SSP Daily Digest: 4/22 (Afternoon Edition)

CA-Sen, CA-Gov: I’m starting to think there’s some actual truth to this “Whitman is slipping (having passed the point of diminishing returns on saturation advertising)” meme that’s developing, perhaps illustrated most clearly in yesterday’s Rasmussen poll of the general. That may also be at play in the primary, though, where a new poll from Capital Weekly (by Probolsky Research) finds a smaller (though still dominant) edge for Meg Whitman in the GOP primary; she leads Steve Poizner 47-19 (a 28-pt. lead, quite different from the Field Poll’s 49-point lead last month). Over on the Senate side, Tom Campbell seems to be putting some distance between himself and his competitors; he’s at 31%, with Carly Fiorina at 17 and Chuck DeVore at 14. (No general election matchups were tested.)

FL-Sen: Although everyone’s sitting and watching, the other shoe still hasn’t dropped yet in Florida. The state GOP is already preparing for the likely independent bid from Charlie Crist, telling its other candidates that they can’t back anybody who isn’t running under the GOP banner. They’ve also rolled out their chief enforcer, Dick Cheney, who endorsed Marco Rubio and who will be inviting Crist-supporting GOPers on hunting trips. Meanwhile, there’s growing speculation that the credit card/fancy-livin’ scandal that’s engulfing the RPOF, and has taken some of the shine off Rubio’s halo, may actually spatter mud as far afield as Crist himself (via for state party chair and key Crist ally Jim Greer). The possibility of a split between two damaged GOPers may be luring a new Democrat to the race, too: billionaire investor Jeff Greene is considering jumping in the primary field (although, considering that every news account about him today seems to be more interested in his relations with Mike Tyson, Heidi Fleiss, and Ron Howard, than with his political chops, I doubt this will be more than a curiosity).

LA-Sen: While everyone’s still waiting to see if right-wing gadfly James Cain shows up to challenge David Vitter, another lesser-known member of the teabagging set has confirmed that he’s going to run as an independent in the Senate race. Mike Spears, owner of a web design firm, apparently doesn’t have self-funding capacity. He offers up a 5-point plan for “restoring the America he knew growing up,” point 1 of which is the rather ominous, if weird-sounding, “neutralizing party strongholds.”

PA-Sen: Joe Biden is making his first trip back to Scranton since his election, to stump for Arlen Specter. Fellow members of the local political establishment Bob Casey, Paul Kanjorski, and Chris Carney will be at the event too.

WA-Sen: Here’s some more food for thought for Dino Rossi, who may still be contemplating a Senate bid (and it seems to be what Tommy Thompson and George Pataki already seemed to understand). No one* in the last decade has launched a Senate bid this late in the game and gone on to win (* = Frank Lautenberg won under unusual circumstances as a last minute fill-in for Bob Torricelli). The closest anyone has come is Mark Dayton, who won in 2000 despite announcing on April 3. The majority of successful non-incumbents ran for more than one year. And prominent members of the state GOP are starting to see the handwriting on the wall, too: state House minority leader Richard DeBolt got tired of waiting and endorsed state Sen. Don Benton in the race instead.

KS-Gov: This isn’t the right time for Sam Brownback’s approvals to go negative for the first time in years; he’s at 41/47 according to SurveyUSA. Brownback, of course, is looking to make the leap to Governor, facing Democratic state Sen. Tom Holland. Fellow Senator Pat Roberts — less of social values warrior and more of an uncontroversial Main Street type — fares much better at 51/38.

MN-Gov: Minneapolis mayor R.T. Rybak picked up a couple more endorsements, starting with Rep. Betty McCollum (who represents mostly St. Paul, rather than Minneapolis). McCollum had previously backed Steve Kelley, who dropped out several months ago. And while the SEIU won’t be endorsing, its state president, Javier Morillo-Alicea, individually weighed in on Rybak’s behalf.

OR-Gov: Blue Oregon has a rundown on the money chase in the Oregon gubernatorial race. GOPer and ex-NBAer Chris Dudley has been raising the most, but also spending the most: raising $1.3 million over the course of the race, but with $276K CoH. Democrat John Kitzhaber has raised $1.2 million, but is sitting on $575K. Everyone else is down in the five digits.

MO-08: Tommy Sowers has been attracting a lot of attention this week with his second straight quarter of outraising Jo Ann Emerson, but she retaliated with an internal poll showing that Sowers has a long way to go toward knocking her off in this R+15 district. According to pollster American Viewpoint, she leads 71-18.

NY-23: More evidence that the institutional might is pushing away from 2009 spoiler Doug Hoffman and toward investment banker Matt Doheny instead, for the GOP nomination. Hoffman’s fundraising numbers for Q1 were weak: he took in $14K in outside contributions, and loaned himself $100K. He’s sitting on $263K CoH, but also $205K in debt.

NY-29: We Ask America has been trying to break into the polling game lately, although we gotta wonder what’s up with their love of significant digits. Are they that sure about their results? They polled the 29th, finding that, if the special election were held today, GOP Corning mayor Tom Reed would beat currently-little-known Democratic candidate Matthew Zeller 41.38%-24.01%. A majority also support having a special election, rather than waiting till November to fill the seat.

SD-AL: The first candidate to hit the TV airwaves in the GOP primary in South Dakota isn’t the well-known one (SoS Chris Nelson) or the one with money (Blake Curd), but, well, the other one. State Rep. Kristi Noem is up with an introductory spot.

VA-02: This may seem way, way down in the weeds, but it could help Glenn Nye out a lot, considering that he has the most Navy-centric district in the nation. The main fight of Nye’s short political career has been to keep the Navy from moving one of its carrier groups from Norfolk to Jacksonville; while he lost the first skirmish on that, the Navy now says the move won’t happen until 2019, sparing his district any immediate economic pain.

CA-LG: The Democrats in the California state Assembly somehow wised up and, reversing their previous decision, decided to confirm moderate Republican state Sen. Abel Maldonado to the vacant Lt. Governor position. With the 51-17 vote, that means that Maldonado will be opening up the Democratic-leaning SD-15 on the central coast, which will be filled by special election (and has the potential to get the Dems one step closer to the magic 2/3s mark in the state Senate).

WA-Init: In the wake of Oregon voters approving a high-income surtax, it looks like Washington may follow their lead. Proposed Initiative 1077 would create an income tax (Washington currently has none) on individuals making more than $200K, and in exchange lower property taxes and eliminate the nettlesome B&O tax. SurveyUSA polled the topic and found an almost astonishingly high level of support: 66 are in favor, 27 against. More evidence that new taxes, when properly framed, can be a winner at the ballot box.

RNC: The RNC is subtly getting involved in the HI-01 special election, transferring $90K to the state party in March that went toward a TV spot for Charles Djou. The bigger story about the RNC today, though, may be about the financial disarray in its house: it’s spending more money courting top-dollar donors that it actually gets back from them.

WATN?: After weighing a variety of different possible candidacies (state CFO? FL-25?), we’re glad to see 2008 FL-18 candidate Annette Taddeo taking another stab at elective office, as we need to expand our Hispanic bench in the bluening Miami area. She’s running for a seat on the Miami-Dade County Council.

61 thoughts on “SSP Daily Digest: 4/22 (Afternoon Edition)”

  1. She seemed like a great candidate and should certainly try again.

    Bonus trivia: Tom Harkin lost his first bid for the House (in 1972). Won the seat in the post-Watergate landslide.

  2. I knew it! I knew Brownback was vulnerable. Dude hasn’t run a competitive race since 1996 and is seen, rightfully, as coming from the far-right. Which isn’t death for a Senator from Kansas, but has been in the past for gubernatorial candidates.

    Oh state Sen. Tom Holland, if you can beat him, I will be the first member of the Tom Holland for Whatever Other Office He Wants Forever Committee.

  3. Maldonado’s seat should be some sort of compensation for Tony Strickland’s fraudulent win in 2008 (over Hannah-Beth).

  4. Whitman with “only” a 22% lead probably confirms the other polling which show the race “tightening” (as in, sorta, but not even nearly enough for Poizner).

    Brown’s running away in the Dem “primary,” although there appear to be some serious problems for him among Hispanics, where he’s bleeding about 20% a piece to two no-namers. This could be troubling heading into a general where he’ll NEED strong Hispanic support.

    This poll has Campbell w/ a 7% lead over Fiorina, with DeVore lagging way behind. DeVore, the supposed “true conservative” of the three, trails Campbell/Fiorina 31-28-15 among them.

  5. The Assembly didn’t “wise” up. They were waiting for April 22nd specifically in order to ensure that the run-off for the open Senate seat will coincide with the November election.

  6. I usually avoid those DS sites, but that one was pretty clever. (Of course, Lowden has made herself such a ripe target for ridicule.)

  7. Since like everyone he obviously must else be aware that by appointing Maldonado to LG (not once, but twice!) he’s opening up a seat that Dems can potentially flip this year?

    I’m not complaining, it just seems odd.

  8. There would have to be another poll besides this one to confirm Brownback is vulnerable. Personally, this is not enough for me to move KS-GOV from “Safe Republican” without something else.

  9. it means that Brownback and the Republican-run state legislature won’t be able to long entertain a delusion of Kansas voters giving them a blank check despite having the trifecta.  

    It’s actually quite intriguing to watch Christie in NJ and McDonnell in VA try to push to the right like GWB did in 2005 on the illusion of having been given such a blank check.  They tend to be rather unhappily surprised at how close the brick wall of what is unacceptable generally often turns out to be in that direction.

  10. 33rd is. It is Hispanic majority and a white Republican controls it. We just need a Hispanic who can unify Hispanics and that candidate should be able to win.

  11. These are Republican Assembly seats with Democratic registration advantage:

    5th–Roger Niello

    26th–Bill Berryhill

    30th–Danny Gilmore

  12. of competitive/potentially competitive districts since November 2008, and according to registration stats, the 5th, 26th, and 30th are the most likely candidates for pickups, especially the 5th and 30th since they are open. (I don’t know why Gilmore is not running again; maybe he didn’t expect to become Assemblyman and didn’t like the job.) The open 33rd is another strong contender. It overlaps the 15th Senate district so hopefully Laird can have some coattails and we can have a strong candidate here.

  13. In ’72 Tom and Ruth Harkin both ran for office. He ran for Congress; she ran for Story County (Ames) prosecutor. He lost; she won.

  14. Obama lost to Bobby Rush running for the House and Bill Clinton and W also lost.  Losing for the House is clearly not a career killer.

  15. Kansas Democrats NEVER get to be excited about anything when Sebelius isn’t on the ballot. So give me one goddam day for a happy dance before you rain on my parade.

    Besides, if you knew anything about Kansas politics, you wouldn’t put this as “Safe” …. “Likely” sure, but not “Safe”.  Not when we have an actual, credible candidate running against a dude who’s never been all that popular and is widely identified with the party’s right-wing and its buckets of crazy.

  16. That ended up coming out way harsher than I intended. Nevertheless, today I will do my happy dance and I’ll deal with reality tomorrow.  

  17. I really like Teague. Obviously one of those dems like Chet Edwards that wants to vote to the left of how he actually does.

    I really hope he comes back for term 2.

  18. Not to mention that surviving this year means that they can redistrict to make life a little easier for Teague (not too much more though, as it gets really tricky trying to strengthen Teague while keeping Lujan and Heinrich happy)

  19. the Iowa Democratic Party is inducting Ruth Harkin to its “hall of fame” in the “elected official” category (for being one of the first women elected county prosecutor in Iowa). The “outstanding supporter” being added to the IDP’s hall of fame is Dianne Liepa, who has worked on Harkin’s staff for more than three decades.

  20. that recently truned out to be false:

    That a US Senator running for president can’t win.

    Then along comes 2008 when the final 3 candidates, one of whom had to win, were all sitting US Senators (Obama, Clinton, McCain).

  21. Nice, Hoosierdem.

    The only problem with the analysis is that it equates getting elected governor with succeeding to the governorship. So of course LGs will become governor more often, since they are next in the line of succession. Although, LGs that get it through a departed governor do tend to be pretty strong candidates when they’re up for re-election. Witness Sean Parnell, Pat Quinn, and Gary Herbert. Then again, there’s Jan Brewer.

    I’d love to see something that takes into account how many AGs ran for Gov and their “batting average” if you will, versus LGs winning, not succeeding to, the office. Because I still kinda think that AG may be a stronger stepping stone when you take stuff like that into account.

  22. as that position doesnt exist in AZ.  SoS becomes Gov when the current Gov is no longer able to serve.

  23. Don’t think for a moment I don’t hope you’re right. Kansas deserves better than Brownback.

  24. “We don’t want another Arnold.”  Vote for a real Republican, blah blah.

    Arnold must be pretty sick of it (and those ads are so vile they have to be hurting Whitman, even if maybe not helping Poizner).

  25.  I could be totally wrong but I think Poizner is going to go with a last minute ad blitz which could make the race alot tighter in the primary. Also, I think the reason for Whitman’s downhill might be the Poizner is not quiet anymore but also, not accepting the debate probably hurt Whitman a bit too. Jerry Brown is right, you cannot hide behind ads, you have to debate.

  26. In Arizona, the “SoS becomes Gov when the current Gov is no longer able to serve” if the SoS had been elected to that office. That provision came into play in 1978. In 1977, Gov. Raul Castro resigned when President Carter named him as Ambassador to Argentina. SoS Wesley Bolin became governor, but died a few month later. Since the new Sos was an appointee, Attorney General Bruce Babbitt became governor.

    Babbitt, of course, went on to serve two full terms as governor, was a 1988 presidential candidate, and served as Secretary of the Interior for all eight years of the Clinton administration.

  27.   compromise of last year.  This is great news because the Democratic candidate for the Senate seat, former Assemblymember John Laird, is both popular and progressive. John is an all-around good guy and is serious about policy. His experience as chair of the Assembly budget committee and his knowledge of CA water issues will be very helpful in the State Senate.

  28. 20 points. Seriously, this  isn’t the general, what does she gain by agreeing to debate somebody she is going to destroy in the primary?

  29.  I agree she does not have anything to gain from a debate. What I meant is that she dropped in the polls a bit because she refused to debate and I saw a poll that said 71% of Californians believe there should be a debate.  

  30. When you govern the right way. You make decisions that may cost you your job, but they are right for the state.  

  31. I’ve heard almost non-stop radio commercials from the New Jersey Education Association similar to this one, featuring the New Jersey Teacher of the Year. If you don’t think the slogan of “support schools, not millionaires” isn’t damaging, you have another think coming. And I suspect that, after this term, New Jersey voters will long remember just how much worse things get when they elect a Republican. They knew that things were bad under Corzine, and that he didn’t lower property taxes, but they had forgotten what a Republican would do, once in office. Now they know, and most of them don’t like it.

  32. …He probably had to accept it. After all, Jo Ann Emerson had already hoovered up all the money from the PACs representing HMOs & insurance companies (at least a dozen), cigarette companies (Altria), offshoring megacorporations (GE, Boeing), the big telecoms that screw her constituents with crappy service (AT&T, Sprint, Comcast & T-Mobile), credit card companies that bleed her constituents dry with usurious interest rates (Mastercard, Amex) the company that wants to make taxes harder to file (H&R Block), and of course, the company that gutted most of MO-8’s local retail businesses (Wal-Mart).

    So yeah, bring it. Let’s have an argument about whose donors are more likely to cause them to go against their constituents’ best interests and basically become lobbyists like Ms. Emerson was before she got elected with sympathy votes.

    Really, honestly, think about it: is the cast of Saturday Night Live or the dude from Tears for Fears going to encourage Tommy Sowers to vote against the stimulus, or health care, or preventing credit card usury, or other measures that would actually help the beleaguered folks of MO-8 (now among the 10 poorest congressional districts in the country)?  Because I kinda think the PACs that exist solely for the purpose of influencing politicians, and who make up about half of Emerson’s donors (vs. 1% for Sowers) might be more likely to do that.

    And btw, regular people generally don’t care who Tommy Sowers’ campaign manager is, but I’d bet Ms. Emerson’s campaign folk might, since he’s been so effectively running circles around them…  happen to know any of those folks? Or be one?

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