POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 10/25

Toomey Regains Lead in Pennsylvania

The latest Morning Call/Muhlenberg College tracking poll finds Pat Toomey (R) back out in front of Rep. Joe Sestak (D) in the state’s closely watched U.S. Senate race, 47% to 42% with 11% still undecided.

Coats Headed for Big Win in Indiana

A new EPIC/MRA poll in Indiana shows former Sen. Dan Coats (R) on his way to reclaiming his old job as he leads challenger Brad Ellsworth (D) by a wide margin, 53% to 35%.

O’Malley Way Ahead in Maryland

A new Washington Post poll in Maryland confirms what a Baltimore Sun poll found over the weekend: Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) is pulling away from former Gov. Bob Ehrlich (R) in their rematch for governor and leads by a whopping 14 point margin, 54% to 40%.

The Day After

Politico: “Democratic sources tell us that if they lose the House, Pelosi may not only be out of a leadership job but also could start setting the stage for her retirement from Congress in 2011… There are rumblings that Democratic Caucus Chairman John Larson of Connecticut could make a play for party leader, arguing for fresh ideas and fresh leadership… The more interesting subplot to follow is what happens to the party’s most powerful chairmen who win reelection but find themselves back in the minority… One fun drama to watch: Who will agree to run the DSCC, given that the playing field of Senate seats in 2012 clearly favors the GOP?… McConnell is the only truly safe leader in Congress, and a big GOP pickup on Nov. 2 — in the range of five to eight seats — would dramatically strengthen his hand in dealing with Obama.”

Quote of the Day

“Her opponent and that crowd in Washington make Richard Nixon look like a member of Students for a Democratic Society. They make Newt Gingrich and George Bush look like garden variety liberals.”

— Bill Clinton, quoted by CNN, at a campagin event for Tarryl Clark (D) who is running against Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-MN).

Perry Holds Double-Digit Lead

A new University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll finds Gov. Rick Perry (R) leads challenger Bill White (D) by 10 points, 50% to 40%, in the race for governor.

Said pollster Jin Henson: “As the electorate begins to pay more attention, the numbers at the top of the ticket and in the down-ballot races suggest a predictable pattern of partisan alignment, in which the trends of Republican identification we’ve seen in the last few decades are being amplified by a broader national political environment favorable to Republican candidates.”

Will Palin Run?

John Heilemann: “Until not long ago, the only people who took seriously the notion that Palin would make a White House bid in 2012, let alone win the Republican nomination, were those who really do live at the unicorn ranch–and spend their time there huffing pixie dust. When Palin quit the Alaska governorship in 2009, her political career seemed over. And even after she resurrected herself, emerging through her media ubiquity and her aggressive endorsement strategy as arguably the most powerful figure in the GOP, much of the political world believed that she was animated by non-presidential motives. To further pad her bank account. To redeem her reputation. To turn herself into the party’s preeminent kingmaker. Or possibly all three.”

“But today the conventional wisdom about Palin is being revised again, nowhere more so than within the ranks of professional Republicans. Among two dozen senior strategists and operatives with whom I’ve spoken in recent days — including many of those responsible for securing the nomination for the party’s last three standard-bearers — there is a growing consensus that Palin is running or setting herself up to run. All agreed that her entry would radically and fundamentally transform the race. Most averred that if she steps into the fray, she stands a reasonable chance of claiming the Republican prize. Indeed, more than one argued that she is already the de facto front-runner.”

Kirk Holds Slight Edge in Illinios

A new Chicago Tribune/WGN poll shows Rep. Mark Kirk (R) with a slight lead over Alexi Giannoulias (D) in the U.S. Senate race, 44% to 41%, with 7% still undecided.

“Despite the statistical tightness of the race, the survey revealed several encouraging trends for Kirk and some troubling concerns for Giannoulias. Independents, suburban voters and Republicans are all moving toward Kirk.”

Bonus Quote of the Day

“This has been going on for a long while. Suddenly everybody’s gotten spun up about it this year… Once we copied what liberals did, liberals got upset.”

— Karl Rove, quoted by the Wall Street Journal, about outside groups running TV ads paid for by undisclosed donors.

Corruption Scandal Rocks Albany

A 300-page report issued by New York Inspector General Joseph Fisch “reveals an almost breathtaking array of abuses by top Democratic officials controlling the legislative and executive branches,” reports the Buffalo News.

“Those include: leaking of confidential bidding information to a favored company, potential bid-rigging, pay-to-play campaign donations, arm twisting by dozens of lobbyists and an indifference to facts that all resulted in a ‘political free-for-all’ across the highest reaches of state government.”

New York Times: “The report painted a picture of a state led by Senate Democrats with little apparent interest in serving the public honestly and forthrightly, a Democratic Assembly speaker engaging in political gamesmanship and a Democratic governor disengaged to the point that his own staff withheld crucial information from him and called him a liar in internal e-mails.”

Dayton Still Leads for Minnesota Governor

A new Star Tribune Minnesota Poll finds Mark Dayton (D) leading Tom Emmer (R) in the race for governor by seven points, 41% to 34%, with Tom Horner (I) trailing at 13%.

“The poll suggests that Democrats could be closing in on their best chance to win the governor’s office in more than two decades, while Republicans may have a lot of convincing to do if they want to continue the Republican streak that Gov. Tim Pawlenty started eight years ago.”

Quote of the Day

“Folks make mistakes. Lord knows I’m familiar with foot in mouth disease.”

— RNC Chairman Michael Steele, on Meet the Press, saying he can relate to Republican candidates “whose campaigns have been pockmarked by poor publicity over gaffes or misstatements.”

Patrick Has Narrow Lead in Massachusetts

A new Boston Globe poll in Massachusetts finds Gov. Deval Patrick (D) has a slim lead over Charles Baker (R), 43% to 39%, with independent Timothy Cahill (I) at 8% and Green-Rainbow candidate Jill Stein at 2%.

A similar poll one month ago found Patrick with a one point lead.

Key finding: “The poll is the first since Baker entered the race last year in which more respondents said they viewed him unfavorably than favorably.”

Rubio Headed Toward Big Win

A new St. Petersburg Times/Miami Herald poll finds Marco Rubio (R) is on the verge of delivering “one of the biggest political knockouts in Florida history,” as he now leads Gov. Charlie Crist (I) in the U.S. Senate race by 15 points, 41% to 26%, with Rep. Kendrick Meek (D) at 20%.

Said pollster Chris Jackson: “Rubio really solidified most of the Republican support behind him. He certainly gets support from the tea party, but his positioning has been more as a mainstream Republican, and that has been a successful tactic.”

Kasich Has Small Edge in Ohio

A new Dayton Daily News/Ohio Newspaper poll finds John Kasich (R) with a small lead over Gov. Ted Strickland (D) in the race for governor, 49% to 47%.

Said pollster Eric Rademacher: “It’s a close race, but the dynamics, especially the advantage the Republicans have in turnout, still favor Kasich.”

Brown Pulls Away in California

A new Los Angeles Times/USC poll in California shows Jerry Brown (D) widening his lead over Meg Whitman (R) in the race for governor, 52% to 39%.

“Most of the nation has seen pronounced enthusiasm by Republican voters as the midterm elections approach. In California, however, Democrats have gained strength and GOP motivation has ebbed slightly in the last month, the poll showed. The current standings represent a reassertion of a more typical profile for the state after an election year convulsed by a foundering economy, widespread discontent about the future and record-breaking spending by Whitman, who has dropped more than $141 million of her own money into her campaign.”

Boxer Keeps Solid Lead in California

A new Los Angeles Times/USC poll in California finds Sen. Barbara Boxer (D) maintaining an 8-point lead over challenger Carly Fiorina (R) in the U.S. Senate contest, 50% to 42%.

Senate Race Tied in Colorado

A new SurveyUSA poll in Colorado shows Sen. Michael Bennet (D) and challenger Ken Buck (R) deadlocked in the U.S. Senate race at 47% each with 5% undecided.

Just three weeks ago, Buck led Bennet by five points in a similar poll.

Hickenlooper Still Leads in Colorado

A new SurveyUSA poll finds John Hickenlooper (D) is maintaining a 10 point lead over Constitution Party candidate Tom Tancredo (C) in the race for governor, 49% to 39%, with Dan Maes (R) way back at 9%.

O’Malley Pulls Further Away in Maryland

A new Baltimore Sun poll in Maryland shows Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) with his largest lead yet over Bob Ehrlich (R) in the governor’s race, 52% to 38%.

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