SSP Daily Digest: 8/31

CO-Sen: That was fast… two days after saying he was probably going to drop out of the Colorado Senate race, now Weld County DA Ken Buck is likely to stay in the race. Apparently there has been enough conservative discontent over the seeming annointment by the NRSC and state party of former Lt. Gov. Jane Norton as the nominee that Buck may feel he can ride that backlash to primary victory. (Norton may well be conservative herself, but she’s such a blank slate that there’s no way to tell, and at any rate, conservative activists aren’t taking kindly to DC meddling this year, as we’ve seen in the Missouri and New Hampshire races.)

FL-Sen: Too cute by half? Charlie Crist’s appointment of his ex-Chief of Staff, George LeMieux, to the Senate is getting panned by many of the major newspaper editorial boards in the state. (J)

IA-Sen: Big Bruce Braley boffo boomlet busts! The sophomore Representative confirmed that, despite a sudden flurry of speculation, he’ll stay where he is, and not run against Chuck Grassley for the Senate. Former state legislators Bob Krause and Tom Fiegen are already in the race.

IL-Sen: Here’s another Senate race where the GOP rabble is getting restive about one candidate getting the establishment stamp of approval. There are eight other candidates besides Mark Kirk, and religious right ultra-conservatives are trying to coalesce behind one, with Hinsdale real estate developer Patrick Hughes seeming to get the most mention. The most notable name in the anti-Kirk camp? Phyllis Schlafly of the Eagle Forum, who’s 85 and still going strong. The article does mention that there have been several other Senate primaries in Illinois where a conservative upstart beat the establishment moderate, most notably Al Salvi’s upset of Bob Kustra in the open seat race of 1996.

KY-Sen: You better believe it’s on. Rand Paul’s backers are gearing up for another Moneybomb!, this time cleverly scheduled for the same day (Sep. 23) as Trey Grayson’s big DC fundraiser where he’ll be feted by 23 Republican Senators.

LA-Sen: David Vitter seems like he has an endless supply of horse’s heads to put in the beds of potential GOP primary opponents. This time, former Lt. General and Katrina recovery hero Russel Honore backed down within a few days of his rumored interest appearing, much the same as with Suzanne Terrell and John Cooksey.

MA-Sen: There was a brief flurry of speculation that Vicki Kennedy, Ted Kennedy’s widow, would be the placeholder short-term appointee to his seat (assuming Massachusetts Dems followed through on changing state law regarding appointment), pushed along by Sens. Dodd and Hatch. However, it now appears she’s not interested in the interim appointment (or running in the special). Meanwhile, the many contenders among the Massachusetts House delegation are watching what ex-Rep. Joe Kennedy II does; Ed Markey and Michael Capuano, for instance, both sound eager to run in the special election but will defer to a member of the Kennedy family.

NV-Sen: There’s the old expression about not picking fights with people who buy ink by the barrel, but Harry Reid and the Las Vegas Review-Journal are getting into a little pissing match. Reid told the LVRJ that “I hope you go out of business.” The LVRJ’s publisher shot back, calling him a “bully” and decrying his “creepy tactic.” (I expect a Reid press release saying something about rubber and glue is forthcoming.)

AL-Gov: The specific details seem few and far between, but Ben Smith leaks some tidbits about an AL-Gov poll commissioned by the Alabama Education Association (the state’s teacher’s union, naturally a pro-Democratic organization). It’s good news for Rep. Artur Davis, who leads all GOPers in the race, ranging from ex-judge Roy Moore by 6 to Treasurer Kay Ivey by 12. Davis also leads Ag Commissioner Ron Sparks by 30 in the Dem primary, and has a 3-to-1 favorable ratio.

NJ-Gov: The Jon Corzine camp is out with a hard-hitting new TV spot, nailing Chris Christie over his undisclosed loan to carpool buddy Michele Brown. Also, unsurprisingly but critical to his survival, Corzine got the SEIU‘s endorsement last Friday.

PA-Gov: Scranton mayor Chris Doherty has been casting a wide net as he looks for a step up, considering the Lt. Gov. spot and a PA-11 primary challenge against Paul Kanjorski, but now he may be considering the big enchilada: a run for Governor. With the two Dem frontrunners both anti-abortion Pittsburgh-area Dems (Allegheny Co. Exec Dan Onorato and state Auditor Jack Wagner), there’s may be an opening for someone pro-choice from the East (which is something ex-Rep. Joe Hoeffel is also considering).

VA-Gov: Republican AG Bob McDonnell’s attempts to position himself as a moderate in the Virginia Governor’s race hit a big snag this weekend, as the Washington Post took a look at the master’s thesis he wrote while a 34-year old graduate student at Pat Robertson’s Regent University. McDonnell railed against feminists, working mothers, contraceptive use by married couples, cohabitators, homosexuals, and fornicators. McDonnell protests rather weakly that his views have “changed” since he wrote the thesis.

CA-10: SurveyUSA is out with their final poll of the special election to replace Ellen Tauscher, and finds little movement in the past two weeks. Lt. Gov. John Garamendi (D) leads with 25%, followed by Republican David Harmer with 20%. The other two major Dems in the race, state Sen. Mark DeSaulnier and Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan, are at 16% and 12%, respectively. (J)

MO-04: Retiring GOP Sen. Kit Bond seems displeased that national Republicans are trying to knock off veteran Democratic Rep. Ike Skelton next year. In an interview during a recent Cardinals game, Bond said that “it’s very very important for us to have a man like Ike Skelton” in Congress. (J)

Data: The Office of the House Clerk has released its biennial summary of the 2008 presidential & congressional elections (PDF). The document contains official results for every federal race in the nation, all in one place. (D)

SSP Daily Digest: 8/11

FL-Sen: As the angling for a one-and-a-half-year fill-in for Mel Martinez’s Senate seat continues, there’s already been one prominent “no thanks,” from Jeb Bush (not that anyone would expect Charlie Crist to pick him, as there’s been a lot of Crist/Bush friction and Crist wouldn’t want to risk having a placeholder overshadow him). Meanwhile, a likelier pick, 70-year-old former Republican Rep. Clay Shaw (a Gold Coast moderate who served in the House from 1980 to his 2006 defeat) shot his hand up and said “pick me pick me!”

IL-Sen: Chicago Urban League president (and former Rod Blagojevich spokeperson) Cheryle Jackson made her entry into the Democratic senatorial primary field official yesterday. However, the Illinois SEIU chapter, one of the state’s major unions, came out with an Alexi Giannoulias endorsement today, which, given their resources, moves him closer to having a lock on the nod. I’m wondering if they’re announcing in response to Jackson… or to Roland Burris, who keeps popping his head back up.

KS-Sen: Not much change in the GOP Senate primary in Kansas since we last looked. SurveyUSA finds that Rep. Jerry Moran has a 38-32 lead over Rep. Todd Tiahrt, propelled along by a 78-13 edge in the state’s western portion. Moran led by 2 in June and 4 in April.

NY-Sen-B, NY-16: It didn’t register much, at a time when all speculation focused on Rep. Carolyn Maloney, but several months ago Rep. Jose Serrano said he would consider a primary run against Kirsten Gillibrand. Yesterday he made clear that he wouldn’t get in the race (although he still didn’t sound very enthused about Gillibrand), which means that none of her former House colleagues are left planning a primary challenge.

MN-Gov: Add one more second-tier Republican to the huge pile of prospects for the open Minnesota governor’s race: state Senator Mike Jungbauer, a religious rightist from exurban Anoka County, formally kicked off his campaign. He does already have one important endorsement in his corner; he was “called by God” to run.

NJ-Gov: Today’s Quinnipiac poll has a slightly better showing for Jon Corzine, in line with last week’s R2K poll, though it’s far from time to start talking “comeback.” He cuts the lead to 9 points, 51-42, in a two-way poll of likely voters, down from 53-41 in July. More importantly, Corzine trails Chris Christie 46-40 in a three-way that includes independent Chris Daggett (who’s up to 7%). Campaign Diaries observes that the centrist Daggett (a former EPA regional administrator) is probably absorbing a lot of protest votes, keeping Democrats and moderate indies who hate Corzine from going over to Christie. If Corzine wins, he’ll owe Daggett a big ol’ “thank you.”

NY-Gov The NYT reports on growing discomfort by various downballot electeds on the prospect of having David Paterson at the top of the ticket. Both Reps. Michael McMahon and Dan Maffei worry about the effect of Paterson’s low approvals spilling over into their own races. Not to worry: although it’s buried deep in the story, the Times says that powerful local Dems are pushing Paterson to stand down and make way for Andrew Cuomo — and that local bigwigs have been tugging at White House sleeves, hoping they’ll find a nice appointed position for Paterson soon.

CA-10: The John Garamendi camp released an internal poll from Tulchin Research giving Garamendi a sizable edge in the upcoming special election: Garamendi is at 31, Mark DeSaulnier is at 21, Joan Buchanan is at 17, Anthony Woods is at 9, and Republican David Harmer is at 5. There’s a wrinkle with this poll, though (one that didn’t elude the DeSaulnier campaign): it’s a poll only of Democratic and decline-to-state voters, but the primary election is an all-party primary with one pool of votes (although under California law, the top Democrat and Republican will advance, not simply the top 2). In response to our inquiry, the Tulchin crew said that polling Republicans as well just wasn’t cost-effective, especially since there are six Republicans running and therefore there isn’t likely to be much party-line crossing.

In other CA-10 news, Garamendi got another bit of good news: he got the endorsement of both Bill Clinton and Al Gore (he was a deputy Secretary of Interior for part of the Clinton administration). However, a SurveyUSA that only tested favorables for the CA-10 candidates didn’t have good news for much of anyone: Garamendi is at 30/34, DeSaulnier is at 22/23, and Buchanan is at 16/25. Only up-and-comer Woods is in positive (if generally unknown) territory, at 14/13.

CT-04: With presumptive GOP nominee state Senate minority leader John McKinney staying out, not one but two other GOPers got in the race against Democratic freshman Rep. Jim Himes. One was the party’s likely #2 choice, state Senator Dan Debicella; the other is Rob Merkle, a political novice but the wealthy owner of a financial services recruitment firm.

PA-06: Maybe journalist Doug Pike won’t have the Dem primary to himself after all, now that Rep. Jim Gerlach is committed to the gubernatorial race. Bob Roggio, the little-known businessman who almost beat Gerlach in 2008, said he hasn’t “ruled it out.” Also, while there doesn’t seem to be anything tangible, there are indications that state Sen. Andy Dinniman, the Dems’ highest-profile elected official in the pivotal Chester County portion of the district, is “increasingly rumored to be seriously considering” the race.

SSP Daily Digest: 8/4

DE-Sen: Rep. Mike Castle yesterday told a radio interviewer that he’d decide “in the next month or so” what, if anything, he’s going to run for. One possible hint, though, is that he said that there are some “good young elected officials in the state who possibly could run on a statewide basis and should be looked at,” and he specifically named some state legislators like state sen. Charlie Copeland and state Reps. Tom Kovach and Greg Lavelle.

FL-Sen: Here’s another sign of trouble looming in the GOP primary for Charlie Crist, at least within the activist base, hot on the heels of his big loss in the Pasco County straw poll. The Volusia County GOP actually voted to censure him, over a list of grievances including his moderate judicial appointments, support of the Obama stimulus, and lack of support for Tom Feeney and Ric Keller last year. (Volusia Co.’s main city is Daytona Beach and population is over 400,000, so this isn’t one of those little Dixiecrat panhandle counties, either.)

IL-Sen: Rep. Mark Kirk downplayed the story of his Tweeting while on active military duty (as a Naval Reservist) at a news conference yesterday, but apologized for having done so.

NH-Sen: Skepticism behind-the-scenes seems to be growing in New Hampshire, especially among conservative activists, about the ordination of Kelly Ayotte as Senate candidate, handed down from on high from the Beltway. Various on- and off-the-record insiders are unsure of her political leanings, ‘meh’ about her speaking style, and worried that she’s never had to raise funds before. A lot of this agitation has been coming from the state’s largest paper, the Manchester Union-Leader, which has a notably hard-right editorial page and has been fannish of likely primary opponent Ovide Lamontagne in the past.

MN-Gov: This seemed to slip through the cracks last week, but Minneapolis mayor R.T. Rybak is sounding more like a candidate now. While giving a stump-ish speech to local Democrats, Rybak said that he’s “very likely” to enter the open seat gubernatorial race.

NJ-Gov (pdf): In another indication that things are getting worse, not better, for Jon Corzine, the new poll from Monmouth shows him trailing Chris Christie by 14 points among likely voters, 50-36, with 4% to independent Chris Daggett. This is particularly troublesome because Monmouth has been the pollster most favorable to Corzine; he trailed by only 8 in the July poll. Interestingly, though, Corzine trails by only 4 (43-39) among registered voters, a narrower gap than in July — suggesting that his only hope is getting a lot of unlikely voters to turn out. Democrats countered with their own internal poll (pdf) today, showing Corzine down by “only” 7, 42-35-6.

TX-Gov: You may recall that the Kay Bailey Hutchison campaign decided to pull the hidden phrase “rick perry gay” from its website’s code, but left a bunch of other hidden phrases (in the code, not meta-tags). That’s a big-time search-engine optimization party foul, though, and it led to Google and Yahoo pulling the website from their search indexes this weekend.

CA-10: State Senator Mark DeSaulnier may have lost one of his most potent weapons: the State Department asked him to stop using the endorsement of his predecessor (and current Undersecretary of State for arms control) Ellen Tauscher. It’s not illegal, but they want to avoid any ethical impropriety. The primary special election is Sept. 1.

FL-24: Rep. Suzanne Kosmas may find herself up against a celebrity candidate next year: former Notre Dame football coach Lou Holtz, who now lives in the Orlando area. Holtz has been in contact with the NRCC about the race, and certainly brings name recognition, but comes with a couple drawbacks: one, he’s 72 years old, ancient for a House freshman, and two, he raised some eyebrows last year after having to apologize for calling Hitler a great leader.

LA-02: Kudos to Rep. Joseph Cao for having the courage to say out loud what we’re all thinking: “I know that voting against the health care bill will probably be the death of my political career.” Strange to give that sort of ammunition to potential opponents when it’s clear from his fundraising that he’s intending to run again.

LA-03: Scott Angelle, natural resources secretary under both Kathleen Blanco and Bobby Jindal and former Democratic St. Martin parish president, is maintaining his interest in the possibly-vacant LA-03 seat. However, rumor has it that he may run for the seat as a Republican, and he did go on the record saying he’d “consider” swapping party labels (which are especially porous in Louisiana). State Rep. Nickie Monica says he’s in the race (as a Republican) regardless of whether or not Charlie Melancon pulls the trigger on a Senate run. One other Democrat not mentioned before who’s considering the race is 27-year-old New Orleans corporate lawyer Ravi Sangisetty, who grew up in Houma.

MD-01: State Sen. Andy Harris is taking steps to solve one of the two problems that hampered him in last year’s election against Rep. Frank Kratovil: he’s coming to the Eastern Shore. He isn’t moving, but he will be working part-time (he’s a mild-mannered anesthesiologist by day) at the hospital in Salisbury, in order to bolster his Eastern Shore cred. It’ll be a little harder to paper over his other problem, which is that he’s a Club for Growth wacko. Harris was just named one of the NRCC’s Young Guns, despite the fact that he might still face a primary against less conservative and Eastern Shore-based state Sen. E.J. Pipkin, who seems like he’d pick up most of the votes that went for Wayne Gilchrest in the 2008 primary (although Pipkin may be looking at running for state Comptroller instead).

NY-23: Despite interest from some colorful-sounding “activists,” it looks like the Conservative Party line in the upcoming special election is likely to go to a more establishment figure, accountant Doug Hoffman, who you may recall was one of the Republican wannabes not selected by the party apparatus. Hoffman attacked the hypothetical Democratic nominee and GOP nominee Dede Scozzafava as “Mr. Bad or Mrs. Worse.”

MO-03: Rep. Russ Carnahan doesn’t usually draw more than a passing glance from the GOP in his D+7 district, but it looks like he’ll have a somewhat credible opponent in 2010. Ed Martin opened an exploratory committee for the race; he hasn’t been elected before, but has consummate insider credentials as Gov. Matt Blunt’s chief of staff for four years.

RI-02: In an almost-one-party state like Rhode Island, primary challenges are a routine part of life. Rep. Jim Langevin fought off a primary challenge from professor Jennifer Lawless in 2006; in 2010, he’ll likely face state Rep. Elizabeth Dennigan (who had been planning to run for Lt. Governor, but had to drop that plan when incumbent Elizabeth Roberts decided to run for re-election instead of Governor). Although abortion was the flashpoint in 2006 (Langevin is pro-life), Dennigan says she won’t make much of an issue of it.

TX-23: Pete Sessions is probably pounding his head on his desk right now. After getting self-funder Quico Canseco to come back for a clear shot at Rep. Ciro Rodriguez in the 23rd, Bexar Co. Commissioner Lyle Larson, who upset Canseco in the GOP primary in 2008, is saying he’s thinking of coming back for another try — potentially setting up another self-destructive primary.

WI-03: Rep. Ron Kind is facing a real opponent for the first time in a while. State Sen. Dan Kapanke, who’s been acting candidate-ish for a long time, made it official yesterday that he’ll challenge the 14-year incumbent in 2010.

OH-SoS: With Jennifer Brunner giving up her job to run in the Senate primary, the Secretary of State open seat race is turning into one of Ohio’s hottest tickets. While Democratic Franklin Co. Commissioner Marilyn Brown is in the race, she is trailing GOP state Sen. Jon Husted (who has $1.3 million) by about a 10-to-1 ratio for cash-on-hand. Now a second Democrat, state Rep. Jennifer Garrison from Marietta in the state’s southeast, is getting into the race. It’s a key race, as the SoS is one of the votes on the 5-member state legislative apportionment board, which Dems currently control 3-2, and which they’ll need to hold if they’re going to undo Republican-favorable gerrymanders in the state legislature.

SSP Daily Digest: 7/29

OH-Sen: Auto dealer Tom Ganley hasn’t really attracted anyone’s attention yet in the GOP primary, as ex-Rep. Rob Portman has the whole ‘inevitability’ thing going for him. This ought to get some attention, though: Ganley says he’s ready to spend more than $5 million, mostly his own money, to get noticed. Ganley has been sharpening his attacks on Portman as “career politician,” not a label you really want to get saddled with these days.

NJ-Gov (pdf): The polls keep looking worse for Jon Corzine; this time it’s PPP’s turn. Chris Christie leads 50-36, with Corzine getting the votes of only 64% of Democrats and 26% of Independents. The 14-lead for Christie is up from 10, in PPP’s last outing in late June.

NYC-Mayor: Quinnipiac finds that Democratic NYC Comptroller William Thompson pulls within 10 points of incumbent Mayor Michael Bloomberg, 47-37, but they note that this may have to do with a small tweak in method than any larger trend. In this poll, they identified Bloomberg as “Independent and Republican” instead of just “Independent” as they did last time, when he did much better at 54-32. Thompson has been going on the offensive, though, so his name rec is probably much improved, too. Thompson beats Queens city council member Tony Avella in the primary, 44-11. Both Bloomberg and Thompson has positive job approval rates: 63/29 and 53/10, respectively.

CA-10: The fields are set for the Sep. 1 special primary election, and now state Sen. Mark DeSaulnier is the first to hit the TV airwaves, running an ad focusing on health care reform.

RNC: Also on the health care front, the RNC (not the NRCC, interestingly) is running radio spots against 60 different House Democrats, mostly in conservative-leaning districts, accusing them of a “dangerous experiment.” There are also TV ads in the cheapo markets of Nevada, North Dakota, and Arkansas. That sounds like a huge package, but the whole thing is only costing them $1 million.

TN-St. Sen.: Get ready for a special election in the Tennessee Senate in SD 31 in the Memphis suburbs; GOP Sen. Paul Stanley resigned yesterday (leaving the GOP with an 18-14 edge, with 1 vacancy) after he was Unmasked having an affair with his 22-year-old female intern, after the intern’s boyfriend tried extorting him over naughty pictures. Naked pictures of state senate groupies? Hmmm… that sounds more like Gene Simmons to me than Paul Stanley. (In case you’re wondering, her name is not “Beth,” although based on her previous track record, she does certainly seem to like to rock and roll all night and party ev-er-y day) (Actually, I’m wondering if any one of these KISS references is going to have any resonance among SSP’s key readership demographics.)

Initiatives: Michigan Democrats are interested in using the ballot initiative process in 2010 to short-circuit the whole legislative song-and-dance on some key issues that have some populist resonance with the voters. These might include a hike in the minimum wage to $10, temporary moratoria on home foreclosures, and requiring all employers to provide health insurance.

SSP Daily Digest: 7/23

AR-Sen: It took new Arkansas Senate candidate Conrad Reynolds only the first day of his candidacy to descend to the same levels of right-wing gaffe insanity as fellow candidates Kim Hendren and Curtis Coleman. Speaking before about a dozen Young Republicans yesterday, he said, “I never thought it would be domestic, but in today’s world I do believe we have enemies here,” and then said “We need someone to stand up to Barack Obama and his policies. We must protect our culture, our Christian identity.” Following his speech, though, before he took questions, he said he’d be careful with answers, as “I don’t want to do a Kim Hendren,” he said.

NH-Sen: It looks like Ovide Lamontagne is going full speed ahead on a run in the New Hampshire Senate primary, with his path, be it as it may, gaving gotten easier with fellow renegade Fred Tausch dropping out. He hired two key members of the Mitt Romney camp: Charlie Spies, who was the Romney campaign’s CFO, and Jim Merrill, who managed Romney’s NH campaign.

NV-Sen: Here’s another bad sign for John Ensign: his chief of staff, John Lopez, just bailed out. The timing, with Ensign facing fallout over trying to cover up an affair with a staffer, probably isn’t coincidental.

PA-Sen: In the wake of yesterday’s ominious Quinnipiac poll, Arlen Specter has retreated to the last refuge of troubled politicians: attacking the poll’s composition. (Hey! That’s our job!) Nate Silver re-ran the numbers using the actual 2008 party split (D 44, R 37, I 18) and found it really didn’t make much difference: 46-43 in Specter’s favor. Meanwhile, a popular new activity among Democratic party bigwigs in Pennsylvania is telling Joe Sestak to shut up; both Allegheny Co. party chair Jim Burn and Philly-area official Penny Gerber took loud exception to implications from the Sestak camp that they were backing him.

AK-Gov: Two Democrats both officially announced their candidacies to run, presumably, against Sean Parnell in 2010: state Senator Hollis French, and former Dept. of Administration Commissioner Bob Poe. Former state House Minority Leader Ethan Berkowitz also says he’ll officially become a candidate in late summer or early fall.

MN-Gov: Democratic State Rep. Paul Thissen announced his candidacy for Minnesota’s governor today. Hard to see, though, how a state Representative stands out in a field that seems to contain every major politician in the state.

CA-10: EMILY’s List finally got involved in the special election in CA-10. As you’d expect, they’re backing Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan, who as the only woman in the race has a definite shot to sneak through while the better-known male candidates (Lt. Gov. John Garamendi and state Sen. Mark DeSaulnier) split the vote.

IL-10: A new Roll Call piece on IL-10 adds a few more names to the potential primary fields. For the Dems, Highland Park City Councilor Jim Kirsch may get in. And for the GOP, it sounds like state Sen. Matt Murphy is now thinking about running here; he’s currently running for Governor, in a crowded field of second-stringers, and might stand better odds here.

NC-08: Lou Huddleston, an African-American veteran and defense industry consultant, may wind up being the GOP’s candidate against Larry Kissell; after having visited Capitol Hill for some wooing, he says he’ll decide by Labor Day. (His one attempt at elective politics was a losing campaign for a state House seat in 2008.) Some bigger names, including ex-Rep. Robin Hayes and Charlotte mayor Pat McCrory, haven’t ruled the race out yet, though.

NJ-03: The Burlington County GOP is saying that moderate state Sen. Diane Allen (who’d been on the short list for Chris Christie’s Lt. Gov. pick) is now their top choice to run against freshman Rep. John Adler. Interestingly, this is the same organization that basically torpedoed her interest in running for the open seat in 2008, leaving more conservative Chris Myers (and presumably less electable) to run instead. Allen is still sounding non-commital, especially since the party leadership in more conservative Ocean County continues to sound lukewarm about her.

NY-23: The Conservative Party isn’t at all pleased with the selection of socially liberal Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava as the GOP’s candidate in the NY-23 special election. State party chair Mike Long said that likely Democratic candidate Darrel Aubertine actually has a more “palatable” record. The Conservatives plan to run their own candidate on their line, he says, and party activist Jim Kelly has expressed interest.

OH-02: This is good news: the Democrats actually found an honest-to-gosh state Representative to go against Rep. Jean Schmidt: Todd Book. David Krikorian, who got a sizable share of the vote as an Independent in 2008, is already running as a Democrat in the primary, but looks like he’s getting shoved over: Governor Ted Strickland has already endorsed Book. (Book is from Strickland’s hometown of Portsmouth.)

SC-01: A Georgetown restauranteur, Robert Dobbs, announced he’ll run for the Democrats in SC-01. He has electoral experience… but in Wisconsin, where he was a Manitowoc County Supervisor. (Although I hope it is, I assume this isn’t the “Bob” Dobbs.) Other more prominent Democratic figures, like state Rep. Leon Stavinrakis, are also considering the race.

SC-03: Former Cincinnati Bengals coach Sam Wyche, who led the Bengals to the Super Bowl in 1989, is considering running as a Republican for the open seat in the 3rd, vacated by Gresham Barrett, running for Governor. Wyche isn’t a total newbie to politics, as he’s currently serving on the Pickens County Council. He’d bring a lot of name recognition to the field, where state Representative Rex Rice is probably current frontrunner. (Democrats are unlikely to strongly contest this freakishly red district.)

CA-10: Garamendi Posts Lead in Internal Poll

JMM Research for John Garamendi (dates unknown, likely voters):

John Garamendi (D): 24

Warren Rupf (R): 17

Mark DeSaulnier (D): 13

Joan Buchanan (D): 10

(MoE: ±5%)

Lt. Gov. John Garamendi has been shopping around for the just-right elected office for a long time now, and with Rep. Ellen Tauscher leaving behind an open seat in the U.S. House to head to the State Dept., he might just be ready to settle down. Garamendi got into the race late (after finally pulling the plug on his faltering 2010 gubernatorial campaign), with state Senator Mark DeSaulnier already having gobbled up many key endorsements. Still, Garamendi is in a strong position in his own internal poll, beating his two Democratic opponents combined, DeSaulnier and Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan. (The only other poll of this race was a Buchanan internal from late March which, not surprisingly, gave her the lead.)

Garamendi’s position is largely thanks to his high name recognition: 80% know him, with 35/12 favorables. DeSaulnier is known by 39%, with 16/13 favorables, and Buchanan is known by 45%, with 17/12 favorables. The Republican polled, Contra Costa County Sheriff Warren Rupf, is known by 20%, with 9/9 favorables.

Rupf has not announced for the race, and doesn’t really seem likely to run; he is, however, probably the strongest GOPer in the district. (San Ramon mayor Abram Wilson and former Assemblyman Guy Houston are other Republicans who’ve been linked to this race.) They were polled en masse because in the primary special election, all candidates are listed together in one pool, and if no one candidate receives more than 50% (unlikely with three top-tier Dems in the race), then the top vote-getter from each party advances to the general.

UPDATE: More discussion in californianintexas’s diary.

CA-10: Garamendi Has a Commanding Lead

Found this J. Moore Methods poll over at Calitics. Lt. Gov. John Garamendi leads among likely voters (36% have no opinion). (Rupf is Republican Warren Rupf, Sheriff of Contra Costa County.)

Garamendi Rupf DeSaulnier Buchanan
Support: 24 17 13 10
Known: 80 20 39 45
Favorable: 35 9 16 17
Unfavorable: 12 9 13 12

While Garamendi does have a commanding lead in the polls and the name rec, Senator Mark DeSaulnier or Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan can try and catch up, but it will be a long shot when facing Garamendi’s high name rec and campaign war chest. DeSaulnier is a great progressive in the state legislature and I would like him to win, but no one knows if it will be enough. For now this race is Garamendi’s to lose.

CA-10: Senator Mark DeSaulnier Launches Campaign Website

California State Senator Mark DeSaulnier, who is running to succeed Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher in California’s 10th District, launched his official campaign website this week.

The site can be accessed at http://www.markdesaulnierforco…

The race for CA-10 just got a bit more interesting with the entry of California Lt. Governor John Garamendi. Assemblymember Joan Buchanan and Fairfield native Anthony Woods are also running.

Although Garamendi’s is a high-profile challenger, DeSaulnier has been endorsed by Tauscher as well as neighboring Congressman George Miller and the Contra Costa Labor Council.

This promises to be a great race.

SSP Daily Digest: 4/24

NY-20 (pdf): Last evening’s total from the BoE had Scott Murphy leading Jim Tedisco by 401. With his chances approaching the “statistically impossible” realm, we may reportedly see a Tedisco concession today.

MN-Sen: Norm Coleman could take a few pointers from Jim Tedisco. The five justices of the Minnesota Supreme Court who’ll hear the election contest (two justices who’ve been actively involved in the count recused themselves) announced that their expedited hearing isn’t all that expedited: it’ll happen on June 1, to give the parties adequate time to file briefs and replies. In the meantime, that gives Minnesotans more than one more month with just one senator.

GA-Gov, GA-03: Just one day after his name was suddenly floated for GA-Gov, Rep. Lynn Westmoreland flushed that idea, saying he’ll stay in the House.

PA-Gov: Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato was bandied about as the early front-runner for the Democratic nomination for the open governor’s race in 2010, but we’ve heard nary a peep from him on the matter. Apparently, he is in fact interested, as he says he’s “laying the groundwork” and expects a formal announcement later in the year.

TN-Gov: Businessman Mike McWherter made official his candidacy for the Democratic nod in the open Tennessee governor’s race. McWherter hasn’t held elective office, but benefits strongly from links with his father, popular ex-governor Ned McWherter.

SC-Gov: Lawyer Mullins McLeod (and apparent scion of a political family, although one that pales in comparison to the Thurmonds or Campbells) announced his bid for the Democratic nomination in the open governor’s race. He joins two Democratic state senators Vincent Shaheen and Robert Ford in the chase.

CA-10: Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan, who previously issued an internal poll showing her leading senator Mark DeSaulnier, has officially jumped into the special election field. With Lt. Gov. John Garamendi’s entry into the race, splitting the white-guy vote, Buchanan probably feels that her hand has been strengthened.

CO-03: Rep. John Salazar has drawn a solid Republican challenger in this R+5 district: Martin Beeson, who’s the district attorney for Pitkin, Garfield, and Rio Blanco Counties. Blue Dog Salazar has had little trouble with re-election despite the district’s lean.

CA-36: Jane Harman’s high-profile role in the still-unfolding wiretap scandal has liberal activists in the 36th, long frustrated by Harman’s hold on this D+12 district, wondering if they finally have an opening to defeat her in a primary. Marcy Winograd, who won 38% against Harman in 2006, has been urged to run again and is “thinking about it.”

MI-07: For real? Republicans in DC (read: the NRCC) are telling’s Susan J. Demas that their top choice to take on frosh Dem Mark Schauer is none other than… ex-Rep. Joe Schwarz, who was ingloriously defeated in a 2006 primary by wingnut Tim Walberg. Schwarz, who went so far as to endorse Schauer over Walberg last fall, tells Demas that he’s not interested in running again. (J)

NH-02: Democratic New Hampshire State Rep. John DeJoie has formed an exploratory committee for the seat Paul Hodes is leaving open. (D)

KS-04: Democrats have their first candidate in the open seat in the 4th: Robert Tillman, a retired court services officer, and former precinct committeeman and NAACP local board member. There’s more firepower on the GOP side of the aisle in this now-R+14 district, including RNC member Mike Pompeo and state senator Dick Kelsey.

Redistricting: Republican Ohio state senator John Husted (who will probably be the GOP’s candidate for SoS in 2010) has introduced legislation that would totally change the way redistricting is done in Ohio. It would create a 7-member bipartisan commission that would draw both congressional and state district lines (removing congressional district authority from the legislature, and legislative district authority from the 5-member panel that Dems currently control). It remains to be seen, though, whether this proposal would make it past the Democratic governor and state house.

Nostalgia: Yahoo is shutting down the venerable Geocities. What ever will former Louisiana senate candidate John Neeley Kennedy do? (D)

SSP Daily Digest: 4/17

NY-20 (pdf): This morning’s official tally from the BoE gives Scott Murphy a whopping lead of 268. This new number reflects the addition of all the remaining absentees from Columbia County, where Murphy performed well on Election Day and apparently even better among absentees. There are still 1,200 absentee ballots that haven’t been counted because they were subject to challenge; they’ll be reviewed starting Monday.

Jim Tedisco isn’t waiting around for those ballots, though; he’s already asking the courts to declare him the victor. Wait… what? Isn’t he the one who’s behind? (The Tedisco camp has tried to clarify that they were re-filing a motion that they filed on Election Day, to also have Tedisco declared the winner, as some sort of ‘insurance policy.’ OK, that makes me feel much better.)

CA-10: BigDust broke the story yesterday in diaries: Lt. Gov. John Garamendi, seeing his gubernatorial campaign sputtering and lured by the siren call of a term-limits-free job, has more-or-less confirmed that the rumors are true and he’s jumping into the 10th District special election, where state senator Mark DeSaulnier had already nailed down the ‘establishment’ candidate mantle. (Unlike other frequent job-hopper Tom McClintock, Garamendi actually has the advantage of living in the district.)

KY-Sen, SD-Sen: The message can’t get much clearer than this. Mitch McConnell is hosting a fundraiser in the state of Kentucky for his fellow senator… John Thune? That’s right; McConnell would rather help a guy from South Dakota defending a safe seat than help his fellow Kentuckian Jim Bunning, who has already been complaining about how McConnell is sucking up all the fundraising oxygen in the state.

CT-Sen: Chris Dodd may have raised a million bucks last quarter, but only five donors were from his home state of Connecticut. And before you can say “But what about donations below $200 which don’t require detailed disclosure?”, we’ll just point out that Dodd took in under $2,300 total from that category of donors. Sigh. (D)

On the plus side for Dodd, he got a hearty endorsement and a promise of future help from someone a little more popular than him: Barack Obama. “Chris is going through a rough patch,” says Obama.

NH-Sen: Paul Hodes raised $225K this quarter, which doesn’t seem like a whole lot, does it? (D)

NJ-Gov: Governor Jon Corzine, facing a tough re-election, has another problem: his gross income last year was negative $2.75 million. You’ve got to assume that his overall net worth (once estimated at $300 million) has taken a much, much larger hit, so that calls into question his willingness, if not ability, to moneybomb the race as he did with his last two runs for office.

TX-Gov: I never thought I’d have to say this out loud, but Governor Rick Perry may not have a winning issue on his hands when he makes veiled secession threats. A Rasmussen snap-poll finds that 75% of Texans would prefer to remain a part of the USA. 18% prefer secession, and 7% just aren’t sure. Not coincidentally, a similar percentage of the Texas state senate (71%) just voted, 22-9, to ignore Perry and accept the $550 million in federal stimulus money to keep their state unemployment trust fund from going broke.

Words: Here’s a fun time-suck: a website that lets you create a word cloud for most-used words in a particular day, week, month, or year in the Congressional Record, or for a particular lawmaker.