SSP Daily Digest: 6/4 (Morning Edition)

  • AR-Sen: We knew the SEIU wasn’t going to fuck around. Their newest (and probably final) ad buy on behalf of Bill Halter (which we mentioned yesterday) is on the order of $370K. The League of Conservation Voters is also putting down $100K for a buy of their own, also in support of Halter.
  • KY-Sen: Rand Paul, the son of Ayn Rand and a Somali warlord, must be dying inside: He actually felt compelled to call for more regulation of offshore drilling. Upon hearing this, a thousand Austrian School economists tried to jump off a bridge, but couldn’t find one as the free market had decided a bridge was unnecessary.
  • NH-Sen: Former AG Kelly Ayotte is being called to testify before a state senate committee investigating the collapse of a mortgage company called FRM which is accused of running a Ponzi scheme – and which was allowed to continue in operation while Ayotte’s department was supposedly regulating it. It’s belated, but at least someone is watching the watchmen.
  • AL-Gov: Artur Davis: “I have no interest in running for political office again. The voters spoke in a very decisive way across every sector and in every section of the state. A candidate that fails across-the-board like that obviously needs to find something else productive to do with his life.”
  • NM-Gov: Diane Denish is already out with a negative ad trying to paint GOP opponent Susana Martinez as an ineffective prosecutor, saying she went soft on DWI felons and had the worst conviction record in New Mexico. No word on the size of the buy, though the Denish campaign says, according to Heath Haussamen, that the ad “is running statewide on network and cable television.”
  • NY-Gov: Andrew Cuomo is trying to kill off the Working Families Party. He says he doesn’t want their ballot line this fall, without which the WFP has almost no hope of getting the 50,000 votes it needs to stay on the ballot for the next four years. The party is under investigation by the Manhattan US Attorney’s Office, and hyper-ventilators like the Daily News editorial page accuse it of sponsoring a “job-killing agenda,” so you might think there’s sufficient reason for Cuomo to avoid the WFP on the merits.
  • But I don’t think that adds up, because few voters pay attention to this stuff, which means that Cuomo will miss out on more votes without the WFP line than he’d risk losing by accepting the party’s endorsement – so it looks like a power play to me. (Note that state lawmakers friendly to the WFP are trying to introduce legislation which would allow a party to remain on the ballot if it got 50K votes in any statewide election, which would allow the party to bootstrap itself to, say, the Schumer or Gillibrand campaigns.)

  • FL-08: Uh, is this really an endorsement that you want? Former state House Speaker Daniel Webster, hoping to challenge Alan Grayson in the fall, secured the backing of ex-Rep. Tom Feeney. Feeney was last seen apologizing to voters for his role in the Abramoff scandal while getting his ass kicked by Suzanne Kosmas.
  • ID-01: I know we all miss Vaughn Ward terribly, but I think we’ll enjoy having Raul Labrador to kick around, too. It turns out that Labrador forgot to get his cooties vaccination, because the NRCC is keeping him in one of those glove-box containment zones. GOP brass has no plans, says Politico, to add the Lab to their Young Guns list – even though it already contains an absurd 110 names. Michael Steele, though, seems to like Raul just fine (which makes sense), sending some cash to help the Idaho GOP.
  • AL-Ag. Comm’r: May the Flying Spaghetti Monster bless Dale Peterson:
  • Boy!  We put up a tough fight in round one.  The thugs made a full court press to stop me by making hundreds of thousands of “robo calls” with lies about me.  

    Rest assured, Dummy and the thugs at ALFA will not go quietly – so expect them to launch a full-scale attack against John McMillan in the coming weeks as the July 13 runoff draws near.  Just remember, the word “truth” is not in their vocabulary.

    Because good ol’ Dale gives a RIIIIIP about Alabama, he promises that he’s “not going away.” Hooray!

  • Rasmussen: Commenters here have been all over it, but Markos lays out in bright orange letters exactly how fucked up Rasmussen’s recent polling in CT-Sen and KY-Sen has been.
  • SSP Daily Digest: 8/3

    KY-Sen: Kentucky’s Fancy Farm picnic is one of those old-timey traditions where all the candidates gather together, make a stump speech, and roast each other a little — but Daniel Mongiardo and Jack Conway already seem to be going a little past roasting each other to going after each other with axes. Mongiardo said Conway stood up for the “silver spoon crowd,” and, in his bid to be the coal candidate in this race, referred to cap and trade as “Jack’s tax.” Conway shot back that Mongiardo (an ear, nose, and throat doctor) “can’t hear the truth, you can’t smell the truth and you sure as hell can’t speak the truth.” Conway also referred to himself as a “tough son of a bitch” and even said “crap” at some point, leaving Mongiardo boo-hooing to the press later on about so many profanities.

    LA-Sen, Gov: Bobby Jindal confirmed that he won’t be running for Senator against David Vitter in the GOP primary, but instead of endorsing Vitter as would be customary at this point, engaged in some rhetorical song and dance instead: “David’s going have to make his case with the voters directly just like any other candidate’s going to have to do that.” Meanwhile, Jindal is facing an investigation from his AG over his blog… or more precisely, “The Ledger,” the blog published by the Dept. of Administration about budgetary news. Still, a Republican state Senator filed a complaint, saying that the blog puts forth a political agenda.

    NC-Sen: The Hill, in a long piece that mostly is about how Elaine Marshall is on track to be the Democratic nominee by default, drops an interesting tidbit at the end: Chapel Hill mayor Kevin Foy said he’s considering the race. (Chapel Hill has a population of less than 50,000, but it has an outsized place in the state’s zeitgeist, as home of UNC.)

    IA-Gov: Former GOP Governor Terry Branstad has been occasional subject of rumors of another gubernatorial run (Branstad already served a record four terms as governor, 1982-1998). Branstad didn’t seem interested, but over the weekend went on the record as at least being somewhat interested: “I’m not ruling it out… And I have real concerns about the direction things are going.” For what it’s worth, a recent GOP internal poll showed Bradstad beating current Governor Chet Culver, while Culver easily dispatched the other GOPers. (H/t desmoinesdem.)

    NM-Gov: GOP State Rep. Janice Arnold-Jones, who’s had an exploratory committee for a while, announced in a letter to supporters that she’s officially launching her gubernatorial bid. She joins Dona Ana County DA Susana Martinez in the GOP field.

    NV-Gov: Former GOP Governor (and current RNC member) Bob List dissed current Governor Jim Gibbons in no uncertain terms, saying his re-election chances are “fairly slim” and that Gibbons seems unlikely to run. When asked if he was in fact still campaiging, though, Gibbons had a succinct answer: “Yes.”

    NY-Gov: The NY Times talks to a number of confidantes who make it sound like Andrew Cuomo is very interested in running for Governor, despite his many protestations otherwise. Cuomo’s holding pattern seems to be about waiting for the party’s other power brokers to try and push David Paterson out behind-the-scenes first, before committing to a primary and risking a repeat of the racially divisive 2002 gubernatorial primary where Cuomo lost to Carl McCall.

    FL-08: Seems a little early for dueling internal polls, but that suggests this will be one of 2010’s top House contests. An NRCC poll gave Rep. Alan Grayson a 37-34 edge over Orange County Mayor Rich Crotty, but when told that Grayson voted to “raise taxes on small businesses” and “increase the deficit,” Crotty takes a 41-28 lead. (They also message-tested all the things wrong with Crotty — land swaps, toll increases, and the like — but didn’t reveal how much Grayson’s lead increases after being told about that.) Grayson responded with his own poll from April, showing him with a 46-40 lead over Crotty. (H/t Progressive America.)

    FL-24: The Feds wrapped up their investigation of Tom Feeney’s golf trip to Scotland with Jack Abramoff, without filing charges. Feeney, currently practicing law, sidestepped questions of whether he’d mount a comeback for his old seat now.

    GA-09: Yet another Republican threw his hat in for the super-red open seat left in north Georgia by Nathan Deal: state Sen. Lee Hawkins. TheUnknown285 outlines the downballot implications, though: Hawkins could be replaced by GOP state Rep. Carl Rogers, who would leave behind a House seat in Gainesville that would be ripe pickings for Democrats because of rapid Latino growth. (UPDATE: Ooops, no dice. Rogers says today he’ll stay in the House.)

    VA-05: Tom Perriello got into the news in an interesting new way. It turns out that several letters sent to Perriello’s office, purportedly from local liberal groups, opposing cap and trade, were complete fabrications. They were forgeries of the groups’ letterhead, sent by lobbying firm Bonner & Associates, who’ve apparently graduated from mere astroturfing to mail fraud.

    NY-LG: An appellate court ruled that Richard Ravitch, who was appointed by David Paterson in unprecedented (if not unconstitutional) fashion, may start serving as Lt. Governor. However, the court held that he can’t do the one thing that he was put into power to do, which is preside over the state Senate and cast tie-breaking votes.

    SSP Daily Digest: 4/14

    NY-20 (pdf): This morning’s update from the BoE has Scott Murphy’s lead increasing a bit, up to 56 votes. Brace yourself for later today, though, when Saratoga County (Jim Tedisco’s base) is scheduled to report absentees for the first time.

    PA-Sen: Arlen Specter picked up an important backer in the 2010 primary: NRSC chair John Cornyn (who’d, of course, like to limit the number of seats lost on his watch). “As I survey the political landscape of the upcoming 2010 elections, it’s clear we need more candidates that fit their states,” said Cornyn. Although Cornyn doesn’t mention his name, he obviously has in mind a guy who doesn’t fit his state: Pat Toomey, who just happened to officially announce his long-rumored Senate bid yesterday.

    MN-Sen: No surprise here; Norm Coleman, having lost the election yesterday according to a three-judge panel, has filed an appeal with the Minnesota Supreme Court. Election law blogger Rick Hasen looks at yesterday’s opinion and the difficulty Coleman will face in getting it reversed.

    FL-Sen: Marco Rubio reported raising $250,000 in the last month since opening his exploratory committee, a solid start. Meanwhile, Kendrick Meek continued to dominate the labor endorsement front, picking up the nod from the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, AFL-CIO.

    IL-10: State senator Susan Garrett says she’ll decide within the month whether or not to challenge Mark Kirk (sounding like she’s trying to wait as long as possible to see if Kirk jumps into the senate race and leaves an open seat). Kirk has turned back a number of serious challenges in the 3rd-most Dem-leaning district still occupied by a Republican (won by Obama with 61% of the vote).

    NV-02: A credible Democratic challenger to Dean Heller has materialized. Douglas County school board president Cindy Trigg plans to announce her candidacy next week. This district, once a Republican stronghold, went for McCain by less than 100 votes.

    ID-01: Walt Minnick just got some fundraising help from an unexpected place. Former two-term GOP senator from Idaho Steve Symms is headlining Minnick’s April 23 breakfast fundraiser.

    NRCC: Campaign Diaries has the full list of all 43 Dems targeted in the GOP’s big radio-spot-and-robocall blitz.

    Where Are They Now?: Tom Feeney: just took a job with noted think-tank the Heritage Foundation, to focus on “community outreach.” Bob Ney: just got the 1-3 pm slot on a conservative talk radio station in Moundsville, WV. Chris Chocola: just made it official, that he will be replacing Pat Toomey as head of the Club for Growth. Vito Fossella: just pled guilty to DWI and will serve four days in Alexandria city jail.

    Red Menace: Spencer Bachus (AL-06) just announced that he is holding in his hand a list of 17 socialists in Congress. We all know about Bernie Sanders; anyone care to hazard a guess who the other 16 are?

    FL-24 Tom Feeney Reaches a New Low: 9/11 Hijacker Mohammed Atta Featured in Campaign Commercial

    It may be hard to fathom how 9/11 hijacker Mohammed Atta would factor into a Congressional campaign in Florida, but Tom Feeney, the Republican Congressman of Jack Abramoff fame, has given it a shot.


    In his most recent campaign ad
    , Feeney claims that his opponent, former State Representative Suzanne Kosmas, “wanted drivers licenses for illegals and terrorists” as a picture of Mohammed Atta’s drivers license flashes across the screen. Feeney is known for being corrupt, having been named one of the most corrupt members of Congress every year since 2005, but this is a new low. We cant let these vile, baseless attacks go unchecked – we have to make sure that Kosmas has the resources to set the record straight and get rid of Feeney for good.

    Kosmas has made up huge ground since entering this race, and was polling ahead of Feeney in the most recent DCCC poll. However, Feeney has a nearly 2-1 cash advantage, and will no doubt make use of all his resources to slander Kosmas.

    Lets send a message to Tom Feeney that this type of fear-mongering has no place in politics anymore by making a donation to Suzanne Kosmas.


    FL-24: SSP Moves Race to “Tossup”

    The Swing State Project has updated its rating of the race for Florida’s 24 District from “Lean Republican” to Tossup.

    A number of factors have contributed to our decision to adjust our rating, but GOP Rep. Tom Feeney’s decision apologize for taking a golf trip to Scotland on corrupt lobbyist Jack Abramoff’s dime in his first TV ad of the general election was the deciding factor. Talk about losing your poker face.

    Feeney’s apology for his own corruption is both an admission of his own electoral worries and a risky play to prevent his image from being corroded by weeks of attack ads from Kosmas and the DCCC. But judging by the local press reaction to Feeney’s gambit, it’s clear that he made a tactical blunder by raising unresolved issues. Just check out this editorial by Florida Today:

    What Feeney doesn’t say is that he remains under investigation by the FBI for his Abramoff ties and has refused to publicly answer detailed questions about the probe since it began in 2007. That includes repeated requests from FLORIDA TODAY’s editorial board.

    Meanwhile, a press release his campaign e-mailed Wednesday is a tired rehash of previous Feeney statements on the subject and does nothing to clear the air.

    Feeney owes voters a full public accounting of his actions, with every question asked and answered.

    Hiding behind a warm and fuzzy TV ad and canned press release won’t cut it.

    The St. Petersburg Times went a step further, dubbing Feeney the “loser of the week”.

    While the optics of an incumbent apologizing for his ties to a jailed lobbyist are dangerous for the GOP here, Democrat Suzanne Kosmas, a former state Representative, will still face a challenge in overcoming the 24th District’s Republican lean (it went for Bush by 10 points in 2004, and 6 points in 2000). However, a recent internal poll for the Kosmas campaign showed Feeney’s lead dropping from double digits to a single point over the last several months, and she won’t be lacking for DCCC assistance.

    This one is a real barn burner.  

    FL-24: Feeney Apologizes for Abramoff Ties in New Ad

    This is nuts:

    In an unusual campaign move, U.S. Rep. Tom Feeney will use a new television ad to apologize for his role in the Jack Abramoff corruption scandal.

    Set to air Tuesday, the 30-second spot features Feeney alone at a kitchen telling viewers that he made a “rookie mistake” by taking a 2003 golfing trip to Scotland that was paid for Abramoff, whom he calls a corrupt lobbyist.”I embarrassed myself, I embarrassed you and for that, I’m very sorry,” said Feeney, holding a black coffee mug as soft music plays in the background.

    Here’s the full script:

    “Five years ago, when I was first elected to Congress I was invited on trip to Scotland.  I found out later that it was paid for by a corrupt lobbyist. It was a rookie mistake and I did everything I could to make it right.  I reported it to the ethics committee and I paid the money back. I embarrassed myself, I embarrassed you and for that, I’m very sorry. I’m Tom Feeney and I approve this message because public service means about being honest, even when you make a mistake.”

    You don’t usually see incumbents in a tough election issue mea culpas like this. (Note also that he’s only apologizing years after the offending incident.) In fact, this move had shades of Don Sherwood all over it. Will voters be in a forgiving mood this November? I doubt it.