Handicapping the State Legislative Races

Governing: “The race to control the nation’s legislatures may be overshadowed during this year’s midterm elections by congressional and gubernatorial contests, but the battle is poised to be pivotal nonetheless… more chambers are in play this year than in any cycle since at least 2002. Even more strikingly, the Democrats have vastly more at risk than the Republicans do.”

Machin Will Seek Earlier Special Election

At a press conference today, West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin (D) said he will seek to allow a special election in November to fill the remainder of Sen. Robert Byrd’s (D-WV) term rather than wait until 2012. An appointee would hold the seat until an election is held.

Manchin said he would “highly consider” seeking the seat in a special election but would not appoint himself.

Bonus Quote of the Day

“We’re going to do everything we can to get opinions from people, to meet with people, but I’m not going to set myself up for, you know, nuts to hit me with a camera and ask stupid questions.”

— Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D-PA), quoted by the Wilkes-Barr Times Leader, on why no longer doing traditional town hall meetings.

Immigration Politics May Be Long Term Loser for GOP

The Obama administration filed suit yesterday against Arizona’s controversial immigration law. With polls showing a majority of Americans backing the law, Republicans are overjoyed. But is their reaction justified?

First Read: “In a way, some argue, this could be reminiscent to the Prop. 187 that then-California Gov. Pete Wilson signed into law in 1994. Prop. 187 turned out to be popular in the short term, and it helped Wilson win in a landslide in ’94. But as NBC pollster Peter Hart (D) reminded us, Democrats won California just ONCE in presidential contests from 1952 to 1988. But after Wilson’s Prop. 187, Republicans haven’t come CLOSE to winning the nation’s biggest state. It’s not even remotely close to being a swing state.”

Steele Cancels Appearance

RNC Chairman Michael Steele has canceled a planned appearance in Aspen, theDenver Post reports.

He had been scheduled to appear at the Aspen Ideas Festival today for a one-on-one conversation with former Rep. Mickey Edwards (R-OK).

The AP reports Steele is “staying put” as head of the Republican party but GOP elders “are working around Steele, illustrating their lack of confidence in his leadership.”

Fiorina Recovering from Surgery

Completing the final step of her recovery from breast cancer, California U.S. Senate candidate Carly Fiorina (R) had reconstructive surgery yesterday and was “happy to have concluded this difficult chapter in her life,” the San Jose Mercury News reports.

“Fiorina has embraced her experience with breast cancer throughout the campaign, talking about the effects it had on her personally and on her views of health care reform.”

Alvin Greene’s Jobs Plan

In an interview with The Guardian, South Carolina U.S. Senate candidate Alvin Greene (D) discussed his “big idea” to create jobs in his state.

Said Greene: “Another thing we can do for jobs is make toys of me, especially for the holidays. Little dolls. Me. Like maybe little action dolls. Me in an army uniform, air force uniform, and me in my suit. They can make toys of me and my vehicle, especially for the holidays and Christmas for the kids. That’s something that would create jobs. So you see I think out of the box like that. It’s not something a typical person would bring up. That’s something that could happen, that makes sense. It’s not a joke.”

Obama Losing Ground with Independent Voters

The latest Gallup tracking poll finds President Obama’s approval rate is just 38% among independents — the first time independent approval of Obama has dropped below 40% and 18 points lower than it was on year ago.

Quote of the Day

“Getting oxygen is hard when you’re in the minority. You have to create conflict. The press likes that.”

— Former Rep. Tom Davis (R-VA), quoted in a New York Times piece on Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) becoming the Obama administration’s “annoyer-in-chief.”

Johnston Apologizes to Palin

Levi Johnston, the father of Sarah Palin’s grandson, told People magazine he has apologized for his war of words with the family.

Said Johnston: “Last year, after Bristol and I broke up, I was unhappy and a little angry. Unfortunately, against my better judgment, I publicly said things about the Palins that were not completely true. I have already privately apologized to Todd and Sarah. Since my statements were public, I owe it to the Palins to publicly apologize.”

There was no mention of the book Johnston was supposedly writing that would “air the true story of the Palin household.”

Democrats Ramp Up Oppo Research

“The Democratic Party is moving faster and more aggressively than in previous election years to dig up unflattering details about Republican challengers,” the Washington Post reports.

“Opposition research has been a part of political campaigns for decades, but the 2010 cycle is different. In many states, Republicans have steered clear of candidates with long political track records — eschewing state representatives and veteran city council members who have cast thousands of votes ripe for scrutiny — in favor of political outsiders. The top GOP recruits include several former professional sports stars, as well as doctors and businessmen.”

“Democratic leaders are trying to frame the November midterm elections not as a national referendum on the party in power but as local choices between two candidates.”

Dead Heat in California

A new Field Poll in California shows the race for governor is a dead heat with Jerry Brown (D) holding a one point lead over Meg Whitman (R), 44% to 43%, with 13% undecided.

“Whitman’s relentless advertising campaign has helped sour voters’ views of Brown, with 40% holding an unfavorable opinion of him — up from 25% in March 2009… Brown supporters who are banking on his name recognition to counteract the former eBay CEO’s bottomless checkbook should be worried: The poll found that 34% of voters under 40 had “no opinion” of Brown, who was California’s governor from 1975 to 1983, was Oakland’s mayor from 1999 to 2007 and is now the state attorney general.”

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