SSP Daily Digest: 8/31

CO-Sen: That was fast… two days after saying he was probably going to drop out of the Colorado Senate race, now Weld County DA Ken Buck is likely to stay in the race. Apparently there has been enough conservative discontent over the seeming annointment by the NRSC and state party of former Lt. Gov. Jane Norton as the nominee that Buck may feel he can ride that backlash to primary victory. (Norton may well be conservative herself, but she’s such a blank slate that there’s no way to tell, and at any rate, conservative activists aren’t taking kindly to DC meddling this year, as we’ve seen in the Missouri and New Hampshire races.)

FL-Sen: Too cute by half? Charlie Crist’s appointment of his ex-Chief of Staff, George LeMieux, to the Senate is getting panned by many of the major newspaper editorial boards in the state. (J)

IA-Sen: Big Bruce Braley boffo boomlet busts! The sophomore Representative confirmed that, despite a sudden flurry of speculation, he’ll stay where he is, and not run against Chuck Grassley for the Senate. Former state legislators Bob Krause and Tom Fiegen are already in the race.

IL-Sen: Here’s another Senate race where the GOP rabble is getting restive about one candidate getting the establishment stamp of approval. There are eight other candidates besides Mark Kirk, and religious right ultra-conservatives are trying to coalesce behind one, with Hinsdale real estate developer Patrick Hughes seeming to get the most mention. The most notable name in the anti-Kirk camp? Phyllis Schlafly of the Eagle Forum, who’s 85 and still going strong. The article does mention that there have been several other Senate primaries in Illinois where a conservative upstart beat the establishment moderate, most notably Al Salvi’s upset of Bob Kustra in the open seat race of 1996.

KY-Sen: You better believe it’s on. Rand Paul’s backers are gearing up for another Moneybomb!, this time cleverly scheduled for the same day (Sep. 23) as Trey Grayson’s big DC fundraiser where he’ll be feted by 23 Republican Senators.

LA-Sen: David Vitter seems like he has an endless supply of horse’s heads to put in the beds of potential GOP primary opponents. This time, former Lt. General and Katrina recovery hero Russel Honore backed down within a few days of his rumored interest appearing, much the same as with Suzanne Terrell and John Cooksey.

MA-Sen: There was a brief flurry of speculation that Vicki Kennedy, Ted Kennedy’s widow, would be the placeholder short-term appointee to his seat (assuming Massachusetts Dems followed through on changing state law regarding appointment), pushed along by Sens. Dodd and Hatch. However, it now appears she’s not interested in the interim appointment (or running in the special). Meanwhile, the many contenders among the Massachusetts House delegation are watching what ex-Rep. Joe Kennedy II does; Ed Markey and Michael Capuano, for instance, both sound eager to run in the special election but will defer to a member of the Kennedy family.

NV-Sen: There’s the old expression about not picking fights with people who buy ink by the barrel, but Harry Reid and the Las Vegas Review-Journal are getting into a little pissing match. Reid told the LVRJ that “I hope you go out of business.” The LVRJ’s publisher shot back, calling him a “bully” and decrying his “creepy tactic.” (I expect a Reid press release saying something about rubber and glue is forthcoming.)

AL-Gov: The specific details seem few and far between, but Ben Smith leaks some tidbits about an AL-Gov poll commissioned by the Alabama Education Association (the state’s teacher’s union, naturally a pro-Democratic organization). It’s good news for Rep. Artur Davis, who leads all GOPers in the race, ranging from ex-judge Roy Moore by 6 to Treasurer Kay Ivey by 12. Davis also leads Ag Commissioner Ron Sparks by 30 in the Dem primary, and has a 3-to-1 favorable ratio.

NJ-Gov: The Jon Corzine camp is out with a hard-hitting new TV spot, nailing Chris Christie over his undisclosed loan to carpool buddy Michele Brown. Also, unsurprisingly but critical to his survival, Corzine got the SEIU‘s endorsement last Friday.

PA-Gov: Scranton mayor Chris Doherty has been casting a wide net as he looks for a step up, considering the Lt. Gov. spot and a PA-11 primary challenge against Paul Kanjorski, but now he may be considering the big enchilada: a run for Governor. With the two Dem frontrunners both anti-abortion Pittsburgh-area Dems (Allegheny Co. Exec Dan Onorato and state Auditor Jack Wagner), there’s may be an opening for someone pro-choice from the East (which is something ex-Rep. Joe Hoeffel is also considering).

VA-Gov: Republican AG Bob McDonnell’s attempts to position himself as a moderate in the Virginia Governor’s race hit a big snag this weekend, as the Washington Post took a look at the master’s thesis he wrote while a 34-year old graduate student at Pat Robertson’s Regent University. McDonnell railed against feminists, working mothers, contraceptive use by married couples, cohabitators, homosexuals, and fornicators. McDonnell protests rather weakly that his views have “changed” since he wrote the thesis.

CA-10: SurveyUSA is out with their final poll of the special election to replace Ellen Tauscher, and finds little movement in the past two weeks. Lt. Gov. John Garamendi (D) leads with 25%, followed by Republican David Harmer with 20%. The other two major Dems in the race, state Sen. Mark DeSaulnier and Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan, are at 16% and 12%, respectively. (J)

MO-04: Retiring GOP Sen. Kit Bond seems displeased that national Republicans are trying to knock off veteran Democratic Rep. Ike Skelton next year. In an interview during a recent Cardinals game, Bond said that “it’s very very important for us to have a man like Ike Skelton” in Congress. (J)

Data: The Office of the House Clerk has released its biennial summary of the 2008 presidential & congressional elections (PDF). The document contains official results for every federal race in the nation, all in one place. (D)

51 thoughts on “SSP Daily Digest: 8/31”

  1. Forget the narration, and just consider the visual message: Christie is a) a fatass, b) parking in a handicapped spot, and c) seen walking in front of a barbed wired fence (reporting to prison?).

  2. The article does mention that there have been several other Senate primaries in Illinois where a conservative upstart beat the establishment moderate, most notably Al Salvi’s upset of Bob Kustra in the open seat race of 1996.

    Also Peter Fitzgerald vs. Loleta Didrickson in 1998.

  3. Governor Patrick just announced the date for the special Senate election: January 19, 2010. The primary will be on December 8 of this year.

    Expect the doors to open immediately, with a variety of candidates jockeying for position.  

  4. it’s really almost amusing watching governors suck at appointing senators.  I think basically every appointment this year has been an epic failure… And the ironic thing is that the one good appointment – Gillibrand – was made by a governor that is facing a 40 point primary defeat.

  5. What do you think actually went down there?

    Also, I find it surprising that Bond voiced support for Skelton.

  6. I knew about the Democrats and potential Democrats, but hadn’t heard about any tough Republican opponent against Grassley:

    Chuck Grassley is facing a potentially difficult primary challenge in 2010. As such, he’s been working hard to cover his right flank. That would all be fine except for one thing: As ranking member of the Finance Committee, Grassley is responsible for developing a workable compromise on health-care reform. But as this fundraising letter shows, Grassley is running against health-care reform back in Iowa.

  7. The fact that he’s gone cold turkey on politics for the last 10 years weighs against it, but I imagine there’s a lot of people (especially within the family) pushing him to go.

  8. OMG….Phyllis Schlafly….oh man…still catching my breath….oh….that’s an LOLer.

    She’d be beaten worse than Mike Tyson’s girlfriend in anti-women environment that she’s helped create.

  9. I’m still not convinced by any of these polls showing Davis way ahead of everyone. In the primary, what are the likely voter spreads? It’s an open primary, so did they just survey likely voters in the Dem primary (most of whom would be black or union), or did they bother to poll the white, rural, nominally Republican voters who make up most of the state and might cross over to vote for the very popular former Ag Commissioner, but definitely won’t vote for Davis?

    As for the general, this is the same state that elected George Wallace as governor only a couple of decades ago. I don’t buy that Davis isn’t floundering, especially given that he’s in the unfortunate position – between being a prominent black candidate and being in the House leadership – of easily being mistaken for an Obama proxy in a state where Obama has never been popular, and a significant minority of voters think he’s an illegally born secret Muslim, or something.

    Based on the demographics, I really think every pro-Davis poll is pushing an agenda. There’s no way that wonky methodology plays out in real life.  

  10. Supreme Court case called Planned Parenthood v. Casey.

    In any event, the swing voters in PA are as much pro-choice moderates from the east as they are anti-choice Democrats from the west (more so in the past 15 years, actually). Ask George W. Bush how the abortion wedge worked our for him in PA.

  11. And such a throw-back to the days when we didnt even get to elect our Senators.  Can legislation be passed at the federal level to dictate Senate vacancies?  All House seats have to be done by special election, would this require a constitutional amendment?

  12. Bayou Buzz (where the Honore rumor surfaced) doesn’t strike me as the most reliable site in the world; they tend to make a lot of proclamations without linking. They might have been on the receiving end of a game of “telephone” where an insubstantial rumor got bulked up into something bigger as it passed from rumormonger to rumormonger.

  13. Basically, what Bond is saying is “Missouri is better off with a super-experienced yet swing-y chairman in the majority party than it would be with some no-name minority party freshman.”

    Which happens to be 100% true. And the folks of Skelton’s district, and Missouri at large, know it. Also, Bond apparently does not give flying fig right now, also.

    At least that’s how I heard it.

  14. Honoré says he never met the consultant who said he was running, and  Honoré isn’t even a Republican, and has never even heard of his “official spokesman”:  http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo

    I had no idea Bayou Buzz was this bad.  I’ve visited in recent months and while I disagree with a lot of their commentary I never saw reporting this sloppy.  Have they done something like this before?

  15. Steve King’s already announced he’s running for re-election, and Vander Platts is running for Governor.  That empties the wingnut bench in the state of its only two major players.  Some state senator could come at Grassley from the right, but he’d crush anyone who tried.

    I think this one is a bunch of hooey.

  16. all day what the hell Ezra was talking about, so now I finally decided to google it. All I could find was some guy named Bill Salier, who ran against Greg Ganske in 2002, but he only made some threatening noises while a guest on some conservative radio talk show, and hasn’t taken any steps.

  17. Damn, I liked reading them. No one else usually offered the insight they did on LA politics. They usually report big things to get attention I guess. They are still the only news source reporting that LaFonta is running against Cao, and thats been over a month. The FEC webiste doesn’t have him listed yet. They are also the only news source that claims Mary Landrieu is saying she doesn’t think she can win in 2014.  

  18. because people were mad at him that he tried to get an annulment after decades of marriage and two kids.  Man, it was a purer time back then.  Today, guys like Vitter and Ensign skate with far worse offenses.  I think Joe might easily be able to pull off a comeback.

  19. But unless Honoré’s lying about all these details (and why would he do that?) than this is just bad reporting.  I thought the GOP consultant may been legit and planting the story to get Honoré interested in the race (a little strange, but stranger things have happened). But the fake spokesman played Bayou Buzz for fools.  One bad report shouldn’t ruin their reputation if this is the first time this happened, but they should definitly be a lot more careful.  

  20. The Louisiana weekly reported this too.  They are a real news organization.  Joe Berry, the GOP consultant in question, is on record as saying this was a real report.  Berry is a well known GOP consultant.  Plus the AP and CNN reported this stuff too, and weren’t just parroting Bayou Buzz/ Louisiana Weekly.  Whatever went down, it doesn’t seem to be Bayou Buzz’s fault.

  21. was to beat up Christie until they were both equally unpopular, and then just use the Dems’ natural advantage in NJ to save the day.  I think he may yet pull this one out.  Which would be incredible, he was polling in the 30s and Christie was over 50% in several polls.

  22. I just checked, and the last Quinnipiac poll (August 5-9) had Christie up 51-42, or NINE points. That survey has Christie leading 47-37, so in short: nothing’s changed margin-wise.

  23. What surpised me most about that poll was that 38% would prefer to see a Giants game with Christie while 36% would rather see it with Corzine.

    I can’t believe that poll. I got to believe a billionaire ex-Goldman Sachs CEO would get way better seats to a Giants game than some government lawyer!

    It is kind of sad when more people in NJ would rather sit in the cheaps seats with a husky prosecutor than in the kind of luxury box a mega rich guy like Corizine would watch a Giants game in!

  24. will be any problem if he decides to run.  Whatever controversy at the time, 10 years is a lot of distance.  I think it’s really down to whether he personally wants back into politics or not.

  25. trend shows Corzine successful in softening up Christie – who goes from a peak of around 50% to 47%.  Christie favorables are also dropping pretty sharply.

    However, Corzine has had no success improving his own baseline.  He is mired in the high thirties on average, with approvals in the mid-30’s.  I don’t know what he can do to improve on his own numbers in this climate – pray for good economic news I guess.  His brand is horribly damaged.  He can’t win this just by kneecapping Christie.

  26. It’s an ad right out of NJ Dems playbook 101.

    Throw enough mud around, hope everyone gets so dirty that you can win on voter registration advantage alone.

    The sad part is NJ politics is less about Dem vs Rep and more about the crooked pols vs reformers.

    What kills me Corzine was suppose to be one of the reformers but turned out to be a stooge of the crooks.

    Instead of fighting them he just raised taxes on NJ to pay for all the graft.

    It is a shame and people in NJ are so fed up they will most likely vote for a Republican for Governor.

    On a side note I kind of think it is wrong that all they can do to critize Christie is show him as a fat guy. If someone ran an ad against a handicapped candidate mocking the way he looked there would be outrage. But somehow sending the message that being fat disqualifies you for office or makes you somehow corrupt or stupid is OK. That is not right.

    Just compare how 2 members of Congress from Manhattan are treated. One is a smart inteligent guy who gets things done and the other is kind of a moron. I am taking about Rep. Nadler and Rep Caroyln Maloney. Even though Nadler should be talked about as a leader and a potential Senate candidate no one mentions it because he is fat. Maloney who is a bit of nitwit (see her use of the N-word that derailed her campaign) gets a free pass because she is attractive and looks good on TV.

    Once again the sad state of style over substance in our country.

  27. If Schilling runs and Joe Kennedy doesn’t this race could be interesting.

    Also Republicans could make this election a referendum on Obama’s healthcare which could have implications if they by some miracle pull an upset.

    Also check out this half serious article on why Curt Schilling should run for Senate:


  28. New Jersey has a long and time-honored tradition of electing politicians who they hate.

    That being said, I’d prefer to see Corzine’s favorability numbers get a bit better.

  29. When is Corey Booker going to move up….  There is certainly some excellent Dems in NJ coming down the pipeline to change the game winning strategy in that state.

    Whose the other one people reference here?  Leader of one of the state houses I believe.

  30. Of her husband and her at some event and they wouldnt deny she would be running for Gov.  Meh, seems kind of plausible.

  31. The problem with Corey Booker moving up is that Newark really needs him. If he moves up then the government of Newark could go back into the hands of pols as crooked as Sharpe was.

    Mayor Booker has a job to do in Newark. Newark needs help. Corey Booker might be the guy to make the place work again.

    That would be a way more important job and a bigger acomplishment than anything he could “move up” to.  

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