VA-Sen: Gilmore Very Nearly Punk’d By the VA GOP (Updated)

UPDATE II: Now it’s official. Gilmore wins a squeaker against Marshall, taking 50.3% of the convention votes. It’s hilarious that this nominating convention, which Gilmore partisans fought tooth and nail for, very nearly killed his candidacy.

UPDATE: Bearing Drift and Raising Kaine say that Gilmore won by about 70 votes out of 4500 cast. That’s not official yet, though.

This could be hilarious. The Virginia GOP is meeting today to nominate its sacrificial lamb candidate for the Senate race against former Gov. Mark Warner (D). Supporters of failed former Gov. Jim Gilmore pushed for the convention instead of a primary in order to elbow the “too moderate” Rep. Tom Davis from the race. That’s the story so far.

But things can’t always be the way you want them to be. James Martin over at Raising Kaine is liveblogging the nominating convention, and reports that state Del. Bob Marshall is beating Gilmore in the 1st, 4th, 5th, 7th, 10th, and 11th districts so far, with Gilmore posting leads only in the 2nd and 9th districts. Additionally, Martin estimates that “50-55% of the delegates are wearing Bob Marshall for Senate stickers”.

It sounds like Jim Gilmore is about to get punk’d again. Now, I’d prefer that Gilmore and his sky-high negatives survived the convention for a slam-dunk Mark Warner win in November, but this is still amusing nevertheless.

Weekly Open Thread: What Congressional District Do You Live In?

Let’s try something different: In comments, tell us what congressional district you live in. While you’re at it, why don’t you describe the district for us, too. And if you don’t live in a U.S. congressional district, tell us about whatever legislative district(s) you do live in.

UPDATE: This has been a super-fun thread so far. To kick it up a notch, I’ve created a Frappr map for SSP community members. This will give us a visual representation of where everyone lives. You can click below to add your location (nothing more specific than a town name or ZIP code is used). Go for it!

TN-09: EMILY’s List Endorses Tinker Over Cohen

(From the diaries – promoted by James L.)

I’m not sure if this is a case of EMILY’s List jumping the shark, drinking the gender essentialist Kool-Aid, or throwing Steve Cohen under the bus (maybe all three cliches at once?), but EMILY’s List has endorsed Nikki Tinker in the primary in TN-09 rather than incumbent progressive Steve Cohen.

EMILY’s List offered the following rationale:

“This is an extraordinary circumstance for us. We don’t make these decisions lightly,” said EMILY’s List spokeswoman Ramona Oliver. “Nikki ran a strong race in 2006 has put a strong race together in 2008, and she’s the only woman in this race.”

Cohen’s response was:

Cohen said he was somewhat surprised by the endorsement, citing his support and ‘A’ rating from the abortion-rights group Planned Parenthood. “It’s unfortunate that the women who give money and trust to EMILY’s List are not going to see their money going against Republicans, but that their money is going to used against a champion of choice,” Cohen said.

And Cohen’s campaign manager got more to the point!

“Steve Cohen doesn’t have the proper plumbing for EMILY’s List. His record as a state senator and congressman doesn’t mean anything to EMILY’s List because he’s not the right gender,” said Cohen campaign manager Jerry Austin.

The race in TN-09 is a curious confluence of gender and race; Steve Cohen is a Jewish white guy who represents a district that’s almost 60% African-American (who emerged from the primary via a split black vote). This is the seat that used to be represented by Harold Ford, Jr., so with Cohen a member of the Progressive Caucus and sporting a Progressive Punch score of 95%, he’s a big improvement over Ford, who was consistently the least liberal member of the CBC.

By contrast, Tinker (who is African-American and, obviously, female) is running as the apparently more conservative option (and, presumably, one who would therefore be less representative of the views of her D+18 district). Tinker’s background is in corporate law, specializing in “labor relations,” first for large firm Ford & Harrison and then for the general counsel for Memphis-based Northwest Airlines affiliate Pinnacle Airways.

For what it’s worth, a poll from a few weeks ago showed Cohen beating Tinker by a gaudy 63-11 margin, so unless it’s intended simply as a thumb in the eye to Cohen, it may be too little too late for them (although the primary isn’t until August 7).

Why a thumb in the eye right now? Cohen may have a frowny face on their good/bad chart as a result of his May 10 gaffe where he used a sexually loaded cinematic allusion to urge Hillary Clinton to exit stage right:

“Glenn Close should have stayed in that tub, and Sen. Clinton has had a remarkable career and needs to move to the next step, which is helping elect the Democratic nominee,” Cohen said.

Cohen rightly expressed his regrets over the comparison later, but is it an offense that really justifies EMILY’s List diverting its resources away from the general election task of beating Republicans and their decidedly non-feminist agenda?

NY-13: Brooklyn GOP “Upset and Disgusted” With Frank Powers

Oh this is good.

Last night we brought the news to you that the Staten Island GOP selected Frank Powers, a long-toothed local party supporter with no electoral experience to run in Vito Fossella’s place this November. Presumably, Powers’ personal wealth played heavily in the decision. One GOP source told the Staten Island Advance that Powers plans to spend $500K from his own pockets, and raise the same amount. I guess with the NRCC as broke as it is, a self-funder does have some allure.

But all is clearly not well in GOPville. Brooklyn Republicans, who endorsed Conservative Party member Paul Atanasio last week, are miffed and dismayed with the selection of Powers:

The Democrats’ pick, Councilman Mike McMahon, is “formidable,” [Brooklyn GOP Chair Craig] Eaton said, and he’s not sure about Powers because the two have never met. That is part of the problem.

“I’m getting a lot of calls from district leaders who are very, very upset,” Eaton said. “I’m upset and digusted. Until yesterday at 3 p.m., I had never heard (of Powers).

“This is the only congressional seat in the [city] of New York that the Republican Party has,” Eaton continued. “They had three weeks to come up with a viable candidate. After three weeks, for someone to come in at the last minute and become the candidate kind of concerns me.”

Eaton went on to add that it’s “possible, but not probable” that the Brooklyn GOP might throw its backing behind Atanasio in a primary. Whatever the case, Brooklyn Republicans clearly think the situation stinks. Me? I’m lovin’ it.

Latest Governor Polls for 2008

(From the diaries.  I wouldn’t go so far as to call MO-GOV a “safe Democratic pickup” just yet, though. – promoted by James L.)

Cross-posted from Election Inspection, here are the latest Governor polls:

State Incumbent Poll Dem Candidate % Rep Candidate %
IN Daniels Research 2000 4/21-4/24 Jill Long Thompson 45 Mitch Daniels 45
MO Blunt SUSA 5/16-5/18 Jay Nixon 57 Kenny Hulshof 33
MO Blunt SUSA 5/16-5/18 Jay Nixon 58 Sarah Steelman 33
MT Schweitzer Mason-Dixon 5/19-5/21 Brian Schweitzer 55 Roy Brown 30
NC Easley SUSA 5/17-5/19 Bev Perdue 52 Pat McCrory 45
UT Huntsman Dan Jones & Assoc. 5/13-5/19 Bob Springmeyer 13 Jon Huntsman 77
WA Gregoire Rasmussen 5/12 Christine Gregoire 52 Dino Rossi 41

Thus far, Missouri looks to be a Safe Democratic pickup, while Indiana is a toss-up. Vermont is currently unpolled, but State Speaker of the House Gaye Symington (D-VT) could make the race against incumbent GOP Gov. Jim Douglas a competitive one. North Carolina and Washington look like likely Democratic retentions so far. I don’t expect Utah, North Dakota, West Virginia, Montana, or New Hampshire to become competitive, and the only question in Delaware is which Democrat will win the primary.

By what margin will Bob Shamansky win?

View Results

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WY-AL: Poll Shows Tight Race

Research 2000 for DailyKos (5/20-21, likely voters, no trendlines):

Gary Trauner (D): 44

Cynthia Lummis (R): 41

(MoE: ±4%)

The poll has a sample of 48R-24D-28I. Exit polls from 2004 showed turnouts at 53R-25D-22I. If this shift from R to I is accurate, that’s a heartening sign, seeing as most independents these days lean Dem. Indeed, Trauner carries that group 58-32. He also fares far better among Dems (85-11) than Lummis does among Republicans (62-15).

These results are very similar to a Casper Star-Tribune poll from January, which had Trauner edging Lummis 41-40. Then as now, Trauner had more solid support from his own party than Lummis. However, the GOP hasn’t decided on a nominee yet, and won’t until late in the summer – August 19th, in fact. Lummis, a former Secretary of State, has to contend with rancher Mark Gordon, who has raised considerably more than she has – though the bulk of his haul actually consists of a $300K donation he made to his own campaign.

Markos didn’t poll a Trauner-Gordon matchup, but he may want to the next time R2K is in the field: a Gordon internal poll from earlier this month showed him up 39-23 over Lummis. That poll, though, showed 30% undecideds, and I’m going to bet that surveying likely voters for a primary in the dog days of summer is a very inexact science.

Depending on how divisive this primary gets, GOP support may or may not coalesce around the eventual nominee. Right now, Lummis at least seems pretty untarnished, with a 49-29 favorability rating. Trauner’s numbers are similar, 52-31, and he still has a little room for growth (17% have no opinion of him). He’ll need to hope that Republican support for his opponent, whoever it may be, stays soft, and he’ll also need to eke out some more votes from undecided independents. If Trauner can do that, lightning might just strike.

P.S. Bonus finding: McCain leads Obama 53-40. Kerry lost this state 69-29.

Franken’s porn story has party in a lather

Blech.  This can’t be good, a week before the state DFL convention.

A week before Minnesota DFLers endorse a U.S. Senate candidate, behind-the-scenes rumblings about a satirical Playboy magazine article written by candidate Al Franken eight years ago have broken into the open.

Four of the state’s five Congresspeople are quoted or mentioned as having concerns.…  

June Election Preview: Races Worth Watching

Another month, another round of elections. Once again, the Swing State Project brings you the month in races worth watching:

June 3: This is going to be a big day.

  • AL-02: With Rep. Terry Everett (R) retiring at the end this term, the GOP field is large and noisy to replace him. The players include: State Rep. Jay Love, state Rep. David Grimes, oral surgeon Craig Schmidtke, TV station executive David Woods, and state Sen. Harri Anne Smith. With such a crowded and well-funded field, a 7/15 runoff is all but inevitable. Watch for Smith and one of Love or Woods to advance to the next round.

    I’m hoping that Smith is the GOP victor here, if for no other reason than the fact that she’s dumber than a sack of hammers.

    On the Democratic side, Montgomery Mayor Bobby Bright will face off with Alabama NOW President Cheryl Sabel and dentist Cendie Crawley. Bright’s campaign has been slow to get started, whereas Sabel has won a number of endorsements. Still, Bright should probably be okay based on name recognition.

  • AL-05: Another open seat here, this one left behind by retiring Democratic Rep. Bud Cramer. State Sen. Parker Griffith of Huntsville is the Democratic front-runner and won’t have any problems in his primary.

    Republicans will decide between insurance executive and ’94/’96 candidate Wayne Parker, businesswoman Cheryl Baswell Guthrie, former state Rep. Angelo Mancuso (a turncoat Democrat), ’06 candidate Ray McKee, and a number of also-rans. Parker is thought to be the favorite, but Guthrie has invested a significant amount of her own resources on the race.

  • CA-04: This one should be interesting. With John Doolittle being put out to pasture, Republicans will choose between conservative icon Tom McClintock, a state Senator from southern California, and former Rep. Doug Ose. This has been a bloody and expensive primary, but the winner will still have a big advantage over Democrat Charlie Brown in this R+10.9 district.
  • IA-03: Democrats will go to the polls to decide the fate of longtime Rep. Leonard Boswell, who is receiving a primary challenge from former state Rep. Ed Fallon. In a low-turnout affair, anything could happen, but keep in mind that the lone public poll of this race — from Research 2000 in late April — showed Boswell ahead by a wide margin.
  • NJ-Sen: A big event. Not content to “wait his turn”, Rep. Rob Andrews is waging a rough primary challenge against Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D). A recent Rasmussen poll gave Lautenberg a 30-point lead here.

    Republicans will choose between ex-Rep. Dick Zimmer, crypto-fascist state Sen. Joseph Pennacchio, and college professor Murray Sabrin, a Ron Paul acolyte.

  • NJ-03: Republicans were initially very high on Chris Myers, a Lockheed Martin VP, to replace retiring GOP Rep. Jim Saxton in this South Jersey distrct. However, Myers’ primary against Ocean County Freeholder Jack Kelly has descended into a squabbling mess, and neither candidate has been able to match the fundraising juggernaut of the Democratic candidate, state Sen. John Adler. I’m rooting for Kelly to win here, but I like Adler’s chances against either Republican.
  • NJ-07: The GOP primary to replace retiring Rep. Mike Ferguson appears to be up in the air between state Senate Minority Leader Leonard Lance and Kate Whitman, the daughter of former Gov. Christine Todd Whitman. It’s unclear to me which candidate would be stronger in the general election. Ex-Summit Councilwoman Kelly Hatfield and Scotch Plains Mayor Marty Marks will also have their names on the ballot.

    State Assemblywoman Linda Stender will be carrying the Democratic banner once again in this tossup district.

  • NM-Sen: This open seat race has caused a domino effect all over New Mexico politics, with all three of the state’s House members throwing their hats in the ring.

    Republicans will decide between Reps. Heather Wilson and Steve Pearce. Because of Pearce’s more conservative profile, he would probably be the easier candidate for Democrat Tom Udall to beat in November. Still, the most recent polls show Udall crushing either Republican, so the outcome of the GOP primary may not matter a whole lot for Tom Udall’s chances this November.

  • NM-01: With Heather Wilson out of the picture, Democrats are hopeful that they can finally put this D+2.4 district in the bag. The choices: Albuquerque City Councilor Martin Heinrich, former state Health Secretary Michelle Lujan Grisham and former New Mexico Secretary of State Rebecca Vigil-Giron. A a recent poll gave Heinrich a slight lead over Vigil-Giron, but Lujan Grisham has raised and spent a respectable amount.

    Republicans will choose between Bernalillo County Sheriff Darren White and state Sen. Joseph Carraro. White, a rare strong recruit by the mostly hapless NRCC, is the overwhelming favorite for his party’s nomination.

  • NM-02: I’ll be relieved when the roster of players vying for Steve Pearce’s open seat is cut to two. On the Democratic side of the playing field, voters in this district will choose between Dona Ana County Commissioner Bill McCamley and former Lea County Commissioner Harry Teague. McCamley is an impressive orator and campaigner, but Teague, a wealthy oil man, has drawn on his personal wealth to give his campaign a big financial edge here. The buzz I’ve heard is that Teague is well-placed to win the nomination, a fact that seems to be confirmed by Bill Richardson’s recent endorsement of Teague.

    For what it’s worth, Roll Call quoted an anonymous New Mexico GOP strategist who believes that a Teague victory in this R+5.7 seat is “likely” in November — as long as he makes it out of the primary. I take such things with a heavy grain of salt, though.

    The Republicans have a football team-sized field here, including Hobbs Mayor Monty Newman, restaurateur and ’02 candidate Ed Tinsley, retired banker Aubrey Dunn Jr. (a former Democrat), local GOP Chairman C. Earl Greer, and businessman Greg Sowards. Tinsley was regarded as the early front-runner, but the National Association of Realtors PAC has dumped around $1 million in support of Newman, and Dunn has also spent over half a million of his own money on the race. With no public polling, the outcome of this one could be anyone’s guess.

  • NM-03: The race to replace Tom Udall in the House is a two-way affair between Public Regulation Commissioner Ben Ray Luján and wealthy home developer Don Wiviott. Wiviott (and other third-string candidates) have been going hard negative on Luján, who appears to have the edge here. Indeed, a recent poll showed Luján with a six-point lead over Wiviott, and Richardson gave him his stamp of approval earlier this week.

    I don’t know or care who the sacrificial GOP lamb is in this D+5.5 district.

June 10:

  • ME-01: With Tom Allen hoping to graduate to the Senate, a posse of Dems are vying to replace him, including: Former Common Cause President Chellie Pingree, York County District Attorney Mark Lawrence, former state Senate Majority Leader Michael Brennan, Iraq War vet Adam Cote, and state Sen. Ethan Strimling. Who is the strongest pick here? It beats me. Cote seems to be the most conservative choice, and could sneak in if progressive votes are divided.

    Republicans will pick between former state Sen. Charlie Summers and businessman Dean Scontras, but the Democratic nominee will be heavily favored in the general election in this D+6.2 district.

  • SC-02: This is a bit of an oddball race. At a PVI of R+8.9, it’s certainly not on many prognosticators’ radar screens. However, Democrat Rob Miller, an Iraq vet who entered this race in March, has raised $200K and loaned himself another $100K, according to the latest FEC filings. That’s an extremely respectable amount for a Democrat in a red district like this one.

    Miller will face off against retired Air Force officer Blaine Lotz.

  • VA-11: A big one. With Tom Davis out of the picture, Democrats are finally making a play for this Dem-trending district. But first, the primary: Fairfax County Chairman Gerry Connolly vs. ex-Rep./ex-state Sen./’05 Lt. Gov. candidate Leslie Byrne. Depending on who you talk to, this race is either neck-and-neck or will go decisively to Connolly.

    The winner will take on Republican Keith Fimian, a political neophyte, but an impressive fundraiser.

June 17:

  • MD-04: Grab your popcorn, it’s time for another edge of your seat special election! Oh wait; Donna Edwards is going to win by 50 points.

June 24:

  • UT-03: A recent poll shows GOP Rep. Chris Cannon leading former gubernatorial aide Jason Chaffetz by only two points. Cannon has had his share of close calls in the past, but it’s unclear whether we’ll actually get to do the wingnut shuffle in Utah this year.

ME, SC, VA: Pre-Primary FEC Filing Roundup

With congressional primaries in Maine, South Carolina, and Virginia on June 10th, the deadline for candidates to file their pre-primary fundraising reports with the FEC for the period from 4/1 to 5/21 passed at midnight.  Let’s round-up the numbers from all the hot races (all figures are subject to rounding and listed in the thousands; loans not included):

“Under the radar” races are my favorite, so let’s take a look at SC-01 and SC-02, two deeply red seats with surprisingly strong Democratic challengers.

In SC-01, businesswoman/civic leader Linda Ketner has raised ($430K) and spent ($398K) quite a bit money so far. She’s also loaned her campaign $350,000 so far. This is some serious money for an R+9.6 district — and she needs to be posting these kinds of figures, when the incumbent is sitting on $1.3 million cash on hand.

Also impressive is SC-02’s Rob Miller. An Iraq vet, Miller entered the race in March and has raised nearly $200K and lent his campaign an additional $100K. Again, very respectable scrilla for an R+8.9 district.