SSP Daily Digest: 8/24

AR-Sen: Blanche Lincoln is getting yet another challenger, except this time it’s a Democrat: Bob Johnson (no, not that Bob Johnson… he’s the Arkansas Senate President, and former Arkansas House Speaker). Surely the netroots will rejoice that conservadem Lincoln, known for her foot-dragging on EFCA, is getting a primary challenge. Um, except there’s the small fact that Johnson would be running against Lincoln from the right. (Johnson held a fundraiser for Republican state Senator Gilbert Baker last fall, who may well be the Republican Senate nominee.)

FL-Sen: One more fossil got unearthed by Charlie Crist as he seeks applications for potential Senate replacements for Mel Martinez: former Representative Lou Frey, a 75-year-old who served in the House from the Orlando area from 1968 to 1978. Crist is still planning to interview current Rep. Bill Young, as well as former Reps. Clay Shaw and Mike Bilirakis. Follow the link to see all 10 current possible replacements.

IL-Sen: With the Democratic Senate field suddenly down to two candidates, Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias and local Urban League president Cheryle Jackson, there’s still some of the inevitable casting-about for someone else going on. An unnamed “top Dem” is reportedly encouraging Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart to make the race. Dart is a former state legislator who made big news recently for suspending foreclosure evictions.

MO-Sen: Michael Steele just referred to Roy Blunt as crap. Well, not in the most literal sense. There was an extended toilet metaphor on a conservative radio talk show and Steele went along with the host’s anti-Blunt anti-insider arguments. Still, the Carnahan ads write themselves.

NY-Sen-B: Kirsten Gillibrand got yet another endorsement from her House colleagues, from freshman Rep. Eric Massa. Siena is also out with a new New York poll. Gillibrand trails the unlikely-to-run ex-Gov. George Pataki in a hypothetical head-to-head, 42-39 while whomping the only slightly-less-likely-to-run Rep. Peter King, 46-24. (They didn’t poll the Dem primary, where Jonathan Tasini is Gillibrand’s last challenger standing.)

CA-Gov: Meg Whitman’s campaign strategy seems to be to duck debates and let her money do her talking for her instead. Here’s another eyebrow-raising development, that’s potentially a good line of attack for Dems (or her primary challengers): Whitman didn’t register to vote in California til 2002 (or as a Republican until 2007), and has missed voting in more than half the elections since then, including the 2003 recall.

MA-Gov: Rasmussen looks at the Massachusetts Governor’s race, and finds I-turned-R Christy Mihos leading incumbent Dem Deval Patrick 40-35, up from a 41-40 lead in June. Patrick leads Republican Charlie Baker 40-39. The utility of this poll is close to zero, though, seeing as how it leaves out likely D-turned-I candidate Tim Cahill, whom polls have found either absorbing enough anti-Patrick votes to let Patrick squeak through, or else winning outright.

NY-Gov: There’s a certain role about holes, shovels, and not digging that David Paterson seems to be forgetting. He lashed out at critics saying he should stand down for re-election, accusing them of racial bias, and even launched into the media for their coverage (which I don’t think has ever ended well for a politician). The aforementioned Siena poll finds Paterson losing the Dem primary to Andrew Cuomo 65-23, and the general to Rudy Giuliani 56-33 (although he does beat Rick Lazio, 38-37). Cuomo beats Giuliani 53-40, and beats Lazio by a hilarious 66-16 (OK, that’s not as hilarious as the GOP primary, where Giuliani beats Lazio 73-6, with 8 for Erie Co. Exec Chris Collins).

SC-Gov: Cue up the “frequent flier” jokes. Turns out Mark Sanford, already known for his little jaunt to Argentina and his overeager use of state planes, has also failed to disclose at least 35 flights on private planes that should have been listed on ethics forms or campaign disclosures as ‘things of value.’

IN-09: Could we really see Hill/Sodrel 5.0? American politics’ most repetitive rivalry may well continue on into 2010, as GOP ex-Rep. Mike Sodrel says he’ll weigh another bid against Rep. Baron Hill in the 9th as soon as he’s done with the book that he’s coloring writing.

MI-13, 14: Detroiters are feeling surly about their Representatives, it seems. A poll by Deno Noor Polling finds both Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick and John Conyers with negative re-elect numbers: 27/58 for Kilpatrick and 40/44 for Conyers. Not a surprise for Kilpatrick, whose son got bounced out as Detroit’s mayor and who barely survived a primary herself last year, but it’s a new development for Conyers, the second-longest-serving House member; assumedly, this has a lot to do with the conviction of his wife, ex-city councilor Monica Conyers, on bribery charges.

OR-04: I’d be sad too if I was watching my once-promising House bid crash and burn more than a year out from the election. Republican Springfield mayor Sid Leiken teared up repeatedly during a news conference where he finally announced that he didn’t have documentation for the $2,000 in cash that somehow found its way from his campaign to his mother. He’ll repay the $2,000 out of pocket, he says, but the Sec. of State investigation continues.

PA-07: Here’s a good photo op for Dem state Rep. Bryan Lentz, running to succeed Rep. Joe Sestak. He’s appearing at the White House to discuss energy policy with Obama administration officials and other energy policy leaders.

VA-05: Conventional wisdom seems to be coalescing around state Sen. Robert Hurt as GOP nominee; one GOP operative says he’s “60% leaning toward the race.” His state Senate district overlaps about one-quarter of the 5th. State Del. Rob Bell, who was frequently mentioned earlier, seems hard-pressed to win his off-year re-election this year and turn around and take on Rep. Tom Perriello. Two other state Senators sound interested, Frank Ruff and Steve Newman, but sound likely to defer to Hurt if he gets in.

Seattle Mayor: Primary elections in Seattle were last week, and in typical Washington fashion, ballots from the all-mail-in election are still being counted. In a serious surprise, two-term mayor Greg Nickels won’t be coming back, as he finished third in the top-two nonpartisan primary at 25%. No worries, as he’ll be replaced by someone just as, if not more so, liberal, although someone who’s never held elective office before: the top 2 are local Sierra Club president Mike McGinn (at 28%) and T-Mobile VP and big-time Obama bundler Joe Mallahan (at 27%).

Meanwhile, the King Co. Executive race is down to two. It’s the first time it’s been an officially nonpartisan position (after a GOP-led initiative to change it to nonpartisan passed, as this is the only way a Republican will ever get elected), but everyone still knows that former news anchor Susan Hutchison (who got 37%) is the Republican and county councilor Dow Constantine (who got 22%) is the Democrat. That looks daunting at first, but there were no other major Republicans and three other top-tier Dems in the race (county councilor Larry Phillips, state Sen. Fred Jarrett, and state Rep. Ross Hunter). The four Dems put together got 56%, so, no, King County isn’t going to elect a Republican in November.

Polltopia: Where should PPP poll next: New Jersey or Virginia? You decide. (Tom Jensen says they’d planned to do New Jersey but skipped it to do Arkansas this week, where he hints at some blood-curdling numbers.)

46 thoughts on “SSP Daily Digest: 8/24”

  1. That poll is worthless.  While I don’t doubt that Kilpatrick and, to a lesser extent, Conyers could be vulnerable, the poll wasn’t balanced and seemed to push one answer over the other.

    “If the primary election for Congress were held today, would you vote to re-elect Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, or do you think it is time to give someone else a chance?”

    They clearly had a result in mind before they asked the questions.

  2. She can duck debates for a while, but not forever. She should use some of the pocket change of her billions to hire a debate coach and get the skills.

    I’m hoping Whitman wins the Repub primary. Because it’s probably more likely as a rookie candidate that she’ll make mistakes in the general campaign than the slightly more experienced Poizner (though he never really had much of a challenge getting elected Insurance Commissioner).

  3. Who seems to be seriously considering running against Gillibrand on the Republican side? Any news on that lately?

    What are Cahill’s politics like? Liberal? Moderate?

    Finally, don’t make any assumptions about Perriello. His election in 2008 was a big upset. He is clearly an excellent campaigner. It is in my opinion unwise to count him out, though I would be decidedly unsurprised if he lost.

  4. yea me too. I was hoping to find out whether this race has become as close as recent polls have suggested. But it has been awhile since the last poll came out of Virginia.  

  5. I’d be pretty stunned if Lincoln voted yea on health care.  Not that voting no will save her.  Arkansas is going republican, and Lincoln’s seat will go soon if not in ’10 (unless she can procure some of Beebe’s magical popularity potion).  Might as well walk off early than limp off late as a wise man once said.

  6. has a case of Harold Stassen syndrome.  There’s absolutely nothing wrong with him as a candidate, except that he’s simply run and lost too many times.  Before 2008, he ran for that seat three times and never got less than 45%.  His mistake was running last cycle, when he got absolutely pasted by Hill.  Had he sat out a cycle, Sodrel would be a fearsome opponent in 2010.  As it is, he’s simply past his sell-by date.

  7. As a former newscaster, she has the name recognition. She pushed for “non-partisan” voting for this race to hide her wingnut credentials.

  8. But if he follows through on his now-stated support for a public option, he will presumably greatly improve his numbers among Democrats and independents.

  9. Im curious. How in fact will Lincoln be doomed if she doesnt even have a credible opponent out there. The only Republicans credible enough to defeat her are Rep. Boozman who prolly wouldnt wanna give up his safe house seat and Fmr. Gov. Huckabee who is too busy being on Fox. And if he wannted to be a Senator be would have ran in 08 against Pryor or Lincoln in 04. Lincoln is safe.      

  10. I’d be mildly surprised if she was a yea vote on a public option, but I’d be absolutely shocked if she voted to filibuster (although, that’s probably moot as the public option will likely go through budget reconciliation).

    Arkansas is just such a bizarre state politically. A vast majority of the state house and senate are Democrats, 75% of the US Reps are Democrats, I think every statewide elected official is a Democrat.

    The state obviously isn’t a lost cause for Democrats by any means. I know Obama lost big there, but the campaign never made an effort in that state. Maybe you can also chalk some of it up to race.

  11. And it still would have beat Cruz “I would like to thanks all my supporters in the casino industry” Bustamante.

  12. But I’m not at all sure she’s safe. More often than not elections are about the incumbent than they are evaluations of the respective strengths of candidates A & B. I definitely agree that she’s in a stronger position against the current field than she would be against the men you name. But it’s not impossible to see generic Republican X (whoever that’d be) beating her if it’s a bad year to be a Democrat in Arkansas.

  13. a non-credible opponent, given the right circumstances, can win. Kay Hagan was just a little-known state Senator a year ago.

  14. Was an awesome candidate from the start though, and Liddy Dole had a lot of baggage that most people outside of NC didn’t see until fairly late in the campaign. And Kay Hagan was already well-connected in Democratic circles in NC and recognized as a smart legislator who could win tough races. So I would argue that she was credible nearly from the beginning, just not by national observers.

  15. Keep that in mind when considering how Lincoln will vote.

    And a public option would be highly beneficial to the poor state of Arkansas.

  16. every other statewide and federal officeholder will be safe. The Republicans have no candidates for any of the statewide offices except for one person running for Lt. Governor. There’s one guy running against Marion Berry but he’s only raised $26k, and someone running against Vic Snyder whose campaign website is hosted on blogger and who hasn’t raised anything. Mike Ross is still unopposed.

  17. Barring the usual scandal, etc. provisos. (or something else I really am clueless about). Arkansas is not Idaho.

  18. but Lincoln’s biggest problem is the large concentration of highly energized birthers and teabaggers in her state that will vote in very large numbers.

  19. “birthers and teabaggers” can’t go in the same sentence as “very large numbers”.  You’ve taken a position about the South, but these wingnuts have always existed, there have never been lots of them, and they have never voted for us.  

    The net impact in votes from this small group should be about absolute zero.

  20. Sodrel’s biggest problem as a candidate is the two years he actually spent in Congress.  He cast free trade votes and votes against veterans benefits that Hill just clobbered him with.  Even worse was after he lost in 2006, he closed his district offices early, and refused to cooperate with Hill and his transition team (even though Hill had worked closely with him two years earlier).  Especially in a small town district, Grandma not having help with her social security check doesn’t play well.

    That said, I can’t believe he wants another shot at this.  He really put much less effort (and a lot less of his own money) into 2008 than he did with the 96 other runs he’s made for Congress.  But in a district that has more than its share of teabaggers and birthers and other assorted nutjobs and asshats, he probably figures the climate’s right to inflict himself on Indiana again.

  21. Who then ran for President like 10 times, and probably a dozen other offices. At one time he was a serious politician, but became sort of a joke.

  22. Berry’s opponent may not have a “pretty” website or much money, but neither could buy the fact that he is on the radio every day in rural Arkansas.  

    Lincoln may be saved by the fact a Republican-lit independent campaign may be strong this cycle???

  23. Look at the Research 2000 poll sponsored by dKos.  Only 47% of those in the South believe that Obama was born in the US. (This has been verified by the PPP polls as well).  It is more than 85% in every other region.  Outside the South, they are a fringe group.

    The other thing is that they are energized beyond belief.  Turnout among this group will be through the roof.  In a Presidential election, they will be neutralized by the turnout of sane people.  Not as much in a lower-turnout midterm election.

  24. Except that Sodrel still got 45% in 2006, in the most Democratic year in recent memory, while his much more entrenched neighbor John Hostettler was getting pasted with 39%.  Sodrel performed as well as the longtime incumbent Chris Chocola, even though Sodrel’s opponent was much stronger on paper than Chocola’s.

    Something has to be responsible for those numbers.  I’m betting that it’s Sodrel’s money and political skills — the only other option that I can see is Hill’s weakness as a candidate.

  25.        I’m interested in seeing if any of the negative stories about Christie have taken a toll.

  26. Bob was a terrible candidate. Norton is my first choice, my second is Tom Wiens, and 3rd Ryan Frazier.  

  27. But I still think that this above point is valid:  Blanche would never get the birther and teabagger vote anyway.

  28. I want the nuttiest fruit loop wingnuts in their box to be yelling front and center everywhere.

    You are really looking at this backwards.  Suppose you were a sane, moderate, decent person, and you listened for 15 months to frothing dingbats literally yelling.  

    It… will… get… old…

    Yelling might get someone’s attention, but more than a year of yelling will lead to a backlash.  Time requires rationality, not white noise.

  29. the birthers aren’t so nutty.  PPP’s most recent poll has just 45% of those in Arkansas believe that Obama was born in the US, and 31% state clearly that he was not.

    Outside the South, the birthers/teabaggers are a massive albatross.  In the South, they are an asset.

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