SSP Daily Digest: 11/5

FL-Sen: It looks like the Club for Growth has decided to weigh in on the Florida Senate primary, and they’re doing so with a vengeance, with a TV spot going after Charlie Crist’s embrace of the Obama stimulus package. Crist himself has been trying for the last few days to walk back his stimulus support — despite statements on the record from February saying that if he’d been in the Senate, he’d have voted for it. Crist now says he wasn’t “endorsing” it and just playing along so Florida would get a good share of the bennies. (I’m sorry, but my 5-year-old comes up with more convincing excuses than that.)

NY-Sen-B: Former Gov. George Pataki is reportedly telling friends he’s not that interested in becoming Senator at age 64, and has his eye set a little higher: a presidential race in 2012. The idea of the wooden, moderate Pataki going up against Huckabee and Palin seems a little far-fetched, but a clue in support of that idea is that Pataki joined the Romneys and T-Paws of the world in calling new Manchester, New Hampshire mayor Ted Gatsas to congratulate him. (In case you aren’t connecting the dots, Manchester’s mayor has an outsized influence on NH’s first-in-the-nation presidential primary.)

AZ-Gov: Appointed incumbent Republican Governor Jan Brewer says she’ll run for a full term in 2010. She already faces several minor primary opponents, and may face off against state Treasurer Dean Martin. Her likely Democratic opponent, AG Terry Goddard, who has had a significant lead over Brewer in recent polls, has to be feeling good about this.

CA-Gov: Capitol Weekly, via Probolsky Research, takes another look at the primaries in the California gubernatorial race, and find free-spending ex-eBay CEO Meg Whitman opening up a lead on her opponents. Whitman leads with 37, against ex-Rep. Tom Cambell at 15 and Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner at 6. (Their previous poll, in June, gave a small lead to Campbell at 13, with 10 for Whitman and 8 for Poizner.) On the Dem side, ex-Gov. Jerry Brown led SF Mayor Gavin Newsom 46-19; the sample was completed shortly before Newsom’s dropout last Friday.

MD-Gov: A poll of the Maryland governor’s race from Clarus Research has a mixed bag for incumbent Dem Martin O’Malley. He defeats ex-Gov. Bob Ehrlich without too much trouble in a head-to-head, 47-40, and he has decent approvals at 48/40. Still, on the re-elect question, 39% want to see him re-elected and 48% would like someone new. That would potentially present an opportunity for the Maryland GOP — if they had someone better than Ehrlich to offer, but he’s really the best they have. (By contrast, Barb Mikulski, who’s also up in 2010, has a 53/36 re-elect.)

OR-Gov: Moderate Republican state Sen. Frank Morse — who, without Rep. Greg Walden or state Sen. Jason Atkinson in the race, might actually have been the GOP’s best bet — said no thanks to a gubernatorial race despite some previous interest; he’ll run for re-election in 2010. Former Portland Trail Blazers center Chris Dudley has formed an exploratory committee to run in the Republican field, though.

PA-Gov: Here’s an interesting development in the GOP primary field in Pennsylvania: a very conservative state Rep., Sam Rohrer, is scoping out the race and has formed an exploratory committee. Rohrer isn’t well-known outside of conservative activist circles and his Berks County base, but against the moderate Rep. Jim Gerlach and the generally-conservative but ill-defined AG Tom Corbett, he seems like he could peel off a decent chunk of votes on the far right.

VT-Gov: Add two more Democratic names to the lengthening list in the governor’s race in Vermont. Former state Senator Matt Dunne officially got in the race, and another state Senator, Peter Shumlin, is planning to announce his bid in several weeks. Dunne lost the Lt. Governor’s race in 2006 to current Republican LG Brian Dubie, who is the only declared Republican candidate to replace retiring Gov. Jim Douglas.

WI-Gov: Rumors keep flying of the Obama administration leaning on ex-Rep. and Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett to run for Wisconsin governor. WH political director Tom Patrick Gaspard met with Barrett. With Lt. Gov. Barbara Lawton having recently and surprisingly dropped her bid, Barrett has a free shot if he wants it.

AZ-03: Dems seem close to pinning down a candidate to run against Rep. John Shadegg in the Phoenix-based 3rd. Lawyer, businessman, would-be-novelist, and former Gary Hart staffer Jon Hulburd is prepping for the race.

FL-05: The blood is already flowing down Republican streets in the wake of the NY-23 debacle, even a thousand miles away. Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite, hardly the first name that comes to mind when you think of moderate Republicans (although she is a Main Street member), is now being challenged by a political newcomer in the GOP primary, Jason Sager. One of Sager’s key talking points is Brown-Waite’s support of Dede Scozzafava, on whose behalf Brown-Waite campaigned last week. And more generally, RNC chair Michael Steele (who one week ago was supporting Scozzafava) is flexing his muscles, telling moderates to “walk a little bit carefully” on health care or “we’ll come after you.”

FL-08: The NRCC has found a couple willing patsies to go up against Rep. Alan Grayson, whom they’ve been interviewing this week. The two contenders are businessman Bruce O’Donoghue (who owns a traffic-signal business… odd, but I guess somebody has to make them) and first-term state Rep. Eric Eisnaugle. (Carpetbagging real estate developer Armando Gutierrez Jr., radio talk show host Todd Long, who nearly beat then-Rep. Ric Keller in last year’s GOP primary, and three anonymous teabaggers are all in the race, but clearly not striking the NRCC’s fancy.) Attorney Will McBride (whose name you might remember from 2006, when he ran in the GOP primary against Katherine Harris) also talked with the NRCC this week, but just pulled his name from contention today.

MN-01: Another potential challenger to Rep. Tim Walz popped up: former state Rep. Allen Quist. Quist, who ran in gubernatorial primaries twice in the 1990s, is from the state party’s right wing and is a key Michele Bachmann ally (his wife used to Bachmann’s district director). Republican Lt. Gov. Carol Molnau has also been interested in the race.

MS-01: After all that work to clear the path for state Sen. Alan Nunnelee in the GOP primary in the 1st, the Republicans may still see a contested primary. Former Eupora mayor Henry Ross is seriously considering the race, and making preparations. This may not result in a pitched rural vs. suburbs battle like the previous primary, though; Eupora (pop. 2,400) is near the district’s southern end, near Columbus. Nunnelee is from the Tupelo area, which is also Democratic Rep. Travis Childers’ base.

NH-02: Katrina Swett has been slow to get into the field in the Democratic primary for the open seat in the 2nd, letting Anne McLane Kuster raise more than $200K unimpeded and secure the EMILY’s List endorsement. Swett may be ready to make a move, though, as she’s been touting a GQR internal poll giving her a 20-point lead in the primary over Kuster. (The actual polling memo hasn’t been released, though, as far as I know.)

NY-23: Doug Hoffman already has a key House leadership backer for a 2010 race: Indiana’s Mike Pence endorsed Hoffman.

PA-06: Looks like we have a real race in the Dem primary in the 6th. State Sen. Andy Dinniman, one of the biggest fish in the district and someone who had considered running himself, endorsed physician Manan Trivedi instead of presumed frontrunner Doug Pike. One advantage that Dinniman sees is that Trivedi hails from Reading in Berks County, the part of the district where Dems have traditionally been the weakest.

Turnout: If you’re wondering what the crux of what happened on Tuesday is, it boils down to terrible turnout. (And it’s pretty clear that higher turnout benefits Democrats, as younger and/or non-white voters who tend to be less likely voters are more likely to vote Democratic.) In Virginia (where the outcome seemed clear long ago), turnout was the lowest in 40 years, including a 10% falloff in key black precincts. And in New Jersey, turnout was also a record low for the state, even though the race was a tossup — indicating a lack of enthusiasm for either candidate. If you want to dig into exit polls for a post-mortem, the New York Times has them available for New York, New Jersey, and Virginia.

2010: The White House (or at least David Axelrod) wants to nationalize the 2010 elections, as a means of fixing the Dems’ turnout problems from this week. Expect to see Obama front and center in the run-up to next year’s elections.

Illinois Filings: With Illinois’s first-in-the-nation filing deadline for 2010 having passed, as usual, our filings guru Benawu is on the scene with a recap in the diaries; check it out.

106 thoughts on “SSP Daily Digest: 11/5”

  1. Thanks for a great roundup again, Crisitunity!

    It’s of course exactly the right thing for the President to attempt to nationalize the 2010 Congressional elections, but I think his efforts are not too likely to have really great effects, except in fundraising. Ronald Reagan campaigned for all the Republican incumbents in the Senate in 1982, and it didn’t prevent the more motivated Democratic (that is, opposition) voters from being the ones to come out disproportionately and vote several of them out.

    One difference now is the amount of contact information Obama/Organizing For America has about likely supporters. Cell phones, email, and websites didn’t exist in 1982. But I would be cautious about expecting personal campaigning by the President to have great effects.

    The best way the Congress and President can improve prospects for Democratic incumbents and challengers is to get things done. Get the economy in gear, especially by increasing employment. Get a decent guaranteed health care insurance bill through Congress and signed, and make sure important provisions take effect and are palpable before the 2010 elections. Do something to deal seriously with the housing crisis, foreclosures, and homelessness. Get popular gay rights legislation (especially an end to DODT) done. Withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan, or at least prevent a calamity.

    And the most important, short of a massive terror attack, God forbid, is the economy. If the voters’ wallets are fatter and their outlook is more secure, they are likely to reward incumbents – especially Democrats – and vote for Democrats for open seats. If the economy is in the toilet, the foreclosure crisis worsens, and no decent health care bill has been passed, don’t be surprised if Democratic voters stay home in disgust and the Republicans retake control of both Houses of Congress. Yes, even if a majority of people still think the Republican Party sucks.

  2. Let’s hear it!

    How close would Rubio have to get to Crist before Crist begins reaching out to Dems.  When is the primary.  And would the situation among Democrats ever be favorable enough for Crist to make the leap?

    Florida Democrats are on the ropes; it strikes me that a great many of them would be happy to have a competent, popular, and reasonable governor deliver them a Senate seat.  Crist has been a stand-up guy on a couple of issues: I recall him intervening to block a purge of voter rolls that clearly would have helped the GOP ahead of the Nov 08 elections, for no reason more obvious than it being the right thing to do (or rather, that his politics consists of appearing to be doing the right thing to do).  He has been a Republican, sure.  But it doesn’t strike me that he’s burned too many bridges with Democrats in his last three years.

    The big obstacle is that Kendrick Meek isn’t just some Democrat; he’s a black Democrat who has worked really hard to get where he is — viable in a statewide race in an important Southern state.  There will be sentiment that he shouldn’t be walked over.  But he loses even to Rubio in significantly many polls.  Do you decline a sure-bet victory with Crist because it’s Meek’s turn?  Or would Crist even have a sure path through the general, presuming he were escorted (giggle) through the primary?

    And how many people in Florida and Washington are thinking through these angles right now?  I bet a couple.  The GOP primary is looking worse and worse for Crist right now.  (Are GOP primaries closed, semi-closed, or open?)

    And finally: Obama has the power of appointment; what would he have to give Meek to get him out of the race?

  3. Still, I suspect there’s plenty of room for a DeVore-esque right-winger to come in and cause a stir. I don’t think Campbell (washed-up, probably too liberal to win in a GOP Primary) or Poizner (well-funded, but moderate and low-profile and just not very exciting). I suspect we’ll either see both Whitman and Fiorina wind up the nominees, or both wind up missing out; it depends on if “pro-business Republicans” can trump the teabaggers in CA.

  4. He needs to Campaign for house candidates as well as senatorial candidates.  Being here in Orange County, It is very possible that if Obama comes to southern California he could flip CA-44, CA-48, CA-45 and CA-50.

  5. State Treasurer Dean Martin could be a formidable opponent if he gets Frankie, Sammy and the boys to help with his campaign.

  6. How many times will NY-23 appear consecutively on daily open threads?

    And how many times will it be about Hoffman?

  7. running for Senate is no option if he has even the slightest national interest, and unlike Rudy, his chances are very very good, since the mainstream Republicans will need someone to flock to as other candidates try to out teabag each other.

  8. Just want to point out that Quist is a former state rep, not a current one.

    And that Walz is totally safe.  He is perfect for that district and even votes way mre liberally than the district would allow.

  9. There has to be a moderate candidate in there somewhere, and, if there’s enough splitting, he conceivably could win, though he’d be utterly DOA in the general election for the same reasons McCain was (and he’s considerably to the left of McCain).

  10. Just saw Rick Perry talking about the massive murder at Fort Hood.  He didn’t even know how many people were dead and KBH broke the news on why the shooter actually did it.  Rick Perry is a horrible governor and really hope this makes people see KBH in a new light and confirms how much I hate Perry.  He said I and me and my so many times.  He’s so narcasistic.

  11. Ohh…could we get a teabagger vs. NRCC candidate scenario here, too? I’m sure Nunnelee has voted for something they wouldn’t like. But whatever, it’s not like it matters: Travis Childers and his awesome, awesome mustache are unstoppable.  🙂

  12. Yeah Mike. I’m sure Olympia Snowe and Joe Cao are shaking in their boots.

    Well, Cao probably is, but not because of anything having to do with his own party.  

  13. Bill Owens, the newly elected representative of the 23rd Congressional District, suggested today that he’s ready to support the House health care reform bill under consideration Saturday – provided he’s legally allowed to do so.

    It looks like Bill will get his wish, as he’ll get sworn in tomorrow afternoon.

  14. We really should go hard after the remaining Arizona Republicans, because they are so extremely far-right.

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