SSP Daily Digest: 2/22

AZ-Sen: Fox News, of course, has become legendary for its little Chyron errors that always seem to work out to the Republicans’ advantage (slapping a “D” next to Republican Congressmen involved in sex scandals, for instance). What then, to make of their latest one? J.D. Hayworth was recently identified on-screen as “former Arizona congresswoman.”

CO-Sen: Democracy for America (Howard Dean’s group) is getting involved in the Colorado primary, lending its support to appointed Sen. Michael Bennet. Probably his full-throated support for the public option is helping raise his profile in the netroots. It’s hard to pin down where the ideological fault lines in this primary are, though; his opponent Andrew Romanoff has gotten the big labor endorsements (although both Bennet and Romanoff sound leery about EFCA), and they spent their first debate last week mostly agreeing with and offering kind words about each other.

FL-Sen:  Sorry, Charlie… Rasmussen takes another look at the GOP Senate primary and finds Marco Rubio putting more distance between himself and Charlie Crist. Rubio is leading Crist 54-36, which is an even bigger gap that last months’ 49-37 edge.

IN-Sen: Ooops, this could get awkward. Rep. Baron Hill, who was out of the country all last week, got back and decided that he’s at least somewhat interested in (or at least “open to the idea of”) the Senate seat left behind by Evan Bayh too. Rep. Brad Ellsworth already is being treated as heir apparent (to the extent that a replacement for his seat in the 8th is lined up, too), but the state party committee will get the final word on who fills Bayh’s slot.

NC-Sen: As a bonus addition to their NC-Sen poll from last week, PPP took a look at both sides’ primaries too. On the Democratic side, undecideds rule the day; SoS Elaine Marshall does have the lead, beating former state Sen. Cal Cunningham 29-12 (with 5 for Kenneth Lewis and 2 for Marcus Williams). The only subgroup where Cunningham has the edge so far is voters under 30. On the Republican side, further signs of voters’ general indifference about Richard Burr: he’s polling at only 55% against two unknowns, Brad Jones at 10 and Eddie Burks at 3.  

NV-Sen (pdf): The first poll of the Nevada Senate race following the news that the Tea Party has sprung into existence and will be running Some Dude is an internal from a GOP pollster, POS. He finds that the top Republicans still beat Harry Reid, but by a much narrower margin than the last few rounds of polling have seen: Sue Lowden leads Reid 42-37 (with 9 for Jon Ashjian), while Danny Tarkanian leads 40-39 (with 11 for Ashjian). Reid beats Sharron Angle 37-32 (with 16 for Ashjian) and Mark Amodei 40-25 (with 19 for Ashjian). Lowden has the edge in the GOP primary, at 35, to 28 for Tarkanian, 8 for Angle, 5 for someone named Chad Christensen, 1 for Amodei, and 0 for the oft-hyped rich guy John Chachas. (Amodei, a termed-out state Senator from Reno, seems to have gotten the message from all this, and dropped out of the race today.

NY-Sen-B: The NY Daily News observes what I had sensed was happening: the likely challenge from Harold Ford Jr. has seemed to mostly benefit Kirsten Gillibrand, as it raised her profile, and finally kicked her into higher gear, as she’s sought out the spotlight a little more on issues like the public option and DADT. The newest Siena poll (pdf) finds Gillibrand in fine shape so long as George Pataki doesn’t surprise everyone by getting into the race. She trails Pataki 47-41, while beating Port Commissioner Bruce Blakeman 51-24 and wealthy publisher Mort Zuckerman 49-29. She also leads Ford and Jonathan Tasini in the Democratic primary, 42-16-4. If Ford somehow survives the primary, he trails Pataki 48-34, while also beating Blakeman (41-23) and Zuckerman (40-26).

CA-Gov: A nameless GOP pollster, on behalf of a nameless corporate client, shared an internal poll of the GOP gubernatorial primary with Taegan Goddard. While the lack of transparency is sketchy, the numbers are quite credible: Meg Whitman leads Steve Poizner 55-16.

MO-Gov: This may be a little premature, but Republican Lt. Governor Peter Kinder is already publicly saying that he’s running for Governor in 2012, presumably against incumbent Dem Jay Nixon. An early start can only help, though; in 2008, Nixon benefited from having his nomination locked down way in advance, while the Republicans fought it out in a nasty primary.

NM-Gov: NMSU is out with the first poll of the wide-open Republican gubernatorial primary field (although apparently not the general election). Thanks to the benefits of name rec, attorney Pete Domenici Jr. leads the field at 29, ahead of Dona Ana County DA Susana Martinez at 12, former state party chair Allen Weh at 7, Doug Turner at 7, and state Rep. Janice Arnold-Jones at 3. The New Mexico Independent breathlessly reports that this was before the bombshell revelations came out that Domenici used (gasp!) marijuana and cocaine while in college in the (swoon!) 1980s… as if that’s going to change a single vote.

NV-Gov (pdf): That GOP internal from Glen Bolger also has gubernatorial numbers. Most interestingly, it sees Jim Gibbons (the damaged GOP incumbent) gaining some ground on ex-AG Brian Sandoval; Gibbons trails only 38-32, with North Las Vegas mayor Michael Montandon coming in at 9 (Sandoval’s decline may come at the benefit of Montandon as his profile increases, splitting the non-Gibbons vote). Reid the Younger (Rory, that is) beats Gibbons in the general, 47-36, while tying Montandon 40-40 but losing badly to Sandoval, 50-34. (Also worth noting: the poll also asks some state-level policy questions, and found voters preferring raising taxes to cutting services, 47-38. Certainly more grist for the mill, especially after the passages of Measures 66 and 67 in Oregon.)

NY-Gov: Andrew Cuomo is still taking his time on announcing anything regarding his expected gubernatorial run. While rumormongers seem to think at this point that the announcement is coming in mid to late April (after the fighting over the state budget is completed), the NYT points to a finite deadline: May 25, when the party convention begins (unless for some reason he wants to get on the ballot by collecting signatures and petitioning instead). The same Siena poll (pdf) that we talked about earlier also, as always, covers the gubernatorial race, and there aren’t any surprises there (except perhaps that David Paterson is slipping a bit against GOP candidate Rick Lazio, in the unlikely event he survives his primary). In the primary, Cuomo moves up to 64-22 lead over Paterson (they stopped asking about Suffolk Co. Exec Steve Levy, whose support seemed to come only out of Cuomo’s column and had pushed Cuomo down to 57 last month). Cuomo beats Lazio 63-26, while Lazio beats Paterson 46-39. (Lazio and Paterson were tied at 42 last month.)

OR-Gov: Rasmussen issued its first poll of the Oregon governor’s race, and find Democrats leading in every permutation. As always, it wouldn’t be Rasmussen without something weird in there, and what’s weird here is that the closest race is between Democratic ex-Gov. John Kitzhaber and long-ago ex-state Sen. John Lim, where Kitzhaber leads only 40-38. (Lim has a 31/28 approval, which I suppose is low name rec by Rasmussen’s strange standards, but freakishly high when considering that the 74-year-old Lim’s last big moment on the stage was losing the 1998 Senate race to Ron Wyden by 61-34, and that he’s probably best known for misspelling his own name on his bumper stickers from his 1990 gubernatorial run, where he lost the primary). Kitzhaber leads Chris Dudley 42-36, Allen Alley 42-34, and Bill Sizemore 48-35, while Bill Bradbury leads Lim 38-35, Dudley 39-36, Alley 41-35, and Sizemore 48-23.

VT-Gov: That Research 2000 poll (on behalf of local TV affiliate WCAX) that came out late last week had some additional matchups that we didn’t report on, focusing on the ever-present threat of a left-wing spoiler campaign from Anthony Pollina (although last I’d heard, Pollina was sounding more interested in trying for the Democratic nod rather than running 3rd party). Republican Lt. Governor Brian Dubie wins each permutation, including against SoS Deb Markowitz (who led Dubie in a 2-way race), where he’s up 37-35 with 11 for Pollina. Dubie beats Doug Racine 38-32-12, Peter Shumlin 39-31-12, Matt Dunne 38-31-12, and Susan Barlett 44-26-13.

WI-Gov: The first candidate to hit the TV airwaves in the Wisconsin gubernatorial race is ex-Rep. Mark Neumann, who’s being treated as the underdog in the GOP primary against Milwaukee Co. Exec Scott Walker. Neumann has deep pockets, but this may be an indication that he’s committed to fighting out the gubernatorial battle to the end instead of moving over to the Senate race, where Russ Feingold currently only has minor opposition.

MI-14, MI-15: Two octogenarian liberal stalwarts, and the two longest-serving members of the House, both confirmed that they’ll be running for another term: John Dingell (looking for term number 28) and John Conyers (term 23).

PA-06: Looks like that internal poll released by Rep. Jim Gerlach that had him leading by an ungodly amount had the desired effect. Pharmaceutical exec Steven Welch packed his bags and got out of the race, leaving Gerlach with only token opposition. With a fierce primary underway on the Dem side, it’s now quite the reversal of fortune in this district from where we were mid-last year, when the Dems were united behind Doug Pike and a GOP food fight was underway.

PA-12: Chris Cillizza is reporting that Joyce Murtha, widow of Rep. Jack Murtha, is going to announce that she won’t run in the May 18 special election to replace her husband. This is big news, as the frontrunners, ex-LG Mark Singel and ex-Treasurer Barbara Hafer, said they’d defer to Murtha. (One more Dem is getting into the field today, Mark Critz, who was Murtha’s district director. Singel and Hafer are the universally-regarded heavyweights, though.) Cillizza also hints that Republicans  “downplay their chances” in this special election, despite the district’s R+1 lean (the real problem for them is their lack of a bench in this traditionally very Democratic area).

VA-09: Republican state House majority leader Morgan Griffith seems to be moving ahead with a challenge to long-time Rep. Rick Boucher in the 9th, an Appalachian district that’s sliding away from the Democrats. While the district’s trend has to hearten Griffith, he has two problems: Boucher’s huge cash stash, and the fact that Griffith doesn’t live in the district, although very near the border – but while he’s known in the Roanoke market portion of the district, he’ll need to start from square one in coal country in the deep southwest.

WA-03: Here’s a surprising departure from the Democratic field in the 3rd: state Rep. Deb Wallace, who jumped promptly into the field after Rep. Brian Baird’s retirement and attracted good notices for the few days she had the Dem field to herself. She isn’t endorsing anybody, but said that the district needed a “true moderate Democrat” (which would seem to point toward ex-state Rep. Denny Heck rather than the more liberal state Sen. Craig Pridemore). Heck’s personal wealth probably drove Wallace out of the race, especially since she’d be splitting the “true moderate” votes with Heck while Pridemore ran unimpeded on the liberal side (well, except for flaky activist Cheryl Crist).

FL-St. House: In the face of a growing ethics investigation that could potentially start moving in a criminal direction, Republican former state House speaker Ray Sansom resigned from his House seat today. There’s one interesting name among the many persons who’d been subpoenaed to testify before the House Select Committee on Standards of Official Conduct: another former state House speaker (and now Senate candidate) Marco Rubio. (Rubio isn’t accused of wrongdoing, and now it sounds like the hearings have been rendered moot anyway.)

Filings: Campaign Diaries gives a rundown of what happened with the Ohio and Indiana filings, which closed last week. Dems are looking at five competitive retentions in Ohio (including OH-13, where wealthy auto dealer Tom Ganley completed his switch for the Senate race, and OH-18, where state Sen. Bob Gibbs deciced to pull the trigger. Potential problems lurk for the GOP in OH-15, where David Ryon filed as the Constitution Party candidate (meaning Steve Stivers might get screwed from the right a second time), and in OH-16, where NRCC fave Jim Renacci faces a competitive primary against more conservative (and presumably less electable) Matt Miller, who almost won the open seat GOP primary in 2008. The GOP’s big disappointment is probably OH-06, where their best bet seems to be former Belmont Co. Sheriff Richard Stobbs (who lost by a wide margin in 2008). There’s less drama in Indiana (except for the unresolved IN-Sen and IN-08 situations), although the open seat in dark-red IN-04 attracted a host of Republicans (most notably SoS Todd Rokita, but also two state Senators).

47 thoughts on “SSP Daily Digest: 2/22”

  1. Making it look like polling from anybody else is scarce or is that actually the case? And somebody needs to have a word with Baron Hill.

  2. Singel or Hafer? I kind of like Singel more, because he is younger than Hafer (Singel is 56 while Hafer is 66), so Singel might be able to run statewide later on after the district is gone. Just a thought, I am not that familiar with Pennsylvania politics so someone enlighten me on who the better choice would be.

    Also if the republicans really want a majority in the Senate then they should have the “talk” with Neumann about running for Senate. I think Feingold would still hold on, but Neumann would pose a serious challenge. Although as a democrat I am happy to see Neumann counting his hopeless gubernatorial run, maybe he will bloody Walker up for Barret.


  3. brown, voinovich and the bangor sisters, all voted for the jobs bill and nelson did not.  seems like he’s running in 2012, or he’s just a really conservative/useless dem.

  4. He voted with Democrats for the jobs bill and seems to be prepping himself to be the new Olympia Snowe. Which is a pretty good tea leaf that means he’s running for re-election in 2012, not the Republican presidential nomination (which would’ve been funny, but stupid).  

  5. Whoa, those are some decent numbers for the Reid boys.

    At this point, it would seemingly be a smart move for them to dump a significant portion of their respective war chests into the Ashjian and Gibbons campaigns.

  6. http://voices.washingtonpost.c

    “Political handicapper Charlie Cook said that it was “very hard to come up with a scenario where Democrats don’t lose the House” in an interview with National Journal late last week.”

    My favorite part of this is where he said the problems facing the Democrats are three times as bad as the problems facing the GOP and that trying to get health care reform done was a blunder comparable to going to war in Iraq. Everybody hit the trenches, Charlie Cook probably thinks John Conyers and Patrick Leahy will be defeated by conservative Republicans this fall.

  7. Wallace’s exit from the race was anticipated as she was having no fundraising success and Heck had already secured the major endorsements. I expect Pridemore to announce his exit from the race shortly after the sesson ends and it becomes clear that Heck has the support of most of the Democratic caucus and caucus staff. Informal polls of Clark and Lewis county PCs have Heck leading Pridemore by more than 3:1.

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