• FL-Sen: This probably isn't the way that GOP state Senate President Mike Haridopolos, acting very candidate-ish this week, wanted to kick off a Senate bid. He just had to settle with the state's Commission on Ethics, admitting to a litany of campaign finance violations for failing to properly fill out financial disclosure statements. As far as a penalty goes, though, expect a slap on the wrist; the state Senate's Rules Committee, rather than the Commission, actually assigns the penalty, and Rules is now led by Haridopolos's GOP Senate President predecessor, John Thrasher.
• PA-Sen: There's word of a rather Ron Johnson-style random rich guy interested in taking on Bob Casey Jr. in 2012: John Moran, who owns a logistics and warehousing company in central Pennsylvania and is willing to spend some of his own money to get elected. In other words, another federal-government-hater whose riches are largely dependent on an infrastructure put in place by the federal government (in this case, ex-Rep. Bud Shuster, who's pretty single-handedly responsible for the creation of central Pennsylvania's luxurious web of highways and the rise of trucking as the backbone of that area's economy). Also, if you want to look back at a comparison of the 2010 Senate race vs. the 2006 Senate race (where Casey was elected), Greg Giroux has a very interesting spreadsheet showing which counties had the biggest drops in vote percentages and raw vote numbers.
• RI-Sen: We mentioned a few weeks ago that John Robitaille, last seen coming close in the gubernatorial contest won by indie Lincoln Chafee, was on the wish list for a GOP Senate bid against Sheldon Whitehouse, and now he's saying out loud that he's "seriously considering" it. (Of course, Robitaille's closeness mostly had to do with a split in the left-of-center vote between Chafee and Dem candidate Frank Caprio, but let's just let the NRSC think they can win this one in hopes they spend some money here.)
• UT-Sen: It looks like Orrin Hatch is not only running for re-election in 2012 (where retirement had been considered a possibility for the septuagenarian, no doubt facing a serious teabagging this cycle), but ramping up for a fierce fight at the state nominating convention (which is where Bob Bennett lost, not even making it to the primary). One of his key allies, state GOP party chair Dave Hansen, is reportedly about to resign from that position and start working directly for Hatch's campaign.
• MN-Gov: Tom Emmer held a press conference today in the face of a winding-down recount where the numbers didn't budge, and instead of throwing in the towel, he said he's going to fight on to the end, and threatened to keep on fighting even after the end, alluding to the possibility of legal action over the ballot reconciliation issue (saying the recount was merely "a step in the process"). Meanwhile, seeking to be the ones wearing the white hats here, Mark Dayton's team said they'll withdraw all their remaining frivolous challenges. That's a total of only 42 challenges, though, as more than 98% of the frivolous challenges came from Emmer's team.
• NY-01: After another day of looking at challenged ballots, Tim Bishop continued to add to his lead. He netted another 12 votes, bringing his overall lead to 271 over Randy Altschuler. Challenges to a total of 174 ballots were dropped by both campaigns, leaving about 1,500.
• NY-15: Usually there isn't much speculation that a Governor is about to run for a U.S. House seat, unless it's an at-large state or the Governor has fallen way down the food chain. If you're talking about David Paterson, he may have fallen even further down the food chain than that, though (into dogcatcher realm). At any rate, Paterson quashed any speculation that he would run for Charles Rangel's seat (despite his dynastic links to the seat, as his dad, Basil Paterson, is a key ally to Rangel as two of the so-called "Gang of Four"). It's not entirely clear that Rangel won't still be running in 2012, considering how he seems to utterly lack the 'shame' gene, although Paterson suggested state Assemblyman Keith Wright and city councilor Inez Dickens as possible replacments.
• Committees: Both the NRSC and DSCC are starting the 2012 cycle from a place of parity: deep, deep in debt. The DSCC has $713K on hand and $6.7 million in debt, while the NRSC has $519K on hand and $6 million in debt. Even worse numbers are in the House: the DCCC has $19.4 million in debt and the NRCC has $12 million in debt.
A relatively quiet night, but one deserving of a roundup nonetheless.
NC-Sen (D): It's been a long six weeks since the first round, where Elaine Marshall narrowly missed the threshold for a runoff by 4% with 36%. She picked up the endorsement of third-place finisher Ken Lewis (who scored 17%) in the meantime, countering the almost $200,000 put in on Cal Cunningham's behalf by the DSCC. The DSCC's efforts were again futile, with Marshall scoring a 60-40 victory. Given that Marshall won 57% of the head-to-head vote against Cuninngham in Round 1, this represents a 3% swing in her direction. DSCC Chair Bob Menendez put out a short statement in support of Marshall, who now goes on to face Richard Burr for the "cursed" seat that switches party every 6 years. (JMD)
NC-08 (R): It looks like D'Annunziana Jones can spend more time busting the Ark of the Covenant out of Area 51. Ex-broadcaster Harold Johnson beat the enriched plutonium-level crazy Tim D'Annunzio by a 61-39 margin despite being badly out-spent. This one will probably end up being a real race this fall, despite D'Annunzio's refusal to congratulate or endorse Johnson. (JL)
SC-Gov (R): Nikki Haley narrowly missed avoiding a runoff two weeks ago with 49%, but she sealed the deal with a convincing 65-35 victory over Gresham Barrett, who received 22%. Barrett's dog-whistling attempts - referring to himself as a Christian family man who "won't embarrass us" - didn't seem to work, only carrying three counties within his district. The result falls surprisingly along the fault lines from the first round - AG Henry McMaster, who received 17% threw his support to Haley, while LG Andre Bauer threw his 12% to Barrett. Haley will now face Democratic State Senator Vincent Sheheen. (JMD)
SC-01 (R): State Rep. Tim Scott is set to become the GOP's first African-American congressman since J.C. Watts, much to the relief of John Boehner and Scott's backers at the Club for Growth. Scott crushed attorney Paul Thurmond (the son of Strom) by a monstrous 68-32 margin, and faces a sub-par Democratic opponent in November. (JL)
SC-03 (R): The Club for Growth had a much closer shave in this district, where their preferred candidate, state Rep. Jeff Duncan, only beat the underfunded Richard Cash, an owner/operator of a fleet of ice cream trucks, by a 51-49 margin. Duncan will be the heavy favorite to win this 64% McCain in the general election. (JL)
SC-04 (R): Wow, what a pathetic loss. Incumbent Rep. Bob Inglis barely moved the needle from his 28% primary performance, finishing the night with just 29% of the vote to Spartanburg County Solicitor Trey Gowdy's whopping 71%. I wonder if we'll ever see what Bob Inglis 3.0 looks like. (JL)
UT-Sen (R): Tim Bridgewater had a 57-43 advantage in the third round of balloting at Utah's state GOP convention, but that didn't hold over into the primary. Tim Bridgewater was viewed as the favorite and was up in the one public poll of the race (Mike Lee was up in his internals), but Lee (the son of Reagan's solicitor general Rex) pulled out a narrow 51-49 victory over Bridgewater. Bridgewater had a narrow advantage along the heavily-populated Wasatch Front, but Lee more than offset this with his strength in Washington County (St. George) and the sparsely populated areas in between. (JMD)
UT-02 (D): Democrats had worried about some GOP involvement to bounce the moderate (and more electable) Jim Matheson by pushing for liberal activist and school teacher Claudia Wright but Matheson cruised to a 68-32 victory. Wright had denied Matheson the outright nod at the Democratic convention - presumably due to his 'no' vote on HCR - netting 45% of delegates, but among the wider primary electorate, she didn't fare as well. Matheson goes on to face former Southern SLCo State Rep. Morgan Philpot in his bid for a sixth term. (JMD)
Bonus Race: California!
CA SD-15 (special): California's 15th Senate district may get my vote for the nation's most beautiful legislative district, but the results here weren't too pretty. In a district that's D+5 at the presidential level, Republican state Assembly minority leader Sam Blakeslee finished ahead of Democratic ex-Assemblyman John Laird, 50-41. However, California special election law requires one to break 50% to avoid a runoff, and Blakeslee's 49.7% wasn't enough. So, all four candidates (including a Libertarian and an indie) will do the exact same thing again on Aug. 17, although tonight's results don't bode well for Laird turning things around during the replay. (C)
• AR-Sen: Bill Halter is "mulling" an endorsement of Blanche Lincoln, and wants a sit-down with her before doing so. Frankly, it'd be a big surprise if he didn't endorse her: it didn't seem like any more negative a race than usual by today's standards; labor made its point and is probably eager to move on; and Halter would probably like to run for something else at some point.
• LA-Sen: Charlie Melancon has, well, a crisitunity on his hands with the oil spill in the Gulf. It gives him the chance to go on the offensive against David Vitter (who's been trying to limit BP's liabilities, and who's also taken to Twitter to tout Louisiana seafood (now pre-blackened) as safe). But he has the tricky task of keep his district's oil-and-gas dependency in mind; he's aggressively calling Vitter a "liar" now... but only because Vitter has been saying that Melancon supports the Obama administration offshore drilling moratorium.
• NC-Sen: Bob Menendez continues to play favorites in the NC-Sen runoff, although it wasn't with a large sum of money: Menendez's PAC (not the DSCC) gave $5,000 to Cal Cunningham last week, as well as the same amount to Blanche Lincoln.
• SC-Sen: The slow-motion trainwreck of Alvin Greene's media rollout continues apace in South Carolina, with last night's go-nowhere interview with Keith Olbermann taking the cake. (Gawker concludes he may actually be, instead of a plant, just "some random dude." Glad to see our phrasing's catching on.) Jim DeMint is, for his part, denying that he put Greene up to this, while other Republicans are helpfully suggesting that Democrats may have put Greene up to it instead, in order to give Vic Rawl a visibility boost (because unopposed candidates don't appear on the ballot). The Rawl campaign has had elections experts look over the voting patterns to try to figure out what happened, and they've already raised one odd red flag: the strange shift from the early absentee votes (where Rawl dominated) to votes cast on Election Day (which Greene won).
• UT-Sen: Bob Bennett, after hinting at it several weeks ago, went ahead and endorsed Tim Bridgewater today. Bridgewater is one of the two quasi-insurgents who finished ahead of Bennett at the state GOP convention, and will be competing in the primary against Mike Lee.
• CA-Gov: I think Godwin's Law might not yet have been enacted when Jerry Brown was Governor the first time, but he might want to familiarize himself with it, after he was caught referring (apparently in jest) to Goebbels in reference to Meg Whitman's saturation advertising. Speaking of which, Whitman just launched her first TV ad post-primary, in which (big surprise) she hates on taxes.
• FL-Gov: Looking for something that'll stick against moneybags Rick Scott, Bill McCollum is now trying to attack him on his pro-life credentials, saying that Columbia/HCA hospitals performed abortions while Scott was CEO.
• OR-Gov, OR-Sen: SurveyUSA is out with a poll in Oregon that has a whiff of outlier to it (as any poll that's about six points to the right of Rasmussen tends to): they find Republican candidate Chris Dudley leading Democratic ex-Gov. John Kitzhaber 47-40. Part of the problem for Dems might be that the poll has third-party Progressive candidate Jerry Wilson racking up 6%, which is assumedly coming out of Kitzhaber's column. But the crosstabs have Dudley winning 44-43 in the Portland area, which, given that area's sheer blueness, seems very odd (as counterpoint, Gordon Smith won the Portland area (Multnomah, Clackamas, and Washington Counties) 50-46 in 2002 en route to a 56-40 victory statewide, the Republicans' high-water mark for about the last 25 or so years). They also have Ron Wyden leading Jim Huffman 51-38 in the Senate race (with 4 for a Libertarian and 2 for a Green), which also seems strange.
• SC-Gov: Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer, who crashed and burned his car/plane in 4th place in the GOP gubernatorial primary, threw his support to 2nd place finisher Gresham Barrett for the runoff. He said Barrett was the only one he "could trust."
• TX-Gov: The Green Party has agreed that it temporarily won't put forth any candidates until there's been a hearing in the lawsuit filed by the state Democrats. The lawsuit concerns whether the Greens unlawfully accepted a corporation's help in obtaining the signatures it needed to (surprisingly) qualify for a ballot line in Texas.
• AL-02: The Tea Party Express weighed in with an endorsement in the Republican runoff in the 2nd, and they aren't supporting the NRCC-backed establishment candidate, Montgomery city councilor Martha Roby. Instead, they're backing billiards entrepreneur Rick Barber. Their beef with Roby seems to be that she backed a budget pushed by then-Montgomery mayor, now-Rep. Bobby Bright.
• KS-02: You may remember Sean Tevis, who became a netroots fave based on his clever cartoon depictions of his campaign and raised a surprising amount of money that almost let him knock off an incumbent in a red legislative district. Well, he's moving up a level this year; he's decided to run in the 2nd, against Lynn Jenkins (or Dennis Pyle, if he successfully teabags Jenkins). He still faces two other Dems, Cheryl Hudspeth and Thomas Koch, in the primary.
• NC-08: The SEIU looks like it's going through with its strange plan to launch a third-party bid against Larry Kissell in the 8th; they submitted 34K signatures to qualify Wendell Fant for the ballot, much more than the necessary 17K. (The SEIU had previously tried to get a whole third party a ballot line, but that signature drive came up short.) Perhaps even stranger, Fant hasn't agreed to run, at least not yet; he didn't show up at the ballot-submitting press conference. Fant, it turns out, is an ex-Kissell aide who may have an axe to grind after getting dismissed for using a work computer to work on his own VA case.
• NJ-06: Diane Gooch, the self-funder who was expected to easily win the GOP nomination in the bluish 6th to go against Rep. Frank Pallone, is instead finding herself having to request a recount. Anna Little has declared victory, based on the 78-vote margin, after spending $22K to Gooch's $430K.
• NV-03: Americans for Prosperity has Dina Titus in its sights; they're taking out a $100K ad buy on network and cable (thanks, LVRJ, for actually reporting the details!), still harping on Titus for her vote in favor of health care reform.
• NY-13: Because the Republican/Conservative field in the 13th had some wiggle room to get even more messed-up, now another guy is trying to get in on the action. It's Lou Wein, who's going to try to petition his way onto the ballot against Michael Grimm and Michael Allegretti, each of whom have their own clique of powerful backers. Wein is more of a loose cannon -- he's best-known for winning 4% statewide in a 1990 gubernatorial bid on the Right-to-Life line, as well as an unsuccessful 1977 mayoral bid -- but if he can pick up the teabagger banner, he might make some waves here.
• VA-05: Jim McKelvey's up to something weird here; we just don't know what yet. He says he's going to make up his mind this weekend whether or not to endorse Rob Hurt, to whom he finished 2nd in the GOP primary. His latest action is a head-scratcher: he's starting his own PAC, the Take Our Country Back PAC, in order to "seek out, support, educate, train and elect conservative candidates on the local and state level in the fifth district and throughout Virginia."
• Arizona: Here's an interesting piece of data that should hearten Terry Goddard and Rodney Glassman: there's been a surge in Latinos registering as Democrats since the passage of Arizona's new immigration law. This shouldn't be a surprise, as it closely mirrors what happened in the wake of California's Prop 187 in the 1990s. The surge is also demographics-driven, given the fast Latino growth in Arizona, and in fact nationwide: the Census Bureau reports that, for the 2009 estimate, minorities will make up 35% of the nation, way up from 21% of the nation in the 2000 census. While much of that comes from increases in Latino births, a lot of it also has to do with more Americans self-identifying as multiracial.
• Governors: Josh Goodman does some number crunching and guesses that, with all the open seats and expected turnover this year, we're on track to have 28 new Governors. That would be an all-time record for gubernatorial turnover (the previous record, 27, goes back to 1920).
• When Animals Attack: Best wishes for a quick recovery to Rep. Anthony Weiner, whose photo op went awry yesterday, ending with him getting stabbed in the hand by the horn of a large mohair goat. Apparently the most dangerous place to be is not between Weiner and a camera... so long as you're a goat.
After publicly mulling the idea of running as a write-in, giving hope for cat fud fans everywhere, unfortunately, Bob Bennett has decided to go quietly into the night after all.
"If I were to do it, it would revive all of those passions and divide the party in the state of Utah," Bennett said, calling the campaign "the nastiest race for a party nomination in the history of Utah."
The fact that his announcement was at NRSC headquarters was a pretty clear tip-off ahead of time that he wasn't going to break away from the party. Bennett didn't endorse anyone, but has a meeting scheduled today with Tim Bridgewater (who faces a primary against Mike Lee, both of whom finished ahead of Bennett at the GOP convention).
• CA-Sen: Good news for Tom Campbell, in the form of the Senate half of M4's poll of the California GOP primary: he leads Carly Fiorina and Chuck DeVore, 33-28-15. (Of course, with his plans to briefly go dark to conserve funds, that gives Fiorina a chance to play catchup when the margin's not that big.) Bad news for Campbell, though: the NRA has him in its metaphorical crosshairs, sending out a mailer to members attacking Campbell and, while not endorsing, offering kind words for Fiorina and DeVore.
• CT-Sen: This is going to make it a lot easier for Richard Blumenthal to make the case that the "in Vietnam" controversy is something of a cheap shot. A longer-form video release of the appearance (provided, ironically, by the Linda McMahon campaign, undercutting their own hatchet job) where the offending phrase occurred have him correctly referring to having "served in the military, during the Vietnam era" in the very same speech. That's not stopping Vietnam vet Rob Simmons, who, sensing an opening, has rolled out web advertising with "Blumenthal Lied About Vietnam" in very large letters.
Blumenthal is getting more explicit backing from Democratic bigwigs now, as his mea culpa/attempt to get back on the offense seems to have had the desired effect. Rep. Chris Murphy, the likeliest guy to pick up the pieces if Blumenthal had to bail out, offered his unqualified support; so too did Howard Dean. And here's one thing that's actually good about Rasmussen's one-day, no-callback samples: they can strike fast. They polled Connecticut, and while the trendlines aren't appealing, they find Blumenthal still beating McMahon even in the heat of the moment before the story has had time to digest, and beating the other, unmoneyed GOP opponents by pretty wide margins. Markos has some really nice pushback against Rasmussen in general, today, asking why they always poll quickly when there's the potential for a good Republican narrative but not when the narrative doesn't fit (as seen in their failure to poll the Sorta Super-Tuesday primaries).
• FL-Sen: Charlie Crist has been trying to woo union support, starting with a speech at the state AFL-CIO convention this weekend. It's another indication that he's trying to move squarely onto Kendrick Meek's turf and monopolize as much of the left-of-center vote as he can, now that he's free from his GOP shackles. Meanwhile, quixotic Democratic candidate Jeff Greene has apparently been seen wooing Ukrainian strippers, in 2005 on his 145-foot yacht while cruising the Black Sea. Not so, claims his campaign spokesperson; he was busy traveling with his rabbi at the time instead.
• KY-Sen: In case you needed one more data point on how thin-skinned Rand Paul and how likely a meltdown from him is at some point before November, here's an anecdote from last night: he refused to take the customary concession call from Trey Grayson, at least according to the Grayson camp.
• NC-Sen: Here's a big score for Elaine Marshall: Third-place finisher Kenneth Lewis gave his backing to Marshall in her runoff against Cal Cunningham. This move isn't so surprising, given that Lewis's supporters, like Rep. Eva Clayton, were already gravitating toward Marshall, but it ought to steer much of Lewis's African-American and youth base in her direction as well.
• NV-Sen: Three items, all of which are very, very bad for Sue Lowden. First, the Club for Growth finally weighed into the Senate primary, and they backed right-winger Sharron Angle (maybe not that surprising, since they backed her in the 2006 primary for NV-02). That ought to give Angle a further shot of adrenaline, though, on top of her Tea Party Express endorsement and polling momentum. Lowden is also still bogged down in controversy over her luxury bus, doubling-down on her claims that use of the $100K vehicle was leased despite also having stated elsewhere that the bus was "donated" (which means it would have needed to be reported as an in-kind contribution). That's nothing, though, compared to the (by my count) quintupling-down on Chickens-for-Checkups, simultaneously trying to fight top Nevada journo Jon Ralston on the fact that, yes, people are bartering for health care while trying to claim that she never actually said anything about Chickencare at all.
• NY-Sen-B: The only GOP big name left who hadn't said anything definitive about participating in the GOP Senate primary for the right to get creamed by Kirsten Gillibrand finally said a public "no." Orange County Executive Ed Diana said he'll stick with his current job, to which he was elected in November to a third term.
• UT-Sen: Looks like that teabaggers' victory in Utah might be short-lived. Bob Bennett seems to be more interested than before in running as a write-in in the general (where, despite the complex dynamics of a write-in campaign, he faces better odds with the broader electorate than with the narrow slice of extremists running the GOP convention). We may know tomorrow what his plans are, as he emphasized "Stay tuned tomorrow."
• WA-Sen: If Dino Rossi really is still interested in running for Senate, this isn't a particularly good way of showing it. Rossi is scheduled to make a blockbuster appearance on May 25... to give opening remarks at a dinnertime seminar for local real estate investors focusing on strategies for profiting off foreclosures. Because nothing says "I'm a man of the people" than knowing all the ins and outs of how to profit off the people's misery.
• AL-Gov: Artur Davis is out with an internal poll, that seems mostly oriented toward countering the sense that he's losing ground among his African-American base. The poll shows Davis leading Democratic primary rival Ron Sparks 46-33. It also shows Davis leading 50-25 among African-Americans (despite the defections of some prominent local black groups), while trailing Sparks 42-41 among whites.
• FL-Gov: Bill McCollum is going to have to start taking moneybags Rick Scott seriously, and he's striking hard, sending out a press release calling him an "embarrassment" and a "fraud," presumably in reference to allegations leveled against Scott's health care firm. Scott's ginormous introductory ad buy is now estimating at $6.3 million.
• KS-Gov: Sam Brownback is drawing some heat for taking things out of context. Now, politicians take things out of context all the time, but his sleight-of-hand in attempting to fight efforts to more tightly regulate the business of car loans to military members may be a fridge too far.
"CNN Money on May 13 reported that 'Raj Date ... agreed that the additional (Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection) regulation might cause some dealers to stop arranging loans," Brownback said in the letter.
But Brownback's letter did not include the rest of Date's comment, which was this, "There will be some dealers who say, 'If I have to play by an honest set [of] rules, then I can't be in this business anymore.' I'm not going to shed any tears for these dealers."
• MA-Gov: You may recall last week's Rasmussen MA-Gov poll where, in an effort to find some sort of good news, they found that, if liberal activist Grace Ross somehow beat incumbent Dem Deval Patrick in the primary, she would lost to GOPer Charlie Baker. Well, it's looking like Ross is in danger of not even making it onto the ballot. The state SoS says she has only a little more than half of the 10,000 signatures she needs; Ross promises an announcement tomorrow morning on her next step. (The upside for Patrick, if Ross qualifies for the primary though, would be $750K in public financing for his campaign, which he wouldn't be entitled to if he were running unopposed.)
• ME-Gov: There's been some ongoing controversy in the sleepy Maine governor's race about how Republican candidate Steve Abbott (former CoS to Susan Collins) wound up with GOP voter lists, but this is a strange turn: the state Republican party chair, Charlie Webster, is now saying that Abbott's camp flat-out "stole" it.
• GA-09: The special election to replace Nathan Deal (where GOPers Tom Graves and Lee Hawkins are in a runoff) seems to have winnowed the Republican field for the regularly-scheduled GOP primary, too. Former state Senate majority leader Bill Stephens has dropped out of contention in that field.
• HI-01: Even if something incredibly dramatic happens between now and Saturday's drop-dead date in the special election in the 1st, things are still pretty much cast in stone. In the all-mail in election, now 43% of all ballots sent out have been returned.
• IN-03: State Sen. Marlin Stutzman (whose name rec is sky-high right now after running fairly well in the GOP Senate primary against Dan Coats) says that he's going to strike while the iron is hot, and get into the race to replace resigning Rep. Mark Souder. Other GOPers confirming that they'll run include state Rep. Randy Borror, Ft. Wayne city councilor Liz Brown, and recent primary loser Phil Troyer. Another recent primary loser, Bob Thomas, is a potential candidate.
• OH-16: After having found an excuse to hide behind the door the last time Barack Obama came to Ohio, Rep. John Boccieri was proudly with him when he visited Youngstown yesterday. Perhaps he can sense a bit of a turning of the tide? Troublingly, though, Senate candidate Lee Fisher wasn't present.
• PA-12: PPP digs through the data from their last pre-election poll in the 12th and finds what may really have done the Republicans in. There's one entity in the district even more unpopular than Barack Obama (who had 30% approval), and that's Congressional Republicans, who were at a miserable 22/60. In nationalizing the election, Tim Burns tied himself to the nation's least favorite people of all.
• PA-19: After having surviving his primary last night despite publicly seeking another job, it looks like Rep. Todd Platts exposed himself to all that danger for no reason at all. Platts announced yesterday that the Obama administration had let him know that he wasn't going to be selected for the Government Accountability Office job he'd been angling for.
• CT-AG: Here's one of the weirdest career crash-and-burns I've seen lately: SoS Susan Bysiewicz went in a few months from likely next Governor to somehow not even eligible to run for the lower-tier job she dropped down to. Connecticut's Supreme Court unanimously ruled that she didn't meet the criteria for legal experience required to become AG, reversing a lower court's decision. Former Democratic state Sen. George Jepsen now has the AG job pretty much to himself. At any rate, with Bysiewicz now combing the "Help Wanted" section, that gives the Connecticut Dems a fallback plan for the Senate if Richard Blumenthal does need to bail out (although Bysiewicz may be seriously damaged at this point too).
• OR-St. House: Here are a couple races with interesting implications that I forgot to watch last night: two Republican state Reps. from the high-desert parts of Oregon (the state's Republican stronghold) committed the unthinkable heresy of not only bipartisanship but supporting tax increases to close the state's budget gap. Both Bob Jenson and Greg Smith survived their primaries, though, after teabaggers, right-to-lifers, and even their state House minority leader turned their wrath against them.
• Arizona: One other election result from last night that most people, us included, seemed to overlook was Proposition 100 in Arizona. In a surprise, at least to those people who think that it's a rabidly anti-tax year (which would be those people who didn't pay any attention to Measures 66 and 67 earlier this year in Oregon), the people of this red state voted by a fairly wide margin for a temporary sales tax increase as part of a package of changes to close the budget gap. It's a victory for Jan Brewer, actually, who backed the plan (perhaps feeling safer to do so, having solidified her position with her support for the "papers please" law).
• 1994: When you have a wave, a lot of dead wood washes up on the beach. Prompted by '94 alum Mark Souder's mini-scandal and resignation, Dana Milbank looks back at the wide array of scoundrels and rogues who were swept in in 1994.
• History: History's only barely on the side of Blanche Lincoln when it comes to runoffs. It turns out that the person who finishes first in a runoff wins 72% of the time, but when that's limited only to runoffs in primaries, the success rate is only 55%... and Lincoln's victory over Bill Halter last night was a particularly close one.
• Tonight's Preview: Tonight's something of a small palate-cleanser in between the meaty primaries of last Tuesday and next Tuesday. The main event is WV-01, where there are competitive primaries on both sides of the aisle. Most of the attention is focused on the Democratic side, though, where Rep. Alan Mollohan could be the first House incumbent to get bounced out this cycle. Despite already being rather conservative, he's been challenged from the right by state Sen. Mike Oliverio, who's attacking Mollohan over not fighting hard enough against cap and trade, and for his earmarking. Both camps have released internal polls giving them the lead. On the GOP side, there's a three-way fight between the establishment fave, former state Rep. and state GOP chair David McKinley, former state Sen. Sarah Minear, and businessman Mac Warner. Warner has gotten nailed for tax liens on his businesses, but may benefit from the infighting between the two others. Polls in WV close at 7:30 pm ET.
The special election to replace Nathan Deal in GA-09 is also tonight. With Democrats a non-factor in this R+28 district, but a crowded field of various Republicans, the likeliest outcome is a June 8 runoff between the top two conservative Republicans, most likely former state Rep. Tom Graves (the Club for Growth and FreedomWorks pick) and former state Sen. Lee Hawkins (who seems to generate less enthusiasm on the ground but who has some geographical advantages). TheUnknown285 also points out a handful of other legislative special elections in Georgia today, all of which are very unlikely to change hands; the most interesting may be in SD-42, where Jimmy Carter's grandson may be able to take over a blue seat in Atlanta's suburbs.
Finally, two other things you might watch, if you want to get way down in the weeds: Nebraska is the only other state with regularly scheduled primaries for today, although the only one worth a look is the GOP side in NE-02, where Rep. Lee Terry faces a teabagger with some money, Matt Sakalosky. Terry is likely to win, but the margin will be worth watching, as he's one of the Dems' few offense targets this year. And New Jersey has a host of mayoral elections today. The big name here is Newark's Cory Booker, expected to face no trouble with re-election; an open seat in Trenton may provide some interest, though.
UPDATE: Marcus in comments points out a big miss on my part: the state Senate seat in Massachusetts left vacant by Scott Brown is up for special election tonight, too. (Rather than a boring number, it has a name: "Norfolk, Bristol, and Middlesex." Still not quite as mellifluous as a lot of the British constituencies that we all got a crash course in last week though... especially "Vale of Glamorgan.") Democratic physician Peter Smulowitz (a netroots fave who won an upset in the primary) faces off against GOP state Rep. Richard Ross. There's also a safe blue seat up tonight that will shortly belong to Dem Sal DiDomenico.
• NH-Sen: It looks like those missing Kelly Ayotte e-mails, which are at the center of the growing questions surrounding the collapse of Financial Resources Mortgage and what the AG's office did (or didn't) do, may be retrievable after all via backup systems. State legislative hearings into the matter are beginning on Friday, so this issue could get bigger in coming weeks.
• NY-Sen, NY-Gov (pdf): Marist has a slew of data out of New York, all of it good for the Dems. Kirsten Gillibrand breaks 50% against all of her GOP contenders, leading Joe DioGuardi 50-30, Bruce Blakeman 52-28, and David Malpass 52-28. DioGuardi leads the GOP primary at 31, to 13 for Blakeman and 12 for Malpass. Chuck Schumer also has little trouble with his one announced opponent, Jay Townsend; he leads 66-27. On the gubernatorial side, Andrew Cuomo wins just as convincingly. He leads Rick Lazio 65-25, Steve Levy 63-25, and Carl Paladino 67-22.
• PA-Sen, PA-Gov (pdf): Today's Muhlenberg tracker sustains the Joe Sestak lead over Arlen Specter, at 47-43. In the gubernatorial race, Anthony Williams seems to be emerging as the closest rival to Dan Onorato; Onorato still has a big edge, though, leading Williams 33-15 with Joe Hoeffel at 10 and Jack Wagner at 9. Word is that Franklin & Marshall will also have a poll out tomorrow giving Sestak the edge. Barack Obama appears in the newest TV ad on Specter's behalf, but it sounds less likely that Obama, always careful about overextending his political capital, will be actually showing up to campaign for Specter. Finally, if you haven't already, it's worth a look at Chris Bowers' analysis of Specter vs. Sestak on general election electability (as you might expect, it boils down to Specter being universally-known and Sestak having the upside).
• UT-Sen: Bob Bennett still isn't ruling out a write-in candidacy in November, and will continue to weigh his options. Bob, for what it's worth, everyone here at SSP agrees that a write-in candidacy would be pure awesome.
• WA-Sen: Some more investment sleaze-by-association for Dino Rossi. He was one of the initial investors who established the Eastside Commercial Bank in 2001, a bank that's currently teetering on the edge after the FDIC required it to raise another $3 million in the wake unsound lending practices. He didn't have any managerial control over the bank, but it's one more paper cut for Rossi.
• CT-Gov: Former Stamford mayor Dan Malloy announced his running mate choice today: state Comptroller Nancy Wyman. Rival Ned Lamont chose Simsbury First Selectwoman Mary Glassman (Malloy's 2006 running mate) last week.
• OR-Gov, OR-Sen: SurveyUSA is out with a whole new gubernatorial primary poll (the one that got released last week was taken nearly a month ago; I'm not sure what the delay was about). Although the number of undecideds is dropping, the margins between the candidates is staying pretty much the same. For the Dems, John Kitzhaber is leading Bill Bradbury 59-25. On the GOP side, Chris Dudley leads Allen Alley 42-24 (while hopeless third and fourth wheels John Lim and Bill Sizemore are at 8 each). They also threw in Senate primary numbers, finding that Ron Wyden is pulling in 80% against some nobodies on the Dem side while the GOP side is a big question mark. Law professor Jim Huffman (the establishment's choice to be sacrificial lamb) is at 20, while some dude Tom Stutzman isn't that far behind at 13.
• FL-02: Here's a race that wasn't on anyone's competitive list that's suddenly bursting into view. An NRCC internal poll (by the Tarrance Group) that's from mid-April but just got leaked to Chris Cillizza has no-name funeral home director Steve Southerland leading Rep. Allen Boyd, and not just squeaking it out, but up by a 52-37 margin. Boyd has a huge cash edge ($1.5 mil to Southerland's $157K), although he'll need to spend some first fighting a primary challenge against Al Lawson.
• HI-01: With news that the DCCC is pulling out, and polls giving a small but consistent edge to Charles Djou in the f'd-up jungle-style special election, SSP is moving our rating of this race to "Leans Republican" from "Tossup."
• MI-01: Amidst all the hullaballoo over Connie Saltonstall's dropout yesterday (wait, what's the opposite of "hullaballoo?" how about "yawning?"), we missed another detail in the Democratic primary to succeed Bart Stupak: so too did Matt Gillard. That leaves state Rep. Gary McDowell as the only candidate left in the field, on this the last day of Michigan filings. That was easy.
• MN-06: We at SSP love us some taxes, but we're also big fans of a certain something called "optics," and state Senate DFLers created a mammoth screwup that, appearance-wise, really harms Taryl Clark's chances against Michele Bachmann. Clark got stuck holding the Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky bag after she wound up casting the deciding vote in favor of a deficit-closing package that includes an income tax increase, after the vote was held open for her for 20 minutes deadlocked at 33-33. It may be a moot point as Tim Pawlenty has promised to veto, but still... (In her defense, Clark says she was delayed by a phone call with her son's doctor.)
• NJ-03: Jon Runyan is getting accused of a "Rose Garden" strategy of campaigning in the GOP primary, sitting still and trading on his inevitability instead of, y'know, actually going out and debating with conservative opponent Justin Murphy. The John Adler camp is noticing too, and is out with their own "Where's Jon?" video.
• RI-01: There's a third contender in the Democratic primary to take over the 1st from retiring Rep. Patrick Kennedy. State Rep. David Segal is getting into the race, joining Providence mayor David Cicilline and former state Dem party chair William Lynch.
• WA-03: You keep hearing from Beltway media that state Rep. Jaime Herrera is the person to beat in the GOP primary for this open seat, but other than ex-Sen. Slade Gorton and her ex-boss, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rogers, I'm hard-pressed to think of any endorsements of consequence for her. David Castillo has lined up most of the local support within the 3rd, and now he got endorsements from a variety of local leaders in the evangelical community, including Joe Fuiten (probably the most prominent Christian right leader in Washington) and ex-Rep. Randy Tate (who briefly led the national Christian Coalition after getting bounced out of office).
• WI-07: Here's another primary in the north woods where the Dems seem to have coalesced and it's all over but the shouting. At the same time as state Sen. Julie Lassa was officially announcing that she'd run to succeed retiring Rep. David Obey, fellow state Sens. Russ Decker and Pat Kreitlow announced they wouldn't run. Perhaps making the difference: Lassa's seat isn't up for re-election this year, so it's a freebie for her, while Decker and Kreitlow's seats are up. With Dems holding an 18-15 margin in the Senate and the GOP on the offensive, it's the safe choice not to open up seats in the Senate too.
• NRSC: Hmmm, speaking of optics, the NRSC is hosting an "intimate" (Hotline's words; I don't know if that's how the NRSC billed it) fundraiser with the under-investigation John Ensign as host. No word yet on whether anyone plans to show up.
• DE-AG: Best wishes for a quick recovery to Beau Biden, who's currently hospitalized today after a minor stroke. The 41-year-old Biden, who passed on a Senate race this year, is expected to fully recover.
AR-Sen: While offering a commencement address at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, Michelle Obama gave a shout-out to all the Democratic bigwigs sharing the dais with her: Gov. Mike Beebe, his wife Ginger, Sen. Blanche Lincoln, Sen. Mark Pryor and even state AG Bobby Dustin McDaniel. Everyone, that is, except for Lt. Gov. Bill Halter, who was also on stage. Stay classy, Michelle.
KS-Sen: The not-particularly pleasant GOP race to succeed Sam Brownback has gotten even uglier, with Rep. Todd Tiahrt accusing frontrunner Rep. Jerry Moran of pulling "a John Kerry" flip-flop on tax cuts. Moran, leading in the polls, has largely been sticking to a Rose Garden strategy and refusing to respond to Tiahrt's provocations.
NV-Sen: Sue Lowden's mom must have taught her as a child that if you pick at a scab repeatedly, it will heal faster. That can be the only explanation for Lowden's newest TV ad, in which she brings up the damn chicken business yet again!
PA-Sen: Joe Sestak now has a four-point lead over Arlen Specter in Muhlenberg's tracking poll, 46-42. A day earlier, Sestak took his first-ever lead in public polling in the tracker. Also, here's a good observation: Specter voted against Elana Kagan when she was nominated to be Solicitor General. Now that it looks like she's going to be tapped for the Supreme Court, he'll have to very publicly flip-flop on this one barely a week before the primary.
UT-Sen: As you probably saw by now, longtime Utah Sen. Bob Bennett was denied renomination at the GOP convention this past Saturday. Instead, businessman Tim Bridgewater and attorney Mike Lee will duke it out in a June 22nd primary. Lee seems to be the teabagger fave, as he immediately garnered Jim DeMint's endorsement once he made it past the third and final round of voting.
Meanwhile, Bennett is still holding out the possibility of waging a write-in campaign - which is not out of the question given that Utahns in general like him a lot more than Republican convention delegates. My understanding, though, is that he could only run as a write-in in the general election, not the primary.
Anyhow, while Bennett's never self-funded before (so far as I know), he is actually extremely wealthy, with assets potentially in excess of $30 million. If turnout is about 600K voters and a Dem can get a third of that, then Bennett only needs 200K to win a squeaker. On the flipside, John Cornyn is pledging to support the GOP nominee, and in modern times, I think only Strom Thurmond has gotten elected to the Senate via write-in. But nevermind all that - do it, Bob... for America!
FL-Gov: Surely by now you've heard about anti-gay activist George Rekers' European escapades with a young man he hired from a site called Rentboy. If not, read this now. The story just got a lot better, though, with word that Florida AG Bill McCollum once paid Rekers at least $60,000 to serve as an expert witness for the state's attempt to ban gay adoptions. Rekers' testimony was rejected by the judge as not credible, and the ban was found unconstitutional. All in a day's work!
KY-Gov: Kentucky's gubernatorial seat isn't up until 2011, but a trio of media outlets commissioned a poll from Research 2000 nonetheless. It finds Gov. Steve Beshear leading House Speaker Greg Stumbo in a hypothetical primary, 55-28. In the general election, it shows Beshear up 44-37 over GOP Ag. Comm'r Richie Farmer. Beshear's job approval is 46-43 and he has $1.9 million in the bank.
NY-Gov: Ordinarily, you need 25% of the weighted delegate vote at a state convention to qualify for the ballot in New York. But because Steve Levy is not yet a registered Republican, GOP rules require him to get 50%. It sounds, though, like there may be some movement afoot to more or less knock that requirement back down to 25%.
CT-05: Some Dude Kie Westby is dropping out of the crowded GOP race to take on Rep. Chris Murphy. Westby endorsed state Sen. Sam Caligiuri on his way out. Quite a few Republicans remain in this primary.
MD-04: State Del. Herman Taylor says he's challenging Rep. Donna Edwards in the Democratic primary. It sounds like Taylor might be taking Edwards on from the right, saying she's "out of touch with the business community" (those are the Maryland Gazette's words, not necessarily his). Meanwhile, it sure sounds like Edwards herself has gone native: Despite the fact that she owes her seat to a primary challenge, she now says "it would be 'very hard' for her to support a primary challenger like herself," according to The Nation. It never changes.
MI-09: Former state Rep. Rocky Raczkowski put out an internal poll showing him up 26-15 over businessman Paul Welday, with a whole lotta people undecided.
NY-23: Like some kind of Archie Comics love triangle involving Betty, Veronica, and Jughead, newcomer Matt Doheny is wooing the Club for Growth away from their former not-so-golden boy, Doug Hoffman. (The Club now says it's "hard to say" whom they will endorse, if anyone.) Maybe toss in Moose, too, since the Conservative Party is making it extra-interesting by sticking with Hoffman.
PA-12: This ain't good news for Team Blue: Dem Mark Critz reported having just $73K in the bank in his pre-election FEC report, while GOPer Tim Burns has $308K. I don't feel too good about this one.
UT-02: In case you missed it, Dem Rep. Jim Matheson is being forced into his first-ever primary come June 22nd, thanks to the vote taken at the state's Democratic convention this past weekend. Retired teacher Claudia Wright nabbed 45% of the delegates on Saturday, clearing the 40% hurdle to get her name on the primary ballot. The winner will take on ex-state Rep. Morgan Philpot, who has raised just $27K so far. Wright has raised $9K, while Matheson has taken in a million bucks and has $1.4 mil on hand.
WV-01: I was wondering when this was going to happen: The DCCC has finally sent some help to Rep. Alan Mollohan, who faces a stiff primary challenge from the right in the form of state Sen. Mike Oliverio. The election is tomorrow, though, so I wonder if, Coakley-style, this assistance is going to be too little, too late. While I carry no brief for Mollohan, he is almost certainly better than Oliverio, who is buddy-buddy with the state GOP.
Meanwhile, on the GOP side, the cat fud is flying fast and furious. Attorney Mac Warner says he won't support ex-state Rep. David McKinley if he wins the nomination, claiming McKinley's "gone way over the line in personal attacks and distortions of the truth." (Welcome to politics, bub.) In general, the primary has been very negative, with much of the fire aimed at McKinley.
New Jersey: A New Jersey appellate court dinged Chris Christie's attempt to unilaterally restrict campaign contributions by unions, saying that legislation would instead be required.
Polling: Tom Jensen, who has penned many dour but accurate notes about the rough shape Dems find themselves in this cycle, draws together some surprising threads and finds recent good polling news for Team Blue in five senate races.
UPDATE 2: So the top three candidates advance to the second round, meaning Bennett barely survives - for another hour or so. According to the timestamp on this post, second-round results are expected around 5:30pm Eastern.
Also, over at the Dem convention, it appears that no voting has taken place yet, but on Twitter, it sounds like there may be a surprising level of enthusiasm for Jim Matheson's challenger, Claudia Wright. She needs 40% to force a primary.
Today the Utah GOP will be having their statewide convention for the U.S. Senate nomination. The Salt Lake Tribue has this explanation of how it will unfold. Note that all times are Mountain Crazy Time:
Schedule reminder: Convention kicks off at 10 a.m., and the roughly 7-minute Senate speeches start at 10:45 a.m. They will speak in this order - Bridgewater, Bennett, Friedbaum, Fabiano, Cook, Chiu, Lee and Eagar. After that the first round, balloting will commence; expect to start voting around 11:50 a.m. That brings us to the final three candidates.
The second round of balloting will come around 1:40 p.m. after the speeches for governor (who doesn't want to hear what SuperDell has to say), and the three congressional districts (1st - Bishop vs. Ridgeway; 2nd - Philpot vs.Walter vs. Eliason; 3rd Chaffetz vs. nobody)
If a third round of balloting is necessary (count on it), that would take place after the discussion of platform changes and resolutions, estimated at 3 p.m., but hey, you know how these things get pushed back.
So the first round of voting should start just before 2pm Eastern.
P.S. Johnny Longtorso reminds us in comments that the UT Dems are also holding their convention today. The one thing to watch is whether Rep. Jim Matheson (UT-02) will get a primary challenge. Voting starts around 3:45pm Eastern.
• CA-Sen: Hell hath no fury like a teabagger scorned, and now the swarm is turning its anger on the queen bee. Even Sarah Palin's popularity apparently has limits, as she's getting all sorts of blowback (at her Facebook page, mostly) from California's right-wingers upset over her endorsement of corporate GOPer Carly Fiorina instead of true believer Chuck DeVore.
• KY-Sen: Research 2000, on behalf of various local news outlets, polled the primaries in Kentucky, finding, in the Democratic field, Dan Mongiardo leading Jack Conway 39-32 (with 12 opting for one of the three minor candidates). On the GOP side, Rand Paul leads Trey Grayson 44-32. The same poll has perilously low approvals for Majority leader Mitch McConnell, down to 41/49. And guess who's taking notice? Democratic state Auditor Crit Luallen -- one of our commenters, nrimmer, reports that she's sending out fundraising e-mails raising the possibility of a 2014 challenge.
Dan Mongiardo is also out with an internal poll, in the wake of the Conway camp releasing one with Conway in the lead. Mongo's poll, taken by Garin Hart Yang, has him up 46-34 (although he can't be psyched about the trendlines; his internal poll from February had him up 43-25). One other note from this race: an Iowa-based group, American Future Fund, is running an anti-Paul ad on TV. AFF claims to be about "free market views," so I'm not sure what their beef with Paul is (you don't get much more free market than that), but at any rate, their ad features a chiming cuckoo clock in it, which nicely underscores Paul's, um, cuckoo-ness.
• NC-Sen: Third-place finisher Kenneth Lewis finds himself in something of the kingmaker's seat, after preventing Elaine Marshall or Cal Cunningham from avoiding a runoff in the Democratic primary. Lewis says he's not sure who he'll endorse or even if he will endorse, but both camps are, naturally, reaching out to him and his supporters (including Mel Watt and Harvey Gantt).
• PA-Sen/PA-Gov (pdf): There's clearly a lot of day-to-day volatility in the Muhlenberg/Morning Call daily tracker of the Dem primaries, but you can't deny this is a blockbuster result: Joe Sestak has drawn even with Arlen Specter for the first time, as they tie at 43-all today. Maybe that ad with all those purdy pictures of him with George Bush and Sarah Palin is having the desired effect? On the gubernatorial side, Dan Onorato is at 35, Joe Hoeffel at 11, Anthony Williams at 10, and Jack Wagner at 8.
• UT-Sen: Tomorrow may well be the end of the line for Bob Bennett, the three-term Senator from Utah. He's poised to get kicked to the curb at tomorrow's nominating convention by his state's far-right activist base for the crime of actually trying to legislate. Bennett's getting some last-minute hits from robocalls from the Gun Owners of America, but that's pretty tame compared with some of the other over-the-top attacks being leveled at other candidates (like Mike Lee as Hitler?). Michael Steele, wary of treading on the base's toes in a no-win situation, has announced his staying neutral in the nominating process.
• MA-Gov: Looks like you don't want to get on Tim Cahill's bad side (or maybe more accurately, on the bad side of media consultant John Weaver, who's also working on the oddball campaigns of Rick Snyder in Michigan and Steve Levy in New York). After a hard hit from the RGA, the Cahill camp retaliated with a web video pegging RGA chair Haley Barbour as a Confederate sympathizer and corrupt lobbyist. The RGA fired back saying the Cahill camp had responded like "scalded apes" (strange metaphor, but it has a certain evocative charm).
• OR-Gov: That SurveyUSA poll that had Republican primary results that was leaked a few days ago is fully available now, and it also contains Democratic primary results. John Kitzhaber seems poised to roll over Bill Bradbury; he leads 54-16. (As reported earlier, Chris Dudley led on the GOP side, although only at 28%.)
• RI-Gov: The DGA is going on the offensive against independent Lincoln Chafee, seeing him (and certainly not Republican John Robitaille) as their main impediment to picking up the governor's office. They've launched an anti-Chafee site... and here's an indication of the candidates' positioning in this scrambled race: they're actually attacking Chafee from the right, focusing on Chafee's love of taxes.
• HI-01: One candidate who isn't running away from Barack Obama is Ed Case, who's up with a new TV ad throwing his arms around the hometown favorite. "Only one candidate is strong enough to stand with the President: Ed Case!" intones the ad. Despite the White House's behind-the-scenes finger-on-the-scale, though, Obama hasn't officially come out in favor of Case.
• ID-01: I wonder what think tank the right-wing's current fixation with the 17th Amendment recently bubbled up from? I thought it was a weird aberration when Steve Stivers started up about it, but now it's an issue in the GOP primary in the 1st, where all of a sudden the two contestants, Raul Labrador and Vaughn Ward, are trying to out-Seventeenther each other. Has Frank Luntz actually tried running the idea through one of his focus groups of taking away people's rights to vote for their Senators? Somehow I doubt it polls well.
• WATN?: Couldn't have happened to a nicer guy. Former Republican state Senate majority leader Joe Bruno just got sentenced to two years in federal prison for fraud and abuse of office. It's worth noting, though, that the sentence was stayed until the SCOTUS can rule on the "honest services" issue that's before it, so it could be a long time, if ever, before Bruno's wearing stripes.
AR-Sen: Former President and governor of Arkansas Bill Clinton cut two radio ads on behalf of Blanche Lincoln. One of them highlights Lincoln's alleged support for Clinton's economic agenda back in the 1990s - not an issue likely to resonate, especially in today's economic climate.
FL-Sen: A Public Opinion Strategies poll for Charlie Crist, taken before he left the GOP primary, had him at 36, Marco Rubio at 28, and Kendrick Meek at 23. A McLaughlin & Associates poll (taken for "the Associated Industries of Florida," also before the switcheroo) had Crist up as well, 33C-29R-15M. Meanwhile, The Buzz takes a look at which boldfaced names showed up to Crist's first fundraiser following his political party reassignment surgery.
On the Dem side, zillionaire mortgage-shorting mogul Jeff Greene says he'll "spend whatever it takes" to win his primary against Rep. Kendrick Meek. That must be music to Joe Trippi's ears. Greene is unelectable but thanks to his monstrous bankroll, he can do a lot of harm to Democratic chances in this race. Trippi is aiding and abetting this bullshit, and will profit handsomely.
NY-Sen-B: Chris Dodd, in the midst of working on financial regulation reform, says he won't attend a Wall Street-sponsored fundraiser on behalf of Kirsten Gillibrand in NYC tonight.
UT-Sen: A poignant poll for Bob Bennett: While Republican delegates to the state convention despise him (he's in third place with just 16%), rank-and-file Republican voters like him much more (first place, 39%). In other states, the GOP would have cause for concern, since a convention process like this is clearly aimed at producing the most conservative candidate imaginable. But in Utah, it probably won't matter. Though if Bennett gets toppled, I wonder if other nervous establishment officials might consider eliminating the convention and replacing it with an ordinary primary.
MI-Gov: Thank god: Geoffrey Feiger, Jack Kevorkian's attorney and the Dems' disastrous 1998 gubernatorial nominee, says he won't run again. Now all we have to worry about is Andy Dillon.
HI-Gov, HI-01: Hawaii's legislature unexpectedly passed a civil unions bill on the last day of the session, which now goes to Gov. Linda Lingle (she has until July 6th to decide whether to sign the bill into law or veto it). Lt. Gov. Duke Aiona (R), running to succeed Lingle, wants her to veto it. Ex-Rep. Neil Abercrombie is strongly in favor of the bill (and gay marriage), while his Democratic primary opponent, Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann, opposes gay marriage but hasn't expressed an opinion on the current bill.
This may also have repercussions in the HI-01 race, where state Sen. President Colleen Hanabusa may have pushed the bill through in an attempt to repair relations with the LGBT community after the same bill got scuttled in January. Hanabusa says she doesn't support gay marriage, though, while Democratic rival Ed Case does. Republican Charles Djou opposes the measure.
FL-05: Unsurprisingly, local Republicans are grumbling about Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite's filing-deadline handoff to Sherriff Ted Richard Nugent, including state Sen. Mike Fasano, who apparently has had his eye on this seat for some time. You have to wonder if this is the kind of thing which will taint Nugent and make him vulnerable to a primary challenge next cycle. Also among the complainers, interestingly, is state Sen. Paula Dockery, whose current district overlaps with the 5th CD. Dockery's gotten nowhere in her FL-Gov primary against AG Bill McCollum, so you have to wonder if she isn't gnashing her teeth about a lost opportunity here.
FL-25: Joe Garcia's candidacy is a rare bright spot for Dems in this otherwise putrid cycle. Now the DCCC, which lobbied heavily for him to get into the race, has given Garcia their official stamp of approval, adding him to their Red to Blue list once again.
GA-09: Dems never had a chance in the special election in this ruby red district, but you gotta figure it's almost always better to actually have a Democrat on the ballot rather than not. We had a candidate here, pastor Mike Freeman, but he dropped out a couple of weeks ago. Now, though, he says he's back in the race, but his website is offline.
IN-08: Democratic state Rep. Trent Van Haaften, running to fill Brad Ellsworth's open seat, has been talking to local teabaggers to see if they might support him. Yeah, I'm in as much disbelief as you are. But, as is always the case, there's a lot of hostility between the tea partiers and the establishment, and at least one 'bagger says they want to "teach the machine a lesson."
PA-12: Freedom's Defense Fund, an arm of the incredibly dodgy Base Connect (formerly BMW Direct) has made a $20K "independent" expenditure on behalf of Bill Russell, who is challenging Tim Burns in the GOP primary. (Recall that there's both a special election and a primary on the same day.) FDF is supposedly distinct from Base Connect, but given that they share the same office (according to TPM), the idea that their expenditures are actually "independent" is a real stretch.
More importantly, the NRCC just threw down another quarter million bucks on behalf of Burns, bringing their total spending on this race to over $725K. The DCCC has yet to respond to this latest blast.
DCCC: The DCCC is about to begin its biennial rite of splitting off its independent expenditure arm. Thanks to stupid federal laws against "co-ordination," the DCCC staffers who make spending decisions about IEs can't be in contact with the rest of the D-Trip, because those folks are in contact with individual campaigns. This is senseless. Anyhow, political director Robby Mook will head up the IE arm, and John Lapp (who once ran this shop himself) will serve as a "senior advisor." Incumbent retention director Jennifer Pihlaja will replace Mook as PD of DCCC proper (and keep her current title).