SSP Daily Digest: 11/18

AK-Sen: Is there anyone other than Joe Miller left who wants Joe Miller to keep contesting the Senate race? The state GOP organization is now saying it “stands ready to embrace Lisa Murkowski” as the winner of the race, despite her not having won its primary. I’m sure they were secretly ready all along to do so… recall that the person issuing the statement, state party chair Randy Ruedrich, was the guy that Joe Miller was trying to orchestrate a palace coup against, which got him fired from his Fairbanks borough job. I can’t imagine much love lost between Ruedrich and Miller.

IN-Sen: Richard Lugar, who just announced that he’s running for re-election, is laying down a pretty big marker (and one that probably helped convince him to run again). He’s out with an internal poll from American Viewpoint that, while it doesn’t specifically poll the 2012 GOP Senate primary, shows him with huge approvals, though apparently among all voters and not just registered Republicans. He’s at 66% favorable. Two of his potential GOP opponents, state Treasurer Richard Mourdock and state Sen. Mike Delph, have faves of 14% and 7% each.

ND-Sen, NM-Sen: This Politico article doesn’t actually contain any hard facts that are newsworthy, but it does contain one alarming sentence, that both Kent Conrad and Jeff Bingaman are “weighing retirement” (without anything beyond that). Conrad and Bingaman, though both long-timers, are still in their early 60s. Buried deep in the article is also a throwaway line that Jon Kyl is also the subject of retirement “speculation.”

NJ-Sen: That tea party push to have a recall election for Bob Menendez (despite, of course, the universally accepted legal principle that you can’t recall federal officials) seems to have finally died, courtesy of the New Jersey Supreme Court. I’m just surprised the case rose that far through the courts before, y’know, someone thought to crack open their 1L Con Law textbook, but the bright side is that every dollar right-wingers spend on pointless appellate legal fees is a dollar not spent on actually electing somebody. Menendez is up for a regularly scheduled election in 2012, anyway.

NV-Sen: Everyone seems in a fit of instant nostalgia for Sharron Angle today, with the revelation that in the course of the campaign she said “Sometimes dictators have good ideas” (in reference to Augusto Pinochet and privatized pension systems), and the leaked release of the ad that she cut that never got released, probably because it takes a minute to make a point that should take five seconds and because the 70s-disaster-flick-style overacting overshadows any possible message. (You can click here to see the ad, bearing in mind that it opens in Windows Media Player.) The real news that got leaked today that might impact the 2012 race, though, is that none other than John Ensign helped Sharron Angle prep for her debate by playing the part of Harry Reid. I wonder if that’ll be the last nail in the coffin for the reputed Reid/Ensign non-aggression pact?

RI-Sen: Add one more potential name to the roster for a Republican challenger to Sheldon Whitehouse: the state’s GOP chair, Giovanni Cicione (who has been encouraging outgoing Gov. Don Carcieri to run, as well as floating his own name as a last resort), is touting John Robitaille as a possible candidate. Robitaille (Carcieri’s former communications director) performed above expectations in the gubernatorial race in which he was supposed to be a sacrificial lamb, finishing second (though helped along by Frank Caprio’s last-minute implosion).

VA-Sen (pdf): PPP’s Virginia Senate poll had a GOP primary portion that just got released separately; right now, George Allen is the consensus pick, although that may have more to do with the ex-Gov. and ex-Sen.’s broad name rec compared with the rest of the field. Allen is at 46, with the very-unlikely-to-run Eric Cantor at 18, right-wing AG Ken Cuccinelli at 16, Lt. Gov. Bill Boling and ex-Rep. Tom Davis both at 4, and state Del. Bob Marshall (who almost sneaked into the 2008 Senate nomination) at 2.

NY-01, NY-25: Good news in the 1st, bad news in the 25th. Tim Bishop has made up some ground, as of the second day of absentee counting. Bishop picked up 108 votes on Randy Altschuler, cutting Altschuler’s lead down to 275, and that’s with Smithtown, Altschuler’s strongest area, having almost entirely reported. Bishop’s strongest turf is East Hampton, which will begin counting tomorrow. Ann Marie Buerkle, however, gained a small amount of ground in the 25th, contrary to expectations. Her lead is up to 824 votes, after a batch of small batch (230) of challenged ballots from Monroe County got opened and counted. The county to watch, though, will be Onondaga County, which is Dan Maffei’s base and where 7,000 absentees are yet to be counted.

Redistricting: There are three different redistricting articles out today that are worth a read. One is about Texas, where it seems like the GOP is extended about as far as it can go (thanks to victories in TX-23 and likely TX-27); compounding the problem there is something that I’ve been pointing out for years, which is that at least two, possibly three, of its expected four new seats are going to have to be VRA seats, seeing as how the vast majority of Texas’s growth in the past decade has been among Hispanics. Trying to limit the creation of new Hispanic-majority seats will only make it harder to protect Quico Canseco and Blake Farenthold.

There’s also a piece looking at Nevada, more specifically the fight within the Dem-controlled legislature about for whom to tailor NV-04 (which will probably be a Dem-leaning suburban district, conceding a GOP-leaning NV-03 to Joe Heck). Both state Senate majority leader Steven Horsford and new state Assembly speaker John Oceguera have their eyes on the new seat. Finally, there are questions in Florida about just who’s behind the lawsuit, fronted by a bipartisan coalition of Mario Diaz-Balart and Corrine Brown, to stop implementation of Amendment 6, the one bright spot from Florida on Election Day (a new initiative that makes gerrymandering more difficult). The Orlando Sentinel traces the money trail back to a number of state legislators’ groups, including one led by GOP state Sen. Don Gaetz, the guy who… big surprise… is tasked with leading redistricting for the state Senate.

269 thoughts on “SSP Daily Digest: 11/18”

  1. Whoever ultimately becomes DSCC chair – Bennet, Murray, whoever – needs to keep retirements to an absolute minimum.

    We might be able to survive a Webb retirement. And in a presidential year, we could probably hold the NM seat even with a Bingaman retirement, but it’ll force us to spend a lot of money we’ll need in other places.

    But a Conrad retirement could be bad. Especially in a presidential year. Who could possibly run to succeed him? Earl Pomeroy?  

  2. I want to see how Earl Pemoroy does in polls. He would be a much better senator then Conrad if he were able to win (he probably can’t though, considering he just lost reelection)

  3. Bingaman would retire in 2012 as well. I think though that he can be wrangled into another term. Kent Conrad as well.

    I do think Bishop will eck by. There are what, about 3-4 thousand votes left to report, and most of them in his strongholds? I’m reckoning he’s in by 600 or so votes.

    Maffei is more troubling, I can’t believe he slept through the campaign and is about to be upset in a Democratic leaning, Democratic trending district by a nobody in a race that was not really on the radar screen. I almost want Maffei to lose, because Buerkle is done, on the chopping block. I made her district 60-39 Obama as part of a compromise map that protects Reed, Lee, and Hanna, and also protect Higgins, Slaughter, and the new Democrat representing Syracuse. It’s commonsense really, Republicans in NY I think realize there’s no way they can hold a Syracuse based district. Anyway, hopefully Maffei will lose and get replaced by Matt Driscoll or Stephanie Miner, both more talented politicians with stronger bases in the Syracuse area, (they would never get just 54% in Onondaga against a 2nd tier opponent, what a pathetic underperformance of virtually every Democrat at the top of the ticket, except maybe DiNapoli and Schneiderman).  

  4. Can anyone spot it? http://voices.washingtonpost.c

    It’s in this quote:

    Cino is a former deputy secretary of the Department of Transportation who was briefly acting secretary in 2006. She is a veteran of the last three presidential campaigns, including as President Bush’s political director in his 2000 campaign. She is also a former RNC deputy chairwoman and was the executive director of the National Republican Congressional Committee during the 1994 election.

    More recently, Cino was the CEO of the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn.

    Cino’s interest adds even more intrigue to the race, given her ties to House Speaker-designate John Boehner (R-Ohio). She is a good friend of Boehner and his chief of staff, Barry Jackson, and Boehner recently praised Cino at a Republican fundraiser in Washington, but Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said the speaker-to-be isn’t offering an endorsement.

  5. If he was intending on trying to mount a comeback, (as it appears he is), why would he go so far out of his way to screw up the sweet deal he has with Reid’s considerable turnout, media and fundraising machine? Reid didn’t lift a finger to help Democrats in competitive races with Ensign in 2000 and 2006, but the first competitive race that Reid is in, (2004 doesn’t count, he was running against a nobody), and Ensign abandons the agreement with impunity? Talk about ingratitude. It’ll be nice to see him beaten. I’d just really have someone other than 61 year old Shelley Berkley. I’d rather someone like Catherine Masto.  

  6. Heinrich would be an upgrade in New Mexico, and I think he’d probably win. He’s one of the ones, along with Feinstein, Carper, Kohl,  and (to a lesser extent) Akaka, that I’d like to see hang it up after this session.

    A Conrad retirement, on the other hand, would be really really bad. Pomeroy could run, I guess, but he’d probably end up being even more conservative than Conrad, and he’d obviously have a worse chance.  

  7. Not that it matters, but Shella mentions in the comments section of his article that the poll was conducted “prior to the election”. I’m not really sure what this release was supposed to prove; everyone already knows that Lugar is popular statewide, so was Mike Castle, and that didn’t save him.  

  8. If Bingaman were to retire (I don’t think that he will, no inside information here just my hunch) I think that in a Presidential year we would be fine holding the seat with Martin Heinrich running and we could probably keep his House seat as well. Senate would lean Democratic and the House seat would be a tossup depending upon who we could recruit (no to Marty Chavez!!!). The GOP’s #1 candidate would be Susana Martinez who isn’t leaving her Governor’s gig to run for Senate. Then you start looking down at Heather Wilson (former Rep of NM-01 who lost the GOP primary to Steve Pearce but is more moderate) and other assorted names. If he retired I would prefer him to do it now under a Presidential turnout as opposed to an off-cycle.  

  9. and is now ahead by 2,422, ahead of Vidak: 51.5% to 48.5%.

    The article said there are 500-1000 more votes to count in the 20th CD portion of Fresno Co, Kings Co. is done, and Kern Co. has more to go in their portion of the 20th.

    It’s no longer a close race. Finally we can stick a fork in this race for sure, although Vidak still isn’t conceding.  

  10. Does it really have to be a “fight”? If Berkeley runs for Senate, they can draw one for both Horsford and Oceguera if they want to. Unless they both live in the exact same area, which would make it harder. I think Oceguera is from North Vegas. I don’t know where Horsford is from.

    And that’s not even including NV-03 if they decide they want to screw with Heck and Titus opts out of a rematch

  11. I read a claim the other day that 72 percent its citizens live in a Democratic-leaning area. Right now, that probably doesn’t mean much, since the state has a two-to-one Republican-Democratic representation in the House, but you have to wonder how long that will continue to last, even if the districts continue to be gerrymandered, especially in light of the fact that most of the growth in the state comes from Hispanics. Could it even out a lot quicker than some expect, and not just because of the new congressional districts that are going to be drawn?

    Also, if most of the growth comes from Hispanics, doesn’t this improve our chances in the Senate race in two years? Both Hutchinson and Cornyn seem to do pretty well amongst Hispanics, but I wonder how well a Democratic candidate could target them and the large pool of votersthat never seems to vote in the state, which is something like four or five million people. Can the Democrats find enough votes in this state to secure a win? I’d like to think so, although I wonder exactly who is amongst the pool of untapped voters.

    As far as Indiana goes, I doubt that will deter Teabaggers. Whether they are successful is another story, but I would be surprised if these people didn’t feel emboldened by this past year. I just hope the Democrats have a good candidate lined up. I don’t want to say it’s likely that we’ll pick up that seat if Lugar is taken down in a primary, but it’s certainly a helluva lot likelier. Considering the relative dearth of good opportunities in the next two years, we should pursue every possibility.

  12.  Republican Randy Altschuler’s slim lead over U.S. Representative Tim Bishop continued to narrow today as election workers finished tallying absentee ballots from voters who live in Southampton and Smithtown, and began counting absentee ballots from East Hampton and Southold.

    As of 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Mr. Altschuler’s lead had shrunk to 138 votes, down from the 383-vote lead he had before the counting of some 10,100 absentee ballots started on Tuesday, according to Jon Schneider, a spokesman for Mr. Bishop. It is unclear how many absentee ballots have been counted so far.


  13. Main reason somebody needs to grow a spine and take on the DSCC chair ASAP. First task is to persuade Conrad, Bingaman, Kohl, Webb and Bill Nelson to stay put then move onto recruitment. And that includes the longshot races in AZ, TX, TN, MS and IN. GOP could well lose a couple or more primaries in those states and there is a real need to try and stretch the playing field else the large number of Democratic seats get swamped.

  14. Tom Carper is telling Reid to pick two chairmen. I think it could work. A Senator like Michael Bennett, who would be a decent chairman, but has small children at home and might not want to be away much more than he has to, is much more likely to do it if he has someone to share the responsibilities with. Sheldon Whitehouse was asked by Reid, but he wanted to focus on his re-election. If he could share the responsibilities with someone else, he might do it. Carper also said he is planning to run for re-election. O’Donnell 2012?

  15. He led today’s press conference, surrounded by about a dozen more liberal Democrats, assuring that, as long as the Democrats give the GOP-ers sufficient debate time on the floor, they should have 60+ votes, with Lugar, Collins, and Snowe on board. My hunch is Lieberman probably views leadership on a DADT repeal as his final hurrah in salvaging whatever political capital he holds heading into re-election. It also has to signal he has zero intention on entering a GOP primary.

  16. I seriously think that Kohl, Webb and Bingaman retire and that we will likely have 2 or three surprises who decide to also hang it up. With the very likely prospect of the Senate going to the Republicans in 2012 must of these guys are gonna want do other things.  

  17. They hadn’t provided any updates since November 3rd, and they were by far Cooley’s biggest hope for a while now: SSP’s last update projected Cooley would pick-up 8,886 votes in the county – far more than elsewhere.

    Well, Placer has counted all of its 28,000 remaining ballots… and Cooley picked-up slightly more than that: a net 10256 (18024 versus 7768).

    But with so many Cooley votes now out of the way and him not overperforming by that much, very very hard to see where he gains the rest of the votes he needs.

    Especially as Riverside County just counted 4000 ballots today, and Cooley only gained 70 votes.  

  18. Utah Sen.-Elect Mike Lee is Mark & Tom Udall’s second cousin, along with second cousins to Gordon Smith. I knew the Udalls and Smith were cousins, I didn’t know Lee was also related to them. Just be in this family if you want to be elected to the Senate (even though it doesn’t protect you from losing re-election)

    Lee is a second cousin to current U.S. Senators Mark Udall of Colorado and Tom Udall of New Mexico, as well as former Senator Gordon H. Smith of Oregon

  19. But still a much tougher road than Bishop:

    With half of the votes left to count, he’ll need to keep that pace, or even do better. That’s because Wayne Co. — where Buerkle took 63 percent of the vote on Election Day — has yet to count any of its absentees. If she takes 63 percent of those absentees, and Maffei takes another 521 votes out of Onondaga County with the remaining absentees, the Republican would win by 135 votes.


  20. She is going to take over the chair of the Agricultural Committee. Conrad chose to stay as Budget chair (surprise surprise). Think this will help her reelection chances in 2012, or will she just go by the way of Blanche Lincoln?

  21. Etheridge has scheduled a press conference for 3, perhaps to concede, as the numbers are not encouraging for him (down 1,500 votes.) Ellmers was at freshmen orientation this week, so it would be pretty awkward for her if she would up losing.

    Meanwhile, the gap is down to single digits in NY-01, as reported above. That might be the race that keeps us going into December this year.

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