AR-Sen: Former President and governor of Arkansas Bill Clinton cut two radio ads on behalf of Blanche Lincoln. One of them highlights Lincoln's alleged support for Clinton's economic agenda back in the 1990s - not an issue likely to resonate, especially in today's economic climate.
FL-Sen: A Public Opinion Strategies poll for Charlie Crist, taken before he left the GOP primary, had him at 36, Marco Rubio at 28, and Kendrick Meek at 23. A McLaughlin & Associates poll (taken for "the Associated Industries of Florida," also before the switcheroo) had Crist up as well, 33C-29R-15M. Meanwhile, The Buzz takes a look at which boldfaced names showed up to Crist's first fundraiser following his political party reassignment surgery.
On the Dem side, zillionaire mortgage-shorting mogul Jeff Greene says he'll "spend whatever it takes" to win his primary against Rep. Kendrick Meek. That must be music to Joe Trippi's ears. Greene is unelectable but thanks to his monstrous bankroll, he can do a lot of harm to Democratic chances in this race. Trippi is aiding and abetting this bullshit, and will profit handsomely.
NY-Sen-B: Chris Dodd, in the midst of working on financial regulation reform, says he won't attend a Wall Street-sponsored fundraiser on behalf of Kirsten Gillibrand in NYC tonight.
UT-Sen: A poignant poll for Bob Bennett: While Republican delegates to the state convention despise him (he's in third place with just 16%), rank-and-file Republican voters like him much more (first place, 39%). In other states, the GOP would have cause for concern, since a convention process like this is clearly aimed at producing the most conservative candidate imaginable. But in Utah, it probably won't matter. Though if Bennett gets toppled, I wonder if other nervous establishment officials might consider eliminating the convention and replacing it with an ordinary primary.
MI-Gov: Thank god: Geoffrey Feiger, Jack Kevorkian's attorney and the Dems' disastrous 1998 gubernatorial nominee, says he won't run again. Now all we have to worry about is Andy Dillon.
HI-Gov, HI-01: Hawaii's legislature unexpectedly passed a civil unions bill on the last day of the session, which now goes to Gov. Linda Lingle (she has until July 6th to decide whether to sign the bill into law or veto it). Lt. Gov. Duke Aiona (R), running to succeed Lingle, wants her to veto it. Ex-Rep. Neil Abercrombie is strongly in favor of the bill (and gay marriage), while his Democratic primary opponent, Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann, opposes gay marriage but hasn't expressed an opinion on the current bill.
This may also have repercussions in the HI-01 race, where state Sen. President Colleen Hanabusa may have pushed the bill through in an attempt to repair relations with the LGBT community after the same bill got scuttled in January. Hanabusa says she doesn't support gay marriage, though, while Democratic rival Ed Case does. Republican Charles Djou opposes the measure.
FL-05: Unsurprisingly, local Republicans are grumbling about Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite's filing-deadline handoff to Sherriff Ted Richard Nugent, including state Sen. Mike Fasano, who apparently has had his eye on this seat for some time. You have to wonder if this is the kind of thing which will taint Nugent and make him vulnerable to a primary challenge next cycle. Also among the complainers, interestingly, is state Sen. Paula Dockery, whose current district overlaps with the 5th CD. Dockery's gotten nowhere in her FL-Gov primary against AG Bill McCollum, so you have to wonder if she isn't gnashing her teeth about a lost opportunity here.
FL-25: Joe Garcia's candidacy is a rare bright spot for Dems in this otherwise putrid cycle. Now the DCCC, which lobbied heavily for him to get into the race, has given Garcia their official stamp of approval, adding him to their Red to Blue list once again.
GA-09: Dems never had a chance in the special election in this ruby red district, but you gotta figure it's almost always better to actually have a Democrat on the ballot rather than not. We had a candidate here, pastor Mike Freeman, but he dropped out a couple of weeks ago. Now, though, he says he's back in the race, but his website is offline.
IN-08: Democratic state Rep. Trent Van Haaften, running to fill Brad Ellsworth's open seat, has been talking to local teabaggers to see if they might support him. Yeah, I'm in as much disbelief as you are. But, as is always the case, there's a lot of hostility between the tea partiers and the establishment, and at least one 'bagger says they want to "teach the machine a lesson."
PA-12: Freedom's Defense Fund, an arm of the incredibly dodgy Base Connect (formerly BMW Direct) has made a $20K "independent" expenditure on behalf of Bill Russell, who is challenging Tim Burns in the GOP primary. (Recall that there's both a special election and a primary on the same day.) FDF is supposedly distinct from Base Connect, but given that they share the same office (according to TPM), the idea that their expenditures are actually "independent" is a real stretch.
More importantly, the NRCC just threw down another quarter million bucks on behalf of Burns, bringing their total spending on this race to over $725K. The DCCC has yet to respond to this latest blast.
DCCC: The DCCC is about to begin its biennial rite of splitting off its independent expenditure arm. Thanks to stupid federal laws against "co-ordination," the DCCC staffers who make spending decisions about IEs can't be in contact with the rest of the D-Trip, because those folks are in contact with individual campaigns. This is senseless. Anyhow, political director Robby Mook will head up the IE arm, and John Lapp (who once ran this shop himself) will serve as a "senior advisor." Incumbent retention director Jennifer Pihlaja will replace Mook as PD of DCCC proper (and keep her current title).
• FL-Sen: That bell is tolling pretty loudly for Charlie Crist right about now, although it's unclear today whether it spells a switch to an independent Senate bid (keep your fingers crossed) or an exit (if only temporarily) from politics. Crist's camp has pulled all of its GOP-primary-related ads from Florida television. Florida junior Senator/Crist errand boy George LeMieux is downplaying this, saying no switch is imminent, but the NRSC is leaning on Crist even more heavily than before, trying to disabuse their endorsee of the idea of an indie bid.
• IN-Sen: I wonder if this will boost John Hostettler with his fundraising by hooking him up with a national base, or if he's going to be more Peter Schiff than Rand Paul in the end? The former Rep., in his run for the GOP nomination in Indiana, now has the endorsement of Rep. Ron Paul, bringing together two of the very few GOPers to vote against the Iraq War. Meanwhile, state Sen. Marlin Stutzman, the dark-horse third-wheel in the GOP derby, is hitting the TV airwaves with an introductory ad, banking much of his small warchest on getting his name rec out of the basement with the primary only weeks away.
• KS-Sen: Rep. Mike Pence weighed in on the GOP field in Kansas, endorsing Rep. Todd Tiahrt over fellow Rep. Jerry Moran. There's something of a social/fiscal conservative split on this race, where social conservatives love Tiahrt but fiscal hawks don't, based on his long career on the goodie-doling Appropriations Committee. If nothing else, it's interesting to see Pence, who tries to have a foot in each camp, choose sides, as he gears up for a possible presidential bid. Meanwhile, Moran is going up with his first TV spot, with a big buy in the Kansas City market.
• KY-Sen: More tasty cat fud in Kentucky, where Rudy Giuliani just endorsed Trey Grayson and, in doing so, slammed the bejesus out of Rand Paul on the 9/11 front, saying that Grayson "is not part of the 'blame America first' crowd that wants to bestow the rights of U.S. citizens on terrorists and point fingers at America for somehow causing 9/11." Just the kind of softening-up of Paul we need for the general election.
• NY-Sen-B, NY-Gov: Siena's latest poll of the Empire State doesn't contain any big surprises; even David Paterson's 17/83 job rating isn't that surprising anymore. In their first look at the post-George Pataki Senate landscape, they find that Kirsten Gillibrand is cruising against all of her seemingly interchangeable third-tier opposition; she beats Joe DioGuardi 46-27, Bruce Blakeman 46-26, and David Malpass 46-24. DioGuardi, apparently with the name rec that comes with a celebrity daughter (or maybe it's from the two terms in Congress in the 1980s), has the edge in a Pataki-free GOP primary, winning with 24 to 7 for Blakeman and 5 for Malpass. On the gubernatorial side, Andrew Cuomo fares even better than Gillibrand, beating Rick Lazio 61-24, Steve Levy 58-23, and Carl Paladino 64-19. Lazio still has the edge in the GOP primary, at 29 with 15 for Levy and 13 for Paladino.
• WA-Sen: Strange that it takes a foul-mouthed blogger to notice the clues that Dino Rossi isn't running that the Beltway press seems oblivious to. Goldy notices that minor candidate Chris Widener, another personal friend of Rossi, is saying the same thing as state Sen. Don Benton: if he's running, why the hell isn't he doing me the favor of calling me up and telling me to get out of the way? (Well, maybe because he's a jerk?) Even more telling is that another minor GOP candidate, former NFL player Clint Didier, has commercial real estate mogul Kemper Freeman (one of Rossi's big-name donors and a major insider player in the state GOP), as his campaign chair.
• FL-Gov: I'm wondering if Bill McCollum's lead role in the pursuit of the GOP AGs' lawsuit over HCR is suddenly taking a toll on him (voters are opposed to the suit by a 54-40 margin), or if Quinnipiac got an unusually Dem-friendly sample (it's the same one that found Kendrick Meek with 4 of Marco Rubio in a head-to-head, and Obama gets a 48/46 approval). Either way, Quinnipiac has the nicest numbers we've seen out of the Florida gubernatorial race in a while. McCollum leads Democratic state CFO Alex Sink by just 40-36. McCollum leads state Sen. Paula Dockery 56-7 in the GOP primary; Sink leads Dockery 37-28.
• MD-Gov: Usually when a heavyweight jumps into the field, the random odds and ends get out, but the opposite happened in Maryland. Shortly after Bob Ehrlich got in, little-known rich guy Brian Murphy just announced his candidacy today. Murphy will be running against Ehrlich from the right and has the support of former state GOP chair James Pelura. Murphy also got a vote of confidence from former state Del. Carmen Amedori, who dropped her long-shot bid against Barbara Mikulski to sign on as Murphy's Lt. Governor running mate.
• CA-36: At the state convention, incumbent Rep. Jane Harman managed to ward off Marci Winograd's attempts to deny Harman the state party's endorsement. After a floor fight, Harman won the endorsement with a 599-417 vote. The two will still face off in the Democratic primary (in a rematch of 2006).
• GA-09: Here's a problem for Georgia Dems: they lost their only candidate in the 9th, pastor Mike Freeman. His name will still remain on the ballot for the May 11 special election to replace Nathan Deal, but he leaves behind a hole for the general election. Not that the absence of a Dem in this R+28 district would be noticed much, though.
• MA-09: Rep. Stephen Lynch has dodged a primary challenge so far, following his vote against HCR, but it seems like organized labor has found a candidacy that might stick. Mac d'Alessandro, a regional director for the SEIU, says he'll take a shot at Lynch in the Democratic primary, although he has only a couple weeks to round up the necessary 2,000 signatures.
• MN-01: The Republicans had their endorsement convention for the 1st District and gave their nod to state Rep. Randy Demmer. While Demmer is hardly anyone's idea of a moderate, he's less polarizing than his main rival, former state Rep. Allen Quist (a Michele Bachmann ally). Quist sounds like he'll honor the endorsement and not run in the primary.
• MN-02: On the Dem side, though, former state Rep. Shelley Madore has decided to keep running in the primary even though the DFL endorsement went to Dan Powers.
• NH-01: In a surprise to almost no one, Sean Mahoney (who made a big show of quitting his committee position on the RNC recently, ostensibly to protest Michael Steele) announced that he's going to run in the GOP primary in the 1st for the right to take on Rep. Carol Shea-Porter. The primary that looked like a victory lap for former Manchester mayor Frank Guinta last year is now a four-way bar brawl instead.
• NY-24: Rep. Mike Arcuri is, all of a sudden, sounding kind of Stupak-ish in the wake of his getting bruised by all ends of the spectrum after his ill-advised 'yes' to 'no' switch on HCR; he won't commit to running for re-election just yet. Either he's particularly thin-skinned and vindictive about getting his widdle feewings hurt, or he's looking at some particularly unappetizing polling numbers, especially if the Working Families Party runs someone against him.
First off, let me say that I am the Finance Director for Mike Freeman for Congress. Mike is a retired minister and retired Captain in the U.S. Navy Reserve (a chaplain). He's also the only declared Democratic candidate for the Georgia 9th Congressional district special election.
On Sunday night, Representative Nathan Deal (GA-09), a turncoat former Democrat from Gainesville, resigned his seat to run full time for Governor (as well as to avoid a potential ethics investigation).
To everyone in Georgia's surprise, it was announced that the special election to fill his seat would be on April 27 May 11th, a little over a 6 weeks away!
While this certainly was a surprise it creates a great opportunity for Democrats to achieve what otherwise would be an impossible challenge. With over 10 Republicans running currently (along with a right-wing independent) a single Democrat has taken this challenge because he thinks no race should go unopposed and because he thinks he can best represent the district.
Georgia is no stranger to special elections, with the most famous example occuring in 2007 when Democrat James Marlow narrowly missed a run-off election by around 100 votes. I was a volunteer on that campaign and it still sickens me to think of what could have been done to prevent this, especially since Paul Broun went on to win the run-off election. That race differs from this one in a very important way. Marlow was unable to "secure" the Democratic nod and 2 other Democrats participated- splitting the Democratic vote 3 ways.
In the 9th, Mike Freeman is the only Democratic candidate running. Let me repeat-the ONLY Democrat- with 11 other candidates potentially running that will be splitting the right-wing vote. So instead of dividing up the 40 percent or so of the vote by 3 different candidates (as was the case in the 10th special campaign of 2007) he will be able to garner all of the Democratic support available without opposition.
Mike isn't a professional politician unlike several of his opponents. We think that this fact alone gives us an additional advantage. The campaign strategy is to run an aggressive field plan, with 3 offices opening up this week in the district. We plan to target as many people as possible throughout the 15 counties in the district through canvassing and phonebanking and we need all the help we can get to make the run-off election.
We can shock the political establishment and draw national support which could put Democrats in position to take a Republican seat and define the narrative for the 2010 cycle. Today, we're sending out an email to our supporters asking them to make a contribution of $20.10 to our efforts to kick off Democrats efforts to pick up seats in 2010! If you'd like to join the fight, please visit our ActBlue page or our website. This race is a great opportunity to show the Republicans that Democrats are fighting back, even in very red districts.
FL-08: Former hospital administrator Peg Dunmire has left the Republican Party and will officially challenge Alan Grayson as a member of Florida's new Tea Party.
GA-09: The special election for Nathan Deal's now-vacant seat has been set for April 27th. This is an all-party "jungle" election, with the winner needing 50% to win. If no one hits that mark, a runoff would be held on May 25th. With 11 Republicans and only one Democrat (former Navy chaplain Mike Freeman) running, is it completely insane to imagine...? Also note that Georgia has a "resign to run" rule, so folks who hold other offices will have to quit before getting into this race, setting off a domino chain of further special elections.
IN-05: Former state Rep. Luke Messer is on the air with a biographical tv spot. He's one of several Republicans challenging Rep. Dan Burton in the primary.
MA-05: Seven Republicans and four independents have lined up so far to take on Dem Rep. Niki Tsongas. Scott Brown won this district 56-43 in January.
NY-13: The Brooklyn Conservative Party has endorsed former FBI agent Mike Grimm. This has touched off another fight with Staten Island Conservatives who, as they did in 2008, seem inclined to endorse Democratic Rep. Mike McMahon. But back then, the Brooklyn Cons (who represent a much smaller part of the district) engineered a coup at the state party level with the backing of chair Michael Long in order to thwart the will of their SI counterparts. It looks like the same might happen again this cycle.
OK-05: SoonerPoll.com surveyed the GOP primary for the open 5th CD, which Rep. Mary Fallin is leaving to run for governor. They find former state Rep. Ken Calvey leading with 20, while state Rep. Mike Thompson is at 9 and "political newcomer" James Lankford is at 7. State Rep. Shane Jett, who just joined the field, was not included.
PA-04: Could Jason Altmire get Arcuri'd? Thanks to his vote against the healthcare reform bill, Jack Shea, the president of the Allegheny County Labor Council, says he's considering a primary challenge. The problem is that Pennsylvania's filing deadline closed earlier this month, so Shea would have to run as a write-in. Alternately, he could run as an independent (indies have a much later filing deadline).
PA-19: Rep. Todd Platts is expected to be on a shortlist of four possible names to fill the top spot at the Government Accountability Office. The House and Senate are compiling this list and will send it to the White House "soon." President Obama can then select a nominee from this slate, or pick his own. Either way, his choice is subject to confirmation in the Senate.
RI-01: Retired Superior Court Judge Roy Pfeiffer is weighing a run for the now-open 1st CD as a Republican. The GOP actually already has a candidate here, state Rep. John Loughlin.
SD-AL: I'm unsurprised - Obama strategist Steve Hildebrand says he won't challenge Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin in the Dem primary, even though she voted against healthcare reform.
TN-08: Roy Herron will have the Democratic field to himself: Educator and former John Tanner staffer Luther Mercer has dropped out, citing difficulties in fundraising. On the, well, non-Dem side, meanwhile, the knives are out for GOP frontrunner Stephen Fincher. Teabaggy independent Donn Janes is slamming Fincher for claiming to want to cut DC spending despite having been a big beneficiary of farm subsidies.
VA-05: Ex-Rep. Virgil Goode will appear at a fundraiser on the 25th for state Sen. Rob Hurt, who is seeking to reclaim Goode's seat for the Republicans. Hurt is the establishment favorite in this race, but the teabaggers truly seem to hate him and are determined not to let him win the primary. So it remains to be seen whether Goode can sprinkle him with winger fairy dust, or befoul him with DC stink lines.
WY-AL: Democrats have found a candidate to take on freshman Cynthia Lummis: David Wendt, president of the Jackson Hole Center for Global Affairs. Wendt specifically cited Lummis's vote against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, and also congressional inaction on emissions, as reasons for his run.
Polltopia: The boys at PPP are choosing between AL, IL, MD & WA for their next poll, and you can go over there to vote. I can also tell you that R2K will have a WA poll out this week (as well as polls in AR and WI).
Passings: Fred Heineman, a one term congressman from North Carolina, passed away this past weekend at the age of 80. The Republican Heineman beat Dem Rep. David Price in the 1994 Republican Revolution, but Price won his seat right back in 1996. Heineman's brief tenure had a lot to do with how mind-bogglingly clueless he was, most infamously remarking:
"When I see a first-class individual who makes $80,000 a year, he's lower middle class. When I see someone who is making anywhere from $300,000 to $750,000, that's middle class. When I see anyone above that, that's upper middle class.