Red State Weekly Campaign Synopsis

Senate Update

Arkansas: Better polling news is evident for Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D), after several surveys suggested she was running even with virtually unknown Republican candidates. Lincoln usually simultaneously tries be liberal, moderate and conservative. The Benenson Strategy Group (10/5-7; 703 registered AR voters), polling for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, shows Lincoln leading state Sen. Gilbert Baker (R) 50-37%. Against state Sen. Kim Hendren (R), the count is an almost identical 51-37%. Talk of a Democratic primary challenge for Lincoln, however, is brewing, from her left and right. Both Lt. Gov. Bill Halter and state Senate President Bob Johnson have not ruled out running for the Senate.

Florida: Two new polls show the Republican primary race between moderate Gov. Charlie Crist and conservative former House Speaker Marco Rubio tightening. Rasmussen Reports (10/19; 1,000 registered FL voters) has Crist ahead of Rubio 49-35%. Quinnipiac University (10/12-18; 1,078 registered FL voters/396 Republicans) posts the Governor to a similar 50-35%. This is a swing of some 14 points from the August Q-Poll away from Crist and toward Rubio.

Illinois: Rasmussen Reports released the findings of a small sample survey (10/14; 500 registered IL voters) of the US Senate race. In this study, both Democratic state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias (D) and Rep. Mark Kirk (R) post an identical 41% support level.

Iowa: Research 2000 (10/12-14; 600 registered IA voters) also tests Sen. Chuck Grassley (R) in his bid for a sixth term. Paired with Christine Vilsack (D), wife of US Agriculture Secretary and former Governor Tom Vilsack, Grassley leads 51-40%. Against former US Attorney and Democratic gubernatorial nominee Roxanne Conlin, who is not an official Senatorial candidate, Grassley posts a similar 51-39% margin.

Nevada: Now Democratic pollsters are detecting numbers for Majority Leader Harry Reid (D) to be in the same realm as recently released public surveys. Research 2000, polling for the leftist Progressive Change Campaign Committee, finds Reid trailing former GOP Republican chair Sue Lowden 47-42%, and ex-Secretary of State candidate Danny Tarkanian (R) 46-41%. The firm did not test Reid against businessman John Chachas. R2000 pegs Reid’s favorability ratio at a poor 35:54%, again similar to the public data.

House Update

IL-14: Former Aurora city Alderman Bill Cross (R) dropped out of the GOP primary, the winner of which will challenge liberal Rep. Bill Foster (D), who replaced GOP House Speaker Dennis Hastert. The nomination contest, to be settled February 2nd, is now between Hastert’s son, Ethan, and state Sen. Randy Hultgren.

IL-16: Rep. Don Manzullo (R) is apparently getting a rare general election challenge. Freeport, IL Mayor George Gaultrapp (D) announced that he will challenge the nine-term Congressman for his northwestern Illinois US House seat. Manzullo, the conservative chairman of the House Small Business Committee when the Republicans were in the majority, is rated as the prohibitive favorite for re-election.

LA-3: Houma Democratic attorney Ravi Sangisetty is officially in the race to replace Rep. Charlie Melancon (D), who is running for the Senate. He already leads the money raising contest, reporting almost $136,000 in campaign contributions, but that total includes a self-donation of $50,000. State Rep. Nickie Monica (R) is among the Republican contenders. In an open situation, this is one of the Republicans’ best national conversion opportunities.

PA-11: Feeling that the 2010 turnout model will be more favorable for a Republican congressional candidate than that of two years ago, Hazelton Mayor Lou Barletta will reportedly again challenge Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D). Barletta lost 52-48% in ’08, after polling ahead for most of the race against the scandal-tainted incumbent who was first elected in 1984. Kanjorski has also drawn a significant primary challenge from Lackawanna County Commissioner Corey O’Brien (D), thus possibly further weakening the long-time Congressman.

Governor Update

Florida: The aforementioned Florida Quinnipiac Poll shows GOP Attorney General Bill McCollum with a 36-32% lead over state CFO Adelaide “Alex” Sink (D). Both candidates already appear to have their respective nominations already sewn up.

Iowa: The same Research 2000 that tested Sen. Chuck Grassley (see above) also studied the Governor’s race. This data brings the race back down to earth after liberal Gov. Chet Culver (D) was badly trailing former Gov. Terry Branstad (R) in several polls. Branstad still leads within this sample, too, but it is a much smaller 48-43%.

Michigan: EPIC/MRA (10/11-14; 600 registered MI voters), polling for the Detroit News, puts the Republicans in strong position against Lt. Gov. John Cherry (D), the consensus Democratic nominee. Attorney General John Cox (R) leads Cherry 45-30%. Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard (R) has a 39-30% lead, and Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-MI-2) enjoys a 40-33% advantage over the Lt. Governor. In a Republican primary match-up, Hoekstra leads for the first time, scoring 29% against Cox’s 28%, and Bouchard’s 14%.

New Jersey: Polls continue to roll in, testing the final week of the raucous gubernatorial race among Republican Chris Christie, Gov. Jon Corzine (D) and Independent Chris Daggett. All of the polls show Christie and Corzine deadlocked or within three points of each other. Daggett gains substantial double-digit support, but is not close to taking the lead. This race will now be decided through voter turnout.

Rhode Island: Former RINO Republican Sen. Lincoln Chafee, who is now running for Governor as an Independent, is finding fundraising tough going against Democratic state Treasurer Frank Caprio. The latest reports show Chafee with only $180,000 in his campaign account compared to Caprio’s $1.5 million. Though Chafee is capable of investing large amounts of his own money, the contributions from others category often times proves to be better than polling data to detect candidate support levels.

Virginia: Things are looking good for Republican former Attorney General Bob McDonnell. All polls show him with substantial leads over state Sen. Creigh Deeds (D) for the November 3rd Governor’s race. The Democratic firm Public Policy Polling released its findings on October 14. They show McDonnell expanding his lead to 52-40%, up from 47-42% when compared with their last poll. Survey USA (10-17-19; 900 registered VA voters) pegs McDonnell to an even bigger 59-40% lead over Deeds as the campaign heads into its final week.