Another in a fairly busy series of days in the world of electoral politics. The Ras-a-Palooza continues, but other pollsters come in from the cold, as well. Also, some campaigns start while others come to a halt. All this can be found in the Thursday edition of the Wrap....
CT-Sen: Another Pollster Confirms the Blumenthal Landslide
The good folks at Quinnipiac launch into 2010 polling in their own backyard of the northeastern US, by polling the Connecticut Senate race. Their verdict? A Richard Blumenthal-inspired Democratic landslide. Blumenthal, sailing along with an almost absurd 74/13 favorability spread, sits at over 60% against all three prospective Republican foes. Blumenthal's tightest race is a 35-point rout over Rob Simmons (62-27), with Linda McMahon and Peter Schiff. In the primaries, there is one uber-rout and one reasonably competitive contest. As you would expect, the rout is on the Democratic side, where Blumenthal chalks up a little 82-4 lead over Merrick Alpert. On the GOP side, it is a lead for former Congressman Rob Simmons, but not a big one: he has a ten-point lead over WWE exec Linda McMahon (37-27), with Paulite idol Peter Schiff well behind at 4%.
NV-Sen: Different Pollster, Same Results for Senator Reid
After a less-than-savory set of polls from both Mason Dixon and Rasmussen, the third poll is most assuredly not the charm for Democratic Senator Harry Reid in his home state of Nevada. PPP polls the state, and finds the Majority Leader down by solid margins to either Republican Sue Lowden (51-41) or Danny Tarkanian (50-42). Even more dispiriting to Democrats would be the fact that there seems to be the absence of the "Blumenthal Effect" in Nevada. Even when PPP substituted either Congresswoman Shelley Berkley or Secretary of State Ross Miller for Reid, the GOP still held leads there, with Berkley managing only to shave a couple of points off Lowden's lead. The only Democrat in the state that might salvage the seat is Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman, who leads Lowden by a pair (42-40) and manages a 41-41 deadlock with Tarkanian. The bad news, of course, is that Goodman seems considerably more likely to run for Governor than the Senate, and is unlikely to even do that as a Democrat (he is likely to run as an Independent).
OH-Gov/OH-Sen: Stop The Presses--Ras is Bullish on the GOP
Today's Rasmussen tour of America stops in the Buckeye State, where the GOP-friendly pollster has been pretty high on the Republican ticket in Ohio. On the Senate side, though, Rasmussen catches an interesting tidbit: Ras actually finds Democratic Sec. of State Jennifer Brunner closer to likely GOP nominee Rob Portman than the long-believed Dem favorite, Lt. Governor Lee Fisher. Rasmussen has Portman up three on Brunner (43-40), but has Portman leading Fisher by seven points (44-37). The last time Ras hit up Ohio, they had Portman leading Fisher by two, and Brunner by seven. On the gubernatorial side, Rasmussen sees peril for incumbent Democratic Governor Ted Strickland, though he actually does marginally better than he did in a December Rasmussen survey. Whereas Strickland trailed by nine points a month ago, he now trails former GOP Congressman John Kasich by seven points (47-40).
NH-Gov: Rasmussen Sees One Democrat With Double Digit Edge
Yesterday, I wondered aloud why Rasmussen polled the Senate race, but only released approval numbers for Democratic Governor John Lynch, who is also up for re-election in 2010. Well, it turns out they were just in the midst of a dramatic pause, as they released their gubernatorial numbers today. The verdict? John Lynch is not in the stratosphere he occupied the past few cycles (where he was re-elected with more than 70% of the vote), but he is still in reasonably solid shape. Against little-known opponents Jack Kimball (51-32) and Karen Testerman (53-30), Lynch has double-digit advantages.
IN OTHER NEWS....
- NY-Sen: It is hard to know for sure if there is anything to this, but Taegan Goddard floats an interesting theory at his site this evening. He suspects that Harold Ford Jr. is lining up a U.S. Senate run, but not necessarily a primary challenge to Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. Goddard speculates that Ford may well pull a Lieberman and run as an Independent. To be sure, Ford's dipping of his toes into the race has been sloppy, and has earned ridicule from a lot of prominent Democrats (Congressman Anthony Weiner's remarks were particularly biting). Daily Kos will be checking to see where Ford stands in a Democratic primary next week, as Research 2000 will be polling the Empire State.
- AZ-03: Yet another Republican incumbent made the decision to end his career in Congress today with the announcement that conservative Rep. John Shadegg will retire after eight terms in Congress. Shadegg, you will recall, almost hit the bricks in 2008, but rescinded his retirement after lobbying from his colleagues. Shadegg's retirement leaves an opening in a district whose dynamics are a little hard to gauge. While it is definitely GOP-leaning, it is worth noting that it was slightly closer in 2008 than 2004, despite the presence of Arizona favorite son John McCain on the ticket. There is a deep GOP bench here, to be sure, but Democrats have some options. Democrats already have a pretty strong candidate here in attorney Jon Hulburd, who has raised over three hundred thousand dollars for his bid. The Arizona Republic also hints that Phil Gordon, the mayor of Phoenix, might reconsider his 2009 decision to demur from a Congressional bid. Whomever emerges on the Democratic side is going to get some attention apparently. When the DCCC announced their list of the 26 races to watch in 2010, the Arizona 3rd was prominent on that list.
- OH-15: The NRCC can breathe a small sigh of relief in central Ohio. After GOP state auditor Mary Taylor decided to leave her post to join the ticket of John Kasich as his Lt. Governor nominee, speculation began to mount that Steve Stivers, the former GOP state legislator who was seeking a rematch with Democratic freshman Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy, would move to that race. He squelched that speculation today by announcing he will be remaining committed to his Congressional bid.
- NH-02: As has been rumored since sometime shortly after the earth cooled, Katrina Swett announced today that she will run for Congress in 2010, joining attorney Ann McLane Kuster and state legislator John DeJoie. Swett will have serious cash at her disposal, as she can transfer over three-quarters of a million dollars from an account for an aborted 2008 Senate bid. She might lack a bit in institutional support, as Kuster is working hard to corner the market on that. Yesterday, she accepted the endorsements of over 50 state legislators in the Granite State. Charlie Bass, who in a bit of trivia won this Congressional seat in 1994 by defeating Swett's husband (Dick Swett), is running on the GOP side.
- GA-04: The Atlanta metro-based Georgia 4th district has a history of competitive and brutal primaries, most of which have involved one Cynthia McKinney. Current Congressman Hank Johnson is one the precipice of a primary of his own, but this one is just bizarre: Vernon Jones. Jones is the "Bush Democrat" who served as the CEO of DeKalb County a few years back. He was last seen getting beaten in the 2008 Democratic primary for the US Senate by Jim Martin. Jones would almost certainly be challenging Johnson from the right, which would probably be lunacy in a district that went 79-21 for Obama in 2008.
- THE MONEY CHASE: There are more than a few eye-popping finance figures as we put the wrap on the Wrap for a Thursday evening. In the Illinois Senate race, Republican Mark Kirk is reporting that he raised over $ 1.8 million dollars in the final three months of the year, and that he has a shade under $ 3.2 million on hand. Meanwhile, in Iowa, the annual figures are out, and the Democratic incumbent leads his GOP challenger here, if not in recent polls. Chet Culver raised $ 2.1 million for the year, beating former Republican Governor Terry Branstad, who raised a million-and-a-half in 2009. Meanwhile, Nevada Democrat Rory Reid raised a mighty sum, topping $ 3.3 million for the year. This drawfs likely GOP nominee Brian Sandoval, who raised under a million for the year (though he only began to express interest in the race during the summer). There are also two impressive House campaign reports, as Democrat John Callahan in PA-15 ($ 380K) and Republican Rob Hurt in VA-05 ($ 293K) announced solid quarterly totals. (H/T: Reid Wilson)