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SSP Daily Digest: 9/7 (Morning Edition)

by: DavidNYC

Tue Sep 07, 2010 at 8:01 AM EDT

  • CT-Sen: Obama alert! The POTUS is going to do a fundraiser in Stamford for Dick Blumenthal on Sept. 16th, the same day he was already scheduled to do a DNC event in Greenwich. Sorry to get all emo on you again, but if even Dick Blumenthal needs Obama's help....
  • DE-Sen: It's the battle of the sketchy polls! The Tea Party Express is touting a survey which supposedly shows Mike Castle up just 44-38 in the Republican primary over Christine O'Donnell. (Actually, they say Castle is at "43.7%" - too many significant digits is a classic sign of sketchiness.) Meanwhile, the Fix claims that "Internal GOP polling conducted last week showed Castle with a margin of nearly 20 points over O'Donnell." Anyhow, the TPX has no plans to evacuate in their moment of... well, we'll see if it's their moment of triumph... despite a surge of new questions about O'Donnell's fitness as a candidate. Among other things: Former aides say she never paid promised salaries on her 2008 campaign against Joe Biden, and she just received her degree from Farleigh Dickinson University last week, despite having attended 17 years ago and having repeatedly described herself as a graduate. Come on, baby, hold together!
  • IL-Sen: Amanda Terkel has spotted a trend among Mark Kirk's public statements: He can't shut up about the economic crisis in Greece - and Terkel thinks Kirk is attempting to link Alexi Giannoulias (who is of Greek descent) to the meltdown. Perhaps most egregious is Kirk's statement that while he "wore a U.S. Navy uniform, Alexi Giannoulias wore a basketball uniform in Greece." Really? That last part is relevant? A pretty ugly example of "othering."
  • LA-Sen: A little bit of Cajun-flavored cat fud: Gov. Bobby Jindal won't endorse Sen. David Vitter in his re-election campaign. Jindal claims he doesn't get involved in federal races, but WDSU has two very recent examples to the contrary. Anyhow, I can't think of too many sitting governors who haven't endorsed same-party, same-state senators, can you?
  • NH-Sen: Finally, a survey of the severely under-polled GOP senate primary in New Hampshire - though it's from Republican pollster Magellan, who likes to do Rasmussen-style one-day samples (a methodology that I think it's fair to say is not a best practice). Anyhow, here are the results (9/1, likely voters, May in parens):
  • Kelly Ayotte (R): 34 (38)
    Ovide Lamontagne (R) : 21 (9)
    Bill Binnie (R) : 17 (29)
    Jim Bender (R) : 13 (4)
    Other: 4 (4)
    Undecided: 11 (15)
    (MoE: ±3.3%)

  • UT-Sen: The battle for Orrin Hatch's senate seat - which won't take place until 2012 - is already getting ugly. Hatch is claiming that freshman Rep. Jason Chaffetz (who, you'll recall, already knocked off one sitting incumbent at a state convention in 2008) promised him he wouldn't challenge him next cycle. Chaffetz says he only pledged not to run against Sen. Bob Bennett, who of course already lost earlier this year. A Hatch spokesbot took off the gloves in response, saying: "Senator Hatch takes very seriously the principle of keeping his word. Of course, I suppose Jason can break it any time he wants to."
  • WV-Sen: Robert Byrd's family is excoriating self-funding Republican John Raese for using a photo of Dem Joe Manchin and President Obama that was taken at Byrd's memorial service earlier this year in an attack ad. Raese's campaign manager said, "That's a stock photo. We had no idea it was from the memorial service." Well, now you know.
  • AZ-Gov: Does this statement remind you of O.J. Simpson's ill-fated "hypothetical" book, If I Did It? Because that was the first thing I thought of:
  • "That was an error, if I said that," Brewer said about beheadings occurring in Arizona.

  • AZ-01: Ann Kirkpatrick is out with her first ad of the cycle, a pretty dull positive spot about how she donated 5% of her congressional salary... national treasury... opposed bailout... etc., etc. Ordinarily I'd just relegate this to our ad roundup at the bottom of the digest, but I also wanted to point out this great observation from SSP's own Johnny Longtorso: namely, the fact that the Navajo Nation (the largest Indian tribe in the United States) is holding its presidential election this fall, which may help Kirkpatrick on the turnout front. (Indians vote heavily Dem.) According to Wikipedia, some 130,000 Navajo live within the nation's boundaries in Arizona (it also includes parts of Utah and New Mexico), almost all of which is contained within the 1st CD.
  • AZ-08: You know how the WWF tried to become the WWE? Well, true hardcore wingnuts aren't content with (the bad kind of) SSP - they want SSE: Social Security elimination. Given how toxic this is in the real world (i.e., for the 99.999% of people who have never heard of John Galt), it's no wonder that Republican nominee Jesse Kelly now say he wants to "protect" Social Security. Good luck getting past statements like this one, from just last year: "If you have any ideas on that, I'm all ears. I would love to eliminate the program."
  • IA-01: This doesn't seem like a positive sign to me. Bruce Braley is going on the air with an ad (watch it here) hitting back against an outside group's attack ad - not something a candidate in an apparently "Safe D" race ordinarily feels a need to do. The group, American Future Fund, is accusing Braley of "supporting" the Park51 community center, though Braley has taken the standard "don't wanna deal with it" approach of calling it a local zoning issue for NYC. On the flipside, I'll take it as a good sign that Braley doesn't plan to get Martha Coakley'd. (Though doesn't it sound like Braley's "I approve this message" was recorded via cell phone? Does that mean the ad was rushed on to the air?) NWOTSOTB for Braley, though AAF claims it has spent $50K and plans to spend more.
  • IN-03: A common theme rears its head once more: A Republican rails loudly against bailouts, but it turns out he's been the beneficiary of government largesse himself. In this case, Dem Tom Hayhurst has been attacking GOPer Marlin Stutzman for accepting $180K in agricultural subsidies since 1995. But as the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette reports, just last month Stutzman said: "It's time to get rid of farm subsidies. The subsidies only manipulate the market."
  • KS-04: You know, we always love reporting on cat fud for cat fud's sake. Sometimes it's just a whiff, but other times, the cat fud can really stink up a race. Case in point: Mike Pompeo, a top competitor for GOP Dickbag of the Year, wasn't endorsed by any of the candidates he beat in the Republican primary, and even refused to return phone calls from his opponents. Now, the cats are coming home to roost, because one of those opponents, rich guy Wink Hartman, is considering re-entering the race on the Libertarian Party line. (The Lib candidate dropped out of the race for health reasons.) Hartman, who spent almost $1.6 million of his own money on the primary, notably includes among his reasons for wanting to get back in the game the fact that Pompeo "misrepresented Hartman's pro-life position and residency." The Libertarians have until Sept. 20th to decide whether to tap Hartman. In any event, this could provide a huge boost to Dem Raj Goyle, who appears to be in a surprisingly good position to stage an upset.
  • LA-03: In an unusual move, the Louisiana state Republican Party has formally endorsed Jeff Landry over Hunt Downer in the runoff. State parties don't typically take sides in primaries like this, but it sounds like the powers that be are eager to see Downer bail, rather than prolong the race all the way until October 3rd. I personally suspect that Downer has no chance in the second round, and I think he'll wind up playing Kevin Calvey to Landry's Jim Lankford. (Check out our OK-05 tag if the analogy isn't ringing any bells.)
  • NC-11: Heh - looks like Heath Shuler's suggesting he could run for Speaker of the House, clearly as a way to distance himself from Nancy Pelosi. Shuler also claimed that cats eventually turn into dogs.
  • NH-02: Nice - progressive fave Ann McLane Kuster raised $223K in her pre-primary report (7/1-8/25), totally kicking the asses of all the other major candidates (Katrina Swett (D): $37K, Charlie Bass (R): $57K, Jennifer Horn (R): $39K). As for cash, it goes Kuster: $450K, Swett: $798K, Bass: $312K, Horn: $32K. Even better news: Kuster is touting an internal poll from the Mellman Group showing her with a commanding 47-24 lead over Swett in the primary, which is Sept. 14th.
  • NY-20, NY-23: Rahm Emanuel is headlining a joint fundraiser on Sept. 19th for two upstate Dems: Scott Murphy of the 20th CD and Bill Owens of the 23rd. Murphy has $1.5 million on hand but Owens has only $600K.
  • PA-06: A nasty bit of racial ugliness from the campaign of Jim Gerlach. Said a spokesman about Dem opponent Manan Trivedi: "The only one who has played the race card here is him, by going to Indian-American groups to raise money."
  • SC-02: The Office of Congressional Ethics is investigating Rep. Joe Wilson's trips abroad - at least thirty over the last eight years - and his per diem spending habits. Wilson is a prolific traveler on the taxpayer's dime, ranking 29th among current House members and 39th among 734 members who've served since 1994, according to The State. Wilson has tried to downplay prior reports of the probe, claiming it was only about $12 spent on some cheap mementos from Afghanistan, but that's evidently not the case. Meanwhile, Dem Rob Miller has a new ad out hitting Wilson for his support of CAFTA. Check it out - I think it's pretty effective.
  • VA-05: In a move that vaguely brings to mind Carl Mumpower, teabagger Jeffrey Clark said he'd withdraw from the race if the party or parties responsible for disseminating information about his financial history came forward to claim responsibility. Dem Tom Perriello's campaign said it wasn't them, but Republican Rob Hurt wouldn't say anything, so Clark says he's staying in the race. Feel the Mumpower!
  • OH-AG: Wrapping up some odds-and-ends from their recent Ohio poll, PPP find ex-Sen. Mike DeWine leading incumbent Dem AG Richard Cordray 44-40.
  • DCCC: Another day, another triage story. This time, the NYT claims that "party leaders are preparing a brutal triage of their own members in hopes of saving enough seats to keep a slim grip on the majority." And while they don't have an actual quote from him, the Times claims Chris Van Hollen "conceded" that Dems "would ultimately cut loose members who had not gained ground." In response, reports The Hill:
  • Van Hollen released a statement saying that the story "erroneously" said that the DCCC would redirect resources to two dozen viable campaigns if a review in the next two weeks showed that vulnerables weren't gaining ground.

    I have to wonder: Did the NYT really get Van Hollen wrong here, or is CVH deliberately trying to send mixed messages in order to motivate his troops through fear?

    Discuss :: (178 Comments)

    IN-03: Dungeons & Dragons & Wingnuts

    by: James L.

    Tue Aug 10, 2010 at 10:08 AM EDT

    In the race to replace disgraced ex-Rep. Mark Souder in the House of Representatives, Republican state Sen. Marlin Stutzman is the undisputed front-runner to take control of this conservative northeastern Indiana district in November.

    Democrats have a very respectable nominee for the seat in former Fort Wayne councilman and physician Tom Hayhurst, but the partisan lean of the district poses an incredible climb in times like these. So it may be worth taking a closer look at Stutzman, who earlier this year lost the GOP nomination for Evan Bayh's Senate seat to lobbyist kingpin Dan Coats. A new profile on Stutzman by the Fort Wayne Reader presents plenty of dirt, including this particular detail that offers a hint at just how much of a nutbag this guy really is (emphasis added):

    In 2009, Stutzman co-hosted a dinner with State Representative Cindy Noe (R-87) at the annual Creation Evidence Expo, an Indianapolis organization that seeks to "make current scientific evidence that supports the conclusion that God created man." Stutzman says that he and Noe (who is on the Education Committee in the Indiana House) were asked by the group to host the dinner, to which many legislators were invited.

    "The information they had there was good information," he says. "We had some very good conversations with the folks at the Expo, just getting to know them, over the last couple of years. They wanted to raise awareness of their issue, and wanted to meet as many folks who are willing to support their organization and also make those who are in the legislature aware of their issue as well."

    Over at Blue Indiana, Thomas (a great friend of SSP), asks a pretty pertinent question: Exactly what "information" did Stutzman find so compelling that day? Was it anything along these lines?

    As if the website for this event wasn't enough, a quick look at some of the groups behind the operation reveal all you need to know about the scientific validity of these clowns. Take the Institute for Creation Research, which features a story at the moment entitled "Is there some truth to dragon myths?"

    There are other reasons to doubt that dragon legends arose from fossil-based speculations. Tales of dragons are almost universal and were incorporated into the historical background of virtually every people group on every continent. How could so many different cultures conjure up such similar details in their dragon legends, unless their ancestors actually encountered them?

    It would be easily explained if humans had actually seen living dinosaurs.

    Emphasis definitely fucking added!

    I suppose it should be pretty frightening to know that this guy -- an individual who throws parties for grown men and women who believe in the existence of dragons -- could easily wind up as a national lawmaker next year, but I think he'll be right at home among the teabagging class of 2010.

    Discuss :: (24 Comments)

    SSP Daily Digest: 7/29 (Afternoon Edition)

    by: Crisitunity

    Thu Jul 29, 2010 at 4:05 PM EDT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Discuss :: (69 Comments)

    Indiana political overview and predictions 2010- It's going to be a fun year!

    by: hoosierdem

    Fri Jun 18, 2010 at 3:22 PM EDT

    Sorry about the title, I was going for something more creative and that is a bit blah. However the title does explain the overview of this diary. This election cycle was expected to be as boring as can be for Indiana yet a series of retirements and resignations changed it. Indiana contains many important elections and promises to be an entertaining year. I will try and provide an overview of all of our elections and even provide predictions. I hope you enjoy!
    There's More... :: (63 Comments, 2376 words in story)

    SSP Daily Digest: 6/14 (Afternoon Edition)

    by: Crisitunity

    Mon Jun 14, 2010 at 5:37 PM EDT

    CT-Sen, CT-Gov: Leftover from last Friday is the most recent Quinnipiac poll of Connecticut. Without much changing from their previous poll other than some within-the-margin-of-error gains for Linda McMahon, the poll is very digestible. Richard Blumenthal leads McMahon 55-35 (instead of 56-31 in late May), leads Rob Simmons (who has "suspended" his campaign) 54-33, and leads Peter Schiff 56-29. McMahon leads Simmons and Schiff in the GOP primary 45-29-13. They also included gubernatorial primaries (but not the general): for the Dems, Ned Lamont leads Dan Malloy 39-22, while for the GOP Tom Foley leads Michael Fedele and Oz Griebel 39-12-2.

    IL-Sen: With a growing sense that many Illinois residents would prefer to vote for neither Mark Kirk nor Alexi Giannoulias, a new right-winger with money to burn looks like he's daring to go where Patrick Hughes didn't. Mike Niecestro says he's a "disgusted Republican who has had it with the people the party throws at us," and differentiates himself from Kirk on cap-and-trade and immigration. Just another random teabagger who's all talk and no $$$? No, Niecestro says he already has the 25,000 signatures he needs to qualify before the June 21 deadline, and also has $1 million of his own money ready to go, along with another $100K he's raised elsewhere. Even if he winds up pulling in only a few percent off Kirk's right flank, that could be what that Giannoulias needs to squeak by in what otherwise looks to be a close race.

    NV-Sen: Jon Scott Ashjian is turning into something of the white whale for the Nevada GOP. Even though his candidate lost the primary, Dan Burdish, former political director for Sue Lowden, is still filing complaints with the SoS's office to get Ashjian off the ballot. It doesn't look like it'll go anywhere, though; Ashjian himself has qualified for the ballot, easily meeting the low 250-vote signature hurdle even though the "Tea Party" didn't meet the signature requirements for its own ballot line. Of course, competing right-wing third party the Independent American Party is still trying to get Ashjian off the ballot too, and now the teabaggers in general have turned on Ashjian (who never really had much support from them in the first place) since one of their own, Sharron Angle, managed to snare the GOP nod.

    NY-Sen, NY-Sen-B (pdf): Siena has yet another poll out of both the Senate races in New York. There's still very little of interest to report. Kirsten Gillibrand leads Bruce Blakeman 48-27, David Malpass 49-24, and Joe DioGuardi 47-29. DioGuardi leads the GOP primary over Blakeman and Malpass, 21-7-3. Chuck Schumer leads Jay Townsend 60-26 and Gary Berntsen 59-27. Townsend leads Berntsen in the other GOP primary, 20-15.

    SC-Sen: Vic Rawl, who lost the Democratic nomination to the baffling Alvin Greene last week, is now formally contesting the results of the election. The state party's 92-member executive committee will meet on Thursday to hear evidence, but it's unlikely they'll do anything, as there's no precedent in South Carolina for throwing out a primary election's results.

    WA-Sen: The state GOP convention was over the weekend in Washington; unlike, say, Utah or Connecticut, there's nothing at stake here, but the general sense in terms of signage, applause, and the like, was that the party's activist base is pretty jazzed about Sarah Palin-endorsed Clint Didier, and much more tepid about Dino Rossi than they were in 2008, when he was a more apt vehicle for their resentments. A straw poll at a Patriot Coalition event associated with the convention (a subset of a subset of the most hardcore base, so take with much salt) gave Didier a 99-12 edge over Rossi.

    AL-Gov: Artur Davis isn't giving up on being a douchebag just because he lost the gubernatorial nomination; he said he isn't sure how Ron Sparks is going to be able to win the uphill fight in the general election, and that Sparks will need something "broader than bingo" to win. Also, this is a very strange time to be making any major staff changes, let alone plunging into what Reid Wilson is describing as "turmoil:" fresh off the triumph of (probably) making the GOP gubernatorial runoff against Bradley Byrne, Robert Bentley just sacked his campaign manager, communications director, and new media director. Bentley is bringing in members of the Mike Huckabee camp to take over (with Huckabee son-in-law Bryan Sanders the new CM), but it seems like his small-time help didn't get demoted, but instead rudely shown the door by the new bosses.

    CO-Gov: Businessman Joe Gesundheit Schadenfreude Weltschmerz Gschwendtner has pulled the plug on his Republican gubernatorial bid, without endorsing anybody else. He wasn't able to round up enough signatures to qualify, which is odd, considering that people only need to be able to spell their own names, not his.

    FL-Gov: With his once-clear path to the GOP nomination suddenly looking to be on life support, Bill McCollum got some help from a key GOP establishment figure: Mitt Romney. Romney will appear at two Sunshine State fundraisers today, handing out endorsements like candy to a number of other Republicans in better position too.

    IA-Gov: You may recall that, in the wake of Terry Branstad's closer-than-expected victory over social conservative Bob vander Plaats, we lamented that the Dems didn't try any Gray Davis-style meddling in the primary to get the more-conservative, less-electable guy over the top. Well, it turns out they did try a little of that; the Dems launched an independent expenditure committee called "Iowans for Responsible Government" that ran ads on Fox News and sent direct mail attacking Branstad for tax hikes and putting his face on a liberal Mt. Rushmore next to Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, and Nancy Pelosi. While it didn't seal the deal, it may have contributed to the underwhelming showing by Branstad.

    MI-Gov: AG Mike Cox won the endorsement of Michigan Right to Life, a big endorsement that will help him as he fights for the social conservative vote in the GOP primary with Rep. Peter Hoekstra. Cox might be the Republican we most want to face out of the GOP field; Rasmussen joined the crowd today in finding that he polls the weakest against either Democrat.

    NY-Gov (pdf): Siena also polled the gubernatorial race; again, nothing noteworthy here, other than Andrew Cuomo having lost a few points since last time. Cuomo leads Rick Lazio 60-24, and leads Carl Paladino 65-23. Party-endorsed Lazio leads Paladino (assuming he can successfully petition onto the ballot) in the GOP primary, 45-18. Meanwhile, the race may get slightly more interesting as gadflyish New York city councilor Charles Barron seems to be moving forward on his quixotic plans to create a whole third party (New York Freedom Democratic Party) for a challenge to the left, mostly to protest Cuomo putting together an all-white ticket.

    OH-Gov: Incumbent Dem Ted Strickland won the NRA endorsement today, instead of GOP ex-Rep. John Kasich. That may seem a surprise, but Strickland has a lifetime "A" rating from the NRA while Kasich was always an unusually anti-gun Republican.

    GA-12: The Hill details how Rep. John Barrow's fundraising from fellow Dems has fallen way off this year, perhaps an indication of blowback over his "no" vote on HCR. He's only gotten money directly from five Democratic colleagues and five others' PACs, compared with 53 in 2006 and 22 in 2008. (An alternative explanation, of course, is that he's in no major trouble in the general election this year and that money may be more needed elsewhere.) Barrow still has the AFL-CIO's endorsement, and about a 20:1 CoH advantage over primary challenger Regina Thomas. Speaking of one of his minor GOP opponents, Carl Smith, the fire chief of the small town of Thunderbolt, has a less-appealing resume now that he just got canned by his city council, which opted to stop paying for a fire department and return to an all-volunteer operation.

    IN-03: The Indiana state GOP met over the weekend to pick a nominee to fill the spot left behind by the resigned Rep. Mark Souder. It wasn't much of a surprise: they picked state Sen. Marlin Stutzman, an up-and-comer who gave Dan Coats a challenge in the GOP Senate primary. Stutzman won on the second ballot, with state Rep. Randy Borror a distant second. It was a double pick: Stutzman will be replace Souder as the GOP candidate in the general election, and also will be the GOP's candidate in the special election that will also be held on Election Day in November (which, assuming he wins, will allow him to serve in the post-election lame duck session).

    NC-02: Rep. Bob Etheridge, usually one of the more low-key members of the House, had an embarrassing flip-out in front of two GOP trackers/college students asking him if he "supported the Obama agenda," grabbing one of them and his camera. Etheridge subsequently issued a statement apologizing.

    Polltopia: PPP is soliciting opinions on where the poll next, both multiple-choice and open-ended. Let 'em know what burning questions you'd like answered.

    Discuss :: (128 Comments)

    SSP Daily Digest: 6/10 (Morning Edition)

    by: DavidNYC

    Thu Jun 10, 2010 at 8:02 AM EDT

  • AR-Sen: Mark Blumenthal has a detailed post-mortem of the polling in the Arkansas senate runoff, including some off-the-record claims that both Halter's and Lincoln's internal polling showed Lincoln ahead. I sort of wonder why Lincoln didn't put out these numbers, if true.
  • CT-Sen: Several big-name Republican fundraisers are hosting an event for none other than Joe Lieberman, to benefit his 2012 re-election campaign. Some of the hosts include Robbie Aiken, Wayne Berman, Rachel Pearson, and Kathryn Rand. Obviously an outright party switch is always possible with this fuckin' guy.
  • FL-Sen: Wow, so there really is a Democrat who wants death panels (more or less). Maurice Ferre, himself 75 years old, said in a meeting with the Palm Beach Post editorial board:
  • "Well, you know what, when you get to be 85 or 90 years old, you're going to die. And I'm sorry, you call it, Sarah Palin, what you want, but the fact is that it is absurd for us to be spending the types of money we're spending to extend life three months."

    Asked what he'd do as a Senator to control such costs, Ferre said: "I would absolutely say that this is the cap on how much is available for you to spend at age 90, 87, with a heart condition of this sort, with diabetes of this sort, two legs missing and, you know, this is how much is available for you to spend. And you spend it any way you want."

    There are other ways to lose races in Florida, but this is the simplest and most direct.

  • KY-Sen: Mitch McConnell's sticking in his bite-guard and gritting his teeth hard to do a fundraiser for Roark Rand Paul later this month. Believe it or not, we happened to get the advance text of Paul's prepared remarks for the event:
  • Throughout the ages, the finger painter, the Play-Doh sculptor, the Lincoln Logger stood alone against the daycare teacher of her time. She did not live to earn approval stamps. She lived for herself, that she might achieve things that are the glory of all humanity. These are my terms; I do not care to play by any others. And now, if the court will allow me, it's naptime.

  • NV-Sen: The Big Dog is coming to the Silver State to do a campaign rally for Handsome Harry Reid next week - who won't actually be there because the Senate will be in session. No word on whether a fundraiser is also on tap.
  • PA-Sen: Pat Toomey is taking some heat for a long-ago resume item: He used to work on Wall Street - in derivatives trading, no less.
  • SC-Sen: Alvin Greene, the mysterious Dem senate nominee in South Carolina, says he won't drop out of the race, in spite of the state party's call for him to bail in the wake of revelations that he was arrested on an obscenity charge last fall. Then again, Scott Lee Cohen said he wouldn't bow out, either.
  • KS-Gov: Dem gubernatorial hopeful Tom Holland picked fellow state Sen. Kelly Kultala, considered something of a rising star in KS politics, as his running mate. The two formally kicked off their campaign yesterday.
  • NM-Gov, WI-07: In NM-Gov, we mentioned a little while back that Dem LG Diane Denish is hitting GOP nominee Susana Martinez's record as a prosecutor in TV ads, specifically targeting her conviction rate. A related issue is coming up in WI-07, where Dems are charging ex-prosecutor Sean Duffy with misusing his (very recently) former office to compile conviction statistics helpful to his political campaign.
  • SC-Gov: Mitt Romney, who endorsed Nikki Haley back in March, is heading back down to the Palmetto state to campaign for her once more. Haley faces a runoff against Rep. Gresham Barrett on June 22nd.
  • AK-AL: Former communications exec Sheldon Fisher is running ads against his primary opponent, GOP Rep. Don Young, portraying himself as the "new conservative choice." Kudos to the AP for reporting that the ad buy is $40,000 in size - not much by conventional standards, perhaps, but that money ought to go a lot further in Alaska.
  • IN-03: So this is pretty bizarre. Ex-Rep. Mark Souder, who recently resigned on account of having an extra-marital affair with a staffer, sent an odd message on Facebook concerning his likely successor, state Sen. Marlin Stutzman. On the one hand, he says Stutzman is "probably best qualified" to fill his spot. But then, explains the AP:
  • In one paragraph, he says Stutzman knew nothing of the affair and therefore couldn't have tipped off the media. In another, he mentions that Stutzman or a political consulting firm leaked word of the affair to Fox News after getting information from the staffer's husband, Brad Jackson a Kosciusko County commissioner.

    Hmm, I thought it was Mike Pence who dimed out Souder?

  • MD-01: Businessman Rob Fisher is going up with an ad presenting himself as an outsider in the GOP primary. He faces the better-known state Sen. Andy Harris (the 2008 loser). BIG props to Ben Pershing at the Washington Post for nailing down these details: "The spot is running on cable stations in the Baltimore and Salisbury markets, with an initial buy of more than $70,000."
  • MI-07, MI-09: President Obama did some fundraisers in Michigan earlier this week - one for the DNC, and another joint event for Reps. Gary Peters and Mark Schauer.
  • OH-18: Zack Space is doin' it right: He's launching a "six-figure" buy for an ad attacking GOP opponent Bob Gibbs as a tax-hiker and self-pay-raiser. Why do I like this move? Because Space is using his use cash edge ($1.3 mil to $0.1mil) to define Gibbs, at a time when Gibbs has only just emerged from the uncertainty of a primary recount (which he won with an absurdly pathetic 20.9%). For his part, Gibbs fired back with a popgun press release, the poor man's television ad - very poor man's.
  • VA-05: True to his word, Some Dude Jeff Clark is going ahead with his plans to run as a teabagging independent, since Rob Hurt won the GOP primary to take on Tom Perriello. In fact, Clark filed petitions with the board of elections last week. Note, though, something he hasn't yet filed: an FEC report. Meanwhile, second-place finisher Jim McKelvey, who swore he wouldn't support Hurt if he became the nominee, is still playing coy. Election night remarks suggested he was prepared to fall in line, but he hasn't officially endorsed. (The other four also-rans have in fact done so.)
  • Polltopia: Taegan Goddard relays some blind non-quotes from random "pollsters" complaining about the alleged lack of transparency in Nate Silver's pollster ratings - in particular, the fact that he hasn't published his database of polls. Leaving aside the delicious irony that anonymous pollsters are complaining about transparency, I think this is a red herring. As Nate points out in a post of his own, anyone can recreate his work (with a lot of time and a little money) - and his main concern is the legal issues involved in making public a database that in part relies on information drawn from for-pay services.
  • Discuss :: (83 Comments)

    SSP Daily Digest: 6/9

    by: Crisitunity

    Wed Jun 09, 2010 at 5:20 PM EDT

    AR-Sen: As predicted, labor doesn't look like it's going to kiss and make up with Blanche Lincoln. The SEIU says it won't back Lincoln in November, if nothing else, seeing as how they have races with better odds elsewhere that they need to deal with. PPP's Tom Jensen reinforces that point in a piece entitled "Write Off Lincoln," listing a handful of total sleeper races where the polls have been better for Dems than Arkansas.

    CT-Sen: Campaigns don't usually release internal polls showing them down by 13 points, but when all the public pollsters are showing you down by more than 20 after your blockbuster move failed and it's a last ditch effort to get contributors to not write you off, I suppose it makes sense. A Moore Information poll finds Linda McMahon trailing Richard Blumethal "only" 51-38.

    IL-Sen: Glad to see that the mainstream environmental groups are starting to see the big picture of how Washington works instead of reflexively endorsing moderate Republicans who occasionally pantomime throwing them a bone (see also Reichert, Dave). The Sierra Club and League of Conservation Voters, who've backed Mark Kirk in the past in his House races, will be going with Alexi Giannoulias instead this year.

    NH-Sen: This seemed more like a cry for attention than a well-thought-out campaign pre-announcement when it happened last week. So it's not surprising to hear that whistleblower/former state Securities chief Mark Connolly, after floating his name last week, has decided against running against Paul Hodes in the Dem Senate primary. (The same link also has a list of filings for New Hampshire's state Senate... although Blue Hampshire has that data in helpful table form. Most notable: a troubling Dem-held open seat in a R+4 district.)

    SC-Sen: That didn't take long at all, for the Democrats' baffling new Senatorial nominee, Alvin Greene, to slide into Scott Lee Cohen territory. With revelations this morning that he's facing felony obscenity charges, the state party is calling on Greene to drop out of the race. Mother Jones has some more detail on Greene that really plumbs the depths of his sheer unpreparedness for what he's gotten himself into. I have no idea whether he's a GOP plant (who got fronted the $10K filing fee to be a speed bump for Vic Rawl and wound up winning instead) or just a naif who accidentally wandered into the corridors of power, "Being There"-style, but either way, it makes for a great story.

    AL-Gov: It's official; Robert Bentley finished in 2nd place in the GOP gubernatorial primary, earning him a spot in the primary, and, as expected, Tim James will file for a recount. AG Troy King just issued an AG opinion clarifying the whole issue of whether an automatic recount applies here: no, it doesn't apply to primaries, so James is responsible for the cost of the recount himself. James still plans to do it, though, despite the cost of at least $300K.

    MI-Gov: Republican AG Mike Cox got endorsements from two key GOP power brokers: from the state Chamber of Commerce, and also from Dick and Betsy DeVos. I was a little surprised that the Grand Rapids-based Amway cult leaders didn't go with their in-house western Michigan U.S. Rep., Pete Hoekstra, but Hoekstra claims not to be surprised, probably suggestive of some interpersonal tension with the DeVos family.

    MN-Gov: Here's one more place the SEIU won't get involved: the DFL gubernatorial primary in Minnesota. All three contenders seem to be friendly with labor, so the SEIU didn't seem to want to play favorites in a field that's basically a tossup.

    OR-Gov: Now this is odd... while Oregon has a rather New England-influenced politics, there's no track record of quirky moderate independents running and winning there. Nevertheless, prominent local attorney John DiLorenzo is reporting a $150K loan from himself to his exploratory committee, in apparent preparation for a gubernatorial run.

    SC-Gov: I don't think the RGA could tip its hand any further than it did last night, all but endorsing Nikki Haley, who still has to get past a runoff against Gresham Barrett, saying "the voters made a clear choice" and "the outcome is certain." Barrett, for his part, is brushing that off and continuing to fight on.

    VT-Gov: You may remember Anthony Pollina, who ran as a Progressive and then independent in several gubernatorial races, going as far as to finish 2nd in 2008. Good news for Vermont Dems: Pollina isn't making a third-party bid, or even running for governor at all this year; instead, he's running for a state Senate seat. Also, it sounds like the local Dems and Progressives are getting smarter about not canceling each other out, as they plan to avail themselves more of "fusion voting" this year. (H/t terje; the whole comment is well worth a read.)

    AR-01: With the ink barely dry on Chad Causey's victory in the Dem runoff, the Rick Crawford campaign released an internal poll showing them with a lead over Causey. The poll by POS gives the GOP nominee a 40-34 lead. While the district has a strong Dem tradition, Obama's 54% disapproval in the district gives Crawford an opening.

    IN-03: There's a tally of 15 different Republicans seeking the GOP nod for the special election to replace the recently-resigned Mark Souder; the local GOP will meet on Saturday to choose somebody. The most prominent name is state Sen. Marlin Stutzman, who recently lost the IN-Sen primary, but the list also includes IN-03 primary loser Bob Thomas, two state Reps., Randy Borror and Wes Culver, and even a local TV anchor, Ryan Elijah.

    IN-09: Biden alert! The fundraiser-in-chief has added Baron Hill to his list of beneficiaries, and will be appearing on his behalf in Jeffersonville on June 28.

    PA-12: For his rematch against now-Rep. Mark Critz, Tim Burns is going to try a different campaign manager. Having lost by 9 in the special after seeming to lose the ground war, he parted ways with former chief Tadd Rupp.

    NRSC: John Cornyn admits that the NRSC's wide playing field this November isn't all good news, because their limited resources (currently $17.1 million) will be stretched thin. Somewhere Dino Rossi is thinking "Now he tells me..."

    Polltopia: Maybe the biggest story that people are following today is the quick decision, in the wake of the AR-Sen runoff polls (as well as MA-Sen, PA-12, and the AL-Gov D primary...), by Daily Kos to part ways with hired pollster Research 2000. However, Markos says the decision was more based on 538's aggregate pollster ratings than any one poll. There's no word yet on which pollster will be wearing the orange in the future. Mark Blumenthal has more on the decision, including R2K head Del Ali's response.

    Discuss :: (86 Comments)

    Primary Maps, May 4th Edition

    by: jeffmd

    Mon May 24, 2010 at 8:04 PM EDT

    As promised, I would make maps of primary election results. I started with the three big contests on May 4th - the Democratic Senate contests in North Carolina and Ohio, and the GOP Senate contest in Indiana.

    This diary is a bit lengthy with all the images, so most of them will go over the flip!

    But a taste first (Green is Marshall, Orange is Cunningham, and Purple is Lewis):

    As you can see, Marshall did well in most parts of the state, with the notable exceptions being the Piedmont Triad, which went strongly for Cunningham. Lewis won four counties, Durham and three others located in GK Butterfield's majority-black district.

    More over the flip...

    There's More... :: (18 Comments, 475 words in story)

    SSP Daily Digest: 5/21 (Afternoon Edition)

    by: Crisitunity

    Fri May 21, 2010 at 4:18 PM EDT

    CO-Sen: Colorado's state party conventions are this weekend. Most of the drama is on the Democratic side in the Senate race -- actually, even there, it's not that dramatic, as underdog Andrew Romanoff is expected to prevail at the convention because of his connections to party insiders and his former fellow legislators (and also based on his performance at precinct-level caucuses). Michael Bennet is still expected to meet the 30% threshold that gets him on the ballot without signatures, though, and victory here for Romanoff may be pyrrhic anyway, as the Dem convention winners have fared poorly in the actual primary (ex-Sen. Ken Salazar, for instance, lost the 2004 convention to Mike Miles). The GOP convention should be less interesting because, realizing they have little hope among the revved-up base, establishment-flavored Jane Norton and Tom Wiens aren't bothering, simply opting to qualify for the primary by petition, so Weld Co. DA and Tea Party fave Ken Buck is expected to romp.

    CT-Sen, CT-Gov: Likewise, the state conventions are scheduled for this weekend in Connecticut as well. Although there's a competitive battle in the Dem convention on the gubernatorial side between Ned Lamont and Dan Malloy, it seems like all eyes will be on Richard Blumenthal instead, to see if there's any sort of challenge to him that pops up (other than the minor candidacy of Merrick Alpert). If someone is going to get drafted as a last-minute Blumenthal replacement, it doesn't look like it's going to be the newly-freed-up Susan Bysiewicz, who, seemingly caught off-guard by this week's Supreme Court ruling about her AG eligibility, is now saying she won't run for anything in 2010. There's also the Senate face-off in the GOP convention, where ex-Rep. Rob Simmons' connections and institutional support will be measured up against Linda McMahon's gigantic wealth; McMahon, for her part, is back to touting her camp's leak of the Blumenthal story to the NYT after hiding it yesterday.

    FL-Sen: Charlie Crist couldn't square his support for Elena Kagan today with his opposition to Sonia Sotomayor, telling the Miami Herald that he really couldn't recall why he opposed Sotomayor. (Um, maybe because he was a Republican back then?) On the plus side, Crist is coming out in favor of the Fair Districts initiatives on the ballot this November, which would smooth out the most pernicious tendencies toward gerrymandering and thus is strongly opposed by the state's large Republican legislative majorities.

    IL-Sen: Hmmm, I wonder where this ranks on the hierarchy of misstating your military credentials? Rep. Mark Kirk told a gathering last May that "I command the war room in the Pentagon." Kirk does have a high-profile role in the National Military Command Center, but the war room is run by one-star general, and that's something that Kirk most definitely is not. Let's see what the NYT does with this one.

    KY-Sen: After a bad news day yesterday, Rand Paul is continuing to run his mouth, whining about how he was supposed to get a media honeymoon after Tuesday's Randslide, and also going the full Bachmann against Barack Obama, saying it "sounds Unamerican" for him to be criticizing BP over its massive oil spill because "accidents sometimes happen." (So that "B" in BP stands for American Petroleum now?) Paul is scheduled for this weekend's Meet the Press, for what his handlers hope is damage control but may turn into extended hole-digging.

    Paul also expounded yesterday on the Americans with Disabilities Act, and he should be lucky the media were too fixated yesterday on his Civil Rights Act statements to provide any fact-checking about his bizarre ignorance of the ADA. Paul's example of the ADA's suckage is that it would be reasonable, if an employee used a wheelchair at a two-story business, to just give that person a first-floor office instead of forcing the employer to install an elevator at terrible cost. That's true; it would be "reasonable" -- which is exactly why the ADA asks employers to provide "reasonable accommodation" to disabled employees, a prime example of which might be letting someone work on a lower floor. Removal of architectural barriers is not required if it isn't "readily achievable" (in other words, easily accomplished, without much difficulty or expense) -- which means, grab bars in the bathroom stall or a curb cut, yes, an elevator in an old two-story building, no. Paul's attack on the ADA seems entirely based on having failed to, as the teabaggers have often urged us to do, "read the bill."

    NC-Sen: There's a late-in-the-game shakeup at the Cal Cunningham camp, as his campaign manager and communications director are out the door. Cunningham's spokesperson says it's a necessary retooling for the different nature of the runoff, with less focus on the air war and more on grassroots and shoe-leather.

    PA-Sen: Sigh. The DSCC, which isn't exactly rolling in money these days, spent $540K in coordinated expenditures trying to prop up one-year Democrat Arlen Specter in his 54-46 loss to Joe Sestak in the primary.

    MN-Gov: Margaret Anderson Kelliher reached across the aisle, or at least in the pool of bipartisan budget wonkery, for a running mate, picking John Gunyou. Gunyou was the finance commissioner for Republican Gov. Arne Carlson; he also worked as finance director for Minneapolis mayor Don Fraser and is currently city manager of the suburb of Minnetonka.

    CO-07: The GOP already had its district-level convention in the 7th, as a prelude to the statewide convo. The two main rivals, Lang Sias and Ryan Frazier, both cleared the 30% mark to get on the ballot; the minor candidates didn't clear the mark and won't try to get on by petition. Frazier got 49%, while Sias got 43%. Sias's nomination was seconded by ex-Rep. Tom Tancredo, as well as the 7th's former Rep. Bob Beauprez.

    CT-04: Thom Hermann, the First Selectman of Easton and a guy with a lot of wealth at his disposal, is making his presence known in the GOP primary field in the 4th, heading into the weekend's convention. He's out with an internal poll, via Wilson Research, giving him a large lead over presumed frontrunner state Sen. Dan Debicella among those primary voters who've decided. It's reported in a strange, slightly deceptive way, though: he has a 44-25 lead over Debicella among those who've decided, but only 36% have decided! (So by my calculations, it's more like a 16-9 lead in reality?)

    FL-02: Dem Rep. Allen Boyd seems to be taking nothing for granted this year. He's already up with his second TV ad against his underfunded primary opponent, state Sen. Al Lawson, this time hitting Lawson for votes to cut back funding for healthcare and construction jobs. (J)

    HI-01: We're up to 48% of all ballots having been returned in the 1st, with tomorrow being the deadline in the all-mail-in special election to replace Neil Abercrombie (152K out of 317K).

    ID-02: I have no idea what this is about, but I thought I'd put it out there, as it's one of the weirdest IEs we've seen in a while. Not only did someone plunk down $8K for polling in the 2nd, one of the most reliably Republican top-to-bottom districts anywhere where Rep. Mike Simpson only ever faces token opposition, but the money's from the American Dental Association. Making sure Idahoans are brushing properly?

    IN-03: State Sen. Marlin Stutzman made it official today: he's running in the special election for the seat just vacated by Rep. Mark Souder. Having performed well in the Senate primary (and having had a path cleared for him by Mike Pence's lowering of the boom on Souder), he looks like the one to beat here.

    PA-07: Former local TV news anchor Dawn Stensland has decided to forego a vaguely-threatened independent run in the 7th. That leaves it a one-on-one battle between Dem Bryan Lentz and GOPer Pat Meehan.

    PA-12: The GOP seems to have settled on its preferred explanation for trying to spin away its underwhelming performance in the special election in the 12th, via their polling guru Gene Ulm. It's all Ed Rendell's fault, for scheduling it on the same day as the Senate primary, causing all those Joe Sestak supporters (of which there were many in that corner in Pennsylvania) to come out of the woodwork and vote in the 12th while they were at it.

    Unions: Now that's a lot of lettuce. Two major unions are promising to spend almost $100 million together to preserve Democratic majorities this fall. The AFSCME is promising $50 million and the SEIU is planning $44 million.

    Enthusiasm Gap: This is something I've often suspected, but never felt like bringing up because the numbers weren't there to prove the point (and also perhaps because saying so would put me at odds with the general netroots orthodoxy): the Democratic "enthusiasm gap" isn't so much borne out of dissatisfaction with the insufficient aggressiveness of the Obama administration or the slow pace of getting watered-down legislation out of Congress as much as it's borne out of complacency. In other words, there's the sense by casual/irregular/low-information Dem voters that they did their job in 2008, got the country back on track, things are slowly improving, and because they aren't angry anymore they don't need to keep following up. PPP backs this up: among those "somewhat excited " or "not very excited" about voting in November, Obama's approval is a higher-than-average 58/35, and their supports for the health care bill is also a higher-than-average 50/38.

    Discuss :: (80 Comments)

    SSP Daily Digest: 5/19

    by: Crisitunity

    Wed May 19, 2010 at 4:36 PM EDT

    CA-Sen: Good news for Tom Campbell, in the form of the Senate half of M4's poll of the California GOP primary: he leads Carly Fiorina and Chuck DeVore, 33-28-15. (Of course, with his plans to briefly go dark to conserve funds, that gives Fiorina a chance to play catchup when the margin's not that big.) Bad news for Campbell, though: the NRA has him in its metaphorical crosshairs, sending out a mailer to members attacking Campbell and, while not endorsing, offering kind words for Fiorina and DeVore.

    CT-Sen: This is going to make it a lot easier for Richard Blumenthal to make the case that the "in Vietnam" controversy is something of a cheap shot. A longer-form video release of the appearance (provided, ironically, by the Linda McMahon campaign, undercutting their own hatchet job) where the offending phrase occurred have him correctly referring to having "served in the military, during the Vietnam era" in the very same speech. That's not stopping Vietnam vet Rob Simmons, who, sensing an opening, has rolled out web advertising with "Blumenthal Lied About Vietnam" in very large letters.

    Blumenthal is getting more explicit backing from Democratic bigwigs now, as his mea culpa/attempt to get back on the offense seems to have had the desired effect. Rep. Chris Murphy, the likeliest guy to pick up the pieces if Blumenthal had to bail out, offered his unqualified support; so too did Howard Dean. And here's one thing that's actually good about Rasmussen's one-day, no-callback samples: they can strike fast. They polled Connecticut, and while the trendlines aren't appealing, they find Blumenthal still beating McMahon even in the heat of the moment before the story has had time to digest, and beating the other, unmoneyed GOP opponents by pretty wide margins. Markos has some really nice pushback against Rasmussen in general, today, asking why they always poll quickly when there's the potential for a good Republican narrative but not when the narrative doesn't fit (as seen in their failure to poll the Sorta Super-Tuesday primaries).

    FL-Sen: Charlie Crist has been trying to woo union support, starting with a speech at the state AFL-CIO convention this weekend. It's another indication that he's trying to move squarely onto Kendrick Meek's turf and monopolize as much of the left-of-center vote as he can, now that he's free from his GOP shackles. Meanwhile, quixotic Democratic candidate Jeff Greene has apparently been seen wooing Ukrainian strippers, in 2005 on his 145-foot yacht while cruising the Black Sea. Not so, claims his campaign spokesperson; he was busy traveling with his rabbi at the time instead.

    KY-Sen: In case you needed one more data point on how thin-skinned Rand Paul and how likely a meltdown from him is at some point before November, here's an anecdote from last night: he refused to take the customary concession call from Trey Grayson, at least according to the Grayson camp.

    NC-Sen: Here's a big score for Elaine Marshall: Third-place finisher Kenneth Lewis gave his backing to Marshall in her runoff against Cal Cunningham. This move isn't so surprising, given that Lewis's supporters, like Rep. Eva Clayton, were already gravitating toward Marshall, but it ought to steer much of Lewis's African-American and youth base in her direction as well.

    NV-Sen: Three items, all of which are very, very bad for Sue Lowden. First, the Club for Growth finally weighed into the Senate primary, and they backed right-winger Sharron Angle (maybe not that surprising, since they backed her in the 2006 primary for NV-02). That ought to give Angle a further shot of adrenaline, though, on top of her Tea Party Express endorsement and polling momentum. Lowden is also still bogged down in controversy over her luxury bus, doubling-down on her claims that use of the $100K vehicle was leased despite also having stated elsewhere that the bus was "donated" (which means it would have needed to be reported as an in-kind contribution). That's nothing, though, compared to the (by my count) quintupling-down on Chickens-for-Checkups, simultaneously trying to fight top Nevada journo Jon Ralston on the fact that, yes, people are bartering for health care while trying to claim that she never actually said anything about Chickencare at all.

    NY-Sen-B: The only GOP big name left who hadn't said anything definitive about participating in the GOP Senate primary for the right to get creamed by Kirsten Gillibrand finally said a public "no." Orange County Executive Ed Diana said he'll stick with his current job, to which he was elected in November to a third term.

    UT-Sen: Looks like that teabaggers' victory in Utah might be short-lived. Bob Bennett seems to be more interested than before in running as a write-in in the general (where, despite the complex dynamics of a write-in campaign, he faces better odds with the broader electorate than with the narrow slice of extremists running the GOP convention). We may know tomorrow what his plans are, as he emphasized "Stay tuned tomorrow."

    WA-Sen: If Dino Rossi really is still interested in running for Senate, this isn't a particularly good way of showing it. Rossi is scheduled to make a blockbuster appearance on May 25... to give opening remarks at a dinnertime seminar for local real estate investors focusing on strategies for profiting off foreclosures. Because nothing says "I'm a man of the people" than knowing all the ins and outs of how to profit off the people's misery.

    AL-Gov: Artur Davis is out with an internal poll, that seems mostly oriented toward countering the sense that he's losing ground among his African-American base. The poll shows Davis leading Democratic primary rival Ron Sparks 46-33. It also shows Davis leading 50-25 among African-Americans (despite the defections of some prominent local black groups), while trailing Sparks 42-41 among whites.

    FL-Gov: Bill McCollum is going to have to start taking moneybags Rick Scott seriously, and he's striking hard, sending out a press release calling him an "embarrassment" and a "fraud," presumably in reference to allegations leveled against Scott's health care firm. Scott's ginormous introductory ad buy is now estimating at $6.3 million.

    KS-Gov: Sam Brownback is drawing some heat for taking things out of context. Now, politicians take things out of context all the time, but his sleight-of-hand in attempting to fight efforts to more tightly regulate the business of car loans to military members may be a fridge too far.

    "CNN Money on May 13 reported that 'Raj Date ... agreed that the additional (Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection) regulation might cause some dealers to stop arranging loans," Brownback said in the letter.
    But Brownback's letter did not include the rest of Date's comment, which was this, "There will be some dealers who say, 'If I have to play by an honest set [of] rules, then I can't be in this business anymore.' I'm not going to shed any tears for these dealers."

    MA-Gov: You may recall last week's Rasmussen MA-Gov poll where, in an effort to find some sort of good news, they found that, if liberal activist Grace Ross somehow beat incumbent Dem Deval Patrick in the primary, she would lost to GOPer Charlie Baker. Well, it's looking like Ross is in danger of not even making it onto the ballot. The state SoS says she has only a little more than half of the 10,000 signatures she needs; Ross promises an announcement tomorrow morning on her next step. (The upside for Patrick, if Ross qualifies for the primary though, would be $750K in public financing for his campaign, which he wouldn't be entitled to if he were running unopposed.)

    ME-Gov: There's been some ongoing controversy in the sleepy Maine governor's race about how Republican candidate Steve Abbott (former CoS to Susan Collins) wound up with GOP voter lists, but this is a strange turn: the state Republican party chair, Charlie Webster, is now saying that Abbott's camp flat-out "stole" it.

    GA-09: The special election to replace Nathan Deal (where GOPers Tom Graves and Lee Hawkins are in a runoff) seems to have winnowed the Republican field for the regularly-scheduled GOP primary, too. Former state Senate majority leader Bill Stephens has dropped out of contention in that field.

    HI-01: Even if something incredibly dramatic happens between now and Saturday's drop-dead date in the special election in the 1st, things are still pretty much cast in stone. In the all-mail in election, now 43% of all ballots sent out have been returned.

    IN-03: State Sen. Marlin Stutzman (whose name rec is sky-high right now after running fairly well in the GOP Senate primary against Dan Coats) says that he's going to strike while the iron is hot, and get into the race to replace resigning Rep. Mark Souder. Other GOPers confirming that they'll run include state Rep. Randy Borror, Ft. Wayne city councilor Liz Brown, and recent primary loser Phil Troyer. Another recent primary loser, Bob Thomas, is a potential candidate.

    OH-16: After having found an excuse to hide behind the door the last time Barack Obama came to Ohio, Rep. John Boccieri was proudly with him when he visited Youngstown yesterday. Perhaps he can sense a bit of a turning of the tide? Troublingly, though, Senate candidate Lee Fisher wasn't present.

    PA-12: PPP digs through the data from their last pre-election poll in the 12th and finds what may really have done the Republicans in. There's one entity in the district even more unpopular than Barack Obama (who had 30% approval), and that's Congressional Republicans, who were at a miserable 22/60. In nationalizing the election, Tim Burns tied himself to the nation's least favorite people of all.

    PA-19: After having surviving his primary last night despite publicly seeking another job, it looks like Rep. Todd Platts exposed himself to all that danger for no reason at all. Platts announced yesterday that the Obama administration had let him know that he wasn't going to be selected for the Government Accountability Office job he'd been angling for.

    CT-AG: Here's one of the weirdest career crash-and-burns I've seen lately: SoS Susan Bysiewicz went in a few months from likely next Governor to somehow not even eligible to run for the lower-tier job she dropped down to. Connecticut's Supreme Court unanimously ruled that she didn't meet the criteria for legal experience required to become AG, reversing a lower court's decision. Former Democratic state Sen. George Jepsen now has the AG job pretty much to himself. At any rate, with Bysiewicz now combing the "Help Wanted" section, that gives the Connecticut Dems a fallback plan for the Senate if Richard Blumenthal does need to bail out (although Bysiewicz may be seriously damaged at this point too).

    OR-St. House: Here are a couple races with interesting implications that I forgot to watch last night: two Republican state Reps. from the high-desert parts of Oregon (the state's Republican stronghold) committed the unthinkable heresy of not only bipartisanship but supporting tax increases to close the state's budget gap. Both Bob Jenson and Greg Smith survived their primaries, though, after teabaggers, right-to-lifers, and even their state House minority leader turned their wrath against them.

    Arizona: One other election result from last night that most people, us included, seemed to overlook was Proposition 100 in Arizona. In a surprise, at least to those people who think that it's a rabidly anti-tax year (which would be those people who didn't pay any attention to Measures 66 and 67 earlier this year in Oregon), the people of this red state voted by a fairly wide margin for a temporary sales tax increase as part of a package of changes to close the budget gap. It's a victory for Jan Brewer, actually, who backed the plan (perhaps feeling safer to do so, having solidified her position with her support for the "papers please" law).

    1994: When you have a wave, a lot of dead wood washes up on the beach. Prompted by '94 alum Mark Souder's mini-scandal and resignation, Dana Milbank looks back at the wide array of scoundrels and rogues who were swept in in 1994.

    History: History's only barely on the side of Blanche Lincoln when it comes to runoffs. It turns out that the person who finishes first in a runoff wins 72% of the time, but when that's limited only to runoffs in primaries, the success rate is only 55%... and Lincoln's victory over Bill Halter last night was a particularly close one.

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