Amid one of the all-time great days of self-parody courtesy of Tony Hayward and Rep. Joe Barton, it's time to end the evening by taking a gander at the political headlines of the day. Set aside those great mock Joe Barton tweets (my personal fave: sorry for getting our ocean in your oil!), and sidle up to the bar for the Thursday edition of the Wrap...
AK-Sen: Palin-Tea Party nexus gunning for incumbent GOPer?
Veddy, veddy interesting: it looks like the Tea Party Express is going to follow the lead of Sarah Palin. The Express is heading north to Alaska to endorse the opponent of freshman Alaska Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski. Joe Miller had been endorsed by Palin a couple of weeks ago, who wanted to make it very clear that this was not anything personal against Murkowski, but she just likes competitive primaries, gosh darn it.
CT-Sen: Is Paulite GOP contender in deep Schiff over petitions?
One of my favorite stories of the 2010 cycle revolved around the posse of Paulites who went absolutely ballistic on a pollster earlier in the cycle who tested Republicans Linda McMahon and Rob Simmons in Connecticut, but not their Nutmegger hero, Peter Schiff. Schiff, they sniffed in the comments section, was the only Republican capable of winning election. Apparently, even getting on the ballot (subscription only) is going to be a challenge. Schiff is apparently struggling to obtain the requisite number of signatures to earn a spot in the GOP primary.
SC-Sen: Greene might not be the only Democrat in the field
In a ten-day period of interesting twists and turns in the Palmetto State, here comes another one: it is possible that Alvin Greene might not be the only Democrat facing Senator Jim DeMint in November. Enter Linda Kentner, last seen refusing a second bid for the House seat she nearly won in an upset in 2008. Kentner is apparently being drafted to run for the Senate, in the wake of non-candidate Greene's upset win over Victor Rawl in the Democratic primary last week. Kentner has not confirmed interest in the bid, but if she gets in, the wealthy businesswoman will be able to self-finance. Greene, for what it is worth, was affirmed as the Democratic nominee earlier today, as the state party refused to overturn the results of the primary.
NC-02: Republican pollster sees toss-up after the dust-up
Democratic Rep. Bob Etheridge got a lot of press this week, and virtually all of it was bad, after a shoving match with some video-wielding interlopers made national news. The conservative-leaning Civitas Institute (using the nonpartisan crew at SurveyUSA to do the work) think that Etheridge is paying a price for his brusqueness. They have Etheridge in a dead heat with his little-known GOP challenger, Renee Ellmers. Ellmers holds a one-point edge (39-38), with a Libertarian candidate at 12%. For some analysis, check out home-stater Tom Jensen of PPP, who doesn't question the poll's legitimacy, but does question its predictive value.
NC-08: Johnson looks to emerge from primary, but badly bloodied
Aside from the unthinkable (a Tim D'Annunzio upset), the new polling numbers from PPP are probably the best news that Democratic incumbent Larry Kissell could hope for. Harold Johnson still leads D'Annunzio going into the final few days of the runoff, but only by ten points (49-39). What's more, it looks like the primary has taken a pound of flesh from Johnson, as D'Annunzio supporters take a very dim view of Johnson. This suggests that the frontrunner might have some trouble getting the party to coalesce around him after Tuesday.
WV-03: Local pollster claims shocking close race for longtime Dem
Is longtime Democratic incumbent Nick Rahall (first elected way back in 1976) in trouble? A new poll by local pollster Mark Blankenship (WV Kossacks, chime in--any relation to Don Blankenship?) shows Rahall up on GOP nominee Spike Maynard by only a 42-36 margin. By the way, if you were hankering for one of the most painfully right-wing poll analyses in the history of the printed word (y'know, outside of Rasmussen Reports)--wait no more.
AL-Gov: Looking increasingly like Byrne and Bentley in runoff
The recount in Alabama is nearly completed (55 of 67 counties are reporting tallies), and it is looking exceedingly likely that Tim James is not going to find the votes to overcome the narrow lead posted by state legislator Robert Bentley in the first round of voting. What was once a lead of 167 votes is now up to a lead of 177 votes, meaning that James is going to have to catch the good fortune of a major error taking place in one of the twelve remaining counties in order to make up the gap.
ME-Gov: GOPers down East rally around LePage
In a state like Maine, known for its embrace of moderate Republicans, this might be a bigger upset than anything that happened on primary night nine days ago. The vanquished candidates for Governor, including a few from (what remains of) the moderate wing of the GOP, lined up today and endorsed far-right nominee Paul LePage at a "unity rally." LePage takes on Democrat Libby Mitchell and a host of Independents, including Eliot Cutler, who some Maine journos suggested could contend by siphoning off moderate voters from both sides.
MD-Gov: Curious GOP internal poll gives O'Malley the lead
The logic on this one is more than a little evasive. Brian Murphy, somewhat of a longshot GOP candidate for Governor (former Governor Bob Ehrlich is the frontrunner for the party nod), released an internal poll that was, to say the least, curious. The survey, conducted by GOP pollsters The Polling Company, had Democratic Governor Martin O'Malley leading Ehrlich by just a point (44-43), while it had O'Malley well ahead of Murphy (44-25). So...why release those numbers, again?!?!
MI-Gov: Undecided the big leader in IMP polling
For the second time this week, numbers emerge from the state of Michigan which underscore how close those August primaries are bound to be in the state. Undecided is still the big leader in both the Republican and Democratic primaries, according to a new poll by Inside Michigan Politics. On the GOP side, Congressman Peter Hoekstra is your leader, but with only 21% of the vote. As most other polls have shown, businessman Rick Snyder is your runner-up, not far off the lead with 15% of the vote. On the Democratic side, Andy Dillon "leads" Virg Bernero, but it is hard to call anything a lead when the frontrunner is cruising around with 14% of the vote (Bernero has 10%). It would be fair to speculate that leaners are not being pushed in IRP polls.
OK-Gov: Sooner Poll shows Fallin with leads in primary, general
If everything goes according to form, Republican Congresswoman Mary Fallin is well on her way to being elected the next Governor from what has become one of the reddest states in the Union. Fallin is well head in her primary bid, blasting state Senator Randy Brogdon by a 59-10 margin. In the general election, Fallin leads either of the Democrats vying for the office. She leads state Lt. Governor Jari Askins (49-36) and longtime Attorney General Drew Edmondson (50-35). The good news for Dems? If Brogdon manages to defy gravity and win the primary, both Edmondson and Askins hold leads.
WI-Gov: Tom Barrett, the job
Apparently, the ad folks at the Republican Governor's Association must work in hermetically sealed containers or something, unable to communicate. The RGA released an ad slamming Milwaukee Mayor (and gubernatorial candidate) Tom Barrett for being a "job killer". That's fine--typical GOP boilerplate crap. Shocking to no one, I am sure. But then...there's this: an ad slamming Denver Mayor (and gubernatorial candidate) John Hickenlooper for being a job-killer, even pointing out a specific case where Denver lost jobs to...well...Milwaukee. Better still, the Hickenlooper attack ad was an epic fail, as the company itself (Frontier Airlines) blasted the ad, saying that that "taxes were not the compelling factor in our decision to relocate jobs to other cities and we want to set the record straight."
Same as it ever was. Sheesh, talk about self-parodies....
AR-Sen: John Boozman (R) 61%, Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D) 32%
IA-Sen: Sen. Chuck Grassley (R) 54%, Roxanne Conlin (D) 37%
TN-Gov: Bill Haslam (R) 50%, Mike McWherter (D) 32%
TN-Gov: Ron Ramsey (R) 44%, Mike McWherter (D) 33%
TN-Gov: Zach Wamp (R) 44%, Mike McWherter (D) 33%