SSP Daily Digest: 7/1

CT-Sen: Economist/talking head Peter Schiff, who’s been talking himself up for Chris Dodd’s Senate seat, released an internal poll taken for him by Wilson Research Strategies. Schiff, from the Paulist wing of the party, loses the general to Dodd, 42-38; the bad news here is that, despite the AIG imbroglio falling down the memory hole, Dodd is still significantly behind ex-Rep. Rob Simmons, 47-38. One thing the poll doesn’t test (or at least release publicly): results in the GOP primary.

OH-Sen: Car dealer Tom Ganley announced his candidacy for the GOP primary for the open Senate seat. (I thought he’d already announced on April 2, but I guess he needed to remind the media of his existence.) Ganley owns 38 dealerships, so he’s not just your average used car dealer; he vows to self-fund significantly in his uphill fight against Rob Portman.

MN-Gov: Minnesota’s Independence Party seems determined to field a major candidate in 2010’s ultra-confusing gubernatorial race, and at the top of their wish list is ex-Rep. Jim Ramstad. Ramstad’s name has occasionally been linked to the race as a Republican, but he may be too moderate to make it out of the activist-dominated nominating process. Ramstad’s popularity would make him one to watch in the general, but he’d be laboring under the IP label, whose candidates (including moderate Dem ex-Rep. Tim Penny, who ran for Governor in 2002) have had trouble getting out of the 10-15% range this decade.

NJ-Gov: Yet another poll of the New Jersey governor’s race, and while it still has Jon Corzine losing to Chris Christie, I’m going to file this in the “good news” column, as it has Corzine down by only 6, with Christie under 50%: 45-39. Interestingly, New Jerseyites seem to understand that the state has become fools gold to Republicans: despite their preferences, they still think Corzine will win, 46-38. Corzine also has a campaign appearance scheduled for July 16 with someone who’s actually maintaining a 62% approval rating in New Jersey (which would translate into about 105% approval in a normal state): Barack Obama. Which, I think, is the first in-the-flesh appearance Obama has made on behalf of any candidate since getting elected.

NY-Gov: Maybe I’m feeling extra charitable today, but I’m also going to file yesterday’s Marist poll in the “good news” column, because it actually shows David Paterson beating someone: he tops feeble ex-Rep. Rick Lazio 41-40 in a potential matchup. Of course, he still loses to everyone else, whether Andrew Cuomo in a primary (69-24) or Rudy Giuliani in the general (54-37, although that’s also an improvement from May). In case you’re wondering how a Cuomo/Lazio matchup would go, Cuomo would win 68-22.

SC-Gov: Well, maybe publicly proclaiming that your mistress is your “soulmate” and that you’ve had run-ins with other women (but never crossed “the sex line”) isn’t the best way to keep your job. After it looked like Mark Sanford was successfully digging in for the last few days, the tide seems to be turning: Columbia’s The State says that 12 (of 27) state Senate Republicans have signed a letter to Sanford asking him to resign (including state Sen. Larry Grooms, who’s running to replace Sanford and would suffer having to run against LG Andre Bauer as an incumbent), with 4 more on the record as supporting it but not signing it, or leaning in that direction; Jim DeMint also asked Sanford to pack it in. While the Columbia and Charleston papers haven’t called for resignation, the News in Greenville yesterday joined the Spartanburg Herald-Journal (the twin cities of the state’s bible belt) in publishing an editorial doing so.

NY-23: Looks like moderate GOP Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava, who has attracted the interest of both parties in the NY-23 special election, is going full-speed-ahead on the GOP side. She told supporters she’ll be “aggressively seeking her party’s nomination.”

NY-29: Corning (pop. 11,000) mayor Tom Reed announced that he’ll run against freshman Rep. Eric Massa in 2010. Reed seems to be running as an out-and-proud moderate, with the Main Street Partnership expected to support him. The NRCC has identified him as a leading recruit but hasn’t endorsed him, with several other candidates reportedly still exploring the race. (For what it’s worth, Corning is the hometown of Amo Houghton, former Corning Glass CEO and popular GOP moderate who held this seat for decades.)

PA-15: I’m starting to like Bethlehem mayor John Callahan more and more, as it’s come out that in 2005 he proved he can match Rahm Emanuel F-bomb-for-F-bomb. Callahan’s response to Emanuel’s needling that “Are you tired of being fucking mayor yet?” was “It’s better than being a fucking congressman.” (The only reason this is relevant today is that the NRCC is now using this incident to argue that he’s now disqualified from becoming a congressman.)

TN-03: Former GOP state chair Robin Smith made it official, that she’s running to replace Zach Wamp in the 3rd. She had previously quit her party job to focus full-time on exploring the race, so no surprise here; Smith is the likely GOP frontrunner.

NRCC: The NRCC wasted no time in launching ads to go after the potentially vulnerable House Dems who voted yes on cap-and-trade. Rep. Tom Perriello is the recipient of the dread TV ad this time, while they also took out radio spots and robocalls against Harry Teague, Rick Boucher, Bruce Braley, Betsy Markey, Vic Snyder, Baron Hill, Mary Jo Kilroy, Alan Grayson, Zack Space, Bart Gordon, Debbie Halvorson, John Boccieri, and Ike Skelton.

Votes (pdf): The Hill has a handy scorecard arranged by district lean while showing how many times vulnerable Dem representatives have broken ranks on 15 important bills. The biggest defector, unsurprisingly, is Bobby Bright, who flipped 13 out of 15 times. (Compared with Chet Edwards, in an even more difficult district but who defected only twice.) The guy who stands out like a sore thumb, though, is Joe Donnelly, who defected 8 times in IN-02, a district that Obama actually won, 54-45.

MS-St. House: Democrats held the line in a special election in Mississippi state House district 82, as Democrat Wilber Jones held the seat. This is an African-American majority seat, but attracted some attention because the GOP ran a credible African-American candidate, Bill Marcy… but he still went on to lose, 66-34. Dems hold the edge in the House, 75-47.

NY-Sen-B: Maloney Sets Launch Date

Rep. Carolyn Maloney has previously been operating in the future conditional tense of “intending” to do this and “vowing” to do that, but the New York Daily News today reports that she’s gone so far as to set a definite date when she “will” announce her candidacy against Kirsten Gillibrand in the Democratic primary.

Rep. Carolyn Maloney has decided to take on Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand in the 2010 Democratic primary, refusing to bow to party leaders who want her to stay out, the Daily News has learned.

“She’s definitely decided to run,” said a senior Maloney adviser, speaking on condition of anonymity. “She’s in it.”

Maloney, a congresswoman since 1993 for Manhattan’s East Side and a slice of Queens, will make an official announcement in two weeks, the adviser said.

New York’s NY1 confirms, via Maloney senior adviser Paul Blank, that Maloney “has decided to” pull the trigger.

RaceTracker: NY-Sen-B

FL-Gov/FL-Sen: Mo’ Polls

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

Alex Sink (D): 49

Michael Arth (D): 4

Undecided: 47

Bill McCollum (R): 53

Paula Dockery (R): 4

Undecided: 43

(MoE: ±6%)

Alex Sink (D): 35 (34)

Bill McCollum (R): 41 (40)

Undecided: 24 (26)

Alex Sink (D): 43

Paula Dockery (R): 18

Undecided: 39

(MoE: ±4%)

Ordinarily I wouldn’t be too surprised to see a random state legislator doing so poorly, but a Strategic Vision (R) poll showed vastly better numbers for state Sen. Paula Dockery. It’s worth noting that the Ron Sachs PDF calls her “Paula Dockey” at least once. If interviewers used the wrong name, that could partly explain the differing results. (Reminds me of the story SUSA founder Jay Leve tells of once being surveyed about “Bill Parcells” – turns out the interviewer meant NJ Rep. Bill Pascrell.) The Washington Independent, by the way, describes Michael Arth as an “artist, developer, [and] activist.”

M-D also tested various primaries for some downballot statewide races – AG (D & R), CFO (R), and Ag. Comm’r (R). All of those contests have, as you’d expect, very high undecideds and no candidate pulling higher than the teens, but the numbers may be of interest to serious Florida afficionados.

In other Florida news, the Club for Growth tested the waters for their newest pretty boy. Basswood Research (R) for the CFG (6/13-14, likely voters, no trendlines):

Charlie Crist (R): 51

Marco Rubio (R): 21

(MoE: ±4%)

Nothing new here, but at least the CFG is considering the race on behalf of Ru-ru-rubio. According to Roll Call, their ED “said the club has not yet made any decision about who it would endorse and has no time frame for when that decision might come. He did acknowledge that the club generally gets involved in races earlier rather than later.” Earlier, please!

MA-Gov: Deval, Deval, Toil and Trouble

Rasmussen (6/24, likely voters):

Deval Patrick (D-inc): 40

Christy Mihos (R): 41

Deval Patrick (D-inc): 41

Charlie Baker (R): 36

(MoE: ±4.5%)

Add Deval Patrick of Massachusetts to the list of northeastern Governors that nobody much likes. Patrick’s job approvals are 42% approve (including 11% strongly approve) and 57% disapprove (including 32% strongly disapprove). He finds himself in a dead heat with businessman Christy Mihos (who garnered 7% of the vote in 2006 as an independent, but is running as a Republican this time) and barely leading Charlie Baker (whom I’ll admit I’ve never heard of before today; he’s the CEO of health care provider Harvard-Pilgrim, and is rumbling about the race while not having taken any steps yet). Mihos is well-known with 46/35 favorables, while Baker is only at 37/27 with 35% unknown.

Patrick represents a state that’s heavily Democratic enough that his opposition may already be polling near their ceilings… but given the state’s recent tolerance of moderate Republican governors (and its bamboozlement by Mitt Romney), he can’t even begin to count on the state’s lean to pull it out for him. One other item that gives me some confidence about this race, though, is that Patrick has hired David Plouffe to run his re-election campaign, while Christy Mihos has hired… Dick Morris.

RaceTracker: MA-Gov