• CA-Sen: Best wishes to Carly Fiorina, who's temporarily off the campaign trail and in the hospital after an infection associated with reconstructive surgery that she had over the summer after recovering from breast cancer. She's says she'll be back in action soon.
• CO-Sen: The Democrats in Colorado have filed an FEC complaint with Ken Buck, alleging illegal coordination. The coordination was between Buck and Jim DeMint's Senate Conservatives Fund (which has spent $370K here so far). This doesn't look likely to get addressed before Election Day, though.
• KY-Sen: Rand Paul eventually got around, today, to cutting ties with and condemning a volunteer involved in assaulting a MoveOn activist before last night's debate, outside the venue. An activist trying to give a fake award to Paul was shoved to the ground and kicked/trampled.
• NV-Sen: Sharron Angle has always been the prime example of the GOP's apparent strategy for its more troublesome candidates (which is to have them hide from the media), but this is a little extreme: all manner of sleight-of-hand was used at a Reno appearance to keep her away from about 40 reporters who were looking for her, to the extent of using a decoy to get into her official vehicle while she left through a side door. Also, here's an interesting catch, especially since Angle supposedly has a lot of cash these days: her latest filing has nothing about salaries for her staff. Oversight, or is there more of a burn rate problem than we'd been led to believe?
• WA-Sen: This CQ article is your generic this-race-is-tight-and-important piece, but it has a few interesting tidbits buried in it: one, Patty Murray's internals have her up "around 4," although that's all we get to find out. And two, this election is already effectively more-than-half over: the state SoS's office says that 50% of all voters have submitted their ballots, on track for turnout of at least 66%, which would be third-highest non-presidential turnout ever in the state. (I assume you all know which party tends to do better in higher-turnout models.) Finally, Dino Rossi's doing a little hiding from the media himself: on a conference call with reporters, Rossi actually refused to say where he was calling from, just that he was "traveling all over right now." (Maybe we should be looking for the guy in the red and white striped shirt?)
• VT-Gov: Biden alert! Here's one election where every single vote will count (seeing as how it has fewer constituents than most House districts), and the veep is trying to roust out some votes with a Burlington appearance with Dem nominee Peter Shumlin the day before the election.
• CA-47: This was a weird election even before this, with stark racial overtones, and now it's even weirder: an independent candidate, Cecilia Iglesias, is making her presence known with a TV ad buy (although just on local cable on Univision). Who will this hurt? The GOP says it'll hurt Loretta Sanchez, because it splits the Latino vote. The Dems say it'll hurt Van Tran, since Iglesias is a "known Republican."
• CT-05: Hmm, here's a novel strategy for dealing with ads from third party groups that contain blatant lies: push back against them, and TV stations just may stop running them. That's what happened in Connecticut, where the American Action Network's ads against Chris Murphy got taken down, by Fox-CT (on cable) no less. (The ad is part of the series saying that you can go to jail for not having health insurance.)
• VA-05: This is big all around: that the President is stumping on behalf of a House candidate (albeit one within a helicopter ride away from DC), and that said House candidate in a red district is welcoming him. In case you didn't guess, it's Tom Perriello, who'll be rallying UVA students with the Prez in Charlottesville.
• American Crossroads: Here's part of the Crossroads road map for the last week: at a cost of $3 million altogether, they're moving into NC-11, NY-20, and GA-02, as well as continuing their presence in HI-01 and NY-22. They're also launching ads in CA-20, IN-02, MO-03, ND-AL, TN-04, OH-16, and TX-23.
• SSP TV:
• KY-Sen: The NRSC and Rand Paul both turn the tables on Jack Conway, saying he wants to talk about Paul's checkered past (i.e. Aqua Buddha) to avoid talking about Obama
• NV-Sen: The NRSC is out with a rather incoherent ad about how Harry Reid fancies himself a superhero, while Sharron Angle's out with another border-themed ad with menacing shadowy men who, of course, aren't actually Latino
• PA-Sen: Joe Sestak's closing argument cites his independence
• WV-Sen: Thank God for trackers... Joe Manchin's camp strings together John Raese's greatest hits at various appearances to demonstrate his "crazy" ideas
• CA-Gov: Jerry Brown wins the jujitsu black belt for his closing ad (if not the overall Zen master award for his whole campaign): unlike the very busy Manchin ad, he only needs one quote from Meg Whitman to make his own case for himself... she says she came to California 30 years ago because it back then it was a land of opportunity and it worked (uh, Meg? who was governor of California 30 years ago?)
• GA-Gov: Nathan Deal's closing ad says Roy Barnes is too ambitious, and Deal is just a humble public servant
• TX-Gov: Bill White's new ad says 10 years is too long, playing the dread "career politician" card on Rick Perry
• MA-10: The DCCC's new ad in the 10th goes after Jeff Perry's controversial police sergeant tenure, in case anyone there was unaware of it
• OH-18: Zack Space goes after Bob Gibbs on outsourcing and immigration
• VA-05: The Sierra Club's out with an ad bolstering Tom Perriello
• CA-Init: I'm not sure I thought I'd live to see the day where there ads running in favor of the legalization of marijuana, but apparently the Yes on 19 campaign was able to scrape together enough stems and seeds for a TV buy
• Rasmussen Classic:
• CT-Gov: Dan Malloy (D) 49%, Tom Foley (R) 46%
• GA-Gov: Roy Barnes (D) 39%, Nathan Deal (R) 49%, John Monds (L) 5%
• NM-Gov: Diane Denish (D) 42%, Susana Martinez (R) 52%
• NV-Sen: Harry Reid (D-inc) 45%, Sharron Angle (R) 49%
• SC-Sen: Alvin Greene (D) 58 21%, Jim DeMint (R-inc) 21 58%, Some other 15%
• WI-Sen: Russ Feingold (D-inc) 46%, Ron Johnson (R) 53%
• New Rasmussen (aka Fox/Pulse):
• CA-Gov: Jerry Brown (D) 50%, Meg Whitman (R) 41%
• CA-Sen: Barbara Boxer (D-inc) 48%, Carly Fiorina (R) 44%
• IL-Gov: Pat Quinn (D-inc) 39%, Bill Brady (R) 44%, Scott Lee Cohen (I) 6%, Rich Whitney (G) 4%
• IL-Sen: Alexi Giannoulias (D) 41%, Mark Kirk (R) 43%, LeAlan Jones (G) 7%
• KY-Sen: Jack Conway (D) 43%, Rand Paul (R) 50%
• OH-Gov: Ted Strickland (D-inc) 43%, John Kasich (R) 47%
• WV-Sen: Joe Manchin (D) 46%, John Raese (R) 48%
• AK-Sen: I hope the Alaska journalist corps is fueled up on coffee and is ready to go on a week-long dumpster diving binge, because the mother lode just got opened up. A state superior court judge just ordered that Joe Miller's Fairbanks borough personnel records get released, saying the people's right to know trumps Miller's privacy concerns. The release won't happen until tomorrow, though, to allow time for an Alaska Supreme Court decision if necessary.
• CA-Sen: The polls can't seem to decide whether the California Senate race is tightening, loosening, or staying basically the same, but it was enough to finally get Carly Fiorina to do what the NRSC had probably hoped she would have done months ago: she put $1 million of her own money into the race. (She'd spent $5 mil of her own on the primary, but nothing since then.) On top of that, the NRSC is throwing an additional $3 million into the race for the last week, while Barbara Boxer is calling the bluff with $4 million from her account for ads of her own.
• NV-Sen: As we expected, Harry Reid's been keeping up a steady drip-drip of endorsements from prominent Republicans around Nevada. The most recent one: term-limited state Sen. Dean Rhoads, who represents almost all of the state (geographically) except Clark and Washoe Counties. (H/t LookingOver.)
• FL-Gov: Wow, Bill McCollum actually ate his own cat fud. With little time left on the clock, he swallowed any remnants of his pride and endorsed primary rival Rick Scott, the guy he swore he'd never endorse.
• RI-Gov: Interesting approach from a blue state Dem: Frank Caprio just told the President to "shove it," in reaction to Barack Obama's apparent decision not to endorse him when he was in Rhode Island today. Payback for Lincoln Chafee's Obama endorsement in '08? Or reverse payback for Caprio's reported flirting with a party switch? Or elaborate theater staged for Caprio's benefit, to help distance himself from the White House?
• OH-Gov: Obama and Biden alert! The Dynamic Duo are adding yet another campaign stop in Ohio, where saving Ted Strickland seems to be one of the White House's top priorities. On Sunday, both will appear with Strickland, and then there'll be a Biden/Strickland stop later in Toledo.
• CA-47: Um, maybe someone should tell Van Tran that taking a page from the Carl Paladino playbook isn't really a good idea right now... Tran's out with foul-smelling scratch-and-sniff mailers in the district, hitting Loretta Sanchez for the "stench of Washington."
• CO-04: Add one more body on the plague wagon: the DCCC brought out Betsy Markey on Friday. They announced that they won't be spending any more on the 4th this cycle. They'd previously drawn down their efforts here, but now they're fully pulling out. (If there's a bright spot, this is probably their last triage move... with one week left, there's really no time left to cut anyone else off.)
• FL-12: Is there a growing sense of Republican worry in this district? They shouldn't lose an R+5 district in this climate, but they have probably the most credible 3rd party Tea Party challenger anywhere here, in the form of an actual county commissioner, Randy Wilkinson, who internals polls have seen taking gobbling up double-digit vote shares. They're taking the problem seriously enough to have Newt Gingrich doing robocalling on behalf of GOP nominee Dennis Ross, suggesting that Wilkinson is a plant from next door's Alan Grayson.
• IN-02: Oooops. Jackie Walorski ran footage in a web video of a South Bend neighborhood as an example of a neighborhood "in ruin" from Democratic policies. The residents of the neighborhood are now deeply offended, saying their neighborhood is hardly ruined at all, and are demanding an apology.
• KS-03: In a more normal year, this might be enough to do some serious damage in a close race: just-released police records show that Kevin Yoder (the GOP's nominee here) refused to take a breath test during a 2009 traffic stop. He pled guilty to speeding, also received a citation for not taking the test, and it was left at that.
• MS-04: Look who's in a bit of a panic, and revealing his true stripes: Gene Taylor just let his district's voters know that he isn't one of those Demmycrats at all! Why, he even voted for John McCain in 2008, he says.
• PA-11: Bill Clinton's traveling schedule takes him to three blue-collar districts that were, in the '08 Dem primaries, some of the most die-hard Clinton districts anywhere, now all home to pitched battles. He's appearing in the 11th tomorrow in support of Paul Kanjorski (who we'd expected, a few months ago, to be the first Dem incumbent we wrote off, but who seems to still be in the thick of things). On Thursday, he also visits PA-03 and PA-15.
• VA-05: If you weren't already sold on Tom Perriello's particular brand of awesome, check out the highlight reel of some of the best clips from his most recent debate with Rob Hurt.
• WA-06: Here's an internal poll that's a real head-scratcher, that requires a bit of explanation. Rob Cloud, the same doofus who runs against Norm Dicks every cycle (four times in a row now) and gets crushed, claims to have an internal poll out giving him a four-point lead over the long-time Dem. (Well, four if you do your own math. For some reason, the poll gave actual respondent totals only, 609 to 558 with 95 undecided. If that strange method doesn't by itself set off alarm bells, the polling firm is someone called Wenzel (out of Ohio), a company I'd only heard of once, when they polled OH-Gov and OH-Sen last year on behalf of Ohio Right to Life... but (h/t to quiller) it turns out have a regular gig as WorldNetDaily's pollster and have been responsible for extremely leading-question-rife polls about Barack Obama's citizenship. And on top of all that, Dicks won the Top 2 primary (the most reliable poll possible) with 57% of the vote, with a combined GOP vote share of 43% (of which Cloud got a pathetic 29%),which shouldn't imply much vulnerability. On the other hand, Dicks' district is "only" D+5, one of the least-blue districts that isn't home to an on-the-radar race... and moreover, Dicks has seemed pretty invisible as far as I can tell, compared with next-door neighbor Adam Smith who's in a similarly D+5 district but got a polling-related wake-up call and has been working his butt off lately. So, uh... who knows?
• NRCC: Eager to maximize last-minute take-over opportunities, the party of fiscal responsibility is throwing some more debt on the pile. The NRCC just took out a $20 million line of credit to fund some more late-in-the-game advertising.
• Dark Money: Just as the actual universe's mass is mostly composed of dark energy and dark matter, so too the political universe is apparently mostly composed of dark money these days. Hotline's Jeremy Jacobs has an excellent piece that pulls together all the GOP spending by shadowy third-party groups, fleshing out the IE picture greatly, and also showing a remarkable amount of avoidance of duplication of efforts in the districts. They couldn't actually be coordinating their efforts behind-the-scenes, you think? (Not that that's illegal, as far as I know.)
• IEs: Speaking of IEs, if you haven't been following spiderdem's weekly series over in the diaries regarding the back-and-forth battle of the independent expenditures between the DCCC and NRCC, you absolutely should. It rounds all the numbers up in one handy place, and puts them in the context of the probable lay of the land.
• SSP TV:
• AK-Sen: Here's that NRSC ad mentioned late last week, where they hit Scott McAdams in a preemptive attack to keep him from shooting the gap (and here's the SOTB: $75K)
• CA-Sen: No more giddy Carlyfornia Dreaming here, with a dour ad from the Fiorina camp hitting Barbara Boxer for California's dire economic straits
• FL-Sen: Marco Rubio's closing statement is a plain talk-to-the-camera spot saying "Reclaim America!"
• WI-Sen: Russ Feingold's out with the ad that he should have run about two months ago, making fun of Ron Johnson's whiteboard and platitudes
• NM-Gov: Susana Martinez makes the Diane Denish/Bill Richardson connection about as explicit as humanly possible in her new spot
• FL-22: Ron Klein seems to have finally moved away from Allen West's homeowners association liens, with the Outlaws gang connections too juicy even for him to ignore
• ID-01: Walt Minnick cites his independence and rags on Raul Labrador for getting his own last ad pulled for its bogusness
• MN-06: Taryl Clark hits Michele Bachmann for, well, being a "celebrity"
• VA-05: Robert Hurt goes after Tom Perriello for being a Washington insider
• CA-Gov: Jerry Brown (D) 48%, Meg Whitman (R) 42%
• CA-Sen: Barbara Boxer (D-inc) 48%, Carly Fiorina (R) 46%
• CT-Sen: Richard Blumenthal (D) 56%, Linda McMahon (R) 43%
• IN-Sen: Brad Ellsworth (D) 34%, Dan Coats (R) 52%
• MD-Gov: Martin O'Malley (D-inc) 52%, Bob Ehrlich (R) 42%
• ND-Sen: Tracy Potter (D) 25%, John Hoeven (R) 72%
• PA-Gov: Dan Onorato (D) 45%, Tom Corbett (R) 50%
• PA-Sen: Joe Sestak (D) 44%, Pat Toomey (R) 48%
• RI-Gov: Frank Caprio (D) 28%, John Robitaille (R) 25%, Lincoln Chafee (I) 35%
• SD-Gov: Scott Heidepriem (D) 36%, Dennis Daugaard (R) 55%
• TX-Gov: Bill White (D) 42%, Rick Perry (R-inc) 51%
FL-Sen: Suffolk (10/14-17, likely voters, no trendlines):
Kendrick Meek (D): 22
Marco Rubio (R): 39
Charlie Crist (I): 31
FL-Gov: Suffolk (10/14-17, likely voters, no trendlines):
Alex Sink (D): 45
Rick Scott (R): 38
Misc.: In the AG race, Pam Bondi (R) leads Dan Gelber (D), 38-30. Also, a poll by Voter Survey Service (aka Susquehanna) for the right-wing Sunshine State News site has Adam Putnam (R) leading Scott Maddox (D) in the Ag Comm'r race, 40-35. Tea Party candidate Ira Chester takes 14%.
Tom Barrett (D): 41 (28)
Scott Walker (R): 50 (44)
Undecided: 6 (17)
Margins & Errors: The Fix publishes an alleged WA-Sen poll without either field dates or sample size... Bill Kristol (yeah, that Bill Kristol) claims he has his hands on an OH-10 poll - he has the n, but won't say the pollster's name, who paid for the poll, or when it was taken... Pollster.com has a PDF from ccAdvertising with numbers for WV-Sen, WV-01, and WV-03 - but not only does ccA report to hundredths of a percent, they get taken to the woodshed by Mark Blumenthal for refusing to divulge the poll's sponsor
• CO-Sen: This probably doesn't count as an October Surprise since it made a big media impression five years ago, but it's suddenly popped back into view, and making things dicier for Ken Buck, already on the wrong end of a sizable gender gap in the polls. Buck refused to prosecute a rape case as Weld Co. DA five years ago (despite the police having recommended charges), and the alleged victim is now back in the news. She has a taped recording of their meeting (transcript available at the link) in which he seems to blame the victim and suggest that the case wouldn't pass muster with a jury.
• FL-Sen: Mason-Dixon (10/4-6, likely voters, 9/20-22 in parens):
Kendrick Meek (D): 21 (23)
Marco Rubio (R): 42 (40)
Charlie Crist (I): 27 (28)
With Marco Rubio way ahead, it looks like a Kendrick Meek dropout (rumored on Friday) and a cobbling-together of some sort of Meek/Crist hybrid cyborg would be the only way for the non-Rubio forces to get an advantage in this race. However, Meek's definitely not acting like a man who's dropping out, if getting the president of the United States to cut a radio ad for you is any indication.
• WV-Sen: Remember that "hicky" ad that the NRSC ran, and then promptly got apologetic over, once the casting call instructions got leaked? (I know, that was last week, a lifetime ago in politics...) Now it sounds like it just kept running anyway, through last Friday for several days after the story broke, despite promises to take it down.
• NM-Gov: Yep, this is definitely the most over-polled, or at least over-internal-poll-leaked, race around. Today it's Diane Denish's turn to retaliate, and she's out with another poll from one of her apparently two pollsters, Third Eye Strategies, with a 46-46 tie (a little stale, taken 9/21-23). I think we get the general idea, already: Denish sees a tie, Susana Martinez sees a high-single-digits lead for herself, public pollsters see something in between. (UPDATE: That's odd... we reported this poll several weeks ago. Not sure why it's back in the news today.)
• CA-47: This is the kind of unity that Loretta Sanchez (last seen alienating her district's small but politically active Vietnamese community with an ill-advised remark) probably doesn't like to see: apparently there was a major rift with the Vietnamese Republican community that just got sealed up, as long-time Van Tran rival Janet Nguyen (an Orange County councilor) gave a late-game endorsement to Tran.
• CT-02, CT-03: Merriman River Group hits the quinella in Connecticut, with polls of the two House races in the Nutmeg State that aren't interesting. In the 2nd, despite getting some touting when she got in the race, GOPer Janet Peckinpaugh is making little impression against Joe Courtney, trailing 55-41. And in the 3rd, Rosa DeLauro is the state's safest Dem, leading Jerry Labriola 58-37.
• FL-22: Endorsements from primary challengers, especially at this stage in the game, are interesting only when they go to the guy from the other party. But that's what's happening in the 22nd, where the guy who lost to Allen West, David Brady, gave his backing to Democratic incumbent Ron Klein today. (So too did several minor-league local elected GOPers, including Palm Beach mayor Jack McDonald.) Says Brady, apparently from the sane wing of the GOP (to the extent that the Palm Beach Post endorsed him in the primary): "I ran against Allen West. I debated him and I can tell you: Allen West is too extreme for this community."
• MS-04: Dueling polls in the 4th, where everything still averages out to a Democratic lean but unfortunately this is looking like one more real race. GOP state Rep. Steven Palazzo offered a poll a few weeks ago saying incumbent Gene Taylor led by only 4, and now Taylor says, no, he's leading by 8 (without giving us any other useful information, like the toplines, let alone the pollster or dates). Hmmm, that's only a difference of four points, so why show your hand, especially in such haphazard fashion? Somehow I don't think Taylor would be a very good poker player.
• NY-22, NY-25: Bill Clinton showing up in upstate New York to stump on behalf of Dan Maffei, that's not a surprise, as this race seems to be competitive. But also Maurice Hinchey in the 22nd? We haven't gotten any smoke signals out of that district before, but that's an indication that something may bubbling under here. (It's a D+6 district, and Hinchey barely won in '94.)
• OH-01: One more unfortunate though unsurprising triage decision to report: Steve Driehaus seems to have run out of time at the DCCC, who are canceling their remaining ad buy in the Cincinnati market for the next two weeks. The deadline for reservations cancellations is coming up soon, so we'll soon know who else gets the shortest straw drawn for them.
• PA-10: After seeing a incumbent Chris Carney up by single digits in a recent public poll from Lycoming, GOP challenger Tom Marino rummaged around in his poll drawer and pulled out one from the Tarrance Group giving him a 47-42 lead on Carney. (No word from the Fix on the dates, though.)
• TN-04: One last GOP internal to throw into the mix: a POS survey (from 9/27-28) on behalf of Scott DesJarlais shows him tied with Dem incumbent Lincoln Davis, 42-42. We haven't seen any public polling of this race (and may not, as the NRCC doesn't seem to be pushing this one hard, maybe on the off chance that it's the kind of district that'll flip in a wave regardless of what they do), but Davis claimed an 11-point lead in a late August internal.
• House: If you're thinking that it seems like there are a lot more races in the "Tossup" and "Lean" categories this year, you're not alone. Nate Silver quantifies various ways in which there are way more competitive races this year than in other recent cycles, including number of races where there are polls within single-digits, where there are polls period, and where there are major financial contributions.
• Redistricting: This is an interesting, if counterintuitive, piece from HuffPo on redistricting, which proposes that we'll be in better shape in 2010 redistricting than 2000 redistricting because (based on projected gubernatorial and state legislative outcomes) we'll have more control over the process in more important states: oddly he leaves out California, but also including Florida, Illinois, Michigan, and Virginia (all states where there was a GOP trifecta last time), and Minnesota and New York (where we might get the trifecta this time)... while the states where the GOP will improve its position aren't as large (Alabama, Indiana, Tennessee... with Georgia the most significant one). The article also gets into the nitty-gritty of where the population growth within the fast-growing states has occurred (i.e. among minorities).
• Polltopia: You might have noticed that Political Wire briefly had some Senate polls up today from somebody I've never heard of before, called "TCJ Research." Those polls mysteriously vanished after Nate Silver, vanquisher of bogus pollsters, showed up on the scene with a simple tweet:
A Wordpress blog getting ~500 hits a day on posts like "October Giveaway: 32 Gigabyte Apple iPad!" suddenly commissions 5 polls? Not likely.
• SSP TV:
• IL-Sen: Two different ads from the DSCC attacking Mark Kirk, hitting him for his House voting record and also revisiting Kirk's misrememberment of his military record
• NC-Sen: Elaine Marshall's finally out with a TV spot, going after Richard Burr for helping to break the economy
• WV-Sen: While John Raese nods to the 'hick' ad semi-apologetically before changing the subject back to Washington Dems, Joe Manchin seems to be trying to out-hick the hick ad by touting his pro-gun and anti-environment credentials in one fell swoop by (I kid you not) shooting a copy of the cap-and-trade bill
• IL-Gov: The most famous Illinoisian, Barack Obama, cuts a radio spot on behalf of Pat Quinn
• RI-Gov: The DGA pounds Lincoln Chafee one more time from the right, accusing him of being a tax-hiking hippy
• FL-22: Ron Klein moves past the boring fixation on Allen West's tax liens and onto the really juicy stuff about 2nd Amendment remedies
• MN-06: Taryl Clark hits Michele Bachmann on Social Security
• PA-03: Kathy Dahlkemper touts her pro-life credentials in her new ad, explaining her siding with the Stupak bloc on health care reform
• VA-02: The DCCC's IE unit points the "hypocrite" arrow at Scott Rigell, for making hundreds of thousands of dollars off "Cash for Clunkers"
• WI-08: Ditto the DCCC ad in the 8th, where they hit Reid Ribble for making hundreds of thousands of dollars for his roofing business off stimulus projects
• CT-Gov: Dan Malloy (D) 49%, Tom Foley (R) 44%
• FL-Gov: Alex Sink (D) 47%, Rick Scott (R) 50%
• FL-Sen: Kendrick Meek (D) 19%, Marco Rubio (R) 50%, Charlie Crist (I) 25%
• GA-Gov: Roy Barnes (D) 41%, Nathan Deal (R) 50%
• GA-Sen: Michael Thurmond (D) 38%, Johnny Isakson (R-inc) 53%
• MN-Gov: Mark Dayton (D) 40%, Tom Emmer (R) 38%, Tom Horner (I) 15%
• NE-Gov: Mike Meister (D) 24%, Dave Heineman (R-inc) 66%
• NH-Sen: Paul Hodes (D) 44%, Kelly Ayotte (R) 51%
• NM-Gov: Diane Denish (D) 43%, Susana Martinez (R) 52%
• NV-Gov: Rory Reid (D) 40%, Brian Sandoval (R) 53%
• OR-Gov: John Kitzhaber (D) 48%, Chris Dudley (R) 46%
• SD-Gov: Scott Heidepriem (D) 33%, Dennis Daugaard (R) 57%
• TX-Gov: Bill White (D) 42%, Rick Perry (R-inc) 53%
• WA-Sen: Patty Murray (D-inc) 46%, Dino Rossi (R) 49%
• Angus-Reid: Some of you might have gotten excited about the California numbers offered up today by Angus-Reid (a well-established Canadian pollster, but apparently making their first foray into the States). Well, don't, because they're using an RV model, and more importantly, it's an Internet sample. (Now presumably there's some scientific selection behind it, not just a "click here!" banner ad, but we're highly skeptical nonetheless, especially since that seemed to produce notably pro-Dem results in California.)
• CA-Gov: Jerry Brown (D) 53%, Meg Whitman (R) 41%
• CA-Sen: Barbara Boxer (D-inc) 55%, Carly Fiorina (R) 39%
• OH-Gov: Ted Strickland (D-inc) 46%, John Kasich (R) 48%
• OH-Sen: Lee Fisher (D) 42%, Rob Portman (R) 53%
• DE-Sen: One more Real World alum in the political news: that's first-season vet Eric Neis debating Christine O'Donnell in this new 90s video that's surfaced. Ooops, I'm burying the lede: the point of the video is that O'Donnell answers in the affirmative when asked if she wants to stop the whole country from having sex.
• KY-Sen: Benenson Strategy Group for DSCC (9/14-19, likely voters, early Sept. in parentheses):
Jack Conway (D): 42 (45)
Rand Paul (R): 45 (47)
Undecided: 13 (8)
The newest Benenson poll from the DSCC shows things pretty stable in the Kentucky race, with Jack Conway hanging back within striking distance of Rand Paul. They also find Conway leading 48-45 among those who actually know both candidates (and find Paul with greater name recognition: 84%, to 72% for Conway).
• MO-Sen: The DSCC is also out with an internal poll in Missouri, one of the other races where they'd like you to know they're still playing offense, courtesy of Garin Hart Yang (no mention of the dates, MoE, or any of that useful stuff, though... just a leak to the Fix). The poll has Robin Carnahan trailing Roy Blunt 45-41 (and only 41-40 without leaners). Roy Blunt, meanwhile, is engaging in typical frontrunner behavior, trying to limit debates (to avoid any grist for the negative ad mill); there will only be two debates, neither in a network TV setting.
• NC-Sen: National Research for Civitas (9/15-17, likely voters, 7/19-21 in parentheses):
Elaine Marshall (D): 29 (37)
Richard Burr (R-inc): 49 (44)
Mike Beitler (L): 3 (3)
Undecided: 17 (15)
Thanks to a big lead with unaffiliateds (48-21), Richard Burr has a big lead in North Carolina. With a big financial disparity, unless there's some outside assistance, that lead's probably going to continue (although I'd be surprised if it's actually a full 20 points). One other interesting note: Civitas hires out third-party pollsters, and this is their first poll since they switched to Republican internal pollster National Research.
• NV-Sen, NV-Gov: The only evidence we have of this poll is a Jon Ralston tweet, but apparently there's a poll rumbling around behind the scenes from a reputable Republican pollster that gives a 5-point lead to Harry Reid, 42-37 (among RVs). That's quite plausible; the real shock here, though, is that it also finds Rory Reid trailing only by 6 in the governor's race.
• WV-Sen: The big news here is probably that the NRSC is plowing $1.2 million into this race, hoping for the upset (as this race seems to be increasingly taking the place of Washington and California) or at least to pull DSCC fire away from elsewhere. That's just to run one new ad, tying Joe Manchin to Barack Obama; part of the expense is that the ad is running in the DC market, so it can reach the Panhandle. (You can see the IE filing here.)
One more plus, though, for Joe Manchin, is that he's getting the NRA's endorsement (one more in a seemingly endless parade of ConservaDems getting backed this week). Also, some details about John Raese are surfacing that may lead to ads that write themselves: photos of his marble-driveway Florida mansion, where it turns out his family lives full-time (presumably because of Florida's big juicy homestead exemption, but also because of the schools, as he wants a school system he "believes in")... and Raese's own description, in a radio interview yesterday, of how hard he worked for his riches:
RAESE: I made my money the old-fashioned way, I inherited it. I think that's a great thing to do. I hope more people in this country have that opportunity as soon as we abolish inheritance tax in this country, which is a key part of my program.
• AZ-Gov: Here's a look at the financial situation in Arizona, where both gubernatorial candidates are relying on clean elections public financing in their bids. Dem Terry Goddard has about $1 million left to spend, while Jan Brewer has $860K left. Goddard also spent more in the last reporting period, spending $477K to Brewer's $291K.
• MA-Gov: If you're shedding your main campaign strategist with 40 days to go, that's probably a sign that you're not going to win. That's what happened with the Tim Cahill camp, who said goodbye to John Weaver. Having seen Cahill's share plunge into the single digits, Weaver said (in a parting shot) at this point, Cahill's candidacy is just hurting Charlie Baker's chances.
• NY-Gov: Marist (9/14-19, likely voters, no trendlines):
Andrew Cuomo (D): 53 (67)
Carl Paladino (R): 34 (22)
Rick Lazio (C) : 9 (NA)
Undecided: 6 (11)
I don't know if the Marist poll exactly qualifies as a tie-breaker in the New York gubernatorial race, but it's a likely voter poll (instead of an RV poll, like Siena), and it doesn't have that outlier-ish whiff that Quinnipiac had. Also adding to its potential credibility: it's about halfway between the two, if erring somewhat on the side of Andrew Cuomo's safety. (It looks like they'll release Senate numbers later, separately.)
• CA-47: This is the first time I've ever used the scary all-caps to put words in the mouth of a Democratic candidate, but Loretta Sanchez just sent up the alarm that THE VIETNAMESE ARE COMING FOR HER SEAT!!!1!! Not just Van Tran, but apparently all of them!!! I suppose that's a dog-whistle of sorts to her Latino base in this seat that has a Latino majority (though not a lot of actual voters among them) and a politically active Asian minority, where her Republican challenger is Vietnamese. Kind of a faceplant moment for Sanchez, who has had good outreach to the Vietnamese community in the past (up until now, I'd imagine) and has relied on their votes to stay in office.
• MI-01: Greenberg Quinlan Rosner for Gary McDowell (9/21-22, likely voters, no trendlines):
Gary McDowell (D): 38
Dan Benishek (R): 41
Glenn Wilson (I): 12
Here are some not-bad numbers from an internal for Gary McDowell, showing this is one of the few Republican-leaning open seats where we're still in fighting shape right now. McDowell's offering some pushback against a Dan Benishek internal that gave Benishek a 39-25 lead in a race that also includes wealthy independent Glenn Wilson.
• MI-07: It's a little late in the game for ex-Rep. Tim Walberg to be jumping on the birther train (that's so 2009...) but he just said that he doesn't know if Obama was born in the U.S. Meanwhile, his incumbent Dem opponent, Mark Schauer, is out with an internal poll in response to the Rossman Group poll that gave a 4-point lead to Walberg. Schauer's poll, taken 9/21-22 by Myers Research, finds a mirror-image 4-point lead for Schauer, 49-45 (or if you'd prefer inclusion of all third-party candidates, he's up 45-43).
• NRCC: The NRCC is wading into six more districts that they haven't been in before, with IE ad buys. Most (except for WA-03) of these districts feel like "Lean Dem" districts right now, but where the GOP thinks it can make some inroads: Ike Skelton's MO-04, Chris Carney's PA-10, Steve Kagen's WI-08, Martin Heinrich's NM-01, and the open seats in MA-10 and WA-03.
• AFF: The financially-disadvantaged NRCC can't win this all on its own, so AFF is keeping up its IEs, too. They're going on the air in four new districts, two of which overlap the above list. They're hitting SD-AL ($360K), TX-17 ($117K), NM-01 ($290K), and WA-03 ($875K).
• SSP TV:
• CO-Sen: The softer side of Ken Buck? He's out with a positive ad with testimonials from senior citizens
• FL-Sen: Charlie Crist simultaneously hits both his opponents on corruption issues in one ad, hitting Kendrick Meek's real estate dealing and Marco Rubio's enthusiastic use of RPOF credit cards
• NC-Sen: It seemed to work well the first time for Richard Burr, so the rocking chair guys are back for another round
• NV-Sen: The newest ad from Harry Reid hits Sharron Angle for not supporting requiring health insurers to cover mammograms and colonoscopies
• NY-Sen-A: Chuck Schumer's running his first ad of the cycle, a bio spot, on local cable
• PA-Sen: Pat Toomey's newest ad is a hard negative one linking Joe Sestak to Barack Obama; interestingly, it's not running in the Philadelphia market
• WA-Sen: Dem group Commonsense Ten is out with an anti-Dino Rossi ad throwing the kitchen sink at him, including the foreclosure seminars
• CA-Gov: The latest Meg Whitman opus attacks Jerry Brown over Oakland schools during his tenure as mayor
• CA-47: Loretta Sanchez launches a negative ad against Van Tran, featuring him asleep on the job (during an Assembly budget all-nighter)
• LA-03: Bet you'd forgotten there's still one race where the field isn't set? (There's still a GOP runoff here.) Anyway, Hunt Downer is out with an ad full of adorable babies... to make the point that Jeff Landry is insufficiently pro-life
• PA-03: Kathy Dahlkemper engages in some fat-cat bashing, tying Mike Kelly to Wall Street
• FL-Gov: Alex Sink (D) 44%, Rick Scott (R) 50%
• FL-Sen: Kendrick Meek (D) 21%, Marco Rubio (R) 40%, Charlie Crist (I) 31%
• MN-Gov: Mark Dayton (D) 41%, Tom Emmer (R) 42%, Tom Horner (I) 9%
• OK-Gov: Jari Askins (D) 34%, Mary Fallin (R) 60%
• SC-Gov: Vincent Sheheen (D) 33%, Nikki Haley (R) 50%
• TX-Gov: Bill White (D) 42%, Rick Perry (R-inc) 48%
AK-Sen: As of Friday, Lisa Murkowski was saying that she still hasn't made a decision about whether to pursue a write-in bid. At least one major Republican is opposed to the idea: Sen. John Cornyn says that Murkowski would have to quit her job as vice chair of the NRSC if she goes the third-party route. I also wonder if her Senate committee spots might be in jeopardy, too. Anyhow, Eric Ostermeier of the University of Minnesota's excellent Smart Politics blog has a good post on the history of write-in campaigns in the Land of the Midnight Sun. In eight statewide contests, the best-ever score in a senate race was 17%, and 26% in a gubernatorial race. I actually think those numbers aren't bad at all!
DE-Sen: While everyone's still abuzz about last night's poll numbers, there's some other DE-Sen news worth reporting. For one, the NRA endorsed Christine O'Donnell. For another, so did Sen. Jim DeMint, Kingmaker of Loons. For yet another, Sarah Palin recorded a robocall for O'Donnell, playing up their shared sense of victimhood.
Meanwhile, The Hill says that the Tea Party Express has spent some $300K on radio and TV ads on O'Donnell's behalf, but it's a little hard to double-check that since TPX's FEC filings seem to use, shall we say, "new math." Finally, a reporter asked Mike Castle if he'd pursue an independent bid if he lost the primary. (DE's laws are apparently similar to Alaska's in this regard.) Castle was surprisingly non-committal, saying he'd "have to give it thought."
GA-Sen: Big Dog Alert (retroactive)! Bill Clinton was in Atlanta late last week to do a fundraiser for Labor Comm'r Michael Thurmond, the Dem senate nominee challenging GOPer Johnny Isakson. Thurmond, as you'd expect, was a big-time Hillary Clinton supporter.
IA-Sen: Chuck Grassley, making a play for the dirty old man vote, had this to say when asked why he didn't once look at opponent Roxanne Conlin during a recent debate:
"I wish you had told me because I would have been very happy to look at her. She's a very nice looking woman."
NH-Sen: The New Hampshire Union Leader has been combing through a batch of emails released by the NH attorney general's office pursuant to a freedom of information request, and they've turned up a doozy: Then-AG Kelly Ayotte used her official email account to discuss campaign strategy with a guy who later became one of her consultants. In better news for Ayotte, Sarah Palin recorded a robocall for her, too (see DE-Sen item above), but man is this imagery getting crazy: She calls Ayotte a "Granite Grizzly." Zuh? Anyhow, Jim DeMint's also decided to get involved here (again, see DE-Sen), endorsing surging wingnut Ovide Lamontagne.
NV-Sen: Jon Ralston has the complete tick-tock on how he got Harry Reid and Sharron Angle to agree to a debate on his show - only to have Angle, in a spasm of campaign dysfunction, pull out, despite being the one to throw down the challenge to Reid in the first place.
AK-Gov: Anchorage attorney Bill Walker, who drew about 30% in his primary against Gov. Sean Parnell (thanks to $300K in self-funding), says he's still waiting to see if either the Alaskan Independence Party or Libertarian Party candidates withdraw from the race. If there's a drop-out by Wednesday, Walker could take that spot for the general election.
HI-Gov: A new robopoll by Aloha Vote (taken for online news service Civil Beat) shows ex-Rep. Neil Abercrombie beating Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann by 48-31 in the Democratic primary. That's a pretty different picture from a Ward Research survey a few weeks ago which had Abercrombie leading just 49-44.
NY-Gov: It's been a long time since anyone has come out with any interesting statewide poll numbers in New York, but with just days to go before the primary, Siena has finally managed to surprise us (well, sorta): They show scuzzbucket businessman Carl Paladino in a dead heat with ex-Rep. Rick Lazio, trailing just 43-42. In mid-August, Lazio had a 43-30 lead, so this is all Paladino surge. The rest of the numbers (which test the senate races) are all meh - click the link if you want `em.
In other NY-Gov news, the Working Families Party decided to endorse Andrew Cuomo, and Cuomo - who had kept the WFP at arms' length for a long time - accepted. A federal investigation of the WFP was recently dropped, which seemingly helped smooth things. The party was in a very tough spot, though, as without Cuomo on their ballot spot, there was no real path for them to get the 50,000 votes they needed to avoid losing their ballot line. So I'm guessing there may be more to this story.
"John Salazar, it's time to come home," Tipton said as he opened the debate. "It's 9/11. Let's roll."
FL-25: Another mystery teabagger has (not really) come out of the woodwork. Roly Arrojo is running on the Florida Tea Party line, and it seems no one knows a thing about him, except for the fact that he hasn't filed any FEC reports - except for a Statement of Candidacy in which he identified himself as a Democrat. Republicans are suggesting this is a Dem put-up job, but Joe Garcia's camp is of course denying any knowledge of this guy. Interestingly, so is the head of the FL Tea Party!
ND-AL: I know, it sounds like parody, but Republican Rick Berg has a great idea: Drill for oil in North Dakota's Theodore Roosevelt National Park! Not only is it, of course, illegal to do so, but it's also a fucking national park!
NY-13: Republican Michael Allegretti just got bounced from the new teabaggish Taxpayers Party line, thanks to a lack of sufficient signatures. Rival Mike Grimm already has the Conservative line, come hell or high water.
NY-15: Of all people, Mayor Mike Bloomberg wound up recording a robocall for Rep. Charlie Rangel.
PA-08 (PDF): Yikes. Sophomore Dem Patrick Murphy just put out an internal from the Global Strategy Group showing him up by a mere 47-43 margin over the man he beat in 2006, Republican Mike Fitzpatrick. This is scary.
VA-05: The Weiner Watch continues: Republican Rob Hurt has already skipped two debates, and now he's announced he's skipping a third. Weiner!
Chicago-Mayor: Outgoing Chicago Mayor Richard Daley says he won't make an endorsement in the race to succeed him.
NY-AG (PDF): Siena also released some final attorney general numbers, finding Eric Schneiderman narrowly in the lead at 25, with Kathleen Rice nipping his heels at 23. Sean Coffey is at 13, Richard Brodsky at 7, and Eric Dinallo at 4. The race has continued to get nasty in its final days, with Rice putting out a TV ad trying to link Schneiderman to scumbag state Sen. Pedro Espada, while a Schneiderman spot hits Rice for only becoming a Democrat in 2005.
DCCC: Blah blah blah, Dems not paying their DCCC dues. It's old news, and I'm beyond sick of these stories, but not (only) for the reason you might expect. Oh yeah, I'm pissed at the schmucks who are holding out on their party for no discernible reason, but I'm also frustrated with the DCCC. We've repeatedly told them we want to help them raise money from their members - the netroots is not all-powerful, but we can bring some pressure on stingy Dems. But the DCCC steadfastly refuses to share their dues spreadsheet with us - even though they have no problem sharing it with the likes of Politico, and even though they actually promised to give us a copy at Netroots Nation. Not just obnoxious, but weirdly self-defeating.
KY-06: NRCC ($96K on anti-Ben Chandler ads and polls from two different firms)
More generally, the NRCC's IE arm said that it would go up with anti-Dem ads in eight districts (though no IE reports have yet been filed): AZ-01, AL-02, FL-02, MS-01, TN-08, TX-17, VA-05 & WI-07. A representative ad is available at the link.
• 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.
• AR-Sen: Local publication Talk Business has polled Blanche Lincoln's approval on a regular basis for the last year, and she's in the worst shape yet, they find: her approvals are down to 38/56, down from 45/45 three months ago.
• CO-Sen: After Rasmussen showed him in not-so-good shape over the weekend, Michael Bennet is out with his own internal poll from Harstad Research showing him up (barely) over Jane Norton. He leads Norton 41-40, and claims a 41-31 edge among independents. (If that disparity doesn't seem to pencil out, that's because the poll includes more registered Republicans than Democrats, reflecting the state's registration balance.) The poll's a little weird, though: it's a combination of two different surveys, one in January and one in February, and there are no details on his primary matchup with Andrew Romanoff.
• FL-Sen: John Cornyn is sorta-kinda walking back the NRSC endorsement of Charlie Crist in the Florida Senate race, saying that was made before anyone had an inkling it would turn out to be an actual race. He didn't rescind the endorsement, but made clear the NRSC wouldn't be spending any money trying to affect the primary between Crist and Marco Rubio.
• NJ-Sen: Here's some welcome news: after receiving treatment for stomach cancer, Frank Lautenberg is back on the job. He was back on the Hill late last week, and participated in a St. Patrick's Day parade over the weekend.
• NY-Sen: Good news for Chuck Schumer, I suppose. Conservative pundit Larry Kudlow confirmed that he isn't currently planning to challenge Schumer in the Senate this year. So, Schumer goes from a race against a guy he was beating by 40 points, to having no opponent at all.
• OH-Sen: There will be only two Democrats on the ballot for Senate this year: Lee Fisher and Jennifer Brunner. The other two random interlopers who popped up several weeks ago, TJ Johnson (a former Fisher underling whose presence briefly aroused some suspicions of shenanigans) and Charlena Bradley, didn't have the signatures to qualify for the ballot.
• OR-Sen: Law professor Jim Huffman, who most people became aware of only when Rasmussen polled him against Ron Wyden, went ahead and made it official: he's running for Senate. Blue Oregon has a nice rundown of his strange campaign kickoff at a heavy machinery dealer (shades of Carly Fiorina?), intended to showcase how the stimulus hasn't worked (except for the little detail that the same machinery dealer credits the stimulus for saving jobs there...).
• WI-Sen: Another Tommy Thompson acquaintance is fanning the flames, saying he's "very seriously considering" a Senate bid and "could" soon form an exploratory committee. I'm not sure "could" is very newsworthy, but we'll continue to keep an eye on the situation.
• AK-Gov: Appointed Gov. Sean Parnell's GOP primary opponent, former state House speaker Ralph Samuels, raised some eyebrows with his prodigious fundraising. However, it looks like Parnell is still in good shape as far as the voters are concerned, at least according to an internal poll taken by Republican firm Basswood. They find Parnell with a 71/8 favorable and leading Samuels in the primary 69-9 (with 4 for Bill Walker).
• CA-Gov: Insurance Comm. Steve Poizner has been making some strong moves to the right lately in order to differentiate himself from Meg Whitman, even flip-flopping on abortion. (He got a 100% rating from Planned Parenthood six years ago, but now he's against any government funding for abortion.) While he still lags in the polls, it's at least gaining him some traction on the endorsement front, as he got the nod from the California Republican Assembly (which also endorsed Chuck DeVore on the Senate side) and from Rep. Tom McClintock.
• NY-Gov (pdf): Two more polls on David Paterson's standing find voters fairly split on whether he should stay or go. Siena finds 55% think he should serve the rest of his term while 37% say resign (and only 21% saying he should be impeached if he doesn't resign), while SurveyUSA finds 45% say he should remain in office and 50% say resign. (He has a 25/66 approval according to SurveyUSA and a 21/67 favorable according to Siena.) Siena also looks at November's race, finding Andrew Cuomo leading Rick Lazio by an unsurprising 63-25 margin.
• OR-Gov: The state Republicans held their annual Dorchester Conference, which included a gubernatorial straw poll after appearances from the candidates. In a bit of a surprise, Allen Alley (considered the old-school moderate in the race, to the extent that he used to be deputy chief of staff to Democratic Gov. Ted Kulongoski) dominated, winning with 225 votes to 165 for substance-less former NBA player Chris Dudley. (Former state Sen. John Lim got 47, and antitax weirdo Bill Sizemore got 1.) Meanwhile, over on the Dem side, a lot of big labor endorsements got rolled out, and the two candidates both got their fair share. John Kitzhaber got the muscle - AFL-CIO and Teamsters - while Bill Bradbury got the brains: the Oregon Education Association and American Federation of Teachers. Finally, Oregon lost a well-liked political figure who briefly ran for Governor in 2006: Republican state Sen.-turned-Democratic state Treasurer Ben Westlund, who died from a recurrence of lung cancer over the weekend.
• CA-47: Businessman and veteran Quang Pham was mounting a strong challenge, at least on the fundraising front, in the GOP primary to Assemblyman Van Tran, to the extent that the NRCC took notice and put him "On the Radar." However, he bailed out of the race on Friday, citing the need to get back to his day job, although he may also have been concerned that the three Vietnamese candidates competing in the primary might split the vote to the extent that it would let no-name Anglo Kathy Smith with the primary.
• IA-03, MO-04: Two old guys who've been on everybody's retirement watch lists despite continuous reassurances that they're running for re-election made it about as official as can be. Leonard Boswell and Ike Skelton have both filed to run one more time.
• KS-04: State Sen. Dick Kelsey, one of half a dozen Republicans fighting for the open seat in the Wichita-based 4th left behind by Rep. Todd Tiahrt, has suspended his campaign. He cited his wife's health problems, and reserved the right to get back in the race later.
• MA-10: Some comings and goings in the Democratic field in the now-open 10th: as expected, Norfolk County DA William Keating is confirming he'll run for the Dem nod. However, oft-mentioned state Rep. Ron Mariano said he'll pass on the race.
• PA-12: As we wait for a verdict from the state Democratic Party's executive committee, here's some interesting scuttlebutt. Pa2010 cites an unnamed high-level party insider as saying it's "highly unlikely" that Mark Critz (former John Murtha district director) gets picked by the state committee, which has the final decision despite the local party's choice of Critz over the weekend. He cites concerns over Critz's electability stemming from tax problems at a company he'd helped run. Pa2010 also hears rumors that Cambria County Controller Ed Cernic Jr., who made little impact at the local convention, could wind up being the compromise pick, as he fits the district's blue-collar pro-life pro-gun mold better than Barbara Hafer but without Critz's possible baggage. We'll know soon whether this is actually happening, or the source was just a guy with an ax to grind.
• DCCC: The D-Trip has named Bruce Braley, Allyson Schwarz, Patrick Murphy, and Donna Edwards as chairs of this cycle's Red to Blue program. While the DCCC has announced some "races to watch," it hasn't officially named anyone to R2B yet. Also, Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Steve Israel "will take on additional responsibility this cycle with Democratic incumbents who are not on the DCCC's Frontline Program." I don't know if this means helping folks like Ike Skelton who are vulnerable but not on Frontline, or harassing the crap out of safe members who haven't fulfilled their dues payments. Hopefully both. (D)
• Fundraising: With Bill Russell back in the news with the PA-12 special election, TPM's back on the case of shady GOP fundraising firm BMW Direct, which raises big bucks for gullible candidates with high-profile opponents and keeps almost all of the money for itself. They've changed their name to BaseConnect, but are up to the same old tricks. And I actually feel a little bad about this... Rep. Joe Cao looks like he's gotten tangled up in their web, which explains his fundraising "success" and his near-total burn rate.
• State legislatures: In the diaries, Johnny Longtorso has a comprehensive look at the legislatures that the Dems control and are defending in the 2008 election. There are major redistricting stakes at issue in many of the races, including some where the odds don't look too good, especially Pennsylvania's House.
• ME-Sen: PPP looked at Olympia Snowe's approval ratings in the wake of her bipartisan-curious explorations of the last few weeks. Her overall approvals are 56/31 (not red-hot, but still in the top 5 among Senators PPP has polled recently), but interestingly, she's now doing much better among Dems (70% approval) than GOPers (45% approval), with indies split (51% approval). Still, only 32% of voters think she should switch parties (with no particular difference between Dems and Republicans on that question).
• NH-Sen: A $1,000 check is usually just a drop in the bucket in a Senate warchest. But when you're Kelly Ayotte, and you're trying to offer up as uncontroversial and substance-free an image as possible, the fact that that $1,000 check is from Rick "Man on Dog" Santorum speaks a little more loudly than you might want it to.
• NV-Sen: Research 2000 has new poll data out for Nevada, although it's on behalf of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, not Daily Kos. At any rate, they find numbers pretty consistent with other pollsters, with Harry Reid sporting 35/54 favorables and trailing Sue Lowden 47-42 and Jerry Danny Tarkanian 46-41 (both of whom might as well be "generic Republican" at this point). The poll also finds 54% support for a public option (including 84% of Dems and 55% of indies), and finds that 31% of all voters, including 46% of Democrats, less likely to vote for him if he fails to include a public option in health care reform.
• MN-Gov: One fascinating piece of trivia about Minnesota DFL nominating conventions is that, like the national convention, there are delegates, and then there are superdelegates. Minnesota Progressive is compiling a whip count among the superdelegates in the Governor's race. So far, the leaders are tied at 14 each: state House speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher and state Sen. Tom Bakk.
• NJ-Gov: Rasmussen takes another look at the New Jersey governor's race; their purported topline result is 41 for Chris Christie, 39 for Jon Corzine, and 11 for Chris Daggett, which is an improvement over last week's 4-point spread for Christie. However, you may recall that last week they released two sets of results, an initial read (which found a tie) and then a re-allocated version that asked Daggett voters (and only Daggett voters) if they were really sure, which gave Christie a 4-point lead and which they flagged as their topline. This week, Rasmussen just toplined the version with Daggett voters re-allocated, without saying a peep about voters' initial preferences. TPM's Eric Kleefeld contacted Rasmussen and got the initial preferences version, which, lo and behold, gives Corzine a 37-36-16 lead. Would it kill Rasmussen to just admit that, sometimes, Democratic candidates actually lead in some races?
Meanwhile, as things further deteriorate for Chris Christie, New Jersey's senior senator, Frank Lautenberg, has called for a federal investigation into Christie's politicization of his U.S. Attorney office (starting with his election-year investigations into Bob Menendez). It's not clear whether that'll go anywhere (especially in the next two weeks), but it certainly helps keep doubts about Christie front and center. And if you're wondering why Christie's campaign is faltering, it may have something to do with his own admission that he doesn't really have that much to do with his own campaign strategy:
"That's what I hire other people to do for me, is to help to make those decisions for me," Christie replied. He added, "I'm out there working 14, 15, 16 hours a day. So the strategy decision is not something I'm generally engaged in."
• NY-Gov: You could knock me over with a feather, but there's actually a poll out today showing that David Paterson is in trouble (with an approval of 30/57). Quinnipiac finds that Paterson loses the general to Rudy Giuliani 54-32, and ties woeful Rick Lazio 38-38. Andrew Cuomo, on the other hand, beats Giuliani 50-40 and Lazio 61-22. The primaries are foregone conclusions, with Cuomo beating Paterson 61-19 and Giuliani beating Lazio 74-9.
• OR-Gov: A lot of Oregonians are scratching their heads wondering where Jason Atkinson, the purported Republican frontrunner in the governor's race, is. Atkinson has raised only $2,000 and hasn't been updating his campaign blog or social media sites. Atkinson's legislative aide also tells the Oregonian's Jeff Mapes that she doesn't know what's happening with his candidacy.
• SC-Gov: Contrary to reports earlier in the week, it looks like impeachment of Mark Sanford can't come up during the one-day special session in the South Carolina legislature (which was called to patch the state's unemployment compensation system -- using those stimulus funds that Sanford fought against). Looks like he'll survive at least until the full legislative session next year.
• VA-Gov: Three items, none of which are any good for Creigh Deeds. The first is the new poll from SurveyUSA, which has usually been the most Bob McDonnell-friendly pollster but has never shown Deeds so far down: 59-40. Even if this is an outlier (and it probably is, as it shows McDonnell pulling in 55% in NoVa and 31% of all black voters), it can't be so much of an outlier that Deeds is anywhere near close. This is bolstered by today's PPP poll, which finds McDonnell leading Deeds 52-40 (up from a 5-pt lead post-thesis-gate). And during last night's debate, Deeds may have shut the door on any last-minute progressive interest in his campaign, when he said he'd consider having Virginia opt out of an opt-out public option. Of course, his camp is backpedaling today, saying that he "wasn't ruling anything out" -- but as any student of politics will tell you, every day you spend explaining what you really had meant to say is another day lost.
• CA-11: Not one but two more penny-ante Republicans got into the race against Democratic sophomore Rep. Jerry McNerney: construction company owner Robert Beadles and the former VP of Autism Speaks, Elizabeth Emken. That brings to a total of 8 the number of GOPers, with former US Marshal Tony Amador the only one with a competitive profile.
• CA-47: Audio has been released of Assemblyman and Congressional candidate Van Tran's brush with the law when he got involved in a friend's DUI traffic stop. Tran has denied that he was interfering with the police, but the audio doesn't exactly leave him sounding cooperative.
• FL-08: Yet another Republican backed off from the prospect of facing off against the suddenly mighty Alan Grayson -- although this is a guy I didn't even know was running: Marvin Hutson. Hutson instead endorsed Todd Long, the radio talk show host who nearly defeated incumbent Ric Keller in the 2008 GOP primary -- who, to my knowledge, doesn't actually seem to be running, at least not yet (and that could change, given the GOP's glaring hole here).
• IL-16: Here's a Democratic recruitment score (well, of the second-tier variety) in a district where Barack Obama won last year but the very conservative Republican incumbent, Don Manzullo, has skated with minor opposition for nearly two decades. George Gaulrapp, the mayor of Freeport (a town of 25,000 at the Rockford-based district's western end), will challenge Manzullo.
• NYC Mayor: Incumbent Michael Bloomberg continues to hold a sizable but not overwhelming lead over Democratic comptroller William Thompson in the New York mayoral race; he leads 53-41. Thompson doesn't seem likely to make up much ground without full-throated backing from Barack Obama, though, and he certainly isn't getting that; Obama gave Thompson no more than a "shout out" at a New York fundraiser last night.
• Mayors: The New York Times has a good profile of the Atlanta mayor's race, where the long string of black mayors may be broken. White city councilor Mary Norwood, from the affluent white Buckhead portion of the city, seems to be the frontrunner to succeed outgoing mayor Shirley Franklin, with the African-American vote split among city councilor Lisa Borders and former state legislator Kasim Reed (although polling indicates Norwood pulling in a fair amount of black support). This seems consistent with changing demographics, where GA-05 (which largely overlaps Atlanta city limits) has seen declining black and increasing white populations while the suburbs become much blacker.
• Census: Democratic Rep. Joe Baca has introduced legislation of his own to counter David Vitter's amendment to require the census to ask citizenship status. Baca's bill would require all residents to be counted in the census, regardless of legal status.
• CT-Sen: Here's some good news for Chris Dodd (and also Kent Conrad, although he's not facing any danger at home): the Senate Ethics Committee found that no Senate gift rules were broken by accepting VIP mortgages from Countrywide. Perception-wise, though, this is a case where the damage has probably already been done.
• FL-Sen: Marco Rubio has issued some demands to Charlie Crist, regarding Mel Martinez's now-vacant Senate seat: appoint someone conservative, and appoint an "interim" senator (i.e. not Crist). TPM also cites NRO's Jim Geraghty as hearing rumors that the pick may be former Republican Gov. Bob Martinez (no relation to Mel), a conservative (although registered as a Democrat when nonpartisan mayor of Tampa) who served one term, 1986-1990. Bob Martinez is 74, and of Spanish ancestry rather than Cuban.
• IL-Gov: It still seems like a strange choice to me, but Comptroller Dan Hynes (runner-up to some guy named Barack Obama in the 2004 Democratic Senate primary) made it official yesterday. He'll be running in the primary against incumbent Governor Pat Quinn, who's been sporting surprisingly good approval ratings (by virtue of not being Rod Blagojevich, I suppose) and already managed to deter the much stronger Lisa Madigan from a primary fight. The primary is a ridiculously-early Feb. 2.
• NJ-Gov: One more poll in the New Jersey governor's race came out yesterday, painting a worse picture than yesterday's not-terrible R2K. Rasmussen finds a 13-point spread, 50-37, for Chris Christie over Jon Corzine. That's right in line with Pollster.com's rolling average, which is 50-38 today.
• UT-Gov: Utah Governor Jon Huntsman was confirmed as ambassador to China today, to no one's surprise. Once he resigns, Republican Lt. Gov. Gary Herbert will be promoted but will face a special election in 2010.
• VA-Gov: Creigh Deeds has taken on some criticism in recent weeks in the wake of flagging polls, for ignoring northern Virginia and focusing on his white rural base too much. He seems to be remedying that with his newest wave of radio ads, targeting Hispanic and black voters. On top of that, of course, was yesterday's appearance with Barack Obama in McLean in NoVa.
• CA-47: Republican Assemblyman Van Tran, who's running against Loretta Sanchez in the 47th, got some bad PR last night. Tran was disruptive enough at the scene of a drunk-driving accident involving Westminster city councilor Andy Quach that he was threatened with arrest unless he returned to his car. (Tran was apparently called to the scene to act as Quach's attorney, rather than a passenger.)
• IL-10: State Rep. Julie Hamos got a boost in her quest to win the Democratic primary in the open-seat battle to replace Rep. Mark Kirk. Rep. Jan Schakowsky, who represents the next-door 9th, endorsed Hamos, the first high-profile endorsement in the race.
• SC-04: Republican Rep. Bob Inglis laid down the law at his town hall the other night, telling Screamers at the event to turn off the Glenn Beck and tune out the fear-mongering. One more clue that the increasingly-sane Inglis, who's facing several high-profile primary challengers (most notably state Sen. David Thomas) in a dark-red district, is becoming the 2010 cycle's likeliest GOP primary casualty.