Ballot Box

Lingle posts huge fundraising quarter in Hawaii

Former Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle (R) raised nearly $1.8 million in her first-quarter fundraising for the Senate, a huge haul that shows why Republicans were so hopeful she'd run for the seat.

Lingle nearly tripled the solid $624,000 front-runner Rep. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) raised. Hirono has more than $1 million cash on hand.

Hawaii is a solidly Democratic state but Lingle has shown she can win there, and while Hirono is the favorite for the Democratic nod she still has to get past former Rep. Ed Case (D-Hawaii) in the primary.

Lingle has long been a fundraising powerhouse: she raised and spent $5.8 million in her 2006 reelection campaign, setting a state record. There hasn't been any recent polling in the state, but one conducted by the Democratic-affiliated Public Policy Polling in October had Hirono up six points on Lingle.

The former Hawaii governor has said she plans to raise between $8 million and $10 million for the race.

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Tammy Duckworth up big in internal poll of Illinois House race

Illinois House candidate Tammy Duckworth (D) has a huge 59 percent to 17 percent lead over Raja Krishnamoorthi, her primary opponent, according to an internal poll shared with The Hill.

Duckworth and Krishnamoorthi are vying to take on freshman Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) in a new Democratic-leaning district. Walsh has been tarred by an ongoing court case seeking to resolve if he owes more than $100,000 in unpaid child support to his ex-wife, and the bombastic Tea Partier faces a steep uphill battle against either Democrat.

Duckworth, who has close ties to President Obama, has been endorsed by Obama senior adviser David Axelrod and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.). Until recently she served as assistant secretary in the Department of Veterans Affairs. This is her second run for Congress — she lost her first race in 2006.

"Tammy has built a strong campaign," said Josh Levin, Duckworth's campaign manager, "She has raised over $1 million dollars to date, and won endorsements from Senator Durbin, EMILY’s List and over a dozen local and national labor unions. There's no questions she’s the best positioned to beat Tea Party darling Joe Walsh in November."

Krishnamoorthi's campaign pushed back hard on the poll. "This campaign has barely begun," said Deputy Campaign Manager Mike Murray. "If polls two months out predicted elections, Hillary Clinton would be the President, and Rick Perry would be the Republican nominee. Leaders in our district have overwhelmingly endorsed Raja as their choice and I'm confident that when voters get the chance to hear from both candidates, they'll make Raja their nominee."

Krishnamoorthi and Duckworth have both had strong fundraising numbers, and he's had some traction with liberal activists in the district. But if these poll numbers are even close to correct she will have little trouble winning the primary.

The poll of 400 likely Democratic primary voters was conducted from Jan. 10-12 and has a margin of error of 4.9 percent.

This post was updated at 4:40 p.m.

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Dem group touts polls showing eight House Republicans in trouble

House Majority PAC, a Democratic -affiliated super-PAC, is touting polls in eight districts that show Republicans there are vulnerable.

The list: GOP Reps. Steve King (Iowa) Joe Walsh (Ill.), Dan Benishek (Mich.), Jim Renacci (Ohio), Bill Johnson (Ohio), Bob Gibbs (Ohio), Roscoe Bartlett (Md.) and Scott Tipton (Colo.).

Democrats will need to win most of these districts next fall to have a shot at winning the majority.

King, Walsh, Bartlett and Tipton have been put on shaky ground by redistricting. The three Ohio congressmen have been given a fair amount of new territory as well by a map designed to maximize Republican representation in the state.

The polls were conducted by the Democratic-leaning firm Public Policy Polling.

Here's the full rundown:

  • King holds a lead in his northwest Iowa district but can't rest easy. A narrow majority of voters in his new district think King should not be reelected: 48 percent say yes while 52 percent say no. The conservative bomb-thrower was put in a district that still leans Republican but is much less conservative than his old one, and Democrats landed a top recruit with former Iowa first lady Christie Vilsack. King leads Vilsack in the poll 49 percent to 43 percent.
  • Walsh is struggling badly in his suburban Chicago district: 57 percent of voters don't believe he deserves to be reelected, while 32 percent think he should be. Walsh's tossup district was greatly altered to make it Democratic-leaning in redistricting, and he faces an ongoing trial with his ex-wife over $100,000 in child support he has allegedly refused to pay. There are two strong Democrats running against him: Tammy Duckworth and Raja Krishnamoorthi. This poll is the latest indication that Walsh is a dead man running.
  • Benishek's numbers are underwater in his northern Michigan district: Only 40 percent of voters there want him reelected with 60 percent saying they don't. He trails 2010 opponent Gary McDowell by 46 percent to 41 percent.
  • Renacci is tied with Rep. Betty Sutton (D-Ohio) in the district at 46 percent apiece. The district leans a bit Republican, and he represents more of it. But if the numbers are correct, this will be a dogfight. His approval numbers are underwater as well, with 38 percent disapproving and only 31 percent approving of him.
  • Gibbs's approval rating is 34 percent and he trails a generic Democrat in the race 43 percent to 42 percent. If Democrats can field a strong candidate here they could have a good shot at beating him.
  • Johnson holds a 1-point lead over former Rep. Charlie Wilson (D-Ohio), who is running against him once again in a blue-collar southeastern Ohio district.
  • Bartlett has decided to run for reelection despite his advanced age and Democrats making him a redistricting target. He is tied with an unnamed Democratic candidate in the district, which now stretches from western Maryland to Washington suburbs. But he runs ahead of Republicans generally: While he and the congressional GOP both have 39 percent approval in the district, his disapproval is only 44 percent while theirs is 52 percent. The centrist Republican will have to show he can shake off the rust and run a strong campaign to introduce himself to new voters to hold on here.
  • Tipton leads state Rep. Sal Pace 46 percent to 39 percent, but his numbers are soft: 39 percent of voters say he should be reelected, while 54 percent say he should be replaced. His new suburban Denver district is a tossup, and Democrats are bullish that once Pace gets his name out, he'll be a formidable candidate.

The polls were conducted from Jan. 18-23 and had margins of error ranging from plus or minus 3.1 percentage points to plus or minus 4.4 points, depending on the district.

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GOP ad ties Democrat to former Rep. Wu in Oregon special House race

The Republican nominee in the special House race to replace former Rep. David Wu (D-Ore.) released a television ad Wednesday that ties the Democratic candidate to the scandal that forced Wu out of office.

The 30-second television ad from Republican Rob Cornilless campaign attacks Democrat Suzanne Bonamici and will air on broadcast stations in the Portland, Ore., area. It is believed to be the Cornilles campaigns closing ad and will run for the remainder of the election. 

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Former GOP Rep. Shays officially announces Conn. Senate bid

Former Rep. Chris Shays (R-Conn.) on Tuesday officially announced his campaign for the seat held by retiring Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.).

Shays represented Connecticut in the House for 22 years before being defeated in 2008 by Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.). He is competing in the GOP primary with wrestling mogul Linda McMahon, who won the primary in 2010 for the states other Senate seat, but lost in the general election.

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