FL-Gov: Chiles Will Exit Race, Endorse Sink

Sweet score for Alex Sink:

Independent candidate Bud Chiles confirmed Wednesday he would drop out of Florida’s race for governor and back Democratic nominee Alex Sink. […]

In a statement, aide Jim McClellan said Chiles would make the announcement official at a Thursday morning news conference in Tallahassee.

Democratic pollster Tom Eldon said the rise of surprise GOP nominee Rick Scott ended up changing the electoral math for Chiles, the son of former Democratic Gov. Lawton Chiles, who had jumped into the race in June as a alternative to the two major party candidates.

“Democrats, independents and a healthy percentage of Republicans have been coalescing around Sink ever since Scott’s receipt of the GOP’s nomination and this has marginalized Chiles in recent polling,” said Eldon. “Chiles, like these voters, is rightly worried about the damage Rick Scott could do to the state if he were to be elected governor. Chiles could live with himself if Bill McCollum became governor. I don’t think he wanted to face the morning-after had Rick Scott just been elected governor.”

PPP’s most recent poll indicated that the bulk of Chiles’ support came from conservative-leaning folks who just couldn’t stomach Rick Scott. His exit may only have a net neutral effect, but his endorsement is surely welcome news here.

UPDATE: Some more from Chiles:

Chiles added that he came away from the meeting “feeling a whole lot better” about Sink’s stance on issues he cares about, such as renewable energy, children’s issues and spurring small business. “It seemed to me like that there was a lot more agreement than I might have thought.”

SSP Daily Digest: 9/1 (Morning Edition)

  • AK-Sen: Lulz. Ex-state Rep. Andrew Halcro is still carrying the torch for a Murkowski Libertarian bid, despite the fact that the Alaska Libertarian Party voted to reject having Murkowski on their ticket over the weekend. Halcro is telling The Hill (and anyone else willing to listen, apparently), that he thinks the Libertarians would be willing to reconsider, as long as Murkowski is the one who reaches out directly. And maybe he’s actually got something there, as the state Libertarian chair, Scott Kohlhass, said yesterday that “as a sitting senator, we’d always be open to sitting down and talking to Lisa Murkowski.” This is the same guy who, we remind you, previously announced that Murkowski was unwelcome on their ticket due to “fundamental differences”. Make up your minds already!

    It’s also worth noting that Murkowski didn’t sound all that interested in carrying this fight on to the general election in her concession speech last night. While she didn’t endorse Miller, she spoke of her plans for the future, saying that she was looking forward to “coming home” at the end of her term. I don’t think a Libertarian bid, or a write-in campaign, is in the cards.

    Meanwhile, the NRSC has been busy trying to convince the world that Joe Miller has this shit locked. On Monday, they released a Basswood Research poll (8/28-29, likely voters) showing Miller leading Sitka Mayor Scott McAdams by 52-36. PPP tested the race around the same time and found Miller ahead by only 47-39.

  • FL-Gov: The St. Pete Times is hearing “considerable buzz” that Bud Chiles, the son of legendary former Democratic Gov. Lawton Chiles, will pull the plug on his independent gubernatorial candidacy. Chiles, who seemed to be having a net-neutral impact on the race due to his support from Dixiecrat-flavored voters, reportedly was spotted having lunch with Democrat Alex Sink in Miami yesterday. Is an endorsement on tap?
  • WI-Gov: Jesus. Are these the kind of headlines that you really want to be generating?

    Wis. cand. runs fighting ad aimed at attack victim

    Scott Walker is up with a new ad in which he dons boxing gloves and vows to “go the distance” against Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. Barrett, as you may recall, was brutally attacked while intervening in a domestic violence incident at the Wisconsin State Fairgrounds last summer, sustaining injuries from which he may never fully recover. Talk about not thinking through all the angles…

  • CT-05: GOP state Sen. Sam Caligiuri won the endorsement of the Independent Party of Connecticut yesterday, meaning that he’ll appear on the ballot against SSP hero Chris Murphy on both the Republican and Independent lines.
  • IA-03: Dem Rep. Leonard Boswell rolled out an endorsement Monday from architect Mark Rees… who was most recently seen losing the Republican primary for the nomination to challenge Boswell back in June. Rees, who drew 4% in the GOP primary, says that he’s backing Boswell because the Republican nominee, state Sen. Brad Zaun, is too far to the right “on all the issues”.
  • NV-03: AFSCME shelled out $750K for attack ads on GOPer Joe Heck, and they’re out with their second ad in the series, a thirty-second spot on the topic of Social Security privatization.
  • NY-24: Here’s a double-dose of bad news for Mike Arcuri. First, the New York Board of Elections recommended that Libertarian Ernest Logan Bell be removed from the ballot after coming up short on valid ballot signatures. (Never fear, fans of liberty, Bell’s encouraging his supporters to write-in his name in November.) Next, it seems that Arcuri’s “NY Moderates” Party line is in jeopardy. Republicans in the district pointed out the existence of a state statute that says that ballot lines aren’t allowed to include the words “New York.” Election officials say that may cause Arcuri’s indie line to go up in smoke, but are putting off a final decision on the matter until September 16th. Arcuri’s attorney, for what it’s worth, says that the party name will merely change to “Moderates”. Good luck with that.
  • VA-09: Benenson Strategy Group (8/18-22, likely voters) for Rick Boucher:

    Rick Boucher (D-inc): 55

    Morgan Griffith (R): 32

    Is that too optimistic for Boucher? Perhaps, but it’s not entirely far-fetched, either. A July poll by SurveyUSA — not the most Dem-friendly pollster this cycle — had Boucher up by 52-39. Despite the bottom falling out for so many Democratic incumbents in tough districts, Boucher appears to have more staying power than some of his colleagues.

  • WI-07: At SSP, we always try to give you the Size Of The Buy where possible. We reported yesterday that the DCCC was hitting the airwaves with their first independent expenditure ad of the cycle against ex-Real World star Sean Duffy. Turns out the buy is for $36,500 — not breaking the bank by any means, but House party committees rarely saturate the airwaves in August.
  • SSP Daily Digest: 8/27 (Evening Edition)

    FL-Sen: Well, so much for the secret ballot. The Palm Beach Post deduced that Jeff Greene voted for himself… inasmuch as his vote was the only vote for himself in his entire precinct. It was a 2-to-1 vote (literally… Kendrick Meek got 2). Even his wife didn’t vote for him, although that’s because she isn’t registered to vote in the county. (Marco Rubio got 26 votes in the same precinct.) Meanwhile, Charlie Crist seems to have lost some of his footing after a convincing Meek victory in the Dem primary; he flip-flopped on health care reform in the space of one day, saying in a TV interview that he would have voted for health care reform, then, after the Rubio camp started flagging that, saying later in the day that he actually wouldn’t have voted for it. I get that he wants to appeal to both Dems and moderate GOPers, but he has to be less transparent than that.

    IL-Sen: Bad news for Alexi Giannoulias: the Constitution Party slate just got struck from the ballot, so Randy Stufflebeam won’t be there to siphon right-wing votes from Mark Kirk. Libertarian candidate Mark Labno will be on the ballot, though, as a Kirk alternative (as will Green LeAlan Jones).

    IN-Sen: This is sort of pushing the outer limit of when it’s a good idea to release an internal, but it looks like the Brad Ellsworth camp needed to let people know that he’s still in this race. His own poll, via Garin Hart Yang, finds him trailing Dan Coats 49-38. The race is closer among those who actually know Ellsworth, but his six-week-long ad buy is about to end, so his name rec problems may persist.

    KY-Sen: Jack Conway is joining Elaine Marshall on the Alan Simpson-pile-on, seconding calls for the firing of Simpson from the Social Security commission in the wake of his “milk cow” comments. Meanwhile, Rand Paul has apparently brushed up on his elementary math skills recently, as he’s now backtracking on previous pledges to erase the nation’s federal budget deficit in one year.

    MO-Sen, MO-04: Although this poll from Missouri State University (on behalf of TV station KY3) looks good for Robin Carnahan, it’s got some methodological issues that we just aren’t comfortable with. It was taken over the period of Aug. 7-22, is of registered (not likely) voters, and it also wound up with a sample that was 63% female, although they say they weighted for various demographic factors. At any rate, it shows the race a dead heat, with Roy Blunt leading Robin Carnahan 49-48. It also took looks at three House races in the Show Me State, although with MoEs in the 7% ballpark. In the 4th, Ike Skelton has a 47-35 lead over Vicki Hartzler. Two GOP-held seats look to be pretty uneventful: in the open 7th, Billy Long leads Scott Eckersley 51-23, and in the 8th, Jo Ann Emerson leads fundraising maven Tommy Sowers 64-17.

    WI-Sen: Seems like it was just this morning we were discussing the second instance of Ron Johnson’s flagrant hypocrisy when it comes to railing against government involvement in the market, except when it comes to government aid for his own business… and now we’re up to a third instance before the day’s even out. On Wednesday it came out that in 1985 he’d gotten $2.5 million in government loans to expand his plastics business, and now it’s come out that in 1983, two years earlier, he’d gotten a separate $1.5 million loan for a $4 mil total.

    NM-Gov: The DGA is out with a new ad against Susana Martinez in the gubernatorial race, hitting her for $350K in bonuses handed out in her prosecutor’s office. NWOTSOTB, but we’re told it’s a statewide saturation buy.

    VT-Gov: The final count from the SoS office in the Dem gubernatorial primary seemed to get finished ahead of schedule, as numbers today gave Peter Shumlin a 197-vote win over Doug Racine. Racine said that he would go ahead and request a recount; state law provides for a taxpayer-funded recount for a candidate trailing by less than 2% (seems like a pretty generous recount policy compared with most states). In keeping with the primary’s very civil tone, both candidates continued to praise each other and say they understood the recount choices.

    CO-07: Republican pollster Magellan (which put out an internal for Scott Tipton in CO-03 last week) is out with a poll in the 7th as well now, although this appears to be on their own, not as an internal for Ryan Frazier. At any rate, their poll gives a 40-39 lead to Republican Frazier, over incumbent Dem Ed Perlmutter. (10% opt for “some other candidate.”)

    MS-04: Thanks to Haley Barbour, the previously low-dollar campaign of state Rep. Steven Palazzo just kicked into higher gear (or into gear, period). Barbour held a fundraiser for Palazzo that raised $177K, which will help his uphill campaign against Democratic Rep. Gene Taylor.

    SC-05: Another POS poll in the 5th on behalf of GOP state Sen. Mick Mulvaney has him making up ground on Rep. John Spratt; the two are now tied at 46-46. Spratt led by 2 in a previous POS poll in May. Spratt retorted to CQ that in his own polling he was ahead with “breathing room,” but declined to provide specific numbers.

    Ads: Other ads for your consideration today include not one but two new ads from Roy Barnes, going negative against Nathan Deal (on the ethics issue, but also general Washington-bashing). In OH-Gov, Ted Strickland is also out with a double-shot of ads, hitting John Kasich for his free-trading past. Chet Edwards is out with an anti-Bill Flores ad in TX-17 accusing Flores of lying about having voted for GOPer Rob Curnock in 2008 (he didn’t vote at all that day), while the Club for Growth is out with a PA-Sen ad that calls Joe Sestak “liberal” several hundred times in the space of 30 seconds.


    AZ-Sen: Rodney Glassman (D) 31%, John McCain (R-inc) 53%

    FL-Gov: Alex Sink (D) 36%, Rick Scott (R) 41%, Bud Chiles (I) 8%

    NM-Gov: Diane Denish (D) 43%, Susana Martinez (R) 48%

    SC-Gov: Vincent Sheheen (D) 36%, Nikki Haley (R) 52%

    WI-Gov: Tom Barrett (D) 44%, Scott Walker (R) 47%

    WI-Gov: Tom Barrett (D) 44%, Mark Neumann (R) 48%

    FL-Gov, FL-Sen: Single-Digit Sink, Crist Advantages in General

    Quinnipiac (8/11-16, Florida voters, 7/22-27 in parentheses):

    Alex Sink (D): 31 (26)

    Bill McCollum (R): 29 (27)

    Bud Chiles (I): 12 (14)

    Undecided: 21 (27)

    Alex Sink (D): 33 (27)

    Rick Scott (R): 29 (29)

    Bud Chiles (I): 12 (14)

    Undecided: 20 (26)

    (MoE: ±3%)

    All manner of other pollsters have given Alex Sink small leads in the gubernatorial race over the last month, thanks to the bizarre no-holds-barred civil war on the GOP side. Believe it or not, this is the first time that Quinnipiac has joined the rest in giving Sink the lead, despite that they’ve been one of the Crist-friendliest pollsters this year. Sink’s winning mostly just by standing around, smiling, and staying mud-free; she’s at 30/15 favorables, compared with 33/43 for McCollum and 28/40 for Scott among the general population.

    Jeff Greene (D): 15 (17)

    Marco Rubio (R): 32 (32)

    Charlie Crist (I): 40 (37)

    Undecided: 10 (12)

    Kendrick Meek (D): 16 (13)

    Marco Rubio (R): 32 (33)

    Charlie Crist (I): 39 (39)

    Undecided: 10 (14)

    (MoE: ±3%)

    With the gubernatorial race having gotten so explosive, it’s actually gotten easy to forget about the Senate race (which for a brief while was the absolute marquee Senate race). Things have been decidedly low-key lately between Crist and Rubio, while Meek and Greene pound each other in the Dem primary, all to little effect in the general. Crist actually gains a little ground in this sample, more pronouncedly with Jeff Greene as the Dem candidate (although they don’t find as wide a disparity in how Crist performs against Greene as against Meek as, say, Mason-Dixon did). With Crist having had the chance to dominate the airwaves acting gubernatorial during the oil spill, he’s actually pulled his favorables back above the 50% mark, at 53/33, while Rubio’s at 35/28. (Meek is at 24/25, while Greene is pretty much in ruins, at 18/31.)

    With the likelihood (seeming apparent to all but Rasmussen) that Crist goes to Washington, questions are getting louder about what he’ll do when he gets there. Matt Yglesias raises an interesting (if terrifying) specter of a scenario for 2011, wherein Crist still wouldn’t have to pick sides: 49 Democrats (or 48 + Sanders, I presume), 49 Republicans, and then Charlie Crist and Joe Lieberman in the middle, forming their own caucus (the CfL/FLfC Party?) and wielding all the control over organizing the Senate.

    FL-Gov, FL-Sen: Confusion Reigns

    Ipsos for Miami Herald and St. Petersburg Times (pdf) (8/6-10, registered voters, 7/9-11 in parens):

    Alex Sink (D): 30 (31)

    Bill McCollum (R): 26 (30)

    Bud Chiles (I): 12 (12)

    Undecided: 29 (24)

    Alex Sink (D): 29 (31)

    Rick Scott (R): 30 (34)

    Bud Chiles (I): 14 (13)

    Undecided: 26 (16)

    (MoE: ±4%)

    The newest Ipsos poll in Florida finds Alex Sink gaining a little ground over her Republican opponents since last month, as they’ve continued to turn each other even more radioactive in their battle. However, unlike Mason-Dixon‘s gubernatorial poll from this week, they find Rick Scott matching up better with Sink than does McCollum… recall that Mason-Dixon showed a competitive Sink/McCollum race, but Sink demolishing Scott as the Medicare fraud story finally seemed to sink in with voters.

    GOP primary numbers, with trendlines from 5/14-18:

    Rick Scott (R): 42 (22)

    Bill McCollum (R): 32 (46)

    Undecided: 23 (25)

    (MoE: ±5.9%)

    There’s also a big difference here between Ipsos and Mason-Dixon, in the GOP gubernatorial primary. Mason-Dixon found McCollum shooting back into the lead 34-30, but here Ipsos gives Scott a solid lead like nothing has happened. (You’ll note the trendlines make it look like Scott is surging, but those go all the way back to May when Scott was just getting started.)

    For what it’s worth, though, there are two new Republican polls out in the last few days that suggest that Mason-Dixon is on the right track. Neither one is for the McCollum camp, although they’re both for McCollum allies. A Tarrance poll for the Florida Medical Association (taken 8/10-12) gives McCollum a 44-40 lead. And a McLaughlin & Associates poll for the Chamber of Commerce (taken 8/11-12) gives McCollum a pretty wide lead, at 45-33.

    Ipsos Senate numbers, trendlines from 7/9-11:

    Kendrick Meek (D): 17 (17)

    Marco Rubio (R): 29 (28)

    Charlie Crist (I): 33 (35)

    Undecided: (20)

    Jeff Greene (D): 19 (18)

    Marco Rubio (R): 30 (29)

    Charlie Crist (I): 32 (34)

    Undecided: 19 (19)

    (MoE: ±4%)

    Last month’s Ipsos Senate numbers were pretty favorable to Charlie Crist, some of the best numbers he’d put up since his big switcheroo. There’s a little regression to the mean here this time, although he’s still in the lead in both Kendrick Meek and Jeff Greene matchups. Or is there some actual movement toward Marco Rubio going on? (See the Mason-Dixon poll below.)

    Dem primary numbers, with trendlines from 5/14-18:

    Jeff Greene (D): 35 (9)

    Kendrick Meek (D): 31 (33)

    Maurice Ferre (D): 4 (10)

    Undecided: 30 (41)

    (MoE: ±6.4%)

    With the Dem primary fast approaching, Ipsos still sees a huge number of undecideds. They give Jeff Greene, of vomit-coated yacht fame, a small lead over Kendrick Meek. So Greene’s on track to win, right? Well, maybe not. (Again, see the Mason-Dixon numbers below.)

    Mason-Dixon (pdf) (8/9-11, likely voters, 5/3-5 in parens):

    Kendrick Meek (D): 18 (19)

    Marco Rubio (R): 38 (32)

    Charlie Crist (I): 33 (38)

    Undecided: 11 (11)

    Jeff Greene (D): 12 (NA)

    Marco Rubio (R): 38 (NA)

    Charlie Crist (I): 39 (NA)

    Undecided: 11 (NA)

    (MoE: ±4%)

    We’ve already posted about the surprising gubernatorial results from Mason-Dixon, but these are also surprising, because they’re the first non-Rasmussen pollster in a while to give an edge to Marco Rubio (at least in a Kendrick Meek matchup). Of all pollsters, they seem to pick up on the biggest disparity in how Meek and Greene perform: and here, it’s Greene who underperforms dramatically (compared with Meek), enough to throw the election to Crist. Crist clearly understands the dynamics and is further hitching his hopes to the Democratic wagon, as seen with his announcement yesterday that he supports Barack Obama’s support for construction of the mosque near Ground Zero.

    Dem primary numbers, with trendlines from 8/2-4:

    Kendrick Meek (D): 40 (33)

    Jeff Greene (D): 26 (29)

    Maurice Ferre (D): 5 (5)

    Undecided: 28 (31)

    (MoE: ±5%)

    As I alluded to above, we have a very different result here in the Dem primary from Mason-Dixon, who show Meek starting to run away with it. So, with the Florida primary only a little more than a week away, we have agreement between Ipsos and Mason-Dixon on… absolutely nothing.

    FL-Gov: McCollum Catches Back Up With Scott

    Mason-Dixon (8/9-11, likely voters for primary and registered voters for general, 8/2-4 for primary trendlines, 5/3-5 for general election trendlines):

    Bill McCollum (R): 34 (31)

    Rick Scott (R): 30 (37)

    (MoE: ±5%)

    Alex Sink (D): 37 (36)

    Bill McCollum (R): 35 (45)

    Bud Chiles (I): 13 (NA)

    Alex Sink (D): 40 (38)

    Rick Scott (R): 24 (36)

    Bud Chiles (I): 17 (NA)

    (MoE: ±4%)

    Some sort of dam has broken in Florida in the last week, apparently, and Rick Scott is the one who’s currently getting swamped. There has been a general sense in polling over the last few weeks that Bill McCollum was working his way back into contention in the GOP primary, and all of a sudden, in the latest Mason-Dixon poll, he’s broken back into the lead. What’s wrong with Scott? (Or: What gives, Cueball?)

    Mason-Dixon’s Brad Coker offers three pretty good reasons: 1) the Medicare fraud thing is finally starting to gain some traction (you’d think it would have months ago, but I guess you have to hit people over the head repeatedly for stuff like that to sink in, and that’s what the latest round of McCollum ads have been doing), 2) Scott, a la Meg Whitman, shot past the point of diminshing returns on saturation advertising, and 3) Scott sucked at the debates he was in, and has been ducking another one this week.

    There’s also some serious spillover for Scott into the general. Mason-Dixon’s general election trendlines go all the way back to May, so they don’t reflect the period where McCollum had been turned radioactive and Scott was polling much better vis-a-vis Alex Sink… but that’s totally turned around in the new poll. Sink narrowly leads McCollum, but now she demolishes Scott (with an assist from indie Bud Chiles, who seems to get a big bump in a Sink/Scott race too). The Sink/McCollum numbers are a definite improvement from their last poll, though, so even if McCollum does somehow pull it out in the primary, it seems like the damage from Scott’s self-aggrandizing kamikaze mission has already been done.

    SSP Daily Digest: 8/9

    AK-Sen: Wow, now we’ve got Mike Huckabee and Sarah Palin working in harmony in at least one place: Huckabee just endorsed Joe Miller, the little-known right-wing challenger to Lisa Murkowski in the GOP Senate primary.

    AZ-Sen: J.D. Hayworth is out with a new ad in a last-ditch effort to make up some ground on John McCain, and he’s relying on time-honored tradition of pulling a few of his opponents’ words out of context. In this case, he swipes the passage “I chose lying” from McCain’s 2002 audiobook, although in the book it was talking about the South Carolina confederate flag controversy, and Hayworth just slaps it down in an ad about immigration. The ad buy is for $365K.

    CA-Sen: This isn’t a surprise in terms of which of the candidates they endorsed, but it might be interesting that the Chamber of Commerce decided there was enough of a shot in this race for them to weigh in. They’re backing Carly Fiorina in the California Senate race, based on, y’know, her long track record of success at Hewlett-Packard.

    FL-Sen: A Mason-Dixon poll released late last week gives some hope to Kendrick Meek, who other polls had shown had fallen behind billionaire weirdo Jeff Greene in the Democratic primary. Their poll (conducted for “Leadership Florida and the Florida Press Association”) gives Meek a 33-29 lead. Greene’s main problem seems to be that the press keeps on doing stories about, well, all those things that Greene has been doing for the last couple decades; yesterday the St. Petersburg Times looked at Greene’s involvement in a California condo deal that belies his claims that he was a high-level investor and not involved in any of the myriad ground-level predatory lending transactions that, when all added together, helped create the real estate asset bubble. Greene’s defense? “I don’t follow what happens after the sale…. All I care about is that I get my money.” Finally, whether Greene or Meek wins the primary, one more problem they’ll have to deal with is the movement of prominent Democratic money to indie Charlie Crist. Pollster Mark Penn hasn’t been anyone’s image of a reliable or useful Democrat lately, but he is at least a prominent Democrat; he’s now raising for Crist.

    KY-Sen: Will “I worship you, Aqua Buddha” become the newest political catchphrase that sweeps the nation? GQ has a hilarious (if somewhat disturbing) look back at Rand Paul’s hellraising days at an undergrad at Baylor (a school from which, by the way, he doesn’t have a bachelor’s degree). It’ll be interesting to see if this actually creates any blowback for Paul.

    WA-Sen: Interesting: another endorsement for the once-moderate Dino Rossi from another celebrity on the right in the Senate. Unlike Jim DeMint (whose backing he got last week), who has something of a fundraising network that comes with his endorsement, Tom Coburn (who just announced his support) just has cachet with right-wing fanboys. More evidence that Rossi, while publicly pretending to be focused only on the general, is scrambling to shore up his right flank before the Top 2 primary where he faces competition from various teabaggers, most significantly Sarah Palin-backed Clint Didier.

    FL-Gov: That Mason-Dixon poll had a Republican gubernatorial portion as well, and they do provide some confirmation for the sense that Bill McCollum is worming his way back into this thing, with not much time left on the clock. Rick Scott leads McCollum only 37-31. Worth noting: it doesn’t seem to have anything to do with people taking notice of Scott’s legacy of Medicare fraud at Columbia/HCA, but rather, McCollum consolidating the Republican Hispanic vote (where he leads 3-1), probably thanks to Scott’s demagoguery on the immigration issue and McCollum’s more even-handed stance. Meanwhile, not that Bud Chiles was gaining much momentum, but explaining this could be a big distraction: his former leadership of innocuous-sounding charity HOPE Worldwide, which it turns out is an arm of the cultish International Churches of Christ.

    IA-Gov: Social conservative activist Bob Vander Plaats ran a surprisingly close race against Terry Branstad in the GOP gubernatorial primary and then threatened an independent run when he didn’t receive the proper amount of fealty post-primary. However, he announced last Friday that he won’t attempt a third-party bid (which would probably give the advantage in the race back to Chet Culver). He’ll focus his energies on defeating members of the Iowa Supreme Court, in retaliation for its gay marriage ruling.

    MN-Gov: If there’s one campaign out there in need of a shakeup, it’s Tom Emmer’s, as polls have made clear that the GOP gubernatorial nominee’s trajectory post-nomination has been aimed almost straight down. Old campaign manager Tom Mason departed for a farm upstate, replaced by former ’08 Norm Coleman CM Cullen Sheehan.

    PA-Gov: Remember Sam Rohrer, the socially conservative state Rep. who persisted in the GOP primary against AG Tom Corbett (and lost big)? His supporters still haven’t given up hope, and, although Pennsylvania law prohibits him from a ballot line in November, are now launching an independent write-in campaign for Rohrer. (Rohrer hasn’t endorsed the idea, but isn’t dissuading them either.) The write-in campaign is a particularly difficult beast, though, meaning that it’s likely that Rohrer wouldn’t pick up more than a couple percent, and the race would have to get closer than it currently is for that to harm Corbett’s odds against Dem Dan Onorato.

    RI-Gov: Brown University is out with a poll on the Rhode Island gubernatorial race, and one thing is clear: no current Republican is going to win the race. Democratic state Treasurer Frank Caprio leads independent ex-Republican ex-Sen. Lincoln Chafee, by a bare 28-27 margin. For some reason, they seemed to poll the two Republicans jungle-style, but it really doesn’t matter as both are non-factors: former Don Carcieri communications director John Robitaille is at 7 and ex-state Rep. Victor Moffitt is at 2.

    FL-08: Jeb! backs Web! Ex-gov. Jeb Bush cut an ad in support of ex-state Sen. Daniel Webster, who, with his dithering, managed to blow his early shot at consolidating GOP establishment support in the primary. Instead, he’s one of many guys stuffed in the clown car, fighting for the right to oppose Rep. Alan Grayson.

    ID-01: The omission of Raul Labrador from the NRCC’s Young Guns, which seems to admit any Republican who has enough opposable digits to successfully operate a telephone and call donors, seemed like it was becoming too embarrassing for even the NRCC’s skilled writers to spin away. Labrador says he “changed his mind” and is now willing to join the entourage. Labrador, who has $69K, is only entering at the “On the Radar” level, though, the bottom of the pyramid.

    IL-14: State Sen. Randy Hultgren thought he struck some electoral gold when he found a contribution to Rep. Bill Foster from fellow Dem Maxine Waters for $1,000, which then demanded Foster give back. Unfortunately, there’s something to be said for basic reading skills: the contribution wasn’t to Bill Foster, but rather to former music industry exec Gary Foster, who’s now head of a charitable org called Upliftment Jamaica. Naturally, the Hultgren camp blamed the FEC for forcing them to screw up.

    LA-02: Sen. Mary Landrieu announced her backing for state Rep. Cedric Richmond in the Dem primary in the 2nd, more evidence that the Dem establishment is trying to unite behind Richmond and put the squeeze on primary rival state Rep. Juan LaFonta.

    MI-09: As part of the transition from primary to general election, one item that’s high on GOP nominee Rocky Raczkowski’s to-do list is to walk back his previous birtherism. After telling Politico in a post-primary interview that he’d “love” to see Obama’s birth certificate, he’s now out with a statement that Politico took his out of context… without, of course, explaining what context such a comment should be taken in.

    OH-18: Stop the presses! (And hide the women!) Bill Clinton adviser turned Fox News talking head Dick Morris has announced he’ll be making appearances on behalf of at least 40 Republican candidates this year. That includes a fundraiser for Rep. Zack Space’s opponent, state Sen. Bob Gibbs, later this month.

    RI-01, RI-02: That Brown gubernatorial poll also looked at the Democratic primaries in the 1st and 2nd, although the margin of error is terribly high (7.4% in RI-01). In the 1st, Providence mayor David Cicilline is in command of the Dem field, leading former state party chair William Lynch 32-11 15, with 11 for businessman Anthony Gemma and 5 for state Rep. David Segal (who just got the local SEIU‘s backing, by the way). In the 2nd, Rep. Jim Langevin looks likely to weather his primary challenge with ease; he leads state Rep. Elizabeth Dennigan 55-12.

    SBA List: Anti-abortion group the Susan B. Anthony List has come out with polls of one open Senate race and three House races featuring Dem incumbents (where the common thread seems that all the Dems are anti-abortion), courtesy of that Republican pollster with the oh-so-creative name, The Polling Company. They find Dan Coats leading Brad Ellsworth 50-35 in the Indiana Senate race. The House races are an interesting mix of the good, the bad, and the so-so. For the good, Rep. Joe Donnelly seems to start on solid ground in IN-02, where he leads state Rep. Jackie Walorski 52-35. For the bad, Rep. Steve Driehaus may just be the most DOA of any House Democrat, as this is one more poll giving him a double-digit deficit against ex-Rep. Steve Chabot (51-41). And for the so-so, Rep. Kathy Dahlkemper (last seen losing in a too-good-to-be-true internal from GOP opponent Mike Kelly) is leading Kelly by a pretty plausible 46-42.

    Blue Dogs: The Blue Dogs handed out a load of endorsements to Dem candidates, looking to replenish their soon-to-be-depleted ranks (thanks to a number of retirements, as well as many of their members being in many of the nation’s most competitive races). Endorsees are Steve Raby in AL-05, Chad Causey in AR-01, Roy Herron in TN-08, Trent van Haaften in IN-08, and Stephene Moore in KS-03.


    DE-Sen: Chris Coons (D) 37%, Mike Castle (R) 49%

    DE-Sen: Chris Coons (D) 46%, Christine O’Donnell (R) 36%

    IA-Gov: Chet Culver (D-inc) 36%, Terry Branstad (R) 52%

    KS-Gov: Tom Holland (D) 34%, Sam Brownback (R) 57%

    NH-Sen: Paul Hodes (D) 38%, Kelly Ayotte (R) 51%

    NH-Sen: Paul Hodes (D) 40%, Bill Binnie (R) 46%

    SD-Gov: Scott Heidepriem (D) 27%, Dennis Daugaard (R) 59%

    SD-AL: Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D-inc) 42%, Kristi Noem (R) 51%

    FL-Sen, FL-Gov: Charlie in Charge

    Univ. of South Florida Polytechnic for New York Times Newspapers (FL) (7/24-28, likely voters, no trendlines):

    Kendrick Meek (D): 12

    Marco Rubio (R): 30

    Charlie Crist (I): 41

    Undecided: 17

    Jeff Greene (D): 16

    Marco Rubio (R): 29

    Charlie Crist (I): 37

    Undecided: 18

    (MoE: ±4%)

    Here’s another few data points to throw on the ever-growing heap in Florida, courtesy of the “Florida Poll” (apparently a joint venture of the New York Times Newspapers of Florida and the Univ. of South Florida). The numbers here pretty clearly match last week’s Quinnipiac poll, if not even more bullish on Charlie Crist’s current chances… and even slightly more bearish on Kendrick Meek, who seems to be dwindling down into Alan Schlesinger territory here (Schlesinger, if you’ve forgotten, was the Republican who became irrelevant and sank into the single digits in the 2006 Connecticut Senate race once Joe Lieberman became an indie/de facto Republican).

    Interestingly, their numbers contradict a point that Tom Jensen made a few days ago, that Charlie Crist would seem to benefit more from Jeff Greene as the Dem opponent than Meek. Here, Crist’s 11-point lead over Rubio and Meek drops to an 8-point lead over Rubio and Greene. That may be a temporary artifact thanks to Greene’s heavy ad spending right now and one that would change post-primary, though. They don’t poll the Dem Senate primary here, for some reason, so there’s no basis for further speculation.

    There’s also a Republican poll of the race that came out today, a McLaughlin & Associates poll that’s not directly from the Rubio campaign but on behalf of Associated Industries of Florida. They see a much closer race, as you might expect. They see a 38-36-16 race for Crist, Rubio, and Meek, while they see a tie if Greene is the nominee: 37-37 for Crist and Rubio with 16 for Greene.

    One other piece of news: I don’t think Charlie Crist was counting on any assistance from his former running mate, Lt. Governor Jeff Kottkamp, who has remained a Republican where Crist has not. Today Kottkamp endorsed Rubio, saying he’d planned to back Rubio for months but waited to act until it would have maximum effect. Kottkamp is running for AG and is in a tight three-way GOP primary, so no way was he going to go off the reservation on this one. Doesn’t sound like he was tempted, though; things sound a little strained between him and his former ticket-mate:

    “I gave him the same heads up that he gave me when he left the party, which is none,” Kottkamp said, acknowledging that his relationship with Crist was not likely to improve following the endorsement.

    Gubernatorial numbers:

    Alex Sink (D): 27

    Bill McCollum (R): 26

    Bud Chiles (I): 12

    Undecided: 35

    Alex Sink (D): 28

    Rick Scott (R): 30

    Bud Chiles (I): 11

    Undecided: 31

    (MoE: ±4%)

    Rick Scott (R): 41

    Bill McCollum (R): 25

    Undecided: 34

    (MoE: ±6%)

    Also similar to Quinnipiac, the Florida Poll finds very close races between Alex Sink and the two toxic Republicans, with indie Bud Chiles in the low double-digits. (I wonder if Chiles can somehow outpoll the Democratic Senate nominee?) Rick Scott seems in command of the Republican gubernatorial primary.

    Or is he? There’s another Republican poll out today, of the gubernatorial primary. The poll, from Schroth, Eldon & Associates, isn’t a McCollum internal but taken on behalf of “private business clients,” but judging by its content, they must be McCollum allies. It finds Scott leading McCollum only 43-40. Even weirder, it finds McCollum, reduced to smoldering ruins by Scott’s ad campaign according to pretty much every other pollster, in positive territory, at 43/42 (with Scott’s favorables at 41/42).

    SSP Daily Digest: 8/4 (Afternoon Edition)

    CO-Sen: It looks like the Michael Bennet camp, and his Beltway backers, are taking the recent polling surge by Andrew Romanoff in the Dem Senate primary, very seriously. Barack Obama just did a remote appearance on behalf of Bennet, for five minutes at a Bennet town hall.

    KY-Sen: Well, he finally got around to it. It was buried in the fifth and final paragraph of a press release. Nevertheless, Dan Mongiardo finally endorsed Dem primary victor Jack Conway. Despite previous rumors that he was holding out on his endorsement to get his $77K campaign debt paid off, a Mongiardo spokesperson says he didn’t receive anything in exchange for the nod.

    PA-Sen: Bill Clinton will be in Scranton to campaign for Joe Sestak next Tuesday. Frankly, that’s a really good fit of candidate, backer, and locale. I wonder if Paul Kanjorski will be allowed to tag along, though? Seems like he could use some Clinton love, too. (No, not that kind of Clinton love.) On the GOP side, Pat Toomey got some campaign fundraising help in Philly from moderate Maine GOP Senator Susan “Comrade of the Month” Collins, who seems to have forgiven or conveniently forgotten all those Club for Growth attempts to knife her in the back.

    WA-Sen: Patty Murray seems to be taking a page from the John Hickenlooper campaign in Colorado, dropping a huge amount of money right now on advertising reservations, all the way through November, while they’re still cheap. She spent $3.4 million, nearly half her CoH, on ad buys in July. She can count on her coffers being replenished, though, as Barack Obama will be hosting a fundraiser for her later this month.

    WI-Sen: Dueling ads in Wisconsin. Russ Feingold is out with a sobering ad rattling his saber at Wall Street, while Ron Johnson levels accusations of being a “career politician” at Feingold. Double NWOTSOTB.

    CO-Gov: Is there blood here in the water, or what? Colorado Ethics Watch just filed a complaint with the state bar, which could lead to disciplinary action against Scott McInnis’s license to practice law in Colorado, over his plagiarism scandal. McInnis’s former campaign manager (until last December, so he was out long before the scandal) also just asked McInnis for a refund of all the contributions he’s given him. The DGA is also starting to pour money into this race, striking while the iron is hot; they’ve plowed $100K into a new third-party group airing a new anti-McInnis attack ad. And if you were thinking that Dan Maes might turn out to be a reasonable alternative to McInnis, guess again. He ventured not just into Michele Bachmann territory (about how we’ll all have to live in tenements and take mass transit to work) but clear into UN-black-helicopters-are-fluoridating-my-water territory. And what’s the nerve center of the one-world-government’s scurrilous plot against Coloradan sovereignty? Denver’s program for public bike shares and more showers for bike-riding commuters!!!!1!

    “At first, I thought, ‘Gosh, public transportation, what’s wrong with that, and what’s wrong with people parking their cars and riding their bikes? And what’s wrong with incentives for green cars?’ But if you do your homework and research, you realize ICLEI is part of a greater strategy to rein in American cities under a United Nations treaty.”

    GA-Gov: This seems like a big Deal for Nathan: the third-place finisher in the gubernatorial primary, state Sen. Eric Johnson, is backing ex-Rep. Nathan Deal in the runoff. (Oddly, Johnson hasn’t said anything about it himself, but Rep. Jack Kingston, another Johnson backer-turned-Deal backer, made the announcement.) Johnson’s support should help Deal in the Savannah area, where Johnson seems to have a strong base.

    MD-Gov: I wonder if Sarah Palin is playing three-dimensional chess here, in some sort of strange gambit to help Bob Ehrlich in the general election… or just playing tic-tac-toe, and losing badly at it. At any rate, she endorsed Ehrlich’s barely-registering primary rival, businessman Brian Murphy, in the GOP gubernatorial primary. (Which, if you think about it, doesn’t jibe at all with her endorsement of centrist and likely victor Terry Branstad in Iowa instead of wingnut Bob Vander Plaats… but then, Maryland’s not an early presidential state.) Ehrlich is now publicly doing the happy dance over her endorsement of his rival, saying that it just confirms his moderate credentials for the general, where he has a shot at knocking off incumbent Dem Martin O’Malley.

    AZ-01: Rogue dentist Paul Gosar has a lead in the Republican primary in AZ-01 for the right to take on freshman Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, if his own internal is to be believed. The poll from Moore Info puts him at 30, with ’08 candidate Sydney Hay at 10, Some Dude Bradley Beauchamp at 7, and, surprisingly, former state Sen. majority leader Rusty Bowers back at 6. Gosar seems to have consolidated many big-name movement conservatives behind him, ranging from Sarah Palin to Joe Arpaio. My main question, though, is: Sydney Hay is running again?!? Why weren’t we informed? (You may remember her legacy of fail from her 2008 run.)

    AZ-03: This is at least the second time a childless GOP candidate has gotten busted for playing up his “family man” credentials by romping with children in advertising (the first time was Kevin Yoder in KS-03). At least Yoder was able to claim the kids were his nieces and nephews… Ben Quayle apparently had to borrow some of his aides’ kids for his photo shoot.

    IL-17: After seemingly no one found their internal poll from last week credible (which gave the previously-unheralded, if not unknown, Bobby Schilling a lead over Democratic Rep. Phil Hare), there’s another Republican poll out that seems to at least be on the same temporal plane as reality, in this swing district where the GOP hasn’t competed hard in a while. POS (on behalf of a state party committee… Magellan did the Schilling internal) gives Hare a 33-31 lead over the political novice and pizza restauranteur. The poll also gives 7% support to the Green Party candidate, which somehow doesn’t seem likely to hold.

    WV-01: As heartburn-inducing Mike Oliverio will probably be in terms of his voting record, here’s some confirmation that we at least got an electoral upgrade here from the guy he defeated in the Dem primary, Rep. Alan Mollohan, who had ethical clouds following him and seemed to be phoning in his campaign. Oliverio is out with a new internal from Hamilton Campaigns that gives him a 52-36 lead over GOP opponent David McKinley. With Joe Manchin at the top of the ticket in a November special election, now, too, here’s one Tossup seat where our odds seem to be getting noticeably better. (As a bonus, they find Manchin leading John Raese 62-30 in the district, which is West Virginia’s reddest.)

    DCCC: CQ looks at the DCCC’s attempts to enforce dues-payment this cycle. While their “Frontline” members (the ones in the trickiest races) are exempt from paying dues, they’re winding up giving de facto passes to a number of other vulnerable incumbents, not having had any luck at stopping them from hoarding their own cash in preparation for tough races. 88 House Dems haven’t paid any dues at all this cycle, while many others are in arrears. There’s also, buried in the article, a statement that the DCCC doesn’t plan to further extend its Frontline program, even as the number of potentially vulnerable Dems seems to keep increasing.

    California: For people who just can’t get enough campaign finance reports, the Sacramento Bee has a helpful table of filings for all the candidates for the downballot statewide races. Dems have a cash on hand lead in most races, except for two (Secretary of State and Insurance Commissioner). It’s particularly pronounced in the Lt. Governor race, where Gavin Newsom leads GOP incumbent Abel Maldonado $495K to $91K. In the very tight AG’s race (also the downballot race that’s seen by far the most expenditures), Dem Kamala Harris leads GOPer Steve Cooley $186K to $121K (and Cooley also has $170K in debt).

    Redistricting: Ohio, unfortunately, won’t be having a referendum on a constitutional amendment on the ballot in November, that would limit parties’ ability to gerrymander by requiring bipartisan support for new maps. The problem? The parties in the state legislature couldn’t agree on the exact framework for the plan. At least there’s good news on the better-districts front in New York, where the state Senate just passed legislation that will make sure that incarcerated persons are counted in their home communities, when legislative lines are redrawn next year.


    FL-Gov: Alex Sink (D) 31%, Bill McCollum (R) 27%, Bud Chiles (I) 20%

    FL-Gov: Alex Sink (D) 31%, Rick Scott (R) 35%, Bud Chiles (I) 16%

    OH-Sen: Lee Fisher (D) 40%, Rob Portman (R) 44%

    FL-Gov, FL-Sen: A Tale of Two Indies

    Quinnipiac (7/22-27, likely primary voters, 6/1-7 in parentheses, 4/8-13 in brackets):

    Alex Sink (D): 26 (25)

    Bill McCollum (R): 27 (33)

    Bud Chiles (I): 14 (19)

    Undecided: 27 (19)

    Alex Sink (D): 27 (26)

    Rick Scott (R): 29 (35)

    Bud Chiles (I): 14 (13)

    Undecided: 26 (23)

    (MoE: ±3.2%)

    The primary war between Bill McCollum and Rick Scott are starting to have an effect here – to Dem state CFO Alex Sink’s advantage. In the six weeks since Quinnipiac last looked at the race, Sink’s gained a point, and the Republican’s lost 6 points in both matchups.

    Perhaps more tellingly, both McCollum’s and Scott’s favorables are now underwater. Scott’s now sporting a 29/30, a reversal from the 31/22 that found in June. McCollum’s nosedive is even more pronounced, moving from a +8 spread at 37/29 to being 16 points underwater at 27/43.

    Interestingly, the number of people reporting “Haven’t heard enough” about Alex Sink has ticked up two points to 58 – perhaps explaining the greater shift to “Undecided”. Despite the unpopularity of the GOPers and Sink’s low profile, Dem-turned-indie Bud Chiles doesn’t seem to getting much traction though. He’s relatively unknown as well, with 15/10 favorables and 73% not having heard enough.

    Charlie Crist (I): 37 (40)

    Jeff Greene (D): 17 (14)

    Marco Rubio (R): 32 (33)

    Undecided: 12 (11)

    Charlie Crist (I): 39 (37) [32]

    Kendrick Meek (D): 13 (17) [24]

    Marco Rubio (R): 33 (33) [30]

    Undecided: 14 (11) [13]

    (MoE: ±3.2%)

    Charlie Crist, in contrast to Chiles, remains in strong position, especially as Meek and Greene have gone after each other. Meek’s suffered the most from this, having lost nearly half his support in 3 months. Meek’s still an unknown quantity, with 64% saying they “don’t know enough” and those that do split 17/17. (Notably, his unfavorables have more than doubled, from 8 points to 17.) Crist dominates among Independents 50-28 over Rubio and even carries Democrats 42-33.

    On the other side of the primary coin is Jeff Greene, who’s media blitz seems to have earned him some positive name recognition. He’s up to 20/15 (up from 11/11), and manages to be more competitive among Dems against Crist, holding Crist to a 41-39 lead. Crist – who’s job approval and favorables are both strong at 53-37 and 49-35, respectively, still carries Indies by a nearly identical 51-27 margin against Rubio, who remains a contender with decent favorables at 35-24, nearly unchanged from 36-22 in April.

    Of course, given Jeff Greene’s yachtfuls of baggage that have yet to be publicized, this race remains in flux; however, Charlie Crist remains in the driver’s (captain’s?) seat and will continue to keep his advantage if he can become the de facto Democrat in the race.