Wilder Sees Tough Year for Virginia Democrats

Former Virginia Gov. Douglas Wilder “thinks that no matter who emerges victorious from the state’s Democratic gubernatorial primary on Tuesday, the party will find it awfully tough to defeat Republican candidate Bob McDonnell in November,” CNN reports.

Wilder said “there’s something in the air” that makes him think Virginia voters aren’t prepared to elect a Democrat to the governorship for the third straight time.

Said Wilder: “Each time around, voters say, ‘Wait a minute, no one’s supposed to be here forever,’ and I think Virginians like to see that degree of balance. They like to mix it up. I think the guy who can ride that horse to show some grasp of the independent voter, rather than just the Republican or Democratic voter, will be successful. That’s key.”

One More Poll Shows Virginia Up For Grabs

A new Suffolk University poll in Virginia finds Creigh Deeds (D) leading the Democratic guberantorial race with 29%, followed by Terry McAuliffe (D) at 26% and Brian Moran at 23%. 

Key factor: There are still 23% of Virginia Democrats that are undecided.

Said pollster David Paleologos: “What makes this race even tougher to call is that when undecided voters statewide were prodded to choose one of the three candidates, many were breaking to McAuliffe and, to a lesser extent, Moran. With the remaining undecided at 22 percent, the Deeds lead could be fluid, and the final tally could hinge on last-minute campaign ads, momentum, the weather, and get-out-the-vote efforts from all the candidates.”

Bonus Quote of the Day

“We’ll assume that most of the candidates who ran in 2008 will run again. It’s like sex — once you do it, it’s pretty hard to stop.”

— Former Bush media strategist Mark McKinnon handicapping the 2012 Republican presidential field for the 
Daily Beast.

Indications of Low Turnout in Virginia

In a sign of potentially low turnout for next week’s Virginia gubernatorial primary, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that less than half of absentee voting applications were returned.

A related observation from 
Mark Blumenthal: Even though recent polls show a statistical dead heat among the three Democrats running in the primary, they also find that Terry McAuliffe (D) “does best among the subgroups which have had the historically lowest levels of turnout.” If overall turnout is low, this should hurt McAuliffe.

Most recent polls: 
Research 2000SurveyUSAGreenberg Quinlan RosnerPublic Policy Polling.

Plouffe to Advise Patrick on Re-Election Bid

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D) is tapping David Plouffe, the architect of Barack Obama’s presidential campaign “to help run his bid for reelection next year, an indication of the type of political star power the governor may be able to utilize as he seeks another four-year term,” reports the Boston Globe.

The announcement “is a sign the governor is beginning to build his campaign network and trying to put to rest doubts political insiders have raised about whether he is committed to running again.”

Stimulus Setbacks for Sanford, Palin

First Read notes that two conservative GOP governors — South Carolina’s Mark Sanford (R) and Alaska’s Sarah Palin (R), both 2012 possibilities — “appear to have suffered setbacks in their crusades against the Obama stimulus.”

After fighting it, the South Carolina Supreme Court ordered Sanford to request $700 million in stimulus funds (intended primarily for the states struggling schools), and Sanford says he’ll comply with that request, the 
Columbia State reports. 

Meanwhile, the 
Anchorage Daily News reports the Alaska Legislature seems poised to override Palin’s veto of $28.6 million in stimulus money.

Split Decision in 2010?

Charlie Cook says that “absent any national tide” Democrats could lose a dozen or so House seats next year and pick up a seat or two in the Senate.

“Having gained 54 House seats over the past two elections, Democrats now represent 
49 districts that GOP presidential nominee John McCain won last year. By comparison, Republicans represent 34 districts that Obama won. Simple arithmetic indicates that in the absence of overwhelming hostility toward the Republican Party, the GOP ought to gain a few, maybe even a dozen or so, House seats.”

“On the Senate side, the math is a bit different and is not driven directly by the results of the past two elections. In 2010, Republicans will be defending 19 seats, only one more than Democrats will.”

Crist Way Ahead of Rubio in Florida Primary

A new Strategic Vision poll in Florida finds Gov. Charlie Crist (R) crushing Marco Rubio (R) in a Republican Senate primary, 59% to 22%.

In general election match ups, Crist runs way ahead of Rep. Kendrick Meek (D-FL), 59% to 29%. With Rubio as the GOP Senate nominee, Rubio edges Meek, 31% to 30% with 39% undecided.

Meanwhile, in next year’s gubernatorial race, Bill McCollum (R) edges Alex Sink, 41% to 39% with 20% undecided.

Quote of the Day

“We need to be aware of the creation of a fearful population, and fearful lawmakers, being led to believe that big government is the answer, to bail out the private sector, because then government gets to get in there and control it. And mark my words, this is going to be next, I fear, bail out next debt-ridden states. Then government gets to get in there and control the people.”

— Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R), quoted by 
CNN, criticizing the Obama administration’s economic policies.

Stimulus Tour Focuses on States Obama Won

Politico examination of White House travel to tout the economic stimulus funds “reveals a distinctly political trend line: Top officials have hosted events predominantly in states that Obama won in 2008.”

In total, 52 of the 66 events held so far were in states that backed Obama.

“What’s more, the examination revealed that Obama officials all but avoided Southern states that Obama lost.”

Pelosi, Cheney Share Poor Ratings

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Dick Cheney have little in common politically, but they receive almost identical image ratings from the American public. According to a new Gallup Poll, 37% of Americans have a favorable view of Cheney and 34% have a favorable view of Pelosi. Both Cheney and Pelosi are viewed unfavorably by at least half of Americans.

Obama Coordinates Attack Against Israeli Settlements

“For the first time in America’s decades of jousting with Israel over West Bank settlements, an American president seems to have succeeded in isolating the settlements issue and disconnecting it from other elements of support for Israel,” reports Haaretz.

In fact, when Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu came to Capitol Hill last month “after being pressed by President Obama to freeze the expansion of West Bank settlements, he was ‘stunned,’ Netanyahu aides said, to hear what seemed like a well-coordinated attack against his stand on settlements. The criticism came from congressional leaders, key lawmakers dealing with foreign relations and even from a group of Jewish members.”

Meanwhile, the 
Jerusalem Post reports an Obama administration official thinks “an arrangement that works” can be hammered out with Israel on the settlement issue.

GOP Members Reveal Briefing Info

Republican members on the Intelligence Committee told The Hill in on-the-record interviews that they were informed in closed door hearings that the controversial interrogation methods used on terrorism suspects led to information that prevented terrorist attacks.

“When told of the GOP claims, Democrats strongly criticized the members who revealed information that was provided at the closed House Intelligence Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations hearing. Democrats on the panel said they could not respond substantively, pointing out that the hearing was closed.”

“What began as a remarkably quiet and secretive hearing had, within a matter of hours, exploded into a political brawl over intelligence matters and national security.”

Sotomayor Repeatedly Used “Wise Woman” in Speeches

Judge Sonia Sotomayor delivered multiple speeches between 1994 and 2003 in which she suggested “a wise Latina woman” or “wise woman” judge might “reach a better conclusion” than a male judge, reports CQ Politics.

The speeches were included as part of her Senate Judiciary Committee 
questionnaire for her nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Sotomayor’s repeated use of these phrases would appear to undermine the Obama administration’s assertions that the statement was simply a “poor choice of words.”

Deeds Surges in Virginia

A new DailyKos/Research 2000 poll shows the momentum in the Virginia Democratic gubernatorial race shifting. The race is now a statistical dead heat.

Creigh Deeds (D) has jumped into the lead with 30% support, followed by Brian Moran (D) at 27% and Terry McAuliffe (D) at 26%. There are still 17% undecided.

Analysis: “Whatever the opposite of ‘momentum’ is, McAuliffe has that.”

McCarthy Reverses Course, Will Not Run

Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) announced today that she will not challenge Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) in a Democratic primary, reports CQ Politics. 

Citing personal issues, McCarthy said, “I’m not running.”

However, it’s still expected that Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) 
will challenge Gillibrand.

Obama Got Headstart on Supreme Court Pick

Reading her questionnaire carefully, Ben Smith notices that Judge Sonia Sotomayor was contacted by the White House regarding a Supreme Court seat days before Justice David Souter announced his retirement. 

The White House first called her on April 27 but Souter did not announce his intention to resign until May 1.

Explore posts in the same categories: Candidates, National, Politics, Virginia

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