A very special morning edition of the Daily Digest!
• IA-Sen: The Des Moines Register’s Marc Hansen teases that “a well-known mystery candidate” with “name recognition and money” is “about 75 percent ready to join the race” against deather douchebag GOPer Chuck Grassley. The Politico’s Charles Mahtesian speculates that the mystery candidate could be none other than Dem Rep. Bruce Braley. Color me skeptical.
• IL-10: NRCC recruitment wiz kid Kevin McCarthy parachuted himself into the Chicagoland area on Saturday in order to survey the recruitment progress in race to defend GOP Rep. Mark Kirk’s open seat. He met with a small batch of prospects, including stock market analyst Dick Green, attorney Bill Cadigan (a former staffer for ex-Rep. Jon Porter, who held the 10th District for two decades prior to Kirk), and businessman Bob Dold. Interestingly, that list didn’t include any of the district’s deep bench of Republican state legislators. I’m not sure if we should read that as a tea leaf that state Rep. Beth Coulson may not be serious about running, but it appears that the GOP is preparing for the prospect of defending this seat with a political newcomer.
• IN-03: Talk about taking one for the team. Former Fort Wayne city councilman Tom Hayhurst, an M.D. who gave GOP Rep. Mark Souder the closest shave of his political life in 2006, has filed papers for a rematch in 2010. Hayhurst lost to Souder by a 54-46 margin that year — a pretty impressive showing given the district’s horrid R+14 bent. But after Souder pasted well-funded attorney Mike Montagano in 2008 by 15 points, it’s hard to see how the good doctor has a shot in hell here. Godspeed, sir.
• FL-08: Here’s some good news for frosh Dem Rep. Alan Grayson. Larry Cretul, the Republican Speaker of the Florida House, has decided against challenging the former beardo next year. The GOP still has a number of options here, including state Rep. Stephen Precourt and Orlando Mayor Rich Crotty.
Precourt, for his part, told the St. Petersburg Times that he may be interested in a bid, but sounds supportive of state Sen. Dan Webster, should he choose to run. More from Precourt:
“I am a big fan of Senator Dan Webster, but am keeping my powder dry for now. It seems best to stand back and let Congressman Grayson self destruct for the time being, as he is doing quite a good job of it.”
Precourt may have been referring to Grayson’s legislative priorities, but he could have just as easily been alluding to the congressman’s, uh, relaxed style of speech. During a Netroots Nation panel in Pittsburgh on Friday, Grayson decided to yuk it up by saying his 2008 opponent, GOP Rep. Ric Keller, “did all his hiring at Hooters”. He went on to relate an anecdote about how one of his “more resourceful” supporters posed as a volunteer at his opponent’s campaign headquarters for several days, and reported back that “they spent all their time flying paper clips at each other and watching porn on their computers.”
• MN-Gov: It’s no surprise, but Minnesota House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher, a Democrat, formally threw her hat into the extremely crowded gubernatorial race on Thursday.
• MO-04: It looks like longtime Dem Rep. Ike Skelton, who’s been manning the fort for us in this R+14 district since Baby Jesus was riding dinosaurs to school, is going to have an honest-to-God race on his hands in 2010. GOP state Sen. Bill Stouffer, whose district overlaps some of the 4th’s northern counties, filed his statement of candidacy with the FEC last week. Stouffer will face a primary from fundie-flavored ex-state Rep. Vicky Hartzler.
• NC-Sen: With NC SoS Elaine Marshall officially still on the fence, the DSCC isn’t sitting idly by to wait for her decision. Former Lt. Gov. Dennis Wicker, who lost the 2000 Democratic gubernatorial primary to Mike Easley, says that he’s had conversations with the DSCC and ex-Gov. Jim Hunt about challenging GOP Sen. Richard Burr, and will consider his options. I’d say that Democrats had better lock up either Marshall or Wicker before they realize how ugly 2010 is going to be for Team Blue.
• NV-Sen: Wanna run against Harry Reid (and win)? It really doesn’t appear to be that daunting of a task if you believe the spurt of Republican polls in the past few days. Hot on the heels of a poll showing NV GOP Chair Susan Lowden smacking Reid by an six-point margin, two-time political loser Danny Tarkanian is out with a poll from Chariot, LLC (never heard of ’em) showing him beating Reid by a 50-42 spread.
But before we leave it at that, I just want to briefly touch on this howler from Reno Gazette-Journal reporter Anjeanette Damon:
It was an automated poll, meaning a recorded voice asked respondents to express their preference by pushing a number on their phone. These polls, while inexpensive to run, are not regarded as the most accurate method of obtaining survey results.
Maybe this poll is bunk, but I’m getting pretty tired of journalists who can’t bother to, at the bare minimum, take five minutes to review Nate’s pollster ratings. Or as Tom Jensen recently lamented:
I think there should be a required J School course for all aspiring political journalists on how to truly understand polling, the different methodologies, and the different organizations. I’d put pretty high up on the list that they should learn to look up and analyze the track records of various organizations instead of judging them on hearsay and other subjective criteria.
• NY-Gov: The Q&Q Polling Factory is out with the n-thousandth poll showing Democratic Gov. David Paterson in comically bad shape. Pitted in a primary against AG Andrew Cuomo, Paterson now loses by a 61-15 margin, down from a 57-20 loss in June. In a general election against Rudy Giuliani, Paterson loses 53-33, while Cuomo leads by 48-39. The numbers scream for themselves.
• PA-05: SSP extends our condolences to the family and friends of Bill Cahir, who was killed while on duty in Afghanistan late last week. Cahir, as you may remember, ran a very respectable campaign for the Democratic nomination in Pennsylvania’s 5th District last year, losing a three-way race to Mark McCracken.
• TX-Gov: In a bit of a let-down for Texas activists, Austin-area state Sen. Kirk Watson, seen as a rising star in the TX Democratic Party, announced on Friday that he’ll be seeking re-election to the state senate rather than entering the gubernatorial primary, which is already populated by the likes of Tom Schieffer and Kinky Friedman.