| • AZ-Sen: There are conflicting messages in Arizona in the wake of that surprising Rasmussen poll showing J.D. Hayworth almost even with John McCain in a Republican primary. Arizona's other senator, Jon Kyl, says Hayworth isn't likely to run, saying that he's better-off hosting his radio show. Hayworth himself, on the other hand, just sent an e-mail to his supporters, saying he is in fact considering a race against McCain but first needs help paying down his campaign debt from his 2006 race. A prelude to a real race, or just some conveniently-timed grifting from some easy marks?
• CA-Sen: Carly Fiorina is trying to play up her pro-woman cred, even if it means coming off very ideologically confused: she said she would have voted to confirm Sonia Sotomayor, even though that gives Chuck DeVore a lifetime's worth of ammunition to use against her in the primary. But yesterday she said she "shares Sarah Palin's values." Um, all of them?
• IL-Sen: The NYT had a story yesterday giving voice to David Axelrod's concerns about Alexi Giannoulias's electability and his regrets about not recruiting Lisa Madigan, which got a lot of play elsewhere. They strangely left out one piece of information, though: Axelrod's former consulting firm is working for the David Hoffman campaign.
• MA-Sen: More endorsements came out in the Massachusetts special election primary. AG Martha Coakley got the endorsement of Planned Parenthood, while Rep. Michael Capuano got the endorsements of the Massachusetts League of Environmental Voters and Black Women for Obama for Change.
• NY-Sen-B (pdf): Yet another poll shows Kirsten Gillibrand in so-so shape, as Marist dribbled out the last few results from the poll where the other results were released last week. Even as she gets better-known she still has a middling approval rating (3% excellent, 22% good, 39% fair, 12% poor, 24% unsure). Gillibrand loses 47-45 to ex-Gov. George Pataki, although that race looks very unlikely now (this same sample had Gillibrand down 54-40 to Rudy Giuliani, which still theoretically could happen). One item of good news for Gillibrand, though: she finally nailed down the endorsement of former colleague Jerry Nadler.
• IA-Gov: Here's one more guy who has the potential to get teabagged to death in his GOP primary: ex-Gov. Terry Branstad. Branstad endorsed and raised money for Nebraska Democrat Ben Nelson in the 2000 Senate race. Branstad rival Bob vander Plaats says that, as a result, using the same logic that pervades all movies about time travel, Branstad is directly to blame for the current health care bill. And while he's at it, Branstad is also responsible for the deaths of millions, because he didn't find a way to kill Hitler.
• MA-Gov: Republican gubernatorial candidate Charlie Baker already announced his running mate for 2010, and is fits with his financially conservative, socially liberal, insidery approach: he chose state Senate minority leader Richard Tisei. Tisei, one of five Republicans in the Senate, recently came out as gay.
• NV-Gov: There's a new poll of the general election in the Nevada governor's race, taken by PMI (a firm that previously did a poll of the GOP primary for a conservative website, but this one seems to be taken for the seemingly nonpartisan Nevada News Bureau). They only try out one permutation, assuming that Democratic Las Vegas mayor Oscar Goodman follows through on his threat to run as an indie. Republican former AG Brian Sandoval wins with 35, followed by Goodman at 28 and Democrat Rory Reid at 21.
• OR-Gov: Anti-tax initiative activist Bill Sizemore is kind of like herpes; he goes away, but is never permanently gone. With the GOP field now in shambles, Sizemore surprised everyone by announcing that he'll run in the gubernatorial primary in 2010. He's been out of jail for almost a year, so OK... but he may be headed back there if he follows through, as he's under an injunction preventing him from raising political money. He plans on challenging that in court, though, at least to the extent to be able to raise individual campaign funds and not more initiative funds. If he somehow prevails in the GOP primary, this could lead to a replay of the 1998 governor's race (where John Kitzhaber demolished Sizemore, 64-30).
• LA-02: With early entries by a few heavyweights, maybe we'll be spared a large and chaotic Democratic primary for the right to beat accidental Rep. Joe Cao in 2010. State Rep. Juan LaFonta, long interested in the race, made official that he's running; he joins fellow state Rep. Cedric Richmond in the hunt.
• NV-02: Do it! Do it! Reno attorney Ken McKenna has apparently been listening to the subliminal voices in his head, and was motivated to pull the trigger on a run against Rep. Dean Heller. (He'll still face a Democratic primary against elderly ex-state Sen. Jack Schofield.) McKenna represents both personal injury plaintiffs and those accused of Breaking the Law, but he's best known for his ill-fated suit against Judas Priest over a fan's suicide. If he thinks he's likely to win this race, he has another thing coming.
• PA-03: Ooops, this isn't going to endear him much to the party base. Paul Huber, a local businessman who got into the GOP primary field to go against Rep. Kathy Dahlkemper, was registered as a Democrat from 1975 until just recently. He switched to the GOP earlier this year. In his defense, he claims he was a "Reagan Democrat" and finally got driven out of the party because of, well, all the usual right-wing grievances.
• PA-06: Various developments in the 6th: on the Dem side, state Sen. Daylin Leach pulled his Doug Pike endorsement and switched to neutral, now that it looks like there's an actual race between Pike and Manan Trivedi. On the GOP side, state Rep. Curt Schroder is facing a difficult primary against wealthy pharma exec Steven Welch, but got a boost via endorsements from seven nearby conservative legislators -- including Berks County's Sam Rohrer, who's looking at a longshot gubernatorial bid.
• PA-11: Anti-immigration wacko wants to run for higher office, but needs supporters to pay down his campaign debt first? Sorry to keep repeating myself, but that's happening in PA-11 too. Hazleton mayor Lou Barletta has been talking up another run at Rep. Paul Kanjorski, and has set a pre-Christmas deadline for a final decision. But in the meantime, he's focused on raising donations to pay for his last run while considering his next one.
• VA-10: Republican Rep. Frank Wolf has proven extremely tough to pry out of his swing district, and it's not looking like 2010 will be the year either. Attorney Patrick Lewis, who seemed to be the best bet here, has shuttered his campaign, leaving only two even less-known Dems (Richard Anthony and Dennis Findley) in the field.
• CA-LG: As many had expected, Arnold Schwarzenegger picked state Sen. Abel Maldonado to take over as Lt. Governor (now that John Garamendi is in the House). Maldonado is a sometimes-moderate who was one of Ahnold's biggest allies in the Senate, who broke with other Republicans on budget issues (and probably earned too much of their wrath to survive a 2010 re-election). The Dem-held state legislature is mulling over whether to approve the appointment, which they certainly have the numbers to reject. Calitics is all over it, though, because Maldonado not only has little likelihood of remaining in office come 2011 (Dems he might face would be either state Sen. Dean Florez or LA city councilor Janice Hahn), but also because it would open up SD-15. The 15th is Democratic-leaning turf on the central coast; combined with another opening in SD-12, that's a route to get over the magic 2/3s hurdle in the state Senate and actually pass a decent budget.
• NJ-St. Sen.: Guess who's kicking himself for not taking over for Jon Corzine during the gubernatorial race's low-water mark this summer. Now Richard Codey isn't just not Governor, but now he isn't even state Senate President anymore. Codey may be beloved by the state's electorate, but not by his colleagues: he got bounced out of his position to make way for new leader Stephen Sweeney.
• Mayors (pdf): It looks like the anti-incumbent sentiment extends all the way down to local races too (OK, that's not news; Greg Nickels and Tom Suozzi will certainly confirm that for us). A new Clarus poll of next year's Washington, DC mayor's race finds a 43/49 approval for mayor Adrian Fenty. Fenty leads the field, but at only 34%, followed by three city councilors: Vincent Gray at 24, Kwame Brown at 13, and Michael Brown at 6.
• RNC: If you went to college in the 1990s, you may remember the purity test that got passed around freshman dorms, which went a little like this:
1) solicited anonymous sex in the airport men's room
2) claimed to be hiking the Appalachian Trail while actually visiting my mistress in Argentina
3) given a patronage job to the cuckolded husband of my mistress
4) texted an underage page about the size of his member
5) attempted to strangle my mistress
Wait, that's not it. Anyway, the RNC is passing around a new purity test for future Republican candidates, which they have to score 80% on if they want official party money and support. (There's been some public pondering whether worldly fellows like Mike Castle or Mark Kirk would even make the cut on this test.) And now the Washington Times (wait, they're still in business?) is reporting that this test may even apply to NRSC and NRCC money as well.
• Photo of the Day: Some days I just don't know whether to weep for my country, or stand back and laugh my ass off at it.