• IN-Sen: Chris "Count" Chocola, head of the Club for Growth and himself a Hoosier, says his organization may step in to help oust apostate Sen. Dick Lugar. The CFG has already talked to Treasurer Richard Mourdock, and if they get involved, they could make up for his lackluster fundraising so far.
• MA-Sen: Remember when ThinkProgress busted Scott Brown for sucking up to David Koch for donations while he was publicly saying he wasn't even thinking about 2012? His pitch worked, I guess: Koch Industries coughed up a $2,500 donation to Brown's campaign last quarter.
In other MA-Sen news, why does Barney Frank keep doing this? On Monday, he repeated his remarks that he thinks Newton Mayor Setti Warren shouldn't run for Senate, this time to local blog Newton TAB. I honestly think this is a bit embarrassing for Frank, and makes him look like a jackass. It's an admission that his private suggestions to Warren haven't been well-received, and that he's had to take to the press to accomplish what he apparently doesn't have the power to do on his own. It's ugly, and what's more, I don't even see the percentage in it. Why does Frank care so much whether Warren runs? Really, just enough.
• MN-Sen: Former state Sen. and unsuccessful 2010 SoS candidate Dan Severson says he might seek the Republican nod to challenge Amy Klobuchar, who so far has drawn no opponents. Severson says he'll decide by May. Also, attorney Chris Barden, another unsuccessful statewide candidate last year (he ran for AG), says he may attempt a Senate race, too.
• MO-Sen: It's getting' mighty crowded in here... well, maybe. Wealthy businessman John Brunner (who can at least partially self-fund) says he might join the GOP field to take on Sen. Claire McCaskill. Reps. Todd Akin and Blaine Leutekemeyer are also still weighing bids, while former Treasurer Sarah Steelman and teabagger fave Ed Martin are already in the race.
• TX-Sen: This is just weird. Ashwin Madia (who you may remember as the Dem candidate in MN-03 back in 2008) is also chair of the progressive veterans group VoteVets. His organization put out a statement the other day in which he said it was "encouraging" to see Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez considering the Texas Senate race as a Dem. It's strange, as Adam Serwer points out, because Sanchez had a very suspect record on torture during his tenure as US commander in Iraq, while VoteVets has been very critical of torture. Another spokesman for the group hurried to say that VoteVets was not issuing a formal statement of endorsement, just an attaboy for a fellow servicemember.
• VA-Sen: Teabagger Jamie Radtke raised just $55K in Q1 and has only $47K on hand. I'm betting that if George Allen does wind up dealing with a serious speed bump on his way to the GOP nomination, it's going to take the form of Del. Bob Marshall, not Radtke. Still a big if.
• VT-Sen, VT-AL: Sen. Bernie Sanders raised $770K in Q1 (not bad for the 49th-largest state in the nation) and has over a million in the bank. The Burlington Free Press pegs an uptick in donations to Sanders after his now-famous eight-hour speech on the Senate floor in which he blasted tax cuts for the wealthy. Meanwhile, Rep. Peter Welch now has a million on hand.
• NJ-Gov, NJ-Sen: Chris Christie's starting to smell like a plate of scungilli left out in the sun after a July picnic. His job approval has dropped to 47-46, according to Quinnipiac, from 52-40 just a couple of months ago. Sen. Bob Menendez isn't doing so hot either, 42-40, but those sorts of numbers are nothing new for him (and are actually better than what he was getting last year). In news of more immediate importance, Dems improved to 47-39 on the generic legislative ballot, up from 43-41. (Thanks to andgarden for spotting that question, tucked away at the very end of the poll.) Also fun: Q asked respondents for an unprompted, open-ended one-word description of Christie. The number one response, by far? "Bully," with 140 mentions.
• AL-05: This is just odd. Freshman Republican Mo Brooks cancelled a town hall and replaced it with one-on-one meetings with constituents-by appointment only. What makes this extra-weird is that these meetings are scheduled to take place across the state line in... Tennessee. Reminds me of this infamous incident from the classic MS-01 special back in 2008.
• IA-04: Some great number-crunching from G-squared: The new 4th CD went for Terry Branstad 59-37 in 2010, 50-48 for GOP gubernatorial candidate Jim Nussle in 2006, and 49-48 for Tom Vilsack in 2002. I'll go one further and tell you that Vilsack lost the new 4th in 1998, 47-52. Greg also says that Rep. Steve King currently represents 47% of new CD.
• IL-03: Politico has a profile of John Atkinson, the Democratic businessman who may challenge Rep. Dan Lipinski from the left. Atkinson, who has already raised a boatload, hasn't formally declared yet (and may be waiting on redistricting), but a main theme for him is Lipinski's vote against healthcare reform.
• NY-13: Ex-Rep. Mike McMahon, recently speaking to the Bay Ridge Democratic Club, definitely sounds like he's leaning toward a comeback. The linked piece from the Brooklyn Eagle contains McMahon's ruminations on why he lost last year, but I'm not sure I understand what he thinks the reasons are. On the one hand, he says "[t]here was a drop-off in progressive voters." On the other hand, he cited a memo from Third Way (ugh, but what do you expect) which polled Obama "switchers" and "dropouts." The memo claims that "[s]witchers were eager to vote in this election, whereas droppers didn't come out for a multitude of reasons, none of them being they were upset with Democrats."
What this misses out on, of course, is that Democratic organizations who were pissed with McMahon's vote against healthcare reform were less inclined to bust their asses for him and drag apathetic voters to the polls on his behalf-something members and officials of the Bay Ridge club made plain to him. (The article says some attendees used "harsher language," so since this is Brooklyn we're talking about, enjoy a moment or two imagining what this sounded like.) I'm not sure what McMahon thinks the solution is for next year, if he runs again, but it doesn't sound like he's ready to take back his anti-HCR vote. I think he'd be wise to do so.
• RI-01: Former Republican state Rep. John Loughlin, who lost by six points to now-Rep. David Cicilline last year, says he's considering a rematch, but first he's serving another tour of duty in Iraq. I wonder if Cicilline's self-inflicted wounds regarding the financial woes of Providence (the city of which he used to be mayor) will make him vulnerable-if not next year (which of course is a presidential year), then at some point in the near future... or in a primary.
• WI Recall: Republicans say they will file recall petitions against three Democrats today: Dave Hansen, Jim Holperin, and Robert Wirch. Meanwhile, Greg Sargent says that Dems will file petitions against a fifth Republican, Alberta Darling, also today.
• WI Sup. Ct.: Yesterday, JoAnne Kloppenburg asked for a recount, which will come at state expense since the final margin of 7,316 votes was less than 0.5%. I'm pretty surprised at the decision, since overturning that kind of result seems almost inconceivable.
• Alaska (PDF): Dave Dittman, a pollster and former aide to the late Sen. Ted Stevens, tested Alaskans' feelings about local pols last month. Sen. Mark Begich, up for re-election in 2014, has a 57-33 job approval rating, while Sen. Lisa Murkowski is at 71-27 and Rep. Don Young is at 63-32. Joe Miller, who says he might run against Young next year or against Begich next cycle, has a hilariously awful favorability rating of 18-73. (FWIW, Sarah Palin is at 36-61.) Note that the poll had oddly long field dates: March 3 through March 17.
• Demographics: Aaron Blake has another good piece looking at the changing demographics of majority-black districts.
• House Majority PAC: The new Dem "super PAC" is out with its first-ever media buy (which they claim is "substantial"-you better be telling the truth), hitting ten GOP freshmen who voted for Paul Ryan's budget plan with radio ad. You can listen to a sample spot against Sean Duffy here. Click the first link for the other nine names.
• DCCC: Speaking of ad buys, props to Dave Catanese for busting what turned out to be a comically bullshit media "blitz" by the DCCC. I groused about this one yesterday, complaining that the size of the buy was sure to be "quite small," but I had no idea that it would be this comically small: The total purchase was just $6,000 across twenty-five districts, with just $40 (yes, $40!) spent against Larry Buchson in IN-08. Of course, it was the NRCC which provided this info to Catanese, which I'm not sure is such a smart move, since they play this stupid game, too. But my bigger concern is whether local reporters who wrote about these ads will be insulted by the joke dollar values and ignore the D-Trip in the future. I sure as hell would.
• Colorado: After instantly descending into a whole bunch of acrimony (mostly, it seemed to me, from the GOP side) after the first batch of maps were produced, both parties agreed to go back to the drawing board and start with a clean slate. Republicans sound a lot more excited about the prospect than Dems, but we'll see if this actually produces any kind of agreement... or if a stalemate eventually leads to court-drawn maps.
• Pennsylvania: No surprise here: The Republican majority on the PA Supreme Court picked a Republican superior court judge to serve as a tiebreaker on the panel which will re-draw Pennsylvania's state legislative maps. This is a direct consequence of a shameful loss of an open Dem-held seat on the court in 2009.
• Texas: A new plan for the Texas state House passed a House committee yesterday. The map increases the number of Latino districts from 28 to 30, but Democrats seem convinced that there are serious VRA issues with it.
• AK-Sen: The story of how his employment with the city of Fairbanks ended is one of the key reasons why Joe Miller suddenly clammed up and said he wouldn't answer questions about his personal background anymore. Now the city's former mayor, Jim Whitaker, is offering his version of the story, saying Miller is "not truthful" about it. Whitaker says Miller's use of borough resources for political purposes (namely, for gaming an online vote for state party chair in a Sarah Palin-orchestrated party coup) was a violation of borough ethics policy and it would have been a cause for termination if they hadn't been so understaffed. Miller eventually resigned in 2009 anyway, partly because his request to go elk hunting got denied.
• FL-Sen: There are so many Kennedys I really can't keep track which one is allied with who, but any time one leaves the reservation it's interesting. Robert Kennedy Jr. announced that he's backing Charlie Crist for Senate, saying that Kendrick Meek can't win and the most important thing is blocking Marco Rubio. Meanwhile, with the current race not looking very interesting anymore, PPP has its eye on 2012 (which seems like it could be close, especially if Jeb Bush gets involved). They ran two other hypotheticals, one not very likely: Bill Nelson beats Rush Limbaugh 50-36 (if Limbaugh for whatever reason decided to take the huge pay cut). More plausibly, he also beats Rep. Connie Mack IV by 42-33.
• LA-Sen: Charlie Melancon is out with an internal poll from Anzalone-Liszt. Public pollsters have generally seen this as a double-digit race, but his poll, taken over Oct. 9-12, gives David Vitter a not-overwhelming 49-42 lead. The campaign says that's a major improvement (no specific numbers, though) over their September poll.
• FL-Gov: The Florida Education Association (obviously a Democratic-leaning organization) polled the gubernatorial race, and found numbers very close to PPP's results yesterday. The poll from Tom Eldon, taken Oct. 9-12, gives Alex Sink a 47-41 lead over Rick Scott. Scott's faves are down to 33/50.
• IL-Gov: This is quite the screwup: Green candidate Rich Whitney's name will appear as "Rich Whitey" on electronic voting machines in nearly two dozen wards in Chicago (half of which are predominantly African-American). And that leads inevitably to the question (to quote the Illinois Nazi Party): "Well, what are you going to do about it, Whitey?" Apparently, he can't do much, as there isn't adequate time left to reprogram and test the machines, although he's looking into various legal options.
• AZ-07: I don't know if there's any hard evidence other than a Magellan poll and a McClung internal to prove there's a real race here, but judging by efforts by some organizations on both sides, something's going on. The Progressive Change Campaign Committee had members make 21,000 phone calls to the district to shore up Raul Grijalva, while Americans for Tax Reform is going to spend $230K on advertising in the district, hitting Grijalva with an ad for encouraging a boycott of his state in the wake of SB 1070.
• CA-44: Like CA-03, this is one offense opportunity in California that still seems to be alive and kicking. The Bill Hedrick campaign, short on cash but facing an underwhelming opponent that he nearly knocked off last time, is out with a Zata|3 internal poll showing Hedrick trailing GOP incumbent Ken Calvert by only a 48-43 margin (improved a 49-38 showing in September).
• GA-08: He made it implicit with his most recent ad (distancing himself from Nancy Pelosi, even going so far as to show 60s-era San Francisco hippies), but Jim Marshall is now explicitly joining Bobby Bright in the camp of incumbents saying they won't support Pelosi for Speaker in the next Congress (if they're there for it).
• IA-03: I didn't think I'd be saying this a few months ago, but Leonard Boswell is starting to look like he's in healthy shape for the election, thanks in large part of a variety of damaging details about Brad Zaun that went public. Boswell leads Zaun 47-38 in an internal from his campaign, taken Oct. 3-5 by Anzalone-Liszt.
• IL-10: Bob Dold sure can rake in the fundraising dollars, even if Bob Dold can't seem to come up with a lead in the polls, in what's looking like one of the Dems' few pickups this cycle. Bob Dold raised $843K in the third quarter and is sitting on $979K CoH, enough to start running two broadcast ads this week, while Bob Dold's opponent Dan Seals has yet to release any numbers. Bob Dold!
• MD-01, VA-02, VA-05: Another testament to the unpredictability of elections: even a few months ago, who'd have thought, that at this point, the DCCC would have cut loose Debbie Halvorson and Steve Kagen, but would be keeping on pumping money into the races of Frank Kratovil and Tom Perriello? Those two, along with Glenn Nye, are among the survivors of the triage process and will receive continued ad buys.
• NH-02: This race is also turning out to be close, and this can't help Charlie Bass this close to the election: questions are emerging about a stock buy (in New England Wood Pellet, his nephew-in-law's company) that he made while in Congress the previous time. He then set up a meeting between company officials and Bush administration officials, which is a potential House ethics violation.
• OH-01: Credit Steve Driehaus for having some fire in the belly. After having gotten thrown onto the bring-out-your-dead cart by the DCCC, instead of just shrugging and starting to look for a lobbying job, he's doubling down on his fundraising efforts, using it as an incentive to ask for more from his supporters. In particular, he's pissed that the DCCC let him go even while giving money to various Reps. who voted "no" on health care reform.
• OR-04: Well, here's one more race to add to the watch list. Peter DeFazio hasn't faced credible opposition in... well, ever. And he's still not facing credible opposition this year (Art Robinson is kind of a clown; his main action item seems to be the elimination of public schooling, which would kind of help him out considerably, since his day job is selling curriculum supplies for home schoolers). Nevertheless, the mysterious group Concerned Taxpayers (who've also made a six-digit ad buy against DeFazio) is out with an internal poll from Oct. 4-5 from Wilson Research showing a single-digit race, with DeFazio leading Robinson 48-42. (MoE is a hefty 5.6%.)
• PA-10: Chris Carney is on the wrong end of a Critical Insights poll of his district (which will be in our Poll Roundup later), but he's already getting out in front of it with an internal poll. The Oct. 12-13 poll from Momentum Analysis has Carney leading Tom Marino 48-41. With both candidates able to point to leads not just in internal polls but public polls too, this is quite definitely a "Tossup."
• TN-08: Whew! One last internal. Not much surprise here... GOPer Stephen Fincher has an internal out giving him a double-digit lead in the open seat race against Roy Herron, very similar to yesterday's 47-37 Penn/Hill poll. The Tarrance Group poll from Oct. 11-12 gives Fincher a 47-36 lead (with 3 to indie Donn James).
• FL-AG: This is one of the higher-profile downballot races around, and it gets a fair amount of polling attention too. This time, it's Susquehanna's turn (on behalf of Sunshine State News), and they give a lead to Republican Hillsborough Co. Prosecutor Pam Bondi, who leads state Sen. Dan Gelber 50-42.
• Money: Zata|3 is out with more of their super-helpful charts on the behind-the-scenes money game, which is where the Republicans are really winning this cycle, even more so than the polls. Compared with 2008, spending on Senate races (from both sides) has nearly doubled, and it's up more than 50% on House races. And Republican groups are leading the way: the top 5, and 8 of the top 10, outside groups, spending-wise are GOP-leaning. That starts with the cash-flush RGA ($12 mil so far), followed by the Chamber of Commerce and American Crossroads.
• Polltopia: You may have already seen the new Pew study on cellphone use, but it's a real eye-opener, one that should cast some measure of doubt on the accuracy of current polls or even the whole sense that polls can tell us anything. Pew, which in 2008 found a certain amount of pro-Republican bias in polls because of the exclusion of cellphone-only users, is out with a new round of polling showing that bias has only increased. At this point, nearly 25% of adults are "cell-only." Pew finds a 5-point Republican increase would have occurred in their most recent generic ballot test if they hadn't polled cellphones.
Also, on the polling front, Daily Kos is taking a page from PPP and asking where readers what gubernatorial and House race they'd like to see polled in the coming weeks.
• SSP TV:
• AK-Sen: This is actually kind of funny: Joe Miller spoofs Old Spice ads in an attempt to get voters to not write in Lisa Murkowski
• CO-Sen: Ken Buck's out with a base-rallying ad using speech footage of him getting teabaggers fired up about how they got ignored for the last two years and are now out for blood; the NRSC is also on the air, hitting Michael Bennet over his support for the stimulus
• MO-Sen: Robin Carnahan's new TV spot pushes back against various Roy Blunt negative ads, especially on the subject of an extended family member's wind farm
• PA-Sen: This may be an interesting tea leaf that those Dem internals yesterday may be showing some actual tightening: the NRSC, after letting surrogate orgs do all the work here, is finally having to step in with its own IE ad (a basic HCR/stimulus/cap-and-trade troika)
• WV-Sen: The DSCC goes after John Raese again over the minimum wage
• CA-Gov: What is this, the 80s? Meg Whitman's new ad hits Jerry Brown for being soft on crime
• TX-Gov: Bill White's newest ad goes after Rick Perry's seeming habit of steering state contracts to cronies
• AK-Sen: Scott McAdams (D) 27%, Joe Miller (R) 35%, Lisa Murkowski (WI-inc) 34%
• CA-Sen: Barbara Boxer (D-inc) 49%, Carly Fiorina (R) 46%
• IL-Gov: Pat Quinn (D-inc) 40%, Bill Brady (R) 46%, Scott Lee Cohen (I) 4%, Rich Whitney (G) 2%
• NC-Sen: Elaine Marshall (D) 38%, Richard Burr (R-inc) 52%
• PA-Sen: Joe Sestak (D) 39%, Pat Toomey (R) 49%
• WI-Gov: Tom Barrett (D) 42%, Scott Walker (R) 51%
DE-Sen: Interesting - Mike Castle isn't ruling out a write-in bid. If he does pull the trigger, let's see if the NRSC and the Senate GOP caucus have the stomach to tell Castle to fuck off. It'd be a great test of their will - and their willingness to embrace Christine O'Donnell.
FL-Sen: Al Gore Alert! In a rare sighting on the campaign trail, Al Gore (still my president!) will headline a rally for Kendrick Meek in Tampa on September 30th. Have we seen Gore do events for any other candidates this cycle?
KY-Sen: Objectively pro-methamphetamine senate candidate Rand Paul keeps running into trouble over his views on drugs. Republican Clay County Sherriff Kevin Johnson endorsed Paul after Paul told him he supported Operation UNITE, a federally-funded anti-drug task force. Paul's hostility to UNITE, though, is what's gotten him into hot water in the first place - and amazingly enough, when asked to confirm his pledge to Johnson, Paul's campaign refused to back it up! I had always hoped/prayed/expected that Rand Paul was such a hardcore libertarian that he'd rigidly - and publicly - cling to beliefs that halfway-competent politicians would be smart enough to elide, deny, or just plain hide. I just figured it would be something like the gold standard, not, you know, meth.
Surprisingly, Paul hassmelled the glove belonging to a very different interest group, the neocons. They mistrust Paul's views on Israel and probably just on the general concept of randomly invading countries and killing people.
AR-Gov: That Ipsos poll which showed Blanche Lincoln "only" 14 points into her political grave also has a gubernatorial component. Dem Gov. Mike Beebe is beating Republican Jim Keet by a 55-37 margin among LVs. You want an enthusiasm gap? Beebe wins 58-30 among RVs. (It was 57-35 among RVs back in July.)
CO-Gov: God, I love the smell of ratfucking in the morning. So, we all know about Scott McInnis's now-legendary implosion thanks to his plagiarism/theft scandal, but Democrats had a big hand in consigning him to the dustbin of history. It turns out that a group called the Colorado Freedom Fund spent half a million bucks on ads blistering McInnis during the primary, in order to help bolster Dan Maes. The DGA was a big contributor to this effort, chipping in $150K, while unions and wealthy philanthropist Pat Stryker gave the rest. Excellent fucking work, guys.
MN-Gov: The RGA is funneling $428K to a pro-Tom Emmer group, while the DGA sent a quarter mil to an org helping Dem Mark Dayton.
TX-Gov: Rick Perry may not be the suckiest suck who ever sucked, but you'll have to agree that he is pretty sucky. The Texas Farm Bureau finally agrees, too. Though they've always endorsed him in the past (and have always endorsed Republicans for governor), they're giving up on his sorry ass this year and staying neutral in the race. (They previously endorsed Kay Bailey Hutchison against him in the primary.) It probably didn't help that a Perry spokesman, in an attempt to bolster his boss's teabagger/secessionista cred, derided the bureau as "an insurance company that supported the bailout."
IL-14: We could call this the Hypocrisy State Project and still have tons to write about. The latest chapter in this never-ending saga is penned by Republican Randy Hultgren, who was responsible for marketing his investment firm's funds. One of the firm's offerings invested entirely in bailout-backed securities, which were described by one Wall Streeter as "an incredibly free lunch." This is a two-fer, because this fund was also based in the Cayman Islands, to take advantage of lax tax laws, of course.
MA-10: Massachusetts, at least, is one place where Republicans still need to run away from their own party in order to be electable. So it's no surprise to see Jeffrey Perry declare that he doesn't want Sarah Palin showing up in his district. (Don't worry, bud, I think you're safe.) Of course, Perry isn't exactly from the non-crazy wing of the Republican Party (to the extent there still is such a thing), since he has teabagger ties himself.
MI-07: Rossman Group/Team Telcom (9/20, likely voters, no trendlines):
Mark Schauer (D-inc): 38
Tim Walberg (R): 42
NY-18: This interview with Jim Russell - remember him from yesterday? the guy whose writings have been favorably cited by the KKK? - is just brutal. He doesn't disavow anything. So we've gotta ask: Why isn't the press giving this guy the Alvin Greene treatment? After all, Greene's weirdest idea was to sell bobblehead dolls. Russell thinks there are too many Jews. Anyhow, the Westchester GOP is trying to get Russell off the ballot through legal means, and they say if they can't, they'll run a write-in candidate.
NY-19: A judge ruled against a group trying to knock Nan Hayworth off the Independence Party line for a lack of valid signatures. Hayworth gets to keep the line, while incumbent John Hall has the Working Families line.
NY-23: With the vote count all but completed, it looks like Matt Doheny is (still) the winner of the Republican primary, but Doug Hoffman ain't conceding yet. I guess he feels burned after what happened in the special election, where he tried to "un-concede" after some counting errors emerged (but still lost anyway). The vote count does not officially get certified until the 27th, but Doheny could declare victory (and/or Hoffman could concede) before then. Hoffman still hasn't said anything about how vigorously (if at all) he plans to wage war from the Conservative Party line.
PA-10: Another day, another NRA endorsement for a Dem. Chris Carney is the latest in a string of mostly-conservative Democrats to rack up the group's support, even though they labeled him a "true enemy" of guns just four years ago.
TN-09: Heh - the Memphis Flyer commissioned a poll by Yacoubian Research, which found Steve Cohen leading Charlotte Bergmann 66-23. There were only 205 respondents, and note that we previously flagged a Yacoubian poll of the primary for attempting to screen voters by asking them if they lived in the 9th CD - how many people actually know what district they live in, by number? But whatever, Steve Cohen ain't losing.
VA-09: Rick Boucher successfully got an ad by Americans for Job Security pulled off the air for making a misleading statements. The ad said "Rick Boucher supports Nancy Pelosi 96 percent of the time," but this claim was based on the Washington Post's "party voting" score, which Boucher rightly argued does not measure "support for Pelosi." (A good time to remind folks that it's much, much easier to get third-party ads yanked because stations are liable for defamation when they run these ads. Media outlets are immune from liability for candidate ads.)
SSP TV (by James L.):
LA-Sen: "Diaper" David Vitter hits Charlie Melancon for attending a fundraiser in Canada, of all places.
AR-01: Chad Causey's latest spot takes a shotgun approach to messaging, touting his heritage, his support for a balanced budget amendment and a paycut for Congress, while hitting Republican Rick Crawford over the bad kind of SSP and for his support of a 23% national sales tax
FL-22: Allen West takes on Ron Klein over a Florida Democratic Party mailer that boneheadedly revealed West's Social Security number
GA-08: Dem Rep. Jim Marshall goes heavy negative on GOP state Rep. Austin Scott on immigration - not once, but twice
MI-07: GOP douche Tim Walberg says that Dem Rep. Mark Schauer is spending America into ruin, and also makes the dubious claim that he "strongly supports" Social Security. The ad, a coordinated expenditure partially paid for by the RNC, is airing in the Lansing media market and cost $85,000.
MI-15: John Dingell goes negative on Republican Rob Steele over his support from the wretched hive of scum and villainy that is Wall Street, while Steele has gone up with an ad of his own touting his record as a physician and poking Dingell over spending
NC-02: Dem Rep. Bob Etheridge's latest ad features the testimonials of locals who say that Etheridge saved their jobs
OH-12: Dem Paula Brooks touts her record on the Franklin County Commission while spilling marbles all over her kitchen island
OR-05: GOPer Scott Bruun will stop the spending... except when it comes to restoring Medicare cuts, apparently
SC-02: Libruhl Rob Miller and libruhl Nancy Pelosi will liberally kill all your jobs; meanwhile, Joe Wilson still sounds like he uses a speech synthesizer instead of a functional set of vocal cords. Seriously, what a creepy-sounding asshole.
VA-09: Republican Morgan Griffith plays a clip of Barack Obama saying "I love Rick Boucher" - four times in thirty seconds
AK-Sen: As of Friday, Lisa Murkowski was saying that she still hasn't made a decision about whether to pursue a write-in bid. At least one major Republican is opposed to the idea: Sen. John Cornyn says that Murkowski would have to quit her job as vice chair of the NRSC if she goes the third-party route. I also wonder if her Senate committee spots might be in jeopardy, too. Anyhow, Eric Ostermeier of the University of Minnesota's excellent Smart Politics blog has a good post on the history of write-in campaigns in the Land of the Midnight Sun. In eight statewide contests, the best-ever score in a senate race was 17%, and 26% in a gubernatorial race. I actually think those numbers aren't bad at all!
DE-Sen: While everyone's still abuzz about last night's poll numbers, there's some other DE-Sen news worth reporting. For one, the NRA endorsed Christine O'Donnell. For another, so did Sen. Jim DeMint, Kingmaker of Loons. For yet another, Sarah Palin recorded a robocall for O'Donnell, playing up their shared sense of victimhood.
Meanwhile, The Hill says that the Tea Party Express has spent some $300K on radio and TV ads on O'Donnell's behalf, but it's a little hard to double-check that since TPX's FEC filings seem to use, shall we say, "new math." Finally, a reporter asked Mike Castle if he'd pursue an independent bid if he lost the primary. (DE's laws are apparently similar to Alaska's in this regard.) Castle was surprisingly non-committal, saying he'd "have to give it thought."
GA-Sen: Big Dog Alert (retroactive)! Bill Clinton was in Atlanta late last week to do a fundraiser for Labor Comm'r Michael Thurmond, the Dem senate nominee challenging GOPer Johnny Isakson. Thurmond, as you'd expect, was a big-time Hillary Clinton supporter.
IA-Sen: Chuck Grassley, making a play for the dirty old man vote, had this to say when asked why he didn't once look at opponent Roxanne Conlin during a recent debate:
"I wish you had told me because I would have been very happy to look at her. She's a very nice looking woman."
NH-Sen: The New Hampshire Union Leader has been combing through a batch of emails released by the NH attorney general's office pursuant to a freedom of information request, and they've turned up a doozy: Then-AG Kelly Ayotte used her official email account to discuss campaign strategy with a guy who later became one of her consultants. In better news for Ayotte, Sarah Palin recorded a robocall for her, too (see DE-Sen item above), but man is this imagery getting crazy: She calls Ayotte a "Granite Grizzly." Zuh? Anyhow, Jim DeMint's also decided to get involved here (again, see DE-Sen), endorsing surging wingnut Ovide Lamontagne.
NV-Sen: Jon Ralston has the complete tick-tock on how he got Harry Reid and Sharron Angle to agree to a debate on his show - only to have Angle, in a spasm of campaign dysfunction, pull out, despite being the one to throw down the challenge to Reid in the first place.
AK-Gov: Anchorage attorney Bill Walker, who drew about 30% in his primary against Gov. Sean Parnell (thanks to $300K in self-funding), says he's still waiting to see if either the Alaskan Independence Party or Libertarian Party candidates withdraw from the race. If there's a drop-out by Wednesday, Walker could take that spot for the general election.
HI-Gov: A new robopoll by Aloha Vote (taken for online news service Civil Beat) shows ex-Rep. Neil Abercrombie beating Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann by 48-31 in the Democratic primary. That's a pretty different picture from a Ward Research survey a few weeks ago which had Abercrombie leading just 49-44.
NY-Gov: It's been a long time since anyone has come out with any interesting statewide poll numbers in New York, but with just days to go before the primary, Siena has finally managed to surprise us (well, sorta): They show scuzzbucket businessman Carl Paladino in a dead heat with ex-Rep. Rick Lazio, trailing just 43-42. In mid-August, Lazio had a 43-30 lead, so this is all Paladino surge. The rest of the numbers (which test the senate races) are all meh - click the link if you want `em.
In other NY-Gov news, the Working Families Party decided to endorse Andrew Cuomo, and Cuomo - who had kept the WFP at arms' length for a long time - accepted. A federal investigation of the WFP was recently dropped, which seemingly helped smooth things. The party was in a very tough spot, though, as without Cuomo on their ballot spot, there was no real path for them to get the 50,000 votes they needed to avoid losing their ballot line. So I'm guessing there may be more to this story.
"John Salazar, it's time to come home," Tipton said as he opened the debate. "It's 9/11. Let's roll."
FL-25: Another mystery teabagger has (not really) come out of the woodwork. Roly Arrojo is running on the Florida Tea Party line, and it seems no one knows a thing about him, except for the fact that he hasn't filed any FEC reports - except for a Statement of Candidacy in which he identified himself as a Democrat. Republicans are suggesting this is a Dem put-up job, but Joe Garcia's camp is of course denying any knowledge of this guy. Interestingly, so is the head of the FL Tea Party!
ND-AL: I know, it sounds like parody, but Republican Rick Berg has a great idea: Drill for oil in North Dakota's Theodore Roosevelt National Park! Not only is it, of course, illegal to do so, but it's also a fucking national park!
NY-13: Republican Michael Allegretti just got bounced from the new teabaggish Taxpayers Party line, thanks to a lack of sufficient signatures. Rival Mike Grimm already has the Conservative line, come hell or high water.
NY-15: Of all people, Mayor Mike Bloomberg wound up recording a robocall for Rep. Charlie Rangel.
PA-08 (PDF): Yikes. Sophomore Dem Patrick Murphy just put out an internal from the Global Strategy Group showing him up by a mere 47-43 margin over the man he beat in 2006, Republican Mike Fitzpatrick. This is scary.
VA-05: The Weiner Watch continues: Republican Rob Hurt has already skipped two debates, and now he's announced he's skipping a third. Weiner!
Chicago-Mayor: Outgoing Chicago Mayor Richard Daley says he won't make an endorsement in the race to succeed him.
NY-AG (PDF): Siena also released some final attorney general numbers, finding Eric Schneiderman narrowly in the lead at 25, with Kathleen Rice nipping his heels at 23. Sean Coffey is at 13, Richard Brodsky at 7, and Eric Dinallo at 4. The race has continued to get nasty in its final days, with Rice putting out a TV ad trying to link Schneiderman to scumbag state Sen. Pedro Espada, while a Schneiderman spot hits Rice for only becoming a Democrat in 2005.
DCCC: Blah blah blah, Dems not paying their DCCC dues. It's old news, and I'm beyond sick of these stories, but not (only) for the reason you might expect. Oh yeah, I'm pissed at the schmucks who are holding out on their party for no discernible reason, but I'm also frustrated with the DCCC. We've repeatedly told them we want to help them raise money from their members - the netroots is not all-powerful, but we can bring some pressure on stingy Dems. But the DCCC steadfastly refuses to share their dues spreadsheet with us - even though they have no problem sharing it with the likes of Politico, and even though they actually promised to give us a copy at Netroots Nation. Not just obnoxious, but weirdly self-defeating.
KY-06: NRCC ($96K on anti-Ben Chandler ads and polls from two different firms)
More generally, the NRCC's IE arm said that it would go up with anti-Dem ads in eight districts (though no IE reports have yet been filed): AZ-01, AL-02, FL-02, MS-01, TN-08, TX-17, VA-05 & WI-07. A representative ad is available at the link.
Is there any better way to start your day than with the SSP Daily Digest? There is not.
FL-Sen: Great catch by CQ's Greg Giroux, who always has some of the tastiest FEC tidbits. None other than Bob Dole (Bob Dole!) has cut a $1,000 check to Charlie Crist's senate campaign. It feels great to be writing about Bob Dole again! Bob Dole!
PA-Sen, PA-Gov, PA-08: Like some Green and teabagger candidates before them, the Libertarians have all been kicked off the statewide ballots in PA. That's because of a punitive Pennsylvania law which requires that a party which loses a challenge to its ballot status to pay the legal fees of the winner. Unsurprisingly, many minor party candidates tend to bail rather than risk a huge debt. In the same vein, indy Tom Lingenfelter also quit the race in PA-08, under intense courtroom pressure from Mike Fitzpatrick's campaign.
KY-Gov: This seems like a good get for Dem Gov. Steve Beshear: Former Lt. Gov. Steve Pence is hosting a fundraiser for the incumbent next month in Jefferson County. This is a big deal because Pence is not only a Republican, but he served as LG for the man that Beshear beat, disgraced ex-Gov. Ernie Fletcher. (Pence didn't seek re-election in 2007, and in fact had a pretty serious falling-out with Fletcher.)
AZ-08: Not something you see every day: Teabagger Jesse Kelly, hanging on in an uphill fight against establishment fave Jonathan Paton, is attacking none other than Sarah Palin, saying that the ur-Mama Grizz has been endorsing lots of front-runners (like Carly Fiorina) out of pure political calculation, and that she "needs to rehab" her image to woo independents. Paton fell all over himself trying to proclaim his Rich Lowry-like love for Palin, who in point of fact hasn't actually endorsed him. In an interesting aside, Paton's once-hot fundraising has fallen off a cliff, and Kelly actually outraised him in the pre-primary period.
OH-13: Remember how yesterday I was saying that despite the GOP's great recruitment efforts, they still have to deal with a serious structural problem - the stark raving insanity of their entire movement? Well, even prize recruit Tom Ganley is not immune. Here you have a multi-millionaire who is willing to self-fund, an extremely successful car dealer whose name is all over town, a guy who even helped police investigate the mob... and yet he pops off with statements like this: "I don't have a position on whether he's a Muslim." You can guess who he's talking about. A little while later, Ganley put out a statement trying to backtrack, but really, he's still a fucking nutter.
OH-15/16/18: Another shadowy right-wing group, a 501(c)4 with the Nixonian name "The Committee for Truth in Politics," is up to some dirty tricks, launching ads against Reps. Zack Space ($190K worth) and John Boccieri ($130K). CQ also says that a further $62K buy looks like it will be targeted against Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy. The one odd thing about this writeup is that it says the anti-Space ad buy is going up in Cleveland, but if you compare a media market map with a map of Space's district, you'll see that his CD mostly falls in a bunch of other markets, principally Columbus. I wonder what gives.
Meanwhile, also in OH-16, Republican Jim Renacci (and soon-to-be DavidNYC opponent in the race for NYC Zoning Board) has filed a lawsuit against AFSCME, which is spending $750K on an ad buy against him. Renacci is alleging the ad, which accuses him of "cheating on his income taxes," is defamatory. It's more typical to threaten the TV stations running the ad, though, as they generally are pretty pliant when it comes to removing potentially questionable third-party ads from the air. Maybe he'll try that as well.
ND-AL: Republican Rick Berg is up with his first ad of the general election campaign, which you can view here. NWOTSOTB. Rep. Earl Pomeroy already has three different ads airing.
NY-13: Wingers disgruntled with the state Conservative Party have formed a new ballot line, the Taxpayers Party. (The name reminds me a little bit of George Pataki's vanity line in 1994, the Tax Cut Now Party.) Anyhow, Michael Allegretti, himself spurned by the Conservatives, is probably the TP's biggest name so far, having just filed 5,000 signatures to get on their line. This constitutes at least some bottom-shelf cat fud, since Allegretti would stay on the line even if he loses the GOP primary. Meanwhile, if rival Mike Grimm loses the Republican nod, he'll have the Conservative line no matter what. What did I say about the Republicans never missing an opportunity to miss an opportunity?
TN-03: Am I sniffing some cat fud on the horizon? Crazy Lady Robin Smith lost the GOP primary in this uber-red district by a 30-28 margin to self-funder Chuck Fleischmann, and already she's talking about running again in 2012. Smith hasn't endorsed Fleischmann, and for his part, Fleischmann says he hasn't responded to Smith's request for a reconciliation tête-à-tête. Since the only advice I like to give to Republicans is bad advice, nobody tell Fleischmann he should probably reconsider, as 30% doesn't exactly constitute a mandate. (Remember what happened to another Tennessean who barely won his primary in 2006?) Anyhow, Smith is also hoping that the district will get redrawn with a more southerly configuration, as Fleischmann did better in the northern counties. Could be messy!
Race Ratings: CQ has a cool new feature which, I admit, I'm quite envious of. A couple of years ago, James and I dreamed of creating a system which would allow SSP users to rate races as they saw fit, and then generate an "aggregate" rating across the site. Unfortunately, as a purely volunteer outfit with extremely minimal ad revenues, we simply didn't have the money for this project. But now, CQ has gone and created something very close to the tool we were hoping to build. The interface could use some improvement (right now, you have to drill down to a separate page for each race individually, and you can also only rate races that are already on their list), but it still looks pretty promising.
• AK-Sen: Joe Miller has two things going for him in the Alaska GOP Senate primary: the endorsements of Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee. On the other hand, Lisa Murkowski has the backing of about 1.9 million dead presidents behind her. That's her cash on hand, based on $300K raised in July and early August. Miller raised only $68K in that span and now has $84K CoH.
• KS-Sen, KS-Gov: SurveyUSA, no stranger to Republican-friendly samples lately, comes up with quite the GOP wipeout in Kansas. They find Republican Rep. Jerry Moran leading Lisa Johnston in the Senate race, 69-23, and find Sam Brownback leading state Sen. Tom Holland in the gubernatorial race, 67-25. They even find several Dem incumbents losing to GOP challengers in downballot races. It may be worth, noting, however, the disparity in self-described ideology between this sample and the 2008 exit polls: this poll is 49 conservative, 37 moderate, 9 liberal, compared with 2008's 45 moderate, 38 conservative, 16 liberal.
• NV-Sen: With her endorsement percentage starting to trend steeply downward (with last night's losses by Rita Meyer and Clint Didier), Sarah Palin's trying out a new angle, literally. She's backing Sharron Angle in Nevada, saying she'll "actively help" her and that Angle "is putting up with more crap than she deserves." Palin avoided getting involved in the primary, probably in large part because of other family members' support for Danny Tarkanian.
• NY-Sen-B, NY-Gov (pdf): Siena's out with another look at the big-ticket races in New York, finding the same-old same-old. Kirsten Gillibrand leads Bruce Blakeman 55-28, Joe DioGuardi 54-29, and David Malpass 55-27. DioGuardi is on track to win the GOP Senate primary, leading Blakeman and Malpass 19-8-5. And Andrew Cuomo is even more dominant, leading Rick Lazio 60-26 and Carl Paladino 60-27. Lazio leads Paladino 43-30 in the GOP primary, much closer than previous months. Further down the ballot, they find incumbent Dem comptroller Tom DiNapoli leading Harry Wilson 46-28, and Dems leading a generic ballot-type question about the state legislature, 33-27.
• CO-Gov: Dan Maes picked his running mate: former state Rep. and former Dept. of Regulatory Agencies head Tambor Williams. Williams seems to actually be something of a moderate by today's GOP standards, which is an interesting act of ticket-balancing by the wackadoodle Maes (although you have to wonder how "moderate" someone willing to be joined at the hip to Maes can be). Meanwhile, Tom Tancredo is focusing most of his fire on Maes, not on John Hickenlooper, attacking Maes', well, utter lack of qualifications. Tancredo seems to realize that the only path to viability in this election as an indie is reducing Maes to the Alan Schlesinger-style single-digits role. And guess who's throwing up their hands and walking away? The RGA, which according to several local Republicans, has confirmed it won't be spending money in Colorado.
• ID-Gov, ID-01: We've gotten an inkling that the Idaho gubernatorial race (where GOP incumbent Butch Otter was elected with lackluster numbers in 2006) was possibly a real race, and these poll numbers seem to confirm it. I don't know whether to call this a Republican poll (it's taken by a local pollster who usually works for Republicans, Greg Strimple, on behalf of the Idaho Hospital Association) or an independent one, but either way, it's not good news for the GOP. Otter leads Dem Keith Allred by only 47-36. Also good news: that Raul Labrador internal poll that had him losing by double digits was actually pretty optimistic, on his part. This sample sees Dem Walt Minnick beating Labrador by a startling 52-29 margin. Maybe all that chatter about the NRCC moving to write off this seat has some real roots.
• VT-Gov: Lone Republican Brian Dubie is the fundraising leader in the decidedly small-dollar gubernatorial race in Vermont. Dubie has raised the most over the course of the campaign (slightly more than $1 million). (Maybe if Meg Whitman can't win in California, she should consider moving to Vermont and buying the gubernatorial race here. In fact, maybe she should just consider buying the entire state of Vermont, which would still be cheaper than buying the gubernatorial race in California.) The Dems are all closely bunched, with Peter Shumlin and Deb Markowitz more or less tied for most raised. But all five major Dems are low on cash, each reporting less than $100K CoH (Matt Dunne has the most, at $83K). For some reason, the article doesn't tell us Dubie's CoH.
• GA-08: GOP state Rep. Austin Scott (following hot on the heels of fellow legislator and GA-02 candidate Mike Keown's internal poll release) is out with an internal showing a competitive race against Rep. Jim Marshall. Marshall leads Scott 44-39 in the poll conducted in late July by American Viewpoint.
• MI-01: This has the potential to mightily reshuffle things in the open seat race in the 1st... or it could turn out to be so much wind in sails, as promises of massive self-funding usually are. Random teabagger and indie candidate Glenn Wilson is promising to spend $2 million of his own money in order to defeat Gary McDowell and Dan Benishek, the Dem and GOP nominees. In this rural seat with dirt-cheap media markets, that could go a long way toward blanketing the airwaves... but without the organizational backing that the party apparatuses provide, that seems like it still might not translate into actual votes.
• TN-08: Humble farmer/gospel singer and, in his spare time, director of Fight Club, Stephen Fincher is out with an internal poll from the Tarrance Group that gives him a lead over Democratic state Sen. Roy Herron in this open seat race. He claims a 47-37 lead, with conservative indie Donn James at 5, in a poll taken immediately post-primary. Herron, who avoided much trouble in the primary and was able to bank a lot of money, is already hitting Fincher with TV ads, though.
• RGA: One nice thing about the post-Citizens United universe is that it lets us see everything in the open that we've only just suspected in the past. Case in point: Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. (the Fox News and WSJ parent corporation) just gave $1 million to the Republican Governors Association. Insert obvious snarky comment about "Fair and Balanced" here.
• KY-Sen: Jack Conway (D) 40%, Rand Paul (R) 49%
• NV-Sen: Harry Reid (D-inc) 47%, Sharron Angle (R) 47%
• OH-Gov: Ted Strickland (D-inc) 40%, John Kasich (R) 48%
• PA-Gov: Dan Onorato (D) 38%, Tom Corbett (R) 48%
• CO-Sen: It looks like the Michael Bennet camp, and his Beltway backers, are taking the recent polling surge by Andrew Romanoff in the Dem Senate primary, very seriously. Barack Obama just did a remote appearance on behalf of Bennet, for five minutes at a Bennet town hall.
• KY-Sen: Well, he finally got around to it. It was buried in the fifth and final paragraph of a press release. Nevertheless, Dan Mongiardo finally endorsed Dem primary victor Jack Conway. Despite previous rumors that he was holding out on his endorsement to get his $77K campaign debt paid off, a Mongiardo spokesperson says he didn't receive anything in exchange for the nod.
• PA-Sen: Bill Clinton will be in Scranton to campaign for Joe Sestak next Tuesday. Frankly, that's a really good fit of candidate, backer, and locale. I wonder if Paul Kanjorski will be allowed to tag along, though? Seems like he could use some Clinton love, too. (No, not that kind of Clinton love.) On the GOP side, Pat Toomey got some campaign fundraising help in Philly from moderate Maine GOP Senator Susan "Comrade of the Month" Collins, who seems to have forgiven or conveniently forgotten all those Club for Growth attempts to knife her in the back.
• WA-Sen: Patty Murray seems to be taking a page from the John Hickenlooper campaign in Colorado, dropping a huge amount of money right now on advertising reservations, all the way through November, while they're still cheap. She spent $3.4 million, nearly half her CoH, on ad buys in July. She can count on her coffers being replenished, though, as Barack Obama will be hosting a fundraiser for her later this month.
• WI-Sen: Dueling ads in Wisconsin. Russ Feingold is out with a sobering ad rattling his saber at Wall Street, while Ron Johnson levels accusations of being a "career politician" at Feingold. Double NWOTSOTB.
• CO-Gov: Is there blood here in the water, or what? Colorado Ethics Watch just filed a complaint with the state bar, which could lead to disciplinary action against Scott McInnis's license to practice law in Colorado, over his plagiarism scandal. McInnis's former campaign manager (until last December, so he was out long before the scandal) also just asked McInnis for a refund of all the contributions he's given him. The DGA is also starting to pour money into this race, striking while the iron is hot; they've plowed $100K into a new third-party group airing a new anti-McInnis attack ad. And if you were thinking that Dan Maes might turn out to be a reasonable alternative to McInnis, guess again. He ventured not just into Michele Bachmann territory (about how we'll all have to live in tenements and take mass transit to work) but clear into UN-black-helicopters-are-fluoridating-my-water territory. And what's the nerve center of the one-world-government's scurrilous plot against Coloradan sovereignty? Denver's program for public bike shares and more showers for bike-riding commuters!!!!1!
"At first, I thought, 'Gosh, public transportation, what's wrong with that, and what's wrong with people parking their cars and riding their bikes? And what's wrong with incentives for green cars?' But if you do your homework and research, you realize ICLEI is part of a greater strategy to rein in American cities under a United Nations treaty."
• GA-Gov: This seems like a big Deal for Nathan: the third-place finisher in the gubernatorial primary, state Sen. Eric Johnson, is backing ex-Rep. Nathan Deal in the runoff. (Oddly, Johnson hasn't said anything about it himself, but Rep. Jack Kingston, another Johnson backer-turned-Deal backer, made the announcement.) Johnson's support should help Deal in the Savannah area, where Johnson seems to have a strong base.
• MD-Gov: I wonder if Sarah Palin is playing three-dimensional chess here, in some sort of strange gambit to help Bob Ehrlich in the general election... or just playing tic-tac-toe, and losing badly at it. At any rate, she endorsed Ehrlich's barely-registering primary rival, businessman Brian Murphy, in the GOP gubernatorial primary. (Which, if you think about it, doesn't jibe at all with her endorsement of centrist and likely victor Terry Branstad in Iowa instead of wingnut Bob Vander Plaats... but then, Maryland's not an early presidential state.) Ehrlich is now publicly doing the happy dance over her endorsement of his rival, saying that it just confirms his moderate credentials for the general, where he has a shot at knocking off incumbent Dem Martin O'Malley.
• AZ-01: Rogue dentist Paul Gosar has a lead in the Republican primary in AZ-01 for the right to take on freshman Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, if his own internal is to be believed. The poll from Moore Info puts him at 30, with '08 candidate Sydney Hay at 10, Some Dude Bradley Beauchamp at 7, and, surprisingly, former state Sen. majority leader Rusty Bowers back at 6. Gosar seems to have consolidated many big-name movement conservatives behind him, ranging from Sarah Palin to Joe Arpaio. My main question, though, is: Sydney Hay is running again?!? Why weren't we informed? (You may remember her legacy of fail from her 2008 run.)
• AZ-03: This is at least the second time a childless GOP candidate has gotten busted for playing up his "family man" credentials by romping with children in advertising (the first time was Kevin Yoder in KS-03). At least Yoder was able to claim the kids were his nieces and nephews... Ben Quayle apparently had to borrow some of his aides' kids for his photo shoot.
• IL-17: After seemingly no one found their internal poll from last week credible (which gave the previously-unheralded, if not unknown, Bobby Schilling a lead over Democratic Rep. Phil Hare), there's another Republican poll out that seems to at least be on the same temporal plane as reality, in this swing district where the GOP hasn't competed hard in a while. POS (on behalf of a state party committee... Magellan did the Schilling internal) gives Hare a 33-31 lead over the political novice and pizza restauranteur. The poll also gives 7% support to the Green Party candidate, which somehow doesn't seem likely to hold.
• WV-01: As heartburn-inducing Mike Oliverio will probably be in terms of his voting record, here's some confirmation that we at least got an electoral upgrade here from the guy he defeated in the Dem primary, Rep. Alan Mollohan, who had ethical clouds following him and seemed to be phoning in his campaign. Oliverio is out with a new internal from Hamilton Campaigns that gives him a 52-36 lead over GOP opponent David McKinley. With Joe Manchin at the top of the ticket in a November special election, now, too, here's one Tossup seat where our odds seem to be getting noticeably better. (As a bonus, they find Manchin leading John Raese 62-30 in the district, which is West Virginia's reddest.)
• DCCC: CQ looks at the DCCC's attempts to enforce dues-payment this cycle. While their "Frontline" members (the ones in the trickiest races) are exempt from paying dues, they're winding up giving de facto passes to a number of other vulnerable incumbents, not having had any luck at stopping them from hoarding their own cash in preparation for tough races. 88 House Dems haven't paid any dues at all this cycle, while many others are in arrears. There's also, buried in the article, a statement that the DCCC doesn't plan to further extend its Frontline program, even as the number of potentially vulnerable Dems seems to keep increasing.
• California: For people who just can't get enough campaign finance reports, the Sacramento Bee has a helpful table of filings for all the candidates for the downballot statewide races. Dems have a cash on hand lead in most races, except for two (Secretary of State and Insurance Commissioner). It's particularly pronounced in the Lt. Governor race, where Gavin Newsom leads GOP incumbent Abel Maldonado $495K to $91K. In the very tight AG's race (also the downballot race that's seen by far the most expenditures), Dem Kamala Harris leads GOPer Steve Cooley $186K to $121K (and Cooley also has $170K in debt).
• Redistricting: Ohio, unfortunately, won't be having a referendum on a constitutional amendment on the ballot in November, that would limit parties' ability to gerrymander by requiring bipartisan support for new maps. The problem? The parties in the state legislature couldn't agree on the exact framework for the plan. At least there's good news on the better-districts front in New York, where the state Senate just passed legislation that will make sure that incarcerated persons are counted in their home communities, when legislative lines are redrawn next year.
• FL-Gov: Alex Sink (D) 31%, Bill McCollum (R) 27%, Bud Chiles (I) 20%
• FL-Gov: Alex Sink (D) 31%, Rick Scott (R) 35%, Bud Chiles (I) 16%
• OH-Sen: Lee Fisher (D) 40%, Rob Portman (R) 44%
• WA-Sen: I'm not sure how this will work, practically speaking, but the two Tea Partiers in the race, rancher Clint Didier and fastener mogul Paul Akers, are "joining forces." They'll be doing joint ads and joint online forums for the remaining few weeks. They can't, of course, be jointly voted-for, so I don't know what the endgame is, but it probably doesn't matter, as both have been polling in the single digits in polls of the jungle primary. Apparently, it does give them a better venue for airing their grievances with the GOP establishment's selection of Dino Rossi as standard-bearer; maybe this way, Akers can distract the ref while Didier puts Rossi in a sleeper hold.
Also on the weird timing front, Washington's Republican SoS, Sam Reed, is just out with a new book on the 2004 gubernatorial election and the protracted recount and court challenges he oversaw. Relations between Reed and the rest of the state Republicans were severely tested during the recount, seeing as how the scrupulous Reed wanted to, y'know, follow the rules. While the book doesn't seem to paint Rossi in a terribly unfavorable light, it can't help but remind everyone of his "perennial candidate" status.
• AZ-Gov: You might recall that NRA board member Owen Buz Mills recently ended his GOP primary campaign against the once-endangered, now-all-powerful Jan Brewer several weeks ago. Well, he's not quite done, his spokesperson is now saying: he's going to enter a Rob Simmons-style state of electoral limbo. Mills won't be spending any more money on the race, but he will leave his name on the ballot. (Other dropouts Dean Martin and John Munger have filed papers of formal withdrawal from the race.)
• OR-Gov, OR-05: Now that Oregon has opted to join New York in the weird world of fusion voting, now it even has its own Independent Party trying to quirkily play it down the middle. Based on its online straw poll of members (with a vote total of a whopping 2,290), the IP gave its backing to Democrat John Kitzhaber in the gubernatorial race, but to Republican state Rep. Scott Bruun in OR-05 (instead of incumbent Dem Kurt Schrader).
• TX-Gov: A number of prominent Dallas business leaders have signed on to a letter announcing their support for Bill White in the gubernatorial race. About half of the signatories, a mix of moderate Republicans and independents, are, in fact, former Kay Bailey Hutchison supporters.
• WY-Gov: I think this trumps her earlier Wilford Brimley endorsement. State auditor Rita Meyer (the only woman in the four-way GOP primary field) got added to Sarah Palin's stable of Mama Grizzlies late last week.
• AL-02, AL-05: The "generally conservative" Alabama Farmer's Federation handed out helpful endorsements to two Dems today: not just to Rep. Bobby Bright (who seems to fit their profile well) but also to Steve Raby, running in the 5th. Raby seems well connected with the agriculture world through his former work for ex-Sen. Howell Heflin.
• MI-02, MI-03: A poll for the Grand Rapids Press, taken by Practical Political Consulting, looks at the GOP primaries in the two western Michigan open seats. In the 2nd (Peter Hoekstra's seat), former NFL player and Family Research Council executive Jay Riemersma has a small lead at 22, followed by former state Rep. Bill Huizenga and teabagging businessman Bill Cooper, both at 15, and state Sen. Wayne Kuipers at 13. In the 3rd (Vern Ehlers' seat), state Rep. Justin Amash (anointed as chosen one by the DeVos family) leads at 28, followed by African-American state Sen. Bill Hardiman at 23 and ex-Kent Co. Commissioner Steve Heacock (the moderate in the field, and Ehlers' endorsee) at 17.
• FL-12: We keep mentally writing this race off due to Lori Edwards' paltry fundraising, and then polling evidence to the contrary shows up. For the second time, the Edwards camp has released an internal poll giving them a lead in this R+6 open seat. Edwards leads GOP ex-state Rep. Dennis Ross 35-32 in a poll taken by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner. The catch here is one of the most legitimate Tea Party candidates anywhere is here: Randy Wilkinson, a Polk Co. Commissioner who briefly sought the GOP nomination before deciding to go the third-party route. Wilkinson polls at 20%, although we'll have to see if the near-broke Wilkinson can keep those numbers up through November.
• TN-03: Newt Gingrich handed out a last-minute seal of approval in the GOP primary in the 3rd. He's backing the more-or-less establishment candidate, former state GOP chair Robin Smith. Smith's main opponent is Chuck Fleischmann, a partly-self-funding attorney who seems tighter with the Mike Huckabee crowd than the teabaggers.
• WA-03: The Beltway media seems to take it as an article of faith that GOP state Rep. Jaime Herrera is going to be Denny Heck's opponent in November, but David Castillo shouldn't be counted out. Not being on the ground, they wouldn't pick up on the general sense of underwhelmingness that seems to surround Herrera, but it seems like they would, at some point, have noticed that nearly all the endorsements of consequence in the district have gone to Castillo. He got endorsements from the newspapers in Vancouver, Longview, and Centralia, as well as the out-of-district Seattle Times. AG Rob McKenna, probably the state's best-liked Republican, had endorsed Castillo before Rep. Brian Baird's retirement and Herrera's entry, but he's been pointedly sticking by his endorsement, hosting a Castillo fundraiser last week.
• House: Nate Silver's out with a new toy that SSPers will certainly be interested in: having found that Democratic House candidates tend to overperform vis-à-vis presidential numbers in districts with lower median household income, he's created a new index that's a mashup of prez numbers and income, called the Partisan Propensity Index. (He looked at only results in open seat races, which eliminates the main problem with trying to fit House numbers on top of prez numbers, which is the overwhelming staying power of incumbents.) At the end of the day, it's still not too different from PVI, inasmuch as Chet Edwards has the worst district of any Dem and Joe Cao has the worst district of any GOPer, but it does reflect the reality that suburban Sun Belt districts that are truly swingy at the presidential level are a harder nut for Dems to crack at the House level than rural Appalachian districts that are red at the presidential level.
• NV-Gov: Rory Reid (D) 40%, Brian Sandoval (R) 50%
• OK-Gov: Jari Askins (D) 36%, Mary Fallin (R) 57%
• PA-Gov: Dan Onorato (D) 39%, Tom Corbett (R) 50%
• PA-Sen: Joe Sestak (D) 39%, Pat Toomey (R) 45%
• SC-Gov: Vincent Sheheen (D) 35%, Nikki Haley (R) 49%
• WA-Sen: Patty Murray (D-inc) 49%, Dino Rossi (R) 47%
• WA-Sen: Patty Murray (D-inc) 48%, Clint Didier (R) 45%
• WA-Sen: Patty Murray (D-inc) 48%, Paul Akers (R) 42%
• WI-Gov: Tom Barrett (D) 45%, Mark Neumann (R) 44%
• WI-Gov: Tom Barrett (D) 43%, Scott Walker (R) 50%
CO-Sen: Andrew Romanoff has launched a new TV ad (a Joe Trippi Production), accusing Sen. Michael Bennet of "pushing companies into bankruptcy" while working for corporate raider (and right-wing zillionaire) Phil Anschutz. Bennet claims that his work for Anschutz Investments actually saved foundering movie theater chains from going out of business. Anyhow, NWOTSOTB.
CT-Sen: Politico's Shira Toeplitz talked to a bunch of bigtime Rob Simmons supporters (including ex-Rep. and all-time SSP enemy Nancy Johnson), all of whom seem to be fairly down on his chances at pulling off his weird comeback attempt against Linda McMahon. Simmons also told Politico that his internal polling matching a recent Quinnipiac survey, which had him down 52-25 in the primary, but wouldn't release any further details. So really, what's he doing? P.S. Linda McMahon's personal spending on the race is already up to $23 million.
FL-Gov: Obama alert! The POTUS will be doing a fundraiser with gubernatorial candidate Alex Sink in Miami Beach on August 18th. No word on whether he'll also help out Kendrick Meek. (Extremely eagle-eyed digesters of the digest will note that the Sink event is planned for the same day as a Ted Strickland fundraiser. Busy guy!)
IA-Gov: Heh. Former Gov. Terry Branstad's campaign is in trubba because it purchased two vehicles, including a $52K Winnebago - something that isn't kosher, on account of a state law which requires that campaigns lease, not buy. This is an amusing bust, because the law in question was passed when Branstad was governor - on account of a previous campaign of his purchasing a van for less than half its market value. This reminds me of when Chicken Lady (seems like so long ago!) received an improper donation of a $100,000 RV from a supporter. Ah, good times!
KY-Gov: Businessman Phil Moffett, managing partner of the telecommunications management company CCS Partners, is the first Republican candidate to enter the race against Dem Gov. Steve Beshear. Moffett says he's going after the teabagger vote, but he's been a big proponent of the stimulus-funded "Race to the Top" education bill, which makes me think he'll be anathema to the tribalist wing of the Republican Party. Anyhow, plenty more candidates wait in the wings for this race, which is not until 2011.
NV-Gov: Nevada Republican gubernatorial candidate is now claiming to have had an out-of-body experience, claiming he doesn't remember telling Univision that he wasn't worried about his kids getting profiled in Arizona because they "don't look Hispanic." Sandoval's exact, uh, apology: "If I did say those words, it was wrong and I sincerely regret it." So deeply weird.
NC-11: Memo to media: Message-testing polls are totally normal and fair game in any campaign. So Heath Shuler is testing out attacks on Republican Jeff Miller - he'd be negligent if he didn't do so. Not news. (At least no one called it a "push poll.")
NH-01, NH-02: Dean Barker at Blue Hampshire is one of my favorite state bloggers, so you should just go read what he has to say about UNH's new poll of NH-01 and NH-02. As for the toplines (PDF), in NH-01, Rep. Carol Shea-Porter leads all comers (April trendlines in parens): Frank Guinta 44-39 (38-42); Rich Ashooh 43-35 (36-39); Sean Mahoney 45-36 (37-40); and Bob Bestani 44-33 (37-38). In NH-02, it's Ann McLane Kuster 29, Charlie Bass 47 (30-42); Kuster 32, Jennifer Horn 34 (32-33); Katrina Swett 30, Bass 47; Swett 31, Horn 35 (31-35).
NY-15: Alright, the whip count is definitely winding down. Paul Hodes is now the latest to call on Charlie Rangel to resign, in the wake of formal ethics charges being announced against the veteran New York congressman. And Joe Sestak has returned Rangel's campaign contributions. At this point, I think pretty much everyone is gonna have to do that, so it's going to get pretty boring. Anyhow, of more direct relevance, CQ points out that it's now probably too late for Rangel to take his name off the September primary ballot, even if he wanted to. I wonder if he can still win re-election, somehow.
TN-08: It sounds like the NRCC is trying to game expectations with regard to Steve Fincher, their golden boy in the race to replace John Tanner. Fincher's been caught in a mega-multi-million dollar three-way fight, with Ron Kirkland and George Flinn beating up on him and each other. An NRCC flack says that Fincher "probably has the edge," but then immediately contradicts himself by saying a Fincher victory would be "against all odds" and that "anything can happen in primaries." I wouldn't be surprised at all if he lost in the primary next week (which, please note, is on a Thursday). Also important: Tennessee is the rare Southern state which does not feature runoffs.
DSCC/DCCC: God, pieces like this are just too depressing for me at this point. The Hill rounds up a pretty large list of retiring lawmakers who are still sitting on monster cash hoards. I mean, what the fuck is up with guys like Bill Delahunt? Says The Hill: "But Delahunt said there are competing political interests that need the money, and he'll decide how to spend it when the time is right." Shit, do I even need to say that the time is right... right now? Sigh.
Moose Lady: Heh again. The Washington Post has a special page devoted to tracking the Mama Grizzly-in-Chief's endorsements. It even has helpful logos for each candidate denoting whether they are "Establishment" or teabaggers. Anyhow, so far, Palin has 10 wins to 4 losses, with a bunch more races in the works.
• AZ-Sen: Sounds like this weekend's GOP primary, full of barbs and genuinely angry potshots between J.D. Hayworth and John McCain had only one beneficiary: random teabagger Jim Deakin, who didn't seem to suffer any collateral damge.
• DE-Sen: The Susan B. Anthony List has endorsed minor-league primary challenger Christine O'Donnell instead of the pro-choice Mike Castle in the GOP Senate primary in Delaware. Delaware isn't exactly known for its large social conservative vote share, so it remains to be seen whether this changes anything.
• MT-Sen: There have been odd rumors that Gov. Brian Schweitzer, who'll be looking for something to do starting in 2012, was considering a primary challenge to Max Baucus in 2014, motivated at least in part over their different approaches to health care reform. Schweitzer ruled out running for the Senate, though (also ruling out a possible 2012 seat-swap with Jon Tester, which also had been rumored). The possibility of what he'd do if the septuagenarian Baucus retired in 2014, though, didn't seem to get broached.
• NH-Sen: One more addition to the Mama Grizzly corral, and it's a big name who's, well, a woman, but has some competition from her right: Kelly Ayotte in New Hampshire. Interesting that Sarah Palin refudiated the more teabaggish challengers (Ovide Lamontagne and Jim Bender).
• CO-Gov: Scott McInnis is not dropping out and is still in it to lose it, he vows, pressure and polling notwithstanding. He will, however, be repaying that $300K to the foundation that employed him to write and not plagiarize his research papers for them. However, it seems some of his underlings are clearly seeing the handwriting on the wall. Three key staffers (his policy director, political director, and regional director) all announced they were leaving the campaign.
• MI-Gov: A Detroit News/WDIV poll (conducted by the Glengariff Group) finds, like everybody else, a very close race in the Republican primary. They have Mike Cox and Peter Hoekstra both at 26, with Rick Snyder at 20, Mike Bouchard at 12, and Tom George at 2. They see a possible route for Snyder to win over undecideds, based on his low unfavorables (he's at 36/8). Mike Bouchard also has a couple new endorsements to his name, although they're from the spouses of two once-important politicians: the wives of ex-Gov. John Engler and ex-Sen. Spencer Abraham. The spouse endorsement, of course, is the time-honored method of boosting your behind-the-scenes friend while still not getting your hands dirty wasting political capital on a sure loss (see the Deval Patrick spousal endorsement of Mike Capuano in the MA-Sen primary).
• NE-Gov: After much speculation that the Dems were simply going to leave their ballot line blank and let Dave Heineman run unopposed to another gubernatorial term, they've found a willing victim candidate to fill the place left by Mark Lakers (who dropped out post-primary but pre-convention). It's Mike Meister, a trial attorney who lost the 2002 Attorney General's race.
• OH-Gov: John Kasich's new ad is weak. I know, I know, I'm a partisan, but if this were a Democrat running this ad, I'd be pounding my head on the desk. His first TV spot starts out with him on the defensive, pointing out that he didn't run Lehman Brothers, just profited handsomely off it.
• OR-Gov: Chris Dudley ruffled some feathers over the weekend by ducking the decades-long traditional debate that opens the campaign season in this civic-minded state, held by the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association. Dudley said that he'd already had plans for a family vacation then, and Democrats predictably said that this was part of a bigger pattern of ducking issues. (Note: don't piss off the people who buy ink by the bucket. Newspaper e-boards across the state, even the conservative ones, have been scornful.) Then he got really busted: his family vacation just happened to be combined with a visit with the RGA, and its many donors, at an event in Aspen, Colorado. Oregonians aren't likely to begrudge him for a little downtime, but lying about what he's doing... not so much.
• WI-Gov: This seems a little too convenient. GOP Milwaukee Co. Executive Scott Walker's staff just gave a no-bid contract for emergency structural engineering inspections to Graef-USA... a contractor that just happens to be a major Walker campaign contributor.
• MI-13: There are two new polls that look at the Democratic primary in the 13th, and both give a small lead to Hansen Clarke, over Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick. Clarke leads 38-30 in the Detroit News/WDIV poll, and Clarke leads 44-31 in an EPIC-MRA poll released last week. That's on top of a third poll from last week that we already mentioned that also had a Clarke lead, so I'm sensing a pattern here. There's a handful of other candidates, but they're only polling in low single digits... it seems like having only one credible challenger (Clarke, a termed-out state Senator) to Kilpatrick, instead of two like in 2008, is the key to winning the race.
• Legislatures: There are two different stories out today looking at the lay of the land in two legislative chambers that seem among the likeliest to flip to Republican control this year: the Iowa State House, and the Pennsylvania State House, with mentions of some of the most competitive seats in each case.
• NRCC: With the House GOP pretty much assured of gaining a significant number of seats this year, it's been a while since we've done one of these. But could it be time for another... Pete Sessions Deathwatch®? Texas GOPer Tom Pauken, a Rick Perry ally who was state party chair in the 1990s, has been talking Sessions down, saying he's "not up to the job" and he should be replaced by "a smart conservative who knows what needs to be done." That news comes on a day when NRCC staff are busy doing damage control, mopping up behind Sessions after his comments that "we need to go back to the exact same agenda" of the Bush years.
• AK-Gov: Ethan Berkowitz (D) 34%, Sean Parnell (R-inc) 43 53%
• AK-Gov: Hollis French (D) 29%, Sean Parnell (R-inc) 57%
• AK-Gov: Ethan Berkowitz (D) 36%, Ralph Samuels (R) 48%
• AK-Gov: Hollis French (D) 30%, Ralph Samuels (R) 49%
• AK-Gov: Ethan Berkowitz (D) 38%, Bill Walker (R) 46%
• AK-Gov: Hollis French (D) 32%, Bill Walker (R) 50%
• PA-Sen: Joe Sestak (D) 38%, Pat Toomey (R) 45%
• WI-Gov: Tom Barrett (D) 44%, Scott Walker (R) 48%
• WI-Gov: Tom Barrett (D) 45%, Mark Neumann (R) 43%
Also a must read today: a new piece from Nate Silver makes the point that "Hey, YouGov's internet-only polling isn't that methodologically bad," but that's by way of comparing it to Rasmussen's sampling techniques, which (no shock to SSP readers) aren't likely to produce a very accurate cross-section of the population.