SSP Daily Digest: 12/30

Dave’s Redistricting App: If you use Dave’s App, please don’t close your browser window/tab when you take a break. Whenever you load a new instance of the app, it causes a big bandwidth hit, especially when you open up New York state. So to help Dave conserve bandwidth, leave your browser open once you’ve loaded whatever you’re working on until you’re finished with that project. Thanks! (D)

AZ-Sen: Ex-Rep. J.D. Hayworth says that he may be ready to start “testing the waters” for a primary challenge to John McCain. Hayworth was recently seen in D.C., holding a joint fundraiser with Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio that raked in $100,000. Hayworth’s share of the proceeds went directly to help alleviate his outstanding legal bills.

CT-Sen: Well, this is awkward. Before Chris Dodd led the attacks on AIG for its executive compensation fiasco, Dodd was in AIG’s offices, collecting checks from their employees.

MA-Sen: Republican Scott Brown has launched the first ad of his campaign, making a totally cheeseball comparison between himself and JFK.

NY-Gov: Basil Paterson, David’s dad and former SoS, raises the ugly specter of the 2002 gubernatorial primary between Carl McCall and Andrew Cuomo as some kind of “warning” to Cuomo. (D)

AL-05: As we expected, PSC Commissioner Susan Parker has turned down the opportunity to challenge Parker Griffith in 2010. This leaves Democrats without a top shelf candidate, but there are other options worth considering. One potential candidate, state Rep. Randy Hinshaw, talks with Left in Alabama about the campaign that he’d like to see the Democratic nominee run. Doc’s Political Parlor hears that Deborah Bell Paseur is unlikely to run, and that Hinshaw is “as likely as anyone” to go for it. Madison County Commissioner Bob Harrison is also thinking about it.

CA-19: The Defenders of Wildlife are gearing up to do whatever it takes to prevent Richard Pombo from re-entering Congress (as he is considering), even if it means supporting another conservative Republican for the seat of retiring GOP Rep. George Radanovich. Meanwhile, Taniel notes that ex-Fresno mayor Jim Patterson is a Club For Growth protege — so this could be a pretty lively primary.

LA-03: State Rep. Nickie Monica has become the first Republican to file for the seat of Dem Rep. Charlie Melancon.

TX-10: Foreign policy consultant Dan Grant, who lost a 2008 Democratic primary to local celebrity judge Larry Joe Doherty, has taken his name out of consideration as a last-minute replacement for businessman Jack McDonald, who withdrew his candidacy for the seat of GOP Rep. Mike McCaul last week.

NC-10: Here’s something interesting we missed a while back: Iredell County Commissioner Scott Keadle is challenging Rep. Patrick McHenry in the GOP primary, and he’s backed his play with $250K of his own money. It’s not really clear what exactly Keadle’s beef with McHenry is – he seems to be running a 1994-esque campaign, accusing McHenry (who’s only held office since 2005) of turning into a “career politician,” and pledging to serve no more than three terms himself. (Hat-tip: Reader IR) (D)

VA State Sen: Hotline on Call takes a look at a crucial special election between ex-Fairfax Co. School Board member Steve Hunt (R) and Del. Dave Marsden (D). Marsden and Hunt are running to replace Republican AG-elect Ken Cuccinelli. If Democrats somehow win the seat, they’d be able to pad their razor-thin majority in the Senate to 22-18.

NYC-Mayor: The Swing State Project has gotten its hands on the precinct-by-precinct results for the 2009 New York City mayor’s race. You can also check out our entire storehouse of obscure election returns and otherwise-unpublished polling memos at the SSP Document Collection. For some tasty eye candy and analysis, SSP Research Bureau Chief jeffmd has put together some beautiful maps comparing Thompson’s performance to Obama’s. (D)

Polltopia: Pick PPP’s next state polling target: Alabama, Connecticut, Illinois, Florida or Massachusetts.  

TX-10: McCaul May Run for Attorney General

Roll Call:

Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), who won a third term in November in a race that was closer than many Republicans would have liked, is expected to create an exploratory committee for a possible run for state attorney general in 2010, two Texas media outlets reported Thursday evening.

The current attorney general, Greg Abbott (R), is contemplating running for lieutenant governor next year – or for Senate if Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R) resigns early to pursue a gubernatorial bid.

This might be the most exciting House open seat news so far this cycle. McCaul won with just 54% of the vote in November, and 55% two years earlier. This district always looked more competitive than its (old) PVI of R+13, in large part due to an ongoing demographic sea change – in particular, Hispanic growth here has been through the roof.

I’d also be willing to bet that Bush’s numbers were inflated here due to a home state effect – and that Obama did better than Kerry’s 38%. The real question is whether there is something “wrong” with McCaul that’s kept his numbers down – and, consequently, would we be better off running against him or with an open seat? I’ll note that the DCCC didn’t spend a dime on this district, but first-time candidate Larry Joe Doherty did raise an impressive $1.2 million in his losing bid.

If McCaul bails, Doherty could conceivably run again, as could international affairs consultant Dan Grant, who ran in the primary against Doherty in 2008. My question to you: Are there any other strong candidate who might be tempted to run if there’s an open seat?

I’m Proud to Have Labor’s Support in TX-10

I am proud to have received the enthusiastic endorsement of the Texas AFL-CIO and other Labor groups representing more than 230,000 working men and women across the state.

Every progressive movement in our nation’s modern history has come about because of Organized Labor’s courage and steadfast refusal to take its eye off the ball — protecting the health and well-being of the great American middle class.

From civil rights to voting rights, from women’s rights to workers’ rights, from consumer protection to environmental protection, Labor has moved us forward and made us the economic and moral force we are.

The 8-hour day, the 40-hour week, maternity leave, the right to take time off to care for a loved one — all of it is a direct result of labor’s willingness to fight for the ordinary families who work hard, play by the rules, and deserve an equal opportunity to live a life of dignity.

At this time in our history, when each of these rights is under sustained attack, Labor’s endorsement is especially meaningful.

Let’s make it central to our campaign to make a fresh start, to reignite the spirit and recapture the vitality of a nation that used to export its values, not just its jobs.

On March 4, I hope you will take advantage of another right Labor has given us — time off to vote.


TX-10: Dan Grant on Failed Economy Pushed By McCaul

The reviews are in, and consumer spending this holiday season was up a mere 3.6 percent over the year before.  It was the weakest increase in at least four years, as families purchased fewer presents to put under the tree — and spent one-third of that increase on gasoline.

The news is the latest evidence that the free spending fueled by Washington’s aimless policies in Iraq has turned our economy into the equivalent of a grade-B horror flick come to life — Return of the Living Debt.

While the Bush-Cheney administration and its allies such as Rep. Mike McCaul squander more than $3 billion of our tax dollars every week in Iraq, economic security in central Texas communities continues to suffer.  Job creation is slowing down, unemployment is rising, and debt-driven growth is bottoming out.  The world’s first trillion-dollar war, almost all of it borrowed, is creating economic casualties here at home as the new year gets underway.

In addition, the collapse of our nation’s mortgage and credit markets is now rippling through the economy.  At least two million middle-class families will probably to lose their homes to foreclosure.  

Apparently following the example set by Mr. McCaul’s political bosses in Washington, D.C., consumers have borrowed against their homes and maxed out their credit cards.  But as the lackluster recent holiday sales show, we aren’t borrowing to buy widescreen TVs or other luxury items.  We’re going into debt to cover escalating health care costs, soaring college tuition rates, and to pay for gas to get to jobs, while our paychecks are stagnating.  

No wonder economic security is now the top issue this election year. Merely breaking even has never been an acceptable notion for Americans — especially when one of the culprits is the war in Iraq, which has not only lost mainstream support but is helping to increase the highest national debt in history.

Here is some of what Washington should be doing to improve middle-class economic security:

• Universal health care.  These days, access to high-quality, low-cost health care should be a right, not a privilege. I support a plan to leverage down health costs by creating a single nationwide risk pool, to guarantee open disclosure of all prices so that we know what a pill costs before swallowing it, to insist on unitary pricing so that everyone pays the same price for the same product or service, and a renewed commitment to insuring every child.

• Energy independence.  Invest in alternative sources of energy.  Wind, solar, geo-thermal, bio-diesel, and other alternative energy technologies are an opportunity for the U.S. to become a global leader again.  The result?  Greater energy independence, fewer energy costs, and the creation of sustainable jobs.  Repealing taxpayer subsidies for polluters will improve our economy, clean up our environment, and strengthen our national and economic security.

• Expand the Earned Income Tax Credit.  This pro-work, pro-family IRS program, first created by Ronald Reagan, helps middle- and low-income working families obtain federal tax credits.  Unlike tax cuts for the wealthy, the EITC puts money directly into local economies.  Last year, 2.1 million Texas recipients qualified for more than $4.3 billion in refunds, with the average return coming to nearly $2,000.  This money is spent in local businesses on school supplies, small appliances, vehicle repairs, and other good or services that may have been deferred during the rest of the year for lack of spending cash.

• Invest in education.  China, India, and others are investing in the next generation of our global competitors.  Let’s reverse the Bush-Cheney administration’s cuts in Pell Grants for eligible college students, reform their failed ‘No Child Left Behind’ boondoggle, and once and for all stop them from trying to siphon tax dollars out of public schools to pay for a private-school voucher scheme.

• Micro-lending.  Expand the scope and lending limits of the Small Business Administration’s innovative micro-loan program. This home-grown wealth program helps encourage local companies and entrepreneurs, and the money stays in local communities in the form of higher tax revenues, consumer spending, sustainable local jobs, and economic opportunities for middle-class and working families.

These steps may not be easy, but they are essential.  The free spending in Iraq and laissez-faire enforcement of financial regulations by the Bush-Cheney administration and its reliable allies in Congress have created a danger far more horrifying than a grade-B Hollywood movie.  They have placed the economic security of the American middle-class at risk.

This election, let’s have a serious conversation about our priorities to move forward.  It begins by ending the war in Iraq and shifting the resources we are spending there to things that matter the most — universal health care, better public schools and access to college, a stronger Social Security trust fund and comprehensive services for our veterans and their families — here at home.

These are some of my ideas for positive change. The last thing we can afford is more of the same. We need a change in Washington — now.


TX-10 – Dan Grant makes it official: “I’m in it to win it!”

The candidate filing period opened today – and Dan was there to make it official, saying he hoped to signal his understanding of how eager Central Texas voters are to get started on changing Washington.

“I’m in this race to win this race,” Dan said.

Dan’s newspaper column on Iraq earns praise

Last Saturday, the Austin American-Statesman published Dan’s latest column on the “mournful legacy” of his opponent’s allies in the Bush-Cheney administration.

“The sixth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on our nation has come and gone, the second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina has come and gone, the White House surge in Iraq has come and gone, and soon another holiday season will have come and gone, too,” Dan wrote in the piece. “As these milestones pass, we are no closer to getting it right… Enough is enough.”

Dan lays out a smart strategy for immediately ending U.S. involvement in Iraq’s civil war through a three-pronged approach to “redefine our mission, reduce our troop levels, and reinvigorate U.S. diplomacy around the world.” Click here to read the whole column – and to see why Dan’s campaign is gaining national momentum.

Pocket change for positive change

Dan’s ongoing donation program, Ten for Dan, is a unique opportunity for you and 10 of your friends to make a difference. A simple contribution of $10.10 from each of you can make the difference. It will help us keep our TV spot on the air – and bring positive change to Washington.

Click here to give $10.10 – pocket change for positive change.

And click here to see Dan’s TV spot.

TX-10: Grant Calls on Opponent to Put Texas Taxpayers First, Clear Channel Last

The Federal Communications Commission is moving ahead with plans to help big media get bigger.  A rally happening right now in front of FCC headquarters in Washington, D.C., is designed to slow the rush toward even more consolidation.

My opponent should break his silence on this important issue and explain whether he is working for the Texas taxpayers who own the public airwaves or Clear Channel, his family’s mega-media company.

Call McCaul at 202-225-2401 and remind him who owns the public airwaves.

Dan Grant: ‘SCHIP Fight Not Over Yet’

It’s World Series week, and Congressman Mike McCaul is about to get another chance to improve his batting average when a measure providing uninsured Texas kids the kind of health insurance program he enjoys comes up again for debate.

So far, he’s batting 0-2.

First, he voted against the bi-partisan SCHIP bill that would have extended coverage to nearly 1.4 million Texas children whose parents work hard and earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but too little to afford private insurance.  Then, he remained in lockstep with the Bush-Cheney administration and voted against overriding the President’s veto.

Forty-four Republicans joined the Democratic majority in voting to override last week and guarantee access to affordable health care for the children of parents who are working hard and playing by the rules.  They ignored the misinformation spread by the White House and did the right thing.

But not Mr. McCaul.  So here are some facts to help him do the right thing, too:

  • More than 90 percent of those families covered by SCHIP earn less than $41,000 a year and can’t afford the average $12,000 annual premiums to cover their children.
  • McCaul and his fellow ideologues claim the SCHIP proposal would cover families earning $83,000 a year.  But they’re wrong — and they know it.  No state, including Texas, can cover higher-income families without approval from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which President Bush controls.
  • SCHIP is a fiscally responsible plan that saves local taxpayers money by guaranteeing access to health care at the doctor's office, not the emergency room.
  • SCHIP isn’t a step toward the kind of government-run health care McCaul and his cronies enjoy. Under the proposal, states are free to provide health coverage any way they choose — and most of them, including Texas, choose to use private insurers to deliver coverage.
  • SCHIP is aimed directly at those who need it. States earn bonuses for enrolling those most in need and lose federal matching funds if they don't cover the poorest children — and it phases out coverage for those few adults who are currently enrolled.

The issue isn’t going away.  More than 80 percent of Americans favor the measure Mr. McCaul has voted against — twice.  The question now is whether he will be independent enough next time to swing for the fences or continue to look to the bench for instructions on what to do.

TX-10 – Dan Grant: ‘McCaul Votes For Big Insurance First, Texas Families Last’

My opponent once more failed to do the right thing today.

He again put his loyalty to the Bush-Cheney administration ahead of his obligation to the families who pay for his own health care with their taxes but can’t afford the same rights for their own children.

Central Texans were looking for more leadership and less followership in Washington, D.C. today, because with more uninsured children than any other state, we had more to lose. We didn’t get that leadership today.

It’s time for a fresh start in a new direction.

Dan Grant (TX-10): ‘Call McCaul’

The U.S. House Thursday is scheduled to vote on whether to override the President’s controversial veto of the bi-partisan State Children’s Health Insurance Program.  Rep. Mike McCaul should vote to provide more than 1.4 million uninsured Texas children the health care they need.

Unfortunately, McCaul voted against uninsured kids and for insurance industry special interests the first round.  Will he find the moral courage to do the right thing today?  Will he finally make Texas priorities his priorities?

You can help by calling Rep. McCaul’s Capitol Hill office at 202-225-2401 and asking him to vote for nearly 1.5 million eligible children of working parents who deserve the same health insurance taxpayers give him.

Last week, Rep. McCaul was quick to hand out a congressional certificate of recognition to an Austin woman honored as one of 18 child care providers across the country at the first annual National

Child Care Provider Awards.  She deserved it. Now it’s time for McCaul to recognize that uninsured Texas kids deserve his attention, too.

Call McCaul today and tell him to vote to override the Bush-Cheney veto.

TX-10 – Does Mike McCaul Agree With His Brother-in-Law?

The junior Congressman From Clear Channel has been notably silent during the uproar over rightwing talk show host Rush Limbaugh’s attack on U.S. troops who oppose the White House’s misadventure in Iraq as “phony soldiers.”

Now Rep. McCaul’s brother-in-law, the CEO of the company that broadcast Limbaugh’s diatribe, is defending the indefensible.

“It would be unfair for me to assume his statements were intended to personally indict combat soldiers,” said Mr. Clear Channel, as quoted in part by Fox News.


It’s time for Mike McCaul to come out of hiding and tell us whether he stands with Rush Limbaugh and his in-laws — which include the Chairman, the CEO, and the President of Clear Channel — or with the brave men and women who are defending Limbaugh’s right to broadcast such irresponsible statements.


Dan Grant