Leading Off:• OR-Sen, -Gov: PPP’s first post-primary poll of Oregon finds both of the state’s top Democrats, Sen. Jeff Merkley and Gov. John Kitzhaber, with comfortable leads over their GOP opponents. Merkley currently beats physician Monica Wehby, whose public image has recently taken a hit thanks to stalking allegations, by a 50-36 margin. Wehby’s favorables stand at just 26-40, while Merkley sports a decent 41-34 job approval score.
Except for one impossible-to-believe survey from Republican pollster Vox Populi, Merkley’s always had double-digit leads, so PPP’s numbers seem plausible. However, as Tom Jensen notes, most of the undecideds don’t like Obama (even though this is a blue state), so the race will likely tighten.
Kitzhaber, meanwhile, holds a similar 49-35 advantage over state Rep. Dennis Richardson, even though Kitz earns just a 42-46 approval rating. Richardson is little-known, though, and again, things are likely to tighten up. But Oregon’s demographics simply make victory for Republicans, especially against incumbents, very difficult.
• GA-Gov: That didn’t take long. Just days after first reserving air time, the RGA is airing their first spot against Democratic state Sen. Jason Carter. The ad starts by trashing Obamacare, then ties it in to some comments Carter made about keeping a Medicaid expansion plan “on the table”. Of course the RGA doesn’t mention the word “Medicaid” once, but the narrator does say “Obamacare” five times in case you didn’t get the message. The RGA currently has $500,000 behind the ad. (Jeff Singer)
• IA-Gov: Democratic state Sen. Jack Hatch has put out an internal poll from the Global Strategy Group that’s maybe a touch better than some of the other numbers he’s seen lately, but isn’t really much different from the bulk of recent public polling. GSG finds GOP Gov. Terry Branstad leading Hatch 47-40, almost identical to the 48-40 spread PPP saw in the middle of May (when Hatch’s poll was also in the field), and little different from Branstad’s 48-39 advantage in the HuffPo Pollster average.
• NY-Gov: According to various reports, the Working Families Party, which is holding its convention this weekend, is considering three different candidates as potential gubernatorial nominees, in the event they decide not to support Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo. On the list are education historian Diane Ravitch, law professor Zephyr Teachout, and the WFP’s own director, Dan Cantor.
It’s pretty surprising that there doesn’t appear to be a single retired politician who’s interested in sparring with Cuomo, but at least Ravitch would bring a respected name to the race, though she says she’s not running. Teachout, on the other hand, is a non-entity at best (who once considered a run for Congress in Vermont), and Cantor is obviously the backup backup plan.
The whole situation is complicated, though, and there are many ways to game it out. One possibility is that the WFP doesn’t want to endorse Cuomo but also doesn’t want to spend serious resources on their own candidate, so they’d nominate a sacrificial lamb (and help him or her get the 50,000 votes necessary to keep the party’s ballot line) but concentrate on winning back the Republican-controlled state Senate instead. Another alternative is that the WFP is playing a game of chicken and has to look like they’re really committed to a non-Cuomo option so that the governor feels pressure to push the Senate to pass real campaign finance reform that includes public funding for office-seekers.
Cuomo, at least, is acting like he cares about the issue…..