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Steve Israel polls in NY-Senate; rules out challenge to Gillibrand (again)

1. New York Rep. Steve Israel (D) has come under increased pressure from donors and activists to reconsider his decision not to run for the Senate in 2010 and has conducted a poll in recent weeks to test his viability in a primary race against appointed Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. Those close to Israel insist he is highly unlikely to run in the state's primary later this year, however and his chief of staff Jack Pratt was even more blunt. "There are a lot of rumors out there, but I can say definitively that he's not running," Pratt told the Fix Thursday night. Israel was on the cusp of announcing a challenge to Gillibrand in May 2009 but was talked out of doing so by the White House. Since that time, several other Democrats have openly contemplated a challenge to Gillibrand and passed. But, with former Tennessee representative Harold Ford Jr. (D) now expected to run -- and a new independent poll showing him as a viable candidate -- it appears to have stoked the interests of other wannabe senators. No one could explain to us why Israel would poll if he wasn't re-thinking his decision not to run but it does seem -- given his intimate involvement in the special election victory in New York's 23rd district last year -- that he is more focused on moving up the House leadership ladder. What the Israel news suggests is that Ford's candidacy has served to destabilize the Democratic primary and at least one source suggested that if Ford and/or Israel ran, it's likely that other aspiring Democratic pols will decide to jump into the contest. Republicans seem to believe that they can beat Gillibrand in the fall although they have struggled to find a quality candidate to date.

2. A new independent poll in California suggests that Sen. Barbara Boxer (D) is vulnerable to a Republican challenge this fall, a development sure to be seized on by Senate GOP strategists looking to broaden the playing field in the wake of their victory in the Massachusetts Senate special election. In the Public Policy Institute of California poll, Boxer didn't break the critical 50 percent mark against any of her three potential Republican opponents; Boxer led former Rep. Tom Campbell 45 percent to 41 percent and held eight-point leads over both former Hewlett Packard executive Carly Fiorina and state Assemblyman Chuck DeVore. Boxer's favorable numbers were also middling; 49 percent approved of the job she was doing while 44 percent disapproved, a worse showing that she had at this time her 2004 re-elect (52 percent approve/34 disapprove) in PPIC polling. A Field poll released earlier this week showed Boxer in more solid shape; she led Campbell by 10 points and held wider 15 and 17 point margins over Fiorina and DeVore, respectively. At issue for Republicans is whether Campbell or Fiorina is the better nominee; Campbell has run statewide several times but has the sort of resume -- larded with service in elected office -- that doesn't sit well in a political environment like this one. Fiorina, on the other hand, is both an outsider and someone with considerable personal wealth but doesn't have any experience running a statewide campaign.

3. Wisconsin Sen. Russ Feingold -- perhaps wary of his party's defeat in Massachusetts -- is going out of his way to show the political world that he is ready for a potential race against former governor Tommy Thompson (R). On Thursday, Feingold released his fundraising numbers for the final three months of 2009 -- $947,000 raised, $3.65 million on hand -- and announced that John Kraus, who served as communications director on Feingold's 2004 race, was signing on as a senior strategist for the 2010 campaign. "I am happy to have John back on our team as we continue to expand on our already solid campaign organization," Feingold said in a release. "With seven field offices and a growing volunteer base, we are ready to wage a strong grassroots campaign throughout the state." Feingold's increased level of activity of late coincides with a ramped-up effort by national Republicans to find a series candidate to oppose the Democrat in November. Thompson, who served as governor from 1986 until his appointment as Secretary of Health and Human Services in the Bush administration in 2001, is reportedly mulling the race although he seems unlikely to run. Republicans' dream candidate is 1st district Rep. Paul Ryan but, while Ryan does have Senate aspirations, he seems content to wait until 2012 when Sen. Herb Kohl (D), already the subject of retirement rumors, will be 77 years old.

4. Wondering where to look to see how bad the retirement bug will bite Democrats? Keep an eye on the congressional filing deadlines -- helpfully collected by Politics1.com. (Bookmark this link. Trust us.) Tomorrow is the last day for candidates in West Virginia to file for office; Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-W.Va.), who holds a district that went for Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) with 57 percent in 2008, was regarded as a potential retiree but his recent exoneration by the Justice Department makes it likely he will run. Rep. Nick Rahall (D) has been in the House since 1976 but seems certain to go for an 18th(!) term in November as well. February is largely devoid of congressional filing deadlines -- New Mexico on Feb. 9 is the lone one -- making it a crucial month for House Democrats as they seek to convince on-the-fence members to stay put. March 1 brings the Mississippi and Nebraska filing deadlines, and one week later is the deadline for Arkansas candidates. As these drop-dead dates approach, members in each state begin to reflect seriously on whether or not they want to run one more time -- particularly in a national environment as potentially difficult as this one looks for Democrats. A surprise retirement or to under the filing deadline gun could set off an explosion of 'no-go' decision that could jeopardize Democrats' hold on the House.

5. If it's Friday, it's time for a "Live Fix" chat. For an hour -- from 11 a.m. ET to noon -- today we'll field questions on politics, coffee, music, field hockey and whatever else you can think of to ask about. Catch it!

By Chris Cillizza  |  January 29, 2010; 5:22 AM ET
Categories:  Morning Fix  
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Next: Steve Buyer to retire in Indiana

Comments

12BarBlues:

Hi : )

Posted by: JakeD2 | January 29, 2010 4:35 PM | Report abuse

37th,

I would like to explore a little with you about our ideas. But, first, I'd like to ask you whether you are a "true believer". This is not a gotcha question--I'll tell you why I want to know.

I avoid engaging with true believers on either side. I'll admit I can feel quite comfortable with with some on the liberal side, but...I will learn most if I question my own assumptions. I value others who also question their own assumptions.

There is nothing wrong with being a true believer, so don't misunderstand please. I respect them and their beliefs. But, I'm not going to engage by attacking their views. It's a waste of time and energy for both of us, and disrespectful to both.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | January 29, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

As much as Rs are cheering for the country to fail, things are rapidly getting better.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Excellent news. Are they letting you clean the upstairs now too?

Posted by: drivl | January 29, 2010 1:00 PM | Report abuse

We have come a long, long way from "The Buck Stops Here" - the sign on Harry Truman's desk which meant that Truman took responsibility for what went on.

Now we have Obama - blaming Bush all the time - "The Buck Stops with Bush who has been in Texas for a Year"

Obama is weak so weak.

.

Posted by: 37thand0street | January 29, 2010 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Andy, "coasting" was probably the wrong word to use. I didnt mean to imply they aren't working, and doing good things. The job of a senator is to represent his or her state, and most of the people I was mentioning are doing that to the best of their ability. But I did want to distenguish people like Clair McCaskill from a Sherrod Brown.

Posted by: elijah24 | January 29, 2010 12:34 PM | Report abuse

'I work in a stock market related field.'

what a surprise.

Posted by: drindl | January 29, 2010 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Elijah, Andy, and PP - I have never tried that exercise, but I am very interested in your lists. I have some strong views on no more than 20 of 100. I defer to your opinions. And Andy, a "box of junior mints" was a great post.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 29, 2010 12:11 PM | Report abuse

'U.S. gross domestic product grew 5.7 percent in the fourth quarter of 2009, according to an estimate from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The figure surpassed the 4.8 percent rise that economists were expecting. It’s the the best performance since the third quarter of 2003.'

As much as Rs are cheering for the country to fail, things are rapidly getting better.

Posted by: drindl | January 29, 2010 9:59 AM


This rise in GDP means that factories have figured out how to produce more with fewer employees. Where I live in California, the GDP is meaningless. Jobs are what counts.
I work in a stock market related field. Everyone expects another big correction this year. That will make the job market even worse. Housing is still going lower too.

Posted by: doof | January 29, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: elijah24 | January 29, 2010
"i count 35 good senators, 20 who are truely detrimental to the country. The rest are either just coasting, or too new to make an informed judgement. One interesting thing i found is that while the GOP had a slight majority of bad senators, the good ones were split almost proportionally to the senate itself.

***

Just did the same exercise. I had 45 good senators, 19 detrimental. (29 iffy and 7 unknown) But my percentages seem to be pretty close to yours elijah24.

Posted by: prairiepopulist | January 29, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: elijah24 | January 29, 2010
"i count 35 good senators, 20 who are truely detrimental to the country. The rest are either just coasting, or too new to make an informed judgement. One interesting thing i found is that while the GOP had a slight majority of bad senators, the good ones were split almost proportionally to the senate itself.

***

Just did the same exercise. I had 45 good senators, 19 detrimental. (29 iffy and 7 unknown) But my percentages seem to be pretty close to yours elijah24.

Posted by: prairiepopulist | January 29, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

It looks like Sarah Palin may be left holding the bag at a Tea Party event that almost no one else in the movement wants anything to do with.

The former Alaska governor still plans to speak at the much-maligned National Tea Party Convention next month in Nashville. "You betcha I'm going to be there," she told Fox News last night.

That pledge comes despite the fact that in recent weeks, other planned speakers and sponsors have rushed to the exits amid concerns that the event's organizer, Nashvillle lawyer Judson Phillips, intends to profit financially from the venture.

Yesterday brought the latest mass exodus. First, as we reported, the convention's two other Republican speakers, Reps. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee backed out in quick succession, with Blackburn declaring: "It's a 'We the people' event and I think sometimes it's become about 'I the organizer,' for the organizer."

The lawmakers were followed out the door by the Tea Party Express, the GOP consulting firm product whose participation in the convention had been touted as a coup by the organizers -- though TPE's leaders took pains to make clear that they're only backing out because they're just so insanely busy lately.

Posted by: drindl | January 29, 2010 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Elijah, I would bet that alot of the ones that you have listed as coasting are very good senators IMO. People like Herb Kohl may not get alot of attention but they do a good amount of the thankless leg work that makes our country run. I would love to see how you broke them down.

Posted by: AndyR3 | January 29, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

BEWARE THE NAIVETE...


In his SOTU, President Obama again said he has banned torture. But Homeland operatives defy him.

U.S. SILENTLY TORTURES AMERICANS WITH CELL TOWER MICROWAVES, SAYS VETERAN JOURNALIST

• Regional Homeland Security- administered fusion centers use a nationwide microwave/laser pulsed electromagnetic radiation "directed energy" weapon system to silently torture, impair, subjugate unconstitutionally "targeted" Americans and their families -- an American genocide hiding in plain sight.

• Victims' own cell phones may be used to target them.

• How a young FBI agent's 'I believe you' gave victim the faith to go public.

For the full story:

http://nowpublic.com/world/u-s-silently-tortures-americans-cell-tower-microwaves

NOW IT'S OBAMA'S GESTAPO USA. WHEN WILL TEAM OBAMA ACT?

• Bucks County, PA MAGLOCLEN/RissNet Mid-Atlantic "fusion center" -- "Ground Zero for Homeland High-Tech Torture and Community Watch Domestic Terrorism"

http://nowpublic.com/world/gestapo-usa-govt-funded-vigilante-network-terrorizes-america OR http://NowPublic.com/scrivener (see "stories" list).

Posted by: scrivener50 | January 29, 2010 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Mark, I just did the run-down on the senate. Maybe I have a tendency to give benefit of the doubt to easilly, but i count 35 good senators, 20 who are truely detrimental to the country. The rest are either just coasting, or too new to make an informed judgement. One interesting thing i found is that while the GOP had a slight majority of bad senators, the good ones were split almost proportionally to the senate itself.

Posted by: elijah24 | January 29, 2010 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Chris,

Although Barbara Boxer is, numerically, vulnerable, she is well-financed, has a number of very highly motivated groups behind her, and have you ever seen her campaign? She is very, very good. Although I agree with Mark-in-Austin's overall assessment, I do not think, however, that Tom Campbell is the man to 'depose' her.

Fiorina has, so far, proven to be a very lackluster candidate; ditto Whitman, even if she has got more money than Croesus, if canditates are equally matched on other fronts, the voters--however much they want change--don't like elections to be bought and paid for by a candidate simply because he/she has deep pockets.

NY-Senate: I've read and agree with much of what has been posted about Harold Ford. I also think his relatively recent move to NY and its local politics make him a harder sell than he would otherwise have been. Nor did his recent interview help.

On the other hand, if Gillibrand can't exploit his many weaknesses (from an NY-perspective), or if he runs a campaign similar to his astonishingly good TN senatorial campaign, he might just pull off a primary upset by taking advantage of the current anti-incumbent mood--but it would be a stretch.

Posted by: sverigegrabb | January 29, 2010 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Reason, have you ever seen Tommy Thompson speak or do anything? He is a non-starter especially against someone like Fiegold who is pretty well respected in the Senate and in his state.

Posted by: AndyR3 | January 29, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

I think Ford has a good shot in NY. He seems very professional and someone who can handle himself well in any situation. The guy is smart and knows how to play to people. He'll sneak up on Gillibrand.

Posted by: doof | January 29, 2010 10:11 AM | Report abuse

1. Gillibrand will beat out Ford and be the Democratic nominee in 2010. Question is: who will run on the Republican ticket? I know Blakeman is in, but another higher profiled Republican has a shot to get in over Blakeman still. Perhaps Peter King will run? Maybe someone else will step up. Either way, Gillibrand is vulnerable.

2. I think Tom Campbell's switch from Governor to senate was a good switch for Campbell and the GOP. I think Campbell will win the GOP nomination and can beat out Boxer. There was no way he could win the Republican governor's nomination as both Whitman and Poizner have so much money to spend to win. I think Tom Campbell is the favorite to win here for the GOP.

3. This may be the year Tommy Thompson finally enters a race he is mulling. After a failed Presidential race, all he has left is a race in Wisconsin. I think it's still only a 50%-50% shot Thompson gets in. If not, I don't think Republicans get a top notch candidate as Feingold will then look good for reelection. If Thompson gets in, I think he wins.

Posted by: reason5 | January 29, 2010 10:01 AM | Report abuse

Scott Brown is already proving to be a doofus like Quayle and MA voters will soon have a bad case of buyer's remorse. I'm sure Californians don't want to be embarrrassed in the same way. Meg Whitman's campaing may have tons of money but she's still cringe-inducing to watch. and then there's this...

'U.S. gross domestic product grew 5.7 percent in the fourth quarter of 2009, according to an estimate from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The figure surpassed the 4.8 percent rise that economists were expecting. It’s the the best performance since the third quarter of 2003.'

As much as Rs are cheering for the country to fail, things are rapidly getting better.

Posted by: drindl | January 29, 2010 9:59 AM | Report abuse

I'd say that the governor's race in California will also go to the republicans. Jerry Brown is ancient and the democrats don't have any other candidate. Meg Whitman has been running nonstop commercials here for quite a while. I hear them on the radio driving to and from work every day. The talk shows all hate Brown. There is a lot of anger here against the democratic legislature for raising taxes. The Job situation is really dismal. Voters here will take their anger out on the democrats this fall.

Posted by: doof | January 29, 2010 9:38 AM | Report abuse

Fiorina is a fumbler as a candidate, at best -- and no one knows Who DeVore is. Boxer is safe.

By NY standards, Ford is a republican. He's transparently sleazy, he works in the most hated [banking] industry in the country, he rides around in a limo. He has no idea even how to campaign in this state. DOA.

Posted by: drindl | January 29, 2010 9:25 AM | Report abuse

I live in the Los Angeles area. With or without the hispanic vote, Boxer is out. Massachusetts is being felt here in California also.

Posted by: doof | January 29, 2010 9:20 AM | Report abuse

"A Senate full of Feingolds, Lugars, Grahams, Wydens - that Senate would work. A Senate full of Boxers and DeMints? I do not see that as in our best interests."

Posted by: mark_in_austin

*****

M_I_A:

The older I get, the more I can agree with this statement (even though I am pretty far to the left on most issues, especially economic).

I am interested, Mark: How many current Senators are in the Feingold-Lugar mold, in your opinion? And, how many are more Boxer-DeMint?

Posted by: prairiepopulist | January 29, 2010 9:09 AM | Report abuse

A Senate full of Boxers and Demints would be about as useful at running our country as a Box of Junior Mints.

That being said I don't see Boxer losing in CA. She is very well liked in the Hollywood community and in the activist San Fran population. The only way I could see a Republican beating her is if they were hispanic and therefore would take the Latino vote.

BTW, CC, I hope you are planning on writing an article about how Bachmann (Mrs. Tea-Party) has now backed out of the TP convention due to ethical concerns. Is it just a bump in the road, or a sign of things to come?

Posted by: AndyR3 | January 29, 2010 9:02 AM | Report abuse

Feingold, who comes very close to being the independent liberal Andy describes, is a voice the country can use well in the Senate, IMHO. Boxer, on the other hand, does not fit that mold, from my viewpoint.

A Senate full of Feingolds, Lugars, Grahams, Wydens - that Senate would work. A Senate full of Boxers and DeMints? I do not see that as in our best interests.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 29, 2010 8:06 AM | Report abuse

In NY Ford is dead on arrival. His chumminess with the Wall Street crowd will not go over well at all upstate, where Gillenbrand is very strong. On top of that his anti-choice positions in the past will upset the liberals in NYC. Without those two groups he has no path to the nomination, and that doesn't even take into account that he has lived in NY like a week and a half.

On Russ Fiengold, there is no way he loses period. He is an exceptional campaigner and is a truly independent liberal voice in the Senate.

Posted by: AndyR3 | January 29, 2010 7:45 AM | Report abuse

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