Democrats Moving On Up in Ohio

So sayeth Quinnipiac:

Democrats are having a mini-surge in Ohio as two possible candidates for the open U.S. Senate seat have come from behind to pass the Republican contender, and Gov. Ted Strickland remains ahead of Republican challenger John Kasich, 43 - 38 percent, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

And President Barack Obama's job approval is up from a negative 44 - 52 percent February 23 to an almost even 47 - 48 percent today, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe- ack) University poll finds.

In the Senate race, Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher leads Republican Rob Portman 41 - 37 percent, reversing a 40 - 37 percent Portman lead February 24. Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner edges Portman 38 - 37 percent, reversing a 40 - 35 percent Republican lead.

[...]

Strickland's reelection lead matches his 44 - 39 percent lead February 23. The Governor's 49 - 40 percent job approval and his 46 - 35 percent favorability rating both are statistically the same as his scores in February. There is no gender gap in the Governor's race with 44 percent of men and 42 percent of women backing Strickland.

There are still a large number of undecideds in this survey, and the Democrats are far from a lock from holding on to the state's Governorship or picking up the Senate seat being vacated by the retiring George Voinovich. That said, it's hard to spin this one as bad news for the Democrats, or good news for the Republicans, for that matter -- especially with the well-known GOP candidates failing to even crack the 40 percent mark. So much for the notion that the Democrats are dead in the water ahead of November...

GOP Poll Shows Kitzhaber Up Big in OR-Gov

The Oregonian's Jeff Mapes has the details:

The latest survey is from Portland pollster Bob Moore, who often works for Republicans. He matched up former Gov. John Kitzhaber - who Moore judges to be the strongest of the Democratcs - against two Republican contenders, ex-Trail Blazer Chris Dudley and businessman Allen Alley.

In each case, Kitzhaber leads either of the Republicans, 45 percent to 33 percent.

The Oregon Governor's race isn't a slam dunk for the Democrats -- but they have clear advantages seven months ahead of ballots being sent out to voters. Oregon, you might remember, is a state in which only one Republican has won statewide in the past decade and a half and where the GOP hasn't won a gubernatorial election since 1986. What's more, the leading Democratic candidate for Governor -- a popular former Governor in his own regard -- leads all Republican comers by double-digit margins even in GOP polling.

This race is still a ways away -- but at this point, the Democrats are looking good.

Florida Dems Hit Bill McCollum

If the 2010 cycle is about an anti-Washington sentiment -- and it looks like it is -- then the Florida Democrats may be on to something with their hit on Bill McCollum, the GOP candidate for Governor in November.

Don't be surprised to see more ads like this from the Democrats, hitting establishment Republicans for their insider ties. Missouri Senate candidate and former House GOP leader Roy Blunt, in particular, comes to mind as the type of candidate vulnerable to such a line of attack, as does George W. Bush budget staffer Rob Portman, the GOP's presumptive Senate candidate in Ohio. Washington isn't a popular place these days, and having been deeply involved in the Beltway culture simply is not the type of line on a resume candidates will want voters to know about in the coming months.

Colorado Gov Bill Ritter to Retire

Political Wire had it first. Here's a fuller report from The Fix:

Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter (D) will not seek a second term this fall, according to Democratic sources briefed on his decision.

Ritter, elected in a landslide in 2006, had seen his political fate dip considerably in the intervening years, and faced an extremely difficult re-election race against former Rep. Scott McInnis (R) in November.

More as we hear it...

MyDD Interview with Bill Ritter

On Wednesday afternoon, I had the chance to speak with Colorado's Democratic Governor Bill Ritter, a candidate for reelection in 2010. During the interview, Ritter and I covered a number of issues, including clean energy, education reform, bringing new jobs to Colorado, and, of course, the politics of his reelection bid.

Overall, Ritter sounded very much like another successful Colorado politician I interviewed for MyDD several years ago -- Gary Hart -- in framing his reelection bid not as a choice between left and right but rather as a choice between the past and the future, a choice between looking backwards and looking forwards. This rhetoric served Hart well both on the statewide and national level, and has thus far worked will for Ritter. The following is a rush transcript of the interview:

Jonathan Singer: What do you see as the biggest issue people should be looking at in the Governor's race next year?

Bill Ritter: The biggest issue, I think, is how governors are able to create jobs, and the job creation that we're going to do is not just about job creation, it's about sustainable job creation, things that will last, things that are 21st century. And I think the biggest issue for us will be our success in doing that, being able to run on the things that we've already been able to do but how we're going to keep doing that. This is still just such a massive downturn. The protracted length of this recession is, I think, causing everybody to be concerned about 2010, and rightly so.

Singer: What are some of the measures that you're doing in Colorado to address the issue of jobs?

Ritter: We were already ahead of this, because we already thought that we had to do a better job even before the downturn of bringing in these 21st century industries, as I call them. On the energy side, that's the new energy economy; jobs in the energy world that involve renewable energy, that involve energy efficiency, that involve smart grid technology, that involve building out the transmission grid. All those are a part of it.

There's more...

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