MN-Sen: Coleman Concedes

It’s over:

In a press conference just now, former Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN) has conceded defeat to the Democratic comedian Franken in the 2008 Senate race — nearly eight months after Election Day, and six months after the seat went vacant when Coleman’s single term had expired. Coleman said that further litigation would damage the state, and congratulated Sen.-elect Franken on his victory. He said his future plans in politics “are a subject for another day.”

Time to pop the bubbly.

UPDATE: Tim Pawlenty will sign Franken’s certificate today. From a hot-off-the grill statement:

“The Minnesota Supreme Court has today addressed the issues surrounding the accuracy and integrity of our election system during the 2008 U.S. Senate race in Minnesota. In light of that decision and Senator Coleman’s announcement that he will not be pursuing an appeal, I will be signing the election certificate today as directed by the court and applicable law.

UPDATE (David): Because Congress is in the midst of a week-long Fourth of July recess, Franken can’t be sworn in until next week.

SSP Daily Digest: 6/30

IL-Sen: Here’s a fairly big-name entrant to the Illinois Senate: Chicago Urban League President Cheryle Jackson, who just formed an exploratory committee. Jackson had occasionally been rumored to be interested (to the extent that Jan Schakowksy’s internal poll included her, where she got 17% when explicitly substituted for Burris) but hadn’t taken concrete steps. Jackson has two demographic positives: with Schakowsky out, she’d be the only female in the race (unless, of course, Lisa Madigan gets in, in which case the game would be over anyway), and she’d be the only African-American in the race who isn’t Roland Burris. However, she used to be Rod Blagojevich’s press secretary prior to taking over at the Urban League, so the Blago stench may be hard to wash off.

ND-Sen: All had seemed quiet on the midwestern front, especially after that R2K poll that showed him getting flattened by Byron Dorgan (57-35), but Gov. John Hoeven recently showed at least a peep of interest in running for Senate after all… even if it was just a statement that he was still making up his mind and would decide by September. GOP state chair Randy Emineth said that Hoeven “wants to” run against Dorgan, but we’ll need to actually hear from Hoeven.

NH-Sen: The swabbies at ARG! pointed their spyglasses toward the 2010 open Senate seat in New Hampshire, and find that Rep. Paul Hodes would defeat ex-Sen. John Sununu 40-36. No numbers for the much-hyped AG Kelly Ayotte.

NV-Sen, NV-Gov: In the face of relentless wooing from GOP Senators, Rep. Dean Heller has set a deadline of June 30 to make up his mind about whether he runs for Harry Reid’s Senate seat. (Wait a minute… that’s today!) Heller’s other options include staying in NV-02 or running a primary challenge in the governor’s race — where the younger Reid (Rory, the Clark County Commission chair) seems to be staffing up for the race on the Dem side.

PA-Sen: Joe Torsella, who briefly was running against post-party-switch Arlen Specter in the Democratic primary before dropping out, has endorsed Specter. Not surprising, since Torsella is a big ally of Gov. Ed Rendell, who has pledged his support to Specter.

CT-Gov: More indications that Ned Lamont is getting serious about running for Governor (probably against incumbent Jodi Rell) in 2010. Lamont is looking at an early-2010 deadline for deciding, but can get away with a shorter timeframe as he can self-fund and won’t need a long ramp-up for fundraising.

NJ-Gov (pdf): PPP takes their turn at polling the New Jersey Governor’s race and find about what everyone else has been finding: Chris Christie leads incumbent Jon Corzine 51-41, with Christie benefiting from a 60-26 lead among independent voters. Good news, relatively speaking, for Corzine, though, is that Christie’s negatives are rising quickly as he’s starting to get defined in the media, up to 43% favorable and 33% unfavorable.

SC-Gov: Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer has publicly floated the idea that he would stand down from running in 2010 if he got to be Governor now, if Mark Sanford would just go ahead and resign (please?). His potential 2010 rivals are looking at this as statesman-like grandstanding, especially since it looks like Sanford is digging in.

AK-AL: In case there was any doubt, the indestructible Rep. Don Young has announced that he’s running for re-election. Young is 76 and in perpetual danger of indictment, but with the state’s political talent gravitating toward the Governor’s race, may have an easier path in 2010 than in 2008.

CA-36: Los Angeles City Councilor Janice Hahn has been telling supporters that she’s interested in running for Rep. Jane Harman’s seat. She doesn’t seem to be thinking primary, though; Hahn, for some reason, believes Harman (still under a bit of a cloud from the wiretap incident) is up for appointment to something, maybe Ambassador to Israel, in the Obama administration.

FL-12: State Sen. Paula Dockery made clear that she won’t be running in the 12th; she endorsed former State Rep. Dennis Ross for the job. She seemed to leave the door open to the Governor’s race, saying in her statement that “my passion for public policy is in state government.”

IL-07: With Rep. Danny Davis looking to move over to the Presidency of the Cook County Board, Chicago-area Dems are already eyeing the super-safe open seat. Davis’s former chief of staff Richard Boykin (now a lobbyist for Cook County) seems to be the first to make his interest publicly known.

NH-01 (pdf): Manchester mayor (and NH-01 candidate) Frank Guinta is due for the Bad Samaritan Award, as he watched several of his friends (an alderman and a state Representative) beat up another acquaintance in a barroom brawl, ending with the man’s leg being broken in seven places, and then immediately left the scene without reporting it to the police. Guinta said he was unaware of the extent of the man’s injuries and contacted police at that point. No charges have been filed in the incident; still, not the kind of free publicity a political candidate likes to get.

NY-03, NY-Sen-B: Rep. Peter King is sounding even iffier than before about running for Senate against Kirsten Gillibrand, having scored a desired slot on the Intelligence Committee.

NY-23: Investment banker Matthew Doheny anted up with a lot of cash to jump into the Republican side of the race to replace Rep. John McHugh: $500,000 of his own money. Roll Call reports that he’ll need the ostentatious display of cash to get anywhere in the candidate-picking process, as Assemblypersons Dede Scozzafava and Will Barclay are both reaching out behind the scenes to party leaders.

Redistricting: Regardless of what nonsense happens in the New York Senate this session, it’s looking more and more like the GOP’s toehold on legislative power will be vanquished in post-2010 redistricting, regardless of who controls the legislative redistricting process. Because of growth in the city and declines upstate, 1.2 seats will need to be shifted from downstate to NYC (and, as an added bonus, an extra one-sixth of a seat will shift to the city if the Census Bureau goes ahead and starts counting prisoners according to where they’re actually from rather than where they’re incarcerated).

Fusion Voting: Here’s one way in which Oregon suddenly became a lot more like New York: the state legislature decided to allow “fusion voting,” in which a candidate can run on multiple party lines on one ballot. This will be a boost to minor parties in Oregon, by letting them form coalitions with the major parties instead of simply playing spoiler.

Fundraising: It’s June 30, and you know what that means… it’s the end of the 2nd fundraising quarter. If you want to give some momentum to your favored candidates, today’s the last day to do it.

MN-Sen: State Supreme Court Unanimously Affirms Franken Win

Hotline on Call:

Decision was 5-0 in favor of Dem Al Franken over GOPer Norm Coleman in the MN Senate race, according to sources.

More as we get it.

UPDATE (David): From Rick Hasen:

The bottom line is that the Court says that Franken is entitled to an election certificate, but there is no direct order to the state’s governor to sign one. We’ll see what the governor does, if Coleman does not concede, as he well may at this point. If not, the opinion is not final until the period for rehearing ends (see the final footnote of the opinion). That’s a ten day period, enough time to file an emergency stay application in the U.S. Supreme Court. It would go to Justice Alito, now circuit justice for the Eighth Circuit.

The full opinion is here.

ANOTHER UPDATE (David): According to this, Coleman will be giving a press conference at 4pm Eastern, and Franken will be doing one at 5:15.

Maine Freedom to Marry site launch

On May 6, 2009, the Governor of Maine signed the law ending discrimination in marriage for same-sex couples, but it is already being threatened. Our fight to protect civil rights through marriage equality is just beginning out here in Maine. Almost immediately, national opponents of equality declared they wanted to turn back the clock and are working tirelessly to place a measure on this November’s ballot – modeled after California’s Prop 8 – to take away the right of gay and lesbian couples to marry in Maine.  

The national movement for civil rights is at a critical juncture on the issue of marriage equality.  The phrase as Maine goes, so goes the nation has been used to describe Maine’s bell weather potential and we expect it to ring true on national battleground for marriage equality. When this referendum goes to the ballot in November, Maine could become the first state to successfully defend marriage equality by a popular vote.  

We are very proud to show off our new website to at

FL-Sen: Crist Cruising; Meek Over Brown

Mason Dixon (PDF) for Ron Sachs Communications (6/24-26, registered voters for general, likely voters for primaries, 5/14-18 in parens):

Charlie Crist (R): 51 (53_

Marco Rubio (R): 23 (18)

Undecided: 26 (29)

Kendrick Meek (D): 27

Corrine Brown (D): 12

Undecided: 61

(MoE: ±6%)

Charlie Crist (R): 48 (55)

Kendrick Meek (D): 26 (24)

Undecided: 26 (21)

Charlie Crist (R): 55

Corrine Brown (D): 24

Undecided: 21

(MoE: ±4%)

Not really sure what to say about these numbers, given how similar they are to those from other pollsters. Taegan Goddard notes: “Among Republican voters who recognize both candidates, Crist barely edges Rubio, 33% to 31%.” That’s good news for Rubio, though the margin of error among this tiny sub-sample (which can’t number more than about 150, given the internals) would be at least 8%. Still, Florida’s late primary is over a year away, giving Rubio plenty of time.

Here’s some food for thought: Would Charlie Crist have a better chance at winning this Senate seat if he ran as an independent – or switched to the Democrats?

VA-Gov: Bob McDonnell Embraces Bush Nostalgia

Hard to believe we’re seeing any Republican anywhere pining for the good ol’ Bush days, but Bob McDonnell went there:

Many of you probably remember after 9/11 we did something to stimulate the economy then, too. You know what we did? We cut taxes. President Bush put in a ten-year tax-cut on everything from the death tax to capital gains tax, and it was followed by an unprecedented period of economic recovery and economic growth. In fact, it almost overheated the economy through about 2006. So, I think that’s the way you stimulate business. And that’s the kind of governor that I’m going to be – to reduce those impediments to entrepreneurship, to let small businesses grow and thrive and create some opportunity.

Maybe tax cuts have tested well in McDonnell’s internal polling. But I refuse to believe that Bush nostalgia sells well to anyone but the most hardcore bitter-enders.

AR-Gov race 2014: Looking down the road.

In politics, you’re never going to get too good of results looking way down the road.  But hey, that never stops us from trying, and my home state, Arkansas, is one of those fun little rural states where everyone knows everyone else and what folks are up to, which makes prognosticating easier.  Already there are signs of what’s to come in the governor’s race for 2014, once Beebe is done and moving on.  And since I’ve been doing some writing on one of the potential candidates on my own blog as of late I thought I’d do a quick write up.

The three candidates constantly mentioned for the 2014 race are Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, Lt. Governor Bill Halter, and Congressman Mike Ross.

McDaniel is a former state representative from Jonesboro, where I now live. He’s a lawyer and a former cop, and he has a huge base here in northeast Arkansas.  He’s generally considered fairly liberal by Arkansas standards, and he touted his prochoice position in order to win the AG primary in ’06.  But he has some faults-his ethics bill he proposed has a huge flaw in it in that it doubled the amount of money legislators could draw as a salary from campaign funds, and he’s gotten some criticism over using the state police helicopter improperly.

Halter worked in Bill Clinton’s administration before running for Governor in ’06, then dropping down to the Lt. Gov race.  He pissed a lot of people off in that campaign, coming in with a lot of out of state money, making no effort to woo the state machine, and there was some significant opposition to his signature issue, the state lottery.  However, while he certainly doesn’t carry himself with the humility and down home mannerisms that Arkansans expect of their politicians, there is something to be said for Halter being a different kind of politician.  He doesn’t think like the rest of the establishment, he’s definately more liberal for one, and his move on the lottery was largely opposed by the entire state establishment who were all quick to take credit for its passage.

Then there’s Mike Ross, the Congressman from southern Arkansas.  Ross is probably the most conservative of the three, and his votes on hate crimes and cap-and-trade the lately have made that much clear.  He thought about running in ’06 but yeilded to his old mentor Beebe, stating he couldn’t take the pay cut.  He could make the electability argument I guess, though the other two guys won statewide elections fairly easily and look to do so again next year, so I’m not sure it works.

So those are our three potential candidates.  I’m hoping someone else jumps in personally as none of these three appeal to me.  But we’ve got a long way to go until then, so we’ll see what happens.

Helping the CfG help us

for a good laugh, I set myself up on the Club for Growth e-mail list.  I love to see what Democrats they target and I especially love to see them promote primary challenges to Republicans….especially when they are Republicans that we are targetting…like Mark Kirk.  

Recently, the CfG sent out an e-mail complaining about 8 RINO’s who voted in favor the “dangerous cap and trade bill” last Friday.  They are looking for viable candidates to run primary challenges against these 7 (McHugh is the 8th vote but he’s retiring)

Bono Mack, Mary (CA-45)

Castle, Mike (DE-AL)

Kirk, Mark (IL-10)

Lance, Leonard (NJ-07)

LoBiondo, Frank (NJ-02)  

Reichert, Dave (WA-08)

Smith, Chris (NJ-04)

I can’t help but notice that Democrats ran strong challenges in several of these districts and are primed to do so again.  It would certaintly work to our benefit if we gave the CfG a little boost in helping to find some viable primary challengers to these Republican candidates.  

Does anybody have any knowledge of potential Republican candidates in these races that we could give some encouragement to get into these races or give the CfG some encouragement to try and get them in themselves??

CA-Gov: Brown Beating Newsom; Foy May Get In

J. Moore Methods (D) (6/20-23, registered voters):

Jerry Brown (D): 46

Gavin Newsom (D): 26

(MoE: ±4.7%)

Here’s the first poll of the California governor’s primary on the Democratic side since LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa dropped out (although it’s a Democratic pollster, it’s not an internal). There aren’t any trendlines so we can’t see if AG Jerry Brown got a bump out of Villaraigosa’s disappearing act (Brown, the former governor, is better known in southern California than his rival, SF Mayor Gavin Newsom), but Brown now has a convincing lead. Brown leads even more among voters 60+ (i.e. those old enough to remember Brown’s first turn as Governor): 54-20. Newsom leads among the 18-to-39 set, 37-26.

There’s one other interesting new tidbit in the Governor’s race: Ventura County Supervisor Peter Foy says he’s now “strongly” looking into the race and will decide within the next couple months. Your first response is probably: who? Well, Foy is coming from a small regional base (affluent suburbia west of Los Angeles), and is decidely money-impaired compared with mega-self-funders Meg Whitman and Steve Poizner. Here’s the rub, though: Foy is a pro-lifer, and a doctrinaire fiscal conservative who helped lead the fight against Proposition 1A. Currently, the conservative movement has absolutely no horse in the race, with the primary field containing three pro-choice business/establishment conservatives (Whitman, Poizner, and ex-Rep. Tom Campbell). If movement conservatives unite behind Foy while the moderate vote gets split three ways, Foy could suddenly be a force to be reckoned with.

RaceTracker: CA-Gov

SSP Daily Digest: 6/29

FL-Sen: Oh please, oh please: The Club for Growth’s president, David Keating, says that he’s very impressed with Marco Rubio, and may run ads against Rubio’s primary opponent, Charlie Crist (although he said there’s no set timeline for “endorsement”). Politico also points to a strongly anti-Crist new editorial from the Wall Street Journal that, believe it or not, compares Crist to Barney Frank (get your mind out of the gutter… apparently it has something to do with an analogy between hurricane insurance and Fannie Mae).

MN-Sen: Despite the fact that Tim Pawlenty (not running for re-election, but probably running for the Big Show in 2012) is now answerable to the nationwide GOP base rather than to all Minnesotans, he’s not going to obstruct the all-but-inevitable seating of Al Franken. He confirmed on CNN that he’ll certify Franken if Norm Coleman loses his Minnesota Supreme Court case.

NC-Sen: While former state Sen. Cal Cunningham is making some senatorial noises, he says that he won’t commit to a timeline on getting into the race, saying only that he’ll make a “timely decision.”

AL-Gov: We’re up to six Republican gubernatorial candidates now; Bill Johnson, the state director of Economic and Community Affairs, resigned his post on Friday and declared his candidacy. Despite his statewide position, Johnson seems like kind of an odd duck; he was the Libertarian candidate for U.S. Senate in Missouri in 1994.

SC-Gov: The behind-the-scenes battle is heating up between Mark Sanford and his Lt. Governor and possible successor (either via resignation or the 2010 election), Andre Bauer. Bauer’s would-be opponents (who would be at a disadvantage if Bauer comes into the election as an incumbent) are already dusting off old lines of attack from his LG primary campaign in 2006, that Bauer is too much of a fast-driving, plane-crashing party boy and not sufficiently conservative. (Bauer’s spokesperson does some very strange pushback in this article, seemingly protesting too much that Bauer is merely a “red-blooded American male” and “straight.”) The New York Times details efforts by Bauer’s camp to exert pressure on legislators to pressure Sanford to resign (which came to public light when Bauer’s camp inadvertently contacted an ally of potential 2010 rival AG Henry McMaster).

Meanwhile, State Rep. Nikki Haley has been encouraging Sanford not to resign (which he says he won’t do) — on the surface because she was one of Sanford’s few legislative allies even before the scandal, but at this point, more importantly because she’s also running in 2010 and would be at a disadvantage if Bauer comes in as a one-year incumbent. She has also issued a statement “fear[ing] for the conservative reform movement” if Bauer takes office. Similarly, McMaster seems reluctant to launch criminal investigations into Sanford — again, the subtext being that would make Sanford’s immediate replacement by Bauer likelier.

WI-Gov: Here’s an interesting rumor: Gov. Jim Doyle may be in line to take over as the next head of the Peace Corps. Not only would this spare us a 2nd re-election run by Doyle, who’s been posting mediocre poll numbers, but, assuming he resigns to take the new post, it would give Lt. Gov. Barbara Lawton the chance to run in 2010 with a year of incumbency under her belt.

AL-05: Despite earlier reports that the GOP was happy with their recruit to run in AL-05, businessman and local GOP “minority outreach” coordinator Lester Philip, they’ve recruited a higher-profile figure to run against freshman Rep. Parker Griffith. Madison Co. (location of Huntsville) Commissioner Mo Brooks said he’ll formally enter the race this week.

CA-11: After first flirting with the CA-10 special election and then flirting with the idea of running against Rep. Jerry McNerney in CA-11 in 2010, Contra Costa Co. Sheriff Warren Rupf declared that he isn’t running for Congress, period. Rupf, in fact, basically gave Congress the middle finger, saying his values “don’t line up with the fringes of either party and compromising my values or my priorities is a price I am not willing to pay.”

CA-24: The DCCC has been cajoling Peter Jim Dantona, a local political consultant, to get into the race against longtime Rep. Elton Gallegly in the 24th. Dantona proved his bona fides by almost winning a seat on the Ventura Co. Board of Supervisors in a heavily Republican district. (Another consideration is the possibility that Gallegly, who’s tried to retire before, may turn this district, which Obama won 51-48, into an open seat if faced with a stiff challenge.)

CA-50: A Francine Busby fundraiser in a supporter’s backyard turned into a bit of a melee when the police were called over a noise complaint, ending with the party’s 60-year-old host getting pepper-sprayed and arrested when she wouldn’t give the police her name and date of birth.

FL-24: GOP State Rep. (and former mayor of Port Orange) Dorothy Hukill announced her interest in taking on Rep. Suzanne Kosmas. The NRCC was already highly touting Winter Park City Commissioner Karen Diebel in this race, so it’ll be interesting to see if Hukill is doing this on her own, or if the NRCC kept looking after pre-emptive Dem attacks on Diebel’s stability may have damaged Diebel.

MI-03: Rep. Vernon Ehlers, who’s 75, sounded a little ambivalent about running for another term in 2010. Roll Call does some interesting dot-connecting: Ehlers and SoS Terri Lynn Land are friendly, and her sudden jump out of the governor’s race, where she looked competitive, may have something to do with her getting some insider information on MI-03 being available instead.

NC-08: The GOP is still wondering what to do about a challenge to freshman Rep. Larry Kissell. Oddly, their first choice is a rerun by former Rep. Robin Hayes, who looked clueless en route to losing in 2008 by over 10 points. (Hayes is still considering it, but also helping to recruit other candidates.) Another possible (and more ominous) contender, who hasn’t ruled it out, is Charlotte mayor Pat McCrory, who lost the 2008 gubernatorial race and will be looking for something else to do after his seventh mayoral term ends this year. Union Co. District Attorney John Snyder was also cited as a possible GOPer.

NE-02: Rep. Lee Terry seems to be under a lot of stress lately, as seen by his recent F-bomb-laced freak-out when trying to cross the street in Washington.

Fundraising: Just a friendly reminder: the fundraising quarter ends tomorrow. If there’s a candidate out there who you want to give some early momentum to, now’s the time to contribute.