• AZ-Sen: Former GOP Rep. Matt Salmon says he's considering getting into the senate race. Salmon held current candidate Jeff Flake's seat in the House before losing the 2002 gubernatorial race against now-DHS chief Janet Napolitano. Speaking of Flake, he was one of only three House Republicans to vote against the GOP-backed spending bill which contained $60 billion in cuts. Teabagger eyebrows were raised, but Flake claims he voted against it from the right, saying it didn't go far enough.
• MA-Sen: Speaking of teabaggers, Scott Brown, when directly asked if he was one (okay, he was asked if he was a "tea partier"), said "No, I'm a Republican from Massachusetts"(and I drive a truck!). I maintain that a tea-fueled primary challenge to Brown is still possible.
• MO-Sen, MO-02: GOP Rep. Jo Ann Emerson says she won't try to challenge Sen. Claire McCaskill. Dave Catanese thinks that Emerson's "moderate profile" would have made it hard for her to win a primary. Also, former MO GOP chair Ann Wagner says she's still considering the race - but, interestingly, says she also might primary Rep. Todd Akin in MO-02.
• NV-Sen, NV-02: Major bummer, sports fans: Sharron Angle says she is NOT running for president, repeat NOT running for president! Hopefully, though, this means she'll go for the senate again, or possibly the 2nd CD.
• RI-Sen: Cranston Mayor Allan Fung says he won't seek the GOP nomination to challenge Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, citing the huge fundraising hurdles he'd face.
• VA-Sen: Attorney David McCormick becomes the latest Some Dude to enter the GOP nomination battle for Virginia's open senate seat.
• WI-Gov: By now you may have already gotten wind of the AFL-CIO poll conducted by GQR on the battle in Wisconsin. It was actually two separate polls taken a few days apart, combined into one. The topline numbers for Gov. Scott Walker don't look good - 51% job disapproval, and underwater unfavorables to the tune of a 39-49 spread.
• CA-36: The Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC) released a poll on the Dem primary in the race to succeed soon-to-resign Rep. Jane Harman. The numbers, from PPP, show SoS Debra Bowen leading LA city councilor Janice Hahn 33-29, and just 21-20 without leaners. Obviously there are still tons of undecideds.
Hahn also released a poll of her own, taken by Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates. She refused to release toplines, claiming only that she has a "five-point lead." Misleadingly, her poll memo says that "Hahn's lead is larger than the survey's margin of error." The MoE is ±4.9%, so technically, yes, her lead is literally "larger" than the MoE, but it's not "outside the MoE," which is the metric people are usually concerned with. The press release accompanying the memo also repeats an amusingly idiotic line of attack on PPP, saying the PCCC survey "is not reliable given the fact that it was conducted by a robo call, rather than by an actual researcher."
One other detail: Hahn also just picked up the endorsement of new state Sen. Ted Lieu, who won a special election last week. Lieu's name had briefly surfaced as a possibility for the CA-36 race, too.
• CA-41: GOP Rep. Jerry Lewis, seventy-six years old and skipped over for key leadership roles after the GOP takeover of the House, won't say yet whether he'll seek an 18th term. Redistricting may play a big role here, as Lewis won't benefit from another incumbent protection plan, thanks to the new independent redistricting commission CA voters approved last fall.
• NY-14: Biden alert! The VPOTUS is in New York City today, doing a fundraiser to benefit both Rep. Carolyn Maloney and the DNC. A little surprised to see Maloney benefitting from this largesse, since Reshma Saujani said she won't try to primary Maloney again this cycle. (Then again, Reshma's already flip-flopped on that, so maybe she'll change her mind yet again.) I suppose it's possible that this district's lines will change enough to offer the possibility of a different primary challenger emerging, so this could be a defensive maneuver. Or it could just be a reward to a loyal backer.
• NY-24: Did Rep. Richard Hanna plagiarize a Cato Institute paper for an op-ed of his own in the Syracuse Post-Standard? Check it out and decide for yourself.
• NY-26: Carl Paladino, already on record as backing Jane Corwin's candidacy before she was tapped as the nominee, officially (re-)endorsed her. Some teabagger, Lenny Roberto, also endorsed Corwin, but there's always People's Front of Judean/Judean Popular Front splits between these guys.
Case in point: Iraq vet (and teabagger) David Bellavia's been calling local Conservative Party chair Ralph Lorigo, trying to scarf up the Cons' nomination. Crazy Jack Davis has been doing the same, but Lorigo didn't speak highly of him. Lorigo is responsible for Erie County, which carries the most weight in the 26th district. His Monroe County counterpart, Tom Cook, is the second biggest cheese, and says he's also gotten calls from Bellavia, Corwin, and, believe it or not, nominal Dem frontrunner Kathy Hochul. Cook didn't have kind words about Bellavia, but he noted the obvious truth: state party chair Michael Long is going to make all the decisions, and he appears to be leaning hard toward Corwin.
• OR-01: Rep. David Wu apologized for his behavior and said he's getting treatment (including medication) for whatever ails him... but that he has no plans to step down. Meanwhile, 2010 GOP challenger Rob Cornilles (who lost by 13 points last year) is being talked up for another run but hasn't decided yet.
• UT-02: The NRCC has an ad up (yes, already) attacking Jim Matheson over spending, but NWOTSOTB, so I'm guessing this is what Nathan Gonzales would call a "video press release."
• Philly Mayor: Wealthy businessman Tom Knox says he won't challenge Mayor Michael Nutter - and in fact, went ahead and endorse Nutter. It looks like the incumbent is probably set to cruise in the Democratic primary.
• Crossroads GPS: The Karl Rove dark money front group is launching a $450K radio ad buy, attacking a dozen Dems on spending and supporting ten Republicans. Full list at the link.
• AZ-Sen: There have been vague rumblings that maybe Jon Kyl, the GOP's 68-year-old #2 in the Senate, may not be running for another term... but that seems to be coming into sharper relief all of a sudden. Kyl has refused to publicly discuss his plans, the GOP's state chair is saying Kyl is not likely to run again, and people are starting to notice that he's sitting on only $620K CoH and hasn't engaged in any fundraising yet. (Although it's likely, once he decides, that he could quickly do whatever fundraising was needed to win.)
• CT-Sen: Ex-Rep. Rob Simmons sounds torn about another Senate run in 2012, and refuses to rule it out. However, he sounds unenthused, not so much because of his odds in the general as the likelihood of butting heads with the NRSC in the primary, whom he thinks has a fixation on Linda McMahon and her self-funding ability. Meanwhile, Rep. Chris Murphy is busy framing his "no" vote on the tax compromise in populist terms, clearly trying to set up some contrasts with Joe Lieberman.
• NE-Sen: I'd thought AG Jon Bruning was supposed to be some sort of killer-app for the local GOP to go against Ben Nelson, but you wouldn't know it by the way they've kept casting about for more talent. Local insiders are still publicly airing their wish list, adding a couple more prominent names to it: Rep. Jeff Fortenberry and state Auditor Mike Foley. One lower-tier option is also floating her own name: state Sen. Deb Fischer, who represents that big empty north-central part of the state and says she'll decide on a run once the legislative session is over.
• OR-Sen: Best wishes for a quick recovery to Ron Wyden, who will be undergoing surgery on Monday for prostate cancer. While it sounds like he'll be back on his feet soon, he'll be unable to vote for anything next week, which could complicate the final rush to wrap up stuff in the lame duck.
• TN-Sen: Bob Corker occasionally gets mentioned, at least in the rightosphere, as the possible recipient of a tea party primary challenge in 2012. The Hill finds that this may be fizzling on the launching pad, for the very simple reason that no one seems to be stepping forward to consider the race.
• WI-Sen: PPP is out with its poll of the 2012 GOP Senate primary, with another one of those let's-test-everyone-and-their-dog fields, but unlike some of the other states they've looked at in the last few weeks, a U.S. Rep. wins, rather than a statewide figure. Paul Ryan (who probably gets enough Fox News attention to trump the disadvantage of representing only 1/8th of the state) is far in the lead at 52. Ex-Gov. Tommy Thompson (who if he didn't run this year surely isn't going to in 2012) is at 14, ex-Rep. Mark Green is at 9, AG JB Van Hollen and new Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch are at 6, new Rep. Sean Duffy is at 5, and already-forgotten 2010 contender Dave Westlake is at 1.
• IN-Gov, IN-09: Baron Hill says he most likely isn't going to be running for anything in 2012, not Governor, and not his old seat in the 9th, saying he's looking into private sector jobs for now, though also leaving the gubernatorial door "slightly open." Interestingly, he seemed more enthused about a run for Governor in 2016 (which may be a tougher road to hoe, if there's an entrenched GOP incumbent then instead of an open seat like 2012), although he also commented that "I don't know if I'll be alive in 2016."
• MO-Gov: In case there was any doubt, Democratic incumbent Jay Nixon confirmed that he'll run for re-election as Governor in 2012. Nixon also said that he's raised $1 million for that race just since November; he'll need it.
• WV-Gov: For what it's worth, two of the state's largest unions would like to see an expedited special election to replace Joe Manchin. Democratic House Speaker (and likely gubernatorial candidate) Rick Thompson agrees with them, saying there's a constitutional conflict of interest in acting Gov./Senate president Earl Ray Tomblin's dual position. In what may not be a surprise, Tomblin disagrees, saying that the law is clear that the special will be held in 2012.
• CA-06: Rep. Lynn Woolsey is seeming like she may be one of the first retirements of the cycle, if the flurry of activity among lower-level Marin County politicos jockeying for position is any indication. The 73-year-old is publicly weighing retirement, and state Assemblyman Jared Huffman has already formed an exploratory committee to run in her stead. State Sen. Noreen Evans, Sonoma Co. Commissioner Shirlee Zane, and Petaluma mayor Pam Torliatt are also listed as possible replacements.
• FL-25: It certainly didn't take newly-elected Rep. David Rivera to get in legal trouble, and it's something completely new, instead of anything having to do with that whole let's-run-that-truck-off-the-road incident. He's under investigation for an alleged $500,000 in secret payments from a greyhound track that he helped out to a marketing firm that's "run" by his septuagenarian mother.
• ID-01: Don't count on a rematch from Walt Minnick (or a run for higher office in Idaho, either): he says he's done with elective politics. An oft-overlooked fact about Minnick: he's a little older than your average freshman, at 68. He wasn't going to be in the seat for much longer or look to move up anyway.
• NY-14: Remember Reshma Saujani, after losing the Dem primary in the 14th, said "I'm definitely running again" and "There's no way I'm going to be ones of those folks who runs, loses, and you never see them again." Well, fast forward a few months, and now she's definitely not running again, although she may be looking toward a run for something in 2013 at the municipal level.
• DCCC: The DCCC held its first real strategy session of the cycle yesterday, and the list of top-tier targets that emerged is pretty predictable (Dan Lungren, Charlie Bass, Charlie Dent, Bob Dold!) except for one: Leonard Lance, who's proved pretty durable so far. They may be counting on Lance's NJ-07, which occupies roughly the middle of the state, to get tossed into the blender in the redistricting process.
• Votes: Here's the vote tally from yesterday's vote in the House on the tax compromise. It was a very unusual breakdown, with Dems breaking 139 yes/112 no and the GOP breaking 138 yes/36 no, with the "no"s coming generally from each party's hard-liners, in a manner vaguely reminiscent of how the TARP vote broke down. (Also, some defeated or retiring Blue Dogs still voted "no," like Allen Boyd, Gene Taylor, and Earl Pomeroy... while Dennis Kucinich was a "yes.")
• History: Here's an interesting story about the end of a little-known but important era in North Dakota politics: the effective end of the Non-Partisan League, a vaguely-socialist/populist farmers' party that cross-endorsed Democrats for many decades, and had an outsized influence on the state (as seen in their state-owned bank and similar enterprises). With Byron Dorgan retired, most NPL stalwarts dead or aging, and agribusiness having replaced the family farm, it looks like the end of the NPL's line.
• Redistricting: Dave Wasserman is out with a preview of next week's reapportionment, and he's rightly treating it like the NCAA playoffs draw, in that there a bunch of states on the bubble of getting or losing seats. Here's how that plays out:
Georgia, Nevada, and Utah are all but certain to gain an additional seat in the House, while Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania are all but certain to lose a seat and Ohio is all but certain to lose two seats.... the ten states in contention for the "last five" seats in the House (in order of likelihood to make the cut) are South Carolina, Florida, Minnesota, Washington, Texas, New York, California, Arizona, North Carolina, and Illinois.
He's also been tinkering around with Dave's Redistricting App, and has some maps that you'll want to check out. Maybe most interestingly, there's a solution to the IL-17 problem that actually makes it more Democratic while letting Aaron Schock and Bobby Schilling get much better acquainted with each other (the Fix also takes a look at Illinois today, coming up with similar ideas). Also worth a look: a good 10-district Washington map that gives Dave Reichert a heaping helping of eastern Washington.
• Site news: Due to holiday travel, other time commitments, and hopefully what will be a very slow news week, the Daily Digest will be on hiatus all next week. Don't worry, though: I'll make sure to be around on the 21st for the Census reapportionment data release (hell, maybe I'll even liveblog the news conference), and if there's any important breaking news, someone will get it up on the front page. In the meantime, happy holidays from the whole SSP team!
• AR-Sen: Mason-Dixon takes another look at the Arkansas Senate race, on behalf of Arkansas News Bureau. Blanche Lincoln hasn't gotten any deader than she was before: she trails John Boozman 51-34, with 4 for other minor candidates (no real change from the last time they polled, back in May pre-primary, where Boozman led 52-35). Lincoln's faves have improved a smidge: now 30/47, instead of 28/53.
• DE-Sen: Whooo, where even to begin? The national media is just starting to dig into Christine O'Donnell's gigantic and eminently mineable opposition file, with NPR and ABC detailing her history of getting fired from right-wing think tanks and her suing for discrimination in response, of IRS audits that she blamed on "thug politics" and liens that she blamed on "computer errors," of failure to pay for her college, and of using her campaign money to pay the rent on her house as it's also her campaign headquarters. We also know about her stance on AIDS prevention, thanks to helpful tipsters in the comments. At least O'Donnell's faring well in the fundraising department, raising $1 million since her victory (with Chris Coons raising only $125K, showing the harmful effects of a short-of-the-endzone victory dance). Not leaving things to chance, reports are coming in that Joe Biden will campaign for Coons "next week" and that the DSCC is starting to put money into Delaware, starting with an $85K buy in the Salisbury market.
The establishment isn't budging much on her: the state's virulently anti-O'Donnell GOP chair, Tom Ross, is staying in place (though calling for "unity"), and Karl Rove, although he sorta backed down in the face of a Rush Limbaugh broadside, is still challenging O'Donnell to be "honest" to voters about her difficulties... and again running through the list of all those difficulties in his media appearances. Meanwhile, O'Donnell strips.... her website, perhaps at the urging of the NRSC; after her nomination, all issues stuff vanished and it just became a donation ask. Still, Harry Reid seems to be doing all he can to fuck this up, issuing a strange quote that should play right into the whole "Obama/Reid/Pelosi agenda!!1!" messaging, expressing enthusiasm for Chris Coons but calling him his "pet."
• NV-Sen, NV-Gov (pdf): Part of the CNN/Time onslaught yesterday was polls of Nevada (which we're relegating to the digest, as this state, as we've complained before, is veering rapidly into over-polled territory). This raised some eyebrows for showing a Sharron Angle lead over Harry Reid (42-41, with 5 for Scott Ashjian) among LVs, but that's only a point or three off from the narrow band of results that Mason-Dixon and Rasmussen have been consistently generating. (Reid leads 42-34-7 among RVs.) Many people (starting with Jon Ralston) also seemed surprised by some crosstabs weirdness, showing the race a dead heat in Democratic-favorable Clark County but giving Reid a big lead in swingy Washoe County. Brian Sandoval leads Rory Reid 58-31 in the Gov race.
• CA-Gov: It's official: Meg Whitman is now the biggest self-funder in political history, having shown that piker Michael Bloomberg how it's done. She gave her campaign another $15 million, which brings her personal spending on the race to $118 million overall.
• CO-Gov: Dan Maes just picked up Scott McInnis's former campaign manager, George Culpepper, so it seems like the local GOP establishment isn't totally abandoning him. The Colorado Independent has an in-depth piece, though, with a more nuanced look, based on interviews with at least a dozen county GOP chairs. Some of them fully back Maes, some grudgingly do so, some back Tom Tancredo, and some are still in a state of shock.
• GA-Gov: After doing some pushback yesterday, Nathan "Let's Make a" Deal had to admit today that, yes, he is in some personally dire financial straits, saying his debts are even bigger than the $2.3 million loan that's outstanding... but also saying that he isn't releasing any more financial records to the press. It also turns out that he never disclosed that loan to the state Ethics Commission on his financial disclosure form, which he's now scrambling to update.
• MI-Gov: EPIC-MRA's out with yet another poll of the Michigan gubernatorial race; I think we can start relegating their frequent polls of this pretty-much-out-of-reach race to the digest, too. They give Rick Snyder a 53-29 lead over Virg Bernero (a slight improvement for Snyder over 51-29 three weeks ago).
• UT-Gov: OK, what kind of a world is it when we're faring better in the Utah governor's race than we are in Michigan? Not like this is a competitive race either, but it could be a good dress rehearsal for a 2012 rematch (remember that this 2010 race is a special election). Dem Peter Corroon trails Gary Herbert by "only" 21 points, 52-31, in a poll taken by Dan Jones & Associates for the Deseret News and KSL. The numbers haven't really changed since their previous poll in April (where Herbert led by 20).
• CA-11: As with 2008, Jerry McNerney rolled out endorsements from some local elected Republicans, as part of a list of 16 county supervisors and mayors who are backing him. Maybe most notable is the backing from the mayor of Manteca (or, in Spanish, Lard), Willie Weatherford, who had previously backed GOP primary loser Brad Goehring.
• CO-03: Here's a boost for John Salazar, in a suddenly-tough race in this rural western district against Republican Scott Tipton: he got the backing of the National Rifle Association, with an "A" rating.
• IA-02: Another warning sign for David Loebsack: the Mariannette Miller-Meeks campaign is out with another internal poll, showing her creeping closer than her previous one. The Tarrance Group poll has her trailing Loebsack by only 1 point: 41-40 (with 6 for a Libertarian). She could do some damage her with more money.
• LA-02: Lawyer Ron Austin dropped out of the LA-02 race today, where he was an independent candidate. This is really the first I'd ever heard of him, so I can't imagine he'd have been much of a factor here; I can't glean whether he was running on the left or the right, but he is African-American, so that in itself may shift at least a handful of votes in Cedric Richmond's direction in what may yet turn out to be a close race. Two other no-name indies remain.
• MD-01: One other internal poll got leaked to the Fix today, too, and this one's a pleasant surprise for the Dems. Frank Kratovil is still claiming a lead over Andy Harris, who just won the GOP nod for a rematch. Kratovil's poll by Garin-Hart-Yang gives him a 45-39 lead. (When I say "still," Kratovil released an earlier internal with a 5-point lead. Harris has released two internals of his own giving him a lead.)
• MO-04: Here's the good news: Ike Skelton got a shared endorsement from Missouri Right to Life, along with GOP challenger Vicky Hartzler. The bad news is: Skelton has generally had that endorsement to himself in the past.
• NY-14: Give Reshma Saujani credit for one thing: she's persistent. She's already announced that she'll try again in 2012 to unseat Carolyn Maloney in the NY-14 Dem primary.
• NY-23: Local teabaggers (or at least one of them) sound pretty upset with Conservative nominee (and GOP primary loser) Doug Hoffman, meaning that he, rather than the GOP nominee, may find himself in the third-wheel position this time around. Mark Barie, chairman of a local Tea Party organization criticized Hoffman for a listless campaign run by outsiders with little familiarity with the district. He threw his support behind Matt Doheny, who appears to have narrowly won the GOP primary despite a late close by Hoffman in late counting.
• CfG: The Club for Growth launched a five-state buy in Senate races, to a total tune of $1.5 million (no word on specific allocation). The states under assault are Colorado, Florida, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.
• NRCC: Two different rounds of TV ad buys came from the NRCC today. The first one was in WA-03 ($900K) and NM-01 ($300K), and a second one covers PA-10 ($595K), NH-01 ($1 mil), NH-02 ($1 mil), FL-08 ($817K), FL-24 ($817K), and VA-09 ($?).
• SSP TV:
• CA-Sen: Barbara Boxer goes negative against Carly Fiorina in a new spot, hitting her on (what else?) her failed tenure at HP
• MO-Sen: A new spot against Roy Blunt from Dem group Commonsense Ten (never heard of 'em, either) hits his consummate insider credentials
• PA-Sen: Yet another ad from Pat Toomey, this one featuring an oppressed doctor who doesn't like HCR (who just happens to be a big Republican activist too, not the ad says that)
• WA-Sen: Dino Rossi's first negative ad features him personally narrating an attack on Patty Murray (instead of using the off-camera voice of doom); he calls her "part of the problem"
• NV-Sen: Harry Reid's newest TV spot, by way of fighting back against Angle's attacks on immigration issues, just goes ahead and says it: it calls Sharron Angle "crazy"
• NY-Gov: Andrew Cuomo doesn't want to leave anything to chance despite his big lead (he has the money to burn, at any rate), and he's out with a new bio ad (not that he needs much introduction)
• PA-Gov: Dan Onorato tries introducing himself to Pennsylvania again, this time with a shorter 30-second ad that helpfully lets people know how to pronounce his name
• TX-Gov: Even Rick Perry's going negative: three different ads go after Bill White, two trying to tie him to Barack Obama and one attacking his handling of Hurricane Rita
• VT-Gov: The RGA wades into Vermont with a negative ad against Peter Shumlin, hitting him on taxes
• CT-04: Jim Himes has not one but two new ads, stressing his independence and debt hawkishness
• KS-03: Stephene Moore's first ad plays up her day job as a nurse
• ND-AL: Earl Pomeroy has two different anti-Rick Berg ads, one of which focuses on his crazy plans to drill for oil in Theodore Roosevelt National Park
• NH-02: Ann McLane Kuster (who's now rebranded herself as "Annie Kuster") goes negative on Charlie Bass in her first ad, framing him as failed retread
• NY-20: Scott Murphy's newest spot focuses on his own personal record of job creation as businessman before entering Congress
• TX-17: Chet Edwards is out with a positive ad, touting his work on veteran's issues like VA health care
• WA-02: John Koster tries to cram both a negative ad and a positive ad into a discordant 30 seconds
• WI-07: Sean Duffy plays up his lumberjack credentials, saying he'll "take an ax" to Washington (I'll admit, that's kinda clever)
• CO-Sen: Michael Bennet (D-inc) 45%, Ken Buck (R) 49%
• DE-Sen: Chris Coons (D) 53%, Christine O'Donnell (R) 42%
• NH-Sen: Paul Hodes (D) 44%, Kelly Ayotte (R) 51%
• NV-Gov: Rory Reid (D) 39%, Brian Sandoval (R) 52%
• PA-Gov: Dan Onorato (D) 39%, Tom Corbett (R) 49%
• WA-Sen: Patty Murray (D-inc) 51%, Dino Rossi (R) 46%
AK-Sen: On the topic of Lisa Murkowski's declaration that she's "still in this game" and her outreach efforts to a polite but seemingly unenthused Alaska Libertarian Party, The Mudflats sums up the situation pretty well:
* She's not technically in the race right now
* She's not out of the race
* She's not a quitter
* She is who she is
* She will likely not run as a Libertarian
* She will likely not run as a write-in
* She doesn't know what she's doing
NH-Sen: Businessman Bill Binnie is throwing down another $500K of his own money, with the GOP primary just a week in the way. Though ex-AG Kelly Ayotte leads in what little polling there's been, I think this race is still up for grabs.
NV-Sen: The LVRJ has a detailed profile on Sharron Angle's tumultuous years in the state Assembly, where votes in the 42-member body were often "41 to Angle."
CO-Gov: Some Colorado Republicans are suing to try to knock Tom Tancredo off the ballot, saying his candidacy violates the American Constitution Party's bylaws. Even if they're right, I wonder if they have standing.
FL-08: Alan Grayson claims he raised half a million bucks in August, and says he has more than a million on hand, despite prepaying for a bunch of television advertising.
FL-24: GOPer Sandy Adams (and the NRCC, apparently) are touting a Public Opinion Strategies internal which has her leading Rep. Suzanne Kosmas 49-37.
HI-01: Colleen Hanabusa outraised Rep. Charles Djou in the pre-primary fundraising period, $330K to $206K. But Djou has slightly more cash on hand, $428K to $404K.
NY-14: Some Democrat she is. When asked by a reporter if she would vote for her opponent - not even endorse, just vote - in the general if she lost the primary, Reshma Saujani said she "didn't know" whether she would pull the lever for Rep. Carolyn Maloney. I've been adamantly opposed to Saujani's candidacy since I first learned about her, and with good reason. But this may be the most disgusting thing she's said so far. How can I possibly trust the Democratic bona fides of someone who can't even say if she'll vote Democrat in her own district? And no, her campaign's belated attempt to claim she'll "vote a straight ticket" does not assuage me in the least. When the cameras were rolling and the pressure was on, Saujani admitted she wasn't a team player. We don't need people like her in Congress.
Turnout (PDF): According to data compiled by the Center for the Study of the American Electorate, the "average percentage of eligible citizens who voted in the primaries of each major political party" shows more a greater share of Republicans voting in primaries this year than Dems for the first time since 1930. Of course, 1930 was a pretty good year for Dems... but the trendlines are not inspiring.
GA-Sen: GOP Sen. Johnny Isakson, not a guy you traditionally think of as being endangered (if you've ever even heard of him) touts his conservative record
NH-Sen: Paul Hodes compares Washington to... a hot dog eating contest
NV-Sen: Harry Reid continues to produce some of the best negative ads of the cycle
OH-Sen: We mentioned this ad in yesterday's digest, wherein Lee Fisher sez: "Congressman Rob Portman knows how to grow the economy... in China!" Our update is that a GOPer says the buy is for $1.4 million and that the ad is running in Columbus and northern OH
FL-Gov: Alex Sink responds to Rick Scott's attack ads, which she says are all about Obama, not Florida
CA-11: Jerry McNerney's first ad, touting his support for veterans' causes (I like that he has an actual veteran do the talking - much better than the usual candidate bragging or hackneyed voiceover)
CA-45: Dem Steve Pougnet is on the air with his first ad, kicking off a reported $100K/week TV & radio ad blitz from now through election day
CO-Sen: Like so many Republicans who rail against pork, Ken Buck still loves to gorge himself. Buck signed an anti-earmarks pledge pushed by Americans for Prosperity, but as Weld County DA, he asked then-Rep. Marilyn Manson Musgrave for a $2 million in federal funding for "expansions of North Range Behavioral Health center in Greeley." He also "won $235,000 earmarked for the Weld County Gang Task Force." In non-explaining this rather glaring contradiction, Weld said it "doesn't mean I don't want to change the system." In other words, vote for me because I'm a hypocrite.
FL-Sen: Marco Rubio agreed to participate in a debate with Charlie Crist and Kendrick Meek, and then proposed six more. Adam Smith of the Tampa Bay Buzz explains how this play might really squeeze Crist:
Charlie Crist is almost always good on TV, but this poses a real problem for him. In a three-person debate, it would be Rubio and Meek each taking turns hitting Crist and pressing him on flip-flops and inconsistencies. It's hard to stay above the fray when you're the main target.
But skipping most of the debates is equally problematic. If Meek agrees to these debates and the networks agree to televise them with or without all three candidates, Crist would be letting Meek raise his profile as the Democratic alternative to Rubio.
Tom Jensen also describes another rock-and-hard-place problem for Charlie: Kendrick Meek is starting to eat his lunch among Democrats, so how can Crist regain that support? Well, he could pledge to caucus with the Democrats... but that would, of course, hurt him among Republicans. Mark Blumenthal also has an in-depth post on the subject, looking at things from Kendrick Meek's perspective and wondering if he has a path to victory. Blumenthal concludes that Meek has a lot of room to grow, but thinks wining would be a "tall order."
KY-Sen: Rand Paul knows that when you are in a deep hole, you bring in a back-hoe. Then, you start using some C4. Finally, you send in an army of ten million moles. At last, once you can finally hear the sound of Chinese being spoken, you know you are deep enough - and you reiterate your opposition to doing anything about the drug problem in Eastern Kentucky.
NC-Sen: Elaine Marshall has become the first (I think) challenger so far to call for former WY Sen. Alan Simpson's resignation from what Atrios calls the "cat food commission" (not cat fud commission, sadly) - aka the president's stupid deficit commission. Simpson, if you haven't heard yet, wrote a vile email to the head of the National Older Women's League, calling Social Security "a milk cow with 310 million tits" - and telling his correspondent to "get honest work."
NV-Sen: His Mayoralness Michael Bloomberg will be hosting a fundraiser for none other than Harry Reid at Bloombo's home in September. The Hill notes that Bloombleman has endorsed both Dems and GOPers this cycle, including Michael Bennet and Joe Sestak for the good guys, and Mark Kirk and Mike Castle for the bad guys.
Getting back to Nevada for a second, both Reid and Angle have new ads up, which you can view here. Reid has really been smacking Angle relentlessly over all the crazy shit she's said - so I think you can understand why I said yesterday that it feels "limp" for Ron Klein to go after the similarly insane Allen West over tax issues rather than teh crazy. Anyhow, NWOTSOTB, though the Reid campaign says the ad "will be added to its rotation of statewide spots."
WI-Sen: Wait, could there actually be room in this digest for a second Republican hypocrite? Hell yes! And it's a repeat performance. It turns out that Ron Johnson's plastics company Pacur received a HUD grant in 1979 to build a railway line out to its factory. This is on top of the $2.5 million federal loan Pacur received in the mid-80s to build an addition to the factory. As one blogger says, Ayn Rand must be rotating in her crypt. Don't forget what Dagny Taggart did for a living!
AZ-03: Ben Quayle started a post-victory press conference by doubling down on his previous jerk-assedness, repeating his claim that "Barack Obama is the worst President in history.'" The douche really doesn't fall far from the bag, huh. Meanwhile, Quayle's former buddies at TheDirty.com were hit with an $11 million default judgment in a defamation suit brought by one of the many people they've wronged over the years. The only problem, however, is that the plaintiff's attorneys appeared to have crumbed the play by naming the wrong business entity in their lawsuit. Hooman Karamian, the scumbag behind the website, says that neither he nor his company was served process, which could seriously imperil the award. In any case, all this legal wrangling is gonna make it a little harder for Quayle to get past this issue, methinks. (And Karamian, for that matter, says that he'll stop blogging about Quayle's involvement with the site once he "admits that he is Brock Landers".)
"Dan Webster is deader than Elvis. ... He is the ultimate establishment candidate," Grayson quipped Wednesday, the morning after Republican voters picked the veteran former state legislator to run against him in District 8. ...
Grayson, of Orlando, is a bare-knuckle campaigner who has already begun referring to Webster as "Taliban Dan," for what he considers to be Webster's extreme religious views. Grayson made it clear his campaign plans a heavy onslaught of attacks against Webster's voting record.
"Stay tuned. You'll see: We'll be putting it out day after day, week after week," Grayson said. "Very soon people are going to realize that Webster can't possibly win."
While he's often infuriating, you gotta respect Grayson for being balls-out, and not sounding like such a wuss like so many other Democrats.
FL-17: The Miami Herald has an interesting post-mortem on the Dem primary in the 17th CD. Given the heavily Haitian population in the district, it seemed likely that it could send the first Haitian-American person to Congress. But the four candidates of Haitian descent in the race split the vote, allowing state Sen. Frederica Wilson to carry the day with 35% (a number which, given the huge size of the field, was actually considered pretty high).
FL-24: Put the can-openers away, boys - no cat fud here. Karen Diebel emerged from hiding to endorse state Rep. Sandy Adams, the winner of the GOP primary. Diebel lost by about 0.8%, but obviously this means no recount.
ME-02: Businessman Jason Levesque is up on the airwaves in his bid to upset Blue Dog Mike Michaud, touting his desire to reign in government spending. Levesque has raised over $250K for his bid, so you may want to consider adding this one to your list of races that are bubbling under. (JL)
NM-02: The other day, we mentioned that the Defenders of Wildlife threw down another $125K on a new attack ad against GOPer Steve Pearce. The New Mexico Independent has the ad, if you'd like to watch it.
NC-07: Here's something you don't see every day: Dem Rep. Mike McIntyre's 2008 Republican opponent, Will Breazeale, is endorsing him. Breazeale really has it in for GOP nominee Ilario Pantano - Breazeale attempted a repeat bid this year, but was beaten by Pantano in the primary. The odd thing is that the McIntyre campaign specifically said "no comment" in regard to the endorsement. Any thoughts on why?
NC-08: Larry Kissell is touting a new internal poll from Anzalone-Liszt, showing him beating Republican Harold Johnson 49-32, with Libertarian Thomas Hill at 7. The only other interesting finding actually released in the memo is Johnson's faves, 32-25.
NV-03: Actually, it turns out AFSCME's buy was a lot bigger than we thought: $750K, according to independent expenditure reports, rather than the $240K reported by the Smart Media Group. AFSCME really seems to like buying in three-quarters-of-a-million chunks.
NY-01: Randy Altschuler is out with a new ad attacking Republican rival Chris Cox for living in New York City, rather than in Suffolk County. (Apparently, Cox is crashing at his uncle's house in the Hamptons.) NWOTSOTB.
NY-13: GOPer Michael Allegretti has a new ad out, frenetically edited in the Dale Peterson style, which includes a "man on the street" declaring that Allegretti "is a paisan! He's one of us!" And here's an interesting detail the ad alludes to, which I think we missed: Allegretti's opponent Mike Grimm apparently has no job and has debts which far exceed his income, according to financial disclosure forms. Gotta wonder how he can afford to run for Congress in NYC.
NY-14: Looks like the New York Post got caught trying to ratfuck the Dem primary here in my backyard. Those scuzzes tried to claim that Hillary Clinton - you know, the Secretary of State - was "unofficially" backing Reshma Saujani. Clinton confidantes and the State Department have called bullshit, though, stating that the Secretary of State does not engage in partisan politics. Duh. Nice try, Posties.
SD-AL: In politics, going after a candidate's record traffic infractions is usually a rinky-dink play, but it turns out that Republican Kristi Noem's record behind the wheel is very troubled:
KELOLAND News checked the records for all five candidates for U.S. House and Governor; Noem has the longest list of violations, including 20 speeding tickets, three stop sign violations, two seat belt violations, and no driver's license. Noem also has six court notices for failure to appear and two arrest warrants.
Yikes! Meanwhile, Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin is out with a new ad that, mercifully, doesn't feature her son's poop, but instead speaks in dour tones about how liberals in Washington are wrecking the heartland. Pretty bleak, defeatist-sounding stuff. (JL)
AZ-Sen: Here's an internal poll from a few days ago that we missed: Randy Parraz, running in the Dem primary, commissioned a one-day robopoll by a firm called Winning Connections. It found Rodney Glassman in the lead with 20, Parraz at 17, John Dougherty at 11, and Cathy Eden at 8. Forty-four percent are undecided. Glassman went up on the air with his first ad last week, touting his endorsement from the Arizona Republic and his military credentials. Parraz is also now on the air, with ads in both English and Spanish, talking about his fight against SB 1070 and the notorious Sherriff Joe Arpaio. NWOTSOTB for either campaign.
Meanwhile, John McCain has some boring new 60-second positive spot out - like he really needs to introduce himself to Arizona voters? As CQ says, "the tone and content of this spot send the message that McCain is a politician who doesn't have to look over his shoulder to see if anybody's gaining on him." NWOTSOTB.
FL-Sen: Nancy Pelosi's recorded a robocall for Kendrick Meek (not a surprise), and for Jeff Greene, it's Star Jones to the rescue. Yeah, I'm scratching my head about that one, too.
KY-Sen: Countless law enforcement officials (police and prosecutors alike) are hammering Rand Paul for his claim that drugs are not "a real pressing issue" in Kentucky. Apparently, things in the real world are a little different than in retard libertarian fantasy land, where Paul is married to Ayn Rand and their son Alan Greenspan just received 500 shares of Taggart Transcontinental stock for his bar mitzvah. Anyhow, at least in part because of all this, the statewide Fraternal Order of Police just endorsed Conway, who promises to hit Rand hard.
NV-Sen: Harry Reid has a new ad out (NWOTSOTB) hitting Angle for her support of SSP - the bad kind of SSP, of course (Social Security privatization). Sad to see Reid acting like such a pathetic coward on the issue of the Cordoba House, though - not that I really expect better from him, though.
CO-Gov: Hahah! This is going to be a laugh riot. Republican gubernatorial nominee (weird to type out, as Colorado Pols notes) Dan Maes has to pick a... lol... running mate by tomorrow evening. This could produce the funniest ticket matchup since H. Ross Perot tapped Admiral Stockdale twenty years ago. Anyhow, Colorado Pols has some good suggestions for Maes, including one state senator who is opposed to telecommuting (I fucking wish I were kidding) - perfect, because Maes is freaked out by bicycle commuters.
FL-Gov: Freakazoid Lex Luthor clone Rick Scott has emerged from his Fortress of Squalitude with a new 30-second spot designed to heal divisions in this country and promote greater tolerance and understanding. Oh, please don't tell me you believed that for a second, did you? Scott's ad, cutely titled "Obama's Mosque," is a scum-drenched attempt to fearmonger his way to victory in the gubernatorial primary.
Meanwhile, Alex Sink is reportedly set to tap former prosecutor and state Sen. Rod Smith as her running mate. Smith himself unsuccessfully sought the Dem gube nod in 2006. Click the link for more background on him and how the pick went down.
MN-Gov: The Alliance for a Better Minnesota, a Dem-backed group, is hammering GOP nominee Tom Emmer for all the votes he's missed in the state legislature. There's some serious muscle behind this ad, too - it's a half-million dollar buy for the next two weeks. (Props to the Star Tribune's Baird Helgeson for reporting that info.)
AZ-05: I'm a huge Deadwood fan, and one of my favorite all-time lines is of course uttered by Al Swearengen, who says: "Announcing your plans is a good way to hear God laugh." Cue this story:
Former Maricopa County Treasurer David Schweikert is essentially declaring victory in the District 5 GOP primary, and said he is cutting his advertising budget for the final two weeks of the campaign because he is so confident in victory that he wants to save his money for the general election match-up with incumbent Democratic Rep. Harry Mitchell. His main opponents, businessman Jim Ward and former Scottsdale City Councilwoman Susan Bitter Smith, say the race is still up for grabs.
CO-04: Though outside groups have been up on the airwaves for a while, Rep. Betsy Markey is now out with her first ad of her own, an anti-TARP spot which calls bailouts "offensive." NWOTSOTB.
GA-02: Republican Mike Keown is touting an internal poll from Public Opinion Strategies which purports to show Rep. Sanford Bishop up just 50-44.
NJ-03: This is the sort of grumpy whining you expect from newcomer pols who don't understand that politics - still - ain't beanbag. Still, it's a little surprising to see former NFL players act like such weenies. Anyhow, John Runyan is moaning because he's sure that Dem Rep. John Adler is responsible for indie teabagger Peter DeStefano's candidacy. Runyan's team couldn't knock DeStefano off the ballot on account of his petitions, so now they are "considering a lawsuit alleging that those who signed may not have known that DeStefano was unaffiliated with a formal tea-party group." Uh, is that even a cognizable legal argument? Good luck with that.
NY-14: I guess Reshma Saujani missed the day they taught "Not Fucking Up" at First-Time Candidate School. Saujani put out a statement decrying Carolyn Maloney's supposed "silence" on the Cordoba House. Yeah, you saw this one coming: Maloney put out a statement in support of the project almost two weeks ago. Better luck next time!
NY-State Sen: Good news: A poll from a group called the New Roosevelt Initiative (taken by Red Horse Strategies) shows scumbag state senator Pedro Espada - you know, the guy who led the ill-fated coup last year to hand control back to the Republicans - tied with progressive activist Gustavo Rivera at 32% apiece in the Democratic primary. Unfortunately, as Albany Project writer Roatti notes, there's a third candidate in the race, Daniel Padernacht, who may be unintentionally offering Espada a lifeline by splitting the anti-incumbent vote.
DCCC: We mentioned this fundraiser a little while back (see Amazing Daily Digest, Issue #88!), but now we have the goods: President Obama raised a cool million for the D-Trip at a star-studded Hollywood fundraiser, featuring the likes of Steven Spielberg and Barbara Streisand.
Polltopia: Blargh. PPP has switched to a full-bore likely voter model, and the results ain't pretty for Team Blue. Go read Tom's post for the full details.
IL-Sen: Crain's Chicago Business is reporting that a teabaggish libertarian, Michael Labno, appears to have survived challenges to his petitions and will likely appear on the ballot this fall. Presumably this is good news for Alexi Giannoulias.
NV-Sen: Who knew he was even gone? Sketchball and possibly ersatz teabagger Scott Ashjian had apparently been AWOL for some time, but Jon Ralston has been keeping tabs. The erstwhile Ashjian put out his first press release in however long yesterday, to remind the world that he exists. It also serves the remind the world that he does not know how to use spell check.
AR-01: GOPer Rick Crawford just caught a break: conservative indie candidate Richard Walden just dropped out of the race and threw his backing to the Republican.
IN-09: Another similar story to the AR-01 item above: Indie Ron Kimsey has bailed on the race, in order to help Republican Todd Young beat Rep. Baron Hill.
NM-02: In one of the first independent expenditures aimed at the general election, Defenders of Wildlife plunked down $125,000 for a two-week buy to air an ad against GOP retread Steve Pearce. Big problem, though: The Pearce campaign put out a press release saying they got KOAT-TV to take down the ad on the grounds that it was false and misleading. Really hate to see a Dem ally stumble out of the gate like this.
NY-14: Talk about chutzpah: Reshma Saujani baselessly attacked Carolyn Maloney for the fact that the 9/11 healthcare bill failed to pass, carping that "A real leader would have passed this bill years ago." Not only did this bill fail purely due to Republican obstructionism, I'd like to know where Saujani was lobbying on this legislation "years ago." Fortunately, the attack has generated some swift blowback: the president of the Uniformed Firefighters Association says he supports Maloney's efforts, and the head of the NY AFL-CIO said Saujani's charges were "absolutely ridiculous." Now, the chief of the Uniformed Fire Officers Association (a different outfit) has also chimed in, slamming Saujani for her "disingenuous and offensive" attacks.
PA-15: Say what you will about Bill Clinton, but the man is touring America like a fuggin' champ on behalf of Democratic candidates this year. In addition to stumping on behalf of Joe Sestak yesterday, Clinton stopped by the Lehigh Valley to help Dem John Callahan raise $150K for his race against GOP incumbent Charlie Dent. (JL)
WV-01: Politico reports that the AFL-CIO is threatening to remain neutral in this race, rather than back Dem Mike Oliverio, who hasn't exactly compiled a very pro-labor record. (Indeed, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers endorsed his Republican opponent, David McKinley.) It could of course all be a ploy to extract promises out of Oliverio. (If so, good.) In any event, the AFL will decide on an endorsement this weekend.
WV-Sen: Gov. Joe Manchin is holding a press conference at 10am today to announce his intentions with regard to the special election for the late Sen. Robert Byrd's now-vacant senate seat. Apparently, Manchin is paying for a live satellite feed, leading Mike Memoli to quip that this has to mean he's running.
OH-Gov: Is this really the right way to be doing things? The Cleveland Plain-Dealer explains John Kasich's strategy for dealing with the media:
Until now, Kasich has run a low-profile race with the exception of showing up on national Fox radio and television programs. His campaign advisors repeatedly dodge or refuse to answer questions from local media covering the race.
Kasich must know it. Even as one of his spokesmen tried to pull him away from the media on Monday, Kasich held his ground and with one parting shot vowed to be more accessible.
"There is this perception in some quarters that Kasich is not available. You think I am not available you call me," he said. "Because I don't think I've ever turned down any of your interviews, unless they are just stupid questions."
Uh, no. It's not the right way. And nor is Kasich's first ad, which we discussed yesterday, where he basically repeats Ted Strickland's (dead-on) accusations against him. I've learned from a source that Kasich's ad buy is actually for real - about $200K over three weeks, in Cincy and Columbus - but I don't know if I'd be too unhappy about that if I were the Strickland team. Kasich is proving to be his own worst enemy.
TX-Gov: File this under "TX-Gov, 2006": Rick Perry just settled a lawsuit with Chris Bell, his Democratic opponent from the last time Perry sought re-election, for some $426,000. Bell had accused Perry of trying to mask the source of a $1 million donation from Bob Perry, the kind of Swift Boat pond scum, in the waning days of the 2006 race.
Meanwhile, Obama alert! The POTUS is coming to Texas on August 9th to do two fundraisers, one for the DNC and one for the DSCC. I'm filing this under TX-Gov, though, because Dem gubernatorial candidate Bill White says he has no plans to attend either event.
ID-01: It was a bridge too far, even for Walt Minnick. The Democratic frosh is rejecting the endorsement of the Tea Party Express, on account of their refusal to refudiate racist jerkwad Mark Williams. (Click the link if you really need the backstory.) Minnick is still touting his support from local teabaggers, though.
NC-02: Remember Renee Ellmers? I don't, either, but fortunately Politico reminds us she's the GOPer who was hoping to capitalize on Bob Etheridge's seriously over-the-top response to those weirdo Republican kids who were trying to videotape him doing something embarrassing (boy did they ever). But as one brave anonymous consultant says, Ellmers is clearly "not ready for prime time": she utterly failed to capitalize on the gift she was handed and has only $42,000 in the bank, while Etheridge has $1.2 million.
NY-01: Good news: Rep. Tim Bishop scored the Independence Party line in his bid for re-election. Bishop also has the Working Families Party line.
NY-14: If there's one thing Reshma Saujani is good at, it's protesting too much. She's as touchy about her Wall Street connections as John Kasich, claiming that "only" 25% of her donors in 2Q work in the banking industry. Justin Elliott at Salon crunched the numbers and found that this actually amounted to a full 48% of Saujani's cash haul - even worse than the one-third I calculated represented her share from financiers in the first quarter. Another Salon writer, Alex Pareene, also points out how whack-ass Saujani's messaging has been, trying to downplay her own extreme reliance on Wall Street while attacking Maloney for raising money from from financial types. Moreover, as Liz Benjamin details, Saujani has had a high burn rate ($1.2 million raised, $770K spent, and no TV as yet), and only $272K of her $428K on hand is primary money. The rest is only good for a phantom general election.
NY-20: More good Independence Party news: Rep. Scott Murphy will have the IP line free and clear. Republican Chris Gibson had hoped to challenge Murphy for the line in a primary, but the party refused to give Gibson the necessary "certificate of authorization" (known to hardcore NY junkies as a "Wilson-Pakula") that allows candidates to run on the line of a party they are not a member of.
PA-07: Biden AND Pelosi alert! The fearsome twosome did a fundraiser in Philly yesterday that raised $250,000. Half will go to Bryan Lentz's campaign coffers and half will go to the D-Trip.
VA-02: Republican Scott Rigell, trailing Rep. Glenn Nye by about a million bucks in the cash department, is dumping another $500K of his own money into his campaign, according to a spokesman. That brings his total self-loans to a pretty hefty $1.4 million.
WI-07: An interesting catch from WisPolitics: Just a week before announcing his retirement, Rep. Dave Obey spent $30,000 on polling. That means he took some very thorough surveys before deciding to hang up his spurs. He also still has a million bucks on hand - which will hopefully be making its way to the DCCC before long.
NY-AG: Definitely down in the weeds, but this is SSP, after all: SurveyUSA has a poll of the New York Attorney General's race, a seat that's open this year because the sitting one-term AG, Andrew Cuomo, is running for governor. Nassau County DA Kathleen Rice is the clear frontrunner with 32%. Assemblyman Richard Brodsky and state Sen. Eric Schneiderman are both at 9, while wealthy trial lawyer Sean Coffey and former state Ins. Comm'r (not an elected job)/former Securities Bureau chief at the AG's office Eric Dinallo are both at 7. Part of the reason I'm posting this, though, is because I genuinely have no idea who I want to support. So I'm asking the New Yorkers here: who are you backing in this race, and why?
AK-Sen: It's not every day you see an incumbent agreeing to debate a primary challenger, but Sen. Lisa Murkowski has done just that. She'll meet Joe Miller for three debates in the middle of August, just before the primary on the 24th.
CT-Sen: This Politico story reminds me of that scene in Monty Python and the Holy Grail where, amidst the Black Plague, the peasant exhorts everyone to "Bring out yer dead!" and dump them on his cart. One not-quite victim protests, "But I'm not dead yet!" So, too, the Rob Simmons campaign. A whole bunch of people - including Rob Simmons himself - plan on voting for Simmons in the August 10th primary. But it's pretty clear that hope indeed seems to be the plan here, since Simmons still isn't campaigning and seems to just be praying for an unlikely win. At least it's a better system of governance than strange women lyin' in ponds distributin' swords.
FL-Sen: Charlie Crist is pulling the trigger on a special legislative session in which he'll ask lawmakers to add a constitutional amendment to the November ballot which would allow voters to ban offshore drilling. The Miami Herald notes that Crist didn't lay any groundwork for this special session with state House leaders, meaning he could potentially get negged here. But even that could redound to Crist's benefit, as he'd be able to campaign against the legislature's failure to give the people a voice on this pressing issue.
KY-Sen: It's like John Galt forgot the fact that his motors still had to be delivered along public roads: Rand Paul is taking heat from local officials on account of his distaste for using federal money for drug treatment programs. Note that we aren't talking about the "war on drugs" here, but money used to treat addicts - which Paul says should come from local sources. But the people who actually have to deal with the problem say that Paul doesn't understand how important federal dollars are for these programs. Not really surprising, given Rand Paul Math:
When tax money flows to the nation's capitol, half stays there, half is wasted and half of it goes to political cronyism, Paul said.
LA-Sen: David Vitter got a somewhat-prominent primary challenger at the very last minute: retired LA Supreme Court Judge Chet Traylor. There's also at least one other Some Dude in the race. If for some reason Vitter can't get 50% in the primary - which is not until August 28th - then he'd have to deal with a runoff on October 2nd, barely a month before the general. Also interestingly, Republican state Rep. Ernest Wooton qualified for the race, too - as an independent. This might be a rare bit of good news for Charlie Melancon. (H/t Darth Jeff.)
NV-Sen: At the state GOP convention, Sharron Angle expressed her support for the party's platform - a wonderfully nutty document, as Jon Ralston points out, that touts its opposition to a "one-world government." Angle was later seen leaving the convention on a black helicopter. Meanwhile, President Obama just did a fundraiser for Harry Reid late last week, which apparently raised $800K.
SC-Sen: Alvin Greene won't face any charges regarding the $10,440 filing fee he paid to run for senate, or over whether he misrepresented his finances when he asked for a public defender after being charged with a crime (showing an obscene photo) last fall. It turns out that Greene really did pull together the scratch himself, mostly from his Army exit pay and a hefty tax refund. It's not how I would have spent my last ten thousand bucks, but to each his own.
SD-Sen: With zero opponents on the ballot - not even a Some Dude independent - John Thune is shuttering his campaign team. While it's always painful to see a Republican senate seat go completely uncontested like this, I wonder if this might not be for the best in terms of Stephanie Herseth Sandlin's re-election chances. At the very least, it means that Thune won't be out there stumping on the campaign trail - and won't provide an attractive top-of-the-ticket draw in November. While it's probably unprovable, I know a lot of folks here feel that Dick Lugar's lack of an opponent probably helped us win three house races in Indiana in 2006, a sentiment I tend to share.
WI-Sen: Cute: Zillionaire teabagger Ron Johnson had previously criticized President Obama for pushing BP to set up a fund to pay out claims for damage their oil spill has caused. It turns out that Johnson owns at least $116,000 worth of BP stock. Johnson laughably tried to point out that Wisconsin's public employee pension fund also invests in BP - and that Russ Feingold is a member of that fund (he was a state legislator before being elected to Congress). Srsly?
WV-Sen: It looks like that statement is no longer operative. On Friday, Gov. Joe Manchin told Politico's Ben Smith that he would "declare his intentions about a Senate run Monday." The next day, though, he informed Politico's Jonathan Martin that he's going to hold off until two things happen: first, he wants the state legislature (called back for a special session) to clarify the law on special election to replace Sen. Robert Byrd. Second, he wants to name an interim office-holder. Manchin also said that the special session will be held this Thursday at noon. (And in an odd aside, Manchin - who seems all but certain to run for Byrd's seat - just became head of the National Governors Association.)
AL-Gov: This is probably too late to help much, but term-limited Gov. Bob Riley is endorsing former college chancellor Bradley Byrne in tomorrow's runoff against state Rep. Robert Bentley. Still, Bentley seems to be in the better position. Despite being something of a dark horse in the first round, Bentley has apparently done a good job of consolidating conservatives, and internal polling has generally showed him in the lead.
AL-02: It's not like we can love Bobby Bright - but we probably can credit him with running a good campaign. Republican Martha Roby is trying to paint herself as a champion against illegal immigration, but as Politico points out, in past battles on the subject, Bright took a harder line than Roby did. As Alex Isenstadt says, "It's the newest iteration of a recurring challenge for Roby's campaign: How do you run to the right of a Democrat who's been squarely on the conservative end of his party since even before he was elected?" Roby still has a runoff fight tomorrow with Rick "The Barber" Barber.
CA-11: David Harmer, running against Dem Rep. Jerry McNerney, pulled in more than $400K last quarter.
FL-25: Marili Cancio, running against establishment favorite David Rivera in the GOP primary, accused him of "repeat domestic violence" on her Facebook page. There have been some rumors circulating about a potential story here (you can Google for more).
LA-02: State Sen. Karen Carter Peterson, who lost a runoff to then-Rep. Bill Jefferson in 2006, will not seek to challenge Rep. Joe Cao. This leaves state Reps. Cedric Richmond and Juan LaFonta as Cao's most likely opponents. I'm actually a bit surprised that more big names didn't get into the race, given how tempting a target Cao seems to be.
MI-13: The Detroit Free Press takes a look at the field challenging Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick in the Dem primary - and points out that Kilpatrick, who only took in 39% in the 2008 primary - doesn't even have a website. The Freep thinks her two toughest challengers are state Sen. Hansen Clarke and businessman John Broad, while three other Some Dudes round out the field. No one has raised very much, and even Kilpatrick has only $300K on hand. But she may yet benefit from a split field for the second cycle in a row, much like Jean Schmidt.
NM-02: Handsome Harry Teague raised some $320K in Q2 and has $1.2 mil in the bank.
NY-14: Reshma Saujani is claiming that Carolyn Maloney agreed to a debate - but Maloney's camp says no such thing ever happened. Given Maloney's consistent stance of refusing to credit Saujani in any way, I have a very hard time believing anything Saujani's team says about this. And meanwhile, the Washington Post has a pretty puffy profile of Saujani, which if nothing else confirms that she truly is the candidate of the banksters.
NY-18: Self-funding venture capitalist Paul Wasserman has dropped his bid to take on Rep. Nita Lowey in this suburban New York district. Westchester County Republicans are now instead backing 2008 nominee Jim Russell, who has a decidedly less-gaudy campaign warchest ($5,000).
Fundraising: A couple of memos - which were probably designed to be leaked - are now circulating which detail Democratic fears that they will be outspent by conservative interest groups this fall. What I don't get is why every cycle, people always act like one side outspending the other is some kind of big surprise. New 527s come and go all the time, and it's not like big Dem or GOP donors all of a sudden forget every January that, hey, there's an election on! Maybe we should look into this newfangled 527 thing? This stuff is cyclical, and the fact that we're getting our asses kicked in 2010 is not really news. But if memos like these spook a few rich Dems into opening their wallets, then okay.
Polltopia: Or more like poll dystopia. Media Matters has a distressing piece on McClatchy's decision to stop polling altogether as part of a budget cutback. (They had previously done about a dozen polls a year with Ipsos.) The piece also details how many, many other news organizations, particularly local newspapers, have also pared down or eliminated their polling in recent years. I know there are far worse problems in the world, but as far as Swingnuts are concerned, this is very, very sad and unfortunate.
In an article on Michael J. Fox's support for Rep. Carolyn Maloney (a founder of the Congressional Parkinson's Caucus), Daily News writer Celese Katz accurately described challenger Reshma Saujani's fundraising like so:
Maloney already has the backing of President Obama and much of the Democratic establishment in her bid to keep representing the 14th CD, while Saujani is relying on Wall Street cash - and her status as a political newcomer - to woo voters.
Katz then posted an update:
Update: Team Saujani begs to differ on the Wall Street issue: "Reshma is not relying on Wall Street cash - she's relying on the more than 1,200 donors from all walks of life who have contributed to her grassroots campaign. Unlike the incumbent, Reshma has not accepted - and will not accept - any PAC donations or corporate special interest contributions to fund her campaign," said spokesman James Allen.
This whine, however, is utterly misleading. I combed through Saujani's April FEC report and marked every donation that came from someone who works in finance. Out of the $401K Saujani raised in Q1, $148K came from hedge fund analysts, investment bankers, and, oh, the occasional chairman of your major Wall Street institution, like Morgan Stanley's John Mack. (I also included JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon's wife, Judy.) You can double-check my work here. Note that I played it conservatively, so if I couldn't locate a company on Google, I didn't mark that person. And for all I know, some of the "self-employed" people are retired asset managers sitting at home trading their multi-million dollar personal accounts.
Anyhow, I guess you could say that Saujani would still have raised $250K without Wall Street cash. And I suppose it's a campaign's job to quibble with words like "relying on." But the fact is that over a third of Saujani's last fundraising haul came from people who work in finance. Not that there's anything wrong with that! If anything, I'd think Saujani - whose campaign seems centered around the notion that Dems are too mean to Wall Street - should embrace her donors.