SSP Daily Digest: 12/2

AK-Sen: You might recall that yesterday the state of Alaska asked to intervene in Joe Miller’s state-court case disputing the Senatorial election, demanding an expedited result. Now the judge is allowing Lisa Murkowski herself to intervene in the case as well; she says the state wouldn’t adequately represent her interests, and she’s still trying to get an additional 2,000 ballots out there (that weren’t counted for her) counted for her as icing on the cake.

FL-Sen: He isn’t even in the House yet, but there’s growing buzz for Daniel Webster for the 2012 Senate race, as a possible opponent to Bill Nelson. Of course, as far as I can tell from today’s article, that buzz seems to be coming from Webster’s own coterie, but it’s not the first time I’ve heard his name associated with the race. (Reading between the lines, it looks like Rep. Vern Buchanan — whose myriad lawsuits regarding campaign finance chicanery and his car dealership seem to have faded into the background — is another name to keep an eye on here.)

MO-Sen: Sarah Steelman already has one key backer, in the event the quest for the GOP nomination in Missouri turns into a heated primary. The Club for Growth is already lining up behind Steelman, not formally endorsing but sending around a press release touting her and also taking some swipes at Jim Talent for his earmark-lovin’ ways.

NM-Sen: More Some Dude news in New Mexico, where another random guy who lost a NM-02 primary is getting in the GOP Senate field: Greg Sowards (who lost the 2008 primary to succeed Steve Pearce). Further up the food chain, ex-Rep. Heather Wilson seems to be on GOPers’ wish list, but she says she isn’t focused on that. (I can’t see her running unless Jeff Bingaman decides to retire, and since he has fundraisers planned in coming months, he doesn’t seem to be acting like a retiree.)

NV-Sen: The big news yesterday was that John Ensign is no longer considered a target for investigation by the DOJ, in connection to that whole ooops-sorry-I-boned-your-wife-here-have-a-lobbying-job thing. He still faces internal Senate Ethics grilling, which could lead to discipline or even expulsion. How are we supposed to feel about this? A bad day for objective justice, perhaps… but probably a net plus for the Democrats, seeing as how this makes it likelier that Ensign runs again and survives a GOP primary (which a recent PPP poll, before this news, already showed him in position to do so) and enters the general election in weakened form. The local GOP seems to be reading this the same way, still feeling very leery about an Ensign run and very much preferring to see Rep. Dean Heller as their 2012 candidate.

VA-Sen: With Prince William Supervisor Corey Stewart already firing some potshots across George Allen’s bow in advance of 2012’s GOP Senate primary, now it seems like Allen’s camp is returning fire with some heavier-gauge guns. Stewart has to run for re-election to his current job in 2011, and Allen’s camp is supposedly vowing to encourage backers to pour in financial support to Stewart’s opposition in that race (whoever that might be), in order to decapitate a Stewart run before it can materialize.

MN-Gov: This is taking damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don’t to a new level: Tom Emmer’s team’s wave of frivolous (and when I say frivolous, I’m not being hyperbolic, as you can see here) ballot challenges in the Minnesota recount has mounted so high that officials have had to add more counting tables… and now Emmer is threatening to sue over the fact that they’ve added more counting tables, saying that that somehow indicates bias against Emmer. The SoS says that adding more tables can’t possibly violate any rules. At any rate, moving on to Day 4 of counting, the official tally now finds that the numbers have still barely budged: Mark Dayton has gained 17 votes since Election Day while Emmer has gained 14, with 84% of the vote recounted, meaning there’s really no path to victory here for Emmer.

VT-Gov: We mentioned yesterday that Peter Shumlin brought his GOP opponent, Brian Dubie, into his inner circle, and now he’s doing the Team of Rivals thing with his closest competitor from the Dem primary. Ex-Lt. Gov. Doug Racine, who Shumlin beat by 100-or-so votes, is being brought on board as Shumlin’s head of the Agency of Human Services, where his key task will be starting up the state’s planned single-payer health care system.

WV-Gov: Democratic SoS Natalie Tennant is making even more candidate-ish noises, saying she’s “strongly considering” a gubernatorial run, especially if it occurs in 2011, which would mean not having to give up her current job. Not only are acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and state House speaker Richard Thompson expected to run for the Dems, but state Sen. Jeff Kessler and state Treasurer John Perdue are also interested.

MA-01, MA-02: The news from the Bay State is that veteran Democratic Reps. John Olver and Richard Neal are both publicly saying that they’re running for re-election. In any other year, that would be purely yawn-inducing, but this year, that’s fascinating, as it potentially sets them up on a collision course. My expectation was the Massachusetts redistricting conundrum would probably be solved by a retirement from the 74-year-old Olver, and parceling out pieces of the 1st into Neal’s 2nd and Jim McGovern’s 3rd. With Olver and Neal both sticking around, the subtraction is likelier come from the Boston area, where it seems likely that at least one Rep. will vacate in order to take on Scott Brown in 2012 (which would make sense since not only is Mike Capuano sounding the likeliest, but his Cambridge-based 8th is the state’s most depopulated district)… but if none of them take the plunge, the lost seat may come the state’s west. Complicating matters even further is that Pittsfield-based ex-state Sen. Andrea Nuciforo has already announced that he’s running in the MA-01 primary in 2012, Olver or not. (Would she he run in a primary against both Amherst-based Olver and Springfield-based Neal if they all get smooshed together?)

NY-01: As we mentioned yesterday, Tim Bishop’s team is urging Randy Altschuler to “give in to the math.” Yesterday’s gain from the first day of counting challenged ballots was a net gain of 27 more for Bishop.  

Redistricting: Here’s one more comprehensive redistricting resource to add to your pile, if you haven’t already seen it. The Brennan Center’s guide includes a rundown on who controls what and what procedures are used state-to-state.

New York: This is a staggeringly large number, that somehow seems disproportionate to the rather blasé NYT headline: “New York City Board of Elections Finds 200,000 Votes a Month After Election.” It’s a mishmash of affidavit, absentee, and military ballots that apparently were just now added to the totals. 80,000 of those ballots were from Queens alone, which is 31% more than that borough reported on Election Day. While there were some close races in Queens, the city says that this wasn’t enough to reverse the results in any election (and the one race that could have been worrisome, SD-11, actually saw a gain for Tony Avella, who beat GOP incumbent Frank Padavan, from 53-47 to 54.3-45.7).

93 thoughts on “SSP Daily Digest: 12/2”

  1. Capuano’s seat is certainly not the most depopulated.  Boston had been growing at a steady clip.  I’m pretty sure that award goes to Oliver’s 1st district.


    It turns out the Chicago mayor’s race is all about Obama. That’s what the Republican National Committee is telling donors in a new fundraising campaign to defeat Rahm Emanuel. Because if Obama’s ex-chief of staff loses, then Obama loses, right? The RNC is using this pitch to solicit donations of up to $5,000.

    This Republican fundraising campaign is a boon for Emanuel. It allows him to tie himself to Obama without actually getting Obama’s endorsement. And it allows him to rally Chicagoans against an external enemy — the Republican Party — that would otherwise have no skin in this election, since the Chicago mayor’s race has been non-partisan since 1999. “If I lose, the Republicans win” is a pretty powerful message in a city that’s 80 percent Democratic.

  3. may have further waylaid a re-alignment in WV.  Just a hypothesis.  After the elections this year, WV Dems lost only 6 seats in the 100 member House and picked up 1 seat in the Senate.

    Keep in mind, of course, that Dems in WV are conservative, some are even more conservative than their GOP counterparts.

    Still, it’s good that they didn’t get sweeped like in NC, AL, or what could have happened in AR.

  4. that the biggest state in the union has only 40 State Senate Seats and 80 Assembly seats.  WV has 100 State House seats and 34 State Senate seats and has only 3 US Congressional seats.  C’mon, CA, enfranchise more of your state for pete’s sake.

  5. He’s sounding quite bullish on Dean Heller running, so is it time to just concede NV-Sen already? Maybe not. Heller has a history of backing away from what could become tough fights. Remember, he chose NOT to run against Harry Reid this year despite so many GOPers begging him to. And while he actually has a better working relationship with Reid than Ensign, Heller still may not want to jump into a fight he isn’t confident about winning.

    Even Ralston himself is aware of this.

    As I have said, the congressman is well aware of political timing and knows when to run and when not to. So often these decisions are not just about political factors – Heller is close to incoming Speaker John Boehner, he is in the majority for the first time, the House GOP ranks probably will grow in 2012. But Heller also has a large family and his wife, Lynn, has a large influence on him. The personal can trump the political.

    So I think Heller, who I believe wants badly to run and does not like Ensign, will evaluate the atmospherics, personal and political, and decide by 2011’s midpoint.

    While I still think it’s quite possible Heller does it, since he pretty much is the GOP’s only hope of holding onto this seat, I also think Heller’s prime position in the GOP led House may be too comfy for him to give up, especially when the alternative may end up being a VERY heated primary.

    And of course, there’s always the $40 million question: Where will Sharrrrrrrrrrrrrron Angle run? We all know she wants to run for something, anything again, but will she settle for some lowly State Senate race, even if it is for long time nemesis Bill Raggio’s seat (he’s termed out in 2012) now that she’s had a taste of the national spotlight? I’m feeling quite sure she’ll go federal again. And if Heller decides to sit out NV-Sen in favor of basking in the safe red glow of NV-02, Angle may end up running for Senate again. Oh, the fireworks of an Ensign v. Angle primary!

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