SSP Daily Digest: 5/19

CA-Sen: Good news for Tom Campbell, in the form of the Senate half of M4’s poll of the California GOP primary: he leads Carly Fiorina and Chuck DeVore, 33-28-15. (Of course, with his plans to briefly go dark to conserve funds, that gives Fiorina a chance to play catchup when the margin’s not that big.) Bad news for Campbell, though: the NRA has him in its metaphorical crosshairs, sending out a mailer to members attacking Campbell and, while not endorsing, offering kind words for Fiorina and DeVore.

CT-Sen: This is going to make it a lot easier for Richard Blumenthal to make the case that the “in Vietnam” controversy is something of a cheap shot. A longer-form video release of the appearance (provided, ironically, by the Linda McMahon campaign, undercutting their own hatchet job) where the offending phrase occurred have him correctly referring to having “served in the military, during the Vietnam era” in the very same speech. That’s not stopping Vietnam vet Rob Simmons, who, sensing an opening, has rolled out web advertising with “Blumenthal Lied About Vietnam” in very large letters.

Blumenthal is getting more explicit backing from Democratic bigwigs now, as his mea culpa/attempt to get back on the offense seems to have had the desired effect. Rep. Chris Murphy, the likeliest guy to pick up the pieces if Blumenthal had to bail out, offered his unqualified support; so too did Howard Dean. And here’s one thing that’s actually good about Rasmussen‘s one-day, no-callback samples: they can strike fast. They polled Connecticut, and while the trendlines aren’t appealing, they find Blumenthal still beating McMahon even in the heat of the moment before the story has had time to digest, and beating the other, unmoneyed GOP opponents by pretty wide margins. Markos has some really nice pushback against Rasmussen in general, today, asking why they always poll quickly when there’s the potential for a good Republican narrative but not when the narrative doesn’t fit (as seen in their failure to poll the Sorta Super-Tuesday primaries).

FL-Sen: Charlie Crist has been trying to woo union support, starting with a speech at the state AFL-CIO convention this weekend. It’s another indication that he’s trying to move squarely onto Kendrick Meek’s turf and monopolize as much of the left-of-center vote as he can, now that he’s free from his GOP shackles. Meanwhile, quixotic Democratic candidate Jeff Greene has apparently been seen wooing Ukrainian strippers, in 2005 on his 145-foot yacht while cruising the Black Sea. Not so, claims his campaign spokesperson; he was busy traveling with his rabbi at the time instead.

KY-Sen: In case you needed one more data point on how thin-skinned Rand Paul and how likely a meltdown from him is at some point before November, here’s an anecdote from last night: he refused to take the customary concession call from Trey Grayson, at least according to the Grayson camp.

NC-Sen: Here’s a big score for Elaine Marshall: Third-place finisher Kenneth Lewis gave his backing to Marshall in her runoff against Cal Cunningham. This move isn’t so surprising, given that Lewis’s supporters, like Rep. Eva Clayton, were already gravitating toward Marshall, but it ought to steer much of Lewis’s African-American and youth base in her direction as well.

NV-Sen: Three items, all of which are very, very bad for Sue Lowden. First, the Club for Growth finally weighed into the Senate primary, and they backed right-winger Sharron Angle (maybe not that surprising, since they backed her in the 2006 primary for NV-02). That ought to give Angle a further shot of adrenaline, though, on top of her Tea Party Express endorsement and polling momentum. Lowden is also still bogged down in controversy over her luxury bus, doubling-down on her claims that use of the $100K vehicle was leased despite also having stated elsewhere that the bus was “donated” (which means it would have needed to be reported as an in-kind contribution). That’s nothing, though, compared to the (by my count) quintupling-down on Chickens-for-Checkups, simultaneously trying to fight top Nevada journo Jon Ralston on the fact that, yes, people are bartering for health care while trying to claim that she never actually said anything about Chickencare at all.

NY-Sen-B: The only GOP big name left who hadn’t said anything definitive about participating in the GOP Senate primary for the right to get creamed by Kirsten Gillibrand finally said a public “no.” Orange County Executive Ed Diana said he’ll stick with his current job, to which he was elected in November to a third term.

UT-Sen: Looks like that teabaggers’ victory in Utah might be short-lived. Bob Bennett seems to be more interested than before in running as a write-in in the general (where, despite the complex dynamics of a write-in campaign, he faces better odds with the broader electorate than with the narrow slice of extremists running the GOP convention). We may know tomorrow what his plans are, as he emphasized “Stay tuned tomorrow.”

WA-Sen: If Dino Rossi really is still interested in running for Senate, this isn’t a particularly good way of showing it. Rossi is scheduled to make a blockbuster appearance on May 25… to give opening remarks at a dinnertime seminar for local real estate investors focusing on strategies for profiting off foreclosures. Because nothing says “I’m a man of the people” than knowing all the ins and outs of how to profit off the people’s misery.

AL-Gov: Artur Davis is out with an internal poll, that seems mostly oriented toward countering the sense that he’s losing ground among his African-American base. The poll shows Davis leading Democratic primary rival Ron Sparks 46-33. It also shows Davis leading 50-25 among African-Americans (despite the defections of some prominent local black groups), while trailing Sparks 42-41 among whites.

FL-Gov: Bill McCollum is going to have to start taking moneybags Rick Scott seriously, and he’s striking hard, sending out a press release calling him an “embarrassment” and a “fraud,” presumably in reference to allegations leveled against Scott’s health care firm. Scott’s ginormous introductory ad buy is now estimating at $6.3 million.

KS-Gov: Sam Brownback is drawing some heat for taking things out of context. Now, politicians take things out of context all the time, but his sleight-of-hand in attempting to fight efforts to more tightly regulate the business of car loans to military members may be a fridge too far.

“CNN Money on May 13 reported that ‘Raj Date … agreed that the additional (Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection) regulation might cause some dealers to stop arranging loans,” Brownback said in the letter.

But Brownback’s letter did not include the rest of Date’s comment, which was this, “There will be some dealers who say, ‘If I have to play by an honest set [of] rules, then I can’t be in this business anymore.’ I’m not going to shed any tears for these dealers.”

MA-Gov: You may recall last week’s Rasmussen MA-Gov poll where, in an effort to find some sort of good news, they found that, if liberal activist Grace Ross somehow beat incumbent Dem Deval Patrick in the primary, she would lost to GOPer Charlie Baker. Well, it’s looking like Ross is in danger of not even making it onto the ballot. The state SoS says she has only a little more than half of the 10,000 signatures she needs; Ross promises an announcement tomorrow morning on her next step. (The upside for Patrick, if Ross qualifies for the primary though, would be $750K in public financing for his campaign, which he wouldn’t be entitled to if he were running unopposed.)

ME-Gov: There’s been some ongoing controversy in the sleepy Maine governor’s race about how Republican candidate Steve Abbott (former CoS to Susan Collins) wound up with GOP voter lists, but this is a strange turn: the state Republican party chair, Charlie Webster, is now saying that Abbott’s camp flat-out “stole” it.

GA-09: The special election to replace Nathan Deal (where GOPers Tom Graves and Lee Hawkins are in a runoff) seems to have winnowed the Republican field for the regularly-scheduled GOP primary, too. Former state Senate majority leader Bill Stephens has dropped out of contention in that field.

HI-01: Even if something incredibly dramatic happens between now and Saturday’s drop-dead date in the special election in the 1st, things are still pretty much cast in stone. In the all-mail in election, now 43% of all ballots sent out have been returned.

IN-03: State Sen. Marlin Stutzman (whose name rec is sky-high right now after running fairly well in the GOP Senate primary against Dan Coats) says that he’s going to strike while the iron is hot, and get into the race to replace resigning Rep. Mark Souder. Other GOPers confirming that they’ll run include state Rep. Randy Borror, Ft. Wayne city councilor Liz Brown, and recent primary loser Phil Troyer. Another recent primary loser, Bob Thomas, is a potential candidate.

OH-16: After having found an excuse to hide behind the door the last time Barack Obama came to Ohio, Rep. John Boccieri was proudly with him when he visited Youngstown yesterday. Perhaps he can sense a bit of a turning of the tide? Troublingly, though, Senate candidate Lee Fisher wasn’t present.

PA-12: PPP digs through the data from their last pre-election poll in the 12th and finds what may really have done the Republicans in. There’s one entity in the district even more unpopular than Barack Obama (who had 30% approval), and that’s Congressional Republicans, who were at a miserable 22/60. In nationalizing the election, Tim Burns tied himself to the nation’s least favorite people of all.

PA-19: After having surviving his primary last night despite publicly seeking another job, it looks like Rep. Todd Platts exposed himself to all that danger for no reason at all. Platts announced yesterday that the Obama administration had let him know that he wasn’t going to be selected for the Government Accountability Office job he’d been angling for.

CT-AG: Here’s one of the weirdest career crash-and-burns I’ve seen lately: SoS Susan Bysiewicz went in a few months from likely next Governor to somehow not even eligible to run for the lower-tier job she dropped down to. Connecticut’s Supreme Court unanimously ruled that she didn’t meet the criteria for legal experience required to become AG, reversing a lower court’s decision. Former Democratic state Sen. George Jepsen now has the AG job pretty much to himself. At any rate, with Bysiewicz now combing the “Help Wanted” section, that gives the Connecticut Dems a fallback plan for the Senate if Richard Blumenthal does need to bail out (although Bysiewicz may be seriously damaged at this point too).

OR-St. House: Here are a couple races with interesting implications that I forgot to watch last night: two Republican state Reps. from the high-desert parts of Oregon (the state’s Republican stronghold) committed the unthinkable heresy of not only bipartisanship but supporting tax increases to close the state’s budget gap. Both Bob Jenson and Greg Smith survived their primaries, though, after teabaggers, right-to-lifers, and even their state House minority leader turned their wrath against them.

Arizona: One other election result from last night that most people, us included, seemed to overlook was Proposition 100 in Arizona. In a surprise, at least to those people who think that it’s a rabidly anti-tax year (which would be those people who didn’t pay any attention to Measures 66 and 67 earlier this year in Oregon), the people of this red state voted by a fairly wide margin for a temporary sales tax increase as part of a package of changes to close the budget gap. It’s a victory for Jan Brewer, actually, who backed the plan (perhaps feeling safer to do so, having solidified her position with her support for the “papers please” law).

1994: When you have a wave, a lot of dead wood washes up on the beach. Prompted by ’94 alum Mark Souder’s mini-scandal and resignation, Dana Milbank looks back at the wide array of scoundrels and rogues who were swept in in 1994.

History: History’s only barely on the side of Blanche Lincoln when it comes to runoffs. It turns out that the person who finishes first in a runoff wins 72% of the time, but when that’s limited only to runoffs in primaries, the success rate is only 55%… and Lincoln’s victory over Bill Halter last night was a particularly close one.

68 thoughts on “SSP Daily Digest: 5/19”

  1. Why do people keep talking about Chris Murphy?  What about the rest of our bench in CT, between Larson, DeLauro, Lamont, and Malloy, and probably others?

  2. Doesn’t look like Bennett will do the write-in campaign.  The location of his press conference tomorrow: NRSC, National Republican Senate Committee hq.  Unless Cornyn and other Senate Republicans plan on backing Bennett instead of the official Republican nominee.

  3. Is she that damaged?  I mean, this is a huge set back, but it’s not like she did anything wrong here.

  4. I just noticed that the primary color on Crist’s campaign website is…you guessed it…blue.

    That’s funny. I guess we know which voters’ subconscious he’s trying to appeal to.

  5. So, Does anyone think Marshall can beat Burr?  I think that his name recognition failure really hurts him in the general.  How sweet would it be to win NC & KY?

    A man can dream…

  6. I guess we won’t get much help from Jeff Greene on the matter of outsourcing (:  He’s quickly becoming my favorite candidate of this cycle.  

  7. SSP: “A longer-form video release of the appearance [..] where the offending phrase occurred have him correctly referring to having “served in the military, during the Vietnam era” in the very same speech.”

    Sorry to beat this dead horse after I already posted about it in the other thread – I’m probably not making myself popular here – but c’mon.

    So the score is now that in that one speech, he once outright lied about having served in Vietnam, and once, a little earlier, carefully parsed his words so that everyone would thinkhe was in Vietnam, without explicitly lying about it.

    Add that to the examples from other events the NYT unearthed of Blumenthal doing the same thing, and this is supposed to make us feel better, and conclude that it was all just a cheap shot?

    That doesn’t seem right.

  8. about Kos’ takedown of Rasmussen. He’s criticizing them for trying to establish a narrative, and also for not polling last nights races (apparently because that might go against the narrative).

    There is no doubt that Rasmussen is engaging in setting a narrative, and no doubt its a pro-Republican narrative. But so what? How is that any different than what Research 2K does for Kos (lot of polls of Lincoln vs. Halter the past few weeks on Kos) or PPP is doing down in North Carolina trying to establish Burr is vulnerable. Kos doesn’t seem to be accusing Rasmussen of lying, or even witholding poll nubmers that go against the narrative. (in fact, Rasmussen does occasionally release polls that go against the Republican talking points). He’s suggesting that Rasumussen is running a scam by only polling the races it wants to.  

    I like Kos, and his commentary on most of the stuff regarding Tuesday nights results has been pretty dead on. But this challenge to Rasmussen seems silly. So Rasmussen should have polled the PA-12 election so they could have screwed up the results as badly as PPP did, or R2K a couple weeks ago?

    Anyway, feel free to jump all over me on this. Please note that I’m not defending any individual Rasmussen result, only that there’s anything wrong with a pollster trying to establish a narrative.  

  9. This got missed when I posted it yesterday, but the LA legislature is on the verge of passing a bill that will return Congressional elections to the old open primary-runoff system. Both houses have approved it; the Senate amended it so that it takes effect this year. The House has to approve the amended version, then it goes to Jindal’s desk.

  10. A new Minnesota Public Radio News/Humphrey Institute poll about the Minnesota governor’s race, taken May 13-16 of 701 Minnesota voters (MOE is +/- 5.8 points):


    — In the DFL primary, former Sen. Mark Dayton is at 38%, with House Speaker/DFL Endorsee Margaret Anderson Kelliher at 28% and former State Representative Matt Entenza at 6%

    — Dayton leads GOP State Representative/Endorsee Tom Emmer 35-31%, with Independence Party Endorsee Tom Horner at 9%

    — Emmer leads Kelliher 31-29% with Horner at 10%

    — Emmer leads Entenza 32-28% with Horner at 11%

    Also, some other numbers in the poll:

    — Job approvals went as follows:  Senator Klobuchar:  64%, President Obama:  51%, Senator Franken: 48%, Governor Pawlenty: 43%, Congress: 23%

    — Party ID:  42% Republican, 42% Democratic, 15% Independent

  11. Marshall did very well in the state’s 300 or so black majority precincts, winning about 39% of those precincts while Lewis won about 45% of these precincts and Cal won about 9%. Of the precincts that are roughly 40%-49% black, Elaine won about 69% of those while Cal won about 7% of them. She performed really well in these areas considering that three of her opponents were African-American, and Cal’s performance was very poor in these areas. With the Lewis endorsement, she will likely consolidate black support, making a runoff win very likely.

  12. He delayed announcing because his old campaign manager moved on to political consulting and he had trouble finding a new one. He has supposedly found a new one and they want to get the operation up and planned an announcement for next week.  

  13. Susan Bysiewicz has pretty much been Sec of State for my entire life, but I still don’t know much about her, and from what I’ve seen, she’s pretty much a lightweight. She now has all the time in the world to practice law privately, and that’s fine with me.

    Blumenthal is going to survive this anyway. There’s really no one else in the state Democratic party, despite its depth, who has his stature and can win the seat easily. A morning radio show on a New Haven rock station that is usually filled with alpha-male jokes and Scott Brown and Joe Lieberman fans took on Blumenthal today, but really only made fun of his name (“Dick”) and didn’t make a big deal out of his lying, calling him a friend nonetheless. This is from a show that called Obama a terrorist before his election. It’s going to be a non-issue when formerly drugged up wrestlers come out against Linda McMahon.

    Larson and DeLauro are safely ensconced in House leadership, and Courtney is a good fit for CT-02. Murphy can afford to wait, and is still nowhere as well known as Larson and Rosa. Lamont seems a good fit for governor. There’s a bunch of mayors and backbenchers, but really no one with a statewide profile, and scandals erupt all the time with these guys (especially the mayors- right now its the mayor of Hartford’s turn).

    The state Republican party is a big mess of nutters and Wall Streeters (just like their Senate primary) with no shot at winning. And Joe Lieberman, probably to his dismay, can’t save them this time (You know he’d love to hold both seats himself).

  14. I’ve changed my mind. After seeing this, I can’t believe Rand Paul can win a statewide election. He is so extremely retrograde that in 2010, he is against the Civil Rights Law’s provisions on public accommodations by privately-owned businesses. He is enunciating the position held by Goldwater in 1964 and later repudiated by him, that private businesses have the right to discriminate if they so choose. All Conway has to do is remind people that the period of desegregation was very painful and that, rather than reopening painful wounds, we should close them forever. I feel sure that even a goodly number of white voters somewhere along the racism scale would nod their heads at that argument. I am re-rating this contest Lean-D

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