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Leading Off:

California: Gather round, children, and listen to the story of Nathan Fletcher, told in blockquote format. We begin in February 2012:

The Republican most frequently mentioned as a future contender for statewide office, meanwhile, delivered his stump speech to about 12 people in a living room across town.

The candidate, Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, is immersed in San Diego's mayoral race. Fletcher is far from certain to win—his prospects appear to be improving, though he still is trailing in local polls. But comparisons to Pete Wilson, the former assemblyman who went on to become San Diego mayor, a U.S. senator and then governor, are encouraging to many Republicans.

Ah, to be a rising star in a hard-luck party in the nation's biggest state. There could be worse things, though—like remaining a member of that hard-luck party. Just one month later, in March 2012:
California State Assemblyman and San Diego mayoral candidate Nathan Fletcher, seen as one of the California Republican Party's most promising future possibilities for statewide office, announced today he's abandoning the GOP and "partisan politics" to become an independent.
And now the circle is complete. May 2013:
Fletcher posted a lengthy announcement to his Facebook page and in an email sent to supporters Saturday morning explaining his decision.

"I was reluctant to make this move. It wasn't due to any doubt about where I belong. It was simple dread over the criticism I would face," he said. "Despite my change in partisan affiliation, I have no animosity towards the Republican Party. I know many good people there, including friends, co-workers, and many I hold in high regard. I just owe it to them and myself to admit that I don't belong anymore."

Fletcher is presently out of politics, working for Qualcomm in some kind of executive gig, but he also does some television commentary for a local TV station. And he's only 36 years old, which leaves plenty of time for a comeback. Just over a year ago, Nathan Fletcher was the lone bright spot for the state GOP. But if he ever does decide to throw his hat back in the proverbial ring, it'll be, of course, as a Democrat.


IA-Sen: After declaring he was "embarrassed" to have waited until May to make up his mind, Rep. Steve King—aka the GOP's Plan B—took to Twitter late on Friday night to announce, unsurprisingly, that he would not run for Senate. Like the more famous Plan B (the emergency birth control pill, natch), Republicans didn't seem very Keen on King, at least as far as a bid for statewide office was concerned; chop-licking Democrats, meanwhile, will have to content themselves with the fact that Plans A, C, and D (Tom Latham, Kim Reynolds, and Bill Northey) have all also declined.

As they get perilously close to Preparation H, that leaves Republicans with some decidedly slim pickins'. Former U.S. Attorney Matt Whitaker says he's getting ready to run, but I'm not sure a candidate who says he "would vote only for legislation that's constitutional and pattern himself after tea party favorite U.S. Sen. Rand Paul" is going to be the winning ticket. State Sen. Joni Ernst says she's "feeling good" about a potential run but that she still needs to "do more praying." And former state Rep. Rod Roberts says he's "giving very serious consideration" to the race, but his only prior statewide bid involved taking under 9 percent in the 2010 GOP gubernatorial primary.


AK-Gov: After all that, Republican Gov. Sean Parnell simply announced that he'd seek re-election, rather than run for Senate or House.

MN-Gov: As expected, Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson has entered the race for governor, making him the second Republican to do so, along with businessman Scott Honour. Johnson ran for statewide office once before, losing the 2006 attorney general's race to Lori Swanson 53-41—but remember, Jeff Johnson: It's the name you know!

NJ-Gov: In new fundraising disclosures, GOP Gov. Chris Christie has reported raising $6.2 million for his re-election campaign to date, while sitting on $3.4 million in cash-on-hand. Democrat Barbara Buono has raised about $740,000, which has also earned her $1 million in matching funds. (Christie has opted out of receiving any public financing.)

VA-Gov: The Washington Post's first poll of this fall's Virginia gubernatorial race paints a pretty different picture than any other we've seen to date. They have Republican AG Ken Cuccinelli up 46-41 over former DNC chair Terry McAuliffe among registered voters, while he leads by twice that margin, 51-41, among "likely" voters. I put that word in scare quotes, though, because according to Jon Cohen, the Post's polling director, their "likely" voters only include "absolutely certain" voters, which is not a typical screen.

Except for weirdo Roanoke College (which was also off-base last cycle), all other polling has shown a close race, with alternating small leads for Cuccinelli and McAuliffe, so it's tempting to look for an explanation. The same survey has GOP Gov. Bob McDonnell with a very high 62-25 job approval rating, which seems somewhat remarkable given that he's mostly made headlines lately thanks to the Star Scientific scandal. But barely a third of voters say they've been following the story even somewhat closely, so perhaps it hasn't had a major impact yet.

And indeed, McDonnell's approvals aren't vastly different from the last time the WaPo asked about him, back in September. Then he had a 58-27 score, and what's more, that same poll had Democrat Tim Kaine up 8 points in the Senate race, one of the largest leads any pollster gave him, making it hard to say that that poll was too skewed to the GOP.

So I'm not really sure what's going on with the Cuccinelli-McAuliffe matchup. It's worth noting, though, that the former has done a somewhat better job to date of locking up partisans than the latter: Self-identified Republicans say they're backing Cuccinelli by a 95-3 margin, while Democrats favor McAuliffe 87-5, a 10-point net difference. Perhaps more importantly, independents are supporting Cuccinelli 42-37. McAuliffe will never fire up his base the way Cuccinelli can his, but with his vastly greater war chest, he can and must make Cuccinelli unacceptable to middle-of-the-road voters. And that part of the campaign simply hasn't gotten underway yet.

WI-Gov: A while back, we mentioned an online effort to draft Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca to run against Republican Gov. Scott Walker next year. In recent remarks, Barca didn't address the draft movement, but he did finally go on record about his interest in a gubernatorial bid… and as you might guess, it's not high. A reporter describes Barca as saying he "hasn't given serious thought" to challenging Walker, and Barca himself says that Democrats will soon "have many meetings with a lot of potential candidates," which makes it sound like he doesn't consider himself among that number.


CA-31: The endorsement hunt is on in CA-31, where 2012 candidate Pete Aguilar is butting heads with ex-Rep. Joe Baca as each seeks to be the Democratic standard-bearer come next year. Aguilar just announced the backing of two sitting congressmembers who serve nearby districts, Loretta Sánchez and Gloria Negrete McLeod, as well as that of several other local officials. Negrete McLeod, of course, defeated Baca in a huge upset last fall, after which Baca said he'd seek a rematch—until he switched gears a few weeks ago. Meanwhile, Sánchez once accused Baca of calling her a "whore," and along with several other members, left the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, which Baca then chaired, in disgust.

FL-18: Too funny! Alan Schlesinger, aka Alan Gold, aka the sad-sack who couldn't even muster 10 percent of the vote running as a Republican in Connecticut's 2006 Senate smackdown between Ned Lamont and Joe Lieberman, has re-emerged in the vicinity of Palm Beach, with the intention of taking on freshman Rep. Patrick Murphy in Florida's 18th Congressional District. In perfect form for someone attempting such an extreme level of carpetbagging, the statement of organization (PDF) that Schlesingold filed with the FEC lists his headquarters in Tallahassee, clear on the other side of the state.

Even if he'd managed to get his geography straight, I doubt too many of his fellow Republicans would fear him much. Indeed, at least one other candidate is entering the race, Ellen Andel, the vice mayor pro tem of Juno Beach. Quite a mouthful for a town of 3,000 souls, but there are bigger, badder fish still swimming just off the coast. The same link mentions several other possibles, including state Rep. Gayle Harrell, St. Lucie County Commissioner Tod Mowery, ex-state Rep. Carl Domino, former Tequesta councilman Calvin Turnquest, businessman Gary Uber, and even former state House Majority Leader Adam Hasner, who unsuccessfully ran in the neighboring 22nd District last year.

SC-01: A major reversal of fortune in SC-01: Mark Sanford has nosed out to a 47-46 lead over Elizabeth Colbert Busch in PPP's final poll. Two weeks ago, Colbert Busch had a wide 50-41 edge, but it seems like the district's partisan lean is reasserting itself. Colbert Busch's favorability rating has dropped 19 net points over that time (from 56-31 to 50-44), while Sanford's has moved up 7 points (from 38-56 to 43-54). What's more, the electorate went from one that supported Romney by just 5 points in November to one that's now Romney +13—much closer to his actual 18-point win here last year. As Tom Jensen says, things are certainly moving in Sanford's direction.

An additional thing to note about PPP's poll is that the Green Party candidate, Eugene Platt, is now pulling 4 percent of the vote. It would obviously be maddening beyond measure if Platt managed to provide Sanford's margin of victory, though who knows why anyone would pull the Green Party lever in a district like this. I also have to wonder if Democrats made a mistake by not running ads about Sanford's trespassing, which, after all, was the story that blew this race wide open three weeks ago.

But I can't say I'm surprised that things have now bounced back in Sanford's favor. Last week, ordinarily risk-averse Republicans like Sens. Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott decided to finally endorse their fellow party member, something they probably would have avoided doing if Sanford were headed toward an ignominious defeat. And while the toplines look very close, the remaining undecideds are decidedly GOP-leaning. Of course, this is only one poll (though the results are very similar to that RRH survey), but the advantage now seems to be Sanford's.

Other Races:

Special Elections: After a break in the action, Johnny Longtorso is back with the latest legislative special:

Ballotpedia had an entry for an Alabama House special on Tuesday, but the Democrat dropped out last month so the Republican became the winner by default. That just leaves us with one this week:

Michigan SD-27: Open Democratic seat in Genesee County. The candidates are Democrat Jim Ananich, a state representative, Republican Robert Daunt, who was Ananich's opponent in 2012 (he lost 3-1), and Green Bobby Jones. This is an overwhelmingly Democratic district, so there's no drama here.

Grab Bag:

House: If you're an observer of congressional elections—and if you're reading this, you are—then David Jarman's new essay, the first in a series, is a must-read. Jarman takes a close look at that most basic, yet crucial, of building blocks: the list of Democrats who sit in the reddest districts, according to the results of the 2012 presidential election, and their opposite numbers, the Republicans who represent the bluest seats. Given how polarized elections have become in this country, most of the House battleground next year will focus on these districts, so it's important to know them well.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Tue May 07, 2013 at 05:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Fletcher's Statement (5+ / 0-)

    Fletcher's very long statement on his party switch is rather entertaining. He was definitely anguished to come out of the a Democrat. Students for a New American Politics!

    by redrelic17 on Tue May 07, 2013 at 05:16:56 AM PDT

    •  Fletcher is and was Pete Wilson's boy (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Pete Wilson came down from LA to headline a fundraiser for Fletcher.  Fletcher did Wilson's bidding in the infamous after-midnight budget deal which passed the California state budget in exchange for an raising the cap on redevelopment (aka money laundering to the Wilson gang) by a billion dollars.  The Wilson gang doesn't care if you are democratic or republican - only whether you deliver votes on issues that make money for them.

      There is really no party loyalty in San Diego past a handful of true believers on both sides. It is whatever is politically expedient, particularly since the population has always been wishy-washy when it comes to the commons.  With the city and even the county going democratic, it was a move based on pragmatism by Fletcher.  Not any overarching ideology.

      •  Folks need to... (0+ / 0-)

        keep an eye on Fletcher.  He's likely to stay embedded in the Dem party for a while, since it is the way the wind blows here in Cali unless you represent one of the wingnut districts.  Fletcher is just 36, clearly ambitious as all hell (as is his wife), and wouldn't be making this announcement when going "private" for a stretch unless he still wants to land back in politics in a major way.  Qualcomm, connected... he'll fit right in with the Corporate Dems like DiFi who still hold major power in the State.

        He's also a California Baptist University boy, so we also need to keep an eye out for him landing in a Dem congressional district some place and turning into a pain in the ass Blue Dog.  Where ever deep in the bowels of Kos Central the list is kept of folks we need to watch out for when they raise their ugly heads, Fletcher's name needs to get added to that list.

    •  Nathan Fletcher was the only Republican (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      davehouck, Mokurai

      to vote for the California DISCLOSE Act last year. He then became an Independent.

      A bill that would have given California voters more insight into the funding of political advertisements in the post-Citizens United era of unlimited spending by shadowy independent groups has failed to pass the state Assembly due to nearly unanimous opposition from GOP legislators....

      The bill was a mere two votes shy of securing the two-thirds super-majority needed to make it though the Assembly. It had the support of every Democrat in the chamber, save for Stockton's Cathleen Gelgiani. The only Republican to not oppose the bill or abstain from voting on it was Nathan Fletcher of San Diego. Link

      The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right. -- Judge Learned Hand, May 21, 1944

      by ybruti on Tue May 07, 2013 at 07:43:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Ah, yes... today's Democratic Party (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      where Republicans feel right at home when they can no longer stand the cigar chomping red-neck yahoos that have taken over the Republican party.

      "The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government are incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

      by Orinoco on Tue May 07, 2013 at 08:01:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I wish him a long and successful career (10+ / 0-)

    at Qualcomm.

    Shirley Chisholm was right. Our Republic is in deep trouble.

    by Big River Bandido on Tue May 07, 2013 at 05:26:43 AM PDT

  •  And the 2016 campaign begins (9+ / 0-)

    The thing about quotes on the internet is you cannot confirm their validity. ~Abraham Lincoln

    by raboof on Tue May 07, 2013 at 05:29:56 AM PDT

  •  i worry that a stronger R may step up in Iowa (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Odysseus, OrdinaryIowan

    for the open Senate seat.  One of the GOP Reps who declined when Rep Steve King was still undecided may reconsider and we would end up with a worse situation - a stronger general election GOP nominee than if King had run.  Time will tell.

  •  Point of order: (0+ / 0-)

    all dollars are public currency (certified IOUs), defining them by who claimed to hold them last detracts from their essential nature as a public utility, issued in our name and guaranteed by us.

    The suggestion that currency "belongs" to the current holder is akin to arguing that the Western alphabet belongs to the English and the Cyrillic to the Orthodox Easterners.

    The alphabet, like currency, depends on mutuality for its usefulness. Calculating and recording our debts in dollars is a convenience, but not a necessity. In intimate relations, not using currency is actually more effective. Ask any political candidate who's got a host of volunteers at his beck and call.

    We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

    by hannah on Tue May 07, 2013 at 05:39:40 AM PDT

  •  The adventures of Mr. Fletcher highlights (9+ / 0-)

    what I think is a real problem in our partisan politics. To be a republican you must adhere to the purest of pure doctrine only. To be a democrat you can adhere to any damn thing. I don't think either is a healthy stance for a political party & you end up with the mess we've got in Congress and dems slipping over to the GOP side. It would be nice if something could be assumed about a democrat's position. Anything, really. The democratic position was once assumed to be support for labor. Now, gods know what it might be.

    Where are we going and what am I doing in this handbasket?

    by gelfling545 on Tue May 07, 2013 at 06:20:08 AM PDT

    •  It's worth reading... (9+ / 0-)

      his full statement.  Here's just a part of it.

      I told Lou that, during my year without any party affiliation, I’d had time to reflect on my values and principles and where they fit best. My votes and positions, candidates I endorsed and voted for had been in line with the Democratic Party. I told him I’d watched President Bill Clinton’s speech at the Democratic National Convention three times trying to find something I disagreed with. I couldn’t. It was clear – at least to me – that I was a Democrat.

      I explained to Lou that because I grew up in a working class blue-collar Democratic family I was often asked why I was a Republican. It was because I thought their policies provided the best access to the American Dream. I no longer believe that is true. In my opinion, the GOP today is more focused on protecting those who have already achieved the American Dream than allowing others access to it.

      I believe in the amazing opportunity available to us here in America. What unites us is the fundamental belief that there is nothing you can’t accomplish if you work hard, play by the rules, are willing to fail and start all over. That has been the path towards the American Dream for generations. But believing it requires a real commitment to ensuring that opportunity exists for everyone.

      That means ensuring all children can access a quality education, afford college, and ensuring a strong middle class that the poor can not only aspire to reach but have a realistic shot at joining. It means working to create and protect the jobs that grow our economy. Access to American Dream means real solutions on issues like immigration and healthcare. It means that all people regardless of their race, gender or sexual orientation enjoy equal rights and equal treatment. We should all be working towards a future that is inclusive, safe and free that creates opportunity and prosperity for every citizen. For me, that is the goal of a more perfect union.

      Those values and principles haven’t changed, but I believe the Democratic Party will better make them a reality for people.

      Lou wasn’t judgmental or surprised. This friend who has known me for years and well before any political career said he never understood why I was a Republican in the first place. He laughed when I told him a lot of local Republicans shared his thoughts.

      It's actually a very thoughtful piece from Fletcher.  And I for one welcome him into our big tent.  :-)
    •  This is what happens when Dems win ... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      in a wipe out and completely marginalize the Republican party except in a few local backwaters. That's the situation in urban California

      This does not mean that politics go away. Rather, politics -- the push and pull of interests and diverse people -- simply moves inside the Democratic Party, at least until we split. As Dems become ever more dominant in CA, that split may sometime have to happen. Meanwhile, let's get done what we can!

  •  Good news? (6+ / 0-)

    I see Fletcher as just more dilution of the Democratic Party morphing into I Can't Believe It's Not Republican. Yippee.

    I'm sure it makes sense for anyone with long term political plans to be a Democrat in California i.e., if you can't win from the outside, win from the inside.

    This aticle seems to re-inforce my knee-jerk reaction. Plus it contains a link to a laudatory David Brooks piece about Fletcher in whoch he is characterized as a "center-right" moderate.


    here is his his actual voting record What a great site. I went to immediately to his healthcare votes and you can color me unimpressed.


    The more the Democratic Party fills up with center-right moderates, the more it is not the party that represents me.

    “Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.” FDR

    by Phoebe Loosinhouse on Tue May 07, 2013 at 06:43:38 AM PDT

    •  Actually, history has shown... (7+ / 0-)

      that with a party switcher, their voting record will change quite a bit to reflect their new party.  Look at how the late Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA) became a pretty loyal Democratic vote after he switched parties.  And how Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) has been a very solid Republican vote since he switched in 1994.

      Or how about former Rep. Parker Griffith (R-AL), who jumped ship during the Obamacare fight in Congress?  He went from being a conservative Democratic vote to one of the most right-wing votes in Congress, partially to stave off a primary challenge, which he still ended up losing.

      We're also seeing former Florida Governor Charlie Crist (D) moving more and more to the left in his positions over the last couple months.

      Oh, and the founder of this site?  Former Republican as well.

      •  Fletcher was an actual Republican whip in (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        the assembly. His wife was apparently a PR aide for George W.Bush.

        He voted against providing free water in schools, for heaven sakes!

        If Eric Cantor decided to switch and become a Democrat, would you consider that a good thing or would you be skeptical?

        Not to mention there is a whole slew of "right centrists" in our Party right now and I for one don't like to see their numbers growing. They are the ones who weaken and degrade legislation a la Blanche Lincoln and Max Baucus in healthcare.

        “Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.” FDR

        by Phoebe Loosinhouse on Tue May 07, 2013 at 09:16:53 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  +1 (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      The more the Democratic Party fills up with center-right moderates, the more it is not the party that represents me.
      I'm with you here.

      "Great is the guilt of an unnecessary war" - John Adams

      by esquimaux on Tue May 07, 2013 at 08:29:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It's getting to the point (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Where we're going to need another party, for those of us who are actually left of center. The Democratic party doesn't seem to want us.

    First they came for the farm workers, and I said nothing.

    by Hannibal on Tue May 07, 2013 at 07:10:36 AM PDT

  •  re: Schlesinger running in Florida (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OrdinaryIowan, Woody

    It's in my notes that Schlesinger mentioned the idea  that he might run for Congress from his new home in Florida, all the way back when he moved there.

    I felt vaguely sorry for him (not that I would have voted for him if I'd lived there). He was reasonably qualified, put a fair amount of his own money into the early part of the race, and his own party ratfucked him in the general election,  to stop Ned Lamont. I'm normally scornful of people who pout after losing an election, but...

    A Republican is a person who says we need to rebuild Iraq but not New Orleans. - Temple Stark

    by Christopher Walker on Tue May 07, 2013 at 07:54:18 AM PDT

  •  I'd trust him.. (0+ / 0-)

    ..about as much as I trust Phil Gramm.

  •  Eddie Money of politics in San Diego (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    We had a brutal abduction, rape, murder here.  A young women was brutally raped and murdered, and the guy captured confessed to another equally brutal unsolved case.  Turns out the guy had previous offensives but had slid thru the cracks.  

    Fletcher swooped in with some state legislation and captured the outrage of all and went from no one to raising star overnight.  Never did anything of consequence since, just a one hit wonder.

    Republicans - they measure our national success by corporate profit margin, not the well being of the citizens.

    by egarratt on Tue May 07, 2013 at 08:48:52 AM PDT

  •  Professor Fletcher (0+ / 0-)

    Nate Fletcher is teaching a class at UC San Diego. It's even podcast, although passworded to limit it to students in the class.

    Those who ignore the future are condemned to repeat it.

    by enigmamf on Tue May 07, 2013 at 08:59:16 AM PDT

  •  Make some calls to GOTV in South Carolina today (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    It's a close election: South Carolina's First Congressional District with Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch running against the loathsome Mark Sanford

    Here's a link to easy call making:
    GOTV link for Elizabeth Colbert Busch

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