| • FL-Sen: There's one more poll of the GOP primary in the Florida Senate race, and it's even more dire for Charlie Crist than the Rasmussen poll from earlier in the week: Crist trails Marco Rubio 48-30, according to a poll commissioned by the Chamber of Commerce. (Remember that their previous poll, back in October, had Crist leading Rubio 44-30, and even that was considered something of a warning sign at the time.) Meanwhile, Jim DeMint seems to be actively goading Crist into switching parties - something he might want to be careful about, thinking back to that R2K poll showing that was Crist's best shot at being Florida's next Senator. (And Aaron Blake is certainly noticing that Crist is sounding more "independent," for what that's worth.) Finally, while Jeb Bush will probably never come right out and endorse Rubio over Crist, he's pretty much hitting us over the head with a sledgehammer as to how he feels about the race, saying that Crist's support of the stimulus was "unforgivable."
• IN-Sen: While Baron Hill is continuing to let his interest in filling in as Senate candidate be known, DSCC head Bob Menendez seems to be moving full speed ahead on coronating fellow Rep. Brad Ellsworth, saying he "is going to be a great candidate." (In other Menendez news today, he's confirming that there aren't going to be any more Democratic retirements this cycle.) Meanwhile, Evan Bayh is trying to walk back his douchey comments delivered as he walked out the door last week about how the stimulus didn't create any new jobs (in the face of CBO estimates that indicated he was off by about 2 million). Now he's downgraded that to it's "probably largely true if limited to the last six months," whatever that means.
• KY-Sen (pdf): Who would've thought, even half a year ago, that Republican SoS Trey Grayson's biggest problem wouldn't be the general election but even getting out of the primary? Republican pollster Magellan (independent of either candidate) released a poll of the GOP primary, finding Rand Paul overwhelming Grayson, 44-23. Grayson and Paul are busy trading blows over coal, each accusing the other of being insufficiently pro-coal.
• NY-Sen-B: As the search goes on for a celebrity candidate for the Republican nomination to go up against Kirsten Gillibrand, a new name has just bubbled up that may leave some people scratching their heads: Dan Senor, the former Bush adviser (and husband to CNN's Campbell Brown). He's currently talking to "money types" about the race.
• PA-Sen: Franklin & Marshall's new poll of the Pennsylvania Senate race doesn't contain much good news for either Arlen Specter or Joe Sestak; they're both losing to ex-Rep. Pat Toomey, at least among likely voters. Specter trails Toomey 44-34 and Sestak is down by an even worse 38-20. However, they fare much better among registered voters, with Specter beating Toomey 33-29 and Toomey beating Sestak 25-22. (As far as trendlines go, last month Toomey and Specter were tied among RVs at 40 each, and Toomey led Specter 45-31 among LVs, so it's actually a bit of an improvement.) Specter has the edge in the Democratic primary, up 33 to 16 (little changed from 30-13 last month). Meanwhile, Toomey has tried publicly to put some distance between himself and his Wall Street past, but it's clear that he's privately still eager to take their money in order to fight his opponents' "populist" agenda. (Hmm... that may be the first time in history anyone has ever called Arlen Specter "populist.") Toomey's approach is just part of a larger movement, profiled in detail by the Washington Post, about how Wall Street contributions are increasingly flowing away from the Dems and back toward their usual friends in the GOP.
• CA-Gov: One more poll has Meg Whitman overwhelming Insurance Comm. Steve Poizner by a wide margin in the GOP primary: 60-12, suggesting that her ad blitz while the other candidates have stayed silent has paid off (for now). The poll was taken by M4 Strategies on behalf of the Small Business Action Committee (although it's not clear if they have a horse in the race).
• FL-Gov: There are dueling ads in the Florida governor's race already. In an indication of how topsy-turvy everybody's messaging has gotten in the last year, the RGA is attacking the Democratic candidate, Alex Sink, for being an elitist banker, while the Democrats are attacking Bill McCollum for voting for congressional pay raises and to lift the debt limit.
• IA-Gov: Ed Fallon, whom you may remember for his primary challenge to Rep. Leonard Boswell a few years ago, sounds like he's sniffing out the possibility of a primary challenge to Gov. Chet Culver now. Fallon says the party needs someone stronger than Culver (who's in bad position in the polls vis-à-vis Terry Branstad, although that has more to do with Branstad's strength than Culver's own approvals).
• PA-Gov: The same Franklin & Marshall poll doesn't look at general election matchups in the gubernatorial race, seeing as how the Democratic field is completely unsettled (although, given the Senate numbers and the lack of name rec for all the Dems, I wouldn't expect those numbers to be very appealing). At any rate, they find Tom Corbett on track to win the GOP nod, beating state Rep. Sam Rohrer 26-4. The Dem side is utterly dominated by "undecided," with Allegheny Co. Exec Dan Onorato, Auditor Jack Wagner, and ex-Rep. Joe Hoeffel all tied for the lead at 6. (That's not a misprint.) Scranton mayor Chris Doherty (who just dropped out) is at 4, with state Sen. Anthony Williams still in close striking distance at 1.
• RI-Gov: Here's one of the first definitive-sounding polls in a very interesting gubernatorial race, courtesy of Brown University. Ex-Sen. Lincoln Chafee seems to be in pole position in his independent bid, although his lead over Democratic state Treasurer Frank Caprio isn't that big: Chafee leads 34-28, with 12 for Republican John Robitaille. Chafee has a bigger lead over Democratic AG Patrick Lynch 32-17, with 13 for Robitaille. There are still a lot of undecideds in the Dem primary, but Caprio leads Lynch, 30-21.
• TX-Gov: Rasmussen takes what may be its last look at the Texas gubernatorial race before the primary next Tuesday. The real question may be shaping up to be whether Rick Perry can escape the primary without a runoff. Perry's in the lead with 48, with Kay Bailey Hutchison at 27 and Debra Medina at 16. (The last Rasmussen poll was three weeks ago, before both Medina's surge and then subsequent crash, so the numbers really aren't that different from that poll's 44-29-14.) Rasmussen also finds a competitive general election, with nice trendlines for Democratic candidate Bill White from the last poll. White loses to Rick Perry 47-41 (instead of 48-39), and loses to KBH 47-38, while beating Medina 47-37 (instead of losing to her 41-38, like last time). Kay Bailey Hutchison may have signaled that she's thrown in the towel, admitting in an AP interview that she's been flummoxed by Perry's success at casting her as a Washington insider. John Cornyn is now saying that he hopes KBH decides to stick around as a Senator "if" she loses the governor's race -- I don't think you have too much to worry about there, John.
• KS-01: SurveyUSA has a poll out of the GOP primary in a race that's gotten little attention: the election to fill the open seat left behind in the dark-red 1st by Rep. Jerry Moran's Senate run. At R+23, the only question is whether semi-wingnut or super-wingnut wins. It actually looks like semi-wingnut might win: state Sen. Jim Barnett (who seems more in Moran's mold) is leading fellow state Sen. Tim Huelskamp (the Club for Growth's endorsee) 23-16. Former Sam Brownback CoS Rob Wasinger is in 3rd place at 8.
• PA-06: Some cryptic comments from Lower Merion Twp. Commissioner Brian Gordon have him sounding like his short campaign in the 6th is about to come to an end (after he managed only 1 vote at the Chester Co. Democratic Party endorsement shindig where Manan Trivedi prevailed), with an eye toward another whack at Rep. Jim Gerlach in two years. He said "I'm either the last candidate out for 2010 or the earliest guy in for 2012."
• PA-12: Now we know the dates for the party meeting where the nominees for the May 18 special election in the 12th get picked. For the Dems, the state executive committee will pick a nominee on March 8. For the GOP, a convention held in Latrobe on March 11 will pick the nominee. One other Dem is also floating his name out there for the nod: former Cambria County Controller Albert Penska. Meanwhile, no one's quite sure what happens to the half a million dollars in campaign cash left behind by Rep. John Murtha. It looks like money reserved for the upcoming general election will need to be refunded, but the money in his leadership PAC is up for grabs.
• VA-05: I wonder if this presages an independent/Tea Party run by ex-Rep. Virgil Goode, or if he's just looking to keep his face in the news? Goode is planning to address a Lynchburg teabagger gathering next week. Goode, who briefly was an Independent in between being a Democrat and a Republican during his Congressional tenure, has already announced that he won't run for the Republican nomination again.
• VA-09: It sounds like Republican state House majority leader Morgan Griffith is pulling the trigger on a run against Rep. Rick Boucher in the 9th, and has the endorsement of the other two GOP legislators who'd considered the race. Boucher is already acting fast to shore up his right flank, touting his most recent endorsement from the NRA.
• WA-03: There's one less Republican in the GOP field in the 3rd, as Washougal mayor pro tem Jon Russell pulled out of the race and endorsed state Rep. Jaime Herrera. (Interestingly, businessman David Castillo, rather than Herrera, seems to have most of the endorsements from area politicians in this race, despite not being an elected official -- although he seems to have locked many of these endorsements down before Brian Baird retired and Herrera got in.) Russell is still looking to move up; he'll be running for the House seat in LD-18 vacated by Herrera.
• Blue Dogs: The Center for Responsive Politics takes a look at fundraising by the Blue Dogs, and finds that they easily outraise their more liberal counterparts among the Dems. The average Blue Dog raised $693K last year, $75K more than the average non-Blue Dog Democrat. Is it a question of them being more vulnerable and needing more money, or them being more corporate-friendly? Or more accurately, is it a question of them being more vulnerable and thus needing more money and thus needing to be more corporate-friendly in order to get money from the people who have money to give?
• Redistricting: In its ongoing series looking at redistricting battles in various states, the Rose Institute at Claremont McKenna College has a very thorough rundown of what all is at stake in Florida in the next few years. Complicating matters is the potential passage of a "Fair Districts" initiative that will be on the ballot this year (and seems to be on track to pass), which would restrict the parties' ability to gerrymander.