SSP Daily Digest: 12/30

Dave’s Redistricting App: If you use Dave’s App, please don’t close your browser window/tab when you take a break. Whenever you load a new instance of the app, it causes a big bandwidth hit, especially when you open up New York state. So to help Dave conserve bandwidth, leave your browser open once you’ve loaded whatever you’re working on until you’re finished with that project. Thanks! (D)

AZ-Sen: Ex-Rep. J.D. Hayworth says that he may be ready to start “testing the waters” for a primary challenge to John McCain. Hayworth was recently seen in D.C., holding a joint fundraiser with Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio that raked in $100,000. Hayworth’s share of the proceeds went directly to help alleviate his outstanding legal bills.

CT-Sen: Well, this is awkward. Before Chris Dodd led the attacks on AIG for its executive compensation fiasco, Dodd was in AIG’s offices, collecting checks from their employees.

MA-Sen: Republican Scott Brown has launched the first ad of his campaign, making a totally cheeseball comparison between himself and JFK.

NY-Gov: Basil Paterson, David’s dad and former SoS, raises the ugly specter of the 2002 gubernatorial primary between Carl McCall and Andrew Cuomo as some kind of “warning” to Cuomo. (D)

AL-05: As we expected, PSC Commissioner Susan Parker has turned down the opportunity to challenge Parker Griffith in 2010. This leaves Democrats without a top shelf candidate, but there are other options worth considering. One potential candidate, state Rep. Randy Hinshaw, talks with Left in Alabama about the campaign that he’d like to see the Democratic nominee run. Doc’s Political Parlor hears that Deborah Bell Paseur is unlikely to run, and that Hinshaw is “as likely as anyone” to go for it. Madison County Commissioner Bob Harrison is also thinking about it.

CA-19: The Defenders of Wildlife are gearing up to do whatever it takes to prevent Richard Pombo from re-entering Congress (as he is considering), even if it means supporting another conservative Republican for the seat of retiring GOP Rep. George Radanovich. Meanwhile, Taniel notes that ex-Fresno mayor Jim Patterson is a Club For Growth protege — so this could be a pretty lively primary.

LA-03: State Rep. Nickie Monica has become the first Republican to file for the seat of Dem Rep. Charlie Melancon.

TX-10: Foreign policy consultant Dan Grant, who lost a 2008 Democratic primary to local celebrity judge Larry Joe Doherty, has taken his name out of consideration as a last-minute replacement for businessman Jack McDonald, who withdrew his candidacy for the seat of GOP Rep. Mike McCaul last week.

NC-10: Here’s something interesting we missed a while back: Iredell County Commissioner Scott Keadle is challenging Rep. Patrick McHenry in the GOP primary, and he’s backed his play with $250K of his own money. It’s not really clear what exactly Keadle’s beef with McHenry is – he seems to be running a 1994-esque campaign, accusing McHenry (who’s only held office since 2005) of turning into a “career politician,” and pledging to serve no more than three terms himself. (Hat-tip: Reader IR) (D)

VA State Sen: Hotline on Call takes a look at a crucial special election between ex-Fairfax Co. School Board member Steve Hunt (R) and Del. Dave Marsden (D). Marsden and Hunt are running to replace Republican AG-elect Ken Cuccinelli. If Democrats somehow win the seat, they’d be able to pad their razor-thin majority in the Senate to 22-18.

NYC-Mayor: The Swing State Project has gotten its hands on the precinct-by-precinct results for the 2009 New York City mayor’s race. You can also check out our entire storehouse of obscure election returns and otherwise-unpublished polling memos at the SSP Document Collection. For some tasty eye candy and analysis, SSP Research Bureau Chief jeffmd has put together some beautiful maps comparing Thompson’s performance to Obama’s. (D)

Polltopia: Pick PPP’s next state polling target: Alabama, Connecticut, Illinois, Florida or Massachusetts.  

AL-05: Sparks Unlikely to Run

Well, nothing’s official, but check out this press release that found its way into my inbox:

Gubernatorial candidate Ron Sparks will hold press conferences on Tuesday, December 29 to discuss the his campaign for Governor and next year’s race for the 5th Congressional District seat in North Alabama.  The press conferences will be held at:

Huntsville: 10:00 a.m., Madison County Courthouse Steps

100 Northside Square

Birmingham: 1:30 p.m., Linn Park

Montgomery: 4:00 p.m., Sparks campaign headquarters, 4240 Carmichael Rd

If you’re announcing that you’re running for Congress, you usually don’t take your announcement tour on the road to places outside the district (Birmingham and Montgomery) that you’re supposedly interested in representing. While I suppose Chris Van Hollen still has some time on the clock to make a last minute plea, I don’t think you should hold your breath. Ron Sparks seems to think that he has a good shot at being Alabama’s next Governor. I think he’ll eventually come to regret this choice, but that’s just my take.

So what’s next? If the DCCC is smart, they’ll lean hard on Public Service Commissioner Susan Parker, who was the candidate they should have lined up behind in 2008. However, while Parker hasn’t officially ruled out the race, I’m hearing credible word that it’s more likely that she’ll run for re-election to the PSC. Democrats would then have to settle for someone further down the totem pole — one such name that I’ve heard being considered is Deborah Bell Paseur, a former district judge who narrowly lost a race for Alabama’s Supreme Court in 2008. But I’m sure we’ll hear more names in the coming days.

UPDATE: This tweet says that Sparks isn’t running.

RaceTracker Wiki: AL-05

SSP Daily Digest: 12/24

Happy Holidays, everybody! Here’s a mercifully brief edition of the Daily Digest for your perusal today.

CO-Sen: Former GOP Lt. Gov. Jane Norton is looking to “channel” the passion of teabaggers who insist that Barack Obama is a baby-killing Muslim into a fearsome GOTV operation for her campaign against Sen. Michael Bennet. Sadly, this is no exaggeration.

CT-Sen: In the wake of Joe Lieberman’s nutfuckery in the healthcare reform process, a new CNN/Opinion Research poll shows that his standing has taken a big hit back home across the country — his favorable rating is at 31-34, down from 40-28 two weeks earlier. (Update: Whoops; I didn’t realize that this was a poll of “adult Americans”, not Connecticut voters. That’s not exactly as useful.)

AL-05: Democrats have a pair of credible candidates giving consideration to a run against newborn GOP Rep. Parker Griffith. State Agriculture Commissioner Ron Sparks has stated that he’s thinking about switching from his gubernatorial bid over to a Congressional campaign. Another very appealing candidate is state PSC Commissioner Susan Parker, whose ties to the district are stronger than Sparks’. Parker says she’s giving the race consideration, and will make an announcement after the holidays.

MN-06: PPP has some up-ballot observations from their latest House poll. Namely, Norm Coleman and Mark Dayton are damaged goods.

PA-10: It’s looking more and more clear that John McCain and other national Republicans completely crumbed the play in their efforts to snag a second defection from the Democratic House ranks. Not only did they hand Carney a beautiful talking point (“Hey, John McCain thinks highly enough of me to ask me to join the GOP caucus!”), but they’ve also set the state Republican Party scrambling to disassociate themselves from the national play. The PA GOP says that they had no part in the recruitment effort, saying that they’re looking for “real Republicans” to beat Carney. Meanwhile, Snyder County Commissioner Malcolm Derck, himself the only candidate of note in the GOP primary, called McCain’s efforts “a slap in the face to all rank-and-file Republicans working to take back the seat”. At least this is still excellent news… for John McCain!

NY-State Sen: SSP data guru jeffmd takes a look at Obama’s performance in each of New York’s state Senate districts in an effort to answer the question: why does the GOP control so many seats?

Judges: Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor is leading a new campaign to eliminate the election of judges. (Good idea.)

AL-05: Griffith is Friendless and Alone; Ron Sparks May Run

An omnibus of the latest and greatest Parker Griffith news:

  • Things got off to a rocky start for freshly-minted turncoat GOP Rep. Parker Griffith when his hometown paper, the Huntsville Times, eviscerated Griffith’s defection as a move made out of self-preservation that will end up hurting his district, which is heavily dependent on government funding for various aerospace and missile defense projects.
  • The Times was of course correct in their assessment that Griff’s split would hurt his district — Nancy Pelosi just stripped him of his committee assignments.
  • Griffith’s move has also cost him at least some of his staff and political associates: his press secretary called it quits, and all of his DC consultants have severed their ties with him.
  • Griffith was also forced to respond to the news that his campaign downloaded voter data from the Alabama Democratic Party just hours before his switch was made official. Griffith has said that they will delete that data. Also, in the run-up to his switch, Griffith conducted internal polling on the general election — but won’t disclose what the results were.
  • Republicans must be thrilled to welcome such a staunchly conservative Democrat into their ranks, right? Well, no. Not only are the local teabaggers unsupportive of Griffith, it appears that Republicans higher up the food chain are joining the purity chase, too. State Treasurer Kay Ivey, who is currently running for the GOP gubernatorial nomination, slammed Griff for defecting merely as a “ploy” for self-preservation, and that his enrollment in the Republican ranks is an “insult to every grassroots activist who commits untold hours in devotion to getting candidates elected”. (The irony, of course, is that Ivey herself used to be a Dem.) Was this the warm embrace that you were counting on, Griff? Perhaps calling yourself a “lifelong Democrat” and, in previous campaigns, running on a platform of giving “health care for all of the citizens” isn’t the type of background that the Republican base can accept under any circumstances these days — no matter how much you try to apologize for it.
  • And speaking of Republicans who want a piece of Griffith’s hide, here’s a familiar name who may be itching to step up: insurance executive Wayne Parker, who gave Griffith a close shave in 2008, is saying that he’s seriously considering an entry into the Republican primary.
  • So who will run for the Democrats? There are a few options — after all, this district has a pretty healthy Democratic bench. For one, there’s Susan Parker, a member of the state’s Public Service Commission and former State Auditor. Parker was actually interested in the race back in 2008, but demurred after Griffith jumped in. (It was a shame to me at the time, and an overwhelming shame now.) The problem is that Parker is up for re-election to the PSC next year — so she would have to choose between a relatively easy re-election campaign and a hard-fought congressional scrap.

    The other choice is a name that any self-respecting SSP fan is thoroughly familiar with: state Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries Ron Sparks, who is currently waging an underdog campaign for Governor against Artur Davis. The DCCC called Sparks, and by the sound of it, he seems pretty interested in the campaign. When a candidate doesn’t swat down rumors that he’s considering race-switching with haste, that’s usually a pretty good sign that they’re giving the matter more than just serious thought.

RaceTracker Wiki: AL-05