6/1 Primary Results Round-Up

Let’s do a quick round-up of the results from last night’s races.


  • AL-Gov: Who among us would have guessed that outgoing Agriculture Commissioner Ron Sparks would defeat Artur Davis by a 62-38 margin for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination? Artur Davis led the money race, led in all polling, and had a primary electorate with a large number of African-Americans to persuade and mobilize. This was truly his race to lose — and he did just that, in spectacular fashion. The Birmingham News is calling it “one of the more remarkable upsets in Alabama primary history”. I guess Artur Davis’ strategy of playing for the general election at the expense of the primary by playing up his votes against the Democratic agenda in Washington turned out to be a massive dud. Makes you wonder if Davis is regretting his decision to seek re-election in 2008, and thereby putting himself in the awkward position of casting votes against Obama’s agenda and campaigning in a Democratic primary.

    For the Republicans, ex-state Sen. Bradley Byrne, who recently served as chancellor of the Alabama Community College System, bought a ticket to the runoff with 28% of the vote. Second place is still officially up in the air, with a recount likely between state Rep. Robert Bentley, who has 123,870 votes, and “Speak American!” businessman Tim James, who’s sitting on 123,662 votes. However, unless there was a tabulation error or a pile of uncounted absentees sitting somewhere, it’s hard to imagine James making up the ground he needs. Ten Commandments judge Roy Moore fizzled out with just 19% of the vote.

  • AL-AG: Republicans soundly turfed state Attorney General Troy King by a 60-40 margin, favoring instead ’06 Lt. Governor candidate Luther Strange. The Democratic race appears to be headed for a runoff, with Montgomery attorney James Anderson just barely missing the 50% cut-off. Giles Perkins, a former executive director of the state Democratic Party, placed second.
  • AL-Ag Comm’r: It’s a tough pill to swallow when Alabama Republicans decided to side with thugs and criminals over Dale Peterson. Peterson, who ran one of the teabagging-est campaigns in modern political history, only won 28% of the vote. Yard-sign stealer and absolute “dummy” Dorman Grace came in second with 35%, and John McMillan won 37%. The runoff just won’t be the same without Dale. (The winner will take on Democrat Glen Zorn, one of Ron Sparks’ deputies.)
  • AL-02: Montgomery city councilwoman Martha Roby, the NRCC-crowned establishment favorite, will have to slug it out in a runoff against teabagging businessman Rick “The Barber” Barber. Roby won 49% of the vote to Barber’s 29%. The winner will face Democrat Bobby Bright in November.
  • AL-05: What a fun race. Parker Griffith capped off one of the more embarrassing party switches in recent history with a blow-out loss to Madison County Commissioner Mo Brooks by a 51-33 margin. It was such an ignominious loss that Griffith refused to speak to the media or even show up at his election night reception to thank his supporters. Brooks will face Democrat Steve Raby, a former aide to Sen. Howell Heflin, who won his nomination with 60% of the vote over Taze Shepard, the grandson of legendary Sen. John Sparkman.

    In his election night statement, Brooks excitedly gushed: “I know who our general election opponent is: (Speaker of the House) Nancy Pelosi.” That’s very much reminiscent of the PA-12 Tim Burns playbook; and maybe it’ll have more legs in a district like this one, but it’s probably an unwise course to chart given the lack of traction Republicans have gotten when adopting such framing wholesale.

  • AL-06: It’s a TARP! There was little worth seeing here as GOP incumbent Spencer Bachus defeated insurgent challenger Stan Cooke by a 76-24 margin in this impossibly red district.
  • AL-07: We’re looking at a runoff between securities attorney Terri Sewell, the candidate who seems closest in style to outgoing Rep. Artur Davis, and progressive Jefferson County Commissioner Shelia Smoot. Thanks to her large fundraising advantage, Sewell won the first round with 37% to Smoot’s 29%. Earl Hilliard, Jr., son of the former Representative of this district, placed third with 27%. It’s going to be a tough battle for Smoot to overcome Sewell’s vastly superior fundraising and EMILY’s List backing, but hopefully she can make something happen.


  • MS-01: GOP state Sen. Alan Nunnelee won the Republican nomination to face Travis Childers and his mighty ‘stache in November with 52% of the vote. Underfunded teabagger Henry Ross took 33%, while former Fox News talking head Angela McGlowan, the 12th hour pick of Sarah Palin, won only 15%. McGlowan is apparently refusing to endorse Nunnelee, calling him a RINO of the first order.
  • MS-04: Republican state Rep. Steven Palazzo took 57% of the vote in his primary against businessman Joe Tegerdine. Palazzo will attempt to dislodge entrenched Democratic incumbent Gene Taylor in the fall.

New Mexico:

  • NM-Gov: Republicans picked former Dona Ana DA Susana Martinez over former state party chair Allen Weh by a 51-28 margin, ensuring that New Mexico will have its first female Governor in its history. (The Democratic nominee is current Lt. Gov. Diane Denish.) The general election promises to be very competitive, as Martinez has actually exhibited some strength in recent general election polling.

CA-Sen: The Tom Campbell Myth

A week in advance of the California GOP Primary to replace Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer, there’s some new hooplah invading the blogosphere over a stunning new poll on the race. The poll, commissioned by the Los Angeles Times, shows that while fmr. Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina is leading the pack to win the nomination, she is performing an entire 13 points worse than fmr. Rep. Tom Campbell against Boxer.

This development has fired-up both the Campbell and Fiorina camps, as Campbell touts the poll as the basis for an electability argument – he can beat Boxer while Fiorina cannot – while Fiorina is rightfully pointing to Campbell’s two failed statewide runs from the past, not to mention the fmr. Congressman’s inability to compete in the state’s Gubernatorial race, which he’d been contesting prior to the Senate run.

Most of my fellow pundits appear to be siding with Campbell’s argument, that a moderate GOP-er can compete with the liberal Boxer, while a conservative like Fiorina, who also happened to be fired from her tenure at HP, probably cannot.

I respectfully disagree with this assertion. I happen to think Fiorina, not Campbell (nor Assemblyman Chuck DeVore, the third candidate in the primary), is actually the strongest candidate to take on the incumbent Boxer. While my colleagues are correct about Campbell’s more centrist record, I believe the fmr. Congressman has two serious electoral problems that Fiorina does not.

For one, Fiorina has the ability to self-fund her campaign, relieving national Republicans from having to pump funds into the most expansive and expensive state in the country. Campbell, who has hardly been a firecracker on the fundraising trail, would need outside support to fund his campaign. Also, and perhaps even more importantly, is the issue of Republican turn-out. Campbell, who is detested by the Tea Party crowd, could face problems in GOTV with his party’s base. While he may have the ability to peel off some conservative Democrats and moderate Independents who wouldn’t take too kindly to Fiorina, if Campbell cannot turn-out the GOP base as well, he absolutely cannot prevail.

Fiorina, on the flip side, is respected among self-described conservatives and even with the Tea Party crowd. Her admiration from the latter has forced the even more conservative DeVore into a distant third. However, I think the fmr. CEO does have the ability to reach out to some moderates and score the necessary numbers among non-affilateds to take down Boxer. Her tenure at HP will surely draw fire from the Boxer camp, and she is prone to making the occasional gaffe.

Alas, if Republicans really want to fulfill their dream of taking out Barbara Boxer, it’s Carly Fiorina, not Tom Campbell, who’s their most golden option.


SSP Daily Digest: 6/2 (Morning Edition)

  • AR-Sen: Blanche Lincoln’s closing ad for her campaign is really, really sad-sack. “I know you’re angry at Washington – believe me, I heard you on May 18” and “I’d rather lose this election fighting for what’s right than win by turning my back on Arkansas.” Gawd.
  • CT-Sen: Dick Blumenthal is out with his first TV ads of the cycle, featuring people he helped in his capacity as attorney general. You’ll need to click over to his site to watch them. No word on the size of the buy (grrr).
  • FL-Sen: Boy, Joe Trippi sure has shacked up with one serious shitball. Jeff Greene, who spent his entire adult life registered either as “no party” or a Republican, donated five grand to Meg fucking Whitman’s gubernatorial campaign just last year. Lately he’s given a bunch of money to Dems, but jeez – to Whitman, of all people? Oh, and he also gave money to Pete Wilson back in 1988. That should help him with the Hispanic vote.
  • IL-Sen: Where to start with Mark Kirk? How about this: Liberal blogger Nitpicker first nailed Mark Kirk for misleading people about his military service record all the way back in 2005 (while chasing down a bullshit attack on Paul Hackett, interestingly enough). TPM also lists many more occasions where Mark Kirk did his best to make it appear he served in Operation Iraqi Freedom (he did not). Meanwhile, Bloomberg has another video of Kirk claiming to have won the Intelligence Officer of the Year award (he did not). And last but not least, the Navy itself is saying it alerted Kirk to the fact that the media was inquiring about the award story. Ouch.
  • KS-Sen: State Sen. David Haley officially kicked off his campaign to succeed Sam Brownback yesterday. Haley lost a bid for Secretary of State in 2006. He joins former newspaper editor Charles Schollenberger and academic administrator Lisa Johnston in the Democratic primary.
  • KY-Sen: Libertarian purity trolls in Kentucky have decided not to field a candidate to express their unhappiness with Rand Paul… mostly because they don’t have, you know, a candidate. Meanwhile, Kentucky Republicans are pretty pissed themselves. The GOP-led state Senate adopted a resolution on a voice vote expressing support for the Civil Rights Act, and criticizing those (like a certain nameless senate nominee) as “outside the mainstream of American values” and part of an “extreme minority of persons in the United States” for their opposition to the law. Double ouch.
  • NY-Sen: Will it blend? The answer is always yes, whether you’re talking about a blender from Blendtec or a Schumer from Flatbush. The NY GOP nominated former CIA officer Gary Bernsten, who vowed, a little too Jack Bauer-like, to “pursue Sen. Schumer in every town, on every street and every village.” Political consultant Jay Townsend, who may be in this just to sell more DVDs on how to run campaigns, will also be on the primary ballot – as will anyone insane enough to try to petition his or her way on. Whoever the lucky winner is, they’ll have to face the implacable Schumer whirling blades of death in November.
  • KS-Gov: Sen. Sam Brownback, running for governor, picked state Sen. Jeff Colyer has his running-mate. Colyer is also a plastic surgeon whose Google results lead with the fact that he performs breast augmentations.
  • NV-Gov: Jon Ralston points out that Rory Reid has $2.6 million in cash-on-hand, while likely Republican opponent Brian Sandoval has just $575K. Sandoval has had to fight a primary battle against incumbent Gov. Jim Gibbons, while Reid’s had the nomination to himself.
  • AR-03: Steve Womack has finally picked up an endorsement from one of the people he beat in the first round in AR-03, businessman Kurt Maddox. His opponent in the runoff, Cecile Bledsoe, has scored the support of also-rans Steve Lowry, Doug Matayo, and, of course, Gunner DeLay.
  • CO-07: Navy vet Lang Sias doesn’t live in the 7th CD, and he also hasn’t done something else there or anywhere else for the last decade: vote. In fact, the former Democrat (who donated to Mark Udall in 2002) didn’t even manage to vote for John McCain when he was volunteering for his campaign two years ago. Sias is fighting for the GOP nod against Aurora City Councilman Ryan Frazier, who is whomping him in the cash department.
  • GA-07: GOP State Rep. Clay Cox is the first candidate on the air in the race to replace retiring Rep. John Linder. Amusingly enough, Cox’s ad features his support for the “Fair Tax” – one of the key issues which sunk Tim Burns in PA-12. Obviously it’s a different district, but I’ll be curious to see if it flies in a Republican primary. Anyhow, no word on the size of the buy (of course). (Also, is it just me, or does the part of the ad in front of the heavy vehicles look greenscreened?)
  • NY-03: Howard Kudler, a Nassau County teacher, will likely run against Rep. Peter King, says Newsday. Kudler challenged GOP Assemblyman David McDonough in 2008, losing 62-38.
  • NY-19: Biden alert! The VPOTUS was seen yesterday doing a fundraiser for Rep. John Hall in Bedford, NY. No word on the haul, though the event was described as “small.” In the evening, the elder Biden also did an event in NYC for his son Beau’s DE-AG re-election campaign.
  • Polling: Mark Blumenthal tries to pin Scott Rasmussen down on why his firm hasn’t been polling key primaries closer to the actual elections. When confronted with evidence that his patterns this cycle have changed from the last, Ras says that general elections and presidential primaries are “different” from regular primaries. He also claims that the AR-Sen race is only “of intense interest to some on the political left,” which doesn’t exactly gibe with reality, given how much ink has been spilled on this contest by the tradmed. Meanwhile, speaking of questionable polling, Nate Silver takes a look at Internet-based pollsters. While Zogby of course is the suck, Silver thinks that Harris Interactive and YouGov “are capable of producing decent results.”
  • Passings: Former North Dakota Gov. Art Link passed away at the age of 96. He served two terms in the 70s, losing a bid for a third term to Republican Allen Olson in 1980.
  • AL, MS & NM Results Thread #2

    2:30am: It looks like we won’t have any resolution tonight on AL-Gov (R). The good people of Cleburne County have apparently gone home for the night, leaving that county’s 17 precincts unreported. Those are the only precincts outstanding in the state. So, until then, Bentley and James are at 25% each, but Bentley is leading by 140 votes. We’ll see if they figure this out tomorrow.

    1:48am: I want some of what they’re smoking down in Cleburne County, Alabama. It’s been six freakin’ hours, dudes!

    1:25am: So now that the AP has accounted for empty precincts in Mobile, our projection has shifted to Dr. Rob Bentley by 97 votes instead of Fob James by 2500+ for the second runoff ticket.

    1:08am: And the AP finally gets off the pot and calls AL-05 (R), despite that one outstanding precinct in Jackson Co. Mo Brooks wins it without a runoff, at 51%.

    12:51am: AP finally brings some closure to AL-02 (R). Runoff for Roby and Barber. Roby just missed the cutoff at 49%.

    12:47am: Wow, Bentley moves back into 2nd place in AL-Gov (R). Only a 150 vote lead, though.

    12:40am: Our model has James taking the 2nd spot in the runoff, with his lead over Bentley projected to edge up to 2,700.

    12:37am: AP has Byrne definitely making the R Gov runoff. In the 2nd place scramble, Tim James is edging ahead of Bentley. They’re tied at 25, but now James has a 150 vote edge. 95% reporting.

    12:35am: AP calls AL-07 as runoff for Sewell and Smoot.

    12:28am: 100% have reported in the 7th, although no call from the AP yet. Still Sewell 37, Smoot 29, with Hilliard missing the runoff at 27.

    12:22am: It’s over in AL-05 as Parker Griffith has conceded to Mo Brooks. Brooks will face Dem Steve Raby in November. What a monumentally stupid idea this party switch was — and kudos to DavidNYC for his astute post on this idiocy back in December. Parker Griffith Can Lose.

    12:11am: SSP Labs’ mainframe is spewing out punch cards telling us that we can call a Sewell/Smoot runoff in AL-07. Right now it’s Sewell 37, Smoot 29, Hilliard 27.

    12:02am: Bradley Byrne is putting a little distance on the rest of the crowd in AL-Gov (R). He’s at 28, with the real battle, to make 2nd and get into the runoff, between James and Bentley at 25 apiece. Bentley has an edge of about 1,400. 91% are reporting.

    11:59pm: In AL-02, with 93.5% in, Martha Roby has climbed up to 49.1% thanks to the Montgomery vote coming in. I’m not sure if there’s enough out there to get her over the hump outright tonight, though.

    11:55pm: Some downballot local color: George Wallace Jr. loses the GOP Treasurer primary to a fellow by the name of Young Boozer.

    11:43pm: A big clot of Sewell votes showed up in AL-07. She’s up to 37 now, with Smoot at 29 and Hilliard at 27. So the real battle here is whether Smoot or Hilliard makes the runoff. (And hopefully Smoot/Hilliard consolidates all the non-Sewell votes.)

    11:41pm: Another seesaw in AL-Gov. Bradley Byrne is back on top at 27, and now Bentley is in 2nd at 26. Tim James is at 25, and only 700 back from Bentley. Roy Moore’s at 20. Good thing or bad thing? (Byrne is probably the toughest GOP opponent for the general, but also the least crazy, as far as actual good governance goes, if he wins the general. Also, would the James and Moore backers go to Bentley in the runoff, helping him to complete the upset?)

    11:39pm: Man, even if you thought that Artur Davis would lose tonight, I don’t think that him losing by over 20 points was on anyone’s mind.

    11:29pm: The AP has called the MS-01 primary for state Sen. Alan Nunnelee, who narrowly avoided a runoff with 51% of the vote. Nunnelee faces Travis Childers and his mighty ‘stache of doom in November.

    11:27pm: The D AL-07 primary is a great horserace too. Right now Smoot and Sewell are both at 32, with Hilliard at 28. Smoot’s edge is 300 votes over Sewell. With about three-quarters reporting, Hilliard is back another 2,000, so making the runoff is looking less likely.

    11:22pm: The R primary in AL-Gov just keeps being the most exciting race of the night. With 2057 of 2843 in (72%), it’s James at 26, Byrne at 25, and Bentley at 25. James up 2,000 over Byrne, who in turn is up 300 over Bentley. Hangin’ judge Roy Moore not that far back at 21%.

    11:20pm: Looks like the polls were right about AL-AG, at least. Challenger Luther Strange is whomping troubled incumbent Troy King in the GOP primary, 61-39.

    11:16pm: Only county outstanding in MS-01, which will tell us whether Nunnelee clears 50%, is Clay County. That’s only one county over from the county where Eupora (the town where Ross was mayor), but with only 14 precincts, I can’t see that being the tipping point.

    11:11pm: More like the Land of Disenchantment for Allen Weh. He’s conceding the R gube primary in New Mexico, after spending $1.6 mil on it.

    11:09pm: The SSP Labs model is calling MS-01 for Nunnelee without runoff (looks like that last-minute Sarah Palin endorsement for McGowen [sic] didn’t pay off). And, it’s saying AL-02 will come down to Roby/Barber runoff.

    11:06pm: This will no doubt change, but at this instant in time, 2 (two) votes separate Tim James (84,497) and Bradley Byrne (84,495) in 1st and 2nd. Bentley is back in 3rd, trailing by 2,000 more. It’s 26-26-25, with 1887 of 2843 in.

    11:04pm: The AP has called the R primary in NM-Gov for Susana Martinez. She’ll face Diane Denish in November.

    10:57pm: Based on our model, SSP Labs is feeling confident to call AL-05 without a runoff in favor of Brooks. Griffith’s party switch goes down with the Edsel and New Coke in the pantheon of bad ideas.

    10:55pm: Pretty much simultaneously, AP calls AL-Gov D primary for Sparks, and Davis concedes. Running to the right doesn’t win you a Dem primary, even in Alabama.

    10:53pm: Not much change in New Mexico, although we’re up to almost one-third reporting. Martinez leads Weh 51-29.

    10:50pm: AP calls AL-05 for Steve Raby, who crushed Taze Shepard 62-22.

    10:41pm: The people who don’t give a rrrrip about Alabama are out in force tonight. Dale Peterson is deep in third at 26%, with a McMillan/Grace runoff likely.

    10:37pm: Bradley Byrne just found a bunch of votes. He’s up 700 over Tim James, and about 2400 over Bentley with nearly 50% of precincts reporting. Meanwhile, Sparks leads Davis by 65-35.

    10:34pm: SSP Labs update: In AL-05, we’re projecting brooks with 50.5%, 709 over a runoff. In MS-01, we’re projecting Nunnelee to escape a runoff with 51.2% of the vote.

    10:30pm: Over in MS-01, with 88% reporting, Alan Nunnelee is still hovering at 51.1% of the vote.

    10:29pm: The AP calls AL-06 for Spencer Bachus. Wasn’t close at all in the end.

    10:23pm: Here’s one more bad sign for Artur Davis: Macon County, which is 84% black, is now all in. Davis only won 47% of the vote there tonight.

    10:21pm: Another lead change in AL-07, where it’s neck and neck and neck. Shelia Smoot has moved ahead at 34%, with Terri Sewell at 32, and Earl Hilliard Jr. at 27 (and Bozeman a non-factor at 8). But, as we close in on halfway reported, the runoff could be any combination of the 3.

    10:19pm: In AL-05, we’re projecting Brooks with 50.6%, 764 over a runoff. Keep in mind this is something of a crude model, though. It should be close.

    10:18pm: The AP has called the R primary in MS-04 for Steven Palazzo.

    10:15pm: Over in the Land of Enchantment, it’s a good night for Susana Martinez. She’s at 50%, with 101 of 1509 reporting. Allen Weh is in 2nd at 32%. Pete Jr. is at a whopping 6%.


    IA-Gov: PPP polls GOP primary

    A week before Iowa’s primary election, Public Policy Polling released a poll showing former Governor Terry Branstad leading Bob Vander Plaats 46 percent to 31 percent, with State Representative Rod Roberts well behind at 13 percent. The firm surveyed 474 “likely GOP primary voters” between May 25 and 27, and the margin of error is plus or minus 4.5 percent.  

    The polling memo by Tom Jensen notes, “Branstad gets 42-68% of the vote across the ideological spectrum, but does worst against the 74% conservative majority, edging Tea Party favorite Vander Plaats by just 41-35.”

    This poll supports what I’ve been thinking for months about Roberts. He is the best surrogate Branstad could have in this primary, diluting the votes of the social conservative base that doesn’t trust the former governor. If one candidate consolidated the “not Branstad” vote, the topline result would be nearly a dead heat.

    If PPP’s survey is accurate, Branstad will win next Tuesday’s primary, but with the advantages he took into this race he should be getting 60 to 70 percent of the Republican vote. He’s done the job before, he will have spent more than $2 million before the primary (more than his opponents combined), and he has been advertising statewide on television and radio since the beginning of April. Roberts and Vander Plaats could manage only limited ad buys, and Vander Plaats just went up on television the day before PPP’s poll was in the field.

    Iowa Independent highlighted a notable passage from PPP’s polling memo:

       Among voters that actually know who Vander Plaats is – whether they see him favorably or unfavorably – he leads Branstad 42-37. The question is if there’s enough time left for Vander Plaats to completely make up the huge gap in name recognition he began the campaign with. Seventy-nine percent of voters have an opinion of Branstad, with it breaking down positively by a 59/20 margin. Meanwhile only 66 percent have an opinion of Vander Plaats with 47 percent seeing him favorably to 19 percent unfavorably.

       There are very clear age divisions in the race. It’s tied among voters under 45, who may not even remember Branstad’s time as Governor. But he’s up 55-20 with senior citizens, who are certainly likely to remember his tenure, and that’s fueling most of his overall victory.

    Vander Plaats was never going to be able to match Branstad’s spending dollar for dollar with the huge support for Branstad among Iowa’s business Republican elite. But if Vander Plaats had saved more of what he raised in 2009, he might have been able to raise his name recognition much more this spring.

    As for the differences between younger and older respondents, I would think almost any Iowan over 30 remembers Branstad as governor. I suspect that this discrepancy tells us there are a lot more moderate Republicans over age 45 than under age 45. Branstad leads Vander Plaats among moderates by a huge margin in the poll. The Republican Party has grown much more conservative in the last decade or two, so younger moderates might naturally identify more with Democrats or no-party voters.

    Incredibly, this is the first public poll of the Republican primary since last July, when The Iowa Republican blog commissioned a survey by Voter/Consumer research. That poll found Vander Plaats way ahead of the rest of the declared Republican candidates, with only Branstad hypothetically able to make the primary competitive.

    Branstad created an exploratory committee to run for governor last October. Since then, Selzer has done two Iowa polls for the Des Moines Register, Research 2000 has done three polls for KCCI-TV, The Iowa Republican commissioned another poll in January, not to mention several Iowa polls by Rasmussen. All of those surveys tested Governor Chet Culver against his Republican challengers but not the Republican primary. The lack of polling on Branstad against Vander Plaats and Roberts is a continuing mystery to me, given how many polls have been conducted on Democratic or Republican primaries in other states. You would think that at the very least The Iowa Republican blog would want to poll the GOP primary. The fact that they haven’t suggests that last summer’s primary poll may have been intended primarily to help the people recruiting Branstad to run for governor again. Rasmussen is the most prolific pollster in the country, and has polled Republican primaries in many other states. Maybe Rasmussen really is just interested in setting a narrative rather than polling the most newsworthy races.

    Share any relevant thoughts in this thread.

    P.S. PPP also polled the Iowa Democratic primary for U.S. Senate and found Roxanne Conlin way ahead with 48 percent, compared to 13 percent for Bob Krause and 8 percent for Tom Fiegen. I posted a big linkfest on the Democratic U.S. Senate primary at Bleeding Heartland.

    UPDATE: PPP director Tom Jensen told me today that no one commissioned the Iowa poll PPP conducted last week. He was responding to speculation on an Iowa republican blog that a Democratic 527 group may have commissioned the PPP poll to see if their direct-mail and tv commercial attacks on Branstad are working.  

    Alabama, Mississippi & New Mexico Results Thread

    10:15pm: Let’s move this party over here.

    10:08pm: With not quite a quarter in, on the GOP side of the AL-Gov primary, Bentley has actually pulled into the lead at 27%. James is 2nd at 26, with Byrne at 25. Can’t quite count Byrne out yet, but that Dem 527 meddling in the GOP primary may have had the desired effect (i.e. taking out Byrne, ostensibly the toughest general election opponent). And Roy Moore’s at 18: what’s up with his collapse?

    10:05pm: We’re now up to 48% in AL-05: Brooks leads Griff by 51-34, and Raby leads Taze by 62-23.

    10:03pm: As expected, Luther Strange is kicking Alabama AG Troy King’s ass by a 60-40 margin.

    10:02pm: 70% reporting in MS-01, and Nunnelee is resting at 51.3%.

    9:59pm: Over in MS-04, state Rep. Steven Palazzo leads businessman Joe Tegerdine by 58-42 with 59% in.

    9:56pm: Hah, Spencer Bachus leads his teabagger opponent, Stan Cooke, by only 59-41 with 13% in. It’s a TARP!

    9:54pm: We’re now up to 37% of precincts reporting in AL-05, and Mo Brooks leads Griffith by 53-31. (Raby still cruising.)

    9:51pm: SSP Labs doesn’t take an election night off, and here is our model for Alabama. It’s based on the usual back-of-the-envelope stuff, but also incorporates the racial composition of each county. (jeffmd)

    9:47pm: Checking in with New Mexico, Susana Martinez has a 16-point lead over Allen Weh in the early vote.

    9:43pm: 21.5% of the vote’s now in in AL-05, and Brooks leads Griffith by 49-38. Raby is up over Taze Shepard by 65-21.

    9:41pm: Terri Sewell has now pulled into second place (just 200 votes behind Shelia Smoot) in AL-07, but only 12% of the vote’s been counted.

    9:39pm: With 11.7% in, Sparks leads by 63-37. On the GOP side, Tim James leads with 28%, followed by Rob Bentley at 26%. Front-runner Bradley Bryne is in third at 23%.

    9:35pm: We’re up to 41% reporting in MS-01, and Alan Nunnelee is dangerously flirting with a runoff at 49.7%.

    9:30pm: Big swing in Jeffco, where Sparks now leads Davis by 54-46. Overall, Sparks is up by 61-39 with 7% in.

    9:24pm: Check out AL-07, where the three front-runners are separated by just 170 votes. Smoot has 31, Hilliard’s at 30, and Sewell checks in at 27 with 11% reporting.

    9:20pm: Almost 10% of Jeffco is in, where Artur Davis is cleaning up. The Gov race has tightend to 60-40 for Sparks. And, in AL-05, Mo Brooks leads Griffith by 58-28 with 8 precincts in.

    9:11pm: It looks like Dick Shelby will survive an attempted teabagging from Clint Moser.

    9:08pm: We’re now at 4/326 in AL-05, and Brooks has pulled ahead of Griffith by 48-36. Whoa baby!

    9:03pm: Over in AL-05, with just three precincts in, turncoat Parker Griffith has fallen just barely under 50%. Mo Brooks has 33%.

    9:00pm: Alan Nunnelee is now flirting with 50%. He leads Ross by 51-37. McGlowan is a huge non-factor here.

    8:44pm: We also have our first precinct reporting in MS-01, and Alan Nunnelee has 56% to teabagger Henry Ross’ 26%. Sarah Palin’s late pick, Angela McGlowan, is in third.

    8:41pm: 9/2843 in so far, and Sparks leads Davis by 73-27. On the GOP side, it looks like a three-way fight for second place between Tim James, Robert Bentley, and Roy Moore.

    8:36pm: Now Barber is up on Roby by two votes. In AL-05, Parker Griffith has 62% of the very early vote.

    8:23pm: In the AL-02 primary, teabagging businessman Rick “The Barber” Barber only trails NRCC-crowned favorite Martha Roby by 40-37. Just three precincts in there so far, though.

    8:20pm: We’re up to three precincts in Alabamer, and Sparks leads by a 71-29 spread. Over in the Ag Comm’r primary, American Hero Dale Peterson is in third.

    8:09pm: We’ve got one precinct out of the oven in Alabama. Sparks leads Davis by 12 votes to 5.

    Polls will close in Alabama and Mississippi in about fifteen minutes, and in New Mexico an hour later. We’ll be using this thread to follow the returns — and if you have any additional results links, please share ’em in the comments.


    Alabama, Mississippi & New Mexico Predictions Thread

    Polls close in Alabama and Mississippi at 8pm Eastern, and in New Mexico at 9pm. SSP will be liveblogging these races once the first returns start rolling in, but let’s get the pre-game party started with a predictions thread. And in case you missed it, here is our preview of the key races to watch tonight.

    SSP Daily Digest: 6/1

    CT-Sen: Where’s the New York Times when you need them? At least we have the Post to go there: way back when she was applying for an appointed seat on Connecticut’s Board of Education, one of Linda McMahon’s selling points was that she had a degree in education. Nope, it quickly was revealed that her degree was in Freedom French (which, to my mind, is a lot harder to parse away through semantic obfuscation than “in Vietnam” — I mean, this is just a flat-out lie). Jodi Rell still picked McMahon for the board.

    IL-Sen: Where’s the New York Times when you need them, Part II? Mark Kirk has had to admit that previous claims about his military experience weren’t “precise,” when it turned out that the “Naval Intelligence Officer of the Year” award went to Kirk’s entire unit, not himself as stated on his website’s bio.

    TX-Sen: Remember when gubernatorial candidate Kay Bailey Hutchison promised to resign her Senate seat as soon as she tied up those last few legislative loose ends? After dragging that out to finish her term instead, now she’s making noises about just continuing on like nothing ever happened and running for another full term in 2012. Questions remain as to whether she’d attract high-profile primary competition if she stayed; would-be competitors would have to be heartened by her weak performance in the gubernatorial primary.

    CA-Gov: Meg Whitman pretty much ended her viability as a candidate in the general election with her closing argument ad for the GOP primary, where she demands border crackdowns and opposes “amnesty.” (In fact, check out the photo at Politico’s link; one picture says more than 1000 words could about Pete Wilson handing the Prop 187 turd torch to Whitman. UPDATE: Oops, photo not there anymore, but see here.) To make sure the message gets across to those least likely to be enthused about that, the California Nurses Association is running a Spanish-language ad on Hispanic radio stations that replays her comments.

    MI-Gov: This endorsement isn’t exactly a surprise, seeing as how Andy Dillon is widely disliked by Michigan’s public employee unions, but still it’s an important building block for Virg Bernero. The Michigan Education Association, the state’s largest teacher’s union with 155K members, gave its nod to Lansing mayor Bernero in the Democratic gubernatorial primary; Bernero also has the endorsement of the AFL-CIO, which includes the UAW.

    NY-Gov: Has anyone ever had to confirm to the media that “no, I’m not dropping out,” and then actually gone on to win a race? Steve Levy seems intent on being the first to try to do that. With the mellifluously-named M. Myers Mermel on the verge of getting the backing of the Queens GOP, the GOP/Conservative field is basically collapsing into chaos in the wake of the infighting at the Conservative Party convention, where Levy and Carl Paladino backers forced a placeholder (Ralph Lorigo) onto the Con primary ballot in hopes that Rick Lazio doesn’t win the GOP convention. Paladino’s camp is even talking up the possibility of creating a whole different “Tea Party” ballot line. There’s now also talk of creating a new ballot line out of whole cloth coming from state GOP chair Ed Cox of all places, as a means of helping the GOP’s preferred candidates circumvent the Conservative Party’s preferences.

    SD-Gov: Polling the fast-approaching (June 8) GOP gubernatorial primary in South Dakota has, oddly enough, not been a high priority for any pollsters, so money may be our main guide here. Lt. Gov. Dennis Daugaard is the clear winner by that criteria, having raised $1.65 mil over the cycle, more than double the $700K of next-best state Sen. majority leader Dave Knudsen. Interestingly, though, South Dakota is the only non-southern state to use runoffs, and with three other candidates in the running, those two may find themselves facing off again in late June.

    WY-Gov: Our long national nightmare is over: we have a credible Democratic gubernatorial candidate in Wyoming. State party chair Leslie Petersen took one for the team and filed the paperwork to run in the Democratic primary on Aug. 17. The Natrona Co. party chair, R.C. Johnson, had said she’d run if no one else did, so I suppose the state chair running when no one else did is, uh, something of an upgrade from a county chair. The Jackson-based, 69-year-old Petersen (assuming she gets past the several Some Dudes in the Dem primary) will face one of not one but four strong GOPers in November.

    CA-45: Rep. Mary Bono Mack and her opponent, Palm Springs mayor Steve Pougnet, are on the same stage today to celebrate the new Palm Springs Airport control tower. Both were proponents of the construction project and will no doubt try to claim their share of the credit, although Bono Mack has the slight problem of having voted against the stimulus package that paid more than half the costs of the project.

    PA-12: Turnout numbers seem to contradict the GOP’s excuses about how they would have won the special election in the 12th if they hadn’t gotten swamped by a surge in Dem turnout motivated by the Sestak/Specter primary. Turnout in the 12th for the special election was 135K, compared with 203K in the 12th in the 2006 general election.

    WA-03: Here’s a surprise: state Sen. Craig Pridemore, who’d been carrying the liberal flag in the Democratic primary in the open seat race in the 3rd, is prepared to drop out. Pridemore had been lagging on the financial front compared with self-funding establishment choice Denny Heck (who now has the Dem field to himself), but that hadn’t been a deterrent before and it seems like that wasn’t what spurred the dropout. Instead, it was leaked over the weekend that the Washington Education Association was prepared to back Heck, and without the state’s biggest union on his side, Pridemore didn’t have much a route to getting over the top.

    WI-07: It looks like the careful field-clearing for state Sen. Julie Lassa in the Democratic primary in the open seat in the 7th wasn’t entirely successful. She’ll still have to face Joe Reasbeck in the Dem primary. Reasbeck, an author and consultant who doesn’t seem to have held office, seems to be at the Some Dude end of the spectrum, though. He’s announcing his campaign kickoff with a ganja break at Superior’s Richard Bong Museum.

    New Hampshire: SSPers will no doubt enjoy this… a Blue Hampshire blogger has calculated 2004/2008 PVI for each of New Hampshire’s 299 voting wards, not only putting together tables but also a slick map.

    Polltopia: PPP’s latest nugget unearthed from their crosstabs is that Democrats are still holding onto moderates pretty well, contrary to what conventional wisdom has been asserting. Tom Jensen finds that Dems are leading among self-identified moderates in all the key Senate race around the country. (The problem, of course, is that there are more self-identified conservatives than liberals, which accounts for GOP leads in a number of these races.)

    History: Here’s a very interesting bit of history from Arkansas writer John Brummett, looking at the remarkable parallels between the Blanche Lincoln/Bill Halter race, and the long-forgotten 1972 Democratic primary in Arkansas where upstart David Pryor almost knocked off long-serving conservative Democrat John McClellan.

    Alabama, Mississippi & New Mexico Primary Preview

    In lieu of our usual morning digest, here is a roundup of all the killer primaries from outer space that we’ll be liveblogging tonight. Get your scorecards ready!


    • AL-Gov (D): Rep. Artur Davis has led Ag. Comm’r Ron Sparks in the money race and all polling that’s been made public to date. But a lot of Alabama Democrats – and especially the black political establishment – are unhappy with Davis’s conservative voting record, especially his vote against healthcare reform. This has led to persistent rumors that Davis is “in trouble,” and Sparks (who just scored an endorsement from ex-Gov. Don Siegelman) even claimed to have an internal showing the race tied. But he declined to share so much as a one-page polling memo – and if he’s right, quite a few other pollsters are wrong. (Though Nate Silver notes that polls of Southern Democratic primaries have, in recent years, been off by wider margins than in other regions.) We’ve seen some surprising primaries on the congressional level involving reps who’ve voted against HCR, but no one has yet paid the ultimate price for it. If Davis is the first, it would be a very big deal indeed. Note that there’s no possibility of a runoff, since Davis and Sparks are the only two candidates on the ballot. (D)
    • AL-Gov (R): With seven candidates in a crowded field, this race is certain to be resolved in the runoff to be held on July 13th. Bradley Byrne has been considered the front-runner and is the choice of most establishment Republicans. However, as the moderate amongst his primary foes, Byrne has come under heavy criticism as opponents question his commitment to conservative causes. Interestingly, traditional Democratic interests in the state have spent heavily against Byrne in the primary. Tim James, son of former Gov. Fob James, is likely Byrne’s strongest adversary and has gained national attention with a series of controversial ads. While Byrne and James will most likely face each other again in July, Roy Moore of Ten Commandments fame still has a chance to snag a ticket to the runoff. (T)
    • AL-Ag. Comm’r (R): This is it. The big one. The eyes of the nation, and indeed, the world, will fall upon the Republican primary for Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries of Alabama. Dale Peterson, a farmer, a businessman, a cop, a Marine in Vietnam, and an usher in a movie theater one summer will be battling for the GOP nod for this most prestigious office. Little needs to be said about Peterson’s opponents, Dorman Grace and John McMillan, other than the fact that it’s clear that they don’t give a rip about Alabama! The winner of this primary will face Democrat Glen Zorn, a current assistant Agriculture Commissioner and former mayor of Florala.
    • AL-AG (R): One of the most vulnerable incumbents anywhere is Alabama’s Republican Attorney General Troy King. This isn’t a clear-cut establishment vs. movement primary, though; if anything, the state’s GOP legal establishment has soured on the erratic King and is backing his challenger Luther Strange. Polls give a large edge to Strange, who counts Jeff Sessions, Richard Shelby and even Gov. Bob Riley — the man who first appointed King to the position — among his backers. (C)
    • AL-02 (R): Four Republicans are on the ballot for the right to challenge frosh Dem Rep. Bobby Bright. Montgomery city councilor Martha Roby is the NRCC-crowned establishment favorite, and the only candidate in the field to raise significant money. Teabagging businessman Rick “The Barber” Barber, an owner of several “billiards facilities” in the area, is next in line, followed by State Board of Education member Stephanie Bell. If Bell ever looked like a threat to Roby, her late entry (in March) and her weak fundraising (just $26K) seem to suggest her chances of making it to a runoff are weak. Former Marine John “Beau” McKinney rounds out the field. Back in February, Bright’s campaign released an internal poll showing him in surprisingly strong shape, but it’ll be interesting to see how he fares once this race becomes engaged.
    • AL-05 (D): After Ron Sparks declined to switch over from the gubernatorial race, four Democrats got into the contest here: attorney and former state Board of Education member Taze Shepard (who also happens to be the grandson of the late Sen. John Sparkman); political consultant Steve Raby, a longtime chief-of-staff to Sen. Howell Heflin (the guy who succeeded Sparkman); attorney and former Air Force JAG officer Mitchell Howie; and physicist David Maker. The race is largely between Shepard and Raby, who have hit each other with negative TV ads in recent weeks: Shepard has attacked Raby for being a “lobbyist,” while Raby fired back that Shepard mismanaged the U.S. Space & Rocket Center (home of Space Camp) during his tenure as a commissioner overseeing the center. Though Shepard leads in the money department, he’s mostly been self-financed. Meanwhile, Raby has secured a good bit of establishment backing, including an endorsement from former Rep. Ronnie Flippo, who held this seat from 1977 to 1991. An internal poll for Shepard had him up 20-14 over Raby, but with 58% undecided. A runoff seems likely here. (D)
    • AL-05 (R): Democrats everywhere will be watching this race closely to see if turncoat Rep. Parker Griffith gets teabagged to death in the wake of his party switch. He faces two rivals in the primary: Madison County Commissioner Mo Brooks and businessman Les Phillip. Though Phillip has raised considerably more money than Brooks, his burn rate marks him as a client/victim of BMW Direct. Consequently, most of the “true conservatives” who are unhappy with Griffith’s attempt to bogart their nomination have rallied around Brooks, who has even been the target of a Griffith attack ad – not something you usually see from an incumbent. There’s a good chance we’ll see a runoff here between these two. (D)
    • AL-06 (R): Spencer Bachus isn’t what you’d normally think of as vulnerable; he’s a conservative Republican in one of the reddest districts in the nation, in Birmingham’s suburbs. However, establishment GOPers like Bachus have reason to worry this year because of the GOP’s restive base. He in particular may have a target on his back as ranking House Republican on Financial Services, and as an architect of TARP. Bachus faces teabagger Stan Cooke; leaving nothing to chance, he’s already spent $680K on his primary. (C)
    • AL-07 (D): The Democratic primary in the race to replace Rep. Artur Davis is the only election which matters in this 72% Obama district. The three chief contenders are: state Rep. Earl Hilliard, Jr., the son of the guy Davis primaried out of this seat in 2002, Earl Hilliard, Sr.; Jefferson County Commissioner Shelia Smoot; and securities lawyer Terri Sewell. Hilliard and Smoot until recently had the edge in name recognition, but only Sewell, who began as an unknown, has had the money to air TV ads. While early internal polling showed this to be a race between Hilliard and Smoot, Sewell’s spending has almost certainly had an impact, and her own poll had the race a three-way tie a couple of weeks ago. A runoff seems almost certain here. (D)


    • MS-01 (R): For a while there, it looked like former FOX News talking head Angela McGlowan posed a threat to the NRCC’s favorite candidate in the race against twice-elected Dem Rep. Travis Childers, Tupelo-area state Sen. Alan Nunnelee. But her campaign has fizzled, bringing in only $85,000 for the primary compared to nearly $650,000 for Nunnelee. However, a Democratic 527 called “Citizens for Security and Strength” recently entered the fray, spending money on mail and robocalls against Nunnelee in the hopes of aiding Henry Ross, the teabagging former mayor of Eupora. Ross hasn’t raised much money either (just $127K), but it’ll be interesting if his outsider message (and the Dem attacks) will stick.
    • MS-04 (R): In a year like this, you’ve gotta keep an eye on old dogs in deep red districts like this one. Republicans have mostly nominated driftwood against Democrat Gene Taylor in the past decade despite his district’s comically insane R+20 Cook PVI. However, it looks like Taylor will have to actually exert himself this year, as Republicans have fielded a bona fide elected official, state Rep. Steven Palazzo, to run against him. Palazzo will first have to get past businessman Joe Tegerdine, though, and the race has already gotten a bit testy, with Palazzo charging that Tegerdine works for a Chinese corporation, and Tegerdine jabbing Palazzo for being too scared and/or lazy to show up to any debates.

    New Mexico:

    • NM-Gov (R): The Republican field in New Mexico was left in a sort of second-tier disarray when ex-Rep. Heather Wilson decided to pass on the race. Polling shows the two main contestants here to be Susana Martinez — the Dona Ana County DA, who despite a Sarah Palin endorsement is polling competitively with certain Dem nomineee Lt. Gov. Diane Denish — and Allen Weh, the former state party chair and bit player in the US Attorneys firing scandal, who’s financing his run mostly out of pocket. Pete Domenici Jr. had been expected to be competitive but foundered after offering no rationale for his campaign other than his lineage. Janice Arnold-Jones and Doug Turner round out the field. (C)