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Rasmussen goes on a polling binge (and, surprisingly, they even have a Democrat in the lead one time), a potentially dangerous special election pops up in paradise, and there's at least one race where Republicans are having a devil of a time recruiting. It's not a busy night for the Wrap, but there are some jewels to mine here....

IL-Sen: Rasmussen Has A Democrat Leading (No...Really!)
Rasmussen has been on a Senate polling tear as of late, with a bevy of polls this week forecasting Senatorial doom for the Democrats. In today's poll out of the Land of Lincoln, however, Rasmussen actually puts a Democrat in the lead. The Democrat in question is Alexi Giannoulias, who holds a three-point edge (42-39) over Republican Congressman Mark Kirk. Kirk, however, has narrow leads over the other two leading Democrats in the field: Cheryle Jackson (42-39) and David Hoffman (42-39). Interestingly, Rasmussen did not poll primaries, even though the Illinois primary is now just over seven weeks away.

CO-Sen: Rasmussen Returns To Form In Square State Poll
Those who think Rasmussen might be getting soft by putting a Democrat in the lead in Illinois can rest easy: in the state of Colorado, the Democratic incumbent trails the GOP challenger by a solid margin. Michael Bennet is down nine points to Republican Jane Norton (46-37), and also trails unknown Republicans Ken Buck and Tom Wiens, according to the Ras. Andrew Romanoff is also polled, and also trails the three Republicans by similar margins.

NV-Sen: Reid Trails As Well, According to Rasmussen
The bad news for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid: in the latest poll from Rasmussen, he still trails all three leading Republicans. The good news? At least this poll has him within striking distance. Reid trails both GOP leading contenders, Sue Lowden and Danny Tarkanian, by six points (49-43). While nothing to write home about, it is better than most polls, which have shown him trailing by close to double digits.


  • HI-01/HI-Gov: In what could prove to be a thorny situation for the DCCC, longtime Democratic Congressman Neal Abercrombie announced his resignation from the House today. Unlike some recent retirements, this was not a case of a candidate staring down the barrel of tough electoral circumstances. Abercrombie was already retiring at the end of this term, after making the decision to run for Governor of Hawaii in 2010. His resignation was almost certainly prompted by his need to be in-state to campaign, rather than making the eleven-hour one way flight between Honolulu and Washington DC.

    The complicating factor for Democrats is that, unless the laws on special elections have changed since 2003, special Congressional elections are conducted in an all-party election. Where this could bite the Democrats is in the fact that there are two legitimate Democratic candidates (Colleen Hanabusa and Ed Case) in the field, but only one legitimate Republican (Honolulu City Councilman Charles Djou). Therefore, Djou could conceivably win the election with less than 40% of the vote, because the Democratic vote is split two ways.

  • RI-Gov: Well, at least in one state the TradMed will not be able to write "GOP Smells Blood In The Water" stories. Rhode Island Republicans lost their only active candidate for Governor today, when businessman Rory Smith dropped his bid for Governor, laudably citing his own inexperience as a reason to forgo a bid. Republicans do have a quasi-candidate in the field, as former Republican U.S. Senator Lincoln Chafee (who is certainly well to the left of national Republicans) is in the race as an Independent.
  • AR-Sen: Obviously, Republicans do smell blood in the water with Arkansas Senator Blanche Lincoln. The eighth Republican to enter the race jumped in today, in the person of former Arkansas Farm Bureau President Stanley Reed. Reed joins seven other Republicans in a bid to defeat Lincoln, whose antics on health care reform might also cause her headaches with the Democratic base in the state.
  • GA-12: Conservative Democratic incumbent John Barrow is going to get primaried from the left for the second cycle in a row. Regina Thomas, a state senator, announced her second bid for Congress today. Barrow annihilated Thomas in their 2008 meeting, but there is substantially more political anger out there now than there was two years ago, and Thomas might be able to tap that in her bid.
  • ID-01: One other conservative Dem is not getting primaried, at least not yet. CQ reports that Larry Grant, who impressed many with his competitive challenge of then-incumbent Republican Bill Sali in 2006, will not file a primary challenge to Democratic freshman Walt Minnick. Minnick has been in the top five most conservative Democrats in the House in this session.
  • ID-Gov: Hard to believe that we have two Idaho political stories in the Friday Wrap, but here we are: Democrats have recruited a challenger for incumbent Republican Governor Butch Otter. His name is Keith Allred, and he is a former Harvard professor who now works a an economic consultant.
  • FL-St Sen: Rarely does recruiting news in state legislative elections land on the Wrap's radar, but this one might be worth it. There are whispers that the Democrats are trying to recruit former Tampa Bay Bucs linebacker extraordinaire Derrick Brooks to run in the state's 12th Senate district. Former NFL baller Jay Reimersma is already in the 2010 political picture, running for Congress in Michigan's 2nd Congressional District.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Fri Dec 11, 2009 at 07:36 PM PST.

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