SSP Daily Digest: 4/27


FL-Sen: It’s official: Former state House Majority Leader Adam Hasner, who filed paperwork last week, formally joined the GOP Senate field yesterday, making his announcement on right-wing radio host Mark Levin’s show. Despite his establishment pedigree, Hasner has endeared himself to movement conservatives, hitting almost all of the right notes in what I call “Tribal Clef” – like so, but when you sing just the right tune to please the teabaggers. He was for Marco Rubio before it was cool, likes to hate on Muslims, and tried to push a state constitutional amendment that would let Florida “opt out” of card check should the Employee Free Choice Act ever pass. One odd thing, though, is his support for electric cars, something that Rush Limbaugh likes to mock as some liberal attempt at social engineering.

MA-Sen: Activist Bob Massie has hired one-time Howard Dean campaign manager Joe Trippi. Trippi was once a netroots icon but really fell out of favor after he went to run the Senate campaign of zillionaire asshole Jeff Greene in Florida last year.

ME-Sen: One possible Dem name we hadn’t yet heard of as a possible challenger to Sen. Olympia Snow is state Sen. Phil Bartlett. Bartlett is just 32 years old, but will already be term-limited next year. (Maine seems to have a lot of very young legislators!) In the classic formulation, he says he’s “not ruling out” a race.

MO-Sen, MO-02: It’s Apes-A-Poppin in the Missouri Senate race –  and beyond. As Rep. Todd Akin inches closer to a senatorial run, teabagger favorite Ed Martin says he’s thinking about running for Akin’s potentially vacant seat, rather than competing against him in the Senate primary. Martin came close to beating Rep. Russ Carnahan in MO-03 last year, but that district is all but certain to get caved into Akin’s present 2nd CD. Martin is a resident of St. Louis, though, so I’m not sure if he’d wind up in the new 2nd district (not that it necessarily matters).

Martin’s newfound open-mindedness seems to come in response to a move by former state GOP chair Ann Wagner to create an exploratory committee for a possible run in whatever winds up being the successor to Akin’s seat –  again, assuming Akin runs for Senate, which Wagner thinks is “likely.”

NE-Sen: Ben Nelson told a Rotary Club gathering that he hasn’t yet decided whether he’ll run again in 2012. Also, help me out here, because I’m not understanding this: Is Nelson also saying in this article that he voted for healthcare reform because if he hadn’t, a public option would have passed? I’m not getting this one at all.

NM-Sen: Dem Hector Balderas, another candidate who telegraphed his intentions last week, also made his entry into his state’s Senate primary official yesterday. He employed some good framing in his intro video:

Accountability and fiscal responsibility are not Republican words. And I’m tired of hearing them used as excuses to shortchange our children and break promises to our seniors.

As Sean Sullivan notes, he does take an indirect jab at Rep. Martin Heinrich, saying he doesn’t have “the most connections in Washington” and that he “won’t be the candidate of the lobbyists or the insiders.” The contours of this race seem superficially akin to those in Connecticut, where a more powerful congressman is facing off against a (former) statewide elected official, but I’m hoping everyone keeps their noses clean here.

NV-Sen: Silver State Dems are trying to do everything they can, it seems, to pressure Gov. Brian Sandoval into not appointing Rep. Dean Heller to John Ensign’s soon-to-be-vacant Senate seat. I’m doubtful any of this will work (why should Sandoval care?), but if you’re curious to see what Democrats are up to, click the link.


IN-Gov: We’re getting close to landing a pretty strong gubernatorial candidate in the Hoosier State. Former Dem state House Speaker John Gregg (whom we’ve mentioned in the past) says that he’ll soon form an exploratory committee and that his “mind is made up.” He’s been pressing the flesh at Jefferson-Jackson dinners across the state lately, trying to re-build his name rec after a decade out of office. Still, with Mike Pence looking awfully lazy, I’m feeling perhaps a touch optimistic about this race.


AR-04: The NRCC is airing a radio ad (I assume for peanuts) against Dem Rep. Mike Ross, attacking him for voting against all five budget proposals which came up for a vote in the House on April 15th. The main Republican Medicare-killing plan sponsored by Paul Ryan, the even crazier Republican Study Committee plan sponsored by Scott Garrett (which Dems almost tricked the GOP into passing), the Progressive Caucus plan sponsored by Raul Grijalva, the Congressional Black Caucus plan sponsored by Emanuel Cleaver, and I guess what you’d call the mainstream Democratic plan sponsored by Chris Van Hollen, which hasn’t gotten a lot of attention.

So amusingly, the NRCC is trying to ding Ross for not voting for everything from Scott Garrett’s vision for dystopia to a plan they’d readily denounce as neo-Stalinist. Ross should easily be able to turn this around and cast himself as an ardent defender of Medicare. (I’m sure I don’t need to give him any pointers about wanking on the Grijalva or Cleaver plans.) They’re also doing robocalls in another dozen or so seats held by other Dems who also voted against all five plans. Maybe this line of attack will work, but there are really very few districts left where it can.

IN-08: Former six-term state Rep. Dave Crooks, who left office in 2008, says he’s “pretty close to pulling the trigger” on a run against freshman Rep. Larry Bucshon. The 8th CD looks like it’ll get made a touch more Democratic, something that Crooks acknowledges has figured in his plans. What’s more, Bucshon so far has proven to be no great shakes – he had the poorest fundraising quarter of any congressman in Indiana. (Shades of John Hostettler, the last Republican to hold this seat before Bucshon?) I also like the fact that Crooks is already coming out hard against the Ryan plan.

In any event, Crooks says he’s likely to make a formal announcement in the next 30 days, which would be a very good get for Team Blue. Warrick County Democratic Party Terry White is already in the race (which we noted previously), and former state Rep. Trent Van Haaften (who ran last year) is also still weighing a run.

MN-08: Democrats have finally landed a challenger to the really meager Rep. Chip Cravaack: Daniel Fanning, the deputy state director for Sen. Al Franken and an Iraq war vet. I suspect that this will not be the last word on the Dem primary field, though. UPDATE: Seems I read the article a little too hastily. Fanning is just saying he’s likely to run. He hasn’t officially declared.

NV-02: Speaking of Dean Heller (see NV-Sen bullet above), Sharron Angle is supposedly threatening to do exactly what I predicted she would, which is run an independent campaign in the free-for-all special election to replace Heller if she isn’t tapped by the Republican Party. However, this “news” comes from the Las Vegas Review-Journal “newspaper” (as Jon Ralston would put it), and they admit it’s nothing more than a rumor, calling it “the word circulating Monday.”

Here’s something that’s not mere rumor: Dem Assemblywoman Debbie Smith says she won’t run in any special in NV-02. We do still have other options here, though, like Treasurer Kate Marshall.

NY-26: The first candidate-on-candidate Medicare attack ad belongs to Kathy Hochul, who nails Republican Jane Corwin for her support of the Ryan budget plan. The Fix says the buy is for 1,000 points, which is substantial. If I were Hochul, I’d hit this theme and little else for the next four weeks.

OR-01: Whoa. After a couple months of nothing doing, it looks like the Democratic jalopy is about to start getting very full. Former state Sen. Ryan Deckert is now the third Dem to get in or near the race to unseat Rep. David Wu, and current state Sen. Suzanne Bonamici is the fourth, with both saying they are “considering” a run. Guys, you realize what happens when everyone piles into this rustbucket, right? Former Jeff Merkley state director Jon Isaacs says he thinks Wu can probably score from 35-45% of the vote, which means that unseating him will be very hard with more than one opponent. I’m inclined to agree.

TX-14: LOL, I guess we have to put Ron Paul on the 2012 House Open Seat Watch now.

Other Races:

NJ-St. Sen.: Even though an administrative judge already said he could run, Republican Secretary of State Kim Guadagno ruled that Carl Lewis is ineligible to appear on the ballot this November as a Democrat. It just so happens that Guadagno is also the Lt. Gov., which means, of course, she’s under Chris Christie’s considerable thumb. Why does this matter? Because Lewis had the temerity to insult the thin-skinned Don Christeone when he decided to run for office while also pursuing a plan to develop a state youth athletic program under the governor’s auspices. That plan now sleeps with the fishes, and Guadagno’s latest move amounts to delivering the dead carp wrapped in newspaper. Fortunately, Lewis says he’ll appeal.

WI Recall: Good news for Dem state Sens. Lena Taylor and Fred Risser: The deadline for the GOP to submit recall petitions for them came and went with nary a whisper. Meanwhile, Democrats plan to file signatures against a sixth (and probably final) Republican, Rob Cowles, this week.

Redistricting Roundup:

Colorado: Any attempts at bipartisan compromise have totally fallen apart at this point, with the GOP saying they’ll produce a new plan of their own in response to the Democrats’ announcement they they’ll introduce a new map. With the legislature split, I have to believe this will head to court, unless the Dems can present something that the GOP fears less than the prospect of a judge-drawn map.

Missouri: Republicans are still scrambling to try to create a new map that both the House and Senate can agree on in time to put it on Gov. Jay Nixon’s desk and be able to schedule a veto over-ride before the current legislative session ends on May 13. The problem is that today is really the last day they can squeeze this in. Nixon has 15 days to review any bill he gets). It would take quite a breakthrough for this to happen, and lawmakers are apparently worried that if they have to wait until September to try an over-ride, Nixon will have the chance to sway wobbly legislators to his side. The GOP’s redistricting chair says: “If you’re term-limited out and looking for a job, the governor can dangle something in front of you.” Dangle away, Jay!

Virginia: Oh god. This is just not a headline I wanted to see: “Senate opens bipartisan negotiations on redistricting.” Dems claim they “won’t negotiate away our majority,” but what does that mean? The Democratic majority in the state Senate is already cut pretty close to the bone, so I don’t see how they have much room to give. At least if they go with a court-drawn map instead, they get a) a better map in the House even if they risk a worse map in the Senate and b) a shot at a second set of elections in 2012 with Obama at the top of the ticket  –  and fighting hard for VA, you can be sure. But if they play nice with Gov. Bob McDonnell, they could wind up with something resembling a dummymander. I’m pretty worried.

375 thoughts on “SSP Daily Digest: 4/27”

    1. The big problem is that Bayh, for good or ill, was the only major Dem for quite a while in Indiana politics, especially after Frank O’Bannon’s death. Look at the 2008 governor’s race, or even now, with the emergence of John Gregg, a guy who hasn’t even been in state government for a decade. Jill Long Thompson was a has-been Congresswoman and her only real competition for the nomination in ’08 was Jim Schellinger, some architect that had never even run for office before. Bayh really dominated everything, to the point that most folks were shocked that he wasn’t actually going to run for governor again.

      Everything in Hoosier Democratic politics, except for little enclaves like Lake County and Indianapolis and Bloomington, was very much built around the Bayh brand. Independent folks like Hill never seemed to get a chance to move up.

      I agree with notanother. Bayh finally leaving and allowing that void to be opened in Indiana politics was (and is) going to be rough at first, but it might very well pay off for the Dems in the long run.

  1. In OR-01. She and Commissioner Avakian are friends, I’ve always had the impression she considers Avakian to be a political mentor of sorts, and I definitely expected her to endorse him and take her name out of the running. I like Avakian a lot, but it would be nice to have a woman in Oregon’s congressional delegation – and Bonamici is a straight shooter, she’s ambitious, and I do think she’d deliver for the district. Candidly, I’d be fine with either her or Avakian succeeding Rep. Wu, but I am starting to worry about a crowded field. Evidently Avakian didn’t suck the oxygen out of the room the way I figured he would.

    I think Witt is probably not going to make too much of a splash, but Deckert is a potentially big name, though I’m not sure Oregon Democrats are going to go for someone they see as a “big business” candidate. Macpherson is a total non-starter.

  2. Has anyone ever before announced a run for a vacant seat that isn’t open yet, with lines that haven’t been written yet.

    Maybe that’s her campaign slogan: Ann Wagner: Out ahead of everyone, including herself.

  3. My sense is that Nelson means that had he said he was voting against the HCR bill, Democrats would have had to use reconciliation to pass any of it rather than continue hunting for that long elusive 60th vote.

    And had they used reconciliation, Dem leaders would obviously have been VERY hard pressed to justify not including a public option. If I remember correctly there were 50 Senators who had committed to supporting a public option.  

      1. “Carnahan’s best hope – and the fear of everyone else in the Missouri delegation – is that the heavily Republican Legislature will deadlock and an appellate court will draw the lines.”

        Any idea if this is correct and it goes to an appellate court, not the SCOMO?

  4. And along with Sam Locke entering the race in (the admittedly less positive-looking) IN-09, the Dems have had a decent amount of good news on the Congressional front here lately.

    FWIW, Joe Donnelly has been doing some of the same John Gregg style statewide campaigning with Dems, too. Howey Politics had an article (now behind their paywall, unfortunately, so I’m working from memory and can’t provide a link) where IN Dem chairman Dan Parker respectively referred to Gregg and Donnelly as being “Our next candidate for governor” and “our next nominee for US Senator”. Maybe Parker knows something we don’t!


    The latest poll by EKOS Research has the Conservatives at 34 per cent, narrowly ahead of the NDP at 28 per cent, with the Liberals at 24 per cent, with the Bloc at 6.2 per cent. Based on those numbers, EKOS is projecting that the Conservatives would see their seat count shrink to 131, while the NDP soared to 100, the Liberals fell to 62 and the Bloc was reduced to a mere 14 seats.

    But there’s serious doubt, ref the Nate of the north, http://threehundredeight.blogs

    And that’s why we shouldn’t be so sure that these levels of support for the New Democrats will hold on Monday night. It isn’t because the pollsters are wrong – they are tracking voting intentions after all. But correctly capturing the ability of these intentions to turn into votes is a very different thing for a party like the New Democrats, despite polls showing respondents “certain” to vote for them and unlikely to change their minds. Polls tracking the likelihood of Canadians actually voting often overestimate turnout by as much as a third.

    He still has a C/L/N/B distribution of 146/75/43/43

  6. also worked for doug racine’s 2010 gubernatorial campaign back in 2010.  racine was about 4th in fundraising, but came within 300 votes of winning the nomination.  of course, that was only 25% of the vote for a former Lt. Gov and 2002 nominee who received scads of endorsements, so make of trippi what you will.

  7. I just read on CNBC Obama release his birth certificate, is this true?  If it is, its hillarious, with all of the GOP candidates truggling to define themselves suddenly the birther movement has some internally questioning to do.

    It’ll probably be along the lines of “How can we calim this is a forgery” and “Can we find the Kenyan doctor who delivered Obama as a baby” and so on.

    Trump, in the CNBC post, was claiming victory/accomplishment.

      1. I think they key problem on the GOP side is that pppolling doesn’t weight for party identification, thus their partisan breakdown will never match exit poll numbers.

        In as state growing as fast as Nevada the MoE for the poll might actually be smaller than the margin of change within the voter demographics (ok not really, but still a HUGE seachange compared to larger and/or stagnant states).

        1. When you consider the huge sample size. We are talking 3,000 plus voters as opposed to 500 or so in a pre-election poll. I’m talking crosstabs here rather than toplines. Obviously they have a history of being highly misleading in favor of Bush in 2000 and Kerry in 2004.

      2. If anyone has gone back and looked at the historical swing in voter’s partisan identification in PPPolling’s Nevada releases and compared them to exit polls?

        I’m certainly not going to do it, but it would be an interesting excercise. If only I had an intern (or wasn’t saddled with this stupid day job).

    1. I think your new MO5 with Jackson county and most of Cass would be about D+7. Jackson is D+9 and would have about 90% of the population, and Cass is R+13 but presumably the reddest parts would be left out of MO5. It would be very hard for any Republican to win a general there given that the bluest seat they hold now is D+4. (Dold’s district is listed at D+6 but its rating is distorted by the favorite-son effect in 2008. I think it’s really D+4.) Cleaver might have problems in a primary, though. As a group, the current reps of D+7 districts (Carney, Loebsack, Ruppersberger, Tierney, Carnahan, Lujan, Schwartz) are more moderate than he is.

      I can’t try to estimate the new MO2 without precinct-level or at least city-level data.

    2. Jackson County hasn’t gone Republican in a federal election since 1998. Even when Robin Carnahan lost by double-digits, she won 54% in Jackson County.

      In your hypothetical Jackson + Cass district (which I calculated just by multiplying the Cass numbers by 75%, since it would be about 75% of the county, and would probably not deviate much from the countywide result), I came up with it being a 60-39 Obama and 56-43 Kerry district. That’s about 3-4 points less Democratic than the district is now. Even Robin Carnahan would have won the theoretical district in 2010 by 51.6% to 44.4%.

      Do you know how many seats the Republicans hold that are that Democratic? One, Bob Dold in IL-10. And that can be chalked up to Obama overperforming in Illinois. I’m not saying it would be a super-safe district, but it would be Democratic enough to prevent all but the most unappealing Democratic candidate losing. I’m sure Cleaver would probably be vulnerable in a primary, but he wouldn’t lose a general.

      In 2010, Cleaver won 53-44, so a swing of 3-4 points would probably give him a narrow 2-3% victory. He also didn’t spend much money in 2010, only about $607k, which was a little more than twice what Jacob Turk spent ($264k). If he sensed vulnerability, he probably would have put together a stronger campaign.

  8. His only YouTube presence is at an IVAW for the 5th anniversary of the Iraq War (Winter Soldier). He’s pretty well-spoken, and appears to have what it takes to be a great candidate. But the involvement with the antiwar movement could hurt him with some of the American Legion-types who would otherwise be impressed by his status as a veteran.

    Video link:

    1. But there may well be something to the difficulty people have polling Hispanics in the state. He is only beating Romney and Huckabee by about 25 points with those voters when he beat McCain by more than 50. Still, the toplines are comparable to the national numbers we are seeing at the moment.

      1. The House Dems didn’t do that for the Ryan budget, they didn it for the Republican Study Committee budget that was far more draconian, a much more full-blown embrace of social darwinism.  They did that because the Ryan budget otherwise was going to pass near-unanimously anyway, and it was just as well to try to get the House GOP on the record for something even more extreme.  And all this was for something that wasn’t going to pass the Senate anyway.

        Here, “daring” the Senate GOP to pass the thing actually puts the bill on Obama’s desk to force him to veto, and it will have been Senate Democrats’ fault that it got that far!

        Besides all that, I don’t know Senate rules well enough to know if the same stunt can be executed.  The House and Senate follow very different procedural rulebooks.

        On top of all this, ultimately the vote will have done its job to either show the GOP in disarray or to put a handful of vulnerable Republicans on the spot, or in the best world, a combination of both.

  9. Mocking Donald Trump for citing imaginary polls.


    Then I get to the end where they talk about PPP finding him ahead with Republicans.

    “PPP uses a methodology which CNN, as well as other news organizations, does not consider to be reliable.

    I simply do not understand this fallacy about automated polling.

    1. The current MO5 is D+10 and it would have to add even more blue areas to get to D+11. The quick and dirty method I use to estimate county PVIs is (Obama margin – 7)/2. He won Jackson by 25, hence D+9.  


    Obviously not as bad as the OH or WI bills for public employee unions. Sorry if this is getting into policy a bit but putting this in a political sense I don’t see how the MA Democrats attacking their base helps at all..

    Not something that I expected to see happen in MA but I guess everybody’s jumping on the austerity bandwagon these days. The governor of my old state is leading the charge on the Dem side.(Cuomo)


  11. Can someone explain to me why it is necessary to primary David Wu? Is it because he really isn’t a good congressman, or is it because of worries that he’d lose the general election? Thanks.

    1. or just in comments? Much like the FEC filings of the various committees & candidates, you often see snippets, but rarely do you see the info properly amalgamated so as to provide a useful benchmarks.

  12. There's some talk in the Republican-dominated Indiana House that blatantly using legislation to head off negative partisan consequences from legal proceedings may not be a good idea, apparently. We'll see if that actually goes anywhere, but it's definitely worth keeping an eye on.

    Also, the Indiana Recount Commission will hold a meeting on the Charlie White case on May 4th. Judge Rosenberg of Marion County, who was responsible for originally sending the matter to the Recount Commission, requested earlier this week that the Commission get to work after a few weeks of inactivity following his original ruling. This whole affair is starting to get interesting again, after a few days of convoluted legal manuvering. 

  13. Article here.

    “Under the deal, the proposed new Democratic-leaning district in the Richmond area would be eliminated, according to Sen. John Watkins, R-Powhatan. Republicans would lose one of two senators in Virginia Beach and new districts would be created in Loudoun County and east of Lynchburg.”

  14. Paul Ryan for President???:

    Stupid excerpt #1 (emphasis mine):

    News of a Ryan candidacy would send shockwaves through the political world and radically alter the 2012 landscape.  He has the potential to electrify a conservative movement that has thus far remained unexcited by the field of potential candidates and increasingly anxious that they will not have a formidable leader to challenge President Barack Obama.

    An increasing number of conservative columnists — including Charles Krauthammer, Bill Kristol and Ross Douthat — have begun to call for Ryan to run, and speculation that such a scenario might actually be likely has picked up this week.

    If he were to jump in, Ryan could immediately become the frontrunner in the race.  He is conservative enough to win the primary — though he would face some tough questions from the right about his record.  While fiscal issues are his focus, his record on social issues is solidly conservative.

    This is truly the stupidest campaign story I’ve ever read, written as if the author knows almost nothing about campaigns and elections at all, or perhaps is simply a Ryan sycophant.

    But I vote for “he’s just stupid,” based on stupid excerpt #2:

    He comes from a swing state that tilts Democratic and represents a district that voted for Obama in 2008, though it went for George W. Bush over John Kerry in 2004.

    ‘Nuff said.

    Oh, and I found this article originally linked from Politico.

    This, by the way, just reinforces that Republicans really are in complete disarray for 2012.  They’re just flailing everywhere looking for fantasy candidates, and Ryan is just one more major fail-in-waiting to draw delusional wishfulness.


    Interesting that Grimm only talked to the Staten Island Advance Editorial Board and not the Advance reporter.  Meaning the Advance Editorial Board essentially argued Grimm’s case for him.  Which seems silly of Grimm since the Advance Editorial Board would’ve done the exact same thing with the reporter if Grimm had talked with the reporter instead.

    The article is about DiBlasio demanding an investigation into the Grimm allegations.  Interestingly DiBlasio kinda ran for the NY-13 house seat in 2006 but ultimately declined to challenge Steven Harrison for the 2006 nomination.  He of course is running for Mayor in 2013.  But the article mentions someone who I have alluded to before but never named since I didn’t feel it was appropriate to mention his name before he himself was ready or the press picked up on it.  Bill DiBlasio’s Staten Island liaison and son of former Congressman Jack Murphy.  Yes THAT Jack Murphy who lost his seat due to his indictment in ABSCAM.  In the unlikely event McMahon doesn’t run Mark Murphy is a name you’ll be hearing a lot more of.

  16. So delicious!:

    Here’s a summary:

    Trump  19%

    Romney  17%

    Huckabee  15%

    Palin & Gingrich  9%

    Ron Paul  8%

    Pawlenty  5%

    Daniels  3%

    Some other & undecided combined  16%

    No I don’t think any of this hold water come January/February.

    But this does mean the GOP remains in disarray, and the longer that’s true, the better shape we’re in for 2012.


    But Brown’s camp insisted his main motivation is giving minorities a greater voice.

    “It shows a level of integrity on his part that he stepped up on the part of racial minorities, even though it’s contrary to his personal political interests by inviting a potential challenger from the Boston area,” said Dan Winslow, the Brown campaign’s legal counsel.

    Yeah, right, we certainly believe that is the only reason.

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