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Leading Off:

LA-Sen: PPP's making their way through all the tough Senate seats Democrats have to hold next year, and now they're up to Louisiana, where Mary Landrieu is seeking a fourth term. Guess what? The news is remarkably good, much like it was in Alaska, another top GOP target. Indeed, Landrieu's job approval rating now stands at 47-45, which seems fairly remarkable given the sharp red turn her state has taken. And that's also a healthy recovery from August of 2010, when she had a lousy 41-53 score as Democrats were on their way to an absolute drubbing at the polls.

So speaking of the polls, how does Landrieu actually fare against some hypothetical candidates? (No Republicans have declared yet.) Turns out, she leads all of them, and pretty healthily, too. Note that the numbers in parentheses represent each potential opponent's favorability rating (or in the case of Jindal, job approval):

• 46-43 vs. Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne (41-23)

• 48-42 vs. Rep. Charles Boustany (22-25)

• 49-41 vs. Gov. Bobby Jindal (37-57)

• 48-39 vs. ex-Rep. Jeff Landry (29-27)

• 48-38 vs. Rep. Steve Scalise (21-24)

• 50-40 vs. Rep. Bill Cassidy (19-24)

• 50-38 vs. Rep. John Fleming (20-21)

There are a few themes and observations worth pointing out here. First and most important is that Landrieu is very close to or just at 50 percent against all but one potential candidate, something that has to make her feel good. It'll be a dogfight to make sure she does in fact claw her way to 50%+1, no doubt about it, but I'll take these numbers.

(continue reading below the fold)

Related to this, all the various current and former congressmen are mostly unknown. That means they have upside potential, but they may first have to contend with an ugly fight to be their party's standard-bearer, particularly if the notorious teabagger Landry decides to go kamikaze on their asses. I shouldn't use that phrasing, though, because Landry could very well win—and amusingly, he's doing a touch better than establishment fave Bill Cassidy, who sits at the bottom of the pile.

Speaking of the bottom of the pile, man do Bobby Jindal's numbers suck. Gov. Kenneth the Page has seen his approval rating absolutely plummet. Tom Jensen points out that when that old 2010 poll referenced above was conducted, Jindal owned a gaudy 58-34 approval score, one of the best in the country among governors. Now his 37-57 is among the very worst. It doesn't matter either way, though, since Jindal's already said he won't run.

By contrast, though, Jindal's second-in-command looks quite good against Landrieu, but I have to wonder if the huge crossover support Dardenne currently earns from Democrats could possibly survive a heated partisan campaign. Yes, party ID in Louisiana, where party switching is common, tends to be much more fluid than anywhere else in the country. But right now, Dardenne has almost identical favorability scores from Republicans (42-25) and Democrats (43-22). I don't think that's sustainable, but what's more, Dardenne hasn't even been mentioned as a possible candidate—and he didn't run in 2008, either, when his name also came up.

As I said above, Landrieu will have a hell of a race on her hands no matter what happens, but these are the kind of initial numbers you can only hope for. And while you're at it, hope for a brutal fight between Republicans, too. Louisiana doesn't conduct a traditional primary, but rather all candidates from all parties appear on the November ballot, with a December runoff between the top two vote-getters if no one scores more than 50 percent. Landrieu, as the only Dem in the field, is all but guaranteed a spot in the runoff; a GOP meltdown over who gets to oppose her in that one-month sprint would only help our chances, which already appear better than expected.


GA-Sen: Could you imagine Paul Broun being your physician? I sure as hell can't. Check out his latest lunacy, from a new radio interview:

I was the first Member of Congress to call him a socialist who embraces Marxist-Leninist policies like government control of health care and redistribution of wealth....
Awesome! You know, while the likes of Tom Price and other establishment Republicans sit on their asses waiting to decide whether to run for Georgia's open Senate seat, Broun is out there, telling primary voters what they want to hear—and, more importantly, validating their feelings. Maybe he has no chance, but as a Democrat rooting for maximum cat fud, I like his game.

MA-Sen: Rep. Ed Markey just earned a couple of big union endorsements on Wednesday—big for two reasons. For starters, the Massachusetts Teachers Association and the National Education Association are both important labor organizations in the state, and the MTA is in fact the biggest union in Massachusetts. But beyond that, these gets help push back against the notion that Markey's primary rival, fellow Rep. Stephen Lynch, has union support locked up. Lynch, a former ironworker, is depending on broad labor backing to come from behind against Markey, so it's good to see the much more progressive Markey secure some union endorsements for himself.

NJ-Sen: Ordinarily I don't pay a lot of attention to campaign staff turnover—it happens—but this seems pretty bad for Democrat Cory Booker: His second finance director has departed in as many months, following on the heels of his treasurer as well. Inauspicious.


MI-Gov: Holy ouch, Batman! Republican Gov. Rick Snyder's job approval rating has taken a brutal turn southward in EPIC-MRA's new poll, plummeting to 36-61 (!), all the way from 51-48 in November. That confirms other polling taken after Snyder pushed through anti-union "right-to-work" legislation in December, and it makes him an extremely tempting target for Democrats next year.


IA-01: We have our first official candidate in the race to succeed Rep. Bruce Braley, who is running for Senate: longtime state Rep. Pat Murphy, who for a time served as Speaker of the House when Democrats were in the majority and had initially expressed interest just a week ago. Des Moines Dem at Bleeding Heartland praises Murphy for immediately embracing the Iowa Supreme Court's ruling that legalized same-sex marriage three years ago but also expresses some lament at the fact that Democrats didn't seek greater tax fairness when they held the trifecta prior to 2010 (when Murphy was Speaker). In any event, Murphy almost certainly won't have the field to himself, but hopefully this will be a good, clean race on the Democratic side no matter who joins.

IL-02: A third member of Congress has endorsed in the IL-02 Democratic primary, and once again, the beneficiary is ex-state Rep. Robin Kelly: Chicago-area Rep. Jan Schakowsky is giving Kelly her backing. Roll Call's Abby Livingston caught up with Schakowsky at the State of the Union address on Tuesday night (where Kelly was also in attendance); Schakowsky specifically said that "one of the reasons" for her involvement "is the gun issue," and noted that Toi Hutchinson and Debbie Halvorson both "have A ratings from the National Rifle Association."

The SEIU is also getting into the game, with a radio ad, playing on "urban stations," that attacks Halvorson for voting with Republicans "88 times." (That number will remind political junkies of a hilarious spot ex-Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. ran last year that featured the same statistic, albeit with far greater dudgeon.) SEIU hasn't filed an independent expenditure report yet, so there's no word on the size of the buy, but Independence USA keeps pouring it on, with additional mailers, as well as some online advertising, all aimed at Halvorson. And it also looks like CREDO, so far, has spent about $40K on their anti-Halvorson/anti-Hutchinson canvassing program.

Finally, Nick Daggers, a campaign finance consultant working for Kelly, has put together a helpful Google Doc tracking all fundraising in the race. One frustrating thing is that when a race is in its final stages and campaigns are filing so-called "48-hour reports" detailing all donations of $1,000 or more, there's no easy way to keep track of it all. But Daggers is compiling it all manually, which is a great service. One thing to note: Since February 6, Kelly has filed three 48-hour reports totaling $13,100. Her opponents have filed none.

Other Races:

Nassau Exec: It's always tempting to over-read the results of the handful of elections that take place in odd-numbered years, but I have to admit I got a sick feeling in my stomach when former Nassau County (NY) Executive Tom Suozzi lost his race in a startling upset in November of 2009. It's not because I was some big Suozzi partisan, but rather, I felt like it was an early warning signal about what would happen in 2010; I don't know if I was right, but I know that at least I wasn't wrong about the debacle that was to come. Thankfully, that feels like a long time ago, and not just to me: Suozzi has decided to make a comeback bid for his old job this fall.

He should be in a good position to do so: The guy who beat him, Ed Mangano, has run Nassau into the ground, forcing the state to seize control of the county's finances in 2011. Particularly seeing as how wealthy Nassau is (it's also the 27th-largest county in the country), I don't know how Mangano is going to run on his "record." What's more, Suozzi is sitting on $1 million in his campaign account, which is a sign of just how un-seriously he took Mangano four years ago. I'm sure he won't make the same mistake twice.

NE-LG: On Wednesday, Republican Gov. Dave Heineman announced a replacement for former Lt. Gov. Rick Sheehy, and boy are things going to be confusing: The new LG is former state Sen. Lavon Heidemann, a name that almost guaranteed typos, mixups, and missed appointments. I guess it's not as bad as the time Mark Warner ran against John Warner for Senate in Virginia, but this would be like having a Vice President Obana. The problem won't last for too long, though, since Heineman is term-limited and can't run for re-election next year. Though would Heindemann run in his place? Who knows!

NYC Mayor: Sigh. So Republicans in Albany won't move New York City's primary to June, somehow claiming it would interfere with the legislative session (whatever). Instead, they want it in August, which Democrats don't want because far fewer people will be around to vote in the dead of summer. That means we're stuck with September, which doesn't give the Board of Elections sufficient time to prepare for a runoff and the general election—which in turn is why the BoE had talked about implementing instant runoff voting instead. But now that's dead, too. Sigh again.

Special Elections: Johnny Longtorso sums up Tuesday night's happenings:

Kentucky HD-52: Republican hold; Ken Upchurch will be going back to the legislature, though Democrat Harvey Shearer put up a good fight in this red district. The result was 59-41 Upchurch.

Minnesota HD-14A: Republican hold; Tama Theis defeated DFL candidate Joanne Dorsher by a 54-43 margin, while the Independence Party's Todd McKee got 3 percent.

Minnesota HD-19A: Democratic hold; DFLer Clark Johnson defeated Republican Allen Quist by a 54-36 margin, with Independence Party candidate Tim Gieske pulling in 10 percent.

There was some talk of Minnesota Democrats flipping 14A (and a little chatter about the GOP perhaps flipping 19A), but in the end, neither changed hands. While Republicans may be eager to crow about 14A, the fact is that it's a seat they held in 2006 and 2008. If the Minnesota GOP is at the level they were in 2006, well, Democrats would have to be pretty happy about that.

Grab Bag:

MT Redistricting: Montana conducts its legislative redistricting on a more leisurely schedule than most states, preferring to implement new lines in 2014 rather than 2012. The work is handled by a commission made up of two Democrats, two Republicans, and one tiebreaker appointed by the Supreme Court, and the panel just completed its mission. The maps (which you can view here) now become law automatically. Republicans are pissed off, seeing as the tiebreaker sided with Democrats, so that has to count as good news—but then again, Republicans everywhere howl when a map that is anything less than an extreme pro-GOP gerrymander gets passed, so that's not necessarily dispositive.

VAWA: Tuesday's Senate vote on reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act (originally drafted by none other than Joe Biden 20 years ago) is great for showing you who the real degenerates are in the GOP. The bill passed by a 78-22 margin, and every single "nay," of course, belonged to a Republican. Among the most notable: South Carolina's Lindsey Graham, who may still fear a primary challenge next year; Kentucky's Mitch McConnell, who is in the same boat but could also conceivably get a legitimate general election opponent, too; and Florida's Marco Rubio, who between this and his water gulping embarrassment later the same day probably has hurt his presidential hopes in 2016.

Also on the list is NRSC chair John Cornyn—if he comes to your state to stump or fundraise for a Republican Senate candidate, be sure to throw this in both their faces. So are two swing state senators up for re-election in 2016, Iowa's Chuck Grassley and Wisconsin's Ron Johnson. I'd love to see them both get hurt over this, and I have no intention of forgetting about it.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 05:00 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (12+ / 0-)

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

    by David Nir on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 05:00:07 AM PST

  •  Booker (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aquarius40, Vatexia, Nulwee

    I dont understand why Booker pulled the trigger and killed his political future. It's not looking good for his campaign, and if he can't been Lautenberg in the primary, he's fucked his career over.

  •  WI-Gov: Walker rejected Medicaid expansion (4+ / 0-)

    Link to article from LaCrosse Tribune

    Also, this tweet from WISC-TV's Jessica Arp shows you how chilling Walker's views actually are: Walker says that he cares too much about people, despite the fact that he's been destroying Wiscosnin's economy (Act 10, WEDC mismanagment, rejecting Medicaid expansion, etc.) and long-standing tradition of good government (John Doe, WEDC mismanagement, Fitzmander, etc.) since he was elected governor.

    If what Scott Walker has done to Wisconsinites since he was elected governor is what he considers to be caring too much about people, I'd like to know what he considers to be not caring about people at all...

    Friend of the Wisconsin Uprising from East Central Illinois! IL-15

    by DownstateDemocrat on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 05:50:47 AM PST

    •  McCrory's on the same path in NC (1+ / 0-)

      Cutting unemployment insurance in half, costing the state $100 million/month in federal UI aid:

      At present, about 81,000 people are receiving those (extended federal UI) benefits, which bring about $100 million into the state's economy every month.

      But if lawmakers cut the state's unemployment benefits, jobless workers here will lose their eligibility for federal assistance. Their checks will stop when the state overhaul takes effect.

      "I refuse to let us continue to live off of a credit card. We're going to pay off the credit card. We're going to change the rules and policies," he said.

      Blocking Medicaid expansion for 500,000 Tar Heel residents, costing the state 25,000 jobs and $15 billion in federal aid:

      After earlier expressing reservations about the bill, Gov. Pat McCrory said Tuesday that the state Medicaid system is too troubled to expand, so he plans to sign the bill into law.

      The Medicaid expansion would cover about 500,000 low-income adults in North Carolina, providing them the insurance coverage required when the Affordable Care Act is fully implemented next year.

      Advocates said expanding Medicaid would bring a projected $15 billion into the state’s economy, creating an estimated 25,000 jobs in health care and related sectors by 2016.

      And this is just the beginning. Still to come:
      - Replacing corporate and individual income taxes with sales taxes.
      - Allowing tax deductible corporate 'donations' to private schools.
      - Allowing unlimited expansion of charter schools.
      - All the best of the GOP's abortion resrictions from around the country.
      - Firing all members of the State Utilities Commission so McCrory (a 30-year Duke Energy employee) can appoint their replacements.

      Filibuster reform, 2013 - woulda, coulda, shoulda.

      by bear83 on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 07:59:20 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Good news on Landrieu (7+ / 0-)

    Don't agree with her on everything, but she's streets ahead of the opposition, policy-wise, and her seat will hopefully be one less headache we have to worry about.

    Vaccinate your child. Vaccinate yourself. | Pro-transit, pro-gun, anti-NRA young black urban progressive | SSP/DKE | -9, -7.79 | MO-05 | Yard signs don't vote. | Hutchinson for IL-02!

    by gabjoh on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 05:57:57 AM PST

    •  Seems most senators have some local constituency (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      they play to, like Schumer with Wall Street issues. At least she helps a Democratic majority. Could more be hoped for from Louisiana?

      "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 Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 06:29:38 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes! We demand perfection! (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        geoneb, politicalmetrics, Larin

        Each and every state can and should elect the equals of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren to the Senate!  And any "Democrat" to their right is a roadblock to the progressive agenda and does not deserve our time or money!

        In fact, if Mary Landrieu, Mark Pryor, and Mark Begich are not primaried and replaced with real Democrats then all progressives must boycott the 2014 and 2016 elections to teach the Democratic Party a lesson!

        (Just snarkily preempting the FP poster comments.)

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

        by Mike in MD on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 09:06:14 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  not me (0+ / 0-)

      She is to the right of what was once considered center-right.  We lose in the long run if we have evil on our side.  The tea party has been successful in "purifying" their party--what they've done should be instructive.  We no longer have Rs that are swing votes--therefore we need pure Ds.  Race baiting Republicans send out a clear message--a disgusting one--but their base knows exactly what they get with their votes.  In such a situation, our base needs the same information.  Being better than Satan is not worth my donation, even if it begrudgingly gets my vote.

      Apres Bush, le deluge.

      by melvynny on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 06:30:47 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  It is going to be a brawl (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      This is not going to be an easy hold for her. That being said, she starts off in decent shape.

    •  About as good as we can hope for (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      don Don, Larin, lordpet8

      Landrieu's numbers are about as good as she could hope for in Louisiana.  Additionally, Landrieu is about as far left as we could hope for in Louisiana.  2014 looks to be especially tough for Democrats in the Senate and a hold in the Pelican State is essential.

  •  The will of Landrieu (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I want 1 less Tiny Coffin, Why Don't You? Support The President's Gun Violence Plan.

    by JML9999 on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 06:23:54 AM PST

  •  Mitch McChinless up by 9 in new poll (5+ / 0-)
    enate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) would lead actress Ashley Judd by 9 points in a 2014 Senate matchup, a poll released Wednesday found.
    The catch? Aside from the fact that Judd hasn't even announced that is.
    McConnell took 49 percent to Judd's 40 percent, according to results released Wednesday by the GOP firm Harper Polling and RunSwitch Public Relations, which was co-founded by a former McConnell aide.
    It's a GOP firm with close ties to the Turtle himself.  More here on story

    More on the poll here

    This is your world These are your people You can live for yourself today Or help build tomorrow for everyone -8.75, -8.00

    by DisNoir36 on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 06:31:11 AM PST

  •  Re Landreiu -let's be sure to root for reelection (7+ / 0-)

    In between trashing her for being a ConservaDem and not truly progressive.

    Go help us when we start tea bagging our own from the left.

  •  Republicans seem completely determined to miss (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nulwee, bear83

    the boat.

    Whatever one may think of Democrats' actual policies, they are talking jobs and prosperity.  Republicans are talking guns, socialism, and deficits.

    The party of Reagan really ought to go back and look at the man behind the idolatry. Conservative as hell, for sure, but a practical politician who understood that a positive message resonates with people more than, say, "malaise".

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 07:14:18 AM PST

  •  NC-Gov - McCrory, GOP sellout to Duke Energy (1+ / 0-)
    On Monday, Feb. 11, about 180 people attended a N.C. Utilities Commission (NCUC) hearing on Duke Energy's plan for meeting its customers' power needs over the next two decades.
    Duke Energy's proposed 20-year resource plan for NC, which would quadruple electicity rates in NC in 10 years:
    29% natural gas
    29% nuclear
    24% coal
    11% hydro
    4.5% conservation
    2.25% wind/solar
    Speaker after speaker called on commissioners to require Duke to increase its generation from renewable sources such as solar and to encourage greater efficiency.
    The GOP response: Senate Bill 10, which will sweep out all current members of the State Utilities Commission so they can be replaced by McCrory appointees. This creates a bit of a conflict of interest -in addition to McCrory being a 28 year employee of Duke Energy and holding a minimum of $10,000 in Duke Energy stock,
    the company, its political action committee, employees, and their families donated over $240,000 to McCrory's 2008 and 2012 gubernatorial campaigns and to the state Republican Party

    To think we thought it was bad when the NC General Assembly ordered the ocean not to rise in their last term, now we've got a complete sellout to Duke Energy that will quadruple every NC resident's power bill.

    I wonder, at some point, if voters will ever learn that Republicans don't give a shit about them. Perhaps McCrory's approval numbers will dive like those of Snyder, Walker, and Scott have once voters get a taste of their real agenda.

    Filibuster reform, 2013 - woulda, coulda, shoulda.

    by bear83 on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 08:27:41 AM PST

    •  Yes! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Ive been saying this for month now here on DKE. But people don't want to listen. In 2016 the GOP state brand will be toxic, and Dems will romp in the Gov race, the LG race and the US senate seat that will be up in 16.

      Moderate Progressive, Born in Cairo, Raised in NY-9 (Clarke), Living in NJ-10 (Payne Jr).

      by BKGyptian89 on Thu Feb 14, 2013 at 09:03:21 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Mary Landrieu looks suprisingly good for re-electi (0+ / 0-)

    And that's good because we always need more conservacorpraDems to vote with the GOP?

  •  Landrieu-Jindal (0+ / 0-)

    One of the surprising results is that Landrieu does better against Jindal than against 4 of the other possibles.

    This guy is considered a presidential-nominee possibility?

  •  Landrieu's #s seem average 4 incumbent w/o scandal (0+ / 0-)

    I expect Scott Brown and Liddy Dole had better at this point before their elections and Gordon Smith, Norm Coleman and Russ Feingold had about the same.  But it's good that she's leading and near 50%.  I expect that to remain the same right up until Nov '14 barring an Akin style implosion.

    As for Booker - I don't think campaign staff leaving in the first month of a campaign is particularly meaningful.

    And Menendez would have to be found guilty of something beyond the shadow of a doubt before he resigned.  If he did resign - Christie would appoint a Republican who would hold the seat until at least 2014.  That would be a disaster and might be the one thing that would give a Repubklican a chance to win a Senate seat in NJ.

    •  Your examples mostly show how (0+ / 0-)

      limited polls are this early out. But yes, you are definitely correct.

      Dole was beating Hagan like a drum until Summer of 2008, mostly due to name recognition I would imagine. Basically it's the same story in Oregon.

      Franken and was more competitive with Coleman, but didn't really start leading in any polls until Summer of that year either.

      But, yeah, there's still plenty of time for a multitude of things to happen, and only people like us are really thinking about the 2014 Senate race in February of 2013.

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