SSP Daily Digest: 6/30

IL-Sen: Here’s a fairly big-name entrant to the Illinois Senate: Chicago Urban League President Cheryle Jackson, who just formed an exploratory committee. Jackson had occasionally been rumored to be interested (to the extent that Jan Schakowksy’s internal poll included her, where she got 17% when explicitly substituted for Burris) but hadn’t taken concrete steps. Jackson has two demographic positives: with Schakowsky out, she’d be the only female in the race (unless, of course, Lisa Madigan gets in, in which case the game would be over anyway), and she’d be the only African-American in the race who isn’t Roland Burris. However, she used to be Rod Blagojevich’s press secretary prior to taking over at the Urban League, so the Blago stench may be hard to wash off.

ND-Sen: All had seemed quiet on the midwestern front, especially after that R2K poll that showed him getting flattened by Byron Dorgan (57-35), but Gov. John Hoeven recently showed at least a peep of interest in running for Senate after all… even if it was just a statement that he was still making up his mind and would decide by September. GOP state chair Randy Emineth said that Hoeven “wants to” run against Dorgan, but we’ll need to actually hear from Hoeven.

NH-Sen: The swabbies at ARG! pointed their spyglasses toward the 2010 open Senate seat in New Hampshire, and find that Rep. Paul Hodes would defeat ex-Sen. John Sununu 40-36. No numbers for the much-hyped AG Kelly Ayotte.

NV-Sen, NV-Gov: In the face of relentless wooing from GOP Senators, Rep. Dean Heller has set a deadline of June 30 to make up his mind about whether he runs for Harry Reid’s Senate seat. (Wait a minute… that’s today!) Heller’s other options include staying in NV-02 or running a primary challenge in the governor’s race — where the younger Reid (Rory, the Clark County Commission chair) seems to be staffing up for the race on the Dem side.

PA-Sen: Joe Torsella, who briefly was running against post-party-switch Arlen Specter in the Democratic primary before dropping out, has endorsed Specter. Not surprising, since Torsella is a big ally of Gov. Ed Rendell, who has pledged his support to Specter.

CT-Gov: More indications that Ned Lamont is getting serious about running for Governor (probably against incumbent Jodi Rell) in 2010. Lamont is looking at an early-2010 deadline for deciding, but can get away with a shorter timeframe as he can self-fund and won’t need a long ramp-up for fundraising.

NJ-Gov (pdf): PPP takes their turn at polling the New Jersey Governor’s race and find about what everyone else has been finding: Chris Christie leads incumbent Jon Corzine 51-41, with Christie benefiting from a 60-26 lead among independent voters. Good news, relatively speaking, for Corzine, though, is that Christie’s negatives are rising quickly as he’s starting to get defined in the media, up to 43% favorable and 33% unfavorable.

SC-Gov: Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer has publicly floated the idea that he would stand down from running in 2010 if he got to be Governor now, if Mark Sanford would just go ahead and resign (please?). His potential 2010 rivals are looking at this as statesman-like grandstanding, especially since it looks like Sanford is digging in.

AK-AL: In case there was any doubt, the indestructible Rep. Don Young has announced that he’s running for re-election. Young is 76 and in perpetual danger of indictment, but with the state’s political talent gravitating toward the Governor’s race, may have an easier path in 2010 than in 2008.

CA-36: Los Angeles City Councilor Janice Hahn has been telling supporters that she’s interested in running for Rep. Jane Harman’s seat. She doesn’t seem to be thinking primary, though; Hahn, for some reason, believes Harman (still under a bit of a cloud from the wiretap incident) is up for appointment to something, maybe Ambassador to Israel, in the Obama administration.

FL-12: State Sen. Paula Dockery made clear that she won’t be running in the 12th; she endorsed former State Rep. Dennis Ross for the job. She seemed to leave the door open to the Governor’s race, saying in her statement that “my passion for public policy is in state government.”

IL-07: With Rep. Danny Davis looking to move over to the Presidency of the Cook County Board, Chicago-area Dems are already eyeing the super-safe open seat. Davis’s former chief of staff Richard Boykin (now a lobbyist for Cook County) seems to be the first to make his interest publicly known.

NH-01 (pdf): Manchester mayor (and NH-01 candidate) Frank Guinta is due for the Bad Samaritan Award, as he watched several of his friends (an alderman and a state Representative) beat up another acquaintance in a barroom brawl, ending with the man’s leg being broken in seven places, and then immediately left the scene without reporting it to the police. Guinta said he was unaware of the extent of the man’s injuries and contacted police at that point. No charges have been filed in the incident; still, not the kind of free publicity a political candidate likes to get.

NY-03, NY-Sen-B: Rep. Peter King is sounding even iffier than before about running for Senate against Kirsten Gillibrand, having scored a desired slot on the Intelligence Committee.

NY-23: Investment banker Matthew Doheny anted up with a lot of cash to jump into the Republican side of the race to replace Rep. John McHugh: $500,000 of his own money. Roll Call reports that he’ll need the ostentatious display of cash to get anywhere in the candidate-picking process, as Assemblypersons Dede Scozzafava and Will Barclay are both reaching out behind the scenes to party leaders.

Redistricting: Regardless of what nonsense happens in the New York Senate this session, it’s looking more and more like the GOP’s toehold on legislative power will be vanquished in post-2010 redistricting, regardless of who controls the legislative redistricting process. Because of growth in the city and declines upstate, 1.2 seats will need to be shifted from downstate to NYC (and, as an added bonus, an extra one-sixth of a seat will shift to the city if the Census Bureau goes ahead and starts counting prisoners according to where they’re actually from rather than where they’re incarcerated).

Fusion Voting: Here’s one way in which Oregon suddenly became a lot more like New York: the state legislature decided to allow “fusion voting,” in which a candidate can run on multiple party lines on one ballot. This will be a boost to minor parties in Oregon, by letting them form coalitions with the major parties instead of simply playing spoiler.

Fundraising: It’s June 30, and you know what that means… it’s the end of the 2nd fundraising quarter. If you want to give some momentum to your favored candidates, today’s the last day to do it.

SSP Daily Digest: 6/24

SC-Gov: You’ve probably already heard, but Mark Sanford finally turned up today, returning not from the Appalachian Trail but freakin’ Argentina, where apparently he decided to go for a spur-of-the-moment visit. Prepare a industrial-sized garbage bag full of popcorn for his 2 pm EDT press conference. [UPDATE: Well, in case you have a computer that only gets SSP and no other news outlets, it turns out that Sanford was in Argentina to break off an affair with an Argentinian woman he’d met via e-mail. He’s very sorry. He’s also resigning as head of the RGA.]

AR-Sen: The Republican field of contenders to take on Blanche Lincoln just keeps getting bigger, and also keeps becoming more and more amateur-hour. Searcy “businessman” Fred Ramey entered the race (he owns a real estate investment company, which is apparently so successful that he also is a driver for Federal Express). Two other unknowns — retired Army colonel Conrad Reynolds and financial advisor Buddy Rogers — have also come forward to say they’re considering the race.

FL-Sen: Mike Huckabee officially endorsed former state House speaker Marco Rubio in the GOP Senate primary today (although he had already made his feelings clear in an earlier e-mail to supporters touting Rubio). Seeking to grab the movement-conservative flag as he looks to take advantage of the growing GOP schism as he heads toward 2012, he also tore into the NRSC, who held a big fundraiser for Charlie Crist on Monday attended by 15 GOP Senators. Says Huck: “The establishment Republicans have made this endorsement for the same reason that they’re in so much trouble. They go out there and support stuff like TARP bills and stimulus packages, pork-barrel spending and huge debt, and they wring their hands and act like, ‘This is not good, but we don’t have a choice.'”

KY-Sen: AG Jack Conway, who’s facing off against Lt. Gov. Dan Mongiardo in the Dem Senate primary, has the endorsement of the state’s entire Democratic U.S. House delegation (all two of them). Ben Chandler and John Yarmuth will both be on hand today for a big Washington DC fundraiser for Conway.

TX-Sen (pdf): Texas Lyceum released a wide-ranging poll of Texans; one question they asked was who people were supporting in the event of a special election for the Senate. Fully 71% were undecided on this as-yet-non-existent race, but of the eight candidates (all asked together, rather than grouped by party), Democratic Houston mayor Bill White had the most support, at 9%. Other Dem contender John Sharp was at 2%; the top GOPers, AG Greg Abbott and LG David Dewhurst, each were at 4%. (They also polled the gubernatorial primary, finding Gov. Rick Perry beating Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison 33-21.)

AK-Gov: Rumblings seem greater in the last few days that Sarah Palin is unlikely to run for a second term as Alaska governor, so that she can focus on a 2012 bid (and, in light of her declining statewide approvals, avoid the possibility of a career-ending loss in the governor’s election). (Potential opponent Andrew Halcro sums it up neatly: “If you’re Palin, once you’ve flown first class, you don’t go back to coach.”) With a recent Pew poll finding that Palin is the nation’s most popular Republican (key: among Republicans), striking while the iron is hot for 2012 makes sense. The DGA is certainly noticing, and they’re now touting Alaska as one of their four big pickup opportunities in a new fundraising e-mail (along with Florida, Georgia, and Minnesota… which might suggest they think California and Hawaii are in the bag).

IL-Gov: A whole lot of longshots are piling up in the GOP column in the Illinois governor’s race, which now includes political consultant and TV commentator Dan Proft. Six other GOPers, none of whom seem known statewide, are already in the hunt.

TX-Gov: State senator Leticia Van de Putte, whose name had cropped up a lot in connection with the Democratic nomination for Governor in recent weeks, released a statement yesterday saying she won’t run. Interestingly, instead of endorsing Tom Schieffer — whose Democratic credentials are kind of iffy — she suggested that fellow state Senator Kirk Watson should run instead.

AL-02: No time for Congress, Dr. Love! Republican State Rep. and 2008 losing candidate Jay Love decided against a rematch with freshman Rep. Bobby Bright. The exit of Love, who barely lost in this R+16 district last time, means that Montgomery city councilor Martha Roby may escape a noxious primary (the GOP’s main problem last time).

CA-11: Two Republican members of the Board of Supervisors of San Joaquin County (where almost half of this R+1 district’s votes are located) endorsed Democratic Rep. Jerry McNerney yesterday, pleased with his constituent services and work to bring a VA hospital to the area.

CA-50: We’re looking at a three-way Democratic primary in this R+3 district in northern San Diego county. Solana Beach city councilor Dave Roberts (a former Brian Bilbray supporter) is considering the race and will decide by July whether to jump in. He’d bring one advantage to his race against two-time candidate Francine Busby and attorney Tracy Emblem: he’s actually been elected to something.

PA-06: PA2010’s Dan Hirschhorn observes that with a series of top-tier hires, Doug Pike is looking more and more like he’ll have the Dem field to himself. Pike has hired Neil Oxman’s Campaign Group to do his media, who’ve worked not only for Gov. Ed Rendell but also for former Senate candidate Joe Torsella and ’02 candidate Dan Wofford — both of whom have had their names tossed around as the most likely other people to run in PA-06. I’d initially assumed the never-before-elected journalist was something of a placeholder until someone higher on the food chain got in the race, but with these hires and the DCCC constantly touting him, it seems clear that Pike is impressing the right people.

PA-15: Good news out of the Lehigh Valley: Bethlehem mayor John Callahan, who a few months ago had rebuffed requests that he run against Rep. Charlie Dent, may have had a change of heart. Callahan has approached Democratic party leaders about the race, and is now reportedly “seriously considering” running in this D+2 district.

TN-03: Attorney and radio talk show host Chuck Fleischmann will formally announce his entry into the GOP primary field today in the Chattanooga-based R+13 3rd. Bradley Co. Sheriff Tim Gobble is already running, and former GOP state chair Robin Smith looks like she’ll get in, too.

NY-St. Sen.: As if the standoff over control of the New York State Senate, tied 31-31, couldn’t get any more embarrassing, yesterday both parties held dueling special sessions… at the same time, in the same room, shouting to be heard over each other, with each side claiming to pass its own bills. Negotations to create a power-sharing arrangement have more or less collapsed.

Voting Rights: Oregon just became the fourth state to allow online voter registration, joining Washington, California, and Arizona. One less reason to have to get up from behind your computer.

SSP Daily Digest: 4/21

CA-32: Chu-mentum! Board of Equalization chair Judy Chu seems to be building up speed as we head toward the May 19 special election. Last week, Chu reported a sizable fundraising edge, raising $823K in the first quarter (compared with $568K for state senate Gil Cedillo and $153K for investment banker Emanuel Pleitez). And now, Chu received the unanimous endorsement of the state Democratic Party over the weekend.

MN-Sen: No real surprise; Norm Coleman filed notice of intent to appeal to the Minnesota Supreme Court. Cost of 1,000 more billable hours: $500,000. Cost of another month of keeping the Democrats down to only 58 votes? Priceless.

PA-Sen: Arlen Specter has picked up another Democratic opponent; Bill Kortz, a member of the state House representing Allegheny County, has announced that he intends to file his statement of candidacy with the FEC soon. Kortz, a relatively fresh legislator (he successfully beat an incumbent Democrat in 2006), may find a statewide primary challenging — Rendell ally Joe Torsella has been in the race for a while and has raised nearly $600K, while other candidates, such as fellow state Rep. Josh Shapiro, are also eyeballing the race. In any event, his first item of business should be to upgrade his website. (J)

MD-Gov: Bob Ehrlich is reportedly weighing a rematch with Martin O’Malley in 2010. If Ehrlich (Maryland’s only Republican governor in the last 30 years) doesn’t run, next in line may be Anne Arundel Co. Executive John Leopold.

OK-Gov: State senator Randy Brogdon announced his run for the GOP gubernatorial nod this weekend, preventing Rep. Mary Fallin from having a clear shot at the nomination (after Rep. Tom Cole declined). A couple bigger names, ex-Rep. J.C. Watts and mmmmaybe Sen. Tom Coburn (who’s been sounding ambivalent about re-election to the senate), may still get in too.

MN-06: There are mixed signals cropping up on whether Elwyn Tinklenberg is angling for a rematch with Archduchess Cuckoobananas Michele Bachmann. The Minnesota Independent says he’s “all but declaring himself a candidate.” On the other hand, he just gave almost $250,000 to the DCCC, suggesting he won’t be using it (unless he’s doing it to make amends for winding up with $500K in the bank at the end of the campaign last year… not exactly his fault, though, since almost all his cash arrived at the very last minute). State senator Taryl Clark is also eyeing the race.

AL-07: The field to replace Artur Davis is getting clearer. Jefferson Co. Commissioner Sheila Smoot launched her campaign. State senate president pro tem Rodger Smitherman, however, said he won’t run. Smoot joins attorney Terri Sewell and state rep. Earl Hilliard Jr.

FL-22: The GOP’s leading recruit to take on Democrat Ron Klein next year, state House Majority Leader Adam Hasner, has decided that a congressional bid is not in the cards for him. (J)

NY-19: GOP Assemblyman Greg Ball, who has been “testing the waters” in anticipation of a congressional bid for months now, will formally announce his candidacy for the seat of two-term Dem Rep. John Hall on May 9th. Ball was previously courted to run for this seat after gajillionaire businessman Andrew Saul unexpectedly terminated his bid against Hall in 2007. (J)

CA-04: Third time’s the charm? Democrat Charlie Brown is telling local activists that he’s actively considering another run for the northeast California seat he narrowly lost last November to GOP wingnut Tom McClintock. Brown says that he expects to make up his mind “by this fall”. (J)

WA-08: The Seattle Times strikes again, going on the early offensive against just-announced Dem candidate Suzan DelBene. Turns out DelBene didn’t vote in nine elections over the last five years (including the 2006 general, where Dave Reichert barely beat Darcy Burner the first time). (On the other hand, better this come out now than Oct. 2010.)

TN-01: Rep. Phil Roe and ex-Rep. David Davis may get a nice Baron Hill/Mike Sodrel-style relationship going. Davis may be gearing up for a third run at Roe in the 2010 GOP primary. (Davis defeated Roe in an overcrowded 2006 primary when this was an open seat, then the slightly-less-conservative Roe defeated Davis in a two-man contest in 2008.)

NM-01: The 2010 race in NM-01 promises to be fun(ereal). Kevin Daniels, owner of a chain of funeral homes, is exploring the race on the GOP side and, if nothing else, has the capacity to self-finance.

Friendship: In the diaries, possumtracker makes a hilarious catch from a recent Hill survey in which all 41 Republican Senators were asked to name the Democrats whom they most enjoy partnering with on legislation. While most of the Senators gave thoughtful (and sometimes surprising) answers, Kentucky’s Jim Bunning could only muster up one word in response to the idea of collaborating with a Demmycrat: “No.” (J)

SSP Daily Digest: 4/16

NY-20 (pdf): There’s light at the end of the tunnel in the NY-20 count, and as we get closer, Scott Murphy’s numbers keep going up. This morning’s BoE tally gives him a lead of 167, following the addition of more votes from Columbia, Dutchess, and Warren Counties (all of which Murphy won on Election Day).

Apparently all Saratoga County votes are accounted for, except for 700 challenged ballots, which, thanks to yesterday’s court ruling, will be counted. (While Saratoga County in general is Jim Tedisco’s turf, the Tedisco camp’s heavy use of challenges of student votes suggests that these votes may include a lot of votes from artsy Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, which one would expect to lean Democratic.)

CO-Sen: Finally, a GOPer commits to the Colorado senate race against appointee Michael Bennet. It’s Aurora city councilor Ryan Frazier, who made his announcement while teabagging in Grand Junction. Frazier is 31 and African-American, so he brings an interesting backstory to the race, but it’s unclear whether his strength among conservative activists can overcome his otherwise low profile in the GOP primary (assuming anyone else bothers to show up).

FL-Sen: Quinnipiac takes another look at the Florida senate race; not much has changed since last time, although one noteworthy finding is that Floridians would prefer to see Charlie Crist remain as governor rather than jump to senate, by a 42-26 margin. That doesn’t stop him from crushing in the senate primary (Crist beats Marco Rubio and Vern Buchanan 54-8-8). Buchanan leads a Crist-free primary, while on the Dem side, Kendrick Meek narrowly leads Pam Iorio (16-15, with 8 for Ron Klein, 5 from Dan Gelber, and a whole lotta undecideds).

PA-Sen: John Peterson isn’t a make-or-break endorsement, but the former GOP representative from rural PA-05 said that he won’t support Arlen Specter’s re-election bid in 2010. He stopped short of endorsing Pat Toomey (Peterson supported Specter in the 2004 primary), but said it was time for Specter to retire. In other completely unsurprising endorsement news, the Club for Growth (of which Pat Toomey was president until several days ago) today endorsed Toomey’s bid. Laugh all you want, but Toomey will need all the financial help he can get; Specter hauled in $1.3 million in Q1 and is sitting on $6.7 million CoH.

TX-Sen: Our friends at Burnt Orange Report have a nice graph showing Bill White and John Sharp dominating the fundraising chase so far in the hypothetical Texas senate race. (The chart doesn’t include GOP heavyweights Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and AG Greg Abbott, who haven’t taken formal steps for the race, but whose cash stashes are state-specific, putting them back to fundraising square one if they ran for senate.)

CT-Sen: If Chris Dodd is going to win again in 2010, it’s going to be on the back of money, not popularity. Luckily, he still has lots of the former, as big-money donors aren’t being scared off by his poll numbers: he raised $1 million in the first quarter, with $1.4 million CoH.

MN-Sen (pdf): Minnesotans would like the madness to stop, and would like to have a 2nd senator. PPP finds that 63% think that Norm Coleman should concede right now, and 59% (including 54% of independents) think Tim Pawlenty should sign Al Franken’s certificate of election right now. (This should give Pawlenty some pause as to whether or not to create further delay in the name of partisan politics, as he’s about the only person left who can drag this out.)

MO-Sen: Roy Blunt raised $542K in the first quarter, only about half of what Robin Carnahan raised. Our JeremiahTheMessiah came up with the best possible headline for this story:

Carnahan Smokes Blunt… In Fundraising

GA-Gov: As reported in the diaries yesterday by fitchfan28, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle dropped out of the gubernatorial race, citing health concerns. Cagle was more-or-less front-runner, and his departure leaves SoS Karen Handel and Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine to slug it out for the GOP.

IL-10, PA-07: Two huge fundraising hauls (by House standards) from two candidates who may be looking to move up. Mark Kirk, who pulled in $696K in the first quarter, is supposed to decide soon whether or not to try for IL-Sen. (He has only $597K CoH, though, after burning through all his cash defending his seat in 2008. So he may just be raising hard in expectation of another top-tier challenge in 2010 in this blue district.)

Joe Sestak raised $550K in the first quarter, leaving him sitting on a mongo $3.3 million. Could this… plus his suddenly increased media presence, as he talks the defense budget and Don’t Ask Don’t Tell… be tea leaves that he may be the Dem who jumps into PA-Sen after all? (Sestak has previously declined, and he’s always been mentioned as an afterthought in this race after Allyson Schwartz and Patrick Murphy. But neither of them have made any moves, leaving Joe Torsella the only Dem challenger so far.)

Numbers: California’s Secretary of State office finally released its Supplement to the Statement of Vote, heaven for nerds. Now you can look up Presidential and Prop 8 votes not just by congressional district, but by state senate or assembly district or even Board of Equalization district.

PA-Sen: The Potential Democratic Primary Pool

{Originally posted with poll at my blog Senate Guru.  Head over to vote in the poll.}

With conservative former Congressman Pat Toomey set to challenge incumbent Arlen Specter in the 2010 Republican Senate primary, I think it’s safe to assume that we’ll see a bloodbath in which Specter is labeled a convictionless flip-flopper and Toomey is dubbed an unelectable right-winger.  No doubt both Specter and Toomey will spend the bulk of their resources just to get through the primary, leaving the eventual Republican nominee politically battered and financially near-broke, having to re-build a bankroll from almost scratch.

Naturally, this raises the question: who do you want the Democratic nominee to be?  With the Republican nominee starting the general election in rough shape from a bloody primary, and with Pennsylvania Democrats continuing to grow their voter registration edge over Pennsylvania Republicans, Democrats are in the driver’s seat.  Without further ado, here is the cattle call of potential candidates, in alphabetical order:

District Attorney Lynne Abraham

During late-December of last year, both KYW Newsradio 1060 Philadelphia and CBS-3 Philadelphia reported that District Attorney Abraham was considering a bid.  As for bio, she was head of the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority in the 1970’s and subsequently a judge on the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas.  She has been District Attorney of the City of Philadelphia since 1991 and has won four elections during her tenure – but she has already announced that she is not running for re-election to the post this year.  A knock on her as a candidate, though, is related to the strength of her resume: in 2010, she will turn 69-years-old.  I don’t imagine she’d plan on seeking several six-year terms to build her seniority.

State Representative Dwight Evans

The 54-year-old State Representative is a powerhouse in the state Legislature as the Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, having served in the state House for nearly thirty years, but has also had his share of electoral losses.  He finished third in the 1986 Democratic primary for Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor, finished third in the 1994 Democratic gubernatorial primary, and had fifth-place showings in two crowded Philadelphia Mayoral runs in 1999 and 2007.  Still as the Democrats’ Appropriations chief for nearly twenty of his thirty years in the state House, he has wielded considerable power for a long time.  The Executive Director of the PA-Dems was talking Representative Evans up this past January as a possible 2010 Senate candidate.  Representative Evans has done a great deal to improve Philadelphians’ lives, but has had difficulty translating that success in bids for higher office.

Congressman Patrick Murphy

At only 35-years-old, Congressman Murphy, an Iraq War veteran now serving his second term in Congress, is considered a rising star in the Party.  Some of his pluses are quite obvious: his military experience brings unique perspective and his relative youth would allow him to build seniority over the years for Pennsylvania.  According to the National Journal’s 2008 Vote Ratings, Congressman Murphy was the 187th most liberal member and the 240th most conservative member – in other words, he was fairly centrist.  Given the political carnage that is expected at the end of Specter-Toomey: The Sequel, PA-Dems may want to elect someone more liberal than Congressman Murphy has been.  Also, while Congressman Murphy appears to be a more-than-decent fundraiser, as of the end of 2008, he had just under $150,000 on hand, with just over $100,000 in debt, which means he’s starting from nearly scratch on the money front.

Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz

Now serving in her third term, Congresswoman Schwartz is one of only two women in Pennsylvania’s Congressional delegation.  Her bio includes: executive director of the Elizabeth Blackwell Center, a Planned parenthood clinic in Philadelphia, ’75-’88; acting Deputy Commissioner of the Philadelphia Department of Human Services, ’88-’90; State Senator, ’91-’04; Congresswoman, ’05-present.  According to the National Journal’s 2008 Vote Ratings, Congresswoman Schwartz was the 112th most liberal member and the 316th most conservative member, i.e.she was a bit to Congressman Murphy’s political left.  Also, known for being a strong fundraiser, she closed out 2008 with just under $2 million on hand and no debt.  On Election Day 2010, Congresswoman Schwartz will be 62-years-old, suggesting perhaps only a tenure of two-terms tops if she ran.

Congressman Joe Sestak

The 57-year-old military veteran is in his second term in Congress.  After graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1974, Congressman Sestak picked up an M.P.A. and a Ph.D. from Harvard before embarking on an impressive naval career.  According to the National Journal’s 2008 Vote Ratings, Congressman Sestak was the 150th most liberal member and the 277th most conservative member, putting him in between Congressman Murphy and Congresswoman Schwartz in the ranking.  Also a very solid fundraiser, Congressman Sestak ended 2008 with over $2.9 million on hand and no debt.  Back in December, Congressman Sestak’s office suggested that he wouldn’t be a candidate for Senate in 2010; however, with the new political dynamic of the combative Republican primary, perhaps Congressman Sestak might reconsider.

State Representative Josh Shapiro

Like Congressman Murphy, Representative Shapiro is only 35-years-old.  He is in his third term in the state Legislature, and was named Deputy Speaker of the House in his second term.  Prior to his time in the state Legislature, Representative Shapiro spent about eight years on Capitol Hill working for several elected officials, including service as Chief of Staff to Congressman Joe Hoeffel, Arlen Specter’s last Democratic opponent.  Representative Shapiro has met with the DSCC to discuss a possible bid; and, he has begun an aggressive outreach campaign to determine whether or not he’ll run.

State Board of Education Chairman Joe Torsella

The 45-year-old Torsella has worn many hats: state Board of Education Chairman, President and CEO of the National Constitution Center, and Deputy Mayor for Policy and Planning for the City of Philadelphia under then-Mayor and now-Governor Ed Rendell.  He also ran for Congress in 2004 and narrowly lost the Democratic primary to now-Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz, who won her first term in that election cycle.  He is also the only announced candidate for Senate in 2010 on the Democratic side, though he has yet to launch a campaign website (that I can find, anyway) despite having announced two months ago.  It is rumored that Torsella enjoys the support of Governor Rendell’s political machine behind the scenes.  Through contacts from his numerous civic roles and possible assistance from the Rendell machine, Torsella was able to raise a respectable $600,000 in Q1 (having only started campaign fundraising in mid-February).  The amount is enough to demonstrate capable fundraising, but far from strong enough to scare off primary challengers, especially members of Congress with seven-figure campaign bankrolls.

State Auditor Jack Wagner

Auditor Wagner began serving as a statewide official in this capacity in 2005, succeeding Bob Casey Jr., who, of course, defeated Republican Rick Santorum for Senate in 2006.  Prior to his tenure as Auditor, Wagner spent a little over a decade in the Pennsylvania state Senate.  Auditor Wagner is also a Purple Heart recipient from his time with the Marine Corps in Vietnam.  Auditor Wagner is the only person on this list from western Pennsylvania, which could provide a geographic advantage.  On Election Day 2010, Auditor Wagner will be 62-years-old, like Congresswoman Schwartz, suggesting a limit to his possible tenure in the Senate.  Additionally, it’s been reported that Auditor Wagner has told friends that he will not run for the Senate seat.

Former State Treasurer Robin Wiessmann

Former Treasurer Wiessman had a largely financial services background before filling the remainder of Bob Casey’s Treasurer term after he ascended to the U.S. Senate.  She spent the 90’s as President of Artemis Capital Group and went on to serve as a Vice-president at Goldman Sachs.  She also put in a stint as Deputy Director of Finance for the City of Philadelphia.  If Wiessman was interested in a prolonged political career, one suspects that she would have run for Treasurer last year instead of ceding the office, though.  If she does decide to run, fundraising won’t be as difficult as it would be for other first-time candidates as her husband is reportedly a major Democratic fundraiser.

With Governor Ed Rendell serious about retiring from electoral politics and with current state Treasurer Rob McCord in only his fourth month in the role and having expressed no interest in a Senate bid thus far, this appears to be the pool from which a Democratic nominee will arise.  You’re encouraged to make your case for your candidate in the comments.  If there is someone you would like to see as the Democratic nominee in PA-Sen who hasn’t been listed, share your thoughts in the comments, as well.

SSP Daily Digest: 4/15

Special Teabaggers’ edition of the digest…

NY-20 (pdf): The morning update on the NY-20 absentee count finds Scott Murphy padding his skimpy lead a bit, up to 168. There was a partial report of absentees from Warren County (one of the strongholds of the Murphy clan), and the expected report from Saratoga County (Tedisco country) didn’t materialize, so this may be only a temporary surge. Democratic number crunchers, starting with Nate Silver, are sounding increasingly sanguine about the direction the absentee ballots are taking, though. Nate projects about a 500-vote margin for Murphy when all is said and done.

The Albany Project has been all over the sudden increase in ballot challenges by the Tedisco camp (who’ve moved to challenge second-home voters and student voters in the last few days). In the battle of perceptions, however, the GOP may have gone a fridge too far with their latest step, challenging the absentee ballot of NY-20’s favorite resident, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. Gillibrand visited the Great Orange Satan and HuffPo to blog about her experience.

MO-Sen: Polls have given SoS Robin Carnahan a commanding position in the open Missouri senate race, and now she has fundraising numbers to match, posting $1,048,000 in the first quarter.

OH-Sen: There’s one other SoS running for an open senate seat who didn’t fare so well, though. Jennifer Brunner pulled in a surprisingly low $200,000. That may pick up once she gets the expected EMILY’s List endorsement, but it leaves her lagging behind Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher, who raised more than $1 million and is already wearing the mantle of ‘establishment’ Dem candidate.

PA-Sen: Joe Torsella, who’s never held elective office before but is well-connected in Philadelphia’s corridors of power, reported a solid $584,000 in an abbreviated Q1 (only since mid-February).

OK-Sen: Are you there, God? It’s me, Tom Coburn. I can’t decide whether or not to run for re-election. (He says he’s not playing games; it’s a “spiritual thing.”) The Club for Growth, in their first act since Chris “Count” Chocola took over, endorsed Coburn today, though.

TX-Gov: Kinky Friedman, who got 12% of the vote as an independent in the chaotic 2006 Texas governor’s race, is doing it again, and this time he’s running in the Democratic primary. It’s unclear whether this will work to Friedman’s advantage, since a lot of his support comes from Paulists, Naderites, and other assorted weirdos who may not be registered Democrats, and Tom Schieffer gives Dem voters a ‘normal’ option.

FL-10: Bill Young is always on ‘most likely’ to retire lists, but the 78-year-old is giving a little more fodder for that mill with today’s fundraising report. He raised only $7,100 in the first quarter, sitting on $412K CoH. (He only raised $15K in Q1 of 2007, though, and won easily in 2008.)

MI-09: Joe Knollenberg won’t be back for a rematch against Gary Peters, who unseated him in 2008, but his former chief of staff will. Paul Welday, who’s also a former Oakland County GOP chair, will challenge him in 2010. Welday lost a race for the state house in 2008.

PA-Sen: Torsella Is In

Arlen Specter has his first confirmed challenger for 2010, but it’s not Allyson Schwartz or Patrick Murphy (the two names you usually see associated with this race): it’s Joe Torsella. He hasn’t held elective office before, but he’s a local mover and shaker in Philadelphia: he was, until very recently, CEO of the National Constitution Center, and before that, Ed Rendell’s deputy mayor.

Torsella’s interest in the Senate seat has always struck me as being a little above his pay grade (his only run for office was the primary for the open seat in PA-13 in 2004, which he lost to Schwartz; he was also reportedly wooed for the PA-06 candidacy in 2008). He does have one huge asset in his corner, though: Governor Ed Rendell. With Rendell having given no indication of interest in the Senate, Torsella is basically running as a Rendell proxy, and should have access to all the levers of Rendell’s machinery. Time will tell whether that will be enough to overcome the better-known Schwartz (and/or Murphy) in the primary, though.

PA-06: House Recruitment Thread

We’re going to fire up a new project here at Swing State Project, now that we’ve churned through the competitive senate and gubernatorial races in our statewide recruiting threads. We’re moving on to the House races where we’re facing the most vulnerable Republicans. We’ll be turning to the Vulnerability Index that I put together last week as a means of seeing who exactly those vulnerable Republicans are.

Actually, it’s not an entirely new project, as last week diarist peebles put up a couple very good diaries on this topic, on two of our best pickup opportunities in 2010, LA-02 and MN-03. Based on the traffic these diaries got, it’s a topic that belongs on the front page, and we’ll be discussing other top pickup possibilities in coming days.

So with LA-02 already discussed, let’s turn to what the numbers tell me is the 2nd most vulnerable seat: PA-06. Jim Gerlach, despite his moderate record, has labored to hold onto this D+2 seat in Philadelphia’s western suburbs. His margins have never broken out of the low single digits, even when faced with a little-known second-tier opponent like Bob Roggio in 2008. Added to the mix is the possibility that Gerlach, fed up with close races and the possibility of a redistricting-related demise in 2012, may be looking to vacate this seat to run for the governor’s seat in 2010. This would leave an open seat where Dems might well be favored (although longtime state representative Curt Schroder has dibs on the GOP nomination, and could be a strong opponent).

With that in mind, here are some possible Democratic contenders for the seat:

Bob Roggio: We’ve had a good deal of fun at SSP at Roggio’s expense, but you have to admit that he performed very well, in the final accounting, as an underfunded opponent starting out virtually unknown (coming closer than, say, Dan Seals or Darcy Burner, who had the big money and familiarity advantages while running in similar districts). Roggio himself says that he was feeling 50-50 about running again, if Gerlach didn’t run.

Joe Torsella: This is the same Joe Torsella you sometimes see mentioned in the context of the 2010 Senate race, where he’d be a major underdog. He was deputy mayor of Philadelphia under Ed Rendell in his early 30s, was director of the National Constitution Center for a decade until last month (indicating something’s brewing), and lost to Allyson Schwartz in the PA-13 primary to replace Joe Hoeffel. He was rumored to have been a 2008 candidate; he certainly seems interested in running for something next time, and PA-06 seems more within his pay grade than the Senate.

Christopher Casey: Seems like there’s a Casey waiting to go in almost every district, and that’s good, as the Casey name is still golden. Christopher is brother to the current senator, and is an attorney in Philly (though a Chester County resident). He turned down DCCC recruitment efforts for the 2008 election.

Andy Dinniman: There’s not much of a bench of state senators to draw from in this district (indicating that we still have a long way to go in turning the Philly burbs blue at the legislative and county courthouse levels). Dinniman, from West Chester in the 19th Senate district, turned down the chance to run in 2008. The only other Dem senator who may (or may not) be in this district is Michael O’Pake from Reading in the 11th Senate district. (Reading is gerrymandered in half, to keep its minority populations out of PA-06, so O’Pake may reside in PA-16. Also, he’s in the Dem minority leadership in the Senate, and may be focused on staying there.) Democratic state representatives in this district include Paul Drucker from Tredyffrin Twp. and Dave Kessler from Boyertown.

Melissa Fitzgerald: The former West Wing actress, who has local connections to the district, was reportedly interested in the race last time, but eventually faded from view. Other names that burbled up in the search that eventually gave us Bob Roggio, who could resurface, include Larry Platt, a Philadelphia magazine editor, and Mike Leibowitz, a Montgomery County real estate executive who lost the MontCo Dems endorsement to Roggio.

UPDATE: One other name that I hadn’t considered, but has been suggested both in a comment from a PA-06 resident and in an e-mail from an in-the-know tipster, is Dan Wofford, son of ex-Sen. Harris Wofford and the 2002 candidate who barely lost in Gerlach’s first race. He’s been out of the limelight since then, but apparently is considering another shot.

Any Pennsylvanians out there have any other scuttlebutt or ideas?