• OH-03: Brian Hester at Plunderbund provides some helpful background on that seemingly inexplicable appointment Jennifer Brunner received from Republican Gov. John Kasich earlier this week — and utterly rips into her while he's at it. Brunner, you'll recall, ran in the Democratic Senate primary last year, losing to Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher. More recently, her name has been bandied about as a possible candidate in the redrawn 3rd CD, based in Columbus. Given her apparent interest in staying active in Democratic politics, the Kasich hook-up seemed weird, to say the least.
But it turns out that earlier this year, Brunner — who had always cast herself as a progressive outsider firebrand — seems to have undergone a bizarre conversion. This quote absolutely disgusted me:
“Not everyone agrees with those changes, but he’s making an effort. You can tell that he cares.” […] Kasich is “dedicated to reforming Ohio,” Brunner said.
Does that not make you throw up in your mouth? "Dedicated to reforming Ohio?" More like destroying every progressive hope and dream. And Brunner's defense of Kasich didn't stop there. As Hester details, she also took to Facebook to suck up to the governor, after her supporters called her out. So it's hard not to see a link between Brunner's grotesque ass-kissing and her subsequent gift from Kasich. (Hester, by the way, was an early backer of Brunner.) This is just all so vile. And I'm guessing this is enough to turn most Democrats off to a possible Brunner run in OH-03 entirely.
• FL-Sen: Connie Mack is a freakazoid. Earlier this year, the Republican congressman was widely expected to announce a run for Senate but then changed his mind at the last second. As Republican unhappiness with their crop of candidates grew over the summer, though, Mack was approached once more and reiterated that he wouldn't run. Now, this:
He sounded a slightly different note, however, in an interview with the Tribune editorial board Monday.
"I don't have any intention to run for the Senate," he said, but added, "I'm looking at all the candidates just like everyone else and looking for one to distinguish himself … to stand out. I would have thought by now that one would."
Asked whether he'd reconsider if that doesn't change, he responded, "My intentions right now are to remain where I am." But when a questioner suggested he wasn't ruling out the idea, he responded, "I'll leave that up to your interpretation."
Seriously, what the…? Anyhow, the same piece also reports that Republicans are trying to recruit two other men: former state Senate President Tom Lee and former St. Petersburg mayor Rick Baker. Neither has ruled out a run.
• HI-Sen: I'm still trying to figure out how the hell conservaDem Ed Case plans to win the primary. I bring this head-scratcher up yet again because the Hawaii Government Employees Association just announced it's supporting Rep. Mazie Hirono, which just adds to her already-considerable pile of endorsements from serious establishment organizations. (The HGEA is described as "the state's largest public-sector labor union.") The last line of the writeup amuses me: "Case has said he is comfortable taking his campaign message directly to rank-and-file union members." That's one of those lines like, "Our supporters don't care how much money we raise" and "the only poll which matters is the one on election day." You know, loser-talk.
• WA-Sen: Heh. GOP state Sen. Michael Baumgartner asked his Twitter followers yesterday what they thought of him possibly running for Senate. PubliCola took notice and saw that he only got two bites: one re-tweet and one person saying it would be her "dream come true." What's actually even funnier about this is that the latter account is clearly satirical. (Sample tweet: "Did you know our school students are not allowed to say the PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE unless they say it in an ironic fashion!?!?") Ouch.
• WI-Sen: Ordinarily I wouldn't bother saying anything when a list of state senators endorses a US Senate candidate, but I was amused to see this list of Republican legislators backing Tommy Thompson, mostly on account of the references to "former senator Randy Hopper and former senator Dan Kapanke."
• MI-Gov: Efforts to recall GOP Gov. Rick Snyder have come up short. In the end, organizers were only able to collection about 500,000 signatures, half of the 1.1 million they needed to put Snyder's name on the ballot for a recall election.
• WV-Gov: Sen. Joe Manchin has previously recorded phone calls for Dem Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin; now he's appearing with his successor in a final-stretch TV ad. Remember, election day is Tuesday, Oct. 4.
• KS-04: I don't think this would be newsworthy with just about any other member of Congress, but perhaps Gov. Sam Brownback's endorsement of fellow Republican Rep. Mike Pompeo may help stave off a primary. I'm still waiting to hear what 2010 candidate Wink Hartman's gonna do, though.
• NY-09: We previously mentioned that Democratic Assemblyman Rory Lancman started going after newly-elected GOP Rep. Bob Turner the moment he took office; now, Colin Campbell flags an unusually candid tidbit Lancman offered on a recent radio show:
Between now and when the lines are being drawn, nobody knows what could happen and at the end of the day nobody knows who is going to be drawing those lines.
But it is extremely important to me that my Congress Member represent my values on Israel and on many, many other issues. You can be certain that I’ll be doing everything I can to make sure that my Congressman does so. Whether or not that’s me, I guess time will tell.
But if I felt I had to be the person who had to make that race, I wouldn’t be shy or reluctant to do it.
I almost hope this district survives just so that Lancman can pummel the hell out of Turner.
• OR-01: At yesterday's Democratic debate hosted by the AFL-CIO, all three candidates were asked about their positions on trade. Jeff Mapes at The Oregonian has a good writeup, and Kari Chisholm at Blue Oregon pulls out the key parts. Suzanne Bonamici went very wobbly:
Bonamici refused to take a stand on the proposed trade agreements at a forum held during the labor federation's annual convention in Eugene. [...]
"I'm not telling the unions I'll oppose the trade agreements and I'm not telling Nike that I'll support them, either...I know how critically important they are to the businesses in the district and I know what a concern they are to the unions, so I'm very carefully weighing the policy. Obviously, I'll have a position on that at some point."
By contrast, both Brad Avakian and Brad Witt announced their firm support for labor's views on trade. Avakian:
Avakian told the AFL-CIO that the "people of Northwest Oregon really deserve to know where every candidate on this stage stands on this important issue" and said his opposition to the trade pacts was clear.
"I say no to any trade agreement that is going to take a job away from an American worker and ship it overseas," Avakian said.
"You can trust that I will uphold organized labor's position on fair trade because I have lived and breathed fair trade for 30 years," he said.
• TX-30: The always-excellent Charles Kuffner adds one more race to the list of CBC members receiving bona fide challenges this cycle. State Rep. Barbara Mallory Caraway filed paperwork with the FEC a couple of weeks ago to take on Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson. Says Kuff (via email):
I don't know much about Caraway's legislative record, but she made news in a not-good way a few months ago. As for EBJ, she's had some ethical issues to deal with — see here. The Dallas Morning News endorsed her opponent as a result of that in 2010, then rescinded it after the dude made some truly wackjob statements about President Obama. Point being, this may be one to watch.
• WI-02: EMILY's List just added state Rep. Kelda Roys to their "on the list" list — a step below their full endorsement level. As some commenters have noted, it'll be interesting to see how the Democratic primary plays out between Roys getting the backing of women's groups and fellow state Rep. Mark Pocan securing a lot of support from GLBT organizations.
• Special Elections: A quick update on Tuesday night's action from Johnny L-T:
South Carolina HD-100: As expected, this was a Republican hold; Edward Southard defeated Tonia Aiken-Taylor by a 60-40 margin.
• WI Sup. Ct.: Wisconsin's Government Accountability Board just concluded its investigation into Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus's actions on the night of the infamous April Supreme Court election and found that she violated state law by failing to post precinct-level returns — but also concluded that her actions were not willful and therefore did not rise to the level of criminal misconduct. They've basically ordered her not to fuck up the February primary, but that's kind of like telling someone to sleep faster: how can an incompetent not be incompetent?
• Arizona: A group in Arizona is trying to push a ballot initiative that would switch the state to the kind of "top-two" primary system used in California and Washington. Organizers are trying to get the measure on the ballot for Nov. 2012 and need about a quarter million signatures to do so. All I can say is that I hate top-two. Among other serious flaws, it pretty much eliminates the possibility of bouncing an incumbent via a primary in all but the safest districts.
• Indiana: A federal judge just ruled that Indiana's law prohibiting out-of-state robocalls (which had been zealously enforced by the state AG) is in fact trumped by a more lenient federal law. (Lawyers call this doctrine "pre-emption.") The suit was brought by a right-wing group called Patriotic Veterans, which is in the practice of making your standard support-this-oppose-that type of robocalls (mostly opposing "Obamacare," according to their website). But the ruling could have broader implications: namely, it might open the door for robopollsters to start surveying Indiana again.
• Pennsylvania: National Popular Vote, the organization pushing state-level legislation to award electoral votes to candidate who gets the most votes nationwide, just launched a ten-day advertising campaign consisting of print and radio ads in Pennsylvania. The effort is, of course, aimed at pushing back against the (now-foundering) GOP plan to distribute the state's electoral votes by congressional district. No word on the size of the buy.
• MS Redistricting: The Mississippi Republican Party has gone to court asking federal judges to draw a new congressional map, saying that they don't think the legislature will be able to finish the task in time. The legislature doesn't reconvene until Jan. 3, and the candidate filing deadline is on Jan 13. I'm a little surprised to see the GOP do this, since Republicans have been fervently hoping to take control of the state House this November, something they have an excellent chance of doing. That would give them the trifecta and the ability to draft whatever map they please. (And they could just push the filing deadline later.) Then again, there's not much upside for them: They control three of the state's congressional seats and can't really touch the fourth, since it's a majority-minority district protected by the VRA. A special session is possible, but Gov. Haley Barbour says he'll only call one if an agreement is reached in advance.
• UT Redistricting: The legislature's redistricting committee finally settled on a single map (they'd previously whittled down their list to six). Needless to say, it's a "pizza slice" map — and it screws Democrats hard. You can check out the plan here.