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SSP Daily Digest: 2/9

by: Crisitunity

Tue Feb 09, 2010 at 4:51 PM EST

AZ-Sen: As the Arizona GOP Senate primary heats up, ex-Rep. J.D. Hayworth has pulled in a prominent backer, one of the state's unfortunately most popular politicians: Maricopa Co. Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Arpaio - a hero of the anti-immigrant set who'd been the subject of calls to get into the gubernatorial race this year - wrote a fundraising letter for Hayworth that's being sent around nationally.

FL-Sen: Marco Rubio got two more endorsements today from the GOP's right flank: from Indiana's Rep. Mike Pence, #3 in the House GOP and a favorite of the social values set, and on the economic-conservative side of the party, bathtub-drowning fan Grover Norquist.

NH-Sen (pdf): A couple different polls are out today in the New Hampshire Senate race, although both from pollsters in the "take with salt" category. UNH looks at the general election, finding a lead for Kelly Ayotte over Paul Hodes that's about in line with most other pollsters: 41-33. Hodes leads the lesser GOPers in the race, though; he beats Jim Bender 36-27, William Binnie 34-30, and Ovide Lamontagne 38-29. What about that thorny GOP primary, though? Republican internal pollster Magellan has some answers, although it's not clear if this poll was on the behalf of any particular candidate. They see Ayotte at 37%, but contrary to that recent R2K poll, they have Binnie in second place at 23% and Lamontagne back at 12. (Binnie seems to be the most moderate in the field, and gained a lot of attention, at least in the Boston media market parts of the state, for running ads on behalf of Scott Brown in Massachusetts.) In case anyone was wondering about the GOP gubernatorial primary, that's in there too, although nobody has any idea who these candidates are: Jack Kimball beats Karen Testerman 18-5.

AL-Gov: There's one other interesting poll from a Republican pollster of a Republican primary (this time in Alabama); it's from Baselice, and they're explicit about not working on behalf of any of these candidates. Former higher ed system chancellor Bradley Byrne has a narrow lead, and he has a lot of company. Byrne is at 20, followed closely by wingnut judge Roy Moore at 17. Real estate developer (and gubernatorial spawn) Tim James is at 8, state Rep. Robert Bentley is at 4, state treasurer Kay Ivey is at 3, and former Economic Development Dir. Bill Johnson is at 2.

AL-05: Democrats now have two candidates lined up to go against Parker Griffith (or whatever other GOPer teabags him out of a job): the new one is attorney (and former Air Force JAG) Mitchell Howie. Howie is young and doesn't have electoral experience, but is the grandson of a well-loved local physician. Prominent attorney Taze Shepard made his candidacy official today as well (via press release).

AL-07: EMILY's List weighed in with an endorsement in the Democratic primary in the 7th. Interestingly, they showed their hand even though there are two women well-positioned in the field - and they went with attorney Terri Sewell, who's something of the moneyed-interests candidate in the race with ties to outgoing Rep. Artur Davis, rather than the more progressive option of Jefferson Co. Commissioner Shelia Smoot.

AR-02: Add one more Dem to the field in the 2nd, to replace retiring Rep. Vic Snyder. Assistant Attorney General John Adams launched a bid today, although it's unclear whether he'll pose much of an obstacle to state House speaker Robbie Wills.

AZ-03: One of the widely-expected candidates to run in the open seat vacated by Rep. John Shadegg has decided not to get involved, after all. Shadegg's former chief of staff Sean Noble said he won't run. The field is already top-heavy with Republicans, including former state Sens. Pamela Gorman and Jim Waring (both of whom resigned to run, per state law), former state Rep. Sam Crump, Paradise Valley mayor Vernon Parker, and former Paradise Valley mayor Ed Winkler.

CO-03: Hat-tip to Daily Kos's Steve Singiser, who, while rummaging through the used-polls bin, found a stale Republican internal poll of the race in the 3rd that hadn't caught anyone's notice before. It points to a close race in the Republican-leaning, mostly-rural district; Democratic Rep. Pete Salazar leads GOP state Rep. Scott Tipton (who lost the 2006 race to Salazar) 46-44.

NH-01, 02 (pdf): Both of the New Hampshire House races are looking like tossups, according to the same UNH poll mentioned above. In the 1st, they find Rep. Carol Shea-Porter in bad shape against any of her GOP challengers; she loses 43-33 to Frank Guinta, 36-33 to Bob Bestani, 36-33 to Rich Ashooh, and 39-32 to Sean Mahoney. (Of course, UNH repeatedly showed her in a tight spot in 2008 until the closing weeks of the campaign - although without Obama coattails this year, she may not get that late boost.) And in the 2nd, Dems only win one potential matchup: Katrina Swett beats Jennifer Horn 30-26. Swett loses to Charlie Bass 37-30, while Ann McLane Kuster loses to both Bass (39-28) and Horn (28-25). (One other caveat: these are small samples, with 6.2% MoEs.)

NJ-02: Add Rep. Frank LoBiondo to the long list of establishment Republicans getting a good teabagging this year. Schoolteacher and tea partier Michael Conte will challenge LoBiondo in the GOP primary. Conte seems most put out about LoBiondo's cap-and-trade vote, and supports opening up the Jersey Shore to offshore oil drilling. (Somehow, I can't see that part being popular.)

TX-14: The epidemic of own-eating on the teabagging right has reached French Revolution proportions, to the extent that now Ron Paul, pretty much the spiritual forefather of the movement, is facing not one but three teabagging primary challengers. Weirdly, one of their knocks against Paul is that he's "too extreme," and also that he's against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan... all pretty suggestive that there's nothing "new" about the Tea Party movement, just that it's a catchall for conservative Republicans who are feeling extra-agitated about things.

TX-32: The DCCC has been stepping up its attacks on Rep. Pete Sessions, maybe in part to keep the NRCC head pinned down a bit, but also because they may sense this is one of the few places where they have a legitimate shot at playing offense. Between the district's rapidly changing demographics, Sessions' ties to Ponzi schemer "Sir" Alan Stanford, a serious primary challenge from a teabagger, and good fundraising from Dem challenger Grier Raggio, there may be some substance to that.

IL-LG: With Dan Hynes having taken his name out of consideration for the now-vacant LG slot for the Dems in Illinois, Lynn Sweet runs down the top contenders. First on the docket is state Rep. Art Turner, who finished second to Scott Lee Cohen in the primary and now has state House speaker Michael Madigan's stamp of approval. Other possibilities include state Sen. Rickey Hendon, state Sen. Terry Link, or state Rep. Mike Boland (all of whom fared worse in the primary), or if they want to go with a woman, either state Rep. Julie Hamos (who narrowly lost the IL-10 primary, and is now campaigning for the LG slot) or VA Deputy Sec. Tammy Duckworth.

CfG: A couple more endorsements, as the Club for Growth picked the zaniest of the bunch in a few competitive primaries in dark-red seats that are open. They endorsed former state GOP chair Robin Smith in TN-03, and businessman Mike Pompeo in KS-04.

NRCC: Here's a good catch from the Boston Phoenix: the NRCC is really putting the "guns" in "Young Guns," as a whopping total of 4 of the 64 members of its offense program are women - with only one, Martha Roby (in AL-02) looking like she's in position to possibly make it through both the primary and general.

NY-St. Ass.: There are not one, but four, special elections for open seats in New York's Assembly tonight, all resulting from legislators getting elected to something better-paying in November. The Democrats are defending seats in Queens (although there the Republican lineholder is a lifelong Democrat), Suffolk County, and Westchester County, while the Republicans are defending a Nassau County seat.

Polltopia: More back-and-forth in the discussion over the polls that SurveyUSA performed for Firedoglake, that we may have accidentally triggered (pointing out the dramatically low young-voter composition of the polls). SurveyUSA's Jay Leve responded "vehemently" (Mark Blumenthal's words) to last week's critique from poli sci professor Alan Abramowitz, while Blumenthal offers some interesting graphs showing the disparity between the SurveyUSA numbers and actual Catalist records. PPP's Tom Jensen offered some qualified support for SurveyUSA, though, by pointing out that even if you "weighted up" the youth numbers to the levels seen in Catalist (the Dems' voter database), it wouldn't tend to impact the topline numbers by a significant amount.

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SSP Daily Digest: 1/29

by: Crisitunity

Fri Jan 29, 2010 at 5:52 PM EST

AZ-Sen: CQ has an interesting tidbit about Rodney Glassman, the young Tucson city councilor who's the top Democrat in the Senate race right now. The general sense has been that it would be good to have someone with some self-funding capacity to be able to jump in and make a race of it in case the bombastic J.D. Hayworth somehow takes out John McCain in the GOP primary... and it turns out that Glassman has been that guy all along. He's been capping contributions to his campaign at $20 for now, but the Dems' state chair says Glassman can step in with his own money in case things heat up.

IA-Sen: Rasmussen takes a pretty dim view of the odds for Roxanne Conlin (or any other Democrat) against Chuck Grassley in 2010. They see Conlin, a wealthy attorney last seen losing the 1982 gubernatorial race, losing to Grassley 59-31. The other less-known Dems, both veterans of the state legislature, fare only slightly worse: Bob Krause loses 59-26, and Tom Fiegen loses 61-25.

IL-Sen: One last component from Rasmussen's poll of the Illinois primary fields dribbled in late yesterday: a look at the Republican Senate field. Like other pollsters, they find Rep. Mark Kirk way ahead of his nearest competitor in the GOP primary, real estate developer Patrick Hughes. Unlike others, though, they at least see Hughes in the double-digits, losing 53-18 (with 12 for "some other candidate").

NC-Sen: Rasmussen also examines North Carolina, and while they find Republican incumbent Richard Burr with a significant lead, he's not quite in the safety zone. Burr leads Democratic SoS Elaine Marshall 47-37, and he leads former state Sen. Cal Cunningham 50-34. Rasmussen also finds Burr's knowns to be much, much higher than anyone else has found them: he has an approval of 56/32, with only 12% not sure (whereas most pollsters find his unknowns to be well into the 30s).

NY-Sen-B: After rumors of his renewed interest in challenging Kirsten Gillibrand in a Democratic Senate primary, Rep. Steve Israel sounds like he's backing off. His chief of staff says "definitively that he's not running," although there's no comment from Israel himself. Israel, however, did commission another poll in recent weeks to take the race's temperature, so it's clear his interest was briefly re-piqued.

AK-Gov: Former state House speaker John Harris had been a rumored candidate to oppose appointed Gov. Sean Parnell in the GOP gubernatorial primary, but has made clear that he won't run and will run for re-election to the House instead. Another former speaker, Ralph Samuels, was also in the race, leaving Harris little room to grab whatever anti-Parnell vote might be out there. (A PPP poll finds the uncontroversial Parnell with a 58/19 approval, so it'd be an uphill run anyway.)

FL-Gov: Rasmussen has new numbers out for the Governor's race in Florida, and they're very similar to what Quinnipiac released yesterday. Republican AG Bill McCollum leads Democratic CFO Alex Sink 46-35. (Presumably, this means they'll have Senate numbers shortly.)

MI-Gov: We're getting strange signals out of the Virg Bernero camp. The Lansing mayor sent out an e-mail soliciting interns for his gubernatorial run (which would be a strange way of announcing your run, which he hasn't done so far, although he does have an exploratory committee up). It was quickly followed up with word that Bernero hasn't decided whether or not to run, and it should have said interns sought for his exploratory committee only.

NY-Gov: Here's a sign of how unenthused the state GOP is with the idea of ex-Rep. Rick Lazio as their standard-bearer for the Governor's race: they're actually sitting down with Suffolk Co. Exec Steven Levy, who has recently expressed some interest in the race, to discuss the possibility of him running as a Republican. Levy, of course, is a Democrat, although a rather conservative one (particularly on immigration issues) and one who received a Republican cross-endorsement during his barely-contested 2007 re-election. The crux of the matter may be that Levy has a $4 million warchest available, while Lazio is sitting on $637K. State party chair Ed Cox offered this stirring endorsement of Lazio on Wednesday: "At the moment, he is the candidate."

WI-Gov: One final Rasmussen poll to look at today: it's the other half of their Wisconsin sample, the one that found 68-year-old ex-Gov. Tommy Thompson leading Russ Feingold in a hypothetical match. They find Republican ex-Rep. Mark Neumann leading Democratic Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett 42-38, while Milwaukee Co. Exec Scott Walker leads Barrett 48-38 (again, a much more Republican-favorable view of the race than other pollsters have seen it).

AR-01: Dems won't be getting their most-desired candidate to succeed Marion Berry in the 1st: AG Dustin McDaniel already announced that he won't run. Possible Dem candidates sniffing out the race, though, including state Rep. Keith Ingram, state Sen. Robert Thompson, and former state party chair Jason Willett. CQ also mentions former state Rep. Chris Thyer, former state Sen. Tim Woolridge, and Berry's CoS, Chad Causey.

AR-02: In the 2nd, Democratic state House speaker Robbie Wills seems to be getting into the race to succeed Vic Snyder. State Sen. Shane Broadway has also expressed interest, but says that he'll head for the Lt. Governor race if LG Bill Halter gets into the field in the 2nd. State Public Service Commissioner Paul Suskie is already putting campaign infrastructure into place, and a potential wild card people are eyeing is Little Rock's mayor, Mark Stodola.

CA-19: Smackdown in the Central Valley! Retiring Republican Rep. George Radanovich lashed out at CA-11 ex-Rep. Richard Pombo, seeking to replace him, saying that he should have "run in his own district." Radanovich backs state Sen. Jeff Denham in the GOP primary, and was seeking to quash Pombo claims that Radanovich wouldn't have endorsed Denham had he known Pombo was going to run. In other news, Rep. Tom McClintock at some point endorsed Pombo, finally making it clear that McClintock, used to running for something new every two years, wasn't going to reflexively abandon his district and run in the 19th instead.

GA-04: A primary is the only way to dislodge Rep. Hank Johnson in this safely blue district, and it looks like Johnson is poised to keep his seat even though he's drawn several prominent opponents (at least some of whom would be coming at him from the right), former DeKalb Co. CEO Vernon Jones and DeKalb Co. Commissioners Connie Stokes and Lee May. Johnson has an internal poll from Lake Associates out showing him with 47% of the vote, leading Jones at 19, Stokes at 12, and May at 5.

KY-06: Just days after attorney Andy Barr was named to the bottom tier of the NRCC's "Young Guns" program, another Republican has jumped into the fray to take on Rep. Ben Chandler in this Republican-leaning district. Mike Templeman retired last year as CEO of Energy Coal Resources, and is touting his business experience.

NH-02: Ex-Rep. Charlie Bass is touting an internal poll that has him in commanding position, at least as far as the GOP primary is concerned. He leads the 2008 Republican candidate, talk radio host Jennifer Horn, by a 42-19 margin (with 4 for state Rep. Bob Giuda). No numbers for the general election in this Dem-leaning district, however.

NY-01: Rep. Tim Bishop is pushing back against, well, everything: he said, as far as retirement rumors go, he's "sure as hell" not going to back down from a fight now. He also announced strong fundraising (a $378K quarter) in the face of wealthy opposition, Randy Altschuler and George Demos. (There are also rumors that Chris Cox, the grandson of Richard Nixon and son of new state GOP chair Ed Cox, may get into the race.) Bishop's camp also alluded to (although didn't specifically release) an internal poll showing him over the 50% mark against his Republican opponents, in contrast to other recent polls.

PA-03: I wouldn't have expected freshman Kathy Dahlkemper's 3rd to be only 4th or 5th among Pennsylvania Democratic seats in terms of vulnerability this year, but them's the breaks. The GOP hasn't found a top-tier recruit here yet, but another Republican got into the race: Mike Kelly, a car dealer from the suburban Pittsburgh part of the district. It sounds like he'll be able to partly fund his own way, which will help him compete against fellow businessman Paul Huber.

PA-10: Former US Attorney Tom Marino finally announced his long-rumored bid against Rep. Chris Carney this week. While Marino seems imposing on paper, there are a number of problems here for him: for starters, Carney quickly used the December efforts of GOPers to recruit him to party-switch to boost his own bipartisan bona fides. Marino also faces questions over his relationship with Louis DeNaples, a developer who was the target of probes over links to organized crime, and particularly a casino license granted to him (where Marino was a reference on DeNaples' gaming application). And a number of state legislators - at least in the far western part of the district where Malcolm Derk is from - are lining up behind Derk instead of Marino in the GOP primary. With chiropractor David Madeira, who's been reaching out to the teabaggers, also in the race, even the primary won't be an easy ride for Marino.

PA-15: One more internal poll, this one not looking so good for Democrats. Republican Rep. Charlie Dent, in his first competitive race, well, ever, against Bethlehem mayor John Callahan, has a big edge in his own poll conducted by the Tarrance Group. The poll gives Dent a 53-27 lead, with 8 going to teabagging independent Jack Towne. The moderate Dent pulls in one-quarter of all Democratic voters.

TN-08: He's in like Flinn. George Flinn, that is: the official entry of the Shelby Co. Commissioner, who's also a radiologist and radio station owner in his spare time, expanded the Republican field in the 8th. With two money-bags candidates already in the picture, physician Ron Kirkland and most prominently farmer Stephen Fincher, Republicans look poised to bleed each other badly in an expensive primary while state Sen. Roy Herron looks to have the Democratic field mostly to himself in this open seat race.

VA-05: Another primary that's getting out of control for the GOP is the one in the 5th, where there's a backlog of die-hards each claiming to be the "true conservative" as opposed to establishment fave state Sen. Robert Hurt. Real estate investor Lawrence Verga seems to have had the most success at gaining the attention of the teabaggers (although Verga's spotty voting record can't help his image much), but now rival real estate developer Jim McKelvey just slammed down half a million dollars on the table to up the ante. Even more delicious in terms of cat fud: McKelvey is also making threats that he'll run as an independent if things don't go his way in the primary. With right-winger Bradley Rees already running as a Tea Party-powered indie, there could be enough fracturing on the right to let vulnerable Democratic Rep. Tom Perriello have a shot at survival.

VA-09: Here's a seat that would have been a bear to defend in the event of a retirement, but where we got the final word that the incumbent is staying put. Rep. Rick Boucher confirmed he'll go for a 15th term in the Fightin' 9th in southwestern Virginia. He's still not out of the woods, as Republican state House majority leader Morgan Griffith may get in the race, although for now Boucher doesn't have an opponent.

WA-03: This caught me, and seemingly a lot of other people, by surprise: Gov. Chris Gregoire weighed into the Democratic primary in the 3rd with an endorsement, and she bypassed the two sitting state legislators in the field to go for ex-state Rep. Denny Heck, suggesting that rumors that he's got a lot of behind-the-scenes establishment support are quite true. Heck, who subsequently founded a public affairs cable channel and did a lot of successful for-profit investing as well, can spend a lot of his own money on the race, which is probably why he's getting the establishment backing despite having been out of office for decades.

WV-01: After a rather protracted four-year investigation, the Justice Dept. ended its investigation of Rep. Alan Mollohan over earmark steering, removing the ethical cloud from over his head. Mollohan had been on retirement watch lists, in the face of several decent Republican challengers, but he recently filed for re-election and now his opponents have less ammo to use against him.

OH-SoS: Progressives have been dismayed that socially conservative state Rep. Jennifer Garrison is the only Democratic option in the Secretary of State primary anymore, but that sounds like it's about to change. Franklin Co. Clerk of Courts (and former Columbus city councilor) Maryellen O'Shaugnessy is rumored to be about to enter the race, and it also sounds like she'll have the backing of the state party's power brokers, starting at the top with Gov. Ted Strickland (who can't afford to have progressives stay home in 2010, as he needs them to save his own bacon in what promises to be a tight gubernatorial race).

Census: New York state Senate Democrats are proposing changes in the way that prison inmates are counted. They'd like for them to be considered residents of the district where their last known address was, not where they're currently incarcerated. It's actually a very important issue, considering that there are more than 58,000 state prisoners in New York, most of whom are from cities but are currently in rural Upstate, and it could tip the balance significantly in redistricting the state Senate. In other Census news, Robert Groves talked extensively to Pew about increasing participation, tracking turnout, and overcoming language barriers.

Humor: Finally, here's a cartoon that SSP fans are uniquely positioned to enjoy.

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SSP Daily Digest: 1/20

by: Crisitunity

Wed Jan 20, 2010 at 3:50 PM EST

CO-Sen, CO-Gov: After some flirtation with the idea of switching over to the open seat Governor's race, or even endeavoring to become Lt. Governor, former State House speaker Andrew Romanoff announced yesterday that he's going to keep doing what he's doing (despite having made little headway at it so far): challenging appointed incumbent Michael Bennet in the Democratic Senate primary. Romanoff also threw his support to Denver mayor John Hickenlooper in the gubernatorial primary.

FL-Sen: I wonder if we'll see more of this from insurgent Democratic candidates. Former Miami mayor Maurice Ferre, looking for some sort of angle to use against front-running Rep. Kendrick Meek for the Democratic Senate nomination, has come out against the current health care reform plan (although not against HCR in general), calling it "a special interest plan that raises taxes and favors insurance and pharmaceutical companies."

KS-Sen: The PMA scandal has mostly left House Democrats tarred with its brush, especially crusty old-school guys from that Appropriations clique, like John Murtha and Pete Visclosky. However, it's now expanding to take in a key Republican member on Appropriations - one who's in a tight battle for a promotion to the Senate and can't afford to get besmirched in any way. The House ethics panel is now looking at the links between Rep. Todd Tiahrt's donations and defense earmarks.

NY-Sen-B: Rasmussen checks out the race that's suddenly on everyone's mind (and that doesn't even exist yet, although Harold Ford Jr. just took a monthlong leave of absence from Merrill Lynch to "explore" the race - I wonder if he'll be doing most of his recon by helicopter). They find numbers very similar to local pollsters Marist and Siena: Kirsten Gillibrand beats Ford, 48-23 (with a surprisingly large 10 for "some other," presumably Jonathan Tasini although maybe it's more just "anybody else, please"). Where Rasmussen parts ways with the other pollsters is Gillibrand's high favorables (and high knowns, period): they have her at 59/27.

OH-Sen, OH-Gov: Take this with a bag of quick-melting rock salt, if you choose, as it's a poll commissioned by Ohio Right to Life and conducted by Republican pollster Wenzel Strategies. Still, the numbers clock in pretty close to what Rasmussen has been seeing lately. They see John Kasich with a 43-33 lead in the Governor's race, and Rob Portman up in the Senate race: 37-31 over Lee Fisher and 40-35 over Jennifer Brunner.

MD-Gov: One more poll, and it actually shows a Democrat in reasonably good shape. Incumbent Gov. Martin O'Malley is up 9 points against the GOP's best possible offering, potential candidate ex-Gov. Bob Ehrlich, 48-39, according to local pollster Gonzales Research. (Gonzales saw it an 11-point race last September.) O'Malley's approvals (46%) could use some improvement, but considering that Ehrlich hasn't sounded likely to get in (although he might be doing a rethink given last night's events), there are certainly many other races higher on the worry-about list.

AL-05: If Rep. Parker Griffith thought he'd be welcomed with open arms into the Republican fold, well, he's got another thing coming. The only good news for him from last night's meeting of the Madison County (i.e. Huntsville) Republican Executive Committee was that, in the end, they decided not to attempt to get Griffith removed from the primary ballot as a Republican. The real question of the meeting, though, was whether it would be better strategy for Republicans to try to beat him in the primary or via an independent candidacy in November.

AR-02: Democratic candidates who sound committed to running to replace retiring Rep. Vic Snyder are already piling up - and we haven't even gotten to Lt. Gov. Bill Halter or ex-Gen. Wesley Clark yet. State House Speaker Robbie Wills today stopped short of saying he's running, but says he's "excited" about running. State Sen. Joyce Elliott also sounds very likely to run, while Public Service Commissioner Paul Suskie is in the "seriously considering" stage.

AZ-03: On the other side of the aisle and of the country, Republicans from the deep local bench are piling into the open seat race in the 3rd, vacated by Rep. John Shadegg. Paradise Valley mayor Vernon Parker is ending his long-shot gubernatorial campaign and heading over to the 3rd, and he's being joined by state Sen. Jim Waring (who's dropping his state Treasurer campaign to do so). They join already-in state Sen. Pamela Gorman and state Rep. Sam Crump.

IL-10: State Rep. Julie Hamos and Dan Seals continue to split key endorsements in their primary fight for the Democratic nod in the open 10th. Hamos got the endorsements of both the Chicago Tribune and Sun-Times, while Seals picked up the smaller-circulation Daily Herald's endorsement.

ND-AL: Add one more confirmed name to the list of GOPers sniffing out the at-large House seat in North Dakota, hoping John Hoeven's Senate bid gives them some coattails against the entrenched Democratic incumbent, Rep. Earl Pomeroy. Former House majority leader Rick Berg kicked off his campaign yesterday.

TN-04: Rep. Lincoln Davis has been pretty much assured a bumpy ride, thanks to Tennessee's rapidly-reddening status. He got a new Republican challenger today, in the form of attorney Jack Bailey. It's unclear whether the never-before-elected Bailey will be stronger than physician Scott DesJarlais (or can even get past him in the primary), but he's a former Hill staffer (ex-CoS for Missouri Rep. Scott Akin) so he probably still has a full Rolodex for fundraising purposes.

TN-08: State Sen. Roy Herron keeps looking like he'll have an easy path to the Democratic nomination to replace retiring Rep. John Tanner. Former state Rep. Phillip Pinion, an oft-floated name, said he wouldn't get into the race.

OR-Init: Oregon voters have a chance to deal a major setback to the coalescing conventional wisdom that voters prefer service cuts to tax hikes to plug state budget gaps, with Measures 66 and 67. The state legislature passed raises in the $250,000-plus tax bracket and certain corporate income taxes, which are now subject to a people's veto (via an all-mail special election with a deadline of Jan. 26). Well-regarded local pollster Tim Hibbitts, paid for by a coalition of local media, finds both measures passing: 52-39 for 66 and 50-40 on 67.

Mayors: One other election result from last night: Jefferson Co. Commissioner William Bell defeated attorney Patrick Cooper in a runoff, to become Birmingham, Alabama's new mayor, 54-46. Cooper had won the most votes in the general, but Bell seemed to consolidate previously-split African-American votes.

Polltopia: One more interesting follow-up on the increasing democratization of polling (on the heels of yesterday's piece by Mark Blumenthal): the Hill looks at the increasing move by groups like Firedoglake and the PCCC toward commissioning polls - and even has an anecdote about PPP's Tom Jensen getting berated by a nameless Beltway person for broaching the unmentionable and polling potential alternatives to Harry Reid.

Social media: At some point during the flurry of activity yesterday, Swing State Project shot past 1,000 Twitter followers (gaining more than 100 yesterday alone). Not a follower yet? Check us out. You can also receive SSP updates via Facebook, if you're one of those Luddites who like to read things that are longer than 140 characters.

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AR-02: Lt. Gov. Halter "Seriously Considering" Race; Wesley Clark Rumored to Be Interested

by: James L.

Mon Jan 18, 2010 at 11:58 PM EST

CQ:

In a move that will certainly give hope to Democrats worried about holding on to the seat of retiring Arkansas Rep. Vic Snyder (D), Lt. Gov. Bill Halter acknowledged Monday that he is now seriously considering running in the Little Rock-based 2nd district this fall.

"I have received many telephone calls from Arkansans offering me encouragement and support since Congressman Vic Snyder announced he would not seek re-election," Halter said in a statement released through a Virginia-based Democratic consultant who has worked on his previous campaigns. "I am grateful, I am listening and I am now seriously considering all options. These considerations center on where to best fight for better jobs and greater opportunities for Arkansans."

Halter would be a strong recruit, no doubt, but some Democrats would rather see him commit to a primary challenge against Blanche Lincoln. In any case, there are other Democratic names interested in the primary. State Sen. Joyce Elliott is "98 percent" sure she'll run for the seat. Other names who have signaled interest in the race include state Sen. Shane Broadway (though he says that he'd probably run for Lt. Governor if Halter decides to run for Congress), term-limited state Sen. Tracy Steele, state House Speaker Robbie Wills. Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola, North Little Rock Mayor Patrick Hays, state Senate President Bob Johnson, and state Public Service Commissioner Paul Suskie have also been mentioned as possible candidates. In short, the bench is pretty deep here, and someone of substance is bound to step up (although some choices, like the right-leaning Johnson, would be a little hard to swallow).

Perhaps most interesting is this piece of scuttlebutt:

There is chatter in Democratic circles about possible interest from Wesley Clark as a candidate for retiring Democrat Vic Snyder's congressional seat. [...]

A credible source says that an internal discussion is taking place, and that Clark is giving it serious consideration.

That'd be a pretty remarkable development -- there's no doubt that Clark would have a pretty decent fundraising base in place for a run, and it goes without saying that his bio has some special appeal in a district like this. It'd be a pretty surprising climb-down for a man who ran for President just six years ago, but he hasn't had any real opportunities to serve in elected or appointed office in the years since, and this is a legitimate opening for him. Clark, for now, can't be reached for comment.

Update: In the diaries, ARDem runs through a list of potential candidates.

RaceTracker Wiki: AR-02

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Update on AR-02 race-who's in, who's out, who's thinking about it

by: ARDem

Mon Jan 18, 2010 at 11:39 PM EST

The AR-02 Democratic primary is shaping up rapidly.  Already, one candidate is on the verge of declaring, a few are openly considering, two appear to be out, and several new names are exploring.  Here's the run down.
There's More... :: (11 Comments, 183 words in story)

AR-02: Vic Snyder Will Retire; Could Halter Run?

by: James L.

Fri Jan 15, 2010 at 5:37 PM EST

Bad news:

Snyder released the following statement:

"2010 will be a robust election year during which great forces collide to set the direction for our country for another two years. Over the last several weeks Betsy and I have had discussions with family and friends including other members of Congress (Rep. David Price, Rep. Susan Davis, and our own Sen. Mark Pryor) regarding the appropriate balance between family and congressional service when a family has very young children. I have concluded that these election-year forces are no match for the persuasive and powerful attraction of our three 1-year old boys under the leadership of their 3-year old brother, and I have decided not to run for re-election. It is the greatest professional honor of my life to represent Arkansas in the U.S. House of Representatives, and I am so grateful to the people of Arkansas to have had this wonderful opportunity. That honor will now pass to someone else at the conclusion of this term.

"This decision has not been an easy one. Two weeks ago my campaign manager came on board, but that first morning I advised him to do nothing to begin the campaign because of my doubts regarding running. The onset of the new year, the time I always begin organizing my campaigns, did nothing to remove these doubts.

This seat was already looking to be a very tough hold (especially given that SUSA poll released earlier today showing Snyder trailing ex-US Attorney Tim Griffin by 56-39). Now it looks to be even tougher, unless Democrats can find a candidate sprinkled with magical Mike Beebe dust all over their person in this Little Rock-based district.

UPDATE: Here's an idea for a replacement candidate: Lt. Gov. Bill Halter, who has previously been mulling a run for U.S. Senate. Halter lives in the district (North Little Rock), and was born there, too. I think he'd have to seriously consider the opportunity.

Just to give you a better sense of this district, it has a PVI of R+5. Al Gore lost the CD by 48-49 in 2000, Kerry by 48-51 in 2004, and Obama by 44-54 in 2008. Not a good trend, but that wasn't as bad of a deterioration as seen in the districts held by Marion Berry (AR-01) and Mike Ross (AR-04), where the Democratic share of the vote fell all the way down to the high-30s in 2008.

RaceTracker Wiki: AR-02

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SSP Daily Digest: 1/15

by: Crisitunity

Fri Jan 15, 2010 at 2:40 PM EST

MA-Sen: With last night's Suffolk poll, there really can't be any doubt any more that the Massachusetts Senate race qualifies as a "Toss Up," so we're changing our rating to reflect that. There's still room for skepticism on whether Scott Brown can in fact pull it out, given not only the difficulty of pinning down a likely voter universe in a rapidly-fluctuating special election, but also the Democrats' structural advantages on the ground in the Bay State. (The Democrats have the advantage of labor and local machines long-skilled at rousting out voters and getting them to the polls, while it's questionable whether the Republicans have, given their long neglect of the state, any ground troops to deploy here, or even up-to-date, refined voter databases.) Nevertheless, given what can actually be quantified, right now the polls balance out to more or less a tie, and that's how we have to treat the race.

The breaking news du jour is that Barack Obama has finally agreed to head up to Massachusetts and stump for Martha Coakley on Sunday. Also, the Coakley campaign is rolling out a second ad for the weekend, to go with their ad showcasing the Vicki Kennedy endorsement; they're also running a populist-themed ad on Wall Street regulation (specifically, the rather narrow issue of the proposed bonus tax on banks). The ad deluge is being bolstered a League of Conservation Voters ad buy for $350K; on the third-party front, that's being countered by a pro-Brown ad buy for $500K from Americans for Job Security.

CA-Sen: Yesterday I was musing about whether ex-Rep. Tom Campbell's entry into the GOP Senate primary hurt Carly Fiorina or Chuck DeVore more, and we already seem to have an answer. The Campbell camp is touting an internal poll showing them with a sizable lead over both Fiorina and DeVore in the primary: Campbell is at 31, with Fiorina at 15 and DeVore at 12. The few polls of the primary so far have shown Fiorina and DeVore deadlocked in the 20s, so maybe it's safe to say that Campbell hurts them each equally.

FL-Sen: Which of these is not like the other? There's a new multi-candidate GOP fundraising PAC called the U.S. Senate Victory Committee, which benefits seven different Republicans: Kelly Ayotte, Roy Blunt, Jane Norton, Rob Portman, Rob Simmons, Pat Toomey... and Marco Rubio? Six establishment candidates, and one insurgent. Or is Rubio the new establishment?

PPP (pdf): PPP looks all the way to 2012 as part of their wide-ranging Nevada survey, and finds that John Ensign may weather his whole giving-a-patronage-job-to-the-cuckolded-husband-of-his-mistress thing, if he runs again. Ensign trails Las Vegas mayor (but probable 2010 gubernatorial candidate) only Oscar Goodman 43-41, but leads Rep. Shelly Berkley 49-40 and SoS Ross Miller 47-36. Of course, Berkley and Miller aren't that well-known yet and would presumably gain ground in an active 2012 race, but again, more food for thought on the idea that Republicans really don't get the vapors over sex scandals after all, so long as they're perpetrated by Republicans.

MN-Gov: The St. Paul Pioneer Press is out with a poll of Minnesota voters (by a pollster I've never heard of, Decision Resources Ltd.). The poll seemed most focused on the question of whether there should be public funding of the new Vikings stadium, but it did throw in (almost as an afterthought) something we haven't seen before: general election head-to-heads in the Governor's race. The numbers are pretty encouraging for the Democrats: ex-Sen. Mark Dayton leads ex-Sen. Norm Coleman 41-31, and state Rep. Marty Seifert (who, assuming Coleman doesn't get in, is the likeliest GOP nominee) 41-25. State House speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher beats Coleman 33-31, and Pat Anderson (who dropped out of the race this week) 33-23. There weren't any numbers for Minneapolis mayor R.T. Rybak, another strong contender for the Dem nod. And yes, if you're wondering, this does take into account the potential spoiler role of Minnesota's Independence Party; IP candidates account for 11 to 13 percent of the vote in each of these trial heats. (H/t alphaaqua.)

NH-Gov: One other gubernatorial poll has good news for Democrats, and it even comes from Rasmussen. They find incumbent Gov. John Lynch in safe position with 58/38 approvals and, against his no-name opponents, leading social conservative activist Karen Testerman 53-30 and businessman Jack Kimball 51-32.

OH-Gov: Who knew that John Kasich had the power to transcend the boundaries of space and time? In an effort to court the GOP's restive base, Kasich said "I think I was in the Tea Party before there was a Tea Party."

WY-Gov: One more big-name Republican (by Wyoming's small standards) is getting into the gubernatorial race, banking on the assumption that incumbent Dem Dave Freudenthal won't jump through the legal hoops necessary to run for a third term. Auditor Rita Meyer is getting into the race, where potential GOP primary rivals include former US Attorney Matt Mead and state House speaker Colin Simpson.

AL-05: Rep. Parker Griffith is showing his true colors. The party-switcher has been turning away requests for refunds of contributions that don't meet the requirements buried in the fine print: he says he can't refund donations for the 2008 cycle, only the 2010 cycle, because the 2008 contributions were spent long ago.

AR-02: Rep. Vic Snyder is in pretty dire shape, if a new poll from SurveyUSA is to be believed: he trails Republican candidate and former US Attorney Tim Griffin by a 56-39 margin. You may want to take this poll with a grain of salt, as it was paid for by Firedoglake, who seem to have an axe to grind in the health care reform debate, and the Snyder numbers seem to be less the main point than engaging in strangely-right-wing-sounding message-testing. The good news is that, even after a variety of anti-HCR arguments have been offered (and Nate Silver does a fine job of picking apart the survey), Snyder doesn't fare much worse (at 58-35); the bad news, though, is that the 56-39 topline question was asked before any of the litany of anti-HCR talking points, suggesting that, HCR or no, we have a major problem in Arkansas.

AZ-03: Despite Jon Hulburd's surprising cash haul, he may have bigger company in the Democratic primary to replace recently-retired Republican Rep. John Shadegg. Phoenix mayor Phil Gordon is the subject of speculation; he had briefly considered a 2008 run against Shadegg before ruling it out, saying his post-mayoral future would be in the private sector, but all eyes are on what he does now. (Gordon lives slightly outside the district's boundaries.) On the GOP side, there's no clear frontrunner at all. State Rep. Sam Crump has already said he's running. Possible other candidates include state Treasurer Dean Martin (who would have to drop down from the gubernatorial bid he just launched this week), state Sens. Pamela Gorman and Jim Waring, Phoenix city councilor Peggy Neely, former ASU football star Andrew Walter, and, in a shocker, the co-founder of Taser International Inc., Tom Smith. Former state House speaker Jim Weiers has taken himself out of the running.

NC-11: Businessman Jeff Miller has reversed course and will run against Democratic Blue Dog Rep. Heath Shuler in the 11th. Miller had been recruited to run, but decided against it; he'll have to face a primary against Hendersonville mayor Greg Newman, who got in after Miller initially declined.

OH-15: The Ohio GOP is still searching for an Auditor candidate after Mary Taylor decided to run for Lt. Governor instead of re-election. Former state Sen. Steve Stivers has been asked to run for Auditor, but made clear he'll be staying in the race in the 15th (where he might actually have better odds, considering how close he came to Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy last time).

Discuss :: (84 Comments)

GOP trying to pressure 17 House Dems to retire (updated)

by: desmoinesdem

Tue Dec 08, 2009 at 10:23 PM EST

The Iowa blogger John Deeth brought this piece by Hotline's Reid Wilson to my attention.
There's More... :: (26 Comments, 435 words in story)

SSP Daily Digest: 11/19

by: Crisitunity

Thu Nov 19, 2009 at 3:44 PM EST

NY-23: Well, it didn't take long for Doug Hoffman to start bringing the crazy. (Maybe his new mentor Glenn Beck is already rubbing off on him.) First came the unconceding (and un-unconceding, as the absentee count wasn't getting him any closer), but now he's sending around a fundraising letter saying that "ACORN, the unions, and the Democratic Party" "tampered" with the election results, and that he was "forced to concede" on election night. Hoffman presents no evidence, the Republican elections commissioner of Jefferson County says that's "absolutely false," and the Owsego County Republican party chair says that's "not accurate," but why should that stop Hoffman? It's actually a good argument to make, considering that it came out today that more than half of all Republicans polled by PPP think that ACORN stole the presidential election for Barack Obama (by stuffing the ballot boxes with more than 9 million votes, apparently). Meanwhile, aware of the risk next year from hordes of revenge-seeking teabaggers, the DCCC added new Rep. Bill Owens to its Frontline list of key defenses.

KS-Sen: A lot of smoke seems to be pouring out from under the hood of Republican Rep. Todd Tiahrt's Senate campaign, and this can't help matters. Tiahrt's campaign's field coordinator in the state's most populous county (Johnson Co., in the Kansas City suburbs) resigned after it was revealed he had been arrested in July for an alleged sexual assault in 2008.

MA-Sen: With the fundraising reporting deadline past for the Oct. 1-Nov. 18 period, Rep. Michael Capuano reported raising $1.8 million during the period, leaving him with $1.1 million cash on hand. That's dwarfed by AG Martha Coakley, though, who reports via press release that she raised $4.1 million during the same period It looks like Coakley's press release reported cumulative totals - she actually raised around $2 million, with $1.9 million cash on hand left.

UT-Sen: Lawyer Mike Lee (son of Reagan-era Solicitor General and former BYU president Rex Lee) is in Washington DC this week and is making a big play for Club for Growth backing in his potential primary duel with incumbent GOP Senator Bob Bennett. Bringing the CfG into Utah would open up one more front in the GOP civil war.

TN-Gov: The Democratic primary field in the Tennessee governor's race is as clear as mud, and current governor Phil Bredesen isn't clearing anything up. He confirmed that he won't endorse anybody.

CO-04: There's one more candidate in the GOP field in the 4th, and he's pretty explicit about his status as what's come to be known at SSP as "Some Dude." Dean Madere works for a heating and air-conditioning company, and is a self-proclaimed "regular guy" who's upset about the country's direction (and, surprise surprise, is a member of Glenn Beck's 9/12 movement).

FL-24: He seems a little late to the party, but one more elected Republican is getting into the field in the 24th: former Winter Springs mayor (from 1998 to 2002) Paul Partyka. Winter Park city councilor Karen Diebel and state Rep. Sandy Adams are already in the hunt to go up against freshman Rep. Suzanne Kosmas.

IA-03: There were rumors of a top-rate Republican challenger to Rep. Leonard Boswell, and we got our first look at him: former Iowa St. wrestling coach Jim Gibbons.  Gibbons doesn't have previous electoral experience (and isn't guaranteed a free path in the primary, as state Sen. Brad Zaun had sounded likely to run), but college wrestling is a high-profile sport in Iowa. (Maybe he and Linda McMahon win, they can form the Congressional Wrestling Caucus.)

MN-06: State Sen. Tarryl Clark got a high-profile endorsement as she preps for a Democratic primary fight against Maureen Reed in the 6th. Al Franken threw his support behind Clark.

TX-23: Rep. Ciro Rodriguez got a second GOP opponent; former CIA agent Will Hurd filed to run in the 23rd. Hurd will face a GOP primary against wealthy lawyer Quico Canseco, who lost the 2008 primary despite establishment backing.

Ads: The NRCC is dipping into its skimpy funds to hit three veteran Dems who voted "yes" on health care with weeklong runs of TV spots: Reps. Vic Snyder, John Spratt, and Earl Pomeroy. Snyder seems to have a real race on his hands against Tim Griffin and Spratt is up against a state Senator, but Pomeroy faces only token opposition so far.

Fundraising: This is odd; the NRCC and NRSC have canceled their President's Dinner for next year. The joint fundraiser, held in June each year, is one of the Republicans' biggest fundraising nights of the year. (Remember the brouhaha last year when Sarah Palin couldn't decide whether or not she was headlining the fest.) The committees are exploring other more effective ways to fundraise now that they, uh, don't have a Republican President anymore.

Election law: Important election reforms passed the state House in Ohio yesterday, although it remains to be seen what happens in the GOP-held Senate. Reforms include: increasing number of locations for in-person early voting, requiring absentee ballots to be ready earlier, simplifying voter ID requirements, reducing the number of categories that require provisional ballots, adding automatic motor-voter and high-school-graduation registration, and automatically updating voting records upon changes to driver's license records.

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SSP Daily Digest: 11/17

by: Crisitunity

Tue Nov 17, 2009 at 4:26 PM EST

AR-Sen: PPP's Tom Jensen has some interesting crosstabs from their AR-02 poll, which shed some light on Blanche Lincoln's unique set of problems. Lincoln generates only lukewarm enthusiasm from her base: Barack Obama gets a 78% approval among Dems in the district, Rep. Vic Snyder is at 75%, and Mark Pryor is at 61%, but Lincoln is at only 43%, with 30% of Dems thinking she's too conservative (although that may be coming to a head right now with her obstructionist role in the health care debate, which may not be much of an issue one year from now). Moving to the left, though, will cause her to lose votes with independents, though, among whom 49% think she's too liberal.

CT-Sen, CT-05: Local GOP party poohbahs are sounding eager to push state Sen. Sam Caligiuri out of the Senate race, where he's rather, uh, underutilized, and into the 5th, for a race against Democratic Rep. Chris Murphy; Caligiuri says he'll consider it. Problem is, Justin Bernier is already running there, and has had some fundraising success and gotten NRCC "Young Gun" status; as you might expect, Bernier is crying foul.

FL-Sen: Charlie Crist has been trying to hide from his previous stimulus support, but Rolling Stone's Tim Dickinson has the goods on him, dragging out an old interview from spring in which Crist says "absolutely" he would have voted for the stimulus had he been in the Senate at the time. Here's one bit of good news for Crist, though; Marco Rubio's once-perfect A rating from the National Rifle Association is about to drop, thanks to Rubio's compromise (from back when he was House speaker) on the take-your-gun-to-work law that recently became law.

IL-Sen: Former Chicago Inspector General David Hoffman has an internal poll of his own now, and while it doesn't give numbers for the Dem primary matchup between Hoffman and frontrunner Alexi Giannoulias, it does point to some vulnerabilities for Giannoulias. The poll claims that without message-testing, GOP Rep. Mark Kirk leads Giannoulias 40-37 and leads Hoffman 40-30, but once positives and negatives are read, Kirk beats Giannoulias 47-30 and Hoffman beats Kirk 42-36. The negatives involve the Giannoulias family bank, which apparently has been connected to Tony Rezko. Meanwhile, Kirk took an embarrassing hit from the conservative Chicago Tribune editorial board, whose response to Kirk's flip-flopping and fearmongering on trying terrorists in New York boiled down to "Give us a break." Wondering why Kirk is so transparently turning into a right-winger? Kirk's looking increasingly nervous about erstwhile opponent Patrick Hughes, who is currently seeking out a Jim DeMint endorsement.

KY-Sen, NH-Sen: The NRSC is claiming it's not getting involved in primary fights with fundraising, but you can't make party leadership's intentions any clearer than when Mitch McConnell hosts a fundraiser in New York on Dec. 7 for Trey Grayson and Kelly Ayotte. With both candidates facing mounting anti-establishment challenges, it seems like the bad publicity back home generated by these appearances -- more grist for the movement conservative mill -- might outweigh the financial benefit.

NJ-Sen: Now that recently unemployed TV pundit Lou Dobbs has some time on his hands, he told Bill O'Reilly he's considering a run for the Senate in New Jersey. There isn't a seat available until 2012 (when Dobbs will be 67) -- he'd be going up against Bob Menendez that year. Dobbs vs. Menendez? Hmmm, you can't get any more weighed down with symbolism than that.

SC-Sen: The county GOP in Berkeley County (in the Charleston suburbs) was prepared to have its own censure vote against Lindsey Graham, but they called off the vote after Graham's chief of staff promised to meet with them first.

CA-Gov (pdf): Lots of people have taken notice that the Republican field in the governor's race isn't a diverse bunch: three sorta-moderates from Silicon Valley. San Jose State University took a poll of those who would seemingly know the candidates the best: Republican likely voters in "Silicon Valley" (Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties, plus small parts of Alameda and Santa Cruz Counties). Perhaps thanks to Tom Campbell's tenure in the House representing much of this area, he has a wide lead, at 39%, compared with 11 for Meg Whitman and 7 for Steve Poizner.

MI-Gov, MI-08: In case there was any doubt that Rep. Mike Rogers (the Michigan one) was going to run for re-election to his House seat and not for governor, we found a statement from way back in February to that effect. (H/t to Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood, a blog devoted to all things MI-08.)

MN-Gov: Rasmussen looks at the still-coalescing primary fields in the Minnesota governor's races, and seems to be finding very name-recognition-driven results right now. On the Democratic side, most of the votes are going to former Senator Mark Dayton and Minneapolis mayor R.T. Rybak; both poll at 30, trailed by state House speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher at 8 and former state legislator Matt Entenza at 6. On the Republican side, ex-Sen. Norm Coleman dominates, with 50%; however, he's not in the race, at least not yet, and is probably the only name that people know. Among the rest of the rabble, former House minority leader Marty Seifert is doing the best, at 11, with 5 for Laura Brod and 1 for Tom Emmer.

OR-Gov: Most people have already mentally ruled out Rep. Peter DeFazio from the governor's race, but he just said that he's still somewhat interested, and that he won't be making up his mind on it until... next March? He doesn't seem too concerned about the delay, as Oregon law would let him transfer over his federal dollars and he alludes to private polling showing him in a dead heat with John Kitzhaber. While I still doubt he'll follow through, that raises the question of who might fill a vacancy in OR-04; it's looking less and less like it would be Springfield's Republican mayor Sid Leiken, who was just fined $2,250 by the state for the phantom poll that may or may not have been conducted by Leiken's mom.

TX-Gov: Little-known fact: Kay Bailey Hutchison, despite the seeming overall malaise in her campaign, has a big edge in endorsements from Texas House Republicans. She has the endorsements of 10 of 20 (including Kay Granger, Kenny Marchant, and Michael Burgess), perhaps indicative of Rick Perry's increasingly strident anti-Washington rhetoric. (Not that that will help much when the actual electorate is in an increasingly anti-establishment mood.) A couple other Dems are looking at the race: hair care magnate Farouk Shami (who's willing to bring his own money to the race) is officially launching his campaign on Thursday, while El Paso-based outgoing state Sen. Eliot Shapleigh is publicly weighing a run.

FL-19: West Palm Beach mayor Lois Frankel, who would have been maybe the highest-profile possible primary challenger to state Sen. Ted Deutch in the upcoming special election in the 19th, has decided not to run. Deutch has been endorsed by outgoing Robert Wexler and has an increasingly clear path to the nomination. Meanwhile, the only GOPer looking interested in running in the dark-blue district is Ed Lynch, who lost to Wexler last year.

IL-06: Here's a little more information about Benjamin Lowe, who's the only Dem running in the 6th against Peter Roskam. While he's something of a political unknown, it turns out he's well-connected in the religious left community as well as the green jobs movement. He's a graduate of evangelical Wheaton College (which is in the district) and has been active in the last few years in organizing students at other evangelical colleges on issues of environmental stewardship.

NY-13: I don't know if anything can top last year's NY-13 race for political trainwrecks, but the Staten Island GOP may have gotten switched onto that same track again. Michael Allegretti, a 31-year old who caught attention for raising $200K for the race already, is a lawyer who also owns a share of the family business, Bayside Fuel and Oil -- which employed Gambino family capo Joe "Joe Butch" Corrao for several decades. Over $40K of Allegretti's contributions came from family members working for Bayside. To add to the made-for-TV drama: Allegretti's potential Republican primary opponent, Michael Grimm, was on the FBI squad charged with investigating said crime family.

NY-19: Republican Greg Ball -- who puts the "Ass" in Assemblyman -- is out with an internal poll putting him within single digits of Rep. John Hall. Hall leads the Hall/Ball matchup, 48-43 -- although for some reason the poll was taken only in the portion of the district that's east of the Hudson River. Hall still has strong favorables, at 57/25, while Ball is at 40/28.

NY-23: Recounting in NY-23 is still on track to see Rep. Bill Owens remain in the House; Doug Hoffman is down 2,951 votes with 6,123 left, so about the best he can hope for is to lose by about 2,000. The Hoffman saga just got weirder when yesterday Hoffman, goaded along by his patron Glenn Beck, unconceded on national TV -- yet today, his spokesperson un-un-conceded, not that any of that is legally binding, of course.

NRCC: If the Republicans are going to make a serious dent in the Democratic edge in the House next year, they're going to have to refill the NRCC's coffers, which are still lagging the DCCC. Party leadership smacked down members in a closed-door session, trying to get them to pony up their $15K dues. The Hill also has an interesting profile of CA-22's Kevin McCarthy, an up-and-comer who's the NRCC recruitment chair now and likely to head the NRCC at some point in the near future. Turns out that McCarthy is quite the student of Rahm Emanuel.

Mayors: SurveyUSA polls the runoff in the Atlanta mayor's race, and they have quite the reversal of fortune for Mary Norwood, who led all polls before November and finished first in the election. State Sen. Kasim Reed, who finished 2nd, now leads Norwood, 49-46. Reed leads 69-25 among African-American voters, indicating that he picked up almost all of 3rd-place finisher Lisa Borders' support.

Special elections: Two legislative specials are on tap tonight. The big one is California's AD-72, a Republican-leaning seat in the OC left vacant by the resignation of Mike Duvall (who resigned in disgrace after bragging about his affair with a lobbyist). It seems to be mostly a contest between two GOPers, Orange County Supervisor Chris Norby and activist Linda Ackerman (who's been making much of Norby's four divorces). Since this is California, assuming one of the Republicans doesn't finish over 50%, it'll move on to another round where the top Republican faces off against Dem John MacMurray. Also, in Mississippi, there's a contest in Biloxi-based HD-117, to replace Republican state Rep. Michael Janus; candidates aren't identified by party on the special election ballot, but the contestants are Patrick Collins (who ran against Janus several times) and Scott DeLano.

Redistricting: You might want to check out the website called "Redistricting the Nation," presented by GIS software company Avencia but full of fun widgets. Most interestingly, you can evaluate the compactness of any congressional district by four different criteria, and see the worst offenders in each category.

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