POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 7/27

Boxer Widens Lead Over Fiorina

A new Public Policy Polling survey in California shows Sen. Barbara Boxer (D) leading challenger Carly Fiorina (R), 49% to 40%. Two months ago, Boxer held a three point lead.

Key finding: “As independents have grown to hold a more unfavorable opinion of Fiorina their loyalties in the race have shifted toward Boxer. The incumbent has a 48% to 38% lead with them now, flipping the 10 point deficit she faced to Fiorina at 42% to 32% back in May.”

Obama Still Strong Among Hispanic Voters

A new AP/Univision poll finds 57% of Hispanics approve of President Obama’s job performance compared with 44% among the general population.

However, just 43% of Hispanics surveyed said Obama is adequately addressing their needs, with the economy a major concern. Another 32% were uncertain, while 21% said he’d done a poor job.

Santorum Meets to Discuss Presidential Bid

“As if the repeated trips to Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina weren’t clues enough, former Republican Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania met privately last week with several of his former Capitol Hill staffers to pitch the idea of a presidential bid in 2012,” CNN reports.

At the meeting, Santorum “conveyed his seriousness about a possible campaign and solicited his former aides for advice.”

Fewer Obama Officials Get Secret Service Protection

“Despite the public perception of a heightened level of threats against the Obama Administration, the Secret Service in fact protects ‘significantly fewer’ Obama officials than it did Bush Administration officials,” Salon reports.

“By law, the Secret Service protects certain people — the president, his family, former presidents, visiting heads of state, etc. But the agency also protects other executive branch officials designated by the president, for example the national security advisor… President Obama has designated fewer of these so-called ‘non-traditional protectees’ than did President Bush — though the Secret Service won’t say who they are, or even how many there are.”

Bush Not Running for President

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) told WHAS-TV that he’s “not running for President.”

Of course, a partial quote is not exactly Shermanesque and won’t kill the speculation.

Palin Endorsement Backfires in New Hampshire

A new Public Policy Polling survey in New Hampshire finds Kelly Ayotte’s (R) appeal to moderate voters crumbled in the wake of her endorsement by Sarah Palin and her lead over Paul Hodes (D) in the U.S. Senate race has shrunk to its lowest level yet, 45% to 42%.

Key finding: “Most of the movement both in feelings about Ayotte and in the horse race has come with moderate voters. Moderates make up the largest bloc of the New Hampshire electorate at 47%, and Hodes’ lead with them has expanded from just 8 points at 47% to 39% in April to now 21 points at 51% to 30%. Ayotte’s favorability with them has gone from +5 at 32% to 27% to -19 at 27% to 46%.”

Candidate Caught Removing Signs

If you’re thinking of stealing an opponent’s campaign signs, check for hidden cameras.

The Pensacola News Journal reports the son of a Florida state House candidate “hid an infrared video camera, often used by hunters to track game” to monitor some his father’s campaign signs at a local intersection. Minutes later, his father’s opponent and wife are caught on video removing the signs.

See more…

Feisty Debate Highlights GOP Problem in Colorado

Former Rep. Tom Tancredo — who is now making a third party bid for Colorado governor — and state Republican Party chair Dick Wadhams squared off on a local radio program yesterday and said things publicly that your rarely hear except in smoke-filled back rooms.

First Read: “Folks, we can’t stress enough how unusual it is to hear a prominent state party chairman and a former congressman/presidential candidate engage in a screaming match on talk radio about the future of the GOP in Colorado. If you are a political junkie of any stripe, it’s compelling radio. Yes, it’s a 20- to 30-minute investment of time. But trust us, it’s that good. (The clash starts at about the 10-minute mark.)”

Public Favors Obama Policies

Despite a tough year for President Obama’s approval rating, a new Pew Research poll finds Americans still think his administration’s policies offer a better chance at improving the economy over the policies of former President Bush by a 46% to 29% margin.

Democrats Plan Summer Strategy

House Democrats “plan a six-week messaging campaign” in which they’ll warn voters that putting Republicans back in power would mark a return to failed Bush administration policies, The Hill reports.

“The strategy, coordinated with the White House and the Democrats’ campaign committees, is designed to put Republicans on defense by forcing them to explain where — and how — they would lead the country should they win control of Congress.”

Illinois Candidates Could Raise Twice the Money

A federal judge’s order means Illinois voters are likely to vote for U.S. Senator twice this fall — once to fill a full six-year term and once to fill the remaining few weeks of President Obama’s former term.

Politico: “If GOP Rep. Mark Kirk and Democratic state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias both run in a special election on Nov. 2 to fill the remaining weeks of Obama’s unexpired term, it could allow them to go back to donors who have already maxed out for their previously declared general election campaigns. While some contributors have already given the maximum $2,400 to either Kirk or Giannoulias for the midterm campaign, they would be able to pony up thousands more, ostensibly for the separate special election.”

Blagojevich Lawyer in Showdown with Judge

Closing arguments at Rod Blagojevich’s corruption trial “took a sharp detour” as one of the former governor’s lawyers “all but vowed to defy an order barring him from calling out the prosecution for failing to summon key witnesses to testify,” theChicago Tribune reports.

Said Sam Adam: “I’m willing to go to jail for this, your honor. I cannot follow your order on this.”

The judge gave Adam and the rest of Blagojevich’s legal team the night to think over how they wanted to proceed.

Romanoff Sells Home to Finance Primary Challenge

Andrew Romanoff (D) has “officially gone all-in” for his U.S. Senate primary bid against Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) by selling his house and loaning his campaign $325,000 in proceeds, the Denver Post reports.

“While political observers said they considered the loan a desperate move in an underfunded campaign, Romanoff described the move with the mixture of defiance and humor that has marked his underdog effort.”

Said Romanoff: “I’m never home anyway.”

O’Malley Holds Small Lead in Maryland

A new Gonzales Research poll in Maryland shows Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) with a slight lead over former Gov. Robert Ehrlich (R) in a rematch of their race for governor four years ago, 45% to 42%, well within the poll’s 3.5 point margin of error.

Said pollster Patrick Gonzales: “It’s clear that either candidate could win in November.”

Wyclef Jean Eyes Presidential Bid in Haiti

Musician Wyclef Jean is considering a run for president of Haiti, the AP reports.

“There have been rumors for some time that the Haitian-born recording artist and producer may enter the 2010 presidential contest, ever since his 2007 appointment as ambassador-at-large for the Caribbean nation by President René Préval, who cannot seek re-election.”

Probe Sought of Alleged Push Poll

The New Hampshire Republican Party asked the state attorney general to investigate alleged push polling calls that target U.S. Senate Kelly Ayotte (R), the New Hampshire Union Leader reports.

They have accused rival Paul Hodes (D) of orchestrating the unethical brand of political telemarketing.

“In the alleged push poll, the likely voters are asked for a favorable or unfavorable reaction to the four major GOP candidates. If Ayotte is their preferred choice, they are informed about the Financial Resources Mortgage scandal, with a suggestion she did nothing to stop it, and are told about the deletion of some e-mails when Ayotte left office as attorney general.”

Oklahoma Votes Today

Oklahoma voters head to the polls today to choose their candidates for the November elections, the Oklahoman reports.

At the top of the ballot is the gubernatorial primary to replace Gov. Brad Henry (D) who is prohibited from seeking a third term.

Democrats will choose between Attorney General Drew Edmondson (D), who has been leading in the polls, and Lt. Gov. Jari Askins (D). On the Republican side, Rep. Mary Fallin (R) is the runaway favorite.

Polls close at 7 p.m.

Heinrich Trails Challenger in New Mexico

A new Survey USA poll in New Mexico’s first congressional district shows challenger Jon Barela (R) with a lead over Rep. Martin Heinrich (D-NM), 51% to 45%, with just 4% of the voters undecided.

However, a Heinrich internal poll shows the incumbent with a 12 point lead.

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