Red State Weekly Political Synopsis

Senate Update

Arkansas: New polls are bringing more bad news for vulnerable Democratic Sen. Blanche Lincoln. Rasmussen Reports (9/28; 500 likely AR registered voters) shows Lincoln trailing all of her prospective Republican opponents, despite the voting populace not being familiar with any of the GOP candidates. State Sen. Gilbert Baker (R-Conway) does the best, polling ahead of Lincoln 47-39%. Three other virtually unknown Republicans have either two or three point leads.

Delaware: Rasmussen Reports (9/30; 500 likely DE registered voters) shows At-Large Rep. Mike Castle (R) leading Attorney General Beau Biden (D) 47-42%. Biden is the son of Vice-President Joe Biden. Neither candidate has officially announced for the open Senate race.

Kentucky: Rasmussen Reports (9/30; 500 likely KY registered voters) is showing a dead heat for the open race to succeed retiring Sen. Jim Bunning (R). Attorney General Jack Conway (D) and Secretary of State Trey Grayson (R) draw to a 40-40% tie. Grayson leads Democratic Lt. Governor and 2004 Senatorial nominee Dan Mongiardo 44-37%. When paired with the other GOP contender, Dr. Rand Paul (R), son of Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX-14), Conway leads 42-38% but Mongiardo trails 43-38%.

Nevada: Nevada GOP chair Sue Lowden officially announced her Senatorial bid against Majority Leader Harry Reid (D). She joins former Secretary of State candidate Danny Tarkanian in the Republican primary field. Polls show both Lowden and Tarkanian leading Reid among Silver State voters.

Pennsylvania: Quinnipiac University (9/22-28; 1,100 registered PA voters) posts GOP challenger Pat Toomey to a 43-42% lead over party-switching Sen. Arlen Specter (D). Specter’s job approval is an upside down 44:48%, and 52% of the sampling universe does not feel he deserves a sixth term in office. Specter leads his Democratic primary opponent, however. The Senator enjoys a 44-25% lead over Delaware County Rep. Joe Sestak. In a Toomey-Sestak general election pairing, the Republican leads 38-35%.

South Carolina: Rock Hill, SC attorney Chad McGowan (D) is telling news sources that he will announce his Senatorial candidacy against first-term Sen. Jim DeMint (R) later this month. McGowan reportedly has personal financial resources that he is willing to invest in his campaign. DeMint is the prohibitive favorite for re-election in what is proving to be one of the most Republican states in the country,.

House Update

AZ-1: Freshman Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D) who swept to victory last November in what was previously a Republican seat, is about to draw major competition for her first re-election. Former state Senate Majority Leader Rusty Bowers officially filed a congressional exploratory committee, the first step to entering the race. The 1st district covers the majority of eastern Arizona. It is the geographic size of the state of Pennsylvania, and has only one city, Flagstaff, with more than 50,000 people.

NH-2: Moderate former Rep. Charlie Bass (R-NH-2), who lost to liberal Rep. Paul Hodes (D) in 2006, filed a congressional exploratory committee, signaling his increasing interest in attempting a political comeback. Radio host Jennifer Horn, the 2008 GOP nominee, is also planning to run. Hodes is vacating the seat to run for the Senate. Should Bass pursue his comeback, he would join ex-Reps. Steve Chabot (R-OH-1), Ed Case (D-HI-1), Steve Pearce (R-NM-2), and possibly David Davis (R-TN-1) as former members attempting to return to the House.

NV-3: Businessman John Guedry, who only in the last three weeks announced he would run for Congress, has already abandoned his campaign. This could lead to former state Sen. Joe Heck ending his long shot bid for Governor and instead dropping back to run for Congress to challenge freshman liberal Rep. Dina Titus (D).

NY-23: Gov. David Paterson (D) has officially called the replacement congressional special election for November 3rd, concurrent with the regular municipal elections. A brand new Siena University poll (9/27-29; 622 likely voters) gives Republican nominee Dede Scozzafava 35-28-16% lead over Democrat Bill Owens and Conservative Doug Hoffman. This contrasts with a Basswood Research survey (9/17; 300 registered NY-23 voters), commissioned by Hoffman supporter Club for Growth, which showed Scozzafava’s lead to be only 20-17-17%. Both the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and Hoffman’s campaign are running attack ads against Scozzafava, both hitting her for supporting certain NY state tax hikes.

OR-5: State Rep. Scott Bruun is preparing to enter the race against 1st term US Rep. Kurt Schrader (D). Bruun ran for Congress once before, in 1996, against Rep. Earl Blumenauer in the heavily Democratic 3rd district. The 5th is a marginal seat, making Bruun’s candidacy much more viable.

PA-4: Attorney Keith Rothfus (R) will officially become a candidate against sophomore Rep. Jason Altmire (D). House Minority Whip Mike Turzai (R) is saying that he, too, is considering running for Congress.

WV-1: State Senate Minority Whip Clark Barnes (R) is planning to announce his congressional candidacy against 14-term Rep. Alan Mollohan (D). The Congressman has been under a FBI investigation for several years for his securing earmarks for a non-profit organization run by his former staff members, in addition to scouring his wife’s real estate dealings. Since the investigation became public, Mollohan has continued romping to easy victories, garnering 64% in 2006 and being unopposed in 2008.

Governor Update

Arizona: Rasmussen Reports (9/27; 500 likely AZ registered voters) basically confirms the Public Policy Polling data that we reported upon last week. According to Rasmussen, Democratic Attorney General Terry Goddard leads Gov. Jan Brewer (R) 42-35%. PPP scored the race 46-36% in Goddard’s favor.

California: Rasmussen also polled the California electoral (9/24; 500 registered CA voters) but with a very small sample size. The results reveal ex-Governor and current Attorney General Jerry Brown (D) with a lead over former eBay CEO Meg Whitman (R). RR pegs Brown to a 44-35% advantage. Against San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, however, the situation changes. In that match-up, Whitman takes a 41-35% lead.

New Jersey: Quinnipiac University (9/22-28; 1,188 registered NJ voters) also conducted another poll of the 2009 New Jersey Governor’s race and though they show the race closing, Gov. Jon Corzine (D) remains under 40%. The ballot test breaks 43-39-12% in favor of Republican Chris Christie over Corzine and Independent Chris Daggett. The Corzine negative attacks against Christie appear to be working, as the former US Attorney’s favorability index has dropped to 38:38% positive to negative. Corzine’s favorable rating remains buried at 34:56%.

Pennsylvania: Quinnipiac similarly just reported the results of their Keystone State poll (9/22-28; 1,100 PA registered voters). It provides very good news for GOP Attorney General Tom Corbett. He leads Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato (D) by a surprisingly large 47-28% margin. He tops state Auditor Jack Wagner (D) 44-29%. Corbett leads Rep. Jim Gerlach (R-PA-6) 42-13% in the GOP primary. On the Democratic side, Onorato has a slight 14-12-11% edge over Montgomery County Commissioner and former Congressman Joe Hoeffel and Wagner.

Virginia: Several polls continue to show Republican Bob McDonnell maintaining his lead over Democratic nominee Creigh Deeds. Rasmussen Reports (9/29; 500 registered VA voters) records the McDonnell advantage at 51-42%. Public Policy Polling (9/25-28; 576 registered VA voters) posts the race at 48-43%, McDonnell over Deeds; and Survey USA (9/25-28; 631 registered VA voters) gives the Republican an even greater advantage, 55-41%.

Vermont: Lt. Gov. Brian Dubie (R) announced his candidacy to replace retiring GOP Gov. Jim Douglas. The Democratic nature of Vermont suggests the eventual Dem nominee will be the favorite, but Douglas did manage to win four consecutive two-year terms under the Republican banner.