| • CT-Sen: CQ looks at how Rob Simmons has been consolidating all of the establishment support in the GOP primary, despite it being a crowded field: he just got the endorsement of state House #2 GOPer (and former state party chair) Bill Hamzy. He's also endorsed by state House minority leader Larry Cafero and 20 members of the state party's central committee. Meanwhile, looking all the way ahead to 2012, Alec Baldwin backed down from earlier provocative statements, saying that he doesn't actually intend to run against Joe Lieberman.
• FL-Sen: Another indicator of a bumpy ride for Charlie Crist in the upcoming primary: he lost a straw poll vote among the Bay County GOP to Marco Rubio by the lopsided margin of 23 to 2. Bear in mind, of course, this is the hardcore party activist faithful in one of the state's most conservative counties in the Panhandle.
• UT-Sen: The Club for Growth has leaped into the circular firing squad in Utah, with a letter-writing campaign targeted at the 3,000+ delegates going to the state GOP's nominating convention next year. AG Mark Shurtleff and potentially Rep. Jason Chaffetz consider taking out long-time Sen. Bob Bennett, who's only very conservative and not super-duper-extra conserative.
• CA-Gov: Two separate polls (from little-known local pollsters) of the Democratic gubernatorial primary show San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom way behind ex-Gov. Jerry Brown. Moore Methods finds Brown leading Newson 49-20 statewide among Dems, while David Binder polled only Dems in San Francisco, where Newsom's support should be its strongest, but finds Brown leading 51-34 even there, with Newsom winning only among the 30-and-under set.
• NJ-Gov: There's a weird feeling in the air that things may actually be starting to turn around in New Jersey... the main question remains whether Jon Corzine got himself into too deep a hole to dig all the way out in time. A lot of that has to do with the ethical malfeasance spotlight swinging back toward Chris Christie, as possible Hatch Act violations and unreported loans tarnish him, stories that dominated a disastrous Christie conference call with reporters yesterday despite Christie's intent of using the call to tar Corzine with the Wall Street brush.
But most significantly, there was the poll that came out yesterday from Republican internal pollster Neighborhood Strategies that showed Christie up only 39%-36% over Corzine among "definite" voters, with Chris Daggett at 6% (and 37-35-6 among likely voters). Even more ominously for Christie, the poll found that the undecided electorate "skews heavily to the left." One big caveat, though: this isn't Christie's pollster, but rather a firm run by Rick Shaftan that worked for Christie's ultra-conservative primary rival Steve Lonegan (it also has a big fat margin of error). Does the Lonegan camp still have an axe to grind? But if they do, how would releasing a juiced poll long after the primary help them out?
• NY-Gov: Tea leaf readers think that Rudy Giuliani is moving closer to running for Governor in 2010. Rudy says he'll decide within the next 30 to 60 days, but some see his involvement in the state GOP party chair imbroglio as evidence of his desire to have the party machinery working smoothly behind him if he runs. Rudy apparently successfully talked state party chair Joseph Mondello into resigning yesterday, but he still has one more hurdle, steering key ally Henry Wojtaszek into the chairman position instead of the presmued frontrunner for the position, Ed Cox (who was a McCain backer in 2008). (Of course, Giuliani's most daunting problem would be one he has no control over -- getting the Democrats to not force David Paterson out to make way for Andrew Cuomo, who all polls show flattening Giuliani.)
• SC-Gov: The South Carolina GOP is back to talking about impeachment again at their legislative retreat next weekend, as Mark Sanford is at a bit of a low point again, thanks to disclosures about his abuses of state and private planes. Meanwhile, AG Henry McMaster made it official that he's getting into the gubernatorial race for the GOP, McMaster launched his bid with a swipe at Sanford, saying there's been too much dishonesty and scandal in the state.
• AL-05: Freshman Rep. Parker Griffith has announced he won't be voting for Nancy Pelosi for Speaker again, saying she's too divisive. Griffith is girding for a difficult first re-election in this R+12 district.
• CA-18: Republicans nailed down a challenger against Dennis Cardoza: Turlock Irrigation Board member Mike Berryhill. This Hispanic-majority district hasn't seen a competitive race in a long time, but at D+4 isn't exactly a slam dunk for Dems.
• GA-04: DeKalb County Commissioner Lee May is now considering a primary challenge to Rep. Hank Johnson, in this district that has seen its share of successful primary challenges recently (although both were against Cynthia McKinney). Based on his closeness with DeKalb County CEO Vernon Jones, it seems like he'd be coming at the very liberal Johnson from the right.
• NE-02: Speaking of primary challenges from the right, here's one in an unusual place: Nebraska's 2nd, where Lee Terry is a reliably conservative vote (although he did vote in favor of TARP, and also famously tried to sell himself to Obama-Terry voters last year). Still, he's facing a possible serious challenge from health care technology company president Matt Sakalosky, who seems to have the money to self-fund. Sakalosky just confirmed he's in the race and has his first campaign event set for Saturday.
• OH-16: Calling all Arena Football fans! (All 2 of you!) Co-owner of the Columbus Destroyers (and former mayor of Akron suburb Wadsworth) Jim Renacci has filed to take on freshman Dem John Boccieri in the Canton-based R+4 district.
• TN-05: Daily Kos is bird-dogging Blue Dog Jim Cooper, and finds he's got some mediocre numbers among the folks back home, with 47-41 favorables and a re-elect of 36% (with 41% consider someone else and 23% definitely replace). R2K also finds that he'd lose support among both Dems and independents if he opposed public option.
• TN-09: Mercurial Memphis mayor Willie Herenton says that he won't, after all, run in the special election to succeed himself, caused by his resignation. Instead, he'll focus on his primary challenge to Steve Cohen in the 9th, which was the point of his original resignation.
• KY-St. Sen.: There's a big special election tonight in northeastern Kentucky, where a vacant state Senate seat will be filled. The two candidates are Democrat Robin Webb and Republican Jack Ditty, who are trying to replace GOPer Charlie Borders, who was appointed by Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear to the Public Service Commission. Republicans currently control the Senate 20-16-1 (and this 1 vacancy).