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The Senate and Gubernatorial sections of this digest were written by James L.


MT-Sen, MT-AL: Could this actually happen? Roll Call reports that Gov. Brian Schweitzer (who himself narrowly lost a Senate bid in 2000 to Conrad Burns) is refusing to rule out a primary challenge to Democratic Sen. Max Baucus in 2014, though they don't have any direct quote from him on the topic. For his part, Jon Tester says that, based on his "extensive" conversations with Schweitzer, he gets the impression that the term-limited governor has no interest in another federal race. The article also resurrects rumors that he may alternatively be interested in a run for the state's newly-open at-large House seat.

TX-Sen: Considering that it's hard to imagine anti-Ryanism buying anyone much real estate in a Republican primary, it's no surprise that, at a recent debate, four GOP candidates for Texas' open Senate seat lined up squarely behind Paul Ryan's Medicare scheme: former Solicitor General Ted Cruz, Railroad Commissioner Elizabeth Ames Jones, former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert and ex-SoS Roger Williams. The fifth candidate, state Sen. Dan Patrick, wasn't available to make his position known. I'm guessing, though, that if he did show up, he would have changed the subject to his legislative raison d'être — "a bill that would criminalize groping by airport-security personnel".

UT-Sen, UT-03: The barbs continue to fly between GOP Sen. Orrin Hatch and his potential primary foe, Rep. Jason Chaffetz. Hatch on Chaffetz: "I don’t understand him. I think he could possibly be a halfway decent congressman in the House if he would concentrate on it." Chaffetz bristled in response, and I have to think that, if he's hedging at all on whether or not to pull the trigger against Hatch, comments like these will only help to push him over the edge. For his part, Chaffetz says he'll make a decision on the race between Labor Day and the year's end.


SC-Gov: There is growing discontent with GOP Gov. Nikki Haley, who's clocking in at a 42-41 approval rating in PPP's latest poll, changed from 36-24 after her first month in office. Even with those weak numbers, she still leads a hypothetical rematch against her 2010 opponent, Democratic state Sen. Vincent Sheheen, by 48-42.

WA-Gov: SurveyUSA is out with a bit of an odd poll... instead of asking a direct head-to-head between Republican AG Rob McKenna and his potential Democratic opponents, they asked a generic D/R top line, and found that voters are more likely to vote for a Democrat over a Republican by a slight 46-45 edge. SUSA also asked if McKenna's decision to challenge "the part of the federal health care law that requires individuals to purchase health insurance" would make voters more or less likely to support McKenna in a gubernatorial election. Despite the favorable wording of that question, 40% of voters say his actions make them less likely to support him, while 36% respond favorably.


CO-03: More family-related ethical troubles for Rep. Scott Tipton. The freshman GOPer spent $7K on vendors for electronic town hall services — and those vendors in turn used a company called Broadnet to actually provide the necessary technology. As it happens, Broadnet is owned by Tipton's nephew, one Steve Patterson. Congressional rules prohibit the hiring of family members, but using these third-party vendors as go-betweens clouds the situation somewhat. You may recall that a couple of weeks ago, Tipton apologized in writing to his House colleagues for the behavior of his daughter Elizabeth, who had sent letters to members of Congress touting tele-town hall services, and specifically noting that Tipton was her father. Elizabeth, you'll be shocked to learn, is herself an employee of Broadnet.

IL-11: Two items of note here. First, ex-Rep. Bill Foster released a poll from Global Strategy Group, showing him with a 36-6 lead over businessman John Atkinson in a hypothetical Democratic primary. Thirty-six percent might not sound like much, but according to a Daily Kos Elections analysis, only 25% of the population of Foster's old 14th CD (which he lost last year) got moved into the new 11th district.

On the GOP side, Aurora Alderman-At-Large Richard Irvin said he'd explore a run in this district. The current seat numbered as the 11th is presently held by Republican Adam Kinzinger, but he doesn't live in the new district, and in fact no current member of Congress from Illinois does.

IN-06: Former Wayne County Sheriff Matt Strittmatter (previously mentioned here) says he's dropping out of the race to succeed Rep. Mike Pence and is backing former state GOP official Luke Messer. Also in the race are teabagger fave Travis Hankins (who nearly won the Republican primary in IN-09 last year), 2010 Senate primary loser Don Bates

KY-06: No surprise: After losing super-narrowly last year to Rep. Ben Chandler, Andy Barr made some noises that suggested he was interested in a rematch. Now the Republican attorney is making it official, and helpfully, he's already said he'd vote for the Ryan plan. He's also using some interesting new math: “It will only take convincing 350 voters from the last time around to switch. Now, of course, the turnout is going to be different… but that’s the way we look at it.”

NY-09: Anthony Weiner tells the New York Post he's not resigning, and it turns out, his constituents don't want him to, either. After a couple of pretty useless city-wide polls came out (showing favorable numbers for Weiner), NY1 and Marist finally released a survey (PDF) of voters who actually live in the 9th CD. By a 56-33 margin, they want him to stay in office.

Of course, these figures may not wind up mattering either, since Weiner's seat could be headed for the barbecue when it comes to redistricting, but the NYT lists a few names of possible Democratic primary challengers: former city council members Eric Gioia and Melinda Katz; current councilman Mark Weprin, and state assemblymen Rory Lancman and David Weprin (brother of Mark).

OH-16: Dem ex-Rep. John Boccieri, in an interview with Shira Toeplitz, makes it sound like he's not interested in trying to win his old seat back (whatever form it may wind up taking after redistricting), but does say that he keeps in regular touch with Steve Israel and Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

OR-03: Open Seat Watch alert! Dem Rep. Earl Blumenauer says he won't run for mayor of Portland, but that he hasn't yet decided whether he'll seek re-election next year. In the meantime, though, he says that he'll continue to fundraise for another campaign. (JL)

Other Races:

SD Mayor: With Dem Rep. Bob Filner officially entering next year's race for San Diego mayor, SurveyUSA is out with a new poll of this non-partisan jungle primary. City Councilman Carl DeMaio leads with 22, followed by District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis at 15, with Filner at 14 and Democratic state Sen. Christine Kehoe at 12. Several other candidates are in single digits.

WI Recall: The Government Accountability Board has set two separate dates for the recall elections. All six challenges to Republicans will go ahead on July 12, while the three Democratic races will take place on July 19. If primaries are necessary, they'll happen on those dates, with generals on Aug. 9 and 16, respectively. However, the Republicans are suing to halt their recalls, making the same arguments about the initial paperwork Democratic petition-gatherers submitted to the state. It's not yet clear whether Dems will also file suit.

Meanwhile, state Rep. Jen Shilling is up with what I believe is her first ad. It doesn't mention Republican Dan Kapanke by name, but rather uses the already-classic "protect Medicare/no tax breaks for millionaires" formulation.

Grab Bag:

DCCC: Another round of robocalls from the D-Trip, this time hitting 13 GOPers on (what else?) Medicare. Click through for the full list, though one interesting name is Rep. Ben Quayle in AZ-03.

Dark Money: Dick Armey's FreedomWorks is looking to expand their arsenal by forming a Super PAC-to-be-named-later.

State Leges: Louis Jacobson of Governing Magazine has an interesting piece about what happens when state legislatures wind up evenly tied. It's apropos of the situation in Oregon, where the state House is split 50-50 and the parties just reached a big compromise on a state legislative remap.

Wisconsin: PPP files its miscellaneous report card on Wisconsin, with numbers on gay marriage (46-42 against), as well as approvals for Sens. Ron Johnson (R) and Herb Kohl (D).

Redistricting Roundup:

Maine: Immediately after hearing oral arguments in a lawsuit against a section of the Maine constitution which defers redistricting until 2013, a three-judge panel ruled the practice unconstitutional and ordered the state to draw new maps before next year's elections. The state actually sided with the plaintiffs; the defendants wound up being state Democrats, who presumably wanted the chance to take back the legislature from the GOP in 2012 before any new maps are drafted. While this ruling likely won't be a big deal for Maine's congressional map, Republicans now have the chance to do their own legislative gerrymander. UPDATE: Johnny Longtorso says the impact of the ruling is actually limited to just congressional districts, and says the Maine constitution requires a two-thirds vote on legislative remaps, so the GOP won't get much of a boost out of this decision.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Fri Jun 10, 2011 at 05:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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