• HI-Sen: Ex-Rep. Ed Case said he expects to decide by "mid-April" whether he'll seek Hawaii's open Senate seat. Case also says that the Merriman River Group took a poll for him and claims he kicked ass in both the primary and general-but he's only released a couple of selected toplines (click the link if you want them). PPP will have an HI-Sen general election poll out on behalf of Daily Kos/SEIU in the next couple of days.
• ME-Sen: Democrat Hannah Pingree, former Speaker of the state House and daughter of 1st CD Rep. Chellie Pingree, left the state legislature earlier this year. Only 34, she's lately been managing the family's inn & restaurant and serving on a local school board, so she seems like a good potential candidate to run for office once again-perhaps even to challenge Sen. Olympia Snowe. But Pingree just gave birth to her first child a week ago, which probably makes her less likely to get back into the game this year.
• MI-Sen: A GOP operative passes along word to Dave Catanese that Pete Hoekstra is turning down the chance to appear at some Lincoln Day dinners-which this source thinks is a sign that Hoekstra isn't planning to run for Senate. Hoekstra's would-be pollster (the same guy who was basically spinning lies about PPP last week) vociferously disputes this interpretation. We'll see, but I personally think Hoekstra is going to tell us he plans to spend more time building turtle fences with his family.
• MT-Sen: Activist Melinda Gopher says she is contemplating a primary challenge to Dem Sen. Jon Tester. She explains her reasoning here. She received 21% of the vote and finished third in the Dem primary for MT-AL last year. I could not find any FEC reports for her.
• ND-Sen, ND-AL: Another good catch by Greg Giroux: ex-Rep. Earl Pomeroy (D) just closed his federal campaign account. While it's not dispositive, of course, this probably means he's not interested in seeking his old seat, or the retiring Kent Conrad's spot in the Senate. Note that Pomeroy didn't completely slam the door on a gubernatorial run, but I'm guessing that's not terribly likely, either.
• NM-Sen: New Mexico's Republican Lt. Gov., John Sanchez, sounded very much like a candidate on a recent trip to DC. He spent some time slagging ex-Rep. Heather Wilson (the only declared candidate so far) in an interview with The Hill, criticizing her moderate credentials, but also being careful to try to put a little daylight between himself and the teabaggers. Sanchez indicated he'd decide "in the spring," and perhaps hinted he'd announce on or around April 15th... because it's totally not teabaggish to make a fetish out of Tax Day. He also says he'll be back in Washington next week to meet with the NRSC (this trip was occasioned by a gathering of the all-important National Lieutenant Governors Association).
• FL-22: Ex-Rep. Ron Klein (D) definitively slammed the door on a rematch this cycle, saying he's "looking forward to the private sector" (he's taking a job with the law firm of Holland & Knight). But he did hold out the possibility he might return to office some day (he's only 53). The same article also mentions a new possible Democratic candidate (despite the entrance of West Palm Beach Mayor Lois Frankel in recent days): state Rep. Joseph Abruzzo, who says he's keeping his options open. (Abruzzo, hardly alone among Democrats, backed Charlie Crist over Kendrick Meek in last year's Senate race.)
In other news, a firm called Viewpoint Florida released a very questionable poll pitting Rep. Allen West against Frankel. Really, the only reason you'd put out a survey of a district which is guaranteed to get reshaped is because you're hoping to set a narrative among people who don't know better (like, say, the tradmed... this piece doesn't even mention the word "redistricting"). In addition, the poll is way too Republican, and also purports to be of "likely" voters, about one billion years before election day.
• MI-09 (?): The question mark is there because who knows what districts are going to look like, or where state Rep. Marty Knollenberg-who says he's considering a run for Congress-will wind up when all is said and done. That name ought to sound familiar: Marty's dad is, of course, George McFly ex-Rep. Joe Knollenberg, who lost to current 9th CD Rep. (and potential redistricting victim) Gary Peters in 2008. Of note, Marty sits on a redistricting committee in the state lege, so maybe a House race is his... density.
• NY-25: This is the kind of news I like to hear! Dan Maffei, who lost a heart-breaker last year, sent an email to supporters saying that he is "strongly considering running again" for his old seat. Maffei was always a great vote and a strong progressive voice, despite his decision to take a job after the election with the annoying "moderate" group Third Way. (I don't begrudge the guy needing to eat, though, and the market was pretty saturated with one-term Democratic ex-Congressmen in need of a job.) We don't know how this district will wind up, of course, but I'd be surprised if there were nowhere for Maffei to run.
• NY-26: Teabagger David Bellavia looks pretty doomed-despite having enough signatures (in theory), he failed to file a key piece of paperwork with the Board of Elections, which will probably terminate his candidacy. It's all the more poignant because, according to this article, the other campaigns said they would not challenge his signatures-and seeing as he submitted just 100 more than the 3,500 target, it's a good bet he was in the danger zone. (Is it really true that Republican Jane Corwin said this, though?)
Speaking of Corwin, she's got a third ad out, once again returning to small business themes (as she did in her first spot), rather than the negative attacks in her second ad.
• PA-17: Tim Holden could be in that rare bucket of Democrats who might not actually benefit from their seats being made bluer in redistricting. The conservative Holden could have Lackawanna County added to his district, according to a possible GOP plan, which might open him up to a primary challenge from the left. It would also move a couple of ambitious pols from the county into his district, including Lackawanna County Commissioner Corey O'Brien (who attempted to primary ex-Rep. Paul Kanjorski last year) and Scranton Mayor Chris Doherty. PoliticsPA also says that Holden's 2010 primary challenger, activist Sheila Dow-Ford, is "rumored" to be considering another run. (Dow-Ford lost 65-35 in a race fueled in large part by Holden's vote against healthcare reform.)
• VA-05: Last cycle, few establishment figures were as absolutely hated by the teabaggers as now-Rep. Robert Hurt. He won his primary with just 48%, against a typically fractured People's Front of Judea/Judean People's Front field. (We really need an acronym for that. PFJJPF, anyone?) The teabaggers have now taken to protesting Hurt's votes in favor of continuing budget resolutions outside of his district office, but given their feeble efforts to unite around a standard-bearer last time, I'm skeptical that they have the organizational power to threaten Hurt next year.
• Wisconsin Sup. Ct.: The Greater Wisconsin Committee is running a very negative new ad against Republican Justice David Prosser, accusing him of refusing to prosecute a child-molesting priest back when he was a D.A.-and explaining that the same priest went on to molest other kids after a parish transfer.
• Census: New York City pols, led by His Bloomberginess, got wiggy almost immediately after seeing the Census Bureau's largely stagnant new population figures for the city. Pretty much everyone is convinced that NYC grew by more than 2.1%, because, they say, the bureau undercounted immigrants. And here's a pretty good supporting piece of data: The city added 170,000 new homes over the last decade, so how could it grow by only 166,000 people? (There are no huge swaths of abandoned properties in New York, though the Census does claim vacancies increased.) As a result, city officials are planning to challenge the figures (which they think should be about a quarter million higher). But it's worth noting that a similar challenge 20 years ago wound up failing.
• Votes: The New York Times is getting into the party unity score game, finding that (according to their methodology) 14 Dems have voted with Team Blue less than 70% of the time this Congress. It's pretty much just a list of the remaining white conservative Blue Dogs who sit in red districts, though three names from bluer districts stand out: Dennis Cardoza (CA-18); Jim Costa (CA-20); and Gary Peters (MI-09).
• Louisiana: A state Senate committee passed a plan for redistricting its own lines last Thursday; a vote by the full body could come this week. Notably, the new map increases the number of majority-minority districts from 10 to 11. Things are delayed on the House side, though.
• Virginia: A teachable moment in Virginia: Democrats in the state Senate adopted a rule that would limit the population variance in any new maps to no more than ±2%, while Republicans in the state House are using a ±1% standard. This issue often comes up in comments, but it's simple: For state legislatures, courts have said that a 10% total deviation is an acceptable rule of thumb-that is, if the difference in population between the largest district and the smallest district is no more than ±5% of the size of an ideal district, then you're okay. However, at least one map which tried to egregiously take advantage of this guideline (total deviation of 9.98%) was nonetheless invalidated, so while the "ten percent rule" is still probably a reasonable safe harbor, it may not be a sure thing. For congressional maps, it's even simpler: Districts have to be perfectly equipopulous unless the state can justify the difference as necessary to achieve legitimate state policy. (For instance, Iowa state law forbids splitting counties to draw a federal map; this is considered an acceptable goal by the courts, so Iowa's districts have slight variances.)
• CT-Sen: This is starting to sound like a broken record, but Rep. Joe Courtney is in the news again for saying that he's still vaguely interested in getting into the Dem Senate primary. At least he has a somewhat more definite timetable, saying he'll decide "by the end of this month."
• FL-Sen: Quinnipiac is out with its first Florida poll of the 2012 cycle, and it's remarkably similar to the other polling they've been doing so far this cycle (like OH and PA): they find a surprisingly high number of people with no opinion about the incumbent Democrat, and find him polling in the mid-40s on a generic ballot question, but still winning by an OK margin. Bill Nelson's specific numbers vs. Generic R are 41-36; his approvals are pretty good at 45/21 and his re-elect is 43/33. On a related note, Nelson has the most cash of any Dem heading into 2012, in what, if only by virtue of the state's population, may be 2012's most expensive Senate race; he has more than $3 million CoH.
• MA-Sen, MA-04: I was a little surprised to see Barney Frank's name even on the long list of potential candidates for the Massachusetts Senate race - he's 70 years old and, if for some reason there's a Democratic wave election in 2012 he could get his gavel back - so it's not unusual to see his announcement today that he's running for another term in the House in 2012.
• MN-Sen: Courtesy of Minnesota Public Radio, here's a long list of additional Republicans who aren't running for Senate in Minnesota. (The list of ones who are running would be more interesting but is much shorter, since it has zero names on it, with the possible exception of Harold Shudlick, who lost the 2006 Senate nomination with a proto-teabag candidacy.) Most notably it includes former state Rep. Laura Brod (who's apparently on the short list to become a Univ. of Minnesota Regent instead), but also state Sen. Julie Rosen, state Sen. David Hann, Hennepin Co. Sheriff Rich Stanek, attorney Ron Schutz, and Bill Guidera, who is the state party's finance chair but is employed as "lobbyist for News Corp." A Roll Call article from several weeks ago buried a few other "no thanks" too: businesswoman Susan Marvin, former T-Paw CoS Charlie Weaver, and former state Rep. Paul Kohls. (H/t Brian Valco.)
• MT-Sen, MT-AL: After a lot of rumors last week, it's official as of today: Republican Senate candidate Steve Daines is dropping down to the open seat House race, where he probably becomes something of a frontrunner (rather than a speed bump for Denny Rehberg). He can transfer over the $200K he raised for his Senate race. The Fix has some additional names who might consider the House race (in addition to Democratic state Rep. Franke Wilmer, who started floating her name several days ago): businessman Neil Livingstone and state Sen. Roy Brown for the GOP, and state Sen. minority whip Kim Gillan, state Sen. Larry Jent, up-and-coming state Sen. Kendall Van Dyk (netroots candidate, anybody?), or attorney Tyler Gernant.
• WI-Sen: Is this the opening salvo of the 2012 Senate race? It comes from a familiar face (one who lost the 1998 Senate general election and 2010 GOP gubernatorial primary), ex-Rep. and real estate development magnate Mark Neumann. He engaged in the traditional pre-announcement tactic of penning an op-ed attacking the incumbent, in this case Herb Kohl and his vote against HCR repeal. If so, it would set up the battle of the self-funders.
• WV-Sen: The NRSC is out with its first ad of the cycle, and they're getting right to work going after Joe Manchin, after he surprised at least some people by keeping ranks with the Dems and voting against HCR repeal. No trucker hats or plaid here... instead, they seem to be taking that "San Francisco values" (read: gay gay gay!) tack pioneered by Sam Graves in a notorious MO-06 ad in 2008, by comparing joined-at-the-hip pals Barack Obama and Joe Manchin to other legendary campy duos, like Sonny and Cher, and Siegfried and Roy.
• IN-Gov: Somebody's not waiting for Mike Pence to make his move on the Indiana governor's race! I say "somebody" because I really have no idea who this guy is, although he's one step up from Some Dude by virtue of having been a Hamilton County Commissioner. Jim Wallace is the first to actually say he'll seek the Republican nomination; he's touting his business background (as a consultant to health insurance companies).
• WV-Gov: I'm not sure I've ever seen such a chaotically-planned election before, but now the state House and Senate in West Virginia can't agree on what date they're going to set for the special election to replace Joe Manchin. The House moved it up to Sep. 13, but then the Senate's bill kept it at Oct. 4, which was the date proposed by Earl Ray Tomblin. At least they're in agreement on the primary date, June 20. (There's also a rundown on filings so far: the three Dems to file are the one's you'd expect (Tomblin, Natalie Tennant, and Rick Thompson), while in addition to two expected GOPers (Betty Ireland, Mark Sorsaia), there's also one whose name I hadn't heard before, state Del. Patrick Lane.
• FL-25: You know you're in for a short stay in the House when the Beltway media is already compiling lists of likely successors during your first month on the job. The Fix's list of possible Republicans who might pick up after David Rivera in the event of a resignation/expulsion includes state Sen. Anitere Flores, former state Sen. Alex Villalobos, state Sen. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla, Miami-Dade school board member Carlos Curbelo, and former state Rep. J.C. Planas.
• MS-LG: With Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant the likeliest person to become Mississippi Governor in 2011, the jockeying to become Lt. Gov in 2011 (and thus probably become Governor in 2019) is underway. Republican state Treasurer Tate Reeves is the first to announce his bid.
• DCCC/Crossroads: The announcement that they were targeting 19 vulnerable Republicans this early in the cycle was a good move for the DCCC, but a lot of the wind subsequently went out of their sails when it was revealed (courtesy of Nathan Gonzales) that the effort was really more of a press release backed up by tiny radio ad buys, with a total of about $10,000 spent, working out to about $500 per member (and as low as $114 in VA-05, which is a cheap market, but still...). That was met by a retaliatory buy from the Karl Rove-linked GOP dark money outfit American Crossroads, where the clearly telegraphed subtext was "You're broke; we have money." They spent $90,000 to air radio ads in those same markets, which at less than $5,000 per member is still chicken feed but, in terms of The Math, noticeably larger. Of course, that $114 is a pretty good return on investment, if it got Robert Hurt publicly backpedaling on just how much he wants to cut infrastructure spending.
• Mayors: The Las Vegas mayoral race just took an interesting turn yesterday, when former school board president (and more notably, wife of outgoing mayor-for-life Oscar Goodman) Carol Goodman reversed course and said that she would, in fact, run for mayor. By virtue of name rec, that may catapult her to the front of the line.
• Redistricting: This may be our first-ever episode of Swingnuts in the News, but Josh Goodman (now writing for Stateline) has an interview with Dave Bradlee (of Dave's Redistricting App fame) in his new article on the rise of DIY redistricting in general. (He also briefly cites abgin's now-legendary map of New York state.) He also points out that at least two states, Idaho and Florida, will make similar applications available online for tinkerers, as well as the Public Mapping Project's efforts to create a more comprehensive public service.
• Census: The 2010 data for Louisiana, Missisippi, New Jersey, and Virginia is out... at least in cumbersome FTP form. American FactFinder won't have the data until later today or tomorrow. (Looks like Dave Wasserman's already cracked open the data and has tweeted one interesting tidbit: New Orleans' population came in 29.1% lower than 2000, and even 3.1% below the 2009 ACS estimate.
• AZ-Sen: Could we actually see a retirement from the GOP's #2, Jon Kyl? Seems hard to believe, but there seems to be increasing chatter about it, at least to the extent that it's now a "real possibility." Local sources refer to his fundraising as being in a "holding pattern." Kyl promises a February deadline for deciding whether or not to run again.
• FL-Sen: He doesn't have the name rec of ex-Sen. George LeMieux or Rep. Connie Mack IV, but don't discount former state House majority leader Adam Hasner as a potential force in the GOP Senate primary. While he's little-known, insiders point to him having the best-built network for fundraising and activist mobilization among the GOPers. (Also worth noting: his wife just finished running Meg Whitman's campaign. Although I don't know if, at this point, that's a plus or a minus.)
• IN-Sen: Seemingly having learned from the 2010 Republican Senate primary, where two candidates split the hard-right vote and let warmed-over establishmentarian Dan Coats stroll to the nomination, Indiana tea partiers seem to be trying to coordinate their efforts better this time in order to beat Richard Lugar. 180 leaders met to summon three potential candidates (the already-oft-mentioned state Sen. Mike Delph and state Treasurer Richard Mourdock, but also 2010 IN-02 loser Jackie Walorski) to appear before them so they can unify behind one of them. (The article's worth reading too for some provocative pushback from Lugar's camp, including some thoughtful mention from them of the Latino vote, a growing demographic even in Indiana.) Meanwhile, faced with redistricting-related uncertainty in his House district, Rep. Joe Donnelly is continuing to "look at his political options" regarding a statewide run (where, theoretically, a Senate run could be more appealing, if odds are starting to look like the Gov. opponent will be Mike Pence and the Sen. opponent will be a little-known teabagger).
• MA-Sen: Cat fud doesn't get any better than this: the National Republican Trust PAC, which spent $95K on IEs to get Scott Brown elected in 2010, is now vowing to defeat Brown in the next Republican primary in order to "protect its brand." The last straw for them? START, of all things. While I can't see such a primary likely to succeed (especially since these guys seem like kind of small-ball players... I mean, $95K?), the prospect of angry right-wingers staying home in November makes the general election that much more interesting. Meanwhile, Rep. Michael Capuano, who lost the special election Dem primary, still sounds like the Dem likeliest to make the race, although he's now saying he won't have a formal decision until summer. Another potential candidate, Rep. Stephen Lynch, is out with some comments that somehow don't seem likely to endear him any more to the party's base, saying that liberal activists should steer clear of primary challenges in 2012 (Lynch, of course, was recipient of one of those challenges). He stopped short of saying that they should steer clear of primary challenges to him in the Senate race, though, so that doesn't give much insight into his 2012 plans.
• MI-Sen: With Peter Hoekstra having made some vague noises about being interested in the Senate race last week, now it's Terry Lynn Land's turn. The former Republican SoS says she's "considering it," but interestingly, plans to meet with Hoekstra next week before making a decision.
• TX-Sen: This isn't much of a surprise, but west Texas's three interchangeable Republican House members (Mike Conaway, Randy Neugebauer, and Mac Thornberry) announced en masse that they weren't interested in running for the Senate seat. Makes sense... why give up the safest job in the nation (GOP House backbencher in a district that's R+25 or more) for the chance to get flattened in a primary by David Dewhurst and/or a teabagger to be named later?
• VT-Sen: Republican State Auditor Tom Salmon seems to have an amazing new quantitative scheme for gauging his interest in running for Senate: currently he says he's "65 percent in," and that "when I hit 75 percent it will commence exploratory." He also lets Politico know (I'm not making this up) that he "needs to be an authentic self-utilizing power along the lines of excellence." I guess he switched from being a Democrat to a Republican last year because he felt more welcome in the GOP, given their long-standing tolerance of Sarah Palin's gift for word salad.
• WI-Sen: This seems like a pretty good indicator that long-time Democratic Sen. Herb Kohl, who prefers to write his own checks rather than work the fundraising circuit, is planning another run in 2012 rather than retirement. He just loaned $1 million into his campaign account in the fourth quarter of 2011.
• WV-Gov: PPP is out with the primary election portions of its gubernatorial poll from last week. On the Dem side, there are two clear favorites but they're neck and neck: acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin (at 25) and SoS Natalie Tennant (at 24). Further behind are state Treasurer John Perdue at 16, state Sen. Jeff Kessler at 7, state House speaker Rick Thompson at 6, and state Sen. Brooks McCabe at 4. On the GOP side, if Shelley Moore Capito does show up (which she says she won't), she's a shoo-in, at 72, with ex-SoS Betty Ireland at 10, state Sen. Clark Barnes at 5, Putnam Co. Prosecutor Mark Sorsaia at 1, and state GOP chair Mike Stuart at 1. They also try a Capito-free version, in which Ireland becomes the heavy fave at 46, with Barnes at 11, Sorsaia at 9, and Stuart at 4. There's also word of one more GOPer who isn't interesting: former astronaut and 1996 gubernatorial candidate (who lost the '96 primary to Cecil Underwood) Jon McBride says he won't run this time.
• IN-01, MI-14: Two Democratic old-timers who may be faced with less favorable districts after redistricting (or at least dark-blue districts that contain a lot of new territory) and have some ethical problems hanging overhead both announced that they're running for re-election. Peter Visclosky and John Conyers both are looking to get an early start on their races.
• WA-08: Here's a new House filing from a fairly prominent local Democrat to go against perennial target Dave Reichert: state Rep. Roger Goodman has set up a committee to run in the 8th. This requires some reading between the lines, though, because a Goodman/Reichert matchup is highly unlikely in the end; Goodman just needs a federal committee set up for, well, somewhere. Goodman lives in Kirkland, which is about a mile to the north of the 8th's boundaries; he actually lives in WA-01, where he probably doesn't want to look like he's mounting a primary challenge to Jay Inslee, although it's widely-assumed that Inslee will be vacating the 1st to run for Governor in 2012. That doesn't mean that Goodman running in the 1st is a done deal, either; under the likeliest redistricting scenario, Kirkland is likely to be part of a new Dem-friendly district that's based on the true Eastside (whether it's the 8th or 10th remains to be seen), with Reichert, who's based down in Auburn, getting his own friendlier district based in SE King County and eastern Pierce County. So, I'd say, it's likelier than not that we'll see both Reichert and Goodman in the House in 2013; the main question is the district numbers.
• DCCC: Here's something we like to see; not only is the DCCC is getting an early start on offense this year, seeding the ground to try to get some early momentum going against the most vulnerable House GOPers, but they're explicitly doing some progressive framing here, highlighting the links between infrastructure spending and job growth. They're running radio ads in 19 districts, most of which aren't a surprise by virtue of their swinginess: targets include Lou Barletta, Charlie Bass, Ann Marie Buerkle, Steve Chabot, Chip Cravaack, Bob Dold!, Sean Duffy, Blake Farenthold, Mike Fitzpatrick, Nan Hayworth, Joe Heck, Robert Hurt, Patrick Meehan, Dave Reichert, David Rivera, Jon Runyan, Joe Walsh, and Allen West. The wild card? Thad McCotter, whose continued presence in the House seems to have more to do with his ability to not draw tough opponents than it does with a connection to his district.
• Redistricting: The Fix has an interesting look at Virginia redistricting, where the Dem control of the state Senate probably means an 8-3 compromise map protecting current incumbents. There's one wrinkle, though: congressional redistricting could be pushed back until after the 2011 legislative election in the hopes that the GOP takes back over the state Senate, which would give them the trifecta. (Obviously, they couldn't delay legislative redistricting, though, meaning the GOP won't have the leverage over the map that would shape the results of the 2011 legislative election.) Although it's hard to see what they could do to VA-11 that wouldn't cut into VA-10, the GOP could conceivably push for a 9-2 map if they got that advantage. (The Rose Report is out with a much more in-depth series on Virginia redistricting this month that's worth a look.) Meanwhile, in New Jersey (another early state where the work is done by bipartisan commission), there's already some disagreement within the commission over whether or not they need to have an 11th, tie-breaking member appointed so they can move forward. (H/t to Taniel for noticing the delightful headline: "N.J. redistricting commission argues over whether it is at an impasse.")
• Census: Speaking of Virginia and New Jersey, and their early redistricting efforts, the Census Bureau will be rolling out the first big batch of complete, detailed data from 2010 for the first four states that need it early (for 2011 legislative election purposes)... Louisiana and Mississippi as well. They don't have a specific date set, but keep watching this link because they'll be available at some point this week.
• ME-Sen: The attempt to primary out Olympia Snowe by the state's various fractious Tea Party factions seems to be sputtering, partly for lack of a credible challenger to rally around (with Some Dude Scott D'Ambroise the only one officially in the race right now) but also as the various Judean People's Front and People's Front of Judea wings of the 'baggers start to increasingly turn their fire on each other rather than on Democrats and alleged RINOs.
• MI-Sen: Joining a major law firm after an electoral loss isn't, in itself, dispositive of future political runs a few years down the line. But observers are taking the decision by former AG Mike Cox (who lost last year's GOP gubernatorial primary) to join a Detroit law firm as an indicator that he isn't considering the 2012 Senate race.
• MO-Sen: There are increasing signals that Jim Talent may not run for Senate in 2012, after all. Dave Catanese talks to various Show Me State insiders who say that Talent hasn't been doing the behind-the-scenes reaching-out that one usually does at this point, and they point to him not only having got caught off guard by Sarah Steelman's abrupt early entry into the primary but also his close relationship with Mitt Romney. Talent is currently traveling with Romney in an advisory role in Afghanistan, and there's speculation his 2012 plans may involve hitching his wagon to Romney in the hopes that he's the next President and that a Cabinet role (SecDef?) may be in the offing.
• OH-Sen: With Mike DeWine having passed on a rematch against Sherrod Brown, the speculation has turned to newly-elected Lt. Gov. and former Auditor Mary Taylor. It sounds like she's game; local insiders are saying she's at "90%" in terms of likelihood of running. She may not have the field to herself even if she does, though; another newly-elected statewide GOPer, 33-year-old state Treasurer Josh Mandel has been impressing the local GOP in his first week on the job and is starting to attract some buzz for a quick promotion.
• WY-Sen: Wyoming promises to be the least dramatic state in the 2012 election, so PPP's decision to poll here this early seems a little odd. At any rate, they find Wyomingites love their politicians: outgoing Dem Gov. Dave Freudenthal gets a 71/18 approval, making him the nation's most popular governor, while the state's two GOP Senators, John Barrasso (69/25) and Mike Enzi (63/24) are the nation's two most popular Senators. Despite his popularity (and, well, despite the fact that he's never expressed any interest in running for federal office), Freudenthal loses a hypothetical 2012 matchup against Barrasso, 56-36, thanks to the GOP's huge registration advantage here.
• RI-Gov: There's already one Dem reportedly gearing up for the 2014 Governor's race: state Treasurer Gina Raimondo, who's build a war chest and getting friendly with DC consultants. (Alternatively, she could also be running for Senate in 2014 instead, if Jack Reed isn't running again.) No mention of whether she'd be challenging new indie Gov. Lincoln Chafee (last seen more or less declaring war on local talk radio) from the left or the right (as Frank Caprio tried to do, and failed).
• FL-14: With Rep. Connie Mack IV looking like one of the House's likeliest retirements right now (in order to pursue a Senate bid against Bill Nelson), speculation has already begun about who'll fill his seat. One thing is pretty predictable, given the Fort Myers-area district's R+11 bent and lack of any Dem tradition or bench: it'll be a Republican. GOP names to watch include ex-state Rep. Dudley Goodlette and Lee Co. Commissioner Ray Judah. The most prominent name, though, may be former Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp (though he might have trouble getting out of a GOP primary unless he can find a way to wash the stank of the Charlie Crist administration off his suit). State Sen. Garrett Richter (whose district closely overlaps the 14th) says no thanks to the race.
• HI-01: GOP ex-Rep. Charles Djou, seeming a bit testy after the abrupt end to his very short tenure in the House, seems to have thrown all that feel-good ohana crap out the window in his exit press conference, blaming Dem successor Colleen Hanabusa in advance for expected future failures. He may feel free to speak his mind as he also says he has "no plans to run for any political office ever again."
• NM-01: Rep. Martin Heinrich has already drawn some seemingly-credible Republican opposition for 2012, although he has the kind of district that seems much safer for a Dem in a presidential year than last year's narrow win. Republican Albuquerque city councilor Dan Lewis has formed an exploratory committee.
• State legislatures: Two state House speaker elections are in the news today. The big one may be in Texas, where an expected coup from the right against GOP speaker Joe Straus didn't ever seem to materialize. He got the support of 70 of 100 GOP House members in a pre-vote caucus, and then was easily elected to another term by the whole House. Meanwhile, in Oregon, an unusual power-sharing arrangement was cobbled together with a surprising degree of civility and equanimity, as the parties figure out how to grapple with a never-before 30-30 tie. GOPer Bruce Hanna and Dem Arnie Roblan will be co-speakers, handing the gavel to each other on alternating days.
• Special elections: Two southern states have special elections scheduled today, although there should be very little drama in any of the elections, as these are Republican-leaning districts replacing promoted Republican legislators in lightly-contested races (and icy conditions should reduce turnout to microscopic levels). In Mississippi, the races are to replace Alan Nunnelee in SD-6 and Steven Palazzo in HD-116. (With a recent party switch by state Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, the GOP is poised to tie the state Senate with today's election.) In Virginia, the races are to replace Robert Hurt in SD-19 and Morgan Griffith in HD-8.
• Primaries: In a nice bit of symmetry, two states are going in very different directions with their primary election rules. In Idaho, where the GOP seems fearful of meddling in its primaries by the state's Democrat (I think his name is Jerry), the state GOP is pushing to change from open primaries to closed primaries. Meanwhile, in Louisiana, after a period of closed primaries for federal-level offices (which was extremely confusing, since they kept using open primaries for state offices), they're expecting federal approval of a switch back to all open primaries this month. The state legislature has already approved it, but as a VRA state, they're waiting for DOJ preclearance.
• Redistricting: Finally, here's some redistricting news. Bob McDonnell has thrown a bone to fans of redistricting reform with the creation of a new redistricting commission with 11 members. It's not a very interesting bone, though, since the commission's role is purely advisory and the commission doesn't even have a budget. Meanwhile, the Hill looks at what might happen to the House districts in New Jersey, a state where the hard work is actually done by commission (which has traditionally focused on incumbent protection, but has to eliminate one seat this year). For now, everyone is waiting for more complete Census figures to see if the population stagnation was more concentrated in the state's north (which would probably hit the Dems) or the state's middle (which would hit the GOP).
• AK-Sen: Congrats to Scott McAdams, who just cleared the McMillion hurdle with $1 million in fundraising so far. The majority of contributions were from Alaska, with 88% contributions of $200 or less.
• KY-Sen: Matt Taibbi's new Rolling Stone article as he works the Rand Paul beat is a must-read even if it doesn't have any revelations as freaky as the "Aqua Buddha" story, although there's some vague and anonymous racism from the newsletter that his snarky secret society put out. The prize-winning quote, though, deals with the Tea Partiers don't seem terribly phased by any of this:
("Well, I used to use that cologne myself," was the response of one Tea Partier to a question I posed about "Aqua Buddha")
• MO-Sen: American Crossroads has declared victory in Missouri, and is pulling out of advertising there, where Roy Blunt has a consistent but single-digit lead. (As for the actual party committees... well, it's probably not relevant, seeing as how Crossroads and its ilk have made them basically irrelevant this year.)
• NV-Sen: Harry Reid racked up a couple endorsements from the big-in-Nevada gaming industry, including PokerPAC. He also got the endorsement of the former chair of the RNC, Frank Fahrenkopf, who warned of the threat Sharron Angle (with her ties to anti-gambling Gary Bauer) might pose to the state's gaming industry.
• PA-Sen: Ah, sweet Schadenfreude. The Club for Growth is having to plug $1 million into the Pennsylvania Senate race in order to bail out their former boss, Pat Toomey.
• WI-Sen: Yet another story with Ron Johnson with his hand in the trough he so regularly decries: he says he's not quite sure how five of his employees (and 10 dependents) at his plastics firm Pacur wound up on BadgerCare, the state's health insurance program for the poor. That would seem to contradict previous statements from the Johnson camp that all Pacur full-time employees are covered by the company's plan.
• AZ-07, AZ-08: I know John McCain has refudiated all his old mavericky ways, but did he actually have to go so far as to violate his signature piece of mavericky legislation, the McCain-Feingold Act? He recently cut spots for GOP candidates in the 7th and 8th, in which he and Jon Kyl appeared, and paid for them out of Friends of John McCain (his campaign committee). Dems have filed FEC complaints against McCain, saying that if he coordinated with the Ruth McClung and Jesse Kelly campaigns, he would've been limited to $4,800 contributions to each (they'd be legal independent expenditures if there was truly no coordination).
• CO-03, CO-04: The gang-that-couldn't-shoot-straight strikes twice, in two different neighboring Old West districts. In the 3rd, an anti-abortion group has been hitting the airwaves attacking Ken Salazar. That's fine, but Ken Salazar is the Secretary of Interior. His brother (the one with the mustache) is John Salazar, the Rep. from the 3rd. OK, understandable, since they're brothers... but how do you explain the confusion in the 4th, where not just some outside group but the Cory Gardner campaign mixed up Betsy Markey with Massachusetts Rep. Ed Markey? They accused her of voting for the Obama budget, which she didn't; that was the other Markey.
• FL-25: I don't know how far this will get, but give local Dems in south Florida credit for audaciousness. A Joe Garcia backer filed a lawsuit trying to get David Rivera removed from the ballot. The suit alleges that Rivera should be removed because of state election finance disclosure irregularities, concerning Rivera's mysterious claims of being a contractor to USAID despite USAID saying he wasn't. While they cite a comparable case where a state senate candidate was recently stricken from the ballot from similar problems, I'm wondering if it may be too late to do anything about that even if it succeeds on the merits (although if it only serves to move the USAID deception into the spotlight, that's good too).
• MO-04: More triage news... on the Republican side? Despite news of a Vicky Hartzler internal poll yesterday that showed a tied race, the NRCC is packing up, at least from the Kansas City market. I wonder if that has more to do with feeling neighboring KS-03 is locked down, as there are other smaller media markets in the 4th where they might still spend, but I think this has to count as at least a partial pullout.
• SD-AL: This is an interesting counterpoint to the anti-Pelosi (or at least Pelosi-skeptical) tide that seems to be rising among threatened Blue Dogs, including Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (who's in the skeptic camp): GOP challenger Kristi Noem is saying that if she wins her race, she's not sold yet on John Boehner as Republican leader, but would like to see who else might run. Recall that Noem previously politely told Sarah Palin to stay far away from her race, so this isn't the first time she's pantomimed independence.
• Early voting: There's been some buzz today about a CBS News story that says that Dems are doing better than expected in early voting, although it's kind of shy on actual numbers. It mentions that Dems have outpaced GOPers in early voting in Iowa, Maryland, North Carolina, and Clark Co., Nevada, while there's a Republican edge in Florida and Colorado. Jon Ralston, of course, has more data on Nevada, while Politico has some Iowa tidbits, involving early ballot requests in IA-03 (where 50% of requests are from Dems, but where Dems are 36% of the electorate) and IA-02 (51% of the requests, 38% of the electorate).
• SSP TV:
• CO-Sen: Women's Voices Women Vote Action Fund is out with a "high six-figure" buy in Colorado, with the first TV ad to take on Ken Buck's failure to prosecute that 2005 rape case (the "buyer's remorse" incident)
• KY-Sen: The DSCC hits Rand Paul on his support for the 23% sales (aka "fair") tax
• NV-Sen: Sharron Angle wonders how Harry Reid made all that money in her new ad (helpful fact from Jon Ralston: he was a millionaire even before he was in the House)
• WV-Sen: Outsourcing seems to be the hot button issue coming out of focus groups that works for the Dems these days, as the DSCC keeps hitting John Raese on it with their new spot
• AZ-03: Jon Hulburd has another TV ad against Ben Quayle, poking at his values and overall maturity
• HI-01: Colleen Hanabusa's new ad has a special guest star in the form of Barack Obama
• IN-09: The SEIU goes after Todd Young on Social Security privatization
• NH-01: Carol Shea-Porter, in her own ad, also works the SSP angle against Frank Guinta
• VA-05: Is the DCCC trying to drive up indie teabagger Jeffrey Clark's numbers? They're out with a spot hitting Robert Hurt for all the tax-raising he did in the state legislature
• IL-Gov: Pat Quinn (D-inc) 37%, Bill Brady (R) 45%, Rich Whit(n)ey (G) 2%, Scott Lee Cohen (I) 6%
• MO-Sen: Robin Carnahan (D) 43%, Roy Blunt (R) 52%
• ND-AL: Earl Pomeroy (D-inc) 42%, Rick Berg (R) 52%
• NY-Sen-B: Kirsten Gillibrand (D-inc) 54%, Joe DioGuardi (R) 33%
• SC-Gov: Vincent Sheheen (D) 38%, Nikki Haley (R) 47%
• AK-Sen: Where even to start in Alaska? With vague reports of Joe Miller in "free fall" in private polling, both the NRSC and his own personal kingmaker, Jim DeMint, are having to step in with advertising in order to back him up. The NRSC's buy is for $162K, which I'm sure they'd rather spend putting out fires in Pennsylvania and Kentucky instead of on a should-have-been-sure-thing... and the ad (which focuses on Barack Obama, not Lisa Murkowski or Scott McAdams) can be seen here. DeMint's ad is for $100K and touts Miller's pro-life credentials.
Meanwhile, the drip-drip of unsavory stuff from Miller's past keeps coming. It turns out he worked for one of Alaska's top law firms after graduating from Yale, prior to sliding down the food chain to working for the borough of Fairbanks; while they wouldn't elaborate because of personnel policies, a firm partner said they were "not eager" to have him stay on and "relieved" when he left after three years. Also, a CPA with commercial property knowledge should double-check a look at this story before we start alleging wrongdoing, but it's an interesting catch: Miller may have been paying himself ridiculously-above-market rents on the law office he owned, in order to game his taxes. And finally, with the damage already done, it looks like no charges will be filed in the "irrational blogger" handcuffing incident, either against Tony Hopfinger or Miller's hired goons.
• KY-Sen: Jack Conway succeeded in getting an NRSC ad pulled from a local TV station, seeing as how the whole premise was based on a lie (that Conway has supported cap-and-trade). WHAS-TV pulled the ad after the NRSC was unable to provide convincing sources for the alleged quotes.
• MO-Sen: This might be too little too late, but Roy Blunt is the third Republican candidate in the last month to get a bad case of housekeeper-itis. State Democrats released documents yesterday showing that in 1990 Blunt hired an "illegal worker" and then tried to expedite the citizenship process for her. Blunt's campaign says she never worked directly for them, only for some church events, but the documents say she had "done some work" for Blunt's wife at the time.
• NY-Sen: Charles Schumer, one of the few people anywhere routinely polling over 60%, has decided to dole out more of his gigantic war chest to other Democrats rather than spending it on himself. (It may not be entirely altruistic, as he may still have a Majority Leader battle in mind if Harry Reid can't pull it out.) In recent weeks, he gave an additional $1 million (on top of a previous $2 mil) to the DSCC. He's also given widely to state parties, including $250K in both New York and Nevada, as well as smaller amounts in 11 other states.
• PA-Sen: Before you get too excited about the major shift in polling in the Pennsylvania Senate race, absentee ballot numbers out of the Keystone State should be considered a dash of cold water. Of the 127,000 absentee ballots requested, Republicans have requested 50% and Dems have requested 42%, and also returning them at a faster clip. (I'm sure you could parse that by saying that Republican voters are likely to be older and thus less likely to want to vote in person, but either way it's not an encouraging figure.)
• WV-Sen: Rush Limbaugh's endorsement of John Raese last week -- apparently predicated on the fact that they have lockers near each other at an expensive private country club in Palm Beach, Florida -- may have done more damage to Raese beyond the obvious problem of making him look like a rich, entitled carpetbagger. After a little digging, it turns out that the Everglades Club is an all-white affair. Although it doesn't have specific membership requirements, it's never had a black member, and only one Jewish member. (In fact, remember that membership in this club was considered one of the disqualifying factors when Limbaugh was making noises about buying the St. Louis Rams several years back.)
• CO-Gov: Credit Dan Maes for entrepreneurial spirit: when he needed a job, he created one for himself... running for Governor. In the last year, Maes' campaign has reimbursed his family $72K. That's actually his campaign's second-biggest expense, and nearly one-third of the paltry $304K he's raised all along. Maes says much of that money was "mileage," though.
• OR-Gov: Here's something that we've been seeing almost nothing of this cycle, even though we saw a lot of it in 2008 (especially in Oregon, with Gordon Smith): kissing up to Barack Obama. But that's what Chris Dudley did in an open letter published as a print ad in the Oregonian this week, saying that while they might have their differences he'll work together with him on educational issues (one area where Dudley's been making some Democratic-sounding promises, albeit without any discussion of how to do that and pay for his tax cuts at the same time). With Barack Obama more popular in Oregon than much of the nation, and about to host a large rally with John Kitzhaber, the timing is not surprising.
• MA-04: I don't know if Barney Frank knows something that his own internals aren't telling us, or if he just believes in not leaving anything to chance, but he's lending himself $200K out of his own wallet to fund the stretch run in his mildly-interesting House race.
• MA-10: The illegal strip search issue (where Jeff Perry, then a police sergeant, failed to stop an underling from strip searching two teenage girls) is back in the media spotlight in a big way today, with one of the victims ending her silence and speaking to the press. Perry has defended himself saying it wasn't "in my presence," but she says he was a whole 15 feet away, and that he tried to cover up the incident.
• NJ-03: It seems like every day the honor of dumbest person running for office changes, and today the fickle finger seems to be pointing at Jon Runyan. When asked in a debate what Supreme Court case of the last 10 or 15 years he disagrees with, Runyan's answer was Dred Scott. As TPM's David Kurtz says, given the crop of GOPers this year, maybe we should just be grateful that he disagrees with Dred Scott.
• VA-05: If Tom Perriello loses this cycle, he's one guy who can walk out with his head held high:
In return, Hurt asked Perriello if he was willing to admit his votes on stimulus funding, health care and energy were mistakes.
Perriello stood behind his votes and the positive impact he says they have had or will have on the district....
"Leadership is about making tough decisions," he said.
• IA-St. House: The Iowa state House is one of the most hotly contested (and likeliest to flip to the GOP) chambers in the nation this cycle, and here's a Des Moines Register analysis of the 23 biggest races to watch in that chamber. (Bear in mind, though, that although Iowa is on track to lose a House seat, it uses independent commission redistricting, so the state legislature is not pivotal in that aspect.)
• DNC: The DNC somehow raised $11.1 million in the first 13 days of October, putting them on track for one of their best months ever for a midterm election. Wondering what's happening with that money? The DNC is out with a new TV ad of their own, saying don't go back to failed Republican policies and decrying the flow of outside money into this election. I have no idea where it's running, but the non-specificness of the pitch leaves me wondering if it'll run in nationwide contexts. (The DNC is also running $3 million in radio ads on nationally syndicated programs, particularly targeted to black audiences.)
• SSP TV:
• IL-Sen: Someone called WFUPAC (funded by SEIU and AFT) hits Mark Kirk for being buddy-buddy with George W. Bush in the bad ol' days
• NH-Sen: Kelly Ayotte's out with a boilerplate litany of everything Dems have done wrong
• WV-Sen: The NRSC returns to the "Manchin's a good governor, keep him here, and send a message to Obama" theme
• MN-01: The DCCC has to push the playing field boundaries a little further with their first ad in the 1st, hitting Randy Demmer on Social Security privatization
• NH-02: Ann McLane Kuster has two different ads out, both on outsourcing and job creation, one hitting Charlie Bass and one positive • PA-03: Here's that AFSCME ad (see above for the IE) hitting Mike Kelly
• PA-06: Manan Trivedi says Washington hasn't been listening to you
• WA-08: Suzan DelBene's fourth ad touts her as "smart moderate" and wields her Seattle Times endorsement
• FL-Gov: Alex Sink (D) 44%, Rick Scott (R) 50%
• FL-Sen: Kendrick Meek (D) 20%, Marco Rubio (R) 43%, Charlie Crist (I) 32%
• IL-Sen: Alexi Giannoulias (D) 40%, Mark Kirk (R) 44%, LeAlan Jones (G) 4%
• WV-Sen: Joe Manchin (D) 43%, John Raese (R) 50%
• CA-Gov: Another few weeks go by, and Meg Whitman keeps smashing the barriers on over-the-top self-funding: she's spent $140 million out of pocket over the entire cycle now. Here's the number that's gotta suck for her, though: Jerry Brown, having spent all of $10 million so far this cycle, is sitting on $22 million in reserves for the remaining month, allowing him to compete on perhaps an even financial footing for the last month. Whitman's cash reserves are $9 million, but even if she cuts herself the biggest check of all to re-up, there's only a finite amount of TV time left for her to buy. Truly the story of the ant and the grasshopper.
• NM-Gov: The Diane Denish camp keeps up the onslaught of internal polls showing her behind but within arm's length of Susana Martinez. This time, the poll is from Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, and gives Martinez a 49-46 lead. That still feels kind of "meh" to me, but there's an interesting kernel in the fine print: Martinez has fallen into net negative favorables for the first time (39/42, down from 42/31 in August), suggesting the ad war is having its effect.
• OH-Gov: I'm going to wait until I start seeing these kind of numbers in public polls before I start getting too optimistic about whether Ted Strickland's comeback really has legs, but here's another strong internal from his camp. The Feldman Group poll taken 10/3-5 gives Strickland a 46-42 lead over John Kasich, and finds Strickland with 47/40 favorables.
• CA-03: Ami Bera continues to be a fundraising force among Democratic challengers (not that he has much high-profile competition on that front); he raised $550K in 3Q, and $2.1 million raised over the cycle. He beat incumbent Dan Lungren yet again, who raised $480K for a $1.7 mil total.
• FL-02: We still haven't seen any public polling of this race, but here's a second GOP poll for challenger Steve Southerland giving him a double digit lead over Allen Boyd (the first one was an NRCC poll from the Tarrance Group way back in May, giving Southerland a 52-37 lead). This one's from National Research (presumably on Southerland's behalf?), taken 9/29-30, giving Southerland a 46-30 lead.
• VA-05: The US Chamber of Commerce gave its backing to Robert Hurt, not much of a surprise as he's the kind of non-threatening establishment conservative that wing of the GOP tends to like. Tom Perriello picked that up and is using it as a cudgel that seems to combine various elements that have apparently polled well for Dems (outsourcing and Citizens United), saying that the endorsement means "foreign money" is pouring into the race now, citing companies in Bahrain, Russia, and China that give money to the US Chamber.
• DCCC: Here's some more detail on the various ways in which the DCCC is, um, advancing in other directions (we told you about their pullout in AZ-08 last night, which probably has to do with Gabby Giffords having enough money to pull her own weight). They've also reduced buys for one week in a few other districts: a mix of ones where they seem genuinely hosed (CO-04, TX-17, FL-24, and the KS-03 and IN-08 open seats), one that seems a true tossup but where our guy has money (Harry Teague in NM-02), and one that's looking like a pickup (LA-02). The DCCC will be using at least some of that money putting out a new brushfire that popped up in NY-23, where Doug Hoffman's ceasing and desisting makes the race a tossup, and where they're spending $500K.
• NRCC: Speaking of CO-04 and being hosed, here's some additional evidence: the NRCC is taking $700K out of the 4th, and moving it next door to another race that's looking decidedly tossup-ish: John Salazar's CO-03.
• Redistricting: This may be the single best use of money anywhere by Dems this cycle: they're finally putting some money into Florida's redistricting amendments that purport to make the process less subject to gerrymandering. Over $1 million has flowed from Democratic groups to Fair Districts Florida, who are behind the measures. Fair Districts is ostensibly nonpartisan, but obviously the net effect of a less partisan map would be to dismantle one of the most effective Republican gerrymanders anywhere.
• Polltopia: With dramatically different results (especially in the generic ballot tests, but also in head-to-head polls) popping up that often seem to have very different definitions of "likely voter," Mark Blumenthal looks at the various ways pollsters cobble together their LV models. There's a marked difference between the way academic pollsters and partisan pollsters do it, revealing major disparities. If you haven't seen it already, this should be required reading.
• Independent expenditures: The folks at Zata|3 have put together a very useful table, adding up and comparing DCCC and NRCC independent expenditures in all the districts where they've weighed in. (The NRCC has spent a lot more so far, despite their cash shortfall vs. the DCCC. The D-Trip seems to be saving up for a massive blast in the final weeks. Or maybe just saving up for 2012.) They also have charts for the DCCC and NRCC that break down each district's expenditures by category (media buys, production, internet, etc.).
• SSP TV:
• CO-Sen: The DSCC hits Ken Buck for his enthusiasm for privatizing everything he can get his hands on
• CT-Sen: The Chamber of Commerce has a fairly boilerplate ad against Richard Blumenthal for being too anti-(big) business
• KY-Sen: There are six different ads embedded in this Inquirer article, several of which you've already seen (including the DSCC ad on Medicare deductibles), but including a new Rand Paul campaign ad on the "Conway = Obama" theme; separately, the NRSC has a new ad here on Conway waffling on extending Bush tax cuts
• MO-Sen: The DSCC has yet another ad about Roy Blunt and his lobbyist friends
• NY-Sen-B: Kirsten Gillibrand's out with a second bio ad that seems specifically aimed at the upstate market, pointing out her roots in that part of the state
• PA-Sen: Joe Sestak's new ad points to what we junkies have long known, that Pat Toomey's free market fundamentalism has given him aggregator ratings even more conservative than Rick Santorum
• WI-Sen: A second cookie-cutter ad from the Chamber of Commerce, this one targeting Russ Feingold
• KS-Gov: Tom Holland's out with his first ad of the cycle, a comparison spot that's half negative against Sam Brownback, half positive intro of Holland
• TX-Gov: Bill White's newest ad rebuts some of Rick Perry's claims about his mayoral leadership and lists his various commendations
• AZ-05: The National Education Association gets into the ad war in a big way, hitting David Schweikert for being anti-public education (this buy is part of a $15 million initiative on the NEA's part, also including TV in OH-13 and mailers in NC-08)
• CO-04: EMILY's List is still sticking around in the 4th, bolstering Betsy Markey with an anti-Cory Gardener spot that's a mother of a child with autism addressing Gardener not wanting to require insurers to cover that
• AZ-Gov: Terry Goddard (D) 39%, Jan Brewer (R-inc) 55%
• CT-Sen: Richard Blumenthal (D) 54%, Linda McMahon (R) 43%
• IL-Gov: Pat Quinn (D-inc) 38%, Bill Brady (R) 46%, Rich Whitney (G) 4%
• IL-Sen: Alexi Giannoulias (D) 41%, Mark Kirk (R) 45%, LeAlan Jones (G) 4%
• MD-Gov: Martin O'Malley (D-inc) 49%, Bob Ehrlich (R) 41%
• RI-Gov: Frank Caprio (D) 30%, John Robitaille (R) 22%, Lincoln Chafee (I) 33%
• WV-Sen: Joe Manchin (D) 44%, John Raese (R) 50%
• AK-Sen: Daily Kos just added Scott McAdams to its Orange to Blue list, so if you're still looking to throw some money in his direction, you can do so via Big Orange. Meanwhile, Lisa Murkowski is trying to gear up her write-in campaign, and with Ted Stevens having been laid to rest this week, she's mulling whether to roll out those ads featuring Stevens that she had ready to go pre-primary but pulled because of his death. This can't be good news for Murkowski, though: Rep. Don Young, more from the Murkowski/Stevens wing of the local GOP than the teabagger wing, is having a bout of self-preservation and is staying neutral, not endorsing anyone in the race. Finally, here's one more page in Joe Miller's ongoing saga of milking the system that he hates so darn much: when new to Alaska (but after he'd bought his expensive house and started working as an attorney), he obtained an indigent hunting/fishing license that required an income of less than $8,200/yr.
• DE-Sen: Christine O'Donnell says she attended Oxford. Oh, no, wait, she took a course from something called the Phoenix Institute that "rented space from" Oxford. Why am I not surprised?
• FL-Sen: I always figured that the early love affair between the local teabaggery and Marco Rubio wouldn't last; he seemed more from the mainstream Jeb Bush camp and it seemed more a marriage of convenience based on his charisma but mostly on the fact that he wasn't Charlie Crist. Anyway, he's pretty much severed the relationship and making a break for the establishment with his latest revelation, that he decided several months ago against privatizing Social Security after concluding the idea "doesn't work." (If Ken Buck gets elected, I wonder how long it'll take him to make the same move?)
• IL-Sen: The DSCC is keeping on pouring money into the Land of Lincoln, bolstering Alexi Giannoulias. They're adding another $400K to the pile, for another week on the air.
• KY-Sen: The NRSC is taking the opposite tack, engaging in a little advertisus interruptus and pulling out for a week from Kentucky. (They claim they're doing so from a position of strength, naturally.) Meanwhile, this is kind of small ball ($1,400 in contributions from three guys), but it's still the kind of headline you probably don't want to see if you're Rand Paul, especially once you've made your feelings on the Civil Rights Act clear:
Conway camp calls on Paul to return money from white separatists
• NY-Sen-B: Marist (9/19-22, likely voters, 5/3-5 in parentheses):
Marist gives you a buffet of different numbers of choose from, as it's 54-42 for Gillibrand when leaners are pushed, or it's 55-36 when polling just registered voters (meaning there's an enthusiasm gap worth 8 points here). They also find Chuck Schumer having no problems in the other Senate race, leading Jay Townsend 58-37 among LVs (and 63-32 among RVs).
• WI-Sen: Ron Johnson's one act of political participation prior to this year -- testifying before the state legislature in opposition to the bipartisan-supported Wisconsin Child Victims Act -- is getting a second look in the press. His main interest in opposing the bill was that it could lead to corporations or other business entities being held liable for acts of employees, worried about the "economic havoc" it would create (and worried that those meddling "trial lawyers" would benefit). Think Progress has video of the testimony.
• WV-Sen: This seems like a new one to me... John Raese is actually paying people to write letters to the editor on his behalf. Not just offering them McCain Bucks that can't be redeemed for anything in the real world, but running an actual contest giving money to people who get the most letters published. Also, I'll give John Raese credit for being himself even when he's being followed around by reporters. Here's his reaction to finding out that the NRA endorsement went to Joe Manchin:
Raese speaks angrily into the phone, his words full of threat: "Tell them that I have an A plus rating with them, and that if they are fair they should include that. Tell them about the polling. Tell them I'm riding an elephant." Raese pulls the cell phone away from his ear, hands it back to Patrick the driver, and says "That has made it a lot harder."
• CT-Gov: Little known fact: did you know that Jodi Rell still hasn't endorsed Tom Foley yet, despite only weeks to go? Foley's camp is saying it's imminent, but it looks like Rell has summoned up even less enthusiasm in the general as she did for her Lt. Gov., Michael Fedele, in the GOP primary.
• FL-Gov: Here's an interesting endorsement for Alex Sink: she got the backing of term-limited Republican state Sen. Alex Villalobos. Villalobos is also backing Charlie Crist (and even Dan Gelber in the AG race), so this exactly a sign of the Republican edifice collapsing, though.
• IA-Gov, SD-AL: Add one more to the long list of Dems who are getting a nice NRA endorsement as their box-of-Rice-a-Roni-and-can-of-Turtle-Wax-style parting gift on their way out the studio door. Chet Culver just got the backing of the gun lobby. (One state to the north, they also just backed Stephanie Herseth Sandlin today.)
• CA-44: PPP for Democrats.com (9/24-26, likely voters, no trendlines):
Bill Hedrick (D): 38
Ken Calvert (R-inc): 49
Despite being woefully underfunded, Bill Hedrick's keeping the race competitive in his rematch against Ken Calvert (recall that he almost won, out of nowhere, in 2008). How he makes up that last 12 points in this climate, though, I'm not sure.
• FL-22: Harstad Research Group for Project New West (9/20-22, likely voters, no trendlines):
Ron Klein (D): 48
Allen West (R): 43
There's lots of back-and-forth in the polling of the 22nd, with each side sporting their own internal with a lead in the last week. Dem pollster Harstad weighs in with another one going in Ron Klein's column.
• KS-03: Moore money, Moore problems? Retiring Rep. Dennis Moore is still busy emptying out his campaign coffers, transferring $100K more to the Kansas Democratic party (on top of a previous $100K in June). That's probably with the understanding that the money will be used to pay for their newest mailer in support of Stephene Moore, running to succeed her husband.
• NH-01, NH-02: American Research Group (9/22-26, likely voters, no trendlines):
Carol Shea-Porter (D-inc): 40
Frank Guinta (R): 50
Ann McLane Kuster (D): 36
Charlie Bass (R): 38
Here are some unusual results from ARG! (although should we expect anything else?): they find Carol Shea-Porter getting keelhauled in the 1st, while the open seat battle in the 2nd is a swashbuckling battle (contrary to other polls we've seem of these races, where the 1st has been a tossup or a narrow CSP advantage while the 2nd has looked bad).
• PA-08: I've been patiently waiting here for actual toplines for more than a day, but it seems like they aren't forthcoming... so I'll just let you know there's a Harstad Research Group poll (on behalf of SEIU and VoteVets, not the Patrick Murphy campaign) out in the 8th that gives Murphy a 3-point lead over Mike Fitzpatrick and an 8-point lead among voters who voted in 2006. It was taken Sept. 20-22.
• WI-07: Garin Hart Yang for Julie Lassa (9/26-27, likely voters, in parentheses):
Julie Lassa (D): 41
Sean Duffy (R): 42
Gary Kauther (I): 7
I don't know how good a sign this is, releasing an internal where you're still trailing in a Democratic-leaning district. Lassa needs to let the donors know she's still in this, I suppose.
• WV-03: Global Strategy Group for DCCC (9/23-26, likely voters, no trendlines):
Well, here's one district where all the polls (even the one from AFF) are consistent in showing a nearly-20 point edge for long-time Dem Nick Rahall.
• NY-St. Sen.: Four polls from Siena of key New York State Senate races have, on the balance, bad news for the Democrats: Darrell Aubertine, the first Democrat in several geological epochs to hold SD-48 in the North Country, is trailing GOP opponent Pattie Ritchie for re-election, 48-45. Brian Foley, in Long Island-based SD-4, is also in a tough race, leading Lee Zeldin 44-43. Meanwhile, two Republican incumbents are looking fairly safe: Frank Padavan, who barely survived 2008 in Dem-leaning Queens-based SD-11, leads ex-city councilor Tony Avella 56-32, while in SD-44, Hugh Farley leads Susan Savage 55-37. (I'd rather see them poll the open seat races; that's where the Republicans are at more risk.)
• Mayors: There aren't a lot of big-city mayoral races where the decisive vote is in November (most were wrapped up in the primaries), but one interesting one is Louisville, where the longtime Dem incumbent Jerry Abramson is leaving in order to run for LG next year. Dem Greg Fischer (who you may remember from the 2008 Senate primary) is beating Republican city councilor Hal Heiner 48-42, according to SurveyUSA.
• DLCC: You probably saw yesterday that the DLCC is out with a first round of 20 "essential races" for controlling key state legislative chambers. Well, over in diaries, now they're soliciting suggestions for further additions to the list, so please add some suggestions from races that are near and dear to your own hearts.
• SSP TV:
• CA-Sen: The Chamber of Commerce, trying to salvage this dwindling race, tries to hang the "career politician" tag on Barbara Boxer
• CO-Sen: The DSCC goes after Ken Buck on Social Security again
• CO-Sen: The NRSC runs an anti-Michael Bennet ad, hitting him on his support for health care reform
• DE-Sen: The DSCC crams as much Christine O'Donnell insanity as it can into 30 seconds
• IL-Sen: Mark Kirk goes back to where he began, with another bio spot of small town boy made good
• PA-Sen: Joe Sestak's newest ad keeps on trying to tie Pat Toomey to Wall Street
• WV-Sen: The DSCC goes after John Raese for supporting eliminating the minimum wage and his own ooopses at his own company
• CT-Gov: The DGA hits Tom Foley on outsourcing in his former career as textile magnate
• MI-Gov: The RGA hits Virg Bernero on spending as mayor (OMG! he spent $1,277 on pencils!)
• NM-Gov: Another Susana Martinez attack ad hits Diane Denish for some bungled solar power thingamajig
• TX-Gov: Here's a mindblowing stat: the DGA has never paid for advertising in Texas... until now. They're out with an attack on Rick Perry, calling him what nobody wants to be called this cycle ("career politican")
• KY-03: Todd Lally's out with two ads, one a bio spot, the other a pretty funny attack on John Yarmuth using the K-Tel greatest hits album motif
• MI-07: Tim Walberg has to call on his mom for help: not to do any polling on his behalf, just to appear in an ad about Social Security
• NC-02: This was probably inevitable... AJS weighs into the 2nd with an ad using Bob Etheridge going apeshit on a poor innocent little tracker
• NC-11: Repent now or Jeff Miller will forever cast you into the fiery pits of Nancy Pelosi's hell!
• ND-AL: Earl Pomeroy touts how well he cooperated with George W. Bush! (on Medicare Part D, though, which probably plays well among North Dakota's aging population)
• PA-08: Outsourcing must be polling well for the Dems these days, as Patrick Murphy hits Mike Fitzpatrick on that
• VA-05: Indie candidate Jeff Clark scrounged up enough money to advertise? And he's attacking GOPer Robert Hurt? That's good enough for me
• CT-Gov: Dan Malloy (D) 50%, Tom Foley (R) 40%
• WV-Sen: Joe Manchin (D) 46%, John Raese (R) 48%
• Fox/Pulse (aka Rasmussen):
• CO-Gov: John Hickenlooper (D) 44%, Dan Maes (R) 15%, Tom Tancredo (C) 34%
• CO-Sen: Michael Bennet (D-inc) 43%, Ken Buck (R) 47%
• IL-Gov: Pat Quinn (D-inc) 36%, Bill Brady (R) 46%, Rich Whitney (G) 8%
• IL-Sen: Alexi Giannoulias (D) 40%, Mark Kirk (R) 42%, LeAlan Jones (G) 7%
• OH-Gov: Ted Strickland (D-inc) 43%, John Kasich (R) 45%
• OH-Sen: Lee Fisher (D) 37%, Rob Portman (R) 50%
• WA-Sen: Patty Murray (D-inc) 48%, Dino Rossi (R) 47%
• WI-Gov: Tom Barrett (D) 45%, Scott Walker (R) 49%
• WI-Sen: Russ Feingold (D-inc) 44%, Ron Johnson (R) 52%
SurveyUSA for WDBJ-TV Roanoke (8/31-9/1, likely voters,
Tom Perriello (D-inc): 35 (35)
Rob Hurt (R): 61 (58)
Jeff Clark (I): 2 (4)
Undecided: 2 (3)
Brutal stuff. It's worth mentioning that last time, we mentioned some issues with the crosstabs, including Hurt's big support among younger voters. Those issues persist in this poll.
It's worth mentioning that Perriello fared more favorably in the most recent American Action Forum poll, trailing Hurt by 43-49 -- and that poll, conducted by a Republican firm, tested the top line match-up right after asking a question about the healthcare bill.
Could things really be this bad?
UPDATE: Dana has one more issue regarding the poll: a very optimistic voter turnout prediction.
CO-Sen: In yet another example of the perils of Citizens United, Americans United for Life, a non-profit anti-abortion group, is endorsing GOPer Jane Norton. Worry not, circular firing squad enthusiasts, as other pro-life groups endorsing Norton's more conservative rival Ken Buck are already hitting back promoting Buck as the pro-lifest option.
FL-Sen: Kendrick Meek, seeking to stanch the bleeding of support to Jeff Greene in the Democratic primary, has released an internal poll showing him leading by the slimmest of margins, 36-35, with 8% going to Maurice Ferre and 20% undecided. Meek has three events planned with the Big Dog in the coming weeks - which isn't surprising given Meek did endorse Hillary Clinton for President in 2008.
Jack Conway (D): 31
Rand Paul (R): 41
Braun Research is out with another poll in Kentucky, showing a result consistent with other pollsters of a slight lead for mountain-hater Rand Paul.
NV-Sen: Sharron Angle's Tour de Crazy continues, as she's now bandying about criticizing gay adoption (which is legal in Nevada) and advocating for the right of religious officials to endorse political candidates - which flies squarely in the face of Section 501(c)(3) of the tax code.
CO-Gov: Former state legislator Tom Wiens - last seen briefly running for the Senate seat currently held by Michael Bennet - may have set his sights on the Governor's race as a post-primary option given the utter fail of both GOPers on the ballot, Scott "plagiarist" McInnis and Dan "lien collector" Maes. Wiens claims to have already voted for Scott McInnis, but his follow-up statement that "I voted for Scott McInnis and let's hope things work out" is hardly a ringing endorsement.
MN-Gov: Target's CEO, Gregg Steinhafel, is apologizing for the company's recent $150,000 to the shadowy right-wing group Minnesota Forward, which was last seen airing ads in support of the waitstaff-hating, gay-bashing, Christian conservative-cozy GOP nominee, Tom Emmer. The irony in all of this, of course, is that Target is the successor to the Dayton-Hudson Corporation...to which Democratic gube-hopeful Mark Dayton is an heir.
AL-05: With many of their members at risk in November, the Blue Dog Coalition senses an opportunity to add to their ranks here, endorsing Dem nominee Steve Raby. The Blue Dog Coalition goes way back in this northern Alabama district, as Bud Cramer - who held this seat until 2008 - was a co-founder of the coalition.
ID-01: It's hard to to tell who's campaign's been more amusing, Bill Sali's or Raul Labrador's. The normally GOP-leaning Idaho Associated General Contractors - who even endorsed Bill Sali in 2008 - are opting for Dem Walt Minnick, even citing Minnick's opposition to the stimulus as a point of reservation for the group.
TN-08: The dust's hardly settled from last night's bloody GOP three-way...primary, which has fortunately allowed Democratic nominee state Sen. Roy Herron to build up a huge financial advantage. Outside groups are stepping in though, with the conservative-leaning 60 Plus Association dropping $240k in ad buys against Herron in the Memphis, Jackson, and Nashville markets.
VA-05: To the disappointment of cat fud lovers everywhere, the teabaggish Jim McKelvey - despite his earlier reluctance - is endorsing the man who beat him in the primary, "moderate" state Sen. Robert Hurt. Fortunately, there's still the teabagging independent in this race, Jeff Clark.
WA-08: In a major surprise, the Seattle Times has decided not to endorse incumbent GOPer Dave Reichert, criticizing his constant nay-saying. The Times - which has endorsed Reichert in the past - is instead opting for Microsoft exec Suzan DelBene (D) and Expedia senior manager Tim Dillon (R) in Washington's unusual top two primary.
Polling: Daily Kos, after having fired their pollster Research 2000, is back in the polling game, to the delight of Swingnuts everywhere. While Daily Kos has yet to decide on a national pollster, they've settled on the always reliable Public Policy Polling for state-level horserace polling.