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Leading Off:

VA-Gov: By dint of being the only guy to actually file paperwork with the state Republican Party, AG Ken Cuccinelli just became the Virginia GOP's official nominee for this fall's gubernatorial race. (You'll recall, of course, that Cuccinelli partisans eliminated the traditional primary in favor of a convention, a move which prompted Cuccinelli's only rival, Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, to quit the race and openly moot a third-party run.) Meanwhile, the Kooch also says he'll stay on as attorney general even while running for governor, even though the last six AGs all resigned in their final year to focus on campaigning.

That's actually good news for Democrats, though, since it means Cuccinelli will, as a state official, be prohibited from fundraising until the current legislative session concludes on Feb. 23. And money is indeed likely to be Cuccinelli's greatest weakness (though I'm sure the RGA will prop him up extensively): Both he and putative Democratic nominee Terry McAuliffe just announced having around $1 million in cash-on-hand, and they've each raised roughly that amount as well. But here's the problem: Cuccinelli pulled in that sum in the last six months of 2012. T-Mac scraped it together in just the month of December alone. Say what you will about McAuliffe, but the guy sure can rake in the dough.

P.S. In case you were curious, the normal filing deadline for gubernatorial candidates in Feb. 28, but at this point, it's hard to imagine any other Democrats stepping up to challenge McAuliffe.


HI-Sen: In a new poll for Honolulu Civil Beat, Merriman River finds that Hawaii voters approve of Gov. Neil Abercrombie's selection of former Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz over Rep. Colleen Hanabusa to fill the late Dan Inouye's Senate seat by a 45-36 margin. Asked whom they'd pick if the choice had been up to them, respondents tied at 36 apiece between Schatz and Hanabusa, with 7 percent picking state official Esther Kiaaina.

And for what it's worth, voters also disapproved of Inouye's staff releasing the now-infamous letter in which he said he preferred Hanabusa to succeed him, 45-33, though the question wording is a touch pushy. (By the way, did you know that ex-Gov. Ben Cayetano has openly questioned the letter's provenance, saying it "was not the senator talking"? Wild stuff!) More importantly, Abercrombie's own ratings also seem to have improved: He now sports a narrowly positive 48-44 approval rating. (I'm not entirely certain when Merriman last tested his numbers, but I'm pretty sure that represents an uptick.)

MA-Sen: Ed Markey's going to be happy: Fellow Dem Rep. Mike Capuano just announced on Tuesday that he won't run in the expected special election to replace John Kerry, who has been nominated for Secretary of State. After the establishment rallied around Markey and made it clear there was no appetite for a contested nomination battle, Capuano got a bit testy, claiming that "the big names of our party are trying to choose our nominee for us." Well, the rhetoric wasn't matched with action, and Capuano will instead remain in the House.

Capuano's decision is also good news for progressives more generally, since his potential entry posed the greatest risk of the liberal vote being split between himself and Markey, thus giving conservaDem Stephen Lynch a shot at a plurality win. Now Lynch, the only remaining prominent name still thinking about a bid, has a much more difficult (if not almost impossible) calculus to consider. And while a few other potential contenders still lurk out there, there's no one left with the personal wealth or name recognition to make an immediate impact. It looks like Markey's getting a lot closer to wrapping this one up.

ME-Sen: Ordinarily, I wouldn't even bother with something like this—it sounds purely like a rumor, and it's a week old, to boot. But here's the thing: In response to a query about whether he'd run against Sen. Susan Collins in the GOP primary, ex-Treasurer Bruce Poliquin wouldn't offer any comment at all. Typically in this sort of situation, you either say something vague like, "I'm focused on my current job" or "I support the incumbent," but total silence is a bit unusual. Poliquin is known as an outspoken conservative, and he also just got turned out of his gig as treasurer because Democrats re-took the legislature in November, so it's not inconceivable to imagine that he's looking for something else to do. We can only pray!

NC-Sen: PPP is back to their usual habit of polling their home state of North Carolina on a monthly basis, so I think this gives us our first proper trendlines on any 2014 race. There is, of course, no reason to expect things to have changed much in just four short weeks, especially for such a nascent campaign without a single declared Republican—and indeed, they have not. Here's how Dem Sen. Kay Hagan fares (with December in parens):

• 46-40 (45-39) vs. Rep. Renee Ellmers

• 45-39 (48-40) vs. Rep. Patrick McHenry

• 45-37 (48-39) vs. Rep. George Holding

• 47-40 (49-39) vs. Rep. Virginia Foxx

• 48-38 (47-37) vs. state House Speaker Thom Tillis

• 46-38 vs. Rep. Robert Pittenger

• 47-38 vs. state Sen. Phil Berger

Honestly, I feel bad for Tom Jensen, who will have to struggle to find something to write about this race over a dozen more times until the primary, because I've already run out of ideas. (I would, however, be amused if someone could squeeze a "sky is falling" narrative out of this poll. I'm sure someone can!) Anyway, there are also some GOP primary numbers once more:

Virginia Foxx: 21 (17)
Patrick McHenry: 15 (13)
Renee Ellmers: 11 (11)
Robert Pittenger: 6 (--)
Richard Hudson: 5 (6)
Phil Berger: 5 (--)
George Holding: 2 (9)
Thom Tillis: 2 (2)
Other/undecided: 25 (33)

Don't get too excited about any of the movement you see here: Tom keeps tweaking his Republican roster, dropping ex-Rep. Sue Myrick and Rep. Mark Meadows in favor of Pittenger and Berger. Woot.

WV-Sen: Over the weekend, the Charleston Gazette published a piece on potential Democratic replacements for retiring Sen. Jay Rockefeller that would make the Great Mentioner proud. While we've already gone over most of the names in detail, there are a few new suggestions:

• Retired Adjutant General Allen Tackett (former head of the West Virginia National Guard)

• Ralph Baxter, CEO of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (a major national law firm)

• State Sen. Corey Palumbo

• State Sen. Erik Wells

• Ex-state Sen. Jim Humphreys

• Ex-party chair Nick Case

Additionally, one major possible candidate has pulled himself from consideration: ex-Gov. Gaston Caperton, who served from 1989 until 1997. Caperton had the sort of profile that would have made him an instant contender (and perhaps even cleared the field, at least partially), but he's 72 years old and says his political career "began and will probably end" with his tenure as governor.


AR-Gov: PPP is out with a new poll (PDF) for a private client called Jobs Now, which has little visibility on the web but which local media describe as a "union-funded think tank." The numbers seem aimed at showing that Democratic AG Dustin McDaniel has been seriously wounded by revelations that he carried on an affair with an attorney who had business before his office: He trails Republican front-runner Asa Hutchinson by a painful 46-33, with just a 25-40 favorability rating versus 39-30 for Hutchinson.

So why would a union group want to raise doubts about a Democrat? Very possibly because they'd prefer to see a different Democrat get in the race—and secure the nomination. Talk Business says that Jobs Now is "normally pretty friendly with Bill Halter," the former lieutenant governor who unsuccessfully ran against ex-Sen. Blanche Lincoln in the Democratic primary in 2010. Halter's bid was heavily backed by labor, so it'd make sense if the same coalition rallied around him once more. (A spokesman says that Halter is still "seriously considering" a run.) Of course, there are no Halter numbers in this poll, and even if he's not damaged in the way McDaniel appears to be, holding this seat looks like a seriously uphill fight for Team Blue.

FL-Gov: This story cracked me up. Remember Seamus! Oh wait, LOL! There's more! Rick Scott's dog was literally sent to a farm upstate!

MD-Gov: Don't coronate Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown just yet: Attorney General Doug Gansler just announced that he's already banked an extraordinary $5.2 million in his bid for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination. Fundraising reports are due Wednesday, and Brown has by-and-large managed to project that frontrunner aura (he's supported by term-limited Gov. Martin O'Malley), but the WaPo says that Gansler's haul is "expected to greatly exceed" those of his rivals.

NJ-Gov: Jesus, I swear, I really thought Bill Pascrell had already said no to a gubernatorial run. I mean hell, this is what he said just last week:

"I'm not pursuing that position."
Now, okay, he also said he found the idea of a race against GOP Gov. Chris Christie "intriguing," but I figured he meant he considered the notion, felt it was somewhat attractive, but then abandoned it. Yet here we are now:
As for his own political future, Pascrell is involved in discussions about the governor's race.

"That's another story. I can't get into the details. I had a long conversation with [state] Sen. [Richard] Codey this morning," he said. "Many of the people that have talked to me in the last three weeks have urged me, this octogenarian, to consider doing this thing."

Pascrell is 75 years old.

"I have a lot of work in my district, not only with Sandy but it's a new district. I lost 75 percent of my district. I had to fight a primary. It took a toll on my family," he said. "And I'm back, I'm ready but I'm not ready to make any announcements. I'm not even close. I would say in the next three weeks you will have a clear picture on who's running."

These shifting, oracular pronouncements make me want to tear my hair out! (Though I do love Roll Call's Abby Livingston fact-checking Pascrell on his own age.)


CO-06: Rep. Mike Coffman is assuredly one of the most vulnerable GOP incumbents heading into 2014: He narrowly escaped defeat in November thanks to a left-leaning third-party spoiler candidate, and he sits in one of the bluest districts occupied by a Republican (at 52 percent Obama). And here's one possible contender who might try to do him in: former state House Speaker Andrew Romanoff. Romanoff had considered a bid last cycle, but wound up deferring to state Rep. Joe Miklosi. You probably remember Romanoff from his ill-fated primary challenge to newly-appointed Sen. Michael Bennet in 2010 (one which saw him sell his own house to finance his campaign); that race seemed to generate a lot of ill will toward Romanoff, but if he can overcome that past and rally support for a go at Coffman, he could prove to be a strong candidate.

MN-06: Umm....

Grab Bag:

Polltopia: Two well-known Democratic pollsters announced on Tuesday that they will be merging: Anzalone Liszt Research and Grove Insight will combine to form the polling superteam of Anzalone Liszt Grove Research. Good luck to all involved, and may the Force be with you!

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 05:00 AM PST.

Also republished by Maryland Kos, Virginia Kos, and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  There is a difference between raise and (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    collect, you know. We raise crops and children. It takes time and some effort. Begging money for a political campaign mostly involves the gift of gab.
    Raising money isn't even comparable to dough rising, since the latter is the result of yeasties doing their thing.

    A dollar is a certified obligation and implies a commitment. Which suggests that the dollar ought to be treated with more seriousness. Every dollar McAuliffe collects is a debt owed. Whom does he owe? If it's citizens, it's one thing. If it's corporations (artificial bodies) it's another.

    We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

    by hannah on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 05:17:46 AM PST

    •  It's Virginia (6+ / 0-)

      There are no dollar limits on what individuals or corporations can give to a candidate, and that means, unfortunately, that if we don't play by the same rules the GOP does -- if we artificially hamstring ourselves -- we will almost certainly lose.

      •  The notion that dollars equal votes is really (0+ / 0-)

        an insult to the electorate -- not an argument that is going to convince people to see things the democratic way.
        There are also no limits on the number of letter one can use in a post on this blog, or the internet in general. That should get us used to the fact that quantity is not related to quality.
        When it comes to paying for political propaganda, the quantity spent is not really significant. The message has to be spread and paying people to spread it is better than expecting the effort to be free. However, whether a candidate collects IOUs from voters or corporations does make a difference. The Kochs, whose financial interests are run out of Virginia headquarters, have a stake in how the state operates. But, their influence should not be disproportionate to any other voter. Presumably, their agent has a vote; they don't.

        We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

        by hannah on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 08:08:02 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Gov. Neil Abercrombie (7+ / 0-)

    I'll always remember talking to him back in the '70s. At least I hope I do. Long hair, beard, dashiki. Now he's the freakin' governor! That's why I can't stand people who pretend to predict the future.

    We're fools whether we dance or not, so we might as well dance.

    by PowWowPollock on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 05:39:30 AM PST

    •  He's an old hippie soul. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      And he definitely seems like an interesting guy.

      I know he's not that popular for whatever reason (at least according to polling), but I'd take him any day over the idiot I'm stuck with (Tom Corporate--er, Corbett).

  •  Question about Terry McAuliffe (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mayfly, Christopher Walker

    Can someone here who knows Virginia a lot better than I do make a positive case for Terry McAuliffe being the Democratic candidate?  All I really know about him is that he's a big-time friend of the Clintons, can raise a lot of money, and seems like the ultimate insider.  He just rubs me the wrong way, but I realize that might not be a fair conclusion to come to.  Are there positive sides to him that I'm missing -- other than it looks like he'll be our candidate, and his likely GOP opponent is a stark-raving nutjob.

    •  The fight vs. Cucinnelli is of national importance (8+ / 0-)

      If you thought Scott Walker was worth trying to recall, please help us to stop a RW fanatic from having a bully pulpit, an experimental lab for a hyper-conservative agenda, and a chance to deliver 13 electoral votes to the Rethugs in 2016 through state-level manipulations.

      But you asked for a positive case - even though in the binary world of politics defensive voting & activism ARE legitimate and necessary tactics.  That said, Terry McAuliffe has positions that progressives can be comfortable with on climate change, environmental issues more broadly, reproductive rights, LGBT issues, immigration and more.   I've got to run, but take a look at this diary, as well as this current one from TeacherKen for more.

      Virginia activists will need all the help we can get to stop Cucinnelli.  I hope we can count on yours.

      •  Thanks -- Good points and good info (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JBraden, ellefarr, stevenaxelrod

        I certainly recognize your importance as both a blue trending state that could swing back the other way (especially, as you say, with some electoral funny business) -- and having off-year elections.  With New Jersey looking really doubtful, this is the competitive election of 2013 that is going to drive a lot of the political narrative.

        And yes, he will have my support if he's the Democratic candidate, and hopefully at least a little bit of my money.  It is very, very rare that I won't support a Democrat that state or local Democrats choose to be their candidate.

        •  Thanks so much, Indiana... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          ...any and all help is much appreciated.   As you clearly recognize, we're in a nation-wide campaign which is going to be fought local battle after local battle. Congratulations and thanks for your contribution to our collective happiness last November with the election of Donnelly!    

          I'm going to be working (with others, of course) on setting up remote phone banking for folks who want to help with the ground game from afar, as well as coming up with good grassroots-oriented options for financial support. Watch this space (and others) for news about that.

          So thanks again, and all the best !

          -Virginia Victory

          •  Joe Donnelly was the one bright spot in Indiana (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Except for him, 2012 at the state level was brutal -- and Donnelly really only won because Richard Mourdock was at least upfront and honest about how looney he really is.  Mike Pence is just as nutty -- he's just a better politician.  Hopefully Cucinnelli's true face will be made clear to Virginia voters before he gets anywhere near close to being your governor.

  •  Terry McAuliffe and Steve Sweeney. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mayfly, Paleo, JBraden

      If they are nominated for the Virginia and New Jersey gubernatorial races, that would make for a very depressing 2013. Sweeney is the state's biggest loser, so I doubt he will actually run for the nomination.
       I know Barbara Buono has not gotten much play, but she is a worthy standard-bearer for the Democratic Party in New Jersey. She is a solid progressive, and has feuded publicly with Sweeney and Christie - positives in my book. Students for a New American Politics!

    by redrelic17 on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 06:02:52 AM PST

  •  Ken Salazar leaves Interior in March (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    That will free up another appointment.

    •  This was anticipated (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sidnora, Aquarius40, betelgeux

      He had been rumored to be out the door. Now the question is, who replaces him? I think Brian Schweitzer would be a great candidate for 2 years, before resigning to run for president in early 2015. This would be basically the last hole in his resume to be filled.

      •  Schweitzer would be awesome (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Aquarius40, betelgeux

        in that job, even if he weren't gearing up for 2016.

        "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."........ "The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little." (yeah, same guy.)

        by sidnora on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 06:54:52 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  He may not want it (0+ / 0-)

        He doesn't have much of a national profile, and Secretary of Interior isn't going to get him one. It would however give him a day job that would take him away from the business of finding big financial backers for the primary.

        •  There are hazards (0+ / 0-)

          He may be the Richardson of 2016, the guy with the gawdy resume, but never catches fire. Although I am not sure how many jobs he could have in the next 4 years that would get him a high profile.

          •  That's why I think he's more likely as a VP (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            He's out of office now, and has no real way to get the kind of attention someone like him will need to mount a successful campaign in the primary. Assuming he is going against people like Cuomo and O'Malley that have the next 2 years to make news and build a base, he's really got nothing. I honestly could see him as more a VP

          •  Schweitzer is more enthusiastic than Richardson (0+ / 0-)

            One of the reasons why Bill Richardson's candidacy for president in 2008 didn't catch fire is because he was facing three very popular Democratic presidential candidates and they pretty much took the wind out of every other candidate: Biden, Dodd, Kucinich, etc.

            Richardson also did not excite people that much.  He just doesn't have that kind of charisma that can really excite people.

            On the other hand, Schweitzer has a folky way of communicating, like Bill Clinton in a way, was a very popular Governor in Montana (for two terms) and ran in a state more red than New Mexico, which is becoming more blue.  A Schweitzer for President candidacy would be fun to watch.

      •  former WA Gov Christine Gregoire (0+ / 0-)

        is rumored to be on the short list for this appointment

  •  PA-Row Offices (10+ / 0-)

    Just to confirm: Kathleen Kane is no longer Attorney General-elect, and Eugene DePasquale is no longer Auditor General-elect; both were sworn in yesterday in Harrisburg, as was Treasurer Rob McCord for a second term. Hell of a fun day for Democrats, and Gov. Corbett had to sit there at the ceremonies and listen to Kane and DePasquale talk about holding folks accountable and pursuing corruption wherever it is found ...

    •  Reminds me of the Peanuts cartoon (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JBraden, betelgeux

      where Linus is running for class president, and loudly declares in a speech "I will bring down corruption in high places!"  Charlie Brown then says, "I wonder why the principal looks so pale."

      37, MD-8 (MD-6 after 2012) resident, NOVA raised, Euro/Anglophile Democrat

      by Mike in MD on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 08:00:09 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  i read mcauliffe's book- what a party (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sidnora, betelgeux

    i like him- i can't see a down side here. is there a down side?

    "...i also also want a legally binding apology." -George Rockwell

    by thankgodforairamerica on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 06:25:10 AM PST

  •  TN-05 Jim Cooper needs a primary challenge. (6+ / 0-)

    I am so angry at him right now.

    My email to Jim Cooper

  •  So, McAuliffe isn't (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JBraden, betelgeux

    my NYC idea of the perfect Democrat, but he's running in VA. And what's more, against Krazy Kuccinelli? I'm on board.

    And I can't believe I'm about to do this, but in defense of the Scott family: I've known people who adopted rescues that just didn't work out, despite their very best efforts. If the dog may be a danger to the children, or to visitors (who are sometimes seen as invaders), discretion may be the better part of valor. I say this as someone with many wonderful rescue animals in my history.

    But that the dog was adopted just in time for election season, that's another story!

    "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."........ "The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little." (yeah, same guy.)

    by sidnora on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 07:02:14 AM PST

  •  MD Gov (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    My money is on Brown to win , although I dont know who I'll support yet. Maryland has this strange situation of white vs black animosity in primaries, and I have a feeling it could get ugly.

    •  what about (0+ / 0-)

      a white candidate (Doug Gansler) who supported President Obama early during the Democratic primary vs. a black candidate (Anthony Brown) who supported Sec. Clinton.

      •  It is a different situation (0+ / 0-)

        Usually the white candidate is the one supported by the establishment and the black candidate is the insurgent. Its reversed for this race though. Brown is definitely establishment backed and Gansler is coming at him from outside.

  •  We are going to elect Coo-Coo (0+ / 0-)

    I'm sorry but McAuliffe is a terrible campaigner.  He is going to be looked at by Virginians as an outsider.  We have a lot of better candidates in the state.  I hope that one of them steps up to run in a primary against McAuliffe.

  •  The money people LOVE TM... (0+ / 0-)

    but the voters don't.

    Democrats need candidates who stand for good things like progress, not apparatchik money launderers, if they want to win.

  •  And that's just if Scott's telling the teruth. (0+ / 0-)

    Has anyone really checked if he didn't simply have the dog euthenized?

    Have you heard? The vice president's gone mad. - Bob Dylan, 1966

    by textus on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 07:31:07 AM PST

  •  we are ready to defeat the cuch n/t (3+ / 0-)

    An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

    by don mikulecky on Wed Jan 16, 2013 at 07:38:42 AM PST

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