SSP Daily Digest: 3/16

AZ-Sen: Is Mike Lee hoping to turn into Jim DeMint 2.0? The Utah Republican and teabagger extraordinaire announced his second out-of-state endorsement, this time of Rep. Jeff Flake, running to succeed Jon Kyl. (Last week he endorsed Ted Cruz in TX-Sen.) Flake’s an interesting choice for Lee: his extreme anti-earmark rhetoric is probably appealing to teabaggers, but many of his other views are anathema to them. (In fact, he didn’t even show his face at a local teabagger convention a few weeks ago.) As for Lee, unless he starts backing up his words with real money (like DeMint does), then I’m going to stop caring about him very soon.

CT-Sen: Rep. Chris Murphy just rolled out the Honeycomb™ of endorsements – as in, it’s not small, no no no. All four of his fellow members of Congress – Rosa DeLauro, John Larson, Joe Courtney, and Jim Himes – gave Murphy their backing yesterday. His opponent in the Democratic primary, Susan Bysiewicz, offered a weirdly churlish response, saying “There is no doubt that Congressman Chris Murphy has a lot of support in the inner hallways of Washington.” Uh, does she really want to be dissing well-regarded figures like caucus chair Larson et al.?

FL-Sen: Jebus, this is really getting down into the weeds here: ex-Sen. George LeMieux is considering (considering!) hiring a pollster! WOW! Slow news day doesn’t begin to describe it.

HI-Sen: Is there anyone other than Haley Barbour who doesn’t think that working as a lobbyist is now a huge 20-lb. goiter around the neck of anyone who wants to seek elective office? Well, Charles Djou seems to be hoping Barbour is right. A Bloomberg News report that he and ex-Rep. Walt Minnick of Idaho have started a lobbying firm is only “sort of” true, says Djou. He goes on to add that he’s not moving back to DC and that “I am only serving as an advisor with Congressman Minnick and really haven’t done much of anything other than give him occasional advice.” Uh huh. Well, look, I’d rather live in Hawaii, too, but this namby-pamby b.s. is not really going to cut it if Djou is actually staying home because he wants to run for the Senate this cycle.

On the other side of the aisle, here’s a new name in the mix: State Senate Vice President Donna Mercado Kim (D) says she’s forming an exploratory committee so that she can poll the race, explaining she’ll decide at that point whether she wants to get in. While no Democrat has taken the plunge yet, Kim would almost certainly face a field of serious heavyweights.

MA-Sen: Guy Cecil alert! Okay, yeah, this is nothing like a Biden alert! – Cecil is the executive director of the DSCC, and he’s coming up to Boston to meet with party leaders and other Democratic bigwigs to discuss the race against Sen. Scott Brown. No word of any specific recruiting meetings, but I’d be surprised if some weren’t in the offing.

MI-Sen (PDF): Unfortunately this EPIC•MRA poll got wedged beneath the couch cushions a couple of weeks ago, but I found it (along with Sid Leiken’s mom’s cell phone) when I went hunting for the remote. Anyhow, they showed Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D) inching out ex-Rep. (and 2010 GOP gubernatorial primary loser) Pete Hoekstra by a 44-42 margin. (Hoekstra has yet to announce a run.) When this poll first came out, a lot of folks pointed out that the sample composition seems whack. I’ll also observe that the pronunciation guides in the poll script for both names are wrong. They told their interviewers to pronounce them STAB-now and HOKE-struh. (Click links for proper pronunciation.)

MO-Sen: No one must be more pleased at Republican Rep. Todd Akin’s evolving change of heart about a Senate run than Democrat Russ Carnahan. In The Fix’s words, Akin is now “actively considering” the race – which is, by my counting, his fourth different stance on whether he’s interested. As for Carnahan, if Akin’s House seat opens up, that may mean the Dem’s 3rd CD seat gets spared in redistricting.

MT-Sen: I’ve been disappointed at how meekly the teabaggers seem to have reacted to Rep. Denny Rehberg’s coronation as the de facto Republican nominee in Montana, so even though this is purely a rumor, I’m at least pleased to see it. Blogger Don Pogreba says he’s heard that Rob Natelson, a hardcore conservative law professor who twice sought the GOP nomination for governor, is polling the race. The big red flag, though, is that Natelson moved to Colorado last year, as Pogreba acknowledges. Tea Party Express, Club for Growth – where are you?

NV-Sen, NV-02: Well, that was quick. Everyone who thought Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki wouldn’t challenge Rep. Dean Heller in the GOP primary, you were right. Not only that, Krolicki offered his endorsement to Heller yesterday, just hours after Heller made his entry into the race official. Krolicki did say he’s considering a run for Heller’s NV-02 seat, though.

As for that 2nd CD race, Jon Ralston said he’s seen three different internal polls in recent days, all of which show Sharron Angle doing poorly in a one-on-one fight against Krolicki (and also against Heller for Senate). Ralston says he can’t divulge the numbers, but he now thinks that Angle – whom he had previously considered “the favorite” for NV-02 – would need a multi-way primary to have a chance at the nomination.

And finally, here’s some welcome – and rare – news about the Dem field: Dave Wasserman says that state Treasurer Kate Marshall, who had previously been talked about as a possible Senate candidate, is considering the race in the 2nd district. Wasserman also reports that state Dems are thinking about a plan to pack Republicans into 3rd CD Rep. Joe Heck’s district so as to make a more amenable 2nd CD for the likes of Marshall.

PA-Sen: Another Republican Some Dude has entered the race against Sen. Bob Casey. As Philadelphia Weekly puts it: “Her name’s Laureen Cummings, she’s the head of the Scranton Tea Party and, like members of the Tea Party, she considers herself a ‘patriot.’ She also believes Congress needs more patriots and patriots her patriot every patriot morning.” And as our own Brian Valco puts it: “Because she’s the head of the Scranton Tea Party, expect a Wall Street Journal write-up and FNC primetime interview soon enough.”

VA-Sen: This is looking really pathetic. After the DNC swore that Tim Kaine did not tell a class at the University of Richmond that he was running for Senate, the school’s newspaper is saying that it has “confirmed that he told the class that he had made his decision.” Whoever is telling the truth, this is just some small-time shit which really doesn’t seem like the kind of thing someone experienced in running professional campaigns would be engaged in. I mean, how many different times has Kaine uttered something that could be interpreted or mis-interpreted or re-interpreted or mal-interpreted? This is just not the sort of shtick I’d expect from someone supposedly steeped in the “No Drama Obama” ethos. Enough of the games.

NC-Gov: Former Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory (R), who has widely been expected to seek a rematch against Gov. Bev Perdue since forever, is kinda-sorta starting to staff up. Several political hands are “advising” him now (though only one is on payroll), including his 2008 campaign manager (who is working on a volunteer basis).

ND-Gov: This is a nice – and to me, unexpected – piece of news: Former Rep. Earl Pomeroy, who lost a tough race last year, is apparently considering a run for governor this year, at least according to the chair of the North Dakota Democratic Party, Mark Schneider. Pomeroy recently took a job at the DC firm of Alston & Bird (erm, what was I saying about lobbyists earlier?), though Schneider says Pomeroy told him he’d rather live in his home state than Washington.

UT-Gov: Utah has another gubernatorial election next year, despite having just held one last year. That’s because the 2010 election was a special, to fill the remaining years in ex-Gov. John Huntsman’s term. (Huntsman of course resigned to become Obama’s ambassador to China, and is now on the entertaining quest of winning the GOP’s presidential nomination.) Anyhow, Gary Herbert, who inherited the job when Huntsman stepped down and then won last November, faces voters again in 2012 – but predictably, he’s found a way to piss off the teabaggers. He’s planning to sign an immigration bill which creates a guest worker program, but the teanuts are calling it an “amnesty.” They want to boot Herbert, but we’ll see if their bark has any bite. (My guess: no.)

CA-36: Rep. John Garamendi and former Rep. Diane Watson both endorsed fellow Dem Janice Hahn in the special election today. Watson used to represent a Los Angeles district (the 33rd) until her retirement last year. Garamendi hails from the Bay Area up north, but perhaps has a larger profile on account of being a former Lt. Gov. Meanwhile, Debra Bowen put out a press release touting the endorsement of former L.A. city controller and state inspector general Laura Chick. Chick, who has a reputation as reformer, originally endorsed Bowen via Twitter last month.

FL-22: Some Dude “no not that” Patrick Murphy filed to run against lunatic Allen West as a Democrat. The only other time I mentioned this guy, the media account I linked described him as some kind of construction executive, so I thought, maybe rich dude? But The Hill says he’s a 28-year-old accountant, so I’m guessing probably not. (That prior piece also said Steve Israel was meeting with him on a recruiting trip, which is sorta surprising.)

FL-25: Politico has another entry in the “David Rivera is doomed” file, but they bury the lede on the only really new information, which is a list of candidates that unnamed “Republicans have begun mentioning” as possible replacements. One of them has come up before on SSP: state Sen. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla. The others are political consultant Carlos Curbelo, state Rep. J.C. Planas, and state Sen. Anitere Flores. Planas and Flores (the only woman in this group) both refused to rule out the possibility of a run.

NY-26: This amuses me: Crazy Jack Davis is, as you know, petitioning his way on to the ballot as an independent. But if you do that in New York, you actually get to create your own (very temporary) party, complete with funny name. (Does anyone NOT think that Rent Is Too Damn High?) Davis’s choice? The Tea Party. Actual teabaggers are pissed that he’s ganking their good (lol) name. And actual teabagger David Bellavia, who is also petitioning, has been reduced to picking the “Federalist Party.” What’s next, the Whigs? Oh wait, we already had that.

Wisconsin Recall: The complete results of Daily Kos’s polls of all eight recall target districts are out, and the numbers are at least somewhat promising – but go judge for yourself. Also of note, the tradmed is apparently confirming a story that started circulating on some blogs a few days ago – namely, that vulnerable Sen. Randy Hopper left his wife to move in with a 25-year-old mistress (a Republican consultant, of course) in Madison. In addition to the salacious angle, this is also potentially a problem because that means he may now be living outside his district, which would be against state law (depending on certain other circumstances). In any event, it don’t look good – and the kicker is that, according to Reid Wilson, Hopper’s estranged wife signed his recall petition!

IL-St. Sen.: So sorry – no Scott Lee Cohen!

Miami-Dade County: Just brutal: Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Alvarez and Commissioner Natacha Seijas were recalled from office last night with something like 88% voting to boot them. A Miami friend of mine summed it up thusly: Alvarez “raised taxes, then raised his staff’s salary, then got himself a luxury car at government expense when they already provide him two SUVs.” Smart thinking!

Special Elections: Heeere’s Johnny (Longtorso):

Judy Schwank held Pennsylvania’s SD-11 pretty easily yesterday for the Democrats, ending up with a 58-42 margin over Republican Larry Medaglia.

Elections: A number of states are trying to save money and do what’s only sensible: consolidate their presidential primaries with their congressional & state primaries. Proposals include making the former later (AL, CA), or making the former later and the latter earlier (MO). Other states are considering switching to caucuses (boo!): KS, MA & WA.

Virginia Redistricting: You may remember the redistricting contest between teams at various Virginia colleges from a few months ago; all of their finished projects are now on display, in case you need some inspiration for your own Dave’s App tinkerings. One other rumor that might scramble all those careful map-makings, though: Dave Wasserman is saying that the DOJ might force Virginia to junk its likely compromise map and proceed with two separate VRA seats, one based in Hampton Roads and the other in Richmond. That would probably cost the GOP an additional seat, most likely VA-04’s Randy Forbes, who already has one of the most African-American-heavy seats held by a GOPer.

86 thoughts on “SSP Daily Digest: 3/16”

  1. Clarify the process by which the Department of Justice can require states to draw additional VRA districts, and what legal argument they can use? I know they can do it, but I’m unsure exactly what that would look like.

    As for the other bits of news: Pomeroy for governor sounds like it would be welcome news for DGA chair Gov. O’Malley, whose prospects in Louisiana and Mississippi could be better. Definitely surprising that Rep. Israel is meeting with a Some Dude; in FL-22, can’t Democrats do any better? Granted, my 9-year-old dog could probably give Rep. West a run for his money, but…

    And as for Chairman Kaine, I would have expected better than the bush-league nonsense that’s been going on there. Either announce you’re in or get the hell out of the way, man.

  2. So why would Pomeroy run for governor instead of senator? To show that he prefers ND to DC?

    I’m inclined to think, that North Dakotans after having been represented by democrats for decades aren’t that unlikely to send a Dem to Congress again. And since Conrad is retiring, Pomeroy might well stand a chance. BTW is there any chance Byron Dorgan might go for a comeback, it seems he retired because he was afraid of losing and not because he really wanted to quit politics.

  3. Those numbers seem like a mixed bag. Dems seem to have a very good chance at picking up atleast two seats, but they need three to pick up the Senate and block Walker’s agenda.

    The numbers in Alberta Darling’s district are quite surprising. I know a couple people living in this district and it is usually considered a swing district with a slight republican lean, but Darling is looking strong.

    Luther Olsen’s district is pretty rural, so collecting signatures there might be more difficult. But the Dems have been very organized about this whole effort.

  4. This “dust-up” about did he/didn’t he say he’s running is about a fraction as significant as the McCaskill plane travel “dust-up,” which you correctly recognize as a nonsensical manufactured hit job by Politico trying to make something out of nothing.

    Kaine probably has decided he’s running, and he let words to that effect let slip to his class.  Probably one of the kids asked him, and he blurted out an answer spontaneously–even today in the internet insta-news era probably hardly anyone would think he/she has to “stay on message” in an informal classroom setting like that, with a bunch of kids you’ve gotten to know.  It’s an honest slip, a lot of pols are still learning only just now how anything they say outside the most private conservations can wind up on the internet in minutes.  It’s got to be a stunning feeling to be in the shoes of a pol experiencing that reality.  Kaine’s last cycle on a ballot was in 2005, the internet-age but still not quite insta-news, and he probably made equivalently newsworthy utterances in semi-public fora countless times with no one ever finding out except the immediate audiences and small handfuls of their random friends and family.

    So Kaine makes that slip, and it blows up into the Twitterverse and the political media.

    And to what consequence?  There is no possible adverse consequence from this unless Kaine eventually announces he’s not running, and even then it’s fleeting and inconsequential to anyone but Kaine himself, and even then it’s not consequential to him unless he later in life does decide to run for another office.  And the “consequence” at its worst under any circumstances is limited to a single 24-hour news cycle in the cottage industry of the political media.  Almost no voters will ever hear about this, and among the few who hear about it, virtually no one will care.

  5. “…state Dems are thinking about a plan to pack Republicans into 3rd CD Rep. Joe Heck’s district so as to make a more amenable 2nd CD for the likes of Marshall.”

    The only way to do this would be for Heck’s district to snake into Reno for Republican votes, forcing “Marshall’s” district to snake down to Vegas for Dem votes. Sandoval would veto that.  

  6. Both come from old, powerful Mormon families once based in eastern Arizona’s White Mountains. These folks still look out for each other, maybe not quite enough to cross party lines and get too tangled up with the Udalls (at least publicly–though I should also note that Lee and the cousins Udall are fairly closely related as the families are intertwined at multiple points), but enough to make the smaller ideologically differences between Lee and Flake unimportant.

  7. You did some really good analysis on the front page of Kos about the PPP Wisconsin polls. I notice that has not been cross posted on SSP.

    I was chomping at the bit to comment on the analysis, but the problem with putting on the front page of Kos is that too many of the comments (IMHO) are of the “rah-rah” variety rather than the in-depth stuff you get on this site. I do plan on signing up for a Kos password once we get our own seperate page on the Kos site, but in the meantime could I request you repost the Wisconsin analysis on this site?  

  8. There are literally thousands of folks on the Michigan Capitol square right now protesting Governor Snyder.  This is easily one of the biggest protests even recent years, certainly bigger than the Tea Party protests, last year, which had been the biggest up ’till that point.

  9. MN-08 population came in a little higher than expected, only about 2,600 under the ideal population. This is good news for Dems because it will make it next to impossible for Republicans to strengthen Chip Cravaack much at all.  

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