POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 7/28

Judge Blocks Arizona Immigration Law

A federal judge has blocked the most controversial sections of Arizona’s new immigration law from taking effect Thursday, handing the Obama administration and other opponents of the law a major legal victory, the New York Times reports.

“The parts of the law that the judge blocked included the sections that called for officers to check a person’s immigration status while enforcing other laws and that required immigrants to carry their papers at all times.”

Simmons Makes it Official

Though former Rep. Rob Simmons (R-CT) recently insisted he wasn’t really resuming his U.S. Senate bid even though he was running ads, the Connecticut Mirror notes Simmons showed up at a debate last night and finally declared, “I am running for the U.S. Senate.”

The Connecticut primary is on August 10.

Reid Ahead in Nevada

A new Rasmussen survey in Nevada shows Sen. Harry Reid (D) now ahead of challenger Sharron Angle (R) for the first time, 45% to 43%.

Massachusetts Approves Plan to Bypass Electoral College

The Massachusetts Legislature “has approved a new law intended to bypass the Electoral College system and ensure that the winner of the presidential election is determined by the national popular vote,” the Boston Globe reports.

“Supporters are campaigning, state by state, to get such bills enacted. Once states accounting for a majority of the electoral votes (or 270 of 538) have enacted the laws, the candidate winning the most votes nationally would be assured a majority of Electoral College votes. That would hold true no matter how the other states vote and how their electoral votes are distributed.”

Other states already on board: Illinois, New Jersey, Hawaii, Maryland, and Washington.

Is Obama Overexposed?

With President Obama doing an appearance on daytime talk show The View, some are arguing — again — that President Obama is overexposed.

First Read: “There is a potential danger here, and it does highlight the fact that there really isn’t another key spokesman in the administration to talk about the economy or health care. But as the White House reminds us, the media world is now so diffuse (TV, newspaper, Web, cable Twitter, Facebook) that Obama has to do more than his predecessors ever did. That’s the reality. So while folks INSIDE THE BELTWAY believe he’s over-exposed, and those folks that watch a lot of cable TV might believe he’s overexposed, ask the working parent of two if they think the same thing. One other related point: The White House also recognizes that even while it’s losing rhetorical arguments about the economy or health care, it can’t give up talking about them. If it does give up, then it will not only lose the short-term battle but also the long-term war.”

Giannoulias Holds Small Lead

A new Rasmussen survey in Illinois finds Alexi Giannoulias (D) edging Rep. Mark Kirk (R) in the U.S. Senate race, 43% to 41%.

Economists Say Intervention Prevented a Depression

Two leading economists “wielding complex quantitative models” say they have proven that the federal government’s “sweeping interventions to prop up the economy since 2008 helped avert a second Depression,” the New York Timesreports.

In a new paper, they “argue that without the Wall Street bailout, the bank stress tests, the emergency lending and asset purchases by the Federal Reserve, and the Obama administration’s fiscal stimulus program, the nation’s gross domestic product would be about 6.5 percent lower this year. In addition, there would be about 8.5 million fewer jobs, on top of the more than 8 million already lost; and the economy would be experiencing deflation, instead of low inflation.”

Kentucky Republicans Think Beshear is Vulnerable

“A slew of Republicans are considering challenging Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear in next year’s race for governor even though he already has more than $2 million in his campaign coffers and the power of incumbency at his disposal,” the Lexington Herald Leader reports.

Republicans point to an internal poll last month that showed 37% did not think Beshear deserves re-election and 51% thought someone else should have a chance to be governor.

Democrats Unveil GOP’s “Contract on America”

As party of their summer strategy, Democrats put out the Republican Tea Party Contract on America, which highlights what they believe will happen if Republicans win back control of Congress in this fall’s elections.

The effort also includes a 30-second television ad and a website that expands on each of the 10 items in the contract.

Whitman Closes Gap with Brown

A new Public Policy Polling survey in California shows Jerry Brown (D) leading Meg Whitman (R) by six points, 46% to 40%. In May, Brown led by 12 points.

“Casting a shadow over Whitman’s campaign is Arnold Schwarzenegger’s continuing status as the least popular Governor in the country. 71% of voters in the state disapprove of the job he’s doing and only 19% give him good marks. Generally when you have an outgoing Governor that strongly disliked you’re not going to be inclined to replace him with another person in the same party.”

Bottom line: “The trend is good for Whitman but with atrocious favorability numbers in a strongly Democratic state she still has an uphill battle to win this election.”

Cuomo Still Way Ahead for Governor

The latest Quinnipiac poll in New York finds Andrew Cuomo (D) still has a 69% approval rating and beats either possible Republican gubernatorial rival by more than 2 to 1.

Cuomo tops Rick Lazio (R), 56% to 26%, and leads Carl Paladino (R), 55% to 25%.

In the GOP primary, Lazio leads Paladino, 39% to 23%, with 33% still undecided.

Two Women Face Off for Oklahoma Governor

Oklahomans are poised to elect the state’s first woman governor, the Oklahomanreports.

Rep. Mary Fallin (R) beat Randy Brogdon (R) in yesterday’s Republican primary without a runoff, 55% to 39%.

Lt. Gov. Jari Askins (D) won a nail-biter Democratic primary against Attorney General Drew Edmondson (D).

It’s worth noting that the Oklahoma Poll we highlighted over the weekend wasn’t even close.

Rangel Ethics Deal in Jeopardy

Rep. Charlie Rangel’s (D-NY) “chances of cutting an ethics deal are in jeopardy over allegations that he met privately with Ethics Committee Chairwoman Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) Monday night without any Republican members of the bipartisan panel present,”Politico reports.

“Sources close to Rangel deny that there was any attempt to cut a backroom deal with Lofgren, but Rangel’s attorneys met with Democratic ethics committee staff Monday.”

Burr Maintains Edge in North Carolina

A new Civitas Institute poll in North Carolina finds Sen. Richard Burr (R) leading challenger Elaine Marshall (D), 44% to 37%, with 15% undecided.

Political Divisiveness at an All Time High

Brighten Godfrey combs through more than 21 years of U.S. Senate roll call votes and finds empirical proof behind the “party of no” strategy pursued by Republicans.

Divisiveness is measured as the average distance between Republicans and Democrats. For example, if 50% of Democrats and 50% of Republicans vote “yes,” then divisiveness is 0. If 10% of Democrats and 90% of Republicans vote yes, then divisiveness is 80%.

The historical data shows divisiveness didn’t move much for about 18 years, but then dramatically spiked since the beginning of the Obama administration, setting a record in 2009 and another record so far in 2010. The difference here is dramatic: 29% divisiveness in 1989, vs. 70% today.

Also interesting: The three sitting senators who have voted “no” the most: Sen. James DeMint (R-SC), Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), and Sen. George LeMieux (R-FL)

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