SSP Daily Digest: 2/2

AZ-Sen: Ex-Rep. J.D. Hayworth has made it pretty clear already that he’s taking on John McCain in the Republican Senate primary, and now he’s made it official when he’s going to make it official. The launch date for his campaign: Feb. 15.

CT-Sen, CT-02: Ex-Rep. Rob Simmons did a whole lot of bobbing and weaving when an interviewer yesterday kept pressing him on the issue of whether he’d consider dropping down to run for his old House seat again (although a spokesperson followed up afterwards, saying he will not running for anything else, “period”). The idea has to be tempting to Simmons, though, who just watched his Senate dreams vaporize with Democratic AG Richard Blumenthal’s entry, and who may by enviously eyeing efforts by some of the other 2006 victims (like Mike Fitzpatrick) to turn back the clock.

KS-Sen: There’s still six months to go before their Republican Senate primary, but time’s running out for Rep. Todd Tiahrt to make a move against fellow Rep. Jerry Moran. Moran leads this month’s SurveyUSA poll 40-33 (two months ago Tiahrt pulled within 3, but that’s the closest he’s been). Moran is currently up 38-23 in the state’s northeast, which will be the decisive region (as they each have their respective districts already locked down).

NV-Sen: File this under “it’s bad news even if you have to be out there repeatedly saying this,” but Harry Reid again denied (this time to Las Vegas political reporter Jon Ralston) that he’d drop out of his fizzling Senate race to make way for a different candidate. On the GOP side, one potential opponent, Sue Lowden, is up with her first TV spot, a soft-focus biographical ad. Taking note of these developments, no doubt, are Dick Durbin and Charles Schumer; insiders are observing that the two of them are both busy doling out campaign cash to their colleagues in order to build loyalties for what looks like the fight to be the next majority leader.

NY-Sen-B: In case you missed it, last night’s point-by-point dismantling of Harold Ford Jr. by Stephen Colbert is a must-see. It clearly wasn’t the coming-out gala that Ford had envisioned.

UT-Sen: The establishment is riding to the rescue for Bob Bennett, who could be threatened in this year’s primary if the teabagging rabble somehow coalesced behind one of his many opponents. The NRSC just handed $43K to Bennett’s campaign (an important sign to other institutional contributors), and Newt Gingrich is headlining a big-bucks fundraiser for Bennett.

CA-Gov: Republican pollster McLaughlin & Associates (apparently not working on behalf of any of the candidates) released a poll of the Republican gubernatorial primary, finding zillionairess Meg Whitman leading zillionaire Steve Poizner, 39-12. Apparently they were in the field when Tom Campbell bailed out, as they also offer up a three-way head-to-head, which was 31 Whitman, 17 Campbell, 5 Poizner.  

CT-Gov: A couple comings and goings in Connecticut today: as expected, Danbury mayor Mark Boughton got in the Republican field. On the Democratic side, state Sen. Gary LeBeau, who’d been polling in the low single digits, dropped out. In a moment of unusual honesty for a politician, LeBeau said, “The state has no idea who Gary LeBeau is.”

OR-Gov: This is a bit of a surprise, but in the wake of Al Gore’s endorsement, it’s certainly an indication that ex-SoS Bill Bradbury (something of an underdog in the Democratic primary against ex-Gov. John Kitzhaber) has some powerful friends back in DC. Howard Dean will appear at several fundraisers for Bradbury in Oregon next week.

FL-08: Here’s another surprise: brash 20-something real estate developer Armando Gutierrez dropped out of the GOP field in the 8th, despite having attracted a lot of favorable buzz and even picked up a few endorsements from members of Florida’s House delegation. The national party never warmed up to him, though, seemingly put off by his line-crashing, and he may have finally gotten the message, between the NRCC’s preferred pick, businessman Bruce O’Donoghue, officially filing yesterday, and the endorsement by neighboring Rep. Cliff Stearns of yet another Republican in the crowded field, state Rep. Kurt Kelly.

FL-19: In all the madness over the Illinois primaries today, it’s been almost universally forgotten that the primary in the safely-blue 19th to replace resigned Rep. Robert Wexler is also today. It’s hardly worth a look, though, as state Sen. Ted Deutch pretty much has it locked down, having raised many times more money than anyone else and nailed down the establishment endorsements. Former Broward Co. Commissioner Ben Graber is the only other candidate of note.

IN-04: Despite the advantages that his statewide profile brings him, SoS Todd Rokita won’t have the GOP field to replace retiring Rep. Steve Buyer to himself. He’ll have to face state Sen. Brandt Hershman too. Hershman has one key advantage himself: he works as an aide to Buyer, and has Buyer’s backing.

NV-03: Here’s some good news for ex-state Sen. Joe Heck: he just got $10K to go toward his campaign against vulnerable Dem freshman Rep. Dina Titus. The bad news is: that $10K came from the PAC of John Ensign, who just won’t stop trying to make himself useful to Nevada’s other Republicans despite the fact that he’s about as popular as shingles right now. But then Heck got some more good news: he won’t face a seriously contested primary, as self-funding businessman Rob Lauer dropped his teabaggish challenge to Heck to run for SoS instead.

NY-13: A lot of people are asking who Michael Grimm is, after he banked over $300K last quarter to go up against Democratic Rep. Michael McMahon. He’s a former FBI agent, who apparently has a lot of friends in high places… in places outside of his district. Only $3,500 of that amount came from within the actual district, and $2,000 of that was from Staten Island Republican guru Guy Molinari.

NY-14: Live by the primary challenge, die by the primary challenge. Rep. Carolyn Maloney now faces one of her own, a well-funded challenge from the apparent right from 30-something attorney Reshma Saujani, who has previously raised serious dollars within the Indian-American community for other Democratic candidates. Saujani, believe it or not, is running on an unashamedly pro-Wall Street platform (although this is maybe the one district in the country where that might still work).

PA-06: Two more prominent local Democrats who had endorsed Doug Pike when he was the only game in town have switched their endorsements to Manan Trivedi instead. Significantly, they’re both in Berks County (which is also where Trivedi is from, and which is where Dems have tended to run the weakest in the district in the past): Reading mayor Tom McMahon and Berks Co. Commissioner Kevin Barnhardt.

TN-01: Would you believe that there’s a Republican who lost in one of the wave elections who isn’t running for something this year? However, before you get too excited, it’s ex-Rep. David Davis, who’d been mulling a third matchup against Rep. Phil Roe, who knocked him off in a GOP primary in this super-red district in eastern Tennessee. The not-insane Roe may be the best we can hope for in this district, especially compared with Davis, who’d been making outreach to the local teabaggers in preparation for another run.

WV-03: A credible challenger to Democratic Rep. Nick Rahall sneaked under the rope at the filing deadline: former state Supreme Court justice Elliott Maynard. Maynard was, until recently, a Democrat, but switched parties pushed along largely by his perception of Democrats’ anti-coal environmental policies (and no doubt also influenced by West Virginia’s reddish turn over the last decade).

OH-SoS: This was painless and easy: not only did a more progressive alternative to conservative state Rep. Jennifer Garrison get into the Secretary of State race – Franklin Co. Court Clerk Maryellen O’Shaughnessy – but she won’t even face a contested primary. Getting the message that her establishment support was practically nil, Garrison got out of the race. Meanwhile, on the Republican side, the GOP establishment seems to have settled the trouble it was having finding a replacement Auditor candidate after Mary Taylor ditched the job to run for Lt. Governor. They got Delaware Co. Prosecutor Kevin Yost to switch over from the AG’s race, where he was facing ex-Sen. Mike DeWine in a primary. That caused a lot of consternation among the state’s right-wingers, though – they were looking forward to Yost picking off the unacceptably moderate (and generally underwhelming) DeWine in the primary. Both the SoS and Auditor positions are key from a redistricting perspective, as along with the Governor they control the state’s legislative redistricting process.

Republicans: If you haven’t checked out the details of Research 2000’s in-depth poll of the state of what Republicans believe today, please do. Although I’m not really still sure what to do with all this knowledge… except maybe acknowledge that you can’t negotiate with such irrational actors.

Redistricting: CQ’s Josh Kurtz takes an interesting look at redistricting in California over the decades, as seen through the prism of a new book that covers the many ups and downs of legendary California Rep. Philip Burton. Will it be an incumbent protection map or an aggressive push, and how will the state’s fast-growing Latino population be accommodated?

43 thoughts on “SSP Daily Digest: 2/2”

  1. An interesting article from the Pittsburgh paper about the newest addition to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.  Remember the election last year that gave Republicans a 4-3 majority?  Justice Joan Orie Melvin was chastised in an opinion by her fellow Republican, Chief Justice Ronald Castille.  From the PPG:

    The sharp-tongued Justice Castille, sometimes compared to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, responded forcefully, devoting an entire section to Justice Orie Melvin:

    • “The core and unifying difficulty with the [Justice Orie Melvin’s opinion] is that it is disconnected from the actual litigation, the constitutional language, and precedent. Thus, the [opinion] poses questions that are not presented by the parties, and exaggerations that are not fairly implicated.”

    • “The [opinion’s] approach [is] the opposite of strict construction and the height of judicial activism.”

    • “At bottom, whatever merit and internal ‘logic’ the [opinion’s] view of the judicial disciplinary system as it presently exists might have as a political tract, a ‘what-should-be editorial,’ or as an outline of one idiosyncratic view of the way that judicial investigations should operate, it is a demonstrably off-point response to the dispute actually presented to this Court, the plain constitutional language that actually exists, the obvious complexities involved, and our precedent interpreting the constitutional language.”

    • And, finally: “Our task is different from that of the litigant, the politician, or the editorialist, and it is inevitably less understood and often less popular. Our sworn task is to apply the law; and in so doing we cannot ignore, rewrite or torture settled language and propositions, and then apply that construct retroactively without affording the parties an opportunity to be heard, in order to reach a perceived favored conclusion.”

    Sounds to me Justice Orie Melvin is perfect for a future Republican appointment to the U.S. Court of Appeals or the Supreme Court.

    I’m sure we all hope for a speedy recover for Rep. John Murtha who is in intensive care.

  2. Minnesota holds their precinct caucuses tonight and each party will be holding a non binding straw poll on the Governors race. Precinct Caucuses will be picking the people who pick the people who pick the endorsed candidate (3 step proccess).

    Results here.


    We should have a good of the state of the Republican race since it seems likely all the candidates will abide by the State convention endorsement. On the Democratic side since several candidates have already announced they are going to the primary things will still be pretty muddled after tonight.

    BTW if anyone cares I am not going to the caucuses. A couple of reasons, 1) I think it is a terrible way to pick a candidate and 2) I don’t consider myself a member of any Party. I have voted almost exclusivly Democratic the past few cycles but I still like to call myself an Independent.

  3. John Murtha is hospitalized.

    Democratic aides tell NBC News that 19-term Pennsylvania Rep. John Murtha (D) is hospitalized after complications arose after scheduled surgery to remove his gallbladder.  Murtha is currently in intensive care at the Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington, VA.

    Will health issues force Murtha to retire?

  4. Yeah, I understand, sitting around being upset isn't going to help anything, but this NBC interview is just frustrating.



    Yet perhaps the biggest news in the interview was when he said political prognosticators were quick to write off the Democrats’ chances of holding on to his old Senate seat after his son Beau said he wouldn’t run — a decision Biden said was made over Thanksgiving.

    Way to go, guys. Thanks for keeping everyone in a holding pattern while Beau and Joe doddered around for two months until they decided to let everyone know that they’d have to find another candidate.  

  5. I’m surprised to see Bradley (who I haven’t heard of) getting these endorsements. Anyone have some insight?

  6. Rod Blum, the Dubuque Republican who said he’d run against Braley in October seems to have dropped off the face of the earth–didn’t file an FEC report either. I don’t know whether he is still planning to run, but a young Republican attorney is now getting in the race. I doubt Braley will have a problem in this D+5 district, though.

  7. At risk of becomming Mr. NY-14 I am coming to conclusion this could be a very interesting race. I think a going to coin a new voter group called “Joshua Tree” voters after the bar in NY-14 located on 35th and 3rd just like Tim Horton’s and Duncan Donuts voters in other states. Reading the Yelp description below:

    One pretty quickly picks up the idea what type of bar this is and who goes to it. It’s a trashy bar that plays Reagan era 80s music videos especially Eddy Murphy’s “My Girl wants to party all time” all the time filled with young people who grew up in the suburbs and moved to NYC after college. Just like Reshma Saujani and myself(Saujani is from the suburbs of Chicago and I am from the Boston suburbs). A part of me even thinks of Murray Hill, Gramercy Park, and 1st and 2nd Ave parts of the UES as a minarture part of the OC right in NYC another part of me calls this area “corporate hip”. Basically these people don’t even know who Carolyn Maloney is and don’t care but if Saujani can get these people out to vote it could be a big problem for Maloney and I don’t think they are entirely against voting for a conservative democrat or a republican remember a lot of these people came from much more conservative areas of the country. Remember a lot of this people came to NYC to work on Wall Street or for other large companies not necessarily for the progressive lifestyle of NYC.

    I’ll have more to say after I think about this some more

  8. Scares the fuck out of me, I know a bunch of people who don’t call themselves Republicans though, doesn’t mean they still won’t vote for them.  I guess these are the few.  The proud.  The crazy ass self-identified Republicans.

  9. supposedly has filed to run against Evan Bayh in Indiana.  The only reason I know this is because Cook suddenly changed his rating of the race from Solid D to Lean D.

  10. Granted, I forgot it was today until a few hours ago so now that Ive settled in and been chilling, I really dont care to go.  Especially since I live alone, know none of my neighbors, so it’s really going to be sitting in an elementary school classroom for an hour and a half surrounded by strangers…. Granted, the only ever time I went to caucus was in 08 so I doubt the line to get in will be as long nor it being as much of a clusterfuck with turn-out being much more predictable.

    I wouldnt bother if it werent for the state house seat being open, I want to make sure Im a delegate so I can decide who gets the DFL endorsement.  As for the gubernatorial, Im pretty undecided but may check the box of who I am kind of leaning towards but other than that, I really dont care whatsoever.  Im thinking that a solid margin of delegates will just check undecided and let that be that.

    I did get a 4 pg mailer from RT Rybak today, and he’s on my shortlist so maybe Ill throw my useless caucus vote his way simply because he is the only one I’ve gotten mail from.

  11. and want to learn the ins and outs of a political party,



    Party leaders at caucuses are always looking for politically knowledgeable younger voters to help them hone their messages.

    It helped me get involved in the WA state party starting back in ’88. (I was amazed at the number of county apparatuses that Jackson forces took over that year.)

  12. I think the motto of 2009-2010 should be, “You Don’t Have to Be Competent, Just Be a Republican.”

  13. Judicial appointments may produce complete ideological hacks, but at least they’re usually technically competent hacks.

  14. I just finshed reading David Plouffe’s book, they pinned everything on wining the Iowa Caucuses.

    BTW I did knuckle under in 2008 and attended my precinct caucus. The Democrats had a binding poll for the presidential race (sort of a firehouse primary). I voted for Obama and then left.

  15. it’s a case of not progressive enough. In the case of Kitzhaber and Gore, they have a long running feud, so a Bradbury endorsement isn’t surprising. I’m really not sure what the deal is with Dean, though — my hunch was that Bradbury was a Dean endorser in 2004 and I finally managed to track down that, yes, that was the case… but it may be about something more complex than mere payback.

  16. Bradbury was a very early endorser of Dean way back in 2003 — he endorsed Dean when only three members of Congress had done so.  Dean raised money for him when he ran for SOS again, and the two have been thick as thieves ever since.  I wouldn’t read that as a condemnation of Kitzhaber.

    The Gore endorsement is a bit more puzzling, particularly since Kitz has a reputation as an environmentalist.

  17. (I guess the pun works in its own way)


    Modeled on the enormously successful Bank of North Dakota, the Bank of Oregon is based on a simple premise of keeping Oregon money in Oregon and putting it to work for us. Instead of sending millions of dollars out of state to these banks, we could focus our resources here at home and help build our economy. All state revenue would be required to be deposited with The Bank of Oregon.

  18. Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family during this time. He’s a good man and he served his country well over the years.

    Any news on the seriousness?

  19. Either that he’s decided to become a performance artist.

    This guy must really believe that the NY Democratic primary consists solely of Wall Streeters with goldfish memories.

  20. doesnt mean we have to kid ourselves and say nice things about him.  He is one of the biggest problems when it comes to wasting American tax-dollars by essentially funneling the money to his district.  The John Murtha Airport?  Bitch please!  WASTE!!!!

    But while I dislike him as a politician, I do certainly hope he gets better.

  21. Word seems to be Hutchison desperately wants a run-off, a) for more time to get her campaign back on track and b) to prove Rick Perry is far from invincible, even among Texas Republicans. Can’t imagine Perry running for Prez if he can barely make it through a primary in his own state.

  22. That just got me into a downright hostile mood, ugh.

    I really fucking hate the Bidens.  Thanks for costing us a Senate seat!

  23. I actually fail to understand what was going through the Biden’s heads over this period. I’ve never seen anything like it. Pointlessly screwing the party over. That is the end of the Biden dynaty, they’re dead to me.

  24. after the electoral victory on the tax raising referrendums 66 and 67.

    Don’t know if any of these efforts (e.g. kicker reform) could backfire, but if so, Alvin Alley could be a solid R candidate for OR-Gov.

  25. Inullnullwill be 45 next week. I have actually been to caucuses, both Democratic and Republican, in the 80’s and early 90’s and came away disgusted with both parties.

  26. If republicans win this race dems will be in troubles and republicans will have a strong candidate for senate or governor in next years waiting to veteran democrat incumbents retire.

    Interesting your comment.

  27. Right now I put the chances of Saujani winning up with that of a Republican winning one of congressional districts in Massachusetts but there is no polling for either so its all a guessing game on what the mood of the electorate. This is a pretty hard district to poll with so many people having cell phones and being out and about at all hours of the day and night. Lets see if someone starts to poll this along with Charlie Rangel’s district, the other possible primary of note in NYC.

  28. because he is a corrupt asshole. The Chairman of the committee that is in charge of setting tax laws cannot possibly have an excuse for flouting them so brazenly. I hope he’ll go down, and I think there’s a decent chance of it, if only someone credible primaries him.

    Maloney isn’t my favorite Democrat, but she is involved in no scandal. I really doubt Saujani could win anything but possibly an open seat.

    If I had to guess, I think it’s probably a bit less unlikely that a Republican could win a seat somewhere in MA than that Maloney will go down this year.

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