Welcome to the workin’ week!
Trey Grayson, Kentucky’s secretary of state, used his latest ad to again hammer his rival, Bowling Green eye surgeon Rand Paul, on national security issues.
“Paul even wonders whether 9/11 was our fault,” a female announcer says in the spot that began airing Thursday. The commercial then shows Paul speaking at a Blue Grass Policy Institute forum in March 2009, saying: “Maybe some of the bad things that happen are a reaction to our presence in some of these countries.”
I just hope that Grayson doesn’t nuke Paul before our nominee (hopefully Jack Conway) gets a chance to pummel him in the general.
Mary Wilmot, an aide to Gov. David Paterson, Assemblyman David Koon of Perinton, past candidate for state Senate and businessman David Nachbar of Pittsford, Southern Tier native Matthew Zeller, and Michael McCormick of Allegany County
Wonder if we might be missing a name, though, since yesterday word was that the Dems would be interviewing six people.
• AK-Gov: George Stephanopoulos (on Twitter) thinks there might be some sort of announcement from Sarah Palin this afternoon, possibly that she won’t run for re-election as governor. This wouldn’t surprise me, and if so, not a bad time to bury the news.
• MN-06: You know things are bad for Michele Bachmann when… well, every day is bad for her. But things are especially bad when members of her own party start telling her to STFU. “Boycotting the constitutionally mandated Census is illogical, illegal and not in the best interest of our country,” wrote Patrick McHenry, Lynn Westmoreland and John Mica, members of the subcommittee which oversees the census. And these guys are some pretty wingnutty mouthbreathers. Weapons-grade wingnut Jason Chaffetz (the only other GOPer on the same cmte) refused to sign the letter.
• NH-Sen: Paul Hodes pulled in an improved 725K for the quarter – but I still think he can do better. Meanwhile, a piece of shit poll from UNH shows Kelly Ayotte “beating” Hodes 39-35. Why such harsh language? Because UNH continues its crappy track record of unacceptable samples – this time, they have it as 32R, 25D, even though there are more registered Democrats than Republicans in the state of New Hampshire. Pathetic. And in other news, former Gov. Stephen Merrill (R), who served in the mid-90s right before Jeanne Shaheen, has declined to run for the open Senate seat.
• PA-07: Republican businessman Steven Welch has made it official – he will run for the 7th CD seat, which may or may not be open, depending upon what Rep. Joe Sestak does. I can’t understand why Welch would pick a holiday weekend to launch his campaign, though. (Thanks, Pan.)
• TX-Gov/AG: Former Travis County DA Ronnie Earle – best known these days as the guy who indicted Tom DeLay – just filed papers to run for statewide office. He hasn’t yet said whether he’ll seek the governor’s mansion (which would put him on a collision course will fellow Dem Tom Schieffer) or the Attorney General’s job. Either way, Earle can start raising money now.
• VA-05: A Virginia TV station is refusing to air an NRCC ad against Tom Perriello. While the station has remained mum about its reasons, Factcheck.org slammed the ad for its inaccuracies about the Waxman-Markey climate change bill. TV & radio stations are open to legal liability when they run third-party ads (they are immune when running candidate ads), so the only reason to nix a spot is because your lawyers tell you to. Nice to see the NRCC fumbling out of the gate. Perriello, meanwhile, is offering a feisty defense of his vote.
• Ads: A coalition of liberal groups is airing “thank you” ads in seventeen congressional districts, which include some potentially vulnerable Dems who voted for the climate change bill. The list: B. Markey, Boyd, Grayson, Kosmas, Hill, Halvorson, Chandler, Kratovil, Peters, Schauer, Hodes, Maffei, Kilroy, Space, Perriello, Giffords & Kagen.
• FL-Gov: Quinnipiac is out with a new poll of the Florida gubernatorial race, and it gives Democrat Alex Sink a very early 38-34 edge against Republican AG Bill McCollum. Although this is the first poll where we’ve seen Sink leading, we have plenty of mileage to burn through before these polls begin to get interesting. (J)
• NY-Sen-B: Carolyn Maloney released an internal poll showing her with a not-worth-writing-home-about 34-32 “lead” over incumbent Kirsten Gillibrand. Surprise, surprise: After some message-testing business, Maloney shoots up to 49-25. The poll presentation has some pretty harsh words for Gillibrand… is Maloney really drinking her own kool-aid? (D)
• NC-Sen: Elaine Marshall, North Carolina’s Secretary of State, sounds almost enthused at the idea of running against Richard Burr in a recent interview with the Dunn Daily Record. Saying it’s a challenge that she “thinks I’m up to”, Marshall says that she’ll give the race more consideration once the current legislative session ends. (J)
• PA-Sen: There have been toplines for a Greenberg Quinlan Rosner poll (taken for a labor 527) of the Pennsylvania Senate race floating around the interwebs for a few weeks, but Open Left snagged a copy of the whole memo. Highlights include Arlen Specter over Joe Sestak in the primary by a 55-34 margin. Specter leads a Generic Dem 50-37, and leads Sestak 50-42 after message-testing mumbo-jumbo, giving Sestak some room to grow. The poll also notes that almost one half of the Dem electorate is union households, making Specter’s vote on EFCA that much more paramount.
• NY-23: New York Independence Party Chair Frank MacKay says that his party will endorse Democratic state Sen. Darrel Aubertine if he chooses to run for the open seat of outgoing GOP Rep. John McHugh. (J)
• SC-01: In an email to her supporters, ’08 candidate Linda Ketner says that she won’t seek a rematch against GOP crumb-bum Henry Brown next year. She informed two potential Brown challengers of her decision: Leon Stavrinakis, a state Representative from Charleston, and Robert Burton, a former member of the Board of Commissioners of the SC State Housing Finance and Development Authority. (J)
• NRCC/NRSC: A big fundraising haul for last night’s joint fundraising dinner for the NRSC and NRCC, headlined by Newt Gingrich: $14.45 million, split between the two committees. As Politico observes, though, it was a flop from a messaging standpoint, as anything substantive that might have been said was overshadowed by the will-she-won’t-she drama concerning Sarah Palin’s appearance (she made a cameo after all, but didn’t speak). UPDATE (David): It’s worth noting that this was actually the smallest take in five years for this dinner.
• NYC-Mayor: Bloombo’s re-elects stand at just 40-55 in a new New York Times/NY1/Cornell University poll. In June of 2005, he was at 48-44. However, his putative opponent, Comptroller Bill Thompson, clocks in with a microscopic 13-2 approval rating. Bloombleberry’s been plastering the airwaves with ads for months, but it just doesn’t feel like Thompson has really engaged this race at all. (D)
• AL-St. Senate: The Virginia primary is tonight’s main course, but there’s an tasty side dish in Alabama: a special election to fill the state Senate vacancy left behind by now-Rep. Parker Griffith in the 7th District, centered on Huntsville. Democratic state Rep. Laura Hall is considered to have a bit of an edge over GOP businessman Paul Sanford.
• ME-Legislature: Here’s something you don’t see everyday: the Maine House of Representatives endorsed abolishing itself (and the state Senate), and joining Nebraska in the land of the unicameral legislature, mostly in order to save money on overhead. When it comes up for a final vote, it’ll need to pass by a 2/3s measure, though, and there weren’t enough votes in the House for that, so this may not actually ever happen.
• NJ-Assembly: Newsroom New Jersey takes a quick look at where the hot races for control of the New Jersey Assembly will be in Nov. 2009. The greatest volatility seems to be on the Jersey Shore, as both parties are looking there (in the 1st and 2nd districts) for the likeliest flips. Dems currently hold the Assembly by a sizable 48-32 edge.
• Redistricting: OMGz! Did you know that there are sites on the series of tubes where new technology lets average political junkies get involved in the redistricting process? Rep. Lynn Westmoreland just found out about this worrisome new trend.
• NY-20 (pdf): Last evening’s total from the BoE had Scott Murphy leading Jim Tedisco by 401. With his chances approaching the “statistically impossible” realm, we may reportedly see a Tedisco concession today.
• MN-Sen: Norm Coleman could take a few pointers from Jim Tedisco. The five justices of the Minnesota Supreme Court who’ll hear the election contest (two justices who’ve been actively involved in the count recused themselves) announced that their expedited hearing isn’t all that expedited: it’ll happen on June 1, to give the parties adequate time to file briefs and replies. In the meantime, that gives Minnesotans more than one more month with just one senator.
• GA-Gov, GA-03: Just one day after his name was suddenly floated for GA-Gov, Rep. Lynn Westmoreland flushed that idea, saying he’ll stay in the House.
• PA-Gov: Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato was bandied about as the early front-runner for the Democratic nomination for the open governor’s race in 2010, but we’ve heard nary a peep from him on the matter. Apparently, he is in fact interested, as he says he’s “laying the groundwork” and expects a formal announcement later in the year.
• TN-Gov: Businessman Mike McWherter made official his candidacy for the Democratic nod in the open Tennessee governor’s race. McWherter hasn’t held elective office, but benefits strongly from links with his father, popular ex-governor Ned McWherter.
• SC-Gov: Lawyer Mullins McLeod (and apparent scion of a political family, although one that pales in comparison to the Thurmonds or Campbells) announced his bid for the Democratic nomination in the open governor’s race. He joins two Democratic state senators Vincent Shaheen and Robert Ford in the chase.
• CA-10: Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan, who previously issued an internal poll showing her leading senator Mark DeSaulnier, has officially jumped into the special election field. With Lt. Gov. John Garamendi’s entry into the race, splitting the white-guy vote, Buchanan probably feels that her hand has been strengthened.
• CO-03: Rep. John Salazar has drawn a solid Republican challenger in this R+5 district: Martin Beeson, who’s the district attorney for Pitkin, Garfield, and Rio Blanco Counties. Blue Dog Salazar has had little trouble with re-election despite the district’s lean.
• CA-36: Jane Harman’s high-profile role in the still-unfolding wiretap scandal has liberal activists in the 36th, long frustrated by Harman’s hold on this D+12 district, wondering if they finally have an opening to defeat her in a primary. Marcy Winograd, who won 38% against Harman in 2006, has been urged to run again and is “thinking about it.”
• MI-07: For real? Republicans in DC (read: the NRCC) are telling MLive.com’s Susan J. Demas that their top choice to take on frosh Dem Mark Schauer is none other than… ex-Rep. Joe Schwarz, who was ingloriously defeated in a 2006 primary by wingnut Tim Walberg. Schwarz, who went so far as to endorse Schauer over Walberg last fall, tells Demas that he’s not interested in running again. (J)
• NH-02: Democratic New Hampshire State Rep. John DeJoie has formed an exploratory committee for the seat Paul Hodes is leaving open. (D)
• KS-04: Democrats have their first candidate in the open seat in the 4th: Robert Tillman, a retired court services officer, and former precinct committeeman and NAACP local board member. There’s more firepower on the GOP side of the aisle in this now-R+14 district, including RNC member Mike Pompeo and state senator Dick Kelsey.
• Redistricting: Republican Ohio state senator John Husted (who will probably be the GOP’s candidate for SoS in 2010) has introduced legislation that would totally change the way redistricting is done in Ohio. It would create a 7-member bipartisan commission that would draw both congressional and state district lines (removing congressional district authority from the legislature, and legislative district authority from the 5-member panel that Dems currently control). It remains to be seen, though, whether this proposal would make it past the Democratic governor and state house.
• NY-20 (pdf): The BoE’s official tally bumps Scott Murphy’s lead up to 365, as 250 more ballots, mostly from Murphy stronghold Warren County, were added. Counting will continue for the forseeable future, unfortunately, and on Monday a judge will set a counting schedule for the ballots contested on the basis of second home residency.
The drip-drip of GOPers publicly throwing in the towel on NY-20 continues: today star strategist Mike Murphy cried uncle, as did former NRCC chair Tom Reynolds yesterday. Campaign Diaries has a thought-provoking piece on why the GOP continues to drag this out in the courts, even though they’re in too deep a hole for “case by case” examination of the ballots to salvage the count for them: it may be to set precedent for future recounts, where picking off individual ballots may be targeted to their advantage.
• NY-Sen, NY-14: Rep. Carolyn Maloney has hired a statewide finance director, Lewis Cohen. Cohen denied that Maloney (who has been rumored to be interested in a primary challenge to Kirsten Gillibrand) will be running for Senate, but his title of “statewide” is pretty telling, considering that Maloney currently represents a few square miles in Manhattan and Queens.
• PA-Sen: Only eight weeks before jumping into the Senate primary, Pat Toomey told Pennsylvania GOP chair Rob Gleason that he “didn’t want to be a Senator” and “be number 100 and vote no on everything.” Now this wouldn’t exactly be the first time a politician has promised one thing and done another, but the Specter camp has begun beating Toomey over the head with his flip-flop.
• MO-Sen: Ex-treasurer Sarah Steelman is “moving in [the] direction” of entering the GOP senate primary, but is in no hurry to make a formal announcement as she gets her campaign’s financial house in order first. (She’s still paying off debts from her unsuccessful gubernatorial run last year.) This comes against a backdrop of increasing public discomfort by the party concerning Roy Blunt’s candidacy, caused not only by his humdrum $542K fundraising quarter and his high burn rate, but also his lobbyist ties and long ‘establishment’ track record.
• GA-Gov, GA-03: With top candidates like Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and Cobb Co. Commissioner Sam Olens bailing on the race, there’s an opening for a top-tier candidate to leap into the GOP field for the Georgia governor’s race. (SoS Karen Handel and Insurance Comm. John Oxendine are still in.) Could Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, who has occasionally expressed interest in this race, be the man? Westmoreland (perhaps best known for not being able to name the 10 commandments on the Colbert Report) is “seriously considering” it. Don’t look for a pickup of his R+19 seat if it’s open, though.
• AL-Gov: Republican treasurer Kay Ivey will be running for governor after all, according to party insiders. The perception was that her role in Alabama’s floundering prepaid tuition plan may have wounded her too much to run for governor, but she’s still going for it.
• CA-32: More endorsements as we approach the May 19 special election. Board of Equalization chair Judy Chu got the endorsement of Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. (The district doesn’t include any of LA, but obviously he’s a big figure in the media market.) The United Farm Workers and the locals of the Southern California District Council of Laborers went for state senator Gil Cedillo.
• FL-08: Republican Orlando mayor Rich Crotty was looking like a major threat to just-elected Rep. Alan Grayson, but he’s getting tarnished with some legal troubles that may preclude him from running. A grand jury accused him of pressuring vendors to contribute to his re-election campaign. There’s still a deep Republican bench eyeing the race in this R+2 district, including state senate majority whip Andy Gardiner, ex-state senator Daniel Webster, and state rep. Steve Precourt. Grayson raised only $144K in the first quarter, but he may plan to self-finance, as he partially did in 2008.
• Demographics: Here’s some interesting data from the Census Bureau: fewer people moved in 2007 (35.2 million) than any year since 1962 (when the nation had 120 million fewer people). This has its roots in the housing bubble pop, as people underwater in their houses are unlikelier to relocate for work. This may show up in a big way in 2012 reapportionment, though, as more people staying in place may save a few seats in the northeast or midwest and limit growth in the south or west.
Rick Goddard is a retired general running as a Republican against Democrat Jim Marshall in GA-08. Bill Gillespie is a retired Lt. Col. running as a Democrat against Republican Jack Kingston in GA-01. The Republican party is pouring cash into the GA-08 race, and Marshall is having to fight for political survival. In GA-01 the national Democratic party has done nothing, zip, nada. If you realize Jack Kingston is chief propagandist for the Rpublican party, you might think kicking Kingston out would be as important as keeping Marshall in.
Georgia news media are finally catching on to five military veterans are running for Congress as Democrats this year. This is old news to bloggers (dailykos, like getting the newspaper six months in advance!). Here’s somebody finally connecting the dots:
In Georgia, at least four of the 2008 “Band of Brothers” (Bobby Saxon, Bill Gillespie, Bill Jones, and Doug Heckman) are running uphill battles against Republican incumbents (Broun, Kingston, Price and Linder, respectively). If any one of them (especially Saxon) received the type of national party support that the GOP is giving to veteran Rick Goddard to oust Democratic Party Congressman Jim Marshall, these districts could become competitive.
Add to this the five to one ratio of retired military officers running as Democrats rather than Republicans, and think about what that means about political sentiment among the military and military families and towns with military bases, of which there are four major ones in GA-01. Add to that the massive Obama GOTV, especially in GA-01. Bill Gillespie polled more votes in his primary than Kingston did in his. Bill has twice debated Kingston and fought him to a draw. Gillespie is on the air with his TV ads, and Bill Gillespie can beat Jack Kingston.
There’s still time, DCCC, swingstate project, openleft, dailykos! If RCCC can do it for Rick Goddard, you can do it for Bill Gillespie.
Jack Kingston has DECLINED to debate Bill Gillespie for GA-01. Is Jack afraid to debate his record? That’s understandable, since he’s worse than Saxby on the middle class, on veterans’ issues, and on the environment.
Or maybe he just wanted to join the pack of his fellow Republicans who DECLINED: John Linder, leaving Doug Heckman the floor for GA-07; Tom Price, leaving Bill Jones free rein in GA-06; and Lynn “uppity” Westmoreland, leaving Stephen Camp GA-03 camped in front of the TV cameras.
Jack only debated Bill once, in Brunswick, where Bill trounced him, so it’s no wonder Jack has backed out of the two debates scheduled since then.
Guess we’ll get to see Bill Gillespie take 30 minutes instead of 3 to remind us why he’s better than Jack for Georgia’s First District.
That’s worth going to a debate party. Or, if you’re going to be in Atlanta, go on down to GPB and join the live audience.
Lynn Westmoreland got nailed for referring to Barack Obama as “uppity” last week. Well, it turns out he’s not the only one, suggesting more of a pattern and practice by white Georgian politicians than an innocent misuse of what one might mistakenly think is a racially-neutral word.
On Thursday (the same day as Westmoreland’s gaffe) Retired Air Force major general Rick Goddard, who’s running against Jim Marshall in the neighboring Eighth District, referred to MSNBC reporter Ron Allen, who is African-American, as “uppity” while being interviewed on a Macon radio news show.
Last night, Newt Gingrich disarmed a very uppity newscaster who tried to question him on the capabilities and leadership of Governor Palin.
Now unlike Westmoreland, who’s not in any immediate electoral peril, Goddard is a challenger and was considered a strong recruit against the perenially-endangered Marshall. This may have made Goddard’s slog a little more uphill.