As the number of eyes being cast on the Massachusetts Senate special election increased exponentially over the last few days, the campaign trail is starting to get some attention once again. In addition to Coakley-Brown, there are also a number of polls and headlines in other races across the country, in the week-opening edition of the Wrap...
MA-Sen: Coakley Releases Internal Showing A Double Digit Lead
Perhaps in response to the widely disaparate polling released over the weekend in next week's special election in the Bay State, the campaign for Democratic state Attorney General Martha Coakley has released their most recent internal poll. Their numbers fall in line with the Boston Globe's large lead for Coakley with the Democrat leading 50-36, with 6% for Libertarian candidate Joe Kennedy. Brown's campaign claims that their polling shows a dead heat, although Crisitunity at SSP points out that they have not released any of their internal numbers. The Coakley campaign's release of their numbers underscores the rather fine line that they have to walk--they want to notify their partisans that their campaign is still strong, yet they also want to avoid complacency.
OK-Gov: GOP Frontrunner Owns Double Digit Lead In New Poll
The general consensus was that Oklahoma would prove to be a tough hold for Democrats as Brad Henry's two terms in office come to an end this year. A new poll out from the Sooner State confirms this suspicion. The likely Republican nominee, Congresswoman Mary Fallin, has double digit leads over either of the presumptive Democratic candidates. Fallin leads Democratic Attorney General Drew Edmondson by twelve points (51-39), while she leads Democratic Lt. Governor Jari Askins by sixteen points (52-36). In what may well be a very competitive Democratic primary, Edmondson has a ten-point edge (46-36) over Askins.
MA-Gov: Deval Patrick Damaged Politically, Still Leads Modestly
One of the most curious polling anomalies in recent memory is still going strong, according to a new poll put out by the Boston Globe (the same pollster that gave Martha Coakley a 53-36 edge over Scott Brown). Deval Patrick suffers from mediocre job approval numbers (41/52), but maintains a modest lead over his three-candidate field for Governor this year. When paired with GOP health care executive Charlie Baker, Patrick leads with 30% of the vote, followed by Democrat-turned-Independent Tim Cahill at 23%, with Baker trailing the pack at 19%. Against Mihos, the numbers are almost identical (Patrick bumps up to 32%).
NV-Sen: Reid's Numbers Still Flagging, Even Pre-"Dialect"
Even before this weekend's news firestorm over his "negro dialect" comment about then-candidate Obama, Harry Reid was suffering from some serious popularity issues in his home state, according to a new poll conducted for the Las Vegas Review-Journal by Mason Dixon. Reid's favorabilities are at an all-time low (33/52), and he trails all three potential GOP suitors by margins ranging from five to ten points. This is notable, since not one of the three GOPers in the field elicit a favorable or unfavorable response from a majority of voters. In other words, the GOP leads in these races are almost entirely a referendum on the incumbent.
NV-Gov: Reid The Younger In Similar Straits, According to M-D
One has to wonder if there is "Reid Fatigue" in Nevada, based on the polling data that Mason Dixon compiled in the state's gubernatorial election. Democrat Rory Reid, the forty-something son of the Senate majority leader, badly trails GOP frontrunner Brian Sandoval in a gubernatorial bid (53-31). Amazingly, even against uber-damaged incumbent Republican Governor Jim Gibbons (who sports a stellar 18% favorability), Reid only leads Gibbons by seven points (43-36). The only good news for Democrats, and it is definitely with qualifications, is that if Democratic Las Vegas Mayor runs as an Independent, he makes life interesting in this election. Against Sandoval, the Republican only leads Goodman by a 35-33 margin, with Reid well behind at 20%. Meanwhile, Goodman has a sizeable advantage if Gibbons manages to get nominated (Goodman 41, Reid 24, Gibbons 21). One incredibly interesting data point: Sandoval is hardly a lock to win the GOP nomination in this gubernatorial race. He leads Jim Gibbons, but he is well under 50%, and Gibbons has actually gained slightly over the past few months (39-23).
IN OTHER NEWS....
- NH-Sen: Amid growing signs that NRSC fave Kelly Ayotte might be the next prominent Republican politico to get Scozzafava'ed, Dan Quayle has waded into the GOP primary in the Granite State by endorsing right-wing insurgent candidate Ovide Lamontagne. Ayotte and Lamontagne are battling to claim the mantle of retiring Republican Senator Judd Gregg. 2nd district Congressman Paul Hodes is likely to be the Democratic nominee.
- NY-Sen: The good news for Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand continues. While it is still up in the air whether she will be primaried from the right by Tennessee transplant Harold Ford Jr, it is now clear that two of the more formidable names on the GOP side have demurred from challenging her in 2010. Today, Peter King elected to stand down from an off again-on again flirtation with challenging the Democrat. At the same time, former Congresswoman Susan Molinari also declined the opportunity to challenge Gillibrand. This leaves only former Governor George Pataki as a first-tier prospect for the GOP that has not definitively slammed the door, even though the general consensus is that he will not run.
- ND-Sen: No surprise here, but Republican Governor John Hoeven made it official tonight that he will seek the U.S. Senate seat being left open by the retirement of longtime Democratic Senator Byron Dorgan. Democrats are still casting about for a candidate, although former Attorney General Heidi Heitkamp was said to be interested late last week. Heitkamp and Hoeven have faced off once before, when the Republican defeated Heitkamp by ten points when they ran against each other for Governor in 2000.
- CO-Gov/CO-07: The potential field of Democratic gubernatorial candidates (in the wake of last week's retirement announcement by Governor Bill Ritter) shrunk by one today, with the news that Denver Metro congressman Ed Perlmutter would not be a candidate for Governor in 2010. He announced that he will instead seek re-election to his seat in Congress in 2010. In other news out of the Colorado 7th district today, Minority Whip Eric Cantor waded into a contested primary by endorsing Ryan Frazier today. Frazier is going heads-up with former McCain staffer Lang Sias in the race to challenge Perlmutter.
- PA-06: After showing no shortage of frustration with incumbent Jim Gerlach's in-and-out routine for Governor last week, Republican state legislator Curt Schroder reversed course today and dropped his bid for Congress. Schroder's email to supporters shows a clear level of agony over the decision, as he comes to grips with the fact that Gerlach's re-entry seems to have sucked all of the oxygen out of his nascent bid. Meanwhile, a couple of other Republicans (including free-spending businessman Steven Welch and tea party advocate Patrick Sellers) seem prepared to stay in the race.
- CA-11: Just two months after he notched a respectable 43% of the vote by raising the spectre of carpetbagging against Democratic Lt. Governor John Garamendi (now Congressman John Garamendi), Republican Attorney David Harmer has decided that his political second act will be running for Congress...in a district outside of his hometown. After losing by double digits in the Dem-leaning 10th district, Harmer is going to attempt his second bid for Congress a little further to the east/southeast, as he will challenge Jerry McNerney in the neighboring 11th district. The 11th is more amenable turf for Harmer--whereas Barack Obama carried the 10th by a 64-34 margin, he only carried the 11th district by ten points.
- TN-08: In an interesting twist that could have major implications on a vulnerable Dem-held open seat, a Republican contender has decided to leave the GOP and instead run as a "tea party Independent" candidate. Businessman Donn Janes was apparently peeved that the National GOP had all but anointed farmer/gospel singer Stephen Fincher as the party standard-bearer in the race. The decision may well have been financial, as well: CQ reports that Janes claimed he will have raised around twenty thousand dollars for the quarter, which will be a fraction of what both Fincher and likely Democratic nominee Roy Herron will bank or the same time period. Janes is not the first right-leaning candidate to elect to go Independent rather than challenge anointed candidates in a GOP primary. Tea Party activist Bradley Rees has already declared his Independent candidacy in another top GOP target--Tom Perriello's seat in the Virginia 5th district.