• CA-Sen: Republican Assemblyman Chuck DeVore is still lagging in the single digits in polling, but prominent conservatives keep coming to his aid. He just got the endorsement of libertarian-minded Arizona Rep. Jeff Flake, and also of the Tea Party Express (the corporate wing of the teabaggers' movement).
• DE-Sen: "Repeal!" of HCR has become the rallying cry for almost every Republican candidate for federal office lately, but Rep. Mike Castle has stood out from the crowd with his reluctance, saying repeal is not "realistic." Now that's turning into an issue in his GOP primary, where his far-right opponent, marketing consultant and occasional Fox News contributor Christine O'Donnell, is accusing him of "breaking faith" with Delaware voters by not supporting it. A few other of the more sensible GOPers running in blue states, like Rob Simmons and Tom Campbell, are also keeping repeal at arms-length.
• FL-Sen: Good news for Charlie Crist, I suppose: Mason-Dixon has polled the GOP primary, and they find that he's losing to Marco Rubio by a mere 11 points (much less than a number of other pollsters, ranging from Rasmussen to R2K, have found): 48-37. Crist leads Democratic Rep. Kendrick Meek 50-26, while Rubio leads Meek 44-29, although half of respondents didn't know who Meek was. Meanwhile, you might have forgotten (as I often did) that ex-New Hampshire Sen. Bob Smith was, as far as he was concerned, in the GOP primary as well. Well, not anymore: Smith shuttered his campaign today, citing (big surprise) fundraising problems.
• WA-Sen: If there's one group that should be getting behind Dino Rossi's possible Senate candidacy, it's the Washington Association of Realtors. Not only are they a usually conservative-leaning organization with close ties to the builders' lobby, but also Rossi is one of them: his day job is real estate salesperson. So, hot on the heels of yesterday's R2K poll, here's another problem Rossi needs to seriously contemplate: WAR just endorsed Patty Murray.
• CA-Gov: Remember Pete Wilson? The former Governor is largely responsible for turning the California Republican Party's name into mud, among Latinos, in the 1990s with his support for anti-immigrant Proposition 187 -- a decision that may have had short-term benefits but has turned into a long-term disaster as the state's demographics change. The California Accountability Project is shining the spotlight back on Wilson in his new job: campaign chair for Meg Whitman.
• MI-Gov: Um, no. Just no. Mop-topped attorney Geoffrey Fieger is best known for his defense of Jack Kevorkian, but he also somehow wound up with the 1998 Democratic gubernatorial nomination and went on to lose to John Engler by a 62-38 margin after a slew of bone-headed remarks. Fieger now says he's considering another run at the Democratic nomination.
• NY-Gov (pdf): Marist has a new poll of the New York gubernatorial race, finding that party-switching Suffolk Co. Executive Steven Levy is in for a rude reception from the GOP. He's losing the primary to ex-Rep. Rick Lazio, 53-21. Andrew Cuomo dispatches either one, 61-30 against Lazio or 65-26 against Levy. Meanwhile, the saga of David Paterson (with a 16/80 job rating according to Marist) keeps getting sadder/weirder/yuckier, with a NYT article today about his attempts to secure an endorsement from the woman involved in a domestic dispute with one of his top aides.
• TN-Gov: The GOP side in the gubernatorial race shrank today, with the withdrawal of Shelby County DA Bill Gibbons from the race. He had the advantage of being the only western Tennessee candidate in the primary, but he never got very far on the fundraising front. Meanwhile, among what's left of the Democratic field, beer baron Mike McWherter just got an endorsement from Memphis's new mayor, A.C. Wharton. McWherter's only remaining Dem opponent is former state House majority leader Kim McMillan.
• AR-03, PA-07: Mike Huckabee offered up two different endorsements, one right on his home turf. He endorsed former state Rep. Doug Matayo in the open seat race to succeed John Boozman in the dark-red 3rd. The other place seems kind of odd: endorsing ostensibly moderate Pat Meehan in the Dem-leaning, heavily Catholic, decidedly non-Southern-fried PA-07.
• HI-01: The final candidate list for the May 22 all-mail special election in the 1st is out. The only three candidates of consequence are, as expected, Colleen Hanabusa and Ed Case for the Dems, and Charles Djou for the GOP. With the winner-takes-all nature, minor candidates may weigh heavily on the outcome, but there's a pretty even split with three extra no-name Democrats and four extra GOPers, as well as four independents.
• KS-03: Stephene Moore, the wife of retiring Rep. Dennis Moore, backed off slightly from reports yesterday that she was entering the race to succeed him. She said that she was going to continue thinking about it and would have a formal statement soon. Chris Cillizza has sources, though, who say it's a done deal.
• IL-LG: It sounds like Pat Quinn has settled on something of an outsider (albeit one with a famous family name) for his Lt. Governor running mate: Sheila Simon, the daughter of former Sen. (and former LG) Paul Simon. She's a law professor at Southern Illinois Univ., whose only political experience seems to be losing a race for Carbondale mayor. State Sen. Susan Garrett appears to have been bypassed over not supporting Quinn's income tax plan, which Simon supports. Meanwhile, supporters of African-American Rep. Art Turner are warning of depressed black turnout in November if Quinn doesn't opt for Turner instead.
• RNC: A decision from the trial-level U.S. District Court in Washington DC was a fundraising setback for the RNC, which wanted to be able to raise unlimited soft money from corporations and individuals but didn't receive the green light to do so.
• FL-Sen: Today is the day we say goodbye to Mel Martinez, resigning to... well, he hasn't figured it out yet. Martinez leaves sounding rather downbeat, having been pilloried by much of his party for his work on immigration. And today we say hello to George LeMieux, Charlie Crist's former right-hand man and now body-double in the Senate. Interesting trivia: Kirsten Gillibrand is no longer the youngest Senator; LeMieux is a youthful 40.
• MA-Sen: The rumor du jour coming out of the Bay State is that Andy Card, the former Bush White House chief of staff, is interested in the Senate special election for the GOP. Card would be a long-shot (as would any Republican), but would at least come to the race armed with a giant Rolodex full of donors. (Wait... do people even use Rolodexes any more?)
• UT-Sen: Is Bob Bennett just ready for retirement, or is he trying to move to the left of the the gaggle of far-right primary challengers, hoping they split the wingnut vote and let him win by occupying all of the quasi-moderate Huntsman-style space in the GOP field? Either way, he took a few provocative actions yesterday, as one of only four GOPers to stand and applaud Barack Obama's call-out of the "death panel" lie last night -- which earned him the spot of Public Enemy #1 at RedState -- and earlier as one of only five GOPers to vote in favor of cloture on the Cass Sunstein nomination, who currently holds the #2 spot on the list that Glenn Beck is holding in his hand.
• NY-Gov: This is a weird-ass rumor, but apparently several different sources are telling the Weekly Standard that Hillary Clinton may bag on being Secretary of State in order to run for Governor of New York. Take with... I dunno, is there something much stronger than salt? Meanwhile, Rudy Giuliani was supposed to be in the middle of a power play involving remaking the leadership of the state GOP in preparation for a gubernatorial run, but seems to be losing that proxy battle, as the insufficiently-pro-Rudy Ed Cox still seems on track to take over as state GOP chair.
• TN-Gov: Rep. Zach Wamp has an edge in the GOP primary for the open gubernatorial race in Tennessee, according to his own polling, done by the Tarrance Group. Wamp has 22% of the vote, followed by Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey at 15, Shelby Co. DA Bill Gibbons at 14, and Knoxville mayor Bill Haslam at 12. Wamp also led the field with 22 in a poll several months ago from Southern Political Report.
• CA-11: There are already a bunch of next-to-no-names running against Jerry McNerney in the R+1 11th, but the GOP has dug up someone who's at least one notch above that: Tony Amador, the former U.S. Marshal for the Eastern District of California under the Bush administration, giving him some sort-of-non-partisan law-and-order cred. Amador was the son of undocumented immigrants -- but does that make him the kind of courageous by-the-bootstraps story that Republicans love, or unacceptable to the GOP's rabid nativist base?
• MO-08: Here's an appealing-sounding recruit for the Dems to go against Jo Ann Emerson: college instructor and Army vet Tommy Sowers. He served two tours in Iraq, then taught at West Point, and now teaches at Missouri University of Science and Technology. He'll still have an uphill fight against Emerson, who hasn't drawn tough competition since her initial 1996 election, in this district that actually went for Bill Clinton but has fallen off the cliff lately at R+15.
• SC-02: If last night were a movie, the poster would say "Starring Barack Obama, and introducing Joe Wilson!" With one over-the-top line of dialogue, Wilson was catapulted from back-bench anonymity, to front-and-center among one-dimensional cartoonish House Republican villains, right next to Michele Bachmann and Jean Schmidt. While Wilson privately apologized last night, he is refusing today to publicly apologize in the House well, and Democratic House leadership seems eager to let that slide, not wanting to get distracted from the more pressing matter of health care. However, the assault from the netroots has been merciless; Wilson's 2010 opponent, Iraq vet Rob Miller (who came within 8% of Wilson in 2008 in this R+9 district), has hit the fundraising jackpot, raising over $200K since last night according to the DCCC. (Prior to last night, Miller had $49K CoH while Wilson had $212K.) This includes $135K alone at Act Blue (hint hint). UPDATE: PPP teases that they're going into the field tonight to poll SC-02; they're asking for help in drafting the poll, so be sure and give them a hand.
• CA-St. Ass.: In case you were under a rock yesterday (or had a particularly aggressive work-safe web-blocker), Republican Mike Duvall resigned immediately from his state Assembly seat in northern Orange County after getting caught on an open microphone talking in lascivious detail about his sexual transactions with a oil-and-gas lobbyist. The resulting special election in AD-72 doesn't seem likely to go to the Dems -- Orange County Supervisor Chris Norby is set to run for the seat -- but it's the least hardcore part of the OC, where John McCain won only 50-47, so it's worth paying some attention. (See californianwonder's diary for more.)
• House: Here's a GOP poll that I'm sharing simply because of the sheer irrelevance of its premise: that Nancy Pelosi is the most polarizing House Speaker since Newt Gingrich. Remember that there was exactly one Speaker in between Gingrich and Pelosi. Should it be any surprise that the highly visible Pelosi is considered more polarizing than the shapeless, flavorless DeLay-puppet Dennis Hastert... or that the GOP paid good money to ascertain that?
Mike McWherter (D): 23
Roy Herron (D): 13
Jim Kyle (D): 6
Ward Cammack (D): 5
Kim McMillan (D): 3
Zach Wamp (R): 22
Bill Haslam (R): 15
Ron Ramsey (R): 7
Bill Gibbons (R): 4
This is, as far as I know, the first poll out there of the still-coalescing Tennessee governor's race. It's from an outlet with no track record (although I suspect this may have been conducted by the reputable Insider Advantage, with whom the Southern Political Report is affiliated), primaries only, and the undecideds are huge (as one would expect at this point in the game), but it's better than nothing, so let's take a look.
On the Dem side, the leader is Jackson-area businessman (beer distributor, to be more precise) Mike McWherter, who's never been elected before but whose claim to fame is that he's the son of former Governor Ned McWherter (so factor in that a lot of respondents may think they're talking about Ned instead). The other players here at state Senator Roy Herron from the state's rural northwest, state Senate minority leader Jim Kyle from Memphis, businessman Ward Cammack of Nashville, and former state House majority leader Kim McMillan of Clarksville, the only woman in the race. The "other," I suspect, is that a lot of people still think that country music star Tim McGraw is running as a Democrat (which he's denied, but had long been rumored).
For the GOPers, the frontrunner is U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp of the 3rd District (Chattanooga), trailed by Knoxville mayor Bill Haslam, Lieutenant Governor Ron Ramsey from Blountville in the state's far eastern tip, and Shelby Co. DA Bill Gibbons of Memphis. (I'm emphasizing the cities they're from because both fields are composed of candidates each with their own clearly defined regional base, and if the fields stay this crowded, consolidating regional bases will prove very important for winning the primary. Bear in mind for the general, though, that Democrats are much stronger in the western half of the state and Republicans are much stronger in the east.)
• PA-Sen: Gov. Ed Rendell confirmed in his usual inimitable style that he's backing new-found Dem Arlen Specter in 2010. He did go out of his way to praise Rep. Joe Sestak but to encourage him to remain in the House, warning Sestak that he would "get killed" (metaphorically, I'd assume) and that "we will lose a terrific Congressman and when he loses to Arlen, he fades into political obscurity." Sestak did pick up his first big-name endorsement, though: MontCo Commissioner and former Rep. Joe Hoeffel, who lost to Specter in the 2004 general election.
• CT-Sen: Here's an inauspicious start to Merrick Alpert's primary challenge to Chris Dodd: the Democratic party committee in his home town, Groton, voted a resolution of support for Dodd. It also issued a pretty transparent slap at Alpert, deploring any hypothetical primary challenger's use of "echoing right wing talking points or by utilizing the conservative media echo chamber to slander Dodd." (Alpert's already done that.)
• FL-Sen: State Sen. Dan Gelber made it official (via Facebook) that he's dropping out of the Senate race, giving Rep. Kendrick Meek a clearer path. He's now considering the AG race against a crowded field including fellow state Sen. Dave Aronberg, or, more interestingly, joining the ticket as Alex Sink's Lt. Gov. candidate.
• MN-Sen: It was Minnesota Supreme Court hearing day in The Senate Race That Won't Die. Five of the court's justices heard an hour of oral arguments. Rick Hasen's interpretation of how the individual justices responded to the lawyers' arguments suggests a quick and possibly unanimous decision in favor of Franken.
• NY-Gov: Andrew Cuomo did it again -- he publicly denied that he'll be running for Governor and maintained that he "plans" to run again for AG. (He did concede that primaries can be productive for the party.) While the idea of Cuomo giving up an almost-free shot at the governor's mansion seems ludicrous, maybe there's a kernel of truth to Kirsten Gillibrand's cryptic comments from last week that there would be no primary; at some point, if Cuomo says it enough times, we have to start taking him seriously.
• AL-Gov: Hangin' judge Roy Moore made it official this morning; he's running for Alabama governor. He joins four others in the hunt for the GOP nod.
• TN-Gov: Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey officially launched his gubernatorial campaign at midnight this morning (to kick off the third quarter of fundraising). He seems a bit overshadowed by Knoxville mayor Bill Haslam, Rep. Zach Wamp, and Shelby Co. DA Bill Gibbons, but has a solid base of support of northeast Tennessee.
• LA-03: Republicans seem to be making a full-court press on newly R+12 LA-03, even though Rep. Charlie Melancon (who didn't even have an opponent in 2008) seems likelier to remain in the seat than run for Senate. The NRCC has been courting state Rep. Nickie Monica, who has obliged by offering some public criticisms of Melancon. Ascension Parish sheriff Jeff Wiley was also on the wish list, but has taken himself out of contention.
• PA-11: Nobody's taking the heat off Rep. Paul Kanjorski in the 12th. First came news that Lackawanna Co. Commissioner Corey O'Brien and Scranton mayor Chris Doherty were interested in primary challenges; now it sounds like Hazleton mayor Lou Barletta, who came within 3% of Kanjorski in 2008, may be back for a third try. Barletta was seemingly considering the Lt. Gov. slot in 2010, but assuming AG Tom Corbett wins the gubernatorial nomination that job may go to someone from the Philly suburbs for purposes of ticket-balancing.
• DCCC: The DCCC launched an ad blitz against six vulnerable House Republicans today, hitting them with radio ads and robocalls for voting against the stimulus package by focusing on specific shovel-ready projects in each district. Targets are Don Young (AK-AL), Brian Bilbray (CA-50), Tom Rooney (FL-16), Thad McCotter (MI-11), Peter King (NY-03), and Charlie Dent (PA-15).
• Demographics: A new Gallup poll finds that only 11% of Republicans are Hispanics, African-Americans, or other non-whites. Considering that we're a few decades away from a country where whites no longer hold the majority, The Math seems to indicate a Republican Party that doesn't dramatically change its message is on the brink of permanent irrelevance.