POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 4/29

Coats Leads Heading Into Final Weekend

A new SurveyUSA poll in Indiana shows former Sen. Dan Coats (R) with a solid but not overwhelming lead in next week’s Republican primary for U.S. Senate.

Coats leads with 36% support, followed by former Rep. John Hostettler (R) at 24% and Marlin Stutzman (R) at 18%.

The winner will most likely face Rep. Brad Ellsworth (D) in the general election.

The Most Polarized Congress in Modern History

William Galston: “The current Congress — the 111th — is the most ideologically polarized in modern history. In both the House and the Senate, the most conservative Democrat is more liberal than is the most liberal Republican. If one defines the congressional ‘center’ as the overlap between the two parties, the center has disappeared.”

Motor City Madman Backs Palin

Rock star Ted Nugent endorses Sarah Palin:

“We who are driven to be assets to our families, communities and our beloved country connect with the principles that Sarah Palin embodies. We know that bureaucrats and, even more, Fedzilla, are not the solution; they are the problem. I’d be proud to share a moose-barbecue campfire with the Palin family anytime, so long as I can shoot the moose.”

McCain Holds Double-Digit Lead Over Hayworth

A new Public Policy Polling survey in Arizona finds the Republican U.S. Senate primary much closer than a Rocky Mountain poll released yesterday.

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) leads challenger J.D. Hayworth (R), 46% to 35%, though a majority of Republicans think “he’s too lenient on immigration” and a plurality feel that “he’s too liberal in general.”

Hayworth actually leads McCain 46% to 38% with conservative voters. But McCain’s 60% to 15% advantage with moderates is so overwhelming that it allows him the double digit lead.

A Rise in Three Way Races

With Florida Gov. Charlie Crist’s expected announcement that he’ll run for U.S. Senate as an independent, it looks like we’ll have at least three major races with viable independent candidates this fall.

Former Sen. Lincoln Chafee in Rhode Island and State Treasurer Tim Cahill in Massachusetts are both making indie bids for governor.

Quote of the Day

“This country is committing national suicide.”

– New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, quoted by the New York Daily News, on Arizona’s new immigration law and the federal government’s failure to address the issue.

Goldman’s Gift to Democrats

“Lawmakers have been haggling over financial reform for 18 months, but it took Goldman Sachs just one day to get it done,” the Washington Post reports.

“Of course, the Wall Street giant wasn’t intending to get the financial legislation done. Quite the opposite: Like most in the investment world, Goldman would generally prefer that regulators leave it and its billions of dollars of profits alone. But when Goldman executives faced a Senate panel on Tuesday, their performance was so obnoxious, their contempt for lawmakers so palpable, that their appearance had the effect of dissolving the Republican resistance to what Democrats are now calling ‘Wall Street reform.'”

Crist’s Game Plan

With Florida Gov. Charlie Crist expected to announce an independent bid for the U.S. Senate later today, the Wall Street Journal looks at how he hopes to win.

“According to his advisers, Mr. Crist would remain a registered Republican while qualifying for the ballot with ‘no party affiliation.’ That would signal his intent to continue wooing, at least, the one-third of GOP voters who, according to polls, planned to side with him in the primary…”

“Advisors said Mr. Crist would try to appeal to middle-of-the-road voters unhappy with government in general, using similar terms to attack both Washington Democrats and the Republicans who run the Florida capital. He will liken the federal health care overhaul pushed by Democrats to the teacher GOP teacher-tenure bill that he vetoed, calling both examples of government partisanship and overreach.”

Marc Ambinder has a good guide on what to look for in a three-way Senate race.

Republicans Eye Three Symbolic Senate Seats

Washington Post: “”Every now and then, there comes a congressional race so fraught with history and symbolism that it becomes as much about sending a message as winning a seat. This year, Republicans are looking to hit the trifecta in the Senate. As things stand now, they are well within striking distance of winning President Obama’s old seat in Illinois and Vice President Biden’s former perch in Delaware, and of toppling Majority Leader Harry M. Reid in Nevada.”

Democrats Hold Small Leads in Ohio Senate Race

A new Quinnipiac poll in Ohio finds Lee Fisher (D) leading Rob Portman (R) in the U.S. Senate race to replace retiring Sen. George Voinovich (R-OH), 40% to 37%.

Jennifer Brunner (D) also edges Portman, 40% to 36%.

Fisher and Brunner face off in a primary next week for the Democratic nomination. A poll yesterday had Fisher pulling away in the race.

Strickland Leads Kasich in Ohio

A new Quinnipiac poll in Ohio finds Gov. Ted Strickland (D) leads challenger John Kasich (R) in the race for governor, 44% to 38%.

Said pollster Peter Brown: “Although Gov. Ted Strickland remains ahead, there are a couple of numbers that might be of some concern to his re-election committee. Only 37% of voters say he has kept his campaign promises and the race remains close even though 62% of voters don’t know enough about Kasich to have an opinion of him.”

Republicans Still Lack a Public Face

A new Pew Research Center survey finds Americans continue to find it difficult to name a leader of the Republican Party. Only 29% of respondents named someone, while 18% said nobody and 52% were unsure.

Residuals from 2008: “Among those offering a name, John McCain continues to be mentioned more frequently than any other Republican as the party’s leader, though only 8% of Americans cite him. Sarah Palin is named by 4%, Mitt Romney by 3%, and 2% of Americans name Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich as the Republican Party’s leader.”

Deal Struck on Wall Street Reform

“Bipartisan negotiators appear to have reached a deal to begin debate on the financial regulatory reform bill, an agreement that likely ends a three-day Republican filibuster of the effort,” Roll Call reports.

“Details were still unclear, but one Democratic source said Republicans had been promised votes on an unspecified number of amendments.”

A Tale of Two Blogospheres

Harvard study of political blogs finds that left-leaning sites “adopt more participatory technical platforms” and “more often use blogs as platforms for mobilization.”

Meanwhile, right-leaning blogs are more frequently authored by just one person instead of multiple authors.

Hardball with McConnell

Ezra Klein: “If the Democrats are serious about forcing the Republicans to really filibuster the bill, this is the right week for it: The Kentucky Derby starts Friday, and Kentucky’s senior senator, Mitch McConnell, would surely prefer to attend. Given that his members are already talking about breaking ranks, McConnell may find himself eager to get this kabuki dance over with a little bit early.”

Woman Who Beat Palin Enters Politics

The woman who beat Sarah Palin for the beauty queen title of Miss Alaska in 1984 is running for the Georgia state legislature, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

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