SSP Daily Digest: 4/5 (Morning Edition)

Welcome to the workin’ week!

  • FL-Sen: Rudy & Rubio, together at last. Giuliani will become the latest johnny-come-lately to endorse Marco.
  • GA-Sen: Johnny Isakson, who had been hospitalized twice in one week, is now back home.
  • KY-Sen: Weirdo Rand Paul is launching a 1,000-point ad buy (that’s big) attacking Trey Grayson as a pro-bailout insider too cozy with DC. The primary is about six weeks away. On the Dem side, The Lexington Herald-Leader reviewed state records and found that Lt. Gov. Dan Mongiardo has spent four times as much taxpayer money on travel, hotels and meals as AG Jack Conway. Mongiardo has also racked up expenses for the security detail that travels with him (Conway doesn’t have security).
  • NV-Sen: Jon Ralston says that federal investigators are looking to nail John Ensign for “structuring,” which is “a broad term that refers to the crime of creating financial transactions to evade reporting requirements.” Ensign, you’ll recall, had his parents give a $96,000 “gift” to his mistress instead of reporting it as a severance payment. The DoJ is moving very methodically, though, ever-mindful of the wretchedly botched prosecution of ex-Sen. Ted Stevens (which was thrown out on appeal due to prosecutorial misconduct.)
  • SD-Sen: Ugh. Not only did no Democrats file to run against John Thune, but he’s become the first senator in South Dakota history to run without major-party opposition. My advice to John Thune: Save your $6 million warchest for a 2012 presidential run.
  • UT-Sen: Sen. Bob Bennett and his Republican challengers faced off in a debate last Friday, which saw Bennett defend earmarks and get attacked for supporting an individual mandate to buy health insurance. The GOP state convention, which will choose a nominee, is May 8th.
  • AL-Gov: Hah – Artur Davis, fresh off his vote against healthcare reform, is now pushing a petition on his website attacking Alabama state legislators who voted to “obstruct” the new bill.
  • IA-Gov: Republican pollster Magellan Data and Mapping Strategies has a survey of the Iowa gubernatorial race, showing Terry Branstand crushing incumbent Dem Chet Culver 50 to 34. Culver leads Bob Vander Plaats 40-39 and Rod Roberts 38-32. It’s unclear to me whether Magellan was polling for fun or if this was on behalf of a client.
  • MA-Gov: Politico has a piece describing the extraordinary efforts Obama’s political team is making to help Gov. Deval Patrick win re-election. Patrick has visited the White House half a dozen times over the past year, and he’s the only office-seeker so far (other than Harry Reid) to have a fundraiser headlined by the president himself.
  • PA-Gov: The Philadelphia Daily News obtained an interesting strategy memo penned by the campaign of Dem Dan Onorato. Apparently, Onorato was prepared to challenge the signatures of opponents Joe Hoeffel and Anthony Williams. However, since Hoeffel didn’t move to challenge Williams’ signatures, Onorato’s campaign apparently decided it was better to leave both of them alone, figuring it would be better to have two candidates from the Philly region in the race rather than one. (Onorato hails from Western PA.)
  • UT-Gov: Salt Lake County Mayor and Dem gubernatorial candidate Peter Corroon says he raised more than $360,000 since the start of the year. No word yet on GOP Gov. Gary Herbert’s haul.
  • AL-03: Dems found someone to replace Josh Segall on the ballot at the last minute: Montgomery native Steve Segrest, who lost to GOPer Kay Ivey in the Treasurer’s race in 2006. Segrest comes from a political family: His father served in the Alabama House and his grandfather, Napoleon Broward, was elected governor… of Florida… in 1905. In some other Alabama news, state Sen. Jim Preuitt, who had long been on the outs with the Democrats, switched parties to the GOP.
  • FL-08: GOP Bruce O’Donoghue says he raised $300K since joining the race, and has a similar amount on hand. O’Donoghue’s camp says that this sum does not include any self-donations.
  • NH-01, NH-02: Dem Ann McLane Kuster, seeking Paul Hodes’ open seat in NH-02, says she raised $285K in Q1, and apparently has made a record haul from New Hampshire residents. Supposedly Katrina Swett will announce a bigger haul, but no numbers yet. Meanwhile, GOPer Frank Guinta, running in NH-01, supposedly raised $250K, including $100K of his own money. (Guinta’s fundraising had been pretty sucky prior to this.)
  • NY-19: The Republican field to take on Dem Rep. John Hall still seems very unsettled. Ophthalmologist Nan Hayworth has gotten a lot of love from the NRCC, but a broad swath of the GOP establishment in the 19th CD doesn’t seem to feel similarly, and she faces several strong opponents. One of them, former Pentagon analyst Kristia Cavere, says she raised $200K in Q1 & will soon convert her exploratory committee into the real thing. Meanwhile, ex-Tuxedo Mayor David McFadden says he’s raised about $100K. He also says that if he doesn’t win the party’s nomination at the May convention, he’ll drop out.
  • PA-07: Dem Bryan Lentz is challenging the validity of GOP opponent Pat Meehan’s signatures. As we noted previously, Lentz is also questioning the impartiality of the investigator, which happens to be Republican AG Tom Corbett’s office. Lentz now has a new arrow in his quiver: Some of the same people who circulated petitions for Meehan also did so for Corbett. Even better, it looks like some local GOP leaders may have signed false affidavits saying they personally gathered signatures, even though others may have actually carried the petitions.
  • SD-AL: Physician Kevin Weiland had planned to challenge Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin in the Democratic primary after she voted “no” on healthcare. But Weiland pulled out at the last minute, after receiving calls from Steny Hoyer, and Chris Van Hollen. He also spoke with Herseth Sandlin herself, and reportedly “negotiated an assurance from Herseth Sandlin that she would reconnect with her Democratic base in South Dakota and never vote for a repeal of the health care plan.” Doesn’t sound like much. He also apparently cheesed off one-time Obama strategist Steve Hildebrand, who declined to run himself but worked overtime to help Weiland gather signatures (he only had a week in which to do it) to qualify for the ballot.
  • TN-06: Another veteran is entering this open-seat race on the Democratic side. Brett Carter, an attorney and TN National Guardsman who served in Iraq, joins Marine Capt. Ben Leming in the Dem field.
  • TN-08: Things are really starting to get hot in the GOP primary in Tennessee’s 8th CD. The Republican establishment isn’t just stumping for agribusiness magnate Steve Fincher – they’re actively attacking his opposition. Georgia Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, whose trip to Fincher’s district we noted in an earlier digest, slammed physician Ron Kirkland for allegedly being wobbly on the healthcare reform bill and for his past support of Democrats. (Kirkland previously said he liked most of what was in the bill, except for the public option – and when he was chair of the American Medical Group Association when they made donations to Max Baucus.) Kirkland is no random teabagger pushover, which is why he’s drawing fire. This could be an unusually interesting primary.
  • TX-17: The Texas Tribune takes a look at the two Republicans in a run-off for the privilege of facing Dem Chet Edwards in the fall: 2008 nominee Rob Curnock and oil exec Bill Flores. Here’s an interesting detail: Flores voted in the Democratic presidential primary in 2008, supposedly “casting his ballot against Barack Obama.” That’s some cute spin, but if he voted for Hillary Clinton (he won’t say), I don’t really see how that helps him. But in any event, Flores outraised Curnock by a huge margin, $214K to $16K, in newly-filed pre-runoff FEC reports.
  • WA-03: Ex-state Rep. Denny Heck (D) says he raised $350K in the first quarter (including $150K of his own money), leaving him with $530K on hand.
  • Census: There’s a bill pending in both houses of the NY state legislature that would require counting prison inmates as part of their home communities, rather than upstate, where most prisons are located. Given how dysfunctional the lege is, though, there’s no telling if this badly-needed reform will actually see the light of day.
  • Fundraising: GOP bigs are hitting the trail on behalf of their brethren during the congressional recess. John Boehner is helping Californians Mary Bono Mack and Ken Calvert, Pete Sessions is helping Illinoisans Randy Hultgren and Adam Kinzinger, and a bunch of other top Republicans are also putting their backs into things.
  • Redistricting: Former DCCC nat’l field director Casey O’Shea will replace Brian Smoot as head of the National Democratic Redistricting Trust. Smoot is leaving to head up the DSCC’s independent expenditure arm. (And O’Shea and Smoot are consulting partners.)
  • WATN: Dede Scozzafava says she’s working on a memoir about last year’s special election race. Can’t wait to read it! She also says she’s unsure about whether she’ll seek reelection to her seat in the Assembly this year.
  • Site News: Thanks for helping us reach 1,500 followers on Twitter and 400 fans on Facebook!
  • AL-03: Josh Segall Drops Out

    Via e-mail:

    After much thought and careful consideration, I have decided not to pursue the office of US Representative for Alabama’s Third District. So many of you have been incredibly supportive of my run, and I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your advice, encouragement, and efforts.  I am immeasurably proud and appreciative of what we have accomplished together.

    Segall had a very respectable run in 2008, holding Republican incumbent Mike Rogers to a 54-46 margin despite being outspent by 2-to-1. However, Segall’s fundraising never seemed to really get off the ground this year, resulting in his ultimate decision to keep his powder dry.

    Unfortunately, the filing deadline for this race passes at 5pm tonight, leaving Alabama Democrats with barely any time to find a warm body to run in his place.

    RaceTracker Wiki: AL-03

    Merlin’s Take on the 2010 AL Races

    Here’s my predictions on how my homestate’s races will go:

    Governor: Incumbent GOP Governor Bob Riley is term-limited, thus setting up a free-for-all on both sides. On the GOP side, State Representative Robert Bentley, former State Community College System Chancellor Bradley Byrne, State Treasurer Kay Ivey, Real Estate Developer Tim James, former State Economic Development Director Bill Johnson, former State Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, and Financial Analyst James Potts are in the running. On the Democratic side, Congressman Artur Davis, State Commissioner of Agriculture & Industries Ron Sparks, and Inventor Sam Franklin Thomas are in the running. The Primary will be a tossup between James, Byrne, and Moore. Methinks Davis wins the Primary. This race will be a Tossup until the end. TOSSUP.

    Lieutenant Governor: Incumbent Democratic Lieutenant Governor Jim Folsom Jr. is running for re-election. On the GOP side, State Finance Department Official Young Boozer, State Senator Hank Erwin, Teacher Gene Ponder, and Homebuilder Dean Young are in the running. The Democrats have unified behind Folsom Jr. The GOP Primary will be a tossup between Boozer and Erwin. Whoever wins will get crushed by Folsom Jr. DEM HOLD.

    Attorney General: Scandal-mired Incumbent GOP Attorney General Troy King is running for re-election. On the GOP side, King and Attorney Luther Strange are in the running. On the Democratic side, Attorneys James Anderson and Michel Nicrosi and former State Democratic Party Chairman Giles Perkins are in the running. I expect King to defeat Strange 54-46 and Perkins to defeat Nicrosi 63-37. In the end, King narrowly wins 51-49. GOP HOLD.

    Secretary of State: Incumbent GOP Secretary of State Beth Chapman is running for re-election. The GOP has unified behind Chapman. There are no announced Democratic Candidates, but potential candidates are Secretary of State’s Office Administrator Ed Packard and former Secretary of State Nancy Worely. Chapman will defeat whoever the Democrats nominate, if anybody. GOP HOLD.

    State Auditor: Incumbent GOP State Auditor Samantha Shaw is running for re-election. The GOP has unified behind Shaw. The Democrats have unified behind Accountant Miranda Joseph. Shaw crushes Joseph in the neighborhood of 67-33. GOP HOLD.

    State Treasurer: Incumbent GOP State Treasurer Kay Ivey is running for Governor. The GOP has unified behind former State Treasurer and former State PSC Commissioner George Wallace Jr. On the Democratic side, former State Conservation Commissioner Charles Grimsley and Attorney Jeremy Shearer are in the running. Grimsley will win 73-27 over Shearer. Wallace Jr. will defeat Grimsley 58-42. GOP HOLD.

    State Commissioner of Agriculture & Industries: Incumbent Democratic State Commissioner of Agriculture & Industries Ron Sparks is running for Governor. The Democrats have unified behind Deputy State Agriculture Glen Zorn. On the GOP side, Walker County Economic Development Chair Dorman Grace, former State Conservation Commissioner John McMillan, and Businessman Dale Peterson are in the running. I expect McMillan to win 59-32-9 over Grace and Peterson. Zorn will narrowly defeat McMillan 53-47. DEM HOLD.

    US Senate: Incumbent GOP US Senator Richard Shelby is running for re-election. The GOP has unified behind Shelby. The Democrats have unified behind Attorney William Barnes. Shelby devours Barnes 77-23. GOP HOLD.

    AL-01: Incumbent GOP Congressman Jo Bonner is running for re-election. On the GOP side, Bonner, Real Estate Developer Peter Gounares, and Business Consultant Clint Moser are in the running. The Constitution Party has unified behind Artificial Reef Contractor David Walter. Bonner defeats Gounares and Moser 79-14-7, and destroys Walter 96-4. GOP HOLD.

    AL-02: Incumbent Democratic Congressman Bobby Bright is running for re-election. On the GOP side, Montgomery City Councilwoman Martha Roby and Businessman Rick Barber are in the running. The Democrats have, reluctantly, unified behind Bright. I expect Roby to beat Barber 54-46. Roby will defeat Bright 53-47. GOP PICKUP.

    AL-03: Incumbent GOP Congressman Mike Rogers is running for re-election. The Gop has unified behind Rogers the Democrats have unified behind Attorney Josh Segall, and the Independents have unified behind Real Estate Broker Mark Layfield. Rogers will defeat Segall and Layfield 52-46-2. GOP HOLD.

    AL-04: Incumbent GOP Congressman Robert Aderholt is running for re-election. The GOP has unified behind Aderholt. The Democrats have nobody. GOP HOLD.

    AL-05: Incumbent GOP Congressman Parker Griffifth is running for re-election. On the GOP side, Griffifth, Madison County Commissioner Morris Brooks, and Businessman Les Phillip are in the running. On the Democratic side, Attorney Mitchell Howie, former Congressional Aide Steve Raby, and former State Board of Education Member Taze Shepard. I think Brooks defeats Griffifth and Phillip 51-45-4. Shepard will defeat Howie and Raby 56-35-9. Brooks will defeat Shepard 52-48. GOP HOLD.

    AL-06: Incumbent GOP Congressman Spencer Bachus is running for re-election. On the GOP side, Bachus, Pastor Stan Cooke, and TV Show Producer Paul Lambert are in the running. The Democrats have nobody. Bachus will defeat Lambert and Cooke 76-19-5. GOP HOLD.

    AL-07: Incumbent Democratic Congressman Artur Davis is running for Governor. On the Democratic side, Attorney Martha Bozeman, State Representative Earl Hilliard Jr., Frank Lankster, former Radio Journalist Patricia Evans Mokolo, Attorney Terri Sewell, Jefferson County Commissioner Sheila Smoot, and Mortgage Broker Eddison Walters are in the running. The GOP is unified behind Tea Party Activist Michele Waller. I expect a Runoff between Hilliard Jr. and Smoot, with Hilliard Jr. winning 51-49. Hilliard Jr. handily defeats Waller 74-26. DEM HOLD

    AL-03: Segall Announces Rematch Against Rogers

    Via a press release:

    Josh Segall, the 2008 Democratic nominee for Congress in Alabama’s 3rd district, announced today that he will mount a campaign against Mike Rogers (R-Saks) in the 2010 Congressional election.

    “It’s time for a new direction.  I am a fiscal conservative who will work to create and attract 21st Century jobs to east Alabama so that hardworking people can get ahead,” said Segall.

    “Alabama is suffering under irresponsible policies that bail out greedy executives who created this mess and leave hardworking Alabama families holding the bag.  Rogers supported the Wall Street bailout, but did nothing for Main Street Alabama.   He voted to send Alabama jobs overseas, when what we needed was a plan to create good jobs at home.  It’s time to stand up to special interest politics and put Alabama families first once again,” said Segall.

    Segall, as most folks here know, performed impressively last cycle: The DCCC didn’t target this race, and Segall was outspent 2-to-1, yet he still held incumbent GOPer Mike Rogers to a 54-46 margin. He also outperformed Obama, who lost the district 56-43 according to the Swing State Project’s analysis – though Obama actually did a bit better here than Kerry did.

    PVI-wise, however, the district moved from R+4 to R+9, because Obama’s slight improvement on 2004 trailed his overall nationwide surge. But I think Alabama is a classic case that demonstrates the limits of something like the PVI. As we saw last cycle, Democrats retained AL-05 (R+12) and picked up AL-02 (R+16), showing that candidates with the right local appeal can wind up with very different results from the top of the ticket.

    Segall got in relatively late last time – this cycle, with greater name rec and experience under his belt, he’ll have more time to raise money and campaign. Also, with Artur Davis out at the DCCC (background here), this race could wind up getting some national help. I’m looking forward to following this one.

    AL-03: Turn Alabama True Blue, Progressive Blue with Josh Segall

    Want to help defeat conservatism right in the heart of Red America?  How about Alabama, Heart of Dixie, where 29 year old attorney Josh Segall is the latest addition to the DCCC’s Red to Blue list.  If elected, Segall won’t be just another Blue Dog Democrat — he’s a true progressive, a better Democrat in a place where merely more Democrats would be welcome.

    The Democratic party can and should take back Alabama’s 3rd District this year. The seat was held by a Democrat from 1875 until the 1996 election when Glen Browder retired and (now governor) Bob Riley won election to Congress as a moderate Republican. It was an open seat in 2002, a terrible year for Southern Democrats. The DCCC pulled out of the race late and Joe Turnham was completely off the air for a full two weeks before election day.  He lost by only 3800 votes. It’s kind of poetic justice that the DCCC is stepping in to help Segall — late, but not too late to make a critical difference in the race.

    Josh SegallJosh Segall is running in AL-03 against 3 term incumbent Mike Rogers, the least effective Alabama Congressman in recent, and maybe not so recent, memory.  He’s been a rubber stamp for Bush, ranked 403rd out of 435 by and is such a sucker he voted for CAFTA after receiving assurances from textile plant officials that the trade agreement would be be good for the local textile industry.  Good for the business owners who paid Alabama employees to pack up the manufacturing equipment for shipment to Central America; not good for East Alabama workers whose wages have plummeted as manufacturing jobs disappeared.  In the video below, Segall makes the point that sending jobs overseas should be regarded as a national security issue.

    There’s more information about Segall and the nature of this race in my diary from a couple of months ago, including this list:

    What Josh Segall supports:

    – Network neutrality legislation and bringing affordable broadband internet access to every household in Alabama,

     – Health care benefits for national guardsmen and reservists,

    – The GI BIll for the 21st Century,

    – A moratorium on unfair trade deals such as CAFTA

    – Investing in renewable energy and alternative fuels.

    – The Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.

    And he’s pro choice, recently telling a reporter “We should have fewer abortions, and I wouldn’t advise it for a family member, but I don’t think the federal government should decide that for you.”  

    Introducing Segall for a recent liveblog, Howie Klein said:

    Rogers is a classic rubber stamp Republican with an abysmal and indefensible voting record. Yes, it’s Alabama but Rogers is part of the right-wing jihad against working families and on those kitchen table issues Alabama is just like the rest of the country. And right now, they are steaming. Even in Alabama Bush’s approval rating is in negative territory, with barely 45% of the voters feeling he’s doing an acceptable job.

    Rogers has the appearance of a beaten man lately, so much so that the publisher of the Anniston Star (they backed Rogers last time he had significant opposition) wrote this, emphasis mine.

    We sat down with our congressman, Mike Rogers, the day after he voted for the unpopular but apparently necessary financial bailout bill. He seemed different, not particularly energized by the prospect of two more years in the House.

    He was fatalistic, as if he were a helpless observer-victim of political earthquakes over which he had no control, whose direction and personal consequences were unknowable. “I might be defeated,” he said flatly.

    Segall is a long shot but he could win, and what I gathered from our sit-down with Mike is that he doesn’t care all that much.

    Maybe having to vote in favor of that 700 billion dollar bailout has left Mike Rogers demoralized, or maybe he realizes that he’s in over his head in Washington.  After all, he still thinks the decision to invade Iraq was a good one and that al Quaeda was in Iraq and that the Chinese were drilling for oil off the Florida coast.  Whether out of touch or out of his depth, Rogers needs to be out of Congress.

    Here’s video of a recent debate between Segall and Rogers. It’s rather long (15 minutes — I’ll work on a highlights cut soon) but you can tell from just the opening statements that Josh Segall has substantive ideas for improving conditions in East Alabama.  Unlike Rogers, he’s not satisfied with the status quo.  Josh is the kind of Democrat who will rebuild the Democratic brand in the South — pushing infrastructure improvements, alternative energy and other legislation that will make a real difference in the lives of working families.

    Mike Rogers has lost ground recently and is now polling below 50%.  This is no forlorn hope; Democrats can take this race.  If you want to see more and better Democrats, especially in Southern states, please support Josh Segall with a contribution, small or large.  We need to make sure Josh Segall has the resources to stay on the offensive right up to election day — this is the time to press the attack, not back away from the fight.

    AL-03 Looking Like a Dead Heat (Josh Segall v. Mike Rogers)

    Based on a Sept 30- Oct 1 poll by Capital Survey Research , Mike Rogers leads Josh Segall 44.9 % to 36.9%. Rogers got 212 votes while Segall got 171 votes. And 88 were still undecided.

    I’ve been told from a couple of reliable folks that Segall is polling with African Americans right at 70%. If you move that number to a more realistic 95% based on past election data and the high number of African Americans that will likely vote straight ticket this cycle you get a totally different picture.

    We know that 32% of the 471 sample are African Americans which equates to 151 voters.

    So instead of Segall getting 106 votes from African Americans he would get 143 based on getting 95%. So let’s take 7 from Rogers (18.9%) and 30 from the undecided voters (81%) and not change any other variables. We would think it would be more likely that those African Americans coming over to Segall would be from the undecided votes rather than from the Rogers voters.

    Rogers would have 205 votes    43.5%

    Segall would have 208 votes     44.2%

    and we would have 58 undecided voters  12.3%

    Even if you move the number down to 85% to 90% of the African American Voters going Segall’s way, this race is still within just a couple of points. We could certainly expect that even at the 85-90% the sheer numbers of African American turnout could be high enough to make up the difference based on registration numbers and the Obama factor.  

    Why this matters?

    Six years ago, Rogers only beat Joe Turnham by 3800. Remember that the DCCC pulled out with two weeks to go and Turnham went dead on the air.

    If we could convince the DCCC to assist in purchasing the last two weeks worth of advertising, Segall would have a definite shot at winning this race. To go dead would probably put us in the same predicament as Turnham. The good news is that Segall is peaking at the absolute best time and you could expect that he takes a lot more White and Older voters based on the economy taking center stage.

    We need your help. Please jump in and donate a couple of bucks for this race. Encourage other bloggers and pundits to take a look at turning an Alabama red seat blue.

    Our Act Blue Page

    AL-03 – Mike Rogers lead shrinks to less than half

    A Capital Survey Research (Gerald Johnson) poll has Mike Rogers leading Josh Segall 44.9 % to 36.4 %. 18.7% of people polled remain undecided. The polling sample was 471 people taken Sep.30-Oct. 1, 2008

    with a margin error of  +/-4.5%.

    The August poll taken by Capital Survey Research showed Rogers leading 54% to 32.5 % for Segall with only 13.6% undecided.

    Segall has improved by 4 points while Rogers has dropped 9 points. We have 5% more undecided from the August poll

    A number of thoughts stick out including:

    1. Mike Rogers is well under 50%, a clear sign that an incumbent is in trouble.

    2. The Bubba Ads did not help Mike Rogers polling numbers.

    3. More voters are undecided after seeing ads from both candidates.

    4. Rogers went from a substantial 22% lead to a 9%. Segall cutting Rogers lead in more than half is another sure sign that Rogers is in trouble.

    5. A serious gas shortage has been reported in the Talladega to Anniston areas. That does not bode well for Rogers.

    **Reminder – Josh Segall will also be a guest on The Progressive Electorate Blog Talk Radio Show This Sunday

    AL-03: Josh Segall Nipping at Rogers’ Heels — GOP Calls In Cheney

    Josh Segall is a great young progressive Democrat running for Congress in Alabama's third district.  He's young, smart, enthusiastic and hard working, convinced that his district can and should be more prosperous than it's been under incumbent Mike Rogers, and he's raised enough money to be a threat.  The district is a favorable one for a Democrat too — it's the second most Democratic district in Alabama with 33% African American population and a high proportion of young voters.  Segall has outraised Rogers in the first and second quarters of this year and the incumbent is worried enough to have already started running television ads attacking him — so Josh is on the right track.  The problem is, he's not just running against Mike Rogers anymore — the Republicans have brought in their big gun, Dick Cheney himself, to raise money for Rogers and other Alabama Republicans.  Josh Segall needs grassroots help to cancel out the big donations Cheney will rake in at the Shoal Creek Country Club from the have-mores — the people George W. Bush likes to call "my base."   

    Yeah, Cheney's popularity is hovering somewhere around "dirt" with average Americans but he's still one of the Republican party's most effective fundraisers.  "The base" loves this guy no matter what he's done to the Constitution.  For the Birmingham event, those who still like Dick Cheney will pay $500 for lunch and pony up $2000 for a photo op with Cheney, gun not included.  A photo op with the gun will cost you extra, but I'm sure they're willing to oblige if the monied elite demand it.   Alabama GOP Chairman Mike Hubbard expects 100 to 150 to attend the luncheon which some are predicting will raise $250,000 — as much as Michelle Obama raised on her Alabama visit last month.  Is that crazy or what???

    And where are they holding this event?  Shoal Creek Country Club, an extremely posh place with it's own little piece of civil rights history.

    Up until 1990, there were no African-American members of the club. Pressure from various groups prior to the 1990 PGA Championship led the club to integrate just nine days before the tournament. This happened in spite of founder Hall Thompson, who said "This is our home, and we pick and choose who we want. We have the right to associate or not associate with whomever we choose."

    Very inclusive now, I'm sure, if you can afford the price of entry.

    About Josh Segall:  

    Segall is a 4th generation Alabamian and a 2001 graduate of Brown University (where he was active with the College Democrats) and the University of Alabama School of Law.  While at Alabama he founded an organization called "Homegrown Alabama" which worked with the university to buy its food from local Alabama farmers.  He worked on Mark Warner's successful 2002 gubernatorial campaign, Russ Feingold's Senate campaign and worked for the late Senator Paul Wellstone in his Washington office. He is currently with the Memory and Day law firm in Montgomery. Josh's father, Bobby Segall, is a past president of the Alabama Bar Association and is on the Board of Directors of the ACLU of Alabama, so you know he comes from good folks.  

    Just how progressive is Josh Segall?  I've listed his position on several issues below so you can judge for yourself.  As a longtime Alabama Democrat accustomed to Republican-lite congressional candidates, I just can't tell you how exciting it is to see Segall running as a bona fide Democrat.   Notice I don't call him liberal.  He's to the right of me and might not pass muster as the "best" Democrat in a lot of districts on either coast, but he is in step with his district, progressive in a forward looking way and he's easily the "best" Democrat running for Congress from Alabama this cycle — the best in several cycles, actually.  He's the sort of new Southern Democrat we need to cultivate to replace some of our Blue Dogs who are too often just a pale shade of Republican.  Segall does not expect to get an endorsement from the Blue Dog Coalition — which elevates him considerably in my opinion.

    Josh Segall supports:

    And he's pro choice, recently telling a reporter "We should have fewer abortions, and I wouldn't advise it for a family member, but I don't think the federal government should decide that for you."  

    Unlike incumbent Mike Rogers, Segall also believes a Congressman should listen to his constituents and put his district above everything else—including his political party.  Voting with his party 92% of the time, Rogers has been little more than a rubberstamp for the Bush/Cheney agenda since he got to Washington 6 years ago.  He hasn't built much of a name for himself in Washington either, with a power ranking of 403 out of 435 — he's 44th of the 46 members remaining from the class of 2002.

    If you want to know more about him, here's Josh Segall liveblogging at Future Majority, an interview with Segall by Nathaniel Bach, and a Heading Left blogtalk radio interview by Adam Lambert and David Atkins.   There is also an online video called Alabama Roots.


    About Alabama's 3rd District:  

    This seat has only been in Republican hands since 1997 and the white Democrats here tend to be of the populist flavor.  Democrats are not out of favor in the 3rd district — they hold 75% of the locally elected offices.  Manufacturing, agriculture and the military are important industries in the 3rd district which is home to the Anniston Army Depot and has a large number of National Guard members and Reservists.  

    Although the often quoted partisan voting index rates AL-03 as just R+4, the district actually has a very Democratic voting history.  The PVI only takes into account presidential voting and it skews Republican in states like Alabama, that have not seen a Democratic presidential campaign in a decade or so.  Let me quote PubliusIX who has made a study of the voting patterns in the 3rd district:

    In terms of aggregate Democratic vote, this is the most Democratic district in Alabama outside Artur Davis’s African-American-majority Seventh District.  For only one precise metric, let’s look at the Alabama House of Representative districts nested in the Third.  There are 14 with a majority of the state districts within the congressional.  Of those 14, ten are held by Democrats, and in five of those ten, the GOP didn’t even bother running a candidate in 2006.  The aggregate Democratic vote in those State House seats in 2006 was 65.5%, compared to an aggregate Republican vote of 34.5%.  If you eyeball the courthouse offices, and count sheriffs, circuit clerks and probate judges, the results aren’t going to change much, if any.  Clearly, the majority of the voters in this district tend to vote Democratic most of the time.

    Now, about that youth vote.  There are 4 colleges in the 3rd district:  Alabama State University (5500), Jacksonville State University (9000), Auburn University (24,000), and Tuskegee University (3000) with a total student population of about 38,000.  The Segall campaign will have a coordinator on every campus and Segall will be doing a college tour, visiting those campuses, starting in September.  I fully expect there will be an Obama coordinator (probably unpaid) doing voter registration and GOTV for each of those colleges as well.  So look for a big turnout of young voters in AL-03 November 4th. 

    What about the "Obama effect" in AL-03?  PubliusIX has some numbers to shed light on that, too:

    The presidential race is something of a wild card here.  Will white Democrats deserting Obama impact the congressional race?  Probably not.  First off, Obama did surprisingly well in this district.  Although Obama tanked in a couple of counties with low minority populations (18% in Cherokee County, 20% in Cleburne), he carried some other counties that don’t have African-American majorities (56% Obama in 57% white Talladega County; 61% Obama in 61% white Chambers County).  And to accept that Segall will be hurt by deserting white Democratic primary voters, you have to accept that someone who would vote in a primary for Hillary Clinton would vote for a congressman with a 100% rating from the Christian Coalition.  Yeah, I got a laugh out of that, too.  Even if some of these voters do defect, the downballot domination of Democrats shows they know how to split their tickets.

    And that presidential race is a two-edged sword of which Mike Rogers should be very, very afraid.  The district is overall 30% African-American, and anyone who thinks turnout won’t be mind boggling in Macon County (which is in this district) wasn’t paying attention on February 5.  (If you weren’t, Macon County outvoted DeKalb County, a predominantly white, Democratic county with roughly three times its population, that day.)  The further into the 30’s the African-American percentage of the vote goes, the more heavily Rogers has to take a white vote that tends to vote Democratic anyway.  Alabama has enough residual racism to nauseate, but I doubt it has enough to neutralize that kind of turnout.

    As you can see, this district is much more Democratic than "R+4" and is actually a very promising district for a Democratic candidate.  

    The Bottom Line:

    AL-03 is a real opportunity for Democrats — something that would have been unheard of 2 or 4 years ago when we didn't even field an active candidate.  The DCCC has taken notice and put it on their Emerging Races list for possible inclusion in the Red to Blue program.  Meanwhile, Segall has been successfully raising money on his own.  As of June 30 he had raised $552,000 and had $410,000 cash on hand, the most of any Democrat in Alabama.  Incumbent Mike Rogers' fundraising has tanked this year, but he still has a warchest of $1.1 million built up over 3 terms in Washington.  Now Dick Cheney is coming to raise money for Rogers and Josh Segall needs grassroots and netroots help to make sure Cheney's visit isn't the deciding factor in this election. 

    The folks at Progressive Electorate have set up a Chase Cheney page for Josh Segall at ActBlue.   I'm asking you to please give whatever you can to cancel out some of the tens of thousands Dick Cheney will raise in Birmingham this Friday.  Help send a good Democrat, Josh Segall, to Congress from Alabama!  Do it for the progressive cause and, almost as important, DO IT BECAUSE THIS IS A RARE CHANCE TO STICK IT TO DICK CHENEY!  In a small way, of course, but you take your opportunities where you find them.