Key Races: Governor, U.S. Senate, U.S. House
Nannygate this, Nannygate that, Nannygate here, Nannygate there, Nannygate-Nannygate everywhere.
Nannygate drowned out the week that was, in politics and in California. A timeline:
September 29: Gossip rag TMZ pops out the headline: “Meg Whitman’s Housekeeper — ‘Explosive’ Allegations.” Camp Whitman sounds out the sleaze alarm. The news then breaks at 11 a.m. PST that Meg Whitman “exploited, disrespected, humiliated and emotionally and financially abused” her illegal alien nanny from 2000-2009. Gang, meet Nicky Diaz Santillan and her spotlight-chasing sidekick, Gloria Allred. The story moves fast — before noon the Whitman team releases documents from the hiring agency that coordinated Nanny-Nicky’s hiring proving that she lied about her immigration status and provided a false Social Security card. Allred says that she can prove that Whitman did know Nicky’s illegal status and will prove so with a SSA letter. Later that evening, Moonbeam channels Buzz Aldrin Nicky the nanny and praises her for her contribution to his campaign.
September 30: Meg Whitman jumps back into action before California’s high noon. She claims that she never saw the Social Security Administration letter Allred claimed was sent to Casa Whitman red-flagging Nicky’s immigration status. Whitman accuses Nicky Santillan of stealing the SSA letter and says that the entire affair is trumped up by Jerry Brown and Allred. She offers to take a polygraph to prove that she had never seen the SSA letter. Now the story hinges upon Gloria Allred releasing said letter. A bombshell is dropped by the attorney for “the courageous Rosa Parks.” The SSA letter has Meg Whitman’s husband’s handwriting on it. “Nicky, please check this,” it says. Meg Whitman’s husband, Dr. Griff Harsh, counters that he may have seen the letter and forgot but says that “it’s important to note what this letter actually says: ‘this letter makes no statement about your employee’s immigration status.'”
Sam Foster, writing at the Daily Caller, offered up perhaps the best big picture dissection of the Nannygate affair. Aside from the myriad minutiae, he narrows in on not the Nannygate details themselves but the “bait and switch” approach that the liberal press pushes during a story like this. Also, Dan Riehl noticed that Allred named Mark Van Der Hout as Santillan’s immigration attorney. Read more on this. And don’t miss Gloria Allred on Mark Levin’s show and being interviewed by Fox’s Greta Van Susteren, plus damning evidence that Allred is a Democratic hack.
Exit points: How did Allred get her hands on the SSA letter? Did Nicky intercept it, which is a crime? How can Allred approach her breach of ethics and “significant legal jeopardy” (see below) by outing an illegal alien who broke federal law via the false Social Security card?
T. Christopher at Republican Redefined notes that the SSA letter specifically states: “This Letter does not imply that you or your employee intentionally provided incorrect information about the employee’s name or SSN. It is not a basis, in and of itself, for you to take any adverse action against the employee, such as laying off, suspending, firing, or discriminating against the individual. An employer that uses the information in this letter to justify taking adverse action against the employee may violate state or federal law and be subject to legal consequences. Moreover, this letter makes no statement about your employee’s immigration status.” Smoking gun? More like a cheap water pistol.
William Jacobson at Legal Insurrection touches on the legal side of Nannygate that the press has ignored:
The other interesting aspect, quite apart from politics, is Allred’s willingness to expose her client to legal harm even though the client does not have any meaningful legal claim. This is not a case where Allred’s client is a crime victim who comes forward to the police. There does not appear to be a violation of any law by Whitman, but there do appear to be both immigration and possibly criminal violations by Allred’s client, who filed false documents with the government. By going public as she has, Allred has exposed her client to significant legal jeopardy in order to score publicity and political points for Allred.
Also, I can see Nannygate as having the opposite intended effect as independent, conservative and moderates less-than-enthusiastic about Meg Whitman see through the charade and rally to her side. A commenter on my Pajamas Media piece said as much:
“If I lived in Cali, I would have probably voted 3rd Party in the governor’s race. Now, I’d crawl over broken glass to vote for Meg.”
Quicklinks lost in the Nannygate shuffle:
You paid for it so you should watch it — Carly Fiorina and Barbara Boxer debated midweek on public radio. More combative than the last debate, Fiorina was on location and Boxer was “boxed” in via satellite. Go here for the audio link and highlights. An Army of Davids citizen journalist also caught some very suspicious activity taking place before the debate.
Vietnamese are coming! — Great new web ad from the Van Tran campaign in California’s 47th Congressional District. They used a recorded message left at their office from Loretta Sanchez’s communications director wherein she claims that Sanchez “doesn’t have the time to debate” Van Tran. Watch it here.
Bubba (not Gump) is California-bound — Clinton is coming to a troops-rallying event at the Old Orange County Courthouse to GOTV for Loretta Sanchez. The Democrats are afraid of losing this seat, thus the showing of “big-guns” Democrat Bill Clinton. The Conservative Hispanic Society also condemned Loretta Sanchez this week.
Fishing for victory with Sarracuda — Ironically, Sarah Palin is showing up in Orange County one day after Bill Clinton for the RNC’s “Victory 2010.”
Pre-election high times — Ahead of Proposition 19, the Governator signed SB 1449, which allows up to almost one ounce, up to 28.5 grams of pot possession to be classified as an infraction, on par with littering.
Dead Trees for Jerry Brown — The Los Angeles Times, the Sacramento Bee, and the San Francisco Chronicle say yea.
Moonbeam V. Whitman en Espanol — Don’t miss the highlight from the Brown/Whitman debate on Univision.
Key Race: U.S. Senate
“No story has had as big an impact” on Connecticut U.S. Senate Democratic candidate Richard Blumenthal as the New York Times May article outing exaggeration of military service. That’s what Politico’s Alex Isenstadt reports with only a little more than four weeks left in the campaign.
As CT voters well know, Blumenthal suggested he was on the ground in Vietnam. Actually he was in the Marine Corps Reserve. That catapulted his GOP opponent, unknown former WWE executive Linda McMahon, into the spotlight and up in the polls. The latest Quinnipiac poll puts McMahon only three points — 46 to 49 — behind Blumenthal.
However, it ain’t over until it’s over. For instance, labor in CT, as around the globe, is uniting in protest of unemployment. Lowering the federal minimum wage could create jobs. But that’s not how workers and their unions might have interpreted McMahon’s remarks at a press conference that the nation should review the whole issue of the minimum wage. In addition, she stumbled when a reporter’s questions revealed she didn’t know how much the wage was. More recently, it was disclosed by video that McMahon lied about spending money lobbying Washington, D.C., when at WWE. In 2001, she used lobbying firm APCO to present WWE’s position on legislation about the entertainment industry’s marketing practices.
On the other hand, McMahon does know how to create jobs. No one disputes that. As for Blumenthal, well, the very question of job creation literally stumps him. McMahon owned him with that direct question.
McMahon’s deep pocket is funding escalation of television attack ads. Blumenthal, who wants to be known for being there for the little guy, is being depicted as not that at all. The phrase “tax and spend” could stick on him. Meanwhile his camp has responded with a 30-second TV spot labeling McMahon as “a bad CEO” who could evolve into “a worse senator.”
The possibility of a major announcement on more CT layoffs or more jobs created could be the tipping point in this election. How the two candidates frame that development could decide the election. Another factor could be the influence of the Tea Party, which McMahon hasn’t courted. In addition, actions on the national level by both parties could impact CT voter attitudes.
Key Races: Governor, U.S. Senate, U.S. House
The Sarasota Herald Tribune endorsed Alex Sink, attempting to make a case for her business experience while blasting Rick Scott’s Medicare scandal. Meanwhile Republican state Sen. Alex Villalobos played the “character and integrity” card last week when citing his reasons for endorsing Sink as the next governor. Time will tell if Sink’s endorsements and continued attacks against Scott’s character on her website and in television ads will narrow the gap.
In the Senate race, a Rasmussen telephone survey last week finds Republican Marco Rubio leading with 41% support, while Governor Charlie Crist has 30%, and Democrat Kendrick Meek comes in third with 21%.
The Crist controversy continues as an appeal is promised by outraged Republicans over the ruling handed down by a Naples Circuit Court judge last week, denying Republican voters the ability to recoup over $7 million in campaign contributions to former Republican Crist. The governor-turned-senatorial-candidate defected from the Republican Party mid-campaign in favor of independent status, turning a blind eye to Republicans who contributed to his campaign under the GOP banner. While the ruling flies in the face of many, Crist remains unapologetic for keeping the donations, stating that many Republicans continue to support him regardless of his independent status. Nevertheless, this issue is unlikely to subside as the campaign heats up in the coming weeks.
Key Race: U.S. Senate
The latest polls from the Chicago Tribune and CNN/Time gave Democrat Alexi Giannoulias a point or two lead that’s narrowed the Real Clear Politics’ average to just a +0.7 lead for Republican Mark Kirk in the Illinois Senate race to fill the seat once held by Barack Obama. The Trib is writing that the race boils down to which candidate Illinois voters trust more, and right now Giannoulias beats Kirk 35% to 30% in that department.
Rich Miller’s Capitol Fax blog is reporting that Kirk is prepared to spend a million dollars a week in ad buys to convince us in Illinois to trust him and not Giannoulias, and Illinois GOP chair Pat Brady is asking the IRS to investigate Giannoulias’s claim for $2.7 million in work he said he performed at his family’s Broadway Bank in 2006 — a time when Giannoulias claims he wasn’t around while mob banking transactions went down.
The tight race goes on.
Key Race: Governor
Considering Maryland Democrats compose the majority of registered voters and have a roughly 2:1 registration advantage over the GOP, they sure have a funny way of running their campaigns.
Democrats claim they voted against TARP when they weren’t even in Congress yet, put out ads which neutral observers call “misleading” and keep doing so when their opposition signs the Americans for Tax Reform pledge, while Republicans rightly point out one Democrat “has run five television commercials and not once mentioned creating jobs for Marylanders.”
Democrats in Maryland comprise one of the few audiences friendly to President Obama, but he campaigns for Martin O’Malley in Maryland’s safest Democratic area, Prince George’s County.
And when Democrats don’t like the message from the opposition? They disrupt the event.
Breaking the stranglehold Democrats have on the levers of power in the (so-called) Free State will be difficult, but their campaigns and tactics show that, a month out, liberals are scared about the Republicans’ prospects of success.
Key Race: U.S. House, District 4
Robert Snider reporting:
Sean Bielat’s campaign is confidently tracking the three-step trail blazed by Senator Scott Brown. Bielat has firmly taken possession of the first step: that he will make a good showing and that he is not just another sacrificial Republican. Indeed, Bielat, like the good Marine he is, has established a firm beachhead on the psychological step that he “should win.” The final step, that he “will win,” is within reach. The facts that confirm Bielat’s progress are in plain view.
The fact that Bielat’s resume is impressive and that he presents himself well in public has raised the possibility that he may send Barney Frank to the halls of academia and away from the levers of power. The news media is always on the lookout for the next newsworthy personality and is sensitive to the fact that they missed the Scott Brown upset until it was late in the election. Articles by political pundits have commented on the race and they have covered their bets. They want to be able to state that they saw this upset coming. Bielat has been interviewed on national news programs, like Sean Hannity’s popular program, and on numerous local radio programs. He has a full schedule of local radio interviews that will cover the whole of the Fourth District. Barney Frank did not accept the invitation of Channel 25, Fox, to appear along with Bielat. In introducing the segment, the announcer emphasized that Frank had been invited and declined to accept which made it seem that Frank feared to appear with Bielat. Bielat’s forthright answers, delivered crisply and directly, clearly made an impression on the announcer and she expressed that fact. With delight, Bielat posted the segment on his website.
Bielat’s announcement that his poll shows Frank below 50% and that a mere 10-point gap separates Bielat’s 38% from Frank’s 48% caused a stir. Frank belittled the poll and shot back that his poll showed him with a 20-point lead. However, Frank refused to make the alleged poll public, which undermined his credibility.
Even though Frank staged an endorsement event in Taunton with President Clinton, his campaign has failed to pick up energy. Indeed, because voters see a Department of Labor unemployment rate (seasonably adjusted) of 12% for the Providence-Fall River-Warwick area for July, a stagnant unemployment rate for Massachusetts as a whole, the real estate market continuing in the doldrums, and federal regulation that hits fishermen as if they were BP, that is not surprising. On the national level where they might expect Frank to use his vaunted influence on their behalf, they saw the Democratic Party vote to adjourn by one vote without acting on tax relief.
The result of all of the above factors translates into one of the most significant “polls” that all candidates pay attention to: the amount of money contributed. No one wants to back a losing cause and everyone wants to support a winner. The Bielat campaign announced that of the total amount raised, $603,000, $400,000 had come in the month of September. If this election were a football game, the announcers would intone that Bielat had the all-important “momentum.”
Where does Sean Bielat’s campaign go from here? He is expected to follow James Carville’s famous admonition: “It’s the economy stupid!” In 2010, the term “economy” means the unemployment rate, the massive debt assumed by Washington from foreign governments and imposed on our children, and European-level taxes. Bielat knows that the critical audience is the half of the Fourth’s voters who are independents. The most telling fact about the recent poll was not the good news that Frank is below 50%. It is that in July Frank led Bielat with independent voters 44% to 37%. In September, Frank has plunged to just 34%, with Bielat at 51%.
Do you think that Barney Frank is a tough grader?
Key Race: U.S. Senate
John Ransom reporting:
Sharron Angle’s up-and-down campaign to retire Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in Nevada followed form again this week. While a Fox News poll shows Angle up 3-percentage points, the news cycle over the weekend was dominated by the surreptitious taping of an ill-advised meeting between Angle and a third-party candidate for U.S. Senate.
Scott Ashjian, U.S. Senate nominee from the self-styled Tea Party of Nevada, said he never intended to go public with the tape of the meeting, although he immediately released a copy to liberal Las Vegas journalist Jon Ralston. There is no love lost between Ralston and the Angle campaign. Recently the two sides snarled at each other after Ralston alleged that the Angle camp had reneged on a pledge to allow Ralston to host a debate between Reid and Angle.
On the tape of the meeting, called ostensibly to discuss Ashjian’s withdrawal from the race, Angle takes exception to GOP leadership, who she says “lost their principles,” according to the LVRJ. “Really that’s why the machine in the Republican Party is fighting against me. They have never really gone along with lower taxes and less government.”
None of the tape is damning, but it’s another example of Angle having to explain what she meant rather than project her own message.
Subsequently, the chair of the Tea Party of Nevada (TPN), who helped arrange the meeting between Angle and Ashjian, resigned from his position in the TPN and endorsed Angle.
Republican boosters in Nevada aren’t shocked at Angle’s comments about the GOP; most Republicans would agree with her assessment of the party. Instead, they take exception to the amateur management that allowed Angle to attend the meeting with Ashjian in the first place. Ashjian is a marginal candidate, polling around one percent. As reported by Ben Smith in Politico, conservative Las Vegas talk show host Alan Stock marveled on air that the brain trust ensured with the task of retiring Harry Reid and getting Angle elected could make such a fundamental mistake.
Privately, GOP insiders and observers in Nevada have long been complaining about the poor quality of Angle’s campaign staff. One even joked recently that they have been trying to get Angle and the rest of the campaign to take time off until November 3 in order to ensure her victory on November 2.
Key Race: Governor, U.S. Senate
Sam Foster reporting:
I’ll give you a hint; it wasn’t NY Post reporter Fred Dicker’s wife who uttered “I’ll take you out” last week.
In what has been hailed “a priceless show of tough guy talk,” Paladino channeled a bit of Norman Adler in a verbal brawl with reporter Fred Dicker (Norman Adler became famous for assaulting the very same Fred Dicker in 1987). The scuffle began when Paladino accused Dicker of sending a photographer to snap pics of his ten-year-old daughter from her bedroom window. Only moments prior to the shouting match, Paladino announced some questionable allegations indicting opponent Andrew Cuomo for having his own sexual paramours. In my humble opinion, Joy Behar got worse.
There has been some debate on how all this affects Paladino’s election prospects. The usual suspects with the loudest voices are certain that it’ll help Cuomo. However, the beloved former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani was probably at least as brash in handling some of his own constituents. Regardless, Paladino is looking to recapitalize with what has made him so popular amongst conservative voters: reforming Albany.
Outside of bare-knuckle brawling there is also an election going on. The last Marist poll showed Carl Paladino gaining steam against Democrat Andrew Cuomo compared to previous Marist polling. The race is proving to be a close one in upstate New York and NYC suburbs, but NYC is swinging heavily for Cuomo.
The race between Joe DioGuardi and Reid’s favorite hottie, Kirsten Gillibrand, for U.S. Senate also remains in play. It may be a long-shot, but this is what it will take for DioGuardi to win and it is possible. Republicans have a good chance of retaking the state Senate, which might prove critical in defending Republican districts from future redistricting. Republican polling is showing Democrat incumbent Scott Murphy in a toss-up race against challenger Chris Gibson in NY-20 and Orleans’ cybersquatting lawsuit against Republican Nan Hayworth’s Young Voters for an Orleans Reunion Tour is getting noticed by the national press.
Key Race: U.S. House, District 10
Bryan Preston reporting:
I’m not in Ohio, but a bird from there is whispering to me that Democratic Rep. Dennis Kucinich is vulnerable. His Republican challenger, Peter Corrigan, is polling within striking distance now. These factors seem to be key to Kucinich’s trouble:
Turnout — May 4th, Sept 7th, and early absentee balloting suggests as many as 30,000 less Dem voters. Voter apathy is peak, especially due to the Cuyahoga County corruption scandal and the continuing failure of the Obama programs.
Kucinich on the health care vote — his ride on Air Force One is widely seen as a “sell out.” Many Dems are dropping off or switching right. Kucinich once held the high ground as a “fighter” but not any longer.
Add in that Peter Corrigan is an impressive candidate, the Corrigan name resonates among the Irish and Catholics in the district — plus the fact that you can’t toss a stick around there without hitting a member of the Corrigan clan — and you have the makings of an upset.
Key Races: Governor, U.S. House
Sarah Palin was in Houston Tuesday night. Is a Texas endorsement in the wings?
The big news out of Texas this week is in the money race: Gov. Rick Perry, the Republican incumbent seeking his third full term, has a nearly 4 to 1 money advantage over Democratic challenger Bill White going into the home stretch. Perry also is widening his lead in the polls, up to 14 points according to the latest from Belo. White has never led in the polls but did have the cash lead early in the race. He squandered millions on ad campaigns well before Labor Day that didn’t move the polls one way or the other. The Democrat Governors Association is riding in to the rescue with a reported $2 million to spend on ads attacking Perry, but there’s a catch: They’re not donating that money to White, the DGA is going to spend it directly. That’s a poorly veiled shot at how White is running his campaign. There’s still about $1 million in trial lawyer money on the table (remember the Shadow Party? They’re deploying yet another one-man PAC to save Democrat hides. The mainstream media’s incuriosity about what Steve Mostyn wants for all he’s spending continues to not shock me at all) that may become available to White, but barring a game changer, Perry is locking in for the win over “the most mysterious liberal in the world.”
Elsewhere around the state, I’m hearing that Dr. Donna Campbell is catching up on her Democrat rival in central Texas’ CD-25, Rep. Lloyd Doggett. For his part, Doggett is out with a video ad that touts him “working for Texas.” That’s better, if less accurate, than what he’s become best known for: Running from Texans.
There’s a big move afoot in another Congressional district currently held by a Democrat. CD-30’s Republican challenger, Stephen Broden, got a major boost when the Dallas Morning News endorsed him over Democratic incumbent Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson. This Dallas-area district has long been a lost cause for the Republicans, but Broden has proven himself to be an effective candidate with deep roots in the district, and the DMN’s own reporting exposed Johnson’s scholarship nepotism and corruption. Rumor of the week: The News got their info on Johnson from another Dallas Democrat who wants her seat. This source is looking to move up the ranks, but Johnson is in the way. Ambition creates deadly and unexpected enemies.
Republican challenger Bill Flores has a commanding lead over Democratic incumbent Rep. Chet Edwards in CD-17, so much so that Edwards is preemptively blaming his future defeat on his vote for the stimulus bill. Why not? Apparently the DCCC has given him up for dead. Republican Quico Canseco remains narrowly out in front in CD-23, so the Democrats are launching a salvo of negative ads at him (he’s running a phone bank to counter the attack). Meanwhile, those rumors I’ve been hearing about CD-29 are showing up in the polls: Republican challenger Roy Morales is ahead of Democrat Rep. Gene Green by three.
So sit back and consider: Texas may elect three conservative Hispanic congressmen and one conservative black congressman in 2010. They’re all Republicans, and their victories would be happening literally north, south, east and west — all over Texas. What began as the Democrats’ year of the Great White Hope may be turning into a full-blown Republican rout.
Key Race: U.S. House
Good people of VA-5, fear not. If you were afraid that incumbent Tom Perriello just had nothing left to give, you were wrong. Last week, he invited supporters to a fundraiser with John Grisham– tickets starting at $250 and topping at $2400. TOM PERRIELLO: Supporting crappy airport lawyer thriller authors since 2008.
Challenger Robert Hurt, meanwhile, rolled out first a fish fry, then a BBQ. Because when you’re running for Congress, make sure to template the fundraising after your local Knights of Columbus and Boy Scout troop. Next week: Robert Hurt sells popcorn outside a Wal-Mart.