FL-Sen: Martinez May Bail Early, Crist Mulling a Run

Let’s hope this doesn’t happen:

In what could be a Sunshine State one-two punch, multiple Republican sources are confirming that Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (R) is giving serious consideration to running for Senate – and that Sen. Mel Martinez (R-Fla.) is contemplating resigning from his seat before his term is up next year.

Martinez has already announced he will not run for re-election when his first term expires in 2010. Crist, according to sources, has had multiple serious conversations about running for Senate with both Martinez and National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn (Texas). […]

Sources say most Republicans are waiting on the sidelines because they want to see what Crist does before jumping into the Senate race, and explain further that Sink could be eyeing an open gubernatorial seat in 2010, when Crist’s first term is up.

Wow, okay. So are we to believe that Martinez will bail early and that Crist would appoint himself to the Senate? Martinez’s people are staying mum for now, only saying that the Senator “looks forward to serving out the rest of his term” (hardly a lock-solid promise to stay), and then we have this from Florida GOP Chair Jim Greer:

“A self-appointment — that’s not Charlie Crist. He has far too much appreciation for the electorate to appoint himself to the Senate,” said Greer.

Okay… but what about this scenario (again, from Roll Call):

Florida’s lieutenant governor is a Republican and would appoint Martinez’s successor if he and Crist both resign prematurely.

In other words, a self-appointment in all but name. Pretty skeezy, huh?

Of course, this is all speculative, and I hope that Kraushaar is onto something when his Florida GOP contacts tell him that the possibility of a Crist Senate bid is “remote”. In any event, Greer says that Crist won’t make a decision until the end of the state’s legislative session in May — at the earliest.

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NH-Sen: Lynch Will Appoint a Republican

Oh so unsurprising:

Gov. John Lynch (D-NH) indicated today he’ll appoint a Republican to replace Sen. Judd Gregg if Obama nominates the New Hampshire senator to be Secretary of Commerce. In a statement, Lynch said that Gregg made it clear that he would not resign the seat if it would tip the balance in the Senate, and that Lynch believes that the president ought to have the advisers he wants.

“I have had conversations with Senator Gregg, the White House and U.S. Senate leadership. Senator Gregg has said he would not resign his seat in the U.S. Senate if it changed the balance in the Senate. Based on my discussions, it is clear the White House and Senate leadership understand this as well,” Lynch said.

“If President Obama does nominate Senator Gregg to serve as Commerce Secretary, I will name a replacement who will put the people of New Hampshire first and represent New Hampshire effectively in the U.S. Senate,” he said.

Let’s just hope that he picks someone who’ll leave a clean table for 2010 — but I wouldn’t put it past Lynch to screw us.

ID-01: Guess You Better Slow That Mustang Sali Down

A few days ago, many of us were popping champagne over the news that Bill Sali was apparently preparing himself for a rematch against newly-minted Dem Rep. Walt Minnick.

Not so fast:

Former GOP Rep. Bill Sali told 670 KBOI late Friday afternoon that support for a rematch against Democrat Walt Minnick “runs very deep,” but that he hasn’t decided whether to run in 2010. […]

“I haven’t made a decision yet,” Sali told KBOI’s Nate Shelman in a six-minute interview. “I promise everyone when I make a decision I will let everyone know.” Sali did not take calls on Shelman’s talk show.

Earlier Friday, Sali told the Associated Press, “I am months away from any decision.”

Candidates are required to file statements of candidacy if they raise or spend $5,000 for the upcoming election. Sali said he had spent more than $5,000, and the filing was a technical matter.

“Runs very deep”, eh? Thank God for brain fade.

VA-Gov Cattle Call

Last week’s Virginia Governor Democratic Primary Cattle Call

With only 129 days until Virginia’s June 9th Democratic gubernatorial primary, the race is in full swing. The good news for political junkies is that the race has been receiving a good deal of attention. For those looking for a fix, on Tuesday Public Policy Polling* will release head-to-head and favorability numbers for the Democratic Primary. Some people think that Tuesday’s Sharon Bulova result will be important. But it is an all hands on deck for all the campaigns and the only candidate trying to up the ante is Terry McAuliffe in his attempt to smudge the fact he hasn’t helped down ticket Commonwealth Democrats by glossing over with cash.

What’s happened in the last week?

Terry McAuliffe ~ Big week for Terry McAuliffe, but that is both a blessing and a curse. And that will be the story for as long as he hangs around. Terry McAuliffe can raise big money to put his face on TV, but what comes out of his mouth when he is in front of the camera inverts the principle that more media is better.

Terry McAuliffe Money Everyone knows Terry McAuliffe is best known for escalating transactional politics and thus will be able to raise big cash from interests who appreciate pay-to-play. The GOP is already salivating over what looks like a $25,000 of sketchiness. And the $350,000 Park Avenue event is likely to cause some trouble when the next finance reports are released on Tax Day and people see where their Wall Street bailout is going. Optics aren’t pretty:

McAuliffe then stated his case – business savvy to turnaround Virginia’s economic woes – to a crowd with a zero percentage of Virginia residents. Still, the cream of New York’s bundler society present at the dinner could be said to account for McAuliffe’s financial base.

Not a cool base, but he will have lots of money, which brings him to the problem that he’ll spend it putting his face on TV.

Terry McAuliffe on TV

The big money let McAuliffe air a Super Bowl ad, but does it help to brand his face on TV? Tim Craig noted:

And because he was a frequent guest on cable news programs as chairman of the Democratic National Committee, reams of footage could become fodder for a GOP advertising campaign. The Virginia GOP has compiled an extensive opposition research file on McAuliffe, GOP sources said.

Brian Moran ~ Picking p the endorsement of Dwight Jones was a major get, but again for Moran the big news was his big moves on the environment. This week, it was his Green Virginia Plan:

“Virginia can and must become a leader in renewable energy and get our economy moving,” said Moran, a former delegate from Alexandria who is one of three Democrats seeking the party’s nomination for governor.

“The time for leadership on this issue has come, and I’m committed to bold action. This plan will create tens of thousands of jobs in growing industries,” Moran said. “These investments will produce returns for years in the form of new technologies and new jobs.”

Bob Burnley, director of the Department of Environmental Quality under then-Gov. Mark R. Warner, endorsed Moran today and praised his environmental plan.

Creigh Deeds ~ While McAuliffe is putting his money on TV and Moran is again getting lots of earned media for his environmental consolidation, where is Deeds? Not only is he not making good moves, he is making mistakes. Again, he’s going to have to step it up to be more than a spoiler.

*The latest PPC poll in Ohio had no clue when it came to the electorate, so take it with a grain of salt.

Florida Senate Polls out

Since noone else brought it up I figured I would.  Kos sponsored another R2K poll.  This one on the Florida Senate race in 2010.  It really doesn’t tell us much since many of the candidates have announced they are not running.


Primary polls:

Research 2000 for Daily Kos. 1/26-28. Likely voters. MoE 4%, 5% for primary samples (No trendlines)

Democratic Primary

Meek 17

Boyd 8

Gelber 3

Undecided 72

Republican Primary

Crist 57

McCollum 11

Rubio 4

Republican Primary

McCollum 28

Rubio 12

General Polls:

Crist (R) 49

Meek (D) 28

Meek (D) 31

Rubio (R) 22

Crist (R) 52

Gelber (D) 21

Gelber (D) 23

Rubio (R) 23

AL-Gov: Artur Davis Set to Announce Run

Another unsurprising departure:

U.S. Rep. Artur Davis on Friday will declare his intention to seek the governorship of Alabama, sources close to the congressman confirm.  

The much-anticipated announcement marks the most serious bid ever launched by a black candidate to win the top office in a state that still observes Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis’ birthdays but that also gave rise to the civil rights movement that ended Jim Crow.

Sources close to the campaign said Davis, 41, will announce his intention to seek the Democratic Party nomination for governor at a midday event Friday in Birmingham, which he represents in Congress, followed by a late-afternoon event in his native Montgomery. He’ll kick off his campaign outside the state’s Archives, within sight of the first White House of the Confederacy and the Alabama Capitol, where that Confederacy was born 148 years ago Wednesday.

Ag Comm’r and SSP hero Ron Sparks, as well as Lt. Gov. Jim Folsom, are also considering runs for the Dems. Open seat fans, don’t fret – Obama won 79% of the vote in AL-07. In fact, this is a good opportunity to replace Davis with someone more progressive, in the mold, perhaps, of Steve Cohen replacing Harold Ford, Jr.

UPDATE: A Roll Call piece (h/t politicalal) lists some potential AL-07 candidates:

Of the several members of the state Legislature who have been mentioned as possible Davis replacements, the most intriguing may be state Rep. Earl Hilliard Jr. (D), the son of the former Congressman [whom Davis ousted in a primary in 2002]. …

Other Democratic state legislators whose names have been floated as possible candidates in the 7th include state Rep. Merika Coleman and state Sen. Rodger Smitherman, who both hail from Jefferson County, where Birmingham is located. State Sen. Bobby Singleton, whose senate district includes parts of Tuscaloosa and rural counties south and west, has also been mentioned. …

Birmingham attorney Terri Sewell, a longtime associate of Davis’ who attended Princeton University at the same time as first lady Michelle Obama, is expected to run in an open-seat race in the 7th.  …

Another candidate mentioned in Democratic circles is Sheila Smoot, a two-term Jefferson County commissioner who is also known for her work as a former television news anchor.

NY-20: Dems Narrow Field to Six Candidates

As you may recall, there will be no primary for the NY-20 special election to replace now-Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. The GOP has settled on carpetbagging Assembly Minority Leader James Tedisco as their nominee. Meanwhile, the Dem county committees are interviewing six people:

  • Suzy Ballantyne, Director of Governmental Affairs for the New York State AFL-CIO
  • Tracy Egan, former tv news anchor
  • Assemblyman Tim Gordon
  • Ron Kim, Kim Commissioner of Public Safety in the City of Saratoga Springs
  • Scott Murphy, Managing Director of Advantage Capital Partners
  • Carol Schrager, attorney

Full bios are available here.  The Times Union says a decision could come as early as today.

UPDATE: The Dems have picked Scott Murphy. (Thanks, JFM110.) Also, here is Scott Murphy‘s website.

FL-12: Putnam to Run for State Ag Commissioner

In a widely expected move, GOP Rep. Adam Putnam is bailing:

Rep. Adam Putnam, the third-ranking Republican in the House until he relinquished that post late last year, will give up his House seat to pursue a bid as the next agriculture commissioner of Florida.

His decision to make this run has been the source of much speculation since he gave up his post as chairman of the Republican Conference on election night last fall. Most Floridians view the commissioner’s job as a stepping stone to the governor’s office.

Despite the lack of surprise, this is nonetheless a telling move. Putnam was a rising star in the GOP ranks and is only 34 years old. He likely would have sat in Boehner’s seat some day. Yet he’s choosing to leave the House rather than face the prospect of a lengthy tour in the wilderness.

Remarkably, the prior holder of Putnam’s leadership job – Chair of the House Republican Conference – also just bailed last cycle. (That would be Deborah Pryce.) We also saw the departure of two former NRCC heads (Tom Reynolds and Tom Davis). Can’t say I blame any of them for wanting to jump ship, but it really says something that so many top GOPers are fleeing.

Anyhow, open seat fans, this news is quite interesting. In 2004, George Bush romped in this district, racking up a 58-42 win. But that changed dramatically in 2008, with McCain only narrowly edging Obama 51-48. I’d be interested to hear your thoughts as to why FL-12 jumped thirteen points while the state as a whole moved “only” eight.

In any event, Tim Sahd over at the Hotline takes a look at who some of the candidates might be:

Of course, for Dems to have a chance, they’ll need to recruit a candidate that matches the GOP-leaning CD. And if moderate ex-state Sen./’98 LG candidate Rick Dantzler runs, they may have that candidate. But it’s been 10 years since he ran (his ticket ran against ex-Gov. Jeb Bush’s (R) and lost, 55-45%), so the value of his name ID in this race is questionable.

The Lakeland Ledger also reports that state Rep. Seth McKeel (R) — a close friend of Putnam’s — had been considered the most likely candidate to run, but the birth of his child has has him leaning toward staying in the legislature. Other GOPers that are mentioned include state Sen. Paula Dockery (R) and state Rep. Dennis Ross (R).

This is probably the most compelling red seat to open up so far. Looking forward to a bunch more of these!

GOP Leadership Vacuum: Putnam makes it official


Rep. Adam Putnam (R-Fla.) is set to give up his seat in Congress to run for Florida Agriculture Commissioner, a move that a GOP official said is a precursor to a run for governor.

Putnam told the Associated Press that on Monday he will file paperwork to enter the race for state agriculture commissioner, and will give up his seat in the House to run statewide in his home state.

A Republican official with close ties to Putnam said that, in Florida, the Agriculture Commissioner is a highly coveted job and is often seen as a stepping-stone to the governor’s office.

So in order to keep his presidential aspirations alive, he is taking his gig from the house, where everyone goes unloved and has his eyes on the Florida governor’s race in 2014.  Anyone want to kill a promising political career?  It would be damning for him to drop out of the US House leadership (3rd ranking GOP Member) to miss his target of Governor.  If we have Alex Sink running, that’s a real possibility

Florida’s 12th district is the most appealing retirement we’ve got yet, clocking in with an old PVI of R+5.  I am compiling a list of possible successors, right now.  Edit: After consulting a map, it looks like Fort Meadows, Bartow, Lake Whales, Winter Haven, Haines City and Lakeland are all in the district, Lakeland being the largest population center in the district.  It’s hard comparing the congressional district map to the state senate and state house map, but it appears there are no state senators in the district and there may be a Democratic State Representative or two from the Tampa / St. Petersberg suburbs.

GOP Bleeding Talent

Last year, Putnam unexpectedly gave up his job as GOP Conference chairman, the third-ranking Republican in the House. The 34-year-old Putnam was, at the time, still seen as a rising star in the party because of his age and what his colleagues said were remarkable talents.

Zach Wamp, Adam Putnam… The GOP is suffering from leadership drain.  Who is next?

Another One Bites the Dust

I am requesting that, someone who has not had the opportunity to do it yet, que the music and embed the youtube video!  I’ve done it before and a few people get to do it every time.  Please don’t post it if you have before.  If you want to but don’t know how, ask and I talk you through it!

Edit: Josh Kraushaar at The Politico throws former state senator Rick Dantzler as a potential candidate for the seat.  He also points out a couple stats on the district:

There are more registered Democrats than Republicans within the district lines. And Obama ran competitively here, winning about 48 percent of the vote against John McCain.

( http://www.politico.com/blogs/… )

So what do we know about former State Senator Rick Dantzler?  He is looking at the race:

Former state Sen. Rick Dantzler, D-Winter Haven, is taking a serious look at running for Republican-leaning Congressional District 12 should Adam Putnam jump into the race for agriculture commissioner, as is widely expected. The moderate former senator who ran for governor and lieutenant governor in 1998 is analyzing the numbers in CD 12, where Republican prospects include state Sen. Paula Dockery, and state Reps. Seth McKeel and Dennis Ross.

Source: http://blogs.tampabay.com/buzz…