SSP Daily Digest: 12/7

DE-Sen: Here’s an amusing look back at the Delaware race, where it turns out that Christine O’Donnell raised $7.3 million over the course of the campaign (a somewhat large improvement on her $63K from her previous Senate bid) and then proceeded to lose by 16 points. O’Donnell apparently had the same problem that I suspected that Sharron Angle did (though we don’t have any confirmation on Angle yet)… there weren’t any media outlets with available slots to pour all that late-breaking money into.

MO-Sen: Jim Talent has offered his timeline on publicly deciding whether or not to run for Senate (which has seemed to get less likely over the last few days, if you believe the scuttlebutt). He won’t decide until the New Year, and possibly won’t announce anything until the state GOP’s Lincoln Day festivities in mid-February.

MT-Sen: PPP offered some GOP Senate primary numbers, although I’m not sure how useful they are given that Marc Racicot, the former Governor and RNC chair, eats up a lion’s share despite not having really ever been associated with the race. (Although, who knows… maybe this will suddenly prompt him to get interested.) At any rate, the two guys with name rec, Racicot and Rep. Denny Rehberg, are at 40 and 37, respectively. The two little-known guys who are actually the ones running (so far), Steve Daines and Neil Livingstone, are at 5 and 4.

RI-Sen: Although John Robitaille seems to be getting all the attention in terms of the GOP’s pick to challenge Sheldon Whitehouse, Warwick mayor Scott Avedisian is still stoking the fires of vague interest. Avedisian is a moderate and an ally of newly-elected Gov. Lincoln Chafee.

WA-Sen: The race against Maria Cantwell seems to already be a casualty write-off for the GOP, seeing as how the state’s entire viable GOP bench (aka Rob McKenna) will most likely be running for Governor. The state GOP’s usual M.O. in such situations is to turn to some random rich guy as a place-holder (see Mike McGavick, Cantwell’s 2006 opponent, or oft-threatened but never-happened candidate John Stanton), but it may turn out that Clint Didier, the tea partier whose GOP primary bid against Dino Rossi didn’t go anywhere and who’s now interested in trying again, gets left holding the bag this time. Didier, who refused to endorse Rossi and castigated him at every turn, isn’t likely to be able to count on much NRSC or even state GOP goodwill this time, though.

MN-Gov: Nothing like a little post-electoral cat fud, even if it means exiling pretty much your entire pantheon of elder statesmen. The state GOP just excommunicated more than a dozen key moderate Republicans who had jumped ship to support Independence Party candidate Tom Horner in view of Tom Emmer’s extremism. These aren’t just run-of-the-mill PCO-types, either: the list includes an ex-Senator (David Durenberger) and two ex-Govs (Arne Carlson and Al Quie). And if you’re wondering how Emmer is faring in the court of public opinion amidst the recount non-drama, PPP’s out with a snap poll: by a 68-22 margin, voters think it’s time for Emmer to give up (which matches the 68-21 margin of people who think that Mark Dayton was the election’s rightful winner).

OH-17: Wondering who the third-party candidate who fared the best was, in this year’s House races? It was none other than ex-con ex-Rep. Jim Traficant, who picked up 16.1% of the vote against Tim Ryan, the best showing of any indie with both Dem and GOP opponents (and he did it without spending a penny). He fared better than Randy Wilkinson in FL-12, who ran a more credible campaign and was widely viewed as a potential spoiler. In fact, Wilkinson finished 3rd at 10.7%; some random conservative, Dan Hill, got 12% in NE-03 by running to Adrian Smith’s right, although that was a race that Dems barely contested. What about MI-01’s Glenn Wilson, who made waves for approximately one day with his pledge to spend $2 million of his own money (although it’s dubious if he spent more than a fraction of that)? He barely registered, at 7%.

WV-01: Here’s an unexpected comeback, and probably one that’s not a good idea. Alan Mollohan, who couldn’t survive a Dem primary and most likely wouldn’t have won the general even if he’d gotten over the first hurdle, is publicly expressing his interest in running in 2012 for his old seat. He’s opened an FEC account for ’12 and has been reaching out behind the scenes.

NY-St. Sen.: This is basically a Hail Mary at this point, but when it’s the chance to tie the state Senate, it’s a chance you take. Craig Johnson officially filed an appeal yesterday of the judge’s ruling certifying Jack Martins as winner in SD-7 (giving the GOP a 32-30 edge there). He’s asking for a hand count, to see if any votes were missed in the state’s switch this year to electronic voting machines. Given the recent abject fail in finding all the votes cast in Queens, it’s not out of the realm of possibility.

Redistricting: The Fix has another installment in its ongoing redistricting previews, this time focusing on Georgia. The GOP-controlled state legislature should have little trouble adding a GOP-friendly 14th seat in Atlanta’s northern tier of exurbs, where most of the state’s growth has occurred. The real question will be whether they can do anything to turf out either of the two remaining Dems in slightly lean-Dem districts in south Georgia, Sanford Bishop or John Barrow? Although neither of their seats are truly minority-majority, the VRA might be implicated if their seats get messed with too much. Bishop’s GA-02 is likely to be shored up in order to make freshman Austin Scott safer in the 8th. Barrow seems like an easier target, but to do so would not only risk VRA litigation but also make Jack Kingston’s 1st less safe, meaning incumbent protection might be the result.

Demographics: There was a massive dump of U.S. Census data yesterday, although none of it is the actual hard count from 2010 (which is due by the end of the month, including state populations for reapportionment purposes). Instead, this is the Demographic Analysis (used to estimate undercounts in the actual count, although there won’t be any adjustments made to the counts for redistricting purposes in this cycle). The big number was the total population estimate, ranging from 306 million to 313 million, with a midrange estimate of 308.5 million (which would put the average House district, for redistricting, at 709K). Also worth noting: Hispanics accounted for essentially the nation’s growth in youth population in the last decade, and Hispanics have grown from 17% of the nation’s under-20 population in 2000 to 22% now; without Hispanics, the number of young people would have actually gone down since 2000.

NE-03: Scott Kleeb “Exploring”

(Interesting. Kleeb is now actively raising money, and such funds can only be used in a campaign for federal office. What might he have in mind? Another crack at NE-03 (the sixth-most Republican district in the nation, according to its PVI)? Or perhaps he’s angling for a Senate bid should Fahey or Kerrey decline a race? Nebraska: ever the wild card. – promoted by James L.)

The surprise candidate of the 2006 cycle in Nebraska is exploring another run for office in 2008.


As each day passes, I am more and more appreciative of what we accomplished together on our campaign for Congress last year. I can say without a doubt that the campaign was the most rewarding, most energizing and most inspiring endeavor in which I have ever been involved. Since then, I remain excited about our future in Nebraska and am currently exploring several options to continue and expand our campaign.

I need your help in continuing to reject partisan politics and embrace positive change. Please click here to make a donation today.

From Columbus to Scottsbluff, from Valentine to McCook, we sparked a conversation across our district that rejected partisan politics and embraced the common belief among all Nebraskans that together we can create a better life for ourselves and for our children, that we can again believe in that common bond of faith in a democratic process, that we can again believe that our fates are connected and that together we make more of an impact than we can separately.

(h/t: New Nebraska Network)

NE-03: Adrian Smith Pays Father More Than $140K

Smith Watch has the story:

This then takes me to the most interesting link on the site. The “Expenditures” list. This is what his campaign basically wrote checks on. A lot is easily found to be campaign related. Then there were the things listed that raise eyebrows.
$141,666 to Neal Smith, Adrian’s father. A look at the FEC forms say it’s for payroll processing.

The New Nebraska Network provides some more details:

It’s hard to imagine what legitimate purpose there could possibly have been for the October 30, 2006 disbursement of $12,434 to Neal Smith for this mysterious “Payroll Processing.” To a suspicious mind, that has to sound like either a deliberately vague catch-all for a lot of different payments or else a pretty clear cut case of the Smith family keeping some of the controversial Club for Growth’s money for themselves.

And AmericaBlog digs a little deeper:

Looking at the FEC Web site, and at the electronic filings, this is how the $141,000 breaks down as direct payments to Smith’s Dad:

In-Kind: Birthday Invitations: $219.35
In-Kind: Flight for two: $497.58
In-Kind: Office Space: $2525.00
Debt Repayment: $22,055.54
Payroll Processing: $116, 389.38

From the comments:

Hmm, eliminating all corporate payments, I condensed the list down to 38 individuals who received money from Smith, including his father. The Stunning result: Smith paid more than $116000 for the processing of 332 payments to 37 persons, totalling $235,000. That’s about 50 cent for processing each dollar. Hmm, strange that Smith’s dad offered his own son such a lousy deal, isn’t it?

Smith defeated Scott Kleeb in one of the most surprisingly close races in 2006. Kudos to Lisa at Smith Watch for finding this.

NE-03: Did Bush Just Endorse Kleeb?

From an Omaha World-Herald article on Bush’s ass-saving intervention on behalf of the troubled candidacies of Adrian Smith (R-Club For Growth) and Pete Ricketts (R-Hell), Bush gives his recommendation to voters from Nebraska’s deeply Republican 3rd Congressional District:

“Now, it seems to me if you’re sending someone from this country to Washington, you better have someone who understands what it means to be a farmer and rancher.”

Sound advice for a district as rural and agriculture-based as Nebraska’s 3rd.  Um, one slight problem, though, Mr. President:

Sounds like someone should have done a little better job of briefing President Bush on the candidates in Nebraska’s Third District Congressional race. It’s quite simple:

Scott Kleeb (D) = Fourth generation Nebraskan; Rancher with a PhD who wrote his doctoral dissertation on the history of cattle ranching

Adrian Smith (R) = Real estate agent and failed politician who is “not known as a skilled lawmaker” and “not known as a leader”

Well, kudos to the President for his candor, I guess.  And good work by the Kleeb campaign to spin the Bush visit into a plus for their side.

While Nebraska’s 3rd district is deeply Republican, in two of the last three times that it has been an open seat, the Democratic candidate barely lost (by 737 votes in 1974 and just over 4300 votes in 1990).  Scott Kleeb has worked this district hard, and it’d be pretty hard to think of a more perfect fit for this district than him.  While I’m not expecting an upset tomorrow, I am, however, anticipating this race to be fairly close tomorrow night–certainly closer than retiring Rep. Tom Osborne’s 87-11 blowout in 2004, in any case…