SSP Daily Digest: 10/29

FL-Sen: Everything’s coming up Milhouse for Rep. Kendrick Meek these days: Rep. Corrine Brown decided not to challenge him in the primary, he’s watching Charlie Crist and Marco Rubio go hammer and tongs at each other on the GOP side, and now he has the endorsement of Florida’s currently most successful Democrat, Sen. Bill Nelson.

NH-Sen: Oh please oh please… the geniuses at the Club for Growth are considering getting involved in the New Hampshire Senate race, where the position-less campaign of Kelly Ayotte doesn’t seem to be capturing their fancy. (This is buried at the end of an article on how they’re still weighing involvement in FL-Sen.)

NY-Gov: David Paterson is playing a different tune than before, sounding less defiant and ready to “reassess” if his numbers stay in the tank on into early 2010. Meanwhile, this may be a tea leaf that Rudy Giuliani isn’t planning to run — or simply one Suffolk County resident doing a favor for another one — but Suffolk County (on Lon Gisland) GOP leader John Jay LaValle endorsed Rick Lazio last week, and now Orange County (in the Hudson Valley) GOP leader Bill DeProspo is also endorsing Lazio. (And with Lazio poised to get demolished in a Rudy primary, you wouldn’t likely make that endorsement and risk the Rudy’s wrath unless you had a sense that he wasn’t running.) Finally, Erie County Exec Chris Collins had been considered a post-Rudy Plan B for the GOP, but he seems to have taken himself out of the running with bizarre remarks last weekend comparing Democratic Assembly speaker Sheldon Silver to both Hitler and the anti-Christ.

VA-Gov: Two more Virginia polls to add to the pile today: Roanoke College (in its first and apparently only poll) finds Bob McDonnell with a 53-36 lead over Creigh Deeds. In another bit of bad news, Republicans lead Democrats 43-33 on a generic ballot question concerning the House of Delegates. Research 2000 also looks at the race, finding a 54-44 lead for McDonnell — one of Deeds’ best performances recently, although that’s not saying much.

IA-03: Republican state Sen. (and former mayor of the Des Moines suburb of Urbandale) Brad Zaun says he’s seriously considering a run against Rep. Leonard Boswell in the 3rd next year. Mike Mahaffey, former state GOP chair, is set to decide by next week whether or not he’ll run too.

IL-18: Democrat D.K. Hirner will run for the nomination to face off against Rep. Aaron Schock in the Peoria-area 18th (who benefited from Democratic recruitment problems in his initial run in 2008). Hirner is the executive director of the Illinois Environmental Regulatory Group.

MN-03: Democratic psychiatrist Maureen Hackett filed campaign papers to run in the 3rd against freshman Republican Rep. Erik Paulsen (who won with only 49% of the vote in 2008). Minnesota PTA president Jim Meffert-Nelson is also planning to announce his bid soon, while state Sen. Teri Bonoff, the district’s heavyweight Dem, is still weighing the race.

NH-02: EMILY’s List has one more endorsee: attorney Ann McLane Kuster, in the open seat race in the 2nd. You may be wondering “Wait, isn’t Katrina Swett going to run there?” While Kuster is officially in the race and has been fundraising well, Swett hasn’t committed to a bid yet, though… and more importantly, supports parental notification for abortion, making an endorsement unlikely.

OH-15: Here’s a positive development at both the micro and macro levels: little-known anti-abortion Ron Paul-supporter David Ryon dropped out of the Republican primary field against state Sen. Steve Stivers (who’s seeking a rematch against freshman Democratic Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy), and he’s going to go the third party route. This is good at a micro level because it’s similar to what happened in 2008, when two minor right-wing candidates siphoned off 9% of the vote, allowing Kilroy to get past the pro-choice Stivers despite an underwhelming performance (and without Obama on the ballot driving turnout in a university-dominated district, Kilroy is poised to underwhelm again in 2010). And at a macro level, it may be an indication that various wingnuts are taking stock of the Doug Hoffman situation and saying “Hey, that could be me!” (Thus further exacerabting the rifts in the GOP.)

OH-16: Buried at the end of an article that’s mostly profiling alleged GOP frontrunner Jim Renacci, there’s news that conservative former Ashland County Commissioner Matt Miller is planning a third run in the primary in the 16th. Miller, if you’ll recall, got 42% in the 2006 primary against long-time Rep. Ralph Regula (which was probably instrumental in prompting Regula’s 2008 retirement), and then almost won the 2008 primary against state Sen. Kirk Schuring. So it’s hardly a foregone conclusion that freshman Democratic Rep. John Boccieri will be facing Renacci next year.

VA-07: Democratic real estate developer Charles Diradour has decided to scrap his nascent candidacy against Eric Cantor, so it’s back to the drawing board for Dems in the reddish 7th. Cantor has the biggest bankroll of any House Republican, so it’d be an uphill fight, to say the least.

NY-St. Sen.: With state Sen. Hiram Monserrate intending to stay in the Senate despite having been convicted of misdemeanor assault last week, the Queens Democratic Party (led by Rep. Joe Crowley) is taking the unusual step of recruiting and endorsing a primary challenger to him. Assemblyman Jose Peralta will be running against Monserrate with the local party’s blessing. The Senate is also still considering whether to begin expulsion proceedings against Monserrate.

PA-S. Ct.: Josh Goodman has a good catch on how the lone Supreme Court race on the ballot in Pennsylvania next week is actually a key race, in terms of state legislative redistricting in 2010. The state’s legislative redistricting board has 5 seats, with two seats from each legislative chamber and the remaining seat chosen by the first 4. But if the two legislative chambers are controlled by different parties (as is currently the case), there’s a deadlock, and the 5th member is chosen by the Supreme Court. However, the Supreme Court is also currently deadlocked between the parties (3-3, with the victor of next week’s race the tiebreaking vote), so the Supreme Court race essentially is for control of state legislative redistricting for the next decade. In the one poll I’ve seen of the race, Democrat Jack Panella led GOPer Joan Orie Melvin 38-35.

Polling: PPP is asking for your help again: they’d like to know what you’d like to see for a release schedule over the next week.

IL-18: Backdate-gate, Aaron Schock’s first taste of scandal!

I got an e-mail from Dick Durbin today, telling me about Aaron Schock’s new scandal: Backdate-gate!

Apparently, he didn’t quite mind notarizing documents fradulently!  Not only does he say crazy things about exporting nukes, he also gets himself involved in fraud.  How surprising.

I’ve reproduced Senator Durbin’s e-mail below the fold.  Let’s help Colleen Callahan beat Aaron Schock!

Dear Friend,

I am writing you this urgent appeal because I have nowhere else to turn.

There has been a game-changing development in an important Congressional race in downstate Illinois.

It’s an open seat in Peoria, which is traditionally Republican.

The GOP nominee is a 27-year-old named Aaron Schock who has all the money he can spend. He shoots from the hip about sending nuclear weapons to Taiwan and his undying loyalty to George Bush’s failed agenda.

Our Democratic nominee, Colleen Callahan, is a bright, engaging community leader who has spent 30 years in broadcast journalism covering a variety of issues and specializing in agriculture policy.

As a newcomer she has raised over $450,000, but Schock has swamped her with the help of national Republican sources.

Please make a contribution to Colleen Callahan’s campaign today, and help her compete against her well-financed Republican opponent!

Last week there was a blockbuster story across Illinois that Schock had notarized fraudulent documents with false dates so that his father could be eligible for offshore tax shelters. The source of the story was Schock’s own father in sworn testimony before a federal court. The damning testimony was buried in a court transcript but an Associated Press reporter dug it out, making statewide news.

Schock denied wrongdoing and said he saw nothing wrong with notarizing documents he knew were clearly fraudulent. A national notary expert quoted in the story said Schock clearly broke the law because “to backdate a document … is illegal. You have to notarize for the current date.”

Colleen Callahan’s campaign has just produced a powerful new television ad to expose “Backdate-gate.” But right now, Colleen has enough money to run this ad for only four days. She needs at least $10,000 from our community to deliver this important message to the voters through Election Day.

Please click here to watch Colleen Callahan’s new ad, and make a contribution so she can keep it on the air through Election Day!

Schock’s clear misconduct raises serious questions about his judgment. When the voters know the facts, Colleen Callahan can win.

Colleen is not only a good person, she brings the kind of mature judgment to this race that we need in Congress.

We need your help today.

If you can send Colleen’s campaign $10, $100, or whatever you can afford, it can make the difference.

The election is only a few days away and your help can decide this critical contest.


Dick Durbin

U.S. Senator

P.S. After you make a contribution to Colleen Callahan’s campaign, please visit and sign up to volunteer with the coordinated effort to elect Democrats across Illinois!

FL-13, FL-21, IL-18, PA-10: Internal Pollapalooza

Lot’s of internal polls to digest in recent days. Let’s kill ’em all in one post.


Public Opinion Strategies for the NRCC (8/23-24, likely voters, July in parens and 3/5-6 in brackets):

Christine Jennings (D): 30 (30) [37]

Vern Buchanan (R-inc): 48 (44) [53]

(MoE: ±4.9%)

Woof. That’s not a spread that I like to see, but at least Buchanan is under 50%. After being hit by a new lawsuit every week for the past month and a half (or so) on allegations of consumer fraud and illegal campaign fundraising, Buchanan’s camp released this poll to ensure folks that everything is hunky-dory. We haven’t seen numbers from this race from any other source than Buchanan’s campaign, so I’m inclined to believe these ballpark figures. However, with so many legal headaches, I wouldn’t say that Buchanan is out of the woods yet.


Hill Research Associates for Lincoln Diaz-Balart (6/19-22, likely voters):

Raul Martinez (D): 36

Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-inc): 48

(MoE: ±4.9%)

Diaz-Balart pumped out this somewhat moldy poll in an attempt to refute a recent SUSA poll showing Martinez leading D-B the Lesser by two. Given that a Bendixen poll of this race from June showed Martinez trailing only by four points, I’m inclined to believe that the numbers are much tighter than Diaz-Balart’s cherry-picked poll suggests.


Public Opinion Strategies for Aaron Schock (8/18-20, likely voters):

Colleen Callahan (D): 27

Aaron Schock (R): 56

Sheldon Schafer (G): 2

(MoE: ±4.9%)

Ugh. Crazy Aaron Schock doesn’t deserve this.


Momentum Analysis for Christopher Carney (8/19-21, likely voters):

Christopher Carney (D-inc): 54

Chris Hackett (R-inc): 27

(MoE: ±4.9%)

Yeah, I dunno, dudes. SurveyUSA also recently tested this R+8 district, and found Carney only holding a 49-45 lead. I’m a little more inclined to believe that this race is closer to SUSA’s estimate than Carney’s poll, but I still feel pretty good about his chances.

IL-18: Aaron Schock Grows Third Foot, Puts All Three Feet in Mouth

Where do you even begin with shit like this?

“If ever there was an election with consequences, this presidential election is a case in point,” Schock said while speaking at the fair’s Director’s Lawn at the Republican Day rally.

“The last time we had this level of socialism being proposed and inexperience at the helm was Jimmy Carter,” said Schock (who was born four months after Democrat Carter left office in 1981).

Words fail.

(H/T: Progress Illinois)

IL-18: Aaron Schock Not Afraid to Bear Hug Radioactive Toxic Sludge

With so many Republican candidates these days citing “scheduling conflicts” in order to avoid being seen with President Bush, it’s refreshing to see one young candidate who is willing to wrap his arms around Mr. 28% and hold on tight:

President George W. Bush is headed to the heart of Illinois to campaign for State Representative Aaron Schock.

The president will be in Peoria on July 25.

Schock’s campaign manager says details of the visit haven’t been worked out yet, but that tickets to a fundraising dinner will cost $500.

“Any patriotic American would be honored to have the President of the United States come to help them and I am very honored,” said Schock.

Granted, this is an R+5.5 district, but just ask Greg Davis how campaigning with members of the Bush Administration worked out for him in deep red Mississippi.

IL-18: You Have Got To Be Kidding Me

In a recent column in Roll Call, Stuart Rothenberg takes a moment to lament the diminished spotlight for a talented crop of young men and women running for Congress across America.  Now, that’s all well and good, except when you don’t know what you’re talking about.  

Here’s Rothenberg’s “assessment” of IL-18 GOP candidate Aaron Schock, who is running for the open seat of retiring Rep. Ray LaHood:

If you like your candidates young, you’ll find Illinois state Rep. Aaron Schock (R), 26, more than interesting. He was elected to the Peoria school board in 2001, even before he graduated from Bradley University.

In 2004, Schock knocked off an incumbent Democratic state legislator in a Democratic district, and he turned back a major challenge two years later. A conservative who says he focuses on constituent services, Schock is the GOP nominee for retiring Rep. Ray LaHood’s (R) open seat.

The clean-cut hopeful looks like the president of a College Republicans chapter (and acts far older than his years), and he sounded well-versed on most matters. If you can be a seasoned political pro at 26, Schock is. It’s a bit scary, actually.

“Well-versed on most matters”?  Stu, were you lost in his dreamy eyes or did you flat-out forget to ask him about his downright scary foreign policy musings on selling “Pershing nuclear missiles” to Taiwan?  You may have read about this thoroughly whacked-out and amateurish suggestion in the press as something that Ray LaHood himself blasted as “outrageous”:

In his announcement address in late October, Schock said that if China didn’t work to persuade Iran away from development of nuclear weapons, “we will sell Pershing nuclear missiles to Taiwan for their defense. Non-proliferation will either be enforced universally or not at all – it is their choice. The Chinese will come around, I have no doubt.”

“My advice on that is that he should have done his homework, and I think it’s an outrageous statement to be making,” LaHood said, “particularly when you have as your No. 1 employer in the Peoria area Caterpillar (Inc.), that has developed many, many relationships with the Chinese, including establishing facilities in China.

“To make a statement that you’re going to arm one country with nuclear weapons to attack China I think shows a fairly high level of not doing your homework, and… immaturity and not using good political sense.”

Sure, Schock eventually backed off from the plan, but not before his campaign manager dismissed his skeptics as ivory tower eggheads.  Schock claimed that the idea was “more in jest” than anything else, but that didn’t quite jibe with his campaign manager’s depiction:

In a phone interview with the Journal-Register’s political writer, Bernard Schoenburg, the day Schock retracted the statement, his campaign manager, Steve Shearer, said Schock’s proposal was “not just something that he pulled out of his pocket. … It’s a deeply thought-out policy.”

So, the GOP’s golden boy in IL-18 is a nutter on foreign policy?  It’s a bit scary, actually.

Sunday Evening Round-up

  • IL-14: Novak claims that “important Illinois Republicans are urging” Jim Oberweis to drop out of the general election battle for Dennis Hastert’s old seat.  While not surprising, given Oberweis’ disastrous showing last week, such pleas are not likely to have any effect on the stubborn Oberweis, other than further damaging his credibility.

    It doesn’t help when other GOP candidates in Illinois, such as state Rep. Aaron Schock in IL-18, are giving quips such as this one:

    “Anybody in Illinois who knows Jim Oberweis knows that was not a referendum on the Republican Party; it was a referendum on Jim Oberweis,” Schock said. “The Republicans didn’t lose that race; Jim Oberweis lost that race.

    “The people that knew him best, liked him least.”

  • MN-03: In what is shaping to be a surprising upset, Ashwin Madia, a young attorney and Iraq veteran, is closing in on the DFL endorsement for the nomination to contest the open seat of retiring GOP Rep. Jim Ramstad.  At conventions across the district yesterday, Madia won many more delegates than his rival, state Senator and once-presumptive front runner Terri Bonoff.  Both Madia and Bonoff have pledged to abide by the DFL endorsement, but the math is looking very bleak for Bonoff; Madia is less than 10 delegates away from the 95 he needs to clinch the endorsement.

    An internal poll commissioned by the Bonoff campaign showed Bonoff beating GOP state Rep. Eric Paulsen by a 44%-40% margin in a hypothetical general election match-up, while Madia trails by 43%-40%.  In any event, this will be a top tier contest.

  • New Mexico: In a slate of “preprimary” nominating conventions, candidates for federal office in both parties had to cross a 20% threshold to make it onto the primary ballot.  As a result, some of the House primaries are a bit clearer.
    • NM-01: Martin Heinrich won 56% of the preprimary vote to Michelle Lujan-Grisham’s 28%.

      On the GOP side of the aisle, Bernalillo County Sheriff Darren White won 85% of the vote, leaving him unopposed on the primary ballot.

    • NM-02: Democrat Bill McCamley won 48.8% of the vote to Harry Teague’s 36.5%.  No other candidates qualified for the primary ballot.

      Rancher and businessman Aubrey Dunn, Jr. won the GOP vote with the support of 30% of delegates.  Businessmen C. Earl Greer and Ed Tinsley both also qualified for the ballot with 24% each.

    • NM-03: Ben R. Luján won 40% of delegates, and will face off against former Senate candidate Don Wiviott, who qualified for the primary ballot with 30% of the vote.
  • MI-09: Jack Kevorkian is running for Congress as an independent against Republican incumbent Joe Knollenberg and Democratic challenger Gary Peters.  Oy.
  • MD-01: The biggest joke of all?  The so-called “moderate” Republican Main Street Partnership is planning on endorsing Andy Harris, the Club For Growth nutcase who successfully dislodged anti-war GOP Rep. Wayne Gilchrest last month.  Gilchrest, on the other hand, plans to administer a written exam to any candidate seeking his endorsement:

    Included in that test would be questions about the history of the Middle East over the past 200 years, the economic and ecological history of the Chesapeake Bay, the importance of paying attention to unemployment and various other subjects, Gilchrest said.

    “I will endorse someone that has knowledge, integrity, is competent and sees the world in a panoramic manner in all its complexities and not through a bent straw,” Gilchrest said.

    Citing a retired Marine Corps general who has been highly critical of the Bush administration’s decision to go to Iraq, Gilchrest went on to say that “we must stop promoting incompetence in return for party loyalty.”

  • IN-07: Andre Carson may be the newest kid on the block in Washington, but he still has a potentially raucous primary contest to clear in May before he gets too comfortable:

    State Rep. David Orentlicher officially launched his campaign Wednesday alongside Martin Luther King Jr.’s nephew, Derek King, while former health commissioner Woody Myers was set to launch television advertisements.

    State Rep. Carolene Mays will also pose a tough challenge to the newest congressman.

  • AZ-03: This looks like fun.  Former state Rep. Steve May has filed to run against John Shadegg in the Republican primary.  May has previously pledged to spend $1 million on the bid.

New Year’s Round-up

Happy New Year, everyone!  I hope you all had a relaxing holiday season.  I’m feeling rested and refreshed, so let’s take a look at some of the recent developments in down-ballot races across the country.

  • NY-19: Strike three!  After uber-wealthy self-funding Republican Andrew Saul pulled the plug on his congressional campaign against freshman Rep. John Hall after some shady ethics violations came to the fore, some Republicans hoped that former state assemblyman Howard Mills would be an adequate replacement.  Too bad he said no in late November.  The next great hope for the NRCC, assemblyman Greg Ball, announced yesterday that he won’t run, either.  This leaves the GOP’s ball in the hands of Iraq war vet and wingnut Kieran Lalor.  Will the Republicans really end up without a top flight challenger in a district that they held for 14 straight years before Hall’s win?

    Perhaps now is a good time to revisit Ball’s sage words from November, when the GOP line on the NY-19 ballot was his for the taking:

    Ball is concerned about the electoral outlook for the GOP in the 2008 election cycle.

    “George Bush has not only hurt the Republican Party, he’s left the nation without leadership,” the Republican state lawmaker said. “It’s going to be a tough year to run as a Republican at the national level.”

  • IN-02: Speaking of the GOP’s bare shelf, a whole year has passed and Indiana Republicans are still lacking a challenger to frosh Rep. Joe Donnelly.  Has NRCC Chair Tom Cole really gone through his entire Rolodex of ethically-challenged Republican millionaires who live in this R+4.3 district? (H/T: Blue Indiana)

  • Kentucky: The Lexington Herald-Leader’s blog has a thorough run-down of all the upcoming down-ballot special elections in the weeks and months ahead in Kentucky.  The first two happen next week.

  • NM-Sen: New Mexico’s very own Dr. Doolittle, political gossip blogger Joe Monahan, has been talking to “the alligators” again, and this time they’re telling him that Steve Pearce outraised Heather Wilson in the fourth quarter by a margin of $450,000 to $350,000.  Seems kinda low-ish to me, but I suppose that’s probably the end result of having the state’s GOP money divided between two of their heaviest hitters.

  • NM-02: State Rep. Joe Cervantes (D) has dropped out of the race to replace Steve Pearce, leaving former Lea County Commissioner and oilman Harry Teague and Dona Ana County Commissioner Bill McCamley as the only top-tier candidates left in the Dem field.  Monahan thinks the news will favor Teague, a conservative Democrat, but McCamley’s fundraising has been solid and he’s been running for quite some time.  It’ll be interesting to see how this one shakes out.

  • MN-03: MNPublius is hearing rumors that GOP Rep. Jim Ramstad’s retirement is definite.  Let’s hope that they’re true!

  • IL-18: Aaron Schock, a 14-year old GOP state legislator and nuclear proliferation advocate, is doing his best to avoid any foreign policy debates with his primary opponents for the open seat of retiring Rep. Ray LaHood.  I guess Schock has now fully realized that his “ideas” of selling nukes to Taiwan don’t play so well outside of his local college Republican chapter.

  • IN-07: State Rep. Joe Orentlicher is the first to file for the Democratic nomination to succeed the late Rep. Julia Carson.  Carson’s grandson, newly-elected Indianapolis city councilor will make his decision soon, but it’s looking like he’ll throw his hat into the ring.  It’s also looking like the special election to fill the seat may be pushed back until May.

IL-18: LaHood Blasts Schock

The GOP’s star recruit to replace retiring Rep. Ray LaHood, 26 year-old state Rep. Aaron Schock, sure isn’t living up to the hype.  First came his widely-panned “genius” idea of selling nuclear missiles to Taiwan in order to persuade China to go along with U.S. sanctions against Iran.  And now it looks like Schock has landed in hot water with LaHood himself, by using the congressman’s name in his campaign materials without permission:

LaHood said “there’s been at least seven references” to his name in Schock’s materials, and within the last week, he asked his district chief of staff, Tim Butler, who has also worked on LaHood’s campaigns, to call Schock’s campaign manager, Steven Shearer.

“He hasn’t called back,” LaHood said.


But wait, there’s more!  It seems that LaHood is none too pleased with Schock’s half-baked policy positions, either:

In his announcement address in late October, Schock said that if China didn’t work to persuade Iran away from development of nuclear weapons, “we will sell Pershing nuclear missiles to Taiwan for their defense. Non-proliferation will either be enforced universally or not at all – it is their choice. The Chinese will come around, I have no doubt.”

“My advice on that is that he should have done his homework, and I think it’s an outrageous statement to be making,” LaHood said, “particularly when you have as your No. 1 employer in the Peoria area Caterpillar (Inc.), that has developed many, many relationships with the Chinese, including establishing facilities in China.

“To make a statement that you’re going to arm one country with nuclear weapons to attack China I think shows a fairly high level of not doing your homework, and… immaturity and not using good political sense.”

With ideas like these, perhaps Schock would be better suited to run for the presidency of his local College Republican chapter?