• MA-Sen: Rep. Mike Capuano, who ran in the special election in 2009 and had flirted with a second bid this year, announced late last week that he will not, in the end, join the Democratic Senate field. Meanwhile, Elizabeth Warren engaged in her first bit of public campaigning yesterday, headlining a big union Labor Day breakfast hosted by the Greater Boston Labor Council.
• MI-Sen: Is Pete Hoekstra tapped out on Michigan endorsements? Or, put another way, do Republican primary voters in the Wolverine State care about support from guys like Steve King (Iowa), Pat Toomey (Pennsylvania), and John Kasich (the right honorable d-bag of Ohio)? If they do, then Hoekstra is golden!
• PA-Sen: Veteran Republican Rep. Tim Murphy says he will not challenge Sen. Bob Casey for Senate next year. Murphy's name had long been on a list of GOP congressmen who hadn't formally ruled out a run but never seemed likely to actually engage. I think there are probably one or two more guys we're still waiting to hear from (like Charlie Dent and Jim Gerlach), but I seriously doubt their decisions will be different from Murphy's.
• LA-Gov: Democratic state Sen. Rob Marionneaux, the only potential candidate of any standing, says he won't challenge Gov. Bobby Jindal this fall. This comes on the heels of a Louisiana state Republican Party poll (taken by Southern Media and Opinion Research) showing Gov. Bobby Jindal taking 59% in a hypothetical all-party jungle primary, to Marionneaux's 8%. (Teacher Tara Hollis, the only announced Democrat, is at 6%.) The filing period runs from Sept. 6-8, but it seems doubtful that we'll land anyone of note.
• CA-30: In response to Howard Berman's recent all-star endorsement parade (Jerry Brown, Dianne Feinstein, etc.), Brad Sherman shot back with a "statement of support" from none other than Bill Clinton. While not quite an endorsement, Sherman insists that the Big Dog "provided the quote this summer 'well aware of the redistricting possibilities.'"
• CA-44: Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has endorsed Janice Hahn in the new 44th, where she faces two other Democrats: fellow Rep. Laura Richardson and state Sen. Isadore Hall. Hahn also received the backing of Jim Dear, the mayor of Carson, which her press release describes as one of the largest cities in the district.
• FL-22: Erm, so, am I wrong to think that these Lois Frankel quotes don't exactly make her sound so great as a candidate? Frankel, you'll recall, is the former West Palm Beach Mayor and one of two Democrats running for the honor of taking on the Great Lunatic Hope, Allen West (the other is CPA Patrick Murphy — aka "no not that" Patrick Murphy). Anyhow, this is what I'm talking about:
Since joining the race, Frankel has refused to say whether she would have supported “Obamacare” telling WFLX when asked in an interview, “I can’t answer that question right now because as a Congresswoman you have to take the people’s pulse.” She also demurred when given the chance to offer support for the stimulus bill the President pushed through Congress telling WPTV television viewers, “there were a number of stimulus bills… instead of looking back look forward.”
And perhaps most frustrating to anti-war Democrats was her interview with liberal south Florida radio host Nicole Sandler where she refused to say whether we should withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan or whether she supported US involvement in Libya telling the host, “I have the luxury of not having to weigh in right now” and “the world is so complicated and so chaotic… it’s hard to keep up each day with various rioting revolutions throughout the region.”
• IL-02: This is seriously surprising (to me, at least): Former one-term Rep. Debbie Halvorson, who served in the old 11th CD, has filed paperwork with the FEC to explore a run in the new 2nd District, which is currently inhabited by Jesse Jackson, Jr. Thanks to redistricting, which sent Jackson's district flying far out into the Chicago suburbs, Halvorson's home town of Crete is now taken in by IL-02. If she gets in, that would set up an extremely unlikely clash in the primary: The 2nd CD has a voting-age population that is 54% black (PDF), which means the Democratic electorate is only likely to be even more heavily African-American. That wouldn't seem to bode well for Halvorson's chances, but she's already busy dinging JJJ, saying "He lives in D.C.. He doesn’t come home on weekends. His kids go to school in D.C."
• IL-14: No surprise, but Rep. Randy Hultgren confirmed he'll seek re-election in the new 14th CD. The real question is whether fellow Republican Rep. Joe Walsh decides to make a go of it there as well. Hultgren would appear to have a small edge, since about 40% of the old 14th is in the new 14th, while only about 30% of the old 8th got moved into the new 14th, according to our population distribution analysis at Daily Kos Elections.
• NV-02: FEC reports were due late last week in the Nevada special election, and they show Democrat Kate Marshall outraising Republican Mark Amodei. Marshall took in $449K and has $187K on hand, while Amodei $398K and has $172K left. However, Marshall has been absolutely swamped by outside spending, $850,000 to nuthin'. The Hotline also notes that as of Thursday, "Republican registered voters had a 7,600 voter turnout edge" in early voting. They also link to Mark Amodei's newest ad, which is not brilliant but decently clever, pairing out-of-context platitudes by Marshall with identical phrases uttered by unpopular (in NV-02) national Democrats.
• NY-09: In response to a Bob Turner internal showing the race tied, the DCCC put out a poll that has David Weprin ahead by a 47-39 margin. Turner has a 40-26 favorability rating while Weprin is at 35-24. The poll (from Global Strategy Group) was in the field for two days (8/30-31), overlapping with the one-day Turner poll, and had a sample size of 400.
• NY-19: As we saw last week, state Sen. Greg Ball is busy ripping into fellow Republican Rep. Nan Hayworth over her insistence that budget cuts accompany disaster aid, even for her hard-hit district. Ball, as I mentioned, briefly ran for the 19th CD seat in 2009 but dropped out about a month after Hayworth got into the race. I had to wonder if his attacks on his one-time opponent presaged a primary challenge, so I asked a Ball staffer if the senator was considering another run for Congress. Ball's chief of staff Jim Coleman didn't rule it out, saying only: "We're just focused on turning on power and helping our citizens with this disaster." PolitickerNY's David Freedlander adds: "Rumors have been flying in local political circles there that Ball will mount another run, but he recently told The Politicker that he has not even thought about running for Congress."
• TX-23: State Rep. Pete Gallego announced late last week that he'd enter the Democratic field in the race to unseat first-term GOP Rep. Quico Canseco. Gallego joins ex-Rep. Ciro Rodriguez, the man Canseco beat last year to win the seat, and John Bustamante, a San Antonio attorney whose father Albert Bustamante represented TX-23 from 1985 to 1993, before losing to Republican Henry Bonilla and then winding up in jail on bribery charges. (The younger Bustamante actually entered the race last month.) Another local lawyer, Manuel Pelaez, dropped out earlier this week, even though he'd only been in the contest since August.
• TX-27: Nueces County Democratic Party Chairwoman Rose Meza Harrison says she will challenge GOP freshman Blake Farenthold, which I believe makes her the first candidate to do so. Nueces County (pop. 340K) is home to Corpus Christi and anchors the southern end of the re-drawn 27th CD.
• CA Sup. Ct.: Good (if expected) news: Goodwin Liu, nominated by Gov. Jerry Brown to fill an unexpected vacancy last month, was confirmed as the newest member of the California Supreme Court. Unfortunately, he'll face a retention election soon; my understanding is that he'll do so at the next general election (i.e., Nov. 2012), though the linked article says Liu wouldn't be on the ballot until the next gubernatorial race (which wouldn't be until 2014).
• NH GOP: After all that lunacy, in which New Hampshire's insurgent teabagger Republican chair Jack Kimball said the RGA offered his state party $100,000 if he'd step down… well, Kimball stepped down. No word on whether a check is in the mail.
• NY Election Law: Whoa. Did you know that the excerpt below is an actual New York state statute?
§ 6201.2 Use of Public Opinion Polls
No candidate, political party or committee shall attempt to promote the success or defeat of a candidate by directly or indirectly disclosing or causing to be disclosed the results of a poll relating to a candidate for such an office or position, unless within 48 hours after such disclosure, they provide the following information concerning the poll to the board or officer with whom statements or copies of statements of campaign receipts and expenditures are required to be filed by the candidate to whom such poll relates:
a. The name of the person, party or organization that contracted for or who commissioned the poll and/or paid for it.
b. The name and address of the organization that conducted the poll.
c. The numerical size of the total poll sample, the geographic area covered by the poll and any special characteristics of the population included in the poll sample.
d. The exact wording of the questions asked in the poll and the sequence of such questions.
e. The method of polling–whether by personal interview, telephone, mail or other.
f. The time period during which the poll was conducted.
g. The number of persons in the poll sample: the number contacted who responded to each specific poll question; the number of persons contacted who did not so respond.
j. The results of the poll.
I'm very skeptical that this law is even constitutional under the First Amendment, but I'm even more skeptical that anyone has ever bothered complying with it. I mean, do you think there's a musty archive filled with polling questionnaires sitting in some must Board of Elections sub-basement up in Albany? It would be a polling geek's dream come true, but surely it can't exist, right?
• WATN?: Well, this is just depressing. If you want to read about what Howard Dean's been up to since his term as DNC chair ended, click the link. You won't be thrilled.
• ME Redistricting: While Maine formally requires a two-thirds majority to pass a congressional redistricting plan, that rule is found in statutory law, not the state constitution. That means the Republicans, who control the legislature, can try to bypass it — something they've begun threatening to do. I guess you have to file this under the "Good for the Goose" Dept., since apparently Democrats have been known to find their way around the supermajority requirement in other situations in the past, back when they were in the majority. While Senate Majority Leader Jonathan Courtney claims he doesn't think this will happen, I'd actually be somewhat surprised if it didn't. Why wouldn't the GOP use this power if it could?
• UT Redistricting: GOP Gov. Gary Herbert just called a legislative special session to handle redistricting for October 3. The session is expected to last "several days," and amusingly (for Utah), lawmakers are hoping they can "finish before sundown Friday (Yom Kippur)."