SSP Daily Digest: 4/25


ME-Sen: It’s stuff like this which have me convinced that Olympia Snowe is definitely not out of the woods. Her fellow Maine senator, Susan Collins, said she won’t support Rep. Paul Ryan’s Medicare-killing budget plan, which seems to put the screws to Snowe. It’s a pretty classic problem: If she sides with Ryan, she damages her standing with normal people, and if she sides with Collins, she’ll enrage the teabaggers. It may not matter in the end, but it doesn’t help – and with Collins speaking out, that makes it a lot harder for Snowe to simply avoid the question.

NV-Sen: Gov. Brian Sandoval says he’ll tap a replacement for John Ensign by the time Ensign resigns in early May, though apparently some Republicans would prefer he name someone other than Dean Heller. That would let the GOP avoid a potential gong-show in NV-02, but Jon Ralston says that a Heller appointment is already a “done deal.”

OH-Sen: It sounds like Ken Blackwell wants to decide whether he’ll seek the GOP nomination some time in May, after his new book comes out.

TX-Sen: Robert Paul, son of Ron and brother of Rand (son of Byford, brother of Al!), says he won’t run for Senate this cycle, but says he could possibly run for office at some point in the future.


IN-Gov: Rep. Mike Pence, whom everyone seems convinced will run for governor, raised a pretty meh $283K in Q1. And yes, he can transfer that money over for a gubernatorial race, so it’s not unimportant. I can’t really imagine Pence declining this chance to seek the statehouse – he won’t have an open-seat opportunity again for quite some time. However, he is in the top rung of GOP leadership in Congress, so maybe he’s just feeling ambivalent. UPDATE: Can’t believe I forgot this, but staypositive reminds me that Pence is no longer a member of the GOP leadership… which makes his sucky fundraising stand out all the more.

LA-Gov: Uh, well, this certainly takes the cake for first quarter fundraising. Wealthy businessman John Georges wrote his campaign committee a ten million dollar check (in the form of a loan), to be used for an unspecified statewide office. I’m filing this under “LA-Gov” because he ran as an indie for that job in 2007. No word yet if he’ll run again, or if he’ll do so as a Dem, but if he does, at least his cash would give Bobby Jindal a little heartburn.

NH-Gov: Dem state Rep. Jim Splaine, writing over at Blue Hampshire, takes a broad look at the playing field for next year’s gubernatorial race. He wants Gov. John Lynch to run again, but if he doesn’t, Splaine offers a ton of other possibilities. One name that stands out is former Portsmouth Mayor Steve Marchand, who ran for NH-Sen in 2008 before stepping aside for Jeanne Shaheen. Marchand’s been talked about as a possible challenger to 1st CD Rep. Frank Guinta, but he’s talked with Splaine about his ambitions, and it sounds like he’s more interesting in a gubernatorial bid.

Also, if you want to keep your finger on the progressive pulse in the Granite State, BH has started running straw polls for next year’s key races. Marchand wasn’t included in their gov test, but Mark Connolly (whom we mentioned here the other day) led the way with 31% of the vote.


AZ-08, AZ-Sen: The Arizona Republic has a lengthy profile on Gabrielle Giffords and her recovery and rehabilitation, which is worth reading in full. Also, her husband, astronaut Mark Kelley, said that Giffords has been cleared to attend the launch of the space shuttle Endeavour this Friday. Kelly will command this mission, Endeavour’s last.

NY-13: According to the New York Observer, a new potential Dem name to take on Rep. Mike Grimm has emerged: Robert Diamond, a Navy veteran and investment banker. Diamond has roots on Staten Island, but Brooklyn-based blogger Colin Campbell dug up a donation to the DNC which shows that Diamond lived on the Upper East Side as recently as last year. Not sure how great a fit that is culturally… but in any case, Diamond didn’t return a call to the Observer seeking comment, so who knows how real this is.

NY-22: Our thoughts go out to upstate Rep. Maurice Hinchey, who was just diagnosed with colon cancer. Fortunately, his doctors say that his cancer is curable and they expect a full recovery. Hinchey is 72.

NY-26: Dem Kathy Hochul was just endorsed by EMILY’s List. The special election is just a month away, May 24th.

OR-01: State Rep. Brad Witt has been upgraded from “rumor level” to “considering level.” Blue Oregon mentioned the other day that he was a possible contender to challenge Rep. David Wu in the Dem primary; now, according to Jeff Mapes in the Oregonian, some of his advisors are saying he’s definitely interested. He’d be the second Democrat (well, other than Wu himself) to get into the race – Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian is already running, setting up a battle of the Brads. There are also still several other people in the more nebulous stages of candidacy, so I hope that we don’t (as some have suggested in comments) wind up with David Wu turning into the Dem version of Dan Burton and winning the primary with a bare plurality.

Other Races:

KY-St. House: It’s not the biggest news in the world, but it’s unusual enough to merit a quick note: Kentucky state Rep. Wade Hurt is switching parties… from Republican to Democrat. Hurt won office last year under unusual circumstances when his Democratic opponent was declared ineligible to run because he filed improper paperwork. (Believe it or not, Dem Jeffrey Donohue needed all of two signatures on his nominating petition, but managed to screw up one of them.) Dems were not permitted to replace Donohue, so Hurt won the ancestrally Democratic 37th district by default. Hurt claimed he wasn’t switching out of self-preservation and says he received no inducements, but the district is 62 D, 29 R by registration, and even in Dixiecrat territory, that still means something. (UPDATE: Johnny L-T reminds me that the district is in Louisville, so not really Dixiecrat territory – which makes these registration numbers all the more dangerous for a Republican.)

WI Recall, WI-Gov: I’m usually not a big fan of polls from colleges with short track records, but YMMV with this St. Norbert poll testing recall numbers. They find Scott Walker at 48% “keep” and 47% “remove.” They also tested state Senate Republicans and Democrats, with Wisconsinites saying “keep” for the GOP by a 53-35 margin and “keep” for the Dems, 57-33. Mind you, this was a statewide poll, and it also had a super-long field date, April 5 through April 18.

Grab Bag:

House Majority PAC: Greg Giroux breaks down the independent expenditure reports from the House Majority PAC’s Medicare-related attack on ten House Republicans. Turns out that unlike the DCCC’s “tuppence a bag” efforts, it’s a legit buy, ringing up at $116K. Click the link for the full breakdowns.

Americans United: Speaking of which, the progressive group Americans United for Change is targeting four GOPers over the Ryan vote: Ryan himself, as well as Sean Duffy and Chip Cravaack (both also on the HMP’s list – see item just above), and, most interestingly, Steve King. TPM calls the buy “significant,” but also notes that it’s for five figures… so we could be taking anywhere from $10K to $99K here. Americans United is also doing robocalls in a bunch of districts.

Redistricting Roundup:

Colorado: It sounds like attempts to go back to the drawing board and produce a compromise map in Colorado have failed (why am I not surprised?). Democrats say they’ll introduce a new map of their own next week, but I can’t possibly imagine it will be appealing to Republicans (and vice-versa for anything the GOP might do). Unless the GOP decides it’s more scared of what a court might draw, then we’ll stay locked in a stalemate. And I say the GOP because they’re the ones who have the most to lose – Colorado is already pretty close to a Republican gerrymander by accident (the last map was court-drawn, too), which you can see because the new GOP proposals seek to change it only minimally. (Ironically, Republicans originally hated the map, and tried to pull off a mid-decade re-redistricting that got tossed by the courts.) In any event, the writeup at the link is quite detailed and worth a read if you’re interested in drilling down on this one some more.

Missouri: Things have really fallen apart in Missouri, with the state House Speaker openly lambasting his counterparts in the Senate for a lack of “leadership.” The Senate adjourned on Friday without reaching any kind of agreement with the House, which means lawmakers have all but missed a deadline which would allow them to send a map to Gov. Jay Nixon before the end of the legislative session. Now, even if they do finish a map soon, if Nixon vetoes, any chance at an over-ride won’t take place until the fall.

Mississippi: Oral arguments were heard in the lawsuit over Mississippi’s redistricting impasse, with Dem AG Jim Hood making the interesting argument that elections should be held this fall using maps that passed by each body of the state lege but weren’t voted on by the other (nor, of course, signed into law). Hood also argued against the judges drawing their own maps, and against the idea of holding elections this fall under the old lines and new ones next year with new maps (as happened in 1991/92). Republicans, predictably, took the opposite view.

Timelines: Ballotpedia has a good list of timetables for each state to start and complete its redistricting process (though many are pretty flexible and some states have no specific deadlines).

203 thoughts on “SSP Daily Digest: 4/25”

  1. So I could gauge the level of Democratic support for Commissioner Avakian versus Rep. Wu or Brad Witt. As I’ve said, though, I think Avakian has got the establishment backing, and he’s got to be the favorite. I have nothing against Witt, but he doesn’t have much of a resume, and his political base is in rural Columbia County – not exactly the beating heart of the Fightin’ First.

    Great to see Sen. Snowe being wrangled into a tight spot. It’s a sad state of affairs when Democrats are willing to wait around for some friendly fire to put spineless jags like Snowe into a tough position.

    And good news in Louisiana – finally, someone with money emerges.

    1. More room to trip Rs up and extend the issue. Especially since this budget should be our pathway to retaking the House, have to keep it relevant for as long as possible

    2. I like your idea a lot, but it’d be nice to send it back to the House, if there’s a strong likelihood they’d all vote the same way.  

  2. NY-13 was the most surprising 2010 result to many people, including me. Grimm was from the wrong side of the district (Brooklyn), because Staten Island politics has a lot of emphasis on candidate over party (see also the local Conservative party backing McMahon). But Staten Islander McMahon lost Staten Island while winning Brooklyn. It was bizarre.

    This guy’s strength or weakness probably still rests on how strong his ties are to the community there.

    KY – The House district is in Louisville, so it’s not really Dixiecrat territory.

    Redistricting – It really amazes me what a clusterfuck redistricting is starting to become; it seemed like it was going so easily, with maps being passed left and right. Now there are messes in a bunch of states. Was it this bad last time around?

    1. The side-effect might be this; Republican Senators will know there’s no chance of it actually passing the Senate, and therefore some of the most vulnerable ones might vote against and be able to tout it as a moderate vote, potentially bolstering them. I’d be particularly concerned about this with Brown in MA, who has built his popularity almost entirely on maneovers like this, and for whom the threat of a primary challenge has been demonstrated time and time again to be quite low, despite the never-ending speculaton. Heller might also be able to try it if appointed, but in his case flip-flopping and the threat of a primary in NV would probably make it more trouble than it’s worth. Snowe also could, but again, it would embolden the Tea Party. Some senators up in 2014 and 2016 could also point to it down the line.

      However, overall it’d be a smart move, since only Brown, Snowe and an appointed Senator Heller could conceivably benefit in the short-term, while the rest of the GOP (including the House GOP) would certainly hurt by it being kept in the spot light.

  3. I haven’t heard much more about the Diehl vs Rupp fight, except that the STL suburban local GOP crowd seem pretty convinced this is a straight up fight between 2 state legislators looking to draw themselves into a promotion.

    I’m waiting for Ann Wagner to step in a bitch slap both of them.

    Everyone seems to think they’ll pass a shit sandwich by he end of session, but no one on either side has much confidence in what Nixon will eventually do, but the CW is that he will sign the damn thing. The reasoning (and again this is gossip on the ground, no word from anyone if Nixon circle is saying boo) is that this is an internal GOP fight over GOP district lines, they key factor in Nixon’s decision is will he be overridden? Since the GOP has already agreed to the desired lines for Lacy Clay and Emmanuel Cleaver the votes are there if/when they get a chance to override a veto.

    Add to that those same AA players are adamantly opposed to a court drawn map, Clay is safe regardless (VRA), but there is much consternation about what non-AA precinct would be added in a court vs GOP drawn map. Ditto that times a million in KC, I’ve taken a load of grief for claiming Cleaver would be vulnerable in an All Jackson County 5th, but the feeling among the AA power brokers is that Cleaver might be vulnerable if the GOP sections of Jackson County come into the 5th. Whether that is true or not is immaterial, they do NOT want a court drawn 5th.

    So the question is what makes Nixon look stronger/better, veto the map and potentially pissing off the AA grasstops AND risking looking weak by having his veto overridden (in September, this is so weird…ever heard of a special session people?), but on the plus side many non-AA Dem leaders might still like to see Nixon go to bat for Carnahan and a court drawn map couldn’t help but be more appealing to Carnahan (though IMO baring a Dem gerrymander of the old 3rd he’s a dead man walking once Clay’s district expands to match population numbers – again, just IMO).

    All that said I’d still bet dollars to doughnuts the court draws the map…

  4. There would have been strong pressure for Sandoval to appoint a placeholder in Ensign’s place. But because we’re Nevada, and because what others call “corruption” we call “politics”, Sandoval really thought he could get away with a quickie Heller appointment. We’ll have to see if he will even acknowledge the public outcry, even within his own party (!!!), over this.

  5. Please don’t run for Governor of Indiana. Because if you actually win, I’m going to have to move to a state with smarter voters. And I actually like it here.  

      1. If you think these issues aren’t going to be front and center you’re “pre-worrying”.  Even the most incompetent MA-Sen candidate will make this the cornerstone of his/her campaign, though I’m fairly sure that he’ll be against it and use that to be “captian moderate”.

        Snowe is a little more tricky, she can’t possibly be for it but she can’t be strongly against it with a primary looming and the always fun possibility of a strong 3rd party challenger in the general.  Maybe for once the 3rd party candidate in Maine could help the Dem, just this once?

        1. … having grown up in Indiana, I have to admit I hope he doesn’t get the nomination. Because a Daniels nod would almost certainly mean Obama loses the state in 2012. Which, more importantly, kills whatever chances Dems have of nabbing Lugar’s seat if he’s primaried or defeating Pence, who really would be an absolute disaster as governor.  

    1. that the Republicans feel the plan they voted on was just too liberal and decide to vote on something more conservative, right?

  6. He declined to run for reelection to Conference Chair, so right now he’s pretty much a normal House member… doesn’t even have any subcommittee chairmanships. He has to be running for Governor, right?

  7. Pretty much a guaranteed win and he can’t win the Presidency (his ultimate goal) out of the House, no matter how high he is in leadership.  Only way he’ll get cold feet is if the Dems get a good candidate to challenge him and because it’s a Presidential year and turnout could be harder to predict.

    I know Donnelly is mentioned for a Senate run – but what about running for the Governorship? What about tying a Pence candidacy to Walker, Kasich, Snyder, Scott – If Dems get a good Conservadem candidate to run I think they might have an outside chance and that might be what is giving Pence certain concern.  If he loses a high profile race his political career would be over.  He could be chosen as VP out of the House leadership and could still run for re-election for his House seat if he was tabbed for VP candidate for 2012.  And even if he lost the Presidential, he’d have a huge boost in national stature, overcoming a lot of the pitfalls of running out of the House for 2016.

    Romney/Pence for example could be formidable.    

    1. Have Brown and McCaskill vote against, and then get reporters to put their challengers on the spot. Hell, even Nelson (NE) could benefit from this strategy.

      Rehberg voting against was a brilliant move for him, that was unfortunate for us.

      1. it’s an insulting question that can’t really be accurately polled. I mean, I wish a lot of things that happened in history didn’t happen.

        1. Really, who is Florida going to vote for? Romney will be out of it by then if he can’t win NH decisively since he has no operation in SC. Not sure when Michigan will vote, but Romney opposed the auto bailout so I’m not sure if he can rely on the state again. And the race is going to go on longer than it did in 08 with delegates being allocated on a proportional basis. I can see Pawlenty doing well in big states like GA, IL, CA, and NY if they all vote on Super Tuesday.

        2. I’m not sure about the Romney/Daniels/Pawlenty grouping. Pawlenty has always been a social conservative and has converted to evangelicalism. That’s what makes him the most likely GOP nominee- while he has the “establishment” image and backing of Romney and Daniels, he’s simultaneously conservative enough to appeal to the teabaggers and evangelicals of the base. George W. Bush was the same, but the GOP’s unity issues have stemmed from the fact that none of the 2008 contenders and few of the 2012 contenders quite seem to be able to manage that balance. He’s also building a pretty good campaign operation, while I’m not sure the same is true of Daniels yet.

          I like Daniels. He’s principled and reasonable, and moreso than Romney or Pawlenty and second only to Huntsman (even less likely to win), he could give Obama a run for his money. But I don’t see him getting the nomination.

  8. If there is a coming circus for the open Heller House seat, Heller might also get cold feet that it could hurt him – that he’s putting personal ambition over his constituents. Any placeholder will vote the same Republican line, so it’s not about that with Sandoval or Heller, it’s about trying to get him a leg up as the “incumbent” and getting him out of the House and all the crazy Boehner teabagger pandering votes.

    Sharon Angle winning or a Dem winning his seat would both hurt Heller politically. Also it’s expected that whatever decision is made there will be lawsuits challenging it and it will eventually go to the courts which will cost the state money as well.

    All so Heller can get 18 months in the Senate to not vote differently than any other placeholder named.  

    1. He’s switched parties 3 times in less than 3 yrs. He started running for Gov as a Republican, then, when Jindal got all the establishment support, he asked Jindal if he would be willing to run as a ticket with Georges as the Lt. Gov. When Jindal said no, Georges became an Independent and came in 3rd place. Then, Georges became a Democrat in 2009 to run for Mayor of New Orleans. He started out as the frontrunner. Then Landrieu entered and Georges hoped to force him into a run-off and was the favorite for 2nd place. He decided to run as the white liberal alternative to Landrieu, after running as a conservative in 2007. That plan failed and he came in 3rd with a whopping 9% of the vote. I think he’ll run for Lt. Gov. There is a much clearer path to victory for a rich Dem there, with Dardenne and Nungesser beating each other up  

  9. Former State Rep. Dave Crooks, who was in the Indiana House for six terms and retired in 2008, looks likely to enter the race against Larry Bucshon in the 8th. Crooks seems like a good candidate to me, and seems decently popular among various Indiana political commentators, if nothing else.

    A minor item: there's a bill going to the state Senate that would gradually eliminate the township boards and county commissioner positions in Marion County. Seems likely to pass, although there's scattered Republican opposition and even some Dem support for it. Down in the weeds for SSP, sure, but these are elected positions, and if the bill becomes law that means less elections, and therefore, less things for us to know far more about than we should!

  10. I heard from an inside source that Daniels is serious a few days ago and that this guy would be at the announcement. Now it looks inevitable that Daniels gets in since he and Barbour were good friends.


    If the media actually is willing to actually probe why Grimm left the FBI and whatever dirt is in his past there some other interesting stuff may come out given some of the rumors I heard about him during the campaign.

    Course as a given none of that digging will be by the Staten Island Advance.

    1. Keep in mind, of course, that he will have to convince a LOT of people to split the vote.  The majority of people like him from a personal likability standpoint, but once it gets down to the politics side, he can be beaten.  The DREAM Act is not a defining issue for him, but it can be used to help win support from the urban areas for the challenger.

      I don’t feel it’s right to rate this rate until a top candidate runs against him.  But when that happens, this is a toss-up race and no worse.

      Remember, Lincoln Chafee was to Brown’s left and was just as well-liked as Brown, and he lost.  I think this could be a repeat.

      You vastly overstate his strength and you need to step back and not miss the forest for the trees.

  12. “Unexpected- GOP primary for Gov in WV 1 point closer than Dem primary. Numbers out tomorrow”


    “Joe Manchin’s net approval with GOP primary voters in WV is the same as Obama’s with Dem primary voters there”

    Speaking of PPP, their most recent poll is pretty unnecessary. Are you glad the North won the Civil War? is a silly question.  

  13. I have just figured out something major. I think I have learned something about Trump. The other day I posted on the weekly open thread about how people were posting comments on Trump’s FB about how they do not think Obama really graduated from an Ivy League school. Well get this, yesterday Trump starts floating that conspiracy from out of the blue. Well how I leaned about the hilarious posts on FB was because a family member told me that they had checked it out a while ago and there were messages on there about how Obama’s book was ghost written and the next day Trump was floating that conspiracy! I don’t think this is coincidence at all. Trump is reading his FB to see what average Republicans think and then acting on their nutty theories because no one else well. It is rather cleaver when you think about it. He is creating a base for himself. What do you guys think pure coincidence or is Trump really looking at his FB for his whack job conspiracies?  

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