SSP Daily Digest: 10/22

AR-Sen: With Blanche Lincoln already facing the vague possibility of a primary challenge from her right from Arkansas Senate President Bob Johnson, now there are rumors that she might face a primary challenge from what passes for the left in Arkansas, from Lt. Gov. Bill Halter. Halter would focus on Lincoln’s health-care related foot-dragging, but apparently has a track record of threatening to run for higher office and then not following through, so this, like Johnson’s bid, may amount to a big bowl of nothing.

HI-Sen: Congratulations to Senator Daniel Inouye, who today becomes the third-longest-serving Senator in history and, adding in his House tenure, the fifth-longest-serving Congressperson. The 85-year-old Inouye has been in the Senate for almost 47 years. Inouye passed Ted Kennedy today, and will pass Strom Thurmond in another eight months, but is still chasing Robert Byrd. (Unfortunately, Inouye may be spending his special day being a jerk, by trying to remove Al Franken‘s anti-rape amendment from the defense appropriations bill.)

KY-Sen: Feeling the heat from Rand Paul in the GOP Senate primary in Kentucky, establishment choice Trey Grayson played the “you ain’t from around these parts, are you?” card, calling himself a “5th generation Kentuckian” and Texas-born Paul an “outsider.” (Of course, by implication, doesn’t that make Grayson the… “insider?” Not exactly the banner you want to run under in 2010.)

LA-Sen: David Vitter spent several days as the lone high-profile politician in Louisiana to not join in the condemnation of Keith Bardwell, the justice of the peace who refused to marry an interracial couple. Given the uselessness of his response, he might as well not have bothered — Vitter’s spokesperson still didn’t condemn Bardwell, merely rumbling about how “all judges should follow the law as written” and then trying to turn the subject to Mike Stark’s Vitter-stalking.

AL-Gov: This is a good endorsement for Ron Sparks, but it’s also interesting because it’s so racially fraught: former Birmingham mayor Richard Arrington, the first African-American to be elected that city’s mayor in 1979, endorsed Sparks instead of African-American Rep. Artur Davis Jr. in the Democratic gubernatorial primary. Arrington puts it: “I think if we are ever to move forward, across racial lines in this state, we have got to begin to trust each other, work with each other, and I think Ron Sparks can be the kind of governor that helps to make that possible.”

FL-Gov: Rasmussen released part III of its Florida extravaganza, finding that Republican AG Bill McCollum leads Democratic CFO Alex Sink 46-35. (This is the same sample that had Marco Rubio overperforming Charlie Crist against Kendrick Meek.)

IA-Gov: Ex-Governor Terry Branstad’s Republican primary rivals aren’t going to go away quietly. Bob vander Plaats attacked Branstad on his insufficient conservatism, ranging from sales tax increases during his tenure, choosing a pro-choice running mate in 1994, and even fundraising for Nebraska’s Ben Nelson.

NJ-Gov (pdf): One more poll out today, from Rutgers-Eagleton, finds Jon Corzine with a small lead. Corzine leads Chris Christie and Chris Daggett 39-36-20. This is the first poll to find Daggett breaking the 20% mark; also, with the addition of this poll to the heap, it pushes Corzine into the lead in and Real Clear Politics’ regression lines.

OR-Gov: Two different candidates have suspended their campaigns due to family health problems. One is pretty high-profile: state Sen. Jason Atkinson, who was initially considered to have the inside track toward the GOP nomination in Oregon but who had, in the last few days, been the subject of dropout speculation. (Could this mean that Allen Alley might actually somehow wind up with the nomination?) The other is John Del Arroz, a businessman who had put a fair amount of his own money into a run in the Republican field in CA-11. Best wishes to both of them.

RI-Gov: While conventional wisdom has seen ex-Republican ex-Senator and likely independent candidate Lincoln Chafee as having a strong shot at capturing the state house by dominating the middle, he’s running into big a problem in terms of poor fundraising. He’s only sitting on $180K, compared with Democratic state Treasurer Frank Caprio’s $1.5 million; that’s what happens when you don’t have a party infrastructure to help bolster the efforts.

CT-04: While it’s not an explicit endorsement, Betsi Shays, the wife of ex-Rep. Chris Shays, gave $500 to state Sen. Rob Russo last quarter. Russo faces off a more conservative state Senate colleague, Dan Debicella, for the GOP nod to go against freshman Rep. Jim Himes.

IL-14: Cross out Bill Cross from the list. With Ethan Hastert and state Sen. Randy Hultgren probably consuming most of the race’s oxygen, the former Aurora alderman announced that he wouldn’t be running in the crowded GOP primary field in the 14th to take on Democratic Rep. Bill Foster after all.

LA-03: Houma attorney Ravi Sangisetty announced his run for the Democratic nomination for the open seat left behind by Charlie Melancon. He’s the first Dem to jump into the race, but certainly not expected to be the only one. He’s already sitting on $130K cash.

PA-11: After a long period of silence, Hazleton mayor Lou Barletta has re-emerged and sources close to him are saying it’s “highly likely” he’ll try another run at Rep. Paul Kanjorski, who narrowly beat him in 2008. Barletta is encouraged by the lack of presidential coattails and the primary challenge to Kanjorski by Lackawanna County Commissioner Corey O’Brien — although it’s possible that, if O’Brien emerges from the primary, he might perform better in the general than the rust-covered Kanjorski.

NJ-St. Ass.: If you haven’t already, check out NJCentrist’s diary, filled with lots of local color, on the upcoming elections in New Jersey’s state Assembly. Republicans seem poised to pick up a couple seats in south Jersey, which would bring them closer but leave the Dems still in control.

State Legislatures: Another fascinating graphic from, this one about the ideological makeups of various state legislatures. Apparently, political scientists have found a DW/Nominate-style common-space method of ranking all state legislators. The reason this is brought up is because of NY-23 candidate Dede Scozzafava, who it turns out is pretty near the center of New York legislative Republicans, not the flaming liberal she’s made out to be, although that puts her near the nationwide center of all state legislators, because NY Republicans are still, believe it or not, pretty centrist on the whole. There’s plenty else to see on the chart, including how Mississippi and Louisiana Democrats (who control their legislatures) are still to the right of New York and New England Republicans, and how (unsurprisingly, at least to me) California and Washington are the states with the simultaneously most-liberal Democrats and most-conservative Republicans.

Mayors: In New York, incumbent Michael Bloomberg is holding on to a double-digit lead according to Marist, beating Democratic comptroller William Thompson 52-36 (with Thompson down from 52-43 last month). In Seattle, Joe Mallahan is opening up a lead over Mike McGinn according to SurveyUSA, 43-36, compared with a 38-38 tie three weeks ago. (The Seattle race is nonpartisan and both are very liberal by the rest of the country’s standards, but Seattle politics tends to be fought on a downtown interests/neighborhoods divide, and this race is turning into no exception as the previously amorphous Mallahan is consolidating most of the city’s business and labor support.)

Nassau Co. Exec: Candidates slamming each other over ticky-tacky financial mistakes like unpaid liens is commonplace, but it’s not commonplace when the unpaid liens add up to almost a million dollars. Republican Nassau County Executive candidate Ed Mangano has a whopping $900K liens against property owned by his family business. (Nassau County is the western part of Long Island’s suburbs.)

Fundraising: CQ has one more slice-and-dice of the third quarter fundraising information, listing the  biggest self-funders so far this year. Top of the list is Joan Buchanan, who already lost the Democratic primary in the CA-10 special election, who gave herself $1.1 million. In 2nd place is Republican Brad Goehring, running in CA-11 and self-funder to the tune of $650K; 7 of the list of 10 are Republicans.

67 thoughts on “SSP Daily Digest: 10/22”

  1. It’s not that I don’t buy Bloomberg having a 16-point lead, but the internals to these recent NYC Mayor polls continue to baffle me.

    Siena’s likely voter model gives Thompson 41% of the vote on Staten Island…even though his favorability rating there is a dismal 24%. And, even though Freddie Ferrer got 18% of the SI vote in ’05, and Mark Green 21% of the vote in ’01.

    If Thompson is winning 41% of the vote on SI, then he’s winning this election in a landslide. Where the poll gives Bloomberg all of this oomph are massive leads in Queens, Manhattan, and Brooklyn, the latter two of which (14% and 25% leads respectively) strike me as inconceivable.

    I’m incredibly weary of the polling on this race, not only b/c of the strange internals, but also because of the potential influence of the WFP, which managed to deliver a resounding win to Bill de Blasio over Mark Green in the Public Advocate race. They GOTV big time then, and they’re supporting Thompson here.

  2. Halter did run for governor, only to drop down to the Lt. Gov post when he realized Beebe was near unbeatable.  That created a lot of bad blood in the Arkansas good ol’ boy system.  Now the rumor was that he might run against Pryor last year, that didn’t happen, and Halter later said in an interview that he never gave that any serious consideration.  I doubt he’s even seriously thinking about it now, but I’d support him 100 percent if he did.  The odds might be in his favor too.  Lincoln’s weak, and Arkansas actually has a long history of successful primaries-Fulbright ran out Hattie Caraway, Dale Bumpers beat Fulbright, and Lincoln herself beat her old boss Bill Alexander.  Again, I doubt he runs, but he’d be an interesting candidate.

    Halter is probably the most openly progressive statewide official in Arkansas.  He’s also a bit of an asshole, which can rub people the wrong way (it did me when I first met him), but at the same time he doesn’t think like the rest of the political establishment here, which is needed and refreshing.  For years people in Arkansas would talk about how great it would be to have a state lottery, but because of the religious right opposition and the money coming in from outside gambling interests no one would push for it-until Bill Halter.  Halter also has entered the healthcare debate, working to get a free clinic set up in Little Rock this November (though I admit I don’t know all the details on that one-it’s still a nice contrast to Lincoln/Ross).

    One more neat little thing about Halter.  Not long ago, he and his motorcade happened to pass by a burning house.  Halter and a state trooper rushed in to the house and pulled the family inside from the flames along with (get this) their puppy.  Stories like that become political legend in Arkansas, and the retelling of it will no doubt serve Halter down the road.  

  3. Oh man, the only thing that would Guarantee Conway a victory in KY would be if Rand Paul won the nomination. I really hope that happens.

  4. It’s a shame that the chances of Lincoln Chafee pulling an Arlen Specter are microscopic; he’d be the best candidate IMO. Snowe and her breed may be “moderate” Republicans but Chafee is blatantly liberal. How many Republicans do you know who opposed the Iraq War and supported gay marriage long before it was acceptable even for Democrats to hold those positions? Even with his fundraising he probably has a good shot because his name is almost universally recognized, and he would piss off the GOP much much more than any Democrat ever could.

    Caprio certainly has accomplishments to boast about, but I’ve heard some kind of nasty inside information about his personal demeanor. Not good. After Buddy Cianci I’m sick of guys who come in appearing all slick and competent only for the skeletons in their closet to come falling out. I feel like Caprio might be the type of guy to pull a Daniel Mongiardo or something.

  5. And Christie still has a small lead:

    Q: If the election for governor were today, would you vote for… (candidate names rotated) Republican Chris Christie? Democrat Jon Corzine? Or Independent Chris Daggett?

    A: Christie (R) 41% Corzine (D) 39% Daggett (I) 19% Other 0% Undecided 1%

  6. could win in LA.  A minority Republican can, Bobby Jindal proved it, but a minority Democrat I think would have a real uphill battle.

  7. Arkansas posters on this site.

    1.Do you guys think that Halter would have a decent chance of holding this seat if he were to win a bloody primary.  

    2. Would a Halter candidacy have a Sestak-like effect on Lincoln and move her to the left on health care, since Sestak’s run, Specter has become a down-the-line Democrat.  

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