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SSP Daily Digest: 2/2

by: Crisitunity

Tue Feb 02, 2010 at 3:49 PM EST

AZ-Sen: Ex-Rep. J.D. Hayworth has made it pretty clear already that he's taking on John McCain in the Republican Senate primary, and now he's made it official when he's going to make it official. The launch date for his campaign: Feb. 15.

CT-Sen, CT-02: Ex-Rep. Rob Simmons did a whole lot of bobbing and weaving when an interviewer yesterday kept pressing him on the issue of whether he'd consider dropping down to run for his old House seat again (although a spokesperson followed up afterwards, saying he will not running for anything else, "period"). The idea has to be tempting to Simmons, though, who just watched his Senate dreams vaporize with Democratic AG Richard Blumenthal's entry, and who may by enviously eyeing efforts by some of the other 2006 victims (like Mike Fitzpatrick) to turn back the clock.

KS-Sen: There's still six months to go before their Republican Senate primary, but time's running out for Rep. Todd Tiahrt to make a move against fellow Rep. Jerry Moran. Moran leads this month's SurveyUSA poll 40-33 (two months ago Tiahrt pulled within 3, but that's the closest he's been). Moran is currently up 38-23 in the state's northeast, which will be the decisive region (as they each have their respective districts already locked down).

NV-Sen: File this under "it's bad news even if you have to be out there repeatedly saying this," but Harry Reid again denied (this time to Las Vegas political reporter Jon Ralston) that he'd drop out of his fizzling Senate race to make way for a different candidate. On the GOP side, one potential opponent, Sue Lowden, is up with her first TV spot, a soft-focus biographical ad. Taking note of these developments, no doubt, are Dick Durbin and Charles Schumer; insiders are observing that the two of them are both busy doling out campaign cash to their colleagues in order to build loyalties for what looks like the fight to be the next majority leader.

NY-Sen-B: In case you missed it, last night's point-by-point dismantling of Harold Ford Jr. by Stephen Colbert is a must-see. It clearly wasn't the coming-out gala that Ford had envisioned.

UT-Sen: The establishment is riding to the rescue for Bob Bennett, who could be threatened in this year's primary if the teabagging rabble somehow coalesced behind one of his many opponents. The NRSC just handed $43K to Bennett's campaign (an important sign to other institutional contributors), and Newt Gingrich is headlining a big-bucks fundraiser for Bennett.

CA-Gov: Republican pollster McLaughlin & Associates (apparently not working on behalf of any of the candidates) released a poll of the Republican gubernatorial primary, finding zillionairess Meg Whitman leading zillionaire Steve Poizner, 39-12. Apparently they were in the field when Tom Campbell bailed out, as they also offer up a three-way head-to-head, which was 31 Whitman, 17 Campbell, 5 Poizner.  

CT-Gov: A couple comings and goings in Connecticut today: as expected, Danbury mayor Mark Boughton got in the Republican field. On the Democratic side, state Sen. Gary LeBeau, who'd been polling in the low single digits, dropped out. In a moment of unusual honesty for a politician, LeBeau said, "The state has no idea who Gary LeBeau is."

OR-Gov: This is a bit of a surprise, but in the wake of Al Gore's endorsement, it's certainly an indication that ex-SoS Bill Bradbury (something of an underdog in the Democratic primary against ex-Gov. John Kitzhaber) has some powerful friends back in DC. Howard Dean will appear at several fundraisers for Bradbury in Oregon next week.

FL-08: Here's another surprise: brash 20-something real estate developer Armando Gutierrez dropped out of the GOP field in the 8th, despite having attracted a lot of favorable buzz and even picked up a few endorsements from members of Florida's House delegation. The national party never warmed up to him, though, seemingly put off by his line-crashing, and he may have finally gotten the message, between the NRCC's preferred pick, businessman Bruce O'Donoghue, officially filing yesterday, and the endorsement by neighboring Rep. Cliff Stearns of yet another Republican in the crowded field, state Rep. Kurt Kelly.

FL-19: In all the madness over the Illinois primaries today, it's been almost universally forgotten that the primary in the safely-blue 19th to replace resigned Rep. Robert Wexler is also today. It's hardly worth a look, though, as state Sen. Ted Deutch pretty much has it locked down, having raised many times more money than anyone else and nailed down the establishment endorsements. Former Broward Co. Commissioner Ben Graber is the only other candidate of note.

IN-04: Despite the advantages that his statewide profile brings him, SoS Todd Rokita won't have the GOP field to replace retiring Rep. Steve Buyer to himself. He'll have to face state Sen. Brandt Hershman too. Hershman has one key advantage himself: he works as an aide to Buyer, and has Buyer's backing.

NV-03: Here's some good news for ex-state Sen. Joe Heck: he just got $10K to go toward his campaign against vulnerable Dem freshman Rep. Dina Titus. The bad news is: that $10K came from the PAC of John Ensign, who just won't stop trying to make himself useful to Nevada's other Republicans despite the fact that he's about as popular as shingles right now. But then Heck got some more good news: he won't face a seriously contested primary, as self-funding businessman Rob Lauer dropped his teabaggish challenge to Heck to run for SoS instead.

NY-13: A lot of people are asking who Michael Grimm is, after he banked over $300K last quarter to go up against Democratic Rep. Michael McMahon. He's a former FBI agent, who apparently has a lot of friends in high places... in places outside of his district. Only $3,500 of that amount came from within the actual district, and $2,000 of that was from Staten Island Republican guru Guy Molinari.

NY-14: Live by the primary challenge, die by the primary challenge. Rep. Carolyn Maloney now faces one of her own, a well-funded challenge from the apparent right from 30-something attorney Reshma Saujani, who has previously raised serious dollars within the Indian-American community for other Democratic candidates. Saujani, believe it or not, is running on an unashamedly pro-Wall Street platform (although this is maybe the one district in the country where that might still work).

PA-06: Two more prominent local Democrats who had endorsed Doug Pike when he was the only game in town have switched their endorsements to Manan Trivedi instead. Significantly, they're both in Berks County (which is also where Trivedi is from, and which is where Dems have tended to run the weakest in the district in the past): Reading mayor Tom McMahon and Berks Co. Commissioner Kevin Barnhardt.

TN-01: Would you believe that there's a Republican who lost in one of the wave elections who isn't running for something this year? However, before you get too excited, it's ex-Rep. David Davis, who'd been mulling a third matchup against Rep. Phil Roe, who knocked him off in a GOP primary in this super-red district in eastern Tennessee. The not-insane Roe may be the best we can hope for in this district, especially compared with Davis, who'd been making outreach to the local teabaggers in preparation for another run.

WV-03: A credible challenger to Democratic Rep. Nick Rahall sneaked under the rope at the filing deadline: former state Supreme Court justice Elliott Maynard. Maynard was, until recently, a Democrat, but switched parties pushed along largely by his perception of Democrats' anti-coal environmental policies (and no doubt also influenced by West Virginia's reddish turn over the last decade).

OH-SoS: This was painless and easy: not only did a more progressive alternative to conservative state Rep. Jennifer Garrison get into the Secretary of State race - Franklin Co. Court Clerk Maryellen O'Shaughnessy - but she won't even face a contested primary. Getting the message that her establishment support was practically nil, Garrison got out of the race. Meanwhile, on the Republican side, the GOP establishment seems to have settled the trouble it was having finding a replacement Auditor candidate after Mary Taylor ditched the job to run for Lt. Governor. They got Delaware Co. Prosecutor Kevin Yost to switch over from the AG's race, where he was facing ex-Sen. Mike DeWine in a primary. That caused a lot of consternation among the state's right-wingers, though - they were looking forward to Yost picking off the unacceptably moderate (and generally underwhelming) DeWine in the primary. Both the SoS and Auditor positions are key from a redistricting perspective, as along with the Governor they control the state's legislative redistricting process.

Republicans: If you haven't checked out the details of Research 2000's in-depth poll of the state of what Republicans believe today, please do. Although I'm not really still sure what to do with all this knowledge... except maybe acknowledge that you can't negotiate with such irrational actors.

Redistricting: CQ's Josh Kurtz takes an interesting look at redistricting in California over the decades, as seen through the prism of a new book that covers the many ups and downs of legendary California Rep. Philip Burton. Will it be an incumbent protection map or an aggressive push, and how will the state's fast-growing Latino population be accommodated?

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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: 10/2

by: Crisitunity

Fri Oct 02, 2009 at 1:39 PM EDT

CA-Sen: We're starting to get fundraising reports filtering in, via the media and the rumor mill. And one of the most eyebrow-raising numbers comes from Assemblyman Chuck DeVore, of all places: he pulled in $330K in the third quarter, leaving him sitting on over $700K. He's been given afterthought status as the NRSC and tradmed have rushed to fawn over Carly Fiorina, but his seeming success at tapping movement conservative wallets indicates that he won't be going away quietly.

FL-Sen: When you have so many people giving you money, a few of them are bound to be very bad apples.... Alan Mendelsohn, a prominent eye doctor and chief fundraiser for the Florida Medical Association PAC, was also a key financial backer of Charlie Crist and a member of his transition team. Yesterday he was charged by a federal grand jury with mail and wire fraud, aiding and abetting fraud, and lying to federal agents.

IL-Sen: Maybe Mike Ditka doesn't have the same iconic power that he used to, but if he does, then upstart GOP primary challenger Patrick Hughes got a really big get. The former coach of da Bears endorsed Hughes, who seems to be coalescing most of the hard-right, anti-Mark Kirk sentiment in the Senate primary.

MA-Sen: More showy fundraising numbers out of Massachusetts, where everyone is scrambling for money in view of the primary election a few months away. Most notable is AG Martha Coakley, whose only real weakness seemed to be a lack of money (as she already has statewide name rec, is the only woman in the race, and a big edge in the polls). That's a weakness no longer, as she raised $2.1 million in less than a month. By contrast, Rep. Michael Capuano raised only $300K in that period; even with the $1.2 mil in his House account, his one advantage -- money -- has now vaporized. The big surprise is City Year founder Alan Khazei, who raised $1 million in just a week after a late start to his candidacy; the question is whether he can convert that into a decent share of the vote. Celtics co-owner Steven Pagliuca raised only $200K, but can dip into his own money to advertise.

NV-Sen: A long but must-read piece from the NYT looks at the tangled web between John Ensign and the Hampton family. Most significantly, it looks like Ensign not only went further than previously thought in trying to line up a job for Doug Hampton (the mistress's husband) but then used his governmental power to do favors for Hampton's new employer, Allegiant Air -- certainly a violation of Senate ethics rules. And this is the Ensign that new GOP golden girl Sue Lowden was trying to circle the wagons around, even long after most of the rest of the local GOP had decided he was better served under the bus.

NY-Gov: This is interesting: Mitt Romney is moving to back ex-Rep. Rick Lazio in the governor's race and hosting a Lazio fundraiser. Since polls show Lazio getting completely flattened by Rudy Giuliani if they face off in a gubernatorial primary, Romney's expenditure of political capital is either a) a sign that insiders are pretty well aware that Giuliani won't be getting into the governor's race after all, or else b) a repayment for Lazio's backing in the 2008 prez primary and a thumb-in-the-eye for primary rival Giuliani.

GA-12: More news out of the 12th: Wayne Mosley, a wealthy doctor and the NRCC's recruit in the race thanks to his self-funding capacity (in fact, one of their top recruits in the nation, if you believe Mosely himself), had to drop out of the race. Mosely is being sued by his hospital for breach of contract, and apparently that's taking up all his time and money. That leaves Thunderbolt Fire Chief Carl Smith and activist Jeanne Seaver as options to go up against Blue Dog Dem Rep. John Barrow.

HI-01: Here's some good news for those of us who'd like to see the House stay nice and Ed Case-free: state Senate president Colleen Hanabusa is getting in the race for the Democratic nomination for the open seat in the 1st being vacated by Neil Abercrombie. Hanabusa's main opponent looks like it will be ex-Rep. Ed Case, who beat Hanabusa in the 2002 race in HI-02; the progressive Hanabusa may have better odds against the moderate Case this time, as Case alienated a lot of the local party with an ill-advised primary challenge to Sen. Dan Akaka in 2006.

MO-03: Rep. Russ Carnahan picked up a Republican opponent: attorney Ed Martin. The 3rd is a D+7 district that has presented Carnahan with little trouble in the past.

NY-23: Dede Scozzafava finally hit the TV airwaves with a new ad, leading the polls but lagging both her opponents in the battle for the airwaves. Also, check out Robert Harding's thorough examination at the Albany Project of Scozzafava's not-so-liberal actual voting record in the Assembly, if you're looking for a counterpoint to yesterday's Daily Kos piece about Scozzafava.

SD-AL: Republican state Rep. Blake Curd, a Sioux Falls surgeon, is the first opponent to officially get in the race against Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin. Secretary of State Chris Nelson is still considering the race, though, and given his statewide profiel seems like he'd be likelier to win the GOP primary if he got in.

VA-10: Rep. Frank Wolf, the Republican dean of the Virginia delegation, has picked up a Democratic challenger in the form of attorney Patrick Lewis. Demographics are quickly moving this NoVa suburban/exurban district in the Democratic direction (it's up to R+2 now), but Wolf has the kind of personal staying power that makes Lewis's challenge an uphill fight.

OH-SoS: Bad news out of the Ohio Secretary of State race (on the short list as one of the nation's most important downballot statewide offices): Franklin County Commissioner Marilyn Brown decided to end her bid for the Democratic nomination, preferring instead to run for re-election. While this may spare the Dems a contested primary, this leaves only the much more conservative state Rep. Jennifer Garrison in the race, which may leave the base unenthused for the general election.

ME-Init: Democracy Corps has a poll out on the anti-gay marriage ballot measure in Maine. They find 41% "yes" and 50% "no." (Remember, as with California's Prop 8, a "yes" vote is a vote against gay marraige.) These numbers are slightly better than the near-even split an R2K poll found a couple of weeks ago. But as Markos notes, D-Corps tested registered voters, while R2K looked at likely voters. (D)

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SSP Daily Digest: 8/13

by: Crisitunity

Thu Aug 13, 2009 at 2:52 PM EDT

FL-Sen: Charlie Crist barely survived another county-level GOP censure vote, this time in heavily-Democratic Palm Beach County, where one would expect the GOP faithful to be Chamber of Commerce types and not run-of-the-mill teabagging rageaholics. The censure bid failed on a 65-65 tie. The party member who led the bid referred to Crist as "nothing more than Arlen Specter with a tan."

NV-Sen: Rep. Dean Heller, who recently declined to run for Senate, laid his cards on the table, confirming what many suspected, that the John Ensign scandal contributed to Heller's decision not to run against Harry Reid. Any Ensign support for Heller would have been a distraction rather than an asset. In the same interview, Heller also encouraged Ensign to answer remaining questions about payoffs to the former staffer he had the affair with. (One other interesting question raised here... does Heller calling out Ensign mean Heller is trying to help push Ensign out the door and then run for the open Senate seat in 2012? Because that would mean Heller wouldn't run in the primary against Jim Gibbons in 2010, making it likelier that Gibbons survives the primary -- and I know Democrats would rather face Gibbons than Heller in the governor's race.)

Also, CQ is reporting that, bolstered by an internal poll giving her a small edge over Harry Reid (and also by Heller's decision to stand down), state GOP party chair Sue Lowden is getting more interested in making the race, and she's testing the fundraising waters.

PA-Gov: Rep. Jim Gerlach got another endorsement from Pennsylvania's GOP House delegation, Bill Shuster from PA-05 (coming on the heels of endorsements from Todd Platts and ex-Rep. Phil English). Of course, House colleagues tend to stick together, and their endorsements are of questionable value since they generally don't bring local machines along with them, but these endorsements are at least interesting to the extent that they're coming from the rural, most conservative parts of the "T," not from Gerlach's moderate southeastern suburban base.

VA-Gov: There's been some shuffling of personnel on the Creigh Deeds campaign, which has seemed kind of listless for the last month. Larry Sabato reported that campaign manager Joe Abbey, who engineered the primary victory, had been shoved over in favor of Mark Warner ally Monica Dixon. Dixon, however, says that Abbey's still in charge but that she and some other new additions are there to bolster the ranks.

KS-04: One more random wealthy Republican to add to the ever-expanding field in the open seat race in the Wichita-based 4th: oilman Willis "Wink" Hartman. State Sen. Dick Kelsey and RNC member Mike Pompeo are considered the GOP frontrunners.

NY-23: GOP nominee for the special election, Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava, had temporarily put her campaign on hold to tend to her father, who is recovering from heart surgery. Without a John McHugh Senate confirmation or a set election date, though, this isn't likely to be much of a setback. (Stuart Rothenberg, as part of a good overview of the race, says it's likely it'll be held on Election Day in November, meaning that the significance of whatever happens may be subsumed by NJ-Gov and VA-Gov.)

OH-SoS: The Secretary of State field for the Democrats may keep growing, with a potential new entrant with an impressive resume. Paul Gains is the Prosecutor in Mahoning County (where Youngstown is); he says he's leaning toward the race. (His biggest claim to fame is surviving a mob hit upon first taking office in 1996.) Ohio SoS is one of the most important lower-tier statewide offices in the country, given the state's narrow divide and the SoS's role on the legislative apportionment board. Franklin Co. Commissioner Marilyn Brown and State Rep. Jennifer Garrison are also likely to run for the Dems.

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SSP Daily Digest: 8/4

by: Crisitunity

Tue Aug 04, 2009 at 1:57 PM EDT

DE-Sen: Rep. Mike Castle yesterday told a radio interviewer that he'd decide "in the next month or so" what, if anything, he's going to run for. One possible hint, though, is that he said that there are some "good young elected officials in the state who possibly could run on a statewide basis and should be looked at," and he specifically named some state legislators like state sen. Charlie Copeland and state Reps. Tom Kovach and Greg Lavelle.

FL-Sen: Here's another sign of trouble looming in the GOP primary for Charlie Crist, at least within the activist base, hot on the heels of his big loss in the Pasco County straw poll. The Volusia County GOP actually voted to censure him, over a list of grievances including his moderate judicial appointments, support of the Obama stimulus, and lack of support for Tom Feeney and Ric Keller last year. (Volusia Co.'s main city is Daytona Beach and population is over 400,000, so this isn't one of those little Dixiecrat panhandle counties, either.)

IL-Sen: Rep. Mark Kirk downplayed the story of his Tweeting while on active military duty (as a Naval Reservist) at a news conference yesterday, but apologized for having done so.

NH-Sen: Skepticism behind-the-scenes seems to be growing in New Hampshire, especially among conservative activists, about the ordination of Kelly Ayotte as Senate candidate, handed down from on high from the Beltway. Various on- and off-the-record insiders are unsure of her political leanings, 'meh' about her speaking style, and worried that she's never had to raise funds before. A lot of this agitation has been coming from the state's largest paper, the Manchester Union-Leader, which has a notably hard-right editorial page and has been fannish of likely primary opponent Ovide Lamontagne in the past.

MN-Gov: This seemed to slip through the cracks last week, but Minneapolis mayor R.T. Rybak is sounding more like a candidate now. While giving a stump-ish speech to local Democrats, Rybak said that he's "very likely" to enter the open seat gubernatorial race.

NJ-Gov (pdf): In another indication that things are getting worse, not better, for Jon Corzine, the new poll from Monmouth shows him trailing Chris Christie by 14 points among likely voters, 50-36, with 4% to independent Chris Daggett. This is particularly troublesome because Monmouth has been the pollster most favorable to Corzine; he trailed by only 8 in the July poll. Interestingly, though, Corzine trails by only 4 (43-39) among registered voters, a narrower gap than in July -- suggesting that his only hope is getting a lot of unlikely voters to turn out. Democrats countered with their own internal poll (pdf) today, showing Corzine down by "only" 7, 42-35-6.

TX-Gov: You may recall that the Kay Bailey Hutchison campaign decided to pull the hidden phrase "rick perry gay" from its website's code, but left a bunch of other hidden phrases (in the code, not meta-tags). That's a big-time search-engine optimization party foul, though, and it led to Google and Yahoo pulling the website from their search indexes this weekend.

CA-10: State Senator Mark DeSaulnier may have lost one of his most potent weapons: the State Department asked him to stop using the endorsement of his predecessor (and current Undersecretary of State for arms control) Ellen Tauscher. It's not illegal, but they want to avoid any ethical impropriety. The primary special election is Sept. 1.

FL-24: Rep. Suzanne Kosmas may find herself up against a celebrity candidate next year: former Notre Dame football coach Lou Holtz, who now lives in the Orlando area. Holtz has been in contact with the NRCC about the race, and certainly brings name recognition, but comes with a couple drawbacks: one, he's 72 years old, ancient for a House freshman, and two, he raised some eyebrows last year after having to apologize for calling Hitler a great leader.

LA-02: Kudos to Rep. Joseph Cao for having the courage to say out loud what we're all thinking: "I know that voting against the health care bill will probably be the death of my political career." Strange to give that sort of ammunition to potential opponents when it's clear from his fundraising that he's intending to run again.

LA-03: Scott Angelle, natural resources secretary under both Kathleen Blanco and Bobby Jindal and former Democratic St. Martin parish president, is maintaining his interest in the possibly-vacant LA-03 seat. However, rumor has it that he may run for the seat as a Republican, and he did go on the record saying he'd "consider" swapping party labels (which are especially porous in Louisiana). State Rep. Nickie Monica says he's in the race (as a Republican) regardless of whether or not Charlie Melancon pulls the trigger on a Senate run. One other Democrat not mentioned before who's considering the race is 27-year-old New Orleans corporate lawyer Ravi Sangisetty, who grew up in Houma.

MD-01: State Sen. Andy Harris is taking steps to solve one of the two problems that hampered him in last year's election against Rep. Frank Kratovil: he's coming to the Eastern Shore. He isn't moving, but he will be working part-time (he's a mild-mannered anesthesiologist by day) at the hospital in Salisbury, in order to bolster his Eastern Shore cred. It'll be a little harder to paper over his other problem, which is that he's a Club for Growth wacko. Harris was just named one of the NRCC's Young Guns, despite the fact that he might still face a primary against less conservative and Eastern Shore-based state Sen. E.J. Pipkin, who seems like he'd pick up most of the votes that went for Wayne Gilchrest in the 2008 primary (although Pipkin may be looking at running for state Comptroller instead).

NY-23: Despite interest from some colorful-sounding "activists," it looks like the Conservative Party line in the upcoming special election is likely to go to a more establishment figure, accountant Doug Hoffman, who you may recall was one of the Republican wannabes not selected by the party apparatus. Hoffman attacked the hypothetical Democratic nominee and GOP nominee Dede Scozzafava as "Mr. Bad or Mrs. Worse."

MO-03: Rep. Russ Carnahan doesn't usually draw more than a passing glance from the GOP in his D+7 district, but it looks like he'll have a somewhat credible opponent in 2010. Ed Martin opened an exploratory committee for the race; he hasn't been elected before, but has consummate insider credentials as Gov. Matt Blunt's chief of staff for four years.

RI-02: In an almost-one-party state like Rhode Island, primary challenges are a routine part of life. Rep. Jim Langevin fought off a primary challenge from professor Jennifer Lawless in 2006; in 2010, he'll likely face state Rep. Elizabeth Dennigan (who had been planning to run for Lt. Governor, but had to drop that plan when incumbent Elizabeth Roberts decided to run for re-election instead of Governor). Although abortion was the flashpoint in 2006 (Langevin is pro-life), Dennigan says she won't make much of an issue of it.

TX-23: Pete Sessions is probably pounding his head on his desk right now. After getting self-funder Quico Canseco to come back for a clear shot at Rep. Ciro Rodriguez in the 23rd, Bexar Co. Commissioner Lyle Larson, who upset Canseco in the GOP primary in 2008, is saying he's thinking of coming back for another try -- potentially setting up another self-destructive primary.

WI-03: Rep. Ron Kind is facing a real opponent for the first time in a while. State Sen. Dan Kapanke, who's been acting candidate-ish for a long time, made it official yesterday that he'll challenge the 14-year incumbent in 2010.

OH-SoS: With Jennifer Brunner giving up her job to run in the Senate primary, the Secretary of State open seat race is turning into one of Ohio's hottest tickets. While Democratic Franklin Co. Commissioner Marilyn Brown is in the race, she is trailing GOP state Sen. Jon Husted (who has $1.3 million) by about a 10-to-1 ratio for cash-on-hand. Now a second Democrat, state Rep. Jennifer Garrison from Marietta in the state's southeast, is getting into the race. It's a key race, as the SoS is one of the votes on the 5-member state legislative apportionment board, which Dems currently control 3-2, and which they'll need to hold if they're going to undo Republican-favorable gerrymanders in the state legislature.

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