SSP Daily Digest: 3/23

KY-Sen: Lolz.

OH-Sen: This is about as far from the horse’s mouth as you can get (paging Goldy?): The Columbus Dispatch is simply asserting that Republican Treasurer Josh Mandel “is leaning toward a run for the U.S. Senate in 2012 and will make an announcement this spring.” They don’t even say, “according to sources”-is that supposed to be implied or something? Anyhow, I’ll wait for Young Master Josh to confirm, seeing as no one else is reporting this.

In other Ohio news, PPP has their miscellaneous report card available… and this time, it’s extremely miscellaneous.

CA-Gov (PDF): The Field Poll has preliminary job approval ratings for Gov. Jerry Brown, who has a pretty sharp-looking 48-21 score in the early going. But don’t get too excited: Guess who had 54-15 approvals at the same point in his first term? Yep, that’d be Gray Davis (scroll down to p. 3 for the completely historical picture).

NC-Gov (PDF): I’ll be honest, PPP’s regular NC-Gov polls were starting to all run together in my head, but this time, Tom Jensen & the gang tried something different: they tested a bunch of alternatives to the very unpopular incumbent Dem, Bev Perdue. The sad news for Team Blue, though, is that even our best hope, AG Roy Cooper, still trails likely GOP nominee Pat McCrory by a 43-35 margin, though that’s better than Perdue’s 50-36 gap. State Sen. Dan Blue (trailing 48-28) and Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton (trailing 47-27) don’t change the equation, either. I also seriously doubt that Cooper would run; he was courted for Senate in 2009 but declined early on. He seems pretty happy where he is and, at age 53, can still wait a bit before deciding to move up. (I’m guessing 2016 vs. McCrory would be a good matchup.)

WA-Gov: This is kind of meh, but if you like your tea weak, drink up.

FL-26: No, that’s not a typo! It’s just another super-genious catch by Greg Giroux. Lunatic Karen Diebel, last seen losing the FL-24 GOP primary to now-Rep. Sandy Adams, has filed to run for Congress once again. What’s awesome about this is that Diebel has kicked her DeLorean up to 88 miles per hour, since her paperwork says she plans to run in the as-yet-uncreated twenty-sixth congressional district. Click the PDF for the documentary proof. This should be great. (Click here if you need a refresher on Diebel’s batshittery, including the infamous Snakes in a Pool incident.)

IN-02: Former Republican state Rep. Jackie Walorski, best known as Wacky Jackie, surprised no one in formally announcing she’d seek a rematch against Rep. Joe Donnelly, something she’d been toying with ever since her narrow loss last fall. (Walorski blames Donnelly’s one-point escape on the five percent a Libertarian Party candidate managed to snag.) Of course, two huge, inter-related questions remain here: What will the 2nd CD look like after redistricting, and will Donnelly seek re-election or try his hand at higher office? Stay tuned… for a while.

NY-26: Janie’s got an ad: Republican Jane Corwin is out with a second spot (her first was a bio ad) that hits themes as old as the hills: Dem Kathy Hochul wants to raise taxes, and she’s a clone of Nancy Pelosi. NWOTSOTB, but the Corwin campaign claims that the ad is “is airing districtwide on broadcast,” according to The Hill.

OH-10: With his seat potentially headed for the carving board, Dennis Kucinich is obviously trying to win over as many friends as possible before the state legislature starts up the redistricting process. Kucinich said in an interview on Monday that President Obama’s decision to order air strikes on Libya “would appear on its face to be an impeachable offense.” (By the way, check out that PPP item up above – Kucinich has 27-40 favorables statewide.)

PA-07: Now this is damn interesting. At that recent DCCC fundraiser in Philly we mentioned the other day, Steve Israel reportedly met with former Safe Schools Advocate Jack Stollsteimer about a potential run against freshman Rep. Pat Meehan, who took over Joe Sestak’s old seat last cycle. Stollsteimer confirms he met with “party leaders,” and says he’s giving the race “serious consideration.” But what makes all this so unusual is that Stollsteimer served as Meehan’s press spokesperson for many years while Meehan was Delaware Co. DA and later U.S. Attorney! It’s only been a few months, but Stollsteimer says he has “serious problems with what [Meehan]’s already done as our Congressman.” Could be good!

PA-08: That don’t impress-a me much: the NRCC put out a press release attacking ex-Rep. Patrick Murphy for something or other, perhaps because they’re concerned he might run for his old seat again. (That’s possible, though he might also run for state AG.) But press releases are cheap, and who knows how many carbon-copy releases the NRCC put out, seeing as they don’t put them all up on their website.

LA-St. Sen.: They switch parties in Louisiana like Denny Hastert changes underwear-which is to say, not every day, but perhaps with some frequency. It should come as little surprise that the latest state legislator to don a not-so-fresh pair of tighty-whities is moving from D to R. But a diarist at Daily Kingfish points out that Norby Chabert (great name) isn’t exactly some crusty Dixiecrat playing out the string-he’s a freshman who has said publicly he voted for Obama, and was relentlessly attacked on that score during his first election campaign in 2009. It’ll be interesting to see if the whole mess of recent converts like Chabert wind up getting teabagged to death.

Philly Mayor: A judge denied Mayor Michael Nutter’s request to remove wacky opponent Milton Street from the ballot, and Nutter said he would not appeal. (Nutter said that Street violated the city’s residency requirements, which say you have to live in Philadelphia for three years before seeking office, because Street was serving out a sentence in a federal prison in Kentucky.)

Wisconsin Recall: The RSLC-that’s the Republican State Leadership Committee, the GOP equivalent of the DLCC-is going up with new television ads against Democratic state Sens. Jim Holperin and Dave Hansen, who sit in the two most Republican districts held by Dems and are the target of recall efforts. Neither district is really red, though-they were both lost by Kerry but won by Obama, making them more swingish than anything else. Politico notes that the RSLC has already been running ads against Holperin, and that the new buy is expect to cost $50K a week, while the anti-Hansen campaign will run “six figures over several weeks.”

How is this for awesome, though? One Wisconsin totally busted the RSLC for using stock footage so fake, it was actually watermarked with the words “FILE FOOTAGE” in the bottom corner!

Wisconsin Sup. Ct.: It was only a matter of time-and not that much. The WMC-Wisconsin’s version of the Chamber of Commerce-is preparing to run ads in support of Republican David Prosser’s campaign to stay on as justice. (I’m guessing these will be attack ads against JoAnne Kloppenburg.) Progressive groups are already on the air with a spot that equates Prosser with Gov. Scott Walker.

Meanwhile, in a candidate forum yesterday, Prosser’s already infamous “I’ll destroy you, bitch” comments of course came up-and he once again repeated his defense that, well, a bunch of women made him do it, by (as the AP put it) “ganging up on him.” He also apparently failed to apologize for his remarks.

Polltopia: You know what to do.

Redistricting Roundup:

Alaska: Yes, Alaska! While the state obviously doesn’t have to worry about congressional redistricting, it does have to re-do its legislative maps. And believe it or not, the state actually has something of a Democratic gerrymander, since last time around, Dem Gov. Tony Knowles controlled key appointments to the panel responsible for producing new maps. This time, of course, Republicans control all the levers of power, so payback is expected.

Maryland: MD has long been a popular target at SSP for redistricting plans, so I’m not sure there’s much new here in Aaron Blake’s latest state-by-state installment. But you geeks tell me!

Mississippi: Dems in the state House voted to join that NAACP lawsuit I mentioned yesterday, which is seeking to enjoin the state from holding elections this year under the old district lines-something which could happen if the legislature stalemates on new maps, which is looking increasingly likely.

NC-Sen: Cooper Won’t Challenge Burr

Bad news:

Big news out of North Carolina: Attorney General Roy Cooper won’t be running for the Senate, depriving Democrats of one of their top recruits against Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.).

“While I am honored by the encouragement I’ve received, I don’t want to go to Washington and serve as a U.S. Senator at this time,” Cooper said in a statement. “I am committed to public service and I want to serve here in North Carolina rather than in Washington.”

This is a major bummer, no doubt. Most polls had Cooper running neck and neck with Burr, holding him well under 50% in all cases — the best numbers any Democrat have yielded in a hypothetical head-to-head.

Still, Burr, who possesses some pretty tepid approval numbers, is not out of the woods yet. Much like Elizabeth Dole last cycle, he’s still polling under 50% against a variety of lesser-known Democrats — including a 39-34 lead against Democratic congressman Mike McIntyre, who himself is not ruling out a bid for the office. Perhaps Bob Menendez should get on the phone, stat.

UPDATE: Roll Call offers a few more recruitment possibilities:

National Democrats could look to several Democratic Members from North Carolina, including Reps. Bob Etheridge and Mike McIntyre, to run for the seat. State Treasurer Richard Moore, Secretary of State Elaine Marshall, Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton and state Rep. Grier Martin are also possible targets of Democratic recruitment.

LATER UPDATE: The News & Observer has an even more expansive list of potential candidates. It’s well worth a look.

SSP Daily Digest: 5/6

PA-Sen: In a big diss to Arlen Specter, the Democratic caucus last night voted to slot Specter into the most junior spots on his committees for the remainder of this Congress. The issue won’t be revisited until after the midterm. This strips Specter of one of his strongest re-election arguments: seniority, and the power to make things happen that comes with it (especially on his Appropriations subcommittee… although that’s not as huge a problem in a big state like Pennyslvania as it would be in an Appropriations-dependent state like Alaska).

KY-Sen: There’s another potential GOP primary challenger to Jim Bunning sniffing out the race, in case SoS Trey Grayson doesn’t show up despite having opened an exploratory committee. Cathy Bailey hasn’t held elective office before, but she’s strong on the fundraising front. She was a Bush Pioneer in 2000, and was rewarded for that with a post as Ambassador to Latvia. She’s married to the former CEO of Providian as well, so she can self-fund if need be.

NC-Sen: Kenneth Lewis, a Durham attorney and fundraiser for Barack Obama, is telling state Democratic Party leaders that he will run against Richard Burr next year. Still no word on state AG Roy Cooper’s intentions. (J)

IL-Gov: DuPage County Board chair Robert Schillerstrom is setting up an exploratory committee to run for the GOP nomination in the 2010 gubernatorial race. He’ll join state Senator Bill Brady, who’s already in the hunt. Brady has the “my turn” advantage, having finished 3rd in the 2006 primary, but the suburban Schillerstrom would have the population advantage over downstate’s Brady.

NJ-Gov: The Democratic Governors’ Association has been reading the Gray Davis playbook (or maybe my advice?): they’re going hard after Chris Christie this month with an ad barrage in order to damage Christie in the hopes of getting the much less-known and more-conservative Steve Lonegan the GOP nomination instead. The Corzine camp is not involved in the efforts, which aims at Christie’s strength: questioning his supposed corruption-fighting credentials as U.S. Attorney.

VA-02: Ex-Rep. Thelma Drake announced she won’t seek a rematch against Rep. Glenn Nye, who upset her in 2008. This may actually be bad news! for Nye, as there are potential GOP candidates more impressive than the polarizing Drake waiting in the wings. Nye has to be bolstered, though, by the blue shift in this now R+5 district, narrowly won by Obama.

MN-06: Maureen Reed, a former Univ. of Minnesota regent who ran for Lt. Gov on the Independence Party ticket, will be running in MN-06 in the DFL primary in 2010. While she might not make it through the primary, especially if Elwyn Tinklenberg runs again and/or state Senator Tarryl Clark runs, I’m taking this as a positive sign, in that the IP might not be looking to shoot us in the foot this time. (See also Populista‘s diary.)

NRCC: The NRCC has launched another offensive on what they perceive as vulnerable (or at least soften-up-able) Dems, with radio ads against Marion Berry, Charlie Melancon, Earl Pomeroy, Zack Space, and John Tanner. Space is the only one who’s on Frontline, but Berry, Melancon, and Tanner are all in districts that moved sharply toward McCain in 2008. The ad attacks the Blue Dogs for being “lap dogs” on the Obama budget.

Gay marriage: The gay marriage train just keeps building up speed, picking up one more state today. After some public hemming and hawing, Maine Governor John Baldacci signed gay marriage legislation this morning after it passed both chambers of the legislature. (Discussion underway in David Kowalski‘s diary.)

King County Executive: The first poll is out in the race to lead King County (which puts you in charge of 1.8 million constituents, and is a frequent stepping stone to Washington governor). In a bit of a twist, the Republican (it’s an ostensibly nonpartisan race, but everyone knows who’s what) is in the lead in this dark-blue county: former TV news anchor Susan Hutchison is at 20%, followed by two county councilors from Seattle proper (Dow Constantine at 6 and Larry Phillips at 5) and two Eastside state legislators (Fred Jarrett at 7 and Ross Hunter at 3). All the Dems (each of whom is largely unknown outside his district) added up together beat the widely-known Hutchison, though, so whichever Dem survives the primary seems likely to pull this out in the general election, in Nov. 2009.

Mayors: Republican Dan Sullivan beat Democrat Eric Croft to replace Mark Begich as Anchorage mayor yesterday, 57-43. (Sullivan has the advantage of being the son of former mayor George Sullivan.) Discussion underway in benjso99‘s diary. Also, yesterday in Detroit, Dave Bing defeated newly-minted mayor Ken Cockrel by 4 points. (Which makes him the second legendary NBA point guard to ascend to mayor, following Sacramento’s Kevin Johnson.)

NC-Sen: Civitas Poll Shows Decline for Both Parties, but Is Wording to Blame?

McLaughlin and Associates (R) for the Civitas Institute (4/21-23, likely voters, March 2009 in parens):

Roy Cooper (D): 34 (41)

Richard Burr (R-inc): 35 (38)

Undecided: 32 (21)

(MoE: ±4%)

So down at the skunkworks at SSP Labs, the boys and I spent some time trying to figure out why on earth both Cooper and Burr would show drops like this from the last survey – especially Coop. Our initial diagnostics came up empty, but after scoping out the innards, I think we’ve come up with something.

You might have noticed that the very first line of this post refers to a polling outfit called “McLaughlin and Associates,” a Republican firm from Alexandria, Virginia. I’m not familiar with them, and in fact, I’ve never seen Civitas identify McLaughlin as their pollster.

More importantly, McLaughlin changed the wording of the horserace question from what Civitas had been using in the past. In other words, we don’t have a true trendline. The old question:

“If the election for United States Senate were held today and the candidates were republican Richard Burr and democrat Roy Cooper, for which would you be voting?  If not sure/unsure/refused… which candidates are you leaning toward: republican Richard Burr or democrat Roy Cooper?”

And the new question:

If the election were held today, which one of the following best describes how you are likely to vote in the election for United States Senate between Richard Burr, the republican candidate, and Roy Cooper, the democratic candidate?

The choices were “definitely X,” “probably,” “lean,” and perhaps “undecided.” The key change is that the old poll actually pushed leaners – it doesn’t look like the new one did. And the less-than-traditional phrasing of the new question seems a bit wonky to me. I’ve never really seen a straight horserace question tested in quite that way before. All in all, an unusual set of choices by Civitas, but it looks like our dedicated gang of greasemonkeys has at least solved this mystery.

NC-sen Roy Cooper and GLBT rights (well one right)…

The one tidbit I was able to find in this regard, for readers’ information, was listed on Equality NC’s rundown of 2004 achievements (emphasis added by me):

“Fulfilling a campaign promise to Equality NC PAC, Attorney General Roy Cooper issued a non-discrimination policy for the Department of Justice that includes sexual orientation. He is the first statewide elected official to adopt such a policy in North Carolina.”

I hope he runs and beats Burr.

NC-Sen: Cooper Maintains His Lead

Public Policy Polling (4/8-11, registered voters, 12/8-9 in parens):

Roy Cooper (D): 41 (39)

Richard Burr (R-inc): 37 (34)

Mike McIntyre (D): 34

Richard Burr (R-inc): 39

(MoE: ±3.1%)

PPP seems to be on a quest to test every conceivable Dem against Richard Burr, and this time they threw 7th CD Rep. Mike McIntyre into the mix; despite being unknown to over half the state, McIntyre posts the best performance of any Dem against Burr in PPP’s polling other than state Attorney General Roy Cooper. While McIntyre has not expressed any interest in the Senate race, he would bring some regional strength in a hypothetical match-up; in a head-to-head against Burr, he leads the Republican by 48-33 in Southeastern NC, while Burr and Cooper are tied at 40-40 there.

Still, Cooper is undoubtedly our best bet for this race. He sports a solid 41-20 favorable rating (much better than Burr’s tepid 35-31 rating), and destroys Burr among moderate voters by a 56-21 margin. For those keeping score, this marks the third poll (of four publicly-released ones) showing Cooper in the lead. Luckily for us, Cooper will make a decision on this race “very soon“.

NC-Sen: Encourage AG Roy Cooper to Run for Senate

{First, a cheap plug for my blog Senate Guru.}

In a story released today by The News & Observer, North Carolina’s Democratic state Attorney General Roy Cooper indicated that he may decide on whether or not to run for Senate in 2010 IN THE NEXT FEW WEEKS!

Polls by Civitas and Public Policy Polling already show Attorney General Cooper beating Republican incumbent Richard Burr (who has recently gained notoriety by blocking Tammy Duckworth’s appointment to a Veterans Affairs post).

If you so see fit, PLEASE call Roy Cooper’s campaign office at 919-832-4312 (you’ll probably get voice mail) and leave a simple message encouraging Roy Cooper to run for Senate in 2010.  Explain that North Carolina and all of America would benefit by having his common sense voice replace Richard Burr’s obstructionist voice.

Every word of encouragement he receives makes him more likely to run — and, if he runs, we can replace Republican backbencher Richard Burr with a strong Democrat like Roy Cooper!

On the web: Draft Roy Cooper for U.S. Senate in 2010 Facebook Group

On the web: Draft Coop

NC-Sen: Cooper Leads Burr in New Poll

Civitas (3/16-19, registered voters):

Roy Cooper (D): 41

Richard Burr (R-inc): 38

Undecided: 21

(MoE: ±4.0%)

Roy Cooper, the Attorney General of North Carolina, continues to post the best numbers of any prospective Democrat against GOP wallflower Richard Burr. A Research 2000 poll for Daily Kos in January showed Burr edging Cooper by a 45-43 margin, while PPP had Cooper leading by a 39-34 spread in December. Burr has to be nervous about a head-to-head race against the state’s top lawman.

Both Burr and Cooper will have an opportunity to acquaint a broad swath of voters with themselves; Burr holds a 44-12 favorability rating, but 31% have “no opinion” of the Senator, and another 19% have never heard of him. Lacking a well-defined image after four years in office while holding a notoriously volatile seat seems to be Burr’s biggest weakness at this point. Cooper, meanwhile, is not exactly a household name either — he sports a 32-4 favorability rating with 27% having no opinion of him and complete unfamiliarity with another 37%.

Still, Democrats have to be pretty excited about these nums. We just have to hope that Cooper can be persuaded to take the plunge.

NC-Sen: Shuler Won’t Challenge Burr

The Associated Press:

North Carolina U.S. Rep. Heath Shuler said Monday he will not run for Senate in 2010, declining a chance to seek a seat in the upper chamber as Democrats try to expand their majority on Capitol Hill.

Shuler said he was flattered to have so many people ask him to challenge Republican Sen. Richard Burr.

“However, with our nation facing the most difficult economic times in generations, I feel my efforts are better utilized focusing on solutions to these challenges rather than campaigning across the state,” Shuler said in a statement.

While Shuler definitely would have brought some strengths to the table as a general election candidate in North Carolina, he’s certainly well to the right of most non-DINO Democrats in the Tar Heel state these days… and that could have given him some serious problems in a contested statewide primary. If this move frees up Attorney General Roy Cooper to take a closer look at the race — who would probably be a stronger candidate in the general election anyway — then this could be pretty good news. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

SSP Daily Digest: 2/26

We’re going to try out a new feature for weekday afternoons here at Swing State Project: four or five links to various items that we want to get out there but don’t feel like investing a diary’s worth of effort on. Enjoy the bullet points! (We encourage you to add your own bullet points in the comments, and otherwise treat this as an open thread.)

UT-Sen: Daily Kos polls the 2010 Utah Senate race, where the action appears to be in the primary, but Bob Bennett looks safe for another 6 years. Bennett beats David Leavitt 44-23 in the primary, and, in the general, manhandles Rep. Jim Matheson 55-32 and Jeopardy! champion Ken Jennings 57-21, not that we should expect either of them to run.

OH-Sen: A third Dem has jumped into the primary field for the 2010 Senate race: state representative Tyrone Yates. He doesn’t have the stature of Fisher or Brunner, but as the only African-American and only Cincinnati-area candidate, he may well complicate things.

WA-08: The first Dem challenger has announced, and it’s another wealthy ex-Microsoft executive, Suzan DelBene. Don’t look for her to have the field to herself this time, though.

MN-Sen: In an indication that the Coleman camp has exhausted every possible legal argument that can win in court, he’s moved onto arguing that it was basically a tie so let’s just have a do-over election. Not the kind of thing that someone who has a hope of winning in court ever says.

Census: The Congressional Black Caucus is pushing the White House to keep the Census within its portfolio even though reliable Dem Gary Locke will now be taking over at Commerce.

Blogospheria: Blogger brainpower (including Jane Hamsher, Glenn Greenwald, Markos Moulitsas, and Nate Silver) and union bucks come together in the new Accountability Now PAC. The goal is to pressure (and where there’s a good target, primary) bad Dems and create more space for good Dems to maneuver on the left.

RI-01: Republican state representative John Loughlin is strongly considering a suicide mission against challenge to Rep. Patrick Kennedy. Kennedy got 69% against no-names in his last two elections, but apparently his approval ratings are softening.

HI-01: In another district where you might be surprised to know there’s an elected Republican, Honolulu city councilor Charles Djou has announced his candidacy for HI-01, which is expected to be vacated by Neil Abercrombie as he goes for governor. Djou claims the endorsement of every Republican in Hawaii’s legislature (all 7 of them).

NC-Sen: Former state treasurer, and gubernatorial primary loser, Richard Moore won’t be getting involved in the Dem primary to take on Richard Burr in 2010. The field looks clearer for AG Roy Cooper.