SSP Daily Digest: 2/9

AZ-Sen: As the Arizona GOP Senate primary heats up, ex-Rep. J.D. Hayworth has pulled in a prominent backer, one of the state’s unfortunately most popular politicians: Maricopa Co. Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Arpaio – a hero of the anti-immigrant set who’d been the subject of calls to get into the gubernatorial race this year – wrote a fundraising letter for Hayworth that’s being sent around nationally.

FL-Sen: Marco Rubio got two more endorsements today from the GOP’s right flank: from Indiana’s Rep. Mike Pence, #3 in the House GOP and a favorite of the social values set, and on the economic-conservative side of the party, bathtub-drowning fan Grover Norquist.

NH-Sen (pdf): A couple different polls are out today in the New Hampshire Senate race, although both from pollsters in the “take with salt” category. UNH looks at the general election, finding a lead for Kelly Ayotte over Paul Hodes that’s about in line with most other pollsters: 41-33. Hodes leads the lesser GOPers in the race, though; he beats Jim Bender 36-27, William Binnie 34-30, and Ovide Lamontagne 38-29. What about that thorny GOP primary, though? Republican internal pollster Magellan has some answers, although it’s not clear if this poll was on the behalf of any particular candidate. They see Ayotte at 37%, but contrary to that recent R2K poll, they have Binnie in second place at 23% and Lamontagne back at 12. (Binnie seems to be the most moderate in the field, and gained a lot of attention, at least in the Boston media market parts of the state, for running ads on behalf of Scott Brown in Massachusetts.) In case anyone was wondering about the GOP gubernatorial primary, that’s in there too, although nobody has any idea who these candidates are: Jack Kimball beats Karen Testerman 18-5.

AL-Gov: There’s one other interesting poll from a Republican pollster of a Republican primary (this time in Alabama); it’s from Baselice, and they’re explicit about not working on behalf of any of these candidates. Former higher ed system chancellor Bradley Byrne has a narrow lead, and he has a lot of company. Byrne is at 20, followed closely by wingnut judge Roy Moore at 17. Real estate developer (and gubernatorial spawn) Tim James is at 8, state Rep. Robert Bentley is at 4, state treasurer Kay Ivey is at 3, and former Economic Development Dir. Bill Johnson is at 2.

AL-05: Democrats now have two candidates lined up to go against Parker Griffith (or whatever other GOPer teabags him out of a job): the new one is attorney (and former Air Force JAG) Mitchell Howie. Howie is young and doesn’t have electoral experience, but is the grandson of a well-loved local physician. Prominent attorney Taze Shepard made his candidacy official today as well (via press release).

AL-07: EMILY’s List weighed in with an endorsement in the Democratic primary in the 7th. Interestingly, they showed their hand even though there are two women well-positioned in the field – and they went with attorney Terri Sewell, who’s something of the moneyed-interests candidate in the race with ties to outgoing Rep. Artur Davis, rather than the more progressive option of Jefferson Co. Commissioner Shelia Smoot.

AR-02: Add one more Dem to the field in the 2nd, to replace retiring Rep. Vic Snyder. Assistant Attorney General John Adams launched a bid today, although it’s unclear whether he’ll pose much of an obstacle to state House speaker Robbie Wills.

AZ-03: One of the widely-expected candidates to run in the open seat vacated by Rep. John Shadegg has decided not to get involved, after all. Shadegg’s former chief of staff Sean Noble said he won’t run. The field is already top-heavy with Republicans, including former state Sens. Pamela Gorman and Jim Waring (both of whom resigned to run, per state law), former state Rep. Sam Crump, Paradise Valley mayor Vernon Parker, and former Paradise Valley mayor Ed Winkler.

CO-03: Hat-tip to Daily Kos’s Steve Singiser, who, while rummaging through the used-polls bin, found a stale Republican internal poll of the race in the 3rd that hadn’t caught anyone’s notice before. It points to a close race in the Republican-leaning, mostly-rural district; Democratic Rep. Pete Salazar leads GOP state Rep. Scott Tipton (who lost the 2006 race to Salazar) 46-44.

NH-01, 02 (pdf): Both of the New Hampshire House races are looking like tossups, according to the same UNH poll mentioned above. In the 1st, they find Rep. Carol Shea-Porter in bad shape against any of her GOP challengers; she loses 43-33 to Frank Guinta, 36-33 to Bob Bestani, 36-33 to Rich Ashooh, and 39-32 to Sean Mahoney. (Of course, UNH repeatedly showed her in a tight spot in 2008 until the closing weeks of the campaign – although without Obama coattails this year, she may not get that late boost.) And in the 2nd, Dems only win one potential matchup: Katrina Swett beats Jennifer Horn 30-26. Swett loses to Charlie Bass 37-30, while Ann McLane Kuster loses to both Bass (39-28) and Horn (28-25). (One other caveat: these are small samples, with 6.2% MoEs.)

NJ-02: Add Rep. Frank LoBiondo to the long list of establishment Republicans getting a good teabagging this year. Schoolteacher and tea partier Michael Conte will challenge LoBiondo in the GOP primary. Conte seems most put out about LoBiondo’s cap-and-trade vote, and supports opening up the Jersey Shore to offshore oil drilling. (Somehow, I can’t see that part being popular.)

TX-14: The epidemic of own-eating on the teabagging right has reached French Revolution proportions, to the extent that now Ron Paul, pretty much the spiritual forefather of the movement, is facing not one but three teabagging primary challengers. Weirdly, one of their knocks against Paul is that he’s “too extreme,” and also that he’s against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan… all pretty suggestive that there’s nothing “new” about the Tea Party movement, just that it’s a catchall for conservative Republicans who are feeling extra-agitated about things.

TX-32: The DCCC has been stepping up its attacks on Rep. Pete Sessions, maybe in part to keep the NRCC head pinned down a bit, but also because they may sense this is one of the few places where they have a legitimate shot at playing offense. Between the district’s rapidly changing demographics, Sessions’ ties to Ponzi schemer “Sir” Alan Stanford, a serious primary challenge from a teabagger, and good fundraising from Dem challenger Grier Raggio, there may be some substance to that.

IL-LG: With Dan Hynes having taken his name out of consideration for the now-vacant LG slot for the Dems in Illinois, Lynn Sweet runs down the top contenders. First on the docket is state Rep. Art Turner, who finished second to Scott Lee Cohen in the primary and now has state House speaker Michael Madigan’s stamp of approval. Other possibilities include state Sen. Rickey Hendon, state Sen. Terry Link, or state Rep. Mike Boland (all of whom fared worse in the primary), or if they want to go with a woman, either state Rep. Julie Hamos (who narrowly lost the IL-10 primary, and is now campaigning for the LG slot) or VA Deputy Sec. Tammy Duckworth.

CfG: A couple more endorsements, as the Club for Growth picked the zaniest of the bunch in a few competitive primaries in dark-red seats that are open. They endorsed former state GOP chair Robin Smith in TN-03, and businessman Mike Pompeo in KS-04.

NRCC: Here’s a good catch from the Boston Phoenix: the NRCC is really putting the “guns” in “Young Guns,” as a whopping total of 4 of the 64 members of its offense program are women – with only one, Martha Roby (in AL-02) looking like she’s in position to possibly make it through both the primary and general.

NY-St. Ass.: There are not one, but four, special elections for open seats in New York’s Assembly tonight, all resulting from legislators getting elected to something better-paying in November. The Democrats are defending seats in Queens (although there the Republican lineholder is a lifelong Democrat), Suffolk County, and Westchester County, while the Republicans are defending a Nassau County seat.

Polltopia: More back-and-forth in the discussion over the polls that SurveyUSA performed for Firedoglake, that we may have accidentally triggered (pointing out the dramatically low young-voter composition of the polls). SurveyUSA’s Jay Leve responded “vehemently” (Mark Blumenthal’s words) to last week’s critique from poli sci professor Alan Abramowitz, while Blumenthal offers some interesting graphs showing the disparity between the SurveyUSA numbers and actual Catalist records. PPP’s Tom Jensen offered some qualified support for SurveyUSA, though, by pointing out that even if you “weighted up” the youth numbers to the levels seen in Catalist (the Dems’ voter database), it wouldn’t tend to impact the topline numbers by a significant amount.

91 thoughts on “SSP Daily Digest: 2/9”

  1. A bit late for today, but apparently Republican Congressman Vern Ehlers is getting primaried from the right by State Representative Justin Amash (Kentwood, Cascade). From the Grand Rapids Press:

    Justin Amash, 29, a first-term Republican state representative from Kentwood, announced on his Facebook page minutes ago that he will seek the 3rd District Congressional seat held by Vern Ehlers.

    He set up a Web site that touts his record of supporting limited government.

    Ehlers, 76, said he would announce Wednesday whether he will seek a ninth term. The district includes Barry, Ionia and all but a sliver of Kent counties.

    Full story here:

    Ehlers, who is a moderate-conservative Republican, will announce tomorrow whether he will run again.

  2. I think their endorsement has become fairly worthless between the controversial decision in the Cohen race and the frequent losses of the candidates that they endorse, with the latest being Martha Coakley. It’s not a surprise to me at all that the group endorsed the corporate candidate in the race. They do not seem to be very well connected with voters.

  3. “The only way I’m not going to be Governor next year is at the ballot box, and the only way I’ll be leaving office before is in a box.”

    -Governor David Paterson

  4. Ugh, Tom Jensen, we discussed this already…. a sample size of 5 is simply not sufficiently big to weight.

    Also, that fun little trick where you just simply assume “for the sake of argument” that young people will vote for Dems at a 60-40 level ignores the reality of young voters being significantly more liberal than that in most instances. ….ESPECIALLY in college-heavy districts like Hill’s.

    If you re-do those numbers assuming young people go 66-33 or 70-30 for Team Blue, then the effect is much more significant. It’s enough to put Hill into a tie instead of being 8 points behind, put Driehaus into striking distance instead of down 17, and Bishop up outside the margin of error.  

  5. My, what nice friends this guy has.

    And I never knew that McCain was a “liberal”. Sheesh…

    Well, if Hayworth can bloody up McCain and use up his resources for the general election, Hayworth will have served his purpose.


    Surprised this was not noted above. Ras says Hick leads McInnis just barely outside the margin of error (49%-45% MOE 4.5%).

    I know its the very salty Rass poll and I don’t particularly trust their close polls either way. But at least it’s one poll since Ritter’s exit and right after their continous polling showing Benet trailing Dracular’s step-sister.

  7. Republicans know he’s the best they could hope for in this D+1 district. I would be very surprised if the challenger gets 20%.

  8. Actually, while Charlie Justice is hangin’ on to #1 in my internal list of politicians with awesome names, I think I have a new #2, displacing Bobby Bright.

    Taze Shepard. I mean, there’s your instantly-memorable tagline right there: Taze Me Bro.

    A strong, populist jobs-centric campaign–which it seems he’s running as it’s the first thing he mentions in the Left Alabama link below–should work in a district that’s heavily dependent on NASA/aerospace/defense stuff that’s suddenly very much in jeopardy, especially with Parker Griffith now having no power whatsoever to alter any spending. How’s that partyswitch working for ya, btw, Parker? North Alabama knows where its bread is buttered.

    The video is fairly uninspiring, but it’s not exactly what I’d call a high-quality shoot (sorry, Left Alabama folks, you do great work otherwise! sorry…)  That said, he’s got the political talk down pretty well.

    Other plus sides: He’s sufficiently folksy and his accent fits. He’s slightly less puffy and slightly younger than Parker Griffith. He specifically mentions not insulting people in public as a good strategy for being able to get things done (without mentioning either Griffith or Pelosi). He mentions his famous grandfather in a very smart way: in terms of the accomplishments he’s proud of…and he lists three: the GI Bill, small business loans from the SBA & rural electrification/TVA.

    Btw, I have no affiliation with the campaign or anything, I just randomly geek out on certain candidates…and I really want one who can win in North Alabama. Just to screw to with Parker Griffith, mostly.

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