NH-Gov: Lynch (D) Totally Romping

Public Policy Polling (PDF) (3/31-4/3, New Hampshire voters, no trendlines):

John Lynch (D-inc): 57

Jeb Bradley (R): 33

Undecided: 10

John Lynch (D-inc): 57

Ovide Lamontagne (R): 33

Undecided: 10

John Lynch (D-inc): 57

John Stephen (R): 29

Undecided: 14

John Lynch (D-inc): 54

John Sununu (R): 36

Undecided: 11

(MoE: ±3.5%)

John Lynch is nobody’s idea of a partisan progressive fighter, and we don’t even know if he’ll seek an unprecedented fifth two-year term, but after last November’s utter wipeout in New Hampshire, these numbers have to be heartening to any Democrat. Lynch faced a competitive race from John Stephen in 2010, ultimately winning by eight, so it’s pretty remarkable to see Stephen not even cracking 30. The best performance comes from ex-Sen. John Sununu, but at 18 points back and terrible favorables, Bununu doesn’t look so hot, either.

The obvious question to ask here is what does PPP’s sample look like, since they’re showing such a big reversal of fortune. It’s 35 D, 29 R and 36 I, which makes it much more Democratic (and much less independent) than the last two exit polls have shown: 29 D, 27 R & 44 I in 2008, and 27 D, 30 R & 43 I in 2010. However (and this is an important however), respondents say they supported Obama in 2008 by a 51-42 score, very close to Obama’s actual 9.6% margin.

In a number of states, PPP has been showing a 2012 electorate that’s quite similar to the 2008 voter universe, something that’s been greeted with some skepticism given what seemed like record-high enthusiasm for Barack Obama last time out. We’ll see if history repeats, of course, but PPP nailed things last cycle, and unless and until another pollster (who actually shows their work – I’m looking at you, Quinnipiac) comes along to contradict their work, I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt.

SSP Daily Digest: 9/17

CO-Sen: Former state House speaker Andrew Romanoff officially kicked off his primary challenge to Michael Bennet yesterday, with appearances in Pueblo, Colorado Springs, and Denver. Romanoff, however, wasted no time in demonstrating that he won’t be running to Bennet’s left, saying that he’s opposed to the card-check portion of EFCA. If he isn’t going to run to Bennet’s left, that leads to the question of: what other kind of an angle can he work, other than just “it’s my turn?”

IL-Sen: Here’s an interesting development in the Illinois Senate race: EMILY’s List has weighed in, endorsing (surprise) Cheryle Jackson. EMILY’s List isn’t always a magic bullet in these type situations (see Tinker, Nikki), but it does expose Jackson to a nationwide base of donors. Politico does observe something odd, though: EMILY’s List hasn’t endorsed a female Senate candidate who seems to have at least somewhat better odds of making it out of her primary… Jennifer Brunner.

NY-Sen-B (pdf): Some leftovers from yesterday’s Marist poll of NY-Gov: Kirsten Gillibrand is still having some growing pains, with an approval of 26% excellent or good, 38% fair, and 9% poor (with 27% not sure) and losing a head-to-head against ex-Gov. George Pataki, 48-44 (Pataki has been completely silent on the issue, but you’ve gotta wonder if the consistent numbers are getting him more interested). For yucks and giggles, they also matched Gillibrand up against Eliot Spitzer in a Dem primary, which she won 57-29. (Spitzer also loses a primary to David Paterson 60-31, and receives a general “no” on the issue of running again, 27/69.)

IL-Gov: State GOP chair Andy McKenna, who briefly provoked a Mark Kirk temper tantrum when he said he’d run in the Illinois senate primary, has decided he still really wants to run for office, and instead has headed over to the Governor’s race, where there was no top-tier candidate or even clear frontrunner. This seemed to spook one of the candidates, suburban state Sen. Matt Murphy, who bailed out of the race and signed on as McKenna’s running mate. While McKenna has the fundraising connections and can self-fund as well, McKenna has never won a race (he finished 4th in the GOP Senate primary in 2004, meaning he lost not only to Jack Ryan but also Jim Oberweis), and he’ll still have to face DuPage County Board Chair Bob Schillerstrom (who has at least 900,000 constituents) as well as a gaggle of other state Senators. (H/t GOPVOTER.)

MI-Gov: SoS Terri Lynn Land has signed onto Oakland Co. Sheriff Michael Bouchard’s ticket as his running mate. Land, you’ll recall, was widely expected to run for Governor but surprised everyone by endorsing Bouchard instead. (There was a brief rumor that she’d run in MI-03 after a Vern Ehlers retirement, but that doesn’t seem to be happening.)

NH-Gov: Rasmussen throws in gubernatorial numbers as part of its sample from Sep. 14 that found Kelly Ayotte up on Paul Hodes by 8 in the Senate race. The results help cast a little more doubt on the composition of that particular sample, as the state’s widely popular Democratic Governor, John Lynch, leads former Senator John Sununu (who I’ve never seen mentioned in connection with that race) by only 48-43. Lynch beats the only announced candidate, businessman Jack Kimball, 52-31, and vaguely interested state Senator Chuck Morse 51-29.

NJ-Gov: PPP tried out some alternate scenarios in New Jersey involving replacement Democrats for Jon Corzine (although Corzine hasn’t made any moves to get out, and it’s unclear why he would at this point, with his numbers improving somewhat). The bottom line is, it wouldn’t help anyway; Rep. Frank Pallone loses big-time to Chris Christie 43-23 (with Chris Daggett at 15). Newark mayor Corey Booker doesn’t fare much better, even though he has very high approval ratings: he loses 41-33-13.

OR-Gov: We’ll definitely have a contested primary on the Democratic side, despite the entry of heavyweight ex-Gov. John Kitzhaber. Former SoS Bill Bradbury is staying in the race, preparing to announce today, and yesterday releasing a video endorsement from his most prominent backer, former Gov. Barbara Roberts, who preceded Kitzhaber in office. Meanwhile, Kitzhaber released a literal shitload of endorsements yesterday, with many of the state’s key Democrats (AG John Kroger, Treasurer Ben Westlund, Superintendent of Education Susan Castillo, Multnomah County Chair Ted Wheeler, ex-Portland mayor Vera Katz, ex-Rep. Darlene Hooley) and some names who’d been bandied about as possible candidates (state Sen. Mark Hass, Portland city counilor Randy Leonard) on board — not a lot of oxygen left for Bradbury, or for Rep. Peter DeFazio, if he still wants to get in.

PA-Gov: Scranton mayor Chris Doherty is almost certain to run for the Democratic nod for Governor, insiders are saying. He’s staffing up (including some heavy hitters, including media pro Tad Devine) and polling.

TX-Gov: Rasmussen’s new poll of the Texas governor primary on the Republican side has a big surprise: it’s the first poll in ages (since May) to give a lead to Kay Bailey Hutchison. KBH leads incumbent Rick Perry 40-38, with somebody named Debra Medina, who’s from the Ron Paul wing of the party, pulling in 3% of the vote… apparently pulling in enough of Perry’s base of teabag/secession nuts to flip the race to KBH. Rasmussen’s May poll had Perry up 42-38.

CA-42: Republican Rep. Gary Miller has drawn a wealthy primary challenger, Lee McGroarty, an executive with an investment firm. Ethical clouds related to real estate deals have followed Miller, but he’s probably more vulnerable to an anti-insider primary challenge than a Democrat in this R+10 Orange County district.

NY-23: After Sam Brownback and Pat Roberts dropped their barely-explicable holds on the confirmation of Rep. John McHugh for Secretary of the Army, the New York Republican was confirmed last night. The three candidates — Democrat Bill Owens, Republican Dede Scozzafava, and Conservative Doug Hoffman — now are waiting to see when the special election is scheduled. State law requires David Paterson to schedule the election between 30 and 40 days from his announcement of the date, so in order to schedule the election on the regular election day of Nov. 3 (like everyone expects will happen), he’ll need to delay the announcement for at least another week.

Campaign Finance: Last month, a federal judge ruled that Connecticut’s relatively new campaign matching fund system violated the First Amendment, saying it impermissibly put unfair burdens on “hopeless” minor party candidates that it did not also place on equally hopeless major party candidates running in uncompetitive districts. (The decision was in part based on the Supreme Court case that struck down the federal Millionaire’s Amendment last year.) AG Dick Blumenthal is appealing to the Second Circuit. Meanwhile, some folks in Arizona are concerned that this ruling might implicate their own public financing system. (D)

NH-Sen: Sununu Won’t Run

Former Senator John Sununu has decided (or has had decided for him by NH GOP chair John Sununu Sr.) that he won’t be running for New Hampshire’s other open Senate seat in 2010:

“It’s essential that the timing fit both personally and professionally.” He noted the technology firms where he has committed to work and the sacrifice a campaign would place on his family as reasons for not jumping back into politics.

Speculation will, once again, turn to appointed AG Kelly Ayotte, who Judd Gregg has been privately pushing for the job. In the meantime, the field has long been clear on the Democratic side for Rep. Paul Hodes. (H/t conspiracy.)

RaceTracker: NH-Sen

SSP Daily Digest: 6/30

IL-Sen: Here’s a fairly big-name entrant to the Illinois Senate: Chicago Urban League President Cheryle Jackson, who just formed an exploratory committee. Jackson had occasionally been rumored to be interested (to the extent that Jan Schakowksy’s internal poll included her, where she got 17% when explicitly substituted for Burris) but hadn’t taken concrete steps. Jackson has two demographic positives: with Schakowsky out, she’d be the only female in the race (unless, of course, Lisa Madigan gets in, in which case the game would be over anyway), and she’d be the only African-American in the race who isn’t Roland Burris. However, she used to be Rod Blagojevich’s press secretary prior to taking over at the Urban League, so the Blago stench may be hard to wash off.

ND-Sen: All had seemed quiet on the midwestern front, especially after that R2K poll that showed him getting flattened by Byron Dorgan (57-35), but Gov. John Hoeven recently showed at least a peep of interest in running for Senate after all… even if it was just a statement that he was still making up his mind and would decide by September. GOP state chair Randy Emineth said that Hoeven “wants to” run against Dorgan, but we’ll need to actually hear from Hoeven.

NH-Sen: The swabbies at ARG! pointed their spyglasses toward the 2010 open Senate seat in New Hampshire, and find that Rep. Paul Hodes would defeat ex-Sen. John Sununu 40-36. No numbers for the much-hyped AG Kelly Ayotte.

NV-Sen, NV-Gov: In the face of relentless wooing from GOP Senators, Rep. Dean Heller has set a deadline of June 30 to make up his mind about whether he runs for Harry Reid’s Senate seat. (Wait a minute… that’s today!) Heller’s other options include staying in NV-02 or running a primary challenge in the governor’s race — where the younger Reid (Rory, the Clark County Commission chair) seems to be staffing up for the race on the Dem side.

PA-Sen: Joe Torsella, who briefly was running against post-party-switch Arlen Specter in the Democratic primary before dropping out, has endorsed Specter. Not surprising, since Torsella is a big ally of Gov. Ed Rendell, who has pledged his support to Specter.

CT-Gov: More indications that Ned Lamont is getting serious about running for Governor (probably against incumbent Jodi Rell) in 2010. Lamont is looking at an early-2010 deadline for deciding, but can get away with a shorter timeframe as he can self-fund and won’t need a long ramp-up for fundraising.

NJ-Gov (pdf): PPP takes their turn at polling the New Jersey Governor’s race and find about what everyone else has been finding: Chris Christie leads incumbent Jon Corzine 51-41, with Christie benefiting from a 60-26 lead among independent voters. Good news, relatively speaking, for Corzine, though, is that Christie’s negatives are rising quickly as he’s starting to get defined in the media, up to 43% favorable and 33% unfavorable.

SC-Gov: Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer has publicly floated the idea that he would stand down from running in 2010 if he got to be Governor now, if Mark Sanford would just go ahead and resign (please?). His potential 2010 rivals are looking at this as statesman-like grandstanding, especially since it looks like Sanford is digging in.

AK-AL: In case there was any doubt, the indestructible Rep. Don Young has announced that he’s running for re-election. Young is 76 and in perpetual danger of indictment, but with the state’s political talent gravitating toward the Governor’s race, may have an easier path in 2010 than in 2008.

CA-36: Los Angeles City Councilor Janice Hahn has been telling supporters that she’s interested in running for Rep. Jane Harman’s seat. She doesn’t seem to be thinking primary, though; Hahn, for some reason, believes Harman (still under a bit of a cloud from the wiretap incident) is up for appointment to something, maybe Ambassador to Israel, in the Obama administration.

FL-12: State Sen. Paula Dockery made clear that she won’t be running in the 12th; she endorsed former State Rep. Dennis Ross for the job. She seemed to leave the door open to the Governor’s race, saying in her statement that “my passion for public policy is in state government.”

IL-07: With Rep. Danny Davis looking to move over to the Presidency of the Cook County Board, Chicago-area Dems are already eyeing the super-safe open seat. Davis’s former chief of staff Richard Boykin (now a lobbyist for Cook County) seems to be the first to make his interest publicly known.

NH-01 (pdf): Manchester mayor (and NH-01 candidate) Frank Guinta is due for the Bad Samaritan Award, as he watched several of his friends (an alderman and a state Representative) beat up another acquaintance in a barroom brawl, ending with the man’s leg being broken in seven places, and then immediately left the scene without reporting it to the police. Guinta said he was unaware of the extent of the man’s injuries and contacted police at that point. No charges have been filed in the incident; still, not the kind of free publicity a political candidate likes to get.

NY-03, NY-Sen-B: Rep. Peter King is sounding even iffier than before about running for Senate against Kirsten Gillibrand, having scored a desired slot on the Intelligence Committee.

NY-23: Investment banker Matthew Doheny anted up with a lot of cash to jump into the Republican side of the race to replace Rep. John McHugh: $500,000 of his own money. Roll Call reports that he’ll need the ostentatious display of cash to get anywhere in the candidate-picking process, as Assemblypersons Dede Scozzafava and Will Barclay are both reaching out behind the scenes to party leaders.

Redistricting: Regardless of what nonsense happens in the New York Senate this session, it’s looking more and more like the GOP’s toehold on legislative power will be vanquished in post-2010 redistricting, regardless of who controls the legislative redistricting process. Because of growth in the city and declines upstate, 1.2 seats will need to be shifted from downstate to NYC (and, as an added bonus, an extra one-sixth of a seat will shift to the city if the Census Bureau goes ahead and starts counting prisoners according to where they’re actually from rather than where they’re incarcerated).

Fusion Voting: Here’s one way in which Oregon suddenly became a lot more like New York: the state legislature decided to allow “fusion voting,” in which a candidate can run on multiple party lines on one ballot. This will be a boost to minor parties in Oregon, by letting them form coalitions with the major parties instead of simply playing spoiler.

Fundraising: It’s June 30, and you know what that means… it’s the end of the 2nd fundraising quarter. If you want to give some momentum to your favored candidates, today’s the last day to do it.

SSP Daily Digest: 6/26

CT-Sen: Gov. Jodi Rell just signed into law an important piece of legislation (and, in doing so, reduced her own power): from now on, in the event of a Senatorial vacancy, the void will be filled by a fast special election instead of a gubernatorial appointment. The farcical Rod Blagojevich affair in Illinois was apparently the genesis for this new law.

KS-Sen: Rep. Todd Tiahrt, facing a big primary fight for the GOP nomination against fellow Rep. Jerry Moran, got a key endorsement that will help him out-conservative his red-state colleague, from prominent anti-abortion group Kansans for Life. Moran, meanwhile, got another establishment endorsement of questionable utility to the Kansas electorate, from South Dakota Sen. John Thune.

NC-Sen: Insider Advantage polled Richard Burr’s approvals, and like many other pollsters (including PPP, the messenger that the Burr campaign has chosen to attack), found that Burr’s approvals are low and his unknowns are possibly catastrophically high. Burr clocked in at 39/31 approval, with 30% with no opinion.

NH-Sen: John Sununu Sr. now says that John Sununu Jr. will make a decision (or will have his daddy make a decision for him, more likely) “within a week or so” as to whether or not he’ll run for Senate next year. Sr. also says that AG Kelly Ayotte will step aside if Jr. runs, which may be news to Ayotte. GOP insiders seem to think that odds are against Sununu running.

OH-Sen: Rob Portman, G.W. Bush’s former trade rep and OMB Director, has taken on a strange approach to selling himself to voters: that he’s a consummate Washington insider, going so far as to say that he knows “where the bodies are buried” (way to write the opposition’s advertisements word-for-word for them!). In a state where there’s a lot of populist indignation over job losses and outsourcing, emphasizing your technocratic elitism is somewhere past tone-deaf and out in the realm of political malpractice.

PA-Sen: More signs that the party is finally coalescing around Pat Toomey as nominee: another endorsement from one its sitting Reps., Joe Pitts. (Pitts is probably the most conservative GOPer left in the PA delegation, so no surprise here.)

WV-Sen: With 91-year-old Robert Byrd still in the hospital, Gov. Joe Manchin sought to tamp down speculation that he was looking into potential replacement Senators (such as ex-Gov. Gaston Caperton).

IL-Gov: Bob Schillerstrom became the third Republican this week to announce his gubernatorial candidacy. The DuPage County Board chairman had had an exploratory committee open for several months, so this was expected. A 4th entrant, State Sen. Kirk Dillard, also from Chicago’s western suburbs, says he’ll announce his candidacy on July 8.

MI-Gov: A third Democratic candidate got into the governor’s race today: state Rep. (and former state Senator) Alma Wheeler Smith. Smith, who’s the only African-American in the field, also ran in the gubernatorial primary in 2002.

NJ-Gov: Strategic Vision polled the New Jersey governor’s race; no surprises here, as they found Chris Christie beating Jon Corzine 51-39. Christie was also busy yesterday in Washington testifying before the House on the no-bid monitoring contracts that Christie awarded while US Attorney (including to his former boss, John Ashcroft); look for this to become a prime issue in the race (if Corzine has even half-a-clue how to campaign).

NM-Gov, NM-02: Ex-Rep. Steve Pearce, last seen getting annihilated in last year’s Senate race, says he’s pushing back his announcement on whether he’ll run for governor, for his old House seat, or something else to somewhere between July 20 and July 27.

PA-Gov: Here’s one state where the gubernatorial field is actually managing to get smaller: Lehigh County Executive Don Cunningham opted out of the Democratic primary race (and said that he isn’t interested in the Lt. Gov. slot). This may give a small boost to Philly-area businessman Tom Knox, as the Dem side’s two biggest-names, Allegheny Co. Exec Dan Onorato and state Auditor Jack Wagner are both from the Pittsburgh area.

CA-10: Rep. Ellen Tauscher was finally confirmed as Undersecretary of State last night, after Sen. Jon Kyl dropped his hold on her. (She’s also getting married on Saturday, so it’s a big week.) Tauscher’s last day in the House is today, so this means the wheels are now officially in motion for the CA-10 special election.

FL-12: Looks like the GOP will have a primary in the race to replace Rep. Adam Putnam, depsite their efforts to grease the skids for former state Rep. Dennis Ross. Polk Co. Commissioner Randy Wilkinson has been taking steps to enter the race as well.

LA-03: Here’s a potential Dem contender for the potentially open seat currently occupied by Rep. Charlie Melancon, who hadn’t been mentioned in previous discussions (either from SSP or Roll Call or The Hill): Steve Angelle, who heads the state Natural Resources Department and used to be President of St. Martin Parish.

SC-04: Rep. Bob Inglis is taking an unusual approach to a potentially bruising primary fight in 2010: instead of trying to out-conservative his opponents, he’s saying the GOP needs to “lose the stinking rot of self-righteousness.” In a Washington Wire interview, he said that the Mark Sanford Experience shows that “This may be an opportunity to extend a little grace to other people, to realize that maybe it’s not 100% this way or that way,” and referred to the Bob Inglis who was a zealous Clinton impeachment manager in 1998 as “Bob Inglis 1.0,” who was a “‘self-righteous’ expletive.”

TN-09: Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton announced that he’ll be resigning his job on July 10 in order to campaign full-time in his primary challenge against Rep. Steve Cohen. Since Herenton has tried to resign (and changed his mind) at least once before, after five increasingly rocky terms in office, this sounds more like a relief to Herenton instead of giving something up.

DCCC: The DCCC is running radio spots over the July 4 weekend against seven vulnerable House GOPers: Ken Calvert, Charlie Dent, Jim Gerlach, Dan Lungren, Mike McCaul, Lee Terry, and Joe Wilson. They’re getting attacked for voting for war supplementals during the Bush administration and now happening to vote against them now that a Demmycrat is in charge.

The Tubes: Hotline On Call compares and contrasts the mellifluous email stylings of Gov. Sanford with the SMS billet-doux of Detroit ex-Mayor Kilpatrick. This outlines the foundational divide between email and texting: in SMS you automatically sound crazier, but it also prevents you from banging out divinity school dropout diatribes about First Corinthians. (Ben)

SSP Daily Digest: 6/17

IL-Sen: AG Lisa Madigan is still under a lot of pressure from inside the Beltway to move over from her preferred race (Governor) to the Senate race instead. Thing is, the pressure seems to be working (and the fact that Pat Quinn remains pretty popular also helps): she says she’s “seriously considering it” and will decide within “four to six weeks” whether to run for gov, senate, or another term as AG.

KY-Sen: SoS Trey Grayson is still treating Jim Bunning as undecided about running for a third term, despite the crotchety Bunning’s many protestations, Abe Simpson-style, that he ain’t dead yet. While saying that he has “no plans to run against him right now,” Grayson says he’d have a better answer to the question “after next month, when Bunning makes a decision….” Still, he says “I don’t suspect that (having to run against Bunning) would be a problem,” if Bunning stays in the GOP primary. The remarks were made at a poorly-attended (as in less than 50) Grayson fundraiser in Corbin.

MO-Sen: Rep. Roy Blunt can’t catch a break. No sooner than professor Tom Schweich bailed out and former Treasurer Sarah Steelman’s message discipline came completely unglued, along comes yet another likely primary challenger: state Senator Chuck Purgason, who formed an exploratory committee. It sounds like he’ll be going at Blunt from the right (Purgason is known for his “country-western fashion sense and iron-clad fiscal conservatism,” and said we must “stop the ‘changing’ of America”).

NC-Sen (pdf): Good polling news out of North Carolina, according to PPP: Generic Democrat leads Richard Burr, 41-38. (There’s still the little matter of nailing down a candidate, of course.) Only 29% overall (and 49% of Republicans) think he deserves another term, while 49% say give someone else a chance. Burr’s approval is 34/35, with a 31% “not sure,” which is still crazily high for a sitting senator.

NH-Sen: Senatorial speculation for the GOP in the Granite State has turned to AG Kelly Ayotte. (AG is an appointed position in New Hampshire; Ayotte was appointed by ex-Gov. Craig Benson, but retained by John Lynch.) Still, everything seems to be on hold until fall, when the younger John Sununu is supposed to make known his senate intentions. Dean at Blue Hampshire observes ex-Rep. Charlie Bass (another possible Senate, or NH-02, candidate) getting a little testy about having to wait for Sununu Jr. to make up his mind (or for Sununu Sr. to make up Jr.’s mind).

NY-Sen-B: Rep. Carolyn Maloney keeps ratcheting up her attacks on Kirsten Gillibrand, focusing increasingly on character and credibility. She hit Gillibrand’s “evolving” stances and said “She’s, to my knowledge, never passed anything. She spends all her time fund-raising. I spend my time doing things.” Meanwhile, Gillibrand rolled out the endorsements of 52 of the 62 Democratic Party county chairs in New York. That seems huge, but only half the population of New York state is accounted for, as they have yet to endorse in New York, Kings, Queens, Bronx, Richmond, and Suffolk Counties.

CA-Gov: Rep. John Campbell from CA-48 in Orange County endorsed Insurance Comm. Steve Poizner a few months ago, but he recently dropped that endorsement and then this week endorsed ex-eBay CEO Meg Whitman instead. Campbell’s explanation is that when he first endorsed Poizner, Whitman wasn’t in the race yet and he had never met her. (This Campbell, of course, is not to be confused with ex-Rep. Tom Campbell, who’s the third wheel in the GOP gubernatorial primary.)

LA-03, LA-Sen: GOP state Rep. Nickie Monica, who has recently met with officials at the NRCC, is telling his contacts that he’s planning on running against Democrat Charlie Melancon. Meanwhile, faced with the prospect of a strong challenge and the looming uncertainties of redistricting, Melancon is still giving a race against GOP Sen. David Vitter a “pretty hard” look, according to a “Democratic insider.” (J)

NY-23: Republican state Senator Joe Griffo, who’s based outside the district in Rome but whose turf overlaps part of the 23rd, said he won’t run in the special election. For the Dems, veteran Danny Francis (who ran twice against McHugh in the 1990s) said he’ll seek the nomination. Dem state Senator Darrel Aubertine shot down speculation that he’d fielded a call from Barack Obama about the seat, although he did cop to talking to DCCC recruitment guru Steve Israel about it.

OH-15: ’08 candidate/ex-state Sen. Steve Stivers says that he’ll make up his mind on a rematch against Mary Jo Kilroy by the 4th of July, but Ohio Republicans apparently feel very confident that he’ll jump into the race. (J)

PA-06, PA-Gov: Rep. Jim Gerlach has set a deadline of “this summer” for deciding whether to jump into the 2010 governor’s race — although he certainly seems to be moving to do so, positioning himself message-wise as the only GOPer who’s dealt with fiscal issues in a legislature. In the meantime, GOP power brokers are getting antsy that Gerlach’s delay in announcing his plans are complicating their efforts to hold this D+4 seat (although GOP state Rep. Curt Schroder is already warming up in the bullpen, having opened an exploratory committee).

Votes: The war supplemental passed the House 226-202 yesterday, with 32 Democrats and 5 Republicans breaking ranks. The GOPers fall under the ‘moderate’ umbrella: Cao, King, Kirk, Candace Miller, and John McHugh (for whom a ‘no’ vote would be awk-ward, as the incoming Sec. of the Army). The Dems are generally the most liberal few dozen, although with a few eyebrow-raising exceptions (Eric Massa, maybe most notably): Baldwin, Capuano, Conyers, Doggett, Donna Edwards, Ellison, Farr, Filner, Grayson, Grijalva, Honda, Kaptur, Kucinich, Barbara Lee, Lofgren, Massa, McGovern, Michaud, Payne, Pingree, Polis, Serrano, Shea-Porter, Sherman, Speier, Stark, Tierney, Tsongas, Waters, Watson, Welch, and Woolsey.  

SSP Daily Digest: 6/4

CT-Sen: Ex-Rep. Rob Simmons needs to look like one of those allegedly-not-quite-extinct moderate New England Republicans in order to get elected in Connecticut, but he’s not doing himself any favors by appearing with Newt Gingrich at the annual Prescott Bush Awards Dinner. With a large Puerto Rican population in Connecticut, Simmons probably doesn’t want to be anywhere near Sonia Sotomayor’s loudest and most toxic critic. Another problem for Simmons: businessman Tom Foley, the former ambassador to Ireland, made his official entry into the GOP primary field today. Foley, unlike Simmons, has deep pockets he can self-fund with.

MN-Sen: Sources close to Norm Coleman are suggesting he won’t appeal at the federal level if he loses his case with the Minnesota Supreme Court. Republicans still publicly say they’ll try to stop any Dem efforts to seat Al Franken until Coleman has conceded or exhausted his appeals. John Cornyn has sent some mixed signals, though, saying it’s “entirely” Coleman’s decision whether to keep fighting and that he’s “amazed that Sen. Coleman’s been willing to persevere as long as he has.”

NV-Sen: Wondering why the GOP is having a hard time attracting a challenger to supposedly-vulnerable Harry Reid? Maybe it’s because of his deep levels of support among much of the state’s Republican establishment. The Reid camp released a list of 60 GOP endorsers, including, most prominently, soon-to-be-ex-First Lady (and former NV-02 candidate) Dawn Gibbons, Reno mayor Bob Cashell, and, in a move guaranteed to nail down the key 18-29 demographic, Wayne Newton.

NH-Sen: Could it be that the NRSC could actually be stuck running Ovide Lamontagne against Rep. Paul Hodes? Just the very fact that the NRSC is talking to Lamontagne (a businessman whose one claim to fame is losing the 1996 governor’s race to Jeanne Shaheen) with an apparently straight face should be a red flag that their top-tier possibilities (ex-Sen. John Sununu, ex-Rep. Charlie Bass) aren’t looking likely.

NY-Sen-B: Joe Biden reportedly had a sit-down earlier this week with Rep. Carolyn Maloney, who may or may not be running in the Senate primary against Kirsten Gillibrand. Presumably the meeting would contain some of the same content as Barack Obama’s now-famous phone call to Rep. Steve Israel.

OH-Sen: If a candidate falls in the woods with no one around, does he make a sound? State Rep. Tyrone Yates has been exploring the Senate race for several months, and apparently found nothing that would help him overcome Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher and SoS Jennifer Brunner, as he bowed out of the race.

NJ-Gov: Rasmussen has the first post-primary poll of the New Jersey governor’s race. Chris Christie may have gotten a bit of a brief unity bounce in the wake of his primary victory, as he’s up to a 51-38 edge over Jon Corzine now, as opposed to 47-38 last month. There’s one spot of ‘good’ news, as it were, for Corzine: his approval rating is back up to 42%.

AZ-08: Construction company executive and ex-Marine Jesse Kelly seems to be the establishment GOP’s choice to go against Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in 2010. He announced endorsements from three House members: Trent Franks, Duncan Hunter, and Frank Wolf. (Not quite clear how endorsements from Hunter and Wolf help him in Arizona, though.)

KS-01: State Senator Jim Barnett got into the race for the seat being vacated by Rep. Jerry Moran, who’s running for Senate. Barnett may quickly become front-runner, based on his name recognition from being the 2006 GOP gubernatorial candidate (where he lost the state as a whole to Kathleen Sebelius, but won the dark-red 1st). He’s up against a more conservative state Senator Tim Huelskamp, and Sam Brownback’s former chief of staff, Rob Wasinger. The primary is the whole shooting match in this R+23 district.

KY-01: After the purchase of “whitfieldforsenate.com” got people’s attention yesterday, Rep. Ed Whitfield had to tamp that down, confirming that he’s running for re-election in his R+15 House seat.

MN-06: Even if this goes nowhere, it’s great to have a GOPer doing our framing for us… attorney Chris Johnston is publicly mulling a primary challenge to (his words, on his website) “‘anti-American’ hurling, malaprop-spouting, ‘they took me out of context'” Rep. Michele Bachmann. He confirms that he and Bachmann share “strong conservative beliefs;” he just thinks the 6th would prefer someone “who thinks before they speak.”

NH-02: Attorney Ann McLane Kuster is launching an exploratory committee to run for the open seat left behind by Rep. Paul Hodes. St. Rep. John DeJoie is already in the primary field, and they may soon be joined by Katrina Swett.

NY-03: Dems are scoping out potential candidates in Long Island’s NY-03 (which fell to R+4 in the wake of 2008), thinking that even if Rep. Peter King doesn’t vacate to run for Senate he’s still vulnerable. The biggest fish would be Nassau Co. Exec Tom Suozzi, who seems to have bigger fish to fry (reportedly AG if Andrew Cuomo vacates). The next-biggest fish would Nassau Co. DA Kathleen Rice. Smaller fish listed include Isobel Coleman of the Council of Foreign Relations, and minor league baseball team owner Frank Boulton.

NH-Legislature: It took a rewrite of a couple sentences that Gov. John Lynch didn’t like, but after a few weeks of back-and-forth New Hampshire finally enacted gay marriage. Both chambers passed the amended bill yesterday (clearing the House 198-176) and Lynch signed it into law on the same day.

SSP Daily Digest: 5/5

FL-Sen: Word on the street is that Charlie Crist will announce his plans regarding the Senate race on Monday. It sounds like he’s eager to jump in as soon as possible after the end of the legislative session, to keep Marco Rubio from gaining any traction. If Crist’s exalted-sounding riposte to Rubio’s smacktalk yesterday is any indcation, he’s already staking out the post-partisan high ground.

NH-Sen: Over in what Dean Barker calls “Cloud Hampshire,” Andy Smith of UNH still thinks there are more Republicans than Democrats in the Granite State. That could be why the notoriously unreliable pollster finds John Sununu, Jr. “leading” Paul Hodes 46-41. Take it for what it’s worth – i.e., not very much at all. (D)

MN-Gov: Ellison Endorses Entenza! Rep. Keith Ellison from Minneapolis lent his support to Matt Entenza, the former state House minority leader (and a friend of Ellison’s from law school).

OR-04: Republicans have recruited Springfield Mayor Sid Leiken to run against longtime incumbent Peter DeFazio. Don’t be misled into thinking this D+2 district represents a good opportunity for the GOP – DeFazio is very popular (he won with 83% last year). More likely, the GOP is hoping DeFazio will run for the governor’s mansion, leaving this seat open. (D)

TX-17: GOP candidates once again are lining up for the opportunity to take on Rep. Chet Edwards. But Edwards keeps on finding a way to win in this wildly red district (at R+20, it’s the 19th most-conservative seat in the entire country), and he isn’t even on Frontline this year. Meanwhile, the Republican field is very much unsettled. (D)

FL-24: State Republican chairman Jim Greer just announced that he won’t take on freshman Dem Suzanne Kosmas this cycle. Yet another recruiting failure for Pete Sessions & the NRCC. (D)

Mayors: There are two mayoral elections in big cities today: Detroit and Anchorage. Detroit is a Dem-on-Dem duel where there’s not much ideological difference and it’s more of an insider/outsider clash; Kenneth Cockrel, who took over as mayor after Kwame Kilpatrick resigned, is up against businessman (and Detroit Pistons great and NBA Hall of Famer) Dave Bing. Anchorage residents are choosing between Democrat Eric Croft and Republican Dan Sullivan to replace now-Sen. Mark Begich. Anchorage Mayor was an important stepping stone for all two of Alaska’s prominent Dems: ex-Gov. Tony Knowles as well as Begich.

SSP Daily Digest: 3/31

NH-Sen: The scurvy dogs at ARG! take their first reading of the 2010 New Hampshire senate race since Judd Gregg announced his retirement, finding that Rep. Paul Hodes beats ex-Sen. John Sununu 42-36. Hodes leads Sununu 38-31 among independents. (MoE ±4.2%)

KY-Sen: In the days leading up to 1Q fundraising reports, Jim Bunning has publicly admitted that his fundraising has been “lousy,” although he says “Surprisingly, we’ve had pretty good success the last month.” He’s looking forward to some April fundraisers starring such luminaries as Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, and fellow baseball celeb Tommy Lasorda.

GA-Gov: Roy Barnes is sounding very interested in another try at the governor’s race. Barnes got bounced by Sonny Perdue after one term in 2002, but populist anger plus demographic changes in Georgia may make a Barnes comeback feasible. (Insider Advantage found earlier this month that Barnes would defeat several of the likely GOP candidates.)

LA-02: Joseph Cao is signaling he may actually break ranks and vote for the Obama budget this week, telling The Hill that his constituents are “split.” (In the sense that they are likely to “split” his head open if he keeps voting the party line.)

History: Roll Call takes an interesting look back at the spate of special elections during the 1993-1994 session of Congress, and the structural reasons we aren’t likely to see a repeat of the disastrous 1994 election again.

NH-Sen, NH-Gov: New Hampshire Omnibus

Every pollster you can think of, and every pollster’s dog as well, just released New Hampshire numbers. There aren’t any particular surprises (there’s major improvement in Strategic Vision and Suffolk, but that just brings them in line with everyone else), so I’m just going to throw them all out there in a somewhat more space-saving format:

Rasmussen: Shaheen 52 (52), Sununu 44 (46)

SurveyUSA: Shaheen 53 (48), Sununu 40 (40)

Lynch 65 (67), Kenney 28 (24)

Strategic Vision (R): Shaheen 48 (47), Sununu 41 (45)

Lynch 67 (68), Kenney 24 (23)

Suffolk: Shaheen 48 (41), Sununu 39 (40)

Lynch 67 (61), Kenney 15 (16)

Research 2000 for Concord Monitor:

Shaheen 52 (50), Sununu 42 (43)

Lynch 64 (60), Kenney 32 (34)

Shea-Porter 49 (48), Bradley 42 (43)

Hodes 55 (49), Horn 38 (35)

Also, as always, UNH has its daily tracker, which covers all these races plus the presidential and the two congressional races, if you’re a big fan of tiny sample sizes.