Gov. Joe Manchin has apparently struck a deal with state legislators that will set a special election for Robert Byrd's Senate seat this fall:
Under the draft agreement lawmakers were shown at about 5 p.m., voters would go to the polls for an Aug. 28 for a primary to choose party nominees and then again Nov. 2 for a general election. Candidates who have already filed for an office would be allowed to run in the special Senate election. The provision would allow someone like Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, the Republican's most prominent candidate, to run for reelection in the House but also take a shot at serving out Robert Byrd's unexpired term, which ends in Jan. 2013. The deal ended an impasse between the House and Senate that began Saturday.
Letting Capito have a free crack at this race is utterly baffling, and I hope it doesn't prove to be a too-cute-by-half move that ultimately backfires. Sure, Joe "The Manchine" Manchin will be formidable in any West Virginia election, but one Martha Coakley wasn't supposed to lose, either...
There's been a lot of movement in the last 24 hours in West Virginia. To start with, yesterday afternoon, Democratic AG Darrell McGraw announced that Gov. Joe Manchin has the authority to call for a special election to be held this year.
"Since a general election is already scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2010, it is suggested that a special primary election be held at a time which maximizes the opportunity for all potential candidates to prepare for both the special election and the general election, and for all voters, including those in the Armed Services, to participate and have their voices heard," McGraw wrote, according to the Charleston Daily Mail.
There's been some confusion as to what exact format the election would take, and for now, it sounds like no one is quite sure. McGraw's statement makes it sound like there should be a primary election held when convenient prior to Nov. 2, but that's not made entirely clear. The Fix's Aaron Blake says that the Manchin camp would like to have only one election, though, and have a special open primary that coincides with the general election where all candidates run in one pool (shades of HI-01). The superficial rationale, of course, would be saving money on not running two elections. But it could also help Manchin out a lot, if he's the only Dem candidate and the Republican vote is split.
And Manchin is sounding like his candidacy is near-definite; he told Ben Smith today that he'll announce his intentions formally on Monday but said that his candidacy is "highly likely" (which is also how he phrased it on MSNBC this morning). He also said that the only questions left at this point are "procedural," like ensuring a smooth transition for the person who takes over as Governor. Manchin's counsel says that there's no clear sense from the law of when or how to hold the election, but that will be resolved in the legislative special session that Manchin will soon call.
Manchin, talking about gubernatorial succession, seems to be acting like his election to the Senate is already a done deal; is he being overconfident? Yesterday Nate Silver foresaw a close race, although that was based on West Virginia's demographics and reddening trend without any poll data.
Since then, Rasmussen leaped into the breach, offering a snap poll as they often do. Rasmussen's numbers -- and I rarely get the chance to say this -- should give Democrats a good deal of confidence. Manchin defeats his strongest possible GOP rival, Rep. Shelly Moore Capito, by a 53-39 margin, while he beats former SoS Betty Ireland 65-26. Most impressively, he has a 77/23 approval rating, which has to make him the most popular Governor in the nation.
Even before Manchin started signaling his clear intent to run today, and before Rasmussen dropped its abandon-all-hope-ye-GOPers poll, there were questions yesterday about who the Republican candidate would be, and whether there was a Plan B if Capito didn't run. (There's also legal uncertainty as to whether Capito could run in both the special and in her already-scheduled election to hold WV-02 at the same time, which would weigh heavily on her decision whether or not to run. And Capito's calculations would have to factor in whether she might have a better shot at Manchin again in the regularly-scheduled 2012 election, when she'd have a longer time to ramp up a campaign and when Obama's top-of-ticket presence might be an anchor on Manchin... and also the possibility of whether Jay Rockefeller might retire in 2014, giving her a good shot at an open seat.)
In the absence of Capito or Ireland, other names that have gotten floated include businessman John Raese, who spent a large amount of his own money en route to losing badly to Robert Byrd in 2006, former state Sen. Steve Harrison, state Sen. Mike Hall, and Bob Adams, the director of something called the League of American Voters and a losing candidate for state Treasurer in 2004.
UPDATE: Someone has slipped Reid Wilson the short list for seatwarmers that Joe Manchin is considering for appointment to the Senate for the next half a year. Some of the names are familiar, but there are a few surprises. The list is: Anne Barth (former Byrd state director, and '08 loser in WV-02 to Capito), Gaston Caperton (the former Gov. and current College Board Pres. who previously said he wasn't interested), Nick Casey (former state party chair, now up for a federal judgeship), Carte Goodwin (Manchin's former general counsel), Larry Puccio (current state party chair and former Manchin CoS), and Bob Wise (9-term ex-Rep. and one-term ex-Gov., who didn't seek re-election after a sex scandal). Bear in mind that whoever the replacement is, that person will be the vote to get unemployment benefits extended, so there's no doubt a sense of urgency behind picking someone.
It looks like Haley's standing has not been impaired by the allegations of extramarital infidelity that have dominated the headlines this week. Her favorable rating among Republican primary voters sits at 58-23, an improvement over the 42-13 rating she had in late May. Moreover, by a 54-13 margin, Republicans don't believe the allegations are true, and are split almost evenly on whether she should drop out of the race if the allegations are proven true.
We should also give thanks to PPP for taking a look at the 4th CD primary, where conservative GOP incumbent Bob Inglis is being teabagged to death:
Bob Inglis (R-inc): 33
Trey Gowdy (R): 37
Jim Lee (R): 9
David Thomas (R): 9
Christina Jeffrey (R): 5
Despite a thoroughly conservative voting record, Inglis has committed a long list of verbal apostasies against the Glenn Beck wing of the Republican Party, and it seems that his occasionally moderate-sounding style is costing him big time among his party's base. I think it's worth revisiting one of the most astute pieces of analysis I've ever read on SSP, from a post by DavidNYC predicting Parker Griffith's demise back in December:
It's important to remember that to remain a member in good standing of the conservative movement, it isn't enough just to vote a certain way. You have to evidence a very particular tribal belonging - you need to hate the right people, be ignorant of the right facts, be fearful of the right bogeymen, and be arrogant about the whole enterprise. If you somehow fail this tribal litmus test, it doesn't matter how right-wing you are - that's how, for example, a wildly conservative guy like former Rep. Chris Cannon could lose a primary to another wildly conservative maniac.
Note: This digest was written entirely by DavidNYC.
AR-Sen: SEIU has a new ad out hitting Lincoln for her TARP vote and for her disloyalty during the health care debate. Props to CQ's Matthew Murray for trying to nail down the size of the buy from SEIU, which would only say that the run is "comprehensive." SEIU has gone pretty large in this race from day one, so they probably aren't going cheap on us now.
CA-Sen: Carly Fiorina, in a move which will no doubt endear her to the teabaggers but embarrass her in the eyes of the state of California, has taken to decrying concerns about climate change as "worrying about the weather" in a new ad.
CO-Sen: I Do. Not. Care. about this stupid non-story. Why are journalists so damn breathless about crap like this? It's like they've never heard of politics.
NV-Sen: According to an analysis by the WaPo, Chicken Lady may have spent $100K on her primary out of funds that were designated for the general election only. Lowden bought $220K worth of ad time, but had only about $100K of primary money (mostly a loan from herself) on hand, so that extra hundred grand had to come from somewhere. God, you know, I just can't decide whom I'd rather face more: this crazy lady, or the other crazy lady. Harry Reid, you are one lucky dude. Just pray Danny Tarkanian doesn't pull an Alice Kryzan/Creigh Deeds.
NV-Gov: A district court judge enjoined a shadowy conservative group, Alliance for America's Future, from running ads until it registers with the Secretary of State, saying that voters have the right to know who is behind political advertising. The group, which has ties to Dick Cheney, had planned to spend $250K on behalf of GOPer Brian Sandoval.
AR-02: In the AR-02 runoff, state House Speaker Robbie Wills, a white male, has been arguing that he's "more electable" than state Senate Majority Leader Joyce Elliott, who is black and a woman. The chair of the Arkansas NAACP sees that a "code word for racism." Wills responded by saying that Elliott has "extreme views" which are out of step with the district. I hope this primary doesn't get much uglier, because words like that will be used by Republicans against whomever our nominee is.
CA-19: Dick Pombo is trying to win a GOP primary by reminding voters that he's a longtime creature of Washington, DC. No wonder he lost.
ID-01: Dear Vaughn Ward: socks before shoes. Also, hire publicists to get your side of the story out before election day, not after. Actually, no - we love you, don't change a thing!
MI-08: This is unfortunate. Kande Ngalamulume, the only Democrat running against GOP Rep. Mike Rogers, is dropping out of the race, just three weeks after formally announcing his candidacy. Though Ngalamulume hadn't filed any FEC reports, Obama actually won this district 53-46 (a major swing from Bush's 54-45 win over Kerry), and even being able to pin Rogers down just a bit would have been helpful. Michigan's filing deadline was May 11th, and I'm not sure if local Dems can nominate a replacement.
NH-02: Some Teabagger Andrew Hemingway says he won't get into the GOP primary in NH-02. Meh.
NY-13: It's always confusing in NY-13, but here's the deal: The state Conservative Party has given its backing to GOPer Michael Grimm, who was also endorsed by the Brooklyn wing of the party - even though the Staten Island Cons recently got behind Dem Rep. Mike McMahon. (Party chair Mike Long wasn't going to let McMahon get their nod, though.) To make things even more complicated, the SI Republican Party endorsed Grimm's primary opponent, Michael Allegretti, as we mentioned last week, and the Brooklyn GOP did as well the week before. But Grimm has at least one big player on his side: Rudy Giuliani, who did a fundraiser for him earlier this week. Anyhow, I'm sure you can sniff the cat fud: Grimm has already locked up the Conservative line, but Allegretti could definitely win the Republican primary. There's already a lot of bad blood between the two Republican Mikes, which means we could see something of an NY-23 redux here.
NY-18: Biden Alert! The VPOTUS squeezed in a fundraiser yesterday for... Nita Lowey? She has over $1.1 million on hand, and I'm not aware of any meaningful Republican challenger in this race. (Obama/Kerry: 62/58.) So what gives?
OK-02: This is interesting: Democratic state Sen. Jim Wilson says he's going to launch a primary challenge to conservative Rep. Dan Boren. Wilson specifically cited Boren's opposition to the healthcare reform bill in launching his campaign. The primary here is pretty soon, July 27th, though there's also a run-off on August 24th. However, as of now, there are only two candidates in the race.
TN-08: The internal warfare continues in the GOP primary to replace retiring Rep. John Tanner. Though the NRCC is still touting agribusiness kingpin Stephen Fincher, ex-Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott is doing a fundraiser for Shelby County Commissioner George Flinn. An establishment divided against itself... yields to a teabagger?
WI-07: Hah! We mentioned the other day that establishment efforts to clear the primary field for Dem Julie Lassa hit a snag when Some Dude Joe Reasbeck said he was going to run. Well, turns out he's run for office before: as a write-in (wait, there's more) in Texas (heh, there's still more) as a Republican (not done yet), earning 89 votes. Hold on, hold on - more! Who was he running against? Well, only the most famous write-in candidate of all time, Snelly Gibbr! Shit like this is why I love politics.
AR-Sen: While offering a commencement address at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, Michelle Obama gave a shout-out to all the Democratic bigwigs sharing the dais with her: Gov. Mike Beebe, his wife Ginger, Sen. Blanche Lincoln, Sen. Mark Pryor and even state AG Bobby Dustin McDaniel. Everyone, that is, except for Lt. Gov. Bill Halter, who was also on stage. Stay classy, Michelle.
KS-Sen: The not-particularly pleasant GOP race to succeed Sam Brownback has gotten even uglier, with Rep. Todd Tiahrt accusing frontrunner Rep. Jerry Moran of pulling "a John Kerry" flip-flop on tax cuts. Moran, leading in the polls, has largely been sticking to a Rose Garden strategy and refusing to respond to Tiahrt's provocations.
NV-Sen: Sue Lowden's mom must have taught her as a child that if you pick at a scab repeatedly, it will heal faster. That can be the only explanation for Lowden's newest TV ad, in which she brings up the damn chicken business yet again!
PA-Sen: Joe Sestak now has a four-point lead over Arlen Specter in Muhlenberg's tracking poll, 46-42. A day earlier, Sestak took his first-ever lead in public polling in the tracker. Also, here's a good observation: Specter voted against Elana Kagan when she was nominated to be Solicitor General. Now that it looks like she's going to be tapped for the Supreme Court, he'll have to very publicly flip-flop on this one barely a week before the primary.
UT-Sen: As you probably saw by now, longtime Utah Sen. Bob Bennett was denied renomination at the GOP convention this past Saturday. Instead, businessman Tim Bridgewater and attorney Mike Lee will duke it out in a June 22nd primary. Lee seems to be the teabagger fave, as he immediately garnered Jim DeMint's endorsement once he made it past the third and final round of voting.
Meanwhile, Bennett is still holding out the possibility of waging a write-in campaign - which is not out of the question given that Utahns in general like him a lot more than Republican convention delegates. My understanding, though, is that he could only run as a write-in in the general election, not the primary.
Anyhow, while Bennett's never self-funded before (so far as I know), he is actually extremely wealthy, with assets potentially in excess of $30 million. If turnout is about 600K voters and a Dem can get a third of that, then Bennett only needs 200K to win a squeaker. On the flipside, John Cornyn is pledging to support the GOP nominee, and in modern times, I think only Strom Thurmond has gotten elected to the Senate via write-in. But nevermind all that - do it, Bob... for America!
FL-Gov: Surely by now you've heard about anti-gay activist George Rekers' European escapades with a young man he hired from a site called Rentboy. If not, read this now. The story just got a lot better, though, with word that Florida AG Bill McCollum once paid Rekers at least $60,000 to serve as an expert witness for the state's attempt to ban gay adoptions. Rekers' testimony was rejected by the judge as not credible, and the ban was found unconstitutional. All in a day's work!
KY-Gov: Kentucky's gubernatorial seat isn't up until 2011, but a trio of media outlets commissioned a poll from Research 2000 nonetheless. It finds Gov. Steve Beshear leading House Speaker Greg Stumbo in a hypothetical primary, 55-28. In the general election, it shows Beshear up 44-37 over GOP Ag. Comm'r Richie Farmer. Beshear's job approval is 46-43 and he has $1.9 million in the bank.
NY-Gov: Ordinarily, you need 25% of the weighted delegate vote at a state convention to qualify for the ballot in New York. But because Steve Levy is not yet a registered Republican, GOP rules require him to get 50%. It sounds, though, like there may be some movement afoot to more or less knock that requirement back down to 25%.
CT-05: Some Dude Kie Westby is dropping out of the crowded GOP race to take on Rep. Chris Murphy. Westby endorsed state Sen. Sam Caligiuri on his way out. Quite a few Republicans remain in this primary.
MD-04: State Del. Herman Taylor says he's challenging Rep. Donna Edwards in the Democratic primary. It sounds like Taylor might be taking Edwards on from the right, saying she's "out of touch with the business community" (those are the Maryland Gazette's words, not necessarily his). Meanwhile, it sure sounds like Edwards herself has gone native: Despite the fact that she owes her seat to a primary challenge, she now says "it would be 'very hard' for her to support a primary challenger like herself," according to The Nation. It never changes.
MI-09: Former state Rep. Rocky Raczkowski put out an internal poll showing him up 26-15 over businessman Paul Welday, with a whole lotta people undecided.
NY-23: Like some kind of Archie Comics love triangle involving Betty, Veronica, and Jughead, newcomer Matt Doheny is wooing the Club for Growth away from their former not-so-golden boy, Doug Hoffman. (The Club now says it's "hard to say" whom they will endorse, if anyone.) Maybe toss in Moose, too, since the Conservative Party is making it extra-interesting by sticking with Hoffman.
PA-12: This ain't good news for Team Blue: Dem Mark Critz reported having just $73K in the bank in his pre-election FEC report, while GOPer Tim Burns has $308K. I don't feel too good about this one.
UT-02: In case you missed it, Dem Rep. Jim Matheson is being forced into his first-ever primary come June 22nd, thanks to the vote taken at the state's Democratic convention this past weekend. Retired teacher Claudia Wright nabbed 45% of the delegates on Saturday, clearing the 40% hurdle to get her name on the primary ballot. The winner will take on ex-state Rep. Morgan Philpot, who has raised just $27K so far. Wright has raised $9K, while Matheson has taken in a million bucks and has $1.4 mil on hand.
WV-01: I was wondering when this was going to happen: The DCCC has finally sent some help to Rep. Alan Mollohan, who faces a stiff primary challenge from the right in the form of state Sen. Mike Oliverio. The election is tomorrow, though, so I wonder if, Coakley-style, this assistance is going to be too little, too late. While I carry no brief for Mollohan, he is almost certainly better than Oliverio, who is buddy-buddy with the state GOP.
Meanwhile, on the GOP side, the cat fud is flying fast and furious. Attorney Mac Warner says he won't support ex-state Rep. David McKinley if he wins the nomination, claiming McKinley's "gone way over the line in personal attacks and distortions of the truth." (Welcome to politics, bub.) In general, the primary has been very negative, with much of the fire aimed at McKinley.
New Jersey: A New Jersey appellate court dinged Chris Christie's attempt to unilaterally restrict campaign contributions by unions, saying that legislation would instead be required.
Polling: Tom Jensen, who has penned many dour but accurate notes about the rough shape Dems find themselves in this cycle, draws together some surprising threads and finds recent good polling news for Team Blue in five senate races.
Congresswoman Ginny Brown-Waite, R-Brooksville, is abandoning her re-election bid.
"As I have prepared for my campaign, I have been troubled by persistent health problems and have come to the disappointing and sad conclusion that I cannot run for reelection. There are simply too many unresolved issues around my health and my pancreas in particular. As of this morning, my doctors are still undecided about what course to pursue next for my treatments."
Brown-Wait immediately backed Hernando County Sheriff Ted Richard Nugent.
"I encouraged Sheriff Nugent to run because I know him to be a strong conservative who will continue my fight for veterans and seniors. This past week Rich told me he would stand in my place for election to Congress. On Monday I will to ask the Secretary of State to withdraw my name from the ballot.
You may recall that Brown-Waite teased the world with hints that she would retire back in February, only to announce instead that she was getting married. Though this seat has been held by Democrats in friendlier configurations, I wouldn't expect a competitive race here -- Obama lost the district by a 56-43 margin in 2008.
UPDATE: I neglected to mention that today is the filing deadline for Florida, so this looks like it was timed well in advance to give The Nuge a clear field in the primary (and probably the general, as well).
LATER UPDATE: Ah, crikey. The St. Pete Times incorrectly identified Hernando County Sheriff Richard Nugent as Ted Nugent. Words cannot express how disappointed I am right now.
First it looked like he would, then like he wouldn't... but now it's a done deal. Roll Call:
Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), who led a key group of anti-abortion-rights House Democrats that helped secure passage of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul, told the Associated Press that he will announce his retirement later Friday.
Stupak said he wants to spend more time with his family and start a new career after 18 years in Congress, and he will announce his retirement Friday afternoon at Northern Michigan University, the AP reported.
UPDATE: With Stupak's retirement, we're adding MI-01 to our list of competitive House races, at "Tossup."
UPDATE: At his news conference this afternoon where he confirmed his retirement, Stupak stopped short of an explicit announcement, but he gave a shout-out to conservative Democratic state Rep. Mike Lahti, who's been on most people's short lists of possible replacements:
"A lot of people could do it," Stupak told a reporter when asked if Democratic candidate could win the seat. "People like Mike Lahti would do a great job."
Despite his office's repeated assurances that he's planning on seeking another term, longtime Democratic Rep. John Spratt hasn't quite been able to shake off GOP-fueled retirement speculation. It looks like we can now officially close the book on that one:
Rep. John Spratt (D) filed to run for re-election this afternoon, according to an official at the SC Dem Party, taking one name off the list of potential Dem retirees.
Spratt has been gearing up for a re-election bid for months, but a sub-par 4th Q fundraising haul fueled rumors that he might retire. He put an end to that talk with today's filing, which came one day before the state's deadline.
Spratt will face a tough fight against state Sen. Mick Mulvaney, whom Spratt led by 46-39 in a January poll by Public Policy Polling.
With filing deadlines passing in many states, the House Open Seat Watch series is beginning to come to an end. That said, we've seen quite a bit of action since our last installment in January, so it's well past time for another, perhaps final, update.
As always, we've compiled three separate lists: one of confirmed vacancies/retirements, another of potential open seats, and a third - available below the fold - of names that have dropped off the watch list. As always, please note that "age" in our charts reflects the incumbent's age on election day, 2010. Blue boxes indicate a new entry (or an incumbent who has been shuffled between categories). All tables are sortable - just click on any column header to sort.
We've got a whopping 13 new open seats on the big board -- seven of them Democratic, six of them Republican. Sadly, though, the only competitive races we'll likely see from this fresh batch of opens will come on Democratic-held turf (unless Dems can convince Joe Garcia to give FL-25 another crack).
Our list of potential retirements has been whittled down considerably with 14 incumbents dropping off the watch list. We've added only Jason Altmire and Mike Arcuri, who have attracted potential primary opponents for their recent votes against healthcare reform. (UPDATE: And Carolyn Maloney, too, due to her challenge from unabashed Wall Street Democrat Reshma Saujani.)
CT-Sen: Mike Slanker, former political director of the NRSC when John Ensign ran the organization, has been caught up in connection with the investigation of his former boss's attempts to steer lobbying work to his mistress's husband. Slanker is currently running Linda McMahon's media operations as a consultant, but the campaign is mum on whether he'll stay involved with them.
NV-Sen: Republicans are trying to nuke the nascent candidacy of Tea Partier Jon Ashjian. Apparently, Ashjian was still a registered Republican when he filed as the Tea Party candidate, which may run afoul of Nevada election laws.
MN-Gov: State Sen. Tom Bakk, who represents the northeastern part of Minnesota known as the Iron Range, has dropped out of the gubernatorial race, citing what he felt were his slim chances.
CA-19: SurveyUSA, an uncharacteristically quiet pollster this cycle, is offering up a poll of the Republican and Democratic primaries for the open seat of retiring GOP Rep. George Radanovich. For the Republicans, state Sen. Jeff Denham leads the way with 26%, followed closely by ex-Fresno mayor Jim Patterson with 25%. Ex-Rep. "Dirty" Dick Pombo lags behind at 13%, while Fresno city councilor Larry Westerlund gets 7%. For the Democrats, real estate consultant John Estrada leads physician/attorney Loraine Goodwin by 24-14, with retired thespian Les Marsden clocking in at 8%. (JL)
CA-20: I really can't believe we missed this one. Term-limited GOP state Sen. Roy Ashburn had been considering a run against Dem Rep. Jim Costa as recently as December, and it looked like he could have posed a pretty serious challenge. In January, however, he did an abrupt about-face and said he was taking a break from public life. Perhaps it was a portent. A few weeks ago, Ashburn, who had long cultivated an anti-gay voting record, was arrested for drunk driving after leaving a gay nightclub. He subsequently admitted on a radio show that he is gay.
GA-09: Nathan Deal previously said that he'd wait until March 31 to resign from the House, but he only waited about 31 minutes after HCR passed to say sayonara. (JL)
IN-03, IN-Sen: Hah, check out this multidimensional episode of wingnut-on-wingnut violence. GOP Rep. Mark Souder is already on the air with negative radio ads against his opponent, wealthy car dealership owner Bob Thomas. Souder is dousing some haterade on Thomas, who until very recently was an Indianapolis-area resident, for his shallow roots in the district. Thomas, for his part, is blasting Souder for his hypocrisy, citing his endorsement of beltway lobbyist Dan Coats in the state's Senate race. (JL)
MA-10: Who gets hurt by this move? Taking a page from the playbook of Tim Cahill, lobbyist and former four-term state Rep. Maryanne Lewis has "unenrolled" from the Democratic Party in an apparent step to run for the seat of retiring Dem Rep. Bill Delahunt as an independent. State Democrats are on the record as saying that a Lewis candidacy would hurt Republicans more than Democrats, given Lewis' more conservative record in the state legislature. (JL)
MI-07: Republicans have found yet another specimen itching to take on frosh Dem Rep. Mark Schauer. Potterville city councilman Mike Stahly has thrown his hat into the race, where he'll face ex-Rep. Tim Walberg and Rooney clan member Brian Rooney in the GOP primary. Stahly, who is unemployed in his spare time, says that he'll be "the only candidate in the nation" to refuse donations from outside the district. Sounds like a winner! (JL)
ND-AL: North Dakota Republicans have opted to endorse state Rep. Rick Berg over North Dakota Public Service Commission Kevin Cramer as their standard bearer against Democratic Rep. Earl Pomeroy. Cramer now says that he's "95 percent sure" that he'll run for re-election to the PSC now that Congress isn't an option. (JL) As it happens, Berg's campaign manager resigned last week for abusing a state party email list and then lying about it.
NY-20: David Harper, who recently resigned as an assistant district attorney in Saratoga County, has dropped out of the race for the Republican nod to take on Rep. Scott Murphy this fall. Harper endorsed his opponent, retired Army Col. Chris Gibson, who pretty much seems to be the GOP frontrunner now. None of these guys have filed any FEC reports yet.
NY-24: Well that was monumentally stupid. Despite the risks of being branded as a John Kerry-esque flip-flopper, of losing the Working Families Party line, and of earning himself a union-backed primary challenge, dumb-as-rocks Rep. Mike Arcuri voted "no" on healthcare reform anyway. Even before the vote, labor was busy looking for someone to take Arcuri on in the primary, and they're already talking to epidemiologist and professor Les Roberts, who briefly ran for this seat in 2006 (when it was open) before deferring to Arcuri. Roberts sounds pretty interested. Some other possible names (my own speculation) would include Cortland Mayor Bruce Tytler and Utica attorney Leon Koziol, both of whom also ran in 2006 before bowing out to avoid a contested primary.
PA-12: More good news for Mark Critz - Cambria County Controller Ed Cernic Jr. has decided to drop out of the Democratic primary for the late John Murtha's seat, citing party unity as a pressing concern. Critz will now face Navy veteran Ryan Bucchianeri and attorney Ron Mackell, Jr. as his only competitors in the Democratic primary. (JL)