SurveyUSA for KFSN-TV (9/10-12, likely voters, no trend lines):
Jim Costa (D-inc): 48
Andy Vidak (R): 46
Jim Costa's coming off a whopping 74-26 win over unheralded GOP challenger Jim Lopez in 2008, but SurveyUSA thinks that cherry farmer Andy Vidak is within striking distance of an upset here this fall. The 20th District is at least somewhat competitive, having gone for John Kerry by only three points over Bush in 2004 (but also supporting Obama by 60-39 in '08 and Al Gore by 55-44 a decade ago). One big red flag is SUSA's estimation of the Hispanic turnout: they're pegging it at just 30%. (Note that this CD was 63% Hispanic as of 2000.) In what appears to be an effort to preemptively address criticism with their sample's demographics, SUSA broke with their normal practice and banged out the following:
* If Hispanics make up 30% of voters on Election Day, Costa and Vidak finish effectively even, Costa 48%, Vidak 46%, within the survey's theoretical margin of sampling error. At this hour, Republicans are, subject to change as the campaign unfolds, within reach of a take-way. If Hispanic turnout is 30% or less on election day, other turnout issues, such as the number of males vs females, could potentially come into play and help decide the contest.
* If Hispanics make up 35% of voters on Election Day, Costa is better positioned to hold the seat for the Democrats: he would lead today by approximately 7 points, 50% to 43% in a hypothetical analysis conducted by SurveyUSA.
* If Hispanics make up 40% of voters on Election Day, Costa today would lead by approximately 11 points, 52% to 41%, according to a hypothetical analysis conducted by SurveyUSA.
Meanwhile, in the open seat race to replace George "Who?" Radanovich, GOP state Sen. Jeff Denham leads physician/attorney Loraine Goodwin by 63-30.
A super Tuesday of primaries means a super-sized Primary Roundup the day after!
AR-Sen(D): Blanche Lincoln's 52-48 victory in the runoff over Bill Halter is being spun as a comeback, but she did, y'know, win the primary too, by a similar margin. A series of R2K polls plus the incumbent rule were the main reason most people mentally gave Halter the edge going into the runoff, but in the end, a pretty similar universe of voters showed up the second time, while the D.C. Morrison voters either split evenly or just stayed away. (C)
AR-01(D): Chad Causey, the former CoS to retiring Rep. Marion Berry, eked out a 51-49 runoff victory over former state Sen. Tim Wooldridge in a battle of conservadem vs. very-conservadem. Causey's late endorsement by Bill Clinton may have helped push him over the top. (C)
AR-02(D): In another Dem runoff, liberal African-American state Sen. Joyce Elliott won a 54-46 victory over state House speaker Robbie Wills. They went hard negative on each other, meaning a lot of damage control before facing well-financed GOPer Tim Griffin in November. (C)
AR-03(R): In the dark-red 3rd, Rogers mayor Steve Womack won the GOP runoff against state Sen. Cecile Bledsoe, 52-48; Womack is almost certain to win in November. Bledsoe was the only Sarah Palin endorsee to lose last night (but then, Fiorina and Branstad were gimmees). (C)
CA-Gov(R): With only one outlier poll to the contrary, the primary between former eBay CEO Meg Whitman and current Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner wasn't expected to be close. Poizner's attempts to outflank Whitman on the right netted him only a 64-27 defeat; Whitman now goes on to face former Governor and current state Attorney General Jerry Brown. (JMD)
CA-Sen(R): Yesterday wasn't a dream for Carly Fiorina, who romped to a victory with 56% of the vote over former San Jose congressman Tom Campbell and Orange County Assemblyman Chuck DeVore. CarlyFornia gets to take on three-term incumbent Barbara Boxer. (JMD)
CA-Lt. Gov(D): In just one of yesterday's showings of the Northern California dominance of the California Democratic Party, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom beat LA City Councilwoman Janice Hahn 55-32, winning all but six counties. (JMD)
CA-Lt. Gov(R): Incumbent Lt. Gov Abel Maldonado, appointed to replace now-Rep. John Garamendi, beat back a conservative challenge from term-limited State Senator Sam Aanestad by a 43-31 margin. Aanestad won the counties in his district and the OC, but not much else. (JMD)
CA-Att. Gen(D): In this seven-way primary for the Dem nod to replace Jerry Brown who's running for governor, San Francisco DA Kamala Harris withstood an aerial assault from Facebook Chief "Privacy" Officer Chris Kelly. Harris ended up more than doubling Harris' vote totals, 33-16. Behind them were East Bay Assemblyman Alberto Torrico at 15%, LA County Assemblyman Ted Lieu, Santa Barbara Assemblyman Pedro Nava, and LA City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo at 10 apiece. All three Assemblyman were term-limited - better luck next time at musical chairs, guys. (JMD)
CA-Att. Gen(R): Los Angeles County DA Steve Cooley, the lone moderate in the field of three, scores a convincing 47-34-19 victory over his more conservative opponents, Chapman University Law School dean John Eastman and Orange County Assemblyman Tom Harman. This sets up yet another NorCal-SoCal matchup for AG in November, LA County DA Steve Cooley against San Francisco (City and County) DA Kamala Harris. (JMD)
CA-Sec. of State(R): O, RLY? No, not really. Some insiders were worried that Birther Queen Orly Taitz would inexplicably earn the GOP nod for Secretary of State, but she ended up getting thoroughly pasted by ex-NFLer Damon Dunn 74-26. While Dunn's busy facing off against incumbent Dem SoS Debra Bowen, Orly can go back to getting thoroughly pasted (and fined) in court for filing frivolous suits. (JMD)
CA-Init: The good news: Props 16 and 17 -- pet projects for the private utilities and insurance companies, respectively -- have both failed, both losing 52-48 after leading much of the night. The bad news (well, as far as most blogosphere chatter goes; as a Washingtonian with first-hand experience with the 'top two' system, my own feelings are a firm 'meh'): Prop 14 passed 54-46, meaning California switches to a 'top two' primary system. (C)
CA-02(R): Longtime Republican incumbent Wally Herger survived an attempted teabagging from retired Air Force Col. Pete Siglich by a 65-35 spread. Siglich criticized Herger for his TARP bailout vote, earmarks, and, going all the way back to 2003, his support for Medicare Part D, but only spent $45,000 on the race. (JL)
CA-11(R): Attorney David Harmer, who carpetbagged across the border from the 10th after establishing his GOP bona fides in the special election there, captured the GOP nomination with a middling 36%. The publicity Brad Goehring got over his lib'rul huntin' remarks seemed to catapult him into 2nd place, ahead of the other two more normal candidates, Tony Amador and Elizabeth Emken. (C)
CA-19(R): As in the 11th, the establishment GOPer (here, state Sen. Jeff Denham) was the victor with 36% against a fractured field. Denham, who got the backing of retiring Rep. George Radanovich, beat former Fresno mayor (and Club for Growth guy) Jim Patterson and slimy former CA-11 Rep. Richard Pombo. (C)
CA-33(D): Former Assembly Speaker Karen Bass, who's LA-based 47th AD overlaps quite a bit with CD-33, beat out some minor opposition with 85% of the vote to win the Democratic nomination to succeed outgoing Dem. Diane Watson. Bass faces minor GOP opposition in November and will almost certainly be the next Congresswoman from this D+35 district. (JMD)
CA-36(D): Marcy Winograd's second challenge to Jane Harman was better organized than her first run in 2006, and Jane Harman's had her share of scandal since then, but the needle barely moved. Harman scored 58.8%, down from 62.5% in 2006, but Harman never looked like she was in any real danger last night. (JMD)
CA-37(D): In another case of an incumbent under 70%, scandal-ridden Laura Richardson scored a suprisingly weak 68% against three miscellaneous Democratic opponents in this Long Beach based district. (JMD)
CA-42(R): Who (other than Swing State Project, of course) would've guessed that out of all the dozens of incumbent House members up for re-election, the night's second worst performance after Bob Inglis would come from Orange County's Gary Miller? With problems including war record embellishment, ethical clouds, and a pro-TARP vote, Miller beat Phil Liberatore only 49-37. (C)
CA-47(R): Despite the presence of another Vietnamese candidate on the ballot, Garden Grove Assemblyman Van Tran still got a majority of the vote to challenge incumbent Democrat Loretta Sanchez in this majority-Hispanic district that went for Bush in 2004, but also went by 20% for Obama. (JMD)
CA-50(D): If Francine Busby takes another run after this one, she's in serious danger of landing the kiss of death of being called "perennial candidate" in the press. Nevertheless, she won the booby prize of the Democratic nod against GOP Rep. Brian Bilbray over attorney Tracy Emblem with two thirds of the vote. This marks her fourth run for this seat, and her third against Bilbray (counting two races in 2006). It's not quite Sodrel-esque, but it's getting close. (JL)
GA-09(Special): Tom Graves was hit with some late scuttle in this race to succeed retiring GOPer Nathan Deal who resigned to run for Governor. Despite some weakness in Gainesville (Hall County), the former state Rep. beat out fellow Republican former state Senator Lee Hawkins by a 56-44 margin. The House now stands at 255 D, 178 R and 2 vacancies. (JMD)
IA-Gov(R): Terry Branstad, to no one's surprise, won the GOP primary for a fifth (!) term as Governor. The only surprise was the tepid margin; he beat social conservative Bob Vander Plaats 50-41 (with 9 for Rod Roberts). Unfortunately for Chet Culver (who may be ruing not trying some Gray Davis-style manipulation in the GOP primary), a weak Branstad win is still a Branstad win. (C)
IA-02(R): Move over Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky and M. Myers Mermel, because Mariannette Miller-Meeks is back in town. The ophthalmologist and 2008 nominee against David Loebsack won the GOP primary surprisingly easily (with 51%), considering she was against NRCC pick Rob Gettemy and two former Senate candidates. (C)
IA-03(R): The NRCC also hit the Fail jackpot in the 3rd, where their pick, former wrestling coach Jim Gibbons, lost decisively to the better-organized state Sen. Brad Zaun (who won with 42% to Gibbons' 28%) in a race that had been expected to go to convention to be decided. desmoinesdem has a good diary up detailing the NRCC's Iowa double-faceplant. (C)
ME-Gov(D): State Senate president Libby Mitchell seems on track to becoming Maine's first female governor, winning the Democratic primary with 35%; a Bill Clinton endorsement may have helped her stand out from the ho-hum pack. She was followed by former AG Steve Rowe at 23, businesswoman Rosa Scarcelli at 22, and former state Conservation director (and former Avengers star) Patrick McGowan at 20. (C)
ME-Gov(R): Waterville mayor Paul LePage, the Republican who'd been most closely associated with local Tea Partiers, won the GOP nomination with 38%. He finished ahead of a gaggle of moderates, including businessman Les Otten at 17, state Sen. Peter Mills at 15, ex-Collins CoS Steve Abbott at 13. Will a race between the very liberal Mitchell and very conservative LePage give a legitimate opening to centrist independent Eliot Cutler in November? (C)
NJ-03(R): Former Eagles offensive lineman and establishment favorite Jon Runyan dispatched Tabernacle Township Committeeman and insurgent Justin Murphy by a 60-40 margin for the right to take on freshman Dem John Adler in this Burlington County-based R+1 district. (JMD)
NJ-06(R): Back in the egg-on-NRCC's-face department, one of their "on the radar" candidates, Monmouth County GOP Vice Chair Diane Gooch, finds herself 61 votes behind Highlands mayor Anna Little. Winner takes on 11-term Dem Frank Pallone. (JMD)
NJ-07(R): Frosh GOP Rep. Leonard Lance was held to only 56% in his primary against a four-pack of underfunded teabaggers. His closest foe, businessman David Larsen, received 31% of the vote. (JL)
NJ-12(R): NRCC favorite Scott Sipprelle had a surprisingly close call (59-41) against the teabaggish David Corsi for the right to take on Dem Rush Holt in this central Jersey district. (JMD)
NV-Gov(R): A pathetic end for a pathetic man: GOP Gov. Jim Gibbons claimed only 27% in his primary against ex-AG Brian Sandoval, who won the nod with 56%. Sandoval will try to take on Rory Reid's lunch money in the fall. (JL)
NV-Sen(R): Harry Reid must be doing the Angle Dance tonight, as the Dirty Harry Hand Cannon-packing, crypto-Scientologist, prohibitionist, Club for Growth-backed nutcake Sharron Angle trounced former NV GOP Chair Sue Lowden and ex-SoS candidate Danny Tarkanian by an absurd 40-26-23 spread. Harry Reid, you are one lucky bastard. (JL)
SC-Gov: State Sen. Vincent Sheheen easily claimed the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in South Carolina with 59% of the vote against the briefly-hyped SC School Superintendent Jim Rex (23%). He'll have some time to replenish his reserves by the Republican race goes to a runoff, as state Rep. Nikki Haley weathered her recent controversies in fine form with 49% of the vote to TARP-loving US Rep. Gresham Barrett's 22%. (JL)
SC-Sen(D): This is just embarrassing. South Carolina Democrats had been hyping the candidacy of Charleston County councilman and ex-state Rep. Vic Rawl for months, but Rawl ended up losing to Alvin Greene, a 32-year-old unemployed ex-military guy who lives with his dad and somehow found the ten grand necessary to file for office. (And it wasn't even close, either, at 59-41.) Do we have another Scott Lee Cohen on our hands? The morning-after news seems to suggest so, with court records confirming that Greene was charged with showing obscene pictures to a college student. This is now the second cycle in a row where SC Dems have nominated the less-than-ideal choice for Senate. (JL)
SC-01: Oy. This is pretty damn embarrassing, too. Perennial candidate Ben Frasier (0 for 19!) upset the mildly touted Robert Burton, a former member of the Board of Commissioners of the State Housing Finance and Development Authority, for the Democratic nomination in this open seat. For the Republicans, we're looking at a run-off between state Rep. Tim Scott (the Club for Growth's choice), who won 31% of the vote, and legacy candidate Paul Thurmond, who placed second with 16%. (JL)
SC-03(R): This was a bit of a surprise. In the race to succeed Gresham Barrett in the House, businessman Richard Cash finished first with 25%, with state Rep. Jeff Duncan also advancing to the run-off with 23%. That's something of an upset, as state Rep. Rex Rice, who placed third at 19%, was seen as a strong bet to make the run-off. (JL)
SC-04(R): Bob Inglis is utterly doomed. The increasingly sane GOP incumbent only won 28% of the vote in his primary against Spartanburg County Solicitor Trey Gowdy and other teabag also-rans. Gowdy ended the night with 39%, meaning that these two are headed for a run-off, but it's hard to imagine how Inglis can survive this one. (JL)
SD-Gov(R): Lt. Gov. Dennis Daugaard easily sowed up the Republican gubernatorial nomination with 50% of the vote in a five-person field. He'll face state Senate Minority Leader Scott Scott Heidepriem in November. (JL)
SD-AL(R): This was always a hard race to fit into the usual Republican primary template, since all three of the GOP candidates (SoS Chris Nelson, and state Reps. Blake Curd and Kristi Noem) were establishment types, despite some teabaggish behavior (most notably Nelson, who'd been birther-curious). In the end, Noem prevailed, beating Nelson and Curd without a runoff, 42-35-23. Did Noem's advertising make the difference, or did Nelson's birtherism cost him his early frontrunner status? (C)
VA-02(R): Auto dealer Scott Rigell wrapped up the Republican nomination to face Dem Rep. Glenn Nye the Freshman Guy with 40% of the vote. Businessman Ben Loyola placed second with 27%. (JL)
VA-05(R): Despite being absolutely despised by the teabagging base in the district thanks to his vote for the tax hiking Mark Warner budget many moons ago, state Sen. Robert Hurt easily won the GOP nod against Democrat Tom Perriello with 48% of the vote. Hurt will have to look out on his right flank, though, as Danville businessman Jeff Clark has said that he would run as an independent if Hurt wins the nod. (JL)
• AR-Sen: The Bill Halter campaign is looking for last minute phonebanking help to seal the deal. And you can do it from the comfort of your own home.
• CA-Sen, CA-Gov (pdf): The Senate GOP primary portion of the Field Poll came out over the weekend, and it's right in line with the various other pollsters finding a last-minute Carly Fiorina surge into a double-digit lead. She leads Tom Campbell and Chuck DeVore 37-22-19. (Campbell led 28-22-9 in the previous Field poll in March.) Also, it looks like Campbell's last-minute ad pitch, centered around his electability, may fall on deaf ears: 42% of primary voters think that Fiorina has the best chance of beating Barbara Boxer, while 22% think that Campbell does (and 12% think that Chuck DeVore does -- which is also about the same percentage of Californians who believe there is a 1,000 foot high pyramid in Greenland). There are also primary polls out from Republican pollster Magellan (who don't have a horse in this race), who find things even worse for Campbell: they have Fiorina leading Campbell and DeVore 54-19-16. They also give a big edge to fellow rich person Meg Whitman in the gubernatorial race; she leads Steve Poizner 64-22. The unfortunate moral of the story here: have a lot of money.
• DE-Sen: New Castle Co. Exec Chris Coons is pre-emptively getting ahead of Republican charges that he raised taxes, by, instead of hiding under the bed like conventional wisdom dictates, saying 'guilty as charged' and explaining how it helped. The county wound up with a AAA bond rating and a eight-digit surplus. Coons also previewed one of his lines of attack against Mike Castle: Castle's role in deregulating the banking sector.
• FL-Sen: As Charlie Crist rebuilds his team from scratch, he's rolling out a new media team that's heavy on the Democratic ties. Most prominently, Chuck Schumer's former chief of staff, Josh Isay, will be Crist's lead media person. Isay's firm SKD Knickerbocker may be best-known for helping out other moderate independents, like Joe Lieberman and Michael Bloomberg. One of the fires that Isay will have to put out as soon as he gets in the building, though, is what to do about the Jim Greer situation. Greer's lawyer is saying that Crist gave the initial OK on Greer's fundraising workaround which avoided usual party channels (which Greer allegedly turned into a scheme for filling his own pockets).
• IL-Sen: Rep. Mark Kirk's very, very bad week last week just seems to be spilling over into this week. There are allegations popping up that he fibbed on getting shot at in Afghanistan too, and also evidence that he made a lot of stuff up while talking off the cuff about the Somalia situation last year. Taking a page from Richard Blumenthal, late last week he finally dropped the playing offense against the charges and instead went to the Chicago Tribune's e-board to say "I'm sorry" -- but that apology comes after letting the story fester all week.
• NH-Sen: After a year and a half of having the Democratic primary to himself, there are hints that Rep. Paul Hodes might get some late-in-the-game company. Mark Connolly, the former head of the state's Securities Division who resigned to become a whistleblower in the wake of the Financial Resources Mortgage coverup (the same one that'll have Kelly Ayotte testifying before the state legislature soon), expressed some interest and said "he's angry enough to do it." (Looks like a common theme this year.) Speaking of Ayotte, it sounds like she doesn't know how to read a poll: she says she won't take drilling for oil off New Hampshire's tiny coastline "off the table."
• WA-Sen: You might remember from last week that the Univ. of Washington engaged in some methodologically weird stuff by adding an extra week's worth of samples on the end of their already-released poll and re-releasing the numbers (which were nevertheless unchanged, at Patty Murray 44, Dino Rossi 40). Well, now they're re-releasing the poll yet again with even more samples, with changed toplines and with specific numbers for that tiny extra sample for the days May 24-28 (following Rossi's official announcement). The number that's getting all the press is that Rossi led Murray 42-39 in that batch, although that's only based on 221 likely voters with a margin of error of 6.6%, so its usefulness is, well, questionable. Their full numbers are now 42-40 for Murray for the entire RV sample and 46-40 for Murray for the entire LV sample (i.e. those who voted in 2006), and she leads Generic R 44-39 among RVs (and 46-41 in the May 24-28 sample), but this poll has gotten so methodologically convoluted I'm not really sure it's worth much of anything at this point.
Murray got some good news today in the form of an endorsement, and it's not from a human but a corporation: Boeing. While she's received plenty of Boeing money in the past, I'm not aware of Boeing ever having explicitly endorsed her or anyone else before (although anyone with a pulse knows that Murray has taken over for Scoop Jackson as the "Senator from Boeing"). Frankly, in the state of Washington, this is a bigger endorsement than any human politician's endorsement would be, considering the way Boeing's tendrils reach so much of the state. Finally, the field of miscellaneous Republicans kept shrinking today, as chiropractor Sean Salazar (probably the first guy to try to grab the teabagger mantle here, although he got shoved over by Clint Didier) bailed out of the race and backed Rossi.
• WI-Sen: Here's a strange vulnerability for Ron Johnson in the Wisconsin Senate race: his fixation on opposing bipartisan Wisconsin state legislation making it easier for victims of childhood sexual abuse to sue their abusers. That'll require some explanation, and I assume it'll be something other than his current explanation, that such legislation would only lead to more victims of sexual abuse by making organizations likelier to sweep it under the carpet.
• IA-Gov: After endorsing a variety of misspelled odds-and-ends last week ("Cecil Bledsoe," "Angela McGowen," and Joe Miller), Sarah Palin went with a big gun this weekend, and it was one who doesn't match her carefully cultivated teabagging/religious right image at all: establishment retread Terry Branstad in Iowa. Is she counting on getting repaid by Branstad in the 2012 caucuses, if she decides to give up the grifting lifestyle and take the huge pay cut associated with running for President? (Branstad also has the backing of Mitt Romney, who seems more of a kindred spirit for him.)
• MI-Gov: The Schwarz is not with us after all. Joe Schwarz, the moderate ex-Rep. who got bounced from MI-07 in 2006 in the GOP primary by Tim Walberg, has decided against pursuing the independent bid in the Governor's race that he'd been threatening. On the surface, the loss of a center-right indie looks like bad news for the Dems, but depending on which two candidates match up in November, Schwarz could just have easily pulled more left-of-center votes... and in all likelihood, he wasn't going to rack up more than a few percent anyway.
• NY-Gov: In their standoff with Democratic nominee Andrew Cuomo, the Working Families Party seems to have blinked first. They went ahead and nominated placeholders in the Governor, Lt. Gov, and AG slots, presumably to allow coordination with the Dem choices later. Cuomo had been leaning hard on the WFP to do so. The person most affected by this is state Sen. Eric Schneiderman, a Cuomo foe who had been considered the most likely WFP candidate for AG; instead, the WFP may wind up going with Nassau Co. DA Kathleen Rice, who's Cuomo's preferred AG for his informal "ticket."
• TX-Gov: The Greens are actually going to be on the ballot in Texas this year, for the gubernatorial race? I'm as surprised as you are, but it's less surprising when you find out who's behind it: Arizona Republican consultant Tim Mooney, who set up the petition drive to get them on the ballot (and who's also a veteran of the 2004 efforts to get Ralph Nader on as many states' ballots as possible). GOP incumbent Rick Perry faces a tough race from Dem former Houston mayor Bill White, and he can have a little breathing room if the Greens siphon off a few lefties.
• AR-01: Chad Causey has an interesting argument for Democratic runoff voters in the 1st not to vote for ex-state Sen. Tim Wooldridge: he's likely to bolt for the Republican Party at his earliest convenience. Causey's evidence for the flight risk posed by Wooldridge includes his very conservative voting record in the state legislature, starting with his pro-public hanging legislation. Wooldridge, for his part, said he'd never switch. The Wooldridge camp is also offering up an internal poll (no word on the pollster) claiming a 48-24 lead over Causey in the runoff.
• CA-19: SurveyUSA has one last poll of the race in the 19th's GOP primary, which they've polled exhaustively (and found almost exactly the same thing each time). However, this time it's a little more interesting: there seems to be some late movement to former Fresno mayor Jim Patterson, who now leads state Sen. Jeff Denham 34-30. Ex-Rep. Richard Pombo is back at 17, with Larry Westerlund at 8. On the Dem side, it's a 26-26 tie between Loraine Goodwin and Les Marsden.
• MN-06: What started out as a thorny three-way primary (when Elwyn Tinklenberg was in the race) has turned into a walk for Democratic state Sen. Tarryl Clark. Maureen Reed, a physician and former Independence Party Lt. Gov. candidate, ended her bid and endorsed Clark against Rep. Michele Bachmann. Reed had done surprisingly well at fundraising, but didn't have the institutional advantages that Clark did, especially once Clark got the DFL endorsement. Clark still has an uphill fight against Bachmann, who's insulated against likely future foot-in-mouth incidents by the district's reddish lean as well as a huge war chest.
• TN-08: A Hill piece on the possibility of another NRCC-touted candidate (in the form of Stephen Fincher) going down in flames actually has some nice dirt on all three Republicans contesting the primary in the 8th. Fincher, of course, is widely noted for his hypocrisy on attacking the federal government while receiving millions in farm subsidies, but it's also been revealed that he has voted in three Democratic primaries in the last eight years, "used virtually the same TV ad as a candidate for Alabama Agriculture Commisioner" (I have to assume it was an ad from one of the "thugs," since if he'd riiiiiiipped off Dale Peterson's ad, the whole blogosphere would already know about it by now), and perhaps most pathetically, misspelled "Tennessee" in a mailer. His challengers, Ron Kirkland and George Flinn, have their own troubles; Kirkland contributed to outgoing Democratic Rep. John Tanner in 2000 and 2004, while Flinn tried to cover up a lawsuit by a contractor who wasn't paid for remodeling work.
With the California primaries only days away, I decided to make a list of races worth watching this coming Super Tuesday. Cross-posted at Calitics and Democracy for California.
U.S. Senate (R) - Fiorina seems to have consolidated the "outsider" vote, seeing as she is the only one of the three that has not held elected office and it seems that being an outsider will get one far in the Republican primary (though not so much in a California general election).
Governor (R) - Exactly as I predicted, this race has unfolded to be 2006 in reverse. Whoever wins the GOP primary here will be so radioactive that many Republican voters likely will cross over to vote for Jerry Brown, like many Democratic voters did for Arnold last time. If Jerry Brown pulls similar numbers among Republicans that Arnold did among Democrats, then Brown is likely gonna win big. And I'm unsure about how indies will go, so I just went with an estimate similar to the 2006 numbers.
Lt. Governor (D) - This race will be very interesting: a classic NorCal/SoCal matchup, between Gavin Newsom and Janice Hahn.
Lt. Governor (R) - Newly-appointed incumbent Abel Maldonado will face a tough primary with more conservative State Senator Sam Aanestad. Given that moderates have fared pretty poorly in California elections of late, I give Aanestad the edge.
Sec. of State (R) - Any race with the Birther Queen just has to be a race to watch, more so for the comedy value, though I think most Republicans don't buy her BS, so I see Dunn getting the nomination. No matter who wins, Debra Bowen is likely a cinch for a second term.
Attorney General (D) - Very crowded primary here, with 3 term-limited Assemblymen, Torrico, Nava, and Lieu; S.F. District Attorney Kamala Harris; Facebook attorney Chris Kelly; and disgraced ex-L.A. city attorney Delgadillo, though the race seems to have narrowed to just Harris and Kelly. From what I have heard of Kelly, I am rooting for Harris.
Controller (R) - Not much drama here, but I am hoping for Tony Strickland to win so he can lose to John Chiang even worse than in 2006. Unfortunately, he is not up for reelection to the State Senate until 2012, so if he wins the nomination but loses the general, he will still be in the senate (hopefully until 2012).
Insurance Commissioner (D) - Here we have two strong candidates in term-limited assemblymen Hector De La Torre and Dave Jones. I have no preference in this race, but since Jones has more money and establishment backing, I think he'll win the nod.
CA-11 (R) - Will David Harmer, who lost by only 10% in the more Democratic CA-10 in the special election (albeit with lower turnout) be able to make it past the primary against Tony Amador and be more competitive in the general?
CA-19 (D) - I am pulling for Loraine Goodwin here. Any campaign based on health care reform is a big winner in Democratic primaries and in general elections in most parts of the state. Not sure what the HCR numbers are in this neck of the woods.
CA-19 (R) - I think I will root for Denham here, as he has won in more Democratic turf, so he is relatively saner. (And Denham is term-limited, so CA-19 run or no CA-19 run, we have a great shot at winning SD-12.) Pombo shouldn't really be of much concern, as he has placed a distant third in the recent primary poll.
CA-26 (R) - My hometown district, where Dreier faces a primary challenge from businessman Mark Butler. While I consider Dreier to be the heavy favorite, this primary challenge could further drain his campaign coffers. If he wins the primary, Dreier has the advantage of incumbency and a year more favorable to his party (though anti-Obama sentiment is much weaker in California than elsewhere). A disadvantage Dreier has is depleted campaign coffers, from spending like crazy to win only 52% against Warner in 2008 and possibly from this primary challenge.
CA-33 (D) - Former Assembly speaker Karen Bass is likely the heavy favorite, and I hope she wins.
CA-36 (D) - Harman/Winograd redux, only with more fireworks this time around.
CA-42 (R) - Even though Gary Miller's voting record is unabashedly conservative, he is still getting teabagged by three other Republicans. Count on yet another incumbent scoring a subpar primary performance.
CA-45 (R) - Mary Bono Mack has drawn teabag primary opposition from Clayton Thibodeau for her vote for cap-and-trade. She also voted against repealing DADT in spite of her district having the highest concentration of gays of any Republican-held district, possibly out of fear of getting teabagged. If Thibodeau upsets Bono Mack, this Obama-voting R+3 district could be put into play.
CA-47 (R) - Will Tan and Van split the Vietnamese vote, allowing Kathy Smith to sneak through?
CA-50 (D) - I like Busby, but I think her time has passed, if she couldn't beat Bilbray in the far more Democratic-favored 2006. Attorney Tracy Emblem seems to have most of the grassroots support.
AD-05 (R) - In this open, evenly-divided suburban Sacramento seat, the Tea Party has gotten into another Republican primary, backing Craig DeLuz against party-backed Prop 8 backer Andy Pugno. I am rooting for DeLuz to win the primary so in one election we defeat a Prop H8er and increase our chances of winning this district too.
AD-30 (D) - The Parra/Florez feud continues, with Nicole's dad Pete Parra facing off against Dean's mom Fran Florez, who lost to Danny Gilmore, who didn't like being an Assemblyman and that's why he's not running, which I at first found surprising.
AD-36 (D) - Linda Jones, who ran here in 2008, faces primary opposition from real estate broker Maggie Campbell and police officer Shawntrice Watkins. This time I am rooting for Watkins, because this Antelope Valley-centric district is very law-and-order, being the home of the Runners (Sharon and George, of "Jessica's Law" fame), and incumbent Steve Knight also having been a police officer before being elected to the Assembly. Watkins could cut into Knight's law-and-order advantage. Plus Watkins' endorsement from Equality California can't hurt either.
AD-68 (D) and (R) - I am really looking forward to an all-Vietnamese matchup here. Will be interesting to gauge the Vietnamese vote if it's Phu Nguyen (D) vs. Long Pham (R).
And what is a California election without some ballot measures? Five are on the ballot this time.
Prop 13: Tax break to property owners for making seismic retrofits. I like seeing tax breaks used as incentives for good causes. Vote YES!
Prop 14: Top two votegetters in the primary would go on to the general election, limiting voter choices. Vote NO!
Prop 15: Repeals ban on public financing and raises fees on lobbyists to fund a public financing system for SecState election beginning in 2014. Vote YES!
Prop 16: PG&E power grab that requires a 2/3 vote to create public power districts or allow local governments to purchase their own renewable power. Vote NO!
Prop 17: Weakens consumer protections and allow car insurance companies to charge much more for late payments. Vote NO!
Note: This digest was written entirely by DavidNYC.
AR-Sen: SEIU has a new ad out hitting Lincoln for her TARP vote and for her disloyalty during the health care debate. Props to CQ's Matthew Murray for trying to nail down the size of the buy from SEIU, which would only say that the run is "comprehensive." SEIU has gone pretty large in this race from day one, so they probably aren't going cheap on us now.
CA-Sen: Carly Fiorina, in a move which will no doubt endear her to the teabaggers but embarrass her in the eyes of the state of California, has taken to decrying concerns about climate change as "worrying about the weather" in a new ad.
CO-Sen: I Do. Not. Care. about this stupid non-story. Why are journalists so damn breathless about crap like this? It's like they've never heard of politics.
NV-Sen: According to an analysis by the WaPo, Chicken Lady may have spent $100K on her primary out of funds that were designated for the general election only. Lowden bought $220K worth of ad time, but had only about $100K of primary money (mostly a loan from herself) on hand, so that extra hundred grand had to come from somewhere. God, you know, I just can't decide whom I'd rather face more: this crazy lady, or the other crazy lady. Harry Reid, you are one lucky dude. Just pray Danny Tarkanian doesn't pull an Alice Kryzan/Creigh Deeds.
NV-Gov: A district court judge enjoined a shadowy conservative group, Alliance for America's Future, from running ads until it registers with the Secretary of State, saying that voters have the right to know who is behind political advertising. The group, which has ties to Dick Cheney, had planned to spend $250K on behalf of GOPer Brian Sandoval.
AR-02: In the AR-02 runoff, state House Speaker Robbie Wills, a white male, has been arguing that he's "more electable" than state Senate Majority Leader Joyce Elliott, who is black and a woman. The chair of the Arkansas NAACP sees that a "code word for racism." Wills responded by saying that Elliott has "extreme views" which are out of step with the district. I hope this primary doesn't get much uglier, because words like that will be used by Republicans against whomever our nominee is.
CA-19: Dick Pombo is trying to win a GOP primary by reminding voters that he's a longtime creature of Washington, DC. No wonder he lost.
ID-01: Dear Vaughn Ward: socks before shoes. Also, hire publicists to get your side of the story out before election day, not after. Actually, no - we love you, don't change a thing!
MI-08: This is unfortunate. Kande Ngalamulume, the only Democrat running against GOP Rep. Mike Rogers, is dropping out of the race, just three weeks after formally announcing his candidacy. Though Ngalamulume hadn't filed any FEC reports, Obama actually won this district 53-46 (a major swing from Bush's 54-45 win over Kerry), and even being able to pin Rogers down just a bit would have been helpful. Michigan's filing deadline was May 11th, and I'm not sure if local Dems can nominate a replacement.
NH-02: Some Teabagger Andrew Hemingway says he won't get into the GOP primary in NH-02. Meh.
NY-13: It's always confusing in NY-13, but here's the deal: The state Conservative Party has given its backing to GOPer Michael Grimm, who was also endorsed by the Brooklyn wing of the party - even though the Staten Island Cons recently got behind Dem Rep. Mike McMahon. (Party chair Mike Long wasn't going to let McMahon get their nod, though.) To make things even more complicated, the SI Republican Party endorsed Grimm's primary opponent, Michael Allegretti, as we mentioned last week, and the Brooklyn GOP did as well the week before. But Grimm has at least one big player on his side: Rudy Giuliani, who did a fundraiser for him earlier this week. Anyhow, I'm sure you can sniff the cat fud: Grimm has already locked up the Conservative line, but Allegretti could definitely win the Republican primary. There's already a lot of bad blood between the two Republican Mikes, which means we could see something of an NY-23 redux here.
NY-18: Biden Alert! The VPOTUS squeezed in a fundraiser yesterday for... Nita Lowey? She has over $1.1 million on hand, and I'm not aware of any meaningful Republican challenger in this race. (Obama/Kerry: 62/58.) So what gives?
OK-02: This is interesting: Democratic state Sen. Jim Wilson says he's going to launch a primary challenge to conservative Rep. Dan Boren. Wilson specifically cited Boren's opposition to the healthcare reform bill in launching his campaign. The primary here is pretty soon, July 27th, though there's also a run-off on August 24th. However, as of now, there are only two candidates in the race.
TN-08: The internal warfare continues in the GOP primary to replace retiring Rep. John Tanner. Though the NRCC is still touting agribusiness kingpin Stephen Fincher, ex-Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott is doing a fundraiser for Shelby County Commissioner George Flinn. An establishment divided against itself... yields to a teabagger?
WI-07: Hah! We mentioned the other day that establishment efforts to clear the primary field for Dem Julie Lassa hit a snag when Some Dude Joe Reasbeck said he was going to run. Well, turns out he's run for office before: as a write-in (wait, there's more) in Texas (heh, there's still more) as a Republican (not done yet), earning 89 votes. Hold on, hold on - more! Who was he running against? Well, only the most famous write-in candidate of all time, Snelly Gibbr! Shit like this is why I love politics.
AR-Sen: Blanche Lincoln refuses to say whether she'd want Barack Obama to campaign with her - and for once, I can't blame her for being wishy-washy. She still managed to get in a dig at "the far left" in an interview with The Hill, which should really help her consolidate the base if she wins the primary. And graciously, she said that she wouldn't run as an independent if she were to lose the primary - which is good to know, since she only filed as a Dem. Meanwhile, the SEIU just threw down another $330K on TV ads and phonebanking to support Bill Halter.
DE-Sen: A good get for the Democrat: The Delaware State Education Association, a big teacher's union, has switched their endorsement from GOPer Mike Castle to Chris Coons. Though the DSEA has supported Castle in the past, they cited unhappiness over his votes against the stimulus (which had a lot of education money) and healthcare reform. Meanwhile, Castle secured his party's nomination with 70% of the vote at the GOP convention, but teabagger Christine O'Donnell pledged to fight on through the primary.
IN-Sen: Not that anyone expected otherwise, but Dem Rep. Brad Ellsworth was officially nominated by the state party, over joke candidate Bob Kern.
KY-Sen: A shadowy 527 organized by Lexington, Ky. "media specialist" Tim Isaac is running ads linking Rand Paul to absolutely batshit fucking insane radio host Alex Jones. (Paul appeared on the show a few times and kissed Jones's ass.) Probably too little, too late - and in this case, Isaac's refusal to announce the size of the buy is pretty glaring, since it seems like a blatant attempt to play local media. On the flipside, Paul said on Friday that he's pulling his attack ads from the air - which, given how little time there is before election day, again seems like a way to gin up some press coverage. I guess that's politics.
PA-Sen: An ugly late hit from Arlen Specter, which he prays doesn't make it back east: He's running web ads attacking Joe Sestak for his "F" rating from the NRA. Sestak doesn't have much time to raise hell about this, but this is obviously not a winning issue for Specter in Philly. Anyhow, Tuesday should be a barn-burner, with Specter and Sestak now tied at 44 apiece (with 11% undecided) in Muhlenberg's final tracking poll. (Kudos to Muhlenberg, btw, for what turned out to be a genius marketing move in providing this tracker.)
UT-Sen: Game on? Orrin Hatch is vowing to run for re-election in 2012, when, as the world is engulfed in flames foretold by a Mayan end-times prophecy, he'll be a spry 78. Will Jason Chaffetz seize the day, or let opportunity pass him by a second time? I also have to wonder if nervous incumbents will try to change the law regarding convention nominations before the next cycle rolls around, lest they become Bob Bennett Vol. II.
AL-Gov: Ron Sparks, as expected, just scored the endorsement of the Alabama Democratic Conference, the state's old black political organization. This means that he, and not African American primary opponent Artur Davis, has secured the backing of all four of Alabama's major black political groups. Pushing back against this unusual narrative, Davis announced endorsements from two fellow members of Congress: Jesse Jackson, Jr. and John Lewis, neither of whom represent Alabama (though Lewis was born there). Not sure this really helps Davis's "D.C." image.
CA-Gov: Steve Poizner, who has been making late headway in the polls, is finally airing some broadcast TV ads in the Bay Area, painting Meg Whitman as an apostate to the conservative movement. If I were a mouth-breather, I'd vote for him. As ever, no word on the size of the buy, but given how rich Poizner is, I'd guess it's substantial.
FL-Gov: Lawton Chiles III, son of the late governor of the same name, apparently wants to challenge Alex Sink in the gubernatorial primary this year, according to people close to him. The filing deadline for state races is not until June 18th, though even if he gets in right now, Chiles would have a major financial gap to make up with Sink. Maybe the young he-coon thinks he got some walk in him?
NV-Gov: Man, this is just an absolutely brutal profile of GOP Gov. Jim Gibbons, who regularly disappeared Mark Sanford-like during the meltdown of 2008, when his state needed leadership most. Just read it.
AL-07: EMILY's List made a small independent expenditure (sub-$30K) for mailers and phonebanking on behalf of Terri Sewell. Someone from EMILY really needs to explain why they endorsed Wall Street attorney Sewell over the well-known progressive (and equally pro-choice) Shelia Smoot.
CA-19: God bless KFSN-TV! Without them, we wouldn't have yet another poll of the fascinating CA-19 primaries. Even the pollster notes: "Compared to identical SurveyUSA polls released one and two months ago, the contest is unchanged." I guess the good news is that Dick Pombo looks slated to lose.
DE-AL: As expected, wealthy heiress Michele Rollins won the GOP's nomination for Delaware's at-large House seat, though it took her two rounds of balloting at the state convention. However, opponent Glen Urquhart has pledged to stay in through the primary.
FL-22: Your liberal media: A local TV reporter, Angela Sachitano, has been covering the FL-22 race for WPTV... and has also been serving as an informal media advisor to whacked-out Republican Allen West. Her employer, of course, is saying there's no harm done, and that they've taken unspecified "appropriate action." Typical liberals!
HI-01: Sue Lowden would be proud: Charles Djou is busy spending time with his chickens, so he can count them before they hatch. Said Djou to Sean Miller of The Hill: "This election is pretty much over." Djou was later seen hanging out with a bunch of lazy grasshoppers who were scoffing at hard-working ants preparing for winter. You've also got to wonder why he's spending $88K on TV ads attacking (for the first time) Ed Case if this thing is "over."
ID-01: Hoo boy this is good! Republican Vaughn Ward, the supposed establishment favorite in the race, has fired his campaign manager just a week-and-a-half before the primary. (Though CQ's Greg Giroux tweets that Ward is now supposedly saying his CM quit.) Read the Politico's piece for a full account Ward's long string of failures - it's like he's been touched by the ghost of Bill Sali.
Still, Ward might yet win. An independent poll last week from Greg Smith & Associates showed Ward leading Raul Labrador in the primary, 34-16, but with 50% undecided. The general election numbers (PDF) are really weird, though - Smith tested Rep. Walt Minnick "jungle-style" against both Labrador and Ward together. Yeah, Idaho doesn't do their elections that way, so I don't get the choice, but in any event, Minnick was at 50% with both Republicans combining for 20%.
MA-05: Rep. Niki Tsongas, in a diary on Blue Mass Group, says that her quote in the NYT last week has been "misinterpreted" and that she "will always welcome President Obama to Massachusetts and the Fifth District." Good.
PA-06: Doug Pike sure must enjoy being in the apology business. For the zillionth time this campaign, he's had to walk something back. In this case, it's a misleading mailer he sent out claiming he'd been awarded a "100% pro-choice rating" by NARAL. Not so fast, says the group - we haven't endorsed anyone in this race. Egg, face, repeat.
PA-12: A Pittsburgh TV station yanked a Democratic ad attacking Tim Burns for supporting a national sales tax instead of income taxes. A conservative victory over rascally Dems? Not quite - the station, WPGH, is owned by Sinclair Broadcasting, who you might remember from 2004, when they forced their member stations to air a "documentary" swiftboating John Kerry just two weeks before election day.
SC-02: A sign of life from Dem Rob Miller's otherwise somnolent campaign? Miller has a poll out from Anzalone-Liszt showing Rep. Joe Wilson up 49-34. That might not seem like much to brag about, but Miller's making hay of the fact that he only has 34% name ID, and says that Wilson's incumbency is hurting him.
VT-AL: Retired 71-year-old businessman John Mitchell says he's joining the GOP field to take on Rep. Peter Welch. He joins conservative radio show host Paul Beaudry and businessman Keith Stern. It looks like none of these Republicans have yet raised a dime.
British Elections: I don't know about you, but the political spectrum across the pond always felt like Anarchy in the UK to me. Fortunately, SSP's EnglishLefty surfs to the rescue with a detailed explanation of the fault lines between the Labour Party (which just got turfed) and the Liberal Democrats (who've joined a coalition with the Tories). The ensuing comments are enlightening as well.
CA-Sen: Moose lady endorses sheep lady. Is chicken lady next?
KY-Sen: With the primary less than two weeks away, Jack Conway's throwing in another $300K of his own money.
OH-Sen: Gov. Ted Strickland thinks that Jennifer Brunner might be getting ready to endorse Lee Fisher after all. If she wants to have a future in Democratic politics, she has to do this. If she fails to come through, this will be the kind of thing people remember forever.
CO-Gov: A challenging name for challenging times: Businessman Joe Gschwendtner is joining the GOP gubernatorial field, and he says he'll seed his campaign with $100K of his own scrilla.
OH-Gov: Dems keep making John Kasich feel the pain over his refusal to make public all of his tax returns. Now, a couple of state legislators are proposing a bill which would require all political candidates to disclose their returns as a condition of running for office. Kasich, you'll recall, briefly displayed a summary of his 2008 returns to reporters (who weren't allowed to photocopy it); he made $1.1 million for doing mostly nothing, including helping to drive Lehman Brothers into the ground.
CA-19, CA-20: Two stones, one bird: It looks like two GOP congressional hopefuls in neighboring districts broke federal election laws by taking a flight on a private corporate jet with none other than Karl Rove. That could turn out to be one expensive ride for State Sen. Jeff Denham of Atwater (CA-19) and cherry farmer Andy Vidak (CA-20).
DE-AL: Wilson Research Strategies did a poll of the GOP primary for developer Glen Urquhart, who is facing off against possibly rich businesswoman Michele Rollins. (I've heard she may have only inherited an income interest from her late - and exceedingly wealthy - husband's estate.) The poll showed Rollins leading 27-11 (with 60%) undecided.
FL-02: This is a little unexpected: Blue Dog Allen Boyd is running ads against his absurdly underfunded primary opponent, state Sen. Al Lawson. (Boyd has 29 times the cash that Lawson does.) Once again, though (say it with me), no word on the size of the buy.
FL-11: A fridge too far? NRCC honcho Pete Sessions is holding a fundraiser later this month in Tampa for one Mike Prendergast. Yeah, I ain't never heard o' him neither, but I guess he did raised about $100K in Q1, and incumbent Kathy Castor only has about $350K on hand. Still, this was a 66% Obama/58% Kerry district.
GA-09: In these dark-red districts, the most you can hope for is some hot wingnut-on-wingnut violence - and it looks like we're finally seeing some. The Club for Growth is running ads targeting ex-state Sen. Lee Hawkins, alleging (what else?) that he's not conservative enough and wouldn't sign a pledge to repeal healthcare reform. Hawkins fired back with a press release, charging that the CFG supports illegal immigration and that their favored candidate, ex-state Rep. Tom Graves, is their stooge.
IL-08: Local Republican leaders met with the already-imploded Joe Walsh to see what the eff was going on with his campaign... and they've decided to stick with him. While running into the Melissa Bean buzzsaw might not be that enticing (even in a cycle like this), several other candidates ran against Walsh in the primary, so a replacement ought to be possible. (Read here if you need background on the Walshsplosion.)
MO-06: Local businessman Clint Hylton will run as a Democrat against GOP Rep. Sam Graves. Graves obliterated one of our most highly-touted recruits last cycle, former Kansas City mayor Kay Barnes.
NM-01: Greenberg Quinlan Rosner (D) for Martin Heinrich (4/28-5/2, likely voters, no trendlines):
Martin Heinrich (D-inc): 55
Jon Barela (R): 38
Heinrich leads among Hispanics 68-24, who make up 35% of this sample. These are very nice numbers. Heinrich has over $1 million cash-on-hand, while Barela has under $400K.
MA-09: SEIU political director Mac D'Alessandro submitted 5,000 signatures as part of his nominating papers, but still needs an additional 2,000 by June 1 to qualify for the ballot. He's aiming to take on Rep. Stephen Lynch, who earned lifetime douchebag status by infamously switching from "yes" to "no" on the healthcare reform bill.
OH-18: 2008 loser Fred Dailey trails establishment fave Bob Gibbs by 164 votes after Tuesday's GOP primary, but there are still ballots left to be counted. In fact, provisionals and absentees, as long as they were postmarked on time, will still be accepted up until ten days after the election. No one knows how many ballots are outstanding, though. If the final margin is less than one half of one percent, there will be an automatic recount. Still, the odds have to be against Dailey - though a prolonged fight is probably good for Rep. Zack Space.
PA-06: While NARAL doesn't usually endorse in primaries, their former president, Kate Michelman, is backing Manan Trivedi over Doug Pike. Pike, in the past, has written columns that suggested he has wobbly views on reproductive choice. Other pieces of his have made very questionable remarks about women - click the link if you want the exact quotes. Pike says he "apologizes" for these columns, about the 99th time he's had to apologize for something on this campaign.
PA-12: Public Opinion Strategies (R) Tim Burns (5/4-5, likely voters, 3/15 in parens):
Mark Critz (D): 41 (41)
Tim Burns (R): 43 (45)
Undecided: 14 (13)
CA-Sen: Just a day after President Obama did three fundraisers for her campaign, Sen. Barbara Boxer says she expects the POTUS to be back next month for another event in San Francisco.
FL-Sen: The US Attorney's Office, the FBI and the IRS are all investigating the possible misuse of credit cards by state Republican Party officials - a case which has already led to the indictment of former House Speaker Ray Sansom. In a separate investigation, the IRS is looking at Marco Rubio's tax records to see if he misused his party credit cards for personal expenses. Meanwhile, state Rep. Tom Grady becomes the latest Charlie Crist ally to pull away from the campaign.
PA-Sen: PoliticsPA says that, according to a source, Joe Sestak's week-long TV ad buy is "worth" $930,000. It's not clear to me whether that's how much Sestak is actually spending, though - it's possible to lock in lower rates by reserving time in advance, which his campaign may have done here (thus inflating the "worth" of the buy). Meanwhile, in an email to supporters, Sestak is decrying Arlen Specter's attacks on his service in the Navy as "Swift Boat-like."
ME-Gov: Greenberg Quinlan Rosner (D) for Libby Mitchell (4/11-14, likely voters, no trendlines):
Libby Mitchell (D): 36
Steve Rowe (D): 16
Pat McGowan (D): 13
John Richardson (D): 4
Rosa Scarcelli (D): 3
If these names - all of whom are running in the Maine Democratic gubernatorial primary - aren't familiar to you, follow the link to the Hotline for some background details.
MN-Gov: Dem Matt Entenza is going up on the air with TV and radio ads after the DFL's statewide convention this weekend - but of course, no word on the size of the buy. Speaking of the convention, things are about to either get very interesting or a lot simpler in the MN gubernatorial race. Entenza and ex-Sen. Mark Dayton, who can both self-fund, are both saying they'll fight on through the primary, while the two apparent frontrunners, state House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher and Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, are pledging to abide by the convention's endorsement.
AL-05: Notorious turncoat Rep. Parker Griffith is still sitting on $20K that various Democratic lawmakers have given him, supposedly because they haven't asked for it back. This includes money from Rahm Emanuel, Nydia Velazquez, Rosa DeLauro and the retiring Bart Gordon, among others. Gordon, for what can only be bizarre, unspecified reasons, isn't asking for his money back. Rahm, since he's serving in the White House, won't make a formal request, but twists the knife, saying "Whether the contribution is returned or not will be left up to Rep. Griffith's conscience." As for the rest of you dudes, DEMAND YOUR MONEY BACK!
CA-19: SurveyUSA (4/16-19, likely voters, 3/15-17 in parens):
Jeff Denham (R): 27 (25)
Jim Patterson (R): 26 (26)
Richard Pombo (R): 16 (13)
Larry Westerlund (R): 6 (7)
Undecided: 25 (29)
Seriously, of all the races they could poll? I realize this is on behalf of a media client, but still.
DC-AL, UT-AL: Sigh. Legislation which would have given the District of Columbia an actual voting seat in the House is yet again being derailed. Republicans insist that any such bill also eviscerate any remaining gun control laws in the district, and they've frightened enough conservative Dems into supporting such an amendment that you can't have one (the voting rights bill) without the other (the gun provision). The pro-gun measure has become even more absurd, though, such that Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton asked Steny Hoyer to pull the bill altogether. On the Senate side, Orrin Hatch had spazzed about the fact that the bill's other sop to Republicans (a temporary extra seat for Utah) would have been at at-large district - he wants to be able to re-draw the lines (and presumably screw Dem Rep. Jim Matheson) - and said he was glad the bill got scuttled.
HI-01: The D-Trip just spent another $55K on a second negative TV ad attacking Charles Djou, which you can see here. Meanwhile, in light of recent polling showing this unusual jungle race to be incredibly tight, SSP is changing its rating from "Lean Dem" to "Tossup.
MI-01: Term-limited Dem state Rep. Gary McDowell will apparently run to succeed Bart Stupak. McDowell is from the Upper Peninsula, which Crisitunity aptly described as the district's "cultural center of gravity." One possible holdup, though, is that it sounds like McDowell may be willing to defer to former House Democratic Floor Leader Pat Gagliardi, who has not yet made up his mind.
NY-29: Dem Matthew Zeller, tapped by county leaders as the Democratic nominee in the (potential) special election to succeed Eric Massa, formally launched his campaign on Monday. However, it's starting to look like there won't be a special election after all, which means there will be a primary. If that winds up being the case, businessman David Nachbar (who withdrew his name from consideration for the special) has said he might run.
WV-01: Rep. Alan Mollohan is going on the air with a TV ad that attacks his primary opponent, state Sen. Mike Oliverio, "for his ties to a conservative-leaning organization of state legislators." Oliverio had previously launched an ad attacking Mollohan on ethical grounds. No word on the size of either buy.
Alaska: Alaska's state legislature voted to increase its size, by two seats in the Senate and four in the House. AK's population has tripled since statehood fifty years ago, but its lege had remained constant in numbers. What's more, its rural districts are enormous, and would have gotten even larger after redistricting as the population concentrates in the state's few big cities.
Polling: Reid Wilson, diving into recent FEC reports, notes that few Dems commissioned polls in the first quarter of this year - and among those who have, pretty much no one is sharing the data with the public. However, Reid doesn't say whether Republicans have spent similarly on internal polling in the past quarter, or how Q1 2010 compares with prior years.
RNC: God bless Michael Steele. Under his stewardship, the RNC decided to blow $340K to hold a big staff meeting in... Hawaii. Because that's both convenient and inexpensive. If Dems suffer anything less than an utter blowout this fall, we'll be able to thank Steele in no small part.
WATN?: Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, who already served 99 days in jail for obstruction of justice (among other things), may be headed back to prison for probation violations (including hiding assets).
CT-Sen: Mike Slanker, former political director of the NRSC when John Ensign ran the organization, has been caught up in connection with the investigation of his former boss's attempts to steer lobbying work to his mistress's husband. Slanker is currently running Linda McMahon's media operations as a consultant, but the campaign is mum on whether he'll stay involved with them.
NV-Sen: Republicans are trying to nuke the nascent candidacy of Tea Partier Jon Ashjian. Apparently, Ashjian was still a registered Republican when he filed as the Tea Party candidate, which may run afoul of Nevada election laws.
MN-Gov: State Sen. Tom Bakk, who represents the northeastern part of Minnesota known as the Iron Range, has dropped out of the gubernatorial race, citing what he felt were his slim chances.
CA-19: SurveyUSA, an uncharacteristically quiet pollster this cycle, is offering up a poll of the Republican and Democratic primaries for the open seat of retiring GOP Rep. George Radanovich. For the Republicans, state Sen. Jeff Denham leads the way with 26%, followed closely by ex-Fresno mayor Jim Patterson with 25%. Ex-Rep. "Dirty" Dick Pombo lags behind at 13%, while Fresno city councilor Larry Westerlund gets 7%. For the Democrats, real estate consultant John Estrada leads physician/attorney Loraine Goodwin by 24-14, with retired thespian Les Marsden clocking in at 8%. (JL)
CA-20: I really can't believe we missed this one. Term-limited GOP state Sen. Roy Ashburn had been considering a run against Dem Rep. Jim Costa as recently as December, and it looked like he could have posed a pretty serious challenge. In January, however, he did an abrupt about-face and said he was taking a break from public life. Perhaps it was a portent. A few weeks ago, Ashburn, who had long cultivated an anti-gay voting record, was arrested for drunk driving after leaving a gay nightclub. He subsequently admitted on a radio show that he is gay.
GA-09: Nathan Deal previously said that he'd wait until March 31 to resign from the House, but he only waited about 31 minutes after HCR passed to say sayonara. (JL)
IN-03, IN-Sen: Hah, check out this multidimensional episode of wingnut-on-wingnut violence. GOP Rep. Mark Souder is already on the air with negative radio ads against his opponent, wealthy car dealership owner Bob Thomas. Souder is dousing some haterade on Thomas, who until very recently was an Indianapolis-area resident, for his shallow roots in the district. Thomas, for his part, is blasting Souder for his hypocrisy, citing his endorsement of beltway lobbyist Dan Coats in the state's Senate race. (JL)
MA-10: Who gets hurt by this move? Taking a page from the playbook of Tim Cahill, lobbyist and former four-term state Rep. Maryanne Lewis has "unenrolled" from the Democratic Party in an apparent step to run for the seat of retiring Dem Rep. Bill Delahunt as an independent. State Democrats are on the record as saying that a Lewis candidacy would hurt Republicans more than Democrats, given Lewis' more conservative record in the state legislature. (JL)
MI-07: Republicans have found yet another specimen itching to take on frosh Dem Rep. Mark Schauer. Potterville city councilman Mike Stahly has thrown his hat into the race, where he'll face ex-Rep. Tim Walberg and Rooney clan member Brian Rooney in the GOP primary. Stahly, who is unemployed in his spare time, says that he'll be "the only candidate in the nation" to refuse donations from outside the district. Sounds like a winner! (JL)
ND-AL: North Dakota Republicans have opted to endorse state Rep. Rick Berg over North Dakota Public Service Commission Kevin Cramer as their standard bearer against Democratic Rep. Earl Pomeroy. Cramer now says that he's "95 percent sure" that he'll run for re-election to the PSC now that Congress isn't an option. (JL) As it happens, Berg's campaign manager resigned last week for abusing a state party email list and then lying about it.
NY-20: David Harper, who recently resigned as an assistant district attorney in Saratoga County, has dropped out of the race for the Republican nod to take on Rep. Scott Murphy this fall. Harper endorsed his opponent, retired Army Col. Chris Gibson, who pretty much seems to be the GOP frontrunner now. None of these guys have filed any FEC reports yet.
NY-24: Well that was monumentally stupid. Despite the risks of being branded as a John Kerry-esque flip-flopper, of losing the Working Families Party line, and of earning himself a union-backed primary challenge, dumb-as-rocks Rep. Mike Arcuri voted "no" on healthcare reform anyway. Even before the vote, labor was busy looking for someone to take Arcuri on in the primary, and they're already talking to epidemiologist and professor Les Roberts, who briefly ran for this seat in 2006 (when it was open) before deferring to Arcuri. Roberts sounds pretty interested. Some other possible names (my own speculation) would include Cortland Mayor Bruce Tytler and Utica attorney Leon Koziol, both of whom also ran in 2006 before bowing out to avoid a contested primary.
PA-12: More good news for Mark Critz - Cambria County Controller Ed Cernic Jr. has decided to drop out of the Democratic primary for the late John Murtha's seat, citing party unity as a pressing concern. Critz will now face Navy veteran Ryan Bucchianeri and attorney Ron Mackell, Jr. as his only competitors in the Democratic primary. (JL)
• 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.