SSP Daily Digest: 4/30 (Afternoon Edition)

AR-Sen: The SEIU is turning their amps up to 11 in a final effort to beat Blanche Lincoln in the Democratic primary. They’re ponying up another $1 million for a new TV ad blitz, focusing on Lincoln’s support for NAFTA, CAFTA, and sundry other free-trade deals.

FL-Sen: Looks like the “Help wanted” sign is going out at Charlie Crists’s office. As expected, much of his top-tier staff evacuated en masse; he lost communications director Andrea Saul, spokesperson Amanda Hennenberg, and campaign counsel Ben Ginsberg (all Beltway types left over from when Crist was the NRSC’s prize pony, who just headed back to the GOP’s mothership). Also former Crist marionette George LeMieux severed his strings: the seat-warming Senator says he won’t support Crist’s independent bid.

NV-Sen: Imagine that… a Democrat actually taking to the airwaves to explain the benefits of the broadly-misunderstood (or just plain not-understood-at-all) health care reform bill and not just ceding the discursive arena to right-wing radio and astroturfers? Better late than never, I guess. Harry Reid is forging ahead with that, launching three different new TV ads featuring stories from actual Nevadans actually benefiting from HCR.

OH-Sen (pdf): There’s one more poll of the Democratic Senate primary in Ohio, from Suffolk this time. They find an even bigger edge for Lee Fisher over Jennifer Brunner than did PPP; in fact, Suffolk has Fisher doubling up on her, 55-27. Voters may be thinking strategically: they also find that respondents feel Fisher has a better chance of beating Rob Portman than does Brunner, by a lop-sided 55-15 margin. Brunner voters report that, if Fisher wins the election, 74% will vote for Fisher and 8% for Portman.

AZ-Gov: PPP has one more installment in its Arizona sample today: the Republican primary in the gubernatorial race. As other pollsters have found, once-wobbly incumbent Jan Brewer has strengthened her primary position (while destabilized her general election position) by signing off on Arizona’s new racial profiling law. Brewer leads the pack at 38, over fractured opposition led by NRA board member Owen Buz Mills at 19, state Treasurer Dean Martin at 16, and former university regent John Munger at 3. (In PPP’s last poll here, from September, Brewer was losing a head-to-head against Martin 37-26.) PPP also did a fantasy-baseball poll that included Maricopa Co. Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who, as he does every four years, has been expressing interest in the race but not moving forward in it. Arpaio wins that version of the primary, taking 33%, with 25 for Brewer, 15 for Martin, 11 for Mills, and 1 for Munger.

MN-Gov: With the Republican endorsing convention in Minnesota already underway, most media accounts are focusing on Sarah Palin’s last-minute endorsement of state Rep. Tom Emmer, but there’s a more important endorsement at work here in terms of potentially moving some delegates: Norm Coleman is now also backing Emmer and privately making calls to delegates on Emmer’s behalf. The GOPers have already endorsed in some of the downballot races, maybe most notably the Auditor’s race, where they endorsed former Auditor Pat Anderson (who had been running for Governor for a while, until she decided to drop down and try to get her old job back instead).

UT-Gov: Mason-Dixon, on behalf of the Salt Lake Tribune, took another look at the general election in the Utah governor’s race, which is definitely looking like a heavy lift for Salt Lake County mayor Peter Corroon. The Democrat trails GOP incumbent Gary Herbert 61-30, an even better showing than Herbert’s 55-30 result in January.

FL-16: Whew. After making some noises about a possible comeback attempt, ex-Rep. Tim Mahoney decided on filing day that he wouldn’t run to get his seat back. He still took a parting shot at Rep. Tom Rooney, saying he’s part of the GOP’s move to the “radical right.” Some Dudes Jim Horn and Ed Tautiva are all the Dems have on the ballot in this R+5 district, unless something changes in the next few hours.

HI-01: The Republicans continue to very subtly funnel money into the 1st, somewhat mirroring their stealth strategy on how they got similarly-blue MA-Sen off the ground. Rather than the NRCC charging in with both barrels blazing, instead there’s a push for individual House GOP members to contribute directly to Charles Djou; about 40 have done so already.

IN-02: The National Rifle Association slammed GOP candidate Jackie Walorski. No, that’s not because the right-wing Walorski suddenly had a change of heart on the gun issue; instead, it was because she was claiming the NRA’s endorsement. That was only for her 2008 legislative bid, the NRA said, and she has not been endorsed yet for this year for the different office.

IN-03: Looks like Rep. Mark Souder isn’t going to be in the House much longer, regardless of how next week’s primary plays out. Brian Howey says Souder has been telling him that he’d already been contemplating retirement in 2012, and the stress of trying to win his unexpectedly-tough primary election has “sealed it” for him.

PA-04: Here’s a last-minute sign of life for Keith Rothfus, who’d been the leading GOP contender here up until the moment when former US Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan announced (although Rothfus beat Buchanan at fundraising last quarter). He got the endorsement today of Glen Meakem, a wealthy businessman and part-time talk radio host who’s something of a behind-the-scenes power in Republican circles in western Pennsylvania and who had briefly considered a Senate bid last year.

SC-04: Rep. Bob Inglis’s main threat this year is in the GOP primary, not the general, and he launched two different ads reminding voters that he’s actually pretty conservative. One ad touts his NRA endorsement, while the other runs down the litany of things he opposed (health care reform, stimulus, cap-and-trade, auto industry bailout).

NY-St. Sen.: A long-time Republican stalwart in the New York state Senate is retiring: Dale Volker (in office since 1975). Democrats looking to pad their narrow majority in the Senate may need to look elsewhere, though; this district in the Buffalo suburbs and surrounding rural counties is one of the most conservative in the state, with a 79K-to-65K GOP registration advantage, and won 54-40 by John McCain.

Arizona: Arizona has been doing all kinds of weird things lately, and here’s one more to add to the list. One of the few states to not have a Lt. Governor (the SoS is 2nd in line of succession, which is how Jan Brewer became Governor), Arizona is planning to have a Lt. Governor… but only because they would eliminate the SoS position and give all those duties to the LG. What’s even weirder is that they’d start doing what Illinois just decided to stop doing because the results were so uniformly terrible: the Governor and LG candidates will run separately in the primary, but be joined together on one ticket via shotgun wedding for the general election. The idea cleared the legislature, but because it’s a constitutional amendment, the idea has to pass a voter referendum before it becomes law.

Puerto Rico: The House approved allowing Puerto Rico to hold a plebiscite on its grey-area status (the last one was in 1998, where they decided to remain a commonwealth). It’ll be a two-step vote, where the first vote will ask whether it should remain a commonwealth or not. If the answer is “no,” the second vote will ask whether it should become independent, a U.S. state, still remain a commonwealth, or enter some other sovereign-but-connected-to-the-U.S. status. If it voted for statehood, Congress would still have to approve making it a state. Of course, this has to pass the Senate as well before the vote could happen, so it may get kicked down the road for a while.

OFA: Nathan Gonzales has a thorough look at the Obama campaign’s state directors, and how they’re part of OFA’s pivot to focus on turning out the same voters for the 2010 midterms. Here’s a handy table of what all the directors are up to these days.

History: Rhodes Cook has an interesting column that’s been getting linked all over the place in the last couple days: a much more apt comparison for what the Democrats are getting themselves this year, rather than 1994, is 1966. The parallels are that the Democrats were facing some inevitable snap-back after overperforming in the 1964 election (winning nearly 2/3s majorities in each chamber), and the GOP quickly got back up off the mat after the Dems pushed the limits in passing a variety of Great Society legislation (most notably Medicare). Of course, the Democrats still took a bath, losing 47 in the House and 3 in the Senate, so it’s still not really something the Democrats should aspire towards.

SSP Daily Digest: 4/28 (Morning Edition)

  • AR-Sen: The odious U.S. Chamber of Commerce is running ads on behalf of Blanche Lincoln, though they are refusing to say how much they are spending on their buy. As Salon says, with friends like these….
  • FL-Sen: Reid Wilson does some counting and finds that Arlen Specter has given back a rather amazing $1 million this election cycle, following his party switch. (Part of this was fueled by an aggressive campaign by the Club for Growth, which won FEC permission to contact Specter’s donors and push them to ask for refunds.) If Charlie Crist bails on the GOP, there’s no telling how much it might cost him financially, but the Specter precedent suggests it could be a hell of a lot.
  • IL-Sen: Even Mark Kirk is smart enough to skip an IL GOP fundraiser headlined by Sarah Palin.
  • IN-Sen: With the GOP primary just days away, Dan Coats has floated himself a $200K lifeline. I wonder if it will be enough.
  • NV-Sen: Fuck it – Sue Lowden knows that when you’re at the bottom of a 2,000-foot deep mineshaft, you should keep fucking digging until you’ve reached China. That’s why she is still advocating the barter system. While this prolonged episode of inspired insanity is not helping her win any elections, it is helping her become one of the most awesome candidates of 2010. Meanwhile, GOP primary opponent Danny Tarkanian is shish-kebobbing Lowden for her “poultry-based healthcare plan.”
  • OH-Sen: Quinnipiac should have a poll out of the Dem senate primary this morning.
  • PA-Sen: Michael J. Fox has cut an ad for Arlen Specter, citing his support for medical research. Fox had previously done an ad for Specter in 2004 as well.
  • FL-Gov: Mocking gun ownership? And pissing law enforcement off in the process? It sounds like a deranged GOP fantasy of something they think Dems would love to do, but in fact, the Republican Party of Florida is the guilty party here. They put out a shitty web video mocking CFO Alex Sink, who authorized the purchase of “advanced weaponry” for law enforcement officers who operate out of her agency. The state PBA blistered AG Bill McCollum (who posted the video on his website) for this offense, noting with irony that he’s the state’s chief law enforcement officer.
  • GA-Gov: Ex-Rep. Nathan Deal has come out in favor of Arizona’s draconian new immigration law, apparently the first Republican gubernatorial candidate in Georgia to do so. While Deal trails badly in the polls and isn’t very likely to win the GOP nod, in my opinion, he might succeed in driving the Republican field to the right on this issue.
  • NY-Gov: Steve Levy, the Dem-turned-Republican who is hoping to get buzz-sawed by Andrew Cuomo in the fall, is apparently “likely” to get the endorsement of the Queens Republican Party. In order to get a spot on the GOP ballot line, he needs the support of 51% of the state’s county-level parties (which are weighted by size), because he’s still a registered Democrat. He claims to be at around 45%, but it’s not clear if Queens is already included in that tally. If Levy pulls it off, this will be an extraordinary humiliation for Rick Lazio, a man I thought was incapable of being humiliated further.
  • FL-16: Shut up and go away.
  • ID-01: Some Very Wacky Dude dropped out of the GOP primary the other day. On his way out, Michael Chadwick attacked another candidate, Vaughn Ward, for representing “powerful special interest groups in New York City and Washington, D.C.” He also called Ward a “protégé and surrogate of the military-industrial-intelligence establishment” who will “vote to build up and sustain the Permanent War Machine.” I hadn’t realized this, but another Republican, Allan Salzberg, also bailed last week.
  • MI-01: Is it crowded in here, or is it just me? State Rep. Matt Gillard, a Democrat, is the latest to enter the race. He joins two other state Reps, Joel Sheltrown and Gary McDowell, as well as Connie Saltonstall, in the Dem primary field.
  • NY-14: Reshma Saujani may want to re-think her pro-bankster platform as she attempts to unseat Rep. Carolyn Maloney: A new Marist poll shows that even Manhattanites consider Wall Street to be “more of the problem” rather than “more of the solution” by a 49-31 margin.
  • NY-15: As Liz Benjamin observes, Assembly Adam Clayton Powell IV hasn’t gotten a whole lot of establishment backing in his attempt to unseat Rep. Charlie Rangel, but a few of his colleagues on the Assembly are hosting a fundraiser for him. Seems pretty minor to me, though.
  • NY-29: Republicans are citing a case from the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in their attempt to force Gov. David Paterson to hold a special election to fill Eric Massa’s seat. The 6th Cir. ruled (PDF) that Art. I, § 2, ¶ 4 of the Constitution required then-Gov. Bob Taft of Ohio to hold a special election to fill Jim Traficant’s seat after he was expelled from Congress. However, there’s an old New York State Court of Appeals case, People v. Voorhis, 119 N.E. 106 (1918), which held otherwise – and if this goes before the federal courts in NY, the Second Circuit may very well rule differently from the Sixth.
  • Calendar: Be sure to bookmark SSP’s handy list of key primary & special elections in the very merry month of May.
  • SSP Daily Digest: 4/8

    FL-Sen: Charlie Crist, who’s been trying to sound more conservative for the last few months, seems to have changed tack again, trying to sound, well, independent… and that’s leaving many speculating that it’s a prelude to, say, an independent bid for the Senate. Crist is now portraying himself as standing up for “the people” against the GOP legislature, as he just vetoed a leadership fund bill and is poised to veto a controversial bill that would abolish teacher tenure and tie teacher pay to test scores. Polling has shown Crist in so-so shape in a three-way race, but it’s still a better bet than the GOP primary is for him at this point. Crist has until April 30 to decide whether to pull the trigger on an indie bid.

    LA-Sen: Bayou Buzz is saying that Republican incumbent David Vitter may still wind up with some conservative opposition in the Senate race, despite having scared off all the top-tier possible opponents. Former state Sen. (and 2006 Insurance Comm. loser) James Cain, who’s well-connected with the religious right, is “seriously considering” making the race. Cain says he’d prefer to run in the GOP primary, but is also considering running as a teabagger independent — which, if it splits the right-wing vote, could make things considerably more interesting for Dem Charlie Melancon.

    UT-Sen: Freshman GOP Rep. Jason Chaffetz, whose name had briefly been associated with a possible primary challenge to Bob Bennett, still doesn’t think much of Bennett’s chances at the state convention, even though Bennett faces lower-caliber opposition than Chaffetz. Chaffetz drew some parallels to the same dynamic that helped him beat long-time Rep. Chris Cannon in 2008, and Cannon concurs, saying that the same movement has evolved since then.

    FL-Gov: I hinted at this yesterday, but these numbers are worth elaborating: Republican AG Bill McCollum raised $1.4 million last quarter, compared with $1.1 for Democratic CFO Alex Sink, suggesting that the same momentum change that we’ve seen in polls lately may be playing out in fundraising too. Sink still leads in receipts over the election cycle, and has the edge in cash on hand (she has $5 million).

    GA-Gov: One other gubernatorial race where the Democratic candidate is fundraising like mad is Georgia; ex-Gov. Roy Barnes raised over $900K this quarter and is sitting on $2.84 million CoH. That puts him well ahead of the top Republican, Insurance Comm. John Oxendine, who reports $2 million CoH but only raised $75K during the last quarter. Republican ex-SoS Karen Handel raised $400K in Q1, but is sitting on nearly $600K.

    PA-Gov: Little-known state Sen. Anthony Williams raised some eyebrows with his big cash haul last quarter ($1.7 million for the quarter), but it’s a little less amazing now that it’s been revealed that much of that came from one huge contribution from a not-very-appealing source: $750K came from Democrats for Education Reform, who are a school-choice group. Another interesting co-inkee-dink: Williams’ campaign manager is, in his spare time, president of a Philly charter school.

    CT-05: Sam Caligiuri and Justin Bernier have gotten some wealthy company in the GOP primary in the 5th, from businessman Mark Greenberg. He says he’s pledging $1 million of his own money for the race (although that may come in installments, as he currently reports $403K in his account).

    FL-08: You may recall our amazement the other week to find that there’s a Whig running in FL-25… well, apparently they’re proliferating all over Florida, as now there’s one running in FL-08 as well. CQ talks briefly with Steve Gerritzen, who plans to go all William Henry Harrison on Alan Grayson’s ass.

    MI-01: Sounds like Bart Stupak was speaking mostly out of frustration when he said he was considering retirement a few days ago, or maybe he got the attention he was seeking in response. In today’s Detroit Free Press, he’s sounding much likelier to run, saying he’s “not ready to quit yet,” and that he has “every intention” of running again. He still has to have his biannual sitdown with his family about whether to do it or not, though.

    NH-02: Sorry, Charlie… you’re going to need more money than that. GOP Ex-Rep. Charlie Bass reported $155K, with $262K CoH, in his quest to reclaim his old seat. Dem Katrina Swett also reported yesterday, with $325K last quarter and over $1 million CoH (mostly leftover from her Senate bid that never happened). Bass also lags Ann McLane Kuster, who reported $285K last quarter.

    PA-07: State Rep. Bryan Lentz seemed to have a pretty easy path to the nomination in the 7th, and that path got even easier, with the dropout of environmental lawyer Gail Conner from the Dem field. That leaves only political consultant Teresa Touey in the way, and Lentz is challenging her signatures.

    SC-01: Carroll Campbell III got a big endorsement in his bid for the GOP nomination to replace retiring Rep. Henry Brown, from ex-Gov. David Beasley. That makes two ex-Govs backing him (as it would be pretty awkward if he didn’t have his dad’s endorsement). (UPDATE: Ooops, my apologies. The elder Campbell died several years ago.)

    CO-AG: This is a little down in the weeds, but it may be the first big test of whether joining the frivolous Republican AG lawsuit against the feds over HCR is a net positive or negative. Republican AG John Suthers just drew a top-tier challenge, from Democratic Boulder County DA Stan Garnett. Garnett was motivated to get in largely by Suthers’ participation in the lawsuit.

    NARAL: NARAL rolled out a bunch of endorsements for Democrats going on the offense in House races. Most interestingly, they waded into the LA-02 primary, endorsing state Rep. Cedric Richmond (who still faces fellow state Rep. Juan LaFonta; the winner faces Joe Cao in November). They also supported Dan Seals (IL-10), Paula Brooks (OH-12), Suzan DelBene (WA-08), and Steve Pougnet (CA-45).

    Redistricting: If you like big charts with lots of population numbers and vote percentages (and if you’re at SSP, you probably do), here’s a post for you. Josh Goodman looks at California population changes on a county-by-county level and finds heaviest growth in Republican-leaning counties, but the growth is mostly Hispanic. Here’s the nice succinct conclusion, which I think applies everywhere and not just California:

    The most rapid growth is in Republican places, but, in many cases, it’s among people who are likely to be Democratic voters. What that might mean is that this round of redistricting will produce short-term Republican gains, but, over the long haul, these Republican places won’t be Republican anymore.

    WATN?: Mahoney, Foley, and Spitzer, oh my! All three losers are in the news today as they publicly ruminate about comebacks. Ex-Rep. Tim Mahoney says people have been urging him to run for his old seat, which he lost to Republican Tom Rooney (and with Chris Craft out, hell, he may actually be their best option). Meanwhile, the guy Mahoney beat, Tom Mark Foley, has been gauging interest for his own comeback, running in 2011 for West Palm Beach mayor. Rounding out the trifecta of sex scandal survivors, Eliot Spitzer is still keeping his name in front of the press, saying that Kirsten Gillibrand presents an appealing target but sounding more plausibly interested in a run for state Comptroller.

    FL-16: Mahoney Ponders Withdrawal from Race

    Word comes from Politico that Tim Mahoney may, at this late date, decide not to seek re-election, according to “a Democratic leadership aide with ties to his campaign.” (No direct comment from Mahoney’s campaign, of course.)

    The article, if you were to create a word cloud, would include such phrases as “paid $121,000 to a former aide,” “threatened to sue Mahoney for sexual harassment,” “allegedly had a second affair,” and “FBI has begun a preliminary investigation.” And Mahoney doesn’t think he can survive all that? Quitter! Bwak bwak bwak bwak…

    Well, if this indeed happens, then it seems like we’re looking at a virtual repeat of 2006, where GOP candidate Mark Foley bailed out shortly before the election, and substitute candidate Joe Negron was handicapped by being referred to as “Mark Foley” on the ballot. (And yet Negron barely lost: one more tribute to Mahoney’s political skills.) So this opens up the question: what FL-16 Democrat would get to play the role of “Tim Mahoney” on this year’s ballot? Despite this district’s R+2 lean, it doesn’t seem like we have much of a bench in this district (which is what led to previously-unelected ex-GOPer Mahoney running for us in the first place).

    A quick look through the Florida legislature doesn’t seem to indicate any Democratic state senators in the 16th (except possibly for Dave Aronberg (I say ‘possibly’ because there seems to be partial but not total overlap between the 16th and the state districts)) and almost no state representatives (probably Richard Machek, and possibly Shelly Vana). Anyone from the area, please feel free to chip in with other names.

    FL-16: Ruh-Roh

    This is ugly:

    West Palm Beach Congressman Tim Mahoney (D-FL), whose predecessor resigned in the wake of a sex scandal, agreed to a $121,000 payment to a former mistress who worked on his staff and was threatening to sue him, according to current and former members of his staff who have been briefed on the settlement, which involved Mahoney and his campaign committee.

    Mahoney, who is married, also promised the woman, Patricia Allen, a $50,000 a year job for two years at the agency that handles his campaign advertising, the staffers said. […]

    Friends of Allen told ABC News that Allen sought to break off the affair when she learned Mahoney was allegedly involved in other extra-marital relationships at the same time.

    Her friends say she told them Mahoney threatened that ending the relationship could cost her the job.

    You don’t wanna listen to the audio tape, either. Brutal.

    (H/T: Dave D)

    FL-16: A Dog in Every Barn

    First this:

    Democratic U.S. Rep. Tim Mahoney has a homestead exemption on a house in Palm Beach Gardens and describes it as his primary residence.

    But the address on Mahoney’s voter registration is a barn with a small apartment that he owns in the rural Caloosa area west of Palm Beach Gardens. The barn is in the 16th Congressional District that Mahoney represents; the homesteaded house is just outside Mahoney’s district.

    And now this:

    The campaign of Democratic U.S. Rep. Tim Mahoney, who’s been under fire for registering to vote at a barn with an apartment rather than at his homesteaded primary residence, called Republican challenger Tom Rooney a hypocrite today upon learning that Rooney was registered to vote for five years at the Palm Beach Kennel Club dog track.

    While Rooney was in law school and then in the Army in Texas and at West Point from 1998 to 2003, the address on his voter registration was the Kennel Club, which is owned by the Rooney family.

    Where would you rather hang your spurs: a BARN down by the RIVER, or a dog track?