SSP Daily Digest: 3/23

CA-45: After years of letting California’s 45th district (the most Democratic-leaning district in California still represented by a Republican, where Obama won 52-47) lay fallow, the Democrats actually seem to have a top-tier (or close to it) challenger lined up. Palm Springs mayor Steve Pougnet just started a campaign committee for a face-off against Mary Bono Mack. The openly gay Pougnet has been mayor of the city of 40,000 since 2007.

KY-Sen: Dr. Dan may get some company in the primary. 39-year-old Attorney General Jack Conway has announced “there’s a good chance” he’ll run for Senate in 2010. Subtexts in other quotes suggest that he’s been negotiating with Rep. Ben Chandler and Auditor Crit Luallen, who may be stepping aside for him.

CO-Gov: Now this seems unexpected. Ex-Rep. Scott McInnis, after butting heads with more conservative elements in the state GOP and studiously avoiding the 2008 and 2010 senate races in Colorado, has chosen a much more uphill battle: he’s running for governor against Democratic incumbent Bill Ritter. He may still face a primary battle against up-and-coming state senator Josh Penry (who used to be McInnis’s press secretary).

PA-Gov, PA-06: Jim Gerlach acknowledged in an interview that people have been soliciting him to run against Arlen Specter in the 2010 senate primary (which would turn it into moderate/moderate/fiscal wingnut/religious wingnut chaos). However, he’s still charging full speed ahead on his gubernatorial bid instead.

MI-12: Here’s one of the least likely places you could imagine for a heated primary, but it may happen. State senator Mickey Switalski will challenge 14-term incumbent Sander Levin in this reliably Dem (65-33 for Obama) district in the Detroit suburbs. (To give you an idea how long Levin has been around, he’s Carl Levin’s older brother.) This doesn’t seem to be an ideological challenge as much as Switalski is term-limited out of the state senate in 2010 and needs somewhere else to go.

CA-10: San Francisco city attorney analyst (and former political editor for the San Francisco Examiner) Adriel Hampton has announced his candidacy for the open seat being vacated by Ellen Tauscher. What may be most memorable about this is that his may be the first ever candidacy announcement made by Twitter; he faces long odds against state senator Mark DeSaulnier (who won’t announce until Tauscher’s resignation is official).

New Dems: One other musical chairs item left in the wake of Tauscher’s resignation is who takes over as the chair of the New Dems. The New Dems have five vice-chairs, but it looks like the hyper-ambitious Joe Crowley has enough support nailed down to take command bloodlessly. The CW is wondering whether this will complicate Crowley’s efforts to join House leadership (he lost a caucus vice-chair bid in 2006), but my question is what the heck is a New Dem doing in NY-07 (which went for Obama 79-20)?

FL-20: Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz told the Miami Herald on Saturday that she successfully battled breast cancer over the past year. We wish her good health as she continues her recovery. (D)

Maps: For those of you who enjoy seeing maps breaking things down by congressional districts, here’s a new one from real estate site which CDs have the highest foreclosure rates.

31 thoughts on “SSP Daily Digest: 3/23”

  1. Awesome.  The more top notch LGBT candidates the better, and just from skimming his bio Pougnet seems pretty good.  Not to mention that his family pictures are to die for.

  2. If Mr. Pougnet does succeed in winning this seat would he be the first openly gay congressman from California?

    I want to say yes but I’m not 100% sure

  3. That’s crazy about Wasserman-Schultz.  Is it just me or did noone have the slightest clue about her battle with cancer?  My mom has the same thing several years ago.  That’s a tough thing to keep a lid on for so long.  Best wishes to her.

    Now I feel bad about criticizing her lack of going all out against the south FL repubs last year.  

  4. maybe he’s noticed what others have, that pretty much all governors are getting dragged down by this crisis to an extent, and he’s hoping that by next year Ritter is beatable, whereas now he is not.

    As for Kentucky, I figure both Mongiardo and Conway are fairly conservative by national standards, but any more info on who is less conservative?  It’s often hard to judge for people like them who are in positions (L.G. and A.G.) where they don’t have to take controversial stands.

  5. Are Republican leaders assuming that Specter is doomed or useless to them and that Gerlach has a better chance of pulling it off than Toomey?

    Because I doubt that. Gerlach’s never won comfortably and Toomey had a more moderate profile before he ran statewide. If Gerlach has to win a competitive Senate primary, he’s going to have to say some pretty stupid things, and he’ll get hammered for them.

  6. If the New Dems are picking Crowley, you’re in good shape.

    He’s also head of the Queens County Democratic Party. Parts of his district used to be Geraldine Ferraro’s.  

  7. unlike the Blue Dogs, who tend to be conservative, and the Progressive caucus, who are obviously progressive, the New Dems are basically just anyone who wants to be part of a club that gets to call itself the New Democrats.  Line up their views against the entire Democratic caucus, and I doubt there’s much difference.

  8. left of the New Dems’ midpoint (although a lot of that has to do with the fact that there are a lot of double-dippers who are both New Dems and Blue Dogs but lean Blue Dog, like Bean and Barrow). His voting record from last session is about right in line with where other New Dem power-players, like Rahm Emanuel and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, were (and better than other prominent New Dems like Ron Kind and ArturD2). But part of my point is that he’s in an urban district with an old PVI of D+28 and a Latino plurality, so his district shouldn’t be preventing him from moving left if he so chose.

  9. He came out with a few mild quotes about wanting to stay moderate after 2008 (possibly in the context of his consideration of running against Becerra for leadership,) but nothing like the howlers Tauscher is fond of. No mentions of cliffs, just vague statements that we should go slow.

    He’s got a good voting record to go with that quiet temperament, so it’s not a bad pick as far as progressives are concerned. Especially because in a D+28 heavily Latino district, he has to be very careful about how critical he can be.

  10. and his district, while heavily Latino, is not poor, it’s middle to upper class with a lot of people who work in the financial industry…a pro-business, otherwise liberal, Democrat actually fits THAT district.  

  11. as Dan Lipinski, although without the nepotism.  In 1998, Crowley was hand-picked by his predecessor, Tom Manton, who announced his retirement five days after the filing deadline for the seat.  Within two years, Crowley had cemented his position.

  12. My congressman Mike Thompson is considered to be part of the blue dog caucus

    He is very socially liberal but is part of the caucus on terms of fiscal conservatism.

  13. They cover over 50 points on the Progressive Punch ranging from the low 40s (Minnick) to 93 (Arcuri).  At least a dozen of the Dogs really belong elsewhere (possibly as New dems).

    The New Dems are more business friendly and don’t have a hard on about Social Security.  Closer to “Centrist Democrats”) They are the business wing of the Democratic Party.  Some of the Blue Dogs are way to the right but represent Republican districts (Minnick and Bright, for example).  They are setting themselves up to ne the opposition party in the current House (lose a few Blue Dog seats or gain a few more non-Dog seats and even they are irrelevant).

  14. From best I can tell refers mostly to things like balancing the budget, not Republican-style fiscal conservatism.  Being from Tennessee, there’s a difference between Blue Dog John Tanner’s fiscal conservatism and archconservative Marsha Blackburn’s fiscal conservatism.

  15. Most the the Blue Dogs love excessive and wasteful military spending.  But like republicans I suppose they don’t consider military spending to be government spending, which it is.

  16. I hadn’t heard about McHenry before today but I hard about Dreier several campaigns ago.

  17. this did not come out sooner, but good to hear for now things seem positive. She is pretty young (around 40) is she not? That is tragic, good luck to her, but I guess it explains why she has not jumped in the U.S. Senate race in Florida.

  18. My mom was in her mid-40’s when it happened out of the blue.  I don’t even recall Debbie even taking a significant amount of time away from Congress in the past year or so.

    It could also explain her reluctance in opposing the South FL republicans in last year’s elections.  Good friends are hard to come by.

  19. Yeah, apparently she has a genetic marker that makes her much more susceptible to cancer, even at a younger age (and Ashkenazi Jews along with a few more groups are much more likley to have that gene. I saw her on MSNBC the other day trying to raise awareness for that predisposition in particular and cancer in younger women in general.

    Really glad she’s ok, as well.

  20. Specter is retiring. He’s probably going to not vote for EFCA and retire and they’re trying to lure Gerlach to prevent Toomey from running away with the nomination and certainly lose the general election.

    Gerlach may be viable statewide, Toomey just isn’t.

  21. The wingers at redstate are reporting the Americans for Tax Reform group say Specter is committed to voting no on both cloture and final passage of EFCA.

    Looks like we’ll have to wait until 2011 to pass this one (Hopefully).

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