On the last weekend of summer for a number of schoolchildren here on the West Coast (although mine get an additional one-week reprieve), we interrupt your back-to-school shopping to present the weekend edition of the Wrap...
AK-Sen: Statistical analysis says absentees don't favor incumbent
Most of the attention in Alaska in the past 24 hours has been on the pie fight between Joe Miller and Lisa Murkowski over the whole prostitute tweet thing. However, lost in the shuffle was a marvelous bit of analysis by Jeffmd over at the Swing State Project. Looking back to voting patterns in 2008, he suggests that the absentee ballots are exceedingly unlikely to make up the margin for the incumbent.
AZ-Sen: Wait by your phone, Senator McCain
The backstory of what went on Tuesday night in Arizona is coming out, and it is simply priceless. Apparently, the aides for both Senator John McCain and former Congressman J.D. Hayworth exchanged contact numbers pre-primary, and team Hayworth even dialed the number on Monday to make sure it worked. As you might recall, it took only about an hour after the polls closed before the AP declared McCain the winner. So team McCain waited for the call. It never came. Indeed, days later, it still hasn't come. Anyone who has followed the history of J.D. Hayworth, however, will not be all that surprised. After all, he did the same thing to Democrat Harry Mitchell when he lost his race for Congress in 2006.
LA-Sen: Primary day on the Bayou
Louisiana's voters headed to the polls today, as the state is one of a small handful (Hawaii is another) that holds their primary elections on a Saturday, as opposed to the traditional Tuesday election day. Early voting turnout was pretty minimal (around 26,000 votes cast), leading Secretary of State Jay Dardenne to forecast a minimal turnout for this election. One of the reasons for the light turnout: zero competition at the top of the ballot. Both incumbent GOP Senator David Vitter and Democratic Senate candidate Charlie Melancon are supposed to sail through today's primaries, and in early returns both have wide leads.
NV-Sen: Reid clings to a small lead in (GOP tilting?) M-D poll
Jed Lewison offered awesome analysis of it yesterday, but for those that missed it: a new Mason Dixon poll has incumbent Democratic Senator Harry Reid up by a single point over Republican challenger Sharron Angle. Equally interesting, however, was a tweet on Friday from the hugely respected Nevada political journalist, Jon Ralston:
Based on what I am picking up from insiders, even GOPers think Mason-Dixon is off by a few points in GOP favor. Angle down more, Rory less.
(We'll get to Rory Reid's status in the M-D poll later. Suffice to say, he had better HOPE he is down by less)
WV-Sen: Another primary day (with a foregone conclusion)
A lot of casual political fans forgot that were actually two states heading to the polls today. They can be somewhat forgiven, however, since in this case, the trip to the ballot box was unscheduled. Voters in West Virginia picked their nominees for the special U.S. Senate election which will determine the successor to the late Democratic Senate icon, Robert Byrd. Turnout was fairly light, since as in Louisiana, the nominees are pretty well locked in. Governor Joe Manchin has won the primary for the Democrats, garnering 73% of the vote at last check. Meanwhile, businessman John Raese has locked down the GOP nomination, snagging 71% of the vote.
AR-03: GOP seat should stay GOP, according to Talk Business Poll
Talk Business (partnering with Hendrix College) had both Democratic open seats in Arkansas heading to the GOP. How about the sole GOP open seat, being vacated by Senate nominee (and, in all likelihood, future U.S. Senator) John Boozman? That one also shows a a double-digit lead for the Republicans, according to their latest poll. Republican Steve Womack, the mayor of Rogers, has a 24-point lead over Fayetteville Democrat David Whitaker (55-31).
CO-07: Magellan claims GOP lead against Dem incumbent
This one has a pair of caveats: Magellan is a Republican pollster, and they also use the questionable technique (PDF) of burying their trial heat question late in the survey (something the NCPP says can potentially bias results). That said, they claim that Republican challenger Ryan Frazier has a one-point lead over Democratic incumbent Ed Perlmutter (40-39).
LA-02/LA-03: Two competitive House primaries on tap today
While the Senate results might have seemed preordained, there are actually two House primaries in the Pelican State worth keeping an eye on tonight. One of the Democrats' most lucrative targets in 2010 is the heavily African-American 2nd district, where state legislators Cedric Richmond and Juan LaFonta lead a field of four Democratic candidates vying to make Republican Anh "Joseph" Cao a one-term oddity in this Democratic district. Meanwhile, to the South in the 3rd district, Charlie Melancon's Senate bid has opened up a very vulnerable open seat that the Democrats will have to defend. Ravi Sangisetty will be the Democratic standard bearer, while the GOP will pick today from a pair of legit candidates in former House Speaker Hunt Downer and wealthy attorney Jeff Landry.
MI-01/MI-03/MI-07: GOP pollster sees two pickups in Michigan
The prolific Republican pollsters at We Ask America are back at it again, this time in the Midwest. They polled three districts in Michigan, and see a pair of pickups for the GOP. One caveat that even they (to their credit) point out: these polls were conducted earlier in the month, one day after the Michigan primaries. Since all three Republicans had competitive primaries, while all three Democrats did not, that could easily bias the numbers a bit. At any rate, the pollster has Republicans taking the 1st district long held by Democrat Bart Stupak. They have Republican Don Benishek at 45%, with Democrat Gary McDowell at 29%. In the GOP-leaning 3rd district opened up by the retirement of veteran GOP Congressman Vern Ehlers, young GOP state legislator Justin Amash has a 51-30 lead over Democrat Pat Miles. Lastly, in the 7th district, the pollsters have incumbent Democrat Mark Schauer trailing the man he beat to win the seat (former GOP congressman Tim Walberg) by eight points (45-37).
MI-08: Stalemate over--Dems will get replacement candidate
Kudos to DK community member Brainwrap, who has been relentless in telling the story of the Democratic plight in the potentially competitive 8th district in Michigan. The Democratic nominee, Kande Ngalamulume, left the state shortly after winning the nomination. The GOP Secretary of State refused to take him off the ballot, despite the fact that his campaign was quite clearly deceased, because she had not received adequate proof that he had left the state. With that evidence in hand and a bit of pressure applied, the SoS office finally relented, removing Ngalamulume from the ballot. This paves the way for the Democrats to name a replacement candidate, which will most likely be former teacher Lance Enderle.
Don't call it a comeback, he's been here for years...it now looks like former Congressman (and guest of the government) Jim Traficant has successfully petitioned his way onto the ballot for the Fall. He met the signature standard, according to preliminary calculations, by just seven signatures. Traficant, given his long prison stint, is unlikely to win, and unlikely to even be much of a drain on incumbent Democrat Tim Ryan in this heavily Democratic district.
SC-05: GOP pollster claims a tie for longtime Dem incumbent
Another day, another internal poll claiming that a longtime Democratic Congressman is in deep trouble for November. In this case, it is South Carolinian John Spratt, who it must be said does have to defend a pretty tough patch of territory in the Palmetto State. His GOP opponent, Mick Mulvaney, released a slightly dusty (late July) poll showing him dead even at 46% with Spratt.
SD-AL: GOP nominee believes in rule of law...just not rules of road
Ouch. Here's hoping that GOP House nominee Kristi Noem wasn't going for the law and order vote. An investigation by KELO-TV found that Noem has accumulated twenty speeding tickets as well as five other minor traffic violations. In addition, she has been cited a total of six times for failing to appear in court to answer for her charges. She has also been served two arrest warrants for failure to pay traffic fines. I don't know how big the NASCAR vote is in the state of South Dakota, but one has to suspect that Noem has that demographic locked down at this point.
RACE FOR THE HOUSE: DCCC hits the road while Beck bloviates in DC
The media bestowed all of their attention (and probably infinitely more reverence than is deserved) to the rantings of one Fox News host in DC today, but the DCCC took this day and put in some serious work. The committee is launching a major offensive today, going into a total of 75 competitive districts and will focus on both volunteer recruitment and voter contact. The DCCC is anticipating that by the close of business tonight, they will have knocked on close to a quarter million doors.
MI-Gov: Is Tea Party the key to derailing Snyder?
Amid gruesome new polling numbers from EPIC-MRA (which has Republican Rick Snyder leading Democrat Virg Bernero by a 51-29 margin), a little Michigan-based GOP civil war might be the path to resurrection for the Dems. Despite the fact that GOP nominee Snyder has already indicated that he wants state legislator Brian Calley to be his running mate, the local tea party activists are going to nominate one of their own at this weekend's state convention. The Tea Party is pushing Bill Cooper, a businessman who recently was an also-ran in the GOP primary in the 2nd Congressional District, to be the nominee instead of Calley. While their efforts wound up being for naught (Cooper eventually pulled back and threw his support to Calley), it shows that there are still fault lines in the state. Virg Bernero also named his choice for running mate, giving the nod to Southfield Mayor Brenda Lawrence.
NV-Gov: Sandoval has huge lead over Reid, according to M-D
A day after their Senate numbers were released, Mason-Dixon's gubernatorial poll hit the news today, and the news was not pretty for Democratic contender Rory Reid. The pollster has Republican Brian Sandoval leading Reid by twenty-two points (53-31). While I did note that Ralston tweet from earlier (that this might be a GOP-friendly poll), one has to presume that Sandoval is very much in the driver's seat in the Silver State.
TX-Gov: Debates will go on, with or without Perry
With Texas Governor Rick Perry still in mid-tantrum and refusing to participate in debate (he is insisting Democrat Bill White release decade-old tax returns before he'll debate), it is refreshing to see the response from area newspapers. They announced yesterday that they will still hold the debates, with or without the participation of Perry. Admittedly, there'd be something quite appropriate about White debating an empty seat, since that would be a perfect representation of one of America's laziest Governors.
UT-Gov: Herbert joins the ranks of the Dred Scott Republicans
Add Utah's relatively new Republican Governor, Gary Herbert, to the ranks of the Dred Scott Republicans (or, as one commenter noted, the Roger Taney Republicans). At the close of the week, Herbert declared that he would have no qualms with rewriting the 14th Amendment to wipe out the notion of birthright citizenship.
VT-Gov: Racine calls for recount as Shumlin's lead made official
The official results in Vermont's ridiculously close Democratic gubernatorial primary came in ahead of schedule, and they confirmed that state senator Peter Shumlin has won the primary. Given the razor-thin margin (197 votes), runner-up Doug Racine immediately requested a recount. Shumlin, perpetuating what he been a battle that has been as civil as it has been closely contested, said that he totally understood Racine's call for a recount.
Lots of new gubernatorial numbers for the House of Ras, which has two gubernatorial races getting a little closer for Democrats (Oklahoma and Wisconsin), while another one gets a little further away (South Carolina). They also hit Arizona for the Senate race, and find...well, y'all know the punchline by now.
AZ-Sen: Sen. John McCain (R) 53%, Rodney Glassman (D) 31%
OK-Gov: Mary Fallin (R) 52%, Jari Askins (D) 37%
SC-Gov: Nikki Haley (R) 52%, Vincent Sheheen (D) 36%
SC-Sen: Sen. Jim DeMint (R) 63%, Alvin Greene (D) 19%
WI-Gov: Mark Neumann (R) 48%, Tom Barrett (D) 44%
WI-Gov: Scott Walker (R) 47%, Tom Barrett (D) 44%