SSP Daily Digest: 4/30

PA-Sen: Apparently, Arlen Specter’s campaign has only received 15 requests for donation refunds so far in the wake of his switch to the Democratic Party. The returned funds only add up to a paltry $15K. (J)

The NRSC has launched a new robocall targeting Specter, by linking him to the NRSC’s arch-enemy… George W. Bush? (It replays Bush’s 2004 endorsement of then-GOPer Specter.) Apparently, the goal is to soften Specter up among the Dem electorate to lose a Democratic primary to a more reliable Dem, who would then be a little more vulnerable to Pat Toomey in the general… or something like that? This is one of those moments when you can’t tell if the GOP is crazy like a fox, or just crazy.

Specter bringing his decades of seniority with him over to the Democratic caucus is angering some key Democrats who get bumped down the totem pole as a result, according to The Hill. Specter could find himself wielding the gavel in an Appropriations subcommittee, or even back in charge of Judiciary if Patrick Leahy takes over Appropriations in 2010.

Specter’s switch has the whining flowing among some of the GOP’s sourest senators: Jim Bunning says the GOP “coddled” Specter for too long, while Jim Inhofe shows his grasp of GOP dead-ender logic, saying that Specter’s fleeing the party is a sign of conservatism’s strength and presages a comeback. In much the same way that if my house is on fire, that indicates that its value is about to go up, because it’s finally clearing out all that clutter.

FL-Sen: The DSCC is pulling out all the stops against Charlie Crist, and he hasn’t even taken any steps toward getting into the Senate race yet. They’ve launched a new TV spot (airing in the Tallahassee market) that attacks Crist for leaving Florida in financial disarray to jump to Washington, and attacks his heavy-on-socializing, light-on-work schedule.

CO-Sen: The GOP’s Weld County DA Ken Buck is trapped in the grey area between candidate and not-candidate for Senate; his website is up and running and has a “donate” button, but hasn’t filed his official paperwork and denied Monday’s reports that he was officially in.

RI-Gov: Lincoln Chafee seems to be having similar problems on just how official a candidate he is, too. His exploratory committee is open and he said he “is” running when appearing on Rachel Maddow on Tuesday, but then issued a release yesterday walking that back, to “my intentions are” to run for governor.

WI-Gov: The GOPers aren’t waiting any longer for Gov. Jim Doyle to publicly announce his re-elections; Milwaukee Co. Scott Walker launched his campaign yesterday. Walker (who briefly ran in the primary in 2006) doesn’t have the race to himself, though; last week, Mark Neumann, who represented WI-01 from 1994 to 1998 and then lost the 1998 senate race to Russ Feingold, announced his candidacy, touting his support from Tommy Thompson surrogate James Klauser.

AL-Gov: Not one but two more Republicans are sizing up the governor’s race, although neither one seems top-tier material: Hoover mayor (in the Birmingham suburbs) Tony Petelos, and Bill Johnson, the head of the Alabama Dept. of Economic and Community Affairs. (Johnson has a colorful backstory that wouldn’t help him much in the primary.)

OR-Gov: Local Republican pollster Moore Insight polled potential Dem candidates for governor on their favorables. Ex-gov. John Kitzhaber and Rep. Peter DeFazio posted pretty similar numbers: 49/21 for Kitz, 48/17 for the Faz. (Kitzhaber has higher negatives among Republicans, thanks to all those vetoes he handed out.) Former SoS Bill Bradbury is at 29/10, and Steve Novick, who barely lost the 2008 Senate primary, is at 14/4.

GA-01: Long-time Rep. Jack Kingston has often been the subject of speculation in the Georgia governor’s race, but he confirmed that he’ll be running for re-election to the House. Interestingly, he’s supporting state senator Eric Johnson in the race instead of fellow Rep. Nathan Deal, but that’s because Johnson is a fellow Savannah resident and his son’s godfather.

VA-10: The subject of much retirement-related speculation due to age and a rapidly bluening seat (now R+2), Rep. Frank Wolf confirmed he’ll be running for re-election in 2010. He may face state senator Mark Herring or delegate David Poisson.

OH-18: Rep. Zack Space has been added to the DCCC’s defense-oriented Frontline program. Space was the target of an NRCC TV spot earlier, but this isn’t so much a question of newfound vulnerability as it’s confirmation he’s done flirting with a Senate run and committing to his House seat for 2010.

CA-36: Suddenly embattled Rep. Jane Harman has hired Clinton-era fixer Lanny Davis to help her negotiate the legal and PR minefield she finds herself in, regarding the wiretap imbroglio. 2006 primary challenger Marcy Winograd is revving up her efforts, sensing Harman’s weakness. Winograd, who earned 38% in 2006, has begun raising funds for another try.

NY-20: Republican Jim Tedisco says that he is “not planning” on seeking a rematch against freshly-minted Democratic Rep. Scott Murphy, but refuses to explicitly rule out a run. (J)

WA-08: One more tea leaf that Suzan DelBene may be left holding the bag in WA-08: State Rep. Ross Hunter, one of the first Dems to crack the GOP stranglehold on the Eastside and a potentially strong contender in WA-08, is running for King County Executive. The already-crowded Exec race is in Nov. 2009, not 2010, but indicates Hunter’s interests lie locally, not in DC.

Votes: The 17 Democrats who voted against the Obama budget are all familiar dissenters, and most of them are in difficult Republican-leaning districts: Barrow, Boren, Bright, Childers, Foster, Griffith, Kratovil, Kucinich, Markey, Marshall, Matheson, McIntyre, Minnick, Mitchell, Nye, Taylor, and Teague.

68 thoughts on “SSP Daily Digest: 4/30”

  1. from the left. They think they’ll soften him for the primary, but knowing that he’s now our spineless, craven, SOB, he’ll probably move left real fast (a la Gillibrand).

    BTW, their “Meet Arlen” site is pretty devastating. A Democrat with some money and a spine could probably take him out based on this. This ad would leave a mark, and so would this one

  2. He’d be the worst candidate for the GOP to face, as he’ll corner the market on moderates, pick up liberals (at least in the general election) and probably have a shot at low-info or older members of the Republican base.

    And getting him on flip-flopping is predictable, but it’s the easiest attack to get out the door. It suggests to voters that he’s unreliable and if it also softens him up in the Democratic primary, that’s good for them. Toomey’s an underdog anyway, but he’d much rather face a liberal leaving a bruising primary (and Specter will seek to drown his primary opponent in mud) than Specter.

  3. C’mon, it’s not like he has a difficult district. This is just more “make the perfect the enemy of the good” B.S.

    Though, obviously, in this case, he can get away with it…

  4. PA-Sen: The entire command structure of the GOP in disarray.  This is entertaining.

    FL-Sen: I think the DSCC should wait a bit (at least until he actually says he’s running for Senate, since their criticisms apply to his running for Senate) before starting on this, but oh well, looks like they have already.

    CA-36: Is Wingograd any good?

  5. Founder of Crooks and Liars John Amato announced on his website yesterday he is seriously considering the race against Harman in the primary.

    C& is a great website due to the video content, but Amato sometimes can be a little out in left field (or maybe I’m just more moderate). We’ll see if he can rally other blogs to him as well as real support.

  6. It’s always creeped me out that this lady looks like my own grandmother.  Looks just like a sweet little old lady.  Then she opens her mouth…

    A North Carolina congresswoman said Thursday she chose her words poorly when she called claims that a Wyoming college student was murdered because he was gay a “hoax.”

    Republican Rep. Virginia Foxx said during debate in the House that Matthew Shepard’s 1998 death wasn’t a hate crime and shouldn’t be invoked by supporters of a bill to expand the definition of such crimes to include violence motivated by sexual orientation.

    “We know that young man was killed in the commitment of a robbery. It wasn’t because he was gay,” Foxx said during debate. “The bill was named for him, the hate-crimes bill was named for him, but it’s really a hoax that continues to be used as an excuse for passing these bills.”

    Shepard died several days after he was found tied to a remote fence in Wyoming, severely beaten and robbed of $20. Prosecutors said he was lured from a bar by two men, including one whose defense attorney said reacted violently after Shepard made a sexual advance.

  7.    I have no idea why Gerlach thinks he can win a statewide GOP primary.  It’s hilarious that he thinks he could beat Attorney General Tom Corbett in the Republican gubernatorial primary.  It’s hardly more plausible that he could beat Toomey.  But by all means, all Republicans from Obama districts should vacate their seats post haste!  

  8. Breaking News.  Here we go.  Obama has his first big court nomination coming up.

    Sources tell NPR Supreme Court Justice David Souter is retiring after more than 18 years on the nation’s highest court.

  9. It’s nice to see who’s not on that list. Zack Space and Chris Carney and Heath Shuler. I’m sure 2 years ago they would be among the no votes. That’s good news. It only takes one term for Dems in Republican districts to become entrenched enough to vote like Democrats.

  10. Could we get an update on the two California special primaries coming up this month to replace Ellen Tauscher and Hilda Solis?  Thanks.

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