NY-29: Massa Is In

The fine folks over at The Albany Project have some good news for Democrats in New York’s 29th Congressional District: Eric Massa is in for a rematch against “Shotgun” Randy Kuhl.  According to the Star-Gazette:

Democrat Eric Massa, who nearly unseated incumbent Rep. John R. Kuhl Jr., R-Hammondsport, last November, will seek the 29th District Congressional seat again next year.

Massa announced today that he is officially opening an exploratory committee to prepare for the contest.

“I was going to be very happy to stay in retirement,” Massa said. “But the issues of today underline the need for an honest debate of the issues.”

Massa, a retired Naval officer who lives in Corning, said he is starting from “ground zero” to build a campaign staff, raise money and establish a headquarters.

Massa, a former Naval officer and aide to General Wesley Clark, was an incredible candidate in 2006.  In particular, he was one of the most proactive candidates in terms of his enthusiastic use of the netroots to generate interest and support for his run.  One only needs to look at how quickly his highly-readible diaries are catapulted to the recommended list over at DailyKos to see the mark that his run has left on the blogosphere.  He also raised over $400,000 on Actblue.com (including nearly $60k from the Dailykos/MyDD/SSP Netroots Candidates page), using the power of the internet to outraise his opponent–not an easy feat against an incumbent.

Massa had a couple of bad breaks towards the end of his campaign–he caught some unfortunate press coverage due to some unprofessional antics of his short-lived original campaign manager, and for reasons which I’ll never quite understand, the DCCC chose not to answer the NRCC’s $600,000 hit job against Massa in the final weeks of the campaign.  Since Massa ultimately lost by a mere 3 points, one has to wonder if history would have been different had the DCCC been more aggressive.

But 2006 may not go down as Eric’s last best chance.  According to the Fighting 29th, the district’s conservative base has been sniping at Kuhl–and giving him the ultimatum of lurching even further to the right, or facing a possible primary challenge (and some speculate that maybe even a general election challenge on the Conservative line could be in the works).  With the local GOP infighting and Iraq spiraling out of control, Eric could make another race of this.

Race Tracker: NY-29

VA-Sen, VA-11: Could Blue Dreams Come True?

As we all know by now, the DSCC is heavily courting former Virginia Governor Mark Warner to run for the U.S. Senate in 2008–and, remarkably, Warner is not ruling it out, even if longtime incumbent John Warner decides not to retire.

What this creates is a possible dream scenario in Virginia:  John Warner, having survived a close call by a self-funding Mark Warner in 1996, had a difficult enough time beating back a challenge against a political unknown, winning by only 5 points.  At the time, the elder Warner remarked:  “It was tough – a tough two years.”  The conventional wisdom is that John Warner, who will be 81 in 2008, would not mind another term in the Senate–he just doesn’t want to campaign for it.

So, Mark Warner enters the race.  John Warner gets the spooks and announces an early retirement, making way for his preferred successor: 11th district Rep. Tom Davis (R).  In fact, the WaPo has already indicated that Warner has signaled Davis to get ready:

However, some doubt John Warner’s commitment to run. One Republican active in Virginia politics said that Warner has told U.S. Rep. Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va.) to prepare to run if the senator decides against another bid. “Davis is actively calling people and is saying on the calls that he has been told by Warner to get ready,” the source said.

Davis would be a pretty strong candidate for the Republicans: he currently represents one of their weaker areas of the state–the rapidly diversifying D.C. suburbs in Prince William and Fairfax counties.  This is the one region that has been nudging Virginia closer and closer to the left.  Take a look at the district’s chronolgy:

2004: John Kerry wins 49.29% of the district’s vote to George Bush’s 49.92%
2005: Tim Kaine (D) wins 55.67% of the vote to Jerry Kilgore’s 42.42%
2006: Jim Webb (D) wins 54.69% of the vote to George Allen’s 44.20%

So Davis could be strong statewide against an average Virginia Democrat, but he wouldn’t stand a chance against Mark Warner, who retired with a mind-boggling 80% approval rate.  And with the recent robust victories of Tim Kaine and Jim Webb in the 11th, Democrats would clearly be well-poised to capture this open seat with a strong candidate.  Any idea who we’d run for it?

Man oh man, what a glorious twofer it would be: a pick-up in both the Senate and House–both of which will be badly-needed to protect and expand the Democratic majorities.  If Chuck Schumer pulls this off (and he has had some stellar success in the past in this area–see Missouri, 2006), he could very well be elevated to demigod status.

Race Tracker: VA-Sen | VA-11

Who Is Your Ideal 2008 Senate Candidate? (w/ poll)

[Cross-posted at Senate 2008 Guru: Following the Races.]

As we look at the 2008 Senate map, and where we have pick-up opportunities, there are some obvious choices for who would be our best candidate, and there are some not so obvious choices.

From Sebelius in Kansas to Allen in Maine to Easley in North Carolina to a number of choices in New Hampshire to fewer choices in Idaho, there is much to discuss.

Who is your ideal 2008 Senate candidate? Who would you like to see run?

More below the fold.


Colorado (Wayne Allard) – U.S. Rep. Mark Udall: he’s all-but-in, so no need for the hard sell, and he’s the frontrunner with momentum while the CO-GOP is looking to a potentially nasty primary

Kansas (Pat Roberts) – Governor Kathleen Sebelius: enjoys a 67-29 approval-disapproval as Governor

Maine (Susan Collins) – U.S. Rep. Tom Allen: one of only two ME Congressmen, he is routinely re-elected with 60+% of the vote

Mississippi (Thad Cochran) – Former state Attorney General Mike Moore: the most popular Democrat in Mississippi

Nebraska (Chuck Hagel) – Omaha Mayor Mike Fahey: a bright star on a relatively shallow bench

North Carolina (Elizabeth Dole) – Governor Mike Easley: already beating Elizabeth Dole in polling

Virginia (John Warner) – Former Governor Mark Warner: left the Governor’s office with an 80+% approval rating


Alaska (Ted Stevens) – Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich: With Tony Knowles’ electoral results statewide dropping from ’98 to ’04 to ’06, it seems that Begich’s star is the fasting rising among AK-Dems

Oregon (Gordon Smith) – U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer: a popular Democrat re-elected with larger totals each successive election, he seems to be politically preparing for a statewide bid

Tennessee (Lamar Alexander) – Governor Phil Bredesen: enjoys a monstrous 73-24 approval rating, while Lamar is at 53-36

Wyoming (Mike Enzi) – Governor Dave Freudenthal/Former Congressional candidate Gary Trauner: pretty much the only two high profile Democrats in the state at the moment; Freudenthal enjoys a mammoth 77-19 approval, but has indicated no interest in the race; Trauner came within about 1,000 votes of winning the At-Large Congressional seat in 2006

SEEMS LESS OBVIOUS (deep benches) – who would you prefer?

Minnesota (Norm Coleman) – do we choose the high-profile satirist, the millionaire public interest attorney, or well-known legislators?

New Hampshire (John Sununu) – do we choose the popular, young Mayor, the prominent activist, the progressive businessman, or the medical professor/former astronaut? An embarrassment of riches that not only should scare Sununu but also Gregg in ’10

New Mexico (Pete Domenici) – several prominent Congresspeople and current and former statewide elected officials – just waiting on Domenici to make a retire or run for re-elect decision

SEEMS LESS OBVIOUS (slimmer or quieter benches) – who are your picks?
Alabama (Jeff Sessions)
Georgia (Saxby Chambliss)
Idaho (Larry Craig)
Kentucky (Mitch McConnell)
Oklahoma (Jim Inhofe)
South Carolina (Lindsey Graham)
Texas (John Cornyn)

By what margin will Bob Shamansky win?

View Results

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CT-04: Richter Scale Rising

You know, I figure that, since David has his hands full doing, um, whatever it is that ambitious attorneys do all day, I should seize the moment and completely overhaul the Swing State Project.  Perhaps I’ll start with a name change.  How does “RichterBlog” sound to you?

Anyway, in all seriousness, everyone’s favorite former New York Ranger turned prospective Democratic politician has been busy testing the waters in Connecticut for a potential run against lonely Republican Chris Shays.  The Associated Press has a great piece up which I suggest you read.  The latest scoop: it looks like we’ll know whether or not Richter will run within a few weeks.  Here are some key pieces:

Richter, a 40-year-old Democrat who lives in Guilford, said he expects to make a decision in the next few weeks about whether to run for the Fairfield County seat in 2008.

“I’ve considered entering public office in some form for a long time,” Richter told The Associated Press. “I’m getting positive responses.”


Richter worked last year for U.S. Rep. John Hall, a Democrat and former musician who upset six-term incumbent Republican Sue Kelly in upstate New York. Richter helped Hall, who opposed the Iraq war, win over police officers, fire fighters and other constituents who might not have otherwise voted for him, said Tom Staudter, Hall’s spokesman.

“He was hugely popular,” Staudter said, describing Richter as bright and friendly. “He’ll be great.”

In a sign of his status, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani named his dog “Goalie” after Richter.


But Richter could pose a big threat given the reverence many Americans hold for sports stars, Rose said.

“That hockey background could actually be an attraction to some voters here,” Rose said. “It would be sort of a blast of fresh air in the 4th District.”

After two unsuccessful kicks at the can by former nominee Diane Farrell, who could not even beat an increasingly and bizarrely erratic Shays in a wave year like 2006, I’m ready for that fresh air.  Are you?

And don’t worry: SSP will resume its regularly scheduled programming soon.

Race Tracker: CT-04

If the Site Doesn’t Look Right…

(Bumped. – promoted by James L.)

Do a “hard refresh” in your browser. In Firefox and IE, it’s Ctrl-F5 (or Cmd-F5 on a Mac). Instructions for other browsers are here. (Paul from SoapBlox just installed some upgrades on our back-end, but they might make the front-end look temporarily out-of-whack – hence the hard refresh.)

Mark Warner considering Senate race

According to the Washington post, (link http://blog.washingt…) former presidential possibility mark warner is considering a run at Virginia’s senate seat in 2008.  He’s spoken with Chuck Schumer repeatedly, and will not rule out a run, with or without Senator John Warner running.  If (Mark) Warner does indeed run, this would be momentous.  For one, it’s another senate seat that opens up, possibly expanding our majority.  Two, he might bring out voters and maybe even put Virginia into the dems column in the prez race for the first time since 1964.  It could also bring out voters and get other house candidates elected in Virginia.  This would be a top-tier race (Assuming both Warners run, mark Vs another candidate, such as Rep Tom Davis might lean more to our favor) and his running would have immense repercussions come 08.  Let’s hope he dives in!

Sleeper candidates for higher office?

A version of this originally appeared at West Virginia Blue.

I like Gov. Joe Manchin and have touted him here and elsewhere, but I think he should run for another term here and do the work that is needed in West Virginia before he considers a run for higher office. The often Republican friendly Charleston Daily Mail, hiding behind a “some say,” which really appears to hang on just one person commenting, believes Manchin is already making a bid as vice presidential material or U.S. Senate.

From the article:

The first-term governor has been catching the eye of national Democratic Party officials and is getting opportunities to speak before national audiences as he assumes leadership roles in a handful of influential organizations.

On Sunday he was a guest on Fox News talking about energy independence as the chairman-elect of the Democratic Governors Association, a post formerly held by Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico.

Richardson is a potential presidential candidate and Manchin ally.

Manchin, 59, also is the chairman-elect of the Southern Governors Association. The governor currently heads the Southern States Energy Board.

He’s becoming more visible in Washington, flying in state aircraft to the nation’s capital at least 30 times since taking office 28 months ago, according to state aviation records. He’s been there three times so far this year.

Manchin’s trips to Washington could easily be tied to his work on the national board of governors, which he will head next year.

The always interesting Lincoln Walks at Midnight points out that Manchin already has discussed his plans to remain West Virginia’s governor:

“I can honestly tell you I am not in any way, shape or form pursuing that whatsoever… You never know what will happen, but I can tell you that with the job I have right now, there’s so much still we have left to do in West Virginia.”

Personally I think he should run for governor in 2008 for another term and then run for Senator Robert C. Byrd’s seat should he retire in 2012 when Senator Byrd, now 89 and still one of the sharpest minds in the Senate, would be 95.

Another possibility from West Virginia: State Sen. John Unger (D) as a challenger to Rubber Stamp Republican Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito. He won big in 2006 in a very red Berkeley County and is well-respected in Charleston. I’ve not heard if he’s going to throw his hat into the ring in 2008, but he definitely should.

We all know who is out there being touted by the national press for 2008. Who else has potential to break into the national scene in 2008?