SSP Daily Digest: 11/24

AZ-Sen: There are conflicting messages in Arizona in the wake of that surprising Rasmussen poll showing J.D. Hayworth almost even with John McCain in a Republican primary. Arizona’s other senator, Jon Kyl, says Hayworth isn’t likely to run, saying that he’s better-off hosting his radio show. Hayworth himself, on the other hand, just sent an e-mail to his supporters, saying he is in fact considering a race against McCain but first needs help paying down his campaign debt from his 2006 race. A prelude to a real race, or just some conveniently-timed grifting from some easy marks?

CA-Sen: Carly Fiorina is trying to play up her pro-woman cred, even if it means coming off very ideologically confused: she said she would have voted to confirm Sonia Sotomayor, even though that gives Chuck DeVore a lifetime’s worth of ammunition to use against her in the primary. But yesterday she said she “shares Sarah Palin‘s values.” Um, all of them?

IL-Sen: The NYT had a story yesterday giving voice to David Axelrod’s concerns about Alexi Giannoulias’s electability and his regrets about not recruiting Lisa Madigan, which got a lot of play elsewhere. They strangely left out one piece of information, though: Axelrod’s former consulting firm is working for the David Hoffman campaign.

MA-Sen: More endorsements came out in the Massachusetts special election primary. AG Martha Coakley got the endorsement of Planned Parenthood, while Rep. Michael Capuano got the endorsements of the Massachusetts League of Environmental Voters and Black Women for Obama for Change.

NY-Sen-B (pdf): Yet another poll shows Kirsten Gillibrand in so-so shape, as Marist dribbled out the last few results from the poll where the other results were released last week. Even as she gets better-known she still has a middling approval rating (3% excellent, 22% good, 39% fair, 12% poor, 24% unsure). Gillibrand loses 47-45 to ex-Gov. George Pataki, although that race looks very unlikely now (this same sample had Gillibrand down 54-40 to Rudy Giuliani, which still theoretically could happen). One item of good news for Gillibrand, though: she finally nailed down the endorsement of former colleague Jerry Nadler.

IA-Gov: Here’s one more guy who has the potential to get teabagged to death in his GOP primary: ex-Gov. Terry Branstad. Branstad endorsed and raised money for Nebraska Democrat Ben Nelson in the 2000 Senate race. Branstad rival Bob vander Plaats says that, as a result, using the same logic that pervades all movies about time travel, Branstad is directly to blame for the current health care bill. And while he’s at it, Branstad is also responsible for the deaths of millions, because he didn’t find a way to kill Hitler.

MA-Gov: Republican gubernatorial candidate Charlie Baker already announced his running mate for 2010, and is fits with his financially conservative, socially liberal, insidery approach: he chose state Senate minority leader Richard Tisei. Tisei, one of five Republicans in the Senate, recently came out as gay.

NV-Gov: There’s a new poll of the general election in the Nevada governor’s race, taken by PMI (a firm that previously did a poll of the GOP primary for a conservative website, but this one seems to be taken for the seemingly nonpartisan Nevada News Bureau). They only try out one permutation, assuming that Democratic Las Vegas mayor Oscar Goodman follows through on his threat to run as an indie. Republican former AG Brian Sandoval wins with 35, followed by Goodman at 28 and Democrat Rory Reid at 21.

OR-Gov: Anti-tax initiative activist Bill Sizemore is kind of like herpes; he goes away, but is never permanently gone. With the GOP field now in shambles, Sizemore surprised everyone by announcing that he’ll run in the gubernatorial primary in 2010. He’s been out of jail for almost a year, so OK… but he may be headed back there if he follows through, as he’s under an injunction preventing him from raising political money. He plans on challenging that in court, though, at least to the extent to be able to raise individual campaign funds and not more initiative funds. If he somehow prevails in the GOP primary, this could lead to a replay of the 1998 governor’s race (where John Kitzhaber demolished Sizemore, 64-30).

LA-02: With early entries by a few heavyweights, maybe we’ll be spared a large and chaotic Democratic primary for the right to beat accidental Rep. Joe Cao in 2010. State Rep. Juan LaFonta, long interested in the race, made official that he’s running; he joins fellow state Rep. Cedric Richmond in the hunt.

NV-02: Do it! Do it! Reno attorney Ken McKenna has apparently been listening to the subliminal voices in his head, and was motivated to pull the trigger on a run against Rep. Dean Heller. (He’ll still face a Democratic primary against elderly ex-state Sen. Jack Schofield.) McKenna represents both personal injury plaintiffs and those accused of Breaking the Law, but he’s best known for his ill-fated suit against Judas Priest over a fan’s suicide. If he thinks he’s likely to win this race, he has another thing coming.

PA-03: Ooops, this isn’t going to endear him much to the party base. Paul Huber, a local businessman who got into the GOP primary field to go against Rep. Kathy Dahlkemper, was registered as a Democrat from 1975 until just recently. He switched to the GOP earlier this year. In his defense, he claims he was a “Reagan Democrat” and finally got driven out of the party because of, well, all the usual right-wing grievances.

PA-06: Various developments in the 6th: on the Dem side, state Sen. Daylin Leach pulled his Doug Pike endorsement and switched to neutral, now that it looks like there’s an actual race between Pike and Manan Trivedi. On the GOP side, state Rep. Curt Schroder is facing a difficult primary against wealthy pharma exec Steven Welch, but got a boost via endorsements from seven nearby conservative legislators — including Berks County’s Sam Rohrer, who’s looking at a longshot gubernatorial bid.

PA-11: Anti-immigration wacko wants to run for higher office, but needs supporters to pay down his campaign debt first? Sorry to keep repeating myself, but that’s happening in PA-11 too. Hazleton mayor Lou Barletta has been talking up another run at Rep. Paul Kanjorski, and has set a pre-Christmas deadline for a final decision. But in the meantime, he’s focused on raising donations to pay for his last run while considering his next one.

VA-10: Republican Rep. Frank Wolf has proven extremely tough to pry out of his swing district, and it’s not looking like 2010 will be the year either. Attorney Patrick Lewis, who seemed to be the best bet here, has shuttered his campaign, leaving only two even less-known Dems (Richard Anthony and Dennis Findley) in the field.

CA-LG: As many had expected, Arnold Schwarzenegger picked state Sen. Abel Maldonado to take over as Lt. Governor (now that John Garamendi is in the House). Maldonado is a sometimes-moderate who was one of Ahnold’s biggest allies in the Senate, who broke with other Republicans on budget issues (and probably earned too much of their wrath to survive a 2010 re-election). The Dem-held state legislature is mulling over whether to approve the appointment, which they certainly have the numbers to reject. Calitics is all over it, though, because Maldonado not only has little likelihood of remaining in office come 2011 (Dems he might face would be either state Sen. Dean Florez or LA city councilor Janice Hahn), but also because it would open up SD-15. The 15th is Democratic-leaning turf on the central coast; combined with another opening in SD-12, that’s a route to get over the magic 2/3s hurdle in the state Senate and actually pass a decent budget.

NJ-St. Sen.: Guess who’s kicking himself for not taking over for Jon Corzine during the gubernatorial race’s low-water mark this summer. Now Richard Codey isn’t just not Governor, but now he isn’t even state Senate President anymore. Codey may be beloved by the state’s electorate, but not by his colleagues: he got bounced out of his position to make way for new leader Stephen Sweeney.

Mayors (pdf): It looks like the anti-incumbent sentiment extends all the way down to local races too (OK, that’s not news; Greg Nickels and Tom Suozzi will certainly confirm that for us). A new Clarus poll of next year’s Washington, DC mayor’s race finds a 43/49 approval for mayor Adrian Fenty. Fenty leads the field, but at only 34%, followed by three city councilors: Vincent Gray at 24, Kwame Brown at 13, and Michael Brown at 6.

RNC: If you went to college in the 1990s, you may remember the purity test that got passed around freshman dorms, which went a little like this:

I have:

1) solicited anonymous sex in the airport men’s room

2) claimed to be hiking the Appalachian Trail while actually visiting my mistress in Argentina

3) given a patronage job to the cuckolded husband of my mistress

4) texted an underage page about the size of his member

5) attempted to strangle my mistress

Wait, that’s not it. Anyway, the RNC is passing around a new purity test for future Republican candidates, which they have to score 80% on if they want official party money and support. (There’s been some public pondering whether worldly fellows like Mike Castle or Mark Kirk would even make the cut on this test.) And now the Washington Times (wait, they’re still in business?) is reporting that this test may even apply to NRSC and NRCC money as well.

Photo of the Day: Some days I just don’t know whether to weep for my country, or stand back and laugh my ass off at it.

72 thoughts on “SSP Daily Digest: 11/24”

  1. Wolf will be 71 in 2010, but he may be the only GOP politician that can hold that seat as time marches on. If he informs Gov.-elect McDonnell that he plans to retire after the mid-terms, the GOP may decide to concede all of NOVA in Redistricting in order to make life more difficult for Perriello, perhaps even Boucher – if they dare to be really “creative.”

  2. he has more than one opponent who could lay claim to the Teabagger vote. Most anti-Branstad Republicans will support Bob Vander Plaats (religious conservative), but some could drift toward State Rep Chris Rants, who is running a smart campaign focused on tax issues.

    I want to believe Branstad could lose the primary, but I just don’t see it.

  3. It’s not like or dislike it’s NJ’s biggest political boss (George Norcross) using identitty politics to upgrade.  Norcross already controlls the south Jersey legislative votes.  He forced out his local guy as head of the Assembly and offered the post to a black woman from North Jersey in exchange for the votes of state senators for his guy.

    Bad move for us.  Norcross is a conservadem and he promotes conservadems.  There will be little fighting against Chris Christie from the Democratic legislature.

    This all went down about 6 to 8 weeks ago.

    The Norcross crew are already removing Committee chairs and changing priorities for the worse.

  4. Anyone check the guest list?

    There’ s a few interesting names from an electoral standpoint:

    -Chris Dodd (duh, he’s tight with Obama)

    Paul Hodes (also tight, but running the Senate race next year, there’s no SheaPorter, so . . . interesting)

    -Dick Lugar (seems bipartisanship isn’t dead yet)

    -Deval Patrick (again, tight)

    And then there was this one that stuck out like a sore thumb to those of us who follow 585 races (Congress+Governors)


    Now, this is a dinner for the Indian PM, but come on. Obama could just as well have invited former candidate Ashwin Madia. Is this a sign that the Obamas are behind Raj and are trying to prop him up and give him even more fundraising connections?

    Thoughts on Raj showing up?

  5. It could be that New Yorkers are used to having those big name, high profile stars as their senator. Moynihan, Hillary, Schumer, RFK etc. And KG is just an upstate congresswoman. I’m not saying any of this is fact. Just speculating on a possible reason why the voters haven’t taken to her.

  6. While I certainly hope that the hate Mexican immigrant voting block isn’t as strong as it would seem I still don’t think JD Hayworth would beat Terry Goddard for US Senate.  The guy lost to Harry Mitchell, what was up with that?

    I say grifter.

  7. It’s more likely that the Republicans concede Connolly’s district in order to shore up VA-10 and VA-01.

    People need to remember that it’s oversimplication to say “NoVa = blue”. Arlington and Alexandria, sure. Inner Fairfax, you bet. Once you get to outer Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William, though, it’s not solidly Democratic territory. Yes, Obama did incredibly well in Loudoun and Prince William, but so did McDonnell. The only reliably Dem parts of those counties are Leesburg and eastern PW.

    The bigger problem in VA-10 is the lack of a Democratic bench. The best candidate would be State Sen. Mark Herring, but I’ve been hearing he may be planning a run for Governor in 2013. Loudoun County Supervisor Stevens Miller might make a run, as he’s about the only Dem challenger that came within single digits of beating an incumbent Republican Delegate last year. Only other choice, really, is outgoing one-term Del. Dave Poisson, but he did pretty badly last year against a weak opponent.

  8. 1. If McDonnell can lure at least one Democrat in a Republican district into an administration post. Currently he’s working on Edd Houck, whose Spotsylvania-based district would almost assuredly flip as an open seat, making the Senate 20-20 with Bolling breaking the tie.

    2. Which party wins the 37th District special election. I don’t have high hopes for a Democratic pickup here, to be honest.

    Also, even if Dems pick up the 37th, McDonnell might lure in a second Democrat — Roscoe Reynolds, Phil Puckett, and John Miller are possible targets.

  9. the NJ Democratic Party still have party bosses and party machines? It is the 21st century and party machines are so early 20th century.

  10. People need to remember that it’s oversimplication to say “NoVa = blue”

    I remember when the Rs in the Federal Government lived in VA, and the Ds lived in MD.

    If I understand correctly, the blue of NoVA is more of a “high tech” blue – which really is more of a “free market” blue, similar to what’s seen in Silicon Valley, but with a religious / pro-military tinge. (Arlington and Alexandria are the exceptions.)

  11. A DUI and she is 77?  Someone needs to take the keys from granny.  She’s elderly so she should just get a slap on the wrist.  

  12. Almost all of the household names who were NY Senators were from the NYC metro area as well.  Gillibrand being from upstate might play a role.  I still think the state will take to her eventually once they get to know her.

  13. she wasn’t drunk, she was drugged up.

    But that’s true for a lot of eldery I noticed…for some reason whatever pills my grandmother takes on Fridays turn her into a bumbling mess.  

  14. And he drove drunk all the time.  His car literally looked like it had been in a demolition derby from all the things he hit with his car drunk.  He’s been pulled over by police countless times.  They know he’s drunk and never do anything about it partly because he’s elderly and partly because he’s a Korean war vet.  Guess being part of “the greatest generation” has it’s perks.

  15. who decided not to nominate Kennedy last minute, not Kennedy deciding she didnt want to be Senator last minute right?  It was pretty much a done deal and then Paterson decided not to at the last minute.

  16. That Gillibrand is a better pick and more likely to win in 2010 than Kennedy would have been.  Naturally I thought picking Billibrand was bad at the time because it exposed us to a potential loss of NY-20.  But all worked out well.

  17. she wasn’t impressing people and there was a backlash. Paterson really wanted an upstater and from what I was hearing at the time, Gillibrand was always on top of his list and he felt she truly deserved it, whether it was politically good or not.

    Caroline Kennedy was the politically safe choice, Gillibrand, at least for him, was the right one.

    I always found it funny to when critics complained he didn’t appoint Cuomo to the Senate to get him out of a 2010 primary. What would that get him out of a primary? He could’ve still ran for governor and left the Senate seat open.  

  18. Paterson’s biggest political mistake was not naming Cuomo to the Senate seat.

    Picking Cuomo would have been a popular choice. He could have even made the arguement that he thought it was important for someone who has won a statewide election to hold the Senate seat defusing the Kennedy issue

    This would have also eliminated his biggest potential primary opponent and given him a clear path to winning a Dem primary (epsecially with Suozzi losing re-election).

    If Cuomo really wanted to be Governor and not Senator Paterson could have even cut a secret deal with him to switch races in 2010 and have Cuomo run for Gov and Paterson run for Senate (which is the job he really wanted).

    I think Paterson really made a mistake by not putting Cuomo as Senator or at least naming a place holder there so he had the option of running for the Senate seat in 2010.

  19. The core of Norcross’s fiefdom is Camden County.  It contains areas (the city of Camden) that are desperately poor.  Contracts, jobs, and state projects are powerful incentives.

    Norcross, of course, controls two counties, Camden and Burlington.

    As for the rest, in a suburban overwhelmingly Republican town like the one I live in, zoning, hiring, contracts, do the trick.  Politically connected builders had no problems a few years ago while those without connections never got their projects off the ground.  Businesses got shut down because they failed to use the right lawyers.  And more.  No lawn sign?  No poll watching job.

    I lived in Mayor Dailey’s Chicago in the mid 70s (the original Mayor Dailey).  There are a lot of similarities. IMO, 1970s Chicago was cleaner because pretty much everybody knew the rules.  NJ beyond the local gets byzantine.

  20. barring a GOP landslide.  Candidates like Runyan rarely win, he has little experience other than being a football player.  If Runyan wins this race, the Repubs probably have picked up 50-60 seats.

  21. What separates Runyan from Lynn Swann’s run for PA-Gov in 2006 besides favorable dem year to likely favorable non-incumbent/republican year?

  22. to make himself seem qualified to be a Congressman.  Even in a year where “outsiders” are favored, there is a limit.  Usually the outsiders are businesspeople, veterans, or others, not a football player.  To compare, say Donovan McNabb decided to challenge Specter for the Senate in the primary (assume Sestak had not run), would he really be a strong candidate?  I think not.

    Athletes who have been successful usually have had other skills or qualities.  As far as I know, Runyan has few.  Basically the only way Runyan wins is if the district wants to get rid of Adler regardless of the opposition.

    He’s certainly not the strongest.  Diane Allen, had she been healthy, would have been the strongest, although it is questionable whether she is in the mainstream of the GOP, even in New Jersey.

  23. except in a solid GOP district or a solid GOP year.  Athletes and celebrities start with a strike against them, unless they have other qualities that makes them seem like a qualified candidate.  

  24. Diane Allen would have been the best, but there is no way she can be a candidate next year, and that makes Runyan the strongest out of the candidates considering. They had a state sen. who some of the party leaders wanted, but he said he was extremely unlikely to run, and with Runyan in, I doubt he does.

  25. looks like a particularly offensive coded talking point. You’re talking about Arizona, which let me remind you, was part of the 1/3 of Mexico seized in a war of aggression by the U.S. I’m no expert on the ethnic composition of the state, but I’ll bet it’s safe to say that loads and loads of citizens of the state are of Mexican origin, either from before the borders shifted or from having been born in the state of parents or grandparents (etc.) who moved a few miles north.

    Are you saying that only naturalized American citizens from Mexico have the least bit of concern about cruel and unusual punishment, gratuitous humiliation of incarcerated people, and arbitrary discrimination against people whose names “sound Mexican”? If someone’s a Hispanic native-born citizen, do you think that means they support Arpaio? Or are Hispanics somehow perpetual immigrants to you, whereas Anglos somehow have an inherent right to be here, just “because”? (Native Americans might have something to say about that.)

  26. Hey, I hope you saw my apology for not reading your post properly, but in case you didn’t, I’m posting it here, too.

  27. Yeah, I did notice you said Arpaio would lose, but I want you to explain what your “Mexican immigrant voting block [sic]” consists of.

  28.     meaning the bloc of nativist Anglos who don’t like brown folks. In reality many of that group don’t really care about whether someone was born here, is here legally or undocumented; if they speak Spanish or look like they might, they are unwanted here. There is a large bloc of non-Latino voters that think that way, who are typically older white folks. I see this in So Cal but it must be similar in AZ.

  29. That was probably the most disgusting part of Southern Californian life when I lived there.  I wasn’t in Arizona much but things of the kind seemed quite similar.  

  30. John Kerry was the first Dem to carry Fairfax County since Lyndon Johnson, and he lost Loudoun and Prince William Counties.

    I remember seeing a NoVa secessionist website that had not been updated to reflect the new political reality suggesting that Northern Virginia and DC could be admitted as a pair to the Union since they would be safe Republican and Safe Democratic states respectively.

  31. Just because they elected Chris Christie, doesn’t give you carte blanche to make fun of every Jersey politician’s weight.

  32. Holtman has ethics problems. That is why she lost the NYC Comptrollers race to then unkonwn (and soon to be corrupt) Alan Hevesi.

  33. Holtzman was later cleared of the charges regarding that Fleet Bank loan which Hevesi hounded her on in the ’93 Comptroller race. I think she would’ve been a marvelous short-term pick, and if I recall correctly, she even conducted a phone interview with Paterson regarding the appointment.

  34. As someone in this thread compared Runyan to Lynn Swann, but that is actually unfair to Swann because he had 20 years of things he could point to after he retired from football.

    Swann started out leading the PA Gov race over Rendell in 2006, but once people saw that this guy was unqualified, they rejected him in big numbers.  Runyan is even less qualified than Swann.  It is possible that Runyan might surprise with his political acumen, but it is much more likely that he will crash and burn once he starts talking about the issues.

  35. of how the South was between the 1980 and 2000, Democratic in Presidential and increasingly congressional races, often Republican in state and local races.

  36. Are they even trying to make their polls look reasonable anymore or do they just exist to give republicans a daily HJ?

  37. He said it was extremely unlikely he would run, and he may have even said he would definitely not run if Runyan ran. I’ll have to try to find the article and guys name.  

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