SurveyUSA for KING5 (4/27-28, registered voters, no trendlines):
Jay Inslee (D): 41
Rob McKenna (R): 48
Jay Inslee (D): 44
Dave Reichert (R): 46
Chris Gregoire (D-inc): 40
Rob McKenna (R): 52
Chris Gregoire (D-inc): 44
Dave Reichert (R): 48
No doubt most media outlets are going to run this poll with a "OMG! Rob McKenna beats Chris Gregoire!" headline. Pardon my French, but Give. Me. A. Fucking. Break. While Gregoire is legally entitled to run for a third term, that just isn't done in Washington (no one has attempted it since Dan Evans back in the 1970s), and she isn't fundraising, but keeping a vague air of mystery about her plans to ward off lame duck-itis in her dealings with the legislature. Even if she wanted to, her approvals would sensibly preclude her from running (37/61 in this poll), as she's shed considerable support on her left with recent actions (an annual budget heavy on education cuts, and just last week a partial veto of a medical marijuana dispensary bill). Add all that up, and anyone in Washington with two brain cells to rub together knows she isn't running.
Well, with that said, the other numbers from this poll confirm my suspicions that this is going to be a difficult hold for the Democrats, as both AG Rob McKenna (who's been running for this job for about eight years) and Rep. Dave Reichert (who just poked his head up about this job in the last week) have leads over likely Dem nominee Rep. Jay Inslee. I suspect the McKenna/Inslee disparity may be largely because of name rec (although SUSA doesn't provide approvals on anybody other than Gregoire, so I can't compare). Inslee also has an avenue of attack that he's only just started using, concerning the one flagrantly partisan thing that the otherwise blandly non-controversial McKenna has done as AG, which is to sign onto the multi-state lawsuit against health care reform. Even taking those factors into account, though, McKenna is the GOP's best shot in decades at recapturing the governor's mansion, given that he's one of the last of a dying breed: a quasi-moderate from the suburbs of King County. (And, no, although Reichert also meets those criteria too, I just don't see him running for this; the party establishment wouldn't stand for it.)
In case you're wondering about methodology, the usually autodialer-only SurveyUSA did include a cellphone user sample as part of the poll. You may recall that they did this several times in their polling of WA-Sen last year to account for problems with reaching landline-free younger voters, a problem which has seemed particularly pronounced in tech-savvy Washington. It didn't seem to help much in 2010, though, as SurveyUSA, like the other robo-callers, still saw the Murray/Rossi race as a tied game, while local traditional-method pollsters at UW correctly spotted the 5-point margin.
• AZ-Sen: I keep saying that there's no way Jeff Flake waltzes to the GOP nomination, but the Republican party has yet to prove me right. Fortunately, my deliverance may come in the form of rich guy Wil Cardon, who is supposedly giving the race a "very strong look" - and can self-fund.
• CA-Sen, CA-Gov, etc.: Like another failed Republican gubernatorial candidate before her, it looks like we won't have Meg Whitman to kick around anymore. Actually, that's kind of confusing, because of course we did get to kick Dick Nixon around quite a bit more... but not until he kicked all of us around first. Anyhow, uh, where was I? Oh yeah, the former eBay chief says she "doubts" whether she'll run for office again. Let's hope she means it.
• MA-Sen: Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead, and Deval Patrick still won't run for Senate.
• MT-Sen: For once, I'm hoping a Republican schedules more fundraisers - at least, fundraisers like this. Denny Rehberg just did an event in Denver that was co-hosted by BP's "director of government and public affairs" (i.e., their chief in-house lobbyist)... on the one-year anniversary of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Good optics!
• ND-Sen: This should scare absolutely no one off, from either party: Republican Public Service Commissioner Brian Kalk, the only declared candidate to succeed retiring Sen. Kent Conrad, raised all of $32K in Q1. John Hoeven he ain't. While we're on the subject of North Dakota, former Sen. Byron Dorgan, who retired last year, just donated the bulk of his remaining campaign funds - $1 million - to a new charity he founded, the Center for Native American Youth. A worthy cause, I'm sure, but I'll bet Joe Sestak would have really appreciated that extra mil.
• OH-Sen: It's weird how the GOP went from utterly dominating last year's Senate election in Ohio to digging out their barrel-bottom scrapers from the back of the utility shed. Ken Blackwell says he's talking to the NRSC about a possible run... though I guess it's not really clear if the NRSC is talking back. A lulzy quote: "You don't just come out and build the sort of support base that I have overnight." True - you probably need to spend two years running a crappy campaign to do as terribly as he did in the governor's race back in 2006.
• TN-Sen: This is a little odd: Sen. Bob Corker said he "came close" to not seeking re-election this cycle. Too bad we don't have a candidate who could make hay out of Corker's lack of fire in the belly (a phrase he actually uses with respect to some fantasy presidential run, but seems applicable to his day job, too).
• VA-Sen: It's starting to feel like the wingnut candidates are doing everything they can to make life easier for George Allen by piling into the clown car that is the GOP primary field. The latest is rich dude Tim Donner, whom we mentioned last month. Almost all of these weirdos claim to be teabaggers in good standing, so this almost assuredly means we'll see some People's Front of Judea/Judean People's Front nonsense, rather than a united effort to stop Allen. Lame.
• KY-Gov: Republican frontrunner David Williams raised just $450K in Q1 and has $670K on hand. (This compares to Gov. Steve Beshear, whose numbers we mentioned previously: $1.3m/$3.3m.)
• NC-Gov: PPP's monthly home-state poll shows Gov. Bev Perdue inching up against Republican Pat McCrory, trailing 49-38 instead of 50-36. That's very similar to a new SurveyUSA poll which has McCrory up 51-39.
• SC-Gov: The issues are a little too complex for me to try to summarize here in a digest bullet, but the link will take you to an interesting story exposing some pretty naïve political incompetence on the part of supposed GOP wunderkind Gov. Nikki Haley. One thing I'd like to remind folks of is that despite the Republican bloodbath of 2010, Haley didn't perform all that impressively. In fact, she had the second-narrowest win out of all 20 victorious GOP gubernatorial candidates, just 4.3%. Only Rick Scott won more narrowly, and he's Rick Scott. Dem Vincent Sheheen got almost no national attention but should have, given his strong performance in a tough state in an impossible year. If Haley continues to stumble, I think she could prove surprisingly vulnerable in 2014.
• HI-Sen: Both Rep. Mazie Hirono and Rep. Colleen Hanabusa have confirmed to Roll Call that they are looking at the Dem primary to replace retiring Sen. Dan Akaka, and Hanabusa says she's meeting with the DSCC, presumably soon. She also says that the DS "has made it known it wants to speak with anyone interested in running, but it is not actively recruiting any one candidate" (Roll Call's phrasing).
• IN-Sen: So GOPer Richard Mourdock raised $157K, not much better than the $125K or so he predicted (in an obvious attempt to ensure he "exceeded analysts' estimates," as they might say after a Wall Street earnings call). But I flag this item because Roll Call says Mourdock plans to "raise money from a national donor base starting next year." Does this mean he's going the Sharron Angle/Michele Bachmann/Allen West BMW Direct-type direct mail scammery? (See related bullets below.) If so, then perhaps Dick Lugar is in better shape than he might have hoped.
• MO-Sen: This is news to me: Sophomore GOP Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer is apparently thinking about a Senate bid, and has reportedly even met with the NRSC about his intentions. Dave Catanese says that "uncertainty about redistricting" is spurring Luetkemeyer to consider other options, but I'm not sure I buy that, seeing as the new maps being considered by the Republican-held legislature offer him a very comfy seat. The real puzzler is why he's doing this when six-term Rep. Todd Akin seems to be gearing up for a Senate run, since there's almost no way the two would want to fight it out in a primary. Maybe Lute thinks he can be Plan B if Akin demurs.
Another reason cited by Catanese (which applies equally well to both congressmen) is ex-Treasurer Sarah Steelman's crappy fundraising. She pulled in just $186K in Q1, which would be unimpressive for a supposedly serious candidate in almost any state. If Akin gets in, I think there's a non-zero chance that she'd drop out.
• MT-Sen: Nice: Sen. Jon Tester (D) raised $1.2 million in Q1 and has $1.5m on hand. His Republican opponent, Rep. Denny Rehberg, raised less than half that, $580K, but has $932K in the bank.
• NE-Sen: Sen. Ben Nelson raised $1 million in Q1 and has $2.3 mil on hand. His chief Republican rival, AG Jon Bruning, raised $1.5 million and has $1.2 in the bank, but Nelson pointed out that $600K was transferred from Bruning's 2008 Senate account (when he briefly sought to primary Chuck Hagel; after Hagel announced his retirement, Bruning was squeezed out by former Gov. Mike Johanns).
• OH-Sen: Former state Sen. Kevin Coughlin, whom we'd mentioned previously as a possible candidate, has filed paperwork for an exploratory committee, joining Treasurer Josh Mandel in this in-limbo category in the GOP primary.
• TN-Sen: I feel like there's an alternate universe not too dissimilar from our own where a Republican dude named Bob Corker is also freshman in the U.S. Senate, and he's also up for re-election, except Corker Prime is actually vulnerable. Here on Earth, though, it really seems like Corker is well out of reach for us. He raised an impressive $1.9 million in Q1 and has over $4 million in the bank - and there are no Democratic candidates on the horizon.
• MO-Gov: Gov. Jay Nixon lapped his likely Republican opponent, Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, on the fundraising circuit, pulling in over twice as much money over the last six months, $1.7 million to $770K. Nixon also has a big cash-on-hand edge, $2.1 mil to $900K.
But other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the show? Well, pretty terrible, actually - Kinder's had just an awful few weeks in the press. After the St. Louis Post-Dispatch revealed his penchant for spending taxpayer money to stay in luxury hotels to attend baseball games and society balls, Kinder promised to reimburse the state $35K... but two weeks later, he still hasn't. That nimbus definitely isn't moving anywhere just yet, and it's his own damn fault. Let's hope he runs the rest of his campaign the same way.
• NC-Gov: This just doesn't seem good. Gov. Bev Perdue, whose public image has already suffered enough damage, was out-of-state Saturday afternoon when a series of deadly tornadoes touched down in North Carolina. She was attending a horse race in Kentucky and didn't make a public appearance back home until 11pm that night. I'm not going to predict what this will mean for Perdue, but it can't be helpful.
• WV-Gov: SoS Natalie Tennant's first ad is a hokey spot set on a farm, in which she decries politicians wasting money... and a cow can be heard to moo. (Or a bull. I don't know. It has horns. But small ones. So maybe still a cow? Do bulls moo? I'm from the city - sue me.) Tennant is generally seen as the candidate with the greatest appeal to liberals (yes, there are some in West Virginia), so she's clearly trying to play against type here.
• AZ-08: Rep. Gabby Giffords raised $358K in Q1 and has $556K in the bank.
• CA-19: Freshman GOP Rep. Jeff Denham (I admit it - I had already forgotten who he was and had to Google him) is already making a name for himself. That name is "idiot." He staged a mega-lavish DC fundraiser in January when he was sworn in which featured singer Leann Rimes and spent an amazing $212,250 on the event. Total raised? $212,900 - which means he netted exactly $650. That's quite the feat. It's even more amazing when you consider it was all supposed to benefit a joint fundraising committee for 11 GOP frosh. To rub it in, Michael Doyle of the Modesto Bee archly observes: "If the $650 netted from outside contributors were to be divvied up evenly, each of the 11 GOP lawmakers would receive $59."
• CA-36: Janice Hahn outraised Debra Bowen in Q1, $273K to $195K, and has about double the cash-on-hand, $171K to $93K. Surprisingly, Marcy Winograd managed to raise $50K. (And if you care, Republican Craig Hughey lent his campaign $250K.)
Bowen also put out an internal from the Feldman Group. In a test of apparently all the candidates who have filed, she and Hahn tie for 20, with Republican Mike Gin the next-closest at 8 and Winograd at 6. The memo also says that in a two-way runoff, Bowen leads 40-36 with 16% undecided. The poll also claims that Hahn's unfavorability rating is "double that of Bowen," but a self-respecting pollster really shouldn't include such tripe, because the refusal to release actual numbers means we're talking about something like a 12-to-6 comparison (i.e., meaningless). As mi hermano G.O.B. Bluth would say, "COME ON!"
• FL-08: Hah! Does Daniel Webster want to lose? The GOP freshman raised just $30K in Q1, but the really funny part is that the guy he defeated, Alan Grayson, raised more! Grayson took in $38K, apparently from small donors who hope he'll make a comeback bid.
• FL-22: Allen West raised a seemingly-impressive $434K in Q1, but as you know, he's a major practitioner of the churn-and-burn style of shady direct-mail fundraising, and it really shows in his burn rate. He spent an amazing $266K last quarter, which both as a raw total and a percentage rate is exceedingly high... but see the MN-06 and NV-02 items below.
• IA-04: Interesting, though not surprising: Politico says that DCCC chair Steve Israel warned Christie Vilsack off of challenging Dave Loebsack in the new 2nd CD, assuring her that the D-Trip would back the incumbent. He also apparently promised to support her if she took on Rep. Steve King (as she supposedly might do), though who knows what kind of $ that might translate into.
• IL-03: Insurance exec John Atkinson, who is apparently challenging Rep. Dan Lipinski in the Democratic primary, raised $535K in Q1, including $312K from his own pockets. Lipinski raised just $138K but has $637K on hand.
• MN-08: Freshman GOPer Chip Cravaack raised just $121K in Q1 - so why are we having such a hard time finding a Dem willing to take this guy on?
• MN-06: Michele Bachmann raised a MIND-OBLITERATING $1.7 million in the first quarter... and yes, I'm being sarcastic, because she also managed to spent $756K. Of course, netting a million bucks ain't bad (and she has $2.8 mil on hand), and if she truly pulls the trigger on a presidential run, I'll bet the spigots will open even wider. But that's still quite the burn rate.
• NV-02: Sharron Angle makes Allen West look as parsimonious as Scrooge by comparison. Everyone's favorite nutter (okay, it's a multi-way tie, but you know you love her) raised an amaaaaaaaaazing $700K in Q1, but spent an actually amazing $550K, mostly to BaseConnect, the scam artists formerly known as BMW Direct. She has only $176K in the bank.
• NY-26: Republican Jane Corwin is not fucking around: She raised just $102K in Q1, but gave her own campaign a whopping million dollars. Yow. Meanwhile, Crazy Jack Davis has raised zilch, but has loaned himself $1.5 mil and already spent $1.4 mil.
• Denver Mayor: SSP commenter Kretzy has a really good run-down on the May 3rd Denver mayor's race, necessitated by John Hickenlooper's ascension to the governor's mansion. I won't try to summarize it - you should just click through. Timely, too, because SUSA has a poll out on the race, showing James Mejia and Chris Romer tied at 22, with Michael Hancock next at 18. Again, read Kretzy's summary if you want to know more about these people.
• Wisconsin Recall: Signatures were filed yesterday to force a recall election for a third Republican state senator, Luther Olsen, and Dems expect to file petitions for Sheila Harsdorf today. (Number of Dem state sens who've had petitions filed against them so far: 0.) Also, the state's Government Accountability Board says it will try to consolidate the recalls into as few elections as possible.
• DSCC: In an item about Herb Kohl raising $0 last quarter (he can cut himself a fat check any time he pleases, so this isn't meaningful), Dave Catanese says that DSCC chair Patty Murray said "she was confident all of the remaining incumbents were running for reelection." Kohl is the most obvious candidate for retirement, and of course Murray could be wrong, but maybe this is it.
• Fundraising: The NYT has a list of fundraising by freshman Republicans, and also notes that IN-08 Rep. Larry Bucshon took in just $45K. Not really wise for a guy whose district is likely to be made at least a bit more competitive. The Fix also has a fundraising roundup.
• LCV: The League of Conservation Voters is launching a $250K radio ad campaign targeted at four members of the House who voted in favor of a bill that would bar the EPA from regulating greenhouse gas emissions. The ads are hitting two Republicans running for Senate, Denny Rehberg and Dean Heller, as well as Energy Cmte Chair Fred Upton (R) and Jason Altmire (D). Here's a sample ad (targeted at Heller), which I actually find kinda weird and confusing.
• Passings: Former Rep. Harold Volkmer, who represented mostly rural northeastern Missouri's 9th CD for ten terms, passed away at the age of 80.
• Colorado: Now this at least is a fight that makes sense: Republicans control the Colorado House, while Dems control the Senate - and tempers have already exploded with the release of proposed redistricting plans from both sides. (See yesterday's digest for the maps.) Speaker of the House Frank McNulty flipped out, accusing Democrats of drawing districts that would benefit two legislators in particular: Senate President Brandon Shaffer and Sen. Morgan Carroll.
However, Carroll said she has no plans to run for Congress, while the Dem point-man on redistricting, Sen. Rollie Heath, pointed out that the new 4th CD (which McNulty thinks Shaffer wants to run in) has a 10 percent GOP registration edge... in other words, not the kind of seat you'd drawn for yourself if you were an ambitious Democrat. So either McNulty is just a garden-variety moran, or he's just trying to cast fact-free aspersions against the other side. We've seen a lot of this kind of crap from Colorado Republicans already, so door number two is a definite possibility (but of course, it's not mutually exclusive of door number 1).
• Missouri: Trying to unlock a stalemate that seems remarkably picayune to outsiders such as myself, Republican power brokers in Missouri met yesterday to talk things over. Among the participants were most of the Republicans in the state's congressional delegation, the heads of the state House and Senate, and the chair of the MO GOP. No sort of deal has been announced as yet.
• Virginia: Hah - so much for lawmakers racing back to work to deal with Gov. Bob McDonnell's veto of their redistricting plans. Legislators had planned to be off this week, so rank-and-file members declined leadership's entreaties to show up.
The Republican primary is just a month away - May 17th - and it's hard to imagine state Senate President David Williams losing. But despite Kentucky's dark red turn of late, the general election numbers show that incumbency and candidate quality really do matter. SUSA paints the most optimistic picture for Steve Beshear so far, but his 12-point lead is in line with what we've seen previously (PPP +9, Braun +10).
While I'd expect this race to tighten as we approach election day, it's also worth noting that Williams went on the air with his first TV ad a couple of weeks ago, before this poll went into the field. I'm guessing the buy was fairly small and probably had a limited impact on his numbers, but the fact that he's still in the 30s isn't a good sign for Republicans. You never want to get too comfortable in a race like this, but Beshear is looking pretty good.
• NM-Sen (PDF): What happens if you took a poll and no one answered? That's what this Tulchin Research poll (taken on behalf of the Defenders of Wildlife) feels like to me, what with its sample size of just 213 likely Democratic primary voters. If you're trying to figure out the margin of error, you'll need to start counting on your other hand - it's 6.7%. Anyhow, the results, such as they are: 1st CD Rep. Martin Heinrich: 32; Lt. Gov. Diane Denish: 25; 3rd CD Rep. Ben Ray Luján's: 15; State Auditor Hector Balderas: 5; and 24% undecided. I think it's very unlikely that the field would develop this way, but I still think these "round up the usual suspects" polls can be valuable - if they have enough respondents, that is.
• OH-Sen: This kind of speculation is always seriously moronic... but hey, I live to serve. So in case you want to imagine a world where the Republican presidential nominee wins next year, and he's picked Sen. Rob Portman as his running mate, Roll Call is happy to indulge your grim dystopian fantasy about a suddenly open Senate seat in Ohio come Jan. 20, 2013.
• WV-Gov: Democratic State House Speaker Rick Thompson just earned the endorsement of two teachers' unions: The West Virginia Federation of Teachers and the West Virginia Education Association. The primary here for this oddly-timed special election (necessary because of ex-Gov. Joe Manchin's Senate victory last year) is coming up very soon, May 14th.
• CT-05: Kevin Rennie mentions a couple of possible Democratic prospects to replace Rep. Chris Murphy, who of course is running for Senate. One is 28-year-old pr strategist Dan Roberti, whose father Vincent was once a state rep. The other is CNBC reporter and former local news anchor Brian Schactman.
• NV-02: A piece in the WaPo has 2006 and 2008 Dem nominee Jill Derby sounding pretty interested - she said she's considering forming an exploratory committee. (Ridiculous as that sounds - I mean, she's considering whether to consider? - that actually counts as pretty aggressive talk in this hyper-cautious age.) The story also mentions another possible name, Assemblywoman Debbie Smith, as well as noting that state Treasurer Kate Marshall (whom we flagged as another potential candidate yesterday) calling the race "absolutely winnable."
• NY-26: Republican Jane Corwin has her first ad out (NWOTSOTB), in which she repeatedly touts her supposed small business credentials but doesn't mention that she's a Republican. In some not-so-happy news, New York's Green Party is saying they are likely to endorse Ian Murphy, the guy behind the fake David Koch call to WI Gov. Scott Walker, as their nominee. That means they probably won't cross-endorse whoever winds up being the Democratic nominee... and that signals a long four years ahead of us. (Thanks to scoring 50,000 votes in last year's gubernatorial election, the Greens get an automatic ballot spot in every race in the state through 2016.) Green Party co-chair Peter LaVenia says he doesn't think that Murphy will "siphon votes" from the Dem... oy, christ, this is giving me nightmarish flashbacks to debates with idiotic Naderites in 2000. I can't do this again.
• Wisconsin Recall: Let's talk about Randy Hopper. If you'll click the link, you can hear a ridiculously misleading radio ad that he's just gone up with. The lying isn't the point - it's the fact that he's on the defensive, a place you never want to be. And he knows, it, too - which is why he's gone out and hired Jeff Harvey, who most recently managed Rep. Dave Reichert's (WA-08) successful campaign last year. That's a pretty big gun to bring in to a state lege race, so how can Hopper afford something like that? Well, state Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald and several lackeys (including recall target Alberta Darling) were in DC last night, picking up cash at a high-dollar fundraiser held at Haley Barbour's lobbying firm (more-or-less in exchange for gunning through that infamous bit of right-to-work legislation). The optics couldn't be better! But cold, sweet cash can move mountains.
In related news, HuffPo's Sam Stein tries to track down elusive information about the state of the attempted recalls of Democratic senators. It sounds like it's going poorly: An uncoordinated mess by different groups which launched different efforts at different times. The Wisconsin Republican Party has refused to get involved, and apparently the recall has been whittled down to just three target senators (from the original eight). I would not be hugely surprised if they would up with zero.
• Philly Mayor: This is pretty funny: Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter faces no real primary opposition, but he's still trying to bounce the crazy brother of former Mayor John Street, Milton, from the ballot. Among other things, Nutter is alleging that Street doesn't meet the residency requirements, which say that candidates have to live in the city for three years prior to the election. Where was Street? Serving a 30-month sentence in federal prison on tax evasion charges - in Kentucky.
• SF Mayor: SurveyUSA has a poll out for the San Francisco mayoral race slated for this November. SF uses instant run-off voting (IRV), so SUSA asked people to pick their first, second, and third choices. Interim Mayor Ed Lee (who filled in for Gavin Newsom when he won the Lt. Gov. race last fall) says he isn't running but actually gets the most first-choice votes. Here's the full field:
Ed Lee, interim Mayor, 17%
Michaela Alioto-Pier, former Board of Supervisors member, 12%
Leeland Yee, State Senator, 11%
David Chiu, Board of Supervisors President, 10%
Dennis Herrera, City Attorney, 9%
Bevan Dufty, former Supervisor, 8%
Click through the link to see second and third choices.
• DCCC: Steve Israel talked a bunch with the Hotline about candidate recruitment. The most interesting thing is his "alumni association" of former members of Congress who are thinking about running again. He holds "semi-regular" (Hotline's phrase) conference calls with "the vast majority of former members." Israel says that in recent weeks, interest and attendance has spiked, and I have to guess that recent Democratic enthusiasm inspired heavily by protests in the Midwest has been a factor. Israel also insists that ex-MoCs who have closed down their campaign accounts or taken lobbying jobs are not necessarily taking themselves out of the game; he sympathetically argues that some folks simply need the cash. Of course, optics aside, K Street might just seem a lot more comfortable than the campaign trail grind to many of these folks
• DNC: The usual unnamed Democrats are telling Politico they think Ted Strickland is a "strong contender" to replace Tim Kaine at the DNC if the latter decides to run for the Senate in Virginia. I think the world of Strickland, but I'd hate to see his considerable talents get muzzled at the DNC. I just don't think that a proud populist is going to be able to speak his mind while at the Obama DNC.
• Votes: Dave Catanese has a run-down on the House members seeking (or likely to seek) statewide office and how they voted on the most recent temporary budget bill. A big swath of Republicans voted "no" (i.e., against their party), after having previously voted for the prior continuing resolution, likely out of fears of getting teabagger (because the bills don't cut spending enough). Meanwhile, several Democrats in the same boat all voted "yes."
A seven-count indictment accuses Tom Ganley, a high-profile auto dealer and onetime congressional candidate, of kidnapping a 39-year-old Cleveland woman and having sexual contact with her.
Ganley, 68, faces three felony charges of gross sexual imposition, and single counts of kidnapping, abduction, solicitation, and menacing by stalking, according to Ryan Miday, a spokesman for County Prosecutor Bill Mason.
• Mississippi: Looks like Lt. Gov. and gubernatorial aspirant Phil Bryant is getting his ass handed to him. Bryant attempted to interfere with the state Senate's attempt to draw a new map by instead offering his own. Bryant's plan was rejected by the Senate (which we noted on Tuesday). Now, the Senate's original plan has been adopted by the House. So it looks like an incumbent-protection deal has been reached, with the Democratic-held House and the Republican-controlled Senate each getting their way. But even with a Dem gerrymander, you've got to believe it's only a matter of time before the House falls, too.
• General: Politico has a piece discussing the GOP's overall strategy of playing it safe with redistricting this decade, and to avoid "dummymanders" like the one in Pennsylvania which proved (at least temporarily) disastrous to the party.
I think this is the first SurveyUSA poll of the 2012 cycle, and it seems consistent with the few other polls we've seen so far in the Show Me State: Claire McCaskill is below 50% in the danger zone but with a small lead against a non-Jim Talent candidate. In this case, it's Sam Graves, the MO-06 Rep. and potential Senate candidate who has suddenly started to throw his weight around in this race with the Jim Talent decision not to seek a rematch. They find McCaskill with a 48/45 approval (no comparable numbers for Graves).
Worth noting: this poll wasn't commissioned by a media outlet, but by the Republican consulting firm Axiom Strategies. From Tricia Miller's description, it sounds like they polled other general election matchups and the GOP primary as well, but only released the Graves numbers, saying that Graves tested the best against McCaskill. (The Roll Call article also gets fellow Reps. Todd Akin and Blaine Leutkemeyer on the record as saying they won't run, so now all the non-frosh GOP Reps. in the state are accounted for.)
As far as how we know that Jim Talent isn't going to run, well, we have word from the horse's mouth. Talent, in fact, publicly leaked it himself today (which means it really isn't that much of a leak, doesn't it?), telling the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that tomorrow he would make an official announcement that he wouldn't run. As expected, Talent confirmed that he's going to be focusing on Mitt Romney's campaign instead.
• WV-Gov: I've complained at length before about the sheer haziness of West Virginia's succession laws, and they aren't going to get any clearer: Joe Manchin, as one of his final acts as Governor, isn't going to call a special session to clarify. The law is clear that Senate President Earl Ray Tomblin becomes Acting Governor upon Manchin's resignation (which will probably happen as soon as the election results are certified, as Manchin is able and ready to serve in the lame duck session in place of temp Carte Goodwin), but all it says is that a special election must be held to fill the vacancy, without saying, y'know, when. Legislative counsel have made the best guess that two elections should happen in Nov. 2012 (one special election for the remaining two months of the term, the other regularly scheduled one for the following four years), but that doesn't have the force of law yet.
• AZ-07: This was one where victory was pretty clear yesterday, but today it's officially been called for Raul Grijalva. He's up more than 6,000 now, as friendly Pima County precincts have kept reporting.
• AZ-08: Looking right next door, things are also looking up for Gabby Giffords. She's up by about 3,000 votes. 30,000 votes remain to be processed in Pima County, although it's unclear how many of those are in the 7th or in the 8th. The local paper says it's expected the race will be called in her favor today.
• CA-11: J-Mac looks to be coming back, if today's news is any indication. Jerry McNerney's lead over David Harmer has edged up to 568 votes (although potentially that could erode a bit in today's further counting as there are still some San Joaquin Co. votes outstanding). California doesn't have an automatic recount provision, but Harmer seems to already be laying groundwork: he's filed a suit in Contra Costa County saying his team should be able to stop the vote-by-mail signature-verification process in order to challenge signatures.
• KY-06: Ben Chandler is declaring victory, despite Andy Barr's plans to pursue a recanvass. The final count is Chandler up by 649, although that's not SoS-certified yet, and the recanvass may change that (although probably not to the extent that Barr could win).
• NV-St. Sen.: 84-year-old long-timer Bill Raggio won't be the Republican leader in the Nevada state Senate for the first time in ages. He pulled his name from consideration for another stint as minority leader after it was clear that he wasn't going to win the internal struggle against Mike McGinness. Raggio's sin? Endorsing Harry Reid over Sharron Angle (who, you might remember, ran and lost to Raggio in a 2008 GOP primary battle in his Reno-area seat).
• Leadership: The big news on Capitol Hill today, of course, is that Nancy Pelosi has made clear that she will seek to become minority leader. One more indication how quickly the daily CW (which had a quick transition to Steny Hoyer penciled in yesterday) can change on a dime. Hoyer is likely to stay in place, so Pelosi will probably only face a minor challenge from Heath Shuler. Only a few other surviving conservadems are publicly opposing Pelosi so far (no surprises: Altmire, Boren, Matheson). Chris Van Hollen, unsurprisingly, is also out as DCCC chair... although it's hard to tell how much his star has dimmed for future leadership endeavors, as a third term at the DCCC would have been unlikely even if the Dems had salvaged a majority. (There's plenty of other discussion on this topic, including the GOP leadership ladder and committee chairs, underway over in MassGOP's diary.) UPDATE: Here's some last-minute tension: Dems are less one leadership slot, having to drop down to the minority, and it looks like that's going to be resolved with a battle for minority whip between Steny Hoyer and Jim Clyburn. That could produce some fireworks.
• Polltopia: Nate Silver went there: his newest post is called "Rasmussen Polls Were Biased and Inaccurate." His graph of major pollsters' performance finds Rasmussen both off by the widest average margin, and with the most greatest amount of bias in a particular direction (the Republican direction, natch). (Quinnipiac had the smallest average error, and PPP was the closest to having no bias. He also has kind words for SurveyUSA and YouGov.) PPP's Tom Jensen also has some interesting divining from Tuesday's entrails: if you were wondering whether the dropoff was from Obama voters staying home, or Obama voters voting for Republicans this time around, he finds it was almost exactly half-and-half of each.
Two new polls out today both show tightening, of either two or three points in the last two weeks, in the Washington Senate race. This race has become increasingly pivotal in the last few weeks as well... quite literally, in that Nate Silver calls it the Senate's entire pivot point for control -- where, in the simulations he runs where the GOP gets a 10-seat pickup, Washington is most frequently the last race across the line. (Of course, it's worth considering that as West Virginia seems to be getting better for Joe Manchin, there are increasing chances that Dems could lose Washington and keep the majority regardless of the Washington outcome, which is why overall odds of keeping the Senate are still hovering near 90%.)
What the closing of the gap means is quite debatable, though, depending on what method you use. For the Univ. of Washington, it's still a Murray victory, as she's already over 50 (at a point when, presumably, most people have sent in their ballots); her 8-point lead is down to 6. (They also find the reverse-enthusiasm-gap that seems unique in Washington, finding only a 4-pt edge among RVs.)
For SurveyUSA, it drops her into a tie, though. There are a couple odd things with the SurveyUSA poll, though; first, it's strange that undecideds would shoot up in the closing stages of the race, particularly since the state SoS office reports that a majority of ballots have been sent in. Maybe those who haven't sent ballots yet are still trying to decide; it's hard to gauge, SUSA doesn't include the vote breakdown among people who have already voted, which is an odd choice since they've done that in some other races, and it's even more relevant in the (almost) all-mail-in Washington. Also (h/t to Taniel for pointing this out), there's a steep dropoff in the Dem/GOP makeup of this sample from the last sample from two weeks ago: 33D-29R today, versus 36D-27R before. There's no party registration in Washington so this is just self-identification, but it's an abrupt switch.
One other consideration is the cellphone user gap, which has seemed particularly pronounced in Washington of all states (as seen by the wide split between live-calling Elway, UW, and CNN/Time, vs. auto-dialing SurveyUSA, Rasmussen, and PPP). I'm not a fan of mindlessly applying corrective formulas to poll data, but Nate's most recent post on the "house effects" generated by the different categories of pollsters may be instructive here: all robocallers have an R+2.0 lean, while live polls have a D+0.7 lean (although that may have to do simply with the sheer weight on the R-side of the spectrum brought by Rasmussen's massive volume of polling). In particular, SUSA has the most pronounced house effect this year, of R+4.0, even more than Rasmussen at R+2.1.
One major caveat, though: SurveyUSA used a live-caller overlay on this particular poll, and find that while the cellphone users they reached did tend to lean Democratic, it doesn't matter much for the final totals. They'd done this once before on a Washington poll over summer, and come to much the same conclusion. That seemed odd at the time and still does, as it would tend to contrast with recent Pew research that showed a 5-point difference between cellphone-inclusive and non-cellphone samples in the generic ballot. With that in mind, I'll leave it to you just how much special sauce you want to add to make sense of the results... or you can just average them out to 3, which is pretty close to where Murray's leaked internals (+4) from a few days ago put the race.
• AL-Gov (Univ. of S. Alabama): Ron Sparks (D) 35%, Robert Bentley (R) 48%
• CA-Sen, CA-Gov (Suffolk): Barbara Boxer (D-inc) 52%, Carly Fiorina (R) 43%; Jerry Brown (D) 50%, Meg Whitman (R) 42%
(Bonus: Kamala Harris leads Steve Cooley 35-34 in the AG race, and "no" leads "yes" on Prop 19 55-40)
• CA-Sen, CA-Gov (SurveyUSA for KABC): Barbara Boxer (D-inc) 45%, Carly Fiorina (R) 40%; Jerry Brown (D) 46%, Meg Whitman (R) 38%
(Bonus: Gavin Newsom leads Abel Maldonado 42-34 for LG, and "no" leads "yes" on Prop 19 46-44)
• CA-Sen, CA-Gov (PPP): Barbara Boxer (D-inc) 52%, Carly Fiorina (R) 43%; Jerry Brown (D) 53%, Meg Whitman (R) 42%
(Bonus: "no" leads "yes" on Prop 19 45-48)
• CA-20 (SurveyUSA for KFSN): Jim Costa (D-inc) 42%, Andy Vidak (R) 52%
(note: this poll population is 37% Hispanic, compared with 67% in reality) (also, the DCCC responded with a poll giving Costa a 47-41 lead, although they neglected to leak the pollster's name) (UPDATE: The pollster is Bennet Petts & Normington, with the sample over the same 10/21-24 period as SurveyUSA)
• CT-Sen, CT-Gov (Quinnipiac): Richard Blumenthal (D) 54% (54), Linda McMahon (R) 42% (43); Dan Malloy (D) 48% (49), Tom Foley (R) 43% (42)
• FL-08 (Susquehanna for Sunshine State News): Alan Grayson (D-inc) 41% (36), Daniel Webster (R) 48% (43), Peg Dunmire (T) 4%
• GA-Gov (InsiderAdvantage): Roy Barnes (D) 41%, Nathan Deal (R) 47%, John Monds (L) 5%
• ID-Gov, ID-Sen, ID-01, ID-02 (Mason-Dixon for Idaho newspapers): Keith Allred (D) 30%, Butch Otter (R-inc) 52%; Tom Sullivan (D) 20%, Mike Crapo (R-inc) 64%; Walt Minnick (D-inc) 44%, Raul Labrador (R) 41%; Mike Crawford (D) 17%, Mike Simpson (R-inc) 67%
• IA-Gov (Global Strategy Group for Chet Culver): Chet Culver (D-inc) 40%, Terry Branstad (R) 46%
• IL-Gov (MarketShares for Chicago Tribune): Pat Quinn (D-inc) 39% (39), Bill Brady (R) 43% (38), Scott Lee Cohen (I) 5%, Rich Whitney (G) 4%, Lex Green (L) 2%
• IL-Sen (Anzalone-Liszt for DSCC): Alexi Giannoulias (D) 38%, Mark Kirk (R) 36%, LeAlan Jones (G) 7%, Mike Labno (L) 4%
• KY-Sen (PPP): Jack Conway (D) 40%, Rand Paul (R) 53%
• KY-03 (RiverCity for Todd Lally): John Yarmuth (D-inc) 41%, Todd Lally (R) 37% (note: n = only 239, yet they claim MoE of 4.5%)
• LA-02 (Anzalone-Liszt): Cedric Richmond (D) 49%, Joe Cao (R-inc) 32%
• NY-20 (Siena): Scott Murphy (D-inc) 42% (54), Chris Gibson (R) 51% (37)
(The Murphy camp leaked an internal from Global Strategy Group today, although only saying a 3-point lead without specific toplines)
• OH-Gov, OH-Sen (Quinnipiac): Ted Strickland (D-inc) 43% (41), John Kasich (R) 49% (51); Lee Fisher (D) 36% (34), Rob Portman (R) 53% (55)
• OH-Sen (Wilson Research, not apparently on anyone's behalf): Lee Fisher (D) 38%, Rob Portman (R) 49%
• OH-Sen (Univ. of Cincinnati for Ohio newspapers): Lee Fisher (D) 39%, Rob Portman 58%
• PA-Sen, PA-Gov (Ipsos for Reuters): Joe Sestak (D) 46%, Pat Toomey (R) 46%; Dan Onorato (D) 43%, Tom Corbett (R) 49%
(Sestak leads 46-42 among RVs, and even Onorato leads 46-43 among RVs)
• PA-Sen, PA-Gov (Muhlenberg): Joe Sestak (D) 40% (42), Pat Toomey (R) 48% (47); Dan Onorato (D) 39% (41), Tom Corbett (R) 50% (49)
• PA-08 (POS for Mike Fitzpatrick): Patrick Murphy (D-inc) 40%, Mike Fitzpatrick (R) 50%
• PA-10 (Lycoming): Chris Carney (D-inc) 45%, Tom Marino (R) 39%
• SD-Gov (Neilson Brothers): Scott Heidepriem (D) 40%, Dennis Daugaard (R) 43%
• VA-09 (SurveyUSA for WDBJ): Rick Boucher (D-inc) 46%, Morgan Griffith (R) 47%
• WI-Gov (Mellman Group, not apparently on anyone's behalf): Tom Barrett (D) 45%, Scott Walker (R) 47%