wasn't properly done. Dayton has raised $1 million so far purely to fund the recount, and Emmer isn't far behind in fundraising.

VT-Gov: Brian Dubie isn't looking like a likely candidate for the GOP for 2012, as he's taken an informal post in the administration of his former foe, incoming Dem Gov. Peter Shumlin. He'll be the state's de facto "ambassador" to its big neighbor to the north, Quebec. In comments, doug tuttle has a list of potential other GOP challengers next cycle, with Dem-turned-GOPer state auditor Tom Salmon at the top of the list.

NY-01: It looks like we're finally getting some movement on the challenged ballots part of the equation in the 1st, which is all that remains to be resolved. The tally will begin today, with slightly over 2,000 ballots to be decided (although both parties, meeting with a local judge, have agreed to withdraw around 200 challenges and proposed another 200 withdrawals -- including the notorious challenge to a group of 31 SUNY-Stony Brook students). Tim Bishop's lead is currently 215 votes, and the majority of the challenges have come from Randy Altschuler's camp. UPDATE: Based on today's activity so far, Bishop's camp is actively pushing the journalistic powers-that-be to call the race. Bishop's camp says he picked up an additional 20 votes today. There's also a stack of 162 valid ballots that haven't been added to the count yet that will add another 12 to Bishop's lead. Altschuler has only 1,149 challenges remaining, 649 of which are based on residency.

OR-St. Sen.: Ordinarily, a recount in a state Senate race, at this point, would be too far down in the weeds for even our purposes. However, when it has the potential to flip the chamber, it's worth a mention. The GOP is seeking a recount in SD-3, centered on Ashland in southern Oregon, where incumbent Dem state Sen. Alan Bates beat Dave Dotterrer by 275. It's outside the auto-recount margin where the state would pay for it, but the cost is only $15K-$25K for the state GOP, so it's low risk, possibility of high gain: if somehow they turn the result around, it'd drop the chamber to a 15-15 tie instead of the 16-14 current Dem advantage.

Mayors: As far as mayoral races go, Chicago seems to be taking up all the oxygen, but there's a number of other important ones this year. Denver was already scheduled to be up this year in May, but it takes on new importance with popular incumbent John Hickenlooper about to take over as Governor (at which point the deputy mayor will take over for five months). One candidate with a locally-big name has already announced: state Sen. Chris Romer (son of former Gov. Roy Romer).

Passages: Finally, condolences to the friends and family of Democratic ex-Rep. Stephen Solarz, who represented parts of Brooklyn from 1974 to 1992 and who just died at age 70. Solarz was a major force in foreign policy circles until check-bouncing and redistricting brought his ascendancy to an abrupt end. If you haven't already read Steve Kornacki's fascinating profile of Solarz -- including his relationship with Chuck Schumer, and the confirmation that, no matter how big a deal you are within the Beltway, all politics is ultimately local -- read it now.

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SSP Daily Digest: 11/30

by: Crisitunity

Tue Nov 30, 2010 at 3:59 PM EST

AK-Sen: Joe Miller lost yet another courtroom round yesterday, although this one was kind of inconsequential from a legal standpoint: he'd wanted his court challenges to the election to be held in his town of Fairbanks, but the venue will be the state capital, Juneau, instead. In most states that wouldn't be a big deal, but given the difficulty of getting from one town to the other, that provides one more logistical disincentive for Miller to continue his lost cause.

FL-Sen: After having spent every day for the last two years laboriously typing out "Alexi Giannoulias" over and over, now I'm going to have to get used to "Mike Haridopolos." The newly minted Republican state Senate President is already acting Senate-candidate-ish, doing the DC circuit today, including a visit to the all-powerful US Chamber of Commerce.

ME-Sen: Maine-area tea partiers are breathlessly telling everybody that they've found a primary challenger to Olympia Snowe who is "credible" and has the financial resources to become an "instant contender." The problem is, they're stopping there and not saying specifically who the mystery person is, although an announcement allegedly will happen in early 2011. (UPDATE: There's one useful piece of news buried deep in the article, actually: Chellie Pingree says she won't run for the Dems for this seat in 2012.)

MO-Sen: This may be the most interesting news of the day: despite a likely run from a former one of their own (Jim Talent), the NRSC is actively encouraging Sarah Steelman's interest in the race, with John Cornyn assuring her that they'd stay neutral in a Talent/Steelman primary. As a former state Treasurer, she seems to have more credible chops than the Sharron Angle/Ken Buck axis that cost the GOP a couple seats this year, but still has enough credibility with the tea partiers so that it looks like the NRSC isn't trying to shove them back in the attic; they probably also think a female candidate might match up better against Claire McCaskill.

MN-Gov: The numbers didn't budge much during the first full day of the Minnesota gubernatorial recount (where Mark Dayton leads by just shy of 9,000): Dayton gained 20 votes, while Tom Emmer lost four, after 44% of the ballots were recounted yesterday. Emmer challenged 281 ballots; Dayton challenged 86. While there weren't any write-ins for "Lizard People" this time, there was one vote cast for "Who Farted?"

MO-Gov: Republican Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder's interest in running against his boss, Dem Jay Nixon, has been pretty clearly telegraphed for years already, but he's starting to make that look more tangible. He now says he won't run for another term as LG, and he also appeared at last week's RGA conference in San Diego.

NY-01: Tim Bishop lost some minor ground with the counting of military ballots in the last House race still undecided. There weren't very many of them, but they broke pretty heavily in Randy Altschuler's way: 44-24. Bishop's lead is now apparently 215.

WA-08: Maybe this one is better filed as "WATN?" Suzan DelBene, who narrowly lost to Dave Reichert, has landed on her feet; she was just appointed by Chris Gregoire as the new director of the state Dept. of Revenue. It's unclear, though, whether this is intended to raise her statewide profile and give her some governmental experience for future runs, or if this takes her off the table for a 2012 run in WA-08 (or hypothetical WA-10).

NY-St. Sen.: Democratic state Sen. Antoine Thompson conceded to GOP challenger Mark Grisanti yesterday in the Buffalo-based SD-60. That means there are 31 GOP-held seats in the New York Senate; to get to a 31-31 tie, the Dems will need to hold both Suzi Oppenheimer's SD-37 (looking likely) and Craig Johnson's SD-7 (not looking likely, as he trails by several hundred, with the exact number not clear yet). (Or alternately, they could, as occasionally rumored, flip Grisanti, who was a Dem up until when he ran for the race and will essentially need to be one in order to be re-elected.) Thompson's loss is, in fact, pretty mystifying -- I knew this was a Dem-heavy district, but it went 77-22 for Obama (the equivalent of D+24 based on just 2008 numbers)! Ordinarily, a Dem would have to be under indictment or in dead-girl/live-boy territory to lose in that kind of district; in fact, everyone seems mystified, but the theory is that an upsurge in white votes in that district motivated by the candidacy of local fave Carl Paladino pushed Grisanti over the hump (although there are claims (we don't have the data to confirm yet) that Andrew Cuomo still managed to win in the 60th, which would tend to counteract that theory).

State legislatures: We already mentioned four party-switchers from the Dems to the GOP in the Alabama legislature, following the change in the majority there, but there's also a handful of other changes to mention (though not as many changes as we saw in 1994): 13 changes in 5 states. That includes 5 in the Georgia House and 1 in the Georgia Senate, 1 in the South Dakota Senate, 1 in the Maine House, and in 1 in the Louisiana House (which had the consequence of officially flipping the chamber to GOP control, although that body already had a GOP speaker). Politico has more on the changes in the south (in a rather hyperbolically titled article).

DSCC: It's official: Patty Murray is the one who got left holding the burning bag of dog doo. She signed on for a second stint as head of the DSCC for the 2012 cycle. She also ran it during the 2002 cycle, when the Democrats lost two seats.

DGA: One of the other Dem holes needing to be filled also got filled today: Martin O'Malley, fresh off a surprisingly easy victory in Maryland (and possibly looking at something bigger in 2016), is taking over the helm at the DGA. With only a couple troublesome holds on the horizon in 2012, I'd imagine this job was a little easier to fill than the DSCC.

Demographics: Democracy Corps (or GQR, if you prefer) is out with a memo that's worth a read. Most of it is about messaging, which is a little outside SSP's scope (though still worth a read, in terms of what worked, and mostly didn't work, in 2010, and what recent polls have shown works better going forward). There's also some discussion of demographics, though, in terms of what kind of a turnout model they're expecting (or at least hoping for) in 2012.

Discuss :: (286 Comments)

SSP Daily Digest: 11/23

by: Crisitunity

Tue Nov 23, 2010 at 6:20 PM EST

AK-Sen: There's yet another lawsuit coming out of the Joe Miller camp, this one filed in state court. It essentially rehashes claims he's already made at the federal level, but adds two new allegations: voters without identification were allowed to take ballots in some precincts, and that in a few precincts handwriting samples suggest that the same person completed multiple ballots. Miller's ultimate goal is a hand count of the entire race, which could delay Lisa Murkowski's swearing-in past January. The question, however, is starting to arise: who's paying for all this? None of Miller's former friends seem interested any more: the NRSC has gone silent, and the Tea Party Express still offers verbal support but isn't ponying up any money. Only Jim DeMint continues to offer any financial support (with a Joe Miller fundraising button on his Senate Conservatives website).

MT-Sen: This could complicates matters for Denny Rehberg, turning this primary into an establishment vs. teabagger duel. Two right-wing groups, Concerned Women PAC and Gun Owners of America, have already lent their support to businessman Steve Daines, who has already announced his bid for the GOP nod here.

NY-Sen: Kirsten Gillibrand has to do it all over again in 2012 (this one was just a special election), and rumors are that former Bush administration official Dan Senor, who spurned a run this time, is interested in a run next time. It's hard to imagine, if Gillibrand could top 60% in a year as bad as this, that Senor could somehow overperform that in a presidential year.

MN-Gov: The recount is officially on. The State Canvassing Board, whom you all got to know really well in early 2009, ruled that the 8,770 vote lead for Mark Dayton is less than one-half of a percentage point and that an automatic recount is triggered. The count starts on Monday and should end in mid-December, allowing time for swearing in on Jan. 3 (unless things really go haywire). This comes after a variety of legal maneuvering from both sides, including a fast Minnesota Supreme Court ruling against Tom Emmer, in response to his desire to force counties to comb through voter rolls and eliminate votes that were "excessively cast." No word yet on whether the Board will honor Dayton's request for ways to streamline the process (and minimize Emmer's chances for challenges).

MT-Gov: There had been rumors that Democratic ex-Rep. Pat Williams would seek the Dem gubernatorial nomination (potentially setting up a match with his successor, ex-Rep. Rick Hill), despite being 72 years old. He's now saying that he won't. Williams is so old-school that he used to represent MT-01, before the state got smooshed together into one at-large district.

CT-05: Random rich guy Mark Greenberg, who finished third in the GOP primary in the 5th this year (although with nearly 30% of the vote), says he'll be running again in 2012. Added incentive: he says he expects this to be an open seat as Chris Murphy runs for Senate.

FL-17: Newly elected Frederica Wilson is already challenging the old ways of the House... going after the long-standing prohibition against wearing hats on the House floor. She says it's "sexist," saying that women's indoor hat use is different from men's. Wilson owns at least 300 hats, she says. (If Regina Thomas ever makes it to the House, maybe the Hat Caucus can gain some momentum.)

MD-01: Recently-defeated Frank Kratovil seems like one of the likeliest losses to run again in 2012, especially since the Dem-controlled Maryland legislature is likely to serve him up a much Dem-friendlier district (as many of our in-house mapmakers have suggested). He isn't saying yes yet, but says he will "consider" it.

NH-02: Another possible re-run is Ann McLane Kuster, who performed pretty well in a narrow loss to Charlie Bass in the open 2nd. There have been lots of Beltway rumors that her run is imminent, and some are pointing to encouragement straight from the White House for her to try again.

NY-01: We've essentially finished the absentee ballot count, and the news is very good here: Tim Bishop, after leading by only 15 last night, is now leading by a comparatively-gargantuan 235 with all absentees counted. However, we're nowhere near a resolution, as attention now turns to the court battle over 2,000 challenged ballots (Randy Altschuler has challenged 1,261, while Bishop has challenged 790). Still, Bishop's spokesperson is saying they're "very confident" that they've won this one.

NY-23: Yeesh, Bill Owens is actually saying he might vote for John Boehner for Speaker or abstain instead of Nancy Pelosi when it comes to a floor vote, saying Pelosi is too liberal. (This despite saying he voted for her, rather than Heath Shuler, in the caucus vote.) Also, not that it matters at this point, but this race wound up being closer than the Election Day count indicated: Matt Doheny picked up 1,982 previously-unknown votes in the recanvass of Fulton County, taking Owens' margin down to 1,795 overall, and making it all the clearer that we owe this victory entirely to 3rd-party bearer-of-cat-fud Doug Hoffman.

Odds and ends: The Fix has a massive list of people considering rematches in 2012, most of which we've already dealt with before (including Kuster and Kratovil, above). Other names that we haven't listed include Brad Ellsworth (either for Gov, Senate, or his old IN-08), Christine O'Donnell in Delaware (not unexpected, since she runs every 2 years anyway), Glenn Nye, and Allen Boyd (despite his losing very thoroughly to Steve Southerland).

AL-St. House: The inevitable realignment at the legislative level in Alabama finally happened, and happened all at once instead of slow drips. Four conservative Democrats in the state House changed to the GOP, bringing the GOP numbers up to not just a majority but a supermajority in one fell swoop. The Madison County (Huntsville) Clerk also announced her switch, too.

CA-AG: At this point, it's all over but the shouting in the AG race, as Kamala Harris now leads Steve Cooley by 43,000 votes (with 500K votes still left to count). While the AP hasn't called it, LA Weekly has decided it's a done deal.

Chicago mayor: Roland Burris has aparently thrown his well-traveled hat into the ring for the Chicago mayoral race, as he'll need a new job in a week or so. Supporters filed his candidate paperwork yesterday, the deadline for filing (although he has yet to officially say that he's running). Somehow, I can only see this helping Rahm Emanuel, by further splitting the African-American vote (already divided between Danny Davis and another ex-Senator, Carol Mosely Braun).

Redistricting: There's been some sudden buzz about switching North Carolina to an independent redistricting commission (which, of course, has to do with the GOP seizing control of the state legislature). In what is not a surprise, though, the GOP has no interest in giving up its newfound power, saying that (despite a recent PPP poll showing wide support for such a commission) there isn't any time to move on the constitutional amendment that would create a commission (something that they generally supported up until, y'know, this month). Also on the redistricting front, check out the Fix's latest installment in its state-by-state series, focusing today on Indiana, where GOP control over the trifecta is likely to make things worse for IN-02's Joe Donnelly (just how much worse, we have yet to find out)... and, if they wanted to experiment with dummymanders, possibly IN-07's Andre Carson, too.

Demographics: Here's some interesting demographic slice-and-dice from the Washington Post: Dems increased their vote share in big counties (500K+) from 49% in 1994 to 54% this year, but lost even further in smaller counties, from 43% in 1994 to 39% this year. The districts the GOP won were disproportionately older, whiter, and less educated. And on a related note, check out these maps and the interesting ways they represent population density around the U.S. Note any similarities between these maps and where Democratic votes are concentrated?

Discuss :: (269 Comments)

SSP Daily Digest: 11/16

by: Crisitunity

Tue Nov 16, 2010 at 4:55 PM EST

AK-Sen: Nothing has really changed with the overall trajectory of the Alaska Senate race, but this is the first day that Lisa Murkowski has been able to claim a "lead" over Joe Miller (even though her victory has become increasingly clear each day). At the end of yesterday's counting, she had 92,164 votes to Miller's 90,448. 7,601 were subject to challenge but counted for her anyway (and, if Miller's lawsuit succeeds, could get reversed), but based on Murkowski's success at avoiding write-in challenges, is on track to win with or without those challenged ballots.

FL-Sen: George LeMieux, whose year-and-a-half in the Senate is about to expire, is leaving with more of a whimper than a bang, if PPP is to be believed: his approvals are 11/28 (with 61% with no opinion), including 14/24 among Republicans. He's not looking like he'd have much impact in a challenge to Bill Nelson in 2012, which he's threatened (which isn't to say that Nelson is out of the woods, as a stronger Republican will no doubt come along). Among all the appointed Senators, he's still faring better than Roland Burris (18/57) but worse than Carte Goodwin (17/22) and Ted Kaufman (38/33). (Oh, and if you're still feeling like we lost out by not having Charlie Crist win the Senate race, guess again: Bob Dole! is reporting that Crist promised him he'd caucus with the GOP if he won the 3-way race. This comes after leaks in the waning days of the race that he'd caucus with the Democrats. Somehow, I expect any day now that Ralph Nader will reveal that Crist promised him that he'd caucus with the Green Party if he won the race.)

IN-Sen: Richard Lugar made it official; he's running for re-election one more time. Lugar, who'll be 80 in 2012, probably has more to worry about in the Republican primary than he does in the general election, where aspiring Democrats would probably be more interested in the open gubernatorial seat.

OH-Sen: Sherrod Brown will probably have a tougher re-election than his initial election, but it's unclear which Republican he'll face. The two who've gotten the most press are Mary Taylor, the current Auditor and newly-elected Lt. Governor, or Rep. Jim Jordan (a religious right fave from the state's rural west), but another possibility that the article broaches is long-time Rep. Steve LaTourette, one of the House's more moderate GOPers left. Either way, if Jordan or LaTourette were to try for the promotion, that would help the state GOP decide which of their seats to vaporize in the redistricting process (although LaTourette's, in the northeast corner and surrounded by Dem seats, would be much harder to work with). Ohio's losing two seats, though, and one more Dem seat is on the chopping block, especially since the biggest population losses have come in the northeast -- the likeliest outcome seems to be consolidation of districts that sets up either a Dennis Kucinich/Marcia Fudge or Dennis Kucinich/Betty Sutton mash-up.

PA-Sen: The GOP feels like they have a shot against Bob Casey (who won by a near-overwhelming margin in 2006), given the state's turn toward the red this year. The big question, though, is who? If Tom Ridge didn't do it this year when it would have been a gimmee, he certainly isn't any likelier to do it in 2012. Hotline mentions a couple current suburban Reps., Jim Gerlach and Charlie Dent, both of whom have tenaciously held down Dem-leaning districts that would be prime open seat battles if they left. Failing that, the bench looks pretty empty; they cite state Sen. Jake Corman as interested, as well as talk radio host and behind-the-scenes player Glen Meakem, who cited interest in running for 2010 but decided against it.

MN-Gov: Minnesota's SoS (a Dem, Mark Ritchie) has laid out the timeline for the recount process. The race will be canvassed starting Nov. 23, and presuming a recount is necessary (which it will be unless something weird happens with the canvass, as Dem Mark Dayton leads Tom Emmer by less than one-half of a percent, triggering the automatic recount provision), the recounting will begin on Nov. 29.

MD-01: Nothing like teabagger hypocrisy at work: freshly elected with a mandate to destroy the federal government, Andy Harris's first act in Washington was to demand all the free goodies from the federal government that he's entitled to, so long as other people are paying for them. At freshman orientation, Harris was observed expressing dismay that his gold-plated health care plan takes a month to kick in.

NY-01, NY-25: Here are a couple more updates from overtime. In the 1st, Randy Altschuler's lead over Tim Bishop is currently 383, but there are more than 11,000 absentees to be counted starting today, and since they're all from one county (Suffolk), your guess is as good as mine how they break. In NY-25, Ann Marie Buerkle gained a tiny bit of ground as two GOP-leaning counties reported their absentees; she's now up 729. Dan Maffei's base, Dem-leaning Onondaga County, is about to start counting its 6,000 absentees. He should make up some ground, but he'll need to average 56% among the remaining absentee ballots, while he's only got 54% in Onondaga so far, though.

DSCC: Dianne Feinstein told the press that Michael Bennet is, despite his previous demurrals, going to be the next DSCC chair. Does Michael Bennet know this? He's still saying no. The rest of the Dem leadership in the Senate (and the GOP, too) was elected without a hitch today, but the DSCC job still stands vacant.

CA-AG: Things keep looking up for Kamala Harris in California, after a torrent of new votes yesterday from Alameda County (where the Dem stronghold of Oakland is). That batch broke 18,764 for Harris, and only 5,099 for Steve Cooley, which may be a decisive moment in the count.

Chicago mayor: Rahm Emanuel is certainly looking like the early favorite in the Chicago mayoral race, courtesy of an Anzalone-Liszt poll commissioned by the Teamsters local (who haven't endorsed yet). Emanuel is at 36, with Danny Davis at 14, Carol Mosely Braun at 13, Gery Chico at 10, James Meeks at 7, and Miguel del Valle at 4. Now you may be noticing what I'm noticing, that there's significant splitting of the African-American vote here, and if you added Davis, Braun, and Meeks up into one super-candidate, they'd be in a dead heat with Emanuel. Well, don't forget that this election uses a runoff, so chances are good we'll see a head-to-head between Emanuel and one of the African-American challengers, and the poll finds Emanuel winning both those contests convincingly too: 54-33 versus Davis and 55-32 against Braun.

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