Bev Perdue nosed beat former Charlotte mayor Pat McCrory two years ago by a little over 3%. Now, two solid years into the shittiest economy in the better part of a century, Perdue's job approval sucks hard (33-49) and McCrory is looking good. I think it's pretty safe to say Perdue would have been blown out of the water had she been up for re-election this year - obviously the million-dollar question is whether she can recover before Nov. 2012. I don't feel too good about that prospect.
Pat McCrory (R): 37
Tom Fetzer (R): 12
Virginia Foxx (R): 11
Sue Myrick (R): 6
Fred Smith (R): 4
Cherie Berry (R): 3
Patrick McHenry (R): 3
Phil Berger (R): 2
Someone else/undecided: 22
McCrory is also looking pretty good in a hypothetical GOP primary (PDF), with former Raleigh mayor Tom Fetzer and batshit crazy Rep. Virginia Foxx way behind in the low teens. But as PPP suggests, McCrory may not even face a challenge for the Republican nod.
Yesterday's primary elections in Indiana, North Carolina, and Ohio showed two things: one, despite all the huffing and puffing about it being an anti-incumbent year and there being a massive wave of teabaggers ready to take the system down, establishment candidates still won pretty much everything. And two, the enthusiasm gap between the parties that we've been warned about is definitely out there, and numbers from last night back that up.
Indiana: Indiana was the case study for what went wrong with the anti-establishment candidates -- there were just too many of them. In Republican race after race, the anti-establishment votes were split between too many candidates, letting the incumbents or the anointed challengers slip through; had the teabaggers had the presence of mind to unite behind one person, they could have done some actual damage. In the Senate primary, 90s-leftover Dan Coats won with a tepid 39%, beating state Sen. Marlin Stutzman (standard-bearer of the DeMint wing of the teabaggers) at 29 and ex-Rep. John Hostettler (representing the Paulist wing) at 23. As we've wondered openly before at SSP, I have no idea whether that's better or worse for Democrats, seeing as how Coats has access to actual money but also a dump-truck full of vulnerabilities (starting off with the possibility that the NRA might actually support Brad Ellsworth over the Brady Bill-supporting Coats).
The same dynamic played out in a slew of House races. In IN-03, somnambulistic Rep. Mark Souder won with 48% over two opponents, Bob Thomas at 34% and Phil Troyer at 16%. In the open seat race in IN-04, SoS Todd Rokita only cleared 42%, although there were 13 contestants in the race and his nearest rival, Brandt Hershman, only reached 17%. In IN-05, widely disliked Rep. Dan Burton managed to way underperform his 52% from his last primary: he only got to 30%; luckily for him, his opposition was so chopped up that he still survived, with former state GOP chair Luke Messer coming closest at 28%. In IN-08, the NRCC's pick, surgeon Larry Bucshon, barely survived a horde of teabaggers, most of whom coalesced behind Kristi Risk, whom he beat 33-29. And in IN-09, a three-way duel between ex-Rep. Mike Sodrel, establishment pick attorney Todd Young, and teabagger fave Travis Hankins wound up with Young winning with 34%, with Hankins at 32% and Sodrel at 30% (sparing us Baron Hill vs. Sodrel Round Five). The only dominant performance was Jackie Wolarski in IN-02, who picked up 61% of the vote to Jack Jordan's 28%.
As with Coats, it's unclear to me who we'd rather have faced in those races. In each case, it was a choice between an establishment guy with money but who isn't going to excite the GOP base, vs. an outsider without the connections or, possibly, the campaign chops. Maybe Risk's loss will help with Democrat Trent Van Haaften's outreach to the local teabaggery, and in the 9th, while it's sad Baron Hill won't get to face off against the increasingly laughable Sodrel, Young seems to come with his own set of problems (first and foremost, a big recent donation from Don Blankenship, controversial CEO of coal mining company Massey Energy).
North Carolina: The big story in North Carolina was the Democratic primary in the Senate race. Thanks to a fairly strong performance from third-place finisher Kenneth Lewis, nobody cleared the 40% mark, and we're headed to a June 22 runoff between SoS Elaine Marshall and ex-state Sen. Cal Cunningham, which'll be a duel between name rec (Marshall) and money (Cunningham). Marshall finished at 36%, Cunningham at 27%, and Lewis at 17%.
At the House level, in the main race where the GOP is playing offense, the primary is also headed to a runoff. In NC-08, unhinged rich guy Tim D'Annunzio got 37% and ex-sportscaster Harold Johnson got 33%. NC-11 had looked like it was also headed to a runoff, but by night's end businessman Jeff Miller barely cleared the hurdle, with 40.2%. In both those races, the Dem incumbents got mild rebukes from their bases (presumably over their anti-HCR votes), with Larry Kissell getting only 63% and Heath Shuler getting 62%. In NC-06 and NC-10, geriatric Howard Coble (64%) and bombastic Patrick McHenry (63%) also underperformed against fractured opposition. You have to look further downballot to see any bodies falling: five incumbent state legislators lost their primaries (four of them Dems, although some of these look like safe seats).
Ohio: The main event in Ohio was the Senate primary for Democrats, where Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher, as expected beat SoS Jennifer Brunner 55-45. Considering how vastly Brunner was outspent, and the trajectory of the last week's polls, it's actually surprising it was that close. Apparently Brunner's hard work on the ground in some of Ohio's reddish areas in the last weeks of the campaign paid off some dividends, as she put up big leads in the Cincinnati area (Hamilton and Clermont Counties). Naturally, it leaves you to wonder what she could have done if she'd had some actual money.
In the House, OH-02 was the scene of two contested primaries. Rep. Jean Schmidt survived her primary challenge with little trouble, beating Warren Co. Commissioner Mike Kilburn 62-22. On the Dem side, Surya Yalamanchili squeaked out a 41-38 win over David Krikorian, with apparently enough people repulsed by both to give 22% to Some Dude J. Parker. Krikorian continued to be a douchebag even in defeat, accusing Yalamanchili of having played "the race card." The establishment candidates in the two other big GOP primaries both prevailed: in OH-16, Jim Renacci got 49% to 40% for Matt Miller (his third straight time breaking 40% but losing the GOP primary here). And state Sen. Bob Gibbs, the NRCC's recruit in OH-18, seems to have beaten Fred Dailey by about 200 votes (at 21% each), although this race appears headed to a recount. (One would be hard-pressed to call Dailey, the 2008 nominee and former state Agriculture Director, an outsider candidate, although at least he was certainly angry this time around.)
In Ohio, there were also some allegedly hot primaries for the GOP in statewide races, where teabagger favorites were taking on establishment picks, that also turned out to be a big bucket of nothing. In the SoS primary, state Sen. Jon Husted beat Sandra O'Brien 67-33, while in the Auditor race, Delaware Co. Prosecutor Dave Yost (who was the teabagger fave when he was in the AG race running against the guy they really hate, Mike DeWine, but became their enemy when he switched over to the Auditor's race against the guy they liked) beat state Rep. Seth Morgan 65-35.
Finally, as I said at the start, there's the matter of turnout disparities. Reid Wilson points to how only 662K voters voted in the OH-Sen Democratic primary, which was lower than the number of Democratic voters (872K) in the Democratic primary in 2006 (where there was no contested D primary in either the Governor or Senate races). That jibes with the broader numbers we've been seeing about enthusiasm gaps (as with Gallup's recent poll showing 43% of Republicans are "very enthused" about voting, while 33% of Democrats are). The falloff was similar in Indiana, where only 204K Dems participated as opposed to 304K in 2006, although it's worth noting that the Dems were playing offense in 2006 and had contested House primaries, while this year there was really bupkus to get Dems to the polls in Indiana. In North Carolina, 425K voted in the Dem primary. Reid compares this to 2004, where more Dems showed up in the primary, but that may not be an apt comparison as that's a presidential year -- regardless, that too may be an ominous number in the context of the Republican Senate primary, where almost as many, 374K, voted to help Richard Burr dispatch no-name opposition.
Only one digest a day this week. Too much candy is bad for you!
FL-Sen: Kendrick Meek will qualify for the ballot today in an apparently unprecedented manner. Rather than pay the $10,000 filing fee, he plans to submit 130,000 signatures from across the state. (You need 112,500, so he has some wiggle room.) While this obviously was a vastly more expensive undertaking, Meek's earned a bunch of free media as a result, and has also padded out his campaign database. On the GOP side, Marco Rubio and Charlie Crist squared off in their first debate yesterday. The Politico also has a take on the proceedings.
MA-Sen: Rachel Maddow took out a full-page ad in the Boston Globe to deny rumors that she had any interest in running against Sen. Scott Brown in 2012. But actually, it's much better than that - click the link and check out her letter for yourself. She lands some good blows on Brown, who had sent out a letter trying to raise money off the oogedy-boogedy threat of a Maddow run. Says Maddow: "It's standard now for conservatives to invent scary fake threats to run against." Like her.
UT-Sen: Republican Gov. Gary Herbert says he won't take sides in the primary battle against his fellow GOPer, Sen. Bob Bennett. Given that incumbents usually stick together, this seems worrying for Bennett - a guy who already has a long list of worries.
AL-05: Local conservative activist Hugh McInnish is seeking to bar Rep. Parker Griffith from the GOP ballot, calling him an "impostor." A petition he filed with local party leaders was shot down in January, but he's going to try to make his case to the state party next week.
CT-05: Former Hill aide Justin Bernier is complaining about how the House Conservatives Fund (a PAC run by Rep. Patrick McHenry) decided to endorse state Sen. Sam Caligiuri rather than himself. The HCF asked Bernier to fill out a survey and return it to one Evan Kozlow. The problem? Kozlow does work for the HCF, and he's also Caligiuri's general consultant.
MN-06: Dems in MN's 6th CD have given their endorsement to state Sen. Tarryl Clark. Clark will still have to face off against Maureen Reed (formerly a member of the Independence Party) in an August primary.
NY-29: Upstate Dems are staying tight-lipped about their pick for a nominee in the special election to fill ex-Rep. Eric Massa's seat. They are meeting today to interview six candidates, one of whom is Assemblyman David Koon. The other names are still unknown, though Paterson aide Mary Wilmot may be among them.
PA-10: A group called Catholics United, which pushed Chris Carney to support the healthcare reform bill, is now running an ad (on FOX News!) to thank him for his "yes" vote. No word on the size of the buy, but obviously it's a cable dealie, so probably not big.
WA-03: Nurse and Democrat Maria Rodriguez-Salazar is dropping out of the race to succeed the retiring Rep. Brian Baird. This cuts the Dem field down to Denny Heck, Craig Pridemore, and Cheryl Crist.
IL-Lt. Gov: Illinois Democrats went the ultimate outsider route to pick a replacement Lt. Gov. candidate, choosing... the child of a former senator. Uh, I'm sure Sheila Simon, the daughter of the late Sen. Paul Simon, is a great person. But considering the lengths IL Dems went to try to open up this process and look like they weren't just conducting another backroom deal (you could even apply online!), this almost seems like an absurd result. Not to mention the fact that this isn't exactly the kind of year where a gubernatorial candidate wants to remind voters of any ties to DC. Seriously strange move here.
DSCC: Joe Biden just did a Dallas fundraiser for the DSCC, which took in $250,000. He also did a DNC fundraiser the same day. No word on how much that netted, though.
• CA-Sen: Possibly the most bizarre political ad (well, web video) of all time has just gotten unveiled by the Carly Fiorina campaign, which makes their "Carlyfornia Dreaming" website look reasoned and well-thought-out. I mean, they're going to be studying this in political rhetoric classes 50 years from now, as an example of what not to do. Not only is the imagery laughable (check out the glowing-eyed demon sheep at 2:24) but the metaphor completely falls apart (Tom Campbell is a "FCINO" (financial conservative in name only) and thus a crafty wolf, while good politicians are a herd of helpless mindless sheep?).
• CT-Sen: Even Rasmussen can't find a way to put a happy face on the tombstone piledriver the Connecticut GOP suffered with the Chris Dodd-for-Richard Blumenthal swap. They find Blumenthal leading ex-Rep. Rob Simmons 54-35 and Gorgeous Lady of Wrestling Linda McMahon 56-36. Simmons is actually very well-liked, at 60/26 favorables, but that's no match for Blumenthal at 70/27.
• IL-Sen: Republicans can content themselves with Rasmussen's first post-primary poll of the Senate field; they find GOP Rep. Mark Kirk leading Dem state treasurer Alexi Giannoulias 46-40. This, of course, doesn't jibe with not only last week's PPP poll (with a 42-34 Alexi lead) but the last Rasmussen poll of the general, from December (with a 42-39 Alexi lead). Both those polls predate the strangely-timed consent decree between the FDIC and the Giannoulias-family-owned Broadway Bank, so it's possible Giannoulias might have taken a hit from that. Also, Rasmussen's numbers aren't that far off from an internal (pdf) from Magellan that the Kirk campaign was quick to release yesterday: 47-35. One suggestion that might cast a little doubt on the samples, though, is Barack Obama's approval ratings in his home state, oddly low at 54% and 51% respectively, only a few points ahead of his national average.
• IN-Sen: Ex-Sen. Dan Coats is leaving himself a lot of elbow room with the way he's carefully phrased what he's doing: "as I test the waters for a potential challenge..." I realize that SSP is pretty much powerless to change the nature of the political discourse, but we're getting very tired of the whole "I'm not running, but I'm running, wink wink" kabuki that seems to be standard practice these days (John Boozman, we're talking to you too). We fully intend to change the rating on this race, but not until Coats truly and officially gets in. At any rate, Coats may be wise leaving himself an escape hatch, if the dribs and drabs like this one keep piling up: one of his lobbying clients has been Hugo Chavez-connected oil company Harvest Natural Resources (but, then, making nice with Chavez is IOKIYAR, I guess).
• WI-Sen: If you're looking for a tea leaf on whether or not ex-Gov. Tommy Thompson is interested in taking on Russ Feingold this year, look no further: he just took a position as an advisor to a hedge fund. He'll consult with Peak Ridge Capital Group on agribusiness matters. Not only will that keep him occupied in the near future, but it's not really the kind of thing you want on your resume if trying to run at a time of anti-banker agitas. (Another hint: the talk of an ex-Rep. Mark Neumann switch from the Governor's race, to a rematch with Feingold, suddenly bubbling up.)
• IL-Gov: We have winners in the gubernatorial primaries, as all of Illinois's precincts reported by the end of the day yesterday. Pat Quinn wound up with a more than 8,000 vote margin over Dan Hynes (good for 50.4%), and Hynes conceded this morning. On the Republican side, state Sen. Kirk Dillard didn't make up as much ground in Cook County on fellow state Sen. Bill Brady as anticipated, and Brady wound up finishing with a 406-vote margin. There's no automatic recount law in Illinois, so it's up to Dillard to decide whether or not to proceed with a challenge.
Meanwhile, down the ballot, both parties seem somewhat aghast at the winners of their Lt. Governor primaries. News came out today that pawnbroker Scott Lee Cohen, winner of the Democratic nod, was arrested four years ago for misdemeanor assault after holding a knife to the throat of a girlfriend (who had also been convicted of prostitution). Needless to say, Quinn is already distancing himself from Cohen, calling on him to step aside. (Although Governor and Lt. Governor are elected separately in primaries, they're then lashed together as a ticket for the general, which is how Rod Blagojevich and Quinn got put together despite their antipathy - I'm not sure if any other state does it that way.) Which isn't to say that the Republicans fared much better on that front, nominating random teabagging businessman Jason Plummer (who, like Cohen, won by pouring his own money into the race) instead of state Sen. Matt Murphy.
• NY-Gov: I can't see this being of any interest unless something goes seriously wrong and we somehow wind up with a David Paterson/Rick Lazio matchup and we need to shunt off some right-wing votes to get Paterson over the hump. But now there's a teabagger-linked rich guy, Buffalo real estate developer Carl Paladino, saying that he's considering a gubernatorial run, and that he "would go in as a pure independent."
• PA-Gov: Allegheny Co. Exec Dan Onorato has the big financial edge in the Dem gubernatorial primary, and now he has some key labor backing as well. The Teamsters are the first major union to endorse in the primary, and they went for Onorato.
• TX-Gov: Looks like there's going to be a crazy Wang Dang Tango at Rick Perry's Houston rally on Sunday: not only is Sarah Palin going to be there to endorse Perry, but so too is the Motor City Madman, the Ten Terrible Fingers of Doom, the Rock 'n' Roll Caveman: Ted Nugent (who plans to perform). In case you're wondering where the normally reserved and understated Nugent stands on all things political, he recently said: "I think that Barack Hussein Obama should be put in jail. It is clear that Barack Hussein Obama is a communist. Mao Tse Tung lives and his name is Barack Hussein Obama. This country should be ashamed. I wanna throw up."
• AR-01: The first Democrat making moves to replace retiring Rep. Marion Berry is Berry's very own Chief of Staff, Chad Causey, who has already scheduled a fundraiser. State Sen. Steve Bryles, state Rep. Keith Ingram, and former state party chair Jason Willett are other Dems publicly eyeing the race. For the GOP, broadcaster Rick Crawford probably won't have the race to himself, with state Sen. Johnny Key interested. Princella Smith is also likely to get in - she'll definitely need a new job starting in November, as she's currently a staffer to Rep. Joe Cao.
• FL-24: The 24th seems like an apt target for Republicans, with a Republican lean and freshman Rep. Suzanne Kosmas not quite finding her footing - but fundraising has gone poorly for the two GOPers in the race, state Rep. Sandy Adams and Winter Park city councilor Karen Diebel, neither of whom has broken into the six digits in the last few quarters. The NRCC is now touting the likely entry of Craig Miller, the former CEO of Ruth's Chris Steakhouses. He's never held office before, but at least he brings his own money with him.
• NC-10: In the dark-red 10th, the only way odious chickenhawk Rep. Patrick McHenry is going to get dislodged is in a GOP primary - and it's starting to look like that's a possibility this year. Not one but two different opponents have outraised him (although mostly by dipping into their own wallets): dentist and Iredell Co. Commissioner Scott Keadle and businessman Vance Patterson. Keadle has some electoral experience, coming within 14 points of Mel Watt in NC-12 in 1998, during the brief period when the frequently-modified VRA district had a sizable white plurality. Keadle claims to be coming at McHenry from the right, which is hard to fathom as McHenry is already one of the most stridently conservative members of the House.
• NH-01: Another one-time NRCC fave who's fallen by the side of the road somewhat as he's put up quarter after quarter of mediocre fundraising is former Manchester mayor Frank Guinta. Sensing an opening, several other contenders have gotten into the GOP field; one, Richard Ashooh, has been exploring the race but made it official today. He comes with his own set of insider credentials, though: he's the VP of governmental relations for large locally-based defense contractor BAE Systems.
• NY-23: Talk about not learning from the past. If Assemblyman Will Barclay wins the GOP nomination, he may find himself getting Scozzafavaed by the same guy. Doug Hoffman plans to run on both the Republican and Conservative lines, but Conservative party chair Mike Long says he'll continue to back Hoffman on the Conservative line even if Hoffman loses the Republican primary.
• Redistricting: There's still a chance to get on the newly-created California legislative redistricting board. The deadline to submit an application is Feb. 12. The state is taking notice that 73% of applicants are non-Hispanic whites and 70% are males, neither of which is very representative of the state's makeup, and is shelling out for a last-minute outreach campaign to bring in some more minority applicants. Part of the problem is that applicants can't have run for office or worked for a politician, which filters out many of the most politically engaged in minority communities. At any rate, it's an opportunity to get more progressives behind the wheel of shaping a more competitive legislative map for next year, so any SSPers in the Golden State are urged to apply.
• Dave's Redistricting App: If you use Dave's App, please don't close your browser window/tab when you take a break. Whenever you load a new instance of the app, it causes a big bandwidth hit, especially when you open up New York state. So to help Dave conserve bandwidth, leave your browser open once you've loaded whatever you're working on until you're finished with that project. Thanks! (D)
• AZ-Sen: Ex-Rep. J.D. Hayworth says that he may be ready to start "testing the waters" for a primary challenge to John McCain. Hayworth was recently seen in D.C., holding a joint fundraiser with Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio that raked in $100,000. Hayworth's share of the proceeds went directly to help alleviate his outstanding legal bills.
• CT-Sen: Well, this is awkward. Before Chris Dodd led the attacks on AIG for its executive compensation fiasco, Dodd was in AIG's offices, collecting checks from their employees.
• MA-Sen: Republican Scott Brown has launched the first ad of his campaign, making a totally cheeseball comparison between himself and JFK.
• NY-Gov: Basil Paterson, David's dad and former SoS, raises the ugly specter of the 2002 gubernatorial primary between Carl McCall and Andrew Cuomo as some kind of "warning" to Cuomo. (D)
• AL-05: As we expected, PSC Commissioner Susan Parker has turned down the opportunity to challenge Parker Griffith in 2010. This leaves Democrats without a top shelf candidate, but there are other options worth considering. One potential candidate, state Rep. Randy Hinshaw, talks with Left in Alabama about the campaign that he'd like to see the Democratic nominee run. Doc's Political Parlor hears that Deborah Bell Paseur is unlikely to run, and that Hinshaw is "as likely as anyone" to go for it. Madison County Commissioner Bob Harrison is also thinking about it.
• CA-19: The Defenders of Wildlife are gearing up to do whatever it takes to prevent Richard Pombo from re-entering Congress (as he is considering), even if it means supporting another conservative Republican for the seat of retiring GOP Rep. George Radanovich. Meanwhile, Taniel notes that ex-Fresno mayor Jim Patterson is a Club For Growth protege -- so this could be a pretty lively primary.
• LA-03: State Rep. Nickie Monica has become the first Republican to file for the seat of Dem Rep. Charlie Melancon.
• TX-10: Foreign policy consultant Dan Grant, who lost a 2008 Democratic primary to local celebrity judge Larry Joe Doherty, has taken his name out of consideration as a last-minute replacement for businessman Jack McDonald, who withdrew his candidacy for the seat of GOP Rep. Mike McCaul last week.
• NC-10: Here's something interesting we missed a while back: Iredell County Commissioner Scott Keadle is challenging Rep. Patrick McHenry in the GOP primary, and he's backed his play with $250K of his own money. It's not really clear what exactly Keadle's beef with McHenry is - he seems to be running a 1994-esque campaign, accusing McHenry (who's only held office since 2005) of turning into a "career politician," and pledging to serve no more than three terms himself. (Hat-tip: Reader IR) (D)
• VA State Sen: Hotline on Call takes a look at a crucial special election between ex-Fairfax Co. School Board member Steve Hunt (R) and Del. Dave Marsden (D). Marsden and Hunt are running to replace Republican AG-elect Ken Cuccinelli. If Democrats somehow win the seat, they'd be able to pad their razor-thin majority in the Senate to 22-18.
• NYC-Mayor: The Swing State Project has gotten its hands on the precinct-by-precinct results for the 2009 New York City mayor's race. You can also check out our entire storehouse of obscure election returns and otherwise-unpublished polling memos at the SSP Document Collection. For some tasty eye candy and analysis, SSP Research Bureau Chief jeffmd has put together some beautiful maps comparing Thompson's performance to Obama's. (D)
• Polltopia: Pick PPP's next state polling target: Alabama, Connecticut, Illinois, Florida or Massachusetts.
• CA-Sen: Republican Assemblyman Chuck DeVore wants you to remember that he's still running against Carly Fiorina, regardless of what the NRSC tries to tell you. When John Cornyn sent out some platitudes referring to his strong recruits in Kelly Ayotte and Carly Fiorina, DeVore let the world know in no uncertain terms what he really thinks of the NRSC.
"I welcome Senator Cornyn's endorsement of Carly Fiorina, my probable opponent for the Republican nomination to defeat Barbara Boxer in 2010. Under John Cornyn, the National Republican Senatorial Committee has racked up an impressive string of endorsements in support of non-conservative, unpopular, poorly vetted candidates across the nation. These candidacies have thus far gone on to flounder or implode."
Questions continue to circulate about HP's sales of hundreds of millions of dollars in printers and other equipment to Iran, despite the bans on trade with the nation... and more generally about her ability to close the deal in view of how poorly CEOs have done in statewide races before.
• SC-Gov: Mark Sanford's prospects have seemed to be on a roller coaster ride since his Appalachian Trail adventure, and this week he's going through another dip: now the state GOP has called for his resignation. State party chair Karen Floyd made the announcement yesterday evening.
• NC-10: Congratulations to Rep. Patrick McHenry; one of the Beltway's most eligible bachelors, he's finally off the market. He announces that he's engaged to Giulia Cangiano, a GAO economist whom he met through mutual friends.
• OH-17: He's baaaack! Ex-Rep. Jim Traficant is out of prison, and already talking about running for office. He says there's a 50/50 chance he'd run for his old seat, although it's held by a Democrat, Tim Ryan. That didn't stop him before; he ran against Ryan as an independent in 2002 and got 15% of the vote. Traficant is beaming down to a local teabagging function this weekend to get reacquainted with his constituents.
• OH-18: Although Republicans were disappointed when they didn't get state Sen. Jimmy Stewart to run, they've found another state Senator to go up against Rep. Zack Space: Bob Gibbs of Holmes County. Most of Gibbs' district is in the 16th, but Holmes County is in the 18th.
• PA-07: Republican Pat Meehan, the former US Attorney for eastern Pennsylvania, who recently bailed out of the gubernatorial primary, is ready to announce his candidacy in the 7th, where Rep. Joe Sestak is leaving behind an open seat. Meehan will make his formal announcement on Monday. Although the seat is D+3, Meehan (the former DA of Delaware County) is strong enough to make this race a very competitive even against highly touted Dem state Rep. Bryan Lentz.
• SC-02: Both heckler Joe Wilson and his Democratic opponent, Rob Miller, are now raising money like gangbusters. Miller is up above $750,000 in contributions now since the Obama address. Wilson has also raised $200,000, although not much of that seems to be coming online: at SlateCard, the GOP equivalent of ActBlue, he's raised a total of $620 from 13 supporters. PPP's Tom Jensen, who polled SC-02 last night, is teasing bad results for Wilson.
• VA-05: Although this guy seems to be the only GOP candidate in the 5th so far, don't expect him to be the nominee... especially now that he was just convicted on a concealed weapons violation. Bradley Rees was fined $100 in a local court after police found two pistols in his glove compartment. Most attention focused on state Sen. Rob Hurt as the likely GOP challenger to Rep. Tom Perriello.
• AK-Gov: George Stephanopoulos (on Twitter) thinks there might be some sort of announcement from Sarah Palin this afternoon, possibly that she won't run for re-election as governor. This wouldn't surprise me, and if so, not a bad time to bury the news.
• MN-Sen: Al Franken is going to be sworn in on Tuesday. Just seeing this photo makes me excited.
• MN-06: You know things are bad for Michele Bachmann when... well, every day is bad for her. But things are especially bad when members of her own party start telling her to STFU. "Boycotting the constitutionally mandated Census is illogical, illegal and not in the best interest of our country," wrote Patrick McHenry, Lynn Westmoreland and John Mica, members of the subcommittee which oversees the census. And these guys are some pretty wingnutty mouthbreathers. Weapons-grade wingnut Jason Chaffetz (the only other GOPer on the same cmte) refused to sign the letter.
• NH-Sen: Paul Hodes pulled in an improved 725K for the quarter - but I still think he can do better. Meanwhile, a piece of shit poll from UNH shows Kelly Ayotte "beating" Hodes 39-35. Why such harsh language? Because UNH continues its crappy track record of unacceptable samples - this time, they have it as 32R, 25D, even though there are more registered Democrats than Republicans in the state of New Hampshire. Pathetic. And in other news, former Gov. Stephen Merrill (R), who served in the mid-90s right before Jeanne Shaheen, has declined to run for the open Senate seat.
• PA-07: Republican businessman Steven Welch has made it official - he will run for the 7th CD seat, which may or may not be open, depending upon what Rep. Joe Sestak does. I can't understand why Welch would pick a holiday weekend to launch his campaign, though. (Thanks, Pan.)
• TX-Gov/AG: Former Travis County DA Ronnie Earle - best known these days as the guy who indicted Tom DeLay - just filed papers to run for statewide office. He hasn't yet said whether he'll seek the governor's mansion (which would put him on a collision course will fellow Dem Tom Schieffer) or the Attorney General's job. Either way, Earle can start raising money now.
• VA-05: A Virginia TV station is refusing to air an NRCC ad against Tom Perriello. While the station has remained mum about its reasons, Factcheck.org slammed the ad for its inaccuracies about the Waxman-Markey climate change bill. TV & radio stations are open to legal liability when they run third-party ads (they are immune when running candidate ads), so the only reason to nix a spot is because your lawyers tell you to. Nice to see the NRCC fumbling out of the gate. Perriello, meanwhile, is offering a feisty defense of his vote.
• Ads: A coalition of liberal groups is airing "thank you" ads in seventeen congressional districts, which include some potentially vulnerable Dems who voted for the climate change bill. The list: B. Markey, Boyd, Grayson, Kosmas, Hill, Halvorson, Chandler, Kratovil, Peters, Schauer, Hodes, Maffei, Kilroy, Space, Perriello, Giffords & Kagen.
• NY-20: Well, we know Scott Murphy can count on getting at least one vote out of the huge pile of absentee ballots in the deadlocked NY-20 election: the ballot of the woman he's seeking to replace, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, is one of them.
• NY-29: In an example of political chaos theory at work, the NY-20 election may wind up protecting Rep. Eric Massa several seats over. If Jim Tedisco wins, he's out of his current job as Assembly Minority Leader, and even if he loses, there have been rumblings to replace him anyway. His replacement as Minority Leader would likely be Brian Kolb, who, if he took the position, would probably want to focus on that and no longer be the top GOP pick to take on Eric Massa in NY-29. (Other potential GOP candidates in NY-29 include Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks and state senators Cathy Young and George Winner.)
• PA-Sen: Arlen Specter is already defending his right flank with ads attacking ex-Rep. Pat Toomey, in preparation for the 2010 primary. Specter's ad sounds a bit, um, Democratic, attacking Toomey for favoring deregulation, wanting to privatize Social Security, and for the unforgivable sin of having traded CDSs when he was working on Wall Street.
• MN-Sen: The next step in the MN-Sen saga has national implications: governor Tim Pawlenty has to decide, once the Minnesota Supreme Court rules, whether to go ahead and sign the certificate declaring Al Franken the winner (and, y'know, follow the rule of law)... or whether to continue to obstruct Franken in order not to alienate the rabid Republican base he'll need in 2012 if he's going to have any hope in the presidential primary.
• OH-Sen: I know I wouldn't buy a used car from Rob Portman, but he finally has some competition in the GOP primary, and it's a guy a lot of people apparently have bought used cars from. Cleveland-area car dealer Tom Ganley has also entered the race (although he shouldn't be more than a speed bump for the heavily-funded Portman).
• AK-AL: Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell is "considering" another primary run at Rep. Don Young. One negative for Parnell is that, this time, he'd have to give up his LG slot for a 2010 run. But there's also the possibility that the federal investigation into Young may actually yield something in the next few years.
• DCCC: The DCCC launched a new radio spot in the districts of six GOP representatives in Democratic-leaning seats, attacking them for voting against the middle-class tax cuts contained in the stimulus package. The targets are Mike Castle (DE-AL), Ken Calvert (CA-44), Bill Young (FL-10), Thad McCotter (MI-11), Charlie Dent (PA-15), and Mike McCaul (TX-10).
• LA-02: The Anh Cao Watch continues! GOP leading lights John McCain and Rep. Paul Ryan (WI-01) were recently seen jawing with Cao, who hasn't yet decided how he'll vote on the Democrats' budget resolution. Would he really defect? And would it even matter? (D)
• Census: The new pick for Census Director has been announced, and if the squealing emitting from Patrick McHenry is any indication, it's a good pick. It's Robert Groves, a Univ. of Michigan professor who was the Census's associate director for statistical design in the early 90s. Groves is a proponent of statistical sampling, which is the main flashpoint in debate over the census. Commerce Sec. Gary Locke has indicated that sampling won't be used for redistricting purposes, but will be used for increased accuracy (for purposes of allocating federal funds, for instance).
Daniel Johnson (D): 37
Patrick McHenry (R-inc): 52
If a year ago... or heck, even a month ago... you'd told someone that we'd be looking at dyed-in-the-wool dark-red southern districts like SC-01, SC-02, or NC-10 as being potentially competitive, derisive laughter would have been the proper response.
Well, here we are talking about them. While these numbers don't suggest that the GOP is likely to lose any of them, these districts shouldn't even be up for discussion. Consider that these districts are R+10, R+9, and R+15, and imagine the mirror image, which would be, say, the Democrats having to sweat the loss of MA-06, NY-04, and MA-01 while watching more precarious seats slip away from them.
The only race of the three that's within the single digits is the suddenly very-interesting SC-01 race between incumbent Henry Brown (at this point, probably best known for his lack of fire safety skills) and businesswoman and philanthropist Linda Ketner in this Charleston-based district. The idea of a Deep South district (although this Lowlands district is less evangelical than the stereotypical southern district) electing not just a progressive but an openly lesbian representative is nothing short of mind-boggling, but with the DCCC jumping in and Ketner able to self-finance too, it can't be ruled out.