MN-Gov Pawlenty not running for re-election

Minnesota Public Radio just announced that Pawlenty is calling a press conference to announce he won’t be running for re-election.  

Making those budget cuts (because he wouldn’t negotiate with the legislature) would have hurt him in Minnesota but it will look good for his national political aspirations.  I wonder if not running also signals he won’t be signing Franken’s election certificate.

Who will come up to bat for the Republicans?  Norm Coleman? Mark Kennedy? Jim Ramstad? Michelle Bachmann?

I think overall this is good news unless Ramstad jumps in.

VA-Gov: Dem Primary PPP penultimate poll – Deeds leads


Creigh Deeds 27 (20)

Terry McAuliffe 24 (29)

Brian Moran 22 (20)

“Two major developments have shaped the movement in the race over the last week and a half. The first is Deeds’ endorsement by the Washington Post. He has gone from 11% in northern Virginian to 23%. With 30% of the primary electorate coming from that region that alone accounts for more than half of his jump from 20 to 27%.”

“The second is a decline in support for Terry McAuliffe in the areas where Brian Moran has run television ads attacking him. In the last survey McAuliffe was running at 33% in Hampton Roads and 34% in greater Richmond. He’s now declined to 25 and 23% respectively in those markets.”

“We’ve been saying for months this was anyone’s game and it’s more true now than ever,” said Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling. “All three candidates have a perfectly reasonable chance of coming out on top next Tuesday.”

NY-23: Obama to Name McHugh Secretary of the Army

Whoa mama joe:

Representative John M. McHugh, a Republican congressman from New York, will be nominated by President Obama to be secretary of the Army, according to officials….

Mr. Obama formally offered the Pentagon position to the lawmaker on Monday afternoon, and his nomination is expected to be announced later on Tuesday, officials said. …

The nine-term House member, who represents a sprawling northern New York district that includes the Fort Drum Army base, is the senior Republican on the Armed Services Committee and has a solid reputation with members of both parties for his knowledge of military affairs. He also serves on the Board of Visitors for the United States Military Academy at West Point.

This is obviously huge news for open seat fans, as this R+1 district went for Obama by 52-47 last year. A resignation would prompt another special election. As you may recall from the recent NY-20 special, there is no fixed timetable for Gov. Paterson to actuall call a new election, so the date is up in the air.

As for possible candidates, Chris Cillizza gets the ball rolling:

The list of potential candidates for the McHugh opening is in its infant stages. State Sen. Darrel Aubertine, who won a special election in a district that covers much of the western half of the 23rd in February 2008, could be an attractive candidate for Democrats. Some Republican insiders have already begun to tout Robert Taub, McHugh’s chief of staff, as a potential candidate.

Politics on the Hudson offers a couple more:

On the Republican side, Assemblywoman Diedre Scozzafava was mentioned, as well as Assemblyman Will Barclay, who lost to Aubertine in the special election in 2008.

Any other names coming to mind? (More here from HC Liberal.)

NY–23 McHugh to be named Sec of the Army

Politico is reporting that Obama is naming Rep. John McHugh (R-NY) from New York’s 23d Congressional District to be Secretary of the Army.  (

The 23d district is often discussed in the many redistricting diaries for New York.  The district barely voted for Obama but as far as I know is traditionally Republican, so I think there would be some obviously parallels to a special election in McHugh’s district with the one in NY-20 a few months back.

My hunch would be a Republican would be slightly favored, but that was the conventional wisdon in NY-20 initially as well.  Here’s hoping we can find another Scott Murphy!

Anyone know what the Dem bench is like in the 23d?  The Republican bench?

*MSNBC just announced it as well

OK-Sen: Coburn Will Run for a Second (and Final) Term

Scratch one off the open seat watch, Senate version:

U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn said Monday he will seek a second and final term in 2010. …

No opponent has stepped forward to challenge Coburn, whose approval ratings consistently top 60 percent, in 2010.

Coburn said the most difficult part of his decision was “whether I could continue to sacrifice my family.” He said he will keep his 2004 pledge not to seek more than two terms in the Senate.

Even if Coburn had stepped down and Gov. Brad Henry had run, I think our odds would have been crummy. Unless I’m mistaken, Oklahoma was the only state that didn’t give a single county to Obama last year. Whatever the reasons may be, this state is just deeply hostile territory for us. The good news is that Coburn, a .45 caliber lunatic, says that a second term will be his last. It’ll be good to have him gone pretty much no matter who replaces him.

SSP Daily Digest: 6/1

PA-Sen: Gov. Ed Rendell confirmed in his usual inimitable style that he’s backing new-found Dem Arlen Specter in 2010. He did go out of his way to praise Rep. Joe Sestak but to encourage him to remain in the House, warning Sestak that he would “get killed” (metaphorically, I’d assume) and that “we will lose a terrific Congressman and when he loses to Arlen, he fades into political obscurity.” Sestak did pick up his first big-name endorsement, though: MontCo Commissioner and former Rep. Joe Hoeffel, who lost to Specter in the 2004 general election.

CT-Sen: Here’s an inauspicious start to Merrick Alpert’s primary challenge to Chris Dodd: the Democratic party committee in his home town, Groton, voted a resolution of support for Dodd. It also issued a pretty transparent slap at Alpert, deploring any hypothetical primary challenger’s use of “echoing right wing talking points or by utilizing the conservative media echo chamber to slander Dodd.” (Alpert’s already done that.)

FL-Sen: State Sen. Dan Gelber made it official (via Facebook) that he’s dropping out of the Senate race, giving Rep. Kendrick Meek a clearer path. He’s now considering the AG race against a crowded field including fellow state Sen. Dave Aronberg, or, more interestingly, joining the ticket as Alex Sink’s Lt. Gov. candidate.

MN-Sen: It was Minnesota Supreme Court hearing day in The Senate Race That Won’t Die. Five of the court’s justices heard an hour of oral arguments. Rick Hasen‘s interpretation of how the individual justices responded to the lawyers’ arguments suggests a quick and possibly unanimous decision in favor of Franken.

NY-Gov: Andrew Cuomo did it again — he publicly denied that he’ll be running for Governor and maintained that he “plans” to run again for AG. (He did concede that primaries can be productive for the party.) While the idea of Cuomo giving up an almost-free shot at the governor’s mansion seems ludicrous, maybe there’s a kernel of truth to Kirsten Gillibrand‘s cryptic comments from last week that there would be no primary; at some point, if Cuomo says it enough times, we have to start taking him seriously.

AL-Gov: Hangin’ judge Roy Moore made it official this morning; he’s running for Alabama governor. He joins four others in the hunt for the GOP nod.

TN-Gov: Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey officially launched his gubernatorial campaign at midnight this morning (to kick off the third quarter of fundraising). He seems a bit overshadowed by Knoxville mayor Bill Haslam, Rep. Zach Wamp, and Shelby Co. DA Bill Gibbons, but has a solid base of support of northeast Tennessee.

LA-03: Republicans seem to be making a full-court press on newly R+12 LA-03, even though Rep. Charlie Melancon (who didn’t even have an opponent in 2008) seems likelier to remain in the seat than run for Senate. The NRCC has been courting state Rep. Nickie Monica, who has obliged by offering some public criticisms of Melancon. Ascension Parish sheriff Jeff Wiley was also on the wish list, but has taken himself out of contention.

PA-11: Nobody’s taking the heat off Rep. Paul Kanjorski in the 12th. First came news that Lackawanna Co. Commissioner Corey O’Brien and Scranton mayor Chris Doherty were interested in primary challenges; now it sounds like Hazleton mayor Lou Barletta, who came within 3% of Kanjorski in 2008, may be back for a third try. Barletta was seemingly considering the Lt. Gov. slot in 2010, but assuming AG Tom Corbett wins the gubernatorial nomination that job may go to someone from the Philly suburbs for purposes of ticket-balancing.

DCCC: The DCCC launched an ad blitz against six vulnerable House Republicans today, hitting them with radio ads and robocalls for voting against the stimulus package by focusing on specific shovel-ready projects in each district. Targets are Don Young (AK-AL), Brian Bilbray (CA-50), Tom Rooney (FL-16), Thad McCotter (MI-11), Peter King (NY-03), and Charlie Dent (PA-15).

Demographics: A new Gallup poll finds that only 11% of Republicans are Hispanics, African-Americans, or other non-whites. Considering that we’re a few decades away from a country where whites no longer hold the majority, The Math seems to indicate a Republican Party that doesn’t dramatically change its message is on the brink of permanent irrelevance.

NJ-Gov: Christie Maintains Lead on Lonegan

Rasmussen Reports (5/27, likely voters, mid-May in parens):

Chris Christie (R): 46 (39)

Steve Lonegan (R): 35 (29)

Undecided: 15 (29)

(MoE: ±5%)

The primary is tomorrow, June 2nd, and Chris Christie has led in every single public poll of the race:

Rasmussen has actually shown some of the closer results we’ve seen, and the trendline shows Lonegan closing a bit, but Christie still looks to be in command. The conventional wisdom says Corzine would be better off against the far-right Lonegan – the DGA went so far as to run ads bashing Christie in the hopes of bolstering Lonegan, Gray Davis/Crisitunity-style – but a win for the former Bogota, NJ mayor seems unlikely. Of course, it’s possible pollsters have badly misjudged the nature of Jersey’s likely GOP voters circa mid-2009, and indeed this same group has gone with wingers over moderates in the past (see Brett Schundler, 2001).

Either way, we’ll be here tomorrow to liveblog the results.

P.S. Daily Kos/Research 2000 polled the general and found exactly the results you’d expect.

UPDATE: A new FDU poll also shows a big Christie lead – 54-30.