Congressman Joe Courtney said Monday he would not run for U.S. Senate in 2012.
In a statement release Monday morning, Courtney said: "I am truly grateful for the tremendous encouragement and enthusiastic support I have received from leaders across Connecticut as I have considered this question. I look forward to working with all of those who reached out to create a strong future for our state. After careful deliberation, however, I have decided to focus on my work as a Congressman and will decline to enter the race for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate.".
So far, U.S. Rep. Chris Murphy and former Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz have announced they will run for the seat now held by Joseph Lieberman, who is not seeking re-election.
This most immediately seems to be a boon to Murphy, as Courtney cuts a more similar profile to him than Bysiewicz and thus would likely have siphoned off more of Murphy's vote than Bysie's.
• CO-Sen: This probably doesn't count as an October Surprise since it made a big media impression five years ago, but it's suddenly popped back into view, and making things dicier for Ken Buck, already on the wrong end of a sizable gender gap in the polls. Buck refused to prosecute a rape case as Weld Co. DA five years ago (despite the police having recommended charges), and the alleged victim is now back in the news. She has a taped recording of their meeting (transcript available at the link) in which he seems to blame the victim and suggest that the case wouldn't pass muster with a jury.
• FL-Sen: Mason-Dixon (10/4-6, likely voters, 9/20-22 in parens):
Kendrick Meek (D): 21 (23)
Marco Rubio (R): 42 (40)
Charlie Crist (I): 27 (28)
With Marco Rubio way ahead, it looks like a Kendrick Meek dropout (rumored on Friday) and a cobbling-together of some sort of Meek/Crist hybrid cyborg would be the only way for the non-Rubio forces to get an advantage in this race. However, Meek's definitely not acting like a man who's dropping out, if getting the president of the United States to cut a radio ad for you is any indication.
• WV-Sen: Remember that "hicky" ad that the NRSC ran, and then promptly got apologetic over, once the casting call instructions got leaked? (I know, that was last week, a lifetime ago in politics...) Now it sounds like it just kept running anyway, through last Friday for several days after the story broke, despite promises to take it down.
• NM-Gov: Yep, this is definitely the most over-polled, or at least over-internal-poll-leaked, race around. Today it's Diane Denish's turn to retaliate, and she's out with another poll from one of her apparently two pollsters, Third Eye Strategies, with a 46-46 tie (a little stale, taken 9/21-23). I think we get the general idea, already: Denish sees a tie, Susana Martinez sees a high-single-digits lead for herself, public pollsters see something in between. (UPDATE: That's odd... we reported this poll several weeks ago. Not sure why it's back in the news today.)
• CA-47: This is the kind of unity that Loretta Sanchez (last seen alienating her district's small but politically active Vietnamese community with an ill-advised remark) probably doesn't like to see: apparently there was a major rift with the Vietnamese Republican community that just got sealed up, as long-time Van Tran rival Janet Nguyen (an Orange County councilor) gave a late-game endorsement to Tran.
• CT-02, CT-03: Merriman River Group hits the quinella in Connecticut, with polls of the two House races in the Nutmeg State that aren't interesting. In the 2nd, despite getting some touting when she got in the race, GOPer Janet Peckinpaugh is making little impression against Joe Courtney, trailing 55-41. And in the 3rd, Rosa DeLauro is the state's safest Dem, leading Jerry Labriola 58-37.
• FL-22: Endorsements from primary challengers, especially at this stage in the game, are interesting only when they go to the guy from the other party. But that's what's happening in the 22nd, where the guy who lost to Allen West, David Brady, gave his backing to Democratic incumbent Ron Klein today. (So too did several minor-league local elected GOPers, including Palm Beach mayor Jack McDonald.) Says Brady, apparently from the sane wing of the GOP (to the extent that the Palm Beach Post endorsed him in the primary): "I ran against Allen West. I debated him and I can tell you: Allen West is too extreme for this community."
• MS-04: Dueling polls in the 4th, where everything still averages out to a Democratic lean but unfortunately this is looking like one more real race. GOP state Rep. Steven Palazzo offered a poll a few weeks ago saying incumbent Gene Taylor led by only 4, and now Taylor says, no, he's leading by 8 (without giving us any other useful information, like the toplines, let alone the pollster or dates). Hmmm, that's only a difference of four points, so why show your hand, especially in such haphazard fashion? Somehow I don't think Taylor would be a very good poker player.
• NY-22, NY-25: Bill Clinton showing up in upstate New York to stump on behalf of Dan Maffei, that's not a surprise, as this race seems to be competitive. But also Maurice Hinchey in the 22nd? We haven't gotten any smoke signals out of that district before, but that's an indication that something may bubbling under here. (It's a D+6 district, and Hinchey barely won in '94.)
• OH-01: One more unfortunate though unsurprising triage decision to report: Steve Driehaus seems to have run out of time at the DCCC, who are canceling their remaining ad buy in the Cincinnati market for the next two weeks. The deadline for reservations cancellations is coming up soon, so we'll soon know who else gets the shortest straw drawn for them.
• PA-10: After seeing a incumbent Chris Carney up by single digits in a recent public poll from Lycoming, GOP challenger Tom Marino rummaged around in his poll drawer and pulled out one from the Tarrance Group giving him a 47-42 lead on Carney. (No word from the Fix on the dates, though.)
• TN-04: One last GOP internal to throw into the mix: a POS survey (from 9/27-28) on behalf of Scott DesJarlais shows him tied with Dem incumbent Lincoln Davis, 42-42. We haven't seen any public polling of this race (and may not, as the NRCC doesn't seem to be pushing this one hard, maybe on the off chance that it's the kind of district that'll flip in a wave regardless of what they do), but Davis claimed an 11-point lead in a late August internal.
• House: If you're thinking that it seems like there are a lot more races in the "Tossup" and "Lean" categories this year, you're not alone. Nate Silver quantifies various ways in which there are way more competitive races this year than in other recent cycles, including number of races where there are polls within single-digits, where there are polls period, and where there are major financial contributions.
• Redistricting: This is an interesting, if counterintuitive, piece from HuffPo on redistricting, which proposes that we'll be in better shape in 2010 redistricting than 2000 redistricting because (based on projected gubernatorial and state legislative outcomes) we'll have more control over the process in more important states: oddly he leaves out California, but also including Florida, Illinois, Michigan, and Virginia (all states where there was a GOP trifecta last time), and Minnesota and New York (where we might get the trifecta this time)... while the states where the GOP will improve its position aren't as large (Alabama, Indiana, Tennessee... with Georgia the most significant one). The article also gets into the nitty-gritty of where the population growth within the fast-growing states has occurred (i.e. among minorities).
• Polltopia: You might have noticed that Political Wire briefly had some Senate polls up today from somebody I've never heard of before, called "TCJ Research." Those polls mysteriously vanished after Nate Silver, vanquisher of bogus pollsters, showed up on the scene with a simple tweet:
A Wordpress blog getting ~500 hits a day on posts like "October Giveaway: 32 Gigabyte Apple iPad!" suddenly commissions 5 polls? Not likely.
• SSP TV:
• IL-Sen: Two different ads from the DSCC attacking Mark Kirk, hitting him for his House voting record and also revisiting Kirk's misrememberment of his military record
• NC-Sen: Elaine Marshall's finally out with a TV spot, going after Richard Burr for helping to break the economy
• WV-Sen: While John Raese nods to the 'hick' ad semi-apologetically before changing the subject back to Washington Dems, Joe Manchin seems to be trying to out-hick the hick ad by touting his pro-gun and anti-environment credentials in one fell swoop by (I kid you not) shooting a copy of the cap-and-trade bill
• IL-Gov: The most famous Illinoisian, Barack Obama, cuts a radio spot on behalf of Pat Quinn
• RI-Gov: The DGA pounds Lincoln Chafee one more time from the right, accusing him of being a tax-hiking hippy
• FL-22: Ron Klein moves past the boring fixation on Allen West's tax liens and onto the really juicy stuff about 2nd Amendment remedies
• MN-06: Taryl Clark hits Michele Bachmann on Social Security
• PA-03: Kathy Dahlkemper touts her pro-life credentials in her new ad, explaining her siding with the Stupak bloc on health care reform
• VA-02: The DCCC's IE unit points the "hypocrite" arrow at Scott Rigell, for making hundreds of thousands of dollars off "Cash for Clunkers"
• WI-08: Ditto the DCCC ad in the 8th, where they hit Reid Ribble for making hundreds of thousands of dollars for his roofing business off stimulus projects
• CT-Gov: Dan Malloy (D) 49%, Tom Foley (R) 44%
• FL-Gov: Alex Sink (D) 47%, Rick Scott (R) 50%
• FL-Sen: Kendrick Meek (D) 19%, Marco Rubio (R) 50%, Charlie Crist (I) 25%
• GA-Gov: Roy Barnes (D) 41%, Nathan Deal (R) 50%
• GA-Sen: Michael Thurmond (D) 38%, Johnny Isakson (R-inc) 53%
• MN-Gov: Mark Dayton (D) 40%, Tom Emmer (R) 38%, Tom Horner (I) 15%
• NE-Gov: Mike Meister (D) 24%, Dave Heineman (R-inc) 66%
• NH-Sen: Paul Hodes (D) 44%, Kelly Ayotte (R) 51%
• NM-Gov: Diane Denish (D) 43%, Susana Martinez (R) 52%
• NV-Gov: Rory Reid (D) 40%, Brian Sandoval (R) 53%
• OR-Gov: John Kitzhaber (D) 48%, Chris Dudley (R) 46%
• SD-Gov: Scott Heidepriem (D) 33%, Dennis Daugaard (R) 57%
• TX-Gov: Bill White (D) 42%, Rick Perry (R-inc) 53%
• WA-Sen: Patty Murray (D-inc) 46%, Dino Rossi (R) 49%
• Angus-Reid: Some of you might have gotten excited about the California numbers offered up today by Angus-Reid (a well-established Canadian pollster, but apparently making their first foray into the States). Well, don't, because they're using an RV model, and more importantly, it's an Internet sample. (Now presumably there's some scientific selection behind it, not just a "click here!" banner ad, but we're highly skeptical nonetheless, especially since that seemed to produce notably pro-Dem results in California.)
• CA-Gov: Jerry Brown (D) 53%, Meg Whitman (R) 41%
• CA-Sen: Barbara Boxer (D-inc) 55%, Carly Fiorina (R) 39%
• OH-Gov: Ted Strickland (D-inc) 46%, John Kasich (R) 48%
• OH-Sen: Lee Fisher (D) 42%, Rob Portman (R) 53%
Not much to see here other than the remarkable consistency over the almost one year's period since the previous Selzer poll of this race. (I just learned a new word today, while searching for how to describe this race, linked to the Chet Culver vortex: "syntropy." It's synergy + entropy.)
• NH-Sen, NH-Gov: American Research Group (9/22-26, likely voters, Dec. 2009 in parentheses):
Paul Hodes (D): 32 (36)
Kelly Ayotte (R): 46 (43)
Undecided: 20 (21)
John Lynch (D-inc): 42
John Stephen (R): 40
ARG, mateys! Here be a mighty treasure trove of undecided scallywags! (And here be the gubernatorial link.)
• OH-Sen, OH-Gov: Univ. of Cincinnati for various Ohio newspapers (9/16-20, likely voters, 5/11-20 in parentheses):
Lee Fisher (D): 40 (47)
Rob Portman (R): 55 (46)
Undecided: 5 (6)
University of Cincinnati hasn't been in the field for a while, so they missed the very steady decline of the Dems in Ohio, making it look like more of a sudden collapse. At any rate, this is actually Ted Strickland's best non-internal showing since early August.
• WA-Sen: Commonsense Ten is out with a $412K independent expenditure in the Washington Senate race, on Patty Murray's behalf. (Wondering who they are? This Hotline article from July explains how they're something of a Dem answer to groups like American Crossroads, as well as giving some legal background on just how it came to be that the super-wealthy can give endless money to 527s to spend endlessly on IEs.) Meanwhile, there are dueling ads in Washington. As one might expect, Patty Murray lets Dino Rossi hang himself with his own anti-Boeing words, while Rossi hits Murray on her support of tarps. (Since most Washingtonians own several tarps -- they only thing that allows them to go camping during the ten rainy months of the year -- I don't see what the big deal is.)
• WV-Sen: The Dems are definitely getting active in here: the AFL-CIO is out with a huge direct mail blitz in West Virginia, and the DSCC is placing a major ad buy there starting tomorrow. In the meantime, John Raese, Tweeter and Facepage aficionado, is sticking to the GOP party line on global warming: it's all volcanoes' fault! (Wait... I thought it was sunspots. They'd better get their stories straight.)
• AK-Gov: Bill Walker, after weeks of dithering in the wake of losing the GOP gubernatorial primary, has formally decided against a write-in bid (despite having an easier-to-spell name than Murkowski). No word on an endorsement of either Sean Parnell or Ethan Berkowitz, although Berkowitz has been steadily reaching out to Walker.
• GA-Gov: With Nathan Deal not really having done much to deflect the attention being paid to his family's imminent financial collapse, now he's having to run damage control on another issue: his campaign is accused of having spent $135K to lease aircraft from a company where Deal himself is a part-owner. State ethics law bars candidates from using campaign funds for personal benefit, although the open legal question here is whether this turns into "personal benefit."
• NM-Gov: Third Eye Strategies for Diane Denish (9/21-23, likely voters, no trendlines):
This is kind of odd... we just got a Diane Denish internal poll from a totally different pollster (GQR) in the middle of last week. Does she have two different pollsters working for her? At any rate, the news is decidedly better in this one, showing a tie where last week's poll had her down by 5.
• TX-Gov: Blum & Weprin for Texas newspapers (9/15-22, likely voters, 2/2-10 in parentheses):
Bill White (D): 39 (37)
Rick Perry (R-inc): 46 (43)
Kathie Glass (L): 4 (-)
Deb Shafto (G): 1 (-)
Undecided: 8 (13)
The Texas race is extremely stable (check out the flatness in Pollster's regression lines, with a mid-single-digits spread). While I'd like to think that Bill White can get over 50% on his own, his best hope at this point might be for Libertarian candidate Kathie Glass to start taking a bigger share (presumably out of Rick Perry's hide, via the same crowd who went for Debra Medina in the primary).
• FL-24: Hamilton Campaigns for Suzanne Kosmas (9/22-23, likely voters, 8/25-29 in parentheses):
This is the first internal we've seen from Team Kosmas, and while it's not the kind of numbers that fill you with great confidence (up 2 in one's own internal), it is an indicator that we're still looking at a Tossup here instead of Lean R (which is where some of the other prognosticators have been sticking this one). The movement in Kosmas's direction suggests that voters have found out more about the crazier side of Adams in the wake of her surprise primary victory.
• MS-04: Tarrance Group for Steven Palazzo (9/21-22, likely voters, December 2009 Tarrance Grop poll for NRCC in parentheses):
Gene Taylor (D-inc): 45 (68)
Steven Palazzo (R): 41 (24)
(MoE: ± ?%)
There were reports last week that the NRCC was starting to smell smoke in this race (despite having an underfunded, low-name-rec candidate in Palazzo), and was going to try out a round of polling. Seems like their hunch may be right, as long-time Rep. Gene Taylor (who hasn't given Dems much reason to take interest in him lately... well, ever, really) is up only by single-digits in a new poll from the Palazzo camp.
• PA-10: Momentum Analysis for Chris Carney (9/23-25, likely voters, no trendlines):
Chris Carney (D-inc): 46
Tom Marino (R): 38
Chris Carney, having been slightly on the wrong end of a public poll from the Times-Leader (and on the very wrong end of that sketchy AFF poll last month), rolls out an internal giving him an 8-point lead over Tom Marino. Marino (who's pretty underfunded, although the NRCC is starting to get involved) is little-known (only 26/24 faves), so this is going to be one of many races where the Dem's survival is based on localizing in order to fend off Generic R.
• PA-16: I'm not sure what to make of this: the uphill campaign of Lois Herr (going against Joe Pitts in the 16th, which is solidly Republican but moved a lot in the Dems' direction in 2008) is out with a second internal poll from PPP that has her within single digits of the GOP incumbent. Pitts leads 41-34, which seems kind of bizarre considering that we're seeing polls in Pennsylvania with incumbent Dems losing by larger margins than that in much friendlier districts.
• SD-AL: Bennett Petts and Normington for Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (9/22-23, likely voters, no trendlines):
Here's one race that seems to be becoming a little more comfortable for the Democrats. (Recall that Herseth Sandlin led in the last Rasmussen poll of this race, after months of trailing.) I wonder how much of that has to do with the reveal of Noem's atrocious driving record, given voters' memories of leadfooted ex-Rep. Bill Janklow?
• DLCC: If you're looking to really micro-target your financial contributions to where your dollars get stretched the furthest and the leverage is the greatest (given the knife-edges on which many state legislatures, and the entire 2012 redistricting process, rest) the DLCC has rolled out its "Essential Races" program. This points to some of the tightest races in the tightest chambers; the link details their first wave of 20.
• CA-Init: There are some Field Poll leftovers to look at, concerning three of the biggest initiatives on the ballot this year. The news is good all around, although the margins aren't decisive: Proposition 19 (marijuana legalization) is passing 49-42 (it was failing 44-48 in the July Field Poll). Proposition 23 (undoing greenhouse gases limiting legislation) is failing 34-45. And maybe most importantly, Proposition 25 (allowing budget passage with a simple majority) is passing 46-30.
• Florida: Mason-Dixon's latest Florida poll (we gave you Sen and Gov numbers over the weekend) has a lot of miscellany in the fine print that's worth checking out. They find the GOP leading narrowly in three major downballot races: Pam Bondi leads Dan Gelber in the AG race 38-34, Jeff Atwater leads Loranne Ausley in the CFO race 29-27, and Adam Putnam leads Scott Maddox in the Ag Comm race 36-32. They also find that Amendment 4 has a shot at passing; it's up 53-26, although bear in mind that you need to clear 60% for a Florida initiative. Amendment 4 would require localities to put changes to comprehensive zoning plans up to a public vote; Josh Goodman has a good discussion of it today along with several other initiatives in other states that may pass despite having both sides of the entire political establishment lined up against them.
• SSP TV:
• FL-Sen: Marco Rubio rolls out his first ad en espanol, a biographical spot
• PA-Sen: How many freakin' ads has Pat Toomey come out with? Anyway, here's another one
• CT-02: Joe Courtney stresses his independence, especially regarding TARP
• CT-05: Chris Murphy's new ad focuses on stopping outsourcing
• PA-03, PA-11: The DCCC is out with new ads in the 3rd and 11th, continuing the trends of hitting Mike Kelly as out-of-touch millionaire and hitting Lou Barletta for sucking as Hazleton mayor
• AL-Sen: William Barnes (D) 30%, Richard Shelby (R-inc) 58%
• CT-Sen: Richard Blumenthal (D) 50%, Linda McMahon (R) 45%
• DE-Sen: Chris Coons (D) 49%, Christine O'Donnell (R) 40%, Mike Castle (I) 5%
• GA-Sen: Michael Thurmond (D) 36%, Johnny Isakson (R-inc) 52%
• IA-Gov: Chet Culver (D-inc) 37%, Terry Branstad (R) 55%
• ND-Sen: Tracy Potter (D) 25%, John Hoeven (R) 68%
• SC-Sen: Alvin Greene (D) 21%, Jim DeMint (R-inc) 64%
• Colorado: What looked like a hotly contested race on the Democratic side of the Senate race (thanks to a mixed bag of poll results, including an Andrew Romanoff lead according to SurveyUSA) turned into a fairly comfortable win for Michael Bennet in the end. Propped up by Obama and DSCC help, and weathering a last-minute patented hit job from the New York Times, Bennet won 54-46. Maybe this'll help put to sleep two memes that are getting very very tiresome: that it's an "anti-incumbent year," and that Obama endorsees all lose. Bennet will face off against Ken Buck, who defeated Jane Norton in the GOP primary 52-48. Polls haven't been conclusive in terms of whether Dems should have wanted to face off against Buck or Norton. Buck gets lumped in with Sharron Angle and Rand Paul because of his teabagger proclivities, but he's considerably more skilled than they are; nevertheless, he still seems gaffe-prone and irritable, so I'll take him.
Dan Maes won the GOP gubernatorial nod, 51-49. The only way things could have gone better for Dems in the GOP gubernatorial race would be if Maes' margin had been small enough to force a recount. The risk here was that irreparably-damaged Scott McInnis would win and then, being a good GOP team player, promptly drop out, allowing a better Republican (Jane Norton?) to take his place, which would then drive Tom Tancredo out of his indie bid. Maes has vowed to fight on, though, and his underwhelming presence is likely to keep Tancredo in the race, meaning not one but two guys not just spewing the crazy, but splitting the crazy vote and ensuring Gov. John Hickenlooper.
Finally, in Colorado, the GOP House primaries were uneventful wins for establishment candidates, with Ryan Frazier beating Lang Sias 64-36 in CO-07 and Scott Tipton beating Bob McConnell (Sarah Palin's other losing endorsee yesterday) winning 56-44 in CO-03.
• Connecticut: Probably the biggest surprise of the night was the 58-42 victory by former Stamford mayor Dan Malloy over Ned Lamont in the Democratic gubernatorial primary, seeing as how Lamont had led all polls (although polls did capture a late and rapid Malloy surge). The lesson here mostly boils down to one more race where the organizational power of the local political establishment was able to overcome the money of a rich outsider, but there's one other story here that Dem message-setters will hopefully notice. Judging by when polls saw the race tigthen, the wheels seemed to come off Lamont's campaign with a late round of attack ads that focused on layoffs at Lamont's company. Taking not just that but the air war in the PA-12 special in mind (where Mark Critz won in large measure by hammering Tim Burns over outsourcing), it really seems like, despite this year's overarching CW, voters will go for a "career politician" over a self-described job-creating outsider businessman, once it's made clear that said businessman's interest in jobs only extends as far as his own bottom line.
Malloy will face a flawed Tom Foley in November, and based on general election polling recently should be considered a slight favorite. Foley won the GOP primary narrowly over Lt. Governor Michael Fedele and Oz Griebel 42-39-19. Also, for the GOP, Linda McMahon unsurprisingly won the GOP primary in the face of Rob Simmons' half-assed comeback-type-thing. Simmons and Paulist economist Peter Schiff did keep her under 50% though: 49-28-23. McMahon faces Richard Blumenthal in November, who already launched his first TV ad this morning, shirking a no-doubt-tempting smackdown in favor of... what's that thing that McMahon doesn't have... oh, yeah. Dignity. The three GOP House primaries led to expected victories for Janet Peckinpaugh in CT-02 (43-38 over Daria Novak), Dan Debicella in CT-04 (60-24 over Rob Merkle), and Sam Caligiuri in CT-05 (40-32-28 over Justin Bernier and Mark Greenberg).
• Georgia: The main event in Georgia was the GOP gubernatorial runoff, and hoo boy, did it live up to its billing. The two candidates finished in recount territory at 50-50, with Nathan Deal leading Karen Handel by 2,500 votes. Unfortunately, Handel just conceded this morning rather than following through with the recount, so Dem nominee Roy Barnes doesn't get to spend weeks watching them keep fighting it out. Pundits will no doubt focus on the proxy war aspects of the battle ("Huck beats Palin!"), but the outcome seems to have more to do with Deal consolidating conservative votes outside the Atlanta area, where Handel's anti-corruption, anti-good-ol'-boyism message may have fallen flat.
We also had outcomes in three GOP House primaries, one to determine the nominee in a Likely Dem race, and the others to determine who's the next Rep. in dark-red districts. In GA-07, establishment-backed former John Linder CoS Rob Woodall beat teabagging radio talker Jody Hice, 56-44. In GA-09, Rep. Tom Graves won his fourth (and probably final) faceoff against Lee Hawkins, 55-45. And in GA-12, Ray McKinney beat Carl Smith 62-38 for the right to take on Rep. John Barrow. If you want to argue that this year's crop of Republican candidates is radioactive, you don't need to look any further than McKinney; he's a nuclear power plant project manager by day.
• Minnesota: Finally, there was only one race worth watching last night in Minnesota, and it turned out to be a barnburner: the DFL gubernatorial primary. State House speaker (and DFL endorsee) Margaret Anderson Kelliher led most of the night based on her strength in the Twin Cities, but as results trickled in from the rest of the state, ex-Sen. Mark Dayton crept into the lead. In the end, despite having convincing pre-primary poll leads, Dayton won 41-40-18 over Kelliher and Matt Entenza. Dayton pretty clearly benefited not only from his statewide familiarity, but also from picking a running mate from Duluth, where he cleaned up, late in the game. With a 7,000 margin separating them, Kelliher didn't concede last night... but she did this morning, meaning Dayton faces the increasingly woeful GOP nominee Tom Emmer in November. The most recent spate of polls has given Dayton double-digits advantages in that matchup.
• CO-Sen (D): The Democratic heavyweights are out in this marquee race on our side in Colorado, splitting between appointed incumbent and former Denver Schools Superintendent Michael Bennet and Colorado House speaker Andrew Romanoff. Obama's recorded a robocall for Bennet, while the Big Dog's been stumping for Romanoff (who, yes, endorsed Hillary in 2008). While Romanoff's bid seemed quixotic at first, he's managed to gain some traction, with the most recent polling in the race offering a split decision, with PPP saying Bennet 49-43 and SurveyUSA saying Romanoff 48-45. Much hay was made about Bennet's accidental incumbency, and the newest scuttle in the race takes the form of Bennet's financial dealings while Superintendent. While that news may have broken a little late, Romanoff still has the momentum -- but will it be enough? (JMD)
• CO-Sen (R): The Devil Wears Prada! Or, perhaps more appropriately, former Lt. Gov Jane Norton wears high heels, according to her rival, Weld County DA Ken Buck. The two have been duking it out for the conservative mantle. Buck's been endorsed by GOP would-be kingmaker Jim DeMint and has had some airpower in the form of shady 501(c)(4) group Americans for Job Security; Norton's earned the endorsements of both John McCain and the star of Saved By The Xenophobia, Jan Brewer. Norton and Buck remain close in polling, with PPP giving Norton a narrow edge at 41-40 and SurveyUSA giving Buck some more breathing room at 50-41. All of this remains in complete flux though, and any result tonight could be rendered moot by a switcheroo with the Governor's race, should the Colorado GOP somehow manage to cast off their albatross in Scott McInnis. (JMD)
• CO-Gov (R): Former Rep. Scott McInnis was at one time considered a major get for the GOP, and the strength of his candidacy was such that he helped push incumbent Dem Gov. Bill Ritter out of the race after just one term. No more. While some initially dismissed McInnis's plagiarism scandal as a minor white-collar affair that wouldn't interest average voters, his transgressions in fact proved unusually potent, leading to his campaign's utter ruin. Polls now show a dead heat between McInnis (whose fundraising has dried up) and crazy fringer Some Dude Dan Maes (who never raised squat to begin with). The primary may be completely moot, though: Rumors have abounded that if McInnis were to win, he'd step down in favor of a less-damaged candidate. We should probably be rooting for Maes, though, who has explicitly said he'd do no such thing. (D)
• CO-03 (R): Former state Rep. Scott Tipton, who represented a large swath of Southwestern Colorado before running against incumbent Dem. John Salazar in 2006, looked like he would easily earn the right to challenge Salazar a second time, but was held to only 45% at the state nominating against the teabaggish Bob McConnell, who also earned 45%. As a result, the two square off tonight, with McConnell running to Tipton's right, even boasting a Sarah Palin endorsement. Both candidates have some cash to play with, Tipton having spent $213k and McConnell having spent $132k so far. Given the relative low profile of this race - Salazar bested Tipton with 62% in 2006 and seems to be more entrenched than most vulnerable Dems - the race remains unpredictable. (JMD)
• CO-07 (R): The primary field in this suburban Denver district is also down to two after the convention, with Aurora City Councilman Ryan Frazier having earned 49% and carpetbagging former Democrat Lang Sias having earned 43%. Frazier is winning the money race by quite a distance, $252k to Sias's $89k cash-on-hand. Sias -- who lives in CO-02 and became a Republican in 2007, however, boasts endorsements from both former 7th CD Rep. Bob Beauprez, the one and only Tom Tancredo, and John McCain, who Sias campaigned for (but didn't vote for). Again, Perlmutter doesn't seem particularly vulnerable, leading to a lower-profile -- and less predictable -- race tonight. (JMD)
• CT-Gov (D): Connecticut Democrats are hungry for a win this November -- which would be their first gubernatorial win since William O'Neill's re-election in 1986 -- but they'll have to get through a fast-closing primary tonight to see who their nominee will be. '06 Senate nominee and Lieberman primary-slayer Ned Lamont is facing off against former 14-year Stamford Mayor Dan Malloy, and this race looks like it's going down to the wire. After lagging in the polls behind Lamont for months, Malloy has used some well-timed punches to turn Lamont's business experience against him, releasing TV ads criticizing Lamont for layoffs at his telecommunications company. The latest Q-poll shows that Lamont's lead has eroded to a mere three points -- certainly not a margin to bet the farm on tonight. (JL)
• CT-Gov (R): While technically this one is a three-way decision, the only candidates with a shot at winning the Republican nomination tonight are ex-Ambassador Tom Foley and Lt. Gov. Michael Fedele. Like Lamont, Foley has used his personal fortune to catapult himself to an early lead. Fedele has had a rough time keeping pace, highlighted by his failures to secure endorsements from Gov. Jodi Rell and the state GOP convention. Still, Fedele has swung back at Foley with TV ads drawing attention to layoffs at one of Foley's textile factories in Georgia. The latest Q-Poll shows some juice for Fedele, but he still lags behind Foley by 38-30. (JL)
• CT-Sen (R): Little Bobby Simmons announced that he was taking his ball and going home, but it turns out that he was just lingering behind the bleachers until he could muster up the courage to take another at-bat. The results aren't pretty: a 50-28 lead for controversial WWE Queen Linda McMahon in the latest Q-Poll. Next! (JL)
• CT-02 (R): Now this one's getting down in the weeds, but Republicans are trying to prod as many Dem-held seats for potential weakness as possible. The crop of candidates going up against two-term Rep. Joe Courtney, however, leaves much to be desired. After their most well-funded recruit, former Hebron Board of Finance vice chairman Matthew Daly, dropped out in May, Republicans are picking between former TV anchorwoman Janet Peckinpaugh, former State Department official Daria Novak, and farmer/attorney Douglas Dubitsky. Peckinpaugh, the most "hyped" of the trio, failed to raise more than $50K for her campaign, and her candidacy drew early fire for her most recent employment stint as a shill for a now-defunct mortgage company in deceptive, TV news-like ads. As much success as Republicans have had in expanding the map this year, this race stacks up as a glaring recruiting failure. (JL)
• CT-04 (R): State Sen. Dan Debicella is the clear front-runner in the race to take on Rep. Jim Himes. He faces a couple of Some Dudes who, as befits their Some Dude status, haven't raised squat: Rick Torres and Rob Merkle. (A more credible opponent, Tom Herrmann, dropped out in June after petition fraud meant he couldn't qualify for the ballot.) Debicella won his party's backing at the state convention earlier this year. (D)
• CT-05 (R): Though the 5th district would seem to be a tougher GOP target than the 4th, the Republican primary here has attracted quite a bit more money, and a larger number of credible candidates. Another state senator, Sam Caligiuri, is also the presumed front-runner here, having won 70% of the delegate vote at his party's nominating convention. But Afghanistan vet Justin Bernier, who was running in this race (and got some favorable notice) before Caligiuri dropped down from the senate contest last November, has raised a creditable sum and hasn't given up. Like many others in his position, though, it seems he's had a chip on his shoulder ever since Caligiuri hopped into the race, and that's usually not very appealing. Wealthy businessman Mark Greenberg actually leads the money race, with over a million raised (most of that from his own pockets), but most of the media attention devoted to this contest has seemed to focus on the Caligiuri-Bernier matchup. The winner, whomever he may be, gets to challenge sophomore Rep. (and all-time SSP hero) Chris Murphy in the fall. (D)
• GA-Gov (R): The big ticket race in Georgia is the Republican gubernatorial runoff, between Karen Handel, the former SoS who finished a dominant first in the primary, and Nathan Deal, the former U.S. Rep. who was second. The Beltway media tends to emphasize that this is a proxy fight between possible presidential candidates (with Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney backing Handel, and Newt Gingrich and Mike Huckabee backing Deal), but the important post-primary endorsements here may have been the NRA, and third-place finisher state Sen. Eric Johnson (who has a strong base in the Savannah area), which both seemed to have consolidate conservative and rural Johnson and John Oxendine votes behind Deal. With that, Deal has pulled into a polling tie with Handel, promising a down-to-the-wire race tonight. (C)
• GA-07 (R): With the surprising third-place finish of state Rep. Clay Cox (who'd had the backing of the Club for Growth and many local endorsers), meaning he's not in the runoff, it's anybody's guess as to who has the upper hand tonight in the Republican runoff in the dark-red open seat 7th and be the district's next Rep. (Actually, this part of Atlanta's northern suburbs is going through a lot of demographic change that will be beneficial to Democrats in the long run, but this isn't going to be the year to capitalize on that.) John Linder's former CoS, Rob Woodall, faces off against radio talk show host Jody Hice. (C)
• GA-09 (R): Few candidates are as well acquainted with each other as newly-minted Rep. Tom Graves and former state Sen. Lee Hawkins, who, thanks to a special election, special election runoff, and primary, are now poised to face each other for the fourth time this year. Graves has won the first three rounds, and barely missed winning the primary outright (with 49% of the vote), so it would be a pretty monumental turnaround for Hawkins to finally win it, on the time it really counts (as November will be of little import in this dark-red district). Maybe having been in Congress for five months is enough to give Graves the unacceptable taint of incumbency, though. The county to watch is Hall, where Hawkins has his geographic base and which tends to report late. (C)
• GA-12 (R): Democratic Rep. John Barrow -- who overcame his main challenge this year, a challenge from the left from former state Sen. Regina Thomas, in the primary -- will be watching with some interest tonight to see who his Republican opponent will be: nuclear power plant project manager Ray McKinney, or former fire chief of the small town of Thunderbolt, Carl Smith? Neither one is particularly well-funded or has an imposing profile, but this race could be competitive if the Republican wave is particularly large. (C)
• MN-Gov (D): Minnesota Democrats will finally have a chance to participate in some real democracy today, rather than having their gubernatorial nominee chosen for them by a bunch of elites at a party convention. State House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher did in fact win the endorsement of state delegates, but former Sen. Mark Dayton and former state Rep. Matt Entenza forged on with primary challenges regardless. It was probably a wise move for the wealthy Dayton, seeing as recent polls have all shown him to be in first place, with MAK in second and Entenza (who also has access to family money) in third. While this race may not wind up being very exciting, in a low turnout three-way with one woman and two men, the outcome could be unexpected. (D)
The party conventions were held in Colorado and Connecticut over the weekend. In Colorado, on the Senate side, things played out pretty much as expected. For the Dems, Andrew Romanoff won the convention over appointed incumbent Michael Bennet. The 60-40 margin, though, wasn't a dominant performance; it saw him gain only a small amount of ground among party insiders since the precinct-level caucuses, and it enables Bennet to qualify for the ballot without having to collect signatures.
For the GOP, Weld Co. DA and Tea Party fave Ken Buck won 77% (with 15% for some dude Clive Tidwell), certainly a dominant performance, but that's largely because ex-LG Jane Norton and ex-state Sen. Tom Wiens, lacking the necessary activist backing, put no effort into contesting the convention. Perhaps the most consequential thing that happened wasn't until today, when Wiens, who'd been expected to forge ahead with collecting signatures to get on the ballot, pulled a sudden about-face today and dropped out of the race. In another blow to the Norton campaign, Wiens threw his backing to Buck.
The real surprise in Colorado came on the gubernatorial side, where teabagging businessman Dan Maes wound up claiming the top spot over ex-Rep. Scott McInnis, the expected frontrunner. Maes won 49.3-48.9, so McInnis is on the ballot, but this to shake up his projected air of inevitability. On the Dem side, Denver mayor John Hickenlooper had no real opposition en route to the nomination. Further down the ballot, the GOP settled things in CO-03 and CO-04. State Rep. Cory Gardner is the nominee in the 4th, as he pulled in 61%; neither opponent, Dean Madere or Tom Lucero, broke 30% and do not plan to petition onto the ballot. In the 3rd, both state Rep. Scott Tipton and attorney Bob McConnell will be on the primary ballot; they tied at 45%.
In the Nutmeg State, the Democratic Senate nomination turned out to be drama-free despite Richard Blumenthal's self-inflicted wounds this week. Opponent Merrick Alpert dropped out midway through the process and endorsed Blumenthal, who was then nominated by acclaim. Nevertheless, Blumenthal went further than his press conference in offering a mea culpa over the weekend, following some prodding from fellow Dems, actually saying "I am sorry" in an e-mailed statement. Blumenthal also sent around his own internal poll from GQR, which was taken on the 19th and 20th, shortly after the "in Vietnam" story broke and before the air started to leak out of the NYT piece. It had him beating Linda McMahon 55-40, quite a difference from the Rasmussen poll from the same time period.
In the GOP Senate derby, ex-Rep. Rob Simmons was given the edge by most observers, thanks to his long local political career. Well, the convention participants were wowed by Linda McMahon's money instead, as well as her ability to pull the wool over the New York Times' eyes; they went for McMahon 52-45 (with the balance to Peter Schiff). Despite earlier allusions to dropping out if he didn't win the convention, Simmons now promises to fight on to the primary, which is generating rumbles of concern from party insiders.
The Governor's race had feisty battles on both sides, won by ex-Stamford mayor Dan Malloy over Ned Lamont on the Dem side, and ex-Ambassador Tom Foley over Lt. Gov. Michael Fedele for the GOP. Despite losing nearly 2-to-1 at the convo, Lamont leads in polls of actual voters and, with a lot of wealth at his disposal, plans to fight on in the primary. On the GOP side, Foley won with about 50% but Fedele and businessman Oz Griebel both cleared the 15% hurdle for the primary; it was the end of the line, though, for long-ago ex-Rep. Larry DeNardis.
Finally, a few GOP House fields in Connecticut got a little more clarity. In the 5th, both state Sen. Sam Caliguri and ex-state military affairs director Justin Bernier made the primary ballot, although Caliguri's 67% puts him in the driver's seat. In the 4th, state Sen. Dan Debicella nearly monopolized the vote; Thom Hermann, Rick Torres, and Rob Merkle all plan to seek signatures to qualify. And in the 2nd, former TV news anchor Janet Peckinpaugh, as well as Doug Dubitsky and Daria Novak, all cleared the 15% mark to get on the ballot.
• AR-Sen: Americans for Job Security strikes back! They're launching a new ad against Bill Halter on the outsourcing front... well, it's pretty much the same ad, just not as, y'know, openly racist. They're spending almost $500K on the TV ad buy, supplementing the large amounts they've already dropped in this race.
• FL-Sen: Mason-Dixon has a new post-party-switch poll of the Senate race. They find Charlie Crist with a narrow lead, at 38, compared with Marco Rubio at 32 and Kendrick Meek at 19, but they also warn that Crist's sitting on a house of cards, as more than half of Crist's support is from Democrats and that may erode as Meek gets better known (Meek is at 40% unknown). I trust Mason-Dixon more than the three other pollsters who've also released results this week, but they all seem to be reaching a sort of consensus on this race (Rasmussen at 38C-34R-17M, McLaughlin at 33C-29R-15M, and POS for Crist at 36C-28R-23M). Meanwhile, the candidates are fumbling around trying to pin down their respective bases with various flipfloppery: Rubio is walking back his previous disdain for Arizona's immigration law, now saying he's all for it, while the occasionally pro-life Crist is prepared to veto a bill requiring pregnant women to view a fetal ultrasound before being able to have an abortion.
• IL-Sen: This is probably good news for Alexi Giannoulias, although it was more a question of when it would happen rather than if it would happen, given the media's tendency to get distracted by the next shiny object. A local TV reporter more or less called out Mark Kirk for incessant focus on the Broadway Bank scandal and asked him what else he was planning to talk about in the future, perhaps indicative of a growing media boredom with the story.
• PA-Sen/Gov: Today's tracker in the Muhlenberg/Morning Call poll shows a narrower spread in the Senate race: Arlen Specter leads Joe Sestak 45-40. In the Governor's primary, Dan Onorato is at 34, Joe Hoeffel is at 12, and Anthony Williams and Jack Wagner are at 8. Meanwhile, the Sestak camp is hitting Specter with a new TV ad focusing on what's probably Specter's biggest vulnerability in the Democratic primary: the fact that he was a Republican Senator for, y'know, three decades or so. The ad's replete with lots of photos of Specter and G.W. Bush, together again. The tightening race and aggressive tone has the Pennsylvania Dem establishment worried, and state party chair T.J. Rooney is sounding the alarm, calling a possible Sestak win "cataclysmic" and making various electability arguments in favor of Specter.
• AL-Gov: We don't have any actual hard numbers to report, but local pollster Gerald Johnson (of Capital Survey Research Center) has been leaking reports that there's significant tightening in the Democratic gubernatorial primary, with Ag Commissioner Ron Sparks moving within the margin of error of Rep. Artur Davis. Davis's numbers seem to have dropped following his anti-HCR vote. Meanwhile, on the GOP side, Tim James' attention-grabbing, race-baiting ad seems to have had its desired effect. He just released an internal poll showing him taking the lead, with him at 26, Roy Moore at 21, Bradley Byrne at 20, and Robert Bentley at 7. (The previous James internal had Moore at 27, Byrne at 18, and James at 14.)
• CA-Gov (pdf): Another gubernatorial primary where there's some tightening is on the Republican side is the GOP primary in California. Steve Poizner is touting an internal poll from POS that his him within 10 points of the once-unstoppable Meg Whitman, 38-28. It seems like Whitman lost a whole lot of inevitability once someone than her actually started advertising on TV, too.
• CT-02: That was fast... it was only a few days ago that former TV anchor Janet Peckinpaugh's interest in running the 2nd became known. Now she's officially launched her campaign, with Connecticut's nominating convention fast approaching (May 21).
• PA-12: The DCCC paid for another $170K in media buys on behalf of Mark Critz, bringing their total investment in this special election up to $641K. (J) The GOP is bringing one more big gun to the district to campaign on Tim Burns's behalf, too: Rep. Mike Pence.
• VA-05: In the wake of his surprising decision to join the Constitution Party, ex-Rep. Virgil Goode had to clarify several things: most notably, he said that, no, he's not running in the 5th this year as a Constitution Party candidate (or as anything else), although he wouldn't rule out a future run. Furthermore, he isn't leaving the Republican Party; he doesn't view membership as mutually exclusive. Meanwhile, Politico is wondering what's up between the NRCC and the establishment candidate in the 5th, state Sen. Robert Hurt. Hurt hasn't been added to the NRCC's Young Guns list, despite their tendency to add anyone with a pulse everywhere else. The NRCC hasn't added any names in this district and says they'd prefer to wait until after the primary -- although in other contested primaries, they've added multiple names to the list, which suggests that they're trying to lay low in this race, which has become a rather emblematic flash point in the establishment/teabagger rift this year.
• WA-03: Both Democratic candidates in the 3rd nailed down labor endorsements in the last few days. Denny Heck got the endorsement of the Boeing Machinists (maybe the state's most powerful union) and the local IBEW, while Craig Pridemore got the nod from the pulp and paper workers.
• WI-07: With David Obey's surprising retirement announcement yesterday, we're moving the open seat in the 7th to "Tossup" status (from Likely Dem). On the one hand, it's a D+3 district with a solid Democratic bench of state legislators, but on the other hand, GOP challenger Sean Duffy is sitting on a lot of money and establishment support, and there's, of course, the nature of the year. CQ lists a whole herd of possible Democratic successors in the district: the big name on the list is probably Russ Decker, the state Senate's majority leader. Others include state Sens. Julie Lassa and Pat Kreitlow, state Rep. Donna Seidel, and attorney Christine Bremer. Another area state Sen., Robert Jauch, has already taken himself out of the running. And one other Republican isn't ruling out a bid, which could complicate Duffy's path: state Rep. Jerry Petrowski.
• CA-Init: It looks like Californians will get the chance to vote on an initiative that proposes to move congressional redistricting to the same independent commission process as legislative redistricting, as the initiative just qualified for the ballot. I'm genuinely torn: on the one hand, the naïve idealist in me admits some fondness for compactly-drawn swingy districts, but on the other hand, Dems have a good shot at controlling the trifecta in California and with the ability to wring some additional Dem-leaning seats out of the map, control of the 2012 House may well be at stake here.
• NRCC: The NRCC promoted 13 members of its Young Guns framework to the top tier (the "Young Guns" level). This includes not only the aforementioned Sean Duffy, but also the winners of the three contested primaries in Indiana... and a surprise in the form of Morgan Griffith, who's taking on Rep. Rick Boucher in VA-09 but who's still sitting on a five-figure cash stash and on the wrong end of a 22:1 CoH ratio.
An all-House digest today - and it's an hour earlier than usual! Remember, today is primary day in IN, NC & OH, so be sure to check out SSP's handy election guide.
AL-07: Attorney Terri Sewell, who is probably the candidate ideologically closest to outgoing Rep. Artur Davis, is going up with a TV ad buy in Montgomery and Birmingham which will stay up through the primary (which is a month from now). No word on the size of the buy, though.
CT-02: Republicans are courting former television news anchor Janet Peckinpaugh to run against Rep. Joe Courtney, who has luckily skated by without much in the way of opposition this cycle. Peckinpaugh says she's considering it. She was most recently seen shilling for a now-defunct mortgage company in deceptive, TV news-like ads, clearly trading on her reputation as a newsreader. The company, Lend America, shut down in December after it was placed under federal investigation.
FL-12: After screwing up the establishment's efforts to clear the GOP primary field for ex-state Rep. Dennis Ross by jumping into the race, Polk County Comm'r Randy Wilkinson is bidding adieu to the Republican Party. Instead, he's going to run as the Tea Party candidate (there's an actual Tea Party in Florida, just like the Whigs). Wilkinson has raised very little money - his FEC reports are a mess, and he seems to like filing them in hand-written form, so he doesn't even appear in their electronic database.
FL-21: What a bummer - zero Dems filed in the open 21st CD, which means that Mario Diaz-Balart will automatically inherit his brother Lincoln's seat. I can't really blame folks too much, though, as Florida has especially onerous ballot access requirements. If you don't petition on, you have to pay a filing fee, which is an insane $10,000+.
HI-01: The DCCC threw down another $70K for negative ads against Charles Djou.
ID-01, OH-15: We mentioned the other day that GOPer Steve Stivers, busy with a rematch against Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy in OH-15, said he favors repealing the 17th amendment - the one which gives citizens the right to vote for their senators (rather than having them be appointed by state legislatures). Well, after taking a lot of much-deserved heat, he's backed off that fantasy. But his would-be colleague, Vaughn Ward, is taking up the mantle. Ward, running against Rep. Walt Minnick in ID-01, offered a rationale worthy of Miss Teen South Carolina, saying "When you look at how come state's rights have been so abrogated, it's because of things like the 17th Amendment that has taken away those rights from our states." Yuh huh. Exactly.
IL-08: Just click the link and read about the greatest political implosion of the entire cycle. (Thankfully, it's the bad guys.) More here, here, and here.
KS-03: Along with Joe Garcia (see yesterday's morning digest), the DCCC added another candidate to their Red to Blue list, Stephene Moore, who is the wife of retiring Rep. Dennis Moore.
MA-10: State Rep. Jeff Perry, running for Bill Delahunt's open seat, scored an endorsement from ex-MA Gov. Mitt Romney. Perry, who was also previously endorsed by Sen. Scott Brown, has a primary against ex-state Treasurer Joe Malone. Malone has some baggage-related cooties, which probably explains Perry's run of good fortune.
MD-01 (PDF): Public Opinion Strategies (R) for Americans for Prosperity (R) (4/25-26, likely voters, no trendlines):
Frank Kratovil (D-inc): 36
Andy Harris (R): 39
Richard Davis (L): 6
Two things about this poll: First off, in contravention of appropriate practice, POS asked all kinds of axe-grindy issue questions ("Gov. O'Malley raised taxes by $1.3 billion") before getting to the horserace question. This does damage to POS's reputation as a supposedly respectable pollster. Secondly, the weird thing is that Harris switched pollsters - and his last survey, from the Tarrance Group back in November, had him up by a whopping 52-39. While it's not a proper trendline, you gotta wonder - is Harris slipping? Or is he getting snowed by his various pollsters? (Update: D'oh! Our mistake -- this poll was not done for Harris, but actually the right-wing consortium of douches known as the Americans for Prosperity.)
MI-01: Dem state Rep. Joel Sheltrown, who got into the race to replace Bart Stupak just a few weeks ago, is bowing out.
MI-09: Self-funder Gene Goodman is dropping out of the race to take on Rep. Gary Peters, despite having loaned his campaign $450K. That leaves ex-state Rep. Andrew "Rocky" Raczkowski and former Oakland County GOP Chair Paul Welday in the running, both of whom have had unimpressive fundraising - and in fact, Rocky is yet another victim (albeit a more minor one) of Base Connect.
Meanwhile, we missed a Welday internal poll from a couple of weeks ago (taken by Mitchell Research & Communications), which had Peters leading by just 44-43. The poll sampled just 300 LVs, though, and according to the Hotline, was in the field at two discontiguous times. Peters' camp attacked the poll's sample composition, but Steve Mitchell says he used the same methodology as he did in September of 2008, when (according to the article), " he declared Peters was going to defeat Joe Knollenberg." Is this hindsight proving to be 20/20? Mitchell's poll from back then had the race tied.
NY-13: Global Strategy Group (D) for Mike McMahon (4/7-11, likely voters, no trendlines):
Mike McMahon (D-inc): 56
Mike Allegretti (R): 24
Mike McMahon (D-inc): 56
Mike Grimm (R): 23
OH-09: Dem Rep. Marcy Kaptur, who is not really on anyone's radar in terms of having a competitive race, is nonetheless facing a moneybags challenger. Former Food Town CEO Rich Iott just dumped $319,000 into his campaign. Kaptur has over a million on hand, and the 9th CD voted 62% for Obama and 58% for Kerry.
PA-12: Anzalone-Liszt (D) for the DCCC (4/27-29, likely voters, no trendlines):
Mark Critz (D): 43
Tim Burns (R): 41
TN-08: A couple of disgusting low-lifes running for TN-08, Ron Kirkland and Randy Smith, had this delightful exchange at a candidate forum:
Kirkland, of Jackson, referred to his Army training during the Vietnam War and said: "I can tell you if there were any homosexuals in that group, they were taken care of in ways I can't describe to you."
Smith, a chef from Mercer who served in the Navy during the Gulf War, said: "I definitely wouldn't want to share a shower with a homosexual. We took care of that kind of stuff, just like (Kirkland) said."
These sick bastards have serious issues.
SD-AL: Heh - GOP state Rep. Kristi Noem has a biographical spot up on the air, talking about her return to her family farm after her father's death. The only problem is that she shot the ad in Texas - which became apparent given that the backdrop (a grove of leafy green trees) is something you can't really find in North South Dakota this time of year. Reminds me of when Bob Schaffer ran an ad pretending that Alaska's Mount McKinley was actually Colorado's famous Pikes Peak while running for CO-Sen in 2008.
• AZ-Sen: Ex-Rep. J.D. Hayworth has made it pretty clear already that he's taking on John McCain in the Republican Senate primary, and now he's made it official when he's going to make it official. The launch date for his campaign: Feb. 15.
• CT-Sen, CT-02: Ex-Rep. Rob Simmons did a whole lot of bobbing and weaving when an interviewer yesterday kept pressing him on the issue of whether he'd consider dropping down to run for his old House seat again (although a spokesperson followed up afterwards, saying he will not running for anything else, "period"). The idea has to be tempting to Simmons, though, who just watched his Senate dreams vaporize with Democratic AG Richard Blumenthal's entry, and who may by enviously eyeing efforts by some of the other 2006 victims (like Mike Fitzpatrick) to turn back the clock.
• KS-Sen: There's still six months to go before their Republican Senate primary, but time's running out for Rep. Todd Tiahrt to make a move against fellow Rep. Jerry Moran. Moran leads this month's SurveyUSA poll 40-33 (two months ago Tiahrt pulled within 3, but that's the closest he's been). Moran is currently up 38-23 in the state's northeast, which will be the decisive region (as they each have their respective districts already locked down).
• NV-Sen: File this under "it's bad news even if you have to be out there repeatedly saying this," but Harry Reid again denied (this time to Las Vegas political reporter Jon Ralston) that he'd drop out of his fizzling Senate race to make way for a different candidate. On the GOP side, one potential opponent, Sue Lowden, is up with her first TV spot, a soft-focus biographical ad. Taking note of these developments, no doubt, are Dick Durbin and Charles Schumer; insiders are observing that the two of them are both busy doling out campaign cash to their colleagues in order to build loyalties for what looks like the fight to be the next majority leader.
• NY-Sen-B: In case you missed it, last night's point-by-point dismantling of Harold Ford Jr. by Stephen Colbert is a must-see. It clearly wasn't the coming-out gala that Ford had envisioned.
• UT-Sen: The establishment is riding to the rescue for Bob Bennett, who could be threatened in this year's primary if the teabagging rabble somehow coalesced behind one of his many opponents. The NRSC just handed $43K to Bennett's campaign (an important sign to other institutional contributors), and Newt Gingrich is headlining a big-bucks fundraiser for Bennett.
• CA-Gov: Republican pollster McLaughlin & Associates (apparently not working on behalf of any of the candidates) released a poll of the Republican gubernatorial primary, finding zillionairess Meg Whitman leading zillionaire Steve Poizner, 39-12. Apparently they were in the field when Tom Campbell bailed out, as they also offer up a three-way head-to-head, which was 31 Whitman, 17 Campbell, 5 Poizner.
• CT-Gov: A couple comings and goings in Connecticut today: as expected, Danbury mayor Mark Boughton got in the Republican field. On the Democratic side, state Sen. Gary LeBeau, who'd been polling in the low single digits, dropped out. In a moment of unusual honesty for a politician, LeBeau said, "The state has no idea who Gary LeBeau is."
• OR-Gov: This is a bit of a surprise, but in the wake of Al Gore's endorsement, it's certainly an indication that ex-SoS Bill Bradbury (something of an underdog in the Democratic primary against ex-Gov. John Kitzhaber) has some powerful friends back in DC. Howard Dean will appear at several fundraisers for Bradbury in Oregon next week.
• FL-08: Here's another surprise: brash 20-something real estate developer Armando Gutierrez dropped out of the GOP field in the 8th, despite having attracted a lot of favorable buzz and even picked up a few endorsements from members of Florida's House delegation. The national party never warmed up to him, though, seemingly put off by his line-crashing, and he may have finally gotten the message, between the NRCC's preferred pick, businessman Bruce O'Donoghue, officially filing yesterday, and the endorsement by neighboring Rep. Cliff Stearns of yet another Republican in the crowded field, state Rep. Kurt Kelly.
• FL-19: In all the madness over the Illinois primaries today, it's been almost universally forgotten that the primary in the safely-blue 19th to replace resigned Rep. Robert Wexler is also today. It's hardly worth a look, though, as state Sen. Ted Deutch pretty much has it locked down, having raised many times more money than anyone else and nailed down the establishment endorsements. Former Broward Co. Commissioner Ben Graber is the only other candidate of note.
• IN-04: Despite the advantages that his statewide profile brings him, SoS Todd Rokita won't have the GOP field to replace retiring Rep. Steve Buyer to himself. He'll have to face state Sen. Brandt Hershman too. Hershman has one key advantage himself: he works as an aide to Buyer, and has Buyer's backing.
• NV-03: Here's some good news for ex-state Sen. Joe Heck: he just got $10K to go toward his campaign against vulnerable Dem freshman Rep. Dina Titus. The bad news is: that $10K came from the PAC of John Ensign, who just won't stop trying to make himself useful to Nevada's other Republicans despite the fact that he's about as popular as shingles right now. But then Heck got some more good news: he won't face a seriously contested primary, as self-funding businessman Rob Lauer dropped his teabaggish challenge to Heck to run for SoS instead.
• NY-13: A lot of people are asking who Michael Grimm is, after he banked over $300K last quarter to go up against Democratic Rep. Michael McMahon. He's a former FBI agent, who apparently has a lot of friends in high places... in places outside of his district. Only $3,500 of that amount came from within the actual district, and $2,000 of that was from Staten Island Republican guru Guy Molinari.
• NY-14: Live by the primary challenge, die by the primary challenge. Rep. Carolyn Maloney now faces one of her own, a well-funded challenge from the apparent right from 30-something attorney Reshma Saujani, who has previously raised serious dollars within the Indian-American community for other Democratic candidates. Saujani, believe it or not, is running on an unashamedly pro-Wall Street platform (although this is maybe the one district in the country where that might still work).
• PA-06: Two more prominent local Democrats who had endorsed Doug Pike when he was the only game in town have switched their endorsements to Manan Trivedi instead. Significantly, they're both in Berks County (which is also where Trivedi is from, and which is where Dems have tended to run the weakest in the district in the past): Reading mayor Tom McMahon and Berks Co. Commissioner Kevin Barnhardt.
• TN-01: Would you believe that there's a Republican who lost in one of the wave elections who isn't running for something this year? However, before you get too excited, it's ex-Rep. David Davis, who'd been mulling a third matchup against Rep. Phil Roe, who knocked him off in a GOP primary in this super-red district in eastern Tennessee. The not-insane Roe may be the best we can hope for in this district, especially compared with Davis, who'd been making outreach to the local teabaggers in preparation for another run.
• WV-03: A credible challenger to Democratic Rep. Nick Rahall sneaked under the rope at the filing deadline: former state Supreme Court justice Elliott Maynard. Maynard was, until recently, a Democrat, but switched parties pushed along largely by his perception of Democrats' anti-coal environmental policies (and no doubt also influenced by West Virginia's reddish turn over the last decade).
• OH-SoS: This was painless and easy: not only did a more progressive alternative to conservative state Rep. Jennifer Garrison get into the Secretary of State race - Franklin Co. Court Clerk Maryellen O'Shaughnessy - but she won't even face a contested primary. Getting the message that her establishment support was practically nil, Garrison got out of the race. Meanwhile, on the Republican side, the GOP establishment seems to have settled the trouble it was having finding a replacement Auditor candidate after Mary Taylor ditched the job to run for Lt. Governor. They got Delaware Co. Prosecutor Kevin Yost to switch over from the AG's race, where he was facing ex-Sen. Mike DeWine in a primary. That caused a lot of consternation among the state's right-wingers, though - they were looking forward to Yost picking off the unacceptably moderate (and generally underwhelming) DeWine in the primary. Both the SoS and Auditor positions are key from a redistricting perspective, as along with the Governor they control the state's legislative redistricting process.
• Republicans: If you haven't checked out the details of Research 2000's in-depth poll of the state of what Republicans believe today, please do. Although I'm not really still sure what to do with all this knowledge... except maybe acknowledge that you can't negotiate with such irrational actors.
• Redistricting: CQ's Josh Kurtz takes an interesting look at redistricting in California over the decades, as seen through the prism of a new book that covers the many ups and downs of legendary California Rep. Philip Burton. Will it be an incumbent protection map or an aggressive push, and how will the state's fast-growing Latino population be accommodated?