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SSP Daily Digest: 4/29

by: DavidNYC

Fri Apr 29, 2011 at 8:04 AM EDT

Senate:

FL-Sen: Do you remember Craig Miller? I barely do. He's the wealthy former steakhouse exec who was the Republican Plan C in the FL-24 primary last year... and in an amusing bit of synchronicity, came in third, behind now-Rep. Sandy Adams and the batshit nuts Karen Diebel. Hoping to fail upward, Miller is now looking at the Senate race and plans to decide "within the next few weeks." I have no idea what he thinks he niche might be, and it's not clear to me that he has the money to overwhelm the field.

IN-Sen, IN-Gov: Former Rep. Tim Roemer says he's stepping down as ambassador to India. Could this presage a return to Hoosier politics? I'm skeptical, as Dems already have legit candidates lining up for both marquee statewide races. (And for what it's worth, an unnamed source told The Hill last month that Roemer wasn't likely to run for Senate.)

MA-Sen: This is just weird. Despite repeatedly saying he isn't interested in running for Senate, Deval Patrick somehow keeps finding himself talking about the subject. This time, he said that he had talked with the President about other jobs, but wouldn't say whether Obama had asked him to run against Scott Brown. Patrick again said he doesn't want to run, and added: "I would say no to the president of the United States."

ND-Sen: When the Club for Growth takes aim at an otherwise top-tier Republican candidate, you know you have premium-grade cat fud ready to be served. Le Club's target now is freshman Rep. Rick Berg, who went from a seemingly distant possibility to not-running-but-virtual-frontrunner status almost instantly a week ago. They're accusing Berg of being insufficiently pro-dystopia, i.e., not supporting enough cuts to federal government spending. I really hope they can find a dog... er... cat for this fight.

NV-Sen: Sometimes PPP deliberately polls for the lulz, and sometimes, the lulz find them. In this case, it's the latter: Tom Jensen's band of merry robodialers found Dean Heller beating Sharron Angle in a hypothetical GOP primary by a score of... LOL... 84-8. ("El Exigente, what more could you want?" "Their names.") Meanwhile, on the Dem side, where there does appear to be an actual primary, Rep. Shelley Berkeley leads wealthy attorney Byron Georgiou by a 65-8 margin. Good times.

PA-Sen: Apparently, there's two things Quinnipiac won't do: a) release sample compositions and b) test incumbents against hypothetical opponents whose names don't start with "Generic." Anyhow, Sen. Bob Casey has inched up to a 46-34 lead against "the Republican candidate." He was 45-35 two months ago.

UT-Sen: Speaking of the Club for Growth, they just put out their 2010 scorecard, and Orrin Hatch's numbers really demonstrate the Club's power. Despite a lifetime score of 74% (30th among Senators in office last year), Hatch managed to rack up a 97% rating last year, tying him with several other Republicans for third place. What a difference a sword of Damocles makes.

VA-Sen: Hmm. Ultra-wingnut Del. Bob Marshall's 2008 campaign manager just got hired by George Allen... and the dude didn't even tell his old boss first. Marshall's been looking at a possible Senate run, and I think he's the best hope (albeit not a great hope) we have of knocking off Allen in the GOP primary, but it's not clear what impact this will have on his plans. One positive tea-leaf: In response to the news, Marshall said, "You can tell who the candidates are not by where the consultants go, but where the volunteers go."

Gubernatorial:

PA-Gov: Uhh... did Gov. Tom Corbett just say that state universities sitting atop the Marcellus Shale should plug their budget gap by allowing exploitation of the natural gas reserves beneath them? Why yes he did. If you aren't familiar with the deeply fraught issue of hydraulic fracturing (also known as "hydrofracking" or just "fracking"), this NYT piece is a good place to start. Fracking is a devastatingly poisonous method of extracting gas, and Pennsylvania is at the epicenter of the fracking debate. Indeed, the EPA is investigating a fracking spill that took place there just last week. UPDATE: Hah, sheez. Corbett literally lifted this idea from an episode of Saved by the Bell! NOT kidding! Click the link!

WV-Gov: Former Republican SoS Betty Ireland is finally out with her first TV ad, which I think has a weird soundtrack, odd staccato pacing, and (at least in the version her campaign posted to YouTube) crappy audio quality. I think she could definitely lose.

House:

AZ-06: Yesterday we noted that state House Speaker Kirk Adams was resigning his post. Later that day, he formally announced he was, as expected, running in the GOP primary in the open 6th CD. Retiring Sen. Jon Kyl immediately endorsed Adams, while Rep. Trent Franks endorsed Matt Salmon, who is also running for this post

NV-02: Roll Call's Kyle Trygstad does a nice job digging up some facts about a 1954 special election to replace Nevada Sen. Pat McCarran, who passed away in September of that year. (If you've ever flown to Vegas, that's the guy the airport is named after.) There was some legal wrangling as to whether a special election was actually required, but once the state Supreme Court ruled yes, the parties selected their nominees by committee, not primary. That could possibly serve as precedent as SoS Ross Miller decides whether state law requires that parties choose their candidates, but Nevada's current statutes were revised only a decade ago, so the McCarran case may not be applicable.

NY-23: A few weeks ago, the NRCC mocked a batch of miniscule radio ad buys by the DCCC and said: "At what point does a campaign committee blush when launching a 'paid advertising campaign?'" Apparently, that point must lie somewhere below $4,550, which is the amount the NRCC is spending on a tiny TV buy in Rep. Bill Owens' district. (It's some lame Pelosi-related attack.)

I'd also like to give some props to Steve Peoples of Roll Call for basically ignoring the contents of the ad and focusing on exactly what the NRCC is trying to accomplish here. I don't know if he wrote the headline, but it can't be what Republicans were hoping for: "NRCC Takes Turn With Small Ad Buy Targeting Earned Media." And in referring a radio ad against Rep. Mike Ross that we noted the other day, Peoples used the kind of language you might find on SSP, saying that the NRCC "convinced a local paper to write a story about the radio buy but refused at the time to disclose the size of the investment." (It turned out to be $2,550.) If you're going to write up a story like this, this is how it should be written.

Other Races:

IN-SoS: The GOP-held state legislature has backed off a bit on attempting to rewrite the law in order to get around the Charlie White mess. (If this is the first you're hearing of the whole saga, I would suggest checking out our IN-SoS tag.) The proposed new law would give the governor the power to appoint replacement officers only on a prospective basis, so it won't affect the White situation. However, the legislation will still prevent the GOP from losing their major-party status (which was keyed to the SoS race) if the worst happens.

NJ-St. Sen.: The legal wrangling over Democrat Carl Lewis's ballot eligibility has heated up quickly. Lewis has filed suits in both state and federal court, and a federal court judge has already ordered LG/SoS/Chris Christie goon Kim Guadagno to explain her decision booting Lewis from the ballot earlier this week. Lewis is still busy campaigning, and if he's ultimately declared eligible, I think all this rigmarole might wind up helping him, given that it's free media.

Redistricting:

Colorado: I'm guessing that Republicans are wishing state Sen. Greg Brophy hadn't cracked out of turn and admitted that proposed GOP maps had been deliberately "skewed to the right." That certainly won't help them when the entire matter winds up in court, which Republican state Rep. Don Coram acknowledged was inevitable anyway. In a bit worthy of Stephen Colbert, Lynn Bartels of the Denver Post writes: "Brophy said Republicans got nervous when they heard Democrats were pushing so-called competitive seats, which he said favor Democrats...." Ah, indeed, the facts do have a well-known liberal bias.

Connecticut: According to the Greenwich Time, Dem state House Speaker Christopher Donovan has his eye on Rep. Chris Murphy's open 5th CD, and would very much like to have the blue stronghold of Bridgeport drawn into it. That would remove it from Rep. Jim Himes's district, but if you look at a map, it's rather hard to envision this happening without doing a lot of reshuffling. Of course, anything is possible, but given how minor CT's population deviations are, a serious reconfiguration of the map would seem to be uncalled for.

Indiana: The Hoosier State is poised to become the fourth to finalize a redistricting map. The Republican-held state legislature has given its approval to a new plan, which now goes to GOP Gov. Mitch Daniels for his signature.

Massachusetts: A seemingly clever bit of politics by Scott Brown, but there's a "but." Brown sent a letter to the state legislature's redistricting committee, advocating for a majority-minority congressional seat to be drawn in the Suffolk County region, and also to press for more maj-min districts in the state lege. Who knows whether the idiots in the legislature will listen to him, but Brown of course is simultaneously pushing for new district lines which will ultimately favor Republicans (by packing minorities) and, more importantly, he gets to look like he's protecting minority interests, all at no cost to himself.

Here's the "but": Brown doesn't seem to know what he's talking about. Rep. Mike Capuano, who would be most affected by Brown's proposal, fired back, saying his 8th CD already is majority-minority. It's about 54.5% "white" according to the Census, but that includes Hispanics who also identify as white, so the non-Hispanic white %age is almost certainly below 50%. (Some 19% of 8th CD residents identify as Hispanic, of any race.) Oops.

Nevada: I'm not going to get into this one in too much detail (my brain can only hold so much redistricting-related information), but Nevada Republicans are now bitterly split over new maps that GOPers in the state Senate drew for the state Assembly. Why didn't the Assembly draw its own maps? They did, but the morons who drew them were advised not to release them because lawyers thought they didn't comply with the VRA. Meanwhile, Dems in both chambers worked together to release a joint set of plans. However, they still haven't released their congressional map. Anyhow, you can find more details under the "Related Documents" sections at both links.

Oklahoma: Unsurprisingly, the map that the state House unanimously approved appears ready to sail through the state Senate, too. Shira Toeplitz suggested in her writeup (which is a few days old) that the new plan could be signed into law this week, but it hasn't actually been voted on by the full Senate as of this writing.

Texas: The cat fud is ready to fly in Texas redistricting, where ruthless Republican leaders are prepared to run roughshod over their own incumbents in the aims of preserving and maximizing their advantage to the greatest extent possible. In other words, they're staying true to the spirit of Tom DeLay. In the abstract sense, it's a ruthlessness I admire, and I wish Dems would adopt it. In any case, I wouldn't be surprised if the final maps pass in spite of a lot of GOP defections - though maybe a few horse heads in a few beds will solve that problem.

Virginia: I'm glad to see that Republicans in the state Senate are as happy to act like sheep as Democrats in the state House. The Democrats' new map passed yesterday by a 32-5 margin. Reading the linked article really makes me feel like this whole thing has been a grand kabuki, with Gov. Bob McDonnell playing everyone - even members of his own party - like puppets. McDonnell simply had to show he could extract a price from Democrats, and so he has. However, I note that the congressional map is now completely untethered from the legislative maps. If Democrats agree to an 8-3 map now, well, fuck them. Once McDonnell signs the lege plans into law, there's no going back, and there's no reason at all not to force the courts to draw a federal map.

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SSP Daily Digest: 4/28

by: DavidNYC

Thu Apr 28, 2011 at 1:16 PM EDT

Senate:

FL-Sen: George LeMieux is unsurprisingly trying to distance himself from the label "Charlie Crist Republican," but all I can say is... good luck with that. The Miami Herald has a lengthy look at just how close the two men were, and while Crist himself won't say a word against LeMieux, other former staffers are more than happy to detail just how tight their working relationship was.

MA-Sen: Hey, Richie Neal: Shut the fuck up. Seriously. What is it with Democratic congressmen from Massachusetts who love to crack out of turn? First Barney Frank, and now this crap. And yeah, you'll have to click the link if you want to know what I'm worked up about.

TX-Sen: Over at Burnt Orange Report, Karl-Thomas Musselman, a long-time friend of SSP, has a good piece about Democrats' flawed strategies in Texas statewide races over the last decade, and how Team Blue should approach things differently going forward.

Gubernatorial:

IA-Gov: In a way, this might be the roughest "do-over" poll of all. Former Dem Gov. Chet Culver lost by double digits last fall, the worst performance of any incumbent governor, yet even he now beats Terry Branstad 48-46 in a hypothetical PPP rematch.

PA-Gov: GOP Gov. Tom Corbett's disapproval rating has soared in the past couple of months. He was at 39-11 in February, and is now at 39-37, according to Quinnipiac. I guess this means not a single new person in the state of PA grew to approve of Corbett in two months!

House:

AZ-06, AZ-Sen: It's getting hard to keep track of what Republican Russell Pearce's plans are. The author of Arizona's notorious immigration law supposedly was out of the running for the open Senate seat, was heavily talked up for the open 6th CD, then was talked down for it, and is now saying he's leaving both doors open. He says he wants to stay on through the end of the 2012 legislative session, though, and Arizona has a resign-to-run law, so who knows.

On the other hand, House Speaker Kirk Adams just announced that he will resign from the legislature, which can only mean he's gearing up for a run in the 6th. (We've mentioned his name a couple of times before as a possibility.) It's going to be a crowded GOP primary, as the field already includes ex-Rep. Matt Salmon (who used to hold this seat, more or less) and former state Senate majority leader Chuck Gray.

IA-04: These are statewide numbers, but still interesting: Steve King is the least-popular member of Iowa's congressional delegation, with 27-34 favorables. Christie Vilsack, meanwhile, is at 38-23. Certainly these scores within the new fourth district would look different, but unless there is some wild base of support for King in northwest Iowa, I can't see how you wouldn't prefer to have Vilsack's numbers.

NC-11: Asheville City Councilman Cecil Bothwell says he'll challenge Rep. Health Shuler in the Democratic primary next year. Shuler, thanks to his vote against healthcare reform, took just 61% in a primary last year against Aixa Wilson, who did not even file any FEC reports.

ND-AL: With a Rick Berg run for Senate looking likely, people are starting to look at filling his at-large House seat. On the Republican side, state House Majority Leader Al Carlson said he's considering a race.  Other possible names, according to the linked piece, are state Sen. Tony Grindberg and Tax Commissioner Cory Fong. I wonder if PSC Commish Brian Kalk might slide down from the Senate race, too.

NV-02: Oh well, I can't always be right! Sharron Angle shot down an unsourced rumor in the LVRJ that she'd run as an independent in the special election to replace Dean Heller if she isn't chosen as the GOP nominee. (She won't be.)

NY-13: Now it's Mike Grimm's turn to tell his side of the story about his instantly notorious nightclub incident from 1999. Meanwhile, NYC Public Advocate Bill DeBlasio is calling on the NYPD and DoJ to release their records from their investigations of the matter. Not really sure why DeBlas, of all people, is inserting himself into this one, except perhaps to try to take a GOP scalp as he eyes the 2013 mayoral race.

OR-01: Here's another interesting bit of sub-text to the whole David Wu saga: Nike. The sneaker company has apparently never forgiven Wu for his vote against a bill that would have expanded trade with China back in 2000, and Nike's chairman endorsed Republican Rob Cornilles last year. (The company also donated to him via their PAC.) It'll probably be easier to get rid of Wu in the Democratic primary, though, so Nike may decide to get involved yet again.

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WV-Gov: Dems Win All Permutations, Tomblin Leads Primary

by: Crisitunity

Wed Apr 27, 2011 at 4:08 PM EDT

Public Policy Polling (4/21-24, West Virginia voters, 1/20-23 in parentheses):

Earl Ray Tomblin (D-inc): 51 (49)
Betty Ireland (R): 29 (32)
Undecided: 20 (19)

Earl Ray Tomblin (D-inc): 56
Bill Maloney (R): 23
Undecided: 21

John Perdue (D): 37 (37)
Betty Ireland (R): 32 (37)
Undecided: 30 (26)

John Perdue (D): 38
Bill Maloney (R): 26
Undecided: 36

Natalie Tennant (D): 39 (43)
Betty Ireland (R): 33 (32)
Undecided: 28 (26)

Natalie Tennant (D): 42
Bill Maloney (R): 29
Undecided: 30

Rick Thompson (D): 38 (31)
Betty Ireland (R): 35 (37)
Undecided: 28 (32)

Rick Thompson (D): 38
Bill Maloney (R): 28
Undecided: 34
(MoE: ±3.4%)

The West Virginia gubernatorial special election (which, remember, is being held on Oct. 4, not on Election Day in November) looks like it's shaping up without much drama: to replace popular conservaDem Joe Manchin, who moved on to the Senate, it looks like fellow popular conservaDem (and Manchin ally) Earl Roy Tomblin has a strong inside track. Tomblin, whose name rec has improved significantly in the months since PPP's previous (and only other poll) of the race, is now putting up very big margins against the Republican opposition.

Tomblin's favorables are 49/24, including a plurality, 39/33, among Republicans, and his 'not sures' are down to 27%, from 39% in January. His endorsement this week from the NRA ought to only help solidify his standing among right-of-center voters. The other less-known Democratic options (SoS Natalie Tennant's at 36/29, Treasurer John Perdue is at 27/27, and House speaker Rick Thompson is at 25/24) put up less convincing numbers, but thanks to high Democratic registration advantages, all also win, usually by comfortable margins. That's a turnaround from January, where Perdue tied Ireland and Thompson lost; only Tennant finds herself in worse position than before. (Bill Maloney, a mining industry businessman without political experience, wasn't polled by PPP in their January poll, so the trendlines are only partial.)

Public Policy Polling (4/21-24, West Virginia voters, no trendlines):

Earl Ray Tomblin (D-inc): 32
John Perdue (D): 17
Natalie Tennant (D): 16
Rick Thompson (D): 15
Jeff Kessler (D): 5
Arne Moltis (D): 1
Undecided: 14
(MoE: ±4.0%)

Betty Ireland (R): 31
Bill Maloney (R): 17
Clark Barnes (R): 8
Mitch Carmichael (R): 8
Mark Sorsaia (R): 4
Ralph William Clark (R): 2
Larry Faircloth (R): 2
Cliff Ellis (R): 1
Undecided: 28
(MoE: ±5.9%)

The more important story for now, though, is the primaries, which will take place on May 14 (a Saturday, three weeks away). Unlike with the generals, this is PPP's first look at the primaries and assumedly will be their last; it's also our only primary poll outside of candidates' internals. Again, name rec carries the day: Tomblin has a sizable advantage. In fact, as Tom Jensen points out, despite the clutter in the Democratic field, Tomblin actually has a bigger lead there than does ex-SoS Betty Ireland on the GOP side (although watch out for that giant MoE in the GOP poll!). Maloney has set the pace on advertising on the GOP side, leaving Ireland playing catch-up. Maloney's latest ad, in fact, plays his ace in the hole: his firm's connections to the rescue of the Chilean miners earlier this year. (One other ad of note: John Perdue's newest ad actually features a jingle! That's such a throwback it's almost a little charming.)

For more on where the Dem candidates fit on the left-right spectrum, check out this excellent primer. This poses an interesting question for Democratic armchair quarterbacks, in terms of who to pull for (which is probably just a question of rooting, as this race certainly isn't much of a magnet for netroots dollars). Is it better to hope for the slam-dunk candidacy of Tomblin, or to go with a bit more of a roll-of-the-dice in the general to get someone, like Thompson or Tennant, who's a bit more to the left?

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NV-Sen: Berkley Catching up to Heller

by: DavidNYC

Tue Apr 26, 2011 at 3:52 PM EDT

Public Policy Polling (PDF) (3/21-24, Nevada voters, 1/3-5 in parens):

Shelley Berkley (D): 43 (38)
Dean Heller (R): 47 (51)
Undecided: 10 (11)

Byron Georgiou (D): 28
Dean Heller (R): 52
Undecided: 20
(MoE: ±4.4%)

Rep. Shelley Berkley's favorables have barely budged, and this poll's partisan composition is little changed from January's. So what explains the swift tightening here? It turns out that Dean Heller is actually a Republican elected official, and, well, Democrats don't really like Republicans - once they know who they are:

The main thing fueling Berkley's gain is that Democratic voters have soured on Heller since he launched his Senate campaign, significantly cutting into his crossover support. In January Heller posted a pretty decent 22/31 favorability spread with Democrats, allowing him a 46/23 breakdown overall. Now just 16% of Democrats express a positive view of him and 48% have a negative one. That's caused his net favorability to drop 9 points from +23 to now +14 at 43/29.

Given that Democratic voters don't like him as much anymore it's no surprise that they're also not as inclined to vote for Heller as they were earlier this year. In January Berkley had only a 44 point lead over Heller with Democratic voters at 64-20. Now it's a 63 point lead at 76-13 and that 19 point shift in her direction within her own party is the main reason she now has the race within the margin of error.

This trend is only going to get worse for Heller, not better, as he'll soon soar to prominence once Gov. Brian Sandoval taps him to replace John Ensign. Meanwhile, Berkley actually has a lot more upside among members of her own party than Heller has with his. Dems like Berkley by a 59-9 margin while Republicans adore Heller at a 74-10 rate. This translates to Heller winning 86% of Republicans while Berkley takes just 76% of Democrats - but it's almost a guarantee that Berkley's numbers with Dems will improve. Harry Reid got 91% of Ds against Sharron Angle last year and even Jack Carter got 81% in 2006. And trust me: Shelley Berkley's no Jack Carter.

Oh, and speaking of that pending appoinment for Heller, Tom Jensen threw in an extra question about whether Nevadans are happy with the prospect of Sandoval naming a replacement, or whether they'd prefer to vote on the choice. Respondents chose "vote" by a 53-44 margin. At the end of the day, I don't know how much people really care about this sort of thing, but perhaps Democrats will be able to make some hay out of Heller getting skipped to the head of the class. At the very least, it'll paint a big target on his back, and I'm not sure I'd necessarily want the supposed advantages of incumbency in a race like this - not when greater prominence seems to be translating into crappier performance at the polls.

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SSP Daily Digest: 4/22

by: DavidNYC

Fri Apr 22, 2011 at 8:10 AM EDT

Senate:

AZ-Sen: I keep saying that there's no way Jeff Flake waltzes to the GOP nomination, but the Republican party has yet to prove me right. Fortunately, my deliverance may come in the form of rich guy Wil Cardon, who is supposedly giving the race a "very strong look" - and can self-fund.

CA-Sen, CA-Gov, etc.: Like another failed Republican gubernatorial candidate before her, it looks like we won't have Meg Whitman to kick around anymore. Actually, that's kind of confusing, because of course we did get to kick Dick Nixon around quite a bit more... but not until he kicked all of us around first. Anyhow, uh, where was I? Oh yeah, the former eBay chief says she "doubts" whether she'll run for office again. Let's hope she means it.

MA-Sen: Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead, and Deval Patrick still won't run for Senate.

MT-Sen: For once, I'm hoping a Republican schedules more fundraisers - at least, fundraisers like this. Denny Rehberg just did an event in Denver that was co-hosted by BP's "director of government and public affairs" (i.e., their chief in-house lobbyist)... on the one-year anniversary of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Good optics!

ND-Sen: This should scare absolutely no one off, from either party: Republican Public Service Commissioner Brian Kalk, the only declared candidate to succeed retiring Sen. Kent Conrad, raised all of $32K in Q1. John Hoeven he ain't. While we're on the subject of North Dakota, former Sen. Byron Dorgan, who retired last year, just donated the bulk of his remaining campaign funds - $1 million - to a new charity he founded, the Center for Native American Youth. A worthy cause, I'm sure, but I'll bet Joe Sestak would have really appreciated that extra mil.

OH-Sen: It's weird how the GOP went from utterly dominating last year's Senate election in Ohio to digging out their barrel-bottom scrapers from the back of the utility shed. Ken Blackwell says he's talking to the NRSC about a possible run... though I guess it's not really clear if the NRSC is talking back. A lulzy quote: "You don't just come out and build the sort of support base that I have overnight." True - you probably need to spend two years running a crappy campaign to do as terribly as he did in the governor's race back in 2006.

TN-Sen: This is a little odd: Sen. Bob Corker said he "came close" to not seeking re-election this cycle. Too bad we don't have a candidate who could make hay out of Corker's lack of fire in the belly (a phrase he actually uses with respect to some fantasy presidential run, but seems applicable to his day job, too).

VA-Sen: It's starting to feel like the wingnut candidates are doing everything they can to make life easier for George Allen by piling into the clown car that is the GOP primary field. The latest is rich dude Tim Donner, whom we mentioned last month. Almost all of these weirdos claim to be teabaggers in good standing, so this almost assuredly means we'll see some People's Front of Judea/Judean People's Front nonsense, rather than a united effort to stop Allen. Lame.

Gubernatorial:

KY-Gov: Republican frontrunner David Williams raised just $450K in Q1 and has $670K on hand. (This compares to Gov. Steve Beshear, whose numbers we mentioned previously: $1.3m/$3.3m.)

NC-Gov: PPP's monthly home-state poll shows Gov. Bev Perdue inching up against Republican Pat McCrory, trailing 49-38 instead of 50-36. That's very similar to a new SurveyUSA poll which has McCrory up 51-39.

SC-Gov: The issues are a little too complex for me to try to summarize here in a digest bullet, but the link will take you to an interesting story exposing some pretty naïve political incompetence on the part of supposed GOP wunderkind Gov. Nikki Haley. One thing I'd like to remind folks of is that despite the Republican bloodbath of 2010, Haley didn't perform all that impressively. In fact, she had the second-narrowest win out of all 20 victorious GOP gubernatorial candidates, just 4.3%. Only Rick Scott won more narrowly, and he's Rick Scott. Dem Vincent Sheheen got almost no national attention but should have, given his strong performance in a tough state in an impossible year. If Haley continues to stumble, I think she could prove surprisingly vulnerable in 2014.

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PA-Sen: Casey Continues to Lead All Comers

by: DavidNYC

Sun Apr 17, 2011 at 9:22 AM EDT

Public Policy Polling (PDF) (4/7-10, Pennsylvania voters, 1/3-5 in parens):

Bob Casey, Jr. (D-inc): 51 (51)
Charlie Dent (R): 31 (31)
Undecided: 18 (18)

Bob Casey, Jr. (D-inc): 50 (49)
Jim Gerlach (R): 32 (33)
Undecided: 19 (18)

Bob Casey, Jr. (D-inc): 49 (48)
Rick Santorum (R): 37 (41)
Undecided: 13 (10)

Bob Casey, Jr. (D-inc): 51 (50)
Marc Scaringi (R): 28 (27)
Undecided: 21 (22)

Bob Casey, Jr. (D-inc): 51
Jake Corman (R): 35
Undecided: 14

Bob Casey, Jr. (D-inc): 51
Laureen Cummings (R): 32
Undecided: 17

Bob Casey, Jr. (D-inc): 50
Kim Ward (R): 29
Undecided: 21
(MoE: ±4.0%)

What to say here? As you can see, Casey's numbers are little changed from January, when PPP first tested the race. He's at almost exactly 50% against everyone he faces, and no one does better than 37%. But that figure is misleadingly high: If the universally-known Rick Santorum is only at 37 right now, how can he expect to go much higher? His favorable rating (you'll need to check PPP's presidential poll, since they tested him there) is just 37-47, which is pretty ugly. In any event, Santorum seems pretty committed to a pointless presidential run; I'd be surprised to see him go for a rematch.

Every other potential candidate is entirely unknown, with anywhere from 75 to 84% of respondents expressing no opinion on this batch of Republicans (and among those who do know this crowd, all have negative ratings). Of course, that means someone like state Sen. Jake Corman has proverbial "room to grow," but with Casey already at 50, he'd need to pull away people who are already willing to support the incumbent.

So my money is on Casey, despite his relatively soft job approval numbers. I think Tom Jensen has it right:

On one hand, he has weak approval numbers-only 39% of voters approve of the job he's doing to 35% who disapprove-you can certainly get defeated with those kinds of numbers. On the other hand he leads seven potential opponents for next year that we tested against him by anywhere from 12 to 23 points-you'll pretty much never get defeated with those kinds of numbers.

My sense is that Casey is not terribly vulnerable. Here's the thing about his low approval numbers-Democrats aren't in love with him. Just 55% approve of him and 22% disapprove. Generally you'll see a Senator closer to the 70% or 80% mark within his own party so his lack of approval from the party base is what's keeping Casey's approval number under 40%. But even though they don't necessarily like Casey, Democrats are still perfectly willing to vote for him-he gets 78-80% of the Democratic vote in head to head match ups against the seven Republicans we tested. And his 19% approval number with Republicans, although it may not sound like much, is actually a pretty decent amount of crossover support in this highly polarized political climate.

The GOP has had a hard time recruiting any big names, and these numbers help explain why. The biggest note of caution, I think, is the very Dem lean of this sample: 51 D, 38 R, 11 I. It was 44-37-18 in 2008. It's hard to imagine Democrats having such a big advantage on election day next year. Nonetheless, even if you reallocated those "extra" Ds to the independent column, Casey would still out ahead, since he holds sizeable leads with indies against every candidate (except, oddly, Santorum). This is a race where you'd simply rather be Team Blue than Team Red.

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SSP Daily Digest: 4/13

by: DavidNYC

Wed Apr 13, 2011 at 8:17 AM EDT

Senate:

HI-Sen: Sen. Dan Inouye says in a new interview that he "will not take sides in the primary," and Politico ads that his "top aides insist" he won't be lending quiet, behind-the-scenes support to any candidates either. I hope that's true, since I was concerned Ed Case might have mended things with Inouye to the point that the latter might get behind the former. But without some special help, I think Case will have a hard time. Also, SMS Research took the most useless poll imaginable, pitting Case against former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann in a primary... and absolutely no one else. Whatevs.

ME-Sen: Olympia Snowe said she raised over $877K in Q1 and has over $2 million on hand.

OH-Sen: Sherrod Brown said he raised $1.3 million in Q1 and has $2.5 million on hand.

VA-Sen: George Allen said he raised $1.5 million in Q1 and has $1.25 million on hand.

Gubernatorial:

KY-Gov: TX Gov. Rick Perry, current chair of the RGA, says his organization won't decide how heavily it'll get involved in Kentucky's gubernatorial race until after the May 17th primary. He also declined to endorse frontrunner (and establishment choice) David Williams, saying he's "got a really good feeling about all the men and women who are running."

House:

CO-04: Republican Rep. Corey Gardner apparently raised over $300K in Q1.

CT-04: Dem Rep. Jim Himes estimates he took in over $300K in Q1.

IN-06, IN-05: Luke Messer, a former official with the state GOP who nearly beat Rep. Dan Burton in a primary last year, now finds himself living just outside Burton's 5th CD, according to new maps proposed by Republicans in charge of the state lege. Messer is now in the 6th, which is likely to be vacated by Mike Pence, who everyone thinks will run for governor. Messer says he's buddies with Pence and will consider running to replace him if Pence makes the leap for the statehouse, but he wouldn't rule out a rematch against Burton (though he says he wouldn't move in order to do so).

MN-08: This is pretty wild: Former Rep. Rick Nolan (D) says he's thinking about staging a comeback. It's wild because Nolan left office in 1981 and is now 68 years old. It's also rather strange because Nolan represented what was then the 6th CD, which is accurately represented in the map Joe Bodell presents. (His reader update is incorrect.) At the time, Nolan's district covered the southwestern and central portions of the state; today's 8th is in the northeastern corner (though they share one county in common, Mille Lacs). And to cap it all off, Nolan was touting himself at a Dem meeting in Bemidji, which is in the 7th CD. Actually, no - the real capper is that Nolan was a practitioner of the '60s & '70s fad of "Transcendental Meditation" (whose practitioners claimed they could levitate) and earned a mention in Time Magazine for it.

MO-03: Not going gently... or padding the warchest for a different race, or perhaps something else down the line? Russ Carnahan raised $333K in Q1, his best first quarter ever, and has $286K on hand. Dave Catanese notes that Lacy Clay raised just $17K (though he has $222K in the bank). Would Carnahan really go up against Clay in a primary? What do you think?

MS-02: Greenville Mayor Heather McTeer Hudson said she plans to challenge veteran Rep. Bennie Thompson in the Democratic primary next year. She also announced she's hiring pollster Celinda Lake. Hudson had previously said she wouldn't seek re-election to her current post. Thompson, meanwhile, ended last year with $1.7 million on hand and has warded off primary challengers before (most recently in 2006, in the form of Chuck Espy, son of former Rep. Mike Espy).

SD-AL: Though it seems all but certain that ex-Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin won't seek a rematch this cycle (among other things, she just accepted a teaching position at South Dakota State University, where she once worked), she did say she's open to the possibility of seeking office again at some point in the future. She didn't specify what post, so you can mentally flag this item as something other than just SD-AL if you like. Speaking of SD-AL, Rep. Kristi Noem (the woman who beat Sandlin) announced she took in $396K in Q1.

Other Races:

LA-AG: Former Rep. Joe Cao says he plans to challenge Dem-cum-Republican AG Buddy Caldwell this fall. Cao specifically cited Caldwell's party switch (which only happened in February) and questioned his Republican bona fides - sort of an unusual move in a state where party switching has been very common. We'll see if he Cao actually has the chops to make a race of it. (Side note: A proud moment in SSP in-the-weeds history: Live-blogging the LA-AG runoff in 2007, when control of the state House was also at stake.)

MS-AG: A rare bright spot for Mississippi Dems: Attorney General Jim Hood leads Republican Steve Simpson by 49-32 margin in PPP's latest poll.

Special Elections: From Johnny L-T:

Two of the three elections last night were landslides; in South Carolina's SD-16, Republican Greg Gregory trounced Democrat Keith Brann and Libertarian Stan Smith by a 77-18-5 margin, while in Minnesota's SD-66, DFLer Mary Jo McGuire beat Republican Greg Copeland 80-20. In Connecticut's HD-128, Democrat Dan Fox won with 39%, while Republican Charles Pia (not Antonacci, my mistake) came in second with 24%. Independents John Mallozzi and Monique Thomas both made strong showings, pulling in 23% and 13%, respectively, and Green Rolf Maurer brought up the rear with about 1%. Note that Mallozzi failed to win the Democratic nomination, so he petitioned his way onto the ballot.

Remainders:

Pay-to-Play: MaryNYC, the First Lady of the Swing State Project (aka my wife), has an interesting backgrounder on the SEC's new regulations which attempt to curtail Wall Street from engaging in "pay-to-play" with elected officials. What's interesting about the rules is that they make it very difficult for employees of financial firms to donate to state and local officeholders who have a stake in municipal investment decisions, but generally speaking doesn't affect donations to federal officeholders. So, in a hypothetical example, New Mexico state Auditor Hector Balderas, who is weighing a run for Senate, might find Wall Street's doors shut, while Rep. Martin Heinrich, who is already in the race, would face no such problems.

Redistricting Roundup:

• Indiana: We'll have a lengthier redistricting-only digest later today, but I wanted to bring you this information ASAP. A source involved in Indiana politics informs me that these are the Obama percentages for each CD in the new map proposed by Republicans in the state lege:

IN-01: 63.2
IN-02: 49.4
IN-03: 42.9
IN-04: 44.4
IN-05: 46.5
IN-06: 43.5
IN-07: 66.3
IN-08: 48.0
IN-09: 46.1
Discuss :: (205 Comments)

SSP Daily Digest: 4/13

by: DavidNYC

Wed Apr 13, 2011 at 8:17 AM EDT

Senate:

HI-Sen: Sen. Dan Inouye says in a new interview that he "will not take sides in the primary," and Politico ads that his "top aides insist" he won't be lending quiet, behind-the-scenes support to any candidates either. I hope that's true, since I was concerned Ed Case might have mended things with Inouye to the point that the latter might get behind the former. But without some special help, I think Case will have a hard time. Also, SMS Research took the most useless poll imaginable, pitting Case against former Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann in a primary... and absolutely no one else. Whatevs.

ME-Sen: Olympia Snowe said she raised over $877K in Q1 and has over $2 million on hand.

OH-Sen: Sherrod Brown said he raised $1.3 million in Q1 and has $2.5 million on hand.

VA-Sen: George Allen said he raised $1.5 million in Q1 and has $1.25 million on hand.

Gubernatorial:

KY-Gov: TX Gov. Rick Perry, current chair of the RGA, says his organization won't decide how heavily it'll get involved in Kentucky's gubernatorial race until after the May 17th primary. He also declined to endorse frontrunner (and establishment choice) David Williams, saying he's "got a really good feeling about all the men and women who are running."

House:

CO-04: Republican Rep. Corey Gardner apparently raised over $300K in Q1.

CT-04: Dem Rep. Jim Himes estimates he took in over $300K in Q1.

IN-06, IN-05: Luke Messer, a former official with the state GOP who nearly beat Rep. Dan Burton in a primary last year, now finds himself living just outside Burton's 5th CD, according to new maps proposed by Republicans in charge of the state lege. Messer is now in the 6th, which is likely to be vacated by Mike Pence, who everyone thinks will run for governor. Messer says he's buddies with Pence and will consider running to replace him if Pence makes the leap for the statehouse, but he wouldn't rule out a rematch against Burton (though he says he wouldn't move in order to do so).

MN-08: This is pretty wild: Former Rep. Rick Nolan (D) says he's thinking about staging a comeback. It's wild because Nolan left office in 1981 and is now 68 years old. It's also rather strange because Nolan represented what was then the 6th CD, which is accurately represented in the map Joe Bodell presents. (His reader update is incorrect.) At the time, Nolan's district covered the southwestern and central portions of the state; today's 8th is in the northeastern corner (though they share one county in common, Mille Lacs). And to cap it all off, Nolan was touting himself at a Dem meeting in Bemidji, which is in the 7th CD. Actually, no - the real capper is that Nolan was a practitioner of the '60s & '70s fad of "Transcendental Meditation" (whose practitioners claimed they could levitate) and earned a mention in Time Magazine for it.

MO-03: Not going gently... or padding the warchest for a different race, or perhaps something else down the line? Russ Carnahan raised $333K in Q1, his best first quarter ever, and has $286K on hand. Dave Catanese notes that Lacy Clay raised just $17K (though he has $222K in the bank). Would Carnahan really go up against Clay in a primary? What do you think?

MS-02: Greenville Mayor Heather McTeer Hudson said she plans to challenge veteran Rep. Bennie Thompson in the Democratic primary next year. She also announced she's hiring pollster Celinda Lake. Hudson had previously said she wouldn't seek re-election to her current post. Thompson, meanwhile, ended last year with $1.7 million on hand and has warded off primary challengers before (most recently in 2006, in the form of Chuck Espy, son of former Rep. Mike Espy).

SD-AL: Though it seems all but certain that ex-Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin won't seek a rematch this cycle (among other things, she just accepted a teaching position at South Dakota State University, where she once worked), she did say she's open to the possibility of seeking office again at some point in the future. She didn't specify what post, so you can mentally flag this item as something other than just SD-AL if you like. Speaking of SD-AL, Rep. Kristi Noem (the woman who beat Sandlin) announced she took in $396K in Q1.

Other Races:

LA-AG: Former Rep. Joe Cao says he plans to challenge Dem-cum-Republican AG Buddy Caldwell this fall. Cao specifically cited Caldwell's party switch (which only happened in February) and questioned his Republican bona fides - sort of an unusual move in a state where party switching has been very common. We'll see if he Cao actually has the chops to make a race of it. (Side note: A proud moment in SSP in-the-weeds history: Live-blogging the LA-AG runoff in 2007, when control of the state House was also at stake.)

MS-AG: A rare bright spot for Mississippi Dems: Attorney General Jim Hood leads Republican Steve Simpson by 49-32 margin in PPP's latest poll.

Special Elections: From Johnny L-T:

Two of the three elections last night were landslides; in South Carolina's SD-16, Republican Greg Gregory trounced Democrat Keith Brann and Libertarian Stan Smith by a 77-18-5 margin, while in Minnesota's SD-66, DFLer Mary Jo McGuire beat Republican Greg Copeland 80-20. In Connecticut's HD-128, Democrat Dan Fox won with 39%, while Republican Charles Pia (not Antonacci, my mistake) came in second with 24%. Independents John Mallozzi and Monique Thomas both made strong showings, pulling in 23% and 13%, respectively, and Green Rolf Maurer brought up the rear with about 1%. Note that Mallozzi failed to win the Democratic nomination, so he petitioned his way onto the ballot.

Remainders:

Pay-to-Play: MaryNYC, the First Lady of the Swing State Project (aka my wife), has an interesting backgrounder on the SEC's new regulations which attempt to curtail Wall Street from engaging in "pay-to-play" with elected officials. What's interesting about the rules is that they make it very difficult for employees of financial firms to donate to state and local officeholders who have a stake in municipal investment decisions, but generally speaking doesn't affect donations to federal officeholders. So, in a hypothetical example, New Mexico state Auditor Hector Balderas, who is weighing a run for Senate, might find Wall Street's doors shut, while Rep. Martin Heinrich, who is already in the race, would face no such problems.

Redistricting Roundup:

• Indiana: We'll have a lengthier redistricting-only digest later today, but I wanted to bring you this information ASAP. A source involved in Indiana politics informs me that these are the Obama percentages for each CD in the new map proposed by Republicans in the state lege:

IN-01: 63.2
IN-02: 49.4
IN-03: 42.9
IN-04: 44.4
IN-05: 46.5
IN-06: 43.5
IN-07: 66.3
IN-08: 48.0
IN-09: 46.1
Discuss :: (205 Comments)

SSP Daily Digest: 4/8

by: DavidNYC

Fri Apr 08, 2011 at 8:14 AM EDT

Senate:

AZ-Sen: So what the heck happened with Trent Franks? The Arizona Guardian is reporting that the Republican Congressman had been promising people jobs on his pending Senate campaign, and that his people had even gone so far as to ensure proper media risers were available at the hotel where Franks was supposed to make his big announcement. Yet it all vanished in a heartbeat when Franks unexpectedly pulled the plug. Says the Guardian: "The good thing is, there's still another year-and-a-half to get the full story before the 2012 elections." Also, in case you haven't seen it yet, Dave Catanese penned a piece explaining the backstory on how he got burned by Franks' consultant. It just adds to all the weirdness.

FL-Sen: Tucked inside that Quinnipiac poll which showed tough numbers for Obama was this nugget:

Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, who like Obama is on the 2012 ballot, is in better shape, with a 47-26 percent approval rating, a 43-39 percent lead over an unidentified Republican and voters saying 43-35 percent that he deserves another term in the Senate.

MI-Sen (PDF): A week or so ago, Republican-affiliated pollster Market Research Group offered some better-than-everyone-else approval ratings for Gov. Rick Snyder. Apparently, they also polled the Senate race at the same time, pitting Dem Debbie Stabenow against Some Dude Randy Hekman. Amusingly, the polling memo says the Senator has a "slim" 11-point lead over Hekman, 45-34. But the real problem is the sample, which is 26 R, 26 D, 43 I - in other words, nothing like reality.

MRG also polled a hypothetical state Supreme Court matchup between incumbent Supreme Court Justice Brian Zahra and former Gov. Jennifer Granholm, which had Zahra up 38-33. (Moving from the statehouse to the high court is not unheard of in Michigan.) Speaking of Granholm, she was supposedly under consideration to head up the Consumer Financial Protection Board but says she withdrew her name (and likes Elizabeth Warren for the job). It sounds like Granholm is keeping pretty busy, and the article notes she's teaching at UC Berkeley, so perhaps she's enjoying the weather out in Cali a bit more than back home. But Granholm is a former state AG and was even supposedly a possible Supreme Court pick, so perhaps a judicial run is plausible.

PA-Sen: Sam Rohrer, the teabaggy ex-state Rep. who got pounded by Tom Corbett in the PA-Gov GOP primary last year, says he's "50-50" on running against Bob Casey this cycle. Rohrer has the perfect pedigree: He runs the Pennsylvania chapter of the malevolent David Koch front group Americans for Prosperity.

VA-Sen: Passed along without comment:

NBC 4's reporter-anchor Craig Melvin is a tall African-American. Which apparently led to this exchange with former Sen. George Allen, according to Melvin's Twitter account Tuesday night:

"For the 2nd time in 5 months, fmr. gov. and sen candidate George Allen asks me,"what position did you play?" I did not a play a sport."

Actually, I changed my mind. If you still don't think George Allen is a racist fuck, read this coda from ThinkProgress writer Lee Feng. And no, Allen didn't apologize - he offered a classic bullshit "I'm sorry if I offended you" response. That's bullshit.

Anyhow, Roanoke College released a poll of the race, showing Allen leading Tim Kaine by 45-32 - a rather different picture than what we saw from PPP. However, the WaPo ran an above-the-item update warning readers to be "cautious" about this survey because "[r]esults were adjusted only for gender, and the resulting sample is not representative of Virginia's racial composition, its age structure or regional population densities." It also looks like the horserace question was asked after about a bajillion issue-related questions (PDF), some of them kind of weird.

Finally, in Some Dude news... some other Some Dude (an African-American minister named Earl Jackson) decided to get into the GOP primary, a race with a lot of Some Dudes already in it.

Gubernatorial:

GA-Gov: PPP did a re-do poll in Georgia, too, and found Dem ex-Gov. Roy Barnes would edge actual Gov. Nathan Deal by a single point today, 46-45. Tom says that this isn't a case of voter disgust with Deal (he has pretty meh ratings, not downright radioactive ones like Scott Walker), but rather a clear sign of last year's enthusiasm gap that will forever haunt us. There's also a smorgasbord of other Peach State odds-and-ends at the link.

KY-Gov: Gov. Steve Beshear (D) is out with his first radio ads of the campaign, touting his small-town roots, a week after his likely Republican opponent, David Williams, also went up on radio. Unlike Beshear, Williams faces a primary on May 17th, so he's also going up on cable TV with a new ad you can watch here. NWOTSOTB for any of these.

MS-Gov: Turns out PPP did in fact test the Republican gubernatorial primary in Mississippi. Click through if you really, really care. (Hint: You won't.)

UT-Gov: State Rep. Stephen Sandstrom, a teabagger fave to challenge immigration apostate Gary Herbert for the governor's mansion, says on Facebook that he has "no plans or intentions to run." (Yes, it would be more awesome if his name were Stephen Sandstorm.)

WV-Gov: In case you weren't sure where all the players in the Democratic primary field stand on the ideology spectrum (something we'll be rectifying with a more in-depth post shortly), this is a helpful guidepost: Acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin was endorsed by the WV Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber also endorsed the only two legit Republicans running, Betty Ireland and Bill Maloney.

House:

CA-26, CA-06: Assemblyman Anthony Portantino is getting some high-profile fundraising help: Steve Israel is coming out to Pacific Palisades this weekend for a breakfast event. The same piece also notes that Assemblyman Jared Huffman raised $120K for a federal account in Q1; Huffman is interested in 73-year-old Rep. Lynn Woolsey's seat, if she retires. Woolsey apparently will decide whether to seek another term by June.

FL-25: Idiot.

IL-08: I'm not exactly broken up by this news: Ex-Rep. Melissa Bean, whose race was the closest in the nation last year (she lost by 290 votes to a real piece of work), says she won't run again. She's now CEO of something called the Executives Club of Chicago, which doesn't really give off a man-of-the-people vibe, now does it?

MI-09: If there's one guy repeatedly written off as a redistricting victim who I'd really love to see find a way to survive, it's Rep. Gary Peters. Despite what must have been an exhausting last several years raising money, the Michigan Dem wasted no time getting right back into the game, pulling in over $400K in Q1. He has half a mil on hand.

NM-01: This Roll Call piece (also linked below in a redistricting item) mentions a few Dem names we hadn't discussed here before: state Rep. Al Park, Bernalillo County Clerk Maggie Toulouse Oliver, and Bernalillo County Commissioner Michelle Lujan Grisham, who lost the 2008 primary for this seat.

NY-13: Ex-Rep. Mike McMahon will join the "government relations" (i.e., lobbying) group at a mid-sized NYC law firm. He's apparently being brought on as "counsel" status, rather than as a partner, so this could just be a way-station to allow him to pay the bills as he weighs a re-match... but of course, he risks getting hit with the lobbyist taint.

PA-17: Activist Sheila Dow-Ford confirms the rumors that she's considering another run against Rep. Tim Holden, against whom she took 35% in the Democratic primary last year. Holden could get a bluer district when all is said and done, so a challenge from the left is a real possibility - but as Dow-Ford herself notes, others are interested, and I wouldn't be surprised if some bigger-name candidates got in if the seat became markedly more Dem.

UT-02: Huh - I can't exactly accuse the Salt Lake Tribune of burying the lede, since they put this in the second graf, but Rep. Jim Matheson says he's waiting to see what the new district lines look like before deciding whether to run again, or instead if he'll seek statewide office. A statewide run doesn't seem like a particularly appealing escape hatch, but both Gov. Gary Herbert (see item above) and Sen. Orrin Hatch could wind up damaged by teabaggers, so you never know. A couple of other statewide offices Matheson could see (Treasurer, Auditor) are up as well.

Also, Some Dude Chuck Williams, an Air Force vet who lost a couple of GOP primaries for Congress... in California... says he plans to challenge Matheson for his House seat, and that he'll run regardless of where the lines get drawn.

VA-11: Via FEC Kenobi, Some Dude Christopher Perkins just filed as a Republican to challenge Gerry Connolly. That's a pretty un-Google-able name, so I can't tell you much about him... though I do know his home is worth $743,130!

WV-01: Freshman Rep. David McKinley (R), who won a close race last year, says he's raised over half a mil in the first quarter. Note, though, that he still has $670K in campaign debt from last cycle.

Other Races:

Allegheny Co. Exec.: PoliticsPA, via Municipoll, has a race out on the Allegheny, PA County Executive's race. I'm gonna admit straight off the bat that I don't know the players here, but click through for details.

IN-SoS: So a judge allowed a Dem challenge to SoS Charlie White's eligibility to serve in office to proceed, but really, you just need to read Bob Bobson's summary of where things stand - and where things will head now. (Bob's been doing an awesome job of staying on top of this oftentimes-complicated story, so pay attention to him.)

Champaign, IL Mayor: Here's a nice little election result that we otherwise missed: The avowedly teabagging mayor of Champaign, Illinois was narrowly defeated by a political newcomer on Tuesday night, the first time, in fact, that he'd ever been opposed in 12 years in office. I'm a little surprised that the university town of Champaign would have elected such a wingnut in the first place, but this is still good news.

Specials: Johnny Longtorso:

Democrat Kevin Johnson won a 5-point victory over Republican Sonny Sanders in South Carolina's HD-64.

[On whether this seat was supposedly a Dem stronghold:]

I took another look at it; it's almost all of a county that Obama got around 56% in along with one or two precincts of an adjacent county, and it's about 50/50 white/black, so black turnout may have been low. So he just did a few points worse than Obama's numbers in 2008.

Wisconsin Recall: Dems filed over 22,000 signatures to recall state Sen. Randy Hopper yesterday. Republicans claim they are close to filing petitions for Sen. Robert Wirch, one of the more endangered Dems on the list.

Remainders:

WATN?: Ethan Hastert, son of ex-Speaker Denny the Hutt and victim of a genuinely impressive teabagger-fueled anybody-but-Ethan movement to deny him the GOP nomination in IL-14 last year, has managed to win elective office this year. He earned a council seat in the village of Elburn, IL, which has a population that is actually a few thousand smaller than my census tract. Don't call it a comeback!

Redistricting Roundup:

Arkansas: Total impasse: The state House rejected the state Senate's congressional redistricting plan, complementing the Senate's recent rejection of the House plan. Some procedural maneuvers may be used to try to get things moving forward again, which lawmakers are probably eager to do, since the legislative session was scheduled to end over a week ago.

California: Look, it's basically impossible to find a law firm that knows anything about redistricting which has never had any prior political involvement. So I don't understand why it's coming as a surprise that Gibson Dunn, the firm hired by the redistricting commission, has a political fund and has used it to make donations. Oh wait, I think I do - it's because most (but by no means all) of those donations were made to Democrats, so the GOP is continuing its plan to do everything it can to "discredit" the entire process. It's especially silly, because the firm specifically tasked one Dem attorney and one Republican attorney to lead the effort... but then again, the GOP is especially silly.

Louisiana: Nathan Gonzales has a good piece untangling the wreck that is Louisiana redistricting, and offering some insight into the behind-the-scenes process. I strongly encourage you to click through the link for the full flavor. (As an inducement, there's a bowl full of cat food inside.) Apparently, a compromise plan is in the works, but Nathan says that if an agreement isn't reached by next week, the lege will have to wait until next year to finish its work. (They can't call a special session?) Anyhow, like I say, read the whole thing.

New Mexico: Though legislators won't hold a special session on redistricting until the fall, apparently a plan is brewing among Democrats to excise GOP-leaning Torrance County from the 1st CD. The problem, though, is that while Dems control the lege, Gov. Susana Martinez is, of course, a Republican - a very similar situation to the last round of map-drawing in 2001, which eventually ended up in court.

Texas: You can play with various Texas map proposals at the link.

Virginia: Two Virginia items. First, the House of Delegates approved the Republican gerrymander for that body, though most Democrats were actually stupid enough to vote in favor of the plan. (Hasn't anyone ever heard of a symbolic protest vote to at least signal to your supporters that you know you're getting the shaft, even if it's for the greater good?) Second, a (the?) congressional plan was released, and it's potentially not as bad as it could be. Have a look-see.

Discuss :: (213 Comments)

SSP Daily Digest: 4/8

by: DavidNYC

Fri Apr 08, 2011 at 8:14 AM EDT

Senate:

AZ-Sen: So what the heck happened with Trent Franks? The Arizona Guardian is reporting that the Republican Congressman had been promising people jobs on his pending Senate campaign, and that his people had even gone so far as to ensure proper media risers were available at the hotel where Franks was supposed to make his big announcement. Yet it all vanished in a heartbeat when Franks unexpectedly pulled the plug. Says the Guardian: "The good thing is, there's still another year-and-a-half to get the full story before the 2012 elections." Also, in case you haven't seen it yet, Dave Catanese penned a piece explaining the backstory on how he got burned by Franks' consultant. It just adds to all the weirdness.

FL-Sen: Tucked inside that Quinnipiac poll which showed tough numbers for Obama was this nugget:

Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, who like Obama is on the 2012 ballot, is in better shape, with a 47-26 percent approval rating, a 43-39 percent lead over an unidentified Republican and voters saying 43-35 percent that he deserves another term in the Senate.

MI-Sen (PDF): A week or so ago, Republican-affiliated pollster Market Research Group offered some better-than-everyone-else approval ratings for Gov. Rick Snyder. Apparently, they also polled the Senate race at the same time, pitting Dem Debbie Stabenow against Some Dude Randy Hekman. Amusingly, the polling memo says the Senator has a "slim" 11-point lead over Hekman, 45-34. But the real problem is the sample, which is 26 R, 26 D, 43 I - in other words, nothing like reality.

MRG also polled a hypothetical state Supreme Court matchup between incumbent Supreme Court Justice Brian Zahra and former Gov. Jennifer Granholm, which had Zahra up 38-33. (Moving from the statehouse to the high court is not unheard of in Michigan.) Speaking of Granholm, she was supposedly under consideration to head up the Consumer Financial Protection Board but says she withdrew her name (and likes Elizabeth Warren for the job). It sounds like Granholm is keeping pretty busy, and the article notes she's teaching at UC Berkeley, so perhaps she's enjoying the weather out in Cali a bit more than back home. But Granholm is a former state AG and was even supposedly a possible Supreme Court pick, so perhaps a judicial run is plausible.

PA-Sen: Sam Rohrer, the teabaggy ex-state Rep. who got pounded by Tom Corbett in the PA-Gov GOP primary last year, says he's "50-50" on running against Bob Casey this cycle. Rohrer has the perfect pedigree: He runs the Pennsylvania chapter of the malevolent David Koch front group Americans for Prosperity.

VA-Sen: Passed along without comment:

NBC 4's reporter-anchor Craig Melvin is a tall African-American. Which apparently led to this exchange with former Sen. George Allen, according to Melvin's Twitter account Tuesday night:

"For the 2nd time in 5 months, fmr. gov. and sen candidate George Allen asks me,"what position did you play?" I did not a play a sport."

Actually, I changed my mind. If you still don't think George Allen is a racist fuck, read this coda from ThinkProgress writer Lee Feng. And no, Allen didn't apologize - he offered a classic bullshit "I'm sorry if I offended you" response. That's bullshit.

Anyhow, Roanoke College released a poll of the race, showing Allen leading Tim Kaine by 45-32 - a rather different picture than what we saw from PPP. However, the WaPo ran an above-the-item update warning readers to be "cautious" about this survey because "[r]esults were adjusted only for gender, and the resulting sample is not representative of Virginia's racial composition, its age structure or regional population densities." It also looks like the horserace question was asked after about a bajillion issue-related questions (PDF), some of them kind of weird.

Finally, in Some Dude news... some other Some Dude (an African-American minister named Earl Jackson) decided to get into the GOP primary, a race with a lot of Some Dudes already in it.

Gubernatorial:

GA-Gov: PPP did a re-do poll in Georgia, too, and found Dem ex-Gov. Roy Barnes would edge actual Gov. Nathan Deal by a single point today, 46-45. Tom says that this isn't a case of voter disgust with Deal (he has pretty meh ratings, not downright radioactive ones like Scott Walker), but rather a clear sign of last year's enthusiasm gap that will forever haunt us. There's also a smorgasbord of other Peach State odds-and-ends at the link.

KY-Gov: Gov. Steve Beshear (D) is out with his first radio ads of the campaign, touting his small-town roots, a week after his likely Republican opponent, David Williams, also went up on radio. Unlike Beshear, Williams faces a primary on May 17th, so he's also going up on cable TV with a new ad you can watch here. NWOTSOTB for any of these.

MS-Gov: Turns out PPP did in fact test the Republican gubernatorial primary in Mississippi. Click through if you really, really care. (Hint: You won't.)

UT-Gov: State Rep. Stephen Sandstrom, a teabagger fave to challenge immigration apostate Gary Herbert for the governor's mansion, says on Facebook that he has "no plans or intentions to run." (Yes, it would be more awesome if his name were Stephen Sandstorm.)

WV-Gov: In case you weren't sure where all the players in the Democratic primary field stand on the ideology spectrum (something we'll be rectifying with a more in-depth post shortly), this is a helpful guidepost: Acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin was endorsed by the WV Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber also endorsed the only two legit Republicans running, Betty Ireland and Bill Maloney.

House:

CA-26, CA-06: Assemblyman Anthony Portantino is getting some high-profile fundraising help: Steve Israel is coming out to Pacific Palisades this weekend for a breakfast event. The same piece also notes that Assemblyman Jared Huffman raised $120K for a federal account in Q1; Huffman is interested in 73-year-old Rep. Lynn Woolsey's seat, if she retires. Woolsey apparently will decide whether to seek another term by June.

FL-25: Idiot.

IL-08: I'm not exactly broken up by this news: Ex-Rep. Melissa Bean, whose race was the closest in the nation last year (she lost by 290 votes to a real piece of work), says she won't run again. She's now CEO of something called the Executives Club of Chicago, which doesn't really give off a man-of-the-people vibe, now does it?

MI-09: If there's one guy repeatedly written off as a redistricting victim who I'd really love to see find a way to survive, it's Rep. Gary Peters. Despite what must have been an exhausting last several years raising money, the Michigan Dem wasted no time getting right back into the game, pulling in over $400K in Q1. He has half a mil on hand.

NM-01: This Roll Call piece (also linked below in a redistricting item) mentions a few Dem names we hadn't discussed here before: state Rep. Al Park, Bernalillo County Clerk Maggie Toulouse Oliver, and Bernalillo County Commissioner Michelle Lujan Grisham, who lost the 2008 primary for this seat.

NY-13: Ex-Rep. Mike McMahon will join the "government relations" (i.e., lobbying) group at a mid-sized NYC law firm. He's apparently being brought on as "counsel" status, rather than as a partner, so this could just be a way-station to allow him to pay the bills as he weighs a re-match... but of course, he risks getting hit with the lobbyist taint.

PA-17: Activist Sheila Dow-Ford confirms the rumors that she's considering another run against Rep. Tim Holden, against whom she took 35% in the Democratic primary last year. Holden could get a bluer district when all is said and done, so a challenge from the left is a real possibility - but as Dow-Ford herself notes, others are interested, and I wouldn't be surprised if some bigger-name candidates got in if the seat became markedly more Dem.

UT-02: Huh - I can't exactly accuse the Salt Lake Tribune of burying the lede, since they put this in the second graf, but Rep. Jim Matheson says he's waiting to see what the new district lines look like before deciding whether to run again, or instead if he'll seek statewide office. A statewide run doesn't seem like a particularly appealing escape hatch, but both Gov. Gary Herbert (see item above) and Sen. Orrin Hatch could wind up damaged by teabaggers, so you never know. A couple of other statewide offices Matheson could see (Treasurer, Auditor) are up as well.

Also, Some Dude Chuck Williams, an Air Force vet who lost a couple of GOP primaries for Congress... in California... says he plans to challenge Matheson for his House seat, and that he'll run regardless of where the lines get drawn.

VA-11: Via FEC Kenobi, Some Dude Christopher Perkins just filed as a Republican to challenge Gerry Connolly. That's a pretty un-Google-able name, so I can't tell you much about him... though I do know his home is worth $743,130!

WV-01: Freshman Rep. David McKinley (R), who won a close race last year, says he's raised over half a mil in the first quarter. Note, though, that he still has $670K in campaign debt from last cycle.

Other Races:

Allegheny Co. Exec.: PoliticsPA, via Municipoll, has a race out on the Allegheny, PA County Executive's race. I'm gonna admit straight off the bat that I don't know the players here, but click through for details.

IN-SoS: So a judge allowed a Dem challenge to SoS Charlie White's eligibility to serve in office to proceed, but really, you just need to read Bob Bobson's summary of where things stand - and where things will head now. (Bob's been doing an awesome job of staying on top of this oftentimes-complicated story, so pay attention to him.)

Champaign, IL Mayor: Here's a nice little election result that we otherwise missed: The avowedly teabagging mayor of Champaign, Illinois was narrowly defeated by a political newcomer on Tuesday night, the first time, in fact, that he'd ever been opposed in 12 years in office. I'm a little surprised that the university town of Champaign would have elected such a wingnut in the first place, but this is still good news.

Specials: Johnny Longtorso:

Democrat Kevin Johnson won a 5-point victory over Republican Sonny Sanders in South Carolina's HD-64.

[On whether this seat was supposedly a Dem stronghold:]

I took another look at it; it's almost all of a county that Obama got around 56% in along with one or two precincts of an adjacent county, and it's about 50/50 white/black, so black turnout may have been low. So he just did a few points worse than Obama's numbers in 2008.

Wisconsin Recall: Dems filed over 22,000 signatures to recall state Sen. Randy Hopper yesterday. Republicans claim they are close to filing petitions for Sen. Robert Wirch, one of the more endangered Dems on the list.

Remainders:

WATN?: Ethan Hastert, son of ex-Speaker Denny the Hutt and victim of a genuinely impressive teabagger-fueled anybody-but-Ethan movement to deny him the GOP nomination in IL-14 last year, has managed to win elective office this year. He earned a council seat in the village of Elburn, IL, which has a population that is actually a few thousand smaller than my census tract. Don't call it a comeback!

Redistricting Roundup:

Arkansas: Total impasse: The state House rejected the state Senate's congressional redistricting plan, complementing the Senate's recent rejection of the House plan. Some procedural maneuvers may be used to try to get things moving forward again, which lawmakers are probably eager to do, since the legislative session was scheduled to end over a week ago.

California: Look, it's basically impossible to find a law firm that knows anything about redistricting which has never had any prior political involvement. So I don't understand why it's coming as a surprise that Gibson Dunn, the firm hired by the redistricting commission, has a political fund and has used it to make donations. Oh wait, I think I do - it's because most (but by no means all) of those donations were made to Democrats, so the GOP is continuing its plan to do everything it can to "discredit" the entire process. It's especially silly, because the firm specifically tasked one Dem attorney and one Republican attorney to lead the effort... but then again, the GOP is especially silly.

Louisiana: Nathan Gonzales has a good piece untangling the wreck that is Louisiana redistricting, and offering some insight into the behind-the-scenes process. I strongly encourage you to click through the link for the full flavor. (As an inducement, there's a bowl full of cat food inside.) Apparently, a compromise plan is in the works, but Nathan says that if an agreement isn't reached by next week, the lege will have to wait until next year to finish its work. (They can't call a special session?) Anyhow, like I say, read the whole thing.

New Mexico: Though legislators won't hold a special session on redistricting until the fall, apparently a plan is brewing among Democrats to excise GOP-leaning Torrance County from the 1st CD. The problem, though, is that while Dems control the lege, Gov. Susana Martinez is, of course, a Republican - a very similar situation to the last round of map-drawing in 2001, which eventually ended up in court.

Texas: You can play with various Texas map proposals at the link.

Virginia: Two Virginia items. First, the House of Delegates approved the Republican gerrymander for that body, though most Democrats were actually stupid enough to vote in favor of the plan. (Hasn't anyone ever heard of a symbolic protest vote to at least signal to your supporters that you know you're getting the shaft, even if it's for the greater good?) Second, a (the?) congressional plan was released, and it's potentially not as bad as it could be. Have a look-see.

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