| • FL-Sen: Here's one way the rich & powerful are different from you and me: You can, if you're GOP state Sen. Mike Haridopolos, manage to leave clients worth $100,000 of income and a house valued at $400,000 off of your financial disclosure forms and have it be judged "inadvertent." Here's another way: you get to have the people doing the judging be your friends. Indeed, the chair of the committee responsible for punishing Haridopolos, former FL GOP chair & state Sen. John Thrasher, had endorsed his senate bid just last month. When asked if he should have recused himself, Thrasher said, "Hell, no. I think that's a total political bunch of crap from the Democratic Party of Florida. They're used to losing, obviously." And what's half a million bucks between friends?
• MT-Sen, MT-Gov, MT-AL: A firm called NSON Opinion Strategy took a poll of all three Montana races for the a conservative radio host, Aaron Flint of the Northern News Network, and a conservative consulting firm, 47 North Communications. Note that despite our very early point in the cycle, they tested likely voters. Anyhow, they found Rep. Denny Rehberg (R) narrowly leading Sen. Jon Tester, 47-44, in the senate race. In the open house race, they have Republican Steve Daines on top of Dem Frankie Wilmer, 31-22 (and obviously a ton of undecideds). Incidentally, Rehberg just endorsed Daines, the only announced Republican candidate so far.
NSON also checked on the gubernatorial primaries for both parties, but there's no suggestion of an oversample, and I'm not in the habit of reporting polls where the n is in the vicinity of 200, so you'll have to click through if you want the numbers.
• NV-Sen: I, like you, had been wondering why in the hell Harry Reid would randomly start talking about outlawing prostitution in Nevada. But when I saw that John Ensign felt compelled to weigh in in response - he's fer it! - I wondered if Reid might be playing a very clever deep game. Goading Ensign into running his mouth off about whoring is a pretty good trick, if you ask me.
• WA-Gov: This seems like a pretty unlikely move, what with AG Rob McKenna ready to pounce (and even Rep. Dave Reichert supposedly weighing a run), but another Republican might get into the mix. Businessman and Seattle Port Commission President Bill Bryant won't even go so far as to say he's "considering" the race; rather, he's "listening" to people who have "urged" him to look at the race.
• CA-23: A great catch by Aaron Blake: Republican former LG Abel Maldonado filed paperwork with the FEC to run in Dem Rep. Lois Capps' district. While it would be a hell of a feat for a Republican to win here - Obama won 65% of the vote here - the proverbial "source close to" Maldonado says the candidate is "pretty confident that redistricting will change that district enough" to make it competitive. We'll see.
• CA-26: It looks like we're finally getting the upgrade we need to successfully challenge Rep. David Dreier, and we have term limits to thank. Democratic Assemblyman Anthony Portantino, who is termed out in 2012, will kick off his campaign next week. As per the above, it's pretty ballsy to start running when you can't even know where you'll be running, but unlike Maldonado, Portantino is getting off to a real start, complete with fundraiser.
• CA-36: Has anyone of any stature endorsed Debra Bowen yet? I have no idea, because her website is still just a freakin' splash page. And I ask because two more members of Congress just endorsed Janice Hahn: Loretta Sanchez and Laura Richardson. Endorsements don't typically mean a lot, but in this case, Hahn has really piled together an impressive roster in a very short time, which indicates her level of influence is quite strong. Meanwhile, I'm not even sure what Bowen is up to - search for her name on Google News (be sure to sort by date) and you won't find much about her, but you'll see plenty of stories about Hahn.
• FL-22: Hmm. So much for keeping his recruiting plans on the DL. Steve Israel's in South Florida this week, talking with potential candidates about taking on Lunatic-in-Chief Allen West next year. It sounds like Israel's met with ex-Rep. Ron Klein, whom West beat in November, as well as Palm Beach County Tax Collector Anne Gannon, and a guy named Patrick Murphy (no, not that Patrick Murphy), a construction executive. Israel also said he wants to talk to West Palm Beach Mayor Lois Frankel, who is term-limited.
• NY-26: You can try to dump your gnarly tins of leftover Scozzafava-brand cat fud into a landfill, but the stench will forever linger on. The Albany Project has this awesome catch: Republican nominee Jane Corwin made the terrible, terrible error of donating $1,000 to Dede Scozzafava during her most ill-fated of congressional runs. Oh, the agony!
• OR-01: Two newspapers have already called for Rep. David Wu's resignation: The Daily Astorian and the Eugene Register Guard, which is actually the second-largest paper in the state. Can the Oregonian be far behind? So far, though, while the chair of the Oregon GOP seems to be calling for Wu to step down, fellow Dem politicians have been very circumspect, and Wu himself said he has no interest in leaving.
• TX-15: This might help explain why Rep. Ruben Hinojosa (D) has missed so many votes (40% so far): Earlier this month, he declared bankruptcy, on account of loan guarantees he made to his family's meat company. The company itself declared bankruptcy in 2008, and though he was paid as a consultant from 2002 to 2007, Hinojosa has said he does not have managerial control over the firm.
• UT-02: Jim Matheson is on a bit of a sticky wicket. If the GOP cracks Democratic Salt Lake City when they draw their new maps, he could potentially survive - after all, he's represented a brutal district for a decade now. But he could be given a super-red district which also includes a lot of new territory, setting him back to square one-and-a-half. Alternately, the Republicans could pack Dem voters into a single district that would actually be fairly blue - in which case the conservative Matheson might find himself vulnerable to a more liberal challenger, particularly thanks to Utah's convention nomination process. (Recall that Matheson only pulled 55% at last year's convention against Some Dude Claudia Wright.) One such challenger might be former SLC Mayor Rocky Anderson, who told Aaron Blake he wouldn't rule out such a run, if the district were suitable.
• National Journal: It looks like the NJ's senate ratings are out (though I'm not sure the complete list is publicly available yet). And guess who is tied for most conservative senator? The circle is now complete. When John McCain left us, he was but the maverick. Now he is the hackster.
• Tea Party Express: Open Secrets has an interesting analysis in which they show that no fewer than twenty different federal PACs sprang into being last cycle, but that fully 96% of all money raised was hauled in by just a single entity, the Tea Party Express. But even more fascinating to me are TPX's final numbers. They donated $37K directly to candidates and spent $2.7 million on independent expenditures, but raised an amazing $7.6. That means that almost five million dollars went... where exactly?
• WI St. Assembly: Mark your calendars: Widely-beloved Gov. Scott Walker has set May 3rd as the date for special elections for three now-vacant Republican-held Assembly seats. (All three dudes just took jobs in the Walker administration.) The open seats are the 60th, 83rd and 94th. That last one could be interesting. Obama won only 38% & 35% of the vote in the first two districts respectively, but he took 55% in the 94th. The GOP has a 57-38 edge in the Assembly, though, so we have a long way to claw back.