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Leading Off:

MA-Sen: Good to see Massachusetts Dems being smart and trying to "Akinize" former US Attorney Michael Sullivan while it's still early. Sullivan seems to have earned the "front-runner" label in the GOP Senate primary, perhaps because he was able to earn a spot on the ballot through the use of volunteer petition-gatherers, as opposed to paying professionals, as his opponents did. And he not only has enthusiasm on his side, but he's also far and away the most conservative of the trio of Republican hopefuls:

He has said he is opposed to abortion rights and gay marriage. He also opposes a ban on assault weapons and high capacity ammunition clips. His two primary opponents, state Representative Daniel P. Winslow and Cohasset businessman Gabriel E. Gomez, support gay marriage and abortion rights, but do not favor a ban on assault weapons.
Indeed, Sullivan's conservatism (he was a Bush appointee, after all) may explain his supporters' motivation, and it also makes him the most likely candidate to emerge with the nomination, particularly since he's running against two relative "moderates." But Democrats are nevertheless eager to ensure that happens, staging a series of events to call attention to Sullivan's out-of-step right-wing views. It's a move that can pay double dividends: helping Sullivan to win his primary, and making him more unacceptable to general election voters if he does.

The best recent example of this happened last year, when Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill ran ads ahead of her state's Republican primary that purported to "attack" Todd Akin as unacceptably conservative. It helped him win a three-way fight for his party's nod, and of course, the rest is history. Bay State Democrats don't need Sullivan to implode in the way Akin did in order to prevail, but it's heartening that they're actively engaging the race and taking the right steps to make sure this seat stays blue.

Senate:

GA-Sen: Politico's James Hohmann tackles the GOP Senate field that's shaping up in Georgia, where establishment Republicans are worried they might nominate a candidate "who say[s] things so off-putting to mainstream voters that they blow the election." Yes, establishment Rep. Tom Price may yet run, but Hohmann reports that unnamed "many, including a former adviser, say Price is reluctant to relinquish his perch in the House."

That could leave the GOP with the likes of Reps. Paul Broun (the only declared entrant so far) and Phil Gingrey leading the pack... and if you aren't already familiar with their most famous hits, click through. It's also probably why some new names are still being floated: Hohmann mentions both sophomore Rep. Austin Scott and state House Majority Whip Edward Lindsey as potential options. No matter what, though, I'm expecting some fun here.

Gubernatorial:

MI-Gov: March is upon us, and spring will soon be close at hand, so PPP is starting to make a second pass around the nation, revisiting states it's already tested once before this cycle. Aside from North Carolina, the firm's home state, and Georgia, which saw a major retirement between polls, Michigan is the first state that PPP's gone back into, giving us our first real trendlines of 2013. But things haven't changed much: GOP Gov. Rick Snyder is still in very poor shape following his efforts to ram through anti-union "right-to-work" laws in December. Snyder continues to sport a miserable 37-54 job approval rating, pretty much the same as his early 38-56 score.

And against a trio of possible opponents, he once again clocks in in the thirties. December results are in parentheses:

• 37-44 vs. 2010 nominee Virg Bernero (38-49)

• 38-43 vs. Rep. Gary Peters (39-47)

• 36-40 vs. ex-Rep. Mark Schauer (39-44)

I guess Snyder can take a bit of solace in the fact that all three Democrats have seen their toplines fall, too, but as Tom Jensen notes, Bernero, Peters, and Schauer are all mostly-to-very unknown. I suspect that in December, when emotions were running highest over right-to-work, it may have been easier for some respondents to view, say, Virg Bernero as more of a "Generic D" type and press a button for "anybody but Snyder." In practice, though, little-known candidates have to work to get their names out there, something they should be readily able to do next year.

There is one genuinely positive sign for Republicans in this poll, though: On the generic legislative ballot, the GOP now trails by "only" a 48-36 margin. But that's down from an insane 56-32 spread in December. RTW obviously has faded from the headlines since then, and it was hard to ever imagine a 24-point lead sustaining itself, but Republican numbers may still recover further. So Democrats will have to work hard to rekindle the justified outrage over right-to-work as we get closer to the 2014 elections, when not only Snyder but every member of the state House and Senate will be up for re-election.

NE-Gov, -Sen: Attorney Mike Meister, who was drafted into the 2010 gubernatorial race at the last minute after the Democrats' original nominee bailed, says he's considering another bid for governor, now that incumbent Gov. Dave Heineman is term-limited, or for Senate, which will also be open. Unsurprisingly, Meister got destroyed his last time out, with Heineman taking 74 percent of the vote.

House:

CA-07: Here's another Republican looking at taking on freshman Rep. Ami Bera: ex-Rep. Doug Ose, who represented the old 3rd Congressional District for three terms until he stepped aside to honor a term limits pledge. Ose's successor was none other than Dan Lungren, the man Bera beat last November. Ose attempted a comeback once before, in 2008, when he ran in the open CA-04 GOP primary, losing 53-39 to now-Rep. Tom McClintock. (The race also featured the immortal Ted Terbolizard, who managed 2 percent.) Given Bera's narrow win and this district's swingy nature, I suspect Ose would definitely have to contend other Republicans who want the same thing as he does—including last year's Senate nominee, Elizabeth Emken, who is also eying the seat.

CA-52: This would probably be a good move by the GOP if they can make it happen: 2012 San Diego mayoral candidate Carl DeMaio is not ruling out a run against freshman Dem Scott Peters, who narrowly defeated Republican Rep. Brian Bilbray last year. DeMaio tried hard to remake himself as a "moderate" last year and is also openly gay; while he lost the race for mayor by five points to Bob Filner, he actually carried the portion of CA-52 that's within city limits by a 56-43 margin. And the overlap is substantial, with 90 percent of the district sitting inside San Diego proper. (The remaining 10 percent is very Republican turf.)

So if I were Peters, I don't think I'd like to face DeMaio. However, DeMaio has a classic problem of his own: Can he prevail over candidates who are willing to embrace their conservatism openly? California, as you know, has a top-two primary system, whereby the two highest vote-getters in the primary advance to the November general election, regardless of party. That means there isn't a "GOP primary" or "nomination" as such, but if DeMaio had to deal with a firebreather running to his right, he might well fail to make it to the second round... unless he decides to cast off his sheep's clothing and start spouting the crazy himself. Democrats would benefit either way.

GA-12, -Sen: It's very thin, but local analyst Jim Galloway says that Democrat Ed Tarver, the U.S. Attorney for Georgia's Southern District and a former state senator, is quietly expressing interest in running for John Barrow's GA-12. But Galloway makes it sound like Tarver would only run if Barrow, a fellow Democrat, made a bid for Senate—and he thinks Tarver wouldn't be sending these signals if Barrow wasn't at least persuadable about going for the Senate.

ME-02, -Gov: It seems like pure speculation, but it's not the worst idea: Prior to Rep. Mike Michaud expressing possible interest in a gubernatorial bid, ex-Gov. John Baldacci was the most prominent Maine Democrat to say he was looking at a race against the man who succeeded him, Gov. Paul LePage. But if Baldacci is truly set on attempting a comeback bid, there's a way to make both Dems happy: Michaud could run for governor and Baldacci could run for Michaud's House seat, which Baldacci represented from 1995 to 2003... until he was replaced by none other than Michaud. Michaud is definitely the strongest possible gov candidate, and Baldacci would probably be one of our better bets to hold the 2nd Congressional District if it became open, if only because of his instant name recognition. We're a long way off from this switcheroo happening, but like I say, it could work.

Other Races:

LA Mayor: As expected, City Councilman Eric Garcetti and city Controller Wendy Greuel, both Democrats, advanced to the May 21 Los Angeles mayoral runoff after Tuesday night's top-two primary. Garcetti had a narrow 33-29 advantage, which may not seem like a lot but could prove decisive in the second round. However, there are still many mail-in ballots to be counted, so the totals could change. The L.A. Times also has a cool interactive precinct-level map which is worth checking out.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 05:00 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (14+ / 0-)

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

    by David Nir on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 05:00:08 AM PST

  •  Maine Dems varsity is really fourth string (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wdrath

    Which explains why phonies like Collins keep getting elected. Baldocci should run for Senate instead of governor.

    •  I mean Congress, not governor (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wdrath

      Running for his old house seat is even worse for Baldacci. That's so small potatoes. If he loses that race will he run for dog catcher?

      •  Maximize chances (0+ / 0-)

        of winning governor's seat back and holding House seat up north.

        Has anyone seen numbers on how Baldacci would run against Collins?

        Republicans...think the American standard of living is a fine thing--so long as it doesn't spread to all the people. And they admire the Government of the United States so much that they would like to buy it. Harry S. Truman

        by fenway49 on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 06:21:54 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  MA-Sen (8+ / 0-)

    Roll Call have numbers from a poll done for the Herald. Markey leads Lynch 50-21 and Sullivan 48-30.

    "What do you mean "conspiracy"? Does that mean it's someone's imaginings and that the actual polls hovered right around the result?" - petral

    by conspiracy on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 05:31:36 AM PST

  •  Sullivan is generally well liked (4+ / 0-)

    so they are making the right move by showing how conservative he is.  He's far more conservative than most of the republicans and certainly the general public.

    For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die--Ted Kennedy

    by sobermom on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 05:52:04 AM PST

  •  Akinize? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gygaxian

    Why not rather encourage Republicans in MA to nominate this wingnut so that he can be soundly trounced?  Why even consider his more viable opponents?  Any of them if elected would vote with the Republicans and keeping the Senate will prove hard enough without any notion that MA is in play.  Then again, I feel confident that MA voters will not let us down, so it doesn't really matter either way.

    •  That's what they're doing? (13+ / 0-)

      The point is to highlight how conservative he is so that he wins the primary. It's how McCaskill won in MO

      •  MA isn't MO (0+ / 0-)

        It could backfire.

        Nationwide, conservatives live in a bubble which reassures them constantly that the vast majority of Americans share their priorities. In particular, Missouri GOPers can easily believe they have the popular wind at their back, and vote confidently for the most right wing candidate on offer.

        Massachusetts Republicans have been in the cellar so long, they are far more prone to sobering up and voting strategically in a primary. They don't keep electing governors here by picking the Akins.

        Still, it's worth a shot, since Sullivan is the most likely primary winner anyway.

        •  Not so sure (0+ / 0-)

          Read this site for a while (I generally don't). You'll lose the sense MA Republicans are any better than those in MO.

          New Boston Herald-UMass Lowell poll actually has Sullivan doing slightly better than the two others against either Markey or Lynch, though either Democrat leads any of the Republicans by at least 17 points.

          Republicans...think the American standard of living is a fine thing--so long as it doesn't spread to all the people. And they admire the Government of the United States so much that they would like to buy it. Harry S. Truman

          by fenway49 on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 10:45:29 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Massachusetts is not Missouri, but (0+ / 0-)

          it's still the right way to go.  As I wrote below, the only Mass. republicans who have a shot at getting elected governor or to national office here are those who can be effectively marketed as moderates.  Scott Brown, for instance.  

  •  MI does need a name Dem to run for governor, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Odysseus

    and it doesn't have to be a state level politician.  Mayors of any small cities that have weathered the economy should jump into the race, especially if they are military veterans with WASPy last names.  There is a push for Gretchen Whitmer to run because she's stood nose-to-nose against the GOP/Koch-DeVos dominated legislature, but she may not be ready.
    At least one of the local newspapers has asked the question: Now that MI is a RTW state why are we not seeing companies move in the way Gov. Snyder said they would?  My follow up question would be: Does it have something to do with MI's nutball government that keeps tipping its hand about coddling corporations and the wealthy at the expense of the six people remaining in MI's middle class?

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

    by judyms9 on Thu Mar 07, 2013 at 06:26:03 AM PST

  •  Regarding ex-rep Doug Ose... (0+ / 0-)

    ...is it just me or does anyone else find it just a little bit...disingenuous...for Ose to have retired from his previous seat due to a term limit pledge...and now decide it's okay for him to run again. Technically speaking, yes, that's still a term limit. However, the principle at the heart of term limits is to prevent the same old crowd from holding office interminably.

    For someone to claim they support term limits and even retire to keep a pledge...and then decide to run again for the same office (though technically a different district)...hardly seems like a real supporter of true term limits.

  •  Not really the plan , guys (0+ / 0-)

    really, mass repugs are not that easily fooled...remember, here, all their friends are dems and even half their republican friends are pretty liberal...this is just a general softening him up so that the dems come out of the primary with the base intact

    •  No, I think David Nir has a point. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pademocrat

      As we learned in the Scott Brown debacle (or perhaps I should say the Martha Coakley debacle), the worst thing that can happen to us is for the Republican candidate for, oh, say, US Senate, or governor, to be marketable (whether true or not) as a moderate.

      That's what opens the door to people like Romney and Brown.

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