Governor: Bill Haslam R v. Mike McWherter (OPEN)
Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam is going to absolutely crush Jackson businessman Mike McWherter on November 2nd. The son of Ned Ray McWherter was mistakenly allowed a free pass in the Democratic Primary, after which he proved himself to be completely inept and unqualified to be running for Governor, with only his father's legacy and last name to recommend him. Haslam in contrast proved himself to an adept campaigner and by far the most qualified candidate in both the primary and general elections. While McWherter has run arguably the worst campaign of any credible candidate in Tennessee history, while Haslam has run perhaps the best organized and executed in the state's history. On Election Day the most qualified and deserving candidate will be elected Governor of Tennessee, and in this instance it will be a Republican.
Tennessee Congressional Delegation
TN-3: Chuck Fleischmann R v. John Wolfe (OPEN)
Fleischmann is going to easily win this Republican leaning district by a 2-1 margin over the under-funded Democrat, John Wolfe. No analysis needed.
TN-4: Scott DesJarlais R v. Lincoln Davis D (i)
A month ago I would have argued that Davis would be favored over a Republican who would be second-tier in most any other cycle, but recent polling in the district and prevailing national trends have moved this race into tossup territory. If I had to wager I would still bet on Davis as the incumbent, but DesJarlais has about made the odds 50/50 that he will be going to Washington.
TN-5: David Hall R v. Jim Cooper D (i)
Cooper is favored to win his district, despite Republican hopes to the contrary, by a less than comfortable margin over Republican David Hall. It probably won't be a win as large as Cooper is used to racking up, but he has done the minimal amount of work necessarily to probably avoid some fluke upset in even the largest of Republican waves. While Hall winning cannot be completely discounted, Cooper is clearly favored as a incumbent in a Democratic leaning district.
TN-6: Diane Black R v. Brett Carter D (OPEN)
Diane Black will likely win this district by a roughly 2-1 margin. No Democrat seriously had a shot at holding this seat this cycle except for Bart Gordon.
TN-8: Stephen Fincher R v. Roy Herron D (OPEN)
Roy Herron was never the best Democrat to run for this seat. He hails from a safe State Senate district where he had never faced serious challenges during his long political career (House or Senate), and his political abilities were severely overrated - as I have mentioned in previous posts. Fincher on the other hand won a hard fought campaign and proved his mettle in the most expensive primary in the nation. The 8th has become extremely hostile to the Democratic brand since the election of President Obama, and it would have taken an older ultra-conservative Democrat like former House Transportation Chairman Phillip Pinion (Union City) or a geographically advantaged and youthful conservative Democrat like Lowe Finney (Jackson) to beat the weakest and most generic of Republicans this cycle. So despite serious questions over Fincher's campaign finance disclosures and a questionable campaign loan from a local bank, Fincher has ridden out the General Election refusing to answer these serious questions or debate with little detrimental effect. A majority of the electorate is just not inclined this year to send another conservative Democrat to Washington, and Stephen Fincher as flawed and unqualified candidate as he is, appears almost certain to go to Washington as the 8th District's next Congressman.
Best Case Scenario: 6R-3D (-2 D)
Worst Case Scenario: 7R-2D (-3D)
TN-2: Tony Shipley R (i) v. Nathan Vaughn D
In this 2008 rematch Democrat Nathan Vaughn is trying to regain his House seat from Republican Tony Shipley. This district bucked the Republican inclination of East Tennessee in 2002 by not only electing a Democrat, but an conservative African-American Democrat. Shipley ran a really nasty campaign and upset Vaughn in a race that he took for granted. Shipley has to be favored in this environment, but Vaughn can't be wrote off out of hand as he is a known quantity and Shipley has a habit of making crazy statements.
TN-4: Jerome Cochran R v. Kent Williams I (i)- Speaker of the House Lean I
In a 3rd rematch of these two, former Representative Jerome Cochran attempts yet again to knockoff the man, Kent Williams, who beat him in the 2006 and 2008 in Republican Primaries, and went on to become Speaker of the House in league with the House Democrats in 2008. Since then Williams has had to become an Independent, and thus the rematch moves to the General Election setting. Williams is favored, but not out the woods.
TN- 10: Don Miller R v. Larry Mullins D (OPEN)
This seat was opened up after Democrat John Litz decided against running for re-election. This is a district in traditional Republican East Tennessee, based around Morristown/Hamblen County. This district leans Republican, but has some Democratic base to rely on as an old industrial town. In an open seat scenario the seat should lean Republican, but the Democrat is competent and has a fighting shot, so it's hard to rank it worse than a toss-up.
TN-11: Jeremy Faison R v. Eddie Yokley D (i)
Eddie Yokley has successfully held his seat through two tough re-election challenges since 2004, and in light of that fact he has to be slightly favored to win re-election in this naturally Republican leaning district due to his ability to have won and held the seat in any cycle.
TN-32: Julia Hurley R v. Dennis Ferguson D (i)
TN-33: John Ragan R v. Jim Hackworth D (i)
TN-36: Dennis Powers R v. Keith Clotfelter D (i) (OPEN)
This seat was opened up after Dennis Powers upset a first-term Republican incumbent, and now faces Democrat Keith Clotfelter. The district leans Republican, but some Democratic base exists to work with in the right cycle/environment. However, this district has been represented by a Republican for a long time, so it's hard to see it swinging to a Democrat due to any lingering divisions from the Republican Primary.
TN-38: Kelly Keisling R v. Leslie Winningham D (i)
TN-39: David Alexander R v. George Fraley D (i)
This traditionally Democratic rural Middle Tennessee district is an area where being a Republican was still an unfeasible political affiliation until recently. George Fraley is a poplar Democrat, problem is that he advancing in age and perhaps should have thought about retiring last cycle. Lingering doubts about Fraley open him up to defeat by his capable Republican opponent, David Alexander. This race will boil down to whether the electorate has faith in Fraley's ability to serve one more term.
TN-40: Terry Lynn Weaver R (i) v. James Hale D
This rural Middle Tennessee district that was traditionally Democratic until it was opened up by a retirement in 2008. During that cycle the Democrat who emerged from the primary ran an abysmal and lazy campaign where "this has always been Democratic district" mentality cost the Democrats a winnable seat. Weaver as an incumbent in this environment is favored, but the Democrat is capable and has an outside chance to win.
TN-41: Patrick McCurdy R v. John Mark Windle D (i)
TN-42: Ryan Williams R v. Henry Fincher D (i)
Fincher has held this district since 2006, but has never faced a Republican in a general election. So while he is favored, his lack of political testing has to be an area of concern.
TN-44: Matt Wynn R v. Mike McDonald D (i)
TN-46: Mark Pody R v. Stratton Bone D (i)
This district is based around Lebanon and eastern Wilson County, and is part of the Nashville metro that is seeing suburban/exurban growth and trending Republican. In this environment an entrenched Democrat like Stratton Bone could be upset due to changing demographics combined with an awful political environment finally flipping the seat.
TN-48: Joe Carr R (i) v. David B. LaRouche
A traditional Democratic seat in Murfreesboro/Rutherford County, aka metro Nashville, that was won by Republican Joe Carr in an open seat scenario in 2008. This type of district is trending away from its Democratic roots, so it's hard to see how the Republican can lose it this cycle.
TN-49: Mike Sparks R v. Kent Coleman D (i)
Another Murfreesboro/Rutherford County seat, but here an entrenched Democrat, Kent Coleman, faces a serious race where his votes in Judiciary Committee open him up to attack over all sorts of hot button issues. Rutherford County shifted Republican on the County level in August, and that does not bode well for Coleman.
TN-60: Jim Gotto R v. Sam Coleman D (OPEN)
A Metro Nashville/Davidson County seat long held by a conservative Democrat, Ben West, is the only open seat in friendly Democratic territory. This race is between two locally well known councilmen who know their way around politics and campaigns. This seat should lean D as Obama won the district; but Gotto is a strong candidate running a strong campaign in a Republican year, so he has a solid chance of beating the odds and picking up a Democratic leaning seat.
TN-64: Sheila Butt R v. Ty Cobb D (i)
Ty Cobb unseated a Republican incumbent in 2008 by a hefty margin to regain a traditionally Democratic seat, as one of the few highlights for Democrats on election night for that cycle. Now he faces a far weaker opponent on paper, but a much worse economic (GM's Spring Hill plant is in this district) and political environment, despite this Cobb should be capable of holding his seat.
Tn-65: Billy Spivey v. Eddie Bass (i)
TN-66: Josh Evans R (i) v. Billy Carneal D
Evans won this long-held Democratic seat in 2008 after a hard-fought race where the Democratic incumbent suffered a heart-attack and was taken out of action late in the campaign. Evans is not the strongest candidate Republicans could ask for, and faces a tough opponent in the Mayor of Springfield, Billy Carneal; but at the end of the day he has to be slightly favored as the incumbent.
TN-67: Neil Revlett R v. Joe Pitts D (i)
TN-69: Wayne White R v. David Shepard D (i)
TN-75: Tim Wirgau R v. Butch Borchert D (i)
Butch Borchert is in his 4th term serving this rural mainly West Tennessee based district. He faces an extremely strong and competent opponent in Republican Tim Wirgau, who nearly beat Borchert in 2008. Borchert is another aging Democrat who faces questions about his ability to serve another term. Wirgau has the geographic base (Henry Co.) to finish off Borchert this cycle due to the probably lower turn-out in his base counties (Benton, Stewart).
TN-76: Andrew Holt R v. Mark Maddox D (i)
Mark Maddox is noted only because he hails from Weakley County, the home county of Roy Herron and Ned McWherter. He faces a novice political neophyte in Andrew Holt, who in a normal cycle would be a token opponent; but in this cycle, where long-term incumbents are facing a backlash and the top of the ticket is a disaster, an upset here would be a huge deal. If Maddox was to be beaten, the Democrats statewide in the House will have likely lost upwards of 10 seats.
TN-77: Bill Sanderson R v. Judy Barker D (i)
Judy Barker won a hard-fought and extremely close race in an open seat against Bill Sanderson in 2008. Barker is arguably the hardest campaigner in Tennessee and won't go down without a fight. She has voted her district and has an extremely solid support throughout Republican and Democratic circles in the district. If the "say and do anything" to get elected Bill Sanderson was to win on election night, it will be due to the R next to his name swaying low information voters, not because the district's voters thought he was the better candidate.
TN-79: Curtis Halford R (i) v. Joe Shepard D
This traditionally Democratic district has been Republican since 2002, and was recently won in a close race by Republican Curtis Halford in 2008. Had Joe Shepard run in 2008 he would have certainly won, as he served as Gibson County Sheriff for 20 years and just finished as County Mayor in 2010. Gibson County accounts for roughly 4/5 of the district's population, so Shepard has a clear advantage. However, now he faces a moderate incumbent who is fairly acceptable to a voter of any stripe, but is a very weak campaigner on the ground. The southern portions of Gibson are booming with affluent suburbanites leaving Jackson for the public schools of the exurb of Medina, while the Carroll County part of the district has a fairly strong Republican inclination. These factors play well for Halford, but if Shepard can win a big enough margin outside of Medina and Carroll County he is the best chance for a Democratic pick-up of the cycle.
TN-80: Mark Johnstone R v. Johnny Shaw D (i)
This horribly drawn district was drawn to create a rural African-American majority district. It has been represented by Johnny Shaw since 2000, a conservative African American Democrat who represents a district encompassing most of the city of Jackson/half of Madison County, and portions of Hardeman County. This district has changed dramatically since 2002, as its northern Madison County portion has become suburbanized with white affluent professionals. Many of these voters are not keen on Democrats, and even less on African American Democrats after the election of President Obama. Johnny Shaw is conservative enough that he should win such a district one last time until redistricting, but if the AA vote doesn't turn out, then his "say anything to get elected" opponent, Mark Johnstone, has a solid shot of eking out the narrowest of wins.
TN-81: Jim Hardin R v. Jimmy Naifeh D (i) Former Democratic Speaker of the House Lean D
Speaker Naifeh has faced tough races in the past (2002, 2004), as half of his district (Tipton Co.) is trending Republican via suburban growth fueled by migration increases out of Memphis. However, in the past he has been able to leverage his possession of the Speakership and deep roots to Tipton County to blunt Republican challengers in his home county, while leveraging Haywood County's minority-majority base of Democratic voters as a reserve to bolster his election night results. Jim Hardin though is posed to upset the former Speaker, as Naifeh no longer has the Speakership, nor can he count on AA turnout in his district to bolster his numbers. While Naifeh remains slightly favored, his destiny is tied to his GOTV operations.
TN-82: Johnny Edwards R v. Craig Fitzhugh D (i)
Craig Fitzhugh represents one of the strongest Democratic districts in rural West Tennessee - in normal years. Unfortunately, half his district is Crockett County, home of TN-8 Republican nominee, Stephen Fincher, where traditional Democrats will overwhelmingly support Fincher. Fitzhugh has to win a large margin out of Lauderdale County (his home county), hope to win his portion of Dyer County, and then rest his hopes on Fincher not carrying Edwards to a huge victory in Crockett. Fitzhugh is favored as the incumbent, but an upset is very possible under the right conditions.
TN-93: Tim Cook R v. Mike Kernell D (i)
Kernell should never be in trouble in his Democratic leaning Memphis district, but he is always on the radar for the fluke upset. Why? The simple answer that while he is competent and a nice guy, he often comes across as "a weird dude in a suit who just emerged from a nap in a dumpster". In other words his appearance and communication skills are sometimes lacking. The right Republican in the right year could upset Kernell, and this looks like a year where the stars could finally align for just such an upset. With that said, Kernell will most likely win because of the lean of his district, but his "uniqueness" is a persistent marketing problem.
Best Case Scenario: 53R-45D-1I (-3D)
Worst Case: 63R-36D (-12D, -1I)
TN-7: Stacey Campfield R v. Randy Walker D
Stacey Campfield is extremely well known for his radical and far-right wing antics in the State House since winning office in 2004. He is a completely polarizing figure who has somehow managed to defeat repeated better funded Republican primary challengers due to his persistent ability to work the ground game. Now he is posed to move up to the Senate, but faces one last opponent in Democrat Randy Walker. Campfield is favored due to the strong Republican lean of this Knox County district, but the possibility that this larger electorate might prefer a one-term Democrat over the extremely controversial Campfield cannot be ruled out.
TN-13: Bill Ketron R (i) v. Debbie Mathews D
TN-15: Gary Steakley R v. Charlotte Burks D (i)
TN-17: Mae Beavers R (i) R v. George McDonald D
Mae Beavers is another polarizing figure in Republican politics, and has burned some bridges over local issues within her Senate District. Democrat George McDonald has raised significant funds and worked the ground game sufficiently to stand an outside chance of winning the race by exploiting voter discontent over Beaver's habit of putting ideological purity over the needs of the district. Beavers as the incumbent is favored, but this seat poses the best chance of a Democrat knocking an incumbent Senator.
TN-21: Steven Dickerson R v. Douglas Henry D (i)
One of the last Democratic warhorses of the State Senate faces a serious challenge in keeping his affluent Nashville Senate District. None the less, Henry has to be favored to win one last term despite his advanced age.
TN-25: Jim Summerville R v. Doug Jackson D (i)
TN-27: Don McCleary R v. Lowe Finney D (i)
In 2006, party-switching Republican Don McLeary lost this Jackson centered State Senate seat to Lowe Finney in an extremely close and hard fought race. Now in 2010, after be humiliating in a Republican Primary for County Mayor of Madison County (Jackson) in 2007, the severely "brand damaged" McLeary has re-emerged to attempt to retake his old seat. Lowe Finney though has strong ties to the Republican leaning professional class in the affluent sections of North Jackson, cutting into the natural Republican base McLeary has to lock up in order to overcome the more Democratic leaning counties of the district (Gibson and Carroll). Internal polling released by Finney on October 25 showed him winning 51-44, which syncs up the with the massive and almost exclusively negative media campaign McLeary has waged up until Election Day - a sure sign of a trailing campaign. Finney is favored as the well-liked incumbent, while McLeary's hopes hinge on the R next to his name carrying him across the line with low-information voters.
TN-29: Robert Hill R v. Ophelia Ford D (i)
Ophelia Ford apparently suffers from severe personal/health problems, which keeps her from showing up to vote in the Legislature very much over the last several years. These problems aren't stopping her from seeking re-election as the entitled member of the crumbling Ford family political machine that used to dominate much of the Memphis vote. She won a controversial special election and recount in 2005 to replace her brother John Ford after his conviction for bribery; an election in which she lost on Election Day, but won after enough votes were found via the recount to squeak out a win. Ford is favored, but she is facing an African-American Republican, Robert Hill, who has a solid argument that he would better serve the district by just showing up to work in Nashville on a regular basis.
Best Case Scenario: 18R-15D (+1D)
Worst Case Scenario: 20R-13D (-1D)
• WI-Sen, WI-Gov: Russ Feingold and Tom Barrett are both out with internal polls today, both from the same pollster (Fairbanks Maslin), both showing tied races. The Senate poll (Oct. 7, and 10-11) shows Russ Feingold and Ron Johnson tied at 48-48. The gubernatorial poll was an entirely separate sample, Oct. 5-7, showing Tom Barrett and Scott Walker are at 47-47.
• GA-Gov: InsiderAdvantage (10/10, likely voters, 9/27 in parens):
Roy Barnes (D): 41 (37)
Nathan Deal (R): 49 (45)
John Monds (L): 3 (5)
Undecided: 7 (13)
If you're wondering about downballot races, IA also has GOPer Casey Cagle leading Carol Porter in the LG race, 50-36, and GOPer Sam Olen leading Ken Hodges in the AG race, 50-40. Also, if you're wondering how Nathan Deal seemed to regain his footing after a few rocky weeks where the race was seemingly tied, a lot of that seems to have to do with the RGA pouring money into this race ($3.2 million worth), as they've tacitly made this race one of their top priorities.
• AZ-05: Although this is an internal poll that has the GOPer leading the incumbent Dem, it's a little on the lackluster side. David Schweikert responds to the DCCC internal giving Harry Mitchell an 7-point lead with his own poll showing him up by only 2, 45-43. (The poll was taken 10/5-6 by National Research.) An incumbent at 43% is no good, of course, but averaging the two polls out (for whatever that's worth) gives Mitchell a small edge.
• NY-20, TN-08: What do these two races (one with a Blue Dog incumbent who seems in control of his race, the other an open seat with an aspiring Blue Dog not likely to win) have in common? In both races, the Dem said he wouldn't support Nancy Pelosi for Speaker. Scott Murphy's decision (granted, he's more of a waffle than a flat-out "no") is much more surprising than Roy Herron's; we'll have to see if this becomes more of a trend in the closing weeks.
• OH-13: Tom Ganley has pulled his broadcast television advertising for the remaining weeks of the campaign, although he will be focusing on less-expensive cable and radio buys instead of going dark completely. He says that's how he's going to "cut through the clutter," but somehow methinks the self-funder (savvy businessman that he is) realized that he shouldn't throw his own money down the hole in a race that just got considerably more difficult once sex assault accusations started to fly. (H/t LookingOver.)
• PA-13: Here's an unremarkable internal from a race where we shouldn't even have to be looking at one: Allyson Schwartz, in the D+7 NE Philly district, leads Dee Adcock 57-32 in a 10/5-6 poll from Cooper & Secrest. Apparently this was released to combat rumors of a Republican internal showing it a single-digit race.
• SD-AL: This was the day's big fundraising story until Sharron Angle showed up: the reason Kristi "Leadfoot" Noem was driving so fast was because she had to get to so many different donors' houses. She raised $1.1 million for the quarter, compared to $550K for Stephanie Herseth Sandlin. That actually gives Noem the CoH edge, $770K to $500K.
• TN-03: Here's one more place I wouldn't think I'd be seeing an internal, considering that this GOP-held open seat in a dark-red district should be a slam-dunk this year, but I guess Chuck Fleischmann feels like he needs to look busy. The GOP nominee is leading Dem nominee John Wolfe by a 50-20 margin, in a poll (no dates) by Wilson Research.
• DCCC: More news on the triage front, on what's apparently the last day to cancel ad reservations without taking a big financial hit. Having thrown Steve Driehaus overboard yesterday, the DCCC followed up today with Kathy Dahlkemper in PA-03 and Suzanne Kosmas in FL-24, who won't get any more ad cover according to the NYT. Aaron Blake also tweets that open seats KS-03, IN-08, and TN-08 got the axe.
• AGs: You probably know Louis Jacobson of Governing magazine for his handicapping of state legislative chambers, but he also works the state AG beat (that's often short for "Aspiring Governor," so it's a key bench-building step), and is out with handicapping for all the Attorney General races up this year. As you might expect, Dems should brace for some losses, especially in open seats.
• Gerrymandering: If there's any place where people would be psyched to sit down and watch a movie about gerrymandering, it's here at SSP. The movie's creator is up with a diary here that lists all the theaters where it's opening over the next month (including where he'll be hosting Q&As). Some of them are one-night engagements, starting as early as tonight, so check out the listings ASAP!
• SSP TV:
• CO-Sen: The DSCC hits Ken Buck for his craptastic tenure working for the local US Attorney's office
• KY-Sen: The DSCC goes back to the $2,000 Medicare deductible issue yet again to hit Rand Paul
• WA-Sen: I'm not sure why Washington Dems always wait until the last minute to remind voters that Dino Rossi is pro-life (that's what happened in both gube races) -- maybe they figure it's their trump card -- but they're doing it again; meanwhile, the American Action Network hits Patty Murray by whipping up a second version of that weird Fred Davis ad with the tennis shoes walking on people
• WI-Sen: One of Russ Feingold's myriad problems is that Ron Johnson actually comes up with some effective ads: this one's a bio spot
• GA-Gov: Nathan Deal's new ad hits Roy Barnes for having once said that "Mexican workers were good for Georgia"
• SC-Gov: The suddenly resurgent Vince Sheheen's out with another spot, this one equating Nikki Haley to protégé Mark Sanford
• TX-Gov: Lone Star First (a DGA-backed group) hits Rick Perry on the HPV vaccine and links to Big Pharma
• OH-13: EMILY's List steers clear of the sex assault allegations of Tom Ganley, going with a humorous spot on outsourcing and his 400 civil lawsuits at his car dealerships
• IL-Sen: Alexi Giannoulias (D) 44%, Mark Kirk (R) 43%, LeAlan Jones (G) 4%
• OH-Sen: Lee Fisher (D) 34%, Rob Portman (R) 57%
• TN-Gov: Mike McWherter (D) 31%, Bill Haslam (R) 59%
• WI-Sen: Russ Feingold (D-inc) 45%, Ron Johnson (R) 52%
• Rasmussen (as Fox/Pulse):
• CT-Gov: Dan Malloy (D) 45%, Tom Foley (R) 41%
• CT-Sen: Richard Blumenthal (D) 49%, Linda McMahon (R) 43%
• DE-Sen: Chris Coons (D) 54%, Christine O'Donnell (R) 38%
• NV-Sen: Harry Reid (D-inc) 47%, Sharron Angle (R) 49%
• OH-Gov: Ted Strickland (D-inc) 42%, John Kasich (R) 47%
• OH-Sen: Lee Fisher (D) 35%, Rob Portman (R) 52%
• WA-Sen: Patty Murray (D-inc) 46%, Dino Rossi (R) 47%
• Angus-Reid: Another reason to be suspicious of Angus-Reid in addition to their Dem-friendly internet samples: they seem to have neglected to poll the actually interesting Senate race in New York...
• NY-Gov: Andrew Cuomo (D) 63%, Carl Paladino (R) 32%
• NY-Sen: Charles Schumer (D) 67%, Jay Townsend (R) 27%
AK-Sen: Joe Miller is taking a vow of omertà, insisting that he simply won't answer any more questions about his personal background. He's also taking a page right out of the Sarah Palin playbook, whining that he's been the victim of "journalist impropriety," and making up stories about reporters gaining access to his "confidential file," in "violation of the law." I despairingly think that Miller won't pay the price for this that he ought to - look at Rick Perry, who refuses to meet with newspaper editorial boards, as an example.
Also of note: Miller is trying to unring that Seventeenther bell a bit - but not really. His stance now is that a constitutional amendment to eliminate the direct election of senators is not "practical," but sure sounds like he'd love to do it if he could. What a weirdo.
NV-Sen: Clinton alert! The Big Dog will be in Nevada today to campaign with Harry Reid.
WV-Sen: Clinton alert (retroactive)! Bill Clinton was in Morgantown yesterday, campaigning for Joe Manchin. He made a point of saying that the "hick-y" ad "burns me up."
KS-Gov: This creeptastic story is finally getting some play in the Kansas gubernatorial race. Back around 2002 or so, Sam Brownback was roommates in Washington, DC with a radical cleric named Lou Engle. You might remember Engle as the Talibangelist who led a "prayer" rally in Uganda right when the country was debating passage of a bill which would have implemented the death penalty for homosexuals. Though he later tried to distance himself from the measure, at the time, Engle "praised the country's 'courage' and 'righteousness' in promoting the bill. In the past, Engle has also donated to Brownback's campaigns, and Brownback has done events with him as recently as last year. Seemingly caught off-guard by all this, the Brownback campaign had no statement in response.
NY-Gov: When you've lost Rudy Giuliani... His Dingusness attacked fellow Republican Carl Paladino over his anti-gay remarks, calling them "highly offensive" and saying Paladino should apologize. Not really sure what Rudy's angle is here, though.
TN-Gov: Republican gubernatorial nominee Bill Haslam poured in another $2.8 million of his own money in the third quarter, for $4.3 mil total. He's also raised a pretty amazing $12.5 million from outside donors, all told; combined, this apparently makes for a new Tennessee record. (Recall that Haslam had a very competitive GOP primary.) Dem Mike McWherter hasn't released 3Q nums yet, but he's raised just a fraction of what Haslam has.
FL-22: Barack Obama did a fundraiser last night at the home of former NBA great Alonzo Mourning (which we mentioned to you back in SSP Amazing Digest #88). The event raised a million bucks, split between the Ron Klein campaign and the DNC. In attendance were Miami Heat players Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade (but not LeBron James), as well as Magic Johnson.
ME-02: Looks like Jason Levesque is going to have to beg his mom for rides to campaign rallies: the Republican just got his license suspended, after three speeding convictions in the past year. Lifetime, he has 18 driving-related convictions (including nine for speeding), and his licenses has been suspended three times.
NV-03: Joe Heck has a serious problem wrapped around his neck like a twenty-pound goiter. It's called Sharron Angle, and he just doesn't know what do with it. When asked directly by a voter whether he planned to vote for his own party's senate nominee, Heck responded: "I'm waiting to see all of the evidence before I make my choice."
NY-01: Biden alert! The VPOTUS is coming to NYC to do a fundraiser for Tim Bishop on Oct. 26th. Seems awfully late in the game to be raising scratch, but I suppose a Biden event is such a sure thing that Bishop can max out the campaign credit cards against the expected take.
OH-09: As he watches his candidacy circle the drain, Rich Iott lashed out at the top-ranking Jewish Republican in the Milky Way, Eric Cantor, who had repudiated him a day earlier:
"I think that Representative Cantor did what so many career politicians do. He reacted before he had all the facts. He didn't know the whole story. He didn't understand what historical reenacting is all about, or the education side of it. And he just made a decision without all the facts. My opponent here is cut out of the same cloth. Those are the people who passed the health care bill before they knew what was in it. The same folks who passed the stimulus bill...."
Because comparing the minority whip to Democrats is a good idea for a Republican candidate with a future, right? Anyhow, for those of you who perhaps wanted to hold out hope that Iott was just some weird LARPer (but I repeat myself), please review this paragraph taken from the website of his fellow Nazi re-enactors:
Nazi Germany had no problem in recruiting the multitudes of volunteers willing to lay down their lives to ensure a "New and Free Europe", free of the threat of Communism. National Socialism was seen by many in Holland, Denmark, Norway, Finland, and other eastern European and Balkan countries as the protector of personal freedom and their very way of life, despite the true underlying totalitarian (and quite twisted, in most cases) nature of the movement. Regardless, thousands upon thousands of valiant men died defending their respective countries in the name of a better tomorrow. We salute these idealists; no matter how unsavory the Nazi government was, the front-line soldiers of the Waffen-SS (in particular the foreign volunteers) gave their lives for their loved ones and a basic desire to be free.
OR-04: There's no direct quote here, but the Douglas County News-Review reports that Rep. Peter DeFazio "says he favors replacing Pelosi as speaker if Democrats retain their majority." DeFazio has long had an antagonistic relationship with Pelosi, most recently coming to a head with his refusal to vote for the stimulus, allegedly from the left.
OR-05: These Republicans have no respect for Godwin's Law, do they? Speaking of the healthcare reform bill, Scott Bruun said:
"From a social perspective, it's right up there, I would argue - probably the fugitive slave law was worse. But still, the healthcare bill was pretty darn bad."
The Fugitive Slave Act, which "required any runaway slaves who had escaped their bondage and were living free in the Northern states be returned to their owners" - and was one of the causes of the Civil War. Right on!
PA-03, PA-12: Biden alert (retroactive)! The VPOTUS did a fundraiser in Pittsburgh with both Reps. Kathy Dahlkemper and Mark Critz in attendance. The Hill makes a big deal out of the fact that this event didn't take place in Critz's district - but I'm just going to guess that there are a lot more wealthy Dems in the P'burgh area than in the 12th CD.
PA-06: Can an internal ever be too good? Well, you tell me if you believe this Susquehanna survey that Jim Gerlach is touting, which has him up by a massive 61-31 spread. Still, now would be a good time for Manan Trivedi or the DCCC to show us something different.
PA-11: If Paul Kanjorski somehow, improbably, survives once more, he will owe his fortune yet again to the realtors, who have already spent three-quarters of a million on ads on his behalf, after spending a million bucks last time.
Polltopia: Time to help PPP pick their next state to poll.
FL-Gov: In a move we've seen a few times this cycle, Alex Sink is trying out the long-form political ad, this time with a 2-minute spot detailing Rick Scott's Medicare fraud and his attempts to hide from it
WA-08: In her third ad, Suzan DelBene hits Reichert on raising taxes & shipping jobs overseas
AFSCME: Throws down $750K against Republican roofer Reid Ribble (WI-08) and $628K against GOPer Mike Fitzpatrick (PA-08)
NRA: Almost $3 million in senate buys (here & here)
• AK-Sen: If anything makes clear the depth of the NRSC's change of allegiance from Lisa Murkowski to Joe Miller, check out the list of five different NRSC-organized, Senator-filled fundraisers that'll be held on Miller's behalf next week. Murkowski, meanwhile, is shrugging off the loss of her leadership post (which went to John Barrasso) and ranking committee position, seeming more focused on the mechanics of her write-in bid. She's going to have to do a little better than this, though (although Alaska doesn't require precise spelling of write-ins): the original version of the ad telling people about her write-in bid directed people to a URL that misspelled her name (LisaMurkwski.com). (I wonder if some cybersquatter has already grabbed that URL by now?)
• AR-Sen: Ipsos, on behalf of Reuters, is out with a look at Arkansas, a Senate race that's hardly worth looking at anymore. Nevertheless, they show a closer race than anybody else has lately: Blanche Lincoln trails John Boozman by "only" 14, a 53-39 gap among LVs. Lincoln's favorables seem to be improving a bit too, but time's running out for a full-fledged comeback.
• CO-Sen: Here's a tantalizing tidbit, although it doesn't have any bearing on the current race, just likely to exacerbate the seemingly-escalating war between the NRSC and Jim DeMint. It turns out the NRSC gave the maximum $42K to Jane Norton, just four days before the GOP primary. Not much of a vote of confidence in Ken Buck, is it?
• NH-Sen: Unfortunately, where many Republican primaries have dissolved into acrimony afterwards, we're seeing lots of unity in New Hampshire. Ovide Lamontagne is helping to raise funds for narrow victor Kelly Ayotte at a DC fundraiser scheduled for Sep. 27.
• WA-Sen: Considering the play this has gotten in the local press, this small comment on a parochial issue looks to be a major faceplant for Dino Rossi... he dared depart from the party line on the mighty Boeing. He suggested that Boeing should get no favorable treatment from the Pentagon in its competition with Airbus (whose efforts are subsidized by European governments) over who gets to build the next-generation Air Force tanker. (To put that in context, that would be like a candidate going to Iowa and dissing ethanol, or going to West Virginia and dissing coal.) Boeing had already explicitly endorsed Patty Murray, but now she has a nuclear-grade weapon to use against Rossi in the Boeing-dependent swingy suburbs.
And here's a hat tip to Horsesass's Goldy, who spots some interesting details in the fine print of that Elway Poll from last week. People were surprised when that CNN/Time poll found a reverse enthusiasm gap for the Dems in Washington (with Murray faring better among LVs than RVs), but Elway actually shows something similar. The 50-41 topline was LVs, but pushed leaners. Include only the "definite voters" and that pushes up to a 13-pt lead for Murray (43-30). I don't have one good explanation for this phenomenon, but I'd guess it's a combination of a) Dems being more diehard liberal in Washington and less swingy and/or sporadic than in other states, b) the economy being somewhat better in Washington than many other places, and c) teabagger ennui after Clint Didier lost the primary to establishment leftover Dino Rossi.
• NM-Gov: We've got dueling banjos internals in the Land of Enchantment. Susana Martinez whipped it out first, rolling out a POS poll from last week with a 50-40 lead for her. Not to be outdone, Diane Denish pulled out her own poll from GQR from the same timeframe, showing that Martinez is leading "only" 49-44. Um... take that?
• NY-Gov: Rick Lazio is hedging on what exactly he's going to do with his spot on the Conservative Party line, sounding like he wants to wait and see how Carl Paladino fares before making up his mind. Meanwhile, Andrew Cuomo got a pretty significant endorsement, from NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg, which may sway a few moderate indies but is probably mostly helpful from a GOTV organizational standpoint within the city. Meanwhile, you might have also heard something about a poll of this race today? I've heard a few rumblings. Anyway, we're deferring discussion of today's Quinnipiac poll until the Siena and SurveyUSA polls, due tomorrow, also come out, offering us a better yardstick.
• RI-Gov, RI-01: Quest for WJAR-TV (9/15-17, likely voters, no trendlines):
Frank Caprio (D): 36
John Robitaille (R): 13
Lincoln Chafee (I): 24
Ken Block (M): 2
David Cicilline (D): 49
John Loughlin (R): 26
This is probably the biggest lead we've seen for Frank Caprio in the Governor's race, and also the first post-primary poll of the race in the 1st, which looks to be an easy race for Providence mayor David Cicilline despite being an open seat in a dangerous year. The poll also finds the Dems easily winning the LG, AG, SoS, and RI-02 races.
• TN-Gov: Crawford Johnson and Northcott for WSMV-TV (registered voters, trendlines from early July):
Mike McWherter (D): 24 (34)
Bill Haslam (R): 55 (60)
Undecided: 19 (6)
I'm not going out on a limb by saying we can expect Bill Haslam to win the Tennessee governor's race. The only odd thing here is that this is WSMV's second poll of the race, and the number of undecideds has shot up dramatically since July (of course, it's a mystery how there were so few back then).
• FL-22: Anzalone-Liszt for Ron Klein (9/14-16, likely voters, no trendlines):
Ron Klein (D): 48
Allen West (R): 40
While this isn't an awe-inspiring lead for Klein in his own internal, it's a good topline and there are some interesting numbers in the fine print. Most notably, West's unfavorables have tripled (to 26%) since May as people have started paying attention.
• MA-04: OMG, even Barney Frank's in trouble! (In case you couldn't tell, I was being sarcastic.) (Or was I?) Anyway, the Republican candidate running against Frank, Sean Bielat, is out with a poll from GOP pollster On Message giving Frank a 48-38 lead over Bielat. I suppose a ceiling of 38% is plausible for a no-name GOPer in this part of Massachusetts, which went 63% for Obama but includes a lot of exurbs and went narrowly for Scott Brown in the special election, but I'm unclear on how he gets much further than that.
• PA-03: Franklin & Marshall (9/14-19, registered voters, no trendlines):
Kathy Dahlkemper (D-inc): 38
Mike Kelly (R): 44
This seems to be the first truly independent poll of this race, although we've seen various internals and Republican third-party polls all showing Dahlkemper in trouble, though not always losing. Franklin & Marshall opts for the "losing" side, although it's slightly less severe among RVs (42-38).
• VA-05: Benenson Strategy Group for Tom Perriello (9/14-16, likely voters, no trendlines):
Tom Perriello (D): 44
Rob Hurt (R): 46
Jeff Clark (I): 4
Not much difference here than that DCCC poll by Global Strategy Group a few weeks ago that also saw Perriello down by 2. Again, not the most appetizing numbers for rolling out when it's your own internal, but at least it's some pushback against those SurveyUSA numbers.
• WA-09: Benenson Strategy Group for Adam Smith (9/18-20, likely voters, no trendlines):
Adam Smith (D): 54
Dick Muri (R): 35
Hmmm, speaking of pushback against SurveyUSA numbers, here's an internal from the Adam Smith camp (who were seen as being in a close race in a public poll from over the weekend). Now these are the kind of internal poll numbers we like to see... although the very fact that Adam Smith should have to be releasing internal polls in the first place is, well, a sign of the times.
• DCCC: Here's some interesting money shuffling from the DCCC, which might portend an increased focus on GOTV. A CQ piece detailing some miscellany from their report this month included a number of transfers from the DCCC to state Democratic party committees. That includes $196K to Ohio, $142K to Arizona, and $132K to Arizona.
• American Crossroads: Wasn't the "Crossroads" myth about selling your soul to the devil? At any rate, Politico is out with a nauseating story that's a stark counterpoint to the normal old committee numbers that we released this morning: while the Dems have advantages at the committee level, they're getting crushed in outside TV spending by third-party groups, to the tune of $23.6 million for GOP ads to $4.8 million for Dem ads. (Of course, some of that is money that in previous cycles would have gone to the RNC, which is way out of whack (or "wack," as Michael Steele might say) and unable to do much with its usual task of helping state committees... making the GOP more reliant than ever on hoping that their air saturation can overcome disadvantages in the ground game.)
The largest of these groups, of course, is American Crossroads, which is out with six new attack ads in different Senate races: Illinois ($482K), Kentucky ($235K), Nevada ($320K), New Hampshire ($643K), Ohio ($260K), and Pennsylvania ($226K). I know the teabaggers like to think that when the 2010 election is written in the history books, the story will be about some sort of populist uprising, but more likely, their useful idiocy will be long forgotten and the story will be about the uprising of a dozen or so billionaires, leveraging tens of millions on ads in order to save themselves hundreds of billions in taxes.
• SSP TV:
• CT-Sen: The state Democratic party goes after Linda McMahon, looking at job cuts she oversaw at WWE
• MO-Sen: The DSCC wades back into Missouri, looking at how Roy Blunt keeps his corruption all in the family
• MD-Gov: A DGA-allied group hits Bob Ehrlich for being in the pocket of utilities during and after his gubernatorial term
• IL-10: Dan Seals goes negative against Bob Dold!, hitting him on social security and abortion rights
• IL-14: Nancy Pelosi's coming for you! Booogetyboogetyboogety! (or so says Randy Hultgren's second ad)
• NC-02: Renee Elmers found the money to run an ad? Well, it is cable only... Anyway, it's about the Burlington Coat Factory mosque, despite that Bob Etheridge says he doesn't support it
• PA-11: Paul Kanjorski again goes negative on Lou Barletta on the bread and butter stuff, hitting for him opposition to a State Department security forces training center for the district
• PA-17: Even Tim Holden's hitting the airwaves with two different ads, one that's a soft bio spot for himself, and then an attack on his opponent's role in legislative pay raises
• WA-08: Suzan DelBene's second ad is against negative against Dave Reichert, especially for opposing financial reform
• AK-Gov: Ethan Berkowitz (D) 34%, Sean Parnell (R-inc) 54%
• CA-Gov: Jerry Brown (D) 47%, Meg Whitman (R) 46%
• IL-Sen: Alexi Giannoulias (D) 41%, Mark Kirk (R) 44%, LeAlan Jones (G) 4%
• ME-Gov: Libby Mitchell (D) 27%, Paul LePage (R) 45%, Eliot Cutler (I) 14%
• MI-Gov: Virg Bernero (D) 38%, Rick Snyder (R) 51%
• NY-Sen: Charles Schumer (D-inc) 58%, Jay Townsend (R) 36%
• CT-Sen: This may be the first time we've ever linked to Jezebel, but they have a nice deconstruction of the public face of the new image that Linda McMahon has built up for herself, and its complicated relationship to the WWE, the source of the millions that Linda McMahon plans to spend on her Senate bid. (Although I wish they'd focused more on the behind-the-scenes stuff: the steroids, the lack of health care, the union-busting, and so on...)
• KY-Sen: Is this really the kind of headlines that Rand Paul (or any candidate, for any office) would want to be seeing today? "Woman Says Paul Did Not Kidnap Her," and "Paul Apologizes for Fancy Farm Beer Flub." The former story isn't that surprising, in that Paul's college acquaintance clarifies that the whole let's-tie-her-up-make-her-smoke-pot-and-pray-to-a-graven-idol thing was more of a consensual hazing than an out-and-out kidnapping (of course, other than the "kidnapping" semantics, all that Bong Hits for Aqua Buddha stuff still seems to stand). The latter story has its roots in Paul's worries that the audience at the Fancy Farm church picnic (the same ones who got the vapors last year when Jack Conway used the words "son of a bitch") were going to start throwing beer at him - even though the event was dry. Having realized that you don't go around dissing politically-legendary church picnics unless you have the political instincts of a brick, Paul later apologized.
• LA-Sen: Southern Media & Opinion Research finds that David Vitter leads Charlie Melancon 46-28, not much changed since their last poll from spring, where Vitter led 49-31. They also take a look at the Republican Senate primary, finding (as did POS a few weeks ago) that Chet Traylor is really turning into something of a paper tiger: Vitter leads Traylor 78-4! They also do a quick look at the jungle-style Lt. Governor special election, giving the lead to current Republican SoS Jay Dardenne at 26.
• OR-Gov: Well, it seems like the John Kitzhaber campaign has finally acknowledged what the blogosphere realized a while ago, that it's time to shake things up and bring in a more feisty and uptempo approach. That's hopefully what they're doing with a new campaign manager, Patricia McCaig. Interestingly, McCaig is a former right-hand woman to ex-Gov. Barbara Roberts, who Kitzhaber shoved over in 1994 and whose relations with Kitz have been rocky since then.
• AZ-03: Will today's double-whammy be enough to knock Ben Quayle out of his seeming frontrunner position in the GOP primary in the 3rd? Rocked by controversy over having denied and then having gotten outed as having written pseudonymously for sleazy local website DirtyScottsdale.com (a forerunner to today's TheDirty.com), he's out with a TV spot that he hopes will take some of the heat off. Unfortunately for him, the ad seems to have gotten an almost universally derisive reaction, based on his odd combination of hyperbolic claims ("Barack Obama is the worst president in history"), slow, droning delivery, and strange robotic motions.
• IA-03: When we moved Leonard Boswell in the 3rd to Tossup a few weeks ago, we weren't fooling around. A second Republican poll was released today giving his GOP challenger, state Sen. Brad Zaun, a decent-sized lead: Victory Enterprises, on behalf of the Polk County GOP and not the Zaun camp, finds a 45-38 lead for Zaun. (There was also a June poll giving Zaun a 41-32 lead. It was also by Victory Enterprises, and shared the same Republican-friendly party ID composition, but that one was for the Zaun campaign.)
• OR-05: He's Scott Bruun, and he drives a truck. He also supports privatizing Social Security. Or doesn't he? Bruun has reversed himself several times on how he frames the issue, depending on who his audience is, but either way, he seems to be relying on the Paul Ryan roadmap for his ideas.
• Passages: Here's a sad bookend to yesterday's death of Ted Stevens: today's death of another legendary, long-time Congressman who was a master at horse-trading and pork-wrangling, this one from the other side of the aisle. Former Rep. Dan Rostenkowski, one of the biggest Democratic names to fall in 1994, died at age 82.
• FL-Sen: Kendrick Meek (D) 21%, Marco Rubio (R) 38%, Charlie Crist (I) 33%
• FL-Sen: Jeff Greene (D) 20%, Marco Rubio (R) 36%, Charlie Crist (I) 37%
• IL-Sen: Alexi Giannoulias (D) 40%, Mark Kirk (R) 40%
• TN-Gov: Mike McWherter (D) 31%, Bill Haslam (R) 56%
• WI-Sen: Russ Feingold (D-inc) 46%, Ron Johnson (R) 47%
• WI-Sen: Russ Feingold (D-inc) 48%, Dave Westlake (R) 39%
The main event of last night was the Republican gubernatorial primary, which ended surprisingly quickly, with a convincing victory by Knoxville mayor Bill Haslam. Haslam, the ostensible 'moderate' in the race, benefited from not only his lots of his own money, but also from having the moderate side to himself and a conservative pile-up in opposition (and the fact that Tennessee has no runoffs). He defeated Rep. Zach Wamp and Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey 47-29-22. (In one more parallel to the Michigan governor primary, Wamp, who said in his concession speech that "The best candidate doesn't always win," can now compete with Rep. Peter Hoekstra as to which one can be the douchiest loser.) Haslam is certainly favored against Dem Mike McWherter in November.
In the House races, there were extremely close GOP primaries in the TN-03 and TN-06 open seats In the 3rd, the somewhat less objectionable Chuck Fleischmann beat former state party chair Robin Smith 30-28. In the 6th, Diane Black won with 31, over fellow state Sen. Jim Tracy and crazed Islamophobe Lou Ann Zelenik (with both at 30). Black faces Dem Brett Carter, who won a similarly close race.
Two other GOP primaries were less close. In TN-08, for the right to face Roy Herron to succeed retiring John Tanner, Stephen Fincher won a surprisingly convincing victory over two self-funders, Ron Kirkland and George Flinn, 48-24-24. And in potential sleeper race TN-04, to face Lincoln Davis, Scott DesJarlais beat Jack Bailey 37-27.
The very last race card may have been played in TN-09. In the third straight slime-covered Dem primary here that was all about race, embarrassing former Memphis mayor Willie Herenton came up woefully short in his quest (predicated almost entirely on Herenton being black and Cohen being white, in a black-majority district) to unseat Rep. Steve Cohen, by a 79-21 margin. Somehow I don't think this'll be the last primary Cohen ever sees, but hopefully they'll be about something other than race in the future.
Finally, the 15 minutes of fame for Basil Marceaux -- whose flag has 49 stars because he'll be dead in the cold cold ground before he recognizes Missourah -- seem to be up, as the viral video hero got 0% in the Republican TN-Gov primary and 1% in the TN-03 primary.
• TN-Gov (R): Bill Haslam hopes to bulls-eye a Wamp rat tonight (and Ron Ramsey for good measure). The Knoxville mayor is generally regarded as the frontrunner in the Republican gubernatorial field, in both polling and fundraising (much of which came out of his own pocket). Rep. Zach Wamp and Ramsey (the Lt. Governor) are further back in the polls, and trying to out-conservative each other in their messaging. In fact, this is starting to look like a replay of the Michigan GOP primary earlier this week, with the self-funding 'moderate' (to the extent that Haslam apparently once signed off on a tax increase, and isn't as demagogic as the others) benefiting from a brawl between multiple conservatives.. and also in that while polling has shown Dem nominee Mike McWherter competitive against the conservative candidates, he matches up much less well against Haslam. There's also a wild card in the form of viral video star Basil Marceaux, whose late-surging candidacy may make some inroads among the anti-traffic-stop, pro-immuning crowd. (C)
• TN-03 (R): Like Peter Hoekstra in MI-02, the joy of watching one of the House's most execrable members (Zach Wamp, in this case) give up his seat for a gubernatorial primary faceplant is tempered somewhat by the knowledge that he'll be replaced by someone just as nasty. There are 11 GOPers in this primary, but it's really only a two-person race, between Club for Growth-backed former GOP state party chair Robin Smith and attorney, radio talk show host, and Mike Huckabee ally Chuck Fleischmann. (Smith, you might recall, was the GOP chair during the 2008 campaign, who released the infamous "Anti-Semites for Obama" press release that had him in African tribal garb. (C)
• TN-04 (R): We don't have much intel on the Republican primary here, where the main contestants are attorney Jack Bailey, and physician Scott DesJarlais, but it's worth keeping an eye on, as the victor will go on to face Rep. Lincoln Davis. Davis isn't high on anyone's target list, but in a big enough wave could get swept away just by virtue of his R+13 district. Bailey has a bit of a fundraising edge, probably thanks to connections from his former work as a Hill staffer. (C)
• TN-06 (R): Let the fur fly in this Middle Tennessee district currently held by outgoing Democrat Bart Gordon. The field counts eight Republicans, with three serious contenders in former Rutherford County GOP chair Lou Ann Zelenik, state Senator Jim Tracy from the southern part of the district, and state Senator Diane Black, who represents two northern counties in the district. The mad dash, of course, is for the right, whether its immigration or misuse of government resources. Black released an internal that had her leading at 41% and Zelenik and Tracy mired in the twenties at 22 and 20, respectively. Look for sharp geographic distinctions here tonight, with each candidate having a different base in this rural-exurban district. (JMD)
• TN-08 (R): For the open seat of outgoing Dem John Tanner, five Republicans have jumped into the fray. The three frontrunners -- agribusinessman Steve Fincher, Shelby County Commissioner George Flinn, and doctor Ron Kirkland -- have been busy bashing each other to bits. All sorts of accusations have been thrown around -- Flinn's been attacked for owning a hip-hop station in Memphis, while Fincher's caught flak for voting in the Democratic primary for local offices in May, and Kirkland's on the defensive for steering contributions to Democrats in the past. All three are have significant warchests to play with (Fincher $421k cash-on-hand, Flinn $275k with the ability to self-fund, Kirkland $223k). So who's going to emerge from this bare-knucle brawl? Fincher's the NRCC's preferred candidate, and a recent poll had him leading with 32 to Kirkland's 23 and Flinn's 21. This race is largely in the air (not that presumptive Dem. nominee Roy Herron's complaining), though unfortunately, we'll know the winner of this fight tonight, as Tennessee has no runoffs. (JMD)
• TN-09 (D): Two years ago, Nikki Tinker's campaign against incumbent Dem. Steve Cohen was infuriating; this time, former Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton's campaign is just laughable. Whether it's claiming he'll beat Cohen 3:1, losing the CBC's endorsement to Cohen, or having less than 1/47th of Cohen's cash-on-hand, Herenton's campaign really makes you wonder. Let the mockery begin. (JMD)
UPDATE: Polls close at 8 pm ET/7 pm CT (the state is in both time zones, but apparently closing times are coordinated). As always, if you have predictions, let us know in the comments.
We're back from a successful Netroots Nation, and in the midst of sweeping up from half a week of limited posting, we're going to do a polls-only digest first and tackle the rest of the damage later today.
• AK-Sen (pdf): Local pollster Ivan Moore is out with the first (and probably only) public look at the Republican primary between incumbent establishment figure Lisa Murkowski and Tea Party fave (and proxy for foxy GOP doxy Sarah Palin) Joe Miller. Y'know what? Alaskans know that their local economy is largely propped up with federal dollars, and the teabagger message isn't likely to have much resonance here, no matter how much pro-gun posturing it gets dressed up in. The poll finds Murkowski with 53/29 positives, and a 62-30 lead over Miller.
• FL-Sen, FL-Gov (pdf): The Attack of the Shady Billionaires seems to continue unabated, as they pour even more money into advertising. PPP looks at both of their primaries. It's still a close race in the Democratic Senate primary, where Rep. Kendrick Meek leads the yacht-crashing Jeff Greene 28-25 (with Tom Jensen observing "Democratic voters seem uninterested in this election," with many of them already having settled on Charlie Crist). In the GOP gubernatorial primary, Columbia/HCA-crashing Rick Scott is in firm control, though, leading AG Bill McCollum 43-29. McCollum's favorables among Republicans are a horrible 26/40, while Scott's are 35/32.
• KY-Sen: Another public poll places the Kentucky Senate race in near-dead heat territory. Braun Research, on behalf of local politics website cn|2, finds Rand Paul with a 41-38 lead over Jack Conway. Conway has substantial leads among moderates (52-18) and among women (43-36).
• LA-Sen: The Charlie Melancon camp and the NRSC exchanged fire over the last few days, issuing dueling internal polls with dramatically different takes on their races. Melancon struck first with an Anzalone Liszt internal showing a much closer race than anyone has seen before: David Vitter led Melancon only 44-43 (the previous A-L internals had 10-point spreads). The NRSC responded with a POS poll over the weekend, giving Vitter a more predictable 48-31 lead when including leaners. Maybe more importantly, this poll is the first look at the GOP primary, and it shows Vitter may not have too much trouble with it: he claims a 76-5 lead over Chet Traylor.
• NC-Sen: Here's one more Democratic internal that really serves to shake up what's been considered a Republican-leaning race. The Elaine Marshall camp released a poll from Lake Research last Thursday giving her a 37-35 lead over Richard Burr (with 5 to Libertarian Mike Beitler). Burr's favorables are 34/43, and he has a re-elect of 25/31, numbers no incumbent would like to see.
• GA-Gov (pdf): I have trouble believing this one, but maybe Nathan Deal, who seems to be staking out more conservative turf than Karen Handel, is consolidating more of the votes of the various primary losers than is Handel. Deal is out with a new internal, from McLaughlin & Associates, giving him a 39-38 lead over Handel in the GOP gubernatorial (or goober-natorial, in Georgia) runoff. 56% of respondents say Deal is conservative, while 35% say Handel is and 30% call her a moderate.
• MI-Gov: A new poll of the Democratic primary from Inside Michigan Politics gives a different result from just about everybody else: they give a significant lead to Virg Bernero, who leads Andy Dillon 36-22. The article is strangely silent on other details about the poll, especially the issue of sample size, where Inside Michigan Politics has been pushing the limits of credibility.
• OK-Gov: SoonerPoll.com, on behalf of the Tulsa World, is out with what's probably the last word on the gubernatorial race before this Tuesday's primaries. Tuesday night looks to be pretty drama-free: on the Dem side, AG Drew Edmondson leads LG Jari Askins 49-33 (up from a 10-point gap in their previous poll, way back in January). For the GOPers, Rep. Mary Fallin leads state Sen. Randy Brogdon 56-18 (which is actually a drop for Fallin from the last poll). They also look ahead to November matchups, finding Fallin leading Edmondson 47-39 and Askins 46-40.
• TN-Gov: The Tennessee primary will also be fast upon us, and Mason-Dixon, on behalf of the Tennessee Newspaper Network, takes their first look at the GOP gubernatorial primary there. Like other recent polls, they give the edge to Knoxville mayor Bill Haslam, who's at 36. Rep. (and now, apparently, aspiring secessionist) Zach Wamp is at 25, and Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey is at 20. (All three candidates are from the eastern third of the state, and western Tennesseeans are disproportionately undecided (29%). That would tend to benefit the biggest advertiser, which is Haslam.) Mason-Dixon also tried out November matchups, finding Dem Mike McWherter looking DOA against the sorta-moderate Haslam, 49-31, but in closer races against the more strident Wamp (45-38) and Ramsey (43-38).
• PA-03: There's one House internal to mention, and, as has been the trend lately, it's from a Republican. It's from a race that been on most people's back-burners; we'll have to see if this raises auto dealer Mike Kelly's profile. Kelly's own poll, via the Tarrance Group, give him a 48-37 lead over freshman Dem Kathy Dahlkemper.
• Rasmussen • AR-Gov: Mike Beebe (D-inc) 50%, Jim Keet (R) 40%
• AR-Sen: Blanche Lincoln (D-inc) 35%, John Boozman (R) 60%
• AZ-Gov: Terry Goddard (D) 37%, Jan Brewer (R-inc) 56%
• FL-Sen: Kendrick Meek (D) 20%, Marco Rubio (R) 35%, Charlie Crist (I) 33%
• FL-Sen: Jeff Greene (D) 19%, Marco Rubio (R) 34%, Charlie Crist (I) 36%
• GA-Gov: Roy Barnes (D) 43%, Nathan Deal (R) 49%
• GA-Gov: Roy Barnes (D) 44%, Karen Handel (R) 45%
• ID-Gov: Keith Allred (D) 36%, Butch Otter (R-inc) 53%
• ND-AL: Earl Pomeroy (D-inc) 46%, Rick Berg (R) 49%
• NY-Gov: Andrew Cuomo (D) 58%, Rick Lazio (R) 27%
• NY-Gov: Andrew Cuomo (D) 58%, Carl Paladino (R) 29%
• RI-Gov: Frank Caprio (D) 30%, John Robitaille (R) 23%, Lincoln Chafee (I) 37%
• RI-Gov: Frank Caprio (D) 33%, Victor Moffitt (R) 18%, Lincoln Chafee (I) 36%
• WV-Sen: Joe Manchin (D) 51%, John Raese (R) 35%
• KY-Sen: Jack Conway is pulling in some big fundraising numbers now that Dems are seeing an opening here. He raised $1.4 million last quarter (although $400K of that was a loan from himself). That tops Rand Paul's $1.1 million raised, although Paul will point out that all of his haul came from donors. No word on either side's CoH.
• LA-Sen: It seems like the scandal that's emerged surrounding David Vitter's employment of violent aide Brent Furer was what pulled ex-state supreme court justice Chet Traylor into a last-minute credible challenge to Vitter in the GOP primary. Traylor says "if Vitter was in good shape, I wouldn't be running," and his camp says they'll be focusing on Vitter's "personal foibles" rather than ideological differences. In fact, Traylor's campaign manager (whom the Monroe local newspaper identifies as "sweet potato kingpin" Lev Dawson) says "I don't think there's a difference politically." Traylor also tells ABC News that many local GOP establishment figures urged his last-minute entry out of fears that Vitter may be too badly damaged politically to survive the general against Charlie Melancon. Meanwhile, we've all known that Vitter is quite willing to experiment with interesting new, um, practices, but as he seeks to move even further right in view of Traylor's challenge, he's now going birther-curious.
• NC-Sen: If there's a reason Richard Burr is able to hold on to the "cursed" seat this year, it's going to be his bank account. The GOP freshman Senator raised $1.9 million last quarter, and is sitting on $6.3 million CoH. While Elaine Marshall seems to have gotten a good fundraising boost after the Democratic runoff, she's likely to have only a fraction of that.
• SC-Sen: Be afraid. Be verrrrrrrrry afraid. (Alvin Greene is about to give his first formal speech as candidate, addressing a local NAACP chapter on Saturday.)
• WA-Sen: Here's the good news for Patty Murray: she had a $1.6 million quarter, which is a lot of money in the "other" Washington. She's sitting on $6.8 million CoH. The bad news is that conservative group American Action Network is spending $750K on a statewide buy for TV ads attacking Murray. The ad, continuing in Demon Sheep/Boxer Blimp impresario Fred Davis's avant-garde performance-art tradition, features various Joe and Jane Sixpacks lying in the dirt getting walked all over by an unseen figure in white tennis shoes.
• WV-Sen: Joe Manchin's giving a little more clarity to his timeline in West Virginia. He says he expects to fill Robert Byrd's seat with a temporary appointment by "this Sunday," possibly as early as Friday if the special legislative session about the special election is done by then. He'll announce after that (probably by Monday) whether he intends to run in the special.
• CO-Gov: This is a surprisingly amateurish thing to get taken down over: the Denver Post has observed that a series of articles on water rights "written" by Republican ex-Rep. Scott McInnis as part of a 2005-06 fellowship were simply plagiarized from articles written twenty years earlier by Gregory Hobbs, who's now a Colorado Supreme Court justice. The foundation McInnis was working for would like the salary returned to them that they paid him. It's unclear how much damage this will do to McInnis, or how this stacks up compared with allegations of dishonesty leveled at Mark Kirk and Richard Blumenthal... but locked in a dead heat with John Hickenlooper, McInnis doesn't have any margin of error to shed a few points over character issues. (For what it's worth, RCP seems to think he's finished. Too bad the only GOP alternative, Dan Maes, is completely broke and in campaign-finance hot water.)
• IL-Gov: The DGA is out with a new ad running on Chicago area TV stations, trying to introduce the area's many residents to downstate state Sen. Bill Brady and disabuse them of any notion that he's the sort of GOP moderate that's typically occupied the state house over the last few decades. The ad points out his extreme positions on reproductive health and minimum wage.
• TN-Gov: Republican Knoxville mayor Bill Haslam is still the man with the money, although everybody's moved into the seven digits. Haslam has $2 million CoH, compared with Ron Ramsey's $1.35 million and Zach Wamp's $1.29 million. On the Dem side, Mike McWherter has $1.5 million CoH, having raised $315K last quarter.
• AR-01: Radio broadcaster Rick Crawford, the GOP nominee, has a small cash edge in the 1st, as Democrat Chad Causey's pretty depleted after having to go through a runoff. Crawford raised $131K post-primary and has $221K CoH. Causey raised $416K over the quarter, but spent $420K on the primary. No word on Causey's CoH (although I assume it's something higher than -$4K).
• CO-04: With Corey Gardner having released his financial numbers, it's clear Betsy Markey has the money edge for now. His $377K raised last quarter is still pretty impressive, but it's less than Markey raised, and Gardner's $763K CoH is about half of Markey's $1.5 million.
• FL-25: Joe Garcia reports raising $700K last quarter, including $230K in online contributions (thanks, netroots!). He still lags behind likely GOP nominee David Rivera, though.
• NH-02: Of the candidates in the 2nd, Ann McLane Kuster (another netroots project) was the big raiser. She pulled in $316K, for $745K CoH. Fellow Dem Katrina Swett raised $188K, but has more CoH at $1.15 million. GOPer Charlie Bass leads in the polls but not at the bank: he raised $170K, for $360K CoH.
• NJ-03: Freshman Democratic Rep. John Adler is out with an internal poll that has him sprinting for the end zone while Jon Runyan limps along behind: the Greenberg Quinlan Rosner poll gives Adler a 51-34 lead over Runyan, with 12 to independent teabagger Peter DeStefano (I'd imagine that lead would tighten as the DeStefano share shrinks). Runyan raised $501K last quarter (a bit more than Adler's $415K), but $301K was from donors and the other $200K was from himself. Runyan seemed to burn a lot on his surviving his primary, though; he's sitting on $472K CoH compared with Adler's more than $2 million.
• NV-03: Rep. Dina Titus is in good shape financially (less so, poll-wise). The freshman Dem raised $426K and has $1.2 million CoH.
• PA-04, PA-17: Keystone State Blue Dogs Jason Altmire and Tim Holden posted good numbers. Altmire raised more than $300K in May and June and is sitting on $1.4 million CoH. Holden raised $213K in that period and is sitting on $885K CoH, which isn't huge but far more than David Argall (who had $70K before the primary he barely survived) is likely to have.
• TN-09: Here's a big score for Steve Cohen, facing a primary from former Memphis mayor Willie Herenton that's, as is usually the case in the 9th, all about the race card. Cohen just got an endorsement from prominent African-American politician Barack Obama, as well as financial backing from several key House CBC members (John Lewis, Alcee Hastings, William Clay) apparently unenthused with the specter of the potentially-embarrassing Herenton joining their ranks.
• CO-Sen: Andrew Romanoff (D) 42%, Jane Norton (R) 44%
• CO-Sen: Michael Bennet (D-inc) 40%, Jane Norton (R) 47%
• CO-Sen: Andrew Romanoff (D) 42%, Ken Buck (R) 47%
• CO-Sen: Michael Bennet (D-inc) 39%, Ken Buck (R) 48%
• MD-Sen: Barbara Mikulski (D-inc) 58%, Eric Wargotz (R) 33%
• NV-Sen: Harry Reid (D-inc) 43%, Sharron Angle (R) 46%
If you're Scott Rasmussen, what do you like to do on your day off? Well, you might like to go on a cruise. A cruise for fans of conservative magazine National Review, as their all-expenses-paid guest.
• CO-Sen: Both Jane Norton and Ken Buck found something else to do when Michael Steele showed up in town yesterday, eager to take his off the hook, technically avant-garde message to Colorado's urban-suburban hip-hop settings. Seems like Steele has a bad case of the cooties in the wake of his Afghanistan comments. Buck instead went to hang with the decidedly non-hip-hop Tom Tancredo at a rally yesterday instead, where Tancredo called Barack Obama the "greatest threat to the United States today." Buck subsequently had to distance himself from Tancredo's comments via conference call... I'm wondering if Buck would have rather appeared with Michael Steele after all.
• NV-Sen: Sharron Angle rolled out her campaign's first ad; perhaps wisely, she isn't in it at all, other than a voiceover doing the required disclaimer at the end. Instead, it's just a narration-free black-and-white montage of the economic woe that, of course, Harry Reid caused. Which completely contradicts her own message that she's touted in public appearances, which is that it's not a Senator's job to create jobs, and that it was in fact a bad thing for Harry Reid to intervene to save 22,000 jobs at a local construction project. To top all that off, Angle said Wednesday that Reid's attempts to fight back on the jobs issue were an attempt to "hit the girl." (UPDATE: Jon Ralston uncovers that Angle's ad buy was for a whopping total of $5K. Add this one to the growing pile of bullshit ad buys aimed at getting free media.)
• OH-Sen: Lee Fisher's fundraising numbers are out. The good news is: he finally had a seven-digit quarter, pulling in at least $1 million last quarter and giving him "more than" $1 million CoH. The bad news is: that's less than half what Rob Portman raised last quarter, and it's a more than 8:1 CoH advantage for Portman.
• AL-Gov: Two different polls are out in the Republican runoff in Alabama, and they paint very different pictures. One is from GOP pollster Baselice, working on behalf of a group called Public Strategy Associates. They give Robert Bentley a 53-33 lead over Bradley Byrne. The other is an internal from the Byrne camp; they're claiming a four-point lead, although without any details about topline numbers or even the pollster. They're also claiming that Byrne has gained 7 points in the last week while Bentley has lost 7, presumably because of Byrne's attacks on Bentley's friendliness with the Alabama Education Association, the teachers' union that has particularly had it in for Byrne. Byrne also rolled out endorsements from two of Alabama's sitting House members, Spencer Bachus and Jo Bonner.
• CA-Gov: Seems like Jerry Brown took a look at the internals at the latest Field Poll and realized he'd better do something about his standing among Latino voters. He held a press conference yesterday with 14 Latino leaders, criticizing the sincerity of Meg Whitman's softening of her immigration stance since the GOP primary. Xavier Becerra pointed out that "Jerry Brown broke bread with Cesar Chavez. His opponent breaks bread with Pete Wilson." (Wilson, of course, was the driving force behind Prop 187 last decade.)
• CO-Gov: Dan Maes, the insurgent candidate in the GOP primary, is pretty much out of gas. He raised all of $33K last quarter, with $23K CoH. That cash on hand is somewhat less than the $27K fine he's going to have to pay for various campaign finance violations he's committed.
• GA-Gov: SurveyUSA has more polls of the fast-approaching gubernatorial primaries. They find John Oxendine at 32 and Karen Handel at 23, meaning they're likely to advance to a GOP runoff. Nathan Deal and Eric Johnson are lagging at 12, with Ray McBerry at 5. On the Democratic side, Roy Barnes is at 56, which would let him avoid a runoff against Thurbert Baker (who's at 18). Dubose Porter and David Poythress languish at 6 and 5, respectively. (SUSA also has Dem Senate and downballot numbers, if you click the link.) PPP (pdf) is also out with a poll, although this is one of their rare internals that makes it to the public view; it's on behalf of J.C. Cole, a Thurbert Baker backer. They find Barnes just under the runoff mark: 49 Barnes, 19 Baker, 4 Porter, and 3 Poythress.
• MA-Gov: The money race in Massachusetts is a pretty close three-way race, although Tim Cahill, corresponding with his slide in the polls, has also lost his financial edge. GOPer Charlie Baker has the most cash on hand with $2.97 million, with Cahill at $2.95 million. Dem incumbent Deval Patrick has the least, $2.37 million, but seems to be expecting some help from the state Dem party, which has a big CoH edge over the state GOP.
• NE-Gov: The Nebraska governor's race is turning into a bit of Democratic debacle, as the departure of Mark Lakers has left Dems looking high and low for someone willing to take his place at this late date. Ben Nelson says someone's likely to emerge before the July 23-25 state convention, although he didn't volunteer any particular names.
• TN-Gov: Knoxville mayor (and oil baron) Bill Haslam seems on track to be Tennessee's next governor, according to a poll for local TV affiliate WSMV. (The poll was conducted by Crawford, Johnson, and Northcott, a firm I've never heard of.) The free-spending Haslam leads the GOP primary in the open seat race at 32, with Rep. Zach Wamp at 21 and Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey at 11. Haslam also performs the best against Mike McWherter, the only Dem left in the hunt. Haslam wins 60-34, while Wamp wins 59-35 and Ramsey wins 51-41.
• FL-22: Allen West continues to post gaudy fundraising numbers; he says he raised $1.4 million in the last quarter, likely to be the biggest total for any Republican House challenger. West, of course, is a client of BaseConnect, and a lot of that money gets churned through for direct-mail expenses, but he is steadily expanded his cash on hand, claiming to be up to $2.2 million. Rep. Ron Klein had $2.6 million CoH at the end of the previous quarter in March.
• GA-08: Here's a fundraising success for a late entrant for the GOP: state Rep. Austin Scott, who bailed out of the gubernatorial primary to run an uphill fight against Democratic incumbent Rep. Jim Marshall, outraised Marshall last quarter. Scott raised $251K last quarter (including $56K of his own money), leaving him with $213K CoH. Marshall raised $165K, but has $981K in his war chest.
• MI-03: In case there was any doubt who the DeVos family (the power behind the Republican throne in western Michigan) was backing, they made it explicit today. Dick DeVos announced his support for state Rep. Justin Amash in the GOP primary to succeed retiring Vern Ehlers.
• MN-01: One more surprise GOP fundraising score to report: state Rep. Randy Demmer had a good quarter, pulling in $303K, leaving him with $251K. Democratic Rep. Tim Walz hasn't released numbers, but had $856K CoH banked last quarter.
• NY-23: Scozzafava endorses Bill Owens! No, it's not quite what you think. It's Tom Scozzafava (apparently absolutely no relation to special election opponent-turned-endorser Dede Scozzafava), the Supervisor of the town of Moriah. Owens also got some probably more significant good news on Tuesday: Don Kasprzak, the Republican mayor of Plattsburgh, offered some public praise of Owens and, while stopping short of endorsing him, said that he couldn't vote for either Doug Hoffman or Matt Doheny.
• OH-12: With Rep. Pat Tiberi having dropped an internal poll yesterday showing him dominating Democratic challenger Paula Brooks, today it was Brooks' turn. She offered up an internal poll from Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, which also showed her losing, but by a much smaller margin. The poll sees the race at 48-36 in favor of Tiberi, with 10% going to Libertarian candidate Travis Irvine.
• CA-Init (pdf): The Field Poll also provided numbers for four initiatives that are likely to be on the ballot in November. Like several other pollsters, they see a close race for Prop 19, which proposes to legalize marijuana: it's failing 44-48. Perhaps the most significant race, though, is Prop 25, which would solve the Sacramento gridlock by allowing passage of a budget by a mere majority vote; support for Prop 25 is very broad, at 65-20, with even Republicans favoring passage. Voters don't support Prop 23, a utilities-funded push to overturn the state's greenhouse gases emissions law; it's failing 36-48. Finally, there's 42-32 support for Prop 18, a bond to pay for water supply improvements.
• Fundraising: A couple more fundraising tidbits from the Fix: Democratic GA-Gov candidate Roy Barnes raised $1.3 million last quarter, while GOPer Nathan Deal raised $570K. And in NH-Sen, Bill Binnie reported raising $550K, but bear in mind he can write himself checks as need be.