CT-Sen: Obama alert! The POTUS is going to do a fundraiser in Stamford for Dick Blumenthal on Sept. 16th, the same day he was already scheduled to do a DNC event in Greenwich. Sorry to get all emo on you again, but if even Dick Blumenthal needs Obama's help....
DE-Sen: It's the battle of the sketchy polls! The Tea Party Express is touting a survey which supposedly shows Mike Castle up just 44-38 in the Republican primary over Christine O'Donnell. (Actually, they say Castle is at "43.7%" - too many significant digits is a classic sign of sketchiness.) Meanwhile, the Fix claims that "Internal GOP polling conducted last week showed Castle with a margin of nearly 20 points over O'Donnell." Anyhow, the TPX has no plans to evacuate in their moment of... well, we'll see if it's their moment of triumph... despite a surge of new questions about O'Donnell's fitness as a candidate. Among other things: Former aides say she never paid promised salaries on her 2008 campaign against Joe Biden, and she just received her degree from Farleigh Dickinson University last week, despite having attended 17 years ago and having repeatedly described herself as a graduate. Come on, baby, hold together!
IL-Sen: Amanda Terkel has spotted a trend among Mark Kirk's public statements: He can't shut up about the economic crisis in Greece - and Terkel thinks Kirk is attempting to link Alexi Giannoulias (who is of Greek descent) to the meltdown. Perhaps most egregious is Kirk's statement that while he "wore a U.S. Navy uniform, Alexi Giannoulias wore a basketball uniform in Greece." Really? That last part is relevant? A pretty ugly example of "othering."
LA-Sen: A little bit of Cajun-flavored cat fud: Gov. Bobby Jindal won't endorse Sen. David Vitter in his re-election campaign. Jindal claims he doesn't get involved in federal races, but WDSU has two very recent examples to the contrary. Anyhow, I can't think of too many sitting governors who haven't endorsed same-party, same-state senators, can you?
NH-Sen: Finally, a survey of the severely under-polled GOP senate primary in New Hampshire - though it's from Republican pollster Magellan, who likes to do Rasmussen-style one-day samples (a methodology that I think it's fair to say is not a best practice). Anyhow, here are the results (9/1, likely voters, May in parens):
UT-Sen: The battle for Orrin Hatch's senate seat - which won't take place until 2012 - is already getting ugly. Hatch is claiming that freshman Rep. Jason Chaffetz (who, you'll recall, already knocked off one sitting incumbent at a state convention in 2008) promised him he wouldn't challenge him next cycle. Chaffetz says he only pledged not to run against Sen. Bob Bennett, who of course already lost earlier this year. A Hatch spokesbot took off the gloves in response, saying: "Senator Hatch takes very seriously the principle of keeping his word. Of course, I suppose Jason can break it any time he wants to."
WV-Sen: Robert Byrd's family is excoriating self-funding Republican John Raese for using a photo of Dem Joe Manchin and President Obama that was taken at Byrd's memorial service earlier this year in an attack ad. Raese's campaign manager said, "That's a stock photo. We had no idea it was from the memorial service." Well, now you know.
AZ-Gov: Does this statement remind you of O.J. Simpson's ill-fated "hypothetical" book, If I Did It? Because that was the first thing I thought of:
"That was an error, if I said that," Brewer said about beheadings occurring in Arizona.
AZ-01: Ann Kirkpatrick is out with her first ad of the cycle, a pretty dull positive spot about how she donated 5% of her congressional salary... national treasury... opposed bailout... etc., etc. Ordinarily I'd just relegate this to our ad roundup at the bottom of the digest, but I also wanted to point out this great observation from SSP's own Johnny Longtorso: namely, the fact that the Navajo Nation (the largest Indian tribe in the United States) is holding its presidential election this fall, which may help Kirkpatrick on the turnout front. (Indians vote heavily Dem.) According to Wikipedia, some 130,000 Navajo live within the nation's boundaries in Arizona (it also includes parts of Utah and New Mexico), almost all of which is contained within the 1st CD.
AZ-08: You know how the WWF tried to become the WWE? Well, true hardcore wingnuts aren't content with (the bad kind of) SSP - they want SSE: Social Security elimination. Given how toxic this is in the real world (i.e., for the 99.999% of people who have never heard of John Galt), it's no wonder that Republican nominee Jesse Kelly now say he wants to "protect" Social Security. Good luck getting past statements like this one, from just last year: "If you have any ideas on that, I'm all ears. I would love to eliminate the program."
IA-01: This doesn't seem like a positive sign to me. Bruce Braley is going on the air with an ad (watch it here) hitting back against an outside group's attack ad - not something a candidate in an apparently "Safe D" race ordinarily feels a need to do. The group, American Future Fund, is accusing Braley of "supporting" the Park51 community center, though Braley has taken the standard "don't wanna deal with it" approach of calling it a local zoning issue for NYC. On the flipside, I'll take it as a good sign that Braley doesn't plan to get Martha Coakley'd. (Though doesn't it sound like Braley's "I approve this message" was recorded via cell phone? Does that mean the ad was rushed on to the air?) NWOTSOTB for Braley, though AAF claims it has spent $50K and plans to spend more.
IN-03: A common theme rears its head once more: A Republican rails loudly against bailouts, but it turns out he's been the beneficiary of government largesse himself. In this case, Dem Tom Hayhurst has been attacking GOPer Marlin Stutzman for accepting $180K in agricultural subsidies since 1995. But as the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette reports, just last month Stutzman said: "It's time to get rid of farm subsidies. The subsidies only manipulate the market."
KS-04: You know, we always love reporting on cat fud for cat fud's sake. Sometimes it's just a whiff, but other times, the cat fud can really stink up a race. Case in point: Mike Pompeo, a top competitor for GOP Dickbag of the Year, wasn't endorsed by any of the candidates he beat in the Republican primary, and even refused to return phone calls from his opponents. Now, the cats are coming home to roost, because one of those opponents, rich guy Wink Hartman, is considering re-entering the race on the Libertarian Party line. (The Lib candidate dropped out of the race for health reasons.) Hartman, who spent almost $1.6 million of his own money on the primary, notably includes among his reasons for wanting to get back in the game the fact that Pompeo "misrepresented Hartman's pro-life position and residency." The Libertarians have until Sept. 20th to decide whether to tap Hartman. In any event, this could provide a huge boost to Dem Raj Goyle, who appears to be in a surprisingly good position to stage an upset.
LA-03: In an unusual move, the Louisiana state Republican Party has formally endorsed Jeff Landry over Hunt Downer in the runoff. State parties don't typically take sides in primaries like this, but it sounds like the powers that be are eager to see Downer bail, rather than prolong the race all the way until October 3rd. I personally suspect that Downer has no chance in the second round, and I think he'll wind up playing Kevin Calvey to Landry's Jim Lankford. (Check out our OK-05 tag if the analogy isn't ringing any bells.)
NC-11: Heh - looks like Heath Shuler's suggesting he could run for Speaker of the House, clearly as a way to distance himself from Nancy Pelosi. Shuler also claimed that cats eventually turn into dogs.
NH-02: Nice - progressive fave Ann McLane Kuster raised $223K in her pre-primary report (7/1-8/25), totally kicking the asses of all the other major candidates (Katrina Swett (D): $37K, Charlie Bass (R): $57K, Jennifer Horn (R): $39K). As for cash, it goes Kuster: $450K, Swett: $798K, Bass: $312K, Horn: $32K. Even better news: Kuster is touting an internal poll from the Mellman Group showing her with a commanding 47-24 lead over Swett in the primary, which is Sept. 14th.
NY-20, NY-23: Rahm Emanuel is headlining a joint fundraiser on Sept. 19th for two upstate Dems: Scott Murphy of the 20th CD and Bill Owens of the 23rd. Murphy has $1.5 million on hand but Owens has only $600K.
PA-06: A nasty bit of racial ugliness from the campaign of Jim Gerlach. Said a spokesman about Dem opponent Manan Trivedi: "The only one who has played the race card here is him, by going to Indian-American groups to raise money."
SC-02: The Office of Congressional Ethics is investigating Rep. Joe Wilson's trips abroad - at least thirty over the last eight years - and his per diem spending habits. Wilson is a prolific traveler on the taxpayer's dime, ranking 29th among current House members and 39th among 734 members who've served since 1994, according to The State. Wilson has tried to downplay prior reports of the probe, claiming it was only about $12 spent on some cheap mementos from Afghanistan, but that's evidently not the case. Meanwhile, Dem Rob Miller has a new ad out hitting Wilson for his support of CAFTA. Check it out - I think it's pretty effective.
VA-05: In a move that vaguely brings to mind Carl Mumpower, teabagger Jeffrey Clark said he'd withdraw from the race if the party or parties responsible for disseminating information about his financial history came forward to claim responsibility. Dem Tom Perriello's campaign said it wasn't them, but Republican Rob Hurt wouldn't say anything, so Clark says he's staying in the race. Feel the Mumpower!
OH-AG: Wrapping up some odds-and-ends from their recent Ohio poll, PPP find ex-Sen. Mike DeWine leading incumbent Dem AG Richard Cordray 44-40.
DCCC: Another day, another triage story. This time, the NYT claims that "party leaders are preparing a brutal triage of their own members in hopes of saving enough seats to keep a slim grip on the majority." And while they don't have an actual quote from him, the Times claims Chris Van Hollen "conceded" that Dems "would ultimately cut loose members who had not gained ground." In response, reports The Hill:
Van Hollen released a statement saying that the story "erroneously" said that the DCCC would redirect resources to two dozen viable campaigns if a review in the next two weeks showed that vulnerables weren't gaining ground.
I have to wonder: Did the NYT really get Van Hollen wrong here, or is CVH deliberately trying to send mixed messages in order to motivate his troops through fear?
• AZ-Sen: Bad news! For John McCain! J.D. Hayworth still hasn't conceded. He's still waiting for those late-breaking absentee ballots to help him make up that oh-so-narrow 56-32 margin, apparently.
• CT-Sen: This doesn't seem like it'll end well for Linda McMahon, whose stance on WWE has been that it's harmless soap opera. Harley McNaught, the father of recently-deceased pro wrestler Lance Cade (who died of heart failure at age 29 in the wake of painkiller addiction), is going on the offense against McMahon in response to her comments that she "might have met him once." McNaught said that he'd been to several functions with his son where they'd met McMahon and she'd known him by name, and also ripped the company's "Wellness Program," which he says was more about PR than about helping employees.
• DE-Sen: There's no third-party fallback option for teabagger Christine O'Donnell, challenging Mike Castle for the GOP Senate nomination. The Constitution Party had nominated O'Donnell for its ballot line, but didn't even receive a ballot line after its membership dwindled to 287(!) members. (That's less than something called the "Blue Enigma Party," which still qualified for the ballot.) O'Donnell still can mount a write-in campaign after losing the primary to Castle (which she already did in the 2006 race after losing the primary to Jan Ting).
• KY-Sen: Our James L. summed this up pithily: "Douche Day Afternoon." Losing Dem Senate candidate Dan Mongiardo's latest statement of semi-support for Jack Conway was that Conway was "not the best" but that "he's a heck of a lot better" than Rand Paul, whose "scare[s him]."
• PA-Sen, PA-Gov (pdf): The newest Franklin & Marshall poll is another one of their choose-your-own-adventure specials, which shows the dimensions of the enthusiasm gap the Dems are facing, especially in the Keystone State. In the Senate race, Pat Toomey leads Joe Sestak 40-31 among likely voters, but only 31-28 among registered voters, which isn't much different from where we left off with their last general election poll in May. And in the gubernatorial race, it's similar, with Tom Corbett leading Dan Onorato 38-27 among LVs, but only 29-28 (probably the best showing I've seen in a head-to-head in this race) among RVs.
• FL-Gov: With Hayworth and Murkowski already mentioned today, it's just turning out to be the big day of GOP disunity and sour grapes all around. While figures like Jeb Bush and state party chair John Thrasher have gotten behind Rick Scott without any major hedging, Bill McCollum is continuing his sulk, flat-out not endorsing Scott.
• KY-Gov: The aptly-named Republican Agriculture Commissioner, Richie Farmer (I guess "Rich Farmer" was a little too overly descriptive), is still mulling over a run for Governor in next year's off-year election against Dem incumbent Steve Beshear, where early polling has shown he'd be competitive. He's also been linked to a possible Lt. Gov. bid, as running mate to state Senate president David Williams.
• SC-Gov: In another sign that a chunk of the local political establishment prefers Dem Vincent Sheheen to GOPer Nikki Haley, Sheheen just got the endorsement of 30 mayors around South Carolina. Most of these mayors are in nonpartisan elected positions, although one, Greer mayor Rick Danner, said he was a two-time voter for Mark Sanford.
• VT-Gov: Faced with the unenviable task of certifying her own gubernatorial primary loss, SoS Deb Markowitz says that the final certification of the super-close race in Vermont will be done on next Tuesday. All five candidates appeared amicably at a unity rally yesterday, but only shortly after Doug Racine's campaign manager called Peter Shumlin's declaration of victory premature, saying to wait until Tuesday. Shumlin currently leads Racine by 192 votes.
• AL-02: Rep. Bobby Bright caused some hyperventilating today when it came out that, in meeting with constituents, had punted on the issue of whether or not he'd be voting for Nancy Pelosi for Speaker next session. He did so by listing a number of reasons why that might not be an issue, including the decidedly morbid "heck, she might even get sick and die."
• CA-18: I don't know who looks worse in this situation, Mike Berryhill (the Republican launching an uphill, but generally credible, challenge to Rep. Dennis Cardoza), or his former campaign consultant John Villareal. Apparently they parted ways in unpleasant fashion, as Villareal blasted Berryhill's campaign as a lost cause... but did it in the form of a somewhat unhinged-sounding, 25-minute long rant posted to YouTube.
• OH-17: Jim Traficant may still yet be able to beam himself back into Congress. He just got an extension from Jennifer Brunner, giving him more time to prove that he did collect enough signatures to qualify for the November ballot as an independent. He previously got bounced for the ballot for not having enough valid signatures.
• OR-05: Hot on the heels of a too-good-to-be-true internal from Scott Bruun giving him a small lead a few days ago, Rep. Kurt Schrader hauled out his own internal from Lake Research giving him a pretty comfortable lead: 46-35. The poll's from late July, though, so one wonders if there's a more recent one that he's not sharing.
• PA-08: The ubiquitous POS is out with an internal poll on behalf of ex-Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick, giving him a 7-point lead (48-41) over Democratic sophomore Rep. Patrick Murphy. Murphy hasn't been one of the Dems' top worries in Pennsylvania, but as we've seen in recent weeks, the Dem brand in Pennsylvania seems to be waning particularly quickly.
• VA-05: Tom Perriello, in an interesting bit of distancing from national Dems that's ambiguous enough that it works from both right and left, called for the replacement of Treasury Sec. Timothy Geithner, at a local town hall. He didn't say who his preferred replacement would be (Robert Reich, anyone?).
• Ads: Lead-off ad of the day is from Alan Grayson in FL-08; the Hotline actually says it makes Grayson look "angelic" and they refer to it as the most positive ad they've seen so far from anyone. That Grayson... always zigging when everyone else is zagging. Other Dems out with their first TV ads for themselves today include Kathy Dahlkemper in PA-03, Julie Lassa in WI-07, and Tom Hayhurst in IN-03.
All the GOP ads today are anti-Dem ads being run by third party groups: America's Future Fund running against Bruce Braley in IA-01, the Heritage Foundation's lobbying arm against Mike McIntyre in NC-07, and Koch-backed Americans for Prosperity running against Gabrielle Giffords in AZ-08 and a weird two-fer (aimed at the Phoenix market, I guess) attacking both Anne Kirkpatrick and Harry Mitchell in AZ-01 and AZ-05. NWOTSOTB, on any of the ads.
• CA-Gov: Jerry Brown (D) 40%, Meg Whitman (R) 48%
• FL-Sen: Kendrick Meek (D) 21%, Marco Rubio (R) 40%, Charlie Crist (I) 30%
• UT-Gov: Peter Corroon (D) 29%, Gary Herbert (R-inc) 60%
• UT-Sen: Sam Granato (D) 29%, Mike Lee (R) 54%
In the race to replace disgraced ex-Rep. Mark Souder in the House of Representatives, Republican state Sen. Marlin Stutzman is the undisputed front-runner to take control of this conservative northeastern Indiana district in November.
Democrats have a very respectable nominee for the seat in former Fort Wayne councilman and physician Tom Hayhurst, but the partisan lean of the district poses an incredible climb in times like these. So it may be worth taking a closer look at Stutzman, who earlier this year lost the GOP nomination for Evan Bayh's Senate seat to lobbyist kingpin Dan Coats. A new profile on Stutzman by the Fort Wayne Reader presents plenty of dirt, including this particular detail that offers a hint at just how much of a nutbag this guy really is (emphasis added):
In 2009, Stutzman co-hosted a dinner with State Representative Cindy Noe (R-87) at the annual Creation Evidence Expo, an Indianapolis organization that seeks to "make current scientific evidence that supports the conclusion that God created man." Stutzman says that he and Noe (who is on the Education Committee in the Indiana House) were asked by the group to host the dinner, to which many legislators were invited.
"The information they had there was good information," he says. "We had some very good conversations with the folks at the Expo, just getting to know them, over the last couple of years. They wanted to raise awareness of their issue, and wanted to meet as many folks who are willing to support their organization and also make those who are in the legislature aware of their issue as well."
Over at Blue Indiana, Thomas (a great friend of SSP), asks a pretty pertinent question: Exactly what "information" did Stutzman find so compelling that day? Was it anything along these lines?
There are other reasons to doubt that dragon legends arose from fossil-based speculations. Tales of dragons are almost universal and were incorporated into the historical background of virtually every people group on every continent. How could so many different cultures conjure up such similar details in their dragon legends, unless their ancestors actually encountered them?
It would be easily explained if humans had actually seen living dinosaurs.
Emphasis definitely fucking added!
I suppose it should be pretty frightening to know that this guy -- an individual who throws parties for grown men and women who believe in the existence of dragons -- could easily wind up as a national lawmaker next year, but I think he'll be right at home among the teabagging class of 2010.
• CT-Sen: Now that was fast. Only days after his bizarre and probably hopeless parachuting back into the long-abandoned Connecticut Senate race, Rob Simmons just got the primary endorsement from the state's largest newspaper, the Hartford Courant. That's a pretty clear indicator of how they feel about Linda McMahon. Meanwhile, out in Crazy Town, former presidential candidate Steve Forbes weighed in, giving an endorsement to Paulist economist Peter Schiff.
• KY-Sen: Rogue ophthalmologist Rand Paul is certainly a glass-half-full (or mountain-half-still-there?) kind of guy. He's come out in favor of the environmentally destructive mountaintop removal method of coal mining, justifying it, true to form, with economics gobbledygook: "the land is of enhanced value, because now you can build on it." In fact, it's really just a branding problem: "I think they should name it something better."
• WA-Sen: Here's a rather unexpected endorsement: hard-right kingmaker Jim DeMint is coming out in favor of Dino Rossi, who was very much a moderate back when he ran for governor in 2004. I suppose Rossi taking the plunge as the first major Senate candidate to call for repeal of financial reform was enough for DeMint's satisfaction. I still have to wonder why Rossi would seek out this kind of endorsement, as it's certainly not going to help matters in the general election in this blue state; is he actually feeling enough heat from Sarah Palin-backed Clint Didier in the primary that he needs to go to the right-wing well?
• WI-Sen: If you've been following the Wisconsin Senate race, Ron Johnson has been vacillating all week on whether or not to sell his hundreds of thousands of dollars in BP stock and plow it into his campaign, move it into a blind trust, or just tape all his stock certificates together and use them to club baby seals. Now he's just saying he's going to sit on it and sell when market conditions are favorable -- not because it's the right thing to do, just because he wants a better profit on it.
• NH-Gov: PPP also has gubernatorial general election numbers are part of their New Hampshire sample. We'd been wondering if John Lynch, whose previous PPP numbers were kind of lukewarm, might be ready to sneak onto the list as Likely D, but today's numbers seem to suggest otherwise. (In fact, the once-unassailable Mike Beebe may now be likelier to fill that role.) Lynch's approvals are up to 52/36, and he leads his likeliest GOP opponent, ex-state HHS director John Stephen, 51-34. He also leads Jack Kimball 52-29, Karen Testerman 52-28, and Frank Emiro 48-28.
• NV-Gov: Rory Reid just got gifted some serious help in the Nevada governor's race (and having seen him on the stump at Netroots Nation, he's going to need all the help he can get...), via a gaffe from Brian Sandoval. Sandoval has denied previous allegations that he'd said on TV that his kids didn't look Hispanic, but now Univision has dug up the tape. Perhaps even more troublesome for Sandoval: he said that in the context of his kids' appearance being why he was not worried about his kids being racially profiled under Arizona's new law.
• NY-Gov: Unfortunately, Carl Paladino has confirmed that no cat fud will be served in the general election in November (not that Andrew Cuomo, polling over 60%, needs any shenanigans to win). Paladino says he won't puruse a third-party bid on the yet-to-be-named teabagger ballot line if he loses the GOP gubernatorial primary to newly-minted Islamophobe Rick Lazio.
• AZ-03: John McCain waded into the overstuffed GOP primary field in the race to replace retiring Rep. John Shadegg to flag a favorite. He's backing state Sen. Jim Waring. McCain had his choice of endorsers to pay back (Waring, as well as Vernon Parker and Ben Quayle, are supporting McCain, while Sam Crump is the only out-and-proud J.D. Hayworth backer in the field).
• CA-47: While there's nothing really newsworthy going on the 47th, Politico has a very interesting look below the surface at this forgotten race in a demographically-complex district. Both Loretta Sanchez and GOP challenger Van Tran seem aware that the Vietnamese minority in this low-turnout Hispanic-majority district is the district's electoral linchpin.
• DE-AL: Michelle Rollins was supposed to be the moderate in the GOP field in Delaware, but the wealthy philanthropist seems to be going the full Sharron Angle. She joined the swelling Republican ranks of candidates saying that extending unemployment benefits just takes away people's motivations to go out and get real jobs.
• FL-08: The main story here may be that Zogby, the pollster ubiquitous in 2004 and once though to be in the Dems' pocket, is now reduced to doing internal polls for low-priority GOP House candidates? Anyway, they did a poll on behalf of attorney/talk show host Todd Long (the guy who almost successfully primaried Ric Keller in 2008). Long's poll gives him a 46-38 lead over Rep. Alan Grayson. Of course, Long isn't a likely bet to emerge from the primary (which he shares with ex-state Sen. Daniel Webster, state Rep. Kurt Kelly, and rich guy Bruce O'Donoghue), and there's no mention of primary numbers.
• IN-03: If this were two years ago, an open seat in the 3rd (especially with 2006 candidate Tom Hayhurst on board) might have been a good pickup opportunity. Not so this year, apparently. GOP nominee state Sen. Marlin Stutzman is out with an internal from American Viewpoint giving him a 56-29 lead. Hayhurst has the financial advantage, though, and may be able to use that to make up at least some of that ground.
• KS-04: SurveyUSA has one last pre-primary look at the primary races in the 4th. There's a lot of movement in the 4th, where businessman Wink Hartman seems to be rapidly deflating (as the carpetbagging issue may have gotten some traction) and moderate state Sen. Jean Schodorf is quickly gaining (as people realize the other candidates are all wackos). RNC committee member Mike Pompeo is still in the lead, though, at 31. Schodorf is at 24 (up 8) and Hartman at 21 (down 8), with 13 for Jim Anderson. On the Dem side, state Rep. Raj Goyle's ad blitz seems to have had its desired effect, which was to raise his name rec and prevent him from getting VicRawl'd. (Ah, sweet memories of 2008.) Having trailed Some Dude Robert Tillman in the previous SUSA poll, Goyle now leads 63-19.
• KY-03: This race seemed to move onto the map (albeit just barely) with Republican Todd Lally having narrowly outraised Democratic Rep. John Yarmuth last quarter. Yarmuth seems to be acting quickly to squelch any sense that he's in unusual trouble, though, rolling out an internal from Cooper & Secrest that gives him a 58-32 lead over Lally.
• OK-05: Everyone in the Beltway seems to be wondering a) what the heck went wrong with state Rep. Kevin Calvey, who was deemed frontrunner in the GOP primary in the 5th based on his Club for Growth and American Conservative Union backing, but finished second, and b) who the heck is James Lankford? The youth camp director and newbie to politics won thanks to grassroots mobilizing in the social conservative community. At any rate, this sets up a GOP runoff that's similar to a number of others we've seen in southern states: a faceoff between the CfG and Mike Huckabee (a Lankford endorser) sub-wings of the right wing.
• DCCC: Here's an interesting piece from National Journal that runs the DCCC's list of 60-some districts for ad buys through some demographic sifting. It's based on "quadrants" developed by Ronald Brownstein (which are pretty simple, really, just education and racial diversity -- we've been working behind the scenes here at SSP on something similar but more sophisticated, which hopefully will see the light someday soon). As you might expect, most of the vulnerable seats, and the DCCC's ad buys are in the low-education, low-diversity (i.e. mostly white) districts, which is where Obama tended to perform the weakest in 2008.
• IL-Gov: Pat Quinn (D-inc) 37%, Bill Brady (R) 44%
• MO-Sen: Robin Carnahan (D) 43%, Roy Blunt (R) 49%
• OR-Sen: Ron Wyden (D-inc) 51%, Jim Huffman (R) 35%
• WI-Sen: Russ Feingold (D-inc) 46%, Ron Johnson (R) 48%
On the Rasmussen front, it's also worth checking out Chris Bowers' latest Senate projections at Open Left. He ran separate Rasmussen-free and Rasmussen-included versions, and the difference is remarkable.
Sorry about the title, I was going for something more creative and that is a bit blah. However the title does explain the overview of this diary. This election cycle was expected to be as boring as can be for Indiana yet a series of retirements and resignations changed it. Indiana contains many important elections and promises to be an entertaining year. I will try and provide an overview of all of our elections and even provide predictions. I hope you enjoy!
• Election results: Yesterday's big event was the special election in FL-19, the first real electoral test after the passage of HCR. The allegedly massive opposition to healthcare reform on the part of the district's many seniors never really materialized. Democratic state Sen. Ted Deutch beat Republican Ed Lynch 62-35, with very little falloff from Obama's 65-34 performance in 2008. (Contrast that with John Garamendi's so-so 53-43 performance in November's CA-10 special election, a similarly 65-33 district in 2008.)
I should also pause to offer a little credit to Texas's Republicans, who voted for the less crazy candidates in the Board of Education and Supreme Court runoffs, and in a bigger surprise to me, for the Hispanic-surnamed candidates in the TX-17 and TX-23 runoffs (which, based on incumbent Victor Carrillo's trouncing in the Railroad Commissioner primary, seemed unlikely to happen). The NRCC has to be pleased to see the wealthier and less wingnutty Bill Flores and Quico Canseco emerge. Rep. Chet Edwards, however, is one guy who knows how to stand and fight, and he wasted no time hitting Flores hard and defining him as a carpetbagger in big oil's pocket.
One other leftover issue from last night: two races in California, as expected, are headed to runoffs. In Republican-held SD-12, Republican Assemblyman Bill Emmerson will face off against Democrat Justin Blake (the GOPers combined got more than 60% of the vote, so this is a likely hold), while in safely-Democratic AD-43, Democratic lawyer Mike Gatto will face off with Republican Sunder Ramani to replace now-LA city councilor Paul Krekorian. Gatto seemed to shoot the gap in this heavily Armenian-American district after the two Armenian candidates, Chahe Keuroghelian and Nayiri Nahabedian, nuked each other.
• AR-Sen: Bill Halter's primary campaign gained more momentum, as he picked up an endorsement from the Alliance for Retired Americans, pleased with his time as a Social Security Administration official. One group that really isn't getting on board with Halter, though, is the Berry family; first outgoing Rep. Marion Berry dissed Halter, and now his son, Mitch, is head of a group, Arkansans for Common Sense, that's running ads attacking Halter on the Social Security front. (Are there any Arkansans who are actually against common sense?)
• CO-Sen: Looks like GOP establishment candidate Jane Norton sees the handwriting on the wall and is taking a page from Democrat Michael Bennet's book: not able to rely on getting on the ballot via activist-dominated convention (where teabagger-fueled Ken Buck seems likely to triumph), she's making plans to qualify by finding 1,500 signatures in each of the state's seven congressional districts. Speaking of Bennet, he's still the fundraising kingpin in this race; he just announced he raised $1.4 million last quarter, well ahead of Norton's $816K.
• FL-Sen: Charlie Crist may have sounded Shermanesque last week in his determination not to switch to an Independent bid for Governor, but apparently now there's increasing moves within his inner circle to move in that direction. Unnamed advisors are floating the idea to the WSJ today.
• IN-Sen: Dan Coats seems to be having more trouble making the transition from the free-wheelin' world of high-stakes lobbying back to the humdrum electoral politics world, where you actually have to follow the rules and stuff. He's 10 days overdue on filing his finance disclosure reports with the FEC. One note that the Beltway press seemed to miss though: his main GOP primary opponent, ex-Rep. John Hostettler hasn't made his filing yet either. (Of course, fundraising was never Hostettler's strong suit. Or even his weak suit.)
• NC-Sen (pdf): PPP issued its latest installment in polls of the Senate general election in its home state. Maybe the biggest surprise is that incumbent Republican Richard Burr's approvals are just continuing to fall; he's currently at 32/41 (while likeliest opponent Elaine Marshall is in positive territory at 19/11). Also encouraging, I suppose, is that the actual human Democrats are starting to draw even with Generic D (while previous polls have had Generic D far outpacing them), showing they're getting better-defined. Burr leads Generic D 43-38, while he leads Marshall 43-37, and leads both Cal Cunningham and Kenneth Lewis 43-35.
• NY-Sen-B: With ex-Gov. George Pataki's phantom interest in this race finally having been dispelled, Swing State Project is removing this race from its "Races to Watch" list.
• PA-Sen, PA-Gov (pdf): One more poll in the rapidly-becoming-overpolled Pennsylvania Senate race, this time from Republican pollster Susequehanna. They use an LV model, and find Pat Toomey with a 48-38 lead over Arlen Specter. Of more immediate consequence, they find Specter leading Joe Sestak 42-28 in the Dem primary. They also polled both primaries in the gubernatorial race, finding Dan Onorato seeming to break away from the ill-defined pack among the Dems. Onorato is at 32, followed by Joe Hoeffel at 13, Jack Wagner at 6, and Anthony Williams at 4. Tom Corbett beats down Sam Rohrer on the GOP side, 50-7. After marshaling his resources, Specter is finally starting to open fire; he's up with his first TV ad of the cycle starting today.
• WI-Sen: The only thing that's sure is that Tommy Thompson likes to see his name in the press. There's been a lot of conflicting reporting about Tommy Thompson today, with many outlets running with the story that he's decided against running for Senate (that all traces back to one leak to a local TV station, although it sounds like Politico got some confirmation from an anonymous GOP source). Other outlets are emphasizing that Thompson's spokesperson says that Thompson hasn't made a final decision, though. Either way, Thompson will be announcing his plans at a Tea Party rally tomorrow in Madison, so our pain will be ended tomorrow one way or the other.
• MA-Gov: Here's more evidence for my expectation that Dem-turned-indie Tim Cahill will be running to the right (or at least to the incoherent-angry-working-class-Catholic-guy-position) of the Republican in the Massachusetts gubernatorial race this year. He's appearing at today's Tea Party rally on Boston Common today, the same one with Sarah Palin that Scott Brown ditched (although MA-10 candidate Joe Malone and GOP gubernatorial underdog Christy Mihos will be there). Likely GOP gubernatorial nominee Charlie Baker (from the party's old-school moderate WASP tradition) decided against attending, probably out of fears that he might get jostled by some ruffian and spill some of his gin and tonic on his white Bermuda shorts.
• MN-Gov: Two blasts from the past in the Minnesota gubernatorial race. Walter Mondale weighed in in favor of Democratic state House speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher, while a guy I've never heard of named Al Quie, who claims to have been governor from 1979 to 1983, endorsed Republican Marty Seifert.
• NE-Gov: Via press release, the campaign for Democratic candidate Mark Lakers let us know that he took in $314K, impressive considering his late entry to the campaign.
• AL-07: State Rep. Earl Hilliard Jr. got an endorsement from the United Steelworkers, a union that seems to still have a lot of clout in Birmingham, once a major steel town.
• AZ-03: Now here's some news I didn't expect: the fundraising champ in the 3rd isn't one of the many state legislators running here, but rather attorney (and vice-presidential progeny) Ben Quayle. He pulled in $550K in the first quarter, thanks no doubt to family connections. There are a couple other self-funders in the race too, but the elected officials seem to be lagging: case in point, well-known ex-state Sen. Pamela Gorman, who raised only $37K and ends with $23K CoH.
• FL-24: Rep. Suzanne Kosmas announced a haul of $260K for the first quarter. That's less than the $340K reported by her likely GOP opponent, steakhouse mogul Craig Miller (although a slab of his money was apparently carved out of his own personal funds); Kosmas has a big CoH advantage, though, sitting on more than $1 million.
• GA-07: Retiring Republican Rep. John Linder didn't look far to endorse a replacement for him: he gave his nod to his former chief of staff, Rob Woodall.
• HI-01: Sen. Dan Inouye just transferred $100K of his money to the DCCC, despite appearances that they're actively backing Ed Case, rather than Colleen Hanabusa, who has the support of Inouye (and pretty much everyone else in the local Democratic establishment). Inouye has apparently been working behind the scenes, including reaching out to Nancy Pelosi, to get the DCCC to dial back their Case support, so maybe the cash infusion will give him a little more leverage. (Inouye is sitting on $3.2 million and faces little if any opposition this year.)
• IN-03: Nice fundraising numbers from Democrat Tom Hayhurst, who ran a surprisingly close race against Rep. Mark Souder in 2006 and is back for another try. Hayhurst has racked up $234K CoH, more than Souder ($99K in the first quarter).
• IN-05: Politico has a look at Rep. Dan Burton's difficult primary in the 5th, in Indianapolis's dark-red suburbs. While Burton may actually be safer this year compared with 2008 (since he has four opponents instead of just one), the article traces the roots of the local GOP's discontent with him, and also shows the magnitude of his collapse in support: only 2 of the 11 local party organizations are supporting Burton this time.
• MO-08: Another Dem in a dark-red seat who keeps impressing everybody with his tenacity is Tommy Sowers. The veteran and college instructor, who's challenging Rep. Jo Ann Emerson, raised $295K in the first quarter and is now sitting on $675K CoH.
• NM-02: Ex-Rep. Steve Pearce can write himself his own checks if he needs to, but he may not need to at this rate. Pearce raised $277K in the first quarter, and now sits on $708K. Democratic Rep. Harry Teague hasn't reported yet, but in the duel of wealthy oil guys, he can self-fund too if need be.
• NY-14: With Democratic primary challenger Reshma Saujani having some success on the financial front, Rep. Carolyn Maloney got some top-tier help from Barack Obama, who endorsed her and sent out a fundraising appeal on her behalf.
• PA-11: If this doesn't wake up Rep. Paul Kanjorski from his nap, I don't know what will. Three-time Republican opponent Lou Barletta raised $300K in the first quarter. An important caveat: there was no mention of cash on hand, which is telling because Barletta was still saddled with a lot of debt from his 2008 campaign when he decided to run again. (UPDATE: Barletta's CoH is now $205K.)
• PA-17: Republican state Sen. David Argall raised a tolerable but not-too-impressive $125K in the first quarter. He'll need more than that to battle Rep. Tim Holden, who, if nothing else, has great survival skills (he had the worst district of any freshman who survived 1994, and then survived a 2002 gerrymander designed to rub him out). In fact, he'll need more than that just for his primary; heretofore unknown GOP opponent ex-Marine Frank Ryan raised $70K in the first quarter.
• Redistricting: Maryland beat out New York to be the first state in the nation to enact legislation that will, in terms of redistricting, treat prisoners as residents of their last known address, rather than where they're incarcerated (and thus move the center of gravity back toward the cities from the countryside). Also, on the redistricting front, if there's one group of people who are the target audience for a whole movie about redistricting (Gerrymandering), it's the crowd at SSP. The film's director has a diary up, touting its release in two weeks at the Tribeca Film Festival.
In a series of comments here at SSP, I've argued that the IN-03 congressional race is the sleeper race of the 2010 cycle. In this diary, I'll expand on these comments and explain in detail why I think Democratic candidate Dr. Tom Hayhurst has a real shot at pulling the upset of 2010 here in Indiana.
Some caveats: no, I don't expect Hayhurst to win; I'm arguing only that he has a legitimate shot and could win given the right (not entirely unrealistic) set of circumstances. Also, this diary isn't intended as a critique of the SSP front-page team, which recently made the decision not to list IN-03 as a potential pickup on the Big Board. They have excellent reasons for their choice, and their fantastic writing and analysis is what keeps me coming back to SSP more than any other political site on the Net. Finally, though I live in another district in Indiana (IN-09), I've never been to IN-03, nor do I know Hayhurst, Souder, any of the other candidates, or anyone who lives in the district. Thus, my comments in this diary are based solely on my own analysis and on information I've gleaned from the Web.
• CT-Sen: Rumors are popping up that ex-Rep. Rob Simmons, still the GOP Senate primary's frontrunner by most people's estimation but financially outgunned on a variety of different fronts, may switch to the now-open gubernatorial race. Simmons, however, says his plans are "unchanged," and touts his foreign policy background, saying that's much more useful in the Senate. Meanwhile, an interesting CQ piece looks at pro wrestling svengali Linda McMahon's role in the race, and wonders whether her vast fortunes will really help her that much in a state where a convention attended by party insiders (where Simmons would be favored) is decisive in shaping the field. (Although even if she doesn't win the convention outright or meet the 15% threshold for getting on the ballot, she can still get on the ballot by collecting enough signatures -- certainly an expensive process, but one she could pay for with whatever change she finds under her couch cushions.)
• FL-Sen: Here's about as close as you can get to a Jeb Bush endorsement without his lips actually moving. Bush's sons, Jeb Bush Jr. and George P. Bush, are headlining a Marco Rubio fundraiser in mid-December.
• CT-Gov: Ned Lamont is already staffing up, and a familiar face is going to be one of his key advisors: Howard Wolfson. Wolfson was adviser to Lamont in 2006, but is better known for his lead role in Hillary Clinton's campaign last year, as well as Michael Bloomberg's campaign this year.
• MN-Gov: Minneapolis mayor R.T. Rybak ran into a snafu with his campaign still on the launching pad, as the state's campaign finance board ruled that he spent money on his campaign before he'd filed the campaign paperwork. Rybak paid for a message-testing poll, although it didn't directly ask questions about the governor's race. If you want to see the whole polling memo (not something you usually get to see with internal polls), check it out.
• WI-Gov: Politics abhors a vacuum, and Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett is acting quickly to fill the vacuum that has formed on the Democratic side of the gubernatorial race. He says he'll make a decision "one way or the other" by the week's end.
• CO-04: Although state Rep. Cory Gardner is clearly the NRCC's favorite in the Republican field, that didn't deter former Ft. Collins city councilor Diggs Brown, who will be announcing his candidacy on Saturday. He had been considered a likely candidate all year, but was on a year-long Army deployment and unable to announce until now. Univ. of Colorado Regent Tom Lucero rounds out the trio of GOPers seeking to take on first-term Dem Rep. Betsy Markey.
• FL-13: James Golden, an African-American minister, attorney and former Bradenton city councilor, launched his campaign last week against Rep. Vern Buchanan. Golden will face an uphill fight against the self-funding Buchanan -- unless Buchanan, facing ongoing scrutiny over mysterious campaign finance machinations, goes down in a legal implosion.
• ID-01: This may be a surprise, or may not -- state House majority leader Ken Roberts withdrew from the GOP primary race to take on freshman Dem Rep. Walt Minnick. Roberts cited health reasons. Roberts initially would have seemed to have a leg up based on name recognition, but veteran and former McCain campaign official Vaughn Ward seemed to be capturing most of the buzz, including a good fundraising start and NRCC touting.
• IN-03: Democrats have taken notice in the last few cycles of Rep. Mark Souder's decidedly lackadaisical approach to re-election in this dark-red district, but now someone from the teabaggy right is taking notice too, and launching a primary campaign. Republican Attorney Phil Troyer (a former staffer to Dick Lugar and Dan Coats) announced his campaign today. (This seems less like an ideological challenge, as Souder is down-the-line conservative, as just opportunistic, taking advantage of his sloth.) Tom Hayhurst, who narrowly lost in 2006, is on track to the Democratic nod again.
• MN-03: Add a second Democratic challenger to the list in the 3rd: Minnesota PTA president, and executive director of the Minnesota Optometrists Association, Jim Meffert filed to run. He joins psychiatrist Maureen Hackett; they may still both be joined by state Sen. Teri Bonoff, although Meffert says that Bonoff has hinted to him that she's likely to take a pass.
• NJ-03: Best wishes to state Sen. Diane Allen, who is entering treatment for an aggressive form of cancer. The moderate Allen, who lost the 2002 Senate primary and was short-listed for Lt. Governor this year, had been considered a possible candidate against Rep. John Adler in the 3rd.
• NV-02: We've got another Democrat lined up to go against Rep. Dean Heller in the 2nd (after Cindy Trigg dropped out several months ago), and he has a strong resume. Jack Schofield is a member of the state's Board of Regents, and is a former state Senator. Unfortunately, he may not be running the most vigorous campaign in the world, as he was a state Senator in the 1970s, and is a World War II veteran (do the math).
• NY-23: The Washington Post has a nice, human-level retrospective on Dede Scozzafava's collapse in the special election and the difference in how the GOP and the Dems treated her, leading to her Bill Owens endorsement. Meanwhile, things continue to play out, as Scozzafava either stepped down from or was stripped of her leadership role in the Assembly Republicans, depending on who you believe. Start counting down to her party switch (not that the Assembly Dems need the help, what with their 109-41 margin).
• OH-02: What's with all these former Apprentice contestants thinking that's somehow a stepping stone to political office? Surya Yalimanchili is now planning to run as an independent in the 2nd, currently held by GOP Rep. Jean Schmidt. He's sounding centrist notes so far rather than sounding teabaggy, though, so he may not help the Dems too much by siphoning off far-right Republican votes.
• PA-07: One more Democrat is getting into the open seat field in the 7th, although it's unclear whether she'll get much traction against state Rep. Bryan Lentz. Environmental lawyer Gail Conner, an Obama convention delegate last year, threw her hat into the ring.
• PA-11: Third time's the charm? It looks like Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta will give crusty Dem incumbent Paul Kanjorski another challenge next year. Barletta fell just a few points shy of knocking off Kanjorski last year, prompting Lackawanna County Commissioner Corey O'Brien to enter the Democratic primary for the seat. With pressure from both sides, one has to wonder if Kanjo will hit the eject button. (J)
• PA-17: Here's an example of how voting against health care reform does Blue Dogs a fat lot of good: Rep. Tim Holden got about two days of peace before a Republican state Senator started making noises about a campaign against him anyway. Holden has had little in the way of opposition recently, but now he may face David Argall, who represents Holden's coal-country turf of Schuylkill County. Relatedly, over in Ohio's 16th, a Cleveland Plain Dealer profile of fellow anti-HCR vote John Boccieri shows how he managed to win over exactly no Republicans while ticking off his base.
• PA-19: With Republican Rep. Todd Platts looking to bail on the House and head over to the GAO, candidates are already scoping out the potential special election. Although it's a dark-red district (R+12), one good-sounding Dem is gearing up: Ryan Sanders, real estate developer, president of the Red Lion Area Business Association, and most usefully, an organizer for the Obama campaign in York County.
• UT-02: More fallout from the health care reform vote: Democratic Rep. Jim Matheson (one of the 'no' votes) may, as a result, be facing a primary challenge from the left from state Sen. Scott McCoy (Utah's only gay state Senator and one of its few liberals). The Salt Lake City-based district is still strongly Republican, although it hasn't presented Matheson with much trouble lately.
• MI-St. Sen.: Here's an interesting look at the fight by Dems to reclaim the state Senate in Michigan (currently held 22-16 by the GOP, but where the majority of seats are open next year), which would give them the redistricting trifecta. Even if they don't pick it up (or do while losing the gubernatorial race), the state Supreme Court breaks any logjam, making next year's Supreme Court elections paramount too. The article also contains a map of the Dems' preferred redistricting plan, to turf out Rep. Vern Ehlers by creating a Dem-leaning 3rd District linking Grand Rapids and Muskegon.
• NH-St. Sen.: A special election will be happening in New Hampshire, giving the Dems the chance to add to their narrow lead in the state Senate there (they currently have a 14-10 edge). Republican state Sen. Ted Gatsas is poised to resign after having been elected Manchester mayor. Democratic state Rep. Jeff Goley is set to get into the race, though several other state House Dems are looking at it too.
• Mayors: The Seattle mayor's race has finally come to an end, with as late-breaking ballots are going more toward former local Sierra Club leader Mike McGinn. Joe Mallahan conceded after McGinn's lead pushed up to nearly 5,000, for a 51-49 edge.
• Ads: In the wake of this weekend's health care vote, the DNC is planning to target 32 House Republicans in Obama districts who voted 'no.' They aren't planning on using paid media yet, but will use the OFA campaign e-mail lists to organize in those districts. Meanwhile, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee is promising ads against 10 'no' votes, saying it's "payback" time: Barrow, Shuler, Herseth Sandlin, Murphy, Altmire, Nye, Kissell, Adler, Kosmas, and Ross.
• Demographics: If you're like me, you may spend a lot of time wondering how Scandinavian-Americans got so liberal and Dutch-Americans got so conservative. Dreaminonempty takes a look at ancestry and voting patterns in a very interesting diary at Open Left.
A very special morning edition of the Daily Digest!
• IA-Sen: The Des Moines Register's Marc Hansen teases that "a well-known mystery candidate" with "name recognition and money" is "about 75 percent ready to join the race" against deather douchebag GOPer Chuck Grassley. The Politico's Charles Mahtesian speculates that the mystery candidate could be none other than Dem Rep. Bruce Braley. Color me skeptical.
• IL-10: NRCC recruitment wiz kid Kevin McCarthy parachuted himself into the Chicagoland area on Saturday in order to survey the recruitment progress in race to defend GOP Rep. Mark Kirk's open seat. He met with a small batch of prospects, including stock market analyst Dick Green, attorney Bill Cadigan (a former staffer for ex-Rep. Jon Porter, who held the 10th District for two decades prior to Kirk), and businessman Bob Dold. Interestingly, that list didn't include any of the district's deep bench of Republican state legislators. I'm not sure if we should read that as a tea leaf that state Rep. Beth Coulson may not be serious about running, but it appears that the GOP is preparing for the prospect of defending this seat with a political newcomer.
• IN-03: Talk about taking one for the team. Former Fort Wayne city councilman Tom Hayhurst, an M.D. who gave GOP Rep. Mark Souder the closest shave of his political life in 2006, has filed papers for a rematch in 2010. Hayhurst lost to Souder by a 54-46 margin that year -- a pretty impressive showing given the district's horrid R+14 bent. But after Souder pasted well-funded attorney Mike Montagano in 2008 by 15 points, it's hard to see how the good doctor has a shot in hell here. Godspeed, sir.
• FL-08: Here's some good news for frosh Dem Rep. Alan Grayson. Larry Cretul, the Republican Speaker of the Florida House, has decided against challenging the former beardo next year. The GOP still has a number of options here, including state Rep. Stephen Precourt and Orlando Mayor Rich Crotty.
Precourt, for his part, told the St. Petersburg Times that he may be interested in a bid, but sounds supportive of state Sen. Dan Webster, should he choose to run. More from Precourt:
"I am a big fan of Senator Dan Webster, but am keeping my powder dry for now. It seems best to stand back and let Congressman Grayson self destruct for the time being, as he is doing quite a good job of it."
Precourt may have been referring to Grayson's legislative priorities, but he could have just as easily been alluding to the congressman's, uh, relaxed style of speech. During a Netroots Nation panel in Pittsburgh on Friday, Grayson decided to yuk it up by saying his 2008 opponent, GOP Rep. Ric Keller, "did all his hiring at Hooters". He went on to relate an anecdote about how one of his "more resourceful" supporters posed as a volunteer at his opponent's campaign headquarters for several days, and reported back that "they spent all their time flying paper clips at each other and watching porn on their computers."
• MN-Gov: It's no surprise, but Minnesota House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher, a Democrat, formally threw her hat into the extremely crowded gubernatorial race on Thursday.
• MO-04: It looks like longtime Dem Rep. Ike Skelton, who's been manning the fort for us in this R+14 district since Baby Jesus was riding dinosaurs to school, is going to have an honest-to-God race on his hands in 2010. GOP state Sen. Bill Stouffer, whose district overlaps some of the 4th's northern counties, filed his statement of candidacy with the FEC last week. Stouffer will face a primary from fundie-flavored ex-state Rep. Vicky Hartzler.
• NC-Sen: With NC SoS Elaine Marshall officially still on the fence, the DSCC isn't sitting idly by to wait for her decision. Former Lt. Gov. Dennis Wicker, who lost the 2000 Democratic gubernatorial primary to Mike Easley, says that he's had conversations with the DSCC and ex-Gov. Jim Hunt about challenging GOP Sen. Richard Burr, and will consider his options. I'd say that Democrats had better lock up either Marshall or Wicker before they realize how ugly 2010 is going to be for Team Blue.
• NV-Sen: Wanna run against Harry Reid (and win)? It really doesn't appear to be that daunting of a task if you believe the spurt of Republican polls in the past few days. Hot on the heels of a poll showing NV GOP Chair Susan Lowden smacking Reid by an six-point margin, two-time political loser Danny Tarkanian is out with a poll from Chariot, LLC (never heard of 'em) showing him beating Reid by a 50-42 spread.
But before we leave it at that, I just want to briefly touch on this howler from Reno Gazette-Journal reporter Anjeanette Damon:
It was an automated poll, meaning a recorded voice asked respondents to express their preference by pushing a number on their phone. These polls, while inexpensive to run, are not regarded as the most accurate method of obtaining survey results.
Maybe this poll is bunk, but I'm getting pretty tired of journalists who can't bother to, at the bare minimum, take five minutes to review Nate's pollster ratings. Or as Tom Jensen recently lamented:
I think there should be a required J School course for all aspiring political journalists on how to truly understand polling, the different methodologies, and the different organizations. I'd put pretty high up on the list that they should learn to look up and analyze the track records of various organizations instead of judging them on hearsay and other subjective criteria.
• NY-Gov: The Q&Q Polling Factory is out with the n-thousandth poll showing Democratic Gov. David Paterson in comically bad shape. Pitted in a primary against AG Andrew Cuomo, Paterson now loses by a 61-15 margin, down from a 57-20 loss in June. In a general election against Rudy Giuliani, Paterson loses 53-33, while Cuomo leads by 48-39. The numbers scream for themselves.
• PA-05: SSP extends our condolences to the family and friends of Bill Cahir, who was killed while on duty in Afghanistan late last week. Cahir, as you may remember, ran a very respectable campaign for the Democratic nomination in Pennsylvania's 5th District last year, losing a three-way race to Mark McCracken.
• TX-Gov: In a bit of a let-down for Texas activists, Austin-area state Sen. Kirk Watson, seen as a rising star in the TX Democratic Party, announced on Friday that he'll be seeking re-election to the state senate rather than entering the gubernatorial primary, which is already populated by the likes of Tom Schieffer and Kinky Friedman.