SSP Daily Digest: 1/10

CT-Sen: Democratic Rep. Chris Murphy is sounding very likely to challenge Joe Lieberman in 2012, at least if this WSJ piece primarily on Lieberman’s re-election chances is any indication. It quotes Murphy as “definitely considering” the race and says his decision may be only weeks away, given the nature of permanent campaigning these days. Meanwhile, Paulist economist Peter Schiff (whose rather quixotic bid wound up with him deep in third place in the GOP primary in 2010) is saying he’d like to run for office again, but 2012 won’t be the year, citing the likelihood of a Linda McMahon run and his inability to compete against her money. Finally, Lieberman himself has his mind on his money and his money on his mind, too… he’s hungry enough for money that he’s reaching out to his new friends from the No Labels movement and asking them to consider donating to politicians they don’t necessarily agree with. Interesting argument (especially considering that the No Labels people are probably the likeliest people out there to agree with Lieberman).

MA-Sen: Long-time Boston mayor Tom Menino has occasionally gotten some coverage as a possible opponent to Scott Brown in the 2012 Senate race, but he’s taking his name out of consideration, saying he’ll never run for anything but even more terms as mayor. Menino also offered some warnings to potential Dem candidates about the race, saying “There’s nobody that can beat him.” (Recall that Menino caught some flak for not really deploying the Boston Dem machine full-force on Martha Coakley’s behalf during the special election, so it’s unclear whether he’s truly fearful of Brown or just engaging in a little concern trolling on Brown’s behalf.)

MI-Sen: Here’s another indicator (after last month’s PPP poll that had her mired in the 40s) that Debbie Stabenow could have a tough race in 2012, given the right GOP opponent. A Glengariff Group poll for the Detroit News doesn’t include any head-to-heads, but gives her 37/39 approvals, and a 23% definite re-elect (vs. 43% someone new). Of course, the GOP will need to cough up someone more imposing than Tim Leuliette, the only publicly interested candidate so far.

MN-Sen: I hadn’t heard Rep. John Kline (the GOP Rep. in MN-02, who labors in right-wing anonymity thanks to a lot of cover from noisy neighbor Michele Bachmann) get associated with the 2012 Senate race before, and after today, he probably won’t again. He told a talk radio interview over the weekend that his “plate was full.”

MT-Sen: There’s been an uptick in speculation that Denny Rehberg may not run for Senate after all, given that he just landed a slot as not just one of the Appropriations cardinals (regarded by Beltway insiders as the uppermost tier in the House pantheon) but the subcommittee chair in charge of HHS, letting him carry the banner on any HCR repeal efforts. However, he’s still being coy about his 2012 plans (and in fact getting a little meta about the endless Beltway media parsing of political career planning), saying a decision is “down the road… which is similar to around the corner.”

NE-Sen: This has been pretty clearly telegraphed for a while now, but Republican state treasurer Don Stenberg is saying he’s “quite likely” to get into the Senate race. That, of course, would set up a high-profile primary with another statewide GOPer already a formal candidate, AG Jon Bruning. Meanwhile, GOP state party chair Mark Fahnelson removed an image from his personal blog of Ben Nelson inside a red bullseye. In good Republican fashion, he reaffirmed that he himself, in fact, was the victim in all this.

NV-Sen: Hoping for Sue Lowden to be the 2012 Senate nominee for the GOP? Don’t count your chickens before they hatch, because she’s saying she won’t consider running if Dean Heller is going to run (she would do it only if both John Ensign and Heller didn’t run). Rather candidly, she admitted that she had no shot of beating Heller in a GOP primary. Meanwhile, Sharron Angle has decided that, having had a shot at the big time, another run for the state Senate would just be chicken feed at this point. She says that she won’t seek the seat being vacated by resigning former GOP floor leader Bill Raggio (to whom she lost in a 2008 primary), although without saying anything more about another NV-Sen run or a NV-02 run if Heller runs for Senate.

TX-Sen: Here’s another poll showing a Senator who may have a rough go of it in 2012, although in Kay Bailey Hutchison’s case, the real hurdle is likely to be the GOP primary. A Blum & Weprin poll for various Texas newspapers found Hutchison with a 46% approval among all registered voters, and only 56% among Republicans. Hutchison, of course, has not given any indication whether she’s running for another term or not.

LA-Gov: That gubernatorial election is only 10 months away, and Louisiana Democrats still seem to standing around scratching their heads wondering who their nominee will be. With GOP incumbent Bobby “Kenneth the Page” Jindal sitting on a $7.2 million war chest and, while not super-humanly popular anymore, still in positive territory, willing victims do not seem forthcoming. Dems seem most interested in somebody who can self-finance, which would probably be oft-rumored Shaw Group CEO Jim Bernhard, although other more remote possibilities include losing Lt. Gov. candidate Caroline Fayard, PSC Commissioner Foster Campbell (who finished 3rd in the 2007 primary), retired Gen. Russell Honore (who was briefly the subject of speculation for a GOP primary challenge to David Vitter last year), and even a return engagement from ex-Gov. Kathleen Blanco.

AZ-08: Best wishes to Gabby Giffords for what will no doubt be a long, slow recovery after this weekend’s shooting. Physicians say that she is rapidly improving and may be removed from her breathing apparatus in several days if progress continues.

ND-AL: This has implications for North Dakota’s House seat, but also potentially for the Senate seat in 2012, if Kent Conrad (last seen ramping up to start advertising already) does a sudden turnaround and opts for retirement. Ex-Rep. Earl Pomeroy (who’s 58) is joining DC law firm Alston & Bird and says “I don’t see myself running for office again.”

NM-02: Similarly, Harry Teague has announced that he won’t run again for his old seat or anything else, saying he has no plans to seek another office. The 61-year-old (and independently wealthy) Teague plans to return to his family oilfield business.

Mayors: Another day, another poll showing Rahm Emanuel way in the lead (albeit not out of runoff territory yet). This one’s from Anzalone-Liszt on behalf of the Teamsters, and while it shows Carol Mosely Braun gaining ground (thanks to dropouts from Danny Davis and James Meeks), she’s still far behind. It’s Emanuel 42, Mosely Braun 26, Gerry Chico 10, and Miguel Del Valle 7. (November’s Teamster poll was Emanuel 36, Mosely Braun 13, Chico 10.) Meanwhile, Chico can now boast an endorsement from Rep. Luis Gutierrez, which seems like a bit of a thumbed-nose at Emanuel (who used to be Gutierrez’s neighbor in the House). And on the other side of the country, San Francisco has a newly-minted interim mayor: city administrator Ed Lee, who will fill in for the next 10 months as Gavin Newsom becomes Lt. Governor. The main thing that clinched it for Lee (who will be the city’s first Asian-American mayor) was his promise not to run for the job in the November election. One of Newsom’s last acts was to appoint a new DA in San Francisco, too (to replace the state’s new AG, Kamala Harris): he promoted police chief George Gascon to that job.

WATN?: Where are they now? On the prison bus, that’s where. At least that’s the case with former Republican House majority leader Tom DeLay, just sentenced this morning to three years on conspiracy charges associated with laundering corporate money into campaign donations.

131 thoughts on “SSP Daily Digest: 1/10”

  1. I want someone to put a camera right on Menino’s face, and then I want him to eat his hat.  Saying someone is unbeatable in a state like MA in a presidential year when you are talking about a republican is a ridiculous statement to make.

  2. What are the chances that this gets very, very ugly as the current Republicans beat the crap out of each other? And are there any more candidates, either high profile or otherwise, that might jump in? I want to say that there was at least one other high profile person considering it, but I might be thinking of another race. I don’t anticipate Nelson having a particularly easy time getting reelected, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he was helped by some of the glow being taken off his Republican opponent.

    MI Sen: Is this the sort of poll that’s the epitome of almost useless? There are huge chunks of people who aren’t decided or don’t have an opinion, whether or not she’s up against an actual person. Besides that, I can’t seem to find any links to the poll, so it’s hard to see if it might be skewed in some way.

    TX Sen: What are the chances that a third-party candidate from the right runs if Hutchinson is the nominee and ends up shaving off a few percentage points? Figure that unless it’s an awful year for the Democrats and they attract a horrendous candidate, their floor is probably 43 or 44 percent. If it only takes 47 or 48 percent to win a plurality, the race becomes a helluva lot more doable. It would still be an uphill battle, because while I would imagine there are a lot of Democratic voters waiting to come out of the wood work in the state, there probably isn’t a lack of Republican voters, but giving the Democrat in question a chance to skate by makes an investment in the state a lot more attractive.  

  3. I don’t think that a candidate will emerge for several months yet. Everyone worth noting is going to hold their hands close to the vest until the courts (or in a very unlikely possibility, the legislature and governor) draw the new legislative map. Holding 4 seats for Republicans is a pretty tough task for anything but the most egregious Republican gerrymander, and that outcome is very unlikely considering Mark Dayton is in the Governor’s Mansion in St. Paul. So who is going to be the odd man out? My guess is Chip Cravaack. Running in a non-GOP wave midterm year in any district that resembles the current 8th is close to a non-starter for a Republican. So instead of getting crushed by Tony Sertich, my guess is he will jump ship and run for Senate if the other (what passes for, in Minnesota) heavyweights turn it down, i.e. Bachmann, Kline, and Paulsen. I see Paulsen running if his district expands closer to Minneapolis, or god forbid, Minneapolis and St. Paul are packed into one district (This would push his district into very liberal first-ring suburbs of Minneapolis). Bachmann is quixotic, to say the least, so she is a wild-card, but if she is drawn out of her district, I see a possibility for her to challenge Klobuchar. Then again, all for of them may think they can win with the new map, and Klobuchar will be 2012’s Thune.

  4. In one recent video (it may not be up anymore), he mentioned that he may run for House in the future.

    I think he is in Himes district. Himes won 53-47 in 2010, but I heard there were some problems with Debicella’s campaign too. Then again, Debicella also had two terms as a state senator in the area, so that is something Schiff would not have.

  5. From Dave Catanese at Politico:

    The once likely candidacy of Jim Talent for U.S. Senate in Missouri is no longer a safe bet.

    In fact, Republican insiders are now hedging against it.

    While close advisers initially signaled Talent would settle on a decision by the end of 2010, it’s apparent an announcement has been put off and Republicans in the Show-Me state are increasingly concluding he may not have the stomach for another grueling campaign.

    “He’s not communicating with party insiders and those who typically help solidify a candidate this far out.  In fact, most of them have said they’ve called him.  He’s not calling them,” said one GOP operative who considers Talent a friend.

    One Missouri political observer recalled a conversation he last had with Talent in 2008 when the former senator said he found “think tank life stimulating, didn’t at all miss the glad-handing and deplored the dumbing down of politics.”

    “He may figure, Romney is the odds-on favorite to win the primary and then 50-50 in the general, so he almost has as good of a shot to be Secretary of Defense?,” said the observer.

    “You already have GOP operatives talking, if Talent’s not running, what are we going to do?  They’re clearly worried that they don’t have an anti-Steelman candidate and that Talent’s not running,” said the GOPer who is friendly with Talent.

    In an interview with POLITICO in November, Lloyd Smith, executive director of the Missouri Republican Party left no question about his alliances.

    Asked for the names of the top potential candidates to challenge McCaskill, Smith listed Talent, Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder and current RNC chair candidate Ann Wagner.  He did not mention Steelman at that time, who was not yet a candidate.


  6. Is this not seriously creepy, the timing of her letter to Trey Grayson, and her reading of the 1st amendment on the House floor this week?

    Here’s what she said to Grayson:

    “After you get settled, I would love to talk about what we can do to promote centrism and moderation,” Giffords wrote. “I am one of only 12 Dems left in a GOP district (the only woman) and think that we need to figure out how to tone our rhetoric and partisanship down.”


  7. you need to take anything that comes out of the Detroit News with a whole lot of salt.  They can only see one color over there, and it ain’t blue.

  8. If they did another census nine months from now, Georgia would gain another Congressional seat.

  9. My guess is that the 3-way would ebcoema  4 or 5-way, kinda like the 2006 (I think) guv race.  If the GOP gets threats from the right then some Dem will probably hop in from the left and foul it all up.

    The sad thing is that 3-4-5% needed for Dems to win in TX is such a significant amount of actual votes; the % seems small but the vote totals are huge.  Kinda like how Whitman and Fiorina always seemed close to Brown/Boxer, but the sheer vote totals made me not worry at all.

    Its nice to dream though…

  10. GOP primaries in NE tend to be pretty civil. Heineman-Osborne was a huge battle by any standard, but neither side got particularly nasty and Heineman breezed. Before that the last big primary fight (that I can recall) was Johanns vs Breslow, again contentious but the gloves never came off, certainly not by the standards you’d see in bigger states.

    I still don’t see Stenberg getting in, his comments sound more like “Don’t forget about Me” than “I’m in”, just my opinion. Most importantly for Stenberg is he’s in the catbird seat to run for Governor at the end of Heineman’s term and he was just elected treasurer (Heineman’s own path to the governorship) which is a bigger deal (in NE) than it sounds.

    I don’t know Stenberg at all and maybe he’s harboring a grudge based on his loss to Nelson the last time, but I’d say the smart money is on him keeping his powder dry.

  11. Keep in mind, Hutchison has unusually high favorables with Democrats (unlike John Cornyn), and she’ll probably win 20% of them with ease. That all but ensures the actual Democrat goes down in defeat, whether or not there’s a significant right-wing third-partier. Plus, beyond John Sharp, the state’s Democratic bench is incredibly weak. Okay, there’s Chet Edwards, too, but he went down in defeat pretty miserably.  

  12. Mayor Menino is an idiot.

    If he wants to endorse Sen. Scott Brown, he should just come out and do it.

  13. a much bigger chance of the right-leaning vote being splintered rather than the left-leaning vote being splintered? While I don’t doubt that a left-leaning third-party candidate, most likely a Green Party person, would take some small percentage of the vote, I wouldn’t be surprised if a right-leaning third party candidate took double the percentage of votes.

    Why do you think the race would become a four- or five-person race with that many major contenders, like 2006? (Major contenders would be people who not only surpass one percent of the vote but ten percent.)

    I understand that it’s a huge amount of votes, but you’ve got a huge pool of people (four or five million voters) that are registered but never show up. And you’ve got a couple million more, many if not most of whom are easy targets for the Democrats, that aren’t even registered.

  14. Cravaack is not going to beat Klobuchar because no one is, but if he acquits himself well and doesn’t lose too badly he could position himself for a run against Franken in 2014.

    If he runs, I hope posters on this site don’t start spelling his name Cravaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack.

  15. but I find Cravaack candidacy and his election really interesting. Is he anything other than the Republican’s version of Nancy Boyda, someone who won in a surprise victory but who also stands little chance of being reelected unless something unusual happens? I mean, you know better than I do, so tell me, is Cravaack’s future in this district very limited unless it’s drawn to favor him? And is that even possible? Is anything changing to make it more likely that a Republican can win?

    Anyway, since I find him interesting, I read a little about the race last night and how it didn’t appear on the radar until very late in the game. There was talk of how nobody took the race seriously but that he stepped up anyway. I wish more people were like that for our side, because while any number of them will lose, some will win. And when they do win, they will give us help in passing certain legislation, even if it’s only for one term.  

  16. It makes life a lot easier for everybody. Cravaack can basically take over her district. Then Peterson’s district can be shifted to cover all of Northern MN (including the Iron Range), and a new Republican seat will open up in the Southwest. That seat would be tailor-made for someone like Marty Seifert.

  17. If the district is made vastly more Republican (not an easy, or likely, task) he may have the balls to stand for reelection. His odds are small, even in a district that has the margins played with substantially. The core of that district is heavily Democratic, and not anywhere near where he lives. But yea, if he can pull 40% against Klobuchar, he would be in decent position to take on a much weaker opponent in Franken. So does he want to run against Sertich (or possibly someone else) in a hostile district, or statewide against the most popular politician in the state. It’s a tough choice for him, and his actions as Congressman may show some tealeaves. But again, I don’t see anyone of note throwing their hat in the ring until redistricting is done.

  18. Him and Scott Bruuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuun (who did not win; I was one of the few here confident Rep. Schrader would win, and thankfully I was right).

  19. to put the Boston machine into full effect to help the Democratic nominee in ’12, would it behoove us perhaps to nominate someone else from Boston who has their own turnout operation there?  

  20. The urban power brokers–Menino, certain city councilors, House speaker Rob DiLeo, and DiLeo allies in the House–are all unlikely candidates because they would not want to leave their powerful perches to be a freshman Senator. Plus, they’d have trouble outside Boston in a primary  because they’re such machine candidates.

    Capuano represents about 80% of the city, but he’s based out of the neighboring city of Somerville and doesn’t really have ties to Boston’s machine. Lynch represents the other 20%, but is hated by the unions and liberals.

    A name to watch, probably not this year but certainly down the road, is Sonia Chang-Diaz. She’s a young state Senator from Roxbury who primaried out convicted felon Dianne Wilkerson in 2008.

  21. The only thing that could be done is to give Republicans a central Minnesota district with a weird tentacle all the way to the Wisconsin border north of the Twin Cities to get his house in it. This would create a Great White North district that spans from Lake Superior to North Dakota. Such a move would be unprecedented, and would never state up in the event courts draw the districts, because “communities of interest” would go straight out the window in any district that does that. So short of a Republican Gerrymander that creates that new Central Minnesota district, shoring up Cravaack would be tough.

    Here is the core of the problem for Cravaack: The population base of the district ~65% of the population, is in what is known as the Iron Range. The counties include Cook, Lake, St. Louis, Itasca, Koochiching, and Pine. They voted for Obama by a margin of over 50,000 votes, or about 64% of the vote. The surrounding areas are marginal at best, and very sparsely populated. Cravaack lives in the extreme southern end of the district, which is the northern fringe of the St. Paul exurbs.  

  22. He was his Representative and we both laughed about how Oberstar would never fall in that district.

    Cravaack also had a bit of help from another angle. The IPer who was running in that district, I think Bob Anderson, withdrew and endorsed Cravaack.  

  23. I’m skeptical of the arguments that large portions of people failed to show up as a reason for why some candidates lost, but in this case, maybe that is it. He won by such a small margin that the reason I just mentioned, plus a small number of swing voters, could have put over the top.  

  24. Oberstar put his foot in his mouth at a debate, and didn’t take the race seriously. So couple terrible turnout in northern Minnesota, a huge Republican wave election, a crusty incumbent, and a little bit of luck with the Independence candidate endorcing the Republican and you get a 1% victory for Cravaack. People really do underestimate how strong this district is to Democrats in general. Like Boyda in Kansas and Cazyoux in Louisiana,  Cravaack in Minnesota was a fluke. He will need major redistricting help to even stand a chance in a presidential year.

  25. a silver lining to his loss, it’s that parties can win in marginal districts, even if it’s only for a cycle or two. Maybe there are fewer of such districts for the Democrats than there are for the Republicans, but there are some of them. We should work on trying to win them.  

  26. As wrong as he was about people like Joe Manchin and Tony Weiner, he was worried about Oberstar when most of us thought he’d be ok.

  27. I was on my way home from Papa Murphy’s with my roommate listening to NPR to hear the damage that Tuesday night.  A GOP strategist said she had heard from DFLers that Oberstar saw the numbers and wrote them off as a blip.  From my local vantage point, he came off too eager to vote lock-step for the DC liberals and he needed to throw a bone here or there to the moderates that got him elected.  He didnt even need to vote “No” on anything, he just needed the rhetoric.  And the pro-life HCR stuff was his major down-fall.  Stupak brought himself and Oberstar down.  That was the first domino in a long-list of ones that just needed the nudge to topple him.  (Cliched metaphors are the worst, sorry.)

    Oh well, 2012 means Cravaack is a goner or we get a radically new map.  (Not hard at all to create a sensible central MN district that includes the far-flung exurbs of Isanti and Chisago County.)

  28. The Green Party in Texas got some bad press with its ballot drive being partially funded by Republican interests- interestingly precipitated because the Republicans (and most Democrats) in control of Texas politics for years refused to relax Texas’ stringent ballot access laws. The Libertarians, on the other hand, have had a decent organization in Texas for the last decade.

    They had a pretty good candidate for Governor this year who campaigned hard and ran a few ads to get the polls to record highs for their statewide ticket. However, the Republican wave did it in- the idiotic straight ticket device in this year let voters cop out of having to think about their choices and just hit Republican for all offices. The Libertarians sank to 2%ish for Governor and a bit higher for the others.

    Typically, most Texas conservatives return to the Republicans before election day while showing tentative support for Libertarians. What you need is a Kinky Friedman style Independent who can wrap up conservatives (even if Kinky was more liberal than many of the conservatives I knew who loved him). I cannot think of anybody with the money and name req who would really take that plunge and damage their future in Republican politics. Ron Paul has the background as a third partier and tons of cash, but I think he would be much more likely to keep his house seat and run for President under the lbj rule than to gamble on another senate run. Furthermore, if he did run I don’t see him not running as a Republican.

  29. he is actually a very big pro union, pro-EFCA rep. The only thing is he is pro-life and voted against the senate version of the health care bill (according to him from the left). I think the union machines would work hard for him if he were the candidate, probably more so then others. Although, as a liberal, your right I’m not particularly fond of him  but he does have as a good a chance to win as anybody.

  30. DiMasi was from Boston.

    Aside from DeLeo, what state Reps do you consider big-time “power brokers”? Petro, I guess, but I think running from the cops is more likely for him than running for the Senate. Most of the others strike me as going-with-the-flow types.

    Also, as a tangent. what members of the legislature could be serious contenders for 2012? My feeling is that almost all members of the legislature don’t have nearly the profile to mount any sort of statewide run. I think DeLeo, Murray, and Tolman would be the only ones with anywhere near the name rec to be taken seriously.

  31. She’s great!  She was my state senator when I lived down that way, and a friend ran her primary campaign this year (she was facing another vaguely slimy opponent–I can’t remember who was backing him).  I’d love to see her continuing to move up.

  32. In 2010, most of the unions got behind Mac D’Alessandro, who challenged Lynch from the left in the primary and got over a third of the vote.

  33. say that the bigger worry is that the Republican, particularly someone like KBH, would peel off conservative Democrats.  

  34. I’m not sure what to make of his chances. He seems stronger than the other candidates, but that may be because he has higher name recognition.

  35. … but as we learned last cycle, it’s hard to tell at this point whether it’ll make a difference in the end. If the political climate is great for Dems, McCaskill will probably win against either; if it’s bad, MO is sufficiently red-leaning that Steelman (or whoever else they nominate) would probably win.

    Remember that at this point in the 2010 cycle, the CW was that Talent passing on Bond’s seat was terrible, and that Robin Carnahan was even the favorite against Roy Blunt. Two years and 15 points later…

  36. but then if it’s a base election, who benefits more, McCaskill or Steelman? I would guess that as long as McCaskill isn’t starting at huge disadvantage, McCaskill does, because there are probably more voters that will turn out and definitely vote for her in a presidential year than would for Steelman. But then, is the state red enough, and Steelman moderate enough, to benefit?

  37. If anyone takes out Himes in CT-04, it will be McKinney.  He is the ideal GOP candidate for this modern-day silk-stocking district.  

    The questions is whether McKinney want to run for the House.  He passed in 2010 — a year in which he could have beaten freshman Himes.  Perhaps he is more interested in s gubernatorial run.  

  38. …his batting average was the worst here.

    If I go ahead and “predict” Democrats will win all 435 seats next time, so do I get “credit” for the oddball upset win?

  39. Had nothing but nice words to say about Cravaack. although I don’t believe he outright endorsed him.

  40. I bet plenty of conservative Democrats would vote for KBH, even if the Democrats fielded a decent candidate. They might not believe any Democrat could win, and vote for the lesser of two evils (KBH over a far right teabagger type).  

  41. above, you could be right. After all, she did very, very well in 2006 against Randofsky, despite it being a very Democratic year, but I wonder if that is simply a function of Randofsky not being very well known and the race not being very competitive–in other words, almost artificial support. If the Democrats targeted this race, you’d think their candidates numbers would go up almost automatically because they’d be bringing more Democratic-leaning voters to the polls. Maybe that is why Noriega did better in 2008.

    Regardless, the candidate does need to do better rounding up Democrats. He or so would also need to cut down any lead with Independents than Hutchinson probably starts off with.

    Anyway, I used a floor closer to Rick Noriega’s rather than Randofsky’s because he was supposedly a pretty decent candidate and she a pretty bad one, at least as far as campaigning skill goes. I mean, even in a bad year, White received about 40 percent of the vote. And while 2012 might not be a good year for Democrats, it probably has to be better than this year.  

  42. I think you are misguided. Republicans will come after both of them, hard. They both won previously Republican held positions by the absolute narrowest of margins. Also, it will be a midterm, with lower turnout barring something strange leading up to the election. Both Dayton and Franken will face fierce competition. Whether or not the competition is top-notch remains to be seen, as the GOP bench is remarkably thin.

  43. Represents the quintessential suburb of Maple Grove.  He’d be a good gubernatorial and T-Paw or Rep. Paulsen for Franken and that’s a solid line-up.

    Zellers actually scares me as  a nominee.  He’ll clean-up where he needs to to win.  Hell, in a neutral year, I’d bet that he’d even beat Dayton.  I personally think he should retire after one term anyway and let RT Rybak have his shot.

  44. That is one of the biggest Republican strongholds in the state. Cleaning up in a stronghold CAN win you an election (see: Franken and Dayton), but that isn’t really the type of candidate that scares me. Emmer was the candidate that can, and did, clean up in the Republican hotbeds. Republicans like Paulsen, that can and have won in constituencies that don’t contain only teabaggers. Former Congressman Gutknecht would be a pretty strong state-wide contender IMO. I also believe that if former Rep. Jim Ramstad, if able to get through a primary, could actually win 50% of the vote overall for a Republican, which hasn’t happened in nearly a generation in Minnesota.

    I am not worried about firebrand right-winger legislators winning statewide.

  45. is a very gifted politician that will not be running for Governor in ’14.  We’d be foolish indeed to give up the power of incumbency that Dayton has.

    Keep this in mind–in a great republican year, we managed to win every constitutional office in MN.  This, after the RGA poured a freaking ton of Citizen-United money to Emmer’s favor.  This, I think, bodes well for a Dayton ’14 run.  

    If ’14 is a regular mid-term year, more like ’98, Dayton will have a much easier time then he did in ’10.  Yes, Emmer was deeply flawed; but the same energy that brought about the gains for the republicans was the same energy that nominated Emmer over the much more reserved and polished Marty Siefert.  

    I’d much rather see RT run for Senate in ’14 and let Franken (and I adore him) retire after one term.  

  46. But damned if I don’t hope the Ducks win, if only so Americans who live east of the Rocky Mountains learn how to pronounce “Oregon”.

  47. I’m not sure when her next opportunity would be. I think Sen. Kerry is likely to run again in 2014 (he’s “only” 67, and he’s a very powerful senator) and if Sen. Scott Brown loses next year to the likes of a Rep. Capuano or a Mayor Warren, that seat could be locked up for literally decades.

    There’s always the House, of course, but the Boston-area incumbents don’t seem to be eying retirement and the Bay State is losing a district, after all (expected to be a district vacated in any case by a congressman running for Senate).

    In a primary between Chang-Diaz and Rep. Lynch, I think Chang-Diaz could win. I think she might even be favored against a Warren or a Khazei.

  48. That would give Lynch, who represents the most culturally conservative areas of the city, a lot of new territory rich with latte liberals and minorities. He could easily lose a primary to Chang-Diaz, especially if she gets union support.

    However, I think Lynch and his allies know this. It’s more likely that, in the event of MA-08 being eliminated, Markey would get significant chunks of Boston and Lynch would keep the parts of Norfolk County that like him.

  49. I suspect that how members vote matters much less than we sometimes think it does, mostly because I don’t think most people pay much attention to that sort of thing but partially because people decide to vote for or against the party running things based on what they did as a whole (which also gets considerable press) rather than what their particular individual member did (which might not necessarily get that kind of press.)  

    One data point: All the capitulation in the world didn’t save a lot of Democrats this time around.  

  50. –he didn’t bring himself or anyone else down.  He’s a moderate pro-life Democrat who was a perfect fit for his district.  He just got sick of the bullshit (death threats, etc) and decided he didn’t want to put up with it anymore.

  51. By Election night January, most of the pundits were convinced that Scott Brown had a better than 50/50 shot.  His actual election was a total “shock” only to people not following it closely.  Oberstar’s loss was the opposite.  It was the insiders that were surprised, and the casual observers who probably thought, “Well, that’s a wave for you…”  Coakley knew she was in trouble in the last couple weeks and tried to fight, but it was too late.  Oberstar, by all accounts, didn’t think he was going to lose until he had to call and concede.  If Oberstar DID act like Coakley and fight for a couple of weeks, he’d probably have been re-elected.  So the comparison to her is, as always, weak.  

  52. with a girl that moved to my town in New York from that state. She took a lot of time to remind us it’s not pronounced OreGONNNE, but OreGUNN.  

  53. I think MA-8 is right around 50% white right now and can probably be made majority-minority with some small changes – perhaps trading out NW Somerville, SW Brighton, and SW Cambridge for parts of Everett and a little more of Hyde Park and JP.

    Jack E. Robinson is already threatening to file suit if they don’t make it a MMD (take that as seriously as you wish, but there will probably be a lawsuit somehow). So I think cutting the 8th up between Frank, Markey, and Lynch is not going to fly.

  54. To force a friendly district to be drawn for him?

    Some hearsay I’ve come across suggests Rep. Lynch isn’t terribly popular with the Massachusetts Democratic establishment. It would be interesting if they tried to screw him with a minority-majority district and some quiet overtures to Chang-Diaz.

  55. There are a lot of Lynch-types in the state legislature: the backroom-dealing, parochial,  Boston Irish Democrats. But his vote against HCR ticked off the Democratic establishment, so that support might not be there anymore.  

  56. After everyone was so miffed Rybak lost the caucus to MAK, why the heck didn’t he run in the primary like Dayton did?

  57. He’s not a professional politician, by any means. He wanted to make a statement and rid us of Norm “Oh God Please Don’t Count Those Votes” Coleman, and he did. He has had some accomplishments in his Senate career. He has served Minnesota, and he will continue to serve Minnesota until January 2015 at least.

    But I think he’ll face a difficult reelection, and I don’t know if he’s the kind of man who wants to spend the rest of his life in the Senate. Maybe he’d rather bow out and get back to commentating.

  58. kinda hope Franken stays in the senate and continues to be the workhorse he is now. Hopefully bitter feelings towards Franken heal over by 2014.  

  59. Didn’t think they would know each other.  Still, quite eery that she sent this the day before.

  60. It really reinforces my opinion of Rep. Giffords as an amazing lady. I hope she’s back at work soon, because we need her – although I suppose that all depends on the exact path of the bullet, the extent of the damage, and the quality of her rehabilitation, as well as her attitude, her wishes, and the wishes of her family.

    I take it as quite encouraging that nobody seems to be talking about succession or a special election right now, as they were even before then-Sens. Kennedy or Byrd had passed.

  61. They bring political speakers in all the time. Maybe she was interested in visiting Cambridge this spring?

  62. Giffords also said in her email to Grayson that she was familiar with the Institute of Politics after participating in a three-week program for state and local leaders while she served as an Arizona state Senator. Giffords spent two years in the Arizona state House before being elected to the Senate in 2002 and then to Congress in 2006.

    The previous year, Giffords and Grayson were among the 24 members of the inaugural class of the Aspen Institute’s Rodel Fellowship in public leadership. Jonathan Miller, the former Kentucky state treasurer who now serves as the state’s Finance and Administration Cabinet secretary, also was in that year’s fellowship.

    I remember Rand Paul’s campaign using a clip of Grayson mentioning that he was looking forward to working with the then newly elected President Obama, too, as proof that Grayson was some sort of stealth Democrat. So he’s got some experience with the political venom Giffords seems to have been indirectly referring to.  

  63. Dayton is fantastically wealthy, and could afford to foot the bill for the expenses of a primary against the entire state party. Rybak is not rich, and couldn’t afford to do that. Dayton also had better name recognition statewide, Rybak isn’t all that well known in outstate Minnesota.

  64. MA-08 was never really designed as an MMD.  

    The minority population of MA-08 consists of several disparate groups in far-flung areas (Asian-Americans in Cambridge and parts of Somerville; Hispanics in Chelsea and East Boston; Blacks in Roxbury and Mattapan; a little bit of everything in JP) who have absolutely nothing in common save for the fact that they’re not non-Hispanic white. (Well, that, and they’re all positively allergic to the GOP.)

    None of these groups is anywhere near large enough to swing a Congressional district by itself.

    Whenever there’s an open seat in a district that looks like this, there’s a crazy free-for-all Democratic primary where no one can get a lock on all those disparate groups.  

  65. I’m sorry Andrew, I’m guessing it’s probably awful for you to think about, but I think it’s a necessary question for Ds who want to take  back the House.

  66. and he could have voted against HCR because of his pro-life beliefs for all I cared.  But, to put it bluntly, learn your role and shut the fuck up.  You do not run a group of Blue Dogs to counter the signature legislation your party has been trying to pass for decades.  If you do not like it, do not hold a press conference, just vote no.  Period.

    The death threat was a factor in his retirement, but to be honest, I bet he would have lost regardless if that had happened and he had retired. He spoke up just like Lincoln and Ben Nelson did about the bill, they put their names in the media about it and then wha, we’re all shocked when people are specifically pissed at them?  Stupak = Zero political skill.  If he was going to put himself out on a limb for his district on pro-life issues, then he should have been prepared to vote no.

    So in summary, first Stupak helps fuck us all over with his pro-life battle and forces the hand of people like Oberstar who need to be pro-life but need to vote for HCR.  And then, he fucks us over in MI-1 because he, like the other fools in the Senate, made himself an HCR target and he forced himself into retirement.

    You dont need to have a national opinion, just vote no and make some campaign lit about it.  It really could have been that simple.  (I really need to write a book called “My Biased View: How HCR and Conservadems Meant We’re All F***ed.”)

  67. The overly middling approvals of Christie make sense based on the way he’s governed, but don’t match with most of the ones I’ve seen recently.  FDU has it 53-36.

    I’d wait for Monmouth to break the tie though, because they were completely on the mark in House polling the weekend before the election and should get some props for that.  They pegged nearly every race they polled in the Mid-Alantic within a point or two.

  68. If it was pre-snowstorm, that explains the difference in polling results.  I’d be surprised if Christie took no hit from the snowstorm.  That his L.G. proved to have such a compelling excuse, a dying father, for her own absence, only hurts him more.  I think that even Rudy Giuliani publicly called out Christie’s decision to stick with Disney World might shed some light on the state of public opinion on the matter.

  69. He’s an obnoxious asshole… Maybe that plays well in Jersey, I don’t know.  Makes no sense to me.  If he tried pulling that stuff in most other states, there would be a recall movement.

  70. >>Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind conducted the telephone poll of 802 registered voters statewide – both landline and cell phones – from Jan. 3-9. The poll and has a margin of error of +/-3.5 percentage points.

  71. Our statewide bench is thin in TX.  

    Every few years the mayor of Houston seems to run for something and loses.  

    If our best can’t get close (and really they ahven’t been close) then the 3rd party candidate ont he right won’t have a real impact, whether there’s a challenger from the far left hurting the nominated Dem or not.

  72. What does the future hold for Julian Castro? (San Antonio Mayor, age 36)

    This seemed like a heck of a complementary profile — suggesting much bigger aspirations —

    The Post-Hispanic Hispanic Politician

    Since he’s still relatively new, I wouldn’t look for him to run statewide until say ’14 or ’16. Interesting tidbit from the article — seems like he doesn’t speak much Spanish.

  73. might be well known, if voters have long memories. But I get your point, and I think we are in agreement that there aren’t very many well known Democrats, if any, in the state.

    That’s a problem, but hardly an insurmountable one. It simply requires an investment of resources. I’m not sure how well Randofsky and Noriega were known even after they supposedly advertised on television–at least I read Noriega did–but my guess is that they were not that well known.

    But if that’s the case, and Noriega still managed to get almost 43 percent, or what would have been closer to 44 percent if the third-party votes weren’t there, that’s not half bad, even if it was in a presidential year. I don’t remember being this a special focus of the Democrats that year, unlike, say, the race in Oregon, and if that is true, then figure that treating it like any other race might have given Noriega another point or two. That’s still an eight to ten point-loss, but that’s getting a lot closer, to the point where it might–MIGHT–be possible to win the seat. And as long as 2012 isn’t like 2010, I imagine we’ll be in the same spot.

    I really hope Patty Murray is taking this race seriously.

  74. Regardless of political cost. Having frequent amounts of breathless media coverage probably also helps.

    The profile being built for Christie reminds me of that which has been built around Indiana’s Mitch Daniels, with the key difference being Daniels doesn’t piss off everyone he comes into contact with.  

  75. MN-8 is not a very religious region, sans the SW corner of the district. And the people are do affiliate with a religion are either moderate Catholics, or ELCA (maybe one of the most liberal churches anywhere).

    Amy Klobuchar, a very liberal pro-choice Democrat carried all but 2 tiny counties in the western part of the district (Hubbard and Wadena). Mark Dayton (Another liberal) carried the district by a comfortable, but not huge margin. Obama won  60% about in the district. It isn’t a place where social issues are all that important. The important part is being cozy with the mining, shipping and logging industries, as well as their associated unions. In some parts of the district, there is currently bad unemployment and poverty numbers in rural parts of the district, so an economic populist tone is what a candidate needs to run on.

  76. but then it goes completely contrary to what I said in my comment.  You just  go have yourself a nice day.

  77. Guess I’ve been colored by driving I-94 through Bachmannland, filled with pro-life billboards. Relieved to hear those beliefs don’t hold true througout outstate.

  78. and controversial figures like Michelle Rhee are only thriving because the economy is so bad right now and the public’s anger, misguided or not is focused on public employee unions. Case in point, Schwarzenegger came into the governor’s office pledging to ram his agenda through and said no one could stop him. Well the unions quickly gave him a knock out punch at the ballot box by defeating all of Schwarzenegger’s propositions in 2005 and humbling him at the same time. But the economy was good back in 2005. Also yes, it helps Chris Christie has been crowned as a conservative reformer among everyone on the right and the media.

    Remember when Christie and McDonnell were elected in 2009, all the pundits said McDonnell was suppose to be the rising star and Christie the quiet one. Fast forward 2 years and besides McDonnell’s assine Confederacy proclamation, its Christie who’s the rising star.

  79. 2010 or not, surely White was helped by running against the far from beloved Rick Perry. I don’t think you can count on the Republican nominee having Perry’s unfavorables.

  80. and Perry, though benefiting from Tea Party fervor, suffered from a sort of  Bloomberg effect – popular incumbent who ticked off some people by running for more terms than he was supposed to.  

  81. Given the climate in 2010 and that he held onto Dallas County by a healthy margin and Bexar County by a sliver I think he did well given the climate.  

    Guess what I’m saying is that the progress Democrats made in 2008 in the state didn’t get marched back with regards to statewide elections.  

    The Dems got crushed in the state legislature, but that is another story.

  82. Counties the Dems need to work on for the next few cycles are Tarrant, Fort Bend and Williamson.  Obviously the Dems need to keep up the hard work in Harris, Dallas and Bexar, but the next step are those counties where Democrats can be organized.

  83. The “I had finger prints before I was born” billboards next to “Are you sexually attracted to children? Call our help line” billboards. It is quite comical, actually. But no, North Woods and Iron Range country is nothing like the farmland. Much more hardy, practical people up there.

  84. I find the people of west MN to be plenty hardy and practical — no more or less hardy and practical than anyone else in MN or the country overall.

  85. City dwellers (I live in Minneapolis now) are no where near as hardy, because they don’t have to go through the hardships of not living in town. Pipes freeze, wells needs to be redrilled, snowplows don’t come through, power lines go down, septic systems are harder to maintain that the sewer system. I do believe that city life is much easier than rural life. As far as farmers go, I have a bit of a qualm with them. Yes, Farmers work harder than city people, by a large margin. However, there are subsidies if the crops fail, and after you pick rocks in the spring (yes I know how to arm too) and spend every waking minute of every day planting the crops afterwards, the crops pretty much grow themselves. With the invention of the automatic irrigated watering systems, farming in the summer is astonishingly easy. The loggers and the iron miners don’t have the luxury of federal subsidies if they don’t get their yeilds. The ore doesn’t mine itself 3 months out of the year, followed by a 6 months of not working. Trees do grow on their own, but they are FAR less accessible in the tamarack swamps and peat bogs than the nicely groomed flat fields you find corn. I get that you take exception to my assertion, but I honestly find it justified.

  86. But I think the Angle numbers show that in 2012, the losers of 2010 are going to have a stank on them that will be difficult to overcome.  With wins almost everywhere, even ultra-Conservatives are going to look at the losers of ’10 and be more wary.  Angle, O’Donnell, Buck, and the like are going to have a tough time trying to come back, even in Republican primaries.  Time will tell.

  87. Even if Heller doesn’t run, I suspect Lowden or Tarkanian would also hold-down this seat. Ensign, however, looks toxic in a general election, and he’s even less popular with his own party than Kay Bailey Hutchison, for instance.

  88. Certainly given the beating Democrats took coast to coast (err, well, not quite all the way to California), Bill White performed quite strongly in a state that usually kicks the crap out of Democrats at the statewide level. It’s just difficult to gauge this particular race – you had an exceptional Democratic candidate who many considered competitive early on and a tired incumbent running to add four years to a ten year term somehow managed to cajole voters into thinking he was an outsider. Not to mention a bizarre GOP primary where the incumbent became the underdog, the challenger became the establishment candidate, and a wealthy proto-Tea Party insurgent gained some traction.

    I think, despite the climate, Democrats could do a lot worse than 42% in Texas. I wouldn’t call it a fantastic margin by any means, but I could see other, less appealing Democrats failing to break 40%.  

  89. You can make arguments on each side, but this, or this, and this.  But when it comes down to it, voters have one reason or another that makes them decided.  And I think they decided that the Democrats suck and cant create jobs while the Republicans just suck, so we’ll go with them.  Right candidate, wrong year.

  90. I think if Ensign stays in Heller will be forced to run against him and will easily defeat him.  

    However, if Ensign does retire I think Lieutenant Governor Brian Krolicki runs and Heller stays in the House.

  91. I don’t think that is the floor considering the opponent. About 40 is probably fair for a decent candidate.  

  92. Neither of these two are or were top tier challengers. Krolicki & Heller were the two candidates state GOPers had been looking for to challenge Reid, but Krolicki was fighting what turned out to be bogus ethics complaints and Heller had no interest in risking a safe house seat to get beat to shit by Reid. Heller probably would have beaten Reid, but why would anyone put themselves through the Reid meatgrinder if they didn’t have to?

    Tarkanian & Lowden only look good now because they never had to square up with Reid in the general, if either of them had beaten Angle I doubt they’d have done much better and probably would look just as bad now.

  93. Your point about Kerry and Gore against Bush is well taken — with two TX candidates running in TX, the floor would be higher.

    But that’s given the demographics of ’00 and ’04, which have now changed. It was 32% in ’00, and was closing in on 37% in ’09. Have not verified with comparative exit polls, however.

    While White was an excellent candidate, he was not competitive closer to the end, which suggests the 42% result in ’10 was more “Generic R v. Generic D”. If Perry were an excellent R candidate, he would have gotten closer to what Bush got in ’98 (Bush got 68%, Perry got 55%). And Gary Mauro was no slouch.

    Given his advantages relative to Kerry/Gore, 42% sounds about right for ’10 to me.

    Given a similar pair of candidates — a tea partier replacing Hutchinson and a John Sharp quality candidate, in a Presidential year with enhanced minority turnout, I fully expect the D to get significantly more than 42%.  

  94. I’m sorry that it (maybe?) came off otherwise.

    I’ve always respected your contributions, and have found you to be a very kind, talented, and compassionate contributor here. At least you’ve always been kind to me.

    Nevertheless, we don’t agree 100% on politics. That’s OK.

    I am “insinuating” that you prefer to elect pure progressives a bit more than I do.

    I put the word “insinuating” in quotes, as I don’t mean it negatively in any way. I guess “implying” would be more accurate.

    In any case, I don’t think it’s a big secret that you prefer progressives somewhat more than I do.

  95. And just to throw in a personal point on the city, my parents moved our family there when I was four which was 1990 which was when it was nothing but two strip malls.  We moved to TX because of my parents’ jobs and when we’d come back to visit family, we’d always pop into Maple Grove and discover it becoming this monster suburb.  (Moved back to MN in 2000.)

    The numbers reporting in Republican margin; 2000 R+10.5; 2004: R+14.79; 2008: R+4.76

    It does not follow the pattern of the usual suburbs trending our way as it went more for Bush in 2004 than 2000.  This has solely to do with population growth in the further reaches of Maple Grove.  (Know from driving those back roads.)  This is also a common factor with many of the suburbs across the Twin Cities; did they go more for Bush or less for Bush in 2004?  That is the biggest indicator if they are actually trending our way throughout the ballot or if 2008 was more of a bump due to the suburbs being the highly educated types who wanted to vote for someone with a brain.

    But, that giant jump is one of the biggest in the metro.  It’s getting comparable to Plymouth, but they’re no Minnetonka.  (Ok, enough shop-talk.)

  96. Bloomington is still the biggest suburb, and fortunately, one of the most DFL-friendly. I am not holding my breath on cities like Maple Grove coming into our column in the next few years?  

  97. Minnesota’s Bloomington is actually substantially larger than Indiana’s. The difference being that Indiana’s is the main city, and Minnesota’s has 2 much larger neighbors.

  98. of the critical role there workers they play in society. I feel like the unions just forget about there most powerful weapon in these battles that they are all working class people who are from the same economic background as (most) of the people who are wrongfully pissed at them.

  99. was without contesting the state very much. Sure, some money was spent there, and it was a Democratic year, but 44 percent isn’t anything to sneeze at. You have to wonder how close they would have gotten if they treated it as seriously as Florida or Ohio, or even if they would have won it.  

  100. It was the fact that on top of that he saw that dozens more incumbents could lose on top of that (of the 29 he predicted could be dicey for Democrats, 13 we won by over 20, including two we won over 40 (Lipinsky and Napolitano).

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