SSP Daily Digest: 11/16

IA-Sen/Gov: The newest Des Moines Register poll by Selzer & Co. has some appalling numbers for Democrats. In the Senate race, Chuck Grassley leads Democratic challenger Roxanne Conlin 57-30. And in the gubernatorial race, incumbent Dem Chet Culver trails Republican ex-Gov. Terry Branstad by almost as wide a margin, 57-33 (with Culver also trailing conservative GOPer Bob vander Plaats 45-37, although Culver beats several other GOP minor-leaguers). A 24-point beatdown is hard to believe given Culver’s poor-but-not-abysmal 40/49 approval rating, and this is way out of line with R2K‘s polling last month, but this being Iowa, I’d be hesitant to bet against Selzer. (Discussion already well underway in desmoinesdem’s two diaries.)

IL-Sen: Rep. Jan Schakowsky, who was considered a likely candidate in this race for a long time but eventually backed down, endorsed state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias in the Democratic primary. Giannoulias now has the endorsement of five of Illinois’s twelve House Dems. Also today, Patrick Hughes, the conservative alternative to establishment GOP pick Rep. Mark Kirk, is in DC looking for support from conservative movement poohbahs. The DSCC has a well-worth-seeing video out detailing Kirk’s transparent shift to the right (especially his pleas for help from Sarah Palin) as he seeks to fight off primary challenges.

MA-Sen: The voter registration deadline to be able to participate in the primary special election to replace Ted Kennedy is this Wednesday. The primary itself is Dec. 8.

NY-Sen-B, NY-Gov (pdf): Siena’s monthly look at the Empire State shows a little improvement for Kirsten Gillibrand, who now narrowly leads ex-Gov. George Pataki, 45-44. She loses 49-43 to Rudy Giuliani; weirdly, while the rumor mill has until very recently had Pataki likelier to make the Senate race than Giuliani, Pataki now seems much likelier to run for President, while Liz Benjamin is now wondering if Giuliani‘s recent bout of national security saber-rattling shows he’s more likely to run for Senate than Governor.

Meanwhile, Siena has yet another installment in the ongoing David Paterson implosion. Paterson’s approval is down to 21/79, 69% would prefer to elect someone else, and he now loses the Democratic primary to Andrew Cuomo by a 59-point margin (75-16) while, in a first, also losing the general to Rick Lazio (42-39) as well as, natch, Giuliani (56-33). Cuomo defeats Giuliani 53-41 and Lazio 67-22. Latest Cuomo rumors involve him trying to assemble a whole slate to run with, and central to that is recruiting outgoing NYC comptroller William Thompson to run for state comptroller. Having the African-American Thompson on a ‘ticket’ with him would take some of the awkwardness out of Cuomo elbowing aside an African-American governor to avoid a replay of the 2002 gubernatorial primary. Cuomo also wants a female AG (possibly Nassau Co. DA Kathleen Rice) and an upstate LG to balance everything out. Still, that would set up a hot Democratic primary between Thompson and incumbent comptroller Thomas DiNapoli; there’s some tension between Cuomo and DiNapoli, though, so that’s another instance of two birds, one stone. Finally, in case there were any doubts, Hillary Clinton confirmed that she has no intention of getting in the gubernatorial race.

SC-Sen: Lindsey Graham, although not up until 2014, could be going the way of Olympia Snowe. There are leaks of private polls showing that more Republicans oppose Graham than support him, and that his support among independents is dwindling too. I guess that’s what happens when you vote the party line only 93% of the time.

TX-Sen: Little-noticed in the announcement on Friday that Kay Bailey Hutchison was going to delay her resignation until after the gubernatorial primary election in March means that, unless she does it immediately afterwards, the special election won’t be held until November 2010. Conventional wisdom is that this is good for the GOP, as the seat will be easier to hold as part of a larger election instead of on its own. (Of course, that assumes KBH resigns at all assuming she loses the gubernatorial primary, which somehow I doubt.) The Austin American-Statesman also has a good rundown on what the delay means to all of the potential players in the special election.

ME-Gov: The Maine governor’s race may well wind up as crowded as the one in Minnesota: we’re up to 21 candidates, although most of them are minor. One more medium-to-big name is getting in today on the Dem side, though: John Richardson, the former House speaker and current commissioner of the state Dept. of Economic and Community Development. Current Conservation Commissioner Patrick McGowan is also looking likely to get in the Dem field.

WY-Gov: Former US Attorney Matt Mead has formed an exploratory committee to run for the Republican nomination in next year’s gubernatorial race in Wyoming. He joins state House speaker Colin Simpson and ex-state Rep. Ron Micheli in the hunt. Mead, you may recall, was one of the finalists to be picked to replace Craig Thomas in the Senate, but that post went to John Barrasso.

IL-11: This isn’t the way to get your campaign off on the right foot: Adam Kinzinger, who has the insider backing for the GOP nomination in the 11th, stormed out prior to a debate held by Concerned Taxpayers United against his primary competition when one of them, David McAloon, had a staffer with a video camera present. The base in the district is already suspicious of Kinzinger, and ticking them off this way can’t help.

NY-25: One race in a swing district that hasn’t been on anyone’s radar is NY-25, held by freshman Dem Dan Maffei. He’s drawn two potential challengers, wealthy ex-turkey farmer Mark Bitz and former Syracuse Common Councilor Ann Marie Buerkle. Bitz hasn’t held office before, but says he’s prepared to loan himself a “substantial amount” of money. He’ll need it, as Maffei has been one of the freshman class’s top fundraisers.

TN-01: Fans of wingnut-on-wingnt action may be disappointed to hear that it sounds unlikely for ex-Rep. David Davis to take on slightly-more-mainstream Rep. Phil Roe (who knocked out Davis in a 2008 primary) next year. Although he’s been staying visible at local tea parties, Davis is focusing on paying down campaign debt from last time.

UT-02: It doesn’t sound like Rep. Jim Matheson is going to face a primary over his health care vote after all; state Sen. Scott McCoy said he didn’t intend to go after Matheson, citing the difficulty of a run given the overall composition of the GOP-leaning district.

Biden Alert: Joe Biden is in the midst of a western swing, doing a Sunday fundraiser for Rep. Dina Titus. Today he’s holding events for Ann Kirkpatrick, Harry Mitchell, Martin Heinrich, and Harry Teague, bringing the total to 26 for vulnerable House Dems he’s campaigned for. Biden will also be in Connecticut next month for a Chris Dodd fundraiser.

NRCC: To avoid a repeat of NY-23, the NRCC has basically turned the vetting process over to Grover Norquist and friends. Norquist said that at a recent meeting between the NRCC and conservative movementarians, 40 recruits were discussed and they apparently all met the litmus test (although Norquist grudgingly admitted that some of the northeasterners were “as good as it gets”).

WATN?: Ex-Rep. Bill Jefferson’s going to the big house. On Friday, he was sentenced to 13 years in prison after his August conviction for money laundering and wire fraud; this is the longest sentence ever handed out to a former Congressman.

Maps: As if electoral junkies didn’t have enough online tools to geek out over, now there’s this: super-helpful step-by-step instructions on how to generate a county-by-county map of the country on, well, whatever topic you want, using only free tools instead of expensive GIS software.

Site News: We were so busy following the off-year elections that we didn’t notice it at the time, but last month, the Swing State Project welcomed its seven millionth visitor. (Number six million came this past March.) Thanks, everyone! (D)

86 thoughts on “SSP Daily Digest: 11/16”

  1. One quirk of this race is that since it is held after Thanksgiving, many college students who would ordinarily have to vote absentee can vote at their city or town hall while they are home for the holiday.

    They just have to fill out an absentee ballot on the spot without having to mail it in.  

  2. If Rudy Giuliani is serious about making a run for Senate, he needs to run back to the center ASAP. He could’ve run right-of-center against Paterson, but in a Senate race, I can’t imagine how he wins if he runs a more Giuliani ’08 than Giuliani ’93 campaign.

    Looking into the internals, there are some big positives and some even bigger signs of caution for Rudy…

    – On one hand, he’s already almost breaking the 50% mark here, and if he can seriously garner 30% of Dems and 25% of black voters, it’s his race to lose.

    – On the other hand, twice as many Dems/African-Americans/Hispanics are undecided as Republicans/Whites. Giuliani’s lead stems from a locking down of all the key GOP bases.

    With Rudy all over the place in the wake of the 9/11 trials, I don’t think Liz Benjamin is mistaken at all in looking into him having some serious Senate ambitions. The Gubernatorial race is looking pretty set as a Cuomo/Lazio showdown.

  3. GOP

    50% Coleman

    11% Seifert

    5% Brod

    1% Emmer

    7% Other

    26% Undecided


    30% Dayton

    30% Rybak

    8% Kelliher

    6% Entenza

    5% Other

    20% Undecided

  4. that showed Castle’s HUGE lead in the spring;

    Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, son of the vice president, is leading Rep. Mike Castle (R-Del.) in a hypothetical 2010 U.S. Senate matchup. The Susquehanna Polling & Research survey has Biden beating Castle by five points. When they polled this race in April, Castle led by 21 points. (This poll was conducted from November 10 to November 15.)

    What’s responsible for the Biden surge? He’s grabbed the lead in vote-rich New Castle County, built up a 41-point lead among Democratic voters, and moved to only 5 points behind Castle among independents. According to the pollster, the shift “may be a result of negative publicity [Castle] received in the state after casting a ‘no’ vote for President Obama’s health care reform bill in the U.S. Congress.” Castle, who has thrived as a moderate Republican in an increasingly Democratic state, has been casting more partisan votes-against the stimulus package, for the Stupak amendment-that have been well-reported in Delaware.

    I bet Castle comes to regret running for Senate…or drops out of the race entirely at some point. Too early to tell.

  5. Or at least hasn’t publicly announced whether he will or won’t. Seems like he should do it soon, though; stuff like that takes a while to work its way through the court system, although maybe they’d expedite matters for the sitting governor.

  6. His district contains part or all of Harvard, MIT, Tufts, BC, BU, Northeastern, and probably others I’m forgetting. Without enough college students voting his slim chances probably get even slimmer.

  7. Since this is a repub pollster they may have ulterior movites.  I wonder if they are giving Castle garbage numbers to drum up support for some teabagger primary challenger.

  8. Christine O’Donnell is already in the race, and given Castle’s penchant for lazy campaigning, I would give her a 30-40% chance to win the primary (and then proceed to get a drubbing from Biden).

  9. But the teabaggers run the GOP in every state now – even Delaware.  They really believe they can elect fellow teabaggers everywhere.  Heck, they almost ousted Chafee in the RI primary in 2006 knowing full well Laffey would lose a general election by >25 points.  There is no reason at all to think they can’t oust Castle in a primary.

  10. Laffey was helped by crossover votes from Democrats who wanted to sabotage the Republicans by making them nominate an unelectable candidate. Reverse Operation Chaos if you will. So the lack of a competitive Democratic primary probably helps the nutjobs.

  11. Does anyone really think Biden will have a serious primary, assuming he runs?  I don’t.  Many of those Dems will probably cross over and vote for a wingnut in the republic party primary.

  12. Firstly Democrats can’t vote in the GOP primary in Rhode Island, by independents can.  And it was because of Chafee’s large margin among indies is why he won the primary to begin with, Laffey won Repubs handily.

  13. On Thursday evening, Rubio continued his streak of local GOP straw poll victories by posting a dominating 211-27 win over Crist in Orange County.

    BTW, what is Crist’s NRA rating?

  14. seeing Rudy get into this. He’s going to start off as a junior senator in the minority party at the age of 65 and with almost no legislative record.

    Also, assuming he runs and wins as a moderate, the majority of his career is going to be dealing with the same tension that Collins and Snowe deal with. Maybe he’s up for that, but he gets rather prickly when question about his centrism, particularly on social issues.

    It just logically seems like governor is much more likely.

  15. So I don’t know if he would have a score.  He’s always been very pro-gun rights, so if there is a score it’s probably fairly good.

  16. Wikipedia says he was elected in ’92, challenged Bob Graham in ’98 and was elected Education Commissioner in 2000. So probably for eight years?

  17. A lot of people who are Dems for all intents and purposes register as Indies here. I’m actually registered as independent even though I would rather get a root canal than vote for what passes for a Republican these days. I’m sure Chafee won the genuine Indie vote because those are the types of people who like him and have no partisan motivation to sabotage him in the primary, but from anecdotal evidence if nothing else I assure you a good number of Dems voted for Laffey.

  18. If there were a Democratic version of Charlie Crist I’d try to oust him too.  I don’t blame repubs in this case.

    Case in point – the Florida Supreme Court.  In 2008/09 the court was the last vestige of Democratic control in Florida with 5 D’s and 2 R’s.  Four openings in the court occured in 2008/09, 3 of them being Dems.  It was widely expected that Crist would appoint 4 more Repubs to make the court 5R/2D.  Crist picked 1 Democrat, 2 Republicans and 1 Indie.  This left the court 3D/3R/1I.  Could you imagine the uproar is a Dem Governor did the reverse of that?

  19. very conservative in Sussex and Kent Counties, conservative to moderate in New Castle County (ranging from nuts like Mike Protack to a couple moderate State Senators).

  20. St. Petersburg.  Born in Pennsylvania.  Not sure if he was born with the spray on tan or developed it in Florida.

  21. Is Coleman even considering running though?  And gawd I hope Dayton doesn’t win our primary.  He’d the best chance we have at blowing this race yet again.

  22. My former douchebag congressman Tom Feeney is also from Pennsylvania originally.  You can usually tell by the accent.  Listen to Bill Nelson talk and you know he’s a true cracker.  Though the accent is dying out among young people born in FL.  I lived my whole 29 years here and have very little accent.

  23. the Claude Peppers, the Lawton Chiles, the Reuben Askews and George Smathers.

    Now we’re stuck with these grandstanding politicians who come from parts of the country they’d never get elected in nowadays.

    Oh well, I guess they’re not all bad, Alan Grayson is from the Bronx.  

  24. If you are part of the GOP establishment or leadership, you are not right-wing enough.  You have to be an “outsider” or a “grassroots conservative” to be acceptable to the teabaggers.

  25. is pretty worthless for the “primary” anyway, since the nominee will essentially be decided at convention by party activists.

    That said, Dayton is pretty popular among the rank-and-file, particularly the older crowd which may look on Rybak with suspicion. I’ve never been to state convention, so I don’t know the demographic composition.  

  26. He got beat by a candidate with some of the worst baggage any candidate has ever brought to the table and he only won statewide the first time because his opponent died in a plane crash two weeks earlier.

    Barkley didnt so amazingly well because people didnt want to vote for Franken, that vote share certainly came from both candidates pretty evenly.

  27. I worry though that 57 percent of voters will not be black in the run-off and with confused white Democrats allying themselves with Norwood (a somewhat respectable GA blogger just did this) this could cause Reed some major trouble. I really hope Democrats will come around to realize that Norwood is another Karen Handel in the making and come to their senses.  

  28. Reed picked up the endorsements of Roy Barnes, Jim Martin, State Rep. Stephanie Benfield, State Rep. Kathy Ashe, State Sen. Nan Orrock, and State Rep. Karla Drenner, all white.

  29. than this poll reflects. In a race between a white candidate and a black candidate, I don’t think I’ve ever seen this level of black defection.  

  30. Although some black leaders like “Able” Mable Thomas (who lost all credibility with me in her primary campaign of John Lewis) have endorsed Norwood so that might explain some level of support for her among black voters but not to the extent Survey USA says.

    PS: did SUSA problems pinning down the Buffalo mayoral race have anything to do with misappropriating the black vote with a black mayoral candidate? Could be what’s happening here.

  31. see here. My rule of thumb is that black candidates would pretty much have to shoot their mother to drop below 85% of the black vote. And if they’re at all acceptable, they should expect 90-95%.

    But see Thompson v. Bloomberg. So who knows, maybe this is for real.  

  32. Did more than 32 percent of the Buffalo electorate consist of black voters?

    If so, that could explain something but I agree that suspecting such a huge chunk of black voters supporting Norwood is inaccurate. What worries me more with ATL is black turnout being lower than 57 percent which SUSA assumes.  

  33. my guess based on the results is that SUSA underestimated it. Or rather, SUSA overestimated the motivation of whites.

    In any case, SUSA weights to the census (as adjusted by the ACS IIRC), and otherwise lets the chips fall where they may. (I don’t think that means that they fix the turnout to the %black that the census says should be there; rather they use a weighted average of the percentage of blacks they interview who say they’re likely to vote).

  34. and I cant see demographics making up too much of a dividing point save for a view instances (Rybak with the college vote).  I think only the primary does that type of stuff matter.

    And Dayton has said he’ll take it to the primary, I bet Entenza will since Dayton will and Kelliher is out of elective office after this so she probably will.

    It isn’t surprising to see Dayton and Rybak doing so well.  They are the only two people have probably really heard of.  Entenza and Kelliher will be making some huge strides here in polling in a few months when campaigning is full blown.

  35. Reed is the only candidate in the race that can be positively identified as a Democrat and his campaign is nothing like the disgusting race tinker ran. He is endorsed by several progresive Democratic leaders like Jim Martin, Nan Orrarck, etc.  

  36. My bad. Although I think it’s worth pointing out that a good number of college students don’t go home for Thanksgiving.

  37. Al Franken was possibly the worst (serious) candidate to ever get the nomination of either party.  

    I still cannot believe that the Democrats in Minnesota allowed this guy to be their nominee.  I think with any other decent candidate (and the Minnesota Dems have plenty), Coleman loses by at least 5.

  38. Franken announced early, Feb 14th of 2007.  He raised millions in that month and a half period during the fundraising quarter and he pretty much scared off anyone else who wouldve entered.

    Ciresi was extremely viable and wouldve won it easily but with Franken taking up the establishment support and Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer getting the activist support, he wasnt able to get any delegates and then dropped out.  

    JNP was probably too liberal but he couldve united Democrats a lot better and not have allowed Barkley to siphon off so many votes.

    I think the deciding factor being an endorsement rather than a primary was a pretty big factor.  Activists were able to ignore the bigger flaws with a Franken candidacy while people who aren’t as active in politics wouldve taken the attacks on him and his record as a comedian/satirist more seriously.  McCollum was a fervent Ciresi supporter for this reason.  Ellison didnt endorse but wore a JNP button at the DFL endorsement convention.

    It worked out quite well in the end, he’s been quite impressive.

  39. had we had a Democrat there on Jan 3, we would have had to convince only Olympia Snowe, rather than Snowe, Specter, and Collins, and it is possible that we might have gotten a bigger stimulus bill.

  40. Mary Norwood needs to be painted as whom she is, a conservative Republican.  

    If I were Reed, I would put her in a clip with George W Bush, Dick Cheney, or Sarah Palin.

    As long as white Democrats think that Norwood is a Democrat and that Reed is incompetent, they will vote for Norwood.

    Had Obama endorsed Reed yet?  

  41. I know it’s officially a non-pertisan race but are the largely democratic voters of Atlanta really so uninformed they don’t realize she’s a right-wing republican?

  42. I doubt she is a teabagger, for example.  But she is a more like a business conservative Republican.

    The media has repeated the myth that she is a Democrat, which she only corrected at the end and said that she was an “independent”.  Also the previous mayor, Shirley Franklin is pretty unpopular, and Norwood is seen as being against her.

    Norwood claims that she is not a Republican, but admitted that she voted for Reagan and Bush.  She is also very conservative for Atlanta (probably would be a moderate Republican elsewhere)  

  43. However, Rev. Joseph Lowery, Mayor Shirley Franklin, a police union, third pace finisher Lisa Borders, and the aforementioned white leaders have endorsed Reed.

  44. And Pataki’s, and I’m sure Cornyn and Cox are bringing this up: Its a short term. The term ends in 2013. They would be up for re-election in 2012. For 2 people  who have not held office in awhile, especially Giuliani, it will give them some brushing up for the 2012 election if they wanted to try.

  45. It isn’t as if Norwood is a Democrat or a Republican like Bloomberg who is a ally.  Norwood will be a GOP cheerleader from the day that she is elected.

  46. Non-partisan races are so incredibly frustrating especially in an area where a shadow Republican can win by tricking people into voting for them in an otherwise incredibly Democratic area.

    But more importantly as a Georgian, I know the importance of a strong Atlanta to the state. Norwood appears to be incredibly incompetent and I really fear what that could mean for the state if she were elected.  

  47. she’s just really really conservative for Atlanta.  If you moved her to the white suburbs, she’d pass for a moderate.

  48. I think everything from mosquito control (yes, it’s often an elected position in FL) to President should be partisan races.  I hate when I have to do research just to find out who among my local candidates for office are democrats and who are republicans.

    The only positions I don’t prefer partisan races are state supreme court races which are better appointed.

  49. No clear answers given and she just appeared to read off a teleprompter the whole time without much thought to what she was saying (I will do this, I will do that, no rationale behind her stances).

  50. I know we have a few state reps from the area but I’m not sure the size of the city limits and whether it incorporates the outlying east Cobb area which is more GOP friendly. Conyers’ mayoral race was a disaster this year right?  

  51. I did a quick calculation of all the Cobb precincts with Marietta in the name.  Obama got over 61% there.  In Conyers, the Democrat got beat BY eighty percent, I believe.

  52. I was just a Junior in HS back in 1998 and was a big WWE fan back then.  I remember hearing about Ventura running for Governor of MN on the radio one day during the summer and chuckled at the idea he had any chance.  All I knew about him was from his days as a WWE commentator and assumed it was a joke run.  I was complete shock when I eventually found out he won.

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