DSCC polls NC-Sen

Over at BlueNC, justing, brings our attention to a new poll conducted in North Carolina.

I say new because it was released today, although the poll was in the field almost 3 weeks ago.  What is most important about this poll was that it was conducted by the DSCC.  They are paying attention!

The results?  Dole is in big trouble, and North Carolina hates George Bush.  Before going too far into the poll results, let me point out that this poll asked the question, “Who did you vote for in 2004?”  The respondents matched up to the state’s actual total, 56% Bush and 43% Kerry.

Generally speaking, do you think that things in the nation are going in the right direction these days, or do you feel that things have gotten off on the wrong track?
Right Direction 22%
Wrong Direction 68%
Not Sure 10%

How would you rate the job that George W. Bush is doing overall as president – would you say that he is doing an excellent job, a good job, only a fair job, or a poor job?
Excellent 10%
Good Job 26%
Fair Job 26%
Poor Job 38%

Those numbers match up fairly closely to what other polls have shown across the state.  North Carolina might have taken a little longer than others, but we know George Bush is bad.

Now for Dole

How would rate the job that Elizabeth Dole is doing as U.S. senator – would you say that she is doing an excellent job, a good job, only a fair job, or a poor job?
Excellent 11%
Good Job 38%
Fair Job 33%
Poor Job 13%
Unsure 5%

When you add it up that is a 49 to 46 approve to dissaprove ratio.  +3 is beyond bad for an incumbent, it is bordering on Santorum numbers.

Looking ahead to the next election for U.S. senator, will you vote to reelect Elizabeth Dole, consider voting for someone else, or vote to replace Elizabeth Dole with someone new?
Reelect Dole 35%
Consider someone else 26%
Replace 23%
Depends 9%
Not sure 7%

In other words, against no named opponent Dole “leads” 35 to 23.  Do I need to repeat that?  THIRTY FIVE TO TWENTY THREE.  The minute someone declares their intention to run against her this becomes a top tier target.  For a list of possible names please read this diary that I did last week.

Presidential ’08– On Image and the Democratic Party

In the wake of Al Gore’s victory (okay, technically it was Davis Guggenheim’s victory, but you get the idea) at the Oscars, I anticipated a wave of positive press about Gore’s efforts to raise awareness of global warming.  What I didn’t anticipate were the numerous comments from the press . . . about Gore’s appearance, specifically, his weight. 

The conventional wisdom seems to be that Gore cannot run for national office until he drops some pounds, as he did in 2000.  In addition to being shocked that this topic would even come up in the wake of the seriousness of _An Inconvenient Truth_, I was also struck by how those critics (and Democratic consultants, including, not surprisingly, Donna Brazile,) don’t have a clue as to how people respond to image in politics.

Let’s assume Gore jumps into the race (as I certainly hope he will.) If I were advising him (not that he needs to get into the habit of listening to advisers, as that’s a big part of what did him in in ’00,) I would tell him not to lose too much weight. Right now, Gore looks avuncular. And, for a Democratic presidential candidate, avuncular is a GOOD THING!!!! Remember how the Rove smear machine was able to portray Kerry and Edwards as effeminate sissies (all those stupid jokes about them being gay because they hugged so much) partially because of their physical presentations? Kerry was slim, overly well-groomed, and was caught on film windsurfing. (The fact that he was from the state that had just legalized gay marriage, and that the Democratic National Convention was held there, to boot, certainly didn’t help matters as far as this image was concerned.) The meme of Edwards-the-prettyboy is still alive and well today– major political web sites and news programs have made reference to the very popular YouTube video that shows Edwards scrutinizing over his hair before going on TV (and whoever posted it on YouTube accompanied it with the theme music “I Feel Pretty.”) An overly-attractive, too-well-groomed candidate reinforces the right wing smear machine’s portrayal of Democrats as weak, effeminate sissies.

As a counter-example, take a look at the 2006 senate race in Montana. The Repubs ran an ad called “The Brokebank Democrats,” simultaneously trotting out the meme of Dems as tax-raisers AND making reference to the film _Brokeback Mountain_, thereby effectively designating the Democrats as being “gay.” Had our candidate been an elegant-looking, wispy intellectual, the smear might’ve stuck. But one look at flat-topped, big-bellied Jon Tester, and the tired old trick of the Republicans melted away. Nobody could accuse a guy who looked like Tester of effeminacy or wimpiness!

Now, I know that a senate race in one state is not the same as a national election, and that a guy who looked as rough-hewn as Tester couldn’t appear on a national ticket. But I hope that Gore maintains something of his avuncular image, rather than slimming back down into prep-school-prettyboy territory. A slight girth, combined with his older-looking visage, will shield him from being the easy target of the same old right-wing stupidity.

CT-04: More Richter Rumblings

According to the Yale Daily News, CT State Democratic Party Chairwoman Nancy DiNardo has confirmed earlier rumors that former New York Rangers superstar Mike Richter is considering a run against frequently embattled Republican Rep. Chris Shays in Connecticut’s 4th district.

Maura over at My Left Nutmeg has more:

Multiple sources throughout the district had mentioned to me that Richter would be meeting with some local party chairs this week, so I called Nancy DiNardo for her comments this afternoon.

During our conversation, Nancy confirmed that she’ll be introducing Richter, who lives in Guilford, to DTC chairs during one of their regular 4th CD district chairs’ meetings on Thursday night.

Nancy met with Mike earlier this year about his  possible run and told me, “He would make a great candidate.  He’s passionate about the issues and the direction of the country.”

At this point, only one other possible candidate in the 4th has indicated to Nancy an interest in running.  Other names that have been mentioned online and in print – State Senator Andrew McDonald from Stamford, Senator Bob Duff from Norwalk, and State Rep. Jim Shapiro from Stamford – have not yet spoken up to indicate an interest.  Former State Party chair George Jepsen, who is relocating back to the 4th, has ruled out a run against Shays, and Ned Lamont has said that he is “disinclined” to run.  Nancy is encouraging all other prospective candidates to speak up and begin work on a campaign soon.

One thing’s for sure–Nancy’s right.  Now is not the time for prospective opponents to Shays to doddle.  They’ll need every precious month between now and November 2008 to scrape together the necessary resources and build a field team strong enough to finally topple Shays.  It’s no secret that I would relish the opportunity to have Shays go head-to-head with one of the greatest American goaltenders in NHL history, but he’ll need to hit the ground running in terms of organizing.

And one more thing: when do you think Chris Shays will get his own action figure?  (Hat tip to Scarce .)

Race Tracker: CT-04

NH-Sen: Club for Growth Endorses Sununu

Originally at Blue Hampshire, but I wanted to put it here so that the insanely smart people who come to SSP can give us some insight into the CFG.

I’ve said all along that Johnny is a free market radical extremist, and the Club for Growth’s ringing endorsement, their first of the season, cements that position.  After all, he scored a solid 100% on their “no one should pay taxes for anything ever” 2005 Scorecard.

As the Hill reports, this is “unusual” for the group, since they typically target incumbents, not support them.  I take this to mean that they are wise to the fact that Sununu is in deep doo-doo for ’08, and they will try to play up his libertarian side in a state friendly to that.  Personally, though, I don’t see how that will help him against either announced candidate Portsmouth Mayor Steve Marchand (who is pro-business) and possible contender Stonyfield Farm Yogurt Baron Gary Hirshberg (who is business).

Been awhile since you last heard of the “Club”?  Well, here’s a refresher.  The CFG spent a million dollars trying to replace Arlen Specter with Pat Toomey, who ultimately lost and is now the head of  the Club.  They’ve also run ads against Snowe and Voinovich and Chafee.

In other words, they are the definition of an anti-RINO group

Ergo, through their very  endorsement, they utterly destroy any semblance of Sununu’s “moderate” persona.

And who can forget this:

But CFG does not simply target moderate Republicans; they also attack Democrats, including the party’s presidential candidates who CFG refers to as “liberal losers.” They have been particularly obsessed with former Vermont governor Howard Dean. CFG has run a series of negative ads about him in several primary states, including one in which an elderly couple angrily tells Dean to “take his tax-hiking, government-expanding, latte-drinking, sushi-eating, Volvo-driving, New York Times-reading . . .body piercing, Hollywood-loving, left-wing freak show back to Vermont, where it belongs.”

Expect more of the same well-funded pap to be heading our way from this malign entity.


(Oh, and if you are interested in more on Sununu, please feel free to visit our Sununu tag at Blue Hampshire.)

Netroots: Front Pagers Needed For New Southern Netroots Site

For the past several months we have been getting our new Southern netroots site http://bluesunbelt.com up and running. We are in need of front pagers who can contribute diaries on politics and issues of the Southern and Sunbelt states that are our demographic focus area.

We need front pagers who can submit diaries on:

-Coverage of local, state, and federal races.
-Coverage of the presidential race.
-Coverage of progressive policy and issues.
-Diaries supporting candidates are welcome
-Diaries to organize local grassroots for candidates and causes.
-General diaries that are of interest to the progressive community.
-Cross posts from other sites are welcome

Our goal is to be a community for progressive netroots and political analysis for some of the fastest growing population areas of the United States. Our geographic focus includes the states and territories of the Old South, Border States, and Southwest that are a part of or are adjacent to the Sunbelt. That includes an area that is generally the southern half of the United States from California on the west, to Missouri on the north, to the Gulf Of Mexico and Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands on the south, and the DC-MD-DE area on the east. Many of these states are in the demographic areas where the Democratic Party has great potential for the future. This includes these states (and major cities in these states such as Atlanta, Memphis, Miami, Los Angeles, Houston, etc.):

New Mexico
West Virginia
South Carolina
North Carolina
District of Columbia
Virgin Island (U.S. Territory)
Puerto Rico (U.S. Territory)

All registered users can submit diaries and the best diaries are promoted to the front page. Regular quality contributors are promoted to front page status.

We do not have a lot of rules and we do welcome diverse opinions regardless of which candidate you may support. We want to have a friendly and productive environment but not one that has constant bickering and attacks or counterproductive social clicks.


MS-Lt. Gov. Musgrove May Not Run For Lt. Governor In Mississippi

Ronnie Musgrove, who served as Governor and Lt. Governor of Mississippi, has been reported in the past week to be considering a return to politics by running for Lt. Governor. Musgrove would have been the strongest Democratic nominee for the office which is being vacated by GOP Lt. Gov. Amy Tuck.

Key Democrats tell the Magnolia Report that former Gov. Ronnie Musgrove is saying he’s running for lieutenant governor. 2/21

In an radio interview with Paul Gallo of SuperTalk Mississippi
on Friday he said his inclination was “not to run”.

BREAKING – Musgrove’s ‘inclination not to run’

In neighboring former Alabama Gov. Jim Folsom, Jr. returned to office by being elected Lt. Governor.

Election Returns Tonight: LA-HD1, LA-HD4, LA-HD40

Special open primaries for the remainder of the terms to end in November for LA-HD1, LA-HD4 and LA-HD40 have been held today.  Polls close at 8pm CST in Louisiana, and returns should be available immediately thereafter.

Here is how the ballot appears for all three races:

State Representative, 1st Representative District
0 of 31 precincts reporting
Click here for Results by Parish
0  0% Michael Page Boyter, R –
0  0% Richard “Richie” Hollier, D –
0  0% Ruth W. Johnston, D –
0  0% “Jim” Morris, R –
0  0% Marc Weddleton, R –

State Representative, 4th Representative District
0 of 26 precincts reporting
Click here for Results by Parish
0  0% Larry Ferdinand, D –
0  0% Reginald Johnson, D –
0  0% Calvin “Ben” Lester, Jr., D –
0  0% Patrick C. Williams, D –

State Representative, 40th Representative District
0 of 43 precincts reporting
Click here for Results by Parish
0  0% “Jim” Darby, D –
0  0% “Chris” Declouette, D –
0  0% Elbert Lee Guillory, D –
0  0% “Bradford” Jackson, N –
0  0% Roderick “Rod” James, D –
0  0% Ledricka Johnson, D –

LA-HD4 and LA-HD40 are seats guaranteed for Louisiana Democrats.  LA-HD4 is centered around Shreveport, and it extends into some of the more rural portions of Caddo Parish.  A district with an African-American majority, LA-HD4 was previously held by Cedric Glover, who is now the first African-American Mayor of Shreveport.  Larry Ferdinand and Patrick Williams, who received the endorsement of the Shreveport Times, the major local newspaper, are considered the favorites in this race, and I imagine they will face each other in a runoff.  Whoever wins LA-HD4 will hold this seat in November, as Democrats outnumber Republicans in this district by very high numbers.

LA-HD40 is also guaranteed for the Democrats.  This seat, centered around Opelousas in St. Landry Parish, was previously held by Don Cravins, Jr., who ran for and won the Louisiana Senate seat vacated by his father, Don Cravins, Sr., who is now Mayor of Opelousas.  This district is both an African-American and Democratic majority district, and whoever wins it will most probably hold it in November.  The Daily World, the major local newspaper, chose not to endorse any of the six candidates.  Turnout for this election is approximately 16%, and reporters are anticipating a runoff between two of the six candidates.

LA-HD1, however, is not guaranteed for the Democrats.  Although it was previously held by a Democrat named Roy “Hoppy” Hopkins, who recently died of cancer, this open seat can be won by either party.  Indeed, the district has a tendency to vote for Republicans in federal races: John Kerry only received 32.28% of the vote in 2004; Kathleen Blanco received 44.15% of the vote in 2003; and Mary Landrieu received approximately 45.34% of the vote in 2002.  A populist Democrat who understand agricultural and infrastructural issues can win in this district that includes rural Caddo and Bossier Parishes, but it will be a difficult seat for Democrats to hold in November. 

Richie Hollier, a Democrat who is running for office for the first time, has a strong grasp of the issues facing this district, and he has traveled throughout the district in order to hear its constituents’ needs.  Ruth Johnston, an Oil City resident who has served as Justice for the Peace, an elected office, for 18 years, is a former restaurant owner who desires to make government and the legislative process more accessible to the residents of the first district.  Both of these Democrats will face stiff competition from “Jim” Morris, a Caddo Parish Commissioner, who has received key endorsements from other Republicans in the district as well as the endorsement of the Shreveport Times, the major local newspaper.  Morris believes problems with Louisiana’s public school system will be solved with the introduction of prayer into the classroom, which leads me to wonder how an editorial board can endorse his candidacy in the open primary.  The other Republicans are not considered viable: Marc Weddleton just moved to the area two years ago, and Boyter is a regular gadfly whose platform is marijuana rights.

Turnout for LA-HD1 has been very low: only 100 ballots were cast during the early voting period in all of Caddo Parish, which also includes the race for the open seat of LA-HD4.  Moreover, Caddo and neighboring DeSoto Parish have been under a tornado watch all afternoon.  And while one would believe this would depress turnout, some claim it may increase it in some areas.  But turnout overall has varied from 2% to 16%.

LA-HD1 is what I consider to be a bellwether race.  If we hold it, we will hold the Louisiana House in November.  If we lose it, then we need to prepare ourselves for the fight of our political lives in November.  Watch the returns of this race, as this race will determine how hard Louisiana Democrats will have to fight if they want to hold on to their majorities in the state legislature.  And if we lose LA-HD1, then capturing LA-HD94, the special election for which will be held on 10 March, will be mandatory.  That can be done by supporting Deborah Langhoff.

The returns should be available at 8:30pm CST.

CT-04: Chris Shays vs… Mike Richter?

Well, ain’t this intriguing.  According to Nathan Gonzales of the Rothenberg Political Report, Connecticut Democrats are weighing the possibility of running former NHL superstar Mike Richter against the last Republican House member left standing in New England: the battle-hardened Chris Shays.  As a longtime hockey fan, the idea certainly leaves me feeling a little giddy.  Richter was a career-long member of the New York Rangers, carrying them alongside Mark Messier, Adam Graves and Brian Leetch to a historical Stanley Cup victory in 1994.  His Rangers jersey is only one of four to hang retired in the rafters of the Madison Square Garden.  That’s got to carry at least a little bit of resonance in the NYC metro area, even if hockey hasn’t exactly been the taste du jour of the area in the past few years.

As for his connection to the district, Richter is a recent graduate of Yale, where he obtained a degree in Ethics, Politics & Economics in 2006.  According to Gonzales, he also found the time to campaign for Democrat John Hall in his upset victory over Sue Kelly in NY-19.  Makes you like him even more, doesn’t it?

However, a Shays-Richter matchup isn’t a sure bet:

But Richter […] apparently is looking at a number of districts in more than one state before he makes a final decision.

According to Wikipedia, Richter was born in Abington, Pennsylvania.  There are two Abingtons: a small township in Lackawanna County (PA-11, held by Democrat Paul Kanjorski), and a larger township in Montgomery County (shared between PA-13 and PA-08, both Democrat-held seats).  Perhaps he could be eyeballing a nearby tossup district like PA-06 or PA-15.

He also went to school in Lake Placid, but I believe that that area falls under freshman Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand’s NY-20, although Republican John McHugh’s 23rd district is right next door…

In any case, the idea of having Mike Richter in our arsenal is exciting.  I’d certainly take a fresh face over a third kick at the can by Diane Farrell.  And if there has ever been a more effective American-born goalie at shutting down right-wingers, I’d like you to name one.

NC-Sen: Who Will Stand Up to Challenge Liddy?

(From the diaries with minor editing. – promoted by James L.)

I was asked to repost this from DailyKos, so I thought I would oblige.  Since I havent posted here before, but this isnt my first diary, I will throw some links of past posts I have made to fill in any holes.

This is available at DailyKos and BlueNC.

I have spent most of my past diaries on the topic of Elizabeth Dole in one form of another.  The most common question that people have asked me is, who is going to run against her?  Well, I decided to compile all the possible choices, and see what sort of rumors we could get started.  The simple fact is that we need a challenger.  And, we need that challenger to have raised a ton of cash by the end of this year.  So, lets take a look at the possibilities.

Let me start off by saying that we will beat Elizabeth Dole.  She is being watched by groups across the country, who will jump in once she has a challenger.  More importantly, she is below 50% in the polls, with painful approval rates.  She supports the president’s war in a state with shrinking support for Bush’s failures.  Additionally, at the end of 2006 she had less than $250,000 cash on hand, making her fundraising a big question mark for the first time.

We just have to get someone to run.

Mike Easley
Mike Easley is the current Governor, first elected to office in 2000.  He can not run again in 2008 because of term limit requirement (but could run again in 2012).  Easley’s biggest policy initiatives focus on education, business and law enforcement.  He is a former prosecutor and Attorney General.  His stance on business issues has gotten him a lot of Republican votes and friends, but his education programs have been just plain amazing.
He is the only target for the DSCC as of now, but he has said ‘no’ many times.  Ultimately, his refusal to run is based upon him not wanting to be a legislator.  Current speculation puts him on a list of potential VP candidates, but I put those chances at slim to none.  It is much more likely that he would be appointed AG or given a cabinet post in a Democratic White House.  He leads Dole in polling, and could raise enough money to beat her.  However, he seems uninterested in running, and is often seen as being reclusive.  It is hard to beat the charming (if two-tounged) Dole if you are never seen in public.

Elaine Marshall
  Elaine Marhall is the current Secretary of State.  She is highly respected, and has already won statewide office as a Democrat.  I have yet to see any polling including her name, but I would not be surprised to see her as the best positioned Democrat not named Mike Easley right now.
Being a woman will help cut into Dole’s “crossover appeal”.  However, my concern about Elaine Marshall is whether she would be able to raise the necessary funds.  Additionally she has already taken one shot at this seat, running in a crowded primary field in 2002.  She only managed to garner about 15% of the vote in that primary, far behind both Erskine Bowles and Dan Blue.  Frankly, I doubt that she is interested in running.

Brad Miller
  Brad Miller is a member of the US House.  He is most likely known to everyone on this site, considering his great relationship with bloggers.  I could go on about him, but it is easier to just point you towards his tag and his diary list.  Although I started the Draft Brad Miller movement on BlueNC and here (full disclosure) I am increasingly doubtful that he will be leaving the house anytime soon.  However, there is still hope, and he has not said no.  He has only said that he is busy actually doing work in congress, and has not thought about it.
I believe that Rep Miller would be a great choice against Elizabeth Dole.  His seat would be as easy to protect as any open seat could be.  Additionally, he is a strong progressive, but one with a background and qualities that could appeal to many in North Carolina.  His fundraising would be greatly aided by the fact that he is already in congress.

Bob Etheridge
Bob Etheridge is a US House Member, and has been for a long time.  He is fairly conservative, representing a district with a large amount of farm land.  However, he is far from a DINO, and is a strong member of the caucus.  I would honestly be shocked to ever see a strong challenge to him from either side of the aisle in this district.  Having said that, I find it doubtful that we would be able to protect the seat if he left.  A recent poll shows him far behind Dole, but it is not an insurmountable lead, and mostly is a result of his lack of name id statewide.  He would be able to raise the necessary funds rather easily.  However, he has a lot of seniority built up, and seems more than occupied in the House.  He has said multiple times that he is not interested in running.

Grier Martin
Grier Martin is a relative newcomer to politics.  He is 37, and was first elected to the NC House in 2004.  There are two very important details though.  First, in 2004 he won a very expensive race against an incumbent with a large amount of personal income in a district that leans Republican.  A huge upset.  Just as importantly, he actually has name ID across the state, due to the fact that his father, DG Martin was the Attorney General for many years.  He has also taken some interesting stands in the legislature, including voting against the budget one year and voting against the creation of a lottery.  Additionally, he has military credentials.  After 9/11 he volunteered for the Army, and spent 2003 in Afghanistan.
His name has been mentioned in the rumor mill as someone contemplating a run.  To be honest, after Brad Miller, he is my top choice.  He has a gorgeous family, including a young daughter.  His age puts him square into the only age bracket that showed support for Dole in the last poll.  And, he is the type of candidate that has a background that would allow him to take progressive positions without being called a no good dirty, Washington, liberal.

Kay Hagan
Kay Hagan is a member of the NC Senate.  I admit, I know less about her than anyone else mentioned.  She is a woman of power in the legislature, having been an appropriations chair for a number of years.  Although her name ID across the state is small, she is a mainstream Democrat with an ability to raise a lot of money from sources within the state.  She would have the added benefit of being a woman challenger to Liddy Dole, helping to avoid erosion of the advantage we have in the gender gap.  I do not think that she will run, but her name has been mentioned in the rumor mill, and a run by her would make sense.

Dean Smith
Dean Smith is the only non elected official I have included on this list.  Coach Smith is famous for being the head basketball coach at UNC for a long time.  As such, he already has massive name recognition.  What most people do not know about him is that he is an incredible Democrat.  He has not only given large sums to Democratic Candidates, he has headlined fundraisers, and helped start up the Devout Democrats movement, which is aimed to counter the lie that all Christians are Republicans.

Although the chance that he would run is slim, he would not only be able to self finance a large chunk of the campaign, he would be able to raise both funds and support from both sides of the aisle.  Personally, it would be a little painful to see the face of UNC as our only hope, but this Wolfpack fan could deal with it.  School Pride is a small thing to swallow when trying to get rid of Dole.

Out of nowhere rich guy. It is unlikely, but more than possible that someone like Ned Lamont could come out of nowhere to challenge Dole.  Although it is often said that experience is important, and Dole has a ton of experience in government, this state loves amateurs.  Many of our past elected Senators have been those with little to no experience, whether it is a rich farmer or a rich lawyer.  Additionally, the last incumbent to get reelected to the Senate in this state was Jesse Helms in 1990 and 1996.  We have a record of voting out incumbents.

With no “big names” jumping in, the field would seem to be ripe for a newcomer to politics.

People who I do not think will run no matter what include some who are often asked about in the comments of other diaries I have done.  Richard Moore and Bev Perdue are running for governor, no matter what it would seem.  Roy Cooper, in his decleration that he would not be running for governor, declared he would be seeking reelection for Attorney General.  Erskine Bowles is almost certainly done after 2 shots at Senate.  Especially given his current job, President of the UNC System.  Also, people outside the state often ask about either Larry Kissell or John Edwards.  Even if Edwards doesnt win the nomination, the filing deadline for this seat will probably be the first two weeks of February.  I expect the field to have at least 5 candidates still at that point, so anything that would knock him out before then would knock him out of public life.  In Larry’s case, he is gearing up for another run at Hayes.  He is still in a ton of debt (60,000 plus last I heard), which he still needs help with.

The only question now is who will run.

For a little more info you can check out This Diary questioning where Dole lives or My blog at BlueNC