• AZ-Sen: As the Arizona GOP Senate primary heats up, ex-Rep. J.D. Hayworth has pulled in a prominent backer, one of the state’s unfortunately most popular politicians: Maricopa Co. Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Arpaio – a hero of the anti-immigrant set who’d been the subject of calls to get into the gubernatorial race this year – wrote a fundraising letter for Hayworth that’s being sent around nationally.
• FL-Sen: Marco Rubio got two more endorsements today from the GOP’s right flank: from Indiana’s Rep. Mike Pence, #3 in the House GOP and a favorite of the social values set, and on the economic-conservative side of the party, bathtub-drowning fan Grover Norquist.
• NH-Sen (pdf): A couple different polls are out today in the New Hampshire Senate race, although both from pollsters in the “take with salt” category. UNH looks at the general election, finding a lead for Kelly Ayotte over Paul Hodes that’s about in line with most other pollsters: 41-33. Hodes leads the lesser GOPers in the race, though; he beats Jim Bender 36-27, William Binnie 34-30, and Ovide Lamontagne 38-29. What about that thorny GOP primary, though? Republican internal pollster Magellan has some answers, although it’s not clear if this poll was on the behalf of any particular candidate. They see Ayotte at 37%, but contrary to that recent R2K poll, they have Binnie in second place at 23% and Lamontagne back at 12. (Binnie seems to be the most moderate in the field, and gained a lot of attention, at least in the Boston media market parts of the state, for running ads on behalf of Scott Brown in Massachusetts.) In case anyone was wondering about the GOP gubernatorial primary, that’s in there too, although nobody has any idea who these candidates are: Jack Kimball beats Karen Testerman 18-5.
• AL-Gov: There’s one other interesting poll from a Republican pollster of a Republican primary (this time in Alabama); it’s from Baselice, and they’re explicit about not working on behalf of any of these candidates. Former higher ed system chancellor Bradley Byrne has a narrow lead, and he has a lot of company. Byrne is at 20, followed closely by wingnut judge Roy Moore at 17. Real estate developer (and gubernatorial spawn) Tim James is at 8, state Rep. Robert Bentley is at 4, state treasurer Kay Ivey is at 3, and former Economic Development Dir. Bill Johnson is at 2.
• AL-05: Democrats now have two candidates lined up to go against Parker Griffith (or whatever other GOPer teabags him out of a job): the new one is attorney (and former Air Force JAG) Mitchell Howie. Howie is young and doesn’t have electoral experience, but is the grandson of a well-loved local physician. Prominent attorney Taze Shepard made his candidacy official today as well (via press release).
• AL-07: EMILY’s List weighed in with an endorsement in the Democratic primary in the 7th. Interestingly, they showed their hand even though there are two women well-positioned in the field – and they went with attorney Terri Sewell, who’s something of the moneyed-interests candidate in the race with ties to outgoing Rep. Artur Davis, rather than the more progressive option of Jefferson Co. Commissioner Shelia Smoot.
• AR-02: Add one more Dem to the field in the 2nd, to replace retiring Rep. Vic Snyder. Assistant Attorney General John Adams launched a bid today, although it’s unclear whether he’ll pose much of an obstacle to state House speaker Robbie Wills.
• AZ-03: One of the widely-expected candidates to run in the open seat vacated by Rep. John Shadegg has decided not to get involved, after all. Shadegg’s former chief of staff Sean Noble said he won’t run. The field is already top-heavy with Republicans, including former state Sens. Pamela Gorman and Jim Waring (both of whom resigned to run, per state law), former state Rep. Sam Crump, Paradise Valley mayor Vernon Parker, and former Paradise Valley mayor Ed Winkler.
• CO-03: Hat-tip to Daily Kos’s Steve Singiser, who, while rummaging through the used-polls bin, found a stale Republican internal poll of the race in the 3rd that hadn’t caught anyone’s notice before. It points to a close race in the Republican-leaning, mostly-rural district; Democratic Rep. Pete Salazar leads GOP state Rep. Scott Tipton (who lost the 2006 race to Salazar) 46-44.
• NH-01, 02 (pdf): Both of the New Hampshire House races are looking like tossups, according to the same UNH poll mentioned above. In the 1st, they find Rep. Carol Shea-Porter in bad shape against any of her GOP challengers; she loses 43-33 to Frank Guinta, 36-33 to Bob Bestani, 36-33 to Rich Ashooh, and 39-32 to Sean Mahoney. (Of course, UNH repeatedly showed her in a tight spot in 2008 until the closing weeks of the campaign – although without Obama coattails this year, she may not get that late boost.) And in the 2nd, Dems only win one potential matchup: Katrina Swett beats Jennifer Horn 30-26. Swett loses to Charlie Bass 37-30, while Ann McLane Kuster loses to both Bass (39-28) and Horn (28-25). (One other caveat: these are small samples, with 6.2% MoEs.)
• NJ-02: Add Rep. Frank LoBiondo to the long list of establishment Republicans getting a good teabagging this year. Schoolteacher and tea partier Michael Conte will challenge LoBiondo in the GOP primary. Conte seems most put out about LoBiondo’s cap-and-trade vote, and supports opening up the Jersey Shore to offshore oil drilling. (Somehow, I can’t see that part being popular.)
• TX-14: The epidemic of own-eating on the teabagging right has reached French Revolution proportions, to the extent that now Ron Paul, pretty much the spiritual forefather of the movement, is facing not one but three teabagging primary challengers. Weirdly, one of their knocks against Paul is that he’s “too extreme,” and also that he’s against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan… all pretty suggestive that there’s nothing “new” about the Tea Party movement, just that it’s a catchall for conservative Republicans who are feeling extra-agitated about things.
• TX-32: The DCCC has been stepping up its attacks on Rep. Pete Sessions, maybe in part to keep the NRCC head pinned down a bit, but also because they may sense this is one of the few places where they have a legitimate shot at playing offense. Between the district’s rapidly changing demographics, Sessions’ ties to Ponzi schemer “Sir” Alan Stanford, a serious primary challenge from a teabagger, and good fundraising from Dem challenger Grier Raggio, there may be some substance to that.
• IL-LG: With Dan Hynes having taken his name out of consideration for the now-vacant LG slot for the Dems in Illinois, Lynn Sweet runs down the top contenders. First on the docket is state Rep. Art Turner, who finished second to Scott Lee Cohen in the primary and now has state House speaker Michael Madigan’s stamp of approval. Other possibilities include state Sen. Rickey Hendon, state Sen. Terry Link, or state Rep. Mike Boland (all of whom fared worse in the primary), or if they want to go with a woman, either state Rep. Julie Hamos (who narrowly lost the IL-10 primary, and is now campaigning for the LG slot) or VA Deputy Sec. Tammy Duckworth.
• CfG: A couple more endorsements, as the Club for Growth picked the zaniest of the bunch in a few competitive primaries in dark-red seats that are open. They endorsed former state GOP chair Robin Smith in TN-03, and businessman Mike Pompeo in KS-04.
• NRCC: Here’s a good catch from the Boston Phoenix: the NRCC is really putting the “guns” in “Young Guns,” as a whopping total of 4 of the 64 members of its offense program are women – with only one, Martha Roby (in AL-02) looking like she’s in position to possibly make it through both the primary and general.
• NY-St. Ass.: There are not one, but four, special elections for open seats in New York’s Assembly tonight, all resulting from legislators getting elected to something better-paying in November. The Democrats are defending seats in Queens (although there the Republican lineholder is a lifelong Democrat), Suffolk County, and Westchester County, while the Republicans are defending a Nassau County seat.
• Polltopia: More back-and-forth in the discussion over the polls that SurveyUSA performed for Firedoglake, that we may have accidentally triggered (pointing out the dramatically low young-voter composition of the polls). SurveyUSA’s Jay Leve responded “vehemently” (Mark Blumenthal’s words) to last week’s critique from poli sci professor Alan Abramowitz, while Blumenthal offers some interesting graphs showing the disparity between the SurveyUSA numbers and actual Catalist records. PPP’s Tom Jensen offered some qualified support for SurveyUSA, though, by pointing out that even if you “weighted up” the youth numbers to the levels seen in Catalist (the Dems’ voter database), it wouldn’t tend to impact the topline numbers by a significant amount.
• AZ-Sen: CQ has an interesting tidbit about Rodney Glassman, the young Tucson city councilor who’s the top Democrat in the Senate race right now. The general sense has been that it would be good to have someone with some self-funding capacity to be able to jump in and make a race of it in case the bombastic J.D. Hayworth somehow takes out John McCain in the GOP primary… and it turns out that Glassman has been that guy all along. He’s been capping contributions to his campaign at $20 for now, but the Dems’ state chair says Glassman can step in with his own money in case things heat up.
• IA-Sen: Rasmussen takes a pretty dim view of the odds for Roxanne Conlin (or any other Democrat) against Chuck Grassley in 2010. They see Conlin, a wealthy attorney last seen losing the 1982 gubernatorial race, losing to Grassley 59-31. The other less-known Dems, both veterans of the state legislature, fare only slightly worse: Bob Krause loses 59-26, and Tom Fiegen loses 61-25.
• IL-Sen: One last component from Rasmussen’s poll of the Illinois primary fields dribbled in late yesterday: a look at the Republican Senate field. Like other pollsters, they find Rep. Mark Kirk way ahead of his nearest competitor in the GOP primary, real estate developer Patrick Hughes. Unlike others, though, they at least see Hughes in the double-digits, losing 53-18 (with 12 for “some other candidate”).
• NC-Sen: Rasmussen also examines North Carolina, and while they find Republican incumbent Richard Burr with a significant lead, he’s not quite in the safety zone. Burr leads Democratic SoS Elaine Marshall 47-37, and he leads former state Sen. Cal Cunningham 50-34. Rasmussen also finds Burr’s knowns to be much, much higher than anyone else has found them: he has an approval of 56/32, with only 12% not sure (whereas most pollsters find his unknowns to be well into the 30s).
• NY-Sen-B: After rumors of his renewed interest in challenging Kirsten Gillibrand in a Democratic Senate primary, Rep. Steve Israel sounds like he’s backing off. His chief of staff says “definitively that he’s not running,” although there’s no comment from Israel himself. Israel, however, did commission another poll in recent weeks to take the race’s temperature, so it’s clear his interest was briefly re-piqued.
• AK-Gov: Former state House speaker John Harris had been a rumored candidate to oppose appointed Gov. Sean Parnell in the GOP gubernatorial primary, but has made clear that he won’t run and will run for re-election to the House instead. Another former speaker, Ralph Samuels, was also in the race, leaving Harris little room to grab whatever anti-Parnell vote might be out there. (A PPP poll finds the uncontroversial Parnell with a 58/19 approval, so it’d be an uphill run anyway.)
• FL-Gov: Rasmussen has new numbers out for the Governor’s race in Florida, and they’re very similar to what Quinnipiac released yesterday. Republican AG Bill McCollum leads Democratic CFO Alex Sink 46-35. (Presumably, this means they’ll have Senate numbers shortly.)
• MI-Gov: We’re getting strange signals out of the Virg Bernero camp. The Lansing mayor sent out an e-mail soliciting interns for his gubernatorial run (which would be a strange way of announcing your run, which he hasn’t done so far, although he does have an exploratory committee up). It was quickly followed up with word that Bernero hasn’t decided whether or not to run, and it should have said interns sought for his exploratory committee only.
• NY-Gov: Here’s a sign of how unenthused the state GOP is with the idea of ex-Rep. Rick Lazio as their standard-bearer for the Governor’s race: they’re actually sitting down with Suffolk Co. Exec Steven Levy, who has recently expressed some interest in the race, to discuss the possibility of him running as a Republican. Levy, of course, is a Democrat, although a rather conservative one (particularly on immigration issues) and one who received a Republican cross-endorsement during his barely-contested 2007 re-election. The crux of the matter may be that Levy has a $4 million warchest available, while Lazio is sitting on $637K. State party chair Ed Cox offered this stirring endorsement of Lazio on Wednesday: “At the moment, he is the candidate.”
• WI-Gov: One final Rasmussen poll to look at today: it’s the other half of their Wisconsin sample, the one that found 68-year-old ex-Gov. Tommy Thompson leading Russ Feingold in a hypothetical match. They find Republican ex-Rep. Mark Neumann leading Democratic Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett 42-38, while Milwaukee Co. Exec Scott Walker leads Barrett 48-38 (again, a much more Republican-favorable view of the race than other pollsters have seen it).
• AR-01: Dems won’t be getting their most-desired candidate to succeed Marion Berry in the 1st: AG Dustin McDaniel already announced that he won’t run. Possible Dem candidates sniffing out the race, though, including state Rep. Keith Ingram, state Sen. Robert Thompson, and former state party chair Jason Willett. CQ also mentions former state Rep. Chris Thyer, former state Sen. Tim Woolridge, and Berry’s CoS, Chad Causey.
• AR-02: In the 2nd, Democratic state House speaker Robbie Wills seems to be getting into the race to succeed Vic Snyder. State Sen. Shane Broadway has also expressed interest, but says that he’ll head for the Lt. Governor race if LG Bill Halter gets into the field in the 2nd. State Public Service Commissioner Paul Suskie is already putting campaign infrastructure into place, and a potential wild card people are eyeing is Little Rock’s mayor, Mark Stodola.
• CA-19: Smackdown in the Central Valley! Retiring Republican Rep. George Radanovich lashed out at CA-11 ex-Rep. Richard Pombo, seeking to replace him, saying that he should have “run in his own district.” Radanovich backs state Sen. Jeff Denham in the GOP primary, and was seeking to quash Pombo claims that Radanovich wouldn’t have endorsed Denham had he known Pombo was going to run. In other news, Rep. Tom McClintock at some point endorsed Pombo, finally making it clear that McClintock, used to running for something new every two years, wasn’t going to reflexively abandon his district and run in the 19th instead.
• GA-04: A primary is the only way to dislodge Rep. Hank Johnson in this safely blue district, and it looks like Johnson is poised to keep his seat even though he’s drawn several prominent opponents (at least some of whom would be coming at him from the right), former DeKalb Co. CEO Vernon Jones and DeKalb Co. Commissioners Connie Stokes and Lee May. Johnson has an internal poll from Lake Associates out showing him with 47% of the vote, leading Jones at 19, Stokes at 12, and May at 5.
• KY-06: Just days after attorney Andy Barr was named to the bottom tier of the NRCC’s “Young Guns” program, another Republican has jumped into the fray to take on Rep. Ben Chandler in this Republican-leaning district. Mike Templeman retired last year as CEO of Energy Coal Resources, and is touting his business experience.
• NH-02: Ex-Rep. Charlie Bass is touting an internal poll that has him in commanding position, at least as far as the GOP primary is concerned. He leads the 2008 Republican candidate, talk radio host Jennifer Horn, by a 42-19 margin (with 4 for state Rep. Bob Giuda). No numbers for the general election in this Dem-leaning district, however.
• NY-01: Rep. Tim Bishop is pushing back against, well, everything: he said, as far as retirement rumors go, he’s “sure as hell” not going to back down from a fight now. He also announced strong fundraising (a $378K quarter) in the face of wealthy opposition, Randy Altschuler and George Demos. (There are also rumors that Chris Cox, the grandson of Richard Nixon and son of new state GOP chair Ed Cox, may get into the race.) Bishop’s camp also alluded to (although didn’t specifically release) an internal poll showing him over the 50% mark against his Republican opponents, in contrast to other recent polls.
• PA-03: I wouldn’t have expected freshman Kathy Dahlkemper’s 3rd to be only 4th or 5th among Pennsylvania Democratic seats in terms of vulnerability this year, but them’s the breaks. The GOP hasn’t found a top-tier recruit here yet, but another Republican got into the race: Mike Kelly, a car dealer from the suburban Pittsburgh part of the district. It sounds like he’ll be able to partly fund his own way, which will help him compete against fellow businessman Paul Huber.
• PA-10: Former US Attorney Tom Marino finally announced his long-rumored bid against Rep. Chris Carney this week. While Marino seems imposing on paper, there are a number of problems here for him: for starters, Carney quickly used the December efforts of GOPers to recruit him to party-switch to boost his own bipartisan bona fides. Marino also faces questions over his relationship with Louis DeNaples, a developer who was the target of probes over links to organized crime, and particularly a casino license granted to him (where Marino was a reference on DeNaples’ gaming application). And a number of state legislators – at least in the far western part of the district where Malcolm Derk is from – are lining up behind Derk instead of Marino in the GOP primary. With chiropractor David Madeira, who’s been reaching out to the teabaggers, also in the race, even the primary won’t be an easy ride for Marino.
• PA-15: One more internal poll, this one not looking so good for Democrats. Republican Rep. Charlie Dent, in his first competitive race, well, ever, against Bethlehem mayor John Callahan, has a big edge in his own poll conducted by the Tarrance Group. The poll gives Dent a 53-27 lead, with 8 going to teabagging independent Jack Towne. The moderate Dent pulls in one-quarter of all Democratic voters.
• TN-08: He’s in like Flinn. George Flinn, that is: the official entry of the Shelby Co. Commissioner, who’s also a radiologist and radio station owner in his spare time, expanded the Republican field in the 8th. With two money-bags candidates already in the picture, physician Ron Kirkland and most prominently farmer Stephen Fincher, Republicans look poised to bleed each other badly in an expensive primary while state Sen. Roy Herron looks to have the Democratic field mostly to himself in this open seat race.
• VA-05: Another primary that’s getting out of control for the GOP is the one in the 5th, where there’s a backlog of die-hards each claiming to be the “true conservative” as opposed to establishment fave state Sen. Robert Hurt. Real estate investor Lawrence Verga seems to have had the most success at gaining the attention of the teabaggers (although Verga‘s spotty voting record can’t help his image much), but now rival real estate developer Jim McKelvey just slammed down half a million dollars on the table to up the ante. Even more delicious in terms of cat fud: McKelvey is also making threats that he’ll run as an independent if things don’t go his way in the primary. With right-winger Bradley Rees already running as a Tea Party-powered indie, there could be enough fracturing on the right to let vulnerable Democratic Rep. Tom Perriello have a shot at survival.
• VA-09: Here’s a seat that would have been a bear to defend in the event of a retirement, but where we got the final word that the incumbent is staying put. Rep. Rick Boucher confirmed he’ll go for a 15th term in the Fightin’ 9th in southwestern Virginia. He’s still not out of the woods, as Republican state House majority leader Morgan Griffith may get in the race, although for now Boucher doesn’t have an opponent.
• WA-03: This caught me, and seemingly a lot of other people, by surprise: Gov. Chris Gregoire weighed into the Democratic primary in the 3rd with an endorsement, and she bypassed the two sitting state legislators in the field to go for ex-state Rep. Denny Heck, suggesting that rumors that he’s got a lot of behind-the-scenes establishment support are quite true. Heck, who subsequently founded a public affairs cable channel and did a lot of successful for-profit investing as well, can spend a lot of his own money on the race, which is probably why he’s getting the establishment backing despite having been out of office for decades.
• WV-01: After a rather protracted four-year investigation, the Justice Dept. ended its investigation of Rep. Alan Mollohan over earmark steering, removing the ethical cloud from over his head. Mollohan had been on retirement watch lists, in the face of several decent Republican challengers, but he recently filed for re-election and now his opponents have less ammo to use against him.
• OH-SoS: Progressives have been dismayed that socially conservative state Rep. Jennifer Garrison is the only Democratic option in the Secretary of State primary anymore, but that sounds like it’s about to change. Franklin Co. Clerk of Courts (and former Columbus city councilor) Maryellen O’Shaugnessy is rumored to be about to enter the race, and it also sounds like she’ll have the backing of the state party’s power brokers, starting at the top with Gov. Ted Strickland (who can’t afford to have progressives stay home in 2010, as he needs them to save his own bacon in what promises to be a tight gubernatorial race).
• Census: New York state Senate Democrats are proposing changes in the way that prison inmates are counted. They’d like for them to be considered residents of the district where their last known address was, not where they’re currently incarcerated. It’s actually a very important issue, considering that there are more than 58,000 state prisoners in New York, most of whom are from cities but are currently in rural Upstate, and it could tip the balance significantly in redistricting the state Senate. In other Census news, Robert Groves talked extensively to Pew about increasing participation, tracking turnout, and overcoming language barriers.
• Humor: Finally, here’s a cartoon that SSP fans are uniquely positioned to enjoy.
• AR-Sen: Shortest Senate campaign ever. Former Arkansas Farm Bureau president Stanley Reed, about one week into his campaign, dropped out today, citing health reasons. Reed, with his resume and connections, was considered a very credible candidate when stacked up against the rest of the ragtag band of misfits running for the GOP. On the Dem side comes the intriguing news that the SEIU is paying down Lt. Gov. Bill Halter‘s campaign debt. Daily Kos’s Jed seems optimistic that the SEIU is facilitating a primary run against Blanche Lincoln (they said he “has a very bright political future,” although not specifically referencing the Senate race), although, considering there were rumors that the SEIU’s anti-Gilbert Baker ad was interpreted as a sign to Lincoln that they had her back (in exchange for her cooperation on an HCR cloture vote), it’s also possible this could be a carrot from the SEIU to Halter to stay out of the primary. This one’s worth keeping an eye on.
• AZ-Sen: This might be a clue that there’s some growing substance to the rumors that ex-Rep. J.D. Hayworth is gearing up for a primary run against John McCain. He’s in Washington DC this week, meeting with potential supporters including conservative advocacy group Citizens United.
• CT-Sen: I’m not sure how much sway former Democratic state party chair Ed Marcus has over Chris Dodd or anybody else, but he’s gone on the record advocating that Dodd hang it up and make way for Richard Blumenthal. Dodd’s people responded that Marcus has some sort of old grudge against Dodd.
• KY-Sen: Um, whoops. Rand Paul’s campaign manager Chris Hightower had to resign his post yesterday after local blog Barefoot and Progressive found racist comments on Hightower’s MySpace page (and also video of performances by Hightower’s death metal band… gotta love those crazy libertarians). (Wait… MySpace? Srsly?) Primary rival Trey Grayson’s campaign wasted no time jumping on this, adding some fuel to their argument that Paul isn’t coming from mainstream Republican turf.
• IL-Gov: Rasmussen added some gubernatorial numbers to their Illinois sample, finding fairly comfortable leads for both incumbent Pat Quinn and Dem comptroller Dan Hynes against their Republican opposition. It wouldn’t be a Rasmussen poll without something inexplicable in it, though, and this time it’s the decision not to poll former AG Jim Ryan, who’s probably the Republican field’s frontrunner. Still, Quinn beats state party chair Andy McKenna 41-33, state Sen. Bill Brady 45-30, and state Sen. Kirk Dillard 41-30, while Hynes beats McKenna 43-30, Brady 46-27, and Dillard 42-29. Interesting to see Hynes overperforming Quinn in the general, even as Hynes looks unlikely to make it out of the primary; that may have to do with some Blago-related stench coming off of Quinn (Blago’s ex-LG, although they had absolutely nothing to do with each other), or just the reversal of positions, where the former reformer Quinn is now the insider and the well-connected Hynes is now the outsider. In the Dem primary, long-time SoS Jesse White threw his endorsement to Quinn. The Dem field also shrank to only Quinn and Hynes as the two minor candidates were vanquished; attorney Ed Scanlon was knocked off the ballot, while activist Dock Walls withdrew.
• NY-Gov: It had looked like Erie County Exec Chris Collins had gaffed his way out of contention for a possible run for the GOP gubernatorial nomination (after a bizarre tirade against Assembly speaker Sheldon Silver). But with Rudy Giuliani pretty clearly out of the field and ex-Rep. Rick Lazio exciting absolutely nobody, it looks like Collins may still take a whack at it. He just hired a campaign consulting firm run by a former Giuliani aide.
• IL-10: One of the four GOPers in the field in the 10th, Bill Cadigan, has dropped out; without state Rep. Beth Coulson’s name rec or the money of Dick Green or Bob Dold, he really didn’t have a foot in the door. Speaking of Bob Dold, Bob Dold is now on the air with a TV spot touting Bob Dold’s conservative economic views. Bob Dold!
• MN-06: If there’s someone out there who seems like she’d be one of those crazy bosses, it’s Rep. Michele Bachmann. She’s had a terrible time holding onto chiefs of staff, and now she’s facing a rupture with her entire fundraising group, described as a “defection” (although it’s not clear where they’re defecting to).
• NH-02: This isn’t going to endear ex-Rep. Charlie Bass to the teabag set, as he seeks to reclaim his seat. Bass just got a $2,500 check from NRCC chair Pete Sessions’ PAC. The anti-establishment right already has to be inclined to support right-wing radio talker Jennifer Horn over the moderate Bass.
• OH-15: Ex-state Sen. (and 2008 loser) Steve Stivers won’t get the GOP primary to himself; he’s facing a challenge from the right from John Adams, who’s labeling himself as the “conservative alternative.” Stivers also faces third-party right-winger David Ryon in the general, similar to what hamstrung him last time and let Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy squeak into office.
• OH-17: Ex-Rep. (and ex-con) Jim Traficant is in the news again, sounding revved up to, well, yell and gesticulate a lot, as always. He’s also still talking about another run for Congress, although he’s not sure where. He said he’d circulate nominating petitions in three different districts. His former seat in the 17th is likeliest, although so too is the neighboring 6th.
• PA-10: The race in the 10th has been slow to take shape, compared with most other red-leaning districts held by Democrats. But with state Rep. Mike Peifer recently having announced he’s interested in a race against Rep. Chris Carney, now someone else potentially higher up the food chain is checking it out too: former US Attorney Tom Marino, who already (wisely) passed on the race in 2008.
• PA-15: Here’s one more district with teabagger troubles for the NRCC and the Republican establishment. Rep. Charlie Dent is facing his toughest challenge yet from Democratic mayor of Bethlehem John Callahan, and now comes word of a challenge in the GOP primary from 9/12 movement member Matthew Benol. There’s also a third-party teabagger awaiting Dent in the general, Jake Towne.
• TN-06: State Sen. Jim Tracy seemed to have an early edge on securing the GOP nod in the now-open 6th, vacated recently by Democratic Rep. Bart Gordon. That was bolstered by his recent announcement that he’d already raised $100K in funds just this week, and that he’d gotten the endorsement of fellow state Sen. (and potential primary rival) Bill Ketron. However, he’s got some competition from another fellow state Senator now: Diane Black announced that she’s joining the race too. (Black is from suburban Gallatin, while Tracy is from more rural Shelbyville.)
• TN-08: Republican candidate Stephen Fincher had been successfully playing the “I’m just a humble farmer/gospel singer who’s never even been to Washington” role for a while, it seems, but suddenly the teabaggers are turning their wrath on even him, too. They’re taking an issue with his fundraising, as almost all of his money is coming from nearby farm families who’ve maxed-out on donations (which is a good sign, as his big haul so far was just him picking the low-hanging fruit; now the real test comes). What’s alarming to the anti-pork crowd is that how deep in the pocket of Big Ag he seems to be; his supporters have received a cumulative $80,000,000 in farm subsidies, and Fincher himself has gotten $6,000,000 in farm subsidies over the years, including $800,000 in 2007 alone.
• WA-03: The Democratic field seems to be solidifying, with Olympia-area state Rep. Brendan Williams, a frequently-mentioned possible candidate, deciding against a run. With state Sen. Craig Pridemore and state Rep. Deb Wallace both in, the two main candidates are both from Vancouver instead. Also worth noting: peace activist Cheryl Crist is in the race for the Dems too. Crist primaried Brian Baird in 2008, doing well at the activist-dominated nominating convention but making little impact in the actual primary.
• GA-St. House: It’s official; David Ralston is the new Republican speaker of Georgia’s House, following the suicide attempt and resignation of former speaker Glenn Richardson. If you’re looking for broader implications, it takes Ralston’s name out of contention in the open seat in GA-09, where he’d been rumored to be interested in a run.
• Demographics: Josh Goodman does some neat number-tweaking, overlaying Census projections onto the 2008 presidential election to try and predict the 2052 election. Assuming that racial groups keep voting for the same parties at the same proportions, he projects 58-40 Democratic edge. Of course, that’s easier said than done, as, for starters, Hispanics could return to their 2004-level GOP performance; also, as he points out, “Heck, in 40 years the Tea Party and the Green Party might be the major players in contesting the all-important cyborg vote.”
• DE-Sen: Here’s an ominous possibility: it’s been taken on faith that Beau Biden will still run for the Senate even with Mike Castle’s entry… but what if he doesn’t? The rumor mill is suddenly wondering if Biden has developed cold feet, especially keeping in mind that he’s only 40 and can pretty much waltz into the job in four years, rather running the risk of damaging his brand by losing an election in 2010.
• FL-Sen: Former Miami mayor Maurice Ferre, who just re-appeared on the scene this week, has already moved quickly to get into the race, announcing his candidacy for the Democratic nod today. Ferre is 74, a bit old to be launching a Senate bid, but he should have a lot of appeal in the Hispanic communities (although it’s worth noting he’s not Cuban, but Puerto Rican). On the other side of the aisle, Republican underdog Marco Rubio seems on the precipice of a big score that will help him tap into a nationwide base of donors (although his recent fundraising numbers suggests he’s already gone nationwide): the Club for Growth is feeling sufficiently confident to get involved on his behalf.
• NV-Sen: I’ve lost count of who’s in the lead, Mark Sanford or John Ensign, in terms of how many times he’s had to tell the press that he won’t resign. Anyway, it was Ensign’s turn again yesterday, as he faces a ramped-up Senate Ethics investigation.
• VT-Sen: A primary challenge to Pat Leahy from the left? This seems unlikely to go anywhere, but Daniel Frielich, a military doctor from Wilmington, VT, will announce his candidacy today. His bid seems to focus mostly on health care (he’s a single-payer backer and not a fan of the Dems’ watered-down approach).
• OR-Gov: Couple minor tidbits from the Beaver State: one, Steve Novick (who fared well in the 2008 Dem Senate primary) had been occasionally rumored to be interested in running for Governor, but makes his Shermanesque ‘no’ statement in a Blue Oregon piece detailing his road map for the next guv. Also, as Republicans cast about for a palatable candidate, the fickle finger is now pointing at state Sen. Frank Morse, who says he may get in. Morse has a moderate or at least pleasant reputation within the Senate, but has no statewide profile.
• VA-Gov: Reading between the lines, it sounds like Creigh Deeds might be looking for excuses for his increasingly probable defeat in November. He blames some of his travails on the “spending” and “noise coming out of Washington D.C.”
• FL-08: With Orange County Mayor Rich Crotty out, former state Sen. Daniel Webster is still a maybe (although his registering “danielwebsterforcongress.com” may tip his hand). Regardless of what Webster is doing, at least one other Republican is wading into the fray: wealthy businessman Jerry Pierce, who says he’ll run with or without GOP backing. (Pierce has given $15K to the Club for Growth over the last decade, so maybe he’s hoping they’ll return the favor.)
• NH-02: Jennifer Horn, who lost to Rep. Paul Hodes in 2008, isn’t getting out of the way for ex-Rep. Charlie Bass’s possible comeback. Horn is expected to publicly announce her candidacy today.
• VA-05: As had been expected, state Sen. Rob Hurt filed his paperwork yesterday to run against Rep. Tom Perriello in the 5th. Hurt is from near Danville at the district’s south end, setting up a battle of the regional bases with the Charlottesville-based Perriello.
• Mayors: Here’s an ignominious end of the road for three-term Albuquerque mayor Martin Chavez (who, Bloomberg-style, overturned a term limits ordinance in order to run again): he got bounced from office in a primary. Somewhat surprisingly, Republican state Rep. Richard Berry cleared the 40% mark in the three-way primary, which means that he wins without the trouble of a general election. Berry got 44% to Chavez’s 35% and 21% for Democratic state Sen. Richard Romero. (UPDATE: This technically was a general election, not a primary, under local law; had no one broken 40%, the top-two November election would have been considered a runoff.)
• NRCC: The NRCC announced which five of its Patriots (the vulnerable incumbents, akin to the Dems’ Frontline program) will get the first infusion of cash. The beneficiaries are Mary Bono Mack, Charlie Dent, Pat Tiberi, Lee Terry, and Tom Rooney, all of whom have drawn high-profile challengers.
• CO-Sen: Former Lt. Gov. Jane Norton is set to launch her bid for the GOP nomination for the Senate today; however, not every prominent Colorado Republican is on board. Ex-Rep. Tom Tancredo lit into her, saying she’s “not ready for prime time” and that he would have less of a problem with her if she’d worked the regular behind-the-scene channels in preparing for the race instead of parachuting in at the last minute, apparently at the urging of family friend John McCain. Those on the left, however, are casting a dark eye toward her lobbying past: she used be the head of government relations for a for-profit health care lobbying shop.
• KS-Sen: The GOP primary in Kansas is commonly understood to be an establishment/movement duel between Reps. Jerry Moran and Todd Tiahrt. However, the endorsements in the race are scrambling that a bit, as South Carolina’s Jim DeMint, maybe the nuttiest guy in the Senate, has endorsed Moran (the ‘moderate’ in the race, who surprisingly also got Tom Coburn‘s endorsement this spring). The somewhat more mainstream figures of John McCain and Richard Burr will also headline Moran fundraisers in DC.
• NH-Sen: Instead of linking to that Populus poll (with a bizarre sample that’s way off state party composition) that shows Rep. Paul Hodes losing 54-39 to a generic Republican, I’ll just direct you to Dean Barker’s authoritative takedown of the poll and of Populus in general.
• NY-Sen-B: As suspected, that Rudy Giuliani-for-Senate thing that happened yesterday was just cloud talk. Via right-hand-man Tony Carbonetti, the word is that Giuliani doesn’t see himself as a Senator, and only belongs in chief executive positions instead.
• CA-Gov: Here’s about as big an endorsement as SF mayor Gavin Newsom could have hoped for in his bid for California Governor, where he has been sinking into underdog status in the Dem primary against AG Jerry Brown. Bill Clinton will appear at an Oct. 5 event for Newsom. (Payback for Brown staying around in the 1992 presidential primary after it had been sorted out?) The popularity of the Clinton brand, especially among Latinos, may give Newsom a boost among the state’s Latinos, who haven’t shown much interest in Newsom yet.
• NJ-Gov: PPP, like most pollsters, shows a narrowing edge for Chris Christie in New Jersey but Jon Corzine still standing at the bottom of a hole. Christie leads Corzine 44-35 (improved from 50-36 last month), with independent Chris Daggett pulling in his strongest performance in any poll yet, at 13%. Corzine just isn’t gaining, but Christie seems to be leaking votes to Daggett, suggesting there are a lot of Dems and Dem-leaning indies who hate Corzine but can’t bring themselves to vote for a Republican (Corzine is polling at only 64% among Democrats). Also similar to other pollsters, there seems to be a big enthusiasm gap at work on the Dem side: among those who fit into PPP’s likely voter screen, Barack Obama won only 48-46 in 2008 (despite his actual 15-pt edge last year).
• VA-Gov: This bodes ill for Creigh Deeds: one of his electability assets was that he was the most gun-friendly of the Democratic candidates. However, the National Rifle Association — who, in the 2005 Attorney General’s race endorsed Deeds over Bob McDonnell — turned around and endorsed McDonnell over Deeds in the Governor’s race.
• IL-10: State Rep. Julie Hamos got a key endorsement in her primary fight against 06/08 nominee Dan Seals, from EMILY’s List. That gives her a national fundraising profile that may help counteract Seals’ netroots backing.
• NH-02: It seems like there has been an endless supply of “Charlie Bass is weighing his options” stories out of New Hampshire, but the ex-Rep. now says he’s “leaning toward” a run to get back his old seat. However, the moderate Bass would first have to survive a primary against conservative radio blabber Jennifer Horn, who was the 2008 candidate against Rep. Paul Hodes and has said she’s back for another try.
• PA-03: John Onorato made it official: he’ll be running against freshman Rep. Kathy Dahlkemper. He’s currently general counsel for the Manufacturer and Business Association, but he used to be Erie County Solicitor, an elected office with a constituency that makes up almost half of the district.
• SC-04: I might as well just start the “Bob Inglis Deathwatch” series today. The South Carolina Republican, who used to be one of the most conservative House members but has been sounding increasingly moderate (and sick of Republican hypocrisy) lately, Twittered a suggestion for neighbor Joe Wilson to apologize on the House floor for his outburst. This is the same Inglis who voted for TARP and against the Iraq Surge, and who told town hall screamers to turn off the Glenn Beck; he faces several serious primary challengers in this mega-evangelical R+15 district.
• VA-05: Cordel Faulk, the former spokesperson for Larry Sabato’s Univ. of Virginia Center for Politics, said that he won’t run for the GOP nod to oppose Tom Perriello after all. Still no top-tier (or even second or third-tier) GOP candidate in this district that presents, on paper, one of their best pickup opportunities.
• VA-07: A local real estate developer, Charles Diradour, has announced that he’ll run as a Democrat against Republican whip Eric Cantor in Richmond’s suburbs. He’ll need to bring a lot of developer money to the table if he’s going to have a chance at Cantor, the House Republicans’ biggest fundraiser, in this R+9 district.
• CfG: The Club for Growth is havnig a busy day. They just announced endorsements in the area where they can do the least harm, in open-seat GOP primaries in super-red districts. They endorsed state Sen. Tim Huelskamp in KS-01, and state Rep. Tom Graves in GA-09. Interestingly, they’re also interviewing both Rand Paul and Trey Grayson to see if they want to get involved in the Kentucky primary.
• NYC: It’s primary election day for New York City’s elective offices, and the final SurveyUSA poll (sampled the 11th through the 13th) is out today. In the mayor’s race, Comptroller William Thompson, at 46%, seems clear of the 40% mark that necessitates a runoff. We’re seeing momentum in two different directions below that, though. Former PA Mark Green is losing steam in the Public Advocate’s race, down to 33%, making a runoff likely against city councilor Bill DeBlasio (who’s at 23%). Meanwhile, city councilor John Liu is making a break for the 40% line; he’s at 37%, while David Yassky and Melinda Katz are fighting for 2nd (at 22% and 21% respectively).
• MO-Sen: In an e-mail to local TV affiliate KY3, former Treasurer Sarah Steelman seems to be walking back her comments to the Hill yesterday, not wanting to appear to shut the door on a GOP primary bid against Rep. Roy Blunt. She says she’s still “very seriously considering” it.
• PA-Sen: Here’s an interesting development: a state legislator in Pennsylvania has introduced a bill to switch Pennyslvania from closed to open primaries. This seems like a nakedly pro-Specter bill: it would have helped him survive his GOP primary against Pat Toomey, and now it would have the opposite effect, helping him survive a Democratic primary against Joe Sestak by opening the door to independents and moderate Republicans.
• AK-AL: Unless the indictment fairy has a present for him soon, Rep. Don Young looks to have a much easier go of it in 2010 than last cycle. Not only is his Dem challenger ex-state House minority leader Ethan Berkowitz likely to run for governor instead, but now it sounds like his primary opponents, Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell and ex-state Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux, aren’t going to run again either. Unlike last time, Parnell would need to give up his LG job to run, and he may instead be running for Governor if Sarah Palin declines to run again. Businessman Andrew Halcro, who ran for Governor as an independent in 2006, also sounds likely to run for Governor rather than challenge Young. State Senator Hollis French, who sounded like a likely Governor candidate for the Dems until Berkowitz showed up, may be the Dems’ best bet.
• AL-07: The field to replace Artur Davis got bigger, as Jefferson Co. Councilor Shelia Smoot officially launched her campaign. She joins lawyer Terri Sewell, state Rep. Earl Hilliard Jr., and former Selma mayor James Perkins in the primary (which is the only real race in this D+18 district).
• CA-11: Contra Costa County Sheriff Warren Rupf turned down the chance to run as a Republican in the upcoming CA-10 special election, but that seemed to ignite his interest, as now he’s considering running in 2010 in next-door CA-11 against sophomore Rep. Jerry McNerney, at R+1 a more plausible race than the D+11 CA-10.
• FL-08: Republican state Representative Steve Precourt is considering making the race against Rep. Alan Grayson in this R+2 Orlando-area seat. His strongest words seemed to be reserved for likely primary opponent Orange County Mayor Rich Crotty, who Precourt doesn’t see as a “fresh face” or viable, although Precourt said he’d stand down if former state Sen. Daniel Webster got in.
• ID-01: The Republican field in ID-01 is filling up, as state House majority leader Ken Roberts announced he’s in. He’ll have to get past veteran and McCain ally Vaughn Ward before facing off against Rep. Walt Minnick, though. Ex-Rep. Bill Sali occasionally makes threatening noises about a rematch, but he hasn’t said anything definite.
• NH-02: Former state Rep. Bob Giuda (not to be confused with Frank Guinta, running in NH-01) is the first GOPer to launch an exploratory committee in the race to fill Rep. Paul Hodes’ open seat. He may still be joined by the 2008 candidate, Jennifer Horn, and, more remotely, a return by ex-Rep. Charlie Bass.
• NY-23: Douglas Hoffman, the head of a local accounting firm, has thrown his hat into the GOP nomination contest for the special election to replace Rep. John McHugh. Republicans also announced their schedule for picking a nominee, involving four regional meetings around the districts where candidates would speak to the Republican county committee members over a two- to four-week period once there’s an official vacancy.
• PA-03: Freshman Rep. Kathy Dahlkemper, representing the swingy R+3 district based in Erie (won by John McCain by 62 votes), has managed to secure a hot ticket in view of its self-imposed membership cap: she joined the Blue Dog Coalition.
• Redistricting: A petition drive is underway in Florida to get an initiative on the ballot for 2010 that, while not creating an independent redistricting campaign, would at least place some non-partisan limitations on the creation of House and legislative districts. Most of the money behind the petition drive is coming from Democrats, but two prominent Democrats aren’t on board with the drive: Reps. Alcee Hastings and Corrine Brown, both of whom stand to inherit more difficult districts if they’re made less convoluted.
• IL-10: Roll Call takes a look at the potential GOP and Dem fields to replace Rep. Mark Kirk should he decide to run for Senate. A spokesperson for ’06/’08 nominee Dan Seals says that he’s in for a third crack at the seat if Kirk vacates the scene, but state Sens. Michael Bond and Susan Garrett are also possible recruits. For the GOP, potential contenders include state Reps. Beth Coulson, JoAnn Osmond, and Ed Sullivan Jr — as well as state Sens. Dan Duffy and Matt Murphy. Coulson, perhaps the most moderate choice the GOP has to offer, might run into some problems in a GOP primary against a more conservative choice like Murphy. (J)
• PA-Sen: The Republican caucus in the Pennsylvania state Senate seems reluctant to comply with Arlen Specter’s desire to allow independents to vote in closed-party primary elections. If the state ultimately leaves the primary rules as they are, Specter will face the daunting task of convincing independents and Democrats to change their party registrations over to the GOP column in order for him to gain leverage against Pat Toomey. (J)
On a very related note, Specter just announced this afternoon that he will be opposing EFCA (an about-face from his previous support for it in previous sessions). Apparently he now thinks the GOP primary is his biggest worry, not maintaining union support for the general.
• MN-06: We’ll never get tired of loving Michele Bachmann. Her latest:
I want people in Minnesota armed and dangerous on this issue of the energy tax because we need to fight back. Thomas Jefferson told us ‘having a revolution every now and then is a good thing,’ and the people – we the people – are going to have to fight back hard if we’re not going to lose our country. And I think this has the potential of changing the dynamic of freedom forever in the United States.
• CO-04: Speculation is growing about who the GOP will find to take on freshman Rep. Betsy Markey in this one-time GOP stronghold turned swing district. State rep. Cory Gardner seems to generate the most buzz, who has already met with the NRCC. Other possibilities include former UC regent Tom Lucero and Ft. Collins city councilor Diggs Brown.
• MI-12: Sander Levin must have had a lot of advance notice of the just-announced primary challenge from state senator Mickey Switalski, because he’s already produced an internal poll from the Mellman Group showing him demolishing Switalski. Levin beats Switalski 62-14 in a head-to-head, and maintains a 74-15 favorable rating. (Switalski’s favorables are 23-8, leaving 69% unsure.)
• NH-02: Another GOPer has lined up for the open House seat left behind by Paul Hodes: Len Mannino, former Milford selectman and current school board member, is publicly expressing his interest. He’ll face an uphill fight against talk radio host Jennifer Horn, who seems to be aiming for a rematch.
• CT-Sen: In 1970, Connecticut’s senior senator, beset by ethical issues (including a Senate censure) and health troubles, failed to re-claim the Democratic Party’s nomation and came in third as an independent that November. That man was Thomas Dodd, Chris Dodd’s father. Click the link for some fascinating details about his saga. And let’s hope that history doesn’t repeat – or even rhyme. (D)
• TX-Gov: Todd Hill of the Burnt Orange Report sat down for an extended interview with Democratic candidate Tom Schieffer. (D)
• CT-Sen: The new lovefest between Joe Lieberman and the Democratic Party seems to be reaching the point where they need to get a room. In the wake of yesterday’s endorsement of Chris Dodd, Lieberman is today floating the idea of running in 2012 in the Democratic primary, instead of just as an independent. (Of course, unless Connecticut passes a sore loser law in the next few years, what’s the downside? If he loses the Dem primary again, he can just switch back to CfL one more time.)
• NV-Sen, NV-Gov: The GOP is running out of options for a good challenger to Harry Reid. Former state senator Joe Heck (who lost his Las Vegas-area seat last year) has decided to run in the GOP primary against chronically embattled governor Jim Gibbons instead. (Although if Heck is going against Gibbons, what is Rep. Dean Heller planning to do then?) With ex-Rep. Jon Porter taking the K Street route and Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki under indictment, the GOP’s Nevada bench is nearly empty.
• PA-Sen: Joe Torsella won’t have the Democratic primary in the Pennsylvania senate race to himself. State Rep. Josh Shapiro, a 35-year-old reform-minded legislator from the Philadelphia suburbs, is now exploring the race. This may be a tea leaf that Rep. Allyson Schwartz isn’t getting in the primary, as Shapiro (who’s in PA-13) would likely run for Schwartz’s seat instead if it were going to be open.
• CA-32: EMILY’s List has weighed in in the CA-32 primary, and they’re endorsing… believe it or not… the woman in the race: Board of Equalization chair Judy Chu. Chu’s main competition is state senator Gil Cedillo, who comes in with the endorsement of nearby House members like Xavier Becerra, Linda Sanchez, and Grace Napolitano (Hilda Solis, who used to occupy CA-32, hasn’t endorsed). The district is about 65% Hispanic and 20% Asian.
• NH-01, NH-02: We’re looking at a crowded field for Republican opponents to Carol Shea-Porter: John Stephen, who barely lost the primary last time to ex-Rep. Jeb Bradley, is eyeing the race, as is Manchester mayor Frank Guinta. Businessman Jim Wieczorek also plans to run. Meanwhile, next door in the open NH-02, radio host Jennifer Horn says there’s a good chance she’ll run again in 2010.
• FL-22: State house majority leader Adam Hasner has been launching a series of attacks on Rep. Ron Klein over EFCA… is this a preview of the 2010 race? (It’s a Dem-leaning district, but Klein’s 2008 victory margin wasn’t impressive.)
• Votes: Also on the EFCA front, Campaign Diaries has an impressively thorough chart head-counting the positions staked out by all the Democratic senators (and potential GOP votes).
• Blue Dogs: After lifting their self-imposed 20%-of-the-Dem-caucus cap to expand to 51 members, the Blue Dogs are talking about growing again, to 56 members. No word on who that might be (although the door’s apparently open to Scott Murphy if he wins).
• NRSC: Roll Call is running a story today with the banner headline “McConnell Criticizes GOP for Lack of Diversity.” What’s next? “Sanders Criticizes KFC for Serving Chicken?”
(From the diaries – promoted by James L.)
I confess it – this was more challenging for me to put together than my earlier piece on Carol Shea-Porter, because in comparing the Charlie Bass (R-inc) – Paul Hodes (D) race of 2006 to the Paul Hodes (D-inc) – Jennifer Horn (R) race of 2008, the numbers tell you over and over again that the two are not really comparable. Very much apples and oranges.
There are a number of reasons for this. For starters, Charlie Bass held on to a district for six terms that showed less and less opportunity for the GOP every year, especially given the radicalism of the Bush brand in the final six of them. So the absence of a Bass incumbency factor gave us he opportunity to see the district more as it may actually be. Secondly, freshman class president Paul Hodes has proven to be, unlike the BassMaster, something of a leader in Congress, and has paid excellent attention to the needs of his district. Third, he’s a capable fundraiser. And finally, in Jennifer S. Horn-Palin, the GOP chose a standard-bearer who could not be more out-of-touch with CD2. But let’s listen to what the numbers are saying.
(More below the fold…)
First, the list of towns that flipped from Charlie Bass in ’06 to Paul Hodes in ’08 is – happily – so long it’s not useful even listing, imho. But just for the record, the total number is forty-five. And the most important ones, in voter-rich terms, are accounted for in the tables below.
Jennifer Horn, on the other hand, flipped one whole town: Millsfield. Total votes cast? 15.
Due to the larger number of towns in CD2 v. CD1, and the convincing victory Hodes had (and leaving aside cities with wards for a moment), I thought it would be both more readable and more useful to focus first on those towns with greater than 2000 votes cast for the general election cycle. As in my earlier post on CSP, the following list represents those populous towns where Paul Hodes raised his vote percentage from ’06 to ’08 by three percentage points or more. The table also lists total votes cast, and Hodes’ 2008 vote percentage, the color of which declares who won that town (blue for Hodes, red for Horn):
* Flipped to Hodes in 2008.
Town ’08 Hodes % ’06-’08 +/-% Diff. Total Votes Cast Littleton* 57.7% +16.5% 2699 Newport 59.4% +9.8% 2845 Plymouth 67.8% +8.4% 3457 Northfield* 53.9% +8.0% 2204 Hillsborough 56.9% +7.5% 2743 Epsom* 51.3% +7.1% 2397 Pembroke 56.7% +7.0% 3580 Loudon* 51.8% +6.2% 2742 Weare* 48.7% +5.4% 4447 New Boston 45.04% +5.2% 2982 Jaffrey 56.8% +5.1% 2766 Charlestown 63.2% +4.9% 2475 New London* 54.2% +4.9% 2788 Bow* 53.4% +4.9% 4645 Allenstown 57.3% +4.8% 2064 Henniker 59.8% +4.7% 2405 Enfield 64.6% +4.6% 2333 Pelham 46.0% +4.3% 6310 Walpole 61.0% +4.3% 2143 Hopkinton 60.6% +4.1% 3744 Litchfield 45.0% +3.7% 4252 Hudson* 49.1% +3.3% 11,332
Now, the next step would be to do the same for those towns of over 2000 votes cast where Paul’s vote percentage decreased by three points or more. The (happy) problem with that? There’s only one town that fits the bill, Brookline. With 2,706 votes cast, Hodes won 41.8% of the vote, a decrease of 4.5% from 2006. And I’ll be generous: neighboring Boston-commute southern tier town Hollis gets honorary mention with a Hodes decrease of 2.9% from the last cycle.
Finally, let’s have a look at how Paul fared from 2006 to 2008 in the major cities of the second district:
City ’08 Hodes % ’06-’08 +/-% Diff. Total Votes Cast Berlin 73.0% +13.0% 4179 Claremont 64.2% +6.7% 5470 Concord 65.6% +5.2% 21,128 Franklin 58.2% +8.9% 3587 Keene 70.2% +3.4% 12,263 Lebanon 68.1% +3.4% 6455 Nashua 55.3% +0.2% 37,995
So. What observations, if any, come from these numbers, aside from the obvious points above about the lopsided nature of this race compared to 2006?
* Check out Littleton, Plymouth, and Berlin on those charts. Huge increases for all three. North Country Yankee natives are Democrats now.
* The Upper Valley continues to be a dominant – and growing – sector for Democrats. Not on the chart, and populous enough to have its own wards, Hanover gave Hodes 78.7% of its vote with 6,912 votes cast.
* From the long litany and diverse nature of flipped towns such as Grafton, New London, Milford, Colebrook, and Boscawen, you can feel the grip of the GOP’s too-long grip on CD2 slipping away, perhaps for a good long time. The six term backbencher BassMaster really did hold on to half of New Hampshire longer than was ultimately viable.
* Here’s the biggest surprise of all for me from these numbers. Take a look at the percent increases for the larger towns, and for all the cities. What stands out? Nashua. It didn’t budge.
But guess what else? With all due respect to the good Granite Staters of Nashua, it didn’t much matter, either. Despite being by far the most populous city in the district, it simply isn’t enough to focus on Nashua and hope it spreads outwards. In this sense, NHGOP Chair Fergus Cullen, imho, made a critical tactical mistake in throwing his heft behind Horn (if the rumors and spin are to be believed). A far-right, socially conservative talk radio show host from the southern tier was not going to cut it with the rest of the district’s demographics. Far better it would have been to have had Bob Clegg as the nominee, if of course Clegg showed himself to be a better candidate (he didn’t), or perhaps the more moderate, Concord area primary spoiler Jim Steiner, if he could have shown a better fundraising presence.
The long and the short of it, though, is that if the GOP ever wants a chance at CD2 again, they’re going to have to stop going to the Massachusetts tax refugee well like flies to honey. They will need to field someone much more moderate. And someone who understands rural and agricultural issues, alternative energy concerns, the importance of the North Country, and the newly dominant progressive voter in the Upper Valley.
Too bad Paul owns all those areas. It’s a good day to be a Democrat.