Red State Weekly Political Synopsis

Senate Update

California: In a very small sample Rasmussen Reports poll (July 22; 500 likely CA voters) Sen. Barbara Boxer (D) leads potential challenger Carly Fiorina (R) by only a 45-41% margin. Fiorina, the former Hewlett Packard CEO is likely to officially announce her candidacy in the near future.

Kentucky: Sen. Jim Bunning (R), after failing to raise sufficient early money to run for a third term, announced he would cease campaign operations and retire after the next election. Republican Secretary of State Trey Grayson is the GOP candidate-in-waiting. The top two Democratic candidates are Attorney General Jack Conway and Lt. Gov. Dan Mongiardo. Prior to being chosen as Gov. Steve Beshear’s running mate in 2007, Mongiardo challenged Bunning five years ago and held the Senator to a scant 51-49% re-election victory. The KY-Senate campaign will now be rated as a toss-up.

Texas: Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, who has been planning a Republican primary challenge to Gov. Rick Perry, is again saying that she will resign her seat in order to campaign full-time. Her leaving office could come sometime in August. If she does decide to vacate, Perry will then appoint a replacement, possibly Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst (R). A special election would then be called to fulfill the balance of the term. The seat next comes up for election in 2012. Two Democrats have already announced their intentions to run should Hutchison depart. Houston Mayor Bill White and former state Comptroller John Sharp are already raising money for a run. Republicans will be favored to hold the seat.

House Update

CT-4: Republicans had been attempting to recruit state Senate Minority Leader John McKinney to challenge freshman Rep. Jim Himes (D). With the new Congressman already raising over $973,000 for his first re-election, McKinney decided to take a pass on running for Congress.

HI-1: State Senate President Colleen Hanabusa (D), after considering a race for Governor, was in Washington to discuss running for the 1st congressional district seat being vacated by Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D), who is an official gubernatorial candidate. Former 2nd district Rep. Ed Case is already in the Democratic field. Honolulu city Councilman Charles Djou (R) is the consensus Republican candidate.

IL-7: Darlena Williams-Burnett (D), the Cook County chief deputy Recorder of Deeds, is the first person to officially announce her congressional candidacy. Seven-term Rep. Danny Davis (D) is vacating his seat to run for President of the Cook County Board of Commissioners. The winner of the Democratic primary will win the general election.

IL-10: State Rep. Julie Hamos (D) announced her congressional candidacy for the seat being vacated by Rep. Mark Kirk (R), who is running for Senate. Hamos joins state Senator Michael Bond and Dan Seals, the man who twice became the Democratic nominee against Kirk, attorney Elliot Richardson, and Republican businesswoman Patricia Bird in the field of candidates. This seat is a prime Democratic conversion opportunity.

LA-2: State Rep. Juan LaFonta (D) announced his candidacy against freshman Rep. Ahn “Joseph” Cao (R). A crowded Democratic field is expected as Cao won the heavily Democratic district against indicted former Rep. William Jefferson (D) in 2008. This is the top Democratic challenge race in the country.

MI-7: Last week former Rep. Tim Walberg (R), defeated for re-election last November by Rep. Mark Schauer (D), announced he would seek a re-match. According to Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA-22), a leader in recruiting GOP House candidates, indicated to Michigan leaders in Washington that attorney Brian Rooney, brother to Rep. Tom Rooney (R-FL-16), will also soon be officially running for the seat.

MS-1: State Sen. Alan Nunnelee (R) announced he will challenge Rep. Travis Childers (D) in the seat formerly represented by Sen. Roger Wicker (R). The Republican nature of the district suggests that this campaign will be competitive.

NY-23: Now that state Sen. Darrel Aubertine (D) declined to run in the special election to replace Rep. John McHugh (R) when the latter is confirmed as Secretary of the Army, the district’s eleven Democratic county chairmen stated that they will caucus sometime in August to choose a nominee. Eleven individuals have served notice that they want to be considered by the nominating committee. Last week the Republicans nominated moderate state Assemblywoman DeDe

Scozzafava. Gov. David Paterson (D) will schedule the special election once McHugh is confirmed and officially resigns the seat.

NC-7: Rep. Mike McIntyre (D), publicly considering a challenge to Sen. Richard Burr (R), instead announced that he will seek an eighth term in the House. Democrats appear to be coalescing around Secretary of State Elaine Marshall to oppose Burr.

UT-2: Rep. Jim Matheson, rumored to be considering either a Senate or gubernatorial race, will again run for re-election to the House. Matheson, a Democrat whose father was Governor, was first elected in 2000 and represents one of the most Republican districts of any Democrat in the country.

VA-5: Former Rep. Virgil Goode (R), who served in Congress as a Democrat, Republican, and Independent but was defeated in 2008, announced he would not seek a re-match with Rep. Tom Perriello (D), the man who unseated him by 727 votes. With a fresh candidate, the VA-5 campaign will be a top GOP conversion target.

Governor Update

Connecticut: State Sen. Gary LeBeau of East Hartford announced his candidacy for Governor against incumbent Republican Jodi Rell. The field will soon be getting crowded. Already raising money for a race are Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz, Stamford Mayor Daniel Malloy, and former state House Speaker James Amman. Former Democratic Senatorial nominee Ned Lamont may also run.

Illinois: Democratic state Comptroller Dan Hynes, who is serving his third term in office, announced that he will challenge Gov. Patrick Quinn in the February 2010 primary. Quinn, elected as impeached Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s running mate in 2006, ascended to his current post when the former chief executive was removed from office.

Michigan: Former state Rep. John Freeman (D) announced his candidacy for Governor. Also in the Democratic primary race is state Rep. Alma Wheeler Smith, along with the favorite for the nomination, Lt. Gov. John Cherry. Former Michigan State head football coach George Perles is also expected to run. This general election race is rated as a toss-up.

New Jersey: The latest New Jersey statewide poll, this time from the Public Policy Polling firm, verifies that Republican challenger Chris Christie continues to

lead Gov. Jon Corzine (D). The PPP numbers (7/24-27; 552 NJ registered voters) again posts Christie at the 50% mark, the fifth consecutive survey to do so. The PPP ballot test shows Christie over Corzine 50-36%, including a 54-26% margin in the critically important Independent voter category. This race is to be decided in November of this year.

Virginia: A new Rasmussen Reports poll (7/27-28; 526 likely VA voters) gives Republican former Attorney General Bob McDonnell a commanding 55-40% lead over Democrat Creigh Deeds. The sample is skewed toward Republicans, meaning the margin is likely inflated. Still, McDonnell has the clear advantage despite this somewhat unrepresentative sampling universe.