As we reach mid-week, we get some interesting Senate numbers out of Utah, but aside from that, it is a pretty quiet day, on balance. A few campaign headlines are of note, but the number crunching is at a minimum for this Wednesday:
UT-Sen: Bennett Hurting, According to Latest Deseret News Poll
It would be something of a stretch to suggest that he is vulnerable in 2010, but longtime Republican Senator Bob Bennett cannot be comforted by the new numbers coming out of his home state of Utah. In a basic re-elect query, only 27% of voters are committed to his re-election, while 58% want to give somebody new a chance. If there is good news for the GOP veteran, it is that he has a substantial lead over any prospective opponent. In a ballot test placing candidates of both parties on one ballot, he has a solid lead (31-14) over his nearest rival, Democratic businessman Sam Granato. One interesting note--despite getting throttled in the state (62-34), Utah is one state where Barack Obama's job approval (which stands at 38%) is actually better than his 2008 vote total.
NY: Same Sex Marriage Slightly Favored in New York State
Coming on the heels of today's deeply disappointing decision by the NY State Senate to continue the status quo of marriage discrimination, we get interesting and timely data from Marist on the issue. Now, bearing in mind that phone polls on same-sex marriage can occasionally skew a few points, it is nonetheless worth noting that 51% of New Yorkers polled favored the legalization of same-sex marriages, as opposed to 42% who were opposed. Of course, this is only relevant as a pressure point on the legislature--unlike most other states, New York does not have a direct initiative process.
IN OTHER NEWS....
- A reminder that I can now be found speaking my mind from time to time over on Twitter. Stop by for commentary on politics. Oh...and college football. And, occasionally, the weather.
- TN-08: The Democrats got a rare piece of good news this week. Less than a day after they lost an incumbent upon the announcement of the retirement of longtime Rep. John Tanner, they got their #1 recruit for the seat to commit to a House bid. Roy Herron, a state Senator who had been gearing up for a gubernatorial bid, turned his attention instead to a bid for Congress. The likely GOP nominee is farmer/entertainer Stephen Fincher, who has already raised over a quarter-million dollars for his bid.
- FL-Gov: The DGA is throwing some fairly legitimate money around to take down some GOP gubernatorial wannabes right at the outset of the 2010 election cycle. One of their targets, to the tune of a million bucks, is Florida Republican Bill McCollum. McCollum is one of several targets of what is known as the GOP Accountability Project, whose other high-profile targets include Meg Whitman in California, Terry Branstad in Iowa, and John Kasich in Ohio.
- OH-Sen: Is it possible that George Voinovich's departure from the United States Senate may not be the end of his political career? It's possible, if Ohio GOPers get their way. Some of them are hoping that Voinovich will seek a political second act by running for Cuyahoga County Executive. Meanwhile, in the Senate race to replace Voinovich, Democratic candidate Jennifer Brunner is trying to draw some clearly defined lines in the race, framing herself early as an opponent of the Afghan troop increase proposed last night by the President.
- FL-10: Could the dean of the Florida delegation about to be Scozzafava'ed out of Congress? It looks like Bill Young, who has been in Congress since 1970, is about to get primaried by a political neophyte whose political christening came from the twin altars of the Tea Party Movement and the Glenn Beck show. The upstart Republican's name is Eric Forcade, and he might well succeed in softening Young up before a stronger-than-usual general election challenge from Democratic state legislator Charlie Justice. Young's district is not exactly tea-party territory, it was competitive politically even in the 2004 Bush-Kerry election.
- CO-07: Democrat Ed Perlmutter, who cruised in his first re-election bid last year, is getting a lot of attention this time around. Former Senate candidate Ryan Frazier, an Aurora city council member, is already in the GOP field, and he is apparently about to be joined by a former staffer in the McCain '08 campaign--Lang Sias. The district was created as a fair-fight district, but leaned Democratic in both 2006 (when Perlmutter won the open seat with ease) and 2008 (when both Perlmutter and Obama led here with little difficulty).
- CT-Gov: Lots of movement in the Nutmeg State today, but virtually all of it was predictable. First of all, as expected, it now appears a done deal for former Ambassador Tom Foley to jump from the U.S. Senate race to the open-seat gubernatorial election. By the way, the link is worth a click alone for the comments section, where the Ron Paul Revolution proves that it is alive and well by ripping the folks at Hotline On Call for not mentioning Paulite Peter Schiff as a legitimate GOP threat to claim the nomination. In the other big piece of gubernatorial news, the state's Republican Lt. Governor, Michael Fedele, also announced that he would seek the governorship. The leading Democratic candidate has been Connecticut Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz, although 2006 Senate nominee Ned Lamont is also now eyeing the race. The race became an open-seat affair when GOP Governor Jodi Rell retired last month.
- TX-Gov: Obviously, Governor Rick Perry and his allies in the Texas Republican Party got the news that Houston Mayor Bill White is now looking at a gubernatorial bid rather than a Senate bid. They launched a web video attacking White, in an attempt to claim that White's reputation as a moderate Democrat amenable to the business community is undeserved. This led White spokeswoman Katy Bacon to observe: "Apparently some people in power see Bill White as a threat. Texans are tired of the strident, negative, partisan attacks though."
- PA-11: We will know in exactly one week whether or not two-time Republican challenger Lou Barletta will be making a third bid for Democrat Paul Kanjorski's House seat in the Pennsylvania 11th. Amid the high-profile retirements of Dennis Moore and John Tanner, CQ noted that Kanjorski has not officially announced his 2010 plans. A Kanjorski spokesman, however, reassured that although Kanjorski has not made a binding pronouncement, he has been raising money as if another race was in the offing.
- KY-03/MN-01: A pair of sophomore Democratic incumbents got new announced challengers today. In the Louisville-based Kentucky 3rd district, Republican Jeffrey Reetz, a local businessman who owns a few dozen Pizza Huts in the region, is announcing a challenge to John Yarmuth. Meanwhile, further north, former GOP staffer Jim Hagedorn becomes the latest Republican to join a growing field to challenge Tim Walz in the southern Minnesota-based 1st district. Both Walz and Yarmuth were rather easily re-elected in 2008 after their freshman terms.