If the volume of campaign news was flagging slightly on Monday and Tuesday, it slowed to a trickle on this day-before-Christmas Eve. Only a couple of new polls, and a small handful of campaign stories, including a late-breaking story about the GOP trying to romance another Democrat. You might be a little surprised at who it is...and surprised by what he said.
KY-Sen: Either Grayson or Paul Holds Seat For GOP, Says PPP
This is more than a little disappointing, to be sure, but PPP follows its sadly optimistic poll for Michele Bachmann yesterday with another downer on Wednesday--either Kentucky's GOP Secretary of State (Trey Grayson) or the new darling of the Paulites (Rand Paul) have modest leads (PDF File) over either Democrat competing for the Senate seat now occupied by retiring U.S. Senator Jim Bunning. As one might expect, Grayson is the more electable of the two Republicans, but both men have leads of at least six points over either state Attorney General Jack Conway or state Lt. Governor Dan Mongiardo. Conway does slightly better against Grayson (Grayson leads 40-33) than does Mongiardo (Grayson leads 44-35). Against Rand Paul, both men trail by identical 42-36 margins.
CT-Sen: McMahon Internal Claims GOP Senate Edge
Take this survey with the caveat that it is a campaign internal poll, but Linda McMahon is out with a survey from Moore Methods which claims that she has moved into the lead against GOP frontrunner Rob Simmons in the GOP primary to challenge longtime Democratic Senator Chris Dodd. McMahon's poll claims that her name recognition is up to 82%, and that she has an enviable 52/7 favorability spread. In the primary election trial heat, McMahon claims a lead within the margin of error, with her support sitting at 37%, and Rob Simmons trailing at 35%. According to McMahon's poll, Paulite candidate Peter Schiff is circling the drain, trailing badly at just 4% of the vote. An internal poll from Chris Dodd earlier in the week claimed that McMahon was slightly less electable than Simmons in a general election trial heat with Dodd. Worth noting--any general election trial heats in the McMahon internal were not released.
IN OTHER NEWS....
- Get political commentary and occasional stray comments about...well...anything. Head over to my little corner of the Twitter universe, where informative (and often smartassed) commentary is on the menu almost every day.
- PA-10: Having snared Parker Griffith (more on that guy later), the GOP is apparently trying to lure more apostate Democrats into their fold. A story broke late today off of Politico that the next target for the GOP is a little bit of a surprise. It is Chris Carney, the third term Democrat from Pennsylvania who is clearly in the conservative wing of the party, but probably less so than a half dozen other Democrats. The GOP apparently dispatched John McCain (a Naval vet, like Carney) to make the pitch. Carney's spokesman was mum about the intentions of his boss, but did confirm that the call took place.
After several hours of speculation, Carney himself said he was flattered, but he was sticking with the Democratic Party:
"I always put my district above political party and have maintained an independent voice. I have enjoyed widespread Republican support throughout my district and will continue to work closely with Democrats, Republicans and independents alike. I appreciate the Republican Party's outreach, but I have no plans to change parties."
In other good news for Democrats, two prominent conservative Democrats (Walt Minnick of Idaho and Bobby Bright of Alabama) announced today that they are staying put.
- MA-Sen: Give Democratic Senate nominee Martha Coakley a few points for courage: she has agreed to a trio of debates in advance of the January 19th general election to replace the late Senator Ted Kennedy. The move, which raises the total number of debates to five, goes against everything in the playbook. The campaign playbook typically says that the candidate in the lead should resist debates, which can only give a longshot candidate a lifeline. Coakley will face Republican Scott Brown in January.
- NY-Sen/NY-03: In the wake of Rudy Giuliani's disappearing act from the 2010 election cycle, we get news today that the GOP is hitting their knees in an attempt to get Long Island Congressman Peter King to reconsider his late summer decision to decline a Senate bid against Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. It seems unlikely to change his mind. In an interview with Politico, he described his chances of making the Senate bid as a 3 (out of 10).
- AL-05: A day after Freshman Congressman Parker Griffith made the jump from the Democratic Party to the GOP, there was quite a bit of fallout from his sudden move across the aisle. In one potentially incendiary scandal, Griffith's campaign consultants, Main Street Strategies, were accused of downloading Democratic voter data from a party database just hours before the Congressman's defection on Tuesday. This afternoon, a Griffith staffer promised that the congressman would return all the data swiped the day before. The kerfluffle cost Main Street Strategies a gig, as the campaign of gubernatorial candidate Artur Davis fired the firm earlier today.
Meanwhile, Griffith has only been a Republican for about 30-35 hours, and he already might have a high-profile Democratic challenger. In something of a surprise, state Agriculture Commissioner Ron Sparks, who is currently in the midst of a bid for Governor of Alabama, refused to close the door on a bid for Congress in the 5th district.
Finally, the "warm welcome" from local Republicans continued today. Just a day after both Republicans already in the Congressional field held press conferences to insist that they were staying in the race, and would merely beat Griffith in the GOP primary, the newly minted Republican also got dissed by one of the state's gubernatorial candidates, state Treasurer Kay Ivey:
"I can't help but regard this 'Road to Damascus' conversion of Parker Griffith's as solely a ploy to cling to his seat in 2010...Political self-preservation isn't a virtue. In fact, political expediency is an insult to every grassroots activist who commits untold hours in devotion to getting candidates elected."
For more about the potentially rocky path for Congressman Griffith, read
DavidNYC's must-read piece for this morning here at Daily Kos.