| • NH-Sen: You may remember several weeks ago when John Sununu reassured the rabble that Kelly Ayotte was, in fact, a fire-breathing conservative. A recent hire, though, suggests she might be trying to position herself as a New England moderate -- she brought aboard Thomas Daffron for her campaign, a former Susan Collins consultant and CoS to William Cohen. Which, again, will only increase the likelihood of a Fred Tausch and/or Ovide Lamontagne challenge from the right.
• NY-Sen-B: Harry Reid weighed in on the New York Senate primary, endorsing Kirsten Gillibrand, calling her a "rising star in the Democratic caucus." Meanwhile, Joe Trippi, who's been working for the Carolyn Maloney campaign (for which he received $10K in the second quarter), got busted for one of blogging's cardinal sins when posting at HuffPo: not disclosing a paid relationship with a candidate.
• AK-Gov: Sean Parnell isn't even Governor yet (he takes over on the 26th), and would-be rivals are already sizing him up. The former state House Speaker, John Harris, announced that he'll run against Parnell in the 2010 GOP primary. Which may seem odd, since Parnell is nowhere near as polarizing as predecessor Sarah Palin... but that may be exactly what's motivating the more combative Harris, as he may think the inoffensive Parnell is something of a pushover, as seen by Parnell's inability to close the deal against corrupt Don Young in the 2008 GOP House primary.
• MN-Gov: The field keeps growing, as two more Republicans made it official in the last couple days that they're candidates for the gubernatorial nomination next year: state Senator David Hann and former state Auditor Pat Anderson.
• NY-Gov: AG Andrew Cuomo's mouth may be saying that he's not running against David Paterson in next year's gubernatorial primary, but his wallet says otherwise. Cuomo raised $5.1 million in the last six months, which more than doubles up on Paterson, who raised $2.3 million in the same period.
• CO-04: The media war over cap-and-trade continues in CO-04 as well as in VA-05; the Environmental Defense Action Fund (paid for by green energy companies) is running a thank-you ad on TV in favor of Rep. Betsy Markey's cap-and-trade vote. She's already had a thank-you TV ad from Americans United for Change run in her favor, and been the target of NRCC robocalls as well (but no TV from them, at least yet).
• FL-10: More bad PR for Rep. Bill Young, whose bad fundraising quarter suggests he might be looking to cash in his chips. Young had to kill a $4 million earmark for St. Petersburg defense contractor Conax, after Conax was raided by federal agents several days ago. Conax has been a frequent recipient of the largesse of Young, the ranking Republican on Appropriations, to the tune of $28.5 million in earmarks since 2005. (Perhaps not coincidentally, Young received $123,000 in contributions in the last two years from defense contractors for whom he's seeking earmarks this year.)
• FL-13: With Rep. Vern Buchanan facing big legal questions over sketchy campaign finance practices, Dems need to have someone credible on deck here to capitalize in case Buchanan implodes. Looks like they've found a credible challenger: pastor and former Bradenton city councilor James Golden.
• MN-06: With local heavyweight state Sen. Tarryl Clark jumping into the Democratic field, 2008 candidate Elwyn Tinklenberg (who came within 3 points of unseating Rep. Michele Bachmann) is making noises that he may go all the way to the primary regardless of what Clark does. In most states, that wouldn't be the least bit surprising, but remember that Minnesota picks its DFL nominees by
nominating endorsing convention prior to the primary and it's highly unusual to see contested primaries. With former UM regent Maureen Reed clearly also a serious candidate (based on her last fundraising quarter), this looks like it'll be dramatic.
• MS-03: So maybe you were wondering what was happening a year ago when thirty-something GOP rising star Rep. Chip Pickering, who'd been considered a likely successor to Trent Lott's Senate seat, instead of going for that or even running for re-election, simply dropped out of politics altogether. Well, turns out he was given an ultimatum by his mistress of choosing between her or politics (which, in rural Mississippi, would require continuing his sham marriage to his wife) -- and, somewhat unpredictably, he chose the mistress. The kicker? Pickering was, at the time, a resident of the now-infamous C Street townhouse, making him a roommate of John Ensign and ex-roomie of Mark Sanford.
• NY-23: Just a reminder, in case you were thinking of running for Congress: today is the deadline for Democratic applicants for the nomination in the open seat race in NY-23 to make their intentions known. Still no word on whether or not state Sen. Darrel Aubertine is planning to take the plunge or not.
• OH-AG: We finally have some confirmation about what "statewide" office former Sen. Mike DeWine was planning to run for. It's been leaked that next week he'll announce a run for Attorney General (and not Governor). He'll face Democratic incumbent Richard Cordray, who took over in mid-term from Marc Dann.