Yesterday, Arlen Specter (?-PA) made big news by announcing that he will run as a Democrat in his bid for re-election to the Senate in 2010. I consider this to be pretty big news - we don’t see politicians switching parties that frequently. This is likely to give the Democrats a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate (assuming Al Franken is seated as Senator of Minnesota). I would not be terribly surprised to see Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and/or Susan Collins (R-ME) switch affiliations at some point either.
First, watch a little of this YouTube Video:
Now, watch this short one:
It’s obvious that Sen. Dick Lugar (R-IN) has a target on his back from conservatives in the upcoming primary. Grassroots organizations and advocacy groups have made that much clear to this point, choosing his primary opponent, Richard Mourdock, due to his votes for tax hikes, support for wasteful earmarks, and tax hikes.
Lugar’s bid for re-electioned was been bogged down in March, thanks to a ruling that he was ineligble to vote in the state — though that has now been resolved — and having to payback $14,000 to taxpayers for hotel bills. Lugar also received the “kiss of death” from former Sen. Arlen Specter, a Republican turned Democrat that voted for the stimulus and ObamaCare.
However, these conservative groups had been relatively quiet on the ad from…that was until yesterday when the Club for Growth and the National Rifle Association dropped a bomb on Lugar a month before the May 8th primary (you can watch the ads below):
The National Rifle Association and the Club for Growth, two heavy-hitting conservative groups, are launching ads that paint Sen. Dick Lugar (R-Ind.) as a Washington insider and boost his Tea Party opponent, Indiana state Treasurer Richard Mourdock (R).
This isn’t exactly a surprise, but the Club for Growth has purchased air-time in Indiana as they hope to derail Sen. Dick Lugar’s bid for re-election. The ad the Club is running ties Lugar to the $15 trillion national debt and slams him for backing the Wall Street bailout, gas and payroll tax hikes, and opposing spending cuts.
Lugar has faced some problems recently. As we’ve noted, the Marion County Board of Elections determined that Lugar was not eligible to vote in the county, presumably nowhere else in the state, finding that his primary residence is in Virginia. Richard Mourdock has also been creeping up on Lugar in the polls. And he secured an endorsement from former Sen. Arlen Specter, who left the GOP in 2010 for the Democratic Party when it became clear that he would not beat Pat Toomney.
Here’s the ad from the Club for Growth:
It really has been a bad month for Sen. Dick Lugar (R-IN). He’s been caught up in a residency controversy and his primary challenger, Richard Mourdock, has been gaining on him in the polls. But now Lugar has another headache to deal with thanks to an endorsement from former Sen. Arlen Specter.
While appearing on C-SPAN yesterday, Specter took a call from Indiana and, with being asked his opinion in the race, said, “Vote for Dick Lugar”:
Ordinarily, endorsements are something to brag about through press releases and while on the stump. But Specter hasn’t been very friendly to Republicans in the last two years. While still a Republican, he voted for the stimulus bill. After it was obvious that he would lose a primary challenge to now-Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA), he bolted from the GOP. Specter would eventually go on to back ObamaCare, which was just another mark on his record of growing government and harming taxpayers.
So yeah, this isn’t the kind of endorsement you want when you’re an already vulnerable incumbent locked in a tough primary match at a time when conservatives are wary and suspicious of you.
Republicans in Iowa will today head to caucus locations and cast their votes. In case you’ve been hiding under a rock these last few days, Rick Santorum is surging in that state at just the right time, where he may pull off an upset win.
Santorum, a former U.S. Senate from Pennsylvania who lost re-election in 2006 to Bob Casey by 18, often claims his opponents in the race, including Mitt Romney and Ron Paul, aren’t conservatives. He then goes on to cite his own “conservative” credentials, which are often limited to being anti-abortion and anti-gay.
But Santorum’s “conservative” record is dubious. While he and his supporters slam RomneyCare (passed in 2006) for covering abortion and Romney himself for giving mixed positions on the issue, Santorum endorsed him during the 2008 presidential campaign. Of course, Santorum is trying to play that down now. During a campaign appearance in Boone, Iowa, yesterday, Philip Klein reported on what Santorum told supporters:
He explained, “In the case of Gov. Romney and John McCain, I settled for what I thought was the best alternative out there…I didn’t see Mike Huckabee at that point, after having lost South Carolina and Florida, and not having at least by reports lot of money available, then I thought the best chance to stop John McCain was at that time Gov. Romney.”
A day after Public Policy Polling put out a questionable survey in Pennsylvania, Morning Call released numbers from tracking they are doing in the race between Pat Toomey and Rep. Joe Sestak.
- Sestak: 44%
- Toomey: 41%
- Not sure: 15%
Here is a look at the D/R/I breakdowns from recent polling compared to exit polling from 2006 and 2008, which were strongly Democratic years, and 2004, which saw a Republican Arlen Specter win re-election.
- Morning Call: 46/46/8
- Public Policy Polling: 48/41/11
- Rasmussen: 45/37/17
- 2008 Exit Polling: 44/38/18
- 2006 Exit Polling: 43/38/19
- 2004 Exit Polling: 41/39/20
You can see that both Morning Call and Public Policy Polling are both underweighting independents, though the former is more noticable. This is the reason I’ve been so skeptical about polling. Adding to my argument is nearly every poll since June has showed Toomey’s support at 45% or higher. Like I said yesterday, the race is likely tightening, but there needs to be a measure of skepticism here considering that nearly every recent poll has Toomey with a decent lead.
Another point to take into account is that absentee voting in Pennsylvania has an advantage for Toomey:
In case you haven’t noticed, there are a few candidates in races for the United States Senate that we’re following, such as Rand Paul in Kentucky and Marco Rubio in Florida. We’re also following Pat Toomey’s race in Pennsylvania.
I’ve been following Toomey since he ran against Sen. Arlen Specter in the GOP primary in 2004 through when he was President of the Club for Growth. I don’t agree with him on social issues, but I’m with him on economic issues.
The latest poll out of Pennsylvania, conducted by Quinnipiac, shows Toomey hitting 50% and holding a seven point lead over Rep. Joe Sestak (D-PA).
- Toomey: 50%
- Sestak: 43%
- Undecided: 7%
The poll that 56% of Pennsylvania voters disapprove of President Barack Obama’s job performance, while 40% approve. On his handling of the economy, 58% disapprove, while 39% approve. And 59% disapprove of ObamaCare, which Sestak voted for. Thirty-four percent approve.
Over at Politics Daily, Matt Lewis notes that the politicians having the most trouble in primaries this year are appropriators, members of Congress that control the pursue strings:
Now that Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski has conceded, she has become the latest victim of a growing trend: Appropriations Committee members who have lost this year.
Once thought of as a powerful committee for members wanting to “bring home the bacon,” in today’s political environment sitting on an appropriations panel seems to be an albatross.
“Earmarking is a corrupt practice, plain and simple,” says Andy Roth, a vice president at the conservative Club for Growth. “Voters understand that, but insecure politicians do not. And that’s why the old adage that pork buys you votes doesn’t work. It costs you votes.”
Earlier this year, Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas, who also sits on the committee, lost her primary challenge to Gov. Rick Perry. Perry’s strategy was to run against Washington spending — and it worked.
Two new polls from Pennsylvania show Pat Toomey, a former Republican congressman, with a solid lead over Rep. Joe Sestak, who defeated Sen. Arlen Specter in the Democratic primary back in May.
We’ve moved this race to “Leans GOP” on our tracking page for Senate races in 2010.
Here is the race according to Rasmussen:
- Toomey: 46%
- Sestak: 37%
- Other: 5%
- Not sure: 12%
Toomey has a 21 point advantage with independents. Sixty percent either “somewhat disapprove” or “strongly disapprove” with the performance of President Barack Obama. Also, 70% of Pennsylvania voters believe we are still in a recession.
Public Policy Polling, a Democratic firm, shows similar results:
- Toomey: 45%
- Sestak: 36%
- Undecided: 20%
Sestak is upside down on how voters view him. Twenty-eight percent view him favorable, but 38% view him unfavorably. The poll also shows that 54% of voters oppose ObamaCare, 39% support the law.
And finally, 55% of Pennsylvanians disapprove of the performance of President Obama, 40% approve.