| • WA-Sen: I'm not sure how this will work, practically speaking, but the two Tea Partiers in the race, rancher Clint Didier and fastener mogul Paul Akers, are "joining forces." They'll be doing joint ads and joint online forums for the remaining few weeks. They can't, of course, be jointly voted-for, so I don't know what the endgame is, but it probably doesn't matter, as both have been polling in the single digits in polls of the jungle primary. Apparently, it does give them a better venue for airing their grievances with the GOP establishment's selection of Dino Rossi as standard-bearer; maybe this way, Akers can distract the ref while Didier puts Rossi in a sleeper hold.
Also on the weird timing front, Washington's Republican SoS, Sam Reed, is just out with a new book on the 2004 gubernatorial election and the protracted recount and court challenges he oversaw. Relations between Reed and the rest of the state Republicans were severely tested during the recount, seeing as how the scrupulous Reed wanted to, y'know, follow the rules. While the book doesn't seem to paint Rossi in a terribly unfavorable light, it can't help but remind everyone of his "perennial candidate" status.
• AZ-Gov: You might recall that NRA board member Owen Buz Mills recently ended his GOP primary campaign against the once-endangered, now-all-powerful Jan Brewer several weeks ago. Well, he's not quite done, his spokesperson is now saying: he's going to enter a Rob Simmons-style state of electoral limbo. Mills won't be spending any more money on the race, but he will leave his name on the ballot. (Other dropouts Dean Martin and John Munger have filed papers of formal withdrawal from the race.)
• OR-Gov, OR-05: Now that Oregon has opted to join New York in the weird world of fusion voting, now it even has its own Independent Party trying to quirkily play it down the middle. Based on its online straw poll of members (with a vote total of a whopping 2,290), the IP gave its backing to Democrat John Kitzhaber in the gubernatorial race, but to Republican state Rep. Scott Bruun in OR-05 (instead of incumbent Dem Kurt Schrader).
• TX-Gov: A number of prominent Dallas business leaders have signed on to a letter announcing their support for Bill White in the gubernatorial race. About half of the signatories, a mix of moderate Republicans and independents, are, in fact, former Kay Bailey Hutchison supporters.
• WY-Gov: I think this trumps her earlier Wilford Brimley endorsement. State auditor Rita Meyer (the only woman in the four-way GOP primary field) got added to Sarah Palin's stable of Mama Grizzlies late last week.
• AL-02, AL-05: The "generally conservative" Alabama Farmer's Federation handed out helpful endorsements to two Dems today: not just to Rep. Bobby Bright (who seems to fit their profile well) but also to Steve Raby, running in the 5th. Raby seems well connected with the agriculture world through his former work for ex-Sen. Howell Heflin.
• MI-02, MI-03: A poll for the Grand Rapids Press, taken by Practical Political Consulting, looks at the GOP primaries in the two western Michigan open seats. In the 2nd (Peter Hoekstra's seat), former NFL player and Family Research Council executive Jay Riemersma has a small lead at 22, followed by former state Rep. Bill Huizenga and teabagging businessman Bill Cooper, both at 15, and state Sen. Wayne Kuipers at 13. In the 3rd (Vern Ehlers' seat), state Rep. Justin Amash (anointed as chosen one by the DeVos family) leads at 28, followed by African-American state Sen. Bill Hardiman at 23 and ex-Kent Co. Commissioner Steve Heacock (the moderate in the field, and Ehlers' endorsee) at 17.
• FL-12: We keep mentally writing this race off due to Lori Edwards' paltry fundraising, and then polling evidence to the contrary shows up. For the second time, the Edwards camp has released an internal poll giving them a lead in this R+6 open seat. Edwards leads GOP ex-state Rep. Dennis Ross 35-32 in a poll taken by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner. The catch here is one of the most legitimate Tea Party candidates anywhere is here: Randy Wilkinson, a Polk Co. Commissioner who briefly sought the GOP nomination before deciding to go the third-party route. Wilkinson polls at 20%, although we'll have to see if the near-broke Wilkinson can keep those numbers up through November.
• TN-03: Newt Gingrich handed out a last-minute seal of approval in the GOP primary in the 3rd. He's backing the more-or-less establishment candidate, former state GOP chair Robin Smith. Smith's main opponent is Chuck Fleischmann, a partly-self-funding attorney who seems tighter with the Mike Huckabee crowd than the teabaggers.
• WA-03: The Beltway media seems to take it as an article of faith that GOP state Rep. Jaime Herrera is going to be Denny Heck's opponent in November, but David Castillo shouldn't be counted out. Not being on the ground, they wouldn't pick up on the general sense of underwhelmingness that seems to surround Herrera, but it seems like they would, at some point, have noticed that nearly all the endorsements of consequence in the district have gone to Castillo. He got endorsements from the newspapers in Vancouver, Longview, and Centralia, as well as the out-of-district Seattle Times. AG Rob McKenna, probably the state's best-liked Republican, had endorsed Castillo before Rep. Brian Baird's retirement and Herrera's entry, but he's been pointedly sticking by his endorsement, hosting a Castillo fundraiser last week.
• House: Nate Silver's out with a new toy that SSPers will certainly be interested in: having found that Democratic House candidates tend to overperform vis-à-vis presidential numbers in districts with lower median household income, he's created a new index that's a mashup of prez numbers and income, called the Partisan Propensity Index. (He looked at only results in open seat races, which eliminates the main problem with trying to fit House numbers on top of prez numbers, which is the overwhelming staying power of incumbents.) At the end of the day, it's still not too different from PVI, inasmuch as Chet Edwards has the worst district of any Dem and Joe Cao has the worst district of any GOPer, but it does reflect the reality that suburban Sun Belt districts that are truly swingy at the presidential level are a harder nut for Dems to crack at the House level than rural Appalachian districts that are red at the presidential level.
• NV-Gov: Rory Reid (D) 40%, Brian Sandoval (R) 50%
• OK-Gov: Jari Askins (D) 36%, Mary Fallin (R) 57%
• PA-Gov: Dan Onorato (D) 39%, Tom Corbett (R) 50%
• PA-Sen: Joe Sestak (D) 39%, Pat Toomey (R) 45%
• SC-Gov: Vincent Sheheen (D) 35%, Nikki Haley (R) 49%
• WA-Sen: Patty Murray (D-inc) 49%, Dino Rossi (R) 47%
• WA-Sen: Patty Murray (D-inc) 48%, Clint Didier (R) 45%
• WA-Sen: Patty Murray (D-inc) 48%, Paul Akers (R) 42%
• WI-Gov: Tom Barrett (D) 45%, Mark Neumann (R) 44%
• WI-Gov: Tom Barrett (D) 43%, Scott Walker (R) 50%