• IN-Sen: An unnamed "Democratic strategist" quoted by The Hill suggests that ex-Rep. Tim Roemer (whose name hadn't really come up before this year) is unlikely to run for Senate. Honestly, I'm not sure if the wankerish Roemer would really excite anyone... but we don't seem to have a long list of possible names for this race.
• OH-Sen: PPP has another "everyone and the kitchen sink" primary polls, this time of the Republican senatorial primary in Ohio. In this case, the kitchen sink is named "Kenneth Blackwell," and he comes in first in an eleventy-billion-way test, with all of 17%. I don't think I've even heard Blackwell (last seen losing the 2006 gubernatorial race to Ted Strickland very badly) as a possible contender. Click the link for the other numbers.
• VA-Sen: I've got a new name you can root for: Tim Donner, a wealthy television production executive who is considering whether to challenge George Allen in the Republican primary. A spokesman tells Dave Catanese he's a "couple weeks away" from making a decision. It's not 100% clear whether he's a teabagger, but I suspect he is, given that his mouthpiece attacked bona fide teabagger (and hopeless Some Dude) Jamie Radtke for "working in government since she graduated from college," and because Donner thinks none of the candidates currently running "believe in the concept of a citizen legislature." That sounds like something a teabagger trying to channel Patrick Henry might say, no? At the very least, we should be hoping he'll rough Macaca up with a million or few.
• WV-Gov: This was expected, but it's still an important get: State House Speaker Rick Thompson (D) scored the backing of the AFL-CIO, a key endorsement in what will likely be a low-turnout special primary. (As we noted last week, Thompson also picked up the support of a couple of teachers unions.) The election is May 14th.
• CA-36: Marta Evry at Calitics takes a look at the ActBlue fundraising numbers so far for the key Democrats in the race. The numbers are a moving target, but as of Friday, Janice Hahn had taken in $49K from 200 donors, while Debra Bowen had pulled in $41K but from a much larger 474 donors. Oh, and Marcy Winograd has now achieved joke status, with $1K raised. Also, some teabagger also joined the race, making him the fourth Republican to get in.
• Wisconsin Recall: Some very good sleuthing by Madison TV station WKOW27: The alleged mistress of GOP state Sen. Randy Hopper (the name you can't forget) recently scored a government job, and Hopper said: "I want to keep my involvement of anything as a private matter. So, I'm going to maintain that." He didn't maintain that for very long, calling the station back and denying his involvement with the hiring. I'm not sure Jack McCoy ever got a witness to change his story so quickly - and incredibly. Even better, discovers WKOW, the woman in question got a 35% pay boost over the person who previously held the job. Scott Walker's government austerity in action.
In other news, Greg Sargent says that GOP polling firm Public Opinion Strategies is in the field with a survey testing anti-union messages on recall target Alberta Darling's behalf.
• DCCC: Biden alert! The VPOTUS was in Philadelphia on Friday, raising a cool $400K for the D-Triple-C. A long list of PA pols was in attendance, including ex-Rep. Patrick Murphy and a couple of unsuccessful 2010 candidates, Bryan Lentz and John Callahan. Also nice to see present: Arlen Specter, a guy whose age, brief tenure as an elected Dem, and inglorious exit from office would give him more than enough reason to stay away from this sort of thing forever. Too bad he didn't have the sense to join our team decades ago!
• Redistricting Roundup:
With the bulk of census data out, redistricting stories are coming fast and furious now.
• Arkansas: Talk Business has copies of a few different congressional maps proposed by various lawmakers, as well as descriptions of some others. Click the link to have a look.
• California: Ugh, gross: One of two finalist consulting firms to help California's new redistricting commission has hardcore Republican leanings, while two of four finalist law firms are similarly oriented. Of course, this is exactly what you risk when you leave things to a supposedly independent panel (that features a ridiculous level of Republican over-representation).
• Florida: One Democratic consultant thinks that Florida's population growth suggests that new districts (the state is getting two) could be anchored to regions that would favor two Republicans in particular: ex-LG Jeff Kottkamp and state Sen. Paula Dockery. Kottkamp lost the GOP primary for AG last year, while Dockery dropped out of the gubernatorial primary.
• Iowa: The Hawkeye State's independent redistricting commission will release its first proposes congressional and state maps on March 31st. (Remember, IA loses a House seat.) As the Des Moines Register points out, "Either chamber of the Iowa Legislature or Republican Gov. Terry Branstad can reject proposals twice. If they don't like the third, the Iowa Supreme Court decides the boundaries."
• Missouri: Show Me State lawmakers are starting their work on redistricting, but if they don't have a congressional plan by May 13th, then it'll get kicked over to the courts. State legislative maps aren't due until September.
• Mississippi: I'm not really sure I'm getting this: The NAACP is suing the state of Mississippi over its redistricting plans, but the legislature hasn't even passed anything yet. It seems like this case would fail from the get-go on ripeness grounds (i.e., a court would say that the dispute isn't ready to be heard because the plaintiff doesn't have actual maps to complain about), so I'm not really sure what the NAACP's angle is here.
• Pennsylvania: PoliticsPA talked to some insiders who are crediting Dave Wasserman's sources and saying that his most recent map is apparently pretty close to the plan that the state's Republicans are supposedly reaching consensus on. (Maybe both share the same sources, though - who knows?) Click through for all the details. The most salient feature is something a lot of people here have also proposed: a matchup between Jason Altmire and Mark Critz, the two most junior Democrats in the delegation, in order to deal with PA's loss of a seat.
• Virginia: Lawmakers are potentially looking to release state legislative maps as early as the end of the month - which makes sense, since VA holds its House and Senate elections this November.
• CT-Sen: In almost a parody of Republican fat-cattery, not-very-likely GOP senate challenger Scott Frantz loves to race his million-dollar antique yacht down to Bermuda, while at the same time extolling the virtues of companies that patriotically avoid American taxes by moving their operations offshore to the very same island.
• IN-Sen: Treasurer Richard Mourdock is officially kicking off his primary challenge to apostate Sen. Dick Lugar today, and he's announcing that a majority of local Republican party leaders in the state are backing him. The thing is, while Lugar may well get teabagged, Mourdock really isn't a teabagger. The establishment might be trying to get out in front of Lugar's political demise by rallying around the most acceptable alternative, but while Mourdock's no Charlie Crist, even conservative guys like him don't often assuage the true movementarians. We'll see.
• MA-Sen/Gov: Fresh off his victory last fall, Deval Patrick is opening a federal PAC that, the Boston Globe says, "will pay for his expenses as he travels the country as a prominent spokesman for President Obama's reelection campaign." But Patrick insists that he'll finish his second term, and then "return to the privates sector." That was actually the Globe's typo... man, I hope it was a typo. Meanwhile, Scott Brown insists he's running for re-election, not president.
• NV-Sen: Guy Cecil, the executive director of the DSCC, is heading to Nevada this week, reports Politico's Molly Ball, to meet with three potential challengers to Sen. John Ensign: Secretary of State Ross Miller, Treasurer Kate Marshall, and Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto. (The DS has already met with Rep. Shelley Berkley.)
• RI-Sen: Warwick Mayor Scott Avedisian says he'll probably decide by June whether to seek the GOP nomination to challenge Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse. Warwick is considered a "moderate" (whatever that means), and could face an impossible primary against a more conservative candidate. Recall that now-Gov. Lincoln Chafee came very close to losing a primary in 2006 against Steve Laffey while he was a sitting senator.
• VA-Sen: Former Dem LG (and current ambassador to Switzerland - and Liechtenstein!) Don Beyer says he's enjoying life abroad too much to contemplate returning home for a senate run. And hell yes he gave a shout out to Liechtenstein!
• WI-Sen: Your state becomes ground zero for the future of organized labor in America, drawing attention from around the country and around the world, and the stakes are huge. What do you do if you are Democratic Sen. Herb Kohl? You basically disappear and issue the most anodyne statement possible, saying that you "hope these matters can be settled in a respectful and balanced way." Eh, maybe we're better off like this - it's not like Kohl would be a big asset in this fight anyway.
• IN-Gov: Mark Bennett of the Terre Haute Tribune Star has an interview with former House Speaker John Gregg, who reiterates he is giving the governor's race "real serious consideration" (as we mentioned yesterday) but hasn't offered any timetable about a decision. The piece is mostly interesting as a backgrounder on Gregg, who has been out of politics for almost a decade.
Meanwhile, Brad Ellsworth says he won't be running for anything at all in 2012 (so that would include IN-Sen as well), but veteran state Sen. Vi Simpson says she is "thinking about" entering the race.
• NY-10: City Hall News has a good, in-depth look at the situation in the 10th CD, where we noted recently that Rep. Ed Towns' son Darryl, thought by some to be interested in his father's seat, is instead taking a job in the Cuomo administration. This could be a resume-burnishing delaying tactic, but with the elder Towns teetering, several big names who aren't heading off to Albany could make the race, including Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries and NYC Council Members Charles Barron and Tish James. Jeffries is publicly saying he won't make a decision until Towns does, while the more pugnacious Barron is convinced Jeffries won't primary the incumbent - and says he's "cut from the same cloth" as old Ed. If you're a fan of juicy ethnic, racial, religious, machine, big-city politics, set against the backdrop of redistricting and the VRA, this race is one to watch.
• PA-St. Sen.: How common is this? In the potentially bellwether-ish special election to replace deceased Dem state Sen. Michael O'Pake, Democrat Judy Schwank is going on the air with television ads. Her Republican opponent is reportedly set to follow. NWOTSOTB, but do state legislators commonly advertise on TV in your area?
• WATN?: So Arlen Specter's hung out a shingle. Unlike a lot of dudes in his position who become rainmakers in big DC lobbying firms, the almost quaint name of Specter's new law firm is "Arlen Specter, Attorney-at-Law," and he's practicing in Philly. Meanwhile, Specter's primary conqueror, Joe Sestak, sure is busy - he's been going on a 67-county (that's all of `em) "thank you" tour in the wake of his narrow defeat last year. While the pace is probably less punishing than on the campaign trail, this kind of perambulation is usually the sort of thing most politicians are relieved to give up after they lose - so obviously people are speculating that Sestak wants to get back in some day. Sestak himself says he wants "to stay in public service of some sort," and won't deny rumors that he's interested in a 2014 gubernatorial run., but I just can't see Sestak as gov material.
• Polltopia: You know how in a WWF tag-team match, there are those moments when one dude taps out and his partner comes in, but for a few seconds, they're both kinda in the ring at once, wailing on their hapless opponent at the same time? Just watch here as Stone Cold Mark Blumenthal puts Scott Rasmussen in a headlock and Nate "Superfly" Silva busts out the folding chair. When the bell sounds, we know pretty much what we did before: you can trust the outcomes of a Rasmussen poll and a pro-wrestling match just about equally.
• Redistricting: NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo has releases his "Redistricting Reform Act of 2011," which would create a non-partisan commission that would draw both state lege and congressional district lines. The members of the commission would still be political appointees, though, with the governor apparently holding the final card. Cuomo has threatened to veto any old-style gerrymanders, but it's not clear to me that this bill has much of a chance, particularly since other reports say Cuomo is willing to trade this for a much bigger priority, like property tax reform.
Meanwhile, Politico has the unsurprising news that many members of Congress have recently started making generous donations to their home-state legislatures, in order to win a little love during the redistricting battles ahead. I do wish they would just post the full chart of their analysis, rather than pick out tidbits. We'd never do that to you!
• Census: Bunch more states a'comin' this week: Alabama, Colorado, Hawaii, Missouri, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington will all see redistricting data by Feb. 25th.
• Dave's App: Version 2.1 has been released, with all sorts of new features. Dave is also adding new 2010 census data as he is able.
• Special Elections: SSP's own Johnny Longtorso, keeper of the special election flame, files this report:
We've got a whopping nine state legislative races in Connecticut on Tuesday. Eight of the nine are Democrats who resigned to join the Malloy administration, while the ninth (also a Dem) resigned due to a misdemeanor conviction. One race of note is HD-36, where CT-02 loser Janet Peckinpaugh is the Republican nominee. A couple of these races were close in 2010 (HD-99 and 101), so we may see some flips on Tuesday.
Also, in Missouri, there's an open State Senate seat in Kansas City, which should be an easy Dem hold.
And last Saturday, Republican state Rep. Jonathan Perry defeated Democratic businessman Nathan Granger in a special election that decided control of the Louisiana state senate. The chamber had been split 19-19, but now the GOP has the edge. Of course, it would only have been a matter of time before the next Dem party-switcher changed the equation, but this was actually a close, hard-fought race.
• AK-Sen: Everyone's watching Joe Miller's next move, as tomorrow is the day he has to decide whether or not to appeal a trial court decision in order to keep fighting his largely-hopeless fight with Lisa Murkowski. On Friday afternoon, a state superior court judge ruled against Miller's lawsuit, and in pretty withering fashion, saying he presented no evidence of fraud or malfeasance, only "hearsay, speculation, and... sarcasm." This comes on top of other comments on Friday by state elections director Gail Fenumiai strongly disputing one of Miller's cornerstone issues, that there was a strange sudden influx of felons voting in the state.
• CT-Sen, CT-04: Rep. Jim Himes confirms that he isn't going to run for Senate in 2012 against Joe Lieberman (if Lieberman even decides to stick around). It's also pretty clear confirmation that Rep. Chris Murphy is ready to run on the Dem line, as Himes said he's deferring to his slightly-more-senior colleague and might consider running if Murphy changed his mind. (The article also mentions that Rep. Joe Courtney is "considering" the race. Ex-SoS Susan Bysiewicz's interest is well-known as well, although I doubt she'll be able to manage to file her candidacy papers successfully.)
• HI-Sen: Sometimes the Beltway media's parsing of every innocent word from a potential candidate gets a little maddening, but this throw-away line from Linda Lingle's website flagged by David Catanese is actually pretty suggestive of a future run (probably against Dan Akaka in 2012): the site is titled "Looking Back, and Forward," and her first blog post is "Continuing the Journey."
• MD-Sen: Contrast that with Bob Ehrlich, who seems ripe to fall into the Dino Rossi trap but has just made it pretty clear that he won't be running for anything else again. He says a Senate run would be "very highly unlikely."
• ME-Sen: The only story that seems to be here is that the viable Tea Party candidate that has been promised to emerge to take on Olympia Snowe is starting to look like more of a mirage. A must-read (for sheer hubris and wtf?ness) interview with the state's self-appointed head teabagger, Andrew Ian Dodge, makes it sound like the candidate that Dodge is allegedly talking to is either imaginary, or else is Dodge himself (seeing as how he's from southern Maine and has his own money).
• MI-Sen: PPP includes a GOP primary portion in their Michigan Senate poll, and like a lot of other polls this far out, name rec seems to rule the day. Ex-Gov. John Engler, despite eight years out of the picture, has the lead (in fact, that may be good news, as the general electorate doesn't remember him fondly; he underperforms Debbie Stabenow, losing by 7, compared with Peter Hoekstra, who loses by 1). It's Engler 31, Hoekstra 24, with 12 for ex-AG Mike Cox, Terri Lynn Land (who may be interested in this race after all) at 7, Candice Miller at 5, Mike Rogers at 4, Thad McCotter at 3, and Tim Leuliette (the most-interested candidate so far) at 0.
• NJ-Sen: The Hill has an article that's mostly about how no GOPers are stepping up to express their interest in an uphill fight against Bob Menendez, but it does include the obligatory list of possible contenders. Top of the list is a rematch from state Sen. (and gubernatorial progeny) Tom Kean Jr., but also mentioned are Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, state Sen. Joe Kyrillos, Anna Little (a small-town mayor who was competitive against Rep. Frank Pallone this year), state Sen. Jennifer Beck, former state Sen. Bill Baroni, and state GOP chair Jay Webber if all else fails.
• NY-Sen: Rep. Peter King does some coulda-woulda-shoulda in a recent interview, saying he definitely would have run in 2010 had Caroline Kennedy been the appointee. As for a run in 2012 against Kirsten Gillibrand (when she's up for election for her first full term), he's only "keeping his options open," apparently leery of her fundraising prowess.
• PA-Sen: Rep. Charlie Dent is usually at the top of the list for Senate race speculation, but a recent interview has him sounding rather un-candidate-ish: he's about to land a plum spot on Appropriations, and speaks of it in terms of "one never rules anything out," which to my ear sounds a few steps down the Beltway-ese totem pole from "considering" it. One other interesting rumor bubbling up is that ex-Gov. Mark Schweiker is being courted to run. The question is whether anybody even remembers Schweiker; he spent less than two years on the job in the early 00s after getting promoted after Tom Ridge moved to the Bush administration, and declined to run for his own full term.
• VT-Sen: Could Bernie Sanders see a real opponent? While he isn't specifically threatening to run yet, State Auditor Tom Salmon is taking to Facebook to attack Sanders over his anti-tax deal agitating (including attacking Sanders for being a socialist, which doesn't quite have the same effective power with Sanders as with most Dems since he's likely just to say "guilty as charged"). At any rate, going after the entrenched Sanders seems like an odd move if it comes to pass, as Peter Shumlin, who narrowly won the open gubernatorial race, seems like a much easier target in a blue state that's willing to elect Republican governors but has sworn them off at the national level.
• CA-Gov: Steve Poizner sounds likely to make another run at the governor's mansion in 2014, publicly telling various people that he would have made a much better candidate than Meg Whitman. Poizner will have to step it up on the financial situation next time, though; self-funding only to the tune of eight digits, instead of nine, was pretty weak sauce.
• IN-Gov: With Evan Bayh apparently out of the gubernatorial sweepstakes, Brad Ellsworth seems to be jockeying to the front of the line today, although with some of the requisite hedging. The other main contender, of course, is Evansville mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel, although the impact of redistricting changes (at the hand of the now-GOP-held legislature) could drive Reps. Joe Donnelly or Baron Hill into the race. Two lesser Dem names who've been bandied about, Hammond mayor Thomas McDermott and former state House speaker John Gregg, are already taking their names off the table, lining up behind others for now: McDermott backing Ellsworth and Gregg backing Weinzapfel. One final new Dem name to keep an eye on: Lake County Sheriff Roy Dominguez.
• MS-Gov: For now, the Democratic side on the Mississippi governor's race seems to be between two men: Hattiesburg mayor Johnny DuPree (that city's first African-American mayor) and businessman Bill Luckett, who has his own money (and the backing of Morgan Freeman... apparently for real, unlike with NC-04's B.J. Lawson).
• WA-Gov: Here's a good take from Joel Connolly (dean of the local press corps) on the 2012 gubernatorial election in Washington state, which the Beltway press seems to treat like an open book but everyone local knows is going to be between Rep. Jay Inslee and AG Rob McKenna, who's probably the best shot the GOP has had in decades of winning the governor's race. (Chris Gregoire can, by law, run for a third term, but, in practice, that would be unheard of even if she weren't already too unpopular to do so feasibly.)
• NY-15: Is the Charles Rangel era actually coming to a close? He's not ruling out another run in 2012 but saying he'll have to think about retirement. And in public comments he is actively pointing to a generation of successors, citing state Sens. Adriano Espaillat and Robert Rodriguez, and state Assemblyman Keith Wright. (Although Harlem is the core of the district, it now has more Hispanics than it does African-Americans... and the wild card is that the fastest growing group in this district is white regentrifiers.)
• LA-St. Leg.: The hemorrhaging of Dem state legislators to the GOP in Louisiana continues apace, with one of its most prominent state Reps., the mellifluously-named Noble Ellington, sounding about ready to pull the trigger on a switch. He'd follow two state Sens., John Alario and John Smith, who also recently crossed the aisle.
• Philly mayor: You'd think that at age 80, you'd want to think about retirement, but not if you're Arlen Specter, apparently. There's word of a poll making the rounds (from Apex Research, with no mention of who paid for it or why) that not only links the outgoing Senator to a mayoral run (in the city where he got his start generations ago as the DA) but actually has him in the lead. The poll has Specter at 28, with incumbent Michael Nutter at 19, Sam Katz at 9, Anthony Hardy Williams at 8, Tom Knox at 7, Bob Brady at 6, and Alan Butkovitz (anybody care to let me know who he is?) at 6.
• WATN?: Try as he may, Artur Davis just can't get the douchiness out of his system. On his way to the private sector, he's still taking the pox-on-both-your-houses approach on his way out the door, writing an op-ed calling for an independent party as the solution to all of Alabama's woes. Meanwhile, Mariannette Miller-Meeks has landed on her feet, after losing a second run in IA-02 in a rare setback for the Ophthalmologists (who elected at least two more of their own to Congress this year): Terry Branstad just named her head of Iowa's Dept. of Public Health.
• Census: Finally, this may be the most exciting news of the day: we have a reporting date for the first real batch of 2010 Census data. Dec. 21 will be the day the Census Bureau releases its state population counts, which also includes reapportionment data (i.e. how many House seats each state will get... at least prior to the inevitable litigation process among the most closely-bunched states).
AR-Sen: The Big Dog is coming back home to stump for Blanche Lincoln, the first time he's done so this race. Meanwhile, the SEIU just tossed in another $100K for phonebanking and another $100K for field on behalf of Bill Halter. (There's also an amusing negative $100K entry for "reverse phonebanking.")
CA-Sen: Chuck DeVore is as insane as this ad. A true must-see. In news of the normal, President Obama kept to his promise to return to CA for two more Barbara Boxer fundraisers. The events raised $1.75 million, $600K of which will go to Boxer and the balance to the DSCC.
KY-Sen: Heh, that was quick. Rand Paul is already planning the dreaded "staff shakeup." The only problem is that he can't fire himself. Barring that, Mitch McConnell is telling his least-favorite fellow Kentuckian to shut the fuck up and hide under a rock - "for the time being."
PA-Sen: I agree - this is a magnanimous move. Arlen Specter introduced Joe Sestak to his Senate colleagues at their weekly lunch yesterday. Very gracious.
AL-06, AL-07: Unsurprisingly, corporate lawyer Terri Sewell is the only Democrat airing TV ads in the primary to succeed Rep. Artur Davis, spending about $200K so far. With $783K, she's far outraised her chief competitors, Earl Hilliard, Jr. ($328K) and Shelia Smoot ($100K). Sewell can also count among her contributors Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz.
Crazily, though, ten-term GOP Rep. Spencer Bachus is also airing ads in advance of his primary in AL-06, some $70K worth. Bachus has spent an amazing $680K on his campaign so far, even though his challenger, teabagger Stan Cooke, has raised just $29K total. This is the reddest district in the nation according to Cook PVI (R+29), which may explain Bachus's anxiety, since he is the ranking member of the House Financial Services Committee and voted in favor of the bailout.
AR-01: A similar situation in AR-01 as in AR-02 below, where first-rounder David Cook endorsed the somewhat less-conservative Chad Causey over the extremely conservative Tim Wooldridge in (you might be a little surprised to hear me say this if you don't already know the names) the Democratic runoff.
AR-02: Some runoff endorsements on both sides from the also-rans. Patrick Kennedy and John Adams (great names, huh?) both endorsed Robbie Wills in the Democratic race, while David Boling endorsed Joyce Elliott. I suspect national Dems would prefer Wills over the more-liberal Elliott, but this race is probably too touchy to get involved in.
DE-AL: Joe Biden returned home to do a fundraiser in Wilmington for John Carney. No word on whether he'll also do one for Senate candidate Chris Coons, but it's not like it's a big schlep.
FL-25: The statewide Florida AFL-CIO, following the lead of its South Fla. branch, endorsed little-known longshoreman Luis Meurice in the Democratic primary, rather than Joe Garcia. The union, Florida's biggest, backed Garcia in 2008.
IN-05: This is exactly the kind of weird that Dave Weigel specializes in. Tim Crawford, the teabagging "Democrat" who snuck to victory in the Democratic primary here, abruptly dropped out of the race after an unpleasant meeting with, you know, actual Democrats... and then wrote a long, rambly email saying he was un-dropping-out. Ah well.
IN-09: Speaking of Joe Biden, he'll also be doing a fundraiser in late June for Rep. Baron Hill in Jeffersonville, Indiana.
NC-08: I would really freakin' love to see Tim D'Annunzio pull this one off. The entire NC House GOP delegation just collectively endorsed former TV sportscaster Harold Johnson, terrified as they are of the spastic-fantastic Tim-diana Jones. If you don't know what I'm talking about, click here stat.
RI-01: Scott Brown is coming to Rhode Island for a fundraiser with state Rep. John Loughlin, the GOP's candidate in this open seat. To date, Loughlin's raised about $344K, which might not seem too bad, but in fact he's been running for a long time, since well before Rep. Patrick Kennedy announced his retirement.
VA-11: Businessman Keith Fimian has a new poll from McLaughlin & Associates showing him with a 36-23 lead over Fairfax Co. Supervisor Pat Herrity in the GOP primary. A March poll had Fimian up 29-17. Herrity had his own poll out last month, though, showing him with a 42-21 lead - and pointed out that Fimian claimed his internals had him just three points behind Gerry Connolly before election day 2008, but lost by twelve.
DSCC: Uh, good, I guess. The DSCC has cancelled plans to have EPA chief Lisa Jackson headline an NYC fundraiser next week - but what a retarded idea in the first place. It seems pretty inappropriate to me to have cabinet members doing hackwork like this (can you imagine Hillary Clinton or Eric Holder shilling for dollars?), but it's even worse when you're talking about the head of the EPA in the midst of the oil spill crisis in the Gulf. I also find it unctuous that the original invitation promised that the event would be "intimate, so each of you will have a real opportunity to get to know and to speak to Lisa about issues of concern to you and our nation." Pretty gross when it's our team selling access to the ultra-wealthy. Barf.
Ideology: Alan Abramowitz has a great piece up at the Democratic Strategist, looking at the correlation between ideology (as measured by DW-NOMINATE) and election performance by Republican senators. Using a modified eight-point DW-N scale, Abramowitz finds: "For every additional one point increase in conservatism, Republican incumbents lost an additional three percentage points in support relative to their party's presidential candidate." But shhh... don't tell the Republicans!
• CO-Sen: Colorado's state party conventions are this weekend. Most of the drama is on the Democratic side in the Senate race -- actually, even there, it's not that dramatic, as underdog Andrew Romanoff is expected to prevail at the convention because of his connections to party insiders and his former fellow legislators (and also based on his performance at precinct-level caucuses). Michael Bennet is still expected to meet the 30% threshold that gets him on the ballot without signatures, though, and victory here for Romanoff may be pyrrhic anyway, as the Dem convention winners have fared poorly in the actual primary (ex-Sen. Ken Salazar, for instance, lost the 2004 convention to Mike Miles). The GOP convention should be less interesting because, realizing they have little hope among the revved-up base, establishment-flavored Jane Norton and Tom Wiens aren't bothering, simply opting to qualify for the primary by petition, so Weld Co. DA and Tea Party fave Ken Buck is expected to romp.
• CT-Sen, CT-Gov: Likewise, the state conventions are scheduled for this weekend in Connecticut as well. Although there's a competitive battle in the Dem convention on the gubernatorial side between Ned Lamont and Dan Malloy, it seems like all eyes will be on Richard Blumenthal instead, to see if there's any sort of challenge to him that pops up (other than the minor candidacy of Merrick Alpert). If someone is going to get drafted as a last-minute Blumenthal replacement, it doesn't look like it's going to be the newly-freed-up Susan Bysiewicz, who, seemingly caught off-guard by this week's Supreme Court ruling about her AG eligibility, is now saying she won't run for anything in 2010. There's also the Senate face-off in the GOP convention, where ex-Rep. Rob Simmons' connections and institutional support will be measured up against Linda McMahon's gigantic wealth; McMahon, for her part, is back to touting her camp's leak of the Blumenthal story to the NYT after hiding it yesterday.
• FL-Sen: Charlie Crist couldn't square his support for Elena Kagan today with his opposition to Sonia Sotomayor, telling the Miami Herald that he really couldn't recall why he opposed Sotomayor. (Um, maybe because he was a Republican back then?) On the plus side, Crist is coming out in favor of the Fair Districts initiatives on the ballot this November, which would smooth out the most pernicious tendencies toward gerrymandering and thus is strongly opposed by the state's large Republican legislative majorities.
• IL-Sen: Hmmm, I wonder where this ranks on the hierarchy of misstating your military credentials? Rep. Mark Kirk told a gathering last May that "I command the war room in the Pentagon." Kirk does have a high-profile role in the National Military Command Center, but the war room is run by one-star general, and that's something that Kirk most definitely is not. Let's see what the NYT does with this one.
• KY-Sen: After a bad news day yesterday, Rand Paul is continuing to run his mouth, whining about how he was supposed to get a media honeymoon after Tuesday's Randslide, and also going the full Bachmann against Barack Obama, saying it "sounds Unamerican" for him to be criticizing BP over its massive oil spill because "accidents sometimes happen." (So that "B" in BP stands for American Petroleum now?) Paul is scheduled for this weekend's Meet the Press, for what his handlers hope is damage control but may turn into extended hole-digging.
Paul also expounded yesterday on the Americans with Disabilities Act, and he should be lucky the media were too fixated yesterday on his Civil Rights Act statements to provide any fact-checking about his bizarre ignorance of the ADA. Paul's example of the ADA's suckage is that it would be reasonable, if an employee used a wheelchair at a two-story business, to just give that person a first-floor office instead of forcing the employer to install an elevator at terrible cost. That's true; it would be "reasonable" -- which is exactly why the ADA asks employers to provide "reasonable accommodation" to disabled employees, a prime example of which might be letting someone work on a lower floor. Removal of architectural barriers is not required if it isn't "readily achievable" (in other words, easily accomplished, without much difficulty or expense) -- which means, grab bars in the bathroom stall or a curb cut, yes, an elevator in an old two-story building, no. Paul's attack on the ADA seems entirely based on having failed to, as the teabaggers have often urged us to do, "read the bill."
• NC-Sen: There's a late-in-the-game shakeup at the Cal Cunningham camp, as his campaign manager and communications director are out the door. Cunningham's spokesperson says it's a necessary retooling for the different nature of the runoff, with less focus on the air war and more on grassroots and shoe-leather.
• PA-Sen: Sigh. The DSCC, which isn't exactly rolling in money these days, spent $540K in coordinated expenditures trying to prop up one-year Democrat Arlen Specter in his 54-46 loss to Joe Sestak in the primary.
• MN-Gov: Margaret Anderson Kelliher reached across the aisle, or at least in the pool of bipartisan budget wonkery, for a running mate, picking John Gunyou. Gunyou was the finance commissioner for Republican Gov. Arne Carlson; he also worked as finance director for Minneapolis mayor Don Fraser and is currently city manager of the suburb of Minnetonka.
• CO-07: The GOP already had its district-level convention in the 7th, as a prelude to the statewide convo. The two main rivals, Lang Sias and Ryan Frazier, both cleared the 30% mark to get on the ballot; the minor candidates didn't clear the mark and won't try to get on by petition. Frazier got 49%, while Sias got 43%. Sias's nomination was seconded by ex-Rep. Tom Tancredo, as well as the 7th's former Rep. Bob Beauprez.
• CT-04: Thom Hermann, the First Selectman of Easton and a guy with a lot of wealth at his disposal, is making his presence known in the GOP primary field in the 4th, heading into the weekend's convention. He's out with an internal poll, via Wilson Research, giving him a large lead over presumed frontrunner state Sen. Dan Debicella among those primary voters who've decided. It's reported in a strange, slightly deceptive way, though: he has a 44-25 lead over Debicella among those who've decided, but only 36% have decided! (So by my calculations, it's more like a 16-9 lead in reality?)
• FL-02: Dem Rep. Allen Boyd seems to be taking nothing for granted this year. He's already up with his second TV ad against his underfunded primary opponent, state Sen. Al Lawson, this time hitting Lawson for votes to cut back funding for healthcare and construction jobs. (J)
• HI-01: We're up to 48% of all ballots having been returned in the 1st, with tomorrow being the deadline in the all-mail-in special election to replace Neil Abercrombie (152K out of 317K).
• ID-02: I have no idea what this is about, but I thought I'd put it out there, as it's one of the weirdest IEs we've seen in a while. Not only did someone plunk down $8K for polling in the 2nd, one of the most reliably Republican top-to-bottom districts anywhere where Rep. Mike Simpson only ever faces token opposition, but the money's from the American Dental Association. Making sure Idahoans are brushing properly?
• IN-03: State Sen. Marlin Stutzman made it official today: he's running in the special election for the seat just vacated by Rep. Mark Souder. Having performed well in the Senate primary (and having had a path cleared for him by Mike Pence's lowering of the boom on Souder), he looks like the one to beat here.
• PA-07: Former local TV news anchor Dawn Stensland has decided to forego a vaguely-threatened independent run in the 7th. That leaves it a one-on-one battle between Dem Bryan Lentz and GOPer Pat Meehan.
• PA-12: The GOP seems to have settled on its preferred explanation for trying to spin away its underwhelming performance in the special election in the 12th, via their polling guru Gene Ulm. It's all Ed Rendell's fault, for scheduling it on the same day as the Senate primary, causing all those Joe Sestak supporters (of which there were many in that corner in Pennsylvania) to come out of the woodwork and vote in the 12th while they were at it.
• Unions: Now that's a lot of lettuce. Two major unions are promising to spend almost $100 million together to preserve Democratic majorities this fall. The AFSCME is promising $50 million and the SEIU is planning $44 million.
• Enthusiasm Gap: This is something I've often suspected, but never felt like bringing up because the numbers weren't there to prove the point (and also perhaps because saying so would put me at odds with the general netroots orthodoxy): the Democratic "enthusiasm gap" isn't so much borne out of dissatisfaction with the insufficient aggressiveness of the Obama administration or the slow pace of getting watered-down legislation out of Congress as much as it's borne out of complacency. In other words, there's the sense by casual/irregular/low-information Dem voters that they did their job in 2008, got the country back on track, things are slowly improving, and because they aren't angry anymore they don't need to keep following up. PPP backs this up: among those "somewhat excited " or "not very excited" about voting in November, Obama's approval is a higher-than-average 58/35, and their supports for the health care bill is also a higher-than-average 50/38.
• AR-Sen: Labor seems quite keen to finish the job against Blanche Lincoln in the runoff; the AFSCME just anted up $1.4 million for the coming weeks. This includes not just an IE blitz on the state's inexpensive airwaves, but also 30 staffers on the ground, with a particular emphasis on driving up African-American turnout. Meanwhile, Mark Blumenthal took an in-depth look at the AR-Sen poll released yesterday by DFA giving Bill Halter the lead; he had some of the same issues with question order that we did.
• KS-Sen: Rep. Jerry Moran is out with an internal poll from POS that gives him a dominant lead over fellow Rep. Todd Tiahrt in the GOP primary for the open Senate seat. Moran leads 53-27, including a similar 51-33 among those who are "favorable" to the Tea Party movement (despite Moran being somewhat more moderate than the social conservative Tiahrt... Moran's appeal to them may be that Tiahrt is one of those pork-hugging Appropriators).
• KY-Sen: Quickest post-primary implosion ever? Rand Paul, after getting bogged down by questions yesterday over his feelings about the Civil Rights Act, dug his hole even deeper on the Rachel Maddow show last night. He tried to walk that back today on safer turf on Laura Ingraham's show, saying that he would have voted for it in 1964 and wouldn't support repeal of anti-discrimination laws today, although he also said that it was a political mistake to go on a liberal talk show in the first place. Democrats like John Yarmuth and Jim Clyburn are still going on the offensive, while Republican leaders like Jim DeMint and John Cornyn are busy mumbling "no comment." Even Jeff Sessions is backpedaling. Nate Silver is circumspect about how much damage this may have actually caused Paul in Kentucky, but casts some very suspicious eyes in the direction of Rasmussen's new poll of the race today.
• NV-Sen: Busgate seems to be the second half of Sue Lowden's quick one-two punch to her own nose. Having been called out that her name is on the donated campaign bus's title (despite previous contentions that it was leased), she's now admitting that she "misspoke" about her bus. The FEC is starting to take up the matter.
• PA-Sen: Biden alert! Looks like the White House is eager to move past that whole Arlen Specter endorsement, as the Vice-President (and Scranton favorite son) is gearing up to campaign on behalf of Joe Sestak.
• WA-Sen: I'm just getting more and more confused about the state of the Republican field, as Sarah Palin, out of pretty much nowhere, gave an endorsey-supporty-type thing in favor of Clint Didier today. Is this a shot across Dino Rossi's bow to keep him from jumping in (which is locally rumored to be imminent), an endorsement after finding out that Rossi isn't getting in (which competing local rumors also assert), or just Palin marching to the beat of her own off-kilter drum? Didier, in case you've forgotten, is a long-ago NFL player turned rancher who, of the various GOP detritus in the race right now, has been the one most loudly reaching out to the teabaggers. The Rossi-friendly Seattle Times must see him as at least something of a threat, as they recently tried to smack him down with a piece on the hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal farm subsidies Didier has enjoyed.
• AL-Gov: A little more information is surfacing on that shadowy birther group, the New Sons of Liberty, that's been promising to dump seven figures in advertising into the Republican gubernatorial field. The group has a website up now, and it lists a real-world address that's the same as Concerned Women for America, a group who've been supportive of Roy Moore in the past.
• GA-Gov: Insider Advantage has another look at the Republican gubernatorial primary in Georgia. They don't see much of note, other than a bit of a Deal uptick: Insurance Comm. John Oxendine is at 23, followed by ex-Rep. Nathan Deal at 15, ex-Sos Karen Handel at 14, Eric Johnson at 5, Jeff Chapman at 2, and Ray McBerry at 2. (April's poll had Oxendine at 26, Handel at 18, and Deal at 9.)
• MA-Gov: Grace Ross, the other Dem in the primary (and the 2006 Green Party candidate), has had to pull the plug on her candidacy, lacking the signatures to qualify. Incumbent Deval Patrick, whose political fortunes seem to keep improving, has the Dem field to himself now.
• NY-Gov: Suddenly, there's a fourth candidate in the GOP gubernatorial race. In a year with no Mumpowers or Terbolizards, this guy may be the winner for this cycle's best name: M. Myers Mermel. He's a Westchester County businessman who had been running for Lt. Governor and reportedly had locked down many county chairs' support in that race but inexplicably decided to go for the upgrade. This comes on top of word that state GOP chair Ed Cox, worried that the Steve Levy thing may have blown up in his face, has been trying to lure yet another guy into the race: recently-confirmed state Dept. of Economic Development head Dennis Mullen. Frontruner ex-Rep. Rick Lazio is undeterred, naming his running mate today: Greg Edwards, the county executive in tiny (by NY standards) upstate Chautauqua County.
• AL-07: Terri Sewell, the one candidate in the race with money, is out with an internal poll from Anzalone-Liszt showing a three-way dead heat. Sewell is tied with Jefferson Co. Commissioner Shelia Smoot at 22 apiece, with state Rep. Earl Hilliard Jr. at 20. Attorney Martha Bozeman is at 7. By contrast, a Smoot poll from April had Smoot in the lead, at 33, to Hilliard's 28 and Sewell's 9. The intervening event? Sewell hit the TV airwaves; she's likely to be the only candidate able to do so.
• AR-01: This is charming: when a state Rep., Tim Wooldridge (one of the two contestants in the Democratic runoff in the 1st) proposed a bill changing the method of execution in Arkansas to public hanging. Now, granted, several other states do allow hanging as alternate method (both blue states, oddly enough), but public hanging?
• LA-03: Hunt Downer, the former state House speaker, has been acting candidate-like for a while, but is finally making it official, filing the paperwork to run in the Republican primary in this Dem-held open seat. Downer seems like the favorite (in the primary and general) thanks to name rec, although he'll need to get by attorney Jeff Landry in the primary, who has a financial advantage and claims an internal poll from April giving him a 13-point lead over Downer.
• NY-15: There's one more Dem looking to take out long-long-time Rep. Charlie Rangel, who's looking vulnerable in a primary thanks to ethics woes. Craig Schley, a former Rangel intern, announced he's running (he also ran against Rangel in 2008). With the field already split by Vince Morgan and Jonathan Tasini (UPDATE: and Adam Clayton Powell IV), though, that may just wind up getting Rangel elected again.
• PA-12: PPP has more interesting crosstab information from PA-12, showing the difference candidate quality, and appropriateness for the district, can make. Tim Burns had 27/52 favorability among self-declared "moderates," while Mark Critz had 67/27 favorables. (Guess who won?) Compare that with Scott Brown in Massachusetts, who had 62/31 favorability among moderates. And here's an interesting tidbit: the NRCC spent fully one-tenth of its cash on hand on PA-12. (In order to get spanked.)
• VA-02: A lot of Republicans who've lent support to Scott Rigell in the primary in the 2nd may be wondering what they're getting themselves into, as more detail on his contributions record comes out. Not only did he give money to Barack Obama in 2008 (as has been known for a while), but he also contributed to Mark Warner and in 2002 gave $10,000 to a referendum campaign that would have raised sales taxes in the Hampton Roads area. If he hadn't already kissed Tea Party support goodbye, it's gone now.
• Turnout: The WaPo has interesting turnout data in Arkansas and Pennsylvania. Arkansas turnout, juiced by the competitive Senate campaigns, was actually higher than the 2008 presidential primary.
• House GOP: That highly-touted ban on earmarks imposed on its members by the House GOP leadership? Yeah, turns out that's just kind of more of a "moratorium" now. One that's set to expire in January, so they can resume appropriating away once the election's over.
NV-Sen: Looks like the chicken may have gotten hit by a bus while crossing the road: Sue Lowden is getting ripped for apparently accepting what might be an illegal campaign donation of a luxury RV. Though she says her campaign is leasing it from a supporter, her name appears on the title to the bus. The vehicle costs more than $100,000, so that would sorta exceed the $2,400 FEC limit.
PA-Sen: After campaigning for Creigh Deeds, Jon Corzine, and Martha Coakley, I can understand why Barack Obama suddenly thinks Arlen Specter's developed a case of the cooties. But even if the president hopes to avoid swirling in some stink lines now, he's not going to be able to be that choosy in the fall. P.S. How come he never made an appearance in Hawaii? He could have done a joint event for Case & Hanabusa, and the locals would have gone nuts for it.
Meanwhile, this seems remarkably douchey: Joe Sestak said he's "looking forward" to Arlen Specter's support after Tuesday, but wouldn't say whether he'd do the same! I'm not sure how you can be so nakedly hypocritical with a straight face and expect to get away with it.
CA-Gov: Social issues just haven't seemed to dominate Republican primaries this year, but Steve Poizner seems to be throwing everything he can at Meg Whitman these days. He has a new ad (no word on the size of the buy, natch) attacking Whitman for creating a special porn-only section on eBay. I feel bad for that poor teenager on the laptop feature in the spot. Also, I find it odd that he mentions Whitman "cleaned up" gun sales on eBay in something of a positive light. Shouldn't that be a bad thing, too?
KS-04: Richard Pompeo, the GOP's Chosen One to succeed Rep. Todd Tiahrt, is coming under fire for a D.C. fundraiser held by convicted (and later pardoned) Iran-Contra felon Bud McFarlane. John McCain was in attendance, but so were a ton of lobbyists - something Pompeo originally tried to deny. Not a good year to be sucking up to D.C. vampire squids, but Pompeo is well ahead in the money race in his primary.
MA-10: State Rep. Jeff Perry's record as a police sergeant is coming under scrutiny, for two abusive strip searches of teenage girls conducted by an officer under his command in the early 1990s. The officer, Scott Flanagan, was later convicted of assault, and Perry and the town were sued, with both cases settling. Perry resigned his job six months after the allegations were made public in 1993, but he claims the two were not related.
MI-07: A little dust-up in the GOP primary: A surrogate for ex-Rep. Tim Walberg blasted Brian Rooney for failing to show up at an anti-abortion dinner (sounds lovely, right?) so that he could instead attend a fundraiser at the home of a past president of the "liberal" Republican Main Street Partnership. Rooney says he's super-duper anti-abortion, yadda yadda, this is divisive, etc. Keep it up, Walberg!
NY-01: Stuck behind Newsday's paywall is a tantalizing story that suggests GOPer Randy Altschuler is getting blasted by his primary opponents for - get this - his one-time membership in the Green Party. Not exactly a sterling credential for someone hoping to land the Republican nomination.
VA-05: Earlier this month, the GOP 5th CD convention held a straw poll, and teabagger Feda Kidd Morton won with 30%. State Sen. Rob Hurt, who Republican activists really seem to love to hate, was second with 25%. Despite also getting the endorsement of the Family Research Council, Morton has no money, and the field is pretty fractured.
NY-Comptroller: Eliot Spitzer says he won't make a comeback attempt - at least this year - for comptroller or any other office. Since petition time is almost upon us (and petitioning is very difficult in NY), he can't really change his mind at this point.
Dan Onorato (D): 39 (38)
Anthony Williams (D): 11 (10)
Jack Wagner (D): 10 (11)
Joe Hoeffel (D): 9 (9)
Undecided: 31 (32)
Quinnipiac gets in what looks like the last word in the Pennsylvania Democratic Senate primary, and their last poll is their first poll to have Joe Sestak leading Arlen Specter (which puts them in line with almost every other poll from the last week). You know what I'd kill for, though? Some regional breakdowns in the crosstabs. Quinnipiac and R2K have both put those up in their general election samples, but in the Dem primary, bupkus... meaning we're going into Tuesday night with very little sense of what baselines are needed in different corners of the states. The Specter/Sestak matchup doesn't seem to break down along conventional left/right dichotomies, or even along the class and education-based Obama/Clinton divisions that we saw in the 2008 primary.
Muhlenberg College for Allentown Morning Call (pdf) (5/12-15, likely voters, 5/11-14 in parentheses):
Dan Onorato (D): 39 (38)
Anthony Williams (D): 15 (14)
Jack Wagner (D): 10 (11)
Joe Hoeffel (D): 9 (10)
Undecided: 26 (26)
Although we mentioned it in this morning's digest, for good measure, here's the final Muhlenberg tracker. You don't get any closer than this: Specter and Sestak are tied, after Specter having pulled slightly ahead over the weekend. Somehow I think the incumbent rule (which has taken a beating in the last decade... just ask President Kerry) may hold true in this particular race, with Sestak likely to get the majority of the undecideds. (Also, Dan Onorato is looking pretty much like a lock in the governor's primary. Wondering who the heck he is? Josh Goodman has a good profile.)
I'm not the only person suspecting that, as reports are everywhere today that the White House is bracing for a Specter loss, and that they've passed on giving Specter any more aid over the closing few days out of fear of squandering political capital. The local political establishment is also starting to walk back their tales of doom associated with Sestak winning (silly in the first place, seeing how he's polling better than Specter in the general); Ed Rendell, for instance, said that, contrary to state party chair T.J. Rooney's contentions, a Sestak win wouldn't be "cataclysmic."
Weather forecasts for Pennsylvania tomorrow predict rain. You may have your own theories about what, if anything, that means, but Taegan Goddard sees it as a plus for Joe Sestak, as rain is likely to dampen turnout and move it more toward only the more enthusastic voters.
AR-Sen: Blanche Lincoln refuses to say whether she'd want Barack Obama to campaign with her - and for once, I can't blame her for being wishy-washy. She still managed to get in a dig at "the far left" in an interview with The Hill, which should really help her consolidate the base if she wins the primary. And graciously, she said that she wouldn't run as an independent if she were to lose the primary - which is good to know, since she only filed as a Dem. Meanwhile, the SEIU just threw down another $330K on TV ads and phonebanking to support Bill Halter.
DE-Sen: A good get for the Democrat: The Delaware State Education Association, a big teacher's union, has switched their endorsement from GOPer Mike Castle to Chris Coons. Though the DSEA has supported Castle in the past, they cited unhappiness over his votes against the stimulus (which had a lot of education money) and healthcare reform. Meanwhile, Castle secured his party's nomination with 70% of the vote at the GOP convention, but teabagger Christine O'Donnell pledged to fight on through the primary.
IN-Sen: Not that anyone expected otherwise, but Dem Rep. Brad Ellsworth was officially nominated by the state party, over joke candidate Bob Kern.
KY-Sen: A shadowy 527 organized by Lexington, Ky. "media specialist" Tim Isaac is running ads linking Rand Paul to absolutely batshit fucking insane radio host Alex Jones. (Paul appeared on the show a few times and kissed Jones's ass.) Probably too little, too late - and in this case, Isaac's refusal to announce the size of the buy is pretty glaring, since it seems like a blatant attempt to play local media. On the flipside, Paul said on Friday that he's pulling his attack ads from the air - which, given how little time there is before election day, again seems like a way to gin up some press coverage. I guess that's politics.
PA-Sen: An ugly late hit from Arlen Specter, which he prays doesn't make it back east: He's running web ads attacking Joe Sestak for his "F" rating from the NRA. Sestak doesn't have much time to raise hell about this, but this is obviously not a winning issue for Specter in Philly. Anyhow, Tuesday should be a barn-burner, with Specter and Sestak now tied at 44 apiece (with 11% undecided) in Muhlenberg's final tracking poll. (Kudos to Muhlenberg, btw, for what turned out to be a genius marketing move in providing this tracker.)
UT-Sen: Game on? Orrin Hatch is vowing to run for re-election in 2012, when, as the world is engulfed in flames foretold by a Mayan end-times prophecy, he'll be a spry 78. Will Jason Chaffetz seize the day, or let opportunity pass him by a second time? I also have to wonder if nervous incumbents will try to change the law regarding convention nominations before the next cycle rolls around, lest they become Bob Bennett Vol. II.
AL-Gov: Ron Sparks, as expected, just scored the endorsement of the Alabama Democratic Conference, the state's old black political organization. This means that he, and not African American primary opponent Artur Davis, has secured the backing of all four of Alabama's major black political groups. Pushing back against this unusual narrative, Davis announced endorsements from two fellow members of Congress: Jesse Jackson, Jr. and John Lewis, neither of whom represent Alabama (though Lewis was born there). Not sure this really helps Davis's "D.C." image.
CA-Gov: Steve Poizner, who has been making late headway in the polls, is finally airing some broadcast TV ads in the Bay Area, painting Meg Whitman as an apostate to the conservative movement. If I were a mouth-breather, I'd vote for him. As ever, no word on the size of the buy, but given how rich Poizner is, I'd guess it's substantial.
FL-Gov: Lawton Chiles III, son of the late governor of the same name, apparently wants to challenge Alex Sink in the gubernatorial primary this year, according to people close to him. The filing deadline for state races is not until June 18th, though even if he gets in right now, Chiles would have a major financial gap to make up with Sink. Maybe the young he-coon thinks he got some walk in him?
NV-Gov: Man, this is just an absolutely brutal profile of GOP Gov. Jim Gibbons, who regularly disappeared Mark Sanford-like during the meltdown of 2008, when his state needed leadership most. Just read it.
AL-07: EMILY's List made a small independent expenditure (sub-$30K) for mailers and phonebanking on behalf of Terri Sewell. Someone from EMILY really needs to explain why they endorsed Wall Street attorney Sewell over the well-known progressive (and equally pro-choice) Shelia Smoot.
CA-19: God bless KFSN-TV! Without them, we wouldn't have yet another poll of the fascinating CA-19 primaries. Even the pollster notes: "Compared to identical SurveyUSA polls released one and two months ago, the contest is unchanged." I guess the good news is that Dick Pombo looks slated to lose.
DE-AL: As expected, wealthy heiress Michele Rollins won the GOP's nomination for Delaware's at-large House seat, though it took her two rounds of balloting at the state convention. However, opponent Glen Urquhart has pledged to stay in through the primary.
FL-22: Your liberal media: A local TV reporter, Angela Sachitano, has been covering the FL-22 race for WPTV... and has also been serving as an informal media advisor to whacked-out Republican Allen West. Her employer, of course, is saying there's no harm done, and that they've taken unspecified "appropriate action." Typical liberals!
HI-01: Sue Lowden would be proud: Charles Djou is busy spending time with his chickens, so he can count them before they hatch. Said Djou to Sean Miller of The Hill: "This election is pretty much over." Djou was later seen hanging out with a bunch of lazy grasshoppers who were scoffing at hard-working ants preparing for winter. You've also got to wonder why he's spending $88K on TV ads attacking (for the first time) Ed Case if this thing is "over."
ID-01: Hoo boy this is good! Republican Vaughn Ward, the supposed establishment favorite in the race, has fired his campaign manager just a week-and-a-half before the primary. (Though CQ's Greg Giroux tweets that Ward is now supposedly saying his CM quit.) Read the Politico's piece for a full account Ward's long string of failures - it's like he's been touched by the ghost of Bill Sali.
Still, Ward might yet win. An independent poll last week from Greg Smith & Associates showed Ward leading Raul Labrador in the primary, 34-16, but with 50% undecided. The general election numbers (PDF) are really weird, though - Smith tested Rep. Walt Minnick "jungle-style" against both Labrador and Ward together. Yeah, Idaho doesn't do their elections that way, so I don't get the choice, but in any event, Minnick was at 50% with both Republicans combining for 20%.
MA-05: Rep. Niki Tsongas, in a diary on Blue Mass Group, says that her quote in the NYT last week has been "misinterpreted" and that she "will always welcome President Obama to Massachusetts and the Fifth District." Good.
PA-06: Doug Pike sure must enjoy being in the apology business. For the zillionth time this campaign, he's had to walk something back. In this case, it's a misleading mailer he sent out claiming he'd been awarded a "100% pro-choice rating" by NARAL. Not so fast, says the group - we haven't endorsed anyone in this race. Egg, face, repeat.
PA-12: A Pittsburgh TV station yanked a Democratic ad attacking Tim Burns for supporting a national sales tax instead of income taxes. A conservative victory over rascally Dems? Not quite - the station, WPGH, is owned by Sinclair Broadcasting, who you might remember from 2004, when they forced their member stations to air a "documentary" swiftboating John Kerry just two weeks before election day.
SC-02: A sign of life from Dem Rob Miller's otherwise somnolent campaign? Miller has a poll out from Anzalone-Liszt showing Rep. Joe Wilson up 49-34. That might not seem like much to brag about, but Miller's making hay of the fact that he only has 34% name ID, and says that Wilson's incumbency is hurting him.
VT-AL: Retired 71-year-old businessman John Mitchell says he's joining the GOP field to take on Rep. Peter Welch. He joins conservative radio show host Paul Beaudry and businessman Keith Stern. It looks like none of these Republicans have yet raised a dime.
British Elections: I don't know about you, but the political spectrum across the pond always felt like Anarchy in the UK to me. Fortunately, SSP's EnglishLefty surfs to the rescue with a detailed explanation of the fault lines between the Labour Party (which just got turfed) and the Liberal Democrats (who've joined a coalition with the Tories). The ensuing comments are enlightening as well.
Research 2000 is the most recent pollster to find a small edge for Joe Sestak over Arlen Specter in the May 18 Democratic Senate primary, and also to find Sestak overperforming Specter versus Toomey in the general election. They also find Sestak with by far the most upside of any of the three candidates: Specter's favorables are at 45/44 with 11% no opinion, Toomey's are 45/40 with 15% no opinion, and Sestak's are 39/26 with 35% no opinion.
Muhlenberg College for Allentown Morning Call (pdf) (5/10-13, likely voters, 5/9-12 in parentheses):
Dan Onorato (D): 39 (39)
Anthony Williams (D): 14 (14)
Joe Hoeffel (D): 11 (11)
Jack Wagner (D): 11 (9)
Undecided: 25 (27)
Muhlenberg finds things going the other direction, with a move from a tie in its daily tracker to a 2-point lead for Specter. They also find almost no movement in the gubernatorial primary, with Dan Onorato still in a dominant position.