SSP Daily Digest: 2/18

AZ-Sen: John McCain’s various Republican establishment friends keep showing up in droves to give him a boost in his primary fight against J.D. Hayworth. Today, it was the turn for former Tennessee senator and brief presidential primary rival Fred Thompson, who awoke from his slumbers long enough to give McCain the thumbs-up.

KS-Sen: Wow, things are actually happening in Kansas. Not that it seems likely that Democrats are going to be in a position to make either the governor’s or senate races there competitive, but at least they’re filling the holes with credible candidates. In the wake of state Sen. Tom Holland getting into the gubernatorial race for the Dems, now Kansas City-based state Sen. David Haley is making noises about running for Senate. He’ll make a final decision within the month. Former newspaper publisher Charles Schollenberger is already a candidate, but Haley sounds like an upgrade.

ND-Sen: Kristin Hedger, a 29-year-old businesswoman in North Dakota who lost the most recent Secretary of State race, is floating her name for the Democratic nod in the Senate race. She says she’ll defer to former AG Heidi Heitkamp if she gets in, but is interested in the race if not. State Sen. Tracy Potter is already in the race for the Dems. (And yes, it sounds like she’s aware about needing to be 30 to be a Senator; she’ll be 30 by swearing-in day.)

NV-Sen (pdf): The legacy media keeps treating the GOP primary in Nevada like a two-way fight between Sue Lowden and Danny Tarkanian, but I’m going to keep maintaining that former Assemblywoman Sharron Angle is the real one to watch here (seeing as how Lowden gets tarred with the “RINO” label and is especially loathed by the Paulist set). A straw poll conducted during the Clark County Republican Party Central Committee meeting several weeks ago supports that idea, as Angle finished first, with 49 votes out of a total of 202. Tarkanian and Lowden were still, of course, right in the thick of things, at 48 and 46 respectively. In a bit of a surprise, Some Dude named Bill Parson was a solid 4th with 24 votes. (Parson seems to be working the hardcore teabagger angle. And check out the flattop – shades of Bob Conley all around.) Another potential wrinkle for the GOP: Sen. Jim DeMint, self-appointed kingmaker on the extreme right, while speaking at CPAC, wouldn’t rule out supporting third-party Tea Party candidates where the GOP fails to nominate “strong” candidates – and he explicitly mentioned one state: Nevada. Recall that the Tea Party just sprang into existence as an official 3rd party in Nevada, and already have a candidate lined up (Jon Ashjian).

NY-Sen-B: I’m still chuckling over Mort Zuckerman’s trial balloons regarding the New York Senate race… but then, I was also chuckling about Harold Ford Jr. at first too. The super-wealthy publisher Zuckerman has gotten some encouragement from state party chair Ed Cox to look into running. Still, Cox is also encouraging other entrants (like Orange County Executive Edward Diana) as well, even while a number of county-level party chieftains have started lining up behind port commissioner Bruce Blakeman.

OH-Sen: The DSCC is starting to play offense against ex-Rep. Rob Portman, hitting the former Bush budget director, ardent free trader, and all-around consummate insider with a playful new website: “Mr. Portman’s Neighborhood,” conveniently located at the corner of K Street and Wall Street. (Which, seeing as how we spent an inordinate amount of time here thinking about redistricting, only served to remind us of this 2006 article from The Onion.)

UT-Sen: Even though Club for Growth hasn’t settled on which primary opponent to Bob Bennett they want to back, it seems like Dick Armey’s FreedomWorks has made up their minds. They’ll be backing Mike Lee, who despite his conservative legal establishment pedigree (son of former Solicitor General Rex Lee, and former clerk to Samuel Alito) has been reaching out to the tea party platoons.

HI-Gov: Honolulu mayor Mufi Hannemann is operating in a kind of legal limbo for now, and his gubernatorial primary rival, Rep. Neil Abercrombie, is crying foul. Hannemann has opened a campaign account (which has $2 million in it) and, as such, is listed as running for governor with the state’s Campaign Spending Commission, and he’s actively campaigning around the state. However, despite the state’s resign-to-run law, he’s staying in his current position as mayor, as he doesn’t have to resign until he actually files to run with the state’s Office of Elections.

NY-Gov: This is the weirdest endorsement I’ve ever read (although, where Ed Koch and David Paterson are concerned, I wouldn’t expect anything else); in fact it may be more of a diss than an endorsement. At any rate, I’ll just let Koch speak for himself: “I am for him, in effect, out of sympathy for his being in a Kakfa-esque situation.’ You can’t do this to people, use rumors to destroy them…But I’m not really for him.”

PA-Gov: As he’s been hinting for a few weeks now, Scranton mayor Chris Doherty finally ended his long-shot Democratic gubernatorial bid, plagued by weak fundraising. He’s still looking to move on from his mayoral gig, though, and instead he’s going to run for the state Senate seat being vacated by long-time Dem Robert Mellow. (He’d also apparently considered the Lt. Governor slot, but that option seemed closed after the state party endorsed former Philadelphia controller Jonathan Saidel by a wide margin.) Meanwhile, Allegheny Co. Exec Dan Onorato seems to moving closer to something approaching frontrunner status with another big labor endorsement, this time from the United Steelworkers.

DE-AL: Republicans had apparently been pinning hopes on wealthy businessman Anthony Wedo in order to help them retain Delaware’s at-large seat, vacated by Rep. Mike Castle and soon to be occupied by Democratic ex-LG John Carney. Wedo won’t be running, though, leaving another (and apparently less wealthy, which would explain the NRCC’s seeming indifference to him) businessman, Fred Cullis, as the only GOP face in the race.

PA-12: Here’s a surprise: state Sen. John Wozniak, a longtime Johnstown ally of Rep. John Murtha and always at the top of the list when successors were discussed, has decided not to run in the special election to replace Murtha. I wonder if that gives some credence to this article from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (not Pittsburgh’s “real” paper, but rather the local mouthpiece for the right-wing Mellon/Scaife crowd), which made some provocative allegations: that both parties were basically prepared to write this depopulated district off, in preparation for its dismantling during the 2012 redistricting process. Rumors are that the GOP wouldn’t launch a top-tier effort and that Murtha’s widow, Joyce, would hold the seat for the three years until its elimination (and, according to the article, “Democratic leaders” say she’s emerged as the leading contender) – so for a key Murtha ally like Wozniak to stand down suggests there’s some truth to this. Notwithstanding this seeming master plan, though, former GOP state treasurer Barbara Hafer and Ryan Bucchanieri remain in the hunt for the Dems.

CA-LG: I’m surprised that San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom would want to give up being executive of a major city in exchange for a do-nothing job with a fancy title, but maybe he sees that as a better stepping stone to becoming Governor someday (although he should ask John Garamendi how that ever worked out). Bolstered by polling giving him a big edge in the LG race, he’s filing a ballot statement to run and is in the process of reassembling a campaign team.

Polltopia: Nate Silver weighs in on the great Firedoglake/SurveyUSA debate of ’10 (with what’s hopefully the last word on the matter), saying that he doesn’t see anything “untoward” going on here, although methodological choices seem to add up to some pro-GOP house effects.

64 thoughts on “SSP Daily Digest: 2/18”

  1. I don’t care if it is gonna get axed. The GOP would be crazy not to go all out for a headline grabbing pickup.

  2. Hooray, although we technically have a warm body in the Senate race, state Sen. Haley would definitely be an upgrade.

    That said, if Haley wants to run for higher office, why not try for the easier race in KS-03 rather than be the statewide sacrificial lamb (which he would be unless Tiahrt pulls an upset and even then it’d be a very uphill battle)?

    Unless Haley knows that we have a candidate emerging soon… (fingers crossed)

  3. This was the final graph in the Roll Call story:

    “I don’t have any plans in being involved with any third party. … I have no interest in a third party,” he said. DeMint said he would back GOP nominees for the Senate irrespective of if he had endorsed them in their primaries.  

  4. he lost by huge margins for Secretary of State on 2002 and 2006 and is as close as you can get to a frequent candidate for a guy holding office.

    That, and this is a bad year for people who hold office and are seeking to move on up. Illinois’ primary seems to be a validation of that.

    Neither Dem has a shot in Kansas, but Haley is not automatically better.

  5. I don’t think anybody has posted this yet:

    The Cook Political Report changed the ratings for 25 races, all of them in the GOP’s favor. It looks like they mainly upgraded Republican incumbents who some thought would have tough races in 2010, like Erik Paulsen and Don Young.

    They also moved Delaware to Likely Republican. I know a lot of SSPers thought that Solid was excessive, and I tend to agree.


    As a once and future Californian this really unnerves me.  Brown’s clearly the best person running for Governor but if he turns in more awful performances like this we may be sentenced to four more years of disaster.  Let’s hope he doesn’t further copy the campaign performance of another certain state attorney general…

  7. “If you want to see how politicians undergo campaign-year conversions, you’ve got my friend,” Hayworth said before pausing. “I hate using that term, because he uses it all the time — you have my senior senator, John McCain,” Hayworth said.


    The relevant numbers for this cycle…

    Barbara Boxer – 47/43 (not great, but she can win with this)

    Patty Murray – 43/50 (very troubling)

    Ron Wyden – 50/37 (perhaps Rasmussen’s 49% isn’t too far-fetched after all)

    Note that Wyden actually enjoys rather curious, albeit kinda lukewarm, bipartisan support, with 36/69/42 approval among GOP/Dem/Indies. Boxer is very unpopular among Indies (31/60), but a 24% approval among Republicans makes up for some of that bleeding. Murray’s internals by party are almost identical to Boxer’s, but they have Dems projected to make up 10% less of the electorate in WA than in CA.

  9. Just spent a week in Maui – so it’s not like I’d need to see anything there about HI-01. Charles Djou was making a few noises about some legislation in the local paper, and there was some local fundraiser for Mufi Hannemann (for Gov), but that’s it.

    But it’s not like I spent a lot of time in Maui monitoring local news media… 😉

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