SSP Daily Digest: 12/8

CT-Sen: Linda McMahon is in Washington DC this week to meet with Republican bigwigs about her bid for the Senate in Connecticut, meeting with Mitch McConnell, Jon Kyl, Orrin Hatch, and the knuckle-draggers at FreedomWorks. McMahon’s visit is accompanied, however, by stories in The Hill and Politico that focus on professional wrestling’s dangerous conditions, and lack of health insurance or union representation — and are replete with quotes from former wrestlers decrying McMahon and her company.

KS-Sen: The previous few rounds of polling for Rep. Todd Tiahrt in the Kansas GOP Senate primary haven’t looked so hot, but the newest offering from SurveyUSA finds him back in the thick of things. Rep. Jerry Moran now leads Tiahrt 37-34, compared with a 43-27 gap in early October. Crosstabs suggest Tiahrt has pulled back into a tie in Kansas’s northeast (the Kansas City suburbs) — with Moran dominating the rural west and Tiahrt dominating the Wichita area, the KC suburbs are the decisive region.

OR-Gov: State Republican leaders are still casting their nets about, despite former NBA player Chris Dudley bringing a lot of money to the table. With some troubled that Dudley “has not delivered any ideas at all” (and with their best-known candidate, Bill Sizemore, having gotten arraigned for tax evasion yesterday) many have now set their sights on state House minority leader Bruce Hanna, a conservative from the state’s rural southwest; Hanna says he’s “listening with interest” to their entreaties.

In the you-can’t-make-this-stuff-up department, Jerry Wilson, founder of exercise machine maker Soloflex, was originally going to run for Governor under the banner of Oregon’s Naderite Progressive Party, but somewhere along the way decided it would be better to run for one of the major party noms so he’d have a better chance, and inexplicably decided to run for a Republican. Wilson just found out that he  missed the deadline by several months to change his party registration to be able to do so (he’s a Democrat), so now he’s decided to run as a Democrat. (The pro-marijuana Wilson might want to, y’know, lay off it a little while he’s trying to put together a political campaign.) Also on the Dem side, the state’s AFL-CIO announced that it won’t be endorsing in the race until at least March, which has to be seen as a victory of sorts for ex-SoS Bill Bradbury in that they don’t view ex-Gov. John Kitzhaber as having the nomination locked down and are waiting to see how things shake out.

TX-Gov: With heavyweight Houston mayor Bill White having settled into the Democratic field in the Governor’s race, the remaining candidates are assessing their options. Kinky Friedman was expected to drop out today, but announced that he’ll take at least a few more days to meet with supporters, and with White and Farouk Shami, before pulling the plug. (Shami was a big donor to Friedman last time.) The independently wealthy Shami sounds like he’s staying in, although he’s now suffering the usual fate of celebrity business candidates: the revelation of his paltry voting record (including no vote in the 2008 general, and no votes in any Democratic primary elections, with at least one in a Republican primary instead). And on the GOP side, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, faced with the realization that the Senate election may not be happening any time soon, just filed for re-election to another term as LG.

FL-02: That was fast. (And not very good message discipline, either.) After confirming yesterday that he was considering a move over to Florida’s statewide CFO race, Democratic state Sen. Al Lawson backtracked today and said he’s sticking with his longshot primary challenge to Rep. Allen Boyd instead.

ID-01: An intramural fight is breaking out among Idaho Republican legislators, as state Rep. Raul Labrador seeks the Republican nomination to take on Rep. Walt Minnick next year. State Sen. Mike Jorgenson is demanding Labrador drop out, attacking him for his work as a — gasp — immigration lawyer; the two have previously clashed over immigration policy in the legislature, including Jorgenson’s proposal to bar illegal immigrants from receiving state benefits. There’s no clue given where Labrador’s opponent, Vaughn Ward, stands on immigration issues, but it’s interesting to see the same cheap-labor/close-the-borders fissures opening up here that erupted in, say, the UT-03 primary last year.

IL-14: One more dropout in the GOP field in the 14th, as young Mark Vargas, a former Defense Dept. employee in Iraq, got out of the race. Unlike other recent dropout Bill Purcell, though, Vargas endorsed Ethan Hastert on his way out the door. Jeff Danklefsen is the only minor player left on the playing field between Hastert and state Sen. Randy Hultgren.

NJ-03: The 5’9″ John Adler is certainly vulnerable to wedgies and wet willies from the 6’7″ Jon Runyan, but now he’s vulnerable to the dreaded Rear Admiral as well. Maurice “Mo” Hill, a Toms River Township Councilor, dentist, and retired Navy rear admiral, says he’ll likely run in the GOP primary against Runyan, despite local party leaders’ hopes to avoid a contested primary like the one that sank their hopes last year. Hill says he’ll move forward if he gets the backing of his local Ocean County party, regardless of how the other counties’ organizations go.

PA-06: Chester County Recorder of Deeds Ryan Costello bailed out on his run in the GOP field in the 6th, finding all the oxygen in the race gobbled up by self-funding moderate Steven Welch and well-known conservative state Rep. Curt Schroder. Schroder, meanwhile, nailed down the endorsements of two more Republican legislators in the area: Berks County state Sen. Mike Folmer and newly-elected state Montgomery County Sen. Bob Mensch.

SC-01: Another Republican is getting into the primary against vulnerable Rep. Henry Brown in the Charleston-area 1st (joining “Tumpy” Campbell): attorney, Navy vet, and former Mt. Pleasant city councilor Mark Fava. Could this have the effect of splitting the anti-Brown vote, though? On the Dem side, restauranteur Robert “Bob” Dobbs was joined several weeks ago by commercial pilot and Air Force vet Robert Burton.

TN-08: State Sen. Roy Herron isn’t getting a completely free shot in his primary to replace retiring Rep. John Tanner in rural western Tennessee: he’ll face off against 34-year-old Luther Mercer II, an educator and son of a Madison County Commissioner. Meanwhile, eager to generate more Tanners, the GOP has unveiled its target list of aging House Democrats in red districts to push to retire (mostly just via press release attacks for now — perhaps there will also be a sustained attempt to blanket their offices with brochures for oceanfront Florida condominiums as well). Recall, though, that Tanner said the prospect of a good fight was the one thing that was potentially keeping him from retiring, suggesting this has the potential to backfire in some cases.

Mayors: Lt. Governor Mitch Landrieu had said this summer that he wouldn’t seek to become the next mayor of New Orleans. When most other big-names like city council president Arnie Fielkow and state Rep. Karen Carter Peterson subsequently declined, Landrieu apparently sensed a mayoralty for the taking. Now he’s apparently changed his mind, and says he’ll launch a mayoral campaign next week. (Landrieu narrowly lost the mayor’s race to Ray Nagin in 2006.)

WATN?: 80-year-old former New York state Sen. majority leader Joe Bruno, who turned Albany into his personal fiefdom for decades, just got convicted of two felony corruption charges. And former Rep. Chip Pickering, one of the C Street House residents who bailed from a promising career after an embarrassing affair, is staying classy. He was last seen getting into a physical altercation at his young son’s soccer game — with an opposing team’s soccer coach already wearing a neck brace.  

41 thoughts on “SSP Daily Digest: 12/8”

  1. Anyone on the ground? So far I’m hearing that it’s a low-turnout affair. Not sure who that benefits.

  2. I think this may be Mitch Landrieu’s year. He’s competent, dedicated to the city, and extremely well-connected. NOLA could certainly do a lot worse for a mayor (ahem, Nagin).  

  3. SC has primary runoffs, so if the anti-Brown vote splits initially, the challenger will still get a 1 on 1 with Brown.  Historically speaking, challengers almost always win runoffs.

    This is bad news for Brown as it gives voters another choice to finding an alternative to Brown, if they are dissatisfied.

    Dems need a strong candidate in this one.  

  4. Was looking at the roll call today for the Ben Nelson anti-choice amendment for healthcare reform.  The bill was tabled (killed) by a 54-45 vote.  Here are the Dems who voted with Ben Nelson.  None are surprising except for Kaufman (DE).  Anyone know if this guy is anti-choice or does he have some procedural reason for voting not to table an anti-abortion amendment on HCR?

    Interestingly enough Blanche Lincoln voted to kill the amendment.

    Dems for amendment:

    Bayh (IN)

    Casey (PA)

    Conrad (ND)

    Dorgan (ND)

    Kaufman (DE)

    Nelson (NE)

    Pryor (AR)

    Reps against amendment:

    Collins (ME)

    Snowe (ME)


    Former Missouri Lawmaker Charged

    Former Missouri House Speaker Rod Jetton (R) “was charged with felony assault that allegedly happened during an S&M session gone wrong,” reports the Riverfront Times.

    Reports say Jetton told the woman to use the safe words “green balloons” to make him stop but she was apparently drugged, fading in-and-out of consciousness and unresponsive.

    KFVS-TV notes Jetton turned himself in to authorities last night.

  6. I know everyone’s off watching the election result threads, but I wanted to throw this out there…..

    Already facing a credible Democrat in State Sen. Laura Kelly, freshman Republican Rep. Lynn Jenkins might also get teabagged by State Sen. Dennis Pyle, who’s considering a run.

    Run, Dennis, run!

  7. Browns time is over. SC needs a new person to be its representative. With over 32 years of service in the Air Force and three tours of duty in the middle east,native South Carolinian and soon to be retired Air Force colonel and commercial airline pilot Robert Burton is the man to fill the 1st Congressional District seat!

    “Problem solving hasn’t been a priority in Washington,” Burton says he is calling for a commission to address the long-term solvency of Social Security, to move past the health-care debate onto the issue of Afghanistan, and believes the time for TARPs is over.

    This is a candidate who we can see that through deeds, not words, is his plan. With his level of experience and leadership South Carolina can be proud of it’s own once again! Burton is the right candidate and one to be watched!

  8. Rasmussen doesn’t even try to hide their bias anymolre until the last week of an election to make their record look legit.  Linda McMahon beating Dodd… okaaaaaayyy…

  9. I disagree with their sampling methods sometimes but they are one of the most highly regarded academic polls.  Plus, Connecticut is in their backyard and they were pretty dead-on in the 2006 Senate race.

  10. I hate to say it, but there should be a push to have Dodd retire. I think the whole financial crisis has permanently stained Dodd in front of the eyes of the voters. God help us if Simmons beats Dodd next year. That would give Lieberman the justification to go even farther to the right.

  11. Dick Blumenthal will likely challenge him, and Liberman will likely either have to play ball or get the boot.

  12. If Linda McMahon and her LAX terminal full of baggage can beat Dodd, he would officially be the worst incumbent in the history of ever.

  13. Rothenburg’s column just regurgitates the obvious, that Burr is ahead and Marshall’s strengths seem to him to not be enough to win.

    Everything in the column though screams out that while that may be true, she is in a far better position than Cunningham to win.

    All Marshall’s points are true, but that doesn’t mean they will win the day.  It’s 100% plain though that on paper she has numerous advantages over Cunningham.  

    We have elections though in real life, so either could win, but at this Marshall is more likely to be the nominee and plainly more likely to beat Burr.

  14. Do these people TRY to one-up each other for most bizarre sex scandel?  This story ranks right up thee with wearing diapers with hookers.

  15. I will tell you that Cal Cunningham is the candidate with the best shot to beat Richard Burr.  This is probably best evidenced by the fact that within a day of his announcement both of his opponents came out with negative press releases.  I think that Elaine Marshall has the best shot to win the primary and that she can be expected to get 44-48% of the vote, but Cunningham has the best shot to beat Richard Burr, but he could fall anywhere from the 40-52% range.  He has the potential to fall flat on his face, but he also has the potential to be a star, and that’s a chance I’m willing to take.

  16. Her position on HCR seems to be, at least partly, based on electoral concerns. Yet she votes against this amendment? Sure she may have looked like a flip flopper (as i think shes progressive on abortion issues) but her constituents would have been happy. And I think even pragmatic pro-choice Dems would have understood a vote for this amendment so long as the bill would have been defeated. And it would have even with her vote. Also, I am guessing Reid himself is now basically pro-choice. or maybe i just missed the obvious a long time ago. But it was mainly just pro-life Republicans calling him a ‘flip flopper on abortion’. But this vote seems to indicate he is now pro-choice as even pro-choice Dems voted for it and the House version.

  17. The cookie cutter Delaware Dem is usually pro-business and mostly liberal on social issues.  Kaufman had been a solid Democrat since he was appointed, more liberal than Joe Biden actually.  This vote seems odd.  Who knows, there could be a strategy behind this vote.  Maybe he thinks Ben Nelson is serious about a filibuster if this amendment fails.

  18. i.e. in the case that it passed, others could have lobbied, and Kaufman could then bring up a motion to reconsider?

    Normally, that’s a move for the majority leader, but Kaufman is not running.

  19. I do believe he could have changed his vote before all the votes were tallied. I’ve seen Senators stand up and have a dialogue like this:

    For what purpose does the senator rise?

    Mr./Madam Chairman, I seek unanimous consent to change my vote to “Aye/No.”

    Is there objection? Hearing none, by unanimous consent, so  ordered.

  20. They just absolutely positively have to do whatever it takes to self-destruct more than Democrats.

    “With her record before she was elected to Congress, and just a few votes while in Congress, it is abundantly clear that Lynn is not a conservative.”

    It’s hard to even imagine what these votes are.

  21. Moderate Repubs in KS dont seem to be the anti-teabag type, they seem to be the anti-Religious Right type. So I doubt being a teabagger will hurt Pyle, if he is indeed one. I have just never heard of any anti-fiscally far right sentiment amongst moderate KS GOP’ers…just that they hate the ‘culture wars’.

  22. I would venture to guess a reason Brownback seems to be in good standing with moderate GOP’ers, in KS, is hes pretty fiscally conservative and thus satisfies them.

  23. This amendment was never going to pass.  I was sure Lincoln would vote for it.  Wouldn’t have blamed her for doing so.  It probably would have been the electorally smart thing to do in Arkansas.

  24. I couldn’t have put it any better.  Cunningham is untested, but he has POTENTIAL to win. Marshall in my opinion does not, unless Burr just implodes.  

    Cunningham is not an incumbent either.  That can be a plus in a state  where the just retired Governor is embroiled in numerous scandals, the not too distant House Speaker (D) is in prison, and the Governor (D) has polls numbers that NY Gov David Patterson can laugh at[only a slight exageration].

    The fact that Marshall came in THIRD in the 2002 Senate primary is very telling IMO. She lost not only to never-elected Erskine Boring, but a state senator as well.  At that point she had already been elected statewide TWICE, but still only managed 15%.  What has changed since that time?

    I’m sure Marshall is a very nice, competent, likeable person, but it takes more than that in the US Senate arena.    

  25. …Is that she voted for the Defense authorization bill that had the hate crimes amendment in it. But she represents two big military bases (Leavenworth & Fort Riley) and it would’ve passed anyway. But on all the biggies, she’s voted with Republicans.

    By the way, this guy (Pyle) seems to be more of a social conservative than a teabagger. So I guess it’s more accurate to say she may be Scozzafava’d rather than teabagged? Either way, bad news for her.

  26. While we like to discuss elections and certainly root for certain candidates here at SSP, this isn’t a forum to openly shill for a candidate.  In the future, make it more topical – this isn’t the place for campaign press releases.

  27. If she has strong convictions on this issue it would be hard for her to explain her vote without looking like shes acting/lying. Its just one of those issues that people get passionate about and its hard to put on an act if its an issue youre passionate about. I guess some can but most could not.

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