• AK-Sen: With the book about to close on 2010, so too is the last outstanding race of 2010, the Alaska Senate race. Today the state is planning to certify Lisa Murkowski as winner of the race, including hand-delivering the certification papers to Washington DC so there won't be any possible obstacles to Murkowski's swearing-in next week (and ensuing temporary loss of state clout). This, of course, follows a legal one-two punch to Joe Miller's hopes: last week's loss at the Alaska Supreme Court, which upheld the trial court's decision that the write-in votes for Murkowski were properly counted, and then this week's ruling by a federal district court judge dismissing his related federal suit and lifting the hold on the race's certification. Miller will not stand in the way of the certification, although he says he is still considering whether to continue litigating the matter (which, if he did, would feature the 9th Circuit as the next stop).
The most ironic part of the whole tale is that the Tea Party Express, in their ill-advised RINO hunt, seem to have only succeeded in making Murkowski into more of a free agent. If you've noticed that Murkowski seems to be toeing the GOP line less since winning the election without running under the GOP banner, you're not alone: she was the only Senate GOPer to vote with the Dems on all four big action items during the lame duck session (the tax compromise, DADT repeal, START, and the DREAM Act).
• DE-Sen: SSP isn't about re-litigating old elections, but this is indeed relevant because Christine O'Donnell, looking to capitalize on her newfound celebrity, may yet be a fourth-time candidate for the Senate against Tom Carper in the future. That fourth run might be more difficult, though, if she's in prison... perhaps possible as it seems like the federal government has decided it's had enough of her once-every-two-years grifting tours and is now criminally investigating her use of campaign funds for personal purposes during her 2010 campaign. Anyway, she put out a truly epic statement today on the matter that ought to have you reaching for your copy of the DSM, so laden with paranoia and delusions of grandeur it is.
• MA-Sen: While everyone seems to be wondering which U.S. Rep. will step into the gap if nobody named Kennedy runs for the Senate, there's always the outside possibility that someone with a business background and lots of his own money tries to move to the head of the pack in the Bay State. Robert Pozen may fit that bill, and he's apparently been talking to party insiders about the possibility. The investment banker-turned-Harvard Business professor has some liabilities, though: he served briefly in Mitt Romney's cabinet, which may help his bipartisan bona fides but could be poison in a primary, and his personality has been described as [John] "Silberesque," which would just be all-purpose poison.
• MI-Sen: If the NRSC ever had any interest in Tim Leuliette as their Senate candidate in Michigan, that probably evaporated this week. The auto-parts magnate just said that he's not comfortable with self-funding his campaign and wouldn't put much of his "large fortune" into a run. Considering that that was the main (if not only) selling point for a candidacy from an otherwise unknown political newcomer, that should pretty much be end-of-story.
• MO-Sen, MO-Gov: A poll from Republican pollster Wilson Research (commissioned by consulting firm Axiom Strategies) has (big surprise) good news for Republicans in it, most notably Jim Talent. The ex-Sen. has a significant lead in a rematch against Claire McCaskill, ahead 51-40. Talent seems to have a big electability edge over Sarah Steelman, who's tied 44-44 with McCaskill. McCaskill's approvals are 48/45. They also look at the Governor's race, finding a more competitive race than PPP did but not the lead that a Peter Kinder internal showed. They find Dem incumbent Jay Nixon leading Kinder 45-42, with Nixon's approvals at 52%. Worth noting: the poll's a little stale, taken Dec. 1-2.
• ND-Sen: It's starting to look like Kent Conrad will face some serious opposition from Republicans this cycle (assuming the 62-year-old runs for re-election), although it's not clear exactly from whom. Perhaps the heaviest-hitter available, the state's ex-Gov. and the former Bush administration Agriculture Secretary, Ed Schafer, has just ruled it out. For now, the likeliest-sounding one right now seems to be Brian Kalk, one of the state's three Public Service Commissioners, a statewide elected position. Kalk says he's giving it "serious thought," which contrasts with oft-mentioned AG Wayne Stenehjem's statement that he doesn't have "any plans" (although not closing "any doors" either) and with newly-promoted Gov. Jack Dalrymple, for whom it's the "last thing" on his mind.
• NE-Sen (pdf): In case you weren't sure whether or not Ben Nelson's in trouble for 2012, um, yes, he's in trouble. Republican pollster Magellan is out with a poll finding Nelson with an overall 29/59 re-elect, and trailing GOP AG Jon Bruning 52-38. He's also trailing state Treasurer Don Stenberg (not yet a candidate, but sounding likely to run as well) 46-40. Hopefully we'll get a look from PPP at this one soon for confirmation. It seems like the Dems are already treating Bruning as a serious threat, though, with the state party trying to throw obstacles in his path by filing FEC and IRS complaints against Bruning over shoddy campaign-committee setup.
• VA-Sen: So apparently all you have to do is append "Tea Party Activist" to your job description, and all of a sudden you're magically promoted from Some Dude to Very Serious Candidate Worthy of National Media Attention. Or at least that's the case with the campaign announcement from Jamie Radtke, head of the Judean People's Front People's Front of Judea Virginia Federation of Tea Party Patriots, whose main claim to fame seems to be organizing a gathering of 3,000 'baggers in Richmond. At any rate, Radtke is the first actually announced GOP candidate. Meanwhile, Jim Webb seems to be moving closer to making a decision on whether to run for re-election (though no clues on how he feels), saying he'll sort it out over the holiday break and make an announcement in the first quarter of 2011.
• IN-Gov: This comes as a surprise, since there had been a lot of buzz about her as the nominee, with increasing moves from Rep. Mike Pence toward a presidential run instead. But Becky Skillman, Indiana's Lt. Governor, recently announced that she wouldn't run for Governor in 2012, citing "minor health issues." Does this make likelier a Pence gubernatorial run, now that he'd have an easy stroll to the nomination? And if Pence doesn't run, that seems to point to a truly wide open field, as no one seems to have contemplated a GOP field that didn't include Pence or Skillman. Who else might step up? (I hear Mike Sodrel may still be looking for a job...)
• NC-Gov: Rounding out the troika of Republican polls showing Dem incumbents in trouble is one from North Carolina from Civitas, who have coordinated with a variety of pollsters and this time went straight to the big daddy of GOP pollsters, POS. The poll finds GOP former Charlotte mayor Pat McCrory cruising in a rematch against Dem incumbent Bev Perdue, who never really seemed to gain her footing after a narrow 2008 win: he leads her 51-36 (with Perdue getting only 64% among Democrats).
• WA-Gov: Two interesting developments mean this race isn't as open-and-shut as I'd thought. One is that there's increasing buzz linking Dow Constantine, just elected in 2009 as King County Executive, to the governor's race. I've regarded Constantine (who's 47) as a very likely Governor starting in 2020, but with Dems seeming a little edgy that none of their biggest-name candidates (Rep. Jay Inslee, whose WA-01 is centered in suburban Snohomish Co., Snohomish Co. Exec Aaron Reardon, Spokane-based state Sen. majority leader Lisa Brown) are from their stronghold of King County while likely GOP candidate Rob McKenna is, there might be some pressure on Constantine to move up his timetable. (It's worth noting that Gary Locke became Gov. in 1996 after three years as King Co. Executive.) The other develompent is that Chris Gregoire isn't categorically ruling out an attempt at a third term, which she's legally entitled to do but Just Isn't Done. (Although she might point out that the last time it was tried, 1972, Dan Evans was successfully re-elected... in fact, the last time a Republican was re-elected Governor in Washington.) She registered as a 2012 candidate with the Public Disclosure Commission, in order to "keep her options open." (UPDATE: Big h/t to meekermariner, who points out in comments that this Gregoire article is nearly two years old, leaving me to wonder why Politico was linking to it with such enthusiasm. At any rate, the Gregoire committee remains open today, although that in itself isn't much of a suggestion that a third term may be in the offing.)
• WV-Gov: This week was the deadline for filing briefs for the lawsuit that's attempting to move up the special election to replace Joe Manchin up to 2011. We still don't have an answer to when it will happen, but at least we know who's on what side in the case: the state's major unions (including the AFL-CIO and WVEA) want it sooner, and so does likely candidate and Dem state House speaker Rick Thompson. State Auditor Glen Gainer supports the expedited election too, while SoS Natalie Tennant (another possible Dem candidate) has basically punted on the issue. And if you're wondering about Joe Manchin's decision to duck DADT and DREAM Act votes in order to enjoy family holiday festivities, it seems like it wasn't, first and foremost, a self-protecting profile in cowardice. With Manchin having survived probably his toughest challenge, he's more interested now in clearing the way for ally and acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, and not interested in provoking a social issues-based civil war within the state Dem party that could undermine Tomblin's shot at getting elected to a full term.
• OH-01: Guess who's sounding like he's gearing up for a rematch? Steve Driehaus, in an interview with the Cincinnati paper, took a variety of potshots at Steve Chabot, calling him a Boehner "follower" and saying he shouldn't "sit too easy." Driehaus has previously said he's "open" to another attempt. (This is Cincinnati-based district is notorious for steep dropoff in African-American voting in off-years, so if any time would be the right time for Driehaus to try again, 2012 would be it.)
• LA-St. House: There was a long period of threatening and flirting, but now it's official: state Rep. Noble Ellington switched to the Republican Party, formally flipping control of the state's lower legislative chamber to the GOP for the first time since Reconstruction. Functionally, it may not make much perceptible difference, since there was already a Republican speaker, and many Dems were already quite conservative.
• NY-St. Sen.: Looks like the end of the line in one other outstanding race (which ultimately had the balance of the New York state Senate in play): the state's Court of Appeals said no thanks to incumbent Dem Craig Johnson's appeal of a lower court decision that said there didn't need to be a hand recount of machine votes in New York's 7th District. GOPer Jack Martins had been declared the winner in the race by several hundred votes, handing the state Senate back to the GOP by a 32-30 margin.
• PA-St. Sen.: Pennsylvania's state Senate has been even more stubbornly Republican over the years than New York's, and it looks like the Dems are going to have play a bit more defense there in an upcoming special election. Democratic minority whip Michael O'Pake (the state's longest-serving legislator) died several days ago at age 70, leaving a vacancy in SD-11 that will need to be filled by special election at some point between March and May (date TBD). On paper, this looks like the kind of district that would be a major test case for whether the Dems are going to continue their run of bad luck in the Keystone State from the 2010 election: while it works out to about D+4 (going 59/40 for Barack Obama and 51/48 for John Kerry), it also gave 55% of the vote to Tom Corbett and 50.6% to Pat Toomey this year. However, this may all boil down to bench strength in a traditionally-Dem district (centered on the blue-collar city of Reading, although made purple by inclusion of its suburbs, too): insiders from both parties are treating Democratic former Berks Co. Commissioner Judy Schwank as "prohibitive favorite."
• Approvals: PPP does us the favor of consolidating all their year-end Senate approval ratings and gubernatorial approvals in one (or two, really) places. In the Senate, the most popular Senator overall, in addition to most popular one up in 2012, is Amy Klobuchar (59/29); while outgoing Roland Burris is the overall goat, Joe Lieberman is in worst shape of anyone up in 2012 (33/54). Among the few governors facing 2012 re-election, Jack Markell is tops at 50/32 (with Jay Nixon not far behind at 44/30), while Chris Gregoire fares the worst, in case she actually runs (although this might dissuade her sudden interest in a third term); her 40/53 is actually a worse spread than Bev Perdue's 35/44.
• Redistricting: The Fix has a good piece on redistricting out, that should pretty much serve as the last word on why GOP purely-redistricting-related House seat gains are likely to be limited to the single digits for 2012: thanks to their 2010 overperformance, they're thoroughly maxed out in the big four prizes where they have total control (Texas, Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania). That's compounded by, in Florida, the new Fair Districts initiative, and in Texas, the need to create at least two more VRA districts while still protecting Blake Farenthold. Also, here's one other redistricting implication that's gotten totally overlooked in all the last few weeks' discussion: although California didn't lose or gain a seat, there's been enough population shift within the state (thanks to stagnation in the Bay Area and rapid growth in the Inland Empire) that the net result will be the moving of most of one district from NoCal to SoCal. It'll be interesting to see whether the new independent commission is able to do that in a way that lightly shifts boundaries southwards and protects the jobs of all 53 incumbents, or if someone from the north actually gets turfed out and an effectively new seat opens up in the south.
• Chicago mayor: A lot has happened in the Chicago mayoral race since we last checked: first, Rahm Emanuel cleared the first hurdle in ascertaining that he is, indeed, a Chicago resident and not a Kenyan (although there will be inevitable courtroom appeals for weeks to come, with opponents willing to go to the state Supreme Court). The Chicago Board of Election Commissioners last week rejected claims that Emanuel had abandoned his Chicago residency when he went to work in the White House. Also, we've seen two of Emanuel's erstwhile opponents drop out of the race, narrowing the number of African-American candidates but still leaving that part of the field split between Danny Davis (last seen publicly urging Bill Clinton against coming to Chicago to campaign for Emanuel) and Carol Mosely Braun. State Sen. James Meeks dropped out, saying he didn't want to further split the black vote, and Roland Burris also withdrew, via press release, from the race (although it's unclear whether he ever really was in the race, since he never made any public appearances). Finally, we got another poll of the race from We Ask America, which may be most noteworthy for showing Gerry Chico in position to make the runoff. They find Emanuel at 44, Chico at 12, Braun at 8, Davis at 7, Miguel Del Valle at 6, and Meeks at 4.
• AL-Gov (Univ. of S. Alabama): Ron Sparks (D) 35%, Robert Bentley (R) 48%
• CA-Sen, CA-Gov (Suffolk): Barbara Boxer (D-inc) 52%, Carly Fiorina (R) 43%; Jerry Brown (D) 50%, Meg Whitman (R) 42%
(Bonus: Kamala Harris leads Steve Cooley 35-34 in the AG race, and "no" leads "yes" on Prop 19 55-40)
• CA-Sen, CA-Gov (SurveyUSA for KABC): Barbara Boxer (D-inc) 45%, Carly Fiorina (R) 40%; Jerry Brown (D) 46%, Meg Whitman (R) 38%
(Bonus: Gavin Newsom leads Abel Maldonado 42-34 for LG, and "no" leads "yes" on Prop 19 46-44)
• CA-Sen, CA-Gov (PPP): Barbara Boxer (D-inc) 52%, Carly Fiorina (R) 43%; Jerry Brown (D) 53%, Meg Whitman (R) 42%
(Bonus: "no" leads "yes" on Prop 19 45-48)
• CA-20 (SurveyUSA for KFSN): Jim Costa (D-inc) 42%, Andy Vidak (R) 52%
(note: this poll population is 37% Hispanic, compared with 67% in reality) (also, the DCCC responded with a poll giving Costa a 47-41 lead, although they neglected to leak the pollster's name) (UPDATE: The pollster is Bennet Petts & Normington, with the sample over the same 10/21-24 period as SurveyUSA)
• CT-Sen, CT-Gov (Quinnipiac): Richard Blumenthal (D) 54% (54), Linda McMahon (R) 42% (43); Dan Malloy (D) 48% (49), Tom Foley (R) 43% (42)
• FL-08 (Susquehanna for Sunshine State News): Alan Grayson (D-inc) 41% (36), Daniel Webster (R) 48% (43), Peg Dunmire (T) 4%
• GA-Gov (InsiderAdvantage): Roy Barnes (D) 41%, Nathan Deal (R) 47%, John Monds (L) 5%
• ID-Gov, ID-Sen, ID-01, ID-02 (Mason-Dixon for Idaho newspapers): Keith Allred (D) 30%, Butch Otter (R-inc) 52%; Tom Sullivan (D) 20%, Mike Crapo (R-inc) 64%; Walt Minnick (D-inc) 44%, Raul Labrador (R) 41%; Mike Crawford (D) 17%, Mike Simpson (R-inc) 67%
• IA-Gov (Global Strategy Group for Chet Culver): Chet Culver (D-inc) 40%, Terry Branstad (R) 46%
• IL-Gov (MarketShares for Chicago Tribune): Pat Quinn (D-inc) 39% (39), Bill Brady (R) 43% (38), Scott Lee Cohen (I) 5%, Rich Whitney (G) 4%, Lex Green (L) 2%
• IL-Sen (Anzalone-Liszt for DSCC): Alexi Giannoulias (D) 38%, Mark Kirk (R) 36%, LeAlan Jones (G) 7%, Mike Labno (L) 4%
• KY-Sen (PPP): Jack Conway (D) 40%, Rand Paul (R) 53%
• KY-03 (RiverCity for Todd Lally): John Yarmuth (D-inc) 41%, Todd Lally (R) 37% (note: n = only 239, yet they claim MoE of 4.5%)
• LA-02 (Anzalone-Liszt): Cedric Richmond (D) 49%, Joe Cao (R-inc) 32%
• NY-20 (Siena): Scott Murphy (D-inc) 42% (54), Chris Gibson (R) 51% (37)
(The Murphy camp leaked an internal from Global Strategy Group today, although only saying a 3-point lead without specific toplines)
• OH-Gov, OH-Sen (Quinnipiac): Ted Strickland (D-inc) 43% (41), John Kasich (R) 49% (51); Lee Fisher (D) 36% (34), Rob Portman (R) 53% (55)
• OH-Sen (Wilson Research, not apparently on anyone's behalf): Lee Fisher (D) 38%, Rob Portman (R) 49%
• OH-Sen (Univ. of Cincinnati for Ohio newspapers): Lee Fisher (D) 39%, Rob Portman 58%
• PA-Sen, PA-Gov (Ipsos for Reuters): Joe Sestak (D) 46%, Pat Toomey (R) 46%; Dan Onorato (D) 43%, Tom Corbett (R) 49%
(Sestak leads 46-42 among RVs, and even Onorato leads 46-43 among RVs)
• PA-Sen, PA-Gov (Muhlenberg): Joe Sestak (D) 40% (42), Pat Toomey (R) 48% (47); Dan Onorato (D) 39% (41), Tom Corbett (R) 50% (49)
• PA-08 (POS for Mike Fitzpatrick): Patrick Murphy (D-inc) 40%, Mike Fitzpatrick (R) 50%
• PA-10 (Lycoming): Chris Carney (D-inc) 45%, Tom Marino (R) 39%
• SD-Gov (Neilson Brothers): Scott Heidepriem (D) 40%, Dennis Daugaard (R) 43%
• VA-09 (SurveyUSA for WDBJ): Rick Boucher (D-inc) 46%, Morgan Griffith (R) 47%
• WI-Gov (Mellman Group, not apparently on anyone's behalf): Tom Barrett (D) 45%, Scott Walker (R) 47%
• CO-Sen: This probably doesn't count as an October Surprise since it made a big media impression five years ago, but it's suddenly popped back into view, and making things dicier for Ken Buck, already on the wrong end of a sizable gender gap in the polls. Buck refused to prosecute a rape case as Weld Co. DA five years ago (despite the police having recommended charges), and the alleged victim is now back in the news. She has a taped recording of their meeting (transcript available at the link) in which he seems to blame the victim and suggest that the case wouldn't pass muster with a jury.
• FL-Sen: Mason-Dixon (10/4-6, likely voters, 9/20-22 in parens):
Kendrick Meek (D): 21 (23)
Marco Rubio (R): 42 (40)
Charlie Crist (I): 27 (28)
With Marco Rubio way ahead, it looks like a Kendrick Meek dropout (rumored on Friday) and a cobbling-together of some sort of Meek/Crist hybrid cyborg would be the only way for the non-Rubio forces to get an advantage in this race. However, Meek's definitely not acting like a man who's dropping out, if getting the president of the United States to cut a radio ad for you is any indication.
• WV-Sen: Remember that "hicky" ad that the NRSC ran, and then promptly got apologetic over, once the casting call instructions got leaked? (I know, that was last week, a lifetime ago in politics...) Now it sounds like it just kept running anyway, through last Friday for several days after the story broke, despite promises to take it down.
• NM-Gov: Yep, this is definitely the most over-polled, or at least over-internal-poll-leaked, race around. Today it's Diane Denish's turn to retaliate, and she's out with another poll from one of her apparently two pollsters, Third Eye Strategies, with a 46-46 tie (a little stale, taken 9/21-23). I think we get the general idea, already: Denish sees a tie, Susana Martinez sees a high-single-digits lead for herself, public pollsters see something in between. (UPDATE: That's odd... we reported this poll several weeks ago. Not sure why it's back in the news today.)
• CA-47: This is the kind of unity that Loretta Sanchez (last seen alienating her district's small but politically active Vietnamese community with an ill-advised remark) probably doesn't like to see: apparently there was a major rift with the Vietnamese Republican community that just got sealed up, as long-time Van Tran rival Janet Nguyen (an Orange County councilor) gave a late-game endorsement to Tran.
• CT-02, CT-03: Merriman River Group hits the quinella in Connecticut, with polls of the two House races in the Nutmeg State that aren't interesting. In the 2nd, despite getting some touting when she got in the race, GOPer Janet Peckinpaugh is making little impression against Joe Courtney, trailing 55-41. And in the 3rd, Rosa DeLauro is the state's safest Dem, leading Jerry Labriola 58-37.
• FL-22: Endorsements from primary challengers, especially at this stage in the game, are interesting only when they go to the guy from the other party. But that's what's happening in the 22nd, where the guy who lost to Allen West, David Brady, gave his backing to Democratic incumbent Ron Klein today. (So too did several minor-league local elected GOPers, including Palm Beach mayor Jack McDonald.) Says Brady, apparently from the sane wing of the GOP (to the extent that the Palm Beach Post endorsed him in the primary): "I ran against Allen West. I debated him and I can tell you: Allen West is too extreme for this community."
• MS-04: Dueling polls in the 4th, where everything still averages out to a Democratic lean but unfortunately this is looking like one more real race. GOP state Rep. Steven Palazzo offered a poll a few weeks ago saying incumbent Gene Taylor led by only 4, and now Taylor says, no, he's leading by 8 (without giving us any other useful information, like the toplines, let alone the pollster or dates). Hmmm, that's only a difference of four points, so why show your hand, especially in such haphazard fashion? Somehow I don't think Taylor would be a very good poker player.
• NY-22, NY-25: Bill Clinton showing up in upstate New York to stump on behalf of Dan Maffei, that's not a surprise, as this race seems to be competitive. But also Maurice Hinchey in the 22nd? We haven't gotten any smoke signals out of that district before, but that's an indication that something may bubbling under here. (It's a D+6 district, and Hinchey barely won in '94.)
• OH-01: One more unfortunate though unsurprising triage decision to report: Steve Driehaus seems to have run out of time at the DCCC, who are canceling their remaining ad buy in the Cincinnati market for the next two weeks. The deadline for reservations cancellations is coming up soon, so we'll soon know who else gets the shortest straw drawn for them.
• PA-10: After seeing a incumbent Chris Carney up by single digits in a recent public poll from Lycoming, GOP challenger Tom Marino rummaged around in his poll drawer and pulled out one from the Tarrance Group giving him a 47-42 lead on Carney. (No word from the Fix on the dates, though.)
• TN-04: One last GOP internal to throw into the mix: a POS survey (from 9/27-28) on behalf of Scott DesJarlais shows him tied with Dem incumbent Lincoln Davis, 42-42. We haven't seen any public polling of this race (and may not, as the NRCC doesn't seem to be pushing this one hard, maybe on the off chance that it's the kind of district that'll flip in a wave regardless of what they do), but Davis claimed an 11-point lead in a late August internal.
• House: If you're thinking that it seems like there are a lot more races in the "Tossup" and "Lean" categories this year, you're not alone. Nate Silver quantifies various ways in which there are way more competitive races this year than in other recent cycles, including number of races where there are polls within single-digits, where there are polls period, and where there are major financial contributions.
• Redistricting: This is an interesting, if counterintuitive, piece from HuffPo on redistricting, which proposes that we'll be in better shape in 2010 redistricting than 2000 redistricting because (based on projected gubernatorial and state legislative outcomes) we'll have more control over the process in more important states: oddly he leaves out California, but also including Florida, Illinois, Michigan, and Virginia (all states where there was a GOP trifecta last time), and Minnesota and New York (where we might get the trifecta this time)... while the states where the GOP will improve its position aren't as large (Alabama, Indiana, Tennessee... with Georgia the most significant one). The article also gets into the nitty-gritty of where the population growth within the fast-growing states has occurred (i.e. among minorities).
• Polltopia: You might have noticed that Political Wire briefly had some Senate polls up today from somebody I've never heard of before, called "TCJ Research." Those polls mysteriously vanished after Nate Silver, vanquisher of bogus pollsters, showed up on the scene with a simple tweet:
A Wordpress blog getting ~500 hits a day on posts like "October Giveaway: 32 Gigabyte Apple iPad!" suddenly commissions 5 polls? Not likely.
• SSP TV:
• IL-Sen: Two different ads from the DSCC attacking Mark Kirk, hitting him for his House voting record and also revisiting Kirk's misrememberment of his military record
• NC-Sen: Elaine Marshall's finally out with a TV spot, going after Richard Burr for helping to break the economy
• WV-Sen: While John Raese nods to the 'hick' ad semi-apologetically before changing the subject back to Washington Dems, Joe Manchin seems to be trying to out-hick the hick ad by touting his pro-gun and anti-environment credentials in one fell swoop by (I kid you not) shooting a copy of the cap-and-trade bill
• IL-Gov: The most famous Illinoisian, Barack Obama, cuts a radio spot on behalf of Pat Quinn
• RI-Gov: The DGA pounds Lincoln Chafee one more time from the right, accusing him of being a tax-hiking hippy
• FL-22: Ron Klein moves past the boring fixation on Allen West's tax liens and onto the really juicy stuff about 2nd Amendment remedies
• MN-06: Taryl Clark hits Michele Bachmann on Social Security
• PA-03: Kathy Dahlkemper touts her pro-life credentials in her new ad, explaining her siding with the Stupak bloc on health care reform
• VA-02: The DCCC's IE unit points the "hypocrite" arrow at Scott Rigell, for making hundreds of thousands of dollars off "Cash for Clunkers"
• WI-08: Ditto the DCCC ad in the 8th, where they hit Reid Ribble for making hundreds of thousands of dollars for his roofing business off stimulus projects
• CT-Gov: Dan Malloy (D) 49%, Tom Foley (R) 44%
• FL-Gov: Alex Sink (D) 47%, Rick Scott (R) 50%
• FL-Sen: Kendrick Meek (D) 19%, Marco Rubio (R) 50%, Charlie Crist (I) 25%
• GA-Gov: Roy Barnes (D) 41%, Nathan Deal (R) 50%
• GA-Sen: Michael Thurmond (D) 38%, Johnny Isakson (R-inc) 53%
• MN-Gov: Mark Dayton (D) 40%, Tom Emmer (R) 38%, Tom Horner (I) 15%
• NE-Gov: Mike Meister (D) 24%, Dave Heineman (R-inc) 66%
• NH-Sen: Paul Hodes (D) 44%, Kelly Ayotte (R) 51%
• NM-Gov: Diane Denish (D) 43%, Susana Martinez (R) 52%
• NV-Gov: Rory Reid (D) 40%, Brian Sandoval (R) 53%
• OR-Gov: John Kitzhaber (D) 48%, Chris Dudley (R) 46%
• SD-Gov: Scott Heidepriem (D) 33%, Dennis Daugaard (R) 57%
• TX-Gov: Bill White (D) 42%, Rick Perry (R-inc) 53%
• WA-Sen: Patty Murray (D-inc) 46%, Dino Rossi (R) 49%
• Angus-Reid: Some of you might have gotten excited about the California numbers offered up today by Angus-Reid (a well-established Canadian pollster, but apparently making their first foray into the States). Well, don't, because they're using an RV model, and more importantly, it's an Internet sample. (Now presumably there's some scientific selection behind it, not just a "click here!" banner ad, but we're highly skeptical nonetheless, especially since that seemed to produce notably pro-Dem results in California.)
• CA-Gov: Jerry Brown (D) 53%, Meg Whitman (R) 41%
• CA-Sen: Barbara Boxer (D-inc) 55%, Carly Fiorina (R) 39%
• OH-Gov: Ted Strickland (D-inc) 46%, John Kasich (R) 48%
• OH-Sen: Lee Fisher (D) 42%, Rob Portman (R) 53%
• CT-Sen: I hope Joe Lieberman has a nice lobbying firm picked out for a job starting in 2013. PPP threw in some Lieberman-related questions in their Connecticut sample, and he generates genuine bipartisan support in terms of the desire to replace him with someone else (72% of Dems, 63% of indies, and 61% of GOPers say "someone new"). He has 31/57 approval, including 20/69 among Dems. In a three-way with Dem Chris Murphy and GOPer Jodi Rell, Lieberman finishes 3rd, with Murphy winning 37-29-17. Substitute Peter Schiff for Rell and it's about the same: 39-25-19. If Lieberman goes the full GOP, he still loses a head-to-head with Murphy, 47-33.
• IL-Sen: Barack Obama's coming to town today, on behalf of Alexi Giannoulias. No stumping though, just two fundraisers. (On a related note, though, Obama will be in Oregon on Oct. 20 to appear with gubernatorial candidate John Kitzhaber.)
Dan Onorato (D): 36 (37)
Tom Corbett (R): 47 (46)
These races just don't seem to budge. Muhlenberg's newest numbers are just where they were a few weeks earlier, and they're pretty much at the median for all pollsters' averages in these races.
• VA-Sen: More looking ahead to 2012: George Allen is probably figuring that 'macaca' has faded into the mists of time, and he's starting to publicly let it be know that he's interested in a rematch with the man who beat him, Jim Webb. No formal preparatory activities, but it seems like he's engaging in some pre-emptive GOP field-clearing.
• WA-Sen: Here's something we haven't seen in a while: a poll with a lead for Dino Rossi. Of course, it's a Republican poll (from Fabrizio & Associates, on behalf of American Action Forum (that's AAF, not AFF)), so take it with some salt, but it's a reminder that this race is far from a done deal and that things may have tightened since that polling bulge for Patty Murray a few weeks ago. Rossi leads Murray 48-42 in a 9/26-27 sample.
• WV-Sen: You've probably already heard about this story: the NRSC has pulled an ad that it had started running in West Virginia featuring stereotypically blue-collar guy sitting around a diner grousing. Well, if they seem a little stereotypical, it's because they were intended to be, if you read the details from the NRSC's casting call for the ad that was shot in Philadelphia, asking for a "'hicky' blue collar look" and listing the various blue-collar clothing items that they should wear, including "John Deer [sic] hats (not brand new, preferably beat up)."" Somehow, I'm not hopeful this flap will become a game-changer in the race, but maybe it'll help West Virginians see what Beltway Republicans really think of them. The NRSC is in fact distancing itself from the ad, throwing the talent agency under the bus.
Meanwhile, this seems like a richer vein to mine: the ongoing and seemingly growing controversy of John Raese's residence. He owns a Florida mansion, where his wife and kids spent most of their time. But Dems are trying to raise questions about whether Raese is a West Virginia resident at all, and are asking whether he's filed West Virginia income taxes (Florida, as you might know, doesn't impose income taxes).
• NM-Gov: Can a race have too much internal poll leaking? There seems to be more tit-for-tat in this race than any. In response to yesterday's Diane Denish internal showing a 3-point race, today Susana Martinez brandishes a POS internal from 10/3-5 giving her a 51-42 lead over Denish.
Andrew Cuomo (D): 55 (49)
Carl Paladino (R): 37 (43)
Undecided: 6 (7)
Either Carl Paladino had a huge primary bounce that quickly faded, people who hadn't been paying close attention a few weeks ago suddenly found out that Paladino is a sputtering rage volcano who'd be a huge liability in office, or Quinnipiac put up a big stinky outlier a few weeks ago. (Probably a little of all three.)
• WI-Gov: Marist for McClatchy (9/26-28, likely voters, no trendlines):
Tom Barrett (D): 43
Scott Walker (R): 51
Ooops, we missed that there was a gubernatorial half to that Marist poll from a few days ago.
• AL-02: I don't know which is a bigger story here: that Bobby Bright is the first Democratic incumbent to announce, pre-election, that he won't vote for Nancy Pelosi for Speaker, or that he's trailing in a Martha Roby internal after having, for most of the cycle, seemed safer than a lot of other incumbents in less hostile districts... although the announcement seems pretty clearly motivated by the polling trends here. He says he certainly won't vote for John Boehner, though, saying he wants to vote for a centrist "more like me." Roby's poll comes from POS, giving her a 45-43 lead (with the memo saying their July poll gave Bright a 49-41 lead). Bright still overperforms the generic ballot by a wide margin, which is 51-32 for the GOP in this R+16 district.
• CT-01: Merriman River Group (who put up a surprising poll finding Chris Murphy trailing in CT-05 yesterday) are out with another poll that should give some pause: they find John Larson only ahead by 7 against no-namer Ann Brinkley, 52-45, in what's Connecticut's bluest (D+13) congressional district. For what it's worth, this district is eleven points bluer than D+2 CT-05, so the spread (Murphy was down 5) is consistent... but also remember that Merriman was about five points to the right of where everybody else was seeing the statewide races in that big pile of CT polls from the last couple days, so feel free to adjust accordingly.
• IL-17: Yep, we've definitely got a real race here this time, after Phil Hare got away unopposed in 2008. He's up only slightly over Bobby Schilling in a POS internal (which I assume is on behalf of the Schilling camp, as the NRCC has been using Tarrance in this district), leading 38-37 in a 9/26-27 sample.
• IN-02: EPIC-MRA for WSBT (10/1-3, likely voters, no trendlines):
Joe Donnelly (D): 48
Jackie Walorski (R): 39
Mike Vogel (I): 6
These numbers (which include leaners) look pretty good for Donnelly, in the first public poll of the race (although he's seemed to fare OK in partisan polls of the race, compared with many other vulnerable Dems, leading in both AFF and Susan B. Anthony List polls). Donnelly has 47/32 faves, while Walorski is at 32/35.
• NY-23: Here's one more Republican internal, that was taken before Doug Hoffman officially pulled the plug on his Conservative Party bid, but suggesting that he wasn't having much of an effect this year anyway. In the POS poll taken for the NRCC 9/22-23, Matt Doheny leads Dem incumbent Bill Owens 51-37. (Somehow they didn't leak what percentage Hoffman was getting... obviously it couldn't be more than 12%... but they do tell us 68% of Hoffman supporters would, in the alternate, support Doheny.)
• PA-07: Monmouth (10/4-6, likely voters, no trendlines):
Believe it or not, this is the first public poll of this race, and it's definitely better than the conventional wisdom on this race would dictate: although Bryan Lentz is still losing, it's by a 4-point margin. It's a seat that leans Dem-enough that even with a strong GOP candidate and a strong GOP tailwind it looks like it'll still be at least close. (That conventional wisdom seems founded largely on a June Meehan internal giving him a 21-point lead.) One other interesting tidbit: Joe Sestak, the district's current Rep., is leading Pat Toomey 49-46 within the district in the Senate race. He'd need to be cleaning up by a much wider margin than that, here, to be competitive statewide.
• WA-08: Let's throw in a Democratic internal poll to break up the monotony. It's from one of the few Dem challengers who seem to be keeping things within striking distance, Suzan DelBene. She trails GOP incumbent Dave Reichert by only 48-44 in a Fairbank Maslin poll taken 10/4-5 (where they gave Reichert a 9-point lead in August). That coincides, perhaps not coincidentally, with Dave Reichert finally having to come out and say "no, I don't have brain damage." Reichert, you may remember, had to have emergency surgery after getting hit in the head by a tree branch in March. Reichert's fitness had been the subject of increasing whispers and question marks in recent months, some of which may have rubbed off on his poll numbers.
• Early voting: Fun fact of the day: early voting is up 50% over this point in time over the 2006 midterm, with nearly 6 million votes already having been cast. This, of course, is in large part because states have, in the intervening years, made it easier to vote early. (Nearly 30% of votes were cast early in 2008; officials don't expect this year's numbers to reach that peak, though.) At any rate, it looks like early voting is increasingly here to stay, and campaigns will have to adjust their strategies accordingly. (I.e. planning for the "September Surprise" instead?)
• Demographics: Now these are some interesting numbers: a chart breaking down the "voting-eligible" (not just "voting age") population by percentage in each state, eliminating non-citizens as well as prisoners and ineligible felons. And here's an interesting statistic: despite the fact that we haven't completed the dang fence, the percentage of non-citizens in the U.S. has actually dropped from 2006 (8.6%) to 2010 (8.3%), partly because the government has processed a backlog in citizenship cases and partly because the lousier economy has made the U.S. a less attractive destination.
• SSP TV:
• AR-Sen: Blanche Lincoln uses Bill Clinton as surrogate to talk about John Boozman's privatization mania
• PA-Sen: The Club for Growth does some stimulus act cherry-picking to portray Joe Sestak as a sockpuppet for the sockpuppet lobby
• WV-Sen: The DSCC hits John Raese on outsourcing
• ND-AL: The NRCC attacks Earl Pomeroy for taking money from the insurance industry
• SD-AL: Stephanie Herseth Sandlin's newest ad focuses on her work on parochial issues, while Kristin Noem's ad says Sandlin's gone Washington
• AK-Sen: It's never a dull moment with Joe Miller in the race. Hot on the heels of the news that he believes that federal unemployment insurance is unconstitutional, today comes the news that his wife went on unemployment after leaving a job in 2004, and that Miller did not disown his wife for betraying the Founding Fathers. But wait, it just gets more interesting: the job Miller's wife left was working for... Miller himself. He hired his wife as a part-time clerk when he was working for several years as a magistrate judge for the federal district court (y'know, for the federal government he just hates so much). Local gadfly (and Lisa Murkowski ally) Andrew Halcro is, in fact, suggesting that Miller was forced to fire his wife because the blatant nepotism may have been a violation of court policies. (Of course, Miller's response was that Murkowski's not one to talk about nepotism.)
And on top of that, now it's come out that Miller is a full-on Seventeenther. In other words, part of the new crop of right-wingers who want you to vote for him so he can take away your rights to vote for him in the future.
• HI-Sen: Term-limited GOP Gov. Linda Lingle is saying she'll "take a look" at a Senate bid in 2012. That seat's current occupant, Dan Akaka, is 86 years old, so it's not clear whether he'll run for another term or not. Lingle is probably the only Republican on the bench in Hawaii with enough juice to make a Senate race, especially an open seat one, competitive.
• IL-Sen, IL-Gov: Mark Kirk is out with an internal poll (from Fulcrum), giving him a much larger lead than, well, anyone else, considering that most pollsters have seen this within a point or two either way. His poll says he leads Alexi Giannoulias 42-33, with 2 for the Green Party's LeAlan Jones. (The same poll also shows Bill Brady leading Pat Quinn 39-27 in the Governor's race.) Sitting on a big cash advantage, Kirk has reserved most of his entire kitty ($5.2 million) on ad buys for the remaining month.
• WI-Sen: Russ Feingold seems determined to follow Nancy Boyda down the path of integrity/obscurity. He's telling the DSCC (who haven't advertised yet on his behalf) to back off and let him fight the election himself. Says Feingold: "I consider it to be outside help of a kind that is uncontrolled and tends to believe in a philosophy of slash-and-burn politics. That's frankly not who I am. I don't want to win that way."
• NH-Gov: Univ. of New Hampshire (9/23-29, likely voters, July in parentheses):
John Lynch (D-inc): 51 (54)
John Stephen (R): 34 (29)
Considering that UNH's sample had Paul Hodes down by 15 and Carol Shea-Porter losing too, it's pleasantly surprising to see John Lynch hanging in there with little trouble (in contrast to several other recent polls, such as UNH's in-state rival for weird results, ARG).
• WV-Gov: I guess the 2010 election is over already? Because the conversation today already seems to be changing to 2012. Republican state Sen. Clark Barnes (whom you might remember for briefly getting in and then getting out of the field in WV-01 last year) says he'll run for governor two years from now.
• NY-20: Finding himself on the very wrong end of both a Siena poll and a Scott Murphy internal, Chris Gibson offers up a POS internal of his own, taken 9/27-28, showing that he's still within striking distance. He says he trails Murphy 42-38.
• VA-05: Here's one more Dem poll from the 5th that shows Tom Perriello is narrowly trailing, but not officially dead yet. Rob Hurt leads Perriello 44-43 in a poll sponsored by the League of Conservation Voters and the SEIU (no word on who the pollster is, though). (UPDATE: The pollster is David Dougherty, and the memo is here. The sample was taken 9/20-23 with a 4.4% MoE.)
• American Crossroads: Remember back when we all laughed at American Crossroads for not raising any money, apparently because they were waiting for the million-dollar checks from their half-a-dozen billionaire donors to clear? Ha ha, boy, those were simpler times. Anyway, Democracy 21 and the Campaign Legal Center are going to the IRS to ask for an investigation of Crossroads GPS, one tentacle of the group that's organized as a non-profit "social welfare organization" or 501(c)(4). The larger Crossroads is a PAC, but GPS itself isn't supposed to participate in campaigns. Rather than take it up with the FEC, which has fallen into chaotic uselessness because of empty seats on the commission, they're going straight to the IRS, alleging tax law violations instead.
• MO-Sen: Roy Blunt raised $2 million in 3Q, no CoH given
• PA-07: Pat Meehan raised $725K, giving him $1.5 million CoH
• SSP TV:
• AK-Sen: Two different ads, one a coordinated spot between the Joe Miller camp and the NRSC that's a bio spot for Miller, the other a Tea Party Express one-minute extravaganza that calls Lisa Murkowski a liar, a fraud, and various other things
• IN-Sen: Here's a link to that Brad Ellsworth ad we mentioned yesterday, where he literally calls Dan Coats a sellout over that all-covers album he released outsourcing
• KY-Sen: The DSCC rolls out an ad hitting Rand Paul on his proposed $2,000 Medicare deductible, while Paul's newest ad returns to the Jack Conway=Obama theme
• MO-Sen: Robin Carnahan goes back to the theme of Roy Blunt's cozy DC insider relationships
• NY-Sen-B: Joe DioGuardi's first ad is an intro spot, as well as bemoaning the dwindling American Dream
• WA-Sen: The DSCC revisits Dino Rossi's days as a state Senator, including support for cutting unemployment benefits and the minimum wage
• WI-Sen: Russ Feingold takes the GOP to task for prematurely celebrating short of the end zone
• WV-Sen: John Raese follows the NRSC's lead with his own ad doing the Joe Manchin=Obama thing
• FL-Gov: The DGA's out with a Florida ad with various law enforcement officials bashing Rick Scott's Medicare fraud
• NH-Gov: Here's the ad of the day: John Lynch leaps out of the gate and punches John Stephen in the nose over scandals at New Hampshire's HHS Dept.
• OH-Gov: Ted Strickland, bedecked in camo, reminds the state's hunters who got the NRA's backing
• PA-Gov: Well, at least Tom Corbett isn't saying Dan Onorato = Obama, but he is saying Onorato = Ed Rendell
• RI-Gov: The DGA hits Lincoln Chafee from the right? Their new ad says that vulnerable Rhode Islanders can't afford all the new taxes Chafee wants
• FL-24: Suzanne Kosmas hits Sandy Adams over the Paul Ryan roadmap
• PA-04: Oh, good... more kids complaining about how their allowance isn't big enough to cover all the debt they're going to have to pay off, courtesy of Keith Rothfus
• AZ-Sen: Rodney Glassman (D) 33%, John McCain (R-inc) 54%
• CA-Sen: Barbara Boxer (D-inc) 49%, Carly Fiorina (R) 45%
• CO-Gov: John Hickenlooper (D) 43%, Dan Maes (R) 16%, Tom Tancredo (C) 35%
• CO-Sen: Michael Bennet (D-inc) 45%, Ken Buck (R) 50%
• Rasmussen (appearing as Fox/Pulse):
• CT-Gov: Dan Malloy (D) 47%, Tom Foley (R) 41%
• CT-Sen: Richard Blumenthal (D) 52%, Linda McMahon (R) 42%
• MO-Sen: Robin Carnahan (D) 42%, Roy Blunt (R) 50%
• NV-Sen: Harry Reid (D-inc) 46%, Sharron Angle (R) 49%
• OH-Gov: Ted Strickland (D-inc) 43%, John Kasich (R) 49%
• OH-Sen: Lee Fisher (D) 37%, Rob Portman (R) 53%
• WV-Sen: Joe Manchin (D) 43%, John Raese (R) 48%
Instead, all the excitement seems to be surrounding this poll from the Republican internal pollster, POS (although thanks to lots of leaking from Jon Ralston, we all knew about it last Friday). I'm not sure on whose behalf POS polled the race, or whose partisan interest they're serving by leaking these results, but at any rate they give Harry Reid one of the best results he had since the GOP primary, and even more interestingly, the first pollever to have Rory Reid within single digits of Brian Sandoval. Is there dual Reid-mentum going on, or just a blip?
UPDATE: atdleft, in the comments, points out that the poll was on behalf of the Nevada Retail Association, who are probably more interested in taxation issues and aren't likely to be interested in trying to spin the statewide race toplines.
• AK-Sen: If anything makes clear the depth of the NRSC's change of allegiance from Lisa Murkowski to Joe Miller, check out the list of five different NRSC-organized, Senator-filled fundraisers that'll be held on Miller's behalf next week. Murkowski, meanwhile, is shrugging off the loss of her leadership post (which went to John Barrasso) and ranking committee position, seeming more focused on the mechanics of her write-in bid. She's going to have to do a little better than this, though (although Alaska doesn't require precise spelling of write-ins): the original version of the ad telling people about her write-in bid directed people to a URL that misspelled her name (LisaMurkwski.com). (I wonder if some cybersquatter has already grabbed that URL by now?)
• AR-Sen: Ipsos, on behalf of Reuters, is out with a look at Arkansas, a Senate race that's hardly worth looking at anymore. Nevertheless, they show a closer race than anybody else has lately: Blanche Lincoln trails John Boozman by "only" 14, a 53-39 gap among LVs. Lincoln's favorables seem to be improving a bit too, but time's running out for a full-fledged comeback.
• CO-Sen: Here's a tantalizing tidbit, although it doesn't have any bearing on the current race, just likely to exacerbate the seemingly-escalating war between the NRSC and Jim DeMint. It turns out the NRSC gave the maximum $42K to Jane Norton, just four days before the GOP primary. Not much of a vote of confidence in Ken Buck, is it?
• NH-Sen: Unfortunately, where many Republican primaries have dissolved into acrimony afterwards, we're seeing lots of unity in New Hampshire. Ovide Lamontagne is helping to raise funds for narrow victor Kelly Ayotte at a DC fundraiser scheduled for Sep. 27.
• WA-Sen: Considering the play this has gotten in the local press, this small comment on a parochial issue looks to be a major faceplant for Dino Rossi... he dared depart from the party line on the mighty Boeing. He suggested that Boeing should get no favorable treatment from the Pentagon in its competition with Airbus (whose efforts are subsidized by European governments) over who gets to build the next-generation Air Force tanker. (To put that in context, that would be like a candidate going to Iowa and dissing ethanol, or going to West Virginia and dissing coal.) Boeing had already explicitly endorsed Patty Murray, but now she has a nuclear-grade weapon to use against Rossi in the Boeing-dependent swingy suburbs.
And here's a hat tip to Horsesass's Goldy, who spots some interesting details in the fine print of that Elway Poll from last week. People were surprised when that CNN/Time poll found a reverse enthusiasm gap for the Dems in Washington (with Murray faring better among LVs than RVs), but Elway actually shows something similar. The 50-41 topline was LVs, but pushed leaners. Include only the "definite voters" and that pushes up to a 13-pt lead for Murray (43-30). I don't have one good explanation for this phenomenon, but I'd guess it's a combination of a) Dems being more diehard liberal in Washington and less swingy and/or sporadic than in other states, b) the economy being somewhat better in Washington than many other places, and c) teabagger ennui after Clint Didier lost the primary to establishment leftover Dino Rossi.
• NM-Gov: We've got dueling banjos internals in the Land of Enchantment. Susana Martinez whipped it out first, rolling out a POS poll from last week with a 50-40 lead for her. Not to be outdone, Diane Denish pulled out her own poll from GQR from the same timeframe, showing that Martinez is leading "only" 49-44. Um... take that?
• NY-Gov: Rick Lazio is hedging on what exactly he's going to do with his spot on the Conservative Party line, sounding like he wants to wait and see how Carl Paladino fares before making up his mind. Meanwhile, Andrew Cuomo got a pretty significant endorsement, from NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg, which may sway a few moderate indies but is probably mostly helpful from a GOTV organizational standpoint within the city. Meanwhile, you might have also heard something about a poll of this race today? I've heard a few rumblings. Anyway, we're deferring discussion of today's Quinnipiac poll until the Siena and SurveyUSA polls, due tomorrow, also come out, offering us a better yardstick.
• RI-Gov, RI-01: Quest for WJAR-TV (9/15-17, likely voters, no trendlines):
Frank Caprio (D): 36
John Robitaille (R): 13
Lincoln Chafee (I): 24
Ken Block (M): 2
David Cicilline (D): 49
John Loughlin (R): 26
This is probably the biggest lead we've seen for Frank Caprio in the Governor's race, and also the first post-primary poll of the race in the 1st, which looks to be an easy race for Providence mayor David Cicilline despite being an open seat in a dangerous year. The poll also finds the Dems easily winning the LG, AG, SoS, and RI-02 races.
• TN-Gov: Crawford Johnson and Northcott for WSMV-TV (registered voters, trendlines from early July):
Mike McWherter (D): 24 (34)
Bill Haslam (R): 55 (60)
Undecided: 19 (6)
I'm not going out on a limb by saying we can expect Bill Haslam to win the Tennessee governor's race. The only odd thing here is that this is WSMV's second poll of the race, and the number of undecideds has shot up dramatically since July (of course, it's a mystery how there were so few back then).
• FL-22: Anzalone-Liszt for Ron Klein (9/14-16, likely voters, no trendlines):
Ron Klein (D): 48
Allen West (R): 40
While this isn't an awe-inspiring lead for Klein in his own internal, it's a good topline and there are some interesting numbers in the fine print. Most notably, West's unfavorables have tripled (to 26%) since May as people have started paying attention.
• MA-04: OMG, even Barney Frank's in trouble! (In case you couldn't tell, I was being sarcastic.) (Or was I?) Anyway, the Republican candidate running against Frank, Sean Bielat, is out with a poll from GOP pollster On Message giving Frank a 48-38 lead over Bielat. I suppose a ceiling of 38% is plausible for a no-name GOPer in this part of Massachusetts, which went 63% for Obama but includes a lot of exurbs and went narrowly for Scott Brown in the special election, but I'm unclear on how he gets much further than that.
• PA-03: Franklin & Marshall (9/14-19, registered voters, no trendlines):
Kathy Dahlkemper (D-inc): 38
Mike Kelly (R): 44
This seems to be the first truly independent poll of this race, although we've seen various internals and Republican third-party polls all showing Dahlkemper in trouble, though not always losing. Franklin & Marshall opts for the "losing" side, although it's slightly less severe among RVs (42-38).
• VA-05: Benenson Strategy Group for Tom Perriello (9/14-16, likely voters, no trendlines):
Tom Perriello (D): 44
Rob Hurt (R): 46
Jeff Clark (I): 4
Not much difference here than that DCCC poll by Global Strategy Group a few weeks ago that also saw Perriello down by 2. Again, not the most appetizing numbers for rolling out when it's your own internal, but at least it's some pushback against those SurveyUSA numbers.
• WA-09: Benenson Strategy Group for Adam Smith (9/18-20, likely voters, no trendlines):
Adam Smith (D): 54
Dick Muri (R): 35
Hmmm, speaking of pushback against SurveyUSA numbers, here's an internal from the Adam Smith camp (who were seen as being in a close race in a public poll from over the weekend). Now these are the kind of internal poll numbers we like to see... although the very fact that Adam Smith should have to be releasing internal polls in the first place is, well, a sign of the times.
• DCCC: Here's some interesting money shuffling from the DCCC, which might portend an increased focus on GOTV. A CQ piece detailing some miscellany from their report this month included a number of transfers from the DCCC to state Democratic party committees. That includes $196K to Ohio, $142K to Arizona, and $132K to Arizona.
• American Crossroads: Wasn't the "Crossroads" myth about selling your soul to the devil? At any rate, Politico is out with a nauseating story that's a stark counterpoint to the normal old committee numbers that we released this morning: while the Dems have advantages at the committee level, they're getting crushed in outside TV spending by third-party groups, to the tune of $23.6 million for GOP ads to $4.8 million for Dem ads. (Of course, some of that is money that in previous cycles would have gone to the RNC, which is way out of whack (or "wack," as Michael Steele might say) and unable to do much with its usual task of helping state committees... making the GOP more reliant than ever on hoping that their air saturation can overcome disadvantages in the ground game.)
The largest of these groups, of course, is American Crossroads, which is out with six new attack ads in different Senate races: Illinois ($482K), Kentucky ($235K), Nevada ($320K), New Hampshire ($643K), Ohio ($260K), and Pennsylvania ($226K). I know the teabaggers like to think that when the 2010 election is written in the history books, the story will be about some sort of populist uprising, but more likely, their useful idiocy will be long forgotten and the story will be about the uprising of a dozen or so billionaires, leveraging tens of millions on ads in order to save themselves hundreds of billions in taxes.
• SSP TV:
• CT-Sen: The state Democratic party goes after Linda McMahon, looking at job cuts she oversaw at WWE
• MO-Sen: The DSCC wades back into Missouri, looking at how Roy Blunt keeps his corruption all in the family
• MD-Gov: A DGA-allied group hits Bob Ehrlich for being in the pocket of utilities during and after his gubernatorial term
• IL-10: Dan Seals goes negative against Bob Dold!, hitting him on social security and abortion rights
• IL-14: Nancy Pelosi's coming for you! Booogetyboogetyboogety! (or so says Randy Hultgren's second ad)
• NC-02: Renee Elmers found the money to run an ad? Well, it is cable only... Anyway, it's about the Burlington Coat Factory mosque, despite that Bob Etheridge says he doesn't support it
• PA-11: Paul Kanjorski again goes negative on Lou Barletta on the bread and butter stuff, hitting for him opposition to a State Department security forces training center for the district
• PA-17: Even Tim Holden's hitting the airwaves with two different ads, one that's a soft bio spot for himself, and then an attack on his opponent's role in legislative pay raises
• WA-08: Suzan DelBene's second ad is against negative against Dave Reichert, especially for opposing financial reform
• AK-Gov: Ethan Berkowitz (D) 34%, Sean Parnell (R-inc) 54%
• CA-Gov: Jerry Brown (D) 47%, Meg Whitman (R) 46%
• IL-Sen: Alexi Giannoulias (D) 41%, Mark Kirk (R) 44%, LeAlan Jones (G) 4%
• ME-Gov: Libby Mitchell (D) 27%, Paul LePage (R) 45%, Eliot Cutler (I) 14%
• MI-Gov: Virg Bernero (D) 38%, Rick Snyder (R) 51%
• NY-Sen: Charles Schumer (D-inc) 58%, Jay Townsend (R) 36%
• AK-Sen: It seems like Lisa Murkowski's meetings with the Libertarian Party didn't lead to anything conclusive (while David Haase sounded amenable, the state party sounds opposed), as the signals she's putting out now seem to point more toward a write-in campaign, if anything. According to Roll Call, she's "strongly considering it" and will have an announcement as early as tomorrow. In case you're wondering about TX-22-style hilarity ensuing, the Alaska Division of Elections confirms that a voter can spell her name incorrectly and still have the vote count, which makes the prospect of a write-in campaign for Linda Mukrosky somewhat more doable.
• CO-Sen: Ken Buck may have dirty boots, but he's been busy scrubbing his website sparkly clean. The Michael Bennet camp has been observing lots of minor changes to Buck's website to make it more mainstream-y, with softer-sounding rewrites on his issues page on Afghanistan, stem cell research, and immigration.
• DE-Sen: In another sign that the GOP primary between Mike Castle and Christine O'Donnell isn't dialing down, both Castle and the Tea Party Express (on behalf of O'Donnell) are both extending their previous ad buys, starting today and running through next Tuesday's election. Again, kudos to Hotline's Jeremy Jacobs, who knows not only the Size Of The Buy but the complete breakdown (Castle, for instance, spent $75K in the Salisbury broadcast market, $27K on statewide cable, and $43K on radio, while the TPX spent $32K on cable only). He also susses out that at the current trajectory, the TPX will reach only slightly past the halfway point on its promise to spend $250K on O'Donnell, unless they want to blow a lot of money at the last minute in the pricey Philadelphia market. Meanwhile, TPM checks out how TPX's ongoing moneybomb for O'Donnell has been going, who has raised $89K since TPX got involved. Despite O'Donnell's frequent attacks on Castle's use of out-of-state money to power his campaign, they highlighted their $250+ donors, and a grand total of one (of 56) was a Delawarean.
• FL-Sen, FL-25: Biden alert! With Kendrick Meek having raised some bucks at a New York appearance with Bill Clinton last night, now he turns his attention to an upcoming fundraiser with the VPOTUS. (Expect to see the usual GOP carping about "Big Hollywood," seeing as how the fundraiser is in Hollywood. Hollywood, Florida, that is.) 25th District candidate Joe Garcia will also be a beneficiary.
• PA-Sen: The Philadelphia Inquirer has a rundown of Pat Toomey's past history of earmarks, in of course blatant contradiction with the pledges of austerity that define his current campaign... yet another Republican example of government largesse for me, but not for thee. In his first term in PA-15, Toomey won $9 million in earmarks, including $3 million for one company (Air Products & Chemicals) that then became his single biggest campaign contributor.
• CA-Gov: Steve Poizner seems to have finally gotten the message, if a few months on the late (and tepid) side. The Republican primary loser gave his endorsement to Meg Whitman yesterday... via press release.
• MI-Gov: Local pollster Mitchell Research is out with what appears to be their first poll of the general election in the Michigan gubernatorial race; like most pollsters, they find Republican Rick Snyder with a solid lead. He's ahead of Democrat Virg Bernero 53-26.
• OH-Gov: Bill Clinton will be in Ohio on behalf of (Hillary endorser) Ted Strickland on the 14th, also the day of his first debate with John Kasich. Clinton will stump for Strickland in both Cleveland and Columbus.
• NC-08: With the DCCC having rolled out a GQR internal poll yesterday giving Larry Kissell a decent lead (48-36) in the 8th (on top of Kissell releasing his own internal in late August with a 49-32 lead), GOP rival Harold Johnson offered up his own poll today to show he's still in this thing. His poll from POS finds Kissell still leading, but by a more surmountable margin: 39-34.
• NV-03: Politico has details on EMILY's List weighing into the 3rd, with a two-week TV ad blitz going after Joe Heck on women's health issues (like his vote against mandated insurance coverage for the HPV vaccine). While the article doesn't have a link to the ad, let alone the Size Of The Buy, it does have a very interesting look at the advanced micro-targeting they're using, focusing on very specific TV shows as well as Hulu and Facebook users.
• OH-16: Someone get Jim Renacci a high school history textbook, stat! When asked at the candidates' first debate what he'd like to do about civil rights, the Republican challenger to John Boccieri retreated to Rand Paul-style teabagger boilerplate, saying "We need to get our federal government out of the way," and that it was better dealt with as "local issues." Yeah, because local and state governments in the 50s and 60s were the paragons of tolerance and virtue during the civil rights movement, and that federal government just came in and screwed everything up...
• DGA: If you've been wondering what they're up to at the DGA, they're out with a strategy memo that outlines the next few months. Wisely, they're most concerned with the states with the greatest population and hence greatest redistricting impact, meaning that the smaller states with Dem-held open seats (Kansas, Wyoming, etc.) have already probably been on the losing end of their triage decisions.
• TX-St. House: We at SSP have been remiss in focusing on state legislatures in the last few months (for the same reason everyone else has -- it's hard to get good intelligence on them, and there's too dang much to focus on just at the national level alone), but Burnt Orange Report has done a bang-up job profiling the race for the Texas state House, one of the few legislatures where the Dems are on the offensive and have a slim but legitimate shot at a flip. They've written up summaries of the 21 hottest races, all helpfully collected in one place at the link.
• SSP TV:
• IL-Sen: Alexi Giannoulias ad rolling out his biggest gun: backing from Barack Obama
• PA-Sen: Not one but two ads from Pat Toomey ads with pretzel logic about how his time on Wall Street tells him that one shouldn't bail out Wall Street
• WI-Sen: Ron Johnson ad hits Russ Feingold again for being a career politician
• TX-Gov: Bill White talks about border security
• VT-Gov: Dem group Green Mountain Future hits Brian Dubie on support for keeping local nuclear plant open
• FL-24: First Suzanne Kosmas ad hits Sandy Adams on teh crazy, especially the 17th Amendment
• GA-08: Jim Marshall ad tries to outflank Austin Scott on the right on the immigration issue
• MI-01: DCCC's 2nd IE ad goes after Dan Benishek on Social Security
• NY-25: Dan Maffei's first ad is anti-Ann Marie Buerkle, using Sarah Palin endorsement against her
• PA-06: Manan Trivedi's second ad this week focuses on his time as a military doctor
• AZ-Gov: Terry Goddard (D) 38%, Jan Brewer (R-inc) 60%
• CA-Gov: Jerry Brown (D) 42%, Meg Whitman (R) 46%
• CA-Sen: Barbara Boxer (D-inc) 42%, Carly Fiorina (R) 47%
• KY-Sen: Jack Conway (D) 38%, Rand Paul (R) 51%
• AK-Sen: Once again, the Swing State Project is proud to issue one of its once-in-a-blue-moon endorsements, and to do it for Scott McAdams, the Democratic nominee in Alaska. We're two-thirds of the way to our $2,400 goal, and we've just hit 50 contributors, so please join in!
• CO-Sen, CO-Gov: This is a real head-scratcher: Ken Buck's camp is out with an internal poll by POS... showing him losing (despite what a number of public polls have said)?!? The poll gives a 43-40 edge to Michael Bennet, with 5 going to the Libertarian candidate. Either this is an odd attempt to mess with Dems' heads, or, more likely, a message to his supporters to stop taking the race for granted and to keep the contributions flowing. UPDATE: OK, this isn't a Buck internal; it's a joint POS/Fairbank Maslin collaboration, and it's not said on whose behalf this poll was performed. One other bit of news from the poll: it also includes gubernatorial numbers, and John Hickenlooper is closing in on the 50% mark. He's at 48, to 25 for Dan Maes and 15 for Tom Tancredo.
• DE-Sen: Tax liens and penalties are sort of the common cold of political scandals, but this isn't timed well for Mike Castle, who's trying to stave off a last-minute zone-flooding from Tea Party Express on behalf of Christine O'Donnell. Castle had to make interest and penalty payments three times on his Capitol Hill pad in 2005 and 2006, although of course that pales in comparison to O'Donnell's long track record of ducking her bills. Meanwhile, we have a sense of what the Tea Party Express's fully operational battle station looks like: they've spent only $60K on O'Donnell's behalf so far, but plan to have spent $250K by the primary (including more airing of their TV spot and radio ad, as well as direct mail and out-of-state phone banking).
• KY-Sen: The moneybomb shoe's on the other foot: Jack Conway's doing an online one-day fundraising scramble today. As of 1 pm ET, the day's total was up to $130K. Meanwhile, against that moneybomb backdrop, is an instance of a paid Rand Paul staffer having gotten caught sockpuppeting over at Daily Kos, concern-trolling against Conway from the left.
• NH-Sen: A lot of money ($10K from various officers and employees) has flowed into Kelly Ayotte's campaign from a decidedly sketchy company in Texas: Tax Masters, one of those companies that relies heavily on late-night advertising to generate business for helping resolve debts owed to the IRS. The company and its CEO were charged with multiple violations of Texas's consumer protection laws, in the wake of hundreds of consumer complaints.
• OH-Sen, OH-Gov: The Columbus Dispatch offers up some truly bad numbers for the Democratic candidates in Ohio, finding Rob Portman leading Lee Fisher 50-37 in the Senate race and John Kasich leading Ted Strickland 49-37 in the governor's race (and the GOP winning all lower statewide races too), among registered voters. One important caveat, though: the Dispatch's poll are notoriously an all-mail-in survey (why not just poll subscribers to Literary Digest?!?), and have consistently ranked dead last in most of 538's pollster ratings (until the most recent installment, when they managed to leap ahead of a few other members of the rogues' gallery, including Research 2000, ARG, and Zogby Interactive).
• WA-Sen: Patty Murray leaked an internal poll today to Politico, showing that the needle has barely budged in this race between two ubiquitously-known, well-defined candidates. The Fairbank Maslin poll gives Murray a 50-45 lead, and 53/42 approval. An April internal by the same pollster, back when Dino Rossi was only considering entering the race, gave Murray an 8-point lead.
• MA-Gov: A poll from local wire service State House News Service gives a decent lead to Deval Patrick, thanks to an assist from Tim Cahill. Their first poll of the gubernatorial race has Patrick leading Republican Charlie Baker, independent Cahill, and Green Party candidate Jill Stein 34-28-18-4, among registered voters.
• MD-Gov: For every Joe Miller, there's, well, a Brian Murphy. The Washington Post takes a quick look at the upstart GOP gubernatorial candidate, whose Sarah Palin endorsement hasn't turned into much of anything (other than a way for Bob Ehrlich to burnish his moderate credentials). In the pre-primary reporting period (all of which covers the post-Palin period), he's raised only $35K, including $14K from himself, leaving him with $31K CoH. Ehrlich raised $725K over the 18-day period, taking him to $2.5 million CoH, while Dem Martin O'Malley raised $267K and has $6.5 million CoH.
• MI-Gov: While organized labor is the biggest force propelling Dem Virg Bernero in Michigan, there's one union that isn't falling in line. The state's largest construction union, the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Millwrights, is backing Rick Snyder instead. More alarmingly for Bernero, the much-larger Teamsters haven't endorsed yet and could conceivably go for Snyder too.
• MS-Gov: The 2011 election is only fourteen months away, and things are taking shape in Mississippi. Phil Bryant, the first-term Republican Lt. Governor, is taking steps to prepare for a bid. Businessman Dave Dennis also seems likely to run, while the state's great-named SoS, Delbert Hosemann, also sounds like he's interested.
• TX-Gov: We have two wildly divergent polls in Texas, both from GOP pollsters. Hill Research, on behalf of the Texas Watch Foundation (in a poll that seems primarily about homeowners' insurance reform, but where the gube race seems to have gotten thrown-in as an attention-getter), finds Rick Perry leading Bill White by only a 42-41 margin. On the other hand, GOPAC (perhaps having gotten an advance heads-up about the Texas Watch numbers) rolled out numbers showing Perry in better shape. Their poll, via Wilson Research Strategies, gives Perry a 50-38 lead over White.
• KS-04: With polling now pretty consistently showing Mike Pompeo leading Raj Goyle by single digits in the open seat race in the 4th, the last thing the Republicans can afford here is a high-profile third-party challenge on the right. That's what they might get, though, if businessman (and former Tic-Tac-Dough host) Wink Hartman follows through on threats to pick up the just-abandoned Libertarian ballot line. The state party has started scrambling to lean on Hartman to get him to stand down.
• NY-various: There's a bonanza of pre-primary fundraising reports in New York (where the primary is next week). The biggest raiser among the various Republican House challengers was Chris Cox in the 1st, who raised $103K to Randy Altschuler's $59K (although Altschuler still has a big CoH advantage). In the 23rd, the numbers were much smaller: Matt Doheny raised $41K and Doug Hoffman raised $37K, although Doheny has about three times Hoffman's CoH.
• WV-01: On the back of the DCCC's wave of internal polls today, here's one more poll that probably has to go in the "good news" file: an internal poll, from POS, has Republican David McKinley trailing Dem Mike Oliverio in the open seat race in the 1st. Oliverio leads McKinley 41-36. The only other poll of this race was an Oliverio internal last month that gave him a seemingly too-good-to-be-true 52-36 lead over McKinley, but at the very least, it seems like everyone's in agreement that Oliverio's in pole position for now.
• CO-Sen: The DSCC is out with an ad in Colorado, letting Ken Buck go after himself with his own words on Social Security and the 17th Amendment
• DE-Sen: Mike Castle's new ad is out; predictably, it goes after Christine O'Donnell for her crazy finances
• FL-Sen: First TV ad from Charlie Crist, stressing his (what else?) independence; also Kendrick Meek's first TV ad, which is him on a swamp boat and stressing his (what else?) Dem credentials
• MO-Sen: Roy Blunt ad about how much he loves small business
• OH-Sen: Lee Fisher's first TV ad out of the gate is negative, going after Rob Portman for being George Bush's job-exporting trade representative
• CA-Gov: Strangely sepia-toned ad is Jerry Brown's first, seemingly to remind older Californians about how much things sucked less when he was Governor the first time (SOTB: $1.2 million for one week... that's California for you)
• FL-Gov: Rick Scott's first post-primary TV ad is an attack ad against... Barack Obama? (and Alex Sink, too, I guess)
• GA-Gov: Roy Barnes goes negative against Nathan Deal on the issues of his recently-released tax returns, calling him "too corrupt even for Congress"
• SC-Gov: Nikki Haley's first TV spot, outsider-themed with a jab at Mark Sanford
• FL-22: The new Ron Klein spot is another anti-Allen West spot, but still hammering on the tax liens instead of, well, West's non-stop stream-of-consciousness crazy
• ID-01: Walt Minnick's first TV spot: please disregard the "D" next to his name, because he's independent
• IN-02: The NRCC's first television IE of the cycle, hitting Joe Donnelly for, well, being a Democrat
• IN-08: Trent van Haaften's first TV ad is a basic introductory spot
• PA-03: Kathy Dahlkemper's second ad tries to cram "jobs" in there as many times as possible
• PA-06: Manan Trivedi's first TV ad also works the outsider angle
• PA-11: Paul Kanjorski's second ad works the Social Security privatization angle, smart in such an aged district
• PA-15: Interestingly, Charlie Dent's first ad is a negative shot against John Callahan (on local property taxes), indicating he may be feeling some heat here
• WI-07: Julie Lassa's second ad goes after Sean Duffy for saying that he can't do anything to create jobs
• AFSCME: Here's the big buy of the day: the AFSCME is shelling out $1.5 million in four states (Michigan, Nevada, Ohio, and Pennsylvania) for an ad attacking Republicans for voting against the state aid package in August)
• DE-Sen: Chris Coons (D) 37%, Mike Castle (R) 48%
• DE-Sen: Chris Coons (D) 47%, Christine O'Donnell (R) 36%
• ID-Gov: Keith Allred (D) 36%, Butch Otter (R-inc) 52%
• ID-Sen: Tom Sullivan (D) 24%, Mike Crapo (R-inc) 63%
• MA-Gov: Deval Patrick (D-inc) 39%, Charlie Baker (R) 34%, Tim Cahill (I) 18%
• NE-Gov: Mike Meister (D) 28%, Dave Heineman (R-inc) 61%
• NV-Gov: Rory Reid (D) 33%, Brian Sandoval (R) 58%
• NV-Sen: Harry Reid (D-inc) 45%, Sharron Angle (R) 45%