| • CO-Sen: Republican candidate Ken Buck has a couple pieces of good news today: one, he's the recipient of $172K in independent expenditures from mysterious conservative group Americans for Job Security. And two, Jim DeMint's coming to town on July 8 to stump on Buck's behalf
• NE-Sen: Ironically, on the same day that he was the deciding vote in the Senate's failure to extend unemployment benefits, Ben Nelson announced that he won't be making an appearance in the unemployment lines himself in 2012. He confirmed that he plans to run for re-election.
• SC-Sen: The profile of Lindsey Graham in the New York Times magazine is well worth a read. While it serves to make me like him a little more, I've gotta wonder if he's even going to bother running (or at least running as a Republican) when he's up again in 2014, considering it's just going to tick off the teabaggers even more. He derides the Tea Partiers, saying they'll be gone in a few years, "chortling" that Ronald Reagan would have a hard time getting elected as a Republican today... and also has a good laugh at the rumors about his sexual orientation, instead of, y'know, punching the interviewer in the nose or something unequivocally manly like that.
• WI-Sen, WI-Gov: PPP rolls out a last batch of numbers from their Wisconsin sample, looking at the Republican primaries in the Senate and gubernatorial races and seeing them as foregone conclusions. On the governor's side, Milwaukee Co. Executive (and legendary 60's crooner) Scott Walker leads ex-Rep. Mark Neumann 58-19, while in the Senate race, Ron Johnson leads Dave Westlake 49-11.
• WV-Sen: OK, so the rumor today is that things are still on for a 2012 special election to replace Robert Byrd, not a 2010 one as suggested yesterday. Gov. Joe Manchin and Senate President Earl Ray Tomblin are sending signals that they won't call for a legislative special session to shift the election date to this year, despite the decision by SoS Natalie Tennant to have it in 2012.
• AL-Gov: Here's one more politican trapped in the semantic quicksand that seems to be developing around the issue of stateside service during Vietnam. Alabama GOP runoff contestant Robert Bentley has drawn some heat for the words "Hospital commander" and "Vietnam War" appearing on-screen in one of his TV ads. Bentley was ranking medical doctor at Pope AFB (in North Carolina) during the Vietnam era, although he didn't serve physically in Vietnam.
• FL-Gov: Now the supposed hero of 9/11 has RINO cooties, too? Rick Scott's camp sent out press releases yesterday attacking opponent Bill McCollum for having supported "pro-abortion, pro-homosexual" Giuliani for President, back in those heady days of, say, 2007, when it was assumed that Giuliani was going to steamroller everyone else in the Florida primary.
• MD-Gov: Republican ex-Gov. Bob Ehrlich picked a running mate for his 2010 campaign, and, no, he's not giving Michael Steele his old job back. He picked Mary Kane, who was the SoS under Ehrlich (an appointed position in Maryland). She's from Montgomery County, suggesting he sees the route to 50%+1 through this increasingly-blue suburb.
• OR-Gov (pdf): Republican pollster Magellan is quickly becoming one of the most prolific purveyors of public polls, this time with a look at the gubernatorial race in Oregon. They join the consensus that this is a deadlocked race right now; they find Republican Chris Dudley leading Democrat John Kitzhaber by a paper-thin 41-40 margin. Dudley has 41-27 support among independents. They also offer an interesting breakdown by CD; it's OR-04 that's keeping Dudley in this, giving him a 44-38 edge, while predictably, Kitzhaber dominates in OR-01 and OR-03, Dudley sweeps OR-02, and they fight to a tie in OR-05.
• WY-Gov: OMG! Stop the presses! Veteran character actor and widely trusted commercial pitchman for products for old people (and Wyoming resident) Wilford Brimley has made an endorsement in the GOP gubernatorial primary. He's backing state Auditor Rita Meyer. No word on whether he was won over by her pro-oatmeal stances.
• NJ-07: There's an internal poll out from a Democrat? Not only that, but it's from one who's been totally off the radar, as national Dems seem to have ceded the 7th to freshman GOPer Leonard Lance. While the "informed ballot" numbers are the ones getting promoted (we at SSP think informed ballot questions are good... for us to poop on), there are legitimate toplines in there too, with Lance leading Ed Potosnak by a not-so-imposing 43-30. Lance also has a weak 31/46 re-elect number in the Garin Hart Yang poll.
• NM-02: Construction liens seem to be the common cold of political scandals, but Democratic freshman Harry Teague is in an uphill battle to retain his GOP-leaning seat and probably wouldn't like any bad PR. He personally, and the four oil and gas industry companies he controls, are facing a civil lawsuit over failure to repay loans to purchase equipment.
• Ohio: PPP has some odds and ends left over from their Ohio sample. Two items are on the bad news side of the ledger, although only barely: a generic House ballot test for Ohio (where there are at least five competitive Democratic holds) has Republicans leading Democrats 44-43, and GOP ex-Sen. Mike DeWine is leading
appointed Democratic AG Richard Cordray 44-41 in the Attorney General's race. (Screw that; what about SoS race numbers?) The good news is that Sherrod Brown's favorables have rebounded quite a bit since PPP's last poll; he's now at 38/38.
• NRCC: More expectations management from the NRCC? After previous pronouncements that John Boehner was looking to pick up
436 100 seats, now he's sending out a fundraising e-mail that touts a 39-seat pickup as their target.
• RGA: Haley Barbour's rolling around in a trough full of money today: the Republican Governors Association hauled in $19 million in the last fundraising quarter. Also suggesting that GOP fundraising is kicking into higher gear, American Crossroads, the Karl Rove venture that earned a whopping $200 in May, had a much better June: they raised $8.5 million.