IL-Sen, IL-Gov: Giannoulis, Madigan lead

Looks like PPP just released a poll out of Illinois for both the Gubernatorial and Senatorial Democratic primaries and it looks pretty bad for Burris and Quinn (if Madigan decides to run):

(without Schakowsky)

Burris 20
Giannoulis 49

(with Schakowsky)

Burris 16
Giannoulis 38
Schakowsky 26 

PPP shows that even if Jan Schakowsky runs for the Senate, Giannoulis still holds a fairly commanding lead (and in that scenario actually holding a plurality of African American voters). One of the major concerns has been that a really divisive primary between Schakowsky and Giannoulis could set up a way for Burris to squeak by on the backs of a united African American vote, but with Schakowsky actually taking African American support from Burris in the poll, it seems that Sen. Burris's mausoleum will only show him as Senator for 2 years (what a shame!).In the Governor's race it's

Madigan 45
Quinn 29

Personally, I have no horse in the Governor's race but I'd probably prefer Schakowsky in the Senate over Giannoulis (though I'm not picky about it either). Either way though, it looks like Burris isn't in good shape for the primary.

UPDATE: One other thing I noticed which makes me wonder why Madigan doesn't seriously consider running for Senate is that even in a crowded primary against Giannoulis, Schakowsky, and Burris, she still dominates the field:

Madigan 44
Giannoulis 19
Burris 13
Schakowsky 11

Right now Madigan's numbers are better than all three candidates combined (not including the undecideds) and even if Schakowsky didn't run and all of her support went to Giannoulis or Burris and all the undecideds broke entirely for Giannoulis or Burris (more likely the former) she would still hold a one point lead over Giannoulis. I know that Madigan wants the governor's mansion, but she should seriously consider making a move for the Senate.

IL-10: Bond Will Run for Kirk’s Seat

Democrats have lined up a very credible challenger for GOP Rep. Mark Kirk — that is, assuming that Kirk decides to run for another term. In a press release just issued this morning, state Sen. Michael Bond has announced his candidacy for the 10th CD:

“After speaking with people in our communities, listening to their ideas and hearing their concerns, I’ve decided to run for Congress. Our country is facing enormous challenges. Decisions are being made that will affect Americans for generations to come, and it’s important to have people in Washington who will take a fresh approach to today’s problems, who will fight for what’s right and get something done.

Bond represents a historically Republican state Senate district in Chicago’s northern suburbs that, according to his press release, has a typical Democratic performance of only 44%. Bond surely hopes that his ability to win over GOP-leaning voters will carry over to a congressional race (where the partisan landscape, on paper, is even more favorable with a PVI of D+6).

Of course, Bond may not even have the primary field to himself. Kirk previously indicated that he would make a decision on his political future by the end of this month, and if he decides to parachute into either the Senate or gubernatorial race, Bond may face company from state Sen. Susan Garrett of Lake Forest and ’06/’08 candidate Dan Seals, who both have expressed interest in running for the seat should Kirk vacate the scene.

Arlen Specter’s Impact on Al Franken

{First, a cheap plug for my blog Senate Guru.} Before Arlen Specter’s Party switch announcement yesterday, the Senate’s Democratic caucus stood at 58 members.  Senator-elect Al Franken represented Democrats’ 59th vote toward cloture, still short of reliably ending Republican filibusters.  But now, with Specter joining the Democratic caucus, Senator-elect Franken represents the big 6-0, which is why Republicans will redouble their efforts to delay Senator-elect Franken’s seating – and why we in the netroots must redouble our efforts to send obstructionist Republicans a message and also provide them with adequate disincentive from delaying Senator-elect Franken’s seating any further.

Since the “One Dollar a Day to Make Norm Coleman Go Away” effort started just a couple weeks ago, about $40,000 has been raised to remind the Republicans funding Norm Coleman’s endless appeals that, for every single day that they delay the implementation of the will of Minnesota voters, progressive voters will raise money to use against these Republicans on Election Day 2010.

Your support will strengthen that message!

Norm Coleman and his fellow Republicans recently scored a success in further delaying Senator-elect Franken’s seating, as the trial schedule adopted by the state Supreme Court for Coleman’s appeal is such that oral arguments before the Court won’t begin until June 1st, over a month from now.  Further, although Minnesota election policy dictates that Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty must prepare and sign Senator-elect Franken’s election certificate once the state Supreme Court hands down its decision, Pawlenty has hemmed and hawed as to whether he would follow state election policy accordingly.

With a D next to Arlen Specter’s name, Republicans will go full force to block Senator-elect Franken’s seating.  Please join us in eliminating Republicans’ incentive to delay Senator-elect Franken’s seating any further by taking part in the “One Dollar a Day to Make Norm Coleman Go Away” effort.  At right is video of the segment on MSNBC’s Hardball highlighting the effort.

2010 House Open Seat Watch (4/29/09)

It’s about time that we made another assessment of the House open seat picture, wouldn’t you say? Just like we did last time, let’s gather up all of the confirmed and potential retirements/vacancies in the House, as well as the seats that were once considered potentially open, but now are not. We’ve also created a perma-post which you can find here or in the right-hand sidebar under “SSP Resources.” Please note that “age” in our charts refers to the incumbent’s age on election day, 2010.

Let’s do it:

Definite Retirements/Vacancies:

District Incumbent Party PVI Notes
AL-07 Artur Davis D D+18 Running for Governor
CA-10 Ellen Tauscher D D+11 Appointed to State Department
CA-32 Hilda Solis D D+15 Appointed Secretary of Labor
FL-12 Adam Putnam R R+6 Running for Ag Commissioner
FL-17 Kendrick Meek D D+34 Running for Senate
GA-09 Nathan Deal R R+28 Running for Governor
HI-01 Neil Abercrombie D D+11 Running for Governor
KS-01 Jerry Moran R R+23 Running for Senate
KS-04 Todd Tiahrt R R+14 Running for Senate
MI-02 Peter Hoekstra R R+7 Running for Governor
MO-07 Roy Blunt R R+17 Running for Senate
NH-02 Paul Hodes D D+3 Running for Senate
OK-05 Mary Fallin R R+13 Running for Governor
SC-03 Gresham Barrett R R+17 Running for Governor
TN-03 Zach Wamp R R+13 Running for Governor

It’s only the end of April, and we already have 15 open seats (two of which will be resolved in special elections later this year). Compare today’s situation with our open seat watch from two years ago, when there were only three confirmed open seats (and one of those retiring Reps, Luis Gutierrez, later reneged!). Of course, the big difference is that this cycle is host to a few dozen gubernatorial races — providing ample opportunities for House members (particularly beleaguered Republicans) to escape the DC scene. Indeed, all of the open seats in the above list could be placed in the “movin’ on up” category.

We haven’t even seen any straight-up retirements yet. Last cycle, the dam broke in August with the retirements of Dennis Hastert, Charles Pickering, and Deborah Pryce — that batch was soon followed up with the likes of Rick Renzi, Jerry Weller, and Jim Ramstad. I’m sure we’ll see our share of retirements later this year (and even more statewide runs), perhaps of names from the following column:

Potential Retirements/Vacancies:

District Incumbent Party PVI Age Notes
AK-AL Don Young R R+13 77 Age/Legal issues
AZ-03 John Shadegg R R+9 61 Botched retirement attempt in 2008
CA-24 Elton Gallegly R R+4 66 Botched retirement attempt in 2006
CA-36 Jane Harman D D+12 65 Scandal/Possible primary
DE-AL Mike Castle R D+7 71 Possible Senate run/Strong challenge
FL-10 Bill Young R R+1 79 Age/Strong challenge
FL-13 Vern Buchanan R R+6 59 Possible Senate/Gubernatorial bid
FL-22 Ron Klein D D+1 53 Possible Senate run
FL-25 Mario Diaz-Balart R R+5 49 Possible Senate run
GA-01 Jack Kingston R R+16 55 Possible gubernatorial run
GA-08 Jim Marshall D R+10 62 Possible gubernatorial run
IA-05 Steve King R R+9 61 Possible gubernatorial bid
IL-06 Peter Roskam R EVEN 49 Possible Senate run
IL-07 Danny Davis D D+35 69 Possible Senate run
IL-09 Jan Schakowsky D D+20 66 Possible Senate run
IL-10 Mark Kirk R D+6 51 Possible Senate/Gubernatorial run
IL-13 Judy Biggert R R+1 73 Age
IN-05 Dan Burton R R+17 72 Primary challenge
LA-03 Charlie Melancon D R+12 63 Possible Senate run
MD-06 Roscoe Bartlett R R+13 84 Age
MI-01 Bart Stupak D R+3 58 Possible gubernatorial run
MI-08 Mike Rogers R R+2 47 Possible gubernatorial run
MI-10 Candice Miller R R+5 56 Possible gubernatorial run
MI-12 Sander Levin D D+12 79 Age/Primary challenge
NC-07 Mike McIntyre D R+5 54 Possible Senate run
NV-02 Dean Heller R R+5 50 Possible gubernatorial/Senate run
NY-02 Steve Israel D D+4 52 Possible Senate run
NY-03 Peter King R R+4 66 Possible Senate run
NY-04 Carolyn McCarthy D D+6 66 Possible Senate run
NY-14 Carolyn Maloney D D+26 62 Possible Senate run
OH-18 Zack Space D R+7 49 Possible Senate run
OR-02 Greg Walden R R+10 53 Possible gubernatorial run
OR-04 Peter DeFazio D D+2 63 Possible gubernatorial run
PA-06 Jim Gerlach R D+4 55 Possible gubernatorial/Senate run
PA-07 Joe Sestak D D+3 58 Possible Senate run
PA-08 Patrick Murphy D D+2 37 Possible Senate run
PA-11 Paul Kanjorski D D+4 73 Age/Primary challenge
SC-01 Henry Brown R R+10 74 Age/Primary challenge
SC-04 Bob Inglis R R+15 51 Primary challenge
SD-AL Stephanie Herseth D R+9 39 Possible gubernatorial run
TN-09 Steve Cohen D D+23 61 Primary challenge
TX-04 Ralph Hall R R+21 87 Age
WI-01 Paul Ryan R R+2 40 Possible Senate run

See anything we missed? Now is a good time to note that shortly after we posted our previous Open Seat Watch, a press flack for Illinois GOP Rep. Judy Biggert sent us the following email:


I noticed your post “Swing State Project:: House Open Seat Watch (2/2/09)”, and I thought you might be interested to know that Congresswoman Biggert has already announced that she will be running for a seventh term.  Hope you find this info helpful.

I then followed this up with a request for a link to a press release or a news article on Biggert’s re-election announcement (something I could not find on The Google). We received the following reply:

I’ll have to check around.  I’ll let you know.

After three months of radio silence from Camp Biggert, her name is staying on the list. A list of incumbents whose names have been removed from our open seat watch is available below the fold.

Off the Watch List:

District Incumbent Party PVI Age Notes
AL-01 Jo Bonner R R+14 50 Declined gubernatorial run
CA-31 Xavier Becerra D D+29 52 Declined USTR/Commerce Sec’y
CT-03 Rosa DeLauro D D+9 67 Considered for Labor Sec’y
FL-02 Allen Boyd D R+6 65 Declined Senate run
FL-14 Connie Mack R R+11 43 Declined Senate run
FL-20 Debbie Wasserman Schultz D D+13 44 Declined Senate run
FL-20 Robert Wexler D D+15 49 Declined Senate run
GA-03 Lynn Westmoreland R R+19 60 Declined gubernatorial run
KS-03 Dennis Moore D R+3 64 Declined Senate run/Won’t retire
KY-06 Ben Chandler D R+9 51 Declined Senate Run
MO-08 Jo Ann Emerson R R+15 60 Declined Senate run
NC-11 Heath Shuler D R+6 38 Declined Senate run
NH-01 Carol Shea-Porter D EVEN 57 Declined Senate run
OH-17 Tim Ryan D D+12 37 Declined Senate/Lt. Gov. run
OK-04 Tom Cole R R+18 61 Declined gubernatorial run
PA-13 Allyson Schwartz D D+7 62 Declined Senate run
TN-04 Lincoln Davis D R+13 67 Declined gubernatorial run
TX-10 Mike McCaul R R+10 48 Declined AG run
TX-17 Chet Edwards D R+20 58 Declined VA Sec’y

Resolved vacancies.

CA-10: Senator Mark DeSaulnier Launches Campaign Website

California State Senator Mark DeSaulnier, who is running to succeed Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher in California’s 10th District, launched his official campaign website this week.

The site can be accessed at http://www.markdesaulnierforco…

The race for CA-10 just got a bit more interesting with the entry of California Lt. Governor John Garamendi. Assemblymember Joan Buchanan and Fairfield native Anthony Woods are also running.

Although Garamendi’s is a high-profile challenger, DeSaulnier has been endorsed by Tauscher as well as neighboring Congressman George Miller and the Contra Costa Labor Council.

This promises to be a great race.

PA-Sen: Schwartz Won’t Challenge Specter

Not that it’s a surprise, but we can now officially cross off Democratic Rep. Allyson Schwartz from the open seat watch:

Aides to Rep. Allyson Schwartz say the third-term Pennsylvania Democrat will not seek her party’s nomination for the U.S. Senate in 2010.

Schwartz was among those widely talked about as a possible candidate, and had considered a Senate run. But after Arlen Specter’s party switch, Schwartz plans to support him and will focus on having a larger role in health-care policy in the House of Representatives.

Meanwhile, the Pennsylvania GOP, apparently unhappy-to-fearful with the idea of a Toomey general election candidacy and the havoc that it might wreak downballot, is searching fiercely for an alternative. The Hill mentions ex-Gov. Tom Ridge and current Reps. Jim Gerlach, Charlie Dent and Tim Murphy as possibilities. I’m not sure if any of those guys (particularly Ridge, who isn’t exactly a popular figure within the GOP’s base himself) would be interested in that kind of fight, but who the hell knows anymore.

VA-Gov: McAuliffe Posts Big Primary Lead in New SUSA Poll, But McDonnell Leads All Comers

SurveyUSA (4/25-27, likely voters):

Terry McAuliffe (D): 38

Brian Moran (D): 22

Creigh Deeds (D): 22

Other/Undecided: 18

(MoE: ±4.9%)

This is SUSA’s first poll of the Virginia Democratic gubernatorial primary, and also the first one to show ex-DNC Chair Terry McAuliffe with a significant lead. It appears that his fundraising prowess may be reaping some early dividends. While Moran is polling best in his vote-rich home turf (northeast VA) at 47%, he’s virtually a non-factor throughout the rest of the state, especially in southeast and central Virginia, where McAuliffe is performing strongly.

In the general election, however, Republican AG Bob McDonnell is leading all three Democrats:

Creigh Deeds (D): 39

Bob McDonnell (R): 44

Terry McAuliffe (D): 39

Bob McDonnell (R): 46

Brian Moran (D): 34

Bob McDonnell (R): 46

(MoE: ±2.7%)

This is not quite as fugly as the 10-to-15 point leads that McDonnell was amassing in a recent Rasmussen poll, but they still indicate that the Democratic nominee will have to hit the ground running as soon as the primary ends. Team Blue may take some small comfort in the fact that Republican Jerry Kilgore (himself a former AG) was leading Tim Kaine through almost every public poll until October 2005, but our field this time has an arguably bigger name recognition hole to climb out of this time around.

GA-Gov, GA-09: Deal Set to Run for Governor

Yet another Republican is bailing from the House for a sunnier career in state politics. This time, it’s southern-fried wingnut Nathan Deal:

Sources close to Rep. Nathan Deal (R-Ga.) say that the nine-term Congressman will run for governor in 2010 and that an official announcement is expected to come at a Friday press conference in Georgia.

Members of the Georgia’s Republican House delegation have been in talks about which of the “G-7” would jump into the race to replace Gov. Sonny Perdue (R), who is term-limited next year. Deal informed his fellow Republican Members that he was running on Monday night and during the day on Tuesday.

Deal will join an already crowded GOP primary field, but he must be hoping that his entry will dissuade any of his fellow Republican House colleagues from taking the plunge, as well.

Open seat fans shouldn’t get too excited about this one — Deal (who began his career a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away as a Democrat) occupies a ridiculously red (R+28) district that gave McCain 75% of the vote last November. Roll Call takes a look at the potential GOP field to replace him in the House:

Among the Republicans who are being mentioned as possible replacements for Deal in the 9th district are talk radio host Martha Zoller, state Reps. Tom Graves and James Mills, state Sens. Chip Pearson and Lee Hawkins, former state Sen. Bill Stevens and former Rep. Max Burns, who recently moved to the 9th district and teaches at North Georgia College.

PA-Sen: Obama, Menendez Throw Their Support Behind Specter

Barack Obama has got Arlen Specter’s back:

When asked if Obama would like to see a more reliable Democrat challenge Specter for the 2010 nomination, [White House press secretary Robert] Gibbs referenced the president’s morning comments: “He has the president’s full support. He’s thrilled that he’s switched parties and is a Democrat.”

“If the president is asked to raise money for Sen. Specter, he’ll be happy to do it. If the president is asked to campaign for Sen. Specter, we’ll be happy to do it.” Gibbs said that includes the primary as well as the general election.

And it looks like we’re all reading from the same hymnal at Our Lady of the Blue Donkey Church: Bob Menendez has also come down for Specter. From a DSCC press release (via email):

We welcome Senator Arlen Specter to the Democratic Party. The more the merrier. I just spoke with the Senator on the phone, told him that I look forward to supporting him and making sure this seat stays Democratic in November of 2010.

Joe Torsella may say he’s staying in, and Joe Sestak may claim he’s keeping his options open, but the path to the Democratic nomination for anyone other than Arlen Specter just got a whole lot narrower. Sure, the DSCC likes to say it doesn’t “endorse” candidates, but they just didn’t endorse Specter the same way they didn’t endorse Jeff Merkley.

Anyhow, that’s small potatoes alongside what Gibbs said. I can’t really imagine a serious Democrat interested in going up against the President’s own machine. Then again, stranger things have happened – they certainly did today.

In light of all this this, the Swing State Project is changing its rating on PA-Sen from Lean Republican to Likely Democrat.

SSP Daily Digest: 4/28

FL-Sen: It’s poorly sourced, but conventional wisdom seems to be reaching some sort of critical mass on the idea that Gov. Charlie Crist will announce within the next week whether or not he will run for the open senate seat in Florida. Some say he is a “near lock” to switch over to the senate race.

IL-Sen: Chris Kennedy, son of Robert F. Kennedy, is now publicly pondering entering the Illinois senate race. Kennedy has never held elective office; he’s a developer who runs Chicago’s Merchandise Mart. On the other hand, he’s been a Chicago fixture most of his life, and has that certain last name. One source says there’s an “85% chance” he’ll do it.

CA-Sen: In case there was any doubt, Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer has officially announced her plans to seek re-election. (J)

GA-Gov: State senator Eric Johnson has, with Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle dropping out of the gubernatorial race, switched from running for lieutenant governor to governor. He joins SoS Karen Handel, Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine, and state rep. Austin Scott in the hunt for the GOP nomination.

AL-Gov: Supreme Court Chief Justice Sue Bell Cobb, Alabama’s only Democratic appellate judge, is interested in joining the already-crowded field seeking the Democratic gubernatorial nomination. She would have to resign her position (in which case GOP governor Bob Riley would appoint a new chief justice) in order to campaign for governor, though.

NH-01: Manchester mayor Frank Guinta is the likely candidate to take on Carol Shea-Porter, and he has produced an internal poll showing him trailing Shea-Porter 43-34. Shea-Porter is well-below the danger mark of 50, but on the other hand, Guinta isn’t an unknown; he already represents nearly 20% of the district.

ID-01: Are you there, God? It’s me, Brain Fade. Ex-Rep. Bill Sali (R) sounds like he’s angling to make a comeback against Democrat Walt Minnick next year. In an email to supporters, Sali says that he’s “increasingly troubled by the direction our country is headed” and is asking his supporters to pray for him as he considers his political future. (J)

SD-AL: South Dakota’s Republican Secretary of State, Chris Nelson, has made known his interest in running for South Dakota’s at-large House seat. Nelson, who’s term-limited out, didn’t seem to make this contingent on whether or not Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin ran for higher office, like the open governor’s seat (which has been rumored, but doesn’t seem to be taking shape).

CA-47: The GOP is looking to Vietnamese-American assemblyman Van Tran as a candidate against Rep. Loretta Sanchez in this D+4 Orange County district. This very low-turnout district is about 15% Asian and 70% Hispanic.

CA-26: Businessman Russ Warner, who ran unsuccessfully against GOP Rep. David Dreier in 2008 (and attempted to do the same in 2006, but ran into a snag in the form of a primary loss), says that he plans to run for a third time next year in this Dem-trending CD. (J)

DCCC: Everybody’s favorite new villainess, Michele Bachmann, has been so prolific with the oddball fringe-right comments lately that she’s actually getting her own page at the DCCC’s website. Imagine that: from backbencher to public enemy #1 in less than half a year!