SSP Daily Digest: 2/14

AZ-Sen, AZ-06: Rep. Jeff Flake, who announced his bid today, had to wait only a few hours before getting a valuable (for the GOP primary, at least) endorsement from the Club for Growth; he’s a natural fit for them, given his draconian budgetary views and laissez-faire social views. Even before Flake had announced, his potentially strongest rival for the GOP nod, ex-Rep. John Shadegg had announced that he wasn’t going to run. Shadegg’s AZ-03 replacement, Rep. Ben Quayle confirmed that he won’t be running either. The same goes for another Republican freshman, Rep. David Schweikert (that article also helpfully points out that famous Arizona residents Meghan McCain and Bristol Palin, who’ve both accomplished so much in the social media sphere in their short lives, are both too young to run for Senate). Former NFL player Kurt Warner has also taken himself out of consideration.

Buried in a Roll Call article on the whip race to replace Jon Kyl are a few more interesting bits: Trent Franks is “not expected” to run, while state Senate president and prime mover behind SB 1070 Russell Pearce is “out,” but “plans to run” for AZ-06, being vacated by Flake. There’s not much to report on the Dem side today, but there are further reports that ex-Gov., and current DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano (who didn’t poll well against Kyl according to PPP a few weeks ago, although they didn’t test her against Flake) has been calling around to gauge her support.

CT-Sen: Ex-SoS Susan Bysiewicz rolled out her own long list of endorsements from local Dems, in response to a list unveiled several weeks ago by primary rival Chris Murphy. While Murphy’s list was heavy on the 5th District, naturally, Bysiewicz’s list is heavy on the 2nd District (which is interesting, as it may be an indication that Rep. Joe Courtney has decided against running… or it may be a preventative shot across Courtney’s bow). Bysiewicz is from Middletown, which is in the 2nd although kind of on its periphery. In terms of the Republican field, there was a straw poll taken of state Tea Party Patriots members this weekend. Given the sample size of 54 and the self-selecting nature of the nuttiest of the nuttiest, it’s barely worth mentioning, but they found Linda McMahon only barely winning with 15 votes, compared to Peter Schiff’s 14. Rob Simmons and Tom Foley each got 6, with state Sen. Scott Frantz at 5 and Danbury mayor Mark Boughton at 4.

FL-Sen, FL-13: Like I’ve said before, don’t count out Republican Rep. Vern Buchanan for the Senate; the owner of numerous car dealerships is sitting on a big campaign account, has wealthy friends, and can self-fund too. And now he’s publicly saying he’s “not ruling it out.”

MO-Sen: Over the weekend in Joplin was the first public joint appearance between the two announced GOP candidates so far, Sarah Steelman and Ed Martin. While they superficially only attacked Claire McCaskill, Martin sneaked in some anti-Steelman attacks by implication, saying that he’ll support “tort reform every time” and “take on the public sector unions.” (While Steelman has the support of the DC-based tea party astroturfers, the local teabaggers are skeptical of her insufficient purity on those two issues.)

NV-Sen: Given behavior lately that might charitably be described as “erratic,” I’ve pretty much given up on trying to figure out Sharron Angle’s plans (her travel schedule seems to take her mostly to early presidential states these days, in case you had any doubts about the scope of her delusions of grandeur). But now she’s talking about Nevada Senate again, saying that she’d like to talk to John Ensign before deciding whether or not to challenge him in the primary.

NY-Sen: As she becomes better-known to New Yorkers, Kirsten Gillibrand’s numbers keep going up. Siena’s newest poll finds her at 57/18 favorables, with a 52% re-elect (including even a plurality among Republicans). Liz Benjamin also notes that two Republican 2010 Gillibrand challengers – Joe DioGuardi (whom Gillibrand flatted) and David Malpass (whom DioGuardi beat in the GOP primary) – are both still considering the race. Ex-LG “Batshit Besty” McCaughey (who once ran for governor on the Liberal Party line) was also down in DC this past weekend, once again relishing her role as healthcare fabricator-in-chief at the loonier-than-thou CPAC conference – and also possibly trying to raise her profile for a potential run (something we noted a couple of weeks ago). Bring it on!

OH-Sen: Newly elected state Treasurer Josh Mandel got some buzz at some point last month, and here’s some more for him: the Plain Dealer, in a longer piece wondering why the Republican field (in what could be a pickup opportunity with the right candidate) isn’t taking shape at all, points to him as a possible alternative in the face of disinterest from the A-list. Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor seems to be working on building her portfolio (taking over the state Dept. of Insurance), suggesting a plate too full for a Senate bid, while Reps. Jim Jordan and Steve LaTourette are enjoying their newfound majority. Mandel seems to have the best fundraising chops of anyone beyond that initial top tier.

VA-Sen, VA-01: Here’s one more Republican name to add to the list in Virginia, and it’s kind of an unexpected one, in that usually low-profile guys with safe red districts in the House tend to stay where they are. The 1st’s Rob Wittman is saying he’s “considering” the race, along with the requisite “never say never.”

WI-Gov: The AFL-CIO is already weighing into Wisconsin, even though the next gubernatorial election is three and three-quarters years away. In response to Scott Walker’s ham-fisted attempt to limit collective bargaining rights for most state employees, the union is taking to the airwaves with TV spots. Obviously, the target isn’t the next election but swinging public opinion against the members of the state legislature, who’ll have the final say on the matter. (As a more general question, though, I’ve gotta wonder if we’ll see much more of this type of issue advertising in off-years in the future, as we move more and more into “permanent campaign” mode and the ground needs to be seeded for the on-years.)

WV-Gov: With Saturday’s filing deadline come and gone, we have an official list of all the candidates in the gubernatorial special election, and with 14 names total, it’s a doozy. Not much in the way of surprises, though; the only person expected to run who, in the end, didn’t seems to be Dem state Sen. Brooks McCabe. For the Democrats, it’s acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, state Sen. Jeff Kessler, SoS Natalie Tennant, state Treasurer John Perdue, state House speaker Rick Thompson, and some dude Arne Moltis. For the Republicans, it’s ex-SoS Betty Ireland, Putnam Co.  Prosecutor Mark Sorsaia, state Sen. Clark Barnes, state Del. Mitch Carmichael, ex-state Del. Larry Faircloth, and some dudes Bill Maloney, Cliff Ellis, and Ralph William Clark.  National Journal’s Sean Sullivan makes a good observation that in fields this crowded and in a state without runoffs, ballot position (which studies have shown can add 1-3% to a candidate’s vote) may actually wind up making the difference here. The positions were determined by random draw; for the Dems, Tomblin is at the top while co-frontrunner Tennant is at the bottom. For the GOP, Ireland is 7 out of 8, while Maloney is listed first.

CA-36: LA city councilor Janice Hahn keeps rolling out more endorsements in her attempt to get an early lock-down on the Dem nomination in the special election. Three big ones: two very relevant to California (new Assembly speaker John Perez, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein), one, um, not so much (Dick Gephardt).

NY-10: Gov. Andrew Cuomo just tapped Democratic Assemblyman Darryl Towns to be the state’s new Homes and Community Renewal agency. Ordinarily, a special election in the remarkably-blue AD-54 would be too far in the weeds even for us, but you may recognize his name: he’s the son of long-time Rep. Ed Towns. The 76-year-old Towns is routinely viewed as a candidate for retirement (and his son a likely replacement), so this move is a puzzle: is it a sign that the elder Towns isn’t going anywhere (perhaps permanently fastened to his House seat by all the moss growing there), or perhaps a way for the younger Towns to burnish his credentials a bit and differentiate him a bit from his somnolent dad?

NY-26: One more name to strike off the Republican list in the 26th (not that I’d known he’d been on the list): Assemblyman Dan Burling said he wouldn’t run, and threw his support behind fellow Assembly member Jane Corwin for the nomination.

Redistricting: This local news piece on redistricting in Indiana exposes the most mind-numbing and tedious part of the process, one that gets easily overlooked: the process of turning census data into precinct data, seeing as how precincts exist in their own little world apart from blocks and tracts. Even though Indiana was one of the earliest to receive their data, this data-cleaning process is expected to take several weeks before the legislature can even begin tackling the numbers. Also, Indiana is one of the states that will allow citizens to get their hands on the data to try making their own maps… but because of licensing issues of some sort, they won’t be making the data available online. If you’re in-state, you can drop into one of a number of stations they’ll be setting up around the state where you can tinker with the data in person, though.

Site news: DavidNYC here. I’m back from my vacation and I’ve had the chance to read through all of the comments (every last one) in the post where I announced our impending move to Daily Kos. While many of my replies are “thank yous” for the very kind expressions of support you offered, I also did my best to answer specific questions where I could. Rest assured that this won’t be the last I’ll have to say on the subject before we make the changeover. I’ll also take this opportunity to encourage you to create an account over at Daily Kos if you don’t have one already, and to play around with the new site (DK4 just launched this past weeked). (D)

SSP Daily Digest: 10/18 (Morning Edition)

  • CO-Sen: In a debate on Meet the Press with Sen. Michael Bennet, GOPer Ken Buck said he thinks that being gay is a choice – and then followed up by saying, “I think that birth has an influence over it, like alcoholism and some other things, but I think that basically you have a choice.”
  • NH-Sen: This is not so helpful: Paul Hodes’s former pollster, Mountain West Research, just agreed to pay New Hampshire a $20K fine for failing to comply with state law regarding a negative message-testing poll they did on behalf of Hodes this past summer. The AP calls it “push polling,” but it quite clearly wasn’t, given the small number of respondents involved, and also the timing (push polling is something you do to mass numbers of people right before election day). It seems like Mountain West’s sin was failing to identify the poll’s sponsor (i.e., Hodes) on their calls.
  • PA-Sen: CQ says that the DSCC has spent $4.7 million in Pennsylvania to date (not include the $1.2 million they shelled out to help Arlen Specter), and Dems expect to spend $9 million before all is said and done, making it the biggest commitment in the nation. Thanks to independent groups, the NRSC has only spent about $600K here so far.
  • WV-Sen: This has already come up on the campaign trail (Joe Manchin’s mentioned it in ads, for instance), but now it’s official: John Raese’s wife has been formally purged from the West Virginia voting rolls – because she’s also registered to vote in Florida, where she lives. (Ooh! Voter fraud!) And while we’re on the topic, Raese probably wishes that Rush Limbaugh would shut his big fat mouth. This is how Big Pharma described the senate candidate while endorsing him on his show:
  • “Full disclosure, I happen to know John Raese. He is a part-time resident here in Palm Beach and he has a locker right across the, right across the bench from me at a prominent local club. I’ve never played golf with him, but I’ve met him.”

    As the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Daniel Malloy says, “The image of Raese rubbing elbows with Rush at a swank Palm Beach country club is not one that the Raese campaign must welcome right now.”

  • AZ-07: I wonder what guys like Steve Driehaus have to think when they get told to walk the plank while veterans in much bluer districts who are victims only of their own self-inflicted wounds – oh, such as, I dunno, Raul Grijalva – get help airlifted in from above. Anyhow, the DCCC must clearly sense trouble in AZ’s 7th CD, since they’ve gone up on the air here with an ad hitting Ruth McClung for supporting a 23% national sales tax.
  • FL-22: You may have seen the news that GOPer Allen West has a disturbingly close relationship with a notorious gang of violent criminals known as the Outlaws Motorcycle Club. The best part now, though, is West’s denial that he has any affiliation with the group, in which he channels a sort of Bizarro Groucho Marx. The Outlaws, you see, “do not accept blacks, Jews or gays.” Phew!
  • NC-11: Big Dog alert! Bill Clinton is doing a rally for Heath Shuler in Asheville on Thursday.
  • NY-22: It may not be quite Paul LePage levels, but Maurice Hinchey probably wishes he hadn’t gotten so testy with a reporter who asked him questions about whether he had a financial interest in a local development project. On tape, you can see Hinchey tell William Kemble that he is “full of baloney” and to “shut up.” After the cameras stopped rolling, though, Hinchey apparently “made a beeline for Kemble and got in his face.” Crew for local station YNN said they “saw the congressman poke Kemble in the chest aggressively.”
  • TN-08: Though Ron Johnson’s received probably the most attention in recent months, I think Steve Fincher may be this cycle’s granddaddy for bailouts-for-me-but-not-for-thee Republicanism. As an agribusiness kingpin, he’s raked in millions in federal farm subsidies. Now it turns out that he also received a state grant just last year – and may have even violated the terms of that grant by selling the equipment it helped him buy too quickly.
  • TX-17: It looks like Bill Flores is going to win the Tommy Thompson Award for Crazy Beliefs Blamed on Bodily Functions. You may recall that Thompson (by far my favorite Republican candidate to run in the last GOP presidential primary) claimed that a full bladder caused him to say he favored allowing employers to fire gay employees during a debate in 2007. Now Flores wants backsies for telling an interviewer that he was not opposed to raising the Social Security retirement age… because he had a headache.
  • DCCC/NRCC: CQ says that so far, the NRCC has spent $31 million on independent expenditures this cycle, while the D-Trip has spent $22 mil.
  • Senate: Politico has a roundup of senate fundraising numbers.
  • SSP TV:

    • PA-Sen: It’s been a while, but at long last, we finally have another poop-themed ad, thanks to Joe Sestak
    • KY-Sen: I worship you, Aqua Buddha! (Apparently this ad has turned Rand Paul into a WATB)
    • GA-Gov: Roy Barnes hits Nathan Deal for once having tried to weaken the state’s rape shield law; the RGA uses a clip of Roy Barnes dismissing the deaths of two children in state custody: “Out of 20,000 children, you’re going to have children die every day.”
    • NY-Gov: Andrew Cuomo whacks Carl Paladino on abortion rights
    • CA-03: Karl Rove’s American Crossroads attacks Ami Bera for supporting “Obamacare”
    • CA-20: The DCCC says Republican Andy Vidak wants to cut federal funding for water projects (apparently a big issue in this district)
    • NY-04: Carolyn McCarthy’s first spot of the cycle touts her focus on job creation
    • OH-02: Dem Surya Yalamanchili says his ad cost him only $20 to make
    • TX-27: In a much-less-good-than-it-could-have-been ad, Rep. Solomon Ortiz features that goofy photo of Blake Farenthold in his pajamas with a scantily clad woman
    • VA-01: Dem Krystal Ball introduces herself with her first ad

    VA-01: We have a challenger! Bill Day (D) enters race

    After Keith Hummel dropped out, Democrats were left without a candidate for a while.  Well, no more.  From the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star:

    Democrats met Monday and nominated Warrenton businessman Bill Day, who last year unsuccessfully ran against Del. Scott Lingamfelter for a House of Delegates seat.

    Day replaces Keith Hummel, a Westmoreland County doctor who withdrew from the race last week after his multiple past bankruptcy filings became an issue in the campaign.

    Day holds an MBA from Harvard and spent several years as a mental health counselor. He owns interests in office buildings in Prince William County and said he holds the mineral rights to land in Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana, where he owns royalty interests and enters into lease agreements for companies to drill for oil and gas.

    VA-01: Lone Dem suspends campaign

    Not good.  The only Democrat in the this race, emergency room doctor Keith Hummel, has suspended his campaign.  His website now has his message on the front page.

    At this epic time in our nation’s history, the stakes are bigger than any one person, state, or party and now is the time to take back our country and bring hope to future generations. History will judge us by the decisions and choices we make this year.

    The Democratic Party’s message of change brings hope for the people of the 1st District and our nation: hope that our nation will rebound from a war that should have never been waged, hope for the future of our infrastructure and educational systems, and most importantly, hope for those who so desperately need health care but cannot afford it. I am committed to these issues and will continue to work to turn this hope into reality.

    Although I have always been open about my past financial difficulties, it is clear to me that they are becoming a distraction from the real issues at stake in this election. Therefore, I am announcing the suspension of my campaign for the U.S. Congress from the 1st Congressional District of Virginia. My candidacy should not harm those who share my fundamental belief in and hope for change and I will not sit back and watch as those who wish to sabotage this message use my financial history as a lever to fracture the hope for a better America.

    Our focus must always be giving voice to those who have been disenfranchised and to speaking for those who have been silenced.  The Democratic Party offers that focus.  Although I suspend my campaign today, I look forward to doing what I can to work for the future of our nation.

    Finally, to all those who have supported me over the past 12 weeks, I will be forever indebted to you for the kindness, generosity, and support you have given me.

    The Richmond Times-Dispatch explains further what Hummel meant by “financial difficulties”.

    Dr. Keith Hummel, a Democrat from Montross, has suspended his campaign for the 1st District congressional seat, leaving the Democratic Party potentially without a candidate to run against first-year Republican Rep. Robert J. Wittman.

    Hummel said discussions about past financial difficulties have become a “distraction from the real issues at stake in this election.” Those difficulties include a bankruptcy, campaign manager Stephen Pierce said.

    Hummel, an emergency room doctor, said he had made no secret of his financial problems.

    “I have always said that I am an imperfect candidate,” Hummel said. “Unfortunately, our elections today revolve around narrow and simplistic assessments of viability.”

    Pierce said the suspension is the first step that could lead to a withdrawal. He said the campaign would be talking to other Democrats about whether to withdraw.

    Jared Leopold, a spokesman for Virginia Democrats, said, “We respect Dr. Hummel’s decision.” If Hummel chooses to withdraw, it would be up to the 1st District Democratic Committee whether to field another candidate, he said.

    A spokeswoman for the State Board of Elections said parties have until Sept. 5, 60 days before the election, to fill a vacancy.

    Raising Kaine has more, with a commenter alleging sabotage from within.  Dunno anything about that.  I haven’t seen this name bandied about as a replacement candidate, but what about Phil Forgit, the Democrat who lost to Rob Wittman in last year’s special election for this seat?

    Side note: This may be a first in history.  The Libertarian candidate’s campaign website is a wiki.  

    VA-01: A Consolation Prize

    With Rob Wittman out of the House of Delegates and into DC, Virginia Democrats can take solace in knowing that they’ll likely pick up his seat in the state House.  From the WaPo last week:

    Former Del. Albert C. Pollard Jr., who narrowly lost his Senate bid this year, said today he will likely run for his old state House seat if Del. Robert J. Wittman (R-Westmoreland) is elected to Congress next week. […]

    If he runs, Pollard would be a heavy favorite to win Wittman’s state House seat. In this year’s Senate race, Pollard received 57 percent of the vote in the portion of the district that includes his old House seat.

    If he wins, Democrats would pick up a House seat and increase their margin to 45.


    Look, I’m probably as bummed out about Weirauch’s loss as the rest of you are (even though I never once expected a win here), but there’s one key number we need to be taking away from the OH-05 and VA-01 special elections today: $537,038.24.

    That’s the grand total that the NRCC flushed into both of these races over the past couple of weeks.  To put it in another formulation, that’s 21% of their available cash-on-hand at the end of October.

    I hope Republicans are finding the taste of victory to be sweet tonight, because that’s one hell of a high price to pay to win a pair of 60% Bush districts.

    OH-05, VA-01: Results Open Thread

    RESULTS: Ohio SoS | VA SBoE

    9:33 PM ET (David): AP calls it for Latta.

    9:03 PM ET: About a third of precinct are now reporting and Latta is maintaining a 55%-45% lead.
    8:42 PM ET: 11% of precincts are now reporting in Ohio and Latta has a 56%-44% lead over Weirauch. As a side note, it appears that the SOS' RSS feed is updating a bit quicker than the main site as it was displaying these results a few minutes earlier.
    8:30 PM ET: I think we can officially put a nail in Forgit. With 93% of precincts reporting, he's still at 35%.
    8:21 PM ET: With 2% reporting in Ohio, Latta is up 53-46.
    8:07 PM ET: 75% of precincts are reporting in VA-01 and Forgit is still holding steady at 35%.
    7:51 PM ET: Results are starting to trickle in for OH-05. With what appears to be a single precinct reporting, Latta is up 75-69.
    7:41 PM ET: With just over half of the precincts reporting, Forgit's still sitting at 34%. Even Kerry was able to garner 39% in this district.
    7:30 PM ET: Polls just closed in Ohio; we'll know shortly whether Weirauch was able to seal the deal.
    7:27 PM ET: With about a quarter of the votes in, Forgit is still down by a 2-1 margin. Looks like it won't be a long night in Virginia.
    7:17 PM ET: Early returns (10% reporting) show Republican Rob Wittman up 2722-1330 over Democrat Phil Forgit.

    Polls should be closing shortly as voters in Ohio and Virginia choose replacements for Republican Reps. Paul Gillmor (OH-05) and Jo Ann Davis (VA-01). Unfortunately, James is still in transit and unable to join us tonight, but I'll try my best to fill his liveblogging shoes.

    Up above, I've posted links to sites that should update with results throughout the night. But if they don't come through for us, I'll update accordingly. If you happen to find a better results page, let me know in the comments.

    It'll probably be a while before any votes actually get counted, so treat this as your final chance to lock in predictions.

    OH-05, VA-01: Predictions Open Thread

    Today’s the day.  Polls are open in the special elections to replace the late Reps. Paul Gillmor (OH-05) and Jo Ann Davis (VA-01).

    Unfortunately, I have to catch a plane in a few hours, so posting will be slower today.  However, once the polls close, we should be rolling with liveblog coverage.

    If you have predictions for the results in OH-05 or VA-01, now’s your chance to post them in the comments and claim bragging rights when the returns come in exactly as you called it.

    OH-05 and VA-01: Virtual Phonebanking

    (From the diaries – James L.)

    There is still time left for activists around the country to have an efffect on Tuesday’s special congressional elections in Virginia and Ohio.

    The Ohio Democratic Party has virtual phone banking opportunities to support Robin Weirauch in her attempt to defeat Bob Latta in OH-05. Making the calls is easy, and you can complete a batch of calls in 30 minutes or less.

    Email if you would like to participate in that program.

    I just found out that Barack Obama has set up a virtual phonebank dashboard to assist Phil Forgit in VA-01.

    Now is our opportunity to make a difference right now.

    UPDATE: I have no idea how many calls have been made for Robin Weirauch, but 6 Barack Obama supporters have only made about 100 calls for Phil Forgit’s campaign. We have 2 more days after today to make a difference in these elections.

    OH-05, VA-01: NRCC Spends More Cash

    The latest filings, fresh from the FEC:


      1. Opposes Candidate: ROBIN WEIRAUCH FOR CONGRESS

           Office Sought: House of Representatives, Ohio District 05

           Payee: FLS CONNECT LLC

           Date Expended = 12/04/2007      Amount Expended = $2363.55

           Purpose: Phone Banks

      2. Opposes Candidate: ROBIN WEIRAUCH FOR CONGRESS

           Office Sought: House of Representatives, Ohio District 05


           Date Expended = 12/04/2007      Amount Expended = $33335.00

           Purpose: Issue Ad Placement

      3. Opposes Candidate: FORGIT FOR CONGRESS

           Office Sought: House of Representatives, Virginia District 01

           Payee: THE HOPPER COMPANY

           Date Expended = 12/04/2007      Amount Expended = $13578.00

           Purpose: Mailing Service

      4. Opposes Candidate: FORGIT FOR CONGRESS

           Office Sought: House of Representatives, Virginia District 01

           Payee: THE HOPPER COMPANY

           Date Expended = 12/04/2007      Amount Expended = $13578.00

           Purpose: Mailing Service

    Time to crunch some numbers.  The new expenditures in OH-05 bring the NRCC’s current tab to $324,746.  A mighty large sum for an organization without much cash to spare, especially on an R+10 district.  I would expect more money to pour into this race in the days ahead.

    The anti-Forgit mailers come on top of $39,000 in phone banking and other expenses that the NRCC filed late last week.  With the latest figures in, the NRCC has spent just over $78,000 on the race.  With only a month to make his case to voters in the conservative 1st district of Virginia, Democrat Phil Forgit wasn’t supposed to have much of a chance here.  Still, the NRCC shelled out $10K to conduct a poll here, and perhaps the results inspired them to provide a boost for Rob Wittman.

    For an organization still carrying more debt than its current financial, the spending of $400,000 on a pair of crimson red districts in an off-year special election won’t spread any Christmas cheer in their offices, regardless of the outcome of these races.