Know Your Caucuses: Parsing the Budget Votes

Last Thursday and Friday were a busy couple of days in the House, with the passage of Paul Ryan’s Medicare-eviscerating budget and the defeat of a panoply of other budget options, including Democratic alternatives and a seriously dystopian proposal from the Republican Study Committee (the ideological caucus that once was the House Republicans’ extreme-right vanguard but now, with 179 members – including almost all of the freshman class, even the ostensibly moderate ones – pretty much overlaps with the House Republicans as a whole, encompassing nearly three-quarters of them). The week before that came the appropriations vote, which was more or less a vote on whether to keep the government running or shut it down. These particular roll call votes gave some definition to fissures within the Republican caucus that we’ve instinctively known are there; there’s a lot of overlap between the members voting ‘yes’ on the alternative RSC budget and those voting ‘no’ on the CR (i.e. voting in favor of a shutdown), providing the basic outline of mainstream vs. teabagger in the House, and also cluing us in on where the multitudes of new GOP freshmen fall on that spectrum.

As you can see with the chart below, the ones voting ‘no’ on the RSC budget and voting ‘yes’ on continued government operations are the party’s establishment: leadership, Appropriations Committee members, the remaining rump of moderates and assorted other conservatives who still fall into the ‘sane’ camp, and various swing-district freshmen watching their own backs. The ones voting ‘yes’ on the RSC budget and ‘no’ on the CR are, by contrast, the really nasty pieces of work, the ones who tend to get the most media attention for their bomb-throwing comments and don’t seem to have much interest in the consequences, given their (mostly) safe districts. There are a few glaring exceptions, and those are the freshmen in Obama districts who seem content to go down with the ship in 2012: Allen West and Joe Walsh… and one very strange third member of the group, in the form of VA-02’s Scott Rigell, who seems eager to recast himself after being on the defensive in 2010’s primary for having contributed to Obama and other RINO-ish offenses.

The ones in the middle, voting ‘yes’ on the RSC budget but also ‘yes’ on the CR, are the ones who in previous decades would have been the House’s far-right but are just sort of business-as-usual these days; they tend to make up the RSC’s rank-and-file, in favor of total austerity but not outright monkey-wrenching the economy. Maybe the most interesting collection is the ones voting ‘no’ on both the RSC budget and the CR (in other words, they’re against the RSC’s every-man-for-himself budget but also in favor of a shutdown). Most of these confused folks seem to be freshmen who are still figuring out their ideological identities in terms of what’ll get them re-elected next time (see Chip Cravaack as a main case in point, as well as, say, Robert Hurt and Scott Tipton). However, a few are veterans seeking a promotion — Dean Heller and Denny Rehberg – and seemingly trying to work an angle, not letting themselves on record as having voted in favor of anything unpopular. (Rehberg, in fact, took this even further, as one of only the four GOPers who voted against the Ryan budget, along with sorta-moderate Walter Jones, vulnerable freshman David McKinley, and Ron Paul, who voted against it from the right.)

R: Republican Study Committee

T: Tea Party Caucus

M: Main Street Partnership

F: Freshman

O: Obama district

Y on CR
N on RSC
N on CR
N on RSC
Y on CR
Y on RSC
N on CR
Y on RSC
Aderholt (R, T)

Alexander (R, T)

Barletta (F, O)

Bass (M, ‘F,’ O)

Benishek (R, F, O)

Berg (R, F)

Biggert (M, O)

Bilbray (R, M, O)

Bilirakis (R, T)

Black (R, T, F)

Bonner (R)

Bono Mack (M, O)


Buchanan (R)

Bucshon (R, F)

Camp (R, M, O)

Canseco (R, F, O)

Cantor (R)

Capito (M)

Crawford (R, F)

Crenshaw (T)

Davis (R)

Dent (M, O)

Des Jarlais (R, F)

Diaz-Balart (M)

Dold (M, F, O)

Dreier (M, O)

Duffy (R, F, O)

Ellmers (R, F, O)

Emerson (M)

Farenthold (R, T, F, O)

Fincher (R, T, F)

Fitzpatrick (M, ‘F,’ O)

Fortenberry (R, M)

Frelinghuysen (M)

Gerlach (M, O)

Gibbs (R, F)

Gibson (R, M, F, O)

Graves (MO) (R)

Griffin (R, F)

Grimm (R, F)

Guthrie (R)

Hanna (R, M, F, O)


Hayworth (R, M, F, O)

Heck (F, O)

Herrera (R, F, O)

Hultgren (R, F, O)

Jenkins (R, M, T)

Johnson (OH) (M, F)


King (NY)

Kinzinger (R, M, F, O)

Latham (O)

La Tourette (M)

Lewis (M)

Lo Biondo (M, O)

Lucas (R)

Luetkemeyer (R, T)

Lungren (R, O)

Marino (F)


McKeon (R)

McKinley (R, M, F)

McMorris Rodgers (R)

Meehan (M, F, O)

Murphy (M)

Noem (R, F)

Nugent (R, T, F)


Paulsen (M, O)

Petri (M, O)

Pitts (R)

Platts (M)

Reed (R, M, F)

Renacci (R, M, F)

Rivera (F)

Roby (R, F)

Rogers (AL) (R)

Rogers (KY)

Rogers (MI) (O)

Rooney (R)

Ros-Lehtinen (O)

Roskam (R, O)

Runyan (M, F, O)

Ryan (R, O)

Schilling (R, F, O)

Schock (R, M)




Smith (NJ)

Stivers (R, M, F, O)

Thompson (R)

Tiberi (M, O)

Turner (R, M)

Upton (M, O)

Walden (M)

Webster (R, F, O)

Whitfield (M)

Wittman (R)

Wolf (M, O)

Womack (R, F)

Young (AK)

Young (FL) (O)

Young (IN) (R, F)
Adams (R, T, F)

Cravaack (F, O)

Forbes (R, O)

Gardner (R, F)


Hurt (R, F)

McCotter (R, M, O)

Miller (MI)

Pearce (R, T, ‘F’)

Rehberg (R, T)

Scott (SC) (R, F)

Tipton (F)

Yoder (R, F, O)
Akin (R, T)

Austria (R, M)

Bachus (R)

Bishop (R, T)

Brady (R)

Brooks (R, F)

Buerkle (R, F, O)

Burgess (R, T)

Burton (R, T)

Calvert (M, O)

Campbell (R, O)

Carter (R, T)

Cassidy (R, T)

Coble (R, T)

Coffman (R, T)

Cole (R)

Conaway (R)

Culberson (R, T)

Denham (R, F)

Fleischmann (R, F)

Flores (R, F)

Foxx (R)

Gallegly (O)

Goodlatte (R)

Gosar (R, F)

Granger (R)

Guinta (R, F, O)

Hall (R)

Harper (R)

Hartzler (R, T, F)

Hensarling (R)

Herger (R, T)

Hunter (R)

Issa (R)

Johnson (TX) (R)

Kelly (R, F)

Kline (R)

Lance (M, O)

Landry (R, T, F)

Lankford (R, F)

Latta (R)

Lummis (R)

Manzullo (R, O)

Marchant (R)


Miller (CA) (R)

Miller (FL) (R)

Myrick (R)

Nunnelee (R, F)

Olson (R)

Palazzo (R, F)

Pompeo (R, F)

Posey (R)

Price (R, T)

Ribble (R, F)

Roe (R, T)


Rokita (R, F)

Royce (R, T)

Scalise (R, T)

Scott (GA) (R, F)

Sessions (R, T)

Shimkus (R)

Smith (NE) (T)

Smith (TX) (R, T)

Stearns (T)

Sullivan (R)

Terry (M, O)

Thornberry (R)

Walberg (R, T, ‘F,’ O)

Westmoreland (R, T)

Woodall (R, F)
Amash (R, F)

Bachmann (R, T)

Bartlett (R, M, T)

Barton (R, T)

Blackburn (R)

Broun (R, T)

Chabot (R, ‘F,’ O)

Chaffetz (R)

Duncan (SC) (R, T, F)

Duncan (TN)

Flake (R)

Fleming (R, T)

Franks (R, T)

Garrett (R)

Gingrey (R, T)

Gowdy (R, F)

Graves (GA) (R)

Griffith (R, F)

Harris (R, F)

Huelskamp (R, T, F)

Huizenga (R, F)

Johnson (IL)

Jordan (R)

King (IA) (R, T)

Kingston (R)

Labrador (R, F)

Lamborn (R, T)

Long (R, F)

Mack (R)

McClintock (R)

McHenry (R)

Mulvaney (R)

Neugebauer (R)


Pence (R, T)

Poe (R, T)

Quayle (R, F)

Rigell (R, F, O)

Ross (R, T, F)

Schmidt (R)

Schweikert (R, F)

Southerland (R, F)

Stutzman (R, F)

Walsh (R, T, F, O)

West (R, T, F, O)

Wilson (R, T)

One interesting post-script: the vote on the RSC budget was subject to some last-minute monkey business, as Democrats switched their votes en masse to ‘present,’ leaving the RSC budget too dangerously close to passage for leadership’s tastes. TPM reports that at least four key Republicans switched their votes at the very last second to keep it from passing, although it’s still not exactly clear who the switchers were:

After a few minutes of panic and pandemonium, GOP leaders convinced Rules Committee Chairman David Dreier (R-CA), Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), as well as Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-CA), to switch and save the day.

After initial reports that Connie Mack had also switched were squelched, those later turned to rumors of Buck McKeon as #4. I’m not exactly sure why Dreier, Bono Mack, and McKeon (all in Obama districts that could morph into something even bluer thanks to California’s new redistricting commission) were willing to go on record in favor of the RSC budget in the first place; they might be secretly happy to be ‘no’s at this point.

One other observation: notice who’s not anywhere on the list? Dave Reichert, possibly one of the most vulnerable long-time House GOPers in 2012 unless redistricting saves his bacon; he was a non-voter on both bills. It’s not clear whether he’s ill again, or whether his electoral strategy for 2012 involves hiding under a pile of coats for the next two years. [UPDATE: Several commenters point out that Reichert’s mother passed away last week; our condolences to him and his family.]

That’s not all! We still have all the Dems to talk about, over the flip…

Democrats were unanimous against the Ryan budget, and the vast majority of them voted ‘present’ on the RSC budget in order to better expose that intra-caucus cleavage within the GOP. However, 16 Dems did wind up voting ‘no’ instead (Altmire, Barrow, Boswell, Braley, Courtney, Donnelly, Heinrich, Kildee, Loebsack, Matheson, McIntyre, Murphy, Schrader, Shuler, Smith, and Watt); while at first, it seems to be a list of sometimes-uncooperative Blue Dogs, it also includes a few guys who are seeking promotions and probably don’t want to be seen as playing games (Martin Heinrich, Chris Murphy), and maybe a few guys who just didn’t get the message about switching (Mel Watt?).

However, there were some fissures within the Democratic caucus that become evident when comparing two of the alternative budgets offered by Democrats: one from the Progressive Caucus and one from the Congressional Black Caucus. Those who voted either ‘yes’ on both or ‘no’ on both pretty clearly delineate the left and right flanks of the Democratic caucus. (I can’t say there are many surprises here, with only one notable New Dem and potentially-difficult-district denizen voting ‘yes’ twice — Rush Holt – and several well-known Progressives (DeFazio, Waxman) voting ‘no’ twice for some irascible reason.) The ones who split the difference, voting for the CBC budget but not for the more aggressive Progressive budget, tend to be leadership and its allies, or else veteran Dems who tend to alternate back and forth between the two camps. There were two members against the CBC budget and for the Progressive budget; fittingly, given the decidedly counterintuitive nature of that pairing, the two were Dennis Kucinich and David Wu.

P: Progressive Caucus

N: New Democrats

B: Blue Dogs

F: Freshman

M: McCain district

Y on Prog
Y on CBC
Y on Prog
N on CBC
N on Prog
Y on CBC
N on Prog
N on CBC
Baca (B)

Baldwin (P)

Bass (P, F)

Becerra (P)

Blumenauer (P)

Brady (P)

Brown (P)


Capuano (P)

Carson (P, N)

Chu (P)

Cicilline (P, F)

Clarke (MI) (F)

Clarke (NY) (P)

Cleaver (P)


Cohen (P)

Conyers (P)

Cummings (P)

Davis (IL) (P)


Edwards (P)

Ellison (P)

Farr (P)

Fattah (P)

Filner (P)

Frank (P)

Fudge (P)

Grijalva (P)

Gutierrez (P)

Hastings (P)

Hirono (P)

Holt (N)

Honda (P)

Jackson (IL) (P)

Jackson Lee (P)

Johnson (TX) (P)

Lee (P)

Lewis (P)


McDermott (P)

McGovern (P)

Miller (CA) (P)

Moore (P)

Nadler (P)


Pallone (P)

Pastor (P)

Payne (P)

Pingree (P)

Rangel (P)

Richardson (P)

Richmond (F)

Roybal-Allard (P)

Rush (P)

Sanchez, Li. (P)


Schakowsky (P)

Serrano (P)

Slaughter (P)

Thompson (MS) (P)

Tierney (P)



Velazquez (P)

Waters (P)

Watt (P)

Welch (P)

Wilson (FL) (P, F)

Woolsey (P)
Kucinich (P)

Wu (N)



Carnahan (N)


Crowley (N)

DeLauro (P)


Engel (N)


Green, Al

Hanabusa (F)


Kaptur (P)


Larson (CT) (N)

Lujan (P)


Miller (NC)






Scott (GA) (N, B)

Scott (VA)



Van Hollen

Wasserman Schultz (N)

Altmire (N, B, M)

Barrow (N, B)

Bishop (NY)

Boren (B, M)

Boswell (B)


Capps (N)

Cardoza (B)

Carney (F)

Chandler (B, M)

Connolly (N)

Cooper (B)

Costa (B)


Courtney (N)

Critz (M)

Cuellar (B)

Davis (CA) (N)

DeFazio (P)

DeGette (N)




Donnelly (B)


Green, Gene

Heinrich (N)

Higgins (N)

Himes (N)

Holden (B, M)

Inslee (N)

Israel (N)

Kind (N)


Larsen (WA) (N)



Loebsack (P)


Matheson (B, M)


McCarthy (N)

McIntyre (N, B, M)


Michaud (B)

Moran (P, N)

Murphy (CT) (N)


Perlmutter (N)

Peters (N)

Peterson (B, M)

Polis (P, N)



Ross (B, M)


Ryan (OH)

Sanchez, Lo. (N, B)

Schiff (N, B)

Schrader (N, B)

Schwartz (N)


Shuler (B, M)

Smith (WA) (N)


Thompson (CA) (B)




Waxman (P)


(You might notice 18 names missing from this chart of Dems; it excludes anyone who missed one or both votes. Maybe most significantly, that includes new Senate candidate Shelley Berkley.)

SSP Daily Digest: 4/5


AZ-Sen: Rep. Jeff Flake (R) will apparently announce a haul of more than $1 million in Q1.

OH-Sen: A spokesman for Treasurer Josh Mandel says he’ll file paperwork with the FEC “very shortly,” but it’s not clear from the writeup whether this means an exploratory committee (what I’m guessing) or if it’s the real thing. Also of note: Rep. Pat Tiberi (R), whose name first came up as a possible candidate less than a week ago, quashed any notion that he might run against Sherrod Brown last Friday.

VA-Sen: If you want to believe CNN’s sources, Tim Kaine will announce a Senate bid in the next two weeks.

WA-Sen, WA-10: Sue Rahr, the conservative King County Sheriff who inherited the job from now-Rep. Dave Reichert, said through a spokesman that she has no intention of running against Sen. Maria Cantwell – a rumor that seems to have gotten shot down before we’d ever heard of it here at SSP. However, a political consultant of Rahr’s thinks the sheriff (who supposedly has crossover appeal) could run in Washington’s new 10th CD, if a district emerges out of Reichert’s 8th centered in the area north of I-90.


ME-Gov: Will Paul LePage be the next Rick Scott? Like Florida’s governor, Republican members of LePage’s own legislature are starting to turn on him; eight state senators penned an op-ed declaring : “‘Government by disrespect’ should have no place in Augusta, and when it happens, we should all reject it.”

MO-Gov: I think it’s going to get worse before it gets better for Republican LG Peter Kinder. Trying to push back against revelations that he spend taxpayer money to spend two months a year in St. Louis luxury hotels to attend baseball games, society balls, and teabagger conclaves since 2006, Kinder claimed that his office had been reviewed by two different state auditors, both of them Democrats: Susan Montee and Claire McCaskill (yes, her). The problem? Montee’s audit faulted Kinder for “numerous mathematical errors and inconsistencies” regarding employee pay, and McCaskill’s found that Kinder used a state-owned care for personal use. I’m sensing a theme here.

WA-Gov: Could Christine Gregoire’s claim to be undecided about seeking a third term really just be a way to ward off lame-duck syndrome? That’s Jim Brunner’s guess. The Seattle Times reporter points out that campaign finance filings show the Democrat had just $44K on hand at the end of February. At the comparable reporting deadline during the prior election cycle, she had $1.2 million in the bank. Meanwhile, other likely candidates are flush: Republican AG Rob McKenna has raised $800K and has $400K on hand, while Rep. Jay Inslee (D) had $1.2 million in his congressional account at the end of last year. The piece also notes that another possible Dem candidate, state Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown, has recently discussed a potential run for Lt. Gov. instead. (She’d have to primary Brad Owen, who has been in office since 1997, or push him into retirement.)


FL-22: Whoa, I was definitely wrong to dismiss “no not that” Patrick Murphy as a Some Dude. One article described him as a 28-year-old accountant, but he’s got family money – and, evidently, good connections. Murphy says he raised a majorly impressive $350K in less than a month, and only $30K of that is his own money. Even fundraising machine Ron Klein raised “only” $153K in the comparable quarter in 2005 (before he was first elected).

NM-01: Terry Brunner, a former state director for the retiring Jeff Bingaman, had previously said he was thinking about running for his old boss’s seat, but now says he’s considering a run for the 1st CD instead.

NV-01: Jon Ralston thinks former 3rd CD Rep. Dina Titus will run for Shelley Berkley’s seat if the latter runs for Senate, but this is definitely a case of Schrödinger’s Seat.

OR-01: Former state Rep. Greg Macpherson is the first big-name Dem to say he’s considering a primary challenge to embattled Rep. David Wu. He wants to wait until the district lines become clear, saying he’ll only run if he lives in the district. (He doesn’t live there now, but I suppose he could move even if redistricting doesn’t help him, so I’m not sure how big an obstacle that is.) He also says he’s considering a primary challenge to state AG John Kroger, the man who beat him in the Dem primary for that office in 2008.

WI-07: Feeling the heat, Rep. Sean Duffy offered a half-assed non-apology, saying his “words were admittedly poorly chosen” when he whinged about getting paid only $174,000 a year as a member of Congress.

Other Races:

Wisconsin Sup. Ct.: Surprise, surprise: “Citizens for a Strong America,” the potemkin right-wing group responsible for several attack ads in the race (including one even PolitiFact rated “pants on fire”) turns out to be just a clone/offshoot of Americans for Prosperity, the Koch brothers’ arch-evil front group.

Special Elections: After a few weeks without any state lege races, Johnny Longtorso is back:

While everyone will be focused on the Wisconsin Supreme Court election (which is a phrase I never thought I’d type), there is one special occurring on Tuesday in South Carolina’s HD-64, though it’s in a safe Democratic seat. Democrat Kevin Johnson, the mayor of Manning, will face off against Republican Walter Sanders.

Also, a quick shout-out to Republican Mike “Pete” Huval, the newest member of the Louisiana House of Representatives from HD-46. He defeated another Republican (no Democrat ran) on Saturday for the seat vacated by now-State Sen. Fred Mills.


Maps: The National Journal has an interesting set of maps which focus on a theme that DCCyclone has been hitting in comments: Namely, because of population growth among minorities, the share of the white vote that Obama needs in 2012 is lower than it was in 2008, assuming minority support for Obama stays the same. In a very pessimistic scenario where his minority support falls 10%, Obama would only lose three states he otherwise won in 2008 (FL, IN & NC), assuming he keeps the same share of the white vote. (But note that that latter assumption is unnecessary: Even under the reduced minority support scenario, Obama’s white support could also drop considerably in many states and he’d still win.)

Votes: A new study (full paper here) says that Dems who votes “yes” on healthcare reform saw their reelection margins reduced from 6 to 8 points. Something about this study seems incomplete to me, though, but I can’t quite put my finger on it. I’ll be really curious to read your thoughts in comments.

VRA: This is interesting: Black lawmakers in Georgia have filed a lawsuit challenging to dissolve the charters of five very white cities in DeKalb and Fulton Counties. The plaintiffs argue that these cities, all formed between 2005 and 2008, were created to dilute minority voting power, and hence violate the VRA. Apparently, this is a novel application of the Voting Rights Act, so we’ll see how it unfolds.

Passings: Very sad news: Former Rep. John Adler, a longtime state Senator who served one term in NJ-03 before losing last year, passed away at the age of 51. Last month, Adler contracted an infection which led to heart disease from which he never recovered. His father also died young of heart disease, something Adler would mention on the campaign trail when describing his family’s struggles after his father’s death. As a state legislator, one of his signature accomplishments was a smoke-free air bill which banned smoking in many public places. He leaves behind a wife and four children.

In other news, former TN Gov. Ned McWherter also passed away yesterday. McWherter, who was 80, served two terms as governor in the late 80s and early 90s. One of the things McWherter is probably best known for is the creation TennCare, the state’s expanded Medicaid program. His son Mike ran an unsuccessful campaign for governor last year.

Redistricting Roundup:

Arkansas: Rob Moritz of the Arkansas News Bureau has a good rundown of what’s going on with Democrats’ controversial redistricting plan, dubbed the “Fayetteville Finger.” The plan has passed in the House but has stalled in the Senate, where a vote won’t come until Thursday at the earliest. At the end of the piece, Moritz details several different alternate proposals pending in the Senate.

Louisiana: A piece from Sunday’s Times-Picayune said that votes were possible on Monday in the House and Senate on congressional maps, but I’ve not yet seen any subsequent coverage.

Michigan: Aaron Blake’s redistricting series takes him to Michigan, where he has a good explanation of just how difficult it will be for the GOP to shore up its current situation.

Missouri: Check out this Google Maps version of the state House’s proposed new federal district lines.

New Jersey: Republicans started bitching and moaning about the state’s new map even before it was officially chosen, but so far, they haven’t said whether they’d challenge the map in court. Not really sure what grounds they’d have even if they wanted to give it a go.

Nevada: The LVRJ has a piece on the debate in Nevada over whether to create a majority-Hispanic district, or whether to keep Hispanic voters spread out to keep all districts more Dem or more competitive. Most Republicans obviously like the former idea, while Dems (including some Latino lawmakers) are understandably skeptical. Also, it looks like abgin must have trekked all the way from Basque Country to make a presentation at a public hearing in Vegas last weekend: The LVRJ says that “[s]everal interest groups presented proposed maps, including one that likely wouldn’t pass legal or political muster because it would create four new vertical congressional districts stretching from North to South.”

Texas: Ah, redistricting cat fud – it has a stench all its own. GOP Rep. Lamar Smith is apparently taking the non-insane view that Hispanic growth and the VRA require that two (well, at least two) of Texas’s four new districts be majority-minority, and he’s been working with Dem Rep. Henry Cuellar to create a compromise map. This has infuriated fellow Republican Rep. Joe Barton (aka Smokey Joe), who insists that at least three if not all four of the new seats be Republican-favored. And folks, the cat fud is real. Sayeth Politico:

Barton has harshly criticized Smith during Texas GOP delegation meetings, launching a profanity-laced tirade at Smith during one session early last month, and he’s privately tried to oust Smith as the lead Republican negotiator on redistricting.

Politico’s sources say that Smith is still favored among members of his own party, but that Gov. Rick Perry may be leaning toward Barton. Perry’s alleged plan is to skip DoJ pre-clearance and go directly to federal court, perhaps hoping for a friendly conservative panel (backstopped by an unquestionably conservative Supreme Court), so that could turn Barton’s dream into a reality… but I still think it’s a serious stretch. The piece also reports that proposed maps have been circulated among Republicans, but of course, no one’s sharing any copies.

SSP Daily Digest: 5/28 (Afternoon Edition)

CA-Sen: For a brief shining moment there, Tom Campbell had some good news: in the April 1-May 19 reporting period, Campbell actually outraised Carly Fiorina from outside donors. Campbell pulled in $990K while Fiorina got $909K. Fiorina’s response? She wrote herself another seven-figure check.

FL-Sen: Charlie Crist’s 7-word-long Google ad attacking Jeff Greene (almost haiku-like in its simplicity: “What has Jeff Greene done? Experience matters.”) prompted a 300-word press release from the Greene camp landing some solid hits on Crist.

KY-Sen: In terms of rocking the political boat, this probably isn’t as eye-opening as his comments about the Civil Rights Act or the NAFTA Superhighway, but it’s one more weird, sketchy act by Rand Paul: in 1999, he created a whole new certifying body for ophthalmologists, the National Board of Ophthalmology, in order to compete with the establishment American Board of Ophthalmology. The NBO has looser certification requirements than the ABO.

NH-Sen (pdf): Republican pollster Magellan has been really active lately in GOP primaries where they don’t have any skin in the game; they’re back to looking at the New Hampshire Senate race. They find the real race here between Kelly Ayotte, at 38, and Bill Binnie, at 29. Ovide Lamontagne is lagging at 9, with Jim Bender at 4.

OH-Sen, OH-Gov (pdf): The Ohio Poll, conducted by the University of Cincinnati, is out today with pleasant results for Democrats (perhaps doubly so, considering they have a reputation for producing GOP-leaning results). They find Dem Lee Fisher with a one-point lead over GOPer Rob Portman in the Senate race, 47-46. They also find incumbent Dem Ted Strickland looking OK in the gubernatorial race, leading John Kasich 49-44 (and sporting a surprisingly high 55/35 approval, suggesting that whatever he’s been doing lately has been working).

FL-Gov: Ad wars are reaching a fever pitch in the GOP primary in the Florida gubernatorial race; Rick Scott placed a sixth major media buy for another $2.9 million, taking his total to $10.9 million. We’ve also found out more about that mystery group that’s planning to spend nearly a million hitting Scott (primarily on the issue of the fraud charges against his company): it’s the Alliance for America’s Future. While it’s not clear what their interest in Bill McCollum is, the group is headed by Mary Cheney (daughter of Dick).

HI-Gov: After many months of operating in running-but-not-running limbo, Honolulu mayor Mufi Hannemann made it official yesterday: he’ll run in the Democratic gubernatorial primary against ex-Rep. Neil Abercrombie.

NM-Gov: Former state GOP chair Allen Weh, who’s turned into the main GOP primary opposition to Susana Martinez by virtue of his money, just loaned himself another $600K for the home stretch, on top of $1 million he’s already contributed. Lt. Gov. Diane Denish is unopposed in the Dem primary, but watching Martinez catch up to her in polls of the general, has launched into a fundraising frenzy as of late; she’s raised $464K from donors in the last three weeks.

SC-Gov (pdf): Two different polls are out in South Carolina: one, from Insider Advantage, continues the trend of giving an advantage to Nikki Haley (and the survey period was May 25, after the current imbroglio broke). Haley is at 31, Andre Bauer at 21, Gresham Barrett at 14, and Henry McMaster at 13. On the Dem side, Vince Sheheen leads at 26, with Jim Rex at 17 and Robert Ford at 12. SCIndex didn’t look at the primaries, but had some rather heartening numbers for November: Generic Republican leads Generic Dem only 46-44 in the gubernatorial race, while in the Senate race, Jim DeMint leads Democratic challenge Vic Rawl only 50-43.

IN-03: Mitch Daniels made it official today, setting the date for the special election to replace resigned Mark Souder on Nov. 2, at the same time as the general election. (So the special election’s winner will only serve during the House’s lame duck session.) The state GOP will pick its candidates for both elections at a June 12 caucus; presumably, they’ll choose the same person for both.

MO-08: Where’s the New York Times when you need them? Rep. Jo Ann Emerson just lied big-time about her Dem opponent Tommy Sowers’ military record, saying that her opposition to DADT repeal was based on talking to actual commanders, as opposed to Sowers, who “never commanded anybody.” Um, yeah… except for that platoon of combat engineers that Sowers led in Kosovo.

MS-01: Wow, even Mississippi Dems are now taking a page from the Gray Davis playbook. A Dem 527 called “Citizens for Security and Strength” is hitting presumed Republican frontrunner state Sen. Alan Nunnelee prior to the primary as a “hypocrite on taxes.” Apparently they too are sensing some late-game momentum by Henry Ross, a teabagger whom they’d much rather Travis Childers face in the general than financially-flush establishment figure Nunnelee, and would like to facilitate a Ross victory (or at least a runoff).

NC-08: Thinking that Barack Obama is a Kenyan secret Muslim? Check. Wanting to repeal the 17th Amendment? Great! Thinking that there’s a 1,000-foot-high pyramid in Greenland? Sorry, that’s a fridge too far even for the teabaggers of North Carolina. Six leaders among the local Tea Partiers publicly switched their allegiances to Harold Johnson in the runoff in the 8th, following revelations of just how off-the-rails their one-time fave Tim d’Annunzio is.

NY-23: Determined to relive the NY-23 special election over and over again, the Concerned Women of America are sticking with their endorsement of Doug Hoffman, who seems on track to pick up the Conservative Party line while the GOP line goes elsewhere (like Matt Doheny, most likely).

Votes: The repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell cleared the House by a 234-194 margin yesterday, with 5 GOPers voting yes and 26 Dems voting no. The GOP ‘ayes’ were Judy Biggert, Joe Cao, Charles Djou (in his first week of work), Ron Paul, and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. Dem no votes were — no surprise — mostly vulnerable members in culturally conservative areas: Berry, Bishop (GA), Boucher, Bright, Carney, Childers, Costello, Critz, Davis (TN), Donnelly, Edwards (TX), Etheridge, Green (TX), Lipinski, Marshall, McIntyre, Ortiz,  Peterson, Pomeroy, Rahall, Ross, Shuler, Skelton, Spratt, Tanner, and Taylor.

Polltopia: Somebody must have slipped some Red Bull into Nate Silver’s Ovaltine lately, as he’s just landed his third hard hit on Rasmussen in as many days. Today, it’s their Wisconsin Senate race poll showing the unknown Ron Johnson competitive (and known by 68% of likely voters) that’s drawing Nate’s ire.

House Healthcare Vote

The House just voted to pass the healthcare bill that the Senate passed in December, 219-212. When the House voted on its own healthcare bill in November, 39 Democrats voted “no.” On this bill, 34 Dems voted no. We’ll bring you the roll call as soon as we have it.

UPDATE: Roll call on Senate bill here.

Of the 39 original “no” votes, 29 voted “no” a second time (note that one of those original “nos,” Eric Massa, is no longer in Congress, and another, Parker Griffith, switched parties):

District Incumbent Obama %age Kerry %age
AL-02 Bobby Bright 36 33
AL-07 Artur Davis 72 64
AR-04 Mike Ross 39 48
GA-08 Jim Marshall 43 39
GA-12 John Barrow 54 49
ID-01 Walter Minnick 36 30
KY-06 Ben Chandler 43 41
LA-03 Charlie Melancon 37 41
MD-01 Frank Kratovil 40 36
MN-07 Collin Peterson 47 43
MO-04 Ike Skelton 38 35
MS-01 Travis Childers 38 37
MS-04 Gene Taylor 32 31
NC-07 Mike McIntyre 47 44
NC-08 Larry Kissell 53 45
NC-11 Heath Shuler 47 43
NJ-03 John Adler 52 49
NM-02 Harry Teague 49 41
NY-13 Mike McMahon 49 45
OK-02 Dan Boren 34 41
PA-04 Jason Altmire 44 45
PA-17 Tim Holden 48 42
SD-AL Stephanie Herseth Sandlin 45 38
TN-04 Lincoln Davis 34 41
TN-08 John Tanner 43 47
TX-17 Chet Edwards 32 30
UT-02 Jim Matheson 39 31
VA-02 Glenn Nye 51 42
VA-09 Rick Boucher 40 39

On the flipside, 8 Dems who voted “no” the first time switched to “yes” this time:

District Incumbent Obama %age Kerry %age
CO-04 Betsy Markey 49 41
FL-02 Allen Boyd 45 46
FL-24 Suzanne Kosmas 49 45
NY-20 Scott Murphy 51 46
OH-10 Dennis Kucinich 59 58
OH-16 John Boccieri 48 46
TN-06 Bart Gordon 37 40
WA-03 Brian Baird 52 48

And five Democrats who had voted “yes” the first time switched to “no” this time:

District Incumbent Obama %age Kerry %age
AR-01 Marion Berry 38 47
IL-03 Dan Lipinski 64 59
MA-09 Stephen Lynch 60 63
NY-24 Mike Arcuri 51 47
OH-18 Zack Space 45 43

GOP Rep. Joe Cao (LA-02) also voted “yes” last time but switched to “no” this time.

UPDATE: The roll call for the Republican motion to recommit the reconciliation bill is available. Dems voting with the GOP:

Altmire, Barrow, Berry, Boren, Bright, Chandler, Childers, Costello, Davis(TN), Donnelly, Holden, Lipinski, Marshall, Matheson, McIntyre, Melancon, Peterson, Ross, Shuler, Skelton, Taylor

On the reconciliation bill itself, two Dems voted “yes” who had voted “no” on the Senate bill, Lynch and Lipinski. On the flipside, Jim Cooper (TN-05) had voted “yes” on the Senate bill but voted “no” on the reconciliation bill.

SSP Daily Digest: 3/18 (Afternoon Edition)

NV-Sen: It’s starting to look like the investigation into John Ensign may really take off. The DOJ is actually serving subpoenas to at least six different Las Vegas area businesses, as they expand a criminal probe into the tangle of quid pro quos that arose as Ensign tried to find lobbying work for cuckolded friend Doug Hampton.

CA-Gov: Usually politicians wait to say this kind of thing privately instead of publicly, but maybe Jerry Brown, as is his way, is engaged in some sort of Jedi mind trick. Brown openly encouraged his union allies to start spending now in the governor’s race and to go on the attack against likely GOP opponent Meg Whitman, so that he can stay “the nice guy” in the race.

MI-Gov: Chris Cillizza has access to a new poll from Inside Michigan Politics/Marketing Resource Group, which looks at the Republican primary in the Michigan Governor’s race. It’s more evidence that businessman Rick Snyder’s splashy spending and catchy “one tough nerd” ad has turned this into a real three-way race. The poll finds AG Mike Cox and Rep. Peter Hoekstra tied at 21, with Snyder right there at 20. Oakland Co. Sheriff Mike Bouchard trails, at 10.

NY-Gov: Guess who doesn’t like the idea of running a Democrat for the Republican nomination for Governor (even if NY GOP head Ed Cox seems to think it’s the best idea since sliced bread)? The RNC has threatened not to put money into New York races (and note that says “races,” not just the Gov’s race) if Democratic Suffolk Co. Exec Steve Levy winds up the GOP’s nominee. Meanwhile, David Paterson‘s case just gets weirder and weirder, as now he’s saying he himself was the anonymous source for the NYT story on his interceding on his aide’s behalf.

WY-Gov: It’s still not clear that state Sen. Mike Massie is going to run for Governor on the Democratic side, but it is looking like he’s planning to move up. He confirmed he won’t run for his Senate seat again, although he’s interested in Superintendent of Public Education as well as Governor.

NY-24: Chalk Rep. Mike Arcuri up as a “no” vote on health care reform. This comes despite the threat of losing the Working Families Party line in November, which will probably imperil his chances of re-election more so than any Republican votes he might pick up (which will probably equal zero, regardless of how he might vote on HCR).

NY-29: Corning mayor Tom Reed has a bright idea on how to pay for the special election caused by Eric Massa’s resignation: make Massa pay for it, out of the money in his campaign fund (which is roughly equal to the actual cost of holding the election). Not that it’s going to happen, but it raises an interesting question: is there a legal mechanism for Massa to write a $644K check to the state of New York out of his account?

PA-12 (pdf): There’s a second poll of the 12th, from a slightly more established pollster (although one who still requires a grain or two of salt): Republican pollster Susquehanna. Their numbers are pretty close to the weird robopoll from yesterday, finding Democrat Mark Critz leading Republican Tim Burns 36-31. Bad news for Dems: by a 49/44 margin, voters want to turn away from a candidate who, in the John Murtha tradition, supports earmarks for the district. Good news for the Dems: of the undecideds, 67% are Democrats, meaning that Critz has more room to grow.

VA-11: Rich guy Keith Fimian is up with his first radio ad in the 11th, attacking Democratic Rep. Gerry Connolly for saying, in reference to the stimulus, “I want to be there with all four paws and snout in the trough.” Um, yeah… except Connolly was saying that long after the stimulus passage, making fun of Eric Cantor’s hypocrisy on the issue. Too bad snark tags don’t translate to radio very well.

NY-Something: Former Republican Lt. Governor, and then unsuccessful former health care industry spokesbot, Betsy McCaughey, apparently is looking for a way into the Republican field in one of the various statewide races in New York; she’s been polling both races. (There’s one small wrinkle: she’s still registered as a Democrat, and voted in the 2009 Democratic primary. She became a Dem after George Pataki dropped her from his 1998 ticket, and tried to run against Pataki as a Dem instead.)

Votes: After all the sturm and drang surrounding the cloture vote, the final vote on the Senate jobs bill was pretty uninteresting, with 11 different GOPers crossing the aisle to vote for it: Alexander, Bond, Brown, Burr, Cochran, Collins, Inhofe, LeMieux, Murkowski, Snowe, and Voinovich.

WATN?: A must-read editorial in today’s WaPo comes from ex-Rep. Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky, whose despite her two years in the House looms large in history as the decisive vote on the 1993 Clinton budget, which is usually assigned as the reason for her loss in 1994. She pushes back against the mind-numbing Beltway conventional wisdom that your electoral survival depends on bucking the party line on the tough votes, and seems to be weighing on the minds of members like the aforementioned Mike Arcuri. A wave is a wave, and it takes out those in unsafe districts who vote for or vote against; the key is to not let the wave become a wave in the first place:

Votes like this are never a zero-sum game…. While it is easy to say my balanced-budget vote cost me reelection, that assumes the line of history that followed the bill’s passage. Had I voted against it, the bill wouldn’t have passed, the Republican opposition would have been emboldened, the Clinton presidency would have moved into a tailspin . . . and all of this could have just as easily led to my undoing.

Simply put, you could be Margolies-Mezvinskied whether you vote with or against President Obama. You will be assailed no matter how you vote this week. And this job isn’t supposed to be easy. So cast the vote that you won’t regret in 18 years.

There’s still one strange contention in her piece: that “I was in the country’s most Republican district represented by a Democrat.” Sorry, not even close: that district would’ve been R+4 at the time, based on its 1988 and 1992 results, good for 51st most Republican held by a Democrat. Even though she famously got bounced out in 1994, the 13th was promptly back in Democratic hands in 1998, courtesy of Joe Hoeffel (and now, thanks to trends in the Philly suburbs and thanks to redistricting, it’s a safe Dem district). The most Republican district held by a Dem in 1993? FL-01, then held by Earl Hutto, at R+20. (Hutto retired in 1994, giving way to… wait for it… Joe Scarborough.)

SSP Daily Digest: 3/5 (Afternoon Edition)

AZ-Sen: J.D. Hayworth’s new online fundraising ad actually depicts John McCain in blueface. (Click the link for a visual.) The joke, apparently, is an Avatar reference, in that McCain is being nominated for an award for “best conservative actor.” Or something like that. At least he’s not in blackface.

NY-Sen-B: The GOP is still intent on mounting some sort of challenge to Kirsten Gillibrand; there’s just the small problem of finding a willing sacrifice. They may have found one, although I don’t know if he’d present much of an upgrade from Port Commissioner Bruce Blakeman (who’s already running and has secured a number of endorsements). Scott Vanderhoef, who just got elected to a fifth term as Executive of suburban Rockland County, is publicly weighing a bid. (If his name sounds vaguely familiar, he was John Faso’s running mate in 2006, en route to getting 29% of the vote against Eliot Spitzer.)

PA-Sen: Joe Sestak pulled in a potentially useful endorsement in terms of both fundraising and ground troops, from the National Organization of Women. NOW says it’s more a positive endorsement of Sestak than a negative reflection on Specter (although I suspect the specter of Anita Hill still looms large in their memories). Let’s hope the timing works out a little better on this one than Sestak’s last endorsement — Tuesday’s endorsement from fellow Navy vet Eric Massa.

SC-Sen: Democrats acted quickly to fill the gap left by the recent dropout of attorney Chad McGowan in the South Carolina Senate race; in fact, it may be something of an upgrade, with the entry of Charleston County Councilor and former judge Victor Rawl. Victory still seems highly unlikely, but it’s good to mount a credible challenge against DeMint to keep him pinned down in the Palmetto State in the campaign’s closing months instead of letting him roam the country freely.

CT-Gov: Ned Lamont got an endorsement from a key legislative figure in his battle for the Connecticut Democratic gubernatorial nomination: Senate president Donald Williams. Lamont’s main rival for the nod is former Stamford mayor Dan Malloy.

IL-Gov: It’s finally official: state Sen. Bill Brady will be the Republican nominee in the gubernatorial race. Earlier in the day, the state certified Brady as the winner, by a razor-thin margin of 193 votes, over fellow state Sen. Kirk Dillard. And only moments ago, Dillard conceded, saying that he wouldn’t seek a recount and offered his support to Brady. (Dillard had previously said he’d contest it only if he was within 100 votes, give or take a few.) While I’d prefer to see a long, drawn-out nightmare for the Illinois GOP, this is still a pretty good outcome: the conservative, downstate Brady isn’t as good a matchup against Pat Quinn as Dillard would be. In fact, PPP’s Tom Jensen is already seeing some parallels between Brady and another guy who stumbled across the finish line after the presumptive frontrunners nuked each other: Creigh Deeds.

MA-Gov: Here’s more evidence that former Democratic treasurer Tim Cahill is trying to move onto center-right turf as he forges ahead in his indie bid against incumbent Dem governor Deval Patrick. He’s bringing aboard several key members of John McCain’s 2008 campaign, including McCain right-hand-man Mark Salter and former chief strategist John Weaver. In fact, Reid Wilson wonders if Cahill is going to try to run to the right of the leading GOP candidate, Charlie Baker, who’s a socially-liberal big-business type.

MI-Gov: Ex-Genesee County treasurer Dan Kildee has ended his campaign for Governor. The decision seems to have been made after the political arm of the UAW decided to throw their support to Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero. Kildee says he wanted to “avoid splitting the support of organized labor and the votes of progressives,” who now seem likely to coalesce behind Bernero rather than centrist Andy Dillon (although liberal state Rep. Alma Wheeler Smith also remains in the race). (J)

NY-Gov: Quinnipiac did another snap poll on the status of David Paterson (whose downward spiral seems to be continuing, as today he lawyered up. In this installment, 46% said he should continue his term and 42% said resign; not catastrophic numbers, but ominous trendlines from only 31% saying “resign” in their previous poll, just two days earlier.

MA-10: Contestants are already lining up in the wake of William Delahunt’s not-so-surprising retirement announcement yesterday in this D+5 district (albeit one that was colored decidedly Brown in January). For the GOP, state Rep. Jeffrey Perry is already in, but he’s likely to get shoved over by former state Treasurer Joe Malone, who’s announcing his bid today. (Malone’s statewide status may be hindrance as much as help, as he was at the helm during an embezzlement scandal involving underlings at the Treasurer’s office, although he was never accused of any wrongdoing himself.) GOP state Sen. Robert Hedlund has ruled out a bid. On the Dem side, Norfolk Co. District Attorney William Keating has expressed interest, and he may have an advantage because of his high-profile role in the controversy over the Amy Bishop shooting. Other possible Dems include state Sen. Robert O’Leary, wealthy businessman Philip Edmundson, state Reps. James Murphy and Ronald Mariano, former state Rep. Phil Johnston, and state Energy and Environmental Affairs Sec. Ian Bowles. Johnston and Bowles both lost to Delahunt in the 1996 open-seat primary.

NY-25: This seat is low on the list of Dems’ worries this year, and it may get a little easier with the threat of a Republican primary battle looming. The local GOP endorsed pro-life activist candidate Ann Marie Buerkle over the occasionally NRCC-touted Mark Bitz, a political novice but a self-funder. Bitz says he’ll consult with his wallet as to whether to mount a primary rather than abide by the endorsement. Buerkle, who briefly was on the Syracuse Common Council, also got the Conservative and Right-to-Life party lines.

NY-29: This isn’t promising for Corning mayor Tom Reed; he’s already had to get up and confirm that he’s staying in the race, despite some bigger GOP names sniffing around now that it’s an open seat race. The biggest is probably Maggie Brooks, the Monroe County Executive, who’s “seriously considering” and will make a decision in the next few days. On the Dem side, one other name that’s bubbling up is John Tonello, the mayor of Elmira (the district’s largest city).

State legislatures: Politico’s David Catanese has an interesting observation, how polling shows that there’s something even less popular than Congress or individual incumbent politicians: state legislatures. That’s maybe most egregious in New York, where the state Senate gets 16% positive marks according to the most recent Marist poll, although Pennsylvania (where the “Bonusgate” investigation is constantly in the news) isn’t much better, where the lege has 29% approval according to Quinnipiac. While this trend might work to our advantage in red states where we’re trying to make gains, it could be a pain in the butt in New York, where we need to hold the Senate to control the redistricting trifecta, and even more so in Pennsylvania, where (if we lose the gubernatorial race) we need to hold the narrowly-held House in order to stave off Republican control of the redistricting trifecta.

Votes: There was some interesting party-line breaking in yesterday’s House vote on the jobs bill. It passed pretty narrowly, but that wasn’t so much because of worried votes by vulnerable Dems (Tom Perriello and Steve Driehaus voted no, but with Harry Teague, Bobby Bright, and even Walt Minnick voting yes) but rather a bloc of the most liberal members of the Congressional Black Caucus voting no, apparently from the perspective that it doesn’t go far enough. Six GOPers got on board, all of the moderate and/or mavericky variety: Joe Cao, Dave Camp, John Duncan, Vern Ehlers, Tim Murphy, and Don Young.

Blogosphere: I’m pleased to announce that, in addition to my SSP duties, I’ll be writing for’s politics section several times a week, as part of their new feature “The Numerologist.” Today I deconstruct National Journal ratings; please check it out (especially if you’re curious what my real name is).

SSP Daily Digest: 12/17

AR-Sen: Blanche Lincoln seems like she’ll take a lifeline from anyone who’ll throw her one these days, and she got a big one today — although it’s not a surprise who’s doing it. The nation’s most famous Arkansan, Bill Clinton, authored a fundraising e-mail on Lincoln’s behalf.

CA-Sen: The war of words between Chuck DeVore and the NRSC keeps flaring up; DeVore keeps claiming the NRSC won’t meet with him. DeVore’s camp claims they got an offer to meet with the NRSC’s executive director rather than John Cornyn, which he turned down… but that came after e-mailing the NRSC once and then faxing them follow-ups twice. I must admit I share in the incredulity of NRSC spokesbot Brian Walsh, who said “Remarkably, every [other of the 60 GOP candidates who’ve met with the NRSC] knew how to set up a meeting with the exception of Chuck DeVore who apparently believed sending a fax to Senator Cornyn’s official government office was the most direct route. That alone might demonstrate a lack of seriousness, or at least raise questions of competency, by a statewide Senate campaign.” The Hill’s Aaron Blake looks at this brouhaha in the context of GOP outsider campaigns in general, with a subtext wondering if DeVore’s camp is intentionally miscommunicating as a means of burnishing outsider credentials (seeing as how the way to lose your Seal of Good Teabagging is by becoming one of the NRSC’s golden children).

FL-Sen: Those Rasmussen numbers on the Florida Senate general election finally showed up. Like last time, and contrary to conventional wisdom, they actually show Marco Rubio overperforming Charlie Crist, vis a vis Kendrick Meek. Rubio beats Meek 49-35, while Crist beats Meek 42-36. Seems strange, but Florida pundit Mike Thomas speculates that Crist is losing ground not among conservatives (whom he never really had to begin with) but rather among indies and moderates, simply by virtue of his empty-suit opportunism, which might explain why the blank-slate Rubio is overperforming. Meanwhile, Rubio keeps trucking along on the fundraising front, as the Club for Growth has bundled $100K in contributions for him in the last month.

CT-Sen: CQ highlights one more way that price is no object for Linda McMahon; she’s paying her campaign manager David Cappiello a $280K salary, which is at least double what the Rob Simmons and Chris Dodd managers make. Who’s the lucky guy? It’s former state Sen. David Cappiello. If that name sounds familiar, he’s the guy who got spanked by 20 points by then-freshman Rep. Chris Murphy in CT-05 last year… which I’d think might be a bit of a red flag if you were a savvy businessperson looking to hire someone based on campaign skills.

NH-Sen: The fault lines are remarkably clear in the Republican primary in New Hampshire. GOP establishment candidate Kelly Ayotte was busy hitting a $1,000 per individual Washington DC fundraiser sponsored by telecommunications lobbyists yesterday, at around the same time conservative primary challenger Ovide Lamontagne was getting the endorsement of radio talk show host and Coulter-wannabe Laura Ingraham.

CA-Gov (pdf): The Public Policy Institute of California has a full poll of the California gubernatorial race (they’ve previously polled on approval ratings, but not the horserace). They see a race between Jerry Brown and Meg Whitman that’s a little tighter (43-37 for Brown) than most pollsters have seen (although, of course, better than Rasmussen’s 41-41 tie). Brown makes short work of his other Republican opposition, Tom Campbell (46-34) and Steve Poizner (47-31). Whitman also has an edge in the GOP primary, at 32 with 12 for Campbell (who’s mulled moving over to the Senate race) and 8 for Poizner.

GA-Gov: Rasmussen has numbers for the Republican gubernatorial primary (sorry, no numbers for the general, which I don’t think has ever been polled). This race looks pretty stable: they find Insurance Comm. John Oxendine with a sizable lead, as usual. He’s at 28, doubling up on SoS Karen Handel at 14. Rep. Nathan Deal is at 13, followed by Jeff Chapman, Eric Johnson, Ray McBerry, and Austin Scott, all at 2. I wonder if this might tarnish Oxendine a little, though: it was just revealed that he took a trip to the 2007 Oscars on the tab of a major campaign contributor who was also asking, at the time, for Oxendine’s intervention in an insurance dispute against Blue Cross/Blue Shield.

MI-Gov: Democratic Lt. Gov. John Cherry has been lagging his Republican opponents in the polls lately, and a new poll from EPIC-MRA shows why: no one knows who the heck he is, and those who do don’t like him. Cherry is unknown to 39%, which is greater than any of his main Republican opponents. AG Mike Cox, for instance, has an unknown of 16%. (The release doesn’t mention any head-to-head numbers, at least not yet.)

NE-Gov: The Democrats may actually get a good-sounding recruit in the Nebraska gubernatorial race? That probably doesn’t change Republican incumbent Dave Heineman’s “Safe R” status, but it’s still good news. Mike Boyle (who says he’s “considering” the race) was mayor of Omaha from 1981 until a recall in 1987; he’s currently in his third term as a Douglas County Commissioner. Boyle also ran for governor in 1990, losing the Democratic primary to now-Sen. Ben Nelson.

OR-Gov: Former NBA player Chris Dudley officially embarked on his question to become the nation’s tallest governor, announcing his candidacy in a speech that didn’t give potential supporters much to judge where on the Republican spectrum he falls, other than the usual boilerplate on jobs and taxes. (He did mention in an interview, on the abortion issue, that he was “comfortable with [abortion laws] where they are now.”) At least he won’t have to deal with state House minority leader Bruce Hanna in the primary, who yesterday turned down conservative entreaties to get into the race.

SD-Gov: PPP threw in some gubernatorial questions in its SD-AL poll, and it looks like Republicans have a generic edge here that should keep the state house in their hands, despite nobody knowing much of anything about any of the candidates. The good news for Dems is that their candidate, state Senate minority leader Scott Heidepreim, is better known than any of the GOPers (although 57% have no opinion of him). The bad news is that Heidepreim still loses to all four GOPers, even Some Dude Ken Knuppe (although only 32-30). He also loses to Lt. Gov. Dennis Daugaard 42-29, Senate majority leader Dave Knudson 39-29, and Brookings mayor Scott Munsterman 35-30.

KS-03: Dems look to be getting closer to having a solid candidate for the open seat race in the 3rd. Kansas City, Kansas mayor Joe Reardon says he’s giving it “serious consideration,” and his mayoral predecessor, Carol Marinovich also said she’s not ruling out a run. Hopefully only one will run, at least giving the Dems smooth sailing into what’s likely to be a difficult general election.

PA-11: The NRCC has to be pleased with Hazleton mayor Lou Barletta’s recently-announced third whack at vulnerable Rep. Paul Kanjorski in the 11th, and they just added him to their “Young Guns” program. He still starts on their lowest tier for now, though (“On the Radar”).

PA-12: Septuagenarian Rep. John Murtha, who was briefly hospitalized this week for gall bladder trouble, is saying via his spokesperson that he has no intent to retire and will run again in 2010. This comes despite leaks of a memo written in October to the DCCC asking for legal advice on how to deal with his reelection funds if he decides to retire. (The request apparently originated with a constituent’s question.)

Blue Dogs: The Blue Dogs added three new members yesterday: Scott Murphy (who I thought had been a member all along), Betsy Markey (not a surprise, given her tough district, although she’s taken some courageous votes like cap-and-trade), and Kurt Schrader. The decision by Schrader — who’s near the middle of the Dem caucus, in a slightly Dem-leaning district, and usually a good vote although a bit of a budget hawk — may raise a few eyebrows, but Blue Oregon’s Kari Chisholm offers a good defense of him.

Texas: Lots to talk about as Democrats try to assemble a full slate of candidates to go with top gubernatorial recruit Bill White. Most notably, they have a former AFL-CIO executive VP interested in running for the all-important (in Texas, at least) Lt. Gov. spot: Linda Chavez-Thompson. They have another candidate interested in running for Comptroller (which ex-Rep. Nick Lampson has also scoped out): former Republican comptroller and then independent gubernatorial candidate Carole Strayhorn, who says she wants to run as a Dem this time. Finally, people are wondering whether Kinky Friedman even qualifies to run for Agriculture Commissioner. State statute requires actual agricultural experience, and Friedman is claiming that a ranch he owns with relatives has enough cattle on it for him to qualify.

Pennsylvania: The Hill points to an interesting academic research paper that examined what’s going on with people who’ve participated in the widespread Republican-to-Democrat party switch that’s remade politics in suburban Pennsylvania in recent years. As one might expect, these are affluent people for the most part (with one-third making more than $80K). Unexpectedly, though, only 53% say they were driven out by “extremism” in the GOP’s positions, and they span the ideological spectrum (although with a plurality calling themselves “moderates”). Many, in fact, (over 40%) were at one point Democrats who had switched to the GOP and were now switching back.

Votes: Yesterday’s House vote to lift the debt ceiling was another closely orchestrated one, passing 218-214. As might be expected, most of the most vulnerable members voted no… and also a few center-left types running for Senate who don’t want to get tarred with the ‘debt’ brush (Kendrick Meek, Paul Hodes). They were generously given some cover by three of the retiring Blue Dogs — Dennis Moore, John Tanner, and Bart Gordon — who all voted ‘yes,’ since their seats in the lifeboat weren’t needed (same with some of the other Blue Dogs facing lesser challenges this year, like Jim Marshall and John Barrow).

The House Healthcare Vote

The House passed the healthcare bill late last night, 220-215. Only one Republican, Joseph Cao (LA-02), voted in favor. Here are the Dems who voted no:

District Incumbent District Incumbent District Incumbent
AL-02 Bobby Bright MN-07 Collin Peterson OH-16 John Boccieri
AL-05 Parker Griffith MO-04 Ike Skelton OK-02 Dan Boren
AL-07 Artur Davis MS-01 Travis Childers PA-04 Jason Altmire
AR-04 Mike Ross MS-04 Gene Taylor PA-17 Tim Holden
CO-04 Betsy Markey NC-07 Mike McIntyre SD-AL Stephanie Herseth Sandlin
FL-02 Allen Boyd NC-08 Larry Kissell TN-04 Lincoln Davis
FL-24 Suzanne Kosmas NC-11 Heath Shuler TN-06 Barton Gordon
GA-08 Jim Marshall NJ-03 John Adler TN-08 John Tanner
GA-12 John Barrow NM-02 Harry Teague TX-17 Chet Edwards
ID-01 Walter Minnick NY-13 Mike McMahon UT-02 Jim Matheson
KY-06 Ben Chandler NY-20 Scott Murphy VA-02 Glenn Nye
LA-03 Charlie Melancon NY-29 Eric Massa VA-09 Rick Boucher
MD-01 Frank Kratovil OH-10 Dennis Kucinich WA-03 Brian Baird

There was also a vote on an anti-abortion amendment, which passed 240-194. Sixty-four Democrats joined all Republicans in voting for this amendment. (John Shadegg voted “present.”)

P.S. I don’t like having to do this, but I’m going to remind everyone in advance to keep it civil on this thread. This is the place to discuss the electoral reasons why members of Congress voted the way they did, and the electoral impacts of those votes. Before you hit “post,” think about whether your comment falls under this description. If not, it’s probably off-topic.

UPDATE: In comments, DCal has a good summary of which Dems in R+3 or redder districts voted yes, and which Dems in R+2 or bluer districts voted no. Also, the NYT has a great interactive chart detailing the Dems who voted no.

SSP Daily Digest: 9/16

DE-Sen: Delaware AG Beau Biden will be returning from his service in Iraq later this month, meaning it’s time for him to decide whether or not he runs for his dad’s former Senate seat. One journo (National Journal’s Erin McPike) already tweets that he’s “definitely in,” which could serve to scare off the already seemingly gun-shy Rep. Mike Castle.

MA-Sen: There are reports that there are enough votes in both chambers of the state legislature to give Gov. Deval Patrick the power to appoint a short-term replacement Senator. Republicans can use procedural tactics to stall it for a week, but would be out of options after that, meaning a new Senator could be in place by late next week.

MO-Sen, MO-07: Former state Treasurer and gubernatorial candidate Sarah Steelman’s 2010 cycle is ending with a whimper, not a bang: after starting out looking like a strong primary challenger to Rep. Roy Blunt in the Senate race, she gradually faded from view, then re-emerged to explore a race for Blunt’s old seat in the 7th. Now she’s confirming that she won’t run for anything, at least not in 2010.

NJ-Sen (pdf): PPP has some extra info from their sample from their gubernatorial poll. As usual, New Jerseyites don’t like anyone: not Barack Obama (45/48 approval), Robert Menendez (27/40), or Frank Lautenberg (38/44). As a bonus, they also find that even in well-educated, affluent New Jersey, there’s still a lot of birtherism (64-21, with 16% unsure) and even a new category: people who think Barack Obama is the anti-Christ. 8% are… let’s just call them anti-Christers… with another 13% not sure.

MD-Gov: Maryland Republicans have found, well, somebody to run for Governor: businessman Lawrence Hogan, Jr. Hogan says he’ll run but he’ll get out of the race in case his friend ex-Gov. Bob Ehrlich shows up, although that’s not looking likely. Hogan ran unsuccessfully against Steny Hoyer in 1992. A better-known figure, State Delegate and radio talk show host Patrick McDonough, also expressed his interest in the race in August, although he too would stand down for Ehrlich.

MN-Gov: As expected, state House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher officially announced that she’s running for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination. She joins (taking in a really deep breath here first): Ramsey Co. Attorney Susan Gaertner, former U.S. Senator Mark Dayton, state Senators John Marty and Tom Bakk, state Reps. Tom Rukavina and Paul Thissen, and former legislators Matt Entenza and Steve Kelley, with Minneapolis mayor R.T. Rybak and St. Paul mayor Chris Coleman also expected to enter the field soon. Also looming on the horizon, according to the article: a possible run by Independence Party candidate Dean Barkley, who broke into double-digits in last year’s Senate race.

NY-Gov (pdf): Yet another poll of the New York Governor’s race, this time from Marist. As always, Paterson is in disastrous condition, with an approval rating of 20/76. Paterson loses the Dem primary to Andrew Cuomo 70-23, and, if Cuomo happens to die in a bizarre gardening accident before the primary, Paterson loses to Rudy Giuliani 60-34 (although he still manages to tie Rick Lazio, 43-43). Cuomo defeats Giuliani 53-43 and Lazio 71-21.

PA-Gov: This might pique Joe Hoeffel’s interest. The ex-Rep. and MontCo Commissioner has been considering the gubernatorial race (where there isn’t much of a progressive option in the Dem primary), and now he won a straw poll of 1,000 progressive activists done by Keystone Progress, picking up 35%. Auditor Jack Wagner was at 22, with Allegheny County Exec Dan Onorato at 14, Scranton mayor Chris Doherty at 11, and businessman Tom Knox at 7. Of course, the caveats about generalizing this sample to the larger population are obvious here; the actual Democratic electorate contains a lot of pro-life Catholic voters and ex-GOP suburban moderates.

SC-Gov: Here’s some very good news out of the Palmetto State: Superintendent of Education Jim Rex is officially in the Governor’s race. Rex had previously expressed his interest and his candidacy started looking likely when he said last week that he wouldn’t run again for his current job. Rex is the only Dem holding statewide office in South Carolina, so despite the state’s dark-red hue may be able to get some traction here thanks to the GOP’s descent into chaos over the Mark Sanford affair (and their reluctance to get behind his Lt. Gov, Andre Bauer). Rex’s new website is here.

VA-Gov: Creigh Deeds has to be pleased with the new poll from Clarus, an independent pollster whose first poll of the race finds a 42-37 lead for Bob McDonnell, a narrower gap than most pollsters are seeing. They also find 48/43 approvals for Obama, 47/23 for Jim Webb, and 61/21 for Mark Warner. Meanwhile, new fundraising numbers for the race are available. Deeds raised more than McDonnell for the July/August period, $3.5 million to McDonnell’s $3 million. McDonnell still has more cash on hand, $5.8 million to Deeds’ $4.3 million. Also an advantage for McDonnell: the RNC is pledging to spend up to $7 million on behalf of McDonnell (although that figure includes $2.4 million they’ve already spent).

KY-06: Republicans seem to have a candidate ready to go up against Rep. Ben Chandler in the 6th, who hasn’t faced much in the way of opposition in this GOP-leaning district. Lexington attorney (and former Jim Talent aide)Andy Barr has formed an exploratory committee.

NJ-07: Woodbridge mayor (and former state Treasurer) John McCormac has turned down the DCCC’s overtures to run against freshman GOP Rep. Leonard Lance in the 7th. (Woodbridge mayor may not sound like much, but it’s one of the largest municipalities in New Jersey and was Jim McGreevey’s launching pad to Governor.)

NM-02: The race in the 2nd may turn into a clash of self-funding rich oilmen, as GOP ex-Rep. Steve Pearce says he may dip into his own cash to augment his bid to reclaim his seat from Democratic Rep. Harry Teague (who Roll Call says is the 10th richest member of Congress, and put more than a million of his own money into his 2008 bid).

OR-04: Here’s one campaign that’s already in crash & burn mode: Springfield mayor Sid Leiken’s bid against Rep. Peter DeFazio. Remember Leiken’s tearful apology over the undocumented $2,000 that went to his mother’s real estate company, ostensibly to paying for polling? Now the state elections board is opening an investigation to see if any poll ever actually got taken, after widespread skepticism by polling experts about the poll’s conclusions (most notably that they got 200 respondents out of 268 calls).

PA-06: The arrival of physician Manan Trivedi to the Dem field in the 6th, where Doug Pike seemed to have everything nailed down, has scrambled things a bit. Trivedi has already announced the endorsement of 2008 candidate Bob Roggio, and a more prominent insider, Berks County Recorder of Deeds Frederick Sheeler, switched to neutral from a Pike endorsement.

VA-05: It looks like the Republicans have landed their first “real” candidate to go against Rep. Tom Perriello in the 5th: Albemarle County Commissioner Kenneth Boyd. Boyd is the only Republican on the board that runs the county that surrounds Charlottesville, home of UVA and the district’s liberal anchor; this may help Boyd eat a little into Perriello’s Charlottesville base, but he’s unknown in the rest of the district and may not make it out of the primary against state Sen. Rob Hurt, if Hurt gets off the fence and runs.

Mayors: Amidst all the hullabaloo in New York City last night, there was also a big mayoral contest in Buffalo. Incumbent Dem Byron Brown has essentially been re-elected, beating Michael Kearns 63-37 in the Democratic primary. There is no Republican challenger on the November ballot and Brown controls the minor party lines.

Votes: There seems to be absolutely no pattern behind who did and didn’t vote to reprimand Joe Wilson in the House. Although (sadly) the vote was mostly along party lines, 12 Dems and 7 GOPers broke ranks. Among Dems, the “no” votes were a mix of Blue Dogs and some of the most outspoken liberals: Arcuri, Delahunt, Giffords, Hinchey, Hodes, Kucinich, Maffei, Massa, McDermott, Gwen Moore, Gene Taylor, and Teague. Among the GOP, it was a few moderates and some of the more mavericky hard-liners: Cao, Emerson, Flake, Walter Jones, Petri, Rohrabacher, and maybe most notably, Bob Inglis, already facing the wrath of the teabagging wing of the party. Five Dems also voted “present,” the best you can do when you can’t vote “meh:” Engel, Foster, Frank, Shea-Porter, and Skelton.

The Vote on the Clean Energy Bill

Tonight’s vote on the American Clean Energy and Security Act was the closest so far on a final bill in the House this year. The legislation passed by just seven votes (219-212), with eight Republican “yeas” providing the margin. Forty-four Democrats voted no. The Republicans in favor were you usual handful of threatened “moderates,” with Chris Smith of New Jersey being the closest thing to an outlier:

District Representative PVI
NJ-04 Smith, Chris R+6
CA-45 Bono Mack R+3
NJ-07 Lance R+3
NY-23 McHugh R+1
WA-08 Reichert D+3
NJ-02 LoBiondo D+1
IL-10 Kirk D+6
DE-AL Castle D+7

Meanwhile, the Democrats opposed were almost entirely from conservative districts, with a few liberal purity votes and a classic Artur Davis defection thrown in:

District Representative PVI District Representative PVI
CA-13 Stark D+22 PA-17 Holden R+6
AL-07 Davis, Artur D+18 AZ-01 Kirkpatrick R+6
OH-10 Kucinich D+8 WV-03 Rahall R+6
IN-01 Visclosky D+8 TN-08 Tanner R+6
CA-20 Costa D+5 AR-04 Ross R+7
IL-12 Costello D+3 AR-01 Berry R+8
OR-04 DeFazio D+2 PA-10 Carney R+8
GA-12 Barrow D+1 IN-08 Ellsworth R+8
IL14 Foster R+1 SD-AL Herseth Sandlin R+9
NY-24 Arcuri R+2 WV-01 Mollohan R+9
IN-02 Donnelly R+2 GA-08 Marshall R+10
NC-08 Kissell R+2 ND-AL Pomeroy R+10
TX-27 Ortiz R+2 AL-05 Griffith R+12
OH-06 Wilson, Charlie R+2 LA-03 Melancon R+12
PA-03 Dahlkemper R+3 OK-02 Boren R+14
TX-23 Rodriguez R+4 MS-01 Childers R+14
NY-29 Massa R+5 TN-04 Davis, Lincoln R+14
NC-07 McIntyre R+5 UT-02 Matheson R+15
AZ-05 Mitchell R+5 AL-02 Bright R+16
VA-02 Nye R+5 ID-01 Minnick R+18
CO-03 Salazar R+5 TX-17 Edwards, Chet R+20
PA-04 Altmire R+6 MS-04 Taylor R+20

Among Dems in D+ seats that we don’t typically see on lists like this, Pete Stark called the bill “watered-down,” Visclosky said it would cost jobs in the Northern Indiana steel industry, Jim Costa’s objection is inscrutable, and Jerry Costello has nothing on his website, though a tradmed story paraphrased him as believing the legislation would “result in higher electric bills.”