SSP Daily Digest: 12/16

CA-Sen: Despite getting only a small vote share in the GOP Senate primary this year (as conservatives decided to go with the slightly-more-electable Carly Fiorina), Chuck DeVore is talking Senate again, for 2012, when Dianne Feinstein will presumably run for re-election. Or is he? All he’s saying is that he’s likely to run in 2012, but hasn’t decided what office. Senate is the only thing that’s available, though, which makes his statement seem kind of strange (unless he’s talking about trying to rejoin the state Assembly). If Barbara Boxer could still win by 10 points in a terrible year, the more-popular Feinstein in a presidential year is an even more daunting target, meaning that DeVore may be the only prominent GOPer crazy enough to take on the task.

MA-Sen: Nobody really has any idea whether or not Vicki Kennedy plans to run for Senate — she’d probably have a massive field-clearing effect in the Dem primary if she did — but Joan Vennochi is seeing some signs of the groundwork for a run, looking at Kennedy’s stepped-up routine of public appearances around the state.

OH-Sen: Rep. Jim Jordan had probably been the GOPer most associated with a potential run against Sherrod Brown this cycle, but now he’s publicly saying that he’s “leaning heavily against” the run. He has a plum job coming up as head of the right-wing caucus (the Republican Study Committee), which is often a leadership springboard, and given his ultra-safe district, that may be a more appealing track than rolling the dice on a Senate run. Auditor and soon-to-be Lt. Governor Mary Taylor (who you may recall got a few weeks of Senate speculation in 2009 when conservatives were casting about for someone more charismatic and less wonky than Rob Portman) may be next in line.

PPP is out with its primary numbers for the GOP side, too, and they find that Jordan was actually in first place among those few people who actually know him. It’s one of those everybody-but-the-kitchen-sink fields where the guy with the name rec winds up winning out: Incoming AG and ex-Sen. Mike DeWine (who’s quite unlikely to run, given his new job) leads at 27, with ex-SoS Ken Blackwell at 17, new SoS Jon Husted at 11, Jordan at 10, Taylor at 7, Rep. Steve LaTourette at 6, new Treasurer Josh Mandel at 5, and state Sen. Kevin Coughlin at 2.

PA-Sen: Quinnipiac’s new poll of the Pennsylvania Senate turned out to not be that revealing, seeing as how they only testing Bob Casey Jr. against Generic R. (Although they can be forgiven, given the paucity of GOP candidates willing to reveal themselves yet.) At any rate, Casey is in good shape, although the percentage of people with no opinion seems strangely high, maybe reflective of his low-key nature. He beats Generic R 43-35, and has an approval of 39/29 (55/16 among Dems, 28/42 among GOPers, and 36/30 among indies).

House: Politico has another list of possible rematches among the ranks of defeated Dems. Some of these you’re probably already familiar with (Frank Kratovil, Glenn Nye, Phil Hare, and Alan Mollohan(?!?)), but other names now weighing another bid include Dina Titus, Steve Driehaus, Carol Shea-Porter, and Bobby Bright. Mark Schauer says he’s waiting to see what the GOP-held Michigan legislature does to his district, and Ron Klein is waiting to see how his district responds to Allen West.

NY-St. Sen.: Craig Johnson lost his case concerning the result in SD-7 (in which the balance of the state Senate hangs) at the Appellate Division level, who found there wasn’t a basis for a full hand recount. Johnson is still planning to appeal to the Court of Appeals. (In New York, for some screwed-up reason, the Supreme Court is the court of general jurisdiction and the Court of Appeals is the highest appellate court. Also, hamburgers eat people.)

Switchers: Courtesy of the Fix’s Aaron Blake, here’s a list from GOPAC of all the state legislators who’ve switched parties in the last month, if you’re having trouble keeping track. There’s a list of 20, although almost all come from three states (Alabama, Georgia, and Louisiana). Also an interesting note: we’ve actually found someone who just switched from the GOP to the Democrats, although you have to go even further into the weeds: Luzerne County (in Pennsylvania) Commissioner Steve Urban. Before you get too excited, though, the move seems to be mostly driven out of personal pique stemming from Urban’s recent loss in a state Senate race.

California: It looks like California’s switch to a Washington-style “top two” primary is a done deal. It survived a court challenge, with the state Supreme Court refusing to block a challenge to two of its provisions. (One of the provisions is one way in which it’ll differ from Washington: in California, party affiliation can be listed only if one belongs to a party that’s officially recognized by the state, while in Washington, you can list yourself as belonging to whatever crazy made-up party you want.)

CfG: The Club for Growth is issuing one of its litmus test warnings, saying that primaries will result for GOPers who defy its will… and it’s over one of the less controversial things on the current docket: the omnibus spending bill (which contains… gasp!… earmarks.)

Votes: The House, as you’re probably well aware, easily passed repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell yesterday (although its Senate future is hazy; ask again later). The 15 Dem “no” votes are mostly Blue Dogs in socially conservative districts (with nine of them not coming back, either via loss or retirement), with one key exception: Artur Davis, still seeming completely intent on maxing out on his frequent douchebag miles before leaving. The 15 GOP “yes” votes are more interesting, a mix of departing moderates (Castle, Djou, Cao, Ehlers), remaining moderates in well-educated (and presumably low homophobia) districts (Biggert, Reichert, Dent, Platts), GOPers with substantially gay constituencies (Bono Mack, Ros-Lehtinen, Diaz-Balart… and we can double-count Cao), die-hard libertarians (Paul, Flake, Campbell), and in his own category, David Dreier.

WATN?: Dede Scozzafava, perhaps as a reward for, in her own round-about way, giving us the gift of Bill Owens in NY-23, is in talks to get a job in the incoming Cuomo administration. The exact position hasn’t been defined, but will be something about “streamlining” government.

Demographics: Here’s an interesting piece in the Democratic Strategist that does some demographic slice-and-dice of the House seats where Dems lost. Some of it isn’t a surprise (losses occurred where race and education overlap, as the white working class particularly turned right), but it adds an important variable to the mix that nobody else seems to have noticed: manufacturing. There’s a definite correlation between losses and how reliant the district is on a manufacturing economy.

Don Henley wins copyright case against Chuck DeVore

Mr. desmoinesdem alerted me to a recent court ruling in Don Henley’s copyright suit against Chuck DeVore for two web videos DeVore made during his U.S. Senate campaign in California.

Ben Sheffner has been covering the lawsuit at the Copyrights and Campaigns blog.

Henley sued over web videos that set new lyrics to two of his songs. DeVore changed “The Boys of Summer” to “The Hope of November” in a video that mocked Barack Obama, and he changed “All She Wants to Do Is Dance” to “All She Wants to Do Is Tax” in a video that mocked Senator Barbara Boxer.

DeVore claimed fair use on the grounds that the songs he put in his videos were parodies. The problem for DeVore was that legally, “a parody comments on the work itself; a satire uses the work to comment on something else.” DeVore wasn’t rewriting lyrics like Weird Al Yankovic used to do to make fun of musicians. He was scoring points against Obama and Boxer. If you haven’t paid for the rights to use a song, you have to meet a higher legal standard for satire than for parody.

You can download Judge James Selna’s ruling here. Excerpt:

Even assuming that “parody-of-the-author” is a legitimate transformative purpose, the Defendants’ songs do not satisfy the fair use analysis, as discussed below. “Tax” does not target Henley at all, and “November,” which only implicitly targets Henley, appropriates too much from “Summer” in relation to its slight jab at Henley and risks market substitution for “Summer” or its derivatives.

DeVore had claimed he was mocking Henley as part of the liberal Hollywood elite, but Henley argued in one legal brief that he has given money to some Republican candidates, including John McCain. (Who knew?)

Selna agreed with the plaintiffs’ claim that by using the Henley songs in their videos, DeVore’s campaign supplanted the market for derivatives of the Henley songs, because “licensees and advertisers do not like to use songs that are already associated with a particular product or cause. […] This injury is the very essence of market substitution.”

While Selna granted the plaintiffs summary judgment on the issue of copyright infringement, he did not issue a finding on whether the infringement was willful. (If so, Henley would have a stronger claim for monetary damages.) Sheffner comments, “I assume there will be a jury trial on the issue of willfulness and damages, unless the parties are able to reach a resolution.”

Selna rejected the plaintiffs’ claim that DeVore violated the Lanham Act by giving people the wrong impression that Henley had endorsed DeVore’s Senate campaign. Sheffner explained in this post why he thought Henley would (and should) lose that portion of the lawsuit.

Other candidates and campaign staffers should review this case before they decide to use copyrighted songs in web ads.

CA-Sen, CA-Gov: No Surprises, It’s Whitman and Fiorina

SurveyUSA for KABC, KFSN, KGTV, and KPIX (6/3-6, likely voters, 5/21-23 in parens):

Carly Fiorina (R): 48 (46)

Tom Campbell (R): 22 (23)

Chuck DeVore (R): 16 (14)

Other: 4 (6)

Undecided: 9 (11)

Meg Whitman (R): 59 (54)

Steve Poizner (R): 30 (27)

Other: 6 (10)

Undecided: 5 (9)

(MoE: ±4.1%)

SurveyUSA is seeing what pretty much everyone else is seeing, that Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina have their respective GOP primaries nailed down. Their numbers haven’t changed much at all over the last couple weeks, but remember that when the previous SurveyUSA poll came out, the numbers seemed rather dramatic: there had been a major tightening between Whitman and Steve Poizner in early May (which then quickly dissipated), and they were one of the first to give a substantial lead to Fiorina instead of Tom Campbell. Looks like they did a good job of honing in on the ultimate trends.

Below the two marquee races, there’s also a treasure trove of interesting information in the rest of the SurveyUSA data (some of which was in a separate release, here). And, no, I’m not counting the Democratic gubernatorial primary as “interesting” (where Jerry Brown leads Richard Aguirre 73-4). In the Democratic race to be Jerry Brown’s #2, San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom is in pole position; he leads LA city councilor Janice Hahn 43-27. Abel Maldonado, the incumbent GOP Lt. Governor, is in the lead despite teabagger discontent over his various apostasies; he leads conservative ex-state Sen. Sam Aanestad 26-16, with another 26 scattered among various others.

In the AG’s race, the leading Democratic contender is San Francisco DA Kamala Harris, although she has only a narrow lead over Facebook attorney Chris Kelly and former LA City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo; her lead is 26-20-16, with Pedro Nava at 8, Ted Lieu and Alberto Torrico at 6, and Mike Schmier at 2. On the GOP side, Los Angeles County DA Steve Cooley is in the lead at 30, followed by state Sen. Tom Harman at 25 and former law school dean John Eastman at 19.

And SurveyUSA has poll results on all those delightful initiatives in which the corporations and their paid signature gatherers people get to exert direct democracy. Proposition 13 is, like its 70s namesake, designed to limit property taxes, although here it just prevents reassessment after buildings’ values go up after earthquake retrofitting. “Yes” is leading, 49-26. Proposition 14 is maybe the most attention-getting one, as it’s a proposal to switch to a Washington-style top-two primary system; apparently people like that idea, as “Yes” leads 50-28 (I know lots of people are up in arms about that, but speaking as a Washingtonian, the change has had little practical effect other than rendering third parties even more irrelevant than before).

Proposition 15 is a proposal to introduce public funding of political campaigns (although it’s baby steps, starting only with the next SoS race); despite the baby steps, it seems unlikely to pass, with “No” leading 46-29. Proposition 16, which would require an onerous 2/3rds majority before local governments could use public funding to expand electricity service (and which is the subject of huge amounts of money poured in by the state’s utilities), is the closest-looking race, with “No” currently leading 45-41. And finally, Proposition 17 allows insurance companies to base prices on a driver’s insurance coverage history; “Yes” leads 43-39. Hooray for insurance companies!

SSP Daily Digest: 6/7

AR-Sen: The Bill Halter campaign is looking for last minute phonebanking help to seal the deal. And you can do it from the comfort of your own home.

CA-Sen, CA-Gov (pdf): The Senate GOP primary portion of the Field Poll came out over the weekend, and it’s right in line with the various other pollsters finding a last-minute Carly Fiorina surge into a double-digit lead. She leads Tom Campbell and Chuck DeVore 37-22-19. (Campbell led 28-22-9 in the previous Field poll in March.) Also, it looks like Campbell’s last-minute ad pitch, centered around his electability, may fall on deaf ears: 42% of primary voters think that Fiorina has the best chance of beating Barbara Boxer, while 22% think that Campbell does (and 12% think that Chuck DeVore does — which is also about the same percentage of Californians who believe there is a 1,000 foot high pyramid in Greenland). There are also primary polls out from Republican pollster Magellan (who don’t have a horse in this race), who find things even worse for Campbell: they have Fiorina leading Campbell and DeVore 54-19-16. They also give a big edge to fellow rich person Meg Whitman in the gubernatorial race; she leads Steve Poizner 64-22. The unfortunate moral of the story here: have a lot of money.

DE-Sen: New Castle Co. Exec Chris Coons is pre-emptively getting ahead of Republican charges that he raised taxes, by, instead of hiding under the bed like conventional wisdom dictates, saying ‘guilty as charged’ and explaining how it helped. The county wound up with a AAA bond rating and a eight-digit surplus. Coons also previewed one of his lines of attack against Mike Castle: Castle’s role in deregulating the banking sector.

FL-Sen: As Charlie Crist rebuilds his team from scratch, he’s rolling out a new media team that’s heavy on the Democratic ties. Most prominently, Chuck Schumer’s former chief of staff, Josh Isay, will be Crist’s lead media person. Isay’s firm SKD Knickerbocker may be best-known for helping out other moderate independents, like Joe Lieberman and Michael Bloomberg. One of the fires that Isay will have to put out as soon as he gets in the building, though, is what to do about the Jim Greer situation. Greer’s lawyer is saying that Crist gave the initial OK on Greer’s fundraising workaround which avoided usual party channels (which Greer allegedly turned into a scheme for filling his own pockets).

IL-Sen: Rep. Mark Kirk’s very, very bad week last week just seems to be spilling over into this week. There are allegations popping up that he fibbed on getting shot at in Afghanistan too, and also evidence that he made a lot of stuff up while talking off the cuff about the Somalia situation last year. Taking a page from Richard Blumenthal, late last week he finally dropped the playing offense against the charges and instead went to the Chicago Tribune’s e-board to say “I’m sorry” — but that apology comes after letting the story fester all week.

NH-Sen: After a year and a half of having the Democratic primary to himself, there are hints that Rep. Paul Hodes might get some late-in-the-game company. Mark Connolly, the former head of the state’s Securities Division who resigned to become a whistleblower in the wake of the Financial Resources Mortgage coverup (the same one that’ll have Kelly Ayotte testifying before the state legislature soon), expressed some interest and said “he’s angry enough to do it.” (Looks like a common theme this year.) Speaking of Ayotte, it sounds like she doesn’t know how to read a poll: she says she won’t take drilling for oil off New Hampshire’s tiny coastline “off the table.”

WA-Sen: You might remember from last week that the Univ. of Washington engaged in some methodologically weird stuff by adding an extra week’s worth of samples on the end of their already-released poll and re-releasing the numbers (which were nevertheless unchanged, at Patty Murray 44, Dino Rossi 40). Well, now they’re re-releasing the poll yet again with even more samples, with changed toplines and with specific numbers for that tiny extra sample for the days May 24-28 (following Rossi’s official announcement). The number that’s getting all the press is that Rossi led Murray 42-39 in that batch, although that’s only based on 221 likely voters with a margin of error of 6.6%, so its usefulness is, well, questionable. Their full numbers are now 42-40 for Murray for the entire RV sample and 46-40 for Murray for the entire LV sample (i.e. those who voted in 2006), and she leads Generic R 44-39 among RVs (and 46-41 in the May 24-28 sample), but this poll has gotten so methodologically convoluted I’m not really sure it’s worth much of anything at this point.

Murray got some good news today in the form of an endorsement, and it’s not from a human but a corporation: Boeing. While she’s received plenty of Boeing money in the past, I’m not aware of Boeing ever having explicitly endorsed her or anyone else before (although anyone with a pulse knows that Murray has taken over for Scoop Jackson as the “Senator from Boeing”). Frankly, in the state of Washington, this is a bigger endorsement than any human politician’s endorsement would be, considering the way Boeing’s tendrils reach so much of the state. Finally, the field of miscellaneous Republicans kept shrinking today, as chiropractor Sean Salazar (probably the first guy to try to grab the teabagger mantle here, although he got shoved over by Clint Didier) bailed out of the race and backed Rossi.

WI-Sen: Here’s a strange vulnerability for Ron Johnson in the Wisconsin Senate race: his fixation on opposing bipartisan Wisconsin state legislation making it easier for victims of childhood sexual abuse to sue their abusers. That’ll require some explanation, and I assume it’ll be something other than his current explanation, that such legislation would only lead to more victims of sexual abuse by making organizations likelier to sweep it under the carpet.

IA-Gov: After endorsing a variety of misspelled odds-and-ends last week (“Cecil Bledsoe,” “Angela McGowen,” and Joe Miller), Sarah Palin went with a big gun this weekend, and it was one who doesn’t match her carefully cultivated teabagging/religious right image at all: establishment retread Terry Branstad in Iowa. Is she counting on getting repaid by Branstad in the 2012 caucuses, if she decides to give up the grifting lifestyle and take the huge pay cut associated with running for President? (Branstad also has the backing of Mitt Romney, who seems more of a kindred spirit for him.)

MI-Gov: The Schwarz is not with us after all. Joe Schwarz, the moderate ex-Rep. who got bounced from MI-07 in 2006 in the GOP primary by Tim Walberg, has decided against pursuing the independent bid in the Governor’s race that he’d been threatening. On the surface, the loss of a center-right indie looks like bad news for the Dems, but depending on which two candidates match up in November, Schwarz could just have easily pulled more left-of-center votes… and in all likelihood, he wasn’t going to rack up more than a few percent anyway.

NY-Gov: In their standoff with Democratic nominee Andrew Cuomo, the Working Families Party seems to have blinked first. They went ahead and nominated placeholders in the Governor, Lt. Gov, and AG slots, presumably to allow coordination with the Dem choices later. Cuomo had been leaning hard on the WFP to do so. The person most affected by this is state Sen. Eric Schneiderman, a Cuomo foe who had been considered the most likely WFP candidate for AG; instead, the WFP may wind up going with Nassau Co. DA Kathleen Rice, who’s Cuomo’s preferred AG for his informal “ticket.”

TX-Gov: The Greens are actually going to be on the ballot in Texas this year, for the gubernatorial race? I’m as surprised as you are, but it’s less surprising when you find out who’s behind it: Arizona Republican consultant Tim Mooney, who set up the petition drive to get them on the ballot (and who’s also a veteran of the 2004 efforts to get Ralph Nader on as many states’ ballots as possible). GOP incumbent Rick Perry faces a tough race from Dem former Houston mayor Bill White, and he can have a little breathing room if the Greens siphon off a few lefties.

AR-01: Chad Causey has an interesting argument for Democratic runoff voters in the 1st not to vote for ex-state Sen. Tim Wooldridge: he’s likely to bolt for the Republican Party at his earliest convenience. Causey’s evidence for the flight risk posed by Wooldridge includes his very conservative voting record in the state legislature, starting with his pro-public hanging legislation. Wooldridge, for his part, said he’d never switch. The Wooldridge camp is also offering up an internal poll (no word on the pollster) claiming a 48-24 lead over Causey in the runoff.

CA-19: SurveyUSA has one last poll of the race in the 19th’s GOP primary, which they’ve polled exhaustively (and found almost exactly the same thing each time). However, this time it’s a little more interesting: there seems to be some late movement to former Fresno mayor Jim Patterson, who now leads state Sen. Jeff Denham 34-30. Ex-Rep. Richard Pombo is back at 17, with Larry Westerlund at 8. On the Dem side, it’s a 26-26 tie between Loraine Goodwin and Les Marsden.

MN-06: What started out as a thorny three-way primary (when Elwyn Tinklenberg was in the race) has turned into a walk for Democratic state Sen. Tarryl Clark. Maureen Reed, a physician and former Independence Party Lt. Gov. candidate, ended her bid and endorsed Clark against Rep. Michele Bachmann. Reed had done surprisingly well at fundraising, but didn’t have the institutional advantages that Clark did, especially once Clark got the DFL endorsement. Clark still has an uphill fight against Bachmann, who’s insulated against likely future foot-in-mouth incidents by the district’s reddish lean as well as a huge war chest.

TN-08: A Hill piece on the possibility of another NRCC-touted candidate (in the form of Stephen Fincher) going down in flames actually has some nice dirt on all three Republicans contesting the primary in the 8th. Fincher, of course, is widely noted for his hypocrisy on attacking the federal government while receiving millions in farm subsidies, but it’s also been revealed that he has voted in three Democratic primaries in the last eight years, “used virtually the same TV ad as a candidate for Alabama Agriculture Commisioner” (I have to assume it was an ad from one of the “thugs,” since if he’d riiiiiiipped off Dale Peterson’s ad, the whole blogosphere would already know about it by now), and perhaps most pathetically, misspelled “Tennessee” in a mailer. His challengers, Ron Kirkland and George Flinn, have their own troubles; Kirkland contributed to outgoing Democratic Rep. John Tanner in 2000 and 2004, while Flinn tried to cover up a lawsuit by a contractor who wasn’t paid for remodeling work.

SSP Daily Digest: 6/3 (Afternoon Edition)

CA-Sen, CA-Gov: There’s one more poll in California, courtesy of Capitol Weekly (done for them by Republican pollster Probolsky Research). They’ve polled a few times before, but they’re calling this a “tracking poll,” suggesting they’ll be putting out more numbers as we count down to the June 8 primary. At any rate, there aren’t any surprises here: they too see the Carly Fiorina surge on the Senate side: she’s at 40, compared with Tom Campbell’s 25 and Chuck DeVore’s 13. In the Governor’s race, Meg Whitman leads Steve Poizner 54-24.

The big news here, though, is that Campbell, after saying he was going dark earlier this week, apparently pulled together enough last-minute contributions for a final TV ad. His closing argument is all about electability, centering around the recent LA Times/USC poll that gave him a lead over Barbara Boxer while Fiorina trailed. A candidate making a calm, logical pitch based on quantifiable data, instead of throwing together a mish-mash of fearmongering, jingoism, and meaningless buzzwords? I think Campbell might be running in the wrong party’s primary for that kind of thing to work. Fiorina, for her part, may have some backtracking to do after her deriding Boxer’s push on climate legislation as worrying about “the weather.” Back in October, before Campbell’s entry forced herself to recast herself as a conservative, she had lots of praise for cap and trade.

KY-Sen: Rush disses Rand Paul! No, it’s not Rush Limbaugh; it’s just plain Rush, the pioneer 70s Canadian prog-rockers. They’ve told Paul to stop using Rush’s music at his rallies and in his web ads, citing copyright violations inasmuch as Paul has simply chosen his own Free Will and not asked them for, y’know, permission. The Paul campaign has used “The Spirit of Radio” pre-rallies (and here’s how big a Rush geek he is: he’s actually quoted that song’s lyrics on the stump). There’s always been a lot of overlap between Rush fans and libertarians, not just because many of Rush’s lyrics lean that way, but also because they both have a core audience of 14-year-old boys.

NY-Sen-B: The Senate primary, for the right to go against Kirsten Gillibrand, is turning out to be just as much of a clusterf@ck as everything else the NY GOP has done lately. The GOP convention has left them with yet one more contested primary, as Bruce Blakeman and David Malpass split the vote (a weighted 42% for Blakeman and 40% for Malpass), leaving them to fight it out in a primary. They’re still likely to be joined by Joe DioGuardi, who only got 18% (missing the 25% threshold) but who intends to petition his way on to the ballot. Remember that DioGuardi is already on the ballot on the Conservative line, though, so he’s participating in November regardless of whether he gets into, let alone wins, the primary.

CT-Gov: Here’s one advantage to running against a rich guy in a state with public campaign financing: every time your opponent pulls out more money, more money magically appears for you, too. Dan Malloy has raised $250K in contributions, which opens the door to another $1.25 million from the state, and on top of that, he’s entitled to a $938K bonus to match Ned Lamont’s spending. On the GOP side, Michael Fedele (with a rich guy problem of his own, in the form of Tom Foley) would like to do the same thing, but doesn’t look like he can rustle up $250K in contributions by the deadline.

AL-05: Parker Griffith apparently isn’t switching back to being a Dem after his party-switching chicanery blew up in his face; he congratulated Mo Brooks at a press conference yesterday and said he’ll vote for him in November. “I was rejected by the constituents, they did not accept me. I appreciate that because that is how America is supposed to work,” said Griffith.

CA-36: There are some internal polls floating around out there ahead of next week’s primary in the 36th. Jane Harman’s camp has a poll out giving her a 58-17 lead over Marcy Winograd (no word on the pollster, let alone any of the details). Winograd has her own internal, with even less detail: all they’re saying is that Harman is down at 43, although their silence about Winograd’s own number is pretty telling.

FL-19: The FEC is telling ex-Rep. Robert Wexler to give back an unspecified amount of the contributions he received for the 2010 general election — which makes sense, considering he isn’t a participant. (He left to become president of the Center for Middle East Peace, although ongoing chatter has him on track to become the next Ambassador to Israel.) Unfortunately, that means less cash that he can offload to the> DCCC or other Dems this cycle.

HI-01: I wasn’t aware that he hadn’t already weighed in in favor of Colleen Hanabusa, since most of the rest of the local old-guard Dem establishment had, but today ex-Rep. and gubernatorial candidate Neil Abercrombie endorsed Hanabusa. He also gave a hat tip to Ed Case for getting out of the way.

Blogosphere: The New York Times actually got something right! They’re going to be partnering with Nate Silver, bringing a relaunched 538 under the NYT’s online umbrella in August. We’re glad to see that the legacy media are realizing that not only is there serious political journalism (if not scholarship) going on in the blogosphere, but that their last gasp at relevance may be by moving in that direction. Congrats to Nate, too!

CA-Gov, CA-Sen: Whitman, Fiorina Lead Primary, Trail in General

Greenberg Quinlan Rosner/American Viewpoint for the Los Angeles Times and University of Southern California (5/19-26, likely voters for primary, registered voters for general, 3/20-23 in parentheses):

Carly Fiorina (R): 38 (25)

Tom Campbell (R): 23 (29)

Chuck DeVore (R): 16 (9)

(MoE: ±4.5%)

Barbara Boxer (D-inc): 44

Carly Fiorina (R): 38

Barbara Boxer (D-inc): 38

Tom Campbell (R): 45

Barbara Boxer (D-inc): 46

Chuck DeVore (R): 36

(MoE: ±2.6%)

Meg Whitman (R): 53 (60)

Steve Poizner (R): 29 (20)

(MoE: ±4.5%)

Jerry Brown (D): 44 (41)

Meg Whitman (R): 38 (44)

Jerry Brown (D): 45 (53)

Steve Poizner (R): 31 (22)

(MoE: ±2.6%)

Here’s one more poll confirming the last-minute surge for Carly Fiorina in the GOP Senate primary, which seems to have advertising disparities at its root: trailing by 4 in the late March LA Times/USC poll, she’s now up by 15. The previous poll only tested “Generic Republican” in the primary, and today’s results show why that was kind of silly, given the very different candidate profiles: Tom Campbell beats Barbara Boxer while Fiorina loses (I don’t think any other poll has had such a Campbell/Fiorina disparity in the general, though, and PPP went the opposite direction the other week, where Fiorina performed the best against Boxer).

On the gubernatorial side, this poll is remarkably right in line with other recent polls showing Meg Whitman’s big lead in the primary (50-29 Pollster average today) and Jerry Brown’s smaller lead over Whitman in November (46-39 Pollster average today).

CA-Gov, CA-Sen: Brown Benefiting from Whitman/Poizner Fray

PPP (pdf) (5/21-23, registered voters, no trendlines, likely voters in primary):

Jerry Brown (D): 48

Meg Whitman (R): 36

Undecided: 16

Jerry Brown (D): 48

Steve Poizner (R): 32

Undecided: 19

(MoE: ±3.2%)

Meg Whitman (R): 51

Steve Poizner (R): 26

Someone else: 11

Undecided: 12

(MoE: ±4.8%)

It’s starting to look like, after spending close to a combined $100 million of their own money against each other, than Meg Whitman and Steve Poizner have just gone all Angelides/Westly against each other. (Those were the two Democratic primary contenders in the 2006 gubernatorial election, who went so negative for so long against each other that eventual winner Phil Angelides was left radioactive and an easy mark for Arnold Schwarzenegger in the general.) Favorables for Whitman (24/44) and Poizner (19/43) are both truly awful, allowing the not-so-popular-himself Jerry Brown (37/39) to romp over each one in head-to-heads. The main difference in their performance, in PPP’s first poll of the race, is that the more moderate Whitman fares better with indies against Brown than does Poizner. (UPDATE: Sitting still and watching the fight is paying great dividends for Brown: he’s sitting on $20.6 million CoH, and has spent a whopping total of $400K this year.)

PPP (pdf) (5/21-23, registered voters, no trendlines, likely voters in primary):

Barbara Boxer (D): 45

Carly Fiorina (R): 42

Undecided: 13

Barbara Boxer (D): 47

Tom Campbell (R): 40

Undecided: 12

Barbara Boxer (D): 46

Chuck DeVore (R): 40

Undecided: 13

(MoE: ±3.2%)

Carly Fiorina (R): 41

Tom Campbell (R): 21

Chuck DeVore (R): 16

Someone else: 4

Undecided: 18

(MoE: ±4.8%)

The most interesting news here may be the PPP gives further confirmation to the sudden surge in the GOP primary by Carly Fiorina, which didn’t really start showing up until this week. (Check out the regression lines.) Campbell still leads 32-30 among moderates, but there are more conservatives in the sample and Fiorina is up 47-15 among them (with DeVore at 19). In the general, we’re seeing another symptom of Fiorina gaining and Campbell deflating as Fiorina doubled down on ads while Campbell went mostly dark: few polls prior to this one have seen the more conservative Fiorina overperforming Campbell against Barbara Boxer.

A couple other primary polls from Republican sources are in the same general range as PPP. Magellan (pdf) is a GOP pollster but doesn’t have a candidate in the race (they’ve been offering polls in a number of primaries where they aren’t involved, like Kentucky). They find a very similar 44 Fiorina, 21 Campbell, 14 DeVore in the Senate primary, while Meg Whitman is leading Steve Poizner 54-19 in the gubernatorial primary. That’s an even better showing than the internal poll (pdf) from McLaughlin & Assocs that Meg Whitman put out yesterday, that had her leading 53-27. That brief Steve Poizner surge seems to have dissipated, if it ever actually existed and wasn’t just a couple outliers appearing at once.

SSP Daily Digest: 5/26 (Morning Edition)

  • AR-Sen: The Big Dog is coming back home to stump for Blanche Lincoln, the first time he’s done so this race. Meanwhile, the SEIU just tossed in another $100K for phonebanking and another $100K for field on behalf of Bill Halter. (There’s also an amusing negative $100K entry for “reverse phonebanking.”)
  • CA-Sen: Chuck DeVore is as insane as this ad. A true must-see. In news of the normal, President Obama kept to his promise to return to CA for two more Barbara Boxer fundraisers. The events raised $1.75 million, $600K of which will go to Boxer and the balance to the DSCC.
  • KY-Sen: Heh, that was quick. Rand Paul is already planning the dreaded “staff shakeup.” The only problem is that he can’t fire himself. Barring that, Mitch McConnell is telling his least-favorite fellow Kentuckian to shut the fuck up and hide under a rock – “for the time being.”
  • PA-Sen: I agree – this is a magnanimous move. Arlen Specter introduced Joe Sestak to his Senate colleagues at their weekly lunch yesterday. Very gracious.
  • AL-06, AL-07: Unsurprisingly, corporate lawyer Terri Sewell is the only Democrat airing TV ads in the primary to succeed Rep. Artur Davis, spending about $200K so far. With $783K, she’s far outraised her chief competitors, Earl Hilliard, Jr. ($328K) and Shelia Smoot ($100K). Sewell can also count among her contributors Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz.
  • Crazily, though, ten-term GOP Rep. Spencer Bachus is also airing ads in advance of his primary in AL-06, some $70K worth. Bachus has spent an amazing $680K on his campaign so far, even though his challenger, teabagger Stan Cooke, has raised just $29K total. This is the reddest district in the nation according to Cook PVI (R+29), which may explain Bachus’s anxiety, since he is the ranking member of the House Financial Services Committee and voted in favor of the bailout.

  • AR-01: A similar situation in AR-01 as in AR-02 below, where first-rounder David Cook endorsed the somewhat less-conservative Chad Causey over the extremely conservative Tim Wooldridge in (you might be a little surprised to hear me say this if you don’t already know the names) the Democratic runoff.
  • AR-02: Some runoff endorsements on both sides from the also-rans. Patrick Kennedy and John Adams (great names, huh?) both endorsed Robbie Wills in the Democratic race, while David Boling endorsed Joyce Elliott. I suspect national Dems would prefer Wills over the more-liberal Elliott, but this race is probably too touchy to get involved in.
  • DE-AL: Joe Biden returned home to do a fundraiser in Wilmington for John Carney. No word on whether he’ll also do one for Senate candidate Chris Coons, but it’s not like it’s a big schlep.
  • FL-25: The statewide Florida AFL-CIO, following the lead of its South Fla. branch, endorsed little-known longshoreman Luis Meurice in the Democratic primary, rather than Joe Garcia. The union, Florida’s biggest, backed Garcia in 2008.
  • IN-05: This is exactly the kind of weird that Dave Weigel specializes in. Tim Crawford, the teabagging “Democrat” who snuck to victory in the Democratic primary here, abruptly dropped out of the race after an unpleasant meeting with, you know, actual Democrats… and then wrote a long, rambly email saying he was un-dropping-out. Ah well.
  • IN-09: Speaking of Joe Biden, he’ll also be doing a fundraiser in late June for Rep. Baron Hill in Jeffersonville, Indiana.
  • NC-08: I would really freakin’ love to see Tim D’Annunzio pull this one off. The entire NC House GOP delegation just collectively endorsed former TV sportscaster Harold Johnson, terrified as they are of the spastic-fantastic Tim-diana Jones. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, click here stat.
  • RI-01: Scott Brown is coming to Rhode Island for a fundraiser with state Rep. John Loughlin, the GOP’s candidate in this open seat. To date, Loughlin’s raised about $344K, which might not seem too bad, but in fact he’s been running for a long time, since well before Rep. Patrick Kennedy announced his retirement.
  • VA-11: Businessman Keith Fimian has a new poll from McLaughlin & Associates showing him with a 36-23 lead over Fairfax Co. Supervisor Pat Herrity in the GOP primary. A March poll had Fimian up 29-17. Herrity had his own poll out last month, though, showing him with a 42-21 lead – and pointed out that Fimian claimed his internals had him just three points behind Gerry Connolly before election day 2008, but lost by twelve.
  • DSCC: Uh, good, I guess. The DSCC has cancelled plans to have EPA chief Lisa Jackson headline an NYC fundraiser next week – but what a retarded idea in the first place. It seems pretty inappropriate to me to have cabinet members doing hackwork like this (can you imagine Hillary Clinton or Eric Holder shilling for dollars?), but it’s even worse when you’re talking about the head of the EPA in the midst of the oil spill crisis in the Gulf. I also find it unctuous that the original invitation promised that the event would be “intimate, so each of you will have a real opportunity to get to know and to speak to Lisa about issues of concern to you and our nation.” Pretty gross when it’s our team selling access to the ultra-wealthy. Barf.
  • Ideology: Alan Abramowitz has a great piece up at the Democratic Strategist, looking at the correlation between ideology (as measured by DW-NOMINATE) and election performance by Republican senators. Using a modified eight-point DW-N scale, Abramowitz finds: “For every additional one point increase in conservatism, Republican incumbents lost an additional three percentage points in support relative to their party’s presidential candidate.” But shhh… don’t tell the Republicans!
  • CA-Sen, CA-Gov: Fiorina, Whitman Soar in New SUSA Poll

    SurveyUSA (5/21-23, likely and actual voters, 5/6-9 in parens):

    Meg Whitman (R): 54 (39)

    Steve Poizner (R): 27 (37)

    Others (R): 10 (7)

    Undecided: 9 (14)

    (MoE: ±4%)

    This is a pretty dramatic gyration for SurveyUSA here, who previously showed a significant tightening of the GOP gubernatorial race just a couple of weeks ago. Keep in mind that two other very recent polls (from Research 2000 and the Public Policy Institute of California) both showed Whitman up on Poizner by only 10 points or less. Among those voters who have already cast their ballots (17% of the sample), Whitman leads Poizner by 55-32.

    Senate numbers:

    Tom Campbell (R): 23 (35)

    Carly Fiorina (R): 46 (24)

    Chuck DeVore (R): 14 (15)

    Tim Kalemkarian (R): 4 (3)

    Undecided: 11 (23)

    (MoE: ±4%)

    Again, this dramatically different than every other poll we’ve seen, with R2K giving Campbell a 37-22 edge on Fiorina and PPIC also giving Fiorina an edge on Campbell, but only by 25-23. Either this one is a huge outlier, or SUSA is seeing something pretty dramatic that other pollsters have missed. Among those who have already voted, SUSA finds that Fiorina holds a 44-30 lead over Campbell.

    In other news, Barbara Boxer has announced that her campaign has raised $2 million since the start of April, bringing her cash-on-hand up to $9.6 million.

    CA-Sen, CA-Gov: Dems Look Better, Poizner Surges

    Research 2000 for Daily Kos (5/17-19, likely voters, 3/8-10 in parentheses):

    Meg Whitman (R): 46 (52)

    Steve Poizner (R): 36 (19)

    Undecided: 18 (29)

    (MoE: ±5.0%)

    Jerry Brown (D): 46 (45)

    Meg Whitman (R): 42 (41)

    Undecided: 12 (14)

    Jerry Brown (D): 47 (48)

    Steve Poizner (R): 37 (33)

    Undecided: 16 (19)

    (MoE: ±4.0%)

    Tom Campbell (R): 37 (33)

    Carly Fiorina (R): 22 (24)

    Chuck DeVore (R): 14 (7)

    Undecided: 27 (36)

    (MoE: ±5.0%)

    Barbara Boxer (D): 47 (47)

    Tom Campbell (R): 40 (43)

    Undecided: 13 (10)

    Barbara Boxer (D): 48 (49)

    Carly Fiorina (R): 39 (40)

    Undecided: 13 (11)

    Barbara Boxer (D): 47 (49)

    Chuck DeVore (R): 38 (39)

    Undecided: 13 (12)

    (MoE: ±4.0%)

    Research 2000’s new poll of California has, on the balance, good news for the Democrats. While Jerry Brown and Barbara Boxer aren’t putting up dominant numbers, they’re winning by decent margins (as opposed to the last Field Poll, which had them losing). Also good news: Steve Poizner is gaining on Meg Whitman in the GOP gubernatorial primary, as many other polls have shown; he may not get over the top by June 8, but will certainly leave her bloodied and much poorer. In the Senate primary, Tom Campbell, the toughest GOPer for Boxer to face, is putting a little distance between himself and Carly Fiorina (although the big gainer seems to be Tea Party fave Chuck DeVore, still back in third place).

    Public Policy Institute of California (pdf) (5/9-16, likely voters, 3/9-16 (pdf) in parentheses):

    Meg Whitman (R): 38 (61)

    Steve Poizner (R): 29 (11)

    Undecided: 31 (25)

    (MoE: ±5.0%)

    Jerry Brown (D): 42 (39)

    Meg Whitman (R): 37 (44)

    Undecided: 21 (17)

    Jerry Brown (D): 45 (46)

    Steve Poizner (R): 32 (31)

    Undecided: 23 (23)

    (MoE: ±3.0%)

    Carly Fiorina (R): 25 (24)

    Tom Campbell (R): 23 (23)

    Chuck DeVore (R): 16 (8)

    Undecided: 36 (44)

    (MoE: ±5.0%)

    Barbara Boxer (D): 46 (43)

    Tom Campbell (R): 40 (44)

    Undecided: 14 (13)

    Barbara Boxer (D): 48 (44)

    Carly Fiorina (R): 39 (43)

    Undecided: 13 (13)

    Barbara Boxer (D): 50 (46)

    Chuck DeVore (R): 39 (40)

    Undecided: 11 (14)

    (MoE: ±3.0%)

    PPIC was one of a number of pollsters (like Field) showing Jerry Brown momentarily falling behind Meg Whitman a few months ago, when she was dominating the airwaves, which may even have rubbed off on Barbara Boxer; however, they’ve fallen back to giving the edge to Brown (which probably has more to do with Poizner nuking Whitman than anything Brown is doing, which is, as is his way, very little) and to Boxer. Check out the trendlines on the GOP gubernatorial primary here: they also have Poizner within about 10, down from a margin of about 80 million two months ago.

    The attention-grabbing number here is in the GOP Senate primary, as they’re pretty much the only pollster to give an edge to Carly Fiorina (who I think most Dems would prefer to see prevail, her self-funding capacity notwithstanding) instead of Tom Campbell.