• FL-Sen: Dem Sen. Bill Nelson said he raised over $2 million in Q1 and would report somewhere between $4.5 and $5 million on hand. Republican Mike Haridopolos said he raised $2.6 million and would show $2.5 mil in the bank.
• HI-Sen: So that weird SMS poll we showed you yesterday which only pitted Ed Case vs. Mufi Hannemann in a Dem primary had another, more useful component. They also included favorables for a whole host of Hawaii politicians. Mazie Hirono was best (62% fave), while Linda Lingle was worst (44% unfave). Click the link for the rest. (And no, we still don't know who SMS took this poll for. They're just saying it was a private client.)
• MI-Sen: Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D) raised $1.2 million in Q1 and has $3 million on hand.
• MO-Sen: Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) raised over $1 million in Q1 and has about $1.8 million on hand.
• NM-Sen: Teabagging businessman Greg Sowards raised $150K in Q1... but it sounds like that's all his own money. The writeup is unclear, though - it's possible he raised $150K from outside sources and threw in an equal amount on his own.
• NV-Sen: Wealthy Dem attorney Byron Georgiou raised $1.1 million in Q1, with $500K of that coming from his own pockets.
• ME-Gov: We previously mentioned a proposed constitutional amendment in Maine that would require gubernatorial candidates to receive 50% of the vote (a hurdle almost no one has reached in recent decades). That proposal just died in the state Senate, so it's basically dead for this term.
• MT-Gov: Democratic state Sen. Larry Jent officially announced he is running for governor. He faces fellow state Sen. Dave Wanzenried in the primary. State AG Steve Bullock may also run.
• AZ-06: Ex-Rep. Matt Salmon, who served in a similar seat in the 1990s, says he's now thinking about running for Jeff Flake's open seat. Salmon previously said he was considering a run for governor.
• CA-03: Dem Ami Bera, seeking a rematch against Dan Lungren, says he raised over $230K in Q1. If this haul only dates to the time of his official announcement (just two weeks before the end of the quarter), it's nothing short of un-fucking-believable. However, he gets a demerit for emailing me a press release without putting it on his website so that I can link to it directly. Boo!
• CA-06: Activist Norman Solomon became the second Dem to file in Lynn Woolsey's district, in the event that she retires this cycle.
• CT-05: Dem Dan Roberti, a 28-year-old public relations exec whose father Vincent was a state rep, officially announced his entrance into the race to succeed Chris Murphy. On the GOP side, businesswoman Lisa Wilson-Foley, who sought the Republican nomination for Lt. Gov. last year, also said she was getting in.
• FL-22: Lois Frankel announced she raised $250K in Q1. Previously, we mentioned that fellow Dem "no not that" Patrick Murphy said he raised $350K.
• IN-02: Dem Rep. Joe Donnelly announced he raised $363,288 in Q1, his best single quarter ever. Dude's not going down without a fight.
• NM-01, NM-Sen: An unnamed advisor to state Auditor Hector Balderas says he won't seek Rep. Martin Heinrich's now-open House seat (something that insiders apparently were encouraging him to do, in the hopes of avoiding a contested primary). According to this advisor, Balderas is still considering a Senate run. Personally, I think it was a mistake for Balderas to say he was almost definitely going to run, only to be upstaged by Heinrich, who of course said he was actually going to run. I think Heinrich has the advantage in a primary, but Balderas needs a way to save face here if he doesn't want that fight any longer.
• NY-19: Freshman GOPer Nan Hayworth announced she raised $330K in Q1 and has a similar amount on hand. Question of the day: Do you think Hayworth could get teabagged to death?
• NY-26: Dem Kathy Hochul announced she raised $350K for the special election coming up on May 24th.
• OR-01: It took a little time, but Dems are now finally drawing out the knives for Rep. David Wu in earnest. Oregon Labor Commissioner (an elected position) Brad Avakian is putting together a team of political advisors and is likely to challenge Wu in the Dem primary. Another Dem elected official, Portland Commissioner Dan Saltzman, also apparently became the first Democrat to openly call for regime change (though he says he isn't interested in running). All eyes will certainly be on Wu's fundraising report, due on Friday.
• PA-07: Republican frosh Pat Meehan raised $325K in Q1.
• WI-07: Former state Sen. Pat Kreitlow has formed an exploratory committee for a possible challenge to freshman GOP Rep. Sean Duffy. Kreitlow served a single term in the Senate after defeating a Republican incumbent, before losing in last year's red tide. This could be a pretty good get for us if he goes through with it (which seems likely, just reading this article).
• NJ Lege: Johnny Longtorso has a good summary of the candidate filing for New Jersey's legislative races this November. Out of 120 seats, only four total are unopposed (though there may be signature challenges).
• Suffolk Co. Exec.: Will seriously no one hire Rick Lazio? Perennially a contender for Saddest Sack of the Year, Lazio is apparently considering a run for Suffolk County Executive, now that the seat will be open in the wake of Steve Levy's unusual plea agreement with law enforcement (which involved him not seeking re-election).
• Dark Money: Dems are finally starting to play catchup with the David Kochs of the world. Ali Lapp, a former DCCC official (and wife of one-time DCCC ED John Lapp) will head up a new "Super PAC" called the House Majority PAC. Such groups are actually not all that shadowy - they do have to disclose their donors. But they can raise and spend in unlimited amounts, and engage in direct "vote for/vote against" advocacy.
• EMILY's List: EMILY announced four new GOP targets: Bob Dold (IL-10), Frank Guinta (NH-01), Adam Kinzinger (IL-11), and Steve Stivers (OH-15). The group only endorses women, and there are no declared Dems in any of these races yet, but I note with interest that they claim "there is major Democratic female talent waiting in the wings." In NH-01, they could be expecting a rematch from ex-Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, and I guesss maybe Debbie Halvorson in IL-11 and Mary Jo Kilroy in OH-15, but those seem very unlikely. Any ideas?
• Iowa: It looks like Iowa's new maps will indeed pass into law very shortly. A state Senate committee approved them unanimously, and now the full body is deliberating. The state House will take the issue up today. Republican Gov. Terry Branstad hasn't yet said whether he'll support the new plans, but it'd be pretty explosive if he nuked the maps in the face of widespread backing among legislators. This has all been a very interesting process to watch, especially since after the initial federal map threw both Republican congressmen together, it was easy to imagine that the GOP would want to go back to the drawing board. But the fear of the unknown has pushed politicians to accept what they have before them, rather than risk something worse.
• Indiana: With the new GOP maps looking very much like reality (how Bobby Jindal must envy Mitch Daniels), the state legislator shuffle is set to begin. The AP notes that the new state House map "has three districts that put two current Republican legislators together, three districts with at least two Democrats and four districts with a Republican and a Democratic incumbent," which doesn't sound so bad, but Democrats point out that "five of their House members from Indianapolis were drawn into just two districts."
• Michigan: The MI lege is about to start the redistricting process. State law says maps have to be drawn by Nov. 1st.
• Texas: Republicans in the lege have introduced a bill that would require any new maps (or voter ID bills) to get litigated before a three-judge panel in D.C., rather than go through the DoJ for pre-clearance. Rick Perry apparently is already interested in this alternative. As I've speculated before, he may be hoping for a more favorable hearing from potentially conservative judges. However, I'll note that you can still sue even after the DoJ renders a pre-clearance decision, so I'm not sure why you wouldn't just take the (cheaper and easier) free shot first.
Also of note, the Latino civil rights group MALDEF released two proposals for nine majority-minority districts in Texas. (They deliberately did not offer a map that covered the entire state.) MALDEF is no random organization: They were part of the LULAC v. Perry litigation in 2006, in which the Supreme Court forced Texas to redistrict yet again because Tom DeLay's map had improperly diluted Hispanic voting strength.
• Virginia: So what's going on with this supposed deal? In a rather public bit of horse-trading, Dems (who control the state Senate) and Republicans (who control the state House and the governor's mansion) agreed that each body would get to gerrymander itself (that sounds kind of dirty, huh?), and would also agree to an incumbent protection map for congress, which would of course lock in the GOP's 8-3 advantage. But now Republicans and Democrats have each produced separate federal maps, and they are quite different, with the Dems deliberately trying to create a second district likely to elect a minority.
The oddest part of this deal is that the legislative parts of the deal have already passed - the congressional map is now an entirely separate beast, which I don't really get, since they each seemed to constitute one leg of a three-legged stool. I guess that's why the Senate Dems felt free to reject the House's federal plan, which suggests that the agreement has fallen apart. But Republicans don't seem to be howling that the Dems have somehow reneged, so maybe we didn't understand this deal properly in the first place. In any event, we're very much at an impasse here, but sometimes these logjams break apart very abruptly (see Louisiana and Arkansas).
I've been doing some research on college students and politics for my political action committee (and wrote up a post for our blog here)--since I don't know enough to contribute much to the discussions about redistricting, I thought I'd share what I've found. Maybe this is just pointless demographic trivia, but bear with me...
The district with the most college and graduate students - by far - is Mike Capuano's MA-08, which includes Harvard, MIT, and Tufts, to name a couple schools. College students make up 16.9% of the district; in no other district are they more than 14.3%.
The only other district with more than 100,000 college students is Jason Chaffetz's UT-03, which is expansive enough to include both Utah State Utah Valley University and BYU. Since UT-03 has been growing so rapidly, though, it ranks only 12th in the proportion of residents who are college students.
10 of the 25 districts with the most college students (as a percentage of residents) are represented by Republicans. Chaffetz's district is the only one among these that is totally hopeless for Democrats, although now that Chet Edwards is gone TX-17 probably falls into that category.
8 of the 10 districts with the fewest college students are represented by Republicans. Nine of those are in the Sun Belt; the district with the 10th fewest, Bill Shuster's PA-09, is the northern district with the fewest students. Gene Green is the Democrat representing the fewest college students, and Scott DesJarlais has the very fewest college constituents.
Not surprisingly, Republicans are much more likely to represent young people than college students. They hold 8 of the 10 districts with the largest proportion of 15-24 year-olds.
I'd started this project because I was curious about the districts of a couple of candidates that my political action committee had endorsed, only to watch them lose heartbreaking races. I figured that Mary Jo Kilroy and Tom Perriello--representing OSU and UVA--would figure high on the list. But it turns out that Kilroy's OH-15 is only 19th, while Perriello's VA-05 is all the way down at 136th. Of course, that doesn't mean that the dropoff in college turnout didn't contribute to their defeats. Anecdotally, at least, I've heard that UVA's turnout was terrible in 2010.
In any case: I'll be interested to see where some of these student populations end up after redistricting, since campuses are convenient blocs of low-leverage voters who can be shuffled around districts.
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.
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
AK-Sen: Hello! McFly! You ever heard of the Commerce Clause? Joe Miller evidently got quite a fine education at Yale Law, since he somehow believes that the minimum wage is "not within the scope of the powers that are given to the federal government." Oh, yeah, "merit scholarship." Now make like a tree and beat it!
P.S. Miller's personal financial disclosures - which he promised to file last week, after ignoring the law since April - are still "going to take a little while." Anybody home, McFly?!
DE-Sen: By now, you've probably all seen Christine O'Donnell's new ad. If not, drop everything and watch it. It might just blow your mind. But I don't want this other crucial item to get lost in the shuffle: In a 2006 debate, O'Donnell said that "China was plotting to take over America and claimed to have classified information about the country that she couldn't divulge." Reminds me of one of my all-time fave Michele Bachmann quotes.
KY-Sen: Rand Paul is no slouch when it comes to slagging the social safety net. At a debate this weekend, he announced that he wanted to cut Social Security benefits by raising the retirement age. And at a meeting with (who else?) the state Chamber of Commerce, he also declared that Medicaid - a program which benefits some 800,000 Kentuckians - has created "intergenerational welfare."
GA-02: Those federal indictments in Alabama regarding bribery-for-bingo charges are having effects across state lines. Jay Walker was "chief strategist" for Republican Scott McKeown, who has been making some serious headway against Rep. Sanford Bishop of late. Walker, unsurprisingly, has resigned his post.
MN-08: Republican Chip Cravaack (yep, that's how you spell it) is touting an internal poll from Public Opinion Strategies (n=300) showing him nipping at longtime Rep. Jim Oberstar's heels, 45-42. Oberstar's campaign claims that the survey was a "push poll," but Cravaack's campaign denies it (though they won't release the questionnaire). I'd be surprised if a firm like POS did anything outright shady, though. Anyhow, Cravaack had just $42K on hand as of July 21 and had only raised $100K overall. Oberstar has $1.1 million in the bank.
WA-03: This is weird - the Lower Columbia Daily News asked GOPer Jaime Herrera for a list of campaign events she's done since the August primary, but she refused to provide one, claiming it might be used to attack her. Denny Heck's campaign, for their part, says they think Herrera's all but disappeared from the campaign trail. An unofficial list shows that she supposedly did about a dozen events in this timeframe, to some 30-odd by Heck.
NY-State Sen: Did you know that Iona College was in the polling biz? I had no idea. Anyhow, it looks like they've released a couple of state Senate polls in the last few weeks (but no telling exactly how many, since I can't seem to find a central hub for them anywhere). I've come across two surveys, though: In SD-35 (PDF), Dem Andrea Stewart-Cousins leads Republican Liam McLaughlin 44-37. Meanwhile, in SD-40, GOPer Greg Ball leads Dem Mike Kaplowitz 45-35. (A Siena poll yesterday of the same race had Ball up just 45-44.) The sponsor of these polls is a right-wing business group called the Westchester County Association, which also promises to poll SD-37 and NY-19.
ID-01, OH-15: The Hotline has numbers for Walt Minnick and Mary Jo Kilroy
Ophthalmologists: Those rogues are backing a rare Dem, Glenn Nye (VA-02), and a guy whose name hasn't come up in well over a year, Erik Paulsen (MN-03), to the tune of about $65K each
CT-Sen: The DSCC is spending half a mil on TV for Richard Blumenthal
CA-Sen: Uh, is it just me, or does this ad seem like a parody of itself?
ND-AL: I like seeing this a lot. It's not the greatest ad of the cycle, but here Earl Pomeroy proudly touts his support of healthcare reform (I think he was the Dem in the reddest district to vote in favor), while attacking Rick Berg for supporting the never-popular insurance companies. If you know they're going to attack you anyway, you need to just go strong
AK-Sen: Lisa Murkowski is seeking clarification on just how expansively the state elections board will view misspellings or variants of her name. Lt. Gov. Craig Campbell, who's in charge of all this, previously said he leans "toward a liberal view" of how to count Murkowski ballots, but now he's refusing to get more specific. See you in court?
O'DONNELL: You know what, evolution is a myth. And even Darwin himself -
MAHER: Evolution is a myth?!? Have you ever looked at a monkey!
O'DONNELL: Well then, why they - why aren't monkeys still evolving into humans?
FL-Sen: Former Rep. Robert Wexler became one of the most prominent Democrats to break ranks and endorse Charlie Crist. Wexler, who has long had a close relationship with Crist, famously abandoned his party earlier this year by resigning his seat in the middle of the term, before the final votes on healthcare reform.
FL-Gov: Douchebag zillionaire Rick Scott really just out-did himself with only three words. When asked if he had forked over another million bucks to his campaign (he had), Scott responded: "I don't know." I guess it's easy to forget writing seven-figure checks when you're Rick Scott!
IA-Gov: This race has been depressing for a long while now, and the latest news is no different. A Selzer poll for the Des Moines Register shows GOPer Terry Branstad crushing Gov. Chet Culver 52-33. Just ugh.
ME-Gov: Greenberg Quinlan Rossner (D) for Libby Mitchell (9/22-24, likely voters, July in parens):
Libby Michell (D): 34 (32)
Paul LePage (R): 38 (44)
Eliot Cutler (I): 10 (8)
Shawn Moody (I): 8 (5)
Kevin Scott (I): 2 (2)
Undecided: 7 (10)
Mitchell also says her internal shows LePage's favorability weakening from 33-19 to 38-36 over the same timespan.
AZ-01: CQ got ahold of a month-old internal poll for Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick by Lake Research Partners, which shows the race to be very tight. Kirkpatrick had a 43-39 lead over Republican Paul Gosar. But of course, we're talking about late August. Who knows what's changed since then.
CO-03: Nice catch by Colorado Pols. Check out Republican Scott Tipton trying to backpedal away from his earlier statements that he'd eliminate the Department of Education:
Tipton said his plan for that department is the same as his plan for the entire federal government, to cut it in half. He said he plans to do that without cutting government services....
That is some seriously lulzy shit right there, my friends. Even better is the fact, as CO Pols points out, that Tipton already tried to back away from this plan ("slice the gov't in half") a few days ago, but he's already re-un-flip-pivot-flopping back to it. Man.
CT-05: Smaller, fun-size cat fud: Mark Greenberg, who lost in the GOP primary to Sam Caligiuri, showed up on Caligiuri's hometown to make an endorsement... of the Republican running in Rosa DeLauro's district. A Caliguri endorsement sounds unlikely.
FL-22: I'm not a big fan of Politifact for a variety of reasons, but they sink their teeth into a good one here. At a recent candidate forum, Allen West claimed, "If you look at the application for a security clearance, I have a clearance that even the president of the United States cannot obtain because of my background." This is obviously insane, points out Politifact, because security clearances exist because of a presidential executive order... which is signed by, uh, the president. The other possible way of viewing this (which is what West's campaign proudly says is their view) is as a birther-esque claim that grew out of right-wing email forwards. This "school of thought" holds that Obama's shaaady personal background means that he'd never have gotten security clearance by normal means (if he hadn't been elected). Yeah, okay.
MS-04: Remember when, a few weeks ago, Heath Shuler suggested that he might run for Speaker of the House? Well now Rep. Gene Taylor is the latest ConservaDem to take up residence in fantasy-land, saying that he'd prefer 78-year-old Ike Skelton for Speaker, rather than answer a question about whether he'd vote for Nancy Pelosi again. Taylor also refused to answer how he'd react if Republicans approached him about a party switch.
NV-03: In response to a claim by the Smart Media Group that the DCCC was cancelling a week-long buy on behalf of Rep. Dina Titus, the D-Trip announced that three panzer divisions were reconsolidating on the Eastern front the cancellation was actually a sign of strength. Later that same day, perhaps realizing that sounded like bullshit, the same Dem spokesman said that the party was still committed to a million-dollar ad buy.
PA-10: After an AP report cited an anonymous Dept. of Justice source on this story, the Scranton Times Tribune obtained an on-the-record statement from the DoJ confirming that the department has no record of having given approval for then-US Attorney Tom Marino to serve as a reference on a casino license application for his buddy Louis DeNaples. If you've been following this story, you know that DeNaples was a possibly-mobbed-up "businessman" who was under investigation by Marino's own office - and when Marino got busted for providing the reference, he resigned in disgrace, and then took a sinecure with DeNaples. Marino claimed back in the spring that he had received permission from the DoJ to give a reference for DeNaples, but this has clearly turned out to be bullshit. Dem Chris Carney has gotten a lot of mileage out of this so far.
While we're on the subject, Maine-based pollster Critical Insights tested this race for the Wilkes-Barre Times Leader. They found Marino ahead of Carney 40-36. But the n on this poll was extremely low - just 196 LVs.
PA-11: The Times Leader also polled the 11th CD. Again, with a very small sample (211 LVs), they found Republican Lou Barletta leading Rep. Paul Kanjorski by a 43-32 margin. The Kanjorski campaign blistered the poll, offering some slightly dumber lines of attack ("Makes you wonder if The Times Leader didn't cook the numbers") and some sharper ones (noting that the TL doesn't seem to be very adept at polling, given that last week they tested the Lt. Gov. race, even though Pennsylvanians don't elect the LG separately). They also questioned the partisan makeup of the sample, and its small size.
NRCC: The NRCC just made $3.2 million in expenditures on a ton of different races - too many to list here. It looks like it's mostly for paid media, as well as a bunch of polls in a number of districts. Be interesting to see if any see the light of day.
SSP TV (by James L.):
DE-Sen: Chris Coons' latest ad touts reform and fiscal conservatism
KY-Sen: Jack Conway's out with a great ad that personalizes Rand Paul's nagging hostility to federal anti-drug funding
FL-Gov: Alex Sink attacks chrome-domed creep Rick Scott for attacking her over the Florida state pension fund
CO-04: Dem Rep. Betsy Markey paints Cory Gardner as a career politician with his hand in the trough
FL-08: Dem Rep. Alan Grayson takes off the gloves... and straps on a set of brass knuckles. In his latest ad, he paints his Republican opponent as a radical religious fundamentalist, going so far as to call him "Taliban Dan Webster". In another ad, Grayson hits Webster for his Vietnam deferrals. Also worth mentioning is this ad, which came out two weeks ago but went unmentioned here, where Grayson resurrects his famous "briefcase" theme from last cycle.
HI-01: GOP Rep. Charles Djou responds to the DCCC's latest attack ad
IA-03: Dem Rep. Leonard Boswell unleashes a decent ad hitting Brad Zaun on "personal responsibility" hypocrisy
IL-14: Dem Rep. Bill Foster goes after GOP state Sen. Randy Hultgren for his company's role in fueling the mortgage crisis (and profiting from it)
NY-13: Frosh Dem Rep. Mike McMahon's first ad touts his accomplishments and votes, including his vote against healthcare reform
OH-15: Dem Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy touts her votes, while, in another ad, smacks Steve Stivers over his support of a national sales tax.
OR-05: A six-pack of seniors form a chorus to sing Dem Rep. Kurt Schrader's praises, and wave their hickory walking sticks in Republican Scott Bruun's direction
PA-11: GOPer Lou Barletta responds to Paul Kanjorski's attacks
• DE-Sen: It'd D-Day for the Republican Party: the "D" could stand for "Delaware," or maybe for the "dipshits" in the Tea Party who we'll see tonight whether they've fully succeeded in taking over the asylum. At any rate, the state GOP is rolling out a robocall from a former Christine O'Donnell 2008 staffer who's now supporting Mike Castle; she says O'Donnell isn't a "true conservative" (although that's evidenced by her inability to get her own spending under control). O'Donnell's camp responds saying the disgruntled staffer was fired after a week, rather than leaving on her own. The Beltway CW of today, at least as far as Politico goes, seems to be that Castle has regained some momentum over the last few days what with the increased scrutiny of O'Donnell, pointing to changes in responses to phonebanking in recent days.
• FL-Sen: Here's an interesting endorsement for Charlie Crist, that may help him with the growing Haitian community in the Miami area. Haitian-American State Rep. Yolly Roberson, who recently lost the FL-17 Democratic primary, gave his backing to Crist instead of Kendrick Meek, whose newly-vacated seat he was vying to occupy.
• NV-Sen, NV-Gov: The first of three (count 'em) polls out in the Nevada Senate race has what just about everyone else has seen in this quickly-getting-overpolled race: Harry Reid leads Sharron Angle in the low single digits. Ipsos/Reuter's second poll of the race gives Reid a 46-44 lead. (It was 48-44 in favor of Reid in their first poll in early August.) Apparently this wasn't the respected pollster showing a single-digit gubernatorial race that Jon Ralston was rumbling about, though: their gubernatorial numbers are 60 for Brian Sandoval, and 31 for Rory Reid. (The trendlines were 50-39 for Sandoval, so that's quite a drop, especially when considering that the Senate race has barely budged.)
• WA-Sen: Republicans hoping for some sort of reconciliation in Washington are out of luck. Clint Didier is still holding out on endorsement for Dino Rossi, popping up briefly yesterday to tell Politico that he won't do so unless Rossi capitulates to Didier's three demands regarding action items.
• RI-Gov: Michael Bloomberg parachuted into yet another race with an endorsement, as part of his nebulous goals of advancing some sort of center-left post-partisan zeitgeist. He offered his backing to moderate GOPer-turned-liberal indie Lincoln Chafee, who seems to fit the Bloomberg worldview pretty well.
• NY-St. Sen.: Veteran political reporter Liz Benjamin is out with her handicapping of the New York state Senate races this year (New York elects all Senators every two years, so everybody's up this year, as always). She points to seven Tossups, four of which are Dems and three of which are GOPers (thanks in large part to open seats). That means that control of the body, currently 32-29 (with 1 previously-GOP vacancy), is truly up for grabs this year. It's all presented in a nice-looking map format, although the functionality needs some help.
• SSP TV:
• CA-Sen: Barbara Boxer's campaign's first ad emphasizes veterans, small business, and green jobs
• MO-Sen: The winning ad of the day may just be a little radio ad from Robin Carnahan, which actually uses a jingle (how many political ads do that anymore?); the song goes amusingly negative against Roy Blunt
• KY-Sen: The newest Jack Conway ad works the law & order angle, saying Rand Paul is soft on crime, while the NRSC is out with an ad that seems to be poking fun at Conway's horse-owning ways as a means of linking him to Barack Obama... or something like that
• CO-Gov: The Colorado trainwreck continues unabated, as Tom Tancredo's first ad is an anti-Dan Maes hit job, featuring a nice little old lady who says that Maes conned her out of her money without getting into any of the specifics
• FL-Gov: Rick Scott's back on the air after letting his money have a few weeks off, trying yet again to tie Alex Sink to Barack Obama
• MA-Gov: An anti-Charlie Baker spot from Bay State Future hits Baker on his stewardship of the Big Dig, a 90s public works debacle that turned into a collective scar on the Massachusetts psyche
• CA-03: Ami Bera's first ad focuses on Dan Lungren's last minute pay raise that he gave himself as state AG, boosting his pension
• CO-07: Ed Perlmutter's out with his first ad, a positive spot
• IL-11: Debbie Halvorson's first ad uses testimonials from the unemployed to hit Adam Kinzinger hard for his support of free trade agreements
• OH-15: Mary Jo Kilroy, similarly endangered, also opts for the negative ad route, hitting Steve Stivers for his work as banking industry lobbyist
• OH-18: Sensing a theme? Zack Space hits Bob Gibbs on his support for free trade agreements too
• PA-07: Bryan Lentz is out with two separate ads, one a basic intro spot, the other making an argument that all Dems should be making: that supporting extension of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy doesn't jibe with wanting to reduce the deficit
• PA-08: Patrick Murphy talks to the camera to do some compare & contrast with Mike Fitzpatrick
• SD-AL: Two dueling ads from Stephanie Herseth Sandlin and Kristi Noem: Noem's first ad is a generic attack on Washington, while Herseth tries to rebut an ad from AFF, saying, no, she's actually conservative
• CO-Gov: John Hickenlooper (D) 46%, Dan Maes (R) 21%, Tom Tancredo (C) 25%
• NV-Sen: Harry Reid (D-inc) 48%, Sharron Angle (R) 48%
• OH-Sen: Lee Fisher (D) 41%, Rob Portman (R) 49%
• A Rasmussen By Any Other Name Would Still Smell: When a gigantic slew of polls for Fox News came out, showing, as one might expect from Fox, bad results for Democrats, I wasn't surprised. Something seemed off, though: I first noticed that this wasn't Fox's usual pollster (which is Opinion Dynamics), but someone called Pulse. Then some of the details really made my antennae twitch: these were auto-dialed polls conducted over one day (meaning no callbacks), and the day they chose was not only a Saturday (when young people tend to out, y'know, doing things) but freakin' 9/11! Then Taegan Goddard helpfully pointed out this, which explains it all: Pulse Research is a subsidiary of Rasmussen. You may recall some discussion earlier in the year of a new Rasmussen venture that would let people pay $600 to poll anything or anyone they wanted... that's Pulse. So, they're just going in the Rasmussen containment pool with the "real" Rasmussen polls; for what it's worth, the numbers are pretty much in line with where Rasmussen sees the races, so at least we know Pulse isn't doing anything differently.
• CA-Gov: Jerry Brown (D) 43%, Meg Whitman (R) 49%
• CA-Sen: Barbara Boxer (D-inc) 46%, Carly Fiorina (R) 44%
• FL-Gov: Alex Sink (D) 49%, Rick Scott (R) 41%
• FL-Sen: Kendrick Meek (D) 21%, Marco Rubio (R) 41%, Charlie Crist (I) 27%
• NV-Gov: Rory Reid (D) 38%, Brian Sandoval (R) 56%
• NV-Sen: Harry Reid (D-inc) 44%, Sharron Angle (R) 45%
• OH-Gov: Ted Strickland (D-inc) 43%, John Kasich (R) 48%
• OH-Sen: Lee Fisher (D) 41%, Rob Portman (R) 48%
• PA-Gov: Dan Onorato (D) 40%, Tom Corbett (R) 50%
• PA-Sen: Joe Sestak (D) 41%, Pat Toomey (R) 47%
• WI-Sen: Know how you can tell that this hypocrisy-on-government-aid problem (see the last couple digests for backstory... Ron Johnson's company Pacur has been repeatedly expanded with the help of government loans, y'know, the kind that of meddling in the free market that we have to get rid of) is putting a scare into the Johnson camp? Now he's been rewriting history on Pacur's website to adjust the founding date of his company, from 1977 to 1979. Johnson had previously claimed that the railroad spur built (with federal help, natch) to his company was in early '79, before Pacur was founded. (Pacur's predecessor company was founded in '77; it changed names in '79.)
• CO-Gov (pdf): Republican pollster Magellan is out with a new look at the Colorado gubernatorial race; they find the combined Dan Maes + Tom Tancredo vote still less than the John Hickenlooper vote. It's Hickenlooper 46, Maes 27, Tancredo 17. (That's a lot fewer undecideds than today's Rasmussen poll; see below.)
• FL-Gov: Ah, the sweet smell of unity. Well, sort of... the state party finally got around to having its fete for newly-minted gubernatorial nominee Rick Scott, the one canceled last week for lack of, well, unity. Insiders like state House speaker Dean Cannon and next state Senate president Mike Haridopolos toasted Scott, despite the fact that up until last Tuesday they were working hard to defeat him. There was someone important missing, though, that kind of defeats that whole "unity" thing... it was Bill McCollum, who confirmed yet again today that he's "staying out of" the governor's race. Meanwhile, DGA head Nathan Daschle (here's a guy who knows how the game is played) is out with a bit of concern trolling of his own, offering unsolicited advice to RGA head Haley Barbour and other interested Republicans that they probably don't want to be seen campaigning next to Scott.
• NM-Gov: Biden alert! The Veep will be bringing his patented comedic stylings to the Land of Enchantment to host a fundraiser for Diane Denish, whose once slam-dunk gubernatorial bid has deteriorated into a jump-ball.
• NY-Gov: State GOP party chair Ed Cox is having a helping heaping of crow from breakfast, having to get behind Rick Lazio for the GOP gubernatorial nod... out of fear of the possibility of the even more objectionable Carl Paladino winding up with the nomination. (Remember, Cox recruiting Suffolk Co. Exec Steve Levy to not only get in the race but switch parties to do so, only to watch him crash and burn.) Cox issued a letter urging local party leaders to get behind Cox, filled with magnanimous praise, perhaps none more so than when he calls Lazio "credible."
• AR-04: Rounding out their tour of the state, Talk Business Journal/Hendrix College take a look at the 4th, the only non-open seat in all of Arkansas. Despite the rough poll numbers that they found for the Dem candidates in the 1st and 2nd, they find Mike Ross in solid shape, probably thanks to an underwhelming opponent in the form of Beth Anne Rankin. Ross leads 49-31, with 4 going to Green candidate Joshua Drake.
• FL-08: In yet another example of Alan Grayson zigging when other Dems zag, he's out with an internal poll, and it puts him in surprisingly strong shape against Daniel Webster, thanks in large part to a strong performance by "other" (presumably the Tea Party candidate). The PPP poll gives Grayson a 40-27 lead over Webster, with 23 for "Other" and 11 undecided. That's all in the face of a new ad campaign from Americans for Prosperity, who are out with ads in the Orlando market attacking both Grayson and FL-24's Suzanne Kosmas. (AFP, of course, is the front group for the right-wing billionaire Koch family, and the DCCC has recently filed IRS complaints against AFP for engaging in political advocacy despite its tax-exempt status.)
• FL-22: Allen West is out with a second TV ad focusing on economic issues, like that burdensome debt. (He's talking about national debt, not his own debts.) Still, most of the buzz in this race right now seems to be about his latest round of unhinged remarks on his campaign website's blog, in which he called opponent Ron Klein, calling him, among other things, a "cretin," "little Lord Ron," a "pathetic liberal," "little Ronnie," and "a mama's boy" to Nancy Pelosi.
• IA-05: Rep. Steve King declined to debate opponent Matt Campbell in about the douchiest way possible: when Campbell showed up at a King town hall to ask King why he wasn't willing to debate, King said that Campbell had "not earned it."
• MI-01, MI-07: Well, it looks like the fake Tea Party is truly finished in Michigan. The Michigan Court of Appeals today upheld the Board of Canvassers' decision them off the ballot because of irregularities in submitted signatures. There were Tea Party candidates ready to go in the 1st and the 7th, both competitive districts where Dems would be glad to have some right-wing votes siphoned off from the GOP candidates.
• MO-04: Rep. Ike Skelton is the chair of the House Armed Services Committee, and he wants you to know it. Instead of focusing on the endless jobs-jobs-jobs mantra like many Dems, he's focusing on military issues and his commitment to veterans. His first two ads featured testimonials from a Marine mother and an Army veteran, and his third ad attacked GOP opponent Vicky Hartzler over her apparently insufficient support of the military.
• NC-11: Two Democratic House members out with internals? Let's hope this is actually a trend. Buried in a CQ article about his new TV ad (with a buy in the "high five digits"), there are also some details about Heath Shuler's most recent internal poll. The poll, taken by Anzalone-Liszt, gives Shuler a 51-34 lead over Jeff Miller. More ads are likely to follow, as Shuler leads Miller in the cash department, $1.4 million to $70K.
• NY-13: Rep. Mike McMahon's getting some big name help on the stump. Bill Clinton will join McMahon for a Friday rally on Staten Island.
• NY-20: Scott Murphy's dipping into his big war chest with another TV spot, this one focusing on his job-preserving efforts. Murphy opponent Chris Gibson, meantime, dropped a bombshell in his first debate against Murphy last week: that government intervention exacerbated the Great Depression rather than mitigated it (a theory advanced by Amity Schlaes and approximately, oh, zero other respected economists).
• PA-10: What's up with former US Attorneys in Pennsylvania turning out to be thin-skinned, poor campaigners? There's the Mary Beth Buchanan implosion, of course, but now video has turned up of Tom Marino's recent encounter with protesters at a Williamsport appearance. Marino yells back to protestors "What do you do for a job?" and "What kind of welfare are you on?" (No word on whether these questions were punctuated with "You hippies!")
• VA-05: Here's a guy we haven't thought about in a long time: Ross Perot. Yet, Tom Perriello is dusting off Perot and holding him up as a guy he liked, especially in terms of his deficit hawkishness. He did so in the context of meeting with the local Tea Partiers (where he also reiterated his support for canning the Geithner/Summers economic team), probably in an effort to find some common ground with them.
• State legislatures: The DLCC has a memorandum out that lays out where they'll be focusing their efforts this year (and thus what they consider to be the most competitive state legislative chambers). The 10 chambers they're emphasizing on defense are the Alabama Senate, Colorado Senate, Indiana House, Nevada Senate, New Hampshire Senate, New York Senate, Ohio House, Pennsylvania House, Wisconsin Assembly, and Wisconsin House. They're also going on the offense in the Michigan Senate, Kentucky Senate, Tennessee House, and Texas House..
• WA-Init: SurveyUSA has polls of a handful of initiatives that'll be on the ballot in November. Most significantly, they find continued (although reduced, from their previous poll) support for I-1098, which would create a state income tax for high earners. It's currently passing, 41-33. Meanwhile, Washingtonians quite literally want to have their cake and eat it too: they're favoring I-1107, by a 42-34 margin, which would end sales taxes on candy and end temporary taxes on bottled water and soft drinks.
• Dave's App: Just in time for the school year, here's a new time-wasting opportunity: Dave's Redistricting Application now has partisan data for Pennsylvania. (There's also partisan data for CA, MD, NC, NM, NY, and TX.)
• Polltopia: PPP wants to know where you think they should poll next. Interesting options include Maine and West Virginia (where there's the tantalizing prospect of House races being polled, too).
• MO-Sen: Anti-Roy Blunt ad from Robin Carnahan
• NH-Gov: Positive jobs-jobs-jobs spot from John Lynch
• FL-02: Allen Boyd hits Steve Southerland on Social Security privatization, 17th Amendment
• IN-09: Anti-Baron Hill from Todd Young
• IN-09: Anti-Todd Young ad from Baron Hill (Social Security privatization... sensing a theme here?)
• MN-06: Bio ad from Tarryl Clark
• MN-06: Michele Bachmann wants you to know that she hates taxes
• NJ-12: Emergency Committee for Israel ad against Rush Holt ("modest but real" buy)
• OH-15: Positive bio ad about Steve Stivers' military service
• PA-11: Paul Kanjorski's first TV ad, hitting Lou Barletta over what a shithole Hazleton is
• SC-05: Bio ad from Mick Mulvaney (his first ad)
• WI-07: DCCC ad attacking Sean Duffy over Social Security privatization (their first independent expenditure ad anywhere)
• CO-Gov: John Hickenlooper (D) 36%, Dan Maes (R) 24%, Tom Tancredo (C) 14%
• OH-Sen: Lee Fisher (D) 39%, Rob Portman (R) 44%
• PA-Sen: Joe Sestak (D) 39%, Pat Toomey (R) 45%
The American Action Forum is back with a new batch of House polls. (They released their first dozen last week.) One major caveat, though: as pointed out in the comments section (!) of Hotline on Call, the ballot head-to-head questions in each poll were buried under several thermometer-style questions on Obama, Pelosi, and healthcare reform:
Those American Action Forum polls are designed to prime respondents into selecting Republican candidates. Instead of starting off with the ballot-test question, they start by asking if people think the country is on the right or wrong track, do they support/oppose health care reform, and their fav/unfav opinion of Obama & Pelosi (not Boehner and Bush, of course). Look, the Democrats are going to lose a lot of seats, and they will lose some of these seats in this poll, but the most credible way to conduct a general election poll is to start by asking who the respondent is voting for, because that is the one question that will actually be on a ballot. At least I give credit to these Republicans for showing the questions they asked.
That's absolutely right. For any poll to maintain its credibility, the toplines need to be asked at the start (or at least, no later than right after the favorables, as PPP does it).
That said, we can still take a look at the toplines with a grain of salt.
Note: Check out the downright geriatric sample for the OH-16 poll -- 4% of the voters are between the ages of 18 and 34, 22% are between 35 and 49, and 74% are 50 and up. SUSA's crosstabs from 2008 had a sample breakdown among those age brackets of 20-28-52. Other polls in this batch have similar shifts, but this one is the most glaring.