SSP Daily Digest: 3/17

NM-Sen (PDF): What happens if you took a poll and no one answered? That’s what this Tulchin Research poll (taken on behalf of the Defenders of Wildlife) feels like to me, what with its sample size of just 213 likely Democratic primary voters. If you’re trying to figure out the margin of error, you’ll need to start counting on your other hand – it’s 6.7%. Anyhow, the results, such as they are: 1st CD Rep. Martin Heinrich: 32; Lt. Gov. Diane Denish: 25; 3rd CD Rep. Ben Ray Luján’s: 15; State Auditor Hector Balderas: 5; and 24% undecided. I think it’s very unlikely that the field would develop this way, but I still think these “round up the usual suspects” polls can be valuable – if they have enough respondents, that is.

OH-Sen: This kind of speculation is always seriously moronic… but hey, I live to serve. So in case you want to imagine a world where the Republican presidential nominee wins next year, and he’s picked Sen. Rob Portman as his running mate, Roll Call is happy to indulge your grim dystopian fantasy about a suddenly open Senate seat in Ohio come Jan. 20, 2013.

WV-Gov: Democratic State House Speaker Rick Thompson just earned the endorsement of two teachers’ unions:  The West Virginia Federation of Teachers and the West Virginia Education Association. The primary here for this oddly-timed special election (necessary because of ex-Gov. Joe Manchin’s Senate victory last year) is coming up very soon, May 14th.

CT-05: Kevin Rennie mentions a couple of possible Democratic prospects to replace Rep. Chris Murphy, who of course is running for Senate. One is 28-year-old pr strategist Dan Roberti, whose father Vincent was once a state rep. The other is CNBC reporter and former local news anchor Brian Schactman.

NV-02: A piece in the WaPo has 2006 and 2008 Dem nominee Jill Derby sounding pretty interested – she said she’s considering forming an exploratory committee. (Ridiculous as that sounds – I mean, she’s considering whether to consider? – that actually counts as pretty aggressive talk in this hyper-cautious age.) The story also mentions another possible name, Assemblywoman Debbie Smith, as well as noting that state Treasurer Kate Marshall (whom we flagged as another potential candidate yesterday) calling the race “absolutely winnable.”

NY-26: Republican Jane Corwin has her first ad out (NWOTSOTB), in which she repeatedly touts her supposed small business credentials but doesn’t mention that she’s a Republican. In some not-so-happy news, New York’s Green Party is saying they are likely to endorse Ian Murphy, the guy behind the fake David Koch call to WI Gov. Scott Walker, as their nominee. That means they probably won’t cross-endorse whoever winds up being the Democratic nominee… and that signals a long four years ahead of us. (Thanks to scoring 50,000 votes in last year’s gubernatorial election, the Greens get an automatic ballot spot in every race in the state through 2016.) Green Party co-chair Peter LaVenia says he doesn’t think that Murphy will “siphon votes” from the Dem… oy, christ, this is giving me nightmarish flashbacks to debates with idiotic Naderites in 2000. I can’t do this again.

Wisconsin Recall: Let’s talk about Randy Hopper. If you’ll click the link, you can hear a ridiculously misleading radio ad that he’s just gone up with. The lying isn’t the point – it’s the fact that he’s on the defensive, a place you never want to be. And he knows, it, too – which is why he’s gone out and hired Jeff Harvey, who most recently managed Rep. Dave Reichert’s (WA-08) successful campaign last year. That’s a pretty big gun to bring in to a state lege race, so how can Hopper afford something like that? Well, state Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald and several lackeys (including recall target Alberta Darling) were in DC last night, picking up cash at a high-dollar fundraiser held at Haley Barbour’s lobbying firm (more-or-less in exchange for gunning through that infamous bit of right-to-work legislation). The optics couldn’t be better! But cold, sweet cash can move mountains.

In related news, HuffPo’s Sam Stein tries to track down elusive information about the state of the attempted recalls of Democratic senators. It sounds like it’s going poorly: An uncoordinated mess by different groups which launched different efforts at different times. The Wisconsin Republican Party has refused to get involved, and apparently the recall has been whittled down to just three target senators (from the original eight). I would not be hugely surprised if they would up with zero.

Philly Mayor: This is pretty funny: Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter faces no real primary opposition, but he’s still trying to bounce the crazy brother of former Mayor John Street, Milton, from the ballot. Among other things, Nutter is alleging that Street doesn’t meet the residency requirements, which say that candidates have to live in the city for three years prior to the election. Where was Street? Serving a 30-month sentence in federal prison on tax evasion charges – in Kentucky.

SF Mayor: SurveyUSA has a poll out for the San Francisco mayoral race slated for this November. SF uses instant run-off voting (IRV), so SUSA asked people to pick their first, second, and third choices. Interim Mayor Ed Lee (who filled in for Gavin Newsom when he won the Lt. Gov. race last fall) says he isn’t running but actually gets the most first-choice votes. Here’s the full field:

Ed Lee, interim Mayor, 17%

Michaela Alioto-Pier, former Board of Supervisors member, 12%

Leeland Yee, State Senator, 11%

David Chiu, Board of Supervisors President, 10%

Dennis Herrera, City Attorney, 9%

Bevan Dufty, former Supervisor, 8%

Click through the link to see second and third choices.

DCCC: Steve Israel talked a bunch with the Hotline about candidate recruitment. The most interesting thing is his “alumni association” of former members of Congress who are thinking about running again. He holds “semi-regular” (Hotline’s phrase) conference calls with “the vast majority of former members.” Israel says that in recent weeks, interest and attendance has spiked, and I have to guess that recent Democratic enthusiasm inspired heavily by protests in the Midwest has been a factor. Israel also insists that ex-MoCs who have closed down their campaign accounts or taken lobbying jobs are not necessarily taking themselves out of the game; he sympathetically argues that some folks simply need the cash. Of course, optics aside, K Street might just seem a lot more comfortable than the campaign trail grind to many of these folks

DNC: The usual unnamed Democrats are telling Politico they think Ted Strickland is a “strong contender” to replace Tim Kaine at the DNC if the latter decides to run for the Senate in Virginia. I think the world of Strickland, but I’d hate to see his considerable talents get muzzled at the DNC. I just don’t think that a proud populist is going to be able to speak his mind while at the Obama DNC.

Votes: Dave Catanese has a run-down on the House members seeking (or likely to seek) statewide office and how they voted on the most recent temporary budget bill. A big swath of Republicans voted “no” (i.e., against their party), after having previously voted for the prior continuing resolution, likely out of fears of getting teabagger (because the bills don’t cut spending enough). Meanwhile, several Democrats in the same boat all voted “yes.”

WATN?: My word:

A seven-count indictment accuses Tom Ganley, a high-profile auto dealer and onetime congressional candidate, of kidnapping a 39-year-old Cleveland woman and having sexual contact with her.

Ganley, 68, faces three felony charges of gross sexual imposition, and single counts of kidnapping, abduction, solicitation, and menacing by stalking, according to Ryan Miday, a spokesman for County Prosecutor Bill Mason.

Redistricting Roundup:

Mississippi: Looks like Lt. Gov. and gubernatorial aspirant Phil Bryant is getting his ass handed to him. Bryant attempted to interfere with the state Senate’s attempt to draw a new map by instead offering his own. Bryant’s plan was rejected by the Senate (which we noted on Tuesday). Now, the Senate’s original plan has been adopted by the House. So it looks like an incumbent-protection deal has been reached, with the Democratic-held House and the Republican-controlled Senate each getting their way. But even with a Dem gerrymander, you’ve got to believe it’s only a matter of time before the House falls, too.

General: Politico has a piece discussing the GOP’s overall strategy of playing it safe with redistricting this decade, and to avoid “dummymanders” like the one in Pennsylvania which proved (at least temporarily) disastrous to the party.

IA-04: Why hasn’t EMILY’s List gotten behind Becky Greenwald? (updated with news of endorsement)

UPDATE: On September 16 EMILY’s List announced their endorsement of two more Congressional challengers: Becky Greenwald in IA-04 (D+0) and Sharen Neuhardt in OH-07 (R+6).

Maybe someone out there who knows the inner workings of EMILY’s List can explain to me why this group has not put money behind Becky Greenwald, the Democrat challenging loyal Republican foot-soldier Tom Latham in Iowa’s fourth Congressional district.

I have been going over the list of Democratic women running for Congress whom EMILY’s List is supporting, with a particular focus on the six challengers most recently added to this group in early August. I do not mean to denigrate any of those candidates, and I recognize that every race has its own dynamic.

However, after comparing Greenwald’s race to those of other candidates, I remain puzzled that EMILY’s list is not more involved in IA-04.

Follow me after the jump for more.

First things first: IA-04 has a Cook Partisan Voting Index of D+0. Since 2004, every Congressional district in Iowa has seen big gains in Democratic voter registration, which surged in connection with this year’s presidential caucuses. For the first time since Iowa’s districts were last redrawn, IA-04 now has more registered Democrats than Republicans.

Democrats have an advantage in the generic Congressional ballot nationwide, but what may be more relevant for this district is Barack Obama’s big lead over John McCain in Iowa (double-digits according to the two most recent polls). The Obama campaign’s enormous ground game in Iowa will be working in Greenwald’s favor too. Her staffers and volunteers seem pleased with the level of coordination between the campaigns’ turnout efforts.

Turning to Greenwald as a candidate, you can see from her bio that she has strong roots in the district as well as experience in the business world and a history of volunteering for causes including the Iowa Democratic Party. She dominated the four-way Demomcratic primary on June 3, winning over 50 percent of the vote. As of June 30, she had raised about $143,000 for her campaign but had only about $82,000 cash on hand because of her competitive primary.

Several Iowa political analysts observed this summer that Greenwald can beat Tom Latham if she can raise enough money to compete. Latham serves on the House Appropriations Committee and was sitting on more than $800,000 cash on hand as of June 30. Then again, plenty of well-funded incumbents have lost seats in Congress when facing a big wave toward the other party. Cook has this race as likely R, but I would consider it lean R. There have been no public polls on the race yet.

The current reporting period ends September 30. I don’t have inside information about Greenwald’s cash on hand now, but I know she has been aggressively fundraising all summer long. I assume things have gone fairly well on that front, because the DCCC just put IA-04 on its “Emerging Races” list. One thing working in Greenwald’s favor is that the Des Moines and Mason City markets, which cover most of the 28 counties in the district, are not too expensive for advertising. So, she can be up on the air for several weeks, even though she clearly won’t be able to match Latham dollar for dollar.

Side note: Shortly after the Democratic primary in IA-04, the sore loser who finished third vowed to run for Congress as an independent. However, he quickly turned his attention to the fight against Iowa’s new smoking ban. He then failed to submit petitions to qualify for the ballot, took down his Congressional campaign website and reportedly moved to Florida. In other words, he won’t be a factor in November.

Why should EMILY’s list get involved in this race? Not only is Greenwald a good fit for the district, she is pro-choice whereas Latham has a perfect zero rating on votes related to abortion rights.

As a bonus, Greenwald has the potential to end Iowa’s disgrace as one of only two states that have never sent a woman to Congress or elected a woman governor.

Now, I will briefly examine the six candidates for U.S. House whom EMILY’s list most recently endorsed. As I said earlier, I don’t mean to knock any of these candidates, but I do question why these districts would be considered more winnable than IA-04.

1. Anne Barth. She is running against incumbent Shelley Moore Capito in West Virginia’s second district (R+5, somewhat more Republican than IA-04). Cook has this race as lean R, Swing State Project sees it as likely R. As of June 30, Barth had about $353,000 cash on hand, compared to more than $1.2 million for Capito. My understanding is that this district is quite expensive for advertising because of its proximity to Washington, DC.

2. Sam Bennett. She is running against incumbent Charlie Dent in Pennsylvania’s 15th Congressional District (D+2, slightly more Democratic than IA-04). Cook and Swing State Project both rate this race as likely R, although Chris Bowers is optimistic given the partisan lean of the district. As of June 30, Bennett had just under $354,000 cash on hand, compared to about $687,000 for Dent.

3. Jill Derby. She is running against incumbent Dean Heller, who beat her in the 2006 election to represent Nevada’s second district (R+8, markedly more Republican than IA-04). It’s not too uncommon for Congressional candidates to win on their second attempt, but Cook and Swing State Project both view this district as likely R. As of June 30, Derby had about $314,000 cash on hand, while Heller had just over $1 million in the bank.

4. Judy Feder. This is another rematch campaign, as incumbent Frank Wolf beat Feder by a comfortable margin in 2006 in Virginia’s 10th Congressional District (R+5). Again, Cook and Swing State Project agree that this is a likely R district. As of June 30, Feder was doing quite well in the money race with about $812,000 cash on hand, not too far behind Wolf’s $849,000.

5. Annette Taddeo. She is running against incumbent Ileana Ros-Lehtinen in Florida’s 18th Congressional District (R+4). Cook and Swing State Project both rank this district as likely R. Taddeo made a great impression on people at Netroots Nation and had just under $444,000 in the bank on June 30, while the incumbent reported nearly $1.9 million.

6. Victoria Wulsin. In 2006, she fell just short against incumbent “Mean Jean” Schmidt in Ohio’s second district (R+13). Granted, Schmidt is ineffective as an incumbent, which is probably why Swing State Project has this in the lean R category (it’s likely R according to Cook). Wulsin also had about $378,000 in the bank on June 30, compared to about $390,000 for Schmidt. Still, this is a markedly more Republican district than IA-04.

I understand that EMILY’s List does not have unlimited resources, but I still find it surprising that they have not jumped in to support Greenwald. A little money goes a long way in the Mason City and Des Moines media markets.

If you want to help send her to Congress, go here and give what you can. September 15 is her birthday, by the way.

I look forward to reading your comments about EMILY’s list or any of these Congressional races.

On Winning the West

(Proudly cross-posted at C4O)

I know you’ve heard this. I have, too. “The battleground has moved West.” To a large extent, this is true. And while we probably will may plenty of attention to traditional swing states like Florida & Ohio this fall, we probably also will be spending much more time analyzing developments in places like Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, and Montana.

But you know what? The Presidential Race isn’t the only interesting race out west. Let’s take a look at some extra goodies that we can look forward to.

Nevada is a critical state for Democrats this fall. First off, this state is a top target for Barack Obama to make the goal of at least 270 electoral votes. But in addition, we have two important Congressional races that can earn us two much needed seats as we expand our majority.

The 3rd Congressional District is one of the hottest races out West, if not the hottest. Dina Titus is running strong in a district where Democrats now outnumber Republicans. Both the Nevada Democratic Party and the Obama campaign are working hard here, and the key for them will be turning out all the newly registered Democrats while also winning over the swing voters that decide both Presidential elections and Congressional elections here in suburban Las Vegas. The Bush-McCain GOP incumbent Jon Porter is running scared, and we can tell. Dina Titus even has new ads on the air, and with our support she’ll have everything she needs to win.

The 2nd Congressional District may have been tradionally a Republican stronghold, but Jill Derby is changing that. The race is competitive, and the Bush-McCain GOP footsoldier Dean Heller is already throwing everything but the kitchen sink to maintain his edge. We have the power to hold Heller’s feet to the fire, and ultimately help Derby give Heller the boot.

Although Arizona may be John McCain’s home state, that isn’t stopping Democrats from competing hard here. And in addition to the Presidential race, we have a great candidate in Ann Kirkpatrick who looks to replace the corrupt (and retiring) GOPer Rick Renzi. Ann Kirkpatrick has worked hard for her community, has real Arizona values, and is running to bring about real change. This is one of our best chances at picking up a seat out west, so let’s take it!

We all know New Mexico is one of our top swing states that we can turn blue. But in addition to Obama’s victory, we can also send another Democrat to Congress! Martin Heinrich is running strong in this Albuquerque district… In fact, so strong that he’s now taken the lead in the latest independent poll! The voters now see that Republican Darren White is just another Bush-Cheney sycophant, and they’re ready for real change.

OK, so I know these aren’t all of the great races that we’re discovering out West. However, I hope that this gives you an idea of what’s really at stake. If we play our cards right, we may not only wind up with a President Obama next January, but also with more and better Democrats in Congress. But if we don’t stand up for our Democrats now, we can’t win.

So please, stand with us. If you live in any of these areas, help out with the campaign. And no matter where you are, support your party, your values, and your candidates. Are you ready to win? I am! 🙂

NV-2: Dean Halliburton

Dean Heller, friend of big business, friend of Dick Cheney, friend of Halliburton.

Yep, the company formerly chaired by Dick Cheney, the company getting probably the most bang for the buck out of the Iraq war, the company so infamous that there’s an entire website devoted to its shameful practices, that company, Halliburton Energy Services, has contributed $1,000 to Heller for Congress on August 1. And Heller gladly excepted it.

Why? I refer you to the first sentence of this diary. Honestly, though, without the loans he gave to his campaign (his current debts are $365k) and without the big business PAC money his campaign finances wouldn’t look so good. In fact, out of the $1.2 million Heller has received this cycle, more than $500k came from PACs or other committees. That’s more than 40%. You can view the whole list of PAC money here.

And don’t kid yourself about the individual contributions. Doesn’t mean they’re all ordinary folk. A lot of those are business executives, real estate, development, financial services giving in four figure sums. From Nevadan casino executives alone Dean Heller received at least $75,500 thus far. That’s more than 10% of all his individual contributions.

So, in case you’re wondering why we’re still in Iraq, why we have a big budget deficit, Heller getting contributions from companies like Halliburton is one of the reasons.

Heller’s Democratic challenger Jill Derby may not have Halliburton. But Jill Derby has ordinary supporters like you. How about giving her ten bucks?

Crossposted from My Silver State

Announcing “Nevada Bloggers for Jill Derby and Dina Titus”

With only three and a half month left before election day, Nevada bloggers have joined forces and today announce the creation of the “Nevada Bloggers for Jill Derby and Dina Titus” ActBlue fundraising page.  

Dean Heller and Jon Porter were almost beaten in 2006 in what were the closest races the 2nd and 3rd Nevada Congressional Districts have seen to date. Considering that Democratic voter registration has significantly increased since 2006 and that Nevada will be a battleground state in the presidential contest both Jill Derby and Dina Titus have a big chance of beating the Republican incumbents this fall.

However, both have one disadvantage: they have significantly less cash-on-hand than the incumbents. While they both reported good fundraising numbers in the last quarter it will be hard to make up the time and incumbency advantages of Heller and Porter. Therefore, Jill Derby and Dina Titus need all the help they can get. Whether you can give $5,$20 or $100 – anything helps!

The following blogs have been and will continue to cover one or both of these contests and today we are announcing that we stand together to help elect Jill Derby and Dina Titus: Blue Sage Views, Desert Beacon, Helluva Heller, My Silver State, Nor’Town, Nye – Gateway to Nevada’s Rurals, Reno and Its Discontent, and Vote Gibbons Out.

We support Jill Derby and Dina Titus for Congress! Help us in our effort!

NV-02: Why I’m Attending Netroots Nation

[Cross-posted at Daily Kos, Swing State Project, Reno & Its Discontents]

I’m Jill Derby, Democratic Candidate for Congress in Nevada’s Second Congressional District.  Many of you know me from 2006 when I ran for this seat against Republican Dean Heller.  Well, I’m back.  And I’m running to change the way business is done in Washington.

When Heller went to Washington after our very close race, many here in Nevada hoped that he would be an independent, moderate voice for Nevada.  Dean Heller has let them down.  Heller has stood as a rubber stamp for the Bush Administration from his very first day in the House, voting over 92% of the time with the party.  That record, and the continued decline of our great nation has me back in this race.

More below the fold…

The growth of the Netroots community has been remarkable over the last half-decade.  You have renewed and revitalized progressive discourse in America using a new medium, playing a powerful and ever-growing role in the success of Democratic candidates across the country.  I am excited to have the opportunity to meet many of you in person this weekend at Netroots Nation in Austin, where I will be on Friday’s “Future Leaders” panel with Jim Himes (CT-04), Dan Seals (IL-10) and Annette Taddeo (FL-18), and later at the Netroots Candidates Celebration.  But before we get a chance to meet in person, I wanted to tell you a bit more about myself and my race.

I am not a career politician.  I am an activist like many of you, who got my start in politics fighting for the Equal Rights Amendment in the 1970s.  Since then I have stayed active, serving on Nevada’s Board of Regents, and later as Chair of the Nevada Democratic Party.

I have always taken a strong stand against the Iraq War.  I opposed it from Day 1.  When my good friend Darcy Burner called me to about a plan she was putting together to find a comprehensive solution to the Iraq War and the problems it had created, I was thrilled to sign on as one of its first supporters.   The Responsible Plan to End the War in Iraq is committed to bringing our troops home from Iraq and repairing the damage done to our democracy by eight years of Republican mismanagement.

I stand together with many members of the Netroots community in supporting our civil rights and condemning the recent passage of the FISA amendments granting retroactive immunity to the telecom industry.  Here in Nevada, we take our civil liberties very seriously.  This abdication of the constitution by the Bush Administration, supported by my right-wing opponent Dean Heller, has let big telecom off the hook.  This was wrong, plain and simple.

I stand together with members of the Netroots in supporting the working and middle classes of America.  Nevada has the highest rate of home foreclosures per capita in the United States.  We have a high rate of bankruptcy as well.  I stand with my friends in organized labor in supporting a living wage, healthcare for all Americans, secure retirement benefits, and the right to collective bargaining.  I am appalled by the assault on middle America, with gas prices rising and bankruptcy protections eroded at the same time that oil companies make record profits and Republicans–including my opponent–refuse to make critical investments in energy independence and renewables.

Since November of 2006, the Republican registration advantage in this district has been cut by a remarkable 40%, from 48,000 to 29,000.  This 19,000 voter Democratic shift is more than 50% greater than Heller’s margin of victory in 2006.

I just outraised my opponent by over nearly 30% this quarter and am quickly gaining ground on him as his far right voting record becomes better known throughout the district.

We have a real race on our hands in this R+8 district and I am thrilled to have a chance to earn the support of the Nevada Netroots and those of you across the nation.  I look forward to meeting many of you this weekend in Austin.  And I look forward to working together in the coming months to set America back on track.

Stop the Republicans from beating the Dem Senate Leader – Now!

Cross posted from My Silver State.

Remember 2004? When the incumbent Senate Democratic Leader was beaten when he was running for reelection in South Dakota? The first time the Republican  Senate Leader Bill Frist broke one of those so called DC “gentlemen’s agreeements” of not actively campaigning against the leader of the other party?

You want that to happen again in 2010?

No? Then follow me below the fold to see what you can do NOW to stop the Republicans from beating Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in 2010!

Why help Harry Reid now:

The Republican party in Nevada is as much in dire straits as the national party. However, that doesn’t mean they won’t put up a fight to defeat Harry Reid in 2010. Harry Reid once survived a very close race after against now Sen. John Ensign only after a recount (1998). In 2004 he won by a more than comfortable margin. However, that was before he was elected the leader of Senate Democrats. Because of his new leadership role his approval ratings in Nevada have suffered and Nevada Republicans have no greater goal but to topple Harry Reid in 2010.

Now, this is not about whether you like Harry Reid and his actions as the Senate Majority Leader. I’ve personally been very critical of him on several occasions. No, this is about whether you want the Republicans to once again take out the Democratic Leader in the Senate. And Republicans, in Nevada and nationally, will be itching for a fight in 2010 if they lose the White House and more seats in the Senate and the House. And who will be the most prominent target in 2010? Harry Reid.

Potential opponents:

Republicans already suffered pretty badly in 2006 when they lost four out of the six statewide constitutional offices. The only statewide incumbents right now are Gov. Jim Gibbons who is scandal plagued and currently divorcing his wife who has barrickaded herself in the Governor’s mansion. He’s lucky if he won’t either have to resign before 2010 or be primaried.

The other is Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki who seems to be more likely to succeed Gibbons than Reid.

The other top Republicans in the state are Sen. John Ensign who obviously can’t run against Reid and Congressmen Dean Heller (CD2) and Jon Porter (CD3). In 2006 Dean Heller barely managed to get above 50% in this open seat against Democrat Jill Derby. Porter barely won his reelection campaign in 2006 against Democrat Tessa Hafen. Hafen was a Reid staffer who received major financial backing from Reid. A sign that Reid thought Porter to be his strongest and most likely opponent in a future Senate race.

Once you’re done with the most obvious opponents, you have to search in the State Legislature or the local level to find a possible opponent for Reid. You might find one, whether it would be a strong and credible one is highly questionable as the Democrats are only one seat away from a 2/3 majority in the Assembly and just one seat away from getting the majority in the State Senate.

So, the two most likely opponents for Harry Reid are Congressmen Jon Porter and Dean Heller (in that order).

What you can do now:

In one sentence: help defeat Porter and Heller this fall.

Both are vulnerable. Currently, CQ rates CD 2 as Republican Favored and CD 3 as Leans Republican. However, that’s mostly on the basis of the Republicans current financial advantage. After serving as Nevada Democratic State Party Chair for the past year and preparing the state for the caucus in January, Jill Derby announced another run against Heller in late February. By the end of the first quarter filing deadline she had raised $144,000.

In CD 3 a lot of Democrats were mentioned as possible challengers last year. In the end Clark County prosecutor Robert Daskas was the candidate backed by most in the Democratic Party. He was added to the DCCC’d red to blue list in March. However, everyone was shocked when Daskas dropped out this month just two weeks before the filing deadline. Local Democrats, the DCCC and Daskas’ primary opponent Andrew Martin soon rallied around Senate Minority Leader and 2006 gubernatorial nominee Dina Titus. However, six months before the election Titus is at a serious fundraising disatvantage.

Why Jill Derby and Dina Titus can win:

So, both of our candidates are way behind in fundraising. Why, then, can they still win?

Jill Derby ran a hotly contested race in 2006 for a seat that Democrats have not seriously contested since Gov. Jim Gibbons first ran in 1996. While everyone pronounced this seat unwinable for any Democrat, Jill Derby ran a strong campaign and won 45% of the vote and kept Heller at 50%. One reason, Gibbons was even a serious contender for Governor and eventually won in 2006 is that Democrats never seriously contested his seat after his first election in 1996.

Two years later, the situation for Jill Derby is much better. She has new DC and national connections due to her time as State party chair during the caucus (which will help with fundraising), the caucus led to an increase in registered Democratic voters and Heller now has to run on his two year Bush rubber stamp record. The race has gained attention from national Democrats as Derby was endorsed by the Blue Dogs in Congress. Yes, I know, none of us are two fond of the Blue Dogs. That said, I’m happy about any help Jill Derby will get and this is after all still a pretty conservative district. When Derby talks about joining the Blue Dogs in Congress, she’s mostly talking about fiscal conservatism. Yet, she’s progressive on other issues, announcing her campaign at a green architecture form, has made health care and supporting SCHIP one of her main campaign themes (Heller voted against SCHIP). Also, her campaign will be managed by the former head of Americans Against the Escalation in Iraq in Nevada. Subsequently, she also endorsed the Responsible Plan to End the War in Iraq.

As for Dina Titus, she has actually already won in CD 3. In 2006 she won here by two points against Jim Gibbons in her run for Governor. Additionally, the district is trending Democratic as the registration advantage now is at 43% Dem, 37% Rep. Plus, Porter only won by 4,000 votes in 2006.

All Jill Derby and Dina Titus need now is the money to be competitive.

You can do three good deeds today:

You can help two great Democratic women get elected to Congress.

And you can help beat two possible opponents of Harry Reid.

All you need to do is give as much or little as you can and contribute through the My Silver State ActBlue page.


Jill Derby for Congress

Dina Titus for Congress

Helluva Heller – local blog with more information.

Mcjoan on Jill Derby in 2006.

NV-02 Heats Up: Jill Derby Wants a Rematch

Jill Derby, who lost to then Secretary of State Dean Heller 50-45 lis back and back with a vengeance.  In fact, those are Derby’s own words.

Derby had been serving as the Chair of the Nevada Democratic Party and scrupulously avoided building her own political career while she shepherded the caucuses in their new, nationally important time slot.

Derby, of course, is the former Chancellor of the University of Nevada and she is running in a district that covers at least 75% of the state’s area but only a third of the population.  

This was one of Benawu’s open seats.  It has a daunting RVI of R+8.2.  It covers a huge and different area from the Vegas centered districts.  Yet Heller has gone from a respected statewide official to a backbencher for a minority party.  He doesn’t add name recognition and is probably more vulnerable than he was two years ago considering the poor poll ratings of Congress in general and Republican congress members in particular.

Derby’s web site,, has a huge picture odf a smilling Jill Derby with a desert background superimposed and a February 20 dateline.  It starts, “Today, I am announcing my candidacy for Congress.  I’m Jill Derby and I’m back.”

She’s probably the only candidate who can make this seat competitive.  Well, she has.

NV-02: Heller Had 12th Worst GOP Result in 2006

Nationally, many pundits and bloggers didn’t take Nevada’s 2nd district too seriously in 2006. It was too safe a Republican district to be even slightly competitive, so the argument went.

Well, we all know that Dean Heller in the end won his election against Democrat Jill Derby. Against expectations though, his result wasn’t very convincing. The man who was elected Secretary of State of Nevada three times, barely won more than 50% of the vote in a district that doesn’t include Democratic Las Vegas. So today, I ventured out in search of Republicans who won their districts in 2006 and did worse than him. Turns out that there weren’t that many.

Only 11 Republicans were elected with a worse result than Heller. Among them: Rep. Sali of Idaho, Rep. Cubin of Wyoming, Rep. Musgrave of Colorado and Rep. Doolittle of California. All these districts were presumed to be safely in Republican hands. There was no way they would become competitive and yet they were.

Again, there is talk of Heller being safe, of other Republican districts more important than Nevada’s 2nd. This is reminder for all of these folks that Heller is among the vulnerable dozen Republicans currently serving in Congress:

  * 50.37% Heller
  * 50.24% Pryce (OH-15)
  * 50.21% Wilson (NM-01)
  * 50.14% Hayes (NC-08)
  * 50.08% Buchanan (FL-13)
  * 50.05% Bachmann (MN-06)
  * 49.95% Sali (ID-01)
  * 49.53% Ferguson (NJ-07)
  * 49.26% Doolittle (CA-04)
  * 48.46% Porter (NV-03)
  * 48.33% Cubin (WY-01)
  * 45.91% Musgrave (CO-04)

Results were taken from NPR.

PS: Please note that I only looked at how many people were willing to vote for the Republican, not how well the opponent did. This is not a diary on close margins. Feel free to comment on that below.

Cross posted from Helluva Heller, where Nevada bloggers have united to take down Heller in 2008.

Democrats can win in the rurals

When talking about trying to win the 2nd congressional district in Nevada, which encompasses almost all of Nevada except for the heavily populated parts of Clark County, you almost always encounter one argument: Democrats cannot win in the rurals.

Now, at first look that might be true, statewide Democratic candidates often lose the rural counties and often by a large margin. One reason for that might be that statewide Democratic candidates most often hail from Clark County and might not campaign too much in the rurals.

However, when you take a closer look you might come away shocked. Why? Because Democrats actually get elected in the rurals on a regular basis.

Just take a look at this list of current office holders who identified themselves as Democrats on the ballot:

Churchill County:

Vicky Tripp, County Recorder
John Serpa, County Public Administrator

Elko County:

Mike Nannini, County Commissioner

Esmeralda County:

Nancy Boland, County Commissioner
R.J. Gillum, County Commissioner
Karen Scott, County Auditor/Recorder

Eureka County:

Michael Rebaleati, County Recorder/Auditor

Lander County:

Gladys Burris, County Clerk

Lincoln County:

Bill Lloyd, County Commissioner
Leslie Boucher, County Recorder/Auditor
Kathy Hiatt, County Treasurer
Tommy Rowe, County Commissioner

Mineral County:

Ed Fowler, County Commissioner
Richard Bryant, County Commissioner
Cheri Emm-Smith, District Attorney

Nye County:

Gary Budahl, County Treasurer
Sandra Musselman, County Assessor

Pershing County:

Roger Mancebo, County Commissioner
Celeste Hamilton, County Assessor
Donna Giles, County Clerk/Treasurer
Darlene Moura, Recorder/Auditor
Dave Ayoob, County Commissioner

Storey County:

Harold Swafford, District Attorney

White Pine County:

Robert Bishop, County Assessor
RaLeene Makley, County Commissioner
Martha Rivera Sindelar, County Recorder

Now, that’s one impressive list. You know how I got this information? By skimming through the Secretary of State’s website and writing down each person who won an election in the last four years and was marked as a Democrat. By doing that I may have missed someone, and there may also be persons included who are registered as Democrats but might just be so called DINOs (Democrats in name only). But I have no way of knowing. Why? Because the Nevada State Democratic Party hasn’t actually advertised the fact that Democrats get routinely (and sometimes without even having an opponent) elected in the rurals. Just take a look at their page listing county commissioners. They list the five Clark County commissioners and Pete Sferrazza from Washoe County. That’s it. No mention of the county commissioners from Elko, Esmeralda, Lincoln, Mineral, Pershing, and White Pine counties.

What conclusions can be drawn from that list? Democrats can win in the rurals, so much is for sure. How do they win? My guess is by meeting the voters and proving that they’re more qualified for the job than their Republican opponent.

Ahead of her election as Chair of the Nevada State Democratic Party, I asked Jill Derby about her experiences on the campaign trail. Here’s what she had to say:

I was able to connect with many people in all 17 of Nevada’s counties during my campaign for Congress. That experience provides me with a network of positive relationships with which to build the unity, focus, and cohesion which will be important to the Party in the year ahead. Democrats often talk about being the party of inclusion and I intend to make that happen by involving everyone – rural and urban, north and south. I also learned that many Nevadans are independent and not locked into strict party vote. I learned that reaching out and framing our message in ways that resonate beyond our traditional Democratic audience can bring support across party lines, and is particularly attractive to independent voters, of which there are many in Nevada.

In order for a Democratic candidate to beat Dean Heller next year, one can only encourage Jill Derby and hope she’ll focus more heavily on the rurals, highlight achievements in counties like Lincoln and Pershing, and set up a party structure in the rural counties.

Cross-posted from Helluva Heller, a group effort by Nevada bloggers to take on freshman Rep. Dean Heller (R, NV-02) and defeat him in 2008.