SSP Daily Digest: 12/13

AK-Sen: Everyone’s watching Joe Miller’s next move, as tomorrow is the day he has to decide whether or not to appeal a trial court decision in order to keep fighting his largely-hopeless fight with Lisa Murkowski. On Friday afternoon, a state superior court judge ruled against Miller’s lawsuit, and in pretty withering fashion, saying he presented no evidence of fraud or malfeasance, only “hearsay, speculation, and… sarcasm.” This comes on top of other comments on Friday by state elections director Gail Fenumiai strongly disputing one of Miller’s cornerstone issues, that there was a strange sudden influx of felons voting in the state.

CT-Sen, CT-04: Rep. Jim Himes confirms that he isn’t going to run for Senate in 2012 against Joe Lieberman (if Lieberman even decides to stick around). It’s also pretty clear confirmation that Rep. Chris Murphy is ready to run on the Dem line, as Himes said he’s deferring to his slightly-more-senior colleague and might consider running if Murphy changed his mind. (The article also mentions that Rep. Joe Courtney is “considering” the race. Ex-SoS Susan Bysiewicz’s interest is well-known as well, although I doubt she’ll be able to manage to file her candidacy papers successfully.)

HI-Sen: Sometimes the Beltway media’s parsing of every innocent word from a potential candidate gets a little maddening, but this throw-away line from Linda Lingle’s website flagged by David Catanese is actually pretty suggestive of a future run (probably against Dan Akaka in 2012): the site is titled “Looking Back, and Forward,” and her first blog post is “Continuing the Journey.”

MD-Sen: Contrast that with Bob Ehrlich, who seems ripe to fall into the Dino Rossi trap but has just made it pretty clear that he won’t be running for anything else again. He says a Senate run would be “very highly unlikely.”

ME-Sen: The only story that seems to be here is that the viable Tea Party candidate that has been promised to emerge to take on Olympia Snowe is starting to look like more of a mirage. A must-read (for sheer hubris and wtf?ness) interview with the state’s self-appointed head teabagger, Andrew Ian Dodge, makes it sound like the candidate that Dodge is allegedly talking to is either imaginary, or else is Dodge himself (seeing as how he’s from southern Maine and has his own money).

MI-Sen: PPP includes a GOP primary portion in their Michigan Senate poll, and like a lot of other polls this far out, name rec seems to rule the day. Ex-Gov. John Engler, despite eight years out of the picture, has the lead (in fact, that may be good news, as the general electorate doesn’t remember him fondly; he underperforms Debbie Stabenow, losing by 7, compared with Peter Hoekstra, who loses by 1). It’s Engler 31, Hoekstra 24, with 12 for ex-AG Mike Cox, Terri Lynn Land (who may be interested in this race after all) at 7, Candice Miller at 5, Mike Rogers at 4, Thad McCotter at 3, and Tim Leuliette (the most-interested candidate so far) at 0.

NJ-Sen: The Hill has an article that’s mostly about how no GOPers are stepping up to express their interest in an uphill fight against Bob Menendez, but it does include the obligatory list of possible contenders. Top of the list is a rematch from state Sen. (and gubernatorial progeny) Tom Kean Jr., but also mentioned are Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, state Sen. Joe Kyrillos, Anna Little (a small-town mayor who was competitive against Rep. Frank Pallone this year), state Sen. Jennifer Beck, former state Sen. Bill Baroni, and state GOP chair Jay Webber if all else fails.

NY-Sen: Rep. Peter King does some coulda-woulda-shoulda in a recent interview, saying he definitely would have run in 2010 had Caroline Kennedy been the appointee. As for a run in 2012 against Kirsten Gillibrand (when she’s up for election for her first full term), he’s only “keeping his options open,” apparently leery of her fundraising prowess.

PA-Sen: Rep. Charlie Dent is usually at the top of the list for Senate race speculation, but a recent interview has him sounding rather un-candidate-ish: he’s about to land a plum spot on Appropriations, and speaks of it in terms of “one never rules anything out,” which to my ear sounds a few steps down the Beltway-ese totem pole from “considering” it. One other interesting rumor bubbling up is that ex-Gov. Mark Schweiker is being courted to run. The question is whether anybody even remembers Schweiker; he spent less than two years on the job in the early 00s after getting promoted after Tom Ridge moved to the Bush administration, and declined to run for his own full term.

VT-Sen: Could Bernie Sanders see a real opponent? While he isn’t specifically threatening to run yet, State Auditor Tom Salmon is taking to Facebook to attack Sanders over his anti-tax deal agitating (including attacking Sanders for being a socialist, which doesn’t quite have the same effective power with Sanders as with most Dems since he’s likely just to say “guilty as charged”). At any rate, going after the entrenched Sanders seems like an odd move if it comes to pass, as Peter Shumlin, who narrowly won the open gubernatorial race, seems like a much easier target in a blue state that’s willing to elect Republican governors but has sworn them off at the national level.

CA-Gov: Steve Poizner sounds likely to make another run at the governor’s mansion in 2014, publicly telling various people that he would have made a much better candidate than Meg Whitman. Poizner will have to step it up on the financial situation next time, though; self-funding only to the tune of eight digits, instead of nine, was pretty weak sauce.

IN-Gov: With Evan Bayh apparently out of the gubernatorial sweepstakes, Brad Ellsworth seems to be jockeying to the front of the line today, although with some of the requisite hedging. The other main contender, of course, is Evansville mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel, although the impact of redistricting changes (at the hand of the now-GOP-held legislature) could drive Reps. Joe Donnelly or Baron Hill into the race. Two lesser Dem names who’ve been bandied about, Hammond mayor Thomas McDermott and former state House speaker John Gregg, are already taking their names off the table, lining up behind others for now: McDermott backing Ellsworth and Gregg backing Weinzapfel. One final new Dem name to keep an eye on: Lake County Sheriff Roy Dominguez.

MS-Gov: For now, the Democratic side on the Mississippi governor’s race seems to be between two men: Hattiesburg mayor Johnny DuPree (that city’s first African-American mayor) and businessman Bill Luckett, who has his own money (and the backing of Morgan Freeman… apparently for real, unlike with NC-04’s B.J. Lawson).

WA-Gov: Here’s a good take from Joel Connolly (dean of the local press corps) on the 2012 gubernatorial election in Washington state, which the Beltway press seems to treat like an open book but everyone local knows is going to be between Rep. Jay Inslee and AG Rob McKenna, who’s probably the best shot the GOP has had in decades of winning the governor’s race. (Chris Gregoire can, by law, run for a third term, but, in practice, that would be unheard of even if she weren’t already too unpopular to do so feasibly.)

NY-15: Is the Charles Rangel era actually coming to a close? He’s not ruling out another run in 2012 but saying he’ll have to think about retirement. And in public comments he is actively pointing to a generation of successors, citing state Sens. Adriano Espaillat and Robert Rodriguez, and state Assemblyman Keith Wright. (Although Harlem is the core of the district, it now has more Hispanics than it does African-Americans… and the wild card is that the fastest growing group in this district is white regentrifiers.)

LA-St. Leg.: The hemorrhaging of Dem state legislators to the GOP in Louisiana continues apace, with one of its most prominent state Reps., the mellifluously-named Noble Ellington, sounding about ready to pull the trigger on a switch. He’d follow two state Sens., John Alario and John Smith, who also recently crossed the aisle.

Philly mayor: You’d think that at age 80, you’d want to think about retirement, but not if you’re Arlen Specter, apparently. There’s word of a poll making the rounds (from Apex Research, with no mention of who paid for it or why) that not only links the outgoing Senator to a mayoral run (in the city where he got his start generations ago as the DA) but actually has him in the lead. The poll has Specter at 28, with incumbent Michael Nutter at 19, Sam Katz at 9, Anthony Hardy Williams at 8, Tom Knox at 7, Bob Brady at 6, and Alan Butkovitz (anybody care to let me know who he is?) at 6.

WATN?: Try as he may, Artur Davis just can’t get the douchiness out of his system. On his way to the private sector, he’s still taking the pox-on-both-your-houses approach on his way out the door, writing an op-ed calling for an independent party as the solution to all of Alabama’s woes. Meanwhile, Mariannette Miller-Meeks has landed on her feet, after losing a second run in IA-02 in a rare setback for the Ophthalmologists (who elected at least two more of their own to Congress this year): Terry Branstad just named her head of Iowa’s Dept. of Public Health.

Census: Finally, this may be the most exciting news of the day: we have a reporting date for the first real batch of 2010 Census data. Dec. 21 will be the day the Census Bureau releases its state population counts, which also includes reapportionment data (i.e. how many House seats each state will get… at least prior to the inevitable litigation process among the most closely-bunched states).

215 thoughts on “SSP Daily Digest: 12/13”

  1. I hear both Rep. Smith (NJ-4) & Lance (NJ-7) are exploring statewide bids if they get the short end of the stick in redistricting, but are both prepared to take on Rush Holt (NJ-12) if they get thrown in with him in a lead R or true swing district. Both are keeping their cards pretty close to the vest, which is smart since (even if it is a non-partisan redistricing committee) showing signs of leaving an open seat makes your district an appetizing target.

  2. As anyone else noticed that if you use the Test Data option for California in Dave’s Redistricting App, the data provided for racial stats by precinct reflects 2000 census data, not more recent estimates? According the Census’ American Community Survey for 2009, California is now 42% Non-Hispanic White and 37% Hispanic, while in 2000 (and according to the app’s test data) these stats were 47% Non-Hispanic and 32% Hispanic. When you get to the business of trying to draw a new map for 2010, this becomes a big problem (like, for example, there are plenty more than enough Hispanics in western Riverside County living close enough together to make a majority-Hispanic district there, but that can’t really be done with the Test Data).

    So I wanted to contact Dave and make sure that he’s aware of the discrepancy and see if there’s anything I or anyone else can do help fix it, but I wanted to see if someone else had contacted him about this before (and maybe even if there’s already a fix on the way) so that he’s not inundated with messages.  

  3. How does this impact their 2012 prospects? My hunch is this signals Ensign plans to retire. As for Gillibrand, this development may well entice Peter King into pulling the trigger.

  4. I think she is one of Branstad’s stronger appointees. The head of the health department isn’t one of the most high-profile jobs, but she could be in the middle of some important policy battles. If she wants to run for office again someday (perhaps statewide, or for a redrawn Congressional seat, or for a state legislative seat), she may feel she needs to go along with the Republican plans for her department, which probably involve significant budget cuts. On the other hand, state department heads usually lobby against legislative efforts to axe their programs.

    The Iowa Department of Public Health oversees so many different programs. One that Republicans have wanted to put on the chopping block for some time is the “just eliminate lies” anti-smoking public relations campaign. They were also critical of a Democratic bill to mandate lead testing for children, but I don’t know whether they would go so far as to try to repeal that. Will Mariannette Miller-Meeks argue publicly against budget cuts that would harm Iowans’ health?

    County recorders are also part of the Iowa Department of Public Health bureaucracy. In the spring of 2009, as some Republicans were urging county recorders not to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, the IDPH sent recorders a clear message: “All county recorders in the state of Iowa are required to comply with the Varnum decision (following issuance of procedendo from the Supreme Court) and to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples in the same manner as licenses issued to opposite gender applicants.”

    I haven’t heard any Republicans try to reopen that can of worms lately, but I wonder how MMM would respond if some Republicans encourage her to change the IDPH’s official instructions to county recorders regarding marriage licenses.

  5. does anyone think we have a shot at overturning this ruling on appeal?  I looked at wiki and it showed that the 4th circuit has a majority of its justices appointed by Clinton and Obama.  Does this case even get appealed to the 4th circuit since it is a federal law?

  6. Iowa Governor-elect Terry Branstad announced today that Brenna Findley will be his legal counsel. Findley was Steve King’s chief of staff for seven years before running unsuccessfully for Iowa attorney general this year. (Tom Miller winning that race was one of the few bright spots for Iowa Democrats.)

    Everyone here expected Branstad to appoint Findley to something. He talked up her candidacy at virtually every campaign stop and appeared in one of her television commercials. The national Republican money came in big time for Findley, which probably had something to do with Branstad too. She has very little experience in the practice of law, so in some ways that’s a strange choice for legal counsel. I had heard rumors she might be appointed head of the department of public safety; that was a major theme of her campaign commercials.

  7. Today is my one year anniversary of joining here.

    AK Sen- PLEASE let this guy be the R nominee against Begich.

    CT-Sen, CT-04- Go Chris Murphy!

    HI-Sen- Who cares? Seriously, she might get a whole 40% of the vote if she’s lucky. She’s very unpopular and Hawaii is moving to the left like crazy. I could care less if she runs. I’m not even slightly scared.

    MD-Sen- Funny how that race was a tossup up for such a long time. Bob’s done.

    ME-Sen- I think this will be our best pickup opportunity as long as Snowe loses.

    MI-Sen- This race will be tough.

    NJ-Sen- LG’s the best bet.

    NY-Sen- Yeah, King isn’t stupid. He’s not giving up a Chairmanship to get his ass handed to him.

    PA-Sen- The Gov is probably a good get, the GOP bench isn’t really that good.

    VT-Sen- Why bother?

    CA-Gov- Who’s better him or Abe?

    IN-Gov- Ellsworth could be a good candidate. Happy about Greg not getting in. Weinzapfel has a lot of potential.

    MS-Gov- Yawn.

    WA-Gov- This will be a tough race.

    NY-15- You couldn’t have dropped out this year?

    LA-St. Leg- I’d hate to be a southern dem. Dang, how many switches have we had in the last month?

    Philly mayor- PLEASE let this be true. I love Specter, though he is probably too old.

    WATN? Artur Davis you are an ass and no one likes you. Go to K Street you jackass. Good for MMM I suppose.

    Census- Can’t wait!

  8. Schwiecker was very popular in 2002 and IIRC there were polls that had him even or beating Rendell because of the successful mine rescue in the Summer.  If anyone remembers, I don’t know.

  9. I can’t find a list, but I’m assuming he did.  He missed what could have been a brilliant political ploy.  

    there have been some arguments that Lieberman’s only chance is to run as a democrat and hope the voter’s reliance on party ID will pull him through.

    However, what does Lieberman offer that any other standard dem could offer without his rather douchey past?  nothing.  UNLESS he had voted against the tax cuts.

    he’s appealing to almost no one with his vote for the tax cuts, republicans won’t support him unless they nominate an angle like candidate.  many dems hate the idea and moderates MIGHT warm to him a BIT.

    But, if he voted against the tax cuts, a bill the liberal base, who votes in the primary, hates.  the vote could be seen to them as a “Grand romantic gesture,” kind of like where buster accidentally bids on Lucille two at the auction on Arrested Development.  

    It WON’T repair the relationship between Lieberman and the dem primary electorate, but it would certainly help.  Instead, I guess he’ll either run as an indie, or retire.  

  10. to say about Republicans these days, but I will say I respect them for not just giving up on any race. They might not always strike gold, or even bronze, when they find a candidate to run, but they don’t let the odds count them out of the race before it begins. They probably aren’t going to win the Senate seats in Maryland or Hawaii, but they sure as shit will try. It’d be nice if Democrats went into the races in Texas, Tennessee, Wyoming, and other states with the same attitude. If we end up losing, nobody will be surprised, but making it competitive can only help us. And if we win, we once again expand the map beyond the usual states. Hopefully, Patty Murray is going into this with an aggressive mindset.  

  11. State Rep. Bubber Epps switched yesterday.

    It’s been rumored since Friday, but I guess yesterday it became official.

    I can think of maybe three across both chambers that could switch.

    I’ve seen some try to spin these defections as good. That’s hilarious. This is not good for the party in Georgia.

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