| • CO-Sen: Colorado's state party conventions are this weekend. Most of the drama is on the Democratic side in the Senate race -- actually, even there, it's not that dramatic, as underdog Andrew Romanoff is expected to prevail at the convention because of his connections to party insiders and his former fellow legislators (and also based on his performance at precinct-level caucuses). Michael Bennet is still expected to meet the 30% threshold that gets him on the ballot without signatures, though, and victory here for Romanoff may be pyrrhic anyway, as the Dem convention winners have fared poorly in the actual primary (ex-Sen. Ken Salazar, for instance, lost the 2004 convention to Mike Miles). The GOP convention should be less interesting because, realizing they have little hope among the revved-up base, establishment-flavored Jane Norton and Tom Wiens aren't bothering, simply opting to qualify for the primary by petition, so Weld Co. DA and Tea Party fave Ken Buck is expected to romp.
• CT-Sen, CT-Gov: Likewise, the state conventions are scheduled for this weekend in Connecticut as well. Although there's a competitive battle in the Dem convention on the gubernatorial side between Ned Lamont and Dan Malloy, it seems like all eyes will be on Richard Blumenthal instead, to see if there's any sort of challenge to him that pops up (other than the minor candidacy of Merrick Alpert). If someone is going to get drafted as a last-minute Blumenthal replacement, it doesn't look like it's going to be the newly-freed-up Susan Bysiewicz, who, seemingly caught off-guard by this week's Supreme Court ruling about her AG eligibility, is now saying she won't run for anything in 2010. There's also the Senate face-off in the GOP convention, where ex-Rep. Rob Simmons' connections and institutional support will be measured up against Linda McMahon's gigantic wealth; McMahon, for her part, is back to touting her camp's leak of the Blumenthal story to the NYT after hiding it yesterday.
• FL-Sen: Charlie Crist couldn't square his support for Elena Kagan today with his opposition to Sonia Sotomayor, telling the Miami Herald that he really couldn't recall why he opposed Sotomayor. (Um, maybe because he was a Republican back then?) On the plus side, Crist is coming out in favor of the Fair Districts initiatives on the ballot this November, which would smooth out the most pernicious tendencies toward gerrymandering and thus is strongly opposed by the state's large Republican legislative majorities.
• IL-Sen: Hmmm, I wonder where this ranks on the hierarchy of misstating your military credentials? Rep. Mark Kirk told a gathering last May that "I command the war room in the Pentagon." Kirk does have a high-profile role in the National Military Command Center, but the war room is run by one-star general, and that's something that Kirk most definitely is not. Let's see what the NYT does with this one.
• KY-Sen: After a bad news day yesterday, Rand Paul is continuing to run his mouth, whining about how he was supposed to get a media honeymoon after Tuesday's Randslide, and also going the full Bachmann against Barack Obama, saying it "sounds Unamerican" for him to be criticizing BP over its massive oil spill because "accidents sometimes happen." (So that "B" in BP stands for American Petroleum now?) Paul is scheduled for this weekend's Meet the Press, for what his handlers hope is damage control but may turn into extended hole-digging.
Paul also expounded yesterday on the Americans with Disabilities Act, and he should be lucky the media were too fixated yesterday on his Civil Rights Act statements to provide any fact-checking about his bizarre ignorance of the ADA. Paul's example of the ADA's suckage is that it would be reasonable, if an employee used a wheelchair at a two-story business, to just give that person a first-floor office instead of forcing the employer to install an elevator at terrible cost. That's true; it would be "reasonable" -- which is exactly why the ADA asks employers to provide "reasonable accommodation" to disabled employees, a prime example of which might be letting someone work on a lower floor. Removal of architectural barriers is not required if it isn't "readily achievable" (in other words, easily accomplished, without much difficulty or expense) -- which means, grab bars in the bathroom stall or a curb cut, yes, an elevator in an old two-story building, no. Paul's attack on the ADA seems entirely based on having failed to, as the teabaggers have often urged us to do, "read the bill."
• NC-Sen: There's a late-in-the-game shakeup at the Cal Cunningham camp, as his campaign manager and communications director are out the door. Cunningham's spokesperson says it's a necessary retooling for the different nature of the runoff, with less focus on the air war and more on grassroots and shoe-leather.
• PA-Sen: Sigh. The DSCC, which isn't exactly rolling in money these days, spent $540K in coordinated expenditures trying to prop up one-year Democrat Arlen Specter in his 54-46 loss to Joe Sestak in the primary.
• MN-Gov: Margaret Anderson Kelliher reached across the aisle, or at least in the pool of bipartisan budget wonkery, for a running mate, picking John Gunyou. Gunyou was the finance commissioner for Republican Gov. Arne Carlson; he also worked as finance director for Minneapolis mayor Don Fraser and is currently city manager of the suburb of Minnetonka.
• CO-07: The GOP already had its district-level convention in the 7th, as a prelude to the statewide convo. The two main rivals, Lang Sias and Ryan Frazier, both cleared the 30% mark to get on the ballot; the minor candidates didn't clear the mark and won't try to get on by petition. Frazier got 49%, while Sias got 43%. Sias's nomination was seconded by ex-Rep. Tom Tancredo, as well as the 7th's former Rep. Bob Beauprez.
• CT-04: Thom Hermann, the First Selectman of Easton and a guy with a lot of wealth at his disposal, is making his presence known in the GOP primary field in the 4th, heading into the weekend's convention. He's out with an internal poll, via Wilson Research, giving him a large lead over presumed frontrunner state Sen. Dan Debicella among those primary voters who've decided. It's reported in a strange, slightly deceptive way, though: he has a 44-25 lead over Debicella among those who've decided, but only 36% have decided! (So by my calculations, it's more like a 16-9 lead in reality?)
• FL-02: Dem Rep. Allen Boyd seems to be taking nothing for granted this year. He's already up with his second TV ad against his underfunded primary opponent, state Sen. Al Lawson, this time hitting Lawson for votes to cut back funding for healthcare and construction jobs. (J)
• HI-01: We're up to 48% of all ballots having been returned in the 1st, with tomorrow being the deadline in the all-mail-in special election to replace Neil Abercrombie (152K out of 317K).
• ID-02: I have no idea what this is about, but I thought I'd put it out there, as it's one of the weirdest IEs we've seen in a while. Not only did someone plunk down $8K for polling in the 2nd, one of the most reliably Republican top-to-bottom districts anywhere where Rep. Mike Simpson only ever faces token opposition, but the money's from the American Dental Association. Making sure Idahoans are brushing properly?
• IN-03: State Sen. Marlin Stutzman made it official today: he's running in the special election for the seat just vacated by Rep. Mark Souder. Having performed well in the Senate primary (and having had a path cleared for him by Mike Pence's lowering of the boom on Souder), he looks like the one to beat here.
• PA-07: Former local TV news anchor Dawn Stensland has decided to forego a vaguely-threatened independent run in the 7th. That leaves it a one-on-one battle between Dem Bryan Lentz and GOPer Pat Meehan.
• PA-12: The GOP seems to have settled on its preferred explanation for trying to spin away its underwhelming performance in the special election in the 12th, via their polling guru Gene Ulm. It's all Ed Rendell's fault, for scheduling it on the same day as the Senate primary, causing all those Joe Sestak supporters (of which there were many in that corner in Pennsylvania) to come out of the woodwork and vote in the 12th while they were at it.
• Unions: Now that's a lot of lettuce. Two major unions are promising to spend almost $100 million together to preserve Democratic majorities this fall. The AFSCME is promising $50 million and the SEIU is planning $44 million.
• Enthusiasm Gap: This is something I've often suspected, but never felt like bringing up because the numbers weren't there to prove the point (and also perhaps because saying so would put me at odds with the general netroots orthodoxy): the Democratic "enthusiasm gap" isn't so much borne out of dissatisfaction with the insufficient aggressiveness of the Obama administration or the slow pace of getting watered-down legislation out of Congress as much as it's borne out of complacency. In other words, there's the sense by casual/irregular/low-information Dem voters that they did their job in 2008, got the country back on track, things are slowly improving, and because they aren't angry anymore they don't need to keep following up. PPP backs this up: among those "somewhat excited " or "not very excited" about voting in November, Obama's approval is a higher-than-average 58/35, and their supports for the health care bill is also a higher-than-average 50/38.