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Category Archive for ‘NY-Gov’ at Campaign Diaries
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Archive for the 'NY-Gov' CategoryPage 2 of 4


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David Paterson appoints Lieutenant Governor, takes on Republicans and Andrew Cuomo

Did David Paterson finally find a way to get his footing back?

Ridiculed for months for his lack of leadership and his inability to keep Albany in a functional state, the New York Governor put his foot down today and asserted his authority through what is probably an illegal move: He appointed 76-year old Richard Ravitch as the Empire State’s new Lieutenant Governor.

The state has had no Lieutenant Governor ever since Paterson replaced Elliot Spitzer in March 2008. While most states allow for a replacement LG to be named, New York’s Constitution has no provision for such an appointment though Paterson’s office points to a clause in the Public Officers Law to defend their action. I will not delve on this legal dispute since this is clearly not my area of expertise, but Paterson’s argument does seem to be quite a stretch. After all, that New York’s Lieutenant Governors cannot be replaced has been a long-held view (why else would Paterson have allowed the office to go unfilled for more than a year?).

Given that Paterson’s appointment looks to be unconstitutional, it is amusing to see so many celebrate his show of leadership. “Extraordinary times call for extraordinary action,” quipped the Senate’s Democratic leadership, thus testifying to Carl Schmitt’s immortal appeal. This unusual situation is a testament to the mess Albany is in ever since the June 8th coup. With legislators stuck in endless negotiations to broker some sort of deal, today’s development is Paterson’s attempt to step in and resolve the stalemate: A Lieutenant Governor who would have the authority to break a tie and provide Democrats a 32rd vote.

The glaring flaw in Paterson’s plan is that his move is unlikely to resolve anything whatsoever, and this for a very simple reason: Republicans and their ally Pedro Espada have made it clear that they will challenge the legality of his Ravitch’s nomination. “We will be in court,” said Espada, while Assemblyman Brian Kolb blasted Paterson’s action as “wholly unconstitutional.” Whatever the merits of each side’s arguments, it could take months for all of this to be resolved in court. In the meantime, it’s hard to see how Ravitch’s tie-breaking vote can get the state Senate to function again.

And yet, Paterson’s decision is a brilliant strategic move that puts Democrats in a stronger position than they were 24 hours ago. For the past month, Albany’s warfare has pitted Senate Democrats versus Senate Republicans; everyone has come out looking clownish and responsible for the stalemate. To the extent that Paterson got involved, he was attracting the animosity of all legislators and thus further endangering his 2010 prospects.

But we now have a new narrative: David Paterson versus Senate Republicans.

That’s no longer a partisan fight; rather, it’s a divide between those who will argue that a little legal tweak is fine if it gets government back on its feet and those who refuse the one solution that anyone has found so far. Just 24 hours ago, Democrats were seen as desperately trying to hold on to power; today they are presenting themselves as first and foremost committed to getting the chamber to function again. By contrast, Republicans are more than ever in danger of being labeled obstructionists; whatever the legal merits of the GOP’s arguments, are voters not bound to agree that it just makes common sense to appoint a Lieutenant Governor to find a way out of this mess? What do Republicans intend to propose as an alternative?

For Paterson, this is a dream opportunity. For months, he has been weighed down by accusations of ineffectiveness and indecisiveness; now, he gets to showcase himself as a proactive executive who takes responsibility and thinks creatively. The downside is that he is taking ownership of a crisis he has little to do with, and this could all blow up in his face if the confrontation goes on. But his involvement could also allow him to deflect blame on Republicans if the stalemate is not resolved - not to mention reap immense benefits if it does work out thanks to his suggestion.

In fact, Paterson wasted no time before seeking to exploit his involvement in the mess: Within hours of his press conference, New Yorkers started receiving robocalls paid by Paterson’s re-election committee in which he touted his attempt to use his authority: “Together with Lt. Gov. Ravitch, I am determined to end the Senate gridlock and clear the issue of succession — it’s time for them to get back to work,” Paterson said in the call.

It has surely not escaped Paterson that his attempt to install a new Lieutenant Governor has awoken the hostility not only of state Republicans but also of his potential 2010 rival, Andrew Cuomo. Earlier this month, the Attorney General’s office released an opinion finding the Governor does not have the authority to appoint a Lieutenant Governor should a vacancy arise; today, prominent Republicans like Dean Skelos approvingly quoted Cuomo in blasting Paterson’s move.

Albany’s new power dynamic thus opposes Paterson and Senate Democrats to Cuomo and Senate Republicans - not necessarily the camp in which the Attorney General would want to find himself in, especially as he is finding that his loudest ally in the anti-LG cause is the controversial Pedro Espada. Given that Cuomo has not said much about the state Senate dilemma, his position could make voters frustrated that he is only blocking the finding of a solution.

If Paterson’s move backfires and becomes the fodder for yet more ridicule, it will reflect well on Cuomo’s prudence. But if voters give the Governor points for taking a decisive - albeit extralegal - step to resolve Albany’s stalemate, Paterson will have scored his first clear political victory in many months. Given how low he is in the poll, he’ll need many many just to be competitive next year.


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Senate stalemate brings more signs that Cuomo is planning gubernatorial bid

When Andrew Cuomo declared that he intended to run for re-election last month, countless of political journalists and blogs ran with stories claiming he had ruled out a gubernatorial bid. I immediately stepped in arguing that he had done no such thing, quite the contrary: His words were carefully chosen to signal an interest in the gubernatorial race while avoiding showing his card too early.

The well-known Cuomo is indeed in the unique situation of looking like so certain a victor - he leads David Paterson by about 50% in all recent polls - that he does not have to declare his intentions a year in advance to unseat the incumbent. He can calmly prepare a campaign for Attorney General and later use that infrastructure for another statewide race; he can solicit funds and later transfer to a gubernatorial bid; since everyone knows that he is thinking about doing so, donations are likely to come in accordingly. And if Paterson somehow pulls off one of the most admirable comebacks of political history and improves his numbers this winter - perhaps even as late as spring of 2010 - Cuomo can stick to the Attorney General’s race.

The state of New York politics dramatically changed through the month of June, but the conventional wisdom on Cuomo did not. Most people involved in New York politics are still proceeding with the assumption that Cuomo will be a candidate, and the Attorney General is doing nothing to discourage such speculation. The latest sign comes from a new New York Post story that reports that minority state Senators are so angry at Paterson for his attitude in their chamber’s stalemate that they are now looking to endorse Cuomo:

At least one minority lawmaker called Cuomo within the last two weeks offering his support, but was told by the attorney general that such a move was premature, sources said…

One likely black Cuomo backer is Sen. Kevin Parker of Brooklyn, who recently shocked the state’s political establishment by calling Paterson a “coke-snorting, staff-banging” governor. But it’s not certain Cuomo would want his backing, since Parker’s under felony indictment for allegedly assaulting a Post photographer in May.

The key word in that first paragraph is “premature,” which indicates that, while Cuomo does not want to rush things and look overly ambitious and divisive, he is very much interested in running. The Post also reports that Cuomo “has told friends privately he’s gearing up to run for governor.”

This story is meaningful because it addresses two major obstacles that must be weighing on Cuomo’s mind, and suggests that Paterson could be ill-advised to hold unto either of them for comfort.

1. The Senate stalemate is not helping Paterson: The Governor’s advisers have been hoping that the current Albany mess will make Paterson look good in comparison by portraying him as reliable and trustworthy. He has taken a very confrontational stance against the state Senators, instructed the state comptroller to withhold their salary and called daily special sessions that forced the feuding legislators to stay in Albany through the July 4th week-end. We will monitor polls in the upcoming months to see whether Paterson experiences any bounce from his recent positioning - he has not for now - but this Post story points to a major downside.

A former state Senator himself, Paterson is antagonizing prominent Democratic officials whose support he might have been able to obtain otherwise - and as Parker’s above comments reveal, we’re talking about quite a dramatic level of hostility. Given that Paterson is already losing so many of his staff members that it moves Liz Benjamin to use the “rats deserting a sinking ship” metaphor, a stampede of Democratic legislators endorsing the Attorney General could be all it takes to make Paterson look in an inextricable hole.

2. Cuomo has a shot at ensuring that primary is not racially charged: Cuomo’s biggest worry has to be the inevitable racial dimension of a primary challenge to Paterson. In 2002, he sought the nomination when the establishment had rallied around African-American Comptroller Carl McCall. That provoked an immense amount of ill-will towards Cuomo, who got nowhere in the polls and withdrew from the race shortly before election day. He is now no doubt aware that a repeat gubernatorial bid would once again pit him against a black politician, which could allow his opponents to tag him as racially motivated and spark an explosive primary battle.

Before committing to another gubernatorial bid, Cuomo no doubt wants to ensure that he will not go through a repeat of his 2002 run, so a story reporting that prominent minority politicians are looking to endorse him is perhaps the best news he could receive.

Speaking of New York’s Democratic primaries, a number of readers disagreed with my recent characterization of Clinton’s fundraiser for Maloney, but I stand by my argument: While Clinton is in no way endorsing the congresswoman, this event is nonetheless newsworthy because it helps Maloney fight back against reports that she is isolated and that she is selfishly defying the explicit wishes of the Democratic establishment. And since I wrote that, Maloney ejoyed two new stories to the same effect.

First, Rep. Charlie Rangel reitereated his displeasure at the White House’s involvement in the race. “I don’t want to use the word wrong, but it doesn’t seem like the astute political thing to do,” he said. Second, The New York Times published a week-end editorial calling who urged Democrats to let Maloney run so the election can “offer choices.” Once again, let’s be clear: None of these things are endorsements of Maloney. Clinton, Rangel and The Times could all end up backing Gillibrand. But in the current context, all of these stories help relieve Maloney’s isolation and ease the pressure she is facing to give up her Senate plans.


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In new polls, GOP leads 3 out of 4 Northeastern races

In 2006 and 2008, the GOP was routed throughout the Northeast, losing numerous governorships and congressional seats. It remains to be seen whether Republicans can make up any ground at the federal level - Democrats are narrowly favored to pick-up a second Senate seat from New Hampshire - but they are well-positioned to capture some gubernatorial mansions.

Hodes has an edge in New Hampshire

John Sununu is expected to announce his 2010 plans shortly - perhaps in the coming days - but a new ARG poll confirms that he’ll be no savior for New Hampshire Republicans: 8 months after losing his re-election bid by 7%, he is trailing by almost as much in a new American Research Group poll. The survey finds probable Democratic nominee Paul Hodes ahead 40% to 34% - the same margin the pollster had found in March.

More interesting than the Democrat’s advantage is the fact that Sununu is stuck at 34% - a dismal showing for a man who was a U.S. Senator just 6 months ago. Combined with the fact that Sununu is better known than Hodes and that he was already stuck in the low 40s through the 50 polls released in the 2008 cycle, this sure raises questions about his electability: Is it conceivable that a majority of New Hampshire residents would suddenly decide to back a man they have knowingly shunned for years?

Sununu is one of the only options that New Hampshire Republicans have available. As such, it’s tough to say that it would be good news for the GOP if Sununu were to pass on the race. Yet, while Sununu would start at a higher level, he also looks to have a low ceiling and fielding him might condemn Republicans to relive 2008 rather than attempt to start anew.

Et tu, Massachusetts?

Over the past six months, two polls had found brutal numbers for Governor Deval Patrick. A March survey had him narrowly trailing the state Treasurer in a hypothetical Democratic primary, and an April survey found that Massachusetts voters were so dissatisfied with Patrick that they were nostalgic for the days of Mitt Romney. But neither poll tested any general election match-ups.

Well, Rasmussen just went there and found very worrisome numbers for Patrick’s re-election prospects. Not only is the incumbent stuck well below 50% against two businessman, but he is even narrowly trailing one of them. Christy Mihos, who garnered 7% as an independent candidate back in 2007, has a 41-40 edge; Charlie Baker trails 41% to 36%. Interestingly, both Republicans enjoy higher name recognition than you might suspect (especially Mihos, with just 18% who don’t have an opinion about him).

This race will largely be a referendum about Patrick and his leadership. Just as in New York and New Jersey, the Governor’s unpopularity will make it hard for Democrats to cast the spotlight on the opposition - and it’s not like Massachusetts has shied away from electing Republicans in the past. More than his state’s blue roots, Patrick’s saving grace was expected to be the weakness of the Republican bench but if even Mihos manages to start with a strong favorability rating and a 1% edge, this contest could certainly be tougher than expected for Democrats. Former Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey is also mentioned as a contender, and she could make an even stronger challenger.

Governor closes gap with Giuliani by 9%, still trails by 17%

David Paterson was hoping that his confrontational stance with New York’s state Senate would help his poll numbers and the latest Marist poll, just like the latest Quinnipiac poll, has found the slightest of bumps. While Paterson’s approval rating is stuck at a dismal 22% and his match-ups results remain pathetic, they are at least inching upwards: He is crushed 69% to 24% by Andrew Cuomo (70-21 in May), 54% to 37% by Rudy Giuliani (56% to 32% in May) and he actually has seized a 41% to 40% edge against Rick Lazio (he trailed by 3% in May). Cuomo leads both Republicans, 68-22 against Lazio and 51-33 against Giuliani.

It’s telling that Paterson can cut his deficit against Giuliani by 9% and still look to be in a huge hole - down 17% as an incumbent is a sure sign of defeat. On the other hand, hi general election results are back in the realm of what we election watchers can deal with rationally - and that’s saying a lot considering the depths of unpopularity Paterson hit in the spring. Dare we stay that Democrats would have a glimmer of hope even if they ended up with Paterson as their nominee?

Of course, for that to happen would require the Attorney General to surprise us and not jump in the Democratic primary, as Cuomo looks all but certain to defeat Paterson if he runs. As for Lazio, he should not be dismissed on the basis of these numbers. Yes, he is blown out of the water by Cuomo but that’s not a contest any Republican should have much hope of winning. Given that Lazio has been out of the public eye for nearly a decade, tying the incumbent Governor - and performing only 16% worse than the formidable Giuliani - isn’t that bad a sign.

Christie stays above 50%

The two most recent New Jersey polls confirm that the situation is critical for Governor Jon Corzine. The first is a Strategic Vision poll that shows Corzine posting a dismal 34% approval rating and trailing Chris Christie by a 51% to 39% margin. The second is a PPP survey that has Christie up 51% to 41%, including a brutal 60-26 lead among independents. These are the third and fourth consecutive poll that finds Christie at or above the 50% mark. What more needs to be said?

The situation gets worse for the Governor when you consider that Christie achieves majority support despite receiving only 16% support from Democrats so it’s not like Corzine is underperforming among his base. We shall now see whether coverage of Christie’s appearance in front of a House committee charged with investigating potential prosecutorial abuses will have any impact on the race.


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New York: Lazio “fully intends” to run, Q-pac finds competitive Senate primary

As utter chaos continues to rein in Albany - over the past two days, state Senators have defied David Paterson’s calling special sessions by gaveling in and gaveling out within 5 minutes - Republicans are trying to position themselves as reformers to take advantage of the situation.

In an op-ed published yesterday in The New York Times, Rudy Giuliani called for a constitutional convention to reform institutions. “I am hoping, in essence, that the trauma of what is being displayed now in Albany will lead to a populist base of support that will overcome the special interests,” he wrote. But Giuliani also did his best for his move not to be interpreted as a candidacy - a concern another Republican does not share.

Yesterday, former Rep. Rick Lazio voiced his own idea for reform by proposing that New York adopts a unicameral legislature. Today, he dispatched his political allies to tell the media that he is committed to running, as Newsday and The Associated Press are now reporting. “He fully intends to,” said Lazio’s spokesperson tonight.

And so Paterson has his first, albeit yet undeclared, challenger.

In normal circumstances, Lazio’s candidacy could be a tough sell. He has been out of politics ever since his decade-old 12% defeat in the hands of Hillary Clinton and his intervening career as a bank executive could become a handicap in the context of the financial crisis. Sure, he was a rising GOP star in the 1990s and his departure from Congress in 2000 this has allowed him to escape from the Bush years fully untarnished but New York has been so brutal for Republicans over the past decade it’d be tough to see him succeed in a comeback.

But these are not normal circumstances, and there is little need to discuss Lazio’s strengths and weaknesses: The election will to a great extent be decided by the identity of the Democratic nominee. If David Paterson makes it to the general election, Lazio would be the favorite (an early May poll found Lazio leading 40% to 37%, which is a solid result given how long it has been since he has been in the public eye); but if Democrats nominate Andrew Cuomo, any Republican would have trouble overcoming the state’s blue lean.

While it did not test Lazio’s candidacy, a Quinnipiac poll released yesterday found the usual dismal numbers for and the usual strong results for Cuomo. Yet, the Governor’s numbers experienced a small uptick: We’re only talking about a 28% approval rating and a 28% favorability rating, but those are improvements over his May numbers. He trails 57% to 30% against Cuomo (that’s better than the 45% deficit he faced in May) and 52% to 34% against Giuliani. Cuomo leads Giuliani 51% to 39%.

Quinnipiac tests Maloney for the first time, finds competitive primary

The more interesting half of that Quinnipiac survey concerns the Senate race: The poll shows Senator Kirsten Gillibrand narrowly trailing Carolyn Maloney in the Democratic primary, 27% to 23%. Jonathan Tasini receives 4%. Gillibrand and Maloney have approximately the same level of name recognition and comparable favorability ratings.

Gillibrand’s results are nothing to be ashamed of - her approval rating, for instance, stands at a solid 35% t0 10% - so her problem is not that she is unpopular but that she remains vastly unknown. That means that she has a lot of room to grow; it also means that Maloney cant try to define Gillibrand before the Senator has had a chance to make a lasting impression (depending on her resources and how much she amps the volume of her attacks).

In the general election, both Democrats crush potential Republican candidate Peter King by the same margin: 44% to 28% for Gillibrand, 42% to 24% for Maloney. Based on the general election results, The Albany Project attempts a bizarre spin. “While Maloney is strong in New York City and shaky elsewhere, Gillibrand is strong in most categories,” they write, scolding Maloney for only leading King by 2% in the suburbs while minimizing Gillibrand’s need “to improve in the suburbs.” This makes little sense, so let’s have a reality check.

The two candidates have approximately the same lead in New York City; since their statewide lead is identical, it is simply not possible for Gillibrand’s results to be meaningfully better in the rest of the state. And indeed: In the suburbs, Maloney is much stronger (she leads by 2% while Gillibrand trails by 17%); upstate, Gillibrand performs much better (+22% compared to +7% for Maloney). In short: Both candidates perform relatively well in one non-city section and relatively poorly in another.

I am harping on this because New York’s geographical split is sure to be an argument we will hear a lot over the next year. Yes, someone like Gillibrand might not have awoken as much hostility had she been from the city; yes, NYC could be overrepresented if Maloney wins. But let’s not misread poll numbers to make up a case that Maloney is a geographically divisive candidate. When you take into account the fact that the suburbs in which Maloney leads are traditionally Republican (Giuliani leads Cuomo by 5% in the gubernatorial section), this poll simply does not suggest that Maloney’s geographical reach is weaker than Gillibrand’s.

Right now, the bottom line is that few voters seem to have any idea who they are dealing with and both Democrats will have ample time to introduce themselves to voters. As the incumbent - not to mention a strong fundraiser - Gillibrand should be in a stronger position to control her image but Maloney will improve her own name recognition in parallel. Whether she can keep up with the Senator will have to be seen.


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Poll watch, incumbents in trouble edition

Ohio: Strickland’s troubles do not extent to his party’s Senate candidates

Different pollsters are now on the record finding widely contrasting results in Ohio’s gubernatorial race. A few weeks after Quinnipiac showed Governor Ted Strickland crushing his Republican opponent, a new PPP survey has just found the incumbent in as vulnerable a position as can be. However, PPP agrees with Quinnipiac when it comes to the Senate race, giving the Democratic candidates a clear edge.

Let’s start with the Governor’s contest:

  • PPP finds Strickland’s approval rating at a problematic 43%, with 42% disapproving. In January, PPP pegged it at 48-35.
  • In a match-up with probable Republican nominee John Kasich, Strickland is only ahead within the margin of error, 44% to 42%. Interestingly, Kasich himself is not popular, with his favorability rating sitting at an ugly 31-30.

The race is currently rated ‘lean retention’ in my gubernatorial rankings, so it is certainly not unexpected to see this race competitive. If anything, I would be far more surprised if Strickland manages to coast to re-election as Quinnipiac suggested he might: Governors all over the country are seeing their popularity collapse as the crisis unfolds and their leadership on economic matters is contested. Ohio’s situation is certainly not rosy, and Strickland’s approval rating could still get worse.

One problem for Republicans is that Kasich does not look popular enough to win if the race is anything but a referendum on Strickland’s leadership. And yet, PPP’s results for the open Senate race suggest that Ohio voters seem to dislike all of their politicians at this point:

  • Lieutenant Governor Lee Fisher and Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, both Democrats, have practically the same favorability rating as Kasich (32-31 and 32-32, respectively). Probable Republican nominee Rob Portman fares even worse, 22% to 34% - a shockingly dismal number for someone who is not particularly well known.
  • In general election match-ups, Fisher leads Portman 41% to 32% and Brunner leads 40% to 32%.

Strickland might have lost ground since January, but his fellow Democrats have improved their position.
Perhaps that indicates that Ohio remains a left-leaning state - the weight of incumbency notwithstanding; perhaps it is a reflection of Rob Portman’s dismal favorability numbers. All we can say is that PPP’s numbers are very similar to most other surveys we have seen of this race. (Quinnipiac’s May results were almost exactly identical.) In short: Both Brunner and Fisher look to be in a strong position, and it does not look (for now) that the DSCC has to worry about one candidate being less electable than the other.

Nevada: Ensign’s popularity collapses, but still remains above Reid

In mid-May, Mason Dixon released a poll finding Harry Reid posting dismal numbers. His favorability rating (38-50) was pathetic compared to fellow Nevada Senator John Ensign’s strong results (53-18). A month has passed, and with have come revelations of Ensign’s sex scandal. Mason Dixon thus revisited the state to see what had change - and the results are bad for both Senators.

On the one hand, John Ensign’s favorability rating now stands at 39-37. That might not look bad given the type of press he has gotten lately, but that’s quite a huge drop from his May numbers. Thankfully for Ensign, he does not have to face voters for another 3 years, which should give him plenty of time to improve his image. Furthermore, 62% of respondents say Ensign should not resign.

As such, the poll is far worse for Reid, who has to face voters in just a few months and posts lower numbers than Ensign: His favorability rating has also dropped (34-46). Interestingly, his approval rating stands at a more respectable 43% (against 55%), suggesting that voters have a better view of Reid’s political action than they like him as a person. And of course, the best news for Reid is that he still has no challenger, and it is looking increasingly possible that he will not face serious opposition.

No miracle for Governor David Paterson

In the latest Siena survey, Paterson’s favorability rating stands at 31% and his approval rating at 20% - the first time since February these measures have stood above 30% and 20%, respectively. I have spent enough time describing to Paterson’s collapse that it seems appropriate to point to a small sign of uptick. But the mere fact that such results could be considered good news tells you all you need to know about Paterson’s vulnerabilities.

The electoral match-ups still show no hope for recovery for the Governor, as the time at which he’ll have to decide whether he’s seeking re-election is approaching. Against Attorney General Andrew Cuomo (whose favorability rating stands at 71%), Paterson is crushed 69% to 16% - a larger margin than in May. Against the also popular Rudy Giuliani, Paterson loses 57% to 27%. As for a Cuomo-Giuliani match-up, the Attorney General keeps a solid lead - but he has dipped below 50%: 49% to 40%.

All of these results are just what we have come to expect, so there is no need to delve on them any longer. As I have said already, I wish a polling instute tested Paterson and Giuliani against another Democrat than Cuomo to bring something new to the discussion. This Siena poll’s most interesting findings concern state politics, as the survey finds that all the protagonists in the Senate coup are understandably unpopular, starting with Pedro Espada (12-33), Malcolm Smith (12-32) and Hiram Monserrate (7-36).


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Monitoring House members looking for a promotion

Corrine Brown forms exploratory committee

To many people’s surprise, Rep. Corrine Brown hinted last week that she might run in Florida’s Senate race and used the opportunity to offer a harsh indictement of declared candidate Kendrick Meek’s seriousness. (“I just think the state needs more than someone who’s there to talk a great game, smile and take pictures,” she said.) Now, Brown has announced the formation of an exploratory committee. This will allow her to raise money for the statewide race and start thinking about the bid without determining herself.

And yet, she set quite a long timetable as to when she will make up her mind, saying (via Senate Guru) that she will decide within the next six months. Whatever you might think about the prospects of a Brown candidacy if she were to jump in now, it is difficult to see how she would mount a strong campaign if she were to only start her campaign in December. Since the start of the year, Meek has maneuvered unexpectedly well to position himself as the dominant front-runner for the Democratic nomination. By the end of the year, Meek is likely to have mounted too strong a campaign operation to be that vulnerable.

Start to raise money would be a way for Brown address that, but it would not help her stop the unexpectedly quick flow of establishment support that has poured on Meek (starting with Bill Clinton’s rare support and the SEIU’s endorsement). Over the next few months, all those who are looking to halt the ambitious Governor will turn towards Meek - the only declared candidate. Meek has proved too serious a candidate for Brown to delay an official announcement if she is serious about the race.

Carolyn Maloney stepping up preparations

The next few weeks are crucial in New York Senate’s race: There is little doubt that Rep. Carlyn Maloney wants to run, but will she keep up her resolve once she receives calls from Rahm Emanuel and even Barack Obama? City Hall is now reporting that Maloney’s camp looks undaunted by the pressure and that it has hired 2 top-notch political staffers - a sign that she has her sights on a statewide race since she is as safe in the House as can be. (A similar clue was dropped in April, when Maloney hired a statewide finance director.) Sources within Maloney’s camp say that she is looking looking to make an “indication of her candidacy” by the end of the month, at which time she could launch a major fundraising push.

At the same time, the same sources caution that “she has made no definitive decision.” This somewhat contrasts with the fact that they say she is aware that she has to move quickly to avoid being subjected to too much pressure. If that was so, why would her camp signal that she is still open to changing her mind - a statement that is just inviting the party’s heavy-hitters not to release the pressure since they know it might still be successful. Might this be a way for Maloney to telegraph that she would be willing to abandon the race in exchange for more political influence?

In the article, the congresswoman’s entourage claims that internal polls have been taken that show Maloney leading Gillibrand by 20%. The same was said about Steve Israel, though it is certainly noteworthy that neither he nor Maloney chose to leak these surveys - nor have public polls found similar results. I do not doubt that Maloney would be a tough opponent for Gillibrand to beat, but I am skeptical that her name recognition is high enough for polls to find such a large deficit so early.

Not much action among Minnesota’s delegation

While an impressively large number of state lawmakers think they have what it takes to make it to the Governor’s Mansion - I’ve counted a total of nine from both parties -  almost none of the current members of Congress look interested. This is not that surprising: Unlike what happens in smaller states, these representatives represent too small a portion of Minnesota to make naturally formidable statewide candidates and to hope they might clear the primary field.

Let’s first review the Democratic representatives. Tim Walz (1st district) had said earlier this year that he would not run for Governor. There were questions as to whether Pawlenty’s retirement might lead him to reassess, but he reiterated that he will not be jumping in. Keith Ellison (5th district) has already endorsed Matt Entenza’s bid. Collin Peterson (7th district) and James Oberstar (8th district) occupy senior positions in the House - Chairman of the Agriculture Committee and of the Transportation Committee, respectively - and it is unthinkable to imagine them jeopardize that.

On the Republican side, Erik Paulsen (3rd district) was just elected to the House a few months ago, so an attempt to get a promotion would not be viewed as credible. Michelle Bachmann (6th district) has been mentioned as a potential contender, but she is too ambitious to risk the national platform her House seat gives her - especially since she certainly would not be guaranteed the GOP nomination; her office has sought to squash speculation, though saying “I don’t think so” is not exactly the strongest of denials.

Remains Betty McCollum (4th district), a Democrat who has served in the House since 2000, and John Kline (2nd district), a Republican who has been in office since 2002. Both have held office for long enough that they would make credible candidates but they have not had the time to attract enough seniority to necessarily want to stick around the House. While an open seat in MN-04 would not be competitive (Obama received 64%), Democrats could have a shot at picking up MN-02 if Kline retires: John McCain received 50% of the vote last fall.


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Why Andrew Cuomo’s evasive denials should not be taken too seriously

It sure looks like New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo wants to avoid making any definite statement about a possible gubernatorial run and he is sure dropping enough hints that his denials about the gubernatorial race should not be taken too seriously. Today, Politicker reported Cuomo’s insistence that “my plan is to run for re-election as attorney general” - with the New York Daily News hearing something similar out of a state party meeting held over the week-end.

Contrary to some reports, this statement does not rule out a run. Talking about “plans” is a classical way to delay a response because it is a turn of phrase that is focused on one’s present disposition:  “I have no plan to run” is not the same thing as “I will not run” and it is clearly meaningful that Cuomo is making sure to preface his comments with “my plan is…” In that same Politicker interview, Cuomo made sure to emphasize the unpredictability of future events. “Oh, who knows what’s going to happen next year,” he said. “Next year is a long way away.”

All of this contradicts Rep. Charlie Rangel, who said today that Cuomo had called him to assure him that he would not challenge Paterson. But Cuomo’s office quickly responded with a statement that made it clear that his talk of “plans” is a platitude meant to dodge the question:

The Attorney General’s discussion with Congressman Rangel was private but was consistent with what he has repeatedly said over the last six months, which is that his current plan is to run for re-election as Attorney General, and that next year is a political lifetime away.

A politician who wants to squash speculation can easily find an emphatic way to assert that (offer flowery praise for the opponent, make an over-the-top statement). Not only is Cuomo not offering such Shermanesque denials, but he also spent an incomprehensibly long time praising the notion of a primary:

The Democratic Party is essentially a party of primaries. I mean, there’s always the discussion ‘maybe it would be good if there were no primaries, and everyone just gets behind and picks a candidate.’ For many years the Democrats said that’s what the Republicans do. They just squelch intra-party discussion. The—we often have primaries. President Obama is the product of primaries. In the presidential, the senate race, I even think he ran against Bobby Rush for Congress, early on. That must have been a primary, right? So we’re a party of primaries, which I think winds up being good for us, because I think the conversation and the discussion within the party can be very productive. Because we have a broad party, a lot of diverse interests, and those interests need to be discussed and need to be aired. So I think it can be good, as long as the primaries remain constructive, and not destructive.

I’m glad Cuomo likes primaries, but is that a reason to offer such a long answer, especially in his circumstances? And while he was answering distinct questions within the same interview, he must have been aware of how his combined responses would sound: “I don’t plan to run but let me go out of my way to offer you a very long response on why it’s great for a party to have primaries - even when we’re talking about a challenge to an incumbent.”

In short: Cuomo sees no benefit in showing his card too early. Paterson is so stunningly unpopular that the Democratic nomination seems to be Cuomo’s for the taking, so why would he open himself up to attacks so early when he can wait until the fall before making his intentions clear? (Also, keep in mind that many Democrats are likely to pressure Cuomo into running if Paterson does not retire as the incumbent looks to be heading towards a certain general election defeat.)

Over in the Senate race, Kirsten Gillibrand is not guaranteed a clean run to the nomination either as Obama’s intervention has not succeeded in scaring all of her critics away from the primary. Jose Serrano, who I earlier wrote was considering a challenge to the Senator, recently had some of the harshest yet uttered by an elected official:

If the president, with his background and who he is tells me I have his commitment that she will now at least treat immigrants as human beings, then that’s OK, right? It might be OK.

If anything, the Senator’s move to the left has been so abrupt that
it should make liberals even more determined to oppose her: If she was
willing to shift that quickly on high-profile issues, who knows where she will end up if she survives next year’s primary? Those comments by Serrano are further proof that many prominent Democrats outright distrust Gillibrand, making it difficult to envision that she could escape a credible challenge. The New York Daily News reports that Rep. Carolyn Maloney remains the most probable Democratic candidate - noting that Upper East Side Democratic committeewoman Trudy Mason has been telling state Democrats that Maloney will have an announcement to make within 2 weeks.


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Poll watch: Oklahoma remains a red state, Reid’s weak numbers look great compared to Paterson’s

Oklahoma: Tom Coburn is popular and Brad Henry is no miracle worker

While Oklahoma Governor Brad Henry has been insisting that he is not interested in serving in Congress, the DSCC is still trying to recruit him and Democrats believe that his entry would make the state’s Senate seat one of the Democrats’ top takeover opportunities - especially if Senator Tom Coburn retires, as he has said he might.

But a new PPP poll of this race suggests that, while Henry would be far stronger than Democrats typically are in Oklahoma, his popularity is simply not enough to overcome the depth of the state’s conservatism. The poll’s other finding is that Senator Tom Coburn, one of the Senate’s most conservative members, looks invulnerable and the race should not be contested as long as he runs for re-election:

  • Coburn’s approval rating is a very solid 59%. He is more appreciated than Henry, who is popular but not overwhelmingly so: 52% approve of his action, 36% disapprove.
  • If Coburn were to run for re-election, he would beat Henry 52% to 40%. Against Rep. Dan Boren, Coburn leads 53% to 36%.
  • If the race was open, Rep. Tom Cole and former Rep. J.C. Watts would have a slight advantage. Cole is ahead of Henry 44% to 43% and Boren 42% to 40%; Watts leads Henry 45% to 44% and Boren 46% to 41%.

Somewhat surprisingly, Henry does not look to be that much stronger than Boren. Sure, he is within the margin of error against Cole and against Watts, but the fact that this popular Governor is unable to muster any sort of lead before the NRSC even starts to attack him as too liberal for the state is just a testament to Oklahoma’s conservatism. (In what other state would someone like Coburn be so popular?)

In short, Henry is no miracle worker - and he is no Kathleen Sebelius, who led the GOP’s candidates by double-digit in a hypothetical poll of the Kansas Senate race conducted earlier this year.

What is most important about this poll is that it will be virtually impossible for the DSCC to recruit Henry if they cannot point to polls that show that he would be favored to win an open seat. Since the man already does not particularly want to serve in the Senate, why would he jump in the race if it looks like he will have to fight a tough and uphill battle?

Nevada: Where’s the challenger?

Mason Dixon’s poll of Nevada confirms what we have known for months: Harry Reid is very unpopular in his home state. But low approval ratings are not enough to defeat an incumbent - some sort of challenger needs to emerge. Let’s get to the numbers:

  • Only 35% of Nevadans say they will vote to re-elect Reid; 45% say they want to replace him. 17% say they will consider an alternative. Needless to say, 35% is a miserable re-elect number for an incumbent who is as famous as Reid.
  • 50% of respondents have an unfavorable view of Reid, compared to 38% who have a favorable view. These numbers look all the more pathetic when compared to those of the state’s junior Senator, John Ensign: 53% have a favorable impression of him, while only 18% have an unfavorable impression. (Obama’s numbers: 55-30).

This poll paints a pretty bleak landscape for Reid, and there is no question that the Senate Majority Leader would be one of the most vulnerable incumbents of the cycle if a credible challenger emerged. But there is still no evidence that the GOP will be able to recruit such a candidate: Joe Heck is running for Governor, Brian Krolicki is indicted, Dean Heller is believed to be eying the Governor’s race and Jon Porter recently took a job in a lobbying firm in DC. Republicans have been left touting John Chachas, a banker who is based in New York.

New York: No improvement in Paterson’s numbers

Rasmussen’s New York survey contains one piece of good news for David Paterson: The pollster did not test the Democratic primary, so there is no new set of results showing the Governor crushed by Andrew Cuomo. But he is soundly defeated by two Republicans in the general election:

  • Against Rudy Giuliani, Paterson trails by a staggering 58% to 30%! Against George Pataki, the margin is smaller but still decisive: 47% to 33%.
  • Andrew Cuomo is in the driver’s seat, however: He leads Giuliani 55% to 37% and crushes Pataki 57% to 29%.

Rarely have we seen such huge disparities between the general election performances of two members of the same party - especially when there is no name recognition differential. Against Giuliani, Cuomo performs 56% better than Paterson does! It would be interesting to see how Giuliani fares against other Democrats like Tom Suozzi so we can see how competitive Giuliani would be if he faces a Democrat who is electable (unlike Paterson) but also vulnerable (unlike Cuomo).


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Poll watch: Carnahan and Bloomberg lead, Paterson still inches downward

Carnahan leads in Missouri

Charlie Crist might have thrown the NRSC a lifeline in Florida, but the GOP still has to defend tough open seats elsewhere in the country - starting with Missouri. A new poll released by Democratic but reliable outlet Democracy Corps finds Republicans in a difficult position:

  • Democratic Secretary of State Robin Carnahan leads GOP Rep. Roy Blunt 53% to 44%. Against former state Treasurer Sarah Steelman, Carnahan is ahead 54% to 42%.
  • Interestingly, 49% of respondents said they would rather elect a Senator who would “mostly support” Obama’s agenda while 40% said they would rather elect a Senator who would “mostly oppose” Obama’s agenda. (The same respondents say they voted for McCain 47% to 43%).

There is no question that Carnahan is a strong Democratic candidate whose candidacy makes the Missouri Senate race one of the party’s top takeover opportunities of the cycle. The fact that she holds comfortable leads against two credible Republicans only confirms that the NRSC has a lot to worry about. On the other hand, the survey suggests that some of Carnahan’s advantage is derived from the Democrats’ edge in the current environment.

Respondents now claim that they would prefer to elect a Senator who supports Obama’s agenda - and they say so by the same margin by which Carnahan leads Blunt. Yet, we are talking about a midterm election with a Democrat in the White House and we are talking about a red-leaning state that voted for McCain when all other swing states went for Obama. If the political environment becomes more favorable to the GOP and if Obama’s approval rating goes down (as is likely), Carnahan will automatically face more complicated a race, whatever her personal appeal.

No improvement for Paterson

David Paterson’s horrific poll numbers have become quite routine, but they are still entertaining. While Paterson has already fallen too low for new surveys to continue as dramatic a collapse, Quinnipiac’s monthly release finds that his numbers are still inching downward:

  • In a primary match-up with Andrew Cuomo, Paterson trails 62% to 17%; among African-American, he is behind by 22%. In April, Paterson trailed 61% to 18%.
  • In general election match-ups, Rudy Giuliani crushes Paterson 54% to 32% (53% to 32% in April) and he even manages to edge out the Governor in New York City; Giuliani even looks competitive against Cuomo, whom he only trails 47% to 41% (Cuomo was ahead by 17% in April).
  • Another has another number to worry about in the poll: His favorability rating falls from 63% to 51%, though only only 13% of respondents have an unfavorable impression of him. Paterson’s numbers continue to inch downward (Only 24% have a favorable view of him) and Giuliani posts surprisingly strong ratings (56% 5o 32%).

With no sign whatsoever of a recovery, it looks increasingly certain that Paterson will not be the Governor of New York come January 2011. The first question then becomes whether he will retire, lose in the Democratic primary or in the general election? At this point, it would be more interesting for polling outlets to test him against Democrats other than Cuomo: How big a lead would a lower profile politician like Tom Suozzi start with? The second interesting question is whether his unpopularity will drive down Kirsten Gillibrand’s numbers; Quinnipiac is expected to release Senate numbers tomorrow.

Bloomberg coasting to re-election

Michael Bloomberg’s opponents have a few more months to convince New Yorkers that their Mayor does not deserve a third term, and they have had no success so far. In fact, a new Marist survey finds that Bloomberg’s first wave of ads might be having an effect:

  • Bloomberg’s approval rating shot up 7% since February, with 59% approving of his performance and 32% disapproving. Quite fascinatingly, Democratic and Republican respondents give Bloomberg similar marks.
  • In general election match-ups, Bloomberg leads Anthony Weiner 50% to 36%. He is ahead among Democratic voters - a sign of just how much things have to change for Democrats to have a shot. Weiner barely musters a 12% lead among African-Americans. Against City Comptroller Bill Thompson, Bloomberg is ahead 51% to 33%. And the Mayor crushes City Council Member Tony Avella 52% to 27% (he leads among Democrats by 20%).
  • No movement in the Democratic primary, with 34% going to Weiner, 29% to Thompson and 8% to Avella.

With only four months to go until the Democratic primary, we still do not know what the field will look like and Weiner is no longer committed to challenging the Mayor. Combined with Bloomberg’s popularity among Democratic voters, the millions he can use on his campaign and the fact that a number of the state’s Democratic leaders are expected to back the Mayor or at least stay on the sideline, it’s hard to see how Bloomberg’s opponents could build any momentum.

And a few more

In other polling news, The Chicago Sun Times’s Lynn Swett was leaked a Republican-sponsored Senate poll showing Rep. Jan Schakowsky leading a Democratic primary and GOP Rep. Mark Kirk tying Alexi Giannoulias and Chris Kennedy in general election match-ups. It is not worth taking more about this poll, as its sponsors have quite transparently chosen to leak parts of the poll: What about Lisa Madigan and Schakowsky’s general election numbers?

I am also skeptical of a New Hampshire survey released by Dartmouth University; the poll, which finds competitive general election match-ups between Paul Hodes, John Sununu and Charlie Bass, was conducted by students and the polling outlet has almost no track record.


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Polls pouring in: Gillibrand trailing, Isakson vulnerable and Paterson at rock bottom

It’s become routine for New York polls to find catastrophic numbers for David Paterson, but the magnitude of his collapse never ceases to amazes. The latest pollster to find dismal news for the Governor is Marist, which had not polled the state in two months:

  • Paterson’s approval rating has fallen to 19%, a drop of 7% since March. If it’s any consolation to the Governor, other polls have found him with lower ratings… like 17%.
  • The Democratic primary numbers are truly extraordinary: Andrew Cuomo reaches a staggering 70% compared to 21% for Paterson! While I believe Cuomo’s 70% is the highest he has ever received in a poll, Paterson fell as low as 11% in Siena’s April survey.
  • In the general election, Paterson is crushed by Rudy Giuliani 56% to 32% (he barely wins the Democratic vote); he even trails Rick Lazio, 40% to 37%. In March, Giuliani led by 15% and Lazio trailed by 12%.
  • Adding insult to injury for Paterson, a general election involving Cuomo would barely be competitive: Against Lazio, Cuomo leads 67% to 22% (that’s right, 48% better than Paterson); against Giuliani, he leads 55% to 38%.

It is difficult to find anything new to say about Paterson’s plight. Every week that passes only worsens the situation for the Governor: The media continues to hit on the state’s budget deal, Paterson’s secret MTA rescue plan has become a source of derision, and it is becoming difficult to even conceive of the Governor running for re-election. In fact, it looks like Paterson is starting to drag Kirsten Gillibrand down with him. The Marist poll finds that the recently appointed Senator’s numbers have worsened since March:

  • Gillibrand trails former Governor George Pataki outside of the margin of error, 46% to 38%. (In March, she was ahead 45% to 41%.) Pataki receives nearly a third of the Democratic vote and he leads among independents by 12%. Gillibrand’s numbers are particularly underwhelming in New York City.
  • Against another Republican, Rep. Peter King, Gillibrand does leads 42% to 31%; but that is a far smaller margin than the 21% lead she enjoyed in March.
  • Gillibrand manages a narrow lead against Rep. Carolyn Maloney, 36% to 31%; many are undecided.
  • For the first time in a Marist poll, the share of voters who say they do not know enough about Gillibrand to form an opinion is under 50%- but only 19% say that Gillibrand is doing a good or excellent job (18% in March) while 10% say she is doing a poor job (versus 5%); the rest give her average marks.

New York polls typically only tested Gillibrand against fellow Democrat Carolyn McCarthy, and I believe this is the first time she is matched with Rep. Maloney. The conventional wisdom is that Maloney is better positioned to take on Gillibrand because she has a far larger war chest. That her result is similar to that of McCarthy in other polls does not contradict that: Maloney and McCarthy are largely unknown to voters outside of their congressional district, and their lack of name recognition prevents one of them from posting stronger numbers than the other this early in the cycle.

Update: SUSA just released a New York poll testing the incumbents’ approval ratings - and the result is negative for the Senator: 36% approve of her performance, versus 39%.

Yet more polls: On Friday, Research 2000 released a poll from Georgia. While freshman Senator Johnny Isakson isn’t considered particularly vulnerable, this survey suggests he could be in for a competitive race.

His favorability rating is at a mediocre 47/41 and he remains under the 50% threshold against two potential  Democratic candidates: He leads former Governor Roy Barnes 47% to 43% and he is ahead of Rep. Jim Marshall 48% to 40%. Those are encouraging numbers for Democrats, but there is one key problem: Neither Barnes nor Marshall are expected to jump in the Senate race. Will the DSCC manage to recruit a low-profile candidate and get him noticed, as they did in 2008?

At least, it looks like the party will be able to put the open gubernatorial race in play and thus not waste the potential for a Democratic revival that the 2008 results revealed. Research 2000 tested six general election match-ups involving 3 Democrats and 2 Republicans. All margins are between 2% and 6%, with no candidate breaking ahead:

  • Republican Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine leads Barnes 46% to 44%, Attorney General Thurbert Baker 47% to 42% and former Secretary of State David Poythress 47% to 43%.
  • Republican Secretary of State trails Barnes 45% to 39%, Baker 42% to 40% and Poythress 43% to 39%.

As we have discussed repeatedly in recent weeks, Georgia’s gubernatorial race is one of the most open in the country and this poll confirms that there is no front-runner. Might the crowded nature of the field be reason enough for one of the many Democratic contenders (Barnes is mulling a run, Baker, Poythress and House Minority Leader Porter are already running) to jump over in the Senate race instead?

Last, and probably least, is a Louisiana survey released by Southern Media & Open Research. The poll finds Senator David Vitter enjoying a solid approval rating (58%). While there are some signs of trouble lurking among white voters (only 35% of which say they will definitely vote for the Senator and 39% say they will consider someone else), the fact of the matter is that only 22% of white voters say they will definitely vote for someone else.

That’s hardly a sign that conservative-leaning voters are so incensed by Vitter’s prostitution scandal that they are looking to replace him in 2010. And even if they did, a challenger has yet to emerge against the Senator. In short: Vitter is definitely looking less vulnerable than he did six months ago.


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Primary threats: Maloney laying groundwork to challenge Gillibrand, Cohen draws top challenger

In New York, Maloney and Cuomo drop hints

In March, I talked about Andrew Cuomo’s decision to hire one of Eliot Spitzer’s top fundraiser as a sign that he is preparing for bigger things than a re-election campaign. Now, PolitickerNY is reporting two similar hiring moves in the Empire State (PolitickerNY is doing a great job at reading the tea leaves of New York Democrats and monitoring their moves):

  • Rep. Carolyn Maloney has hired a statewide finance director. This is the first time that the longtime representative has hired someone with a “statewide” title, which obviously suggests that she is looking at a Senate run in 2010.
  • Cuomo has secured the help of one Jennifer Bayer Michaels, Chuck Schumer’s former chief fundraisers and a senior fundraiser for the DSCC.

Maloney, first: Why would she drop such a hint if she is not willing to declare a candidacy? It helps Maloney label herself as a serious Senate contender and get in contact with prospective donors. And her new statewide director is doing nothing to silence speculation. “Anything that might happen is only in the talking and planning stages,” he said. Rep. McCarthy might have been the first representative to criticize Gillibrand, but Maloney is doing the most to suggest she is serious about a run.

As for Cuomo, he might be insisting that he has no plans to run for Governor - but his actions suggest otherwise. The Attorney General is in no danger of losing re-election in 2010, so it would make little sense for him to hire/recruit high-profile, well-connected consultants and fundraisers on top of his already pre-existing (and already top-notch) team if he had no intention to seek a promotion next year.

The Memphis Mayor looks to jump in TN-09

Elected in Harold Ford Jr.’s former seat, Steve Cohen is currently the only white congressman to represent a black-majority district. After winning a crowded primary in 2006, Cohen last year faced a primary challenge from Nikki Tinker, a political novice. The contest grabbed national headlines for Tinker’s racially charged campaigning; her last-minute ads accusing Cohen of “praying in our churches” were denounced by Barack Obama and Ford Jr. On Election Day, Cohen won an unexpectedly decisive victory and received 79% of the vote.

He must have thought that would allow him a few years of political rest, but a top-tier challenger has unexpectedly emerged that could make Cohen’s past two campaigns look like cakewalks: Willie Herenton, who is currently serving his fifth term as the Mayor of Memphis, has formed an exploratory committee to run for Cohen’s House seat.

Mayors tend to have a well-oiled machine and are well-known by their constituents; Herenton’s long tenure makes it that much more of a formidable congressional candidate. That does mean he is unbeatable, however: He won his fifth term with only 42% of the vote - his lowest level of support - and his tenure has been rocky at times. But combined with the district’s racial make-up, Herenton’s credentials are enough to make Cohen one of the most endangered incumbents of the cycle.

Thankfully, we should not expect a Herenton-Cohen match-up to degenerate into the same nastiness as last year’s primary. Tinker had little political experience to run on; her primary hope was the district’s majority-black status, so it is thus not surprising that she resorted to running a racially divisive campaign. Herenton, on the other hand, is well-known figure to Memphis voters. We can debate whether he would have felt confident enough in his chances to challenge an African-American challenger, but race is certainly not the primary rationale of his candidacy. He can run on his accomplishments, his record, his familiarity with Memphis’s problems, his relationship with his constituents. The election will be as much a referendum on him as on Cohen.

Interviewed by the Memphis Commercial Appeal, Cohen sounded taken aback by Herenton’s move. “Mayor Herenton has always been very friendly toward me,” he said. And he immediately pointed out that he doubted Herenton would enjoy legislative life. “Being one of 435 is not like being No. 1,” he explained. “To be honest, I don’t think Mayor Herenton would like being a congressmen. It’s a lot of work and it’s not a lot of power.” Cohen’s comments were not just intended as friendly advice; he made it clear that they would be his basic argument during a campaign against Herenton. “The best qualifications to be a congressman is legislative experience,” he noted.

While I am skeptical that such an argument would resonate much with voters, it is certainly an interesting point. North Carolina’s former Governor Mike Easley declined running for Senate in 2008 after explicitly stating that he did not think legislative life was cut for him; Oklahoma Governor Brad Henry has said just as much this year. And many question how well a politician like Charlie Crist would take to the Senate’s slow pace and deliberative procedures.


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Paterson banks on gay marriage to rebound from new polling depths

Since Bill Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act and since George W. Bush championed the Federal Marriage Amendment during his re-election campaign, we have gotten used to politicians drumming up their opposition to gay marriage for nakedly opportunistic purposes.

Who could have thought that public opinion would change so quickly that, in 2009, a Governor would showcase his support for gay marriage - and hope that his numbers shoot up? This is exactly what is happening in New York, where David Paterson announced last week that he will lobby the state legislature to pass a bill legalizing gay marriage. He thus becomes the first Governor to actively push for the legalization of gay-marriage.

This development is somewhat of a surprise: Even though state Democrats promised to take up the measure during the 2008 campaign, party leaders had since sent signs that they would delay considering such legislation for at least two years.

Last fall, 3 Democratic state Senators threatened to leave the caucus and allow the GOP to keep control of the chamber; this created a chaotic situation in which Democratic leaders offered them a stunning amount of concessions before retreating. Same-sex marriage was an important issue during these negotiations: state Sen. Ruben Diaz, a hardcore homophobe, was threatening to back Republicans based on gay rights.

Democratic leaders reportedly promised Diaz that they would not introduce a gay marriage bill in this session in exchange for his support, and Diaz did say that he had been reassured enough to be comfortable staying in the caucus. And for many months, it indeed looked like gay marriage had disappeared from Albany’s political debate. (To be fair, New York had so many budgetary problems that state politicians had no time to deal with anything else.) Yet, Paterson suddenly seized the issue - and he is now showing no sign of backing down.

Yet, Paterson is now being criticized by those who say that the Governor knows full-well that Democrats do not have the votes to pass such legislation in the state Senate - and that he is endangering the gay-rights momentum for electoral gain.

Indeed, Democrats only control a narrow majority of the state Senate (32-30) and a number of socially conservative Democrats, among which there is Diaz, are sure to vote against the legislation. This does not mean that the state Senate is sure to defeat the measure: Republican lawmakers like state Sen. Thomas Morahan and state Sen. Kemp Hannon have not ruled out supporting gay-marriage - though they have indicated that they lean against it.

(The situation is similar to that in the Vermont House: As 7 Democrats voted to uphold Governor Douglas’s veto, gay-marriage proponents would not have succeeded in legalizing same-sex marriage without the support of Republican lawmakers.)

Paterson and Smith are now said to be in disagreement over whether the bill should be brought to the floor for a vote if it looks like the legislation would fail, with the Governor arguing for the affirmative and the Majority Leader responding that he will not schedule a vote until he is sure he has “32 - if not 34″ votes. Let me add that I am not convinced by the argument that a defeat in the state Senate would be a significant setback for gay-right advocates: It’s not like the issue of gay marriage is going away and that its proponents only have one shot at passing it - so a failed legislation could always be reintroduced in two years.

It is probable that Smith wants to avoid forcing reluctant Democrats to support a bill they fear will cause them trouble unless he is sure that it is worth the trouble. But such political fear does not seem to be justified: A new Siena poll shows that 53% of New Yorkers want the state Senate to pass legalize gay marriage, with only 39% oppose the move! Some details:

  • Interestingly, the support is not just confined to New York City: A majority of respondents back same-sex marriage in every region of the state! 50% to 40% in upstate, 58% to 36% in NYC and 51% to 42% in the suburbs.
  • Nearly a third of Republicans favor same-sex marriage - while a third of Democrats oppose it. But most interesting is the support among third-party or independent voters: 67% support gay marriage versus 24%.
  • Latinos are also strongly in favor, 57% to 31% - though African-Americans oppose same-sex marriage 44% to 49%.

Public opinion has shifted decisively in favor of gay rights. Could that be enough to pressure Republican lawmakers from socially liberal districts to back the legislation?

In any case, there seems to be little basis for a backlash against politicians who supported gay marriage - unlike what Rudy Giuliani predicted over the week-end. “This will create a grass-roots movement. This is the kind of issue that, in many ways, is somewhat beyond politics,” said the former New York Mayor who is now said to be mulling a statewide run in 2010.

Unfortunately for Paterson, his decision to put himself on the front lines of the issue has done him no good so far. In fact, his numbers in that same Siena poll are lower than they were a month ago- however hard that must have been to pull off given that his approval rating had fallen to 19% in March:

  • Now, only 18% say that Paterson is doing an excellent or a good job. A record 40% assess his performance as poor - up from 32% in March.
  • The primary numbers are extraordinary: Paterson receives only 11% of the vote, with Andrew Cuomo at 64% and Tom Suozzi at 8%. This is the first time Siena includes Suozzi in the survey, and that’s right: Suozzi and Paterson are within the margin of error! Since November, Paterson’s result in a primary match-up has fallen month-to-month: 53% to 49% to 35% to 27% to 17% to 11%.
  • The situation is just as bad for the Governor in a general election: 56% would vote for Rudy Giuliani and 29% for Paterson. And get this: Among Democrats, Paterson gets 41% and Giuliani gets 40%!
  • On the other hand, Cuomo improves his lead against the Republican, leading 53% to 39%. On the other hand, Giuliani leads 50% to 31%.
  • There really is no mystery as to why Paterson’s numbers are so low: 0% of respondents say that New York’s fiscal condition is excellent, and 4% say it is good. A massive 66% say it is “poor.” 63% of respondents say that Paterson’s secret budgetary negotiations contributed greatly to his declining popularity, and 54% say the same thing about the way in which he has dealt with the financial crisis.
  • The news is also bad for Kirsten Gillibrand: Only 20% of respondents say they want to elect her in 2010, while 47% say they would prefer someone else (up from 37% in March and 29% in January). On the other hand, Gillibrand has improved her favorability rating - 33% to 23% instead of 26% to 20% in February.

Sure, Paterson still has a long way to go before having to face voters, but the fact is that he hasn’t even stabilized his numbers to even start dreaming of a recovery. Simply put, New York residents have given up on their Governor. Think about this: Only 11% of New York Democrats are willing to nominate the incumbent Governor, and Paterson’s lead against the little-known Suozzi is within the margin of error! Even if Cuomo decides not to run - and remember that he recently took the first steps towards a run - any Democratic candidate would be favored to defeat Paterson.

In these conditions, is it even conceivable that the Governor runs for re-election? Paterson himself answered the question this week-end. “I’m definitely running for re-election,” he said. “And, if you notice, the real desire is to have me not run, because they know, if I do, I will probably win.”



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    Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55
  • Confusion in Connecticut (Updated)

  • Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55

    Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55
  • Results thread, part 2: Dems suffer staggering losses in House and legislatives races, limit damage in statewide races

  • Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55

    Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55
  • Election Night results thread: Rep. Boucher’s fall first surprise of the night

  • Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55

    Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55
  • Election night cheat sheet

  • Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55

    Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55
  • Final ratings: Democrats brace for historic losses

  • Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55

    Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

    Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55
  • What to watch for down-ballot

Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55

Strict Standards: mktime(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 41

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 50

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 52

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 54

Strict Standards: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/New_York' for 'EST/-5.0/no DST' instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/functions.php on line 55

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1002

Deprecated: preg_replace(): The /e modifier is deprecated, use preg_replace_callback instead in /homepages/33/d214989360/htdocs/wp-includes/kses.php on line 1003

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