Usually, the Monday edition of the Wrap is the most pedestrian one of the week. After all, how much can accumulate in one inbox after a Saturday, a Sunday, and a Monday morning?
Um...this week? That answer would be "a lot". Get ready for a chock-full Monday edition of the Wrap.
KY-Sen: Primaries Continue to Heat Up With Two Weeks to Go
There are plenty of fireworks on both sides of the aisle as we head to within a fortnight of the competitive Senate primaries in Kentucky. On the Democratic side, amid a new Rasmussen poll showing Jack Conway in better position versus the GOP than rival Dan Mongiardo (see the Ras-a-Palooza below), Conway is staying with an attack line that he clearly seems to think is working: attacking Mongiardo for benefitting personally from public service (or, as the ad puts it, "feeding at the public trough"). All the news was not good for Conway, however, as his colt (Stately Victor) ran eighth in this weekend's Kentucky Derby.
Meanwhile on the GOP side, Trey Grayson's struggles resume, as he lost a key social conservative endorsement. James Dobson, who only endorsed Grayson last week, switched to Rand Paul, saying that he had essentially been misled by national Republicans into thinking Paul was not sufficiently anti-abortion.
LA-Sen: Vitter Leading, But Under 50%, According to New GOP Poll
A rare non-Rasmussen poll in the Bayou shows that Republican incumbent Senator David Vitter still leads Democrat Charlie Melancon, but he is under the 50% threshold. The new poll, done by Southern Media and Opinion Research for a wealthy GOP donor, shows Vitter leading Melancon by a 49-31 margin. The poll also shows that President Obama's numbers in the state are pretty weak, with a 39/58 approval spread.
Vitter, however, might have committed an unforced error to start the week. The Hill reports that even as the ecosystem of his home state's shoreline is about to become an oil-saturated disaster area, Vitter is still calling on Barack Obama to move ahead with offshore oil drilling. You gotta admit: his sense of timing is spectacular.
PA-Sen: Sestak Making His Move In Dem Primary Clash?!
New numbers are out today in the Keystone State's competitive Democratic Senate primary between incumbent Arlen Specter and challenger Joe Sestak. In something of a surprise, the new poll by Muhlenberg College shows a single digit race between the incumbent and challenger. The poll, which will be the first in a series of daily tracking polls, has Specter leading Sestak by just a 48-42 margin. Interestingly, Specter had considerably higher favorabilities (51/31) than did Sestak (45/44), a sign that the anti-incumbent undertow might be a stronger force in this race than previously thought. This afternoon, Taegan Goddard reported that an internal poll for "another candidate" showed Specter up just nine on Sestak (47-38), which would seem to confirm the Muhlenberg poll.
HI-01: Djou Leads, But Is It A Temporary Victory?
In what is clearly becoming a frustrating scenario for Democrats, it is entirely plausible that Democrats will gain the majority of the vote in the special election to replace Neal Abercrombie on May 18th, and lose the election, anyway. A new poll out over the weekend from Ward Research shows Republican Charles Djou leading with 36% of the vote. The two leading Democrats in the field (Ed Case--28%, Colleen Hanabusa--22%) combine for 50% of the vote. The problem, of course, is that it is pure plurality election: the most votes wins. With that in mind, national Democrats are clearly turning up the heat on the more progressive candidate in the race, Colleen Hanabusa. The DCCC released an internal poll showing Case right behind Djou (36-34), with Hanabusa back at 20%. Furthermore, "senior WH officials" are saying that Hanabusa might want to think about standing down.
Their consternation is clear, as this would be a huge P.R. victory for the GOP, especially if it is paired with a GOP win in PA-12. However, this one would almost certainly be a temporary win for the Republicans. Djou would have to face the winner of the Democratic primary in November, and that individual will almost certainly be a favorite in the general election.
IL-08: Scratch This Race off The Target Lists!!
Wow. Staffers leave campaigns all the time, and it is often a fairly acrimonious exercise. This, however, is pretty awesome. Leading staffers for GOP Congressional nominee Joe Walsh (challenging third-term Democrat Melissa Bean) are walking, but they are making considerable noise on their way out the door.
Check out this helpful series of questions the staffers left for the press to ask:
Ask about his drivers license and insurance ( If it has ever been suspended )
Ask him about his taxes ( If he owes the IRS )
Ask him about his questionable fundraising and accounting ( If he ever bounced checks )
Ask him if he ever inflated his donations in his FEC filings to make himself appear to have more money then he actually raised.
Ask him if he ever handled a firearm in his life ( Why he was anti gun in his past races )
Ask him what his opinion is of Obama and then why he would hire an ex Obama intern to be his Press Secretary.
Ask him if he has ever been evicted from his residency.
Ask him if he has ever had any court judgements or leans against him.
Ask him where the $28,000 he loaned his campaign came from after only making $41,000 last year and $25,000 the year before.( And ask him about his taxes again )
Bean represents a swing-y district in the Chicago suburbs, though she was re-elected comfortably (61-39) in 2008 against Steve Greenberg.
OH-17: Jim Traficant Ready To Run, Picks His Home District
If Jim Traficant can gather the requisite signatures, he will be seeking his political comeback on familiar ground. The disgraced former Congressman, who spent most of the past few election cycles in prison, is planning an Independent run in the Youngstown-based 17th district, now occupied by Democrat Tim Ryan. Traficant, who is running on the idea of repealing the Income Tax, has run here as an Independent before, garnering just 15% of the vote as an Indie candidate after his legal troubles had surfaced and knocked him from the House.
PA-12: Critz Leads, According to New DCCC-Financed Poll
After a pair of independent polls showed Republican Tim Burns holding a narrow lead over Democrat Mark Critz in the special election, the DCCC's Independent Expenditure arm financed a poll, and they had Critz narrowly leading the Republican by two points (43-41).
AZ-Gov: Arpaio Finally Gets Off the Pot, Won't Run For Governor
To quote that E*Trade ad, "this is my shocked face." The blowhard sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona, Republican Joe Arpaio, bragged of his own electability while nevertheless declining to run for Governor in 2010. This decision is good news for incumbent GOP Governor Jan Brewer, who might have struggled with Arpaio but has a narrow lead over the current assemblage of GOP talent in the gubernatorial race. Indeed, a new poll out today in Arizona has Brewer out in front of the multicandidate field with just 22% of the vote, ahead of businessman Buz Mills at 13% and state treasurer Dean Martin at 10%.
NY-Gov: RGA Going All-In For Candidate Down 23 Points?
This is a strange one. Democrat-turned-Republican Steve Levy, the Suffolk County official who announced he would be seeking the GOP nomination for Governor, bragged on the radio late last week that the Republican Governor's Association is going to drop eight figures on his behalf in New York. This would seem, to say the least, a curious expenditure, given that Levy is, according to even the GOP-friendly crew at Rasmussen, getting thumped by Democratic frontrunner Andrew Cuomo (50-27). If Levy wasn't just blowing smoke, one has to wonder how much esteem base Republicans are going to hold the RGA in, considering that Levy is down by 23, and considering that Levy was a Democrat until about two months ago.
OR-Gov: Primary Polls Point to Kitzhaber-Dudley Matchup
A pair of polls have been commissioned to look at the forthcoming (two weeks away) Oregon gubernatorial primaries. On the Democratic side, a Hibbits poll shows former Governor John Kitzhaber up 50-21 over former Secretary of State Bill Bradbury. On the GOP side, a new SUSA poll has many more undecided voters, but also shows a clear leading in former NBA baller Chris Dudley (28%) with Allen Alley trailing at 13%.
PA-Gov: Onorato Pulling Away, According to New Poll
Confirming a trend we have seen on the Wrap from other pollsters, Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato is now the clear frontrunner for the Democratic nod, according to a new tracking poll launched today by Muhlenberg College. Onorato laps the field with 39% of the vote. His closest rivals, Anthony Williams and Joe Hoeffel, are far behind with just 7% of the vote. Williams launched a new ad that gunned directly for Onorato, which seems to affirm that he is the undisputed frontrunner.
UT-Gov: Dem Candidate's Ticket to Statehouse--A GOP Running Mate?
Peter Corroon, the mayor of Salt Lake County and the likely Democratic nominee for Governor, has hit upon a novel way to appeal to the deep-red tendencies of his state: he has selected a Republican for his running mate. The Republican in question is retiring state legislator Sheryl Allen, considered to be a moderate in Utah GOP circles. Corroon is probably the best candidate that Utah Dems could muster, though he is still very much an underdog against newly appointed incumbent Governor Gary Herbert.
While a smattering of the headlines from the House of Ras today are your typical Ras-worthy stuff, there are some legitimate headlines among the throng today.
For one thing, there are two clear lessons from their new poll of Kentucky today. One: Jack Conway is clearly more electable for the Democrats than is Dan Mongiardo. Two: Trey Grayson is on the ropes, big time.
For another, is it possible that one of the most invulnerable Senators in recent American history is really within striking range. Looking at the Rasmussen poll in Iowa, it appears so.
Also, time to fill in one gap from last week...The Wrap missed a Ras poll out of New York. Andrew Cuomo is still winning, for what it's worth.
IA-Gov: Terry Branstad (R) 53%, Gov. Chet Culver (D) 38%
IA-Gov: Bob Vander Platts (R) 45%, Gov. Chet Culver (D) 41%
IA-Gov: Gov. Chet Culver (D) 43%, Rod Roberts (R) 41%
IA-Sen: Sen. Charles Grassley (R) 53%, Roxanne Conlin (D) 40%
KY-Sen: Rand Paul (R) 48%, Daniel Mongiardo (D) 32%
KY-Sen: Trey Grayson (R) 45%, Daniel Mongiardo (D) 31%
KY-Sen: Rand Paul (R) 47%, Jack Conway (D) 38%
KY-Sen: Trey Grayson (R) 43%, Jack Conway (D) 38%
NY-Gov: Andrew Cuomo (D) 50%, Steve Levy (R) 27%
NY-Gov: Andrew Cuomo (D) 55%, Carl Palladino (R) 25%
NY-Gov: Andrew Cuomo (D) 56%, Rick Lazio (R) 24%