SSP Daily Digest: 3/22

MO-Sen: Well, it looks like Claire McCaskill has been trying to make me look like an idiot. After this site’s repeated smack-downs of the “airplane” story as Politico-fueled b.s., it turns out that there is quite a bit more to it: McCaskill now says she owes $287,000 in unpaid property taxes on the plane. That’s quite a bit. Of course, she says she’s paying them, and she’s also having her husband sell the plane – and she further notes that this problem only came to light because she reviewed the plane’s records herself. But how do you forget to pay over a quarter mil in taxes? Man.

In other MO-Sen news, former state GOP chair Ann Wagner was in DC last week meeting with the NRSC about her bid. She still claims her first preference is to run for Senate, but based on the quotes in Roll Call’s piece, it’s sounding more and more like Rep. Todd Akin (R) will get in and she’ll run for his seat. Of course, who knows what MO-02 will look like in a few months….

PA-Sen: The National Journal’s Alex Roarty says that Ed Stack, longtime CEO of Dick’s Sporting Goods and Pittsburgh native, is thinking about seeking the GOP nomination to challenge Sen. Bob Casey. Stack is, of course, very rich.

ND-Gov: Horse’s mouth: Ex-Rep. Earl Pomeroy (D) is leaving the door just slightly ajar to a gubernatorial run, saying “I am not excluding anything nor am I focusing on politics right now.” But he repeatedly told the Fargo-Moorhead Forum that he was concentrating on his new legal/lobbying job at Alston & Bird in DC.

WV-Gov: SoS Natalie Tennant released a poll from GQR showing acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin leading the Dem primary field with 31, but with herself just behind at 27. Treasurer John Perdue is at 14, while state House Speaker Rick Thompson and state Sen. Jeff Kessler take 5 apiece.

CA-36: Debra Bowen got her first endorsement from a member of Congress: Rep. Judy Chu, who filled Hilda Solis’s 32nd CD seat when the latter became Secretary of Labor. Several other local officials have also endorsed. Also of note: The Courage Campaign is holding a candidate forum on Thursday, and if you click the link, you can submit a question.

IA-03: Longtime SSPer (and blogger in her own right) desmoinesdem points out that Nancy Pelosi is coming to Iowa to do some fundraisers with Rep. Leonard Boswell, including one at the home of 2010 Dem Senate nominee Roxanne Conlin. Is this a suggestion to Christie Vilsack that perhaps she ought not run?

KS-04: One political scientist is calling him “the congressman from Koch” – and you’ll probably want to as well. Mike Pompeo, a loathsome man hated by many fellow Republicans, took in $80K in donations from Koch employees, was supported by the Koch front group Americans for Prosperity, and, for good measure, hired a Koch Industries attorney as his chief of staff. (Or more like, David and Charles installed a fixer to make sure their new paisan did as he was told.) Pompeo’s been delivering: He’s promoting legislation to defund a new consumer complaints database, and an EPA catalog of greenhouse-gas polluters. Personally, I think this dickbag could be very vulnerable to a GOP primary.

NY-26: Crazy Jack Davis and David Bellavia both filed signatures to appear on the ballot as independents – but of course, now the fun can truly begin. If you weren’t already aware, New York has just about the most draconian requirements for petitions in the land – they can be invalidated for as little as using the wrong color ink. I’d be pretty surprised if the GOP didn’t try to nuke both of these guys from orbit, though Davis might be invulnerable, since he said he submitted over 12,000 petitions. Bellavia’s camp would only say that they submitted “more” than the required 3,500. Unless he has at least double that number, once Christian Szell starts asking “Is it safe?”, it’s a good bet that Bellavia won’t survive scrutiny.

OR-01: Kari Chisholm of Blue Oregon has an excellent roundup of recent OR-01 stories, so I’m going to recommend you click through for his summaries and links. Two items of note: Republican state Sen. Bruce Starr says he won’t challenge Rep. David Wu, and Wu is apparently starting to actively fundraise again, with an event this week in Portland. I’ve gotta ask: Who the heck would want to show up to such a thing?

AZ-St. Sen.: A recall effort is underway against notorious Republican state Sen. Russell Pearce, the architect of Arizona’s infamous anti-immigrant legislation known as SB1070. The leader of the best-organized group claims they have thousands of signatures and are meeting their goals, but they aren’t releasing any actual numbers.

NYC-Mayor: Another Republican campaign, another fortune embezzled. Mike Bloomberg hired John Haggerty to forklift over a million bucks to the state’s Independence Party, but instead, Haggerty laundered most of the cash through a consulting firm he owned and spent $750K on a home in Queens. Now a judge says that the evidence of Haggerty’s guilt is “overwhelming.” Can’t say I feel too bad for Bloombo! (Other recent similar incidents involved Rep. Frank LoBiondo of New Jersey and ex-Rep. Chris Shays of Connecticut.)

California: California Republicans are doing their best to ruin whatever advantages the state’s new top-two primary system might give them – on purpose. While the top-two might free more moderate GOPers from the ultra-conservative stranglehold on primaries, the activist base wants none of that. Starting in 2014, the party will conduct “pre-primaries” by mail and award their formal endorsement to whoever wins those beauty contests. These people will get assistance from the state party and will also be listed as the “official” GOP candidate for that race. David Atkins thinks, though, that this is a feature, not a bug: The CA Republican Party needs just 1/3 of the members of one of the chamber of the state legislature to maintain California’s absolutely dysfunctional system of state governance, and this helps ensure that they elect uncompromising crazies to the few seats they do win – which is all they require.

Redistricting Roundup:

California: Good news: The Republican firm that was a finalist to serve as the redistricting commission’s mapping consultant was unanimously rejected in favor of an Oakland company called Q2 Data and Research. And while Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, which was selected as the panel’s law firm, does have some well-connected Republican partners in their DC office (like Ted Olson and Miguel Estrada), it’s big enough that you’ll probably find the entire gamut from good to evil working under their umbrella (so let’s hope we get “good”).

Louisiana: This Times-Picayune piece details the backroom wrangling going on over Louisiana’s congressional map, which painfully has to shrink from seven to six seats. Scroll down to that grey call-out box on the left for links to actual maps. I believe we linked the Gallot maps before, but the Kostelka and Jackson maps should be new. (You’ll find them at the end of some very long PDFs.) I note that of these plans seem to keep one Dem district by marrying New Orleans with Baton Rouge.

New Jersey: NJ legislators are being weirdly good about not sharing their proposed state maps with the public, but folks who have seen them are chatting up reporters. One such person, Monmouth University pollster Patrick Murray, thinks that the GOP is running afoul of the edicts set by commission boss Alan Rosenthal, and could get in trouble for their attempts to over-reach.

154 thoughts on “SSP Daily Digest: 3/22”

  1. I can’t see that working. What exactly is there to stop somebody from continuing to run against the anointed party candidate?  

  2. Would Jay Nixon ever consider a run for Senate? I’ve been starting to think recently that McCaskill’s recent antics might have made it a safer bet to just have the governor run instead of her.

  3. headlined a fundraiser for Boswell this year and dropped a not-subtle hint to Christie Vilsack that it would be better for her not to run in IA-03 this cycle.

    I still think she will run, but I guess a lot depends on what the new map looks like.

  4. While on the surface, it’s difficult to see how Wu survives,

    he survived ’04, when the allegations of his sexual assault during college were revealed — and he was faced with a full-out campaign on the issue.

    But his ’04 opponent may have overdone it, ref

    As I remember it, the allegations against Wu then sounded worse then the (different) allegations now. But Ameri was at best a second tier candidate.

    Nevertheless, I would not be shocked to hear that Wu feels bulletproof.  

  5. A repeat of 2001 will occur where the Dem map was chosen because it was the most reasonable to the tiebreaker while the GOP map overreached more.

  6. I doubt that Pompeo’s Koch ties will cause him any trouble in the primary or even much in the general as Koch is a big employer in Wichita. The Koch issue in general resonates with hardcore Dems but I don’t think it has much traction with anyone else. I think it’s the Dem equivalent of the George Soros issue.

  7. wanna tell me if it’s a good idea to admit in your campaign TV ads that your in for an huge loss on election day? Granted the NSW Labor Party which made this ad is going in for an massive loss on Saturday, but is it a good idea to admit so in your TV ads?

  8. Wasn’t there a referendum passed last year that meant you no longer needed 2/3 of the legislature to approve the budget? I thought a simple majority sufficed now?  

  9. From the the link below, you can see a copy of the ad that the Missouri Republican party ran against McCaskill. Maybe it’s me, but I had to laugh at how bad it was. It seems to assume that people have followed the story fairly closely, which is almost certainly not the case, and it saves the big punch, “DID YOU ENRICH YOURSELF FUNNELING TAX DOLLARS TO A DELAWARE SHELL COMPANY?” for the end, instead of the beginning. Wouldn’t it have been more effective to get a picture of her with a scowl or confused look and simply flash the words “TAX CHEAT” right at the top? I guess they can keep running these ads, but wouldn’t that get expensive? If this is the best they can do, I’m not sure we need to be worried.


  10. It does seem that the GOP mappers are overreaching more as their map is all about packing as much as possible while the Dem map makes some concessions.  If this is still the case, the Dems win this.

  11. As anybody here who regularly reads my comments knows, I’m very inclined to believe the Tea Party can help us greatly by causing a lot of trouble for Republicans, especially incumbents, around the country. The Party Party is not guaranteed to have an effect, but it’s a big threat, particularly for moderates like Olympia Snowe. Others disagree with me, downplaying the intensity of the challenge that these people pose. But I think I’ve found one more piece of evidence that suggest these people, for better or worse, are determined to get what they want, no matter who or what is standing in their way. Below is a link from a site I try to follow regularly. It’s about policy, as is the post I am linking to, but just so we are clear, I am not trying to start a policy discussion. The excerpts I am including here highlight just how the Teabaggers plan to operate:

    One of the more interesting exchanges occurred when one of the House members who was there asked the tea party chairs if they really had expected them to have reformed Medicare in the first six weeks of the session. Another was when one of the members complained about having been booed at a national tea party meeting that had just been held.

    But the most interesting exchange came when the tea party state chairs openly threatened the reelection of the tea party supporting members of Congress who attended. This was anything but subtle. One of the chairs specifically pointed at the members and told them that the tea party had elected them and would run someone against them in the next election if they didn’t vote as expected. This was beyond a “passionate” exchange: It was angry with a strong take-no-prisoners attitude.

    Read the whole post, which is too long to simply copy and paste here.

  12. “A new survey by Democracy Corps in 50 of the most competitive battleground Congressional districts – nearly all of which gave a majority to Obama in the last presidential election – shows the new Republican majority very much in play in 2012.”


    At the GOP state convention this weekend, more than 1,000 Republican activists will consider a resolution to censure lawmakers who vote for Brown’s plan. The measure brands them as “traitorous Republicans-In-Name-Only” and calls for their resignations.

    But each of the five has reasons for tolerating the activists’ ire.

    Sen. Tom Harman of Huntington Beach is serving his last term in the Legislature. Among his options after leaving office is seeking a judicial appointment from Brown.

    Sens. Anthony Cannella of Ceres and Sam Blakeslee of San Luis Obispo hail from largely Democratic districts where support for the governor is strong.

    Sens. Bill Emmerson of Hemet and Tom Berryhill of Modesto say the Republican credo of cutting more government would devastate their districts, which have some of the state’s highest unemployment and foreclosure rates.

    The Democrats’ “Gang of Five” was in the 80s when five conservative Democrats in the Assembly, Gary Condit among them, threatened to defect to the Republicans to get one of them elected Speaker over Willie Brown. Their efforts failed though when a Republican Assemblyman died.

  14. The election is officially non-partisan but it’s pretty clear who’s from which party.  Democrat Bob Buckhorn leads Republican Rose Ferlita 60%-40% with absentees and early votes in.  Turnout today was said to be light so I’m guessing the margin won’t change much.

  15. Two of my maps have been submitted to the Senate and Governmental Affairs committee for consideration.  

  16. It may be worse than first thought and it certainly makes things harder but I wouldn’t have thought it was a game changer.

  17. Also, despite his popularity, he’s only ahead of Peter Kinder by single-digits. I doubt he would be any stronger than McCaskill.

  18. McCaskill screwed up unintentionally on her taxes, she solved it by paying them and by soon selling the plane, the story is over.

    This was “gotcha” reporting from the start, and still is.  Underscoring was the eagerness with which the writers in their very first story declared definitively the plane travel expenses “are likely to be an issue” (emphasis mine) in McCaskill’s reelection bid.  Really, “likely”?  How do they know that?…they want that to be true, so Politico gets “credit.”  So now Politico lucked out and found a nugget.  Big deal.

    The bottom line is that she is not corrupt, she does not play fast and loose with the rules, but yes she screwed up with the taxes on the plane and she’s immediately fixing the mistake.  The previous garbage about travel expenses was purely ginned up and still irrelevant.

    You can’t make a hit stick, especially this far from an election, unless it fits into a larger narrative.  And there’s no larger narrative there.

  19. It will only be a big deal to those who are truly on the fence, which is probably a legitimate 2% of the electorate (though polling always makes it seem like double-digits).

    It does seem like she’s telling the truth, as the revelations of back taxes came from her it seems.  like he language too…”sell the damn plane”.  LOL.

    It sucks, but I doubt its a big deal unless there are more issues.  I’m never sure a GOPer wants to go into ethical attacks since it usually backfires but maybe Steelman is squeaky clean and can truly win on this issue?

  20. By the time the campaign starts, she’ll have paid all the taxes and that will make harping on it not effective at all.  

  21. I like Claire McCaskill.  I think her personality and politics fit Missouri pretty well.  But I hope there’s not a pattern here.  She’s one of the wealthiest members of the United States Senate.  I don’t have an inherent problem with that, but when you come off as politically out of touch, it can become a big problem.  Jim Talent and the Republicans raised unpaid tax issues with her in the 2006 race — and I remember either in an ad or a debate her saying something like “Just because our taxes are complicated, doesn’t mean they weren’t paid.”  Now there are similar questions.  As others have said, she’s damn lucky this is coming out so far away from an election — but I hope she gets the whole thing out there, deals with it honestly, and can move on.

  22. This would essentially be similar to the Minnesota system, as far as I can tell.  I’m surprised that the Democrats aren’t doing the same thing.

  23. It’s basically Minnesota… only with more delusional people in CA.

    In Minnesota, Dayton didn’t bypass the endorsement out of ideology.  In contrast, in CA there are vast differences in philosophy.  For example, Campbell and Abel aren’t going to pass up the jungle primaries since that is their dream, while they also would have no chance in an internal thing.

    It’s just more blusterfuck for the CA Republican party.

  24. It gives them fodder for attack ads. An unforced error because it gives them an issue that wasn’t there before. But the fact it came out now rather than next year is a huge positive and I have a hard time believing it is some kind of silver bullet.

  25. And I wouldn’t assume it will show up in ads come summer/fall 2012.

    They’ll message-test the plane story and maybe even run it through focus groups, but if the respondents don’t bite, it won’t even show up in ads.  And there’s a very good chance that post-primary, when GOP attention finally turns to Claire, well over a year from now, even the Republicans’ own private message-testing will reveal it doesn’t bite.

    A story like this has legs with voters only if it fits a larger narrative about McCaskill.  Is there any pattern of sleezy behavior for personal or political gain?  There’s not, because Claire is an upstanding lady, she’s just not sleezy at all.

  26. I could see him winning narrowly in 2012 because of Presidential level turnout in Oregon, but that’s money we can spend elsewhere going to waste in a pretty Dem seat.

  27. …that could change my mind is if the new map looks bad for him.  In my mind that would require the district running largely north from Polk, into a lot of Latham counties, with little or nothing to the south and southeast.  Even then I’m not sure I’d peg Boswell’s chances at any worse than 50-50.

    And I don’t think Vilsack can beat Boswell in a primary unless Boswell takes it for granted and is asleep at the wheel.

  28. there is no reason to spend money on a seat like this when it could go towards many other places. Wu should just retire and be happy he had 12 years in Congress. If he refuses then primary him. It should not be too hard to do.  

  29. Somehow “forgot” to pay more in taxes than most households earn in five years. Also, how many people will ever sell a plane in their lifetimes? You know exactly how hostile I was to this story at the start, but now the GOP has a much better way to hook this into a narrative about McCaskill.

  30. To me, this is the whole Blumenthal thing again.  People make too much of a big deal of it and in the end it matters little.

  31. the tax liens problem Allen West had.  It isn’t a good thing, but as an attack it has little bite.  Also, McCaskill is a million times more qualified for Congress than West.

  32. but Koch goes deeper than that.

    They are funders of the John Birch Society and are closely related to Karl Koch, Nazi and Commandant of Buchenwald and Majdanek.

  33. That make me think Pompeo would be vulnerable to a primary. It’s the fact that other Republicans fucking hate him. After he won the primary last year, despite facing a competitive race, all of his opponents refused to endorse him. He also won with only a small plurality. I just think Republican power brokers in the district could easily rally around a challenger.

  34. Is a silly cheap shot.  You can’t choose your family.  Unless they’ve, like, said pro-Nazi things, but that’f be awful whoever their family is.

  35. But probably not to a mostly conservative electorate in a district where Koch is a major employer.

    (also, can I invoke Godwin’s law here? I loathe the Koch brothers, but not sure any good is done by trying to link them to the former commendant of Buchenwald)  

  36. I agree with you David – I can see pretty easily how the GOP can work this into a narrative about McCaskill. But, she has plenty of time to work through how to spin this (and given they will be Republican, I have no doubt her opponent will have their own issues regarding money)  

  37. was about the same as what 1400 familes would owe on their 2007 Red Pick up trucks or 700 2008 Chevies.  Claire in her news conference just related as she just wrote that check, who has 280K in a bank account, as soon as she found her mistake.  Not one for class envy but Claire right is disconnected from her working class voters.  

    Here is also why the issue will not go away and why the GOP will keep pressing on this plan issue.

    The plane was available for charter.  A plane like this has about 500K or more for annual expenses(insurance, taxes, fuel, maintence, landing fees, pilot fees and storeage fees) so hiring for charters or time shares is not a bad idea.

    I ask who chartered this plane from the McCaskills?  Who paid the McCaskills money to offset the cost of operating this plane?  In essence that  gave the McCaskills money to cover expenses that would have come out of their own pocket?  

    Did any lobbyists charter this plane?  Did they ride with Claire on these trips?

    Did any businessman who benefit from government contracts charter this plane?  Did they get access to the Senator?

    Chartering this plane benefited the McCaskills just as if I filled up their family car.  The only difference was the family jet was placed in an LLC and “available for charters”.  So lets be transparent and provide all of the flight records and who paid the McCaskills money for their plane’s use.  

    This is an issue that is not going away and yes I believe we will see drip drip drip on bad news.


  38. It will be an issue, but I don’t think it rises to that level of seriousness, especially since McCaskill has plenty of time to work through it.  

  39. gut feel — it might be viable if there were a independent third party with a chance for a decent bloc of seats. If so, such an ad might encourage some tactical voting.

  40. It is worth a try to present the argument that it might not be a good idea to give such a mandate to a party that has an agenda that isn’t that great.

  41. but you still need a 2/3rds majority to raise taxes or even put a vote on them on the ballot (what Brown wants to do) and of the last election voters decided you needed a 2/3rds majority to raise fees as well.  

  42. The problem is that it still takes a 2/3 vote to raise taxes. If the state were in surplus, it would mean that you’d get a Dem budget instead of a compromise budget. With a deficit, the new law has little impact because you still need a 2/3 vote to pass a serious budget (i.e. real cuts instead of just gimmicks) that would be acceptable to Dems.

  43. you need a 2/3rd’s majority for the cuts to go into effect immediately as well. Because they were voting on the budget cuts alone last week and Democrats couldn’t get through Brown’s plan to eliminate redevelopment agencies because they needed a 2/3rds majority to do that.

  44. But no question that it hurt. And McCaskill doesn’t have the luxury of running in Connecticut or Blumenthal’s favorables. No doubt this is gonna be a problem but neither is it the end of the world. It just makes things harder than they already were.

  45. I was just providing a bit of backstory and did not say they should use it as an attack ad.  Also, these Kochs DO fund and are members of the John Birch Society, which isn’t a positive thing in the slightest since that group is so fanatical that even Ayn Rand herself said they were full of BS.

  46. It will be worn out.  She paid them back in full and even got rid of the sweet plane.  What more does she have to do?  Does she have to wear a hairshirt and go on a pilgrimage to Canterbury where she is publicly flogged by the Archbishop for penance?  (Cookie to whoever gets that historical reference I just made!)

  47. on a newspaper ad more than a year and a half away from the election. They can keep bringing it up, of course, but every time they do, she simply has to say she’s sorry and she did everything she could to make up for her error. Eventually, it will go away, unless there’s more. And if there is, she better get it out of the way now.

    I’m almost of the mind that she should schedule a big press conference–if she hasn’t already; I forget if she has– and appear overly apologetic while highlighting the work she’s doing. If that can’t put this stuff behind her, nothing will.  

  48. since she didn’t send people to kill the archbishop, I suppose that she’ll be able to survive without going on a pilgrimage to canterbury.

    On the other hand, her being roman catholic she could be forced to go to Canossa, stand in the snow for three days and wait for the pope to forgive her… 😉

  49. to see the next round of polling on her and her possible opponents. We keep hearing from all sorts of people that it will make a tough reelection campaign even tougher, but it’s not at all clear what the effect, if anything, will be.

  50. Cooper should explore the field some.  He is stronger than Perdue as a campaigner.

    However, it is not guaranteed McCrory will run again.

  51. I have a feeling that if these number persist, he’ll face lots of pressure to jump in, along with lots of pressure for Perdue to bow out. His numbers aren’t that bad against McCrory, and he’s only getting 61 percent of Democrats.

    Of course, it’s entirely possible, as polling results describe, that Perdue could recover. The election is a long time away, and Republicans could easily make themselves unpopular.  

  52. also should be replaced with an Iowa-like commission.  That would be best.  The tiebreaker usually has all the power here.

  53. Did she unleash snakes aboard it?

    Did Samuel L. Jackson unleash cheesy acting in dealing with said snakes on said plane?

    Seriously, though, this is probably the last new thing we’ll hear of it.

    Besides, Talent tried to use the same attack on her in 2006.

  54. It’s over a year before the election, she’s selling the plane and paying the taxes. Anyone who holds it against her or sees her as out of touch for having money wasn’t going to vote for her in the first place.

  55. areamc that said if Steelman’s the nominee, she’s in for a ride because there will be a lot of stuff revealed about her. I wonder if he feels the same about the other potential candidates.

    Whatever the case, I just hope that this is the end, or that if it’s not, McCaskill will let whatever is left, if anything, out so that if can be put behind her. There are few things more uncomfortable to see in a political race than a candidate trying stop gap measures when full disclosure would be best, particularly when it’s so early on.  

  56. Apparently.

    In New Jersey, Dems may be figuring out how to get the tiebreaking vote for most of what they want.

    In Iowa, it seems almost inevitable that Leonard Boswell and Tom Latham will have to fight for the last chair in their “Musical Chairs” saga.

    In Arizona, no one knows for sure if Paul Gosar and Dave Schweikert will get a map they will like, but chances are looking up for Gabby Giffords to get a better district… Even though AZ Dems still look ready to fight on the overall map.

    And in California, certain incumbents in both parties probably won’t like the final results if the commission hews closely to Prop 20 guidelines… But overall, the CDP really shouldn’t complain too much (since it likely means more seats Dems can win).

  57. Is weaker than the front he puts out. He can’t keep straddling the fence between sanity and teabagger batshit crazy. Sue Lowden tried last year, and look how Club for Growth and Tea Party Express destroyed her in the GOP primary. While the Nevada GOP used to be dominated by the business establishment, Sharron Angle (and all the other teabaggers who won primaries down ballot) proved last year that they can no longer control the extreme right flank of the party.

    I’m still waiting to see if “The Club” and TPX will find someone else to challenge Heller in the NV-Sen GOP primary. But even if they don’t, they will demand a hefty price for letting Heller off the hook… A price that will probably hurt him in the general election.

  58. Did you get some info from someone in AZ? I read “looking up for Giffords” as all or part of Cochise county being put into Gosar’s district (or linked to Pinal in the new one?). I would be surprised if they did this given that it’s closely linked with Tucson in “baja Arizona” and was kept with eastern Pima in the last round of commission redistricting. I hope for the sake of communities of interest they at least keep Fort Huachuca in AZ8 with its Air Force base.  

  59. When gas prices always do the president/governors in a little for Snyder to be in the red, but you really have to work hard to be more unpopular then Scott Walker and John Kasich right now, and in that regard he’s exceeded my expectations.

    I still have a real problem with this “Snyder campaigned as a moderate” thing. He did campaign as a Milliken Republican, but he explicitly said he wanted to be “apolitical” and a “manager,” (which is what I think he thought of when he thought of Milliken) not a regular governor. The moderate label was one he cultivated without ever whole-heartedly embracing, and one the press latched onto in Michigan. I guess we know now how well the Bloomberg model works in the rest of the country!

  60. Thanks for the enthusiasm gap, Dem voters… you get what you stayed home for.

    I hop it teaches a lesson to the stay-at-home whiners, but it won’t, I’m afraid…

  61. I knew Snyder would be unpopular very quickly.  I think I may have mentioned it on SSP back in the fall when he won.  His approval rating is only 33%, with 50% saying they disapprove.  This is before he even enacts his first budget.  Wait until the effects of his policies are felt.  I have a feeling his political career will be very short.    

  62. that the US’s passing the multilateral resolution through the UN Security Council without giving Congress 48 hours notice is likely “an impeachable offense.”

    That made me a bit uncomfortable.

  63. Kucinich remaining in the House


    Kucinich trying to primary Brown


    Kucinich making a crazy primary run against the President?

  64. He’ll probably be merged with either Sutton (OH-13) or Fudge’s (OH-11) district.  Either way, it dilutes his base of support which is Western Cleveland and the Southwestern inner suburbs like Parma, Brookpark, and Brooklyn.  If merged with Fudge, the AA vote will likely overwhelm him in the primary.  If merged with Sutton, his unfamiliarity with Lorain county voters, and the antipathy of outer ring suburban and exurban voters to Kucinich will also hurt him significantly.  Of course, there is a possibility that Sutton would retire rather than face Dennis in a primary.  She’s not exactly the best campaigner or fundraiser and she may want to move on to other things.  If Kucinich does win a combined OH-10 and OH-13 district, he will be a weak general election candidate and the district would be only lean D at best, which is why I think the Ohio GOP will gerrymander it that way and hope he wins the primary.

    I like Dennis very much.  He’s a kook, but he’s our kook!  Regardless, he can be a major pain in the ass at times, but sometimes that is necessary.

  65. This really pisses me off. There’s not wanting to start wars, and then there’s being willing to hold back and watch a bona fide massacre in the name of “peace”. I got into an argument with someone on Twitter the other day who kept saying things like, “We should have just let the civil war end the way it was supposed to instead of getting involved,” and, “It would all be over by now if we weren’t prolonging it,” and…

    I mean, I’m sure this isn’t a policy area on which we have broad consensus here, so I won’t go into it any further than that.

    Suffice to say I’m sick to death of Rep. Kucinich, worse than I was of then-Sen. Feingold last year. Yes, Dennis, let’s impeach the president, because it really would have been better to wait for a divided Congress to agree on a resolution to give the commander-in-chief political cover rather than stopping Col. Qaddafi from launching his fighter jets and surface-to-air missiles against those French jets enforcing a UN mandate by saving the lives of hundreds of thousands of people in Benghazi, under indiscriminate and overwhelming attack in violation of ceasefire. Brilliant. I’m sure if we’d just baked Qaddafi a delicious cake, he would have stopped trying to massacre the rebels and blow our allies’ airplanes out of the sky.

  66. would be like the IA-04 map that contributed to 36-year-incumbent Neal Smith’s loss in 1994: from Polk County stretching west to Council Bluffs and then south to the border. That’s old Tom Harkin territory, but rural southwestern Iowa has swung way to the right since Harkin was in the House.

    Going a bit north from Polk County wouldn’t necessarily be bad for Boswell; he used to represent Story (Ames) and Marshall (Marshalltown) Counties during the second half of the 1990s.

    Don’t know whether you saw this post on a couple of potential maps; Bleeding Heartland user ragbrai08 speculated that Latham may end up choosing to run against Braley in the NE Iowa-centered district.

    As for the primary, no way will Boswell take it for granted.  

  67. that even if you go pretty far into north-central Iowa, a lot of those counties get Des Moines television stations, so Boswell probably has reasonable name recognition. Latham is fairly low-profile for a 16-year incumbent.

  68. redistricting?  Will there still be two Congress seats in the area?  I know some state legislature seats will move, maybe one more than expected.

  69. The Repubs running against Reid last year always struck me as weak sauce, and Lowden really shot herself in the foot with the chicken stuff. She was pretty far ahead before that started, wasn’t she?

    Heller strikes me in a better position than Lowden ever was. Plus, my understanding is there’s buyers remorse with Angle among a lot of Republicans.

    Not saying you’re not correct – that there couldn’t be a tea party challenge to take Heller down. And you’re obviously on the ground there, where I’m not. But to be honest, with no announced candidate and no sign from any of the national Tea Party groups they are going to get involved, it strikes me as a bit of wishful thinking at this point.  

  70. Sometimes I find it hard to care too.  I think it’s Democratic candidates that need to learn.  Bernero wasn’t a good candidate.  He should have gotten people excited to vote for him.  When a Democrat opposes things like a graduated income tax, I can see why it’s hard for people to get excited about the candidate.  I voted for Bernero not because I liked him a lot…I just knew how bad Snyder would be.      

  71. And Pima now has more than enough population to justify its own district (in addition to keeping the Latino heavy parts of Tucson in AZ-07). And couldn’t the argument be made that Cochise shares a “community of interest” with Graham and Greenlee?

  72. But that still isn’t saying much. Dean Heller just doesn’t have the gravitas among Nevada GOPers that John Ensign used to have, or that Brian Sandoval now has. He hasn’t run in a statewide election since 2002, he only barely won the NV-02 primary in 2006, and most Clark County voters still don’t really know him. At least with Sue Lowden and Danny Tarkanian, Clark voters know them (even of they’re considered jokes these days).

    There’s only “buyers’ remorse” with Sharron Angle because she lost to Harry Reid, NOT because she’s a teabagger. While the field looks clear for Heller now, neither Club for Growth nor Tea Party Express has stated they will endorse Heller, or even sit out of the primary. If they find “another angle”, they’ll use it.

    And even if Heller keeps a clear primary field, he’ll have to keep tacking further to the right to do so. And by doing so, Heller lessens his appeal to moderates in the general election. While Heller is the early favorite now, he’s far from invincible. Even Jon Ralston has admitted this.

  73. Heck and Farenthold will probably be given easier seats in redistricting. So might Barletta, but I think he would be in trouble in anything up to about R+4. I don’t understand McKinley unless they hear Oliverio is going to run again, as that seat is R+9. I also think that Ribble is likely to be a better target than Ryan, as Ribble is a freshman and Ryan could easily be given a safer seat as Sensenbrenner has red areas to burn.

  74. I don’t know how successful such a move would be, but it would be certainly more successful than trying to primary Obama. And regardless of whether you agree with his opinions, in the House, he’s usually a fairly reliable Democratic vote, even if he is a pain in the ass.  

  75. As a GOP supporter, I would be most happy if he primaried Brown.  That would do the most damage, as he’d have to be considered a legit threat.  At a minimum, he’d burn up some of Brown’s money and dirty him up a bit.  He’s be a waste against Obama and fighting for his house seat will only beat up another sure winner – the GOP will have no chance in whatever district he gets cut into.

  76. a lot of people didn’t do so. They certainly have the right to vote or to sit an election out, but if they didn’t vote, then they have little reason to complain.  

  77. Bernero was the “strong working class” candidate, least that’s what the netroots told me.

  78. I think that putting Cochise with Graham and Greenlee is a bit of a reach. Almost all of the population in Cochise lives along I-10 or south of it, particularly in Sierra Vista in the southwest corner and Douglas on the Mexican border. Graham and Greenlee are dominated by mining with a little ag in Graham, whereas Cochise used to have some mining near Bisbee but is now dominated by the military and border traffic.

    I think it fits very well in AZ8, but it actually doesn’t fit in AZ1 much worse than what’s already there. The current AZ1 is arguably the biggest hodgepodge in the House: Mohave is dominated by retirees, Coconino by NAU, Navajo and Apache by reservations, western Pinal by foreclosure-ridden exurbs, and eastern Pinal/Graham/Greenlee by mining.  

  79. Yeah, except when he votes with the Republicans on things like SCHIP, Cap and Trade and Financial Reform. When even Markos can’t stand the guy you know there is a problem.

  80. I’m thrilled to see McKinley on this list. R district or not, McKinley barely won in the 2010 tide while Oliverio ran about the most lifeless campaign imagineable. I’m thrilled the DCCC isn’t giving up on this seat (though of course it might look different after redistricting).

    As to Ryan, he probably won’t go down, but might as well keep some heat on him, and keep the downsides of Republican budgets associated as closely as possible with the Republican Budget Chair.

  81. Kucinich has no statewide stature, and all the lefties across Ohio love Sherrod Brown who postures authentically as an unabashed liberal.

    Kucinich has no angle at all on Brown, and Brown won’t have to worry about him.  Primary voters will dismiss Kucinich summarily.

    You don’t know anything about the Democratic Party if you think Kucinich has the stature with voters to scare Brown.

  82. In the 2004 presidential primary, Kucinich got 9% of the vote in Ohio against a dude from Massachusetts and North Carolina (and this was at a point in time when the Democratic primary was pretty much effectively over).

    Sherrod Brown wouldn’t need to spend a penny on Kucinich and Kucinich wouldn’t do anything to Brown. Hell, he’d have better luck moving to Nebraska and trying to primary Ben Nelson.

  83. protest votes? Didn’t S-Chip, for instance, pass with a fair if not significant amount of Republican support?

    The point is, as much as he may be a pain, he’s not like Boren or Matheson or Bright.  

  84. I agree that the NY Times was guilty of journalistic malfeasance, but at the same time Blumenthal clearly made repeated misstatements over a period of years that any reasonable person would have interpreted to mean he fought in Vietnam.  There was enough there to make an otherwise indifferent voter raise eyebrows and wonder about Blumenthal’s integrity, even if ultimately shrugging and dismissing the whole thing which is what all the swing voters did.

    I think this plane thing with McCaskill is actually much less because there’s nothing there to question her integrity.

    And I don’t think a narrative of “wealthy and out of touch” works.  That attack gets used against candidates all the time, and it almost never works.  It works only when the targeted candidate makes missteps during the campaign to reinforce it.  I think Fiorina losing last year was an example of that, where the “misstep” was oversaturation of the airwaves in a way that reinforced to voters, without Democrats even having to say it much out loud, that this was a rich lady trying to almost literally buy a seat with her cash.  But in most cases it doesn’t work, people just shrug off that a candidate is wealthy, if anything they take for granted that Senate candidates are mostly elites in society.  McCaskill, for her part, isn’t going to make missteps to reinforce any such image.  She’s not a rookie, she’s an incumbent who’s already made a lot of previous impressions, and if “wealthy and out of touch” wasn’t something that came across before, it’s not likely to come across now.

  85. I think it would be practically desperation for Latham to challenge Braley, notwithstanding Braley getting caught napping last year.

    If Latham wants to survive, I think he has to go mano y mano with Boswell.  As much as Boswell has gained my respect, I still see him as second to Braley as a candidate.

    Of course Loebsack is truly the weak link of campaigners in the Iowa Congressional delegation, but I can’t imagine any district that would put Latham in competition with Dave!

  86. that people would associate with someone who is ultra wealthy? Does she have ten homes, a Maserati, a closet full of Versace and Chanel? Does she come from any particular industry or family? Unless they catch her on television lighting a cigar with a $1000 bill, I think she will be fine.

    Also, and I can’t repeat this enough, this has to be the end of it. There cannot, and I repeat cannot, be anything else major to it. If there isn’t, it’s not only not likely to be a big problem, it’s not likely to be a problem at all. But if this is only the beginning, she could be in for a lot of trouble.  

  87. What’s so wicked to the GOPers in helping approve a BALLOT INITIATIVE that will let the voters vote on whether or not to continue the 1% sales tax hike necessary to stave off cuts that could devastate CA greatly?!

  88. I wish they’d just go ahead and poll Delaware, Mississippi, and Vermont, because they’re never going to win.

  89. I have no expectation that he could beat Brown in a primary, but the race couldn’t be taken for granted.  Brown would have to waste some shots on him.

  90. But not in any way “invicible” in the general, for exactly the reasons you stated (i.e. he will have to tack right to win the Republican primary). In fact, I still think of Nevada as tossup, perhaps even lean Dem, even with Heller in the mix. Call me optimistic on this one, but I think too many people don’t take into account the Obama effect on 2012 Latino turnout in Nevada.  

  91. Daily Show Indecision 2004; clip using the actual news footage of Kerry becoming the nominee and the news agency deciding to choose to show reactions from attendees.  They shoot to Hillary and Chelsea at the exact moment they decide to cheers with champagne glasses.  They then realize that was what was shown on tv, horrified looks, one of them sets their glass down on the ground and the other sinks a little in their chair and has a sip defiant and as if nothing wrong just happened.

  92. Bingo, you need a lot more than this trivial private plane story to establish some out-of-touch elitist meme.

    And I cannot emphasize enough that it’s just a lot harder to redefine an opponent’s very personal identity when she’s well-known than when you’ve got largely unfamiliar people like in an open seat.  McCaskill lost a nailbiter for Governor in 2004 and won a nailbiter for her Senate seat in 2006, and she’s an incumbent U.S. Senator.  People already like her.  The way to attack her identity is to say “she’s changed.”  And I suppose the “she’s gone Washington” meme is something the GOP can try, but again it won’t fly (no pun intended) if there’s not substantially more dirt to fit that meme.

    The truth is this plane thing just doesn’t come across as a scandal.  A screw-up, yes, but not a scandal.  And if it’s not a scandal, it’s not nearly enough.

  93. It’s why I’ve made a mental note that if I am ever a big time candiate one day, I will be drinking beer directly from the bottle.

    On a somewhat related note, I remember John Stewart summing up how I felt that year with one particular reaction. Fairly close to the election, when insurgents in Iraq stole weapons from a facility in Al Qaqa, Rudy! Giuliani went on “The Today Show” to defend the Bush administration. He basically said that it was up to the troops to make sure the site was guarded and it was their fault it was looted. Stewart said something like, “Finally, someone with the courage to blame the troops! Seriously folks, my brain hurts…”

  94. I agree with Tom. There have been conflicting polls on the Pres general. We all know Romney will have a 30pt lead in the primary, but 2nd place is still worth something. It will be interesting to see what happens there if Huck/Palin opt out. NH has also been one of Pawlenty’s highest polling states in the primary, so I want to see if he is doing better after his announcement.  

  95. Stronger Dem base turnout would’ve helped a bit on the margins, but by and large last year was about the swing voters doing a true 180, from one-sidedly supporting us in ’06 and ’08 to one-sidedly going the other way.

    And all these buyer’s remorse polls show first and foremost swing voters flipping.

    The problem the Republicans have is that so many of them have been clueless that their party is still despised by all the swing voters who just voted for them.  So they’re on a short leash, but they’ve been acting like they have just the opposite, a long leash.

    You know, I think John Boehner might be just the opposite.  He was always an establishmentarian, a dealmaker, that’s his impulse.  He’s tacked right to some extent this year because his caucus forces that, but he really wants to just make a deal on spending and all else that must be done to keep the trains running on time.  So he’s really caught between a rock and a hard place, and the first week of April he will have to decide definitively which way he wants to go.  He can’t win either way, either a shutdown kills the GOP, or he deals and divides his party for the rest of this Congress.  Either way, I think we’re in a good situation for 2012.

  96. I’m actually surprised that multiple polls show the new GOP Congress going downhill in public image so quickly.  Their numbers were never great, but they were approaching break-even in some scattered polling as some people, as should be expected, were giving them the benefit of doubt early on.  But I never figured they’d get in this much trouble this soon.

    All that said, they have to keep shooting themselves in the foot a lot more for quite awhile, probably at least for the rest of the year, before I think we’d have a realistic shot at taking back the House.

  97. Because she had to put up with a lot of dirty, misogynistic campaigning last year against accused rapist Tom Ganley. And after this stunt from Rep. Kucinich, I’d like nothing better than to watch Rep. Sutton kick his ass out of Congress if they get deathmatched by redistricting.

  98. when the margin was kind of small, it makes sense to think that lack of enthusiasm on our side made the difference.

  99. There were 560,000 fewer votes cast in 2010 compared to the previous gubernatorial election.  Many Democratic voters stayed home.

  100. He just can’t get enough. Everyone in Wichita knows that. What I don’t think the good people of KS-04 have decided is whether they like the Kochs as much as Pompeo does. It’s still not clear what electoral effect the Kochs might have now that they’re national names. That makes Wichitans (?) nervous.

    And I’m sorry to disagree with you, David, but I don’t know that Republican power brokers are that dissatisfied and even if they are, I don’t know that they’ll do much about it. First off, they’re afraid of crossing the Kochs, who could dive-bomb them with their billions and knock them out of primary races or even general elections (although that would mean boosting a Democrat, which is probably a no-go).

    Second, Pompeo did manage a unity rally with most of the local legislators, with the exception of one of his primary opponents, state Sen. Jean Schodorf. I can’t think of one off-hand who’d be willing to challenge him (besides Schodorf).

    Third, the power of incumbency is strong with Republican voters, especially when the Republican in question votes as conservatively as possible. KS-04 Republicans are a pretty conservative bunch, more so than the other areas of the state because the Democrats do have some strength here (hey Raj Goyle, run for the Kansas Senate!) So moderate and left-leaning voters are actually Democrats, instead of independents or RINOs (so they can vote in the Republican primary) like elsewhere in the state.

    I think what it would take is a two-man race between Pompeo and someone who is seen as reasonably conservative and not a moderate (aka-not state Sen. Jean Schodorf). State Sen. Dick Kelsey, who was the front-runner before dropping out due to his wife’s declining health, would be the type of guy who might be able to pull it off. He’s basically just as conservative, but much less abrasive than Pompeo.

    Unfortunately, the Kochs are one of Dick’s biggest campaign contributors, so it’s unlikely he’d cross them. They’re also contributors to nearly all of the local Republican power brokers, too, which again makes them unlikely to challenge the Kochs’ power.

  101. In a primary against Kucinich, Brown would come across as a sane moderate, which might even help his general election chances. I hope Kucinich leaves his House seat as I think it’s high time that Democrats got a new crazy-left elf in the House.  

  102. “I’m sure if we’d just baked Qaddafi a delicious cake, he would have stopped trying to massacre the rebels and blow our allies’ airplanes out of the sky.”

    LOfuckingL. But seriously, I do hope we can get rid of Kucinich almost as much as I want to get rid of a brutal, murderous, insane dictator like Qaddafi. Almost.

    I’m now really hoping Kucinich gets deathmatched with Fudge now. All she’d have to do is make sure every Democrat in the area (especially the African-American ones) know he wanted to impeach the President and he’d lose in a blowout.

  103. …that wasn’t MI-Gov.

    I think OH-Gov, the turnout model hurt us if the exit poll was right that the party ID was a dead-even 36D-36R, which is a regression for compared to 2008 (39D-31R) and 2006 (40D-37R).  But then 2004 had the state at 40R-35D, which was worse than this time.  But even in Ohio last year the exit poll said Strickland lost independents by a big 53-37, so that was the difference.

    Still, I’m sure in a wave the losing party can legitimately point to the turnout model in any number of razor-thin defeats.

    It’s just that the turnout model doesn’t matter in blowouts like in Michigan.

  104. the races in IL-Sen, PA-Sen, OH-GOV, and maybe WI-GOV, for starters. The first three were particularly close.

  105. i.e. in a Presidential election year, should our focus be more on

    — swing voters — or —

    — the base

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