• AZ-Sen: Sources are telling Roll Call that Rep. Trent Franks is planning to run for Sen. John Kyl's open seat. I personally think Franks will get in - Jeff Flake definitely will not have this race to himself.
• HI-Sen: Former part-term Rep. Charles Djou (I'd say we hardly knew ye, but I think we got to know him pretty well) says he's considering a senate bid, but it sounds like he wants to wait and see what his fellow Republican (and next-door neighbor) Linda Lingle does first.
• MO-Sen: Remember when Claire McCaskill said she'd co-sponsor Bob Corker's CAP Act - the bill designed to take an axe to, among other things, Social Security? Now she's telling her constituents in a letter that she'll "vote against" any cuts to SS. So either she's backtracking on her idiotic support of Corker's bill, or she somehow thinks this pledge doesn't conflict with that piece of legislation. In other words, she's come to her senses - or she's talking out of both sides of her mouth. We'll see.
• NV-Sen: The committee investigating John Ensign's affair-and-hush-money scandal just interviewed Sen. Tom Coburn, which Politico claims is a sign that the inquiry is "intensifying," but who knows - the whole thing could be winding down, especially since the Justice Department pathetically dropped their entire case against Ensign. I'd be surprised if any serious punishment is meted out here.
• AZ-07: Some Dude Gabriela Saucedo Mercer announced a challenge to Rep. Raul Grijalva (D). Saucedo Mercer volunteered for fellow Republican Ruth McClung last time, who herself said after the election that she will "probably" run again.
• CA-36: This can't be the sort of news Republicans were hoping for: Redondo Beach Mayor Mike Gin said he's joining the field of candidates hoping to succeed the now-departed Jane Harman. Why is this a problem? Because Gin is now the second non-Some Dude Republican running - Redondo's elected city attorney, Mike Webb, is already in the race. If the GOP ever had any, any chance whatsoever of sneaking out a win here, it could only have happened with a single candidate to unite behind. Now, it seems impossible for one of their own to make it into a runoff, unless the Democratic field gets absurdly fractured.
• MD-02: Huh. So it looks like fifth-term Dem Rep. Charles Albert Ruppersberger III - you know him as "Dutch" - already has a non-Some Dude opponent. Republican state Delegate Patrick McDonough (who is also a talk radio host) represents a reliably red district and has already managed to score Christine O'Donnell to headline a fundraiser for him. This district went 60% for Obama and 54% for Kerry, and I can't imagine the Dem-held legislature would risk making this seat any redder if Ruppersberger looked genuinely threatened, so McDonough will have a hell of a challenge.
• MI-12: Rep. Sandy Levin became the latest veteran Michigan Dem (along with Johns Dingell & Conyers, and Dale Kildee) to confirm that he'll seek another term.
• NY-26: Erie County Comptroller Mark Poloncarz has told Democratic leaders to drop his name from consideration as a possible candidate for the upcoming special election. Is it just me, or is it a little worrisome that we still seem to be so far away from choosing a nominee? Just another reason why we should have primaries for special elections in New York.
The legislature did just pass one small bit of elections reform: Once Gov. Cuomo signs the bill, special elections will now be held 70 to 80 days after their announcement by the governor (as opposed to 30 to 40 right now), to give county boards more time to handle military and overseas ballots. This was done to bring NY into better compliance with federal law, but still note that there is no specific timeframe in which a governor must actually call for a special - this law only applies to the time period after one has been called.
• OH-01: Cincinnati NAACP President Christopher Smitherman tells Dave Catanese that he thinks Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory is "floating the idea of a run" against Rep. Steve Chabot. Mallory is black, and Smitherman notes, of course, that President Obama will be at the top of the ticket. The current OH-01 is 29% black, as strong black turnout was responsible for Steve Chabot losing in 2008.
• IN-SoS: Republican Secretary of State Charlie White was just indicted on seven felony counts, "including voter fraud, perjury and theft." White is accused of intentionally voting in a precinct he didn't live in. Funny how after all their bogus charges of "voter fraud!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1111111111," the one guy who actually gets hauled up on charges is nothing less than the guy responsible for ensuring the integrity of elections - and a Republican, to boot.
• Idaho: Due to a court challenge, which found Idaho's system of open primaries unconstitutional under the First Amendment, Idaho looks like it will be moving toward closed primaries - or at least, a setup where you have to register with the Republican Party in order to vote in GOP primaries.
• MS Redistricting: So it looks like Mississippi may be the first state in the nation to adopt any sort of actual redistricting map - not a surprise, seeing as the state holds legislative elections later this year. The state House will vote on its own map as early as this Friday. (Click here for the map, and click here for the demographic breakdowns.) Believe it or not, the state House is actually still run by the Democrats, and predictably, Republicans don't like their plan, calling it an incumbent protection plan for Dems. Still, it will likely pass - Dems insist all lawmakers have had a chance to give their input, and the GOP, which controls the state Senate, will need Democratic cooperation in the lower body to get their corresponding map approved.
• PA St. Sen.: Craziness - local Republicans are reportedly preparing for a special election in the 40th district to replace the seemingly-doomed state Sen. Jane Orie... whose corruption case just ended in a mistrial today. But it's not the kind of bad trial thingy a defendant typically roots for (i.e., a hung jury). Rather, the judge dismissed the jury because documents entered into evidence by the defense contained forged signatures. Said the judge to Orie's attorney: "Ray Charles could see that those signatures were doctored." So it seems like Orie may live to fry another day.
• AK-Sen: With the book about to close on 2010, so too is the last outstanding race of 2010, the Alaska Senate race. Today the state is planning to certify Lisa Murkowski as winner of the race, including hand-delivering the certification papers to Washington DC so there won't be any possible obstacles to Murkowski's swearing-in next week (and ensuing temporary loss of state clout). This, of course, follows a legal one-two punch to Joe Miller's hopes: last week's loss at the Alaska Supreme Court, which upheld the trial court's decision that the write-in votes for Murkowski were properly counted, and then this week's ruling by a federal district court judge dismissing his related federal suit and lifting the hold on the race's certification. Miller will not stand in the way of the certification, although he says he is still considering whether to continue litigating the matter (which, if he did, would feature the 9th Circuit as the next stop).
The most ironic part of the whole tale is that the Tea Party Express, in their ill-advised RINO hunt, seem to have only succeeded in making Murkowski into more of a free agent. If you've noticed that Murkowski seems to be toeing the GOP line less since winning the election without running under the GOP banner, you're not alone: she was the only Senate GOPer to vote with the Dems on all four big action items during the lame duck session (the tax compromise, DADT repeal, START, and the DREAM Act).
• DE-Sen: SSP isn't about re-litigating old elections, but this is indeed relevant because Christine O'Donnell, looking to capitalize on her newfound celebrity, may yet be a fourth-time candidate for the Senate against Tom Carper in the future. That fourth run might be more difficult, though, if she's in prison... perhaps possible as it seems like the federal government has decided it's had enough of her once-every-two-years grifting tours and is now criminally investigating her use of campaign funds for personal purposes during her 2010 campaign. Anyway, she put out a truly epic statement today on the matter that ought to have you reaching for your copy of the DSM, so laden with paranoia and delusions of grandeur it is.
• MA-Sen: While everyone seems to be wondering which U.S. Rep. will step into the gap if nobody named Kennedy runs for the Senate, there's always the outside possibility that someone with a business background and lots of his own money tries to move to the head of the pack in the Bay State. Robert Pozen may fit that bill, and he's apparently been talking to party insiders about the possibility. The investment banker-turned-Harvard Business professor has some liabilities, though: he served briefly in Mitt Romney's cabinet, which may help his bipartisan bona fides but could be poison in a primary, and his personality has been described as [John] "Silberesque," which would just be all-purpose poison.
• MI-Sen: If the NRSC ever had any interest in Tim Leuliette as their Senate candidate in Michigan, that probably evaporated this week. The auto-parts magnate just said that he's not comfortable with self-funding his campaign and wouldn't put much of his "large fortune" into a run. Considering that that was the main (if not only) selling point for a candidacy from an otherwise unknown political newcomer, that should pretty much be end-of-story.
• MO-Sen, MO-Gov: A poll from Republican pollster Wilson Research (commissioned by consulting firm Axiom Strategies) has (big surprise) good news for Republicans in it, most notably Jim Talent. The ex-Sen. has a significant lead in a rematch against Claire McCaskill, ahead 51-40. Talent seems to have a big electability edge over Sarah Steelman, who's tied 44-44 with McCaskill. McCaskill's approvals are 48/45. They also look at the Governor's race, finding a more competitive race than PPP did but not the lead that a Peter Kinder internal showed. They find Dem incumbent Jay Nixon leading Kinder 45-42, with Nixon's approvals at 52%. Worth noting: the poll's a little stale, taken Dec. 1-2.
• ND-Sen: It's starting to look like Kent Conrad will face some serious opposition from Republicans this cycle (assuming the 62-year-old runs for re-election), although it's not clear exactly from whom. Perhaps the heaviest-hitter available, the state's ex-Gov. and the former Bush administration Agriculture Secretary, Ed Schafer, has just ruled it out. For now, the likeliest-sounding one right now seems to be Brian Kalk, one of the state's three Public Service Commissioners, a statewide elected position. Kalk says he's giving it "serious thought," which contrasts with oft-mentioned AG Wayne Stenehjem's statement that he doesn't have "any plans" (although not closing "any doors" either) and with newly-promoted Gov. Jack Dalrymple, for whom it's the "last thing" on his mind.
• NE-Sen (pdf): In case you weren't sure whether or not Ben Nelson's in trouble for 2012, um, yes, he's in trouble. Republican pollster Magellan is out with a poll finding Nelson with an overall 29/59 re-elect, and trailing GOP AG Jon Bruning 52-38. He's also trailing state Treasurer Don Stenberg (not yet a candidate, but sounding likely to run as well) 46-40. Hopefully we'll get a look from PPP at this one soon for confirmation. It seems like the Dems are already treating Bruning as a serious threat, though, with the state party trying to throw obstacles in his path by filing FEC and IRS complaints against Bruning over shoddy campaign-committee setup.
• VA-Sen: So apparently all you have to do is append "Tea Party Activist" to your job description, and all of a sudden you're magically promoted from Some Dude to Very Serious Candidate Worthy of National Media Attention. Or at least that's the case with the campaign announcement from Jamie Radtke, head of the Judean People's Front People's Front of Judea Virginia Federation of Tea Party Patriots, whose main claim to fame seems to be organizing a gathering of 3,000 'baggers in Richmond. At any rate, Radtke is the first actually announced GOP candidate. Meanwhile, Jim Webb seems to be moving closer to making a decision on whether to run for re-election (though no clues on how he feels), saying he'll sort it out over the holiday break and make an announcement in the first quarter of 2011.
• IN-Gov: This comes as a surprise, since there had been a lot of buzz about her as the nominee, with increasing moves from Rep. Mike Pence toward a presidential run instead. But Becky Skillman, Indiana's Lt. Governor, recently announced that she wouldn't run for Governor in 2012, citing "minor health issues." Does this make likelier a Pence gubernatorial run, now that he'd have an easy stroll to the nomination? And if Pence doesn't run, that seems to point to a truly wide open field, as no one seems to have contemplated a GOP field that didn't include Pence or Skillman. Who else might step up? (I hear Mike Sodrel may still be looking for a job...)
• NC-Gov: Rounding out the troika of Republican polls showing Dem incumbents in trouble is one from North Carolina from Civitas, who have coordinated with a variety of pollsters and this time went straight to the big daddy of GOP pollsters, POS. The poll finds GOP former Charlotte mayor Pat McCrory cruising in a rematch against Dem incumbent Bev Perdue, who never really seemed to gain her footing after a narrow 2008 win: he leads her 51-36 (with Perdue getting only 64% among Democrats).
• WA-Gov: Two interesting developments mean this race isn't as open-and-shut as I'd thought. One is that there's increasing buzz linking Dow Constantine, just elected in 2009 as King County Executive, to the governor's race. I've regarded Constantine (who's 47) as a very likely Governor starting in 2020, but with Dems seeming a little edgy that none of their biggest-name candidates (Rep. Jay Inslee, whose WA-01 is centered in suburban Snohomish Co., Snohomish Co. Exec Aaron Reardon, Spokane-based state Sen. majority leader Lisa Brown) are from their stronghold of King County while likely GOP candidate Rob McKenna is, there might be some pressure on Constantine to move up his timetable. (It's worth noting that Gary Locke became Gov. in 1996 after three years as King Co. Executive.) The other develompent is that Chris Gregoire isn't categorically ruling out an attempt at a third term, which she's legally entitled to do but Just Isn't Done. (Although she might point out that the last time it was tried, 1972, Dan Evans was successfully re-elected... in fact, the last time a Republican was re-elected Governor in Washington.) She registered as a 2012 candidate with the Public Disclosure Commission, in order to "keep her options open." (UPDATE: Big h/t to meekermariner, who points out in comments that this Gregoire article is nearly two years old, leaving me to wonder why Politico was linking to it with such enthusiasm. At any rate, the Gregoire committee remains open today, although that in itself isn't much of a suggestion that a third term may be in the offing.)
• WV-Gov: This week was the deadline for filing briefs for the lawsuit that's attempting to move up the special election to replace Joe Manchin up to 2011. We still don't have an answer to when it will happen, but at least we know who's on what side in the case: the state's major unions (including the AFL-CIO and WVEA) want it sooner, and so does likely candidate and Dem state House speaker Rick Thompson. State Auditor Glen Gainer supports the expedited election too, while SoS Natalie Tennant (another possible Dem candidate) has basically punted on the issue. And if you're wondering about Joe Manchin's decision to duck DADT and DREAM Act votes in order to enjoy family holiday festivities, it seems like it wasn't, first and foremost, a self-protecting profile in cowardice. With Manchin having survived probably his toughest challenge, he's more interested now in clearing the way for ally and acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, and not interested in provoking a social issues-based civil war within the state Dem party that could undermine Tomblin's shot at getting elected to a full term.
• OH-01: Guess who's sounding like he's gearing up for a rematch? Steve Driehaus, in an interview with the Cincinnati paper, took a variety of potshots at Steve Chabot, calling him a Boehner "follower" and saying he shouldn't "sit too easy." Driehaus has previously said he's "open" to another attempt. (This is Cincinnati-based district is notorious for steep dropoff in African-American voting in off-years, so if any time would be the right time for Driehaus to try again, 2012 would be it.)
• LA-St. House: There was a long period of threatening and flirting, but now it's official: state Rep. Noble Ellington switched to the Republican Party, formally flipping control of the state's lower legislative chamber to the GOP for the first time since Reconstruction. Functionally, it may not make much perceptible difference, since there was already a Republican speaker, and many Dems were already quite conservative.
• NY-St. Sen.: Looks like the end of the line in one other outstanding race (which ultimately had the balance of the New York state Senate in play): the state's Court of Appeals said no thanks to incumbent Dem Craig Johnson's appeal of a lower court decision that said there didn't need to be a hand recount of machine votes in New York's 7th District. GOPer Jack Martins had been declared the winner in the race by several hundred votes, handing the state Senate back to the GOP by a 32-30 margin.
• PA-St. Sen.: Pennsylvania's state Senate has been even more stubbornly Republican over the years than New York's, and it looks like the Dems are going to have play a bit more defense there in an upcoming special election. Democratic minority whip Michael O'Pake (the state's longest-serving legislator) died several days ago at age 70, leaving a vacancy in SD-11 that will need to be filled by special election at some point between March and May (date TBD). On paper, this looks like the kind of district that would be a major test case for whether the Dems are going to continue their run of bad luck in the Keystone State from the 2010 election: while it works out to about D+4 (going 59/40 for Barack Obama and 51/48 for John Kerry), it also gave 55% of the vote to Tom Corbett and 50.6% to Pat Toomey this year. However, this may all boil down to bench strength in a traditionally-Dem district (centered on the blue-collar city of Reading, although made purple by inclusion of its suburbs, too): insiders from both parties are treating Democratic former Berks Co. Commissioner Judy Schwank as "prohibitive favorite."
• Approvals: PPP does us the favor of consolidating all their year-end Senate approval ratings and gubernatorial approvals in one (or two, really) places. In the Senate, the most popular Senator overall, in addition to most popular one up in 2012, is Amy Klobuchar (59/29); while outgoing Roland Burris is the overall goat, Joe Lieberman is in worst shape of anyone up in 2012 (33/54). Among the few governors facing 2012 re-election, Jack Markell is tops at 50/32 (with Jay Nixon not far behind at 44/30), while Chris Gregoire fares the worst, in case she actually runs (although this might dissuade her sudden interest in a third term); her 40/53 is actually a worse spread than Bev Perdue's 35/44.
• Redistricting: The Fix has a good piece on redistricting out, that should pretty much serve as the last word on why GOP purely-redistricting-related House seat gains are likely to be limited to the single digits for 2012: thanks to their 2010 overperformance, they're thoroughly maxed out in the big four prizes where they have total control (Texas, Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania). That's compounded by, in Florida, the new Fair Districts initiative, and in Texas, the need to create at least two more VRA districts while still protecting Blake Farenthold. Also, here's one other redistricting implication that's gotten totally overlooked in all the last few weeks' discussion: although California didn't lose or gain a seat, there's been enough population shift within the state (thanks to stagnation in the Bay Area and rapid growth in the Inland Empire) that the net result will be the moving of most of one district from NoCal to SoCal. It'll be interesting to see whether the new independent commission is able to do that in a way that lightly shifts boundaries southwards and protects the jobs of all 53 incumbents, or if someone from the north actually gets turfed out and an effectively new seat opens up in the south.
• Chicago mayor: A lot has happened in the Chicago mayoral race since we last checked: first, Rahm Emanuel cleared the first hurdle in ascertaining that he is, indeed, a Chicago resident and not a Kenyan (although there will be inevitable courtroom appeals for weeks to come, with opponents willing to go to the state Supreme Court). The Chicago Board of Election Commissioners last week rejected claims that Emanuel had abandoned his Chicago residency when he went to work in the White House. Also, we've seen two of Emanuel's erstwhile opponents drop out of the race, narrowing the number of African-American candidates but still leaving that part of the field split between Danny Davis (last seen publicly urging Bill Clinton against coming to Chicago to campaign for Emanuel) and Carol Mosely Braun. State Sen. James Meeks dropped out, saying he didn't want to further split the black vote, and Roland Burris also withdrew, via press release, from the race (although it's unclear whether he ever really was in the race, since he never made any public appearances). Finally, we got another poll of the race from We Ask America, which may be most noteworthy for showing Gerry Chico in position to make the runoff. They find Emanuel at 44, Chico at 12, Braun at 8, Davis at 7, Miguel Del Valle at 6, and Meeks at 4.
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.
• AK-Sen: The story of how his employment with the city of Fairbanks ended is one of the key reasons why Joe Miller suddenly clammed up and said he wouldn't answer questions about his personal background anymore. Now the city's former mayor, Jim Whitaker, is offering his version of the story, saying Miller is "not truthful" about it. Whitaker says Miller's use of borough resources for political purposes (namely, for gaming an online vote for state party chair in a Sarah Palin-orchestrated party coup) was a violation of borough ethics policy and it would have been a cause for termination if they hadn't been so understaffed. Miller eventually resigned in 2009 anyway, partly because his request to go elk hunting got denied.
• FL-Sen: There are so many Kennedys I really can't keep track which one is allied with who, but any time one leaves the reservation it's interesting. Robert Kennedy Jr. announced that he's backing Charlie Crist for Senate, saying that Kendrick Meek can't win and the most important thing is blocking Marco Rubio. Meanwhile, with the current race not looking very interesting anymore, PPP has its eye on 2012 (which seems like it could be close, especially if Jeb Bush gets involved). They ran two other hypotheticals, one not very likely: Bill Nelson beats Rush Limbaugh 50-36 (if Limbaugh for whatever reason decided to take the huge pay cut). More plausibly, he also beats Rep. Connie Mack IV by 42-33.
• LA-Sen: Charlie Melancon is out with an internal poll from Anzalone-Liszt. Public pollsters have generally seen this as a double-digit race, but his poll, taken over Oct. 9-12, gives David Vitter a not-overwhelming 49-42 lead. The campaign says that's a major improvement (no specific numbers, though) over their September poll.
• FL-Gov: The Florida Education Association (obviously a Democratic-leaning organization) polled the gubernatorial race, and found numbers very close to PPP's results yesterday. The poll from Tom Eldon, taken Oct. 9-12, gives Alex Sink a 47-41 lead over Rick Scott. Scott's faves are down to 33/50.
• IL-Gov: This is quite the screwup: Green candidate Rich Whitney's name will appear as "Rich Whitey" on electronic voting machines in nearly two dozen wards in Chicago (half of which are predominantly African-American). And that leads inevitably to the question (to quote the Illinois Nazi Party): "Well, what are you going to do about it, Whitey?" Apparently, he can't do much, as there isn't adequate time left to reprogram and test the machines, although he's looking into various legal options.
• AZ-07: I don't know if there's any hard evidence other than a Magellan poll and a McClung internal to prove there's a real race here, but judging by efforts by some organizations on both sides, something's going on. The Progressive Change Campaign Committee had members make 21,000 phone calls to the district to shore up Raul Grijalva, while Americans for Tax Reform is going to spend $230K on advertising in the district, hitting Grijalva with an ad for encouraging a boycott of his state in the wake of SB 1070.
• CA-44: Like CA-03, this is one offense opportunity in California that still seems to be alive and kicking. The Bill Hedrick campaign, short on cash but facing an underwhelming opponent that he nearly knocked off last time, is out with a Zata|3 internal poll showing Hedrick trailing GOP incumbent Ken Calvert by only a 48-43 margin (improved a 49-38 showing in September).
• GA-08: He made it implicit with his most recent ad (distancing himself from Nancy Pelosi, even going so far as to show 60s-era San Francisco hippies), but Jim Marshall is now explicitly joining Bobby Bright in the camp of incumbents saying they won't support Pelosi for Speaker in the next Congress (if they're there for it).
• IA-03: I didn't think I'd be saying this a few months ago, but Leonard Boswell is starting to look like he's in healthy shape for the election, thanks in large part of a variety of damaging details about Brad Zaun that went public. Boswell leads Zaun 47-38 in an internal from his campaign, taken Oct. 3-5 by Anzalone-Liszt.
• IL-10: Bob Dold sure can rake in the fundraising dollars, even if Bob Dold can't seem to come up with a lead in the polls, in what's looking like one of the Dems' few pickups this cycle. Bob Dold raised $843K in the third quarter and is sitting on $979K CoH, enough to start running two broadcast ads this week, while Bob Dold's opponent Dan Seals has yet to release any numbers. Bob Dold!
• MD-01, VA-02, VA-05: Another testament to the unpredictability of elections: even a few months ago, who'd have thought, that at this point, the DCCC would have cut loose Debbie Halvorson and Steve Kagen, but would be keeping on pumping money into the races of Frank Kratovil and Tom Perriello? Those two, along with Glenn Nye, are among the survivors of the triage process and will receive continued ad buys.
• NH-02: This race is also turning out to be close, and this can't help Charlie Bass this close to the election: questions are emerging about a stock buy (in New England Wood Pellet, his nephew-in-law's company) that he made while in Congress the previous time. He then set up a meeting between company officials and Bush administration officials, which is a potential House ethics violation.
• OH-01: Credit Steve Driehaus for having some fire in the belly. After having gotten thrown onto the bring-out-your-dead cart by the DCCC, instead of just shrugging and starting to look for a lobbying job, he's doubling down on his fundraising efforts, using it as an incentive to ask for more from his supporters. In particular, he's pissed that the DCCC let him go even while giving money to various Reps. who voted "no" on health care reform.
• OR-04: Well, here's one more race to add to the watch list. Peter DeFazio hasn't faced credible opposition in... well, ever. And he's still not facing credible opposition this year (Art Robinson is kind of a clown; his main action item seems to be the elimination of public schooling, which would kind of help him out considerably, since his day job is selling curriculum supplies for home schoolers). Nevertheless, the mysterious group Concerned Taxpayers (who've also made a six-digit ad buy against DeFazio) is out with an internal poll from Oct. 4-5 from Wilson Research showing a single-digit race, with DeFazio leading Robinson 48-42. (MoE is a hefty 5.6%.)
• PA-10: Chris Carney is on the wrong end of a Critical Insights poll of his district (which will be in our Poll Roundup later), but he's already getting out in front of it with an internal poll. The Oct. 12-13 poll from Momentum Analysis has Carney leading Tom Marino 48-41. With both candidates able to point to leads not just in internal polls but public polls too, this is quite definitely a "Tossup."
• TN-08: Whew! One last internal. Not much surprise here... GOPer Stephen Fincher has an internal out giving him a double-digit lead in the open seat race against Roy Herron, very similar to yesterday's 47-37 Penn/Hill poll. The Tarrance Group poll from Oct. 11-12 gives Fincher a 47-36 lead (with 3 to indie Donn James).
• FL-AG: This is one of the higher-profile downballot races around, and it gets a fair amount of polling attention too. This time, it's Susquehanna's turn (on behalf of Sunshine State News), and they give a lead to Republican Hillsborough Co. Prosecutor Pam Bondi, who leads state Sen. Dan Gelber 50-42.
• Money: Zata|3 is out with more of their super-helpful charts on the behind-the-scenes money game, which is where the Republicans are really winning this cycle, even more so than the polls. Compared with 2008, spending on Senate races (from both sides) has nearly doubled, and it's up more than 50% on House races. And Republican groups are leading the way: the top 5, and 8 of the top 10, outside groups, spending-wise are GOP-leaning. That starts with the cash-flush RGA ($12 mil so far), followed by the Chamber of Commerce and American Crossroads.
• Polltopia: You may have already seen the new Pew study on cellphone use, but it's a real eye-opener, one that should cast some measure of doubt on the accuracy of current polls or even the whole sense that polls can tell us anything. Pew, which in 2008 found a certain amount of pro-Republican bias in polls because of the exclusion of cellphone-only users, is out with a new round of polling showing that bias has only increased. At this point, nearly 25% of adults are "cell-only." Pew finds a 5-point Republican increase would have occurred in their most recent generic ballot test if they hadn't polled cellphones.
Also, on the polling front, Daily Kos is taking a page from PPP and asking where readers what gubernatorial and House race they'd like to see polled in the coming weeks.
• SSP TV:
• AK-Sen: This is actually kind of funny: Joe Miller spoofs Old Spice ads in an attempt to get voters to not write in Lisa Murkowski
• CO-Sen: Ken Buck's out with a base-rallying ad using speech footage of him getting teabaggers fired up about how they got ignored for the last two years and are now out for blood; the NRSC is also on the air, hitting Michael Bennet over his support for the stimulus
• MO-Sen: Robin Carnahan's new TV spot pushes back against various Roy Blunt negative ads, especially on the subject of an extended family member's wind farm
• PA-Sen: This may be an interesting tea leaf that those Dem internals yesterday may be showing some actual tightening: the NRSC, after letting surrogate orgs do all the work here, is finally having to step in with its own IE ad (a basic HCR/stimulus/cap-and-trade troika)
• WV-Sen: The DSCC goes after John Raese again over the minimum wage
• CA-Gov: What is this, the 80s? Meg Whitman's new ad hits Jerry Brown for being soft on crime
• TX-Gov: Bill White's newest ad goes after Rick Perry's seeming habit of steering state contracts to cronies
• AK-Sen: Scott McAdams (D) 27%, Joe Miller (R) 35%, Lisa Murkowski (WI-inc) 34%
• CA-Sen: Barbara Boxer (D-inc) 49%, Carly Fiorina (R) 46%
• IL-Gov: Pat Quinn (D-inc) 40%, Bill Brady (R) 46%, Scott Lee Cohen (I) 4%, Rich Whitney (G) 2%
• NC-Sen: Elaine Marshall (D) 38%, Richard Burr (R-inc) 52%
• PA-Sen: Joe Sestak (D) 39%, Pat Toomey (R) 49%
• WI-Gov: Tom Barrett (D) 42%, Scott Walker (R) 51%
AK-Sen: A new PAC called "Alaskans Standing Together" has spent $600K on ads for Lisa Murkowski, a pretty huge sum for the state. AST filed with the FEC as a so-called "Super PAC," as the Washington Independent puts it, which allows them to "raise and spend unlimited amounts of money, so long as they do so entirely independent of candidates or political parties." Sounds a lot like a 527, except that AST will (supposedly) have to file its donor lists with the FEC. One of their ads is here - almost sounds like a Dem spot, except for the fact that Scott McAdams' ads have been far better than this.
CT-Sen: Talking Points Memo went digging into an old story about a former WWF referee who, after making claims that Vince McMahon sexually assaulted her, was sued by both Vince and Linda McMahon in the early `90s. (They also sued Geraldo Rivera, on whose show the ref made her allegations.) The McMahons eventually dropped their suit after a year... but now that TPM is writing about it, their lawyer has threatened TPM with legal action.
WV-Sen: Trying to understand why Politico is presenting this as a new story, when we knew two weeks ago that zillionaire asshole John Raese loudly and proudly announced that he doesn't support the minimum wage.
NV-Gov: Is this story going to blow up in the same way the Meg Whitman housekeeper story did? A woman says she cleaned Brian Sandoval's home back in the late `90s while she was an illegal immigrant, and that Sandoval never asked her for documentation. Sandoval and his wife are claiming they don't know the woman.
SC-Gov: Winthrop University (10/5-10, likely voters, no trendlines):
TN-08: Looks like Roy Herron is trying to make the most of the news that the DCCC's abandoning him: He's claiming it's because he won't support Nancy Pelosi. Gotta give the dude credit for trying - there's lemonade in there somewhere!
UT-02: A poll by the Utah Policy Center apparently shows Rep. Jim Matheson leading Republican Morgan Philpot 46-30, with 20% undecided. The full details are behind a paywall, so we don't know the field dates or voter screen.
DCCC: Ah, the panzers are definitely reconsolidating now, for real. The Fix's Aaron Blake has a detailed writeup of the D-Trip's ongoing triage efforts. As we mentioned yesterday, it looks like Kathy Dahlkemper (PA-03), Steve Dreihaus (OH-01), and Suzanne Kosmas (FL-24) are being left on the cutting room floor. In addition, Blake confirms his earlier tweet that Trent van Haaften (IN-08), Roy Herron (TN-08 - see above), and Stephene Moore (KS-03) are also apparently on their own as they defend open seats. Two "good" cancellations were also made in LA-02 and DE-AL, where Dem pickup chances are looking good. (Remember that even in 1994, Dems won four open seats.) But really, click through and read the whole piece, as Blake has details of cuts made all around the country - though he notes that many are small and may just represent resource shifts.
NY-Gov: Andy Cuomo touts the Medicaid Fraud unit at the AG's office, then attacks Carl Paladino as a shady insider
AL-02: Bobby Bright explains that he's basically more-or-less a Republican
NH-02: Annie Kuster hits Charlie Bass on a common theme, "raising his own pay" while a member of Congress
PA-Sen: Two Joe Sestak ads on the same theme: the first points out what would have happened to retirement savings over the last couple of years had Social Security been privatized (per Pat Toomey's wishes); the second features seniors saying basically the same thing
PA-10: The DCCC spends $47K attacking Tom Marino - I'm wondering if some of this is for web ads, since there's an $8 charge from GoDaddy (and the sums are smallish, though possibly radio-level)
Realtors: Spend $1.3 mil helping Dems Joe Donnelly (IN-02), Dennis Cardoza (CA-18), John Adler (NJ-03), and Ed Perlmutter (CO-07)
• 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%
• CO-Sen: This probably doesn't count as an October Surprise since it made a big media impression five years ago, but it's suddenly popped back into view, and making things dicier for Ken Buck, already on the wrong end of a sizable gender gap in the polls. Buck refused to prosecute a rape case as Weld Co. DA five years ago (despite the police having recommended charges), and the alleged victim is now back in the news. She has a taped recording of their meeting (transcript available at the link) in which he seems to blame the victim and suggest that the case wouldn't pass muster with a jury.
• FL-Sen: Mason-Dixon (10/4-6, likely voters, 9/20-22 in parens):
Kendrick Meek (D): 21 (23)
Marco Rubio (R): 42 (40)
Charlie Crist (I): 27 (28)
With Marco Rubio way ahead, it looks like a Kendrick Meek dropout (rumored on Friday) and a cobbling-together of some sort of Meek/Crist hybrid cyborg would be the only way for the non-Rubio forces to get an advantage in this race. However, Meek's definitely not acting like a man who's dropping out, if getting the president of the United States to cut a radio ad for you is any indication.
• WV-Sen: Remember that "hicky" ad that the NRSC ran, and then promptly got apologetic over, once the casting call instructions got leaked? (I know, that was last week, a lifetime ago in politics...) Now it sounds like it just kept running anyway, through last Friday for several days after the story broke, despite promises to take it down.
• NM-Gov: Yep, this is definitely the most over-polled, or at least over-internal-poll-leaked, race around. Today it's Diane Denish's turn to retaliate, and she's out with another poll from one of her apparently two pollsters, Third Eye Strategies, with a 46-46 tie (a little stale, taken 9/21-23). I think we get the general idea, already: Denish sees a tie, Susana Martinez sees a high-single-digits lead for herself, public pollsters see something in between. (UPDATE: That's odd... we reported this poll several weeks ago. Not sure why it's back in the news today.)
• CA-47: This is the kind of unity that Loretta Sanchez (last seen alienating her district's small but politically active Vietnamese community with an ill-advised remark) probably doesn't like to see: apparently there was a major rift with the Vietnamese Republican community that just got sealed up, as long-time Van Tran rival Janet Nguyen (an Orange County councilor) gave a late-game endorsement to Tran.
• CT-02, CT-03: Merriman River Group hits the quinella in Connecticut, with polls of the two House races in the Nutmeg State that aren't interesting. In the 2nd, despite getting some touting when she got in the race, GOPer Janet Peckinpaugh is making little impression against Joe Courtney, trailing 55-41. And in the 3rd, Rosa DeLauro is the state's safest Dem, leading Jerry Labriola 58-37.
• FL-22: Endorsements from primary challengers, especially at this stage in the game, are interesting only when they go to the guy from the other party. But that's what's happening in the 22nd, where the guy who lost to Allen West, David Brady, gave his backing to Democratic incumbent Ron Klein today. (So too did several minor-league local elected GOPers, including Palm Beach mayor Jack McDonald.) Says Brady, apparently from the sane wing of the GOP (to the extent that the Palm Beach Post endorsed him in the primary): "I ran against Allen West. I debated him and I can tell you: Allen West is too extreme for this community."
• MS-04: Dueling polls in the 4th, where everything still averages out to a Democratic lean but unfortunately this is looking like one more real race. GOP state Rep. Steven Palazzo offered a poll a few weeks ago saying incumbent Gene Taylor led by only 4, and now Taylor says, no, he's leading by 8 (without giving us any other useful information, like the toplines, let alone the pollster or dates). Hmmm, that's only a difference of four points, so why show your hand, especially in such haphazard fashion? Somehow I don't think Taylor would be a very good poker player.
• NY-22, NY-25: Bill Clinton showing up in upstate New York to stump on behalf of Dan Maffei, that's not a surprise, as this race seems to be competitive. But also Maurice Hinchey in the 22nd? We haven't gotten any smoke signals out of that district before, but that's an indication that something may bubbling under here. (It's a D+6 district, and Hinchey barely won in '94.)
• OH-01: One more unfortunate though unsurprising triage decision to report: Steve Driehaus seems to have run out of time at the DCCC, who are canceling their remaining ad buy in the Cincinnati market for the next two weeks. The deadline for reservations cancellations is coming up soon, so we'll soon know who else gets the shortest straw drawn for them.
• PA-10: After seeing a incumbent Chris Carney up by single digits in a recent public poll from Lycoming, GOP challenger Tom Marino rummaged around in his poll drawer and pulled out one from the Tarrance Group giving him a 47-42 lead on Carney. (No word from the Fix on the dates, though.)
• TN-04: One last GOP internal to throw into the mix: a POS survey (from 9/27-28) on behalf of Scott DesJarlais shows him tied with Dem incumbent Lincoln Davis, 42-42. We haven't seen any public polling of this race (and may not, as the NRCC doesn't seem to be pushing this one hard, maybe on the off chance that it's the kind of district that'll flip in a wave regardless of what they do), but Davis claimed an 11-point lead in a late August internal.
• House: If you're thinking that it seems like there are a lot more races in the "Tossup" and "Lean" categories this year, you're not alone. Nate Silver quantifies various ways in which there are way more competitive races this year than in other recent cycles, including number of races where there are polls within single-digits, where there are polls period, and where there are major financial contributions.
• Redistricting: This is an interesting, if counterintuitive, piece from HuffPo on redistricting, which proposes that we'll be in better shape in 2010 redistricting than 2000 redistricting because (based on projected gubernatorial and state legislative outcomes) we'll have more control over the process in more important states: oddly he leaves out California, but also including Florida, Illinois, Michigan, and Virginia (all states where there was a GOP trifecta last time), and Minnesota and New York (where we might get the trifecta this time)... while the states where the GOP will improve its position aren't as large (Alabama, Indiana, Tennessee... with Georgia the most significant one). The article also gets into the nitty-gritty of where the population growth within the fast-growing states has occurred (i.e. among minorities).
• Polltopia: You might have noticed that Political Wire briefly had some Senate polls up today from somebody I've never heard of before, called "TCJ Research." Those polls mysteriously vanished after Nate Silver, vanquisher of bogus pollsters, showed up on the scene with a simple tweet:
A Wordpress blog getting ~500 hits a day on posts like "October Giveaway: 32 Gigabyte Apple iPad!" suddenly commissions 5 polls? Not likely.
• SSP TV:
• IL-Sen: Two different ads from the DSCC attacking Mark Kirk, hitting him for his House voting record and also revisiting Kirk's misrememberment of his military record
• NC-Sen: Elaine Marshall's finally out with a TV spot, going after Richard Burr for helping to break the economy
• WV-Sen: While John Raese nods to the 'hick' ad semi-apologetically before changing the subject back to Washington Dems, Joe Manchin seems to be trying to out-hick the hick ad by touting his pro-gun and anti-environment credentials in one fell swoop by (I kid you not) shooting a copy of the cap-and-trade bill
• IL-Gov: The most famous Illinoisian, Barack Obama, cuts a radio spot on behalf of Pat Quinn
• RI-Gov: The DGA pounds Lincoln Chafee one more time from the right, accusing him of being a tax-hiking hippy
• FL-22: Ron Klein moves past the boring fixation on Allen West's tax liens and onto the really juicy stuff about 2nd Amendment remedies
• MN-06: Taryl Clark hits Michele Bachmann on Social Security
• PA-03: Kathy Dahlkemper touts her pro-life credentials in her new ad, explaining her siding with the Stupak bloc on health care reform
• VA-02: The DCCC's IE unit points the "hypocrite" arrow at Scott Rigell, for making hundreds of thousands of dollars off "Cash for Clunkers"
• WI-08: Ditto the DCCC ad in the 8th, where they hit Reid Ribble for making hundreds of thousands of dollars for his roofing business off stimulus projects
• CT-Gov: Dan Malloy (D) 49%, Tom Foley (R) 44%
• FL-Gov: Alex Sink (D) 47%, Rick Scott (R) 50%
• FL-Sen: Kendrick Meek (D) 19%, Marco Rubio (R) 50%, Charlie Crist (I) 25%
• GA-Gov: Roy Barnes (D) 41%, Nathan Deal (R) 50%
• GA-Sen: Michael Thurmond (D) 38%, Johnny Isakson (R-inc) 53%
• MN-Gov: Mark Dayton (D) 40%, Tom Emmer (R) 38%, Tom Horner (I) 15%
• NE-Gov: Mike Meister (D) 24%, Dave Heineman (R-inc) 66%
• NH-Sen: Paul Hodes (D) 44%, Kelly Ayotte (R) 51%
• NM-Gov: Diane Denish (D) 43%, Susana Martinez (R) 52%
• NV-Gov: Rory Reid (D) 40%, Brian Sandoval (R) 53%
• OR-Gov: John Kitzhaber (D) 48%, Chris Dudley (R) 46%
• SD-Gov: Scott Heidepriem (D) 33%, Dennis Daugaard (R) 57%
• TX-Gov: Bill White (D) 42%, Rick Perry (R-inc) 53%
• WA-Sen: Patty Murray (D-inc) 46%, Dino Rossi (R) 49%
• Angus-Reid: Some of you might have gotten excited about the California numbers offered up today by Angus-Reid (a well-established Canadian pollster, but apparently making their first foray into the States). Well, don't, because they're using an RV model, and more importantly, it's an Internet sample. (Now presumably there's some scientific selection behind it, not just a "click here!" banner ad, but we're highly skeptical nonetheless, especially since that seemed to produce notably pro-Dem results in California.)
• CA-Gov: Jerry Brown (D) 53%, Meg Whitman (R) 41%
• CA-Sen: Barbara Boxer (D-inc) 55%, Carly Fiorina (R) 39%
• OH-Gov: Ted Strickland (D-inc) 46%, John Kasich (R) 48%
• OH-Sen: Lee Fisher (D) 42%, Rob Portman (R) 53%
KY-Sen: Jack Conway has succeeded in getting a false and misleading ad by the "First Amendment Alliance" pulled off at least one television station, Louisville's Fox 41.
WI-Sen: On the other side of the equation, Russ Feingold is being forced by the NFL to alter an ad which featured some footage of embarrassing end zone victory dances, including Randy Moss taunting Green Bay Packer fans. Could this really have been a mindless goof by Feingold's media team? The Hotline's Tim Alberta had the same thought I did: This sure was a good way to get plenty of free media coverage for this ad. (Judging by the number of Twitter mentions, at least, this ploy worked - if it was indeed the plan.)
AZ-08: The Smart Media Group is reporting that the DCCC has cancelled all of their ad buys in Tucson except for the final week of October. I suppose there are three ways you can interpret this news. The first is that Gabby Giffords is cruising and doesn't need much help. The second I'll call "panzers reconsolidating": She's basically doomed. And the third lies between the two: The D-Trip is performing triage, figuring that Giffords is strong enough to have a chance on her own, while other more fragile campaigns are in greater need of help. Choose your own adventure!
NY-24: Mike Arcuri is a lucky man. As you may recall, he created a new third party just so that he could have an extra ballot line to run on (and perhaps draw in a few votes from people who like him personally but can't stomach the thought of pulling the lever for a Democrat). The problem: He called it the "New York Moderates" party, but state law forbids any party name from including the words "American," 'United States," "National," "New York State," "Empire State," or any abbreviation of those. Fortunately, a court ruled that he was able to retain the line by renaming it just the "Moderates" party.
MO-Sen: Robin Carnahan: $2.1 million raised, "on par with" Roy Blunt
PA-Sen: Joe Sestak (D): $3.2 million raised, Pat Toomey (R): $3.8 million raised
CO-Gov: John Hickenlooper (D): $361K raised from 9/16-29, Dan Maes (R): $28K raised, Tom Tancredo (ACP): $149K
OH-Gov: Ted Strickland (D): $1.6 million raised from 9/3-10/4
CT-Sen: Sources tell Aaron Blake that the DSCC has added $1.2 million to its buy here
OH-01: The Campaign for Working Families throws down $125K for ads to help Steve Chabot (R)
OR-05: CULAC the PAC chips in $34K for mail on behalf of Rep. Kurt Schrader (D)
NV-Sen: Harry Reid's latest is actually half-positive/half-negative, and concludes by calling Sharron Angle "a foreign worker's best friend"; Angle's newest is a race-baity spot that - jeez - features footage of scary brown people sneaking through a fence (wish I were kidding)
PA-Sen: The DSCC also has an ad out that's fairly race-baity, talking about Pat Toomey's support for sending jobs to China - complete with Asian-style gong noises that were embarrassing even when John Hughes brought us Long Duk Dong more than a quarter-century ago
GA-Gov: In a reversal of the usual roles, Republican Nathan Deal paints himself as the friend of teachers (and education in general) in his first attack ad
NY-Gov: Andrew Cuomo continues to sound like an anodyne Republican in his ads (cut wasteful government, blah blah), and says that Carl Paladino's "anger is not a governing strategy"
AL-05: Steve Raby goes back to his mailbox to criticize Mo Brooks for being a DC tool (and then litters)
CA-45: In this Steve Pougnet ad, little kids singing bowdlerized versions of the "Miss Mary Mack" (Mary Bono Mack, get it?) schoolyard rhyme are annoying
CO-07: In an ad with weak production values, Ryan Frazier attacks Ed Perlmutter for supporting the stimulus and cap-and-trade
FL-12: Dennis Ross recites some conservative pabulum
FL-25: In a minute-long spot, Joe Garcia uses news coverage to revisit the David Rivera ramming-a-delivery-truck-carrying-his-opponents-flyers incident
ID-01: Walt Minnick can't resist hitting the illegal immigration theme again - and he, too, features footage of Hispanic-looking people. Just uck
MN-06: A Tarryl Clark ad with really low production values stands out only because the otherwise serious-sounding female announcer declares: "Michele Bachmann: Not doing [bleep] for the people of the sixth district" (yes, there's an actual bleep sound) [UPDATE: Gah, it's just a fucking web ad.]
NC-02: Bob Etheridge hits one of my favorite attack ad topics: Renee Ellmers' support of a 23% national sales tax
NV-03: As she did in her last ad, Dina Titus compares Joe Heck to Sharron Angle, this time attacking his record on education
NY-13: Big fucking surprise: Despite voting against healthcare reform, Mike McMahon is getting attacked on it anyway - for not supporting repeal, and for just generally siding with Pelosi & Obama. Will Democrats never learn? Don't answer that
NY-20: Chris Gibson attacks Scott Murphy for supporting the stimulus. Man, it was a damn long time ago, but remember how much traction Murphy got last year by attacking Jim Tedisco (lol) for opposing the stimulus? (Not surprised to see the ad in that link has since been removed)
OH-18: Oh man. Clearly polls must be showing Dems that attacks on Republicans for wanting to send jobs overseas must be especially potent, 'cause here's another one, from Zack Space. No gong in this one, though - instead, he features a prototypical Chinese dragon, and then even has the announcer say a mock "thank you" in Chinese! I really can't wait for this election to be over
Steve Driehaus (D-inc): 41 (39)
Steve Chabot (R): 53 (56)
Jim Berns (L): 3
Rich Stevenson (G): 1
Undecided: 2 (5)
Not much movement for Driehaus here since January's brutal SUSA poll conducted for Firedoglake. The big reason for Driehaus' predicament? African-American voters just don't appear to be enthused -- SUSA pegs the black vote at just 16% of the electorate, down from 28% in their 2008 polling.
Counter-intuitively, though, SUSA's sub-sample of voters who say that they've already cast their ballots in Ohio's early voting process (which began on Tuesday) shows Driehaus with a 53-45 lead over Chabot. Of course, it's a tiny sample (just 6% of the broader sample), but that's not the result you'd expect given the great weight of evidence that suggests that Democrats are facing a steep enthusiasm gap. Might Driehaus be experiencing more success in getting his supporters out to the polls early?
CT-Sen: It feels as thought we've been partying like it's 1994 in more ways that one this cycle. One major throwback has been Republicans who can't control teh crazy and insist, Newt Gingrich-style, on calling for the abolition of the Department of Education. In fact, Linda McMahon did `em one better, telling some teabaggers that she would also consider getting rid of the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency. I don't understand whatever cultural bug Republicans have up their ass about the Dept. of Education, but suffice it to say that when you say you want to get rid of it, it sounds like you want to cut education funding, period. So please, keep saying that.
DE-Sen: A GOP source tells Politico that Mike Castle is fielding a poll to test his chances as a write-in. Castle has until Sept. 30th to file a statement with the elections board, something a spokesman said is an "under 5%" chance.
AL-Gov: We've seen all kinds of unexpected touting of seemingly sucky internal polls this cycle, but this may be one of the roughest. Dem Ron Sparks is saying that a poll by Capital Survey Research Center showing him down 52-39 to Republican Robert Bentley is "good news," because a July survey had Sparks behind by 22. (Technically this isn't an internal, but rather was produced by Dem-allied teachers union Alabama Education Association.)
FL-22: Allen West is out with what the Palm Beach Post is terming a "brushfire" poll (n=300) from Wilson Research Strategies that has him up 48-42 over Ron Klein. A recent Klein internal had almost opposite numbers, 48-40 for the Dem.
NC-04: This is a couple of weeks old, but repeat Republican candidate B.J. Lawson claims to have an internal poll from robopollster Action Solutions, purporting to show him up 47-46 over Rep. David Price. But, cautions Dave Wasserman of the Cook Political Report: "This isn't your standard polling outfit. This is an outfit that most in Washington would not consider reputable." Lawson only has $50K on hand (though Price only has $300K), and got crushed last time out, 63-37. His fundraising also seems to be off from his 2008 pace, when he took in half a million (he's raised just $150K this cycle).
RI-01: Dem David Cicilline is out with a comforting poll from the Feldman Group, showing him up 53-38 over Republican John Loughlin.
VA-05: I'm almost getting tired of keeping track of these, but anyhow... the NRA is expected to endorse Dem Tom Perriello.
NY-AG: A couple of pollsters also took a look at the AG's race in their recent New York polling packages. Quinnipiac, unsurprisingly, finds a close race: Dem Eric Schneiderman is at 37 while Republican Dan Donovan is at 36. Siena (PDF) paints a somewhat different picture, showing Schneiderman up 45-32 over Donovan. Both men have very low name rec in both polls, and the both hold voters of their own parties equally well. Donovan has small leads among independents in both surveys.