SSP Daily Digest: 4/14

NY-20 (pdf): This morning’s update from the BoE has Scott Murphy’s lead increasing a bit, up to 56 votes. Brace yourself for later today, though, when Saratoga County (Jim Tedisco’s base) is scheduled to report absentees for the first time.

PA-Sen: Arlen Specter picked up an important backer in the 2010 primary: NRSC chair John Cornyn (who’d, of course, like to limit the number of seats lost on his watch). “As I survey the political landscape of the upcoming 2010 elections, it’s clear we need more candidates that fit their states,” said Cornyn. Although Cornyn doesn’t mention his name, he obviously has in mind a guy who doesn’t fit his state: Pat Toomey, who just happened to officially announce his long-rumored Senate bid yesterday.

MN-Sen: No surprise here; Norm Coleman, having lost the election yesterday according to a three-judge panel, has filed an appeal with the Minnesota Supreme Court. Election law blogger Rick Hasen looks at yesterday’s opinion and the difficulty Coleman will face in getting it reversed.

FL-Sen: Marco Rubio reported raising $250,000 in the last month since opening his exploratory committee, a solid start. Meanwhile, Kendrick Meek continued to dominate the labor endorsement front, picking up the nod from the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, AFL-CIO.

IL-10: State senator Susan Garrett says she’ll decide within the month whether or not to challenge Mark Kirk (sounding like she’s trying to wait as long as possible to see if Kirk jumps into the senate race and leaves an open seat). Kirk has turned back a number of serious challenges in the 3rd-most Dem-leaning district still occupied by a Republican (won by Obama with 61% of the vote).

NV-02: A credible Democratic challenger to Dean Heller has materialized. Douglas County school board president Cindy Trigg plans to announce her candidacy next week. This district, once a Republican stronghold, went for McCain by less than 100 votes.

ID-01: Walt Minnick just got some fundraising help from an unexpected place. Former two-term GOP senator from Idaho Steve Symms is headlining Minnick’s April 23 breakfast fundraiser.

NRCC: Campaign Diaries has the full list of all 43 Dems targeted in the GOP’s big radio-spot-and-robocall blitz.

Where Are They Now?: Tom Feeney: just took a job with noted think-tank the Heritage Foundation, to focus on “community outreach.” Bob Ney: just got the 1-3 pm slot on a conservative talk radio station in Moundsville, WV. Chris Chocola: just made it official, that he will be replacing Pat Toomey as head of the Club for Growth. Vito Fossella: just pled guilty to DWI and will serve four days in Alexandria city jail.

Red Menace: Spencer Bachus (AL-06) just announced that he is holding in his hand a list of 17 socialists in Congress. We all know about Bernie Sanders; anyone care to hazard a guess who the other 16 are?

47 thoughts on “SSP Daily Digest: 4/14”

  1. Seriously?  If that’s all there are in Congress I’m extremely disappointed.  I’d expect there to be 50 minimum.

  2. Minnick is a genius.  Unlike Cao.

    Minnick has drawn national media attention by bucking his party and President Obama on the federal stimulus package and corporate bailout legislation.

  3. Via dKos:

    Word from Columbia County is that when US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s absentee ballot came up to be counted, the Tedisco camp objected. No, really. I am not making that up.


  4. got off easy. Two weekends in a nice safe city jail. BFD.

    Anyone really believe his story that he decided to switch his plea to guilty due to the killing of that Angels baseball pitcher by a drunk driver last week?

  5. STEVE SYMMS?!  Are you kidding me?  Wow, that’s a headscratcher.  Minnick’s going to need all the help he can get I guess, unless Sali is his opponent again in which case we can all laugh at the CfG’s idiocy again and ignore the race.

  6. those House Democrats that are being targeted by the GOP include some entirely safe incumbents.  Either the GOP is betting on some kind of perfect storm happening in 2010, or they are just going nutty.

    The only one they are actually running a TV ad against is Zack Space (OH-18).  Do they really think he’s the most vulnerable Democrat?  He swatted aside a handpicked state senator in an open 2006 race by 24 points and then won re-election against a scandal-free, credible opponent by 20 points last year.  The district only favored McCain by 7 points.

    They’re also targeting (though with cheaper materials) Charlie Melancon, Tim Bishop, Gerry Connolly, Brad Ellsworth, Stephanie Herseth, Jim Himes, Dan Maffei, Gary Peters, Loretta Sanchez, Joe Sestak, Heath Shuler, Vic Snyder, John Spratt, and Bart Stupak.

    Who exactly do they have that could beat incumbents like these?  I’d be surprised if any one of them is held under 60% next year.

    Surprisingly not included in the target list: Walt Minnick, Bobby Bright, Parker Griffith, Frank Kratovil, Betsy Marke, or Tom Perriello.

    They trying to fake us out or something?

  7. Bloody Republican. primaries in PA and FL and good recuits in important districts.

    Meek is really dominating this race so far. I like Dan Gelber and think he would make a better Senator and if I lived in Florida I’d vote for him, but his chances sure don’t look good at this point. If Crist gets in the Senate race and Bill McCollum runs for governor and Meek keeps on locking up support I hope Gelber goes for Attorney General instead. It sets him up as the natural next Democratic candidate for governor or Senator depending on what comes up first and will give him a statewide profile. Losing a Senate primary to Meek won’t do anything to help him and that’s exactly where this race is going right now.  

  8. Darn, now I’ll have to scratch my head trying to remember names of party leaders and very liberal members of Congress…

    He did say the House, though he did also contradict himself by naming Senator Sanders.

    I’m guessing the other 16 include some of the following:

    * Speaker Pelosi

    * Senate Majority Leader Reid

    * Representative Pete Stark, the only atheist in Congress (yes, I know it’s religion, but since when did that stop the phrase “godless communists”?)

    * Representative Barney “engage me” Frank (LOL @ that quote)

    * Senator Schumer (a perennial target of Republican ire)

    Got any more ideas?

  9. …on that one, but I do know that they have had a fairly firm policy of not placing incumbents who have not been indicted for a criminal offense in anything worse than the Tossup column. (They broke that rule very late in the game last cycle for Tom Feeney, I believe.) Of course, I don’t see how this race is anything other than (Very) Likely D, so I would hope that Cook revisits his incumbent rule at some point, if only for this race.

  10. I was about to post that.  Here’s the reasoning.

    This just in from Columbia County: when Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s absentee ballot came up in the queue, the poll watchers for Jim Tedisco objected to it, saying the senator was in the county on election day and should have voted in person.

    Her vote is challenged because she “should have” voted in person?!?  Nevermind the fact that it’s perfectly legal to vote absentee.  Afterall,  Gillibrand IS a U.S. Senator and can’t always be in the district to vote in person.

  11. Arjun notes that:

    It’s a PR disaster waiting to happen, as Gillibrand is wildly popular within the district.

    Hopefully that will be so.  

  12. how Charlie rated Mike Flanagan in 1996? I looked through his House archives and they don’t go that far back. Cao reminds me a lot of Flanagan, who beat Dan Rostenkowski in IL-05 in 1994… a guy who had no expectation of winning, had no idea what to do once he won, and was given up for dead before his term even started. The seat was won easily in 1996 by a young go-getter by the name of Rod Blagojevich.

  13. Cook had LA-02 at Lean Democrat earlier and moved it to toss up.  So, they broke that rule earlier this year.

  14. Awhile back.  Don’t think I found anything prior to 2002.

    In any case I’d rank republican chances of keeping LA-02 at roughly the same chance a republican defeats Nancy Pelosi in San Francisco.  It’s not even likely D, it should be solid D in any ratings for 2010.  My guess is Cao sees his poll numbers and doesn’t even bother running.

  15. But I can tell you that in 1994, IL-05 had a final rating of “Lean Dem.” (Full chart of Charlie’s final 1994 ratings.) One thing to note is that Cook didn’t use the “Likely” category back then – it was just Safe, Lean & Tossup.

    It looks like Cook was pretty down on his chances in 1996:

    Flanagan is a Contract With America-abiding conservative who in 1994 upset the ethically challenged Dan Rostenkowski. Teresa-hugging or no, he’s trailing badly in his bid to hold onto a district that has historically been owned by Democrats. Still, miracles happen, and he might take comfort in the words of the Washington political analyst Charles Cook: “One fluke always survives.”

  16. Says to me they are desperately clutching at straws. Though I still expect Tedisco to jump ahead again when Saratoga finally reports. But those in the know seem to think there should be enough votes in Washington County and from all these frivilous challenges to offset that and put Murphy over the top.

  17. Hard for me to believe that Tedisco could be so dumb as to authorize this challenge.  Maybe just an overenthusiastic poll watcher?  Regardless, Tedisco will take the blame.  

  18. I think Ehrlich won that race by like 63%-37%. He also rated the open seats FL-01 and GA-08 as tossups when Republicans won both by around 63%-37%.  Do you happen to have his 1990 ratings?  I have his 1992 ones if you want them.  

  19. You have to remember that back in 1994 polling data was very scarce.  Many people considered races like FL-01 and GA-07 to be tossups even by election day.  Of course we lost many of those races by 20-35 points.  Everyone knew Dems were going to lose the Senate in 1994, but most analysts thought Dems would keep the house, or at least keep the margin very close.  Almost noone predicted republicans to pickup over 50 seats.

  20. Minnick would surely be vulnerable in a primary to any number of ambitious Republicans, so I think he must realize that sticking it out as a Dem is his only option.

  21. Plus, Minnick is about 67 years old, so he’s probably not looking for a long career in congress.

  22. Most of them are safe.  Plus voters won’t even remember these ads running nearly 2 years before election day 2010.  If they want to waste the money its fine by me.

  23. of a wave. Frankly, they have to hope for one, because there’s no other way they’re going to even come close to taking back the house.

  24. Along with Herseth (she needs to survive relatively unscathed in order to move up to the Senate later), Himes (though they have very little chance in blue New England), Maffei, Peters, and Sestak.

    Of these people, Edwards is probably the one I’m most concerned about.  And I’m still not too concerned yet.

  25. It’s doubtful he could win a republican primary.  Plus Minnick has been a Democrat for a long time.  He ran against Larry Craig for Senate back in the 90’s.

  26. Run as a Dem against a sane Rep.

    Run as a Rep and get primaried.

    Run as a Dem against “total idiot” Sali.

    Clearly the later is the preference, but with support of a couple big name Republicans supporting him after switching, choice two is much more likely to keep him in Washington.

    If however the the fundraiser represents an opportunity for amainstream Republican to say “Minnick is great”, he could possibly slip into Gene Taylor territory.

    In any case, he’s way less than 50% to be a member of Congress two years from now.  Flirting with flipping but not doing it may be the best choice of all.

  27. They are not going to beat people like Bart Stupak, John Spratt, Stephanie Herseth, Vic Snyder and Tim Bishop who have already survived some of the worst electoral climates(1994, 2002, and 2004) for Democrats in recent years.  

  28. Can’t say that I agree that Minnick has “way less” than 50% chance of re-election.  I’d give him about a 50/50 shot.  Of course if Sali gets nominated those chances go up a good deal.

    He’ll never slip into Gene Taylor territory even if he does survive one or two more cycles.  Idaho is very different than the deep south in voting patterns.

    And actually Idaho’s other Congressman isn’t all that bad either.  Mike Simpson is a good deal more moderate than you’d expect from such a conservative district.

  29. When a party gains 40+ seats, it is usually in extraordinary circumstances. Let’s go through the elections in the 20th century in which 40+ seats switched.

    1994 (R gain of 54): unpopular Dem president because of assault weapons ban/NAFTA/HillaryCare

    1974 (D gain of 49): Watergate

    1966 (R gain of 47): Vietnam and race riots

    1958 (D gain of 49): Recession and possibly Sputnik

    1948 (D gain of 75): Truman campaigning against the “do-nothing” Republican Congress

    1946 (R gain of 55): Extremely unpopular Dem president in the aftermath of WWII

    1942 (R gain of 47): Concern over WWII and FDR fatigue

    1938 (R gain of 81): Recession and backlash to FDR’s court-packing, though the Dems also had an unusually high number of seats to defend

    1932 (D gain of 97): Great Depression and FDR crushing Hoover

    1930 (D gain of 52): Great Depression

    1922 (D gain of 76): Major split between the conservative and progressive wings of the GOP

    1920 (R gain of 62): Unpopular outgoing Dem president in aftermath of WWI

    1914 (R gain of 62): Republicans recovered from the major split between conservatives and progressives and the growing economy led to pro-business attitudes

    1912 (D gain of 61): Major split between the conservatives, led by the split between the conservative Taft-backers and progressive TR backers

    1910 (D gain of 58): The conservative/progressive split in the GOP was beginning

    1904 (R gain of 44): popular GOP president

    So, barring a further economic slide, Republicans will not be taking back control of Congress in 2010.

  30. Simpson’s moderation is part of the point.  Idaho, and western Republicans in general, are not nearly as wingnutty as the southerners.  If someone of Simpson’s sanity ran rather than the insane Sali, Minnick (or anyone with a “D”) would very likely lose.  

    In contrast, Minnick would not have to move THAT far to the right to be only somewhat to the left of Simpson.

    Against a sane, reasonable conservative Republican, Minnick will have a 15% chance to win I think.  Against Sali, the percentage would be reversed.  His principal hope is a divisive Republican primary, so that even if a reasonable Republican wins, he’ll have a shot due to ill-will and poor finances.

    Perhaps instead of Taylor I should have said Chet Edwards or Matheson (circa four years ago when the ditrict was redder).

  31. Several people have switched from the majority to the minority.  In 2000 a NY Republican, named Michael Forbes, I believe, switched from majority to minority as did several southern (and at least one western) Democrats did in the 1970’s and 1980’s when they switched to the Republicans.

  32. I don’t think he’s got the best baseline chance against a Republican (I still count Florida as a Republican-leaning swing state, kinda like Missouri), but he is definitely taking this very seriously, snatching big endorsements and lots of fundraising.

    I just hope that our primary won’t be bloody, that’s all.

  33. At heart there are probably 50+, possibly closer to 100 members of Congress in that category.  Just like there are probably 150+ atheists.  The only reason it’s not commonly known who is socialist and atheist is because they want to appear “mainstream.”  

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