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Leading Off:

OR-01: In case you haven't seen it yet, the new Daily Kos/SEIU poll of the OR-01 special election shows Democrat Suzanne Bonamici leading Republican Rob Cornilles by double digits. Click the link for our complete writeup, as well as access to the crosstabs.


NM-Sen: As promised, here's our complete writeup of PPP's new New Mexico poll, courtesy David Jarman. Click the link for the full run-down.

• TX-Sen: Well, I can't say I'm too surprised: Retired Gen. Ricardo Sanchez has ended his campaign for Senate. On paper, he initially looked like he might be an interesting recruit for Democrats when he joined the contest in May. But he had very difficult baggage concerning Abu Ghraib (he was US commander in Iraq when the prison scandal went down), and he never made much of an impact on the campaign trail or in raising money. Coupled with that, his house burned down last month; though he vowed at the time to stay in race, he cited the loss, coupled with "pressing personal challenges" and his poor fundraising, as reasons he's bowing out. Democrats don't have any other prominent names available, and with the filing deadline today, we're likely to wind up with a Some Dude as our nominee. UPDATE: I had thought that under the agreement hashed out last week, filing would only reopen for legislative and congressional races once maps were in place. But Michael Li explains via email:

The filing deadline will reopen for all races once the final maps are in place—the reasoning being that people may be waiting to see what the lines look like before deciding what office to run for (or may decide to switch races). So, long and short, Democrats caught a bit of a break.

I still can't see Dems reeling in someone prominent for this race, so this doesn't really change my analysis, but still, good to know.

UT-Sen, UT-02: Even though Democrats don't have a prayer of picking up this Senate seat, we can (and should) always be rooting for cat fud. So I'm pleased to see that state Sen. Dan Liljenquist has resigned his legislative seat, a potential prelude to a long-discussed run against fellow Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch. (Why resign to run? Utah forbids lawmakers from raising money while the legislature is in session, something it's scheduled to do in January.) The dark cloud on the horizon is state Rep. Chris Herrod, who says he might still get into the Republican contest as well, which would risk splitting the anti-incumbent vote. It's also possible that Liljenquist wants to run for the now-open 2nd Congressional District, since Dem Rep. Jim Matheson has decided to seek re-election in the 4th instead.


VA-Gov: PPP has another round of Virginia gubernatorial general election head-to-heads, and as has been the case all year, the race is very close. (That even goes for Dem Rep. Gerry Connolly, whom PPP tests for the first time.) Of course, Republicans already have two candidates eager to run while Democrats so far have zero, and the contest is still two years away, but since when has that ever mattered to poll junkies?

WI-Gov: Yowza. Republican Gov. Scott Walker has reported raising $5.1 million since July, in an effort to defend himself against a looming recall. Once that process began in November, incidentally, Walker became able to raise unlimited sums; previously, the cap was $10,000 per donor. He also said he's received donations from almost 47,000 individual contributors, which is a pretty monster number, and has $3 million in the bank. Meanwhile, Democrats have raised $1.4 million.


FL-22: It's not like he hasn't gone Godwin before, but this latest quote from Allen West is about as noxious as they come—and judging by all the press released in my inbox, he's getting some serious shit for it:

"If Joseph Goebbels was around, he'd be very proud of the Democrat Party because they have an incredible propaganda machine," West told reporters in the Capitol. "I think that you have, and let's be honest, you know, some of the people in the media are complicit in this, in enabling them to get that type of message out."

IL-16: I love Republican-on-Republican violence, because everybody wins. After repeatedly flip-flopping and dodging on the subject of where he'd seek re-election all year long, GOP freshman Adam Kinzinger has decided to run in the redrawn 16th District, where he'll face ten-term veteran Rep. Don Manzullo in the Republican primary. Kinzinger was finally forced to make up his mind because a federal court just threw out a hopeless GOP suit against the new congressional map, and more importantly, the filing deadline is looming at the end of the month. It sure is going to be a tough fight for Kinz, seeing as only 31% of the constituents of the new 16th are drawn from his old 11th, while 44% are presently represented by Manzullo in the old 16th. However, Kinzinger has raised more money and has more cash-on-hand than Manzullo, and I suspect he appeals more to the tea-flavored base, so I think this should be a good fight.

KY-04: Ryan Alessi, writing at cn|2's Pure Politics site, has a long piece on a whole passel of new Republican names who might run for Geoff Davis's seat, now that he's announced his surprise retirement: Businessman Kevin Sell, Boone County Clerk Kenny Brown, state Rep. Alecia Webb Edgington, Lewis County Judge-Executive Thomas Massie, former Mitch McConnell chief of staff Hunter Bates, Boone County Judge-Executive Gary Moore, state Rep. Adam Koenig, and former Jim Bunning aide Rick Robinson.

NM-01: While an array of progressive groups have coalesced around state Sen. Eric Griego in the NM-01 Democratic primary, EMILY's List (which has different objectives) just added Michelle Lujan Grisham to their bottom-rung "on the list" category. (That means something less than a full-throated endorsement complete with access to donors, but most candidates initially placed in this group have graduated to top-tier status.) Why does any of this matter? Because the utterly odious Marty Chavez must be stopped, but if Lujan Grisham and Griego split the left-leaning vote, that could let give the douchey conservaDem Chavez waltz to the nomination.

Remarkably, Chavez himself just scored the backing of none other than Robert Redford, who of course has a decades-long record as a liberal activist. But I just can't see how a guy like Chavez appeals to a guy like Redford, and I'm also not sure why Redford's getting into the mix in New Mexico, since he mostly lives in Utah. Redford did shoot the 1988 film The Milagro Beanfield War in the state, though, and more recently collaborated with former Gov. Bill Richardson on a project to help Native American and Hispanic filmmakers in the state.

WV-01: Mike Oliverio, who announced in September that he'd seek a rematch against freshman GOPer David McKinley, is unexpectedly dropping out of the race. The super-conservative Democrat knocked off veteran Rep. Alan Mollohan in the primary last year before narrowly losing to McKinley in the fall. Activist Sue Thorn is the only remaining Democrat in the race, but given the preponderance of Democratic elected officials in West Virginia, I'd be surprised if someone else doesn't get in. A Mollohan comeback bid is a possibility, and another intriguing name is state Rep. Tim Manchin, a first cousin to none other than Sen. Joe Manchin. Tim Manchin is also a trial lawyer with good union relationships, and obviously a prominent name, so he might be a strong candidate.

Grab Bag:

VA-St. Sen.: Unsurprisingly, a state court judge has denied a Democratic motion for a temporary injunction to restrain GOP Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling from casting tie-breaking votes in the evenly-divided state Senate, saying the court "cannot intervene in the normal operating procedures of the Senate and enjoin one of the highest officials in the Commonwealth from performing his constitutional duties." The judge also called the request premature, saying that Democrats' claims of injury were too speculative, writing: "The matter would have to get through committee, the Senate would have to vote on the issue, the vote would have to end up in a tie, the Lieutenant Governor would have to break the tie, and the Governor might ultimately have to approve the matter or sign the legislation." Of course, that's not speculative at all. That's exactly what's going to happen. In any event, this ruling doesn't end the suit, but it's unclear what will happen next, so stay tuned—though don't your hopes up.

WATN?: Well wow. This might just be the most amazing "Where Are They Now?" entry of all time. Longtime swingnuts will remember our enthusiasm for Democrat Travis Childers, who pulled off an extremely unlikely upset in the MS-01 special election back in 2008. Childers unfortunately but unsurprisingly was swept out in last year's red tide, but during those salad days of '08, he spanked conservative Republican Southaven Mayor Greg Davis not once, not twice, but on three separate occasions in a single year, thanks to Mississippi's system of runoffs. Davis turned out to be a pretty hapless figure; his physical resemblance to Nathan Lane led us to liken him to Lane's Max Bialystock character in "The Producers." But we never would have suspected this:

Receipts from embattled Southaven Mayor Greg Davis reveal that he had the city pay for wide-ranging expenses including thousands of dollars worth of liquor, expensive dinners at a local restaurant and a visit to an adult store catering to gay men while on a recruitment trip to Canada.

As details emerged Thursday from the receipts, provided by state auditors to Southaven aldermen and subsequently obtained by The Commercial Appeal, Davis conceded publicly for the first time in an interview with The CA that he is gay and has struggled to keep the issue from affecting his public life as mayor of Mississippi's third-largest city.

"At this point in my life and in my career, while I have tried to maintain separation between my personal and public life, it is obvious that this can no longer remain the case," Davis said Thursday afternoon at his Southaven home. "While I have performed my job as mayor, in my opinion, as a very conservative, progressive individual -- and still continue to be a very conservative individual -- I think that it is important that I discuss the struggles I have had over the last few years when I came to the realization that I am gay."

Wow. And what a remarkable way for this to emerge: because he billed his sex shop receipts to the city! It almost makes you wonder if he wanted to get caught. Pretty stunning, all around. (Huge hat-tip to AndrewMN)

Redistricting Roundup:

RI Redistricting: Criminy! For such a small state, Rhode Island sure is going through a lot of congressional plans. After a whole bunch of whining that the most recent proposal shifted too many people between the state's two districts, the redistricting committee decided to release yet another map which features smaller shifts. This madness should all be over today, when the panel is scheduled to vote on a plan to recommend to the legislature.

TX Redistricting: Democrats and Republicans have finally reached a deal on a new primary date for Texas: The old one became unworkable once the Supreme Court stayed implementation of court-drawn interim maps. A single primary will now be held on April 3rd, with a runoff on June 5. Filing for legislative and congressional races is currently open until Dec. 19, but it will re-open once new maps are put in place and will then close again on Feb. 1. Of course, this depends on actually getting new maps some time before Feb. 1, so if that doesn't happen, this will all need to get revisited once more.

One side-note is that this is a defeat for Rick Perry, who wanted to split the primaries in two so that the presidential contest could still be held on March 6, when he'd be able to benefit from it more thanks to the earlier date. (Not that it matters in real life, given his terrible standing in the polls.) But even most Republicans didn't want two primaries, and it led to some entertaining cat fud getting flung back and forth between the warring factions. That's all over… for now, though as I say above, we could be back to this fight all over again in January.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Mon Dec 19, 2011 at 05:00 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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