IA-Gov: Roundup of recent news

It's been a while since I posted a diary here about the Iowa governor's race.

Follow me after the jump for more than you probably wanted to know.

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FL-Sen-GOP: Jeb Bush Sons Oppose Charlie Crist

Republican former Governor Jeb Bush, who remains a popular figure among Florida Republicans, has two sons, George P. and Jeb Jr..  Back in February, George P. Bush offered a stinging rebuke of current Gov. and 2010 Senate candidate Charlie Crist's lack of conservative cred:

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (R) is only a "light" version of a Democrat, former Gov. Jeb Bush's (R) son claimed Saturday.

"There's some in our party that want to assume that government is the answer to all of our problems," Bush said at a meeting of young Republicans, as reported by the Orlando News. "You know who I'm talking about," he added, referencing Crist.

After the speech, Bush said Crist is perhaps becoming more of a "D light" politician, not adequately in line with Republican politics.

Fast forward three months and Jeb Bush's other son, Jeb Jr., announces his endorsement of Charlie Crist's 2010 Republican Senate primary opponent, former state House Speaker Marco Rubio:

Today I would like to let you know that I will be enthusiastically supporting my friend Marco Rubio for his bid for the United States Senate.

Florida and our country are at a crossroads. Not only in our economic life, but in who we are as Republicans. ...

With Marco, we have a great opportunity to elect a true conservative and a greater obligation to elect a man of principle. ...

If you can make a donation today to keep this effort going it will go a long way to bring back common sense and a return to conservative principles in Washington.

According to Jeb Jr., Republicans are at a "crossroads" over their identity and Rubio is the only "true conservative" in the race who can return "conservative principles" to Washington.  Read: Charlie Crist does not represent the Republican Party.

I can't imagine that these statements from Jeb's boys go out without Daddy Jeb's blessing.  Make no mistake, former Governor Jeb Bush does not want his gubernatorial successor to win the Republican nomination for Senate.  Further, couple the support of Jeb's boys for Rubio with the recent endorsement of Mike Huckabee for Rubio and we see the underdog picking up steam.  Anybody rushing to anoint Charlie Crist as Florida's next Senator better slow down.  Conservatives still run the GOP, and Charlie Crist simply isn't up to snuff.

For daily news and updates on the U.S. Senate races around the country, regularly read Senate Guru.

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NH Vaults McCain Into The Lead In SC

Two post-New Hampshire polls are showing McCain in the lead in South Carolina following his New Hampshire win, overtaking Huckabee who's had a consistent lead there for the past month. Results of the Fox News (500 LVs, 1/9, MOE +/- 4%) and Rasmussen Reports (785 LVs, 1/9, MOE +/- 4%) polls are as follows:

CandidateFox NewsRasmussen (1/6)
McCain2527 (21)
Huckabee1824 (28)
Romney1716 (15)
Thompson912 (11)
Giuliani56 (10)
Paul55 (4)

This will be very interesting to see how solid McCain's bounce turns out to be (we've seen how ephemeral they can be this week) especially considering that he is competing in two states simultaneously while his chief competitors are competing in just one each (Romney in Michigan and Huckabee in South Carolina.) If McCain wins both Michigan and South Carolina, he'll be the favorite for the nomination and if Huckabee loses SC, even if he comes in 2nd, that will be devastating for his campaign.

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The Coming Michigan Freak Show

On January 15, Michigan will vote in its primary, and it's turning into quite a race on the Republican side, being billed as Romney's final stand. Certainly he's playing into this perception, pulling ads from South Carolina and Florida to focus on Michigan, although if he gets another silver here no one doubts he'll continue on. It's just he's going to have to win one somewhere and where better than the state of his birth and where his father served as governor. Results from the latest (post-Iowa/pre-New Hampshire) Strategic Vision (700 LVs, 1/4-6, MOE +/- 4 and %) and Rossman Martin Survey (300 LVs, 1/6-7, MOE +/- 5.8%.) polls are as follows:

CandidateStrategic Vision    1/4-6Rossman Group      1/6-7

These numbers seem pretty messed up since you'd think the poll immediately following Iowa would be most favorable to Huckabee and the poll closest to New Hampshire would be most favorable to McCain, but consider them a baseline. McCain's win in New Hampshire and now Romney's camping out in the state (and Huckabee's doing the same in S.C.) will shake the whole race up moving forward.

Looking a bit deeper into the Strategic Vision poll, things look promising for McCain. First there's the whole experience/change thing:

Do you prefer a candidate who has experience in office or one who represents change?
Experience 44%
Change 28%

And then the list of voter priorities has McCain's strengths at the top (and a distinct weakness a bit lower down.)

What do you believe is the number one issue facing America?
War on terror 21%
Economy 17%
War in Iraq 15%
Immigration 11%
Taxes 10%
Crime 9%
Healthcare 8%
Education 5%

One area that might hurt McCain is on ideology. McCain is distrusted greatly by conservatives for his advocacy for campaign finance reform and "amnesty" so the fact that 61% of voters feel it's either very or somewhat important that the candidate be "a conservative Republican in the mode of Ronald Reagan" could hurt him. Then again, McCain beat Romney slightly among Republicans in New Hampshire, which may indicate that the distrust among the rank and file of the party is dissipating. I suspect Mitt Romney will spend the next week reminding voters why they distrusted him in the first place.

Democrats are voting next week as well, of course, although the only candidates on the ballot will be Hillary Clinton, Dennis Kucinich, Mike Gravel and Uncommitted. Right now, The Rossman Group poll has Hillary beating Uncommitted 48%-28% (again, pre-New Hampshire.) An interesting factor in this is to what extent Democrats will go to the polls to beef up the Uncommitted vote as a defacto vote for Obama or Edwards. There is an active campaign underway to get them to do just that.

Detroiters for Uncommitted Voters, a group of mostly Obama supporters, wants to make sure that people vote in the Democratic primary Tuesday, even if their candidate isn't on the ballot. [...] U.S. Rep. John Conyers and his wife, Detroit City Councilwoman Monica Conyers, will begin airing radio ads this week urging voters to cast their ballots for uncommitted.
The Uncommitted vote in fact is not a wasted vote, as delegates will be seated at the convention to represent those voters (assuming Michigan's delegates are re-instated, that is.)

If enough Democratic voters choose "uncommitted," delegates at the district or state level will be chosen to fill that void for the national Democratic convention in August. [...] It's presumed that most uncommitted delegates will favor Obama or Edwards, but once at the convention they can support any candidate in contention for the Democratic nomination.
There's yet another factor here, which is that Democrats in Michigan can actually vote in the Republican primary, as many did in 2000, which led to McCain's victory there. This year, with many Democrats largely disenfranchised, will Democrats with a soft spot in their heart for McCain help hand McCain another victory or will they vote strategically to deny arguably the strongest Republican candidate an important early win?

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How To Go Negative Without Going Negative

This election cycle, in an attempt to negotiate the pesky complexities of how voters respond to negative ads -- on one hand, they're widely considered to be effective, on the other, they can also backfire on the candidate who goes negative -- some of the candidates, particularly on the Republican side, have employed some innovative methods to attack their opponents without appearing to do so.

Mitt Romney's patented method, employed in Iowa against Huckabee and in New Hampshire against McCain, involves praising his opponents before "drawing contrasts" with them. McCain, in response to Romney, then aired an ad that cited the stinging words from 2 newspaper anti-endorsements in order to call Romney a "phoney." But perhaps the most brazen of all of the Republican ad tricks is Huckabee's stunt from earlier today in which he declared that he had shot a negative ad against Romney but then decided against airing it...but then proceeded to show it to all convened reporters and bloggers.

From Iowa Independent:

A day after calling Mitt Romney "desperate" and "dishonest", Mike Huckabee cancelled a negative commercial aimed at his chief rival in the Republican Caucus.

Then he showed the commercial to the press and even encouraged them to tape it if they wanted to.

Huckabee said that he had anticipated holding the press conference, which was scheduled yesterday, to unveil a commercial he made over the weekend that criticized Romney's record on abortion, taxes and other issues.

"We prepared it, sent it to the stations, (and were) supposed to start running it at noon today," Huckabee said. "This morning, I ordered my staff to pull the ad; I told them I do not want it to be run. If it was run at all, it would be until the stations pulled it off their schedules."

Jane has more at FDL:

It raises the question -- does Huckabee not have enough money to run the ad? Is this a cheap way to get the message out there, and still make a claim to have (ahem) clean hands?

Perhaps a little of both but the latter requires that the press buy into Huck's holier than thou spin on why he pulled the ad and as Marc Ambinder notes:

Most reporters did not.

They started to laugh.

As you might imagine, this didn't stop some reporters from recording the ad as it played. You can see a bootleg version at The Page.

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