Jack Conway (D): 31
Rand Paul (R): 41
Braun Research is out with another poll in Kentucky, showing a result consistent with other pollsters of a slight lead for mountain-hater Rand Paul.
Jack Conway (D): 31
Rand Paul (R): 41
Braun Research is out with another poll in Kentucky, showing a result consistent with other pollsters of a slight lead for mountain-hater Rand Paul.
The party conventions were held in Colorado and Connecticut over the weekend. In Colorado, on the Senate side, things played out pretty much as expected. For the Dems, Andrew Romanoff won the convention over appointed incumbent Michael Bennet. The 60-40 margin, though, wasn’t a dominant performance; it saw him gain only a small amount of ground among party insiders since the precinct-level caucuses, and it enables Bennet to qualify for the ballot without having to collect signatures.
For the GOP, Weld Co. DA and Tea Party fave Ken Buck won 77% (with 15% for some dude Clive Tidwell), certainly a dominant performance, but that’s largely because ex-LG Jane Norton and ex-state Sen. Tom Wiens, lacking the necessary activist backing, put no effort into contesting the convention. Perhaps the most consequential thing that happened wasn’t until today, when Wiens, who’d been expected to forge ahead with collecting signatures to get on the ballot, pulled a sudden about-face today and dropped out of the race. In another blow to the Norton campaign, Wiens threw his backing to Buck.
The real surprise in Colorado came on the gubernatorial side, where teabagging businessman Dan Maes wound up claiming the top spot over ex-Rep. Scott McInnis, the expected frontrunner. Maes won 49.3-48.9, so McInnis is on the ballot, but this to shake up his projected air of inevitability. On the Dem side, Denver mayor John Hickenlooper had no real opposition en route to the nomination. Further down the ballot, the GOP settled things in CO-03 and CO-04. State Rep. Cory Gardner is the nominee in the 4th, as he pulled in 61%; neither opponent, Dean Madere or Tom Lucero, broke 30% and do not plan to petition onto the ballot. In the 3rd, both state Rep. Scott Tipton and attorney Bob McConnell will be on the primary ballot; they tied at 45%.
In the Nutmeg State, the Democratic Senate nomination turned out to be drama-free despite Richard Blumenthal’s self-inflicted wounds this week. Opponent Merrick Alpert dropped out midway through the process and endorsed Blumenthal, who was then nominated by acclaim. Nevertheless, Blumenthal went further than his press conference in offering a mea culpa over the weekend, following some prodding from fellow Dems, actually saying “I am sorry” in an e-mailed statement. Blumenthal also sent around his own internal poll from GQR, which was taken on the 19th and 20th, shortly after the “in Vietnam” story broke and before the air started to leak out of the NYT piece. It had him beating Linda McMahon 55-40, quite a difference from the Rasmussen poll from the same time period.
In the GOP Senate derby, ex-Rep. Rob Simmons was given the edge by most observers, thanks to his long local political career. Well, the convention participants were wowed by Linda McMahon’s money instead, as well as her ability to pull the wool over the New York Times’ eyes; they went for McMahon 52-45 (with the balance to Peter Schiff). Despite earlier allusions to dropping out if he didn’t win the convention, Simmons now promises to fight on to the primary, which is generating rumbles of concern from party insiders.
The Governor’s race had feisty battles on both sides, won by ex-Stamford mayor Dan Malloy over Ned Lamont on the Dem side, and ex-Ambassador Tom Foley over Lt. Gov. Michael Fedele for the GOP. Despite losing nearly 2-to-1 at the convo, Lamont leads in polls of actual voters and, with a lot of wealth at his disposal, plans to fight on in the primary. On the GOP side, Foley won with about 50% but Fedele and businessman Oz Griebel both cleared the 15% hurdle for the primary; it was the end of the line, though, for long-ago ex-Rep. Larry DeNardis.
Finally, a few GOP House fields in Connecticut got a little more clarity. In the 5th, both state Sen. Sam Caliguri and ex-state military affairs director Justin Bernier made the primary ballot, although Caliguri’s 67% puts him in the driver’s seat. In the 4th, state Sen. Dan Debicella nearly monopolized the vote; Thom Hermann, Rick Torres, and Rob Merkle all plan to seek signatures to qualify. And in the 2nd, former TV news anchor Janet Peckinpaugh, as well as Doug Dubitsky and Daria Novak, all cleared the 15% mark to get on the ballot.
• CO-Sen: Colorado’s state party conventions are this weekend. Most of the drama is on the Democratic side in the Senate race — actually, even there, it’s not that dramatic, as underdog Andrew Romanoff is expected to prevail at the convention because of his connections to party insiders and his former fellow legislators (and also based on his performance at precinct-level caucuses). Michael Bennet is still expected to meet the 30% threshold that gets him on the ballot without signatures, though, and victory here for Romanoff may be pyrrhic anyway, as the Dem convention winners have fared poorly in the actual primary (ex-Sen. Ken Salazar, for instance, lost the 2004 convention to Mike Miles). The GOP convention should be less interesting because, realizing they have little hope among the revved-up base, establishment-flavored Jane Norton and Tom Wiens aren’t bothering, simply opting to qualify for the primary by petition, so Weld Co. DA and Tea Party fave Ken Buck is expected to romp.
• CT-Sen, CT-Gov: Likewise, the state conventions are scheduled for this weekend in Connecticut as well. Although there’s a competitive battle in the Dem convention on the gubernatorial side between Ned Lamont and Dan Malloy, it seems like all eyes will be on Richard Blumenthal instead, to see if there’s any sort of challenge to him that pops up (other than the minor candidacy of Merrick Alpert). If someone is going to get drafted as a last-minute Blumenthal replacement, it doesn’t look like it’s going to be the newly-freed-up Susan Bysiewicz, who, seemingly caught off-guard by this week’s Supreme Court ruling about her AG eligibility, is now saying she won’t run for anything in 2010. There’s also the Senate face-off in the GOP convention, where ex-Rep. Rob Simmons’ connections and institutional support will be measured up against Linda McMahon’s gigantic wealth; McMahon, for her part, is back to touting her camp’s leak of the Blumenthal story to the NYT after hiding it yesterday.
• FL-Sen: Charlie Crist couldn’t square his support for Elena Kagan today with his opposition to Sonia Sotomayor, telling the Miami Herald that he really couldn’t recall why he opposed Sotomayor. (Um, maybe because he was a Republican back then?) On the plus side, Crist is coming out in favor of the Fair Districts initiatives on the ballot this November, which would smooth out the most pernicious tendencies toward gerrymandering and thus is strongly opposed by the state’s large Republican legislative majorities.
• IL-Sen: Hmmm, I wonder where this ranks on the hierarchy of misstating your military credentials? Rep. Mark Kirk told a gathering last May that “I command the war room in the Pentagon.” Kirk does have a high-profile role in the National Military Command Center, but the war room is run by one-star general, and that’s something that Kirk most definitely is not. Let’s see what the NYT does with this one.
• KY-Sen: After a bad news day yesterday, Rand Paul is continuing to run his mouth, whining about how he was supposed to get a media honeymoon after Tuesday’s Randslide, and also going the full Bachmann against Barack Obama, saying it “sounds Unamerican” for him to be criticizing BP over its massive oil spill because “accidents sometimes happen.” (So that “B” in BP stands for American Petroleum now?) Paul is scheduled for this weekend’s Meet the Press, for what his handlers hope is damage control but may turn into extended hole-digging.
Paul also expounded yesterday on the Americans with Disabilities Act, and he should be lucky the media were too fixated yesterday on his Civil Rights Act statements to provide any fact-checking about his bizarre ignorance of the ADA. Paul’s example of the ADA’s suckage is that it would be reasonable, if an employee used a wheelchair at a two-story business, to just give that person a first-floor office instead of forcing the employer to install an elevator at terrible cost. That’s true; it would be “reasonable” — which is exactly why the ADA asks employers to provide “reasonable accommodation” to disabled employees, a prime example of which might be letting someone work on a lower floor. Removal of architectural barriers is not required if it isn’t “readily achievable” (in other words, easily accomplished, without much difficulty or expense) — which means, grab bars in the bathroom stall or a curb cut, yes, an elevator in an old two-story building, no. Paul’s attack on the ADA seems entirely based on having failed to, as the teabaggers have often urged us to do, “read the bill.”
• NC-Sen: There’s a late-in-the-game shakeup at the Cal Cunningham camp, as his campaign manager and communications director are out the door. Cunningham’s spokesperson says it’s a necessary retooling for the different nature of the runoff, with less focus on the air war and more on grassroots and shoe-leather.
• PA-Sen: Sigh. The DSCC, which isn’t exactly rolling in money these days, spent $540K in coordinated expenditures trying to prop up one-year Democrat Arlen Specter in his 54-46 loss to Joe Sestak in the primary.
• MN-Gov: Margaret Anderson Kelliher reached across the aisle, or at least in the pool of bipartisan budget wonkery, for a running mate, picking John Gunyou. Gunyou was the finance commissioner for Republican Gov. Arne Carlson; he also worked as finance director for Minneapolis mayor Don Fraser and is currently city manager of the suburb of Minnetonka.
• CO-07: The GOP already had its district-level convention in the 7th, as a prelude to the statewide convo. The two main rivals, Lang Sias and Ryan Frazier, both cleared the 30% mark to get on the ballot; the minor candidates didn’t clear the mark and won’t try to get on by petition. Frazier got 49%, while Sias got 43%. Sias’s nomination was seconded by ex-Rep. Tom Tancredo, as well as the 7th’s former Rep. Bob Beauprez.
• CT-04: Thom Hermann, the First Selectman of Easton and a guy with a lot of wealth at his disposal, is making his presence known in the GOP primary field in the 4th, heading into the weekend’s convention. He’s out with an internal poll, via Wilson Research, giving him a large lead over presumed frontrunner state Sen. Dan Debicella among those primary voters who’ve decided. It’s reported in a strange, slightly deceptive way, though: he has a 44-25 lead over Debicella among those who’ve decided, but only 36% have decided! (So by my calculations, it’s more like a 16-9 lead in reality?)
• FL-02: Dem Rep. Allen Boyd seems to be taking nothing for granted this year. He’s already up with his second TV ad against his underfunded primary opponent, state Sen. Al Lawson, this time hitting Lawson for votes to cut back funding for healthcare and construction jobs. (J)
• HI-01: We’re up to 48% of all ballots having been returned in the 1st, with tomorrow being the deadline in the all-mail-in special election to replace Neil Abercrombie (152K out of 317K).
• ID-02: I have no idea what this is about, but I thought I’d put it out there, as it’s one of the weirdest IEs we’ve seen in a while. Not only did someone plunk down $8K for polling in the 2nd, one of the most reliably Republican top-to-bottom districts anywhere where Rep. Mike Simpson only ever faces token opposition, but the money’s from the American Dental Association. Making sure Idahoans are brushing properly?
• IN-03: State Sen. Marlin Stutzman made it official today: he’s running in the special election for the seat just vacated by Rep. Mark Souder. Having performed well in the Senate primary (and having had a path cleared for him by Mike Pence’s lowering of the boom on Souder), he looks like the one to beat here.
• PA-07: Former local TV news anchor Dawn Stensland has decided to forego a vaguely-threatened independent run in the 7th. That leaves it a one-on-one battle between Dem Bryan Lentz and GOPer Pat Meehan.
• PA-12: The GOP seems to have settled on its preferred explanation for trying to spin away its underwhelming performance in the special election in the 12th, via their polling guru Gene Ulm. It’s all Ed Rendell’s fault, for scheduling it on the same day as the Senate primary, causing all those Joe Sestak supporters (of which there were many in that corner in Pennsylvania) to come out of the woodwork and vote in the 12th while they were at it.
• Unions: Now that’s a lot of lettuce. Two major unions are promising to spend almost $100 million together to preserve Democratic majorities this fall. The AFSCME is promising $50 million and the SEIU is planning $44 million.
• Enthusiasm Gap: This is something I’ve often suspected, but never felt like bringing up because the numbers weren’t there to prove the point (and also perhaps because saying so would put me at odds with the general netroots orthodoxy): the Democratic “enthusiasm gap” isn’t so much borne out of dissatisfaction with the insufficient aggressiveness of the Obama administration or the slow pace of getting watered-down legislation out of Congress as much as it’s borne out of complacency. In other words, there’s the sense by casual/irregular/low-information Dem voters that they did their job in 2008, got the country back on track, things are slowly improving, and because they aren’t angry anymore they don’t need to keep following up. PPP backs this up: among those “somewhat excited ” or “not very excited” about voting in November, Obama’s approval is a higher-than-average 58/35, and their supports for the health care bill is also a higher-than-average 50/38.
Public Policy Polling (3/5-8, likely primary voters):
Michael Bennet (D-inc): 40
Andrew Romanoff (D): 34
Jane Norton (R): 34
Ken Buck (R): 17
Tom Wiens (R): 7
For the Democratic field, that’s a surprisingly close result. At this point, though, neither Bennet nor Romanoff are drawing the bulk of their support from clearly identifiable blocs. Jensen:
In the Democratic Senate contest Michael Bennet leads Andrew Romanoff 40-34. Support in this race may end up having to do more with personalities than ideology, as there’s no real divide in support along liberal/moderate lines for now. Bennet’s up 42-33 with liberals and 40-36 with moderates. Both candidates are pretty well liked by the party electorate. Bennet’s approval is a 57/21 spread with primary voters and Romanoff’s favorability comes down at 45/15. The one place where there is a clear division is along racial lines. Bennet’s up 42-34 with whites while Romanoff has the 42-31 advantage with Hispanics.
That’s all well and good, but Romanoff will be hard-pressed not to be swamped out by Bennet’s huge fundraising edge in advance of the primary.
PPP also threw in a question on the Republican gubernatorial primary, and found Scott McInnis sleepwalking to victory with a 58-8 lead over Some Dude Dan Maes.
• AR-Sen: Here’s one way in which Blanche Lincoln can breathe a little easier: she’s not getting a primary challenge from the right (as if there were any room on the right of her within the Democratic electorate). State Sen. President Bob Johnson, who floated the idea in August, said he won’t run against her. However, she’s drawing heat on her left from African-American groups; the state’s NAACP is upset that she hasn’t done more to appoint African-American federal judges. With Lincoln already on environmentalists’ hit list and organized labor unenthused about her, there isn’t much left of the Democratic base she can afford to tick off. A primary from the left from Lt. Gov. Bill Halter is still possible – although if there’s one guy whose support Halter can’t count on, it’s retiring Blue Dog Rep. Marion Berry (saying it was a fluke Halter got elected LG in the first place, and that Halter “is only of consequence in his own mind”).
• CO-Sen: Former state House speaker Andrew Romanoff is counting on labor backing in the Democratic primary, but Michael Bennet got a key boost; he got the endorsement of the SEIU. (That public option letter is already paying dividends.) Meanwhile, Romanoff seems to be staking his hopes on a strong showing in Colorado’s party insider-dominated caucus and convention process that begins next month, in order to catapult him into contention. (It’s non-binding, and candidates can still win the primary without winning at the convention, with Ken Salazar as Exhibit A.) On the GOP side, former LG Jane Norton is getting slammed from the right by former state Sen. Tom Wiens for her support (following the lead of Republican Gov. Bill Owens) of Referendum C, which passed and lifted certain spending limits imposed by a previous TABOR initiative.
• FL-Sen: We’ll have to see if this does anything to tarnish that conservative halo that’s gleaming over Marco Rubio’s head. Revelations came out (via Jim Greer, the Charlie Crist ally who recently got bounced out his place as state GOP chair) that Rubio charged $13,900 in personal expenses to a party-issued credit card over the course of several years. I don’t see this as a game-changer, but it’s the first hard blow the Crist camp has been able to land in a while.
• GA-Sen: Rasmussen finds that the anti-incumbent blues are even weighing down super-safe Georgia Senator Johnny Isakson a bit, as he’s below 50%. Too bad the Democrats don’t have a top-tier candidate to go against him (although it seems like they have a few spares in the gubernatorial race who might consider making the jump). Isakson beats Generic Dem by 49-36.
• NY-Sen-B: Harold Ford Jr.’s big night out at the Stonewall Dems didn’t quite go according to plan. He was repeatedly heckled and shouted down as he attempted to explain his convenient road-to-Damascus conversion on matters such as gay marriage. It also turns out that Ford’s former House colleagues from the New York delegation aren’t much more enthused about his run, either. The majority of the delegation has already endorsed Kirsten Gillibrand, and no one has backed down from that, with Ed Towns, Greg Meeks, Jerry Nadler, Tim Bishop, and Carolyn McCarthy all offering public statements discouraging his run.
• UT-Sen: Wow, yet another Republican is going to get into the primary against Bob Bennett, who has a bullseye on his back because of occasional acts of cooperation instead of lockstep obstructionism. This one is actually a step above the rest of the field… or maybe not. Ex-Rep. Merrill Cook says he’s going to get in the race. An ex-Rep. is nothing to sneeze at (especially when none of the other contestants have gotten elected to anything before), but on the other hand, Cook was kind of an eccentric who frequently ran for office until lucking out in 1996. His hotheadedness got him primaried out in 2000 (and Jim Matheson went on to pick up the seat for the Dems that year).
• NY-Gov: The blowback from yesterday’s NYT article is already hitting David Paterson’s inner circle, suggesting he isn’t going to be able to shrug this off. Paterson’s Criminal Justice Coordinator, Denise O’Donnell, resigned in protest over having been lied to by the state police.
• OR-Gov: Local Republican pollster Moore Insight takes a look at the gubernatorial race — and they find ex-Gov. John Kitzhaber doing a lot better than Rasmussen did. They find Kitzhaber has identical 45-33 leads over the two GOPers they judged the strongest, Allen Alley and Chris Dudley. (Rasmussen actually found long-forgotten ex-state Sen. John Lim fared the best against Kitzhaber of the four GOPers, but apparently Moore didn’t think Lim was worth polling; Rasmussen had Dudley within 6 of Kitzhaber and Alley trailing by 8.) Moore didn’t poll the primaries, or how Democratic ex-SoS Bill Bradbury would fare.
• SC-Gov: Winthrop University polled South Carolina without doing gubernatorial head-to-heads, but that may not matter as they also found that few people know anything about anybody who’s running; only LG Andre Bauer came close to 50% name rec. They did find 43
61% approval for Jim DeMint, 39 45% approval for Lindsey Graham, and a surprisingly high (for SC) 48% approval for Barack Obama.
• AK-AL: Businessman, blogger, and gadfly Andrew Halcro (who ran as an indie in the 2006 gubernatorial race) sounds like he’s backing down from his planned Republican primary challenge to Rep. Don Young. He cited other developments (all positive) in his business and family life.
• HI-01: It looks like Hawaii’s election officials found enough change under the couch cushions to throw together a special election to replace retiring Rep. Neil Abercrombie, after all. They’ve tentatively set a May 22 date for the all-party winner-take-all election. All three candidates plan to run again in the September primary for the regularly-scheduled election.
• NJ-03: It looks like NFL player and gentleman farmer Jon Runyan may have a less tortuous path to the GOP nomination than Chris Myers did in 2008 (which helped contribute to Rep. John Adler’s victory that year). Toms River Committeeman Maurice Hill (the dreaded rear admiral who was the favorite of the Ocean County GOP) decided that he won’t run, meaning that all of the county organizations are likely to coalesce around Runyan. Runyan already has the support of the Burlington County party.
• PA-12: After recently deciding not to run, Joyce Murtha weighed in with an endorsement in the battle to replace her deceased husband. She endorsed Murtha’s former district director, Mark Critz. The state party will choose a replacement candidate on March 8. On the GOP side, they’ve pretty much struck out on finding an upgrade from the two guys who were already running, businessman Tim Burns and Bill Russell. And now there’s growing worry that Russell — who claims to be the choice of the conservative grassroots, although mostly that’s because he’s been able to churn and burn through millions in direct mail fundraising through BaseConnect (the company known until recently as BMW Direct) — may pull a Doug Hoffman and get on the ballot as an indie if he doesn’t get chosen by the party poohbahs. Even RedState has had to weigh in, praising establishment fave Burns and warning Russell not to bolt — the total opposite of their NY-23 stance, of course, although Burns, who’s tried to reach out to the teabaggers, is no Scozzafava-style moderate.
• SD-AL: This is encouraging; even Rasmussen can’t find a way to show Stephanie Herseth Sandlin in grave peril. Herseth Sandlin, who has three different credible GOP candidates fighting it out in the primary to take her on, leads all three, two of them by double digits. Herseth Sandlin beats SoS Chris Nelson 45-38, state House assistant majority leader Kristi Noem 49-34, and self-funding state Rep. Blake Curd 51-33. In fact, these numbers are extremely close to the ones put up by PPP back in December.
• IL-LG: Well, here’s a nice solution to the Dems’ woes in trying to find a Lt. Governor candidate in Illinois: just eliminate the position. State House speaker Michael Madigan is bringing to the House floor a plan to altogether eliminate the non-job that is Lt. Governor in 2015 (and save millions). Unfortunately, that still means the Dems need to find someone to fill that slot (vacated by Scott Lee Cohen’s implosion) for one term.
• Polltopia: Nate Silver performs a nice deconstruction of the myth that won’t die: that incumbents polling below 50% in early polling are going to lose. He finds there is no consistent tendency for challengers to pick up the bulk of the undecideds. Moreover, a majority of incumbents polling below 50% in the 2006-09 cycles went on to win anyway. (It’d be interesting to extent this study, though, beyond the 06 and 08 wave years to see if it holds true in more neutral cycles.)
• AZ-Sen: The establishment is moving in to shore up John McCain’s re-election bid, as the rest of Arizona’s GOP congressional delegation endorsed yesterday (over their former colleague J.D. Hayworth): Jon Kyl, plus Reps. Trent Franks, John Shadegg, and Jeff Flake. Yesterday McCain also got a perhaps more surprising endorsement yesterday, from Grover Norquist, who’s been supportive of a lot of insurgent bids this year… but Norquist is more interested in purely economic issues and may not have much common cause with the more resentment-based social conservative politics of Hayworth.
• CO-Sen: Here’s a sign of life for the strangely low-profile Andrew Romanoff primary campaign: he just got the endorsements of two of the state’s major unions, the Teamsters and the UFCW. Michael Bennet did just vote to confirm Craig Becker to the NLRB, but the unions take issue with his lack of support for the card-check provision of EFCA. Meanwhile, Tom Wiens is offering one of the strangest excuses I’ve ever heard for his failure to get much traction in the GOP primary: there are a whole lot of Nortons in Colorado, and people reflexively will vote for any of them.
• IN-Sen: Another day, another damning revelation about Dan Coats’ lobbying past. Today, it turns out that his lobbying firm, King & Spalding, was lobbying on behalf of Bank of America at a time it was seeking patent approval for a formula that would help companies evaluate whether and how to outsource their operations to lower-overhead countries.
• NC-Sen: Richard Burr has drawn a primary challenger as he seeks his first re-election the Senate. Asheboro city councilor Eddie Burks, however, doesn’t have the kind of high-profile position that’s likely to make much of an impact. But even weirder is the nature of the challenge. You’d think he might get some traction if he reached out to the teabaggers and accused Burr of being insufficiently bloodthirsty, but instead it’s a surprisingly level-headed critique of Burr’s inaccessibility and general anonymity.
• NY-Sen: Speaking of random primary challenges, now Chuck Schumer is facing one too, from Phil Krone, an Illinois and/or Florida political consultant who was just involved in Dan Hynes’ unsuccessful campaign. Krone says he’ll dive in only if he can raise $10K in contributions before April 1; given the strangeness of his bid, even that seems kind of a high bar to reach.
• NY-Sen-B: Finally, there’s one other carpetbagging primary challenge that’s only slightly less random: that of Harold Ford Jr. against Kirsten Gillibrand. This latest discovery isn’t likely to help Ford’s case much: Ford claims that paying New York taxes has helped make him a New Yorker… except he hasn’t paid any New York income taxes. Ford has continued to maintain Tennessee residency, which is convenient, seeing as how Tennessee doesn’t have an income tax on wages. I guess what he meant is that he pays sales tax on all his New York pedicures.
• WI-Sen: Ex-Gov. Tommy Thompson sure likes keeping his name in the news. Despite his recently signing on to work for a hedge fund on agribusiness matters (and his various other private sector projects, including being a partner at DC biglaw firm Akin Gump, he’s still refusing to rule out a Senate bid. “I’m going through a process,” he says cryptically.
• NY-Gov: Looks like we will have David Paterson to kick around for at least a few months more. Despite the mounting tsunami of crap threatening to engulf him, and facing very likely annihilation by Andrew Cuomo in the Democratic primary, Paterson has been e-mailing supporters to tell them that on Feb. 20 or 21 he’ll officially launch his bid to stay Governor. He is adopting the “outsider” mantle for his run, since, of course, nothing says “outsider” more than being the sitting Governor of New York.
• MI-03: CQ compiles a list of a truckload of different Republicans who might seek the seat opened up this week by retiring Rep. Vern Ehlers in the Grand Rapids-based 3rd. Prime contenders include state Sens. Bill Hardiman and Mark Jansen, former state Rep. Jerry Kooiman, and former state Sen. Majority leader Ken Sikkema, all of whom say they’ll decide soon. Former Lt. Gov., and gubernatorial candidate, Dick Posthumus, has ruled out a bid, and it seems unlikely that SoS Terri Lynn Land (who’d been associated with the seat when Ehlers retirement rumors popped up early last year) will run, as she might have her sights on the LG slot. While the GOP has the stronger bench here, Dems who might run include former state Reps. Michael Sak and Steve Pestka, and state Rep. Robert Dean.
• NY-20: One seat that should be attractive to Republicans, given the narrowness of Rep. Scott Murphy’s special election victory, is the 20th, but it’s proven be one of their biggest recruiting headaches. Assemblyman Marc Molinaro is the latest GOPer to decline. Jim Tedisco, who lost to Murphy in the special, shut down his account from that election but hasn’t fully ruled out another run. Murphy is already sitting on $1.4 million, which certainly acts as a deterrent.
• OH-06: The rural, Appalachian-flavored 6th (at R+2, and a negative trend from Kerry to Obama) is another district that should be a Republican target, but where Rep. Charlie Wilson hasn’t drawn a serious opponent yet. Some Dude, however, has stepped up, in the form of businessman Bill Johnson. Johnson had been considering a run next door in the 17th (where he lives) against Rep. Tim Ryan, but recently seemed to realize the 6th would be easier sledding.
• CA-LG: The confirmation of Abel Maldonado as California’s new Lt. Governor has become a bizarre clusterf@ck. First off, there’s the question of why legislative Democrats would want to keep Maldonado in his Dem-leaning, pick-up-able Senate seat instead of promoting him to the entirely harmless LG slot. Clearly the Senate Dems like the idea of getting to the magic 2/3s mark, as Maldonado’s appointment cleared the Senate easily, but then enough Dems in the Assembly voted against it that his appointment failed, with 37 voting yes and 35 voting no. Confused? Well, some would say that he needed 41 votes (a majority of the 80-seat chamber) in order to be confirmed. Arnold Schwarzenegger is claiming victory, though, and planning to swear in Maldonado anyway, claiming that there would need to be 41 votes against Maldonado for the confirmation to fail. Several election law experts say Ahnold has a good point with that, although there’s guidance from a 1988 state treasurer appointment that says otherwise. Looks like this is headed to the courts.
• Teabaggers: Ed Kilgore picks apart the recent CBS poll regarding the tea party movement, and comes to the same conclusions that I’ve been teasing out… that there’s really nothing new in the movement, and that it’s just the most conservative elements of the Republican coalition in just a particularly revved-up, radicalized mood, and with a handy new name to distinguish themselves. This is particularly seen that 62% of them have a favorable view of the Republican party, despite their vague claims to be a movement separate from the parties.
Can a pollster be said to be spammy?
Michael Bennet (D-inc): 37 (37)
Jane Norton (R): 51 (49)
Other: 5 (3)
Undecided: 7 (11)
Andrew Romanoff (D): 38 (35)
Jane Norton (R): 45 (47)
Other: 7 (5)
Undecided: 10 (14)
Michael Bennet (D-inc): 40 (38)
Tom Wiens (R): 45 (44)
Other: 5 (4)
Undecided: 9 (14)
Andrew Romanoff (D): 40 (39)
Tom Wiens (R): 42 (44)
Other: 6 (4)
Undecided: 12 (14)
Michael Bennet (D-inc): 41 (38)
Ken Buck (R): 45 (43)
Other: 5 (4)
Undecided: 8 (15)
Andrew Romanoff (D): 39 (39)
Ken Buck (R): 45 (40)
Other: 6 (5)
Undecided: 10 (16)
Alexi Giannoulias (D): 40 (42)
Mark Kirk (R): 46 (39)
Other: 4 (3)
Undecided: 10 (14)
Jack Conway (D): 40 (35)
Trey Grayson (R): 44 (45)
Other: 3 (7)
Undecided: 12 (12)
Jack Conway (D): 39 (38)
Rand Paul (R): 47 (46)
Other: 3 (4)
Undecided: 11 (12)
Daniel Mongiardo (D): 35 (37)
Trey Grayson (R): 49 (44)
Other: 5 (8)
Undecided: 11 (11)
Daniel Mongiardo (D): 37 (35)
Rand Paul (R): 48 (49)
Other: 3 (3)
Undecided: 12 (13)
Harry Reid (D-inc): 41
Brian Krolicki (R): 44
Harry Reid (D-inc): 39 (36)
Sue Lowden (R): 45 (48)
Other: 8 (8)
Undecided: 8 (7)
Harry Reid (D-inc): 39 (36)
Danny Tarkanian (R): 47 (50)
Other: 8 (5)
Undecided: 6 (9)
Harry Reid (D-inc): 40 (40)
Sharon Angle (R): 44 (44)
Other: 7 (10)
Undecided: 8 (7)
In the last few weeks, Rasmussen Reports – already among the most prolific pollsters – has released a torrent of new senate and gubernatorial polls. While political junkies might instinctively be grateful for all the data, partisans have to be concerned about Rasmussen’s ability to drive the over-arching narrative. This is all the more so given widespread concerns about Rasmussen’s methodology – concerns which have given rise to at least two new detailed analyses on Pollster.com this month, one by Mark Blumenthal and the second by Alan Abramowitz.
I personally think Rasmussen Reports has an axe to grind – their made-up way of reporting presidential favorables and their questionable non-electoral polls make me mistrustful. At the same time, we don’t want to stick our heads in the sand, and 538.com’s pollster ratings do indicate that Rasmussen seems to be interested in getting things right, at least as far as the horserace is concerned. So we’ve decided to package up the most recent Raz surveys and let ’em all at you in one blast.
Chris Dodd (D-inc): 35 (39)
Rob Simmons (R): 48 (49)
Other: 7 (5)
Undecided: 11 (6)
Chris Dodd (D-inc): 39 (42)
Peter Schiff (R): 40 (40)
Other: 8 (7)
Undecided: 14 (10)
Chris Dodd (D-inc): 38
Linda McMahon (R): 43
Michael Bennet (D-inc): 37 (36)
Jane Norton (R): 46 (45)
Other: 8 (7)
Undecided: 8 (12)
Michael Bennet (D-inc): 41
Tom Wiens (R): 42
Michael Bennet (D-inc): 38
Ken Buck (R): 42
Andrew Romanoff (D): 34 (34)
Jane Norton (R): 45 (42)
Other: 7 (8)
Undecided: 15 (15)
Andrew Romanoff (D): 40
Tom Wiens (R): 41
Andrew Romanoff (D): 39
Ken Buck (R): 41
Alexi Giannoulias (D): 42 (41)
Mark Kirk (R): 39 (41)
Other: 3 (4)
Undecided: 14 (13)
Cheryle Jackson (D): 39 (39)
Mark Kirk (R): 42 (43)
Other: 4 (4)
Undecided: 15 (13)
David Hoffman (D): 38 (33)
Mark Kirk (R): 42 (43)
Other: 3 (8)
Undecided: 17 (16)
Harry Reid (D-inc): 43 (40)
Sue Lowden (R): 49 (50)
Other: 6 (4)
Undecided: 3 (5)
Harry Reid (D-inc): 43 (43)
Danny Tarkanian (R): 49 (50)
Other: 6 (4)
Undecided: 2 (3)
Harry Reid (D-inc): 43
Sharron Angle (R): 47
Lee Fisher (D): 36 (40)
Rob Portman (R): 38 (41)
Other: 8 (6)
Undecided: 18 (14)
Jennifer Brunner (D): 33 (38)
Rob Portman (R): 40 (40)
Other: 7 (5)
Undecided: 20 (18)
Ted Strickland (D-inc): 39 (45)
Jon Kasich (R): 48 (46)
Other: 3 (3)
Undecided: 11 (7)
SC-Gov (12/2, likely voters, no trendlines):
Jim Rex (D): 33
Gresham Barrett (R): 39
Jim Rex (D): 36
Andre Bauer (R): 35
Jim Rex (D): 32
Henry McMaster (R): 39
Vincent Sheheen (D): 23
Gresham Barrett (R): 45
Vincent Sheheen (D): 29
Andre Bauer (R): 39
Vincent Sheheen (D): 26
Henry McMaster (R): 43
For the final word, I’ll turn things over to Jon Stewart. The ever-brights at Fox & Friends had some difficulty in retransmitting a misleadingly-worded (and dodgy) Rasmussen survey on global warming, leading Stewart to opine (at 1:50) that this poll had a margin of error of “monkey-fuck ridiculous”:
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c|
|Gretchen Carlson Dumbs Down|
Rasmussen Reports, you decide.
• CO-Sen: Former state Sen. Tom Wiens made it official; he’s entering the Republican field in the Senate race. With former Lt. Governor Jane Norton wearing the mantle of establishment anointment in this race, Wien’s entry may actually help Norton, by taking non-Norton votes away from conservative Weld County DA Ken Buck. Wiens is a wealthy rancher prepared to put up to half a million of his own dollars into the race.
• FL-Sen: If anyone has to sweating the movement conservatives’ takedown of the pre-selected moderate establishment candidate in NY-23, it’s gotta be Charlie Crist. Here’s one more thing for him to worry about: his job approval according to a new St. Petersburg Times poll is only 42/55. They don’t have him in as dire straits against Marco Rubio in the GOP primary as a number of other pollsters, though — Crist leads Rubio 50-28 — but the ultimate indignity is on the question of whether respondents would choose Crist or Jeb Bush to lead Florida right now, 47% opt for Bush (with 41 for Crist). On the Dem side, Rep. Kendrick Meek leads newly-announced former Miami mayor Maurice Ferre 26-6.
• IL-Sen, IL-07: There a lots of interesting plot lines forming as today is the filing deadline in Illinois. But the big one is: what the hell is up with Patrick Hughes? The real estate developer was considered to be the right-wingers’ go-to guy to against alleged moderate Rep. Mark Kirk in the GOP primary, but now rumors are swirling that he doesn’t have the signatures to qualify. There also seem to be some major ball-droppings for progressives: there’s nobody challenging Rep. Dan Lipinski in the primary in IL-03, and there’s nobody, period, to go up against GOP Rep. Peter Roskam in the R+0 IL-06. In the 7th, where it’s unclear whether Rep. Danny Davis will be coming back or not (he’s filed for his seat, but also for Cook County Board President), he’s facing primary competition from only one elected official: state Sen. Rickey Hendon (Cook Co. Deputy Recorder of Deeds Darlena Williams-Burnett is also a big name, but I don’t think deputy recorder is an elected position). Hendon says he’ll bail out and run for Lt. Governor if Davis sticks around.
Meanwhile, on the Senate front, state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias is touting his own internal poll from GQR giving him a 3-point edge on Rep. Mark Kirk in a general election, 46-43. The same poll finds less-known Democrat former Chicago Inspector General David Hoffman trailing Kirk 48-39.
• IN-Sen: Research 2000 (on behalf of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, rather than Kos) found last week that Blanche Lincoln was in serious trouble electorally and that her troubles would mount if she opposed health care reform. They also looked at Evan Bayh, and they found that, a) he’s not in trouble (62/30 approvals, although no head-to-head test against his erstwhile opponent, state Sen. Marlin Stutzman), and b) a majority wouldn’t be moved one way or the other by his health care actions.
• MA-Sen: The start of debates haven’t done much to reshape things in the Democratic primary in the special election in the Bay State. AG Martha Coakley holds a 25-point lead over Rep. Michael Capuano, according to an R2K poll commissioned by local blog Blue Mass Group. Coakley is at 42 and Capuano at 16, with Stephen Pagliuca at 15 and Alan Khazei at 5. Only 52% of Coakley’s voters are firm about it, though, but that’s not much different from any of the other candidates.
• FL-Gov: That aforementioned St. Petersburg Times poll also looked at the governor’s race, and they gave Democratic CFO Alex Sink her first lead in a while; she’s up a single point on GOP AG Bill McCollum, 38-37. More trouble for McCollum: state Senator Paula Dockery, as threatened, now appears to be jumping into the Republican primary, which had been painstakingly cleared for him.
• MN-Gov: If a candidate falls in the Minnesota gubernatorial Republican field, does it make a sound? State Rep. Paul Kohls dropped out, having not gotten much traction according to recent straw polls. That leaves approximately eleventy-seven zillion Republicans left in the hunt.
• VA-Gov: He’s dead, Jim. Four more polls on VA-Gov are out:
YouGov (pdf): McDonnell 53, Deeds 40
Mason-Dixon: McDonnell 53, Deeds 41
PPP (pdf): McDonnell 56, Deeds 42
SurveyUSA: McDonnell 58, Deeds 40
• MI-07: Unseated wingnut Tim Walberg — who’d like to get his job back from freshman Dem Mark Schauer — has some company in the GOP primary next year: attorney and Iraq vet Brian Rooney (the brother of Florida Rep. Tom Rooney) is getting in the race. It’s not clear whether Rooney is any more moderate than Walberg, though; he’s an attorney for the right-wing Thomas More Law Center, the theocons’ answer to the ACLU.
• NY-23: A few more odds and ends in the 23rd. One more key Republican endorser working for Doug Hoffman now is Rudy Giuliani (like George Pataki, not the likeliest fellow you’d expect to see make common cause with the Conservative Party — with neither of them having ruled out 2010 runs, they seem to want to be in good graces with the national GOP, who are all-in for Hoffman now). Rudy’s crack team of robots is making calls on his behalf. Another possible useful endorsement: Watertown’s mayor Jeff Graham is now backing Hoffman. Former candidate Dede Scozzafava, on the other hand, is now cutting robocalls on Democrat Bill Owens’ behalf. Finally, here’s an ill omen on the motivation front: sparse turnout was reported for Joe Biden‘s appearance on behalf of Owens.
• PA-06: One more Republican is getting in the field in the open seat race in the 6th: Howard Cohen, a consultant who is the former Revenue Secretary from the Dick Thornburgh administration decades ago. He’ll face a financial gap against pharma exec Steven Welch, and a name rec gap against state Rep. Curt Schroder, though.
• AL-AG: One incumbent who looks badly endangered going into 2010 is Alabama’s Republican Attorney General, Troy King. Having buddied up with the state’s trial lawyers (thus angering the local business establishment) and also pissed off many local DAs by interfering in their cases, King has lost most establishment support in the upcoming GOP primary against Luther Strange. Two of Strange’s biggest backers are both of the state’s Senators, Jeff Sessions and Richard Shelby.
• ME-Init: Two more polls on Maine’s Question 1 (where “yes” is a vote to overturn the state’s gay marriage law), both pointing to an excruciatingly close vote. PPP (taken over the weekend) sees it passing 51-47, while Research 2000 (taken last week) gives a tiny edge to “no,” 47-48. (R2K also confirms that Olympia Snowe’s numbers are way off; the once bulletproof Snowe now has approvals of 50/44.)
• NYC: Three more polls all show Michael Bloomberg with an easy path to a third term, beating Democratic comptroller William Thompson. Bloomberg leads 50-38 according to Quinnipiac, 53-42 according to SurveyUSA, and 53-38 according to Marist (pdf).
• Mayors: There are fresh polls in a few other mayoral races. In St. Petersburg, Florida, one of the most hotly contended races around, Bill Foster leads Kathleen Ford 48-44 according to SurveyUSA. (Foster leads among both blacks and conservatives.) The racially polarized race in Charlotte gives a small edge to the conservative white candidate, Andy Lassiter, who leads 50-46 over Anthony Foxx. And in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, all we know is that someone with a difficult-to-spell last name will be mayor. Matt Czajkowski leads Mark Kleinschmidt 45-44. (Czajkowski seems to be the conservative and Kleinschmidt the liberal.)
• State legislatures: In case there wasn’t enough to focus on tomorrow, Josh Goodman points to five legislative special elections tomorrow. The big one is Michigan‘s 19th Senate district, which was vacated by Democratic Rep. Mark Schauer. Republican former state Rep. Mike Nofs may have an edge for the pickup against Democratic state Rep. Martin Griffin, at least based on fundraising. There are also Dem-held seats up in Alabama’s 65th House district, Missouri’s 73rd House district, and Washington’s 16th House district (the reddest Dem-held seat in Washington), and a GOP-held seat in South Carolina’s 48th House district. (UPDATE: TheUnknown285 points us to a whopping seven legislative seats up from grabs in Georgia, too, in his diary.)
• NRCC: Pete Sessions Deathwatch, Vol. 1? This seems odd, given that he’s had some pretty good success on the recruiting front, but apparently the behind-closed-doors potshots are hitting NRCC head Sessions just as heavily as they did Tom Cole last cycle. The complaints aren’t about recruiting, though, but rather about fundraising, where the NRCC is still lagging the DCCC despite the superficial conventional wisdom that Republicans come into 2010 with momentum, and about not keeping enough of a lid on all those nagging intraparty skirmishes that somehow only the blogosphere ever seems to notice.
• Polling: Mark Blumenthal has a thought-provoking piece on polling the cap-and-trade issue. The key problem: no one knows exactly what it is (reminiscent of polling the public option question, too).
• Voting: States are still trying to figure out what to do about the new federal law intended to make sure that military ballots from overseas get counted. At least a dozen states are now actively considering moving their September primaries up in the calendar to comply (including Minnesota, Vermont, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin).