SSP Daily Digest: 5/12 (Afternoon Edition)

FL-Sen: Charlie Crist went the full-on “I” today; he made a big show of switching his own party registration to “no party affiliation” today, to match having filed as an independent to run for Senate. Free from his Republican shackles, Crist is also following through on plans to call a special legislative session on oil drilling, which could result in Floridians voting on a constitutional amendment to ban offshore drilling in Florida waters. And one final middle-finger to his former Republican allies: after previously saying he was open to refunding money to donors unhappy with his party switch, today he said he wouldn’t be giving any contributions back.

NC-Sen (pdf): PPP’s out with another quick poll of the runoff for the Democratic Senate nomination between Cal Cunningham and Elaine Marshall. It’s a tie, with Cunningham and Marshall both at 36. While this would initially suggest that Cunningham (who finished 2nd) is picking up the bulk of the also-rans’ votes, that’s not the case; Marshall is still leading among liberals and African-Americans, which probably means she’s getting most Kenneth Lewis voters. PPP’s analysis is that Cunningham’s improved standing is a result of an enthusiasm gap between their supporters; Cunningham backers seem likelier to actually show up for the runoff.

NV-Sen: Here’s something we haven’t seen in probably more than a year, which is half a lifetime in politics years: Harry Reid is posting a lead. Now, granted, this is a Democratic poll, although not a Reid internal; it was taken by Dem pollster Fairbanks Maslin on behalf of the New West Project. But still, this shows that the chickens have come home to roost for Sue Lowden, in the wake of her quadrupling-down on her HCR gaffe; she’s now trailing Reid 42-35 (with 5 for Tim Fasano, 3 for Scott Ashjian). Reid is tied with Danny Tarkanian, who isn’t gaffe-tainted (and in fact is now trying to tar and feather Lowden with it in the primary), at 37-37 (with 7 for Fasano and 2 for Ashjian).

UT-Sen: One impure collaborationist down, one to go. With Bob Bennett out, teabagger frenzy is now turning to Orrin Hatch. Mason-Dixon finds Hatch’s 2012 numbers pretty weak, with a 35% re-elect and 51% wanting someone else. And that “someone else” is already making his interest known, more than two years out (probably with an eye toward goading the 78-year-old Hatch into retirement): ambitious freshman Rep. Jason Chaffetz.

WI-Sen: Wealthy businessman Ron Johnson, the teabaggers’ horse in the Wisconsin Senate GOP derby, made it official, filing as a candidate today. He’ll officially launch his bid next Monday.

AL-Gov: Bradley Byrne, the supposed moderate (by Alabama GOP standards) in the race, has had to two-step to the right and defend his creationist cred, after an ad from the “True Republican PAC” attacked him for the unforgivable sin of teaching evolution in schools. Turns out that there’s some tasty Democratic dirty pool behind all this: the True Republican PAC is funded by the state teacher’s union, the Alabama Education Association (who are also Ron Sparks’ biggest financial backer). Their rationale seems to be that they’d rather, Gray Davis-style, torpedo Bradley Byrne in the GOP primary, on the assumption that he’d be the most difficult Republican to beat in the general.

CT-Gov: On the Chris Cillizza hierarchy of endorsements, I think this one falls under the category of “10) Wtf?” State Sen. minority leader John McKinney, who’d considered a gubernatorial run himself, endorsed neither of the GOP frontrunners, but rather the random businessman with the weird name, Oz Griebel. The former head of the Hartford Chamber of Commerce has been polling in the low single digits.

OH-Gov: Lehman Brothers keeps turning into a bigger and bigger albatross around John Kasich’s neck. It turns out that Kasich, while he was head of Lehman’s Columbus office in 2002, tried to convince two state pension funds (OPFPF and OPERS) to invest with the now-imploded investment bank.

OR-Gov: Yet another poll of the primaries in the Oregon gubernatorial race, confirming what’s come into pretty sharp focus lately, that it’ll be a John Kitzhaber/Chris Dudley matchup in November. Local pollster Tim Hibbitts, on behalf of assorted media outlets including Oregon Public Broadcasting and the Portland Tribune, found Kitzhaber beating Bill Bradbury 53-23 on the Dem side. For the GOPers, Dudley leads Allen Alley by a not-overwhelming 33-23, but there’s little time left for Alley to make a move. (John Lim is at 8 and Bill Sizemore is at 6.) They also looked at the Dem primary in the special election for Treasurer, finding a competitive race with lots of undecideds: appointed incumbent (and ex-Multnomah Co. Chair) Ted Wheeler leads state Sen. Rick Metsger 29-24.

WA-Gov: The rumor du jour is that Chris Gregoire is now on the short list to become Solicitor General, assuming Elena Kagan gets promoted to the SCOTUS. Allow me to say: bad idea, if only because it means at least several months of Governor Brad Owen. Under Washington law, though, Owen wouldn’t serve for long, as a special election would be held. The timeline varies, depending on when Gregoire might quit as Governor. If it happens before May 31, a primary would be held, followed by a two-person general in November. If it happens after May 31 but before October 3, it would result in a jungle-style election in November. And if it happens after October 3, we’d be blessed with two full years of Owen. One other major wrinkle: if this looks like it has legs, it may shut the door on a Dino Rossi run for the Senate, as it’s a poorly-kept secret that he’d really prefer another gubernatorial run rather than wasting his third strike on getting pasted by Patty Murray, and this would be the way for him to do it.

NY-29: David Paterson did the unthinkable and called a special election for the 29th. Heh… except he called it for the regularly-scheduled election day in November, so the winner will get to serve for a few weeks in the lame duck session, Snelly Gibr-style. Smart move by the Gov, as it saves Dems from a potentially embarrassing special election on a day when that’s the only story. Instead, the outcome will probably be that Tom Reed gets to start work a few weeks early.

PA-12: Two polls are out today in the 12th, both giving a single-digit lead to Democrat Mark Critz. One poll is a Critz internal, so you’d expect a lead there: Global Strategy Group gives him an 8-point lead of 44-36 (up from 41-38 in mid-April). But the other is from Susquehanna, a pollster who often works for Republican candidates but here is polling on behalf of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (the GOP paper in town). They find Critz up 44-38, and Critz even leads by 19 among “super voters” (who’ve voted in 3 of the last 4 primaries). Interestingly, they find Republican Tim Burns’ woes increasing on two different fronts: he’s also in a “dead heat” with BaseConnect stooge Bill Russell (who got passed over for the special election nod) in the regularly-scheduled GOP primary on the same day. For some reason, specific numbers weren’t available for the GOP primary or the Dem primary, although it says Critz has “a majority” against Ryan Bucchanieri.

65 thoughts on “SSP Daily Digest: 5/12 (Afternoon Edition)”

  1. have a really good feeling about PA-12. With the competitiveness of the Senate primary (high Dem turnout) and a nasty primary for Burns I would say we will probably pull through. I just wish I felt the same way about Hawaii.

    As for Washington I really hope Obama doesn’t pick her. Don’t get me wrong I’m sure she would do a good job and all but I don’t want to have to defend yet another open seat. Honestly the third or fourth ranking job at the Justice Department seems like a down grade from being the Governor of Washington. Maybe it’s just me. Owen seems like a good candidate though. He is a veteran politician who has been elected statewide four times. Rossi would pose a very serious challenge, and I don’t want to have to add this to team blue’s worries.    

  2. A bunch of Repub backed lawsuits were filed to force Paterson to schedule a special election. So now that he has, I guess they become moot (even though they probably hate that late date Paterson picked).

    Won’t Cuomo and Schumer coattails help our NY-29 guy, what with their election being the same day?

  3. Is it legal for him to keep those contributions? Could there be lawsuits? I’ll say for the record that even if it’s legal, it’s extremely improper and a total bush league move (and I don’t mean Jeb) for him not to offer refunds to everyone who contributed to his campaign as a Republican. What a sleazy guy!

  4. What role does the WA Gov have in apportionment (if Gregoire does move to SG)?

    WA is likely getting a 10th seat in Congress next year.

  5. Can someone from Washington explain how Owen is still Lite Gov?

    He’s anti-choice, crusades against pot, and is lukewarm on gay rights, and “as Washington State’s lieutenant governor, Owen presides over the state’s part-time senate-where Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles says he has upset Democrats with rulings that favor conservatives…”

    How has he managed to avoid being challenged by a credible Democrat? Is it because the Lite Gov is largely ceremonial?

  6. There’s no way he survives in the convention system against somebody as purely nutty and reactionary as Jason Chaffetz. If he does intend to run, he better be working to get the convention system changed into an outright primary.

    People like Hatch and Bob Bennett are seeing the results of what happens when you try to fire up the angry far right base. They thought the party establishment could exploit and harness the outrage of unreasonable people to make huge gains. This has all blown up in their faces though as evidenced by Bennett’s defeat and the imminent nomination of Rand Paul for Kentucky’s Senate seat. It’s poetic justice.

  7. Both this poll and the most recent DailyKos/R2K poll can’t be fully trusted because they name all the minor candidates.  In reality, these 3rd-and-4th-and-5th wheels will combine for no more than 2% in November, and more likely 1%.  None of these characters has any ability to gain any positive attention or manufacture it for themselves.  The self-proclaimed Tea Party dude would have had a shot at doing slightly better than that if it weren’t for his fellow teabagging “leaders” openly attacking him; if they’d embrace him instead, word-of-mouth support could get him a few points in November.  But given they’re cutting him off at the knees, there will be no positive word-of-mouth, and he’s get nada.

    A good poll at this point would do just one-on-one head-to-heads.

    And if you compare DailyKos in particular with their previous poll, that’s exactly what they did, and it explains all the difference between the two polls.  Reid treaded water in the same spot in those polls, but Lowden dropped only because the more recent one named the minor candidates, while the preceding poll did not.

    And this New West poll also names the minors, which skews the results.

    I will say at least that these polls do show a souring of the electorate toward Lowden, and thus reveals a very real opening for Reid to recover.  I have no doubt that had minor candidates been named in the older DailyKos poll, her bleed would have been much less than in the most recent one that pegged her at 45%.

    If I do take real heart in one more thing, it’s that Jon Ralston when discussing this New West poll also said it’s not out of line with private polls, although he didn’t elaborate, and in particular he didn’t say if those private polls were one-on-one tests.

  8. Cunningham leads by 11 with white voters and 20 with Hispanic/other voters, but Marshall is up by 22 with black voters. PPP is estimating that African Americans will be 33% of the runoff electorate, but I think that number is too high because they made up only 34% of the electorate in the 2008 presidential primary, with Obama on the ballot. (2008 CNN exit poll:

    If Marshall’s ground game can turn out black voters at or near Obama levels, she’ll be in good shape, but from what we’ve seen so far this cycle that’s a tall order. I think Cunningham is the slight favorite right now.

  9. Another factor in the Democrats favor in PA-12 is that there are two prominent state legislative primaries occurring on the Democratic side in the primary.  Specifically, one of the most Democratic state house districts in the state is having a primary featuring indicted former Speaker Bill DeWeese against Greene County Commission Chair Pam Snyder and some UMW dude.

  10. Geez Obama, why not leave some democrats for the rest of the freakin country already?

    It would be nice to have Biden to beat back Castle in DE-SEN. Be nice to have Salazar to run for re-elect in CO-SEN instead of anemic Bennett. Be nice to have Napolitano to veto the AZ ethnic cleansing act.  

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