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SSP Daily Digest: 4/4

by: DavidNYC

Mon Apr 04, 2011 at 8:13 AM EDT

Senate:

CT-Sen: Former SoS Susan Bysiewicz said that she raised over half a mil in Q1. She also continued a theme of attacking Chris Murphy as some kind of skeezy Washington insider, saying "I'm sure the corporate PACs and DC lobbyists are lining up to support other candidates." Murphy is the only other announced candidate.

FL-Sen: Adam Smith of the St. Petersburg Times tweeted last Wednesday he expects George LeMieux (R) to announce "next week"... which means this week.

IN-Sen: Rep. Dan Burton, one of the most disliked Republicans in the state of Indiana, channels his inner Tobias Fünke (the man inside him?) and says, "I'm supporting Dick - there's two Dicks in the race." That'd be Richard "Dick" Lugar and Richard "Dick" Mourdock. Oh Burton, you blowhard!

KY-Sen: I can't really believe Rand Paul is serious about a presidential bid, but then again, I thought the same thing about Michele Bachmann and was clearly wrong about that. Still, I'm mostly amused by the fact that he met with Iowa Republicans (including Gov. Terry Branstad) in Des Moines this past weekend. Rand might be trying to set himself up for a run in 2016... or he could also be doing a good job of inviting a primary challenge if he seeks re-election.

MA-Sen: Teabaggers being pissed at Scott Brown are nothing new - though I do find their naivety endearing. (What did they think they were going to get?) What's sad is that one of their self-anointed leaders, some guy named Judson Phillips, can only muster up this in response to Brown's latest outrage (calling to reduce budget cuts): "Perhaps the Massachusetts Tea Party will step up with someone to challenge him in 2012." A resounding call to arms this ain't.

ME-Sen: Freshman Sen. Pat Toomey says he won't endorse Olympia Snowe in her bid for re-election. Toomey, don't forget, has some residual teabagger cred, given that he was president of the Club for Growth.

MO-Sen: Citizens United (yes, that Citizens United) just gave GOP Rep. Todd Akin $10K in the hopes of luring him into the Senate race. I was wrong about Trent Franks, but I really do feel like Akin will get in here.

MT-Sen: Republicans think they get lots of mileage out of attacking "welfare," but Denny Rehberg took this trope several steps further, declaring that Pell Grants are "turning out to be the welfare of the 21st century."

NV-Sen: Rep. Shelley Berkley says she's heartened by the internal poll numbers she put out last week (42-38 over Republican Dean Heller), she still hasn't made up her mind, though now says she'll decide "fairly soon," whatever that means.

NY-Sen: Kirsten Gillibrand set a personal record with her 1Q fundraising, taking in over $3 million.

Gubernatorial:

KY-Gov: Despite opposing the expansion of gambling in the state - a very big and very contentious issue - State Senate President (and GOP gubernatorial nominee) David Williams lost over $36,000 in casinos from 1999 to 2002, according to court documents related to his divorce.

MO-Gov: Did GOP Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder just neutralize the whole "Air Claire" business? It turns out that Kinder, widely expected to run for governor, has spent an average of two months a year staying at St. Louis luxury hotels, all at taxpayer expense, including trips for society balls and baseball games.. You really need to read the whole piece to get the full flavor of Kinder's abuse of his office. Kinder also told a reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch "I'm not talking to you," then hung up the phone. This story's going to get worse, not better.

UT-Gov, UT-Sen: As we've noted previously, the teabaggers are gunning for Gov. Gary Herbert, thanks to his support for immigration bills that are insufficiently punitive, in their view. Now the name of another potential primary challenger has surfaced: state Rep. Stephen Sandstrom. The linked article also says that David Kirkham, a key teabagger who helped oust Bob Bennett last year, is suggesting that Herbert, rather than Orrin Hatch, may be his compatriots' number one target this cycle. Hatch previously refused to take a position on his home state's legislation, but let's see if he turns on Herbert in the hopes of re-directing the teabaggers.

WV-Gov: Julie Sobel at the Hotline has a complete wrapup of fundraising numbers for all the major candidates, both Dem and Republican, in the WV gubernatorial race.

Other Races:

Wisconsin Sup. Ct.: On Twitter, when Sarah Palin announced she was backing David Prosser, I called it the kiss of death. J. Pilmanis said no, she kissed a corpse. We'll find out for sure tomorrow! Anyhow, the ad wars have, of course, gone full-tilt in the final days of the campaign. Here's a roundup of some that we've seen:

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SSP Daily Digest: 2/24

by: DavidNYC

Thu Feb 24, 2011 at 8:26 AM EST

AZ-Sen: Outgoing Sen. Jon Kyl says he isn't endorsing a successor - just yet. He wants to see how the field develops first.

IN-Sen: Look who else isn't endorsing - the forgotten man, Sen. Dan Coats, says he isn't taking sides in the looming GOP primary battle, not for Lugar or anyone else. Way to stick by your colleagues, huh? I guess maybe Coats is thinking about 2016, when I'd be willing to bet dollars-to-donuts he'll get teabagged himself (if he doesn't hang up his spurs before then, something I'd also entertain action on).

Meanwhile, Mourdock is concerned about the possible entry of teabagging state Sen. Mike Delph, who Treasurer (and recently-announced candidate) Richard Mourdock says will split the vote with him if he runs. Delph previously issued the usual state legislator's incantation, saying he'd wait until the legislative sessions concludes at the end of April before deciding on a run.

NE-Sen: Gotta say this about Don Stenberg: He has no fear of losing. He's making his fourth try for senate, having failed on his three previous attempts. Still, despite almost achieving perennial candidate status, he did have a triumphant return to statewide office last year, winning the Treasurer race by a landslide. And he served as state AG for over a decade starting in 1991, so it's not like he can't win a race. (Attentive law students might also remember him from the caption in Stenberg v. Carhart, the Supreme Court case about so-called "partial-birth abortion.") In any event, Stenberg is looking to present himself as the far-right alternative to AG and not-exactly-firmly-entrenched frontrunner Jon Bruning.

TX-Sen: Either Tom Leppert just scored a sweet season pass to Six Flags Hurricane Harbor, or he's going to dive into the crowded GOP senate race. Though he has four months to go, he's resigning (effective Friday) from his current position as mayor of Dallas, so it's gotta be one of those two. Who wants to give me ten-to-one on Hurricane Harbor?

Maybe that's not a bad idea, actually, since the University of Texas (on behalf of the Texas Tribune) didn't even test Leppert's name in their new poll (PDF) of the GOP primary. It's not especially fascinating, though, since "I dunno" leads the way at 52%, LG David Dewhurst (who hasn't yet announced) is at 27%, and no one else is above 5%. They also looked at a hypothetical Dem primary, between a bunch of guys who aren't running and no one knows. Click through the link if you insist.

UT-Sen: What to do if you're a pollster in Utah? You've got a major potential teabagging on your hands, but it's very likely to be decided at a party convention, not in a normal primary. So what do you do? You poll it anyway! I can't blame the folks at UtahPolicy.com - it's not like you can really poll convention-goers. And there is worthwhile information you can learn from these sorts of things.

Anyhow, in a hypothetical primary, Sen. Orrin Hatch is tied with Rep. Jason Chaffetz at 42 apiece. This says to me that GOP state delegates are likely to be even more anti-Hatch than Republican voters at large, so the incumbent is probably in very serious trouble indeed. I'm not convinced Chaffetz will make the race, though - in response to this poll, he noted that he's already a subcommittee chair in just his second term, and that it would be "pretty hard to walk away" from his newfound influence in the House majority. But certainly someone will step up.

NY-26: I've been dismissive of him so far, and I remain skeptical, but David Bellavia is at least showing that can-do spirit. The former Army staff sergeant and Iraq war veteran filed paperwork with the FEC to form an exploratory committee, and his spokesman pointed to Republican nominee Jane Corwin's support for abortion rights (at least "during the first trimester," which, guys, hasn't been the legal framework for twenty years). It'll be interesting to see if a teabagger candidacy can use a social issue likes this as its hook. Anyhow, if he doesn't score an existing third-party line, Bellavia will need 3,500 valid signatures to get on the ballot as an independent, which is a lot harder than it sounds.

TX-15: Felicia Sonmez runs down the House members with the highest absentee rates so far - several have missed in the range of 30% of votes in the early going of the 112th Congress. But all of them have obvious excuses (mostly bereavement and health-related), except for one: Ruben Hinojosa, who has skipped over 40% of roll calls. His spokesman didn't respond to The Fix, but I'm really curious to know what's going on here. Could retirement be looming?

DCCC: The D-Trip is doing a wave of robocalls, along with some web ads and emails, into fifty Republican districts. The Hill doesn't seem to have (or at least, have published) the entire list, and NWOTSOTB. (That's "No Word On The Size Of The Buy," in case you haven't seen that one before. Remember it, because candidates and organizations frequently launch tiny paid media campaigns with the hopes of garnering free press. If you don't see information about how much a media buy actually costs, then odds are it falls into this category. Don't let yourself get played, and always be looking for the size of the buy.)

Census: Here's a new tidbit from the Census Bureau: 760 of the nation's 3,000+ counties are experiencing "natural decrease:" deaths are outweighing births. Although most of these counties are rural counties, it's not purely a red state phenomenon; at the state level, four states (all of which, you might notice, have not only older-than-average populations but also low Hispanic populations) also fall into this category: West Virginia, Vermont, Pennsylvania, and Maine. (C)

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SSP Daily Digest: 2/15

by: Crisitunity

Tue Feb 15, 2011 at 4:43 PM EST

AZ-Sen: A GOP polling firm, Summit Consulting, is out with a poll that gives Maricopa Co. Sheriff Joe Arpaio the lead in the nascent Republican field to replace the retiring Jon Kyl. Arpaio is at 21, with Rep. Jeff Flake and ex-Rep J.D. Hayworth both at 17, ex-Rep. John Shadegg at 12, and Rep. Ben Quayle at 6. An Arpaio-free version found Flake at 22, Hayworth at 20, and Shadegg (who has made clear that he's not running) at 17. Although this poll wasn't announced as being on anyone's behalf, there's an important caveat: Summit is raising money for Arpaio's re-election campaign as Sheriff. This seems a consistent pattern for Arpaio over the years: float his name for higher office, rake in contributions, apply those toward his next Sheriff campaign, rinse and repeat. Meanwhile, although previous reports had had him unlikely to run for Senate, Rep. Trent Franks from current AZ-02 is now on the record as "exploring that option."

ME-Sen: Here's an amusing tidbit about Andrew Ian Dodge, now running a tea party challenge of sorts to Olympia Snowe: he's the subject of some suspicion in certain right-wing circles on account of his British background (which may explain why he cheekily showed up with his birth certificate at his campaign launch). Prime evidence for this strange line of attack is a comment he posted to a blog several years ago where he copped to being a Lord of the Manor in Gorleston, Suffolk. (Politico's Dave Catanese titled his article on this "Snowe challenger is a British Lord..." which isn't quite right. "Lord of the Manor" isn't part of the peerage system (which just plain old "Lord" would be), but just a weird holdover from the feudal system of property rights, an indicator that someone in his family owned property there long ago). (One other thing I noted, though, thanks to the magic of Wikipedia: Gorleston is actually in Norfolk, not Suffolk. WHAT ELSE IS ANDREW IAN DODGE LYING ABOUT!!!!11!!!?!)

NE-Sen: We've mentioned state Sen. Deb Fischer before as a potential dark-horse candidate on the Republican side in Nebraska, and now she seems to be stepping things up, at least to the extent of contacting Roll Call and letting them know that she's interested. She represents the empty north-central part of the state, and could stand out as an interesting third-wheel in a Jon Bruning/Don Stenberg rumble by being the only rural and female candidate.

NM-Sen: PPP finally released the GOP primary portion of last week's New Mexico Senate poll, and... common theme in a lot of their polls... find the most electable candidate for the general losing the GOP primary because of various apostasies. Libertarian-flavored ex-Gov. Gary Johnson trails ex-Rep. Heather Wilson in a hypothetical 3-way, 35-27, with Rep. Steve Pearce at 17, Matt Chandler and Dianna Duran both at 6, and John Sanchez at 4. (Not that it matters, since Johnson has confirmed he's sticking with his long-shot presidential bid. In fact, unless Jeff Bingaman unexpectedly retires, I'd be surprised if any of these GOPers bothers to get in.)

NV-Sen: Rep. Dean Heller is out with an internal poll that has him way ahead of John Ensign in the GOP primary, and, accordingly, he seems to be accelerating his plans to run. The poll gives Heller a 53-38 lead in a head-to-head, and also sees him winning a 5-car pileup: it's Heller 39, Ensign 23, Danny Tarkanian 17, Sharron Angle 14, and John Chachas 3. Faced with the possibility of a much harder race against Heller than Ensign, possible Dem candidate Rep. Shelley Berkley is saying that it wouldn't dissuade her if Heller were the nominee, but she's continuing to "seriously look at" the race but is also in "no rush" to decide. You know who is in a rush, though? The DSCC. Jon Ralston says they're already talking to Democratic SoS Ross Miller too, in case they need a Plan B.

TX-Sen: Hmm, here's an interesting place for a Senate scoop to come from: the student newspaper at Claremont McKenna College in California. CMC alum Rep. David Dreier is the linchpin in this game of telephone: he told them that a fellow alum is indeed running for the Senate, and by process of elimination, that would point to former Dallas mayor Tom Leppert, considered a likely candidate on the GOP side. Leppert, however, wouldn't confirm to the student paper that he was running.

UT-Sen: Another Dan Jones poll in Utah takes a look at the Senate race, and this one isn't as weird as the last one (which included Jon Huntsman, who seems, to my eyes, to be running for Vice-President instead): it's a straightforward poll of Orrin Hatch vs. Jason Chaffetz (although it's still a poll of all Utah residents). At any rate, Hatch leads Chaffetz 44-34; among self-identified Republicans, Hatch actually does better, 51-35 (although trailing among "very conservative" voters). Of course, there are various ways this primary might still not happen; Chaffetz could break 60% at the state GOP convention, or Hatch could (a la Bob Bennett) finish third at the convention behind Chaffetz and a teabagger to be named later. Asked for comment, Chaffetz only said he's a "definite maybe" about the race, and may choose to stay in the House.

VA-Sen: We might have an answer pretty soon on whether Tim Kaine plans to run for the Senate, now that Jim Webb is out. He reportedly will consult with Barack Obama on the matter in the next couple days (gee, I wonder what Obama will suggest?), and Kaine also has announced plans to speak at the state's Jefferson-Jackson Dinner this weekend, which seems like a place to make a 'yes' announcement (as it would be kind of a buzzkill to go there and tell everyone 'no'). There are also rumors... poorly sourced ones at that, so don't get your hopes too high... out there of a GOP-sponsored poll showing not just Kaine but also Tom Perriello leading George Allen, so keep your ears to the ground for more on that.

MT-Gov: Add one more state Senator to the mix in the Montana gubernatorial race, this time on the Dem side. Larry Jent says he'd like to run statewide, and it'll probably be for governor. (He'd join other current or former state Sens. Dave Wanzenried on the Dem side, and Corey Stapleton and Ken Miller for the GOP.)

LA-03, LA-07: Two Louisiana papers have had articles in the last few days on Louisiana redistricting and its likeliest casualty, new Rep. Jeff Landry, who was elected with tea party rather than establishment backing and, accordingly, doesn't have much of a leg to stand on when the establishment draws the maps in the coming months. It's looking likelier that a map more favorable to the more senior (and tighter with leadership) Rep. Charles Boustany will be the result. The state's redistricting special session of the legislature will be held Mar. 20.

NY-15: While there's still plenty of time left for him to reverse course and announce his retirement (hint, hint), Charles Rangel yesterday announced that he's filing for re-election in 2012 to a 22nd term.

NY-26: While they've been downplaying their chances for success in the R+6 26th, local Dems are hard at work looking for a candidate. It's hard to tell who's on the short list right now, though: one list featured Erie Co. Comptroller Mark Poloncarz, Erie Co. Clerk Kathy Hochul, and Amherst town board member Mark Manna (the only one who actually lives in the district), but doesn't seem to feature oft-mentioned Kathy Konst. Another insider mentions two possible Dems Republican candidates from the private sector: Dan Humiston and Chris Jacobs. There's one familiar face you can scratch off the Dem list, though: 2008 candidate Jon Powers says he's not looking to be considered.

WA-02: Snohomish Co. Councilor and narrow 2010 loser John Koster is "weighing" another run against Rick Larsen, although he's waiting to see what the 2nd looks like after redistricting. The 2nd (currently D+3) needs to lose population, but it could become swingier if the losses come around Everett, or become bluer if the losses come in eastern Snohomish County.

Chicago mayor: One more new poll to report in Chicago, another one from We Ask America (on behalf of the Chicago Retail Merchants Association). It has the highest Rahm Emanuel number yet, at 58. Gery Chico is 2nd at 24, Miguel del Valle at 10, and Carol Moseley Braun at 6. The poll was in the field on Sunday, the same day that Moseley Braun, apparently by way of referring to The Producers, compared Emanuel to Hitler, so the impact of her latest gaffe may not even have impacted on this sample. (Given the current trajectory of her poll numbers, she may actually receive a negative number of votes at the actual election on Feb. 22.)

Special elections: There are not one but two special elections for vacant state Senate seats in California tonight, although neither one should offer much drama thanks to their strong partisan leans. The one you're probably already aware of is SD-28 in the LA's South Bay suburbs (overlapping much of CA-36), where Democratic ex-Assemblyman Ted Lieu is likely to fill the seat left by the death of Jenny Oropeza. He faces seven other candidates, so he might not break 50%, requiring a runoff then. The other race is in SD-17, centered on Lancaster in the high desert north of LA, where Republican Sharon Runner is expected to beat the only other candidate, Democrat Darren Parker. (Runner is trying to take over the seat from her husband George Runner, who vacated to join the state Board of Equalization.)

Nebraska: Believe it or not, there are multiple interesting things afoot in Nebraska. Most significantly, the proposal to switch Nebraska to a winner-take-all allocation of electoral votes (instead of allotting some by CD, which allowed Barack Obama to sneak away with 1 Omaha-area EV) is entering committee; it's expected to be easily approved by the ostensibly nonpartisan but Republican-controlled unicameral legislature. There are also competing bills in the legislature on changing the size of said legislature, one to reduce it from 49 to 45, the other to expand it to 50 (neither one is expected to go anywhere, though). Also, Nebraska just picked its nine members for its redistricting commission; there will be five Republicans and four Dems on the (again, ostensibly nonpartisan) body.

WATN?: Ex-Rep. Mike Arcuri, who lost in NY-24 in November, is now working in the private sector at a major law firm in Syracuse. It may be a tea leaf that he might be interested in another run that he's staying in the area instead of heading for the more lucrative world of K St., or it might be nothing. At any rate, he's doing better for himself than Republican 2006 CA-47 loser Tan Nguyen, who just got sentenced to one year and one day in federal prison for obstruction of justice related to charges of voter fraud, for sending out flyers intended to suppress the district's Latino vote.

Polltopia: If you think that polling was way screwier than usual over the 2010 cycle, or that it was better than ever, you're both wrong. It was pretty much the same as always, according to Mark Blumenthal. According to a study by National Council on Public Polls, the average candidate error in 2010 was 2.1%, very comparable to other midterm elections. (The accuracy seems to improve in presidential years, perhaps thanks to more frequent polling.) Interestingly, though, even though the error rate didn't change much, there were many more polls (25% this cycle, compared with 11% in 2006) conducted in the last week before the election with results that fell outside the margin of error (cough Rasmussen cough). They found that live interview polls (2.4%) did slightly better than autodialed polls (2.6%), but, surprisingly, polls conducted over the internet (mostly just YouGov) did the best with a 1.7% error rate.

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SSP Daily Digest: 2/11

by: Crisitunity

Fri Feb 11, 2011 at 4:00 PM EST

AZ-Sen: As the dust settles from Jon Kyl's retirement, the biggest name on the Dem side may also be the biggest question mark: Rep. Gabby Giffords, who it turns out had been telling her staff that she'd planned to run for Senate in 2012 if an open seat arose, but whose recovery timetable is entirely unclear at this point. Local Dems are saying she has "the right of first refusal," but it may be a while till we get a decision out of her, so the Dem field is very much up in the air. One other major Dem is publicly expressing his interest, though: Phoenix mayor Phil Gordon, who's termed-out of his job this year. (The same article also finds former Arizona Diamondbacks star Luis Gonzalez declining a run; not sure why he was being asked in the first place.) On the GOP side, Gov. Jan Brewer acted quickly to quash any speculation that she might run. However, J.D. Hayworth, last seen getting creamed by John McCain in the 2010 primary, says he's interested in another run, while another unappetizing leftover, ex-Gov. Fife Symington, says he won't rule it out (as well as floating the name of former NFL quarterback Kurt Warner). If you want to see all the many potential names in one place, here's The Hill's mega-rundown.

FL-Sen: Scratch one more of the state's myriad GOP House members from the list of possible Senate candidates. FL-16's sophomore Rep. Tom Rooney says the Senate may be an eventual goal someday, but he'd rather focus on building up his credentials in the House first.

ME-Sen: It seems like his extended period of talking to himself is over, as local tea party leader Andrew Ian Dodge announced (at CPAC, instead of in Maine) that he will in fact challenge Olympia Snowe in the GOP primary. I'm not sure if Snowe is really shaking in her boots, though, if this is the best that the teabaggers can find: Dodge, though able to self-fund, is a bit of an iconoclast (and one might charitably describe his appearance as "scruffy"), and doesn't really seem to fit in with any of the various subconstituencies within the tea party umbrella. He's uninterested in social issues (he's pro-gay and indifferent to abortion) and more of a fiscal hawk, but doesn't have much common cause with the Paulists either, breaking with them on foreign policy. If he loses social con votes to the other teabagger in the race, little-known Scott D'Amboise, that split basically ensures Snowe another nomination. Further complicating matters, Dodge is allied with Tea Party Patriots, archenemy to the DC-based astroturf-flavored Tea Party Express. For what it's worth, TPX officially declared that Snowe is one of their top targets for 2012 (um, was there any doubt about that before yesterday?), but there's no word on who they plan to back in the race, and I can't imagine it being Doge.

MI-Sen: Former state party chair Saul Anuzis may be getting cold feet about a Senate run all of a sudden, if his new comments are any indication: he said he'd rather see someone else run. One name he dropped as a preferred alternative to himself is (no surprise) ex-Rep. Peter Hoekstra, but another is perhaps the one potential candidate with even less name rec than Anuzis (and also the likeliest person to run, it seems): wealthy businessman Tim Leuliette.

NM-Sen: In case Jeff Bingaman does (contrary to current expectations) resign, don't look for a Bill Richardson run to succeed him. The ex-Gov. leaves office under a cloud according to PPP, with a 34/55 approval, and 50% saying they'd never vote for him for anything again. Everyone else in New Mexico is pretty popular; Tom Udall is at 56/31 and new Gov. Susana Martinez is at 53/29.

UT-Sen: Looks like Orrin Hatch, who's in full cozy-up-to-the-tea-party mode this week, can't count on any help from his new colleague Mike Lee; Lee just confirmed that he'll remain neutral in any primary that Hatch might face. Hatch, for his part, at CPAC today, just said that he's sorry for his bailout vote, but that the bailout helped prevent a depression. So... he's sorry about having helped prevent a depression?!? Let me sit and ponder that one for a bit.

VA-Sen: Here's some good news: ex-Rep. Glenn Nye says he has "absolutely no interest" and has made "zero calls" about the Senate race on the Dem side. (That contradicts yesterday's reports that he was calling around; the "absolutely no interest" part may be true though, inasmuch as that's what he got on the other end of the line.) However, Rep. Gerry Connolly isn't doing anything to downplay his name; he isn't ruling it in or out, but is pitching himself as "viable." (Woooooo! Viable!!! The audacity of viability! We have nothing to fear but inviability itself! Mr. Gorbachev, this wall is not viable!) Connolly blanches at the pricetag though, saying this will likely be a $25 million race.

MT-Gov, MT-Sen: Well, this pretty much makes it clear that Denny Rehberg will have a stroll to the Senate nomination. Military/security-complex businessman Neil Livingstone was one of the two initial non-Rehberg names associated with the GOP side of the Senate race; with Steve Daines now in the House race, Livingstone now has decided to announce for the gubernatorial race instead. He doesn't face anyone of Rehberg size there, although ex-Rep. Rick Hill is still a pretty imposing obstacle.

WV-Gov: With tomorrow's filing deadline for the gubernatorial special election fast approaching, it's worth noting how few people (of the many, many possibles) have actually signed up. All we have so far are Natalie Tennant, Earl Ray Tomblin, Rick Thompson, and a Some Dude candidate (Arne Moltis) on the Dem side, and Clark Barnes on the GOP side. Betty Ireland was planning to file today, though, and there will probably be a rush tomorrow.

NY-26: Kathy Konst isn't the only Dem who seems to be moving forward with seeking the nomination in the upcoming special election; Erie Co. Clerk Kathleen Hochul is interested, too. (She lives slightly outside the district's boundaries in Hamburg.) Meanwhile, lots of GOPers took their names out of contention: ex-Rep. Tom Reynolds, Assemblyman Jim Hayes, state Sen. Michael Ranzenhofer, and state Sen. Joe Robach. (With George Maziarz also apparently a no, that's pretty much all the GOP state Senators who'd been floated, lessening the likelihood of more 31-31 fun.)

Mayors: There are mayoral polls in both Chicago and Philadelphia, neither one offering a surprise. In the Windy City, Rahm Emanuel finds himself just shy of clearing the runoff hurdle in a poll from Chicago Tribune/WGN; he's at 49, with 19 for Gery Chico, 10 for Carol Mosely Braun, and 8 for Miguel del Valle. (Last month's Tribune poll had Emanuel at 44 and CMB at 21.) In the Hey, Up Yours City, incumbent Michael Nutter wins easily despite some ambivalent approvals, according to Franklin & Marshall. His approval is 50/32 (60/24 among whites but only 42/41 among African-Americans, who, despite the fact that he's African-American himself, tend to be his weakest constituency); despite that, 53% say he doesn't deserve to be re-elected. Nutter beats Tom Knox 46-28 in a general election matchup (which is odd because Knox isn't a Republican, although I guess he could become one to avoid another primary loss to Nutter, which is what happened in 2007). Nutter's only announced opponent so far is former state legislator Milton Street, the brother of ex-mayor John Street; Street has a bit of a liability, though, in that he's currently on supervised release after spending 20 months in federal prison for tax evasion.

Dark money: The billionaire Koch brothers have, over the last year, suddenly gone from anonymous rich guys who like to fund right-wing think tanks to, with their efforts to move more into funding activism and advertising, public enemies #1 on the dark money front. They've set a new target for the 2012 cycle that shows just what we're up against money-wise: they plan to contribute and raise $88 million for funding micro-targeting efforts as well as ads. It's not clear whether that would all happen under the aegis of their Americans for Prosperity, or if that money would get spread around the dark money universe, but Politico's article makes it sound that the secretive Kochs aren't closely allied with, if not directly in competition with, other groups like American Crossroads.

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SSP Daily Digest: 2/7

by: Crisitunity

Mon Feb 07, 2011 at 4:03 PM EST

AZ-Sen: One more fundraising number to report from Q4: Republican #2 and potential retiree Jon Kyl raised $106K, leaving him with $682K CoH. That's a difficult number to assess as a tea leaf: it's too much for him to look like he's clearly about to hang it up, but also not enough to make it look like he's actively engaging his race yet.

CT-Sen: Rep. Chris Murphy looks like he can count on a lot of hometown backing in his bid for the Senate (where the real challenge may be getting out of the Dem primary). He just rolled out the endorsement of 60 Democratic leaders from around CT-05, including three state Reps.

IN-Sen: State treasurer Richard Mourdock confirmed over the weekend at the Tippecanoe County Republican Women's Club that he'll be challenging long-time incumbent Richard Lugar in the GOP Senate primary in 2012, although he didn't serve up much tea-spiked red meat in doing so, instead ladling on the praise of Lugar but touting the need for competition of ideas. He specified Feb. 22 as the official date of his campaign launch, though.

MI-Sen: Saul Anuzis (who I've just noticed is one typo away from being the Egyptian jackal god... maybe getting tough on grave robbers will be at the top of his agenda) is now the subject of a draft website, encouraging him to get into the Michigan Senate race.

MN-Sen: Buried deep in this article about Amy Klobuchar is some pretty clear indication that Rep. Michele Bachmann isn't going to run for Senate in 2012; the GOP state party chair says that Bachmann was "very emphatic" to him that she wasn't going to run. (Does she have any mode other than "very emphatic?")

MT-Sen: In case you were hoping that all those leaks and rumors last week about Denny Rehberg announcing for the Senate were some sort of gigantic miscommunication, sorry, no such luck. The Republican Rep. officially announced his bid against Jon Tester on Saturday.

NJ-Sen: That Woody Johnson-for-Senate rumor a few weeks ago is continuing to get some continued oxygen, with revelations that the New York Jets owner dined at Drumthwacket (sorry, I just like saying "Drumthwacket") with both Chris Christie and Mitt Romney several weeks ago. To me, this seems more like Johnson, a big Republican donor (although a John McCain backer in 2008) being there on Romney's behalf than a Senate tea leaf. (Just found out he's actually "Robert Wood Johnson IV," as in the do-gooding Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and big pharma company Johnson & Johnson.)

SC-Sen: Lindsey Graham -- not up until 2014, so this is mostly academic at this point -- is sporting some rather Olympia Snowe-ish approval numbers in the way they break down. He's at 40/37 overall in PPP's South Carolina sample, but at 31/38 among Democrats and only 43/36 within his own party. He's looking better positioned to win the general in '14 than to win his own primary.

UT-Sen: Orrin Hatch is grinning and bearing it: eager to avoid the fate of fellow Senator Bob Bennett, who ignored the tea partiers at his own peril, Hatch will participate in an online town hall sponsored by Tea Party Express (whose Sal Russo offered Hatch some rhetorical cover last week). He'll be the establishment odd-man-out, sharing face time with Rand Paul, Michele Bachmann, and Steve King.

KY-Gov: Republican state Senate president David Williams, the establishment canddiate in the Kentucky gubernatorial GOP primary, looks to be pretty safe from a teabagging, if his own internal poll is any indication. A poll from Got Focus shows him at 47, with Bobbie Holsclaw at 10 and tea-flavored businessman Phil Moffett at 9.

PA-Gov: Here's an intriguing rumor, although one that doesn't have much to it beyond eavesdropped rumblings at the state Democratic committee meeting: ex-Rep. Joe Sestak for governor in 2014. Can he be the one who stops the state's clockwork alternation between the parties for 8-year gubernatorial terms?

WV-Gov: You can count Republican zillionaire John Raese, who lost the 2010 Senate race by an unexpectedly wide margin, out from this year's gubernatorial special election; he said "no thanks" (after already having declined a 2012 senatorial rematch against Joe Manchin). And the election dates are finally official, with acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin signing off on the compromise legislation that set the primary on May 14 and general on Oct. 4.

FL-25: The hits just keep coming for freshman Rep. David Rivera. On top of the $500K in mysterious dog track money and the $60K in mystery expenditures while a state legislator, now the AP is reporting on an entirely separate $150K paid from the Miami-Dade Republican Party to a key ally of Rivera (to consultant Esther Nuhfer for "media" expenses) without any of the usual paper trail. $35K was used to purchase radio ads, but the whereabouts of the remainder is anybody's guess.

LA-03, LA-07: While we reported on Friday that Jeff Landry was considering a state AG run as a way out of his likely redistricting-related demise, it looks like he's still fighting to keep a viable House district for himself too. He and LA-07's Charles Boustany are publicly at odds over the state's new redistricting map. Landry wants a district that spans the whole coastline of the state (which would put him on a collision course with the Lafayette-based Boustany), while Boustany says there needs to be one district for the New Orleans suburbs (which would probably wind up pitting Landry against Steve Scalise in current LA-01 instead).

MI-09: It sounds like Democratic Rep. Gary Peters may also have a Plan B in the event of the elimination of his district via redistricting. Based on the war of words emerging between Peters and Republican Oakland Co. Executive L. Brooks Patterson, it's possible that Peters is eyeing a 2012 run to become head of the state's second largest county. Oakland Co. is one of those prototypical mostly-affluent inner-ring suburban counties that has moved pretty solidly into the Dem column at the presidential level but still has a lot of Republican strength further down the ballot; MI-09 currently occupies most of the county.

MO-05, MO-06: In that one or two weeks where it looked like Rep. Sam Graves was going to run for Senate (thus opening up the 6th), that prompted Republican state Rep. Jerry Nolte to officially throw his hat into the ring for the presumably open seat. Now that he knows Graves is sticking around, though, Nolte apparently isn't going to let his newly-opened federal account go to waste. He says he might run against Emanuel Cleaver in MO-05 instead. (Nolte lives in Gladstone in the KC suburbs, currently in the 6th but a possible inclusion in the 5th after redistricting, as the 5th will need to gain a lot of population.)

Redistricting: The Fix's ongoing series of profiles on state redistricting turns to Pennsylvania this week, the state whose 2002 map became almost synonymous with one of our favorite words here: "dummymander" (i.e. a map that looks like a coup at first but is so flimsy that it blows up in your face the minute the political winds turn against you). The state GOP, in charge of the process again in 2012, seem to have learned from their mistakes and don't plan to get so "greedy" this time. As we've mentioned here, the likeliest approach to lose the one seat will be to draw western PA Reps. Jason Altmire and Mark Critz into one district. The alternative would be to try to take out the seemingly-indestructible Tim Holden in PA-17, although reddening his already GOP-leaning district would probably make things even worse for Lou Barletta, whose PA-11 is currently D+4.

2012 Prez: Jake McIntyre's presidential cattle calls have been a rich tradition over at Daily Kos for years now, and this one is no exception. (It's so good we're actually breaking the first rule of Swing State Project: no talking about presidential politics.)

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SSP Daily Digest: 2/2

by: Crisitunity

Wed Feb 02, 2011 at 3:35 PM EST

MI-Sen: Peter Hoekstra, having just started as a "senior adviser" at Dickstein Shapiro, let Politico know that, despite all appearances associated with his new job, he hasn't ruled out a 2012 Senate bid, saying he's keeping his options open. (I know that on my first day on the job, I like to loudly tell everybody that I may not be working there much longer. Really helps you get off on the right foot with your boss.)

MT-Sen: Jon Tester wasted no time in going after newly-announced Denny Rehberg, drawing connections between Rehberg and Michele Bachmann (and her proposed $4.5 billion in VA cuts). Bachmann will be a featured speaker at the event on Saturday where Rehberg formally announces. Tester raised $128K in Q4 with $562K, a decent amount for the small state of Montana but not much different from Rehberg's $553K war chest.

TX-Sen: You might remember talk from a couple years ago where ESPN analyst Craig James was interested in running for what was then expected to be a Senate special election to replace a resigning Kay Bailey Hutchison. That faded into the mists of time, but here's the first statement of interest I've seen from him since the race re-opened up thanks to her retirement. It comes up in the context of him saying that, yes, he believes people in Lubbock would still vote for him despite his role in getting Texas Tech football coach Mike Leach fired.

UT-Sen: An interesting piece about Orrin Hatch focuses mostly on how he's trying to avoid the fate of Bob Bennett by reaching out and engaging the local tea party crowd as much as possible; a local 'bagger comments that Hatch shouldn't expect their endorsement but his efforts will really limit the outrage that seemed to overwhelm Bennett. (Hatch also has an interesting selling point to offer them: if he's defeated but the GOP takes the Senate, that puts Olympia Snowe in charge of Finance.) Buried in the story is a provocative comment from Bennett's vanquisher, Mike Lee, who only says that he'll "fully support" the GOP nominee without saying anything about backing Hatch.

AK-AL, NY-13: Here are two House races where the potential challenger has the financial advantage, according to new Q4 numbers. One is the possible GOP primary for Alaska's at-large seat, where Joe Miller has $825K left in the bank, thanks to money he didn't get a chance to spend on his legal defense, whereas Don Young has $170K CoH. (Miller, of course, hasn't said anything specific about a race against Young in 2012, but he and Young have publicly traded some barbs.) The other is NY-13, where surprise Republican victor Michael Grimm actually finds himself in debt, with a net minus-$36K while Democratic ex-Rep. Mike McMahon, who seems to be laying groundwork for a rematch, has $17K CoH leftover.

IN-05, IN-06: Roll Call looks at the slowly-developing race to replace Mike Pence in the 6th. Most (if not all) the action is on the GOP side so far, with former Wayne Co. Sheriff Matt Strittmatter the only one with a campaign account open so far (which contains $39K). Other GOPers include 1990s-era ex. Rep. David McIntosh, Henry County Council president Nate LaMar, '10 Senate primary loser Don Bates, and '10 IN-05 primary loser Luke Messer... but it sounds like Messer, who almost beat the unloved Dan Burton, may be running in the 5th again, seeing as how Roll Call got Burton's office to confirm that Burton (frequent subject of retirement speculation) plans to run for re-election. One other wrinkle: Republican redistricting efforts to redden Joe Donnelly's IN-02 may wind up making IN-06 less Republican, so that might encourage Dems to at least consider playing in the 6th.

MT-AL: With Montana's at-large House seat suddenly looking like it's on track to be an open seat, we may actually get some decent Democratic candidates in the race. It's occasionally been a competitive seat, currently at R+7, though not really hotly contested since the last time it was open, in 2000. Democratic State Rep. Franke Wilmer of Bozeman is already floating her name for the race. (If she won, she'd be the first woman in the seat since the legendary Jeannette Rankin.)

SD-AL: Now this is interesting: Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (haven't heard anything about a rematch, but this might perk up her ears) is actually leading a hypothetical rematch by one point (46-45) against new Republican Rep. Kristi Noem, according to PPP. PPP points out that she lost by three in 2010, so that small shift is consistent with the small nationwide bump upwards for the Dems over the last month or two. Herseth Sandlin's favorables are 55/36, compared with Noem's 38/35 approvals. Over on the Senate side, Tim Johnson (who isn't up until 2014) is at 47/41 approval.

LA-AG: We've seen a couple dozen legislative party-switchers from the Democrats to the Republicans in southern states in the last few months, in the wake of several states' chambers finally completing their realignment all the way down to the state level, but nobody at a statewide level doing so... until now. Louisiana AG Buddy Caldwell, facing a potentially tough general election, plans to switch to Republican status. (I'd invoke the cautionary specter of Parker Griffith, but Louisiana uses a jungle primary so switching to a potentially tough primary instead may not be the kiss of death.) Since Caldwell was already the only Democratic AG who had joined the multi-state lawsuit against healthcare reform, his "Democrat" status was pretty negligible at this point.

MA-St. House: This may be one of the largest constituencies where I've seen a race end in a tie (although I'm sure someone in the comments can come up with a historic example of an even bigger race that tied). The November election in Massachusetts's 6th Worcester district in the state House was just declared a tie by a superior court judge, and (rather than flipping a coin, drawing lots, or sending them to Thunderdome) a do-over special election was ordered. Democratic incumbent Geraldo Alicea and GOPer Peter Durant both got 6,587 votes. No date has been set yet, but we'll all be on pins and needles that night, seeing as how Dems control that chamber by only a 128-31 margin.

CA-Referenda: A statewide special election is planned for some point in June, as Jerry Brown seeks a public mandate for extending increases in three different taxes (and he seems to think he has a better shot getting this through a public vote than the legislature). This is likely to be an entirely vote-by-mail affair, presaging a potential California shift in the direction of its west coast brethren. Somewhat counterintuitively (since vote-by-mail is usually considered to boost Dems), though, observers think this might skew the election toward older, whiter voters, as mail delivery is "unreliable in spots" (?!?) in heavily-minority Los Angeles County and voters there still tend to rely heavily on polling places. On the plus side, though, a recent PPIC poll found more support for extending the taxes among the 55+ set (56 yes/38 no) than among the entire population (where there was 50 yes/48 no support). Have the most seriously tax-hating seniors all fled to Arizona?

Fundraising: The Fix has a bunch more Senate fundraising numbers to report, building on the numbers we gave you yesterday. For the Dems, Bob Casey Jr. seems to be fully engaged with his race, pulling in $621K in Q4 for $1.3 million CoH, while the publicity surrounding FiliBernie seems to have been a big cash cow for Bernie Sanders, who raised $485K for $536K CoH. Bob Menendez raised $237K for $2.4 million CoH, while freshly-elected Joe Manchin seemed to take a breather from fundraising, raising only $18K for $377K. Among not just vulnerable Republicans but basically everybody else in the Senate, Scott Brown is still the unstoppable money machine, in terms of both cash raised and CoH: $734K raised for $7.2 million CoH. Richard Lugar raised $173K for $2.35 million CoH, while Olympia Snowe raised $79K for $1.2 million CoH.

Census: We're still waiting for this week's released of detailed 2010 data for Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, and Virginia, but the Census Bureau is letting us know that next week they'll be out with four more: Arkansas, Indiana, Iowa, and Maryland.

WATN?: Rod Grams somehow managed to be one of the least memorable Senators of my lifetime who managed to serve a full term (surprisingly swept in in Minnesota in 1994, easily turned out in 2000), and now he's working a job that seems befitting his anonymity. He's working as a Hill staffer, and not even on the Senate side: he's the new chief of staff to new MN-08 Rep. Chip Cravaack. (Recall that Cravaack did what Grams couldn't do in 2006: knock off Jim Oberstar, in what was a strange comeback attempt by Grams.)

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SSP Daily Digest: 2/1

by: Crisitunity

Tue Feb 01, 2011 at 3:53 PM EST

MI-Sen: This looks like a tea leaf that Peter Hoekstra isn't a likely Senate candidate for 2012: he's joining big DC law/lobby firm Dickstein Shapiro, a popular destination for outgoing Congresspeople and certainly not the usual route for someone who wants to keep in touch with the little people back home. (Current "senior advisors" there include Dennis Hastert, Tim Hutchinson, and Albert Wynn.)

MN-Sen: Norm Coleman comes right out and says it explicitly: he's not going to run against Amy Klobuchar in 2012 (although he didn't rule out eventual other runs). Not that anyone rational was expecting it, but now we can check that box.

NV-Sen: Cue up some doomy soundtrack music for John Ensign: despite his having dodged the DOJ, the Senate Ethics Committee has decided to plow ahead on its inquiry of him, just in time for the cycle where he's up for re-election. Today a special counsel in l'affaire Ensign was announced.

NY-Sen: Going up against Kirsten Gillibrand in 2012 (in the wake of her cresting 60% in the down year of 2010) seems like an unenviable task for any Republican, and the duties might fall to former Lt. Gov. turned health insurance industry astroturfer Betsy McCaughey. Speaking before a confab for New York's Conservative Party, when asked about the race, she said she's "considering it."

WA-Gov: We can't officially shut the door on a highly-unusual run for a third term by Chris Gregoire until she actually says "no" herself, but state Dem party chair Dwight Pelz is publicly saying that he's looking ahead to electing a new governor in 2012. Don't expect Gregoire to say anything until the end of the legislative session, though.

WV-Gov: Get out your calendars and your red pen, because it looks like things are getting switched around yet again in West Virginia. The state House passed a bill authorizing the upcoming elections (including a primary, which wasn't considered a done deal because of the cost involved), but they've moved the dates around again. Now the primary date is May 14 (instead of June 20), and the general special election date is Sept. 13 (instead of Oct. 4). Of course, that's only the House version, so the state Senate could monkey around with it even more. Meanwhile, one Republican candidate is already exiting the field: state party chair Mike Stuart, who probably saw the writing on the wall given his 1% showing in PPP's sample of the primary. A few more GOPers that we haven't mentioned before are thinking about getting in to replace him, though: state House minority leader Tim Armstead, and state Del. Mitch Carmichael.

CT-05: This is a bit of a surprise, and ought to create a wide-open Republican field in the open seat race created by Chris Murphy's quest for a Senate seat. State Sen. Sam Caligiuri, who made a competitive race of it in 2010, says he won't run again in 2012.

MT-AL: As Denny Rehberg-related rumors got ramped up over the last few days, there's been a corresponding rise in rumors that Steve Daines (the Republican businessman who lost the 2008 Lt. Gov. race and announced a Senate bid in November) might bail out of the Senate race and drop down to the now-open House race instead. That would be a bit of a turnaround for Daines, who had already consolidated some backing from right-wing orgs for a possible tea-flavored primary rumble, but the House is a path of much less resistance for him. No confirmation from Daines today, but as of yesterday he sounded open to the idea.

State legislatures: This article about how state legislature constituencies are getting too populous for legislators to maintain effective old-school communications with their voters is most noteworthy for its neat interactive graphic. You can compare the legislator-to-constituent ratio for each state (unsurprisingly, California and Texas are the worst, while North Dakota and New Hampshire are the best).

Fundraising: We have fundraising numbers from 2010 Q4 for five different Senate Dems up in 2012, and we'll start with the weakest link: Dan Akaka, who has $66K CoH. (Not that that should presage retirement or even encourage Linda Lingle, as he doesn't really fundraise outside the cycles where he's up for re-election; he had $83K at this point six years ago.) Next up: Jim Webb, who has $444K CoH but raised only $12K last quarter, a number that by itself screams retirement... but as we know, Webb marches to his own drummer and could turn that around quickly. Ben Nelson is also in camped out in the land of the mediocre (and of the potential retirees), raising only $81K, though he has a more robust $1.4 million CoH.

Jeff Bingaman, on the other hand, seems to be heading for another term, albeit in slightly lukewarm fashion, raising $216K last quarter; he has $511K CoH. Debbie Stabenow is looking pretty aggressive, by contrast: she raised $537K and has more than $2 million CoH. One Republican to report on, as well: Orrin Hatch, likely to face a serious primary, raised $400K and is sitting on $2.5 million CoH (compared with Jason Chaffetz's $140K CoH).

Redistricting: Here's more on the growing worries from plugged-in Republicans that they don't have the money in place to effectively fight the legal battles associated with redistricting. The sense is that they're victims of their own success: they spent so much money on winning state legislatures last year that they didn't leave any leftovers budgeted for the aftermath.

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SSP Daily Digest: 1/28

by: Crisitunity

Fri Jan 28, 2011 at 3:57 PM EST

CT-Sen: The Chris Murphy/Susan Bysiewicz primary still could turn into a chaotic battle royale, based on this week's indications. Rep. Joe Courtney is "leaning toward" the run (although that's not Courtney's own words, just another insider's interpretation), and says he'll have a decision soon. Ted Kennedy Jr. also doesn't have anything official to say, but he does seem to be stepping up his appearances around the state, including one in Bridgeport next week. One Dem we can probably rule out, though, is former state Treasurer and former Hartford deputy mayor Frank Borges, who disputed reports that he was looking into the race. Here's also one other Republican who might make the race who seems to have access to big fundraising pools, although it seems like he'd be starting in a big name rec hole against, say, Linda McMahon: state Sen. L. Scott Frantz, who represents wealthy Greenwich in the state's southwestern tip.

MI-Sen: After sounding pretty thoroughly disinterested in his few public comments about the possibility of a Michigan Senate race, ex-Rep. and 2010 gubernatorial primary loser Peter Hoekstra is now publicly expressing some interest. He says that he's "considering it" and will make a decision in a few months. There's also a poll out of the GOP primary from GOP pollster Strategic National (no word on whose behalf the poll was taken) showing Hoekstra well in the lead, which may be prompting him to get more interested: he's at 33, with Terry Lynn Land at 15 and Saul Anuzis at all of 1, with 50% still undecided.

ND-Sen: Rep. Rick Berg has been mentioned often as a potential GOP candidate for the open seat being vacated by Kent Conrad, and chatter seems to indicate the local party seems to have him at the top of the list in terms of someone to unite behind to avoid a divisive primary. Moving from the House to the Senate after only one term is still a pretty unusual move (although it may be less momentous in an at-large state). (In fact, here's a trivia question for you all, for which I don't know the answer: who was the last person to successfully jump to the Senate after only one term in the House? I can't even think of a one-termer getting his party's nomination since 1994, when Dem Sam Coppersmith ran and lost an open seat race in Arizona to Jon Kyl.) There's one other name bubbling up to add to the list of the ten-or-more Republicans already listed as possible candidates: Fargo-area state Sen. Tony Grindberg.

NE-Sen: You might remember that the mysterious GOP dark money group American Future Fund ran some radio ads in North Dakota last month and Kent Conrad was announcing his retirement within a few weeks after that? Not that there's likely a causal relationship there, but maybe they're feeling like lightning might strike twice, and now they're running a similar ad against Ben Nelson in Nebraska.

TX-Sen: San Antonio mayor Julian Castro had already given some vague statements of not intending to run for the Democratic nomination for the open Senate seat, but put a finer point on that today by announcing that he's kicking off his campaign for a second term as mayor. One Republican who has expressed some interest in the race but doesn't seem likely to run is Rep. Mike McCaul from TX-10; the likelier scenario, at least according to one expert, is that McCaul plans to run for state Attorney General in 2014, which will probably be vacated by current occupant Greg Abbott moving up to the Lt. Governor slot, presuming that David Dewhurst either becomes Senator or doesn't run again in '14.

UT-Sen: You thought that Hasselbeck vs. Cromartie Twitter fight was exciting? That's got nothing on a good social media smackdown between rival right-wing astroturfers Club for Growth and Tea Party Express. In the wake of TPX head Sal Russo's comments yesterday praising Orrin Hatch, CfG just dissed TPX, saying they seem "to like Hatch's record in support of TARP, earmarks..." Roll Call has more on the Club's plans to go aggressively after Hatch. Russo also seems like he's getting undercut by his fellow TPX leader, Amy Kremer, who says that Hatch isn't off the hook yet and will be under their microscope for the cycle.

VA-Sen: Jamie Radtke, the only person in the race so far offering a challenge from the right to presumed GOP frontrunner George Allen, let everyone know yesterday where she'd stand, putting in an appearance at the initial unveiling of the Senate Tea Party caucus (and its four members... or five if you count Pat Toomey, who was willing to speak to them but not join). Other interesting reading regarding Virginia is this profile of Jim Webb which doesn't offer many surprises but is a good overview of his ambivalence about the Senate race is pretty much in keeping with everything else about him. And buried in another boilerplate article is a pretty sharp smack at Allen from a fellow GOPer and the last person to successfully pivot from getting bounced out of the Senate to winning a later race (in 1988), Slade Gorton. Gorton says Allen, to win, will first need to apologize to voters, saying "I don't see anything from him about how he screwed up, even though he did."

LA-Gov: See you later, Al Ater. After some semi-encouraging statements about a possible candidacy, the Democratic former Secretary of State now says he won't run for Governor this year. That still leaves the Dems without any sort of candidate to go against Bobby Jindal, with the clock definitely starting to tick louder.

WV-Gov: Don't get too comfortable with the idea of a primary to pick the gubernatorial candidates in West Virginia (tentatively set for June 20); the legislature still has to enact that and there are some grumblings that it might not happen because of the expense involved, which would mean party conventions instead. That could give a boost to one of the less-known Democratic candidates who have stronger relations to organized labor, like House speaker Rick Thompson or treasurer John Perdue. The article also mentions a few other Republicans whose names are emerging in the race, most notably Putnam Co. Prosecutor Mark Sorasia (who'll be participating in an upcoming candidate forum), also mentioning former state Sen. Steve Harrison and state Del. Troy Andes.

CT-05: The dance cards in the 5th district are definitely filling up. On the Democratic side, Audrey Blondin is saying that she'll run; she's a former Selectwoman from Litchfield, a member of the state party committee, and briefly ran for SoS in 2005. Also considering the Democratic primary is J. Paul Vance, the former leader of the Waterbury board of aldermen and a narrow loser to Michael Jarjura in the 2009 Dem mayoral primary. On the Republican side, Mike Clark is in; he's Farmington town council chair but he's best known for leading the FBI team that took down corrupt Gov. John Rowland, and was on Tom Foley's LG short-list. Several other possible names on the Republican field that are mentioned include state Sen. Kevin Witkos, Torrington mayor Ryan Bingham, and one possible heavyweight in the field (and the guy who actually was Foley's running mate), Danbury mayor Mark Boughton.

FL-25: Freshman Rep. David Rivera seems to be in a world of trouble, with an entirely new angle on his corruption arising courtesy of an AP investigation: he paid himself nearly $60K in "unexplained" campaign reimbursements during his eight years in the state legislature. Between that and the already mounting investigation by Florida authorities and the FEC into potential payoffs from a dog track, there's apparently growing discontent with him behind the scenes in Republican leadership, who may be feeling pressure to make an example out of him as part of their "drain the swamp" promises (although Ethics Committee rules prevent them from using that vehicle, since they can't take up matters that are already under criminal investigation). Rumors persist that both parties are already sounding out candidates for a potential special election. He isn't getting much public support from John Boehner, whose only on-the-record comments are that he's taking a wait-and-see attitude on how things unfold.

WI-01: Is this just a bit of monkeying around with Paul Ryan now that he's temporarily a celebrity, or are Dems seriously thinking about making a target out of him now that he's more notorious? (He's in what's currently an R+2 district, certainly within reach in a Dem-friendly year with a good candidate, and leads veteran House Republicans in terms of ideological out-of-whackness with his district lean... though that may have changed with the newest crop of teabaggers) At any rate, mailers are being sent out to voters in his district, having a bit of sport with his Medicare-voucherization proposals.

Chicago mayor: We Ask America is out with another poll of the Chicago mayoral race (taken during the brief period when it looked like Rahm Emanuel might have been off the ballot). It looks like, as speculated, the whole debacle may have actually increased sympathy for Emanuel (with 72% of respondents saying his name should stay on the ballot), as this is the first poll to show him over the magic 50% mark that would help him avoid a runoff. He's at 52, with Gerry Chico at 14, Carol Mosely Braun at 11, and Miguel del Valle at 4. It also provides support for the theory that Chico, not Mosely Braun, would have been the chief beneficiary if Emanuel had gotten kicked off, as Chico led a Rahm-free option at 33, with Mosely Braun at 17 and del Valle at 7 (with 38 undecided).

Nassau Co. Exec: This may pretty much spell doom for any future political efforts by Republican Nassau Co. Exec Ed Mangano, who was elected in a narrow upset over Tom Suozzi in 2009. Mangano has, since then, closely stuck to the teabagger/underpants gnome playbook of governance (step 1: cut taxes; step 2: ???; step 3: profit!), and lo and behold, found his county government insolvent. The state government has been forced to step in and seize control of the finance in the county on Long Island, one of the nation's wealthiest.

Redistricting: I can't see this going anywhere legislatively even if Dems still held the majority (and I'm not sure it would pass constitutional muster anyway), but Heath Shuler and Jim Cooper are introducing legislation in the House that would switch every state away from partisan redistricting to requiring use of a five-person bipartisan commission. (They're picking up the flag from fellow Blue Dog John Tanner, for whom this was a personal hobby horse for many years until he recently left the House, but they may also have some personal stake in wanting this to succeed, seeing as how they suddenly find themselves in states where the Republicans now control the trifecta.) Also, the public rumblings of worry from prominent Republicans about how the GOP isn't financially or mentally prepared for this round of redistricting (something that seems dramatically out of character for them) seem to keep coming, this time from Ed Gillespie.

Voting: Montana seems to be taking a cue from its nearby neighbors Oregon and Washington, and moving toward a vote-by-mail system. The measure cleared the House and will soon move to the state Senate. Despite the fact that the GOP controls that chamber and this was a Democratic bill, there was enough Republican support to move it forward. (Studies have shown that vote-by-mail tends to noticeably increase participation by traditionally-Democratic constituencies that ordinarily aren't very likely voters.)

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SSP Daily Digest: 1/27

by: Crisitunity

Thu Jan 27, 2011 at 7:59 PM EST

IN-Sen: Wow, for a late-70-something, Dick Lugar's got a major pair of huevos. He keeps on giving the tea partiers the middle finger despite the great likelihood of a primary challenge, and maybe took that up a notch yesterday, calling the movement out for offering only "cliché" and not being able to "articulate the specifics."

MI-Sen: You'd expect a poll from Republican pollster Wilson Research to offer worse news for Debbie Stabenow than PPP would, but that's not the case, as they find wider margins against Peter Hoekstra and Terry Lynn Land. Not that Stabenow should be popping the champagne corks yet, as she's still in the proverbial danger zone; she beats Hoekstra 47-41 (whom she led by only 1, in PPP's December poll) and beats Land 46-41. She also sports a definite re-elect of 33%, compared with a "consider someone else" of 36% and 23% definitely "vote against."

NV-Sen: Well, this is a vague tea leaf that Sharron Angle might be too busy to run for Senate in 2012 as some have speculated; instead, she might be too busy running for President, if her strange visit to Iowa is any indication.

UT-Sen: This is a striking piece of news, considering that the Tea Party Express attacked pretty much every Republican to the left of Jim DeMint in 2010 and seemed to be gearing up for another round in 2012 (with rumors that he was looking into a primary challenge to John Barrasso!). But today TPX's head, Sal Russo, said that Orrin Hatch, one of the big three teabagger targets among GOP incumbents up in 2012, won't be a TPX target. He even went so far as to call Hatch "an original tea partier." Gotta wonder what Russo's angle is here. This comes only shortly after John Cornyn basically said that Hatch was on his own in the primary, that the NRSC wouldn't be getting involved on his behalf.

AL-Gov: "Sir" Charles Barkley has been threatening to run for Alabama Governor for seemingly ages, but it seems like the dream has finally died. He says he's no longer considering it, saying politics is "a bad business right now." Also, speaking of Alabama, it looks like 2010 gubernatorial loser Ron Sparks has quickly landed on his feet, picking up a job in the administration of the man who defeated him, new Gov. Robert Bentley. Sparks will be the first head of the newly-created Alabama Rural Development Office.

IN-Gov: Today was supposed to be the big decision day for Mike Pence, but we really wound up only getting half a decision (although the other half looks pretty clear, by implication). He said that he won't be running for President, and that his "heart is in Indiana." That seems a pretty clear suggestion that he'll be running for Governor instead, but he stopped well short of actually saying that today, simply saying he'll decide "later this year" what to do next.

CT-05: Here's some more movement in the GOP field in what's the earliest-developing open seat race of 2012. Justin Bernier, who narrowly lost the three-way primary in 2010 (and who'd started in pole position until Sam Caligiuri dropped down from the Senate race), makes it official, saying he's going to run again. Also, state Sen. Andrew Roraback is talking himself up for the race; he's loudly touting his moderate credentials, even citing Mike Castle as a legislative role model.

PA-St. House: It looks like the Pennsylvania state House didn't quite get the memo on civility that was passed around a few weeks ago. Video of the House floor meltdown is available at the link, although as far as legislative riots go, they still have a long way to go before they can rival the Taiwanese.

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SSP Daily Digest: 1/18

by: Crisitunity

Tue Jan 18, 2011 at 3:30 PM EST

IN-Sen: The usually low-key Richard Lugar, all of a sudden, seems intent on reminding everyone in the press who'll listen that he isn't dead yet. Lugar says he isn't sure how seriously to take the threat from the tea partiers since there's no declared opponent yet, but he's moving full speed ahead on fundraising, with a Friday event set with a $320K target.

MA-Sen: I know that our comments section isn't representative of the Democratic primary electorate in Massachusetts, but Bob Massie's unexpected campaign rollout over the weekend, and his uniquely compelling personal story, seemed to get an overwhelmingly positive response here. Here's another, and more in-depth, profile of the first Democrat to get into the race against Scott Brown.

TX-Sen: San Antonio mayor Julian Castro is the latest Democrat to pass on the Senate contest, in the wake of Kay Bailey Hutchison's retirement announcement. The up-and-comer says he "has no intention" of running in 2012 (which, I suppose, leaves open the possibility that he might find himself unintentionally running?).

UT-Sen: Here's kind of a strange poll in Utah, seeing as how it's tests of configurations that I can't ever see happening... and, in the case of the 2012 GOP Senate field, it's not even a sample of the people who'll be making the actual decision (given the Utah GOP's heavy reliance on the convention). In fact, the GOP primary question is asked of all Utah voters. At any rate, local pollsters (here on behalf of Utah Policy, rather than usual client the Deseret News) Dan Jones find ex-Gov. and current Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman in the lead in a GOP primary, beating Rep. Jason Chaffetz and incumbent Orrin Hatch 48-23-21. I haven't heard anything about Hunstman running, at least not for Senate, and there's no Chaffetz/Hatch head-to-head polled. They also find that Hatch would win a general election against Democratic Rep. Jim Matheson (in the odd event that, a) Hatch would survive the convention, and b) Matheson would give up his House seat for a suicide run), 48-41.

VA-Sen: This statement from ex-Gov./DNC chair Tim Kaine is simultaneously worrisome and reassuring: he says he won't run for Senate, even if Jim Webb retires, problematic since he's the Dems' other top-tier candidate here besides Webb. On the other hand, he says that he has no reason to believe that Webb is planning anything other than re-election (although he doesn't give any specifics on why he thinks that). Meanwhile, Jamie Radtke is already getting out in front of George Allen in the wake of reports that Allen is about to announce his bid. She challenged Allen to a series of debates, and rolled out an endorsement from RedState's Erick Erickson. Allen didn't respond, although he announced his own series of town hall events (presumably solo) through Americans for Prosperity.

WV-Gov: Former Republican SoS and current gubernatorial candidate Betty Ireland seems to have some insider knowledge that nobody else does: she's saying that she wouldn't be running if Rep. Shelley Moore Capito was, and that she had spoken with Capito to get confirmation on that. There was no comment on that from Capito's camp.

AZ-08: There was much ado about nothing yesterday with brief blogospheric panic over an obscure Arizona state law that says that an elected official can be removed from office, via a declared vacancy, if she doesn't execute her duties within a 90 day period. Turns out that applies only to state and local officials, and even if it didn't, applying it to a federal official wouldn't likely pass constitutional muster (in the same way that state term limits and recall laws don't apply to House members).

CA-49: With Rep. Darrell Issa about to take over the reins of the House Oversight committee, this long and remarkably thorough piece from the New Yorker's Ryan Lizza is today's must-read, if you haven't already seen it. It revisits various episodes in his checkered past, but presents an interesting, complicated picture of him.

KY-AG: Even though he's just dodged bids by his two most potentially serious rivals (SoS Trey Grayson and former state Supreme Ct. chief justice Joseph Lambert), now there are local rumors bubbling up that Democratic incumbent AG (and probably still a rising star) Jack Conway may not seek a second term. State Rep. John Tilley, state Sen. Ray Jones, and former state Dem chair Jennifer Moore have started talking themselves up for the job. While Conway publicly has said he intends to run again, Tilley says Conway has told him he hasn't made a decision yet.

Chicago mayor: Big Dog alert! Bill Clinton will be appearing in Chicago on behalf of former right-hand man Rahm Emanuel and his bid for Chicago mayor. (Also reportedly appearing: SNL star and Emanuel impersonator Andy Samberg.) Carol Mosely Braun's take? "One outsider coming in to support another outsider."

Enthuasiam gap: Hooray! We've all been saved! PPP has officially declared that the "enthusiasm gap" is over. OK, I'm being facetious and it's not that simple, but PPP finds that 85% of Democrats and 82% of Republicans are "very excited" or "somewhat excited" about voting in 2012, suggesting that young people and minority voters might actually get off their duffs and vote if there's a president on the ballot. (In fact, the highest report of "very exciteds" is among African-Americans, at 71%.) Democrats were killed in 2010 by a high disparity in "not exciteds," but currently only 16% of Dems and 18% of GOPers are in that condition, suggesting turnout parity.  

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