POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 3/26

Schwarzenegger Not Running in 2010

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) told the Sacramento Bee he would not be a candidate in 2010.

Said Schwarzenegger: “I am not running for anything, so no one could threaten me, because I’m not running for Senate, I’m not running for Congress, I’m not running for another term as governor.”

Red vs. Blue, Spacious vs. Compact

Greg Giroux notes how dominant the Democrats are in the geographically compact congressional districts. For instance, Barack Obama won a stunning 92 of the 100 smallest districts in the 2008 presidential race.

However, the more wide-open and spacious a congressional district, the better Republicans perform. John McCain defeated Obama in 73 of the nation’s 100 largest districts by land area.

You can see this trend yourself on CQ’s Election Results Map.

Lieberman Remains Unpopular in Connecticut

The latest DailyKos/Research 2000 poll in Connecticut finds that Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) is the most unpopular politician in the state, with 54% viewing him unfavorably.

In potential 2012 re-election matchups against two Democrats — Ned Lamont (D) and Richard Blumenthal (D) — with Lieberman running as an independent, Gov. Jodi Rell (R) wins both hypothetical races.

The results: Rell 42%, Lamont 30%, Lieberman 25% and Rell 43%, Blumenthal 28%, Liemberman 25%.

Dodd Edges Simmons in Possible Matchup

A new DailyKos/Research 2000 poll in Connecticut finds that Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-CT) is vulnerable as he gears up for re-election, getting less than 50% in a reelection matchup with former Rep. Robb Simmons (R-CT). 

While Dodd barely leads Simmons, 45% to 40%, his favorable-unfavorable rating of 47% to 40% isn’t as bad as many might have guessed.

RelatedCQ Politics reports Dodd has hired a campaign manager.

The Year of Deep Pocket Candidates?

Here’s an interesting question from CQ Politics: Given the economic downturn, will parties rely more on self-funded candidates for 2010 races?

In the previous cycle, at least 18 House and eight Senate candidates loaned their campaigns more than $1 million, according to CQ Moneyline.

Another 60 candidates loaned their campaigns $350,000 or more. In addition, numerous self-funding candidates identified their personal funds as contributions instead of loans to be repaid.

Patrick Tanks in New Poll

In Massachusetts, a new Suffolk University poll finds Gov. Deval Patrick (D) in deep political trouble.

While Patrick’s favorability ratings are split — 44% to 43% — just 34% of state residents believe the governor deserves reelection while 47% think it’s time to elect someone else.

Patrick is so weak that he loses to State Treasurer Tim Cahill in a Democratic primary, 35% to 30%, even though the Boston Herald notes Cahill says he’s not running.

A Better Poll for Specter?

A new Franklin & Marshall poll shows Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) beating primary challenger Pat Toomey (R), 33% to 18%. However, the survey found that 42% of registered Republicans were still undecided.

Quinnipiac Poll released yesterday showed Toomey trouncing Specter, 41% to 27%.

Update: A Political Wire reader notes that for a Pennsylvania primary the pollster should survey at least 600 to 700 members of the relevant political party. The Franklin & Marshall poll, however, gathered data on just 220 voters.

Dodd’s Re-Election Now Rated Toss Up

The Cook Political Report just changed its race rating on Connecticut’s U.S. Senate race from Likely Democrat to Toss Up.

The other 2010 Senate races that Cook rates Toss Up: Florida, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, New Hampshire and Ohio.

When Term Limits Bring Out the Best in Senators

CQ Politics: “Talk about collegiality. Charles E. Grassley is thinking about passing up the top spot on a committee he really likes in order to help colleague Arlen Specter.”

Henry Reflects

Just in case you’re wondering how CNN’s Ed Henry feels after making President Obama angry with his questioning at Tuesday’s press conference, he writes up his “behind the scenes” account.
 
Says Henry: “I’ve got no hard feelings toward the president and I assume he feels the same, but I can’t worry about that.”

Liberals Feeling Slighted

Roll Call: “Liberal House Democrats are stewing that they have yet to get face time with President Barack Obama, despite his whirlwind charm offensive that has ushered every other major faction of the Caucus into the White House for private meetings.”

The End of Excess

Kurt Anderson: “More than a year into the Great Recession, we still aren’t sure if there’s a bottom in sight, and six months after the financial system began imploding, it’s still iffy. The party is finally, definitely over. And the present decade, which we’ve never even agreed what to call — the 2000s? the oughts? — has now acquired its permanent character as a historical pivot defined by the nightmares of 9/11 and the Panic of 2008-09. Those of us old enough to remember life before the 26-year-long spree began will probably spend the rest of our lives dealing with its consequences — in economics, foreign policy, culture, politics, the warp and woof of our daily lives. During the ’80s and ’90s, we were Wile E. Coyote racing heedlessly across the endless American landscape at maximum speed and then spent the beginning of the 21st century suspended in midair just past the end of the cliff; gravity reasserted itself, and we plummeted”

Coleman-Franken Race Sets Record

“Minnesota’s U.S. Senate race set a record Wednesday for delay. No election for statewide office in Minnesota has dragged on so long after the autumn vote without a winner being seated,” according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

“The old record was set by the 1962 governor’s election between DFLer Karl Rolvaag and incumbent Republican Elmer L. Andersen. When that contest ended the following spring, Andersen, who thought he had been reelected, lost by 91 votes. Rolvaag took the oath of office on March 25, 1963.”

Paulson To Write About Meltdown

Former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson is writing a book on the meltdown of America’s financial system which occured on his watch, the AP reports. 

Said Paulson: “I didn’t come to Washington thinking I was going to leave and write a book, but this period was so significant and there are so many insights and so many lessons learned that I think an understanding of this extraordinary period is important.”

The book was brokered by super agent Bob Barnett, though Paulson will take no advance and is donating all profits to charity.

Quote of the Day

“One day, I’m a genius. One day, I’m a bum. You know, every day there’s a new winner and a new loser.”

— President Obama, quoted by Reuters, on Washington’s “tendency to declare a winner and loser each day on cable television talk shows.”

Emanuel’s Profitable Stint at Freddie Mac

The Chicago Tribune reports that White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel “made at least $320,000 for a 14-month stint at Freddie Mac that required little effort.”

Though his involvement with the troubled mortgage giant “has been a prominent point on his political résumé,” what is less known “is how little he apparently did for his money and how he benefited from the kind of cozy ties between Washington and Wall Street that have fueled the nation’s current economic mess.”

Behind CQ’s Election Map

The new CQ Politics map showing the 2008 president vote by congressional district is a political junkie’s goldmine. But why was it released months after the election?

Greg Giroux, the man behind the massive data set, explains why the arduous project took so long: “With rare exception, the boards of election in the 50 states release their presidential vote totals by county, but not by congressional district.”

Obama Keeps Selling Budget

“After several e-mail pleas and a nationwide door-knocking campaign, President Obama’s political arm will start airing a television commercial Thursday, urging voters to pressure Congress to approve his budget,” CNN reports.

Said a spokeswoman: “The ad will run on national and D.C. cable — primarily MSNBC and CNN. This is just one of the many tools we’ll provide our supporters with, to help them make their voices heard and send a strong signal to Washington that the time for change is now.”

Meanwhile, Obama will hold an online town hall meeting on the economy at 11:30 am ET in which over 30,000 questions have already been submitted. 

Bonus Quote of the Day

“God has a way of revealing stuff to you, and making it real for you, through others. And if that’s part of the plan, it’ll be the plan… If I run it’ll be because that’s where God wants me to be at that time.”

— RNC Chairman Michael Steele, in an interview on CNN, on whether he would consider running for president. 

Meanwhile, Ben Smith has video excerpts of the interview in which Steele suggests the Rush Limbaugh flare up was actually a strategic decision to understand who would stand up for him.

Democrats Set Debates for Virginia Governor’s Race

The three Democrats running for governor of Virginia this year — Creigh Deeds, Terry McAuliffe and Brian Moran — have agreed to appear together eight times ahead of a primary election on June 9, reports CQ Politics.

Burr Faces Tough Re-Election Challenge

A new Civitas poll finds Roy Cooper (D) edging Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) in a hypothetical match up, 41% to 38%.

The poll also found that 57% of registered voters said they either has no opinion or were unaware of the first-term Republican senator.

Lobbyist Organizes Lunch for Leahy

Heard in the CQ newsroom:

On Thursday, Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) will begin markup of legislation to overhaul federal patent law. On Friday, he will be the honored guest at a fundraising lunch organized by a lobbyist pushing for the measure.

Leahy denied today that there’s any connection between the scheduling of the markup and the lunch.

Kudlow Will Not Challenge Dodd

CNBC anchor Larry Kudlow announced on his show that he will not mount a campaign to take on Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-CT), CQ Politics reports.

Said Kudlow: “This evening, I’m letting the world know that I am not running for the U.S. Senate. And here’s why: in my heart I know that I belong right here at CNBC.”

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