SSP Daily Digest: 1/31

AZ-Sen: Could we actually see a retirement from the GOP’s #2, Jon Kyl? Seems hard to believe, but there seems to be increasing chatter about it, at least to the extent that it’s now a “real possibility.” Local sources refer to his fundraising as being in a “holding pattern.” Kyl promises a February deadline for deciding whether or not to run again.

FL-Sen: He doesn’t have the name rec of ex-Sen. George LeMieux or Rep. Connie Mack IV, but don’t discount former state House majority leader Adam Hasner as a potential force in the GOP Senate primary. While he’s little-known, insiders point to him having the best-built network for fundraising and activist mobilization among the GOPers. (Also worth noting: his wife just finished running Meg Whitman’s campaign. Although I don’t know if, at this point, that’s a plus or a minus.)

IN-Sen: Seemingly having learned from the 2010 Republican Senate primary, where two candidates split the hard-right vote and let warmed-over establishmentarian Dan Coats stroll to the nomination, Indiana tea partiers seem to be trying to coordinate their efforts better this time in order to beat Richard Lugar. 180 leaders met to summon three potential candidates (the already-oft-mentioned state Sen. Mike Delph and state Treasurer Richard Mourdock, but also 2010 IN-02 loser Jackie Walorski) to appear before them so they can unify behind one of them. (The article’s worth reading too for some provocative pushback from Lugar’s camp, including some thoughtful mention from them of the Latino vote, a growing demographic even in Indiana.) Meanwhile, faced with redistricting-related uncertainty in his House district, Rep. Joe Donnelly is continuing to “look at his political options” regarding a statewide run (where, theoretically, a Senate run could be more appealing, if odds are starting to look like the Gov. opponent will be Mike Pence and the Sen. opponent will be a little-known teabagger).

MA-Sen: Cat fud doesn’t get any better than this: the National Republican Trust PAC, which spent $95K on IEs to get Scott Brown elected in 2010, is now vowing to defeat Brown in the next Republican primary in order to “protect its brand.” The last straw for them? START, of all things. While I can’t see such a primary likely to succeed (especially since these guys seem like kind of small-ball players… I mean, $95K?), the prospect of angry right-wingers staying home in November makes the general election that much more interesting. Meanwhile, Rep. Michael Capuano, who lost the special election Dem primary, still sounds like the Dem likeliest to make the race, although he’s now saying he won’t have a formal decision until summer. Another potential candidate, Rep. Stephen Lynch, is out with some comments that somehow don’t seem likely to endear him any more to the party’s base, saying that liberal activists should steer clear of primary challenges in 2012 (Lynch, of course, was recipient of one of those challenges). He stopped short of saying that they should steer clear of primary challenges to him in the Senate race, though, so that doesn’t give much insight into his 2012 plans.

MI-Sen: With Peter Hoekstra having made some vague noises about being interested in the Senate race last week, now it’s Terry Lynn Land’s turn. The former Republican SoS says she’s “considering it,” but interestingly, plans to meet with Hoekstra next week before making a decision.

TX-Sen: This isn’t much of a surprise, but west Texas’s three interchangeable Republican House members (Mike Conaway, Randy Neugebauer, and Mac Thornberry) announced en masse that they weren’t interested in running for the Senate seat. Makes sense… why give up the safest job in the nation (GOP House backbencher in a district that’s R+25 or more) for the chance to get flattened in a primary by David Dewhurst and/or a teabagger to be named later?

VT-Sen: Republican State Auditor Tom Salmon seems to have an amazing new quantitative scheme for gauging his interest in running for Senate: currently he says he’s “65 percent in,” and that “when I hit 75 percent it will commence exploratory.” He also lets Politico know (I’m not making this up) that he “needs to be an authentic self-utilizing power along the lines of excellence.” I guess he switched from being a Democrat to a Republican last year because he felt more welcome in the GOP, given their long-standing tolerance of Sarah Palin’s gift for word salad.

WI-Sen: This seems like a pretty good indicator that long-time Democratic Sen. Herb Kohl, who prefers to write his own checks rather than work the fundraising circuit, is planning another run in 2012 rather than retirement. He just loaned $1 million into his campaign account in the fourth quarter of 2011.

WV-Gov: PPP is out with the primary election portions of its gubernatorial poll from last week. On the Dem side, there are two clear favorites but they’re neck and neck: acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin (at 25) and SoS Natalie Tennant (at 24). Further behind are state Treasurer John Perdue at 16, state Sen. Jeff Kessler at 7, state House speaker Rick Thompson at 6, and state Sen. Brooks McCabe at 4. On the GOP side, if Shelley Moore Capito does show up (which she says she won’t), she’s a shoo-in, at 72, with ex-SoS Betty Ireland at 10, state Sen. Clark Barnes at 5, Putnam Co. Prosecutor Mark Sorsaia at 1, and state GOP chair Mike Stuart at 1. They also try a Capito-free version, in which Ireland becomes the heavy fave at 46, with Barnes at 11, Sorsaia at 9, and Stuart at 4. There’s also word of one more GOPer who isn’t interesting: former astronaut and 1996 gubernatorial candidate (who lost the ’96 primary to Cecil Underwood) Jon McBride says he won’t run this time.

IN-01, MI-14: Two Democratic old-timers who may be faced with less favorable districts after redistricting (or at least dark-blue districts that contain a lot of new territory) and have some ethical problems hanging overhead both announced that they’re running for re-election. Peter Visclosky and John Conyers both are looking to get an early start on their races.

WA-08: Here’s a new House filing from a fairly prominent local Democrat to go against perennial target Dave Reichert: state Rep. Roger Goodman has set up a committee to run in the 8th. This requires some reading between the lines, though, because a Goodman/Reichert matchup is highly unlikely in the end; Goodman just needs a federal committee set up for, well, somewhere. Goodman lives in Kirkland, which is about a mile to the north of the 8th’s boundaries; he actually lives in WA-01, where he probably doesn’t want to look like he’s mounting a primary challenge to Jay Inslee, although it’s widely-assumed that Inslee will be vacating the 1st to run for Governor in 2012. That doesn’t mean that Goodman running in the 1st is a done deal, either; under the likeliest redistricting scenario, Kirkland is likely to be part of a new Dem-friendly district that’s based on the true Eastside (whether it’s the 8th or 10th remains to be seen), with Reichert, who’s based down in Auburn, getting his own friendlier district based in SE King County and eastern Pierce County. So, I’d say, it’s likelier than not that we’ll see both Reichert and Goodman in the House in 2013; the main question is the district numbers.

DCCC: Here’s something we like to see; not only is the DCCC is getting an early start on offense this year, seeding the ground to try to get some early momentum going against the most vulnerable House GOPers, but they’re explicitly doing some progressive framing here, highlighting the links between infrastructure spending and job growth. They’re running radio ads in 19 districts, most of which aren’t a surprise by virtue of their swinginess: targets include Lou Barletta, Charlie Bass, Ann Marie Buerkle, Steve Chabot, Chip Cravaack, Bob Dold!, Sean Duffy, Blake Farenthold, Mike Fitzpatrick, Nan Hayworth, Joe Heck, Robert Hurt, Patrick Meehan, Dave Reichert, David Rivera, Jon Runyan, Joe Walsh, and Allen West. The wild card? Thad McCotter, whose continued presence in the House seems to have more to do with his ability to not draw tough opponents than it does with a connection to his district.

Redistricting: The Fix has an interesting look at Virginia redistricting, where the Dem control of the state Senate probably means an 8-3 compromise map protecting current incumbents. There’s one wrinkle, though: congressional redistricting could be pushed back until after the 2011 legislative election in the hopes that the GOP takes back over the state Senate, which would give them the trifecta. (Obviously, they couldn’t delay legislative redistricting, though, meaning the GOP won’t have the leverage over the map that would shape the results of the 2011 legislative election.) Although it’s hard to see what they could do to VA-11 that wouldn’t cut into VA-10, the GOP could conceivably push for a 9-2 map if they got that advantage. (The Rose Report is out with a much more in-depth series on Virginia redistricting this month that’s worth a look.) Meanwhile, in New Jersey (another early state where the work is done by bipartisan commission), there’s already some disagreement within the commission over whether or not they need to have an 11th, tie-breaking member appointed so they can move forward. (H/t to Taniel for noticing the delightful headline: “N.J. redistricting commission argues over whether it is at an impasse.”)

Census: Speaking of Virginia and New Jersey, and their early redistricting efforts, the Census Bureau will be rolling out the first big batch of complete, detailed data from 2010 for the first four states that need it early (for 2011 legislative election purposes)… Louisiana and Mississippi as well. They don’t have a specific date set, but keep watching this link because they’ll be available at some point this week.

SSP Daily Digest: 3/24 (Morning Edition)

  • AR-Sen: The chair of the Arkansas branch of the NAACP is taking issue with his organization’s “A” rating for Blanche Lincoln. Rightly pointing out a methodological flaw that all such interest group “scorecards” share, Dale Charles doesn’t like that Lincoln gets credit for voting “yes” on healthcare reform despite her endless footdragging and her successful effort to block the public option.
  • KY-Sen: No surprise: Kentucky AG Jack Conway, a healthcare reform supporter, is refusing to join the coalition of Grandstanding Attorneys General United in Stupidity (GAG-US) – see Florida bullet below for more on what I’m talking about. Conway specifically decried the waste of taxpayer dollars and knocked Treasurer SoS Trey Grayson for playing “tea party politics.”
  • MA-Sen: Oy. It looks like the chair of the MA Dem Party sent a tweet to Rachel Maddow, feeling her out about a run against Scott Brown in 2012. Thing is, it looks like John Walsh meant to send a private “direct message” but instead sent a public tweet (his note included his cell phone number). Brown’s campaign jumped all over this and sent out a fundraising email trying to scare supporters with the possibility of a Maddow run. No word if she’s actually interested.
  • NV-Sen: Harry Reid is hitting Sue Lowden hard and early – and since she’s just one of 13 (!) Republicans vying to take him on, you have to wonder why. The Las Vegas Sun thinks it’s because Reid figures Lowden has the best chance to emerge as the GOP nominee and wants to soften her up early. He might also perversely be increasing her chances to win her party’s nod, since Reid is so hated among Republicans that his attacks might boost her cred. The Sun also notes that labor has it in for Lowden, so Reid may be playing to them as well.
  • OH-Sen: Another Republican comes out in favor of repealing healthcare reform, former Bush budget director Rob Portman. But at the same time, NRSC chair John Cornyn is already walking back the “repeal it!” mantra, even though he, like Portman, previously called for Total Repeal. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this entire line of attack fade over the next several months.
  • WI-Sen/OH-16: Russ Feingold should send a thank-you card to Rep. John Boccieri, who landed a nice blow on Crypt Keeper Tommy Thompson the other day during the debate on the healthcare bill. Thompson has been attacking healthcare reform for constituting “government-controlled healthcare” (eyeroll), but Boccieri pointed out on the House floor that his Republican colleagues voted to send Thompson to Iraq “with a billion dollar checks in hand to make sure that every man, woman and child in Iraq had universal health care coverage.”
  • FL-Gov: Hah, just perfect. Bill McCollum is leading the crusade of delusional state attorneys general who are trying to get healthcare reform declared unconstitutional. (Good luck with that.) The best part is that McCollum evidently thinks his own employees aren’t up to the task, since he’s hired an old crony who he used to work with in a private DC law firm. Alex Sink is blasting Billy Mac for wasting taxpayer money on a frivolous lawsuit, and of course for tossing some coin his former partner’s way.
  • DE-AL: A good hit from the DCCC press shop: In 2007, potential Republican House candidate Michelle Rollins was elected to the board of a bank which received a $330 million in bailout funds. This bank, Wilmington Trust, has not repaid the bailout money, but it did find a way to reward its executives with $31.5 million in bonuses – including the aforementioned Rollins, whose 2009 compensation more than quadrupled over previous years.
  • FL-25: Right-wing radio host Paul Crespo says he’s going to seek the Republican nod in this open seat. (Recall that Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart is trying to switch districts, running for the 21st CD, which his brother Lincoln is leaving vacant.) A fascinating tidbit from that article: “Also in the running for the seat are three Miami-Dade County residents, Democrat Luis A. Rivera, Whig party candidate Craig Porter and nonpartisan candidate Marili Cancio.” Emphasis definitely fucking added!
  • MI-01: Some Dude challenging Bart Stupak as a Republican says he’s raked in $50K in the wake of Stupak’s alleged “betrayal” of anti-choicers with his healthcare reform vote.
  • NJ-03: Teabagger Justin Murphy says he’s going to take on former NFL tackle John Runyan in the GOP primary, despite (or perhaps because of) Runyan sewing up the endorsement of all the county Republican organizations. Apparently, there’s an actual Tea Party out in Jersey (or at least in Burlington County), and they’ve given Murphy their nod.
  • NY-13: Attorney Stephen Harrison is considering a rematch against Rep. Mike McMahon in the Democratic primary, citing McMahon’s vote against healthcare reform. Harrison ran for this seat in 2006 without any establishment backing, taking 43% against Vito Fossella – the best any Dem had done under the district’s current lines. Harrison ran a second time in 2008, but when Fossella announced his retirement in disgrace, Dems cast about for a stronger candidate and settled on then-councilman Mike McMahon. Harrison was nonplussed and stayed in the race, getting crushed 75-25 in the primary. Labor is also pissed at McMahon, and the WFP has said he won’t get their line, but they haven’t said whether they’ll support a primary challenge against him. Harrison said he has no timeframe for making a decision.
  • PA-15: After months of staying mum on the subject (and suffering quite a few blows as a result), Dem John Callahan finally came out in favor of the healthcare reform bill which the president signed into law yesterday. Really, though, waffling is the worst thing you can do. Either come out loud-and-proud, or run against it.
  • TX-19: Pretty pathetic, really: GOP Rep. Randy Neugebauer, who yelled “Baby killer!” at Bart Stupak on the House floor before Sunday’s healthcare vote, is now trying to use his outburst to raise campaign cash. Neugebauer’s Democratic opponent, Andy Wilson, calls him out for the cheap stunt and rightly says he’s just trying to ape the disgusting behavior of Joe “You lie!” Wilson.
  • UT-02: Rep. Jim Matheson scores some pretty good job approval ratings in a new Deseret News poll conducted by Dan Jones & Associates. Among 2nd CD constituents, he sports a 57-39 approval.
  • VA-05: Apparently, Virgil Goode’s fundraiser this Thursday for state Sen. Rob Hurt isn’t an endorsement. In fact, Goode’s done events for three other Republicans in the race and has still another planned for next week. What a guy!
  • WV-01: State Sen. Mike Oliverio, challenging Rep. Alan Mollohan in the Dem primary, is playing dumb as to whether he, like Mollohan, would have voted in favor of healthcare reform. Oliverio claims he has “not had a chance to read the bill, as it is still fresh in its printing.” Of course, the bill the House passed on Sunday night was the same bill that the Senate passed in… December, and the electrons at dried some time ago. Anyhow, this posturing confirms rumors we’ve heard that Oliverio is going to run to Mollohan’s right. If that’s the case, here’s hoping he tanks miserably.
  • Census: CNET has an awesome photographic roundup of equipment used to tabulate the census, dating back to 1890, the first time the Census Bureau started using mechanical equipment. Great punch-card generation eye candy.
  • DNC: The DNC claims it’s raised a million bucks since healthcare reform was signed, “without even asking.”
  • NRCC: Two vile tastes that taste vile together: Sean Hannity and the National Republican Congressional Committee. His Hannityness just did a DC fundraiser last night for the NRCC which took in $7 million, topping the $6 million haul for last year’s event.
  • Posey’s birther bill gets four more co-sponsors

    Oh boy, the wingnut is strong in these folks.  Dave Weigel reports that Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL), (in)famous for his birther bill requiring documentation that a candidate for President was born in the U.S., has picked up four more co-sponsors, all Republicans (of course).  They are:

    John R. Carter (TX-31)

    John Culberson (TX-07)

    Randy Neugebauer (TX-19)

    John Campbell (CA-48)

    Rep. Bob Goodlatte (VA-06) had already signed on last month.  More after the fold….

    Posey says those Congressmen came to him to co-sponsor the bill, that it wasn’t him begging them to do so.  And then he launched into an invective against Rachel Maddow.

    You may recall that [Stephen] Colbert used the “F” word to describe on national TV a relationship my grandmother, bless her heart, deceased grandmother, must have had with an alligator to come up with the likes of me. [Keith] Olbermann named me the Worst Person in the World and angry woman Rachel Maddow has just trashed me on every show, and asked me to come on her show. You know, I won’t do it cause she’s got a lousy, low rated show, and I don’t want to give her the ratings, quite frankly. I’d love to go on and debate her and set the record straight.

    Just so y’all remember, here‘s what Colbert had to say about Bill Posey.

    And when Posey got upset at Colbert for doing so, he just brought upon more pain to himself with Colbert’s response.

    Now, most of these people sit in VERY Republican districts where you probably have a significant chunk of the population that actually believe Obama was not really born here.  Per SSP’s presidential vote by CD, a whopping 72% of Neugebauer’s district voted for McCain, making it the 9th MOST Republican district in the country, in terms of the vote share Obama got.  So forget about defeating Neugebauer at the polls with his co-sponsorship, he might gain support from his constituents for doing this.  Sad, but true.

    And Goodlatte (57%), Carter (58%), and Culberson (58%) also come from districts McCain easily won by double digits.  But Bill Posey himself may be in for a world of hurt, and should be.  McCain only beat Obama 51%-48% in Posey’s own FL-15 district.  Posey himself won 53%-42% over underfunded Democrat Dr. Stephen Blythe, outspending him by over an 8:1 margin.  With 48% of the district voting for Obama, I’m sure we could get enough of them upset at Posey for pulling this kind of shit to get them to the polls.  (Anyone know if Blythe wants to run again, or if there’s another Democrat waiting in the wings?)

    What’s more, out here in California, Obama narrowly won Campbell’s district, 49.47% to 48.72%.  (Campbell himself easily won against Democrat Steve Young the last three elections.)  Irvine City Councilwoman Beth Krom has announced she’s running against Campbell, as Young is moving over to try his hand at winning the state assembly seat.

    Ridicule is well deserved for these Republicans, for now.  But if we want to send a message, the best way would be kicking the vulnerable ones out of Congress at the ballot box in 2010.  Wanna repudiate the birthers?  Send Posey and Campbell packing next year.