On this day in 1988, the world of competitive sports lost an innovator who forever changed one of the most celebrated of winter sports.
Anyone who has ever sat in an arena in the wintertime, bored out of your mind between periods of a hockey game, owes a grand debt to this man for his brilliant piece of machinery. With that in mind, the Wrap gives a posthumous tip of the hat to none other than Frank Zamboni. Good on you, Frank.
With that, it's back to the world of politics, where the Wrap is filled to capacity. The headlines are fast and furious on this Tuesday: internal polls abound, Willie Herenton is still an ass (but his schtick ain't working), and Tom Emmer is still not very smart.
All that (and more!) in the Tuesday edition of the Wrap....
CO-Sen: Romanoff goes all-in, while Norton tweaks Buck
Two headlines out of Colorado today: one of them was utterly predictable, while the other one is a pretty big shocker. The shocker is the all-in level of commitment were are seeing from Democratic challenger Andrew Romanoff, who has sold his house to finance the final month of his primary challenge to appointed incumbent Michael Bennet. The sale netted the challenger $325K, which he directed to his campaign. On the more predictable campaign tactical front, Jane Norton has decided to exploit the opening led by Ken Buck with his recorded smackdown of the "dumbasses" in the Tea Party. Even in defending the teabaggers, though, Norton probably crapped the bed with those folks. While she defended the teabaggers' right to their birtherism, she also said that she did not share it, saying that Hawaii has settled the issue, and that she thinks Obama is a citizen.
That trampling sound you hear is the teabagger set running back to Ken Buck.
IL-Sen: Special election decree could shake up Senate race
It's not a lock just yet, but it is now exceedingly likely that a federal judge will order a special election in Illinois to coincide with the regularly scheduled federal election this November. While it is unlikely to change the cast of characters (the parties will almost certainly get to appoint the special election nominees, and just as certainly will give the nominations to their already-elected nominees), it does have two key impacts to consider. For one, it would appear that will give whomever emerges from the race a leg up on seniority. For another, it could have a real fundraising impact, as both Alexi Giannoulias and Mark Kirk could then go back to their maxed-out donors, since there are now two elections instead of one.
KY-Sen: Conway leaps on opportunity, dings Paul on ADA anniversary
In a pretty clever campaign gambit, Democratic contender Jack Conway managed to tie together Rand Paul's generic batshit craziness with the high-profile big-bucks fundraiser that Paul is having with former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. In a speech celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Conway noted that the landmark bill was signed by George H.W. Bush. He noted that sad irony that Bush's son would assist a candidate (Paul) who was on the record opposing certain aspects of the A.D.A. The Conway campaign also released late last week internal polling which showed the Democrat dead-even with the GOP standard bearer, and leading him easily among those folks who know both candidates.
NC-Sen: Civitas poll gives Burr narrow lead over Marshall
When a nominally GOP pollster puts the GOP incumbent well under 50%, and only up by six points, that has to be seen as a fairly optimistic sign for the challenger. The Civitas poll released today gives incumbent Republican Richard Burr a lead of 44-38 over Democrat Elaine Marshall, with Libertarian Michael Beitler down at 3% of the vote. Two items to note: among those who are certain of their preference, the margin gets cut down to four points (32-28). Furthermore, Marshall also seems to have some upside, with half of the voters still unsure of whether or not they have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of her. Marshall's campaign released an internal poll last week showing her up on Burr by a 37-35 margin.
OK-Sen: Primary day in the Sooner State
Oklahomans wrapped up a pair of primaries tonight to determine their U.S. Senate candidates for the Fall. Neither primary received a lot of attention, if for no other reason than the strong supposition that the Senate race will be totally uncompetitive in the Fall. There were a pair of GOP challengers challenging incumbent Tom Coburn (who nevertheless won with 90% of the vote), while the Democratic primary voters chose retiree Jim Rogers over attorney Mark Myles. Rogers, a perennial candidate, is not considered to be a serious contender for November.
ID-01: Minnick second Democrat to call for Rangel ouster
Less than three days after Ohio Congresswoman Betty Sutton became the first Democrat to call for embattled New York veteran Rep. Charlie Rangel to step down, another high-profile Democrat has followed suit. Walt Minnick, the freshman Democrat who represents one of the reddest districts in the nation, has called for Rangel to step down. Saying he originally was willing to let the voters of the New York 15th district make the decision, Minnick now says the proponderance of the evidence makes it "clear" that Rangel should go. Given Minnick's location of most target lists, it is fair to wonder if his call will start a dam break of vulnerable Democrats.
IL-17: GOP contender claims double-digit lead in an internal poll
You might recall a couple of months ago when some GOPers openly talked about gains in the 100 seat range. It seemed absurd at the time, but if internal polls like this one are legit (an open question, of course), those lofty projections might just be legit. A poll by Magellan for little-known GOP contender Bobby Schilling claims that he has a thirteen-point edge (45-32) over sophomore incumbent Democrat Phil Hare.
MN-03: GOP freshman leads by 22...in Democratic internal poll
Add this to the list of curious releases of internal polling data. A new poll for Democratic challenger Jim Meffert shows incumbent Erik Paulsen staked to an early 44-22 lead over the challenger. The Independence Party candidate snagged 7% of the vote. I suppose that the goal there was to show Paulsen under 50%, but that impact is muted somewhat by showing Meffert under 25%, one would think.
OK-01/OK-02/OK-05: Voters pick House nominees
Three of the Sooner State's five Congressional districts headed to the polls today to pick their nominees for the Fall. In OK-01, incumbent John Sullivan was forced to battle with five Republican challengers. Sullivan won with a less-than-impressive 63% of the vote. He is secure for November, however, as only a Libertarian challenger awaits in the Fall. In OK-02, Democratic state legislator Jim Wilson made a late decision to primary ConservaDem Dan Boren. Perhaps as a result of his late start, he came up well short against Boren, who drew 76% of the vote. Meanwhile, we will have to wait four weeks for Boren's Republican challenger, as the multi-candidate GOP field resulted in a runoff election. A runoff is also in order in OK-05, where Mary Fallin left to run for Governor.
TN-09: Herenton plays race card (again), but CBC doesn't bite
It would have been very difficult to run a more repugnant campaign than the one Nikki Tinker threw at Steve Cohen two years ago. But, quite clearly, former Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton is doing his damnedest. Herenton is invoking race repeatedly in his battle with Cohen, one of a small handful of white Congressmen representing majority-black districts. He referred to voters needing to "come off of that Cohen plantation." He also repeated, for about the tenth time, the necessity for Tennessee to have "just one" black member of Congress. One prominent group that isn't buying Herenton's schtick is the Congressional Black Caucus. The group endorsed Cohen yesterday. This is a departure for the caucus, which offered financial assistance to Tinker in her bid against Cohen in 2008.
WI-03: GOP internal poll keeps Dem Kind in lead, but modestly
Unlike the eye-popping Illinois internal poll, an internal poll out of Wisconsin gives the Republican challenger respectable numbers, but keeps a longtime Democratic incumbent out in front of the field. The poll shows seventh-term Democratic incumbent Ron Kind leading with 44% of the vote, ahead of Republican Dan Kapanke (38%) and Libertarian Michaek Krsiean (6%). Interesting dichotomy from the poll--the poll has Barack Obama at a middling 48% approval rating, but has a nine-point generic lead for a GOP candidate.
RACE FOR THE HOUSE: The DCCC ad blitz (wave #1) is revealed
The guys over at Swing State Project has the complete list of 41 districts that the DCCC have reserved air time for this Fall. SSP has helpfully put the districts in a sortable table, with designations of the margin of victory in the House in 2008, as well as Barack Obama's percentages in each district. Two caveats--this is the first wave, and not an exhaustive list. I'd expect the Democrats to also play some offense, and I'd expect to see some other districts get some attention. Furthermore, reserving time doesn't mean said time will be used. If Raul Labrador continues to lag behind Walt Minnick, for example, that cash in ID-01 can be redirected elsewhere.
FL-Gov: McCollum down six...in his own internal polling
Just like with Arkansas Democratic Sen. Blanche Lincoln last week, let's use the latest poll release by Florida gubernatorial candidate Bill McCollum to review a simple rule--it is rarely a good thing for a candidate to release an internal poll that shows said candidate getting beat. Yet that is exactly what McCollum has done--he released a poll by McLaughlin and Associates showing him trailing bazillionaire Rick Scott by a 37-31 margin. Apparently, McCollum felt the need to sell two memes: 1) there are a ton of undecideds left in the race and 2) he is not down by as much as some folks might fear.
MD-Gov: Public poll gives Dem incumbent slight lead in rematch
In Maryland, the rematch of the 2006 battle between current Democratic Governor Martin O'Malley and former Republican Governor Robert Ehrlich is pretty damned close to a coin flip, according to a local pollster. The poll, by Gonzales Research, has the Democrat O'Malley up three points (45-42) over Ehrlich. President Obama's approval ratings have slid even in blue Maryland--the Gonzales poll had the President at a 51% approval rating.
MI-Gov: Is Bouchard the sleeper candidate on the GOP side?
Virtually all of the attention in Michigan is on the triumvirate of Mike Cox, Peter Hoekstra, and Rick Snyder, but Hotline On Call's Dan Roem is betting on a longshot in that primary. He is betting on Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard. Roem's rationales are solid: not only does Bouchard have more cash to blow in the final week of the campaign than anyone else in the field, he has been courting the uber-activist (some might say "batshit crazy") vote, with the endorsements of luminaries such as Ted Nugent, Joe Arpaio, and
Samuel Joe the Plumber.
In other Michigan gov news, Attorney General Mike Cox is fending off a new allegation, and a salacious one, at that. An eyewitness, who claimed he worked security at a long-rumored wild party thrown by Kwame Kilpatrick in 2002 in Manoogian Mansion, is now alleging that not only was Mike Cox a guest at the party, he was the recipient of a lap dance from one of the cadre of exotic dancers hired to work to the party. Cox, for his part, vehemently denies the allegation, and it is worth noting that the accuser in question does have three criminal convictions on his record over the past 14 years.
MN-Gov: Tom Emmer is evidently not a smart man
This has to be one of the clubhouse leaders in the contest for most absurd campaign statements of the 2010 cycle. Trying to appeal to a crowd of veterans at a campaign stop, GOP nominee Tom Emmer called for a Minnesota GI Bill which would provide higher education assistance to the families of fallen soldiers. Strike one: he was calling for a piece of legislation that has already been law for three years. Strike two: Emmer voted against it in the state legislature. Emmer memorably attributed the flub to "bad staff work".
OK-Gov: It's Fallin vs. ????? in November
As polls prior to today's primary essentially predicted, Congresswoman Mary Fallin cruised to a reasonably easy victory on the GOP side. Fallin easily outpaced state legislator Randy Brogdon (57-37). The real drama, however, is on the Democratic side, where state Lt. Governor Jari Askins is leading narrowly in an upset over Attorney General Drew Edmondson. With nearly 90% of the vote tabulated, Askins is up by a pair of points (51-49) over Edmondson, but roughly half of the precincts in Edmondson's stronghold of Tulsa County are still outstanding.
TX-Gov: Perry hemmorhaging support from border sheriffs
Interesting catch this morning from the Houston Chronicle, which noted that Democrat Bill White has snagged a number of county sheriffs from along the Texas-Mexican border. In 2006, Perry swept the endorsements of the border sheriffs. This time around, White looks to have claimed support from the majority of sheriffs. The only dispute, at this point, appears to be whether it is eight or nine of the 15 sheriffs along the border. At issue, as would be expected, appears to be law enforcement funding.
Pretty quiet day for the House of Ras. They look at the all-important U.S. Senate race in Alabama (while holding onto the one result, the gubernatorial race, that we might actually care about). They also look at the Democratic U.S. Senate primary in Arizona, and they give the GOP continued high marks in Colorado at the Senate level (which strains belief a bit, given their recent troubles).
AL-Sen: Sen. Richard Shelby (R) 59%, William Barnes (D) 29%
AZ-Sen (D): Rodney Glassman 15%, Cathy Eden 11%, Randy Parraz 10%, John Dougherty 7%
CO-Sen: Jane Norton (R) 48%, Sen. Michael Bennet (D) 39%
CO-Sen: Jane Norton (R) 44%, Andrew Romanoff (D) 40%
CO-Sen: Ken Buck (R) 48%, Sen. Michael Bennet (D) 42%
CO-Sen: Ken Buck (R) 48%, Andrew Romanoff (D) 42%
OR-Gov: Chris Dudley (R) 47%, John Kitzhaber (D) 44%