CT-Sen: Obama alert! The POTUS is going to do a fundraiser in Stamford for Dick Blumenthal on Sept. 16th, the same day he was already scheduled to do a DNC event in Greenwich. Sorry to get all emo on you again, but if even Dick Blumenthal needs Obama's help....
DE-Sen: It's the battle of the sketchy polls! The Tea Party Express is touting a survey which supposedly shows Mike Castle up just 44-38 in the Republican primary over Christine O'Donnell. (Actually, they say Castle is at "43.7%" - too many significant digits is a classic sign of sketchiness.) Meanwhile, the Fix claims that "Internal GOP polling conducted last week showed Castle with a margin of nearly 20 points over O'Donnell." Anyhow, the TPX has no plans to evacuate in their moment of... well, we'll see if it's their moment of triumph... despite a surge of new questions about O'Donnell's fitness as a candidate. Among other things: Former aides say she never paid promised salaries on her 2008 campaign against Joe Biden, and she just received her degree from Farleigh Dickinson University last week, despite having attended 17 years ago and having repeatedly described herself as a graduate. Come on, baby, hold together!
IL-Sen: Amanda Terkel has spotted a trend among Mark Kirk's public statements: He can't shut up about the economic crisis in Greece - and Terkel thinks Kirk is attempting to link Alexi Giannoulias (who is of Greek descent) to the meltdown. Perhaps most egregious is Kirk's statement that while he "wore a U.S. Navy uniform, Alexi Giannoulias wore a basketball uniform in Greece." Really? That last part is relevant? A pretty ugly example of "othering."
LA-Sen: A little bit of Cajun-flavored cat fud: Gov. Bobby Jindal won't endorse Sen. David Vitter in his re-election campaign. Jindal claims he doesn't get involved in federal races, but WDSU has two very recent examples to the contrary. Anyhow, I can't think of too many sitting governors who haven't endorsed same-party, same-state senators, can you?
NH-Sen: Finally, a survey of the severely under-polled GOP senate primary in New Hampshire - though it's from Republican pollster Magellan, who likes to do Rasmussen-style one-day samples (a methodology that I think it's fair to say is not a best practice). Anyhow, here are the results (9/1, likely voters, May in parens):
UT-Sen: The battle for Orrin Hatch's senate seat - which won't take place until 2012 - is already getting ugly. Hatch is claiming that freshman Rep. Jason Chaffetz (who, you'll recall, already knocked off one sitting incumbent at a state convention in 2008) promised him he wouldn't challenge him next cycle. Chaffetz says he only pledged not to run against Sen. Bob Bennett, who of course already lost earlier this year. A Hatch spokesbot took off the gloves in response, saying: "Senator Hatch takes very seriously the principle of keeping his word. Of course, I suppose Jason can break it any time he wants to."
WV-Sen: Robert Byrd's family is excoriating self-funding Republican John Raese for using a photo of Dem Joe Manchin and President Obama that was taken at Byrd's memorial service earlier this year in an attack ad. Raese's campaign manager said, "That's a stock photo. We had no idea it was from the memorial service." Well, now you know.
AZ-Gov: Does this statement remind you of O.J. Simpson's ill-fated "hypothetical" book, If I Did It? Because that was the first thing I thought of:
"That was an error, if I said that," Brewer said about beheadings occurring in Arizona.
AZ-01: Ann Kirkpatrick is out with her first ad of the cycle, a pretty dull positive spot about how she donated 5% of her congressional salary... national treasury... opposed bailout... etc., etc. Ordinarily I'd just relegate this to our ad roundup at the bottom of the digest, but I also wanted to point out this great observation from SSP's own Johnny Longtorso: namely, the fact that the Navajo Nation (the largest Indian tribe in the United States) is holding its presidential election this fall, which may help Kirkpatrick on the turnout front. (Indians vote heavily Dem.) According to Wikipedia, some 130,000 Navajo live within the nation's boundaries in Arizona (it also includes parts of Utah and New Mexico), almost all of which is contained within the 1st CD.
AZ-08: You know how the WWF tried to become the WWE? Well, true hardcore wingnuts aren't content with (the bad kind of) SSP - they want SSE: Social Security elimination. Given how toxic this is in the real world (i.e., for the 99.999% of people who have never heard of John Galt), it's no wonder that Republican nominee Jesse Kelly now say he wants to "protect" Social Security. Good luck getting past statements like this one, from just last year: "If you have any ideas on that, I'm all ears. I would love to eliminate the program."
IA-01: This doesn't seem like a positive sign to me. Bruce Braley is going on the air with an ad (watch it here) hitting back against an outside group's attack ad - not something a candidate in an apparently "Safe D" race ordinarily feels a need to do. The group, American Future Fund, is accusing Braley of "supporting" the Park51 community center, though Braley has taken the standard "don't wanna deal with it" approach of calling it a local zoning issue for NYC. On the flipside, I'll take it as a good sign that Braley doesn't plan to get Martha Coakley'd. (Though doesn't it sound like Braley's "I approve this message" was recorded via cell phone? Does that mean the ad was rushed on to the air?) NWOTSOTB for Braley, though AAF claims it has spent $50K and plans to spend more.
IN-03: A common theme rears its head once more: A Republican rails loudly against bailouts, but it turns out he's been the beneficiary of government largesse himself. In this case, Dem Tom Hayhurst has been attacking GOPer Marlin Stutzman for accepting $180K in agricultural subsidies since 1995. But as the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette reports, just last month Stutzman said: "It's time to get rid of farm subsidies. The subsidies only manipulate the market."
KS-04: You know, we always love reporting on cat fud for cat fud's sake. Sometimes it's just a whiff, but other times, the cat fud can really stink up a race. Case in point: Mike Pompeo, a top competitor for GOP Dickbag of the Year, wasn't endorsed by any of the candidates he beat in the Republican primary, and even refused to return phone calls from his opponents. Now, the cats are coming home to roost, because one of those opponents, rich guy Wink Hartman, is considering re-entering the race on the Libertarian Party line. (The Lib candidate dropped out of the race for health reasons.) Hartman, who spent almost $1.6 million of his own money on the primary, notably includes among his reasons for wanting to get back in the game the fact that Pompeo "misrepresented Hartman's pro-life position and residency." The Libertarians have until Sept. 20th to decide whether to tap Hartman. In any event, this could provide a huge boost to Dem Raj Goyle, who appears to be in a surprisingly good position to stage an upset.
LA-03: In an unusual move, the Louisiana state Republican Party has formally endorsed Jeff Landry over Hunt Downer in the runoff. State parties don't typically take sides in primaries like this, but it sounds like the powers that be are eager to see Downer bail, rather than prolong the race all the way until October 3rd. I personally suspect that Downer has no chance in the second round, and I think he'll wind up playing Kevin Calvey to Landry's Jim Lankford. (Check out our OK-05 tag if the analogy isn't ringing any bells.)
NC-11: Heh - looks like Heath Shuler's suggesting he could run for Speaker of the House, clearly as a way to distance himself from Nancy Pelosi. Shuler also claimed that cats eventually turn into dogs.
NH-02: Nice - progressive fave Ann McLane Kuster raised $223K in her pre-primary report (7/1-8/25), totally kicking the asses of all the other major candidates (Katrina Swett (D): $37K, Charlie Bass (R): $57K, Jennifer Horn (R): $39K). As for cash, it goes Kuster: $450K, Swett: $798K, Bass: $312K, Horn: $32K. Even better news: Kuster is touting an internal poll from the Mellman Group showing her with a commanding 47-24 lead over Swett in the primary, which is Sept. 14th.
NY-20, NY-23: Rahm Emanuel is headlining a joint fundraiser on Sept. 19th for two upstate Dems: Scott Murphy of the 20th CD and Bill Owens of the 23rd. Murphy has $1.5 million on hand but Owens has only $600K.
PA-06: A nasty bit of racial ugliness from the campaign of Jim Gerlach. Said a spokesman about Dem opponent Manan Trivedi: "The only one who has played the race card here is him, by going to Indian-American groups to raise money."
SC-02: The Office of Congressional Ethics is investigating Rep. Joe Wilson's trips abroad - at least thirty over the last eight years - and his per diem spending habits. Wilson is a prolific traveler on the taxpayer's dime, ranking 29th among current House members and 39th among 734 members who've served since 1994, according to The State. Wilson has tried to downplay prior reports of the probe, claiming it was only about $12 spent on some cheap mementos from Afghanistan, but that's evidently not the case. Meanwhile, Dem Rob Miller has a new ad out hitting Wilson for his support of CAFTA. Check it out - I think it's pretty effective.
VA-05: In a move that vaguely brings to mind Carl Mumpower, teabagger Jeffrey Clark said he'd withdraw from the race if the party or parties responsible for disseminating information about his financial history came forward to claim responsibility. Dem Tom Perriello's campaign said it wasn't them, but Republican Rob Hurt wouldn't say anything, so Clark says he's staying in the race. Feel the Mumpower!
OH-AG: Wrapping up some odds-and-ends from their recent Ohio poll, PPP find ex-Sen. Mike DeWine leading incumbent Dem AG Richard Cordray 44-40.
DCCC: Another day, another triage story. This time, the NYT claims that "party leaders are preparing a brutal triage of their own members in hopes of saving enough seats to keep a slim grip on the majority." And while they don't have an actual quote from him, the Times claims Chris Van Hollen "conceded" that Dems "would ultimately cut loose members who had not gained ground." In response, reports The Hill:
Van Hollen released a statement saying that the story "erroneously" said that the DCCC would redirect resources to two dozen viable campaigns if a review in the next two weeks showed that vulnerables weren't gaining ground.
I have to wonder: Did the NYT really get Van Hollen wrong here, or is CVH deliberately trying to send mixed messages in order to motivate his troops through fear?
AR-Sen, AR-01: Bill Clinton is heading back home to Arkansas to do events for Blanche Lincoln (probably not a good use of resources) and Chad Causey (better use of resources). Incidentally, Politico notes that Causey's primary opponent, Tim Wooldridge, still has yet to endorse him. Jeez.
DE-Sen: It's official: The Tea Party Express has spooked Mike Castle into going up on the air before the primary, to a six-figure tune. In fact, the Hotline's Jeremy Jacobs has an unusual level of detail on the nature of the buy, noting that "Castle has purchased $113K worth of airtime for Aug. 31 to Sept. 6 in the Salisbury, MD, media market," as well as "$26K worth of time on cable in New Castle County and $42K on radio."
NH-Sen: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is throwing down for a big buy against Paul Hodes. As the Hotline notes, the Chamber's FEC filing says they're spending $1 million, but apparently the buy is for less - a spokesbot will only say that it's "sizable." You can see their ad at the link.
AK-Gov: Republican Bill Walker, who held Gov. Sean Parnell to just 50% in the GOP primary while taking 33% himself, is talking to the Alaska Independence Party about filling their ballot line, since the AIP's nominee, Don Wright, has withdrawn from the race. Remember that in 1994, Dem Tony Knowles very narrowly won the gubernatorial race because an AIP candidate split the right-wing vote, taking 13%.
FL-Gov: I'm not sure whether these are new names or not, but Alex Sink is trying to stick it to Rick Scott by putting out a list of ten Republican elected officials in central and south Florida who have endorsed her campaign. Speaking of Scott, he's reportedly going to tap state Rep. Jennifer Carroll, an African American legislator from the Jacksonville area, to be his running mate.
NM-Gov: Local blog New Mexico FBIHOP has two new ads, one each from Republican Susana Martinez and Dem Diane Denish. NWOTSOTB in either case.
AZ-03: Dem Jon Hulburd is hitting noted d-bag Ben Quayle where it hurts: on Christian radio. Politico has the audio of the ad, which of course references TheDirty.com, but NWOTSOTB.
CA-47: Ya know, usually when we do an Obama Alert! or a Biden Alert! we're at least a little bit excited at the prospect that the (V)POTUS is doing an event for some Dem or other. But once in a while, it just makes me nervous. This is one of those occasions. Joe Biden is headlining a fundraiser for Rep. Loretta Sanchez in DC on Sept. 15th. I'm thinking a rating change might be in order here soon.
MD-01: Dem Frank Kratovil is up with his first ad of the season. NWOTSOTB.
NJ-12: The so-called "Emergency Committee for Israel," led by jerkass extraordinaire Michael Goldfarb and backed by lunatics like Bill Kristol and Gary Bauer, is now targeting Rep. Rush Holt with their latest bullshit. Holt, for his part, is fighting back, calling the ads "blatant lies" and trying to convince cable companies to pull them.
ND-AL: A break for Rep. Earl Pomeroy: The House's Office of Congressional Ethics said earlier this week that they were dropping an investigation into Pomeroy's fundraising practices.
NY-01: If anything saves Tim Bishop's bacon, it might be the fact that the Republican primary has been a festering pit of raw sewage, with outraged attacks traded among Bishop's GOP rivals daily - or more often. In fact, the three-way nature of the race seems to have tripled the likelihood of open warfare at any given moment - and it also makes things damn confusing at times. Anyhow, it looks like Chris Cox is hitting Randy Altschuler for failing to show up to a debate... but then the third dude, George Demos, also had a staffer show up at Altschuler's offices and catch him on camera, right when the debate was supposed to start. Meanwhile, Cox also won a court ruling allowing him to fight Altschuler for the Conservative Party nomination, but he'll have to run as a write-in.
NY-13: Another nasty New York primary also continues to get nastier. Local establishment fave Michael Allegretti keeps piling on attacks against Mike Grimm, the golden boy of national GOP figures like Rudy Giuliani and John McCain. Among other things, Allegretti is pointing out that Grimm has never voted in a single Republican primary in the 13th CD.
OH-17: Jim Traficant got beamed back on to the ballot yesterday, running as an independent. He'll face Dem Rep. Tim Ryan and Republican Jim Graham, who has raised bupkes.
PA-15: PA2010 is reporting that Dem John Callahan is going up on the air with his first ad, perhaps as early as today. NWOTSOTB, and we also don't have a link to the ad yet, but we'll try to bring it to you once it's public.
TX-23: Republican Quico Canseco is refusing to meet with the editorial board of the San Antonio Express-News, claiming they have an "inherent bias" in favor of Dem Rep. Ciro Rodriguez. Only problem: The paper endorsed the last two Republicans who ran against Ciro.
WI-07: Republican Sean Duffy is finally scrambling on to the air with a positive bio spot. Dem Julie Lassa was up with her first ad last week, and the DCCC made its first independent expenditure (anywhere in the nation) here earlier this week. NWOTSOTB, though CQ notes the ad will air "in the Wausau-Rhinelander, Duluth-Superior, Minneapolis-St. Paul and LaCrosse-Eau Claire markets".
WV-03: Republican Spike Maynard is out with a new ad (watch it here) in which he says he wants to "stop the Obama-Rahall-Pelosi war on coal." That a serious mouthful, dude. (James Hell sez: "He should add Rand Paul to the list!") Anyhow, props to the Charleston Daily Mail for these details: "The ad is the first of two ads that will be released by Maynard's campaign as part of a $100,000 ad buy in the Beckley-Bluefield and Charleston-Huntington TV markets."
For Nick Rahall's part, he's apparently going to go on the radio with biographical spots to "familiarize folks with the congressman and his record." Uh, the guy has been in office since before I was born. The paper also reports that Rahall "is expected to run TV ads starting in late September." Can't say I love that pace.
Cat Fud: Think Progress has carefully stacked up an entire pallet's worth of cat fud tins in one of those lovely supermarket displays. They've assembled a long list of Republican primary losers who have refused to endorse the winners. I can think of two more off the top of my head: Pamela Gorman, who didn't want to catch Ben Quayle's cooties in AZ-03, and of course Lisa Murkowski, who maybe kinda sorta doesn't feel all that warmly about the guy who just called her a whore (or a john, take your pick) before the ballot counting was even over. Recall any others?
DSCC/DCCC: This is actually the same link that I got all emo about in that CA-47 item up above, but anyhow, uh, Obama Alert! The POTUS will be in NYC on September 22nd to do a joint event for the two congressional party committees.
The Tea Party Express, which spent some $600,000 on Alaska Republican Joe Miller's primary challenge to Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R), says it's preparing to do the same on behalf of Christine O'Donnell (R) in Delaware. [...]
Tea Party Express spokesman Levi Russell said Monday that his organization is already cutting TV and radio ads in Delaware and expects to be on the air by the end of the week. Russell said he hopes to match the support the group offered in GOP primaries in Utah, Nevada and Alaska this year.
"All of our spending is dependent on the enthusiasm of the Tea Party Express members," Russell said. "It's up to that race and that candidate to capture their imagination."
As to whether O'Donnell has done that to this point, Russell admits "not quite yet." But he expressed confidence that the money will flood in over the coming days.
"I'm sure we'll be spending six figures in Delaware," Russell predicted.
After powering Mike Lee, Sharron Angle and Joe Miller to stunning primary victories (or, in Miller's case, a still-unconfirmed kill), the weight of the Tea Party Express' independent expenditures cannot be ignored.
Establishment Republicans in Delaware appear to be livid at this news (and O'Donnell's candidacy in general), with state GOP chair Tom Ross call O'Donnell "a perennial candidate who lacks the standing in Delaware to get elected to anything." The Politico recently profiled O'Donnell's long-shot bid, and she had some choice quotes on Castle, describing him as "not a church-friendly candidate" and "the most liberal Republican in the House" who could be toppled in a closed GOP primary. (Less savory was O'Donnell's campaign manager spouting off about Castle being a "70-year-old bad heart Republican.")
The Alaska Libertarian Party will not swap its chosen nominee for Sen. Lisa Murkowski if she loses the GOP nomination.
"We have decided that we will not offer the nomination to Lisa Murkowski for the Senate seat, even if came to that, because of fundamental differences," said Alaska Libertarian Party Chairman Scott Kohlhaas.
The prospect of getting a sitting United States Senator to change colors must have been a hard thing to turn down for a party that doesn't even have any elected state legislators, but at the end of the day, it seems that the Libertarians had too many issues with Murkowski's voting record. At the end of the day, though, this is good news for Democrats: polling has shown that Democrat Scott McAdams has the best shot against Miller in a two-way race. Of course, now the possibility exists that Murkowski could run as a write-in, should she lose the GOP nomination to Miller.
In other Alaska news, the latest updated tally of uncounted votes is now north of 25,000: 15,720 absentees, 663 early votes, and 9,117 questioned ballots. The Alaska DoE says that about 7,000 votes will be counted tomorrow, which should give us a good indication of just where this race will end up.
Meanwhile, Joe Miller sounds like a 2004-era tinfoil hatter, as his attorney is sounding the alarm over Murkowski supporters potentially tampering with the state's "vulnerable" Diebold voting technology with their iPhones. God, this cat fud looks so tasty that even I may need to take a bite!
Sean Cockerham spoke with Murkowski's campaign manager John Bitney, who had this to say:
"He just basically called Senator Murkowski a prostitute," Bitney said. "I am doing my best in a moment of extreme anger right at the moment to be measured in my remarks. The word that comes to mind is deplorable. Disgusting. The man has no place representing Alaska in the U.S. Senate with that kind of attitude."
Bitney said this is being watched nationally and Miller should be ashamed to take it to that level. "He owes Alaskans an apology."
AR-Sen: Bill Halter has a new ad up going after Sen. Blanche Lincoln for her vote in favor of TARP - aka the bailout. As is all too often the case with these kinds of reports, there's no indication of how big the ad buy is.
CA-Sen, CA-Gov: Man, the news cycle moves fast these days. The RNC bondage-themed nightclub scandal (which I'm sure you've read all about) already had some same-day blowback. GOP senate candidate Chuck DeVore says he's "severed all ties" with Erik Brown, a consultant who seems to be responsible for the expenses racked up at Voyeur West Hollywood. The Daily Caller (which broke the story originally) also says that Brown did work for Republican gubernatorial hopeful Steve Poizner. Meanwhile, Politico's Dave Catanese tweets that freshman Sen. Claire McCaskill is sending out a fundraising email for Barbara Boxer.
CT-Sen: In the somewhat strange Connecticut Republican senate primary, Paulist economist Peter Schiff has put out his first TV ad... and it doesn't mention that he's a Republican. Schiff is spending half a mil to run the ad statewide for two weeks. Schiff also promised to run in the August primary even if he doesn't get the party nomination at the May convention.
KS-Sen: Things have gotten a little worse for Todd Tiahrt in his race against Jerry Moran in the GOP primary to succeed outgoing Sen. Sam Brownback: SUSA now shows Moran up 42-32. Two months ago, Moran led by seven points - and by just three two months before that. The Kansas primary is not until August 3rd, so Tiahrt still has time, but he doesn't seem to be gaining much traction.
Trey Grayson, Kentucky's secretary of state, used his latest ad to again hammer his rival, Bowling Green eye surgeon Rand Paul, on national security issues.
"Paul even wonders whether 9/11 was our fault," a female announcer says in the spot that began airing Thursday. The commercial then shows Paul speaking at a Blue Grass Policy Institute forum in March 2009, saying: "Maybe some of the bad things that happen are a reaction to our presence in some of these countries."
I just hope that Grayson doesn't nuke Paul before our nominee (hopefully Jack Conway) gets a chance to pummel him in the general.
NC-Sen: A good get for former state Sen. Cal Cunningham: Gen. Wesley Clark endorsed his fellow Army veteran for the Democratic senate nod. Interestingly, Clark specifically noted Cunningham's support for ending "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."
NY-Sen-B: Marist finds ex-Gov. George Pataki with the narrowest of leads over Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, 47-45, essentially unchanged from last month's 48-45 margin. This is all well and good for Republicans, but Pataki hasn't given the slightest indication that he's interested in running.
GA-Gov: Looks like Nathan Deal didn't quit quite fast enough. The Office of Congressional Ethics found (according to the NYT) that Deal "appeared to have improperly used his office to pressure Georgia officials to continue a vehicle inspection program that generated hundreds of thousands of dollars a year for his family's auto salvage business." I wonder how much of an impact this will have in the governor's race, though, since Deal had mostly been floundering in the polls. Maybe it'll just be the final nail in his political coffin - a suiting end for a party-switching ex-Democrat.
IA-Gov: GOP ex-Gov. and comeback hopeful Terry Branstad is up with his first TV ad of the campaign. No word on the size of the buy, though.
MD-Gov: The Baltimore Sun profiles would-be GOP gubernatorial candidate (and ex-gov) Bob Ehrlich and finds that his current job is "'rainmaker' for the Baltimore branch of North Carolina-based law firm Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice. Ehrlich describes his job as being 'the face of the firm,' with his duties including 'speeches, coffees, dinners, lunches, meetings.'" Sounds like Ehrlich's been working on honing his Dan Coats/Tommy Thompson pedigree.
FL-08: Rep. Alan Grayson, one of the wealthiest members of Congress and a man who has largely self-funded his past campaigns, raised almost half a million dollars in a recent "moneybomb."
NY-13: It looks like the GOP has some primary woes of its own in the 13th CD. Though the Republican establishment is coalescing around former FBI agent Mike Grimm, lawyer Michael Allegretti is vowing to fight on. He's recently gone up with an ad on cable (so presumably a small buy) demanding repeal of the healthcare reform bill.
NY-23: Hah! Could the unlikable Doug Hoffman foment yet another right-wing split? Hoffman is laying claim to the Conservative Party line in this fall's election, and he's making the argument that whoever runs for the Republicans will need both lines in order to win. (Pretty plausible!) This is pissing off local GOP leaders, though, who are taking this as a threat to nominate Hoffman - or else face yet another divided ballot. This is some Fancy Feast-level cat fud we're talking about.
NY-29: A more complete list of candidates interviewed by upstate Dems as potential nominees for the special election to fill ex-Rep. Eric Massa's seat:
Mary Wilmot, an aide to Gov. David Paterson, Assemblyman David Koon of Perinton, past candidate for state Senate and businessman David Nachbar of Pittsford, Southern Tier native Matthew Zeller, and Michael McCormick of Allegany County
Wonder if we might be missing a name, though, since yesterday word was that the Dems would be interviewing six people.
OH-16, OH-18: CQ: "Businessman Jim Renacci, who is taking on freshman Rep. John Boccieri in the 16th district, and state Sen. Bob Gibbs, who is running against two-term Rep. Zack Space in the adjacent 18th district, established a joint fundraising committee, 'Gibbs-Renacci for Congress' and will split the proceeds evenly."
PA-06: Manan Trivedi is chipping away at Doug Pike's big lead among organized labor. He picked up a couple of local union endorsements, from the Transport Workers and the Iron Workers.
TN-08: Republican potentates are showering even more love on Steve Fincher, this time in the form of a campaign tour with GA Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (of "Obama is uppity" fame). Fincher has a lot of money, but like almost every GOP candidate with establishment backing, he faces a primary from ever-truer conservatives.
Census: There's some speculation that anti-government attitudes (and paranoid black-helicopterism) might be the cause of low Census response rates in Texas. Though the biggest challenge for the Census is typically presented by undercounted groups like blacks and Latinos, some of the lowest response rates are in fact coming from very Republican counties. It'll be very interesting to compare response rates and voting history when all is said and done.
Redistricting: Nathan Gonzales has a detailed look at the powers that are gathering on both sides for the upcoming post-census redistricting battle.
Even if Suffolk Co. Executive Steve Levy, who until very recently was a Democrat, manages to win the GOP gubernatorial nomination, it looks like he may end up getting severely Scozzafava'd.
The New York Daily News is reporting that the executive committee of the state's Conservative Party voted this afternoon to endorse the candidacy of ex-Rep. Rick Lazio over Levy by a 13-5 vote. However, this doesn't mean that Lazio has secured a spot on the ballot on the Conservative line, as the party will have a vote at a statewide convention in June to officially nominate a candidate. Levy's team is vowing to win that endorsement, but Conservative Chair Mike Long (who, incidentally, is calling Levy's candidacy "an affront" to Conservatives) may attempt to bump up the convention in order to secure the ballot line for Lazio early:
The Conservative Party's convention isn't until June, although Long has suggested he might move the date up to May in hopes of forcing the GOP's hand.
This gives Levy and Paladino plenty of time to lobby the executive committee members and try to woo them away from Lazio in advance of the weighted vote that will result in the formal nomination of a candidate.
But Long said he believes his members will remain loyal to Lazio, adding:
"This is the body that issues the Wilson Pakula. That membership is not going to change. This is where we're going to be. We're going to be behind Rick Lazio, and he's riding it all the way to November."
If successful, Long's play would force the GOP to either abandon their more electable candidate (Levy) in favor of the underwhelming Lazio, or march willingly into another Scozzafava-esque sawmill. Lazio, for his part, is vowing to stay on the Conservative line through November, which would virtually doom Levy's chances:
"I commit to running on the Conservative line all the way through to election day," Lazio continued. "I thank Chairman Long for his principled leadership and his deep commitment to the values we share as conservatives."
UPDATE: Diarist Hudi11 makes a great point: If Lazio gets the Conservative nomination and Levy gets the GOP nod, Lazio could conceivably come in second (and Levy 3rd or worse), pushing the Republicans past Column B for the next four years in New York. Now that would be something!
• AR-Sen: Blanche Lincoln is up with her first ad, as she runs for the Republican nomination for the Senate race. Wait... what? She's running as a Democrat? Hmmm, that's not what her ad says, as it's a list of every which way she's bucked the Democratic party line in the last year (and closing by saying "I don't answer to my party, I answer to Arkansas"). That'd make sense if she were running in the general election, but there's a little matter of her having to get out of the primary first... Meanwhile, the base continues to abandon Lincoln; today it was EMILY's List, who say they won't be lifting a finger to help Lincoln. She may still get a lifeline from Bill Clinton, though, who's continuing to back her. And Bill Halter better be committed to seeing this Senate primary thing through, because state Sen. Shane Broadway just filed to run to keep the Lt. Governor spot in Democratic hands.
• CA-Sen, CA-Gov: Republican polling firm Magellan (apparently not working on behalf of any candidates) issued more polls of the two Republican primaries in California. The polls are pretty much in line with what everyone else is seeing: on the Senate side, Tom Campbell leads at 33, followed by Carly Fiorina at 20 and Chuck DeVore at least cracking double-digits at 11. For the gubernatorial race, Meg Whitman is cruising, beating Steve Poizner 63-12.
• CT-Sen: When it comes to the Connecticut senate race, Dick Blumenthal is the Superfly TNT. Hell, he's the Guns of the Navarone. In fact, he lays a massive mushroom cloud on Linda McMahon (60-31), Rob Simmons (58-32) and Peter Schiff (57-27) alike -- and yes, this is according to Rasmussen. (D)
• IL-Sen: In an interview with the Chicago Tribune's editorial board, Alexi Giannoulias said he believes his family's bank is likely to get EATED (as Atrios would say) by the FDIC in the coming months. Perhaps worse, the Trib says that Giannoulias isn't being forthcoming about what he knew about the bank's loans to convicted bookmaker and pimp (i.e. mobster) Michael "Jaws" Giorango. Ugh. (D)
• KY-Sen: If the Dems are seeing a bit of an uptick in selected polls lately, they aren't seeing it in Kentucky yet, at least not if Rasmussen has anything to say about it. Rand Paul leads Jack Conway 46-38 and Dan Mongiardo 49-35, while Trey Grayson leads Conway 45-35 and Mongiardo 44-37. Not much change in the trendlines, except for, oddly, Mongiardo's standing vis-à-vis Grayson improves while Conway's slips. Meanwhile, Conway is hitting the airwaves with a new TV spot, wisely taking Jim Bunning's one-man crusade against unemployed people and hanging it around the necks of Paul and Grayson.
• NJ-Sen: Apparently the 2010 elections are just too boring. Farleigh Dickinson University tested Sen. Bob Menendez versus his 2006 opponent, Tom Kean, Jr., finding a tie (39-38 for Kean, with 17% undecided). Seriously, though, testing horserace numbers this far out just seems silly. Can you imagine what similar polls would have shown for the GOP in 2004? (D)
• NV-Sen: Jon Ralston sits down for a chat with erstwhile Tea Party candidate Scott Ashjian, a.k.a. the only man who can inadvertently save Harry Reid. Ashjian, a wealthy contractor (whose company has more than its share of complaints and liens), plans to fund his own way, and discounts claims that he's somehow being put up to it by the Reid camp as a vote-splitter.
• NY-Sen-B: Sigh, what could have been... Harold Ford Jr. met with Karl Rove in 2004 to discuss the possibility of running for Senate in Tennessee in 2006... as a Republican. Ford isn't denying the meeting, but, in his, um, defense? says that it was Rove's idea.
• UT-Sen: Bob Bennett keeps on being a punching bag for the GOP's right wing, and today the Club for Growth weighed in with an anti-Bennett ad, airing on (where else?) the Fox News Channel in Utah. It's targeted purely at state GOP insiders, urging them to send anti-Bennett delegates to the state nominating convention. The CfG hasn't settled on one particular candidate they're for; all they know is who they're against.
• GA-Gov: PPP follows up its Georgia general election numbers from yesterday with a look at the Republican gubernatorial primary. (The Democratic primary seems to look like an adequately foregone conclusion to them.) No surprises: Insurance Comm. John Oxendine leads at 27, followed by Karen Handel at 19, Nathan Deal at 13, Austin Scott and Eric Johnson at 3, and Jeff Chapman and Ray McBerry at 2.
• MD-Gov: There's been lots of focus on the leaked RNC strategy document today, mostly for its rather shameless descriptions of its fundraising plans. There are a few noteworthy strategic items here, though -- maybe most interestingly, they've totally left Michael Steele's home state of Maryland off the list of gubernatorial races they're pushing. It remains to be seen whether it's because Bob Ehrlich isn't getting in after all, they don't think he has a ghost of a chance, or just general RNC bungling. (Also interesting: on the Senate side, they're even targeting Charles Schumer, but they've left off Patty Murray, which may suggest it isn't getting any better for the GOP than Don Benton in Washington.)
• MI-Gov: Two endorsements in the pipeline in the Michigan gubernatorial race. Mike Huckabee weighed in on the GOP side, picking AG Mike Cox, calling him the "pro-life, pro-gun" candidate over the probably more right-wing Rep. Peter Hoekstra. (I'm not sure how much pull Huckabee has in Michigan. As for me, I'm waiting to see who Ted Nugent endorses.) On the Dem side, this is still purely rumor, but the word is that the United Auto Workers plan to endorse Lansing mayor Virg Bernero (who showed he had their backs with his passionate televised defenses of the auto bailout). The stamp of the state's most powerful union would go a long way toward uniting union backing behind one Dem.
• NY-Gov: The clock seems to be ticking even louder for David Paterson, as today one of his top aides, spokesperson Peter Kauffmann, resigned and distanced himself. Kauffmann said that, in light of the ethics ruling about the World Series tickets, he could no longer "in good conscience continue."
• OH-Gov, OH-01: VPOTUS Watch: Joey Joe Joe Biden Shabadoo will visit Cleveland on March 15 to do a fundraiser for Gov. Ted Strickland. He'll also be doing a separate event for Rep. Steve Driehaus. (D)
• AR-01: The fields for both sides in the open seat left behind by Rep. Marion Berry are slow to take shape, but it looks like the Democrats found a decent-sounding candidate who can bring some of his own money with him. Terry Green, an orthopedic surgeon with his own practice, has filed, sounding some populist notes in his first comments to the press.
• IL-08: Ah, the party of fiscal responsibility. Joe Walsh, the GOP's candidate in the 8th, stopped making mortgage payments on his Evanston condominium in May 2009 and lost it to foreclosure in October. Putting a positive spin on it, Walsh says "This experience helped me gain a better appreciation for the very real economic anxieties felt by 8th District families."
• MI-03: Here's a positive development: Democrats are actually lining up to contest the R+6 open seat in Grand Rapids left behind by retiring GOP Rep. Vern Ehlers. Former Kent Co. Commissioner Paul Mayhue is about to enter the Dem field, where he'll join attorney Patrick Miles.
• MI-06: Ex-state Rep. Jack Hoogendyk, who was badly beaten by Carl Levin in 2008's Senate race, is now setting his sights on knocking off incumbent Rep. Fred Upton in the Republican primary. Hoogendyk, who has yet to make a decision on the race, sent out an email to supporters blasting Upton for his votes in favor of TARP, No Child Left Behind, and S-CHIP. Upton's district has an even PVI, and went for Bush twice by seven-point margins before Obama won the district by a comfy 54-45 spread in '08. (J)
• NH-01: A run in the 1st by RNC committee member Sean Mahoney is now looking much likelier, even though he'd scoped out the race and decided against it last year. Last year, it was looking like former Manchester mayor Frank Guinta had the nomination to himself, but Guinta's bad fundraising and bad press have lured a few other contenders into the GOP field.
• NY-15: With Charlie Rangel's position looking increasingly precarious, CQ takes a look at some possible names who might replace him, should he decide not to seek another term (including state Sen. Bill Perkins, Assemblymen Keith Wright and Adriano Espaillat, and city councilors Inez Dickens and Robert Jackson). He already has a few primary challengers - former aide Vincent Morgan and possibly Assemblyman Adam Clayton Powell IV. Meanwhile, the chairmanship of Rangel's Ways & Means Committee has hopscotched around in the last few days, to California's Pete Stark and today to the less-controversial Michigan's Sander Levin. The chair of this powerful committee (which oversees tax laws) tends to rake in tons of campaign contributions - and dole them out to fellow caucus members, so it's worth keeping an eye on who actually replaces Rangel on a permanent basis. (This is also why so many peeps have returned money to Rangel - because he's given out so much.) (D)
• New York: Could he really be eyeing a comeback? According to Time Magazine, Eliot Spitzer is "bored out of his mind" these days, but also says he doesn't want to subject his family to the inevitable ugliness that would ensue if he ran for something again. Meanwhile, former Spitzer confidante Lloyd Constantine, the man Spitzer called right before the news of his involvement with prostitutes broke, has turned on his former mentee with a new tell-all book. The stars are definitely not aligned for Spitz, if they ever were. (D)
• Maps: You know you love them (otherwise you wouldn't be at SSP). And jeffmd has a whole new bunch of 'em, looking at the results of the Texas Republican gubernatorial primary and how they might translate into the general.
• Healthcare: The Wall Street Journal has a chart laying out how members of the House might vote on the next iteration of the healthcare reform bill, listing public statements (if any) they've made since the last vote. This really should be in wiki form, though - for instance, they don't have Mike Arcuri's remarks (see Morning Digest). (D)
• Redistricting: The NYT takes a look at the people who applied for a spot on California's state legislative redistricting commission. Fourteen spots have been set aside for ordinary citizens... and 31,000 people (including probably at least a few SSPers!) applied. Progress Illinois also has a detailed look today at the new proposals underway to make the redistricting process fairer (or at least less random).
• Blogosphere: Finally, we're sad to see one of our favorite blogs apparently calling it quits. Over the last two years, Campaign Diaries became a must-read, both for insightful analysis and for making sure that no comings-and-goings in any races fell through the cracks. We wish Taniel well in his next endeavors.
• CT-Sen: Looks like the question marks that were raised a few weeks ago about all of the Linda McMahon campaign's hundreds of thousands of dollars in undisclosed in-kinds have trickled up to the FEC. They're now requiring her to disclose the recipients of more than $567K worth of mysterious payments (for services including consulting and legal fees) made over the brief course of her campaign.
• FL-Sen: After a lot of speculation yesterday that he was fighting for his political life, today Jim Greer announced that he's out as Florida's state GOP chair. Greer said it was his decision (in order to "reunite" the party -- although he launched a whole salvo of parting shots at the party's right wing on the way out the door) and that Charlie Crist didn't push him out. Still, it's pretty clear that this is a big victory for the Rubio camp and assorted right-wing allies, for whom Greer, a moderate and key Crist ally, was one of the biggest scalps they'd hoped to claim. Greer is being replaced by state Sen. John Thrasher, a Jeb Bush ally who, while not an explicit Rubio endorser, recently attended a Rubio fundraiser.
Anybody remember that there's still a Democratic primary going on in this race too? It's a sleepy affair, and may be getting sleepier, based on the sputtering coming out of the camp of former Miami mayor Maurice Ferre. Campaign manager Todd Wilder has departed, although he cites family health concerns.
• SC-Sen: Lindsey Graham just keeps racking up the censure resolutions from county-level GOP organizations for being insufficiently crazy. He got dinged by the Lexington County GOP (one of the state's largest counties, in Columbia's suburbs), largely over his immigration and TARP positions.
• UT-Sen: Rounding out the trifecta of GOP Senatorial cat fud, the insufficiently crazy Bob Bennett pulled in his highest-profile primary challenger since AG Mark Shurtleff departed the race. As expected, attorney Mike Lee officially got into the race today, and will be running to Bennett's right. Lee is the former counsel to ex-Gov. Jon Huntsman, and is the scion of a locally prominent family (his father is former U.S. Solicitor General and BYU president Rex Lee).
• WA-Sen: Add one more name to the list of never-before-elected retired jocks with a political itch to scratch. Former Washington Redskins end Clint Didier says that he'll run against Patty Murray. Didier does at least have experience speaking at the local tea party rally in his native Tri-Cities (in eastern Washington), though. With her gigantic fundraising advantage, expect the five-foot-tall Murray to clothesline Didier.
• MI-Gov: With the governor's race suddenly scrambled, Domino's Pizza CEO Dave Brandon -- an oft-rumored candidate for both Governor and Senate -- said that he isn't running for anything any time soon. He just committed to a five-year stint as the Univ. of Michigan's athletic director.
• NY-Gov: It sounds like David Paterson will get a primary challenge even if Andrew Cuomo doesn't step up: Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy is now publicly floating the idea of a challenge, and setting up an exploratory committee. The law-and-order, anti-immigrant Levy would be running to the right of Paterson (and probably to Cuomo's right too, if he stuck around in a three-way scrum). Paterson still seems to be planning to stick around, and he's getting some more verbal backing from Charlie Rangel, who's saying that Cuomo "wouldn't dare" run against Paterson, re-invoking the specter of Cuomo's racially-fraught 2002 primary against Carl McCall. Meanwhile, the NYT explores the train wreck that is the campaign of GOP candidate Rick Lazio, finding him getting a lukewarm reception even from GOP audiences.
• TX-Gov: Kay Bailey Hutchison seems to be pinning her dwindling hopes in the fast-approaching GOP gubernatorial primary on a big ad blitz. She's splurging for an ad buy during the college football championship game (which should have a big audience with the Longhorns in the game -- for whom she was a cheerleader decades ago).
• AL-05, AL-Gov: In the wake of his botched public I-might-switch-races-no-I-won't play, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ron Sparks has parted way with campaign manager Justin Saia. Not exactly the sign of a well-oiled machine, there. Meanwhile, turncoat Rep. Parker Griffith, still smarting from the resignations of almost his entire stafff, played the "excessive partisanship" card while ostensibly wishing them well yesterday.
• FL-08: Second-term state rep. Kurt Kelly made his campaign official, running against Rep. Alan Grayson in the 8th. That should come as no surprise given his previous announcements, but it's interesting to note that now he comes at it with the endorsement of a number of the other state Reps. that the NRCC had been working on to get into the race, who seemed a little higher up their wish list: Stephen Precourt and Eric Eisnaugle. Also noteworthy: businessman Bruce O'Donoghue, who'd been sounding like the NRCC's pick after they couldn't find anyone else, still sounds like he hasn't fully committed to the race; maybe he's having cold feet with Kelly in.
• FL-10: I don't think this is worth much weight, but the St. Petersburg Times found it newsworthy enough to mention, suggesting that there may be some conventional wisdom developing here. A local poli sci professor is convinced that long-time GOP Rep. Bill Young will announce his retirement in the next few weeks.
• FL-19: This seemed to elude almost everyone yesterday, but Rep. Robert Wexler's resignation was official over this weekend; he heads to the helm of a Middle East peace-oriented non-profit. His resignation leaves Nancy Pelosi short one "yes" vote for the upcoming post-conference HCR vote, meaning one less seat in the lifeboat for whatever vulnerable Dem wants to take a pass.
• HI-01: Also on the resignation front, Rep. Neil Abercrombie (who's leaving to focus on his gubernatorial run) has set an official last day in office: Feb. 28. As for a replacement, it sounds like new interim state election officer Scott Nago is looking at a special election date in May, probably an all-mail vote set for May 1. Nago said he was confident he'd find the money to hold the election (which had earlier been in doubt), although it might mean appealing asking the U.S. Election Assistance Commission for federal dollars. (I guess this means Kevin Cronin's time in charge of Hawaii elections is over. He'll still Keep On Loving You, though.)
• IA-03: One less retirement for the DCCC to worry about: aging Rep. Leonard Boswell confirmed that he's sticking around and running for re-election.
• IL-10: I didn't think that anyone other than me was making any sport out of GOP House candidate Bob Dold's name similarities to a certain presidential candidate, and I can't imagine anyone was actually confused. But Bob Dold actually came out with a jingle, complete with video, reminding voters that Bob Dold is different from Bob Dole.
• MN-06: Here's a big boost for state Sen. Tarryl Clark, who's been viewed as a strong contender against crazy Rep. Michele Bachmann but didn't put up impressive numbers in a recent PPP poll of the 6th. She got the endorsement of EMILY's List, giving her access to their nationwide pool of donors.
• NY-01: This is the first I'd heard of a contested GOP primary in the 1st (where the victor will take on potentially vulnerable Democratic Rep. Tim Bishop), but it suggests that the deep-pocketed Randy Altschuler is going to have to watch over his back for another well-funded rival. George Demos, a former SEC attorney who made his mark on the Bernie Madoff case, reports that he's raised more than $300K since launching his campaign in October, from more than 400 donors.
• PA-17: After downplaying earlier reports of his interest, now it's sounding like Republican state Sen. David Argall is going to go up against Democratic Rep. Tim Holden after all. Reportedly, he'll be announcing his campaign next Monday. Argall (newly promoted to the Senate in a special election, after many years in the state House) gets a freebie as his seat isn't up until 2012; he's from Holden's home turf of Schuylkill County in coal country, which may help limit Holden's usually wide margins in that part of the district.
• SC-01: As things sort themselves out following the retirement announcement of endangered Republican Rep. Henry Brown, 2008 Democratic candidate Linda Ketner is sounding a little more interested than she did before his retirement. She'd previously been unenthusiastic about another race (she'd relied a lot on self-financing in her previous close race, but her finances had taken a hit in the intervening year), but now she tells the Atlantic she'll "take the time to consider it." Also, frequent Mark Sanford critic state Sen. Larry Grooms is one other name to add to the speculation pile on the Republican side.
• TX-18: A Democratic primary is the only way we're ever going to see any turnover in the heavily Democratic, mostly African-American and Hispanic 18th -- and we've actually got one on tap this year. Houston city councilor Jarvis Johnson sneaked under the finish line for Texas filings; he'll take on long-time Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (who got into office herself with a successful 1994 primary challenge to Rep. Craig Washington).
• WA-03: State House minority leader Richard DeBolt had been on lots of watch lists as a possible GOP candidate in the open seat race in the 3rd, but today he declined to run. (He's a rather nasty piece of work who, while having better name rec than the GOPers in the race so far, probably wouldn't play too well outside his own dark-red slice of this swing district.) Here's one other interesting detail: rather than endorse fellow state Rep. Jamie Herrera (whose lack of experience has left many people uneasy), he threw his endorsement behind David Castillo, a former low-level Bush administration official who'd been running long before Brian Baird's retirement announcement.
• WV-01: I'd assumed that when state Sen. Clark Barnes got into the race for the GOP to go against entrenched Democratic Rep. Alan Mollohan, the NRCC would be happy (although there's little overlap between his turf and the 1st). But they kept looking, and now they're loudly touting their newest recruit, businessman and former state Del. David McKinley. He can partly self-finance, which is probably what's most attractive about him to them.
• Texas: As mentioned above, Texas had its filing deadline pass. All House members are running for re-election. In one small indication of a change in prevailing political winds, the Republicans managed to fill all the state's House races, while Dems left 7 openings (Louie Gohmert, Ted Poe, Kevin Brady, Mac Thornberry, John Carter, and unhappily, Kenny Marchant, in a rapidly bluening suburban Dallas district, and John Culberson, who faced a strong challenge in 2008). One other filing worth note: Dems fielded a strong last-minute Land Commissioner candidate, in the form of former state Sen. Hector Uribe (not only is it good to round out a competitive slate, but the Land Commissioner is one of the members of the Legislative Redistricting Board, which will be a big issue in coming years).
• NY-St. Ass.: The blowback from the GOP civil war in NY-23 just keeps flying. A key Dede Scozzafava ally in the state Assembly, Janet Duprey, is facing a challenge from the right in this year's GOP primary. She's being challenged by Plattsburgh town party chair Dave Kimmel, who was a Doug Hoffman backer. Like Hoffman, if Kimmel doesn't get the GOP nod, he'll continue on with just the Conservative party line.
• DGA/RGA: The DGA and RGA both reported huge year-end cash hauls, as the moneyed interests are well-aware that the gubernatorial races (with redistricting fast approaching) is where the real drama will be this year. The DGA reports $23.1 million raised over 2009 and currently is sitting on $17.5 million. The RGA did even better, reporting $30 million raised in 2008, with $25 million still on hand.