Weekend Poll Round-up: House Edition

All the latest House polls in one place.

IL-09: Magellan for Joel Pollak (10/12, likely voters):

Jan Schakowsky (D-inc): 48

Joel Pollak (R): 30

(MoE: ±3%)

IL-10: We Ask America (10/15, likely voters):

Dan Seals (D): 39

Bob Dold (R): 50

Undecided: 11

(MoE: ±2.9%)

ME-01, ME-02: Critical Insights (10/10-11, likely voters, 9/27 in parens):

Chellie Pingree (D-inc): 48 (54)

Dean Scontras (R): 33 (36)

Mike Michaud (D-inc): 43 (44)

Jason Levesque (R): 30 (32)

(MoE: ±5.7%)

MN-01: SurveyUSA (10/12-14, likely voters):

Tim Walz (D-inc): 47

Randy Demmer (R): 42

Steven Wilson (IP): 4

Lars Johnson (I): 2

Undecided: 5

(MoE: ±4.1%)

MO-05: Pulse/Rasmussen for Jacob Turk (10/5, likely voters):

Emanuel Cleaver (D-inc): 52

Jacob Turk (R): 43

(MoE: ±4%)

NH-01, NH-02: University of New Hampshire (10/7-12, likely voters, September in parens):

Carol Shea-Porter (D-inc): 36 (39)

Frank Guinta (R): 48 (49)

(MoE: ±5.3%)

Ann McLane Kuster (D-inc): 43 (38)

Charlie Bass (R): 36 (43)

(MoE: ±5.1%)

PA-04: Public Opinion Strategies for Keith Rothfus (10/6-7, likely voters):

Jason Altmire (D-inc): 47

Keith Rothfus (R): 36

(MoE: ±5.7%)

PA-07: Franklin & Marshall College (10/5-11, likely voters):

Bryan Lentz (D): 31

Pat Meehan (R): 34

(MoE: ±4.9%)

PA-08: Monmouth University (10/11-13, likely voters):

Patrick Murphy (D-inc): 46

Mike Fitzpatrick (R): 51

(MoE: ±3.9%)

PA-10, PA-11: Critical Insights for the Times Leader (dates unspecified, likely voters):

Chris Carney (D-inc): 38

Tom Marino (R): 44

Paul Kanjorski (D-inc): 41

Lou Barletta (R): 43

(MoE: ±4.9%)

RI-01: Quest (10/4-6, likely voters, 9/15-17 in parens):

David Cicilline (D): 47 (49)

John Loughlin (R): 36 (26)

Undecided: 13 (25)

(MoE: ±6.2%)

SC-02: Anzalone Liszt Research (10/7-10, likely voters, 5/3-6 in parens):

Rob Miller (D): 39 (34)

Joe Wilson (R-inc): 46 (49)

(MoE: ±4.4%)

TN-04: Public Opinion Strategies for Scott DesJarlais (10/12 & 14, likely voters, 9/27-28 in parens):

Lincoln Davis (D-inc): 40 (42)

Scott DesJarlais (R): 45 (42)

(MoE: ±5.7%)

VA-09: SurveyUSA (10/11-13, likely voters, 9/27-29 in parens):

Rick Boucher (D-inc): 51 (53)

Morgan Griffith (R): 41 (38)

Jeremiah Heaton (I): 4 (5)

Undecided: 4 (4)

(MoE: ±4%)

WA-03: SurveyUSA (10/10-12, likely voters, 9/12-14 in parens):

Denny Heck (D): 42 (43)

Jaime Herrera (R): 53 (52)

Undecided: 6 (4)

(MoE: ±4.1%)

SSP Daily Digest: 11/16

IA-Sen/Gov: The newest Des Moines Register poll by Selzer & Co. has some appalling numbers for Democrats. In the Senate race, Chuck Grassley leads Democratic challenger Roxanne Conlin 57-30. And in the gubernatorial race, incumbent Dem Chet Culver trails Republican ex-Gov. Terry Branstad by almost as wide a margin, 57-33 (with Culver also trailing conservative GOPer Bob vander Plaats 45-37, although Culver beats several other GOP minor-leaguers). A 24-point beatdown is hard to believe given Culver’s poor-but-not-abysmal 40/49 approval rating, and this is way out of line with R2K‘s polling last month, but this being Iowa, I’d be hesitant to bet against Selzer. (Discussion already well underway in desmoinesdem’s two diaries.)

IL-Sen: Rep. Jan Schakowsky, who was considered a likely candidate in this race for a long time but eventually backed down, endorsed state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias in the Democratic primary. Giannoulias now has the endorsement of five of Illinois’s twelve House Dems. Also today, Patrick Hughes, the conservative alternative to establishment GOP pick Rep. Mark Kirk, is in DC looking for support from conservative movement poohbahs. The DSCC has a well-worth-seeing video out detailing Kirk’s transparent shift to the right (especially his pleas for help from Sarah Palin) as he seeks to fight off primary challenges.

MA-Sen: The voter registration deadline to be able to participate in the primary special election to replace Ted Kennedy is this Wednesday. The primary itself is Dec. 8.

NY-Sen-B, NY-Gov (pdf): Siena’s monthly look at the Empire State shows a little improvement for Kirsten Gillibrand, who now narrowly leads ex-Gov. George Pataki, 45-44. She loses 49-43 to Rudy Giuliani; weirdly, while the rumor mill has until very recently had Pataki likelier to make the Senate race than Giuliani, Pataki now seems much likelier to run for President, while Liz Benjamin is now wondering if Giuliani‘s recent bout of national security saber-rattling shows he’s more likely to run for Senate than Governor.

Meanwhile, Siena has yet another installment in the ongoing David Paterson implosion. Paterson’s approval is down to 21/79, 69% would prefer to elect someone else, and he now loses the Democratic primary to Andrew Cuomo by a 59-point margin (75-16) while, in a first, also losing the general to Rick Lazio (42-39) as well as, natch, Giuliani (56-33). Cuomo defeats Giuliani 53-41 and Lazio 67-22. Latest Cuomo rumors involve him trying to assemble a whole slate to run with, and central to that is recruiting outgoing NYC comptroller William Thompson to run for state comptroller. Having the African-American Thompson on a ‘ticket’ with him would take some of the awkwardness out of Cuomo elbowing aside an African-American governor to avoid a replay of the 2002 gubernatorial primary. Cuomo also wants a female AG (possibly Nassau Co. DA Kathleen Rice) and an upstate LG to balance everything out. Still, that would set up a hot Democratic primary between Thompson and incumbent comptroller Thomas DiNapoli; there’s some tension between Cuomo and DiNapoli, though, so that’s another instance of two birds, one stone. Finally, in case there were any doubts, Hillary Clinton confirmed that she has no intention of getting in the gubernatorial race.

SC-Sen: Lindsey Graham, although not up until 2014, could be going the way of Olympia Snowe. There are leaks of private polls showing that more Republicans oppose Graham than support him, and that his support among independents is dwindling too. I guess that’s what happens when you vote the party line only 93% of the time.

TX-Sen: Little-noticed in the announcement on Friday that Kay Bailey Hutchison was going to delay her resignation until after the gubernatorial primary election in March means that, unless she does it immediately afterwards, the special election won’t be held until November 2010. Conventional wisdom is that this is good for the GOP, as the seat will be easier to hold as part of a larger election instead of on its own. (Of course, that assumes KBH resigns at all assuming she loses the gubernatorial primary, which somehow I doubt.) The Austin American-Statesman also has a good rundown on what the delay means to all of the potential players in the special election.

ME-Gov: The Maine governor’s race may well wind up as crowded as the one in Minnesota: we’re up to 21 candidates, although most of them are minor. One more medium-to-big name is getting in today on the Dem side, though: John Richardson, the former House speaker and current commissioner of the state Dept. of Economic and Community Development. Current Conservation Commissioner Patrick McGowan is also looking likely to get in the Dem field.

WY-Gov: Former US Attorney Matt Mead has formed an exploratory committee to run for the Republican nomination in next year’s gubernatorial race in Wyoming. He joins state House speaker Colin Simpson and ex-state Rep. Ron Micheli in the hunt. Mead, you may recall, was one of the finalists to be picked to replace Craig Thomas in the Senate, but that post went to John Barrasso.

IL-11: This isn’t the way to get your campaign off on the right foot: Adam Kinzinger, who has the insider backing for the GOP nomination in the 11th, stormed out prior to a debate held by Concerned Taxpayers United against his primary competition when one of them, David McAloon, had a staffer with a video camera present. The base in the district is already suspicious of Kinzinger, and ticking them off this way can’t help.

NY-25: One race in a swing district that hasn’t been on anyone’s radar is NY-25, held by freshman Dem Dan Maffei. He’s drawn two potential challengers, wealthy ex-turkey farmer Mark Bitz and former Syracuse Common Councilor Ann Marie Buerkle. Bitz hasn’t held office before, but says he’s prepared to loan himself a “substantial amount” of money. He’ll need it, as Maffei has been one of the freshman class’s top fundraisers.

TN-01: Fans of wingnut-on-wingnt action may be disappointed to hear that it sounds unlikely for ex-Rep. David Davis to take on slightly-more-mainstream Rep. Phil Roe (who knocked out Davis in a 2008 primary) next year. Although he’s been staying visible at local tea parties, Davis is focusing on paying down campaign debt from last time.

UT-02: It doesn’t sound like Rep. Jim Matheson is going to face a primary over his health care vote after all; state Sen. Scott McCoy said he didn’t intend to go after Matheson, citing the difficulty of a run given the overall composition of the GOP-leaning district.

Biden Alert: Joe Biden is in the midst of a western swing, doing a Sunday fundraiser for Rep. Dina Titus. Today he’s holding events for Ann Kirkpatrick, Harry Mitchell, Martin Heinrich, and Harry Teague, bringing the total to 26 for vulnerable House Dems he’s campaigned for. Biden will also be in Connecticut next month for a Chris Dodd fundraiser.

NRCC: To avoid a repeat of NY-23, the NRCC has basically turned the vetting process over to Grover Norquist and friends. Norquist said that at a recent meeting between the NRCC and conservative movementarians, 40 recruits were discussed and they apparently all met the litmus test (although Norquist grudgingly admitted that some of the northeasterners were “as good as it gets”).

WATN?: Ex-Rep. Bill Jefferson’s going to the big house. On Friday, he was sentenced to 13 years in prison after his August conviction for money laundering and wire fraud; this is the longest sentence ever handed out to a former Congressman.

Maps: As if electoral junkies didn’t have enough online tools to geek out over, now there’s this: super-helpful step-by-step instructions on how to generate a county-by-county map of the country on, well, whatever topic you want, using only free tools instead of expensive GIS software.

Site News: We were so busy following the off-year elections that we didn’t notice it at the time, but last month, the Swing State Project welcomed its seven millionth visitor. (Number six million came this past March.) Thanks, everyone! (D)

SSP Daily Digest: 8/7

CT-Sen: Here’s some good news for Chris Dodd (and also Kent Conrad, although he’s not facing any danger at home): the Senate Ethics Committee found that no Senate gift rules were broken by accepting VIP mortgages from Countrywide. Perception-wise, though, this is a case where the damage has probably already been done.

FL-Sen: Marco Rubio has issued some demands to Charlie Crist, regarding Mel Martinez’s now-vacant Senate seat: appoint someone conservative, and appoint an “interim” senator (i.e. not Crist). TPM also cites NRO’s Jim Geraghty as hearing rumors that the pick may be former Republican Gov. Bob Martinez (no relation to Mel), a conservative (although registered as a Democrat when nonpartisan mayor of Tampa) who served one term, 1986-1990. Bob Martinez is 74, and of Spanish ancestry rather than Cuban.

IL-Gov: It still seems like a strange choice to me, but Comptroller Dan Hynes (runner-up to some guy named Barack Obama in the 2004 Democratic Senate primary) made it official yesterday. He’ll be running in the primary against incumbent Governor Pat Quinn, who’s been sporting surprisingly good approval ratings (by virtue of not being Rod Blagojevich, I suppose) and already managed to deter the much stronger Lisa Madigan from a primary fight. The primary is a ridiculously-early Feb. 2.

NJ-Gov: One more poll in the New Jersey governor’s race came out yesterday, painting a worse picture than yesterday’s not-terrible R2K. Rasmussen finds a 13-point spread, 50-37, for Chris Christie over Jon Corzine. That’s right in line with Pollster.com’s rolling average, which is 50-38 today.

UT-Gov: Utah Governor Jon Huntsman was confirmed as ambassador to China today, to no one’s surprise. Once he resigns, Republican Lt. Gov. Gary Herbert will be promoted but will face a special election in 2010.

VA-Gov: Creigh Deeds has taken on some criticism in recent weeks in the wake of flagging polls, for ignoring northern Virginia and focusing on his white rural base too much. He seems to be remedying that with his newest wave of radio ads, targeting Hispanic and black voters. On top of that, of course, was yesterday’s appearance with Barack Obama in McLean in NoVa.

CA-47: Republican Assemblyman Van Tran, who’s running against Loretta Sanchez in the 47th, got some bad PR last night. Tran was disruptive enough at the scene of a drunk-driving accident involving Westminster city councilor Andy Quach that he was threatened with arrest unless he returned to his car. (Tran was apparently called to the scene to act as Quach’s attorney, rather than a passenger.)

IL-10: State Rep. Julie Hamos got a boost in her quest to win the Democratic primary in the open-seat battle to replace Rep. Mark Kirk. Rep. Jan Schakowsky, who represents the next-door 9th, endorsed Hamos, the first high-profile endorsement in the race.

SC-04: Republican Rep. Bob Inglis laid down the law at his town hall the other night, telling Screamers at the event to turn off the Glenn Beck and tune out the fear-mongering. One more clue that the increasingly-sane Inglis, who’s facing several high-profile primary challengers (most notably state Sen. David Thomas) in a dark-red district, is becoming the 2010 cycle’s likeliest GOP primary casualty.

SSP Daily Digest: 6/30

IL-Sen: Here’s a fairly big-name entrant to the Illinois Senate: Chicago Urban League President Cheryle Jackson, who just formed an exploratory committee. Jackson had occasionally been rumored to be interested (to the extent that Jan Schakowksy’s internal poll included her, where she got 17% when explicitly substituted for Burris) but hadn’t taken concrete steps. Jackson has two demographic positives: with Schakowsky out, she’d be the only female in the race (unless, of course, Lisa Madigan gets in, in which case the game would be over anyway), and she’d be the only African-American in the race who isn’t Roland Burris. However, she used to be Rod Blagojevich’s press secretary prior to taking over at the Urban League, so the Blago stench may be hard to wash off.

ND-Sen: All had seemed quiet on the midwestern front, especially after that R2K poll that showed him getting flattened by Byron Dorgan (57-35), but Gov. John Hoeven recently showed at least a peep of interest in running for Senate after all… even if it was just a statement that he was still making up his mind and would decide by September. GOP state chair Randy Emineth said that Hoeven “wants to” run against Dorgan, but we’ll need to actually hear from Hoeven.

NH-Sen: The swabbies at ARG! pointed their spyglasses toward the 2010 open Senate seat in New Hampshire, and find that Rep. Paul Hodes would defeat ex-Sen. John Sununu 40-36. No numbers for the much-hyped AG Kelly Ayotte.

NV-Sen, NV-Gov: In the face of relentless wooing from GOP Senators, Rep. Dean Heller has set a deadline of June 30 to make up his mind about whether he runs for Harry Reid’s Senate seat. (Wait a minute… that’s today!) Heller’s other options include staying in NV-02 or running a primary challenge in the governor’s race — where the younger Reid (Rory, the Clark County Commission chair) seems to be staffing up for the race on the Dem side.

PA-Sen: Joe Torsella, who briefly was running against post-party-switch Arlen Specter in the Democratic primary before dropping out, has endorsed Specter. Not surprising, since Torsella is a big ally of Gov. Ed Rendell, who has pledged his support to Specter.

CT-Gov: More indications that Ned Lamont is getting serious about running for Governor (probably against incumbent Jodi Rell) in 2010. Lamont is looking at an early-2010 deadline for deciding, but can get away with a shorter timeframe as he can self-fund and won’t need a long ramp-up for fundraising.

NJ-Gov (pdf): PPP takes their turn at polling the New Jersey Governor’s race and find about what everyone else has been finding: Chris Christie leads incumbent Jon Corzine 51-41, with Christie benefiting from a 60-26 lead among independent voters. Good news, relatively speaking, for Corzine, though, is that Christie’s negatives are rising quickly as he’s starting to get defined in the media, up to 43% favorable and 33% unfavorable.

SC-Gov: Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer has publicly floated the idea that he would stand down from running in 2010 if he got to be Governor now, if Mark Sanford would just go ahead and resign (please?). His potential 2010 rivals are looking at this as statesman-like grandstanding, especially since it looks like Sanford is digging in.

AK-AL: In case there was any doubt, the indestructible Rep. Don Young has announced that he’s running for re-election. Young is 76 and in perpetual danger of indictment, but with the state’s political talent gravitating toward the Governor’s race, may have an easier path in 2010 than in 2008.

CA-36: Los Angeles City Councilor Janice Hahn has been telling supporters that she’s interested in running for Rep. Jane Harman’s seat. She doesn’t seem to be thinking primary, though; Hahn, for some reason, believes Harman (still under a bit of a cloud from the wiretap incident) is up for appointment to something, maybe Ambassador to Israel, in the Obama administration.

FL-12: State Sen. Paula Dockery made clear that she won’t be running in the 12th; she endorsed former State Rep. Dennis Ross for the job. She seemed to leave the door open to the Governor’s race, saying in her statement that “my passion for public policy is in state government.”

IL-07: With Rep. Danny Davis looking to move over to the Presidency of the Cook County Board, Chicago-area Dems are already eyeing the super-safe open seat. Davis’s former chief of staff Richard Boykin (now a lobbyist for Cook County) seems to be the first to make his interest publicly known.

NH-01 (pdf): Manchester mayor (and NH-01 candidate) Frank Guinta is due for the Bad Samaritan Award, as he watched several of his friends (an alderman and a state Representative) beat up another acquaintance in a barroom brawl, ending with the man’s leg being broken in seven places, and then immediately left the scene without reporting it to the police. Guinta said he was unaware of the extent of the man’s injuries and contacted police at that point. No charges have been filed in the incident; still, not the kind of free publicity a political candidate likes to get.

NY-03, NY-Sen-B: Rep. Peter King is sounding even iffier than before about running for Senate against Kirsten Gillibrand, having scored a desired slot on the Intelligence Committee.

NY-23: Investment banker Matthew Doheny anted up with a lot of cash to jump into the Republican side of the race to replace Rep. John McHugh: $500,000 of his own money. Roll Call reports that he’ll need the ostentatious display of cash to get anywhere in the candidate-picking process, as Assemblypersons Dede Scozzafava and Will Barclay are both reaching out behind the scenes to party leaders.

Redistricting: Regardless of what nonsense happens in the New York Senate this session, it’s looking more and more like the GOP’s toehold on legislative power will be vanquished in post-2010 redistricting, regardless of who controls the legislative redistricting process. Because of growth in the city and declines upstate, 1.2 seats will need to be shifted from downstate to NYC (and, as an added bonus, an extra one-sixth of a seat will shift to the city if the Census Bureau goes ahead and starts counting prisoners according to where they’re actually from rather than where they’re incarcerated).

Fusion Voting: Here’s one way in which Oregon suddenly became a lot more like New York: the state legislature decided to allow “fusion voting,” in which a candidate can run on multiple party lines on one ballot. This will be a boost to minor parties in Oregon, by letting them form coalitions with the major parties instead of simply playing spoiler.

Fundraising: It’s June 30, and you know what that means… it’s the end of the 2nd fundraising quarter. If you want to give some momentum to your favored candidates, today’s the last day to do it.

IL-Sen: Schakowsky Out

Sorry, open seat fans:

Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) has decided not to run for Senate in 2010, according to an announcement from her campaign. Schakowsky said Monday that she will run for re-election in her northern Chicago district instead of competing for the seat currently held by Sen. Rolland Burris (D-Ill.).

With Schakowsky now out of the picture, we can turn our eyes to Illinois AG Lisa Madigan, who is keeping her options open for 2010. While the nomination would be hers for the taking, somehow I’d still be surprised if she decided to pursue the opportunity.

UPDATE (David): I would like to commend Schakowsky for keeping her word on this announcement. Back in April, she said she’d decide by June 8th, and lo and behold, she has. This is in contrast to Mark Kirk, who also set a self-imposed deadline and then proceeded to ignore it.

IL-Sen: Are the Floodgates Opening?

When former Commerce Secretary William Daley pulled the plug on his never-really-began Senate campaign in Illinois, it was starting to look like everyone was coalescing around state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias (with Roland Burris providing an amusing footnote to Giannoulias’s victory lap). All of a sudden, though, the race is back in the spotlight (maybe people are no longer worried that Burris and his $845 could sneak through the primary as a spoiler).

Rep. Jan Schakowsky has seemed reluctant to give up her safe House seat and junior leadership role for a run at the Senate, but the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting that’s she revving up her fundraising machine. She says she’ll announce by June 8 whether or not she’s running for Senate (although one of her erstwhile potential opponents, Mark Kirk, has had no compunctions about disregarding his own timeline). In the meantime, she has a star-studded fundraiser on tap:

Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), mulling a Senate run, throws her annual “women’s power lunch” fundraiser Monday at the Hyatt Regency with marquee speakers White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett, Director of Public Liaison Tina Tchen and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.).

Jarrett’s an interesting get, as she’s perhaps the pre-eminent Friend of Barack (as seen by her almost-selection as Commerce Secretary). One of Giannoulias’s electoral strengths is his close connections to Obama’s inner circle… but then, Schakowsky was also one of Obama’s biggest congressional backers during the 2008 primaries, so she may be entitled to some payback too.

But an even heavier heavyweight than Schakowsky may be looming in the distance in the Senate primary: Illinois AG Lisa Madigan. While she had previously explicitly ruled out a Senate run and had done little to hide her gubernatorial ambitions, Cillizza is now reporting that she’s at least reconsidering. While a recent PPP poll showed Madigan beating incumbent governor Pat Quinn by a healthy margin in a Dem primary, he still has high approval ratings, and an open Senate race might be more of a sure thing for her (PPP also showed her dominating that field as well). So, the rethink makes sense, although which ever route she takes, she’s poised to dominate.

On top of all that, Chris Kennedy (never before elected, but a big wheel in Chicago’s commercial real estate world and, as son of RFK, possessor of that magical last name) has been privately making a splash as he “explores” the race, to the extent that Obama henchman Rahm Emanuel has been reportedly talking him up as potentially the strongest candidate. What tangled webs we weave…

IL-Sen: Schakowsky Internal Shows Tight Primary, Many Undecideds

Lake Research Partners for Jan Schakowsky (4/19-22, likely voters, no trendlines):

Jan Schakowsky (D): 24

Alexi Giannoulias (D): 22

Roland Burris (D-inc): 18

Undecided: 36

(MoE: ±4%)

Schakowsky represents IL-09, a northern Chicago district with a D+20 PVI. Her own polling memo (Progress Illinois has the full text) frames the race as being “wide open,” which makes sense – Giannoulias, the state Treasurer, has a lot of money and is buddy-buddy with Barack Obama. Schakowsky will have to fight hard to wrest this nomination away from him. The memo says Giannoulias has higher name rec than Schakowsky, but doesn’t specify numbers (I’d bet both are pretty low, though).

Progress Illinois also reports that Schakowsky is sending out a separate letter today saying that she’ll announce her plans on June 8th. The bigger question mark is still probably Roland Burris – not that I think he has much of a shot at winning, but if he bails, his supporters have to go somewhere. Schakowsky thinks it might be to Chicago Urban League CEO Cheryle Jackson, but we’ll have to wait and see. Illinois does have the earliest primary in the nation (February 2010), so serious candidates can’t wait too much longer to make up their minds.

IL-Sen: Daley Won’t Get In

Big news in the Illinois senate destruction derby. William Daley, the Clinton-era Commerce Secretary and brother to Chicago mayor Richard Daley, has opted not to get into the race after all:

It’s over: “I was gung-ho, and hired pollsters and talked to fund-raisers and planned to make an announcement in mid-April,” Daley told Sneed yesterday. “But I’m getting remarried in June and decided I want to take a new tack in my life. I just don’t want to live a commuter life back and forth from Washington.”

Hmmm. Maybe he didn’t like what the pollsters were telling him, or more likely, he didn’t like what he was in his wallet, compared with the $1.1 million that treasurer Alexi Giannoulias pulled down in the first quarter. Still, with the full force of the legendary Daley machine behind him, he would have presented Giannoulias with a formidable challenge… maybe enough of a challenge to outright win, or more ominously, enough of a challenge for him and Giannoulias to punch each other out and accidentally allow Roland Burris, on the strength of African-American votes, to win the primary.

With Daley out, a one-on-one contest between (Friend of Barack) Giannoulias, and Roland Burris and his $845, seems like no contest whatsoever. But now Daley bailing out (and Burris’s increasingly apparent ineptitude) raises the question of whether someone else gets in. Rep. Jan Schakowsky is certainly interested in the senate seat but seems loath to leave her safe house seat; a likelier possibility may in fact be Rep. Danny Davis, who has been urging Burris to get out of the way and may now see more of an opening for himself now that it looks like Burris may not even have much of a foothold on the African-American vote.

SSP Daily Digest: 3/2

Time for the daily ganja break…

NY-20: Scott Murphy snagged the Independence Party line for the March 31 special election – a good get, even though it didn’t help Sandy Treadwell much last fall. Meanwhile, both Tedisco and the NRCC are up on the air with negative radio and TV ads. The DCCC also hits back with its first ad, attacking Tedisco for stimulus-related waffling while defending Murhpy against back taxes charges.

IL-Sen: Oh god – Roland Burris has rolled out a campaign website, complete with “Donate” link. Also, it should come as no surprise, but state treasurer (and Friend of Barack) Alexi Giannoulias made his interest official today, launching his exploratory committee. Meanwhile, Rep. Jan Schakowsky says she’ll jump in if there’s a special election, though she sounds leery about giving up her seat for a 2010 run.

DC Voting Rights: Steny Hoyer has promised a House vote this week on the DC Voting Rights Act. The bill should pass the House easily, given that a prior version sailed through in 2007. The real issue will be whether the conference committee settles on an at-large or traditional district for Utah. (D)

UT-Sen: Damn, Ken Jennings won’t run. Says Jennings: “I’ve decided to bow out of the election before even announcing, in order to spend more time with my family. (And when I say “with my family,” I mean, “screwing around on the Internet.”)” At least that’s an excuse we can all understand and accept. (D)

Polltopia: Public Policy Polling once again is letting readers decide which Senate race they’ll poll next. The choices: Connecticut, Delaware, and Kentucky. (J)

CA-Gov: Looks like John Garamendi, Gavin Newsom, Jerry Brown, and Antonio Villaraigosa are all dead serious about running for governor in 2010; they all jointly appeared before the San Fernando Valley Democrats this weekend.

OR-Gov: As DeFazio, Kitzhaber, Bradbury, et al. try to figure out who’s running, a dark horse may be sneaking past them: Portland City Councilor Randy Leonard, who may be able to count on substantial backing from organized labor.

IL-Sen: Dems Look Good… Even Burris

Research 2000 for Daily Kos (1/26-28, likely voters):

Roland Burris (D-inc): 37

Mark Kirk (R): 30

Roland Burris (D-inc): 38

Peter Roskam (R): 25

Jan Schakowsky (D): 36

Mark Kirk (R): 30

Jan Schakowsky (D): 37

Peter Roskam (R): 25

Alexi Giannoulias (D): 38

Mark Kirk (R): 30

Alexi Giannoulias (D): 38

Peter Roskam (R): 25

(MoE: ±4%)

Roland Burris (D-inc): 26

Jan Schakowsky (D): 12

Alexi Giannoulias (D): 11

Undecided: 51

Mark Kirk (R): 27

Peter Roskam (R): 17

Undecided: 56

(MoE: ±5%)

This poll ought to be a palliative for those people worried that the blowback from Rod Blagojevich’s attempt to sell the Illinois Senate seat (and his subsequent impeachment), and Roland Burris’s enthusiasm to occupy said tainted seat, mean that the Republicans are in prime position to take over the seat in 2010. There are a lot of undecideds, obviously, but even up against the Illinois GOP’s top tier (Reps. Mark Kirk and Peter Roskam), Burris looks to be in the driver’s seat. Considering the terrible optics of accepting Blago’s appointment, Burris’s favorability isn’t that bad; his favorable/unfavorable is 35/35.

In the general, though, Burris fares really no better or worse than any of the other Democrats interested in mounting a primary challenge to him in 2010. Rep. Jan Schakowsky and state treasurer Alexi Giannoulias put up very similar numbers, indicating that Illinoisians are retaining their Dem leanings and are capable of separating Blagojevich’s spate of increasingly appalling actions from the Democratic brand in general. Tellingly, both Kirk and Roskam have negative favorability (37/41 for Kirk and 19/23 for the little-known Roskam), suggesting that voters’ dislike for them may have a lot to do with the “R” after their names.

The Democratic primary also sees the voters in a wait-and-see mode. Burris, on the strength of a month’s worth of media saturation, has an edge. But at only 26%, it can’t be seen as a clear path to victory at this point, especially with Schakowsky probably being labor’s and EMILY’s List’s candidate, and Giannoulias bringing his own powerful connections with him.