NY-26: Chris Lee “Hacked Into Company Computer for Personal Gain”

Big story in today’s Buffalo News:

Congressional candidate Chris Lee acknowledged Friday that he was fired from Ingram Micro years ago because he “made a mistake.” Sources familiar with the mistake say he hacked into a company computer for personal gain.

Lee was a young salesman with Ingram Micro, a computer products distributor that in 1989 was known as Ingram Micro D and operated from offices on Elmwood Avenue.

Lee, according to his co-workers at the time, somehow obtained a company credit manager’s password. Then, with that password, he raised the credit limits for some of his customers and the customers of other sales people, the employees said.

That way Lee could sell the customers more of the company’s products, on credit, before the billing system would flag their accounts for payment and halt further purchases.

It might have helped with sales, but it also put the company at greater risk if those customers failed to pay. A few others knew of the scheme, according to one of the former employees, who asked to remain unidentified fearing retaliation from Lee or Republican Party forces.

The irony is almost too great to bear. Chris Lee broke his own company’s rules to extend credit to people who didn’t deserve it, thereby putting his firm at risk. I could not imagine a more perfect echo of today’s credit meltdown. This sordid story might be just enough to make voters in the 26th CD take a second – and unflattering – look at Lee and go with Alice Kryzan instead.

NV-02, NV-03: Heller Ahead, Titus and Porter Tied in New Polls

Mason-Dixon (10/28-29, likely voters, 10/8-9 in parens):

Jill Derby (D): 37 (38)

Dean Heller (R-inc): 50 (51)

(MoE: ±5%)

Mason-Dixon (10/28-29, likely voters, 10/8-9 in parens):

Dina Titus (D): 44 (40)

Jon Porter (R-inc): 44 (43)

Other: 3 (4)

(MoE: ±5%)

Recent polling by Research 2000 points to a much closer race in the 2nd District (although its sample seems a bit suspect), and the DCCC is up on the air with a new ad in support of Derby in the closing days. This one will be tough, but it’s possible that we could see an upset special here.

On the other hand, the 3rd District polling is much more in line with R2K’s work (they had Titus up by two). I’ve heard some general grumbling about Porter having a superior ad campaign in this race, but the changing nature of this district (namely, there are nearly 37,000 more registered Dems living there today than there were in 2006) may doom Porter, anyway. Any incumbent running in the mid-40s in a year like this is not in great shape.

OR-Sen: Gordon Smith is Going to Lose

SurveyUSA (10/29-30, likely voters, 10/25-26 in parens):

Jeff Merkley (D): 49 (49)

Gordon Smith (R-inc): 42 (42)

Dave Brownlow (C): 5 (5)

(MoE: ±3.8%)

Last summer, I had an informal phone conversation with someone fairly high up on the food chain over at the DSCC (which, I assure you, is not something I do everyday). At the time, Democrats still hadn’t recruited a top-tier candidate to run against Gordon Smith, and some folks in left blogistan (myself included) were worried that this opportunity was slipping away. The DSCC staffer, at that early time, seemed more enthusiastic about this race than any of the other Senate races on the table (remember, Virginia and New Mexico weren’t yet open seats at that time). I admit that I didn’t quite buy it.

But here we are, almost 18 months later, and Gordon Smith is going to lose:

WY-AL: Lummis Pulls Ahead

Research 2000 for Daily Kos (10/27-29, likely voters, 10/14-16):

Gary Trauner (D): 45 (44)

Cynthia Lummis (R): 49 (43)

(MoE: ±4.5%)

This is a race that looks great on paper: Gary Trauner (who almost beat Barbara Cubin last time, helping prompt her retirement this year) is a known quantity in Wyoming, who’s been running mostly even in the polls with Cynthia Lummis, and now he’s getting a good amount of DCCC IEs to go with his netroots money, enough to recently boost this race to Lean Republican. However, we might be seeing a bit of what we’ve been worried about here at SSP: previously high numbers of undecided Republicans, who seem to be coming home to the GOP in the closing moments of the campaign. If 2006 is any indication, though, Trauner is good at overperforming the polls.

McCain is up 61-36 in Wyoming. There are two senate races, both safe GOP: Barasso leads Carter 60-35 and Enzi leads Rothfuss 62-35.

SSP Changes Ratings on Seven Races

The Swing State Project is changing its ratings on the following races:

  • AK-AL: Tossup to Lean D

  • IN-03: Lean R to Tossup

  • MO-06: Lean R to Likely R

  • MO-09: Lean R to Tossup

  • NC-05: Safe R to Likely R

  • NJ-05: Likely R to Lean R

  • SC-01: Likely R to Lean R

We have also moved PA-18 back onto our “Races to Watch” list. Look for write-ups to follow shortly. Our full House chart is available here.