• AK-Sen: I hope the Alaska journalist corps is fueled up on coffee and is ready to go on a week-long dumpster diving binge, because the mother lode just got opened up. A state superior court judge just ordered that Joe Miller's Fairbanks borough personnel records get released, saying the people's right to know trumps Miller's privacy concerns. The release won't happen until tomorrow, though, to allow time for an Alaska Supreme Court decision if necessary.
• CA-Sen: The polls can't seem to decide whether the California Senate race is tightening, loosening, or staying basically the same, but it was enough to finally get Carly Fiorina to do what the NRSC had probably hoped she would have done months ago: she put $1 million of her own money into the race. (She'd spent $5 mil of her own on the primary, but nothing since then.) On top of that, the NRSC is throwing an additional $3 million into the race for the last week, while Barbara Boxer is calling the bluff with $4 million from her account for ads of her own.
• NV-Sen: As we expected, Harry Reid's been keeping up a steady drip-drip of endorsements from prominent Republicans around Nevada. The most recent one: term-limited state Sen. Dean Rhoads, who represents almost all of the state (geographically) except Clark and Washoe Counties. (H/t LookingOver.)
• FL-Gov: Wow, Bill McCollum actually ate his own cat fud. With little time left on the clock, he swallowed any remnants of his pride and endorsed primary rival Rick Scott, the guy he swore he'd never endorse.
• RI-Gov: Interesting approach from a blue state Dem: Frank Caprio just told the President to "shove it," in reaction to Barack Obama's apparent decision not to endorse him when he was in Rhode Island today. Payback for Lincoln Chafee's Obama endorsement in '08? Or reverse payback for Caprio's reported flirting with a party switch? Or elaborate theater staged for Caprio's benefit, to help distance himself from the White House?
• OH-Gov: Obama and Biden alert! The Dynamic Duo are adding yet another campaign stop in Ohio, where saving Ted Strickland seems to be one of the White House's top priorities. On Sunday, both will appear with Strickland, and then there'll be a Biden/Strickland stop later in Toledo.
• CA-47: Um, maybe someone should tell Van Tran that taking a page from the Carl Paladino playbook isn't really a good idea right now... Tran's out with foul-smelling scratch-and-sniff mailers in the district, hitting Loretta Sanchez for the "stench of Washington."
• CO-04: Add one more body on the plague wagon: the DCCC brought out Betsy Markey on Friday. They announced that they won't be spending any more on the 4th this cycle. They'd previously drawn down their efforts here, but now they're fully pulling out. (If there's a bright spot, this is probably their last triage move... with one week left, there's really no time left to cut anyone else off.)
• FL-12: Is there a growing sense of Republican worry in this district? They shouldn't lose an R+5 district in this climate, but they have probably the most credible 3rd party Tea Party challenger anywhere here, in the form of an actual county commissioner, Randy Wilkinson, who internals polls have seen taking gobbling up double-digit vote shares. They're taking the problem seriously enough to have Newt Gingrich doing robocalling on behalf of GOP nominee Dennis Ross, suggesting that Wilkinson is a plant from next door's Alan Grayson.
• IN-02: Oooops. Jackie Walorski ran footage in a web video of a South Bend neighborhood as an example of a neighborhood "in ruin" from Democratic policies. The residents of the neighborhood are now deeply offended, saying their neighborhood is hardly ruined at all, and are demanding an apology.
• KS-03: In a more normal year, this might be enough to do some serious damage in a close race: just-released police records show that Kevin Yoder (the GOP's nominee here) refused to take a breath test during a 2009 traffic stop. He pled guilty to speeding, also received a citation for not taking the test, and it was left at that.
• MS-04: Look who's in a bit of a panic, and revealing his true stripes: Gene Taylor just let his district's voters know that he isn't one of those Demmycrats at all! Why, he even voted for John McCain in 2008, he says.
• PA-11: Bill Clinton's traveling schedule takes him to three blue-collar districts that were, in the '08 Dem primaries, some of the most die-hard Clinton districts anywhere, now all home to pitched battles. He's appearing in the 11th tomorrow in support of Paul Kanjorski (who we'd expected, a few months ago, to be the first Dem incumbent we wrote off, but who seems to still be in the thick of things). On Thursday, he also visits PA-03 and PA-15.
• VA-05: If you weren't already sold on Tom Perriello's particular brand of awesome, check out the highlight reel of some of the best clips from his most recent debate with Rob Hurt.
• WA-06: Here's an internal poll that's a real head-scratcher, that requires a bit of explanation. Rob Cloud, the same doofus who runs against Norm Dicks every cycle (four times in a row now) and gets crushed, claims to have an internal poll out giving him a four-point lead over the long-time Dem. (Well, four if you do your own math. For some reason, the poll gave actual respondent totals only, 609 to 558 with 95 undecided. If that strange method doesn't by itself set off alarm bells, the polling firm is someone called Wenzel (out of Ohio), a company I'd only heard of once, when they polled OH-Gov and OH-Sen last year on behalf of Ohio Right to Life... but (h/t to quiller) it turns out have a regular gig as WorldNetDaily's pollster and have been responsible for extremely leading-question-rife polls about Barack Obama's citizenship. And on top of all that, Dicks won the Top 2 primary (the most reliable poll possible) with 57% of the vote, with a combined GOP vote share of 43% (of which Cloud got a pathetic 29%),which shouldn't imply much vulnerability. On the other hand, Dicks' district is "only" D+5, one of the least-blue districts that isn't home to an on-the-radar race... and moreover, Dicks has seemed pretty invisible as far as I can tell, compared with next-door neighbor Adam Smith who's in a similarly D+5 district but got a polling-related wake-up call and has been working his butt off lately. So, uh... who knows?
• NRCC: Eager to maximize last-minute take-over opportunities, the party of fiscal responsibility is throwing some more debt on the pile. The NRCC just took out a $20 million line of credit to fund some more late-in-the-game advertising.
• Dark Money: Just as the actual universe's mass is mostly composed of dark energy and dark matter, so too the political universe is apparently mostly composed of dark money these days. Hotline's Jeremy Jacobs has an excellent piece that pulls together all the GOP spending by shadowy third-party groups, fleshing out the IE picture greatly, and also showing a remarkable amount of avoidance of duplication of efforts in the districts. They couldn't actually be coordinating their efforts behind-the-scenes, you think? (Not that that's illegal, as far as I know.)
• IEs: Speaking of IEs, if you haven't been following spiderdem's weekly series over in the diaries regarding the back-and-forth battle of the independent expenditures between the DCCC and NRCC, you absolutely should. It rounds all the numbers up in one handy place, and puts them in the context of the probable lay of the land.
• SSP TV:
• AK-Sen: Here's that NRSC ad mentioned late last week, where they hit Scott McAdams in a preemptive attack to keep him from shooting the gap (and here's the SOTB: $75K)
• CA-Sen: No more giddy Carlyfornia Dreaming here, with a dour ad from the Fiorina camp hitting Barbara Boxer for California's dire economic straits
• FL-Sen: Marco Rubio's closing statement is a plain talk-to-the-camera spot saying "Reclaim America!"
• WI-Sen: Russ Feingold's out with the ad that he should have run about two months ago, making fun of Ron Johnson's whiteboard and platitudes
• NM-Gov: Susana Martinez makes the Diane Denish/Bill Richardson connection about as explicit as humanly possible in her new spot
• FL-22: Ron Klein seems to have finally moved away from Allen West's homeowners association liens, with the Outlaws gang connections too juicy even for him to ignore
• ID-01: Walt Minnick cites his independence and rags on Raul Labrador for getting his own last ad pulled for its bogusness
• MN-06: Taryl Clark hits Michele Bachmann for, well, being a "celebrity"
• VA-05: Robert Hurt goes after Tom Perriello for being a Washington insider
• CA-Gov: Jerry Brown (D) 48%, Meg Whitman (R) 42%
• CA-Sen: Barbara Boxer (D-inc) 48%, Carly Fiorina (R) 46%
• CT-Sen: Richard Blumenthal (D) 56%, Linda McMahon (R) 43%
• IN-Sen: Brad Ellsworth (D) 34%, Dan Coats (R) 52%
• MD-Gov: Martin O'Malley (D-inc) 52%, Bob Ehrlich (R) 42%
• ND-Sen: Tracy Potter (D) 25%, John Hoeven (R) 72%
• PA-Gov: Dan Onorato (D) 45%, Tom Corbett (R) 50%
• PA-Sen: Joe Sestak (D) 44%, Pat Toomey (R) 48%
• RI-Gov: Frank Caprio (D) 28%, John Robitaille (R) 25%, Lincoln Chafee (I) 35%
• SD-Gov: Scott Heidepriem (D) 36%, Dennis Daugaard (R) 55%
• TX-Gov: Bill White (D) 42%, Rick Perry (R-inc) 51%
Fundraising: Today is the last day of the fundraising quarter, so now is a good time to donate to any Dems you like out there. Decisions on whom to help will be made in the final weeks of the election season based in part on who shows fundraising strength in this final quarter.
AK-Sen: It's not small - no no no. Republican Joe Miller has failed to file a personal finance disclosure with the Senate, something any candidate who raises or spends more than $5,000 is required to do within 30 days by law. Miller's been out of compliance with the law since at least April. The penalty? Up to $50,000. Politico caught up with Miller at a fancy DC fundraiser, but he refused to answer any questions about the issue.
Meanwhile, Dem Scott McAdams sends out a fundraising ask via email in response to word that the Tea Party Express will be pouring resources into the state to finish the job they started. McAdams reminds us of something we've been saying all along: "In some Alaskan towns it costs only $30 to run a radio ad and $200 for a TV spot." So if you still have some spare change to give, he still needs your help - and it will indeed make a difference, no matter how much you can afford to give.
PA-Sen, PA-07, PA-08: VoteVets is launching a half-million dollar canvassing effort on behalf of Joe Sestak, who of course is one of them. They'll also be helping out another pair of veterans, Bryan Lentz and Patrick Murphy.
FL-Gov: Man, dejected gubernatorial loser Bill McCollum is serving up the cat fud personally, on a fucking silver platter. Rick Scott's been hitting Alex Sink on the airwaves over her alleged mismanagement of the state's investments while serving as Chief Financial Officer. But at a recent public meeting of the board of trustees of Florida's pension funds, McCollum made sure to repeatedly question a top administrator about the soundness of the funds - and was assured they were. It's like he's fact-checking and doing p.r. for Sink all at once! Someone hire this guy!
NY-Gov: Here's something that's no surprise: Carl Paladino was awarded the Conservative Party's ballot line. Here's something else that's no surprise: He's a motherfucking spazz who can't control his temper - even around reporters, even on camera. The video is fuzzy and the sound quality poor, but watch Paladino get into it with conservative New York Post political columnist Fred Dicker. The most amusing thing is that Paladino seems to think Dicker, who, uh, as I said, works for the Post, is a Cuomo plant.
AL-05: This parsing almost reaches Clintonian levels: Dem Steve Raby has been hammering Mo Brooks for opposing earmarks, thanks to some teabagger pledge that Brooks signed. This is not a popular position in Alabama, and Brooks had his name removed from the group's website - but claimed he was only opposing pork, not earmarks. Someone buy this poor fucker a thesaurus, stat!
AZ-05: Harry Mitchell's got a poll out from Bennett, Petts & Normington, showing him up 43-40 over David Schweikert.
LA-03: In the very last primary of the year, coming up this Saturday, a survey by a robopollster called ElectPoll shows Jeff Landry crushing fellow Republican Hunt Downer, 66-34. Can't say I'm too surprised, given that Landry missed avoiding a runoff by less than 200 votes. I doubt Downer made the right choice by continuing the fight. Meanwhile, Ravi Sangisetty becomes the latest anti-Pelosi Dem, saying he wouldn't vote to keep her as Speaker of the House. Somehow I doubt he'll have the chance to vote on that issue one way or another.
NM-01: So classic - another anti-government spending Republican who has embraced government spending for himself. It's really no different than the teabaggers who declare "Hands off my Medicare!" Anyhow, Jon Barela is the latest offender. His film production company has received cash assistance from taxpayers thanks to a special New Mexico rebate program designed to encourage movie-making in the state.
NY-20: Always gotta be careful not to read too much into stories about staff departures, but this is awfully late in the game to be losing your campaign manager - which just happened to Republican Chris Gibson. One red flag: That they didn't have someone lined up to replace Patrick Ziegler, who was supposedly recruited by the RNC to help with broader election efforts in the Hudson Valley. Another: Ziegler had almost no political experience and apparently was overwhelmed by the job. And finally: Ziegler himself has sought the GOP nomination, but dropped out of the race in March. A week later, he was hired by none other than Gibson. So perhaps this was not quite a match made in heaven in the first place.
OH-18: SEIU is sending out a mailer attacking Dem Zack Space, who flip-flopped and voted against healthcare reform in the end. No word on how much they're spending, though it seems to me that this fight really should have happened during the primaries. I mean, would they really prefer Bob Gibbs?
PA-06: A nice get for Manan Trivedi: He secured the endorsement of the Sierra Club, one of those groups which likes to back "moderate" Republicans to bolster their supposed bi-partisan cred. While they haven't backed Jim Gerlach in recent years, they haven't supported his opponents, either, so it's good to see them take the right side this time.
VA-02: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, typically friend to Republicans the world over, endorsed Democrat Glenn Nye. Somehow I don't think it'll stop the attacks that he's a libruhl who votes with Nancy Pelosi 743% of the time.
NRSC: Aaron Blake says Tom Coburn's going to give $1 million to the NRSC.
NRCC: Meanwhile, John Boehner just gave $1 million more to the NRCC, and supposedly succeeded in getting $4 million more in pledges from his buddies.
NRA: We are most definitively done with the NRA whip count, which got boring long ago. If you really want to keep checking up on it, keep this link handy.
AR-02: Dem Joyce Elliott touts her non-DC background as a teacher, and links herself to still-popular Gov. Mike Beebe
NC-02: Renee Ellmers accuses Bob Etheridge of cutting half a trillion from Medicare to pay for "Obamacare"
NM-02: Harry Teague attacks Steve Pearce for being pro-shipping-jobs-to-India
SC-02: Rob Miller's campaign asks people how they know Rep. Joe Wilson has "gone Washington," but apparently folks need the help of a poster to answer
Kendrick Meek (D): 24
Marco Rubio (R): 36
Charlie Crist (I): 34
We're clearing the decks with a couple Florida polls from late last week, including the Sunshine State portion of those CNN polls that seemed to have mostly good news for Dems, although that may have been largely by virtue of their use of a registered-voter model. Here, they find Alex Sink with a pretty convincing lead over Rick Scott. Sink has to be helped on an ongoing basis by Bill McCollum, who keeps popping up every few days just to say "Nope, still not endorsing," thumb his nose at Rick Scott, and retreat to his sulking place again.
In the Senate race, it's been pretty clear ever since Kendrick Meek's convincing victory over Jeff Greene in the Dem primary that things were going to get rockier for Charlie Crist. The CW seemed to shift almost immediately from "OMG, he's actually threading the needle" to "uh oh, he's gonna lose." This poll's a case in point: Crist isn't going to win with Meek polling in the 20s, as Meek's pulling away too many of the Dems that Crist needs to pull off his feat. Nevertheless, Crist is still forging ahead, out with two new ads, looking resplendently tan on the beach and saying he's drawing a "line in the sand" (presumably with regard to his independence).
Susquehanna for Sunshine State News (9/2-7, likely voters, no trendlines, gubernatorial numbers here):
Alex Sink (D): 44
Rick Scott (R): 42
Kendrick Meek (D): 23
Marco Rubio (R): 43
Charlie Crist (I): 29
In case you were wondering what these races look like with the switch to a likely voter model, we've got that too, thanks to Pennsylvania-based Republican pollster Susquehanna, here operating on behalf of local GOP-flavored online news outlet Sunshine State News. The shift in the FL-Gov race seems pretty plausible, with Sink up by 2 on the free-spending Scott in a sample that breaks 45 self-identified GOP and 41 Dem. (That's thanks to a decent lead among indies, 47-36... how rare is that, among Dem gubernatorial candidates this year.) But it looks a little ambitious in the Senate race, where this seems to be the biggest lead Rubio's had since Crist pulled his party switch (although certainly reflective of the recent trend).
• WI-Sen: Know how you can tell that this hypocrisy-on-government-aid problem (see the last couple digests for backstory... Ron Johnson's company Pacur has been repeatedly expanded with the help of government loans, y'know, the kind that of meddling in the free market that we have to get rid of) is putting a scare into the Johnson camp? Now he's been rewriting history on Pacur's website to adjust the founding date of his company, from 1977 to 1979. Johnson had previously claimed that the railroad spur built (with federal help, natch) to his company was in early '79, before Pacur was founded. (Pacur's predecessor company was founded in '77; it changed names in '79.)
• CO-Gov (pdf): Republican pollster Magellan is out with a new look at the Colorado gubernatorial race; they find the combined Dan Maes + Tom Tancredo vote still less than the John Hickenlooper vote. It's Hickenlooper 46, Maes 27, Tancredo 17. (That's a lot fewer undecideds than today's Rasmussen poll; see below.)
• FL-Gov: Ah, the sweet smell of unity. Well, sort of... the state party finally got around to having its fete for newly-minted gubernatorial nominee Rick Scott, the one canceled last week for lack of, well, unity. Insiders like state House speaker Dean Cannon and next state Senate president Mike Haridopolos toasted Scott, despite the fact that up until last Tuesday they were working hard to defeat him. There was someone important missing, though, that kind of defeats that whole "unity" thing... it was Bill McCollum, who confirmed yet again today that he's "staying out of" the governor's race. Meanwhile, DGA head Nathan Daschle (here's a guy who knows how the game is played) is out with a bit of concern trolling of his own, offering unsolicited advice to RGA head Haley Barbour and other interested Republicans that they probably don't want to be seen campaigning next to Scott.
• NM-Gov: Biden alert! The Veep will be bringing his patented comedic stylings to the Land of Enchantment to host a fundraiser for Diane Denish, whose once slam-dunk gubernatorial bid has deteriorated into a jump-ball.
• NY-Gov: State GOP party chair Ed Cox is having a helping heaping of crow from breakfast, having to get behind Rick Lazio for the GOP gubernatorial nod... out of fear of the possibility of the even more objectionable Carl Paladino winding up with the nomination. (Remember, Cox recruiting Suffolk Co. Exec Steve Levy to not only get in the race but switch parties to do so, only to watch him crash and burn.) Cox issued a letter urging local party leaders to get behind Cox, filled with magnanimous praise, perhaps none more so than when he calls Lazio "credible."
• AR-04: Rounding out their tour of the state, Talk Business Journal/Hendrix College take a look at the 4th, the only non-open seat in all of Arkansas. Despite the rough poll numbers that they found for the Dem candidates in the 1st and 2nd, they find Mike Ross in solid shape, probably thanks to an underwhelming opponent in the form of Beth Anne Rankin. Ross leads 49-31, with 4 going to Green candidate Joshua Drake.
• FL-08: In yet another example of Alan Grayson zigging when other Dems zag, he's out with an internal poll, and it puts him in surprisingly strong shape against Daniel Webster, thanks in large part to a strong performance by "other" (presumably the Tea Party candidate). The PPP poll gives Grayson a 40-27 lead over Webster, with 23 for "Other" and 11 undecided. That's all in the face of a new ad campaign from Americans for Prosperity, who are out with ads in the Orlando market attacking both Grayson and FL-24's Suzanne Kosmas. (AFP, of course, is the front group for the right-wing billionaire Koch family, and the DCCC has recently filed IRS complaints against AFP for engaging in political advocacy despite its tax-exempt status.)
• FL-22: Allen West is out with a second TV ad focusing on economic issues, like that burdensome debt. (He's talking about national debt, not his own debts.) Still, most of the buzz in this race right now seems to be about his latest round of unhinged remarks on his campaign website's blog, in which he called opponent Ron Klein, calling him, among other things, a "cretin," "little Lord Ron," a "pathetic liberal," "little Ronnie," and "a mama's boy" to Nancy Pelosi.
• IA-05: Rep. Steve King declined to debate opponent Matt Campbell in about the douchiest way possible: when Campbell showed up at a King town hall to ask King why he wasn't willing to debate, King said that Campbell had "not earned it."
• MI-01, MI-07: Well, it looks like the fake Tea Party is truly finished in Michigan. The Michigan Court of Appeals today upheld the Board of Canvassers' decision them off the ballot because of irregularities in submitted signatures. There were Tea Party candidates ready to go in the 1st and the 7th, both competitive districts where Dems would be glad to have some right-wing votes siphoned off from the GOP candidates.
• MO-04: Rep. Ike Skelton is the chair of the House Armed Services Committee, and he wants you to know it. Instead of focusing on the endless jobs-jobs-jobs mantra like many Dems, he's focusing on military issues and his commitment to veterans. His first two ads featured testimonials from a Marine mother and an Army veteran, and his third ad attacked GOP opponent Vicky Hartzler over her apparently insufficient support of the military.
• NC-11: Two Democratic House members out with internals? Let's hope this is actually a trend. Buried in a CQ article about his new TV ad (with a buy in the "high five digits"), there are also some details about Heath Shuler's most recent internal poll. The poll, taken by Anzalone-Liszt, gives Shuler a 51-34 lead over Jeff Miller. More ads are likely to follow, as Shuler leads Miller in the cash department, $1.4 million to $70K.
• NY-13: Rep. Mike McMahon's getting some big name help on the stump. Bill Clinton will join McMahon for a Friday rally on Staten Island.
• NY-20: Scott Murphy's dipping into his big war chest with another TV spot, this one focusing on his job-preserving efforts. Murphy opponent Chris Gibson, meantime, dropped a bombshell in his first debate against Murphy last week: that government intervention exacerbated the Great Depression rather than mitigated it (a theory advanced by Amity Schlaes and approximately, oh, zero other respected economists).
• PA-10: What's up with former US Attorneys in Pennsylvania turning out to be thin-skinned, poor campaigners? There's the Mary Beth Buchanan implosion, of course, but now video has turned up of Tom Marino's recent encounter with protesters at a Williamsport appearance. Marino yells back to protestors "What do you do for a job?" and "What kind of welfare are you on?" (No word on whether these questions were punctuated with "You hippies!")
• VA-05: Here's a guy we haven't thought about in a long time: Ross Perot. Yet, Tom Perriello is dusting off Perot and holding him up as a guy he liked, especially in terms of his deficit hawkishness. He did so in the context of meeting with the local Tea Partiers (where he also reiterated his support for canning the Geithner/Summers economic team), probably in an effort to find some common ground with them.
• State legislatures: The DLCC has a memorandum out that lays out where they'll be focusing their efforts this year (and thus what they consider to be the most competitive state legislative chambers). The 10 chambers they're emphasizing on defense are the Alabama Senate, Colorado Senate, Indiana House, Nevada Senate, New Hampshire Senate, New York Senate, Ohio House, Pennsylvania House, Wisconsin Assembly, and Wisconsin House. They're also going on the offense in the Michigan Senate, Kentucky Senate, Tennessee House, and Texas House..
• WA-Init: SurveyUSA has polls of a handful of initiatives that'll be on the ballot in November. Most significantly, they find continued (although reduced, from their previous poll) support for I-1098, which would create a state income tax for high earners. It's currently passing, 41-33. Meanwhile, Washingtonians quite literally want to have their cake and eat it too: they're favoring I-1107, by a 42-34 margin, which would end sales taxes on candy and end temporary taxes on bottled water and soft drinks.
• Dave's App: Just in time for the school year, here's a new time-wasting opportunity: Dave's Redistricting Application now has partisan data for Pennsylvania. (There's also partisan data for CA, MD, NC, NM, NY, and TX.)
• Polltopia: PPP wants to know where you think they should poll next. Interesting options include Maine and West Virginia (where there's the tantalizing prospect of House races being polled, too).
• MO-Sen: Anti-Roy Blunt ad from Robin Carnahan
• NH-Gov: Positive jobs-jobs-jobs spot from John Lynch
• FL-02: Allen Boyd hits Steve Southerland on Social Security privatization, 17th Amendment
• IN-09: Anti-Baron Hill from Todd Young
• IN-09: Anti-Todd Young ad from Baron Hill (Social Security privatization... sensing a theme here?)
• MN-06: Bio ad from Tarryl Clark
• MN-06: Michele Bachmann wants you to know that she hates taxes
• NJ-12: Emergency Committee for Israel ad against Rush Holt ("modest but real" buy)
• OH-15: Positive bio ad about Steve Stivers' military service
• PA-11: Paul Kanjorski's first TV ad, hitting Lou Barletta over what a shithole Hazleton is
• SC-05: Bio ad from Mick Mulvaney (his first ad)
• WI-07: DCCC ad attacking Sean Duffy over Social Security privatization (their first independent expenditure ad anywhere)
• CO-Gov: John Hickenlooper (D) 36%, Dan Maes (R) 24%, Tom Tancredo (C) 14%
• OH-Sen: Lee Fisher (D) 39%, Rob Portman (R) 44%
• PA-Sen: Joe Sestak (D) 39%, Pat Toomey (R) 45%
• AZ-Sen: Bad news! For John McCain! J.D. Hayworth still hasn't conceded. He's still waiting for those late-breaking absentee ballots to help him make up that oh-so-narrow 56-32 margin, apparently.
• CT-Sen: This doesn't seem like it'll end well for Linda McMahon, whose stance on WWE has been that it's harmless soap opera. Harley McNaught, the father of recently-deceased pro wrestler Lance Cade (who died of heart failure at age 29 in the wake of painkiller addiction), is going on the offense against McMahon in response to her comments that she "might have met him once." McNaught said that he'd been to several functions with his son where they'd met McMahon and she'd known him by name, and also ripped the company's "Wellness Program," which he says was more about PR than about helping employees.
• DE-Sen: There's no third-party fallback option for teabagger Christine O'Donnell, challenging Mike Castle for the GOP Senate nomination. The Constitution Party had nominated O'Donnell for its ballot line, but didn't even receive a ballot line after its membership dwindled to 287(!) members. (That's less than something called the "Blue Enigma Party," which still qualified for the ballot.) O'Donnell still can mount a write-in campaign after losing the primary to Castle (which she already did in the 2006 race after losing the primary to Jan Ting).
• KY-Sen: Our James L. summed this up pithily: "Douche Day Afternoon." Losing Dem Senate candidate Dan Mongiardo's latest statement of semi-support for Jack Conway was that Conway was "not the best" but that "he's a heck of a lot better" than Rand Paul, whose "scare[s him]."
• PA-Sen, PA-Gov (pdf): The newest Franklin & Marshall poll is another one of their choose-your-own-adventure specials, which shows the dimensions of the enthusiasm gap the Dems are facing, especially in the Keystone State. In the Senate race, Pat Toomey leads Joe Sestak 40-31 among likely voters, but only 31-28 among registered voters, which isn't much different from where we left off with their last general election poll in May. And in the gubernatorial race, it's similar, with Tom Corbett leading Dan Onorato 38-27 among LVs, but only 29-28 (probably the best showing I've seen in a head-to-head in this race) among RVs.
• FL-Gov: With Hayworth and Murkowski already mentioned today, it's just turning out to be the big day of GOP disunity and sour grapes all around. While figures like Jeb Bush and state party chair John Thrasher have gotten behind Rick Scott without any major hedging, Bill McCollum is continuing his sulk, flat-out not endorsing Scott.
• KY-Gov: The aptly-named Republican Agriculture Commissioner, Richie Farmer (I guess "Rich Farmer" was a little too overly descriptive), is still mulling over a run for Governor in next year's off-year election against Dem incumbent Steve Beshear, where early polling has shown he'd be competitive. He's also been linked to a possible Lt. Gov. bid, as running mate to state Senate president David Williams.
• SC-Gov: In another sign that a chunk of the local political establishment prefers Dem Vincent Sheheen to GOPer Nikki Haley, Sheheen just got the endorsement of 30 mayors around South Carolina. Most of these mayors are in nonpartisan elected positions, although one, Greer mayor Rick Danner, said he was a two-time voter for Mark Sanford.
• VT-Gov: Faced with the unenviable task of certifying her own gubernatorial primary loss, SoS Deb Markowitz says that the final certification of the super-close race in Vermont will be done on next Tuesday. All five candidates appeared amicably at a unity rally yesterday, but only shortly after Doug Racine's campaign manager called Peter Shumlin's declaration of victory premature, saying to wait until Tuesday. Shumlin currently leads Racine by 192 votes.
• AL-02: Rep. Bobby Bright caused some hyperventilating today when it came out that, in meeting with constituents, had punted on the issue of whether or not he'd be voting for Nancy Pelosi for Speaker next session. He did so by listing a number of reasons why that might not be an issue, including the decidedly morbid "heck, she might even get sick and die."
• CA-18: I don't know who looks worse in this situation, Mike Berryhill (the Republican launching an uphill, but generally credible, challenge to Rep. Dennis Cardoza), or his former campaign consultant John Villareal. Apparently they parted ways in unpleasant fashion, as Villareal blasted Berryhill's campaign as a lost cause... but did it in the form of a somewhat unhinged-sounding, 25-minute long rant posted to YouTube.
• OH-17: Jim Traficant may still yet be able to beam himself back into Congress. He just got an extension from Jennifer Brunner, giving him more time to prove that he did collect enough signatures to qualify for the November ballot as an independent. He previously got bounced for the ballot for not having enough valid signatures.
• OR-05: Hot on the heels of a too-good-to-be-true internal from Scott Bruun giving him a small lead a few days ago, Rep. Kurt Schrader hauled out his own internal from Lake Research giving him a pretty comfortable lead: 46-35. The poll's from late July, though, so one wonders if there's a more recent one that he's not sharing.
• PA-08: The ubiquitous POS is out with an internal poll on behalf of ex-Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick, giving him a 7-point lead (48-41) over Democratic sophomore Rep. Patrick Murphy. Murphy hasn't been one of the Dems' top worries in Pennsylvania, but as we've seen in recent weeks, the Dem brand in Pennsylvania seems to be waning particularly quickly.
• VA-05: Tom Perriello, in an interesting bit of distancing from national Dems that's ambiguous enough that it works from both right and left, called for the replacement of Treasury Sec. Timothy Geithner, at a local town hall. He didn't say who his preferred replacement would be (Robert Reich, anyone?).
• Ads: Lead-off ad of the day is from Alan Grayson in FL-08; the Hotline actually says it makes Grayson look "angelic" and they refer to it as the most positive ad they've seen so far from anyone. That Grayson... always zigging when everyone else is zagging. Other Dems out with their first TV ads for themselves today include Kathy Dahlkemper in PA-03, Julie Lassa in WI-07, and Tom Hayhurst in IN-03.
All the GOP ads today are anti-Dem ads being run by third party groups: America's Future Fund running against Bruce Braley in IA-01, the Heritage Foundation's lobbying arm against Mike McIntyre in NC-07, and Koch-backed Americans for Prosperity running against Gabrielle Giffords in AZ-08 and a weird two-fer (aimed at the Phoenix market, I guess) attacking both Anne Kirkpatrick and Harry Mitchell in AZ-01 and AZ-05. NWOTSOTB, on any of the ads.
• CA-Gov: Jerry Brown (D) 40%, Meg Whitman (R) 48%
• FL-Sen: Kendrick Meek (D) 21%, Marco Rubio (R) 40%, Charlie Crist (I) 30%
• UT-Gov: Peter Corroon (D) 29%, Gary Herbert (R-inc) 60%
• UT-Sen: Sam Granato (D) 29%, Mike Lee (R) 54%
• CO-Sen, CO-Gov: ColoradoPols has an interesting question up at their site: who's crazier, the Republicans' candidate in the Senate race or the Governor's race? (In fact, that's a good question for the comments here... not just Colorado, but for a whole number of other states too.) The DSCC would like the answer to be "Ken Buck," the whole Dan Maes UN-bicycle-plot thing notwithstanding: they're out with a new ad working the Paul/Angle-style "too extreme" angle, here focusing on Buck's support for eliminating the 17th amendment.
• PA-Sen: This is going to be a hard one for Pat Toomey to explain without some high-impact semantic gymnastics. At the Pennsylvania Press Club yesterday, Toomey said "I've never said I favor privatizing Social Security." The DSCC promptly rolled out 36 different newspaper articles in which Toomey favored privatizing Social Security. We Ask America did offer some sustenance for Toomey, though: they find him leading Joe Sestak 48-35.
• FL-Gov: Here's a bad sign for the Republican Party of Florida (aka RPOF, pronounced "rip-off"), who poured a lot of money into carrying Bill McCollum across the finish line in the primary and will have to keep propping him up for November. They're down to $54K in their federal campaign finance account (after plowing much of their holdings into outside committees backing McCollum). Maybe they'd been counting on a reimbursement check from disgraced former state party chair Jim Greer to help fill their coffers a bit, but here's the ultimate ignominy: Greer's $7K check to reimburse the party for overcharges bounced.
• LA-03: Politico has a preview of the Republican primary in the open seat 3rd (which will be decided this Saturday, don't forget). Former state House speaker Hunt Downer is pretty universally considered frontrunner, but he faces a double-teabagging from attorney Jeff Landry and engineer Kristian Magar, who are pointing to his decades as a Democrat, and his snubbing of Tea Party events. Downer's fate could rest on whether he clears the 50% mark and avoids a runoff, as he could face more trouble against just one opponent.
• MI-01, MI-07: It looks like the Tea Party won't be getting a ballot line in Michigan, after a 2-2 decision by the state's Board of Canvassers. (The tie means they're kept off the ballot.) Republicans brought the challenge pointing to possible Democratic involvement in getting the Tea Party on the ballot (to the extent that a member of the Oakland County Dem leadership helped them). This probably has the greatest impact in the competitive races in the 1st and 7th, where the Tea Party had had candidates ready to go (Lonnie Lee Snyder and Danny Davis, respectively), presumably who would eat into the GOP's vote share.
• NJ-06: Who knew that when Facebook was created that it'd become a preferred venue for leaking internal polls? Anna Little, the surprise victor in the NJ-06 GOP primary, is now touting a poll from National Research showing her trailing Rep. Frank Pallone 40-34.
• OR-05: One other GOP internal poll kicking around today: state Rep. Scott Bruun, is out with a poll via local Republican pollster Bob Moore giving him a 41-38 lead over freshman Rep. Kurt Schrader.
• Ads: The big ad of the day may be Harry Reid's newest attack on Sharron Angle in NV-Sen, using her own words to seize on her claims that the state aid package was "money laundering." Ted Strickland in OH-Gov is also out with a new ad, hitting John Kasich again on his ties to Lehman Brothers. Two House members facing credible challenges this year are also out with their first ads of the season: Republican Lee Terry in NE-02, focusing on his hatred of pork, and Democrat Martin Heinrich in NM-01, focusing on his constituent services.
• Outside Money: The Washington Post has a fantastic new little tool, in the form of a sortable chart that keeps track of outside expenditures by unions, Republican front groups, assorted weirdos, and all other manner of interest groups outside the two parties. Fun fact: did you know that Robert Kirkland (who spent $2.1 million) is #5 overall in total IEs for 2010 (on behalf of his brother Ron's losing GOP primary run in TN-08), more than the Club for Growth, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, or even the DSCC?
• IL-Gov: Pat Quinn (D-inc) 37%, Bill Brady (R) 46%
• MO-Sen: Robin Carnahan (D) 40%, Roy Blunt (R) 51%
• OR-Gov: John Kitzhaber (D) 44%, Chris Dudley (R) 45%
• AK-Gov (R/D): Anything other than slam-dunk wins tonight for incumbent Gov. Sean Parnell and ex-state House Minority Leader Ethan Berkowitz would have to be considered a surprise. Parnell has led his two highest-profile challengers, ex-state House Speaker Ralph Samuels and attorney and ex-Valdez Mayor Bill Walker by huge margins, as has Berkowitz against state Sen. Hollis "October Surprise" French. (JL)
• AK-Sen (R): Could Lisa Murkowski bite it in a intra-party challenge from little-known attorney Joe Miller? In Miller's corner are the Palins, Mike Huckabee, and a half-million from the Tea Party Express. In her corner, Murkowski has the backing of about 1.9 million dead presidents, and a 62-30 lead over Miller in a late July Ivan Moore poll. Of course, that was before the TPX started unloading, but the odds are always long for Some Dudes... (JL)
• AZ-Sen (R): This looked like it was going to be one of the all-time great Republican primary slugfests when it first appeared on the horizon: Mr. Maverick himself, John McCain, versus fiery conservative ex-Rep.-turned-radio-talk-show-host J.D. Hayworth. Some of the initial polling, in fact, was fairly close, before the novelty wore off... but then the novelty wore off, and we were left with three basic realities: a) John McCain had a ton more money than Hayworth and was willing to use it, b) John McCain had absolutely no shame about taking all that Maverick stuff, throwing it in the trash can along with many of his previous policy positions, and remaking himself as a right-wing ideologue in order to survive his primary, and c) J.D. Hayworth is a complete and total clown. The turning point seemed to be the revelation in June that Hayworth had shilled for a Matthew Lesko-style free-government-money infomercial, which destroyed any remaining credibility he may have still had. Polling from July gave McCain leads ranging from 20 to over 40 points. (C)
• AZ-Sen (D): At this point, the Democratic Senate primary in Arizona looks a good bit more unpredictable than the Republican one. The seeming frontrunner is former Tucson vice-mayor Rodney Glassman, a former Raul Grijalva aide and a young up-and-comer with some family money as well. Glassman seemed to have the field to himself after the NRSC's desired candidate, wealthy businesswoman Nan Stockholm Walden, begged off... but once the specter of a race against J.D. Hayworth instead of John McCain appeared, some other late entrants arrived, most notably civil rights activist Randy Parraz and former state Rep. Cathy Eden. What little polling we've seen of this race (a Rasmussen poll from July and a Parraz internal) has given Glassman the lead, but he didn't rise above 20% in either poll. More-frequent polling of the general election has actually given Glassman a good chance against Hayworth... but unfortunately, a McCain match is looking much likelier. (C)
• AZ-01 (R): Eight Republicans have jumped into the race for the right to challenge freshman Dem Ann Kirkpatrick. Notably, rogue dentist Paul Gosar has spent the most, but the field also includes former State Senate majority leader Rusty Bowers and 2008 nominee Sydney Hay (whose abysmal campaign netted her a 56-40 defeat). Gosar seems to have most of the establishment support, including endorsements from the Grizzly Momma and (even though the district doesn't enter it) Maricopa County Sheriff and xenophobe extraordinaire Joe Arpaio. Gosar's internal polling has him in the lead, ahead of Hay by a 30-10 margin. Primary voters would be doing themselves a favor by not nominating Hay; we'll see if Gosar can live up to his polling. (JMD)
• AZ-03 (R): Crowded GOP primaries seem to be the norm in Arizona, with a 10-man field for the open seat of retiring GOPer John Shadegg. Several qualify beyond Some Dude status, including former northern Phoenix State Rep. Sam Crump, former State Senator Pamela Gorman (who represented the same district as Crump), former northern Phoenix/Scottsdale State Senator Jim Waring, attorney Paulina Morris, Paradise Valley Mayor Vernon Parker, and Parker's predecessor as Mayor, Ed Winkler. The two largest warchests, however, belong to Ben "Son of Potatoe" Quayle and self-funding businessman Steve Moak. Moak and Quayle have gone hard after each other, with recent revelations about Quayle's history with what eventually became TheDirty.com taking their toll and Quayle's responses being, perhaps hereditarily, ineffectual. Moak seems ready to occupy the vacuum that Quayle's implosion has left, but the sheer number of credible candidates leaves room for surprise. (JMD)
• AZ-05 (R): Two-term Dem Harry Mitchell will face one of five GOPers, a field that includes a rematch between 2008 candidates David Schweikert and Susan Bitter Smith. Schweikert prevailed then by a 1,000-vote margin out of 48,000 cast and went on to a 53-44 loss to Mitchell. Complicating this rematch are other credible candidates in doctor Chris Salvino and self-funded businessman Jim Ward, both of whom have outraised and outspent Bitter Smith. Schweikert seems to have assumed frontrunner status, going as far as cancelling his last-minute ad buy...before opting in for one again. Will Schweikert's hubris come to haunt him today? (JMD)
• AZ-08 (R): In a common pattern that we've seen this cycle, the primary for the right to challenge sophomore Dem Gabby Giffords has a clear establishment v. outsider rift. However, there is only one teabagger here, Jesse Kelly, who squares off against the "establishment's" former Tucson-area State Senator, Jonathan Paton. Perhaps owing to the fact that there's only one teabaggish-type here, Kelly seems to be favored against Paton, posting a hefty 36-17 lead in recent polling. However, this poll was taken before third wheel Brian Miller headed for the exit, endorsing Paton on his way out. Given Miller's low share of support and Kelly's sole claim to the Holy Teabag, we might finally see the upset of an NRCC golden child here. (JMD)
• FL-Gov (R): All good things must indeed come to an end - and I am going to be very sad when this primary is over. Until mid-April of this year, Bill McCollum, the colorless, unlikeable, ambiguously hairpieced state AG and former House impeachment manager, at least had one thing to keep his sorry ass happy at night: He was guaranteed to be the Republican nominee for governor of Florida. Then, a funny thing happened: Zillionaire asshole Rick Scott decided he wanted the nod more - a whole lot more. In fact, about $40 million more, which is what he and allied groups (aka his wife's checkbook) have spent on the race. McCollum and his allies (if you can imagine such a thing), undoubtedly stunned to have to start spending so early, have fired back, but they've only mustered some $14 million. (Check out this great graphic of both camps' spending.)
Anyhow, this race has gone more negative than googolplex divided by minus one. There isn't much consensus among pollsters on how much damage has been done to both candidates (some show McCollum with worse favorables, others show Scott deep in the doghouse), but I'm going to guess the answer is "a lot." There's also some divergence over who the frontrunner actually is. For a while there, Billy Mac's toplines utterly bombed - you can almost see him in his kitchen, sobbing into his cornflakes, as your eyes traverse that mid-July nosedive. But the problem with zillionaire assholes is that it's very hard for them to stop being zillionaire assholes, and they've also probably done quite a few somethings to deserve that reputation in the first place. McCollum's hit Scott hard over his ultra-shady past in the healthcare business, and while we can't say for sure, it seems to have turned the race around. Most recent polls have show McCollum taking back the lead, with PPP's seven-point Scott lead the main outlier.
It's hard to know whom to root for, though. Do we take Scott, with his deeply tarnished background but willingness to spend every last dime, or McCollum, with his coffers depleted but less scandal-plagued and still the establishment favorite? I think we have to be happy no matter what happens. And either way, I can hear the sound of that cat fud tin popping open: McCollum's already saying it would be "very difficult" for him to endorse Scott should he lose. Let's only hope Scott is willing to return the favor! Anyhow, this one was definitely a primary for the ages. God bless you, Florida Republicans. (D)
• FL-Sen (D): Forget the actual Democratic candidates in this race -- the real star of the summer-long Florida Democratic primary saga was not a person, but an inanimate object: Summerwind, the notorious party yacht belonging to billionaire scuzzball Jeff Greene (also known as the Levi Johnston of boats). If there was one factor that helped turn this race upside-down, it was the steady barrage of drug-fueled, vomit-caked, and used condom-strewn stories of Jeff Greene's adventures on the high seas. Those stories, along with a barrage of hits against Greene's shady practices as a derivatives pioneer, have completely stunted Greene's momentum and returned the lead to congressman Kendrick Meek. A Meek primary win undoubtedly complicates things for Charlie Crist, who has to hope that he can marginalize the Democratic nominee in order to drink their milkshake steal their votes in November, but three-way races are notoriously difficult to forecast. (Oh, and as a footnote, technically, ex-Miami Mayor Maurice Ferre is still in this race, but his campaign has been totally eclipsed by the Jeff Greene freakshow.) (JL)
• FL-02 (D/R): Despite that Rep. Allen Boyd is a pretty entrenched Blue Dog facing a potentially hard race in November in this GOP-leaning Panhandle district, the real race to watch tonight is the Democratic primary. Boyd faces a challenge from the left from term-limited state Senate majority leader Al Lawson. Lawson isn't a raging liberal himself (and, unlike many Dem primary challenges this year, Boyd deprived him of a key piece of ammo by voting "yes" on the second round of health care reform), but he's hoping that the fact that the district's Democratic electorate, which is substantially African-American, can keep him competitive with the much-better-funded Boyd. Lawson posted a small lead in an internal poll way back in Nov. 2009, but we haven't heard any polling details about the primary since then. The likeliest GOP nominee is funeral home owner Steve Southerland, whose fundraising has been adequate enough for the NRCC's Young Guns program and who even put out an internal also showing him leading Boyd. However, there are four other even-less-known GOPers standing in Southerland's way in the primary (with David Scholl the best fundraiser of the bunch, although even he hasn't broken into the six digits). (C)
• FL-05 (R): I don't know about you, but I've got a bad case of Cat Scratch Fever, and there's only one cure... a primary victory tonight by the Rock 'n' Roll Sheriff, the Hernando County Madman, the Ten Terrible Fingers of Local Law Enforcement: Richard Nugent. Current Republican Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite, facing only an uneventful challenge from teabagger Jason Sager (whose impetus for getting into the race was Brown-Waite's support for Dede Scozzafava!), unexpectedly bailed out on filing day, letting her designated successor Nugent pick up the flag and sneak into office without a top-drawer Republican opponent, of which there are potentially many in this red district. Nugent still has to get past Sager, though; we'll have to see if Sager is beneficiary of people's discontent over the "selection process." (C)
• FL-08 (R): Rep. Alan Grayson should be a tempting target, given his shoot-from-the-hip style and his freshman-in-a-swing-district status, but his huge stash of netroots cash seemed an active deterrent as the NRCC tried vainly to find a top-tier recruit. Eventually, they settled on businessman Bruce O'Donoghue, who had some self-funding potential, as their go-to guy. Unfortunately, one of the other guys they'd been unenthusiastically flirting with, social conservative state Rep. Kurt Kelly, decided he was going to get in anyway, and that was compounded by the fact that attorney/talk radio host Todd Long, who nearly beat then-Rep. Ric Keller in the '08 GOP primary, wasn't going away. Finally, the guy they wanted all along but who initially blew them off, state Sen. Daniel Webster, decided he wanted to run after all, but came back much too belatedly to clear the field or even get much of a fundraising foothold. Webster does have some key backers (Mike Huckabee, Jeb Bush), but with not so much as a leaked internal of the primary from any of the players, there's no clue as to whether he'll emerge from tonight's primary. (C)
• FL-17 (D): This nine-way primary to succeed Kendrick Meek has largely been off the national radar - and that's too bad, because it probably represented a good chance for progressive groups to get involved, seeing as it's an 87% Obama district. In any event, the race features several elected officials, a local community figure, and one wealthy self-funder with a proverbial "colorful past," Rudy Moise. The only recent poll of the race was taken on behalf of a group supporting activist Marleine Bastien, which had her at 22, while state Sen. Frederica Wilson was at 21. Moise was back at 10, and Miami Gardens Mayor Shirley Gibson was at 9. No one (apart from Moise) has raised much, with state Rep. Yolly Robertson leading the pack at $336K. The Miami Herald has a helpful run-down on each of the candidates in this wide-open race. (D)
• FL-24 (R): National Republicans have run through a succession of favored candidates in this primary, starting with former Winter Park Commissioner Karen Diebel. Diebel turned out to be crazy (in a call to 911 a few years ago, she said political opponents placed a snake in her pool - and were spying on her home and hacking her computer), so attention turned to state Rep. Sandy Adams. Adams, however, turned out to be a sucky fundraiser, so the GOP recruited Ruth's Chris Steakhouse chief Craig Miller, a first-time candidate. Miller has self-funded less than you might have expected (only about $350K), which might explain his last-minute mailer attacking Diebel's sanity over the Snakes In A Pool incident. If Miller hasn't in fact sealed the deal, then race could be very much up in the air, especially since we haven't seen any recent polling. (D)
• FL-25 (R): State Rep. David Rivera, despite a week of horrible press, is still the favorite for the Republican nomination to succeed district-hopping GOP Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, but it will still be interesting to see if any of the ugly headlines will make a dent at the ballot box. First, we learned that Rivera once ran a truck off the road back in 2002 because it was carrying flyers printed for his opponent, in the hopes of preventing it from reaching the post office on time. Next, Rivera's Republican opponents have resurrected allegations that Rivera was involved in a domestic violence dispute. Damaging as stories like those may be, Rivera enjoys a huge fundraising lead over attorney Mariana "Marili" Cancio and Marine Corps veteran and public-relations consultant Paul Crespo. The real fireworks will have to wait for November, where the GOP nominee will face Tea Partier Roly Arrojo, Whig nominee (!!) Craig Porter, and '08 candidate Joe Garcia, who is the heavy favorite to beat union leader Luis Meurice for the Democratic nod tonight. (JL)
• OK-02 (R): The last we checked in on this race, underfunded GOPers Charles Thompson and Daniel Edmonds received 34% and 28% respectively, setting the stage for a runoff. Both candidates seem to have improved their financial position, with Edmonds now able to claim $1,300 in his campaign account and Thompson up to a whopping $13k! Given this, whoever stumbles out of the runoff tomorrow will end up quite the underdog to incumbent (and oft-frustrating) Dem Dan Boren. (JMD)
• OK-05 (R): In the first round, Christian camp director Jim Lankford edged out establishment pick former State Rep. Kevin Calvey, 34-32, a development that left some at NRCC headquarters scratching their heads. Third-place finisher State Rep. Mike Thompson, who earned 18%, has endorsed Lankford and not his former colleague. This just might give Lankford's more grassroots-oriented campaign the extra push it needs to overcome Calvey's financial advantage; since we last checked in, Calvey's plunked out $780k's to Lankfords $415k. While November in this district won't likely be exciting, true SwingNuts would never give up a chance to see egg on the NRCC's face. (JMD)
• VT-Gov (D): Democrats have a challenge ahead of them in knocking off reasonably well-liked Republican Brian Dubie in November, but they have a giant, five-way primary to get through first. The players include former Lt. Gov. Doug Racine, Secretary of State Deb Markowitz, state Sens. Peter Shumlin and Susan Bartlett, and ex-state Rep. Matt Dunne. Markowitz and Shumlin have had the strongest fundraising, while Bartlett has raised the least of the major players. Without any public polling of the Democratic primary -- or even a leaked internal -- it's impossible to say what will happen here. (JL)
With the Sunshine State's primaries tomorrow, three major pollsters have rolled out last-minute predictions today. For the Democratic Senate race, everyone's in agreement, except for maybe the magnitude of the victory. However, for the Republican gubernatorial primary, there are some divergent results, and PPP seems to be the odd man out this time. Contrary to the general trend of this race lately (I don't know if there's ever been a clearer illustration of "peaking too early" than this graph of Pollster trendlines), they give Rick Scott a 7-point lead over Bill McCollum. It's still an improvement for McCollum over their July numbers, where he trailed by 14.
PPP's GOP sample gives McCollum favorables of 38/45, while Scott's actually above water at 46/33. Did they manage to find a group of voters who somehow have avoided the last few months' worth of attack ads about Scott's gigantic Medicare fraud?
Bill McCollum (R): 39 (44)
Rick Scott (R): 35 (35)
Undecided: 22 (19)
Kendrick Meek (D): 39 (35)
Jeff Greene (D): 29 (28)
Maurice Ferre (D): 3 (6)
Undecided: 28 (29)
Quinnipiac finds a small lead for McCollum (smaller than they did a week earlier, showing that McCollum's late surge seems to have maxed out); their pool of GOP voters gives 39/37 faves to McCollum and 31/40 to Scott. Interestingly, they also find a much smaller lead for Meek than did PPP, and freakishly high undecideds (28%) for an election that's, y'know, tomorrow, indicating how little motivation the Dem primary seems to have generated.
Mason-Dixon's numbers are a few days older than PPP's and Quinnipiac's; they're pretty closely in line with Quinnipiac, although they see the biggest lead of all three for McCollum over Scott (and more momentum, compared with last week). They give McCollum 43/32 favorables, compared with 33/40 for Scott. Could this truly be the end of the line for shameless bald supervillain Scott? (The Lex Luthor comparisons have written themselves this cycle -- but to me Scott's always been the Bizarro World version of Peter Garrett, the very liberal, very earnest, very tall, very bald Australian Labor Environment Minister... who those of you who were listening to music in the 80s probably remember better as the singer for Midnight Oil.)
UPDATE: Was it worth it? Pre-primary campaign finance reports came out, and between Scott and McCollum, $70 million was spent on the GOP gubernatorial primary: $49.9 million from Scott, $21 million for McCollum (although the majority of the money spent on McCollum's behalf was from allied outside groups). No worries: even after that spending, Scott still has a net worth of $218 million.
Alex Sink (D): 31 (26)
Bill McCollum (R): 29 (27)
Bud Chiles (I): 12 (14)
Undecided: 21 (27)
Alex Sink (D): 33 (27)
Rick Scott (R): 29 (29)
Bud Chiles (I): 12 (14)
Undecided: 20 (26)
All manner of other pollsters have given Alex Sink small leads in the gubernatorial race over the last month, thanks to the bizarre no-holds-barred civil war on the GOP side. Believe it or not, this is the first time that Quinnipiac has joined the rest in giving Sink the lead, despite that they've been one of the Crist-friendliest pollsters this year. Sink's winning mostly just by standing around, smiling, and staying mud-free; she's at 30/15 favorables, compared with 33/43 for McCollum and 28/40 for Scott among the general population.
Jeff Greene (D): 15 (17)
Marco Rubio (R): 32 (32)
Charlie Crist (I): 40 (37)
Undecided: 10 (12)
Kendrick Meek (D): 16 (13)
Marco Rubio (R): 32 (33)
Charlie Crist (I): 39 (39)
Undecided: 10 (14)
With the gubernatorial race having gotten so explosive, it's actually gotten easy to forget about the Senate race (which for a brief while was the absolute marquee Senate race). Things have been decidedly low-key lately between Crist and Rubio, while Meek and Greene pound each other in the Dem primary, all to little effect in the general. Crist actually gains a little ground in this sample, more pronouncedly with Jeff Greene as the Dem candidate (although they don't find as wide a disparity in how Crist performs against Greene as against Meek as, say, Mason-Dixon did). With Crist having had the chance to dominate the airwaves acting gubernatorial during the oil spill, he's actually pulled his favorables back above the 50% mark, at 53/33, while Rubio's at 35/28. (Meek is at 24/25, while Greene is pretty much in ruins, at 18/31.)
With the likelihood (seeming apparent to all but Rasmussen) that Crist goes to Washington, questions are getting louder about what he'll do when he gets there. Matt Yglesias raises an interesting (if terrifying) specter of a scenario for 2011, wherein Crist still wouldn't have to pick sides: 49 Democrats (or 48 + Sanders, I presume), 49 Republicans, and then Charlie Crist and Joe Lieberman in the middle, forming their own caucus (the CfL/FLfC Party?) and wielding all the control over organizing the Senate.
Bill McCollum (R): 44 (32)
Rick Scott (R): 35 (43)
Undecided: 19 (23)
Kendrick Meek (D): 35 (23)
Jeff Greene (D): 28 (33)
Maurice Ferre (D): 6 (4)
Undecided: 29 (35)
A month ago, it was looking like the massively-self-funded vanity campaigns of Rick Scott (in the GOP gubernatorial primary) and Jeff Greene (in the Democratic Senate primary) were actually going to succeed, having bamboozled an adequate number of voters after swamping the airwaves with TV spots. With voters finally seeming to take notice of Scott's massive Medicare fraud and Greene's hard-partying ways (stuff that was always out there, but seemed to take a long time to break through the clutter), their implosion seems to be happening -- belatedly, but rapidly, all the same.
McCollum's turnaround is particularly surprising, as he's actually venturing back into positive favorable territory (at least among the Republican primary electorate) after having temporarily gotten turned radioactive: he's at 45/30, compared with 34/33 for Scott. (Quinnipiac should ask McCollum supporters how they feel about Scott, and vice versa... I think there might be some mutual exclusivity to those two sets of numbers.) McCollum's also surviving despite that, by a 42-35 margin, GOP voters prefer someone who's an "outsider" to someone with "experience."
There is one other poll, out, though, that gives a small lead to Scott: it's the GOP side of that Susquehanna poll for Sunshine State News (they released Dem Senate numbers yesterday). It's a small lead, though; Scott's up 44-42 (although he was up by 16 in the previous Sunshine State News poll in July). The same sample also took a look at the Democratic primary in the Attorney General's race, where state sen. Dan Gelber leads fellow state Sen. Dave Aronberg, 38-27.
McCollum's also getting some outside help from another new Florida resident: Mike Huckabee is giving his endorsement to McCollum, and will appear with him this weekend. The McCollum camp is also launching a new ad, focusing on Scott's legal woes and featuring new footage of him running away from cameras, and even turning the C and O in his name into handcuffs for emphasis.
Realizing he's up against the wall, Scott is pouring another $4 million of his own money into the race. (Somewhere, Meg Whitman was heard scoffing at the foibles of the little people who can only self-finance in the seven-digit range.) Scott's newest ad references Jim Greer, the disgraced former state party chair, and tries to tie him to McCollum. That seems like it was a bridge too far for even the RGA, which condemned Scott over the ad and danced up to the very edge, in their statement, of almost (but not quite) endorsing McCollum. Also, Scott is going back to the well on the Rentboy scandal, trying to tie McCollum to George Rekers again with a new mailer. Whew! Remember back when we thought the Florida Senate race was going to be the slimy one?