SSP Daily Digest: 5/4 (Afternoon Edition)

NH-Sen: I’m still hazy on the backstory here, but it’s never a good sign when Politico is running big headlines titled “Fraud case complicates Ayotte bid.” New Hampshire’s Bureau of Securities Regulation director, Mark Connelly, just resigned his job to become a whistleblower, alleging a cover-up by the AG’s office and state banking commission in a fraud case where Financial Resources Mortgage Inc. defrauded New Hampshire investors out of at least $80 million. Connelly was pushing for charges against FRM as early as 2006; the AG in question, of course, was Kelly Ayotte, who resigned her post in mid-2009. Discovery in the matter may be complicated because all of Ayotte’s e-mail and calendars were wiped from her computer after she left the AG’s office.

PA-Sen, PA-Gov (pdf): It looks like Muhlenberg College (on behalf of the Morning Call) is actually going to be doing a daily tracker on the Democratic primary races in the next two weeks as we count down to May 18. Today they find an even narrower gap in the suddenly-closer Arlen Specter/Joe Sestak race: Specter leads Sestak 46-42. Dan Onorato’s numbers in the gubernatorial race aren’t quite as showy, but still dominant: he’s at 36, with Anthony Williams at 9, Joe Hoeffel at 8, and Jack Wagner at 8. Quinnipiac also has similar numbers out today: they also have Specter leading Sestak by only single digits, at 47-39 (down from 53-32 a month ago). In the governor’s race, Qpac finds Onorato at 36, Hoeffel at 9, Wagner at 8, and Williams at 8. The DSCC seems to be sensing some trouble here for their preferred candidate, and they’re dipping into their treasury to help Specter out: the DSCC chipped in for $300K in Specter’s last $407K TV ad buy. Sestak just kicked off TV advertising two weeks ago but is going all in, outspending Specter in the last two weeks, which obviously coincides with his late surge.

AZ-Gov: That Behavior Research Center poll of AZ-Sen from a few weeks ago contained a Republican gubernatorial primary question as well. Their findings mirror the other most recent polls of the primary: vulnerable incumbent Jan Brewer strengthened her hand among GOP primary voters by signing Arizona’s immigration law into effect. She’s at 22, not a lock but well ahead of any opposition: Owen Buz Mills is at 13, Dean Martin is at 10, and John Munger is at 4. (If your calculator isn’t handy, that leaves 51% undecided.)

NH-Gov (pdf): Univ. of New Hampshire is out with another look at New Hampshire’s gubernatorial race, where Democratic incumbent John Lynch is well in control but still facing a tougher race than the last few times. They find Lynch leads GOP challenger John Stephen 49-32, little changed from the February poll where Lynch led 50-30.

WI-Gov: Ex-Rep. Mark Neumann is very much the underdog in the Republican primary in the gubernatorial race (as the DC and local establishments have both embraced Milwaukee Co. Executive Scott Walker instead). But he added a hard-right endorsement to his trophy cabinet today; he got the nod from Tom Coburn.

GA-08: In a clear sign that state Rep. Austin Scott (who recently bailed out of a long-shot gubernatorial campaign) is the man to beat in the GOP primary in the 8th, Angela Hicks got out of the race, saying she didn’t want to hurt Scott’s chances. Local businesswoman Hicks seemed to be considered the frontrunner among the GOPers prior to Scott’s entry, more by virtue of being the least weak rather than the strongest.

HI-01: Barack Obama recorded a robocall for Democratic voters in his hometown district. Despite reports that the White House is joining the DCCC is putting a finger on the scale in favor of Ed Case rather than Colleen Hanabusa in the screwy special election, Obama didn’t name names; he simply urged a vote for “a Democrat.”

NH-02: The largely forgotten state Rep. John DeJoie, the third wheel in the Democratic primary to replace Paul Hodes, cut short his bid today. Despite generally being regarded as from the progressive side of the ledger, DeJoie threw his support to Katrina Swett. DeJoie’s departure, on the balance, may help Ann McLane Kuster, though, by not splitting the progressive vote.

PA-12: I have no idea whether this is good strategy or not, but Mark Critz, hoping to replace former boss John Murtha, is clinging hard to Murtha’s legacy in his new TV ad, seeming to put a lot of faith in polling data showing Murtha still a very popular figure in the district. Critz blasts back at Tim Burns for his own TV spots focusing on Murtha’s ethical woes, telling Burns ungrammatically to stop attacking “someone not there to defend themselves.” Meanwhile, the fight’s on for Murtha’s money: $7K from Murtha’s PAC found its way into Democratic pockets (including $5K for Critz), but the bulk of Murtha’s leftover money is headed for a charitable foundation established by his widow.

CA-St. Sen.: For fans of legislative special elections, it looks like the marquee event between now and November will be the fight for California’s SD-15, a Dem-leaning central coast district vacated by Republican now-Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado. Republican Assemblyman Sam Blakeslee just got in the race, giving the GOP a solid contender to try and hold the seat as Dems try to push closer to the 2/3s mark in the Senate; he’ll face off against Democratic ex-Assemblyman John Laird in the June 22 election. (If neither candidate breaks 50%, there’ll be an Aug. 17 runoff.)

Redistricting: Lots of redistricting-related action this week, going in two different directions. In Florida, the GOP-held legislature placed a redistricting measure on the November ballot that partially contradicts two citizen initiatives on the ballot that would prevent the legislature from drawing maps that favor one political party. The new proposal would still allow the legislature to take “communities of interest” into consideration when drawing maps. In Illinois, though, two attempts to change redistricting both failed, when the legislature couldn’t muster the votes to put it on the November ballot. Illinois’s arcane methods (which involve breaking ties by pulling a name out of a hat) will apparently still apply for the 2012 redistricting round.

Deutschland: Our man in Cologne, SSPer micha.1976 has a hilarious and remarkable find from the streets of Germany. Remember the impeach-Obama Larouchie, Kesha Rogers, who won the Democratic nomination in TX-22? Her image is now being used on posters for a like-minded LaRouchie candidate in Germany! (J)

SSP Daily Digest: 3/4 (Morning Edition)

With the Daily Digest turning a year old (and starting to get pretty portly on a regular basis), we thought we’d experiment with splitting it into two parts. This may not happen every day, just on an as-needed basis. But with the campaign season really heating up, we may need to do this a lot! Without further ado:

  • NY-Gov: Gov. David Paterson’s free-fall is so spectacular that it’s actually interfering with AG Andrew Cuomo’s investigation of Paterson’s alleged interference in the abuse case against his top aide. Apparently, aides are so eager to brandish their knives in the press that various accounts are coming out publicly before Cuomo’s team can conduct proper interviews, making it hard to get the straight story. Talk about perverse luck for Paterson – though I’m sure it won’t make a difference in the long run.
  • AL-02: State Board of Education member Stephanie Bell has officially entered the Republican primary for Alabama’s 2nd CD. She’ll face off against NRCC Young Gun Martha Roby and teabagging businessman Rick “The Barber” Barber.
  • GA-07: As expected, state Rep. Clay Cox has jumped into the race to succeed John Linder. Cox says he’s a teabagger, loud and proud. Since most ‘baggers tend to be of the Some Dude variety (at best), this has to count as a pretty good get for the tea partiers. (TheUnknown has further updates on the race and the downballot implications.)
  • NY-24: Mike Arcuri has decided to employ the John Kerry strategy: Even though he already voted for healthcare the first time around, now he’s saying he might vote against it. What a profile in courage. Arcuri’s complaints sound like a laundry-list of right-wing talking points. Who’s advising this guy, Lanny Davis and Al From?
  • NY-29: “Shotgun” Randy Kuhl, the man Eric Massa beat in 2008, says he is weighing a comeback. Ex-Corning Mayor Tom Reed has been in the race for a while, but hasn’t raised much and is probably considered shoveable-asidable by bigger players. Some other names in the mix for the GOP include Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks, state Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb, and state Sens. Cathy Young and George Winner (R). (Remember the last time we ran against the Assembly minority leader in upstate NY?)
  • The Dem bench, as Crisitunity noted, is hella thin in these parts, but apparently Assemblyman David Koon is putting out feelers. Hornell (pop. 9K) Mayor Shawn Hogan has also been mentioned as a possibility.

    Also of note, several outfits now report that Massa informed Steny Hoyer about the sexual harassment allegations against him a few weeks ago. Yet before anyone jumps to conclusions, this is no Mark Foley scandal. Hoyer told Massa to report himself to the Ethics Committee, and Massa did just that.

  • Minnesota: In order to comply with a new federal law mandating that overseas voters have sufficient time to mail in their ballots, Gov. Tim Pawlenty finally signed a bill into law which changes MN’s primary from Sep. 14 to Aug. 10. This makes Minnesota the first state with a late primary to resolve this problem – quite a few others will likely need to make similar arrangements.
  • Texas: Get a load of this: Former GOP state Rep. Rick Green was ousted by Dem Patrick Rose in 2002. Four years later, he punched Rose in the face at a polling location. Now, this bag of dicks is in a run-off for the Texas Supreme Court, the state’s highest civil court. Kath Haenschen wants to know: “If Rick Green loses the run-off, will he punch Debra Lehrmann in the face?”
  • Given the absurd number of races on the ballot in Texas, I’m sure Green wasn’t the only maniac to do well last night. In fact, Dems have at least one problem of their own: Kesha Rogers, a LaRouchie who won the nomination in TX-22 (Nick Lampson’s old seat) on a platform of impeaching President Obama. Says Rogers’ website:

    The victory in the 22nd Congressional District yesterday by LaRouche Democrat Kesha Rogers sent an unmistakable message to the White House, and its British imperial controllers: Your days are numbered.

    Fortunately, a spokesperson for the Texas Democratic Party said, “LaRouche members are not Democrats. I guarantee her campaign will not receive a single dollar from anyone on our staff.” Or pounds sterling.

    SSP Daily Digest: 4/3

    NY-20: Jim Tedisco has moved into a 12-vote lead as the counties continue to engage in recanvassing of the lever-pull machines, which will continue next week. (Paper ballots are impounded at least until the scheduled court hearing on the 6th.)

    In other news, Tedisco stepped down from his role as minority leader in the Assembly today. (That shouldn’t necessarily be seen as a sign of confidence in winning the election; he was facing a no-confidence vote from his caucus.)

    SD-Sen: The 2010 South Dakota senate race isn’t looking very fruitful for Dems, even in the unlikely event we run a top-tier recruit. (If Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin goes for a promotion, at this point she seems more interested in governor.) R2K polls SD for Daily Kos and finds that John Thune runs ahead of both ex-Sen. Tom Daschle, 53-40, and Herseth Sandlin, 51-39. All three have pretty good favorables; South Dakotans just seem to prefer to keep Thune where he is.

    CT-Sen: In the wake of yesterday’s terrible poll, a primary challenger to Chris Dodd has already popped out of the woodwork. Roger Pearson, the former First Selectman of Greenwich, has formed an exploratory committee. He seems little-known outside (or even inside) of Greenwich, but we’ll have to see if he can catch an anti-Dodd wave.

    AL-Gov: Looks like the Democratic primary for Governor is about to get pretty crowded; state Sen. Roger Bedford is now openly mulling a run, and the inside chatter appears that the controversial but powerful northern Alabama legislator is pretty serious about a bid.

    Meanwhile, ArturD2 is kvetching like a five year-old over the probable entry of Ag Comm’r Ron Sparks into the race. (J)

    NH-Sen: Despite entreaties from the NRSC, Judd Gregg says he won’t seek re-election. Apparently, he wants to devote all his time to supporting the president’s agenda in the Senate. (D)

    CO-Sen: Appointed senator Michael Bennet pulled in startling fundraising numbers for the 1st quarter, raising $1.37 million. Bennet is facing a paltry field of GOPers so far (with ex-Rep. Bob Beauprez their best bet), so this may actually serve more to cause former state house speaker Andrew Romanoff to think twice about a primary challenge.

    AK-Sen: With charges dropped against Ted Stevens, Alaska GOP chair Rudy Reudrich wants a do-over on last year’s election. Gov. Sarah Palin also endorsed the idea, despite her taking an anti-Stevens stand in the closing weeks of the election. However, Rep. Don Young doesn’t support the idea, saying Mark Begich “will be in the Senate and will do a good job.” (In fact, Young has a totally different idea: Stevens should run for governor in 2010 against Palin.) Stevens’ friends in the Senate also seemed resigned to the election being over.

    RI-Gov: Ex-Sen. Lincoln Chafee seemed to back off a bit from previous statements that he will be running for governor as an independent, saying that he will decide by May whether or not to run, once his current position (teaching at Brown) ends.

    Votes: Yesterday was the big vote in the House on the Obama budget. After a lot of public vacillation, even Joe Cao voted no, joining every other Republican. 20 Democrats voted no; it’s a who’s who of who’s vulnerable (with a few entrenched Blue Dogs joining them): Barrow, Boren, Bright, Childers, Donnelly, Foster, Griffith, Kosmas, Kratovil, Kucinich, Markey, Marshall, Matheson, McIntyre, Minnick, Mitchell, Nye, Perriello, Taylor, and Teague. The only ‘nay’ votes in districts won by Obama were John Barrow (who’s actually been fairly cooperative so far this session), Bill Foster (usually a good guy, but a deficit hawk), and Dennis Kucinich (who assumedly voted against the budget from the left for not containing enough magic ponies). In the Senate, a few hours later, Evan Bayh and Ben Nelson were the only defections.

    NASA: Here’s a guy we’re glad to see land on his feet: Nick Lampson, who used to represent NASA’s Houston-area facilities in TX-22, is now on the short list of potential NASA Administrators. Even Pete Olson, the guy who defeated Lampson, is advocating for Lampson.

    TX-07, TX-22: Culberson Ahead, Lampson in Tough Race

    The Houston Chronicle has a couple of new polls out today by Zogby International (10/22-24, likely voters). Let’s have a look.


    Michael Skelly (D): 41

    John Culberson (R-inc): 48

    (MoE: ±4.9%)


    Nick Lampson (D-inc): 36

    Pete Olson (R): 53

    (MoE: ±4.9%)

    The 7th CD poll seems reasonable enough — Skelly is running a strong race, but this is a very tough (R+16) district. The numbers from the Lampson race, though, seem a bit hard to believe. It’s possible that Zogby has a bad sample here (this is Zogby we’re talking about, after all), and the 22nd is one of the fastest-growing districts in the nation. A recent Benenson Strategy Group poll had Lampson and Olson tied at 42% each, an improvement over a July internal that had Lampson behind by 45-37. That’s still well below any kind of comfort threshold, so I’m having a hard time feeling good about this one.

    Over in the 7th, the Skelly campaign also released a new internal poll of their own.

    Greenberg Quinlan Rosner (10/22-23, likely voters, 9/7-9 in parens):

    Michael Skelly (D): 44 (37)

    John Culberson (R-inc): 49 (44)

    Drew Parks: 3 (n/a)

    Undecided: 4 (13)

    (MoE: ±4.9%)

    Skelly has gained quite a bit of ground since the start of his campaign, but this one looks to be a tough nut to crack, indeed. The full polling memo is available below the fold.

    NRCC Scales Back Ad Buys in Seven Districts

    We wrote earlier about the NRCC canceling ad buys in NV-03 and NM-01, but a knowledgeable friend of SSP writes in with a few more details on the NRCC’s retreat:

    FL-16 – NRCC – TV – cancelled flight 10/14-10/20 in West Palm and Ft. Myers

    ID-01 – NRCC – TV – Spokane – cancels weeks of 10/7 and 10/14

    KS-02 – NRCC – TV – Cancelled flight 10/21-10/27 in all markets

    LA-06 – NRCC-TV- Cancelled flight 10/21-10/27 in Baton Rouge

    MN-03 – NRCC- TV – cancelled flight 10/14-10/20 in Minneapolis

    NV-03 – NRCC – TV – broadcast and cable flights 10/14-10/20 cancelled

    TX-22 – NRCC – TV – Cancelled flight 10/14-10/20 in Houston.

    IL-11, TX-22: DCCC Drops $100K on New Ads

    The latest independent expenditure reports are in, and the DCCC has just dropped $100K on producing and airing new ads in Illinois and Texas.

    In the open seat race for IL-11, the DCCC is spending $39,000 on an ad buy in support of Democrat Debbie Halvorson. The Hotline has the full script:

    ANNCR: “The Middle Class is getting squeezed. Debbie Halvorson knows we’re working harder and getting less, that’s why she led the fight to lower prescription drug costs for Illinois seniors, and Halvorson helped give thousands of children and working families affordable health insurance. Now she wants to take our fight to Congress. She’ll take on George Bush’s Policies. And bring common sense back to our government. Debbie Halvorson, a fighter for us. The DCCC is responsible for the content of this advertisement.”

    In Texas’ 22nd CD, the DCCC is dropping $44,000 on an ad buy in support of imperiled Democratic incumbent Nick Lampson. No copies of this ad have been made available yet.

    SSP currently rates both IL-11 and TX-22 as Tossups.

    TX-22: Runoff Results Thread

    216 of 216 Precincts Reporting
    Candidate Votes Percent
    Pete Olson 15,492 68.51%
    Snelly Gibbr 7,118 31.48%

    RESULTS: TX SoS | Houston Chronicle | KTRK | KHOU

    11:28PM: Nick Lampson’s campaign manager’s statement on the results:

    Lampson for Congress campaign manager Anthony Gutierrez
    issued the following statement tonight regarding the results of the CD22
    Republican primary runoff:

    “Congressman Lampson has promoted NASA while his opponent didn’t know the
    name of the Johnson Space Center in a recent debate. He has worked on
    transportation issues while his opponent supports more toll roads and a big
    government land grab called the Trans-Texas Corridor. And he has worked for
    affordable health care while his opponent opposes the State Children’s
    Health Insurance Program. Congressman Lampson is an independent voice for
    Texas. His opponent is a Washington insider with little or no knowledge of
    this district.”

    9:55PM: Yup, this one is over. The Chronicle is calling the race for Olson, who will face off with freshman Democratic Rep. Nick Lampson in November.

    9:27PM: Gibbs is falling behind in the e-day votes now, too. A Snelly Gibbr loss is a loss for hilarity.

    9:13PM: Sekula Gibbs is winning the e-day votes counted so far, but Olson’s early vote advantage looks formidable. RIP Gibbr?

    8:30PM Eastern: Olson gets a huge early lead based on the advance ballots.

    Polls will close at 6PM Mountain Time (8PM Eastern) in the hot runoff race between former Rep. Shelley Sekula Gibbs (heh) and former Sen. Cornyn chief of staff Pete Olson. We’ll keep tabs on the results in this thread as they come in.

    In the meantime, here were the results of the March 4th primary:

    Candidate Votes Percent
    Snelly Gibbr 16,681 29.72%
    Pete Olson 11,630 20.72%
    John Manlove 8,388 14.94%
    Robert Talton 8,163 14.54%
    Dean Hrbacek 5,864 10.44%
    Cynthia Dunbar 2,114 3.76%
    Jim Squier 989 1.76%
    Brian Klock 992 1.76%
    Kevyn Bazzy 879 1.56%
    Ryan Rowley 424 0.75%

    While I think we’re all cheering for a Sekula Gibbs victory, this was a fun and nasty primary that either GOPer will walk away bruised from. The Gibbr picked up the endorsements of Hrbacek and Dunbar, while virtually every other Republican on the planet has endorsed Olson. Let’s see how this shakes out.

    House rankings: How many more Republican retirements?

    Just when the GOP is starting to catch some small breaks in the Senate, the situation in the House is rapidly deteriorating. As many had predicted, a growing number of Republican representatives do not find the prospect of life in the minority appealing and are calling it quits. Unfortunately for Republicans, a large majority of them represent competitive districts. The latest retirement were particularly shocking because they were completely unexpected — especially Rep. Ferguson’s in NJ-07. Democrats have golden opportunities to pick-up all of these seats, especially if the environment continues to favor them. But this also means Republicans will be forced to play defense and will not be able to contest that many Democratic-held seats, no matter how vulnerable they might be.

    The situation is made much worse for Republicans by the awful financial situation they are in. As of the end of October, the NRCC is still a million in debt, while the DCCC has 27 million dollars. That’s nearly a 30 million dollar gap, which will have a significant impact on next year’s results. The RNC will have to concentrate on the presidential elections and will have a limited ability to help the NRCC out. This means that the DCCC has the ability to play offense in many seats, expand the map, and protect its own seats — while the Republicans will probably end up having to concede some of their open seat and choose which select Democratic seats they are going after.

    As a result, many of the freshmen Democrats who looked very vulnerable last year are likely to survive, though the GOP will no doubt be able to claim some of its very conservative seats back, starting with FL-16 and TX-22; they also got some good news this month when the Democratic challenger in MT-AL withdrew, as unpopular Rep. Cubin retired in Wyoming, and as they made Indiana’s 7th district much more competitive. But six of the seven race that are rated more vulnerable this month are Republican, underscoring the steady stream of bad news for the GOP.

    I have only written full descriptions of seats that have made news over the past month. For detailed descriptions of the other races, check last month’s rankings. Only a few seats saw their rating change in the past month. I indicated upgraded or downgraded next to them to indicate whether they became more vulnerable or less vulnerable for the incumbent party. Here is the quick run-down:

    • Less vulnerable: CT-2, NY-19, WY-AL
    • More vulnerable: AK-AL, IL-06, IL-11, IN-07, KY-02, NJ-07, OH-05

    Outlook: Democrats pick-up 7-12 seats.

    The October ratings are available here.

    Republican seats, Lean take-over (5)

    • AZ-1 (Open)
    • CA-4 (Rep. Doolittle): Republicans might finally be getting what they want here, as some rumors are starting to circulate that ethically (very) challenged Doolittle might be finally ready to announce his retirement. If he does, this race will significantly drop down the rankings; but if Doolittle stays in the race, this is a sure a pick-up for the Democrats’ Brown.
    • IL-11 (Open, upgraded): The filing deadline has already passed in Illinois (it’s the first in the country), and Republicans did not manage to recruit a top-tier candidate. They are fielding the Mayor of New Lenox and an ex-Bush White House official; both could be good candidates and make the race competitive, but Democrats have to be considered slightly favored since they convinced a reluctant Debbie Halvorson, the State Majority Leader, to run.
    • NM-1 (Open): 2006 nominee Patricia Madrid announced she would not run again, making Albuquerque councilman Heinrich the likely Democratic nominee. Republicans are confident that their nominee, sheriff White, is strong and will run much stronger than other Republicans would. If that is confirmed by independent indicators and polls, the race will be downgraded, but the fact that the district is naturally competitive (it narrowly went for Kerry in 2004) combined with the sour national environment for Republicans makes Heinrich the early favorite.
    • OH-15 (Open): The GOP finally got some much needed good news in this race. Democrats had united behind their 2006 nominee Mary Jo Kilroy, but all Republicans who might have made this race competitive declined to run one after another, making this the top pick-up opportunity in the country for Democrats. But the GOP finally convinced a strong candidate who had initially passed on the race to get in: state Senator Steve Strivers. They ensured that the race remains competitive; but given that OH-15 is very tight in the first place, that the environment is toxic for the GOP and that Kilroy came within a few thousand votes of unsitting an entranced incumbent in 2006, Democrats are still favored.

    Democratic seats, Lean take-over (1)

    • FL-16 (Rep. Mahoney)

    Republican seats, Toss-up (14)

    • AK-AL (Rep. Young, upgraded): A new poll shows just how disastrous Young’s approval rating has become as he is involved in a corruption probe that has claimed many other Republican congressmen. Democrats have a few candidates, and an October poll showed former state Senator Ethan Berkowitz leading Young.
    • CO-4 (Rep. Musgrave)
    • CT-4 (Rep. Shays)
    • IL-10 (Rep. Kirk): A recent primary poll has Dan Seals crushing Footlik in the Democratic primary for the right to take on Republican Kirk, who sits on a  very competitive district. Seals got 47% in 2006 with the national party paying little attention, but he will receive lots of help from the DCCC this time.
    • MN-03 (Open):
    • NC-8 (Rep. Hayes)
    • NJ-03 (open): In the first New Jersey surprise, Rep. Saxton announced he would not run for re-election in early November giving a major opening to Democrats in a district that Bush won by only 3% in 2004. Democrats were already excited about this race before Saxton’s retirement, and they believe that state Senator John Adler is a very strong candidate who will carry the district. Republicans do have a solid bench here though, and are looking to get state Senator Diane Allen in.
    • NJ-07 (open): Rep. Ferguson’s retirement was perhaps the biggest surprise of this year’s House cycle. He opens up a very competitive district that Bush won with 49% in 2000 and 53% in 2004. Democrats appear united behind state Assemblywoman Linda Stender who came within a point of beating Ferguson in 2006. The GOP is having a harder time at recruitment, as its three top choices (especially Tom Kean Jr.) announced they would not run within a few days of Ferguson’s retirement. Republicans better find a good candidate fast, or they will be looking at a certain Democratic pick-up.
    • OH-1 (Rep. Chabot)
    • OH-16 (Open):
    • NY-25 (Rep. Walsh)
    • PA-6 (Rep. Gerlach)
    • VA-11 (Rep. Davis): Whether or not Tom Davis retires, this race is sure to be very competitive. Davis’s wife Jeannemarie massively lost a re-election race to the state Senate last month in a contest that cost millions of dollars, proving that Davis will have a very tough fight on his hand next year if he runs again in a region that has been rapidly trending their way. If Davis retires (and he was supposed to run for Senate and leave the seat open until about a month ago), this will automatically jump up to the top of the Democratic pick-up list. Does his wife’s loss make him more or less likely to run again?
    • WA-8 (Rep. Reichert): Democrats are clearly confident they can take Reichert down in a rematch of the 2006 race against Demcorat Burner. They recently filed an FEC complaint over Reichert’s fundraising, hoping to get the incumbent in ethical trouble. They did not manage to tie him quite enough with the GOP brand in 2006.

    Democratic seats, Toss-up (11)

    • CA-11 (Rep. McNerney)
    • GA-8 (Rep. Marshall)
    • IL-8 (Rep. Bean)
    • IN-7 (Rep. Carson, upgraded): This is a very Democratic district, that Kerry carried with 58%. But Rep. Carson has had health problems and has rarely been in the House in the past few years — nor has she campaigned very actively. Her 2006 re-election was surprisingly narrow, and Republicans have recruited state Rep. Jon Elrod, who they believe will be the ideal candidate to take down Carson. This race could be an unlikely pick-up for the GOP if Carson runs for re-election; if she retires, it could be easier for Democrats to hold.
    • IN-09 (Rep. Hill): Rep. Hill and Republican Sodrel are running against each other for the fourth straight time. Voters know both of them at this point, and there is little they can do this early to change the dynamics.
    • KS-2 (Rep. Boyda)
    • NH-1 (Rep. Shea-Porter): Republicans are preparing for a primary between ousted 2006 congressman Bradley and the former HHS commissioner; but if Shea-Porter won last year with no money and no national attention, how vulnerable could she be now as an incumbent.
    • OH-18 (Rep. Space)
    • PA-4 (Rep. Altmire)
    • PA-10 (Rep. Carney)
    • TX-22 (Rep. Lampson): This race is deemed by many the most vulnerable seat held by a Democrat. But the strongest Republicans passed on the race, giving at least some pause to those who have long predicted Lampson is a one-timer. They might very well be right, but we shall wait until the GOP field yields its nominee to reassess the situation.

    The race of the rankings, including all the “lean retention” and “potentially competitive” rated seats, is available here, at Campaign Diaries.

    TX-22: Snelly Gibbr Rides Again

    Speaking of comebacks, here’s some heartwarming news from the Houston Chronicle:

    Shelley Sekula Gibbs, the Houston dermatologist who briefly succeeded former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay in Congress last year, is moving ahead in her quest to regain the seat in 2008 by announcing some well-known local Republican support.

    Sekula Gibbs, a former Houston City Council member, was elected to finish the last 51 days of DeLay’s term last year before yielding to Democrat Nick Lampson, who defeated her for a full term.

    Her 51 days as interim congresswoman were rocky, however, with seven DeLay staffers walking out in her first week, complaining publicly that she had been a tyrannical boss. She also prompted chuckles in The Washington Post and other national publications by telling reporters she planned to resolve such thorny issues as tax cuts, immigration reform and the Iraq war – all in less than three weeks of a lame-duck Congress.

    Amusingly, Sekula-Gibbs believes she has found what appears to be the winning formula for her 2008 campaign: removing the hyphen from her name!

    Sekula Gibbs has changed the spelling of her name since then, dropping the hyphen that she feared would become a problem during her write-in campaign for the congressional seat in 2006.

    Of course, as you may remember, her hyphenated name didn’t factor into her unsuccessful write-in campaign, with votes as diverse as “Snelly Gibbr”, “Shelly Gibkula” and “Shelly DraculaCunt Gibs” counting as real votes in her favor.

    Most baffling of all, ol’ Snelly has begun to amass some pretty heavy-hitting support for her ’08 rematch bid:

    A Republican, Sekula Gibbs has attracted several high-profile GOP supporters to her campaign steering committee. Among those are Bob Perry, a homebuilder and one of the nation’s biggest Republican contributors, and Trini Mendenhall Sosa, a co-founder of the Fiesta Mart grocery chain.

    Are these guys trying to give Lampson his best shot at re-election?

    (Special thanks to Kuff.)

    TX-Sen, TX-22: Lampson Declines Senate Bid

    From the Austin American-Statesman:

    U.S. Rep. Nick Lampson of Stafford, near Houston, is letting it be known he’s not running next year for the U.S. Senate seat held by John Cornyn, Lampson’s political strategist says.

    Mustafa Tameez of Houston, a political consultant to Lampson, said this morning that Lampson, the Democrat who last year captured the U.S. House seat vacated by Tom DeLay of Sugar Land, intends to seek re-election instead fully knowing that his district historically leans Republican.

    A Senate bid is “not going to happen,” Tameez said. “It sounds goofy, but he feels like he made a commitment to the people of Congressional District 22.” Tameez said Lampson feels a Senate try would be “disingenuous.”

    Tameez aired Lampson’s decision to stamp out speculation regarding a Senate bid. “We just want it to stop,” he said (unwittingly the desire of some observers of this legislative session).

    And I’m glad to hear it.  I’ve always had my doubts as to whether or not Lampson could be inspiring enough to win stateswide.  With this move, Lampson is securing the goodwill of the local activists who worked their hides off to elect him in the first place last November while clearing the field for another candidate to take a run at Sen. John Cornyn (R).

    (H/T: Anesthetic)