(Note: That may be my name in the by-line, but this post was written entirely by SSP Blogfather DavidNYC.)
AK-Sen: David Drucker reports that Lisa Murkowski has $1.8 million on-hand in her pre-primary FEC report, meaning she’s spent at least $600K (and probably more) since the end of June in her race against upstart Joe Miller (whose fundraising has been meager at best). And that’s a lot of money for Alaska.
AZ-Sen: John McCain’s final (or near-final) TV ad links J.D. Hayworth directly to Jack Abramoff, something his campaign has done for a while, but the first time McCain’s actually gone on the air with the attack. NWOTSOTB.
CO-Sen: Politico takes a good look at the backstory to that New York Times piece about Michael Bennet’s involvement in potentially questionable exotic financing deals the Denver public school system bought into during his tenure as its boss. The story was explicitly fed to NYT reporter Gretchen Morgenstern by Jeannie Kaplan, a prominent backer and fundraiser for Andrew Romanoff – a conflict the Times failed to mention in its initial writeup.
NV-Sen: We’ll stop telling you about all the crazy shit Sharron Angle says just as soon as we get tired of doing so – which will be never:
“I think we get confused a little bit. Our healthcare system is the best in the world. There’s nothing wrong with our healthcare system. Our doctors are the best,” says Angle.
A couple other Angle items: (1) She’s pledged not to accept PAC money from companies which provide health benefits to gay partners, but of course she’s taking their cash anyway. (2) After declaring that Obama wants to “make government our God,” she’s gone and accused Harry Reid of injecting religion into the race, saying Angle was merely “discussing her religion.” Uh huh.
PA-Sen, PA-07, PA-08: Buncha similar stories coming out of the Keystone State today. In the senate race, Dem Joe Sestak is trying to oust Green Party candidate Mel Packer from the ballot. In the 7th CD, GOPer Pat Meehan is attempting to boot teabagger Jim Schneller from the ticket. And in the 8th CD, PoliticsPA says that indy Tom Lingenfelter’s candidacy is also being challenged, presumably by the Mike Fitzpatrick campaign, seeing as Lingenfelter was helped on to the ballot by Patrick Murphy supporters.
TN-Gov: The list of candidates in America who would be well-served by burnishing a John Kerry-esque profile is very, very short – and the Republican nominee for governor in Tennessee ain’t on it. So you can understand why GOPer Bill Haslam has been taking some heat for the time he’s spent vacationing in Nantucket over the years. Just call him the first wine-track Republican!
CO-04, NM-02: Defenders of Wildlife is pledging to help thwart Cory Gardner and Steve Pearce in their races against Reps. Betsy Markey and Harry Teague. Though the group hasn’t said how much they’ll spend this year, they threw in over a million bucks to help Markey defeat ex-Rep. Marilyn Musgrave last cycle. They didn’t get involved in NM-02 last time, but they did spend six figures on behalf of Martin Heinrich in NM-01.
KS-04: Ah, nothing tastier than day-old cat fud – the smell just lingers in the air, doesn’t it? The second-, third-, and fourth-place finishers in the Republican primary are all holding off on endorsing winner Mike Pompeo. Jean Schodorf, Wink Hartman, and Jim Anderson are all saying that they “haven’t had any contact with Pompeo since before election day.” Schodorf even left a congratulatory message for Pompeo, who didn’t bother calling back. He sounds like an utter dickbag, which means he’ll fit in perfectly in the GOP caucus if he wins in November.
MI-01: With 16 of 31 counties having completed their re-canvass, surgeon Dan Benishek claims he leads state Sen. Jason Allen by 18 votes in this ultra-tight race. Once this process is over, then the candidates can ask for a recount, while Dem state Rep. Gary McDowell does a happy dance.
MI-09: At a recent fundraiser for Rocky Raczkowski, Phyllis Schlafly offered these bon mots:
Do you know what the second-biggest demographic group that voted for Obama – obviously the blacks were the biggest demographic group. But do you all know what was the second-biggest? Unmarried women, 70% of unmarried women, voted for Obama, and this is because when you kick your husband out, you’ve got to have big brother government to be your provider.
Rocky tried to distance himself from Schlafly’s comments, describing himself as “gender blind.” Which I guess makes him bisexual.
NY-23: DUIs seem to come up with depressing frequency on the campaign trail, but BUIs? No, that’s not a typo – that’s Boating Under the Influence. Yep, GOPer Matt Doheny was charged with the offense not once but twice back in 2004, and on the first occasion, he was combative enough to get handcuffed by the police.
OH-18: The NRCC is shopping around a poll, taken by On Message, Inc., which purportedly shows Rep. Zack Space tied with GOPer Bob Gibbs at 43 apiece. The Space campaign had an interesting response. A spokesman said: “It doesn’t square with what we know. And we’re not going to be head faked into releasing anything on our side.” Keep this quote in mind when you wonder why more Democrats haven’t released internal polls. I’m not saying this year isn’t going to be awful for us (I’m sure it will be), but there are strategic reasons to play your cards close to the vest. For instance, while an ugly, un-countered internal can be deadly for a challenger’s fundraising, someone like Space doesn’t have to be worried that donors will no longer take him seriously because of this poll.
TN-08: Dem Roy Herron released his first TV ad of the general election campaign, even before they finished counting the votes in the GOP primary. In the spot, he calls himself a “truck-driving, shotgun-shooting, Bible-reading, crime-fighting, family-loving country boy.” NWOTSOTB.
FL-Sen: Is Marco Rubio off the supply-side reservation? He admitted in a recent campaign stop that “tax cuts don’t pay for themselves,” which seems like high-grade Republican apostasy. I look forward to his undoubtedly forthcoming apology.
Meanwhile, more interestingly, Jeff Greene is getting in some hot water for his maritime adventures. At a debate on Sunday, Greene claimed he had visited Cuba in 2007 – a very touchy subject in South Florida, of course – as part of a Jewish humanitarian mission. Oops, says a campaign spokesbot – “What he meant to say was that in 2007, he went on the boat from Honduras to the Bahamas, and en route the boat had a hydraulic problem” and made a pit-stop in Cuba. Yuh huh – cuz I always mix up yachting hijinks with charity tours with my rabbi. But wait, there’s more! A former Greene deckhand (and there are quite a few who despise their old boss) says the candidate is lying, and that “It was their total intention to go to Cuba. We never went to Honduras, not even close. I figure it was the glamour of wanting to go to a banned country.” Good luck explaining this one away.
CA-Gov: Props to Jonathan Martin at Politico for making sure this one didn’t get flushed down the oubliette: Ins. Co. Steve Poizner still has not endorsed Meg Whitman, who vanquished him in the GOP primary.
NM-Gov: A new front in the New Mexico governor’s race: Dem Diane Denish says she supports a domestic partnership law, which would give same-sex couples many of the same rights as heterosexual married couples. Predictably, Republican Susana Martinez is opposed. Domestic partnership bills have come up regularly in the state legislature but have always foundered. Of course, this issue may or may not get a lot of traction in a year like this.
TN-09: Willie Herenton is claiming that early voting patterns show him well on the way to a 3-to-1 victory over Rep. Steve Cohen. You can supply the laughter.
NY-24: Rep. Mike Arcuri, spurned by both the Independence and Working Families Parties, is still trying to get on a second ballot line – one of his own creation. His campaign is petitioning to create an “NY Moderates” party.
IN-02: Dem Rep. Joe Donnelly is up with a pair of ads attacking “Wacky” Jackie Walorsky for her support of Wall Street and for “free trade” deals with Mexico and China. Of course, NWOTSOTB.
FL-22: This just shows you how stark raving insane Allen West is. While serving in Iraq in 2003, he claims he got wind of a plot… against himself. Rather than recuse himself from the investigation, he ordered his subordinates to beat a detainee, and then threatened the man with summary execution – going so far as to fire a gun over his head. You can find the full story here, but the reason why this is coming up is that West just released an absurdly self-serving video where he portrays himself as some kind of heroic Jack Bauer – but the reality is that West only avoided criminal charges by tendering his resignation to the Army.
PA-07: Look, if I were Pat Meehan, I’d howl about this, too – but the fact is, even if Dem Bryan Lentz’s campaign did help teabagger Jim Schneller qualify for the ballot, that’s just fucking politics. (The Lentz camp isn’t answering any questions, but a lot of Schneller’s petitions were circulated by Lentz supporters.) And what’s more, as Alex Roarty at PoliticsPA points out, Schneller is very likely to stay on the ballot, which will undoubtedly help Lentz – and all the whining in the world won’t change that.
WI-07: A shadowy right-wing 527 (are any of them not shadowy?) with the oddly dystopian name of “the New Prosperity Foundation” has a new TV ad trying to stereotype Dem Julie Lassa as a “big-spending politician.” Of course, NWOTSOTB.
Fundraising: Aaron Blake and the staff at the Fix have truly done heroic work: They’ve compiled gubernatorial fundraising numbers, an epically daunting task given that you need to navigate a million different state SoS websites, with different interfaces, reporting requirements, and reporting periods. Still, somehow, they managed to do so, and they have the most recent fundraising nums for all the major gube races around the nation – just click on the “Governors Races” tab.
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.