Skip to main content

Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest banner
Want the scoop on hot races around the country? Get the digest emailed to you each weekday morning. Sign up here.
Leading Off:

NJ-12: Ah, bummer. Democratic Rep. Rush Holt, one of the most thoughtful members of Congress, has decided to retire after eight terms in office. Holt was first elected in 1998, defeating freshman GOP Rep. Michael Pappas, then barely survived his first re-election campaign two years later by just 651 votes. His seat was soon shored up in redistricting, though, and he continued to win handily, aside from a somewhat closer call during the Republican wave of 2010.

Before running for Congress, Holt had been the assistant director of the Princeton Plasma Physics Lab, and supporters gleefully slapped on bumper stickers that read "My Congressman IS a Rocket Scientist." True to form, Holt also demonstrated that he was the last, best hope of humankind, as he defeated IBM's Jeopardy!-playing supercomputer Watson in a match in 2011.

Last year, Holt, an outspoken progressive, ran in the Democratic primary for the special election to fill the late Frank Lautenberg's Senate seat. However, he never really stood a chance against the eventual winner, Newark Mayor Cory Booker, and finished a disappointing third with just 17 percent. Evidently, it was either up or out for Holt, who spoke of a "a certain level of dysfunction" in Congress as prompting his departure.

The 12th District, located in central Jersey, will stay in Democratic hands, as it went for Barack Obama 67-32 in 2012. But unlike in the vacant 1st District, where the Democratic machine immediately coronated a successor to ex-Rep. Rob Andrews, we're much more likely to see a competitive primary here.

Indeed, State Sen. Linda Greenstein immediately said she'd run for Holt's seat, citing the fact that no women represent New Jersey in Congress. But Assembly members Reed Gusciora, Upendra Chivukula, and Bonnie Watson Coleman all quickly expressed interest as well, as did Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes. And Roll Call's Abby Livingston is in full-blown Great Mentioner mode, citing a number of other possibilities, including Assembly members Linda Stender, Daniel Benson, Wayne DeAngelo, and Jerry Green; state Sens. Shirley Turner; and former Edison Mayor Jun Choi. (Stender and Chivukula have both run in the neighboring 7th District in the past.)


IA-Sen: Republican businessman Mark Jacobs is out with a new internal of the GOP Senate primary from Hill Research. As you'd expect (since it's his own poll), Jacobs is in the lead with 22 percent, while state Sen. Joni Ernst is at 11, former U.S. Attorney Matt Whitaker takes 8, and radio host Sam Clovis brings up the rear with 6. Notably, Jacobs tested general election matchups with Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley but declined to make them public.

KS-Sen: Gotta credit Milton Wolf for having some pep to his step. Some enterprising staffer snapped a pic of GOP Sen. Pat Roberts' vanity plates, which read "PR-USS." Yeah, that's short for "Pat Roberts, U.S. Senator"—incredibly lame, except the real problem is that this initialism is emblazoned on a set of Virginia license plates. As Wolf puts it, Roberts seems to be saying he's the Old Dominion's third senator. I bet Mark Warner and Tim Kaine would be pretty surprised to hear this.

MS-Sen: It's a strange comment from a Republican senator facing a primary challenge from the right, but it's also pretty indicative that Thad Cochran doesn't really know what he's dealing with here. Said Cochran during a recent campaign stop: "The Tea Party is something I don't really know a lot about." I have a feeling that state Sen. Chris McDaniel is going to teach him.

NC-Sen: Here's yet another Americans for Prosperity ad bashing Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan over Obamacare. We're not quite at "seen one, seen 'em all territory," but we're getting close.


AR-Gov: A DGA front group called Jobs and Opportunity is up with a new compare-and-contrast ad in the Arkansas governor's race. The narrator hits Republican Asa Hutchinson for wanting to "hide the fact that his lobbying firm made millions from corporations pushing the Wall Street and Detroit bailouts—even a stimulus bill." (Ah, a Democrat running against Detroit. Welcome to Arkansas.) Ross, meanwhile, is described as "one of the most independent members of Congress" as the camera pans across his family holding hands to say grace before mealtime. There's no word on the size of the buy.

IL-Gov: When your campaign has to deny rumors you're dropping out of the race, that's a bad sign. When your campaign admits you're cancelling your TV ad reservations with just weeks to go before Election Day, that's even worse. When you do both at once? Hoo boy. But that's where state Treasurer Dan Rutherford finds himself in the wake of a sexual harassment lawsuit that was recently filed against him, with the GOP primary fast approaching on March 18. A Rutherford spokesman claims it's a "strategic decision" in light of "outside involvement" on Rutherford's behalf, but no one seems to have seen these supposed third-party ads. I'm sure the cavalry is just around the corner.

LA-Gov: PPP has another batch of early numbers on Louisiana's 2015 gubernatorial race, but they're best as an illustration of why polling this far out means so little. Last summer, PPP actually found New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu beating Republican Sen. David Vitter 45-42. Now, all of a sudden, it's Vitter 50, Landrieu 37, despite the fact that Landrieu just completed a successful re-election bid. So it'll be some time before we get a solid read on this race, especially since Landrieu hasn't even said if he'll run.

MD-Gov: A new Washington Post poll of Maryland's Democratic primary for governor from Abt SRBI has results so similar to a survey released a day earlier by the Baltimore Sun that you might have mistaken them for one another. The WaPo finds Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown leading Attorney General Doug Gansler 34-15, with Del. Heather Mizeur back at 8. The Sun, at the same time, had the race 35-14-10. Doesn't get much more similar than that!

Meanwhile, Democratic Rep. John Delaney, who recently hinted that he might join the contest, has now filed for re-election. That presumably takes him out of the running, though Maryland's filing deadline is not until Tuesday, so he could still change his mind.


CA-15: Uh, say what? State Senate Majority Leader Ellen Corbett, who has run a strangely invisible campaign against Rep. Eric Swalwell, a fellow Democrat, recently announced that state Sen. Mark DeSaulnier had endorsed her challenge. But DeSaulnier, who is the consensus pick to succeed Rep. George Miller in the 11th, says he doesn't recall doing so. Corbett says that DeSaulnier signed an endorsement card eight months ago, but he can be forgiven for forgetting, since almost no one could even tell Corbett was actually in the race that long ago. DeSaulnier adds that this screw-up may be his fault, but says that he's friends with both candidates, so either he'll have to withdraw his support from Corbett or issue a dual endorsement.

Also, memo to candidates and their staffers: Take a cell phone photo of every endorsement card you sign, right after you sign it. This isn't the first botched endorsement we've ever encountered, but there are easy ways to avoid them in the future.

CA-33: Former Los Angeles City Controller Wendy Greuel has released a new internal from the Benenson Strategy Group that shows her on top in the race for California's open 33rd District, but definitely not dominant. Greuel leads state Sen. Ted Lieu 29 to 21, while Republican Elan Carr takes 19. Independents Marianne Williamson and Brent Roske trail with 7 and 1 percent respectively. (Radio host Matt Miller, another Democrat who just entered the race, was not included.) At the very least, Greuel's numbers suggest a serious dogfight for second place in June's top-two primary, though let's see if Lieu responds with a poll of his own.

CA-35: As nameless observers speculated a month ago, Democratic Rep. Gloria Negrete McLeod will not seek re-election to Congress but will instead run for a newly open seat on the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors. Negrete McLeod was a surprise winner in 2012, beating Rep. Joe Baca in a Dem-vs.-Dem general election thanks to a last-minute infusion of cash from former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg's political operation.

But apparently she was never particularly interested in serving in Washington, D.C., and if she's victorious this fall, she'll get to stay close to home. It's also worth noting that San Bernardino County supervisors have 400,000 constituents apiece and make $150,000 a year, so it's not nearly the step down to nobodyhood that some Beltway types are making it out to be.

Baca, meanwhile, has been pursuing a desultory comeback in the neighboring 31st District, where two other better-equipped Democrats are already running, but he says he won't switch back to the 35th. Regardless, this seat will stay in Democratic hands, as it went 67-31 for Barack Obama in 2012. One strong contender would be state Sen. Norma Torres, who considered a bid last cycle but never made the leap.

P.S. Fuck Joe Baca:

"Look at what we wound up with: Some bimbo who decided not to run again. ... Here we go again now with another New Yorker trying to tell us who's going to be the representative of the 31st. It's up to the people to decide."
And of course Baca later apologized (and made some lame excuse for his unacceptable choice of words). But this isn't the first time he's been accused of using hateful language toward female members of Congress. Can't wait to be rid of this guy.

CO-03: Just following up on a recent item: Pueblo County Commissioner Buffie McFadyen has indeed decided to run against GOP Rep. Scott Tipton, as she'd been expected to. McFadyen previously served eight years in the state House before winning a seat on the commission in 2012.

FL-13: American Crossroads has a new ad going after Democrat Alex Sink, but the attacks are all familiar (Sink mismanaged the state's pension fund, enriched herself as a banker in the private sector, and once used a state plane for personal purposes). The only difference is that this time, a bunch of seniors deliver these jabs, but they're certainly not all just reg'lar folks. One of them is Connie Deneault, who ran for the state House in 2010 as a Republican. The size of the buy is reportedly $357,000.

Overall, outside spending on the race has now hit $4.3 million, with GOP groups far out-stripping their Democratic counterparts, $2.8 million to $1.5 million. But keep in mind that Sink had widely outraised Republican David Jolly according to the last set of fundraising reports, and Jolly had to spend almost everything winning the January primary, so the overall spending gap isn't quite so large.

VA-08: The comically long list of contenders in the Democratic primary for Virginia's open 8th Congressional District just got longer still—by two names. Liberal talk-radio host Mark Levine and Virginia Tech urban affairs Prof. Derek Hyra have both joined the field. That makes 11 total candidates so far, including a number of elected officials.

WA-04: Two more Republicans have joined the field to replace retiring Rep. Doc Hastings in Washington's reddest House district. One is a name you may remember from 2010: Clint Didier, a long-ago NFL star turned rancher turned tea party activist, who was the hard-right alternative to Dino Rossi in the 2010 Senate race but didn't get much traction. The other is state Sen. Sharon Brown, who represents Kennewick. She's never appeared before voters and has only been in office for a year, though, after being appointed in the wake of Jerome Delvin's resignation to become a Benton County Commissioner.

The Yakima Herald also does some further Great Mentioning, and they suggest Delvin as a potential contestant, too. Two other names that they hit who haven't surfaced anywhere else are Franklin County Commissioner Brad Peck and Dan Newhouse, the former director of the state Dept. of Agriculture (an appointed position). (David Jarman)

Grab Bag:

Fundraising: On Thursday night at midnight Eastern, the first pre-primary fundraising reports of the cycle will be due at the FEC. These reports, which stretch from the end of the prior reporting period (so in this case, Jan. 1) until 20 days before a primary or convention, are due 12 days before the election in question. So candidates in Texas, which has the first primary of the year on March 4, have to file reports this week. To keep track of all the pre-primary filing deadlines, we've put together this handy calendar that you can bookmark.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 05:00 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (11+ / 0-)

    Get the Daily Kos Elections Digest in your inbox every weekday. Sign up here.

    by David Nir on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 05:00:17 AM PST

  •  I predict Brian Hughes in NJ-12 (0+ / 0-)

    He has been a competent county executive in the county that contributes the most votes in the district.

  •  Gravis has Cornyn under 50% vs Stockman (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MartyM, TomFromNJ

    Consider the source, but still good for a laugh.

    Disclaimer: If the above comment can possibly be construed as snark, it probably is.

    by grubber on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 06:10:14 AM PST

  •  FL-13 (0+ / 0-)

    Newspapers in the district are barely covering this race.
    Not surprising though -- GOP newspapers.

    "Tax cuts for the 1% create jobs." -- Republicans, HAHAHA - in China

    by MartyM on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 06:22:14 AM PST

  •  We keep losing good Dems (9+ / 0-)

    Can't say I blame them, no one wants to sell their seat to a group of corporate donors.

    I'm still convinced questions about Social Security cuts (via chained CPI or other tricks) will be the most reliable indicator about good vs. bad primary candidates.

    Thanks for the calendar!  It will come in handy.

    Money is property, not speech. Overturn Citizens United.

    by Betty Pinson on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 06:23:54 AM PST

  •  It is super (5+ / 0-)

    discouraging that the people of New Jersey are incapable of recognizing the quality of a candidate like Rush Holt. And there is no “like” Rush Holt, there is only one true Rush Holt.
    In terms of problem solving, competence, fair mindedness, incorruptibility and general excellent public servant, Rush Holt is miles above the sleazy scumbags that seem to populate New Jersey politics.

    Texas politics is corrupt and bad - corporate darlings are appointed commissioners of Agriculture, Railroad (which regulates energy?), etc - in other words the strings of corporate power are controlled by cronies who the governor appoints to “control" the industries that make Texas run in favor of Big Oil, Big Ag, etc etc.
    But for all the bashing Texas gets as a redneck backward state, it does not, IMO, rival the contemptible condition of New Jersey politics. It’s a wonder that Frank Lautenberg was elected. He knew how corrupt New Jersey was and he railed against it in the Congress, to no avail.
    well there’s my rant for the day.......
    I’m expecting many “hides” for this.
    sorry David Nir to be corrupting the even handed thrust you maintain on this wonderful diary!!
    Please keep up the great work!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    And Thanks!

    Finally people have gotten sick and tired of being had and taken for idiots. Mikhail Gorbachev

    by eve on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 06:37:07 AM PST

  •  Can't blame any decent folks for leaving the (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TomFromNJ, GleninCA

    toxic waste dump that is DC.  There is not yet a vaccine available to counteract the sepsis of corporate money mixed with rightwing lunacy, so best to live among trees and upland game while one can.  The nation is doing a good job of destroying itself without any foreign invasion.

    MI is losing the retiring Carl Levin who has served us well and nobly, qualities no longer required or expected in DC.  I lament.

    Building a better America with activism, cooperation, ingenuity and snacks.

    by judyms9 on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 07:07:28 AM PST

  •  Rush Holt for Director of National Intelligence (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    newdem1960, TomFromNJ, jerseyjo, GleninCA

    Rush Holt is a rarity in Congress, a man of unusual intelligence and integrity. I'm sorry he'll no longer be my voice in the House of Representatives.

    Holt's announcement left the door open to continued public service. I'd love to see him replace James Clapper as Director of National Intelligence. Holt is a strong civil libertarian and understands that we don't need to sacrifice privacy and freedom for a false sense of security.

    In any case, whatever role Holt has in the future, he will do it expertly, openly and honorably.

  •  Plasma Physicist, Jeopardy Champ ... (0+ / 0-)

    and Landon grad! (Class of '66)

  •  Will Miss Rush Holt.... (0+ / 0-)

    Even though he wasn't my representative....mine is Leonard Lance right next door.  And Lance's votes have become worse the longer he has been in office.  I don't know how many tea-party types live in Central NJ but Lance seem's to think he represents the same district as Steve Stockman.

    Director of National Intelligence indeed.  He is intelligent and knows how to use it....

  •  VA-08 - with 11 Dems in primary, I hope we do not (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    end up with an oddball winner with 12% of the vote, maybe a conservadem or someone so far on the left that the GOP would have an opening in the general election.

  •  Why is Rush Holt retiring? (0+ / 0-)

    There seems to be no reason given for Holt retiring, at least not in the information above. Not even the generic "wants to spend more time with his family" reason given by so many others.

    •  Why Holt is retiring (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      He has been in office for 16 years, so that is quite a while, especially for someone who wants to do other things with his life. (Not everyone wants to be in Congress for 25 years or more).  It must also be quite frustrating to be in such dysfunctional Congress and not see a majority coming any time soon, although, remember what happened in 2006, 4 years after the GOP gerrymandered a bunch of states in 2002, the crooks fell like dominos in 2006.  But, it must be frustrating still.  

  •  Olympic champion Dick Fosbury runs for Idaho House (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Christopher Walker

    … seat as a Democrat!

    May he have the same kind of impact on Idaho politics that he had on the high jump!

    The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war. ♥ ♥ ♥ Forget Neo — The One is Minori Urakawa

    by lotlizard on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 09:18:10 AM PST

    •  We shall devoutly hope.... (0+ / 0-)

      That his campaign does not follow the name of the jumping style he pioneered.

      "Wouldn't you rather vote for what you want and not get it than vote for what you don't want - and get it?" Eugene Debs. "Le courage, c'est de chercher la verité et de la dire" Jean Jaures

      by Chico David RN on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 09:50:15 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  For those who don't follow Track and Field... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        The style that Fosbury pioneered - and is now used universally - was called the Fosbury Flop.  The style used previously would be a favorite of politicians everywhere.  It was called.....The Straddle.

        "Wouldn't you rather vote for what you want and not get it than vote for what you don't want - and get it?" Eugene Debs. "Le courage, c'est de chercher la verité et de la dire" Jean Jaures

        by Chico David RN on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 09:57:29 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Seems it was the media who came up with the term. (0+ / 0-)
          A 1964 photograph of him performing his technique was widely distributed, and was reprinted in newspapers around the world. Many of them made fun of the new technique, with one newspaper captioning the photograph, "World's Laziest High Jumper." The technique gained the name the "Fosbury Flop" after a reporter for a Medford newspaper wrote that he looked like a "fish flopping in a boat."[3]

          A political "Fosbury Flop" might well be on the same level as the "Dean Scream," another notorious media concoction.

          The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war. ♥ ♥ ♥ Forget Neo — The One is Minori Urakawa

          by lotlizard on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 03:20:53 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  "coronated"? (0+ / 0-)

    I hate grammar pedants in comment threads - but couldn't help myself.  I was pretty sure that this didn't exist as a verb - the normal usage would be to say "crowned".  My Websters Collegiate didn't have coronate at all - only "coronation" - the ceremony of crowning.  But then I decided to look further and went to the Third International - massive thing that it is, I don't get it down much and it calls "coronate" (to crown) as a verb "obsolete" and does list "coronated" - but not as the past tense of "coronate" but rather as an adjective meaning "possessing a crown" and says it is typically used in biology to refer to certain shells that have a crown like structure.  We learn something new.

    "Wouldn't you rather vote for what you want and not get it than vote for what you don't want - and get it?" Eugene Debs. "Le courage, c'est de chercher la verité et de la dire" Jean Jaures

    by Chico David RN on Wed Feb 19, 2014 at 09:48:52 AM PST

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site