• ND-Sen: North Dakota Public Service Commissioner Brian Kalk will announce his formal entry into the Senate race to replace Kent Conrad tomorrow. Kalk, a Republican, raised a really lame $32K in Q1.
• NM-Sen, NM-03: Facing an already-crowded primary field and the prospect of giving up a safe House seat, Rep. Ben Ray Lujan said yesterday that he won't seek the Democratic nod to replace Jeff Bingaman in the Senate.
• OH-Sen: I think we didn't spot this mid-April poll from GOP pollster Wenzel Strategies until now... but definitely take it with something stronger than mere salt. For one thing, they've regularly done polls for WorldNetDaily (I mean, seriously?), and for another, they released a seriously weird-ass poll last cycle that purported to show Rep. Norm Dicks losing to a perennial candidate. (Dicks won by 16.)
But even if you didn't know all that, you'd have to laugh at their absurd spin: They call Sherrod Brown's favorables "dangerous" and his re-elects "disastrous"... even though his head-to-head margin is 49-36 over Ken Blackwell, 50-36 against Mary Taylor, and 48-33 paired with Josh Mandel. In a Republican poll! Anyhow, if you want to chase this one all the way down the rabbit hole, Wenzel also had a component testing the anti-union legislation called SB5, which will very likely appear on the ballot this fall (people want it repealed by a 51-38 spread).
• WI-Gov: Another recall poll from another not-especially-prominent pollster. Republican polling firm Etheridge & Associates (based out of Tennessee) found 44% in favor of recalling Walker and 51% opposed. They also put Walker head-to-head with a real candidate (which is what would happen in a recall election) and found him tied with Russ Feingold at 48 apiece.
• ND-AL: This is a very good report from Kristen Daum, who writes the "Flickertales" blog for the Fargo-Moorhead Forum. She nails freshman GOP Rep. Rick Berg on two counts: First, last year Berg ran heavily on the theme that Earl Pomeroy was mostly relying on out-of-state money while he, Berg, was raking it in from North Dakotans. Well, with the Q1 reports in, Daum observes that about 80% of Berg's campaign cash is now coming from interests outside of ND, including quite a bit from DC. Better still, Berg's staff claimed he hasn't held any fundraisers or solicited contributions... but the Sunlight Foundation's "Party Time" website scrounged up a copy of an invite to high-dollar event held on Berg's behalf by Eric Cantor and a couple of PACs. Whoops!
• NY-13: I'm not even going to summarize what's at the link, except to say it's a truly explosive story about GOP freshman Mike Grimm. Just click and read it.
• WI-01: Businessman Rob Zerban is already running against Rep. Paul Ryan, but The Fix suggests another possible Democratic name: state Sen. Chris Larson.
• Americans United: That Americans United for Change ad buy against four Republicans we mentioned yesterday apparent totals $35K. That's at least in the ballpark of real money, and I'm very glad to see groups like AUFC and House Majority PAC start doing these thousand-papercuts sort of campaigns early.
• Polling & Demographics: Ben Smith has an interesting little exchange between a couple of pollsters with experience in working with the Latino community. One, André Pineda (who has polled for Obama, among others), says he thinks that pollsters who gather Hispanic samples by relying on surnames miss a lot of Hispanics who don't have such names, typically because their families have lived in the US longer. These voters, says Pineda, lean more to the right than newer immigrants. But Matt Barreto of the Washington Institute for the Study of Ethnicity and Race says that Pineda's estimates are "way off base." Barreto says only 5-10% of Hispanics do not have Hispanic surnames, whereas Pineda's memo suggests that the number is far higher.
• Town Halls: Want to see if your member of Congress is having a town hall during this recess so that you can go and give them what for? MoveOn has a tool that lets you plug in your ZIP code and find town halls near you.
• Voter Suppression: Unsurprisingly, the Florida legislature is moving forward with a big election law bill that's principally designed to suppress the Democratic vote, as always in the name of preventing VOTER FRAUD!!!!!!!!!!!!!1111111111111. Changes include shortening the early voting period, adding onerous restrictions on third-party groups which register voters, and preventing voters from changing their addresses at the poll (something which Florida has allowed for forty years). Republicans are also moving forward with bills that would eliminate payroll deductions for union dues, force unions to get each member's permission before spending money on elections, and make it harder for trial lawyers to bring medical malpractice cases. In short, as one Democratic lawmaker put it, it's the entire GOP wish list.
• Florida: This is sorta interesting. One Florida lawmaker on the legislature's redistricting committee is telling his fellow legislators not to talk to him about redistricting - at all. The new "Fair Districts" law says that districts can't be drawn to favor or disfavor incumbents, so mapmakers are concerned that if their colleagues start telling them about how they'd like to see the lines crafted, that could later be used as evidence in court.
• Virginia: And so it goes: A week after saying he wouldn't change a thing about his party's map, Dem Senate Majority Leader Richard Saslaw now says of Gov. Bob McDonnell: "We are talking to him. We are trying to meet all of his concerns." I can't see how this is going to end well for Democrats, who now seem to face a choice between a crappy gerrymander in the Senate and a court-drawn map... and I guess would prefer the former, based on Saslaw's hints. Sigh.
Meanwhile, Republicans are apparently pretty pissed at McDonnell for vetoing their plans, supposedly with almost no warning, but there's a lot that doesn't add up here. For one, the article says that the legislature doesn't have enough votes to over-ride McDonnell's veto, but that's simply not true. If House Republicans really wanted their map badly enough, they could have prevailed on their counterparts in the Senate to vote for the package deal, ensuring it was safe from McDonnell's veto pen.
For the governor's part, he's also full of shit. His spokesman said that he would have preferred the House and Senate maps had been sent to the governor in separate bills, but jeez, this is classic "born yesterday" crap. There's no way the Senate would have given away its one piece of leverage like that. Still, it does sound like the Republican anger at McDonnell is quite real (and not just limited to redistricting), which means a serious derail is not impossible. So maybe there's still a way for Saslaw to snatch something other than defeat from the jaws of... defeat.
• Utah: The state will apparently make redistricting software available to citizens on its website, but the linked article isn't very clear where that will happen. Any ideas?