SSP Daily Digest: 2/1

MI-Sen: This looks like a tea leaf that Peter Hoekstra isn’t a likely Senate candidate for 2012: he’s joining big DC law/lobby firm Dickstein Shapiro, a popular destination for outgoing Congresspeople and certainly not the usual route for someone who wants to keep in touch with the little people back home. (Current “senior advisors” there include Dennis Hastert, Tim Hutchinson, and Albert Wynn.)

MN-Sen: Norm Coleman comes right out and says it explicitly: he’s not going to run against Amy Klobuchar in 2012 (although he didn’t rule out eventual other runs). Not that anyone rational was expecting it, but now we can check that box.

NV-Sen: Cue up some doomy soundtrack music for John Ensign: despite his having dodged the DOJ, the Senate Ethics Committee has decided to plow ahead on its inquiry of him, just in time for the cycle where he’s up for re-election. Today a special counsel in l’affaire Ensign was announced.

NY-Sen: Going up against Kirsten Gillibrand in 2012 (in the wake of her cresting 60% in the down year of 2010) seems like an unenviable task for any Republican, and the duties might fall to former Lt. Gov. turned health insurance industry astroturfer Betsy McCaughey. Speaking before a confab for New York’s Conservative Party, when asked about the race, she said she’s “considering it.”

WA-Gov: We can’t officially shut the door on a highly-unusual run for a third term by Chris Gregoire until she actually says “no” herself, but state Dem party chair Dwight Pelz is publicly saying that he’s looking ahead to electing a new governor in 2012. Don’t expect Gregoire to say anything until the end of the legislative session, though.

WV-Gov: Get out your calendars and your red pen, because it looks like things are getting switched around yet again in West Virginia. The state House passed a bill authorizing the upcoming elections (including a primary, which wasn’t considered a done deal because of the cost involved), but they’ve moved the dates around again. Now the primary date is May 14 (instead of June 20), and the general special election date is Sept. 13 (instead of Oct. 4). Of course, that’s only the House version, so the state Senate could monkey around with it even more. Meanwhile, one Republican candidate is already exiting the field: state party chair Mike Stuart, who probably saw the writing on the wall given his 1% showing in PPP’s sample of the primary. A few more GOPers that we haven’t mentioned before are thinking about getting in to replace him, though: state House minority leader Tim Armstead, and state Del. Mitch Carmichael.

CT-05: This is a bit of a surprise, and ought to create a wide-open Republican field in the open seat race created by Chris Murphy’s quest for a Senate seat. State Sen. Sam Caligiuri, who made a competitive race of it in 2010, says he won’t run again in 2012.

MT-AL: As Denny Rehberg-related rumors got ramped up over the last few days, there’s been a corresponding rise in rumors that Steve Daines (the Republican businessman who lost the 2008 Lt. Gov. race and announced a Senate bid in November) might bail out of the Senate race and drop down to the now-open House race instead. That would be a bit of a turnaround for Daines, who had already consolidated some backing from right-wing orgs for a possible tea-flavored primary rumble, but the House is a path of much less resistance for him. No confirmation from Daines today, but as of yesterday he sounded open to the idea.

State legislatures: This article about how state legislature constituencies are getting too populous for legislators to maintain effective old-school communications with their voters is most noteworthy for its neat interactive graphic. You can compare the legislator-to-constituent ratio for each state (unsurprisingly, California and Texas are the worst, while North Dakota and New Hampshire are the best).

Fundraising: We have fundraising numbers from 2010 Q4 for five different Senate Dems up in 2012, and we’ll start with the weakest link: Dan Akaka, who has $66K CoH. (Not that that should presage retirement or even encourage Linda Lingle, as he doesn’t really fundraise outside the cycles where he’s up for re-election; he had $83K at this point six years ago.) Next up: Jim Webb, who has $444K CoH but raised only $12K last quarter, a number that by itself screams retirement… but as we know, Webb marches to his own drummer and could turn that around quickly. Ben Nelson is also in camped out in the land of the mediocre (and of the potential retirees), raising only $81K, though he has a more robust $1.4 million CoH.

Jeff Bingaman, on the other hand, seems to be heading for another term, albeit in slightly lukewarm fashion, raising $216K last quarter; he has $511K CoH. Debbie Stabenow is looking pretty aggressive, by contrast: she raised $537K and has more than $2 million CoH. One Republican to report on, as well: Orrin Hatch, likely to face a serious primary, raised $400K and is sitting on $2.5 million CoH (compared with Jason Chaffetz’s $140K CoH).

Redistricting: Here’s more on the growing worries from plugged-in Republicans that they don’t have the money in place to effectively fight the legal battles associated with redistricting. The sense is that they’re victims of their own success: they spent so much money on winning state legislatures last year that they didn’t leave any leftovers budgeted for the aftermath.

129 thoughts on “SSP Daily Digest: 2/1”

  1. So has Terry Lyn Land already had her little confab with Hoekstra? I’m betting her first question now isn’t “Are you running?” but “How much they payin’ ya?, any chance of a donation?”

  2. Does anyone know if Nevada allows the governor to appoint a replacement Senator in the case of an opening, and if so if it would require a special election? Not saying Ensign will resign…yet.

  3. I happen to think someone like Dan Senor could hold Gillibrand to within a 20-point margin, but, as for McCaughey, let’s not forget that she actually switched parties in 1997 after George Pataki booted her from the ticket. She ran for the Democratic nomination, tacked left, and managed to place 2nd. So, you’ll have a bunch of Republicans, particularly rank-and-file ones, who view McCaughey with a very wary eye. Gillibrand could probably garner upwards of 20 percent of Republicans vs. McCaughey.

    So, yeah, I think Senor’s about as good it as gets for the New York GOP. He can coalesce the base, and that’s about the most that can be expected here. Peter King isn’t running. Maybe David Malpass runs again, but his candidacy floundered last year.  

  4. NY-Sen: Last time I checked, Betsy McCaughey was still a Democrat, after switching in the late 1990s. (And forgive me, especially the ladies here, for being a little nasty, but she’s still a stupid, nasty, lying twat that did more to cause hysteria during the health care debate than anyone I can remember. So screw her.) If this is the case, will she switch back to the Republicans? Or will she try to unseat Gillibrand from the Conservative Party line?

    I’d actually like to see her try. Perhaps she could rake in a lot of industry money that might otherwise go to some  Republican candidates in what is ultimately a laughable, dead end pursuit.

    Fundraising: Maybe this is a function of the fact that the race didn’t turn in his favor until the very end, but wasn’t Webb substantially outspent by Allen last time around? If that’s the case, then perhaps he figures he can go as light this time, considering he’s the incumbent. Plus, he’s not exactly poor, so can’t he self-fund if he wants to?

    As far as Nelson goes, how expensive is it to compete in Nebraska? I also wonder if he figures that he can ramp up his fund raising later in the game and avoid being tarred with taking money from outside the state–you know, from those godless coastal elites or something.

    And about his retirement: who will replace him if he does? On some days, I wonder if that’s the best option for keeping the seat.  

  5. I think this is a case where one can pretty easily read between the lines: he’s in for either Gov or Sen in 2014. Which one I don’t know – it probably depends on how weak Dayton looks in 3 years’ time.

  6. despite that one poll that showed him strong, I think he would have ultimately lost. Terri Lynn Land on the other hand would be a formidable opponent. Since her and Hoekstra seemed to be coordinating plans, his decision not to run seems to suggest she’s really considering it. I hope not. We have too many races in purple and red states to worry about Michigan.  

  7. Arizona looks increasingly out of reach, while Nebraska and North Dakota look pretty brutal and I think Michigan, Montana, Missouri, and Virginia are all looking like tossups. New Jersey and Florida could get uncomfortable, too.

    Democrats can potentially flip Nevada, Maine, and Massachusetts, and I’d still make a bid for Tennessee, Arizona, and Indiana if I were Sen. Murray (especially if I could get Bredesen in the Volunteer State, which would be a hell of a coup), but it’s looking like another uphill fight next year.

  8. Maybe some inside baseball, and maybe a few days late, but Democratic State Representative Barb Byrum (from the district directly to the south of mine) put forth a redistricting reform bill, last week, that went down along partisan lines (45-63); it seems two Dems were absent.  It would have included:

    * Increase transparency by posting online all redistricting proposals and any communication House members and staff have with outside parties regarding redistricting.

    * Broaden public participation by soliciting redistricting proposals and input from Michigan residents.

    * Require at least six public hearings across the state to consider redistricting proposals, no less than 45 days after census data is released.

    * Prohibit redistricting proposals from being reported out of any legislative committee until at least 30 days after the final statewide hearing has taken place.

    It’d be nice if the two parties could compromise and at least move us in the direction of a more transparent redistricting.  This isn’t even that hard of a reform as compared to some other states that have gone to non-partisan/bi-partisan redistricting panels.

  9. Obama approval 45-51, Romney up 6, Huckabee up 4, Gingrich ties and Palin trails by 8.

    I’d call that competitive. More evidence Romney is stronger out west than Huckabee and vice versa in the south. And if nothing more it makes winning an open Senate seat more of a possibility.


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