SSP Daily Digest: 1/13

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CO-Sen: Republican Senate candidate Jane Norton has finally realized that she might be her own worst enemy. Having reeled off a serious of gaffes and wtf? moments that were captured on tape in recent months (sitting silently while a speaker called Barack Obama a “Muslim,” saying that Obama cares more about terrorists’ rights than protecting the country, and just recently saying that government shouldn’t be involved in health care at all), she’s decided that, rather than stopping saying dumb things, the best approach is to have that nasty Democratic tracker banned from all her appearances.

NY-Sen-B: Ex-Rep. Harold Ford Jr. has gotten a green light of sorts (or at least a shrug of the shoulders) from David Paterson regarding a primary challenge, who said it was “OK” but that he might look for a different state to do it in. A new piece in the NYT today (who seem to have been interested in promoting his candidacy) may do Ford more harm than good, filled with details of helicopter flights and chauffeured cars that help paint him as an out-of-touch Wall Streeter, not exactly a position you want to run from these days (maybe most damning: “He has breakfast most mornings at the Regency Hotel on Park Avenue, and he receives regular pedicures. (He described them as treatment for a foot condition.)” Ford also might need to explain to the electorate when he decided that Kirsten Gillibrand was no longer acceptable; it turns out that he gave her $1,000 just seven months ago. Finally, with Ford making clear that he’s going to run against health care reform, and awash in a history of pro-life pronouncements, PPP’s Tom Jensen looks at New York exit polls and finds a way for Ford to get to 25% in the primary, but wonders where that other 75% is going to come from.

PA-Sen: The Joe Sestak candidacy continues to have its desired effect: Arlen Specter just changed his position on the Dawn Johnsen nomination, and will vote for her confirmation, taking it to 60 votes. One possible unintended consequence, though: the more Sestak succeeds at pushing Specter to the left, the less opportunity for differentiating himself in (and thus a basis for winning) the Democratic primary.

TX-Sen, TX-Gov: We have dueling rumors coming out of Texas, regarding Kay Bailey Hutchison. Fox’s El Paso affiliate is reporting that KBH no longer plans to resign her Senate seat, either before or after the Republican gubernatorial primary. However, a spokesperson from the KBH camp is now saying that report is wrong, and she will resign only when the health care and cap-and-trade debates are over.

AZ-Gov: A serious primary challenge just hit Arizona Governor Jan Brewer in the eye, like a big pizza pie. State Treasurer Dean Martin put an end to the speculation and officially announced his candidacy today. (There’s still no report on whether CA-41’s Rep. Jerry Lewis will offer his endorsement, or if their feud is still continuing.) While Martin is the highest-profile GOPer to challenge Brewer so far, he’ll still have to fight his way through a crowd of other anti-Brewers, perhaps most prominently former state party chair John Munger.

CT-Gov: It looks like the Republican gubernatorial field in Connecticut will be limited to Lt. Gov. Michael Fedele, rich guy Tom Foley, and now Larry DeNardis, a 71-year-old who most recently was president of the University of New Haven, but served one term in the U.S. House, representing New Haven from 1980 to his defeat in 1982. (Little known bit of trivia: the guy DeNardis defeated in that House race? Joe Lieberman.) State Senate minority leader John McKinney (who previously demurred from a CT-04 run) just reversed course and said he wouldn’t run; state House minority leader Lawrence Cafero, another potential candidate, also recently said ‘no.’

IA-Gov: Here’s an iceberg on the horizon for the seemingly unsinkable Terry Branstad campaign: poor relations with the state’s religious right, coming to a head now with the prominent Iowa Family PAC endorsing rival Bob Vander Plaats and having unkind words for the insufficiently conservative Branstad, whom they won’t endorse for the general even if he is the nominee. (Discussion underway in desmoinesdem‘s diary.)

MA-Gov: A day after PPP polled him as a Democratic fill-in for Deval Patrick in the gubernatorial race, SoS William Galvin said that, no, he wasn’t planning on launching a primary challenge against Patrick. Galvin, who’s been SoS since 1994, instead said he might be interested in moving to AG, assuming Martha Coakley becomes Senator.

SC-Gov: Well, that was kind of anticlimactic. L’affaire Sanford wrapped up today with a quick censure vote of Gov. Mark Sanford that passed the state House by a 102-11 margin.

FL-25: A longer CQ piece on the House landscape in Florida has an interesting tidbit that suggests that former Miami mayor Manny Diaz, who would have been a top-tier contender in the 25th had he run, won’t be running. Diaz has taken a fellowship appointment at Harvard’s JFK School, which would probably preclude a run. After Democrats running strong in all three Cuban-American districts in 2008, it looks like free passes will be handed out this year.

MD-04: All previous indications had been that a primary challenge from the right against Rep. Donna Edwards was a go, but instead Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Glenn Ivey had announced he won’t pursue that. He’d also been linked with possible runs for county executive and state Senate, so his next step is uncertain.

NC-08: PPP adds a little information from yesterday’s poll of the 8th, which had freshman Rep. Larry Kissell comfortable against his GOP opposition. The possibility of a primary from the left, from attorney Chris Kouri, has been floated, but Kissell dispatches Kouri easily, 49-15. Only 29% of Democratic respondents in the district want Kissell replaced with someone more progressive, and 27% think Congressional Dems are too liberal vs. 12% who think they’re too conservative, suggesting (in tandem with his general election strength) that his occasional breaks from the party line may be helping more than hurting him.

NH-02: Gonna make you Swett! The long-rumored  candidacy by wealthy Lieberdem Katrina Swett may be finally getting off the ground, as an invitation to a Jan. 31 Swett event says “Come meet our next U.S. Congresswoman!”

OH-02: After looking into the possibility of an independent run against Rep. Jean Schmidt and probably Dem nominee David Krikorian, now Surya Yalimanchili (aka that guy from “The Apprentice”) says he’ll get into the Democratic primary instead, saying that his focus on jobs and economic growth is better served there.

SC-01: After renewed interest in the race following the retirement announcement of GOP Rep. Henry Brown, 2008 candidate Linda Ketner has finally decided against another run. She instead asked her supporters to take a look at Robert Burton, already an announced candidate. On the GOP side, state Sen. Larry Grooms, a frequent Mark Sanford nemesis, cut short his long-shot gubernatorial bid, boxed out by bigger names like Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer and AG Henry McMaster. This might presage a run in the still-developing GOP field in the 1st, but he said that’s “unlikely” and he’d rather concentrate on the state Senate.

TX-04: Add one more serious teabagger primary challenge to the ever-growing list, this time a challenge in the super-dark-red 4th to long-time Rep. Ralph Hall. Jerry Ray Hall (no relation, apparently) is throwing $350K of his own money into race in the fast-approaching March primary. It’s unclear what his beef with the conservative other Hall is (he was a Democrat until 2004 – albeit the most conservative one in the House — so that’s probably good enough).

VA-11: Rep. Gerry Connolly (by virtue of his Dem-leaning suburban district) still seems the safest of the three Virginia freshman, but things got harder for him with the entry of another GOP challenger: Fairfax Co. Supervisor Pat Herrity (who narrowly lost the race to become County Chairman after Connolly ascended to the House). Herrity still faces a primary against self-funding Keith Fimian, who lost big-time to Connolly in the open seat race in 2008 and won’t get out of Herrity’s way; Fimian may still be able to beat the better-known Herrity based on his big cash stash.

WA-02: No one has really thought of Rep. Rick Larsen as vulnerable lately, as he dismantled his at-least-somewhat-touted Republican opponents in the last two elections in this D+3 district. Still, a long-time foe has taken a look at the more favorable Republican landscape and decided to take another whack at Larsen. John Koster (a state Rep. at the time) ran against Larsen and lost in 2000, when it was an open seat following Republican Rep. Jack Metcalf’s retirement. Koster has spent most of the decade on the suburban Snohomish County Council (where he’s currently the only Republican).

Election results: A lot happened last night, most notably the upset victory by Democratic state Del. Dave Marsden in Virginia’s state Senate district 37 by 317 votes, good for a pickup and a slightly bigger (22-18) Democratic edge in that chamber – which helps insulate against Bob McDonnell trying to Beshear the Dems back into the minority there. Also in Virginia, businessman Jeff McWaters held dark-red Senate district 8 for the GOP, defeating Democrat Bill Fleming by a 79-21 margin. Two other dark-red legislative districts (both made vacant because of Republican sex scandals) stayed in GOP hands, as California’s AD-72 was held by Chris Norby, 63-31, and Tennessee’s HD-83 was won 67-30 by Mark White. In New Hampshire, the field is now set in a potentially competitive general election to fill SD-16 on Feb. 16 (the swing district was vacated by GOPer Ted Gatsas, elected Manchester mayor). State Rep. David Boutin won the GOP nod; he’ll face off against Dem state Rep. Jeff Goley. Dems can push up to a 15-9 edge with a pickup here.

36 thoughts on “SSP Daily Digest: 1/13”

  1. Apparently on the Don Imus Show, Paterson wasn’t opposed to a Ford candidacy.

    From the NY Times:

    New York does have, has had, a tradition of allowing out-of-staters to come out and represent us. And if he thinks that he’s worthy of that, he should take on Senator Gillibrand in a primary.

  2. If Swett and Ayotte both win, then New Hampshire will have an all-female Congressional delegation. Shea-Porter + Swett in the House and Shaheen + Ayotte in the Senate. Has that ever happened before?

  3. Wasn’t this guy sticking around the Virginia Senate to become Finance chair?  Now that probably won’t happen anytime soon.  Might the special election make it more likely he will run against Boucher?  

    Also, didn’t the GOP pick upi 2 seats in the NH House last night?

  4. It’s kind of a smear to say that if Glenn Ivey had challenged Donna Edwards in MD-04 it would have been “from the right.” Ivey is a good guy and a solid progressive (a former aide to Tom Daschle & John Conyers) who would have been a superb Congressman. Ideologically, the most you can say is that he would’ve been less likely than Edwards to be on the losing end of an occasional 425-10 vote as a protest.


    Stats of note…

    – Simmons beats McMahon by 10%, nearly identical to his 11% margin in November. Schiff has actually lost support since then.

    – Blumenthal is garnering 30-40% of Republicans, 90% of Dems, and has a 3-to-1 lead among Indies against any of the Republicans.

    – Blumenthal has a 73% approval among Republicans, 86% among Indies.

    – Lieberman’s #s aren’t as bad as the PPP polling, but still pretty bleak – 61/27/36 approval among Republicans/Dems/Indies. One interesting internal, however, shows that 52% of CT voters say his health care role makes them “more likely” or “makes no difference” toward their vote for him.

    – Voters say 24-43 that McMahon doesn’t have the “right experence” to be US Senator.

  6. PPP finds Reid in the usual place. They also tested Oscar Goodman, Ross Miller and Shelley Berkley. Goodman does best but seems more likely to run for governor. Miller and Berkley do slightly better than Reid in all matchups but have much more room to grow. I hope he gets out.


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