| • AZ-Sen: J.D. Hayworth may have sunk his own ship, not so much with his history of shilling for free-grant-money scams but with his flip response ("Buyer beware!") when the accusations first came to light. Sensing some traction on the issue, Team McCain is out with a second ad on the topic, this time outright calling Hayworth a "huckster."
• MO-Sen: Roy Blunt is out with his first TV ad in his Senate campaign; it's a feel-good intro spot that seems mostly oriented toward the primary audience. It's the story of a humble high school teacher and university president, with no mention of how he just happened to be the House minority whip (or even a Republican). Blunt is very likely to prevail against teabagging state Sen. Chuck Purgason in the primary (who just got the coveted endorsement of Samuel Wurzelbacher), but would naturally prefer a convincing margin.
• NV-Sen: You know the best way to make sure that people don't go back and look at all the ridiculous things that you said earlier? Don't jump up and down saying "OMG! Don't look at those ridiculous things I said earlier!" Well, that's what Sharron Angle is doing, having scrubbed her website of all the ridiculous things she said back in the GOP primary as part of having "softened" (her words) her image, but having found Harry Reid's campaign preserving her old website as part of his website (ah, the wonders of the cache...). They've now issued a cease-and-desist letter, ordering Reid to stop publishing the ridiculous things she said earlier. Meanwhile, Angle (last seen comparing herself to Abraham Lincoln) is facing a new problem: the possibility that the NRA (unenthused about the much-less-gun-friendly Dick Durbin or Chuck Schumer as majority leader) might actually endorse Harry Reid.
• OH-Sen: Jennifer Brunner reflects back on her Senate primary campaign, with no regrets about her running a shoestring-budget, ground-game-oriented campaign, and also with a few of the same complaints (of behind-the-scenes fundraising blackballing, for which she still offers no proof).
• SC-Sen: Linda Ketner seems like a savvy businesswoman, and the possibility of an independent Senate bid to save SC Dems from Alvin Greene probably didn't strike her as a good investment. The former SC-01 candidate made it official over the weekend that she wouldn't run, telling her petition-gathering supporters to stand down.
• WV-Sen: Following the West Virginia story is a bit like watching a game of ping-pong, because today the story has rapidly bounced back to the likelihood of there being a special election this year to replace Robert Byrd after all. SoS Natalie Tennant, who interpreted the law to say that there won't be an election until 2012, is now saying that's, practically speaking, too long and that the legislature should take that up in a special session this year. Of course, the decision to call a special session is up to Gov. Joe Manchin, the likely eventual occupant of that seat, and it's a question of what timing he thinks is best for him, perception-wise.
Interestingly, there's increasing pressure from both labor (AFL-CIO, UMW) and business (Chamber of Commerce) for Manchin to get it over with and appoint himself to the seat right away rather than using a seat-warmer, suggesting that the perception wouldn't be that bad (compared with many other states, where governors appointing themselves to the Senate has frequently backfired catastrophically). Everybody in West Virginia seems to know how their bread is buttered, and that's facilitated by getting Manchin in there as quick as possible so he can start accruing seniority. The state GOP is moving toward a lawsuit to compel a special election this year, but that may not be necessary if all the state's establishment is already on board with the idea.
• GA-Gov: Insider Advantage is out with new polls of the Republican Georgia gubernatorial primary, and it offers quite a surprise: ex-SoS Karen Handel has shot into a tie with Insurance Comm. John Oxendine, who has had a significant lead for most of this cycle. Handel and Oxendine are both at 18, with ex-Rep. Nathan Deal at 12, and state Sen. Eric Johnson (who's hitting the TV airwaves to attempt a late move) at 8. There may be two factors at work here: one, the increasing public perception that Oxendine is an ethically-challenged sleaze (the Handel camp has taken to calling him "the Rod Blagojevich of Georgia politics), and two, an endorsement for Handel from unusual quarters -- Arizona's Jan Brewer (a fellow former SoS), suddenly promoted from dead-woman-walking to right-wing heroine after her signing of that state's immigrant-bashing law -- that Ed Kilgore thinks have some of the same galvanizing effect as Sarah Palin's embrace of Nikki Haley in South Carolina.
• NE-Gov: There's a lot of backstory behind the strange Mark Lakers dropout that we didn't know about until after he bailed out. It turns out that in May, there was a brouhaha after a number of people were listed as Lakers contributors on his campaign finance reports, some of whom weren't even Lakers supporters at all. This led to calls in June from several prominent Democrats (including a former state party chair) for Lakers to get out of the race, and with his fundraising subsequently stymied (leaving him with $3,293 cash on hand on June 23), he seemed to have no choice but to bail. A replacement can be picked at the state Democratic convention, July 23 to 25.
• TX-Gov: The Supreme Court of Texas (can I just abbreviate that as SCOTex?) has given the Greens a lifeline, and by extension, the Republicans. (Not really a coincidence, seeing as the Texas Supreme Court is a partisan-elected, Republican-controlled body.) They blocked a lower court's order that the Greens be kept off the ballot, letting them meet the certification deadline, although it left open the possibility that they will remove the Greens from the ballot later. The controversy, you'll recall, is over whether the Greens' petition drive was funded by out-of-state corporate money, an illegal in-kind contribution.
• FL-24: Craig Miller, the rich guy running against two underfunded elected officials in the GOP primary, has the lead according to his own internal poll (conducted by McLaughlin & Assocs.). Miller is at 17, with state Rep. Sandy Adams at 11, and Winter Park city councilor Karen Diebel (who had been considered a good get when she got into the race) registering all of 3. The winner faces off against Democratic freshman Rep. Suzanne Kosmas in the Orlando 'burbs.
• KY-06: Attorney Andy Barr, who's running against Democratic Rep. Ben Chandler in the 6th, is enduring some bad PR over his membership in a Lexington-area country club that, until last year, had never had a black member. His response? It's "not an issue," as he's "a member of a lot of organizations." (As an aside, that first member will be familiar to NBA history fans: Sam Bowie, the consensus pick as the worst draft disaster in human history.)
• NY-01: It's usually not good news when your entire advisory infrastructure up and quits all at once, but that's what happened in the campaign of Chris Cox, the Richard Nixon grandson and, more importantly, (state party chair) Ed Cox son who's running a carpetbaggery campaign to represent the Hamptons. Much of the former McCain operation (John Weaver, Mark Salter, etc.) was working for Cox, but left en masse last week. Cox still gathering petitions to get on the GOP ballot (due in five days), so it'll be interesting to see if that even happens now.
• OH-17: Trafican't! (A few other wags have already used that joke today, so don't credit me for it.) Ex-Rep. (and ex-con) Jim Traficant's comeback bid in the 17th came to an ignominious end today, after it was revealed that he didn't have enough signatures to petition onto the ballot as an independent, as over 1,000 of the 3,138 signatures he turned in were invalid. Beam him up, Scotty. (I'm not the first to make that joke either, sorry.)
• TN-08: It's remarkable that the rural, dirt-poor, cheap-media-markets 8th is turning into one of the highest-dollar House races in the whole country. State Sen. Roy Herron, the likely Democratic nominee, had another big quarter, pulling in $350K over the last three months, which gives him $1.2 million CoH banked while the GOPers hammer each other.
• WI-07: The Democratic primary field was once again cleared for state Sen. Julie Lassa in the open seat race in the 7th to replace retiring Rep. David Obey. Joe Reasbeck (on the Some Dude end of the spectrum and not likely to give Lassa much trouble anyway) dropped out, citing family concerns. She'll likely face Ashland Co. DA Sean Duffy, who does still face a contested primary.
• Redistricting: Redistricting in Florida in 2012 is dependent on what happens with the two Fair Districts initiatives (Amendments 5 and 6) on the ballot in November this year, which would limit the Republican-held legislature's ability to gerrymander to their liking. (Unless Amendment 7, backed by a coalition of Republicans and minority Democrats, also passes, which would largely neuter 5 and 6.) The Orlando Sentinel looks at some of the difficulty the GOP may have with drawing favorable maps amidst burgeoning population growth in central Florida even if they can gerrymander at will, though; Hispanic populations there have been growing and Democrats have moved into a registration advantage in many areas.