Oklahoma Primary Results Roundup

The roundup, of last night’s unexpectedly exciting results.

  • OK-Gov (D): Incumbent LG Jari Askins pulled out a razor-thin win over incumbent Attorney General Drew Edmondson, despite Edmondson’s polling lead before the election. Football coaching legend Barry Switzer’s endorsement of Brad Henry 8 years ago is sometimes credited with Henry’s come-from-behind win, and perhaps the same applies this time around?
  • OK-Gov (R): No surprise in the GOP gubernatorial race, where 5th CD Rep. Mary Fallin scored 55% against three opponents – this is eerily close to Ernest Istook (Fallin’s predecessor)’s 55% haul in 2006. Regardless of who wins in November, Oklahoma will have its first female governor in 2011.
  • OK-01 (R): John Sullivan drew five challengers in his bid for re-election, with presumably some discontent on his right flank. Sullivan’s 62% performance puts him quite in line with other underwhelming incumbent performances this cycle.
  • OK-02 (D)/(R): Incumbent Dan Boren easily dispatched State Senator Jim Wilson by a 76-24 margin. Wilson lost the counties in his own district 36-64, and the rest of the district by an even wider 78-22 margin. Boren will face one of the two underfunded GOPers who moved onto the runoff, Charles Thompson or Daniel Edmonds. Given that neither Thompson nor Edmonds has even one measly K in their campaign accounts, Boren should be a lock for re-election in November.

  • OK-05 (D)/(R): On the GOP side, Christian camp director Jim Lankford and former state Rep. (and 2006 candidate) Kevin Calvey will move onto the runoff, having earned 34% and 32% respectively. State Rep. Mike Thompson – despite having the largest campaign warchest – came in third with 18%. The winner of that runoff will be heavily favored against Democrat Billy Coyle, a veteran and attorney, in this R+13 district.

SSP Daily Digest: 1/18

CA-Sen: Rasmussen popped up late Friday with a California Senate poll, taken to reflect the recent entry of ex-Rep. Tom Campbell to the race. Although a Campbell internal showed him dominating the primary field, he isn’t particularly polling better or worse than the rest of the field against three-term Dem incumbent Barbara Boxer. Campbell trails her 46-42, while Carly Fiorina trails 46-43 and Assemblyman Chuck DeVore trails 46-40. Note that this is probably the closest that Rasmussen has had this race, which other pollsters (especially the Field Poll) have always had in double digits for Boxer.

IL-Sen: In the Democratic Senate primary, Alexi Giannoulias got an endorsement from one of the state’s few well-liked politicians, long-time SoS Jesse White. His long-shot rival David Hoffman got an endorsement that comes with a lot of voters and organizational firepower behind it, though: the Illinois Education Association, the state’s major teacher’s union.

NY-Sen-B, NY-Gov(pdf): Siena, following Marist from late last week, has gotten in the act, of polling a Kirsten Gillibrand/Harold Ford Jr. Democratic primary. Siena’s numbers pretty closely match Marist: they find Gillibrand with a 41-17 lead over Ford (with 5 for Jonathan Tasini), where Marist gave her a 43-24 lead. Where Siena breaks with Marist is in seeing how a hypothetical Gillibrand matchup with ex-Gov. George Pataki goes; they see Pataki leading 51-38 (and Ford doing even worse, 54-32). Also a bit ominous: Gillibrand’s negatives are creeping up, as she’s currently with a 30/32 favorable. Pataki, however, still is showing no signs of interest, and it’s getting late if he’s going to make a move.

No real surprises in the Governor’s race, according to Siena: Paterson’s popularity, while still awful, is ticking up a little, with a 38/52 approval. Paterson ties Republican ex-Rep. Rick Lazio 42-42 and Erie Co. Exec Chris Collins 40-40, but he’s very unlikely to survive the primary: he loses to Andrew Cuomo 59-21, with potential new entrant Suffolk Co. Exec Steve Levy pulling in 6. Cuomo stomps Lazio 66-24 and Collins 65-23, while Levy leads the Republicans too, beating Lazio 40-33 and Collins 42-26.

CT-Gov, CT-AG: I’m labeling this as potentially “CT-Gov” even though SoS Susan Bysiewicz announced last week that she wasn’t going to run for Governor (despite having command of the polls), in order to run for AG and, based on her coy responses to the question of whether she’d serve a full term, then run against Joe Lieberman in 2012. There’s been some discussion of whether she even qualifies to run for AG, as one requirement is ten years of legal practice in Connecticut. She practiced for six years before becoming SoS, so the central question here is whether serving as SoS counts as the practice of law or not. This may need to be resolved by the courts – and given the timetable on running a campaign and that she may not be able to wait for a decision, she may have to swallow her disappointment and settle for having to be Governor instead.

MI-Gov, MI-01: The DCCC may be sighing with relief at this: Rep. Bart Stupak (who holds down an R+3 district) is now sounding unlikely to run for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in Michigan, despite some interest last week. He tells Politico that it’s “hard for [him] to envision” a campaign, as he’s still bogged down with health care reform in the House and would be starting behind the 8-ball on fundraising and organization.

NM-Gov: That was a strangely fast exploratory period: never-before-elected attorney Pete Domenici Jr. is officially launching his candidacy, after his name bubbled up from nowhere just last week. He has a lot of name recognition thanks to his ex-Senator dad, but it’s still a question whether he has the chops to make it out of the GOP primary, let alone how he’d fare in November against the seeming juggernaut that is Lt. Gov. Diane Denish.

PA-Gov: I didn’t even know there were any “celebrity pathologists,” but not only is there one, but he’s planning to run a long-shot campaign for the Democratic gubernatorial nod in Pennsylvania. The “colorful” Cyril Wecht, Allegheny County Coroner for 20 years and a county commissioner for four more, is interested in the race. Wecht has drawn a lot of attention over the years for his skepticism over the Kennedy assassination, but his entry here is newsworthy because of his potential to split the Pittsburgh-area votes (already split between Allegheny Co. Exec Dan Onorato and state Auditor Jack Wagner). In fact, there’s speculation he’s running mostly because of his grudge against Allegheny Co. DA Stephen Zappala, and, by extension, Onorato.

AZ-08: Here’s another recruiting step-up for the Republicans in a potentially competitive race. They finally found a state Senator, Jonathan Paton, willing to take on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her sizable war chest. The GOP’s best bet here previously had been 28-year-old veteran Jesse Kelly, who’d at least gotten some traction on the fundraising front.

GA-09: If there’s one open seat race I have trouble summoning up any interest in, it’s the GOP primary in the 9th, where there are half a dozen indistinguishable wingnuts trying to out-wingnut each other to replace wingnut Nathan Deal in one of the nation’s darkest-red districts. The field shrunk a bit today, with the dropout of the state’s former Transportation Director, Mike Evans, despite his prior status in the field’s top tier.

NJ-12: A rich guy apparently with $250K burning a hole in his wallet has Rep. Rush Holt in his sights: Prinecton-area investment banker Scott Sipprelle has decided to take on Holt, and started his campaign with a jolt of self-funding.

OK-01: I don’t think Republican Rep. John Sullivan has actually voted the wrong way on anything, so I’m wondering if he did something behind the scenes to tick off the local establishment, or if it’s just random teabaggery. Either way, there’s a movement underway in Tulsa’s right-wing circles to draft Dave Rader, who was the University of Tulsa’s football coach in the 1990s, for a primary run against Sullivan.

PA-06: Rep. Jim Gerlach seems to be retaining most of his establishment support as he reconnects with his district after pulling the plug on his gubernatorial campaign. For instance, he got the support of the Montgomery County GOP chair, Bob Kerns. Gerlach also won a straw poll among GOP leaders in Chester County, although Steven Welch made enough of a dent there (pulling in 40%) that he might be tempted to stick around.

UT-02: Former state Rep. and current Salt Lake County GOP vice-chair Morgan Philpot has resigned his role in the party, giving rise to speculation that he’s going to challenge Democratic Rep. Jim Matheson in this Republican-leaning seat. (Interesting trivia: the youngish Philpot is a graduate of Ave Maria Law School, the Domino’s Pizza empire’s attempt to branch out into legal education.)

VA-05: With a substantial percentage of the losers of 2006 and 2008 now considering rematches, here’s one more name who had earlier ruled out a bit but just won’t stop sniffing around his old seat: Rep. Virgil Goode. He may be sensing an opening in the primary by being able to unify the squabbling factions in the GOP primary field in the 5th, torn between establishment fave state Sen. Robert Hurt and various teabagging insurgents.

Census: One more state is getting into the act, of spending state dollars to make sure that state residents participate in the fast-approaching Census. Florida is starting a marketing blitz to make sure that hard-to-count groups (Hispanics especially, but also college students and farmworkers) respond. With the stakes including not only millions of dollars in federal grant money but also one or two more House seats, Florida certainly has incentive here.

OK-01, OK-05: Dems Hoping to Test Pair of Deep Red GOP Seats

You wouldn’t think of Oklahoma as particularly fertile territory for Democratic pickups in Congress lately, but the Oklahoma Democratic Party (and, apparently, the DCCC) is hoping to line up a couple of stronger-than-expected challengers in a pair of GOP districts, according to the Southern Political Report. In the 1st CD, Democrats are attempting to test GOP Rep. John Sullivan for weaknesses. (Sullivan, as you may recall, checked into the Betty Ford clinic earlier this year due to his alcohol addiction.) However, any Democrat would likely have a tough time overcoming the district’s GOP bent; McCain won the CD by a 64-36 margin (R+16 PVI) and the district hasn’t sent a Democrat to the House since James Robert Jones held down the seat for seven terms until his retirement in 1987. The Southern Political Report identifies outgoing Tulsa Mayor Kathy Taylor, a potential self-funder, as a possible Dem recruit, but also names former state Sens. Scott Pruitt and Jim Williamson as potential Republican primary opponents for Sullivan.

Over in the Oklahoma City-based 5th CD, where incumbent Republican Mary Fallin is jumping ship in order to pursue her gubernatorial ambitions, the “hottest rumor” on the block is that Kim Henry, wife of Democratic Gov. Brad Henry and celebrated educator, is interested in running. The Governor’s office, though, says that the First Lady has “no plans to run for public office”. OK-05 looks like it has the potential to be the more interesting race of the Oklahoma duo, though, as it was the only district in Oklahoma that had an appreciable shift towards the Democrats in 2008. (Obama lost the district by 41-59, up from a 36-64 Kerry loss four years earlier.) For the GOP, an expensive primary is already brewing between state Rep. Mike Thompson and former state Rep. Kevin Calvey.

Popular Oklahoma City Mayor Tom Cornett, who ran for the open 5th CD GOP primary to Fallin in 2006, announced yesterday that he’ll seek a third term in 2010. That takes a run for the House off the table, and he also explicitly ruled out a run for Governor or Lt. Governor, too.

RaceTracker Wiki: OK-01 | OK-05

SSP Daily Digest: 7/8 (Morning Edition)

Live from SSP World Headquarters in New York City, it’s your daily Daily Digest!

CA-47: The GOP has heavily touted Assemblyman Van Tran, who is waging an uphill campaign against Rep. Loretta Sanchez in this D+4 district. Tran, however, may face an additional hurdle: businessman & veteran Quang Pham, who just filed papers. Politico explains that there is “lingering anger with Tran’s role in a bitter contest for a Board of Supervisors seat in 2007, where Tran denounced the winning candidate as a communist.”

S. Fla.: A couple of entries for the Where Are They Now? files. Joe Garcia, who ran against “Super” Mario Diaz-Balart in FL-25 last year, just accepted an Obama administration job – he’ll become Director of the Office of Minority Economic Impact for the Energy Dept. Meanwhile, Annette Taddeo, who took on Ileana Ros-Lehtinen in FL-18, has declined to run for CFO to replace the outgoing Alex Sink.

FL-08: No need for me to summarize: “After saying for weeks that he would let people know by the Fourth of July whether he plans to run for Congress next year, Orange County Mayor Rich Crotty has left town on a holiday cruise without making a decision.” What a wank.

FL-12: Despite the GOP’s effort to clear the primary for state Rep. Dennis Ross in this open seat being vacated by Rep. Adam Putnam, Polk County Comm’r Randy Wilkinson formally announced his candidacy late last week.

IL-Sen: Looks like Illinois Republicans are growing tired of waiting for Capt. Kirk to beam back from the planet Vulcan. NRSC officials are meeting with Plan B, aka IL GOP chair Andy McKenna. McKenna previously sought this seat in 2004, coming in fourth in the Republican primary, well behind Dairy King Jim Oberweis. Crain’s Chicago Business charitably explains McKenna “never has had much of a following among the party’s conservative reform wing.”

NH-Sen: It’s starting to look like Sarah Palin is Kelly Ayotte’s political mentor in more ways that one. First, Ayotte announces she’s going to quit her current job in the middle of her term. Then, responding to the fact that she pledged to complete her entire four-year appointment, she offers this incoherent non-answer:

“I would say that at the time of my reappointment no one could have predicted the political future. The political landscape has changed drastically since then. Clearly the intent was to continue serving, but I think in fairness no one could have predicted the changes that have occurred on the political landscape.

Maybe she was just too busy reading all the magazines to make any sense.

NJ-Gov: Jon Corzine is up with a new negative ad. Meh. It doesn’t do it for me.

OH-Sen: Haven’t we heard this before? SoS Jennifer Brunner has penned a 1,300-word post on her website decrying the “insiders” who supposedly want her out of the primary… and back in May, she also sent a letter to supporters saying she wouldn’t quit the race. I don’t know why she feels the need to keep saying this. Also, in a sign that things are only likely to get worse before they get better, she includes this flourish: “If this race for the U.S. Senate is about the trappings of insider politics, then I suspect Lee Fisher will be your man.” Gonna be a long year.

OK-01: Rep. John Sullivan, who just returned to work after a monthlong stay at an alcohol rehab facility, said that he would seek re-election. Rep. Patrick Kennedy is also back after receiving similar treatment.

PA-Sen: Chris Cillizza reports that the AFL-CIO “will almost certainly weigh in” on the expected Specter vs. Sestak primary, but isn’t giving any hints about whose side they’ll take.

WI-07: It looks like another former “Real World” contestant is gearing up for a run for Congress. Last cycle, Kevin Powell (season one) got crushed by Rep. Ed Towns in NY-10, but is apparently back for another round. Meanwhile, out in Wisconsin, Real World-er Sean Duffy (season six) is weighing a challenge to Rep. Dave Obey. There is one thing Duffy must remember.

OK-01: Something from Georgianna Oliver’s campaign

I got the following e-mail this afternoon, since I signed up for e-mails from Oliver’s campaign.

Dear [my name],

With just over 60 days until the General Election on November 4th, 2008, the Oliver for US Congress Campaign is at full speed.  We have been talking to people throughout Congressional District 1 and learning about their lives, their struggles, and where they want and need to see improvements in this great state.

As I am sure many of you know, Hurricane Gustav made landfall yesterday in the Gulf Coast.  Gustav hit just after the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina’s destruction of New Orleans three (3) years ago.  After Hurricane Katrina hit, I traveled south with one of my employees, Ashley Theil, and one of my sisters, Julie Luna.  For several days, we assisted displaced victims at the FEMA site near the Houston Astrodome.  We were able to connect the victims with housing providers and placed over 400 families in less than 10 days.  We did this by:

   * Assessing the needs of each resident based upon their prior housing situation.  For example: if an elderly person had been living in an elderly facility, we worked to house that person in a similar elderly facility.

   * Using our national housing connections to open doors.

   * Providing maps.  The FEMA site did not have maps available for the displaced families.  These maps helped displaced families know where they were going to live, and what schools, stores, and churches were in the area.

   * Connecting church buses with elderly citizens and families who arrived at the FEMA site with nothing – some in wheelchairs and night clothes.  We worked overtime to get the displaced families to the places where people were waiting to help them.

There were a few families I cannot forget, like the teacher and entrepreneur husband with 2 children, and their teenage son who worked at McDonald’s in New Orleans.  They lost everything they had — this proud father was holding back tears when he was trying to figure out what to do for his family.  It was my honor to do my part and connect them with a temporary home until they got a place to start over, but there was no way we could do enough.

There was another woman who had 9 children.  We lost track of this woman on the first day and found out that she and her children slept on the street that night because the shelter was full.  We were finally able to get her housed, but the children will always have those memories of sleeping on the street, among other horrible memories from that disaster.

I felt the obligation to offer my expertise during one of our nation’s greatest human crises and I was honored to be able to do so.  This need and desire to help is an absolute product of my upbringing as a proud Oklahoman.  I was raised to believe that you always help others, no exceptions.  Many of my fellow Oklahomans were deeply affected by Katrina.  Many went above and beyond to help, but unfortunately, we were all sad to see that our elected officials let us down.

Rest assured that as a product of the Great State of Oklahoma, I will always make sure that we take the lead and offer charity when it is needed, but do so in a responsible and accountable manner.

Warm Regards,

Georgianna W. Oliver

To contribute to the Oliver for US Congress campaign, please click here.  Any amount is appreciated.

So yeah.  Just in case anyone was interested in this race.

Maybe I should sign up for race updates from a bunch of other under-the-radar races.  Suggestions, anyone?  (Or are people just going to point me back to my gigantic list of races…heh…)

OK-01: Wealthy Dark Horse Emerges to Challenge Sullivan

Oklahoma’s Tulsa-based 1st District at first glance does not look like fertile territory for a Democrat to challenge an entrenched Republican incumbent; its PVI is a deep red R+12.7, and it went to Bush by the lopsided margin of 65-35 in 2004. Its incumbent, Rep. John Sullivan, has won by comfortable margins  But earlier this month, one Democrat with a pocketful of dreams and a fistful of dollars stepped up to try her hand at the district:

The latest wealthy, long-shot Democrat to promise an upset is Tulsa technology company CEO Georgianna Oliver, who is vowing to oust Rep. John Sullivan (R-Okla.) in the overwhelmingly conservative 1st district by perhaps spending in excess of $1 million of her own money.

“All I can tell you is what she told me, and that is that the money will be there. So I believe she has a very strong commitment,” said Don Hoover, Oliver’s media consultant.

So what’s the plan? Running to the right, of course:

Oliver’s plan, according to a memo her campaign prepared to explain how she can beat Sullivan, is to run as a “conservative” Democrat. She was a House aide for then-Rep. Bill Brewster (D-Okla.) and has been active with the Tulsa League of Women Voters, although this is her first run for political office.

Oliver bases her viability largely on the fact that Sullivan has had minimal competition since winning the 1st district in a 2002 special election, and on the strong performance of Democrats who have won the seat in their bids for state office. In 2006, Gov. Brad Henry (D) won the district with 61 percent of the vote.

Democratic candidates for state attorney general, state treasurer and state school superintendent also won the district that year.

It’ll be a tough row to hoe in a district where Republicans outnumber Democrats by 42,585 voters, and one where no Democrat has been elected to the House since James Robert Jones’ final term in 1984. But if Oliver intends to self-fund her race, she won’t have to contend with the Millionaire’s Amendment any longer.

Any Democrat stepping up to challenge an entrenched incumbent is a good thing, and Oliver’s candidacy could prove helpful to Andrew Rice’s Senate campaign against Jim Inhofe. We’re seeing a lot of credible candidates step up in surprising places (TX-07, SC-01 and SC-02, to name but a few) this year, which is a great sign of something big forming.

On the web:

Georgianna Oliver for Congress

Congressional races by state KS, NH, OK, RI, WA

These are all states with filing deadlines in June

The numbers after each are a) Cook PVI and b) A rating of the district based on a model I created details here – basically a logistic model based on a lot of demographics; the number is the predicted probability of being Republican, based solely on the demographics (details here .  I also have a model that includes Cook PVI, but, well….I give you the Cook number too.

KS has 4 congressional districts: 2 Democrats and 2 Republicans

NH has 2 congressional districts: Both  Democrats

OK has 5 congressional districts: 1 Democrats and 4 Republicans

RI has 2 congressional districts: Both  Democrats

WA has 9 congressional districts: 6 Democrats and 3 Republicans

The districts held by Democrats are


dist    Cook Prob Repub Incumbent     Challenger? rating

KS-02    R+7    .64      Boyda          Yes          Vul

KS-03    R+4    .50      Moore          Yes          Mostly safe

NH-01    R+0    .78      Shea-Porter    Yes          Probably safe  

NH-02    D+3    .84      Hodes          Yes          Hard to say

OK-02    R+5    .25      Boren          No           Safe

RI-01    D+16   .38      Kennedy        No           Safe

RI-02    D+13   .51      Langevin       No           Safe

WA-01    D+7    .46      Inslee         Yes          Safe

WA-02    D+3    .61      Larsen         No           Safe

WA-03    D+0    .61      Baird          No           Safe

WA-06    D+6    .33      Dicks          No           Safe

WA-07    D+30   .15      McDermott      No           Safe

WA-09    D+6    .26      Smith          No           Safe

Those held by Republicans

KS-01 R+20 0.70

KS-01 is most of KS, except for the eastern and southeastern parts, bordering OK, CO, and NE

Moran, first elected in 1996, has won easily, often without a Democratic opponent. In 2006 he got 79% against John Doll, although Doll raised only $62,000.

This year, Doll might run again, but the only confirmed James Bordonaro (no web site yet)

KS-04 R+12 .48

KS-04 is in southern KS, towards the eastern part, bordering OK

Tiahrt first elected in 1994, has won easily against opponents with very little money

This year, he faces Donald Betts

OK-01 R+13 .24

OK-01 is an oddly shaped district in the northeastern part of OK; it includes Tulsa and a narrow strip north to the KS border, and then a wider section south of Tulsa

Sullivan, first elected in 2002, has gotten steadily larger shares of the vote

There is no confirmed challenger

OK-03 R+18 .50

OK-03 is the panhandle of OK and the northwestern part of the rest of the state, bordeing CO, TX, and KS.

Lucas, first elected in 1994, has mostly won easily against underfunded opponents

There is no confirmed challenger

OK-04 R+13 .40

OK-04 is the southwestern part of OK, bordering TX and including souther suburbs of Oklahoma City

Cole, first elected in 2002, won a close race in 2002 but has not had a well-funded challenger since then

There is no confirmed challenger

OK-05 R+12 .12

OK-05 is shaped more or less like a stair in central OK, including Oklahoma City

Fallin, first elected in 2006, won 60-37.

The confirmed challenger is Bert Smith

WA-04 R+13 .55

WA-04 is the center of the state including Yakima, and bordering OR

Hastings, first elected in 1994, has won reasonably easily even against opponents with some funding

The only confirmed challenger is George Fearing

WA-05 R+7 .50

WA-05 is the eastern part of the state, bordering Canada, OR, and ID

Rodgers, first elected in 2004, had a tough race in 2006, beating Peter Goldmark 56-44 and spending almost $2 million (Goldmark spent about $1.2 million

There is no confirmed challenger

WA-08 D+2  .59

WA-08 includes the eastern edge of Seattle and other land east of Lake Washington

Reichert, first elected in 2004, had a close race in 2006 against Darcy Burner.  

Burner is running again, and has a good chance


Kansas – I’m worried about Boyda, although she beat Ryun last time.  

NH – Shea Porter won 51-49 against an incumbent, while raising less than $300,000 (her opponent, Jeb Bradley, had more than triple that).  She should win again

OK – looks like everyone is pretty safe

RI – both congressmen are safe

WA – Reichert is vulnerable