SSP Daily Digest: 8/25

CT-Sen: CQ looks at how Rob Simmons has been consolidating all of the establishment support in the GOP primary, despite it being a crowded field: he just got the endorsement of state House #2 GOPer (and former state party chair) Bill Hamzy. He’s also endorsed by state House minority leader Larry Cafero and 20 members of the state party’s central committee. Meanwhile, looking all the way ahead to 2012, Alec Baldwin backed down from earlier provocative statements, saying that he doesn’t actually intend to run against Joe Lieberman.

FL-Sen: Another indicator of a bumpy ride for Charlie Crist in the upcoming primary: he lost a straw poll vote among the Bay County GOP to Marco Rubio by the lopsided margin of 23 to 2. Bear in mind, of course, this is the hardcore party activist faithful in one of the state’s most conservative counties in the Panhandle.

UT-Sen: The Club for Growth has leaped into the circular firing squad in Utah, with a letter-writing campaign targeted at the 3,000+ delegates going to the state GOP’s nominating convention next year. AG Mark Shurtleff and potentially Rep. Jason Chaffetz consider taking out long-time Sen. Bob Bennett, who’s only very conservative and not super-duper-extra conserative.

CA-Gov: Two separate polls (from little-known local pollsters) of the Democratic gubernatorial primary show San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom way behind ex-Gov. Jerry Brown. Moore Methods finds Brown leading Newson 49-20 statewide among Dems, while David Binder polled only Dems in San Francisco, where Newsom’s support should be its strongest, but finds Brown leading 51-34 even there, with Newsom winning only among the 30-and-under set.

NJ-Gov: There’s a weird feeling in the air that things may actually be starting to turn around in New Jersey… the main question remains whether Jon Corzine got himself into too deep a hole to dig all the way out in time. A lot of that has to do with the ethical malfeasance spotlight swinging back toward Chris Christie, as possible Hatch Act violations and unreported loans tarnish him, stories that dominated a disastrous Christie conference call with reporters yesterday despite Christie’s intent of using the call to tar Corzine with the Wall Street brush.

But most significantly, there was the poll that came out yesterday from Republican internal pollster Neighborhood Strategies that showed Christie up only 39%-36% over Corzine among “definite” voters, with Chris Daggett at 6% (and 37-35-6 among likely voters). Even more ominously for Christie, the poll found that the undecided electorate “skews heavily to the left.” One big caveat, though: this isn’t Christie’s pollster, but rather a firm run by Rick Shaftan that worked for Christie’s ultra-conservative primary rival Steve Lonegan (it also has a big fat margin of error). Does the Lonegan camp still have an axe to grind? But if they do, how would releasing a juiced poll long after the primary help them out?

NY-Gov: Tea leaf readers think that Rudy Giuliani is moving closer to running for Governor in 2010. Rudy says he’ll decide within the next 30 to 60 days, but some see his involvement in the state GOP party chair imbroglio as evidence of his desire to have the party machinery working smoothly behind him if he runs. Rudy apparently successfully talked state party chair Joseph Mondello into resigning yesterday, but he still has one more hurdle, steering key ally Henry Wojtaszek into the chairman position instead of the presmued frontrunner for the position, Ed Cox (who was a McCain backer in 2008). (Of course, Giuliani’s most daunting problem would be one he has no control over — getting the Democrats to not force David Paterson out to make way for Andrew Cuomo, who all polls show flattening Giuliani.)

SC-Gov: The South Carolina GOP is back to talking about impeachment again at their legislative retreat next weekend, as Mark Sanford is at a bit of a low point again, thanks to disclosures about his abuses of state and private planes. Meanwhile, AG Henry McMaster made it official that he’s getting into the gubernatorial race for the GOP, McMaster launched his bid with a swipe at Sanford, saying there’s been too much dishonesty and scandal in the state.

AL-05: Freshman Rep. Parker Griffith has announced he won’t be voting for Nancy Pelosi for Speaker again, saying she’s too divisive. Griffith is girding for a difficult first re-election in this R+12 district.

CA-18: Republicans nailed down a challenger against Dennis Cardoza: Turlock Irrigation Board member Mike Berryhill. This Hispanic-majority district hasn’t seen a competitive race in a long time, but at D+4 isn’t exactly a slam dunk for Dems.

GA-04: DeKalb County Commissioner Lee May is now considering a primary challenge to Rep. Hank Johnson, in this district that has seen its share of successful primary challenges recently (although both were against Cynthia McKinney). Based on his closeness with DeKalb County CEO Vernon Jones, it seems like he’d be coming at the very liberal Johnson from the right.

NE-02: Speaking of primary challenges from the right, here’s one in an unusual place: Nebraska’s 2nd, where Lee Terry is a reliably conservative vote (although he did vote in favor of TARP, and also famously tried to sell himself to Obama-Terry voters last year). Still, he’s facing a possible serious challenge from health care technology company president Matt Sakalosky, who seems to have the money to self-fund. Sakalosky just confirmed he’s in the race and has his first campaign event set for Saturday.

OH-16: Calling all Arena Football fans! (All 2 of you!) Co-owner of the Columbus Destroyers (and former mayor of Akron suburb Wadsworth) Jim Renacci has filed to take on freshman Dem John Boccieri in the Canton-based R+4 district.

TN-05: Daily Kos is bird-dogging Blue Dog Jim Cooper, and finds he’s got some mediocre numbers among the folks back home, with 47-41 favorables and a re-elect of 36% (with 41% consider someone else and 23% definitely replace). R2K also finds that he’d lose support among both Dems and independents if he opposed public option.

TN-09: Mercurial Memphis mayor Willie Herenton says that he won’t, after all, run in the special election to succeed himself, caused by his resignation. Instead, he’ll focus on his primary challenge to Steve Cohen in the 9th, which was the point of his original resignation.

KY-St. Sen.: There’s a big special election tonight in northeastern Kentucky, where a vacant state Senate seat will be filled. The two candidates are Democrat Robin Webb and Republican Jack Ditty, who are trying to replace GOPer Charlie Borders, who was appointed by Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear to the Public Service Commission. Republicans currently control the Senate 20-16-1 (and this 1 vacancy).

83 thoughts on “SSP Daily Digest: 8/25”

  1. Thanks for proving you have less of a backbone than Bobby Bright who has that much tougher district next door or Bud Cramer who held that seat safely for years and years and years.

  2. of his committee assignments. There is only one thing you have to do as a member of a political party in the House: vote for its candidate for Speaker.

  3. I would very much like to see a more reputable poll. One thing I will say is that I think Christie needed a clear advantage to win this thing, given how much trouble Republicans tend to have in NJ.

  4. Shaftan HATES Christie.

    This is a ploy to get Christie to move to the right. Shaftan even says so in the write-up.

  5. On Sunday, it was reported that there was a poll showing Alexi Giannoulias ahead of Mark Kirk outside of the margin of error. When is the poll going to be released????

  6. courtesy of Herenton

    I can’t think of a better description of Steve Cohen,” he said. “He was an a**hole three weeks ago. And he’s an a**hole now. To know Steve Cohen is to know he doesn’t think very much about African-American people. He has a notion of superiority and he has temper tantrums.

    I’m really disappointed in Cohen for refusing to take a strong stance on the public option, but it’s hard not to sympathize with him for having to deal with all this crap each cycle.

  7. Like hell should they be helping re-elect someone who wont even vote for our majority leader.

    And has the dumb ass Griffith ever checked DK to see what approval ratings Boehner gets?  If he did, he’d notice that public approval for Pelosi is actually a lot better than most would assume.  I wonder who he plans to vote for then.

  8. Democrat Robin Webb defeated Republican Jack Ditty and Independent Guy Gibbons by a 8,684 – 8,402 – 953 margin.

  9. Congressman Charlie Melancon will announce tomorrow that he’s challenging David Vitter for his Senate seat.

    A friend of mine close to Melancon’s people sent a text to me less than an hour ago, informing me of this development.

    He also hinted at a good Q3 fundraising report that may be in upwards of one million dollars for the congressman. I’ll have more info in about 30 minutes.

    Good news though.  

  10. I first heard it here on SSP in another thread. Wow. I just didnt think itd happen so soon. This is very, very sad. It shouldnt matter if you agree or disagree with his politics he deeply cared for this nation and its people and tried so hard to help it.  

  11. in an intense battle over who can claim the title of biggest douche in the democratic caucus.  Dan Boren is also making a run at it.

    I’d still rather have Griffith and Boren saying obnoxious things but still voting with us like half the time when compared to Bright voting against us on every single major issue while abiding by the old saying “it’s better to keep your mouth shut and have people think you’re stupid than open your mouth and prove it”

  12. James Trafficant? He was the guy who voted for Dennis Hastert as Speaker, and he was a Democrat!

  13. It’s one thing that he won’t vote to reelect her, that I can disagree with but understand. But he was out of line when asked about how she would respond to his comments, saying: “If she doesn’t like it, I’ve got a gift certificate to the mental health center.”

    That is really rude and I think it is unnecessary for a Democrat to say something like that, no matter what district they represent. Does anyone think that Griffith is at risk of switching parties and becoming a Republican in the near future though?

  14. I would rather have a Republican in those seats.  At least then the anti-choice, anti-gay, anti-health care, anti-labor, anti-union, anti-senior, warmongering votes and soundbytes don’t come complete with a “Democrats in disarray” narrative.

    The Republicans can fucking have AL-02, AL-05, FL-02, GA-08, ID-01, and OK-02.

  15. If he was a stronger advocate for the public option then maybe it wouldnt be legit to say he doesnt think very much about his AA constituents.

    (I have heard nothing concerning him and the public option so Im taking your word on it.  And this comment isnt meant to say I dont support Cohen or think negatively about him in anyway, he’s a damn good Congressman.)

  16. …a few days ago how god-awful the Tennessee delegation was before Cohen joined it.  I mean, you had a range going from the likes of Frist and Blackburn to a bunch of Blue Dogs, including two wastes of blue seats in Jim Cooper and Harold Ford.

  17. And wouldn’t be surprised if Idaho, along with Montana and Wyoming, become Dem in within the next decade (they get screwed by Publican policies about the environment more than most, and now that Dems realized that gun regulation on a federal level is an electoral loser, there will be more Sweitzers in the years to come).

  18. I would assume he plans to vote for another Democrat, say, maybe, Chet Edwards.  Still fuck him.

  19. but Idaho and Wyoming are blood red and people there have conservative branded in their DNA. Unless a huge huge huge surge of people move to Idaho and Wyoming from the east and west coasts (which is extremely unlikely) Idaho and Wyoming will always be republican.  

  20. Plus there is still a large enough Evangelical population in Wyoming to ensure that no Democrat will ever win that state.

    Trust me, those two states (plus Utah) are more Republican than the Deep South is.

  21. Gene Taylor didn’t vote for Pelosi at least once. I don’t see what stripping him of committee assignments would do aside from pushing him toward switching parties, and while it’s depressing to contemplate it’s possible someone who votes with the party 25% of the time is better than someone who votes with the party 0% of the time. I mean it’d be one thing if Pelosi needed every vote. But she doesn’t.

  22. closet that will come out as the campaign progresses. Someone should look into Kim Guadagno as well, she seems like could be hiding some damaging secrets. These people act like their clean but the truth is that they think the rules should apply to everyone else except them.

  23. would vote for Jack Murtha when the Dems were in the minority, but he shaped up and voted for Pelosi in 2007.

  24. I’m so over the “voting with us x% of the time is better than 0%” argument. Griffith hasn’t voted with the Democrats on ANY major bill that has passed the House this year. That’s no better than a Republican — hell, some Republicans actually voted for some of these bills. And the conduct of the Blue Dogs in the health care debate has been disgraceful.

  25. Hopefully Griffith will do something similar. When it comes to stripping committee assignments and the like, well, I’m just wary of potentially pushing a Democrat out of the caucus without a “better Democrat” lined up to run for the seat.

  26. Hopefully Griffith will do something similar. When it comes to stripping committee assignments and the like, well, I’m just wary of potentially pushing a Democrat out of the caucus without a “better Democrat” lined up to run for the seat.

  27. But quite a few Congresscritters of both parties (5-15 or so, depending on the year) don’t vote for Speaker).  Not sure why.

  28. He just got out of federal prison last week after serving seven years on corruption charges, so he clearly had some problems…

  29. As in, on bills where a majority of Democrats oppose a majority of Republicans, he votes with the Democrats 78% of the time.  Take that for what it’s worth.  

  30. All things considered, we’re actually not doing too bad on special elections so far.

    If there really is a 1994-type GOP wave building, I’m not seeing it yet.

  31. Beshear used the strategy of appointing the incumbent to the state’s Public Service Commission, which allowed for a Dem pickup. The Senate is now 21-17 Republican (including an Independent that caucuses with the Republicans).

  32. 2 or 3 years ago, when he appointed a Repub NY state senator to a high position state job, thus creating an open seat and special election, which happily a Democrat won.

    Then a couple years Dems gained control of the NY state senate (sort of).

    Will the KY senate be next to flip control?

  33. basically the only elected politician who came out of Hurricane Katrina looking better.  He wins big in some crucial swing areas, and I think he has what it takes to beat Vitter, who was only elected with 51% of the vote in 2004 (two Democrats split the remainder).  I don’t see how Vitter is any more popular nowadays than he was in 2004.  Louisiana is deeply conservative on social issues, there’s no way Vitter’s use of prostitutes doesn’t influence the election in a big way.

  34. What does this mean? No way Melancon can defeat Vitter?

    I’m not arguing this point anymore.

    We’re not Idaho or Oklahoma here. This state may have shifted rightward recently, but not as far right as Vitter and so many others think it has. If Vitter runs a campaign where he panders to the right-wing base, I think he’ll lose.

    I submit to you that independents will decide this race. While they may be much more conservative than liberal here, I happen to believe that Melancon is a better choice for them, and the state as a whole than is Vitter.

  35. Minnick, Bright, Childers, Mitchell, Taylor, Nye, Kratovil, Kirkpatrick, Hill, & Murphy all rate worse than Griffith by that particular measure.

  36. If he has any statewide ambitions beyond where he is now they’d probably be gone.  He’d be casting votes in Congress well to the left of the state.  Besides, he may not get through the primary.  He seems happy waiting for Jindal to leave or be termed out.

  37. 1996 Landrieu vs. Jenkins Senate

    2002 Blanco vs. Jindal Governor

    Also Vitter is first republican senator in Louisiana in a while. I wouldn’t count Melancon out just yet, he may go on to unseat Vitter.

  38. she is with in the margin of error according to the PPP twitter page. Im confident Lincoln will pull this out, if she was going to be defeated it would have happened in 2004.

  39. I don’t see any signs yet that the anti-Dem headwind is going to be any worse than 2004, so if Lincoln could easily win that year, I think she can dispatch any of the third-tier placeholders the GOP has so far.  Maybe if the Republicans actually got a serious candidate in the race, I would be worried…but the problem is, the Arkansas GOP really has no one besides Huckabee.  Their sole congressman comes from the really Republican part of the state and is not electable outside there.

  40. This is a topic Nate Silver has discussed. The margin of error means that there is a greater than 5% chance the figures are wrong by whatever percentage is given (such as 3%). It doesn’t mean there isn’t a high probability that one of them isn’t actually ahead. Of course, there could be sampling errors, etc.

  41. Landrieu’s six-point, 100,000 plus vote victory last year where she carried all but a few parishes was rather impressive.

    One wonders what the final spread may have been had her pre-Katrina base been intact.

    -100 percent Melancon will announce tomorrow. That’s all I’ve got. Hope this tease brightened everyone’s night. I’m outta here.  

  42. She got the benefit of the massive black turnout, while being able to distance herself from Obama, who got an enormous 14% of the white vote (for comparison, Kerry got 27%).

  43. is that Landrieu got over 200,000 more votes than Obama and won by 6 points in a year when McCain heavily carried Louisiana by 19 points. Whats even better is that Melancon’s race will be at the top of the ballot with no republican coattails to give Vitter the edge he had to avoid a runoff in 2004.

  44. Democrats have held on to their seats in the last 15 House special elections; Republicans are 8 out of 13 (that may go back slightly further).  On average, parties hold on to seats (at least US House seats) 85% of the time so we are doing a little better than average of late.

  45. I think it will be worse in the South.  The pure hatred for Obama there is several magnitudes stronger than it was for Kerry, the Clintons, Ted Kennedy, or any other Democrat.  I really haven’t seen anything like it.  

    PPP confirms something else, just 45% of Arkansas believes that Obama was born in the US.  This matches Kos’ Research 2000 poll that just 47% of the South think Obama was born in the US, while 85+% outside the South do.

    I think Lincoln is really vulnerable.  In fact, I’d bet that this is the most likely seat we lose (even more than Dodd, whom I actually think will come back to win.)

    Beebe should be safe.  Vic Snyder at least has a sane base in Little Rock.  Barry and Ross have a good ole boy conservative image and the Republican bench there is very weak (not even third stringers).  Lincoln has none of these advantages, and the Repub opposition is weak, but credible (unless a clown like Hendren is nominated.)


  46. I see the dem picking up MO, OH, NH, and NC in the senate. I think that Dodd will probably hang on and the only one who might loose is Reid, which really wouldn’t be the end of the world. In terms of the house, I think that we’ll probably loose around 6-10 seats but flip another 6-10 seats so the Dem is will probably come out even. This is the situation I think will occur if the public option passes which is looking more likely lately.

  47. I’m willing to bet some money that Democrats will increase their number of House seats. In the Senate we can pick up NH, OH, MO, hopefully KY, and maybe even IA (after Grassley’s recent behavior). NC will be tougher than we give it credit for. I think the Senate Dem most likely to lose is Bennet.

    Health care reform will be popular eventually. I just hope it’s popular by November 2010, so that Congressmen who were against it will lose reelection.

  48. of the white vote.

    I think we need to get used to the fact that Louisiana is now just another deep south state, with all that carries.

  49. and pressed all of the incumbency buttons that are supposed to make Louisiana members of Congress impossible to beat. Even so, she had a close call.  

  50. in Maine. Many people though in after the ’06 midterms that Susan Collins was going down. The hatred for Bush in New England was similar to the hatred for Obama in the south. Many polls showed Collins to vulnerable in ’07 and yet Collins won with 61%.

    Voters in Arkansas dont associate people like Lincoln, Pryor, or Beebe with the national democratic brand like people in Maine dont associate Collins or Snowe with the national GOP. Just remember, Blanche Lincoln survived a strong challenge to her house seat in 1994 and came out with a six point win. This senator is entranched in Arkansas and could win in her state until she dies. The polls will start to reflect that in Feb ’10.  

  51. Lincoln is VERY vulnerable IMO. The foam at the mouth righties will vote against her come hell or high water.  The D base needs to be energized and it quite possibly won’t be.  If Beebee is left unchallenged, that is REALLY bad news for Lincoln.  Beebee will be needed to cank up the turnout.  

  52. Fiscally and Socially. There’s no way Melancon’s support of Obama and the stimulus helps him.  

  53. in the sense that she was only like 10 points ahead of allen  who was a fairly strong candidate.  However, that is not even remotely close to being in a dead head at 40% against absolute nobodies.

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