We've got an epic night of liveblogging on tap tomorrow night. Here's our preview of the races that you need to watch:
AR-Sen(D): There's not a whole lot more that need be said about this race between Lt. Gov. Bill Halter and Sen. Blanche Lincoln. Before election day, it looked like Lincoln might win outright in the first round, but she wound up performing poorly, edging Halter just 45-43. Meanwhile third-wheel conservaweirdo D.C. Morrison pulled a surprisingly impressive 13%. Will his voters go to Lincoln as the candidate further to the right? Go to Halter as the anti-Lincoln vote? Or just stay home? It's impossible to say, but we'll have our answers soon enough. Historically, incumbents running for statewide office who only narrowly lead in the first round tend to fare poorly in runoffs, so it looks like Halter's in the driver's seat. But this one could be very close yet again. (D)
AR-01(D): Yikes. This race pits conservative Democrat Chad Causey against really, really conservative Democrat Tim Wooldridge. (Wooldridge once proposed legislation to bring back public hanging, for starters.) Causey, a former chief-of-staff to retiring Rep. Marion Berry, trailed Wooldridge, a former state senator, 38-27 in the first round. But he seems to have consolidated a lot of support since then, scoring endorsements from several also-rans as well as Bill Clinton. Wooldridge released an internal poll last week showing him up 48-24, but the polling memo was oddly framed as an attack on Causey, which doesn't exactly project confidence. Causey hasn't released any new polling, but he claims a pre-runoff poll of his own showed him trailing 31-5, so he's spinning this as a 27% surge for him, but just a 7% increase for Wooldridge. (D)
AR-02(D): The contours of this runoff differ quite a bit from AR-01. Here, state House Speaker Robbie Wills faces off against state Senate Majority Leader Joyce Elliott, who led 40-28 after the first round. Since then, things have gotten very negative. Wills, an insider's insider who is close to Gov. Mike Beebe, has attacked Elliott - who just so happens to be both black and a woman - as too liberal for the district. Some Elliott supporters have decried Wills's arguments about "electability" as racially motivated, and she's hit Wills with some negative ads herself. Both candidates have picked up support from also-rans, and in the absence of any polls, we can only say that it's anyone's race. (D)
AR-03(R): In this final Arkansas runoff on our list, state Sen. Cecile Bledsoe is up against Rogers Mayor Steve Womack. Womack took the first round by a sizable 31-13 margin over Bledsoe (who herself edged the awesomely named Gunner DeLay by just 150 votes to secure the second-place spot). But Bledsoe seems to have gotten a larger share of endorsements (including from the also-rans), as well as a big score from Moose Lady herself, Sarah Palin. The race has turned pretty negative, with Womack accusing Bledsoe of hiking taxes as a state legislator, while Bledsoe has directly compared Womack to Barack Obama on a range of issues, including immigration. The winner here is almost guaranteed a seat in Congress, given the R+16 nature of the district. (D)
CA-Gov(R): Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner has spent $25 million of his own money on this primary, which sounds like an enormous sum - until, of course, you recall (and how could you forget?) that former eBay CEO Meg Whitman has spent an brain-bending $80 mil, also self-financed. For a brief moment a month ago, it looked like Whitman's poor campaign skills (and a possible backlash to her wild over-spending) were going to make the race close - SurveyUSA even showed Poizner just two points back. But the last half-dozen polls (including another from SUSA) have all given had her ahead by at least 24. The winner will take on Jerry Brown, who has spent barely a dime and has a $20 million warchest. (D)
CA-Sen(R): For all of 2009, the Republican primary in the Senate race pitted Carly Fiorina -- who followed getting fired as Hewlett-Packard's CEO with getting fired as a McCain campaign surrogate -- as the sorta-moderate, NRSC-backed establishment choice, against Assemblyman Chuck DeVore as the right-wing movement conservative. The race got scrambled in January when ex-Rep. Tom Campbell (who lost the 2000 Senate race to Dianne Feinstein) bailed out of the Governor's race, where he was badly financially outgunned, to the Senate race, where he was at least in the same financial universe. Campbell (whose entry forced Fiorina to move to the right) maintained significant leads over Fiorina for much of 2010, but then in the closing weeks of the campaign, Campbell ran short on funds just as Fiorina opened up her wallet to double down on advertising, which has allowed her to open up double-digit leads down the home stretch. We'll have to see if Campbell's last-minute pitch (a Hail Mary based purely on his electability in November) works, but polls point to a Fiorina victory -- which has to be heartening to Barbara Boxer, who, despite Fiorina's self-funding capacity, would doubtlessly rather face Fiorina and her pile of vulnerabilities and weird political instincts (as seen in some of the oddest political advertising, well, ever). (C)
CA-LG(D): The battle of the heavyweights characterize this race, a classic NorCal v. SoCal showdown, with San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom taking a downgrade from slugging it out with Jerry Brown at the top of the ticket. In the SoCal corner is Janice Hahn, a Los Angeles City Councilwoman (and sister of former LA Mayor James), who represents the Harbor area. Newsom's had his share of scandals but has also garnered his share of endorsements, especially from the NorCal political establishment, notably Dianne Feinstein, Speaker Pelosi, and Senate President Darrell Steinberg, but also Assembly Speaker John Perez (of Los Angeles) and four of the state's five largest papers. Hahn's far from alone in her corner though, bagging the endorsements of the California Federation of Teachers, the Teamsters, and EMILY's List as well as her brother's successor as Mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa. A poll in February had Newsom leading Hahn 33-17, but this was before the exit of Senator Dean Florez of Kern County. Undecideds are still high here, leaving this race still up in the air. (JMD)
CA-LG(R): After being rejected the first time by the Assembly, Central Coast Senator Abel Maldonado was finally confirmed and sworn in to replace now-Congressman John Garamendi (D). Maldonado, who carved a relatively moderate profile in the State Senate, isn't getting a free pass from the conservative wing of the party and is being challenged his former colleague Sam Aanestad, who represents a sprawling district from Placer County north to the Oregon state line. Aanestad, who's term-limited this time, was notably, one of 7 senators to vote against Maldonado's confirmation. Four other minor candidates round out the field, but this race remains very much Maldonado v. Aanestad in an oft-repeated pattern of "moderate" vs. unabashed conservative. (JMD)
CA-AG(D): For an office previously held by old white guy and older (albeit would-be governor) white guy, the field to replace the outgoing Moonbeam is surprisingly diverse. There's Facebook's former Chief Privacy Officer Chris Kelly, former LA City Attorney and 2006 rerun Rocky Delgadillo, San Francisco DA Kamala Harris (who, on the diversity front, is half-Indian and half-Jamaican-American), and three termed-out Assemblymen playing musical chairs: Ted Lieu of Torrance, Pedro Nava of Santa Barbara, and Alberto Torrico of Newark. There's also attorney Mike Shmier, who hasn't yet filed a campaign finance report and isn't a contender. Harris is viewed as the frontrunner and has earned the endorsement of four of state's five largest papers, but she's been busy fighting an air war with Kelly, who's now criticizing his former company and siding with MoveOn against Facebook's questionable privacy policies. Survey USA had Harris narrowly leading Kelly 25-17 with Delgadillo behind at 13% in late May, but given the wide geographic distribution of candidates - three are from the Bay area with one each from San Francisco, the East Bay, and the South Bay; one from the Central Coast, and two from LA - and the sheer number of credible candidates, the only thing certain in this race is that the winner will squeak through with a small plurality. (JMD)
CA-AG(R): Republicans have three candidates of their own vying for the nod for the open Attorney General slot, but unlike the Democrats, they all come from Southern California. There's Los Angeles County DA Steve Cooley, Chapman University (in Orange County) Law School Dean John Eastman, and Senator Tom Harman of Orange County (no relation to CA-36 Rep. Jane Harman). Cooley, elected from a large overwhelmingly Democratic constituency, would no doubt be the strongest candidate for the GOP in the general, but since when has that stopped the cat fud from flying? Both Harman and Eastman are attacking Cooley for being "soft" on crime and insufficiently supportive of the state's three-strikes law. Survey USA recently pegged this race at 29-28 Cooley over Harman with Eastman lagging at 14. While the primary electorate will likely be hard right as the California GOP tends to be, there are two candidates splitting the conservative vote, leaving Cooley an opening to get through. (JMD)
CA-11(R): Brad Goehring captured the hearts and minds of many fans of teh crazy with his comments a few weeks ago about hunting liberals (and his strident non-apologies afterwards), but he's far from the only Republican candidate here jostling for the right to face sophomore Rep. Jerry McNerney. The establishment favorite here is probably David Harmer, an attorney who performed above expectations against John Garamendi in last year's CA-10 special election and then moved east for a more favorable district (at R+1, the state's only GOP-leaning district held by a Dem), and who has fundraised well. Autism advocate Elizabeth Emken and former US Marshal Tony Amador are also in the mix and shouldn't be counted out. (C)
CA-19(R): The Republican primary is the main event here in this reliably red district in the Sierra foothills and Central Valley, where Rep. George Radanovich is retiring after 16 years. Polling indicates that the two main contestants seem to be state Sen. Jeff Denham, Radanovich's hand-picked successor, and former Fresno mayor Jim Patterson, who's the favorite of the Club for Growth crowd. A wild card here is ex-Rep. Richard Pombo, bounced out of the 11th in 2006 but looking for a safer district as a springboard back into office. Between his carpetbagging and sleazy reputation, Pombo has gotten little traction, which is probably the best we can hope for here. (C)
CA-36(D): One of Tuesday's most interesting primaries is in the 36th in southern L.A. County suburbs, one of the bluest districts in the country to be represented by a Blue Dog. Rep. Jane Harman is not one of the worst Blue Dogs, but her occasional high-profile moments of hawkishness or corporatism have raised the ire of many liberal activists who consider her a bad fit for this district. Flying the liberal flag in the primary is Marcy Winograd, who also launched a 2006 challenge against Harman but didn't break 40% -- but that was before Harman's strange role in a scandal last year involving an NSA wiretap and Israeli intelligence. Internal polling seems to point to another Harman victory. (C)
CA-42(R): Rep. Gary Miller is not what you'd ordinarily think of as vulnerable in his dark-red district in some of the wealthiest parts of Orange County, but he might be vulnerable in the GOP primary to a well-funded anti-establishment challenge... and he's got one. Accountant Phil Liberatore has pumped $375K of his own money into the race against Miller, who has long had ethical clouds following him concerning his real estate deals, and now he's also hamstrung by recent revelations of misstating his military service. Unfortunately, as we've seen in so many other GOP primaries this year, the teabagger vote is diluted with the presence of Some Other Dudes, making it likely that Miller wins even if it's with a plurality. (C)
CA-47(R): The GOP seemed to think last year that they might have something here to pull of the upset over Democratic Rep. Loretta Sanchez, although you haven't heard much touting of this race lately. Assemblyman Van Tran is still their preferred choice in the race, but this will be an interesting one to watch because the presence of Tan Nguyen in the race could split the Vietnamese vote (in this Hispanic-majority district) and let Kathy Smith, the lone Anglo candidate, sneak past him. (C)
GA-09 (Special): In this, the fourth-reddest district in the nation by Cook PVI, Barack Obama took just 24% of the vote, so it's not too surprising that in the first round of this election, the top two candidates who advanced were both Republicans. Former state Rep. Tom Graves led former state Sen. Lee Hawkins 35-23 back on May 11, necessitating a runoff since neither man got to 50%. Graves was generally considered to be the front-runner and had consolidated a lot of establishment support - but a startling revelation a little over a week ago has the potential to rock this race. Graves, it turns out, is being sued by a local bank for failure to repay a $2.25 million business loan that was made just last year. Even if he emerges victorious, Graves might emerge battered, and several candidates (including some who lost in the first round) say they plan to challenge whoever wins the runoff in the July 20th primary for the November general. (D)
IA-Gov(R): This race pits four-term ex-Gov. Terry Branstad against conservative gadfly (and frequent candidate) Bob Vander Plaats and state Rep. Rod Roberts. Amazingly enough, only two public polls have been conducted of this race this year, both in the last week. Both have showed Branstad with surprisingly weak numbers in the mid-40s, while Vander Plaats sits at about 30. A big part of the reason is Branstad's uneasy relationship with conservatives (it's hard to be teabagger-pure when you actually have to govern), who appear to be flocking to Vander Plaats. It would be quite the colossal upset if Branstad lost, given his profile and huge fundraising edge. You almost have to wonder if the DGA missed out on an opportunity to ratfuck the Republicans here. We can still hold out a bit of hope for an underdog win of Ron Sparks proportions, though. (D)
IA-02(R): For a longest-of-long-shot races, there sure are a lot of Republicans lining up for a quixotic bid against Rep. David Loebsack in this D+7 district. Most prominent may be businessman Rob Gettemy, who made it to the bottom tier of the NRCC's Young Guns program (although that's largely through fronting $100K of his own money). Other opponents include Marianette Miller-Meeks, an ophthalmologist who didn't break 40% against Loebsack in 2008, Chris Reed, who lost big to Tom Harkin in 2008, and Steve Rathje, who lost the 2008 GOP Senate primary to Reed. (C)
IA-03(R): Aging Democratic Rep. Leonard Boswell has been on the NRCC's target list for a while, as he's been underperforming in the last few elections. Former Iowa St. wrestling coach Jim Gibbons is the NRCC's preferred candidate here, which seems kind of odd since he's never run for office before and there's also a state Senator, Brad Zaun, in the race. Teabagger Dave Funk and moderate Mark Rees are also in the field; this could get split enough ways that nobody clears 35%, which means that the nominee would be decided by convention (where local insiders might tend to opt for Zaun). (C)
ME-Gov(D): I've found it impossible to keep track of the many (and little-known) candidates running for Governor in Maine, and the one public poll of the primaries, released last week, indicates the Mainers have no idea either, with more than half of Dem primary voters undecided. With current Dem Governor John Baldacci termed-out, and no obvious successor in the wake of ex-Rep. Tom Allen's decision not to run, this race has been a big question mark for the last year and a half. The leading Democratic candidate, state Senate president Libby Mitchell, polled at a whopping 13%, with former AG Steve Rowe close behind. Businesswoman Rosa Scarcelli and former state Conservation Commissioner Patrick McGowan are the other Dems. (C)
ME-Gov(R): The Republican side of the Maine gubernatorial race comes a little closer to having a frontrunner, in the form of businessman Les Otten, the founder of the American Skiing Company and former part-owner of the Boston Red Sox... although he's only polling at 17% in the lone public poll of the primaries. Other Republicans piled into the clown car include moderate state Sen. Peter Mills (who narrowly lost the 2006 primary), Waterville mayor Paul LePage, former Susan Collins CoS Steve Abbott, former university president Bill Beardsley, and businessmen Matt Jacobson and Bruce Poliquin. As with the Dem primary, though, it looks like anything could happen, and clues have been few and far between. (C)
NJ-03(R): Republicans have been licking their chops over the possibility of knocking off frosh Dem Rep. John Adler, especially after Chris Christie dominated this CD last November in the state's gubernatorial election. The NRCC's preferred candidate in the race, ex-Philly Eagle Jon Runyan, hasn't been off to a stellar start. He was dinged in the press for a DUI arrest in his college days, a spotty voting record, and the huge property tax breaks that he receives after he decided to designate the area around his home as "farmland". In the months leading up to the primary, there has been little evidence of hustle out of the Runyan camp, and he only managed to scrape together $225K for his campaign (half of which came from his own pockets) so far. Still, Runyan's opponent, '08 primary loser Justin Murphy, raised only $13K and is running a campaign fueled by a few social conservative endorsements, teabagger angst, and fumes. Though Murphy did manage to snag the endorsement of the Philly Inquirer, a Runyan loss would be absolutely stunning -- and would likely doom the GOP's shot at a win here in November.
NJ-07(R): Of all the races worth watching tomorrow, GOP Rep. Leonard Lance's first primary as an incumbent should be lower on your list of priorities. Still, it's not entirely uninteresting, either. Lance, who campaigned as a moderate in 2008, faces a threesome of poorly-funded teabaggers in the primary, the most notable of whom is probably businessman David Larsen, who self-financed $80,000 for his excellent adventure in batshit politics. The teabag set has had a lot of at-bats in many races across the nation so far with mixed results, and this one will surely lower their average. The winner will take on Democratic educator and former Hill aide Ed Potosnak in the fall.
NV-Sen(R): If Sue Lowden loses her primary tomorrow, she'll have laid one of the biggest eggs of the cycle. The former state GOP chair was leading all the polls and had a financial advantage over ex-state Assemblywoman Sharron Angle and '06 SoS candidate Danny Tarkanian, but that appears to have gone up in smoke following a series of self-induced implosions, beginning with her bold solution to reform healthcare, which was of course to let patients trade chickens for medical treatment, just like grandpa used to do. Lowden's campaign never seemed to get back on track after picking one of the strangest hills to die on, giving an opening for the Club for Growth-backed nutcase Angle, who now enjoys sizable leads in all the recent polling, including an eight-point lead in Mason-Dixon's most recent survey. Tarkanian, who surely has to be the GOP's best bet against Reid now that so many warts have been exposed on Lowden and Angle, doesn't appear to be reaping the windfall of Lowden's collapse in the polls. Harry Reid probably doesn't deserve to be this lucky.
NV-Gov(R): It was over before it started, really. Ex-AG Brian Sandoval has led deeply unpopular incumbent Gov. Jim Gibbons, whose gubernatorial career started off badly with assault allegations in 2006 and only got worse from there, in every poll of the race. It promises to be a pathetic end to the career of a truly pathetic politician, which is of course bad news for Democrat (and son of Harry) Rory Reid, who fares poorly against Sandoval in the polls.
SC-Gov(D): As the only statewide-elected Democrat in the race, state School Superintendent Jim Rex might have been expected to out-power his chief rival for the nomination, state Sen. Vince Sheheen. However, Sheheen, by all accounts, has waged a smart, well-funded, and effective campaign, and has beaten Rex in the endorsement contest by a significant margin. PPP's poll of the race showed Sheheen up by 36-30 over Rex, and InsiderAdvantage gave Sheheen a 26-17 edge. State Sen. Robert Ford, who is African-American, is also in the race and is polling in the double-digits, meaning that a runoff is a distinct possibility here.
SC-Gov(R): If you had a gubernatorial primary featuring a sitting lieutenant governor, attorney general, congressman, and state representative - and what's more, that state rep. was closely tied to the scandal-marred current governor and there had been multiple recent allegations about her own marital fidelity - you definitely wouldn't figure her for the frontrunner. Yet that's exactly where Nikki Haley finds herself, ahead of a field that includes Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer, AG Henry McMaster, and Rep. Gresham Barrett. Haley's done it by getting the backing of the Club for Growth, Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney, and, of course, the Mark Sanford machine, who evidently must not be as toxic as you might imagine. In a field this crowded with heavyweights, it would be a miracle for anyone to win 50% in the first round, though PPP's last poll had Haley at 43, suggesting it could happen. (D)
SC-01(R): With nine names on the Republican primary ballot for the open seat being left behind by the master of crumb-bummery, Rep. Henry Brown, this race is almost definitely going to a run-off in three weeks. The Club for Growth's horse in this race, state Rep. Tim Scott, held a wide lead in a Club-commissioned poll, while an internal poll from late April had Carroll "Tumpy" Campbell, the son of a former Governor, with a slight lead. Also in the mix is attorney Paul Thurmond (another legacy choice, as Strom's son). Democrats initially courted a number of names for this seat, which Democrat Linda Ketner lost by only 4% in 2008, but Robert Burton, a former member of the Board of Commissioners of the State Housing Finance and Development Authority, is the only name of note to run.
SC-03(R): Don't get your hopes up about the Dems picking up this open seat, vacated by Rep. Gresham Barrett for his gubernatorial bid; it's R+17 and about as evangelical as any corner of the country. After starting out with a crowded field and a lot of winnowing, it's basically down to a two-man race, so we might not see a runoff here. The two contestants are both state Reps., although their varying endorsements help us to identify which flavor of wingnut they each are: Rex Rice has the endorsement of Mike Huckabee, while Jeff Duncan has the Club for Growth's endorsement. (C)
SC-04(R): Will Rep. Bob Inglis be the next Republican incumbent to lose a primary? It could very well happen. It's a little bit difficult for a sane person to describe exactly what Inglis's sins are, given that he's compiled a very conservative voting record over his career. One big one sticks out: He voted for TARP (aka the bailout), which was a big contributor toward bringing down Sen. Bob Bennett in Utah. Inglis has also occasionally said some non-crazy things, and admitted that he can't "identify" with the "hard right" - true fightin' words in a GOP contest. Spartanburg County Solicitor Trey Gowdy has raised half-a-million bucks, a decently impressive sum for a challenger - and that almost matches Inglis's haul, which seems pretty weak for a sitting congressman. A just-released PPP poll showed Gowdy up 37-33, with everyone else in single digits. If no one gets 50%, there will be a run-off in just two weeks, on June 22nd. (D)
SD-Gov(R): Without any public polling of this race, it's impossible to say with certainty what the outcome in the GOP gubernatorial primary will be. However, in terms of money raised, Lt. Gov. Dennis Daugaard is clearly in the lead. Daugaard's raised over $1.65 million over of the course of his campaign, twice that of his nearest rival, state Senate Majority Leader Dave Knudsen. Rounding out the field are state Sen. Gordon Howie, rancher Ken Knuppe, and former Brookings Mayor Scott Munsterman. Daugaard also enjoys the backing of outgoing Gov. Mike Rounds, but he'll need to clear the 35% mark to avoid a run-off later this month. The winner will face Democratic state Sen. Scott Heidepriem.
SD-AL(R): One other race where there's a backlog of Republicans trying to get the nomination is South Dakota's at-large seat, where Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin is usually safe but could be vulnerable with a big enough wave. The biggest name in the GOP primary is Secretary of State Chris Nelson, who may be able to win this simply based on his statewide name recognition, as his two opponents are state Representatives (who obviously have very small constituencies in South Dakota). Blake Curd, a surgeon in his spare time, has been dipping into his own money to raise his profile, and Kristi Noem has also been advertising on TV, so Nelson is by no means a lock. (C)
VA-02(R): In the race to make Democrat Glenn Nye the One-Term Guy, the NRCC likes auto dealer Scott Rigell, which of course means that the GOP base distrusts his candidacy. They do have a compelling reason, though, as Rigell has a big black mark on his record -- a $1,000 donation to Obama a couple years ago. Still, a Rigell loss would be something of an upset; not only does he enjoy the backing of Gov. Bob McDonnell, he's invested nearly $700K into his campaign and raised another half-mil on top of that. One candidate who has almost matched Rigell to the dollar is businessman Ben Loyola, and Army Reserve Brig. Gen. Bert Mizusawa brought in nearly $500K for his campaign. A Public Opinion Strategies internal gave Rigell a big lead, with Loyola and Mizusawa struggling to break out of single digits.
VA-05(R): With his vote for Democratic Gov. Mark Warner's 2004 budget (which contained significant budget-correcting tax increases), GOP state Sen. Robert Hurt invited years of hatred by the teabagger sect of the Republican base. Yet the field of challengers running against Democrat Tom Perriello is so large and so fragmented, that it seems probable that Hurt will slip through the primary with an underwhelming plurality. Hurt's competitors include Albemarle County Commissioner Ken Boyd, real estate investor Laurence Verga, teacher/activist Feda Kedd Morton, but no one appears to have caught fire. If Hurt does win, he'll have to watch his right flank: Teabagger Jeffrey Clark says he'll launch an independent bid if Hurt wins the primary.
VA-11(R): Republicans are charging hard to claw back this suburban NoVA district, which has a Cook PVI of D+2, from the clutches of Democrat Gerry Connolly. '08 candidate and self-funding businessman Keith Fimian is back for another try, but he's facing a primary from someone who knows a thing or two about actually getting, y'know, elected: Fairfax County Supervisor Pat Herrity. Herrity and Fimian have both blasted each other on taxes (Fimian for not paying his, Herrity for raising them), but Fimian has brought the bigger war chest to the race. Both camps claim big leads in their internal polling. They both can't be right!
CA-Proposition 14: California voters get the chance to adopt a Washington-style top two primary system.
CA-33 (D): Former Assembly Speaker Karen Bass is vying for the Dem nod to replace retiring Rep. Diane Watson.
CA-45(R): GOP Rep. Mary Bono Mack vs. teabagger Clayton Thibodeau.
CA-50 (D): '06 candidate Francine Busby vs. attorney Tracy Emblem.
ND-AL(R): State Rep. Rick Berg vs. oilfield consultant J.D. Donaghe.