Still, Ward might yet win. An independent poll last week from Greg Smith & Associates showed Ward leading Raul Labrador in the primary, 34-16, but with 50% undecided. The general election numbers (PDF) are really weird, though – Smith tested Rep. Walt Minnick “jungle-style” against both Labrador and Ward together. Yeah, Idaho doesn’t do their elections that way, so I don’t get the choice, but in any event, Minnick was at 50% with both Republicans combining for 20%.
“When I see a first-class individual who makes $80,000 a year, he’s lower middle class. When I see someone who is making anywhere from $300,000 to $750,000, that’s middle class. When I see anyone above that, that’s upper middle class.
• KY-Sen: Rand Paul makes an interesting point: he’d like SoS (and GOP primary rival) Trey Grayson to recuse himself from his secretarial duties during the May election. In other words, he doesn’t want Grayson to count the votes of the election that he’s running in. (Unsurprisingly, Grayson’s spokesperson says “no.”)
• MA-Sen: An AFL-CIO post-game poll finds that a majority of labor households in Massachusetts went for Scott Brown in the special election, by a narrow 49-46 margin. The one consolation Democrats might take from that failure is that a large majority of respondents said they were “choosing the best candidate” rather than “sending a message to Washington,” which suggests that the success (or lack thereof) of the two campaigns at defining the individual candidates is the main story here.
• NY-Sen-B: This seems to exist mostly at the level of idle speculation, but people in the know are wondering whether Harold Ford Jr.’s apparent entry into the Democratic primary may open the door for other primary candidates who considered the race and then thought better of it to get back in, out of hopes they might shoot the gap in the middle.
• PA-Sen, PA-07: Pennsylvania’s Democratic party chair, T.J. Rooney, is now publicly urging Rep. Joe Sestak to “pull a Gerlach” and bail out of his Senate primary bid while heading back to nail down his suburban swing seat instead. This isn’t that remarkable, as Rooney has been outspoken all year in his desire to avoid paralyzing primaries – but you’ve gotta wonder if Sestak, who’s stalled a bit in the polls lately, is considering it in the back of his mind.
• WI-Sen: Rarely has so much ink been spilled writing about a four-word quotation (“I’m not saying no”), but with that utterance yesterday from ex-Gov. Tommy Thompson, thus begins a whole ‘nother round of speculation as to whether the 68-year-old Thompson’s unlikely bid to challenge Russ Feingold will ever materialize.
• KS-Gov: State Sen. Tom Holland sounds willing to step up and take on the job that no one seems to want: running against Sen. Sam Brownback in the open gubernatorial race in Kansas. Holland represents one of the state’s few purplish areas, with a district that includes part of college town Lawrence, but he clearly plays to win, as seen in the fact that he’s beaten two different incumbent Republicans in his state legislative career.
• AK-AL: Between being kind of old and on everybody’s “most-likely-to-be-indicted” list, Alaska’s Don Young is a tempting target, from both the left and right. He got another primary challenger yesterday: never-before-elected telecommunications executive Sheldon Fisher. Gadflyish businessman and blogger Andrew Halcro (who won 10% as an independent in the 2006 gubernatoril race) has already said he’ll run against Young in the primary, too.
• AR-01: As we reported yesterday, Rep. Marion Berry is sounding kind of unenthused about much of anything right now. Fleshing out that interview we mentioned, Berry said it’s his “intention” to run again, but, as part of a longer excursis waxing philosophical about his own mortality, wouldn’t make an absolute commitment to sticking around.
• HI-01: A fourth entrant (and a third Democrat) seems likely to get into the special election to replace retiring Rep. Neil Abercrombie: state Sen. Will Espero is starting an exploratory committee. Because of the weird all-parties, winner-takes-all nature of the election, the fear is that a Democratic pileup could open the door to a victory by lone Republican Charles Djou – but a recent Mason-Dixon poll of the race finds Djou a distant third behind well-known Democratic opponents Ed Case and Colleen Hanabusa, and it’s unclear whether Espero has the name rec to make much of a dent one way or the other on that.
• MA-10: Republicans in the Bay State are taking a renewed interest in competing in House races there, usually something that gets completely neglected. In the wake of Scott Brown’s victory, former state Treasurer Joseph Malone is now saying that he’s planning to run against Rep. William Delahunt in the 10th, which is probably the least secure district for Democrats in the state; covering Cape Cod and much of the South Shore, it’s at D+5, but the source of some of the darkest red on this week’s map. Delahunt was unopposed in 2008. The GOP is also interested in fielding candidates in the 3rd and 5th against Jim McGovern and Niki Tsongas, two other blue-collar Catholic districts that gave big margins to Brown.
• MS-01: Here’s a surprise: after painstakingly clearing the GOP field for state Sen. Alan Nunnelee and getting him off to a good fundraising start, the NRCC is now meeting with Fox News talking head Angela McGlowan about a run against Rep. Travis Childers in the 1st. McGlowan hasn’t been elected before, but she does have experience as a staff member to Sen. John Ensign.
• NJ-03: In addition to being an NFL player, NJ-03 Republican candidate Jon Runyan is apparently also a gentleman farmer in his spare time. He owns a 20-acre spread in rural New Jersey, but pays only hundreds of dollars in property taxes each year on 15 of those acres thanks to using them as farmland – in order to raise four donkeys. (I’m sure the irony of raising donkeys is lost on no one, although the land probably isn’t zoned to allow for elephants instead.)
• NY-23: The Doug Hoffman camp is touting an internal poll showing him with a big lead over potential rivals for the GOP nomination this year, including the more establishment figure of Assemblyman Will Barclay. Hoffman, still benefiting from a lot of name rec after gaining national attention from the special election, leads Barclay 56-22 in a hypothetical 4-way contest also involving would-be-picks from last time Matt Doheny and Paul Maroun.
• MA-St. Sen.: The good news is that Democrats may have a shot at picking up Scott Brown’s Senate seat in a special election (date TBA). The seat covers parts of Middlesex, Bristol, and Norfolk counties in Boston’s southwestern suburbs. 21-year state Rep. Lida Harkins says she’ll run for the Democrats; physician Peter Smulowitz also intends to run. State Reps. Richard Ross and Elizabeth Poirier may run for the GOP. The bad news? They don’t really need a pickup, as the Dems already have a 34-4 edge now (with one other vacancy in a safe Dem seat to be filled, thanks to the resignation of prison-bound Anthony Galluccio).
• Supreme Court: As you probably know, the Supreme Court opened the door yesterday to a flood of special interest money into the election process with their decision in Citizens United. The case allows corporations, labor unions, and other similar entities to make unlimited independent expenditures on behalf of candidates, although they still can’t make direct contributions to the candidates’ warchests. Rich Hasen’s Election Law Blog and How Appealing have roundups of links to many different discussions as to what all it means. (Everyone seems to agree it’s a big deal, but just how big a deal seems up for debate.)
• Census: Census Director Robert Groves is out with a timetable for all the movements that will occur over the next few months to get the Census up and running, seemingly to be executed with military precision. And if just can’t get enough Census discussion, Groves even has his own blog now.
9:19PM: Tsongas declares victory. Nothing to be too proud of in this D+10.7 district, I’m sorry to say.
9:09PM: I’m hearing that local TV stations are calling it for Tsongas.
9:06PM: BMG says Tsongas is up by 2100 votes with 147 of 196 precincts reporting.
9:02PM: With 96 of 195 precincts reporting, Tsongas is down 46%-51%.
Update: Results can be found here. So far we’re at 59%-38% Tsongas, with only 6 of 195 precincts reporting. Plenty of time for that lead to come back down to earth.
It’s decision day in MA-05, where voters are going to the polls to select a replacement for Democrat Marty Meehan in the House. We’ll update this thread as developments occur. Turnout has been described as “light”, but it’s anyone’s guess as to whether that benefits Republican Jim Ogonowski or Democrat Niki Tsongas right now, but I’m a bit nervous. Polls close at 8pm Eastern.
Since we still have time, let’s do a prediction contest. (No prizes, though, other than honor and glory.) Post your prediction for how the race will end up in the comments (percentages, please). Remember that there are a few independent candidates in the fray, as well.
One final note, for now… I sincerely hope that this doesn’t turn out to be a microcosm for the broader campaign:
Jim Ogonowski may be a political newcomer, but the Republican has learned a thing or two during his first run for elective office.
Today, the final day before voters go to the polls in a special election to replace former Rep. Martin Meehan, Ogonowski sprinted up and down the line of cars waiting at a Dunkin’ Donuts drive-thru, seizing upon the captive audience – and open driver-side windows – to pass out campaign literature.
“Every vote counts,” the farmer and former Air Force lieutenant colonel told one driver. “We’re that close.”
Democrat Niki Tsongas, the other headliner in the race, employed a slightly less frenetic pace, visiting several senior centers and holding an ice cream social as she sought to claim for herself the House seat once held by her late husband and 1992 presidential contender, Paul Tsongas.
1. MA-05, has there been any recent polling, public or private? It would be great to get a poll result just before the election.
2. IN-07, has Julia Carson got a primary opponent yet? I don’t like primary challenges
as a rule, as most of them are destructive. But one here might be for the best.
Charlie Cook has downgraded IN-07 to Likely Democratic, based on Carson’s likely decision to seek reelection. He also seems to think Dem turnout will be down to dissatisfaction with Congress’ inability to end the Iraq war.
Everyone here probably saw the disturbing Survey USA poll from a few weeks back, which showed Dem Nikki Tsongas leading Republican Jim Ogonowski, heretofore a nobody, by just 51-41. No one has publicly polled the race since, but David Wasserman at the Cook Political Report (sub. req.) has lots more to say, little of it good:
Yet at this point in the race, there is little question that a Democratic nominee with a familiar political last name is significantly underperforming against a Republican political newcomer in the run-up to the October 16th general election. The evidence is not difficult to come by: former President Bill Clinton will be headlining a rally in the district on Sunday.
[P]ollsters on either side of the partisan divide were sent into the field to double-check the [SUSA] numbers, as is standard procedure. As it turns out, this private polling only reinforced a Tsongas lead in this neighborhood and has led several Democratic insiders to concede that she has a real race on her hands.
The wankers at The Corner claim a Dem survey shows a mere 5-point lead, but no one has produced so much as a one-page polling memo to back this claim up. Still, I don’t like it. Anyhow, back to Wasserman:
So why in the world could this race be close?
It is possible to view the race in any number of lights, but it is hard to deny that voters in the district are angry at Washington for a variety of reasons. Polling universally pegs the district’s job approval rating of Congress in the teens, and there is little doubt the district’s job approval of President Bush languishes at similar depths. For the district’s small band of Republicans, whose base probably comprises around a third of the vote in any given election, Ogonowski is an attractive prospect considering the party has been shut out of federal office in the Bay State for so long. But those familiar with the district say he will also receive substantial support from independents and even some Democrats who are clearly very frustrated with congressional Democrats’ inability to end the Iraq War and are eager to send Congress any message they can if they perceive they are in the national spotlight.
Then, there are race-specific factors at work. Surely, there are a handful of Democrats who still harbor bitter feelings from the closely contested primary and may not get behind her in the general. Local operatives, however, point to a larger image problem for Tsongas, stemming from her desire to transition from a community college position with a somewhat opaque title to Congress. For years, Massachusetts voters have endured numerous scandals and controversies involving highly politically-involved university officials: the names Bulger and Silber come to mind. As Tsongas seeks to follow in the footsteps of an outgoing congressman who left to become chancellor of the district’s largest university, she must be wary of the perception that there is a revolving door between higher education and public office and that public institutions conceal featherbedding operations for politicians in the state.
Ugh. Wasserman notes that Romney got 53% here, so a Republican win is not out of the question. Perhaps most troubling is that he moved this race not one but two notches – from Solid Dem to Lean Dem in one fell swoop. Such big moves are extremely rare at Cook or any of the professional prognostication outfits.
Wasserman also mentions the Hackett special in 2005, and my feeling is that we might be looking at the mirror-image of that race: We’ll probably pull out a win in the end, but narrowly enough that the GOP will feel bouyed. The only silver lining here is that I think the closeness of this contest likely isn’t a sign of a widespread rot lurking just below the surface, as OH-02 was for the Republicans.
But whatever the outcome – especially if the unthinkable happens – this had better shake Hill Democrats out of their unacceptable complacency. I don’t doubt for a minute that Wasserman is correct when he describes Tsongas’s weak showing as a proxy for the disgust many Democratic voters currently harbor for the Democratic Congress. It’s long past time for our caucus to stand up to the GOP, and the situation in MA-05 is just further proof of that.
Survey USA’s poll showing Nikki Tsiongas only leading Jim Ogonowski 51-41%, has given me (and should give Democrats) some pause.
And frankly, the Democrats have underperformed in
special elections this year. In GA-10, the runoff was between two Republicans. We lost a seat in the NY state assembly. Additionally, the
Dallas mayor’s race was a terrible result.
If this seat goes Republican, especially to a candidate who says we should be in Iraq indefinitely, this may be a bad omen for holding on to the House next year.
Given that the GOP has their strongest possible
candidate with 9/11 connections (his brother piloted one of the planes that crashed into the World Trade Center), is this a race to worry about? Comments appreciated, especially those with some local knowledge.
Five Democrats squared off today in a primary to succeed retiring Rep. Marty Meehan. As the polls close and the returns start to flow in, treat this as an open thread to offer up your predictions on how the race will turn out.
Also, check out the coverage at Blue Mass. Group for a local perspective.
Update: The AP has called the race for Niki Tsongas.
Niki Tsongas, widow of senator and presidential contender Paul Tsongas, won her first election Tuesday, besting four others in the Democratic primary in the race to replace U.S. Rep. Martin Meehan.
Tsongas battled vigorously with Lowell City Councilor Eileen Donoghue, who developed a robust election machine over 12 years in their home city of Lowell — the largest community in the 5th congressional district — but could not overcome the Tsongas name recognition.
Tsongas will face Republican Jim Ogonowski, a retired Air Force colonel, in the Oct. 16 general election. Ogonowski's brother, John, was captain of American Airlines Flight 11, one of two planes hijacked by terrorists and flown into the World Trade Center on Sept. 11.
With 98 percent of precincts reporting, Tsongas had 35 percent or 19,296 votes compared to Donoghue's 32 percent or 17,175 votes.
Niki Tsongas, widow of Democratic presidential candidate Paul Tsongas, is one of the candidates for the special election for Congress in MA-5.
Congressman Meehan has agreed to take the Chancellorship at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, and as has been speculated on Blue Mass Group and other outlets, I am indeed running for the US Congress seat he is vacating. As you also may know, it is the same seat my husband, Paul Tsongas held years ago. The University of Massachusetts Lowell is truly fortunate, and I look forward to seeing the Congressman accomplish as much for the Commonwealth’s public universities as he did for the people of 5th.