• AK-Sen: Tomorrow is now the expected date for the ruling from a state superior court judge on Joe Miller's suit contesting 8,000 ballots (over spelling) and also alleging various instances of voter fraud. There's an injunction in place that keeps the race from being certified until this case (which started in federal court and got moved) has been decided, although the judge is conceding that whatever he decides, it's likely to get immediately appealed to the Alaska Supreme Court.
News also comes today that Joe Miller wound up finishing the Alaska Senate race with over $900K still in hand, an outrageous sum given how cheap the Alaska media market is. Much of that was intended to go toward post-game legal expenses, and some of that may have been the same problem that plagued other teabagger fundraising dynamos (like Christine O'Donnell and Sharron Angle), of not being able to find any ad slots to spend the money. Also worth a read: a wrapup over at Daily Kos from the Scott McAdams campaign's media guy, especially his recounting of the adventure he went through to find the Incredible Hulk tie that appeared in McAdams' TV spot. Finally, we'll let Kagro X get the last word in on the state of the Alaska race:
Joe Miller keeps fighting on, like a 90 year old Japanese commando on a forgotten island...
• FL-Sen: The Florida GOP primary is looking like it's going to be a very crowded affair after all: Adam Hasner, the former state House majority leader, has suddenly bubbled up over the last few days as a possible if not likely candidate. If the name sounds familiar, he considered and decided against a run in FL-22 this year; he's one of the few Republicans from the Gold Coast and, in addition to being a key Marco Rubio ally, could tap quickly into Jewish Republican fundraising circles.
• PA-Sen: It's looking more and more like Bob Casey Jr.'s challenger is going to come not from the U.S. House but the ranks of the state Senate; the question, though, is which one? The newest name to surface is Kim Ward, who says she's starting to test the waters. She's from Westmoreland County, maybe the most conservative of the once-blue, now-swingy collar counties around Pittsburgh, giving the GOP hopes they might eat into Casey's strong backing in SW PA.
• RI-Sen: Don't rule out soon-to-be-ex-Gov. Don Carcieri (who'd probably be the only Republican who could make this an interesting race here) from Senate race consideration. The 68-year-old two-termer says he isn't ruling it out, but wants to take some time off before thinking about it.
• VA-Sen: George Allen is definitely acting candidate-ish now; having laid down markers against possible primary challenger Corey Stewart, now he's moving on to direct attacks on Jim Webb (who, of course, may or may not be running for re-election), over voting against the earmark ban and the horrible sin of supporting collective bargaining rights for public safety officers.
• LA-Gov: Still no word on whether a strong Dem will get into the Louisiana governor's race, but The Daily Kingfish takes a very interesting look at the field of possible challengers to Bobby Jindal, whose numbers indicate he's popular but not bulletproof. They handicap the odds on a collection of possible challengers; interestingly, the guy they give the greatest odds to is ex-Dem John Kennedy (who presumably would take on Jindal while still wearing the "R" badge, although I guess anything's possible in Louisiana, where party labels seem to get taken on and off like so much laundry). They also float the possibility of a Mary Landrieu run, in that she may be eager to bail out of Washington before her next re-election in 2014.
• WV-Gov: With a pileup of half a dozen Dems interested in the 2012 (or 2011?) gubernatorial race, who's running for the GOP? The Beltway rumor mill seems, this week, to have Shelly Moore Capito more interested in going for the Gov race than the Senate or staying in the House. While she'd be the undisputed heavyweight, a few other second-tier GOPers are making their interest known (although it's unclear whether they'd bother if Capito got in). Most prominent is ex-SoS Betty Ireland, one of the few GOPers around who's held statewide office, and who had briefly considered running for Senate this year. State Sen. Clark Barnes is the only Republican who has committed to the race so far.
• CO-03, VA-11: Republican Keith Fimian, who came within a thousand votes of Gerry Connolly, is publicly saying he's interested in another run. He wants to wait and see what the district looks like after redistricting before committing one way or the other, though. One other rematch that may or may not be on the table is Dem John Salazar in Colorado's 3rd, who narrowly lost the reddish district to Scott Tipton and "is open" to a rematch.
• House: Politico takes a quick look at the Republicans that Democrats in the House are most likely to target in 2012. I don't think any of the names (mostly surprise victors in Dem-leaning swing districts) will surprise any devoted SSP readers: in order, they discuss Chip Cravaack, Ann Marie Buerkle, the Illinois Five (especially Bobby Schilling), Blake Farenthold, Renee Ellmers, and Allen West.
• Votes: The DREAM Act passed the House today (although it looks like, so many other pieces of legislation, its next stop is a slow Senate death by neglect). It's an interesting vote breakdown, with 38 Dems voting no (mostly Blue Dogs, and mostly ones on their way out the door) and 8 Republicans voting yes (almost all the non-white GOPers, along with the newly-liberated Bob Inglis). Most puzzling "no" vote may be Dan Lipinski, whose safe blue IL-03 is significantly Latino, and getting more so every day.
• Census: This is a strange video to go viral, but I've been seeing lots of links to this new video from the Census Bureau today, a catchy little explanation of what reapportionment is and how it works. Also a helpful Census Bureau release today: a release schedule of all the various parts and pieces that will be necessary for the redistricting process. The big enchilada, of course, is the reapportionment breakdown, which will be released at some point before the end of the year, although they're still not specifying which date. According to today's release, state numbers on race (down to the block level) will be out in February, so I'm sure there'll be flurry of activity with Dave's Redistricting App at that point.
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)
• AZ-Sen: Chances are you've already seen this video, but if you haven't, check out ex-Rep. J.D. Hayworth going the full Matthew Lesko, pitching seminars for how to get free government grant money. Typical teabagging mindset at work: I hate the gub'ment! Except when it's giving me money for doing nothing!
• CT-Sen: Linda McMahon, I'm sure, is from the "all PR is good PR" school, but this still has to go in the "bad PR" column. The widow of a professional wrestler who died in a 1999 stunt gone awry is suing both the WWE and McMahon personally.
• NH-Sen: Making your first TV ad a negative one isn't really a sign of strength, but in this case, I'm sure Paul Hodes thinks he has something potent here. His first ad hits Kelly Ayotte for being asleep at the switch as AG during the collapse of Financial Resources Mortgage. Hodes' ad includes footage of Ayotte's widely-panned testimony before state legislators last week, framing it as an almost-Gonzales-esque litany of evasions.
• NY-Sen-B, NY-Gov: Quinnipiac polls the Empire State, and like Rasmussen, finds intensely competitive races brewing... oh, who am I kidding; Dems are crushing, as usual. Kirsten Gillibrand beats Bruce Blakeman 46-26, and beats David Malpass 47-25. Blakeman beats Malpass 14-11 in the GOP primary. Interestingly, they seem to have decided not to poll Joe DioGuardi (who other polls have seen as the GOP primary's frontrunner) this time, who did not get a ballot slot at the convention but seems to be at work trying to petition on. On the gubernatorial side, Andrew Cuomo beats Rick Lazio 58-26 and beats Carl Paladino 59-23. Lazio wins the GOP primary over Paladino, 46-17.
• FL-Gov: Bill McCollum got a lifeline of sorts from the Tea Party community, with an endorsement from ex-Rep. Dick Armey, now one of the movement's chief cat-herders at FreedomWorks. This looks like an endorsement from Armey individually, though, not from FreedomWorks. Filing day also came and went: independent candidate Bud Chiles filed at the last moment, and Alex Sink also found herself with an unexpected Democratic primary challenger, although one of the "perennial candidate" variety (Brian Moore).
• GA-Gov, GA-Sen: SurveyUSA takes a look at the Georgia races, but unfortunately only at the already-thoroughly-polled primaries. On the Dem side, ex-Gov. Roy Barnes' comeback is well underway; he's out of runoff territory at 63, leading Thurbert Baker at 13, David Poythress at 5, Dubose Porter at 4, and three Some Dudes at 1. On the GOP side, the question seems to be who makes the runoff against John Oxendine. Oxendine is at 34, followed by Karen Handel at 18 and Nathan Deal at 17. If Eric Johnson's late push is going to succeed, he has a big climb: he's at 6, down near the weirdos like Ray McBerry (at 3). They also look at the Democratic Senate primary (Michael Thurmond leads 68-11 over R.J. Hadley), and some downballot races too (click the link for those... maybe most interesting, Carol Porter, wife of Dubose Porter, is doing a lot better than her husband; she's leading the Dem Lt. Gov. primary).
• CT-04: After having had to pull the plug on his campaign after he wound up without enough valid signatures to qualify, Tom Herrmann (First Selectman of Easton) threw his backing to state Sen. Dan Debicella in the GOP primary.
• FL-08: Here's some more grist for the mill for those who think that the local Tea Party is nothing more than an Alan Grayson plant to split the conservative vote in November: one of the candidates running for the State House under the Tea Party aegis is Victoria Torres, a consultant who did $11,000 worth of polling work for Grayson. (Amusingly, her polling "firm" is named Public Opinion Strategies Inc., not to be confused with the prolific Republican internal pollster Public Opinion Strategies.) Meanwhile, appointed Sen. George LeMieux just threw his support to ex-state Sen. Daniel Webster, despite the NRCC's seeming preference in the GOP primary for businessman Bruce O'Donoghue.
• IA-03: It's not surprising this is a close race, given Rep. Leonard Boswell's long history of underwhelming performances, but these numbers may a little too-good-to-be-true for GOP state Sen. Brad Zaun. His internal (taken by Victory Enterprises) gives him a 41-32 lead over Boswell. The party registration composition looks hinky (43 D-38 R-19 I, instead of 38 D-30 R-32 I), but it still should be a big red flag for Boswell.
• KS-03: State Rep. Kevin Yoder's new web video has him walking with his wife through a field, with several small children in tow. There's one slight problem: Yoder doesn't have any kids. (Yoder's CM believes that the kids in question are nieces and nephews, not rentals.)
• LA-02: Bayou Buzz points to a couple possible speedbumps on the road for Democrats expecting to take back the 2nd from accidental freshman Rep. Joe Cao, in the form of two potential independent candidates. Orleans Sewerage and Water Board member Tommie Vassel, and prominent black minister Byron Clay, are both floating the idea of independent bids. That's presumably to avoid the pileup of establishment candidates (state Reps. Cedric Richmond and Juan LaFonta) in the Dem primary, but the questions are a) whether they pull the trigger and b) if so, are they well-known enough to create a big-enough spoiler effect to save even Cao?
• MS-01: Facing a strong challenge from state Sen. Alan Nunnellee, Democratic Rep. Travis Childers could use some good news, and he just got some: he got the endorsement of the NRA.
• NY-16: This is the first (and apparently last) I'd heard of state Assemblyman Michael Benjamin's interest in running in the Democratic primary against Rep. Jose Serrano. Benjamin said he won't run against Serrano this year, but is watching with great interest to see what happens with redistricting in 2012; he might run then if a second majority-minority seat centered in the Bronx gets created.
• PA-03: The Susan B. Anthony List (the bizarro-world version of EMILY's List, focused on electing anti-abortion candidates) has Kathy Dahlkemper in its sights after her vote in favor of HCR. They're laying out $300K to help her GOP opponent Mike Kelly.
• SC-04: Politico has a look at how Rep. Bob Inglis has gotten very little help from his congressional Republican colleagues, suggesting that they (like us) have been doing the Inglis Deathwatch for the last year and, whatever they may think of him personally, don't see him as a good repository for their political capital. Inglis, who's likely to lose the GOP runoff to the more rhetorically-conservative Trey Gowdy tonight, has received money from only two GOP colleagues this cycle (both of whom are also despised by their bases: Lindsey Graham and Dan Burton). He hasn't gotten any NRCC help either, despite their earlier all-out efforts to help fellow incumbent Parker Griffith in his primary.
• VA-02: One other GOP internal poll to report: Scott Rigell has one from POS, giving him a 41-35 lead over Democratic freshman Rep. Glenn Nye. (No other details about the poll were discussed.) This comes in the context of a larger question over the recent blitz of GOP internal polls, and strange silence on the Democratic end: do the Democrats just not have good news in those districts to counter with, or (as many have speculated) are they engaged in a bit of expectations gaming/rope-a-dope?
• $$$: Remember how fearsome the Karl Rove-founded 527 American Crossroads was going to be, and how it was going to be some sort of unstoppable killing machine? The big-donor-oriented group set a target of $52 million raised this year, but they've raised a grand total of $1.2 million so far, with a whopping $200 last month. (That's not $200K... it's $200.)
• Polltopia: With everybody seemingly buzzing about the "enthusiasm gap!" all the time (or maybe that was just for the duration of yesterday, a lifetime ago in politics), PPP's Tom Jensen simply shrugs. He points to huge GOP enthusiasm advantages in his polling of recent races like PA-12 (where the GOP lost) and NJ-Gov (where the GOP only narrowly won). He also points to Democratic advantages in generic ballot tests among likely but only the "somewhat excited" or "not very excited." As long as those less-excited voters still show up (as they did in, say, PA-12), their votes still count just as much.
In a move that may shock some here, but not me, Stephen Colbert really went out of his way last night to ask the Republican primary voters in SC-04 to vote for Bob Inglis in their primary runoff next Tuesday.
So why did Stephen do this? Watch the video. I think Stephen, while casting it with humor and jokes, is deadly serious about wanting Inglis to win. Why?
• AK-Sen: It looks like that unexpected Sarah Palin endorsement may have put Joe Miller on the map, in his challenge from the right to Lisa Murkowksi in the GOP Senate primary. Now he's gotten the backing of the Tea Party Express. Of course, it remains to be seen whether the libertarian-minded teabagger message has much resonance in Alaska; remember, at the end of the day, Alaska Republicans like their federal goodies a lot (hence the staying power of Ted Stevens and Don Young).
• IL-Sen: Could a factual dispute over Mark Kirk claims that he taught at a nursery school actually succeed in taking him down yet another peg? Kirk mentioned in a 2006 speech that he'd been a teacher, worrying about what kid might bring a gun to class. After questions arose as to whether Kirk had ever actually taught, his campaign clarified that it was a reference to his time working for one semester at a nursery school in Ithaca, New York. If even the preschool-age children of Cornell professors are taking guns to class, we're in a lot more trouble than I'd thought. There's also one other weird Illinois item out today: the 7th Circuit just ruled that there needs to be a special election to fill Barack Obama's seat, after all. That's about a year too late to be relevant, considering that Roland Burris's tenure is almost over. But it may yet result in a special election coinciding with the November general election, which would presumably mean that Alexi Giannoulias or Kirk would get to serve in the lame-duck session and get a smidge more all-important seniority. [UDPATE: Actually, because there's no "irreparable harm," the 7th Circuit didn't order a special election even though they said there probably should have been one; instead, they sent the case back down to the district court.]
• SC-Sen: Guess who's back all of a sudden, now that there's a gaping hole where a competent candidate should be in South Carolina? Supporters of Linda Ketner, who last year declined a re-run in SC-01 (where she'd run well in 2008), are floating her name for a Senate run. Since it doesn't look like Alvin Greene is getting off the Democratic ballot line (after the state election commission today said they aren't getting involved), the deep-pocketed Ketner would need to run as an independent instead. Ketner, herself, hasn't said anything about a bid though.
• CA-Gov: Why walk back to the center after winning your primary, when you can make one frantic, implausible leap instead? After getting pulled to the right by Steve Poizner in the primary, now Meg Whitman is saying "No, no, I love immigrants," in a Spanish-language TV ad that'll debut during today's Mexico/France World Cup game. She says she opposed Arizona's new immigration law and opposed Califorina's 1994 Prop 187, too.
• FL-Gov: Indie candidate Bud Chiles isn't getting the warmest of welcomes in his newly-launched bid; news reports are surfacing of his involvement in a real estate development flop in a small Panhandle town. Chiles is a defendant in seven different lawsuits, either foreclosure suits or suits over leases of construction equipment. Whether or not that sticks, though, there's also an institutional disparity showing up in how state Dems are viewing him, versus how they're viewing Charlie Crist's independent candidacy: Palm Beach Co. Commissioner Burt Aaronson has gone public in wanting Chiles to get out the gubernatorial race while being fine with Crist staying in the Senate race.
• ME-Gov: This morning we linked to an article musing that moderate Maine Republicans might defect to the independent candidacy of Eliot Cutler, rather support the hard-right Paul LePage. Unfortunately, visions of cat fud dancing in our heads were dashed by a unity rally today where all six losing GOP candidates, even the decidedly moderate state Sen. Peter Mills, endorsed LePage.
• MI-Gov: There's one more poll of the gubernatorial primaries in Michigan, this time for Inside Michigan Politics. On the GOP side, they find Peter Hoekstra leading at 21, followed by Rick Snyder at 15, Mike Cox and Mike Bouchard with 10 each, and Tom George at 1. The Democratic primary has Andy Dillon at 14 and Virg Bernero at 10, with a whopping 76% undecided.
• MN-Gov: The AFL-CIO has decided to follow the lead of the SEIU, and not make an endorsement in the Democratic primary, where a variety of labor-friendly candidates are competing.
• NH-01: I wonder if this is just personal animosity at work, or if there's a larger story here? Manchester mayor Ted Gatsas endorsed in the GOP primary in the 1st, and rather than endorse his immediate mayoral predecessor (and presumed frontrunner) Frank Guinta, he backed Sean Mahoney instead.
• NY-20: Here's some good news for Rep. Scott Murphy, who between strong fundraising and third-tier opposition, is already having a pretty good electoral cycle: he's been endorsed for the Independence Party's ballot line this year. It's sharp contrast to neighboring Rep. Mike Arcuri, whose all-cycle-long woes just got added-to by the IP endorsement going to GOP opponent Richard Hanna.
• OH-13: According to the Fix, Tom Ganley is out with an internal poll from POS that gives him a 3-point lead (44-41) over Rep. Betty Sutton. I'm wondering about the date on the poll, though (which they don't discuss), as there were rumblings all the way back in mid-February, when Ganley switched over from the Senate race where he was flailing in the GOP primary to the 13th, that Ganley had an internal poll giving him a 3-point lead (although that was the only detail given). Or, maybe he's just polling verrrrrry consistently.
• SC-04: Big-time tension down at Bob Jones University! The school's arts and sciences dean endorsed GOP primary challenger Trey Gowdy several months ago, but now the school's former chancellor (and grandson of its founder) Bob Jones III has come out in support of incumbent Bob Inglis instead.
• AL-Ag Comm.: He might have lost the primary, but he won the media war, becoming a minor celebrity along the way thanks to his bizarre ad going viral. And now he's back: third-place finisher Dale Peterson is endorsing John McMillan, and appearing in an ad where he not only touts McMillan but tells "that dummy" (presumably Dorman Grace) to go back to his chicken farm, and, for good measure, fires a shotgun at a no-good political-sign rustler.
• Louisiana: After a few years of doing it more or less normally, Louisiana is going back to its unique system of jungle primary and runoff for its federal-level races, starting in 2012. Supporters of the switch back say it'll save money by not requiring separate primaries. (H/t Johnny Longtorso.)
• Polltopia: Today's must read, if you haven't seen it already, is a lengthy profile of Scott Rasmussen in the Washington Post. While it has some backstory on Rasmussen's pre-polling days, the real meat here is a good rundown of what polling experts think Rasmussen may be doing wrong, and some interesting speculation on the future direction of the polling business.
(Note: The content of this post was written entirely by DavidNYC.)
FL-Sen: If there's one small upside to the terrible tragedy unfolding in the Gulf of Mexico, it's that the drill, baby, drill brigade is being made to squirm painfully. Larry Kudlow, of all people, beat it out of Marco Rubio that he "opposes a moratorium on offshore drilling, opposes forcing BP to stop paying dividends to shareholders, and supports continued drilling off Florida's coasts in the long run." I like it when clear lines are drawn.
KY-Sen: This reminds me of C3PO's advice to R2D2 after the latter beat Chewbacca in chess: "I suggest a new strategy - let the Wookie win." Rand Paul's new defeatist strategy is to only take questions from reporters in writing. I just hope libertarian whackjobs don't pull people's arms out of their sockets when they lose.
NV-Sen: Like Hyman Roth introducing Michael Corleone to his network of gangsters, John Ensign is putting his arm around Sharron Angle's shoulder and shepherding her to a lunch today with Republican senators. (Actually, if anything, Ensign reminds me of Senator Geary, also of Nevada.) Meanwhile, Harry Reid's streak of good fortune continues: Mitch McConnell announced that he won't campaign against the Majority Leader. Does anyone really believe that McConnell is doing this to restore the supposed "comity" that Bill Frist allegedly shredded when he campaigned against Tom Daschle in 2004? If it would even give the GOP the slightest edge, I'm sure Mitch would be in Vegas tomorrow. Nah, I think even McConnell must sense the tide turning in this race.
AL-Gov: The recount to see who gets to make the GOP runoff is set to get underway. Tim James trails Robert Bentley for second place by 167 votes (almost half a million total were cast in the primary). James has had to mail checks to every one of Alabama's 67 counties to pay for the recount, totally some $200,000. Officials expect results either Thursday or Friday.
SC-Gov: It looks like Henry McMaster has a little more sense than Andre Bauer: the state AG is going to endorse front-runner Nikki Haley today in the runoff, while the Lt. Gov. previously endorsed Gresham Barrett, widely seen as a no-hoper at this point.
FL-08: At the link is what will supposedly be Alan Grayson's first TV ad of the cycle. It's not up yet - he's busy flogging it to push people to donate so that he can air it, since he only has $1.5 million in the bank. Pretty weird, disjointed ad if you ask me, with a garbled message.
GA-04: Shirley Franklin, who was mayor of Atlanta until this year, endorsed Dem Rep. Hank Johnson in his bid for re-election. Johnson faces a primary challenge from DeKalb County Commissioner Connie Stokes, and former DeKalb CEO Vernon Jones.
NM-03: Sharron Angle, Rand Paul, and Dale Peterson - step aside. Tom Mullins has officially come up with the most insane Republican idea of the cycle: he thinks we could put land mines (!!!!!) along the US-Mexico border to deter illegal immigration. I love it when Republicans get all eliminationist with their rhetoric.
MS-01: The Tarrance Group (R) for Alan Nunnelee (6/8-9, likely voters, March in parens):
SC-04: Bob Inglis has a week left in his runoff against Trey Gowdy, but it sounds like he's already playing his swan song. Inglis has dropped all negative attacks on his opponent and instead is launching a final ad which takes swipes at Washington, DC - a tough move for an incumbent to pull off, to say the least. Politico speculates that perhaps Inglis is trying to win over supporters of the also-rans, but that seems like a fridge too far at this late date. P'co also notes that Inglis isn't revealing the size of the ad buy. Also curious to me is the fact that the NRCC doesn't seem to have done anything to help one of their own here.
Polltopia: It's that time again: Head over to Public Policy Polling's website to vote on your favorite place to poll.
It looks like Haley's standing has not been impaired by the allegations of extramarital infidelity that have dominated the headlines this week. Her favorable rating among Republican primary voters sits at 58-23, an improvement over the 42-13 rating she had in late May. Moreover, by a 54-13 margin, Republicans don't believe the allegations are true, and are split almost evenly on whether she should drop out of the race if the allegations are proven true.
We should also give thanks to PPP for taking a look at the 4th CD primary, where conservative GOP incumbent Bob Inglis is being teabagged to death:
Bob Inglis (R-inc): 33
Trey Gowdy (R): 37
Jim Lee (R): 9
David Thomas (R): 9
Christina Jeffrey (R): 5
Despite a thoroughly conservative voting record, Inglis has committed a long list of verbal apostasies against the Glenn Beck wing of the Republican Party, and it seems that his occasionally moderate-sounding style is costing him big time among his party's base. I think it's worth revisiting one of the most astute pieces of analysis I've ever read on SSP, from a post by DavidNYC predicting Parker Griffith's demise back in December:
It's important to remember that to remain a member in good standing of the conservative movement, it isn't enough just to vote a certain way. You have to evidence a very particular tribal belonging - you need to hate the right people, be ignorant of the right facts, be fearful of the right bogeymen, and be arrogant about the whole enterprise. If you somehow fail this tribal litmus test, it doesn't matter how right-wing you are - that's how, for example, a wildly conservative guy like former Rep. Chris Cannon could lose a primary to another wildly conservative maniac.
• AR-Sen: The SEIU is turning their amps up to 11 in a final effort to beat Blanche Lincoln in the Democratic primary. They're ponying up another $1 million for a new TV ad blitz, focusing on Lincoln's support for NAFTA, CAFTA, and sundry other free-trade deals.
• FL-Sen: Looks like the "Help wanted" sign is going out at Charlie Crists's office. As expected, much of his top-tier staff evacuated en masse; he lost communications director Andrea Saul, spokesperson Amanda Hennenberg, and campaign counsel Ben Ginsberg (all Beltway types left over from when Crist was the NRSC's prize pony, who just headed back to the GOP's mothership). Also former Crist marionette George LeMieux severed his strings: the seat-warming Senator says he won't support Crist's independent bid.
• NV-Sen: Imagine that... a Democrat actually taking to the airwaves to explain the benefits of the broadly-misunderstood (or just plain not-understood-at-all) health care reform bill and not just ceding the discursive arena to right-wing radio and astroturfers? Better late than never, I guess. Harry Reid is forging ahead with that, launching three different new TV ads featuring stories from actual Nevadans actually benefiting from HCR.
• OH-Sen (pdf): There's one more poll of the Democratic Senate primary in Ohio, from Suffolk this time. They find an even bigger edge for Lee Fisher over Jennifer Brunner than did PPP; in fact, Suffolk has Fisher doubling up on her, 55-27. Voters may be thinking strategically: they also find that respondents feel Fisher has a better chance of beating Rob Portman than does Brunner, by a lop-sided 55-15 margin. Brunner voters report that, if Fisher wins the election, 74% will vote for Fisher and 8% for Portman.
• AZ-Gov: PPP has one more installment in its Arizona sample today: the Republican primary in the gubernatorial race. As other pollsters have found, once-wobbly incumbent Jan Brewer has strengthened her primary position (while destabilized her general election position) by signing off on Arizona's new racial profiling law. Brewer leads the pack at 38, over fractured opposition led by NRA board member Owen Buz Mills at 19, state Treasurer Dean Martin at 16, and former university regent John Munger at 3. (In PPP's last poll here, from September, Brewer was losing a head-to-head against Martin 37-26.) PPP also did a fantasy-baseball poll that included Maricopa Co. Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who, as he does every four years, has been expressing interest in the race but not moving forward in it. Arpaio wins that version of the primary, taking 33%, with 25 for Brewer, 15 for Martin, 11 for Mills, and 1 for Munger.
• MN-Gov: With the Republican endorsing convention in Minnesota already underway, most media accounts are focusing on Sarah Palin's last-minute endorsement of state Rep. Tom Emmer, but there's a more important endorsement at work here in terms of potentially moving some delegates: Norm Coleman is now also backing Emmer and privately making calls to delegates on Emmer's behalf. The GOPers have already endorsed in some of the downballot races, maybe most notably the Auditor's race, where they endorsed former Auditor Pat Anderson (who had been running for Governor for a while, until she decided to drop down and try to get her old job back instead).
• UT-Gov: Mason-Dixon, on behalf of the Salt Lake Tribune, took another look at the general election in the Utah governor's race, which is definitely looking like a heavy lift for Salt Lake County mayor Peter Corroon. The Democrat trails GOP incumbent Gary Herbert 61-30, an even better showing than Herbert's 55-30 result in January.
• FL-16: Whew. After making some noises about a possible comeback attempt, ex-Rep. Tim Mahoney decided on filing day that he wouldn't run to get his seat back. He still took a parting shot at Rep. Tom Rooney, saying he's part of the GOP's move to the "radical right." Some Dudes Jim Horn and Ed Tautiva are all the Dems have on the ballot in this R+5 district, unless something changes in the next few hours.
• HI-01: The Republicans continue to very subtly funnel money into the 1st, somewhat mirroring their stealth strategy on how they got similarly-blue MA-Sen off the ground. Rather than the NRCC charging in with both barrels blazing, instead there's a push for individual House GOP members to contribute directly to Charles Djou; about 40 have done so already.
• IN-02: The National Rifle Association slammed GOP candidate Jackie Walorski. No, that's not because the right-wing Walorski suddenly had a change of heart on the gun issue; instead, it was because she was claiming the NRA's endorsement. That was only for her 2008 legislative bid, the NRA said, and she has not been endorsed yet for this year for the different office.
• IN-03: Looks like Rep. Mark Souder isn't going to be in the House much longer, regardless of how next week's primary plays out. Brian Howey says Souder has been telling him that he'd already been contemplating retirement in 2012, and the stress of trying to win his unexpectedly-tough primary election has "sealed it" for him.
• PA-04: Here's a last-minute sign of life for Keith Rothfus, who'd been the leading GOP contender here up until the moment when former US Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan announced (although Rothfus beat Buchanan at fundraising last quarter). He got the endorsement today of Glen Meakem, a wealthy businessman and part-time talk radio host who's something of a behind-the-scenes power in Republican circles in western Pennsylvania and who had briefly considered a Senate bid last year.
• SC-04: Rep. Bob Inglis's main threat this year is in the GOP primary, not the general, and he launched two different ads reminding voters that he's actually pretty conservative. One ad touts his NRA endorsement, while the other runs down the litany of things he opposed (health care reform, stimulus, cap-and-trade, auto industry bailout).
• NY-St. Sen.: A long-time Republican stalwart in the New York state Senate is retiring: Dale Volker (in office since 1975). Democrats looking to pad their narrow majority in the Senate may need to look elsewhere, though; this district in the Buffalo suburbs and surrounding rural counties is one of the most conservative in the state, with a 79K-to-65K GOP registration advantage, and won 54-40 by John McCain.
• Arizona: Arizona has been doing all kinds of weird things lately, and here's one more to add to the list. One of the few states to not have a Lt. Governor (the SoS is 2nd in line of succession, which is how Jan Brewer became Governor), Arizona is planning to have a Lt. Governor... but only because they would eliminate the SoS position and give all those duties to the LG. What's even weirder is that they'd start doing what Illinois just decided to stop doing because the results were so uniformly terrible: the Governor and LG candidates will run separately in the primary, but be joined together on one ticket via shotgun wedding for the general election. The idea cleared the legislature, but because it's a constitutional amendment, the idea has to pass a voter referendum before it becomes law.
• Puerto Rico: The House approved allowing Puerto Rico to hold a plebiscite on its grey-area status (the last one was in 1998, where they decided to remain a commonwealth). It'll be a two-step vote, where the first vote will ask whether it should remain a commonwealth or not. If the answer is "no," the second vote will ask whether it should become independent, a U.S. state, still remain a commonwealth, or enter some other sovereign-but-connected-to-the-U.S. status. If it voted for statehood, Congress would still have to approve making it a state. Of course, this has to pass the Senate as well before the vote could happen, so it may get kicked down the road for a while.
• OFA: Nathan Gonzales has a thorough look at the Obama campaign's state directors, and how they're part of OFA's pivot to focus on turning out the same voters for the 2010 midterms. Here's a handy table of what all the directors are up to these days.
• History: Rhodes Cook has an interesting column that's been getting linked all over the place in the last couple days: a much more apt comparison for what the Democrats are getting themselves this year, rather than 1994, is 1966. The parallels are that the Democrats were facing some inevitable snap-back after overperforming in the 1964 election (winning nearly 2/3s majorities in each chamber), and the GOP quickly got back up off the mat after the Dems pushed the limits in passing a variety of Great Society legislation (most notably Medicare). Of course, the Democrats still took a bath, losing 47 in the House and 3 in the Senate, so it's still not really something the Democrats should aspire towards.
• AZ-Sen, AZ-Gov: The signature by Gov. Jan Brewer (which may have helped her survive the GOP primary, but may also hurt her in the general) of Arizona's new aggressive anti-immigrant law was the key motivating factor in a new Democratic candidate getting into the Senate race: civil rights activist Randy Parraz. He'll face Rodney Glassman in the Democratic primary. (Why not the, y'know, Arizona Governor's race instead? Apparently Glassman looks like easier primary opposition than AG Terry Goddard in the governor's race... and at any rate, John McCain and J.D. Hayworth have both been beating the war drums on immigration.) And here's an interesting take on the immigration law: ex-Rep. Tom Tancredo just came out in opposition to it, saying, "I do not want people here, there in Arizona, pulled over because you look like should be pulled over." If even Tom Tancredo thinks you're doing it wrong... you're probably doing it wrong.
• CT-Sen: Linda McMahon's campaign doesn't seem to be doing anything illegal here, but there's still no good way to spin this: the campaign has been offering students an extra $5 bounty (on top of a flat hourly rate) for every Republican registered during a Univ. of Connecticut voter registration drive. It's a practice that the DOJ has frowned upon.
• IL-Sen: In the wake of the seizure of the Broadway Bank, Alexi Giannoulias wasted no time in getting an explanatory ad on the air, laying it out in easy-to-grasp points: one, he hadn't worked there in years and when he left it was fine, two, the broader economy took the bank down, and three, speaking of that economic downturn, don't vote for unemployment-benefits-denying Mark Kirk.
• MD-Sen: OK, maybe all those Barb Mikulski retirement rumors will finally go away. She just had her campaign's official kickoff event on Friday. She has 24 times the cash of her likeliest Republican opponent, Queen Anne's Co. Commissioner Eric Wargotz.
• NC-Sen: Elon University's out with another poll; they still aren't doing head-to-heads, but have some assorted other numbers that Richard Burr would probably rather not see. His approvals (among flat-out everybody, not even RVs) are 28/37 and 26% say he "deserves re-election" with 44% saying "time for a new person."
• NV-Sen: A poll for the Nevada News Bureau performed by PMI finds Sue Lowden leading the pack in the GOP Senate primary, at 41. Danny Tarkanian is at 24, Sharron Angle is at 17, and "someone else" is at 18. The poll was taken on the 22nd, shortly after Lowden laid out her support for trading chickens in exchange for poultices and tinctures.
• NY-Sen-B: Long-time Rockland Co. Exec Scott Vanderhoef has decided not to pursue a run against Kirsten Gillibrand, after having spent a month in exploratory mode, saying the money's just not there. Vanderhoef probably found he didn't have the name rec outside of Rockland Co. to have an advantage against the odds and ends in the GOP primary, let alone in the general.
• UT-Sen: Another poll of GOP delegates for the convention in Utah isn't as bad for Bob Bennett as the one leaked to Dave Weigel last week, but it still looks pretty bad for him. Mike Lee leads the way among first-choice votes at 31%, followed by Bennett at 22% (and then Tim Bridgewater at 17% and Cherilyn Eagar at 10%). 41% of delegates say they will "absolutely not" vote for Bennett, so even if Bennett picks up the other 59%, he still can't nail down the nomination at the convention (as there's a 60% threshold).
• WA-Sen: Everyone seemed a little taken by surprise by Friday's SurveyUSA poll of the Washington Senate race, which has non-candidate (for now) Dino Rossi leading Patty Murray 52-42 (and leading the various no-name GOPers actively in the race by 2 or 3 points). Even the Rossi camp is downplaying it, saying that their internal polling places Murray in the lead - which is an odd strategy for someone who got gifted an outlying poll, unless either he's trying to rope-a-dope Murray into complacency or privately cursing the results saying "aw crap, now I have to run for Senate." One of the no-namers, motivational speaker Chris Widener, got out of the race on Friday, which may also portend a Rossi run (or just having taken a stark look at his own finances). Murray's camp may have gotten advance warning of the SurveyUSA poll, as on Friday they leaked their own internal from Fairbank Maslin giving Murray a 49-41 lead over Rossi, very consistent with R2K's recent poll.
• IL-Gov: Oh, goody. Scott Lee Cohen, having bailed out/gotten booted off the Democratic ticket as Lt. Governor nominee after his criminal record became news, still has a political issue that needs scratching. He's announcing that he's going to run an independent bid for Governor instead. Considering how thoroughly his dirty laundry has been aired, he seems likely to poll in the low single digits; I have no idea whether his candidacy (which now appeals mostly only to the steroid-addled pawnbroker demographic) is more harmful to Pat Quinn, Bill Brady, or just the world's general sense of decency.
• MI-Gov: When I heard a few weeks ago that Geoffrey Fieger (the trial lawyer best known for defending Jack Kevorkian and second-best-known for his awful turn as 1998 Democratic gubernatorial nominee) was pondering another gubernatorial run, I laughed it off. The new EPIC-MRA poll makes it seem a bit more serious, though... which, in turn, if he won the primary, would pretty much foreclose any Democratic shot at winning the general. They only polled the Democratic primary and find, thanks to name rec within the Detroit metro area, Fieger is actually comfortably in the lead at 28%. Andy Dillon is at 20, Virg Bernero is at 13, Alma Wheeler Smith is at 8, other is at 2, and 29% are undecided. Fieger hasn't moved much to act on his interest, though, and has only three weeks to collect the necessary 15,000 signatures to qualify.
• FL-24: Karen Diebel earned the backing of Tom Tancredo in the GOP primary in the 24th, focusing on (with Tancredo, what else?) in the immigration issue. It seems less of a pro-Diebel endorsement than more of a slap against her GOP opponent Craig Miller, though; in a 2006 Miami Herald op-ed, Miller (who was at that point chairman of the National Restaurant Association) came out pretty solidly on the "cheap labor" side of the Republican split on immigration.
• GA-12: Democrats looking for an upgrade from ex-state Sen. Regina Thomas (who raised $10K last quarter and has $4K CoH) for a primary challenge to recalcitrant Blue Dog John Barrow are going to have to keep looking. State Sen. Lester Jackson decided to take a pass, and will stay neutral in the Barrow/Thomas race. He'll focus instead of supporting the Senate bid of Labor Comm. Michael Thurmond (another rumored, but no-longer, challenger to Barrow).
• LA-03: Bobby Jindal just appointed Scott Angelle, the state's Sec. of Natural Resources, to the vacant position of Lt. Governor. Why is this filed under LA-03? Angelle was rumored to be one of the top contenders to run for the 3rd (although it was unclear whether he was going to do it as a Dem or a GOPer... Angelle was a Dem in the legislature, but appointed by GOP Gov. Jindal to his cabinet). With Angelle saying he'll return to his job at Natural Resources after a permanent replacement is elected, that means that former state House speaker Hunt Downer is pretty well locked-in as the GOP nominee in the 3rd, and the Dems aren't likely to get an upgrade from attorney Ravi Sangisetty, making this open seat a very likely GOP pickup. (H/t GOPVOTER.)
• NY-01: Randy Altschuler got the endorsement from the Suffolk County Conservative Party on Friday, which guarantees him a place on the ballot if he wants it. He'll still need to overcome Chris Cox and George Demos in the competitive three-way moneybags duel in the GOP primary (where the county GOP recently switched its endorsement from Altschuler to Cox). It's unclear whether he'd keep the Conservative line if he lost the GOP primary, as that would create a NY-23 type situation and pretty much assure Rep. Tim Bishop's safety. (Unlike the patchwork of counties in the upstate districts, all of the 1st is within Suffolk.)
• NY-29: The GOP would really, really like to have a special election in the 29th, despite David Paterson's apparent intention to play out the clock until November (and prevent a possible GOP pickup, given the difference in strength between the likely candidates). Several GOP party chairs within the district are preparing a lawsuit that would force a special election; the state GOP plans to assist.
• OH-02: Bad news for Jean Schmidt: although she got the Hamilton Co. GOP's endorsement in the previous two elections, she's going to have to proceed without it this year. They're staying neutral as she faces several primary challengers, most notably Warren Co. Commissioner Mike Kilburn.
• PA-12: In battling independent expenditures in the 12th, the GOP went large, as the NRCC plunked down $235K on media buys. The DCCC also spent $16K on media buys.
• SC-04: The dean at Bob Jones University (the crown jewel in the buckle of the Bible Belt, in Greenville in the 4th), Robert Taylor, has announced he's supporting Trey Gowdy in the GOP primary instead of incumbent Rep. Bob Inglis. The occasionally-moderate Inglis (more stylistically than in actual voting substance, though) faces at least three right-wing competitors in the primary, but could run into trouble if he doesn't clear 50% and gets forced into a runoff with one of them.
• WV-01: There are dueling internal polls in the 1st, in the Democratic primary. State Sen. Mike Oliverio was first to release a poll, saying he led Rep. Alan Mollohan 41-33. (One caveat: Oliverio's pollster is Orion Strategies, owned by Curtis Wilkerson, who also just happens to be Oliverio's campaign manager.) Mollohan struck back with a poll from Frederick Polls giving him a 45-36 lead over Oliverio, with the primary fast approaching on May 11.
• MA-AG: Despite it now being widely known that Martha Coakley has a glass jaw (or what's something more fragile than glass? what do they make those fake bottles out of that they use in bar fights in the movies?), she may actually get re-elected Attorney General without facing any GOP opposition whatsoever this fall. Of course, that may have something to do with the fact that the GOP's entire bench in Massachusetts just got elected to the Senate.
• Pennsylvania: The Philadelphia Inquirer has an interesting look at the changes in registration in Pennsylvania over the last decade. The Democratic Party grew substantially in the state's east, gaining 550,000 registrations up to 4.3 million voters. The GOP shrank by 103,000 registrations down to 3.1 million votes. The Dems lost 20,000 voters in the state's southwest, though; in 2002, 27.8% of the state's Dems were in the Pittsburgh area, but that's down to 23.8%. Contrast that with the Philadelphia metro area: in its five counties, the number of Republicans dropped 13.5%, from a million to 873,000.
• Redistricting: Here's the last redistricting resource you'll ever need: a handy map showing congressional and legislative redistricting procedures for all 50 states. There's also an accompanying document (pdf) which goes into remarkable detail about the various processes, and even contains an appendix of some of the ugliest current gerrymanders.
• IL-Sen: South Carolina's Jim DeMint is rapidly turning into the hard right's kingmaker. DeMint has been considering offering his endorsement to Patrick Hughes, a real estate developer who's become the teabagger of choice in the Illinois Senate primary, and Hughes has been buttering DeMint up. And this might help along DeMint's decision: a straw poll on DeMint's website asked who he should endorse in Illinois, and 74% said Hughes (with 15% saying "Other" and a whopping 8% saying Rep. Mark Kirk.)
• MA-Sen: Another poll of the Democratic field in the Massachusetts special election -- this one for the Boston Globe, by UNH -- gives a big edge to AG Martha Coakley, who's at 43%. Rep. Michael Capuano has to be pleased with his trendline, as he's up to 22% (the first time he's broken 20), but with the primary only two weeks away, it seems doubtful as to whether he has the time left to gain much more ground. Stephen Paglicua is at 15 and Alan Khazei is at 6. Capuano may also be helped by a late endorsement, from Diane Patrick, the state's First Lady. Deval Patrick himself claims that he's staying remaining neutral.
• CO-Gov: Disappointing news out of Colorado, not just from the standpoint of what would give Dems the best chance but also in terms of pure fireworks -- right-wing ex-Rep. Tom Tancredo reversed course and decided to endorse establishment ex-Rep. Scott McInnis in the GOP gubernatorial primary instead of teabagging him to death. Coupled with the decision of state Sen. Josh Penry (McInnis's former rival in the primary until he got pushed out) to endorse McInnis as well, it looks like McInnis will head into the general against incumbent Dem Bill Ritter without sustaining much (if any) damage.
• MI-Gov: A poll for the Detroit Free Press by Denno-Noor of the gubernatorial primaries shows, for now, disengaged voters. "Undecided" has a big lead in both primary fields. Among the Dems, Lt. Gov. John Cherry leads at 20, followed by state House speaker Andy Dillon at 6, former MSU football coach George Perles at 6, state Rep. Alma Wheeler Smith at 2, and former state Rep. John Freeman at 2. Among the GOP, Rep. Peter Hoekstra leads at 21, with AG Mike Cox at 15, Oakland Co. Sherif Mike Bouchard at 13, businessman Rick Snyder at 5, and state Sen. Tom George at 3. They also do a generic ballot test on the state legislature, where Dems lead 25-24; given the sheer number of open seats in the GOP-held state Senate next year, that suggests Dems may still be able to gain some ground there.
• OR-Gov: The fork can pretty much be stuck in the Oregon governor's race now, as the one Republican who could make the race interesting finally confirmed last Thursday that he won't run: as most expected, Rep. Greg Walden said he's running for re-election in OR-02 in 2010. With the GOP down to the dregs -- Allen Alley (the losing Treasurer candidate in 2008), long-forgotten ex-state Sen. John Lim, and possibly former ex-NBA player Chris Dudley -- all the action looks like it'll be the John Kitzhaber/Bill Bradbury primary. (Which could get even more interesting if Rep. Peter DeFazio shows up -- Chris Cillizza seems to think that DeFazio's loud anti-Tim Geithner stance may be posturing to try and grab the economic populist corner of the gubernatorial field.)
• SC-Gov: It's sounding like the SC legislature's on-again-off-again flirtation with impeaching Mark Sanford is back on; a bipartisan panel of legislators will take up the issue tomorrow. South Carolina's ethics commission is investigating a whopping 37 charges against the jet-setting Sanford, regarding travel and campaign funding violations.
• AL-07: Here's a boost for state Rep. Earl Hilliard Jr., who's one of a large field of Democratic candidates in the open seat race in the 7th trying to stand out from the crowd. He got an endorsement from the Congressional Black Caucus PAC. (His father, of course, used to be a CBC member.)
• AZ-08: Republican state Senator Jonathan Paton says that he's been heavily recruited to run against Rep. Gabby Giffords in the 8th, and is considering it. Little-known veteran Jesse Kelly is all the Republicans have on their dance card so far.
• FL-12: First off, all the usual caveats about internal polls apply. Still, this is a pretty impressive showing, considering the district's Republican lean and the overall nationwide trends. Democratic Polk County Supervisor of Elections Lori Edwards is leading Republican ex-state Rep. Dennis Ross, 46-42, in a GQR poll taken for her campaign in this open seat race vacated by Adam Putnam. This may show the benefits of name rec; the Lakeland-based 12th's boundaries closely overlap those of Polk County, so most of its voters are already familiar with Edwards.
• FL-24: Here's an "oops" on my part from last week: former Winter Springs mayor Paul Partyka is indeed running against Rep. Suzanne Kosmas, but he's doing it in the Democratic primary, not on the GOP side! I suppose I was confused by his generally Republican-sounding language, which leaves me wondering where he's going to find any votes, considering that Kosmas is already on the Dems' right flank (she was an anti-HCR vote last week, for instance). CQ's story also turns over some stones in the GOP field, perhaps finding some institutional momentum shift away from Winter Park city councilor Karen Diebel, whose fundraising has seemed to stall, to state Rep. Sandy Adams, who's been picking up key endorsements from other electeds (like state House speaker Larry Cretul).
• IA-04: Iowa Democrats have located somebody to go up against Rep. Tom Latham, whose swing district presents a tempting target but has always managed to escape. School administrator Bill Maske has filed candidacy paperwork.
• NJ-03: Here's another GOP celebrity candidate who apparently thinks that voting is for the little people. Former Philadelphia Eagles offensive lineman Jon Runyan (who, as his job would suggest, is in fact quite a big person) missed four of nine general elections between 2000 and 2008, and only registered as a Republican this month.
• NY-23: Doug Hoffman is doing his best to turn into the GOP's version of Christine Jennings, trying to decide whether or not to challenge the election results from the 23rd. Any challenge would presumably target the voting machine failures in St. Lawrence County.
• SC-04: More Jim DeMint news: he won't be endorsing or helping Rep. Bob Inglis, who holds the unusual distinction of having held SC-04 both before and after DeMint. Inglis, who probably is the person most likely to be teabagged to death next year, is facing at least two tough primary opponents and has been making increasingly moderate noises.
• Ads: The SEIU is coming to the defense of eight House members, spending $1 million on TV spots thanking them for backing health care reform: Baron Hill, Dina Titus, Paul Hodes, Earl Pomeroy, Tom Perriello, Mike Michaud, Brad Ellsworth, and Joe Donnelly.
• Census: Here's an interesting idea; the Census is a "strange beneficiary" of the recession, and may even help briefly improve job numbers. In 2000, hiring for the Census was a big problem when the economy was healthy; this year, they're having no recruitment problems for the one million temporary jobs they'll need to fill this spring.