IL-10: Bond Drops Out

Michael Bond will return… to the Illinois Senate. From a statement posted on his campaign website:

After careful consideration, I have decided not to seek the Democratic nomination for Congress in the Tenth District, and will instead seek reelection to the Illinois Senate. While I am grateful for the encouragement I have received to run for Congress, I feel an obligation to continue working to address the enormous challenges our state is confronting.

Bond was considered an early recruitment success for House Democrats, but his star quickly faded once Mark Kirk bailed on this seat for his Senate bid and it was revealed that he Bond had only raised $86K since announcing his candidacy in late April. Two other very credible Democratic candidates — ’06/’08 nominee Dan Seals and state Rep. Julie Hamos — quickly pounced on the open seat, so perhaps Bond felt getting out of a three-way primary may have been too daunting a task for him without a lot of money in the bank.

RaceTracker Wiki: IL-10

SSP Daily Digest: 7/31

AR-Sen: Here’s a tea leaf that state Sen. Gilbert Baker may be interested after all in getting into the Senate race: he issued a press release today going after Democratic health care reform and Blanche Lincoln in particular. He’d probably be the favorite to win the GOP nomination if he got in, if only by virtue of the rest of the field being gaffe-prone wackos.

CT-Sen: Best wishes to Chris Dodd, who has been diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer and will undergo surgery over the August recess. He said he’ll be back at work after several weeks of recuperation at home, and that he still plans to run for re-election in 2010.

IL-Sen: Add one more GOP Twitter fail to the increasingly long-list. Rep. Mark Kirk, who is also a Naval Reservist, tweeted his location (the National Military Command Center) while on duty. The DoD is now investigating, as it’s a problem on two fronts: one, the prohibition against using the media to give away your position, and two, the prohibition against, while on military service, updating a website established prior to the beginning of service. Complicating the legal question even further: it may have been a staffer tweeting on Kirk’s behalf. Because, y’know, it’s so hard to think up 140 characters of content on your own.

NY-Sen-B: The confusion over the Carolyn Maloney campaign has reached epic proportions. Yesterday, CQ reported that Maloney had no fixed timeline for officially getting into the Senate primary, but that early August seemed likely. But today, Politico’s Glenn Thrush is reporting that Maloney is “leaning heavily against” making the race at all, according to several prominent Dems.

ND-Sen: The NRSC is flogging a new internal poll which claims Gov. John Hoeven has a 53-36 lead over Sen. Byron Dorgan. Both men are very popular, with Hoeven with an 86% approval and Dorgan with a 69% approval. A public poll from R2K in February found the numbers almost exactly reversed, with Dorgan beating Hoeven 57-35… but Hoeven hasn’t taken any public steps to get into the race, so we may never find out who’s right.

AK-Gov: Local pollster Hays Research looked at in-state approvals for Alaska’s incoming and outgoing governors, and found Sarah Palin leaving in net negative territory: 47/48. Sean Parnell looks bulletproof for the moment, at 67/8, but, having been in office for less than a week, hasn’t had the chance to screw anything up yet.

TX-Gov: A bit more egg on the Kay Bailey Hutchison campaign’s face today, as the Austin American-Statesman found that her website had over 2,200 hidden phrases on it designed to steer traffic, including “rick perry gay.” (This wasn’t mere meta-tagging, but blind keywords invisibly put into the site’s code, something of a search engine-optimization no-no.) A spokesperson said they’d remove “rick perry gay,” although it sounds like the other 2,199 phrases stay.

KS-04: Businessman Jim Anderson got into the overflowing GOP field in KS-04 to replace retiring Rep. Todd Tiahrt. He seems like he might get a little lost in the shuffle, in a field that already includes local GOP heavyweights RNC committeman Mike Pompeo and state Sen. Dick Kelsey, along with state Sen. Jean Schodorf, who recently began exploring the race.

MO-04: Ike Skelton, who’s held down the fort for Dems in dark-red central Missouri since time immemorial, has drawn a more serious opponent than usual (not hard, since his usual opponents are nobodies or no one at all). Vicky Hartzler is a former state Rep. who has also written a book called “Running God’s Way,” apparently a how-to guide to campaigning for Christian right candidates. CQ also mentions several other still-in-office legislators who could also take on the 77-year-old Skelton (especially if he hears the siren song of retirement): state Rep. Tom Self and state Sen. Bill Stouffer.

DCCC: The DCCC has responded with its own ad offensive on the health care front, a day after the RNC targeted 60 districts. The DCCC’s radio buy and robo-call package is a bit more targeted, focusing on 8 GOPers (not coincidentally, maybe their 8 most vulnerable incumbents running in 2010): Michele Bachmann, Joseph Cao, Charlie Dent, Dan Lungren, Thad McCotter, Erik Paulsen, Dave Reichert, and Pat Tiberi.

Where Are They Now?: Former GOP Rep. Anne Northup found her way into the Obama administration, as a commissioner on the Consumer Product Safety Commission. This initially seems very odd — she already lost KY-03, so there’s no sense in appointing her to facilitate a Dem pickup — but it’s because the Senate GOP leader has a say in picking a Republican for one of the five commissioners, and Mitch McConnell opted to give the job to his long-time protege, who, having lost three races in a row, is probably finished with electoral politics.

CT-Sen: Chris Dodd Has Prostate Cancer

Christopher Dodd, running for re-election and losing in a race against Rob Simmons, has been diagnosed with cancer.

Of course we will pray for his recovery and wish him to get well as soon as possible. 

But, How does this change the state of the race?

Dodd still intends to run for re-election in November 2010. “As you have probably noticed, I'm working some long and hard hours lately,'' he said. “And that will continue.”

The latest Quinnipiac poll shows Rob Simmons beating Chris Dodd by a nasty 48-39 percent.  A majority of voters in CT disapprove of Dodd.

55 percent of voters said Dodd is not trustworthy or honest.

The way I see it the man has credibility problems and it is unfortunate that CT has to be a concern for us.  It is a reliably blue state.

I think that Chris Dodd should end his political career here, tell the voters that he is grateful for their support, but that he will leave the Senate in 2010.  It's better for him than being demolished in the election.

I think that we need a new Democrat and I would recommend either Christopher Murphy, Rosa DeLauro, or Chris Shays, if we can get him to run as a Democrat.

What do you think, Progressives?!

More Ineptitude from Pete Sessions: Earmarks and Recruiting Failures


This has not been a good past 48 hours for National Republican Campaign Committee chair Pete Sessions. In fact the past two days have been horrible. Perhaps Sessions should fly out to Vegas for one of his risque fundraisers . Badump Tish

First The earmarks flap

Then the recruiting flap where he fails to get top prospect John McKinley to take on Jim Himes (CT-04).

And now we are finding out there are all kinds of holes in his Young Guns Project . Well if you call it Young Guns – not sure that some of his catches count as “Young”.

Keep up the good work Pete and you might be left with just the wignuttiest of the wignuttery in Congress. No complaints here. But the NRCC might want to second guess its decision to put you in charge. Well you are probably taking the rest of the boys to Vegas for another Leadership PAC fundraiser so I’m sure they are just looking forward to a couple of lap dances and craps.

1. Strike One

According to Pete

earmarks have become “a symbol of a broken Washington to the American people

So it’s probably no surprise that He doesn’t tell us on his website that in 2008 he steered 1.6 million to a company doing some research on a blimp. The company has no experience in government contracts, no experience in building airships or blimps and it just by the way employed a former Sessions staffer as a lobbyist. And the best part that former staffer turned lobbyist has a criminal record.

Oh and by the way this father son team (The Fergusons) that own this company – contributed $5,000 to Sessions Leadership Pac in 2007.

Wonder if they were at the Vegas Risque fundraiser.

And not only was this former staffer Plesha convicted on a gun charge but he also has a criminal record from some FEC violations related to lying to investigators about creating some false mailers.

Oh and see Pete here while Jeff Flake talks about earmarks today

2. Strike Two

Sessions announced on Tuesday

There are people proactively coming to us. We are doing far less recruiting and more catching.”

That’s a day before

“Republicans’ hopes of ousting freshman Democrat Jim Himes in Connecticut’s 4th District suffered a serious blow, as heavily recruited GOP state legislator John McKinney has taken himself out of the running.” [CQ Politics, 7/30/09]

Maybe you should be doing more recruiting then Pete.

3. Strike Three

Oh and then we just found out from this article that Sessions thinks that Mississipi State Senator Alan Nunnelee (see below) is running in Alabama against Freshman Parker Griffith (AL-05). h/t to Left in Alabama for this discovery

A few top candidates who entered their races in the last month have yet to be placed on the list but could be soon. Sessions said, for instance, that Alabama state Sen. Alan Nunnelee, who just announced he would challenge Rep. Parker Griffith (D-Ala.), would soon be a part of the program.

Way to be on top of it sport. Nunnelee has announced to run against Blue Dog Travis Childers (MS-01). The one that the NRCC ran the same candidate against in a Special Election and then a few months later again in the General and lost both times.

Not sure that this Nunellee guy (see below) really qualifies as a “Young Gun” either


But as Swing State Project points out that being young is not really a requirement of the “Young Guns” program

And let’s leave aside the issue of calling 62 year-old Steve Pearce and 56 year-old Steve Chabot “Young Guns” for the moment.

You are outtttttttttttt of there buddy. See ya in Vegas.  

SSP Daily Digest: 7/30

MO-Sen: This is actually starting to be a theme with Rep. Roy Blunt: he’s willing to go on the record as hating Medicare. An interview this weekend included the comments:  “We’ve had Medicare since 1965, and Medicare has never done anything to make people more healthy.” I think tens of millions of senior citizens might take exception to that.

NC-Sen: SoS Elaine Marshall is “pretty seriously leaning toward” getting into the race against Richard Burr, according to strategist Thomas Mills in CQ (although with no mention of whether or not he was speaking on her behalf or just running his mouth). He says she doesn’t have a firm timeline, but will let us know in late summer or early fall.

TX-Sen/Gov: When the tradmed actually refers to a conversation with a Senator as a “bizarre series of interviews,” you know something’s seriously gone awry. Kay Bailey Hutchison seemed to try to walk back her resignation announcement from yesterday when talking with the Houston Chronicle, but after some more probing, made it sound more like all she wanted was for Rick Perry to get out of the race. Because it’s her turn. Sounds exactly like something someone who’s leading in all the polls would do for her.

In the meantime, Rick Perry said he’d consider moving up the date of the special election to replace KBH, by way of mocking her resignation sort-of-decision, saying that there were too many important things going on in Washington. (Although I’m not sure Texas law would let him do so; it’s pretty clear about the election’s date.) Also, all this dissonance can only help Democratic Houston mayor Bill White in the special election, who got some good news from the FEC yesterday: they issued an advisory opinion saying he can go ahead and additional funds for the special election that technically doesn’t exist yet. (It’s kind of complex; he’s already raised $4 million in his regular 2012 Senate fund, but now he can raise additional money from the same maxed-out donors in the new fund.)

CA-Gov: It’s not just Democratic governors who are taking a hit in approvals. Arnold Schwarzenegger is running at 28% approval and 59% disapproval in California, according to PPIC. (By contrast, Obama is at 65/27 in the state!)

PA-Gov: Rep. Jim Gerlach is making coy reference to an internal poll that shows him losing the GOP primary to AG Tom Corbett, but with “the profile” to win. The poll says Corbett beats Gerlach (and Pat Meehan) 39-11-7 overall, but that Gerlach leads in the Philly area and that he wins when only biographical info is read. (For those not familiar with the concept, the “biographical info” poll question is the internal polling equivalent of a Hail Mary pass.)

UT-Gov/Sen/02: Here’s one more name to take off the Open Seat Watch: Jim Matheson verified that he will run for re-election to his House seat, rather than roll the dice on a Senate bid or a run in the 2010 gubernatorial special election (despite having a conceivable shot against as-yet-to-be-promoted Gary Herbert or whatever other weirdo makes it out of the convention process).

AK-AL: Nice to see that Rep. Don Young isn’t being forgotten, despite the gravitation of all of Alaska’s Democratic talent (ex-state Rep. Ethan Berkowitz, State Sen. Hollis French) toward the gubernatorial race. State Rep. Harry Crawford says he’s interested in the race, and has met with the DCCC in DC about it.

CT-04: Here’s a bullet dodged for Democrats, and a miss for the NRCC, who’ve haven’t had too many targets decline them lately: state Senate minority leader John McKinney, a noted environment-minded moderate and son of former Rep. Stewart McKinney, who represented the area prior to Chris Shays, said he won’t run against freshman Rep. Jim Himes. The GOP may look to fellow state Sen. Dan Debicella instead.

HI-01: Another bit of good news on the recruiting front: state Senate President Colleen Hanabusa has met in DC with the DCCC about the open seat being left behind by gubernatorial candidate Neil Abercrombie. She’d probably be our best bet at keeping ex-Rep. Ed Case from making a comeback.

IL-07: The first Democratic candidate has filed for the open seat that Danny Davis is likely to leave behind. Darlena Williams-Burnett is the Cook County chief deputy recorder of deeds; she’s married to Chicago alderman Walter Burnett.

MI-07: Although ex-Rep. Tim Walberg is committed to running to regain his seat from freshman Democrat Mark Schauer, it looks like he’ll have some competition in the primary and may not even be the establishment’s choice in the GOP primary. Brian Rooney, an attorney at the right-wing Thomas More Law Center in Ann Arbor, brother of Florida Rep. Tom Rooney, and grandson of Pittsburgh Steelers founder Art Rooney, has been talking to the NRCC about the race.

MN-03: One more recruiting tidbit. This one sounds like it’s far from a sure thing, but state Sen. Terri Bonoff has said she’s “undecided” but taking a MN-03 race “under consideration.” (Bonoff lost the DFL endorsement to Ashwin Madia in MN-03 last year.)

TX-32: I’m not sure why stories involving blimps are just inherently funny, but Rep. Pete Sessions got into a bit of a blimp-related brouhaha. The ardent foe of all things earmark got busted by Politico, of all places, for very slowly and quietly steering a $1.6 million earmark for blimp construction to an Illinois company with no track record of government contracting, let alone blimp making — but it did have one of Sessions’ former aides lobbying for it.

Why R.T. Rybak should run for governor

The Minnesota governors race is heating up. This is the DFL’s best chance to at long last elect a governor. The last time that happened was 1986, over 20 years ago. And we can elect a progressive governor who will do us proud and bring a strong campaign to voters in 2010. I believe this candidate is Minneapolis’s Mayor R.T. Rybak. That’s why I’m helping organize the Draft Rybak grassroots movement. Let me explain why for a bit and invite you to our kickoff.

He can win: The latest poll of the race showed Rybak as the strongest candidate, leading Norm Coleman and with the best favorability rating of all DFL candidates. A earlier poll showed him as the second strongest candidate behind Mark Dayton. Obviously polls do not mean much this far out. But Rybak has shown he is a tough campaigner, good debater and can effectively communicate a clear and effective message to the public. He can bring that statewide, he’s already campaigned around the state for Barack Obama and other DFL candidates. He is the strongest candidate on our side running for governor. He can win. And he should win beacuse he’s great on the issues.  

He Should Win:

Rybak has a clear record standing up and doing the right thing on the issues that matter the most. A clear record that stands in stark contrast to the failed Pawlenty Era.

Leading the creation of a new green economy:

This is personally the issue that matters most to me. Rybak has been very active in pushing for investments in the new green economy to spur sustainable growth in our country and in our state. Here are some of the most notable efforts he’s been involved in.

-Promoting Renewable Energy: The city has installed solar panels on three of it’s buildings and Rybak has been working with state leaders who have more authority on the issue to promoting renewable energy with great results already. The ambition of state polices put in place over the next few years is going to determine which states become the leaders in the America’s green economy (as will the federal polices in determining if America is a leader in the world’s green economy). If Minnesota acts now and acts boldly it can be the economic engine that keeps our state great and produces thousands of living wage jobs. Minnesota is already forth in the nation in wind power installed and we have one of the highest potentials in the nation. We should aim to be number one in the nation. And although Minnesota is not seen as a prime location for solar we have better solar potential than Germany which has more solar than any other country.

-A new vision for transit: Rybak presided over the opening of Minnesota’s first light rail line and has been working hard to expand light rail to connect with St Cloud and St Paul. He was one of the first mayors to sign onto Transportation for America’s visionary campaign. He’s also developed a plan to begin development of a new streetcar system and his efforts to make biking easier has resulted in Minneapolis being named one of the best places to bike in the world, only Portland has a higher percentage of citizens who bike to work.

Homegrown Minneapolis: A initiative to help promote local food which boosts the local economy in addition to reducing emissions.

In short, Minnesota has the environmental attitude, the spirit of innovation and potential to lead the new energy economy. But we need a leader who provides strong leadership to get us there with bold action. He’s already made Minneapolis one of the greenest cities in the country, we need him to help transform Minnesota.

Minneapolis Promise:

2006 Mayor Rybak made a commitment to Minneapolis students – the Minneapolis Promise – which says to our youth that if they stay in school and focus on where they want to go Minneapolis will help them get there. To achieve that he’s focused on three areas.

-Achieve! Career and College Initiative: Through this initiative Minneapolis has opened AchieveMpls Career and College Centers in all of Minneapolis’s schools. It helps ensure that the youth can transition from high school to higher education and work.

STEP-UP, a summer job program for youth to help them find employment and train them so they have the skills in life to find a job and earn a living. The best way to combat poverty, crime and save the government money in the long term is by giving youth education and the skills to have a good job. This is a extremely important program that should be expanded statewide.

The Power of YOU provides financial assistance to pay for up to two years at Metro State or MCTC if you’ve graduated from highschool in Minneapolis. It’s hard to find a long term job unless you have a degree. This program helps many of those who couldn’t afford it otherwise get that degree and get that upward mobility in life.

Public Safety:

Juvenile crime in Minneapolis has dropped 42% over the last two years exactly beacuse of investments like that in our youth. That is part of a overall record on public safety that again shows what R.T.’s leadership can do. In every precinct in Minneapolis crime has decreased over his tenure. He’s shown a better model for public safety, investing in our youth, investing in our people, that’s what will really reduce crime in the long term.  

Fiscal Responsibility:

Minneapolis has successfully balanced it’s budget without cruel cuts to basic human services despite Pawlenty’s destruction of LGA. As Mayor Rybak says

I put Minneapolis’ fiscal prudence up against the State’s any day

The budget problem is not going away in 2011. We need someone who can make the tough and responsible choices as governor, not someone who uses gimmicks and lies to hide his failed fiscal leadership beacuse he’s sworn loyalty to the extremist anti-tax teabaggers.


R.T. has also shown exceptional judgment. He opposed the Iraq War from the start, he was involved in the “Draft Obama” movement and was the first mayor to endorse Obama when he announced and while John Kerry was campaigning against gay marriage, Rybak was standing up for equal rights for ALL Americans.

Those are just a few of the reasons why I am for R.T. Rybak running for governor. And to get him to run for governor we need to Draft Rybak. If we are going to Draft Rybak we need your help. Go to our site and sign up to get involved. Follow us on Twitter, join our Facebook group. And if you want to get involved or learn more we’ve got our first organizational meeting tomorow. On Facebook you can check out the details and RSVP, it will be a great event.

We are just getting started. We need a governor who will provide bold leadership after years of failed conservative polices. We need RT Rybak to run for governor in 2010.

Join us.  

NRCC Picks 13 Challengers for Young Guns Program

We had a lot of fun last year at the expense of the GOP’s Young Guns (a group of 30 and 40-something House “up and comers”). Other than raising a few dineros for their colleagues, their crowning electoral achievement was sending a small battalion of hapless, bluetooth-equipped and frappuccino-powered DC staffers on a wild goose chase in rural northeast Mississippi last year, trying to rustle up votes for South Memphis Southaven Mayor Greg Davis.

It seems that Pete Sessions has bigger and better plans for the Young Guns brand this cycle, and the NRCC is appropriating the name for its new program designed to lend assistance to candidates hoping to topple Democrats (or retain open seats). Call it Blue to Red, if you will. The full list:

District Candidate Incumbent PVI 2008 (D)
AL-02 Martha Roby Bright R+16 1%
CA-47 Van Tran Sanchez D+4 44%
CO-04 Cory Gardner Markey R+6 12%
FL-12 Dennis Ross (Open) R+6 -15%
HI-01 Charles Djou (Open) D+11 58%
ID-01 Vaughn Ward Minnick R+18 1%
IL-11 Adam Kinzinger Halvorson R+1 24%
MD-01 Andy Harris Kratovil R+13 1%
NH-01 Frank Guinta Shea-Porter R+0 6%
NM-01 Jon Barela Heinrich D+5 12%
NM-02 Steve Pearce Teague R+6 12%
OH-01 Steve Chabot Driehaus D+1 5%
OH-15 Steve Stivers Kilroy D+1 1%

Despite including their names in the program, the NRCC is actually only formally endorsing two candidates from this list — Iraq vet Adam Kinzinger (IL-11) and state Sen. Dennis Ross (FL-12). Others “Young Guns” facing competitive primaries are Vaughn Ward (ID-01) and quite probably Andy Harris (MD-01). I’m sure their would-be primary competitors are chafing at this early stamp of approval from Sessions.

And let’s leave aside the issue of calling 62 year-old Steve Pearce and 56 year-old Steve Chabot “Young Guns” for the moment…

NY-23: Dem Field Becomes Clearer, Nominee Will Be Selected in August

The Albany Times-Union got its mitts on a list of candidates who have submitted their resumés to the Democratic county chairs in New York’s 23rd District. Here’s the rundown:

  • Andy Bisselle (Essex County): A local YMCA executive director who was recently rebuffed by GOP leaders after he sought the Republican nomination.
  • Stu Brody (Essex County): Attorney, former Essex Co. Democratic Chair, and head of the Democratic Rural Conference from 2002 to 2008. He played a round of golf with Bill Clinton in 2000.
  • Steve Burke (St. Lawrence County): A new name; not much information about him is publicly available right now. Presumably, he is the same Stephen Burke who is the town Democratic chairman of Macomb.
  • Danny Francis (Jefferson County): Vietnam veteran, ’94 nominee against McHugh.
  • Bob Johnson (Jefferson County): Surgeon, ’06 nominee against McHugh.
  • Rudolph Johnson (Franklin County): Some dude.
  • Brian McGrath (Lewis County): NYC attorney, willing to “drop six figures” on a campaign. He’s put $200K into his campaign already and says that he can raise $700K more through his contacts. Sounds like he wants to present himself as the next Scott Murphy.
  • David Ryan (Franklin County): Another dude.
  • John Sullivan, Jr. (Oswego County): The former head of the state Attorney General’s Watertown office and ex-Oswego mayor.
  • Michael Oot (Madison County): Attorney, ’08 nominee against McHugh.
  • Bill Owens (Clinton County): A Plattsburgh attorney and registered independent. A “national Democratic source” recently told the New York Daily News’ Elizabeth Benjamin that “everybody is talking about this guy Owens, saying he’s the best of what’s left”.

One of the few remaining Democratic state legislators in the district who had yet to declare her intentions, Assemblywoman Addie J. Russell, announced yesterday that she won’t be a candidate. (Understandably, being eight months pregnant, a special election would be awkwardly-timed for her.) Former US Attorney and Dan Moynihan aide Dan French has also pulled his name from consideration.

We’re definitely left with a dog’s breakfast here. The 11 Democratic chairs will interview each candidate at Syracuse University on August 10th, and will announce their selection that evening.

RaceTracker Wiki: NY-23

SSP Daily Digest: 7/29

OH-Sen: Auto dealer Tom Ganley hasn’t really attracted anyone’s attention yet in the GOP primary, as ex-Rep. Rob Portman has the whole ‘inevitability’ thing going for him. This ought to get some attention, though: Ganley says he’s ready to spend more than $5 million, mostly his own money, to get noticed. Ganley has been sharpening his attacks on Portman as “career politician,” not a label you really want to get saddled with these days.

NJ-Gov (pdf): The polls keep looking worse for Jon Corzine; this time it’s PPP’s turn. Chris Christie leads 50-36, with Corzine getting the votes of only 64% of Democrats and 26% of Independents. The 14-lead for Christie is up from 10, in PPP’s last outing in late June.

NYC-Mayor: Quinnipiac finds that Democratic NYC Comptroller William Thompson pulls within 10 points of incumbent Mayor Michael Bloomberg, 47-37, but they note that this may have to do with a small tweak in method than any larger trend. In this poll, they identified Bloomberg as “Independent and Republican” instead of just “Independent” as they did last time, when he did much better at 54-32. Thompson has been going on the offensive, though, so his name rec is probably much improved, too. Thompson beats Queens city council member Tony Avella in the primary, 44-11. Both Bloomberg and Thompson has positive job approval rates: 63/29 and 53/10, respectively.

CA-10: The fields are set for the Sep. 1 special primary election, and now state Sen. Mark DeSaulnier is the first to hit the TV airwaves, running an ad focusing on health care reform.

RNC: Also on the health care front, the RNC (not the NRCC, interestingly) is running radio spots against 60 different House Democrats, mostly in conservative-leaning districts, accusing them of a “dangerous experiment.” There are also TV ads in the cheapo markets of Nevada, North Dakota, and Arkansas. That sounds like a huge package, but the whole thing is only costing them $1 million.

TN-St. Sen.: Get ready for a special election in the Tennessee Senate in SD 31 in the Memphis suburbs; GOP Sen. Paul Stanley resigned yesterday (leaving the GOP with an 18-14 edge, with 1 vacancy) after he was Unmasked having an affair with his 22-year-old female intern, after the intern’s boyfriend tried extorting him over naughty pictures. Naked pictures of state senate groupies? Hmmm… that sounds more like Gene Simmons to me than Paul Stanley. (In case you’re wondering, her name is not “Beth,” although based on her previous track record, she does certainly seem to like to rock and roll all night and party ev-er-y day) (Actually, I’m wondering if any one of these KISS references is going to have any resonance among SSP’s key readership demographics.)

Initiatives: Michigan Democrats are interested in using the ballot initiative process in 2010 to short-circuit the whole legislative song-and-dance on some key issues that have some populist resonance with the voters. These might include a hike in the minimum wage to $10, temporary moratoria on home foreclosures, and requiring all employers to provide health insurance.

VA-Gov: McDonnell Soars in New SUSA Poll

SurveyUSA (7/27-28, likely voters, 6/5-7 in parens):

Creigh Deeds (D): 40 (43)

Bob McDonnell (R): 55 (47)

Jody Wagner (D): 42

Bill Bolling (R-inc): 54

Steve Shannon (D): 42

Ken Cuccinelli (R): 53

(MoE: ±4.3%)

Whoa, those are some pug-ugly numbers for Democrats. Sure, McDonnell has gained back a bit of ground in recent weeks after Deeds’ primary bounce faded, but are things really this bad for Team Blue? (The second and third head-to-heads listed here are the Lt. Governor and Attorney General races, respectively.)

One note of caution is that SUSA’s voter ID composition for this poll has gyrated fairly significantly in the Republican direction. Back in June, their general election poll was composed of a 36% Dem, 34% GOP sample. This time, the poll is 38% Republican, 32% Dem. That’s an unusually favorable spread for the GOP; recent polls by R2K and PPP had 39D-32R and 34D-33R samples, respectively. Not coincidentally, those pollsters also showed a tighter gubernatorial race.

UPDATE: One thing that I missed in my first scan of the poll is that SUSA asked voters who they picked for President in 2008… and according to this sample, it was 52-43 in John McCain’s favor. (Obama won Virginia by 53-46.) Now, it could be that McCain fans are feeling pumped up these days and Obama voters are still taking a jenga break, but it’s clear that we’re dealing with a very different universe of voters here.

RaceTracker: VA-Gov