NYC-Mayor: Thompson to Run Again in 2013; NY-Sen-B: Harold Ford, Srsly?

Still more big news today:

Former Comptroller William C. Thompson Jr., who lost to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg in an unexpectedly close race in November, said on Tuesday that he had decided to run for mayor again in four years.

“I am not running for office this year; it is my intention to run for mayor in 2013,” he said in an interview. “While I have been flattered by the large number of people who have reached out to me to suggest that I run statewide this year, the issues I raised in New York City – the need for good-paying jobs and closing the affordability gap – those are issues I still feel strongly about.”

“While it’s a great state, I grew up in the city and love the city, and feel like I am uniquely qualified to be the mayor,” he said.

This is certainly one of the earliest imaginable announcements for any race, well, ever – but it’s probably the strongest move Thompson can make. All of the other races he was reportedly considering – against Kirsten Gillibrand for Senate, against Tom DiNapoli for state Comptroller, or against Charlie Rangel for the 15th CD House seat – would have involved primarying an incumbent, and a loss in any of those would likely have been a career-ender. Thompson may yet have to deal with a contested Dem primary for the mayoral race in four years’ time, but with this announcement, he’s the instant front-runner, and probably gives pause to other would-be contenders.

The person probably happiest about this right now is Gillibrand, who has managed to avoid primary challenges from a whole hell of a lot of people. The unhappiest? I’m guessing Rep. Anthony Weiner. While I’d expect him to try running again in 2013, Thompson now has a lot of cred as the guy who dared to take on Bloombo (and almost won) when no one else was willing. I’m not generally one to care about “waiting one’s turn,” but I think a lot of people who matter will feel that Thompson has earned a second shot, while Weiner bailed when the chips were down.

But about that Gillibrand streak of luck

Encouraged by a group of influential New York Democrats, Harold Ford Jr., the former congressman from Tennessee, is weighing a bid to unseat Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand in this fall’s Democratic primary, according to three people who have spoken with him.

Mr. Ford, 39, who moved to New York three years ago, has told friends that he will decide whether to run in the next 45 days. The discussions between Mr. Ford and top Democratic donors reflect the dissatisfaction of some prominent party members with Ms. Gillibrand, who has yet to win over key constituencies, especially in New York City.

About a dozen high-profile Democrats have expressed interest in backing a candidacy by Mr. Ford, including the financier Steven Rattner, who, along with his wife, Maureen White, has been among the country’s most prolific Democratic fund-raisers.

When this story first “broke,” I thought it had to be some kind of joke – sort of like Bob Kerrey’s absurd (and mercifully brief) flirtation with the idea for running for NYC mayor in 2005. But somehow, it looks like this crazy Ford idea is quite a bit more real than that. I simply can’t imagine how Ford, an extremely conservative Southerner who ran for office in Tenneesse just three years ago, could have much appeal to New York Democrats. While the comparisons to Hillary Clinton are inevitable, I think there are a hell of a lot more differences than similarities.

In any event, if Ford does run, nothing could make me want to support Gillibrand (about whom I’ve been quite lukewarm) more. I suspect a whole lot of other people and organizations will be similarly motivated. Ultimately, it sounds like Ford is being propelled by wealthy interests similar to those which backed Tom Suozzi in his suicidal run against Eliot Spitzer in the 2006 gubernatorial primary. While Gillibrand’s lock on the nomination isn’t quite as secure as Spitzer’s was, I think these moneybags will see their dollars run into a stiff wall of grassroots and establishment resistance. Democratic primary politics in New York state ain’t beanbag.

No Sleep till Brooklyn: Why Bill Thompson isn’t Mayor(-elect)

A few threads back, there was a lively discussion about voting patterns in Brooklyn, and how that impacted the 2009 mayoral race.

Thanks to David who worked his lawyerly Freedom-of-Information magic, we got some precinct results to look at.

I compared Thompson’s performance to Obama’s performance, and the results are pretty stark as to where the areas of relative strength are for each candidate.

So the baselines first:

Obama beat McCain by 59.27%; he earned 79.34% to McCain’s 20.07%. 2,613,944 total votes were cast.

Thompson lost to Bloomberg by 4.38%; he earned 46.33% to Bloombo’s 50.71%. 1,154,505 votes were cast, meaning turnout was 44% of 2008 turnout.

Maps (what else do I post here?) and more over the flip.

So here are Obama and Thompson’s absolute performances in the city.

Obama’s performance we already knew about, but a few striking aspects of Thompson’s performance:

  • Upper East Siders lurve them some Bloombo.

  • Whites in the Bronx voted for Bloomberg.

  • Hispanics voted mostly for Thompson (though not to the levels they voted for Freddy Ferrer, I would posit).

  • Blacks stayed strongly loyal to Thompson, with slight drop-offs visible in Brooklyn and East Queens.

  • Staten Island stayed Staten Island.

More interestingly, here is a comparison of Obama and Thompson’s absolute performances. A more intense blue indicates a stronger Obama performance; a deeper red indicates a stronger Thompson performance.

Obviously, most of the map is some shade of blue, since Obama’s margin was 63.65% greater than Thompson’s. Even given this, there are still two visible clusters of red in Brooklyn: Williamsburg and Borough Park. Thompson still lost these precincts by a decent margin, but he improved over Obama despite the tide moving 64% in the other direction. I took this as evidence of the Hasidic Jewish community’s growing dislike of Bloomberg, which had been mentioned a few times before the election.

On the flipside, as you would expect, Manhattan and Brooklyn Heights are home to the Obama-Bloomberg voters, especially on the Upper East and West Sides, in Midtown, and down in the Financial District.

The lighter shades of blue are in East Queens and Central Brooklyn – mostly majority-black precincts that went strongly for both.

Another interesting cluster of these, though, is on the South Shore of Staten Island; Thompson’s performance didn’t fall all that much off from Obama’s (admittedly already weak) performance there. It seems there, though, that the voters are more reflexively Republican than those in Southern Brooklyn, where Obama seemed to be a particularly bad fit. (backup evidence: Stephen Cymbrowitz and Carl Kruger are elected from those areas in Brooklyn. Southern Staten Island elects two Republicans to the Assembly/Senate, Lou Tobacco and Andrew Lanza).

Alternatively, this can be shown in graph form. Obama’s margin on the x-axis; Thompson’s on the y-axis.

Now any monkey could have told you generally a stronger Obama performance is correlated with a stronger Thompson performance, but the exceptions to that general rule are evident here as well. The large cluster of green on the bottom right are those previously mentioned Manhattan precincts, while the dispersed red dots towards the middle and lower left are the Brooklyn precincts in which Thompson actually improved. (Incidentally, yellow represents Staten Island, orange for the Bronx, and blue for Queens). The bright green line is the even-performance line.

Now two more maps of interest, each candidate’s performance relative to their citywide cumulative total (Obama first, then Thompson).

Obama did well throughout the city, a strong Obama performance was the norm. You don’t see many places darker than light blue, simply because you can’t get more than 100% of the vote! Where Obama underperformed, he really underperformed. You see this in Suburban Queens and also Middle Village/Maspeth, and of course Southern Brooklyn and Staten Island.

Thompson’s performance really varied much more. He overperformed in many places, and underperformed in many places as well; these deviations are of much more equal magnitude. Again, as we’ve realized, Thompson’s weakest area was the Upper East Side.

So all this poses the question, what happened?

Well, in three words, Thompson’s turnout problem.

Conventional wisdom dictates that minorities (who are actually a majority in NYC) turn out less in general. While this may or may not be true, I normalized and considered 2009 turnout as a percentage of 2008 turnout.

The results, first at the precinct level. The same color codes apply as before for borough. Turnout as a percentage of 2008 turnout is expressed on the x-axis; the Thompson-Bloomberg margin on the y-axis. (Turnout dropped most in the Bronx, in case you’re wondering.)

You see a general effect of center left to lower right, suggesting stronger Bloomberg performances being correlated with greater turnout. This effect is even more pronounced when we consolidate to an assembly district level:

It’s not pretty. For you stats geeks out there, the correlation on that bad boy is -0.77. Ouch.

Incidentally, that one AD with the lowest drop-off? None other than Dov Hikind’s 48th AD. Turnout there was lower there in 2008, but those that voted in 2008 were most likely to have voted again in 2009.

As a parting thought, take solace (or anguish) in this: if turnout had dropped to the 44% figure I mentioned at the start equally across the city, Thompson would have won, 49.16% to 48.00%.

Having arrived at Brooklyn, I’m going to sleep. I realize I owe you a proposed set of New York Senate districts. I just need to write the diary. I’ll get around to it…eventually.

SSP Daily Digest: 12/21

A special early morning edition of the digest!

NY-Sen-B: Will he or won’t he? The New York Daily News gets in touch with Rudy Giuliani’s friends and confidants to take the pulse of his ethereal Senatorial aspirations. The totally shocking consensus: Expect Rudy to quietly exit the electoral stage. Meanwhile, ex-NYC Comptroller Bill Thompson refuses to rule out a primary challenge to Kirsten Gillibrand.

IA-Gov: Former GOP Gov. Terry Branstad will formally launch his campaign to topple Democrat Chet Culver in January. Branstad also recently gave Christian Fong, a Cedar Rapids insurance company exec who was briefly in the running for Governor himself earlier in the year, a thorough sniff test. Branstad is rumored to be interested in tapping Fong to be his running mate.

IN-Gov/IN-09: It looks like we can close the book on one of the sillier NRCC-promoted retirement “rumors” of the holiday season, as Dem Rep. Baron Hill said on Saturday that he’s running for another term. However, Hill confirms that he’s giving a gubernatorial bid in 2012 a long look. That might not be a bad idea for him; with redistricting looming around the corner, there’s a very real possibility that state Republicans will skunk up his district beyond recognition.

FL-08: Frosh Dem Rep. Alan Grayson, continuing his quest to bring great ideas back to Congress, has filed a request with the Department of Justice to investigate and jail Republican activist Angie Langley for setting up the Grayson-themed “” website. Apparently, Grayson is upset that Langley is implying that she’s one of his constituents. Somehow, I suspect that all that Grayson is accomplishing here is giving “” more opportunities to be plugged in the media.

NC-05: Local radio host Billy Kennedy, a former member of the NC Democratic Party executive committee, is “seriously considering” challenging Teabagger Queen Virginia Foxx after being urged to look at the race by local activists.

TN-06: While Democrats have yet to find a warm body to replace retiring Rep. Bart Gordon, the GOP primary between state Sens. Diane Black and Jim Tracy is producing some early friction. Black was forced to apologize on Friday for sending out a fundraising email under a government template that included her legislative contact information and an implied list of endorsements from GOP leaders — including Tracy himself. (Former Rutherford County GOP Chair Lou Ann Zelenik is also in the race, proudly reppin’ the lunatic wing of the GOP.)

VA-02: Rep. Glenn Nye the Incumbent Guy, one of the ripest targets of the Democratic class of 2008, has shed a challenger, though it was one of his more inconsequential opponents. Attorney Chuck Smith, a former Marine, has dropped out of the race and endorsed automotive executive Scott Rigell in the GOP primary.

NY-Sen-B: Two New Polls Differ Widely in Gillibrand-Thompson Matchup

Speculation about outgoing NYC Comptroller Bill Thompson’s future has been all over the place. Rumors include a run for state comptroller, a run for Charlie Rangel’s House seat, a second run for mayor in 2013, or a primary challenge to appointed Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. That last possibility is the subject of two new polls, which offer widely differeing results.

Quinnipiac (12/7-13, registered voters, no trendlines):

Kirsten Gillibrand (D-inc): 28

Bill Thompson (D): 41

Other: 1

Undecided: 28

(MoE: ±3.7%)

As you might expect, Thompson cleans up among black voters, 65-11. Interestingly, he also leads among women, 39-28. Gillibrand gets good favorables among Democrats (34-7), but Thompson, probably by virtue of his recent mayoral campaign, is even better known among members of his own party (45-6). In the state as a whole, both Dems have pretty low name rec, with Gillibrand at just 26-15 faves and Thompson at 25-10. (This almost certainly explains why both are shown losing to non-candidate Rudy Giuliani – Gillibrand is down 50-40, and Thompson is down 52-36.)

Siena (PDF) (12/6-9, registered voters, no trendlines):

Kirsten Gillibrand (D-inc): 32

Bill Thompson (D): 23

Harold Ford (D): 7

Jonathan Tasini (D): 3

Undecided: 35

(MoE: ±5.5%)

Somewhat hilariously, Siena tested Harold Ford (yeah, that Harold Ford) – hopefully this is the last we’ll hear of that nonsense. In any event, while the Dem head-to-head margins diverge considerably, both pollsters show Gillibrand with similar levels of support. Also, some of the favorables (PDF) don’t look too different. Gillibrand is 31-22 overall and 35-18 among Dems, while Thompson is at 25-17 and 32-16 (that last number differs the most). Gillibrand nets similar numbers against Rudy (49-42), but edges Pataki (46-43), while Thompson loses 56-34 and 49-36, respectively.

So it’s hard to say what exactly is going on here. Polling folks with such low name recognition can be tricky. What’s more, neither Siena nor Quinnipiac divulges their sample composition (come on, guys), so we can’t judge who best has their finger on the pulse of the state. I’ll also note that Siena had a smaller sample than Q – exactly how small, I’m not sure, because they didn’t reveal their Dem-only sample size. But Quinnipiac tested more Dems (719) than Siena’s entire sample (665). (UPDATE: Siena’s Dem sample size was 315.) Anyhow, this may all be moot if Thompson doesn’t take the plunge, but food for thought nonetheless.

SSP Daily Digest: 11/27

Post-Thanksgiving food coma = digest on a diet.

FL-Sen: The 99th-most senior senator in the United States, George LeMieux, has been working his new colleagues on behalf of Charlie Crist. After James Inhofe endorsed Marco Rubio, LeMieux began trying to play the role of gatekeeper, urging other fellow senators to see him first before picking sides. Supposedly, LeMieux has told some of these people that a “shoe was about to drop” in the race – but the Miami Herald’s use of the past tense in that quasi-quote has me wondering if some expected bombshell failed to go off.

IL-Sen: As the bank owned by Alexei Giannoulias and his family started failing over the last couple of years, it nonetheless paid out $70 million in dividends to him and his siblings. Giannoulias claims he only personally received a “minimal” portion of those dividends – except by minimal, he means $2.5 million. Unsurprisingly, his opponent David Hoffman is hammering him about this.

NY-Sen-B: Chatter is heating up about NYC Comptroller Bill Thompson’s future. The NYT reports that folks close to Thompson say he’s considering one of three options: challenging Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, challenging state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, or taking a breather and running for mayor again in 2013. The article focuses most heavily on a potential matchup with Gillibrand. Not only have her poll numbers been anemic, but the White House would probably have a hard time trying to dissuade Thompson, given that their public attempt to push another African American, Gov. David Paterson, out of his race.

In related news on the GOP side, Larchmont Mayor Elizbeth Feld said she’s considering a run. Feld got crushed in a run for the state Senate’s 37th district seat last year.

CA-50: Solano Beach City Councilman Dave Roberts is dropping out of the race against Brian Bilbray because he and his partner are adopting two more children who are siblings of one of their sons. Roberts declined to endorse either of the remaining Dem candidates, Francine Busby and Tracy Emblem, but pledged to work with the winner to beat Bilbray next year.

FL-08: The Republicans have “finally found” a candidate to take on Alan Grayson, rich guy Bruce O’Donoghue. That attitude, though, is indicative of the fact that the GOP establishment is ignoring Armando Gutierrez, the young carpetbagging real estate developer who’s been in the race since October. Who knows whether O’Donoghue will pass wingnut purity tests, but if he’s wobbly, he may be vulnerable to getting teabagged to death by Gutierrez. And if the power players continue to diss Gutierrez, that’s only likely to fuel teabag rage further.

Polling: Another installment of Choose-Your-Own-Adventure from PPP. This time, the choices are Delaware, Georgia, Illinois primary, and South Carolina. Click the link to cast your vote.

SSP Daily Digest: 7/9

AL-02: Noted sartorialist Bobby Bright was photographed (proudly?) holding up a t-shirt with the logo “Fire Congress” on the front. Also be sure to check out the shirt Bright himself is actually wearing.

IL-Gov: GOP state Sen. Kirk Dillard formally announced his entrance into the race today.

MI-09: Former GOP state Rep. Andrew Raczkowski has filed paperwork to run against Dem Rep. Gary Peters in this D+2 district. “Rocky,” as he is known, got hammered by Carl Levin in the 2002 Senate race, 61-38.

MN-06: Dem state Sen. Tarryl Clark, generally considered a possible MN-Gov candidate, may turn her attention instead to Michele Bachmann. Of course, she’d face a contested primary against El Tinklenberg (who was last seen giving $250,000 from his unexpected 2008 surplus to the DCCC).

NC-Sen: Civitas has Sen. Richard Burr’s favorables at 31-19, which is the weakest they’ve been all year. I don’t quite understand why 50% are either undecided or haven’t heard enough, though. Meanwhile, Burr’s pollster Paul Shumaker, who did a garbagey poll for Burr and then pretended it was an independent survey, will now pay for the poll out of his own pocket and call it an in-kind contribution to the campaign. Nice try, bucko.

NJ-Gov: Rasmussen has Chris Christie up 46-39. Believe it or not, that’s good news – last month, it was 51-38. Don’t get too excited, though. With leaners, it’s 53-41. Obama can’t show up here soon enough.

NV-Sen: Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn advised John Ensign to pay off his mistress’s million-dollar mortgage and move her & her husband out-of-state. Seriously.

NYC-Mayor: Another poll – this time from Marist – shows Bloombo under 50, and his re-elects are an uninspiring 44-51, despite the fact that he’s blanketed the airwaves with zillions of ads for months. The problem is that Comptroller Bill Thompson (who clocks in at 35) doesn’t seem to be running much of a campaign.

New York: Ken Rudin makes an interesting point – if you count “new LG” Richard Ravitch, four of NY’s six statewide elected officials… weren’t elected to the positions they now hold. Comptroller Tom DiNapoli was appointed when Alan Hevesi resigned; Gov. David Paterson was elevated when Eliot Spitzer resigned; Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand was appointed when Hillary Clinton resigned; and now Paterson is attempting to appoint Ravitch. Only Sen. Chuck Schumer and AG Andy Cuomo faced voters for their current jobs.

OH-Sen: A good get for Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher – he just received the endorsement of the 134,000-strong Ohio branch of the United Auto Workers union.

UT-Sen: Just when you thought the Utah GOP Senate primary couldn’t get any zanier and more chock-full of wingnuts, along comes news that new Rep. Jason Chaffetz — rising star of the movement conservatives, who just vaulted into power by out-conservativing Chris Cannon in a 2008 primary — is now thinking about a challenge to the establishment’s Bob Bennett. It’d be a pretty brash move by Chaffetz, especially since AG Mark Shurtleff is already mounting a strong primary challenge from the far right. (C)

VA-02: Scott Rigell, who owns car dealerships “throughout the Virginia beach area,” has filed paperwork to run against Dem Rep. Glenn Nye in this R+5 district. Rigell, like the vast majority of auto dealers, is of course a Republican, but he did donate $1,000 to Obama last year.

WA-Sen: Not that you were probably sitting up at night worrying about Patty Murray’s re-election prospects, but a poll by local pollster Elway finds her looking pretty good with 53-34 job approval. 44% say they would re-elect her and 33% say they wouldn’t, with the rest taking a wait-and-see attitude to see what sort of opposition the Washington GOP can scrape up. (C)

Census: Looks like we may finally get a floor vote on Census Director Robert Graves’ confirmation, who is currently subject to holds by both David Vitter and Richard Shelby (over use of sampling techniques and ACORN’s involvement in the census); Harry Reid is planning a cloture vote now that we’re eight months away from the April 1 count. (C)

SSP Daily Digest: 6/9

FL-Gov: Quinnipiac is out with a new poll of the Florida gubernatorial race, and it gives Democrat Alex Sink a very early 38-34 edge against Republican AG Bill McCollum. Although this is the first poll where we’ve seen Sink leading, we have plenty of mileage to burn through before these polls begin to get interesting. (J)

NY-Sen-B: Carolyn Maloney released an internal poll showing her with a not-worth-writing-home-about 34-32 “lead” over incumbent Kirsten Gillibrand. Surprise, surprise: After some message-testing business, Maloney shoots up to 49-25. The poll presentation has some pretty harsh words for Gillibrand… is Maloney really drinking her own kool-aid? (D)

NC-Sen: Elaine Marshall, North Carolina’s Secretary of State, sounds almost enthused at the idea of running against Richard Burr in a recent interview with the Dunn Daily Record. Saying it’s a challenge that she “thinks I’m up to”, Marshall says that she’ll give the race more consideration once the current legislative session ends. (J)

PA-Sen: There have been toplines for a Greenberg Quinlan Rosner poll (taken for a labor 527) of the Pennsylvania Senate race floating around the interwebs for a few weeks, but Open Left snagged a copy of the whole memo. Highlights include Arlen Specter over Joe Sestak in the primary by a 55-34 margin. Specter leads a Generic Dem 50-37, and leads Sestak 50-42 after message-testing mumbo-jumbo, giving Sestak some room to grow. The poll also notes that almost one half of the Dem electorate is union households, making Specter’s vote on EFCA that much more paramount.

FL-24: First-term Democratic Rep. Suzanne Kosmas has her first GOP challenger: Winter Park City Commissioner Karen Diebel. A bare bones website hypes Diebel’s “proven conservative leadership”. (J)

NY-23: New York Independence Party Chair Frank MacKay says that his party will endorse Democratic state Sen. Darrel Aubertine if he chooses to run for the open seat of outgoing GOP Rep. John McHugh. (J)

SC-01: In an email to her supporters, ’08 candidate Linda Ketner says that she won’t seek a rematch against GOP crumb-bum Henry Brown next year. She informed two potential Brown challengers of her decision: Leon Stavrinakis, a state Representative from Charleston, and Robert Burton, a former member of the Board of Commissioners of the SC State Housing Finance and Development Authority. (J)

NRCC/NRSC: A big fundraising haul for last night’s joint fundraising dinner for the NRSC and NRCC, headlined by Newt Gingrich: $14.45 million, split between the two committees. As Politico observes, though, it was a flop from a messaging standpoint, as anything substantive that might have been said was overshadowed by the will-she-won’t-she drama concerning Sarah Palin’s appearance (she made a cameo after all, but didn’t speak). UPDATE (David): It’s worth noting that this was actually the smallest take in five years for this dinner.

NYC-Mayor: Bloombo’s re-elects stand at just 40-55 in a new New York Times/NY1/Cornell University poll. In June of 2005, he was at 48-44. However, his putative opponent, Comptroller Bill Thompson, clocks in with a microscopic 13-2 approval rating. Bloombleberry’s been plastering the airwaves with ads for months, but it just doesn’t feel like Thompson has really engaged this race at all. (D)

AL-St. Senate: The Virginia primary is tonight’s main course, but there’s an tasty side dish in Alabama: a special election to fill the state Senate vacancy left behind by now-Rep. Parker Griffith in the 7th District, centered on Huntsville. Democratic state Rep. Laura Hall is considered to have a bit of an edge over GOP businessman Paul Sanford.

ME-Legislature: Here’s something you don’t see everyday: the Maine House of Representatives endorsed abolishing itself (and the state Senate), and joining Nebraska in the land of the unicameral legislature, mostly in order to save money on overhead. When it comes up for a final vote, it’ll need to pass by a 2/3s measure, though, and there weren’t enough votes in the House for that, so this may not actually ever happen.

NJ-Assembly: Newsroom New Jersey takes a quick look at where the hot races for control of the New Jersey Assembly will be in Nov. 2009. The greatest volatility seems to be on the Jersey Shore, as both parties are looking there (in the 1st and 2nd districts) for the likeliest flips. Dems currently hold the Assembly by a sizable 48-32 edge.

Redistricting: OMGz! Did you know that there are sites on the series of tubes where new technology lets average political junkies get involved in the redistricting process? Rep. Lynn Westmoreland just found out about this worrisome new trend.

NYC-Mayor: Weiner Is Out, Officially

Via the Daily News:

Citing a combination of factors – from Mayor Bloomberg’s overwhelming financial advantage to his own desire to “build a family” – Rep. Anthony Weiner has officially bowed out of this year’s mayoral race via an OpEd in the New York Times.

The news comes just hours after the Queens Democrats endorsed Comptroller Bill Thompson, giving him a clean sweep of the city’s five  Democratic county committees, and in the wake of a City Hall news report that Weiner had decided not to challenge Thompson for their party’s mayoral nomination.

Thompson will have a hell of a time against Bloombo’s $80 million, but this at least means Dems can avoid a potentially divisive primary, something Weiner specifically cited as he pledged to help Thompson.

SSP Daily Digest: 3/25

NY-20: You’ll never believe who Barack Obama endorsed in the NY-20 special election, happening in just a week: Scott Murphy! He sent out an e-mail to more than 50,000 supporters in the district making the case for Murphy. Still no sign of an Obama appearance, though – and this late move comes as House Dems were supposedly “infuriated” at a lack of White House support for Murphy. Meanwhile, Taegan Goddard claims to have been leaked an RNC internal poll showing Jim Tedisco up over Murphy by only 3.

CT-Sen: Chris Dodd just dodged a loud, annoying bullet: CNBC host Larry Kudlow has said that he won’t run against Dodd in 2010. Kudlow said, as many believed, that “it was never a serious proposition” in the first place. Dodd still faces less-known but more credible opposition in the form of ex-Rep. Rob Simmons and probably state senator Sam Caligiuri.

FL-Sen/Gov: Charlie Crist tells reporters that he’s considering forming a Senate exploratory committee even before the state legislature ends its session on May 1. Crist has previously maintained that he would not announce his future plans until after the current session comes to a close. (J) Meanwhile, former state house speaker Marco Rubio is seeming committed to staying in the Senate race even if Crist gets in; he’s been publicly going after Crist on the stimulus and on gambling.

NYC-Mayor: Quinnipiac’s newest poll is largely unchanged from its last, with Bloombo a shade under 50 and Dems in the mid-30s. But the Dem numbers have improved a little bit, and The Mayor is at his worst approval ratings of his second term (still, 64-28). Will Anthony Weiner’s apparent decision to back off the race allow Dems to rally around Comptroller Bill Thompson? (D)

NRCC: The NRCC scored a big fundraising haul for its March dinner, with Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal as the keynote speaker. They raised more than $6 million, with 95% of the House Republicans contributing.

TN-03: The Chattanooga Times Free Press takes a preliminary look at the contenders lining up to replace Zach Wamp (running for TN-Gov) in the solidly Republican 3rd. Right now, Bradley County sheriff Tim Gobble is the only formal candidate. (I’m hoping he wins just because of his hilarious name. I’m especially looking forward to the Gobble-Fudge Act. I can also think of a much more obscene-sounding bill involving a certain minority leader.) Tennessee GOP chair Robin Smith, who may be the strongest candidate, is still in the exploring stage. Other possible GOPers include state senator Bo Watson and state rep. Gerald McCormick. The district’s strongest Dem, state senator Andy Berke, seems more interested in a gubernatorial run. One other possibility is that Wamp may jump back into his seat if he doesn’t get traction in the GOP gubernatorial primary.

MI-11: Could we finally have a legit challenger in our sights to take on GOP weirdo Thaddeus McCotter? A group of local activists have banded together to draft state Sen. Glenn Anderson for the race (no relation to the six-time Stanley Cup winner). (J)

NYC-Mayor: Bloombo Under 50, Leads Weiner by Just Seven

Baruch College Survey Research for New York 1 (1/25-30, NYC residents, no trendlines):

Anthony Weiner (D): 36

Mike Bloomberg (R-inc): 43

Undecided: 16

Won’t Vote: 4

Bill Thompson (D): 32

Mike Bloomberg (R-inc): 45

Undecided: 19

Won’t Vote: 4

(MoE: ±4.3%)

Nice to see Bloombleberry dithering this far under 50, and the Weiner numbers are especially heartening. I think Thompson might be suffering from a little name-rec lag – his favorables are a nifty 48-10, but some 41% of people have no opinion of him. The poll didn’t ask Weiner’s favorables, but he’s probably better-known because of his 2005 mayoral run.

Interestingly, despite a still-lofty 64-29 approval rating, Bloomhauer doesn’t have much of an advantage in the top-lines horserace nums. Could people be growing sick of Bloombleberry even while they think he’s doing a good job? I can only hope.

P.S. The poll also tested the Dem primary:

Anthony Weiner: 31

Bill Thompson: 22

Tony Avella: 4

Won’t Vote: 6

Avella is a City Councilman. It’s not clear what the D sub-sample was. It’s also not clear to me why Baruch used city residents rather than registered voters, though they say there were 535 RVs out of a total sample of 705.

UPDATE: Quinnipiac also has a poll out today (1/20-25, registered voters, Nov. 2008 in parens):

Weiner: 35 (34)

Bloomberg: 50 (5)

Undecided: 12 (13)

Thompson: 34 (34)

Bloomberg: 50 (49)

Undecided: 13 (14)

(MoE: ±2.8%)

And for the Dem primary:

Weiner: 30

Thompson: 23

Undecided: 47

(MoE: ±3.5%)

The Dems’ numbers are the same, but I’m not sure what explains the Bloomster discrepancy. Could be wording, could be the sample, could be who knows.

(H/t Conspiracy):