• FL-Sen, FL-Gov: Suffolk University does a little poking around in the Sunshine State and finds that Sen. Bill Nelson winds up with rather good 43-24 favorables (including strong 30-39 marks among Republicans). Rick Scott, though, not so good... he's gasping at 32-47 overall. (President Obama stands at 48-44.) Suffolk also tested the GOP Senate primary (see Q.14 on p. 3), but no one scores higher than 7% in their kitchen sink head-to-head hypothetical, so I can't say it's worth very much.
• NE-Sen: Dem Sen. Ben Nelson says he raised over $1 million in Q1 and has $2.3 million on hand.
• NJ-Sen: Dem Sen. Bob Menendez apparently raised $1.6 million in Q1 and had about $4 million on hand.
• NV-Sen: Interesting: Aaron Blake is telling his WaPo colleague Felicia Sonmez that the DSCC is formally endorsing Rep. Shelley Berkley in her bid for Senate. This is probably a message to Byron Georgiou that he might want to think about finding something else to do.
• PA-Sen: Dem Sen. Bob Casey took in $1.1 million in Q1 and has over $2.1 million on hand.
• PA-Gov: Tom Jensen loves the re-do polls, and so do we, of course. This time, it's Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett, who would lose in a hypothetical rematch to Dan Onorato by a 49-44 margin. Corbett's job approvals are at a sucky 34-44, which is interesting because unlikely the other Republican governors PPP's been testing, Corbett hasn't been caught at ground zero in labor-related disputes or (ala Rick Scott) in endless conflagrations with legislators in his own party.
• RI-Gov: Brand-new Gov. Lincoln Chafee says he might run as a Dem if he seeks re-election in 2014 - and also says he might not endorse President Obama for re-election. At first I imagined he was trying to preserver wankerish "moderate" credentials, but if you read the linked article, you'll see he actually criticizes Obama from the left for giving away too much in the recent government shutdown showdown.
• IA-03: Could the truly crazy Rep. Steve King really be scoping out a potential run in the proposed new 3rd CD? King, as you know, would be thrown into a new 4th CD with fellow Republican Tom Latham if Iowa's new maps pass into law, as expected. That's not a particularly appealing choice, but would a matchup with Dem Rep. Leonard Boswell in the new 3rd be any better? Blogger desmoinesdem, who lives in the 3rd, says she received a robocall from King asking if she supported a "total repeal of Obamacare." Another commenter at Bleeding Heartland says he, too, received the same call - but he's in the new 2nd, so it may just be that King is trying to raise money from Obama haters throughout the state. (The call included options for offering to donate to King.)
• LA-03, LA-07: With Louisiana's new maps becoming law (see bullet below in Redistricting Roundup), the big issue now is what happens between Republican Reps. Charles Boustany and Jeff Landry. The CW has long been that Landry, a teabagger who beat an establishment GOPer for the seat, would be left out in the cold. But I'm starting to wonder if maybe the knives will be out for Boustany instead. Boustany, you'll recall, very nearly derailed the entire redistricting process late in the day, prompting all five other Republican congressmen to ask that mapmaking be delayed for an entire year. An angry state legislature refused to entertain that possibility, but there was still a lot of ill will toward Boustany. Indeed, Rep. John Fleming said of Boustany last week: "I don't feel like I can trust anything he says. Everything he told me, he reneged on." In any event, Boustany says he raised a not-especially-impressive $230K in Q1. I'll be very curious to see what Landry took in.
• MT-AL: Republican businessman Steve Daines announced he raised almost $200K and will report $330K on hand as he pursues Rep. Denny Rehberg's open seat. Dem state Rep. Franke Wilmer said she's only raised $10K so far, but adds that she hasn't been able to fundraise as much as she'd like because she's in the middle of the legislative session.
• NV-02: Now things are getting interesting. Retired USS Cole Commander Kirk Lippold officially announced his entrance into the race for Dean Heller's open seat, making him the second Republican to get in. I say it's interesting because we might soon have at least three serious (well, "serious") candidates in the race, giving Sharron Angle a plausible shot of capturing her party's nomination. (The other expected entrant is Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki, who said he'll wait until the legislative session ends in June to announce.)
• NY-26: Dem Kathy Hochul has a new ad up touting her leadership in the War on Tollbooths. It's actually her third ad; her second is an attack ad, going after Republican Jane Corwin for being a phony on spending cuts. NWOTSOTB.
• PA-11, PA-17: Lackawanna County Commissioner Corey O'Brien, who staged a rather unsuccessful primary challenge to now-ex-Rep. Paul Kanjorski last year in PA-11, basically ruled out another run for Congress, and said he definitely won't challenge Rep. Tim Holden in a primary if Lackawanna gets drawn into Holden's 17th CD.
• DCCC, NRCC: Despite having gotten its ass kicked last year and having sixty fewer members to lean on for donations, the DCCC had a monster first quarter, raised $19.6 million and cutting its debt by more than half, from $17.3 million to just $8 mil. By comparison, the NRCC took in just $18.1 million and has the same amount of debt - but it started off with much less. Republicans have twice our cash-on-hand, though ($9 mil to $4.6 mil). We'll bring you a full chart with all the committee numbers once they all report.
• VETO: I don't really have a good place to put this, but you just gotta click the link and check out the pics of Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer vetoing a bunch of Republican legislation. Pure awesome.
• Iowa: Both houses of the state lege have now approved Iowa's new maps by very broad margins, and they go to Gov. Terry Branstad for his signature - or veto. He has three days to decide, but it would be quite the bombshell if he chose to nuke things at this stage, especially since he's said he hasn't heard a "compelling reason to reject" the plans. Also, a great data point from Greg Giroux:
Braley now reps 48% of population in proposed CD1, Loebsack 54% of CD2, Boswell 57% of CD3, Latham 50%/King 47% of CD4
• Louisiana: Gov. Bobby Jindal signed his state's much-fought-over new maps into law yesterday, and now they go to the Dept. of Justice for pre-clearance. The Legislative Black Caucus says it will oppose the maps (citing problems with all three: state House, state Senate, and congressional) and ask the DoJ to deny approval. However, the chair of the Legislative Democratic Caucus says " "Nothing jumps out at me and says [preclearance] will be a problem." Needless to say, quite a lot of folks at SSP disagree! Once the maps are submitted (likely in the next few weeks), Justice has 60 days to make a decision.
• Missouri: New redistricting plans, crafted by the Republican-controlled legislature, are getting closer to Dem Gov. Jay Nixon's desk, but he hasn't yet said whether he'll veto them. Republicans sound divided as to what they think Nixon will do. To over-ride a veto, they'd have to bring a few wayward members of their own team back into the fold, and buy off a couple of Dems. I suspect they can pull that off.
• Oklahoma: Just call it No Drama Oklahoma - so far, anyway. A state House committee passed a new map (PDF here), and the district lines for OK's five CDs have barely changed. (Helpfully, the map shows both the old lines and the new boundaries, so you can see just how minimal the differences are. It's still possible, though, that the Senate or the governor could try to push a plan which screws the state's lone Dem, Dan Boren. But it seems like legislators are more concerned with re-doing their own maps.
• Texas: They might be our mortal enemies, but the folks who draw the lines in the Lonestar State share our penchant for ruthlessness when it comes to map-making. Like a mother eagle shoving her own babies out of her nest, Republicans in the legislature are dealing with the problem of unwanted teabaggers by drawing them out of their districts - and into districts with one another. Indeed, a plan by the chair of the state House redistricting committee would pit no fewer than 14 Republicans against one another, allowing the GOP to create a whole mess of new open seats in other areas. This isn't cat fud so much as it is the cat stuffing her mangiest kittens into the dryer herself.
• Virginia: Bill Bartell of the Virginian-Pilot takes a detailed look at what the Democratic plan to turn the 4th CD into a majority-black district would mean, particularly for the seat's current inhabitant, GOP Rep. Randy Forbes.
• CT-Sen: Connecticut's open seat Senate race was always destined to be a high-dollar affair, and the money chase is well underway. Former SoS Susie Bysiewicz released a first quarter total of a respectable $500K, but Rep. Chris Murphy, her main rival in the Dem primary, just more than doubled up on that, with $1.1 million raised over the course of his first 10 weeks. (Of course, they've both picked their low hanging fruit on their first trip to the orchard, so the challenge will be to keep up that rate.)
• FL-Sen: PPP, who put out general election numbers on the Senate race last week, have the GOP primary numbers... and they find GOP voters saying "Uh, who?" (Y'know, like that guy who used to be the Senator... who somehow is known by only 26% of the sample?) Unfortunately, Connie Mack IV dropped out while the poll was in the field, so, better-known than the other options (perhaps courtesy of his dad, the former Sen. Connie Mack III, who the state's older and more confused voters might think is back) he leads the way at 28, with the actual candidates, ex-Sen. George LeMieux and state Sen. majority leader Mike Haridopolos at 14 and 13, respectively. Additional likely candidate Adam Hasner is back at 5. Don't look for any help on choosing from Marco Rubio: he's just announced that he won't endorse in the primary.
• HI-Sen: There still seem to be fans out there for losing '06 IL-06 candidate and Obama admin member Tammy Duckworth, eager to get her into elected office somewhere someday, and the place du jour seems to be Hawaii, where a Draft Duckworth page has popped up for the open Senate seat.
• MA-Sen: Salem mayor Kim Driscoll has been the occasional subject of Senate speculation for the Dem primary, along with the mayor of pretty much every other mid-sized city in the state. Nevertheless, she pulled her name out of contention yesterday (all part of the Democratic master plan of not having a candidate to deceptively lull the GOP into complacency, I'm sure). Meanwhile, Republican incumbent Scott Brown (last seen praising the Paul Ryan Abolition of Medicare Plan, rolled out his first quarter fundraising numbers: he raised $1.7 million in Q1, leaving him with $8.1 million cash on hand. That's, of course, huge, but the silver lining on that is that it doesn't leave him on track to hit his previously-announced super-gigantic $25 mil fundraising goal for the cycle.
• FL-Gov: With various newly-elected Republican governors in polling freefall, Rick Scott (who can't even get along with his GOP legislature, let alone his constituents) really seems to be leading the way down. Quinnipiac finds his approvals deep in the hole, currently 35/48, down from 35/22 in February (meaning he picked up no new fans in that period, but managed to piss off an additional quarter of the state). Voters says by a 53-37 margin that his budget proposals are unfair to people like them. Voters are also opposed to the legislature's proposal to stop collecting union dues from state workers' paychecks.
• MO-Gov: After spending Monday dragging out his fight with those who buy ink by the barrel (aka the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, who broke the story on his fancy-pants hotel habit), Missouri Lt. Gov. and Republican gubernatorial candidate Peter Kinder seemed to dial things down a notch yesterday: he says he'll 'voluntarily' reimburse the state $30K for those expenditures, and while not exactly apologizing, says he seeks "to move this nimbus off the horizon." Um, whatever that means.
• AZ-06: After getting mentioned a lot when Jeff Flake announced his Senate run, opening up the Mesa-based 6th, state Senate president Russell Pearce is now sounding unlikely to run according to insiders. (Blowback over his links to the Fiesta Bowl controversy may be the last straw, though, rather than his status as xenophobia's poster child.) A couple other GOP names have risen to the forefront: state House speaker Kirk Adams, who's considering, and former state Sen. majority leader Chuck Gray, who is already in.
• CA-36: One more big union endorsement for Janice Hahn in the primary fight against Debra Bowen to succeed Jane Harman: this one comes from the SEIU.
• CT-05: The open seat vacated by Chris Murphy is likely to draw a crowd, and here's a new Republican contender in this swingy, suburban district: Farmington town council chair and former FBI agent Mike Clark. Clark has a notable profile for helping to take down a fellow Republican while at the FBI: corrupt ex-Gov. John Rowland. He'll face Justin Bernier in the GOP primary, who lost the primary in 2010.
• FL-20: In case Debbie Wasserman Schultz's work load couldn't get any heavier, she just got a new heap of responsibility dumped in her lap: she'll become the new head of the DNC, to replace newly-minted Senate candidate Tim Kaine. She'll, of course, keep her day job as Representative.
• MN-08: The Dem-leaning 8th is as good a place as any to pick up a seat in 2012, but there's the wee problem of trying to find somebody to run there. The latest Dem possibility that drew everyone's interest, Yvonne Prettner Solon, the former Duluth-area state Sen. and newly-elected Lt. Governor, won't run here either.
• NH-St. House: I realize that with 400 members you're going to have a lot of bad apples, but still we're up to 3 GOP frosh having resigned already from the New Hampshire state House. Hot on the heels of a 91-year-old member resigning after advocating (literally) sending 'defectives' to Siberia to starve, Gary Wheaton just resigned for driving with a suspended license after a previous DUI (and then publicly suspected the arresting officer for targeting him because of his vote against collective bargaining). And somewhat less dramatically, Robert Huxley eventually got around to resigning after not getting around to showing up for any votes so far in the session.
• EMILY's List: EMILY's List is out with its first five fundraising targets for the 2012 cycle. Some of them are to be expected, with high-profile GOP freshmen and already-announced female opponents: Allen West (who may face West Palm Beach mayor Lois Frankel in FL-22), Paul Gosar (who faces a rematch with ex-Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick in AZ-01), and Charlie Bass (rematched with Ann McLane Kuster in NH-02). They also targeted Joe Heck in NV-03 and Chip Cravaack in MN-08, who don't have opponents yet but conceivably could match up with Dina Titus and Tarryl Clark, respectively.
• WATN?: Thirtysomething Carte Goodwin seemed to make a good impression during his half-a-year as a fill-in in the Senate (in between Robert Byrd and Joe Manchin), moving him to prime position on the Dems' West Virginia bench, but he says he's not running for anything else anytime soon. Or more accurately, he says the only the only thing he's running for "is the county line." (Uh, with the revenuers in pursuit?)
Q: If you could do last fall's election for Governor over again, would you vote for Democrat Alex Sink or Republican Rick Scott?
Rick Scott (R-inc): 37
Alex Sink (D): 56
Q: In the election for Governor last year did you vote for Democrat Alex Sink or Republican Rick Scott, or did you not vote in the election?
Rick Scott (R-inc): 41
Alex Sink (D): 48
Didn't vote/don't remember: 11
We've often referred to this sort of poll that PPP's been churning out lately as an example of buyer's remorse. But I'm calling it "windowshopper's remorse" because at least part of this turnaround is due to people who only glanced in the front window of last year's election but didn't bother to stop in and make a purchase:
Some of the crosstabs in the "redo" poll point to the Democratic turnout issues that made Scott's victory possible in the first place though. For instance voters under 30 say they would support Sink by a 67-26 margin if the election was today-but those folks made up only 8% of the electorate in the state last year. If they had turned out in greater numbers Scott would have been in the dustbin of Florida political history four months ago. Turnout from African Americans (who say they would vote for Sink now 85-8) and Hispanics (who say they would vote for Sink 69-28) was also down as a share of the electorate last year from 2008. Democratic voters may be disgusted with Scott as Governor but to some extent they did it to themselves by not showing up to vote in November.
Obviously Scott has fallen far both with people who turned out to vote and those who didn't - but the final margin was razor-thin, and as Tom says, if only a few of the people who sat on the proverbial sidelines had instead come out last year, we wouldn't be in quite this mess.
Incidentally, this poll is 41 D, 37 R and 22 I, but that Dem margin is basically the same as the three-point D lead in the 2008 exit polls (the number of indies is just lower). I don't think this poll is too Dem by any stretch, given that on the "2008 vote" question, respondents said they supported McCain by a 49-47 margin. (Obama, of course, won the state by three.)
• CT-Sen: Linda McMahon says that she hasn't "made up my mind yet" but that she is "leaning in [the] direction" of another senate run. As Daniel Kelly, ED of the state Dem party rightly points out, she can swamp the GOP field in the primary with her zillions, but she'd be the same tainted goods in the general as she was last year - and, I would add, this time, she'd be running in a blue state in a presidential year. Good luck, lady!
Meanwhile, another much-lesser-known Republican, state Sen. Scott Frantz, says he won't "rule out" a senate bid, but that he has "no plans to run."
• FL-Sen: Obama alert! Barack Himself (and DSCC chair Patty Murray) will host a March 4th fundraiser for Sen. Bill Nelson in Miami Beach, with proceeds to be split between the Nelson campaign and the DSCC. I draw two things from this bit of news. First, if you're facing a competitive race and want presidential help, it's a good idea to live in a swing state. Second, it's nice to see that Nelson isn't shying away from Obama.
On the GOP side, the St. Petersburg Times has an interesting (and lengthy) profile of likely senate candidate Connie Mack. Mack is a hardcore conservative, but remember - it's not just about how you vote, it's about how you belong. And Mack has taken a few stances that put his tribal membership into some doubt, such as "supporting stem cell research, defending WikiLeaks and denouncing Arizona's tough immigration law as Gestapo-like." Still, with the possible exception of the Arizona law, these are mostly second-order concerns for teabaggers, and Mack would still probably have to be considered the favorite in any primary.
• ME-Sen: If Olympia Snowe is going to get teabagged, we finally have a potential name that's a notch of above Some Dude: wealthy real estate developer Eric Cianchette (a cousin of former Republican gubernatorial candidate Peter Cianchette) is reportedly considering the race. But the guy who originally broke the news, Dennis Bailey, says that Cianchette may actually be having second thoughts and considering another race.
• NV-Sen: Ah, the blind quotes are out to get John Ensign. "One Republican lobbyist" says he (and everyone else) is supporting Dean Heller, while "another Republican lobbyist" says he's pushing John Cornyn to have Ensign fitted for some new Ferragamo cement wingtips. On the flipside, one lobbyist with an actual name, Kenneth Kies (who is supporting Ensign), claims "Cornyn's been clear that he doesn't get involved in these things." I guess when you're a Republican lobbyist, you are either very good at believing things which aren't true or at least just saying them out loud.
• FL-Gov: Usually, when the headline is "Criminal Behaves Like Criminal," it's not really news. But when that criminal is the sitting governor of Florida, it is. Zillionaire creepster Rick Scott followed through on a campaign promise to sell one of the state's two planes. The problem is, he used the proceeds from the sale to pay off the lease on the other plane - and, says Republican state Sen. J.D. Alexander, it's up to the legislature, not the governor, to decide how to appropriate state funds. It's kind of amazing how frequently Rick Scott has already gotten on the wrong side of his fellow Republicans during his very short tenure. Actually, when I said "kind of amazing," I meant "totally predictable and expected." Florida is damn near turning into a cat fud factory.
• AZ-08: Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Adam Smith are hosting a fundraiser for Rep. Gabby Giffords on March 15th in DC.
• FL-25: When Republicans vetted Rep. David Rivera, they must have used the same crew of CHUDS and mole-people who blessed Bernie Kerik's bid for homeland security chief. Now comes word that in just a few short years, Rivera funneled at least $817,000 to a consultant and "close friend," Esther Nuhfer, through an often-complicated series of arrangements that remind me of a South Florida version of BMW Direct. Ferinstance, Nuhfer's firm raised an astounding $1 million for Rivera's state senate campaign (before he switched over to the FL-25 race)... but he burned through $700K by February of last year, and at least a quarter mil of that went to Nuhfer. Also, this.
• IN-02: Jackie Walorski is now saying she'll decide whether to see a rematch against Joe Donnelly (who himself may not run again) in a "couple of weeks." She also says she has no interest in running for Senate or Secretary of State.
• NY-26: I doubt this matters much, since there won't be a primary here, but Kieran Lalor's conservative Iraq vets PAC is pushing one of their own for the GOP nomination: David Bellavia. Even though Assemblywoman Jane Corwin appears to be the frontrunner, Bellavia will be interviewed by local party leaders.
• OR-01: This is deeply, deeply disturbing. Days before the election last year, David Wu's staff confronted him and "demanded he enter a hospital for psychiatric treatment." He refused, and went on to win re-election anyway, but as you know, he faced a staff exodus earlier this year. Read the article for the full (and scary) details - excerpting it won't do it justice. Wu seriously has got to go - and has to get the help he needs. Blue Oregon has more.
• PA-10: Did someone crack out of turn? Last week, Steve Israel said he didn't want to talk up potential recruits for 2012 lest they get pre-redistricted into oblivion in 2011. Former Rep. Chris Carney seems like exactly the sort of person who would fall into that category, yet an unnamed source told Politico's Dave Catanese that Carney was just in Washington to meet with DCCC officials about a potential rematch with Tom Marino. Now the GOP will probably try to find a way to move Carney's house to the District of Guam.
• Philly Mayor: 2007 candidate and richie rich Tom Knox said he might change his mind and run in the Democratic primary once again, rather than as an independent (which is what he previously claimed he would do). He says he's waiting on the results of a poll to decide - I like the honesty! He'd face incumbent Michael Nutter in the primary if he chose that route. Also, Milton Street, bother of Nutter's two-term predecessor John Street, said he's getting in the game, too.
• Nassau Co. Exec: On the list of doomed Republicans, Nassau Co. Executive Ed Mangano ranks pretty high. He ran his super-wealthy county's finances into the ground almost immediately after his upset victory over Dem Tom Suozzi in 2009. Just a few weeks ago, the state took control of the county's finances. Now, Mangano is lashing out against unnamed enemies like sweat-drenched victim of night terrors. He's running a campaign-style ad in which he attacks "opponents." Yeah, "opponents." NWOTSOTB, of course, but he's got quite a few more years to keep digging this Death Valley-depth hole down to Dead Sea levels.
• NRSC: Like a bunch of mathletes tired of being picked last for everything in gym class, it seems that Republican senators have managed to give just about everyone who wants one some kind of title down at the No Homers NRSC clubhouse. My favorite are "low-dollar chairs" Johnny Isakson and Kelly Ayotte.
• CT-Sen: Ex-Rep. Rob Simmons has previously sounded unlikely to run (and rather sulky about it), but now he's saying he's "considering" the race and will make a decision by March. He's also seeking to replace state GOP party chair Chris Healy, who he thinks favored Linda McMahon during the nomination process. Simmons also had some kind words for state Sen. Scott Frantz as an option in case he himself doesn't run.
• FL-Sen: Already having the backing of the man he replaced as state Senate president (John Thrasher), now Mike Haridopolos got the endorsement of the Republican leader of the other chamber, state House speaker Dean Cannon. (Not that those kinds of endorsements move a lot of actual votes, but this could be harmful in the behind-the-scenes game to former state House majority leader Adam Hasner if he runs, as he'd probably have expected Cannon's help.)
• MA-Sen, MA-06: Rep. John Tierney didn't sound much like a candidate in the Senate race when asked about it at an appearance with area high schoolers, saying he's focused on his current job and plans to run again. That, on top of Barney Frank's announcement yesterday that he's running again (and the months-ago announcement from John Olver that he's running again) point to an increasing likelihood that two of the state's 10 Dem Congresspeople will have to face off in a primary (unless either Mike Capuano or Stephen Lynch roll the dice on a Senate bid). One other total wild card here that came into sharper relief today: John Kerry seems to be amping up his lobbying to become Secretary of State. While there's no indication that Hillary Clinton is in any hurry to leave, that does raise the specter of another special election if there's a changing of the guard at SoS after the 2012 election. That possibility, and the chance at an open seat run instead of going up against Scott Brown's millions, might induce Capuano and Lynch to keep their House jobs for now.
• NE-Sen: PPP gives AG Jon Bruning a substantial lead in the GOP Senate primary, for the right to take on Ben Nelson. He leads state Treasurer Don Stenberg 47-19, with throw-ins Pat Flynn and Deb Fischer at 7 and 6 apiece. Bruning's faves among Republicans are 57/12.
• VA-Sen: Jamie Radtke, the principal tea party opponent to George Allen in the GOP Senate primary so far, has shown she can compete, at least on the financial front. She raised $100K in the fourth quarter; Allen didn't report anything since his candidacy didn't launch until the new year.
• WA-Gov, WA-AG: Democratic Rep. Jay Inslee is launching some rhetorical salvos in Republican AG Rob McKenna's direction over health care reform in what's very likely the beginnings of the 2012 gubernatorial general election; McKenna is one of the few blue-state AGs who signed on to the multi-state suit against HCR implementation, a possible foot-shooting move that seems more oriented toward fending off primary opposition from the right than enhancing his electability in November. By the way, if you're wondering about who's planning to replace McKenna in the AG slot, there's word that ambitious King County Councilor Bob Ferguson is about to announce his candidacy next week. His likeliest GOP opponent is fellow King County Councilor (and progeny of WA-08's Jennifer Dunn) Reagan Dunn.
• WV-Gov: It looks like we finally have some consensus on when that pesky special election for Governor is going to be. The state House and Senate ironed out a compromise that will hold the primary on May 14 and the general election on Oct. 4. Acting Gov. (and candidate) Earl Ray Tomblin has agreed to sign off on the deal, even though it contains a different primary date than he wanted.
• IA-03: Here's some more evidence that 77-year-old Leonard Boswell is seriously gearing up for a 2012 battle to stay in the House, despite possibly facing two major opponents (first Christine Vilsack in a Dem primary, then Tom Latham in a redistricting-forced general). He named his former campaign manager Julie Stauch as his new chief of staff. (His fundraising may say otherwise, though; see below.)
• LA-03, LA-AG: Jeff Landry, who's been in the House all of one month, is the likeliest Rep. to get squeezed in a 6-district map of Louisiana, by virtue of his lack of seniority and depopulation in his district (and the need to keep next-door LA-02 a VRA district). So, it seems sensible that he's already contemplating some alternate plans. Rumors are flying now that the reason that AG Buddy Caldwell is planning switch over to the Republican party is because Landry is looking at challenging Caldwell in this year's AG race (although Caldwell's switch would just move that challenge to the primary, if it goes through). David Rivera might not even have the shortest stay among this year's freshman class, if Landry wins the AG race and leaves the House after one year.
• Fundraising: This Politico piece on fundraising among House members has some interesting red flags from Q4 that may portend retirement. On the GOP side, CA-41's Jerry Lewis raised $1,700, while MD-06's Roscoe Bartlett raised all of $0. For the Dems, NY-05's Gary Ackerman raised $924, NY-28's Louise Slaughter raised $320, and MI-05's Dale Kildee raised the strangely specific sum of $1.42. They also point to how fundraising may have dried up for several likely casualties of redistricting, including MI-09's Gary Peters (down to $88K CoH), IA-03's Leonard Boswell ($66K CoH), PA-12's Mark Critz (net negative-$36K), and LA-03's Jeff Landry (net negative-$24K).
• Redistricting: As expected, the battle over Florida's Fair Districts initiative is moving into the courts, starting with a new suit filed by the amendments' backers (including the League of Women Voters and NAACP) demanding that Rick Scott re-engage the process of seeking VRA preclearance for the chances to Florida's system. (Scott has apparently been dragging his feet on preclearance in hopes that the initiative's requirements won't be in place by the time of 2012 redistricting, which could let the GOP legislature gerrymander to their hearts' content.) Meanwhile, the GOP legislature in Georgia is already consolidating their power to take advantage of their control of the trifecta there: they removed primary responsibility for map-drawing from the nonpartisan Carl Vinson Institute at UGA, and instead are creating a new Legislative and Congressional Reapportionment Office more directly under their control.
• Census: If you tried to open the ftp version of the new Census data yesterday and found yourself looking at incomprehensible txt files (that, if you scroll through them quickly enough, look like you're able to see through The Matrix), fear not. They're available via American FactFinder now, and even through interactive widget form.
• FEC: I'm not sure how many max-out donors we have among our readership, but the FEC has raised contribution limits for this cycle, meaning you can give a little more to your favorite candidate or committee before hitting the ceiling. You can now give up to $2,500 per candidate and $30,800 per committee.
• Trivia: I had absolutely no idea this number was so low: there have been only four open seat Senate races in Texas since the 1920s. (Not only do Senators there tend to have long tenures, but vacancies tend to manifest themselves in special elections.) The races were in 1948, 1952, 1984, and 2002.
This is a part of a series of posts analyzing the 2010 midterm elections. This post will discuss the 2010 Florida gubernatorial election, which Republican candidate Rick Scott won in an extremely close contest.
Florida's Gubernatorial Election
On November 2010, Democrat Alex Sink faced an extremely flawed Republican opponent: multimillionaire Rick Scott, a businessman accused of heading the biggest fraud in Medicare history.
Ms. Sink still lost, running in a Republican leaning state in a very Republican environment. Here is what happened:
• MO-Sen: Most likely you already saw this story yesterday, but the big story in the Missouri Senate race is that Politico's Dave Catanese seems to be the recipient of various leaks that ex-Sen. Jim Talent will announce soon that he isn't going to run for Senate. We won't start jumping up and down and honking our clown horn until we actually hear it from Talent, but this isn't a surprise, based on previous rumors out of the Show Me State and Talent's seeming decision to focus on hitching his wagon to Mitt Romney's star instead. Without a dominant establishment candidate in the field, it looks like even more GOPers are starting to sniff out the race: MO-08 Rep. Jo Ann Emerson is now on the record as at least "considering" a run. Emerson, who's had some mavericky moments in the House, would easily be the most moderate GOPer in the field if she ran (and may see a path there, with multiple tea partiers seeming poised to cannibalize each others' votes). Emerson's potential departure would create an open seat in the currently R+15 8th, an area that actually went for Bill Clinton but has fallen off the cliff for Dems in recent years, most recently with the fizzle of the touted Tommy Sowers campaign last year.
• NJ-Sen: PPP, while "cleaning out their fridge" as they said, found some week-old GOP Senate primary numbers from their New Jersey sample. They find state Sen. and 2006 candidate Tom Kean Jr. in good shape, with support from both moderates (which is probably what he would qualify as) and conservatives; he leads Lou Dobbs 42-30 with Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno at 7, "someone else" at 6, and 15 undecided.
• KY-Gov: Filing day came and went without any last-minute shenanigans in Kentucky. Steve Beshear will get a totally free ride in the Democratic primary (looks like that primary from the scrap metal dealer didn't materialize), and will face one of three GOP opponents: state Senate president David Williams, teabagging businessman Phil Moffett, or Jefferson Co. Clerk Bobbie Holsclaw. The general election field in the AG race is already set; Jack Conway and Todd P'Pool didn't draw any primary challengers. The most activity seems to be in the Ag Commissioner race (vacated by Richie Farmer, who's running for Lt. Gov.), with 5 Dems and 2 GOPers running.
• MN-08: This probably isn't a surprise, but after his upset loss last year, 76-year-old Jim Oberstar has decided to opt for retirement rather than a rerun against new Rep. Chip Cravaack. Two other high-profile Dems, Duluth mayor Don Ness and state Sen. Tony Lourey have also recently said no. Two DFLers who are considering the race, though, are Duluth-based state Sen. Roger Reinert and Daniel Fanning, Al Franken's deputy state director.
• Omaha mayor: Omaha mayor Jim Suttle narrowly survived a recall attempt in last night's special election. He won 51-49. Suttle vows to do a better job of communicating with voters in the election's wake, although it remains an open question whether he runs again in 2013.
• Redistricting: Here's a new wrinkle in the fight over the Fair Districts initiatives in Florida: Rick Scott seems to be stalling implementation of the new standards (which would limit the state legislature's ability to gerrymander districts). The state "quietly withdrew" its request that the federal DOJ approve implementation of the initiatives, which jeopardizes whether they'll be in place in time for the actual business of redistricting. Florida, as a one-time part of the Deep South, is one of those states that requires DOJ preclearance for changes to its electoral regime under the Voting Rights Act.
Politico also has an interesting article today about the Congressional Black Caucus and redistricting, which will reshape many of their districts, seeing as how some of their members' districts have had the biggest population losses of any districts in the nation (OH-11, MI-13, MI-14, and MO-01 in particular). These districts seem like they can absorb some suburban votes without losing their lopsided Dem advantages, but they're probably more worried about members getting pitted against each other (as might happen with the two Detroit districts) or against another Dem (possible for Marcia Fudge and Lacy Clay). Other lingering questions are whether Sanford Bishop's GA-02 (the only CBC-held district that's legitimately swingy) gets shored up or made worse, and whether South Carolina can be compelled to eke out a second VRA seat.
• Turnout models: I rarely get the chance to say this, but if you look at only one scatterplot today, it should be this one. It's a remarkably-clear slope showing how predictable presidential approval is across demographic groups, and more evidence that the swing in the 2010 election was uniform across groups in response to macro factors (i.e. the stupid economy) rather than a failure of microtargeting. And here are some further thoughts on the matter from Larry Sabato's new book, pointing out the really steep dropoffs in 2010 turnout for the groups I tend to label the "casual voters" (reliably Dem lower-information voters, mostly young and/or people of color, who turn out for presidential races but not the less compelling stuff in between), and how the 2010 model isn't anything like what the 2012 model will resemble.
• AK-Sen: All signs are pointing to Lisa Murkowski winning this race, and joining Strom Thurmond in the won-a-Senate-write-in-race club. At the end of yesterday's counting, which took us up to nearly half of all the write-in votes analyzed, the state Division of Elections is reporting that nearly 98% of all write-ins are being successfully counted for Murkowski. Even the rate of challenges, even if they were all successful (and few of them are), is inadequate for Joe Miller to make up all the needed ground (he'd need to shave off 12%, and isn't even challenging at quite that rate). 45,132 write-ins have been analyzed so far, and only 1.52% have been successfully challenged by the Miller camp. Seemingly realizing the gap can't be made up, the Miller camp, while still harping on the spelling issue and keeping that line of argument alive, is now turning to nebulous claims of voter fraud as their next line of attack, threatening a second potential lawsuit. His team is setting up a voter fraud hotline for people to report fraud, voter intimidation, and voter bullying. (Kind of a strange angle to explore, when you're the campaign that has its own paramilitary goon force.)
• HI-Sen: The Republican bench in Hawaii basically begins and ends with outgoing Gov. Linda Lingle. As far as her running against octogenarian Dan Akaka in 2012, she says she's going to take six months off from thinking about politics, and then give the race some "serious consideration" at that point.
• IN-Sen: Baron Hill is also looking for work in a few months, and he's one of the biggest names on the Dems' bench in Indiana. However, even with his potential choice of running for the Senate, for Governor, or his old seat in 2012, it sounds like he doesn't plan on any of those.
• MO-Sen: Could we see a 2006 rematch in the 2012 Senate election in Missouri? Ex-Sen. Jim Talent seems to be prepping toward that, with GOP operatives saying he's "furthest along" of all potential challengers to Claire McCaskill, who beat him in 2006. Other potential GOP names include ex-Treasurer Sarah Steelman, Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder (who's probably likelier to run for Governor in 2012), and Ann Wagner, wealthy person (former RNC vice-chair and Ambassador to Luxembourg, the kind of goodies doled out to itinerant rich donors) and former campaign manager to Roy Blunt.
• ND-Sen: Jeremy Jacobs lists a few possible challengers for Kent Conrad, who looks vulnerable after Republicans ran up the score in North Dakota this year. Mentioned are Jack Dalrymple (the Lt. Governor, who's about to become Governor once John Hoeven resigns, although he may be likelier to run for a full term as Gov. in 2012), AG Wayne Stenehjem, and Public Service Commissioner Brian Kalk.
• Chicago mayor: And here I thought I was done with having to laboriously type out "Alexi Giannoulias" every day, like I have for the last few years. The recently vanquished Senate candidate is now at least considering the idea of pivoting over to the Chicago mayoral race, presumably under the principle of striking while the iron is hot in terms of his name recognition and donor base. He's getting urging from several anti-Rahm Emanuel aldermen. (UPDATE: OK, scratch that. A Giannoulias spokesperson now says no, he's not running for mayor.)
• DSCC: I think we've gotten closer to getting someone willing to hold the burning bag of dog doo than we have so far: Harry Reid personally asked Michael Bennet to lead the DSCC next cycle, and Bennet "didn't say yes and he didn't say no."
• DCCC: Dan Boren is moving the anti-Nancy Pelosi push to a new front: demanding that the position of DCCC chair be up for a true vote by the whole caucus, not a de facto appointment by leadership. He's being seconded in the effort by Larry Kissell, of all people (the same guy who got $1.7 million in DCCC aid this cycle after stinking it up on the fundraising front, and may be worried that another Pelosi ally might cut bait with him next time and make him catch his own fish). It's not clear who they'd rather see than likely chair Steve Israel, especially since they both had praise for departing chair Chris Van Hollen.
• Redistricting: Guess who's leading the push for Utah to switch to a independent redistricting commission, instead of it being done by the heavily Republican legislator? Democratic Rep. Jim Matheson, who may figure he'll be given an even worse version of UT-02 in 2012 than he currently has. (Interestingly, there's the possibility that a commission might give him a worse district, though; it's also possible that a GOP gerrymander might decide to concede a swing seat to him (probably the best Matheson could hope for) and go for three safe GOP seats, instead of risking a push for a 4-0 map.) Also on the redistricting front, here's a good overview from Real Clear Politics' Sean Trende, who goes state-by-state with possible outcomes.
• WATN?: Ashwin Madia (whom you probably remember for losing the MN-03 race in 2008) is taking over the helm for VoteVets for the time being while its current head, Jon Soltz, is deployed to Iraq. Also in the news is Andy Dillon, who lost the 2010 Dem gubernatorial primary after being termed-out as state House speaker. Turns out the centrist Dillon is crossing the aisle one last time: he just signed on as state Treasurer at Rick Snyder's request (it's an appointed position in Michigan).
• Money: When they write the tale of the 2010 election, the role of the Chamber of Commerce (and other third-party GOP backers, but especially the Chamber) will probably loom a lot larger in retrospect than it does right now. The Chamber spent $32 million, almost entirely on GOP candidates. The Fix also takes a look at self-funders, and calculates how much they spent per vote. The biggest fail was probably Linda McMahon, spending $97 per vote in a losing effort, outpacing Meg Whitman who spent only $57 per vote to lose by a similar margin (albeit for a much bigger price tag overall). Rick Scott spent "only" $29 per vote to win; the biggest bargain may have been Ron Johnson, who won spending only $7 per vote (although he did a lot of conventional fundraising too). In House races, Tom Ganley spent $29 per vote to lose ignominiously; the biggest spender was the victorious Scott Rigell in VA-02, at $30 per vote.
• Post-mortem: If you're still feeling down about last week's losses in the House and need some rationalization about it, here are a couple pieces that don't really try to put a happy face on the results but still show how very predictable the whole thing was. Alan Abramowitz, certainly no mindless cheerleader for the Dems, points out some of the ways in which it was something of a mile-wide, inch-deep victory for the GOP. And while the teeth-gnashing that accompanies the graph is worth a read too, here's a piece built around an amazing scatterplot from John Sides that shows how Democratic House candidate performances tracked presidential preferences district by district.
• Maps: If you're tired of looking at glitzy, state-of-the-art political maps, here's an amusing look back at the New York Times' earliest attempts at mapping the nation's political geography, going back as far as 1896. (As you might expect, their graphics capacity has evolved considerably.)
• IL-Gov: The DGA is sending 'round a press release congratulating Pat Quinn on his who'da-thunk-it re-election victory. No official call yet, but the trendlines in the count (with a margin now of 20,000 votes) make it pretty clear what's happening. Bill Brady says he isn't ready to concede... yet. UPDATE: CNN has called it.
• CT-Gov: More vacillation in the Connecticut count, this time with Dan Malloy back on top by about 6,000 votes. This doesn't seem to have anything to do with actual counting, but simply with the AP getting its facts straight (it seemed to be missing a large slab of urban and assumedly heavily Democratic votes, mostly from New Haven). Final tallies remain unknown because we're still waiting on Bridgeport (another Dem stronghold), although SoS Susan Bysiewicz has promised results by the end of the day. (Doesn't seem like she'll make it, though.) Relatedly, Dan Debicella in CT-04 is "waiting and seeing" what the Bridgeport situation is before conceding, although that race has already been called against him.
• FL-Gov: This was pretty well decided yesterday, but Alex Sink officially conceded, finalizing the transaction on Rick Scott's self-financed purchase of the gubernatorial election.
• NE-Sen: Ben Nelson says he won't switch parties. (Why the heck would he want to, considering that the Dems still have a Lieberman-proof majority in the Senate, that he's part of? He'd just get teabagged to death in the 2012 GOP primary a la poor Parker Griffith.) It's worth wondering, though, if any House Dems are considering a switch... but, with the possible exception of Dan Boren, all of the most likely suspects have already lost, saving us the trouble of such speculation. UPDATE: Although here's an interesting post-script to the Nelson story: GOP Gov. Dave Heineman, who's led a few hypothetical polls against Nelson for 2012, has already announced that he won't run for the Senate in two years.
• NV-Sen: The one major race where the polls really seemed off was Nevada, where Harry Reid's 4-pt average deficit turned into a 5-point victory and in retrospect, that's easy to explain: pollsters weren't reaching Latinos. Exit polls suggest that Latinos did turn out well in Nevada (thanks in no doubt to the Reid-friendly hotel unions in Las Vegas). Nate Silver graphs the variance in other states with large Latino populations: it may also have played a role in Colorado, although the poll variance wasn't as bad there, though it was enough to predict a Ken Buck victory... and Latino turnout didn't seem to work in Texas, where Rick Perry exceeded polling predictions (and which explains the sudden and probably brief appearance of Rep. Blake Farenthold).
• KY-06: Here's a race that's definitely going to recount. Andy Barr, trailing Ben Chandler by about 600 votes, has formally requested a "routine recanvass."
• NC-02: Here's one more race where we're not quite dead yet. Bob Etheridge hasn't conceded, it turns out, nor should he: he's down only 1,646 votes, after cutting his deficit against Renee Elmers by more than 500 in late counting yesterday.
• NC-11: When Heath Shuler announced that he'd challenge Nancy Pelosi for Speaker, the proper response was laughter, although my main question at the time was whether he planned to challenge her for minority leader. It sounds like, yes, he does still plan to go through with his kooky gambit (made all the kookier because there aren't any core Blue Dogs left besides him who need to follow through on their promises to not vote for Pelosi). Anyway, the scuttlebutt seems to be leaning toward a voluntary sword-falling and a painless transition to Steny Hoyer, in which case the Shuler challenge would be even more pointless.
• WV-01: After maintaining for most of yesterday that he wasn't dead yet (given the narrow margin, currently 1,357), Mike Oliverio did wind up conceding eventually late yesterday.
• Redistricting: As much as the mess in the state legislatures really messes up hopes of wresting an advantage out of the redistricting process, here's some good news: Amendment 6 in Florida surprisingly passed, clearing the super-high 60% hurdle at 63%. This doesn't create a commission, but it does impose requirements that redistricting be done without political consideration (but without violating federal law, namely the Voting Rights Act). However, two U.S. Reps... probably the two in Florida who have the most to lose from having less friendly districts drawn for them... Corrine Brown and Mario Diaz-Balart, are challenging the law in court. With the passage of Proposition 20 in California, though, which creates an independent redistricting commission there, it's all kind of a wash, as a less-bad Florida map is balanced out by not being able to aggressively redistrict California. (Similarly, while it takes some sting out of Alex Sink's narrow loss, it also deflates the impact of Jerry Brown's victory.)
• FL-Sen: File this under half a year too late and a few million dollars too short. Charlie Crist, as quietly as possible through an advisor making a leak to the Wall Street Journal, says he'd caucus with the Democrats if elected. If he'd said that many months ago, he would have probably had a clearer shot consolidating the Democratic vote and turning it into a two-man race. This comes shortly after a day of conflicting reports on whether or not Bill Clinton tried to get Kendrick Meek to drop out of the race, as recently as last week. Clinton and Meek have offered partial rebuttals, but at any rate, it's kind of a non-story at this point with only a few days left.
• LA-Sen: Too bad there isn't time left in the cycle to turn this into an ad: David Vitter's verbal gymnastics at the last debate as to direct questions as to whether or not he actually broke the law when he was engaging in "very serious sin," apparently for pay. The short answer is, of course, yes (assuming that his involvement with a prostitution ring occurred in Washington DC and not Reno).
• NV-Sen: Those of you following Jon Ralston's tweets of the early voting in Nevada with bated breath probably already know this, but thanks to the movement of the mobile voting booths into some Dem-friendly areas, Democrats have actually pulled into the lead (at least by party registration) among early voters, up by 20,000 in Clark County.
• CO-Gov: My first question was why Tom Tancredo would even bother running for office if he felt this way, but then I remembered that he's running for an executive position this time, not a legislative one. Apparently he's a believer in a strong executive. Very, very, very strong.
There is a sort of an elitist idea that seeps into the head of a lot of people who get elected. And they begin to think of themselves as, really, there for only one purpose and that is to make laws. And why would you make laws?
• IL-Gov: Oooops, ad buy fail. A round of Bill Brady ads were pulled from the air on Thursday because the appropriate television stations didn't get paid first. It appears to have been a "glitch" (their words) rather than a cash flow problem, though, nothing that a Fed-Exed check won't fix: the ads will resume running tonight.
• PA-Gov: Ah, nice to see that a Republican briefly acknowledge that the fewer people vote, the better Republicans do. Tom Corbett, at a Philadelphia appearance, said that he wanted to keep Democratic participation down, saying "we want to make sure that they don't get 50 percent."
• OH-13: Sensing a pattern here? A second woman is coming forward to accuse Tom Ganley of sexual harassment. She filed a police report stating that in 2005, while in the middle of a car transaction, Ganley groped her and later propositioned her. This race, despite Ganley's money, is seeming increasingly like one of the House Dems' lesser worries.
• RGA: I'm not sure what you can do with $6.5 million in half a week, but the RGA is determined to find out. They put that much money into four governor's races in some of the nation's largest states: Florida, Illinois, Ohio, and (interestingly, since they haven't sweated this one before) Pennsylvania. (While the other three are for TV ads, in Florida it's for GOTV... seemingly something that Rick Scott forgot to purchase.)
• Election night: This may be the most shocking news of all today, for the obsessive number crunchers among us. This will be the first election where the powers that be (mostly the AP) will be doing away with precinct reporting. Instead of giving specific numbers of precincts in, they'll be expressing it as "percentage of expected vote." The change in longstanding tradition has mostly to do with the increasing prevalence of mail-in votes and early votes, best seen with some locales dumping all their early votes all at once and calling it one precinct, messing with people like us who build complicated models ahead of time.
• SSP TV:
• IL-Sen: Mark Kirk's last ad calls Alexi Giannoulias "too immature" for the Senate (um, has he actually seen the Senate in action?)
• NV-Sen: Obama! Fear! Tyranny! Aaaghh! And apparently the Carmina Burana playing the background! (Sharron Angle's closing statement, in other words)
• WI-Sen: Russ Feingold puts on a plaid shirt and faces the camera, touting his accomplishments and newspaper endorsements
• TX-Gov: Bill White also rolls out his newspaper endorsements, as well as lobbing "career politician" at Rick Perry one last time
• MN-06: Taryl Clark's last ad is a look at real people with real problems in the 6th, and the myriad ways Michele Bachmann blew them off
• CA-Gov: Jerry Brown (D) 49%, Meg Whitman (R) 45%
• CO-Gov: John Hickenlooper (D) 47%, Dan Maes (R) 5%, Tom Tancredo (C) 42%
• KY-Sen: Jack Conway (D) 41%, Rand Paul (R) 53%
• MA-Gov: Deval Patrick (D-inc) 46%, Charlie Baker (R) 44%, Tim Cahill (I) 6%
• OR-Sen: Ron Wyden (D-inc) 53%, Jim Huffman (R) 42%
• PA-Sen: Joe Sestak (D) 46%, Pat Toomey (R) 50%
• YouGov: The English pollster is out with a slew of polls; the numbers seem very plausible, but they're conducted over the Internet (probably using at least some sort of rigor, but that alone is enough for relegation to the end of the digest)
• CA: Jerry Brown (D) 50%, Meg Whitman (R) 41%; Barbara Boxer (D-inc) 49%, Carly Fiorina (R) 45%
• FL: Alex Sink (D) 44%, Rick Scott (R) 41%; Kendrick Meek (D) 18%, Marco Rubio (R) 42%, Charlie Crist (I) 31%
• NY: Andrew Cuomo (D) 57%, Carl Paladino (R) 27%; Kirsten Gillibrand (D-inc) 57%, Joe DioGuardi (R) 33%; Charles Schumer (D-inc) 59%, Jay Townsend (R) 35%
• OH: Ted Strickland (D-inc) 45%, John Kasich (R) 48%; Lee Fisher (D) 40%, Rob Portman (R) 53%
• PA: Dan Onorato (D) 41%, Tom Corbett (R) 50%; Joe Sestak (D) 44%, Pat Toomey (R) 50%