SSP Daily Digest: 3/17 (Morning Edition)

  • AR-Sen: As Reid Wilson says, here’s something you don’t see every day – at least, not in a Dem primary. Blanche Lincoln is attacking the labor unions who are supporting her opponent, Bill Halter. Lincoln is also doing her best to warm the hearts of the faithful by taking John Boehner’s side in the latest kerfuffle over House procedural tactics with regard to healthcare reform.
  • CO-Sen: Dem Sen. Michael Bennet has his first TV ad up, a $300K buy in Denver and Colorado Springs. Greg Giroux suggests that the timing is deliberate, since Bennet will be looking to blunt any possible momentum Romanoff might have received coming out of last night’s precinct caucuses.
  • FL-Sen: All the cool kids have already done it, which means anyone getting on the Marco Rubio bandwagon at this late date is just a fair-weather fan. Still, GOP Rep. Tom Price is chair of the Republican Study Committee, which is the Borg collective mothership of right-wing crazy, so this gives Rubio the Good Wingnut Seal of Approval™. Resistance is futile.
  • MA-Sen: That didn’t take long – newly-minted GOP Sen. Scott Brown will be hosting his first inside-the-beltway fundraiser, at $1000 a head. Of course, it’ll be at the offices of lobbying firm Duane Morris. My advice to Scott Brown is to hold lots and lots of events with lobbyists. Also, become the anti-healthcare frontman for your party. Thanks for helping out with that, Mitch McConnell!
  • NV-Sen: Memo to reporters: Please include information about the size of ad buys (especially for attack ads) when you’re writing them up. There are too many tiny buys made solely for the purpose of spinning the media. We the people need to know if we’re being spun, too.
  • NY-Sen-B: Republican ex-Rep. Joe DioGuardi officially offered himself up as a sacrificial lamb entered the race to take on Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand yesterday.
  • PA-Sen: Arlen Specter snagged another valuable endorsement yesterday, this time from the 191,000-strong Pennsylvania State Education Association. (JL)
  • WI-Sen: A source close to Tommy Thompson’s jowls says that the former governor is “50-50” on whether he will play Droopy Dog in the upcoming remake.
  • SC-Gov: It’s payback time – Willard Mitt Romney is endorsing Mark Sanford protégé and state Rep. Nikki Haley for governor. Haley, as you’ve probably gathered, had endorsed Mittens in 2008 for the key SC primary. Other presidential wannabes have also returned the favor to their respective buddies; Reid Wilson has the full scorecard.
  • AZ-08: GOPer Jonathan Paton, who recently resigned from the state Senate to challenge Rep. Gabby Giffords, was added to the NRCC’s Young Guns program. Three other Republicans are seeking their party’s nod, including one candidate already on the Young Guns list, Marine Corps vet Jesse Kelly. Paton is almost certainly the establishment favorite, though.
  • LA-02: It’s hard to know what to make of the GOP’s attitude toward Joe Cao’s seat. On the one hand, they let him get mixed up with the sketchmeisters at BMW Direct. On the other, John Boehner just held a $500/person fundraiser for Cao last night on Capitol Hill. But then on the flipside, it looks like Cao will flip-flop and vote against healthcare this time, which will surely doom him in November. So why waste the money on him? Perhaps GOP bigs figure that buying Cao off will pay dividends when the party is able to point to unanimous opposition to the healthcare bill.
  • ND-AL: The campaign manager for former state House Majority Leader Rick Berg, a leading challenger to Earl Pomeroy, resigned yesterday, after misusing a state Republican Party email list and lying about it.
  • NY-13: Andy Stern wasn’t kidding. The SEIU is running a full-page ad in today’s Staten Island Advance urging Rep. Mike McMahon to vote in favor of healthcare reform. Greg Sargent has a copy of the full ad (PDF). This ad could presage a primary or third-party challenge should McMahon vote no, something Stern has already threatened.
  • SD-AL: Steve Hildebrand, a top Obama campaign official, says he’s considering a challenge to Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin in the Democratic primary, particularly if she votes against healthcare.
  • DNC: This is Not News. DNC chair Tim Kaine says that Organizing for America will help Dems who vote “yes” on healthcare reform… but of course doesn’t say that he’ll withhold help from Dems who vote “no.” I wouldn’t expect him to, hence why this is Not News.
  • Healthcare: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce absolutely, definitely, most assuredly is not not NOT concern trolling House Democrats on the upcoming healthcare vote. They have our best interests at heart, and spent money on polling because they genuinely care about us.
  • Much more interesting poll numbers on healthcare can be found here. It turns out that the public was evenly divided on Medicare before it became law, too. Now, of course, the program is unassailable.

  • Kentucky: A bill to let independents vote in Democratic or Republican primaries died in the KY House.
  • WATN: I guess with Eric Massa stealing the limelight these days, Mark Foley feels emboldened to make his return to DC. He’ll be a guest at one of those unduly cozy black-tie beltway affairs, the Radio and TV Correspondents’ Dinner.
  • SSP: I’m not done begging. We’re at 1,386 Twitter followers. SO close to 1,400. Make it happen. Pretty please?
  • NRCC Adds 32 Names to Young Guns Program

    Today, the NRCC added 32 candidates to its Young Guns program:

    District Candidate Incumbent PVI 2008 (D) Margin
    AR-02 Tim Griffin Snyder R+5 53%
    AZ-08 Jesse Kelly Giffords R+4 12%
    CO-07 Ryan Frazier Perlmutter D+4 27%
    CT-05 Justin Bernier Murphy, C. D+2 15%
    FL-22 Allen West Klein D+1 9%
    IL-10 Beth Coulson OPEN D+6 -5%
    IL-10 Bob Dold OPEN D+6 -5%
    IL-10 Dick Green OPEN D+6 -5%
    IL-14 Ethan Hastert Foster R+1 16%
    IN-09 Todd Young Hill R+6 19%
    MI-07 Tim Walberg Schauer R+2 2%
    MO-03 Ed Martin Carnahan D+7 36%
    MO-04 Bill Stouffer Skelton R+14 32%
    MO-04 Vickie Hartzler Skelton R+14 32%
    MS-01 Alan Nunnelee Childers R+14 11%
    NC-08 Lou Huddleston Kissell R+2 11%
    NY-01 Randy Altschuler Bishop R+0 17%
    NY-13 Michael Allegretti McMahon R+4 28%
    NY-19 Nan Hayworth Hall R+3 17%
    NY-29 Tom Reed Massa R+5 2%
    OH-16 Jim Renacci Boccierri R+4 11%
    OH-18 Bob Gibbs Space R+7 20%
    OR-01 Rob Cornilles Wu D+8 54%
    PA-06 Steven Welch OPEN D+4 -4%
    PA-07 Pat Meehan OPEN D+3 19%
    TN-04 Scott DesJarlais Davis, L. R+13 21%
    TN-08 Stephen Fincher Tanner R+6 100%
    VA-02 Scott Rigell Nye R+5 5%
    VA-11 Keith Fimian Connolly D+2 12%
    WI-03 Dan Kapanke Kind D+4 29%
    WI-07 Sean Duffy Obey D+3 22%
    WI-08 Reid Ribble Kagen R+2 8%

    These candidates have all been added to the bottom rung of the NRCC’s list, which they call “On the Radar.” The Republican House campaign committee has also bumped up nine previously-added names to their middle tier, “Contenders”:

    District Candidate
    AL-02 Martha Roby
    CO-04 Cory Gardner
    FL-12 Dennis Ross
    ID-01 Vaughn Ward
    MD-01 Andy Harris
    NH-01 Frank Guinta
    NM-02 Steve Pearce
    OH-01 Steve Chabot
    OH-15 Steve Stivers

    Of those initial thirteen picks, four didn’t make the jump: Van Tran (CA-47), Adam Kinzinger (IL-11), Charles Djou (HI-01), and Jon Barela (NM-01). (Kinzinger, for what it’s worth, has been officially endorsed by the NRCC, the only candidate other than Dennis Ross in FL-12 to be so honored.) Two other dudes who were added later (but before this round) also stay put: David Harmer (CA-10) and Greg Ball (NY-19). I have to believe this means the GOP is writing off any hope of a stunning Harmer upset in next week’s special election.

    Interestingly, the NRCC seems to have no reservations about naming more than one candidates running in the same race to their program – they’ve done so in IL-10, MO-04, and NY-19. This is something I don’t recall the DCCC doing with Red to Blue over the past couple of cycles. However, all of these multiple-choice challengers are still only at the “On the Radar” level. I wouldn’t be surprised if the NRCC narrowed things down if certain candidates started to show more promise than others.

    NRCC Picks 13 Challengers for Young Guns Program

    We had a lot of fun last year at the expense of the GOP’s Young Guns (a group of 30 and 40-something House “up and comers”). Other than raising a few dineros for their colleagues, their crowning electoral achievement was sending a small battalion of hapless, bluetooth-equipped and frappuccino-powered DC staffers on a wild goose chase in rural northeast Mississippi last year, trying to rustle up votes for South Memphis Southaven Mayor Greg Davis.

    It seems that Pete Sessions has bigger and better plans for the Young Guns brand this cycle, and the NRCC is appropriating the name for its new program designed to lend assistance to candidates hoping to topple Democrats (or retain open seats). Call it Blue to Red, if you will. The full list:

    District Candidate Incumbent PVI 2008 (D)
    AL-02 Martha Roby Bright R+16 1%
    CA-47 Van Tran Sanchez D+4 44%
    CO-04 Cory Gardner Markey R+6 12%
    FL-12 Dennis Ross (Open) R+6 -15%
    HI-01 Charles Djou (Open) D+11 58%
    ID-01 Vaughn Ward Minnick R+18 1%
    IL-11 Adam Kinzinger Halvorson R+1 24%
    MD-01 Andy Harris Kratovil R+13 1%
    NH-01 Frank Guinta Shea-Porter R+0 6%
    NM-01 Jon Barela Heinrich D+5 12%
    NM-02 Steve Pearce Teague R+6 12%
    OH-01 Steve Chabot Driehaus D+1 5%
    OH-15 Steve Stivers Kilroy D+1 1%

    Despite including their names in the program, the NRCC is actually only formally endorsing two candidates from this list — Iraq vet Adam Kinzinger (IL-11) and state Sen. Dennis Ross (FL-12). Others “Young Guns” facing competitive primaries are Vaughn Ward (ID-01) and quite probably Andy Harris (MD-01). I’m sure their would-be primary competitors are chafing at this early stamp of approval from Sessions.

    And let’s leave aside the issue of calling 62 year-old Steve Pearce and 56 year-old Steve Chabot “Young Guns” for the moment…

    MS-01: Young Guns to the Rescue!

    IL-14 was bad.  LA-06 was worse.  But if you’re an ass-scratching member of the Boehner caucus, the very real scenario of receiving a back-breaking loss in Mississippi next week is too terrifying to even begin imagining.

    That’s why the GOP is calling in the cavalry to stop Democrat Travis Childers:

    Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga.) presented a multi-faceted plan to retain the Mississippi seat to the House Republican Young Guns group on Tuesday. The plan is designed to get staff on the ground and checks to Davis.

    “We need boots on the ground. This is going to be about voter turnout,” Westmoreland said. “So it’s a matter of having enough people to go door to door, to go to Wal-Mart and Home Depot to get [Davis’s] message out.”

    Westmoreland and several other members have dispatched staff to Mississippi to do just that. Others, like Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), have supported Davis financially.

    “One thing that the Young Guns do is engage in races,” said McCarthy.

    Young Guns?  More like City Slickers II.

    Or maybe Blazing Saddles.

    No, wait — I’ve got it: Two Mules For Sister Sara.