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Leading Off:

NRSC: Kyle Trygstad's lengthy profile of the NRSC's rebuilding efforts in the wake of their disastrous 2012 campaign really demonstrates just how beleaguered Senate Republicans have become. Notably, the piece is devoted to how the NRSC is supposedly reforming its press shop, once again showing that Republicans think they merely have a communications problem, not a message problem. But the lead quote says it all:

"The campaigns that jumped off message not only infected themselves, they infected all the rest of the campaigns," said Rob Collins, the new NRSC executive director, in his first extensive interview on the job. "So in this age of fractured but continuous, three-dimensional communication, we have to constantly plan for that and train for that and build for that."
So Republicanism is a disease, and the NRSC is the vaccine... only, not really. Collins, by saying he has to "plan for" and "train for" outbreaks of GOP coli, admits that the infection can't actually be cured, only contained. But even this analogy fails, because it's not as though the Republican Party host has been invaded by some kind of alien pathogen: Offensive idiocy is woven into the GOP's very DNA. It's a chronic condition, and it's going deliberately untreated. The NRSC's approach is the epidemiological equivalent of trying to quarantine arthritis patients.

But there was also another remark I loved as well:

"We don't have to be the center of the basketball team anymore," Collins said. "We can be the point guard. That's why we're making a massive investment in human beings."
Politics has been analogized to sports since time immemorial, but it helps if you actually get your analogy right. Collins seems to think that by "investing in human beings" who will go out and help specific Republican campaigns, the NRSC will no longer have to be "the center." But sheesh. Even casual basketball fans know that point guards run the offense, and devotees of the NBA are well aware that many now think it's well on its way to becoming a "point guard league," meaning that point guards are more important than ever. It's been a long time since Hakeem Olajuwon and Patrick Ewing dominated the highlight reels. I'm not surprised, though, to see that Republicans are still stuck in the past, whether it comes to the hardcourt or the campaign trail.

Senate:

MA-Sen: The League of Conservation Voters, partnering with NARAL, has released yet another poll of the Massachusetts Senate race, though this time they've used Garin-Hart-Yang instead of PPP. But the results are almost identical: GHY has Rep. Ed Markey up 42-28 over fellow Rep. Stephen Lynch in the Democratic primary, while PPP found Markey ahead 43-28 just a couple of weeks ago. And as most other polling has shown, Markey is better liked among primary voters, with a 40-5 "positive" rating (I'm guessing those are like favorables), versus 27-8 for Lynch.

And as they did last time, LCV includes a bit of message testing, mostly to show that the electorate is overwhelmingly pro-choice and supportive of the Affordable Care Act, two issues where Lynch has come down on the wrong side of things. The race has yet to turn negative, and it may not, but I think these numbers are designed to serve as a warning shot in case Lynch should contemplate going on the attack: Come after our guy, says LCV, and we'll hit you where it hurts.

NC-Sen: We missed it at the time, but a couple of weeks ago, Republican state Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry said she will "at least consider my options" when it comes to a possible race against freshman Sen. Kay Hagan. I wonder if her remarks came in response to PPP's most recent North Carolina poll, which was released just a day earlier and showed her leading the GOP pack... albeit with a whopping 18 percent in a hypothetical kitchen-sink primary.

Gubernatorial:

IL-Gov: Zillionaire businessman Bruce Rauner says he's creating an exploratory committee and will spend two months on a "listening tour" to decide whether he actually wants to run for governor. If both he and Rep. Aaron Schock get in, though, then look out: That could create a seriously nasty GOP primary, since Rauner's publicly crapped all over Schock even though he used to be a supporter, and Schock's fired back vigorously. Back at the plant, we call this a recipe for industrial-strength cat fud.

TX-Gov: A new University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll offers better news for Gov. Rick Perry in terms of a potential GOP primary challenge, but this race seems hard to get a read on. The survey was actually conducted by Internet pollster YouGov, which fared well in last year's elections, but perhaps their methodology accounts for Perry's somewhat surprising 49-17 lead in a hypothetical matchup against AG Greg Abbott. A recent PPP poll, on the other hand, showed Perry barely clinging to life at 41-38. Personally, I'm more inclined to believe PPP's numbers just because I think Perry is damaged goods, but I'm prepared to withhold judgment, particularly since Perry came back from the dead (and in convincing fashion) when he faced a primary challenge in 2010.

House:

CA-07: Damn, how did we miss this? Fresh off what counts as a stunning near-victory for California Republicans—Sen. Dianne Feinstein beat her by a mere 63-38 margin, earning the most popular votes for a Senate candidate in American history—Elizabeth Emken is tanned, rested, and ready to make another run for office! Indeed, she's packing up her carpetbag and preparing to head north, because she wants to challenge freshman Dem Rep. Ami Bera up in Sacramento—never mind the fact that she's from Danville, a town in the outskirts of the Bay Area. Indeed, Emken's already opened up another FEC committee!

But while the 7th District is certainly not quite as blue as California as a whole, it's hard to imagine Emken having much more success there. In 2010, she finished fourth place out of four candidates (so close!) in the GOP primary in Jerry McNerney's old 11th District. It seems like there's something about Emken that leaves voters cold, so if she wants to continue her almost-winning streak, I'm all for it.

FL-18: Republicans will definitely be hungry to retake FL-18 from freshman Patrick Murphy, who won last November in a stunning upset over tea party firebrand Allen West and now is one of just a handful of Democrats who sits in a district won by Mitt Romney. Several names have already been circulating courtesy of the Great Mentioner, and now we're seeing a little more movement. State Rep. Gayle Harrell, who had previously expressed some interest, now says she "most likely" will wait to decide until the end of the current legislative session in Mary.

Meanwhile, St. Lucie County Commissioner Tod Mowery adds that he now has a "a growing interest" in the race and is currently "evaluating" his options. But we also have to scratch one name off the list: The other day, we cited state Sen. Joe Negron as a possible candidate, but he actually took himself out of the running a while back, apparently because he's interested in becoming state Senate president. That has to be a relief for Murphy, since Negron likely would have been his toughest opponent.

ME-02: If Dem Rep. Mike Michaud does indeed decide to run for governor (something he first mooted publicly just the other day), you can bet there will be a ton of interest from candidates who'd like to replace him, on both sides. That's not mere speculation: Last year, when Sen. Olympia Snowe unexpectedly retired and Michaud considered running for her seat, it was almost impossible to keep up with the catalog of contenders who had designs on the 2nd Congressional District.

It's a little less fevered now, but we already have our first name in the mix: state Sen. Emily Cain, who says she "would very seriously consider running" if Michaud seeks a promotion. Cain actually took out nominating papers last year during the height of Snowe-mania but quickly shelved those plans when Michaud decided to seek re-election. Cain wound up earning a promotion herself, from the state House to the Senate, but now quips: "I've never run for Congress for more than three days before." She may soon get her chance.

NY-24: Yes, freshman Dem Dan Maffei did just make the DCCC's inaugural frontline list (see our item elsewhere in the Digest), but he's definitely at the outer bounds of vulnerability, particularly given that his district voted for President Obama at a 57 percent clip. Only one Republican in the entire country holds a seat that blue, and it was the result of an utter fluke (thanks to California's absurd top-two primary, GOP Rep. Gary Miller's opponent in November was, amazingly, another Republican). Obviously I'm not saying Maffei should just rest on his laurels—after all, he went down in the 2010 wave by a super-narrow margin to a truly crummy challenger—but I think the GOP is chasing fool's gold if they play here.

But chasing they are. NRCC chair Greg Walden reportedly trekked up to the Syracuse area for recruitment purposes, meeting with three potential candidates. One, believe it or not, is Ann Marie Buerkle, the hack who beat Maffei three years ago only to get turfed out by him in November. You should believe it, though: Back in January, Buerkle herself said she's thinking about a comeback bid.

The other two names on Walden's list were Onondaga County Comptroller Bob Antonacci and Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney. Reporter Liz Benjamin seems to think a Mahoney candidacy (she's not ruling it out) would cause some sort of difficulty for Gov. Andrew Cuomo because Mahoney's sucked up to him for years and you know how much Cuomo hates endorsing fellow Democrats. But really, it's a problem for Mahoney, who would have a tough time winning a contested primary given the fact that she endorsed Cuomo when he first ran for governor and has been tight with him ever since. Against a dyed-in-the-wool conservative like Buerkle, I think she'd have a tough time.

PA-10: The conservative purity purge of the GOP will continue apace in many corners of this vast nation, perhaps including Pennsylvania's 10th Congressional District. PoliticsPA reports that Bradford County Commissioner Doug McLinko is "seriously looking at" a challenge to sophomore Rep. Tom Marino, most decidedly from the right. According to various metrics, Marino is one of the less conservative members of his party, though of course, these days, that still means his damn conservative. But voting records are never good enough: If you aren't a firebreathing hater, you don't pass muster with the base, so look out.

Grab Bag:

DCCC: The DCCC has released its first list of "Frontline" members for the 2014 cycle, consisting of the House Democrats it ostensibly considers to be most vulnerable for re-election. But the roster is not immutable: For instance, if you compare their initial list for last cycle with their final list, you'll see a lot of changes. And the program also doesn't necessarily include every member in tough shape: For instance, John Tierney (MA-06) barely survived last year but was never on Frontline.

He is, however, part of the program this time, along with 25 others. There are few surprises: Just about everyone on here was involved in a close race last year, and most (18) are freshmen. Twenty-three of the 33 reddest districts held by Democrats are represented, while three seats—Dan Maffei (NY-24), Brad Schneider (IL-10), and Cheri Bustos (IL-17)—are a bit bluer, at around 57-58 percent Obama.

Lois Capps (CA-24) is a bit unexpected, though, since she won by 10 points despite a huge amount of outside spending targeting her. What's more, her 2012 opponent, Abel Maldonado, is probably the only guy who could make it close, but he said just the other day that he's looking at the governor's race. The most notable omission is Nick Rahall (WV-03), who sits in the second-reddest Democratic district at just 33 percent Obama, though perhaps the D-Trip expects him to run for Senate.

Pres-by-CD: We finally managed to coax results out of Warren County, NJ, which completes NJ-05 and NJ-07. Both districts swung away from Obama by less than one percent; NJ-05 is now 48 percent Obama, and NJ-07 46 percent Obama. These results aren't particularly surprising given what we saw from NJ-11, which is very similar to these two along many dimensions. (jeffmd)

Special Elections: Why do some states insist on holding some elections on Saturdays? Well, there were a few this past weekend, but all were same-party affairs. Two Republicans defeated a bunch of other Republicans in a pair of Louisiana state House seats, while in Texas, former Harris County Commissioner Sylvia Garcia beat fellow Democrat and state Rep. Carol Alvarado 53-47 in a bitter race for the 6th Senate District. Senate seats are actually a big deal in the Lone Star State, since they have more constituents than congressional districts do, believe it or not.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Wed Mar 06, 2013 at 05:00 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (13+ / 0-)

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

    by David Nir on Wed Mar 06, 2013 at 05:00:09 AM PST

  •  I've Heard Collins Also Has (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Churchill, TexMex, drdarkeny

    A secret plan to end the war. Just trust him.

    This head movie makes my eyes rain.

    by The Lone Apple on Wed Mar 06, 2013 at 06:12:01 AM PST

  •  With some (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    crystal eyes, Gygaxian, drdarkeny

    of these asshole Dems talking about "fixing" SS and Medicare, I wondering if some of them haven't been infected by the repubs......

    "If fighting for a more equal and equitable distribution of the wealth of this country is socialistic, I stand guilty of being a socialist." Walter Reuther

    by fugwb on Wed Mar 06, 2013 at 06:12:18 AM PST

  •  Republicans (Whigs) should re-name the party (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aquarius40

    because they're now the whigs.

    80 % of Success is Just Showing Up! CLIMATE CHANGE: The era of procrastination, half-measures & delays is coming to an end; In its place we are entering a period of consequences!

    by Churchill on Wed Mar 06, 2013 at 06:13:04 AM PST

  •  A ShelterBox diary please rec and share. (0+ / 0-)

    And donate!
    Come say hi to me!

    http://www.dailykos.com/...

  •  It's so confusing, my friends (3+ / 0-)

    .....whenever Republicans talk about people, I don' know when it means the corporate version.

    That's why we're making a massive investment in human beings."

    If cats could blog, they wouldn't

    by crystal eyes on Wed Mar 06, 2013 at 06:24:55 AM PST

  •  Someday the gop will be gone, and there will (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    drdarkeny

    only be a stench left to remind us.

    You can't make this stuff up.

    by David54 on Wed Mar 06, 2013 at 06:25:48 AM PST

    •  Historically speaking (4+ / 0-)

      It is possible for the Republican Party to be dissolved in favor of a different party, ala the Whigs, Know-Nothings, Democratic-Republicans, and Federalists. But if this does happen, it will simply be replaced by another conservative political party. The United States' electoral system breeds a 2-party system out of practicality. There will not be a time where there is only 1 party nationally. Not will there be a parliamentary style system where 8-10 parties hold congressional seats.

      •  The Republicans are not conservative. They're (0+ / 0-)

        radically regressive.
        They're a dysfunctional mess. Wall Street, Big Oil, and the 1% behind a religious authoritarian cult.
        I agree about another party being formed to replace this mess.
        It may even call itself Republican and it may in fact be legitimately conservative.

        You can't make this stuff up.

        by David54 on Wed Mar 06, 2013 at 10:30:06 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  "Fractured but continuous" (0+ / 0-)

    ... (oxy-)moronically describes their own "alternate" reality.

  •  If Stephen Lynch goes negative (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aquarius40, drdarkeny

    against Ed Markey, I don't see how he has much of a future.

    I think the only thing worse he could do than go shit-slinger is go independent and try to run as a Diet Scott Brown. But since the Boston Herald doesn't really get to decide who gets to be a US Senator, and I don't think the rules allow for you to pull a Lieberman in my old home state -does anybody know-, not much of a move to make but lose gracefully and go back to DC.

    At this point, if Lynch doesn't regret running, I don't know what it will take. What the hell can he do?

    He's got to go back to Congress, and I think a really negative campaign run out of desperation, like he's some kind of Teahadi of Convenience, is going to make it rough to recover with his Democratic peers.

    It's not like there's a single GOPer in the mix he can make nice-nice with, or any threat to switch parties to the GOP wouldn't be career suicide.

    I am from the Elizabeth Warren and Darcy Burner wing of the Democratic Party

    by LeftHandedMan on Wed Mar 06, 2013 at 06:41:38 AM PST

    •  It is a free shot (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Odysseus

      And it isn't like his congressional constituents are going to turn on him. He likely sees this as his once chance to move up. If/when he loses, he will have a congressional seat for life, but that's about it.

    •  Pretty sure Massachusetts has a sore losers law (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Odysseus

      that would prevent Lynch from running as an independent if he loses the primary.

      19, FL-07 (school), MD-07 (home). UCF sophomore, politically ambitious, vocally liberal--what else could you need to know?

      by tqycolumbia on Wed Mar 06, 2013 at 07:38:59 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  just remember, Dems need to (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JBraden, Gygaxian, drdarkeny

    keep working. Dems in office must work hard, get vocal and stay vocal, vote strong and represent us with doubled vigor.We need to keep finding and supporting good new candidates on every level, local to federal.
    Maybe because I live in a red locale in a red county in a red state, but I am not complacent nor am I  feeling easy or jubilant  about very much these days. These folks fight dirty and they have money...if they find an opening they'll swarm through it. my hope is  they all implode in the middle of their own poo pie, but I'd say we need to not get complacent  about that. Stakes are too high.
    We have to build and maintain every day .Ridiculing and pointing out the opposition's faults is necessary . but let's keep building ,growing,uniting...it's the only hope this country has.

  •  A disease like that... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Caped Composer

    ...would require stem-cell research to develop a cure. They're DOOMED!

    "Great is the power of steady misrepresentation; but the history of science shows that fortunately this power does not long endure."--Charles Darwin

    by Hopeful Monster on Wed Mar 06, 2013 at 07:11:08 AM PST

  •  Another slapdown of Corbett, this one by a state (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JBraden

    judge. Two Corbett statutes stripping financing from adultbasic and medicaid are ruled unconstitutional.
    His administration is "reviewing the ruling and its budgetary impact".

    "They will not collect a ransom in exchange for not crashing the American economy. The full faith and credit of the United States of America is not a bargaining chip."

    by TofG on Wed Mar 06, 2013 at 07:24:31 AM PST

  •  Uh (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Christopher Walker, Square Knot
    Why do some states insist on holding some elections on Saturdays?
    Makes a lot more sense than some random Tuesday to me.

    And, BTW, California state Senators represent more people than California US Reps as well.

  •  basketball is not a republican sport...too much (0+ / 0-)

    socialist "sharing"...nothing says karl marx like an assist

    btw, there is no cure for "louie gohmert" or "steve king"...

    Howard Fineman needs to have a chat with Chris Cilizza about Grecian Formula and its effects on punditry

    by memofromturner on Wed Mar 06, 2013 at 07:50:02 AM PST

  •  Republican message is crystal clear. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JBraden, drdarkeny

    Eliminate safety nets so that wealthy get wealthier. Control women's bodies in the name of religion. Foster fear mongering and demonization of immigrants. The list goes on.

    Communicating is the problem. They need to find a way to obscure the message in a way that deceives  voters to favor them. Appealling to the religious fundamentaliists and racists is not enough. When all else fails, rig the elections.

    "What really matters is what you do with what you have." H. G. Wells

    by spunhard on Wed Mar 06, 2013 at 07:53:42 AM PST

  •  "Operation Rescue" Nazi Traitor Buerkle (0+ / 0-)

    Should burn in Hell with all the OTHER Pharisees and Hypocrites!

  •  No one wants to buy what the GOP is selling (0+ / 0-)

    Repubs could have the best ads, the best twitter, killer phone banks, but at heart of the matter, we don't want what they are offering.

    The road to excess leads to the palace of Wisdom, I must not have excessed enough

    by JenS on Wed Mar 06, 2013 at 05:17:24 PM PST

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