SSP Daily Digest: 12/13

AK-Sen: Everyone’s watching Joe Miller’s next move, as tomorrow is the day he has to decide whether or not to appeal a trial court decision in order to keep fighting his largely-hopeless fight with Lisa Murkowski. On Friday afternoon, a state superior court judge ruled against Miller’s lawsuit, and in pretty withering fashion, saying he presented no evidence of fraud or malfeasance, only “hearsay, speculation, and… sarcasm.” This comes on top of other comments on Friday by state elections director Gail Fenumiai strongly disputing one of Miller’s cornerstone issues, that there was a strange sudden influx of felons voting in the state.

CT-Sen, CT-04: Rep. Jim Himes confirms that he isn’t going to run for Senate in 2012 against Joe Lieberman (if Lieberman even decides to stick around). It’s also pretty clear confirmation that Rep. Chris Murphy is ready to run on the Dem line, as Himes said he’s deferring to his slightly-more-senior colleague and might consider running if Murphy changed his mind. (The article also mentions that Rep. Joe Courtney is “considering” the race. Ex-SoS Susan Bysiewicz’s interest is well-known as well, although I doubt she’ll be able to manage to file her candidacy papers successfully.)

HI-Sen: Sometimes the Beltway media’s parsing of every innocent word from a potential candidate gets a little maddening, but this throw-away line from Linda Lingle’s website flagged by David Catanese is actually pretty suggestive of a future run (probably against Dan Akaka in 2012): the site is titled “Looking Back, and Forward,” and her first blog post is “Continuing the Journey.”

MD-Sen: Contrast that with Bob Ehrlich, who seems ripe to fall into the Dino Rossi trap but has just made it pretty clear that he won’t be running for anything else again. He says a Senate run would be “very highly unlikely.”

ME-Sen: The only story that seems to be here is that the viable Tea Party candidate that has been promised to emerge to take on Olympia Snowe is starting to look like more of a mirage. A must-read (for sheer hubris and wtf?ness) interview with the state’s self-appointed head teabagger, Andrew Ian Dodge, makes it sound like the candidate that Dodge is allegedly talking to is either imaginary, or else is Dodge himself (seeing as how he’s from southern Maine and has his own money).

MI-Sen: PPP includes a GOP primary portion in their Michigan Senate poll, and like a lot of other polls this far out, name rec seems to rule the day. Ex-Gov. John Engler, despite eight years out of the picture, has the lead (in fact, that may be good news, as the general electorate doesn’t remember him fondly; he underperforms Debbie Stabenow, losing by 7, compared with Peter Hoekstra, who loses by 1). It’s Engler 31, Hoekstra 24, with 12 for ex-AG Mike Cox, Terri Lynn Land (who may be interested in this race after all) at 7, Candice Miller at 5, Mike Rogers at 4, Thad McCotter at 3, and Tim Leuliette (the most-interested candidate so far) at 0.

NJ-Sen: The Hill has an article that’s mostly about how no GOPers are stepping up to express their interest in an uphill fight against Bob Menendez, but it does include the obligatory list of possible contenders. Top of the list is a rematch from state Sen. (and gubernatorial progeny) Tom Kean Jr., but also mentioned are Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, state Sen. Joe Kyrillos, Anna Little (a small-town mayor who was competitive against Rep. Frank Pallone this year), state Sen. Jennifer Beck, former state Sen. Bill Baroni, and state GOP chair Jay Webber if all else fails.

NY-Sen: Rep. Peter King does some coulda-woulda-shoulda in a recent interview, saying he definitely would have run in 2010 had Caroline Kennedy been the appointee. As for a run in 2012 against Kirsten Gillibrand (when she’s up for election for her first full term), he’s only “keeping his options open,” apparently leery of her fundraising prowess.

PA-Sen: Rep. Charlie Dent is usually at the top of the list for Senate race speculation, but a recent interview has him sounding rather un-candidate-ish: he’s about to land a plum spot on Appropriations, and speaks of it in terms of “one never rules anything out,” which to my ear sounds a few steps down the Beltway-ese totem pole from “considering” it. One other interesting rumor bubbling up is that ex-Gov. Mark Schweiker is being courted to run. The question is whether anybody even remembers Schweiker; he spent less than two years on the job in the early 00s after getting promoted after Tom Ridge moved to the Bush administration, and declined to run for his own full term.

VT-Sen: Could Bernie Sanders see a real opponent? While he isn’t specifically threatening to run yet, State Auditor Tom Salmon is taking to Facebook to attack Sanders over his anti-tax deal agitating (including attacking Sanders for being a socialist, which doesn’t quite have the same effective power with Sanders as with most Dems since he’s likely just to say “guilty as charged”). At any rate, going after the entrenched Sanders seems like an odd move if it comes to pass, as Peter Shumlin, who narrowly won the open gubernatorial race, seems like a much easier target in a blue state that’s willing to elect Republican governors but has sworn them off at the national level.

CA-Gov: Steve Poizner sounds likely to make another run at the governor’s mansion in 2014, publicly telling various people that he would have made a much better candidate than Meg Whitman. Poizner will have to step it up on the financial situation next time, though; self-funding only to the tune of eight digits, instead of nine, was pretty weak sauce.

IN-Gov: With Evan Bayh apparently out of the gubernatorial sweepstakes, Brad Ellsworth seems to be jockeying to the front of the line today, although with some of the requisite hedging. The other main contender, of course, is Evansville mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel, although the impact of redistricting changes (at the hand of the now-GOP-held legislature) could drive Reps. Joe Donnelly or Baron Hill into the race. Two lesser Dem names who’ve been bandied about, Hammond mayor Thomas McDermott and former state House speaker John Gregg, are already taking their names off the table, lining up behind others for now: McDermott backing Ellsworth and Gregg backing Weinzapfel. One final new Dem name to keep an eye on: Lake County Sheriff Roy Dominguez.

MS-Gov: For now, the Democratic side on the Mississippi governor’s race seems to be between two men: Hattiesburg mayor Johnny DuPree (that city’s first African-American mayor) and businessman Bill Luckett, who has his own money (and the backing of Morgan Freeman… apparently for real, unlike with NC-04’s B.J. Lawson).

WA-Gov: Here’s a good take from Joel Connolly (dean of the local press corps) on the 2012 gubernatorial election in Washington state, which the Beltway press seems to treat like an open book but everyone local knows is going to be between Rep. Jay Inslee and AG Rob McKenna, who’s probably the best shot the GOP has had in decades of winning the governor’s race. (Chris Gregoire can, by law, run for a third term, but, in practice, that would be unheard of even if she weren’t already too unpopular to do so feasibly.)

NY-15: Is the Charles Rangel era actually coming to a close? He’s not ruling out another run in 2012 but saying he’ll have to think about retirement. And in public comments he is actively pointing to a generation of successors, citing state Sens. Adriano Espaillat and Robert Rodriguez, and state Assemblyman Keith Wright. (Although Harlem is the core of the district, it now has more Hispanics than it does African-Americans… and the wild card is that the fastest growing group in this district is white regentrifiers.)

LA-St. Leg.: The hemorrhaging of Dem state legislators to the GOP in Louisiana continues apace, with one of its most prominent state Reps., the mellifluously-named Noble Ellington, sounding about ready to pull the trigger on a switch. He’d follow two state Sens., John Alario and John Smith, who also recently crossed the aisle.

Philly mayor: You’d think that at age 80, you’d want to think about retirement, but not if you’re Arlen Specter, apparently. There’s word of a poll making the rounds (from Apex Research, with no mention of who paid for it or why) that not only links the outgoing Senator to a mayoral run (in the city where he got his start generations ago as the DA) but actually has him in the lead. The poll has Specter at 28, with incumbent Michael Nutter at 19, Sam Katz at 9, Anthony Hardy Williams at 8, Tom Knox at 7, Bob Brady at 6, and Alan Butkovitz (anybody care to let me know who he is?) at 6.

WATN?: Try as he may, Artur Davis just can’t get the douchiness out of his system. On his way to the private sector, he’s still taking the pox-on-both-your-houses approach on his way out the door, writing an op-ed calling for an independent party as the solution to all of Alabama’s woes. Meanwhile, Mariannette Miller-Meeks has landed on her feet, after losing a second run in IA-02 in a rare setback for the Ophthalmologists (who elected at least two more of their own to Congress this year): Terry Branstad just named her head of Iowa’s Dept. of Public Health.

Census: Finally, this may be the most exciting news of the day: we have a reporting date for the first real batch of 2010 Census data. Dec. 21 will be the day the Census Bureau releases its state population counts, which also includes reapportionment data (i.e. how many House seats each state will get… at least prior to the inevitable litigation process among the most closely-bunched states).

MA-Sen: Big Dog for Coakley As Capuano May Be Gaining

With the Democratic primary special election to replace Ted Kennedy set for tomorrow, AG Martha Coakley brought out her biggest gun last, via robocall:

Last night, her campaign announced that President Clinton had recorded the phone message.

“Martha Coakley will go to Washington to fight every day to create good jobs with good benefits and to get health reform with a strong public option,” Clinton says in the message. “You can trust her to get results in the Senate just as she has as your attorney general. This election is very important to Massachusetts. So don’t forget to vote tomorrow and please vote for Martha Coakley.”

Coakley is hoping to blunt some last-minute momentum from Rep. Michael Capuano, at least as seen in his own internal poll from pollster Tom Kiley. Kiley says that Coakley is “around” 35, with Capuano down by 7 points (for presumably 28), with Stephen Pagliuca around 10 and Alan Khazei around 7. This is quite different, naturally, from Coakley’s own internals announced on Friday, where she leads Capuano 41-20, so the question remains: is Capuano within striking distance, or not?

City Year founder Khazei doesn’t look like he’s going to be winning, but his is an interesting story, in terms of the establishment endorsements he picked up along the way. Not only did he get the Boston Globe’s endorsement, but this photo via Politico gives a hint of where the Kennedy family’s heart may lie: it shows Caroline Kennedy in attendance at Michael Bloomberg’s fundraiser for Khazei (although she did not officially endorse or even donate).

RaceTracker Wiki: MA-Sen

NY-SEN: Cuomo 58, Kennedy 27 in PPP Poll

From PPP

When it comes to whether they would prefer to see Kennedy or Andrew Cuomo

appointed, 58% now prefer Cuomo to 27% for Kennedy.  Cuomo is favored by 65% of

Republicans, 59% of independents, and 54% of Democrats.  A PPP survey conducted a

month ago showed Cuomo as the top choice for just 23% of Democrats, compared to

44% who wanted Kennedy.

“When Caroline Kennedy was first mentioned as a possible Senate appointee there was a

lot of enthusiasm among New York Democrats about her,” said Dean Debnam, President

of Public Policy Polling.  “Her reputation has taken a pretty clear hit over the last month,

and if Governor Paterson does end up appointing her she’s going to have some work to

do to overcome this bad first impression she’s made on New York voters.”

57% of New Yorkers view Andrew Cuomo favorably with just 20% having an

unfavorable opinion of him.  For Kennedy the numbers are 44% favorable and 40%


PPP surveyed 700 New York voters on January 3rd and 4th.  The survey’s margin of error

is +/-3.7%.  Other factors, such as refusal to be interviewed and weighting, may introduce

additional error that is more difficult to quantify.  



New York State voters have cooled on Caroline Kennedy and more voters now prefer State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo 31 – 24 percent for Hillary Clinton’s U.S. Senate seat, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today. U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney gets 6 percent, with 5 percent for U.S. Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand, 2 percent for U.S. Rep. Steve Israel, 18 percent for someone else and 14 percent undecided.…

The most striking thing in this poll to me is the lowering of Kennedy’s favorable from a previous poll, and the rapid increase in Cuomo’s favorables and choice of New Yorkers’ of him as the next Senator.

Doesn’t this mean that Patterson should move quickly to appoint, given that he has interviewed about 15 people and because the public is so far in one person’s corner.  

EDIT: Also look at the q poll which shows a smaller margin.

Or is Cuomo not the right person?

NY-Sen-B: Cuomo Now Leads Kennedy as Voters’ Preference

PPP (1/3-4, registered voters):

Andrew Cuomo (D): 58 (23)

Caroline Kennedy (D): 27 (44)

Undecided: 14 (8)

(MoE: ±3.7%)

Something big has happened over the last few weeks in the “race” to succeed Hillary Clinton as New York’s junior senator, according to the trendlines set by the new PPP poll. The Kennedy boomlet seems to have crested and is receding, suggesting that her awkward media rollout and halting answers to questions has prompted something of a backlash. (In fact, 44% of those surveyed state that their opinion of Kennedy has become less favorable since she started publicly campaigning for the seat.)

However, there is one important apples ‘n’ oranges problem here. The month-old PPP poll was a) only of Democrats, rather than all New York voters like this one, and b) included a whole raft of other candidates instead of just the big 2, although none of them polled above the single digits. The month-old Marist poll (which was of registered voters, and found Kennedy and Cuomo tied at 25%, with 26% undecided and the balance going to other candidates) might be a better reference point, although even if you use that as a benchmark, you still have a pretty significant Kennedy collapse. Another approach is to delve into the crosstabs, which indicate in the current sample that Cuomo leads Kennedy 54-34 among Democrats only (with 12% undecided)… again, a pretty steep turnaround.

Of course, there’s only one voter in this race, and if there’s any substance to the trial balloons floated by the Paterson camp last Friday, he may well be on track to pick Kennedy anyway.

Caroline does the NYTimes Q&A.

So Caroline Kennedy (or rather her spokesperson) sent over written answers today to some 15 questions posed by the eb. It’s the first time we’re getting a real feel of her specific political views. The answers are IMO overall mixed leaning positive.

Here are some that stand out:

Q. Does she support state or federal legislation that would legalize same-sex marriage?

A. Caroline supports full equality and marriage rights for gay and lesbian couples.

EXCELLENT. So she starts off to the left of most of the Dem caucus on this one.

Q. Has the North American Free Trade Agreement worked?

A. Caroline believes that Nafta has had unintended, negative consequences in some regions of New York, and that is why she agrees with President-elect Obama that we need to take a careful look at the agreement and pay particular attention to its impact on jobs and wages in American manufacturing communities. She also believes that we must ensure that American communities and workers benefit as we craft new trade agreements.

Eh. She could have made her opposition to NAFTA stronger but ‘protectionist’ is now seen as a dirty word even in Dem circles.

Q. Do you support any federal or state restrictions on gun ownership? If so, which ones?

A. Caroline Kennedy is a strong supporter of gun control. She supports New York City’s and New York State’s gun control laws. On the federal level, she support the Brady Law, and other measures to keep guns out of the hands of minors and criminals.

Oh yes, I’m sure this will endear her to upstaters she so desperately wants to win over. throws up

Q. Do you believe that an undivided Jerusalem must be the national capital of the State of Israel?

A. Yes, Caroline believes that an undivided Jerusalem must be the national capital of the State of Israel.

Pander pander.

Q. Do you support the federal Employee Free Choice Act, otherwise known as the “card-check” bill?

A. Yes, Caroline supports the federal Employee Free Choice Act.

Ah finally! Something good.

Rest of the questions at the link:…

Support for mayoral authority of public schools is probably a consequence of being besties with Bloomberg. She also gives a big fat no to vouchers for private schools. Take that Lieberman!

NY-SEN: Caroline Kennedy to seek Senate seat

Up until this point this story has involved a lot of speculation and not a whole lot of real facts.

It now appears that she is indeed interested in the Senate seat and is taking all of the steps that someone who was seeking a seat like this would take, including reaching out to political figures in New York.…

Like I’ve said before, with her now seeking the seat, I think its going to be difficult for Gov. Patterson to appoint someone like Suozzi or Gillibrand, people whose name ID outside of their constituencies is virtually nil.

NY-Sen-B: Kennedy, Cuomo Way Ahead of Everyone Else

PPP (12/8-9, Democrats)

Caroline Kennedy (D): 44

Andrew Cuomo (D): 23

Kirsten Gillibrand (D): 6

Tom Suozzi (D): 3

Byron Brown (D): 3

Carolyn Maloney (D): 3

Nydia Velazquez (D): 4

Brian Higgins (D): 5

Not sure/someone else: 8

(MoE: ±3.2%)

PPP’s poll of New York Democrats shows a wide showing of support for Caroline Kennedy to replace Hillary Clinton (to the seat once held by Robert F. Kennedy). Now, it could certainly be argued that this is simply a test of name recognition, seeing as how there isn’t any public campaigning for the position; this really isn’t any different than a poll of vice-presidential preferences, since there’s really only one voter that decides the race (David Paterson, in this case). But it suggests that not only is Paterson safe in appointing elective neophyte Kennedy, but that he’d likely receive widespread support for doing so.

Second choice for NY-Sen

Caroline Kennedy (D): 24

Andrew Cuomo (D): 35

Kirsten Gillibrand (D): 4

Tom Suozzi (D): 4

Byron Brown (D): 5

Carolyn Maloney (D): 9

Nydia Velazquez (D): 6

Brian Higgins (D): 5

Not sure/someone else: 9

As an added bonus, PPP also asks respondents their second choices. It looks like Kennedy-then-Cuomo and Cuomo-then-Kennedy are by far the most common configurations (again, assumedly because of their high name recognition), although Carolyn Maloney puts together a surprisingly strong showing (probably thanks to her presence in the NYC media market).

Marist (12/8, registered voters)

Caroline Kennedy (D): 25

Andrew Cuomo (D): 25

Byron Brown (D): 6

Nydia Velazquez (D): 4

Kirsten Gillibrand (D): 4

Carolyn Maloney (D): 3

Tom Suozzi (D): 3

Adolfo Carrion (D): 2

Steve Israel (D): 1

Unsure: 26

(MoE: ±4.5%)

Marist, by contrast, polls registered voters instead of Democrats only, and seems to push leaners less. They find a much closer contest between Kennedy and Cuomo, suggesting a lot of Democratic loyalty to the House of Kennedy. Breakdown by party shows Democrats supporting 31 for Kennedy vs. 21 for Cuomo, while Republican support is 34 for Cuomo and 21 for Kennedy. Kennedy leads in NYC, while Cuomo gets the plurality of support in the suburbs and upstate.