Have any predictions for tonight? Please share with us in the comments.
Polls close at 7 pm ET.
Have any predictions for tonight? Please share with us in the comments.
Polls close at 7 pm ET.
• Election results: Yesterday’s big event was the special election in FL-19, the first real electoral test after the passage of HCR. The allegedly massive opposition to healthcare reform on the part of the district’s many seniors never really materialized. Democratic state Sen. Ted Deutch beat Republican Ed Lynch 62-35, with very little falloff from Obama’s 65-34 performance in 2008. (Contrast that with John Garamendi’s so-so 53-43 performance in November’s CA-10 special election, a similarly 65-33 district in 2008.)
I should also pause to offer a little credit to Texas’s Republicans, who voted for the less crazy candidates in the Board of Education and Supreme Court runoffs, and in a bigger surprise to me, for the Hispanic-surnamed candidates in the TX-17 and TX-23 runoffs (which, based on incumbent Victor Carrillo’s trouncing in the Railroad Commissioner primary, seemed unlikely to happen). The NRCC has to be pleased to see the wealthier and less wingnutty Bill Flores and Quico Canseco emerge. Rep. Chet Edwards, however, is one guy who knows how to stand and fight, and he wasted no time hitting Flores hard and defining him as a carpetbagger in big oil’s pocket.
One other leftover issue from last night: two races in California, as expected, are headed to runoffs. In Republican-held SD-12, Republican Assemblyman Bill Emmerson will face off against Democrat Justin Blake (the GOPers combined got more than 60% of the vote, so this is a likely hold), while in safely-Democratic AD-43, Democratic lawyer Mike Gatto will face off with Republican Sunder Ramani to replace now-LA city councilor Paul Krekorian. Gatto seemed to shoot the gap in this heavily Armenian-American district after the two Armenian candidates, Chahe Keuroghelian and Nayiri Nahabedian, nuked each other.
• AR-Sen: Bill Halter’s primary campaign gained more momentum, as he picked up an endorsement from the Alliance for Retired Americans, pleased with his time as a Social Security Administration official. One group that really isn’t getting on board with Halter, though, is the Berry family; first outgoing Rep. Marion Berry dissed Halter, and now his son, Mitch, is head of a group, Arkansans for Common Sense, that’s running ads attacking Halter on the Social Security front. (Are there any Arkansans who are actually against common sense?)
• CO-Sen: Looks like GOP establishment candidate Jane Norton sees the handwriting on the wall and is taking a page from Democrat Michael Bennet’s book: not able to rely on getting on the ballot via activist-dominated convention (where teabagger-fueled Ken Buck seems likely to triumph), she’s making plans to qualify by finding 1,500 signatures in each of the state’s seven congressional districts. Speaking of Bennet, he’s still the fundraising kingpin in this race; he just announced he raised $1.4 million last quarter, well ahead of Norton’s $816K.
• FL-Sen: Charlie Crist may have sounded Shermanesque last week in his determination not to switch to an Independent bid for Governor, but apparently now there’s increasing moves within his inner circle to move in that direction. Unnamed advisors are floating the idea to the WSJ today.
• IN-Sen: Dan Coats seems to be having more trouble making the transition from the free-wheelin’ world of high-stakes lobbying back to the humdrum electoral politics world, where you actually have to follow the rules and stuff. He’s 10 days overdue on filing his finance disclosure reports with the FEC. One note that the Beltway press seemed to miss though: his main GOP primary opponent, ex-Rep. John Hostettler hasn’t made his filing yet either. (Of course, fundraising was never Hostettler’s strong suit. Or even his weak suit.)
• NC-Sen (pdf): PPP issued its latest installment in polls of the Senate general election in its home state. Maybe the biggest surprise is that incumbent Republican Richard Burr’s approvals are just continuing to fall; he’s currently at 32/41 (while likeliest opponent Elaine Marshall is in positive territory at 19/11). Also encouraging, I suppose, is that the actual human Democrats are starting to draw even with Generic D (while previous polls have had Generic D far outpacing them), showing they’re getting better-defined. Burr leads Generic D 43-38, while he leads Marshall 43-37, and leads both Cal Cunningham and Kenneth Lewis 43-35.
• NY-Sen-B: With ex-Gov. George Pataki’s phantom interest in this race finally having been dispelled, Swing State Project is removing this race from its “Races to Watch” list.
• PA-Sen, PA-Gov (pdf): One more poll in the rapidly-becoming-overpolled Pennsylvania Senate race, this time from Republican pollster Susequehanna. They use an LV model, and find Pat Toomey with a 48-38 lead over Arlen Specter. Of more immediate consequence, they find Specter leading Joe Sestak 42-28 in the Dem primary. They also polled both primaries in the gubernatorial race, finding Dan Onorato seeming to break away from the ill-defined pack among the Dems. Onorato is at 32, followed by Joe Hoeffel at 13, Jack Wagner at 6, and Anthony Williams at 4. Tom Corbett beats down Sam Rohrer on the GOP side, 50-7. After marshaling his resources, Specter is finally starting to open fire; he’s up with his first TV ad of the cycle starting today.
• WI-Sen: The only thing that’s sure is that Tommy Thompson likes to see his name in the press. There’s been a lot of conflicting reporting about Tommy Thompson today, with many outlets running with the story that he’s decided against running for Senate (that all traces back to one leak to a local TV station, although it sounds like Politico got some confirmation from an anonymous GOP source). Other outlets are emphasizing that Thompson’s spokesperson says that Thompson hasn’t made a final decision, though. Either way, Thompson will be announcing his plans at a Tea Party rally tomorrow in Madison, so our pain will be ended tomorrow one way or the other.
• MA-Gov: Here’s more evidence for my expectation that Dem-turned-indie Tim Cahill will be running to the right (or at least to the incoherent-angry-working-class-Catholic-guy-position) of the Republican in the Massachusetts gubernatorial race this year. He’s appearing at today’s Tea Party rally on Boston Common today, the same one with Sarah Palin that Scott Brown ditched (although MA-10 candidate Joe Malone and GOP gubernatorial underdog Christy Mihos will be there). Likely GOP gubernatorial nominee Charlie Baker (from the party’s old-school moderate WASP tradition) decided against attending, probably out of fears that he might get jostled by some ruffian and spill some of his gin and tonic on his white Bermuda shorts.
• MN-Gov: Two blasts from the past in the Minnesota gubernatorial race. Walter Mondale weighed in in favor of Democratic state House speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher, while a guy I’ve never heard of named Al Quie, who claims to have been governor from 1979 to 1983, endorsed Republican Marty Seifert.
• NE-Gov: Via press release, the campaign for Democratic candidate Mark Lakers let us know that he took in $314K, impressive considering his late entry to the campaign.
• AL-07: State Rep. Earl Hilliard Jr. got an endorsement from the United Steelworkers, a union that seems to still have a lot of clout in Birmingham, once a major steel town.
• AZ-03: Now here’s some news I didn’t expect: the fundraising champ in the 3rd isn’t one of the many state legislators running here, but rather attorney (and vice-presidential progeny) Ben Quayle. He pulled in $550K in the first quarter, thanks no doubt to family connections. There are a couple other self-funders in the race too, but the elected officials seem to be lagging: case in point, well-known ex-state Sen. Pamela Gorman, who raised only $37K and ends with $23K CoH.
• FL-24: Rep. Suzanne Kosmas announced a haul of $260K for the first quarter. That’s less than the $340K reported by her likely GOP opponent, steakhouse mogul Craig Miller (although a slab of his money was apparently carved out of his own personal funds); Kosmas has a big CoH advantage, though, sitting on more than $1 million.
• GA-07: Retiring Republican Rep. John Linder didn’t look far to endorse a replacement for him: he gave his nod to his former chief of staff, Rob Woodall.
• HI-01: Sen. Dan Inouye just transferred $100K of his money to the DCCC, despite appearances that they’re actively backing Ed Case, rather than Colleen Hanabusa, who has the support of Inouye (and pretty much everyone else in the local Democratic establishment). Inouye has apparently been working behind the scenes, including reaching out to Nancy Pelosi, to get the DCCC to dial back their Case support, so maybe the cash infusion will give him a little more leverage. (Inouye is sitting on $3.2 million and faces little if any opposition this year.)
• IN-03: Nice fundraising numbers from Democrat Tom Hayhurst, who ran a surprisingly close race against Rep. Mark Souder in 2006 and is back for another try. Hayhurst has racked up $234K CoH, more than Souder ($99K in the first quarter).
• IN-05: Politico has a look at Rep. Dan Burton’s difficult primary in the 5th, in Indianapolis’s dark-red suburbs. While Burton may actually be safer this year compared with 2008 (since he has four opponents instead of just one), the article traces the roots of the local GOP’s discontent with him, and also shows the magnitude of his collapse in support: only 2 of the 11 local party organizations are supporting Burton this time.
• MO-08: Another Dem in a dark-red seat who keeps impressing everybody with his tenacity is Tommy Sowers. The veteran and college instructor, who’s challenging Rep. Jo Ann Emerson, raised $295K in the first quarter and is now sitting on $675K CoH.
• NM-02: Ex-Rep. Steve Pearce can write himself his own checks if he needs to, but he may not need to at this rate. Pearce raised $277K in the first quarter, and now sits on $708K. Democratic Rep. Harry Teague hasn’t reported yet, but in the duel of wealthy oil guys, he can self-fund too if need be.
• NY-14: With Democratic primary challenger Reshma Saujani having some success on the financial front, Rep. Carolyn Maloney got some top-tier help from Barack Obama, who endorsed her and sent out a fundraising appeal on her behalf.
• PA-11: If this doesn’t wake up Rep. Paul Kanjorski from his nap, I don’t know what will. Three-time Republican opponent Lou Barletta raised $300K in the first quarter. An important caveat: there was no mention of cash on hand, which is telling because Barletta was still saddled with a lot of debt from his 2008 campaign when he decided to run again. (UPDATE: Barletta’s CoH is now $205K.)
• PA-17: Republican state Sen. David Argall raised a tolerable but not-too-impressive $125K in the first quarter. He’ll need more than that to battle Rep. Tim Holden, who, if nothing else, has great survival skills (he had the worst district of any freshman who survived 1994, and then survived a 2002 gerrymander designed to rub him out). In fact, he’ll need more than that just for his primary; heretofore unknown GOP opponent ex-Marine Frank Ryan raised $70K in the first quarter.
• Redistricting: Maryland beat out New York to be the first state in the nation to enact legislation that will, in terms of redistricting, treat prisoners as residents of their last known address, rather than where they’re incarcerated (and thus move the center of gravity back toward the cities from the countryside). Also, on the redistricting front, if there’s one group of people who are the target audience for a whole movie about redistricting (Gerrymandering), it’s the crowd at SSP. The film’s director has a diary up, touting its release in two weeks at the Tribeca Film Festival.
• CO-Sen: 50% is a totally arbitrary mark in the Colorado caucus straw poll, and doesn’t mean anything from a legal perspective, but Andrew Romanoff’s total has fallen below the magic mark as ballots keep getting counted. Romanoff’s at 49.9% to Michael Bennet’s 41.9% with 20 precincts left to be counted, which, in the battle of perceptions, takes a tiny bit of shiny luster off his victory.
• IA-Gov: Actually, maybe the departure of Jonathan Narcisse from the Democratic gubernatorial primary isn’t the good news for Chet Culver that it originally seemed. The gadflyish Narcisse has decided to run as an independent instead, and if he a) gets on the ballot and b) gets any votes, it seems likelier they might come from Culver’s column than that of the GOP nominee (although he does talk a lot of shrinking government, so who knows).
• MD-Gov: Prince George’s Co. Exec Wayne Curry has occasionally flirted publicly with the idea of a challenge to Martin O’Malley in the Democratic gubernatorial primary, and he’s popping up with the idea again today. (O’Malley already faces a challenge from the right in the primary from former state Del. George Owings). Meanwhile, Dems are launching some pre-emptive salvos at possible GOP candidate Bob Ehrlich, accusing him of using employees at his law firm to do campaign work for him.
• NY-Gov, NY-Sen-B: Apparently there’s been some behind-the-scenes pressure on ex-Rep. Rick Lazio to get out of the GOP governor’s primary, where he’s aroused little enthusiasm despite having the field to himself for months, and into the Senate race instead — to clear the way for ostensibly prized recruit Steve Levy, the Suffolk Co. Exec who appears set to change parties and run as a Republican. Lazio says no way is he switching, though, assailing Levy as a liberal Democrat who called the stimulus package “manna from heaven.”
• AZ-03: The John McCain/J.D. Hayworth primary fight is turning into one of the main fracture lines in the primary further down the ballot to replace retiring GOP Rep. John Shadegg. Ex-state Sen. Jim Waring and Paradise Valley mayor Vernon Parker have both endorsed McCain, while former state Rep. Sam Crump backs Hayworth. Former state Sen. Pamela Gorman says she isn’t getting involved.
• GA-07: Looks like GOP state Rep. Clay Cox is sitting in the catbird’s seat, as far as replacing retiring Rep. John Linder. Not only did his main rival, state Sen. Don Balfour, drop out of the race (and out of politics altogether) yesterday, leaving Cox alone in the field, but now state Sen. David Shafer (who many initially expected to run to succeed Linder) gave Cox his endorsement.
• ID-01: This is terribly disappointing… ex-Rep. Bill Sali called a big press conference today, just before Idaho’s filing deadline, to announce something, hopefully another kamikaze run to get his House seat back. (Or why stop there? Why not a primary run against Mike Crapo?) Unfortunately, it was just to endorse state Rep. Raul Labrador in the primary.
• MA-09: Is Stephen Lynch opening himself up to a primary challenge? Despite meeting personally with President Obama, he says that he is “firmly a ‘no’ vote” on healthcare reform. Lynch has always received strong support from labor, but with unions whipping this vote with unusual fervor, perhaps things might change on that front. (D) Here’s one possible explanation for Lynch mugging for the cameras today… Lynch may be thinking about a challenge to Scott Brown in 2012; he sorta-deflected questions on that front.
• NC-08: Tim d’Annunzio, the self-funding Republican who gets treated as the frontrunner in the GOP field to challenge freshman Rep. Larry Kissell, just keeps on pulling hot-headed stunts that threaten his status as a credible candidate. D’Annunzio got into a physical confrontation with Republican state Rep. Justin Burr (no punching, just lots of poking) and then issued a press release attacking the state party chair, Tom Fetzer, for “coordinated personal attacks” in the wake of the incident.
• NY-24: Speaking of strategically-challenged “no” votes, it looks like the Working Families Party isn’t bluffing on its threats to cut loose Rep. Mike Arcuri. They’re actively recruiting a challenger to run against him on their own ballot line, and the SEIU is supportive of the effort.
• Fundraising: Here’s a really interesting chart, which plots the DW/Nominate scores (i.e. ideological position) of Congress members against what sectors of the economy their contributions come from. The results aren’t too surprising: motion pictures, professors, printing and publishing, public schools, and lawyers lean the most left (darned cultural elite!) and oil and gas, auto dealers, construction, energy production, and agriculture lean most right. Health care and real estate seem to be smack in the middle.
• DE-Sen: Good news on the cat fud front, as according to the press release: “O’Donnell announcement adds Delaware to growing list of states hosting conservative insurgencies against liberal Republican incumbents.” Activist and occasional Fox News commentator Christine O’Donnell is making official today that she’s running in the Republican Senate primary against Rep. Mike Castle (although she’s been “unofficially” running for months), who, of course, is neither liberal nor incumbent. O’Donnell lost the 2006 Republican Senate primary and opposed Joe Biden in 2008, losing 65-35.
• NV-Sen: Danny Tarkanian is charging Harry Reid with shenanigans, accusing him of putting Tea Party candidate Jon Ashjian up to running in the race. Tarkanian’s proof? “No one in the Tea Party knows who he is. He didn’t know the principles of the Tea Party.” He’s also accusing Reid’s camp of picking Ashjian in particular because, like Tarkanian, he’s Armenian, and that’ll split the Armenian vote.
• OR-Sen (pdf): A few people (perhaps those who’ve never heard of Rasmussen before) seemed caught off guard when Rasmussen found that Ron Wyden wasn’t breaking 50% against law professor Jim Huffman. Wyden just released an internal poll via Grove Insight showing him in better position against Huffman: 53-23 (with 5% for the Libertarian candidate). He also polls almost the same against the state’s top Republicans, who at any rate (with filing day having passed) won’t be running against him: state Sen. Jason Atkinson (53-22) and Rep. Greg Walden (52-24).
• WA-Sen: The Hill has a little more… well, I’d hesitate to say detail, as that implies there’s some substance there… on the prospect of a Dino Rossi run for Senate, with various anonymous GOP sources saying that Rossi’s “thanks but no thanks” attitude has “changed in recent weeks,” and that if there’s a 1-10 scale of being likely to run for office, Rossi’s at a 3.
• AL-Gov: Bradley Byrne, the Republican former state community colleges chancellor, got an endorsement from Jeb Bush, which may help shore up some more conservative votes in a primary that includes right-wing judge Roy Moore. Bush has been active on the endorsements front lately, giving his imprimatur to Wisconsin’s Scott Walker and to John McCain as well.
• CA-Gov: This is kind of a strange media strategy: kicking out reporters for daring to do their jobs and ask questions of you at a scheduled appearance. It all seems to be part of the plan for Meg Whitman, though: silence from the candidate, and let the ads do the talking.
• HI-Gov: Recently-resigned Rep. Neil Abercrombie has a real race on his hands to get out of the Democratic gubernatorial primary: his main rival, Honolulu mayor Mufi Hannemann, just got the endorsement of the state’s largest union, the ILWU (the Longshoremen). Abercrombie can still boast a new union endorsement of his own from the IBEW.
• MA-Gov: There seems to be a lot of smoke coming out from under the hood of Christy Mihos’s campaign for the Republican gubernatorial nomination, as seen not only in dwindling poll numbers but now the departure of campaign manager Joe Manzoli. Manzoli claims to be owed $40K in back pay but says that wasn’t the reason for his departure, while Mihos bounced a check from himself to his campaign fund in January.
• ME-Gov: Here’s a jolt of life in the sleepy Maine governor’s race, one of the least-noticed and least clear-cut races in the country. Bill Clinton weighed in, offering an endorsement to state Senate president Libby Mitchell in the Democratic primary.
• NY-Gov: One more snap poll on David Paterson’s perilous political predicament today. It seems like there’s been nothing but noise in these polls, with very wide-ranging responses on whether Paterson should resign or stay, but if you follow the trendlines from today’s Quinnipiac poll back to the previous one, it looks like his position is stabilizing. 50% say he should stay, and 39% say he should resign (compared with 46-42 last seek), although is approval is still awful at 21/61.
• CT-04: One more Republican entrant in the crowded field to take on freshman Rep. Jim Himes in the 4th, with the entry of Easton First Selectman Tom Herrmann. First Selectman is analogous to mayor in Connecticut municipalities that are organized as towns, not cities, but in his spare time he’s a managing director at a private equity firm (so presumably he has some money to burn). The GOP field in the 4th is dominated by state Sen. Dan Debicella and former state Sen. Rob Russo.
• GA-07: We won’t have Ralph Reed to kick around – this cycle, at least. As expected, he won’t run in the GOP primary to fill outgoing Rep. John Linder’s seat. (D)
• NC-08: One other Republican campaign manager hit the trail, getting out of the seeming trainwreck that is the campaign of Tim d’Annunzio in the 8th. Apparently the leading candidate there by virtue of his self-funding ability, d’Annunzio made waves last month for wading into the comments section of the local newspaper – and now his former manager, Jack Hawke, seems to have had enough with d’Annunzio’s lack of message discipline, with d’Annunzio storming off the stage during a recent candidate forum and also with his postings to the end-times-focused “Christ’s War” blog.
• VA-11: Here’s a warning flare from a race that’s not really on too many people’s radars: Rep. Gerry Connolly’s first re-election in the 11th. His rematch opponent, home inspection firm owner Keith Fimian, is boasting of an internal poll (from McLaughlin) showing him beating Connolly 40-35. Considering that Connolly already beat Fimian by 12 points in 2008, while Barack Obama was carrying the 11th by 15, that’s pushing the edges of credulity, but certainly indicates this race needs monitoring. (And of course, Fimian may not even survive his primary, where he matches up against Fairfax Co. Supervisor Pat Herrity.)
• IL-Lt. Gov.: In an attempt to clear the smoke out of the back room, IL Dems have opened up their process for selecting a replacement lieutenant governor candidate. (You may recall that primary winner Scott Lee Cohen dropped out last month.) You can apply via email – and over 200 people have so far. (D)
• Filings: There’s a little more on the Arkansas filings fail by the GOP: they left uncontested 8 of the 17 state Senate seats up for grabs, making it mathematically impossible for them to retake the Senate, and also left 44 of the 100 House seats and the Attorney General’s race uncontested. Filing deadlines passed yesterday in Pennsylvania and Oregon, without any major surprises. In Pennsylvania, there weren’t any last-minute entries in the Senate or Governor’s races; the big story may be the LG race, with 12 different candidates, including a last-minute entry by Republican state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe. The Republican field in the 6th seems to have vaporized at the last moment, leaving Rep. Jim Gerlach opposed only by teabagger Patrick Sellers; Manan Trivedi and Doug Pike are the only Dems there.
In Oregon, there was a brief hubbub that Steve Novick might run for Multnomah County Chair, just vacated by newly appointed state Treasurer Ted Wheeler, but alas, it wasn’t to be; he threw his support to County Commissioner Jeff Cogen for the job. Blue Oregon also looks at the state Senate and House landscapes; Republicans fared better here, leaving only 1 Senate race and 1 House race unfilled (Dems left 3 House races empty). Of the 16 Senate seats up this year, Dems are defending 12 of them, but a lot of them are dark-blue; the main one to watch is SD-26, an exurban/rural open seat being vacated by Rick Metsger (running in the Treasurer special election) where Dem state Rep. Brent Barton faces GOP Hood River Co. Commissioner Chuck Thomsen. (Dems control the Senate 18-12.)
• Fundraising: While we at SSP are often rather blunt about Congressional Dems’ need to give to their campaign committees, at least they’re doing a better job of it than their GOP counterparts. Reid Wilson crunches the numbers and finds out that Dem House members have given $15.7 million to the DCCC while GOPers have given the NRCC only $4.7 million. The disparity is greater on the Senate side, where Senate Dems have given the DSCC $2.6 million but the NRSC has gotten only $450K.
• Passages: We’re saddened to report the death of Doris “Granny D” Haddock, the 2004 candidate for Senate in New Hampshire. Haddock was 100; she was 94 when she challenged Judd Gregg in his most recent re-election. She’s probably best known for walking across the country to support campaign finance reform at the age of 89.
• Social media: Like Swing State Project, but does your head start to hurt after you get past 140 characters? Sign up to get SSP wisdom in its most condensed form, via our Twitter feed or on Facebook.
• AZ-Sen: Tensions between John McCain and Arizona’s state GOP chair Randy Pullen (who’s more linked to the conservative grassroots than McCain’s camp) are reaching a head; Pullen pulled his endorsement of McCain after the two scuffled over money for party GOTV efforts. McCain is planning a weird end-run around the state party involving funneling money through the Yuma County GOP. It remains to be seen whether J.D. Hayworth will benefit from the inside-baseball civil war; Hayworth, meanwhile, is finding that birtherism doesn’t play as well once you’re on the big stage instead of the AM-radio fringes: he’s trying to walk back his previous birther-curious remarks, just saying he was trying to “provoke conversation.”
• FL-Sen: There might be some legs to the Marco Rubio expenses story that go beyond his use of the GOP state party’s credit card. Now he’s admitting that he double-billed both state taxpayers and the state GOP for eight different flights he took while state House speaker.
• KS-Sen: Here’s one less thing Republican Rep. Todd Tiahrt has to worry about: the Appropriations Committee veteran was cleared by the House Ethics committee over his links to sketchy lobbying firm PMA. Rep. Jerry Moran won’t be able to use that against him in their Senate primary, but regardless, Tiahrt is still having trouble keeping pace with Moran in the polls.
• KY-Sen: Here’s a strange exchange between the Trey Grayson and Rand Paul camps. After Paul accused Grayson of having voted for Bill Clinton, Grayson responded that Paul voted for known whackjob Ron Paul for President, to which Rand said “It’s hard for me to imagine anyone not voting for his own father.” Meanwhile, Grayson is also still hitting Paul hard over the coal issue, and that could be an issue that, assuming Paul wins the primary, his Democratic nominee could keep getting a lot of mileage out of.
• MD-Sen: Rasmussen actually bothered polling the Maryland Senate race, although they only used “Generic Republican” as Barbara Mikulski’s opposition. She still wins easily, 54-36. Queen Anne’s County Councilor and wealthy physician Eric Wargotz is moving toward entering the race, and former state Del. Carmen Amedori has already filed, so why the use of Generic R, though?
• NY-Sen-B: Harold Ford Jr. keeps bumping back his timeline on announcing his plans on whether or not to challenge Kirsten Gillibrand in the Democratic primary (ostensibly because he doesn’t want to do so while David Paterson is dominating the news). Given the unprecedented badness of his campaign rollout — which may have just gotten worth with the news that his Merrill Lynch salary is $2 million, exclusive of bonuses — he may be mulling whether or not go through with it after all.
• OH-Sen: Rob Portman is drawing fire for his plans to address Cincinnati-area anti-tax group COAST and raise money for them, which has a history of inflammatory statements. COAST’s website refers to Ohio’s General Assembly as “Nazis.” They also referred to Ted Kennedy as a “shovel-ready project.”
• PA-Sen: I’m not sure voters care much about this kind of process stuff, but Arlen Specter is landing some hard blows on Joe Sestak for paying his staffers so poorly (effectively below the minimum wage), especially while Sestak’s three siblings (who are effectively the topmost tier of his campaign) make much more. Still, the rate at which the Sestak campaign is shedding staffers suggests something’s amiss at camp Sestak.
• WI-Sen: Politico is reporting that Tommy Thompson seems to be taking some serious steps toward a Senate run against Russ Feingold, at least to the extent of securing financial pledges and attempting to round up former staffers. Some insiders remain skeptical that the 67-year-old Thompson, who put forth a rather doddering image amidst the crash and burn of his 2008 presidential run, will actually pull the trigger.
• IA-Gov: I wonder if this was who Ed Fallon had in mind when he said someone should primary Chet Culver in the gubernatorial race. Jonathan Narcisse announced that he’ll take on Culver in the Democratic primary, focusing on educational issues. Narcisse, as a former Des Moines school board member and publisher of several independent newspapers, seems at least one step up from Some Dude status (although there’s still a strong whiff of gadflyishness here).
• IL-Gov: This Friday, March 5th, is the deadline for the Illinois State Board of Elections to certify the results of February’s Republican gubernatorial primary. According to unofficial tallies (not disputed by either campaign), Bob Brady has a 247-vote lead on Kirk Dillard. Dillard’s camp doesn’t sound very optimistic – they seem to be holding out hope that a previously-unknown error will crop up in their favor. A spokesman says that Dillard might consider seeking a recount if the margin is less than 100 votes, but even that, they say, is not a “magical number.” (D)
• KS-Gov: Rasmussen has been nothing if not thorough in the last few months, and now they’re the first pollster to look at a race that everyone has regarded as a foregone conclusion: the Kansas governor’s race. They find Republican Sen. Sam Brownback leading Democratic state Sen. Tom Holland 55-33. Given the source, that’s actually better than I would have expected.
• MN-Gov: While state House minority leader Marty Seifert has taken on something of presumptive GOP frontrunner status, his closest competition, state Rep. Tom Emmer, is far from dead. Emmer just got the backing of two local Republican heavyweights, former Rep. Vin Weber, and RNC committee member and former gubernatorial candidate Brian Sullivan.
• NY-Gov: Even though he’s already pulled the plug on his re-election bid, there’s still a lot of pressure on David Paterson to resign in the wake of the scandal involving a domestic violence allegation against a top aide. He’s refusing, though; when asked whether resignation was off the table, he responded “I don’t even know why it’s on the table.”
• TN-Gov: One more Democrat pulled the plug on a gubernatorial bid today: state Senate minority leader Jim Kyle. Kyle cited poor fundraising (as he can’t raise during the legislative session), as well as long odds in both the primary and general. With state Sen. Roy Herron already out (to pursue TN-08), this leaves only two contestants for the Democratic nod: former state House majority leader Kim McMillan, and businessman and gubernatorial progeny Mike McWherter.
• AL-05: Rep. Parker Griffith is up with his first TV ad already, trying to portray the former Howard Dean supporter as opposed to the “radical Obama-Pelosi liberal agenda.”
• GA-07: With the retirement of Rep. John Linder, all sorts of conservative state legislators are being considered as potential candidates in suburban Atlanta, most prominently state Sens. Don Balfour (who just confirmed his entry) and David Shafer. This is also outgoing SoS Karen Handel’s turf, but she’s apparently not interested in abandoning her stalled gubernatorial campaign for the House. Former Atlanta Braves pitcher Jon Smoltz has already ruled out a bid, but one other blast from the past whose name is floating up is former Christian Coalition head Ralph Reed.
• HI-01: It’s official: Rep. Neil Abercrombie’s last day on the job was yesterday. Today he’s filing his papers to run for Governor instead.
• MA-10: Maybe this is an indication that Rep. William Delahunt is sticking around for another term, as his rumored successor (in the event of a Delahunt retirement) Joe Kennedy III said today that he won’t be running for Congress next year. Kennedy says he plans to focus on his day job as assistant district attorney in Barnstable County, but is interested in a future run.
• NY-01: In case the race in the 1st wasn’t complicated enough, with three different credible Republicans jostling in the primary and an Assemblyman considering joining them, now there’s news that a Suffolk County Legislator (i.e. county councilor) is considering the race, as an Independent. Jay Schneiderman is a former Republican who’s now in the county legislature on the Independence Party line. Initially this seems positive, as a third party might split the anti-Tim Bishop vote, but Bishop has been elected in the past on the Independence as well as the Democratic Party line, so it could actually complicate things for Bishop if Schneiderman secures the IP line.
• PA-06: Those cryptic comments by Lower Merion Twp. Commissioner Brian Gordon about dropping out seem to have panned out: he pulled the plug on his short-lived bid for the Democratic nod without endorsing. Gordon seemed to have gotten in too late to pose much of a threat to Doug Pike and Manan Trivedi.
• Filings: Campaign Diaries looks at the results from the close of the filings period in North Carolina. There’s really not much of note here: the Republicans didn’t seem to score any top-tier candidates in any Dem-held districts (although Tim d’Annunzio, in NC-08, at least seems to be willing to spend his own money). Also, it looks like Rep. Walter Jones, an iconoclastic Republican in a deep-red district, has avoided a major primary challenge (although he is still facing a GOP primary challenge from the Democrat he easily defeated in 2006 and 2008, Craig Weber).
• Polltopia: I’m not really sure who to cheer for in a fight between Stu Rothenberg and Scott Rasmussen, but it’s still on. Rothenberg started it with his dissection of Rasmussen’s WI-Sen poll, wondering how the hell a majority of voters could have an opinion about unknown candidate Dave Westlake; Rasmussen fires back, saying look at the “strong” opinions instead of the “somewhat” favorables or unfavorables.
• WATN?: Here’s one more Republican ex-Rep. heading to the pokey. John Sweeney pled guilty to driving while intoxicated, and faces 30 days in Saratoga County jail.
• Redistricting: Dave’s App (thanks to Dave & Jeff) now has partisan data for Texas and California. There are also a few new features, which you can read more about in Dave’s diary. (D)
• Meta: Can you believe it’s the first anniversary of the Daily Digest? (Pardon me while I laugh sadly at my initial plan to have it be “four or five” bullet points.)
Another Republican decides that it’s quitting time:
Rep. John Linder (R-GA) will retire at the end of this term, according to local media reports, finishing an 18-year career notable for a rough stint as chair of the NRCC.
Linder, who represents a solidly GOP district on the northeastern outskirts of Atlanta, has served in public office since winning a seat in the GA House in ’74. After winning his House seat in ’92 by narrow 51%-49% margin, he never faced a serious challenge again.
A longtime ally of ex-Speaker Newt Gingrich, Linder took over the NRCC in during the ’98 cycle, when Gingrich was speaker. But the public sided with Bill Clinton after the GOP Congress impeached him, and GOPers lost 5 sets. Shortly after the election, Gingrich resgned, and Linder lost the NRCC chairmanship to then-Rep. Tom Davis.
Linder’s district, based in rapidly-diversifying Gwinnett County, saw a pretty substantial shift towards the Democrats over the last two Presidential cycles. While Bush cleaned up in this CD, winning the district by 70-30 in 2004, Barack Obama closed that margin to 60-39 four years later. However, those demographic shifts won’t be enough to put this open seat in the competitive column this year. We’ll have to wait and see what configuration this district will have after the next round of redistricting.
(Hat-tips: Rural Dem and SSP user TheUnknown285, who has long guessed in the comments that Linder was nearing retirement.)
RaceTracker Wiki: GA-07
• One more poll released in this race today, and like yesterday’s Club for Growth poll, it’s another poll from a Republican pollster on behalf of a fringe-right group: Neighborhood Research (the Rick Shaftan-run New Jersey-based pollsters who were right-winger Steve Lonegan’s pollster in the New Jersey GOP gubernatorial primary) for the Minuteman PAC (the Minutemen have enough money to commission a poll? that may be the most newsworthy thing in the whole story…). They put up similar numbers as yesterday’s CfG poll, with Conservative Doug Hoffman leading at 34, Democrat Bill Owens at 29, and Republican Dede Scozzafava dwindling at 14. At any rate, now Pollster.com has enough data to put together some trendlines for the race (no surprise: Owens and Hoffman going up fast, Scozzafava nosediving). There’s also some interesting back-and-forth between Nate Silver and Pollster’s Mark Blumenthal on just how much salt to take these two polls with.
• In the endorsement parade, Hoffman continues to rack ’em in, from Representatives that no one in the 23rd has ever heard of — Georgia’s John Linder, worried that Scozzafava would give Nancy Pelosi bipartisan cover, and SSP’s favorite punching bag, Oklahoma’s Tom Cole, who, reprising his role as master strategist, understands that Scozzafava has no reasonable shot of winning anymore. The New York Post‘s very conservative editorial page also endorsed Hoffman, and Fred Thompson (who was one of the first name-brand Republicans to endorse Hoffman) awoke from his slumbers long enough to cut a TV spot on behalf of Hoffman. Even Michael Barone (editor of the Almanac of American Politics) got in the act today, playing the ACORN card against Scozzafava.
• Newt Gingrich, however, is left holding the establishment GOP’s standard by himself and is doubling down on Scozzafava, decrying the “purge” and saying that supporting a spoiler is the best way to strengthen Pelosi’s hand. The Hill picks up on this growing divide today when looking at NY-23 in the context of the GOP’s 0-for-4 streak at holding contested House special elections (IL-14, MS-01, LA-06, NY-20 — with the first three all seeing nasty, contested primaries, and even NY-20 distinguished by an insider pick that didn’t ignite the base).
• Finally, kudos to our own silver spring, whose now-seminal diary “The Amazing History of NY-23” (if one can accuse an SSP diary of actually being “seminal”) showed how the core of the 23rd hasn’t been represented by a Democrat since 1850. That diary got a citation in the New York Times today.
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.