Tuesday Tidbits

  • Pennsylvania: Republican former Gov. Tom Ridge will decide on a 2010 Senate bid “in the next two weeks” according to WaPo’s Cillizza’s sources.  One obstacle to a Ridge candidacy: Ridge is a Maryland resident now, not a Pennsylvania resident anymore.  Meanwhile, the drumbeat for Congressman Joe Sestak to enter the race is only getting louder and Congressman Sestak’s rhetoric is only getting stronger.  Further, we can expect new Research 2000 poll numbers on Thursday looking at both Parties’ primaries in PA-Sen.Speaking of PA-Sen polling, the Pennsylvania Business Council commissioned a poll by Susquehanna Polling & Research (a Republican firm), showing Specter in weak shape.  Specter leads Pat Toomey by only 6, 42-36, held well under 50%; and, Specter trails Ridge by a statistically-insignificant one point, 39-38 (held under 40%!).  Republican polling firm Public Opinion Strategies also released numbers.  POS shows Ridge leading Toomey in a GOP primary by a huge 60-23 margin.  POS also sees Ridge leading Specter 48-41, while Specter leads Toomey 49-40, in possible general election match-ups.  Yesterday’s Qunnipiac poll put Specter-Toomey at 53-33 and Specter-Ridge at 46-43.To close out today’s PA-Sen update, it’s worth noting that Toomey is reporting a torrid fundraising pace, $500,000 in the last three weeks since announcing, including what he says was a “surge” in contributions when Specter left the GOP.  Also, both The Wall Street Journal’s Jonathan Weisman and ABC’s George Stephanopoulos are standing by their reporting that Specter told President Obama that he would be a “loyal Democrat.”  When Specter denied saying the line on Meet the Press, was he lying?  Oh, and for anyone not sold on a primary challenge to Arlen Specter: Specter still wants Norm Coleman to be declared the winner in MN-Sen against Senator-elect Al Franken.  Yeah…
  • Kentucky: Another Jim Bunning retirement clue?  Bunning says that he is still running, with one big-time condition attached: “he would abandon his re-election effort would be if he did not meet his fundraising goals later this year.”  Since his goal is $7 million for the campaign, his goal for the end of the year is, say, around $3.5 million.  His $260,000 Q1 clearly doesn’t put him on pace.  Is Bunning carving out his own back door to a retirement?  I don’t know.  But what I suspect is that Bunning lacks any inner monologue:

    “It is the fact that Arlen Specter is probably as selfish as our leader is in trying to survive, that’s the only way he thought he would survive in the U.S. Senate,” Bunning said.”Do you know Arlen Specter will be 80, has had four bouts with cancer and he still wants to run for the U.S. Senate?” Bunning continued. “And I’m being criticized at 77 and healthy for wanting to run for the U.S. Senate by certain leadership people in my party. Give me a break.”

    Asked if the leadership he was referring to was McConnell, Bunning answered: “Obviously. Do you want me to spell it out for you?”

    He said: “Do you realize that under our dynamic leadership of our leader, we have gone from 55 and probably to 40 (Senate seats) in two election cycles, and if the tea leaves that I read are correct, we will wind up with about 36 after this election cycle.  So if leadership means anything, it means you don’t lose … approximately 19 seats in three election cycles with good leadership.”

    Wow… I’ll type more when my head stops spinning.

  • Delaware: Susquehanna Polling & Research, the Republican firm that released the aforementioned PA-Sen poll, also offered numbers today on a hypothetical DE-Sen match-up between Republican Rep. Mike Castle and Democratic state Attorney General Beau Biden, putting it in Castle’s favor, 55-34.  That a GOP pollster found such a large margin is unsurprising, but I think the race does lean in Castle’s favor to start.  That said, once Attorney General Biden returns from his service in Iraq and actually campaigns and reminds Delaware voters of his accomplishments, coupled with a visit or two from Obama-Biden, along with a reminder that Castle is about to become 70-years-old and will not achieve the seniority in the Senate that helped make then-Senator Joe Biden such a force, we’ll see the race tighten up.  Further, it’s hardly a guarantee that Castle will even enter the race.  Stay tuned.
    • North Carolina: The usually-pretty-stiff DNC Chair and Virginia Governor Tim Kaine has some fun with freshman Republican backbencher Richard “Bank Run” Burr.  Video at right.  Definitely worth a watch.
    • Florida: Republican former state House Speaker Marco Rubio is 100% officially in the 2010 Senate race.  With some Florida conservatives unhappy with Gov. Charlie Crist, will Crist run the primary gauntlet against the more conservative Rubio to go for the Senate seat or play it safer with a gubernatorial re-election bid?  Campaign Diaries offers thoughtful analysis of Rubio’s impact on Crist.
    • Oklahoma: For what it’s worth, a new Sooner Poll poll finds Democratic Governor Brad Henry with a higher approval rate than Republican Tom Coburn, 66.3% to 60.4%.  Coburn remains uncommitted about running for a second Senate term in 2010, but term-limited Governor Henry has not displayed much enthusiasm for a bid either.

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