SSP Daily Digest: 4/20

DNC/RNC: The RNC seems to win the fundraising month for March, in a bit of a split decision. The DNC reported $7.57 million in contributions last month, while the RNC pulled in $6.7 million. However, $2 million of those Democratic dollars were transferred from the Obama campaign. More ominously, the RNC is sitting on $23.9 million cash on hand and no debt, while the DNC has $9.7 million cash on hand and $6.9 million in debt.

IL-Sen: Hot on the heels of his $845 fundraising quarter, the new Rasmussen poll shows Roland Burris might want to make some post-2010 plans. 4% of respondents say they will “definitely” vote for him and 54% will vote against, with 39% saying it depends on who’s running. 62% think he should resign, with 24% believing he should remain in the Senate. (The poll doesn’t test Burris in any head-to-heads.) The poll also finds Jesse Jackson Jr. looking badly tarnished in the wake of the Blagojevich implosion: his favorables are now 32-63. One other tidbit that makes Lisa Madigan’s job harder if she runs for IL-Gov: Pat Quinn’s job approval is a surprisingly high 61-37.

AR-Sen: Blanche Lincoln has drawn at least one legitimate challenger for 2010: state senate minority leader Kim Hendren has announced his candidacy. Hendren has self-funding abilities and a strong base in northwest Arkansas (the traditionally Republican part of the state), which at least gives him a leg up in the primary. Hendren, however, is old (71)… old enough that one claim to fame is that he lost a race to Bill Clinton (the 1982 gubernatorial primary, when Hendren was still a Democrat)… and promising to serve only one term. Lincoln defeated state senators in both her 1998 and 2004 bids.

NV-Sen, NV-02: GOP Rep. Dean Heller says that “his plan today” is to run for re-election, but he’s also refusing to rule out a run against Handsome Harry Reid. (J)

IL-14: After getting their pants kicked in by Democrat Bill Foster in two consecutive elections, the Illinois GOP may turn to the Name You Know in 2010 — Dennis Hastert’s son, Ethan. 31 year-old Ethan Hastert, a Chicagoland attorney, says that he’s “exploring” a run for his dad’s old seat, and is already polling his name against Foster in a trial poll. Ethan’s previous claim to fame: serving as assistant to Lewis “Scooter” Libby. (J)

FL-05: Jim Piccillo will be challenging Ginny Brown-Waite in this light-red district. Piccillo has an interesting backstory: no previous political experience, and was a Republican until last year when he was driven away by the tenor of the campaign, but the recipient of a lot of media exposure after being profiled by the NYT in a feature on Florida Republicans abandoning the party. At least he sounds better than this guy.

DE-AL, FL-10: Our top-shelf Democratic recruits have launched new websites: John Carney and Charlie Justice. (D)

Polltopia: Our friends at Public Policy Polling are once again letting readers decide which Senate race they’ll poll next. The choices: Georgia, Illinois, and Oklahoma. Get busy voting and then tell us which race you picked in the comments. (J)

88 thoughts on “SSP Daily Digest: 4/20”

  1. I want to see if there’s any danger beyond Burris (who’s done IMO). I doubt there is, but we should put this to bed.

  2. RIP.

    FYI Orton was a Democrat who served a three terms before being defeated by Cannon (who lost to Chaffretz last year in the primary).

    JUAB COUNTY — The Juab County Sheriff confirms that former Utah Congressman Bill Orton, 60, was killed in an ATV accident at Little Saraha Sand Dunes Saturday afternoon.

    Sheriff Alden Orme says it happened around 4 p.m. He says Orton was riding a large ATV down a steep sand dune when the vehicle apparently flipped and landed on top of him. Another rider discovered him a short time later.

    A West Juab ambulance and Air Med responded, but Orton was pronounced dead at the scene. Orme says Orton was with a group of people at the dunes but was by himself when the accident happened.

    His body was taken by ambulance to Central Valley Medical Center in Nephi. An autopsy is pending.

    Orton, who was wearing a helmet, was among thousands of four-wheel enthusiasts at the popular park, “a fun but dangerous place to ride,” the sheriff said.

    “Out there, it’s a lot of rolling hills. He went off a sand dune without realizing how far down he was going,” he said.

  3. raised 96k and has less than 200k cash on hand. I doubt he is thinking about taking on Reid.  

  4. I live in the district, and I like Jim. He definitely deserves Races to Watch status, particularly if he makes the right moves in the coming months. He isn’t a piker, though he has a tough campaign ahead of him.

    Incidentally, did you know John Russell tea partied? Here’s a boatload of crazy:

  5. Dem’s don’t want a bald headed Republican Mortgage Broker (Does anybody?) for their candidate, and the Republicans are NOT going to vote for a “turncoat” when they have the real deal in Ginny Brown-Waite.  

    Jim is going to have to win the primary and it will not be easy.  Piccillo IF he wins the primary is probably good for 32-35% at best, against 4 term incumbent Ginny Brown-Waite in this still very Republican district. Should be interesting__ the primary anyway. Ha!

  6. That JOHN Russell guy sounds like he makes a lot of sense especially that Tea Party video where he refutes the SOCIALISM propaganda and successfully sells a bunch of ROTGUT CONSERVATIVES on the merits of a National Single Payer Health Care Plan at the TEAParty.

    I haven’t seen anyone else that was able to do that!  I mean LISTEN to that woman scream like he is some rock star or something.  I AM NOT KIDDING!  It’s UNBELIEVABLE!!!

  7. That the caucus could get too big – makes it easier for conservative Dems to defect. Not sure I’d go that far mind.

  8. Honestly, we’re not getting any progressive out of that state.

    I really don’t see the advantage of replacing a conservative Democrat with a far-right Republican.  Even if we have like 70 senators.  Every vote counts, and there will come a time in the future when we are fighting for control of the Senate again.  When that day comes, it will be nice to have a couple Democrats from Arkansas in addition to our usual strongholds.

  9. She screwed us on EFCA, but generally she votes with our caucus much more than your average southern Dem.  Bill Nelson, Mark Pryor, Mary Landrieu, Ben Nelson, and Ken Salazar all defect on many many more votes than Blanche Lincoln does.

    Plus Pryor’s daddy was a senator, and I still do have that much-debated hangup about dynastic politicians.

  10. I agree, Illinois is definitely the best choice IMO. Oklahoma would be somewhat interesting if they polled the Gov. race.

  11. Illinois is pointless.  There is almost no chance of it flipping, and it only will if a bizarre set of circumstances that are unpollable occur.  So forget about Illinois.

    Georgia is likely to be what anybody would expect it to be, 47-39 something like that.

    Oklahoma has the one interesting, and important, item at this stage of the game.  No Coburn, poll Henry and two strong/generic Dems versus two strong Republicans.  I doubt Henry will make the race, unless he sees Udall-like numbers that will persuade him that this is the time.

  12. just not a particularly good campaigner so her races are tough. Pryor is real popular. I still don’t see Kim Hendron breaking 42% of the vote and he’ll get most of that from northwest Arkansas.

  13. Even though Huck liked to spew populist rhetoric he did not back it up on the issues/platform. He talked a good game, for a Republican, but what he actually offered wasnt anything special. Maybe he was in favor of SCHIP, i think he was, but thats about it. But who knows how many Republicans are like him in AR.

  14. Boren, along with Henry are probably the only Dems who could win a Senate race in OK.  Not that Senator Dan Boren has a nice ring to it…

  15. The only use his candidacy would provide is to drain Repub money in defending Oklahoma and getting someone more economically populist into his House seat.  

    So I hope he runs for the Senate, runs a hard race, and loses narrowly.  If he were to get elected, he would be another Zell Miller.

  16. it would be pretty cool to see him nab a GOP Senate seat, and see the looks on the faces of all those Republicans who used to constantly sing his praises.  We could actually have a veto-proof majority in the Senate next year.  Literally 67 seats is possible, if things break our way.

    Boren would be a major headache, but as long as he stays a Democrat I would be fine with it.  This is Oklahoma we’re talking about, the single worst state for Obama in the entire country.  The sheer shock of us taking a GOP seat here would be like them taking one in Massachusetts or something.

  17. Though his seat went for McCain by over 30% (though only 18% for Bush in 04) I could definitely see the Dems keeping it. Its just such a traditionally Democratic area and i believe is still quite Dem on the local level. A conservative, pro-life, pro-gun Dem can win it. Although Brad Henry is pro-choice and he probably won big there in both Gov. elections. A Republican would probably be initially favored but its winnable. And they dont even need someone as conservative as a Bobby Bright or probably Dan Boren himself.

  18. he’d actually vote with us half the time and not be a cancer.  Boren would vote with the Repubs 90% of the time and badmouth us regularly.

  19. I don’t think he’s tying to win a Senate seat. I really think he is as conservative/unreliable as he comes across.

    And Brad Henry was never a member of the House. OK-2 was the only seat to have a Dem Rep in recent history.

  20. Henry’s record in the Senate would be very similar to Ben Nelson’s, perfectly acceptable for an Oklahoma Senator.  Though it seems there is very little chance Henry runs for Senate, even if it’s an open seat.

  21. It’s now something like R+15, but Dems never seem to have trouble winning OK-02.  Heck, Carson was a good deal left of Boren and he never had trouble holding that district.

  22. There’s an open Governor’s race and likely an open Senate seat in 2010.  If he wants to try his luck statewide the best time to get in seems like right now.

  23. Results come out Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday this week.  It’s PPP’s new thing:  slow results.

  24. Kind of weird how AR use to have a moderate Rockefeller as Lt. Gov. Wasnt he even pro-choice? But sadly hes not in the political picture anymore as he passed away a couple years ago (and wasnt even 60 years old)

  25. and pro-state services and amnest for immigrants, he changed that tune. He also supported raising the minimum wage and funding schools, even if he had to raise taxes. He wasn’t a bad or radical governor for a Southern Republican. He was actually a decent governor, even if his plans for education well fairly flawed and didn’t accomplish waht he wanted to through widescale consolidation which clsoed legacy schools and ticked a bunch of rural people off.

  26. Would he be a great campaigner in a tough race, though? Ive heard him speak and he bored me to tears. He does have his record and popularity going for him, though.

  27. Also, isnt Henry a pro-cockfighting politician? As someone whos pro-animal rights (though not a vegeterian and not opposed to anyone hunting) thats kind of disturbing. But its only one issue, i know.

  28. If Henry sees big numbers in his favor in an open seat race, he might run.  If he doesn’t, he won’t.  In which case, Boren is the name to look at in an open seat race.  If they are, we could get a strong candidate for Senator… and likely a better Congressman to boot.  Win-win, even a win if he loses and we hold the House seat.

    Oklahoma is easily the most interesting of the three choices.

  29. But most of the republican state reps and senators seem to be packed in the northwestern CD held by Boozeman.  So repubs end up stuck with running unelectable far-right nutters from that region statewide.

  30. I gurantee you those fighting cocks have a better life than the millions of chickens crammed into cages at chicken plants. They get treated royally, I know from experience, special food, excerise, a big pen in fresh air. They die young, unless they are goo,d but unless you are against consuming chicken meat you cannot say that getting them to fight is inhumane. Its stupid and not particularly entertaining but hardly cruel if you really looked at it rationally. This is an animal after all, that is quite stupid and that is killed by the millions every week.

  31. His approvals have always hovered around 50%.  But then again Inhofe’s have always been even lower and he wins re-election easily.  It would really take an approval rating in the mid to low 40’s for a republican Senator in Oklahoma to be truely vulnerable.

  32. Given that Inhofe won by 18% he probably would have won against anyone not named Brad Henry (and maybe even beat Henry) but i think someone alot more conservative than Andrew Rice would have made him sweat and spend more money. He may have been a darling of progressive groups but he wasnt a great fit for Oklahoma statewide.

  33. I think Inhofe would have probably beaten even Henry last year.  Henry’s endorsement of Obama probably would have hurt him in a Senate race.

  34. That Henry would introduce a pro-cockfighting bill in the Senate.

    Henry’s cockfighting record, IIRC, was that he refused to endorse an anti-cockfighting measure that then-Rep. Steve Largent did endorse, and picked up momentum in rural counties at the end of the campaign to narrowly win his first race.

  35. One of the great myths over the last decade has been Bill Clinton’s progressiveness.  Sorry, but he was at the sorry end of the Blue Dog scale when he was President.  Everything from the gutting of welfare to DOMA he caved to repubs on.  

    The one thing I respect about Dubya is that he didn’t sell out his base.  Clinton sold out his base every chance he had.

  36. which looking back now I should have.  Today it would be difficult for a progressive Democrat to get elected statewide in Arkansas, not because they might lose to a Republican (unlikely, given the GOP’s pitiful bench), but because most of the major current office holders are blue dogs and would be first in line for a promotion.  The state produces so many blue dogs that actual progressives have little space to move up.  Same with West Virginia.

    There was a time when Southern states produced very populist leaders but that time seems to have passed.  Not too long ago, the Northeast produced a lot of virulently anti-tax conservatives, so it hasn’t been an unmatched shift.

  37. DOMA was supported by basically everyone, only 14 senators voted against it.

    Every Democratic senator up for reelection except Paul Wellstone voted for welfare reform in 1996, including John Kerry.

  38. at least now, (not that it stops them), Republicans can’t accurately talk about long term welfare fraud or people who sit around and never work, and he did really clean up food stamps by replacing them with an electronic system. People used to trade the credit sheets for drugs and what not.

  39. I agree that Bill Clinton wasn’t very progressive, but the country in the 1990’s was fit for a Republican president.

    I mean Clinton never actually won a majority of the popular vote. Obama is the first Democrat to do that since Carter, who BARELY won the popular vote.

    If Bill Clinton was governing today, we might see a more progressive President.  

  40. People could definitely make the argument had McCain won the 2000 primary and won the general hed have sold out the GOP base. Though, back then, he didnt see his base being ‘the GOP’ but rather ‘moderates of any party/independents’. But it was in reality whether he wanted it to be or not.

  41. And I hate to say this, i really do…but i see people abusing food stamps cards all the time. People will buy so much candy with that stuff. And junk food in general. And many of those people, on their same transaction, will buy so many things they just dont need. Expensive clothes, expensive toys, you name it. Not on their food stamps card of course (since you obviously cant use it for that) but with another payment. And Im thinking, ‘man, do they really even need food stamps? That money could go to people who do need it’.  

  42. And 60 years ago there were probably only 14 Senators in favor of Civil Rights legislation.  Fifty years from now history will judge Clinton for what he supported.

  43. Given that its a ‘local’ issue and senators often dont like talking about ‘local’ issues (when its too polarizing, anyway) theres not many Democratic senators talking about where they stand on gay marriage today. I know Feingold, Whitehouse, Gillibrand, Wyden all support it. Maybe Boxer, Sanders, Kerry, incoming Senator Franken, etc. I wonder who else will come out for it this year. Its not just a symbolic act of support…they can help lobby for it at the state level.  

  44. I get so sick of hearing this “didn’t win 50%” garbage.  He came close and it’s plainly obvious that Clinton would have broken 50% easily in both 1992 and 1996 without a third party.  Perot siphoned just as many votes from Clinton as Bush or Dole.

  45. Henry vetoed all the anti-abortion bills from the legislature, and most of them were overridden anyway.

  46. Gibbons is DOA.  Here’s the latest on Gibbons “messy” divorce.

    Things were already bad for Nevada Gov. Jim Gibbons. His approval ratings were down, he was tagged as one of the nation’s most vulnerable governors and fellow Republicans were lining up to challenge him in a primary more than a year away.

    Then his divorce filing compared the popular first lady to an “enraged ferret.”

    Such unbecoming tidbits in recently unsealed divorce papers opened yet another wound for Nevada’s badly battered first-term governor. Since being elected in 2006, Gibbons has been accused of sexual assault, sending love notes on a state phone, improperly firing a state employee and now, in court documents filed by his wife, Dawn Gibbons, a history of infidelity.

    He also was investigated by the Justice Department, which cleared him of corruption charges. An ethics commission probed his real estate dealings, though it, too, found no evidence of wrongdoing.

    While some of the allegations have been dropped and others are still pending in court, all have played out before the voting public in quick succession. It’s a cascade of trouble that has left political observers stunned and many voters turned off. Though he won 48 percent of the vote in 2006, the governor’s approval rating has dipped to around 25 percent.

    And yet, he plans to run again.

  47. Just because a few far-left bloggers say so doesn’t make it the consensus opinion of the party base.  Obama has near universal approval among his base.  

    I don’t think a few anonomous posters at Open Left or Daily Kos are very representative of the party base.

  48. I meant Huckabee the Pres. candidate, rather than Huckabee than Governor. Sorry bout that. He definitely wasnt a bad Gov., economically speaking, for a Republican. And i’ll definitely take your word for it that he wasnt bad on illegal immigrants. Im all for securing the border strongly (even if it means putting the military on it) but any politician who thinks we should send all the illegals home is just out of their mind. Its too hard of a task, too economically stupid, and just plain unethical. Give all the illegal immigrants, who dont have a criminal record, amnesty.

  49. While we might still be able to hold it, due to the large Democratic bench, it’s still almost unforgivingly Republican federally.

    On the other hand, I’m looking forward to what we can do with the open seat in OK-05.

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