SSP Daily Digest: 5/28

OH-Sen: Rob Portman’s great week continues: he just found himself admitting in an interview that Republicans have no position on health care, and that he reached this conclusion only by talking to GOP Senate leadership about that. However, he says, “There’s a task force, and I applaud them for that.”

FL-Gov: Lakeland-area State Senator Paula Dockery, whose name has occasionally been bandied about for the GOP nomination for the open seat in FL-12, may be setting her sights higher: all the way to Governor. This would complicate things for the state party leadership, which got Ag Commissioner Charles Bronson to clear the path for AG Bill McCollum… but might secretly relieve some others in the Florida GOP, worried that McCollum has that warmed-over two-time-loser aroma. (I wonder, though, if she might really be angling for the still-vacant Lt. Gov. slot, as current Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp is heading over to the AG’s race, and Bronson said ‘no thanks’ to the idea. The GOP might need her there to avoid having an all-white-guy slate, what with state Senate President Jeff Atwater running for CFO and Howdy Doody Rep. Adam Putnam running for Ag Comm.)

AZ-Gov: Another state legislator contemplating out loud about a Governor’s race is state Rep. David Bradley, who may resign this summer in order to explore the race. He has two disadvantages, though: his base is not Phoenix but the much-smaller Tucson, and he isn’t known statewide like other likely Dem candidates AG Terry Goddard and developer/former state party boss/2006 Senate candidate Jim Pederson.

NY-Gov: Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand made some cryptic comments yesterday that have everyone scratching their heads: she believes there won’t be a Democratic primary for the 2010 Governor’s race. What she didn’t say is who she thinks will stand down, David Paterson or Andrew Cuomo?

MD-01: The NRCC is up with another ad blitz, this time with freshman Rep. Frank Kratovil the prime target. The TV ad hits Kratovil for his ‘no’ vote against an investigation into Nancy Pelosi over whether she or the CIA is lying (not an issue I could ever see the public comprehending, let alone getting revved up about, but maybe that’s just me). The issue also merits radio spots in 6 more districts (those of Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, Suzanne Kosmas, Glenn Nye, Tom Perriello, Vic Snyder, and Harry Teague), and robocalls in 10 more (John Boccieri, Bobby Bright, John Hall, Steny Hoyer, Steve Kagen, Ann Kirkpatrick, Larry Kissell, Harry Mitchell, Walt Minnick, and Mark Schauer).

CA-10: Running Some Guy is better than running No Guy, and the GOP has at least found Some Guy to run in the yet-to-be-scheduled special election to replace Ellen Tauscher: attorney David Harmer. Harmer once ran for Congress in UT-02 in 1996, and his father was California Lt. Gov under Ronald Reagan.

NY-AG: The New York Times profiles half a dozen prominent Democrats who are jockeying to take over the Attorney General’s job if Andrew Cuomo follows through on the Governor’s race. Nassau County Exec Tom Suozzi is the best known, but two members of Paterson’s cabinet — insurance superintendent Eric Dinallo and criminal justice official Denise O’Donnell — are also looking. The article also cites Assemblyman Michael Gianaris, Assemblyman Richard Brodsky, and state Senator Eric Schneiderman.

TX-House: Democrats in the state House in Texas used parliamentary procedures to run out the clock on a Republican voter suppression bill. The voter ID bill would have disenfranchised thousands. The bill was so important to Republicans that they wouldn’t let any other bills jump ahead of it in the queue, though, creating a standoff that torpedoed hundreds of other pieces of legislation (including the override of Gov. Rick Perry’s decision to turn down $555 million in federal stimulus funds).

SSP Daily Digest: 5/21

LA-Sen: David Vitter may get a serious primary challenger after all (Family Research Council honcho Tony Perkins and ex-Rep. John Cooksey have declined, and SoS Jay Dardenne has been laying low). It’s someone we haven’t seen in a while, though: former state Elections commissioner Suzanne Haik Terrell, who let her interest be known last week. Terrell’s last appearance in the spotlight was the 2002 Senate race, where she lost narrowly to Mary Landrieu. Terrell is the only Republican woman to have ever held office in Louisiana.

NY-Sen-B: Like a giant game of Whack-a-mole, Kirsten Gillibrand jammed a couple potential primary challengers back into their holes last week, but now a new one popped up: Rep. Jose Serrano. The Bronx-based Serrano might be able to make a lot of hay out of the immigration issue, but he may not have the cash to make a race of it (although as an Appropriations cardinal, he’s well-connected). Meanwhile, Gillibrand nailed down endorsements from three other Reps. — John Hall, Mike Arcuri, and Scott Murphy — as well as Nassau County Dem party chair Jay Jacobs (important because he has a lot of sway over Rep. Carolyn McCarthy).

PA-Sen: Roll Call tried to pin down the Democratic House members from Pennsylvania on whether or not they’d endorse Arlen Specter in a potential Democratic primary with Rep. Joe Sestak. Interestingly, PA’s most liberal Dem, Chaka Fattah, was probably the most enthusiastic and unconditional endorser of Specter, while its most conservative Dem, Jason Altmire, was most reluctant to offer an endorsement one way or the other, although more out of admiration for Sestak than on ideological grounds. Tim Holden also endorsed Specter and Bob Brady came as close as possible to it, while Patrick Murphy took a “wait and see” attitude and the others simply punted the question.

AR-Sen: State Senator Kim Hendren (having recently shot himself in the foot by calling Charles Schumer “that Jew”) is now vacillating and may not run in the GOP Senate primary after all, despite having announced his candidacy.

IL-Sen: Here’s some confirmation on what we speculated last week: Rep. Mark Kirk isn’t lost in space; he’s just deferring any decisions on the Senate race because he’s waiting to see what AG Lisa Madigan does. He reportedly won’t run for Senate if Madigan does.

FL-Gov: Ag Commissioner Charles Bronson will announce today that he won’t run for the open governor’s seat, leaving an unimpeded path to the GOP nomination for AG Bill McCollum. Bronson is term-limited out of his job in 2010 and looking to move up, but couldn’t buck the pressure from state chair Jim Greer — I mean, the guy doesn’t have a Death Wish.

CO-Gov: Ex-Rep. Scott McInnis officially filed yesterday to enter the Colorado governor’s race, amidst sniping that he started soliciting funds before filing his campaign paperwork. State Senate minority leader Josh Penry also launched into an oblique attack on McInnis, suggesting he might be interested in a primary battle.

CA-Gov: Dianne Feinstein, occasionally rumored to be interested in what has to be the least desirable job in America (California governor), has said that she “might” run for governor next year, depending on her assessment of the other candidates’ plans for dealing with California’s seemingly perpetual budget crisis. Polls that have included Feinstein have shown her dominating the race if she got in.

IL-13: 71-year-old Rep. Judy Biggert just confirmed that she’ll be running for re-election in 2010, despite a return engagement with Scott Harper, who held her to 54%, and the district’s shift to only R+1. (Of course, her inclusion in the first round of 10 in the NRCC’s Patriots program Tuesday showed her hand already.)

AL-02: Republicans have at least one candidate lined up to go against Rep. Bobby Bright as he seeks his first re-election in this R+16 district: 32-year-old Montgomery city councilor and attorney Martha Roby. GOP State Rep. Jay Love, who narrowly lost to Bright last time, may also try again.

MI-13: Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, who narrowly won a 3-way primary in 2008, may have to face off against both of the same challengers again in 2010: state Sen. Martha Scott and former state Rep. Mary Waters. Former interim mayor Ken Cockrel also is mentioned as interested. Kilpatrick may be less vulnerable in 2010, though, as the brouhaha surrounding her son (former mayor Kwame Kilpatrick) recedes in the distance.

Maps: Here’s another interesting map for the geography nerds out there. It’s a map of which party controls all the state House seats throughout the South. (It’s a lot bluer than you might initially think.)

SSP Daily Digest: 4/7

MN-Sen: After the court-ordered opening of the 351 previously rejected absentee ballots, Al Franken’s lead just grew to 312 votes (up from 225 votes after the hand recount). Although the Minnesota Supreme Court still has to rule on some miscellaneous issues (the possibility of some double-counts), these questions affect fewer than 300 ballots, meaning that it is now mathematically impossible for Norm Coleman to prevail.

RI-Gov: After backing off and saying he wouldn’t decide anything until May, it seems like Lincoln Chafee has turned around again and has officially formed his exploratory committee. He will be “putting together a plan that will lay the groundwork for an Independent campaign for governor in 2010.”

PA-Sen: Arlen Specter has come out firing against Pat Toomey’s likely primary challenge… and he’s already shooting blanks. He had to pull down and revise his attack ad for a factual error. He had accused Toomey of having traded credit default swaps while a Wall Street trader in the 80s (turns out CDSs hadn’t been invented yet at that point). Trying a new tack on today’s Morning Joe, Specter said that Toomey is too conservative to win statewide, accusing him of being “to the right of Rick Santorum.”

AR-Sen: Looks like Wal-Mart may have sent Blanche Lincoln a cheap Chinese-made horse head for her bed. Lincoln, who supported the Employee Free Choice Act last time it came up, has announced she won’t be supporting it this time around, at least “in its current form.” Even if Franken gets seated and Specter flip-flops again, this probably defers EFCA until after 2010 (unless it passes in a gutted form).

NV-Sen: John Ensign is making his first speaking appearance in Iowa later this spring. Signs of a presidential run? Possible, considering the paltry lot the GOP has on tap so far. This is of SSP interest primarily because Ensign is up for re-election in 2012 and would leave behind an open seat in this newly blue seat in order to run.

IL-Sen: Big first-quarter haul for Treasurer (and Friend of Barack) Alexi Giannoulias, the only announced candidate for IL-Sen so far. He pulled in $1.1 million, none of which was from corporate PACs.

FL-Sen: When asked for his assessment of Florida Gov. Charlie Crist’s job performance, Democratic Senate candidate Kendrick Meek dodged the question, telling the St. Petersburg Times that “I haven’t yet reviewed his work”. Sharp answer! (J)

FL-Gov: Hey, pallie – you better watch it! Charles Bronson says he’s going to run for governor of Florida if Charles Crist runs for the Senate. And you thought Charles Bronson was dead! Wrong again, pallie! (D)

FL-02: State senator Al Lawson, who’s primarying Allen Boyd from the left, seems like he won’t be pulling punches in going after Boyd. Lawson (who’s said a few Blue Doggish things of his own in the past) says “From my perspective, a Blue Dog is just a closet Republican,” and is “committed to being a true Democrat.”

LA-Legislature: There were three special elections in Louisiana legislative races over the weekend (a Democratic senate seat in Opelousas, a Democratic house seat in New Orleans, and a GOP house seat in Baton Rouge suburbs). Despite the GOP contesting all three seats, Democrats held the line in their two open seats (including one to replace Don Cravins, who’s moved to Washington). The candidates in both runoffs will be Democrats, meaning Dems will hold their 4-seat edge in the senate and 1-seat edge in the house.  

IL-05: It’s special election day in the dark, dark blue 5th. Cook County Commissioner Mike Quigley faces off against GOP activist (and Minutewoman) Rosanna Pulido and a Green party candidate. In a big surprise, SSP will not be liveblogging the results.