Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest…8/2/11


Reposted from Daily Kos Elections by David Nir

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Senate:

• FL-Sen: A lengthy piece in the Miami Herald takes a close look at the myth of Adam Hasner as the ultimate outsider with impeccable conservative credentials. Reality, of course, paints a messier picture, but that really shouldn’t be a surprise: Not only was Hasner a former state Rep., he even served as the Republican’s Majority Leader for several years. That inevitably means a history of compromise and apostasy. A few examples:

But Hasner also supported a watered-down climate-change law that the Legislature now wants to repeal. And he voted for a budget with $2.2 billion in tax and fee increases and billions more in federal stimulus money. He also favored high-speed rail and SunRail, which tea party activists came to abhor.

Though he privately mocked and fought Crist behind the scenes at times, Hasner also boasted of working with the governor on the federal stimulus program.

And just like that, Hasner’s primary opponents are already on the case. George LeMieux sent out a press release scrutinizing what his campaign is calling “Adam Hasner’s Masquerade Ball,” calling him out for his “non-conservative record.” Of course, LeMieux, joined at the hip to Charlie Crist for so many years, doesn’t exactly have a flawless right-wing pedigree either… and so of course, Hasner fired back with his own release, pointing out the many times LeMieux has made Baby Republican Jesus cry.

One final FL-Sen-related item, this one from the “News of the Weird” department. Chris Ruddy, the CEO of freakin’ Newsmax, is saying he won’t rule out a run for the GOP Senate nomination. I feel like I’m being put on here, but hey—I report, you decide.

• HI-Sen: On the one hand, GOP ex-Gov. Linda Lingle sounds like she’s inching toward a Senate run, recently praising other former governors who are currently in the Senate as “less ideological.” (Trivia: There are ten former governors in the Senate, six Ds and four Rs. Name them.) On the other hand, she’s dragging her feet, with the Honolulu Star-Advertiser tweeting that she’spushing her timetable from August to “sometime in the fall.”

• IN-Sen: After whinging about a Club for Growth survey which showed the Republican primary between himself and Richard Mourdock tied, I guess Dick Lugar felt the need to put up rather than shut up. But his own internal isn’t very good, which I guess explains why he released it on the Friday night of debt armageddon weekend. Anyhow, the poll, by American Viewpoint, had Lugar up, but only by a 45-31 margin. With the primary a ways away, I’d certainly take those numbers if I were Mourdock.

• MN-Sen: State Sen. Dave Thompson, about a month later than he originally planned, has made up his mind about whether to challenge Dem Sen. Amy Klobuchar, and the answer is “no.” That means ex-state Rep. Dan Severson is still the only Republican running.

• MT-Sen, MT-AL: Gov. Brian Schweitzer once again sounded pretty emphatic in his desire not to run for Congress, whether in a primary against Max Baucus in 2014 or for the House. I’m not really sure how coherent his alleged reasons are, though; he says: “The system is broken, and it isn’t because we don’t have good people.” But what are systems made up of if not people?

• ND-Sen: Though he’d been receiving some public encouragement to run, Dem state Sen. Mac Schneider says he will not seek Kent Conrad’s open Senate seat. Schneider is just 32 and says he wants to run for another term in the legislature. Instead, he offered his backing to former legislator Pam Gulleson, who has been talked up a bunch and is still considering a run. (Meanwhile, Kristin Hedger, a former Democratic candidate for secretary of state and staffer for former Sen. Byron Dorgan who had been urging Schneider to run said that she, too, will not make the race.)

• NM-Sen: Interesting. Is Auditor Hector Balderas trying to run to Rep. Martin Heinrich’s left in the Democratic primary? Balderas says he “absolutely” supports gay marriage (I’m guessing for the state of New Mexico), while in 2008, Heinrich said he did not — though Heinrich did subsequently co-sponsor a bill to repeal DOMA. I’d be curious to see where Heinrich’s views are now, though I’d be somewhat surprised if this issue gained a lot of traction, given the dominance of the economy and the fact that the U.S. Senators don’t have a lot of say over what their state’s legislature does.

• NV-Sen: Either way, this makes Byron Georgiou look like a p.o.s. Unhappy that Democrats have coalesced around Rep. Shelley Berkley, the wealthy trial lawyer is now threatening to run as an independent instead. If he pulled the trigger, that could be fatal to Berkley’s chances against Sen. Dean Heller, but even if it’s “just” a threat to try to get Dem power brokers to back off, Georgiou is still a jackass and this shows he has no party loyalty. Still, I’m not surprised — after all, he’s being advised by Joe Trippi, who has plenty of experience working with richie rich d-bags trying to buy primaries (like Jeff Greene).

• UT-Sen: GOP Rep. Jason Chaffetz says he’s moving from a “definite maybe” to a “probably” in terms of a primary challenge to Sen. Orrin Hatch… but the linked article says he “may” announce a run “some time after Labor Day.” That’s about as unhelpfully vague as it gets. Still, I’d be surprised if Chaffetz didn’t pull the trigger.

• VA-Sen: Things are still super-tight in PPP’s latest poll of the Virginia Senate race. Click the link for the full post at Daily Kos Elections.

Gubernatorial:

• IN-Gov: The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette hedges here, but they report that Republican Jim Wallace’s recent ad buy “is said to be six figures.” Said by whom, exactly? Dave Catanese said the buy was “small,” so now I’m not sure what to believe.

• KY-Gov: Dem Gov. Steve Beshear has raced out to a monster 24-point lead in SUSA’s latest poll. Click the link for the full post at Daily Kos Elections.

House:

• CA-11: Rep. George Miller, the present occupant of CA-07, confirms he’ll seek re-election in the district newly numbered 11. (Fellow Dem Jerry McNerney, who sits in the current 11th, previously said he’d run in the new CA-09.) David Mills describes the new 11th thusly:

The new district lies mostly in central Contra Costa County. It includes the towns of Concord, Walnut Creek, Clayton, Danville, Lafayette, Moraga, Orinda and Richmond. Part of Martinez is also in the district.

• CA-24: Dem Rep. Lois Capps, currently sitting in the 23rd CD, says she will seek re-election in the new CA-24. This may be one of California Democrats’ biggest sources of concern in 2012, as the 24th is a lot swingier under the new lines, and Capps will likely face moderate GOP Abel Maldonado, a former state Senator who also served briefly as Lt. Gov. at the end of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s final term.

• CO-06: Dem state Rep. Joe Miklosi, who had been weighing the race for a while, formally launched his campaign against Rep. Mike Coffman.

• FL-02: Former state Sen. Nancy Argenziano, who sounds like she had a serious conversion from R to D, says she’ll challenge freshman GOPer Steve Southerland. (Southerland, you’ll recall, beat Allen Boyd last year.) In a letter declaring her candidacy, Argenziano railed against her former party: “The current iteration of the party abandoned real Republican principles long ago to cater to ideologues and corporations — the Koch entities, most notably — whose interests lie in the profiteering of America and the sacking of the middle class.” I’m wondering about what kind of candidate she’ll make, though, since the Miami Herald notes she once “sent a 25-pound box of manure to a lobbyist with whom she clashed on a nursing home bill.”

• FL-22: Interesting: Ex-Gov. Charlie Crist has written two $1,000 checks to newcomer Patrick Murphy, a fundraising machine who is running in the Democratic primary for the right to challenge Rep. Allen West. In fact, Murphy is the only federal recipient of Crist money so far this cycle.

• IL-11: Republican state Sen. Chris Lauzen is considering a run in the redrawn 11th CD, where Dem ex-Rep. Bill Foster is looking to make a comeback. Lauzen ran in the primary for the special election to fill ex-Speaker Denny Hastert’s 14th District seat in 2008, losing 56-44 to dairy magnate Jim Oberweis — a race eventually won by Foster. Meanwhile a Republican state Rep. tells the Kane County Chronicle he thinks GOP Rep. Judy Biggert, a redistricting victim, is thinking about running here, too.

• IL-13: Greene County State’s Attorney Matt Goetten is weighing a run in the new 13th District, where GOP Rep. Tim Johnson plans to try to continue his political career. Goetten says he hadn’t thought about the race until he was recently contacted by the DCCC, which so far has come up short in finding a top-tier candidate for this race.

• IL-17: The United Auto Workers announced their endorsement of state Sen. Dave Koehler, who is running in what has become a pretty crowded Democratic primary, filled with pedigreed candidates and Some Dudes alike. Koehler, though, certainly seems like the frontrunner, and endorsements like this only help.

• MI-14: State Rep. Tim Melton says he’s thinking about moving into the new 14th CD to challenge Rep. John Conyers in the Democratic primary. Meanwhile, Southfield Mayor Brenda Lawrence (whose name we flagged previously) also says she’s “actively looking” at joining the race, too. Melton says he won’t run here if Conyers pulls a switcheroo with fellow Dem Rep. Hansen Clarke in the 13th, or if the suddenly district-less Rep. Gary Peters tries to continue his political career here.

• NC-04: It looks like the legislature’s newest map has changed the calculus for Dem Rep. Brad Miller. Under the first iteration of the GOP’s plan, Miller’s home had been deliberately left in his 13th CD, but the district had simultaneously been made unwinnably red. The neighboring 4th CD, held by a fellow Dem, looked a lot more tempting, but Miller said: “There is no possibility that David Price and I would run against each other.”

That was then. The current map (which was just passed into law) features a different-looking 4th, which now contains both men’s homes. Furthermore, about a third of this new district is currently represented by Miller, a third by Price, and a third by neither man — but, Miller points out, that final section includes his hometown of Fayetteville. Miller still says he thinks a primary would be “very unlikely,” but evidently one is now possible.

• NV-02: He’s Mark Amodei, and he drives a truck! A very boring new ad from the Republican candidate in the 2nd CD special election.

• NY-25: The Irish Independent profiles 30-year-old attorney Brianne Murphy, running as a Democrat against freshman GOPer Ann Marie Buerkle, and notes that she hopes to become the first-ever Ireland-born woman to get elected to Congress.

• NV-0?: State Sen. John Lee (previously flagged by Ralston) officially announced he would run for Congress, making him the third Democrat to do so. He joins ex-Rep. Dina Titus and Assembly Speaker John Oceguera. State Sen. Ruben Kihuen and Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford are also looking at runs. Needless to say, no one knows precisely where they’re running yet.

• OR-01: State Sen. Suzanne Bonamici, who appeared reluctant to pull the trigger while David Wu was still planning to seek re-election, now looks like she’s ready to join the field. Though she hasn’t yet made a formal announcement, she’s promising one soon — and she just put up a campaign website, complete with request for donations. Assuming she gets in, she’ll be joining Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian and state Rep. Brad Witt in the Democratic primary.

• TX-25, TX-26: Former Highland Village Mayor Dianne Costa officially announced she’d run for Congress in the more-or-less new 25th CD, which Dem Rep. Lloyd Doggett is vacating in favor of the new 25th District. Costa had originally filed in TX-26 but said she would not primary Rep. Michael Burgess; instead, she joins a bunch of fellow Republicans who are interested in this open seat.

• WA-01: State Sen. Steve Hobbs announced he’d run for Rep. Jay Inslee’s open seat, joining a large (and growing) Democratic field. He certainly sounds like someone progressives have little love for; sayeth the Everett Daily Herald: “Hobbs, 41, is in his second term in the Legislature and is one of the founders of the moderate Democratic coalition known as the ‘Roadkill Caucus.’” Indeed, unions apparently worked against him in his re-election campaign last year. Hopefully there won’t be a left-wing split in the primary allowing someone like Hobbs to sneak through, though I suspect he’ll have to vie for the “centrist” vote with ex-Rep. Laura Ruderman.

Other Races:

• WI Recall: Oh, lovely:

Americans for Prosperity is sending absentee ballots to Democrats in at least two Wisconsin state Senate recall districts with instructions to return the paperwork after the election date.

The fliers, obtained by POLITICO, ask solidly Democratic voters to return ballots for the Aug. 9 election to the city clerk “before Aug. 11.”

It must be a close election if the GOP is engaging in some voter suppression. I think there’s a reason why AFP picked Aug. 11 precisely: easier for them to claim it was a typo and that they meant “Aug. 2011.”

• WI Recall: Aww yeah, baby. Alberta Darling pulls a Heineman:

I just went to a woman today and she said, “Why are you giving tax breaks to the wealthy?” I said, “What do you consider wealthy?” She said, “$250,000 and above.”

And I said “that is small business.” Those are small business people. Those aren’t wealthy people. We are not interested in raising taxes on the quote “rich.”

Darling is following in the tradition of the late, great Fred Heineman, who ensured he would be a one-term member of the GOP class of 1994 after he said this:

“When I see a first-class individual who makes $80,000 a year, he’s lower middle class. When I see someone who is making anywhere from $300,000 to $750,000, that’s middle class. When I see anyone above that, that’s upper middle class.”

Grab Bag:

Debt Ceiling: The “compromise” debt ceiling bill passed the House yesterday by a vote of 269 to 161. If you’d like to see a breakdown of how members of each party voted, click the link.

• DeMint: A good reminder from The Hill’s Cameron Joseph: Though would-be conservative kingmaker Jim DeMint previously said he’d stay out of Republican primaries this cycle, back in June, he warned that “if we have folks who go the wrong way on [the debt ceiling vote], it’s going to be pretty hard for me to sit still.” With DeMint leading the opposition to the latest debt limit plan, and several Republicans sure to vote for it, this could come to a head soon. Definitely keep an eye on Snowe, Hatch, and Lugar.

Redistricting Roundup:

• CA Redistricting: Some Latino groups sound less-than-thrilled with the redistricting commission’s new state Senate map, but according to this report in New American Media, they seem pretty pleased with the congressional and Assembly maps, both of which add majority-Latino districts.

• LA redistricting: As expected, the Department of Justice granted preclearance to Louisiana’s GOP-drawn 5 R/1 D congressional map, which features one majority-minority district. (It could still get derailed by the myriad VRA lawsuits filed by private parties, though.) This doesn’t bode well for those hoping the Obama DOJ will be take a hard line with Republican legislatures in southern states, as potentially they could have found that Louisiana needed to create a second African American-majority district. Or maybe they’re saving their powder for the bigger, nastier states, like Texas and North Carolina.

• SC Redistricting: Gov. Nikki Haley signed her state’s new redistricting maps into law, which means two things: first, they’ll go to the Justice Department for pre-clearance and second, parties unhappy with the maps can ready their lawsuits.

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