Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Daily Rundown: 8/4/10

CT-Sen: A new Quinnipiac poll finds Linda McMahon (R) closing the gap a bit on Attorney General Richard Blumenthal (D), trailing him by only 10 points, 50% to 40%. Their poll from last month found Blumenthal leading McMahon by 13 points. In the GOP primary (which is on Tuesday), McMahon leads former Rep. Rob Simmons (R) by a healthy 17 points, 47% to 30%. Current rating: Likely Democrat.

FL-Sen: A new poll from McLaughlin & Associates finds Gov. Charlie Crist (I) and Marco Rubio (R) neck-and-neck in the Florida Senate contest. With Jeff Greene (D) as the Democratic nominee, Crist and Rubio are tied at 37%, while Greene picks up 16%. If Rep. Kendrick Meek (D) wins the Democratic nod, Crist narrowly leads Rubio 38% to 36%, while Meek gets 16%.

In other Florida Senate news, Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp (R), who was Crist's running mate in 2006, is backing Rubio for Senate over his boss. That's gotta hurt coming from your second-in-command. Current rating: Toss-Up.

KY-Sen: Lt. Gov. Dan Mongiardo (D), who narrowly lost the Senate Democratic nomination to Attorney General Jack Conway (D), is finally endorsing his formal rival. The more conservative Mongiardo briefly flirted with the idea of backing Rand Paul (R) right after he lost the bitter primary. Current rating: Lean Republican.

OH-Sen: A new Rasmussen poll finds former Rep. Rob Portman (R) leading Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher (D) by four points, 44% to 40%. Two weeks ago, Rasmussen found Portman up by six points. Current rating: Toss-Up.

FL-Gov: A new Rasmussen poll finds a pair of close races for Florida governor no matter who the Republican nominee is. If Rick Scott (R) wins the GOP nod, as is expected, he leads state CFO Alex Sink (D) and Bud Chiles (I) 35-31-16. With Attorney General Bill McCollum (R) as the GOP nominee, Sink leads 31-27-20.

MD-Gov: Sarah Palin endorsed energy executive Brian Murphy's (R) underdog bid for governor, passing over likely GOP nominee former Gov. Bob Ehrlich (R). But instead of wallowing, Ehrlich is trying to use this non-endorsement to his advantage, trying to boost his moderate credentials in this dark blue state. Current rating: Toss-Up.

MI-01: Only one vote now separates surgeon Dan Benishek (R) and state Sen. Jason Allen (R) from yesterday's GOP primary, with the ever so slight advantage going to Benishek according to the Michigan secretary of state's office. The recount is expected to take at least two weeks, but probably longer. And while Benishek and Allen worry about recount lawyers and fees, Democratic nominee Gary McDowell (D) will get quite the head start going into the general election. Current rating: Toss-Up.

: Pennsylvania Democrats helped gather enough signatures to get tea party activist and and "birther" Jim Schneller on the ballot in Pennsylvania's 7th district. His candidacy should siphon off votes from former U.S. Attorney Pat Meehan (R)--the GOP nominee--on his right, thereby helping state Rep. Bryan Lentz (D) in a race where every vote counts. The question is: how much of a role did the Lentz campaign have in this? Expect Meehan's people to make some noise about this. Current rating: Toss-Up.

Kansas, Michigan & Missouri Primaries Wrap-Up

KS-Sen: Rep. Jerry Moran (R) narrowly defeated Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R) 50% to 45% last night, and will almost certainly become the state's next senator. This comes as another blow to Sarah Palin, who backed Tiahrt in the primary. Both Republican congressmen were trying to paint the other one as moderate, but by national standards, both of these men are highly conservative--and Moran, like Sam Brownback before him, will provide a consistent Republican vote in the Senate.

KS-01: In the primary to replace Moran, state Sen. Tim Huelskamp (R) won the GOP nomination by 10 points, which means--given the heavy Republican tilt of the district--that he will be the next congressman from this district.

KS-03: In the only competitive district in the state, state Rep. Kevin Yoder (R) defeated former state Rep. Patricia Lightner (R) 45% to 37%. He will go on to face nurse Stephene Moore (D), the wife of retiring Rep. Dennis Moore (D). Current rating: Lean Republican.

KS-04: In the GOP race to replace Tiahrt, former RNC Committeeman Mike Pompeo (R) defeated moderate and Planned Parenthood-endorsee state Sen. Jean Schodorf (R), 39% to 24%. He will face a slightly challenging Democratic opponent in state Rep. Ray Goyle (D), who has proven his fundraising prowess, but he's a heavy favorite to win.

MI-Gov: Former Gateway executive Rick Snyder (R), a moderate who reached out to independents and Democrats describing himself as "one tough nerd," defeated Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R) and Attorney General Mike Cox (R), 36% to 27% to 23%. While Hoekstra and Cox were fighting for the conservative/Tea Party vote, Snyder seemed to sneak by in the center. On the Democratic side, it looks like big labor showed up to support their horse in the race, Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero (D). The progressive populist Bernero defeated state House Speaker Andy Dillon, a pro-life moderate, by an astounding 59% to 41% margin. While Snyder's victory in the GOP primary may be bad news for conservatives, it is even worse news for Democrats, as his moderate nature will make it almost impossible for Bernero to win in what was already going to be a tough race for any Democrat after the unpopular tenure of sitting Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D). Current rating: Likely Republican.

MI-01: We still don't know who won this one. With 100% of precincts reporting, surgeon Dan Benishek (R) currently leads state Sen. Jason Allen (R) by just 12 (!) votes, 27,070 to 27,058. Definitely expect a recount here. The eventual winner will go on to face state Rep. Gary McDowell (D). Current rating: Toss-Up.

MI-02: In the race to replace the soon-to-be-unemployed Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R), we also don't know won. With all of the precincts in, former state Rep. Bill Huizenga (R) leads former NFL player Jay Riemersma (R) by 660 votes. AP hasn't called the race yet, but it's hard to see Riemersma making up that ground in a recount.

MI-03: In the only slightly competitive 3rd district, state Rep. Justin Amash (R)--who had the backing of the Club for Growth--won the GOP primary over the more moderate state Sen. Bill Hardiman (R). Attorney Pat Miles (D) , who has the ability to partially self-fund his candidacy, won the Democratic nod.

MI-07: Former Rep. Tim Walberg (R) defeated attorney and Iraq War veteran Brian Rooney (R) in the Republican nomination, 58% to 32%. Walberg will have a clear chance to get revenge this year, as he was ousted by now-Rep. Mark Schauer (D) in 2008. Current rating: Toss-Up.

MI-09: Former State Rep. Rocky Raczkowski (R) crushed former Oakland County GOP chair Paul Welday (R)--the NRCC's pick in the race--42% to 28%. He'll face freshman Rep. Gary Peters (D) in the general election. Current rating: Likely Democrat.

MI-13: State Sen. Hansen Clarke (D) ousted seven-term incumbent Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (D) in the Democratic primary last night, 47% to 41%. Kilpatrick was hurt by defending her son, former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick (D), as he withstood multiple criminal counts (which he was later convicted of). Clarke is a shoo-in to win the general election in this dark blue district.

MO-Sen: The Missouri Senate race begins in earnest today, as Rep. Roy Blunt (R) and Secretary of State Robin Carnahan (D) easily defeated their token primary opposition. State Sen. Chuck Purgason (R), who made some noise late in the game in the GOP primary, got crushed 71% to 13%. Current rating: Toss-Up.

MO-03: Ed Martin (R), former Gov. Matt Blunt's (R) chief of staff, easily defeated Rusty Wallace (R) 63% to 21%. He'll have an uphill (but not an impossible) climb against Rep. Russ Carnahan (D).

MO-04: Former State Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R) beat state Sen. Bill Stouffer (R) 41% to 30%, and will now take on longtime Rep. Ike Skelton (D), the chairman of the Armed Services Committee. Current rating: Lean Democrat.

MO-07: In the race to replace Roy Blunt, auctioneer Billy Long (R) overcame the candidacies of several members of the state legislature to win the Republican nomination in the 7th district. He will cruise to victory in the general election in this heavily Republican district.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Daily Rundown: 8/3/10

AZ-Sen: A new Rasmussen poll finds Sen. John McCain (R)--who's looking more and more likely to crush former Rep. J.D. Hayworth (R) in the GOP primary--leading likely Democratic nominee Rodney Glassman (D) by 19 points, 53% to 34%. If Hayworth is the GOP nominee, he trails Glassman by five points, 43% to 38%. Current rating: Safe Republican.

: It's no secret that Andrew Romanoff's (D) campaign has been having some money issues. Romanoff has long trailed Sen. Michael Bennet (D) in fundraising and recently sold his house to get some extra money for the homestretch to the Democratic primary. Now that it seems more plausible that he could win the nomination, many Colorado Democrats were concerned about his less-than-formidable fundraising prowess, especially since he took a pledge that he wouldn't take any money from PACs. But luckily for them, Romanoff has agreed to take money from the DSCC, which takes money from PACs--which he also said he wouldn't do back in January. Win some lose some, Romanoff. Current rating: Toss-Up.

KS-Sen: Survey USA is out with a late-breaking poll showing Rep. Jerry Moran (R) leading Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R) by 10 points, 49% to 39%. But Tiahrt has slowly but surely gained ground on Moran since May, although Survey USA is the only pollster to test the race. The primary is today.

NC-Sen: A new PPP poll finds Sen. Richard Burr (R) edging Secretary of State Elaine Marshall (D) by just two points, 39% to 37%, with 7% for Libertarian Michael Beitler. Their last poll of the race, from June, found Burr up by five points. The only thing that's changed since then is that Marshall has begun to consolidate support among Democrats. Still, there are a huge number of undecided voters because many North Carolinians just haven't paid any attention to the race yet. Current rating: Lean Republican.

WA-Sen: A new PPP poll finds Sen. Patty Murray (D) leading Dino Rossi (R) by three points, 49% to 46%. Current rating: Lean Democrat.

CO-Gov: Rasmussen basically confirmed what Survey USA found yesterday: John Hickenlooper is the luckiest candidate this cycle. Their new poll also finds that Tom Tancredo's third-party candidacy is hurting both potential GOP nominees. Hickenlooper leads former Rep. Scott McInnis (R) and Tancredo by 19 points, 43-25-24. And he leads Dan Maes (R) by 15 points, 42-27-24.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Daily Rundown: 8/2/10

FL-Sen: After trailing Jeff Greene (D) in the polls three weeks ahead of the Democratic primary, Rep. Kendrick Meek (D) wants some a firm statement of support from President Obama. Said a campaign source: "Meek was told he'd have a prominent role and he's expecting the president to strongly reaffirm his endorsement." Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid insists that both him and the president are behind him and White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel is holding a fundraiser for him. Still, it might be wise for President Obama to stay out of this one, because if Greene is the nominee, Gov. Charlie Crist (I) may look like the stronger bet. And if Obama endorsed Meek, it might hurt any chance of Crist caucusing with Senate Democrats if he's elected. Current rating: Toss-Up.

: Survey USA also put out a poll in Kentucky this weekend, and they found Rand Paul (R) leading Attorney General Jack Conway (D) by eight points, 51% to 43%. Most other recent polls have found a similar result. Current rating: Lean Republican.

MN-Gov: A new Star Tribune poll finds good news for Democrats in the open gubernatorial contest. If former Sen. Mark Dayton (D) is the Democratic nominee, he leads state Rep. Tom Emmer (R) and Tom Horner (I) by 10 points, 40-30-13. With state House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher (D) at the helm for the Democrats, she leads by nine points, 38-29-13. If former state Rep. Matt Entenza (D) wins the nomination, he leads by five points, 36-31-15. What's the reason for these consistent Democratic leads in a Republican year you might ask? The answer is independent Tom Horner, who is siphoning off significant Republican support from Tom Emmer (R). In the Democratic primary, Dayton leads Kelliher and Entenza 40-30-17. Meanwhile, Kelliher--who was endorsed by the state Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party--has been endorsed by the Star Tribune.

NV-Gov: A new Mason-Dixon poll finds Brian Sandoval (R) leading Rory Reid (D) by 19 points, 50% to 31%. Earlier this month, Mason-Dixon found Sandoval up by 11 points. Current rating: Likely Republican.

PA-Gov: A new Rasmussen poll finds Attorney General Tom Corbett (R) leading Dan Onorato (D) by 11 points, 50% to 39%--virtually unchanged from their poll from two weeks ago. Current rating: Likely Republican.

SC-Gov: Rasmussen's also out with a new poll of the South Carolina gubernatorial contest, and find state Rep. Nikki Haley (R) leading state Sen. Vincent Sheheen (D) by 14 points, 49% to 35%. Current rating: Likely Republican.

FL-12: Lori Edwards (D) is out with an internal poll showing her benefiting from the Tea Party candidacy of Randy Wilkinson, who's taking votes away from Republican Dennis Ross. The poll finds Edwards leading Ross 35% to 32%, with Wilkinson at an impressive 20%. Keep in mind, though, that this is an internal poll--so take it with a grain of salt. Current rating: Likely Republican.

NC-11: Survey USA is out with a new poll that finds Rep. Heath Shuler (D) edging businessman Jeff Miller (R) by just one point, 45% to 44%. Our current rating of this race is Likely Democrat, but this poll may change that to something more competitive.

CO-Sen, CO-Gov: Romanoff, Meas Take Leads

Survey USA poll came out with a new poll this weekend that finds challenger Andrew Romanoff (D) has snatched the lead from Sen. Michael Bennet (D) in the Senate Democratic primary.

Romanoff--who just sold his house to keep his campaign afloat--edges Bennet 48% to 45%, according to the poll. Six weeks ago, Survey USA found Bennet with a 17-point lead over Romanoff. This is the first time we've ever seen Romanoff ahead in a public poll.

Bennet's campaign responded with an internal poll showing him up 41% to 37%, and if the incumbent's campaign--which has been leading all along--is putting out an internal poll showing a close race, you know it's going to be close. And Romanoff is surging at the right time because voters go the polls a week from tomorrow.

In the Republican primary, Ken Buck (R) leads Jane Norton (R) 50% to 41%, and still looks to be the solid favorite for the GOP nomination.

In general election match-ups, Buck is tied with Romanoff at 44% and ties Bennet at 43%. Norton leads Romanoff by five points but trails Bennet by three.

Now, over to the state's exciting governor's race, where Survey USA is the first pollster to put a poll into the field since former Rep. Tom Tancredo joined the race as a third-party candidate.

But first, there's been some serious movement in the Republican primary. Six weeks ago, Survey USA found former Rep. Scott McInnis (R) to be leading Dan Maes (R) by 28 points, 57% to 29%. Now, after McInnis's campaign has imploded as a result of multiple counts of plagiarism coming to light, Maes now leads McInnis by four points, 43% to 39%.

For the general election, Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper (D) leads McInnis by five points, 48% to 43%, when its just the two of them in the race. But if Tancredo joins the mix, Hickenlooper's lead jumps to 18.

When it's just Hickenlooper vs. Maes, the Democrat leads by nine points, 50% to 41%. But when Survey USA includes Tancredo, Hickenlooper leads by a whopping 22 points.

So yeah, the conventional wisdom that Tom Tancredo is hurting GOP chances at victory in this race happens to be spot on.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Daily Rundown: 7/30/10

FL-Sen: A new Quinnipiac poll finds Gov. Charlie Crist (I) narrowly leading Marco Rubio (R) and blowing out both Democratic candidates. When Jeff Green (D) is the Democratic nominee, Crist leads 37-32-17. If Rep. Kendrick Meek (D) wins the nomination then Crist leads 39-33-13. Current rating: Toss-Up.

NV-Sen: A new Mason-Dixon poll finds Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D) ahead by just one point over challenger Sharron Angle (R), 43% to 42%. Mason-Dixon's poll from two weeks ago had Reid up by seven points, but this new result seems more plausible. Still, that Reid is even leading at all continues to stun me, seeing as he was left for dead just two months ago. Current rating: Toss-Up.

PA-Sen: A new Rasmussen poll finds former Rep. Pat Toomey (R) leading Rep. Joe Sestak (D) by six points, 45% to 39%--virtually unchanged from their poll from two weeks ago. Most other public polls have found a much closer race. Current rating: Toss-Up.

WA-Sen: Rasmussen also put a poll out in Washington state, and found Sen. Patty Murray (D) leading Dino Rossi (R) by two points, 49% to 47%. Two weeks ago, they found Rossi (R) to be ahead by three points. Current rating: Lean Democrat.

FL-Gov: That same Quinnipiac poll tested the Florida governor's race and found very close races--regardless of who wins the Republican nomination. If Rick Scott (R) is the GOP nominee, he leads state CFO Alex Sink (D) and Bud Chiles (I) 29-27-14. If state Attorney General Bill McCollum (R) wins the GOP's nod, he leads Sink and Chiles 27-26-14. Also: President Obama will hold a fundraiser for Sink on August 18.

MI-Gov: The second half of the EPIC-MRA poll came out today, this time testing the waters for the gubernatorial GOP nomination. They found moderate former Gateway executive Rick Snyder (R) narrowly leading the pack with 26%, followed by state Attorney General Mike Cox (R) with 24% and Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R) with 23%. Different polls show each one of these three in the lead, but the consensus is that this race will be extremely close. The primary is this Tuesday.

NV-Gov: A new Rasmussen poll finds former federal judge Brian Sandoval (R) leading Rory Reid by 10 points, 50% to 40%--down from a 21-point lead from earlier this month. This change is pretty inexplicable, with the only major development being that Sandoval said he wouldn't be worried about his children getting racially profiled in Arizona because they "don't look Hispanic." But that gaffe hardly explains an 11-point drop off over a two-week period. Current rating: Likely Republican.

WI-Gov: With Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker (R) as the GOP nominee, Rasmussen finds that he leads Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett (D) by seven points, 50% to 43%. If former Rep. Mark Neumann (R) wins the Republican nomination, he trails Barrett by one point.

LA-02: The DCCC has announced that it will officially support state Rep. Cedric Richmond (D) in the Democratic primary to take on endangered freshman Rep. Joseph Cao (R). The DCCC is placing Richmond, who came in third place in the 2008 Democratic primary, in its "Red to Blue" program--giving him a fundraising and infrastructure boost going into the August 28 primary. He still faces state Rep. Juan LaFonta (D), businessman Gary Johnson (D), and Eugene Green (D)--a top aid to former Rep. Bill Jefferson (D), whose scandals allowed Cao to steal this dark blue seat in 2008.

NH-01: That UNH/Granite State poll that came out yesterday also tested both of the state's House contests. In the 1st district, Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D) leads former Manchester Mayor Frank Guinta (R) 44% to 39%, bests former RNC committeeman Sean Mahoney (R) 45% to 36%, and beats businessman Rick Ashooh (R) 43% to 35%. Current rating: Toss-Up.

NH-02: In the open seated second district, things look a bit bleaker for the Democrats. Former Rep. Charlie Bass (R) leads Katrina Swett (D) 47% to 30% and tops Ann McLane Kuster (D) 47% to 29%. Conservative talk show host and 2008 GOP nominee Jennifer Horn (R) leads Swett 35% to 31% and edges Kuster 34% to 32%. Current rating: Toss-Up.

OK-05: State Rep. Mike Thompson (R), who finished third in Tuesday's primary, is endorsing Christian youth camp director James Lankford (R) in the August 24 GOP runoff. In doing so, he's passing over former state Rep. Kevin Calvey (R), who surprisingly finished behind Lankford in the Republican primary despite support from groups like the Club for Growth, Gun Owners of America, and Concerned Women for America.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Daily Rundown: 7/29/10

CA-Sen: A new Public Policy Institute of California poll finds Sen. Barbara Boxer (D) leading Carly Fiorina (R) by five points, 39% to 34%. But they also find 22% of likely voters to be undecided, which is significantly higher than what most recent public polls have found. Current rating: Lean Democrat.

CO-Sen: A new Zata 3 poll in Colorado finds Sen. Michael Bennet (R) leading challenger Andrew Romanoff (D) by a slim four points in the Senate Democratic primary, 44% to 40%. Zata 3 is not usually known for polling, but more for direct mail and persuasion phone calls. Take that for what you will. Current rating: Toss-Up.

CT-Sen: Former Rep. Rob Simmons (R), who is only kind of still running for Senate, was endorsed by Connecticut's largest newspaper, the Hartford Courant. It's unclear whether this will have any impact 13 days out from the primary, where Linda McMahon (R) is still the runaway favorite. Current rating: Likely Democrat.

FL-Sen, FL-Gov: Quinnipiac is out with a new poll confirming what we had all been guessing: the self-funding businessmen with no previous political experience are ahead in their respective primaries. In the Senate Democratic primary, Jeff Greene (D) has pulled ahead of Rep. Kendrick Meek (D) by 10 points, 33% to 23%--but it seems as though many Democrats have already hedged their bets on Gov. Charlie Crist (I), and more will do so if Greene becomes the Democratic nominee.
In the gubernatorial GOP primary, Rick Scott (R) leads state AG Bill McCollum (R) by 11 points, 43% to 32%. Said pollster Peter Brown: "Both Greene and Scott have come from nowhere to hold double-digit leads with just a little more than three weeks until the voting."

MO-Sen: A new Rasmussen poll finds Rep. Roy Blunt (R) leading Secretary of State Robin Carnahan (D) by six, 49% to 43%. Their poll from earlier this month found Blunt ahead by only two points. Current rating: Toss-Up.

NH-Sen: A set of polls from the University of New Hampshire finds Kelly Ayotte (R) leading Rep. Paul Hodes (D) by 8 points, Bill Binnie (R) bests Hodes by two, Jim Bender (R) trailing him by three, and Hodes tops Ovide Lamontagne (R) by six. The only real news is that Ayotte's negatives have climbed since their last poll of this race. Current rating: Lean Republican.

OR-Sen: Two new polls out here, and both show that Sen. Ron Wyden (D) is on his way to being re-elected. Rasmussen finds Wyden leading Jim Huffman (R) by 16 points and Survey USA finds Wyden up by 18. Both polls have Wyden up over the 50% mark. Current rating: Safe Democrat.

WA-Sen: Conservative icon Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) will endorse Dino Rossi (R) for Senate in Washington state. In doing this, he passes over Tea Party favorite and Sarah Palin endorsee Clint Didier (R). Current rating: Lean Democrat.

WI-Sen: A new Rasmussen poll finds businessman Ron Johnson (R) leading Sen. Russ Feingold (D) by two points, 48% to 46%--virtually unchanged from their poll from earlier this month. Current rating: Lean Democrat.

: A new Rasmussen poll finds that the Alabama gubernatorial election may not even be worth watching. State Rep. Robert Bentley (R) leads state Agriculture Commissioner Ron Sparks (D) by 20 points, 55% to 35%. Current rating: Likely Republican.

CA-Gov: That PPIC poll I mentioned earlier also tested the state's open gubernatorial contest, and found Jerry Brown (D) leading Meg Whitman (R) by three points, 37% to 34%--but again they find a large percentage of the electorate (23%) undecided. Current rating: Toss-Up.

MI-Gov: A new EPIC-MRA poll finds Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero (D) leading state House Speaker Andy Dillon (D) by eight points in the gubernatorial Democratic primary, 40% to 32%. The pollsters have been split on this race, as about half have shown Dillon with a lead and half have shown Bernero ahead. Dillon is the more moderate candidate of the two and would probably be a stronger general election candidate (even though it's probably a lost cause for Democrats anyway), but Bernero has strong backing from organized labor. The primary is this Tuesday.

OR-Gov: A new Survey USA poll finds Chris Dudley (R) leading former Gov. John Kitzhaber (D) by two points, 46% to 44%. Current rating: Toss-Up.

AZ-03: Sen. John McCain (R) is backing former state Sen. Jim Waring (R) in the GOP primary for the seat being vacated by Rep. John Shadegg (R). There are 10 Republicans vying for the nomination in this district, including attorney Ben Quayle (the son of the former vice president) and Paradise Valley Mayor Vernon Parker. Current rating: Likely Republican.

KY-06: A new Braun Research poll finds Rep. Ben Chandler (D) leading attorney Andy Barr (R) 46% to 32%, with 21% still undecided. Current rating: Lean Democrat.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Daily Rundown: 7/28/10

CT-Sen: Former Rep. Rob Simmons (R) came out and officially said it at a debate last night: "I am running for the United State Senate." This comes after weeks of playing coy and calling his campaign ads "public service announcements"--a reminder that his name was still on the ballot. Simmons suspended his campaign after the state GOP endorsed Linda McMahon (R). Both Simmons and investor Peter Schiff (R) remain huge underdogs with less than two weeks before the primary. Current rating: Likely Democrat.

IL-Sen: A new Rasmussen poll finds state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias (D) leading Rep. Mark Kirk (R) by two points, 43% to 41%--within the poll's margin of error. This is virtually unchanged from the results of a poll they released of this race earlier this month. Current rating: Toss-Up.

NV-Sen: Rasmussen is also out with a new poll in this closely watched (and over-dramatized) race. They find Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D) leading Sharron Angle (R) by two points, 45% to 43%. Rasmussen's previous poll of the race, from June, found Angle up by three points. It seems like Reid' barrage of negative campaign ads to define Angle as too outside the mainstream may have worked to drive up Angle's negatives to levels comparable to his. Current rating: Toss-Up.

NH-Sen: PPP is out with part two of their poll, this time with Republican primary numbers. It seems that while Sarah Palin's endorsement hurt Kelly Ayotte (R) among moderates--which could be a problem for her in the general election--it hasn't had any negative effect on Republican voters. Ayotte has the support of 47% of likely GOP voters while her closest competitor, Bill Binnie (R), is way behind with 14%. Ovide Lamontagne (R) and Jim Bender (R) are stuck in single digits. Current rating: Lean Republican.

: A new PPP poll finds Jerry Brown (D) leading Meg Whitman (R) by six points, 46% to 40%. This must come as good news to the Brown campaign, as the last two public polls of the race have shown Whitman, albeit with small single digit margins. Current rating: Toss-Up.

NH-Gov: PPP also put a GOP gubernatorial primary poll into the field, and found former Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner John Stephen (R) leading the pack with 26%. Businessman Jack Kimball (R) trails with 15% and Karen Testerman (R) collects only 5%. But there's still a whole lot of undecided voters, as this race has taken a backseat to the more competitive and interesting Senate Republican primary.

OK-Gov: As expected, Rep. Mary Fallin (R) easily disposed of state Sen. Randy Brogdon (R) in yesterday's GOP gubernatorial primary, 55% to 39%, and avoided a runoff. On the Democratic side, Lt. Gov. Jari Askins (D) edged out state Attorney General Drew Edmondson (D) by less than one percentage point. The Sooner poll released this weekend wasn't even close. Now, regardless of who wins in the general election, Oklahoma will have its first female governor.

TN-Gov: Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey (R), who's been lagging in the polls, is under fire for calling Islam a "cult" instead of a religion. He said he's "all about freedom of religion" but added "but you cross the line when they start trying to bring Sharia law into the United States." Yikes.

OK-02: Rep. Dan Boren (D) easily fought off a health care-themed primary challenge from state Sen. Jim Wilson (D), crushing him 76% to 24%.

OK-05: The Republican primary to replace Rep. Mary Fallin (R) in Congress is headed to a runoff, as expected, featuring Christian camp director James Lankford (R) and former state Rep. Ken Calvey (R). This is basically the general election, as the winner of this runoff will go on cruise in November in this dark red district.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

DE-Sen: Tea Party Express Backs O'Donnell

I, like much of the political punditry, have assumed that Rep. Mike Castle (R) would be the Republican Senate nominee in Delaware for some time now. His moderate background and extensive history as a state-level elected official would make him a strong favorite over likely Democratic nominee Chris Coons (D).

However, his only somewhat serious primary competitor, 2008 Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell (R), has started to make some noise the last couple of weeks.

First, she was endorsed by the anti-abortion Susan B. Anthony List (the bizarro EMILY's List). And now she's being endorsed by the Tea Party Express, who have helped catapult conservative firebrands like Rand Paul, Sharron Angle, and Mike Lee to victories in GOP primaries across the country.

The group takes issue with Castle's moderate views (i.e., being pro-choice, his support for TARP, cap-and-trade, and Wall Street reform)--exactly the views that make him such an appealing general candidate in such a blue state like Delaware. But the Tea Party Express doesn't really seem to care about that, seeming to favor principle over pragmatism yet again.

Said a Tea Party Express spokesperson: "We long ago announced our intention to hold Mike Castle accountable for his failed record in Congress, and now we have an excellent shot to make sure he is defeated by a solid conservative candidate."

Politico also reports that Concerned Women for America PAC will endorse O'Donnell in the coming weeks.

Now, I don't buy into the hype that just because these groups support her that she suddenly has all this momentum. The conservative grassroots movement in Delaware looks to me to be significantly smaller than in states like Kentucky, Nevada, and Utah.

I think the real reason that the Tea Party Express (and other such groups) are getting involved in a non-race like this is that they are just looking for ways to stay viable as the number of competitive GOP primary elections wanes as we move closer to November. And this was just another chance for them to start some drama and get some headlines.

I'd say--at the most--this may give O'Donnell an opening to get her name out there, but I still don't think she stands a chance against Castle six weeks out from the primary. I bet Chris Coons (D) really hopes I'm wrong, as he would probably trounce O'Donnell in the general election.

Daily Rundown: 7/27/10

CA-Sen: A new PPP poll finds Sen. Barbara Boxer (D) leading Carly Fiorina (R) by nine points, 49% to 40%. According to the poll, independents have dashed away from Fiorina back toward Boxer, which essentially what puts Boxer in the lead. Most other public polls have found a much closer race, and some have even given Fiorina the lead. Current rating: Lean Democrat.

CO-Sen: A new Rasmussen poll finds both Republican candidates with small leads over both Democrats. Ken Buck (R) leads Sen. Michael Bennet (D) and Andrew Romanoff (D) by six points. Former Lt. Gov. Jane Norton (R) leads Bennet by nine, and bests Romanoff by four. Meanwhile, Romanoff is selling his house and loaning his campaign $325,000 to go "all-in" in his insurgent bid for the Democratic nomination. Courageous move or act of desperation? I'm betting on the latter. Current rating: Toss-Up.

NH-Sen: PPP is out with a new poll that finds that Sarah Palin's endorsement of Kelly Ayotte (R) may have backfired. She has her smallest lead over Rep. Paul Hodes (D) to date, besting him by just three points, 45% to 42%. While shoring up her Republican base, she seems to have lost moderates in the process--seemingly in part because of Palin' endorsement. In April, Hodes led Ayotte by just 8 points among moderates, and now he's up by 21 points--and her favorability among that group has plummeted. Meanwhile, self-funding businessman Bill Binnie (R) leads Hodes by six points, Hodes leads Jim Bender (R) by one point and Ovide Lamontagne (R) by 5. Current rating: Lean Republican.

NC-Sen: A new Civitas poll finds Sen. Richard Burr (R) leading Secretary of State Elaine Marshall (D) by seven points, 44% to 37%, with 15% undecided. Current rating: Lean Republican.

FL-Gov: You know you're in trouble when you release an internal poll showing you losing to a virtual unknown candidate. State Attorney General Bill McCollum (R) released an internal poll showing him trailing Rick Scott (R) by six points, 37% to 31%. Most public polling shows Scott with a much larger lead.

MD-Gov: A new Gonzales Research poll finds sitting Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) leading former Gov. Bob Ehrlich (R) by three points, 45% to 42%--within the poll's margin of error. Current rating: Toss-Up.

OR-Gov: A new Rasmussen poll finds Chris Dudley (R) leading former Gov. John Kitzhaber (R) by three points, 47% to 44%--virtually unchanged from their June poll of the race. Current rating: Toss-Up.

: A new Survey USA poll finds businessman Jon Barela (R) leading Rep. Martin Heinrich (D) by six points, 51% to 45%. But there's a red flag here, as it seems pretty unlikely that only 4% of voters are undecided this far out from the election. Current rating: Lean Democrat.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Daily Rundown: 7/26/10

AZ-Sen: A new Rasmussen poll finds Sen. John McCain (R) comfortably ahead of former Rep. J.D. Hayworth (R) in the GOP Senate primary, 54% to 34%. Their poll from June only gave McCain an 11-point lead, showing McCain's negative ad blitz (and $16 million total expenditure) has seemed to work.

CO-Sen: Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck (R), long considered to be the Tea Party favorite in the race, is apologizing for some disparaging marks he made about the Tea Party movement. Here's the original quote from Buck: "Will you tell those dumbasses at the Tea Party to stop asking questions about birth certificates while I'm on the camera? God, what am I supposed to do?" It probably won't be anything big, just an unforced error for the new GOP frontrunner. In other news, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) endorsed Jane Norton (R) over Buck in the GOP primary, giving her some anti-illegal immigration bona fides going forward. Current rating: Toss-Up.

MO-Sen: A Mason-Dixon poll from this weekend finds Rep. Roy Blunt (R) leading Secretary of State Robin Carnahan (D) by six points, 48% to 42%. Rasmussen has been the only other pollster to test this race, and they have consistently found small leads for Blunt (usually within the margin of error). While Blunt appears to have the slight edge right now, we still rate this as a Toss-Up.

The Denver Post is reporting that former Rep. Tom Tancredo (R) is following through on last week's threat to launch a third party bid after neither flawed GOP candidate got out of the race. Conventional wisdom is that the fiercely conservative and anti-illegal immigration Tancredo will split votes with the eventual Republican nominee in the general election and give Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper (D) a clear path to victory. Current rating: Lean Democrat.

GA-Gov: The National Rifle Association is backing former Rep. Nathan Deal (R) in the GOP gubernatorial runoff. That might help him to slowly close Karen Handel's (R) 11-point lead from the primary.

OK-Gov: A new Sooner poll finds Attorney General Drew Edmondson (D) leading Lt. Gov. Jari Askins (D) by 16 points in the Democratic primary, 49% to 33%. In June, they found a tied race. The primary is on Tuesday. In general election match-ups, Rep. Mary Fallin (R) leads Edmondson by 8 points and Askins by 6 points--but is still under the 50% mark, meaning she is still very beatable.

TN-Gov: A Mason-Dixon poll from this weekend finds that Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam (R) is still the frontrunner for the GOP nomination. He leads Rep. Zach Wamp (R) 36% to 25%, with Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey (R) in third at 20%. In an attempt to shake up the race, Wamp has brought up the idea that Tennessee "may have to consider seceding from the union if the federal government does not change its ways regarding mandates." The secession talk, of course, was initiated by Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) last year--and that strategy worked for him in the GOP primary. In general election match-ups, Haslam leads businessman Mike McWherter (D) by 18 points, Wamp bests him by 7 points, and Ramsey edges him by 5.

NY-13: Sen. John McCain (R) is endorsing former FBI agent Michael Grimm (R) in the GOP primary to take on Rep. Mike McMahon (D). Grimm is considered to be the stronger general election candidate and has the backing of the Conservative Party, but attorney Michael Allegretti (R) has the support of the Staten Island GOP. Current rating: Likely Democrat.

ND-AL: A new Rasmussen poll finds Rep. Earl Pomeroy (D) trailing state Rep. Rick Berg (R) by only three points, 46% to 49%. Their poll from last month found Berg up by 7 points, and even more before that. Current rating: Toss-Up.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Daily Rundown: 7/23/10

AR-Sen: A new Rasmussen poll finds Rep. John Boozman (R) crushing Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D) by 25 points, 60% to 35%. Current rating: Likely Republican.

DE-Sen: New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I) will hold a fundraiser for Rep. Mike Castle (R) on August 17. Bloomberg has supported a wide array of candidates across the country--from both parties--including Illinois Rep. Mark Kirk (R) and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett (D). Current rating:
Likely Republican.

FL-Sen: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce will endorse Marco Rubio (R) this weekend in a high-profile boost for the Republican's campaign, which has gotten a bit sleep as of late. This must come as a blow to Gov. Charlie Crist's (I) campaign, which has been aggressively courting the business community's support throughout the campaign. There's one little hitch though: Rubio, a Cuban American, opposes the Chamber of Commerce's push to get rid of the Cuba embargo. Current rating: Toss-Up.

IL-Sen: The Chicago Tribune may have discovered yet another embarrassing embellishment from Rep. Mark Kirk's (R) past. Since he began running for public office over a decade ago, Kirk often told the story of how he was rescued by the Coast Guard when he nearly drowned at age 16. But the Tribune has found that "there are inconsistencies in Kirk's statements that suggests part of his real-life drama have been embellished." This must be terrible news for the Kirk campaign, which had just seemed to get the media and public's attention turned away from his past. In other news, Kirk released a statement this morning that he supports the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagen. Current rating: Toss-Up.

: A new Braun Research poll finds Rand Paul (R) leading state Attorney General Jack Conway (D) by 3 points, 41% to 38%. Current rating: Lean Republican.

LA-Sen: Rep. Charlie Melancon (D) is out with an internal poll showing him trailing Sen. David Vitter (R) by just one point, 44% to 43%. This result seems very optimistic, as most recent public polling shows Vitter with a 10-20 point lead. Current rating: Likely Republican.

NC-Sen: It looks like internal polling season is in full swing. Secretary of State Elaine Marshall (D) is out with one showing her leading Sen. Richard Burr (R) by two points, 37% to 35%. Our public polling average has Burr up by 10 points over Marshall. Current rating: Lean Republican.

WV-Sen: A new Rasmussen poll finds Gov. Joe Manchin (D) crushing businessman John Raese (R) in a hypothetical general election match-up, 51% to 36%. While Raese is the most high-profile Republican to enter the race thus far, he will not have the field to himself. Nine other Republicans have already filed to run in the GOP primary. Current rating: Likely Democrat.

AZ-Gov: A new Rasmussen poll finds Gov. Jan Brewer (R) leading state Attorney General Terry Goddard (D) by 19 points, 56% to 37%. Also, Goddard called Brewer a "one-trick pony" today, saying that her only issue is illegal immigration. "The entire [platform] that she has run on is signing SB 1070," said Goddard. "When you ask what else has Governor Brewer done for you, I don't think there is an answer." Current rating: Likely Republican.