by David Nir
8:32 AM PT: WI-Gov: There’s a final barrage of polls in the Wisconsin gubernatorial recall, including one from Public Policy Polling which shows the race tightening. PPP’s survey has GOP Gov. Scott Walker up 50-47 over Democrat Tom Barrett, which is a tightening from the 50-45 Walker lead they saw in their prior two polls. As Tom Jensen notes, the sample reported voting for Obama in 2008 by a seven-point margin; if it matched Obama’s actual 14-point edge, Barrett would be up 50-49. It’s worth noting thatlike all other pollsters, PPP’s last 2010 poll of this race, which also pitted Walker against Barrett when this seat was open, overstated Walker’s leader: They had Walker winning by nine when he actually won by just five.
Barrett’s campaign also said over the weekend that their internal polling (which has been conducted by Garin-Hart-Yang) had the race tied at 48 apiece (or as they put it for media consumption purposes, Walker 47.8, Barrett 47.7). And finally, there’s a poll fromAngus Reid, which, I must point out, was conducted online. They had Walker up 51-46, but weirdly, they’re insisting on reporting their toplines without any undecideds, so their press release touting a 53-47 Walker lead, which I think is misleading. Even in a race as polarized as this, some people still walk into the voting both not knowing how they’re going to cast a ballot, so you can’t just ignore them.
8:36 AM PT: One last bit of polling-related recall news: According to The Fix, there will be exit polls for Tuesday night’s election. That’s pretty interesting, considering we pretty much never see exit polls outside of November.
8:46 AM PT: NY-08: Ugh, just revolting. Retiring Rep. Ed Towns, clearly butthurt over the fact that Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries’ robust-looking campaign pushed him to the exits this year, is endorsing the absolutely unacceptable Charles Barron in the Democratic primary instead. Click the link to see just how ridiculous Towns’ statement as. As for Barron, I’ve said everything I need to say about him at this point, so I’m just going to leave it at that.
8:57 AM PT: MI-11: The Thad McCotter saga just gets crazier. As you know, the GOP veteran abandoned his write-in primary bid over the weekend, a week after disclosing that he failed to file a sufficient number of signatures to secure a place on the ballot for re-election. One move which prompted McCotter’s decision was ex-state Sen. Loren Bennett’s announcement that he, too, would wage a write-in campaign for the Republican nomination—and when it comes to write-ins, even one is a crowd.
But things could get far more crowded yet. Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner John McCulloch, who ran for Senate for about ten days (literally) last year, has surfaced as another possible write-in candidate. So has former Oakland County GOP chair Paul Welday, who even tweeted about his interest. You may remember that Welday ran in the MI-09 primary in 2010, losing to ex-state Rep. Rocky Raczkowski—who, as we’ve mentioned, has also said he might get in. Two people also took themselves out of contention last week, state Sen. Mike Kowall and attorney David Trott, but that was before McCotter bailed, so a change of heart is not out of the question. The more the merrier!
9:14 AM PT: MA-Sen: Two new polls of the Massachusetts Senate race were released over the weekend, and both show a tie game. The first is from the Boston Globe (conducted by the University of New Hampshire) which puts GOP Sen. Scott Brown up 39-37 over Democrat Elizabeth Warren. That’s a weirdly high number of undecideds, but that seems to be par for the course for UNH, whose first poll showed Brown with a 37-35 lead. The most important thing to note about this survey, though, is that Barack Obama leads Mitt Romney by just 12 points (46-34), in a state he won by 26 last time. The fact that the Senate race is still so close despite what must be a very unfavorable sample for Warren is a positive sign for her.
A second poll, from Western New England University, has roles reversed and has Warren up by two points, 45-43. That’s a huge jump from a late February/early March poll which saw Brown on top 49-41—a net shift of ten points. WNEU also has a much more plausible Obama-Romney head-to-head, with the president leading by 22 points (56-34).
9:23 AM PT: P.S. Warren also avoided a primary fight with the one remaining candidate who opposed her, local attorney Marisa DeFranco. DeFranco failed to hit the necessary 15% delegate threshold at the Democratic Party convention this past weekend, meaning she can’t appear on the ballot. Warren dominated, securing 96% of the delegates’ votes.
9:29 AM PT: CT-05: On Sunday evening, Democratic state House Speaker Chris Donovan held a press conference to address allegations that former staffers tried to funnel illegal donations to his congressional campaign in exchange for killing a bill pending before the legislature regarding a tobacco tax. Donovan denied any knowledge of the scheme, which led the FBI to arrest his finance director and prompted Donovan to fire him, along with his campaign manage and a finance deputy. Donovan also promised that he would not drop out of the race.
9:40 AM PT: NY-18: I just love how badly GOP freshman Nan Hayworth has handled this mess. If you’re just catching up with us, one of her spokesmen, Jay Townsend, was busted last week for writing on Facebook: “Let’s hurl some acid at those female democratic Senators who won’t abide the mandates they want to impose on the private sector.” First, Hayworth’s campaign failed to make the obvious move and just cut deadweight like Townsend loose—and instead, they defended him, saying his remarks “were clearly not meant to be taken literally.”
Realizing they had a problem on their hands, Townsend was goaded into making a b.s. apology, which began:
On May 26, I posted a stupid, thoughtless, and insensitive comment on a facebook page. It was stupid because my words were easily misconstrued; thoughtless because my choice of words obscured a point I was trying to make, and insensitive because some have interpreted the comment as advocating a violent act.
Misconstrued! How do you misconstrue “let’s hurl some acid”? Obviously you cannot. That finally dawned on Hayworth on Monday, when she at last kicked Townsend out the door. Her statement reveals how desperately eager she is to stop talking about this controversy:
“Jay Townsend has offered, and I have accepted, his resignation from his position with my campaign. Now let’s return to talking about issues that really matter to families: job creation, spending restraint and economic development.”
Hey—it was your campaign that decided to talk about hurling acid at women, not us! Ultimately, there’s a meta-point to be drawn here, which is that, as I said above, canning Townsend instantly was a no-brainer, yet somehow Hayworth decided to do the exact opposite and dig in. It makes you wonder about how competently her campaign is being run—and how smart she is.9:46 AM PT: AZ-08: I’m glad to see that ex-Rep. Gabby Giffords will be appearing at a get-out-the-vote concert on behalf of Ron Barber next Sunday, just ahead of the June 12 special election, for two reasons. Obviously it’ll be a great boon to Barber to have Giffords at his side, but I’m also just happy to see that she’s well enough to hit the campaign trail.
9:51 AM PT: WI-Gov: Politico has details on the RGA’s GOTV plans for the recall, for which they’re spending $1.5 million. By contraste, the DGA has contributed $110K to get-out-the-vote efforts, but it’s not an apples-to-apples comparison because labor groups are also spending on GOTV. Also, Joshua Spivak of the seminal Recall Elections blog has an exceptionally in-depth overview of the recalls, including the Lt. Gov. race and the senate recalls as well, with a good deal of historical background thrown in, too.
10:16 AM PT: Seriously, We Ask America still has the recall at Walker +12? Yes, yes they do. Indeed, their 54-42 score is identical to the tally in their last poll. Does anyone believe these numbers?