SSP Daily Digest: 9/29

CA-Sen: Politics Magazine takes a look at how the blowback from the launch of iCarly Fiorina’s new website continues from all ends of the political spectrum, including a nice dig from SSP’s own Ben Schaffer. As California’s right-wingers sputter, there were also rumors circulating at the state’s recent Republican convention that radio talk-show host Larry Elder — the conservatives’ preferred candidate, and someone who expressed interest in the race — got boxed out by the NRSC, who told him not to run.

IN-Sen: 33-year-old state Sen. Marlin Stutzman launched his long-shot bid against Evan Bayh with some help from Rep. Mark Souder, who introduced Stutzman at his kickoff rally. The race already has some fourth-tier figures in it: businessmen Richard Behney and Don Bates. Grant County Commissioner Mark Bardsley, former state Rep. Dan Dumezich, and self-funding popcorn magnate Will Weaver are also considering the race.

NH-Sen: Kelly Ayotte is taking this whole not-saying-anything-about-her-positions thing to an illogical extreme, refusing to say for whom she voted for Governor in 2006 and 2008. Primary opponents Ovide Lamontagne and Sean Mahoney were quick to announce that they voted for Jim Coburn and Joe Kenney — i.e. the guys who ran against Ayotte’s ex-boss, Democratic Gov. John Lynch.

NY-Sen-B: Ed Cox, having secured his role as New York state GOP chair despite a push from Rudy Giuliani to install one of his own lieutenants in the role, is now trying to make nice with Giuliani, encouraging him to run for the Senate seat currently held by Kirsten Gillibrand instead of for Governor. Giuliani hasn’t been returning Cox’s calls, and insists via spokespersons that it’s Governor or nothing.

AZ-01: Former state Senate majority leader Rusty Bowers has filed to form an exploratory committee to run against freshman Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick in the mostly-rural 1st. He’s been out of the legislature since 2001 and has been a lobbyist for the Arizona Rock Products Association since then.

IL-07: Rep. Danny Davis, who previously seemed poised to bail out of his west Chicago seat and run for Cook County Board President, now seems to be dialing that back. Davis says he has the signatures collected to run for Board President “should [he] choose to do so.” He may be having some second thoughts now that he has a key seat on Ways and Means and also because the expected field-clearing for him in the Board race didn’t happen. With Illinois’s super-early February primary, he has until mid-November to  make up his mind. Alderwoman Sharon Dixon says she’s running in the primary in the 7th regardless of what Davis does, though; however, some other likely contenders, like state Rep. LaShawn Ford and state Sen. Rickey Hendon are in a holding pattern to see what Davis does.

IL-14: The field to take on Rep. Bill Foster in the Chicago suburbs just keeps growing, with the addition of GOP state Sen. Randy Hultgren. His best-known opponent in the now five-way primary is lawyer Ethan Hastert.

MI-11: Natalie Mosher is a fundraising consultant who’s the only person with a hat in the ring for the Dems to go up against Rep. Thad McCotter. She’s telling supporters via e-mail that she’s “very close” to being named to the DCCC’s Red to Blue program — although that seems to be news to the DCCC, who say that R2B decisions won’t be made for some time and they are still talking to other possible candidates.

NV-03: Yesterday we reported that former state Sen. Joe Heck was content to stay in the GOP gubernatorial primary, rather than switching over to the NV-03 slot vacated by John Guedry’s withdrawal. However, since then, Heck has signaled more interest, saying he hasn’t ruled it out and is discussing it with his family. Heck could turn out to be a step up from the inexperienced Guedry (remember that Rep. Dina Titus was a replacement candidate as well in 2008, who turned out in the end to be a better bet).

NY-13: Here’s a strange rumor: disgraced ex-Rep. Vito Fossella has been making public rounds, leading to speculation that he’s considering a comeback (although there’s no sense whether he’d try again for the 13th, or elsewhere).

NY-23: The Watertown Daily Times has some juicy dirt on Conservative candidate Doug Hoffman, who apparently pledged his support to GOP candidate Dede Scozzafava shortly after he was passed over by the party in favor of her… and then shortly thereafter reached out to the Conservatives and got their nod. His defense is that he didn’t know just how “liberal” Scozzafava really was, despite that having been a main bone of contention even before her selection.

NYC: With the primary runoff elections set for tonight, SurveyUSA has a final poll of the two races at issue: Public Advocate and Comptroller. For Public Advocate, city councilor Bill DeBlasio leads ex-PA Mark Green 49-42 (although DeBlasio narrowly won the primary, Green led every poll prior to it). And for Comptroller, Eric John Liu leads David Yassky 48-40 (both are city councilors). (Discussion of tonight’s main event is underway in Pan‘s diary.) Meanwhile, it looks like Barack Obama won’t be expending any political capital on the New York mayor’s race, unless it becomes clear William Thompson is closing the gap on Michael Bloomberg.

NY-St. Sen.: The Erie County, NY DA’s office is the latest to join a bipartisan chorus calling for an investigation into the shady campaign finance practices of political consultant Steve Pigeon. As you may recall, Pigeon was the mastermind behind billionaire Tom Golisano’s attempted coup in the New York State Senate earlier this year. Pigeon is also buddy-buddy with Republican-turned-Dem Sen. Arlen Specter, and gets a $150,000 sinecure (completely above-board, I’m sure) as counsel to now-legendary scumbag Pedro Espada, Jr. (D)

PA-St. Sen.: One other race to keep an eye on tonight, in addition to the NYC races: a state Senate election in the Philly suburbs. It’s a seat vacated by a Republican (who left to take a job with the Chamber of Commerce); Republican state Rep. Bob Mensch is considered to have the edge to hold the seat over Lansdale councilor Anne Scheuring (picked after better-known Dems took a pass), although Dems have spent considerably on the race. The district (the 24th) takes a bite out of the corners of four counties that went convincingly for Obama (Bucks, Montgomery, Lehigh, and Northampton) but it’s exurban turf and has a Republican registration advantage — which is exactly the kind of district that has bedeviled PA Dems at the legislative level but that the Dems need to pick up if they’re ever going to take over the state Senate. The GOP currently holds a 29-20 edge, plus this one vacancy.

SSP Daily Digest: 4/22

PA-Sen: The founder of the PA chapter of the Club for Growth has called on Pat Toomey to drop out (!), saying that he’s too conservative for Pennsylvania. (No shit.) The Toomey camp fired back with some mostly non-responsive B.S. (D)

CA-Gov: San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom made the official leap from exploring the California governor’s race to being an officially announced candidate yesterday. He joins Lt. Gov. John Garamendi as the only formal candidates in the race, although Garamendi’s campaign is on hold while he pursues the CA-10 special election.

CA-Sen: The California GOP has lined up a “strong second choice” to challenge Barbara Boxer if ex-Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina doesn’t get in the race. African-American talk radio host Larry Elder, who was on Los Angeles’s KABC for 15 years, is meeting with GOP officials, but still sidelined while waiting for Fiorina. (The pro-choice, pro-pot legalization Elder is very much from the libertarian wing of the party.) Assemblyman Chuck Devore is already officially a candidate, but the party seems unenthused about his odds.

NC-Sen, NC-07: Dem Rep. Mike McIntyre says that his re-election to the House is his current “concentration”, but when asked if he’s considering a Senate bid, McIntyre told a local ABC affiliate that “you never say never to anything.” A recent PPP poll had McIntyre trailing Richard Burr by only five points. (J)

TN-09: Rep. Steve Cohen, as a white Jewish man representing a mostly African-American district, is going to always be vulnerable to primary challenges (as seen with last year’s mudfest with Nikki Tinker). It looks like he’ll be facing a serious test this year, as Memphis mayor Willie Herenton has formed an exploratory committee for the House race. Herenton is African-American and has been mayor since 1991, elected five times. On the other hand, there may be some Herenton fatigue going on in this district, as he is under federal investigation, was re-elected most recently with less than 50% of the vote, and announced his resignation in 2008 only to withdraw it shortly after.

NY-20: You know it’s over for Jim Tedisco when major Republicans are telling him to pack it in. Yesterday, ex-Rep. Tom Davis said it was over, and today, state senator Betty Little (who lost the special election nomination to Tedisco) and Dan Isaacs (who’s running for state GOP chair) also called for the pulling of the plug. Isaacs is so upset that he’s reduced to making up new words: “Tedisco appears not able to pull out a victory in an overwhelmingly Republican district; to me that’s the final indignancy.”

MI-02: Roll Call takes a quick look at the race to replace retiring Rep. Pete Hoekstra. On the GOP side, former state rep. Bill Huizenga is the “biggest voice that’s out there,” but state senator Wayne Kuipers is poised to get in, as is former NFL player Jay Riemersma, who’s well connected with the Christian right. (Notice a common thread in those names? This is the nation’s most heavily Dutch-American district.) There are three Democratic state reps in the district, too, but none of them seem to be making a move yet.

Michigan: An interesting white paper obtained from the Michigan GOP shows that they’re quite pessimistic about getting back into power in 2010, despite the advantages they seem to be taking into next year’s governor’s race. Their suburban base has eroded since the 1990s, and their one-note message just isn’t resonating with swing voters anymore.

NRSC: Continuing our theme of unusually reality-based Republicans today, NRSC John Cornyn is sounding an increasingly cautious note about senate prospects in 2010, telling the Hill that it’s “going to be real hard” to keep the Democrats from breaking 60 seats in 2010.

NH-St. Sen.: Ex-Rep. Jeb Bradley, who lost twice to Rep. Carol Shea-Porter, has begun a new, more low-key chapter in his career, as a state senator. He easily won a special election, 61-39, over retired judge Bud Martin, to retain a GOP-held open seat. Dems continue to hold a 14-10 edge in the chamber.

John Sununu Sr. (the state GOP chair) didn’t seem interested in spinning the victory as indication of a new GOP trend in New Hampshire, though. Always a charmer, Sununu’s thoughts instead were:

He said Bradley’s election actually helps [Gov. John] Lynch. Bradley could be counted on to sustain a Lynch veto of the gay marriage and transgender discrimination legislation, “if he (Lynch) finds the strength to veto that garbage,” Sununu said.