SSP Daily Digest: 8/5 (Morning Edition)

  • TN-Gov: Today, we are all Basil Marceaux Dot Com.
  • AK-AL: After three years of anticipation and $1.2 million in legal defense fees, GOP Rep. Don Young’s office is now claiming that the Department of Justice will not prosecute the crusty incumbent for his involvement in a wide-spanning Alaskan bribery scandal.
  • AR-01: Three aides to scuzzbucket former state Sen. Tim Wooldridge, who narrowly lost the Democratic primary to Chad Causey, have decided to endorse Republican Rick Crawford. Wooldridge is still staying mum on who, or when, he’ll endorse, but this doesn’t seem like a good sign for Democratic unity.
  • AZ-08: National Research for the Conservatives for Congress Committee (7/26-27, likely voters):

    Jesse Kelly (R): 36

    Jonathan Paton (R): 17

    Brian Miller (R): 5

    Undecided: 32

    (MoE: ±5.7%)

    CFC’s dog in the race against Democrat Gabby Giffords is clearly the tea-stained Kelly, as opposed to the NRCC-hyped state Sen. Jonathan Paton. Who knows if this poll is credible, but let’s hope that it is!

  • NY-01: Hah, this is a pretty good catch by the George Demos campaign. They’re hitting Randy Altschuler for sending out campaign emails cribbed from the notepad of NY-23 loser Doug Hoffman. Sure, it’s not at the same level as Scott McInnis, but the more cat fud consumed in this race, the merrier for all.
  • NY-29: A hearing officer of the New York Board of Elections has invalidated enough signatures to knock Some Dude Janice Volk off the GOP primary ballot for the vacant seat left behind by Eric Massa. The NYBoE will issue its ruling on the matter today, but it doesn’t look like the beleaguered Volk campaign has the resources — or spirit — to appeal the decision in court. Volk’s exit will ensure a fight between Republican Tom Reed and Democrat Matthew Zeller this fall.
  • PA-06: Jim Gerlach is attacking his Democratic challenger, physician and Iraq War veteran Manan Trivedi, for not having lived in the 6th District in recent years. But of course, Trivedi was otherwise occupied with a little thing called military service during that time. Douche chill!
  • WY-AL: Mason-Dixon for the Casper Star-Tribune (7/26-28, likely voters):

    David Wendt (D): 29

    Cynthia Lummis (R-inc): 59

    Undecided: 12

    (MoE: ±4%)

  • RNC: The Republican National Committee has taken out a $10 million line of credit in preparation for funneling major resources to the party’s efforts at winning Dem-held House and Senate seats this fall. There’s no word, yet, if Democratic committees plan to follow suit — you may recall that in the last cycle, both the DCCC and the DSCC took out substantial loans to help take advantage of the national climate.
  • SSP Daily Digest: 3/23 (Morning Edition)

  • FL-08: Former hospital administrator Peg Dunmire has left the Republican Party and will officially challenge Alan Grayson as a member of Florida’s new Tea Party.
  • GA-09: The special election for Nathan Deal’s now-vacant seat has been set for April 27th. This is an all-party “jungle” election, with the winner needing 50% to win. If no one hits that mark, a runoff would be held on May 25th. With 11 Republicans and only one Democrat (former Navy chaplain Mike Freeman) running, is it completely insane to imagine…? Also note that Georgia has a “resign to run” rule, so folks who hold other offices will have to quit before getting into this race, setting off a domino chain of further special elections.
  • IN-05: Former state Rep. Luke Messer is on the air with a biographical tv spot. He’s one of several Republicans challenging Rep. Dan Burton in the primary.
  • MA-05: Seven Republicans and four independents have lined up so far to take on Dem Rep. Niki Tsongas. Scott Brown won this district 56-43 in January.
  • NY-13: The Brooklyn Conservative Party has endorsed former FBI agent Mike Grimm. This has touched off another fight with Staten Island Conservatives who, as they did in 2008, seem inclined to endorse Democratic Rep. Mike McMahon. But back then, the Brooklyn Cons (who represent a much smaller part of the district) engineered a coup at the state party level with the backing of chair Michael Long in order to thwart the will of their SI counterparts. It looks like the same might happen again this cycle.
  • OK-05: surveyed the GOP primary for the open 5th CD, which Rep. Mary Fallin is leaving to run for governor. They find former state Rep. Ken Calvey leading with 20, while state Rep. Mike Thompson is at 9 and “political newcomer” James Lankford is at 7. State Rep. Shane Jett, who just joined the field, was not included.
  • PA-04: Could Jason Altmire get Arcuri’d? Thanks to his vote against the healthcare reform bill, Jack Shea, the president of the Allegheny County Labor Council, says he’s considering a primary challenge. The problem is that Pennsylvania’s filing deadline closed earlier this month, so Shea would have to run as a write-in. Alternately, he could run as an independent (indies have a much later filing deadline).
  • PA-19: Rep. Todd Platts is expected to be on a shortlist of four possible names to fill the top spot at the Government Accountability Office. The House and Senate are compiling this list and will send it to the White House “soon.” President Obama can then select a nominee from this slate, or pick his own. Either way, his choice is subject to confirmation in the Senate.
  • RI-01: Retired Superior Court Judge Roy Pfeiffer is weighing a run for the now-open 1st CD as a Republican. The GOP actually already has a candidate here, state Rep. John Loughlin.
  • SD-AL: I’m unsurprised – Obama strategist Steve Hildebrand says he won’t challenge Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin in the Dem primary, even though she voted against healthcare reform.
  • TN-08: Roy Herron will have the Democratic field to himself: Educator and former John Tanner staffer Luther Mercer has dropped out, citing difficulties in fundraising. On the, well, non-Dem side, meanwhile, the knives are out for GOP frontrunner Stephen Fincher.  Teabaggy independent Donn Janes is slamming Fincher for claiming to want to cut DC spending despite having been a big beneficiary of farm subsidies.
  • VA-05: Ex-Rep. Virgil Goode will appear at a fundraiser on the 25th for state Sen. Rob Hurt, who is seeking to reclaim Goode’s seat for the Republicans. Hurt is the establishment favorite in this race, but the teabaggers truly seem to hate him and are determined not to let him win the primary. So it remains to be seen whether Goode can sprinkle him with winger fairy dust, or befoul him with DC stink lines.
  • WY-AL: Democrats have found a candidate to take on freshman Cynthia Lummis: David Wendt, president of the Jackson Hole Center for Global Affairs. Wendt specifically cited Lummis’s vote against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, and also congressional inaction on emissions, as reasons for his run.
  • Polltopia: The boys at PPP are choosing between AL, IL, MD & WA for their next poll, and you can go over there to vote. I can also tell you that R2K will have a WA poll out this week (as well as polls in AR and WI).
  • Passings: Fred Heineman, a one term congressman from North Carolina, passed away this past weekend at the age of 80. The Republican Heineman beat Dem Rep. David Price in the 1994 Republican Revolution, but Price won his seat right back in 1996. Heineman’s brief tenure had a lot to do with how mind-bogglingly clueless he was, most infamously remarking:

    “When I see a first-class individual who makes $80,000 a year, he’s lower middle class. When I see someone who is making anywhere from $300,000 to $750,000, that’s middle class. When I see anyone above that, that’s upper middle class.

  • The Rest of the West: Part 1

    (Proudly cross-posted at C4O Democrats)

    About 2 weeks ago, we talked about the rising Democratic tide in The Southwest. Now, I want to discuss what’s happening in The Northwest. Believe it or not, we have plenty of opportunities up north as well.

    Want to come along with me as we look at where we can win in 2010 and beyond?

    Let’s start in Wyoming. While John McCain beat Barack Obama by 32%, it was an improvement over Bush’s 40% margin of victory in 2004. And believe it or not, Wyoming voters twice elected Democrat Dave Freudenthal as Governor while Democrat Gary Trauner twice lost the At-Large House seat by surprisingly narrow margins. We have an opportunity in 2010 to win both races, as Freudenthal is termed out and newly elected GOP Rep. Cynthia Lummis doesn’t seem much more popular than outgoing GOP Rep. Barbara Cubin. I see both races as “Leans Republican” now, but that can change if we find good candidates.

    Unlike Wyoming, Montana is rapidly trending Democratic. Bush won the state by 20% in 2004, but McCain could only muster a 3% win and Obama may be the first Democrat since Bill Clinton in 1992 to win here in 2012. And better yet, Montana now has 2 Democratic Senators, a Democratic Governor, and a split legislature. But for some reason, incumbent GOP Rep. Dennis Rehberg is still in office. If we find a strong Democrat to challenge Rehberg in 2010, I think we can make this “Likely Republican” seat more competitive.

    Now Idaho may not be trending Democratic as quickly as Montana, but the state is moving our way. Bush’s 39% win in 2004 was reduced to a 25% McCain win this year. And better yet, Democrat Walt Minnick scored a stunning upset win over incumbent GOP Rep. Bill Sali in ID-01. But even though Minnick won this year, we must remember that this House seat will be the top GOP seat in 2010. This race looks like a “Toss-up” now, and we’ll need to work hard to hold ID-01 while continuing to make electoral gains in Idaho.

    While all the other Northwest states previously mentioned still tilt toward the GOP, Washington state is quite the different game. Barack Obama won here by 17%, a great improvement over Kerry’s narrower 7% win in 2004. Meanwhile, Democratic Governor Chris Gregoire won reelection this year while Democratic majorities in both houses of the legislature, both Democratic Senators, and all 6 Democratic House Reps. look quite safe. However, we have a chance to pick up another House seat in the eastern suburban Seattle WA-08 district. Incumbent GOP Rep. Dave Reichert only narrowly won reelection in 2006 & 2008 in a district that both Kerry & Obama won. If we perhaps find a candidate with legislative experience to challenge Reichert in 2010, we can finally win this “Toss-up” race.

    As you can see, The Northwest is undergoing many of the same changes being seen Southwest. Wyoming and Idaho may still look strongly Republican, but Montana has rapidly become a swing state as Oregon and Washington have gone from simply leaning Democratic to strongly Democratic. As the population grows, diversifies, and changes from rural to suburban & urban, Democrats are rising to victory.

    As long as demographics change and voters continue to care less about “the culture wars” and more about issues like energy, environmental preservation, and economic development, Democrats will win. That’s why our party must continue to invest in winning The West. So are you ready to win?

    WY-AL: Lummis Pulls Ahead

    Research 2000 for Daily Kos (10/27-29, likely voters, 10/14-16):

    Gary Trauner (D): 45 (44)

    Cynthia Lummis (R): 49 (43)

    (MoE: ±4.5%)

    This is a race that looks great on paper: Gary Trauner (who almost beat Barbara Cubin last time, helping prompt her retirement this year) is a known quantity in Wyoming, who’s been running mostly even in the polls with Cynthia Lummis, and now he’s getting a good amount of DCCC IEs to go with his netroots money, enough to recently boost this race to Lean Republican. However, we might be seeing a bit of what we’ve been worried about here at SSP: previously high numbers of undecided Republicans, who seem to be coming home to the GOP in the closing moments of the campaign. If 2006 is any indication, though, Trauner is good at overperforming the polls.

    McCain is up 61-36 in Wyoming. There are two senate races, both safe GOP: Barasso leads Carter 60-35 and Enzi leads Rothfuss 62-35.

    ID-01, WY-AL: Minnick Ahead, Trauner Down in New SUSA Polls

    Roll Call is back with a pair of Mountain West SurveyUSA polls in two deeply conservative districts (10/18-19, likely voters, no trend lines).


    Walt Minnick (D): 51

    Bill Sali (R-inc): 45

    (MoE: ±4%)

    These numbers confirm Minnick’s own internal polling, which also has Sali trailing by six points.

    Sali’s favorable rating? A dismal 33-47, compared to Minnick’s 45-23. Minnick is taking 21% of self-described conservative voters, and sweeping among moderates (80-16) and liberals (94-5). No wonder the NRCC went up with a $200K ad buy last week to help stall Minnick’s momentum.


    Gary Trauner (D): 44

    Cynthia Lummis (R): 50

    David Herbert (L): 4

    (MoE: ±4%)

    Two recent polls by Mason-Dixon and Research 2000 have given Trauner a 44-43 lead, with a high share of the undecided vote coming from Republicans. These numbers are not so kind. Also of concern are the favorable ratings of both Trauner and Lummis — they are virtually identical (41-35 for Lummis and 42-36 for Trauner), and Lummis takes a decent chunk of the moderate vote (33%) and even 10% of self-described liberals. Democrats had hoped to portray Lummis as another Barbara Cubin, the retiring GOP Rep. who has a dismal 23-53 approval rating in this poll. When Trauner and Lummis are sitting at an equal position in terms of likeability, that doesn’t bode well.

    Bonus findings: McCain beats Obama by 57-37 in Idaho’s 1st, and by 58-37 in Wyoming.

    WY-AL: Another One-Point Lead for Trauner

    Mason-Dixon for Casper Star-Tribune (10/13-14, likely voters):

    Gary Trauner (D): 44

    Cynthia Lummis (R): 43

    David Herbert (L): 4

    (n = 625)

    Apparently Mason-Dixon liked what they saw with Research 2000‘s poll last week of the at-large representative’s race in Wyoming, because they reproduced the exact same numbers. The most noteworthy difference here is the inclusion of Libertarian David Herbert, which explains where some of that unaccounted-for 13% from the R2K poll may be going.

    There’s still some bad news for Trauner: of the 9% who remain undecided in this poll, 75% are Republicans. (Only 16% are Democrats and 9% are independents.) On the other hand, there’s some good news, too: Mason-Dixon polled this race for the Star-Tribune at this point two years ago, and Trauner trailed Barbara Cubin by 7%, but went on to lose by less than 1,000 votes.

    (H/T: Andy Dufresne)

    WY-AL: Mason Dixon poll mirrors R2K in showing Trauner up one

    This is fascinating.  A new Mason-Dixon poll for the Casper Star-Tribune has found the exact same result as yesterday’s fresh R2K poll: Trauner 44, Lummis 43.  

    A single percentage point is all that separates the Democrat from the Republican in the race for Wyoming’s lone U.S. House seat, a new Casper Star-Tribune poll shows.

    Democrat Gary Trauner of Wilson leads Republican Cynthia Lummis of Cheyenne 44 percent to 43 percent, respectively, the poll shows.

    Of those undecided voters, 75 percent are Republicans, 16 percent are Democrats and 9 percent are independents, which probably bodes well for Lummis, they said.

    This new poll shows that Trauner and Lummis are basically tied.  Additionally, unlike R2K, Mason-Dixon included the libertarian candidate in the poll, with him registering four percent.

    Like R2K, M-D found that most of the undecided voters are Republicans.  This will certainly make Trauner’s mission a hard one.  Still, that so many GOPers in Wyoming are conflicted in just this race gives Trauner a shot to pull this out.  Additionally, the strong showing by the libertarian is helpful for Gary.

    Gary Trauner is in this.  As the article notes, in the M-D poll at this time in 2006, Trauner was seven points behind Barbara Cubin.  Today, he is one point up, and working hard to close the deal with many staunch Republicans.  He might just do it.…

    WY-AL: One-Point Lead for Trauner

    Research 2000 for Daily Kos (10/14-16, likely voters, 9/22-24):

    Gary Trauner (D): 44 (42)

    Cynthia Lummis (R): 43 (42)

    (MoE: ±4.5%)

    Gary Trauner keeps making a real race of this in the deep red state of Wyoming. Moving from a tie to a one-point lead shouldn’t be taken as anything but statistical noise, but it’s pretty clear this race survived Palinmania intact and is going to go down to the wire.

    There’s one note of caution when viewing this poll, though: if you look deep in the crosstabs, you’ll see that 22% of Republicans are still undecided (compared with only 2% of Democrats and 9% of Independents). If the majority of those undecided Republicans break at the last minute for Lummis, she wins. (However, in a year as weird as this, with the Republican brand a smoldering radioactive heap of wreckage, I suppose that’s not a done deal.)

    The rest of the poll reflects Wyoming’s Republican lean: McCain leads Obama 58-35, while in the two Senate races (one special, one regular, both with GOP incumbents) Mike Enzi leads Chris Rothfuss 61-34 and John Barasso leads Nick Carter 57-36.

    WY-AL: Trauner, Lummis Tie

    Research 2000 for Daily Kos (9/22-24, likely voters, 5/20-21):

    Gary Trauner (D): 42 (44)

    Cynthia Lummis (R): 42 (41)

    (MoE: ±4.5%)

    Here’s our first look in many months at the race for Wyoming’s at large House seat, being vacated by the always-charming Barbara Cubin. The poll shows a tied game between Gary Trauner, who came very close to shocking Cubin in 2006, and former Secretary of State Cynthia Lummis. (The previous poll was taken long before Wyoming’s GOP primary, where Lummis defeated Mark Gordon, who was considered to be the less-divisive pick.)

    There are two possible schools of thought on the state of this race: first, this isn’t that good, because Trauner has lost ground from last time even though now it’s confirmed he’s running against Lummis (who, personality-wise, seems to take after Cubin).

    On the other hand, it may be good, since this follows in the wake of adding Sarah Palin to the ticket, who plays (or played?) uniquely well in the red states of the West and should have theoretically, via coattails, knocked Trauner out of contention. The same sample shows McCain leading Obama 57-36, still a mighty downdraft for Trauner to fight against, but an indication that Dems are running much better in the Equality State than in 2004 (where Kerry got dismantled 69-29).