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Leading Off:

1Q Fundraising: With the end of the quarter now past us, the first set of fundraising numbers for the 2013-14 cycle is trickling in. Here are a few tallies from some actual and potential Senate candidates:

CO-Sen: Sen. Mark Udall (D): $1.5 mil raised, $2.5 mil cash-on-hand

IA-Sen: Rep. Bruce Braley (D): $1 mil raised (since Sen. Tom Harkin's retirement announcement on Jan. 26)

LA-Sen: Rep. Bill Cassidy (R): $500K raised

Udall looks dominant, and those are some very solid numbers for Braley; both men still lack GOP opponents. Cassidy, meanwhile, has dithered about launching a Senate bid, but he can transfer money from his House account should he decide to make the leap and challenge Sen. Mary Landrieu. With over $2 million cash-on-hand at the end of the last reporting period (Dec. 31, 2012), he probably has a nice pile built up, but the longer he waits, the more he risks another Republican stealing the spotlight and gaining momentum.


SD-Sen: Some local South Dakota Democrats are trying to draft U.S. Attorney Brendan Johnson to run for the seat that his father, Sen. Tim Johnson, is leaving open next year. (Aaron Blake says that Lincoln County Democratic Party chair Ryan Casey is leading the charge.) The younger Johnson has often been mentioned as a possible successor but has remained mum about running ever since his dad's retirement announcement. Hopefully this draft effort will inspire him to comment.


AZ-Gov: As other Arizona Democrats still weigh their options, former Arizona Board of Regents President Fred DuVal keeps moving forward with his gubernatorial ambitions. He just announced an endorsement from veteran Rep. Ed Pastor, which comes just a few weeks after three former members of Congress did the same.

PA-Gov: God is this ever blarghy. Short version: Rachel Magnuson, chief of staff to Rep. Allyson Schwartz, sent an email to consultant Mark Nevins, a spokesman for state Treasurer Rob McCord accusing him of making "unspecified negative" remarks about Schwartz, copying several top officials at the DCCC and threatening Nevins' business. ("[I]t makes it next to impossible when good friends at the DCCC and others ask for recommendations for vendors to not be open with your comments regarding Congresswoman Schwartz.")

Schwartz and McCord are, of course, possible Democratic gubernatorial primary opponents, and while Schwartz appears further along in her efforts and seems to be the favorite of the DGA, McCord's camp is trying to tar her as too liberal for Pennsylvania, a theme Nevins hit on in his response to Magnuson. If both of them get in, I suspect this is going to be one really annoying primary.

VA-Gov, -Sen: I hadn't heard of any polling out of the University of Mary Washington before (okay, I hadn't heard of the school before, either), but they have a new poll (PDF) of their home state of Virginia, courtesy of the much better known Princeton Survey Research. Their gubernatorial numbers match everything we've seen from everyone else so far, with Democrat Terry McAuliffe neck-and-neck with Republican Ken Cuccinelli, sporting a 38-37 edge.

There's also a hypothetical 2014 matchup pitting Sen. Mark Warner against what would probably be his toughest GOP opponent, Gov. Bob McDonnell. Warner is ahead 51-35, fairly similar to the 52-42 PPP found in January. McDonnell, though, appears to harbor presidential ambitions, so a Senate run seems very unlikely.


IA-01: Just a few weeks after first saying he was considering the race, state Sen. Steve Sodders has decided not to seek Rep. Bruce Braley's open House seat. That leaves state Rep. Pat Murphy as the only Democrat currently running, but others are likely to get in.

IA-03: Wealthy investor Mike Sherzan has exited the race almost as quickly as he entered. Sherzan was one of the first Democratic recruits of the cycle, announcing in February that he would run against Rep. Tom Latham in Iowa's 3rd Congressional District. But now he's dropping out, "due to personal health issues," according to a statement.

However, Democrats are now talking up a new option, former state Sen. Staci Appel, who reportedly met with the DCCC recently. Appel served a single term in the Senate, winning an open seat narrowly in 2006 before losing badly four years later. Appel isn't commenting, though, and has not committed to a bid.

KY-06: Businessman Joe Palumbo, the son of longtime state Rep. Ruth Ann Palumbo, says he's considering a run against freshman GOP Rep. Andy Barr but likely won't decide until summer. A number of other Democrats are looking at the race as well, but no one has officially taken the plunge yet.

SC-01: Elizabeth Colbert Busch has released an internal poll that confirms some of PPP's numbers from last week and shows her in position to pull off a possible upset. Colbert Busch's survey, from Lake Research, has her leading Republican Mark Sanford 47-44, very similar to the 47-45 edge PPP gave her. However, Lake also puts her up 48-39 over Sanford's runoff opponent, Curtis Bostic, which is quite a different picture from the 43-all tie PPP had.

It's those Bostic numbers that are, in a way, the most interesting to me, because PPP's data made it easy for him to argue he was more electable than the damaged Sanford. But time's run out in any event, since the runoff is on Tuesday. Whoever emerges as the GOP nominee will also start off at a disadvantage, according to ECB's poll, and not just according to the horserace numbers: Lake says she has a favorability rating of 48-24, "better than both Bostic and Sanford" (though their scores are not provided). The big question now is whether the DCCC will enter ahead of the May 7 special election, despite this district's deep red hue. We'll be keeping our eyes open, naturally.

I can't say I'm loving this move from Colbert Busch's campaign, though: They just wiped her Twitter account clean ahead of the general election, making some absurd claim that it would be "easier for supporters to follow her event schedule" this way. But the real reason is that Colbert Busch had tweeted a few jokes about Republicans, and also once said that she is both "pro-choice and in favor of marriage equality." She was going to have to defend those statements anyway, but now she'll also have to defend her decision to delete the tweets, too. Plus, the move only calls more attention to her positions, so I have to ask, why on earth did her staff advise her to make this move? Oy.

On a more positive note, one thing I'd previously been unaware of is that Colbert Busch secured the endorsement of South Carolina's Working Families Party late last month. South Carolina is actually one of the few states that permits fusion voting, which is why the labor-backed WFP has expanded there. It also means that Colbert Busch will appear on two ballot lines in the general election, both for the Democratic Party and the Working Families Party. And while the WFP is not well-known in the Palmetto State, it does offer Republicans unwilling to pull the lever for a Democratic candidate an alternative option for supporting Colbert Busch.

P.S. Bostic did earn one good last-minute endorsement, from ex-Rep. Henry Brown, Jr., who represented this district for five terms before retiring in 2010. (The man who succeeded Brown, Tim Scott, is now a senator, of course.)

Other Races:

LA Mayor: In SurveyUSA's first poll of the Los Angeles mayoral runoff, they find City Councilman Eric Garcetti leading City Controller Wendy Greuel by a 47-40 margin. Garcetti leads amongst almost all demographics groups, with women and black voters being the most notable exceptions. Garcetti had a four-point edge in the first round, edging Greuel 33-29. There are also numbers for the city attorney's race, where Assemblyman Mike Feuer is beating incumbent Carmen Trutanich by a wide 49-31 spread.

Special Elections: Johnny Longtorso tells us about three legislative special elections coming up on Tuesday night in the Bay State:

Massachusetts HD-12th Essex: This is an open Democratic seat in Peabody (all but one of its wards, about 55-56 percent Obama in 2012). The candidates are Democrat Beverley Griffin Dunne, a school board member, Republican Leah Cole, a nurse, and Independent David Gravel, a member of the city council.

Massachusetts HD-28th Middlesex: Another open Dem seat, this one is in Everett. The candidates are Democrat Wayne Matewsky and two independents, Rosa DiFlorio and Dennis Gianatassi. Normally, a one-party special doesn't have anything interesting going on, but Matewsky and DiFlorio are both members of the city council, so things might be close there?

Missouri HD-157: This is an open Republican seat containing nearly all of Lawrence County in the southwest of the state. The nominees are Democrat Charles Dake, a former one-term state representative, and Republican Mike Moon, who ran in the Republican primary for MO-07 last year (as the tea party favorite! because Billy Long is a damn liberal!) and got 22 percent of the vote.

Grab Bag:

DOMA/SSM: Here's an interesting chart from the Wall Street Journal that compiles the views on same-sex marriage of all 120 members of Congress who were in office when the Defense of Marriage Act came up for a vote in 1996 (though 15 have "unknown" positions). The most notable category consists of those who voted in favor of DOMA but now support marriage equality. There are 29 such lawmakers in total, with 27 of them Democrats, split evenly between the House (13) and Senate (14). Only two Republicans fall into this category: Rep. Ileana Ros Lehtinen, whose South Florida district has a large gay population, and Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, whose recent turnabout on account of his son's sexual orientation made big news.

While we're on the topic, there's one more late (and surprising) convert on same-sex marriage: Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey. Casey's long held a number of socially conservative views (most notably on abortion rights), so I expected him to remain a holdout on marriage equality, too. But his move means that just eight Senate Democrats are not yet on board, including, shamefully, Delaware's Tom Carper.

Votes: The VoteView blog (the website of the professors behind the DW-Nominate vote scoring system) has a new analysis of last month's House votes on the six different budget packages, turned into handy scatterplots. The charts reveal that votes on the budgets were, unsurprisingly, entirely consistent with members' overall ideological positioning.

Votes on the Congressional Black Caucus and Progressive Caucus budgets were limited to the Dems' left flank, while votes on the ultra-conservative Republican Study Committee  budget were confined to the GOP's right flank. The two establishment Democratic budgets got all Dem votes save for the most centrist members, while the Ryan budget once against received nearly every GOP vote, except for about a dozen random holdouts from around the Republican spectrum. Maybe the most interesting chart is the caucus of "no"—those who didn't vote yes on any of the six budgets: Those are, again, heavily concentrated among the most centrist and theoretically most endangered Dems. (David Jarman)

WATN?: Well, this is nice to see for once. New Mexico's former Democratic Sen. Jeff Bingaman, who retired last year, isn't selling out on K Street. Instead, he's returning to Stanford Law School as a fellow at their "Energy Policy and Finance" center, to develop and promote renewable energy policies. It's not clear whether this is a full-time gig, but at least it's on the side of the good guys.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Tue Apr 02, 2013 at 05:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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