SSP Daily Digest: 2/24

AZ-Sen: Outgoing Sen. Jon Kyl says he isn’t endorsing a successor – just yet. He wants to see how the field develops first.

IN-Sen: Look who else isn’t endorsing – the forgotten man, Sen. Dan Coats, says he isn’t taking sides in the looming GOP primary battle, not for Lugar or anyone else. Way to stick by your colleagues, huh? I guess maybe Coats is thinking about 2016, when I’d be willing to bet dollars-to-donuts he’ll get teabagged himself (if he doesn’t hang up his spurs before then, something I’d also entertain action on).

Meanwhile, Mourdock is concerned about the possible entry of teabagging state Sen. Mike Delph, who Treasurer (and recently-announced candidate) Richard Mourdock says will split the vote with him if he runs. Delph previously issued the usual state legislator’s incantation, saying he’d wait until the legislative sessions concludes at the end of April before deciding on a run.

NE-Sen: Gotta say this about Don Stenberg: He has no fear of losing. He’s making his fourth try for senate, having failed on his three previous attempts. Still, despite almost achieving perennial candidate status, he did have a triumphant return to statewide office last year, winning the Treasurer race by a landslide. And he served as state AG for over a decade starting in 1991, so it’s not like he can’t win a race. (Attentive law students might also remember him from the caption in Stenberg v. Carhart, the Supreme Court case about so-called “partial-birth abortion.”) In any event, Stenberg is looking to present himself as the far-right alternative to AG and not-exactly-firmly-entrenched frontrunner Jon Bruning.

TX-Sen: Either Tom Leppert just scored a sweet season pass to Six Flags Hurricane Harbor, or he’s going to dive into the crowded GOP senate race. Though he has four months to go, he’s resigning (effective Friday) from his current position as mayor of Dallas, so it’s gotta be one of those two. Who wants to give me ten-to-one on Hurricane Harbor?

Maybe that’s not a bad idea, actually, since the University of Texas (on behalf of the Texas Tribune) didn’t even test Leppert’s name in their new poll (PDF) of the GOP primary. It’s not especially fascinating, though, since “I dunno” leads the way at 52%, LG David Dewhurst (who hasn’t yet announced) is at 27%, and no one else is above 5%. They also looked at a hypothetical Dem primary, between a bunch of guys who aren’t running and no one knows. Click through the link if you insist.

UT-Sen: What to do if you’re a pollster in Utah? You’ve got a major potential teabagging on your hands, but it’s very likely to be decided at a party convention, not in a normal primary. So what do you do? You poll it anyway! I can’t blame the folks at – it’s not like you can really poll convention-goers. And there is worthwhile information you can learn from these sorts of things.

Anyhow, in a hypothetical primary, Sen. Orrin Hatch is tied with Rep. Jason Chaffetz at 42 apiece. This says to me that GOP state delegates are likely to be even more anti-Hatch than Republican voters at large, so the incumbent is probably in very serious trouble indeed. I’m not convinced Chaffetz will make the race, though – in response to this poll, he noted that he’s already a subcommittee chair in just his second term, and that it would be “pretty hard to walk away” from his newfound influence in the House majority. But certainly someone will step up.

NY-26: I’ve been dismissive of him so far, and I remain skeptical, but David Bellavia is at least showing that can-do spirit. The former Army staff sergeant and Iraq war veteran filed paperwork with the FEC to form an exploratory committee, and his spokesman pointed to Republican nominee Jane Corwin’s support for abortion rights (at least “during the first trimester,” which, guys, hasn’t been the legal framework for twenty years). It’ll be interesting to see if a teabagger candidacy can use a social issue likes this as its hook. Anyhow, if he doesn’t score an existing third-party line, Bellavia will need 3,500 valid signatures to get on the ballot as an independent, which is a lot harder than it sounds.

TX-15: Felicia Sonmez runs down the House members with the highest absentee rates so far – several have missed in the range of 30% of votes in the early going of the 112th Congress. But all of them have obvious excuses (mostly bereavement and health-related), except for one: Ruben Hinojosa, who has skipped over 40% of roll calls. His spokesman didn’t respond to The Fix, but I’m really curious to know what’s going on here. Could retirement be looming?

DCCC: The D-Trip is doing a wave of robocalls, along with some web ads and emails, into fifty Republican districts. The Hill doesn’t seem to have (or at least, have published) the entire list, and NWOTSOTB. (That’s “No Word On The Size Of The Buy,” in case you haven’t seen that one before. Remember it, because candidates and organizations frequently launch tiny paid media campaigns with the hopes of garnering free press. If you don’t see information about how much a media buy actually costs, then odds are it falls into this category. Don’t let yourself get played, and always be looking for the size of the buy.)

Census: Here’s a new tidbit from the Census Bureau: 760 of the nation’s 3,000+ counties are experiencing “natural decrease:” deaths are outweighing births. Although most of these counties are rural counties, it’s not purely a red state phenomenon; at the state level, four states (all of which, you might notice, have not only older-than-average populations but also low Hispanic populations) also fall into this category: West Virginia, Vermont, Pennsylvania, and Maine. (C)

119 thoughts on “SSP Daily Digest: 2/24”

  1. I find it incredibly hard to believe that he’d pass up an opportunity to be Senator for a good 30 years (at least until someone even more nutty comes along and primaries him) in favor of a subcommittee chairmanship. I mean, if he doesn’t primary Lugar, someone else will, so both Senate seats would be tied up for decades.

    As for Hinojosa, he recently declared bankruptcy, which may be the source of his absenteeism.

  2. I’m seriously at a loss as to why Stenberg is jumping in here. He’s already a major underdog to Bruning and if/when he loses again he’s going to have a tough time running for Governor in ’14 with the Perenial Loser tag.

    Maybe he figures Nelson is so weak all he needs to do is win the primary and he’s a Senator? He’ll still be Treasurer in ’14 regardless of how badly he gets spanked in the Senate race, no there isn’t an overt risk…but still – this move shows a serious lack of judgement.

  3. Governor Terry Branstad appointed three Supreme Court justices yesterday to replace the three justices Iowa voters did not retain in the 2010 elections. All three are qualified candidates, all are Republicans, and one made a substantial donation to Branstad’s gubernatorial campaign. That hasn’t stopped some conservatives from grumbling, but I don’t think there is enough support in the legislature to change our merit selection system for judges.

    In 2012 all three of the newly-appointed justices will be on the ballot for retention, as will David Wiggins, one of the seven who concurred in the 2009 Varnum v Brien ruling on marriage. I’m curious to see whether there will be an all-out campaign against retaining Wiggins, a Tom Vilsack appointee. (Outside groups spent about a million dollars on the campaign against retaining Marsha Ternus, Michael Streit and David Baker last year).

    The 2010 anti-retention television and radio commercials had a simple message: take a stand against activist judges, turn your ballot over and vote no, no, no on retaining Supreme Court justices. In 2012 it would be a a more difficult message: turn your ballot over and vote no on Wiggins (whose name would presumably be sandwiched between Mansfield, Waterman and Zager). Or maybe by then the court will have handed down some other ruling that made right-wing groups mad, so they will campaign against retaining all four justices, but it’s hard to see any case coming down the pike that would be as emotional as same-sex marriage.

    I’m annoyed that Iowa’s Supreme Court will have no women justices for the first time since 1986. It’s partly the judicial nominating commission’s fault; a dozen qualified women applied, but the only woman on the short list of nominees sent to Branstad was the one he obviously would never consider appointing.

  4. FixAaron

    Former CA LG Abel Maldonado (R) has filed to run against Rep. Lois Capps (D-Calif.). Tough district, but redist commission could change it.

    The emphasis here should definitely be on the last sentence.

  5. http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.n

    Nate suggests that Obama’s approvals are holding up better in southern states — which suggests different targets, e.g.

    The most intriguing possibility is probably Georgia, where Mr. Obama’s approval rating was 45.5 percent in 2010 – just slightly below the national average. Compare Georgia, for instance, to Missouri: Mr. Obama lost the former by 5.2 percentage points in 2008, and the latter by 0.1 point. But Mr. Obama’s campaign heavily targeted Missouri, which it did not do for Georgia; that may have been worth several points. And Mr. Obama’s approval rating is now higher in Georgia than it is in Missouri. Depending on the identity of the Republican nominee and his or her geographic strengths, Georgia might be the better target for Mr. Obama.

  6. of California….

    Assemblyman Anthony Portantino will lay the groundwork for a 2012 congressional campaign with a Sacramento fundraiser next week.

    The Southern California Democrat has not officially announced his candidacy, but e-mail invitations tout Tuesday’s event as his “Official Congressional Campaign Sacramento Kick Off.”

    Portantino, D-La Cañada Flintridge, will be termed out of the Assembly in 2012 and plans to challenge Republican U.S. Rep. David Dreier, chairman of the House Rules Committee.

    Portantino’s Sacramento fundraiser will be at the home of Jay Hansen, chief strategy officer for the California Medical Association. Supporters are asked to contribute $50 to $500.

    Portantino served last year as head of the Assembly Committee on Revenue and Taxation.

    Read more:

    Looks like someone’s anticipating redistricting here. Wouldn’t be surprised if redistricting unleashes the floodgates of termed out legislators. (Dreier’s the rumored closeted person right?)

  7. What would be the result of a VRA NV-1 on the map? Any link to a previously drawn one? As of new census numbers, NV-1 is barely plurality white 39-37.

  8. What is up withh Jay Goyle?  I’ve been looking around state legislative maps, and he stands out.  He’s a 30-year-old Hindu Democrat representing a district more-or-less coterminous with a county, Richland, that Obama lost by 13.5, Strickland lost by 15, the Republican county commissioner won in 2010 by 19.  His district is entirely surrounded by landslide-Republican districts, and he’s in a Republican State Senate district and a Republican Congressional district.  Just looking at his website, the endorsement I saw from a local paper doesn’t mention that his opponent was a serial killer or anything, and even if he was, plenty of lousy politicians can win  relatively small districts that favor their party anyway in a wave year for their party.  So, what’s up with Jay Goyle?

  9. who could be a possible candidate to run against Todd Young. Pretty much anybody in Bloomington. Not necessarily meaning they would be a good fit for the district as it may be drawn.

    – Mayor Mark Kruzan (Perhaps to liberal)

    – Senate Minority Leader Vi Simpson (Perhaps to liberal)

    – State Representative Peggy Welch (Voted for Marriage Amendment and held up in a hotel in Urbana, Illinois with the rest of the Democrats in the General Assembly. Out of all of these probably the best fit and after her vote against marriage equality she’ll probably be out of a job.)

    – State Representative Matt Pierce (Definitely to liberal, but he’s my rep. and I love him. Also held up in Urbana.)

    Please help me and add to the list of any possible candidates.  

Comments are closed.