SSP Daily Digest: 11/29

AK-Sen: When Norm Coleman… the man who has pretty much set all current standards for pointlessly dragging out an election for partisan purposes… is telling you to pack it in, believe me, it’s time to pack it in. The ex-Sen. from Minnesota is the latest GOPer to tell Joe Miller to stop the madness. (What’s his angle? He may have designs on behind-the-scenes Beltway leadership, possibly RNC chair, and with that in mind would probably like to discourage nonsensical R-on-R courtroom violence.)

IL-Sen: The 59-41 Dem edge in the Senate drops to 58-42 for the rest of the lame duck session today, as Rep. Mark Kirk gets sworn in as the newest member. (Illinois, of course, was the only of the special election seats that flipped to the GOP.)

IN-Sen: This NYT story doesn’t really have any new specifics about Richard Lugar’s upcoming teabagging that you don’t already know, but it has a spectacular quote from former Missouri Sen. John Danforth, another Republican who occupied the same pretty-conservative-but-not-a-jerk-about-it space as Lugar:

If Dick Lugar… having served five terms in the U.S. Senate and being the most respected person in the Senate and the leading authority on foreign policy, is seriously challenged by anybody in the Republican Party, we have gone so far overboard that we are beyond redemption.

MA-Sen: The Boston Globe takes a look back at Deval Patrick’s reelection town-by-town, and also wonders what it may mean for Scott Brown’s first re-election battle in 2012. Patrick, for instance, won back many of the larger blue-collar (and usually Democratic) communities like Lowell and Quincy that Brown won. The question for 2012, though, is: how much of Brown’s initial success was unique to Brown (more charismatic than your garden-variety blue-blood Republican like Charlie Baker), and, by contrast, how much of that was unique to the turnout model produced by the special election?

MD-Sen: Republicans may already be settling on a favorite for the Maryland Senate race in 2012, and they’re considering the same strategy as 2006, running an African-American against Ben Cardin. (In ’06, recall, Michael Steele, well, still lost badly, but made the race more competitive than Maryland is used to.) There’s a lot of buzz surrounding Charles Lollar, who just ran against Steny Hoyer in MD-05 and apparently wowed a lot of people on the stump. Of course, he also lost 64-35, but, well, you’ve gotta start somewhere. (Eric Wargotz, who just lost to Barb Mikulski, is also reportedly interested in trying again.)

MO-Sen: The Beltway seems abuzz about a potential Claire McCaskill/Jim Talent rematch (thanks to McCaskill tweeting about her random airport meet-up with Talent, no doubt), but the missing part of the story seems to be that Talent, if he runs, could be walking right into a juicy establishment/tea party battle. Ex-Treasurer Sarah Steelman, who lost a feisty gubernatorial primary in 2008 and threatened a 2010 primary run against Roy Blunt, has been turning up the volume on a potential run too. Ed Martin, last seen losing narrowly in MO-03, has also become the subject of some speculation. One unlikely run at this point, though, is former Ambassador to Luxembourg (which is code for “very wealthy donor”) Ann Wagner, who has been linked to the Senate race but just announced a bid for RNC chair instead this morning.

NJ-Sen: When did Bob Menendez’s numbers start to look like Richard Burr’s? A poll from Fairleigh Dickinson (favorables only, no head-to-heads) finds vast indifference about the Garden State’s junior Senator. At least he’s above water, with 31/25 faves, but 29% are unsure and 15% have never heard of him.

NM-Sen: Jeff Bingaman, assuming he runs again, is already facing his first GOP opponent, although one from the Some Dude end of the spectrum. William English ran (apparently in the GOP primary) for the open NM-02 seat in 2002, although he seems best known for saying controversial things in his local newspaper, perhaps most notably that Barack Obama “literally amounts to an African dictator.”

TX-Sen: Yet more names are surfacing on the GOP side for possible primary challenges to Kay Bailey Hutchison: today, it’s Houston-area state Sen. Dan Patrick.

VA-Sen: Corey Stewart is the Prince William County Supervisor and a likely candidate in the GOP Senate primary, if his latest pronouncements are any indication. He’s started firing shots across the bow of presumptive favorite George Allen’s comeback, saying he had a “mediocre” Senate record and that his base has moved on.

MN-Gov: The recount of the 2.1 million ballots in the Minnesota gubernatorial race officially kicks off today. You probably already know the candidates, but the Star-Tribune today profiles the really key players at this juncture: the lawyers. One of them, interestingly, is Eric Magnuson, who you may remember from the 2008-09 recount as state supreme court chief justice and head of the canvassing board; having left the court, now he’s on Tom Emmer’s team.

WV-Gov: It’s still not clear when the election will even occur (to set a permanent replacement for Joe Manchin), but acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin isn’t going to get a free pass in the Dem primary, facing likely opposition from two of the people most actively involved in establishing when that election will happen. Both SoS Natalie Tennant and state House speaker Rick Thompson are eyeing the race, with Thompson “planning” to run and Tennant “seriously considering.”

CA-20: Look for a likely rematch in the 20th, which turned into one of the nation’s closest races this year. Andy Vidak “promises” he’ll try again vs. Jim Costa in 2012, although if he couldn’t make it this year, the odds of him getting over the hump in a presidential year model seem even slimmer. (Unless, of course, the boundaries of the 20th get changed by the citizens’ commission, but the VRA is likely to keep compelling a Hispanic-majority Fresno-to-Bakersfield district.)

CA-45: Further south, Palm Springs mayor Steve Pougnet is another potential rematch. The Democrat already filed for a 2012 campaign, although he says he hasn’t ruled another race in or out and is establishing the committee to settle up some unpaid bills from his 2010 race.

CT-05: And here’s one more: Justin Bernier, who was initially the GOP’s preferred candidate in the primary in the 5th but got shoved over after Sam Caligiuri dropped down from the Senate race, is saying he’s considering another run in 2012 (motivated in part by the likelihood of an open seat with Chris Murphy’s likely Senate run).

PA-11: Don’t assume that Corey O’Brien is going to be the Dem nominee in the effort to take back the 11th in 2012, as there’s a long list of possible contenders on the bench in this bluish seat. At the top is Scranton mayor (and, briefly, gubernatorial candidate) Chris Doherty, but other names you might see are Wilkes-Barre mayor Tom Leighton, former Pittston mayor (and Paul Kanjorski crony) Michael Lombardo, state Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski, Wilkes-Barre solicitor William Vinsko, and new state Sen. John Yudichak.

California: Finally, those of you not living on the West Coast may be unaware that there are parts of the country where the Republicans are the ones in “what did we do wrong?” soul-searching mode. The WaPo looks at the epicenter of that, in California (where they didn’t pick up any House seats, lost all the statewide races, and even lost ground in the state legislature), where local GOPers are flummoxed by the state’s changing demographics.

(General h/t to Brian Valco, bearer of many of today’s links.)

246 thoughts on “SSP Daily Digest: 11/29”

  1. Just for the sake of compactness, that district wouldn’t necessarily be more favorable to Vidak either.

    Steve Pougnet will benefit from redistricting, as a new district will probably be created within Riverside County because of growth.

  2. Any Republican who tries to box Lugar into a corner over foreign policy is either totally crazy or totally stupid.  The fact is that he’s the best they (and we) have for those matters.  I prefer his judgement over Kerry’s (not that I distrust Kerry, but Lugar is more of a sage).

    And on another matter, yes CA is on its way to one-party rule.  The GOP bloc is getting more marginalized and less moderate, unable to grow out of San Diego, Orange County, and Placer County.  Orange County, however, is on its way to becoming Democratic as well.  In a great year for the GOP elsewhere, the Democrats in California gained control over all statewide offices for the first time since 1861 (2003 doesn’t count because the recall election cut that short) and even gained one seat in the state Assembly in Republican-ish suburban Sacramento.  Finally, you are right in saying that Arnold’s celebrity status definitely helped people look past his party affiliation (also because the Dems had no A-level candidate to go against him and he was bolstered by governing as a centrist).

  3. Robert Ehlrich was a competent candidate in this past cycle, as were he and Michael Steele in ’06. Yet, much like New York when it becomes to the NYC vote, there seems to be no way for Republicans to get-around the Dem GOTV in Prince George’s, Baltimore City, and Montgomery County. Combined, these counties make up about 40% of the vote (closer to 45% in a presidential year), and, combined, the average Dem racks up a 3-to-1 margin in these counties overall. This means the GOP-er has to win Baltimore County by comfortable double-digits, or it’s over. Really, much like Coakley in MA and the likes of Carl McCall and Peter Vallone in NY, it may take an incompetent candidate like Kathleen Kennedy Townsend to ever make this state competitive.  

  4. Ugh. That one hurt a lot. I was bracing for it, but I never thought that Quinn would win but not Alexi. It was the only really competitive (though PA was closer than I expected) Senate seat that did not go our way. Sadly Kirk could be one of those ones that we can just never get rid of. Like a certain rep from PA. Hope I’m wrong though. Who should we have run, as clearly it was a candidate failure, who would have been better? Lisa M is the first to come to my mind. Ironically it was the only Obama caused election to go red.

  5. This was a race I worked on very hard, and it’s great news: Democratic State Representative Kendall Van Dyk managed to unseat incumbent State Senator and 2008 GOP gubernatorial nominee Roy Brown in his Billings-area seat.

    By 4 votes. 3106-3102, or 50.05-49.95%.

    He’s just 30 years old, so he’s now a definite rising star in the MT Democratic Party after defeating a high-profile GOP three-term state senator and bucking a wave that brought the GOP a net gain of 2 seats in the state senate and 18 seats in the state house.

    This was also the most expensive MT legislative race ever, with $234,000 raised by both candidates combined for the race- the previous record was less than half that.  

  6. It’s pretty much going the way of Massachusetts and New York for the GOP.

    I don’t envy whatever consultant has to try to dig through that mess. Course, I don’t envy Jerry Brown either.

    John Boehner better let them wallow in their own crap.

  7. Who would have thought Melancon would win men, while Vitter won women by over 20 pts?

    Men: Melancon 51, Vitter 48

    Women: Melancon 40, Vitter 60

    And Vitter won HALF of Hispanics. Thats more than Susana Martinez got. Vitter also won 80% of independents and 55% of moderates. Vitter also carried urban areas, while Melancon carried suburbs. And the Cajuns always vote Cajun rule has been debunked: Vitter won 62% of Cajun Country.

    Louisiana is really interesting politically.  

  8. (Cassandra is a reference to the mythical Trojan priestess who was an extremely astute prophet, but was cursed so that everyone would think she was crazy.)

    Schwarzenegger told California Republicans two years ago that they were in for a future of disappointment unless they shifted to the political center, seizing issues usually associated with the Democrats, including climate change and health care reform.

    “We are dying at the box office,” he warned.


    According to one exit poll I read, a significant chunk of Whitman voters wished they had someone more conservative running for Gov.  Also, in CA, 21% of voters would not vote for a GOPer under any circumstances and only 5% of voters would not vote for a Dem under any circumstances.  This isn’t going to be pretty and I have little doubt that the CA GOP will continue to ebb to the right, but the facts are stark.  If they lost ground in a great GOP year, then they seriously need to undergo a major reformation or go the way of the Dixiecrats.

  9. We heard this nonsense about the Republican Party being dead after the 2008 election and it turned out to be total b.s. Politics doesn’t stay in one place for to long. This is more wishfull thinking on the part of Democrats who would love the end of democracy. Are the Ohio, Florida and Pennslyvania Democrats dead since they got shock out of offices up and down those states???

  10. I am about to do a full restore on my desktop and I just got a kick-ass deal on a $70 WD 2tb external hard-drive from Target for Friday-Saturday sales (Target can donate to whoever they want with that kind of a deal) so I am going through and archiving everything I want to and doing what needs to be done.

    I am going through my politics projects folder and I just found a whole slew of maps that I only just now remember making because I did them while getting hammered on a Saturday night.  And the maps are very heavy duty and probably took me 6-8 hours and .4 to .6 liters of tequila of work.

    Not even sure why the hell I made them either…..

  11. but the recounts concluded last week in the two unresolved Iowa Senate races. Nothing changed in Senate district 47–the Republican beat the D incumbent by 12 votes. In Senate district 13, the Republican netted one vote but still lost by 70. Both of these districts had pretty strong Democratic voter registration advantages, more so in district 13 (which was an open seat) than in district 47 (which includes the Ottumwa area).

    Democrats now have a 26-23 advantage in the Iowa Senate. Republicans are strongly favored to win the January 4 special election in Iowa Senate district 48.

  12. Sending 50,000 to 100,000 of them to Iowa would be appreciated! A few thousand votes scattered across the state determines control of the Iowa legislature. Only problem is west-coast transplants tend to move to Iowa communities that are already solidly Democratic.

    I know a surprising number of people here who used to live on the coasts. Twice the house for half (or less) of the money, and it’s easier for a family to get by on one income if that is desired.

  13. California population growth is now purely Hispanic and Mexican. Net in migration is now negligible since the standard of living is very expensive in the state and the gap between rich and poor is the biggest in the country.  

  14. Now there’s a guy nobody likes. He’s feuding with Cuccinelli over his anti-illegal immigrant resolution, now he’s taking potshots at Allen.

  15. Very little movement in the totals after 1 day. With 45% of the ballots counted Emmer is down 4, Dayton down 20. Emmer’s team has 281 non Frivolous challenges, Dayton’s 86. (In a change from 2008 challenges that are deemed frivolous at the local level are separated and may be reviewed later but are included in the count. No more frivolous challenges just to make it seem closer than it is). Many of the smaller outstate counties are done. The bigger metro counties may take a week or more to finish.


  16. The chairman of the CA Republican Party is talking about running for RNC Chair. He lost seats in CA in a Republican wave, and now he thinks he can lead the national party?  

  17. about the Republican issues with California had this little interesting nugget: Bush apparently spent $!5 million trying to compete in the state in 2000. That’s about $18.5 million in today’s dollars, which is probably small by California standards but still a significant chunk of change. He still lost the state by 12 points, but I wonder what he spent the money on. Was there some sort of residual ground game that paid off a little more in 2004, when he lost the state by only nine points? Or was the result in 2004 simply the manifestation of trends that occurred nationwide, not reflecting anything unique about California or about the Bush reelection efforts?  

  18. we’re talking about how California will be a refuge for liberals fleeing their redified states next year. Let us watch this video of Abel Maldonado and his family being booed during his concession speech.

  19. Do any of you have a stance on which candidate should be the next VA Dem Party Chair?  Blue Virginia had something on this today and endorsed Peter Rousselot.

  20. It made sense for Norm Coleman to drag things out without hope of winning, because at least he was depriving the Democrats of a vote in the Senate. What Miller is doing makes no sense and doesn’t help anyone (least of all himself). Where does he think he’s going to go from here?

  21. Interestingly enough, they replaced him with Connie Conway, who is considered to be somewhat more moderate in leadership style than Martin Garrick, who was ousted. There was a bit of drama about this before. Garrick released Conway from the GOP Caucus Chairmanship, so she launched a coup attempt against him during the budget debate. It didn’t go through, but she did manage to gain enough support to boot him after the election.


    Of course, Chicago is a very liberal city and I’d have to imagine most if not all major candidates will be pro-gay rights, but I remember someone mentioning on here that Chico’s endorsements are coming from the North Side, and an outreach to the gay community would probably continue that. Does anyone think he can steal votes from Rahm in Boystown and Lakeview?


    Jindal’s numbers are 55-43 among likely voters according to Southern Media & Opinion Research in a poll commissioned by conservative buisnessman Lane Grigsby.  By contrast his approval was 61% in April.  

    On the reelect question 39% say they’d definitely reelect him, 23% would consider someone else, and 35% will vote against him.  

    I’m betting most of the drop is from the education cuts, made worse by his constant out of state campaigning and book tour.  If education cuts don’t get worse Jindal should be fine, but if this is still on voters minds a year from now he can have an unexpectedly rough reelection.  Obviously Jindal’s still the overwhelming favorite to win but I’d rate the race closer to Likely Republican instead of Safe.  

    Also, Treasurer and 2008 Landrieu foe John Kennedy’s approval is 61%.  He is name is occasionally thrown around as a potential primary challenger to Jindal, though he hasn’t shown too much intrest.

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