SSP Daily Digest: 9/10

AK-Sen: Wasn’t that Lisa Murkowski announcement about whether she was going to pursue a write-in bid supposed to be yesterday? It never materialized, but we did get some statements from local gadfly and Murkowski ally Andrew Halcro that make it sound pretty likely.

“It’s going to be the kind of campaign you should have seen in the primary,” said Andrew Halcro, an Alaska political consultant who is a longtime friend of the senator. “It’s going to be no-holds-barred, pedal-to-the-metal stuff.”

DE-Sen: After putting out a public wish for real Sarah Palin backing instead of just a cryptic retweet, Christine O’Donnell finally got her wish yesterday. O’Donnell got added to the gigantic list of Mama Grizzlies yesterday during a Palin appearance on Sean Hannity’s show. The real question, though, is it too little too late? It might help raise some funds this weekend, but it smells a little like Palin’s 5 pm-on-Tuesday endorsement of “Angela McGowen.” Meanwhile, O’Donnell seems to be doing everything she can to dance right up to the edge of calling Castle gay without going over it: she just blasted his campaign tactics as “unmanly” and also telling him “get your man-pants on.”

ME-Sen: PPP’s poll of Maine has some buried details that should lead to some soul-searching for Olympia Snowe, who could be headed down Arlen Specter Boulevard if the right-wing decides to wade into her 2012 GOP primary. (Or she might take the opportunity to retire.) Overall, she’s fairly popular at 50/40, but that’s based on 59/29 among Democrats. She’s only at 40/51 among Republicans, and by a 50-37 margin, Republicans say she really should be a Democrat. Susan Collins sports similar numbers, although she has until 2014 to deal with that, by which point the Tea Party thing may be a footnote in AP US History textbooks. PPP says they’ll have 2012 hypothetical Senate matchups out on Monday. (One other note: they find opinions on gay marriage basically unchanged since last November’s referendum: 43 in favor, 49 against.)

NH-Sen: Once he got the Manchester Union-Leader’s backing, that led to a lot of speculation that Ovide Lamontagne (as he did in the 1996 GOP gubernatorial primary) would close fast. It looks like that’s happening: he’s out with an internal poll showing himself only 10 points behind Kelly Ayotte. He trails Ayotte 34-24, with Bill Binnie (considered the real threat to Ayotte until the last couple weeks) tied at 12 with Jim Bender. It’s very close to the Magellan poll that came out last week giving Ayotte a 13-point lead. I wonder if Lamontagne would actually be able to pull out the upset if the Tea Party Express had decided to weigh in here for Lamontagne, instead of in their likely-futile efforts in Delaware?

NV-Sen: Ralston smash! The intrepid political reporter is on a rampage across the twittersphere today, after Sharron Angle previously said on Jon Ralston’s TV program “Face to Face” that she wanted to debate Harry Reid there, then arranged the debate, and then yesterday abruptly canceled the Oct. 21 shindig. The two will still meet in an Oct. 14 debate, which should be one of the most popcorn-worthy events of the year.

OH-Sen: Who let the Big Dog out? Bill Clinton, who’ll be in Ohio soon shoring up Ted Strickland’s gubernatorial bid, will also hold a fundraiser on behalf of another long-time ally, Lee Fisher.

MI-Gov: Another day, another poll showing the Michigan gubernatorial race looking DOA. The newest poll by the Glengariff Group for the Detroit News gives Republican Rick Snyder a 56-36 lead over Virg Bernero.

VT-Gov: With the numbers having barely budged after the recount in the Democratic primary (the gap between Peter Shumlin and runner-up Doug Racine widened by 6 votes, all the way up to a whopping 203-vote margin), Racine conceded today. Shumlin, the state Senate president pro tem, will face GOP Lt. Governor Brian Dubie in the general.

CO-04: I’m tempted to put this in the “good news” file, inasmuch as she isn’t getting blown out as conventional wisdom would assume: the Betsy Markey campaign rolled out an internal poll, from Bennett, Petts, and Normington, that shows her in a 38-38 tie with Republican Cory Gardner (with 7% going to assorted third-party candidates). However, feeling like you need to release your own internal that’s a tie doesn’t exactly seem like a big sign of confidence…

IA-01, IA-02, IA-03: On the other hand, here’s a poll, considering the source, that’s pretty clear “good news” for Leonard Boswell. A poll for the conservative American Future Fund (who commissioned that avalanche of Whit Ayers polls), this time by Voter/Consumer Research, found Boswell leading Brad Zaun 48-39. That’s a complete reversal from Zaun’s couple of internals. Still, they have numbers from the 1st and 2nd that show that we need to keep at least one wary eye on these sleepy races: Bruce Braley leads Ben Lange 50-39 in the 1st, while David Loebsack leads Mariannette Miller-Meeks 47-39 in the 2nd (not far off from the one internal that MMM leaked).

NH-01: This is interesting: the state Democratic party is out with two different mailers in the 1st, attacking Sean Mahoney. There’s just one catch… Mahoney isn’t the GOP nominee yet, and we won’t know if he is or not until Tuesday, when he faces off with ex-Manchester mayor Frank Guinta. It’s unclear whether they have info leading them to believe Mahoney has the nomination locked down, or if they’d trying to sandbag Mahoney pre-primary so that the heavily-baggage-laden Guinta (about whom the ads write themselves) wins.

NY-13: With a lot of people in local GOP circles still holding ex-Rep. Vito Fossella in high esteem (despite his boo-hoo-funny fall from grace), this is one endorsement that may carry a lot of weight as we race toward the conclusion of the GOP primary in the 13th. Fossella gave his backing to Michael Allegretti. That sets up a showdown with the other big power behind the throne in this district: Staten Island borough president Guy Molinari is backing Michael Grimm.

OK-02: If we have to worry about this race, geez, better start making camel reservations for our 40 years in the desert. On the other hand, it’s pretty clear that we don’t have to worry about this race. Dan Boren is out with an internal poll, via Myers Research, that gives a jumbo-sized 34-point lead over little-known GOPer Charles Thompson: 65-31.

Mayors: In sharp contrast to yesterday’s We Ask America poll of the Chicago mayoral race, today’s Sun-Times poll finds Rahm Emanuel just one of the crowd, in high single digits. This poll finds Cook Co. Sheriff Tom Dart leading at 12, with state Sen. James Meeks at 10. Luis Gutierrez is at 9, Jesse Jackson Jr. is at 8, and Emanuel is at 7. “Don’t know” led the way at 35.

DSCC: Jeremy Jacobs, the man who always seems to know the Size Of The Buy, is out with a helpful breakdown of where the DSCC has made its $18 million worth of reservations so far. Right now, it’s $1.6 million in Kentucky, $5.1 million in Missouri, $5.2 million in Pennsylvania, $4 million in Colorado, and $2 million in Washington.

NRCC: The NRCC, currently only running independent expenditures ads in one district (IN-02), rolled out a list of ten more districts where it’ll start paying for ads. They’re staying on the air there, plus adding AL-02, AZ-01, CA-11, FL-02, KY-06, MS-01, TN-08, TX-17, VA-05, and WI-07. (The only “surprise,” inasmuch as it wasn’t on the NRCC’s big list of 40 districts from last month, is AZ-01.)


IL-Sen: Not one but two ads from Mark Kirk, one touting his independence and the other attacking Alexi Giannoulias on taxes, but maybe more importantly, trying to lash him to the increasingly-anchor-like Pat Quinn

CA-Gov: Meg Whitman’s new anti-Jerry Brown ad cleverly lets Bill Clinton do most of the talking, with highlights from the 1992 Democratic presidential primary campaign

WI-Gov: Tom Barrett, who’s been fairly modest so far about having gotten badly beaten while intervening in a domestic dispute last year, is finally playing the “hero card” with his new ad

NM-01: Anti-Martin Heinrich ad from American Future Fund, focusing on the Pelosi boogeyman; it’s the first IE in the district and a $250K buy for four weeks

TN-08: Dueling ads in the 8th, with two Roy Herron ads out (one a positive bio spot, the other an anti-Stephen Fincher spot aimed at his campaign finance disclosure foibles… together they’re a “six-figure” buy for the next week), and an anti-Herron ad from the 60 Plus Association (the AARP’s anti-HCR doppelganger), who’re spending $500K on the buy.

IE tracker:

DE-Sen: Tea Party Express spending $72K on media buys, direct mail, and e-mail blast for Christine O’Donnell

MO-Sen: AFSCME spending $43K on anti-Roy Blunt mailer

NV-Sen: Patriot Majority spending $309K on new ad against Sharron Angle

NV-Sen: Patriot Majority spending another $49K on another anti-Sharron Angle ad titled “Oye, Sharron” (a Spanish-language market ad, maybe?)


CT-Sen: Richard Blumenthal (D) 53%, Linda McMahon (R) 44%

NC-Sen: Elaine Marshall (D) 38%, Richard Burr (R-inc) 54%

OR-Gov: John Kitzhaber (D) 44%, Chris Dudley (R) 49%

SD-AL: Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D-inc) 47%, Kristi Noem (R) 45%

SSP Daily Digest: 9/9 (Afternoon Edition)

DE-Sen: Despite all the hullabaloo about the late-breaking surge by Christine O’Donnell (which, if you look at fundraising and ad spending, seems like it might not have been that much of a surge at all), both parties seem to be reconciled to a Chris Coons/Mike Castle race, according to CQ. O’Donnell seems to be hanging her hopes on a last-minute Sarah Palin endorsement, which, according to intense semantic analysis by Twitterologists, didn’t really happen with her recent retweety-hashtaggy thing.

HI-Gov: Hawaii’s the last primary in the nation, and that also means it’s the last for pre-primary financial reporting. Neil Abercrombie, who’d been lagging Mufi Hannemann on the fundraising front previously, shot ahead for the months of July and August. Abercrombie raised $768K while Hannemann raised $330K. Hannemann still has the CoH edge, $792K to $275K.

NM-Gov: GOPer Susana Martinez has led narrowly in most polls here, but the RGA isn’t taking this race for granted: they’re moving $500K to the Martinez campaign. The DGA is also continuing to fight here, and they seem to think they have something here with their own little Bonusgate story here (where Martinez allegedly spent border security money on staff bonuses instead); they’re running their second attack ad here, and it (like the first ad) focuses on the bonuses.

RI-Gov: There had been rumors of this way, way back, but the RNC is revisiting them today, saying that Democratic candidate Frank Caprio talked to them about a possible party switch in February (back when he was still facing the more-liberal Patrick Lynch in the Dem primary). It’s unclear what the GOP’s angle is in releasing this now… their chances are pretty much DOA, so are they just hoping to deny the DGA a victory here (for post-election talking points purposes) by driving Caprio votes to Lincoln Chafee (the indie who seems to be running, for the most part, to Caprio’s left)?

VT-Gov: The recount has begun for the ultra-close Democratic primary in the Vermont gubernatorial race, but instead of lobbing grenades at each other, 197-vote leader Peter Shumlin and runner-up Doug Racine are touring the state together in an RV, stumping along with the other three candidates. In fact, Racine is urging his donors to get behind Shumlin, despite having requested the recount. (So far, Shumlin’s lead has edged up by 9, with 10 of the state’s 14 counties having completed the recanvass.)

WI-Gov: Here’s a good development, that a lot of other outgoing Dem incumbents might take a lesson from: Jim Doyle, with $1.8 million sitting around in his campaign funds as he ends his gubernatorial run, is transferring $1 million of that money to the Greater Wisconsin Committee, which has aired both anti-Scott Walker and anti-Mark Neumann ads.

CT-05: Here’s one House GOP internal that’s getting a little stale, but somehow eluded us until just now: Sam Caligiuri put out a late-August internal from National Research showing him right on Chris Murphy’s heels, trailing 40-39.

Committees: Jim Doyle’s not the only guy with money to burn who’s emptying out the piggy banks. Barack Obama will be transferring $4.5 million from his campaign fund, divvying it up three ways with $1.5 million each to the DCCC, DSCC, and DNC.

Mayors (pdf): Two mayoral polls are out today. One is more timely, with the DC primary only days away: Clarus finds Vincent Gray ready to oust incumbent Adrian Fenty in the Dem primary, 45-38. We Ask America also pounces on the Chicago mayor question, despite a thoroughly unclear field, and finds Rahm Emanuel would be starting in the pole position out of 10 names they gave. Emanuel’s at 30, followed by Tom Dart at 14, and both Luis Gutierrez and Jesse Jackson Jr. at 13.

Massachusetts: Here’s an interesting set of numbers out of the Bay State: despite the election of Scott Brown and running a competitive gubernatorial race, Republicans have actually lost ground lately in terms of registration. The GOP has lost more than 9,000 voters over the last two years, and are down to 11% of all registrations. Dems held almost even at 37%, while the ranks of the unenrolled grew (by 187K since 2006), up to 51% of the electorate.


IN-Sen: The Chamber of Commerce is out with an anti-Brad Ellsworth ad hitting the usual “trillions of government spending” points

WV-Sen: Joe Manchin’s first TV ad attacks John Raese for running attack ads

OH-Gov: The SEIU attacks John Kasich on his Wall Street days, with a “significant six-figure” buy

PA-Gov: Dan Onorato’s first TV ad of the general is a 60-second extravaganza focusing on the revitalization of Pittsburgh

IL-14: Randy Hultgren talks jobs

MI-01: Gary McDowell’s first ad has testimonials from locals saying he’s just like them, only “better dressed”

OH-18: Americans for Job Security is out with four anti-Dem House ads, in IN-08, PA-04, and PA-07 as well as the 18th… and we have actual numbers ($124K in OH-18, $415K in PA-04, $293 in PA-07, and $318K in IN-08)

SC-05: John Spratt’s first TV ad of the cycle focuses, unsurprisingly, on his constituent service reputation and attention to local issues


AZ-Sen: Rodney Glassman (D) 37%, John McCain (R-inc) 51%

IL-Sen: Alexi Giannoulias (D) 34%, Mark Kirk (R) 37%, LeAlan Jones (G) 12%

MO-Sen: Robin Carnahan (D) 43%, Roy Blunt (R) 53%

WV-Sen: Joe Manchin (D) 50%, John Raese (R) 45%

Chicago Mayor (and IL-02, IL-04, IL-05, IL-07): Da Mare Out

As long as this SSP Editor (and newly minted Chicago resident) has been walking this earth, Chicago hasn’t had a mayor not named Richard M. Daley. Some thought it would never happen, but Da Mare is calling it quits:

Mayor Richard Daley says he will not run for re-election in 2011, saying it’s “time for me, it’s time for Chicago to move on.”

“The truth is I have been thinking about this for the past several months,” Daley said at a City Hall news conference that stunned the city. “In the end this is a personal decision, no more, no less.”

With the top spot in the Second City opening up for the first time in 22 years, speculation has already run rampant regarding who might throw their hat in the ring. Northwest/Southwest Side Congressman Luis Gutierrez is already forming an exploratory committee, while West Side Congressman Danny K. Davis won’t rule anything out just yet.

The 800-(fuckin’)-pound gorilla in the fuckin’ room, of course, is Rahm Emanuel, who represented a chunk of the North Side-based 5th district and had made his mayoral ambitions public awhile ago. But with even Rahmbo’s successor in Congress, Mike Quigley, saying that Rahm isn’t a shoo-in (among others, including South Side Congressmen Bobby Rush and Jesse Jackson Jr.), this race just may prove to be the hottest ticket around after November. (Quigley and JJJr. also haven’t ruled out runs, either.)

Other candidates floated include Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart, outgoing Cook County Assessor Jim Houlihan, North Side state Rep. John Fritchey, South Side state Sen. James Meeks, Circuit Court Clerk (and failed Cook County Board President candidate and ’07 mayoral candidate) Dorothy Brown, and two North Side Cook County Commissioners – Bridget Gainer (10th) and Forrest Claypool (12th, who’s also running as an indie for Cook County Assessor).

A host of Aldermen and former Aldermen (our term for City Councilpeople) are also rumored to be interested, including Manny Flores (formerly 1st Ward – Logan Square/Wicker Park), Bob Fioretti (2nd – South Loop/Near West Side), Leslie Hairston (5th – Hyde Park/Grand Crossing), JJJr.’s wife Sandi Jackson (7th – South Shore/Calumet Heights), Ed Burke (14th – Brighton Park/Gage Park), Scott Waguespack (32nd – Bucktown/Roscoe Village), Tom Allen (38th – Portage Park), Brendan Reilly (42nd – River North/Loop) and Tom Tunney (44th – Lakeview/Boystown). For what it’s worth, a third member of the Jackson family – JJJr.’s son Jonathan – has also been mentioned as a potential candidate.

If I’ve thrown enough neighborhood/area names in to confuse you, here’s a ward map I made, and the City’s official neighborhood map (pdf).

(And because I can’t get enough digs in on Todd Stroger, who knows, the soon-to-be former Cook County Board President – who finished 4th in his primary with 14% in February – might even be delusional enough to run!)

No mention of this race would be complete without a mention of the racial divisions present here. Chicago’s voting-age population, as of 2000, was 36.7% non-Hispanic White, 33.8% non-Hispanic Black, 22.8% Hispanic, and 4.7% Asian; leaders in both the Hispanic and Black communities have stated that they will be represented in the field. There’ll also be a divide between the pro-Daley loyalists and anti-Daley reformists, especially among white voters, probably between the younger “lakefront liberals” and the old-school machine pols on the Northwest/Southwest Sides. (Knowing nothing about the field right now, this Lakefront Lib would love to vote for Claypool, but would also happily vote for Gainer or Waguespack.)

Under Chicago’s quirky off-year municipal election calendar, petitions are due betwen November 15 and 22, with the primary election on February 22, 2011 and the general (i.e. runoff) between the top two vote-getters six weeks later on April 5 should no one receive 50% +1. With Daley – and many of his allies on the Chicago City Council – heading for the exits (and promotion-seeking Aldermen not running for re-election), one thing is certain: Chicago’s political landscape will be quite different come next April.

Update: A few more names I’ve seen bandied about: City Clerk Miguel del Valle, and Ald. Joe Moore (49th – Rogers Park/West RP). All the candidates highlighted here are Democrats…there’s 1 Republican (of 50) on the Chicago City Council, Brian Doherty (41st – Edison Park/O’Hare), and even he’s a close Daley ally.

Update 2: Even more candidates rumored, two of the Daley family: Da Mare’s brother William Daley, and his son Patrick Daley. More state officials include outgoing comptroller (and failed gubernatorial candidate) Dan Hynes and Attorney General (and daughter of state House Speaker Mike) Lisa Madigan. There’s also Cook County ClerkDavid Orr (who briefly served as mayor after Harold Washington’s death), former State Senate Majority Leader Emil Jones, and Ald. Gene Schulter (47th – North Center/Lincoln Square).

SSP Daily Digest: 5/24 (Afternoon Edition)

AR-Sen: Blanche Lincoln is retooling her ad message quite a bit, now that it’s come crashing home to her that she actually has to suck up to that annoying Democratic base for a few weeks in order to win her runoff in two weeks. Her new ad features lots of Obama footage, and highlights her support of the stimulus package and… well, “support of” might be overstating it, so her vote for HCR. Compare that with her old ad saying “I don’t answer to my party. I answer to Arkansas.”

IL-Sen: Jesse Jackson Jr. seems to be up to some serious no-good in the Illinois Senate primary, although the reason isn’t clear. He’s withheld his endorsement from Alexi Giannoulias so far, and now is going so far as to talk up his respect for Mark Kirk (they serve on Appropriations together) and float the idea of endorsing him. Is he using his endorsement as a bargaining chip to get some squeaky-wheel-greasing (like Jackson’s pet airport project – recall that he didn’t endorse 1998 IL-Gov nominee Glenn Poshard over that very issue), or is he war-gaming his own run against a first-term Kirk in 2016?

NY-Sen, NY-Sen-B (pdf): Siena is out with a slew of New York data today. They find Kirsten Gillibrand in good position in the Senate race against three second-tier opponents; she beats Bruce Blakeman 51-24, Joe DioGuardi 51-25, and David Malpass 53-22. In the GOP primary, DioGuardi is at 15, Blakeman at 8, and Malpass at 4. I guess they want to be thorough, because they also took a rather in-depth look at the usually neglected NY-Sen-_A_. Charles Schumer beats Nassau Co. Controller George Maragos 65-22, Jay Townsend 63-24, Gary Berntsen 64-23, and Jim Staudenraus 65-21. Political consultant Townsend leads the primary at 10, followed by Maragos at 5, with some dudes Bertnsen and Staudenraus at 3 and 1. They even poll Schumer’s primary, wherein he beats Randy Credico 78-11.

AK-Gov: DRM Market Research (not working for any particular candidate) polled the two primaries in the Alaska gubernatorial race (which aren’t until August), finding, as expected, GOP incumbent Sean Parnell and Dem Ethan Berkowitz with big leads. Parnell is at 59, with 9 for former state House speaker Ralph Samuels and 7 for Bill Walker. Berkowitz is at 48, with 17 for state Sen. Hollis French and 8 for Bob Poe. Diane Benson, who ran for the House in 2006 and 2008, is running for Lt. Governor this time, and leads the Dem primary there.

AL-Gov: Ron Sparks is out with some details from an internal poll with one week left to go before the primary, needing to push back not only against an Artur Davis internal but today’s R2K poll. For some reason, there aren’t specific toplines, but Sparks is touting a one-point lead over Davis. The poll also sees Davis polling at only 43% among African-Americans.

NY-Gov (pdf): Siena has gubernatorial numbers, too. Believe it or not, Andrew Cuomo is winning. He beats Rick Lazio 66-24, Steve Levy 65-22, and Carl Paladino 65-22. In the GOP primary, Lazio is at 29, Carl Paladino at 16, and Steve Levy at 14. How bad do you think state party chair Ed Cox is feeling that his hand-picked Killer-App party-swapper isn’t even polling ahead of a bestiality-email-forwarding teabagger? Well, Cox’s performance here and the Senate races has been so miserable that the latest local conspiracy theory is that Cox is throwing in the towel on the Senate race so that his son, Chris Cox, can have an unimpeded run against Kirsten Gillibrand in 2012. (Of course, the cart is a few miles down the road ahead of the horse; there’s no guarantee Cox Jr. can even make it out of the GOP primary in NY-01, let alone past Tim Bishop.)

OK-Gov: I don’t know if Mary Fallin is feeling any heat here, but nevertheless, she put out an internal poll taken for her by Cole, Hargrave, Snodgrass & Associates. She leads both Dems, Lt. Gov. Jari Askins and AG Drew Edmondson by an identical 52-30 margin. (UPDATE: The Fallin campaign writes in to say this wasn’t an internal, but CHS acting on its own.)

OR-Gov: Chris Dudley airballed his first salvo of the general election against John Kitzhaber. Dudley accused Kitzhaber of having tried to put the state in debt by borrowing to balance the state’s budget during the 2001 recession. Ooops… Kitzhaber did the exact opposite, as he fought against doing so, against legislators of both parties. (Ted Kulongoski eventually signed off on the idea in 2003, after Kitz was out of office.)

PA-Gov: Maybe one of his younger, hipper staffers warned him that he was heavy-handedly barking up the wrong tree, as AG and GOP nominee Tom Corbett did a 180, pulling his Twitter subpoena to try and ascertain the identities of several anonymous critics.

SC-Gov: Well, as is usually the case, the most salacious political news of the day is also the biggest. A South Carolina blogger, Will Folks, who used to be on Nikki Haley’s payroll is now claiming that he and Haley had an affair (prior to Folks’s marriage, but after Haley’s). Folks, believe it or not, is supporting Haley, but apparently wanted to get this out there as other candidates have been pushing oppo research on this to reporters. Haley had had some recent momentum, with a big ad buy on her behalf from the Mark Sanford camp and a corresponding lead in the most recent Rasmussen poll of the primary.

TX-Gov: This is an internet poll by British pollster YouGov, so, well, have your salt and vinegar shakers handy. Working on behalf of the Texas Tribune and the Univ. of Texas, they find incumbent GOPer Rick Perry with a lead over Dem Bill White 44-35 (and similar-sized leads for the Republicans for all the other statewide offices downballot).

Polltopia: Here’s some more hard evidence that pollsters are increasingly missing the boat by not polling cellphone users. A new Centers for Disease Control survey finds that nearly a quarter of the adult population is simply being missed by many pollsters (especially autodialers like Rasmussen and SurveyUSA, given limitations on auto-dialing cellphones). The CDC also hints at how cellphone-only adults are not just more urban, more poor, less white, younger, and more Internet-savvy, but also less “domestic” and more “bohemian,” which Nate Silver thinks indicates a different set of political beliefs, too. Given the statistically significant difference between Pew’s generic congressional ballots that include and exclude cellphone users, the cellphone effect seems to be skewing polls away from Dems this cycle — the real question is, are those cellphone-only users at all likely to show up in November?

Demographics: Josh Goodman has another interesting piece in his redistricting preview series of population changes in big states, this time in Illinois. He finds the greatest population growth in the suburban collar counties of Illinois, also the most politically competitive part of the state these days. While these all trended sharply in the Democratic direction in 2008, the question is whether that trend hold without the Obama favorite-son effect this year.

SSP Daily Digest: 5/17 (Morning Edition)

  • AR-Sen: Blanche Lincoln refuses to say whether she’d want Barack Obama to campaign with her – and for once, I can’t blame her for being wishy-washy. She still managed to get in a dig at “the far left” in an interview with The Hill, which should really help her consolidate the base if she wins the primary. And graciously, she said that she wouldn’t run as an independent if she were to lose the primary – which is good to know, since she only filed as a Dem. Meanwhile, the SEIU just threw down another $330K on TV ads and phonebanking to support Bill Halter.
  • DE-Sen: A good get for the Democrat: The Delaware State Education Association, a big teacher’s union, has switched their endorsement from GOPer Mike Castle to Chris Coons. Though the DSEA has supported Castle in the past, they cited unhappiness over his votes against the stimulus (which had a lot of education money) and healthcare reform. Meanwhile, Castle secured his party’s nomination with 70% of the vote at the GOP convention, but teabagger Christine O’Donnell pledged to fight on through the primary.
  • IN-Sen: Not that anyone expected otherwise, but Dem Rep. Brad Ellsworth was officially nominated by the state party, over joke candidate Bob Kern.
  • KY-Sen: A shadowy 527 organized by Lexington, Ky. “media specialist” Tim Isaac is running ads linking Rand Paul to absolutely batshit fucking insane radio host Alex Jones. (Paul appeared on the show a few times and kissed Jones’s ass.) Probably too little, too late – and in this case, Isaac’s refusal to announce the size of the buy is pretty glaring, since it seems like a blatant attempt to play local media. On the flipside, Paul said on Friday that he’s pulling his attack ads from the air – which, given how little time there is before election day, again seems like a way to gin up some press coverage. I guess that’s politics.
  • PA-Sen: An ugly late hit from Arlen Specter, which he prays doesn’t make it back east: He’s running web ads attacking Joe Sestak for his “F” rating from the NRA. Sestak doesn’t have much time to raise hell about this, but this is obviously not a winning issue for Specter in Philly. Anyhow, Tuesday should be a barn-burner, with Specter and Sestak now tied at 44 apiece (with 11% undecided) in Muhlenberg’s final tracking poll. (Kudos to Muhlenberg, btw, for what turned out to be a genius marketing move in providing this tracker.)
  • UT-Sen: Game on? Orrin Hatch is vowing to run for re-election in 2012, when, as the world is engulfed in flames foretold by a Mayan end-times prophecy, he’ll be a spry 78. Will Jason Chaffetz seize the day, or let opportunity pass him by a second time? I also have to wonder if nervous incumbents will try to change the law regarding convention nominations before the next cycle rolls around, lest they become Bob Bennett Vol. II.
  • AL-Gov: Ron Sparks, as expected, just scored the endorsement of the Alabama Democratic Conference, the state’s old black political organization. This means that he, and not African American primary opponent Artur Davis, has secured the backing of all four of Alabama’s major black political groups. Pushing back against this unusual narrative, Davis announced endorsements from two fellow members of Congress: Jesse Jackson, Jr. and John Lewis, neither of whom represent Alabama (though Lewis was born there). Not sure this really helps Davis’s “D.C.” image.
  • CA-Gov: Steve Poizner, who has been making late headway in the polls, is finally airing some broadcast TV ads in the Bay Area, painting Meg Whitman as an apostate to the conservative movement. If I were a mouth-breather, I’d vote for him. As ever, no word on the size of the buy, but given how rich Poizner is, I’d guess it’s substantial.
  • FL-Gov: Lawton Chiles III, son of the late governor of the same name, apparently wants to challenge Alex Sink in the gubernatorial primary this year, according to people close to him. The filing deadline for state races is not until June 18th, though even if he gets in right now, Chiles would have a major financial gap to make up with Sink. Maybe the young he-coon thinks he got some walk in him?
  • NV-Gov: Man, this is just an absolutely brutal profile of GOP Gov. Jim Gibbons, who regularly disappeared Mark Sanford-like during the meltdown of 2008, when his state needed leadership most. Just read it.
  • AL-07: EMILY’s List made a small independent expenditure (sub-$30K) for mailers and phonebanking on behalf of Terri Sewell. Someone from EMILY really needs to explain why they endorsed Wall Street attorney Sewell over the well-known progressive (and equally pro-choice) Shelia Smoot.
  • CA-19: God bless KFSN-TV! Without them, we wouldn’t have yet another poll of the fascinating CA-19 primaries. Even the pollster notes: “Compared to identical SurveyUSA polls released one and two months ago, the contest is unchanged.” I guess the good news is that Dick Pombo looks slated to lose.
  • DE-AL: As expected, wealthy heiress Michele Rollins won the GOP’s nomination for Delaware’s at-large House seat, though it took her two rounds of balloting at the state convention. However, opponent Glen Urquhart has pledged to stay in through the primary.
  • FL-22: Your liberal media: A local TV reporter, Angela Sachitano, has been covering the FL-22 race for WPTV… and has also been serving as an informal media advisor to whacked-out Republican Allen West. Her employer, of course, is saying there’s no harm done, and that they’ve taken unspecified “appropriate action.” Typical liberals!
  • HI-01: Sue Lowden would be proud: Charles Djou is busy spending time with his chickens, so he can count them before they hatch. Said Djou to Sean Miller of The Hill: “This election is pretty much over.” Djou was later seen hanging out with a bunch of lazy grasshoppers who were scoffing at hard-working ants preparing for winter. You’ve also got to wonder why he’s spending $88K on TV ads attacking (for the first time) Ed Case if this thing is “over.”
  • ID-01: Hoo boy this is good! Republican Vaughn Ward, the supposed establishment favorite in the race, has fired his campaign manager just a week-and-a-half before the primary. (Though CQ’s Greg Giroux tweets that Ward is now supposedly saying his CM quit.) Read the Politico’s piece for a full account Ward’s long string of failures – it’s like he’s been touched by the ghost of Bill Sali.
  • Still, Ward might yet win. An independent poll last week from Greg Smith & Associates showed Ward leading Raul Labrador in the primary, 34-16, but with 50% undecided. The general election numbers (PDF) are really weird, though – Smith tested Rep. Walt Minnick “jungle-style” against both Labrador and Ward together. Yeah, Idaho doesn’t do their elections that way, so I don’t get the choice, but in any event, Minnick was at 50% with both Republicans combining for 20%.

  • MA-05: Rep. Niki Tsongas, in a diary on Blue Mass Group, says that her quote in the NYT last week has been “misinterpreted” and that she “will always welcome President Obama to Massachusetts and the Fifth District.” Good.
  • PA-06: Doug Pike sure must enjoy being in the apology business. For the zillionth time this campaign, he’s had to walk something back. In this case, it’s a misleading mailer he sent out claiming he’d been awarded a “100% pro-choice rating” by NARAL. Not so fast, says the group – we haven’t endorsed anyone in this race. Egg, face, repeat.
  • PA-12: A Pittsburgh TV station yanked a Democratic ad attacking Tim Burns for supporting a national sales tax instead of income taxes. A conservative victory over rascally Dems? Not quite – the station, WPGH, is owned by Sinclair Broadcasting, who you might remember from 2004, when they forced their member stations to air a “documentary” swiftboating John Kerry just two weeks before election day.
  • Undeterred, the DCCC just chipped in another $40K for ads. Also, we mentioned the SEIU’s big ad buy here last week – click this link if you want to see the ad itself.

  • SC-02: A sign of life from Dem Rob Miller’s otherwise somnolent campaign? Miller has a poll out from Anzalone-Liszt showing Rep. Joe Wilson up 49-34. That might not seem like much to brag about, but Miller’s making hay of the fact that he only has 34% name ID, and says that Wilson’s incumbency is hurting him.
  • VT-AL: Retired 71-year-old businessman John Mitchell says he’s joining the GOP field to take on Rep. Peter Welch. He joins conservative radio show host Paul Beaudry and businessman Keith Stern. It looks like none of these Republicans have yet raised a dime.
  • British Elections: I don’t know about you, but the political spectrum across the pond always felt like Anarchy in the UK to me. Fortunately, SSP’s EnglishLefty surfs to the rescue with a detailed explanation of the fault lines between the Labour Party (which just got turfed) and the Liberal Democrats (who’ve joined a coalition with the Tories). The ensuing comments are enlightening as well.
  • SSP Daily Digest: 4/20

    DNC/RNC: The RNC seems to win the fundraising month for March, in a bit of a split decision. The DNC reported $7.57 million in contributions last month, while the RNC pulled in $6.7 million. However, $2 million of those Democratic dollars were transferred from the Obama campaign. More ominously, the RNC is sitting on $23.9 million cash on hand and no debt, while the DNC has $9.7 million cash on hand and $6.9 million in debt.

    IL-Sen: Hot on the heels of his $845 fundraising quarter, the new Rasmussen poll shows Roland Burris might want to make some post-2010 plans. 4% of respondents say they will “definitely” vote for him and 54% will vote against, with 39% saying it depends on who’s running. 62% think he should resign, with 24% believing he should remain in the Senate. (The poll doesn’t test Burris in any head-to-heads.) The poll also finds Jesse Jackson Jr. looking badly tarnished in the wake of the Blagojevich implosion: his favorables are now 32-63. One other tidbit that makes Lisa Madigan’s job harder if she runs for IL-Gov: Pat Quinn’s job approval is a surprisingly high 61-37.

    AR-Sen: Blanche Lincoln has drawn at least one legitimate challenger for 2010: state senate minority leader Kim Hendren has announced his candidacy. Hendren has self-funding abilities and a strong base in northwest Arkansas (the traditionally Republican part of the state), which at least gives him a leg up in the primary. Hendren, however, is old (71)… old enough that one claim to fame is that he lost a race to Bill Clinton (the 1982 gubernatorial primary, when Hendren was still a Democrat)… and promising to serve only one term. Lincoln defeated state senators in both her 1998 and 2004 bids.

    NV-Sen, NV-02: GOP Rep. Dean Heller says that “his plan today” is to run for re-election, but he’s also refusing to rule out a run against Handsome Harry Reid. (J)

    IL-14: After getting their pants kicked in by Democrat Bill Foster in two consecutive elections, the Illinois GOP may turn to the Name You Know in 2010 — Dennis Hastert’s son, Ethan. 31 year-old Ethan Hastert, a Chicagoland attorney, says that he’s “exploring” a run for his dad’s old seat, and is already polling his name against Foster in a trial poll. Ethan’s previous claim to fame: serving as assistant to Lewis “Scooter” Libby. (J)

    FL-05: Jim Piccillo will be challenging Ginny Brown-Waite in this light-red district. Piccillo has an interesting backstory: no previous political experience, and was a Republican until last year when he was driven away by the tenor of the campaign, but the recipient of a lot of media exposure after being profiled by the NYT in a feature on Florida Republicans abandoning the party. At least he sounds better than this guy.

    DE-AL, FL-10: Our top-shelf Democratic recruits have launched new websites: John Carney and Charlie Justice. (D)

    Polltopia: Our friends at Public Policy Polling are once again letting readers decide which Senate race they’ll poll next. The choices: Georgia, Illinois, and Oklahoma. Get busy voting and then tell us which race you picked in the comments. (J)

    The Other New Senator in the 111th Congress

    There’s going to be a healthy amount of turnover in the Senate; even if the Democrats don’t pick up any seats in 2008 (OK, OK, you can stop laughing now), there will still be at least five new faces because of the retirements of Warner, Allard, Domenici, Hagel, and Craig. However, there’s also going to be at least a sixth new face in the Senate, because, barring something really weird happening, either Barack Obama or John McCain is going to be the next President in January, opening up one more seat to be filled by appointment until 2010 (the next general election, but also when Obama and McCain’s terms would end anyway). Unlike the rest of the Senate races, that’s one race we can’t handicap, because we have no idea who the candidates are, and there’s going to be only one voter: either Rod Blagojevich or Janet Napolitano.

    This is in the news today because Robert Novak is alleging that Nancy Pelosi has been talking up Rahm Emanuel as the replacement senator. (This being Novak, the safe response might be to assume the exact opposite of what he’s saying. Just consider it a conversation starter.) He described Pelosi as “enthusiastic about Emanuel’s elevation to the Senate.” (Although she might be most enthusiastic about getting one-half of the Hoyer/Emanuel tag-team off her back.)

    It seems unlikely to me that Blagojevich would pick Emanuel, though, because Emanuel doesn’t help Blagojevich with either of his competing needs: the pressure to appoint another African-American so that number of black senators doesn’t drop back down to 0, and the desire to move his strongest intra-party competition to Washington and out of his hair. (It also might seem a demotion for Emanuel, who is at the #4 slot in the House as Conference chair, and given his age, a likely candidate for Speaker in the 2020s.)

    Probably the most frequently mentioned African-American contender for the position is Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. Jackson is young (41), he’s progressive (near the top of the House, with a Progressive Punch score of about 99), he’s been an effective Obama surrogate, he’d leave behind as safely-Democratic a House seat as can be imagined, and he has name recognition.

    Other mentioned African-American contenders include Rep. Bobby Rush (who’s been in IL-01 for many years and is 62), Sec. of State Jesse White (a well-liked longtime fixture in Illinois politics, but 76 years old), State Senate President Emil Jones (who’s a key Blagojevich ally in the legislature, but who’s 72), and State Senator James Claybourne (who’s only 44, but unlike these other contenders, not a Chicagoan (he’s from Belleville, next to E. St. Louis) – and with Dick Durbin already senator, a second Downstate senator is unlikely). One other possibility I saw mentioned was giving Carol Mosely-Braun her old seat back, although given her inability to hold the seat in the first place, that doesn’t seem likely.

    The other camp consists of people Blagojevich might like to deport from Illinois by promoting them: Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Comptroller Dan Hynes. It’s unclear whether Blagojevich intends to run for a third term in 2010 (he’s eligible to do so, although given his ethical problems and low approval ratings, it seems he’s likely to head for the exits at that point), but if he does, he’s likely to face primary opposition from one or both of them. And even if he doesn’t run, these two have oversight of his activities and have been constant thorns in his side (and, with one of them in Washington, could then be replaced with one of his own appointees).

    Whether or not Blagojevich is an obstacle, either Madigan or Hynes is likely to be the next governor of Illinois. Madigan is 41; Hynes is 39. They’re both well-connected to Illinois machine politics (Madigan’s dad is state house speaker Michael Madigan; Hynes’s dad is former Cook County assessor Thomas Hynes.) One consideration is that Hynes has shown more desire to go to Washington rather than aiming for governor; Hynes ran for the Democratic Senate nomination in 2004, finishing second to Obama in the primary.

    Finally, there are several other names who get mentioned but don’t fit into either category: Rep. Jan Schakowsky from IL-09 (she’s also one of the most progressive members of the House and wields a fair amount of leadership clout there, but she’s 64 and has some ethical baggage associated with fraud charges against her husband Robert Creamer), and Illinois Veterans Affairs Dept. Director Tammy Duckworth of IL-06 fame (she brings diversity and Iraq War vet status to the table, but has never actually won an election before). And it can’t be discounted entirely that Blagojevich might appoint himself, since a Senate seat would give him a new career without term limits… although he’d face the same electoral liabilities in 2010 facing Senate re-election as if he were running again for governor.

    Turning to Arizona, some of you might be licking your chops, anticipating another Democratic senator, appointed by Janet Napolitano, as the consolation prize in the event of a McCain victory, but that’s not the case. Arizona is one of several states (along with Alaska, Hawaii, Utah, and Wyoming) where the appointed interim senator must be of the same party as the departing senator.

    This becomes an interesting strategic decision for Napolitano, though: does she take the easy way out and appoint the Republican who’s at the top of the queue? That would most likely be Jan Brewer, who is Secretary of State and, since Arizona has no Lt. Governor, the state’s #2 person. However, it could be one of the current representatives, most likely John Shadegg, who has more seniority and a higher profile than Trent Franks or Jeff Flake.

    Does she appoint the Republican who, ideologically, is likely to suck the least (moderate ex-Rep. Jim Kolbe, who was in AZ-08 for many years, comes to mind), who would be vulnerable to a right-wing primary effort but difficult in a general election?

    Or does she try to game the system by appointing the Republican who would provide two years of dislikable right-wing insanity and then an easy opponent in the 2010 general election (when, not coincidentally, Napolitano herself would be term-limited and looking for a new job)? That could be ex-Rep. and professional loudmouth J.D. Hayworth, or, for maximum comedic effect, former State Rep. Randy Graf. (It still probably wouldn’t include current Rep. Rick Renzi, who’s likely to consider 2009 a good year if it involves staying out of prison.)

    Related posts:

    Whom Might Blagojevich Appoint? (from August 2007)