SSP Daily Digest: 11/23

AK-Sen: There’s yet another lawsuit coming out of the Joe Miller camp, this one filed in state court. It essentially rehashes claims he’s already made at the federal level, but adds two new allegations: voters without identification were allowed to take ballots in some precincts, and that in a few precincts handwriting samples suggest that the same person completed multiple ballots. Miller’s ultimate goal is a hand count of the entire race, which could delay Lisa Murkowski’s swearing-in past January. The question, however, is starting to arise: who’s paying for all this? None of Miller’s former friends seem interested any more: the NRSC has gone silent, and the Tea Party Express still offers verbal support but isn’t ponying up any money. Only Jim DeMint continues to offer any financial support (with a Joe Miller fundraising button on his Senate Conservatives website).

MT-Sen: This could complicates matters for Denny Rehberg, turning this primary into an establishment vs. teabagger duel. Two right-wing groups, Concerned Women PAC and Gun Owners of America, have already lent their support to businessman Steve Daines, who has already announced his bid for the GOP nod here.

NY-Sen: Kirsten Gillibrand has to do it all over again in 2012 (this one was just a special election), and rumors are that former Bush administration official Dan Senor, who spurned a run this time, is interested in a run next time. It’s hard to imagine, if Gillibrand could top 60% in a year as bad as this, that Senor could somehow overperform that in a presidential year.

MN-Gov: The recount is officially on. The State Canvassing Board, whom you all got to know really well in early 2009, ruled that the 8,770 vote lead for Mark Dayton is less than one-half of a percentage point and that an automatic recount is triggered. The count starts on Monday and should end in mid-December, allowing time for swearing in on Jan. 3 (unless things really go haywire). This comes after a variety of legal maneuvering from both sides, including a fast Minnesota Supreme Court ruling against Tom Emmer, in response to his desire to force counties to comb through voter rolls and eliminate votes that were “excessively cast.” No word yet on whether the Board will honor Dayton’s request for ways to streamline the process (and minimize Emmer’s chances for challenges).

MT-Gov: There had been rumors that Democratic ex-Rep. Pat Williams would seek the Dem gubernatorial nomination (potentially setting up a match with his successor, ex-Rep. Rick Hill), despite being 72 years old. He’s now saying that he won’t. Williams is so old-school that he used to represent MT-01, before the state got smooshed together into one at-large district.

CT-05: Random rich guy Mark Greenberg, who finished third in the GOP primary in the 5th this year (although with nearly 30% of the vote), says he’ll be running again in 2012. Added incentive: he says he expects this to be an open seat as Chris Murphy runs for Senate.

FL-17: Newly elected Frederica Wilson is already challenging the old ways of the House… going after the long-standing prohibition against wearing hats on the House floor. She says it’s “sexist,” saying that women’s indoor hat use is different from men’s. Wilson owns at least 300 hats, she says. (If Regina Thomas ever makes it to the House, maybe the Hat Caucus can gain some momentum.)

MD-01: Recently-defeated Frank Kratovil seems like one of the likeliest losses to run again in 2012, especially since the Dem-controlled Maryland legislature is likely to serve him up a much Dem-friendlier district (as many of our in-house mapmakers have suggested). He isn’t saying yes yet, but says he will “consider” it.

NH-02: Another possible re-run is Ann McLane Kuster, who performed pretty well in a narrow loss to Charlie Bass in the open 2nd. There have been lots of Beltway rumors that her run is imminent, and some are pointing to encouragement straight from the White House for her to try again.

NY-01: We’ve essentially finished the absentee ballot count, and the news is very good here: Tim Bishop, after leading by only 15 last night, is now leading by a comparatively-gargantuan 235 with all absentees counted. However, we’re nowhere near a resolution, as attention now turns to the court battle over 2,000 challenged ballots (Randy Altschuler has challenged 1,261, while Bishop has challenged 790). Still, Bishop’s spokesperson is saying they’re “very confident” that they’ve won this one.

NY-23: Yeesh, Bill Owens is actually saying he might vote for John Boehner for Speaker or abstain instead of Nancy Pelosi when it comes to a floor vote, saying Pelosi is too liberal. (This despite saying he voted for her, rather than Heath Shuler, in the caucus vote.) Also, not that it matters at this point, but this race wound up being closer than the Election Day count indicated: Matt Doheny picked up 1,982 previously-unknown votes in the recanvass of Fulton County, taking Owens’ margin down to 1,795 overall, and making it all the clearer that we owe this victory entirely to 3rd-party bearer-of-cat-fud Doug Hoffman.

Odds and ends: The Fix has a massive list of people considering rematches in 2012, most of which we’ve already dealt with before (including Kuster and Kratovil, above). Other names that we haven’t listed include Brad Ellsworth (either for Gov, Senate, or his old IN-08), Christine O’Donnell in Delaware (not unexpected, since she runs every 2 years anyway), Glenn Nye, and Allen Boyd (despite his losing very thoroughly to Steve Southerland).

AL-St. House: The inevitable realignment at the legislative level in Alabama finally happened, and happened all at once instead of slow drips. Four conservative Democrats in the state House changed to the GOP, bringing the GOP numbers up to not just a majority but a supermajority in one fell swoop. The Madison County (Huntsville) Clerk also announced her switch, too.

CA-AG: At this point, it’s all over but the shouting in the AG race, as Kamala Harris now leads Steve Cooley by 43,000 votes (with 500K votes still left to count). While the AP hasn’t called it, LA Weekly has decided it’s a done deal.

Chicago mayor: Roland Burris has aparently thrown his well-traveled hat into the ring for the Chicago mayoral race, as he’ll need a new job in a week or so. Supporters filed his candidate paperwork yesterday, the deadline for filing (although he has yet to officially say that he’s running). Somehow, I can only see this helping Rahm Emanuel, by further splitting the African-American vote (already divided between Danny Davis and another ex-Senator, Carol Mosely Braun).

Redistricting: There’s been some sudden buzz about switching North Carolina to an independent redistricting commission (which, of course, has to do with the GOP seizing control of the state legislature). In what is not a surprise, though, the GOP has no interest in giving up its newfound power, saying that (despite a recent PPP poll showing wide support for such a commission) there isn’t any time to move on the constitutional amendment that would create a commission (something that they generally supported up until, y’know, this month). Also on the redistricting front, check out the Fix’s latest installment in its state-by-state series, focusing today on Indiana, where GOP control over the trifecta is likely to make things worse for IN-02’s Joe Donnelly (just how much worse, we have yet to find out)… and, if they wanted to experiment with dummymanders, possibly IN-07’s Andre Carson, too.

Demographics: Here’s some interesting demographic slice-and-dice from the Washington Post: Dems increased their vote share in big counties (500K+) from 49% in 1994 to 54% this year, but lost even further in smaller counties, from 43% in 1994 to 39% this year. The districts the GOP won were disproportionately older, whiter, and less educated. And on a related note, check out these maps and the interesting ways they represent population density around the U.S. Note any similarities between these maps and where Democratic votes are concentrated?

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Polls

The boys down at SSP Shipping & Receiving are, frankly, completely overwhelmed with the influx of incoming polling to report. That’s why we gotta dish ’em out with no added frills, bulk-style. Our latest dose:

KY-Sen: Braun Research for cn|2 (10/4-6, likely voters, 8/30-9/1 in parens):

Jack Conway (D): 40 (37)

Rand Paul (R): 43 (42)

Undecided: 17 (20)

(MoE: ±3.5%)

NC-Sen: High Point University (9/25-30, adults, no trend lines):

Elaine Marshall (D): 31

Richard Burr (R-inc): 45

Mike Beitler (L): 4

Undecided: 18

(MoE: ±5%)

WI-Sen: Fairbank Maslin for the DSCC (10/4-6, likely voters):

Russ Feingold (D-inc): 48

Ron Johnson (R): 49

(MoE: ±4%)

FL-Gov: Mason-Dixon (10/4-6, likely voters, 9/20-22 in parens):

Alex Sink (D): 44 (47)

Rick Scott (R): 40 (40)

(MoE: ±4%)

OH-Gov, OH-Sen: Suffolk University (10/4-6, likely voters, no trend lines):

Ted Strickland (D-inc): 42

John Kasich (R): 46

Dennis Spisak (G): 4

Ken Matesz (L): 2

Undecided: 5

Lee Fisher (D): 37

Rob Portman (R): 47

Michael Pryce (I): 4

Undecided: 7

(MoE: ±4.4%)

ME-Gov, ME-01: Maine Center for Public Opinion for Pine Tree Politics (Gov | -01) (10/4-7, likely voters, no trend lines):

Libby Mitchell (D): 29

Paul LePage (R): 30

Eliot Cutler (I): 11

Shawn Moody (I): 5

Kevin Scott (I): 2

Undecided: 24

(MoE: ±3.8%)

Chellie Pingree (D-inc): 46

Dean Scontras (R): 38

Undecided: 16

(MoE: ±5.3%)

MI-Gov: EPIC MRA (10/3-7, likely voters, 9/11-12 in parens):

Virg Bernero (D): 29 (29)

Rick Snyder (R): 49 (53)

(MoE: ±4%)

CA-18: SurveyUSA for KFSN-TV (10/5-6, likely voters, no trend lines):

Dennis Cardoza (D-inc): 50

Mike Berryhill (R): 44

Undecided: 6

(MoE: ±4%)

CA-18: J. Moore Methods for Dennis Cardoza (9/27-29, likely voters):

Dennis Cardoza (D-inc): 53

Mike Berryhill (R): 37

(MoE: ±5%)

ID-01: Moore Information for Raul Labrador (10/5-6, voter screen unspecified, 7/12-13 in parens):

Walt Minnick (D-inc): 37 (37)

Raul Labrador (R): 31 (27)

Dave Olson (I): 6 (4)

Mike Washburn (L): 6 (4)

Undecided/None: 21 (28)

(MoE: ±6%)

IN-07: EPIC-MRA (10/1-3, likely voters):

Andre Carson (D-inc): 50

Marvin Scott (R): 33

Dav Wilson (L): 6

(MoE: ±4.9%)

KS-04: SurveyUSA (10/6-7, likely voters, 9/14-15 in parens):

Raj Goyle (D): 40 (40)

Mike Pompeo (R): 53 (50)

Shawn Smith (L): 3

Susan Ducey (RP): 2 (4)

Undecided: 3 (4)

(MoE: ±4.3%)

MI-15: Rossman Group/Team TelCom (10/4, voter screen unspecified):

John Dingell (D-inc): 40

Rob Steele (R): 44

Undecided: 11

(MoE: ±5.6%)

NY-04: McLaughlin & Associates for Fran Becker (10/6, likely voters, 6/10 in parens):

Carolyn McCarthy (D-inc): 46 (45)

Fran Becker (R): 45 (25)

Undecided: 9 (31)

(MoE: ±5.6%)

NY-19: Iona College for RNN-TV/Westchester County Association (10/6, voter screen unspecified):

John Hall (D-inc): 42

Nan Hayworth (R): 42

Undecided: 18

(MoE: ±3.5%)

NY-25: McLaughlin & Associates for Ann Marie Buerkle (10/4-5, likely voters, 7/10 in parens):

Dan Maffei (D-inc): 39 (46)

Ann Marie Buerkle (R): 40 (39)

Undecided: 21 (17)

(MoE: ±4.9%)

Take that last one with a grain of salt, though — note that directly before the head-to-head top line question, McLaughlin asked if voters would like to send an Obama-supporting Democrat to Congress or a Republican who would provide a “check and balance”.

PA-03: Mercyhurst College (9/22-10/5, registered voters):

Kathy Dahlkemper (D-inc): 37

Mike Kelly (R): 44

Undecided: 12

(MoE: ±3.9%)

The Indiana Races: A State of the Field

Indiana is where I live now, so I thought I’d do a rundown here too, though I don’t know the politics as well and the results won’t be as interesting as for the Arizona races.  The big story here is a colossal recruiting failure on the part of Republicans in IN-01, IN-02, and IN-08, and a sticky situation for them in IN-09.  As of now, I predict only one competitive race in the entire state in 2010.  Read on for more…

IN-Sen: Evan Bayh is beloved in this state.  I’ve heard liberals and conservatives alike talk about how great he is — it’s the darnedest thing.  Plus, he’s sitting on $12 million, which is what happens when you don’t seriously challenge a guy for twelve years.  State Sen. Martin Stutzman and former Rep. John Hostettler aren’t going to give Bayh much of a scare.  Rep. Mike Pence could pose a stiffer challenge, but it’s not at all clear that he’s going to pull the trigger.  Even if Pence did run, the smart money would still be on Bayh; his iconic status and unbelievable warchest would make him difficult to beat even in the best of electoral climates for Republicans.  Prediction: Likely Dem hold.

IN-01: Exhibit A in the GOP’s recruiting woes saga in this state.  Rep. Pete Visclosky is embroiled in scandal and being investigated by the FBI, and even though it’s a deep-blue district, the Republicans should put up a Joe Cao-like candidate in case Visclosky’s legal troubles worsen.  So far, all they’ve been able to manage is frequent candidate and carpenter Mark Leyva, last seen getting pasted by Visclosky last cycle…and the cycle before…and the one before that…and the one before that.  Yes, Leyva has been the Republican nominee against Visclosky four consecutive times, and is trying for his fifth — a situation roughly analogous to that in IN-09.  Leyva’s best showing was 32% back in 2004, so there’s nothing going on in this district unless someone else steps up.  Prediction: safe Dem hold.

IN-02: Rep. Joe Donnelly is always afraid he’s going to lose this red seat, but he just keeps getting lucky.  The GOP’s infamous recruiting failure here last cycle resulted in their hand-picked candidate, Luke Puckett, nearly losing the primary to a neo-Nazi sympathizer en route to getting steamrolled 67-30 by Donnelly.  Republicans put some muscle into getting a better recruit this time, but the candidate they got, State Rep. Jackie Wilarski, is scarcely better than Puckett.  Given the national climate and the district’s lean, this seat should be the Republicans’ for the taking, but “Wacky Jackie” isn’t going to cut the mustard.  Unless someone else steps up for the Republicans, Donnelly only loses in a 70-seat landslide.  Prediction: likely Dem hold.

IN-03: The Democrats have a better candidate in this race than they have any right to expect given the national mood and the hard-right lean of the district: Tom Hayhurst, a medical doctor and former Fort Wayne City Councilman.  Hayhurst came shockingly close to beating Rep. Mark Souder back in 2006, garnering 46% of the vote despite a complete lack of national Democratic support.  Had he made his second try in a better year for Democrats — for instance, in 2008 — Hayhurst might have had a shot at this seat.  As it is, the national Democrats will have too many incumbents to defend to bother with a long-shot race like this one, and Souder righted his sputtering campaign machine in a convincing 2008 win over 28-year-old attorney Michael Montagano.  Souder has to be heavily favored to win both his primary against former congressional aide Phil Troyer and Paulist Rachel Grubb, and the general election against Hayhurst.  If Grubb or Troyer somehow beat Souder in the primary, however, Hayhurst might have a chance.  Prediction: likely GOP hold.

IN-04: Last cycle, attorney Nels Ackerson briefly posed a serious challenge to Rep. Steve Buyer before completely imploding on the campaign trail.  This year, no one is even bothering to run against the well-funded and effective Buyer.  Prediction: safe GOP hold.

IN-05: In the most conservative district in Indiana, the only question is which of the ten thousand conservative Republicans running — including incumbent Rep. Dan Burton — will be on hand to steamroll cancer physician Nasser Hanna in the general election.  Prediction: safe GOP hold.

IN-06: This district, represented by arch-conservative Rep. Mike Pence, is actually somewhat interesting in that it’s the most moderate district in Indiana currently represented by a Republican — more so than IN-03, which was seriously in play during the past two cycles.  Pence’s personal popularity and influence in Washington has kept it safe for him, but with rumors that he’ll be moving up to Senate or Presidential races soon (either this cycle or next), there would seem to be an opening here for a popular and/or well-funded Democrat.  On the other hand, the complete lack of Dem candidates running for the seat this cycle — exactly zero last time I checked — indicates that this isn’t the year to bank on a pickup here.  Prediction: safe GOP hold.

IN-07: Republicans used to do well in this district because the incumbent, former Rep. Julia Carson, was too ill to campaign.  When her grandson Andre trounced the most popular Republican in the district by 13 points in a 2007 special election, the GOP realized those days were over.  The Republicans aren’t even trying this cycle; college professor Marvin Scott, last seen getting 38% of the vote against Evan Bayh in 2004, won’t pose much of a threat to Carson.  Prediction: safe Dem hold.

IN-08: The “bloody Eighth” stopped being bloody after wildly popular sheriff Brad Ellsworth beat Rep. John Hostettler by 24 points back in 2006.  The Republicans might have a shot at this seat given the national climate, but Ellsworth is so popular that no serious candidate has stepped up thus far.  Hostettler would rather make a kamikaze run against Evan Bayh than face Ellsworth again, and cardiologist Larry Bucshon won’t even make Ellsworth break a sweat.  Prediction: safe Dem hold.

IN-09: This is the main show in Indiana this cycle, and it’s one residents of the district have seen four times before.  Get ready for the fifth installment of Rep. Baron Hill vs. former Rep. Mike Sodrel.  Hill is 3-1 in their previous matchups, including a 20-point pasting of Sodrel in 2008 (all three of the other races were very close).  A new poll, however, shows Sodrel beating Hill by eight points if the election were held today.  I don’t doubt that people in this district are fed up with Hill — his milquetoast campaign style has failed to make him as entrenched as Ellsworth is in the neighboring district — but I really can’t see them voting for Sodrel after they basically told him to take his ball and go home just fourteen months ago.  If Sodrel wins his primary against attorney Todd Young and teabagger Travis Hankins, I’d have to say Hill is favored to win reelection.  It’s just as likely, though, that the establishment candidate Young will beat the more conservative Sodrel, and if that happens, Hill’s toast.  Since Hill wants to run for governor in 2012, he might also decide to bail on this race; in that case, term-limited Bloomington Mayor Mark Kruzan, who’s been trying to build a national profile lately, might run for the seat, but he’s too liberal for the district and would be heavily outgunned by either Sodrel or Young.  On balance, I’d give the slight advantage to the Republicans here.  Prediction: tossup.

Seats in order of likelihood of flipping: IN-09, IN-Sen, IN-02, IN-03, IN-01, IN-07, IN-06, IN-08, IN-05, IN-04.

Predicted outcome: Republicans pick up IN-09, Burton loses to another Republican in IN-04, all other seats stay in the same hands (I’m least sanguine about IN-09, and wouldn’t count Dems out yet).

SSP Daily Digest: 10/19

AZ-Sen: This is good news for John McCain… ‘s opponent. Rodney Glassman, Tucson city councilor, has formed an exploratory committee to vie for the 2010 Democratic Senate nomination. With the state’s top-tier candidates avoiding the race, an up-and-comer looking to increase his statewide profile like Glassman is probably the best we’ll do here. (H/t Nonpartisan.)

CT-Sen: You just know that the moment pro wrestling CEO Linda McMahon launched her Senate run, the nation’s Democratic opposition researchers all started doing a merry jig knowing how much work would be available for them. The first wave is already out, leading off with a clips reel of “PG-rated” (McMahon’s words) WWE highlights including simulated rape and necrophilia. Meanwhile, newly minted teabagger ex-Rep. Rob Simmons, realizing that he doesn’t have a lock on the necrophile vote any more, has continued his march to the right, begging forgiveness for his previous support of EFCA and cap and trade.

FL-Sen: I always thought the idea of a Corrine Brown challenge to Kendrick Meek in the Democratic Senate primary was weird from the outset, but despite putting up some decent fundraising numbers in the third quarter, last Friday she pulled the plug on any bid. Rep. Brown will run for re-election in the dark-blue 3rd, where she’s been since 1992.

Meanwhile, Charlie Crist is actually starting to sweat his once sure-thing Senate bid. Although no one has actually leaked it, rumors keep persisting about that Chamber of Commerce poll that has Crist posting only a 44-30 lead over Marco Rubio in the GOP primary. Also worrisome for the Crist camp: much of that $1 million that Rubio pulled in was from in-state small donors — you know, the kind that actually vote — rather than out-of-state movement conservative bigwigs. With that in mind, Crist is already tapping into his big cash stash, airing radio spots in the conservative Ft. Myers market touting his government-slashing abilities.

IL-Sen: Departing (well, maybe) Rep. Danny Davis gave his endorsement in the Democratic primary to former Chicago Urban League head Cheryle Jackson, rather than to establishment candidate state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias. Fellow Rep. Bobby Rush has already endorsed Jackson.

KS-Sen: Dan Glickman, who teased Politico earlier this summer with some vague whispers of suggestions of hints that he might run for Senate, says he’ll step down from his current gig (chairman of the MPAA) in September 2010. If he sticks to that timetable, that clearly puts him out of the running for any return to politics this cycle. At 64, and facing what is now an almost implacably red state back at home, Glickman sounds like he’s done with elective office for good, saying he thinks he’ll “end up in the nonprofit or academic world.” (D)

MA-Sen: Rep. Michael Capuano is way behind the polls of the actual voters, but he’s closing in on a majority of the state’s House delegation in his corner for the Democratic Senate special election nod. Today, Rep. Stephen Lynch, the state’s least liberal House member and a surprise non-participant in the Senate primary, endorsed Capuano; he joins Reps. Jim McGovern, John Tierney, and Barney Frank.

SC-Sen: Democratic attorney Chad McGowan made it official; he launched his Senate candidacy against Jim DeMint. He’s the most credible candidate who has stepped up so far.

IL-Gov: The Paul Simon Institute on Public Policy issued a poll last week of the Democratic gubernatorial primary, finding a lot of undecideds (and “someone elses”) but that incumbent Pat Quinn leads state comptroller Dan Hynes 34-17.

KS-Gov: Democratic state party chair Larry Gates squashed earlier rumors; he won’t be getting into the gubernatorial race (or any statewide race), leaving the Dems still candidate-less.

NJ-Gov: More golden admissions from Chris Christie, from a video recorded several years ago but released right now for maximum effect by Team Corzine. In Christie’s words:

Listen, I plead guilty to having raised money for Governor George W. Bush because I thought he was the best person to be President of the United States. And I did it in a completely appropriate fashion and enthusiastically for the President….

There’s no mystery to the fact that I was appointed to this job because, in part, I had a relationship with the President of the United States.

Anybody who receives a political appointment — I am a political appointee — there’s going to be some measure of politics involved with that appointment.

And Christie may be sending the wrong message right now, as revelations fly about his luxurious travel overspending while US Attorney: now he’s saying as Governor, his top advisers will be able to travel with fewer restrictions than under the current administration, at taxpayers’ expense, naturally. Meanwhile, over the weekend Jon Corzine picked up the endorsement of the two biggest fish in the news pond, the New York Times and the Phildelphia Inquirer. (Christie can boast about the East Brunswick Home News Tribune, however.)

VA-Gov: Speaking of endorsements, Creigh Deeds got the big one too, from the Washington Post, and in very unambiguous fashion as well (recall, of course, that the WaPo endorsement in the primary was the corner-turning moment for Deeds). Meanwhile, while it doesn’t seem set in stone, there are reports that Barack Obama will campaign on Deeds’ behalf after all.

FL-08: With the current field against Rep. Alan Grayson looking pretty underwhelming, Republican Winter Park physician Ken Miller, who had been considering a run in the 24th (where the primary opposition is of a higher-caliber), has decided to move over to the 8th instead. Which isn’t to say that the never-before-elected Miller seems terribly, uh, whelming.

FL-19: One of the likeliest candidates to run for the seat being vacated by Robert Wexler has already declined the shot: state Sen. Jeremy Ring won’t run. While he cited family concerns, he did also point to the fact that little of his district overlaps with the 19th. Fellow state Sen. Ted Deutch is starting to take on front-runner status.

IN-07: Butler University professor and perennial candidate (including the 2004 Senate race against Evan Bayh) Marvin Scott is back, and this time he’s going up against Rep. Andre Carson in the Indianapolis-based 7th.

NY-23: The independent expenditures are flying in the 23rd, with $100K from the SEIU in favor of Bill Owens, $9,700 from the Club for Growth $9,500 from the Susan B. Anthony List, both on behalf of Conservative Doug Hoffman, and $123K from the NRCC against Owens (which includes $22K for a poll from aptly-named POS — so if we don’t see that soon, we’ll know the NRCC doesn’t like the results). The SEIU money is paying for anti-Dede Scozzafava radio spots, another blow for GOPer Scozzafava, who had been expected to get some labor support. Scozzafava did get the somewhat belated endorsement of Long Island’s Rep. Peter King, though, one of the few other remaining labor-friendly GOPers. Finally, rumors abound in the rightosphere (starting with the Tolbert Report) that Mike Huckabee, who’ll be addressing the state Conservative Party in Syracuse soon, won’t actually be endorsing Hoffman.

OH-02: Rep. Jean Schmidt, who had to beat back a primary challenge in 2008 from state Rep. Todd Brinkman, will face another primary bid from an elected official in 2010: Warren County Commissioner Mike Kilburn. Kilburn says “there’s a movement to elect more conservative politicians to Washington.” Because, uh, Schmidt isn’t conservative enough?

OK-05: A sort-of big name is getting into the field in the open seat race left behind by Rep. Mary Fallin (running for Oklahoma governor): Corporation Commissioner Jeff Cloud, who opened up his exploratory committee. He starts off lagging behind in fundraising, though, as state Rep. Mike Thompson and former state Sen. Kevin Calvey have already been running for a while  now.

Mayors: After a closer-than-expected primary, Boston mayor Tom Menino is still leading in the polls. The 16-year incumbent leads city councilor Michael Flaherty 52-32 in a Boston Globe poll (down from a 61-23 lead in a May poll).

DSCC: Barack Obama seems like he’s finally shifting into campaign mode. He’ll be headlining a DSCC fundraiser in Miami next week.

Voting Rights: After spending years as a political football that gets kicked around from bill to bill, it looks like the push to get Washington DC a full voting Representative is resurfacing again. This time, it may be attached to the 2010 defense appropriations bill. (Watch the Republicans vote against it anyway.)

Fundraising: has some handy graphics displaying 3rd quarter receipts, expenditures, and cash on hand graphed against each other for Senate candidates. (We’ll have our own Senate chart up today, hopefully; if you missed James’s House chart over the weekend, it’s here.)


Will the Hoosier State be a legitimate swing state this year? Barack Obama has included the historically GOP state in his first round of states receiving his first 60 second general election ad of the campaign, and he’s also assigned one of his top staffers to the state. Larry Sabato thinks this is all a big mind game designed to mess with the minds of camp McCain. What’s your take?

In other Indiana news, GOP wunderkind Jon Elrod has quit his congressional campaign against Rep. Andre Carson, and local Republicans are grasping at straws to find a replacement candidate. More in the diaries here and here.

IN-07: Andre Carson Is Sitting Pretty

This just gets easier and easier every day.

Indiana Republican State Rep. Jon Elrod has decided to forego a rematch with Democratic Rep. Andre Carson this November.

CQ Politics has therefore decided to change the rating of IN-07 to “Democrat favored” from the more competitive “Leans Democrat” rating it previously had.

As a parting shot to the disappointed GOP members, Elrod offered this reason for his decision:

“I am resolute that the greater good is in a hard-fought return to the statehouse, rather than a longshot run for Congress,” Elrod said in a statement.

What that means is, he’d rather return to the Indiana Legislature where he could actually get some legislation passed, instead of sitting in a perpetual minority up in Congress.

To quote that Metallica song: Sad, But True

IN-Gov, IN-07: Results Thread

IN-Gov (D):

5214 of 5230 Precincts Reporting
Candidate Percent
Jim Schellinger 49.8
Jill Long Thompson 50.2

IN-07 (D):

442 of 445 Precincts Reporting
Candidate Votes Percent
Andre Carson 62,815
Woody Myers 32,463
David Orentlicher 28,328
Carolene Mays 10,419

RESULTS: Indianapolis Star | Ft. Wayne Journal-Gazette

1:18PM: With only 26 precincts to go, JLT has pulled ahead by 50.2-48.8… a stunning evening.

12:42PM: And we’re tied at 50-50…

12:25PM: Holy smokes — I can’t believe I overlooked this. In Indiana’s 5th District, incumbent GOPer Dan Burton nearly LOST to challenger John McGoff. Burton won 45,378 votes to McGoff’s 39,305. 2729 votes went to another challenger, Clayton Alfred.

11:54PM: JLT is winning the vote in Lake by a 54-46 margin with 158 of 599 precincts reporting.

11:27PM: As we wait for Lake County to count their votes, here’s a stunning number: In 2004, 969,000 people in Indiana voted for John Kerry. Tonight, 1,099,780 Indianans voted for Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton in the presidential primary.

10:10PM: The Schellinger-JLT race really hinges on the city of Gary and Lake County. The candidate who wins there will win this race. But which one will do so?

9:04PM: Schellinger just pulled into the lead!

8:59PM: Schellinger has closed the gap to 49.3-50.7 with about 60% of precincts reporting.

8:47PM: Carson just put his race away.

8:13PM: Maybe I spoke too soon. With less than 40% of precincts reporting, Schellinger has closed the gap to 48.3-51.7.

7:46PM: Damn, Carson is in a tight three-way race with Orentlicher and and Myers. This one should be close.

7:41PM: JLT is pulling roughly even with Schellinger in Marion County (Indianapolis) so far. I’m not sure that Schellinger has enough mojo in southern Indiana to do this thing tonight.

6:41PM Eastern: A close race in IN-Gov so far, 50.5-49.5 for JLT. Schellinger is doing well in south Indiana so far, while JLT has the lead in the northern counties.

Indiana and North Carolina Predictions Thread

Polls close in Indiana at 6pm Eastern and in North Carolina at 7:30pm Eastern (although some metropolitan areas may keep their polls open until 8:30), so there’s still plenty of time to post your predictions for tonight’s contests.

We ran through the races worth watching in these two states last week, but the contests that we’ll be following are:

  • IN-Gov (D): Jill Long Thompson v. Jim Schellinger

  • IN-07 (D): Andre Carson v. Woody Myers (and others)

  • NC-Sen (D): Kay Hagan v. Jim Neal

  • NC-Gov (D & R): Beverly Perdue v. Richard Moore; Fred Smith v. Pat McCrory (and others)

  • NC-03 (R): Walter Jones v. Joe McLaughlin

  • NC-10 (R): Patrick McHenry v. Lance Sigmon

    Feel free to post your predictions for these races in the comments.  Oh, and if you insist, you can give your presidential guesses as well.  Have at it.

  • May Election Preview: Races Worth Watching

    May is going to be an exciting month for political junkies.  We’ve got a cornucopia of races to watch this month: two special elections, and a number of competitive House, Senate and Gubernatorial primaries.

    Let’s take a look at the month ahead:

    May 3: This Saturday, Louisiana voters will head to the polls in two congressional special elections:  

    • LA-06: Democratic state Rep. Don Cazayoux will square off with “newspaper editor” Woody Jenkins to fill the open seat of ex-Rep. Richard Baker.  In this hotly contested race, Democrats have been blessed with the better candidate, stellar fundraising, and favorable polls.  However, the NRCC and their allies have dumped hundreds of thousands of dollars on ads painting Cazayoux as a serial tax raiser and a Barack Obama disciple.

      We’ll find out on Saturday night if any of these attacks have made an impact.  The most recent poll, though, shows Cazayoux with a nine point lead.  SSP will be liveblogging the results, so be sure to check with us then.  There will also be a special election to replace Bobby Jindal in LA-01, but this one should be a solid lock for the GOP.

    May 6: While the eyes of the nation will be fixed on the Indiana and North Carolina presidential primaries, voters in these states will also be deciding a number of other hotly-contested primaries:

    • IN-Gov (D): Indianapolis architect Jim Schellinger will square off with former U.S. Rep. Jill Long Thompson for the Democratic nod against Mitch Daniels.  Schellinger’s had a big fundraising edge, but the polls here have generally been tight, with an edge for Thompson.  This one could be close.
    • IN-07 (D): Despite winning a March special election to fill the vacant seat created by his grandmother’s passing, Rep. Andre Carson faces a competitive primary for the Democratic slot on the November ballot.  His strongest rival is former state Health Commissioner Woody Myers, who has lent his campaign a substantial amount of money.  State Reps. David Orentlicher and Carolene Mays will also be on the ballot.
    • NC-Gov: Democrats will decide a contentious primary between Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue and State Treasurer Richard Moore for the gubernatorial nomination.  Perdue has had the advantage in nearly all of SurveyUSA’s tracking polls here.

      Republicans will also decide a primary for this office between Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory and state Sen. Fred Smith (plus two also-rans).  In the most recent SUSA poll, Smith was only four points behind the front-runner McCrory.

    • NC-Sen (D): State Senator Kay Hagan and businessman Jim Neal will face off for the Democratic nomination to challenge GOP Sen. Elizabeth Dole.  While this contest was effectively tied for a while, Hagan’s large fundraising edge on Neal has been enough to buy her a 20-point lead in the latest poll.
    • NC-03 (R): For a while, it looked like this primary might have been as heated as Andy Harris’ successful overthrow of anti-war moderate GOP Rep. Wayne Gilchrest in Maryland.  But Onslow County Commissioner Joe McLaughlin’s campaign against Rep. Walter Jones hasn’t gotten a lot of fundraising traction.  It will still be worth watching to see just how tolerant GOP primary voters will be of Jones’ anti-war stance.
    • NC-10 (R): While I don’t expect Air Force vet Lance Sigmon to topple the odious Patrick McHenry in the GOP primary, his campaign drew a fair bit of attention for his aggressive attacks on McHenry’s antics in Iraq (calling a security worker a “two-bit security guard”, and compromising troop safety by posting a video of an attack in the Green Zone).  Democrats have a strong candidate against McHenry for the November election — veteran and hero Daniel Johnson — so Sigmon’s showing might give us a good reading on how damaging McHenry’s behavior has been to his re-election chances in this R+15 district.

    May 13: Another huge day for political watchers, with hot races in Mississippi and Nebraska.

    • MS-01: The big event.  Democratic Prentiss County Chancery Clerk Travis Childers has waged a startlingly strong campaign for the open seat left behind earlier this year when Roger Wicker was appointed to the Senate.  Despite running in an R+10 district and being at a financial disadvantage, Childers edged GOP candidate and Southaven Mayor Greg Davis by a 49%-46% margin in the April 22 special primary election.  Davis and the NRCC have fought back hard, trying to tie Childers to Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama.  But the DCCC is playing to win, and they’ve invested a whopping $1.1 million in this race.  This one should be close.
    • NE-Sen (D): Here’s something rare — a Democratic primary for a statewide office in Nebraska.  Businessman and former Republican Tony Raimondo will compete with former congressional candidate Scott Kleeb for the Democratic nod against the Republican front-runner, Mike Johanns.
    • NE-02 (D): GOP Rep. Lee Terry had a surprisingly close re-election campaign in 2006, winning his district by less than 10 points against political neophyte Jim Esch.  Now, Esch is back for a rematch, but will first meet with Iraq War vet Richard Carter for the Democratic nomination.  Between Esch’s name recognition and Carter’s weak fundraising, Esch is in a good position to win here.

    May 20: There are four primaries in Kentucky and Oregon worth keeping an eye on.

    • KY-Sen (D): Former gubernatorial candidate and businessman Bruce Lunsford and businessman Greg Fischer will face off against a slew of also-rans for the Democratic nomination against GOP obstructionist-in-chief Mitch McConnell.  Lunsford has never been able to win a Democratic primary, but this might be his chance.  Polls have shown him with a large lead against Fischer, whose campaign has yet to catch fire.
    • KY-02 (D): Democrats will go to the polls to decide between state Sen. David Boswell and Daviess County Judge-Executive Reid Haire for the Democratic nomination to contest this open seat left behind by the retiring Rep. Ron Lewis.  Boswell was seen as the early front-runner, but his fundraising has been extremely sluggish ($30K to Haire’s $200K in the first quarter).  Still, Boswell might have a chance based on name recognition alone.
    • OR-Sen (D): Another big event, with state House Speaker Jeff Merkley and activist Steve Novick competing for the Democratic nomination against Gordon Smith.  Novick has kept this a competitive race, airing quirky ads and winning several key newspaper endorsements.
    • OR-05: With the retirement of Rep. Darlene Hooley (D), there are tight primary contests on both sides to succeed her.  Democrats will pick between former Gov. Kitzhaber aide Steve Marks and state Sen. Kurt Schrader.  Marks has picked up the larger share of endorsements so far, while Schrader appears to be the DCCC’s preferred candidate. (Update: As Kari notes in the comments, my statement about endorsements here is a bit off the mark.  Schrader’s been no slouch in this department at all.  My mistake!)

      On the GOP side, voters will choose between ’06 nominee and businessman Mike Erickson and former Gov. candidate Kevin Mannix.

    There you have it.  May will be a month chock full of races worth watching.  SSP will aim to liveblog as many of these races as we can when the results come in.

    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.