SSP Daily Digest: 1/31

AZ-Sen: Could we actually see a retirement from the GOP’s #2, Jon Kyl? Seems hard to believe, but there seems to be increasing chatter about it, at least to the extent that it’s now a “real possibility.” Local sources refer to his fundraising as being in a “holding pattern.” Kyl promises a February deadline for deciding whether or not to run again.

FL-Sen: He doesn’t have the name rec of ex-Sen. George LeMieux or Rep. Connie Mack IV, but don’t discount former state House majority leader Adam Hasner as a potential force in the GOP Senate primary. While he’s little-known, insiders point to him having the best-built network for fundraising and activist mobilization among the GOPers. (Also worth noting: his wife just finished running Meg Whitman’s campaign. Although I don’t know if, at this point, that’s a plus or a minus.)

IN-Sen: Seemingly having learned from the 2010 Republican Senate primary, where two candidates split the hard-right vote and let warmed-over establishmentarian Dan Coats stroll to the nomination, Indiana tea partiers seem to be trying to coordinate their efforts better this time in order to beat Richard Lugar. 180 leaders met to summon three potential candidates (the already-oft-mentioned state Sen. Mike Delph and state Treasurer Richard Mourdock, but also 2010 IN-02 loser Jackie Walorski) to appear before them so they can unify behind one of them. (The article’s worth reading too for some provocative pushback from Lugar’s camp, including some thoughtful mention from them of the Latino vote, a growing demographic even in Indiana.) Meanwhile, faced with redistricting-related uncertainty in his House district, Rep. Joe Donnelly is continuing to “look at his political options” regarding a statewide run (where, theoretically, a Senate run could be more appealing, if odds are starting to look like the Gov. opponent will be Mike Pence and the Sen. opponent will be a little-known teabagger).

MA-Sen: Cat fud doesn’t get any better than this: the National Republican Trust PAC, which spent $95K on IEs to get Scott Brown elected in 2010, is now vowing to defeat Brown in the next Republican primary in order to “protect its brand.” The last straw for them? START, of all things. While I can’t see such a primary likely to succeed (especially since these guys seem like kind of small-ball players… I mean, $95K?), the prospect of angry right-wingers staying home in November makes the general election that much more interesting. Meanwhile, Rep. Michael Capuano, who lost the special election Dem primary, still sounds like the Dem likeliest to make the race, although he’s now saying he won’t have a formal decision until summer. Another potential candidate, Rep. Stephen Lynch, is out with some comments that somehow don’t seem likely to endear him any more to the party’s base, saying that liberal activists should steer clear of primary challenges in 2012 (Lynch, of course, was recipient of one of those challenges). He stopped short of saying that they should steer clear of primary challenges to him in the Senate race, though, so that doesn’t give much insight into his 2012 plans.

MI-Sen: With Peter Hoekstra having made some vague noises about being interested in the Senate race last week, now it’s Terry Lynn Land’s turn. The former Republican SoS says she’s “considering it,” but interestingly, plans to meet with Hoekstra next week before making a decision.

TX-Sen: This isn’t much of a surprise, but west Texas’s three interchangeable Republican House members (Mike Conaway, Randy Neugebauer, and Mac Thornberry) announced en masse that they weren’t interested in running for the Senate seat. Makes sense… why give up the safest job in the nation (GOP House backbencher in a district that’s R+25 or more) for the chance to get flattened in a primary by David Dewhurst and/or a teabagger to be named later?

VT-Sen: Republican State Auditor Tom Salmon seems to have an amazing new quantitative scheme for gauging his interest in running for Senate: currently he says he’s “65 percent in,” and that “when I hit 75 percent it will commence exploratory.” He also lets Politico know (I’m not making this up) that he “needs to be an authentic self-utilizing power along the lines of excellence.” I guess he switched from being a Democrat to a Republican last year because he felt more welcome in the GOP, given their long-standing tolerance of Sarah Palin’s gift for word salad.

WI-Sen: This seems like a pretty good indicator that long-time Democratic Sen. Herb Kohl, who prefers to write his own checks rather than work the fundraising circuit, is planning another run in 2012 rather than retirement. He just loaned $1 million into his campaign account in the fourth quarter of 2011.

WV-Gov: PPP is out with the primary election portions of its gubernatorial poll from last week. On the Dem side, there are two clear favorites but they’re neck and neck: acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin (at 25) and SoS Natalie Tennant (at 24). Further behind are state Treasurer John Perdue at 16, state Sen. Jeff Kessler at 7, state House speaker Rick Thompson at 6, and state Sen. Brooks McCabe at 4. On the GOP side, if Shelley Moore Capito does show up (which she says she won’t), she’s a shoo-in, at 72, with ex-SoS Betty Ireland at 10, state Sen. Clark Barnes at 5, Putnam Co. Prosecutor Mark Sorsaia at 1, and state GOP chair Mike Stuart at 1. They also try a Capito-free version, in which Ireland becomes the heavy fave at 46, with Barnes at 11, Sorsaia at 9, and Stuart at 4. There’s also word of one more GOPer who isn’t interesting: former astronaut and 1996 gubernatorial candidate (who lost the ’96 primary to Cecil Underwood) Jon McBride says he won’t run this time.

IN-01, MI-14: Two Democratic old-timers who may be faced with less favorable districts after redistricting (or at least dark-blue districts that contain a lot of new territory) and have some ethical problems hanging overhead both announced that they’re running for re-election. Peter Visclosky and John Conyers both are looking to get an early start on their races.

WA-08: Here’s a new House filing from a fairly prominent local Democrat to go against perennial target Dave Reichert: state Rep. Roger Goodman has set up a committee to run in the 8th. This requires some reading between the lines, though, because a Goodman/Reichert matchup is highly unlikely in the end; Goodman just needs a federal committee set up for, well, somewhere. Goodman lives in Kirkland, which is about a mile to the north of the 8th’s boundaries; he actually lives in WA-01, where he probably doesn’t want to look like he’s mounting a primary challenge to Jay Inslee, although it’s widely-assumed that Inslee will be vacating the 1st to run for Governor in 2012. That doesn’t mean that Goodman running in the 1st is a done deal, either; under the likeliest redistricting scenario, Kirkland is likely to be part of a new Dem-friendly district that’s based on the true Eastside (whether it’s the 8th or 10th remains to be seen), with Reichert, who’s based down in Auburn, getting his own friendlier district based in SE King County and eastern Pierce County. So, I’d say, it’s likelier than not that we’ll see both Reichert and Goodman in the House in 2013; the main question is the district numbers.

DCCC: Here’s something we like to see; not only is the DCCC is getting an early start on offense this year, seeding the ground to try to get some early momentum going against the most vulnerable House GOPers, but they’re explicitly doing some progressive framing here, highlighting the links between infrastructure spending and job growth. They’re running radio ads in 19 districts, most of which aren’t a surprise by virtue of their swinginess: targets include Lou Barletta, Charlie Bass, Ann Marie Buerkle, Steve Chabot, Chip Cravaack, Bob Dold!, Sean Duffy, Blake Farenthold, Mike Fitzpatrick, Nan Hayworth, Joe Heck, Robert Hurt, Patrick Meehan, Dave Reichert, David Rivera, Jon Runyan, Joe Walsh, and Allen West. The wild card? Thad McCotter, whose continued presence in the House seems to have more to do with his ability to not draw tough opponents than it does with a connection to his district.

Redistricting: The Fix has an interesting look at Virginia redistricting, where the Dem control of the state Senate probably means an 8-3 compromise map protecting current incumbents. There’s one wrinkle, though: congressional redistricting could be pushed back until after the 2011 legislative election in the hopes that the GOP takes back over the state Senate, which would give them the trifecta. (Obviously, they couldn’t delay legislative redistricting, though, meaning the GOP won’t have the leverage over the map that would shape the results of the 2011 legislative election.) Although it’s hard to see what they could do to VA-11 that wouldn’t cut into VA-10, the GOP could conceivably push for a 9-2 map if they got that advantage. (The Rose Report is out with a much more in-depth series on Virginia redistricting this month that’s worth a look.) Meanwhile, in New Jersey (another early state where the work is done by bipartisan commission), there’s already some disagreement within the commission over whether or not they need to have an 11th, tie-breaking member appointed so they can move forward. (H/t to Taniel for noticing the delightful headline: “N.J. redistricting commission argues over whether it is at an impasse.”)

Census: Speaking of Virginia and New Jersey, and their early redistricting efforts, the Census Bureau will be rolling out the first big batch of complete, detailed data from 2010 for the first four states that need it early (for 2011 legislative election purposes)… Louisiana and Mississippi as well. They don’t have a specific date set, but keep watching this link because they’ll be available at some point this week.

259 thoughts on “SSP Daily Digest: 1/31”

  1. on the three West Texas Reps.  As far as I know, there’s never been a Senator from West Texas, although I guess you could throw John Tower (who lived in Wichita Falls) in there.

  2. Hotline talking up Kyl retirement rumors had this nugget;

    “But according to recent data from the Arizona’s Secretary of State’s office, the number of registered independents has eclipsed the number of registered Democrats in the state, illustrating the uphill climb Democrats still face in the predominately red state.”

    Hmmmmmmm, AZ hispanic population grows, but percentage of Dems falls. Exactly what the heck is going on down there?

    From the AZ SoS release mentioned;

    “Independent voters in Arizona now outnumber registered Democrats. The latest statewide registration report puts the number of independents at 1,010,725 as of Jan. 1. That’s about 2,000 more than the Democratic registration total of 1,008,689. Republicans still account for the largest registration category at 1,142,605 registered voters.”

    134k registration advantage is significant. Assuming an equal turnout among all voter blocks & equal vote breakdown by party (a huge assumption I admit, but worthwhile as a jump off point) a Dem would need to win 64.7% of Independents to win get 50%+1.

  3. And obama up between 9-24 in nebraska’s second district.

    That’s pretty awesome. Need to recruit a good Dem in the 2nd looks similar after redistricting.

  4. And obama up between 9-24 in nebraska’s second district.

    That’s pretty awesome. Need to recruit a good Dem in the 2nd looks similar after redistricting.

  5. A week ago I would have passed this “push off to 2012” talk as bluster to force a somewhat favorable compromise on the legislative maps, but now? I think the GOP state house majority is playing with fire, and for what? Even if they win out they can maybe get a state Senate majority out of ’11 anyway and as for the Congressional map, is trying to target Connolly (and likely endangering either Wolf or Wittman is the process) worth blowing up the legislature? Plus you set a very dangerous precedent for future redistricting efforts…not good guys, not good at all.

  6. But it’d still be a disappointment.

    Heck, I’ve spent the last three months making fun of Brad Ellsworth but I think I’d prefer him to Donnelly.  

  7. in another thread, but it’s worth repeating here, and not just because more people will see it:

    Perhaps I’m giving them too much credit, but these people really are path breakers when it comes to having tons of gall. They send a five-term senator a letter asking him to resign because they don’t like his votes on a few pieces of legislation, as if he’s been a thorn in the side of his party for decades?

    It’s not clear how this will affect the races in different states, but I could see it opening up some real opportunities for us. I just hope Patty Murray is standing strong and not approaching the next cycle in a defeatist mindset.  


    I was wondering how long their tolerance would last for his moderation.

    Could he be forced to move right for the R primary?

    But still it’s kind of odd that the “bridge too far” (according to Hotline article) supposedly was the vote for the New START Treaty with Russia.  I thought that was kind of a bipartisan issue with all previous SoS’s, both Repub and Dem, in favor of it.

  9. he “needs to be an authentic self-utilizing power along the lines of excellence.”

    That reads like a line from a Chinese self-help book that got mangled in translation.

  10. The quote in the Politico article about Tom Salmon provides a pretty good taste of what the guy sound like every time he opens his mouth. The people I know in the media in Montpelier say that his press events are unbelievably painful, rambling, and often embarrassing insights into his personality.

    Salmon is a severe egotist, probably an alcoholic. He won election (as a Democrat) as state Auditor in 2006 in a very narrow upset, only winning after a statewide recount overturned the election night totals showing a Republican victory. He defeated a Republican incumbent because of family name (his father was Governor), the fact that he was a CPA and put that on all his campaign signs, and because it was a strong Democratic year.

    In 2008 he ran without any real opposition, and coasted to victory because he was deployed to Iraq with the National Guard.

    After he switched parties in a snit (because Democratic legislative leaders wouldn’t let him intervene on budget negotiations where he was siding with the Republican governor), he tried to position himself to run for Governor in 2010 as a Republican, but was quickly rebuffed. Republicans were so unenthusiastic about him that party leaders tried to get his predecessor to challenge him in the primary, but he ultimately backed out. He won re-election in 2010 against an extremely under-funded and unknown opponent who gave him a strong challenge – had his opponent been better known, it is likely he would have lost.

    The highlight of his public career is the videotape of his 2009 DUI arrest, including the priceless moment when he tries to get out of it by citing his state office and demanding of the arresting office “Do you know who I am?” Had that tape come out a few weeks earlier in 2010, he would have lost re-election.

    Bernie Sanders will overwhelm this guy if he runs. Part of me is thrilled with the idea of seeing his political career put to a merciful end, and part of me dreads the idea of having to listen to his sniveling self-important delusions for a whole year of a Senate campaign.

  11. Is here:

    Couple of observations:

    1). I’m actually pretty confident about Dem chances in their most competitive race, Virginia. I think Allen is old news, and will lose to either Webb, Kaine, or heck, even Periello

    2). Interesting (and unconfirmed) nugget about Montana – it says Denny Rehberg is “an all but certain entrant,” into the race.

    3). One of the confusing things about this list for me is how you rate “competitiveness.” For example, I think Ben Nelson will likely lose in Nebraska, and I expect Scott Brown to lose in Massachusetts. But I don’t know how competitive either of those states will actually be. In contrast, while I think Claire McCaskill is a slight favorite in Missouri, I would expect that race to be competitive.

    I think it’s easier when races are rated on the most likely to switch parties.  

  12. Hopefully this isn’t too off topic.

    Let’s just say worst comes to worst, Kennedy votes like the Conservative Justice h actually is and HCR is found to be Unconstitutional (I realize this may be unlikely, just go a long for the question).

    If that happens, how big off an affect will it have on Obama and the Democrats that voted for it Electability wise?  Is it likely to severely hurt someone like Matheson who just recently didn’t vote to repeal it?  Or Is it unlikely to have any juice amongst the Swing Voters in 2012?

    Again, I’m only asking about this in regards to electability and how it might affect our candidates in 2012.

  13. That Land is going to converse with Hoekstra isn’t the least bit interesting if you know the lay of the political landscape, here.  Geographically and socially, Hoekstra and Land’s base of support almost completely overlap.  They literally live a few dozen miles apart.  Both of them know it’d be stupid to damage the other in a primary.  The differences between Land and Hoekstra are style.  He’s harder edged, and she speaks with a more moderate tone.

  14. The only real political angle I could find on this is that it probably makes it less likely Bayh will run for office again. Hooray! But mostly, it gives me another chance to call him a soulless evil hacktastic whore whose douchiness is practically unparalleled in modern politics.

    Seriously as far as nominally-Democratic politicians go, I actually think I hate Evan Bayh more than I hate Joe Lieberman.


  15. Just saw the debt figures for the NRSC & DSCC; each is in the hole about $6M and $8M respecively.

    Adding up each sides bottom line

    DNC -$9M

    DSCC -$8M

    DCCC -$18M

    Total = $35M in the red

    RNC -$21M

    NRSC -$6M

    NRCC -$8M

    Total = $35M in the red

  16. Coleman out against Klobuchar, doesn’t rule out future run.

    Norman would get CRUSHED by Amy. But, I think this means that Coleman will either challenge Dayton or Franken in 2014. My money is on Franken, as Dayton has the ability to spend a larger fortune against any opponent. I see a Franken/Coleman rematch in 2014, personally, but a lot can change in 4 years.

    As for Amy Klobuchar, I really do think that Republicans will struggle to find an opponent (depending on redistricting). If Klobuchar doesn’t get a strong (or any) opponent, and the Republican presidential candidate cedes the state to Obama (not a dumb move, from an elctoral-vote perspective), I see Republicans getting thwacked statewide. If there is no top-notch Republican candidates for any statewide race, the newly elected legislative majorities will be hung out to dry. It is also quite possible that the Republican congressional delegation could be in danger as well, because other than the 6th, there are no really Republican stronghold districts. I am curious to see how badly national Republicans screw their Minnesota brethren.

  17. Jon Kyl 47-40 approve

    Terry Goddard 43-35 favorable, Kyl leads 50-40

    Janet Napolitano 40-55 unfavorable, Kyl leads 53-41

    Ann Kirkpatrick 24-21 favorable, Kyl leads 51-35

    Phil Gordon 19-37 unfavorable, Kyl leads 54-33


    Anyone else?

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