• AK-Sen: I thought Joe Miller (last seen praising the COMMUNISTS!!1! in East Germany for their wall-building skills) wasn't going to talk about his personal life anymore (i.e. personal stuff like his on-the-job politicking while working for the borough of Fairbanks)? Well, now he is, and he's openly admitted on CNN that he was disciplined by the borough for an ethical violation. "John, I'll admit I'm a man of many flaws," he said. Apparently one of those flaws was using his various co-workers' computers while they were away for lunch to rig an online poll intended to displace Randy Ruedrich as state GOP chair, then wiping out their caches to cover his tracks, then getting caught when the wiped caches were discovered. Miller said he was reprimanded and docked pay as a result. However he maintains the incident had nothing to do with his departure from the office a year and a half later (which others maintain was imminently before he was about to be fired). So... a guy is possibly about to go from not being able to hack it as a contract attorney for a city of about 25,000, to a Senator, in the space of about a year? Geez, only in America.
• CT-Sen: Linda McMahon's no slouch either on the self-funding front: she loaned herself $20 million last quarter, bringing her all-cycle total to $41.5 million. (No word, of course, on how much of that $20 million actually has been or will be spent.) Meg Whitman was heard sniffing disdainfully and saying McMahon should call once she reaches the eight digits.
• DE-Sen: Sometimes, it's best to keep your mouth shut and let everyone assume you're a fool, rather than open your mouth and categorically prove it. The highlight of last night's debate:
Republican Senate nominee Christine O'Donnell of Delaware on Tuesday questioned whether the Constitution calls for a separation of church and state, appearing to disagree or not know that the First Amendment bars the government from establishing religion....
"The First Amendment establishes the separation, the fact that the federal government shall not establish religion," Coons said.
"The First Amendment does?" O'Donnell interrupted. "You're telling me that the separation of church and state is found in the First Amendment?"
• KY-Sen: With Aqua Buddha suddenly back dominating coverage of this race, no one's really stopped to ask Aqua Buddha lady what she thinks of all this. She thinks that Jack Conway's ad's tone is over-the-top, but agrees with the fundamentals, that it's an accurate reflection of Rand Paul's past views and that he should acknowledge that he's just changed his religious views since then (instead of playing the victim).
• MA-Sen: Wait, the 2010 election hasn't happened yet? Still not too early to talk about 2012. Rep. Mike Capuano, runner-up in the Dem primary in the special election and considered the likeliest opponent against Scott Brown in two years, is openly "mulling" the race, although his official line is "Talk to me in December."
• NV-Sen: We finally have some confirmation on what we'd suspected, regarding Sharron Angle's burn rate, thanks to Salon's crack team. She may have raised $14 million, but she also spent $5.3 million on direct mail expenses last quarter in order to get that money. $920K of that went to BaseConnect and its affiliates, with $1.5 million to somebody called Patton-Kiehl, who seemed responsible for the actual printing and postage. Another $4 million went to TV ads, leaving her with the $4 million CoH she reported.
• MD-Gov: This one looks closer and closer to being wrapped up in favor of Martin O'Malley. On top of today's Gonzales poll, there's also news that the RGA is scaling things back in Maryland, planning to spend less than $200K for Bob Ehrlich in the final two weeks. O'Malley may also benefit from an across-the-aisle endorsement (although it's from a figure who's committed his fair share of apostasies): ex-Rep. Wayne Gilchrest gave him his backing today.
• MN-Gov: Here's one more across-the-aisle endorsement (the only kind we'd bother reporting on, at this stage in the game). Tom Horner, the Independence Party candidate in Minnesota, got an endorsement from Mike Ciresi, a wealthy attorney who you might remember from losing the 2000 DFL Senate primary to Mark Dayton (wonder if there are any hard feelings there?) and ran again for Senate in 2008 but dropped out pre-convention. That may make things a smidge harder for Dayton, who needs Horner to draw votes mostly from the R column.
• AL-02: This has to be one of the weirdest IEs of the cycle: Blue America is spending in AL-02 of all places, and they're spending $48K against Bobby Bright. I guess they hate Blue Dogs just that much.
• FL-22: You know, if you're fighting allegations that you have links to the outlaw biker gang conveniently known as the Outlaws, probably the best way to do that is by not having bikers providing security at your rallies. Well, that's what happened at an Allen West appearance, where bikers physically drove off a Ron Klein tracker. Video is available at the link. (At least "Sympathy for the Devil" wasn't playing in the background.)
• NC-07: Here's some interesting scuttlebutt out of the 7th, where Mike McIntyre is joining the I-won't-vote-for-Pelosi brigade but where he's also saying that he's heard that she won't be running for Speaker again. (That would, of course, presume having a majority; no word on whether he's heard if she plans on running for minority leader.) Relatedly, even Mike McMahon, who's looking like a good bet to survive his red-leaning district this year, is now sounding noncommittal but at least Pelosi-skeptical.
• OR-04: Wondering who the mysterious Concerned Taxpayers of America are, who've trained most of their advertising firepower on Peter DeFazio, turning this into at least a mildly competitive race? Well, it turns out there's a grand total of two of them, each of whom has ponied up hundreds of thousands of dollars. One of them, Robert Mercer, appears to be the one with the beef against DeFazio, probably because he's a hedge fund manager and takes issue with DeFazio's leadership on taxing major hedge-fund transactions.
• VA-05: I guess demanding the moon and the sun when you make your initial offer in a negotiating session is a good strategy, but independent teabagger Jeffrey Clark may have taken that ridiculously far in his attempts to negotiate a dropout from the race and an endorsement for GOP candidate Robert Hurt. Clark offered to drop out if he got the chance to debate Hurt one-on-one, and then if subsequent polling didn't have him at 25% of the vote! Hurt has refused to appear any at any debates where Clark is included, and doesn't seem any likelier to do so now.
• WA-08: I know it's fashionable to paint Dave Reichert as not being one of the sharpest tools in the shed, but it's hard not to do so when he gives you so much material: at a forum with opponent Suzan DelBene, confessed in response to a question that he wasn't familiar with the Glass-Steagall Act. (The resurrection of Glass-Steagall was one of the main things being debated as part of the financial reform package passed this year.)
• DCCC: Here's some activity from the D-Trip that doesn't bode well: they've started going on the air in NC-11 for Heath Shuler, previously thought safe based on most of the polling we've seen so far but has been in the crosshairs of a lot of third-party advertising from folks like Americans for Job Security. (NWOTSOTB.) They're also increasing their buys in the coming weeks in neighboring districts SC-05 (John Spratt) and NC-07 (Mike McIntyre). Also, file this under a sorta-kinda triage decision: the DCCC is cutting off ads in NM-02, on behalf of Harry Teague. Chris Van Hollen says they're leaving Teague in "great position," which (shades of Steve Kagen here) is probably code for "he's personally wealthy" and it's time for him to buy his own bandaids.
• Polltopia: PPP is letting you choose an unprecedented six states to poll in, as part of their final round of polling. They must be renting some extra robots, because they're planning to poll 18 different states the week before the election, although 12 states (basically, the most obvious ones) are already locked in. Go vote!
• SSP TV:
• CA-Sen: EMILY's List is out with a TV spot featuring an opera guy singing a ditty about Carly Fiorina (and her time as Hewlett-Packard CEO)
• NV-Sen: Both the DSCC and NRSC are out with ads; the DSCC says that while you're angry, don't take it out by voting for Sharron Angle, while the GOP says Harry Reid lives in a fancy hotel and parties with supermodels
• WA-Sen: One of the Dems' few big-money behind-the-scenes groups, Commonsense Ten, looks at Dino Rossi's cozy connections
• WV-Sen: Joe Manchin's new ad just flat out says "John Raese uses people"
• CA-Gov: Too bad this is only a Jerry Brown web ad, because it's one of the most effective ones we've seen this cycle: it ties Meg Whitman to unpopular Arnold Schwarzenegger, matching them quote for quote (UPDATE: Good news, everybody! The ad is going to be running on television, despite its one-minute length! It's that good.)
• TX-Gov: Bill White's new ad hits Rick Perry on his rental mansion
• SC-02: Joe "Yewwwwww Laaaaaah!" Wilson talks about dodging mortar fire in his newest ad (mortar fire that apparently landed on the other end of the airport while on what Rob Miller has been calling a Congressional junket, but that's OK)
• TX-17: Here's a sign that Chet Edwards has done something to show that he's stemmed the bleeding (or at least that he called in some serious favors), as the DCCC's back on the air here with an effective ad about bailout funds for Bill Flores' oil company
• Original recipe Rasmussen:
• KY-Sen: Jack Conway (D) 42%, Rand Paul (R) 47%
• MI-Gov: Virg Bernero (D) 34%, Rick Snyder (R) 54%
• NV-Gov: Rory Reid (D) 37%, Brian Sandoval (R) 56%
• Extra crispy Rasmussen (aka Fox/Pulse):
• CA-Gov: Jerry Brown (D) 48%, Meg Whitman (R) 43%
• CA-Sen: Barbara Boxer (D-inc) 48%, Carly Fiorina (R) 44%
• CO-Gov: John Hickenlooper (D) 40 45%, Dan Maes (R) 10%, Tom Tancredo (C) 45 40%
• CO-Sen: Michael Bennet (D-inc) 45%, Ken Buck (R) 46%
• MO-Sen: Robin Carnahan (D) 43%, Roy Blunt (R) 49%
• OH-Gov: Ted Strickland (D-inc) 43%, John Kasich (R) 49%
• WV-Sen: Joe Manchin (D) 45%, John Raese (R) 48%
FL-Sen: Suffolk (10/14-17, likely voters, no trendlines):
Kendrick Meek (D): 22
Marco Rubio (R): 39
Charlie Crist (I): 31
FL-Gov: Suffolk (10/14-17, likely voters, no trendlines):
Alex Sink (D): 45
Rick Scott (R): 38
Misc.: In the AG race, Pam Bondi (R) leads Dan Gelber (D), 38-30. Also, a poll by Voter Survey Service (aka Susquehanna) for the right-wing Sunshine State News site has Adam Putnam (R) leading Scott Maddox (D) in the Ag Comm'r race, 40-35. Tea Party candidate Ira Chester takes 14%.
Tom Barrett (D): 41 (28)
Scott Walker (R): 50 (44)
Undecided: 6 (17)
Margins & Errors: The Fix publishes an alleged WA-Sen poll without either field dates or sample size... Bill Kristol (yeah, that Bill Kristol) claims he has his hands on an OH-10 poll - he has the n, but won't say the pollster's name, who paid for the poll, or when it was taken... Pollster.com has a PDF from ccAdvertising with numbers for WV-Sen, WV-01, and WV-03 - but not only does ccA report to hundredths of a percent, they get taken to the woodshed by Mark Blumenthal for refusing to divulge the poll's sponsor
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: Joe Miller is taking a vow of omertà, insisting that he simply won't answer any more questions about his personal background. He's also taking a page right out of the Sarah Palin playbook, whining that he's been the victim of "journalist impropriety," and making up stories about reporters gaining access to his "confidential file," in "violation of the law." I despairingly think that Miller won't pay the price for this that he ought to - look at Rick Perry, who refuses to meet with newspaper editorial boards, as an example.
Also of note: Miller is trying to unring that Seventeenther bell a bit - but not really. His stance now is that a constitutional amendment to eliminate the direct election of senators is not "practical," but sure sounds like he'd love to do it if he could. What a weirdo.
NV-Sen: Clinton alert! The Big Dog will be in Nevada today to campaign with Harry Reid.
WV-Sen: Clinton alert (retroactive)! Bill Clinton was in Morgantown yesterday, campaigning for Joe Manchin. He made a point of saying that the "hick-y" ad "burns me up."
KS-Gov: This creeptastic story is finally getting some play in the Kansas gubernatorial race. Back around 2002 or so, Sam Brownback was roommates in Washington, DC with a radical cleric named Lou Engle. You might remember Engle as the Talibangelist who led a "prayer" rally in Uganda right when the country was debating passage of a bill which would have implemented the death penalty for homosexuals. Though he later tried to distance himself from the measure, at the time, Engle "praised the country's 'courage' and 'righteousness' in promoting the bill. In the past, Engle has also donated to Brownback's campaigns, and Brownback has done events with him as recently as last year. Seemingly caught off-guard by all this, the Brownback campaign had no statement in response.
NY-Gov: When you've lost Rudy Giuliani... His Dingusness attacked fellow Republican Carl Paladino over his anti-gay remarks, calling them "highly offensive" and saying Paladino should apologize. Not really sure what Rudy's angle is here, though.
TN-Gov: Republican gubernatorial nominee Bill Haslam poured in another $2.8 million of his own money in the third quarter, for $4.3 mil total. He's also raised a pretty amazing $12.5 million from outside donors, all told; combined, this apparently makes for a new Tennessee record. (Recall that Haslam had a very competitive GOP primary.) Dem Mike McWherter hasn't released 3Q nums yet, but he's raised just a fraction of what Haslam has.
FL-22: Barack Obama did a fundraiser last night at the home of former NBA great Alonzo Mourning (which we mentioned to you back in SSP Amazing Digest #88). The event raised a million bucks, split between the Ron Klein campaign and the DNC. In attendance were Miami Heat players Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade (but not LeBron James), as well as Magic Johnson.
ME-02: Looks like Jason Levesque is going to have to beg his mom for rides to campaign rallies: the Republican just got his license suspended, after three speeding convictions in the past year. Lifetime, he has 18 driving-related convictions (including nine for speeding), and his licenses has been suspended three times.
NV-03: Joe Heck has a serious problem wrapped around his neck like a twenty-pound goiter. It's called Sharron Angle, and he just doesn't know what do with it. When asked directly by a voter whether he planned to vote for his own party's senate nominee, Heck responded: "I'm waiting to see all of the evidence before I make my choice."
NY-01: Biden alert! The VPOTUS is coming to NYC to do a fundraiser for Tim Bishop on Oct. 26th. Seems awfully late in the game to be raising scratch, but I suppose a Biden event is such a sure thing that Bishop can max out the campaign credit cards against the expected take.
OH-09: As he watches his candidacy circle the drain, Rich Iott lashed out at the top-ranking Jewish Republican in the Milky Way, Eric Cantor, who had repudiated him a day earlier:
"I think that Representative Cantor did what so many career politicians do. He reacted before he had all the facts. He didn't know the whole story. He didn't understand what historical reenacting is all about, or the education side of it. And he just made a decision without all the facts. My opponent here is cut out of the same cloth. Those are the people who passed the health care bill before they knew what was in it. The same folks who passed the stimulus bill...."
Because comparing the minority whip to Democrats is a good idea for a Republican candidate with a future, right? Anyhow, for those of you who perhaps wanted to hold out hope that Iott was just some weird LARPer (but I repeat myself), please review this paragraph taken from the website of his fellow Nazi re-enactors:
Nazi Germany had no problem in recruiting the multitudes of volunteers willing to lay down their lives to ensure a "New and Free Europe", free of the threat of Communism. National Socialism was seen by many in Holland, Denmark, Norway, Finland, and other eastern European and Balkan countries as the protector of personal freedom and their very way of life, despite the true underlying totalitarian (and quite twisted, in most cases) nature of the movement. Regardless, thousands upon thousands of valiant men died defending their respective countries in the name of a better tomorrow. We salute these idealists; no matter how unsavory the Nazi government was, the front-line soldiers of the Waffen-SS (in particular the foreign volunteers) gave their lives for their loved ones and a basic desire to be free.
OR-04: There's no direct quote here, but the Douglas County News-Review reports that Rep. Peter DeFazio "says he favors replacing Pelosi as speaker if Democrats retain their majority." DeFazio has long had an antagonistic relationship with Pelosi, most recently coming to a head with his refusal to vote for the stimulus, allegedly from the left.
OR-05: These Republicans have no respect for Godwin's Law, do they? Speaking of the healthcare reform bill, Scott Bruun said:
"From a social perspective, it's right up there, I would argue - probably the fugitive slave law was worse. But still, the healthcare bill was pretty darn bad."
The Fugitive Slave Act, which "required any runaway slaves who had escaped their bondage and were living free in the Northern states be returned to their owners" - and was one of the causes of the Civil War. Right on!
PA-03, PA-12: Biden alert (retroactive)! The VPOTUS did a fundraiser in Pittsburgh with both Reps. Kathy Dahlkemper and Mark Critz in attendance. The Hill makes a big deal out of the fact that this event didn't take place in Critz's district - but I'm just going to guess that there are a lot more wealthy Dems in the P'burgh area than in the 12th CD.
PA-06: Can an internal ever be too good? Well, you tell me if you believe this Susquehanna survey that Jim Gerlach is touting, which has him up by a massive 61-31 spread. Still, now would be a good time for Manan Trivedi or the DCCC to show us something different.
PA-11: If Paul Kanjorski somehow, improbably, survives once more, he will owe his fortune yet again to the realtors, who have already spent three-quarters of a million on ads on his behalf, after spending a million bucks last time.
Polltopia: Time to help PPP pick their next state to poll.
FL-Gov: In a move we've seen a few times this cycle, Alex Sink is trying out the long-form political ad, this time with a 2-minute spot detailing Rick Scott's Medicare fraud and his attempts to hide from it
WA-08: In her third ad, Suzan DelBene hits Reichert on raising taxes & shipping jobs overseas
AFSCME: Throws down $750K against Republican roofer Reid Ribble (WI-08) and $628K against GOPer Mike Fitzpatrick (PA-08)
NRA: Almost $3 million in senate buys (here & here)
AK-Sen: Another great catch by the Mudflats, and I'm ashamed I missed this one myself. In trying to explain why he applied for an indigent hunting license (for people making less than $8200/yr), Joe Miller claimed he was on a merit scholarship at Yale. Fortunately, Mudflats catches something about my alma mater that managed to slip my mind: Yale doesn't offer merit scholarships. What lie will come next from the Miller camp?
CT-Sen: Heartless bastard Linda McMahon said she wants to lower the minimum wage - and even admitted she didn't fucking know what the current minimum wage is! I love it when zillionaire assholes think that the guys on the bottom rung should be shoved down a rung further. Eh, fuck you, Linda McMahon.
Connecticut's Working Families Party also took this opportunity to slam McMahon and endorse Dem Richard Blumenthal, who will benefit from having the WFP line. (Connecticut, like New York, allows fusion voting.) In case you were wondering, all five of CT's Congressmembers have the WFP's backing, as does gubernatorial nominee Dan Malloy.
DE-Sen: When called on the fact that her LinkedIn page made the extremely lulzy claim that she'd studied at Oxford, Christine O'Donnell claimed someone else had posted the profile. Now a different version has been uncovered at ZoomInfo (which says the profile was claimed - presumably by O'Donnell - through a "double opt-in process"), and it, too, has the Oxford bullshit. I'd say "busted!", but is this even remotely a surprise?
KY-Sen: Have you seen Jack Conway's excellent new ad about Kentucky's drug problem? Well, Rand Paul thinks it's "kind of tacky and really dishonest and kind of creepy." Mike Donta, the man featured in the ad who lost his son to drug addiction, said Paul's childish reaction is an "insult," both to him and other families battling this problem.
And one other important note: The ad buy that the DSCC supposedly cancelled here has been "bought back," according to Aaron Blake.
OH-Sen: The Cleveland Plain Dealer obtained an internal Lee Fisher finance document, which lays out a bunch of different scenarios for keeping the campaign financially afloat in the final month of the race. It's not a pretty picture - one nuclear option involves laying off ten staff members to pay for TV time. And worst of all, Fisher apparently raised less than a million bucks in the quarter. Sigh.
WV-Sen: Despite John Raese's efforts to paint him as weak on coal, Dem Gov. Joe Manchin secured the endorsement of the West Virginia Coal Association, which "represents 90 percent of the state's coal producers."
HI-Gov: He doesn't sound quite like an anti-vax nutter, but Republican Lt. Gov. Duke Aiona is refusing to get a flu shot himself, saying he's "not convinced that vaccines are more beneficial that harmful," despite encouraging state residents to get vaccinated. Yeah, that's helpful.
CO-04: If I had my dream job, newspaper writers would refer to me as "Democratic ratfucker DavidNYC," because really, I love nothing more than a good ratfuck. So kudos to "Our Community Votes," which is running a radio ad "attacking" a conservative independent candidate, ostensibly in the hopes of raising his profile and making him more appealing to wingers. It's not clear who's behind the group, but "public records shows that it shares Washington, D.C., office space with other groups tied to Steve Rosenthal, a longtime labor movement and Democratic strategist and former political director of the AFL-CIO." And there's real money behind this buy, too: $100,000 worth.
CO-07: The douchebags at the American Future Fund are spending $560K trying to unseat Ed Perlmutter, and apparently in a first for them, this includes a canvass operation, not just ad buys.
IL-10: Another day, another legal hassle for Bob Dold! The FEC dinged him for failing to report a $17,000 expenditure for "a motor coach that was used in Dold's ads as part of a bus tour." Dold submitted amended reports which showed several other expenditures and debts that somehow went missing from his earlier filings. How do you just forget about $17,000? Bob Dold!
WA-08: Ugh - this is pathetic. Evidently the League of Conservation Voters - another one of those ostensibly liberal groups that loved to endorse so-called "moderate" Republicans - enjoys getting abused. Earlier this year, Dave Reichert admitted that he occasionally votes a pro-environment line simply to remain in office. Despite this, the LCV is endorsing Reichert on account of his cap-and-trade vote. Glad to see they admire sincerity so much.
Site News: The Swing State Project just enjoyed its biggest month ever, with over 700,000 pageviews and more than 350,000 visitors. Here's hoping the trend continues!
MO-Sen: Robin Carnahan attacks Roy Blunt for being a "prodigious pork-meister." Does anyone else think this is as lame and boring as when Republicans try to pin this on us?
NV-Sen: Harry Reid has led the way with relentless, hard-hitting, and just plain good attack ads this cycle. Yeah, Sharron Angle provides a lot of fodder, but all Republicans have weak spots. This ad nails her for trying to repeal a law which requires insurance companies to cover mammograms
WV-Sen: Joe Manchin hits John Raese with his own words, including Raese's infamous "I made money the old-fashioned way - I inherited it" gem
CO-Gov: Dan Maes (yeah, I know!!) has a really boring minute-long intro ad. No word on the size of the "buy," but I doubt he could even afford to run Google ads on SSP
FL-25: Two ads from GOPer David Rivera - the first a boring spot about cutting government spending (check out the weird artifacts bouncing off his shirt at 27 seconds - you think YouTube? or is the broadcast version also messed up?); the second, a litany of attacks on Joe Garcia (and the production values are weak here, too). Meanwhile, Garcia has a much better ad hitting Rivera for the infamous "ramming a truck off the road" incident
IL-10: Bob Dold! thinks that Dan Seals is a job killer
ME-02: Fuck, these veteran ads always make me well up a bit. Another good one on VA health clinics, from Mike Michaud (his first in four years)
Concerned Taxpayers: $92K for GOPer Art Robinson (OR-04) and $47K against Frank Kratovil (MD-01)
FIRST!... Amendment Alliance: $117K against Harry Reid (NV-Sen) (Topic: The First Amendment Alliance doesn't care about the first amendment or alliances. Discuss)
Realtors: $1.3 million spread among Bill Foster (IL-14), Pat Tiberi (OH-12), Ken Calvert (CA-44), and Dave Reichert (WA-08), including polls
Revere America: George Pataki's band of fuckwits is spending over $400K on ads against Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01) and over $350K against John Hall (NY-19) (note second buy was made 9/17 but report filed 9/30 in violation of FEC rules)
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.
• AR-Sen: Like I always say, flip-flopping at every opportunity is the best way to win elections. Then:
Lincoln: I Will Fight Reconciliation as Tool to Achieve Health Insurance Reform
Asked twice whether she was wavering on her previous statements to vote against a reconciliation bill, Lincoln said: "I'll wait to see what's in it."
Considering she already voted for healthcare reform in the first place, this actually is probably the better move for her, believe it or not. (D)
• CO-Sen, CO-Gov: More evidence that the teabaggers and assorted other movement conservative aren't takin' kindly to outsiders coming in and imposing Jane Norton on them. Norton lost a GOP straw poll to right-wing Weld County DA Ken Buck after a Denver candidate forum sponsored by the Tea Partiers and 9-12ers. Interestingly, no-name Dan Maes also triumphed over ex-Rep. Scott McInnis on the gubernatorial side.
• LA-Sen: Rep. Charlie Melancon is going on the offensive, having a lot of ground to make up against David Vitter if polls are any indication. He's filed an ethics complaint against Vitter for having violated federal law by sending out fundraising appeals on official Senate letterhead.
• NY-Sen-B: Hardcore movement conservative and - get this - former chief economist for Bear Stearns (!!) David Malpass says he's weighing a run against Kirsten Gillibrand, presumably as a Republican. Jonathan Chait hits all the high points as to how badly out-of-touch Malpass is, and Paul Krugman zings him for an especially good bit of moranocity. If I were Gillibrand, I think I'd love to go up against a mouthbreather like this. (D)
• PA-Sen: Arlen Specter got a boost from labor, with an endorsement from the United Auto Workers. Also, speaking of Pennsylvania, check out my latest installment at Salon.com, where I used the disparate polling in PA-Sen as a means of introducing the non-SSP-reading masses to the idea of polling likely voters vs. registered voters.
• WA-Sen: It looks like the NRSC hasn't given up on trying to lure Dino Rossi into the Senate race, as Rossi has confirmed having had a conversation with John Cornyn about it. Rossi continues to maintain a "never say never" attitude about it in the face of questions. The NRSC may also have a Plan B if Rossi says no, that's an upgrade from their current top candidate, state Sen. Don Benton. They're also interested in former news anchor Susan Hutchison. Despite presenting a somewhat moderate profile and the advantage of running without an "R" next to her name in the nonpartisan race, she still managed to rack up only 41% while losing November's King County Executive race. (Still, that makes her only a one-time loser, compared with Rossi's two strikes.) Hutchison says that she's undecided, and she'll wait for Rossi's decision to make her own.
• IA-Gov: One other candidate who's not faring so well in the straw poll venue, despite an overwhelming consensus from the political establishment, is ex-Gov. Terry Branstad. He just lost a quick succession of three different county-level straw polls to social conservative Bob Vander Plaats, and these aren't dinky rural counties either. Vander Plaats cleaned up in Woodbury County (his home turf of Sioux City), while earning narrow victories in Story County (Davenport Ames) and Dallas County (Des Moines suburbs).
• NY-Gov: Andrew Cuomo may not be a declared candidate for Governor just yet, but he's certainly fundraising like one. His camp is planning to hold a high-priced fundraiser in DC on March 22nd with some high-powered Democratic money players in attendance. (JL) Some of David Paterson's nosediving approvals may have rubbed off a bit on Cuomo, if Marist's new snap poll (pdf) is any indication: Cuomo's approval is down to a relatively human 54/39. Paterson is at an appalling 19/79, but 68% say he might as well still serve out his term with 28% saying resign. Still trying to find an upgrade from the lackluster campaign of Rick Lazio to go up against Cuomo, the GOP is meeting with conservaDem Suffolk Co. Exec Steve Levy (who's been mulling a run in the Democratic primary) to try and get him to switch over to the GOP line to run for Governor.
• DE-AL: Republicans may have found an upgrade in the Delaware at-large seat, which has pretty much already slipped out of their grasp but where they can at least force former Democratic Lt. Gov. John Carney to work for it. They're courting philanthropist Michele Rollins, the widow of former Republican Lt. Gov. John Rollins (and a former Miss USA) who has access to her former husband's personal fortune.
• LA-02: Rep. Joe Cao seems to have read yesterday's big expose of BaseConnect (the former BMW Direct) at TPM, and it seems to have been the first time he'd learned that they're up to no good. He just severed all ties with the group, who've been doing his fundraising for the last year (and skimming off almost all his proceeds, which explains his terrible burn rate). Does this mean that no one from the NRCC was giving him any guidance on how to raise funds? It doesn't seem like the kind of scam an incumbent would ordinarily fall for.
• NY-23: Doug Hoffman's made it official - he's going to try to win the Republican, Conservative, and Independence Party nominations, "and unite them, as one team, to defeat the agenda of Nancy Pelosi and Bill Owens." Sounds like someone has seen the Lord of the Rings movies a few times too many. This also seems a wee bit delusional, since of course most of the Independence Party quickly embraced Owens (who seems like a good fit for them) when Dede Scozzafava abandoned the race at the last moment. (D)
• NY-29: Strike two names from the list of potential Democratic candidates for the special election to replace crumb-bum Rep. Eric Massa. Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton has announced that she won't run for the seat, as has Monroe County DA Mike Green. (JL) On the GOP side, state Sen. Cathy Young has also just declined.
• PA-12: Barbara Hafer continues to attack the manner in which former Murtha aide Mark Critz was selected as the Dem nominee for the May special election - and by extention the people behind the process. Several Dems have gone on record expressing their distaste for Hafer's attacks, and state party chair T. J. Rooney thinks they contributed to her being passed over. (D)
• TN-03: Democrats seem to have found a willing candidate, finally, to fill the gap in the open seat in the R+13 3rd (which looked like a promising race while former Insurance Comm. Paula Flowers was in it). Brenda Short decided to take the plunge; she used to be a Hill aide long ago for former Rep. Marilyn Lloyd (whose 1994 retirement turned the seat over to Rep. Zach Wamp, who's finally vacating the seat to run for Governor).
• OR-Treasurer, OR-04: In something of a surprise, Multnomah County Chair Ted Wheeler today got named as interim state Treasurer, in the wake of the unfortunate death of Ben Westlund. Wheeler will still need to run again in a special election to be held as part of the November 2010 ballot; he's confirmed he'll run in that election but will face at least two prominent Dems: retiring state Sen. Rick Metsger (well-known from his time as local sports anchor), who filed yesterday before Wheeler's appointment, and former Treasurer (and 2006 gubernatorial primary contestant) Jim Hill. Adding to the general sense of chaos is that it's the last day of filing in Oregon, meaning now people are piling into Wheeler's vacant seat as well. Finally, it looks like, with Springfield mayor Sid Leiken's departure, OR-04 Rep. Peter DeFazio will merely face Some Dude: home-schooling activist Art Robinson.
• West Virginia: One other state where the filing deadline has passed is West Virginia. Despite the state's red-ward trend (and significant challenges to both its Dem Reps., Alan Mollohan and Nick Rahall), one area where the GOP doesn't look poised to make much of any progress is the state legislature, already thoroughly dominated by Democrats. In fact, if the Republicans won every race in the state Senate where they managed to field a candidate, they still would come up short on controlling the chamber. In the state House, they managed to leave 27 seats uncontested.
Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., made it official Friday by filing for reelection to his Fourth District House seat. Until now, DeFazio has refused to rule out the possibility he might run for governor, although it's been months since anyone in Oregon political circles has actually thought he would not seek reelection.
Hardly a surprise at all, notwithstanding DeFazio's famous distaste for the DC-Springfield commute. I'd expect other 4th District Republicans to take a cue from Sid Leiken and give up on any hopes of winning this seat before DeFazio elects to retire.
Springfield Mayor Sid Leiken announced Wednesday that he will run in May for the Lane County Board of Commissioners, ending his bid to unseat U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio in the 4th Congressional District.
Leiken said "Springfield is where my heart is" and that he can be more effective as the city's representative on the five-person county board. The 10-year mayor will rely on name recognition in hopes of separating himself from a crowded ballot that includes two other members of the City Council.
Initially touted by the NRCC as the candidate who would be capable of giving longtime Democratic incumbent Peter DeFazio the race of his life, Leiken's candidacy more or less blew up on the launching pad. Unfortunately for Leiken, his campaign never seemed to get past lingering questions regarding money that was funneled to his own mother for the listed purpose of polling. Leiken ended up having to pay $2500 in fines over the bogus poll. Better luck next time!