WV-Sen: Goodwin’s Law

There won’t be an official announcement until later this afternoon, but the name of the temporarily appointed Senator from West Virginia has been leaked to the AP:

Gov. Joe Manchin is tapping his former chief counsel and a member of a prominent West Virginia family, Carte Goodwin, to succeed the late U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd, Democratic officials told The Associated Press on Friday.

Three officials familiar with the governor’s pick spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to comment ahead of an official announcement.

So, instead of appointing an elder-statesman like Gaston Caperton to fill Robert Byrd’s seat, Manchin decided to take a page from Charlie Crist and reward one of his right-hand-men with a temporary Senate seat… and in doing so, build the statewide bench by getting a young up-and-comer onto the electoral map for a possible future run for something. One thing I hadn’t known about Goodwin until today is that he’s only 36, which will make him the youngest current Senator. Goodwin’s from a locally well-connected family, too; his father was chair of the West Virginia University’s Board of Governors, his uncle is a federal judge in West Virginia, and his cousin is a US Attorney in West Virginia — so we can probably expect to hear more from him in the future after his half-year of service is over.

SSP Daily Digest: 7/15 (Afternoon Edition)

CT-Sen: Rob Simmons may not be as revved up about jumping back into the GOP Senate primary as was reported last night (i.e. “I’m thinking about it.”). His former campaign manager told The Fix today that there’s no secret comeback bid and that “he has no plans to re-engage.” It’s probably wiser for Simmons to take that approach, to lay low and wait for the off chance that Linda McMahon implodes pre-primary, rather than drain himself in an uphill fight against her.

KS-Sen: I don’t know what spooked Jerry Moran into coughing up another internal poll (I can’t imagine it was the backstabbing by Tom Tancredo, but who knows?), but at any rate, he released a new internal from POS giving him a 56-24 lead over Todd Tiahrt in the GOP Senate primary. Moran also continues to win the fundraising race, raising $538K last quarter with $2.3 million CoH. Tiahrt raised $451K last quarter and has $1.3 million CoH, although he has a big fundraising dinner scheduled soon hosted by former Notre Dame football coach Charlie Weis.

NV-Sen: This news has to be, on the balance, good news for Harry Reid. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, while certainly not considering endorsing Reid, is moving toward sitting out the Nevada Senate race. It may be tempting to pin this down with increasing Chamber discontent with the teabagger wing of the party (as seen with their moves in SC-Gov and ID-01), but a lot of it may be that they’re less unhappy with Reid as Majority Leader than the alternatives (Chuck Schumer or Dick Durbin). Reid‘s also reporting, unsurprisingly, tons of money: he raised $2.4 million, although, after spending a lot on ads, he’s at $9 million CoH.

NY-Sen, NY-Sen-B, NY-Gov (pdf): Siena released polls everyone and everything in the Empire State today, although there’s little suspense in any of these races anymore. In the gubernatorial race, Andrew Cuomo beats Rick Lazio 60-28, beats Carl Paladino 64-23, and beats Lazio and Paladino (with Paladino on a 3rd party line) 54-23-10. Lazio beats Paladino in the GOP primary 40-20. In the Senate special election, Kirsten Gillibrand leads Bruce Blakeman 51-28, beats Joe DioGuardi 51-29, and beats David Malpass 50-27. DioGuardi leads the GOP primary at 24, with 7 for Blakeman and 5 for Malpass. And in the other Senate race, Chuck Schumer beats both Gary Berntsen and Jay Townsend by an identical 63-26. Townsend tops Berntsen in the GOP primary 24-13. They even throw in the Comptroller’s race, where Dem incumbent Tom DiNapoli beats self-funded GOPer Harry Wilson 48-24.

SC-Sen: The Charleston minor league baseball team has answered Alvin Greene’s call for economic stimulus in the form of Alvin Greene action figures: they’ll be giving out Greene figurines as a promotion at their Saturday game. (Although it sounds a little half-assed, as they’re just sticking Alvin Greene heads on unused Statues of Liberty.) Also, with the primary out of the way, local and Beltway Democrats alike are uniting behind Greene, filling his coffers with… um… $1,000? (At least that puts him ahead of Roland Burris.) That number was apparently volunteered by Greene; he won’t have to file with the FEC until he hits the $5,000 mark.

WV-Sen: Plans are already afoot in Washington to swear in West Virginia’s new Senator by Tuesday so that the unemployment benefits extension can be voted on that same day. Who, though, is still an open question. Other Senator Jay Rockefeller says there’s some White House pressure and he thinks he knows who it’ll be, but he isn’t saying who. Ex-Gov. and current College Board President Gaston Caperton has suddenly reversed course and is now saying that he is interested, which certainly seems like a tea leaf to me. There are also reports that Bob Wise and Larry Puccio have removed themselves from consideration, and Nick Casey (awaiting a federal judgeship) is very unlikely.

The NRSC is already running anti-Joe Manchin ads (in print media only), but that may not provide that much encouragement to Shelly Moore Capito (the only Republican who can make this competitive) to get in: one little-noted fact is that one item that rather pointedly got left off the agenda for today’s legislative special session is whether or not an officeholder could run for two seats at the same time in the special election and the regularly-scheduled election (like in, oh let’s just say, WV-Sen and WV-02).  

CO-Gov: Scott McInnis may be the last to know to know that he’s dropping out of the gubernatorial race. Tom Tancredo has been telling people that McInnis is going to drop out, although the McInnis camp is denying that, saying “we’re moving forward.” Tancredo is also the first state GOPer to publicly call for McInnis to get out, although I wonder if Tancredo is hoping he may get the chance to take his place (remember Tancredo had flirted with the race early last year). Tancredo doesn’t seem to be on the list of replacements that’s being bandied about by the local press, though: they include Josh Penry (whom Tancredo had backed, and who ran for a while before dropping out), former state Sen. Mark Hillman, and… get this… ex-Rep. Bob Schaffer, who badly lost the 2008 Senate race.

There’s also some speculation about the legalities of replacing McInnis: it doesn’t seem like the GOP could insert a hand-picked filler before the primary, unless both McInnis and Dan Maes dropped out (not out of the question, I suppose, considering that Maes’ campaign is currently belly-up). This may help McInnis’s decision along: the RGA is now saying that they’re abandoning him, pulling out of fundraisers they’d previously scheduled.

GA-Gov: Mason-Dixon takes a look at the Georgia gubernatorial primaries. On the Republican side, they find John Oxendine at 31, Karen Handel at 23, Nathan Deal at 18, and Eric Johnson at 6. Compare that with Rasmussen (see below) and Magellan’s recent polls, which see possible Handel/Deal runoffs. Ed Kilgore also takes a look at the proxy war being fought in Georgia by Sarah Palin (backing Handel) and Newt Gingrich (backing Deal), which may be boosting those two’s fortunes at Oxendine’s expense. Mason-Dixon’s look at the Dem primary has comparatively less drama: Roy Barnes is out of runoff territory at 54, with Thurbert Baker at 20, David Poythress at 7, and Dubose Porter at 3.

AZ-08: The Fix seems to be the leaking place of choice for the GOP for its internal polls, and they have word of another one with a GOPer with a (slight) lead. It’s in the 8th, where a Tarrance Group poll gives Jonathan Paton a 45-44 lead over Gabrielle Giffords. Paton, of course, still has to survive a primary against the more tea-flavored Jesse Kelly.

KS-04: SurveyUSA’s new poll of the KS-04 primaries shows some interesting movement on the GOP side: both Mike Pompeo and Wink Hartman have declined by similar amounts (they’re currently at 32 and 31, respectively), with state Sen. Jean Schodorf making a late move up to 16, based on strength among women and moderates. Jim Anderson’s also at 9. There’s also a surprise on the Dem side: the DCCC-touted Raj Goyle is actually in danger of losing his primary to Some Dude, Robert Tillman. Tillman now leads, 40-36. Looks like we may have been right about Goyle’s reasons behind launching a TV buy now.

House: We don’t usually like to link to this sort of meta about the state of the House, but it’s interesting to see the various blind men who are veterans of the DCCC and the NRCC in relatively close agreement about the size and shape of the elephant this year.

Fundraising: AR-Sen | CA-Sen| CA-Sen | CT-Sen | DE-Sen | FL-Sen | IL-Sen | IN-Sen | MO-Sen | NH-Sen | OR-Sen | WI-Sen | IL-Gov | TX-Gov | CT-04 | DE-AL | FL-08 | GA-02 | NH-01 | OH-13 | PA-03 | PA-10 | RI-01 | WA-03


CA-Gov: Jerry Brown (D) 46%, Meg Whitman (R) 47%

GA-Gov (R): Nathan Deal (R) 25%, Karen Handel (R) 25%, John Oxendine (R) 20%, Eric Johnson (R) 13%

TX-Gov: Bill White (D) 41%, Rick Perry (R-inc) 50%

WI-Sen: Russ Feingold (D-inc) 46%, Ron Johnson (R) 47%

WI-Sen: Russ Feingold (D-inc) 51%, Dave Westlake (R) 37%

WV-Sen: Manchin Run is “Highly Likely”

There’s been a lot of movement in the last 24 hours in West Virginia. To start with, yesterday afternoon, Democratic AG Darrell McGraw announced that Gov. Joe Manchin has the authority to call for a special election to be held this year.

“Since a general election is already scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2010, it is suggested that a special primary election be held at a time which maximizes the opportunity for all potential candidates to prepare for both the special election and the general election, and for all voters, including those in the Armed Services, to participate and have their voices heard,” McGraw wrote, according to the Charleston Daily Mail.

There’s been some confusion as to what exact format the election would take, and for now, it sounds like no one is quite sure. McGraw’s statement makes it sound like there should be a primary election held when convenient prior to Nov. 2, but that’s not made entirely clear. The Fix’s Aaron Blake says that the Manchin camp would like to have only one election, though, and have a special open primary that coincides with the general election where all candidates run in one pool (shades of HI-01). The superficial rationale, of course, would be saving money on not running two elections. But it could also help Manchin out a lot, if he’s the only Dem candidate and the Republican vote is split.

And Manchin is sounding like his candidacy is near-definite; he told Ben Smith today that he’ll announce his intentions formally on Monday but said that his candidacy is “highly likely” (which is also how he phrased it on MSNBC this morning). He also said that the only questions left at this point are “procedural,” like ensuring a smooth transition for the person who takes over as Governor. Manchin’s counsel says that there’s no clear sense from the law of when or how to hold the election, but that will be resolved in the legislative special session that Manchin will soon call.

Manchin, talking about gubernatorial succession, seems to be acting like his election to the Senate is already a done deal; is he being overconfident? Yesterday Nate Silver foresaw a close race, although that was based on West Virginia’s demographics and reddening trend without any poll data.

Since then, Rasmussen leaped into the breach, offering a snap poll as they often do. Rasmussen’s numbers — and I rarely get the chance to say this — should give Democrats a good deal of confidence. Manchin defeats his strongest possible GOP rival, Rep. Shelly Moore Capito, by a 53-39 margin, while he beats former SoS Betty Ireland 65-26. Most impressively, he has a 77/23 approval rating, which has to make him the most popular Governor in the nation.

Even before Manchin started signaling his clear intent to run today, and before Rasmussen dropped its abandon-all-hope-ye-GOPers poll, there were questions yesterday about who the Republican candidate would be, and whether there was a Plan B if Capito didn’t run. (There’s also legal uncertainty as to whether Capito could run in both the special and in her already-scheduled election to hold WV-02 at the same time, which would weigh heavily on her decision whether or not to run. And Capito’s calculations would have to factor in whether she might have a better shot at Manchin again in the regularly-scheduled 2012 election, when she’d have a longer time to ramp up a campaign and when Obama’s top-of-ticket presence might be an anchor on Manchin… and also the possibility of whether Jay Rockefeller might retire in 2014, giving her a good shot at an open seat.)

In the absence of Capito or Ireland, other names that have gotten floated include businessman John Raese, who spent a large amount of his own money en route to losing badly to Robert Byrd in 2006, former state Sen. Steve Harrison, state Sen. Mike Hall, and Bob Adams, the director of something called the League of American Voters and a losing candidate for state Treasurer in 2004.

UPDATE: Someone has slipped Reid Wilson the short list for seatwarmers that Joe Manchin is considering for appointment to the Senate for the next half a year. Some of the names are familiar, but there are a few surprises. The list is: Anne Barth (former Byrd state director, and ’08 loser in WV-02 to Capito), Gaston Caperton (the former Gov. and current College Board Pres. who previously said he wasn’t interested), Nick Casey (former state party chair, now up for a federal judgeship), Carte Goodwin (Manchin’s former general counsel), Larry Puccio (current state party chair and former Manchin CoS), and Bob Wise (9-term ex-Rep. and one-term ex-Gov., who didn’t seek re-election after a sex scandal). Bear in mind that whoever the replacement is, that person will be the vote to get unemployment benefits extended, so there’s no doubt a sense of urgency behind picking someone.

SSP Daily Digest: 6/29

FL-Sen: As much as Charlie Crist seems to have benefited from his switch to an independent bid, he still has to deal with blowback from a lot of ticked-off Republicans. A group of GOPers, led by state Rep. Tom Grady, has filed a class action lawsuit against Crist to get back their contributions which they thought would be used to support a Republican. Meanwhile, with Crist running around looking gubernatorial amidst the oil spill crisis, and the media having lost interest with the Republican primary settled, Marco Rubio now finds himself in an unusual position (which may be reflected in recent polls): the guy who isn’t getting any attention.

IL-Sen: Well, it took Mark Kirk a couple months to do what Richard Blumenthal took a few days to do, but he finally got around to apologizing today in a press conference for his various “careless” embellishments of his military and teaching records.

KS-Sen: SurveyUSA (6/24-27, likely voters, 5/21-23 in parens):

Jerry Moran (R): 53 (52)

Todd Tiahrt (R): 33 (29)

Other: 5 (4)

Undecided: 9 (15)

(MoE: ±3.7%)

SurveyUSA also looks at the Democratic Senate primary (where little-known college professor Lisa Johnston is the surprise leader, at 24, followed by somewhat higher-profile candidates like former newspaper editor Charles Schollenberger at 16 and state Sen. David Haley at 11), and at the Republican gubernatorial primary (where I didn’t even know there was a contest anymore, but where Sam Brownback leads Joan Heffington 76-17).

KY-Sen: With the primary resolved and with Rand Paul having gone into media-related hiding, his fundraising seems to have dwindled accordingly. He held another online moneybomb yesterday, which used to be his bread and butter, but the bomb was more of a dud this time: he banked only $90K by yesterday evening. That’s was off from the $400K generated by his largest one last August.

NJ-Sen: A couple items of good news for Frank Lautenberg: first, he’s announced that, after having been treated for lymphoma, his cancer is now in remission. And today, he got Robert Byrd‘s gavel for the Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security.

NV-Sen: Sharron Angle, in contrast to Rand Paul, is at least temporarily breaking her media silence tonight… and she’s doing it not exactly the friendliest environment either, going on local reporter Jon Ralston’s TV show. (Ralston is one of the best left of the dying breed of state-level political reporters; his Twitter feed is highly recommended.) Meanwhile, Nevada Dems are hitting Angle for her decidedly extreme position on abortion (legal under absolutely no circumstances), while the once-thought-ominous Karl Rove 527 American Crossroads is out with a new ad attacking Harry Reid over unemployment.

WV-Sen: There’s quite a long list of potential temporary appointees developing in West Virginia, but ex-Gov. (and current College Board president) Gaston Caperton won’t be one of them; he took his name out of the running. In addion to former state party chair Nick Casey and current chair Larry Puccio, other names, all of whom are well-connected with Gov. Joe Manchin, bubbling up today include former Manchin counsel Carte Goodwin, businessman Perry Petropolis, former state Supreme Court justice Richard Neely, and first lady Gayle Manchin.

AL-Gov: Robert Bentley is touting an internal poll from Dresner Wicker & Associates giving him a substantial lead over Bradley Byrne in the GOP runoff; Bentley leads 46-27, and has 59/9 favorables. Bentley has also pledged no negative ads from his camp, which may be a relief to many Alabamians (and which may have been the secret to Bentley’s surprise success in the primary, as he dodged the heavy crossfire between Byrne and Tim James).

CA-Gov: There’s a clear difference in strategy in California’s governor’s race, with Jerry Brown (who needs to draw Meg Whitman out into the open) agreeing to ten debates and Whitman (who needs to hide behind her ads) agreeing to one. New ads run by Brown surrogates seem to be taking increasing aim at Whitman’s tendency to hide behind her large piles of money, too.

RI-Gov, RI-01, RI-02: The Rhode Island Democratic party issued its endorsements yesterday, and the results weren’t good for the party’s former state chair (or his brother). Bill Lynch lost the RI-01 endorsement to Providence mayor David Cicilline, while AG Patrick Lynch lost the RI-Gov endorsement to state Treasurer Frank Caprio. In the 2nd, incumbent Jim Langevin got the endorsement over primary challenger state Rep. Betsy Dennigan.

TX-Gov: The situation with the Texas Greens ballot line isn’t quite going away yet. A lower court decided last week to block them from the ballot because their petition drive was illegally funded with an in-kind corporate contribution (with roots tracing back to Rick Perry’s former chief of staff). The decision, however, was just appealed to the Texas Supreme Court (which, of course, is Republican-controlled and not averse to the occasionally nakedly political decision).

ID-01: Here, maybe, is another instance of the Chamber of Commerce realizing that conservative Democrats do a better job of addressing big business’s needs for a functioning physical and educational infrastructure than do the group of anarchists who seem to have seized control of the GOP? The US Chamber of Commerce just gave freshman Dem Walt Minnick their endorsement.

LA-02: Rep. Joe Cao has had to back down on a fundraising letter that strongly implies that the local Catholic diocese and Archbishop Gregory Aymond backed his candidacy. Cao apologized for taking Aymond’s praise for him out of context.

MI-03: Well, at least we now know who to cheer against in the GOP primary to replace retiring Rep. Vern Ehlers. The Club for Growth announced yesterday that they’re backing state Rep. Justin Amash, meaning that Amash must have impressed the far-right group with his level of disdain for public spending. (JL)

PA-07: Philly’s just a short Amtrak ride from Washington DC, and Joe Biden will be there July 19 to host a combined fundraiser for the DCCC and for the Dem candidate in the 7th, state Rep. Bryan Lentz.

TX-17: Here’s an article that’s an interesting reminder of how all politics is, in the end, local, and how it can turn on stuff that’s a million miles away from inside-the-Beltway concerns. Politico looks at the race in the 17th, which is very much a Waco/Baylor (Chet Edwards) vs. College Station/Texas A&M (Bill Flores) contest, with the recent (now irrelevant, though) proposal to break apart the Big 12 a key flashpoint.

WV-01: Old man yells at cloud? Initially, the idea of a legendary West Virginia Democratic politician setting up a PAC with the pure intent of stopping Democratic nominee Mike Oliverio from winning in November sounds like a game-changing impediment. From the backstory, though, it sounds like former SoS Ken Hechler may not have that much oomph behind his vendetta, which seems mostly motivated by Oliverio’s 2004 failed primary challenge to him in the SoS primary, where Oliverio’s entire argument seemed predicated on the fact that Hechler was 89. (If you do the math, that makes him 95 now. I guess the secret to longevity is to become a Democrat in West Virginia!)

CA-Init: Don’t count on California making the switch to the Washington-style top-two primary just yet, despite the passage of Proposition 14 earlier this month. The major and minor parties are weighing legal challenges to it, and they’re watching with interest the latest round of litigation on the matter in Washington. (The US Supreme Court has already upheld a state’s authority to switch to a top-two primary, but there’s a new suit pending on new grounds.)

WV-Sen: Special Election To Be Held in 2012

According to Politico’s Shira Toeplitz, the West Virginia Secretary of State’s office has decided that the special election to replace Robert Byrd will be held in 2012, not 2010. UPDATE: The SoS office’s full statement is here. In November of 2012, there will be not only the regularly scheduled election for the full six-year term, but also a coinciding special election to fill the seat during the lame duck session.

(As you’ve likely read elsewhere today, West Virginia law is decidedly hazy on when the special election had to happen. On its face, state law would suggest that a 2010 election needed to be held, since Byrd’s death occurred six days before the two-and-a-half-year mark until 2012. However, underlying case law supports the conclusion that because the primary has happened and the filing period has closed, the election won’t be held until 2012.)

Regardless of whether the special election was to be held in 2010 or in 2012, West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin is charged with the responsibility of appointing a temporary successor. This gets a little complicated for Manchin, as he’s widely considered to have designs on that seat himself (he has previously established a fundraising committee for seeking federal office). Manchin has already established that he won’t appoint himself to the office.

Manchin therefore seems likely to appoint a placeholder, one who won’t get in the way of a future Manchin run. The most often mentioned name is former state party chair and Manchin ally Nick Casey; Casey, however, is up for consideration for a federal judgeship, and may not want to back-burner that lifelong sinecure for two years in the Senate. Current state party chair Larry Puccio (another former Manchin aide and ally) is another possibility. The other possibility would be a widely-respected elder-statesman type appointment, such as ex-Gov. Gaston Caperton. (I hear that soon-to-be-ex-Rep. Alan Mollohan is looking for a new job, but he might not fill the “widely-respected” part of the equation at this point.)

One other item for fans of arcane Senate procedure: Dan Inouye was just sworn in as the Senate President Pro Tem, taking over for Byrd, who re-assumed that role when the Democrats took over the Senate in 2006. The role is purely ceremonial, with no real-world presiding duties, and is generally given to the seniormost member of the majority party. Instead, this is momentous because Inouye (not Harry Reid, as many probably believe) is now 3rd in line in presidential succession, which is the highest an Asian-American (or for that matter, any racial minority, if one doesn’t consider Barack Obama himself) has ever risen in the succession totem pole. UPDATE: A helpful tipster points out the all-racial-minorities part is not quite true: Herbert Hoover’s vice-president, Charles Curtis, was half Native American.

SSP Daily Digest: 6/26

CT-Sen: Gov. Jodi Rell just signed into law an important piece of legislation (and, in doing so, reduced her own power): from now on, in the event of a Senatorial vacancy, the void will be filled by a fast special election instead of a gubernatorial appointment. The farcical Rod Blagojevich affair in Illinois was apparently the genesis for this new law.

KS-Sen: Rep. Todd Tiahrt, facing a big primary fight for the GOP nomination against fellow Rep. Jerry Moran, got a key endorsement that will help him out-conservative his red-state colleague, from prominent anti-abortion group Kansans for Life. Moran, meanwhile, got another establishment endorsement of questionable utility to the Kansas electorate, from South Dakota Sen. John Thune.

NC-Sen: Insider Advantage polled Richard Burr’s approvals, and like many other pollsters (including PPP, the messenger that the Burr campaign has chosen to attack), found that Burr’s approvals are low and his unknowns are possibly catastrophically high. Burr clocked in at 39/31 approval, with 30% with no opinion.

NH-Sen: John Sununu Sr. now says that John Sununu Jr. will make a decision (or will have his daddy make a decision for him, more likely) “within a week or so” as to whether or not he’ll run for Senate next year. Sr. also says that AG Kelly Ayotte will step aside if Jr. runs, which may be news to Ayotte. GOP insiders seem to think that odds are against Sununu running.

OH-Sen: Rob Portman, G.W. Bush’s former trade rep and OMB Director, has taken on a strange approach to selling himself to voters: that he’s a consummate Washington insider, going so far as to say that he knows “where the bodies are buried” (way to write the opposition’s advertisements word-for-word for them!). In a state where there’s a lot of populist indignation over job losses and outsourcing, emphasizing your technocratic elitism is somewhere past tone-deaf and out in the realm of political malpractice.

PA-Sen: More signs that the party is finally coalescing around Pat Toomey as nominee: another endorsement from one its sitting Reps., Joe Pitts. (Pitts is probably the most conservative GOPer left in the PA delegation, so no surprise here.)

WV-Sen: With 91-year-old Robert Byrd still in the hospital, Gov. Joe Manchin sought to tamp down speculation that he was looking into potential replacement Senators (such as ex-Gov. Gaston Caperton).

IL-Gov: Bob Schillerstrom became the third Republican this week to announce his gubernatorial candidacy. The DuPage County Board chairman had had an exploratory committee open for several months, so this was expected. A 4th entrant, State Sen. Kirk Dillard, also from Chicago’s western suburbs, says he’ll announce his candidacy on July 8.

MI-Gov: A third Democratic candidate got into the governor’s race today: state Rep. (and former state Senator) Alma Wheeler Smith. Smith, who’s the only African-American in the field, also ran in the gubernatorial primary in 2002.

NJ-Gov: Strategic Vision polled the New Jersey governor’s race; no surprises here, as they found Chris Christie beating Jon Corzine 51-39. Christie was also busy yesterday in Washington testifying before the House on the no-bid monitoring contracts that Christie awarded while US Attorney (including to his former boss, John Ashcroft); look for this to become a prime issue in the race (if Corzine has even half-a-clue how to campaign).

NM-Gov, NM-02: Ex-Rep. Steve Pearce, last seen getting annihilated in last year’s Senate race, says he’s pushing back his announcement on whether he’ll run for governor, for his old House seat, or something else to somewhere between July 20 and July 27.

PA-Gov: Here’s one state where the gubernatorial field is actually managing to get smaller: Lehigh County Executive Don Cunningham opted out of the Democratic primary race (and said that he isn’t interested in the Lt. Gov. slot). This may give a small boost to Philly-area businessman Tom Knox, as the Dem side’s two biggest-names, Allegheny Co. Exec Dan Onorato and state Auditor Jack Wagner are both from the Pittsburgh area.

CA-10: Rep. Ellen Tauscher was finally confirmed as Undersecretary of State last night, after Sen. Jon Kyl dropped his hold on her. (She’s also getting married on Saturday, so it’s a big week.) Tauscher’s last day in the House is today, so this means the wheels are now officially in motion for the CA-10 special election.

FL-12: Looks like the GOP will have a primary in the race to replace Rep. Adam Putnam, depsite their efforts to grease the skids for former state Rep. Dennis Ross. Polk Co. Commissioner Randy Wilkinson has been taking steps to enter the race as well.

LA-03: Here’s a potential Dem contender for the potentially open seat currently occupied by Rep. Charlie Melancon, who hadn’t been mentioned in previous discussions (either from SSP or Roll Call or The Hill): Steve Angelle, who heads the state Natural Resources Department and used to be President of St. Martin Parish.

SC-04: Rep. Bob Inglis is taking an unusual approach to a potentially bruising primary fight in 2010: instead of trying to out-conservative his opponents, he’s saying the GOP needs to “lose the stinking rot of self-righteousness.” In a Washington Wire interview, he said that the Mark Sanford Experience shows that “This may be an opportunity to extend a little grace to other people, to realize that maybe it’s not 100% this way or that way,” and referred to the Bob Inglis who was a zealous Clinton impeachment manager in 1998 as “Bob Inglis 1.0,” who was a “‘self-righteous’ expletive.”

TN-09: Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton announced that he’ll be resigning his job on July 10 in order to campaign full-time in his primary challenge against Rep. Steve Cohen. Since Herenton has tried to resign (and changed his mind) at least once before, after five increasingly rocky terms in office, this sounds more like a relief to Herenton instead of giving something up.

DCCC: The DCCC is running radio spots over the July 4 weekend against seven vulnerable House GOPers: Ken Calvert, Charlie Dent, Jim Gerlach, Dan Lungren, Mike McCaul, Lee Terry, and Joe Wilson. They’re getting attacked for voting for war supplementals during the Bush administration and now happening to vote against them now that a Demmycrat is in charge.

The Tubes: Hotline On Call compares and contrasts the mellifluous email stylings of Gov. Sanford with the SMS billet-doux of Detroit ex-Mayor Kilpatrick. This outlines the foundational divide between email and texting: in SMS you automatically sound crazier, but it also prevents you from banging out divinity school dropout diatribes about First Corinthians. (Ben)

WV-02 Fired up for Anne Barth and the Democratic team

Martinsburg event 025

Former Gov. Gaston Caperton explains why Anne Barth would be a tremendous representative for the people of West Virginia.

I attended the Campaign for Change event in Martinsburg, West Virginia today. It was rainy, autumnal day. We had a boisterous, fired up and ready to go crowd in attendance. Most of those who arrived early did visibility for our candidates outside the headquarters. We let our voices be loud enough so even those across the street at the Shelley Moore Capito headquarters could hear us even though she’s tried to not listen to her constituents for years.

Today’s event featured former Gov. Gaston Caperton, former Gov. Bob Wise, who also had served as the Congressional representative for the district, and West Virginia native son and U.S. Sen. Thomas Carper of Delaware, currently the junior senator of his state and soon to be the senior senator once Sen. Joe Biden is elected our vice president.

More on the event and additional photos below.

Ywatta “Nessy” Mitchell is making her second bid for magistrate judge. She was out doing visibility in front of the headquarters. The Campaign for Change is not just about the presidential race, but also the down ticket races. I really hope she wins. I don’t like putting stickers on my vehicle, but I’ve got three this year: Anne Barth, Barack Obama and Ywatta “Nessy” Mitchell’s. There’s other candidates I really want to see win, but too many bumper stickers and they become less effective in my opinion.

Martinsburgcampaign 001

Many of our Democrats arrived early so they joined Mitchell in a sign wave (early voting was on King Street just around the corner from our Queen Street office).

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And then more…

People held up other candidate signs and began chants: “Anne Barth Anne Barth Anne Barth” and “Barack – Obama – Barack – Obama” and also the names of our other candidates as they arrived and joined us. This is earlier but eventually the area out of the rain was jammed with people with signs.

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Across the street, not so much enthusiasm for their candidates.

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“I’ve never seen anyone better prepared running for this seat than Anne Barth and that includes me when I ran the first time,” said former governor and U.S. representative Bob Wise. He vacated the seat in 2000 to run for governor. Barth was Sen. Robert C. Byrd’s state director before she left to run for this seat.

“Think of that team – Robert C. Byrd in the Senate, his most trusted confidant in the HOuse,” Wise said.

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Former Gov. Bob Wise

Wise introduced Sen. Thomas Carper, the junior senator from Delaware and soon to be senior senator when Sen. Joe Biden is elected vice president.

Carper is a West Virginia native son, born in Beckley. “We grow them here and send them to other parts of the country,” Wise said.

Carper said he was happy to be in his native state to campaign for Anne Barth and Barack Obama and Joe Biden. When he was elected to the Senate, his mentor was Senator Byrd. He once offered to do anything to help Senator Byrd and Byrd said he needed him to go represent him at an event at Stonewall Jackson State Park that he was unable to attend. There he was to look up Byrd’s state director, Anne Barth.

He was impressed by her intelligence and her deep knowledge of the people of West Virginia.

“Anne Barth gives politics a good name,” Carper said.

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Anne Barth, Sen. Thomas Carper, former Gov. Bob Wise, former Gov. Gaston Caperton.

Anne Barth spoke next, describing how many people are being hurt by the current economy except for the people who “don’t know how many houses they own, then they probably think the economy is doing well.”

That got a good laugh. She pointed out how Capito voted for Bush four out of five times over the past eight years.

“It’s not about us, it’s really about the future of our country,” Anne Barth said.

Former Gov. Gaston Caperton went next, who defeated former Gov. Arch Moore (Moore is Capito’s father).

“Now Anne I ran against a Moore,” Caperton said. “They said I couldn’t beat him. I did pretty good.”

The same group had been in Morgan County earlier and left Martinsburg to go to Jefferson County. It was a good event.

You can see the entire set of photos here, including Bobby the Obama dog.

Crossposted from West Virginia Blue.