CT-Sen: I thought it was pretty weird that alleged non-candidate Rob Simmons was going to participate in a GOP debate last night. Well, he un-weirded things (I guess) by declaring at this debate that he is “running for the United States Senate.” We’ll see if it sticks. The primary, by the way, is August 10th.
KS-Sen: Not something you see every day: Rep. Jerry Moran’s former campaign manager, who claims he was pushed out in April, has endorsed rival Rep. Todd Tiahrt. Paul Moore said he thinks Moran, who has led in every single public poll, is not “instinctively conservative.”
NC-Sen: A new Civitas poll has Richard Burr leading Elaine Marshall 44-37. It’s been a really long time since Civitas looked at this race; in December of last year, they found Burr up 40-32.
WA-Sen: Obama alert! The POTUS will headline a fundraiser for Sen. Patty Murray on August 17th in Seattle.
FL-Gov: McLaughlin & Associates supposedly has yet another poll out, but not for their client Bill McCollum. Apparently, they did double duty for the Florida Medical Association, and – surprise – found Rick Scott leading McCollum 37-33. This seems like a pretty colossal waste of money, since McCollum’s internal – released just the other day – had him down 37-31.
Meanwhile, McCollum had to deal with a small brush fire: former Florida House Speaker Alan Bense held a private meeting with Rick Scott over the weekend. The problem is that Bense is supposed to be a McCollum supporter – something he re-iterated after his soiree, saying he only got together with Scott to be polite. Bense is also the chairman-elect of the Florida Chamber of Commerce, and his group is expected to get behind Billy Mac. And in case anyone still cares what unlovable loser Gary Bauer thinks, he endorsed McCollum.
KS-Gov: Dem state Sen. Tom Holland raised $283K from Jan. 1 to July 22nd and has $103K on hand. His Republican opponent, Sen. Sam Brownback, took in $519K and has $1.2 million in the bank. Note, though, that Holland’s fundraising mostly took place after the legislative session ended in June (there are strict regulations on fundraising while the lege is in operation), while Brownback was free to raise from all sources throughout the reporting period. Brownback’s been spending his time well, mind you: He just introduced legislation which would ban the creation of “part-human, part-animal creatures.” Sadly, this would mean no manticores, minotaurs, or mermaids. And I was really looking forward to embracing our brave new Greek mythology future.
MN-Gov: Glad to see that Citizens United is proving to be a two-edged sword. Target has donated $150,000 to a right-wing group called MN Forward, which is running TV ads on behalf of extremist Republican nominee Tom Emmer. Gay groups in particular are incensed, since Target had been known as a gay-friendly employer, even going so far as to support the Twin Cities Gay Pride Festival. And speaking for myself, Target can get fucked – as can Best Buy and any other corporation which uses corporate money to help elect Republicans. Not shopping at either location anymore, that’s for sure.
NY-Gov: Andrew Cuomo is launching his first TV ad of the cycle, a spot about property taxes. Of course, NWOTSOTB, or whether it’s cable or broadcast, or even where it’s airing. Sigh.
OH-Gov: Obama alert 2! The day after the POTUS appears in WA (see bullet above), he’ll be doing a fundraiser for Ted Strickland in Columbus.
OR-Gov: We haven’t done writeups of our most recent batch of race ratings yet, but Carla Axtman of Blue Oregon has a nice writeup of an interview she did with Crisitunity at Netroots Nation, where he explains our decision to move OR-Gov from Likely D to Tossup.
RI-Gov: Linc Chafee is doing his best to out-do Martha Coakley when it comes to alienating Red Sox Nation (a broad constituency throughout New England). While criticizing state loan guarantees to a video game company owned by Schilling, he also decided to question whether Schilling’s famous “bloody sock” game was legit. Already Chafee’s tried to walk back the remark – but there are no do-overs in baseball. Or politics.
GA-02: Dem Rep. Sanford Bishop, in a competitive race with Republican Mike Keown (who oh-so-narrowly outraised the incumbent last quarter), formally kicked off his campaign yesterday with a newly-famous Georgian at his side: Shirley Sherrod, with whom you are most certainly familiar by now. Even though this district is almost 48% black, it’s also extremely competitive politically, going 54% for Obama and 50% for Kerry.
KS-01: SurveyUSA has one final look at the open-seat GOP primary in KS-01, finding a three-way tie between state Sen. Jim Barnett, realtor Tracey Mann, and state Sen. Tim Huelskamp. All pull 24%. Last time, it was 23-20-18.
MA-09: Bubba alert! Bill Clinton is doing a fundraiser and rally this Thursday for conservadem and anti-healthcare reform asshole Stephen Lynch. Lynch faces a primary from Mac D’Alessandro and has a monster cash advantage ($1.3 million to just $72K), so this surely seems like overkill to me – but of course, the Big Dog loves to pay back favors, and Lynch was (you guessed it) a Hillary supporter in 2008.
NY-13: Rep. Mike McMahon, seeking to avoid a primary on the Independence Party line, is challenging the petitions of third-party irritant John Tabacco. Tabacco needs only 497 valid signatures, but New York has absurdly stringent rules which make it very easy to knock “bad” sigs out. Therefore, the common rule of thumb is that you need to submit at least twice as many petitions as the law requires, and Tabacco only provided 678. Therefore, I’m going to guess that McMahon – who is highly motivated here – will succeed in his challenges. Tabacco has some more problems to worry about, though – after giving a loan to the wife of the chair of the state Independence Party last year, he suddenly got their ballot line in a city council race (funnily enough, for the seat vacated by McMahon).
NY-15: House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer is dipping a toe into new waters, suggesting that resignation is an option for Charlie Rangel. So is fighting the charges, Hoyer says, but a ringing endorsement of the embattled former Ways and Means chair this is not. Meanwhile, Walt Minnick isn’t playing footsie, becoming the second Dem (after OH-13’s Betty Sutton) to call on Rangel to quit the House.
Rangel is still in talks with the ethics committee to try to reach some sort of plea bargain, but it seems that he’s unwilling to cop to a sufficiently broad array of violations to satisfy the committee members. If Rangel can’t come to terms, he’d face a “public hearing” (essentially a trial). As the New York Times points out, the last time this happened was in 2002, when Jim Traficant was expelled from the House.
PA-07: Teabagger Jim Schneller, hoping to appear on the ballot as an independent, says he’s gathered 5,200 signatures so far – a thousand more than the 4,200 he needs to submit by August 2nd. It remains to be seen if Republican Pat Meehan will try to challenge Schneller’s bid.
TN-03: Politico has a piece documenting the wingnut-on-wingnut violence stemming from the fight to replace outgoing Rep. Zach Wamp in this dark-red seat. The battle is between attorney Chuck Fleischmann and former state GOP chair Robin Smith.
Fundraising: A rare day: two Steny Hoyer mentions in one digest. The House Majority Leader is parachuting into a whole host of districts, doing events for Dems such as Mark Critz, Chris Carney, Tim Bishop, Denny Heck, and the undeserving Larry Kissell. Hoyer, like Nancy Pelosi, got where he is because lots and lots of people owe him – and will continue to owe him. Let this be a lesson to aspiring progressive leaders in Congress.
AR-Sen: The Big Dog is coming back home to stump for Blanche Lincoln, the first time he’s done so this race. Meanwhile, the SEIU just tossed in another $100K for phonebanking and another $100K for field on behalf of Bill Halter. (There’s also an amusing negative $100K entry for “reverse phonebanking.”)
CA-Sen: Chuck DeVore is as insane as this ad. A true must-see. In news of the normal, President Obama kept to his promise to return to CA for two more Barbara Boxer fundraisers. The events raised $1.75 million, $600K of which will go to Boxer and the balance to the DSCC.
KY-Sen: Heh, that was quick. Rand Paul is already planning the dreaded “staff shakeup.” The only problem is that he can’t fire himself. Barring that, Mitch McConnell is telling his least-favorite fellow Kentuckian to shut the fuck up and hide under a rock – “for the time being.”
PA-Sen: I agree – this is a magnanimous move. Arlen Specter introduced Joe Sestak to his Senate colleagues at their weekly lunch yesterday. Very gracious.
AL-06, AL-07: Unsurprisingly, corporate lawyer Terri Sewell is the only Democrat airing TV ads in the primary to succeed Rep. Artur Davis, spending about $200K so far. With $783K, she’s far outraised her chief competitors, Earl Hilliard, Jr. ($328K) and Shelia Smoot ($100K). Sewell can also count among her contributors Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz.
Crazily, though, ten-term GOP Rep. Spencer Bachus is also airing ads in advance of his primary in AL-06, some $70K worth. Bachus has spent an amazing $680K on his campaign so far, even though his challenger, teabagger Stan Cooke, has raised just $29K total. This is the reddest district in the nation according to Cook PVI (R+29), which may explain Bachus’s anxiety, since he is the ranking member of the House Financial Services Committee and voted in favor of the bailout.
AR-01: A similar situation in AR-01 as in AR-02 below, where first-rounder David Cook endorsed the somewhat less-conservative Chad Causey over the extremely conservative Tim Wooldridge in (you might be a little surprised to hear me say this if you don’t already know the names) the Democratic runoff.
AR-02: Some runoff endorsements on both sides from the also-rans. Patrick Kennedy and John Adams (great names, huh?) both endorsed Robbie Wills in the Democratic race, while David Boling endorsed Joyce Elliott. I suspect national Dems would prefer Wills over the more-liberal Elliott, but this race is probably too touchy to get involved in.
DE-AL: Joe Biden returned home to do a fundraiser in Wilmington for John Carney. No word on whether he’ll also do one for Senate candidate Chris Coons, but it’s not like it’s a big schlep.
FL-25: The statewide Florida AFL-CIO, following the lead of its South Fla. branch, endorsed little-known longshoreman Luis Meurice in the Democratic primary, rather than Joe Garcia. The union, Florida’s biggest, backed Garcia in 2008.
IN-05: This is exactly the kind of weird that Dave Weigel specializes in. Tim Crawford, the teabagging “Democrat” who snuck to victory in the Democratic primary here, abruptly dropped out of the race after an unpleasant meeting with, you know, actual Democrats… and then wrote a long, rambly email saying he was un-dropping-out. Ah well.
IN-09: Speaking of Joe Biden, he’ll also be doing a fundraiser in late June for Rep. Baron Hill in Jeffersonville, Indiana.
NC-08: I would really freakin’ love to see Tim D’Annunzio pull this one off. The entire NC House GOP delegation just collectively endorsed former TV sportscaster Harold Johnson, terrified as they are of the spastic-fantastic Tim-diana Jones. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, click here stat.
RI-01: Scott Brown is coming to Rhode Island for a fundraiser with state Rep. John Loughlin, the GOP’s candidate in this open seat. To date, Loughlin’s raised about $344K, which might not seem too bad, but in fact he’s been running for a long time, since well before Rep. Patrick Kennedy announced his retirement.
VA-11: Businessman Keith Fimian has a new poll from McLaughlin & Associates showing him with a 36-23 lead over Fairfax Co. Supervisor Pat Herrity in the GOP primary. A March poll had Fimian up 29-17. Herrity had his own poll out last month, though, showing him with a 42-21 lead – and pointed out that Fimian claimed his internals had him just three points behind Gerry Connolly before election day 2008, but lost by twelve.
DSCC: Uh, good, I guess. The DSCC has cancelled plans to have EPA chief Lisa Jackson headline an NYC fundraiser next week – but what a retarded idea in the first place. It seems pretty inappropriate to me to have cabinet members doing hackwork like this (can you imagine Hillary Clinton or Eric Holder shilling for dollars?), but it’s even worse when you’re talking about the head of the EPA in the midst of the oil spill crisis in the Gulf. I also find it unctuous that the original invitation promised that the event would be “intimate, so each of you will have a real opportunity to get to know and to speak to Lisa about issues of concern to you and our nation.” Pretty gross when it’s our team selling access to the ultra-wealthy. Barf.
Ideology: Alan Abramowitz has a great piece up at the Democratic Strategist, looking at the correlation between ideology (as measured by DW-NOMINATE) and election performance by Republican senators. Using a modified eight-point DW-N scale, Abramowitz finds: “For every additional one point increase in conservatism, Republican incumbents lost an additional three percentage points in support relative to their party’s presidential candidate.” But shhh… don’t tell the Republicans!
AR-Sen: Former President and governor of Arkansas Bill Clinton cut two radio ads on behalf of Blanche Lincoln. One of them highlights Lincoln’s alleged support for Clinton’s economic agenda back in the 1990s – not an issue likely to resonate, especially in today’s economic climate.
FL-Sen: A Public Opinion Strategies poll for Charlie Crist, taken before he left the GOP primary, had him at 36, Marco Rubio at 28, and Kendrick Meek at 23. A McLaughlin & Associates poll (taken for “the Associated Industries of Florida,” also before the switcheroo) had Crist up as well, 33C-29R-15M. Meanwhile, The Buzz takes a look at which boldfaced names showed up to Crist’s first fundraiser following his political party reassignment surgery.
On the Dem side, zillionaire mortgage-shorting mogul Jeff Greene says he’ll “spend whatever it takes” to win his primary against Rep. Kendrick Meek. That must be music to Joe Trippi’s ears. Greene is unelectable but thanks to his monstrous bankroll, he can do a lot of harm to Democratic chances in this race. Trippi is aiding and abetting this bullshit, and will profit handsomely.
NY-Sen-B: Chris Dodd, in the midst of working on financial regulation reform, says he won’t attend a Wall Street-sponsored fundraiser on behalf of Kirsten Gillibrand in NYC tonight.
UT-Sen: A poignant poll for Bob Bennett: While Republican delegates to the state convention despise him (he’s in third place with just 16%), rank-and-file Republican voters like him much more (first place, 39%). In other states, the GOP would have cause for concern, since a convention process like this is clearly aimed at producing the most conservative candidate imaginable. But in Utah, it probably won’t matter. Though if Bennett gets toppled, I wonder if other nervous establishment officials might consider eliminating the convention and replacing it with an ordinary primary.
MI-Gov: Thank god: Geoffrey Feiger, Jack Kevorkian’s attorney and the Dems’ disastrous 1998 gubernatorial nominee, says he won’t run again. Now all we have to worry about is Andy Dillon.
HI-Gov, HI-01: Hawaii’s legislature unexpectedly passed a civil unions bill on the last day of the session, which now goes to Gov. Linda Lingle (she has until July 6th to decide whether to sign the bill into law or veto it). Lt. Gov. Duke Aiona (R), running to succeed Lingle, wants her to veto it. Ex-Rep. Neil Abercrombie is strongly in favor of the bill (and gay marriage), while his Democratic primary opponent, Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann, opposes gay marriage but hasn’t expressed an opinion on the current bill.
This may also have repercussions in the HI-01 race, where state Sen. President Colleen Hanabusa may have pushed the bill through in an attempt to repair relations with the LGBT community after the same bill got scuttled in January. Hanabusa says she doesn’t support gay marriage, though, while Democratic rival Ed Case does. Republican Charles Djou opposes the measure.
FL-05: Unsurprisingly, local Republicans are grumbling about Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite’s filing-deadline handoff to Sherriff
Ted Richard Nugent, including state Sen. Mike Fasano, who apparently has had his eye on this seat for some time. You have to wonder if this is the kind of thing which will taint Nugent and make him vulnerable to a primary challenge next cycle. Also among the complainers, interestingly, is state Sen. Paula Dockery, whose current district overlaps with the 5th CD. Dockery’s gotten nowhere in her FL-Gov primary against AG Bill McCollum, so you have to wonder if she isn’t gnashing her teeth about a lost opportunity here.
FL-25: Joe Garcia’s candidacy is a rare bright spot for Dems in this otherwise putrid cycle. Now the DCCC, which lobbied heavily for him to get into the race, has given Garcia their official stamp of approval, adding him to their Red to Blue list once again.
GA-09: Dems never had a chance in the special election in this ruby red district, but you gotta figure it’s almost always better to actually have a Democrat on the ballot rather than not. We had a candidate here, pastor Mike Freeman, but he dropped out a couple of weeks ago. Now, though, he says he’s back in the race, but his website is offline.
IN-08: Democratic state Rep. Trent Van Haaften, running to fill Brad Ellsworth’s open seat, has been talking to local teabaggers to see if they might support him. Yeah, I’m in as much disbelief as you are. But, as is always the case, there’s a lot of hostility between the tea partiers and the establishment, and at least one ‘bagger says they want to “teach the machine a lesson.”
PA-12: Freedom’s Defense Fund, an arm of the incredibly dodgy Base Connect (formerly BMW Direct) has made a $20K “independent” expenditure on behalf of Bill Russell, who is challenging Tim Burns in the GOP primary. (Recall that there’s both a special election and a primary on the same day.) FDF is supposedly distinct from Base Connect, but given that they share the same office (according to TPM), the idea that their expenditures are actually “independent” is a real stretch.
More importantly, the NRCC just threw down another quarter million bucks on behalf of Burns, bringing their total spending on this race to over $725K. The DCCC has yet to respond to this latest blast.
DCCC: The DCCC is about to begin its biennial rite of splitting off its independent expenditure arm. Thanks to stupid federal laws against “co-ordination,” the DCCC staffers who make spending decisions about IEs can’t be in contact with the rest of the D-Trip, because those folks are in contact with individual campaigns. This is senseless. Anyhow, political director Robby Mook will head up the IE arm, and John Lapp (who once ran this shop himself) will serve as a “senior advisor.” Incumbent retention director Jennifer Pihlaja will replace Mook as PD of DCCC proper (and keep her current title).