SSP Daily Digest: 8/2 (Morning Edition)

  • CT-Sen: Linda McMahon has already spent at least $22 million on her senatorial bid – and though she has plans to shell out much more, she’s already the fourth-largest self-funder of all time. The good news is that the top three are pretty uninspiring: Jon Corzine (NJ-Sen 2000: $60 million, 50.1% in general); Blair Hull (IL-Sen 2004: $29 million, 11% in primary); Michael Huffington (CA-Sen 1994: $28 million, 45% in general). Check out the second page of CQ’s piece to see who rounds out the rest of the top 10. Only three actually won a seat in the Senate, and all of them served one term or less – by choice!
  • FL-Sen: Ah – live by the zillionaire asshole, die by the zillionaire asshole. Joe Trippi, who apparently thought he could make a buck by helping schmuckface Jeff Greene run negative ads against Kendrick Meek, has been axed. This is pretty unsurprising, in light of an in-depth story by the St. Pete Times which catalogs just how much of a jerkass Greene actually is. Here’s a representative sample:
  • Adam Lambert worked as captain of Greene’s 145-foot yacht, Summerwind, earlier this year.

    “He has total disregard for anybody else,” chuckled Lambert, who said he was Greene’s 20th and 22nd Summerwind captain (No. 21 quit after a few hours with Greene).

    “I don’t think I ever once had an actual conversation with him. It was always, ‘I should just get rid of you, what f—— good are you? You’re just a f—— boat driver. You’re the third-highest paid employee in my corporation and I should just get rid of you,’ ” Lambert, 43, recalled by phone from a yacht in Croatia. “It didn’t bother me. I just felt sorry for the man. He doesn’t seem very happy.”

    Quite apropos of all this, Dave Catanese takes a look at the “band of others” which has come together to run Charlie Crist’s campaign. Catanese says that Crist’s team “is staffed by a collection of misfits who run the gamut from longtime loyalists to out-of-state hired guns. They have worked for Democrats, for Republicans and even for prominent independents. As with Crist, ideology appears to take a back seat to winning office.”

  • MO-Sen: Mostly-failed teabagger Chuck Purgason has an internal poll out (at least, I think it’s an internal) from Magellan Strategies… but that’s not really the point. There are two super-huge problems with this poll. First off, there are literally zero undecideds – Purgason claims he’s beating Dem Robin Carnahan 56-44. Secondly, releasing a general election poll just days before an almost hopeless primary looks extremely unserious. I don’t give a damn about Purgason, but I don’t think either of these issues make Magellan look particularly good.
  • GA-Gov: Barack Obama is visiting Atlanta to speak to a disabled veterans convention and to host a DNC fundraiser today, but Dem gubernatorial candidate Roy Barnes will be visiting other parts of the state. Several prominent Dems are planning to attend the events, including Labor Comm’r Michael Thurmond (our senate nominee), and Reps. David Scott and Sanford Bishop, the latter of whom has a competitive race this fall.
  • NY-Gov: Steve Levy has completed his transition from widely disliked xenophobic DINO to memorable Republican loser: He said he wouldn’t seek the Independence Party’s line this fall, and formally gave his backing to Rick Lazio.  Meanwhile, Elizabeth Benjamin says a source tells her that another disgruntled Republican, the vile Carl Paladino, is doing the opposite – he’s reconsidering his decision not to run on a third-party line and may run on his own “Taxpayers Party” line if he loses the GOP primary in September. Apparently, the teabaggers are taking the long view here, hoping that they can create a “true” conservative rival to the, ah, Conservative Party, even if that means helping Andrew Cuomo win the gubernatorial race.
  • WY-Gov: Mason-Dixon did a poll of the Wyoming gubernatorial primaries for the Casper Star-Tribune. On the GOP side, state Auditor Rita Meyer leads with 27, followed by former U.S. Attorney Matt Mead with 24, House Speaker Colin Simpson with 17, and former legislator and state Ag. Director Ron Micheli with 12. For Democrats, former state Dem chair Leslie Petersen leads pilot and former University of Wyoming football star Pete Gosar by a 30-22 margin.
  • FL-08: Franking – the privilege that allows members of Congress to mail out nominally “informational” materials to constituents at taxpayer expense – is one of those things that’s usually a lame non-issue… until it’s an issue. Incumbents have been pushing the boundaries of proper franking for centuries, and it rarely gets traction in campaigns, but I really wonder if Alan Grayson’s gone too far with this one. He recently sent out a DVD to 100,000 homes in his district (at a cost of $73K) titled “Watch Congressman Grayson in Action!” featuring a few dozen clips of his greatest hits in office. Maybe the video will be popular, maybe no one will care, maybe some Republicans will howl and get ignored – we’ll see.
  • IL-10 (PDF): It’s a bit musty, but Mike Memoli got his hands on an internal poll from the Dan Seals campaign taken in mid-May by Anzalone-Liszt. The numbers are a damn sight better than most Dem internals, showing Seals with a 46-38 lead over Republican Bob Dold, and a 41-32 lead among independents. Despite the poll’s age, I’d be surprised if things had changed a whole lot since then, given that the air war hasn’t really been joined yet.
  • IL-13: Dem Scott Harper had apparently been trying to shop the results of an informed ballot test on a recent internal poll from Global Strategy Group but didn’t seem to get many bites. So he finally decided to pull a Raul Labrador and release the proper toplines, despite their utter – almost extreme – suckitude. Rep. Judy Biggert leads Harper by a 55-29 margin. The most ridonc thing is that Biggert felt compelled to put out her own, not-exactly-dueling internal in response. I say that because the numbers in Biggert’s survey (taken by American Viewpoint) show her up 61-28. This was really not a well-managed move by the Harper campaign.
  • KY-06: Republican Andy Barr, formerly a top legal aide to disgraced former Gov. Ernie Fletcher, is coming under fire for his shoddy handling of a response to a government records request under the state’s equivalent to the Freedom of Information Act when he worked for Fletcher. In a 2007 report, then-AG Greg Stumbo (a Dem) said that Barr’s failure to produce records on account of their alleged non-existence meant that he was responsible for “records mismanagement.” However, Stumbo’s office did not determine that Barr had actually violated the state open records law.
  • LA-02: The DCCC added state Rep. Cedric Richmond to its Red to Blue program on Friday. This tells me two things: First, the D-Trip doesn’t think much of Richmond’s primary challenger, fellow state Rep. Juan LaFonta. Second, DC Dems are concerned enough about Rep. Joe Cao’s staying power that they’re getting involved in a reasonably contested primary, something they have largely avoided this cycle. Now in fairness, Louisiana has a very late primary – August 28th – with an absurdly late runoff on October 2nd. So I can understand wanting to avoid a pressured one-month campaign. Still, this suggests to me that this race is not the “gimme” we might have once imagined.
  • NY-01: Stuck behind Newsday’s paywall is a story which says that GOPer Christopher Cox has filed a lawsuit seeking to invalidate fellow Republican Randy Altschuler’s ballot petitions. This is exactly the kind of war that Democrats in New York have been hoping for. I can’t wait to read more about it. And don’t forget that there’s a third candidate in the race, George Demos, who is being publicly slammed for alleged ethical lapses while he was an SEC attorney by a former supporter, John Catsimatidis. You may recall that Cox is engaged to Catsimatidis’s daughter, which explains the old man’s turnabout.
  • NY-15: You’ve probably already seen this, but Barack Obama said in an interview with CBS News that Charlie Rangel should “end his career with dignity.” Really wonder if the old bull is going to keep fighting this thing.
  • NY-24: Mmm… donuts. The owner of a local donut shop, Michael Sadallah, filed a lawsuit trying to knock Republican Richard Hanna off the Independence Party line. Sadallah, an Independence Party member, has also donated to Rep. Mike Arcuri. Oral arguments are this week – good luck, dude!
  • OK-05: True Some Dude James Lankford just earned the endorsement of third-place finisher (and state Rep.) Mike Thompson, who scored 18% in the first round despite spending $900,000. Lankford took 34% and former state Rep. Kevin Calvey had 33%. Lankford and Calvey face off in an August 24th runoff.
  • Kansas: A rare bit of good news on the voter registration front: Over the last year in Kansas, “Democrats gained 11,260 voters, rising to 460,318; unaffiliated voters increased 38,764 to 490,395, and Republican ranks increased 3,189 to 744,975.” Obviously, that’s a pretty sizable edge for the GOP, but it’s still nice to see Dem gains both in absolute numbers and percentages outstrip the Republicans – especially in such a red state, and especially in a year like this.
  • KY-Sen: Poll Shows McConnell Vulnerable

    Reasearch 2000 for the Lexington Herald Leader (PDF), taken Oct. 22-24 (likely voters, no trendlines):

    Chandler (D): 41
    McConnell (R-inc.): 46
    Undecided: 13

    Stumbo (D): 37
    McConnell (R-inc.): 46
    Undecided: 17

    Luallen (D): 40
    McConnell (R-inc.): 45
    Undecided: 15

    Horne (D): 34
    McConnell (R-inc.): 45
    Undecided: 21
    (MoE: ±4%)

    They say you can’t tell the players without a program. So:

    • Ben Chandler currently represents Kentucky’s 6th Congressional District. He lost a gubernatorial race to Gov. Ernie Fletcher in 2003, but held statewide office for many years prior.
    • Crit Luallen is Kentucky’s State Auditor. She is seeking re-election to that post this year. The same poll discussed in this post also shows Luallen with a commanding 55-33 lead in the auditor’s race.
    • Greg Stumbo is the outgoing state Attorney General. He is probably best known for bringing charges against Fletcher over the latter’s corrupt state hiring practices. Stumbo ran for the Dem Lt. Gov. nod earlier this year on a ticket with Bruce Lunsford, but the pair lost to Steve Beshear and Daniel Mongiardo.
    • Andrew Horne is a Marine who lost a primary last year to John Yarmuth in KY-03. (Yarmuth of course went on to defeat GOP Rep. Anne Northup in one of the bigger upsets of 2006.)

    The most interesting thing here is not just that McConnell is held under 50% by all comers, but by the fact that he gets the same score no matter who he goes up against. Horne only has 45% name rec (which actually strikes me as high), and yet he still keeps McConnell at 45%.

    This undoubtedly has a lot to do with McConnell’s weak favorability rating – just 47-46, with 25% saying their opinion is “very” unfavorable. This is in line with SUSA’s numbers (49-46). I’ll note that McConnell’s internal polling (apparently provided to the newspaper in this accompanying article) has him at 55-32, but when set against the Herald-Leader and SUSA numbers, this survey is an outlier.

    The favorability numbers for McConnell’s potential challengers:

    Chandler: 57-31
    Luallen: 56-21
    Stumbo: 49-38
    Horne: 36-9

    Chandler has said he won’t run, but he hasn’t issued any Shermanesque statements. Luallen is obviously waiting until after the upcoming elections. Stumbo and Horne are both in exploratory modes. No matter who our nominee ultimately is, Mitch McConnell is looking awfully weak for a Republican party leader sitting in a red state. This could definitely be a pick-up opportunity if we see another wave election.

    KY-Sen: new poll: McConnell in BIG trouble

    (crossposted at BlueGrassRoots)

    A poll out today from the Herald-Leader makes it clear:

    Kentuckians don’t like Mitch McConnell, and he is VULNERABLE in 2008.

    Just as the last two Survey USA polls have shown, Kentuckians are starting to sour on their Senior Senator. Mitch McConnell’s approval rating has fallen to 45%, while his disapproval rating has risen to 46%, the first time that any poll has shown his disapprovals eclipsing approvals.

    Additionally, McConnell continues to lose support from moderates in big numbers, as only 33% approve and 61% disapprove.  His numbers among Independents aren’t much better, at 37/53%.

    The LHL poll also shows potential Democrats well within firing range of McConnell in next year’s Senate race. Chandler, Stumbo, Horne and Luallen are all within 5 to 11% in a potential matchup against the incumbent McConnell in 2008.

    The most impressive numbers among these potential challengers is that of Lt. Col. Andrew Horne. Despite the fact that Horne has low name recognition at the moment, with 55% having no opinion of him, he is still within distance of McConnell, down 45% to 34%. In comparison, the % of those having no opinion of Chandler, Stumbo and Luallen, are only 12, 13 and 23%, respectively. If Horne runs and wins the nomination, his name recognition would skyrocket, closing the gap with McConnell considerably (especially considering that Horne’s approval/disapproval among those who know him is at 36/9%). From Del Ali, the president of the company who conducted the poll:

    “Here’s a guy that half the electorate really doesn’t know but yet when you put him against an incumbent whom nearly everyone knows, he’s in the race,” said Ali, the pollster. “It tells me the voters of Kentucky at least are open to someone to represent them differently in the U.S. Senate.”

    Additionally, Horne is a harder target for McConnell to smear in a potential matchup than other Democrats. From the LHL:

    And McConnell already has a reputation as a fierce campaigner who seizes on opponents’ political weaknesses.

    For that reason, a candidate such as Horne could give McConnell the most fits, said (Democratic consultant, Danny) Briscoe.

    “Chandler, Stumbo and Luallen all have public records that McConnell will look at as raw meat,” he said.

    Horne is also more immune to attacks from McConnell on matters of national security than other potential candidates. Horne is a 27 year Marine vet who served in both Iraq wars. His experience on the ground in the current war, along with his vocal opposition to this unpopular policy in KY, would make him a difficult target of the expected “Defeatocrat, cut-and-runner” line of attack that will be sure to come from McConnell.


    This election will be a brutal fight. McConnell is well known for being one of the most cutthroat campaigners that you’re ever going find. He is relentless in his attacks, and will stoop to anything to gain an edge.

    This is why we need a new face in Kentucky politics to take him on. We need a candidate without baggage in their background that can be exploited.  We need a candidate with character and spine, who will stand toe-to-toe with McConnell and not back down from a fight. We need an outsider, not a career politician who runs for office every year. We need a unifying candidate for all Kentuckians across this state.

    We need Lt. Col. Andrew Horne.

    (crossposted at BlueGrassRoots)

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    KY-Sen: new SUSA poll: Mitch McConnell in trouble


    The new Survey USA poll is out, and it's very bad news for Mitch McConnell.


    Mitch has a record low approval rating of 48% and a record high disapproval rating of 44%.

    Mitch thought that he would actually get bonus points for his oh-so-clever filibustering of any change to Bush's failed Iraq policy. The Webb amendment to give our troops the proper rest and rotation between tours passed easily, but Mitch voted against it and organized the filibuster. The Levin amendment passed, but Mitch again stood in the way, enabling Bush and obstructing any real progress in our Iraq policy.

    Mitch lost the most ground among independents, free falling from 67/30 approval/disapproval, to 39/53. Considering that KY's independents are overwhelmingly against the war, this shows that Mitch has firmly put the Iraq anchor around his own neck by standing in the way of any progress. The right isn't happy either, as he  dropped 6 points amongst Republicans and 12 points amongst Conservatives. Women also don't like the war, and they don't like Mitch either (it's mutual, I'm sure): he dropped 11% amongst women.

    This poll shows that Mitch's attempts to portray the Democrat's reform effort on Iraq as a “publicity stunt” is an absolute failure. KY voters are able to see through Mitch's spin, and they will continue to in bigger numbers the more that Mitch enables Bush and obstructs real progress that Democrats are pushing for and KY wants.

    Mitch continues to have Iraq veterans and protesters hounding him wherever he goes in Kentucky. That will only heat up. He also has his first possible opponent, Greg Stumbo, forming an exploratory committee for a run against him in 2008. There is also a growing movement to draft Marine vet Lt. Col. Andrew Horne into the race. Having to run against an honored Vet who is active with VoteVets and consistently for changing course in Iraq would be a nightmare scenario for Mitch, imo.

    But what about Mitch's bottomless war chest? Remember that Tom Daschle spent $19 million on his race and lost. People don't like Mitch, and there's no amount of money that's going to change that.

    So don't let anyone tell you that this race is out of play, because we have a legitimate shot of ditching Mitch.

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