• NE-Sen: After a few months in exploratory committee purgatory (and after screwing up many of the documents associated with said committee), Republican AG Jon Bruning has made it official. He's now upgraded to Candidate, against Ben Nelson in the 2012 Senate race.
• TX-Sen: Local insiders seem to think that Kay Bailey Hutchison is increasingly moving toward another run for Senate in 2012 (after having postponed her resignation a number of times amidst the gubernatorial race, and then having dropped the subject altogether). That speculation seems based mostly on her sheer silence on the issue, though.
• IA-Gov: On his way out the door, outgoing Gov. Chet Culver talked up state Sen. majority leader Mike Gronstal as a possible 2014 gubernatorial candidate for the Dems. Culver said Gronstal won't suffer for his reluctance to put gay marriage up for a statewide vote, which seems to be one of the state's big flashpoints right now.
• WA-Gov, WA-08: This is very unexpected, considering that GOP AG Rob McKenna has had the 2012 gubernatorial nomination staked out for about six years now, but Rep. Dave Reichert is publicly expressing some (or at least not ruling out) interest in a gubernatorial run (a race he'd been encouraged to run in 2004 back when he was King Co. Sheriff, although he ran for House instead). I'm sure local GOPers would prefer he run for Senate, where no viable GOP nominee seems to be on the horizon, rather than creating a fractious gubernatorial primary that might hobble their best shot in decades at winning the governorship. Actually, I'm sure they'd prefer he continue to hold down WA-08 rather than open up the 8th while embarking on a fool's errand against Maria Cantwell, and with redistricting likely to give him a safer district in Seattle's southeastern exurbs while opening up a solid-blue WA-10 on the true Eastside, that's probably what he'll keep on doing.
• CO-03: New Gov. John Hickenlooper just appointed recently-defeated Rep. John Salazar as the state's agriculture commissioner. Salazar has already said he was open to a rematch with Scott Tipton; the question is whether this makes a rematch less likely or if it's designed to keep him in the public spotlight. (Speaking of Hickenlooper, if you haven't read the NYT Magazine section's long profile of him, it's worth a read.)
• FL-25: Add one more mysterious bit of financial information to the mounting pile of sleaze that's engulfing David Rivera in his first week on the job: he sold a condominium to his mother's marketing company (the same company that's under criminal investigation for its relationship to the Flagler Dog Track) in November, shortly before he paid off $137K in undisclosed loans... also to that same marketing company.
• IA-03: Buried in an article on the Iowa redistricting conundrum, which will see the state compacted to four House districts, is an important piece of unexpected news: septuagenarian Democratic Rep. Leonard Boswell, who's been a prime candidate for retirement for a number of cycles now, tells Roll Call that he will be running again in 2012, regardless of what district he gets stuck into. Tom Latham, Bruce Braley, and Dave Loebsack all plan to "plow ahead" as well; only Steve King didn't comment, although his district, by virtue of geography (having the state's western half pretty much to itself) seems least likely to get messed with. A collision between Des Moines-based Boswell and Ames-based GOPer Latham seems likeliest to me, but with a commission making the decisions, almost any configuration seems possible.
• NC-07: Rep. Mike McIntyre -- already in the news today as one of only two Dems who voted against HCR to also say that he'd go ahead and support Republican repeal efforts -- is now about to draw a Democratic primary challenger from the left, although one who seems kind of on the Some Dude end of the spectrum. Business counselor Del Pietro says he'll take on McIntyre.
• California: This piece is mostly about House redistricting in the Golden State, but has some thoughts about potential retirements too, given the possibility that redistricting via commission may result in less incumbent protection and various House members getting stuck together (and also given the advanced age of many of California's long-timers). Jerry Lewis and Pete Stark are listed as most noteworthy possibilities, along with Elton Gallegly (who's waffled about retirement before), Lois Capps, Gary Miller, and Howard Berman... and Bob Filner is mentioned as a possible San Diego mayor candidate in 2012.
• House: This Roll Call piece is mostly a grab-bag of vague quotes and speculation (of course, what article in the Beltway press isn't), but it does do some useful handicapping on which sought-after House members are likely or unlikely to make the jump to running for Senate in 2012. New York's Peter King says "I really don't expect it," Pennsylvania's Charlie Dent says he hasn't "been actively pursuing it," and Ohio's Jim Jordan is "leaning against it." Wisconsin's Paul Ryan didn't comment, but has repeatedly said he isn't looking for higher office anytime soon (and here's some further confirmation on that from today), while Florida's Connie Mack IV seems to be moving definitely moving in a Senate direction and Montana's Denny Rehberg remains studiously vague.
• DCCC: DCCC head Steve Israel announced his team of lieutenants for the 2012 cycle, which includes the two other likeliest chairs who got passed over, Joseph Crowley (in charge of fundraising) and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (incumbent retention and redistricting). Also on board are Allyson Schwartz (recruitment), Keith Ellison (community partnerships), and Puerto Rico's Pedro Pierluisi (constituency mobilization).
• Mayors: State Sen. Anthony Hardy Williams (last seen barely hitting the double-digits in the Democratic gubernatorial primary) has a new gig in mind: he's publicly expressing his interest in running for Philadelphia mayor, one of the many mayoral races up in November. The only other person to have actively looked into challenging fairly-popular incumbent Michael Nutter is wealthy businessman Tom Knox, who also made a brief appearance in last year's governor's race Dem primary.
• Twitter: We made it over the 4,000 mark on Twitter; thanks to all our new followers. We're still taking new applications, though, so we encourage any other fans of microscopic bits of political wisdom to sign on, too.
• CT-Sen: Remember how Linda McMahon was touting how the WWE dialed things back to "PG-rated" entertainment this decade? That didn't seem to take into account some corporate synergy between WWE and the Girls Gone Wild empire, who collaborated on a 2003 pay-per-view. My Left Nutmeg has the rundown on GGW's greatest legal hits, and also some compare and contrast with WWE's own most luridly misogynist moments from its pre-PG days.
• IN-Sen: Brad Ellsworth, after a few weeks in the dark, is going back on the air with an ad hitting Dan Coats on outsourcing, including his lobbying ties to job-shippers and his own NAFTA vote in the early 90s. However, it looks like this ad is coming out of the Ellsworth campaign coffers, as the DSCC (contrary to a brief flurry of reports) still doesn't seem to be buying any time here.
• MD-Sen: Washington Post (9/22-26, likely voters, no trendlines):
Barbara Mikulski (D): 61
Eric Wargotz (R): 29
Here's the Senate half of WaPo's last Maryland poll, with Barbara Mikulski looking like she might match the 65% she got in her 2004 re-election. Her lead is 59-24 among RVs, so Maryland, like many solidly blue states, has less of an enthusiasm gap problem than the swing states. Her opponent's problem is, naturally, name rec: he has 10/9 favorables, with 81% with no opinion.
• NV-Sen: Sharron Angle will be in Washington DC tomorrow, fundraising at the NRSC headquarters at a minimum-$500 event replete with many lobbyists and ex-Senators. If that causes a little head-spinning cognitive dissonance for you -- in the wake of revelations of her inexplicably tape-recorded summit with Tea Party candidate Scott Ashjian in which they both agree that the GOP has been corrupt since, oh, at least 1994 -- well, then, clearly you're not a Republican.
• CA-Gov: While Meg Whitman and Jerry Brown have actually gotten down to some debating lately, tomorrow's planned debate is suddenly off... and without any explanation it's by mutual agreement, not purely a Whitman pullout (while she retrenches in the wake of her illegal employment arrangement with her housekeeper). If you're wondering what the first poll of the race taken since the story broke looks like and whether it's hurting Whitman, well, there's a box called "Rasmussen" down at the bottom of the digest...
• CO-Gov: Here's a little more info on what happens to the Colorado GOP if Dan Maes doesn't reach 10% in the gubernatorial race. You probably know they get stuck in "minor party" status, which affects their ballot position in both 2012 and 2014. But (this is new, at least to me) it also has major fundraising ramifications for state legislative candidates in those cycles, halving what they can raise from individual donors.
• MA-Gov: Tim Cahill, whose right-leaning indie campaign lost its wheels months ago and last week seems to have lost most of its chassis as well too, still plans to go on the air with $1 million worth of attack ads (his only ads so far have been positive, which may explain why he's polling in the single digits). And here's the good news... he's going after Republican Charlie Baker. If he were to join Baker in training his guns only on Deval Patrick, that could be a problem, but he won't. (Makes me wonder if he was a Patrick plant all along? Probably not, but it'd be one of the greatest stories in the history of ratfucking if true.)
• NY-Gov: Now here's one big financial disparity, at least on paper. Andrew Cuomo's warchest, as of required reports last week, is more than $19 million CoH. That contrasts sharply with Carl Paladino's $209K. Of course, Paladino can write his own checks, and has promised to spend up to $10 million of his own money if necessary. (Even if he did, that'd still be a 2:1 disadvantage, with little likelihood of 'recouping' that money in the form of a win, so don't count on it.) Cuomo spent almost $3 million on TV ads in the last few weeks, so he's leaving nothing to chance.
• AL-02: Greenberg Quinlan Rosner for DCCC (9/26-28, likely voters, 8/23-26 in parentheses):
Not a typo. The numbers seem to have stayed exactly the same over the last month, since GQR's previous internal on behalf of Bobby Bright. In this climate, consistency is good.
• IA-01: If, like me, you've been wondering why AFF is pouring $800K into the race against Bruce Braley in the 1st, which no observer has taken much interest in or seen any smoke coming from, well, now you have an answer: Sandy Grenier is the head of AFF. She's also running for state Senate in her spare time... in Iowa. In other words, she's pouring money into a race that's her own personal hobby horse, at the expense of other races that are actually competitive. (And that's not even the main point of the article... it turns out that Grenier, like so many other members of the current wave of GOP candidates, is a big believer in sucker-punching the government with one hand even as you take money from it with the other. Her family has received over $935K in farm subsidies over the last 15 years.)
• NY-20: Grove Insight for DCCC (9/28-30, likely voters, no trendlines):
Scott Murphy (D-inc): 51
Chris Gibson (R): 38
We haven't seen an internal in this district until now. While the numbers are nice, this actually isn't as good as Siena's poll of the district mid-September, which put Murphy up 54-37.
• WV-03: Anzalone Liszt for Nick Rahall (9/27-29, likely voters, no trendlines):
Nick Rahall (D-inc): 59
Spike Maynard (R): 34
With the DCCC out with a poll a couple weeks ago giving Rahall a 55-37 lead (and even that round of AFF polls showing him up by 16), I think it may be time to stop discussing this race as competitive. What's most remarkable here is that the Dems manage to have a 47-37 edge on the generic ballot question, and Maynard (a controversial ex-state Supreme Court justice) still manages to underperform that low bar.
• DCCC: Now who's copping out on their DCCC dues payments? CQ finds that the Congressional Hispanic Caucus has been particularly remiss on making its payments, with only junior leadership member Xavier Becerra having paid all his dues as of the Aug. 24 tally. (Two more, including CHC chair Nydia Velazquez, report having paid up since then.) Some members cite failure to move immigration reform as a reason for holding out and giving directly to cooperative individual Reps instead.
• AL-St. Sen.: Despite having a 25-10 20-15 Democratic edge in the Alabama state Senate, many observers are thinking it's high on the list of legislative chambers that could flip this year, given a perfect storm of local and national dynamics. And this isn't going to help: 4 different members of the 35-person body got snared in a federal probe of a bingo operation. One is a retiring Republican, but the others are a Dem running in a tossup seat, a Dem running in a safe seat, and an independent running for re-election who was expected to caucus with Dems next session (Harri Anne Smith, whom you might remember from the AL-02 2008 GOP primary). This scandal looks like it'll drive the legislative race conversation in the state for the remaining weeks.
• NY-St. Sen.: There are four more polls from Siena of state Senate races in New York, showing two pretty safe incumbents (one from each party) but two open seats in true tossup territory. The safe-ish incumbents are Dem David Valesky in SD-40 (beating Andrew Russo 50-40) and GOPer James Alesi in SD-55 (beating Mary Wilmot 55-35). The other two races seem close mostly because of their screwy circumstances. In the Hudson Valley's GOP-held SD-40, GOPer Greg Ball (an inflammatory teabagger out of step with a district more amenable to moderate GOPers) leads Dem Michael Kaplowitz 45-44. And in Buffalo-area Dem-held SD-58, GOPer Jack Quinn (not the ex-Rep., but a relative) leads at 42, but that's because Tim Kennedy (on the Dem and Con lines) is at 39 and William Stachowski (whom Kennedy beat in the Dem primary) is at 12 on the WFP and IP lines.
• State legislatures: At SSP, we're always about finding ways for you to maximize the leverage you get out of your political contributions, and there's no better way to do that than through giving at the state legislative level, where a little money can go a long way (especially a lot of vulnerable chambers and redistricting looming.) The DLCC is out with its second list of Essential races, in the contests they consider important ones in the quest to hold important legislative chambers.
One other resource you should check out is the "Win Big By Thinking Small" ActBlue page, courtesy of Progressive Kick. They have 18 different progressives in important state legislative races all in one place. (One name you might remember is Patsy Keever, who ran in NC-11 in 2004.)
• SSP TV:
• CT-Sen: The DSCC is out with an ad simply called "Bad" focusing on Linda McMahon as bad CEO of WWE; meanwhile, the McMahon camp is out with an ad calling Richard Blumenthal a liar for the nth time over his Vietnam service
• MD-Sen: Barbara Mikulski seems to have an easy race, but is still hitting the airwaves touting her education record
• OH-Gov: John Kasich says that 400,000 Ohio jobs were lost under Ted Strickland's watch (without, of course, guessing at how many of those job losses were proximally related to the devastation of the credit market in the wake of the collapse of Lehman Brothers)
• CA-03: Ami Bera hits Dan Lungren for using ethical loopholes to party with lobbyists in Hawaii
• FL-12: Faced with a state Rep. opponent, Dem Lori Edwards tries running against Tallahassee instead of Washington (and against big insurance, while she's at it), in what's definitely today's most cut-through-the-clutter ad
• PA-11: Paul Kanjorski keeps going to the well of how bad a mayor of Hazleton Lou Barletta was
• NRCC: The NRCC is out with freakin' 27 different ads today... you can see the full list at their blog, and even watch them if you have 13½ minutes of your life you don't want to get back
• AR-Gov: Mike Beebe (D-inc) 51%, Jim Keet (R) 41%
• AR-Sen: Blanche Lincoln (D-inc) 37%, John Boozman (R) 55%
• CA-Gov: Jerry Brown (D) 49%, Meg Whitman (R) 44%
• NM-Gov: Diane Denish (D) 41%, Susana Martinez (R) 51%
• PA-Gov: Dan Onorato (D) 41%, Tom Corbett (R) 53%
• WY-Gov: Leslie Peterson (D) 25%, Matt Mead (R) 61%
• AK-Sen: The Tea Party Express is reloading in Alaska, with Lisa Murkowski having popped up again as a target. They're launching a new ad blitz starting Monday, although no word on how much they plan to spend on this go-round.
• CA-Sen: It seems like the NRSC can read the handwriting on the wall in California: they've canceled a $1.9 million ad buy on Carly Fiorina's behalf for the last week before the election (probably sensing that money's more valuable in West Virginia). They're, of course, framing it as "advancing in another direction," saying they wanted to give her flexibility to spend the money "around the state and not just in one city."
• CO-Sen: Greenberg Quinlan Rosner for DSCC (9/22-26, likely voters, no trendlines):
Michael Bennet (D-inc): 48
Ken Buck (R): 46
The DSCC has the first publicly-offered poll in a while giving Michael Bennet a lead, here up 2 on Ken Buck. (The last poll with a Bennet lead seems to be that joint POS/Fairbank Maslin poll from early September, which had him up by 3.)
• DE-Sen: Wow, Christine O'Donnell's resume (on her LinkedIn profile) is falling apart like it was made out of balsa wood and chewing gum. After getting called on not having actually taken any classes at Oxford yesterday, now it turns out that she never took any classes at Claremont Graduate University. And she's offering a really strange denial, the kind of thing you might expect from a first-grader rather than a 41-year old: that Linked In profile with her name on it? Yeah, she's saying she didn't put it up and doesn't know who did.
• LA-Sen: I don't know if anyone has compared this yet to that epic-length R. Kelly video that has him hiding in closet and there's a dwarf apropos of nothing? At any rate, Charlie Melancon is out with a new ad that's not the first time he's broached the issue of David Vitter's, um, personal failings... but this one goes on for two whole minutes, chronicling the whole thing in great detail. Given its remarkable length, it should be no surprise that it's only running on cable.
• NC-Sen: Public Policy Polling (pdf) (9/23-26, likely voters, late Aug. in parentheses):
Elaine Marshall (D): 36 (38)
Richard Burr (R-inc): 49 (43)
Michael Beitler (L): (6)
Undecided: 11 (13)
The movement toward Richard Burr (thanks to his seemingly-effective advertising, paid for with his huge financial edge) shown by other pollsters is corroborated by PPP, who've tended to see a closer race here in their home state than anyone else. He leads by 13, instead of 5 like last time. One galling number, indicating this could be a real race if Elaine Marshall had any money (not forthcoming, since the DSCC is playing so much defense elsewhere), is that Marshall actually leads 47-45 among those who have an opinion of her.
• NV-Sen: Jon Ralston continues to pummel Sharron Angle, this time over her strange attempts to walk back claims that she wants to privatize the VA. "Walk back" may not even be the right word, since her seem to involve the argument that she never actually said the words that she previously said in May. Meanwhile, here's the level of message discipline they have over at Camp Angle: her own spokesperson is criticizing Angle's latest ad on immigration as "propaganda," in her side gig as chair of the Nevada Republican Hispanic Caucus!
• WA-Sen: Who's the most popular politician in America these days? Bill Clinton, believe it or not. So it's no surprise he's in demand as Democratic surrogate, and he's even coming to Washington on Patty Murray's behalf, headlining a Boeing-themed event in Everett on Oct. 18.
• CA-Gov: This story seems to be developing as the day goes on: Meg Whitman's camp has had to cop to the fact that she once employed a housekeeper who was, gasp, an illegal immigrant. The fight... which will probably determine how much of a story this becomes (if any) over the next few days... seems to be over how much Whitman personally knew about her status (although the non-matching social security number seems like it should've been a tipoff).
• CO-Gov: Wow, this might actually help Dan Maes climb his way out of polling in the low teens! Today he offers some exculpatory evidence that he did too sorta-kinda work as an undercover officer for a small-town police department in Kansas. (Of course, it also shows that he was in fact fired for leaking information about the probe to the relative of a target.)
• OH-Gov: Benenson for Campaign for the Moderate Majority (9/25-27, likely voters, no trendlines):
You might apply a little salt as this is a poll by a Dem pollster for Dem-sounding group, but this is still the first we've seen this in a long, long while... a poll with Ted Strickland in the lead. With a trio of polls in the last few days showing Strickland down by either 1 or 2, there's some definite late closing in this race. (One strange item, though, is that "other" candidates are eating up 6% of the vote here. I'd be surprised if that continues.)
• CO-02: Magellan (9/29, likely voters, no trendlines):
Jared Polis (D-inc): 48
Stephen Bailey (R): 36
I'm not sure why Magellan fired up their crack team of robo-dialers to test this race, not really on anyone's radar screen -- maybe they're prospecting for unusual targets. As one would expect, Jared Polis isn't in particular danger in this D+11 district, although thanks to the drag of the national climate his numbers seem softer than the district's heavy lean.
• NC-07: SurveyUSA for Civitas (pdf) (9/24-26, likely voters, no trendlines):
Mike McIntyre (D-inc): 45
Ilario Pantano (R): 46
SurveyUSA takes a look at NC-07, as part of the Civitas Institute's rotating cast of pollsters. The (not very comforting) good news is that this is SurveyUSA, which has been putting out very GOP-friendly polling in House races, especially in North Carolina. (See their NC-11 polling, compared to other sources.) The bad news is that this race is pretty low on people's watch lists, although the NRCC has started to spending some money on ads here.
• VA-02: POS for Scott Rigell (9/26-27, likely voters, no trendlines):
Glenn Nye (D-inc): 35
Scott Rigell (R): 42
Kenny Golden (I): 5
On top of the NRCC internal poll leaked yesterday (giving Scott Rigell a decent if not-awe-inspiring 45-40 lead over Glenn Nye in an Ayres McHenry poll on 9/23-26), now Rigell's out with his own internal poll from POS giving him a slightly bigger lead. There's one very strange detail here, though: the voters going for tea-flavored indie Kenny Golden seem to be coming out Glenn Nye's column, as that subsample has 59/23 Obama approvals. The MoE on that subsample is probably astronomical, but still, there seems to be some message confusion here about who's who.
• WI-07: POS for Sean Duffy (9/21-22, likely voters, no trendlines):
Julie Lassa (D): 43
Sean Duffy (R): 47
With Julie Lassa having released a poll yesterday showing her down by 1, Sean Duffy retaliated with a poll showing, well, not much difference: his poll has Lassa down by 4. This gets a little confusing, because the NRCC is out with a totally different internal poll today giving Duffy a better result (see below). At any rate, the polls taken in combination seem to give him a definite advantage here.
• NRSC: Here are some McCain Bucks that are actually worth something in the real world! Apparently feeling confident in his general (having survived a bigger challenge in his primary from J.D. Hayworth), John McCain just kicked $1 million over to the NRSC. (Alternate title: Good news! From John McCain!)
• NRCC: In addition to those couple candidate-released internals, the NRCC leaked five more internals of its own today to the Hotline, the majority of which confirm the expected trouble in three Midwestern open seats, but one showing a sleepy race is a live one and one with flat-out awful numbers for the Dem:
WI-08: Steve Kagen (D-inc) 39%, Reid Ribble (R) 57% (OnMessage, 9/15-16)
IL-17: Phil Hare (D-inc) 43%, Bobby Schilling (R) 44% (Tarrance Group, 9/23-25)
WI-07: Julie Lassa (D) 38%, Sean Duffy (R) 52% (Fabrizio, McLaughlin 9/15-16)
MI-01: Gary McDowell (D) 24%, Dan Benishek (R) 40% (Hill Research, 9/19-22) (um, no polling on Glenn Wilson?)
IN-08: Trent Van Haaften (D) 20%, Larry Buchson (R) 41% (OnMessage, 9/13-14)
• American Crossroads: Money's flowing out of American Crossroads as fast as it flows in, from their handful of billionaire donors: they're launching TV ad buys worth $724K in CO-Sen, $618K in IL-Sen, $346K in NV-Sen, $267K in PA-Sen, $492K in WA-Sen, $384K in MO-Sen, and also $247K in direct mail in FL-Sen. (Here's a peek at their WA-Sen ad.)
• NFIB: Committees? Who needs 'em? The National Federation of Independent Business is getting straight into the IE business, too, and in a big way. They have a new PA-Sen ad out (see the link). They're also starting to advertise in NC-Sen, WI-Sen, IN-08, WI-07, ND-AL, OH-16, NM-01, NV-03, FL-08, SC-05, VA-05, and WI-08.
• State legislatures: Louis Jacobson, writing for Governing magazine, updates his state legislature projections, with almost every move in the Republicans' favor. 25 of the 28 chambers "in play" are Democratic-controlled. The most alarming moves include moving the Dem-held Pennsylvania House and Ohio House to Lean Republican, and the North Carolina Senate and Colorado House to Tossup. The one remaining viable pickup opportunity for Dems is the Texas House.
• Polltopia: There isn't exactly anything new in this Politico piece from Maggie Haberman, but it does convey that professional pollsters and poll watchers in the Beltway are throwing up their hands in frustration about wildly vacillating, inconclusive polling this cycle as the rest of us are... showing that, really, nobody has much of a clue as to what's about to happen. Just to help everyone take a deep breath and keep things in perspective here...
• SSP TV:
• FL-Sen: The winning ad of the day comes from the Florida Democratic Party, on Kendrick Meek's behalf, letting Charlie Crist do all the talking about how he's really a conservative Republican
• WI-Sen: I actually agree with the Fix here that this is an effective Ron Johnson ad, letting him play the outsider in the same way that Russ Feingold did 18 years ago
• WV-Sen: The NRSC contrasts at-home Joe Manchin vs. Washington Joe Manchin
• FL-Gov: The FDP is also out with two different ads in the Governor's race, hitting Rick Scott on his Columbia/HCA tenure and contrasting that with Alex Sink's uncontroversial time at Bank of America
• MA-Gov: The RGA keeps hitting Tim Cahill (on the lottery this time), knowing full well that less Cahill means more Charlie Baker
• MD-Gov: Martin O'Malley is one politician embracing instead of fleeing Barack Obama, in a new radio ad
• FL-22: Ron Klein is out with another anti-Allen West ad, but it's back to the tax liens instead of dipping into the well of crazy
• IA-01: AFF is out with a mondo-sized ad buy against Bruce Braley in a race that no one else but them seems to be paying attention to (for $800K!) (h/t desmoinesdem)
• KS-03: Stephene Moore is finally out with her first TV spot, which is mostly an attack on Kevin Yoder (though self-narrated, which is unusual for that)
• NH-02: Ann McLane Kuster's out with an ad hitting Charlie Bass for wanting to "pick up where he left off"
• NV-03: Here's a link to that Dina Titus "peas in a pod" ad that we mentioned this morning, tying Joe Heck to Sharron Angle
• PA-12: Mark Critz's first ad talks about his own hardscrabble roots, and about outsourcing
• WI-07: As cool as it is to watch, how many more ads is Sean Duffy going to keep playing lumberjack in?
• OH-Sen: Lee Fisher (D) 42%, Rob Portman (R) 51%
• AK-Sen: Wasn't that Lisa Murkowski announcement about whether she was going to pursue a write-in bid supposed to be yesterday? It never materialized, but we did get some statements from local gadfly and Murkowski ally Andrew Halcro that make it sound pretty likely.
"It's going to be the kind of campaign you should have seen in the primary," said Andrew Halcro, an Alaska political consultant who is a longtime friend of the senator. "It's going to be no-holds-barred, pedal-to-the-metal stuff."
• DE-Sen: After putting out a public wish for real Sarah Palin backing instead of just a cryptic retweet, Christine O'Donnell finally got her wish yesterday. O'Donnell got added to the gigantic list of Mama Grizzlies yesterday during a Palin appearance on Sean Hannity's show. The real question, though, is it too little too late? It might help raise some funds this weekend, but it smells a little like Palin's 5 pm-on-Tuesday endorsement of "Angela McGowen." Meanwhile, O'Donnell seems to be doing everything she can to dance right up to the edge of calling Castle gay without going over it: she just blasted his campaign tactics as "unmanly" and also telling him "get your man-pants on."
• ME-Sen: PPP's poll of Maine has some buried details that should lead to some soul-searching for Olympia Snowe, who could be headed down Arlen Specter Boulevard if the right-wing decides to wade into her 2012 GOP primary. (Or she might take the opportunity to retire.) Overall, she's fairly popular at 50/40, but that's based on 59/29 among Democrats. She's only at 40/51 among Republicans, and by a 50-37 margin, Republicans say she really should be a Democrat. Susan Collins sports similar numbers, although she has until 2014 to deal with that, by which point the Tea Party thing may be a footnote in AP US History textbooks. PPP says they'll have 2012 hypothetical Senate matchups out on Monday. (One other note: they find opinions on gay marriage basically unchanged since last November's referendum: 43 in favor, 49 against.)
• NH-Sen: Once he got the Manchester Union-Leader's backing, that led to a lot of speculation that Ovide Lamontagne (as he did in the 1996 GOP gubernatorial primary) would close fast. It looks like that's happening: he's out with an internal poll showing himself only 10 points behind Kelly Ayotte. He trails Ayotte 34-24, with Bill Binnie (considered the real threat to Ayotte until the last couple weeks) tied at 12 with Jim Bender. It's very close to the Magellan poll that came out last week giving Ayotte a 13-point lead. I wonder if Lamontagne would actually be able to pull out the upset if the Tea Party Express had decided to weigh in here for Lamontagne, instead of in their likely-futile efforts in Delaware?
• NV-Sen: Ralston smash! The intrepid political reporter is on a rampage across the twittersphere today, after Sharron Angle previously said on Jon Ralston's TV program "Face to Face" that she wanted to debate Harry Reid there, then arranged the debate, and then yesterday abruptly canceled the Oct. 21 shindig. The two will still meet in an Oct. 14 debate, which should be one of the most popcorn-worthy events of the year.
• OH-Sen: Who let the Big Dog out? Bill Clinton, who'll be in Ohio soon shoring up Ted Strickland's gubernatorial bid, will also hold a fundraiser on behalf of another long-time ally, Lee Fisher.
• MI-Gov: Another day, another poll showing the Michigan gubernatorial race looking DOA. The newest poll by the Glengariff Group for the Detroit News gives Republican Rick Snyder a 56-36 lead over Virg Bernero.
• VT-Gov: With the numbers having barely budged after the recount in the Democratic primary (the gap between Peter Shumlin and runner-up Doug Racine widened by 6 votes, all the way up to a whopping 203-vote margin), Racine conceded today. Shumlin, the state Senate president pro tem, will face GOP Lt. Governor Brian Dubie in the general.
• CO-04: I'm tempted to put this in the "good news" file, inasmuch as she isn't getting blown out as conventional wisdom would assume: the Betsy Markey campaign rolled out an internal poll, from Bennett, Petts, and Normington, that shows her in a 38-38 tie with Republican Cory Gardner (with 7% going to assorted third-party candidates). However, feeling like you need to release your own internal that's a tie doesn't exactly seem like a big sign of confidence...
• IA-01, IA-02, IA-03: On the other hand, here's a poll, considering the source, that's pretty clear "good news" for Leonard Boswell. A poll for the conservative American Future Fund (who commissioned that avalanche of Whit Ayers polls), this time by Voter/Consumer Research, found Boswell leading Brad Zaun 48-39. That's a complete reversal from Zaun's couple of internals. Still, they have numbers from the 1st and 2nd that show that we need to keep at least one wary eye on these sleepy races: Bruce Braley leads Ben Lange 50-39 in the 1st, while David Loebsack leads Mariannette Miller-Meeks 47-39 in the 2nd (not far off from the one internal that MMM leaked).
• NH-01: This is interesting: the state Democratic party is out with two different mailers in the 1st, attacking Sean Mahoney. There's just one catch... Mahoney isn't the GOP nominee yet, and we won't know if he is or not until Tuesday, when he faces off with ex-Manchester mayor Frank Guinta. It's unclear whether they have info leading them to believe Mahoney has the nomination locked down, or if they'd trying to sandbag Mahoney pre-primary so that the heavily-baggage-laden Guinta (about whom the ads write themselves) wins.
• NY-13: With a lot of people in local GOP circles still holding ex-Rep. Vito Fossella in high esteem (despite his boo-hoo-funny fall from grace), this is one endorsement that may carry a lot of weight as we race toward the conclusion of the GOP primary in the 13th. Fossella gave his backing to Michael Allegretti. That sets up a showdown with the other big power behind the throne in this district: Staten Island borough president Guy Molinari is backing Michael Grimm.
• OK-02: If we have to worry about this race, geez, better start making camel reservations for our 40 years in the desert. On the other hand, it's pretty clear that we don't have to worry about this race. Dan Boren is out with an internal poll, via Myers Research, that gives a jumbo-sized 34-point lead over little-known GOPer Charles Thompson: 65-31.
• Mayors: In sharp contrast to yesterday's We Ask America poll of the Chicago mayoral race, today's Sun-Times poll finds Rahm Emanuel just one of the crowd, in high single digits. This poll finds Cook Co. Sheriff Tom Dart leading at 12, with state Sen. James Meeks at 10. Luis Gutierrez is at 9, Jesse Jackson Jr. is at 8, and Emanuel is at 7. "Don't know" led the way at 35.
• DSCC: Jeremy Jacobs, the man who always seems to know the Size Of The Buy, is out with a helpful breakdown of where the DSCC has made its $18 million worth of reservations so far. Right now, it's $1.6 million in Kentucky, $5.1 million in Missouri, $5.2 million in Pennsylvania, $4 million in Colorado, and $2 million in Washington.
• NRCC: The NRCC, currently only running independent expenditures ads in one district (IN-02), rolled out a list of ten more districts where it'll start paying for ads. They're staying on the air there, plus adding AL-02, AZ-01, CA-11, FL-02, KY-06, MS-01, TN-08, TX-17, VA-05, and WI-07. (The only "surprise," inasmuch as it wasn't on the NRCC's big list of 40 districts from last month, is AZ-01.)
• SSP TV:
• IL-Sen: Not one but two ads from Mark Kirk, one touting his independence and the other attacking Alexi Giannoulias on taxes, but maybe more importantly, trying to lash him to the increasingly-anchor-like Pat Quinn
• CA-Gov: Meg Whitman's new anti-Jerry Brown ad cleverly lets Bill Clinton do most of the talking, with highlights from the 1992 Democratic presidential primary campaign
• WI-Gov: Tom Barrett, who's been fairly modest so far about having gotten badly beaten while intervening in a domestic dispute last year, is finally playing the "hero card" with his new ad
• NM-01: Anti-Martin Heinrich ad from American Future Fund, focusing on the Pelosi boogeyman; it's the first IE in the district and a $250K buy for four weeks
• TN-08: Dueling ads in the 8th, with two Roy Herron ads out (one a positive bio spot, the other an anti-Stephen Fincher spot aimed at his campaign finance disclosure foibles... together they're a "six-figure" buy for the next week), and an anti-Herron ad from the 60 Plus Association (the AARP's anti-HCR doppelganger), who're spending $500K on the buy.
• IE tracker:
• DE-Sen: Tea Party Express spending $72K on media buys, direct mail, and e-mail blast for Christine O'Donnell
• MO-Sen: AFSCME spending $43K on anti-Roy Blunt mailer
• NV-Sen: Patriot Majority spending $309K on new ad against Sharron Angle
• NV-Sen: Patriot Majority spending another $49K on another anti-Sharron Angle ad titled "Oye, Sharron" (a Spanish-language market ad, maybe?)
• CT-Sen: Richard Blumenthal (D) 53%, Linda McMahon (R) 44%
• NC-Sen: Elaine Marshall (D) 38%, Richard Burr (R-inc) 54%
• OR-Gov: John Kitzhaber (D) 44%, Chris Dudley (R) 49%
• SD-AL: Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D-inc) 47%, Kristi Noem (R) 45%
CT-Sen: Obama alert! The POTUS is going to do a fundraiser in Stamford for Dick Blumenthal on Sept. 16th, the same day he was already scheduled to do a DNC event in Greenwich. Sorry to get all emo on you again, but if even Dick Blumenthal needs Obama's help....
DE-Sen: It's the battle of the sketchy polls! The Tea Party Express is touting a survey which supposedly shows Mike Castle up just 44-38 in the Republican primary over Christine O'Donnell. (Actually, they say Castle is at "43.7%" - too many significant digits is a classic sign of sketchiness.) Meanwhile, the Fix claims that "Internal GOP polling conducted last week showed Castle with a margin of nearly 20 points over O'Donnell." Anyhow, the TPX has no plans to evacuate in their moment of... well, we'll see if it's their moment of triumph... despite a surge of new questions about O'Donnell's fitness as a candidate. Among other things: Former aides say she never paid promised salaries on her 2008 campaign against Joe Biden, and she just received her degree from Farleigh Dickinson University last week, despite having attended 17 years ago and having repeatedly described herself as a graduate. Come on, baby, hold together!
IL-Sen: Amanda Terkel has spotted a trend among Mark Kirk's public statements: He can't shut up about the economic crisis in Greece - and Terkel thinks Kirk is attempting to link Alexi Giannoulias (who is of Greek descent) to the meltdown. Perhaps most egregious is Kirk's statement that while he "wore a U.S. Navy uniform, Alexi Giannoulias wore a basketball uniform in Greece." Really? That last part is relevant? A pretty ugly example of "othering."
LA-Sen: A little bit of Cajun-flavored cat fud: Gov. Bobby Jindal won't endorse Sen. David Vitter in his re-election campaign. Jindal claims he doesn't get involved in federal races, but WDSU has two very recent examples to the contrary. Anyhow, I can't think of too many sitting governors who haven't endorsed same-party, same-state senators, can you?
NH-Sen: Finally, a survey of the severely under-polled GOP senate primary in New Hampshire - though it's from Republican pollster Magellan, who likes to do Rasmussen-style one-day samples (a methodology that I think it's fair to say is not a best practice). Anyhow, here are the results (9/1, likely voters, May in parens):
UT-Sen: The battle for Orrin Hatch's senate seat - which won't take place until 2012 - is already getting ugly. Hatch is claiming that freshman Rep. Jason Chaffetz (who, you'll recall, already knocked off one sitting incumbent at a state convention in 2008) promised him he wouldn't challenge him next cycle. Chaffetz says he only pledged not to run against Sen. Bob Bennett, who of course already lost earlier this year. A Hatch spokesbot took off the gloves in response, saying: "Senator Hatch takes very seriously the principle of keeping his word. Of course, I suppose Jason can break it any time he wants to."
WV-Sen: Robert Byrd's family is excoriating self-funding Republican John Raese for using a photo of Dem Joe Manchin and President Obama that was taken at Byrd's memorial service earlier this year in an attack ad. Raese's campaign manager said, "That's a stock photo. We had no idea it was from the memorial service." Well, now you know.
AZ-Gov: Does this statement remind you of O.J. Simpson's ill-fated "hypothetical" book, If I Did It? Because that was the first thing I thought of:
"That was an error, if I said that," Brewer said about beheadings occurring in Arizona.
AZ-01: Ann Kirkpatrick is out with her first ad of the cycle, a pretty dull positive spot about how she donated 5% of her congressional salary... national treasury... opposed bailout... etc., etc. Ordinarily I'd just relegate this to our ad roundup at the bottom of the digest, but I also wanted to point out this great observation from SSP's own Johnny Longtorso: namely, the fact that the Navajo Nation (the largest Indian tribe in the United States) is holding its presidential election this fall, which may help Kirkpatrick on the turnout front. (Indians vote heavily Dem.) According to Wikipedia, some 130,000 Navajo live within the nation's boundaries in Arizona (it also includes parts of Utah and New Mexico), almost all of which is contained within the 1st CD.
AZ-08: You know how the WWF tried to become the WWE? Well, true hardcore wingnuts aren't content with (the bad kind of) SSP - they want SSE: Social Security elimination. Given how toxic this is in the real world (i.e., for the 99.999% of people who have never heard of John Galt), it's no wonder that Republican nominee Jesse Kelly now say he wants to "protect" Social Security. Good luck getting past statements like this one, from just last year: "If you have any ideas on that, I'm all ears. I would love to eliminate the program."
IA-01: This doesn't seem like a positive sign to me. Bruce Braley is going on the air with an ad (watch it here) hitting back against an outside group's attack ad - not something a candidate in an apparently "Safe D" race ordinarily feels a need to do. The group, American Future Fund, is accusing Braley of "supporting" the Park51 community center, though Braley has taken the standard "don't wanna deal with it" approach of calling it a local zoning issue for NYC. On the flipside, I'll take it as a good sign that Braley doesn't plan to get Martha Coakley'd. (Though doesn't it sound like Braley's "I approve this message" was recorded via cell phone? Does that mean the ad was rushed on to the air?) NWOTSOTB for Braley, though AAF claims it has spent $50K and plans to spend more.
IN-03: A common theme rears its head once more: A Republican rails loudly against bailouts, but it turns out he's been the beneficiary of government largesse himself. In this case, Dem Tom Hayhurst has been attacking GOPer Marlin Stutzman for accepting $180K in agricultural subsidies since 1995. But as the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette reports, just last month Stutzman said: "It's time to get rid of farm subsidies. The subsidies only manipulate the market."
KS-04: You know, we always love reporting on cat fud for cat fud's sake. Sometimes it's just a whiff, but other times, the cat fud can really stink up a race. Case in point: Mike Pompeo, a top competitor for GOP Dickbag of the Year, wasn't endorsed by any of the candidates he beat in the Republican primary, and even refused to return phone calls from his opponents. Now, the cats are coming home to roost, because one of those opponents, rich guy Wink Hartman, is considering re-entering the race on the Libertarian Party line. (The Lib candidate dropped out of the race for health reasons.) Hartman, who spent almost $1.6 million of his own money on the primary, notably includes among his reasons for wanting to get back in the game the fact that Pompeo "misrepresented Hartman's pro-life position and residency." The Libertarians have until Sept. 20th to decide whether to tap Hartman. In any event, this could provide a huge boost to Dem Raj Goyle, who appears to be in a surprisingly good position to stage an upset.
LA-03: In an unusual move, the Louisiana state Republican Party has formally endorsed Jeff Landry over Hunt Downer in the runoff. State parties don't typically take sides in primaries like this, but it sounds like the powers that be are eager to see Downer bail, rather than prolong the race all the way until October 3rd. I personally suspect that Downer has no chance in the second round, and I think he'll wind up playing Kevin Calvey to Landry's Jim Lankford. (Check out our OK-05 tag if the analogy isn't ringing any bells.)
NC-11: Heh - looks like Heath Shuler's suggesting he could run for Speaker of the House, clearly as a way to distance himself from Nancy Pelosi. Shuler also claimed that cats eventually turn into dogs.
NH-02: Nice - progressive fave Ann McLane Kuster raised $223K in her pre-primary report (7/1-8/25), totally kicking the asses of all the other major candidates (Katrina Swett (D): $37K, Charlie Bass (R): $57K, Jennifer Horn (R): $39K). As for cash, it goes Kuster: $450K, Swett: $798K, Bass: $312K, Horn: $32K. Even better news: Kuster is touting an internal poll from the Mellman Group showing her with a commanding 47-24 lead over Swett in the primary, which is Sept. 14th.
NY-20, NY-23: Rahm Emanuel is headlining a joint fundraiser on Sept. 19th for two upstate Dems: Scott Murphy of the 20th CD and Bill Owens of the 23rd. Murphy has $1.5 million on hand but Owens has only $600K.
PA-06: A nasty bit of racial ugliness from the campaign of Jim Gerlach. Said a spokesman about Dem opponent Manan Trivedi: "The only one who has played the race card here is him, by going to Indian-American groups to raise money."
SC-02: The Office of Congressional Ethics is investigating Rep. Joe Wilson's trips abroad - at least thirty over the last eight years - and his per diem spending habits. Wilson is a prolific traveler on the taxpayer's dime, ranking 29th among current House members and 39th among 734 members who've served since 1994, according to The State. Wilson has tried to downplay prior reports of the probe, claiming it was only about $12 spent on some cheap mementos from Afghanistan, but that's evidently not the case. Meanwhile, Dem Rob Miller has a new ad out hitting Wilson for his support of CAFTA. Check it out - I think it's pretty effective.
VA-05: In a move that vaguely brings to mind Carl Mumpower, teabagger Jeffrey Clark said he'd withdraw from the race if the party or parties responsible for disseminating information about his financial history came forward to claim responsibility. Dem Tom Perriello's campaign said it wasn't them, but Republican Rob Hurt wouldn't say anything, so Clark says he's staying in the race. Feel the Mumpower!
OH-AG: Wrapping up some odds-and-ends from their recent Ohio poll, PPP find ex-Sen. Mike DeWine leading incumbent Dem AG Richard Cordray 44-40.
DCCC: Another day, another triage story. This time, the NYT claims that "party leaders are preparing a brutal triage of their own members in hopes of saving enough seats to keep a slim grip on the majority." And while they don't have an actual quote from him, the Times claims Chris Van Hollen "conceded" that Dems "would ultimately cut loose members who had not gained ground." In response, reports The Hill:
Van Hollen released a statement saying that the story "erroneously" said that the DCCC would redirect resources to two dozen viable campaigns if a review in the next two weeks showed that vulnerables weren't gaining ground.
I have to wonder: Did the NYT really get Van Hollen wrong here, or is CVH deliberately trying to send mixed messages in order to motivate his troops through fear?
• AZ-Sen: Bad news! For John McCain! J.D. Hayworth still hasn't conceded. He's still waiting for those late-breaking absentee ballots to help him make up that oh-so-narrow 56-32 margin, apparently.
• CT-Sen: This doesn't seem like it'll end well for Linda McMahon, whose stance on WWE has been that it's harmless soap opera. Harley McNaught, the father of recently-deceased pro wrestler Lance Cade (who died of heart failure at age 29 in the wake of painkiller addiction), is going on the offense against McMahon in response to her comments that she "might have met him once." McNaught said that he'd been to several functions with his son where they'd met McMahon and she'd known him by name, and also ripped the company's "Wellness Program," which he says was more about PR than about helping employees.
• DE-Sen: There's no third-party fallback option for teabagger Christine O'Donnell, challenging Mike Castle for the GOP Senate nomination. The Constitution Party had nominated O'Donnell for its ballot line, but didn't even receive a ballot line after its membership dwindled to 287(!) members. (That's less than something called the "Blue Enigma Party," which still qualified for the ballot.) O'Donnell still can mount a write-in campaign after losing the primary to Castle (which she already did in the 2006 race after losing the primary to Jan Ting).
• KY-Sen: Our James L. summed this up pithily: "Douche Day Afternoon." Losing Dem Senate candidate Dan Mongiardo's latest statement of semi-support for Jack Conway was that Conway was "not the best" but that "he's a heck of a lot better" than Rand Paul, whose "scare[s him]."
• PA-Sen, PA-Gov (pdf): The newest Franklin & Marshall poll is another one of their choose-your-own-adventure specials, which shows the dimensions of the enthusiasm gap the Dems are facing, especially in the Keystone State. In the Senate race, Pat Toomey leads Joe Sestak 40-31 among likely voters, but only 31-28 among registered voters, which isn't much different from where we left off with their last general election poll in May. And in the gubernatorial race, it's similar, with Tom Corbett leading Dan Onorato 38-27 among LVs, but only 29-28 (probably the best showing I've seen in a head-to-head in this race) among RVs.
• FL-Gov: With Hayworth and Murkowski already mentioned today, it's just turning out to be the big day of GOP disunity and sour grapes all around. While figures like Jeb Bush and state party chair John Thrasher have gotten behind Rick Scott without any major hedging, Bill McCollum is continuing his sulk, flat-out not endorsing Scott.
• KY-Gov: The aptly-named Republican Agriculture Commissioner, Richie Farmer (I guess "Rich Farmer" was a little too overly descriptive), is still mulling over a run for Governor in next year's off-year election against Dem incumbent Steve Beshear, where early polling has shown he'd be competitive. He's also been linked to a possible Lt. Gov. bid, as running mate to state Senate president David Williams.
• SC-Gov: In another sign that a chunk of the local political establishment prefers Dem Vincent Sheheen to GOPer Nikki Haley, Sheheen just got the endorsement of 30 mayors around South Carolina. Most of these mayors are in nonpartisan elected positions, although one, Greer mayor Rick Danner, said he was a two-time voter for Mark Sanford.
• VT-Gov: Faced with the unenviable task of certifying her own gubernatorial primary loss, SoS Deb Markowitz says that the final certification of the super-close race in Vermont will be done on next Tuesday. All five candidates appeared amicably at a unity rally yesterday, but only shortly after Doug Racine's campaign manager called Peter Shumlin's declaration of victory premature, saying to wait until Tuesday. Shumlin currently leads Racine by 192 votes.
• AL-02: Rep. Bobby Bright caused some hyperventilating today when it came out that, in meeting with constituents, had punted on the issue of whether or not he'd be voting for Nancy Pelosi for Speaker next session. He did so by listing a number of reasons why that might not be an issue, including the decidedly morbid "heck, she might even get sick and die."
• CA-18: I don't know who looks worse in this situation, Mike Berryhill (the Republican launching an uphill, but generally credible, challenge to Rep. Dennis Cardoza), or his former campaign consultant John Villareal. Apparently they parted ways in unpleasant fashion, as Villareal blasted Berryhill's campaign as a lost cause... but did it in the form of a somewhat unhinged-sounding, 25-minute long rant posted to YouTube.
• OH-17: Jim Traficant may still yet be able to beam himself back into Congress. He just got an extension from Jennifer Brunner, giving him more time to prove that he did collect enough signatures to qualify for the November ballot as an independent. He previously got bounced for the ballot for not having enough valid signatures.
• OR-05: Hot on the heels of a too-good-to-be-true internal from Scott Bruun giving him a small lead a few days ago, Rep. Kurt Schrader hauled out his own internal from Lake Research giving him a pretty comfortable lead: 46-35. The poll's from late July, though, so one wonders if there's a more recent one that he's not sharing.
• PA-08: The ubiquitous POS is out with an internal poll on behalf of ex-Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick, giving him a 7-point lead (48-41) over Democratic sophomore Rep. Patrick Murphy. Murphy hasn't been one of the Dems' top worries in Pennsylvania, but as we've seen in recent weeks, the Dem brand in Pennsylvania seems to be waning particularly quickly.
• VA-05: Tom Perriello, in an interesting bit of distancing from national Dems that's ambiguous enough that it works from both right and left, called for the replacement of Treasury Sec. Timothy Geithner, at a local town hall. He didn't say who his preferred replacement would be (Robert Reich, anyone?).
• Ads: Lead-off ad of the day is from Alan Grayson in FL-08; the Hotline actually says it makes Grayson look "angelic" and they refer to it as the most positive ad they've seen so far from anyone. That Grayson... always zigging when everyone else is zagging. Other Dems out with their first TV ads for themselves today include Kathy Dahlkemper in PA-03, Julie Lassa in WI-07, and Tom Hayhurst in IN-03.
All the GOP ads today are anti-Dem ads being run by third party groups: America's Future Fund running against Bruce Braley in IA-01, the Heritage Foundation's lobbying arm against Mike McIntyre in NC-07, and Koch-backed Americans for Prosperity running against Gabrielle Giffords in AZ-08 and a weird two-fer (aimed at the Phoenix market, I guess) attacking both Anne Kirkpatrick and Harry Mitchell in AZ-01 and AZ-05. NWOTSOTB, on any of the ads.
• CA-Gov: Jerry Brown (D) 40%, Meg Whitman (R) 48%
• FL-Sen: Kendrick Meek (D) 21%, Marco Rubio (R) 40%, Charlie Crist (I) 30%
• UT-Gov: Peter Corroon (D) 29%, Gary Herbert (R-inc) 60%
• UT-Sen: Sam Granato (D) 29%, Mike Lee (R) 54%
MO-Sen: AFSCME just threw down another hefty hunk of cash, pouring $700K into radio ads attacking Roy Blunt for voting against minimum wage hikes. According to The Hill, the union says that the ad is airing "statewide on over 200 radio stations outside the St. Louis and Kansas City media markets."
NH-Sen: Despite leading in the polls, AG Kelly Ayotte is joining third-party groups and launching a TV ad of her own attacking rival Bill Binnie as a "liberal." This comes in response to Binnie's new ad attacking Ayotte for her handling of the FRM scandal. NWOTSOTB, though Binnie's latest purchase is reportedly for some $430K.
WI-Sen: It's hard to keep up with Rand Paul and Sharron Angle, but really, the lamestream media is being unfair to Ron Johnson, who definitely deserves a starting spot on the Wingnut 9. Watch him bash this stand-up double into deep right field:
There's a reason Greenland was called Greenland. It was actually green at one point in time. And it's been, since, it's a whole lot whiter now.
FL-22: Absolute fucking maniac - and absolute fucking whiner - Allen West has been decrying the "Gestapo-like intimidation tactics" he fantasizes have been deployed by Ron Klein, Nancy Pelosi, and Barack Obama. What are his dark Orwellian warnings about? The fact that the Klein campaign has been sending a video tracker to West's events. Yep, exactly like the Holocaust. Good comparison to be making in Palm Beach.
IA-01: The American Future Fund, a conservative 501(c)4, claims it's preparing to spend "six figures" against Rep. Bruce Braley (D), not a guy generally considered to be vulnerable. Part of that is because Braley leads his opponent, lawyer and former congressional staffer Ben Lange, $630K to $110K in cash-on-hand. Let's see if they actually follow through, though.
MO-04: For the first time since the mid-90s, the Missouri Farm Bureau's political arm, FARM-PAC, is not endorsing Ike Skelton - and in fact, they're supporting Republican Vicky Hartzler. FARM-PAC cited Skelton's vote in favor of cap-and-trade as the main reason for their change of heart. The Skelton campaign did, however, announce they received the backing from another agricultural group, the Missouri Corn Growers Association.
ND-AL: Rep. Earl Pomeroy is out with a new ad attacking Republican Rick Berg for his long (28-year) tenure in the North Dakota state lege, as well as his support for privatizing Social Security. NWOTSOTB.
NM-02: Defenders of Wildlife has re-upped its ad buy against Steve Pearce, who is attempting a comeback bid against Rep. Harry Teague, throwing down another $125K. It's not clear whether this is the same ad from a couple of weeks ago, which one station refused to air.
NJ-03: Props to Jane Roh of the Courier-Post, a paper which serves southern New Jersey. She exposes Republican Jon Runyan's first television ad for the video press release that it is, reporting that it's a mere $8,400 (on FOX News and CNN), but notes - do I detect a touch of mockery here? - that it's "expected to swell to $12,500 this week." This is pretty much a joke buy anywhere, but in the NYC media market, this doesn't even rate with late-night infomercials.
NY-13: Rudy Giuliani's lent all kinds of support to Mike Grimm in his primary against Michael Allegretti, and now he's cut an ad for him as well, touting Grimm's experience with terrorism as a "9/11 first responder." I wonder if that's the tie that binds these two men, or if Rudy is making some long-term play against the entrenched GOP interests on Staten Island which, for whatever reason, have been backing Allegretti. Anyhow, NWOTSOTB, and incidentally, the FBI (and the Marines) have expressed displeasure with similar Grimm ads in the past.
NY-29: Teabagger Janice Volk failed to collect the necessary signatures to appear on the ballot as an independent... but now says she'll run as a write-in. Whatever. Anyhow, has anyone heard anything - anything at all - about Dem Matthew Zeller?
OH-18: The Ohio Elections Commission ruled late last week that Rep. Zack Space made false statements about Republican opponent Bob Gibbs in an attack ad, but is issuing no penalty - not even a letter of reprimand. Sort of makes you wonder why this commission exists in the first place. I also find it weird that Ohio even has some body that tries to act as a referee for political campaigns. Isn't that what voting is for?
Redistricting: Redistricting geeks, rejoice! Thanks to some key volunteer help, Dave's Redistricting App now has partisan data for North Carolina and New Mexico. But more help is needed to get the remaining states online. Check out Dave's diary to see how you can help.
• AR-Sen: Local publication Talk Business has polled Blanche Lincoln's approval on a regular basis for the last year, and she's in the worst shape yet, they find: her approvals are down to 38/56, down from 45/45 three months ago.
• CO-Sen: After Rasmussen showed him in not-so-good shape over the weekend, Michael Bennet is out with his own internal poll from Harstad Research showing him up (barely) over Jane Norton. He leads Norton 41-40, and claims a 41-31 edge among independents. (If that disparity doesn't seem to pencil out, that's because the poll includes more registered Republicans than Democrats, reflecting the state's registration balance.) The poll's a little weird, though: it's a combination of two different surveys, one in January and one in February, and there are no details on his primary matchup with Andrew Romanoff.
• FL-Sen: John Cornyn is sorta-kinda walking back the NRSC endorsement of Charlie Crist in the Florida Senate race, saying that was made before anyone had an inkling it would turn out to be an actual race. He didn't rescind the endorsement, but made clear the NRSC wouldn't be spending any money trying to affect the primary between Crist and Marco Rubio.
• NJ-Sen: Here's some welcome news: after receiving treatment for stomach cancer, Frank Lautenberg is back on the job. He was back on the Hill late last week, and participated in a St. Patrick's Day parade over the weekend.
• NY-Sen: Good news for Chuck Schumer, I suppose. Conservative pundit Larry Kudlow confirmed that he isn't currently planning to challenge Schumer in the Senate this year. So, Schumer goes from a race against a guy he was beating by 40 points, to having no opponent at all.
• OH-Sen: There will be only two Democrats on the ballot for Senate this year: Lee Fisher and Jennifer Brunner. The other two random interlopers who popped up several weeks ago, TJ Johnson (a former Fisher underling whose presence briefly aroused some suspicions of shenanigans) and Charlena Bradley, didn't have the signatures to qualify for the ballot.
• OR-Sen: Law professor Jim Huffman, who most people became aware of only when Rasmussen polled him against Ron Wyden, went ahead and made it official: he's running for Senate. Blue Oregon has a nice rundown of his strange campaign kickoff at a heavy machinery dealer (shades of Carly Fiorina?), intended to showcase how the stimulus hasn't worked (except for the little detail that the same machinery dealer credits the stimulus for saving jobs there...).
• WI-Sen: Another Tommy Thompson acquaintance is fanning the flames, saying he's "very seriously considering" a Senate bid and "could" soon form an exploratory committee. I'm not sure "could" is very newsworthy, but we'll continue to keep an eye on the situation.
• AK-Gov: Appointed Gov. Sean Parnell's GOP primary opponent, former state House speaker Ralph Samuels, raised some eyebrows with his prodigious fundraising. However, it looks like Parnell is still in good shape as far as the voters are concerned, at least according to an internal poll taken by Republican firm Basswood. They find Parnell with a 71/8 favorable and leading Samuels in the primary 69-9 (with 4 for Bill Walker).
• CA-Gov: Insurance Comm. Steve Poizner has been making some strong moves to the right lately in order to differentiate himself from Meg Whitman, even flip-flopping on abortion. (He got a 100% rating from Planned Parenthood six years ago, but now he's against any government funding for abortion.) While he still lags in the polls, it's at least gaining him some traction on the endorsement front, as he got the nod from the California Republican Assembly (which also endorsed Chuck DeVore on the Senate side) and from Rep. Tom McClintock.
• NY-Gov (pdf): Two more polls on David Paterson's standing find voters fairly split on whether he should stay or go. Siena finds 55% think he should serve the rest of his term while 37% say resign (and only 21% saying he should be impeached if he doesn't resign), while SurveyUSA finds 45% say he should remain in office and 50% say resign. (He has a 25/66 approval according to SurveyUSA and a 21/67 favorable according to Siena.) Siena also looks at November's race, finding Andrew Cuomo leading Rick Lazio by an unsurprising 63-25 margin.
• OR-Gov: The state Republicans held their annual Dorchester Conference, which included a gubernatorial straw poll after appearances from the candidates. In a bit of a surprise, Allen Alley (considered the old-school moderate in the race, to the extent that he used to be deputy chief of staff to Democratic Gov. Ted Kulongoski) dominated, winning with 225 votes to 165 for substance-less former NBA player Chris Dudley. (Former state Sen. John Lim got 47, and antitax weirdo Bill Sizemore got 1.) Meanwhile, over on the Dem side, a lot of big labor endorsements got rolled out, and the two candidates both got their fair share. John Kitzhaber got the muscle - AFL-CIO and Teamsters - while Bill Bradbury got the brains: the Oregon Education Association and American Federation of Teachers. Finally, Oregon lost a well-liked political figure who briefly ran for Governor in 2006: Republican state Sen.-turned-Democratic state Treasurer Ben Westlund, who died from a recurrence of lung cancer over the weekend.
• CA-47: Businessman and veteran Quang Pham was mounting a strong challenge, at least on the fundraising front, in the GOP primary to Assemblyman Van Tran, to the extent that the NRCC took notice and put him "On the Radar." However, he bailed out of the race on Friday, citing the need to get back to his day job, although he may also have been concerned that the three Vietnamese candidates competing in the primary might split the vote to the extent that it would let no-name Anglo Kathy Smith with the primary.
• IA-03, MO-04: Two old guys who've been on everybody's retirement watch lists despite continuous reassurances that they're running for re-election made it about as official as can be. Leonard Boswell and Ike Skelton have both filed to run one more time.
• KS-04: State Sen. Dick Kelsey, one of half a dozen Republicans fighting for the open seat in the Wichita-based 4th left behind by Rep. Todd Tiahrt, has suspended his campaign. He cited his wife's health problems, and reserved the right to get back in the race later.
• MA-10: Some comings and goings in the Democratic field in the now-open 10th: as expected, Norfolk County DA William Keating is confirming he'll run for the Dem nod. However, oft-mentioned state Rep. Ron Mariano said he'll pass on the race.
• PA-12: As we wait for a verdict from the state Democratic Party's executive committee, here's some interesting scuttlebutt. Pa2010 cites an unnamed high-level party insider as saying it's "highly unlikely" that Mark Critz (former John Murtha district director) gets picked by the state committee, which has the final decision despite the local party's choice of Critz over the weekend. He cites concerns over Critz's electability stemming from tax problems at a company he'd helped run. Pa2010 also hears rumors that Cambria County Controller Ed Cernic Jr., who made little impact at the local convention, could wind up being the compromise pick, as he fits the district's blue-collar pro-life pro-gun mold better than Barbara Hafer but without Critz's possible baggage. We'll know soon whether this is actually happening, or the source was just a guy with an ax to grind.
• DCCC: The D-Trip has named Bruce Braley, Allyson Schwarz, Patrick Murphy, and Donna Edwards as chairs of this cycle's Red to Blue program. While the DCCC has announced some "races to watch," it hasn't officially named anyone to R2B yet. Also, Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Steve Israel "will take on additional responsibility this cycle with Democratic incumbents who are not on the DCCC's Frontline Program." I don't know if this means helping folks like Ike Skelton who are vulnerable but not on Frontline, or harassing the crap out of safe members who haven't fulfilled their dues payments. Hopefully both. (D)
• Fundraising: With Bill Russell back in the news with the PA-12 special election, TPM's back on the case of shady GOP fundraising firm BMW Direct, which raises big bucks for gullible candidates with high-profile opponents and keeps almost all of the money for itself. They've changed their name to BaseConnect, but are up to the same old tricks. And I actually feel a little bad about this... Rep. Joe Cao looks like he's gotten tangled up in their web, which explains his fundraising "success" and his near-total burn rate.
• State legislatures: In the diaries, Johnny Longtorso has a comprehensive look at the legislatures that the Dems control and are defending in the 2008 election. There are major redistricting stakes at issue in many of the races, including some where the odds don't look too good, especially Pennsylvania's House.
• CA-Sen: The latest in palace intrigue in California supposes that Meg Whitman managed to pave the way for Tom Campbell's exit from the gubernatorial race and move to the Senate race, culminating in a private appeal to Campbell from Arnold Schwarzenegger to switch (using a soft touch, instead of the alleged sledgehammer that the Steve Poizner camp accuses Whitman's camp of wielding). Campbell says no, he made the decision all on his own (helped along by some internal polling, no doubt).
• FL-Sen: Continuing his role as right-wing kingmaker, or rainmaker, or rainy kingmaker, Jim DeMint orchestrated a moneybomb over recent days for upstart Florida candidate Marco Rubio that pulled in over $140K.
• SC-Sen: Attorney Chad McGowan, as close as the Dems have to a leading candidate to take on Jim DeMint this year, ended his campaign, citing family demands. It's possible, though, that McGowan's exit may lead to a slight upgrade (although not likely the kind that puts the race into play): Charleston Co. Commissioner Vic Rawl is now contemplating making the race, and self-financing Mullins McLeod is weighing a switch over from the gubernatorial bid where he's made little headway in a better-defined Democratic field.
• TX-Sen: It's looking less and less likely that the Texas Senate special election is ever going to happen (most likely, Kay Bailey Hutchison will wind up serving out the rest of her term in ignominy). If she does resign at some point, though, it doesn't look too promising for Democrats. PPP tested a generic ballot on the race, with Generic Republican winning 53-38. Former comptroller John Sharp may be in position to overperform Generic D a bit, but it'd still be an uphill climb. For one thing, he'd be running against Barack Obama's very low 33/61 approval in Texas.
• CT-Gov: Former state House speaker Jim Amann ended his bid for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination today. That he was even in the race may be news to most Connecticut residents, given his low-single-digits support in recent polling, and Ned Lamont and ex-Stamford mayor Dan Malloy gobbling up most of the oxygen.
• MI-Gov: In the wake of Denise Ilitch's surprising decision to stand down, a different Democrat got into the gubernatorial field: former state treasurer (from the 1980s) Bob Bowman. He's been out of state for a long time, most recently as the CEO of major league baseball's interactive media wing, but if he's willing to self-finance, he could be an interesting wildcard here.
• WI-Gov: Details are sketchy, but a Democratic internal poll by the Mellman Group finds a very tight gubernatorial race, quite in line with what other pollsters have seen. Democratic Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett leads Republican Milwaukee Co. Exec Scott Walker 40-39. There's no word on a Barrett/Mark Neumann matchup.
• AL-05: Another catastrophic success for the NRCC, as they blasted their newest member with some friendly fire. Pete Sessions sent out a fundraising letter to AL-05 voters letting them know that their "Democrat in Congress has been falling in line with Nancy Pelosi's destructive liberal agenda.." One small problem: Parker Griffith is now, quite famously, a Republican.
• AR-01: Unlike the deeply troublesome KS-03 and LA-03, thanks to their deep Arkansas bench, Democrats don't seem to be having trouble finding a replacement to run for the seat of retiring Rep. Marion Berry. The latest to step up is state Sen. Steve Bryles, who represents Blytheville in this mostly-rural district's northeast corner.
• AZ-03: It looks like a big Democratic name may be interested in tackling the GOP-leaning open seat left behind by retiring Rep. John Shadegg, after all. Phoenix mayor Phil Gordon has opened up an exploratory committee to consider a run, and has set a three or four-week timetable for deciding. Democratic attorney Jon Hulburd is already running and has had some fundraising success as well, so it seems unlikely he'd get out of the way for the more conservative Gordon.
• CA-19: An internal poll by POS offered by state Sen. Jeff Denham shows the Republican candidate with a solid lead over his carpetbagging neighbor, ex-Rep. Richard Pombo. Denham leads Pombo 28-12 in the GOP primary, and that expands to 38-11 when voters were informed that outgoing Rep. George Radanovich has endorsed Denham.
• CA-44: Yet another internal poll, this one from Tulchin and released by Democratic challenger Bill Hedrick, who came within a few thousand votes of upsetting Rep. Ken Calvert in 2008. Calvert has lousy re-elects - 38% say 'yes' while 41% say someone else - but Calvert leads a head-to-head against Hedrick, 49-35.
• FL-21, FL-25: New names are already surfacing for potential candidates in the 25th, where Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart is creating an open seat by leaving for the somewhat safer 21st, vacated by his retiring brother, Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart. One name moving to the forefront is termed-out Republican state Sen. Majority leader Alex Diaz de la Portilla. However, it sounds like Mario plans to endorse state Rep. David Rivera (who's currently running for state Senate) instead. Two other possible GOP names include state Sen. Alex Villalobos, and Carlos Curbelo, currently an aide to Sen. George LeMieux. Joe Garcia, who came close to taking out Mario in 2008, seems to be the Dems' preferred candidate (although he previously ruled out a re-run, he might reconsider with an open seat).
• IA-01: Republicans landed Some Dude to run against Rep. Bruce Braley in the Dem-leaning 1st, a district which hasn't been on anyone's radar so far: insurance salesman Brian Cook. The NRCC had previously touted businessman Rod Blum for the race, but he says he's leaning against a bid.
• MA-10: Yet one more internal poll, and this one's a little alarming for Democratic Rep. Bill Delahunt, who nobody thought of as a target until his district went strongly for Scott Brown in the Senate special election. The McLaughlin poll on behalf of Republican former state treasurer Joe Malone gives Malone a 37-34 lead over Delahunt among likely voters. Delahunt is still in positive territory, approval-wise, at 44/33.
• MS-01: Maybe this is the oppo that insiders said would sink Fox News pundit Angela McGlowan's House bid before it got out of the gate. In a radio interview last year, she suggested that gun owners should include an inventory of their guns on their federal tax forms, and in defending the idea went on to talk about "crazies... stockpiling guns." Starting out in a probably gun-loving district with a proposal that wouldn't pass muster among House Democrats, and framing it with decidedly lefty-sounding language... well, that's probably a deal-breaker.
• NC-08: Free advice to candidates, not just Democrats but anyone: don't waste time worrying about what people are saying in the anonymous comments section of blogs. (And, yes, I realize the irony of that coming from an pseudonymous blogger.) But most of all, don't actually get so hot under the collar that you weigh in in the comments section and embarrass yourself in the process. Tim D'Annunzio seems to be the leading GOP contender in the 8th, thanks in large measure to his self-funding, but his recent foray into the comments section at the Charlotte Observer (to defend his machine-gun-shooting fundraiser) may have cast his candidacy in a decidedly amateurish light.
• OH-14: Here's a swing district that has consistently eluded Democrats, where they've finally nailed down a challenger. Retired judge Bill O'Neill is back for another whack at Rep. Steve LaTourette in the suburban 14th. O'Neill ran against LaTourette in 2008 and didn't get much traction that year, though.
• Census: Here's some good news on the redistricting front: the Census Bureau has given states the green light to decide whether to count prisons as part of the local population, or whether to count prisoners according to their previous place of residence. The Census will provide states with 'group quarters' information to help them with the process. That's an especially big deal in New York, where the legislature is considering legislation that would count prisoners by previous residence, which would decidedly tip the balance away from GOP-leaning rural areas and back toward the cities.
• Redistricting: Some bad news on redistricting, though, from South Dakota (although, with its at-large House seat, it'll really only have an impact on state legislative redistricting). A legislative committee shot down plans to switch to an independent redistricting commission. Democrats proposed the idea, and unsurprisingly, the plan died along party lines (not much incentive for the GOP to switch, as they control the trifecta and probably will for the foreseeable future).
• Dogcatcher: With Martha Coakley's announcement that she's going to attempt to run for re-election, the whole idea of getting elected dogcatcher is back on people's minds. You may recall we had an extended thread on the matter some months ago... and here's an interesting discovery. There's an actual place in America - Duxbury, Vermont - where it's an elective position. (H/t David Kowalski.) Zeb Towne's term expires in 2010, so we'll keep monitoring this race as events warrant.
• MA-Sen: Rep. Michael Capuano picked up several more endorsements in the special election primary to succeed Ted Kennedy, although the clock is ticking loudly on trying to make up that last bit of ground against AG Martha Coakley. He got the endorsement of the Boston Herald (Boston's smaller daily) and also fellow Rep. Ed Markey, who had seemed a likely candidate initially.
• NJ-Sen: With a Republican moving into Drumthwacket (sorry, I just like saying "Drumthwacket") for four years and Sen. Frank Lautenberg not getting any younger (at 85), Democratic Assembly whip John McKeon has introduced legislation that would change the way that Senate vacancies are filled in New Jersey. Under current law, a governor can opt either to make a temporary appointment or call a special election. The proposed law, however, would require the governor to appoint a replacement within 30 days and it would need to be someone from the same political party as the departed officeholder. The temporary appointment would continue until the next general election.
• IA-Gov: His entry to the race provoked a lot of interest back when the rest of the field was just assorted wingnuts, but with the entry of ex-Gov. Terry Branstad, there wasn't much room for young businsessman Christian Fong. He suspended his campaign today.
• MI-Gov: Lansing mayor Virg Bernero has been on some people's wish list for a gubernatorial candidate, in light of the rather underwhelming Democratic field in Michigan. It sounds like Bernero has been hearing those calls (and noticing the polls showing Lt. Gov. John Cherry not only badly losing the general but not even summoning up much interest in the Dem primary), as now he says that he's switching from "very unlikely" to "seriously considering" a race in the last few weeks.
• OR-Gov: This is the kind of thing that can put a big crimp in your newly-launched gubernatorial campaign. Initiative kingpin (and 1998 gubernatorial loser) Bill Sizemore just got charged with tax evasion for failure to file state tax returns for the previous three years. Although the state has known about this failure for more than a year, the timing may have more to do with the recent expiration of Sizemore's amnesty period to file rather than his announcement last week of his intention to run for governor again.
• PA-Gov: Allegheny Co. Executive Dan Onorato isn't well-known outside the Pittsburgh area, so he's been focusing his early efforts on the Philadelphia area. He's gotten a boost with endorsements from several prominent Democratic legislators in Montgomery and Chester Counties: state Sens. Daylin Leach and Andy Dinniman, and just yesterday, state Rep. Michael Gerber.
• CA-03: The once-crowded Democratic field in the 3rd, to go up against vulnerable GOP Rep. Dan Lungren, has gotten whittled down to one. Bill Slaton, an executive with Sacramento's municipal public utility, dropped out and endorsed Ami Bera. With Elk Grove city councilor Gary Davis also having dropped out a few months ago, Bera has a clear shot; Bera, the former Sacramento County Chief Medical Officer, has been going gangbusters on the fundraising front, sitting on $586K (more than Lungren has). Slaton had loaned himself $300K but hadn't seemed to make much progress beyond that.
• FL-10, FL-12: Two Democratic challengers who have favorable circumstances (an aging incumbent who's barely fundraising in the 10th, an open seat in the 12th) but haven't gotten far at fundraising yet are getting a boost on the money front. Iowa Rep. Bruce Braley is hosting a Tampa fundraiser for state Sen. Charlie Justice, while Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Allen Boyd are hosting a DC fundraiser for Polk Co. Elections Supervisor Lori Edwards (although perception-wise, it's probably not good that it's being held in a lobbyist's office).
• MN-01: Another Republican challenger showed up to take on sophomore Rep. Tim Walz in Minnesota's rural 1st. Unlike former state Rep. Allen Quist (who was at his peak in the 90s), Randy Demmer is a current state Rep.
• NH-02: State Rep. John DeJoie, who's been expected to run, made official that he's getting into the open seat race for the 2nd on the Democratic side. DeJoie has been a firefighter in Concord for 14 years; he joins attorney Ann McLane Kuster and may also be joined by Katrina Swett.
• NJ-03: Jon Runyan might want to be spending the next few months working on his message discipline instead of playing for the Chargers. Runyan, shortly after announcing that he'd be running against freshman Democratic Rep. John Adler after the football season, turned around and told San Diego reporters that he hadn't committed to the race yet and was exploring his options. Runyan's spokesperson then corrected Runyan, saying he's definitely in the race, and bafflingly said that the latter comment was made "in jest."
• PA-06: The Republican field in the open seat race in the 6th just keeps growing; the fifth entrant is Patrick Sellers, a former Republican committeeman. Sellers is apparently a Paulist, and made his announcement at a Philadelphia "End the Fed" rally. He joins state Rep. Curt Schroder, pharma exec Steven Welch, Chester Co. Recorder of Deeds Ryan Costello, and long-ago state Revenue Secretary Howard Cohen.
• PA-19: It's not clear yet whether Rep. Todd Platts is even going to get chosen as head of the GAO, but Republicans are already lining up to take over his dark-red seat if he does. Roll Call lists a bunch of 'em, starting with state Rep. Scott Perry, who's already making his interest public. Eyes are also on one of Platts' 2000 primary opponents, York County Commissioner Chris Reilly. The article also lists a slew of other possible state legislators and county officials.
• NH-St. Sen.: Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty really, really wants to do lots of favors for the good people of New Hampshire, and he's starting by hosting a fundraising event for Republicans in its state Senate, who are currently down 14-10 in that chamber. Interestingly, ex-Rep. Jeb Bradley (who downshifted to the state Senate) is on the host committee and a key recipient of the help, which may lead to the question of whether he's looking for leverage for trying something bigger again in the future.
• KY-St. Sen.: Here's a positive tea leaf as we head into the home stretch on the special election in the Bardstown-based SD-14 next week (one of the two seats strategically excised of its Republican occupants by Democratic governor Steve Beshear): Democratic former state Rep. Jodie Haydon has raised more than four times the funds as Republican state Rep. Jimmy Higdon ($546K for Haydon, including in-kind contributions from the state Dems, vs. $131K for Higdon). Much of Haydon's money is coming from the horse industry, which has fallen squarely behind the Dems in recent months as state Democrats seek to allow video slots at horsetracks (something Higdon and most local GOPers oppose). A Dem pickup here would cut the GOP advantage in the state Senate to 19-18 (with one GOP-leaning indie).
• VA-St. Sen.: The special election to fill two vacant, formerly GOP-held state Senate seats has been set for Jan. 12. The race to take over the heavily Republican SD-8 in Virginia Beach (vacated by new Virginia Beach Sheriff Ken Stolle) doesn't look to be very interesting; only two Republicans have signed up for it so far. Dems may have a shot at a pickup in the swingy SD-37 in Fairfax County, vacated by new AG Ken Cuccinelli. Democratic state Del. David Marsden has confirmed that he'll run for the promotion. Dems have a narrow 21-19 edge in the Senate, which they'd like to pad in case incoming Gov. Bob McDonnell attempts any Beshear-style poaching.
• Mayors: The Atlanta mayoral runoff is tonight, between white city councilor Mary Norwood and African-American former state Sen. Kasim Reed. (The one public poll of the race gave Reed a small edge.) Norwood's final ad, and the final debate, point to how the runoff has gotten racially fraught as it comes to a close. There are also four legislative runoff elections scattered around Georgia tonight, although two are Dem/Dem and one is GOP/GOP. The remaining one, in HD-141 in Milledgeville, is between independent Rusty Kidd and Democrat Darrell Black.