SSP Daily Digest: 3/3

AR-Sen: Bill Halter’s netroots haul has crested $1 million, between MoveOn and ActBlue (led by the PCCC and Daily Kos). On top of all that, the Sierra Club is joining the fray, with its own attack ads against Blanche Lincoln over her attempts to limit EPA regulation. The ads don’t mention Halter by name, though.

AZ-Sen: John McCain is getting the newest GOP sensation, Scott Brown, to come to Arizona to stump for him. Because, you know, nothing says “Hey teabaggers, vote for me instead of J.D. Hayworth!” than bringing in the New England RINO who gladly took all the teabaggers’ money and support and turned around and voted for a Democratic piece of legislation on his first week on the job.

CO-Sen: Having seemingly scored big time with his public option letter (at least to the extent of raising his previously very low profile), Michael Bennet seems to be getting very ambitious. The freshman Senator just unveiled a comprehensive package of Senate reforms that he’s authored that’s aimed squarely at undoing the quagmire that the Senate has become, including filibuster reform, eliminating anonymous holds and private-sector earmarks, and barring lawmakers from lobbying… for life.

KS-Sen: Rasmussen finds that (big surprise) all the action in the Kansas Senate race is the GOP primary (although they didn’t bother polling the hotly-contested primary). Rather than test possible candidate state Sen. David Haley, they just take the “Generic D” route, and find both Reps. Jerry Moran and Todd Tiahrt beating G.D., 51-26 and 50-29 respectively.

ND-Sen: The Dems’ leading candidate for contesting the likely takeover of the open Senate seat in North Dakota by Republican Gov. John Hoeven decided against a run, probably sensing the long odds. Former AG Heidi Heitkamp said no (on her brother’s radio show), although rumors suggest she’s interested in running for Governor in 2012, meaning she probably wouldn’t want a big defeat as people’s last memory of her. State Sen. Tracy Potter is already in for the Dems, and businesswoman Kristin Hedger may also get in, as she said she’d defer only to Heitkamp.

NY-Sen-B: Is Kirsten Gillibrand going to actually be able to waltz to re-election, or will some other moneybags celebrity pop out of the woodwork next week? After having sent Harold Ford Jr. packing, now billionaire publisher Mort Zuckerman decided against a Republican bid (couching it oddly, in that being a Senator would take up too much time from his actual day job). Zuckerman is wise to save his money, as Rasmussen finds Zuckerman losing to Gillibrand 47-36 (not as bad as Marist yesterday, but still not encouraging). Rasmussen also finds Gillibrand beating even George Pataki, 44-42 (although for some reason they don’t poll actual candidate Bruce Blakeman).

NY-Gov: When it rains, it pours, for David Paterson. The New York State Commission on Public Integrity just released its finding that he violated state ethics laws for securing World Series tickets for himself and friends and then falsely testifying under oath about it. That gets sent over to Andrew Cuomo’s desk on top of the whole meshugas about the state police, which kept building today with the resignation of state police superintendent Harry Corbitt. Maurice Hinchey just publicly said what I’ll bet most other New York Dems are privately thinking: he’s glad he won’t have to run with Paterson upticket from him.

Meanwhile, there’s a ton of snap polling out today about Paterson, of varying degrees of badness for him. Quinnipiac finds his approval at an all-time low of 24/62, although voters say 61-31 he should finish his term rather than resign. SurveyUSA, however, finds a plurality for resignation: 47 say resign, 44 say stay. Rasmussen finds 28 say resign, 53 say stay. Rasmussen also threw in some numbers for the gubernatorial election in November, finding Cuomo winning against Republican Rick Lazio, 55-30. They also tested out gadflyish businessman Carl Paladino, who’s made noises about running. With Paladino as the R, Cuomo wins 56-27, and with Paladino as an I, Cuomo is at 50, with 19 for Lazio and 15 for Paladino.

OK-Gov: Here’s a path for Democrats to win the Governor’s race in Oklahoma, according to Rasmussen: find a way for state Sen. Randy Brogdon to win the GOP primary. Unfortunately, it seems like the very conservative Rep. Mary Fallin is well on her way to winning the primary against the ultra-conservative Brogdon. Fallin beats Democratic Lt. Gov. Jari Askins 51-37, and AG Drew Edmondson 51-36. Brodgon, however, loses to Askins 42-39 and beats Edmondson 42-41.

PA-Gov: Quinnipiac released the gubernatorial half of its Pennsylvania poll, and Arlen Specter’s bounce doesn’t seem to have rubbed off much on the Democrats running for Governor… although their main problem, as always, seems to be that no one knows who they are. In the primary, “don’t know” dominates at 59, followed by Dan Onorato is at 16, Jack Wagner at 11, Joe Hoeffel at 10, and Anthony Williams at 2. AG Tom Corbett has no problems on the GOP side, beating state Rep. Sam Rohrer 43-5. In head-to-heads, Corbett beats Onorato 42-32, Wagner 42-30, and Hoeffel 41-30.

TN-Gov: Here’s another state where it’s still just too damn early to be polling the gubernatorial race. MTSU doesn’t even bother with head-to-heads in the Tennessee race, but finds that Republican Knoxville mayor Bill Haslam (who’s been spending heavily on advertising) has a bit of a leg up, in that he’s the least unknown of the myriad candidates (19% of respondents were actually able to name him). Mike McWherter is the best known Dem (although that may be because he shares a last name with his dad the ex-Gov.).

HI-01: We’ve gotten confirmation that the May 22 special election to replace resigned Rep. Neil Abercrombie will be an all mail-in affair, saving the state some money but possibly scrambling the parties’ GOTV plans. This election and the special election in PA-12 four days earlier pose a quandary for the NRCC — spend money they don’t really have, in order to take advantage of what seems to be nationwide Republican momentum… or fess up that they really don’t have much chance in either of these districts and save their money for November (or worse, spend the money and lose anyway, as with NY-20 and NY-23). NRCC spokesperson Paul Lindsey seems to telegraph which way the NRCC is leaning: “Considering that one district is the birthplace of President Obama and the other gives Democrats a voter registration advantage of more than 130,000, it is not lost on anyone that we face an incredible challenge in both races.”

NY-15: Charles Rangel has finally put down his gavel as Ways and Means chair, after he was found to have violated ethics rules. He says it’s a temporary “leave of absence,” but the House’s presiding officer said “the resignation is accepted,” suggesting something more permanent. This comes in the face of a growing wave of opposition within his own party, with a number of members returning his PAC money (ranging from the very vulnerable, like Walt Minnick, to the theoretically vulnerable, like Niki Tsongas). Also, perhaps symbolically important, it came after Artur Davis (running for Alabama governor) became the first CBC member to call for Rangel to give up his gavel.

OK-02 (pdf): The 2nd seems like a strange choice of a place to poll, but I guess it’s a good test case in terms of a Democratic Rep. in a dark-red district that hasn’t been on anyone’s radar screen as being vulnerable (in the face of utterly no-name challengers). True to form, Dan Boren doesn’t have much to worry about this fall. He’s having no trouble against his anonymous opponents, beating Dan Arnett 49-22, Daniel Edmonds 44-28, and Howard Houchen 48-26. (Teabagging independent Miki Booth pulls in 7 or 8 in each matchup.) Much of that has to do with the level of opposition, but Boren is the first incumbent Rep. PPP has found who’s polling above 50 in terms of approval, at 51/33. Boren’s occasional, um, departures from the party line can be better understood in terms of Barack Obama’s disturbingly low 27/65 approval in the district.

PA-11: Lackawanna County Commissioner Corey O’Brien got some help from the left as he fights a primary battle against crusty Rep. Paul Kanjorski; he got the endorsement of two local unions: the Northeast Pennsylvania Building and Construction Trades Council, and the Scranton Building and Construction Trades Council.

PA-12: Bill Russell released an internal poll showing him beating Tim Burns in the GOP primary in the 12th. That’s not really the newsworthy part; what’s interesting is his internal pollster is Zogby. The pollster that everyone treated as an oracle in 2004 has been reduced to polling on behalf of BMW Direct’s direct-mail-scam frontman? Lord, how the mighty have fallen.

Census: Guess who’s finally learned to love the Census? Michele Bachmann! Probably after some of her staffers showed her a puppet show spreadsheet showing how a combination of not enough residents in her district + a Democratic governor and legislature = no more MN-06. At any rate, she’s planning to vote for a largely symbolic resolution to encourage Americans to participate in the Census.

59 thoughts on “SSP Daily Digest: 3/3”

  1. Thing is I could very well see Michelle Bachmann sitting on a couch watching two staffers with sock puppets explain it too her as she has a confused look on her face.

  2. I’m not crazy about having a governor who was appointed.  At least Paterson was on the ticket.  Also, in general, there really isn’t much time left, and I don’t think someone new would be able to even get settled before the election.

    At the same time, if all of this is true, Paterson needs to be on the street and fast.

  3. will lead conservatives to turn their lukewarm support of Hayworth into red hot support.

    I don’t understand why these loons are still supporting him, unless they actually learned that candidates who are too conservative to their state fail horribly.

  4. Now let’s get him out Congress all together.  Were some of the folks on here calling for Chris Dodd’s head simply because it was a Senate seat as opposed to the safe Dem district that Rangel represents?  I think we need to get leaders back in Rangel’s district to force him out.  

  5. Has there been any recent polling here? All I found is one from Jan. with Case 15 points ahead of Hanabusa.

    If this special election is mail only, the “turn out” will be significantly higher than typical for a special.

  6. …a Republican has admitted that Obama was born in the US! That’s practically grounds for excommunication these days. Just wait, now they’ll accuse Paul Lindsey of being a Communist plant or something.  

  7. Some time ago, I heard Willie Brown on MSNBC call Bennet the next Ted Kennedy. The remark left me totally bemused at the time, but if he continues to show this kind of legislative acumen (and of course, wins re-election), who knows?

  8. It keeps getting worse and worse.

    I think there should be no Lieutenant Governor from the New York State Senate for some time. That legislative body is a cesspool of corruption and petty criminality. No doubt, Paterson fit right in with people like Hiram Monserrate and Pedro Espada, not to mention Joe Bruno.

  9. the resign/stay numbers for Paterson? Can anyone explain why these numbers are all over the map?

  10. Pallone has gotten his strongest possible opponent. Newspaper editor Diane Gooch, the vice-chair of the Monmouth County GOP has announced a run against him. She is a self-funder, so she should be able to remain more competitive with Pallone than most opponents. She has already given her campaign $150,000 and will match every donation. Also, most of the strong candidates considering a run (Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini, mostly) have announced they are not running.

  11. against Schumer, even if it’s no one important.

    But why would anyone target Schumer, when the other seat provides a much better target?

  12. For now, I think the realistic GOP pool for either Senate race is…

    Michael Balboni, fmr. State Senator

    Bruce Blakeman, Port Authority Commissioner (the only declared candidate)

    Edward Diana, Orange County Executive

    Joseph DioGuardi, fmr. US Representative

    Of these, Balboni and Blakeman are the most formidable. Diana’s a nobody, but I doubt he pulls the trigger. DioGuardi’s a has-been, but his ultra-conservative credentials could easily get him through a primary. My suspicion is Balboni and Diana would rather deal with Gillibrand than Schumer. I could almost see DioGuardi throw a hail mary and challenge the latter, though.

  13. Are turning out to be wonderful surprises after rather inauspicious beginnings…

    I’ll admit that I wasn’t too sure about either of them at first, but they both seem to be coming into their own quite nicely.

  14. someone who appreciates what Gillibrand has been doing. I’ve had enough of this crap where people are constantly saying they are disappointed in Gillibrand and that someone else should have been appointed. I honestly can’t even think of a bill or issue where she went against progressives while in the Senate. She’s been a great Senator so far and a real leader in GLBT issues (considering gays lacked a Senator willing to fight 100% for them til now).    

  15. And your screens probably matter a lot. Most people just know he’s a bum – they may not be following the details much (though of course it’s wall-to-wall coverage).

  16. Now we just need an actual gay Senator. But hey, you’re a teenager, you might live to see it.  :)

    (PS–No, Lindsey Graham doesn’t count)

  17. She’s no conservaDem, her record was only slightly centrist as an upstate Congresswoman, and I always viewed her as a liberal-at-heart who would gladly tack left as a Senator.  When she challenged Sweeney she never really highlighted a conservative position on anything.  So I’m not surprised to see her perform well now.

    Specter certainly is an opportunist, even though I’ll take him now and forever if he were to vote like he is now for another 6-plus years, but Gillibrand, in contrast, is a liberal whose promotion allowed her to be herself.

    Regarding Bennet, he always appeared to be of a liberal political background, even though he had no track record to prove it, so I’m not surprised by his performance, either.

  18. and I’m not sure Colorado or Wisconsin would be willing to vote for an openly gay person, especially a liberal…nor do I think Crist is coming out any time soon. We’ll see again in 10-ish years.

  19. California would seem the most likely place (the new Speaker perhaps?), but hey Scott Brown has to face the voters again soon in Massachusetts. I like Mike Capuano just fine, but maybe an out legislator (current or former) up there would like to dive into that race?

  20. rate it’s going I’m placing my bets on California with their huge amounts of open law makers and the fact the feinstein might retire soonish.  

  21. From what he’s been doing, it seems as if he’s almost assuredly going for the position of first openly-gay Speaker. He and his family have been giving big bucks to other congresscritters in the House, especially the freshmen and sophomores that Polis will need to court over the long term to get the job eventually.

    Frank wants to end his career as the first openly-GLBT Cabinet secretary (HUD, he proposed, although how frackin awesome would it be to have him at Treasury instead of ole Fivehead) — he’s said as much in his biography, I believe.

    As for Tammy Baldwin….I dunno.  Can’t see her winning statewide–not because she’s openly lesbian, but because she’s openly liberal. She may have to settle for going down in history as the first L in Congress.

  22. I was going to ask whether the NRCC buried itself into a deeper hole with the teabaggers with that quote.

    On the other hand, even “mainstream” political reporters have challenged whether Hawaii is really part of America, especially whenever Obama goes there for a visit.

  23. Not only does that lady get some level of justice from having the abuse of power exposed, but Democrats are saved a November disaster.

    Having Cuomo (I assume he’s a lock to run now) and Schumer atop the ticket will ensure not only a Gillibrand blowout win, but also likely save some U.S. House seats and other downticket races for us.

  24. would have defeated Paterson in a primary, if necessary. Yes, it’s better that he ended his campaign, but the circumstances are getting worse and worse, and that’s not good.

  25. depending on the outcome of the 2010 election. She’d be the first openly bi-Gov.

    She was a star as state Senate Majority Leader, and is doing fine as SoS.

  26. It won’t be California. There aren’t even any GLBTs in Congress from California (though Steve Pougnet has a shot in 2010 against Mary Bono Mack), or in statewide office. There are a few legislators but none have any sort of statewide profile, not to mention that the Legislature is roughly as popular as anthrax right now.

    Speaker Perez, who will be termed out soon enough, would almost certainly be capable of winning an open seat in Congress (like former Speaker Bass is probably going to do), but not the Senate. And while he has a good record thus far, Perez is not exactly charismatic. AND, he’d defer to Villaraigosa if DiFi retires in 2012.

    If I had to pick I’d actually bet on Rhode Island (Cicilline or Speaker Fox when Jack Reed retires) or maybe Maryland (OPM Dir. John Berry runs to replace Mikulski at some point…or Mikulski comes out). I think it won’t be the obvious ones like CA or NY…a small Northeastern-ish state is my best guess, but maybe Hawaii, Oregon or Washington? But yeah, a decade actually seems optimistic, sadly.

    And may I just say that my favorite pro-gay politico in the entire USA is NY State Sen. Diane Savino. She’s straight, but this is better advocacy than I’ve ever seen from a GLBT politician.

    Just watch:

    She’s a bit rough at the beginning, but by 4:45 in this video, I want to gay-marry her.

  27. She’s a very pretty woman, too, which can’t hurt her electoral chances. But NJ-06 has a D+8 PVI and Pallone has had a long career. I think he’s well entrenched and will probably win by a decent margin, though having a newspaper publisher as an opponent will give him a test.

  28. I think we are a pretty pro-gay state. Sure the goons in the legislature won’t pass anything, but we were one of the few states to never pass a law banning gay marriage, and the most recent public poll showed 60% in favor of legalizing it. And a lot of girls at Brown constantly complain about how all the good guys there are gay (which is not true but whatever).

  29. There isn’t likely to be a Senate seat open in Rhode Island for years unless one of the incumbents moves to the Cabinet. Same is true in New York, Oregon, and other states that would seem better bets. For most of the country either there’s no bench, or there’s no opening, or there are much more likely candidates to fill those Senate seats (like in CA and MD).

  30. We’re definitely one of the most liberal states in the union (not Democratic mind you but liberal) and Minneapolis is dominated at the local level by the LGBT community.  We have 2/7 gay city councilors (had a third one who was president but he retired last year), both people elected to the Tax and Estimate board are lesbians, the school board has a lesbian or two, two gay legislators from Mpls, and the president of the Parks and Recreation board is gay.

    Klobuchar certainly has her seat on lock-down for quite some time but I’d be shocked if she weren’t picked for VP down the road.  Franken is anyone’s guess, but I see him being able to hold down the fort as well.

  31. I’m sure there are plenty but the only one who comes to mind is Cheryl Jacques who lost the special primary to Stephen Lynch in 2001 (and was also Scott Brown’s predecessor in the state senate).

  32. It will be New England and it will be a Republican. GOP LG candidate and Senate Minority Leader Rich Tisei was the GOP’s first choice for the special election and  Brown offered to defer to  him. Given the tendency of most GOP LG’s to become Governor, usaully before  their predecessor’s term is over, I would expect him to succeed to that and probably make abid for Senate. Furthermore, if Scott Brown were to win reelection in 2012, but take a national position, or the same for John Kerry he would be the obvious interim appointee.

    The problem for LGBT Democrats is that they are seen as being at the left end of the party. Ditto for Gay GOP polls, but in some places thats an asset.

  33. Carl Sciortino is in the legislature now, and Jarrett Barrios used to be in the State Senate.

  34. It’s meant to make him bulletproof in his primary against Romanoff.

    But it’s a good idea to use to shift the Overton window, and all credit to Bennet for not just retreating into right-leaning platitudes.

  35. As bisexuality is a hot topic within the gay community so Im going to put this into political terms.

    People dont pay attention to politics and all they will see is Brown with her husband, regardless of her bisexual ways.  I put her in a different category of barrier breaking bisexuals, not gays and lesbians.  When I see a same-sex couple kiss at the end of a victory speech, then I’ll count it.

  36. didn’t realize that the GLBT community felt that kind of – ah – is ‘fragmentation’ an appropriate description?

    Unfortunately, there’s a drip drip drip effect happening to Sam Adams here in Portland. I’m becoming more doubtful that he’ll survive the current recall campaign. And surviving the recall with a reasonable margin may be a pre-req before he’s able to run statewide.

  37. Many gays and lesbians view bisexuals like many others do, people who are just being choosey and want to be different and have it all.  That goes against the “born this way” argument and makes us all look bad, as if we can all just choose which gender to like.  I bet if you polled both gays and lesbians and straight people on the nature vs nurture argument and how it applies to both the gay and lesbian community and then the bi community, Im sure the numbers would be quite different.

    But that’s obviously a topic not even close to the point of this blog so I’ll just give that little informational blurb.

  38. Gays and lesbians tend to be a lot more liberal, much more likely to be atheists and are concentrated in the most urban liberal areas, the areas generally decried as not being “real America”.  

    I definitely want to run for office some day and Im about to move soon.  A part of me wants to leave my fabulous Uptown, Minneapolis lifestyle and move to a suburb and establish myself there.  I can already see the messaging difference, attacked as a liberal out of touch Uptowner where people dress like weirdos or getting to advertise myself as a good ole suburban father with a normal, suburban American life.  

    Euh, I definitely just chose city as I typed that.

  39. our most prominent gay pol, David Cicilline, is pretty tax-happy but I doubt he’s seen as too far to the left by virtue of all the fighting he’s done with unions.

  40. It’s a great way to cap it all off before summer starts.

    Not that that’d ever happen in MN, gotta squeeze in a DFL endorsement process, bleh.

  41. Back when it was Lindsay Graham, Mitch McConnell, and Larry Craig, (and Trent Lott!!), the Rs had us beat.  Now it’s a tie, unless there’s Ds I haven’t heard about.

  42. Now I think staffers have all the fun.  You don’t have to have a fake lifestyle, a salesman’s rhetoric, or the highly-precise, deliberately-meaningless language of a politician.  You’re in the room when the fun shit is decided, you exert power leading up to the decision, and your career isn’t over if you make one poorly worded comment or your electorate moves in some foolish direction.  You can always move, and find a new boss if your boss becomes an ideological sellout or your own beliefs change.  Your experience is portable, while politicians are prisoners of their constituencies (unless they’re named Tom McClintock).  And you can focus on what you’re best at: communications, policy, strategy, execution.

    It’s all about the staff, from what I can tell.  

  43. Given that she’s currently denying having been a lobbyist (she was director of the Department of Government Affairs for a trade association, so she directed a team of lobbyists, but wasn’t one herself.  That’s her line anyway.)

    Bennet is turning a weakness into a strength.  He’s never ran for anything, never been a congressman, never been a city council member even.  Normally that’s a weakness.  But it means he’s also never earmarked anything ever, excluding whatever earmarks he sought in the last twelve months.  So he’s clean, and he can call for earmark reform and political reforms of many varieties without being a flaming hypocrite.  It’s clever.  It’s astute.  I like it.

    And if he stakes out this ground and sticks with it, then goo-goos have an competent and credible advocate in the Senate.  That’s great news too.

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