• FL-Sen: State sen. President Mike Haridopolos already has a key endorser in his column for the likely-to-be-hotly-contested GOP Senate primary: former state party chair John Thrasher. Of course, Thrasher (the former state Sen. president, and who also just got appointed Rules Comm. chair by Haridopolos) and Haridopolos are tight from the state Senate, so it may not be a big surprise. Meanwhile, it seems like the Republican field may have its own Jeff Greene-type candidate, i.e. some guy with a lot of money and a senatorial itch to scratch but no credible reason to run for office: Nicholas Loeb. Loeb, who's 35, is the great-grandson of one of the original Lehman Brothers and the son of a Ronald Reagan's ambassador to Denmark, once ran briefly for a Florida state Senate seat but dropped out amidst a divorce from his wife. Loeb may currently be best-known as boyfriend to TV star Sofia Vergara.
• IN-Sen: Richard Lugar is saying he's preparing (in the form of ramped-up fundraising operations) for what, at this point, is the inevitable: a challenge from the right. Nevertheless, despite his imminent teabagging, he's doubling-down on his reasonableness, this time with statements in favor of restoring the ban on assault weapons. And here's an ironic blast from the past that really puts the increase in partisanship by Senate Republicans over the years into perspective: in 1977, as a freshman, Richard Lugar was deemed by CQ as having the highest party unity score of any Republican. At this point, only five GOPers are less loyal.
• MA-Sen: Democrats seem to have their first "real" candidate announcing his presence in the Senate race, although I haven't heard his name before and have to wonder whether he'll turn into a credible presence here. Bob Massie was the 1994 candidate for Lt. Governor, but he's better known for his entrepreneurial work, which includes investing in a fair amount of socially conscious stuff. He also has quite the interesting resume: Episcopal priest with a Harvard Business Ph.D who also happens to be one of the longest-surviving HIV patients ever.
• MO-Sen: There's one potentially interesting story for the Missouri Senate race that comes out of Friday's RNC chair election (won by Wisconsin's Reince Priebus): one of the losers was Ann Wagner, who had initially expressed some interest in running for Senate but then threw her hat in the RNC ring. Her loss frees her up to think about the Senate again, although there's no comment from her camp on that beyond "Stay tuned."
• ND-Sen: PSC Commissioner Brian Kalk's early start on seeking the GOP nomination in North Dakota seems to have just had the effect of painting a big target on his back. State House majority leader Al Carlson (whom I haven't seen mentioned as a candidate before, and may be kneecapping Kalk on someone else's behalf) says Kalk's attempts to scare everybody else off won't work. Gary Emineth, the former state GOP chair, also seems unimpressed, even floating his own name for the race.
• PA-Sen: On Friday we mentioned that Mark Schweiker's decision to become a lobbyist betrayed a pretty clear intent not to run for Senate, and over the weekend Schweiker confirmed that he's not looking at the race. The Republican ex-Gov says the race "was never in the cards."
• TX-Sen: Two more heavyweights definitely seem moving toward the GOP gubernatorial battle. Dallas mayor Tom Leppert confirmed what everyone has expected for the last week: that he won't run for a second term (while he didn't specifically say he'd run for Sen., this certainly points that way). Leppert, who seems to occupy the most moderate position in the field, would have a good shot at following the Rick Snyder/Bill Haslam path against a field chock full o' nuts if there weren't the little matter of Texas having runoffs, which would force him into a one-on-one with a fire-breather. Speaking of which, Railroad Commissioner Michael Williams has now confirmed that he'll run, and he's resigning from his state post in order to campaign full-time for Senate. The other, less tea-flavored Williams -- Roger Williams, the former SoS who's also a big-name car dealer and the self-proclaimed big business candidate in the race -- has already nailed down a name-brand endorser (although not one likely to help him much with today's flavor of conservatives, especially given how useful his endorsement of Kay Bailey Hutchison was in the 2010 gubernatorial primary): George H.W. Bush.
Meanwhile, here's a strange possibility: septuagenarian goldbug Ron Paul may actually be interested in making the race (and thus joining his son in the Senate). At least he's polling visitors to RonPaul.com on whether he should run. (Um, maybe someone should familiarize him with the concept of self-selection bias?) And finally, here's a list of the recently-declared no-thankses: state Senator Florence Shapiro on the GOP side, and state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte and Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia on the Dem side.
• WY-Sen: Back when we did our Teabagger Cattle Call last month, we easily stipulated that John Barrasso, one of the most conservative members of the Senate, was the least likely incumbent up in 2012 to get teabagged. Nevertheless, buried in this article on Sal Russo's plans for the Tea Party Express, is an astonishing line that, if true, is indicative of just how mindless the orgy of uncritical own-eating has become on the GOP's far-right:
Democrats still control the Senate and White House, he noted in an interview from Wyoming, where he was visiting potential Senate candidates for 2012.
(H/t to Brian Valco for the catch.)
• ME-Gov: Paul LePage seems to fancy himself a Chris Christie-type in the making, figuring he might survive his blue-leaning state by endearing himself to independents through a lot of everyman-style blustering and sacred cow-punching. He seems to have gotten off to a complete fail of a start, though, with Friday's comments telling the NAACP to "kiss my ass" in response to questions about why he wasn't attending any Martin Luther King Day celebrations. Rather than trying to own that, though, LePage seems to have already backed down, slinking unannounced into Waterville's MLK Day breakfast after all.
• MS-Gov: If you've ever wanted to see teabagging in its purest, most undistilled form, look no further than the just-announced candidacy of state revenue department "employee" James Broadwater for the GOP gubernatorial primary. His two main action items: eliminating all taxes other than sales tax, and using the state National Guard to enforce immigration laws.
• NY-Gov: Siena has a new poll of New York state out that shows the state's famously cantankerous residents' views about nearly everything improving, whether it be the President, the legislature, or race relations. The most eye-popping numbers are those of new Gov. Andrew Cuomo, still in the honeymoon period but for now with a deity-like 70/17 approval.
• MO-05: With the likelihood that the 5th will have to take on more Republican voters in the face of Missouri losing one of its nine House seats (since Kansas City is surrounded by red exurbs and rural counties in each direction, there's really no other way to play it), it's sounding like Emanuel Cleaver might face a stronger challenge than he's used to in 2012. Republican former state Sen. Bill Kenney is scoping out the race, assuming that the currently D+10 district will become somewhat less solidly-Dem than before. (Recall that Cleaver's 2010 victory, against little-known Jacob Turk, was a pretty unconvincing 53-42, although that was against a backdrop of statewide destruction for the Dems.)
• NC-08: Here's a pretty clear sign that Robin Hayes (the Republican holder of this seat until 2008, and a rumored rematch in the early part of the 2010 cycle) won't be running in a potentially-friendlier (thanks to GOP-controlled redistricting) 8th in 2012. He's taking over as head of the North Carolina state GOP organization.
• KY-AG: In his bid for re-election, Democratic AG Jack Conway seems to have dodged his most compelling remaining Republican opponent. Former state Supreme Court Chief Justice Joseph Lambert decided not to run against Conway after not being able to secure a leave of absence from the state's senior judge program (which lets him sit in as a temp judge when needed). With Trey Grayson already backing up his moving van to leave the state, that leaves Hopkins County state attorney Todd P'Pool as the only logical GOP candidate left.
• TX-LG: With David Dewhurst about to move on from his long stint as the state's #2, a couple other statewide Republicans are already jostling for that position: Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson and Comptroller Susan Combs. (Note that the LG election is in 2014, though, so if Dewhurst wins the 2012 Senate race there will be an appointee already filling that slot who'd have an incumbency advantage... and if Dewhurst loses, he may decide to keep on being LG on to infinity.)
• Mayors: Columbus mayor Michael Coleman, up for re-election in November, already knows who his Republican opponent will be (as apparently the nominee gets picked by the county's central committee, rather than by primary). He'll face Earl Smith, a familiar face to voters from his former job as the police department's spokesman.
With only two weeks remaining, it's time for another round of updates to our Senate, Gubernatorial, and House ratings. With DCCC triage in full effect, giving us a clear picture of who's on the very wrong side of the House firewall, you may notice that this is the first time we've added House incumbents to the "Lean Republican" column. (In an interesting bit of symmetry, FL-24 was also the first race in 2008 where we dropped an incumbent -- Tom Feeney -- to "Lean D," also about two weeks prior to the election.)
DE-Sen: Lean D to Likely D
FL-Sen: Lean R to Likely R
OH-Sen: Lean R to Likely R
WI-Sen: Tossup to Lean R
IL-Gov: Lean R to Tossup
ME-Gov: Lean R to Tossup
NH-Gov: Likely D to Lean D
SC-Gov: Likely R to Lean R
AR-04: Safe D to Likely D
AZ-07: Safe D to Tossup
AZ-08: Lean D to Tossup
CA-11: Lean D to Tossup
CA-20: Likely D to Lean D
FL-24: Tossup to Lean R
GA-08: Lean D to Tossup
ID-01: Tossup to Lean D
IL-11: Tossup to Lean R
IL-17: Lean D to Tossup
IN-08: Lean R to Likely R
MA-04: Safe D to Likely D
MI-15: Safe D to Likely D
MN-08: Safe D to Likely D
MS-04: Likely D to Lean D
NC-08: Lean D to Tossup
NJ-12: Likely D to Lean D
NY-04: Safe D to Likely D
NY-22: Safe D to Likely D
OH-01: Tossup to Lean R
OH-06: Likely D to Lean D
OH-09: Likely D to Safe D
OH-13: Tossup to Lean D
OH-15: Tossup to Lean R
OR-04: Safe D to Likely D
PA-03: Tossup to Lean R
PA-07: Lean R to Tossup
TX-17: Tossup to Lean R
WA-08: Likely R to Lean R
28 of these changes favor Republicans; 9 races (DE-Sen, 3 of the 4 gubernatorial races, and 5 House races, including the Ohio implosion duo) have moved in the Democratic direction.
MO-Sen: Republican media trackers tell Politico that the DSCC has cancelled $1.3 million worth of ad buys in Kansas City and St. Louis for the final week before the election. The DS tried to push back, saying that "decisions are made on a week-to-week basis," but as Swingnuts well know, cancelling early reservations now subjects you to forfeiting deposits - and means you have to pay higher rates if you decide to go back in later. In other words, late cancellations are not made lightly.
WV-Sen: John Raese has one simple request. And that is to have sharks with frickin' laser beams attached to their heads!
NV-Sen: So maybe some of that cash earmarked for Missouri is going to Nevada instead. On the heels of Sharron Angle's eye-bursting $14 million haul, the DSCC is making its first ad reservations in the Silver State, apparently for a million bucks a week.
GA-Gov: Wow, Nathan Deal really is the epitome of the corrupt scumbag who thinks the purposes of getting elected to public office is to use his position for personal gain. As the AP explains: "While in Congress, Republican Nathan Deal lobbied Georgia's attorney general and top state environmental officials to allow the development of a landfill that he and his business partner wanted next to their auto salvage yard...." Note that though this involves Deal's auto salvage business, this is actually a different scandal from the one which inspired him to resign from Congress (there, he had lobbied the state from his perch in the House to preserve a questionable vehicle inspection program from which he profited immensely).
NY-Gov: For the trouble of offering a half-assed, bullshit, "I'm sorry if you were offended" non-apology, Carl Paladino has now lost the backing of the right-wing rabbi, Yehuda Levin, who helped pen the anti-gay speech which got Paladino into such hot water to begin with.
Relatedly, a truly awesome catch by Politico's Maggie Haberman: She digs waaay deep to link a story at the Orthodox-oriented news blog Voz Iz Neias (Yiddish for "What's News?") about Paladino's flubbed outreach in the Orthodox community. Though it's getting far less play than his homophobic outburst, Paladino also attacked a bunch of big-time rebbes (Hasidic leaders) for supposedly being suckered into going soft on the libruhl Andrew Cuomo (who had also done the ritual meet-and-greets in Hasidic communities). Several prominent rabbis are now rebuking Paladino for waltzing on to their turf and making such presumptuous accusations against some of their own. So not only did Paladino piss off half the state thanks to this trip, he pissed off the very people he was trying to win over! In a word: fail.
CA-03: There aren't a whole lot of bright spots these days, but one of them is definitely Dan Lungren. The former state AG managed to win in 2008 against a badly underfunded opponent with less than 50% of the vote, and has been getting his ass kicked in fundraising literally every quarter this cycle by Ami Bera. So with his back against the wall, Karl Rove is coming to the rescue. American Crossroads/Crossroads GPS is launching ads in the district on Friday, but NWOTSOTB as yet.
CA-45: You know I'm a ratfucking fetishist, so of course it warms my heart to hear that Dem Steve Pougnet is doing his best to prop up teabagger Bill Lussenheide. He's targeting Republicans with robocalls that say Lussenheide is the "true conservative" - but he's also sending out mailers to the same households describing him as "extreme" and "dangerous" while calling Rep. Mary Bono Mack a "raging liberal." I imagine the idea is that what's "extreme" and "dangerous" to normal people is actually appealing to crazies. I also love the fact that Bono Mack's people whined that this was a "dirty trick" - just shows they are a bunch of weenies who don't know how to fight.
LA-02: Man, it seems like most pols in Louisiana care about party loyalty as much as the writers of LOST cared about not pissing off their fans after six fucking years of slavishly watching that goddamn... uh, where was I? Oh yeah, state Rep. Juan LaFonta, who got pasted in the Democratic primary by Cedric Richmond, has decided to endorse Republican Rep. Joe Cao for re-election. This does not seem like the winning move to me. (And screw you, J. J. Abrams!)
OH-09: This comment has the flavor of Star Trek nerds debating whether Captain Picard ever wore the Federation dress uniform while on the bridge of the Enterprise D during season 4... only, except, you know, this guy is actually trying to be serious. Rich Iott's spokesbot pleaded with Politico to understand that no, it was an SS uniform, not a NAZI uniform! I'm sure that will please John Boehner, who, as it turns out, gave $5,000 to Iott last month. Think he wants his Reichsmarks back?
PA-03: Paging Mark Twain... Mark Twain to the white courtesy phone. The AFSCME evidently thinks that rumors of Kathy Dahlkemper's demise are at least somewhat exaggerated, since they're dropping $350K on ads on her behalf. Triage is a tricky business.
WI-08: Aaron Blake tweets that the DCCC is "pulling out" of the 8th CD, but as is often the case, the picture is more nuanced. First off, AFSCME just dropped $750K here (to which Blake alludes). Secondly, Kagen is personally wealthy. In fact, in 2008, he was the 28th-richest member of the House, with a net worth of anywhere between $7 and $20 million. Hopefully his investments haven't taken too bad of hit the last couple of years and he can still afford to spend large (he gave his campaign almost $900K last cycle).
GA-08: Jim Marshall's anti-Pelosi ad actually has hippies in it - for reals
NY-20: Fuck yes - Scott Murphy's latest lacerates Chris Gibson for supporting repeal of the healthcare reform bill. Murphy, like Earl Pomeroy, knows the only way to win is to go loud and proud
TN-04: Lincoln Davis lacerates Scott DesJarlais for reportedly threatening his ex-wife with a gun - and threatening to kill himself. Stories like this were a big reason why Don Sherwood and Randy Kuhl both lost
ID-01: On behalf of Walt Minnick, the mother of a woman murdered by her abuser hits Raul Labrador for his failure to support laws that would protect women in abusive relationships
MA-06: Republican Bill Hudak hits Rep. John Tierney on a story we've been somewhat remiss in covering here: namely, his wife's recent guilty plea for tax fraud. By referring to "Tierney's family," the ad makes it sound like Tierney himself was involved, but Hudak gets away with this legerdemain because the wife's brother (family by marriage, I suppose) was also involved. The ad is only running on cable (Hudak had less than $100K on hand at the end of August)
America's Families First Action Fund: Sounds like a GOP group, but it's actually Dem to the bone: $80K against David Schweikert (AZ-05); $403K against David Rivera (FL-25); $94K on mail against Bob Dold! (FL-25); $200K against Randy Hultgren (IL-14)
EMILY: $520K against Tom Ganley (OH-13); $212K against Cory Gardner (CO-04); $20K against Frank Guinta (NH-01)
NEA: $1.4 million against Ken Buck (CO-Sen); $306K against Harold Johnson (NC-08)
• CA-Gov: Another few weeks go by, and Meg Whitman keeps smashing the barriers on over-the-top self-funding: she's spent $140 million out of pocket over the entire cycle now. Here's the number that's gotta suck for her, though: Jerry Brown, having spent all of $10 million so far this cycle, is sitting on $22 million in reserves for the remaining month, allowing him to compete on perhaps an even financial footing for the last month. Whitman's cash reserves are $9 million, but even if she cuts herself the biggest check of all to re-up, there's only a finite amount of TV time left for her to buy. Truly the story of the ant and the grasshopper.
• NM-Gov: The Diane Denish camp keeps up the onslaught of internal polls showing her behind but within arm's length of Susana Martinez. This time, the poll is from Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, and gives Martinez a 49-46 lead. That still feels kind of "meh" to me, but there's an interesting kernel in the fine print: Martinez has fallen into net negative favorables for the first time (39/42, down from 42/31 in August), suggesting the ad war is having its effect.
• OH-Gov: I'm going to wait until I start seeing these kind of numbers in public polls before I start getting too optimistic about whether Ted Strickland's comeback really has legs, but here's another strong internal from his camp. The Feldman Group poll taken 10/3-5 gives Strickland a 46-42 lead over John Kasich, and finds Strickland with 47/40 favorables.
• CA-03: Ami Bera continues to be a fundraising force among Democratic challengers (not that he has much high-profile competition on that front); he raised $550K in 3Q, and $2.1 million raised over the cycle. He beat incumbent Dan Lungren yet again, who raised $480K for a $1.7 mil total.
• FL-02: We still haven't seen any public polling of this race, but here's a second GOP poll for challenger Steve Southerland giving him a double digit lead over Allen Boyd (the first one was an NRCC poll from the Tarrance Group way back in May, giving Southerland a 52-37 lead). This one's from National Research (presumably on Southerland's behalf?), taken 9/29-30, giving Southerland a 46-30 lead.
• VA-05: The US Chamber of Commerce gave its backing to Robert Hurt, not much of a surprise as he's the kind of non-threatening establishment conservative that wing of the GOP tends to like. Tom Perriello picked that up and is using it as a cudgel that seems to combine various elements that have apparently polled well for Dems (outsourcing and Citizens United), saying that the endorsement means "foreign money" is pouring into the race now, citing companies in Bahrain, Russia, and China that give money to the US Chamber.
• DCCC: Here's some more detail on the various ways in which the DCCC is, um, advancing in other directions (we told you about their pullout in AZ-08 last night, which probably has to do with Gabby Giffords having enough money to pull her own weight). They've also reduced buys for one week in a few other districts: a mix of ones where they seem genuinely hosed (CO-04, TX-17, FL-24, and the KS-03 and IN-08 open seats), one that seems a true tossup but where our guy has money (Harry Teague in NM-02), and one that's looking like a pickup (LA-02). The DCCC will be using at least some of that money putting out a new brushfire that popped up in NY-23, where Doug Hoffman's ceasing and desisting makes the race a tossup, and where they're spending $500K.
• NRCC: Speaking of CO-04 and being hosed, here's some additional evidence: the NRCC is taking $700K out of the 4th, and moving it next door to another race that's looking decidedly tossup-ish: John Salazar's CO-03.
• Redistricting: This may be the single best use of money anywhere by Dems this cycle: they're finally putting some money into Florida's redistricting amendments that purport to make the process less subject to gerrymandering. Over $1 million has flowed from Democratic groups to Fair Districts Florida, who are behind the measures. Fair Districts is ostensibly nonpartisan, but obviously the net effect of a less partisan map would be to dismantle one of the most effective Republican gerrymanders anywhere.
• Polltopia: With dramatically different results (especially in the generic ballot tests, but also in head-to-head polls) popping up that often seem to have very different definitions of "likely voter," Mark Blumenthal looks at the various ways pollsters cobble together their LV models. There's a marked difference between the way academic pollsters and partisan pollsters do it, revealing major disparities. If you haven't seen it already, this should be required reading.
• Independent expenditures: The folks at Zata|3 have put together a very useful table, adding up and comparing DCCC and NRCC independent expenditures in all the districts where they've weighed in. (The NRCC has spent a lot more so far, despite their cash shortfall vs. the DCCC. The D-Trip seems to be saving up for a massive blast in the final weeks. Or maybe just saving up for 2012.) They also have charts for the DCCC and NRCC that break down each district's expenditures by category (media buys, production, internet, etc.).
• SSP TV:
• CO-Sen: The DSCC hits Ken Buck for his enthusiasm for privatizing everything he can get his hands on
• CT-Sen: The Chamber of Commerce has a fairly boilerplate ad against Richard Blumenthal for being too anti-(big) business
• KY-Sen: There are six different ads embedded in this Inquirer article, several of which you've already seen (including the DSCC ad on Medicare deductibles), but including a new Rand Paul campaign ad on the "Conway = Obama" theme; separately, the NRSC has a new ad here on Conway waffling on extending Bush tax cuts
• MO-Sen: The DSCC has yet another ad about Roy Blunt and his lobbyist friends
• NY-Sen-B: Kirsten Gillibrand's out with a second bio ad that seems specifically aimed at the upstate market, pointing out her roots in that part of the state
• PA-Sen: Joe Sestak's new ad points to what we junkies have long known, that Pat Toomey's free market fundamentalism has given him aggregator ratings even more conservative than Rick Santorum
• WI-Sen: A second cookie-cutter ad from the Chamber of Commerce, this one targeting Russ Feingold
• KS-Gov: Tom Holland's out with his first ad of the cycle, a comparison spot that's half negative against Sam Brownback, half positive intro of Holland
• TX-Gov: Bill White's newest ad rebuts some of Rick Perry's claims about his mayoral leadership and lists his various commendations
• AZ-05: The National Education Association gets into the ad war in a big way, hitting David Schweikert for being anti-public education (this buy is part of a $15 million initiative on the NEA's part, also including TV in OH-13 and mailers in NC-08)
• CO-04: EMILY's List is still sticking around in the 4th, bolstering Betsy Markey with an anti-Cory Gardener spot that's a mother of a child with autism addressing Gardener not wanting to require insurers to cover that
• AZ-Gov: Terry Goddard (D) 39%, Jan Brewer (R-inc) 55%
• CT-Sen: Richard Blumenthal (D) 54%, Linda McMahon (R) 43%
• IL-Gov: Pat Quinn (D-inc) 38%, Bill Brady (R) 46%, Rich Whitney (G) 4%
• IL-Sen: Alexi Giannoulias (D) 41%, Mark Kirk (R) 45%, LeAlan Jones (G) 4%
• MD-Gov: Martin O'Malley (D-inc) 49%, Bob Ehrlich (R) 41%
• RI-Gov: Frank Caprio (D) 30%, John Robitaille (R) 22%, Lincoln Chafee (I) 33%
• WV-Sen: Joe Manchin (D) 44%, John Raese (R) 50%
FL-08: A poll for Sunshine State News, apparently by a firm called Voter Survey Service, finds GOPer Daniel Webster leading Rep. Alan Grayson 43-36. Tea Party candidate Peg Dunmire is at 6, and independent George Metcalfe takes 3.
IL-10: Bob Dold! must have superpowers. That's because Bob Dold! can seemingly exist in two places at once. He claimed the city of Chicago as his "primary residence" from 2004 to 2006, and received a tax credit for doing so... but somehow also claimed the town of Winnetka as his "permanent residence," enabling him to register and vote there during the same time period (which he did). So if I'm wrong and Bob Dold! is actually a mere mortal, it seems like it's either tax fraud or voter fraud. Bob Dold!
IL-11: I think this is going to be the last cycle we keep track of this whip count, because now it's becoming routine. The NRA endorsed Debbie Halvorson.
NY-20: Yep, definitely the last cycle. The NRA endorsed Scott Murphy, too.
PA-08: Yesterday we mentioned there was a Dem pol of this race, but that we lacked the toplines. Well, now we have the memo. A Harstad Research poll for the SEIU and VoteVets has Dem Rep. Patrick Murphy leading Mike Fitzpatrick 49-46 among likely voters. Interestingly, the poll shows slightly larger Murphy leads when an even tighter voter screen is applied.
VA-05: Ugh, this again? SurveyUSA's latest in VA-05 is pretty much the same as last time (and the time before that). They have Rob Hurt leading by an eye-popping 58-35 margin, a gap not seen in any other polling. Teabagger Jeffrey Clark takes 4%.
NRCC: The NRCC claims to be out with a bunch of internal polls, but they only provide the alleged toplines for races in seven districts. Forget about field dates or margins of error - they don't even bother to tell us who the pollsters are! If you want to know the numbers, you'll have to click the link.
KY-Sen: Is mockery better than scolding? Compare this Jack Conway ad, which wryly features seniors saying they "don't know what planet Rand Paul is from" when it comes to his Medicare views, with the Halvorson spot below
WV-Sen: John Raese attacks Joe Manchin for being soft on coal and buddies with Barack Obama
IL-11: A bunch of seniors scold Adam Kinzinger (on Debbie Halvorson's behalf) for his anti-Social Security views
NV-03: Grr... Dina Titus seems to have pulled her latest ad off of YouTube!
CO-07: American Future Fund drops $560K against Ed Perlmutter
DE-Sen: Christine O'Donnell has decided to go the J.D. Salinger route: She told Sean Hannity that she's doing no more interviews, ever. Okay, well, at least as far as the national media are concerned. But it's nothing to get upset over, sports fans: Thanks to the advent of the Internet, we will hear about all her gaffes and insanities even if she's only talking to the Kent County Evening Bugle-Reporter-Sentinel. In that same interview with Hannity, she also managed to tell some nice lies about Chris Coons, claiming that he "made some very anti-American statements, apologizing for America and calling himself a bearded Marxist." Of course, the "bearded Marxist" line was a joke, though undoubtedly O'Donnell is too dense to grasp that.
CO-Gov: You know, as we were getting to know Christine O'Donnell, I had a feeling that she was so low-rent, she'd make even Dan Maes look good. Well, that appears to be all but fucking impossible, even for O'Donnell. Maes raised just $14K in the first two weeks of September and currently has $24K in the bank. Not sure there's a sack big enough fit that much sad.
MI-Gov: WLNS-TV could have saved themselves some money by just reading the Swing State Project, but they went ahead and commissioned a poll of the gubernatorial race anyway. Anyhow, the Marketing Resource Group shows exactly what you'd expect: Rick Snyder beating Virg Bernero 49-31.
AL-02: The NRA's infiltration of the Democratic Party continues apace, this time with an endorsement for Bobby Bright.
AZ-07: This smells fishy to me. A Republican operative is saying he's seen internal polls showing Some Dude Ruth McClung in a dead heat with Rep. Raul Grijalva in this 57% Obama district. But local Dem and GOP pols say they've seen nothing of the kind. McClung has only $15K on hand, but this ain't good: Grijalva, after spending half a mil so far this cycle, has just $77K in the bank.
IA-02: Evidently Mariannette Miller-Meeks did not get the Club For Growth's memo: She's now saying she opposes privatizing Social Security, ostensibly because she thinks its finances are rickety. But isn't the whole reason conservative douchewads want to private Social Security is because that's how they think they can "save" it? I'm confused!
ID-01: Heh - fucker couldn't buy a break even if Ron Popiel was selling `em. Even though the NRA gave Raul Labrador a better grade than Walt Minnick, they declined to endorse either candidate. Suckaaaaa.
WATN?: Remember this story? Last cycle, Chris Shays' former campaign manager, Michael Sohn, stole a quarter million dollars from his boss's election accounts. Now, Sohn has been sentenced to 37 months in prison. Shays must go to sleep every night wondering if that extra $250K would have meant the difference between winning and losing....
SSP TV (by James L.):
FL-Sen: Charlie Crist's new ad hits Rubio for all the pork-laden bills that he sent to the Governor's desk while serving as Speaker of the Florida House
KY-Sen: Conservative group American Crossroads spending $235K against Jack Conway (D) - no copy of ad yet
NH-Sen: Paul Hodes' new ad is a folksy spot on fiscal conservatism, including chiding Kelly Ayotte for supporting tax cuts for the rich
CO-07: Ryan Frazier wields some kind of laser pen while reciting a bunch of B.S. GOP boilerplate
FL-22: Allen West says that Ron Klein is no moderate
FL-24: Suzanne Kosmas would like you to know that she's never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down
MO-04: Ike Skelton issues a fierce but vague attack on GOPer Vicky Hartzler's support for veterans, from the mouths of veterans
NY-20: Chris Gibson says that we have to let market forces drive healthcare costs down. Yeah, like that worked the first time, moron.
PA-03: Mike Kelly and the NRCC team up to hit Kathy Dahlkemper on SPENDING OUR CHILDREN'S FUTURE INTO OBLIVION!!!!11!
PA-04: Keith Rothfus' new ad takes the ice cream sandwich approach: two layers of delicious cookie crunch surrounding a mid-section of negative ice cream. I realize that makes no sense, but... God, I'm hungry.
PA-10: Tom Marino's first ad plays defense against Chris Carney's hard-hitting ads against his sleazy record
Independent Expenditures (all from the DCCC today):
AK-Sen: This is pretty lulzy - Lisa Murkowski is busy reassuring people that she'll still have the support of K Street as she pursued her write-in bid. In a year like this, that's the message you want to run on? It's even sadder that she probably feels like she has to reassure her corporate masters that she's still there for them.
DE-Sen: Merry meet and blessed be! Bill Maher unearths a 1999 clip of Christine O'Donnell (a frequent guest on his show), and promises there's more where this came from:
I dabbled into witchcraft - I never joined a coven. But I did, I did. ... I dabbled into witchcraft. I hung around people who were doing these things. I'm not making this stuff up. I know what they told me they do. [...]
One of my first dates with a witch was on a satanic altar, and I didn't know it. I mean, there's little blood there and stuff like that. ... We went to a movie and then had a midnight picnic on a satanic altar.
Yesterday, though, O'Donnell decided to skip visits to some other satanic altars, namely Sunday talk shows "FOX News Sunday" and CBS's "Face the Nation." Dissing Bob Schieffer I can understand - I mean, that's straight out of the Sarah Palin/Sharron Angle hide-in-a-deep-underground-bunker playbook. But the friendly confines of FOX? How will she get a job there when she moves on to her next gig in the grifter's circuit?
AK-Gov: Last week we learned the disappointing news that Republican Bill Walker, who scored 30% running against Gov. Sean Parnell, would not make a third-party gubernatorial bid. But now he's saying that Lisa Murkowski has inspired him and he might yet wage a write-in campaign. Godspeed, good buddy!
IL-Gov: GOP-affiliated robopollster We Ask America has their first survey of the race, finding Republican Bob Brady at 42, Gov. Pat Quinn at 32, and everybody's favorite, Scott Lee Cohen, at 5.
NY-Gov: Speaking of SLC, it looks like the NY GOP has a reverse Scott Lee Cohen situation on their hands. Basically, the less-crazy guy - Greg Edwards, who was supposed to be Rick Lazio's running-mate, won the Republican Lt. Gov. nomination. Revolting meat-bucket (and, dear lord, gubernatorial nominee) Carl Paladino preferred many-time loser Tom Ognibene instead. There's chatter now that Edwards may stay on the ballot but not really run, or will try to drop out (a somewhat tricky proposition in NY). If he does successfully bail, the state GOP would appoint a replacement (presumably Ognibene, if Paladino's in charge). Anyhow, I suggest you click through for Celeste Katz's full story, because there are so many layers and permutations to this story that I simply can't summarize them all.
Ognibene may be the only guy actually not running away from Paladino as fast as he can. GOP comptroller nominee Harry Wilson has refused to endorse Paladino, and attorney general nominee Dan Donovan is basically saying the same thing. Haven't seen any word yet as to whether senate nominee Joe DioGuardi feels the same way.
CO-03: Republican Scott Tipton is now saying he's no longer a Seventeenther (you know, a maniac who wants to get rid of the direct election of United States senators), despite having answered a teabagger survey on that very question in the affirmative. He's also claiming that he doesn't want to abolish the Department of Education. Live by the yes-no question, die by the yes-no question.
MO-04: Another day, another Dem gets endorsed by the NRA. This time, it's veteran Ike Skelton.
NY-15: Adam Clayton Powell, who took just 25% against Charlie Rangel's 53% in a fractured field, is saying he already has plans to run again. Of course, this district's lines (and even number) could change substantially before 2012.
NY-19: Big Dog Alert (retroactive)! Bill Clinton did a fundraiser for Rep. John Hall in Cortland Manor this past weekend. Of course, Clinton lives ("lives") just outside the 19th CD in Chappaqua (in the 18th).
PA-10: In a previous digest, we related the story of then-U.S. Attorney Tom Marino providing a personal reference for "businessman" Louis DeNaples's bid to get a casino license - while DeNaples (euphemistically described as "having possible ties to organized crime") was under investigation by Marino's office. These dealings led to Marino's resignation in 2007 (and, surprise surprise, he soon wound up with a nice sinecure as DeNaples's in-house counsel). Marino claimed in April that the Department of Justice gave him permission to serve as a reference to DeNaples (then why did you resign?), but has never provided any proof. Now the AP is saying that a DoJ source tells them that there is no evidence that Marino ever received such authorization. The heat is on.
DCCC: The D-Trip has added Annie Kuster (NH-02) and Bill Keating (MA-10) to Red to Blue.
DC-Mayor: Deposed incumbent Dem Adrian Fenty says he won't try to run in the general as a Republican. Given that there are probably 19 registered Republicans in the entire district, I'm not sure how this was even an idea in the first place.
Polltopia: Go tell Public Policy Polling where to poll next.
DE-Sen: DSCC ad says Christine O'Donnell will "fit right in in Washington," thanks to her personal fiscal irresponsibility. Uh, do they remember who is in charge in DC?
IL-Sen: CQ reports that the DSCC is set to go up here this week for a quarter mil, but no links to actual ads yet
PA-Sen: Joe Sestak's new ad compares his navy service to Pat Toomey's service on behalf of Wall Street
FL-Gov: Two Alex Sink ads, one dinging Rick Scott for harping on endlessly about Obama, the other talking about schools
NY-Gov: Andrew Cuomo's second spot, featuring an endorsement from a former state Republican Party chair
MA-10: Fresh off his primary win last week, Dem Bill Keating is up with an ad on a good issue: his pledge not to raise the retirement age for Social Security (contrasting with his Republican opponent's desire to do so)
MI-07: SEIU spot hitting GOPer Tim Walberg for failing to support the auto industry and wanting to eliminate Social Security (CQ says buy is for $250K)
NC-11: Two spots from Heath Shuler: the first a touching ad about his efforts to build new veterans' health clinics, the second hammering Jeff Miller for supporting the bad kind of SSP
NH-01: Carol Shea-Porter's first ad, a mostly positive spot emphasizing that "whether it's popular or not," she "always fights for what she believes in,"
NY-19: George Pataki's PAC Revere America has a spot hitting John Hall with scaaaaary music over his vote in support of healthcare reform
NY-23: Bill Owens' first ad, which redistricting geeks will appreciate, emphasizing just how big the district is physically
NY-24: Richard Hanna personally narrates a negative ad attacking Mike Arcuri for his support of the stimulus and bailouts - I think it's pretty effective
OH-13: GOPer Tom Ganley's spot touts his work with the FBI (as a civilian) to bring down some mob extortionists
NRCC: CQ rounds up ads targeting Kathy Dahlkemper (PA-03), Bryan Lentz (PA-07), Paul Kanjorski (PA-11) and John Adler (NJ-03) (click here for Adler ad)
Americans for Job Security: The right-wing front group is launching some huge buys: $443K against Mike Arcuri (NY-24), $526K against Larry Kissell (NC-08), and $712K against Heath Shuler (NC-11)
NY-19: Curses! Those meddling ophthalmologists! The (non-rogue) American Academy Of Ophthalmology, Inc. Political Committee (aka OPHTHPAC) is throwing down $143K on behalf of one of their own, Republican eye doctor Nan Hayworth (NY-19)
• AK-Sen: Lisa Murkowski is still mum on the prospects of a write-in run, but this looks like a potentially important tea leaf: she isn't returning to the Beltway as the Senate goes back into session, but is remaining in Alaska attending to... something. Maybe it's the grieving process, but it's also shades of how Bob Bennett behaved while he weighed his post-primary recourse. And while this hadn't looked likely in a week, Libertarian candidate David Haase confirmed he won't step down to make way for Murkowski on the Libertarian line... so it's write-in or bust for her.
• DE-Sen: With everyone abuzz over last night's PPP poll giving Christine O'Donnell an improbable lead in the GOP primary, there's word today of a Mike Castle internal giving him a 7-point lead (it's buried deep in this Politico article, with no further details). PPP has some further thoughts on their poll, pointing out that in some ways Castle might be in worse shape than Lisa Murkowski going into the primary: his faves among GOP voters were 43/47, compared with Murk's 48/46, and 55% thought he was too liberal, compared to 47% in Alaska. At any rate, the right wing is still engaged in full court press on O'Donnell's behalf, though, with Sarah Palin cutting a radio ad for her. And if you're like me, you were spending a lot of time last night trying to mentally ballpark how big an impact on an O'Donnell win would have on overall odds of retaining the Senate... well, don't worry, because Nate Silver has already figured it out for you.
• ME-Sen: So after Murkowski and Castle, which GOPer is next on the chopping block? Looks like it's Olympia Snowe, looking ahead to 2012. PPP finds that only 29% of Republicans are committed to backing Snowe in that year's primary, with 63% saying they'll back a more conservative alternative. Snowe loses a hypothetical primary matchup with 2006 gubernatorial nominee Chandler Woodcock, 38-33.
• NH-Sen: GOP pollster Magellan is out with a last-minute pre-primary look at the GOP Senate field, and they find the closest result yet for late-surging Ovide Lamontagne. It still doesn't look likely he can pull out the upset unless somehow an extra week or two of stoppage time got added to the election's clock (based on the rate at which he's closing), but he's within 4. The poll puts it at Kelly Ayotte 35, Lamontagne 31, Bill Binnie 14, Jim Bender 10.
• CO-Gov: Could the Colorado GOP find itself a "minor party" in 2012, mostly just an embarrassment but also something that affects where they're positioned on the ballot? That's what would happen if Dan Maes somehow finds himself gaining less than 10% of the vote in November's gubernatorial race.
• MN-Gov: In a convoluted way, this is likely to help Dem nominee Mark Dayton. The former moderate Republican governor, Arne Carlson, announced that he's backing the IP nominee, Tom Horner, and will be stumping on his behalf today. That may give some a nice outlet to moderate Republican rank-and-file loath to the too-far-right-for-Minnesota Tom Emmer but who can't bring themselves to vote DFL.
• OR-Gov: Chris Dudley's attempts to game the system vis-à-vis the clashing tax structures of Washington and Oregon get dicier the more the media look into it, maybe to the extent of actual tax avoision. (It's a word. Look it up.) Long story short: he moved his primary residence from Oregon to Washington because Washington doesn't have income tax (he still had to pay tax on his Trail Blazers salary, but not on capital gains and dividends). However, it's come to light that not only did he not sell his Portland home, but he just kept on using it at least part-time for years after switching his domicile.
• TX-Gov (pdf): The Texas Tribune is out with another poll of the Texas gubernatorial race via the University of Texas, and they find that while Rick Perry has a decent lead, he's far from putting the race away yet. Perry leads Dem Bill White 39-33, with 5 for Libertarian Kathie Glass, and 1 for "Green Party" plant Deb Shafto. Dems are losing all the statewide downballot races as well, although Hank Gilbert's in striking distance in the Agriculture Commissioner race (down 33-26 to Todd Staples).
• LA-02: Despite the warm relations between Barack Obama and GOP Rep. Joe Cao, Obama isn't going easy on Cao. Obama just gave his endorsement to Dem primary winner Cedric Richmond in a statement last night.
• MD-01: Wow, still no love lost between Wayne Gilchrest and the man who teabagged him to death in the 2008 GOP primary before teabagging was fashionable, Andy Harris. Gilchrest jumped into the fray with an endorsement for Harris's self-funding primary opponent, Rob Fisher.
• NY-15: Clinton alert, times 4! Hot on the heels of support from Michael Bloomberg for Charlie Rangel ahead of tomorrow's primary, Bill Clinton (maybe the 15th's most famous commercial tenant) just cut a robocall on Rangel's behalf too. The Big Dog is also making campaign appearances in three different gubernatorial races: stumping with Dan Onorato in Pennsylvania today, Mark Dayton in Minnesota tomorrow, and Rory Reid in Nevada on Wednesday.
• DCCC: At SSP, we're all about The Size Of The Buy, and National Journal has sussed out which of the DCCC's round of 60 reservations are the biggest ones. There are at least a dozen districts where they've reserved $1 million or more: MO-04, NV-03, NH-01, AZ-01, CA-11, AL-02, AZ-05, IN-09, ND-AL, PA-03, and (no surprise here, giving Larry Kissell's fundraising fail) NC-08. Interestingly, they're also putting $1.8 million in to FL-25, where they're on the offensive, a sign of a lot of confidence in Joe Garcia's chances. (The story also details some investments in big markets where there are multiple races and it's unclear which races will get the money.)
• AFL-CIO: The AFL-CIO is spending big on a gigantic direct mail binge, hitting 2 million households of members. (They'll also be making 4 million follow-up phone calls.) The six Senate races involved are NV-Sen, MO-Sen, WI-Sen, IL-Sen, FL-Sen, and PA-Sen; the four gubernatorial races are OR-Gov, OH-Gov, IL-Gov, and MI-Gov. There are also 24 House districts (see the link for more).
• SSP TV:
• NV-Sen: Harry Reid's newest ad targets Sharron Angle's "extreme and dangerous" legislative record, focusing on voting against allowing out-of-state restraining orders to be enforced in Nevada
• FL-12: Dennis Ross goes after Dem Lori Edwards, tying her to Obama
• FL-22: Ron Klein moves past the who-cares lien stuff and gets on to the juicy stuff regarding Allen West's statements about Social Security and Medicare
• MS-01: Another Travis Childers spot goes negative on Alan Nunnelee, hitting him on the regressive "Fair Tax"
• CT-Gov: Dan Malloy (D) 46%, Tom Foley (R) 39%
• IL-Gov: Pat Quinn (D-inc) 37%, Bill Brady (R) 50%, Rich Whitney (G) 4%
• SD-Gov: Scott Heidepriem (D) 28%, Dennis Daugaard (R) 57%
• AK-Sen: It seems like Lisa Murkowski's meetings with the Libertarian Party didn't lead to anything conclusive (while David Haase sounded amenable, the state party sounds opposed), as the signals she's putting out now seem to point more toward a write-in campaign, if anything. According to Roll Call, she's "strongly considering it" and will have an announcement as early as tomorrow. In case you're wondering about TX-22-style hilarity ensuing, the Alaska Division of Elections confirms that a voter can spell her name incorrectly and still have the vote count, which makes the prospect of a write-in campaign for Linda Mukrosky somewhat more doable.
• CO-Sen: Ken Buck may have dirty boots, but he's been busy scrubbing his website sparkly clean. The Michael Bennet camp has been observing lots of minor changes to Buck's website to make it more mainstream-y, with softer-sounding rewrites on his issues page on Afghanistan, stem cell research, and immigration.
• DE-Sen: In another sign that the GOP primary between Mike Castle and Christine O'Donnell isn't dialing down, both Castle and the Tea Party Express (on behalf of O'Donnell) are both extending their previous ad buys, starting today and running through next Tuesday's election. Again, kudos to Hotline's Jeremy Jacobs, who knows not only the Size Of The Buy but the complete breakdown (Castle, for instance, spent $75K in the Salisbury broadcast market, $27K on statewide cable, and $43K on radio, while the TPX spent $32K on cable only). He also susses out that at the current trajectory, the TPX will reach only slightly past the halfway point on its promise to spend $250K on O'Donnell, unless they want to blow a lot of money at the last minute in the pricey Philadelphia market. Meanwhile, TPM checks out how TPX's ongoing moneybomb for O'Donnell has been going, who has raised $89K since TPX got involved. Despite O'Donnell's frequent attacks on Castle's use of out-of-state money to power his campaign, they highlighted their $250+ donors, and a grand total of one (of 56) was a Delawarean.
• FL-Sen, FL-25: Biden alert! With Kendrick Meek having raised some bucks at a New York appearance with Bill Clinton last night, now he turns his attention to an upcoming fundraiser with the VPOTUS. (Expect to see the usual GOP carping about "Big Hollywood," seeing as how the fundraiser is in Hollywood. Hollywood, Florida, that is.) 25th District candidate Joe Garcia will also be a beneficiary.
• PA-Sen: The Philadelphia Inquirer has a rundown of Pat Toomey's past history of earmarks, in of course blatant contradiction with the pledges of austerity that define his current campaign... yet another Republican example of government largesse for me, but not for thee. In his first term in PA-15, Toomey won $9 million in earmarks, including $3 million for one company (Air Products & Chemicals) that then became his single biggest campaign contributor.
• CA-Gov: Steve Poizner seems to have finally gotten the message, if a few months on the late (and tepid) side. The Republican primary loser gave his endorsement to Meg Whitman yesterday... via press release.
• MI-Gov: Local pollster Mitchell Research is out with what appears to be their first poll of the general election in the Michigan gubernatorial race; like most pollsters, they find Republican Rick Snyder with a solid lead. He's ahead of Democrat Virg Bernero 53-26.
• OH-Gov: Bill Clinton will be in Ohio on behalf of (Hillary endorser) Ted Strickland on the 14th, also the day of his first debate with John Kasich. Clinton will stump for Strickland in both Cleveland and Columbus.
• NC-08: With the DCCC having rolled out a GQR internal poll yesterday giving Larry Kissell a decent lead (48-36) in the 8th (on top of Kissell releasing his own internal in late August with a 49-32 lead), GOP rival Harold Johnson offered up his own poll today to show he's still in this thing. His poll from POS finds Kissell still leading, but by a more surmountable margin: 39-34.
• NV-03: Politico has details on EMILY's List weighing into the 3rd, with a two-week TV ad blitz going after Joe Heck on women's health issues (like his vote against mandated insurance coverage for the HPV vaccine). While the article doesn't have a link to the ad, let alone the Size Of The Buy, it does have a very interesting look at the advanced micro-targeting they're using, focusing on very specific TV shows as well as Hulu and Facebook users.
• OH-16: Someone get Jim Renacci a high school history textbook, stat! When asked at the candidates' first debate what he'd like to do about civil rights, the Republican challenger to John Boccieri retreated to Rand Paul-style teabagger boilerplate, saying "We need to get our federal government out of the way," and that it was better dealt with as "local issues." Yeah, because local and state governments in the 50s and 60s were the paragons of tolerance and virtue during the civil rights movement, and that federal government just came in and screwed everything up...
• DGA: If you've been wondering what they're up to at the DGA, they're out with a strategy memo that outlines the next few months. Wisely, they're most concerned with the states with the greatest population and hence greatest redistricting impact, meaning that the smaller states with Dem-held open seats (Kansas, Wyoming, etc.) have already probably been on the losing end of their triage decisions.
• TX-St. House: We at SSP have been remiss in focusing on state legislatures in the last few months (for the same reason everyone else has -- it's hard to get good intelligence on them, and there's too dang much to focus on just at the national level alone), but Burnt Orange Report has done a bang-up job profiling the race for the Texas state House, one of the few legislatures where the Dems are on the offensive and have a slim but legitimate shot at a flip. They've written up summaries of the 21 hottest races, all helpfully collected in one place at the link.
• SSP TV:
• IL-Sen: Alexi Giannoulias ad rolling out his biggest gun: backing from Barack Obama
• PA-Sen: Not one but two ads from Pat Toomey ads with pretzel logic about how his time on Wall Street tells him that one shouldn't bail out Wall Street
• WI-Sen: Ron Johnson ad hits Russ Feingold again for being a career politician
• TX-Gov: Bill White talks about border security
• VT-Gov: Dem group Green Mountain Future hits Brian Dubie on support for keeping local nuclear plant open
• FL-24: First Suzanne Kosmas ad hits Sandy Adams on teh crazy, especially the 17th Amendment
• GA-08: Jim Marshall ad tries to outflank Austin Scott on the right on the immigration issue
• MI-01: DCCC's 2nd IE ad goes after Dan Benishek on Social Security
• NY-25: Dan Maffei's first ad is anti-Ann Marie Buerkle, using Sarah Palin endorsement against her
• PA-06: Manan Trivedi's second ad this week focuses on his time as a military doctor
• AZ-Gov: Terry Goddard (D) 38%, Jan Brewer (R-inc) 60%
• CA-Gov: Jerry Brown (D) 42%, Meg Whitman (R) 46%
• CA-Sen: Barbara Boxer (D-inc) 42%, Carly Fiorina (R) 47%
• KY-Sen: Jack Conway (D) 38%, Rand Paul (R) 51%