SSP Daily Digest: 7/6

FL-Sen: Endorsements from U.S. House members aren’t usually a big deal, but this is an interesting one: Charlie Crist just got the endorsement of Los Bros. Diaz-Balart (both Mario and Lincoln), despite the presence of a fellow hawkish Cuban-American in the race (ex-state House speaker Marco Rubio). Not entirely surprising, though, as the Diaz-Balart brothers are generally on the moderate side of the GOP caucus, and have gone for Establishment over Cubano ties in previous endorsements (as in the Senate primary of 2004, when they supported Bill McCollum over Mel Martinez, who still went on to win Miami-Dade County with 80% of the vote en route to narrowly beating McCollum statewide).

Meanwhile, that pleasant golden glow coming from the Crist camp isn’t from his surreal tan, but from the huge pile of money he’s amassed. Crist is expected to announce shortly that he raised $3 million in the last six weeks.

NV-Sen, NV-02: Rep. Dean Heller still didn’t make it explicit, but it sounds like he won’t be running against Harry Reid in 2010 (and he may also be hinting against a run in the gubernatorial primary). He emphatically said that he “likes his district, likes his constituents and likes his committee assignment” (a valuable spot on Ways and Means).

AK-Gov: Now that Sarah Palin has some free time on her hands, Michael Steele is tugging on her sleeve and asking for some love for the NJ-Gov and VA-Gov races. (Although I gotta wonder how she’ll play in those states where Obama cleaned up in 2008, and where the educated voters tend to be… how shall I put this delicately? Meritocratic.) Here’s one other interesting bit of news that actually predates Palin’s Freaky Friday by several days: Democratic state Senator Hollis French filed a letter of intent to run for Governor in 2010 (despite fellow Dem Ethan Berkowitz’s potential presence in the race), although who knows if he’ll stay interested now that the race will be against a semi-incumbent Sean Parnell.

One other thought about Alaska that just about everyone in the tradmed seems to be missing. Sarah Palin did have a job in between being mayor of Wasilla and Alaska Governor: she was chair of Frank Murkowski’s Oil and Gas Commission. How long was she on this Commission? Less than a year… until she quit in January 2004 with a big public huff (leaving the Commission in the lurch with only one member), saying “the experience was taking the ‘oomph’ out of her passion for government service and she decided to quit rather than becoming bitter.” She publicly cited her frustration with being unable to be all straight-talky and mavericky about the corruption and backbiting on the Commission, but the resignation also came at a very convenient time for switching over to lay the groundwork for her successful 2006 gubernatorial run.

PA-Gov: If the Democratic primary for the Governor’s race in Pennsylvania were to be decided by nothing but money, Allegheny Co. Executive Dan Onorato would be winning in a cakewalk. At quarter’s end, he reports more than $4 million in cash on hand, compared with likely rival Auditor Jack Wagner, who has about $325,000. Philly businessman Tom Knox isn’t required to report as he doesn’t hold office, but can self-finance as needed.

CA-10: Finally, we have a vote for the special election in CA-10. Arnold Schwarzenegger set the date for Sep. 1 for the all-party primary, which in this dark-blue district is where all the action will be, with three top-tier Democrats in the field and a couple intriguing minor Dems as well (but only a minor GOP stand-in). However, under California law, if no one candidate breaks 50% in the primary (which is unlikely to happen with such a crowded Dem field) the race won’t officially be over it goes to a runoff where the Dem faces off against said GOPer, which is set for the regularly scheduled Election Day of Nov. 3.

FL-24: Yet another GOPer is poised to jump into the race to take on Rep. Suzanne Kosmas in the R+3 Orlando-area district: state Rep. Sandy Adams. She will join state Rep. Dorothy Hulkill, who had announced her intentions last week but officially filed today. (She also joins Winter Park City Councilor Karen Diebel, who got a lot of touting for a day or two before seemingly getting shoved over.)

Votes: Although we’re only halfway through the year, CQ already has initial party unity scores available for all the members of Congress, as well as similar “presidential support scores.” [UPDATE: Now that I’ve had the time to go over the party unity scores with a fine-toothed comb, I can report that the House Dems are being a much more unified party than the GOP, despite the fact that there are a lot more Democrats overall, and a lot more Democrats coming from districts that lean against them at the presidential level. There are 27 GOPers who have party unity scores below 80% (basically the entire Main Street Partnership: Biggert, Capito Moore, Castle, Dent, L. Diaz-Balart, M. Diaz-Balart, Ehlers, Emerson, Gerlach, T. Johnson, P. King, Kirk, La Tourette, Lance, Lo Biondo, McHugh, C. Miller, T. Murphy, Platts, Reichert, Ros-Lehtinen, C. Smith, Turner, Upton, Wolf, B. Young, and D. Young), while there are only 13 Democrats (the most hardcore of the Blue Dogs: Altmire, Bright, Donnelly, Griffith, Hill, Kirkpatrick, Kratovil, Marshall, Minnick, Mitchell, Nye, Shuler, and G. Taylor). The ratio is similar on the Senate side, with 7 on the GOP side (Collins, Gregg, Lugar, Martinez, Murkowski, Snowe, and Voinovich) and 4 on the Dem side (Bayh, Feingold, and Ben Nelson, plus Specter, although he spent the majority of that period as a GOPer)].

34 thoughts on “SSP Daily Digest: 7/6”

  1. Pearce seemed to do fairly well in his contests here but the way he went down in the US Senate race last year coupled with Teague’s fairly comfortable win makes me think that he’s going to go down in defeat running for his old gig.

  2.    How about we give Diane Benson a chance?  Berkowitz was too much of an insider to beat Young, and the help from the DCCC probably hurt.  Diane Benson is a Tlingit who became Alaska’s first female union concrete mixer.  How awesome is that?!  She can beat a scandal-plagued Young.

  3. Once Knox creates an exploratory committee, it seems like he’ll obviously be subject to reporting requirements; right now, he’s just some private citizen who “intends” to do something or other (as opposed to Wagner and Onorato, who are already on the books). Here’s an interesting question someone with more time on his hands than me might want to look into, though… since Knox ran for Philly mayor a few years ago, does he still have transferable CoH sitting around in that coffer?

  4. IL-15 (Champaign/Urbana, Bloomington/Normal, and a whole lotta farms). I think he was the only Republican to vote against last year’s FISA amendments. I think he’d be a lot more memorable if he had a more interesting name.

  5. If you’re voting that often with Democrats what’s the point in being a Republican anymore?  

  6. After seeing Specter lose his seniority and being challenged in a primary, I don’t see why they would want to switch.

  7. If they can win in landslides as Republicans, and still get love from Democrats (you saw how important they were during the stimulus fight), then there’s no reason for them to become Democrats.

    If Specter could have won re-election as a Republican, he would have tried.

  8.     since he is now easily confused with Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD) or even the former Blue Jays manager also named Tim Johnson. Maybe he should change his name to Mike Smith or Jose Garcia…

  9. this is exactly why I opposed the effort to get Sestak to even consider running against Specter.  

    Its entirely possible that if we had left Specter alone….that both Snowe and Collins would have chosen the safer route of joining the Democrats.  

    Now, there isn’t a chance in hell they’ll do it.  

  10. And I think a primary challenge from the right and/or general election concerns would be bigger incentives to switch than any political similarities with the Democrats.

  11. Collins and especially Snowe are very popular in Maine, which doesn’t seem to have crazy Republicans ready to vote for extremists in primaries. Meanwhile, if Snowe decided to become a Democrat on principle (I don’t think Collins would – she’s more conservative and represents what used to be the center of the Republican Party about 25-30 years ago), she wouldn’t be likely to make statements pointedly demonstrating her disloyalty to her new party, but would merely emphasize her independence as she does now. Also, Snowe would be seen as a principled politician changing her party on principle, not as an untrustworthy opportunist.

  12. I’m sure the CfG will give that an effort, but I don’t see them finding anyone willing to do so.  

    We saw what happened when Tom Allen ran and had plenty of money to spend.  

    If a Congressmen with close to monetary parity can’t beat them, no right winger who will be heavily outspent has a chance.  

  13. when politicians used to their full names, with middle initial, as in Sen. Timothy P. Johnson (D-SD) or Rep. Timothy V. Johnson (R-IL).

    I miss it.

  14. For some reason, my first read of “union concrete” came out as “unicorn”.  FOr a good three seconds, I was quite bewildered.  : )

  15. Udall was from a different district, he was succeeded by Rep. Lujan, and Steve Pearce ran for the Senate against Tom Udall, lost, and was replaced by Harry Teague.

  16. When you break the senate race down by CDs, Udall did better than Pearce in all 3 districts, including in Pearce’s CD-2.

  17. SSP break down Sen/Gov. races by CD. Although I know CA officially reports theirs and can be found on the CD’s Wikipedia pages. Virginia probably officially reports theirs, as well. And itd especially be interesting to see how these ex-congressmen fared in their former districts: Mark Kennedy in 06, Bob Beauprez in 06, Mark Green in 06, Kenny Hulshoff in 08, etc.

  18. The Maine GOP establishment and, for that matter, most rank-and-file GOP members, are of the rare breed: the dying genuine moderate.  This is perhaps the one state I can think where a run to the right in a primary would absolutely cripple somebody amongst their own partisans.  Collins is more vulnerable because she’s more fake about her moderation, but Snowe is like a goddess in Maine.  The right, what little there is of it, would gain NO traction and end up humiliated.  Ideologically, it might be fun and possible to see her switch, but it won’t happen.  She’s really wedded to her Party.  She’s really, genuinely, truly convinced she could bring her party back to a centrist position (perhaps even more so than Chafee was and he didn’t switch because he thought it would betray a legacy).

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