SSP Daily Digest: 9/17

CO-Sen: Former state House speaker Andrew Romanoff officially kicked off his primary challenge to Michael Bennet yesterday, with appearances in Pueblo, Colorado Springs, and Denver. Romanoff, however, wasted no time in demonstrating that he won’t be running to Bennet’s left, saying that he’s opposed to the card-check portion of EFCA. If he isn’t going to run to Bennet’s left, that leads to the question of: what other kind of an angle can he work, other than just “it’s my turn?”

IL-Sen: Here’s an interesting development in the Illinois Senate race: EMILY’s List has weighed in, endorsing (surprise) Cheryle Jackson. EMILY’s List isn’t always a magic bullet in these type situations (see Tinker, Nikki), but it does expose Jackson to a nationwide base of donors. Politico does observe something odd, though: EMILY’s List hasn’t endorsed a female Senate candidate who seems to have at least somewhat better odds of making it out of her primary… Jennifer Brunner.

NY-Sen-B (pdf): Some leftovers from yesterday’s Marist poll of NY-Gov: Kirsten Gillibrand is still having some growing pains, with an approval of 26% excellent or good, 38% fair, and 9% poor (with 27% not sure) and losing a head-to-head against ex-Gov. George Pataki, 48-44 (Pataki has been completely silent on the issue, but you’ve gotta wonder if the consistent numbers are getting him more interested). For yucks and giggles, they also matched Gillibrand up against Eliot Spitzer in a Dem primary, which she won 57-29. (Spitzer also loses a primary to David Paterson 60-31, and receives a general “no” on the issue of running again, 27/69.)

IL-Gov: State GOP chair Andy McKenna, who briefly provoked a Mark Kirk temper tantrum when he said he’d run in the Illinois senate primary, has decided he still really wants to run for office, and instead has headed over to the Governor’s race, where there was no top-tier candidate or even clear frontrunner. This seemed to spook one of the candidates, suburban state Sen. Matt Murphy, who bailed out of the race and signed on as McKenna’s running mate. While McKenna has the fundraising connections and can self-fund as well, McKenna has never won a race (he finished 4th in the GOP Senate primary in 2004, meaning he lost not only to Jack Ryan but also Jim Oberweis), and he’ll still have to face DuPage County Board Chair Bob Schillerstrom (who has at least 900,000 constituents) as well as a gaggle of other state Senators. (H/t GOPVOTER.)

MI-Gov: SoS Terri Lynn Land has signed onto Oakland Co. Sheriff Michael Bouchard’s ticket as his running mate. Land, you’ll recall, was widely expected to run for Governor but surprised everyone by endorsing Bouchard instead. (There was a brief rumor that she’d run in MI-03 after a Vern Ehlers retirement, but that doesn’t seem to be happening.)

NH-Gov: Rasmussen throws in gubernatorial numbers as part of its sample from Sep. 14 that found Kelly Ayotte up on Paul Hodes by 8 in the Senate race. The results help cast a little more doubt on the composition of that particular sample, as the state’s widely popular Democratic Governor, John Lynch, leads former Senator John Sununu (who I’ve never seen mentioned in connection with that race) by only 48-43. Lynch beats the only announced candidate, businessman Jack Kimball, 52-31, and vaguely interested state Senator Chuck Morse 51-29.

NJ-Gov: PPP tried out some alternate scenarios in New Jersey involving replacement Democrats for Jon Corzine (although Corzine hasn’t made any moves to get out, and it’s unclear why he would at this point, with his numbers improving somewhat). The bottom line is, it wouldn’t help anyway; Rep. Frank Pallone loses big-time to Chris Christie 43-23 (with Chris Daggett at 15). Newark mayor Corey Booker doesn’t fare much better, even though he has very high approval ratings: he loses 41-33-13.

OR-Gov: We’ll definitely have a contested primary on the Democratic side, despite the entry of heavyweight ex-Gov. John Kitzhaber. Former SoS Bill Bradbury is staying in the race, preparing to announce today, and yesterday releasing a video endorsement from his most prominent backer, former Gov. Barbara Roberts, who preceded Kitzhaber in office. Meanwhile, Kitzhaber released a literal shitload of endorsements yesterday, with many of the state’s key Democrats (AG John Kroger, Treasurer Ben Westlund, Superintendent of Education Susan Castillo, Multnomah County Chair Ted Wheeler, ex-Portland mayor Vera Katz, ex-Rep. Darlene Hooley) and some names who’d been bandied about as possible candidates (state Sen. Mark Hass, Portland city counilor Randy Leonard) on board — not a lot of oxygen left for Bradbury, or for Rep. Peter DeFazio, if he still wants to get in.

PA-Gov: Scranton mayor Chris Doherty is almost certain to run for the Democratic nod for Governor, insiders are saying. He’s staffing up (including some heavy hitters, including media pro Tad Devine) and polling.

TX-Gov: Rasmussen’s new poll of the Texas governor primary on the Republican side has a big surprise: it’s the first poll in ages (since May) to give a lead to Kay Bailey Hutchison. KBH leads incumbent Rick Perry 40-38, with somebody named Debra Medina, who’s from the Ron Paul wing of the party, pulling in 3% of the vote… apparently pulling in enough of Perry’s base of teabag/secession nuts to flip the race to KBH. Rasmussen’s May poll had Perry up 42-38.

CA-42: Republican Rep. Gary Miller has drawn a wealthy primary challenger, Lee McGroarty, an executive with an investment firm. Ethical clouds related to real estate deals have followed Miller, but he’s probably more vulnerable to an anti-insider primary challenge than a Democrat in this R+10 Orange County district.

NY-23: After Sam Brownback and Pat Roberts dropped their barely-explicable holds on the confirmation of Rep. John McHugh for Secretary of the Army, the New York Republican was confirmed last night. The three candidates — Democrat Bill Owens, Republican Dede Scozzafava, and Conservative Doug Hoffman — now are waiting to see when the special election is scheduled. State law requires David Paterson to schedule the election between 30 and 40 days from his announcement of the date, so in order to schedule the election on the regular election day of Nov. 3 (like everyone expects will happen), he’ll need to delay the announcement for at least another week.

Campaign Finance: Last month, a federal judge ruled that Connecticut’s relatively new campaign matching fund system violated the First Amendment, saying it impermissibly put unfair burdens on “hopeless” minor party candidates that it did not also place on equally hopeless major party candidates running in uncompetitive districts. (The decision was in part based on the Supreme Court case that struck down the federal Millionaire’s Amendment last year.) AG Dick Blumenthal is appealing to the Second Circuit. Meanwhile, some folks in Arizona are concerned that this ruling might implicate their own public financing system. (D)

SSP Daily Digest: 4/9

NJ-Gov: The latest poll of the New Jersey governor’s race shows that things aren’t getting any worse for Jon Corzine, but he is settling into a deep rut. Fairleigh Dickinson finds that he loses 42-33 to Chris Christie, the same 9-pt margin as their previous poll one month ago (41-32). Corzine’s approval rating is 40/49, and he beats even nuttier GOPer Steve Lonegan by only 37-36. There is some good news, though: he’d still win in a Democratic primary, if for some reason senate president Richard Codey or Newark mayor Corey Booker challenged him.

Could An incumbent Democratic governor of New Jersey come back after trailing by double digits in the polls for most of the campaign? It happened once before, when Gov. Brendan Byrne beat Republican Raymond Bateman, despite being down as much as twelve points in September of 1977. “Hopeful” at Blue Jersey does some excellent digging through the archives to tell Byrne’s story. (D)

VA-Gov: National politics just injected itself into the Virginia governor’s race in a big way, as the GOP-held House of Delegates rejected $125 million in federal stimulus funds that would have extended unemployment benefits. Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell supported his party’s callous move.

AK-Sen: Ted Stevens just filed his exploratory paperwork to get his old job back, by running for senator in 2014 (when he’ll be 91). Don’t actually expect to see Ted 2.0, though; his spokesman says it’s just a receptacle to receive donations that came in after the November election.

FL-Sen, NH-Sen: In other unlikely comeback news, though, this one appears to be for real: Bob Smith, the former senator from New Hampshire, has filed the paperwork to run for Senate again… in Florida, where he now lives. This seems odd, since there are political titans jostling for the Florida nomination while the New Hampshire nomination still seems to be pretty much free for the asking. (As an indication of how far down the totem pole the NH GOP is looking, Ovide Lamontagne, last seen losing the 1996 gubernatorial race, is now eyeing NH-Sen.)

AR-Sen: Mediocre polling and pressure on EFCA seem to have gotten Blanche Lincoln worried, but she may be able to breathe a little easier after her first quarter fundraising haul: $1.7 million, with $1 million of that coming at a campaign kickoff event headlined by Joe Biden.

MI-Gov: Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson has announced that he won’t seek the GOP nomination for the governor’s race next year. Patterson narrowly led the primary field in a recent poll, so that leaves a wide-open field with a possible advantage to 2nd-place finisher Rep. Pete Hoekstra.

TN-Gov: State senator Roy Herron entered the race for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, joining former state house majority leader Kim McMillan and Nashville businessman Ward Cammack. Mike McWherter, son of former governor Ned McWherter, also seems a likely candidate.

PA-06: We have at least a warm body lined up in PA-06: Doug Pike, who hasn’t held elected office but wrote for the Philadelphia Inquirer for a number of years, was an aide to Paul Tsongas, and is the son of Rep. Otis Pike (of New York). A better-known candidate may still crop up, especially if Rep. Jim Gerlach follows through on his likely plans to bail on his increasingly-Democratic seat (Obama won 58-41) and run for Pennsylvania governor instead.