SSP Daily Digest: 3/7

HI-Sen: I’m not sure where these rumors started – or if they’re just tradmed speculation – but Gov. Neil Abercrombie says he hasn’t tried to get retiring Sen. Dan Akaka to resign early in order to appoint a replacement (who could then run for a full term next year as an incumbent). Count me among those who thinks former Gov. Linda Lingle isn’t as intimidating in real life as she might seem on paper – particularly given the fact that Barack Obama is running for re-election, and that her exit poll approvals in 2010 were a sucky 41-56. So I’m not convinced there’d even really be any point in trying to push an Akaka resignation.

ME-Sen: As we wait for the Great Teabagger Hope to deliver our dreams, the Hotline has word of another possible challenger to Sen. Olympia Snowe: former state legislator Carol Weston, who is now the state director of the Maine branch of the David Koch front group Americans for Prosperity. That could mean access to serious resources – something Weston acknowledges is a key factor in deciding on a run. Anyhow, she’s not ruling out a run, but claims she isn’t really considering it yet. But she also says that as part of her job with AfP, she sometimes has to “reign in” Snowe – pretty denigrating words, if you ask me!

MI-Sen: We’ve mentioned him before, but now he’s making it official: Former juvenile court judge and all-around social conservative Randy Hekman says he’ll seek the GOP line to challenge Debbie Stabenow. Hekman sounds decidedly Some Dude-level, though.

NV-Sen: This time, the joke comes pre-written. The ultra-wealthy Sue Lowden still has hundreds of thousands in campaign debts and has now been sued by her former polling company, Denver-based Vitale & Associates, for unpaid bills. The pollster’s attorney said Lowden is “probably driving around in her Bentley with a load of chickens in the back as barter to settle her campaign debts.”

PA-Sen: Pretty sweet re-elects for Bob Casey (D) in this new Muhlenberg College poll of registered voters: 48% say yes, 24% no, and 25% are unsure. Against Generic R, Casey pulls 41 to 27, but Muhlenberg also allowed people to say “it depends on the candidate” (not sure that’s such a helpful choice), which scored 18. It’s not entirely clear what the sample looked like, though, since the Mule only gives the breakdowns for their larger “all adults” sample (36D, 36R, 11I). In 2008, it was 44D, 37R, 18I.

RI-Sen, RI-01: The head of the Rhode Island state police, Brendan Doherty, just unexpectedly announced that he would resign in April, and that’s leading to talk he might be considering a run for office as a Republican. Though Doherty had originally been appointed by Republican Gov. Don Carcieri, he was re-appointed only last week by the new governor, Lincoln Chafee. Anyhow, Doherty supposedly is choosing between a challenge to Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse or to freshman Rep. David Cicilline in the first district. He says he’ll announce his plans at the end of May.

VA-Sen, VA-11: Rep. Gerry Connolly (D) is opting out of a Senate run, saying instead he’ll seek re-election to a third term in the House. Like just about everyone else, he also declared that he wants to see Tim Kaine run. Speaking of which, Sen. Mark Warner said on the teevee this weekend that he thinks the odds of Kaine jumping in were “slim” but “are getting a lot better right now.” I have no idea if Warner has any special insight, or if maybe he’s just trying to pull a reverse-Inouye here (i.e., goad someone into running).

On a related note, PPP has a state-level report card out for VA politicians.

NV-Gov: Jon Ralston calls it “one of the most brazen schemes in Nevada history” (not just electoral history! and this is Nevada!), while Rory Reid says everything he did was “fully disclosed and complied with the law.” Ralston describes this “scheme” as the formation of “91 shell political action committees that were used to funnel three quarters of a million dollars into his campaign.” Ralston’s had wall-to-wall coverage at his site. Among other things, Reid’s legal advisor wrote a letter to the campaign saying he thought the use of these PACs was legal – and, in a point that Ralston is seriously disputing, also said he got sign-off from the Secretary of State. I don’t really think Reid had much of a future in NV politics anyway, but if Ralston’s reading of the situation is right, this could spell a lot of trouble for him. If not, then it’s just some sketchy politics-as-usual. Even Ralston himself acknowledges that “the point here is less whether it actually was legal… but whether it should be.”

CA-36: Finally some endorsements for Debra Bowen: She just announced the backing of state Sens. Alan Lowenthal and Fran Pavley, state Rep. Betsy Butler, and former state Sen. Sheila Kuehl.

MN-08: This is from a couple of weeks ago, but still relevant: Duluth-area state Sen. Roger Reinert says he won’t challenge freshman GOPer Chip Cravaack next year, adding his name to the list of Dems who have declined to run. Others who have said no: Duluth Mayor Don Ness; former state House Majority Leader Tony Sertich; state Rep. Tom Rukavina; and state Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk (whom we’d previously mentioned). Man, that’s a lot of dudes named Tom! (UPDATE: Just two – it’s Tony, not Tom, Sertich.) That’s most of the heaviest hitters, but another possible candidate is Duluth City Councilman Jeff Anderson, who told FOX 21 that he is “very interested” (their words) in the race.

Milwaukee Co. Exec.: Huh – I’d managed to forget that Scott Walker didn’t just emerge fully-formed out of a rent in David Koch’s skull on January 1st, 2011. Until not that long ago, he was the Milwaukee County Executive, which means that his old seat is up in a special election next month. It should come as no surprise that Walker’s extremely unpopular attempts at union busting have become the issue in the race, and Republican state Rep. Jeff Stone is suffering badly for it. Stone voted for Walker’s budget bill, but now says he “would have preferred to leave the collective bargaining intact” – even though, as TPM notes, he voted against every Democratic amendment that would have done exactly that. Stone’s nominally independent but really Democratic opponent, philanthropist Chris Abele, has been hammering him on this front. The April 5th vote is actually a run-off; last month, Stone took 43% while Abele scored 25%, splitting the Democratic vote with the remaining candidates (all of whom were on the lefty side of the equation).

PA-AG: Columnist Jan Ting, who took 29% against Tom Carper in DE-Sen in 2006 but later left the GOP, says he has heard that former Rep. Patrick Murphy is considering a run for Pennsylvania Attorney General. A source also informs me that this is true. Note that most of PA’s statewide positions other than governor are up in 2012, so this race would be coming on soon. Note, too, that it will be an open seat: Newly-elected Gov. Tom Corbett was himself AG, and he appointed Pittsburgh-area prosecutor Linda Kelly to take his place. Kelly, however, has said she won’t run for the post next year.

Ohio Ballot: Though it’s gotten less attention than the fight in Wisconsin, Ohio is on the verge of passing legislation which strip collective bargaining rights from public workers. TPM reports that Ohio Dems are planning to put the law, known as SB 5, on the ballot (it’d take about 230,000 signatures), something which could happen either this November or next. This could wind up being a truly epic fight – though I’m also reminded of the last time Ohio Dems put up some lefty ballot measures in an odd-numbered year, and that didn’t turn out so well. (The 2005 effort was called Reform Ohio Now, and you can read all about it in the SSP Deep Archives.) Still, I think our chances would be a lot better this time.

KS Redistricting: In 2002, state lawmakers split the rather blue Douglas County (home to the city of Lawrence) between two congressional districts, the 2nd and 3rd. Now, though, thanks to growth in Johnson County, the third has to shed population (as we informed you last week), and one Democratic legislator is suggesting that Douglas could be reunited in a single CD. This seems unlikely, though, as it’s manifestly in the Republican Party’s interest to keep Lawrence cracked.

NE Redistricting: There’s a similar story playing out in neighboring Nebraska, where the now-famous 2nd CD (which gave Barack Obama a very narrow win – and a single electoral vote) also has to reduce its population. Light-blue Douglas County (no, I’m not losing it – different county, different state, same name as above) is currently entirely within the borders of NE-02, but it could potentially get cracked. The linked article discusses a number of different possible scenarios for the whole state, and even has some hypothetical maps.

NJ Redistricting: No surprise here: Democrats and Republicans couldn’t agree on a new map for New Jersey’s state legislative districts, so the Chief Judge of the Supreme Court, Stuart Rabner, appointed Rutgers Prof. Alan Rosenthal as tiebreaker (click here for a detailed profile). That wasn’t a surprise, either, as the 78-year-old Rosenthal performed the same duties during the last two rounds of redistricting for the U.S. House. Rosenthal is a Democrat but has a very non-partisan reputation. Last time, Democrats convinced the appointed tiebreaker, Larry Bartels, that their proposed gerrymander would improve minority representation. A similar outcome is probably not so likely this time.

OR Redistricting: As you can see from all the above links, now that redistricting data has been released, we’re starting to see a lot more redistricting-related stories with a little more meat to them. This piece outlines the issues facing Oregon and also explains some of the deadlines involved. If lawmakers don’t enact a state lege map by July 1 (or the governor vetoes it), then the task falls to Secretary of State Kate Brown, a Democrat. This is typically what’s happened in the past, though apparently there’s some hope that the evenly-divided state House (with its unusual dual Speakerships) will produce something both sides can agree on. Note that there is no similar deadline for congressional redistricting.

PA Redistricting: Pennsylvania’s congressional Republicans are headed to the state capital of Harrisburg this week, to discuss how best to gerrymander their map with their state legislative colleagues. Given that the GOP has absolute control over the redistricting process in PA, Democrats are going to get pretty fucked here, and PoliticsPA has a rundown of several possible scenarios that Republicans are supposedly considering.

New York: An issue which first came up nationwide last cycle is still percolating in New York. As we explained in September 2009, a new federal law (the MOVE Act) requires that absentee ballots be mailed to all overseas and military voters at least 45 days before the general election. That’s a problem in states with late primaries, like New York, where results can’t be certified and ballots can’t be printed in time to meet this deadline. A couple of states (I think just Vermont and Minnesota) moved their primaries up a bit to aide compliance, but others, like NY, had to get waivers from the Department of Justice that allowed them to send out ballots later. Despite getting such a waiver, many boards of election (including NYC’s) still failed to comply with even the later deadline – and now the DoJ (which had to sue NY last year) is unhappy with the state’s lack of further efforts to remedy these problems. An association of local election commissioners, at a meeting in January, voted to ask the state legislature to move the primary to June to avoid these issues altogether.

Dave’s Redistricting App: Dave has more data and more fixes, so that you can get your fix of data.

SSP Daily Digest: 8/26 (Morning Edition)

  • FL-Sen: Five Teamster locals, representing union member across the state, endorsed Charlie Crist yesterday. Meanwhile, Marco Rubio is out with a new ad, a positive family bio spot that is about as un-partisan as you can get. The Palm Beach Post suggests Rubio is trying to appear “above the fray” and let Crist and Kendrick Meek go at each other. NWOTSOTB.
  • FL-Gov: Mark Blumenthal (with assists from Charles Franklin and Harry Enten) has an interesting look at the final five FL-Gov polls, in an attempt to understand why PPP and Susquehanna came closest. (In passing, Blumenthal also points out that the average error in this batch of FL-Sen polls was twice as big as the FL-Gov average, but because several high-profile pollsters “called” the gube race wrong, those polls are getting more attention than the senate polls.)
  • AZ-03: State Sen. and fifth-place finisher Pamela Gorman, best-known for her ad in which she fires a bunch of guns, says she won’t endorse Ben Quayle (at least not yet), on account of the vileness he spewed on Second- and third-place finishers Steve Moak and Jim Waring, however, say they will support Mr. Potatoe-son.
  • AZ-08: Those GOPers really can’t shut up about how much they want to destroy Social Security, huh? Check out Jesse Kelly, fresh of his teabagger-fueled upset victory:
  • “We have to fulfill our promises that we’ve made to people who are on it now, because the government has stolen their money their entire lives, while phasing future generations off. You have to get the future generations off or you’re going to go broke,” he said. “Individual accounts is the key to it.”

    Sounds almost exactly like Tom Marino, huh?

  • FL-22: Ron Klein is up with his first ad of the campaign season, a spot attacking GOPer Allen West for failing to pay taxes. I’m glad to see Klein going on the attack, but given how much utterly insane shit has come out of West’s mouth, it feels a little limp to be going after him on IRS liens. Maybe that issue polled better, who knows. NWOTSOTB.
  • FL-24: Karen Diebel, one of the crazier GOP candidates in a year just chock-full of `em, has gone AWOL in the wake of her narrow loss to state Rep. Sandy Adams. While third-place finisher Craig Miller has endorsed Adams, Diebel hasn’t said a word. With 100% of precincts reporting, she trails by 0.8%. She’d need to get under 0.5% to trigger a recount (unless she can demonstrate fraud), which I suppose is conceivable once absentee ballots are counted. But even if that were to happen, she’d still have to make up a few hundred votes, which seems impossible.
  • ID-01: Heh. Remember when the RNC gave money to the Idaho GOP to hire two staffers to help out the utterly feeble Raul Labrador? Turns out things haven’t quite played out that way. One of the two staffers has been re-tasked to work on state races. As for the other guy, who knows?
  • MI-07: Yesterday we mentioned that AFSCME was launching a new ad against Republican Tim Walberg. Well, those guys don’t mess around. The size of the buy? A cool $750K.
  • ND-AL: Earl Pomeroy is up with his second negative ad in a week, this one attacking GOP Rick Berg on a somewhat unusual issue. Berg apparently promoted a law early last decade which, according to the ad, would allow banks to sell customers’ financial records. The bill was later rejected by voters in a referendum. I call this issue “unusual” because you don’t typically see privacy matters make a big impact on the campaign trail. NWOTSOTB.
  • VA-02, VA-05: This is nice to see: Sen. Mark Warner is spending some time this recess campaigning for both Glenn Nye and Tom Perriello. It sounds like he just did a fundraiser for Nye yesterday, and has some events on tap with Perriello this weekend. Speaking of Nye, he’s up with his first ad, touting his work in Iraq and how much he enjoys voting against the Democratic Party. Meanwhile, Nye’s opponent, GOPer Scott Rigell, is also up with an ad, attacking Nye for… supporting the Democratic Party. Do you get it yet, dude? They’re going to attack you no matter what, so you might as well sack up and do the right thing. No word on the size of either buy.
  • Unions: The AFL-CIO and SEIU, which split apart several years back, are trying to join forces once more. The two labor organizations say that they plan to spend at least $88 million between them this cycle, and perhaps more.
  • Analyzing Virginia’s 2009 Gubernatorial Election, Part 2

    This is the second part of two posts analyzing Virginia’s 2009 gubernatorial election. The previous part can be found here.

    When Democrats nominated State Senator Creigh Deeds, they nominated a rural, moderate Democrat designed to win the small towns and rural regions of western Virginia. In an ideal situation, Mr. Deeds would have carved out a coalition similar to former Governor Mark Warner’s.


    In 2001, Mr. Warner won a 5.13% victory over Attorney General Mark Earley, based largely upon rural support in western Virginia.

    Mr. Warner is famous among Democrats for this achievement (remember, this was just two months after 9/11). He went on to become a successful and very popular governor; in 2008, Mr. Warner ran for Senate and won double his opponent’s vote. Since Mr. Warner, no other Democratic candidate has ever built a coalition similar to his.

    More below.

    Below is Virginia’s political lean during the 2001 gubernatorial election:


    These maps indicate the results of a hypothetically tied election, which is useful to determine the political lean of each county (i.e. whether a certain place voted more Democratic or Republican than the state as a whole). For example, last year Indiana voted for President Barack Obama – but relative to the country as a whole, it leaned Republican.

    For comparison, here is the correlating map for Creigh Deeds (if Mr. Deeds had tied Mr. McDonnell), which I mapped in my last post:


    As the maps indicate, Creigh Deeds failed miserably at recreating the rural Warner coalition. Despite being a rural candidate, Mr. Deeds did far worse in rural western Virginia.

    Instead, Mr. Deeds appears to have done best in urban Virginia: Northern Virginia, Richmond, and the Norfolk-Virginia Beach metropolitan area. Rather than repeating Mark Warner’s coalition, the performance of Creigh Deeds appears far closer to that of President Barack Obama’s:


    Mr. Obama won through a urban-suburban alliance, compared to the urban-rural alliance of Mr. Warner.

    Here is Mr. Obama’s performance without the lean:


    To be fair, I would prefer the Obama coalition to the Warner coalition: suburban strength is more lasting than votes built upon dying small towns.

    Nevertheless, it is discomfiting to note the extent to which a candidate like Creigh Deeds – a rural, moderate Democrat who distanced himself from Mr. Obama – replicated the president’s performance. For better or for worse, it seems, Democratic candidates will from now on be attached hip-to-hip with Mr. Obama.

    (Note: All statistics are derived from ).


    SSP Daily Digest: 9/30

    NH-Sen: Joe Biden will be on duty to help Paul Hodes (who hasn’t set the world on fire with his fundraising so far) at a DC fundraiser on Oct. 5.

    SC-Sen: Democrats appear to have a candidate with some financial heft to take on Sen. Jim DeMint next year. The Indigo Journal writes that Rock Hill attorney Chad McGowan recently told local Democrats that he’ll be running full-time for the Senate nomination beginning in early October. (J)

    CA-Gov: Looks like the period of meditation on the Governor’s race that Jerry Brown promised us didn’t take very long: he’s opening his exploratory committee today. Meanwhile, Meg Whitman managed to poach another member of the Steve Poizner camp; former state GOP chair and former Assembly minority leader Bob Naylor dropped his Poizner endorsement and switched to Whitman.

    NJ-Gov: Yet another pollster sees the same story developing in New Jersey (this time it’s Quinnipiac). The race is tightening to within the margin of error, but it’s not because Jon Corzine is getting much better (he’s still not breaking 40); instead, Chris Christie is slowly deflating, while moderate independent Chris Daggett gains. Today’s poll has Christie up 43-39-12, a definite improvement over last month’s 47-37-9.

    VA-Gov: Creigh Deeds is finally playing one of his aces in the hole: Sen. Mark Warner, who generally polls as by far the most popular political figure in the state, cut an ad for Deeds and will be campaiging for him on weekends. Deeds also got an endorsement which, superficially, seems like a big coup, but isn’t, really: former GOP governor Linwood Holton. (The moderate Holton is father-in-law to Tim Kaine and endorsed Barack Obama in 2008.)

    NH-02: It looks like ex-Rep. Charlie Bass is getting off the fence and moving closer to an effort to reclaim his old seat, which he lost to Paul Hodes in 2006 but will be an open seat in 2010. He’ll be opening his exploratory committee tomorrow. (Although — maybe this is a possible sign of ambivalence — he says he’s opening the committee because he needs somewhere by quarter’s end to put all the unsolicited checks he’s received lately, or else he’ll have to return them.) He’ll probably still face a primary against the more conservative 2008 candidate, Jennifer Horn, assuming he runs.

    NY-23: As expected, Gov. Paterson has set Nov. 3rd for the NY-23 special election, the same day as other elections in the state (such as the NYC mayoral race), and of course the gubernatorial races in NJ and VA. GOP candidate Dede Scozzafava also got an endorsement that falls into the “as expected” category: from the Main Street Partnership, the ideological caucus for the dwindling ranks of moderate House Republicans.

    PA-04, 08: Two sophomore Democrats in Pennsylvania both got Republican challengers. In the Pittsburgh suburbs’ R+6 4th, Keith Rothfus, a Republican lawyer and former Dept. of Homeland Security official, will challenge Rep. Jason Altmire. (Apparently the NRCC’s top recruit, state House minority whip Mike Turzai, has been balking so far.) Meanwhile, in the less challenging 8th in the Philly burbs, computer consultant Jeffrey Schott is slated to run against Rep. Patrick Murphy.

    SSP Daily Digest: 4/8

    IL-05: Congratulations to our newest House member, Mike Quigley. The Cook County Commissioner won the special election in this safe Dem seat last night, defeating GOPer Rosanna Pulido 70-24 (with the balance going to Green Party candidate Matt Reichel). (There were only about 34,000 votes cast in this election, compared with about 58,000 in the primary, since that’s where all the action was.)

    AK-Sen: Gov. Sarah Palin will not be challenging Sen. Lisa Murkowski in the 2010 senate primary; in fact, she’ll be assisting Murkowski with raising money (despite simmering tensions between the two factions). It remains to be seen whether she’ll be running for re-election as governor in 2010, or bailing out after one term to focus on the 2012 presidential race (which, geographically speaking, is hard to do from Alaska).

    VA-Gov: If there’s one thing Terry McAuliffe is good at, it’s raising money. He raked in $4.2 million in the first quarter for his gubernatorial campaign. He started April with $2.5 million CoH as the race heads toward the June 9 primary.

    IA-Gov: With Iowa’s Supreme Court having effectively made same-sex marriages legal, the 2010 governor’s race could turn into a proxy referendum on the issue (with Gov. Chet Culver unwilling to amend the state constitution to block the courts). And this may draw a higher-profile challenger to the race: nutty GOP Rep. Steve King, whose name has been occasionally associated with this race, says the sudden rise of this issue makes him “more likely” to enter the race.

    GA-Gov: As noted by fitchfan28 in diaries, state House minority leader Dubose Porter has thrown his hat into the ring for the Democratic nomination for Georgia governor. He joins AG Thurbert Baker and former SoS David Poythress as announced candidates, with former governor Roy Barnes scoping out the race as well.

    NJ-12: Rush Holt may receive a credible challenge in 2010, from Fair Haven mayor Mike Halfacre, who just filed exploratory paperwork. Fair Haven is in Republican-leaning Monmouth County; the district as a whole, though, is blue, if not overwhelming so (Obama won 58-41).

    EFCA: In the wake of yesterday’s announcement that Blanche Lincoln would oppose EFCA’s current form, two more moderate Dem wafflers got off the fence in favor of EFCA (or, more technically, in favor of cloture): Mark Udall and Mark Warner. Campaign Diaries has a very handy head count, indicating that possible passage is still very close, and an unpacked version of the bill (for instance, containing the binding arbitration portion, leaving ‘card check’ for another year) may still be passed.

    CfG: With Pat Toomey about to leave the helm of the Club for Growth to pursue his senate bid against Arlen Specter, they need someone new to wave the sword for the circular firing squad. Looks like the job may fall to yet another ex-Rep who brought the crazy to a swing district, Chris Chocola. (Chocola got bounced from IN-02 in 2006 by Joe Donnelly.)

    Omaha-Mayor: In last night’s Omaha mayoral all-party primary election, former GOP Rep. Hal Daub (himself a former Omaha mayor) squeaked into first place with 35.6% of the vote to Democratic concilman Jim Suttle’s 34.3%. Republican Councilman Jim Vokal came in third, picking up 28.2% of the vote. New Nebraska Network’s Kyle Michaelis argues that despite the Republican candidates picking up more votes overall, Daub’s weak finish is not a good sign for his chances in the general election. (J)

    VA-Sen: A Sigh of Relief

    In every ranking of the Senate races, the open seat in Virginia always comes out on top of the heap in terms of those seats most likely to change hands. Former Gov. Mark Warner (D) practically walks on water, and maintains a consistently large lead over his opponent, former Gov. Jim Gilmore (R), as they compete for the seat currently held by retiring Republican Sen. John Warner (no relation to Mark). Beneath the confident chorus declaring Mark Warner's lead, however, there has been a faint hum of discordant worry, as Warner's name has been tossed about as a potential VP for Barack Obama. If Warner were taken out of the Senate race, our hold on that seat would be much, much more precarious, as there is no Democrat with the popularity and stature statewide to assure us of victory.

    Well, I am pleased to report that we can all breathe a sigh of relief.  At the State Democratic Convention in Richmond today, Mark Warner officially ruled out running for Vice President, stating that he is “110%” committed to winning the Senate seat.  

    That is not only good news for us this year; it also means that Democrats who have great potential but need time to build their statewide support, such as State Sen. Creigh Deeds, Delegate Brian Moran, and former Lt. Gov. Don Beyer, can save up their energies for the Gubernatorial election next year, rather than worry about having to jump into the Senate race in Warner's absence.

    UPDATE:  The Virginia State Democratic Convention took place in Hampton Roads, not Richmond.  (The Richmond Times-Dispatch article I cited above did not mention as much– h/t Johnny Longtorso).

    VA-SEN: Republican Party of Virginia endorses Mark Warner for Senate…

    The Republican Party of Virginia (RPV) voted today by a margin of 47-37 to hold a convention rather than a primary to select the GOP nominee for the U.S. Senate race in 2008. A convention would cost less and involve only core conservatives, as opposed to a primary which would cost more, but be open to all Republicans, as well as independents and even Democrats. Jim Gilmore has no money and little crossover appeal with moderates and indepedents, while Tom Davis has a lot of money and has based his political career off of appealing to moderates and independents. Thus, a convention is a tacit endorsement of Jim Gilmore to be the GOP nominee in 2008, and a primary is a tacit endorsement of Tom Davis to be the nominee.

    Since Jim Gilmore is a stooge who drove the state to ruin seven years ago, then embarassed himself and Virginia with a ridiculous “campaign” for President earlier this year (campaign is in quotation marks, because I don’t know in what reality his fumbling idiocy would be considered as such), he cannot possibly compete with his successor, Gov. Mark Warner, in a general election. Many on this site and others know that I truly believe that Tom Davis can compete with Warner and keep the race competitive and in the “toss-up” category through Election Day. Jim Gilmore cannot, and the very prospect of his nomination inches Virginia more blue. Today, the RPV took a step closer to that prospect, and in all practical effect, has endorsed Mark Warner to be the next Senator from Virginia.

    The question is now what Tom Davis decides to do. From what I can see, he has five options:

    1) Run for the Senate anyways, keeping consistent on his record, and lose the nomination to Gilmore. ***

    2) Run for the Senate anyways, tack to the far right to win the nomination, then lose to Mark Warner for being a flip-flopper who lost his grip with the center.

    3) Run for re-election in the House, which is not assured but would be easier than a run for the Senate.

    4) Retire from the House and start prepping for a 2012 challenge to Jim Webb.

    5) Retire from politics altogether after being sold down the river by his party when he tried to offer them their once chance at holding the seat.

    *** It isn’t clear whether Davis would be able to run for his seat if he lost at the convention.

    Tom Davis has never aspired to be Governor, and with three strong candidates already (Bob McDonnell, Bill Bolling, and George Allen) fighting for the nomination, I don’t see him trying to elbow his way in.

    Meanwhile, Jim Gilmore will be lucky to raise a million dollars and get more than 45% of the vote against Mark Warner. On the plus side, the NRSC no longer has a reason to invest in the state. I’m not one to give up on a race (I still believe Montana and New Jersey can be competitive this cycle), especially since I live in Virginia and don’t want Mark Warner to be the next Senator. But since the majority of the RPV Executive Committee disagrees with that goal, I see no reason to hope beyond hope in favor of a turd like Jim Gilmore.

    There is still a chance that Tom Davis may be the nominee and that the race will be close, but that chance just got a lot fatter. Congratulations, Democrats, you’ve just practically banked a Senate seat, and you barely had to fight for it.

    VA-SD34, VA-Sen: Poll Shows Democrats Leading Mr. and Mrs. Davis

    Here’s an interesting nugget from Virginia: a poll testing the strength of Democratic challenger Chap Peterson, who is going up against Republican incumbent Jeannemarie Devolites-Davis, the wife of Rep. Tom Davis, in Virginia’s 34th state Senate district this November.  First, a few caveats about the poll: 1) Not Larry Sabato, the source of the poll, has a good track record of getting inside dope in Virginia, but we don’t know anything about the poll other than its results–crosstabs, margin of error, or even the name of the pollster.  2) State legislative districts are notoriously difficult to poll.  It’s difficult to get a good sample in a small voter pool (it’s hard enough with a congressional district) like a state senate district in Virginia (which contain under 200K people).

    That said, take it or leave it (Pollster Unknown, 9/23-24; July results in parens; n=406):

    Chap Peterson (D): 46 (38)
    Jeannemarie Devolites-Davis (R-inc.): 36 (39)
    Undecided: 17 (22)

    The battle between Peterson and Devolites-Davis is seen by many as a proxy war of sorts between Tom Davis and former Gov. Mark Warner, who are both vying for the seat of retiring US Senator John Warner.  The poll also tests their strength in the state Senate district, which NLS describes as “the heart of the 11th district”, Tom Davis’ political base:

    Mark Warner (D): 53
    Tom Davis (R): 35

    If this poll is at all accurate (and that’s anyone’s guess, given the questionable track record of state legislative race polls), Tom and Jeannemarie have their work cut out for them in Northern Virginia.

    VA-Sen: Warner Leaning Heavily Toward Senate Bid

    From the Virginia Pilot:

    Former Gov. Mark Warner, a Democrat, is widely expected to announce his candidacy for the U.S. Senate on Thursday, pledging to bring a spirit of bipartisanship to Washington.

    Warner, in around-the-clock meetings and phone calls with political advisers in recent weeks, has been weighing whether to run for the Senate seat being vacated next year by longtime Republican incumbent John Warner, or wait until 2009 and run again for governor.

    One strategist who asked not to be identified said Warner has put out word to a few that he has decided on the Senate. Many others said Warner had indicated in conversations with them in recent days that he is leaning heavily toward the Senate.

    “I’d be surprised if he didn’t run for the Senate,” said Larry Sabato, a University of Virginia political scientist, who said he spoke with Warner on Friday night.

    One ally, who spoke with Warner on Monday, said the former governor put his chances of declaring for the Senate at “80-20.”

    The news comes hot off the heels of a pair of Rasmussen polls showing Warner leading former Gov. Jim Gilmore (R) by a 54%-34% margin, and Rep. Tom Davis (R) by a 57%-30% margin.  While Davis would obviously have a lot more room to grow (given a lower statewide profile than Warner or Gilmore), Warner would begin such a race in a commanding position.

    If Warner still harbors Presidential ambitions, I’m not convinced that a Senate term is in his best interests, but it would be in the best interests of the nation.

    Oh yeah, and this part of the article made me giggle:

    Several Republican strategists said Warner is no shoo-in for the Senate in 2008 and could face a bruising race. They said Warner had the luxury of never having held elected office when he ran for governor.

    “This time, he has a record and he’ll be held to it,” said Chris LaCivita, an adviser to Davis, a possible candidate. LaCivita noted that Warner raised taxes as governor despite making repeated campaign promises that he would not.

    “The free ride is over,” said Dick Leggitt, an adviser to Gilmore.

    Amazing.  It must take quite the marketing guru to “re-educate” Virginians that somehow Mark Warner’s gubernatorial record was bad for Virginia.  As the article notes, Warner left office with a whopping 75% approval rating.  Oh right: one of the guys taking the potshots is the brain behind the Swift Boat Veterans For Truth, and the other guy’s boss had an embarrassing four years as Governor.  These guys are utter clowns.

    Race Tracker: VA-Sen

    (H/T: SSPer MrMacMan)