10:00 ET- Jackson wins. Now he needs to put together a campaign apparatus. And the Virginia GOP needs to learn that primaries are better than conventions that feature 12 hours of paper airplane-throwing punctuated by a few fake endorsements.
8:20 ET- Round 4 it is, Snyder vs. Jackson.
7:30 ET- As we go into a third round, the race is Jackson vs. Snyder. Stewart might play spoiler and throw this to Round 4.
4:25 ET- Finally, some results. State Sen. Mark Obenshain of Harrisonburg wins the AG nomination.
11:37 ET- The audio has cut out entirely. Hopefully it will be back in better form soon.
11:26 ET- Cuccinelli speaking. I have no idea what he's saying. Something about trying to trap rainwater?
11:12 ET- Tiero Cuccinelli is speaking, following an introductory video. From what I could get of the video, it seemed somewhat schizophrenic, about 50% red meat and 50% general election appeals, like Cooch's work on sexual assault and wrongful convinctions.
10:58 ET- Jindal speaking, throwing a lot of (warbled) red meat.
10:46 ET- Cuccinelli nominated.
10:39 ET- Nothing yet, but whoever is handling audio for this thing should be fired. There is a veterans' group singing, but on the webcast they sound more like a cat trying to play a pipe organ.
10:00 ET- The convention is being called to order. These things usually start slow; much of the action will likely come this afternoon.
This weekend, the Virginia GOP will hold a convention to pick its nominees for LG and AG. Two candidates are running for AG, while seven are seeking the LG's slot. LtNOWIS has a fine recap here for another point of view.
The race features two candidates, which means that it will be mercifully short, decided on one ballot. The two candidates are a pair of legislators that don't differ on the issues, so the race has broken down on a bit of a insider/outsider dynamic.
Conventional wisdom suggests that the front-runner is State Sen. Mark Obenshain of Harrisonburg. The son and brother of two past state party chairs, Obenshain has playing an inside ballgame and is thought to be the favorite due to his strong organization and name rec. But Obenshain's campaign hasn't had a lot of fire in the belly, relying instead on his personal and familial relationships with party insiders to make his case. (my odds - 60%)
The other candidate in the race is State Rep. Rob Bell of Charlottesville. Agreeing with Obenshain on essentially every issue, Bell has differentiated himself by playing a grassroots angle. Bell has been fundraising agressively and campaigning as one might for a primary election; he has a 2 to 1 funding edge over Obenshain (and that's, believe it or not, good news for Obenshain - he was down 10:1 at one point). If the convention delegates are more of the grassroots than the insider variety, Bell has a solid chance to win. (my odds - 40%)
In a crowded 7-way field, here is where the convention rules come into play big-time. Two candidates will be eliminated on the first ballot, two more on the second ballot, and one on the third ballot, with the final two duking it out on the fourth. The process ends if someone gets 50%.
We'll start with the two candidates that have largely been written off. Both had the profile to be major factors, but their campaigns never really got off the ground. The two are Pastor E. W. Jackson of Chesapeake, who challenged Allen in last year's Senate primary, and State Sen. Steve Martin of Chesterfield. Despite being the only two candidates from south of Fredericksburg, each has run only a shoestring campaign. As a result, both come to the convention without an organization or coherent base of support. Thus, the two of them are the two most likely to be eliminated on the first ballot, and unlikely to go much farther if they somehow slip past the first cut. (my odds for both - 0.1%)
Another candidate unlikely to make the cut is ex-State Sen. Jeannemarie Devolites-Davis of Arlington. Devolites-Davis is likely to have a core base of NoVa moderates, and can tap into the network built by her husband, ex-Rep. Tom Davis. That base will likely carry her at least through the first round, and maybe significantly farther. In a convention dominated by conservative RoVa party activists, it's very hard to see her hitting the 50% mark. But her endorsement will likely swing a significant bloc of moderates that could be key to another candidate's victory. (my odds - 0.8%)
The intial front-runner looked like Prince William County Executive Corey Stewart. Stewart started out looking like a very attractive candidate, with a record of winning in a big D-leaning county despite being a fairly staunch conserivative. Stewart also has raised by far the most money of the seven. But he has alienated much of the party with a scorched-earth campaign, and most people in the know suspect Stewart has little chance to win. It has even been speculated that Cuccinelli, likely to stay fiercely neutral with respect to the other six candidates, may even put his thumb on the scale if necessary to stop Stewart. (my odds - 1%)
That leaves three candidates with a real chance to win. Stafford County Supervisor Susan Stimpson is running as the hard-core Tea Party candidate. She has a strong base in the Tea Party and Paulist wings of the party, which is probably enough to get her quite far in the balloting. But while she has a dedicated grassroots base, insider-types seem to be cool to her candidacy. As such, Stimpson has some chance to win, but peeling off enough establishment and moderate types to clear 50% will be a hurdle. Bell winnning the AG race would be a good sign for her, showing a outsider-heavy convention. (my odds - 20%)
State Rep. Scott Lingamfelter of Woodbridge has emerged as a suprise front-runner. A relatively generic Republican with a military background, Lingamfelter doesn't come in with an obvious base of support. But he is a good second choice for people from all wings of the party, making him a good compromise choice. Rumor is that Devolites-Davis, for one, is prepared to endorse him if and when she is eliminated. Lingamfelter's biggest danger is that he could get eliminated on the first or second ballot because he doesn't have a dedicated support base. If he makes it to those later rounds and nobody can coalesce broad support, it is very possible he becomes the consensus choice. (my odds - 33%)
But ultimately the favorite going in is businessman Pete Snyder. Snyder has a large personal reservoir of cash, and has been up on TV with ads attacking Dem gubernatorial hopeful Terry McAuliffe. He has also used his cash to build up far and away the strongest organization, and get his name out there quite effectively. If this race were a primary, Snyder would probably be the prohibitive favorite. But the palace intrigue of the convention may doom him. A key stumbling block may be that Bell and Obenshain are thought to favor Lingamfelter, because they see him as easier to beat than Snyder or Stimpson in a future gubernatorial primary. That said, Snyder is still very much the man to beat tomorrow. (my odds - 45%)
RRH will have full live coverage of all the convention fun tomorrow!
With the Georgia Republican Party's state convention kicking off today, former Secretary of State Karen Handel has entered the race to replace retiring Senator Saxby Chambliss. Handel is nationally known for standing up to Planned Parenthood when leading the Susan G. Komen Foundation. She enters a crowded field:
Handel is the fourth Republican to enter the race for the seat of retiring GOP Sen. Saxby Chambliss. Notably, she is also the first woman and first candidate who is not a member of Congress. GOP Reps. Paul Broun, Phil Gingrey and Jack Kingston are running. David Perdue, the cousin of former Gov. Sonny Perdue, announced an exploratory committee this week.
In the party's top pickup opportunity of the 2014 midterms, Democrats are awaiting word from Michelle Nunn, a philanthropist and daughter of former Sen. Sam Nunn.
This should be an interesting race to say the least.
Massachusetts: The latest PPP poll, conducted for the League of Conservation Voters, finds Ed Markey increasing his lead over Gabriel Gomez to 48-41.
South Dakota: Rep. Kristi Noem sounds more likely to run for Senate now that the two top Democratic prospects appear to be sitting the race out. She says she has has discussions with groups that may support her in a primary over former Gov. Mike Rounds. The Senate Conservative's Fund says it is unsure if Noem could earn their support, but they have already declared their opposition to Rounds.
Iowa: One often overlooked name in all the Senate speculation was West Des Moines Mayor Steve Gaer. Gaer had some strengths as a candidate, including his popularity in the crucial suburbs of Des Moines. GOP insiders were also optimistic about his fundraising ability, but Gaer sounded uninterested all along. He has now officially declared he won't run, and is instead seeking re-election.
GA-10: Mike Collins, son of former Rep. Mac Collins, announced his candidacy for this seat, joining state Rep. Donna Sheldon and Rev. Jody Hice.
AZ-09: Former Arizona State quarterback Andrew Walter is running as a Republican. He joins 2012 primary loser and former Air Force Lt. Col Wendy Rogers and possibly 2012 nominee Vernon Parker in the primary.
MI-14: State Rep. Rudy Hobbs (D) is running to succeed Rep. Gary Peters. Hobbs is an African-American from Oakland County.
NC-12: State Rep. Marcus Brandon is running in the potential special election for Mel Watt's potentially open seat. Brandon is from Greensboro, not Charlotte, which probably puts him at a disadvantage with the nominating committee. Brandon is openly gay; would he be the first openly gay African-American in Congress?
Virginia Gov: Terry McAuliffe has reversed Ken Cuccinelli's March lead in the latest Quinnipiac Poll, leading 43-38. Despite what PPP says, Cuccinelli is not unpopular, with a 31-24 favorability rating, compared to T-Mac's 22-17.
Massachusetts Gov: Rep. Mike Capuano is inching closer to a Gubernatorial bid. If he runs, he will likely begin as a favorite over a field of unimpressive, unknown Democrats. This race could become interesting, as rumors are that AG Eric Holder will be gone soon, replaced with Gov. Deval Patrick. If Patrick becomes AG, LG Tim Murray will become Acting Governor, and could reverse his previous decision to not run.
Colorado Gov: SoS Scott Gessler, who previously said he would not run, is now seriously considering a run, according to sources close to his campaign. Gessler, who has faced scandals as SoS, would certainly not be our best candidate for Gov. However, this could be a win-win situation, as he would not be as harmful to the rest of the ballot as Tom Tancredo and we have a better shot at holding SoS without him.
Michigan Gov: We're almost tired of writing about this (and it's only May of the off year) but former one term Rep. Mark Schauer again says he is strongly leaning toward a run for Governor. We've been hearing from Schauer and those close to him that he was likely to run since December. At some point we get tired of hearing that, announce already!
Congress SD-Sen: South Dakota Democrats must settle for Rick Weiland now. The candidate claiming to represent the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party (a popular thing in South Dakota for sure) has the endorsement of former boss Tom Daschle.
GA: If you want to run for Congress, there are plenty of open seats in Georgia at the moment. Four congressional seats appear to be up for grabs.
PA-Senate: If Joe Sestak wins the Democratic nomination in 2016, he will be the first major party candidate in Pennsylvania history to secure a rematch in a US Senate race. Various third party candidates have done so in the past though.
PA-8: Bucks County Democrats will have at least two choices in their quest to spike themselves against Mike Fitzpatrick for one last time. Shaughnessy Naughton, a former scientist and publisher (I guess working in science over 10 years ago is still worth a mention - by that standard I should mention I was a high school quiz bowl captain 10 years ago) is seeking the Democratic nomination along with DCCC carpetbagger Kevin Strouse.
NRCC-Polling: The NRCC is promising to beef up its polling operation for the 2014 cycle. After making some missteps in 2012, NRCC Chairman Greg Walden is promising to resolve the issues.
MN-6: Michele Bachmann is spending $85k this month on advertising. While that might not be a lot if this was May 2014, spending such a sum in May 2013, 18 months from the poll, seems unusual. Maybe Bachmann is taking the DCCC promoted rematch with Jim Graves seriously.
SC-1: Fresh from his triumphant return to Congress after some less than satisfactory events, Mark Sanford might get a chance to rest easy during the 2014 primary season. Consultants are hearing very little chatter regarding a primary challenge and Sanford probably will avoid one if he can avoid making any major missteps.
Immigration: If an immigration deal is not done by the end of Thursday, it might be dead in the House. I am skeptical that 95% of the deal is done if they are threatening to walk away. I suspect there are larger issues looming.
States Pennsylvania: Terry Madonna of Franklin and Marshall explores social issues in Pennsylvania with a specific focus on how college educated voters are driving the shift. The most interesting part is how roughly the same number of voters in central Pennsylvania support gay marriage in central Pennsylvania as do in Philadelphia, but substantially more support it in the suburban areas in between.
NTSB/.08: Not necessarily an electoral topic at the moment, but I suspect the debate over lowering the legal intoxication limit from 0.08 to 0.05 could create electoral consequences for years to come.
Canada BC/NDP:The impact of the stunning defeat of the BC NDP by the BC Liberals must be giving pause to the Federal NDP as they look towards the 2015 Federal election. Having not formed a government in a large province this century, the NDP was really looking to fine tool its game in an effort to make a serious play at winning the 2015 Federal election.
Polls: The polls did not predict a Liberal win let alone a Liberal majority government with five more seats. So what went wrong, again?
More on Polling: As Gladstone pointed out early Wednesday morning, momentum might be the key to determining how polls come out. I also think there is a shy government factor at play here as well.
After weeks of speculation, the secret is out: Anthony Weiner will put himself out in the arena as a candidate for Mayor of New York. Sources close to the disgraced former congressman say that a press conference Campaign Kickoff will come sometime next week. No doubt Weiner was inspired by Mark Sanford's recent congressional victory in South Carolina, and polls showing him in second place among the field's five serious Democrats.
Anthony Weiner's bid to rise from the political dead is ready to begin in earnest - the disgraced former congressman will announce he is running for mayor as early as next week, according to sources. "He's definitely running," one Weiner ally told The Post. After weeks of hinting at a run, Weiner has taken a major step toward firing up his campaign by hiring a manager to guide his mayoral bid, according to a report.
Weiner's announcement throws the race for a loop. Council Speaker Christine Quinn was (and probably still is) the front-runner, but her vote share has been shrinking recently, and it's looking highly unlikely she will take the 40% needed to avert a primary runoff. The person most likely to join her in that runoff is Weiner, who has a real path to victory by coalescing the majority of City Democrats who are clearly to Quinn's left.
Additionally, the damaged and progressive Weiner may be the second-weakest Democrat in the general election (ahead of only the scandal-plagued John Liu), providing a better opening for Republican Joe Lhota or John Catsimatidis than either would have against the relatively clean, business-friendly Quinn.
Georgia: Yet another Republican looks poised to jump into the open Senate race, former Dollar General CEO and Gubernatorial cousin David Perdue has formed an exploratory committee for the seat. Perdue can likely fundraise off his connections to ex-Gov. Sonny Perdue, as well as his connections to the business community and self-funding potential. He most likely hurts Karen Handel and Jack Kingston.
More Georgia: A poll for a progressive group finds, no surprise, Jack Kingston is the strongest Republican candidate. More surprisingly, however, Karen Handel proves to be the weakest. Kingston leads Michelle Nunn 48-42. Paul Broun is next strongest, leading 45-42. Nunn and Phil Gingrey tie at 46, and Nunn holds a sizable 48-42 lead over Handel.
Iowa: SoS Matt Schultz is in DC to size up support for a Senate bid
Pennsylvania 2016: Former Rep. and 2010 nominee Joe Sestak is getting an early start on 2016, announcing yesterday that he formed an exploratory committee for a rematch with Sen. Pat Toomey.
South Dakota: After former Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin took herself out of consideration and US Attorney Brendan Johnson telegraphed he won't run, Democrats appear to be coalescing around former Congressional candidate and staffer Rick Weiland, with former Senate Majority Leader (and Weiland's former boss) Tom Daschle endorsing him.
Louisiana: The Louisiana Congressional delegation is circling around Rep. Bill Cassidy's candidacy: the entire Republican delegation (Sen. David Vitter and Reps. Scalise, Boustany, Fleming, and Alexander) will host a fundraiser for Cassidy at NRSC headquarters on June 11. Fleming and Boustany both considered bids of their own.
New Jersey: Even though he says he won't make an announcement about this race until after the November Gubernatorial election, Rep. Frank Pallone is wasting no time in going after Newark Mayor Cory Booker, accusing him of withholding funds for an AIDS treatment program.
NY-13: We could be in for a huge sleaze fest in next year's NY-13 primary, as former Gov. David Paterson hints that he may run. Paterson would likely only run if Rangel retired, but he is unpredictable and could launch a primary challenge to Rangel.
AZ-01: In their latest installment of "The Field", Roll Call looks at the field of potential Republican challengers to Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D). The Field is fairly empty though, containing just one name: 30 year old freshman state Rep. Adam Kwasman. This race worries me, as I'm not sure a 30 year old brand new state Rep. who managed Jess Kelly's 2010 campaign is who we want to entrust one of our top pick-up opportunities to. However, he could tap into the large Jewish Republican donor community that helped Josh Mandel and Randy Altschuler raise large sums of money.
Kansas Gov: Former state Senate President Steve Morris (R), who had been mentioned as a possible independent candidate, won't run for Governor.
South Dakota: Another recruiting stumble for the DSCC, with former Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin opting not to run for US Senate in South Dakota. The decision leaves Democrats with no A-list recruit in the race. Now one of the bigger questions in the race is if Rep. Kristi Noem (R) will choose to run in a primary against the already-announced former Governor Mike Rounds.
Michigan: Rep. Mike Rogers (R) is now saying his responsibilities as Chair of the House Intelligence Committee are delaying his decision on a run for US Senate, in light of the Boston Marathon bombing, North Korea, and Syria.
Massachusetts: The NRSC has released an internal poll from OnMessage 47-43. Polling has been all over the map for this special election.
Minnesota: This seems like it is for real this time (in a written statement instead of in response to a question), but Rep. Erik Paulsen is ruling out a run for US Senate or Governor this cycle, instead running for re-election.
Alaska: Harper Polling runs the numbers on behalf of the "Tea Party Leadership Fund." Palin has an ostensible lead (that is, within the margin of error) in a GOP primary of 32-30-14 over Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell and 2012 senatorial nominee Joe Miller. The problem? Sarah Palin lives in Arizona, and there is no way she will run for US Senate. But if the group paid for the poll, Harper probably had to run it.
Anyway, Miller's favorables are predictably underwater (34-49), while Treadwell looks relatively strong but with less formed opinions (54-15). Governor
Arkansas: Another Republican, State Rep. Debra Hobbs, is throwing her hat in the ring for Governor. Former Rep. Asa Hutchinson is considered the frontrunner, and businessman Curtis Coleman is also running. Already running on the Democratic side are Lt. Gov. Bill Halter and former Rep. Mike Ross.
Virginia: A new solid ad from the Cooch (that is, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli) emphasizing tax reform and tax cuts. House
GA-01: Former Kingston staffer David Schwarz is now running for his boss' old seat. He joins fellow Republicans, State Senator Buddy Carter and businessman Darwin Carter, in the race.
WV-02: A rundown of the potential Repubican field in West Virginia's Second Congressional District. AR-04: Lt. Gov. Mark Darr (R) is moving into the Fourth Congressional District, admitting he is looking at a run for the seat if Rep. Tom Cotton runs against Senator Mark Pryor (D).
Gallup: Gallup is getting close to completing its methodological review following its miscalling of the 2012 election.
Boston Mayor: 24 candidates have pulled nomination papers, but only half of those are expected to gather enough signatures to make the ballot in this open seat. To make some sense of the frontrunners, here is a set of power rankings from local insiders.
Texas Youth Vote: Lots of fun graphs that make the case that, even controlling for the disproportionate number of young Hispanics in Texas, youth voter turnout in Texas lags behind the rest of the country.
Minnesota Gay Marriage: Yesterday the Minnesota Senate passed gay marriage legislation, following the House's lead days before. Governor Dayton will sign the legislation today.
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