FL-Sen: Suffolk (10/14-17, likely voters, no trendlines):
Kendrick Meek (D): 22
Marco Rubio (R): 39
Charlie Crist (I): 31
FL-Gov: Suffolk (10/14-17, likely voters, no trendlines):
Alex Sink (D): 45
Rick Scott (R): 38
Misc.: In the AG race, Pam Bondi (R) leads Dan Gelber (D), 38-30. Also, a poll by Voter Survey Service (aka Susquehanna) for the right-wing Sunshine State News site has Adam Putnam (R) leading Scott Maddox (D) in the Ag Comm'r race, 40-35. Tea Party candidate Ira Chester takes 14%.
Tom Barrett (D): 41 (28)
Scott Walker (R): 50 (44)
Undecided: 6 (17)
Margins & Errors: The Fix publishes an alleged WA-Sen poll without either field dates or sample size... Bill Kristol (yeah, that Bill Kristol) claims he has his hands on an OH-10 poll - he has the n, but won't say the pollster's name, who paid for the poll, or when it was taken... Pollster.com has a PDF from ccAdvertising with numbers for WV-Sen, WV-01, and WV-03 - but not only does ccA report to hundredths of a percent, they get taken to the woodshed by Mark Blumenthal for refusing to divulge the poll's sponsor
FL-Sen: Charlie Crist is still refusing to say whether he'll caucus with the Dems or the GOP if he wins, a position which looks increasingly untenable as we get down to crunchtime.
LA-Sen: It looks like TPM got tipped to an interesting story: David Vitter's campaign has been sending letters to Louisiana newspaper editors pressuring them about their coverage of Brent Furer, the former Vitter aide responsible for women's issues - who also attacked his girlfriend with a knife. TPM's characterization is that Vitter is "trying to intimidate newspapers into giving Furer what he considers fair coverage."
MO-Sen: The DSCC, which has reserved $4 million in ad time in Missouri, is out with its first ad of the race, attacking Roy Blunt.
NV-Sen: For a while it looked like Harry Reid might get the NRA's endorsement, but it turns out that the group won't be backing him this cycle (though they aren't getting behind Sharron Angle, either).
CO-Gov: LOL - Tom Tancredo picked a running mate, a former state representative named Pat Miller who served a single term twenty years ago. She sounds just as batshit as he is. I'd love to know why her tenure in the state lege was so illustrious.
CT-Gov: A nice bump for Dan Malloy: He just collected $6 million in public financing for his gubernatorial run, the most anyone's been awarded in Connecticut history. But Republican Tom Foley is ultra-rich - he's already given his campaign $3 million, and as the CT Mirror puts it:
Foley, who owns a 100-foot yacht, an airplane and a waterfront Greenwich estate, laughed and stammered when asked how could much he afford to spend.
"Well, I, ...," Foley began, then he paused and said, "Could I afford to match him? Yeah."
NH-Gov: Dem Gov. John Lynch has reported raising $1.3 million to date (though that includes a half-million dollar personal loan), and has $750K on hand. His Republican opponent, John Stephen, has raised just under a million bucks and has $800K left.
OH-Gov: God, if John Kasich loses, it'll be for two reasons: First, Ted Strickland has run a good campaign. Second, he has Chronic Acute Goofball Disease, an incurable condition which causes you to do shit like... propose a regulatory overhaul plan that is basically identical to one your opponent already enacted two years ago. Kasich even ganked the name, dubbing his plan "Common Sense Initiative Ohio" (CSI Ohio - does that even make sense?), while Teddy Ballgame's was "Common Sense Business Regulation Executive Order."
TX-Gov: Wow, what a horror: Nearly all of Harris County, TX's voting machines were destroyed in a fire, and the cause is still unknown. Election officials are putting on a brave face, but this is obviously a major nightmare for this fall's elections. What's more (and this is why we're filing it under "TX-Gov"), Harris County is home to Houston, the largest city in Texas and, of course, where Dem nominee Bill White served as mayor for eight years. Not good.
AR-03: I'm not sure whether to laugh or to cry. A Talk Business Research/Hendrix College poll has Republican Steve Womack up 55-31 against Dem David Whitaker in this ultra-red district, the most Republican (by far) in Arkansas. Why am I going schizo? Well, these numbers are very similar to Talk Business's surveys of AR-01 and AR-02, districts where we're supposed to have a much better chance this fall (or at least the 1st CD). So either AR-01 is as bad as AR-03, or one of these polls is wrong. I'm not betting on good news for us.
GA-12: Regina Thomas's secret plan to run as a write-in, despite Georgia law pretty clearly barring that option, has been thwarted. She won't be eligible this November in any way, shape, or form - and she's also refusing to endorse the Dem primary winner, Rep. John Barrow.
MO-08: Dem Tommy Sowers is up with his first negative ad of the season, once again touting his "combat bible," and attacking Rep. Jo Ann Emerson as a bailout supporter. (There's also a gratuitous shot of him firing a gun at the end.) The campaign says it will spend "at least $100,000 to air the spot on broadcast and cable stations throughout" the district. More interestingly, though, is the fact that Emerson is also out with a negative spot - not something you'd expect would be necessary given the lopsided polling, the super-red nature of the district, and the fact that it's 2010. NWOTSOTB. You can find links to both ads at the link.
NE-02: Dem Tom White unveiled his first ad, which is "set to air on broadcast and cable channels in the Omaha area" this week. (NWOTSOTB though.)
OH-01: Dem Rep. Steve Driehaus is up with his first ad, a spot which attempts to draw distinctions between his record and that of former Rep. Steve Chabot, who is making a comeback bid. Interestingly (and I think this is a wise move), Driehaus is making the argument that his vote for the stimulus was a vote for tax cuts - which in fact it was. The ad really strikes me as lacking any emotional punch, though. NWOTSOTB, though the ad (which you can view here) is reportedly airing on "Cincinnati's four local affiliates and cable."
VA-02: Maybe it sounds like rapprochement to you, but to me, it sounds like "Either your brains or your signature will be on this pledge." Teabaggers in Virginia's second CD, long hostile to Republican nominee Scott Rigell, have compelled him to sign a seven-part pledge endorsing several of their favorite platforms - but even so, they aren't endorsing Rigell in return. Still, one teabag leader seems to finally be playing realpolitik, claiming she wants to isolate indie Kenny Golden, so maybe a right-wing split will be averted here (sadly).
DCCC: Not sure how much Politico (as is their wont) is over-reading Chris Van Hollen's remarks, but they make it sound like CVH is threatening to cut off under-performing Democratic candidates if they don't get their acts together. Nothing like some threats of triage to get the troops motivated, huh?
A super Tuesday of primaries means a super-sized Primary Roundup the day after!
AR-Sen(D): Blanche Lincoln's 52-48 victory in the runoff over Bill Halter is being spun as a comeback, but she did, y'know, win the primary too, by a similar margin. A series of R2K polls plus the incumbent rule were the main reason most people mentally gave Halter the edge going into the runoff, but in the end, a pretty similar universe of voters showed up the second time, while the D.C. Morrison voters either split evenly or just stayed away. (C)
AR-01(D): Chad Causey, the former CoS to retiring Rep. Marion Berry, eked out a 51-49 runoff victory over former state Sen. Tim Wooldridge in a battle of conservadem vs. very-conservadem. Causey's late endorsement by Bill Clinton may have helped push him over the top. (C)
AR-02(D): In another Dem runoff, liberal African-American state Sen. Joyce Elliott won a 54-46 victory over state House speaker Robbie Wills. They went hard negative on each other, meaning a lot of damage control before facing well-financed GOPer Tim Griffin in November. (C)
AR-03(R): In the dark-red 3rd, Rogers mayor Steve Womack won the GOP runoff against state Sen. Cecile Bledsoe, 52-48; Womack is almost certain to win in November. Bledsoe was the only Sarah Palin endorsee to lose last night (but then, Fiorina and Branstad were gimmees). (C)
CA-Gov(R): With only one outlier poll to the contrary, the primary between former eBay CEO Meg Whitman and current Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner wasn't expected to be close. Poizner's attempts to outflank Whitman on the right netted him only a 64-27 defeat; Whitman now goes on to face former Governor and current state Attorney General Jerry Brown. (JMD)
CA-Sen(R): Yesterday wasn't a dream for Carly Fiorina, who romped to a victory with 56% of the vote over former San Jose congressman Tom Campbell and Orange County Assemblyman Chuck DeVore. CarlyFornia gets to take on three-term incumbent Barbara Boxer. (JMD)
CA-Lt. Gov(D): In just one of yesterday's showings of the Northern California dominance of the California Democratic Party, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom beat LA City Councilwoman Janice Hahn 55-32, winning all but six counties. (JMD)
CA-Lt. Gov(R): Incumbent Lt. Gov Abel Maldonado, appointed to replace now-Rep. John Garamendi, beat back a conservative challenge from term-limited State Senator Sam Aanestad by a 43-31 margin. Aanestad won the counties in his district and the OC, but not much else. (JMD)
CA-Att. Gen(D): In this seven-way primary for the Dem nod to replace Jerry Brown who's running for governor, San Francisco DA Kamala Harris withstood an aerial assault from Facebook Chief "Privacy" Officer Chris Kelly. Harris ended up more than doubling Harris' vote totals, 33-16. Behind them were East Bay Assemblyman Alberto Torrico at 15%, LA County Assemblyman Ted Lieu, Santa Barbara Assemblyman Pedro Nava, and LA City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo at 10 apiece. All three Assemblyman were term-limited - better luck next time at musical chairs, guys. (JMD)
CA-Att. Gen(R): Los Angeles County DA Steve Cooley, the lone moderate in the field of three, scores a convincing 47-34-19 victory over his more conservative opponents, Chapman University Law School dean John Eastman and Orange County Assemblyman Tom Harman. This sets up yet another NorCal-SoCal matchup for AG in November, LA County DA Steve Cooley against San Francisco (City and County) DA Kamala Harris. (JMD)
CA-Sec. of State(R): O, RLY? No, not really. Some insiders were worried that Birther Queen Orly Taitz would inexplicably earn the GOP nod for Secretary of State, but she ended up getting thoroughly pasted by ex-NFLer Damon Dunn 74-26. While Dunn's busy facing off against incumbent Dem SoS Debra Bowen, Orly can go back to getting thoroughly pasted (and fined) in court for filing frivolous suits. (JMD)
CA-Init: The good news: Props 16 and 17 -- pet projects for the private utilities and insurance companies, respectively -- have both failed, both losing 52-48 after leading much of the night. The bad news (well, as far as most blogosphere chatter goes; as a Washingtonian with first-hand experience with the 'top two' system, my own feelings are a firm 'meh'): Prop 14 passed 54-46, meaning California switches to a 'top two' primary system. (C)
CA-02(R): Longtime Republican incumbent Wally Herger survived an attempted teabagging from retired Air Force Col. Pete Siglich by a 65-35 spread. Siglich criticized Herger for his TARP bailout vote, earmarks, and, going all the way back to 2003, his support for Medicare Part D, but only spent $45,000 on the race. (JL)
CA-11(R): Attorney David Harmer, who carpetbagged across the border from the 10th after establishing his GOP bona fides in the special election there, captured the GOP nomination with a middling 36%. The publicity Brad Goehring got over his lib'rul huntin' remarks seemed to catapult him into 2nd place, ahead of the other two more normal candidates, Tony Amador and Elizabeth Emken. (C)
CA-19(R): As in the 11th, the establishment GOPer (here, state Sen. Jeff Denham) was the victor with 36% against a fractured field. Denham, who got the backing of retiring Rep. George Radanovich, beat former Fresno mayor (and Club for Growth guy) Jim Patterson and slimy former CA-11 Rep. Richard Pombo. (C)
CA-33(D): Former Assembly Speaker Karen Bass, who's LA-based 47th AD overlaps quite a bit with CD-33, beat out some minor opposition with 85% of the vote to win the Democratic nomination to succeed outgoing Dem. Diane Watson. Bass faces minor GOP opposition in November and will almost certainly be the next Congresswoman from this D+35 district. (JMD)
CA-36(D): Marcy Winograd's second challenge to Jane Harman was better organized than her first run in 2006, and Jane Harman's had her share of scandal since then, but the needle barely moved. Harman scored 58.8%, down from 62.5% in 2006, but Harman never looked like she was in any real danger last night. (JMD)
CA-37(D): In another case of an incumbent under 70%, scandal-ridden Laura Richardson scored a suprisingly weak 68% against three miscellaneous Democratic opponents in this Long Beach based district. (JMD)
CA-42(R): Who (other than Swing State Project, of course) would've guessed that out of all the dozens of incumbent House members up for re-election, the night's second worst performance after Bob Inglis would come from Orange County's Gary Miller? With problems including war record embellishment, ethical clouds, and a pro-TARP vote, Miller beat Phil Liberatore only 49-37. (C)
CA-47(R): Despite the presence of another Vietnamese candidate on the ballot, Garden Grove Assemblyman Van Tran still got a majority of the vote to challenge incumbent Democrat Loretta Sanchez in this majority-Hispanic district that went for Bush in 2004, but also went by 20% for Obama. (JMD)
CA-50(D): If Francine Busby takes another run after this one, she's in serious danger of landing the kiss of death of being called "perennial candidate" in the press. Nevertheless, she won the booby prize of the Democratic nod against GOP Rep. Brian Bilbray over attorney Tracy Emblem with two thirds of the vote. This marks her fourth run for this seat, and her third against Bilbray (counting two races in 2006). It's not quite Sodrel-esque, but it's getting close. (JL)
GA-09(Special): Tom Graves was hit with some late scuttle in this race to succeed retiring GOPer Nathan Deal who resigned to run for Governor. Despite some weakness in Gainesville (Hall County), the former state Rep. beat out fellow Republican former state Senator Lee Hawkins by a 56-44 margin. The House now stands at 255 D, 178 R and 2 vacancies. (JMD)
IA-Gov(R): Terry Branstad, to no one's surprise, won the GOP primary for a fifth (!) term as Governor. The only surprise was the tepid margin; he beat social conservative Bob Vander Plaats 50-41 (with 9 for Rod Roberts). Unfortunately for Chet Culver (who may be ruing not trying some Gray Davis-style manipulation in the GOP primary), a weak Branstad win is still a Branstad win. (C)
IA-02(R): Move over Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky and M. Myers Mermel, because Mariannette Miller-Meeks is back in town. The ophthalmologist and 2008 nominee against David Loebsack won the GOP primary surprisingly easily (with 51%), considering she was against NRCC pick Rob Gettemy and two former Senate candidates. (C)
IA-03(R): The NRCC also hit the Fail jackpot in the 3rd, where their pick, former wrestling coach Jim Gibbons, lost decisively to the better-organized state Sen. Brad Zaun (who won with 42% to Gibbons' 28%) in a race that had been expected to go to convention to be decided. desmoinesdem has a good diary up detailing the NRCC's Iowa double-faceplant. (C)
ME-Gov(D): State Senate president Libby Mitchell seems on track to becoming Maine's first female governor, winning the Democratic primary with 35%; a Bill Clinton endorsement may have helped her stand out from the ho-hum pack. She was followed by former AG Steve Rowe at 23, businesswoman Rosa Scarcelli at 22, and former state Conservation director (and former Avengers star) Patrick McGowan at 20. (C)
ME-Gov(R): Waterville mayor Paul LePage, the Republican who'd been most closely associated with local Tea Partiers, won the GOP nomination with 38%. He finished ahead of a gaggle of moderates, including businessman Les Otten at 17, state Sen. Peter Mills at 15, ex-Collins CoS Steve Abbott at 13. Will a race between the very liberal Mitchell and very conservative LePage give a legitimate opening to centrist independent Eliot Cutler in November? (C)
NJ-03(R): Former Eagles offensive lineman and establishment favorite Jon Runyan dispatched Tabernacle Township Committeeman and insurgent Justin Murphy by a 60-40 margin for the right to take on freshman Dem John Adler in this Burlington County-based R+1 district. (JMD)
NJ-06(R): Back in the egg-on-NRCC's-face department, one of their "on the radar" candidates, Monmouth County GOP Vice Chair Diane Gooch, finds herself 61 votes behind Highlands mayor Anna Little. Winner takes on 11-term Dem Frank Pallone. (JMD)
NJ-07(R): Frosh GOP Rep. Leonard Lance was held to only 56% in his primary against a four-pack of underfunded teabaggers. His closest foe, businessman David Larsen, received 31% of the vote. (JL)
NJ-12(R): NRCC favorite Scott Sipprelle had a surprisingly close call (59-41) against the teabaggish David Corsi for the right to take on Dem Rush Holt in this central Jersey district. (JMD)
NV-Gov(R): A pathetic end for a pathetic man: GOP Gov. Jim Gibbons claimed only 27% in his primary against ex-AG Brian Sandoval, who won the nod with 56%. Sandoval will try to take on Rory Reid's lunch money in the fall. (JL)
NV-Sen(R): Harry Reid must be doing the Angle Dance tonight, as the Dirty Harry Hand Cannon-packing, crypto-Scientologist, prohibitionist, Club for Growth-backed nutcake Sharron Angle trounced former NV GOP Chair Sue Lowden and ex-SoS candidate Danny Tarkanian by an absurd 40-26-23 spread. Harry Reid, you are one lucky bastard. (JL)
SC-Gov: State Sen. Vincent Sheheen easily claimed the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in South Carolina with 59% of the vote against the briefly-hyped SC School Superintendent Jim Rex (23%). He'll have some time to replenish his reserves by the Republican race goes to a runoff, as state Rep. Nikki Haley weathered her recent controversies in fine form with 49% of the vote to TARP-loving US Rep. Gresham Barrett's 22%. (JL)
SC-Sen(D): This is just embarrassing. South Carolina Democrats had been hyping the candidacy of Charleston County councilman and ex-state Rep. Vic Rawl for months, but Rawl ended up losing to Alvin Greene, a 32-year-old unemployed ex-military guy who lives with his dad and somehow found the ten grand necessary to file for office. (And it wasn't even close, either, at 59-41.) Do we have another Scott Lee Cohen on our hands? The morning-after news seems to suggest so, with court records confirming that Greene was charged with showing obscene pictures to a college student. This is now the second cycle in a row where SC Dems have nominated the less-than-ideal choice for Senate. (JL)
SC-01: Oy. This is pretty damn embarrassing, too. Perennial candidate Ben Frasier (0 for 19!) upset the mildly touted Robert Burton, a former member of the Board of Commissioners of the State Housing Finance and Development Authority, for the Democratic nomination in this open seat. For the Republicans, we're looking at a run-off between state Rep. Tim Scott (the Club for Growth's choice), who won 31% of the vote, and legacy candidate Paul Thurmond, who placed second with 16%. (JL)
SC-03(R): This was a bit of a surprise. In the race to succeed Gresham Barrett in the House, businessman Richard Cash finished first with 25%, with state Rep. Jeff Duncan also advancing to the run-off with 23%. That's something of an upset, as state Rep. Rex Rice, who placed third at 19%, was seen as a strong bet to make the run-off. (JL)
SC-04(R): Bob Inglis is utterly doomed. The increasingly sane GOP incumbent only won 28% of the vote in his primary against Spartanburg County Solicitor Trey Gowdy and other teabag also-rans. Gowdy ended the night with 39%, meaning that these two are headed for a run-off, but it's hard to imagine how Inglis can survive this one. (JL)
SD-Gov(R): Lt. Gov. Dennis Daugaard easily sowed up the Republican gubernatorial nomination with 50% of the vote in a five-person field. He'll face state Senate Minority Leader Scott Scott Heidepriem in November. (JL)
SD-AL(R): This was always a hard race to fit into the usual Republican primary template, since all three of the GOP candidates (SoS Chris Nelson, and state Reps. Blake Curd and Kristi Noem) were establishment types, despite some teabaggish behavior (most notably Nelson, who'd been birther-curious). In the end, Noem prevailed, beating Nelson and Curd without a runoff, 42-35-23. Did Noem's advertising make the difference, or did Nelson's birtherism cost him his early frontrunner status? (C)
VA-02(R): Auto dealer Scott Rigell wrapped up the Republican nomination to face Dem Rep. Glenn Nye the Freshman Guy with 40% of the vote. Businessman Ben Loyola placed second with 27%. (JL)
VA-05(R): Despite being absolutely despised by the teabagging base in the district thanks to his vote for the tax hiking Mark Warner budget many moons ago, state Sen. Robert Hurt easily won the GOP nod against Democrat Tom Perriello with 48% of the vote. Hurt will have to look out on his right flank, though, as Danville businessman Jeff Clark has said that he would run as an independent if Hurt wins the nod. (JL)
• AR-Sen: I don't know if this is outright shenanigans or innocent bureaucratic bungling, but a lot of eyebrows are being raised over a strange turn of events in Garland County that's going to lead to long lines and voters avoiding the polls. The county, with a population of 80,000 and 42 precincts, will have a total of two polling places for the upcoming runoff election. Worth noting: Garland County (home of Hot Springs) is the most populous county in Arkansas that went for Bill Halter in the primary.
• IL-Sen: The Mark Kirk story seems like it's finally catching hold in the Chicago market. At the link, you can check out the whole "misremembered it wrong" story splashed across the front page of the Chicago Sun-Times, and watch a withering WGN news story.
• WA-Sen: Dino Rossi has reported $600K in contributions in one week since announcing his bid. Anyone who is surprised by this number should get better acquainted with the term "low hanging fruit;" the interesting numbers will be the ones in future weeks to see how he does now that most of Washington's major real estate and contracting players have, assumedly, maxed out. Also in the not-surprising file, state Sen. Don Benton dropped out of the race and endorsed Rossi. Benton was the more or less GOP frontrunner prior to Rossi's entry, but also something of a Republican-establishment stand-in for Rossi with a lot of overlap in supporters, so there wasn't much incentive for him to continue. Goldy correctly yawns at Benton's departure, saying that Clint Didier (the Palin-endorsed teabagger in the race) was always the real speed bump for Rossi and one that'll continue to pose a problem: he can't run away from Didier and his supporters, whose enthusiasm he'll need in November, but if he gets too close to them, he'll lose whatever moderate image he once had, which he'll also need in November.
• CA-Gov (pdf): The last pre-primary Field Poll, or at least part of it, is out. All that they've released today is the Republican gubernatorial primary numbers, which are very much in line with everyone else's numbers lately. They see Meg Whitman leading Steve Poizner 51-25, only half the 49-point lead she had in the last Field Poll in March but still certainly enough to get the job done for her on Tuesday. Keep your eyes peeled for the rest of the data.
• NY-Gov: Maggie Haberman has an interesting retrospective of the big bag of Fail that was the Steve Levy campaign. She weaves together a number of threads that didn't really make it into the national media -- unwillingness to fully commit to the race, his reluctance to dip into his war chest, tabloid stories about law school friends -- to paint a picture of a campaign that, in hindsight, was doomed from the outset.
• AR-03: Sarah Palin (and the Susan B. Anthony List) weighed in in AR-03, adding one more "Mama Grizzly" to her trophy room. She endorsed state Sen. Cecile Bledsoe, who's in a runoff against Rogers mayor Steve Womack for the GOP nomination in the open seat race in this safely-red district. Bledsoe only compiled about 15% of the vote in the primary, although with a huge number of candidates, that was enough to squeak by into second place.
• NY-15: In case there was any doubt that a combination of age, sliminess, and having lost his Ways and Means gavel might prompt a last-minute retirement for Charles Rangel, they were laid to rest. He'll be officially kicking off his next campaign this weekend.
• OH-18: The long-unresolved GOP primary in the 18th appears to be finally over, as former state Agriculture director and 2008 nominee Fred Dailey conceded. He lost to establishment pick state Sen. Bob Gibbs by 156 votes according to certified results, and the automatic recount only changed two votes. While this is one more in a string of recent GOP primaries where the establishment candidate beat the teabagger, this, like many of those races (like, say, IN-08 and IN-09, and IN-03 and IN-05 if you want to call the woeful Souder and Burton "establishment") where the anti-establishment candidate came within a hair of winning, and where if there had been fewer teabagger candidates spoiling the broth or things that just bounced slightly differently, the media would be talking about an entirely different narrative.
• Media: So, speaking of media narratives, I'm wondering if the media are starting to dial down their "Dems are dooooomed!" narrative that's been conventional wisdom for the last half a year. Not just because they may be noticing that the polling evidence for that is sketchy at best, but also, as this Newsweek piece points out, that they may have gotten suckered by the Democrats themselves, who seem to be engaged in the ages-old practices of expectations management, lowballing their predictions so they look like heroes later.
• Ideology: 538 has some fascinating charts up as part of a new post on where states (and where the two parties within each state) fit on the liberal/conservative scale, looking at it on multiple dimensions instead of on a left/right line. West Virginia (socially conservative and economically liberal) stands out as an interesting outlier on the chart, which does a lot to explain its particular brand of politics.
AR-Sen: Blanche Lincoln's closing ad for her campaign is really, really sad-sack. "I know you're angry at Washington - believe me, I heard you on May 18" and "I'd rather lose this election fighting for what's right than win by turning my back on Arkansas." Gawd.
CT-Sen: Dick Blumenthal is out with his first TV ads of the cycle, featuring people he helped in his capacity as attorney general. You'll need to click over to his site to watch them. No word on the size of the buy (grrr).
FL-Sen: Boy, Joe Trippi sure has shacked up with one serious shitball. Jeff Greene, who spent his entire adult life registered either as "no party" or a Republican, donated five grand to Meg fucking Whitman's gubernatorial campaign just last year. Lately he's given a bunch of money to Dems, but jeez - to Whitman, of all people? Oh, and he also gave money to Pete Wilson back in 1988. That should help him with the Hispanic vote.
IL-Sen: Where to start with Mark Kirk? How about this: Liberal blogger Nitpicker first nailed Mark Kirk for misleading people about his military service record all the way back in 2005 (while chasing down a bullshit attack on Paul Hackett, interestingly enough). TPM also lists many more occasions where Mark Kirk did his best to make it appear he served in Operation Iraqi Freedom (he did not). Meanwhile, Bloomberg has another video of Kirk claiming to have won the Intelligence Officer of the Year award (he did not). And last but not least, the Navy itself is saying it alerted Kirk to the fact that the media was inquiring about the award story. Ouch.
KS-Sen: State Sen. David Haley officially kicked off his campaign to succeed Sam Brownback yesterday. Haley lost a bid for Secretary of State in 2006. He joins former newspaper editor Charles Schollenberger and academic administrator Lisa Johnston in the Democratic primary.
KY-Sen: Libertarian purity trolls in Kentucky have decided not to field a candidate to express their unhappiness with Rand Paul... mostly because they don't have, you know, a candidate. Meanwhile, Kentucky Republicans are pretty pissed themselves. The GOP-led state Senate adopted a resolution on a voice vote expressing support for the Civil Rights Act, and criticizing those (like a certain nameless senate nominee) as "outside the mainstream of American values" and part of an "extreme minority of persons in the United States" for their opposition to the law. Double ouch.
NY-Sen: Will it blend? The answer is always yes, whether you're talking about a blender from Blendtec or a Schumer from Flatbush. The NY GOP nominated former CIA officer Gary Bernsten, who vowed, a little too Jack Bauer-like, to "pursue Sen. Schumer in every town, on every street and every village." Political consultant Jay Townsend, who may be in this just to sell more DVDs on how to run campaigns, will also be on the primary ballot - as will anyone insane enough to try to petition his or her way on. Whoever the lucky winner is, they'll have to face the implacable Schumer whirling blades of death in November.
KS-Gov: Sen. Sam Brownback, running for governor, picked state Sen. Jeff Colyer has his running-mate. Colyer is also a plastic surgeon whose Google results lead with the fact that he performs breast augmentations.
NV-Gov: Jon Ralston points out that Rory Reid has $2.6 million in cash-on-hand, while likely Republican opponent Brian Sandoval has just $575K. Sandoval has had to fight a primary battle against incumbent Gov. Jim Gibbons, while Reid's had the nomination to himself.
AR-03: Steve Womack has finally picked up an endorsement from one of the people he beat in the first round in AR-03, businessman Kurt Maddox. His opponent in the runoff, Cecile Bledsoe, has scored the support of also-rans Steve Lowry, Doug Matayo, and, of course, Gunner DeLay.
CO-07: Navy vet Lang Sias doesn't live in the 7th CD, and he also hasn't done something else there or anywhere else for the last decade: vote. In fact, the former Democrat (who donated to Mark Udall in 2002) didn't even manage to vote for John McCain when he was volunteering for his campaign two years ago. Sias is fighting for the GOP nod against Aurora City Councilman Ryan Frazier, who is whomping him in the cash department.
GA-07: GOP State Rep. Clay Cox is the first candidate on the air in the race to replace retiring Rep. John Linder. Amusingly enough, Cox's ad features his support for the "Fair Tax" - one of the key issues which sunk Tim Burns in PA-12. Obviously it's a different district, but I'll be curious to see if it flies in a Republican primary. Anyhow, no word on the size of the buy (of course). (Also, is it just me, or does the part of the ad in front of the heavy vehicles look greenscreened?)
NY-03: Howard Kudler, a Nassau County teacher, will likely run against Rep. Peter King, says Newsday. Kudler challenged GOP Assemblyman David McDonough in 2008, losing 62-38.
NY-19: Biden alert! The VPOTUS was seen yesterday doing a fundraiser for Rep. John Hall in Bedford, NY. No word on the haul, though the event was described as "small." In the evening, the elder Biden also did an event in NYC for his son Beau's DE-AG re-election campaign.
Polling: Mark Blumenthal tries to pin Scott Rasmussen down on why his firm hasn't been polling key primaries closer to the actual elections. When confronted with evidence that his patterns this cycle have changed from the last, Ras says that general elections and presidential primaries are "different" from regular primaries. He also claims that the AR-Sen race is only "of intense interest to some on the political left," which doesn't exactly gibe with reality, given how much ink has been spilled on this contest by the tradmed. Meanwhile, speaking of questionable polling, Nate Silver takes a look at Internet-based pollsters. While Zogby of course is the suck, Silver thinks that Harris Interactive and YouGov "are capable of producing decent results."
Passings: Former North Dakota Gov. Art Link passed away at the age of 96. He served two terms in the 70s, losing a bid for a third term to Republican Allen Olson in 1980.
CT-Sen: Yet another thing the New York Times appears to have gotten wrong: Dick Blumenthal was on his college swim team, and no, he never claimed to have been the captain. In light of recent revelations, SSP is retracting the accusation we made in our first post on the NYT article that Blumenthal "lied." Subsequent information has show that the NYT's piece was misleading, at best.
NV-Sen: Chicken Lady is up on the air with an ad attacking Crazy Lady, aka enriched weapons-grade wingnut Sharron Angle, for some pretty lulzy stuff. No word on the size of the buy. Meanwhile, Danny Tarkanian is also aiming (indirectly) at Angle, with a press release criticizing the Tea Party Express, which endorsed her and not him.
NY-Sen-B: Even I had given up on all the people who have given up, but it looks like there may be yet one more name on the list of people who want to challenge Kirsten Gillibrand. Gail Goode, a staffer for the NYC Corporation Council (the city attorney's office) supposedly wants to give it a go. Goode has a pretty unimposing pedigree and would have to go through the arduous and expensive process of petitioning to get on the ballot. Meanwhile, one of the hapless Republicans trying to take down Gillibrand, David Malpass, is on the air with a TV ad (this early? really?), but of course, no word on the size of the buy.
AL-Gov: Mystery wingnutty (?) birthery (?) teabaggy (?) group New Sons of Liberty was caught making prank calls to Moe's Tavern said "psych!" and cancelled their vaporware $1 million ad buy that was set to asplode in the Alabama governor's race. If this was just a gambit to gain free media by pretending to buy paid media, it's an awfully weird one, since we know little more about this group now than we did a week ago. Anyhow, how come ad buyers don't have to put down deposits, especially when they book so much airtime during ad peak season?
IA-Gov: Chet Culver has raised $1.5 million this year so far, but more than half his haul came directly from the Democratic Governors Association. Chief rival Terry Branstad raised $1.6m in the same timeframe. Culver leads in cash-on-hand, $3.3m to $1.2m. You also may have seen that Culver lost his campaign "briefing book," the bible by which any campaign is run. Reminds me of when the Indiana Pacers lost their playbook right before a playoff series with the Knicks. (The Knicks won.)
AL-05: Mo Brooks, mankind's last, best hope of defeating turncoat Parker Griffith in the GOP primary, announced a whole slew of endorsements from local elected officials and party bigwigs. Interestingly, on the list was the GOP chair for Limestone County, who elected not to support the incumbent, which is a fairly unusual move for a party official.
AR-03: Damn - looks like we won't have Gunner DeLay to kick around anymore, at least for this cycle. The ex-legislator, who narrowly missed out on the runoff, backed off his plans to seek a recount and instead endorsed second-place finisher Cecile Bledsoe, a state senator. She squares off against Rogers (pop. 39K) Mayor Steve Womack. With Gunner gone, we're getting desperately low on awesome names.
CA-11: After previously saying he wished he could issue "hunting permits" for liberals because we "need to thin the herd," Republican jackass Brad Goehring isn't backing down in the least - rather, he says he's "proud" of all the flack he's been getting. What a guy!
ID-01: In his ongoing quest to assume the title of Bill Sali 2.0, budding SSP fave Vaughn Ward repeatedly referred to Puerto Rico in a debate as a "country." When corrected by his Puerto Rican opponent, he proudly reveled in his ignorance, saying he didn't "care what it is." That alone should garner him some good wingnut cred.
LA-03: Make them sweat? Despite not really having a candidate in this deep-red seat that most Dems have mentally given up on, the DCCC put out a press release walloping former Louisiana Speaker Hunt Downer, who just got into the race. They accuse Downer, who just retired as a major general from the National Guard, of abandoning his state in favor of his political ambitions instead of dealing with the BP oil spill. Dunno if this charge is really going to stick, though, seeing as Downer said he planned his retirement long ago.
MN-06: It's always rich when anti-tax zealots fuck up paying their taxes - something Michele Bachmann just did by failing to pay her own property taxes on time.
NY-13: Vito Fossella is shocked, shocked!... I mean, surprised! that he was nominated for his old seat by the Staten Island GOP on Wednesday. (Read this if you need to catch up on one of the most remarkable bits of WTF? this cycle.) He says he'll "take a short period of time" to decide if they like him, they really, really like him - i.e., whether to take the plunge. I'm not buying the "short period of time" business, since Fossella said he wants to talk this over with "loved ones," which ought to take him quite a while, given how many families he has.
Meanwhile, Michael Allegretti, one of two candidates (not including Vito Fossella) seeking the GOP nomination to take on Rep. Mike McMahon, says he plans on staying in the race regardless of what Vito does. There had been some chatter that local Republicans wanted him to run for the state Assembly instead, but that would be a pretty sucky alternative, to say the least.
FEC: Instant SSP hero Rep. Susan Davis (D-CA-53) offered an amendment to the DISCLOSE Act (the bill designed to take the Citizens United ruling down a peg or two) which would require that all independent expenditures be filed electronically with the FEC, and be "searchable, sortable and downloadable." The amendment passed unopposed, so hopefully it will emerge intact in the final bill. Now if only the damn Senate would join the 20th century and file electronically, too.
Spoilers: Don't even think about talking about LOST.
Now that the dust has settled and I've had time to reflect, I wanted to post a quick analysis of what happened in Arkansas last night, from a progressive Arkie's perspective. Keep in mind, this is only meant to be an analysis of last night, and of nothing that's to come. I don't think it's a perfect analysis, but it is my take.
Last night was a lot of fun, but with over two dozen races worth watching, it's easy to lose track of some of those important but lesser-heralded contests while getting mesmerized by some of the more marquee races that went down last night. Let's do a brief re-cap of everything:
AR-Sen: The big story out of Arkansas is Bill Halter's strong finish in the Democratic Senate primary against Blanche Lincoln. Lincoln ultimately ended the night with a 45-43 result, which was good enough to send this race to a runoff on June 8. Everyone is aflutter that Paulist weirdo D.C. Morrison managed to scoop up 13% of the vote, a higher mark than the polls expected. While it might be tempting to speculate that Morrison's votes will flock to the more right-wing choice in the runoff (Lincoln), I don't really think that's how it works. I'd expect Halter to pick up a share of these voters based purely on anti-incumbent spite, while others may simply crawl back into the woodwork, dissatisfied with both options. And for what it's worth, Morrison says that he won't be supporting either Dem in the runoff (or the general), and guesses that his supporters will split evenly between the two of them.
On the Republican side, GOP Rep. John Boozman cleared the primary with an easy 53% of the vote over a very fractured Republican field. While Boozman gets the luxury of extra time to refill his war chest, it's not the biggest loss in the world for Dems -- we're only talking about three weeks worth of time here.
AR-01: Ex-state Sen. Tim Wooldridge is headed to a runoff against Marion Berry's former Chief of Staff Chad Causey for the Democratic nomination here. Wooldridge, a fairly conservative fellow whom Bill Halter beat in a runoff for the Democratic Lt. Governor nod in 2006, came in first with 39% of the vote. Causey, who was endorsed by Berry and some labor groups, scored 27%. The winner of the runoff will face Republican radio broadcaster Rick Crawford, who easily beat Princella Smith, a former aide to future ex-Rep. Joe Cao, by a 73-27 margin.
AR-02: Republicans nominated ex-US Attorney and Rove acolyte Tim Griffin over teabagging restaurateur Scott Wallace by a 62-38 margin, while Democrats sent state Sen. Joyce Elliott, a liberal African-American, to a runoff against state House Speaker Robbie Wills. Elliott won 40% of the vote to 28% for Wills. Departing Dem Rep. Vic Snyder's former Chief of Staff, David Boling, came in third with 19%.
AR-03: In a district that is essentially the home base of Republican muscle in Arkansas, it's too bad ex-state Sen. Gunner DeLay didn't manage to force himself into the runoff, if only to give us more opportunities to namedrop him. Instead, Republicans chose Rogers Mayor Steve Womack (31%) and state Sen. Cecile Bledsoe (13%) to advance to the runoff out of a very crowded field.
KY-Sen: In a night of amazing finishes, this one caused a lot of bubbly to be spilled in the SSP comments section. While Rand Paul sleepwalked to a 59-35 win over Trey Grayson, Attorney General Jack Conway executed a remarkable surge in the remaining weeks of the campaign, escaping a double-digit deficit to beat Dan Mongiardo by 44-43 for the Democratic nomination. Perhaps surprisingly, though, Mongiardo is holding out for a recanvass of the vote before he concedes. A recount will unlikely do much good for Dr. Dan, especially when you consider that there are still 13 precincts left to count in Conway-loving Jefferson County.
Also, if this is any indication of Rand Paul's campaign skills -- hosting his victory party at an exclusive country club and then defending the choice on Good Morning America as non-elitist... because Tiger Woods brought golf to "the city youth" -- this should be a pretty fun campaign.
KY-03: Here's another mild surprise. Despite a financial disadvantage, Air Force vet Todd Lally crushed Pizza Hut franchise baron and presumed front-runner Jeff Reetz by a 52-17 margin for the Republican nod to take on two-term Dem Rep. John Yarmuth. Reetz, in fact, did so poorly that he finished in third -- right behind real estate investor Larry Hausman, who took 25% of the vote.
KY-06: We initially expected retired coal executive Mike Templeman to give attorney Andy Barr a run for his money for the GOP nod to take on Democratic fixture Ben Chandler, but this race was nothing short of a blow-out. Barr dispatched Templeman by a 64-10 spread.
In Oregon, surprises were few and far between. Polling had given ex-Gov. John Kitzhaber a big edge over ex-SoS Bill Bradbury going into the Democratic primary, and that was borne out by Kitzhaber's 66-30 win. Although Bradbury was rhetorically running to Kitzhaber's left, progressives don't need to be disappointed by the result; Kitzhaber's track record is as a health care innovator, and he's clearly eager to push forward on that now that he has a reliably Democratic legislature and the state-level flexibility afforded by the new HCR law. Kitzhaber faces off against Republican victor Chris Dudley, who won with 40% of the vote in a crowded GOP field (which is still less than his 46% career free throw average in the NBA). Dudley fought off a late surge from Allen Alley, who finished at 32%, after trying to make inroads with the conservative wing once Dudley staked out the same moderate turf where Alley had hoped to compete.
In the Senate race, Dem incumbent Ron Wyden picked up 90% of the vote; he faces a not-very-competitive race against Republican law professor Jim Huffman, the best known out of seven nobodies, who prevailed with 42%. The NRCC got its desired candidates in the two House districts where it's hoping to compete this year. State Rep. Scott Bruun had a solid performance in OR-05, winning with 62%, while Rob Cornilles was a bit more underwhelming, winning with 41% against a teabagger-clogged field in OR-01. (Crisitunity)
PA-Sen: You gotta hand it to Joey Sestak. After months of stagnating in the polls and storing his powder safely in airtight Ziploc containers, he used some well-timed late hits to topple Arlen Specter by 54-46 in the Democratic primary. Given that Sestak has actually been performing more competitively than Specter against Republican Pat Toomey (who won his primary over Peg Lutsik by 63 points), this is probably good news over all for team blue.
PA-Gov: In the end, it wasn't close. Allegheny Co. Executive Dan Onorato beat state Auditor Jack Wagner by 45-24 for the Democratic gubernatorial nod. Two Philly-area candidates, state Senator (and school voucher advocate) Anthony Williams and ex-Rep. Joe Hoeffel combined for 31% of the vote. Onorato faces a bigger challenge now in defeating Republican AG Tom Corbett. Corbett beat his no-name opposition with 69% of the vote.
PA-03: Auto dealer and ex-city councilman Mike Kelly narrowly beat well-funded retired businessman Paul Huber by 28-26. Kelly will be the Republican nominee against frosh Dem Rep. Kathy Dahlkemper this fall.
PA-04: Politics ain't beanbag, and Bush-era US Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan found that out the hard way last night. Expected to easily clinch the Republican nomination against Democrat Jason Altmire by beltway progs when she entered the race, her ineptitude on the campaign trail resulted in attorney Keith Rothfus pasting her by 33%. Better luck next time, Mary Beth!
PA-06: In a night that gave us some pretty good news all around, this one is particularly special for SSP. Democratic physician Manan Trivedi upset rich guy Doug Pike, who had donated over $1 million of his own money to his campaign effort, by a 51-49 spread. It looks like Pike still hasn't conceded, but he'll have to face the truth sooner rather than later. And here's a nickel's worth of free advice that I'll give to anyone who's interested in running for Congress in the future: You Don't Mess With The Project.
PA-10: Another ex-Bush era US Attorney, Tom Marino, was touted as a strong recruit who'd have little difficulty winning his party's nomination against Democrat Chris Carney. Things got a little dicey last night, but Marino did end up succeeding where Mary Beth Buchanan failed. Marino won the nod with a 41% plurality over chiropractor David Madeira and Snyder Co. Commissioner Malcolm Derk.
PA-11: If there's one race where things didn't really work out for Democrats, it's this one. Crusty incumbent Rep. Paul Kanjorski beat a divided Democratic primary field with only 49% of the vote -- one of the weakest performances we've seen by an incumbent House member this cycle. That probably doesn't bode well for the general election, where Kanjorski will face off with Lou Barletta for the third time.
PA-12: Wow. After all the Republican swagger, did anyone honestly expect Democrat Mark Critz to beat Republican Tim Burns by 53-45 in the special election to replace John Murtha? Certainly Republicans appeared stunned, because I don't think they would have tried to spin yarns like this one if they weren't reeling from the result:
"Republican Tim Burns ran an excellent campaign in one of the bluest of congressional districts," Mr. Steele said in a statement Tuesday night. "Despite the fact that Pennsylvania's 12th District has been a Democratic stronghold for more than 30 years and Democratic voters outnumber Republicans by more than 2 to 1, Republican Tim Burns pushed his Democratic opponent to the wire."
"One of the bluest" CDs? Shah! Right! Obviously Mikey was not reading from the same hymnbook as ex-Rep. Tom Davis:
Tom Davis, a former Republican House member and top party campaign strategist, saw the win by Democrat Mark Critz, a former aide to Mr. Murtha, over Republican Tim Burns as a serious blow to the Republican claim to be within reach of the 40 seats needed to recapture the House.
"If you can't win a seat that is trending Republican in a year like this, then where is the wave?" asked Mr. Davis, who said Republicans will need to examine what went wrong. "It would be a huge upset not to win this seat."
Republicans have no excuse to lose this race. The fundamentals of this district, including voters' attitudes towards Obama and Pelosi, are awful for Democrats. And Democratic party registration advantages here are just as obsolete as GOP's advantages in Upstate New York were last year. Timing is no excuse for Republicans either. This special election, not the competitive statewide Democratic primaries held the same day, will be driving turnout on May 18th.
Meanwhile, Burns managed to win his primary over direct mail scammer Bill Russell by 57-43, which means he gets the pleasure of facing Critz again in November. It's pretty rare for the loser of a special election to win the rematch in the next general election. The last example of such a casualty, that I can come up with, was half-term Dem Rep. Peter Barca, who won a special election against Republican Mark Neumann in 1993. Neumann came back to beat Barca in '94. Otherwise, this type of situation is pretty rare.
PA-17: Democrat Tim Holden seemed to aggravate the base of his party with his vote against HCR, resulting in only a 65% win last night over his no-money primary challenger, Sheila Dow-Ford. On the Republican side, state Sen. Dave Argall only managed to beat veteran Frank Ryan by 1.4%.
PA-19: Despite speculation that semi-sane GOP Rep. Todd Platts was endangering himself by openly seeking an appointment from Barack Obama to lead the Government Accountability Office, Platts dispatched teabagging challenger Mike Smeltzer by a 70-30 margin.
Maybe we can't quite call it the "Super Tuesday" of congressional primary days, but based on the gravity of some of the races that will be decided this week, it wouldn't be far off the mark. Two Democratic incumbent Senators are embroiled in stiff primary fights, and the outcome of both party primaries in Kentucky's Senate race will weigh heavily on the competitiveness of that seat in November. All told, there are 28 elections worth watching today (by our count), with the promise of run-offs in Arkansas on June 8 if no candidate achieves a majority of the vote in their respective races. Also on tap for the weekend is the special election to replace Dem Rep. Neil Abercrombie in Hawaii's 1st District, which is shaping up to be a disaster of Abercrombie's making.
AR-Sen(D): Polling seems to indicate that the odds of Bill Halter coming out ahead of two-term incumbent Blanche Lincoln as falling somewhere between slim and none, but the presence of Paulist weirdo D.C. Morrison on the Democratic ticket may draw enough votes away from Lincoln to force a runoff in June. Outside groups have already spent millions on this race; labor has lined solidly behind Halter while Chamber of Commerce-types have funneled significant resources behind Lincoln, telling you everything you need to know about the ideological fault lines of this primary battle. If a runoff becomes a reality, expect this race to find yet another gear.
AR-Sen(R): Again, first place isn't at all in question here. GOP Rep. John Boozman's superior name recognition has given him a big edge on the other seven dwarves of the GOP field. What is at stake, though, is whether or not Boozman (like Lincoln) can avoid a resource-draining runoff, and if not, which Republican contender will advance to the next round along with him. Boozman has stayed close to the 50% mark in recent polling, with ex-state Sen. Jim Holt (the GOP's '04 nominee against Lincoln) and state Sen. Gilbert Baker clawing for second place.
AR-01(D): With Marion Berry hitting the exits, four Dems have lined up to replace him, making a runoff a safe bet. Ex-state Sen. Tim Wooldridge, a pretty conservative dude who lost a runoff for Lt. Governor in 2006 to Bill Halter, is seen as the front-runner -- a notion confirmed by the lone poll we've seen of this race. However, Berry's ex-Chief of Staff, Chad Causey, leads the money race, and state Sen. Steve Bryles has raised six figures, too. State Rep. David Cook, who is probably the most liberal choice in this race (he favors the public option, according to his campaign site) is also the least well-funded, pulling in just $54,000 through the end of April.
AR-01(R): Republicans made a lot of noise about stealing Berry's seat after he announced his retirement decision, but that sense of optimism didn't result in an upgrade in terms of candidate recruitment. Radio broadcaster Rick Crawford started his race off slowly, but has begun to pick up the pace after Berry hit the exits, and that may be enough to make this a very competitive contest in November. The only candidate to join him the Republican primary is Princella Smith, a former aide to future ex-Rep. Joe Cao. Smith has proven to be something of a dud, only raising $67K for her primary against Crawford.
AR-02(D): The primary to replace retiring Rep. Rick Snyder is a pretty interesting one, with state House Speaker Robbie Wills seemingly leading the way in terms of November electability and insider connections, and state Sen. Joyce Elliott enjoying the support of the district's liberal base. Snyder's former Chief of Staff, David Boling, is also in the race and has raised nearly as much as Wills, so his presence can't be overlooked, either. The Dem field is rounded out by former Clinton School of Public Service programming director Patrick Kennedy and assistant Attorney General John Adams, both of whom have not raised much money are not expected to win a significant share of the vote.
AR-02(R): Rove acolyte and ex-US Attorney Tim Griffin is expected to win this primary pretty easily, seeing as how he's been out-raising Little Rock restaurateur Scott Wallace by a 6-to-1 margin. Wallace, however, tied Griffin at 20-20 in an early April poll of the race, and enjoys the backing of Mike Huckabee.
AR-03(R): Good luck sorting through this orgy of teabaggery. A whopping eight Republicans are duking it out for the right to succeed John Boozman in the House, pretty much guaranteeing that this sucker is going to a runoff in June. That early April Talk Business poll suggested that we're looking at a three-way race between state Sen. Cecile Bledsoe, Rogers Mayor Steve Womack, and the aptly-named ex-state Sen. Gunner DeLay, but ex-DEA official Steve Lowry, businessman Kurt Maddox, and ex-state Rep. Doug Matayo could also compete.
HI-01(Special): There's not a whole lot that need be said about this crazy-ass jungle election, where Republican Honolulu City Councilman Charles Djou looks poised to steal this seat. He of course faces off against state Sen. President Colleen Hanabusa and ex-Rep. Ed Case, who used to represent the state's other CD. The one final point I do want to make is that I blame this all on Neil Abercrombie. Had he not resigned unexpectedly, we'd never have wound up on this situation. I can appreciate that campaigning for the governorship of Hawaii when you are needed in D.C. can be quite a tiring task, especially for a septuagenarian. But Abercrombie knew he wanted to run long ago. He should either have stuck out his term, or not have stood for re-election in 2008. (DavidNYC)
KY-Sen(D): The Big One. While the tradmed seems to neglect this race in favor of seemingly shinier objects like Arlen Specter's primary in Pennsylvania or Rand Paul's surprising strength among Kentucky Republicans, the Democratic primary is the true race to watch out of Kentucky tonight. 2004 nominee and current Lt. Governor Dan Mongiardo had enjoyed a consistent and seemingly impenetrable lead against state AG Jack Conway, the candidate with less baggage to exploit in the general election. However, recent polls have suggested that Conway is coming on strong in the home stretch of this campaign, perhaps making the race a dead heat. Research 2000 had Conway pulling within three points while SUSA only had Conway down by one. This one should be tight.
KY-Sen(R): This one shouldn't be tight. You know things are bad when Trey Grayson is whining like a DUMBocrat about Fox News' apparent preferential treatment of Rand Paul. Despite the best efforts of Mitch McConnell and Dick Cheney, it looks like the teabaggers are poised to make a major victory tonight, as Paul leads by 18 points in the latest poll of this race. A Paul win today will make this a fascinating race in the fall -- one that could potentially yield some major GOP headaches.
KY-03(R): Republicans are truly leaving no stone unturned in their quest to take back the House, and have a couple of warm bodies to take on two-term Dem Rep. John Yarmuth. Jeffrey Reetz, some guy who owns 25 Pizza Hut franchises, is facing off against Air Force vet Todd Lally. Both of these guys have raised six figures for their campaigns.
KY-06(R): After rocking his GOP opponent by 30 points in 2008, Ben Chandler has attracted a pack of mouth-breathers this time around, two of whom are somewhat well-funded. Attorney Andy Barr has been in the race the longest, and has raised over $400K. Retired coal executive Mike Templeman is his chief competition, while four other Republicans have only managed to raise chump change for the primary and are expected to be non-factors tonight.
OR-Gov(D): The main story on May 18 in Oregon may be the 30th anniversary of the eruption of Mt. St. Helens, as there's been little activity that would qualify as volcanic in either party's open seat gubernatorial primary. The Democratic primary has been a low-key and civil contest between two long-time friends, former Governor John Kitzhaber (termed out after two terms in 2002, but angling for a return) and former Secretary of State Bill Bradbury. Bradbury has big endorsers in his corner (Al Gore, Howard Dean) and gotten local progressives revved up by running to Kitzhaber's left, but polling gives a wide edge to Kitz. (Crisitunity)
OR-Gov(R): After bigger names like Greg Walden and Jason Atkinson passed, the question in the GOP primary was whether anybody other than Allen Alley, a former high-tech CEO who lost the 2008 Treasurer race, was going to show up at all. Eventually Chris Dudley, a former Portland Trail Blazers center from the 1990s, showed up and immediately assumed front-runner status simply by virtue of name rec and money. Most polling has given a lead to Dudley, but Alley seems to be closing in on him, thanks in part to Dudley's (very large) empty-suit-ishness. Both are from the moderate end of the GOP; the more conservative options, ex-state Sen. John Lim and anti-tax initiative grifter Bill Sizemore, are there mostly to provide comic relief. (C)
OR-01(R): Sports industry consultant Rob Cornilles seems to have piqued the NRCC's interest, as they've touted him as the man to take down Democratic Rep. David Wu in this D+8 suburban district. Before he can tackle Wu, though, he has to survive the GOP primary. Stephan Brodhead attracted some attention with his large bankroll, but SurveyUSA's poll of the primary indicates the main rival to Cornilles is teabagging mortgage broker John Kuzmanich. (C)
OR-05(R): Similarly, the NRCC has its favorite pony in the 5th: state Rep. Scott Bruun, a moderate from the wealthy suburban portion of this somewhat rural district. There was some brief hubbub that Bruun was vulnerable to a challenge from Tea Party-aligned retired businessman Fred Thompson (no, not that Fred Thompson), but SurveyUSA recently found that Bruun is on track to nail down the nomination. (C)
PA-Sen(D): The big kahuna. For a long time, a lot of observers (myself included) wondered when - or even if - Rep. Joe Sestak would go on the attack against the party-switching Sen. Arlen Specter. Well, Sestak's certainly proved all the doubters very wrong. Polls are as tight as can be, and while he may not pull it off in the end, Sestak seems to have timed things perfectly. This should be quite the barnburner. (D)
PA-Gov(D): A funny thing happened on the way to the primary: After a year of desultory polling showing pretty much all candidates in the teens and single digits, Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato completely pulled away from the pack. According to Pollster's trendlines, Jack Wagner, Anthony Williams, and Joe Hoeffel are all still mired in nowheresville, so unless a lot of polling is very wrong, Onorato will be the Dem gubernatorial nominee. (D)
PA-03(R): There's a crowded field to take on freshman Rep. Kathy Dahlkemper, but only two dudes have shown serious scratch - and both because they're self-funders: retired businessman Paul Huber, who raised $200K and loaned himself another $300K, and auto dealer and ex-city councilman Mike Kelly, who lent himself $165K on top of $80K in individual contributions. Other wannabes include Cochranton insurance agent Steven Fisher, teabagger Clayton Grabb, physician Martha Moore, and Some Dude Ed Franz, who have all raised about $30K or less. Both Huber and Kelly have been on the air with TV advertisements. A big question is whether Huber's fundraising edge will outweigh the fact that he was a registered Democrat for 33 years - and only switched parties in 2008. (D)
PA-04 (R): When Bush-era US Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan (one of the names that kept cropping up in the US Attorney firings scandal) got into the race, Beltway pundits seemed to think the GOP primary would be a mere formality for her before posing a strong challenge to Democratic Rep. Jason Altmire in this R+6 district in Pittsburgh's suburbs. They didn't count on one thing: Buchanan's apparentineptitude at jumping from legal practice to electoral politics. We don't have any polls to go by, but her anti-establishment opponent, attorney Keith Rothfus has outraised her and is certainly making fewer unforced errors. (C)
PA-06(D): This race pits an SSP fave, physician and veteran Manan Trivedi, against someone we simply aren't very fond of, newspaper publisher Doug Pike. But putting aside our personal preferences, what's going to happen here? It's hard to say, especially since we haven't seen any polls. Pike, thanks to massive donations from himself totaling more than a million dollars, has a big money edge. He's also gotten his share of labor endorsements, though Trivedi has scored some of his own, as well as the backing of some key county committees. I'm rooting for Trivedi, to be sure, but I think he has an uphill fight against Pike's bucks. (D)
PA-10(R): Here's another district where the GOP thought a former US Attorney would be just what the doctor ordered, and they didn't quite get what they thought. Tom Marino was their hyped pick for the race, but questions about Marino's relationship with sketchy developer Louis DeNaples have loomed large over his campaign. Marino's fundraising has been subpar as well; what is likely to help him pull it out in the primary is that his anti-establishment opposition is split, with Snyder Co. Commissioner Malcolm Derk his most prominent foe. (C)
PA-11(D): Even though there's a long-long-time Democratic incumbent here, Rep. Paul Kanjorski, the primary is on the Democratic side, rather than for the GOP (where 2008 opponent Lou Barletta is on tap for a rematch). Up-and-coming Lackawanna Co. Commissioner Corey O'Brien is taking on Kanjorski. While he has only a fraction of Kanjorski's money, he's trying to outhustle the crusty Kanjorski on the ground, and also making electability arguments about the incumbent, who barely beat Barletta in the much-more favorable 2008. Without any polling, it's hard to guess whether we're looking at a WV-01-style unplanned retirement for Kanjorski. (C)
PA-12(Special): This, by rights, should be the main event tonight, as it's the only Democrat vs. Republican matchup anywhere. It has all the makings of a dead heat, not only in terms of polling (most recently a 1-point lead for Republican Tim Burns over Democrat Mark Critz, according to PPP), but also the lay of the land. It's an historically Democratic district with a huge registration advantage, but it's trending in the Republican direction as district's aged population gets its marching orders from Fox News instead of the union hall now. Much has been made of how this R+1 district was the nation's only one to go from backing Kerry in 2004 to McCain in 2008. Critz's close ties to John Murtha, and the fact that the special coincides with the hotly contested Democratic Senate primary, may help Dems win the day, though. (C)
PA-12(D/R): The regularly scheduled primary elections in the 12th for November are also on the same day as the special. While it's likely that, whatever the special election outcome, Mark Critz and Tim Burns will be facing each other again in the general, that's not guaranteed. Critz is likely to beat Ryan Bucchanieri on the Dem side, but Burns is facing a tough challenge from Bill Russell and leading only narrowly according to a recent Susquehanna poll. Russell, who was passed over by the state party for the nomination, was the 2008 candidate; he's best known as frontman for direct-mail scammers BaseConnect, and as such, has had enough money for TV ads. Could we see a Neil Abercrombie-type result where Burns wins a special and loses a primary on the same day? (C)
PA-17(D/R): Most observers expect November to be a matchup of long-time incumbent Democratic Rep. Tim Holden, and top-tier-ish GOP recruit state Sen. David Argall. Both, however, have primaries to get through first. Holden faces Democratic activist Sheila Dow-Ford, who's attacking him over his anti-HCR vote. Meanwhile, Argall (vulnerable over the issue of legislative pay raises) is barely keeping his head above water against fractured opposition, led by veteran Frank Ryan, who's had some surprising fundraising success. (C)
PA-19(R): This has the potential to be a surprise: Rep. Todd Platts is an unusually moderate Republican given the R+12 lean of this rural district, and he's also painted a target on his own back by publicly expressing interest on getting out of that job and moving over to head the Government Accountability Office instead. Opponent Mike Smeltzer is hoping to use that as a basis for giving Platts a good teabagging. (C)
Talk Business, a multi-format Arkansas newsmagazine, is conducting a whole bunch of polling on the state's congressional primaries. They are using an outfit I'm not familiar with, with the memorable name of "The Political Firm." They look to be a Republican pollster, but I don't know if they have any skin in the game (or if Talk Business has any axe to grind).
In any event, Talk Business says all the polls were taken April 6-7th, were of registered voters (sort of an unusual choice, given that the primary is on May 18th), and are unweighted. TPF says it uses IVR (aka robopolls). Talk Business also promises two more rounds of polling before the primary.