SSP Daily Digest: 2/28

AZ-Sen: Maybe, just maybe, this will be the last time we’ll hear ridiculous speculation about, Joe Arpaio, the thug sheriff of Maricopa County, running for higher office. The 78-year-old Arpaio said he won’t seek Arizona’s open senate seat, following his announcement a few weeks ago that he won’t seek re-election as sheriff, either. I’m wondering if the two developments are not unrelated – Arpaio can silence the senate gossip because he no longer needs to use it to raise money for his next local race. Anyhow, I’ll be glad to be done with this guy. UPDATE: My mistake. I misread a line in the link and thought Arpaio was finally retiring, too – but only Kyl is, unfortunately. Still, Arpaio did say that he will not seek Kyl’s seat.

In other AZ news, what if you threw a teabagger convention and the Republican senate candidate didn’t come? Jeff Flake was a no-show at the Tea Party Patriots’ confab in Phoenix this past weekend, and the ‘baggers seem happy he stayed away. Unlike, say, Maine’s Olympia Snowe, Flake doesn’t appear to be interested in making nice with the nutters. I’m convinced that a more suitable (to the movement conservatives) candidate will emerge.

FL-Sen, FL-13: Not quite sure what to make of this – John Boehner was just down in Sarasota, FL, headlining a high-dollar fundraiser for a guy who hardly needs the money, super-rich car dealer Vern Buchanan. Is this Boehner trying to convince Buchanan to seek re-election to the House and avoid a throw-down with fellow Rep. Connie Mack? Or just the Speaker earning chits while playing a few rounds of golf during a Congressional recess?

HI-Sen: This piece on the Hawaii senate race is worth reading in full. The nominal hook here is Sen. Dan Inouye’s comments that, as Chair of the Appropriations Cmte. (and President Pro Tem of the senate), he won’t have as much time to raise money for his old buddy Dan Akaka, who is facing re-election next year. But there are a whole host of other questions implicated here: Is this just Inouye trying to kick Akaka’s ass into gear? (Akaka only has $66K on hand and faced a serious primary challenge from Rep. Ed Case in 2006.) Will Akaka (88 yo in 2012) actually even run again? Is former Gov. Linda Lingle going to run? If Akaka steps aside, who might take his place on the Dem side? Again, click the link to see the state of play.

ME-Sen, ME-Gov: Eliot Cutler, the independent candidate for governor last year who came in just a couple of points behind the winner (Republican Paul LePage), says he is “unlikely” to challenge Sen. Olympia Snowe, proclaiming he has “no desire to live in Washington.” He also says he isn’t ruling out another gubernatorial bid in 2014. Also, one possible Dem candidate, former AG Janet Mills, just joined a law firm, suggesting she probably isn’t interested in a senate race. (Mills became the first woman AG of Maine in 2009, but because the position is selected by the legislature, she was replaced by a Republican after the GOP swept into power last fall. NB: This is how you avoid Kelly Ayottes.)

MI-Sen, MI-15: Rob Steele, last seen losing to Rep. John Dingell by 17 points in 2010, says he’s considering a challenge to Sen. Debbie Stabenow (who lacks any real high-profile opposition at the moment). Steele also says he doesn’t think he’ll run again Dingell again, whose district might get re-drawn to still include heavily blue Ann Arbor.

MO-Sen, MO-02: I thought Rep. Todd Akin had definitively said “no” to a senate bid, but in response to some renewed chatter about a possible run, he would only say: “Some people want to draft me for Senate but you know engineers. It’s just one thing at a time.” You know engineers! Anyhow, if there’s a chance Akin might get in, this could help explain former state GOP chair Ann Wagner’s recent remarks that she might run for MO-02. (Wagner, of course, is also in the mix for the senate race.)

RI-Sen: State GOP chair Gio Cicione says he won’t take on Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, citing (like Cranston Mayor Matt Fung before him) the high cost of a race. These guys think a Rhode Island senate race would be expensive? They ought to check things out a state or two to the west. Anyhow, Dave Catanese caught up with former Providence mayor (and well-known felon) Buddy Cianci, whose name surfaced in PPP’s most recent poll of the race. Cianci hasn’t completely ruled out a run, but says it’s not “realistic.” Also of note, PPP has a report card out on Rhode Island politicians’ job approval ratings.

TX-Sen: Former Dallas mayor Tom Leppert, who resigned just a few days ago, made it official: He’s running for senate.

VA-Sen: The already-painful Tim Kaine watch – is it a pimple or a boil? – will soon be over: the DNC chair promises he’ll make a decision in a week, according to the AP’s Charles Babbington. (I predict “gummy bear.”) On the other side of the equation, ultra-far-right insano-Republican, state Delegate Bob Marshall, says he’s considering another run. Marshall almost stole the GOP nomination for VA-Sen in 2008 from the super-sad Jim Gilmore, but that near-upset took place at a Republican convention – this time, the party’s nominee will be selected in a primary.

MO-Gov: Republican Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder says he’ll make an announcement “this spring,” and if it’s anything other than, “I’m running for governor,” I think people will be shocked. Anyhow, mark your calendars – this means Kinder might open his trap again any time between March 20th and June 21st!

NC-Gov: Since North Carolina is their home state, it looks like PPP will be testing NC-Gov just about every month. Incumbent Dem Bev Perdue trails almost-certain opponent Pat McCrory 49-37. (Last month it was 47-40.)

CA-36: 2010 and 2006 primary candidate Marcy Winograd announced she’s entering the special election for departing Rep. Jane Harman’s seat. The CW says Winograd is likeliest to hurt SoS Debra Bowen, but I’m not really sure she’s capable of making any material difference in this race.

CT-05: Former one-term state House Rep. Elizabeth Esty announced she’s running for Chris Murphy’s now-open house seat. Esty (not to be confused with the DIY craft-selling website) narrowly lost a rematch in 2010 after narrowly winning a traditionally Republican district in 2008.

NJ-06: Teabagger Anna Little, who won an upset primary victory in 2008 but lost to Rep. Frank Pallone by 11 points in the general election, says she’s back for a rematch. The woman Little beat for the GOP nomination last year, richie rich Diane Gooch, is also weighing another bid.

NM-01: Dem state Sen. Eric Griego says he’d “seriously consider” running for Rep. Martin Heinrich’s seat if Heinrich makes the jump to the open-seat senate race.

NY-26: Well, that explains that. In other news, Conservative Party chair Mike Long seems to be tipping his hand that his party will in fact support GOP nominee Jane Corwin.

MO-SoS: MO SoS Robin Carnahan says she’s running for re-election to her current post. Republican state Sen. Bill Stouffer, who lost a primary last year to Vicki Hartzler (who went on to beat Ike Skelton in the general), also says he’ll run for the post.

Census: Our friends across the pond in England and Wales will take their census this year. What makes this interesting is that for the first time, Britons will be able to submit their census forms online.

Special Elections: Johnny Longtorso has the goods on tomorrow night’s special elections:

After the excitement of last week, this week is a bit of a letdown. There are three seats up: Florida’s SD-33, formerly held by Frederica Wilson, is merely a formality, with the Democrat likely going to win 80-20 or so. There’s also a formerly Dem-held Senate seat in Mississippi, SD-12; despite no party ID being on the ballot, I’m pretty confident in guessing all three candidates running are Dems (it’s along the Mississippi River, so in heavily-Democratic territory). And in Maine, HD-11, an extremely Republican seat, is up. It would be helpful if Dems picked this one up, as the Republicans only have a slim majority in the House, but this was a seat that went 3-1 for the incumbent in 2010. There was apparently a split among Republicans, so there’s a Republican running a write-in campaign, but it would still be one hell of a long shot.

SSP Daily Digest: 3/17 (Morning Edition)

  • AR-Sen: As Reid Wilson says, here’s something you don’t see every day – at least, not in a Dem primary. Blanche Lincoln is attacking the labor unions who are supporting her opponent, Bill Halter. Lincoln is also doing her best to warm the hearts of the faithful by taking John Boehner’s side in the latest kerfuffle over House procedural tactics with regard to healthcare reform.
  • CO-Sen: Dem Sen. Michael Bennet has his first TV ad up, a $300K buy in Denver and Colorado Springs. Greg Giroux suggests that the timing is deliberate, since Bennet will be looking to blunt any possible momentum Romanoff might have received coming out of last night’s precinct caucuses.
  • FL-Sen: All the cool kids have already done it, which means anyone getting on the Marco Rubio bandwagon at this late date is just a fair-weather fan. Still, GOP Rep. Tom Price is chair of the Republican Study Committee, which is the Borg collective mothership of right-wing crazy, so this gives Rubio the Good Wingnut Seal of Approval™. Resistance is futile.
  • MA-Sen: That didn’t take long – newly-minted GOP Sen. Scott Brown will be hosting his first inside-the-beltway fundraiser, at $1000 a head. Of course, it’ll be at the offices of lobbying firm Duane Morris. My advice to Scott Brown is to hold lots and lots of events with lobbyists. Also, become the anti-healthcare frontman for your party. Thanks for helping out with that, Mitch McConnell!
  • NV-Sen: Memo to reporters: Please include information about the size of ad buys (especially for attack ads) when you’re writing them up. There are too many tiny buys made solely for the purpose of spinning the media. We the people need to know if we’re being spun, too.
  • NY-Sen-B: Republican ex-Rep. Joe DioGuardi officially offered himself up as a sacrificial lamb entered the race to take on Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand yesterday.
  • PA-Sen: Arlen Specter snagged another valuable endorsement yesterday, this time from the 191,000-strong Pennsylvania State Education Association. (JL)
  • WI-Sen: A source close to Tommy Thompson’s jowls says that the former governor is “50-50” on whether he will play Droopy Dog in the upcoming remake.
  • SC-Gov: It’s payback time – Willard Mitt Romney is endorsing Mark Sanford protégé and state Rep. Nikki Haley for governor. Haley, as you’ve probably gathered, had endorsed Mittens in 2008 for the key SC primary. Other presidential wannabes have also returned the favor to their respective buddies; Reid Wilson has the full scorecard.
  • AZ-08: GOPer Jonathan Paton, who recently resigned from the state Senate to challenge Rep. Gabby Giffords, was added to the NRCC’s Young Guns program. Three other Republicans are seeking their party’s nod, including one candidate already on the Young Guns list, Marine Corps vet Jesse Kelly. Paton is almost certainly the establishment favorite, though.
  • LA-02: It’s hard to know what to make of the GOP’s attitude toward Joe Cao’s seat. On the one hand, they let him get mixed up with the sketchmeisters at BMW Direct. On the other, John Boehner just held a $500/person fundraiser for Cao last night on Capitol Hill. But then on the flipside, it looks like Cao will flip-flop and vote against healthcare this time, which will surely doom him in November. So why waste the money on him? Perhaps GOP bigs figure that buying Cao off will pay dividends when the party is able to point to unanimous opposition to the healthcare bill.
  • ND-AL: The campaign manager for former state House Majority Leader Rick Berg, a leading challenger to Earl Pomeroy, resigned yesterday, after misusing a state Republican Party email list and lying about it.
  • NY-13: Andy Stern wasn’t kidding. The SEIU is running a full-page ad in today’s Staten Island Advance urging Rep. Mike McMahon to vote in favor of healthcare reform. Greg Sargent has a copy of the full ad (PDF). This ad could presage a primary or third-party challenge should McMahon vote no, something Stern has already threatened.
  • SD-AL: Steve Hildebrand, a top Obama campaign official, says he’s considering a challenge to Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin in the Democratic primary, particularly if she votes against healthcare.
  • DNC: This is Not News. DNC chair Tim Kaine says that Organizing for America will help Dems who vote “yes” on healthcare reform… but of course doesn’t say that he’ll withhold help from Dems who vote “no.” I wouldn’t expect him to, hence why this is Not News.
  • Healthcare: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce absolutely, definitely, most assuredly is not not NOT concern trolling House Democrats on the upcoming healthcare vote. They have our best interests at heart, and spent money on polling because they genuinely care about us.
  • Much more interesting poll numbers on healthcare can be found here. It turns out that the public was evenly divided on Medicare before it became law, too. Now, of course, the program is unassailable.

  • Kentucky: A bill to let independents vote in Democratic or Republican primaries died in the KY House.
  • WATN: I guess with Eric Massa stealing the limelight these days, Mark Foley feels emboldened to make his return to DC. He’ll be a guest at one of those unduly cozy black-tie beltway affairs, the Radio and TV Correspondents’ Dinner.
  • SSP: I’m not done begging. We’re at 1,386 Twitter followers. SO close to 1,400. Make it happen. Pretty please?
  • SSP Daily Digest: 3/9 (Morning Edition)

  • CA-Sen: Arianna Packard, granddaughter of Hewlett-Packard co-founder David Packard, is slamming Carly Fiorina for “almost destroying” HP. Packard, who had pushed for Fiorina’s ouster from the company in 2005, is supporting rival Chuck DeVore in the GOP primary. (P.S. Carlyfornia just officially filed to run.)
  • FL-Sen: Tom Jensen is such a tease:

    We are going to have absolutely brutal numbers out on Charlie Crist tomorrow.

    Here’s a little preview: among Republican primary voters 19% would like to see him as Governor a year from now, 14% want him in the Senate, and 56% want him out of elected office.

    If there is any path to his winning office in Florida again – and there may not be – it’s as something other than a Republican.

  • NC-Sen: Attorney Ken Lewis scored a pretty good endorsement in his uphill Dem primary against Elaine Marshall and Cal Cunningham: Rep. Mel Watt (NC-12) has given Lewis his backing. Watt is the second member of Congress to support Lewis; Rep. G. K. Butterfield, another CBC member, had previously endorsed.
  • ND-Sen: Former SoS candidate and businesswoman Kristin Hedger (D) is passing on a run to replace the retiring Byron Dorgan. Still, Dems do have a candidate in state Sen. Tracy Potter.
  • NV-Sen: Huzzah! Harry Reid has officially filed for re-election!
  • AL-05: This is bipartisanship you can believe in, my friends: Dems and conservatives alike, some 400 strong, protested John Boehner and Parker Griffith outside of a closed-door fundraiser the Minority Leader held in Huntsville for the newest, and least-popular, member of his caucus.
  • LA-02: CQ Politics sat down for an interview with state Rep. Juan LaFonta, who is aiming to take down GOP Rep. Joe Cao. (So is fellow state Rep. Cedric Richmond.)
  • PA-06: Doug Pike has proposed a “positive campaign agreement” to Manan Trivedi, his rival for the Dem nomination to take on erstwhile Rep. Jim Gerlach this fall. Trivedi hasn’t made a formal decision yet, but his manager said of Pike’s offer: “It certainly sounds like someone who’s afraid of his own record.”
  • SC-05: After Dem Rep. John Spratt’s anemic fourth quarter filing prompted renewed speculation that the veteran incumbent may be heading for the exits this year, he’s taking some positive steps towards a re-election bid. Spratt’s office says that the congressman “intends to run again” and will hold a fundraiser at DNC headquarters this week. (JL)
  • Census: Only one Representative voted against a non-binding resolution to promote participation in the Census last week… did you guess Ron Paul? You guessed right! Memo to U.S. Gov’t: Keep your nose out of my gold bullion stash! Be really curious what happens to this fucking weirdo in redistricting. In less wacky Census news, the Census Bureau started sending out advance notification letters to 120 million households today. Research shows that these letters boost response rates.
  • Polling: Jed Lewison has some great visualizations of exactly how stark Rasmussen’s “house effect” is.
  • Voting: This is a good bit of news (and shows you why having Dems in charge of Washington still matters, even if they can’t seem to get anything done in Congress): The Obama DoJ blocked one of the biggest voting machine makers, Electronic Systems & Software, from purchasing Premier Election Solutions (an arm of Diebold). Had the deal gone forward, ES&S would have controlled 70% of the voting machine market. Hooray for competition!
  • SSP Daily Digest: 3/5 (Morning Edition)

  • AR-Sen: SSP hero and perfect fuckup Bill Sali held yard sales to raise money for his flailing campaign. GOP senate hopeful Kim Hendren is doing him one better: He’s selling five of his black angus cows. Moo.
  • KY-Sen: Like rival Jack Conway, Dem Dan Mongiardo is making a small, made-for-media ad buy criticizing Jim Bunning’s fight against unemployment benefits, and specifically calls out teabaggers. Mongiardo being Mongiardo, though, his spokesbot can’t resist taking a douchey shot at Conway’s ad. Seems like sour grapes, since Conway’s team thought of the idea first.
  • NY-Gov: Headline for the times, from the Times: “Paterson Still Governor, for Now.” Also, Generalissimo Francisco Franco still dead. Only one of these statements is likely to remain true for much longer.
  • TX-Gov: The battle lines have been drawn, and it’ll be secessionista Rick Perry vs. former Houston Mayor Bill White. Rasmussen sees Perry leading 49-43, not much changed from the 47-41 he had it in late February. White has 54-34 favorables, while Perry is at 54-46. Though since Ras (contra every other pollster) likes to look at only “very favorable” and “very unfavorable” scores, it’s worth noting that Perry is at just 18-23 by that metric, while White is at 25-13. Whoops!
  • AL-05: Minority Leader John Boehner is bringing his orange perma-tan with him to Alabama to do a fundraiser for turncoat Parker Griffith. Griffith’s two teabaggy opponents are furious about this turn of events and trying to get some mileage out of casting Griffith as the establishment choice. With DC as toxic as it’s ever been, maybe that’ll work. Still, I think Griffith is most likely to be defeated if the uber-wingnuts unite around a single candidate (see IL-14).
  • FL-08: Dem Rep. Alan Grayson released a stunty poll of the Republican primary in his race… but included his own name – and he’s leading the pack. I’ve never heard of the pollster, Middleton Market Research, but their CEO is listed on LinkedIn as a “Senior Account Executive at To be determined.”
  • FL-17: Another candidate got into the race to replace Kendrick Meek today: North Miami City Commissioner Scott Galvin. Galvin is the first white candidate in this 58% African American district.
  • GA-09: GOP Rep. Nathan Deal now says that he’ll delay his resignation from the House until March 31st, so that he can vote against any healthcare legislation. This is probably a stunt to help Deal impress the Republican electorate, since he’s trailed badly in all polling for the GA-Gov GOP nomination. Deal doesn’t want to stay too much longer, though, since he’s just one step ahead of an Ethics Committee investigation.
  • MS-01: Ah, cat fud. FOX Newser Angela McGlowan, a GOP candidate vying to take on Travis Childers, won’t commit to backing the establishment favorite, state Sen. Alan Nunnelee if he should win the primary. This is exactly what the Republicans don’t want, of course, since a bitterly divided primary in 2008 helped hand this seat to Childers in the first place. It’s all the more remarkabe given how much effort the NRCC put into clearing the field for Nunnelee. I almost wonder if state Sen. Merle Flowers, who deferred to Nunnelee but did not endorse him, might be re-considering.
  • NY-29: Is this going to get worse before it gets better? The House Committee just launched an investigation into whatever it is Eric Massa is alleged to have done. Meanwhile, Massa is laying low – he’s missed several votes (including one on the jobs bill) since his announcement.
  • PA-12: Former Murtha aide Mark Critz says that he’s raised over $100,000 so far for his special election bid to replace his boss. Meanwhile, Critz’s opponent for the Democratic nomination, ex-Treasurer Barbara Hafer, is pre-emptively doing all she can to discredit the nomination process, as well as pressing for the release of Critz’s testimony to the House Ethics Committee. (J) On the Republican side, businessman Tim Burns has launched a teeny-weeny radio ad buy.
  • Netroots Nation: Thinking about heading to the progressive confab that is Netroots Nation? Well, MT Gov. Brian Schweitzer has already reserved a seat. He’ll be the keynote speaker on the convention’s opening night.
  • Redistricting: The National Democratic Redistricting Trust, a new group designed to support Dems in the inevitable legal battles over redistricting, has asked the FEC whether member of Congress can raise soft money to support the trust’s efforts.
  • SSP Daily Digest: 6/19

    FL-Sen: Here’s a pretty serious repudiation of Charlie Crist by the GOP party faithful. At a county party straw poll in Pasco County (Tampa exurbs, one county removed from Crist’s Pinellas County home), Marco Rubio beat Crist 73 to 9. Luckily for Crist, the primary electorate includes a much broader sample than the party’s diehard activist base who actually show up for meetings… but this shows just how badly things are for him with the base.

    IL-Sen: Bad news for AG Lisa Madigan, whose list of demands for a Senate race include an Obama endorsement, a cleared field, and no brown M&Ms at the catering table: Barack Obama announced that he wouldn’t be endorsing anyone in the Senate race. Good news for Roland Burris, on the other hand: a state prosecutor has decided that Burris won’t face perjury charges over his vague statements to the state legislature about his appointment to the Senate by disgraced former governor Rod Blagojevich.

    KY-Sen: SoS Trey Grayson has decided to start fundraising like a madman in the coming weeks, scheduling eight more events before the end of the fundraising quarter in June. Grayson opened his exploratory committee on May 6, so he has had only half-a-quarter in which to try to top Jim Bunning.

    MN-Sen: The FEC released two draft opinions that, if enacted by the full commission, will prevent Norm Coleman from tapping his campaign funds for his legal defense fees associated with his FBI investigation. (This doesn’t affect the costs of paying for the recount, which are paid in part by the Coleman Minnesota Recount Committee instead.)

    CA-Gov: Has anyone noticed that LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who everyone assumes is running for Governor, hasn’t taken any steps toward running for Governor? The folks at Calitics have noticed, and the fact that Villaraigosa (whose popularity in LA seems to be faltering) just took over the 2nd VP role for the US Conference of Mayors (which puts him on track to become the organization’s president in 2011) is another tea leaf that he won’t run. If he doesn’t run, that just leaves an all-Bay Area clash between old (Jerry Brown) and new (Gavin Newsom) for the Dem nod.

    MN-Gov: GOP state Rep. Paul Kohls from Minneapolis’s western exurbs has announced his candidacy for the Minnesota governor’s race. He joins former GOP state Rep. Bill Haas as official candidates, but at least a dozen more people seem intent on entering the race.

    FL-15: Rep. Bill Posey got nothing but scorn when he aligned himself with the most tinfoil elements of the GOP in introducing his birther legislation, but he’s just ratcheting up the crazy. Posey picked up four more co-sponsors (Culberson, Carter, Neugebauer, and Campbell). Also, while being interviewed on WorldNetDaily’s radio show about the bill, Posey outright accused Barack Obama of hiding something and, for good measure, tried launching a feud with Rachel Maddow.

    NM-01: Jon Barela, a former vice-chair of the New Mexico GOP and former head of the Albuquerque Hispano Chamber of Commerce, officially announced his candidacy against Rep. Martin Heinrich. He did so with the endorsement of 2008 candidate Sheriff Darren White. While it’s now a D+5 district, it’s almost half Latino, so Barela could make some noise if he gets some traction in the Latino community.

    OH-08: Speaker Minority leader John Boehner got a break: his would-be primary challenger, iconoclastic Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones, has opted not to get in the race. This frees Boehner up to spend more of summer of 2010 fundraising for other House candidates, or at least working on his tan.

    VA-05: Very little has been happening in VA-05 while everyone waits to see whether ex-Rep. Virgil Goode will try to get his old job back from Rep. Tom Perriello in this GOP-leaning district in rural Virginia. One GOPer isn’t waiting, though: Cordel Faulk is publicly considering the race. Faulk hasn’t held office, but he has an interesting job; he’s the spokesman for Charlottesville-based professor and pundit Larry Sabato.

    NY-St. Senate: With the New York State Senate collapsed into a 31-31 tie, turncoat Dem (and, for now, Senate president and thus acting Lt. Gov.) Pedro Espada Jr. has come up with a rather novel legal theory in the absence of any constitutional clarification: he gets two votes, one ordinary vote as Senator and one tie-breaker vote as LG. Of course, nobody else seems to think this, and other theories are popping up as to who might get a tie-breaking vote (Former LG and current Gov. David Paterson? Assembly speaker Sheldon Silver?) if the Senators can’t figure out how to break the deadlock themselves. Meanwhile, a likely primary challenger to Espada has already popped up: Haile Rivera, an activist and ally of city councilor Eric Gioia who had previously been planning his own city council run this year.

    SSP Daily Digest: 4/29

    NY-20: Scott Murphy gets sworn in today as the newest member of the House Democratic caucus. Congratulations! (D)

    PA-Sen: All of a sudden, the Pennsylvania GOP is beating a path to Jim Gerlach’s door to get him to consider jumping over to the Senate race, now that they’re stuck facing an Arlen Specter vs. Pat Toomey wipeout in the general election. (Gerlach has been associated with the open governor’s race, but is still in the exploratory stage.) Gerlach says “Don’t rule anything out.” The rather moderate and Philly-burbs-based Gerlach might face the same weaknesses in a closed primary against Toomey that Specter did, though (although Gerlach hasn’t been cultivating conservative ill-will for decades like Specter).

    OK-Gov: Stuart Rothenberg reports that ex-Rep. J.C. Watts is getting close to a decision on whether to run for the governor’s seat in Oklahoma, and that he’s likely to get in. This would pit him in a battle royale with retiring Rep. (and former Lt. Gov.) Mary Fallin for the GOP nod.

    CA-03: Here’s some proof that there’s a lot of blood in the water in the eight GOP-held House seats that Obama won in California: some pretty big sharks are sniffing out the races. Phil Angelides (the former treasurer, and loser of the 2006 governor’s race) is reportedly “taking a serious look” at a run against Dan Lungren in the Dem-trending R+6 district in the Sacramento suburbs.

    OH-08: Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones, widely known as an anti-immigration activist, may challenge House GOP leader John Boehner in a primary in this R+14 district. (D)

    CA-44: No surprise here, but Bill Hedrick, who held Rep. Ken Calvert to 51-49 in this R+6 Inland Empire seat last year, officially announced he’s back for another try. The Corona/Norco School Board chair can’t expect another under-the-radar surprise attack, but can expect a lot of DCCC help this time.

    RNC: Although he seems to have publicly escaped the NY-20 loss without calls for his head, the behind-the-scenes attempts to take down or at least circumvent Michael Steele continue. Some RNC members are proposing a new rule that would place new restrictions and oversight on Steele’s power of the purse-strings. (Seems like they might get better results if they sought better restrictions and oversight on Steele’s mouth instead.)

    Gay Marriage: I’m pleasantly surprised how fast gay marriage is gaining widespread acceptance and turning into a winning issue for us: a CBS/NYT poll finds 42% support nationwide for legalized gay marriage, with another 25% supporting civil unions and only 28% opposed to any legal recognition. 57% of those under age 40 support gay marriage.

    Census: Here’s another example of how there’s no such thing as a neutral and apolitical census: there’s a debate raging over the issue of where to count persons who are in prison. While the Census Bureau currently plans to continue its policy in 2010 of counting prisoners where they reside (often in rural counties where a sizable percentage of the population is incarcerated), civil rights groups and even NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg support counting them at their last known address… which would mean more funds, and a redistricting advantage, for major cities.

    History: For the history fans among us, the Senate’s website has profiles of all 20 previous Senate party-switchers. (Here’s a chapter from US History I’d completely forgotten about: more than one-third of these switches were western-state senators in the 1890s during the free silver movement.)

    ROMP: Retain Our Minority

    The Republicans in the House have a clever acronym for their analogue to the DCCC’s Red to Blue program: ROMP (Regain Our Majority Program). I suspect the long line of Republican recruits challenging Democratic incumbents and holding out their tin cups to the NRCC are looking at the newest list of ROMP recipients and saying “Man, that is flagrant false advertising!”

    Here’s the newest list of fresh-faced, eager young recruits, ready to bring their grassroots-powered outsider energy to picking off do-nothing Democrats standing in the way of conservative progress:

    Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, WV-02

    Rep. Phil English, PA-03

    Chris Hackett, PA-10

    Rep. Tom Feeney, FL-24

    Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart, FL-21

    Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, FL-25

    Steve Stivers, OH-16

    Pete Olson, TX-22

    Add that on top of the previous list of ROMP recipients from April:

    Rep. Michelle Bachmann, MN-06

    Rep. Vito Fossella, NY-13

    Rep. Sam Graves, MO-06

    Rep. Ric Keller, FL-08

    Anne Northup, KY-03

    Erik Paulsen, MN-03

    Rep. Bill Sali, ID-01

    Rep. Jean Schmidt, OH-02

    Rep. Tim Walberg, MI-07

    Darren White, NM-01

    So, um… let’s get this straight. The Republican route to regaining the majority is by spending a lot of money to defend a 14-year incumbent against a woman who runs an arboretum?

    The newest ROMP installment, out of 8 recipients, features 2 seats where the Republicans are trying to defeat a Democrat, plus one where they’re trying to hold an open seat. Add in the previous ROMP installment, which, out of 10 recipients, targets one Democratic seat for pick-up (plus 2 open seats for holds). So, if they add 1.5 more new Democratic targets every three months until the election, they’ll have a full slate of ROMP recipients for picking up those 19 seats they need in order to Regain Their Majority in… uh, let’s break out the calculator here… early 2011?

    Republicans’ New Motto for 2008

    According to House Minority Leader John Boehner, the Republicans will begin by Wednesday unveiling a new campaign slogan for the 2008 election, running on the theme “Change You Deserve”.

    Are you kidding me? Did Americans deserve 5000 soldiers dead in Iraq? Did they deserve trillions of dollars in debt? Did they deserve a recession, high gas prices, a declining environment, and 8 years of rancid corruption?

    And to top that off, Boehner said this:

    With both Democratic contenders for the presidency stressing messages of change, Boehner, R-Ohio, has challenged his members to help get the public to view the GOP as a vehicle for new ideas.

    But Boehner spokesman Michael Steel admitted it is a work in progress. “It’s a goal that we can be viewed as agents of change,” he said.

    What have these guys been smoking?  

    Tom Cole Deathwatch Thread, No. 4

    Remember when John Boehner hollered at his fellow caucus-members to get off their “dead asses“? It looks like that necrotic Republican ass-flesh is staying firmly put:

    Senior Republicans have ignored the impassioned plea of House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) that they help the party raise more money for the November election.

    While the ranking Republicans of several committees have given tens of thousands of dollars to the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), others have given nothing or very little.  

    The appeal eventually moved Rep. Jim McCrery (La.), the senior Republican on the Ways and Means Committee. He gave $100,000 to the NRCC from his personal campaign account on the last day of March. He gave $500,000 in 2007.

    But other ranking Republicans have not given anything since Boehner’s pep talk.

    McCrery, of course, is retiring, so he doesn’t even need the money.

    Anyhow, no matter that the exhortation came from Boehner, Tom Cole will almost inevitably take the blame for the NRCC’s shoddy performance, as well he should. But could misfortune eventually redound to Boehner as well? May the gods of schadenfreude smile upon us!

    GOP’s answer to our Red to Blue, BlueMajority, Obamajority, etc…

    Well, it looks like Boehner is starting to take matters into his own hands and rectify some of Tom Cole’s incompetence.

    More after the fold…

    Full article from cq politics:…

    It’s not uncommon for congressional leaders to steer fundraising assistance to party candidates who are in difficult races and in need of extra campaign cash. One such effort is the House Republicans’ “ROMP,” an acronym for Regain Our Majority Program, which has released its latest list of Republican candidates who will benefit from additional aid because they are politically vulnerable and/or have been targeted by the Democrats for defeat.

    “ROMP 2008,” presently overseen by the political operation of House Minority Leader John A. Boehner of Ohio, was recently established in papers filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC). These records identify the 10 newest recipients of the program’s assistance.

    These candidates make up the first batch of ROMP candidates named this year, and the third since the current election cycle began in the 2007-08 cycle. The new recipients’ election contests are outlined below.

    7/10 of the candidates were incumbents we ousted in the last election cycle.

    • Michele Bachmann , Minnesota’s 6th District (North and east Twin Cities suburbs; St. Cloud). Bachmann was first elected in 2006 to succeed Republican Mark Kennedy, who lost his campaign for the U.S. Senate to Democrat Amy Klobuchar . The Democratic nominee for November’s election will be either Bob Olson, a lawyer, or Elwyn Tinklenberg, a former state transportation commissioner. The latter candidate initially campaigned for the Democratic nomination in 2006 but later deferred to Patty Wetterling, a child safety advocate who lost to Bachmann after also losing as the Democratic nominee against Kennedy in 2004.

    • Vito J. Fossella , New York’s 13th (Staten Island; part of southwest Brooklyn). Fossella is the only House Republican who represents part of New York City. He saw his re-election percentage drop from 70 percent in 2002 to 59 percent in 2004, and then again to 57 percent in 2006 even though Democratic challenger Steve Harrison didn’t raise much money. Harrison, a lawyer, is seeking a rematch, though he faces a well-funded primary opponent in New York City Councilman Domenic Recchia.

    • Sam Graves , Missouri’s 6th (Northwest – St. Joseph, part of Kansas City). Graves’ campaign for a fifth term may well be the toughest of his career. His Democratic opponent, former Kansas City mayor Kay Barnes, is well-known and well-funded.

    • Ric Keller , Florida’s 8th (Central – most of Orlando). Keller won a fourth term in 2006 by a 7 percentage-point margin over Democrat Charlie Stuart, a marketing executive who is one of several Democrats seeking the 2008 nomination.

    • Anne M. Northup, Kentucky’s 3rd (Louisville Metro). Northup, who served in the House from 1997 through 2006, is challenging Democratic freshman Yarmuth, who unseated her by a margin of less than 3 percentage points. Northup hadn’t planned a bid to reclaim her seat this year, but she jumped in after the Republican she had been backing, lawyer Erwin Roberts, dropped out of the race to fulfill his military obligations. Northup sought a quick political comeback last year but lost a primary challenge to then-Gov. Ernie Fletcher, who subsequently lost the general election to Democrat Steve Beshear.

    • Erik Paulsen, Minnesota’s 3rd (Hennepin County suburbs – Bloomington, Brooklyn Park, Plymouth). Paulsen, a state representative, is the presumed Republican nominee in this suburban Minneapolis district, which retiring Republican Jim Ramstad is giving up after nine terms. The Democratic nominee will either be state Sen. Terri Bonoff or Ashwin Madia, a lawyer and Iraq War veteran.

    • Bill Sali , Idaho’s 1st (West – Nampa, Panhandle, part of Boise). The strong Republican leanings of this district are indisputable, as President Bush took 68 percent of the vote there in his 2004 election. But Sali underperformed in his 2006 election for the then-open 1st District seat, in which he defeated Democrat Larry Grant by the underwhelming vote of 50 percent to 45 percent. Grant is seeking the 2008 Democratic nomination along with Walt Minnick, a businessman who lost as the party’s losing Senate nominee against Republican Larry E. Craig in 1996. Sali is opposed in the May 27 Republican primary election by Matt Salisbury, an Iraq War veteran.

    • Jean Schmidt , Ohio’s 2nd (Eastern Cincinnati and suburbs; Portsmouth). Schmidt, who is seeking a second full term in a district that usually exhibits strong Republican leanings, faces a rematch of her exceptionally close 2006 race against Democratic physician Victoria Wulsin. Schmidt won that contest by a margin of about 1 percentage point. In the primary elections that took place March 4, Schmidt was renominated with 57 percent of the Republican vote and Wulsin won with 58 percent on the Democratic side.

    • Tim Walberg , Michigan’s 7th (South central – Battle Creek, Jackson). Walberg, a freshman, was elected in 2006 over Democrat Sharon Renier, a little-known and underfunded Democrat who lost by just 4 percentage points. The unexpectedly close outcome was influenced by a bitter Republican primary fight in which the very conservative Walberg unseated one-term GOP moderate Joe Schwarz. Renier is running again this year, though Democratic officials are rallying behind state Sen. Mark Schauer, a better-known and better-funded candidate.

    • Darren White, New Mexico’s 1st (Central – Albuquerque). White is the sheriff of Bernalillo County, which includes Albuquerque and which is the population base of a politically competitive district that Republican Heather A. Wilson left open to pursue a U.S. Senate bid. White is opposed in the June 3 primary by state Sen. Joseph Carraro. The four Democratic primary candidates are Michelle Grisham, a former state health secretary; Martin Heinrich, a former Albuquerque councilman; Robert L. Pidcock, a lawyer; and Rebecca Vigil-Giron, a former New Mexico Secretary of State.