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Leading Off:

VA-Gov: I have to say, I didn't expect to start the new election cycle off quite so right—and by "starting off right," I mean, gorging on heaping helpings of delicious cat fud. (Not familiar with the term? See here.) Just a couple of days after departing the 2013 gubernatorial race (and threatening to run indie), GOP Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling said he won't endorse the man who squeezed him out, AG Ken Cuccinelli, in stark terms:

"I have no intentions to endorse a candidate in the campaign for governor. I have serious reservations about his ability to effectively and responsibly lead the state. And given those reservations, I could not in good conscience endorse his candidacy for governor."
And now the fud is getting flung in both directions, with state GOP chair Pat Mullins dinging Bolling for his actions and words:
"I am disappointed by Lt. Governor Bolling's remarks over the past 48 hours. Lt. Governor Bolling has a stellar record of public service, and has long been a strong voice for the conservative cause.  Nowhere in his statements does he mention a policy disagreement with the Attorney General.

The proper venue for challenging a fellow Republican is during a nomination contest. Lt. Governor Bolling chose to suspend his campaign. I hope he will take his own words to heart and work to bring our Party together."

If this is what they're saying publicly, imagine what Republicans are saying privately. But they have to choose their words carefully—note Mullins praising Bolling's "stellar record of public service"—to preserve any hopes of bringing their wayward lieutenant governor back into the fold. This oughta be fun!


GA-Sen: Alas, the dream has died. Erick son of Erick, founder of the conservative blog RedState, says he won't challenge Sen. Saxby Chambliss in the GOP primary after all. Not that he was ever anything but full of shit about such a possibility, but it was fun to imagine. Oh well! Hey, anyone know what Dean Chambers is up to these days?

Actually, while we're on the topic, Aaron Blake has an interesting observation about why Chambliss seems so likely to be the next target of wingnut ire. Chambliss has an incredibly conservative voting record, but the problem is that he just doesn't sound like a frothing mouth-breather. Says a Chambliss consultant: "There are people that just want Saxby to blast the Democrats; that's not his style." That's a very serious problem in modern GOP politics, as I've written before:

It's important to remember that to remain a member in good standing of the conservative movement, it isn't enough just to vote a certain way. You have to evidence a very particular tribal belonging—you need to hate the right people, be ignorant of the right facts, be fearful of the right bogeymen, and be arrogant about the whole enterprise. If you somehow fail this tribal litmus test, it doesn't matter how right-wing you are.
Chambliss might soon discover what life looks like if his conservative pH score proves insufficient.

IL-Sen: PPP's new Illinois Senate poll is exactly the snoozer you'd expect: Dem Sen. Dick Durbin leads a generic Republican opponent 52-38, but Generic R actually does better than any actual, living, breathing potential GOP candidate. Durbin beats outgoing Reps. Bob Dold! and Joe Walsh 54-33 and 54-29 respectively, as well as failed 2010 Senate primary hopeful (and tea partier) Patrick Hughes. Mostly, I'm just glad that Tom's given us the opportunity mention Bob Dold! one last time. Bob Dold!

KY-Sen: I'd never imagined that Dem Rep. John Yarmuth would ever consider statewide office, but in case you had him on your watch list, no, he won't be running for Senate against Mitch McConnell in 2014.

NH-Sen, -01 -Gov: GOP Rep. Frank Guinta, who was just turfed in a rematch by Democrat Carol Shea-Porter, is already thinking about a possible comeback bid. According to Shira Toeplitz's sources, Guinta is most interested in a bid against Sen. Jeanne Shaheen next cycle, but Guinta himself says that bids for Senate or governor are possible, as well as a rubber match against CSP. I don't view Guinta as a particularly imposing force, though New Hampshire's small size and lack of statewide elected posts means both parties perennially have small benches, so I suppose the GOP could do worse. But Guinta also has some lingering ethical issues regarding alleged campaign finance improprieties, and he'd also potentially have to deal with ex-Sen. John Sununu, if Sununu tries for a rubber game of his own against Shaheen.

SD-Sen, -AL: On Thursday, when ex-Gov. Mike Rounds announced he'd run for the Senate, I cautioned that while his entry might appear to be a field-clearing move, the possibility of "true conservative" challenge couldn't be ruled out. And indeed, Rep. Kristi Noem, who just won re-election, is refusing to rule out the possibility of her own Senate bid, though she's saying it's too early to discuss and isn't offering any timetable about a possible decision. On paper, she'd appear to have a tough time against the better-known and more established Rounds, but if she could capture some of that movement conservative lightning in a bottle, an upset would be possible. Win or lose, though, Dem Sen. Tim Johnson has to hope for a nasty, hotly contested GOP primary.


NJ-Gov: Another day, another set of gaudy poll numbers for GOP Gov. Chris Christie, whose 67-25 job approval rating makes him the most popular governor in PPP's polling. PPP also finds a similar picture to what Rutgers and Quinnipiac have found on the re-election front, though Cory Booker "only" trails by 14 (versus somewhat larger margins in those other polls). Everyone's still getting killed, though:

• 50-36 vs. Cory Booker

• 53-31 vs. Richard Codey

• 57-20 vs. Steve Sweeney

• 60-20 vs. Barbara Buono

• 61-25 vs. Bruce Springsteen

Sadly, Christie nets his highest score against The Boss, even though he has the highest favorability rating—54 favorable, 23 unfavorable—of any Democrat! I guess Bruce simply wasn't born to run.


AR-Sen, AR-02: GOP Rep. Tim Griffin, who just won a second term in office and had been thinking about a run for Senate, says he won't take the plunge. Griffin just scored a spot on the coveted Ways and Means Committee and at just 44 years old, he has plenty of time to rise through the ranks in the House. (Had he run, his 2nd District seat would have offered a temping target for Democrats, since it's now the bluest in Arkansas, based on demographics alone. But it sure ain't blue, just based on presidential results: Obama lost 55-43.)

Other Races:

NM-St. House: This is just nuts. Every few years or so, you hear about some election for some obscure office somewhere where both candidates wind up with the exact same vote tally, but this surely is just about the highest-level tie in quite some time anywhere in the nation. In the race for New Mexico's 37th state House District, GOP Rep. Terry McMillan and Democratic challenger Joanne Ferrary both have exactly 6,247 votes. The race will now undergo a recount, of course, and if there's still a tie at that point, well, according to local news station KFOX14, "the winner will be decided in a game of chance." So you've got to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky?

P.S. Wanna know something even crazier? In their respective primaries earlier this year, McMillan and Ferrary each received 1,007 votes. Absurd, right? Also worth noting is that the DLCC identified HD-37 as one if its 60 "Essential Races" earlier this year. Talk about every vote counting!

NY-St. Sen: The battle over the brand-new 46th Senate District between Republican Assemblyman George Amedore Democrat Mr. Mxyzptlk Cecilia Tkaczyk has, as expected, moved to the courts. Amedore currently holds a 110-vote lead, but of the 877 disputed (and as-yet unopened) ballots, roughly 680 were challenged by his attorneys. That's good news for Tkaczyk, since campaigns in tight situations like this often make spurious (or at least, extremely longshot) objections to ballots they suspect have been cast for their opponent. Now a judge will decide which ballots to count (a process expected to take at least a week), and odds are, Tkaczyk will prevail in the end.

And if she does, that would give Senate Democrats at least an outside shot at claiming control of the chamber, if they can persuade Jeff Klein and his gang of four obstructionists to actually, you know, support their own party instead of the GOP. Of course, Klein's gone on record as saying he prefer to work out a deal with Dean Skelos and the Republicans, so this may be a false hope. But I'd rather have more Democrats than fewer, if only to embarrass Klein further—and to set us up for more gains in the future so that Klein will hopefully become irrelevant.

Grab Bag:

WATN?: I guess we can count Jason Altmire out for any possible comebacks: The Democratic congressman, who lost in a primary against fellow Rep. Mark Critz earlier this year, is relocating to Jacksonville, Florida to become senior vice president for "public policy, government and community affairs" at Florida Blue, which is the Florida branch of the Blue Cross/Blue Shield insurance giant. In addition to quitting Pennsylvania, Altmire's new title basically amounts to "lobbyist," which is not a very helpful resume-builder for a return to Congress.

In other similar Where Are They Now? news, soon-to-be-ex-Rep. Heath Shuler is also making a similar move, taking a job as "senior vice president of federal affairs" (again, "lobbyist") for Duke Energy. Shuler of course opted to retire rather than seek re-election, so a comeback bid never seemed in the cards for him. Duke, though, is based in North Carolina, so presumably Shuler will be staying close to home.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 05:00 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Thanks for bringing Bollings' statement to light (5+ / 0-)

    Heh, heh.  This should be interesting.  I hope Bolling does run as an independent who can peel off votes from the Kook, thereby ensuring the election of a Democrat.

    "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

    by Diana in NoVa on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 05:18:24 AM PST

  •  Bolling won't run (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kareylou, madhaus

    That would guarantee the election of the democrat but he got screwed out of being the nominee. He was pretty much promised the nomination if he waited until 2013.
    Cucchinelli is not waiting his turn and is way to crazy for the Va of today.
    Unless he tones down the crazy I don't see him winning.

    •  Counting too much on "blue" Virginia here is what (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      thomask, erichiro, madhaus

      could be "crazy" in this race.

      Cucchinelli is not waiting his turn and is way to crazy for the Va of today. Unless he tones down the crazy I don't see him winning.
      He has a fanatic core even in NOVA made up hard core anti-abortion religious groups. They turn out for him. Then, given stay at home "blues" not that interested in things Richmond (and here in NOVA you can often forget about that place) and people not paying too much attention to his record his camouflage during campaigns can work as it did in 2009 to put him in to become a wasteful and goofball AG.

      Note this from The Washington Post Tuesday, February 5, 2008 in "Cuccinelli Basks in Richmond's Warmer Climate":

      Just a few months back, while still on the campaign trail, Sen. Ken Cuccinelli (R-Fairfax) was eager to talk about transportation, taxes, schools and development -- meaty issues that nicely turned voters' attention away from his reputation as the Virginia Senate's leading voice for conservative social policy.

      Cuccinelli's campaign strategy of emphasizing his hard stance against expansive state spending worked, even in a district that's trending Democratic. He won reelection, swimming against a Democratic tide in Northern Virginia. But now he's back in Richmond, back among friends who appreciate and relish the real Ken Cuccinelli.

      "I come to you as the only conservative on the Senate side from Northern Virginia," Cuccinelli told a meeting of the Family Foundation, the lobby that fights in Richmond against abortion, no-fault divorce, embryonic stem cell research and pornography. The crowd responded with warm applause, leading the senator to quip, "I can't get this in Fairfax."

      And, yes, he is against no fault divorce too. Even that crazy that won't fly in "Fairfax" did not absolutely crush him beyond all hope in Fairfax. The State Board of Elections official returns show he lost 129,267 to 141,452; only 12,185 to counter his 60% plus wins in Virginia's mostly "red counties."

      NOVA "blues" must understand that their votes are not just to win in NOVA. They are also to drown out those many red counties as they did in Obama's wins in Virginia.

      The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

      by pelagicray on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 05:51:24 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Leepfrogging (0+ / 0-)

      Bolling is obviously PO'd. But unless he runs as a 3rd party candidate it won't matter. The two men don't vary on policy, only on style, and a personal vendetta. It'll be interesting to see how the race plays out next year.

    •  So why did Bolling drop out? (0+ / 0-)

      Was he pushed out by the state party? It seems weird that he gave up this early.

    •  Cuccinelli is NOT too crazy to win (4+ / 0-)

      Cuccinelli very much could win.

      The race is a tossup with either McAuliffe or Perriello, it's a big mistake to think otherwise.

      Virginia "of today" is not the same in state elections as in Presidential elections.  The state and local elections are a whiter, older, and more conservative electorate.  That's changing slowly, but behind the Presidentials.

      Next year will be a dogfight, we just need a nominee who proves to be a good candidate committed to running a good campaign.  Creigh Deeds proved otherwise.

      I honestly would be undecided in a primary between TMac and Perriello.  I'd want to see their campaigns in action before deciding.  In 2009 I settled on Deeds less than a month out from the primary, still no regrets because I'm confident Brian Moran or McAuliffe would've been blown out by McDonnell perhaps the same as Deeds.  Cuccinelli is weak enough that TMac can beat him, but not weak enough to call it any better than a tossup.

      44, male, Indian-American, married and proud father of a girl and 2 boys, Democrat, VA-10

      by DCCyclone on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 07:10:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Seems fitting (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kareylou, Amber6541

    that a Blue Dog Dem would take a lobbyist position BCBS. if he's still interested in a return to politics and still insisting on running as a "D", where better than Duval County, FL, one of the reddest counties in FL?  PA wouldn't have him back, that's for sure.

    As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. John F. Kennedy

    by JaxDem on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 05:28:58 AM PST

    •  Seems fitting (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JaxDem, Amber6541

      That TWO Blue Dogs would take lobbyist positions.  One at an insurance company after he fought against his own president's healthcare plan.  Another as an energy lobbyist.

      Good riddance to bad rubbish.  

      This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

      by DisNoir36 on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 05:49:38 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  question about the freshman 2012 class (0+ / 0-)

    who is expected to be the most liberal and conservative of the new members (based off of reputation)

    Most Liberal: Grayson or Kildee
    Most Conservative: Cotton

    Most Liberal: Baldwin Warren probably Murphy also
    Most Conservative: Flake and Cruz

    RRH expat (known as AquarianLeft). Also known as freepcrusher on leip atlas forum

    by demographicarmageddon on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 05:40:53 AM PST

    •  really? (0+ / 0-)

      you think Jeff Flake will be more conservative than Deb Fischer?

      Living in Kyoto-06 (Japan), voting in RI-01, went to college in IL-01.

      by sapelcovits on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 05:58:26 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  extremes (0+ / 0-)

      Most liberal: Baldwin in the senate and Sinema in the house.

      Most conservative: Cruz in the senate and Stewart in the house.

      •  Sinema wasn't super liberal in the AZ (0+ / 0-)

        legislature, so I'm interested to hear why you think she'd be more liberal than Alan Grayson, Mark Pocan, etc...

        Living in Kyoto-06 (Japan), voting in RI-01, went to college in IL-01.

        by sapelcovits on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 06:28:52 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The Arizona legislature (0+ / 0-)

          It is a very conservative body, so it isn't like any progressive legislation had a shot at even being listened to.

          I am thinking she goes the route of Gillibrand and will become much more liberal in congress. As the only openly bisexual member if congress, and also the only openly irreligious member if congress, she certainty has the profile to be very liberal in her new surroundings.

          Also, Grayson is a loudmouth. Being belligerent does not make one more liberal or more conservative. Allen West was no more conservative than Jason Chaffetz, but he was just more obnoxious about it.

          •  I doubt it on Sinema (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            DCCyclone, Adam B

            She's still in a moderate district and I sincerely doubt she'll go full throated until it trends more.

            22 Burkean Post Modern Gay Democrat; NM-2 (Raised), TX-20 (B.A. & M.A. in Political Science), TX-17 (Home); 08/12 PVIs

            by wwmiv on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 07:04:35 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Much like the aforementioned Grayson (0+ / 0-)

              I just predict she will be far more liberal than her district, much like Grayson in 09-10. If she were a shrewd politician, she won't wear it on her sleeve, and may ultimately be more moderate than I am envisioning in such a district. I guess we will see in due time.

              •  Sinema is shrewd (5+ / 0-)

                She was able to push a bunch of bills through a GOP legislature and convince every cop union in the state to back her in the primary despite her bombthrowing past. People who aren't shrewd can't pull stuff like that off.

                I expect her to be liberal on social and foreign issues, but throw the business community a few bones on economic issues. She won't throw bombs the way Grayson did. She didn't do that in the legislature. She was an outspoken liberal, but more in the mold of Richard Durbin than of Grayson.

                SSP poster. 43, new CA-6, -0.25/-3.90

                by sacman701 on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 08:25:34 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

          •  Sinema has actually annoyed (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            wu ming

            some segments of the Latino community with her position on immigration issues. I'm also not sure how her being bisexual automatically translates to her being liberal, especially since both Mark Pocan and Mark Takano are openly gay.

            Living in Kyoto-06 (Japan), voting in RI-01, went to college in IL-01.

            by sapelcovits on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 07:12:50 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  These are Great Amuricans, all of them, every one. (0+ / 0-)

    Ain't it fun to watch and listen as Republicans circle 'round each other like Dobermans getting ready to stake out territory and fight over the bones. Come to think of it ...

    2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

    by TRPChicago on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 05:43:23 AM PST

  •  If VA Dems are like MI Dems or WI Dems or OH Dems (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    they'll sit on their asses in an off-year and another wingnut Koch-sucking GOP troglodyte will be voted into the governor's mansion. If rank-and-file Democrats—especially minorities and the young—in Virginia can muster the energy to spend two hours to go vote for an elected office that probably has more direct daily impact on their lives than the Presidency, it will be an unusual accomplishment.

    •  People not knowing Virginia's recent voting (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      patterns, even some living here, are often surprised at how concentrated "blue" Virginia really is geographically. It can't be repeated enough, Virginia is geographically red and only the large population of NOVA tends to tilt the balance. Even in Fairfax many precincts are reliably red and quite a few gave Cuccinelli >60% in 2009.

      Back in Obama's first win I watched the count into the wee hours until it was certain. I watched Virginia "go McCain" and local coverage show cheering McCain crowds in his local HQ. I just sipped my beer and grinned because it was a rolling red tide without NOVA reporting. As Alexandria, Arlington and Fairfax began rolling in and the precincts reporting started getting into the more populated "blue" precincts that tide shifted and stayed blue. A close look at the county map and Census reports on those counties show three things making blue. The big Washington suburb NOVA, the UVA Charlottesville vote and odd counties including a string down from the Norfolk area to North Carolina. Census shows those are majority African American counties.

      That same pattern shows in the last election. If those three geographical blue areas do not have a blue base turnout in 2013 The Kook, The Cooch, the man with a suite of views to the right of most Catholic bishops on matters of sex, will win.

      The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

      by pelagicray on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 06:54:42 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The Arkansas Senate News (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    is to me the most important items on the list today.  Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor is very popular in Arkansas at 51% to 20% job approval but he sits in a deep red southern state. That makes him potentially vulnerable to a strong GOPer and Rep, Griffin was likely his strongest potential challenger.

    Now that Griffin is out of the picture, Pryor's path to re-election just got a lot easier.  The other strong GOPers in the state are looking towards the open Governorship which has as a strong chance of going GOP.  Pryor just needs to tend to the local issues, not align himself too closely with President Obama and raise a boatload of money now.  If Pryor wins re-election it is very hard for GOP to gain the seats they would need to get control of the US Senate in 2014.

  •  NY-StSen (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Klein claims he wants to get a progressive agenda passed, and he also claims the only way to do that is for his 4-member IDC to be a co-equal conference with the Republicans and Democrats.

    What I can't figure out is where his "logic" is coming from.  (Yes, I know it's wrong; what I want to know is what he's trying to claim: why, according to the IDC, can't a Democratic majority in the State Senate get a progressive agenda passed without needing a third, super-minority conference?)

    Until the IDC can provide some sort of logical explanation of why a coalition government is needed in the state Senate, I will continue to believe that this is a naked power grab; Klein just wants both parties to have to come to him and give him what he wants (whatever that is) in order to get anything passed.

    Powers  &8^]

  •  I'd like to suggest a new policy for DKos (0+ / 0-)

    that in the interests of ideological accuracy it should be "Kookinelli" instead of "Cuccinelli."

  •  Carl Davidson (0+ / 0-)

    This is Carl:

    Carl Davidson is a national co-chair for Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and
    Socialism. He lives near Pittsburgh and is a member of Steelworker Associates, a community-action arm of the United Steelworkers.
    This is also Carl:
    Carl Davidson

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