POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 7/6

Danger for Incumbents

A new Marist Poll finds members of Congress up for re-election are in political danger. With less than four months until the midterm elections, voters are divided about whether they would send their current elected official back to Congress. In fact, 43% say they would vote for someone else.

Traficant Denied Spot on Ballot

Former Rep. James Traficant “has been disqualified in his bid to return to Congress after seven years in prison because he did not turn in enough valid petition signatures to make the fall ballot,” the AP reports.

Deadlocked in Kentucky

A new Public Policy Polling survey in Kentucky finds Rand Paul (R) and Jack Conway (D) are tied at 43% each in the U.S. Senate race.

Analysis: “The more Kentucky voters get to know Rand Paul, the less they like him. When PPP first polled the race in December Paul’s favorability was a +3 spread at 26/23. By May it was a -7 spread at 28/35. Now it’s a -8 spread at 34/42. The national media attention Paul has received has hurt his cause with voters in the state — 38% say it has made them less likely to support Paul while 29% say it has made them more inclined to vote for him and 33% say it hasn’t had an impact on their attitude toward Paul one way or the other.”

Burr Holds Narrow Lead in North Carolina

A new Public Policy Polling survey in North Carolina finds Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) leading Elaine Marshall (D) by five points, 38% to 33%, with a surprising 10% for Libertarian Michael Beitler.

Burr’s lead is nine points less than the advantage Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R) had over Kay Hagan (D) at the same point in the cycle two years ago.

Republican Leaders Not Formally Backing Health Care Repeal

“Although they’ve called repeatedly for repeal of the Democrats’ new health reform law, some senior Senate Republicans have not endorsed a bill that would actually do it,” The Hill reports.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), GOP Conference Chair Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Conference Vice Chair Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) “have all argued that the reforms — passed in March without Republican support — will hike costs and erode services, and therefore should be scrapped. Yet they haven’t signed on to their party’s repeal proposal.”

GOP Poised to Win Most Governor’s Races in 90 Years

Smart Politics says the latest public opinion polls give Republicans the advantage in 28 of 37 states with gubernatorial races this November. If these results hold, the GOP would win more gubernatorial seats in 2010 than they have in any election cycle since 1920.

Obama Meets Netanyahu Again

President Obama holds a private meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu at 11:00 am ET and the two leaders will then hold a joint press availability.

Washington Post: “Obama was cool toward Netanyahu during their last meeting, leaving the Israeli leader and his aides in the West Wing alone for hours as a subtle rebuke over Israeli settlement policies… That encounter followed an announcement by Israel, during a visit to the country by Vice President Biden, of a plan to construct 1,600 Jewish homes in a part of East Jerusalem that Palestinians view as their future capital.”

First Read: “We’ll see if today’s Obama-Netanyahu meeting goes better than the others have; after all, there’s nowhere to go but up, right?”

Angle Takes Legal Action After Reid Re-Publishes Site

Sharron Angle’s (R) U.S. Senate campaign sent a cease and desist letter to Sen. Harry Reid’s campaign (D-NV) last week “after a copy of her pre-primary election website was relaunched,” the Nevada Appeal reports.

“After winning the June 8 primary, Angle took down her website and relaunched a new, glossier and trimmer version on Thursday. Reid’s campaign then launched a copy of Angle’s former website and accused her toning down her rhetoric on the new website.”

Reid sends a press release: “Sharron Angle must really be scared that the extreme positions she has held for her lengthy political career are already coming back to haunt her.”

Kennedy Has No Plans to Retire

Justice Anthony Kennedy, “who turns 74 this month, has told relatives and friends he plans to stay on the high court for at least three more years — through the end of Obama’s first term,” the New York Daily News reports.

“That means Kennedy will be around to provide a fifth vote for the court’s conservative bloc through the 2012 presidential election. If Obama loses, Kennedy could retire and expect a Republican President to choose a conservative justice.”

No Vacation from Politics

“It’s a holiday week and Congress is out of town, but there’s no vacation from politics. With less than four months to go until November’s midterm elections, most lawmakers up for re-election this autumn are back in their home states and districts, reaching out to voters,” CNN reports.

“Also getting into the act this week, President Obama and Vice President Biden. Obama heads to Missouri and Nevada Thursday and Friday… After returning from Iraq, Biden travels to California at the end of the week to help Sen. Barbara Boxer raise campaign cash.”

Lobbyists are Murray’s Biggest Donors

“In the years after Patty Murray first won her U.S. Senate seat in 1992, she received some of her biggest political contributions from women’s groups and people supporting Israel. Today lobbyists top the list of Murray’s donors as she seeks her fourth term,” the Seattle Times reports.

“Among the top six Democrats in the Senate leadership, only Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has collected more money than Murray from lobbyists and their firms since 2005… Yet even Reid receives a smaller share of his overall donations from lobbyists than Murray does.”

Revolt of the Middle

USA Today notes there are three credible independent contenders for governor this year — a record.

“If the Tea Party movement represents an uprising against the political status quo by the right, the independent campaigns and plausible prospects for gubernatorial candidates in Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Maine reflect a rebellion from the middle.”

In addition, there “are more signs of centrists stirring as national politics remain sharply polarized, a factor some candidates cite for leaving or being pushed from their old allegiances. Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, who became an independent candidate for the Senate when the GOP seemed certain to nominate Tea Party favorite Marco Rubio, now leads the three-way field. In California last month, voters approved a constitutional amendment to make primaries open and non-partisan, a measure intended to boost moderate contenders.”


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