SSP Daily Digest: 4/14

Election results: Yesterday’s big event was the special election in FL-19, the first real electoral test after the passage of HCR. The allegedly massive opposition to healthcare reform on the part of the district’s many seniors never really materialized. Democratic state Sen. Ted Deutch beat Republican Ed Lynch 62-35, with very little falloff from Obama’s 65-34 performance in 2008. (Contrast that with John Garamendi’s so-so 53-43 performance in November’s CA-10 special election, a similarly 65-33 district in 2008.)

I should also pause to offer a little credit to Texas’s Republicans, who voted for the less crazy candidates in the Board of Education and Supreme Court runoffs, and in a bigger surprise to me, for the Hispanic-surnamed candidates in the TX-17 and TX-23 runoffs (which, based on incumbent Victor Carrillo’s trouncing in the Railroad Commissioner primary, seemed unlikely to happen). The NRCC has to be pleased to see the wealthier and less wingnutty Bill Flores and Quico Canseco emerge. Rep. Chet Edwards, however, is one guy who knows how to stand and fight, and he wasted no time hitting Flores hard and defining him as a carpetbagger in big oil’s pocket.

One other leftover issue from last night: two races in California, as expected, are headed to runoffs. In Republican-held SD-12, Republican Assemblyman Bill Emmerson will face off against Democrat Justin Blake (the GOPers combined got more than 60% of the vote, so this is a likely hold), while in safely-Democratic AD-43, Democratic lawyer Mike Gatto will face off with Republican Sunder Ramani to replace now-LA city councilor Paul Krekorian. Gatto seemed to shoot the gap in this heavily Armenian-American district after the two Armenian candidates, Chahe Keuroghelian and Nayiri Nahabedian, nuked each other.

AR-Sen: Bill Halter’s primary campaign gained more momentum, as he picked up an endorsement from the Alliance for Retired Americans, pleased with his time as a Social Security Administration official. One group that really isn’t getting on board with Halter, though, is the Berry family; first outgoing Rep. Marion Berry dissed Halter, and now his son, Mitch, is head of a group, Arkansans for Common Sense, that’s running ads attacking Halter on the Social Security front. (Are there any Arkansans who are actually against common sense?)

CO-Sen: Looks like GOP establishment candidate Jane Norton sees the handwriting on the wall and is taking a page from Democrat Michael Bennet’s book: not able to rely on getting on the ballot via activist-dominated convention (where teabagger-fueled Ken Buck seems likely to triumph), she’s making plans to qualify by finding 1,500 signatures in each of the state’s seven congressional districts. Speaking of Bennet, he’s still the fundraising kingpin in this race; he just announced he raised $1.4 million last quarter, well ahead of Norton’s $816K.

FL-Sen: Charlie Crist may have sounded Shermanesque last week in his determination not to switch to an Independent bid for Governor, but apparently now there’s increasing moves within his inner circle to move in that direction. Unnamed advisors are floating the idea to the WSJ today.

IN-Sen: Dan Coats seems to be having more trouble making the transition from the free-wheelin’ world of high-stakes lobbying back to the humdrum electoral politics world, where you actually have to follow the rules and stuff. He’s 10 days overdue on filing his finance disclosure reports with the FEC. One note that the Beltway press seemed to miss though: his main GOP primary opponent, ex-Rep. John Hostettler hasn’t made his filing yet either. (Of course, fundraising was never Hostettler’s strong suit. Or even his weak suit.)

NC-Sen (pdf): PPP issued its latest installment in polls of the Senate general election in its home state. Maybe the biggest surprise is that incumbent Republican Richard Burr’s approvals are just continuing to fall; he’s currently at 32/41 (while likeliest opponent Elaine Marshall is in positive territory at 19/11). Also encouraging, I suppose, is that the actual human Democrats are starting to draw even with Generic D (while previous polls have had Generic D far outpacing them), showing they’re getting better-defined. Burr leads Generic D 43-38, while he leads Marshall 43-37, and leads both Cal Cunningham and Kenneth Lewis 43-35.

NY-Sen-B: With ex-Gov. George Pataki’s phantom interest in this race finally having been dispelled, Swing State Project is removing this race from its “Races to Watch” list.

PA-Sen, PA-Gov (pdf): One more poll in the rapidly-becoming-overpolled Pennsylvania Senate race, this time from Republican pollster Susequehanna. They use an LV model, and find Pat Toomey with a 48-38 lead over Arlen Specter. Of more immediate consequence, they find Specter leading Joe Sestak 42-28 in the Dem primary. They also polled both primaries in the gubernatorial race, finding Dan Onorato seeming to break away from the ill-defined pack among the Dems. Onorato is at 32, followed by Joe Hoeffel at 13, Jack Wagner at 6, and Anthony Williams at 4. Tom Corbett beats down Sam Rohrer on the GOP side, 50-7. After marshaling his resources, Specter is finally starting to open fire; he’s up with his first TV ad of the cycle starting today.

WI-Sen: The only thing that’s sure is that Tommy Thompson likes to see his name in the press. There’s been a lot of conflicting reporting about Tommy Thompson today, with many outlets running with the story that he’s decided against running for Senate (that all traces back to one leak to a local TV station, although it sounds like Politico got some confirmation from an anonymous GOP source). Other outlets are emphasizing that Thompson’s spokesperson says that Thompson hasn’t made a final decision, though. Either way, Thompson will be announcing his plans at a Tea Party rally tomorrow in Madison, so our pain will be ended tomorrow one way or the other.

MA-Gov: Here’s more evidence for my expectation that Dem-turned-indie Tim Cahill will be running to the right (or at least to the incoherent-angry-working-class-Catholic-guy-position) of the Republican in the Massachusetts gubernatorial race this year. He’s appearing at today’s Tea Party rally on Boston Common today, the same one with Sarah Palin that Scott Brown ditched (although MA-10 candidate Joe Malone and GOP gubernatorial underdog Christy Mihos will be there). Likely GOP gubernatorial nominee Charlie Baker (from the party’s old-school moderate WASP tradition) decided against attending, probably out of fears that he might get jostled by some ruffian and spill some of his gin and tonic on his white Bermuda shorts.

MN-Gov: Two blasts from the past in the Minnesota gubernatorial race. Walter Mondale weighed in in favor of Democratic state House speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher, while a guy I’ve never heard of named Al Quie, who claims to have been governor from 1979 to 1983, endorsed Republican Marty Seifert.

NE-Gov: Via press release, the campaign for Democratic candidate Mark Lakers let us know that he took in $314K, impressive considering his late entry to the campaign.

AL-07: State Rep. Earl Hilliard Jr. got an endorsement from the United Steelworkers, a union that seems to still have a lot of clout in Birmingham, once a major steel town.

AZ-03: Now here’s some news I didn’t expect: the fundraising champ in the 3rd isn’t one of the many state legislators running here, but rather attorney (and vice-presidential progeny) Ben Quayle. He pulled in $550K in the first quarter, thanks no doubt to family connections. There are a couple other self-funders in the race too, but the elected officials seem to be lagging: case in point, well-known ex-state Sen. Pamela Gorman, who raised only $37K and ends with $23K CoH.

FL-24: Rep. Suzanne Kosmas announced a haul of $260K for the first quarter. That’s less than the $340K reported by her likely GOP opponent, steakhouse mogul Craig Miller (although a slab of his money was apparently carved out of his own personal funds); Kosmas has a big CoH advantage, though, sitting on more than $1 million.

GA-07: Retiring Republican Rep. John Linder didn’t look far to endorse a replacement for him: he gave his nod to his former chief of staff, Rob Woodall.

HI-01: Sen. Dan Inouye just transferred $100K of his money to the DCCC, despite appearances that they’re actively backing Ed Case, rather than Colleen Hanabusa, who has the support of Inouye (and pretty much everyone else in the local Democratic establishment). Inouye has apparently been working behind the scenes, including reaching out to Nancy Pelosi, to get the DCCC to dial back their Case support, so maybe the cash infusion will give him a little more leverage. (Inouye is sitting on $3.2 million and faces little if any opposition this year.)

IN-03: Nice fundraising numbers from Democrat Tom Hayhurst, who ran a surprisingly close race against Rep. Mark Souder in 2006 and is back for another try. Hayhurst has racked up $234K CoH, more than Souder ($99K in the first quarter).

IN-05: Politico has a look at Rep. Dan Burton’s difficult primary in the 5th, in Indianapolis’s dark-red suburbs. While Burton may actually be safer this year compared with 2008 (since he has four opponents instead of just one), the article traces the roots of the local GOP’s discontent with him, and also shows the magnitude of his collapse in support: only 2 of the 11 local party organizations are supporting Burton this time.

MO-08: Another Dem in a dark-red seat who keeps impressing everybody with his tenacity is Tommy Sowers. The veteran and college instructor, who’s challenging Rep. Jo Ann Emerson, raised $295K in the first quarter and is now sitting on $675K CoH.

NM-02: Ex-Rep. Steve Pearce can write himself his own checks if he needs to, but he may not need to at this rate. Pearce raised $277K in the first quarter, and now sits on $708K. Democratic Rep. Harry Teague hasn’t reported yet, but in the duel of wealthy oil guys, he can self-fund too if need be.

NY-14: With Democratic primary challenger Reshma Saujani having some success on the financial front, Rep. Carolyn Maloney got some top-tier help from Barack Obama, who endorsed her and sent out a fundraising appeal on her behalf.

PA-11: If this doesn’t wake up Rep. Paul Kanjorski from his nap, I don’t know what will. Three-time Republican opponent Lou Barletta raised $300K in the first quarter. An important caveat: there was no mention of cash on hand, which is telling because Barletta was still saddled with a lot of debt from his 2008 campaign when he decided to run again. (UPDATE: Barletta’s CoH is now $205K.)

PA-17: Republican state Sen. David Argall raised a tolerable but not-too-impressive $125K in the first quarter. He’ll need more than that to battle Rep. Tim Holden, who, if nothing else, has great survival skills (he had the worst district of any freshman who survived 1994, and then survived a 2002 gerrymander designed to rub him out). In fact, he’ll need more than that just for his primary; heretofore unknown GOP opponent ex-Marine Frank Ryan raised $70K in the first quarter.

Redistricting: Maryland beat out New York to be the first state in the nation to enact legislation that will, in terms of redistricting, treat prisoners as residents of their last known address, rather than where they’re incarcerated (and thus move the center of gravity back toward the cities from the countryside). Also, on the redistricting front, if there’s one group of people who are the target audience for a whole movie about redistricting (Gerrymandering), it’s the crowd at SSP. The film’s director has a diary up, touting its release in two weeks at the Tribeca Film Festival.

59 thoughts on “SSP Daily Digest: 4/14”

  1. TX-17: I’m pretty sure Chet Edwards called Bill Flores, not himself, a carpetbagger in big oil’s pocket.

    MA-Gov: Is there a reason all the big guns are backing MAK rather than Rybak?  Isn’t Rybak a stronger candidate with a lot of activist support?

    AZ-03: I still say Vernon Parker is the eventual winner here.  He’s raised the second-most after Ben Quayle (random rich businessman raised more, but most of it was a personal loan), is well-liked in the district, and isn’t a state legislator (all the state legislators are doing terribly in fundraising, because nobody likes them).  I’m not writing off Quayle, but I don’t see how he beats Parker.

    IN-03: I wish it were true that Hayhurst raised $230k in the first quarter, but actually the article says that’s his total haul from the last two quarters.  He raised $99k this quarter, a decent sum but not good enough to win here.

  2. It’s a deep red district, but Dan Burton is such an odious nut. So if I’m going to contribute to one of his challengers, who should I go for?

    I realize that it’s a highly Republican district, and none of these guys are going to agree with me on much. But which of the challengers is the least teabagger-y, and the most tolerable, sane Republican? Any of them?

  3. No clue, I was only 6 at the time, but remember learning as a teen in my MN high school’s PoliSci class that Quie (R) was elected in a backlash against the Dem incumbent.

    Turns out the Dem incumbent had been promoted from Lt Gov, in accordance with succession laws, when the Dem then-Gov resigned office after Humphrey’s death with the expectation that he’d be named interim Senator.

    Pretty unseemly behavior for a couple Lutherans from Lake Wobegon, dontcha think?

  4. Even if you think he can’t win (personally I think he’s got an outside chance at pulling off a narrow upset–“Likely Republican” would be my ranking), it’s a REALLY good thing that Sowers is giving Emerson a tough fight.

    MO-08 is the Blue Doggiest district of Missouri. Local Democrats (Gov. Nixon, for example) often win here and it’s the ancestral homeland of the Carnahans. It was here that there was the biggest difference between Obama and local Democrats.  

    So if Sowers can get local indies and Blue Dogs excited to turn out for Democrats (and make JoAnn Emerson less popular locally), it could easily make the difference between a Carnahan win and a Blunt win.  

  5. Roxanne Conlin will release her 1Q fundraising numbers tomorrow. She’ll probably be behind Grassley but well ahead of the other Democrats in the race. I am hoping it’s a good number, because Conlin’s campaign sent out an e-mail blast today announcing that they will release the numbers tomorrow.

  6. Hopefully most delegates run completely in the opposite direction of a Mondale endorsement as whoever the DFL establishment backs is the one who has the least likelihood of winning the general.  The problem with MAK being able to get the establishment support is twofold.  First off, she’s the house Speaker which automatically puts her in the front of the line and gives her a multitude of super delegate votes from her own caucus.  Simply put, the establishment thinks it’s her turn.  Second, she’s the first woman to find herself at the front of the gubernatorial line and she is getting a disgusting amount of support simply because she has a vagina.

    MAK has been absolutely terrible as Speaker with only having a single legislative win under her belt.  She leads the DFL into getting trampled by Pawlenty over and over again and I really cant believe she even had the audacity to run for Governor, she hasnt done anything!  Absolutely zero record to run on, save for being a woman and it being her turn.

    Im optimistic, though, that she wont win the endorsement.  There is a campaign being run by TakeActionMN called reNEW Minnesota.  The reNEW campaign has racked up a couple hundred of delegates from the conventions and the campaign endorsed Rybak, MAK, and Thissen, saying those three are the ones who are progressive enough and who they think can win.  This organization, from what Ive heard, is much more heavily for Rybak than the other two.  It’s clear this time that the delegates are going to be a hell of a lot more keen this time on picking someone with electability on top of ideological purity and insider connections.

    And Populista just told me via fbook that Rybak plans on abiding by the endorsement, which was my facepalm moment of the week.  DFLers have such a terrible case of battered wife syndrome….  Thank god we’ll have a primary this time, I’ll vote for Dayton or Entenza over MAK if I have to.

  7. He has never been a Tea Party favorite or much like at Tea Parties. Why would he be going somewhere where he has never been active and trying to reach out to a new base if he is not running? Why would he go to a Tea Party to announce he is NOT running? Wouldn’t a press release do?

    Also on WI-Sen, anyone know if Dick L has any money from his family’s beer company that he would spend on the race?  

  8. This just seems fishy to me. Why would you go to a tea party rally on tax day to announce that you’re not running for Senate? I think he is running and his people leaked today that he’s not running to make it a bigger story tomorrow when he gets in the race.

  9. I didn't notice this until today, but there was apparently a lot of talk about Ron Paul endorsing John Hostettler today, with most coverage suggesting it was a done deal. That said, I can't actually find any proof that such a thing happened.

    Paul endorsing Hostettler and maybe causing a little bit of manna money to fall from the heavens Internet for his campaign could make quite a bit of different for Hos. Even if it hasn't happened yet, I'd bet it will soon. 

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