| • KY-Sen: The Louisville Courier-Journal has something of a compendium of Rand Paul's Greatest Hits, selecting the dodgiest bits from his public appearances from the last decade. While the whole thing's worth a look, the highlight most likely to attract the most attention is his criticisms of the current health care system and how it "keeps patients from negotiating lower prices with their doctors." Bwack bwack bwack bwack bwack bwack...
• LA-Sen: A key David Vitter aide has resigned after his long rap sheet was revealed, perhaps most significantly that he pled guilty in 2008 to charges associated with a "knife-wielding altercation" with an ex-girlfriend, as well as that he's still wanted on an open warrant in Baton Rouge on DWI charges. Perhaps most disturbingly, this was an aide that Vitter had been assigned to "oversee women's issues."
• MO-Sen: I'll bet you'd forgotten that Roy Blunt had a teabagging primary challenger, in the form of state Sen. Roy Purgason (I had). Well, Purgason wants you to know that, despite complete silence from the DeMint/RedState/CfG/FreedomWorks axis, he's still hanging in there; he just rolled out an endorsement from one of his Senate colleagues, Matt Bartle.
• NV-Sen: Well, this doesn't look good for John Ensign. Staffers, in depositions, have told the Senate Ethics Committee that, yes, they knew that the one-year lobbying ban was being broken when they helped set up former Ensign staffer and cuckolded husband Doug Hampton with a cushy lobbying gig.
• NY-Sen-B: After Quinnipiac didn't even bother polling him this week, Joe DioGuardi (who holds the Conservative ballot line and its trying to petition into the GOP primary) wants you to know he's still in this thing. He released an internal poll from the ubiquitous POS showing that he's within 11 points of Kirsten Gillibrand (49-38), and, more plausibly, that he has a big edge in the GOP primary, at 21 against Bruce Blakeman's 7 and David Malpass at 3.
• OR-Sen: Rasmussen has been working hard to convince people that there just might be a competitive race in Oregon for Ron Wyden, against little-known law professor Jim Huffman. Looking to head that off at the pass, Wyden rolled out an internal poll today from Grove Insight that should be a bucket of cold water for the Huffman camp: Wyden leads 53-23.
• CA-Gov: I'm not sure how much of this is Politico just, as is its wont, looking for drama where there isn't much, and how much of this is genuine discontent. But they have an article today about an increasing sense among Dem insiders of wondering when Jerry Brown is going to drop the Zen approach and, if not attack Meg Whitman, at least work on some of the infrastructural aspects of the campaign.
• CT-Gov: Ned Lamont got a key labor endorsement, from the state's largest teachers' union, the Connecticut Education Association. Lamont and Dan Malloy have split the endorsements from the various trade unions. Meanwhile, on the GOP side, Tom Foley got an endorsement that may help him with that all-important demographic bloc of Massachusetts expatriates; ex-Gov. William Weld gave Foley his backing.
• MI-Gov: Peter Hoekstra got an endorsement from his next-door neighbor in the House, outgoing (and considerably more moderate) Rep. Vern Ehlers, who had earlier said he wouldn't endorse but qualified that by saying "If there is an exceptional candidate that appears to be lagging" he'd endorse. Hoekstra in fact does seem to be lagging, facing a seeming surge from AG Mike Cox in the GOP gubernatorial primary.
• MN-Gov: This seems odd; when she pulled the plug on her campaign after the DFL convention, Ramsey Co. DA Susan Gaertner said she didn't want to get in the way of the historic prospect of a female governor and didn't want to be a spoiler for Margaret Anderson Kelliher. So what did she do today? She endorsed Matt Entenza in the DFL primary instead.
• NM-Gov (pdf): Magellan (a Republican pollster, but one who've started releasing a lot of polls where they don't have a candidate) is out with a poll of the New Mexico governor's race, and like several other pollsters are finding the Diane Denish/Susana Martinez race to be in tossup territory. They find the Republican Martinez leading Denish 44-43. There's a huge gender gap here: women support Denish 48-36, while men support Martinez 53-36. One other item from the crosstabs, which either casts some doubt on the findings or else is the key to why Martinez may win this: while Martinez is losing in Albuquerque-based NM-01, she's actually winning in NM-03 (45-41), the most liberal of the state's three districts but also the most-heavily Latino.
• AL-07: Local African-American organizations (the same ones who threw their backing to Ron Sparks in the gubernatorial primary) seem split on what do to in the runoff in the 7th. The Alabama New South Coalition (who'd backed Earl Hilliard Jr. in the primary) has now endorsed Terri Sewell, while the Alabama Democratic Conference is backing Shelia Smoot.
• OH-05: Rep. Bob Latta languishes as one of the GOP's most obscure back-benchers, but he's in the news because of two different things that happened at a town hall meeting. First, he went birther-agnostic at the meeting in response to a participant's questions, only to try to walk that back later when talking to a reporter. And second, he didn't immediately respond to another participant's suggestion that the President be "shot in the head."
• OK-02: State Sen. Jim Wilson is challenging Rep. Dan Boren in the Democratic primary in the 2nd; he's out with an internal poll from Lake Research with a dismal topline (Boren leads 62-17) but with better numbers on the "informed ballot." The topline numbers aren't that different from Boren's own internal poll released last week. Still, between Boren releasing an internal, airing an anti-Wilson ad, and rolling out an endorsement from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, it's clear Boren is taking the threat seriously.
• Census: The Census Bureau is out this week with its 2009 population estimates of the nation's cities, the last estimate it'll provide before releasing the numbers from the actual 2010 count. Perhaps most notably, they found the population of New York City is up another 45,000 over the last year. NYC's growth over the last decade accounts for two-thirds of the state's population growth over the last decade; as we've discussed before, this means that in the next round of redistricting (Congressional, but especially legislative) the city is going to continue to gain strength at the expense of dwindling Upstate.