SSP Daily Digest: 9/23

CT-Sen: Pro wrestling CEO Linda McMahon is apparently doing the things that normal candidates do when running for office, starting with her first radio ad. However, she’s already having to acknowledge that she hasn’t done a good job recently of doing another thing that normal politicians do, which is vote. She skipped the 2006 general election (the same year in which she donated $10K to the DCCC) and also the 2008 GOP primary.

DE-Sen: There are a couple of interesting rumors that Delaware scribe Ron Williams (who doesn’t have the highest batting average out there) examines: one is that Beau Biden may run for AG again instead of Senate. (However, Williams seems to debunk that rumor, using some pretty definite phrasing in saying that “AG Biden will soon announce his candidacy for the U.S. Senate seat…” and also saying that Mike Castle is unlikely to want to run against Biden.) Meanwhile, there are rumors that the state’s other Senator, Tom Carper, is having some health problems and may not seek re-election in 2012. Carper himself denies the rumor, though, saying he’s fine. New Castle County Exec Chris Coons gets flagged as a likely Carper successor, though.

MA-Sen: The bill to allow a temporary appointed Senator to fill Ted Kennedy’s seat until the Jan. 19 special election cleared another hurdle yesterday, passing the state Senate 24-16. A reconciled version still has to pass both houses but could do so today, so conceivably we could have a Deval Patrick signature today too. The momentum today seems to be with former DNC chair Paul Kirk, not Michael Dukakis for the appointment; Kennedy’s widow Victoria and sons Patrick and Teddy Jr. now all publicly back Kirk for the job (Kirk now chairs the JFK Presidential Library).

Meanwhile, former Red Sox rightie (although he’ll always be a Phillie to me) Curt Schilling says he won’t run for Senate. However, City Year head Alan Khazei made his entry into the race, on the Democratic side, official today.

CA-Gov: Two decidedly unsurprising developments: ex-eBay CEO Meg Whitman formally “opened” her Republican candidacy with a rally and her first ads (although technically she’s been running since February), while AG Jerry Brown opened an exploratory committee for the Dem nod.

NJ-Gov: Yet another poll of the New Jersey governor’s race shows Chris Christie with a sizable lead, although Jon Corzine does break through that 40% ceiling that’s been plaguing him. Rasmussen shows Christie ahead of Corzine 48-41, with independent Chris Daggett at 6%. Rasmussen’s previous look in early September pegged it at 46-38. And if there’s any doubt about what Jon Corzine’s last-ditch strategy is for winning this thing, check out this picture of his new billboard.

VA-Gov: After a bit of post-debate waffling on the issue last week, Creigh Deeds came out in favor of new taxes to fund transportation projects. Promising to raise taxes is always a risky strategy, but given how paralyzed northern Virginia is, taxes to build infrastructure might actually be a winner in that part of the state. Also, Josh Goodman has a thoughtful piece on Deeds’ belated momentum in the polls: it’s a delayed reaction to the Bob McDonnell thesis, as it took a while to trickle down, via negative ads, to the non-WaPo-reading rabble.

AR-04: It’s looking like the scandal surrounding Blue Dog Mike Ross, concerning his sale of a $263K pharmacy to the USA Drug chain (which is actively lobbying in the health care debate) for $420K, may have some legs. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed a complaint with the Justice Department asking for an investigation if there was a quid pro quo. Ross is busy attacking the messenger, calling (which broke the story) a “leftist” organization.

NY-23: The NRCC is up with a radio ad in the 23rd, and Dede Scozzafava’s camp seems flummoxed by it, to the extent that her spokesperson publicly asked the NRCC to save its money instead of spending it this way. The ad spends most of its time attacking Dem Bill Owens, trying to link him to Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi, with only a brief mention of Scozzafava’s positive qualities at the end. Scozzafava already questioned the NRCC’s airing of an anti-Darrel Aubertine ad when it looked like he’d be the candidate, and in a weird development, the NRCC’s website features a link to a story from Human Events questioning whether Scozzafava is too liberal. Not exactly what we’d call “teamwork.” Meanwhile, Bill Owens just got the endorsement of the regional SEIU, ordinarily a foregone conclusion for a Democrat but maybe not a sure thing with labor-friendly Scozzafava in the mix.  

SC-01: Carroll “Tumpy” (his actual nickname) Campbell III made it official; he’ll be challenging Henry “Smoky” (that’s just our unofficial nickname for him) Brown in the GOP primary. The challenge from the son of the popular governor may prod the rather lackadaisical 73-year-old Brown into retirement.

VA-02: Democratic freshman Rep. Glenn Nye got a sixth potential GOP opponent, in the form of Scott Taylor, a businessman, former Virginia Beach mayoral candidate, and former Navy SEAL. Taylor isn’t even the only former Navy SEAL running (so too is Ed Maulbeck); other GOPers are auto dealer Scott Rigell, Army Reserve Brig. Gen. Bert Mizusawa, businessman Ben Loyola, and former local GOP chair Chuck Smith. Although Nye’s R+5 district poses a theoretical challenge, note that none of his challengers has held elective office.

Mayors: Boston mayor Tom Menino, who’s been in office for 16 years, had the weakest electoral showing of his mayoral career in yesterday’s primary election, pulling in 50.5% of the vote against a fractured field. He’ll face off in November against city councilor Michael Flaherty, who finished second with 24%. Flaherty, who is also an insider, doesn’t present as much as a contrast with Menino as the candidates who fell by the wayside.

SSP Daily Digest: 9/18

CO-Sen: It’s primary protection week at the White House. Fresh off hosting a big fundraiser for Arlen Specter, Barack Obama officially endorsed Sen. Michael Bennet, who’s fending off an ideologically curious primary challenge from former CO House Speaker Andrew Romanoff. (J)

FL-Sen: Marco Rubio has picked up his second endorsement from Florida’s GOP House delegation. 5th District Rep. (and Main Street Partnership member, although certainly one of its less ‘moderate’ members) Ginny Brown-Waite endorsed Rubio yesterday, giving his Senate candidacy a potentially useful endorsement in the Tampa and Orlando exurbs. Back in June, dark red Panhandle Rep. Jeff Miller gave Rubio his official blessing. (J)

MA-Sen: On a recent appearance on Fox Business, Harvard law professor and TARP watchdog Elizabeth Warren refused to flat-out say “no” when asked if she’d consider running for Ted Kenneday’s Senate seat. Warren is one of the most important progressive thinkers and activists in America today, but with little time, no prior electoral experience, and no campaign warchest, it’s hard to see how a potential candidacy could catch fire. (D)

Also, as expected, the Massachusetts legislature moved halfway toward modifying state law to allow temporary appointment of a stopgap Senator until the special election. The bill cleared the state House, 95-58; it is also expected to pass the state Senate, although procedural tactics will allow the Republicans to drag it out till next week.

CA-Gov: Jerry Brown is being coy about when (or if) he’ll announce his gubernatorial bid, appearing at a function with three other would-be governors but saying “The people of California are not anxious to hear from their candidates yet, and the deadline for filing papers isn’t until March – so tune in.” Hopefully he left off the part about turning on and dropping out.

NY-Gov: David Paterson either isn’t getting the message or has an admirable single-mindedness, but either way, he’s gearing up for a re-election run, hiring a campaign manager, Richard Fife (who previously managed the failed-to-launch Carolyn Maloney senatorial campaign).

OR-Gov: We have our first poll of the Oregon governor’s race since people started piling into it, courtesy of vaunted local pollster Tim Hibbitts’ firm on behalf of the Portland Tribune and Fox 12 News. Ex-Gov. John Kitzhaber has wide leads over his Republican opponents (although still below the 50% mark): 43-23 over state Sen. Jason Atkinson and 46-21 over Allen Alley. Ex-SoS Bill Bradbury, who made it offical yesterday, isn’t tested. In other news, ex-Sen. Gordon Smith hadn’t seemed likely to make the race, and now it’s even much less likely, as he took a cushy new job in DC as president of the powerful lobby National Association of Broadcasters. This would leave Rep. Greg Walden as the one Republican of interest who has yet to weigh in on the race.

SC-Gov: Lt. Governor Andre Bauer has made the offer to stand down from running in the 2010 gubernatorial election if he has to succeed Mark Sanford in the event of a resignation (or impeachment). But he’s attaching an expiration date to that offer now (only through next month), saying he needs to get started on his campaign.

NY-23: Here’s a weird thought: could the ACORN scandal wind up sinking the Republican in the special election in the 23rd? The Conservative Party is going after Dede Scozzafava for her previous relationship with the Working Families Party, whose line she’s run on in the past. The WFP often works together with ACORN, so now Doug Hoffman is accusing her of palling around with the “radical left” and demanding she disavow the WFP. (Also noteworthy though expected: state Sen. Darrel Aubertine endorsed Dem candidate Bill Owens yesterday.)

PA-11: Lackawanna County Commissioner Corey O’Brien has taken a step toward actually challenging crusty Rep. Paul Kanjorski in the Democratic primary by opening up a campaign account and filing a statement of candidacy with the FEC. O’Brien remains in exploratory mode, but says that he’ll have “more to say” on his campaign by the end of the year. (J)

SD-AL: It’s starting to look like Republicans are going to make a real effort at giving Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin an actual race in 2010. The latest potential candidate whose name is being circulated in GOP circles is state Rep. Blake Curd of Sioux Falls. Secretary of State Chris Nelson says that he’s getting “very close” to making a decision, and state Rep. Shantel Krebs says that she’s still in “sit-and-wait mode” to see what Curd and Nelson decide. (J)

Cap & Trade: A poll taken for the Environmental Defense Fund shows, contrary to conventional wisdom, support for cap-and-trade in some conservative Dem districts. While we haven’t seen the question wording yet, Greg Sargent says the numbers are positive in NC-11, IN-09 and VA-05, and promises full results soon. He also rightly points out:

When the cap and trade debate heats up again, we’ll hear lots more about how risky it is for “marginal” Dems to support it. It’s striking how often reporters (myself included) just accept the view that such votes are risky in districts like these, simply because someone, somewhere, claimed this is the case.

Voting Rights: This is a welcome surprise. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld a controversial Indiana law requiring voters to show identification last year, following a challenge to it in federal court. This year, though, there was a challenge to it in state court, and an appellate court in Indiana struck down the law for violating the state constitution’s Equal Privileges and Immunities Clause (primarily since it didn’t require mail-in voters to provide ID). The state plans to appeal to the Indiana Supreme Court. Has the pendulum swung far enough that challenges to voter suppression are likelier to get a fair hearing in state courts now instead of the federal system?

SSP Daily Digest: 7/27

CA-Sen: Sorry none of us could be bothered to talk about this poll on Friday: Rasmussen polled the California Senate race again and found former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina gaining some ground on Sen. Barbara Boxer. Boxer leads 45-41 (it was 47-38 in March). Interestingly, though, Fiorina, who quite publicly drove HP into a ditch, already has negative favorable ratings (30/35, with 35% unsure), which has to be a bad sign for any challenger. Boxer is still in positive territory (50/47), so I have no idea to square those results with the head-to-head.

IL-Sen: State treasurer Alexi Giannoulias had his official campaign launch this weekend, where he name-dropped Barack Obama at every opportunity.

NY-Sen-B: Is this a sign that Rep. Carolyn Maloney may be backing away from the Senate race, or is she just sidetracked by the chaos in the House? She had been scheduled to announce her primary campaign against Kirsten Gillibrand today or tomorrow, but now Maloney tells the New York Post that the timetable is no longer in effect, and didn’t say anything about a new timetable, other than to say that “This week we are confronting health care.”

AK-Gov: If the world seems a slightly lighter place today, it’s because it’s our first Sarah Palin-free day in a while; she turned the keys to the state over to Sean Parnell yesterday. I guess now I and other members of the media can, in honor of the American soldier, quit makin’ stuff up about her.

MA-Gov: The Boston Globe polled Deval Patrick’s prospects and found he’s still in trouble. (The poll was conducted on the Globe’s behalf by often-clueless UNH, so take with the requisite spoonful of salt.) His job approvals are 35/56, and he narrowly loses head-to-heads with both prospective GOPers, 41-35 to Charlie Baker and 41-40 to Christy Mihos. If Dem-turned-Independent treasurer Tim Cahill gets in the race as planned, though, the Republicans fade into the background, as Cahill seems to vacuum up the anti-Patrick votes. Patrick and Cahill tie both matchups: 30-30-20 with Baker, and 31-31-18 with Mihos.

NJ-Gov: Jon Corzine picked his Lt. Gov. running mate: state Sen. Loretta Weinberg, a 74-year-old granny from Bergen County noted for pushing for ethics reform. This comes instead of, as rumored, Apprentice winner Randal Pinkett. Those in the know seem to think that Corzine may have been motivated to pick her in order to emphasize ethics in the wake of the federal arrests of a swarm of lower elected officials, including some Corzine allies. The New York Times presents a dark picture of Corzine’s campaign, framing the corruption sweep as one more blow that he can’t handle, and actually starts speculating on what Dem might replace Corzine at the top of the ticket should be back out (it mentions Newark mayor Cory Booker and Rep. Frank Pallone). The NYT says Corzine still has no plans to bail, but state machine boss George Norcross is making no secret that he wants Corzine out of the race.

VA-Gov: Barack Obama will be coming to Virginia to stump for Creigh Deeds, with both a public rally and private fundraiser on Aug. 6. This comes as GOP candidate Bob McDonnell has been seeking to increasingly go after Deeds on national issues, as at their first debate where McDonnell challenged Deeds on cap-and-trade and EFCA. Deeds may need some outside help, as he’s had trouble nailing down some of the local big names, most prominently former Gov. Douglas Wilder.

IL-10: State Rep. Julie Hamos says she’ll officially announce tomorrow that she’s running for the Democratic nod in the now-open 10th. She had been planning to run for AG until Lisa Madigan surprised everyone by deciding to run for another term. Instead, she joins a top-drawer field with state Sen. Michael Bond and 06/08 candidate Dan Seals already in.

NY-23: We’ll have to wait until tomorrow for Democrats in the 23rd District to have even a plan for picking a candidate, let alone have a candidate, as they seem to have not had much of a Plan B in the event that Darrel Aubertine didn’t run. The Dems say they’ve received about 18 applications; Watertown Daily Times gotten confirmations from 06 nominee Michael Oot, 94 nominee Danny Francis, attorney Stuart Brody, attorney Keith Caughlin, and state assistant inspector general for Medicaid John Sullivan that they are among the 18. Meanwhile, Jim Kelly (no, not the quarterback) sounds like he’s gearing up to run on the Conservative line.

VA-05: Ex-Rep. Virgil Goode made it official that he won’t be running against Tom Perriello to get his seat back. (Now maybe he can stop running around the district handing out oversize checks.) Speculation turns to GOP state Senator Rob Hurt and delegate Rob Bell, who don’t have the name rec or fundraising power of Goode, but don’t have the polarizing reputations either.

SSP Daily Digest: 7/24

FL-Sen: Another sign that the wheels are falling off the Marco Rubio bus: he’s cutting back on senior staff. His campaign manager, Brian Seitchik, will be off the payroll next week, and his fundraiser, Ann Herberger, is also gone. About the changes, Rubio said, “This is not a purge or anything, quite the contrary.” In other words, they’re probably out of money.

NH-Sen: Ovide Lamontagne picked up a key backer, as the conservative base continues to look for an alternative to the may-be-a-RINO Kelly Ayotte. Former State Rep. Maureen Mooney, who was John McCain’s liaision to NH conservatives during the 2008 primary campaign, has said she’s backing Lamontagne, saying he’s a “principled and experienced conservative.”

SC-Sen, SC-01: Interesting rumblings out of the Palmetto State: now that Jim DeMint has turned himself into Public Enemy #1 in the last few weeks, all of a sudden people sound interested in challenging him. State Senator Brad Hutto was in Washington meeting with the DSCC about the race; Hutto has been looking for a chance to move up, starting with the 2010 governor’s race, but deferred to friend and state Sen. Vincent Shaheen on that one. Attorney Ashley Cooper (a former Fritz Hollings aide) is reportedly also interested in taking on DeMint, or also in running in the 1st, where Rep. Henry Brown barely won last year.

NC-Gov: Civitas, a local Republican pollster, stops to gawk at the Bev Perdue trainwreck, finding that her approval is at 30/44 and that right now only 26% would vote to re-elect her. They also look all the way ahead to 2012 and find that Republican Charlotte mayor Pat McCrory would win a rematch, 46-32.

MN-06: Independence Party 2008 candidate Bob Anderson, whose 10% of the vote may have tipped the balance to Rep. Michele Bachmann last year, says that he may make another run in 2010. (Don’t forget that while Elwyn Tinklenberg received the IP’s endorsment in 2008, Minnesota doesn’t allow fusion voting with candidates running on multiple ballot lines, so Anderson went ahead and ran in the primary, winning it and getting the IP nod for the general. Our best hope here may be for Minnesota to follow Oregon’s recent lead and legalize fusion voting.)

NY-23: In the 23rd, with Darrel Aubertine out (and New York Senate fans heaving a sigh of relief), the Dems still seem to be casting about for a replacement. Yesterday evening was the extended deadline for receiving applications, and some of the remaining serious contenders still haven’t applied. Dan French, a lawyer and former Daniel Moynihan aide, and former NY-23 candidate Robert Johnson seemed to have not been planning to run (but contingent on Aubertine running), and said yesterday that they were interested but would have to have the requisite talk with their families first. (So do the Dems extend the deadline again? That remains to be seen.) 2008 candidate Michael Oot has already submitted his application, though. Another name for the Conservative Party nom has surfaced: “locally famous” conservative activist Jon Alvarez, who is currently serving in Iraq.

NY-23: Aubertine Won’t Run For Congress

Here’s the full statement, which includes some nice barbs at the GOP:

“There has been a lot of speculation as to whether I would run in a special election for the 23rd Congressional District.

“My priority must continue to be the work I have started in the state Senate, representing Oswego, Jefferson and St. Lawrence counties. My commitment is to the people of the 48th Senate District and has been all along. Before I could even consider the possibility of serving another eight counties, I had a duty to finish out this year’s session.

“This seat in Congress belongs to the people who live in these 11 counties, not any elected official or political party.

“Unfortunately, the National Republican Party has viewed the seat differently. National Republicans have demonstrated their belief that party registration matters more than the issues by spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to attack and vilify me.  They never mentioned the important issues we care about here in the 23rd, whether it’s our military and Fort Drum, border security and international trade, agriculture, energy and the economy of the future, or rural healthcare.

“It’s no small wonder why the Washington Republicans are going extinct, and contributors should question why the money they’ve given was squandered here for no good reason at all.

“I support the process that the Democratic Party has put in place to come up with a candidate to run for the expected vacancy in the 23rd Congressional District. I’m certain the 11 county chairs involved in the process will continue to move toward finding a qualified candidate who understands the issues here and will embark on an honest campaign that puts people before politics.”

Count me as relieved. Control of the state Senate going into the next round of redistricting (both congressional and legislative) is too precious a commodity right now. We need every seat we can get in the state Senate.

While Aubertine would have been a very strong candidate for this seat, hopefully the local Democratic chairs can pick a strong, qualified nominee to give us a fighting chance against Scozzafava. More updates as we get ’em.

RaceTracker Wiki: NY-23

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.)

NY-23: Republicans Nominate Scozzafava


Republican party leaders chose state Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava, a leading moderate in the state legislature, as their nominee to succeed Rep. John McHugh (R-N.Y.) in an upcoming special election.

The eleven Republican county chairmen within the 23rd Congressional District voted this afternoon, and Scozzafava won on the third ballot.

Scozzafava is a pretty rare breed these days — a socially liberal (pro-choice, pro-marriage equality, labor-friendly) Republican, so it’s a bit surprising that someone cut from her cloth could win a nomination battle in today’s GOP. Then again, she was chosen by the 23rd District’s county chairs, not the birther-dominated rank and file, so perhaps some sanity remains intact in the NY GOP intelligentsia these days. That said, she’s going to run into some serious problems with the conservative base, and it seems unlikely that she’ll win the Conservative Party’s ballot line, especially if Democratic state Sen. Darrel Aubertine jumps into the fray. (Update: Just to be a bit clearer here, I don’t think there’s any chance of the Conservative Party endorsing Aubertine, but they could field their own candidate in order to flip the bird to the GOP.)

This also comes on the same day that a significant amount of oppo dirt was released on Scozzafava, who was vetted and courted by Democratic operatives as a potential party-switcher:

But their interest cooled after they found out her brother’s business, Seaway Capital Partners, owed over $192,000 in unpaid state and federal taxes – which operatives thought could be a liability in the special election.

The conservative blog Red State — one of her leading critics — recently posted copies of the liens from the company’s subsidiaries. On her legislative website, Scozzafava is listed as the COO of the company’s investment arm, though she claims she hasn’t had any direct ties to the company since 2007.

Not exactly the best press to receive on your launch date, huh? For what it’s worth, the Republican online wingnut brigade is encouraging its readers to support Aubertine over Scozzafava. God bless those magnificent idiots.

RaceTracker wiki: NY-23

SSP Daily Digest: 7/22

FL-Sen: Looks like Charlie Crist has decided that, despite mediocre polling and worse fundraising from Marco Rubio, he’s facing a bigger threat in the primary than he is in the general. Crist came out in opposition to the confirmation of Sonia Sotomayor yesterday, trying to shore up what remains of his conservative bona fides.

IL-Sen/Gov: Here’s an explanation for why Chris Kennedy has been dawdling on declaring for the Illinois Senate primary: he’s considering whether or not to jump over to the Governor’s race instead. This seems very odd… not that he’d have a good chance in either race, but it seems like he’d have a better shot in a primary in an open seat race against Alexi Giannoulias, who has some vulnerabilities, than against Pat Quinn, who’s fairly popular and has the benefits of incumbency. Apparently Giannoulias’s fundraising scared him off.

MO-Sen: Here’s an interesting tidbit out of Missouri, suggesting that former Treasurer Sarah Steelman is getting less and less likely to run in the GOP primary. Jeff Roe, who ran Steelman’s 2008 campaign, has started working for Rep. Roy Blunt. Blunt still faces a primary challenge from state Sen. Chuck Purgason, though, but he doesn’t pose the same level of threat that Steelman would.

NH-Sen: This is a big surprise, as he’s been pouring a lot of money into advertising (for his STEWARD organization, though, not as a candidate) and starting to build a staff. Anti-tax businessman Fred Tausch announced today that he won’t be running in the GOP Senate primary after all (or for anything, including the House). Considering that he was lobbing bombs at AG Kelly Ayotte just a few days ago, this is a sudden change of heart. Former Board of Education member and 1996 gubernatorial candidate Ovide Lamontagne may still provide a challenge from the right, though.

NY-Sen-B: Last night was the vaunted Bill Clinton/Carolyn Maloney fundraiser, which pulled in about $300K for Maloney’s House account. Meanwhile, the Albany Project has an interesting catch in this race. It turns out that there was one question from the internal poll in May that gave Maloney a 34-32 lead over Kirsten Gillibrand that didn’t get released to the public, and only came out in that City Hall News profile from a few days ago: “Asked whom they would vote for if they knew Gillibrand had the support of Schumer and Obama, people chose Gillibrand over Maloney 50-24.”

IA-Gov: A fifth candidate officially got into the GOP field in the Iowa governor’s race yesterday: little-known state Rep. and pastor Rod Roberts, who represents a rural part of western Iowa. Roberts polled a whopping 1% in a poll last week by the Iowa Republican blog of the GOP primary field; the poll found Bob Vander Plaats leading the field with 46%, trailed by Chris Rants at 16%, and Paul McKinley and Christian Fong each at 3%. Incumbent Democratic Gov. Chet Culver defeats Vander Plaats 48-39 and Rants 46-36.

NV-02: Ooops, back to square one in the 2nd. Douglas County school board president Cindy Trigg, who said she’d run against Rep. Dean Heller in 2010, has backed out, saying she needs to focus on the school board for now instead.

NY-23: The NRCC has gone on the air in the 23rd, launching pre-emptive TV attacks on state Sen. Darrel Aubertine before he’s even a declared candidate for the special election, for voting for new taxes in the state Senate. Meanwhile, word has leaked (perhaps from GOP rival Matt Doheny’s camp) that moderate Republican Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava was in fact under consideration for the Democratic nomination, but that they were scared off by unpaid tax problems associated with her brother’s business (for which she’s listed as the COO).

VA-11: Home inspection company owner Keith Fimian has decided on a rematch with Rep. Gerry Connolly in the now-blue 11th. Fimian, who can self-fund, lost the 2008 open seat race to Connolly, 55-43.

NY-LG: A New York judge put the kibosh on David Paterson’s appointment of Richard Ravitch as Lieutenant Governor, issuing a temporary injunction to stop it, saying the state constitution does not appear to permit appointment to fill a vacancy in that position. Still, even if the appointment never goes through, it looks like it may have succeeded for Paterson, in terms of forcing Pedro Espada’s hand and breaking the state Senate deadlock.

OH-AG: As was previously leaked, former Senator Mike DeWine announced today that he’ll run for state Attorney General. He’ll face off against Democratic incumbent Richard Cordray.

Fonts: Ever wondered about the font that defined the Obama campaign in 2008? Here’s a profile of that “uniquely American” sans-serif typeface, Gotham.

SSP Daily Digest: 7/20

IL-Sen: Today’s the day for Mark Kirk’s official entry into the Senate race, despite the fact that everyone and his dog already knows he’s running. He got one unwelcome piece of news over the weekend, though: a primary challenge, from retired state trial court judge Don Lowery, from Pope County downstate. Apparenty the unknown Lowery doesn’t pose as much of an obstacle as state GOP chair Andy McKenna would have, as Kirk didn’t storm out of the race this time.

NV-Sen: The Las Vegas Review-Journal’s newest poll finds that John Ensign’s numbers continue to slip. His approval rating is 31%, down from 39% last month (post-scandal, but before news of his parental payoff) and from 53% pre-scandal. Only 34% think he should resign, though.

NH-Sen: Businessman Fred Tausch launched a subtle attack against likely GOP primary opponent Kelly Ayotte over the weekend, accusing “the governor, the attorney general, and legislature” of putting the state on the path toward an income tax.

NY-Sen-B: Ooops. Rep. Carolyn Maloney was caught using the N-word in an interview with City Hall News. She was quoting someone secondhand, but still sounds bad out of context.

NC-Sen: Guess who’s a member of the Run, Elaine, Run! Facebook group that’s trying to get Elaine Marshall to run for Senate? Elaine Marshall! Now I don’t know if that’s a tea leaf that she’s interested or just a friending-someone-to-be-polite situation, but it’s interesting. (H/t possumtracker1991.)

NJ-Gov: The New York Times reports that Jon Corzine, in the wake of a costly divorce and a big hit to his portfolio, is having raise campaign funds from contributors like a mere mortal. His goal is $15 million from donors, on top of no more than $25 million of his own money. (That’s compared to the $60 million he spent on his 2000 Senate race.)

NM-Gov: Dona Ana County DA Susana Martinez, who we mentioned last week, went ahead and just full-on into the GOP primary for the open governor’s race in New Mexico, skipping the exploratory phase. Meanwhile, investment advisor and National Guard brigadier general Greg Zanetti, who for most of the was the only declared GOP candidate although without seemingly getting much traction, dropped out of the race, citing family concerns.

PA-Gov: Auditor Jack Wagner confirmed on Friday in a TV interview that he’ll run for Governor in 2010. A formal announcement will come later, he says, but he’s still the first Democrat to sort-of-kind-of pull the trigger.

NH-01: Manchester Mayor Frank Guinta has had a nose for bad news in the last few weeks, although “unpaid sewer bills” doesn’t sound quite as bad as “bar brawl…” y’know, unless you’re running as the “fiscal responsibility” candidate. For the second time, Guinta has failed to stay current on the sewer taxes on an apartment building he owns in Manchester (while, at the same time, he can afford to shore up his weak fundraising with a $20,000 personal loan).

NY-23: This is poorly sourced and slightly incoherent, but a local GOP blog is reporting that Democratic state Sen. Darrel Aubertine did, in fact, get in the race for the NY-23 special election to replace Rep. John McHugh. (UPDATE: The Syracuse Post-Standard reports that the Democratic county chairs in the district have extended their deadline for candidates to express their interest in the race to Thursday, July 23rd at 5pm. Reading the tea leaves, it seems that the county chairs are eager to give the nomination to Aubertine, if he wants it.)

OH-16: Buried deep in a story about friendly local teabaggers protesting Rep. John Boccieri’s cap-and-trade vote are the names of a couple potential GOP candidates in the 16th, a race that has escaped much of any scrutiny so far. Named are former Canton mayor Janet Creighton and businessman Jim Renacci, who owns the Columbus arena football franchise.

KY-Lt. Gov: It’s never to early to start thinking about 2011. Steve Beshear chose his running mate for his re-election campaign (as current LG Dan Mongiardo won’t run again, as he plans on being Senator at that point); he’ll run with 20-year Louisville mayor Jerry Abramson.

SSP Daily Digest: 7/17

NH-Sen: You may remember several weeks ago when John Sununu reassured the rabble that Kelly Ayotte was, in fact, a fire-breathing conservative. A recent hire, though, suggests she might be trying to position herself as a New England moderate — she brought aboard Thomas Daffron for her campaign, a former Susan Collins consultant and CoS to William Cohen. Which, again, will only increase the likelihood of a Fred Tausch and/or Ovide Lamontagne challenge from the right.

NY-Sen-B: Harry Reid weighed in on the New York Senate primary, endorsing Kirsten Gillibrand, calling her a “rising star in the Democratic caucus.” Meanwhile, Joe Trippi, who’s been working for the Carolyn Maloney campaign (for which he received $10K in the second quarter), got busted for one of blogging’s cardinal sins when posting at HuffPo: not disclosing a paid relationship with a candidate.

AK-Gov: Sean Parnell isn’t even Governor yet (he takes over on the 26th), and would-be rivals are already sizing him up. The former state House Speaker, John Harris, announced that he’ll run against Parnell in the 2010 GOP primary. Which may seem odd, since Parnell is nowhere near as polarizing as predecessor Sarah Palin… but that may be exactly what’s motivating the more combative Harris, as he may think the inoffensive Parnell is something of a pushover, as seen by Parnell’s inability to close the deal against corrupt Don Young in the 2008 GOP House primary.

MN-Gov: The field keeps growing, as two more Republicans made it official in the last couple days that they’re candidates for the gubernatorial nomination next year: state Senator David Hann and former state Auditor Pat Anderson.

NY-Gov: AG Andrew Cuomo’s mouth may be saying that he’s not running against David Paterson in next year’s gubernatorial primary, but his wallet says otherwise. Cuomo raised $5.1 million in the last six months, which more than doubles up on Paterson, who raised $2.3 million in the same period.

CO-04: The media war over cap-and-trade continues in CO-04 as well as in VA-05; the Environmental Defense Action Fund (paid for by green energy companies) is running a thank-you ad on TV in favor of Rep. Betsy Markey’s cap-and-trade vote. She’s already had a thank-you TV ad from Americans United for Change run in her favor, and been the target of NRCC robocalls as well (but no TV from them, at least yet).

FL-10: More bad PR for Rep. Bill Young, whose bad fundraising quarter suggests he might be looking to cash in his chips. Young had to kill a $4 million earmark for St. Petersburg defense contractor Conax, after Conax was raided by federal agents several days ago. Conax has been a frequent recipient of the largesse of Young, the ranking Republican on Appropriations, to the tune of $28.5 million in earmarks since 2005. (Perhaps not coincidentally, Young received $123,000 in contributions in the last two years from defense contractors for whom he’s seeking earmarks this  year.)

FL-13: With Rep. Vern Buchanan facing big legal questions over sketchy campaign finance practices, Dems need to have someone credible on deck here to capitalize in case Buchanan implodes. Looks like they’ve found a credible challenger: pastor and former Bradenton city councilor James Golden.

MN-06: With local heavyweight state Sen. Tarryl Clark jumping into the Democratic field, 2008 candidate Elwyn Tinklenberg (who came within 3 points of unseating Rep. Michele Bachmann) is making noises that he may go all the way to the primary regardless of what Clark does. In most states, that wouldn’t be the least bit surprising, but remember that Minnesota picks its DFL nominees by nominating endorsing convention prior to the primary and it’s highly unusual to see contested primaries. With former UM regent Maureen Reed clearly also a serious candidate (based on her last fundraising quarter), this looks like it’ll be dramatic.

MS-03: So maybe you were wondering what was happening a year ago when thirty-something GOP rising star Rep. Chip Pickering, who’d been considered a likely successor to Trent Lott’s Senate seat, instead of going for that or even running for re-election, simply dropped out of politics altogether. Well, turns out he was given an ultimatum by his mistress of choosing between her or politics (which, in rural Mississippi, would require continuing his sham marriage to his wife) — and, somewhat unpredictably, he chose the mistress. The kicker? Pickering was, at the time, a resident of the now-infamous C Street townhouse, making him a roommate of John Ensign and ex-roomie of Mark Sanford.

NY-23: Just a reminder, in case you were thinking of running for Congress: today is the deadline for Democratic applicants for the nomination in the open seat race in NY-23 to make their intentions known. Still no word on whether or not state Sen. Darrel Aubertine is planning to take the plunge or not.

OH-AG: We finally have some confirmation about what “statewide” office former Sen. Mike DeWine was planning to run for. It’s been leaked that next week he’ll announce a run for Attorney General (and not Governor). He’ll face Democratic incumbent Richard Cordray, who took over in mid-term from Marc Dann.