| • FL-Sen: As much as Charlie Crist seems to have benefited from his switch to an independent bid, he still has to deal with blowback from a lot of ticked-off Republicans. A group of GOPers, led by state Rep. Tom Grady, has filed a class action lawsuit against Crist to get back their contributions which they thought would be used to support a Republican. Meanwhile, with Crist running around looking gubernatorial amidst the oil spill crisis, and the media having lost interest with the Republican primary settled, Marco Rubio now finds himself in an unusual position (which may be reflected in recent polls): the guy who isn't getting any attention.
• IL-Sen: Well, it took Mark Kirk a couple months to do what Richard Blumenthal took a few days to do, but he finally got around to apologizing today in a press conference for his various "careless" embellishments of his military and teaching records.
• KS-Sen: SurveyUSA (6/24-27, likely voters, 5/21-23 in parens):
Jerry Moran (R): 53 (52)
Todd Tiahrt (R): 33 (29)
Other: 5 (4)
Undecided: 9 (15)
SurveyUSA also looks at the Democratic Senate primary (where little-known college professor Lisa Johnston is the surprise leader, at 24, followed by somewhat higher-profile candidates like former newspaper editor Charles Schollenberger at 16 and state Sen. David Haley at 11), and at the Republican gubernatorial primary (where I didn't even know there was a contest anymore, but where Sam Brownback leads Joan Heffington 76-17).
• KY-Sen: With the primary resolved and with Rand Paul having gone into media-related hiding, his fundraising seems to have dwindled accordingly. He held another online moneybomb yesterday, which used to be his bread and butter, but the bomb was more of a dud this time: he banked only $90K by yesterday evening. That's was off from the $400K generated by his largest one last August.
• NJ-Sen: A couple items of good news for Frank Lautenberg: first, he's announced that, after having been treated for lymphoma, his cancer is now in remission. And today, he got Robert Byrd's gavel for the Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security.
• NV-Sen: Sharron Angle, in contrast to Rand Paul, is at least temporarily breaking her media silence tonight... and she's doing it not exactly the friendliest environment either, going on local reporter Jon Ralston's TV show. (Ralston is one of the best left of the dying breed of state-level political reporters; his Twitter feed is highly recommended.) Meanwhile, Nevada Dems are hitting Angle for her decidedly extreme position on abortion (legal under absolutely no circumstances), while the once-thought-ominous Karl Rove 527 American Crossroads is out with a new ad attacking Harry Reid over unemployment.
• WV-Sen: There's quite a long list of potential temporary appointees developing in West Virginia, but ex-Gov. (and current College Board president) Gaston Caperton won't be one of them; he took his name out of the running. In addion to former state party chair Nick Casey and current chair Larry Puccio, other names, all of whom are well-connected with Gov. Joe Manchin, bubbling up today include former Manchin counsel Carte Goodwin, businessman Perry Petropolis, former state Supreme Court justice Richard Neely, and first lady Gayle Manchin.
• AL-Gov: Robert Bentley is touting an internal poll from Dresner Wicker & Associates giving him a substantial lead over Bradley Byrne in the GOP runoff; Bentley leads 46-27, and has 59/9 favorables. Bentley has also pledged no negative ads from his camp, which may be a relief to many Alabamians (and which may have been the secret to Bentley's surprise success in the primary, as he dodged the heavy crossfire between Byrne and Tim James).
• CA-Gov: There's a clear difference in strategy in California's governor's race, with Jerry Brown (who needs to draw Meg Whitman out into the open) agreeing to ten debates and Whitman (who needs to hide behind her ads) agreeing to one. New ads run by Brown surrogates seem to be taking increasing aim at Whitman's tendency to hide behind her large piles of money, too.
• RI-Gov, RI-01, RI-02: The Rhode Island Democratic party issued its endorsements yesterday, and the results weren't good for the party's former state chair (or his brother). Bill Lynch lost the RI-01 endorsement to Providence mayor David Cicilline, while AG Patrick Lynch lost the RI-Gov endorsement to state Treasurer Frank Caprio. In the 2nd, incumbent Jim Langevin got the endorsement over primary challenger state Rep. Betsy Dennigan.
• TX-Gov: The situation with the Texas Greens ballot line isn't quite going away yet. A lower court decided last week to block them from the ballot because their petition drive was illegally funded with an in-kind corporate contribution (with roots tracing back to Rick Perry's former chief of staff). The decision, however, was just appealed to the Texas Supreme Court (which, of course, is Republican-controlled and not averse to the occasionally nakedly political decision).
• ID-01: Here, maybe, is another instance of the Chamber of Commerce realizing that conservative Democrats do a better job of addressing big business's needs for a functioning physical and educational infrastructure than do the group of anarchists who seem to have seized control of the GOP? The US Chamber of Commerce just gave freshman Dem Walt Minnick their endorsement.
• LA-02: Rep. Joe Cao has had to back down on a fundraising letter that strongly implies that the local Catholic diocese and Archbishop Gregory Aymond backed his candidacy. Cao apologized for taking Aymond's praise for him out of context.
• MI-03: Well, at least we now know who to cheer against in the GOP primary to replace retiring Rep. Vern Ehlers. The Club for Growth announced yesterday that they're backing state Rep. Justin Amash, meaning that Amash must have impressed the far-right group with his level of disdain for public spending. (JL)
• PA-07: Philly's just a short Amtrak ride from Washington DC, and Joe Biden will be there July 19 to host a combined fundraiser for the DCCC and for the Dem candidate in the 7th, state Rep. Bryan Lentz.
• TX-17: Here's an article that's an interesting reminder of how all politics is, in the end, local, and how it can turn on stuff that's a million miles away from inside-the-Beltway concerns. Politico looks at the race in the 17th, which is very much a Waco/Baylor (Chet Edwards) vs. College Station/Texas A&M (Bill Flores) contest, with the recent (now irrelevant, though) proposal to break apart the Big 12 a key flashpoint.
• WV-01: Old man yells at cloud? Initially, the idea of a legendary West Virginia Democratic politician setting up a PAC with the pure intent of stopping Democratic nominee Mike Oliverio from winning in November sounds like a game-changing impediment. From the backstory, though, it sounds like former SoS Ken Hechler may not have that much oomph behind his vendetta, which seems mostly motivated by Oliverio's 2004 failed primary challenge to him in the SoS primary, where Oliverio's entire argument seemed predicated on the fact that Hechler was 89. (If you do the math, that makes him 95 now. I guess the secret to longevity is to become a Democrat in West Virginia!)
• CA-Init: Don't count on California making the switch to the Washington-style top-two primary just yet, despite the passage of Proposition 14 earlier this month. The major and minor parties are weighing legal challenges to it, and they're watching with interest the latest round of litigation on the matter in Washington. (The US Supreme Court has already upheld a state's authority to switch to a top-two primary, but there's a new suit pending on new grounds.)