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• VA-Gov, VA-AG: Unlike the scattershot polling in New Jersey, there's broad agreement in Virginia as to where the governor's race stands. The final two polls of the contest are very similar in terms of their spread: Quinnipiac has Democrat Terry McAuliffe winning by 6, while PPP has him up 7. That's right around RCP's final average of 6.7 percent and Pollster's 6.9.
However, unlike almost every other polling firm, PPP sees Libertarian Robert Sarvis fading into the low single digits. He's averaged a stubbornly high 9 to 10 points, but PPP puts him at just 4, the lowest score any pollster's ever given Sarvis. Third-party candidates typically collapse as voters ultimately come home to one of the major options; a good example came in the 2009 New Jersey gubernatorial election, when independent Chris Daggett finished with under 6 percent of the vote, around half of what polls showed him getting. Regardless of what Sarvis' supporters do, though, McAuliffe is indisputably on track to win.
PPP also offered some numbers on the much tighter attorney general's race, where they find Democrat Mark Herring narrowly edging Republican Mark Obenshain 47-45. HuffPo Pollster threw together a chart of all polling in the contest, and wow is it close: Overall, Obenshain has a 43.1 to 43.0 "lead," if you can even call it that.
Democrats would badly love to pick up this seat, which of course is being vacated by none other than Cuccinelli. This one will almost surely be Tuesday's most exciting election.
• GA-Sen: Businesswoman Kelly Loeffler, who could have potentially self-funded a bid for Senate, has decided against a late entry into the GOP primary. Loeffler is a co-owner of the Atlanta Dream, a WNBA team, and she's also an executive at IntercontinentalExchange, a company that's in the process of buying the New York Stock Exchange. Loeffler cited delays in that purchase as her reason for passing on a run for office right now, but it sounds like she might be interested in public service at some point in the future.
• KS-Sen: Shawnee County District Attorney Chad Taylor, a Democrat, says he's considering a challenge to GOP Sen. Pat Roberts next year and is starting off with a "listening tour" to gauge support for a bid. (Shawnee, home of Topeka, is the state's third-largest county.) A recent SurveyUSA poll gave Roberts a terrible 36-54 job approval rating, but Kansas hasn't elected a Democrat to the Senate since the 1930s.
• LA-Sen: Buried on the second page of this Politico story about GOP Rep. Bill Cassidy's failure consolidate conservative support behind his Senate bid is this truly awesome letter to the editor Cassidy wrote in 1988, exhorting his fellow Louisianans to vote for... Mike Dukakis!
In 1988, while living in California, Cassidy penned a letter to The State-Times, a now defunct afternoon newspaper in Baton Rouge. In the letter, Cassidy mocked anyone who would vote for George H.W. Bush for president and suggested Louisiana residents vote for Michael Dukakis. In a sarcastic tone, Cassidy "thanked" voters for supporting Bush because the Republican president would ultimately help California by increasing defense spending while Louisiana suffered economically during the oil bust because of falling prices.
"You see, when the federal government takes care of poor people, education, health care, roads and the elderly, you people get a lot of that money," he wrote, according to a copy obtained by POLITICO from archives of the newspaper. "If you begin to realize that patriotism has nothing to do with any of this, tell yourself that there was nothing that the Republicans could have done about the fall in oil prices. Of course, I know better."
He continued, "Please do me one favor, dear Louisianans. Never ask yourself if you're better off now than you were eight years ago. If you do, you might wake up, you might vote for a change."
Unfortunately, we don't have access to the full original, so we can't be sure if he addressed the letter to "Dear Sheeple of Louisiana." (Though props to the oppo researcher who unearthed this gem.) Now, back in 1988, things were pretty different, and the Pelican State was only about 2 percent redder than the nation as a whole; in 2012, by contrast, it was 22 percent redder. But Bush the Elder still won Louisiana by a handy 10 points, so add Cassidy's admiration for The Duke to his long list of sins against the conservative movement. (Confronted with the letter, Cassidy admitted he was "wrong" to pen it.)
Meanwhile, one of Cassidy's potential opponents, state Rep. Alan Seabaugh, has opted against entering the contest and actually threw his support to Cassidy. But the language of Seabaugh's endorsement is telling, as he called Cassidy "if not quite a staunch hard-line conservative, at least a solid Republican vote." Seabaugh cited Cassidy's vote against re-opening the federal government as a big mark in his favor, but Seabaugh's decision to sit this one out may, perversely, only hurt Cassidy. That's because it allows Air Force vet Rob Maness, the only "true conservative" candidate in the race, to consolidate right-wing support, rather than risk splitting it multiple ways. And now he can run ads about Belgian endive, too.
• NH-Sen: Oof. If there's one state where Republican recruitment has fallen far short of the party's expectations, it's definitely New Hampshire. Their latest burned-out fad is ex-Rep. Charlie Bass, who emerged out of nowhere in September as a possible Senate candidate. Now, though, Bass says he won't run against Sen. Jeanne Shaheen next year. Unless Scott Brown jumps in, that leaves Republicans with only C-listers running.
For what it's worth, Bass did actually encourage Brown to run, though he stopped short of calling it an endorsement. Bass also dinged his fellow Republicans, saying Brown would bring "an element of diversity to a party that's been basically obstructionist." I'm sure Bass was referring to Brown's voting record, but it's still amusing that a white dude thinks another white dude offers the GOP an "element of diversity."
• FL-Gov: As expected, former Gov. Charlie Crist officially kicked off his comeback bid on Monday, running as a Democrat for a post he originally won in 2006 as a Republican. Crist is looking to unseat the man who succeeded him, the deeply unpopular Rick Scott. Scott's already launched a $525,000 negative ad buy against Crist, and there's plenty more where that came from, since Scott has more money than Satan. Crist also faces little-known state Sen. Nan Rich in the Democratic primary, though polls have shown him beating her handily. Daily Kos Elections currently races this race a Tossup.
• MA-Gov: I'm not quite sure what to make of this Boston Globe story about Democratic AG (and gubernatorial frontrunner) Martha Coakley's federal campaign finance account. On the one hand, it sure sounds like it's been managed about as well as her Senate campaign was. On the other, the piece is written so histrionically that it's not really clear whether there's anything more than sloppiness afoot here. This is going to have to be one of those "read it yourself" cases, though unless there's more here, I'd be somewhat surprised if any of this became a major issue.
• ME-Gov: Democratic Rep. Mike Michaud, who is running for governor, penned an op-ed on Monday in which he announced that he's gay. Michaud says that "whisper campaigns" prompted him to come out publicly, but as he writes, "why should it matter?" The answer, of course, is that it doesn't matter one whit to Michaud's campaign, though it is worth noting that if he's victorious next year—as polls show him on track to be—he'd be the first openly gay governor elected in the United States. (And if Delegate Heather Mizeur pulls off an upset in Maryland, they'd tie for the honor.)
• NJ-Gov: For no particularly good reason, there are several more last-minute polls of the New Jersey governor's race. What's weird, though, is how widely they diverge from one another in predicting the size of Gov. Chris Christie's victory over Democrat Barbara Buono. They range from Christie by 18 (Kean) to double that margin (Rutgers). Buono's share ranges from 30 to 40, while Christie's is between 54 and 66. RCP averages out these last six polls to a 24-point win for Christie; if that turns out to be right, then Stockton will have nailed it. But quite a few someones are going to be wrong on Tuesday.
• PA-Gov: While plenty of his fellow Republicans would prefer he not seek re-election, Gov. Tom Corbett is going to kick off his bid for a second term on Wednesday, with a multi-day tour of the state. GOP dissenters have until March 11—the filing deadline—to find someone willing to challenge the deeply unpopular Corbett in a primary. But it just doesn't look like that's going to happen.
• RI-Gov: As expected, Cranston Mayor Allan Fung officially kicked off his campaign for governor on Monday, making him the second Republican to enter the race. Just beating him to the Secretary of State's office was "Moderate Party" founder Ken Block, who ran for governor on that line in 2010 but decided to switch to the GOP for his second try. The winner of the Republican primary will likely face either Providence Mayor Angel Taveras or state Treasurer Gina Raimondo in the general.
• TX-Gov: A new poll from the University of Texas and the Texas Tribune finds Republican state AG Greg Abbott leading Democratic state Sen. Wendy Davis 40-34 in a matchup of probably nominees for next year's gubernatorial race. That's a ton of undecideds, though, and doesn't really tell us much about the state of play here.
• FL-13: There was all sorts of news over the weekend in the special election to replace the late Rep. Bill Young. The biggest splash came from former St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker, who was the GOP establishment's preferred option but who decided against a bid. Also declining to run were former Young aide George Cretekos and ex-state Rep. Larry Crow, who had actually declared his intention to seek the seat before Young died.
One notable Republican did get into the race, though: Young's former general counsel David Jolly, who was immediately endorsed by Young's widow, Beverly. (That presumably takes her out of the running as well.) But in addition to serving as Young's attorney, Jolly's also had a long career as a lobbyist, and as such, he's donated lots of money to Democrats—lots and lots. You can easily dig back through his contribution reports, where you'll find donations to the likes of Bill Nelson, Allyson Schwartz, Charlie Crist (!), Dick Durbin, the DSCC (!!), and Jesse Jackson, Jr. (!!!).
Suffice it to say that these figures are not beloved among conservatives, so you have to imagine that Jolly will face some real competition in the GOP primary. Indeed, several other Republicans are still considering, including former Clearwater Mayor Frank Hibbard, former Pinellas County Commissioner Neil Brickfield, and current County Commissioner Karen Seel. (Hibbard and Brickfield both say they're "leaning" toward bids.) You can bet they'll make an issue of Jolly's history of aiding and abetting the blue team.
Speaking of the Democrats, the DCCC made its support for ex-CFO Alex Sink official on Monday, adding her to the committee's "Jumpstart" program for promising candidates. Meanwhile, attorney Jessica Ehrlich seems to be sticking to her guns. After avoiding reporters for days, she finally offered her first public comments since Sink's entry and insisted "I'm running for Congress."
Ehrlich also took a small jab at Sink for living outside the district, then defiantly added: "I wasn't afraid to stand up to the establishment and run against Bill Young and I'm not afraid to stand up to the establishment now." Sadly, this kind of messaging almost never works, and on top of that, well, "standing up" to the establishment is rather different than actually beating the establishment, which Ehrlich failed to do last year. Yes, she performed well, relatively speaking, against Young, but she now has a two-month sprint to the primary, and Sink's name recognition advantage is well-nigh insurmountable.
As we keep saying, there are other opportunities out there for Ehrlich, such as the open GOP-held state House seat in the 67th District. She'd be a hero if she could help Democrats make a dent in the legislature. But if she gets turfed by Sink in January, that's not going to be helpful to her future career.
• IN-02: Democrats have gotten their man in Indiana's 2nd, where Notre Dame administrator Joe Bock says he's forging ahead with a run against freshman Rep. Jackie Walorski. Bock's name first surfaced in the wake of the Republican shutdown of the federal government, so Dems have to be pleased to score another recruitment success off GOP intransigence. Interestingly, Bock previously served as a state legislator... in Missouri, back in the late '80s and early '90s. (He's lived in northern Indiana for about seven years.)
Bock may not have the nomination to himself, though. Some Dude Dan Morrison, who came surprisingly close to stopping establishment pick Brendan Mullen in the Democratic primary last year, is reportedly eyeing another run. However, state Rep. Ryan Dvorak, who had been considering a bid, apparently has decided to stay out. In any event, this will be a tough race for Democrats, given the district's Republican lean, but Walorski only won last year by 1 percent of the vote, giving her opponents hope.
• MO-08: What a weakling. Barely a month after he began gearing up to run against Rep. Jason Smith in the GOP primary, Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder is abandoning his efforts. It's deeply perplexing, as the prospect of a bid by the better-known Kinder had Smith, who was hand-picked by local Republican leaders in a special election earlier this year, sniveling about the importance of friendship. Please don't tell me that Kinder cared more about being "friends" with Smith than about winning.
• NE-02: Looks like Rep. Lee Terry is gonna get it from both the left and the right this cycle. Dubbing himself a "constitutional conservative," businessman Dan Frei just launched a challenge to the occasionally wayward Terry in next year's GOP primary. Terry's received several such challenges from the right in the past, and while his opponents have been pretty weak, he won with just 63 percent in 2010 and an even more bleh 59 last year. Frei might also be a cut above those prior candidates, since, rather interestingly, he's a member of the state GOP's central committee. And even if he doesn't win, he could at least drive Terry to the right, softening him up for Democrat Pete Festersen next fall.
• NJ-06: Anna Little rides again. The tea party darling, who lost two prior bids against Dem Rep. Frank Pallone, says she'll try once more in 2014. Little threw a bit of a scare into Pallone during the GOP wave year of 2010, but she still lost by a 55-43 margin. Last cycle, Pallone crushed her, 63-35, so her latest campaign certainly represents the triumph of hope over experience.
• Nassau Exec: Hrm. Siena's final poll of the Nassau County, NY executive's race finds incumbent Republican Ed Mangano beating Democrat Tom Suozzi 52-41. That's down from a 52-35 Mangano lead last month that no one really seemed to believe, but Siena's gyrated wildly: In August, they had Suozzi up 42-41. At least this time, Siena's racial crosstabs are more believable (Suozzi's winning black voters 71-21), but I'm really not sure what to believe. At least we'll finally get our answers on Tuesday.
• Novoyork Autonomous Okrug Administrator Comrades! As we await the signal to storm Gracie Palace and begin the glorious celebration of Chairman de Blasiovich's impending victory over the imperialist regime of Czar Michael I of House Bloombergov, there is cause for both triumph and fear.
The triumph can be found in a new survey from the re-education facility known as Marist, which has the Chairman with a dominant 65-24 lead over the capitalist lapdog Joe Lhota. This confirms all other figures to date on the opinions of the workers of the great city, which confirms the forecast that all is well for our cause!
Alas, there are two late reasons to be quite concerned. For one thing, the lapdog Lhota has finally landed upon a political issue that could surely propel him to victory: He has attacked the notion that the Chairman is not a "morning person."
"Being mayor is a 24-hour-a-day job, and you need to be physically prepared for it," Lhota said. "The idea that he gets interrupted in the middle of the night at 5 o'clock in the morning, about the time that I get up every day, actually."
The comments came after his Democratic rival, Bill de Blasio, was an hour late to a rally on Saturday.
"I had a challenging night. I got a call at 5 in the morning that threw off my sleep cycle," de Blasio said. "I am not a morning person."
If this is not sufficient cause for alarm, feast your eyes on the cover of the braying journalistic voice of the imperialists
known as the New York Post
. A red field with the hammer and sickle? With the face of the Chairman placed alongside?
With all of these troubling tales and images, one might fear for the Chairman. His victory might be less than 40 points, if such images take hold with the 14 voters in the great city who would care about such things. With that in mind, those who wish to forever vanquish the protectors of privilege must not rest on their laurels. Indeed, we must all once again exhort the good workers of the great city to rise in unison on the day of election to ensure that the Chairman's victory has all the glory befitting a man as deserving and wondrous as the Chairman itself. On to victory, comrades! (Steve Singiser)
• SD Mayor: Man, crap like this is why SurveyUSA makes it so hard to trust their numbers. Just three weeks ago, SUSA had Democrat Nathan Fletcher leading Republican Kevin Faulconer 32-28 in a four-way race for San Diego's special election for mayor. Fletcher also led 46-36 in a direct head-to-head reflecting the runoff we're likely to see. Now they have Faulconer up 41-28 when all major candidates are included and 46-41 versus Fletcher alone. And if you go back to their late September poll, Faulconer's shot up a net 20 points.
Sorry, but there's just no way the race has moved this much in such a short amount of time, especially in favor of a Republican at a time when the party's polling has been so generally awful. That fact does explain why Faulconer is running from the GOP label as hard as he can, but even his attempts to distance himself from his party can't explain this kind of surge. This kind of inexplicable gyration is too often a hallmark of SUSA's work, so it'd be great if another pollster offered some numbers here. But if not, we'll soon get a good read on the situation on Election Day, which is Nov. 19.
• Special Elections: There are so many state legislative special elections on Tuesday—16 that we're aware of—that Johnny Longtorso has put together an entire post on all of them, from Georgia's SD-14 to Washington's SD-26, which is the biggest race of the night. There, Democratic state Sen. Nathan Schlicher, who was appointed to fill the seat of Derek Kilmer after his election to Congress, is trying to hold on against Republican Rep. Jan Angel. It's a key contest for Democrats, who would only need one more pickup next year to take the Senate back from a coalition of minority Republicans and renegade Dems, if Schlicher can hang on.