SSP Daily Digest: 2/24

FL-Sen: There’s one more poll of the GOP primary in the Florida Senate race, and it’s even more dire for Charlie Crist than the Rasmussen poll from earlier in the week: Crist trails Marco Rubio 48-30, according to a poll commissioned by the Chamber of Commerce. (Remember that their previous poll, back in October, had Crist leading Rubio 44-30, and even that was considered something of a warning sign at the time.) Meanwhile, Jim DeMint seems to be actively goading Crist into switching parties – something he might want to be careful about, thinking back to that R2K poll showing that was Crist’s best shot at being Florida’s next Senator. (And Aaron Blake is certainly noticing that Crist is sounding more “independent,” for what that’s worth.) Finally, while Jeb Bush will probably never come right out and endorse Rubio over Crist, he’s pretty much hitting us over the head with a sledgehammer as to how he feels about the race, saying that Crist’s support of the stimulus was “unforgivable.”

IN-Sen: While Baron Hill is continuing to let his interest in filling in as Senate candidate be known, DSCC head Bob Menendez seems to be moving full speed ahead on coronating fellow Rep. Brad Ellsworth, saying he “is going to be a great candidate.” (In other Menendez news today, he’s confirming that there aren’t going to be any more Democratic retirements this cycle.) Meanwhile, Evan Bayh is trying to walk back his douchey comments delivered as he walked out the door last week about how the stimulus didn’t create any new jobs (in the face of CBO estimates that indicated he was off by about 2 million). Now he’s downgraded that to it’s “probably largely true if limited to the last six months,” whatever that means.

KY-Sen (pdf): Who would’ve thought, even half a year ago, that Republican SoS Trey Grayson’s biggest problem wouldn’t be the general election but even getting out of the primary? Republican pollster Magellan (independent of either candidate) released a poll of the GOP primary, finding Rand Paul overwhelming Grayson, 44-23. Grayson and Paul are busy trading blows over coal, each accusing the other of being insufficiently pro-coal.

NY-Sen-B: As the search goes on for a celebrity candidate for the Republican nomination to go up against Kirsten Gillibrand, a new name has just bubbled up that may leave some people scratching their heads: Dan Senor, the former Bush adviser (and husband to CNN’s Campbell Brown). He’s currently talking to “money types” about the race.

PA-Sen: Franklin & Marshall’s new poll of the Pennsylvania Senate race doesn’t contain much good news for either Arlen Specter or Joe Sestak; they’re both losing to ex-Rep. Pat Toomey, at least among likely voters. Specter trails Toomey 44-34 and Sestak is down by an even worse 38-20. However, they fare much better among registered voters, with Specter beating Toomey 33-29 and Toomey beating Sestak 25-22. (As far as trendlines go, last month Toomey and Specter were tied among RVs at 40 each, and Toomey led Specter 45-31 among LVs, so it’s actually a bit of an improvement.) Specter has the edge in the Democratic primary, up 33 to 16 (little changed from 30-13 last month). Meanwhile, Toomey has tried publicly to put some distance between himself and his Wall Street past, but it’s clear that he’s privately still eager to take their money in order to fight his opponents’ “populist” agenda. (Hmm… that may be the first time in history anyone has ever called Arlen Specter “populist.”) Toomey’s approach is just part of a larger movement, profiled in detail by the Washington Post, about how Wall Street contributions are increasingly flowing away from the Dems and back toward their usual friends in the GOP.

CA-Gov: One more poll has Meg Whitman overwhelming Insurance Comm. Steve Poizner by a wide margin in the GOP primary: 60-12, suggesting that her ad blitz while the other candidates have stayed silent has paid off (for now). The poll was taken by M4 Strategies on behalf of the Small Business Action Committee (although it’s not clear if they have a horse in the race).

FL-Gov: There are dueling ads in the Florida governor’s race already. In an indication of how topsy-turvy everybody’s messaging has gotten in the last year, the RGA is attacking the Democratic candidate, Alex Sink, for being an elitist banker, while the Democrats are attacking Bill McCollum for voting for congressional pay raises and to lift the debt limit.

IA-Gov: Ed Fallon, whom you may remember for his primary challenge to Rep. Leonard Boswell a few years ago, sounds like he’s sniffing out the possibility of a primary challenge to Gov. Chet Culver now. Fallon says the party needs someone stronger than Culver (who’s in bad position in the polls vis-à-vis Terry Branstad, although that has more to do with Branstad’s strength than Culver’s own approvals).

PA-Gov: The same Franklin & Marshall poll doesn’t look at general election matchups in the gubernatorial race, seeing as how the Democratic field is completely unsettled (although, given the Senate numbers and the lack of name rec for all the Dems, I wouldn’t expect those numbers to be very appealing). At any rate, they find Tom Corbett on track to win the GOP nod, beating state Rep. Sam Rohrer 26-4. The Dem side is utterly dominated by “undecided,” with Allegheny Co. Exec Dan Onorato, Auditor Jack Wagner, and ex-Rep. Joe Hoeffel all tied for the lead at 6. (That’s not a misprint.) Scranton mayor Chris Doherty (who just dropped out) is at 4, with state Sen. Anthony Williams still in close striking distance at 1.

RI-Gov: Here’s one of the first definitive-sounding polls in a very interesting gubernatorial race, courtesy of Brown University. Ex-Sen. Lincoln Chafee seems to be in pole position in his independent bid, although his lead over Democratic state Treasurer Frank Caprio isn’t that big: Chafee leads 34-28, with 12 for Republican John Robitaille. Chafee has a bigger lead over Democratic AG Patrick Lynch 32-17, with 13 for Robitaille. There are still a lot of undecideds in the Dem primary, but Caprio leads Lynch, 30-21.

TX-Gov: Rasmussen takes what may be its last look at the Texas gubernatorial race before the primary next Tuesday. The real question may be shaping up to be whether Rick Perry can escape the primary without a runoff. Perry’s in the lead with 48, with Kay Bailey Hutchison at 27 and Debra Medina at 16. (The last Rasmussen poll was three weeks ago, before both Medina’s surge and then subsequent crash, so the numbers really aren’t that different from that poll’s 44-29-14.) Rasmussen also finds a competitive general election, with nice trendlines for Democratic candidate Bill White from the last poll. White loses to Rick Perry 47-41 (instead of 48-39), and loses to KBH 47-38, while beating Medina 47-37 (instead of losing to her 41-38, like last time). Kay Bailey Hutchison may have signaled that she’s thrown in the towel, admitting in an AP interview that she’s been flummoxed by Perry’s success at casting her as a Washington insider. John Cornyn is now saying that he hopes KBH decides to stick around as a Senator “if” she loses the governor’s race — I don’t think you have too much to worry about there, John.

KS-01: SurveyUSA has a poll out of the GOP primary in a race that’s gotten little attention: the election to fill the open seat left behind in the dark-red 1st by Rep. Jerry Moran’s Senate run. At R+23, the only question is whether semi-wingnut or super-wingnut wins. It actually looks like semi-wingnut might win: state Sen. Jim Barnett (who seems more in Moran’s mold) is leading fellow state Sen. Tim Huelskamp (the Club for Growth’s endorsee) 23-16. Former Sam Brownback CoS Rob Wasinger is in 3rd place at 8.

PA-06: Some cryptic comments from Lower Merion Twp. Commissioner Brian Gordon have him sounding like his short campaign in the 6th is about to come to an end (after he managed only 1 vote at the Chester Co. Democratic Party endorsement shindig where Manan Trivedi prevailed), with an eye toward another whack at Rep. Jim Gerlach in two years. He said “I’m either the last candidate out for 2010 or the earliest guy in for 2012.”

PA-12: Now we know the dates for the party meeting where the nominees for the May 18 special election in the 12th get picked. For the Dems, the state executive committee will pick a nominee on March 8. For the GOP, a convention held in Latrobe on March 11 will pick the nominee. One other Dem is also floating his name out there for the nod: former Cambria County Controller Albert Penska. Meanwhile, no one’s quite sure what happens to the half a million dollars in campaign cash left behind by Rep. John Murtha. It looks like money reserved for the upcoming general election will need to be refunded, but the money in his leadership PAC is up for grabs.

VA-05: I wonder if this presages an independent/Tea Party run by ex-Rep. Virgil Goode, or if he’s just looking to keep his face in the news? Goode is planning to address a Lynchburg teabagger gathering next week. Goode, who briefly was an Independent in between being a Democrat and a Republican during his Congressional tenure, has already announced that he won’t run for the Republican nomination again.

VA-09: It sounds like Republican state House majority leader Morgan Griffith is pulling the trigger on a run against Rep. Rick Boucher in the 9th, and has the endorsement of the other two GOP legislators who’d considered the race. Boucher is already acting fast to shore up his right flank, touting his most recent endorsement from the NRA.

WA-03: There’s one less Republican in the GOP field in the 3rd, as Washougal mayor pro tem Jon Russell pulled out of the race and endorsed state Rep. Jaime Herrera. (Interestingly, businessman David Castillo, rather than Herrera, seems to have most of the endorsements from area politicians in this race, despite not being an elected official — although he seems to have locked many of these endorsements down before Brian Baird retired and Herrera got in.) Russell is still looking to move up; he’ll be running for the House seat in LD-18 vacated by Herrera.

Blue Dogs: The Center for Responsive Politics takes a look at fundraising by the Blue Dogs, and finds that they easily outraise their more liberal counterparts among the Dems. The average Blue Dog raised $693K last year, $75K more than the average non-Blue Dog Democrat. Is it a question of them being more vulnerable and needing more money, or them being more corporate-friendly? Or more accurately, is it a question of them being more vulnerable and thus needing more money and thus needing to be more corporate-friendly in order to get money from the people who have money to give?

Redistricting: In its ongoing series looking at redistricting battles in various states, the Rose Institute at Claremont McKenna College has a very thorough rundown of what all is at stake in Florida in the next few years. Complicating matters is the potential passage of a “Fair Districts” initiative that will be on the ballot this year (and seems to be on track to pass), which would restrict the parties’ ability to gerrymander.

50 thoughts on “SSP Daily Digest: 2/24”

  1. and run as an indie?  There’s a sore loser law, but if she dropped out could she run?  in a 3 way she’d have a slightly better chance (and so would we) at winning the general.

  2. If the Republicans nominate Rand Paul, I think they will be shooting themselves in the foot.  Paul is probably the opposite of what Kentucky wants as a Senator, and if somehow he’s elected in 2010, I think he’ll go down in flames for re-election.  Paul is an absolute nut.  

    I really feel like MO will elect Carnahan because Blount is not a solid candidate.  I also feel that we have a good chance of winning OH because Portman has some serious flaws.  As far as Crist goes, I think he’s a better fit as a Democrat as opposed to a Republican.  It’s not too late for Crist to abandon ship and join our side.  I’ll take him.  I’m also got my fingers crossed for NH.  Maybe Ayotte will slip up and be tarnished in the Republican primary.  Too early to tell.

    I think the Republicans may actually be “tea-bagged” by some of these wackos who will run as a third-party/independent.  Harry Reid might actually pull it off if a Teabagger joins the race.

  3. Can Grayson run as an indy if he loses the primary.  I personally find these three horse races more interesting and healthier for our democracy, but I know I’m alone on that here.  

  4. This last statement about The Blue Dogs is true.  Or more accurately, is it a question of them being more vulnerable and thus needing more money and thus needing to be more corporate-friendly in order to get money from the people who have money to give?

    Why do you think people in the Blue Dog caucus still let Pelosi pass things like health care and a lot of the White House agenda.  If they were the callous bastards that everyone portrayed them to be they probably have the numbers to block the stuff.

    There isn’t a single Blue Dog who wants to see their constituents go without health insurance I am confident to say, can we say the same about everyone in the Republican caucus.  

  5. He is not thinking about challenging Culver himself, but he does want to see someone else challenge Culver in the primary. I voted for Fallon in the 2006 IA-Gov primary and the 2008 IA-03 primary but couldn’t disagree more strongly with his current efforts.

    I doubt he will be able to recruit anyone. The filing deadline in Iowa is March 19–not a lot of time to organize a campaign.

  6. Ruh-roh…

    “Redistricting in Florida is done by the state legislature. They are expected to pass a joint resolution either during the regular session or a thirty day special session called by the governor. (If they fail finish an apportionment plan, the Supreme Court is to make one within sixty days)… The governor does not have veto power over the legislative or Supreme Court plan.

    So in other words:

    a) The McCollum-Sink race isn’t terribly important, unless you live in Florida.

    b) If nobody’s set up an Act Blue account for the Fair Districts initiative, they should.

    c) So what, the legislature can just keep gerrymandering itself into power indefinitely with no statewide check? WTF, Florida?

  7. I think Ellsworth has the Senate nomination all but sewn up at this point. He’s already withdrawn from running for his House seat. Kind of sucks for Hill that he was overseas all last week, but them’s the breaks. He will get his chance to move up in 2012 when Mitch Daniels is term-limited out of the governor’s seat and it looks at least possible that Sen. Lugar will retire. Ellsworth will win the Senate seat.

    The thing about Baron Hill’s House seat is that the GOP has a competitive field already lined up to run against him. If he were to get the Senate nomination, the Indiana Dems would basically cede his House seat to Mike Sodrel. The GOP are kind of stuck with the riff raff that field for the primary for Ellsworth’s seat and the Dem state rep (Trent Van Haaften) who field to replace him sounds like a very competitive recruit.  

  8. Ran across this article on the New York State Senate, with a summary of each distict, with the city of residence of each senator, and various other population info

    Unfortunately the table doent copy and paste  very efficiently, for me at least.

  9. this is down from a 56-27 lead in January so Coons is moving up, but that’s inevitable due to the name recognition gap. I’ll breathe easier when I see Castle falling below 50.

  10. Carol Porter (wife of State Rep and Gubernatorial candidate DuBose Porter) officially announced her candidacy for Lt. Governor today.

    Yes, you read that right, DuBose Porter is a candidate for Governor, his wife is a candidate for Lt. Governor.

    Unlike DuBose, Carol Porter has no primary opposition yet.

    Now, if only we can field candidates for Labor Commissioner and Agriculture Commissioner we’d have a full slate for statewide races.

    Oh, and here’s a link:

  11. First, the Congressional districts are subject to veto (I think). Second, controlling the governor’s mansion gives the Dems bargaining power generally, which we could expect would be leveraged into to somewhat fairer districts (though that might fail). And third, gerrymanders against the political climate of a state are hard to maintain in perpetuity, especially when you control a huge majority in one or another of the chambers. I expect that the Republicans will try to keep their 2/3 majority in the House, and fail when their newly drawn districts are subject to Obama’s reelection campaign.  

  12. If she loses (which is pretty probable) her political career is done.  The odds of her getting reelected to the Senate as either a Republican or an Independent after pulling a stunt like that are too low for her to risk it.

    Granted she should expect a primary challenge in 2012 if she runs, but she has one big advantage: most Texas Republicans like her, even if they won’t vote out Rick Perry for her.  Yes, Florida Republicans mostly had a favorable opinion of Crist before they turned on him, but she at least is the incumbent which should help her a bit.  

  13. Dorgan retired, Reid and Menendez asked every Democrat up for reelection for this year if they were going to retire. Bayh was on the fence when they asked him that and Bayh indicated he was undecided if he wanted to run for reelection again. Also Bayh has a persona non grata relationship with the Democratic leadership including Reid, so he didn’t see any personal reason to inform them he was leaving before everyone else found out.

  14. I think it’s more or less code for none of e.g. Boxer, Bennet, Lincoln, or Specter bailing out on us.

    I’m worried about perhaps losing Lautenberg or Byrd by then, though.

  15. Now there’s a thought that should lead to nausea.

    Still, North Carolina has the Ejector Seat.  So it’s only fair that Kentucky gets the Heartland Wacko Seat.  (Though Oklahoma seems to unofficially have two of them already.)

  16. Meek has no reason to withdraw for Crist’s benefit, and he’s worked hard on fund-raising, no matter how lackluster the CW feeling is about his campaign.

    Have there been any polls on a Dem primary Crist vs Meek? It’s not clear to me Crist would win that. And if Meek wins that primary, he’ll be so depleted that his longshot chances against Rubio will be even longer.

    And have there been any polls on a general election with Crist as the Dem candidate? I think with the anti-incumbent wave growing the Governor still loses to Rubio (even with the Dem votes he’d now be receiving).

    Bottom line: right now I don’t want Crist to “pull a Spector” and make some sleazy cynical switch to Dem.

    And if DeMint is pushing it, I doubly don’t want it.

  17. I’ve been really interested in the GOP for awhile now and how the party would divide itself.  There are certainly going to be races where tea party elements hurt their chances.

  18. I’m convinced Specter will will continue to run for that Senate seat even after he dies.  He’ll probably declare himself an Independent to signify his withdrawal from the flesh.

  19. So Ellsworth must be 100% super-confident that he’s the pick, and that Hill can’t dislodge him no matter how much Hill whines.  

  20. Hill did make the plunge, we wouldn’t just write the seat off. We have a GREAT base, see my diary about it.…  They would just have to run a write in campaign during the primary. We may actually be better off with a different democrat. Sodrel is HATED, and Hill is not that well liked either, and a fresh face might be able to do better than Hill could. I seriously doubt Hill will take on Ellsworth  though. Ellsworth will make it to the Senate, and Hill will either run for Governor or Senate in 2012. It is a good time to be a hoosierdem :)

  21. ….As long as he promised to eat whatever remaining brains the Republicans had. However, I still prefer Sestak to Alive Specter.

  22. Joe Manchin could appoint himself, or he could appoint a caretaker to fill the seat until Manchin runs for it.  Either way, a Dem is going to hold that seat for the foreseeable future.

    Lautenberg is a very serious problem, though.  He absolutely must make it through the rest of his term, or that seat is lost.  And if Christie is smart and appoints Tom Kean, Jr. or Frak LoBiondo, we might not be able to win the seat back even in the next election.

  23. That they’d vote for Rand “Crazypants from Crazytown” Paul over a reasonably inoffensive Democrat like Conway.

    All they’d have to do is ask him about the gold standard. Or the UN. Or Ayn Rand’s religious beliefs. Or the Dept. of Education. You get the idea.

  24. I could care less; Ravotivich has to be better than Patterson. Also it clears the field for Cuomo. Who cares what happens to Patterson?    

  25. Probably won’t matter too much, but we can’t risk having him wound Cuomo on his way out with his usual tricks (race guard).

    Besides, there’s always the possibility that if Ravotivich becomes Governor it can lead to a shake-up in New York politics.  Ravotivich probably won’t run against Cuomo but if he does a good job for the rest of his term he could be a candidate for something someday.  

  26. Ravotivich is 77 years old. So I seriously doubt it. I think it would be a great thing if Paterson had to resign.  

  27. is 77, so I think he’s more of an elder statesman than an up-and-comer for building a bench around.

  28. … except the scorn of teabaggers nationwide, that will work vigourously to defeat him, beyond any other candidate in any other race.  

    If you think the Teabaggers hate Crist now, wait till he switches parties.  It will be similiar to how the disdain for Scoffava spiked when she endorsed Owens.

    Changing parties will completely cement the image of Crist as a ‘go along to get along’, ‘say anything, do anything to get elected’, weather-vane, unprincipled political hack.

    I don’t see that switching will endear him to Dems or Independents either.


  29. I may be misremembering, but didn’t the courts say he could become Lieutenant Governor but without certain powers?

  30. is from November, and a lot has happened since then. I want to see some head on head primary numbers with Crist and Meek, and polling with Crist as a democrat not and independent.    

  31. will be ratchet up several notches.

    Scott Brown is being crucified by conservatives after just that one vote a couple days ago (and for a bill that’s not all that liberal really) and being called a traitor.

    We ain’t seen nothing yet if Crist flips to Dem.

  32. that poll isn’t really relevant to this as it’s for the general election, not the Democratic primary, and it has Crist as an R not D.

    I’m hoping that Kos funds an R2000 poll on this.

    Markos has been writing a lot on this race, clearly leaning towards Crist flipping:

    Yesterday: FL-Sen: DeMint goading Crist

    And on Monday: FL-Sen: Precursor to a switch?

    His feeling: Meek has a near zero chance of winning in November. So between Rubio and Crist being the next FL Senator, we’d best support whatever it takes for Crist to squeak in.

    But we need some polling numbers.

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