SSP Daily Digest: 11/30

AK-Sen: Joe Miller lost yet another courtroom round yesterday, although this one was kind of inconsequential from a legal standpoint: he’d wanted his court challenges to the election to be held in his town of Fairbanks, but the venue will be the state capital, Juneau, instead. In most states that wouldn’t be a big deal, but given the difficulty of getting from one town to the other, that provides one more logistical disincentive for Miller to continue his lost cause.

FL-Sen: After having spent every day for the last two years laboriously typing out “Alexi Giannoulias” over and over, now I’m going to have to get used to “Mike Haridopolos.” The newly minted Republican state Senate President is already acting Senate-candidate-ish, doing the DC circuit today, including a visit to the all-powerful US Chamber of Commerce.

ME-Sen: Maine-area tea partiers are breathlessly telling everybody that they’ve found a primary challenger to Olympia Snowe who is “credible” and has the financial resources to become an “instant contender.” The problem is, they’re stopping there and not saying specifically who the mystery person is, although an announcement allegedly will happen in early 2011. (UPDATE: There’s one useful piece of news buried deep in the article, actually: Chellie Pingree says she won’t run for the Dems for this seat in 2012.)

MO-Sen: This may be the most interesting news of the day: despite a likely run from a former one of their own (Jim Talent), the NRSC is actively encouraging Sarah Steelman’s interest in the race, with John Cornyn assuring her that they’d stay neutral in a Talent/Steelman primary. As a former state Treasurer, she seems to have more credible chops than the Sharron Angle/Ken Buck axis that cost the GOP a couple seats this year, but still has enough credibility with the tea partiers so that it looks like the NRSC isn’t trying to shove them back in the attic; they probably also think a female candidate might match up better against Claire McCaskill.

MN-Gov: The numbers didn’t budge much during the first full day of the Minnesota gubernatorial recount (where Mark Dayton leads by just shy of 9,000): Dayton gained 20 votes, while Tom Emmer lost four, after 44% of the ballots were recounted yesterday. Emmer challenged 281 ballots; Dayton challenged 86. While there weren’t any write-ins for “Lizard People” this time, there was one vote cast for “Who Farted?”

MO-Gov: Republican Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder’s interest in running against his boss, Dem Jay Nixon, has been pretty clearly telegraphed for years already, but he’s starting to make that look more tangible. He now says he won’t run for another term as LG, and he also appeared at last week’s RGA conference in San Diego.

NY-01: Tim Bishop lost some minor ground with the counting of military ballots in the last House race still undecided. There weren’t very many of them, but they broke pretty heavily in Randy Altschuler’s way: 44-24. Bishop’s lead is now apparently 215.

WA-08: Maybe this one is better filed as “WATN?” Suzan DelBene, who narrowly lost to Dave Reichert, has landed on her feet; she was just appointed by Chris Gregoire as the new director of the state Dept. of Revenue. It’s unclear, though, whether this is intended to raise her statewide profile and give her some governmental experience for future runs, or if this takes her off the table for a 2012 run in WA-08 (or hypothetical WA-10).

NY-St. Sen.: Democratic state Sen. Antoine Thompson conceded to GOP challenger Mark Grisanti yesterday in the Buffalo-based SD-60. That means there are 31 GOP-held seats in the New York Senate; to get to a 31-31 tie, the Dems will need to hold both Suzi Oppenheimer’s SD-37 (looking likely) and Craig Johnson’s SD-7 (not looking likely, as he trails by several hundred, with the exact number not clear yet). (Or alternately, they could, as occasionally rumored, flip Grisanti, who was a Dem up until when he ran for the race and will essentially need to be one in order to be re-elected.) Thompson’s loss is, in fact, pretty mystifying — I knew this was a Dem-heavy district, but it went 77-22 for Obama (the equivalent of D+24 based on just 2008 numbers)! Ordinarily, a Dem would have to be under indictment or in dead-girl/live-boy territory to lose in that kind of district; in fact, everyone seems mystified, but the theory is that an upsurge in white votes in that district motivated by the candidacy of local fave Carl Paladino pushed Grisanti over the hump (although there are claims (we don’t have the data to confirm yet) that Andrew Cuomo still managed to win in the 60th, which would tend to counteract that theory).

State legislatures: We already mentioned four party-switchers from the Dems to the GOP in the Alabama legislature, following the change in the majority there, but there’s also a handful of other changes to mention (though not as many changes as we saw in 1994): 13 changes in 5 states. That includes 5 in the Georgia House and 1 in the Georgia Senate, 1 in the South Dakota Senate, 1 in the Maine House, and in 1 in the Louisiana House (which had the consequence of officially flipping the chamber to GOP control, although that body already had a GOP speaker). Politico has more on the changes in the south (in a rather hyperbolically titled article).

DSCC: It’s official: Patty Murray is the one who got left holding the burning bag of dog doo. She signed on for a second stint as head of the DSCC for the 2012 cycle. She also ran it during the 2002 cycle, when the Democrats lost two seats.

DGA: One of the other Dem holes needing to be filled also got filled today: Martin O’Malley, fresh off a surprisingly easy victory in Maryland (and possibly looking at something bigger in 2016), is taking over the helm at the DGA. With only a couple troublesome holds on the horizon in 2012, I’d imagine this job was a little easier to fill than the DSCC.

Demographics: Democracy Corps (or GQR, if you prefer) is out with a memo that’s worth a read. Most of it is about messaging, which is a little outside SSP’s scope (though still worth a read, in terms of what worked, and mostly didn’t work, in 2010, and what recent polls have shown works better going forward). There’s also some discussion of demographics, though, in terms of what kind of a turnout model they’re expecting (or at least hoping for) in 2012.

286 thoughts on “SSP Daily Digest: 11/30”

  1. Democrats willing to chip in some money to fund the random campaigns of Sharon Angle and Alan Keyes in different parts of the country?  

  2. maybe even blasphemous, but i wish there was some way to get lieberman to be the DSCC chair, in a way where he will be blamed if things go bad, but there’s also no risk that he’s trying to to sabotage anyone, or would do a piss poor job.  never could happen i know, but still i can dream, right?

  3. I generally don’t like running retreads (there are exceptions, such as Mike Fitzpatrick and Steve Chabot), but Steelman doesn’t look that impressive either. She lost the ’08 gubernatorial primary to Kenny Hulshof, who went on to lose handily, and backed out of a 2010 Senate bid when she realized she wouldn’t beat Blunt. Talent wouldn’t be my first choice (Graves or Emerson would be), but I really question if Steelman is the answer for the Missouri GOP.

  4. dubie’s going to be some sort of “ambassador” to Quebec for the Shumlin administration.

    This suggests that he’s not going to be involved in any race come 2012.  for anyone interested in who might challenge Bernie or Shumlin, this leaves

    Tom Salmon:  state auditor 2007-present.  turned from dem to republican in 2009.  Son of a former governor.  he’s been telegraphing a run at Bernie, bt could go after shumlin.  his credibility as a statewide officeholder could get him into the low 40’s.

    Randy Brock: One term auditor whom salmon defeated in 2006.  currently a state senator.  has a 1-10% chance of beating shumlin IF things go badly for shumlin and a Progressive runs.  could not beat Bernie.

    Jim Douglas: Soon to be former governor and will then become a Middlebury college professor.  would have a slight chance at both office.  99.99% chance he will never run for another office ever again.

    Ruth Dwyer: gubernatorial nominee against dean in 2000, tea partier before it was cool.  I have NOT heard anything about her wanting to run, but seeing how so many conservative republicans have been hitching onto the tea party wagon, i would not be surprised if she tried again.

    Some Random Republican: a random Republican state senator, house rep, mayor, businessman, teacher, whomever.  might break 35% if s/he’s lucky.

  5. excerpted from the report — bolding mine

       * Young people — down to off-year levels

       * Union households. In 2010, the unions’ off-year proportion of the electorate dropped

       * Single women. The single biggest base problem in 2010 was the drop in Democratic support among unmarried women.  

       * Suburban. Overall, the Democratic vote was down 8-points in the suburbs

  6. Sue Lowden talks to the Reno Gazette-Journal:

    “I’m still surprised I didn’t win,” Lowden said. “I thought I’d be packing for D.C. right now, absolutely.” […]

    “Chickens are funny,” Lowden said. “I didn’t know just how funny they were. People enjoyed that and got a laugh.”

    She was shocked that the comment at a town hall meeting in rural Nevada became so widespread so quickly.

    “And how it went national,” Lowden said. “I will never understand that, how it was interpreted as something funny. But chickens are a funny subject.

    “I don’t know if that was the defining moment,” Lowden said. “But I look back and still don’t quite understand how that took off the way it did. I didn’t understand how it went so nuclear. I don’t understand why it got so big.”

  7. As of January 2011, the largest state with a one-party congressional delegation will be: Kansas. This will be the first time that the Republicans will hold this honor since…well, I don’t know when. They certainly didn’t have this going for them after 1994 in any state that I’m aware of (I think, in fact, Dems might have still held that distinction after 1994 with Hawaii).

    One party congressional delegation means both Senate and House. Kansas replaces Maryland, which replaced Massachusetts after the Scott Brown election. Now I know some of you will say: what about Connecticut, a bigger state population wise than Kansas? Well, that depends on how you view Joe Lieberman. He caucuses with the Democrats, so an argument can be made because of this that this is the largest one party Congressional state. However, Lieberman seems to consider himself an “Independent Democrat” (according to his official Senate Designation), so I think he doesn’t count as a full Democrat. (also, he endorsed John McCain). Others may disagree.

  8. is that Buffalo is tired of Byron Brown and his protege Thompson suffered because of that. I read there was some active sabotage between the county Democratic party and it’s almost to the point of civil war. It also appears that’s why Cuomo had such an unusually large loss there while romping elsewhere; many Democrats in the local infrastructure have longstanding qualms with him, and Paladino was sort of their stalking horse candidate.

    Minority turnout was very low, and Thompson completely took the election for granted. Shocking that this seat could cost Democrats a tie in the State Senate.  

  9. Former Congressman Steve Solarz died yesterday at the age of 70. He was a family friend of mine and there are many who will miss him greatly. He brought down the Marcos regime in the Phillipines and was a great friend to India and Israel in the United States Congress. Also notable is he was the biggest supporter of the original Bush’s Gulf War in the Democratic party and brought the War Authorization bill to the House floor.

    Here’s a really good article about Steve and Chuck Schumer. Solarz enabled Chuck’s career at the beginning when he won Solarz’s old seat for the Assembly, but redistricting made them enemies for the rest of their political lives.

  10. Golden’s switch is a big blow. He just finished serving as Minority Caucus Chairman.

    However, he, along with Hooks have long been the two most Conservative Democrats in the Senate Democratic Caucus.

    There’s a rumor that there could be one more switch in the State Senate. I have no idea who it could be. Hooks is my State Senator and is the “Dean of the Senate”. He’s long been respected by both sides and wields quite a bit of power.

    The switchers in the State House are a mixture. All were Conservative Democrats, but Hanner, Greene and Powell had been in office 35+, 27, and 20 years respectively. The other two, Carter and Black, have been in office less than a decade.

    Seeing Hanner, Greene, and Powell switch actually surprise me. Considering their longevity, I’d have thought they would have switched a few cycles ago when the GOP did takeover.

    All of that said, the Georgia Senate now has 1 Conservative Democrat in the Caucus, down from 3 (J.B. Powell ran for Agriculture Commissioner).

    The House, well, I think I can count maybe two Conservative leaning Democrats now.

    Amazing how fast things change in politics.

  11. RT @tomscheck: Hennepin County Elections Manager says Emmer team made 894 frivolous challenges in last two days. She says Dayton team made 13. #mnrecount

    Challenges that are deemed frivolous are separated but are counted in the totals released by the SOS. Non Frivolous challenges are not included in the SOS’s numbers.

  12. After reading this:


    I thought to myself: “Why the heck won’t any GOP bigwigs (other than likely 2012 contenders like Romney and Huck) come right out and say that she is NOT qualified to be president?”  The fact is that she could win the GOP primary, and then she’ll be crushed worse than Barry Goldwater in ’64.  Why won’t anyone step forward and pour cold water on this prospect?

  13. Gov. O’Malley taking over at DGA. He probably won’t have a lot to do, but he’s a smart guy with a lot of solid executive experience, and he’s one of my dark-horse picks for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016.

    Curious about what will happen in that Senate race in Maine, which is shaping up to start early and get crazy. I see some real potential for a four-way race between Sen. Snowe, Mr. Tea, Eliot Cutler, and Rep. Michaud. That would be a barn-burner.

  14. It’s too bad Jsmith was banned because he probably has a giant “I told you so” for all of us concerning what happened in the South.  That bastard.

  15. I was doing some informal calculations and found that Democratic incumbents in the Midwest lost by an average of 8ish points. Democrats in the South lost by an average of 9 points, but subtract Alan Grayson, Suzanne Kosmas, and the entire state of Florida, incumbents did better in the South than the Midwest.

    But not well enough in either places. Incidentally, I think the biggest margins of loss may have been in the Mountain West. (but someone correct me if i’m wrong) (AZ-01, CO-04, AZ-05, TX-17, TX-23, ID-01 and so on)

  16. Andrea Nuciforo, who is challenging John Olver in the Democratic primary in MA-01, has $100,000 on hand to Olver’s $76,000. (according to the FEC) Olver has filed for reelection already.

    Who do you think will be the Democrat who is forced into retirement as MA loses a district?

  17. She seemed like a great candidate. Whether or not it’s because the district is trending away from the Republicans, she performed admirably, winning the same level of support that Burner received in 2008. And I liked how someone whose background is in corporate America came out for a public option. If she ever ends up in Congress, she’d make a good spokeswoman for it, if only to go against the notion that the only people who want a public option are dirty hippies and commies.  

  18. I would hope he was the candidate as hes not exactly the brightest blub in the state. I don’t see him running well statewide at all.  

  19. Is it possible that the mystery candidate is Howie Carr, radio talk show host? He’s technically in Boston, but he was born in Maine (Portland, in fact, which fulfills the southern Maine requirement), and he’s a big Tea Party guy, having spoken at rallies and he even had LePage on his show back in September. I assume he’s also gotten a lot of money over the years from his show, so he would start with significant financial resources.

    Here’s his wikipedia page, if anyone is interested

    Right now he’s my guess, unless someone here can give me a compelling reason why it couldn’t be him.

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