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Leading Off:

OR-01: Looks like the curtain's being tugged down around the not-so-wizardly Rob Cornilles. The Republican nominee in the Oregon 1st CD special election has been touting his credentials as a businessman and "job creator" all campaign long, but new reporting indicates he's as much a fraud as he is real. From Jeff Mapes at The Oregonian:

With a marketer's flair, Cornilles repeatedly talks about how Game Face has "created 60 jobs" in Oregon. That, however, refers to the number of people who have worked at the company at one point or another. Game Face has never had more than 20 to 22 people at any one time, Cornilles acknowledges, and it's now down to four full-time employees and two part-timers.

And:

However, the firm ran afoul of the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries, which questioned the legality of Game Face's business model after three former trainees filed complaints in 2003 charging that they deserved back wages. […]

Game Face agreed to pay just over $9,000 in back wages to the trio in a settlement that ended further legal action. […]

The company's other brush with authorities came in 2007 when the Internal Revenue Service filed a tax lien of $83,284 against Game Face after it failed to pay payroll taxes for nine months.

Nigel Jaquiss at the Willamette Week has more:

But Cornilles has also made claims that he is one of the nation's top sports marketing figures. "Rob has been invited into more front offices than any person in sports," Cornilles says on his LinkedIn page.

Some sports business veterans, however, are puzzled by the claim.

"I don't know what that means," says Steve Patterson, former Blazers president and now chief operating officer for Arizona State University's athletic department. […]

Pressed by WW to substantiate his claim that he's been in more front offices than "any person in sports," Cornilles says he can't.

"Admittedly, you'd have to take my word for it," he says.

And still more:

But Oregon law requires a company to have a physical location, so Cornilles listed 19125 SW 125th Court, Tualatin, as Game Face's address.

The only catch—Game Face vacated its 6,800-square-foot office at that location in 2008 to save money.

Asked why his business registration lists an empty office, Cornilles initially denied that was the case. When showed the records, he called it "a mistake."

Carla Axtman at Blue Oregon offers her take as well. And hat-tip to SaoMagnifico for highlighting the key excerpts. Also, keep a look out for our poll of the race, to be published later today.

Senate:

HI-Sen: While Ed Case continues with his loser talk about "DC insiders," Mazie Hirono is heading to Seattle on Friday (I guess that counts as "nearby" to Hawaii) for a major fundraiser with DSCC chair Patty Murray, EMILY's List, and four members of the state's House delegation (all Democrats, of course). One person who isn't endorsing either candidate, though, is Hawaii's other representative, Colleen Hanabusa, who says "she will not take sides because she knows both candidates well," according to Roll Call. (I'm not surprised: Hanabusa and Hirono by all accounts have a pretty frosty relationship, but Case is pretty anathema to Hawaii's political establishment, and he also kept Hanabusa from winning last year's special election for the seat she later won in the fall.)

MI-Sen: Hahah! That was quick! Just over two months after hiring the notorious Dick Wadhams as his campaign manager, Clark Durant has already replaced him—with none other than Andy Anuzis, brother of Saul Anuzis, the wannabe RNC chair who pushed Durant into the race in the first place. So is Durant's campaign just turning into a way for the Anuzis clan to squeeze out some bucks? Not that Wadhams was any great shakes, given the huge black marks on his record (George Allen '06, Bob Schaffer '08), but he was at least something of a big-name get for an insurgent outsider like Durant. Oh well. I was initially high on Durant's chances of upsetting ex-Rep. Pete Hoekstra in the GOP primary, but now I'm a lot less optimistic.

NE-Sen: The National Right to Life Committee says it will oppose Dem Sen. Ben Nelson's re-election, should he choose to run again next year, even though the group has given him their support in the past. Nelson, for his part, sounds vaguely likelier to run in this new Politico interview, but he's still being coy.

NM-Sen: PPP's new New Mexico poll mostly features Democratic leads, particularly for Rep. Martin Heinrich, though GOP ex-Rep. Heather Wilson ties Auditor Hector Balderas in their head-to-head matchup. Meanwhile, Wilson has a big 55-20 lead over Lt. Gov. John Sanchez in the Republican primary. We'll bring you a full post on this survey later today.

VA-Sen: For the first time in any polling pretty much ever, there's finally some separation between the two big names seeking Virginia's open Senate seat: Democrat Tim Kaine leads Republican George Allen 47-42 in PPP's new survey. Click the link for David Jarman's full post at Daily Kos Elections, including some thoughts on why Kaine might have moved ahead and some interesting breakdowns from the crosstabs.

Gubernatorial:

ID-Gov: Republican Gov. Butch Otter, first elected in 2006 in an unexpectedly close race, says he will seek a third term in 2014. However, local Idaho political analyst Dan Popkey points out that Otter will be 72 in 2014, so he's skeptical that Otter actually means it when he says he'll seek re-election. Rather, he thinks Otter is trying to "avoid a prolonged lame-duckhood" and also raise money for his campaign account, which is currently deep in debt. He also thinks Otter feels wounded by recent accusations in the press that he's "mailing it in" and wants to repair his relationship with the media.

If Otter doesn't run, Popkey offers a number of Republican names who could replace him: Lt. Gov. Brad Little, Rep. Raul Labrador, Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna, and Attorney General Lawrence Wasden. While I have to laugh a little at Labrador, I gotta say what, no Bill Sali?

WI-Gov: Wisconsin Democrats just announced they've collected over 507,000 signatures to put Gov. Scott Walker on the ballot for a recall. The legal threshold is 540,208, but organizers want to get at least 720,000 to ensure against any challenges. The deadline for submitting petitions is not until Jan. 17, so this one almost assuredly appears to be in the bag. Excellent work! And hopefully this means good things about our state Senate recall efforts, top.

House:

FL-13: Former state Rep. Keith Fitzgerald, who is taking on third-term GOPer Vern Buchanan, got some help earlier this week from a prominent Democratic name: Former Sen. Bob Graham held a fundraiser for him in Tampa on Wednesday.

IL-10: Not exactly surprising, and I'm sure entirely un-meaningful to your average member of the public, but ex-Rep. Melissa Bean just endorsed businessman Brad Schneider in the Democratic primary in the 10th CD. More importantly, she also threw a fundraiser for him, which he probably could use after his anemic third quarter haul.

KY-04: Republican Rep. Geoff Davis just announced that he plans to retire at the end of this term—something of a surprise, given that he's just 53 and has only been in office since 2004. It's a very red seat, so not likely to produce a real opportunity for Democrats, but click the link for our full post at Daily Kos Elections, where we discuss possible successors to Davis.

MD-05: Well, okay—if you insist. Republican state House Minority Leader Anthony O'Donnell just announced a bid to challenge none other than Rep. Steny Hoyer, the number-two ranking Democrat in the House. This district went 65-34 for Obama, so really, there's just no way here.

MD-06: Businessman John Delaney is out with an internal poll of the Democratic primary (from Garin-Hart-Yang) showing him getting all of 9% of the vote… but I can understand why he released it. The nominal frontrunner, state Sen. Rob Garagiola, takes just 14%, and former Montgomery County Councilwoman Duchy Trachtenberg is also at 9. For a newcomer like Delaney, he wants to show that this race is wide-open and that even a well-established figure like Garagiola doesn't have a lock on the nomination. But I'll be curious to see if anyone releases any contradictory surveys.

NC-08: Republican perennial candidate Vernon Robinson is pretty much a joke, but this ad is apparently actually going on the air—and wow is it a nasty piece of work:

NC-11: Businessman Ethan Wingfield says he's thinking about joining the half-dozen strong GOP field that's vying to take on Dem Rep. Heath Shuler. Though he's only 26, he claims he can partially self-fund.

OH-16: This is encouraging: A new Democratic internal poll from GBA Strategies shows the nascent race between Dem Rep. Betty Sutton and GOP Rep. Jim Renacci in the 16th to be all tied at 45 apiece. The poll was apparently "released to reporters" by the DCCC, but Sabrina Eaton at the Cleveland Plain Dealer notes that Sutton is listed as a GBA client. Whoever paid for the survey held on to it for a couple of months, though, since it was taken in October—but it's worth noting that Sutton didn't announce her decision to seek re-election in the 16th until just a week ago, so presumably she (or someone else) did a bunch of polling in different districts and only decided to publish the numbers now that she's made up her mind.

PA-07: Just thought I'd get everyone's day started off wrong by showcasing andgarden's drawing of the proposed new 7th CD. Really shows you how wild a gerrymander it is when you see the district all on its own:

PA-07
PA-12: No surprise, but Dem Rep. Jason Altmire confirms that he'll seek re-election in the redrawn 12th CD (he currently represents the old 4th). So, too, will fellow Dem Rep. Mark Critz, who just rolled out a boatload of endorsements from prominent local officials, including former state AFL-CIO chief Bill George and Joyce Murtha, widow of former Rep. John Murtha, whose shoes Critz filled in a special election when Murtha passed away last year. Incidentally, Altmire's campaign has published an analysis in which they say that 66% of the new 12th is contained in the 4th, while just 27% is in the old 12th, which is Critz's current district.

RI-01: Bank president Merrill Sherman says she won't challenge freshman Rep. David Cicilline in the Democratic primary, but conservative businessman Anthony Gemma (who also ran last year) now says he's "95% sure" he will get in the race. (To give you a sense of Gemma's politics, he made this announcement while appearing on a right-wing talk radio show, something I understand he does frequently.)

TX-10: Despite not knowing what the district lines will even look like, international affairs consultant Dan Grant has decided to forge full steam ahead and file to run in the 10th CD against GOP Rep. Mike McCaul. Grant, who made an unsuccessful bid for the Democratic nomination in this district back in 2008, said late last month that he was exploring the race here.

UT-04: Dem Rep. Jim Matheson, who currently represents the old 2nd CD, has finally announced his plans: He'll seek re-election in Utah's brand-new 4th District instead. Matheson had previously ruled out running for Senate, but a gubernatorial bid was still a possibility. In any event, this move makes sense, since the 4th is actually the least-red of all of the state's House seats. Also, about a third of the district is made up of Matheson's current constituents. That's actually a smaller share than got shoveled into the redrawn 2nd CD, but like I said, the 4th is friendlier to Dems. As for who he might face next fall, several Republicans are already in the race or very close to it: State Reps. Carl Wimmer and Stephen Sandstrom, and Saratoga Springs Mayor Mia Love.

EMILY's List just endorsed four more Democratic women: ex-state Rep. Elizabeth Esty (CT-05), ex-state Sen. Tarryl Clark (MN-08), ex-Rep. Dina Titus (NV-01), and Rep. Betty Sutton (OH-16). It's a particularly good get for Sutton, who faces a tough incumbent-vs.-incumbent fight against GOP Rep. Jim Renacci. But the Esty endorsement mystifies me, because I see her as having an incredibly tough time gaining traction against State House Speaker Chris Donovan, who has shown a lot of strength so far in the primary. Indeed, Donovan just announced the backing of yet another union, the Connecticut Council of Police (an AFSCME affiliate), which represents almost 4,000 police officers.

Grab Bag:

DCCC: Not too shabby: DCCC chair Steve Israel says that by the end of the year, his organization will have paid down all $19 million in debt it accrued last cycle. (They still had about $1.3 mil on the books as of their last FEC report.) This saves the D-Trip lots of money in terms of interest payments, but also (probably more importantly) it frees them up to take on new debt next year. This is actually a good thing, for the same reason taking out a mortgage allows you to spend more on a house than you'd ever be able to if you had to pay for the whole thing in cash. But, as with a homebuyer, there's probably a limit to how much credit banks are willing to extend to the DCCC, so having a clean balance sheet likely maximizes their future borrowing ability.

WATN?: Former Rep. Tom Perriello (VA-05) has landed a job as president of the Center for American Progress's Action Fund. It's nice to see a Democratic ex-congressman wind up at a progressive place like CAP rather than some wankerish think tank like Third Way or, worse, at some unseemly lobbying shop on K Street. The question is how long-term of a gig this will be, since Perriello's name has been floated for possible statewide office, such as attorney general or governor. Those positions are next up in 2013.

Redistricting Roundup:

IL Redistricting: Quelle surprise: The three-judge panel trying the Republican suit against Illinois' new congressional map just bounced the case, saying there are no workable standards for evaluating claims of political gerrymandering, and also saying the GOP failed provide sufficient evidence that the legislature "intentionally discriminated against Latinos." Key excerpts from the decision, as well as the ruling itself, are available at the link. Republicans haven't yet decided whether to appeal; if they do, it will go directly to the Supreme Court, bypassing the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. (Why? Because that's how the VRA rolls.)

NJ Redistricting: Rutgers Law School Dean John Farmer, the tiebreaking 13th member of the state's congressional redistricting commission (and by virtue of that, its chair), says he hopes to have agreement on a new map before Christmas. However, the panel will only begin discussing plans on Monday, and they aren't legally required to finish until mid-January.

OH Redistricting: Gah. Just writing about this pisses me off. The latest Republican gerrymander of Ohio has now passed both chambers of the legislature, with most Democrats pathetically voting in favor of them. The bill now goes to GOP Gov. John Kasich for his inevitable signature. The only change between this map and the revised version Republicans put forth in November (which Democrats rejected at the time) was to move some 800 people so that Democratic state Rep. Ted Celeste's home would be placed within the new 3rd Congressional District, which he's seeking. Way to look like your looking out for the interests of Ohio's citizens, Democrats! (Incidentally, Dem ex-Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy, who is also running, does not live in the 3rd.)

And as for that restored March 6 primary, the filing deadline for all candidates is now Dec. 30.

PA Redistricting: Wow! Republicans very nearly muffed a key vote on their own gerrymander! The state Senate's initial tally came to a 25-25 tie thanks to GOP defections, but one senator, Elder Vogel of Beaver, switched at the last minute. But much like the impeachment of Andrew Johnson (who was acquitted in the Senate by a single vote), it sounds like Republicans weren't actually that close to losing: Keegan Gibson at PoliticsPA suggests that if it hadn't been Vogel, another one of the wayward members would have been corralled no matter what.

Meanwhile, thanks to some incredibly hard work by jeffmd, we now have presidential election results by congressional district for the new congressional map proposed by Pennsylvania Republicans, as well as a Google Maps version of the map itself. Click the link for all the goodness.

TX Redistricting: Michael Li has another helpful Q&A about Texas's filing deadlines and election schedule, though of course we still don't know when the primary (or primaries) will be held. As of last night, no agreement had been reached between the parties, but this could conceivably get resolved today under the auspices of the San Antonio court. Relatedly, the New York Times has a close-up look at the kind of chaos the Supreme Court unleashed at the local election board level thanks to their stay of the maps. (You know, the whole purpose of a stay is to forestall irreparable harm, not cause it. Guess the Supremos got confused.)

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Fri Dec 16, 2011 at 05:00 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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