• CA-Sen: Good news for Tom Campbell, in the form of the Senate half of M4's poll of the California GOP primary: he leads Carly Fiorina and Chuck DeVore, 33-28-15. (Of course, with his plans to briefly go dark to conserve funds, that gives Fiorina a chance to play catchup when the margin's not that big.) Bad news for Campbell, though: the NRA has him in its metaphorical crosshairs, sending out a mailer to members attacking Campbell and, while not endorsing, offering kind words for Fiorina and DeVore.
• CT-Sen: This is going to make it a lot easier for Richard Blumenthal to make the case that the "in Vietnam" controversy is something of a cheap shot. A longer-form video release of the appearance (provided, ironically, by the Linda McMahon campaign, undercutting their own hatchet job) where the offending phrase occurred have him correctly referring to having "served in the military, during the Vietnam era" in the very same speech. That's not stopping Vietnam vet Rob Simmons, who, sensing an opening, has rolled out web advertising with "Blumenthal Lied About Vietnam" in very large letters.
Blumenthal is getting more explicit backing from Democratic bigwigs now, as his mea culpa/attempt to get back on the offense seems to have had the desired effect. Rep. Chris Murphy, the likeliest guy to pick up the pieces if Blumenthal had to bail out, offered his unqualified support; so too did Howard Dean. And here's one thing that's actually good about Rasmussen's one-day, no-callback samples: they can strike fast. They polled Connecticut, and while the trendlines aren't appealing, they find Blumenthal still beating McMahon even in the heat of the moment before the story has had time to digest, and beating the other, unmoneyed GOP opponents by pretty wide margins. Markos has some really nice pushback against Rasmussen in general, today, asking why they always poll quickly when there's the potential for a good Republican narrative but not when the narrative doesn't fit (as seen in their failure to poll the Sorta Super-Tuesday primaries).
• FL-Sen: Charlie Crist has been trying to woo union support, starting with a speech at the state AFL-CIO convention this weekend. It's another indication that he's trying to move squarely onto Kendrick Meek's turf and monopolize as much of the left-of-center vote as he can, now that he's free from his GOP shackles. Meanwhile, quixotic Democratic candidate Jeff Greene has apparently been seen wooing Ukrainian strippers, in 2005 on his 145-foot yacht while cruising the Black Sea. Not so, claims his campaign spokesperson; he was busy traveling with his rabbi at the time instead.
• KY-Sen: In case you needed one more data point on how thin-skinned Rand Paul and how likely a meltdown from him is at some point before November, here's an anecdote from last night: he refused to take the customary concession call from Trey Grayson, at least according to the Grayson camp.
• NC-Sen: Here's a big score for Elaine Marshall: Third-place finisher Kenneth Lewis gave his backing to Marshall in her runoff against Cal Cunningham. This move isn't so surprising, given that Lewis's supporters, like Rep. Eva Clayton, were already gravitating toward Marshall, but it ought to steer much of Lewis's African-American and youth base in her direction as well.
• NV-Sen: Three items, all of which are very, very bad for Sue Lowden. First, the Club for Growth finally weighed into the Senate primary, and they backed right-winger Sharron Angle (maybe not that surprising, since they backed her in the 2006 primary for NV-02). That ought to give Angle a further shot of adrenaline, though, on top of her Tea Party Express endorsement and polling momentum. Lowden is also still bogged down in controversy over her luxury bus, doubling-down on her claims that use of the $100K vehicle was leased despite also having stated elsewhere that the bus was "donated" (which means it would have needed to be reported as an in-kind contribution). That's nothing, though, compared to the (by my count) quintupling-down on Chickens-for-Checkups, simultaneously trying to fight top Nevada journo Jon Ralston on the fact that, yes, people are bartering for health care while trying to claim that she never actually said anything about Chickencare at all.
• NY-Sen-B: The only GOP big name left who hadn't said anything definitive about participating in the GOP Senate primary for the right to get creamed by Kirsten Gillibrand finally said a public "no." Orange County Executive Ed Diana said he'll stick with his current job, to which he was elected in November to a third term.
• UT-Sen: Looks like that teabaggers' victory in Utah might be short-lived. Bob Bennett seems to be more interested than before in running as a write-in in the general (where, despite the complex dynamics of a write-in campaign, he faces better odds with the broader electorate than with the narrow slice of extremists running the GOP convention). We may know tomorrow what his plans are, as he emphasized "Stay tuned tomorrow."
• WA-Sen: If Dino Rossi really is still interested in running for Senate, this isn't a particularly good way of showing it. Rossi is scheduled to make a blockbuster appearance on May 25... to give opening remarks at a dinnertime seminar for local real estate investors focusing on strategies for profiting off foreclosures. Because nothing says "I'm a man of the people" than knowing all the ins and outs of how to profit off the people's misery.
• AL-Gov: Artur Davis is out with an internal poll, that seems mostly oriented toward countering the sense that he's losing ground among his African-American base. The poll shows Davis leading Democratic primary rival Ron Sparks 46-33. It also shows Davis leading 50-25 among African-Americans (despite the defections of some prominent local black groups), while trailing Sparks 42-41 among whites.
• FL-Gov: Bill McCollum is going to have to start taking moneybags Rick Scott seriously, and he's striking hard, sending out a press release calling him an "embarrassment" and a "fraud," presumably in reference to allegations leveled against Scott's health care firm. Scott's ginormous introductory ad buy is now estimating at $6.3 million.
• KS-Gov: Sam Brownback is drawing some heat for taking things out of context. Now, politicians take things out of context all the time, but his sleight-of-hand in attempting to fight efforts to more tightly regulate the business of car loans to military members may be a fridge too far.
"CNN Money on May 13 reported that 'Raj Date ... agreed that the additional (Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection) regulation might cause some dealers to stop arranging loans," Brownback said in the letter.
But Brownback's letter did not include the rest of Date's comment, which was this, "There will be some dealers who say, 'If I have to play by an honest set [of] rules, then I can't be in this business anymore.' I'm not going to shed any tears for these dealers."
• MA-Gov: You may recall last week's Rasmussen MA-Gov poll where, in an effort to find some sort of good news, they found that, if liberal activist Grace Ross somehow beat incumbent Dem Deval Patrick in the primary, she would lost to GOPer Charlie Baker. Well, it's looking like Ross is in danger of not even making it onto the ballot. The state SoS says she has only a little more than half of the 10,000 signatures she needs; Ross promises an announcement tomorrow morning on her next step. (The upside for Patrick, if Ross qualifies for the primary though, would be $750K in public financing for his campaign, which he wouldn't be entitled to if he were running unopposed.)
• ME-Gov: There's been some ongoing controversy in the sleepy Maine governor's race about how Republican candidate Steve Abbott (former CoS to Susan Collins) wound up with GOP voter lists, but this is a strange turn: the state Republican party chair, Charlie Webster, is now saying that Abbott's camp flat-out "stole" it.
• GA-09: The special election to replace Nathan Deal (where GOPers Tom Graves and Lee Hawkins are in a runoff) seems to have winnowed the Republican field for the regularly-scheduled GOP primary, too. Former state Senate majority leader Bill Stephens has dropped out of contention in that field.
• HI-01: Even if something incredibly dramatic happens between now and Saturday's drop-dead date in the special election in the 1st, things are still pretty much cast in stone. In the all-mail in election, now 43% of all ballots sent out have been returned.
• IN-03: State Sen. Marlin Stutzman (whose name rec is sky-high right now after running fairly well in the GOP Senate primary against Dan Coats) says that he's going to strike while the iron is hot, and get into the race to replace resigning Rep. Mark Souder. Other GOPers confirming that they'll run include state Rep. Randy Borror, Ft. Wayne city councilor Liz Brown, and recent primary loser Phil Troyer. Another recent primary loser, Bob Thomas, is a potential candidate.
• OH-16: After having found an excuse to hide behind the door the last time Barack Obama came to Ohio, Rep. John Boccieri was proudly with him when he visited Youngstown yesterday. Perhaps he can sense a bit of a turning of the tide? Troublingly, though, Senate candidate Lee Fisher wasn't present.
• PA-12: PPP digs through the data from their last pre-election poll in the 12th and finds what may really have done the Republicans in. There's one entity in the district even more unpopular than Barack Obama (who had 30% approval), and that's Congressional Republicans, who were at a miserable 22/60. In nationalizing the election, Tim Burns tied himself to the nation's least favorite people of all.
• PA-19: After having surviving his primary last night despite publicly seeking another job, it looks like Rep. Todd Platts exposed himself to all that danger for no reason at all. Platts announced yesterday that the Obama administration had let him know that he wasn't going to be selected for the Government Accountability Office job he'd been angling for.
• CT-AG: Here's one of the weirdest career crash-and-burns I've seen lately: SoS Susan Bysiewicz went in a few months from likely next Governor to somehow not even eligible to run for the lower-tier job she dropped down to. Connecticut's Supreme Court unanimously ruled that she didn't meet the criteria for legal experience required to become AG, reversing a lower court's decision. Former Democratic state Sen. George Jepsen now has the AG job pretty much to himself. At any rate, with Bysiewicz now combing the "Help Wanted" section, that gives the Connecticut Dems a fallback plan for the Senate if Richard Blumenthal does need to bail out (although Bysiewicz may be seriously damaged at this point too).
• OR-St. House: Here are a couple races with interesting implications that I forgot to watch last night: two Republican state Reps. from the high-desert parts of Oregon (the state's Republican stronghold) committed the unthinkable heresy of not only bipartisanship but supporting tax increases to close the state's budget gap. Both Bob Jenson and Greg Smith survived their primaries, though, after teabaggers, right-to-lifers, and even their state House minority leader turned their wrath against them.
• Arizona: One other election result from last night that most people, us included, seemed to overlook was Proposition 100 in Arizona. In a surprise, at least to those people who think that it's a rabidly anti-tax year (which would be those people who didn't pay any attention to Measures 66 and 67 earlier this year in Oregon), the people of this red state voted by a fairly wide margin for a temporary sales tax increase as part of a package of changes to close the budget gap. It's a victory for Jan Brewer, actually, who backed the plan (perhaps feeling safer to do so, having solidified her position with her support for the "papers please" law).
• 1994: When you have a wave, a lot of dead wood washes up on the beach. Prompted by '94 alum Mark Souder's mini-scandal and resignation, Dana Milbank looks back at the wide array of scoundrels and rogues who were swept in in 1994.
• History: History's only barely on the side of Blanche Lincoln when it comes to runoffs. It turns out that the person who finishes first in a runoff wins 72% of the time, but when that's limited only to runoffs in primaries, the success rate is only 55%... and Lincoln's victory over Bill Halter last night was a particularly close one.
FL-Sen: Some more lulzy shit from Charlie Crist: Now he says he won't engage in any more negative campaigning. He also re-iterated that he's pro-life (jeez) and that he doesn't like Arizona's new immigration law. I think there might be six people in America who belong to his crazy-ass, Garanimals-style mix-n-match political party. Meanwhile, ex-North Miami Mayor Kevin Burns is abandoning the Democratic primary (where he never got even the slightest bit of traction) and running for the state senate seat being vacated by Dem Dan Gelber, who is running for AG.
NV-Gov: Ralph Waldo Emerson surely had Brian Sandoval in mind when he sagely observed that a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds. When he ran for state AG in 2002, he told the editorial board of the Las Vegas Review-Journal that he viewed it as the AG's job to defend any state law, no matter how constitutionally suspect. Since he was clearly out sick the day they taught the Socratic method in law school, Sandoval, when pressed, even said that he would enforce a law requiring Jews to wear yellow stars. Yeah. But now it's Gov. Jim Gibbons' turn to sound ridiculous, since he put out a press release that directly compared Sandoval to the Nazis. Sigh. I would have flunked Sandoval had I been his civpro professor, but this charge is a bit much, to say the least.
IL-14: The Tarrance Group (R) for Randy Hultgren (5/3-4, likely voters, no trendlines):
Bill Foster (D-inc): 44
Randy Hultgren (R): 45
MO-08: GOP Rep. Jo Ann Emerson was reportedly short-listed to become chair of the Credit Union National Association (whose current chief will step down at the end of the year), but she's denying that she's interested. Dem Tommy Sowers, who has shown some surprising fundraising prowess in this deep red district, had been making some hay about this.
MS-01: Former FOX News talking head Angela McGlowan flip-flopped and now says she'll support whoever the Republican nominee is against Travis Childers. Previously, she said she refused to back NRCC fave Alan Nunnelee if he won the GOP nod, citing some tax apostasy.
OH-18: Four local labor unions (SEIU, CWA, UFCW and UAW) held a rally to announce that they officially plan to withhold their support from Rep. Zack Space. Space, as you'll recall, switched his vote from "yes" to "no" on the healthcare bill. SEIU is actually encouraging folks to "Skip a Space" and not vote for him altogether (though the other unions did not go that far).
CT-AG: It's official (for now) - Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz can run for AG. You may recall a weird issue came up some months ago - namely, CT requires that its attorneys general have "actively practiced" law for ten years. A Superior Court judge ruled today that Bysiewicz's service as SoS, which involved ruling on legal matters related to elections, met that requirement. (Had it not, she would have failed to qualify.) The state GOP may still appeal.
Campaign Finance: A little-noticed provision of the so-called DISCLOSE Act, which is aimed at blunting the impact of the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision, would have a major impact on party committees like the DCCC and NRCC. As you know, every two years, these committees must set up walled-off departments which make independent expenditures on behalf of campaigns - but can never communicate with those same campaigns. The DISCLOSE Act would redefine the test for impermissible coordination, only barring the party committees from making IEs if they are "controlled by, or made at the direction of" the candidate. That will be a pretty easy problem to avoid, if the bill passes. Mr. Reid, Ms. Pelosi - tear down that wall!
• NC-Sen: Former state Sen. Cal Cunningham is going with an interesting focus for his campaign: filibuster reform. He's pledging to end the filibuster "in its current form." Certainly an idea worth exploring at the policy level, but is it a winner at the campaign-soundbite level (when most people don't even seem to know of the filibuster and cloture process, if polls are to be believed)? Fellow Dem candidate Elaine Marshall also broached the topic in her recent diary at Daily Kos.
• OH-Sen: Two different new Democrats entered the primary election hunt in Ohio, Traci "TJ" Johnson and Charleena Renee Bradley. Bradley appears to have come out literally nowhere, but Johnson is a former state Rep. candidate and, more notably, she worked for the AG's office when current Lt. Governor Lee Fisher held that position. That's led to some suspicions of shenangians on the part of the Fisher campaign (who might benefit from another female candidate cutting a bit into Jennifer Brunner's primary vote share), but Fisher's camp says that they weren't involved in Johnson's decision and that Fisher hasn't spoken to Johnson in over a year.
• WA-Sen: SurveyUSA has some surprisingly low approval numbers for Patty Murray, as she faces a re-election that could get tough if someone top-tier shows up to challenge her. She's at 43/50 (which is lower than colleague Maria Cantwell, at 46/45, probably the first time that's ever happened). What's strange here is that, although SurveyUSA actually included some young people in this poll, Murray fares worst among the 18-34 set and best among seniors, which is completely counterintuitive (although it kept showing up in their WA-Gov and WA-08 polls last year too). Serious question: has anyone ever studied whether young people who are cellphone-only are disproportionately Democratic and those who actually answer their landlines are more Republican?
• WI-Sen: Rasmussen looks at the Wisconsin Senate race again, and like last time, finds Russ Feingold trailing Tommy Thompson, on the off chance that Thompson decides to say no thanks to all that sweet, sweet hedge fund money. Feingold trails Thompson 48-43, while leading minor Republican opponents Dave Westlake (47-37) and Terrence Wall (47-39). Feingold's approval is 50/48.
• AR-Gov: Here's one Arkansas Democrat we don't have to worry about. Incumbent Gov. Mike Beebe has sported inhuman approval levels and hasn't even drawn a Republican opponent yet. And now comes news that he raised more than $1 million toward his re-election in the month of January alone.
• FL-Gov, FL-Sen: There's more pile-on on the issue of Alex Sink's yawn-inducing and seemingly message-free gubernatorial campaign... and some of that is spilling over into Kendrick Meek's Senate campaign, which doesn't seem to be getting anyone fired up either.
• MI-Gov: Another Democrat seems to be moving closer toward a run for Governor: Genesee County treasurer Dan Kildee is opening up an exploratory committee. (Kildee may be getting some urging from a celebrity friend: Michael Moore.) Meanwhile, on the Republican side, long-shot rich guy Rick Snyder is actually letting his fans on his website choose which ad to air next; both ads focus on Snyder's "nerd" credentials. Unfortunately, it sounds like Ted Nugent, who field strips nerds and eats their entrails for breakfast, is turning down requests that he run for governor (on the GOP side, natch). The Motor City Madman still contends that he'd make a good governor, though, in that he'd "bring in my machete and hack away at the waste and the cronyism."
• MN-Gov: One more Republican fell by the wayside in the Minnesota gubernatorial race, in the wake of a weak straw poll showing: state Sen. David Hann, who'll run for another Senate term instead. In an indication that state House minority leader Marty Seifert is feeling confident about winning the GOP nomination, he's already moved on to picking a running mate: Anoka County Commissioner Rhonda Sivarajah.
• NE-Gov: Nebraska, like Kansas, has been another state where the Dems have had a bad time trying to find a gubernatorial candidate. The search finally seems to be focusing on agribusiness executive Mark Lakers, who insiders say is very interested. (Ben Nelson and Bob Kerrey both emerged from the private sector to defeat incumbent GOP governors, for whatever that's worth.)
• RI-Gov: Republicans have another option in their gubernatorial primary in Rhode Island: accountant Victor Moffitt. Moffitt is a former state Rep. but may be better know for being a frequent letter-to-the-editor writer. He'll face John Robitaille, communications director to current Republican Gov. Don Carcieri, in the primary.
• SC-Gov: Attorney Mullins McLeod is dropping out of the race to be the Democrats' gubernatorial candidate, and throwing his support behind state Sen. Vincent Sheheen. There's no word whether McLeod, as rumored, is planning to move over to the Senate race against Jim DeMint, currently devoid of a Democratic challenger.
• AZ-03: Phoenix mayor Phil Gordon is definitely gauging possibilities for a run for the House, as he's been polling the district. Interestingly, based on the poll questions, Gordon is considering a run as an independent as well as a Democrat. Gordon, although there's a "D" next to his name, is quite the centrist and even endorsed John McCain in 2008, which could make a Democratic primary against deep-pocketed Jon Hulburd difficult. The poll also asks whether stories about Gordon's payments to his girlfriend (for fundraising for his campaigns) would be a campaign liability.
• FL-05: GOP Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite has scheduled a "major announcement" tonight at a local Republican function, prompting speculation from all corners that a retirement, or perhaps even resignation, decision has been made. (J)
• FL-25: You may remember Annette Taddeo, the Democratic businesswoman who acquitted herself well while running in FL-18 in 2008. Some insiders (starting with Steny Hoyer, apparently) are encouraging her to take a look at running in the open seat race in the 25th this year. Taddeo says that if Joe Garcia (the 2008 candidate in the 25th, who's reported to be moving toward a run) gets in, she'll support him, but wouldn't rule out a run in his absence.
• ID-01: One more Republican got into the field in the 1st: Michael Chadwick, who doesn't seem to have run for office before but used to be an aide to Orrin Hatch. There's still no word from ex-Rep. Bill Sali, though, as to whether he'll join the fun.
• KS-03: With top Dem prospect and Kansas City, Kansas mayor Joe Reardon having ruled out a run in the open seat race for the 3rd, Dems are starting to look to state Sen. Kelly Kultala (who represents part of KCK) as the next best option (no word if she's interested, though). One other name that's getting attention now, though, is retiring Rep. Dennis Moore's wife, Stephene, who's "mulling it over."
• NJ-07: Republican freshman Rep. Leonard Lance may have a rougher time of it in the GOP primary than the general. Lance will be facing businessman David Larsen, who appears to be challenging Lance from the right (upset over Lance's cap and trade vote) and may be bringing up to $300K of his own money with him. Appraiser Bruce Baker is also in the GOP primary, flying the teabagger flag, although he may not have the money to make an impression.
• PA-04: Former US Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan seems to be having trouble making the transition from the legal world to the somewhat thicker-skinned electoral politics world. Her response when local talk radio host Marty Griffin hosted Cyril Wecht (the Allegheny Co. Coroner who's had a longstanding legal battle with Buchanan) was to call in to Griffin's show and threaten on air to sue him for defamation.
• PA-12: Lots more movement in the 12th. One more heavyweight, former Lt. Governor Mark Singel, isn't deterred by fears that the 12th will be dismantled in a few years: he told the Johnstown paper today that he'll be running. However, he (like Barbara Hafer) couched that by saying that he wouldn't run if John Murtha's widow, Joyce, decided she wanted the job. Cambria Co. Controller Ed Cernik Jr. is publicly stating his interest too, and Westmoreland Co. Commissioner Tom Ceraso is circulating petitions. Meanwhile, there seem to be more GOPers passing on the race than expressing any interest; the only new name to surface is businessman Mark Pasquerilla, who can self-fund; the few elected Republicans whose names were floated, state Reps. Jeff Pyle and Dave Reed, and state Sen. Kim Ward, aren't running.
• CT-AG: Here's an about-face from Susan Bysiewicz, who had previously said she would just plow ahead with her AG run despite uncertainty as to whether she legally qualified for the job. Apparently, there's been enough behind-the-scenes doubt on that front that is was putting into jeopardy her chances at the state nominating convention, so now she's suing in order to get a declaratory judgment on the question. There's no indication on what, if anything, she'd run for if it turns out she isn't qualified to be AG (remember she bailed out of the governor's race despite being the frontrunner, and with a May 25 filing deadline, potentially she could get back in, although she may have badly hurt her prospects with this whole business).
• Election Results: With 99.1% of precincts reporting (97 remain, apparently mostly in Cook County), both sides of the governor's race remain too close to call. Democratic incumbent Pat Quinn has declared victory, sitting on a 7,000 vote lead (50.4%-49.6%) and with the remaining precincts in Cook County likely to go his way, although Dan Hynes hasn't conceded yet. On the GOP side, we're looking most likely at a recount, as state Sen. Bill Brady leads fellow state Sen. Kirk Dillard currently by a 751-vote margin (20.3%-20.2%), as they both squeaked past the two presumed frontrunners, former state party chair Andy McKenna and former AG Jim Ryan. The fact that the remaining votes are from Cook County, however, may be poised to help the moderate suburbs-based Dillard, though, rather than the conservative downstate Brady, so this race seems likely to get even closer (Nate Silver actually projects a one-vote victory for Brady based on broader Cook County trends). Recount procedures make it sound like a protracted process - an initial vote tally won't happen until March 5, and then the process "could take months to complete" - giving Quinn a big headstart on whoever the GOP victor turns out to be.
As expected, Alexi Giannoulias and Mark Kirk are the Senate nominees, although both won their races with somewhat underwhelming percentages (39% for Giannoulias, and 57% for Kirk, who could have been in more trouble had the teabagging right coalesced behind one person in particular). Conservatives did triumph over establishment candidates in several GOP House primaries, though, as Bob Dold! beat state Rep. Beth Coulson in the 10th, and state Sen. Randy Hultgren beat Ethan Hastert in the 14th.
In Florida, as expected, state Sen. Ted Deutch easily won the special election primary to succeed Rep. Robert Wexler, beating former Broward Co. Commissioner Ben Graber 86-15. It looks like he'll face Republican Ed Lynch (the 2008 nominee), who defeated Joe Budd by only 46 votes (but with only 8,000 total GOP votes, that's outside the margin for an automatic recount). And here's a surprise out of Kentucky: Democrats picked up a state House seat in the dark-red HD 24, which was recently vacated when Republican Jimmy Higdon got promoted to the state Senate in another special election. Terry Mills won, 54-46, based on an overwhelming edge (89-11) on his home turf of Marion County, reminding us that, at the end of the day, all politics is local.
Finally, last night was caucus and straw poll night in Minnesota. Only 80% of precincts have reported yet - I guess they go to bed early in Minnesota - but the straw poll in the Democratic governor's race points to only a lot of chaos at this point. Minneapolis mayor R.T. Rybak led with 21.8%, followed closely by state House speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher at 20.2%. However, "uncommitted" is a solid 3rd at 15%, there are five other candidates who managed to break 5% (John Marty, Tom Rukavina, Paul Thissen, Matt Entenza, and Tom Bakk), and ex-Sen. Mark Dayton doesn't even seem to be bothering with the whole process, planning on going straight to the primary, so there's not much clarity on how the field will shake out. The GOP field seems much more clear-cut, where former state House minority leader Marty Seifert beat state Rep. Tom Emmer 50-39, with the rest of the field in the low single digits.
• AZ-Sen: With the imminent entry of ex-Rep. J.D. Hayworth into the Republican primary against John McCain, we're already looking at dueling internal polls. McCain offers up a poll from POS, giving him a 59-30 lead over Hayworth. Hayworth has his own poll from McLaughlin, which, not surprisingly, shows him much closer, trailing 49-33.
• FL-Sen: Kendrick Meek, NASCAR dad? Meek plans to call attention to his campaign by shelling out to be the lead sponsor of Mike Wallace's car in an upcoming race at Daytona.
• IN-Sen: With the surprising announcement by ex-Sen. Dan Coats last night that he's interested in a comeback and would start seeking the signatures to qualify for the Indiana GOP nod, the oppo pretty much writes itself. For starters, Coats can't even sign his own petition - he's been a registered voter in Virginia for more than a decade, not Indiana. And what's he been doing for much of that time? Lobbying... for King & Spalding, on behalf of nice people like the Carlyle Group and Bank of America. The Plum Line also points to Coats accusing Bill Clinton of "wagging the dog" when he started going after al-Qaeda in 1998, allegedly to distract the press from his peccadilloes... and we all know how that turned out.
• ND-Sen: Democrats have, well, somebody ready to go if ex-AG Heidi Heitkamp doesn't get into the Senate race to replace retiring Byron Dorgan. State Sen. Tracy Potter, who represents Bismarck, will be announcing his candidacy on Friday. Other potential candidates seem to be holding back, waiting to see what Heitkamp does; she's been strangely silent since initially expressing interest in the seat last month.
• NY-Sen-B: Quinnipiac's first poll of the New York Senate race after the Harold Ford Jr. boomlet began finds, well, pretty much what everyone else has found: Kirsten Gillibrand beats him by a wide margin but doesn't break 50%. Gillibrand beats 36-18, with Jonathan Tasini at 4. Quinnipiac also tests general election matchups against Republican port commissioner Bruce Blakeman (they don't even bother testing ex-Gov. George Pataki, who doesn't seem to be making any moves to get into the race). Gillibrand beats Blakeman 44-27, and Ford beats him 35-26. Gillibrand is slowly gaining some more name rec, up to a 42/28 approval. Blakeman may not have the GOP primary to himself, though, as a strange blast from the past is re-emerging to say he's interested in the race: ex-Rep. Joseph DioGuardi. In case the name doesn't ring a bell, DioGuardi served in the House representing Westchester County from 1984 to 1988, when he was defeated by Nita Lowey.
• NY-Gov: The same Quinnipiac sample looks at the governor's race, finding huge approval gaps between Andrew Cuomo (54/16) and David Paterson (34/49). Cuomo wins the Democratic primary 55-23. Cuomo beats Rick Lazio 57-25, while Lazio manages to get past Paterson 40-39. There's also one other bit of good news for Cuomo (who's seemed gunshy about taking on Paterson, perhaps out of bad memories of his race against Carl McCall). The poll asked if his candidacy would be "racially divisive," and respondents answered "no" by an 80-14 margin, including 73-22 among African-Americans. Marist (pdf) also just released the gubernatorial half of its recent Senate poll, finding generally similar numbers. Cuomo wins the primary 70-23. Cuomo beats Lazio 64-27, while Lazio edges Paterson 46-43.
• TN-Gov: Add one more candidate running for higher office who's publicly copped to being birther-curious: Lt. Gov. (and GOP gubernatorial candidate) Ron Ramsey. Not having made much of an impression in terms of polling (where Rep. Zach Wamp has an edge) or fundraising (where Knoxville mayor Bill Haslam is cleaning up), this seems like the most attention Ramsey has gotten so far.
• TX-Gov: Here's more evidence that the Texas GOP gubernatorial primary may be headed for a runoff: the new Rasmussen poll of the primary doesn't have anyone coming even close to 50%. Incumbent Rick Perry leads at 44, with Kay Bailey Hutchison lagging at 29, and Paulist insurgent Debra Medina all the way up to 14 on the strength of some buzz coming out of her debate performances. KBH may be counting on a runoff as her only way left to salvage this race, but somehow it seems like, in a runoff, Medina votes are a lot likely to gravitate toward the secession-invoking Perry rather than consummate DC insider Hutchison. In the general, all three defeat Democratic ex-Houston mayor Bill White, although, as one would expect, KBH puts up the biggest margin: 49-36. Perry wins 48-39, while Medina wins by only 41-38.
• AR-02: One of the non-Tim Griffin candidates in the Republican field, David Meeks, dropped out of the race today, probably realizing he was in over his head with the kind of attention open seat races get. One other candidate, restaurant owner Scott Wallace remains, and he may well carry the teabagger flag against Beltway creature Griffin. Realizing the best way to win this is by painting Griffin as insider, the DCCC is turning their attention to Griffin's past as GOP behind-the-scenes fixer, calling attention to his efforts at voter suppression. Over in the diaries, ARDem takes a look at the developing Dem field, which currently contains state House speaker Robbie Wills, liberal state Sen. Joyce Elliott, and retiring Vic Snyder's chief of staff, David Boling. It won't contain, however, Little Rock mayor Mike Stodola, or Public Service Commissioner Paul Suskie, who had seemed to be laying the groundwork for a run.
• CA-12, CA-AG: False alarm: Rep. Jackie Speier is staying put in the 12th District, where's she been in place for only a couple years. Rumors that she was about to move over to the state AG's race had many of the state legislators on the Peninsula angling to replace her.
• GA-04: In the wake of an internal from Rep. Hank Johnson showing him crushing his three opponents in the Dem primary in this solidly-blue district in Atlanta's suburbs, one of those opponents got out of the way: DeKalb Co. Commissioner Lee May. May is an ally of former DeKalb Co. CEO Vernon Jones, so it's possible that he's getting out of the way primarily so that Jones can get a bigger share of the non-Johnson vote.
• MA-10: With the general sense that this is the most vulnerable district in Massachusetts (as seen with its votes in the Senate special election last month), Republicans are taking more of an interest in challenging Rep. William Delahunt in this usually-ignored seat. Former state treasurer Joe Malone is probably the biggest name to express interest, but at least one other credible contender, state Rep. Jeffrey Perry, is already announcing his candidacy. State Sen. Robert Hedlund is also expressing some interest.
• NJ-07: One big hole in the Dems' recruitment schedule has been the 7th, narrowly won by freshman GOP Rep. Leonard Lance in 2008. They've managed to fill the gap with Ed Potosnak, who's elevated slightly above Some Dude status by the full Rolodex he brings with him after working for a number of years as a Hill staffer for Rep. Mike Honda.
• PA-11: Lackawanna Co. Commissioner Corey O'Brien has a compelling argument for why he should win the primary in the 11th: he says Rep. Paul Kanjorski has "zero" chance of defeating Republican Lou Barletta in their third face-off, citing Kanjorski's low approval ratings. O'Brien has been fundraising well ($180K last quarter, not far from Kanjo's $237K) and recently hit the airwaves with a small cable buy for his first TV spot.
• CA-LG: Is San Francisco mayor (and gubernatorial race dropout) Gavin Newsom actually thinking about a run for the dead-end job that is California's #2? Officially he's not interested, but he hasn't said no, and a new public poll from Tulchin gives him a big lead in a hypothetical LG primary, with Newsom at 33 against the two declared candidates: Los Angeles city councilor Janice Hahn at 17 and state Sen. Dean Florez at 15. Meanwhile, the state Senate this week takes up the issue of filling the current vacancy in the LG's chair (vacated by now-Rep. John Garamendi); there's actually talk of blocking Ahnold appointee state Sen. Abel Maldonado, despite that getting the moderate Republican Maldonado out of his seat would open up his Dem-leaning district for a takeover and help push the Dem edge in the Senate toward the magic 2/3s mark.
• CT-AG: The story of Susan Bysiewicz just gets stranger and stranger; she decided that rather than run for governor, she'd prefer to run for AG, but now the job's current occupant, Richard Blumenthal, says that possibly she can't. An AG opinion interprets state law requiring ten years of legal practice as unclear and urges a declaratory ruling on Bysiewicz's case from a court. Bysiewicz, for her part, said she won't seek the declaratory ruling and is simply plowing ahead with her AG campaign, although it's possible one of the other candidates in the race might force the issue in the courts.
• Polltopia: The skepticism toward those SurveyUSA polls commissioned by Firedoglake continues to grow, this time from political science professor and frequent Pollster.com contributor Alan Abramowitz. His gravest concerns are with the leading questions in the issues portions of the poll on health care reform, but he also points to serious problems with the samples' compositions that we were quick to flag. He observes that the samples deeply underrepresent younger votes, and that the youth subsets are so small that there's no good way to "weight up" younger voters to a more proportionate level.
• CA-Sen: Rasmussen popped up late Friday with a California Senate poll, taken to reflect the recent entry of ex-Rep. Tom Campbell to the race. Although a Campbell internal showed him dominating the primary field, he isn't particularly polling better or worse than the rest of the field against three-term Dem incumbent Barbara Boxer. Campbell trails her 46-42, while Carly Fiorina trails 46-43 and Assemblyman Chuck DeVore trails 46-40. Note that this is probably the closest that Rasmussen has had this race, which other pollsters (especially the Field Poll) have always had in double digits for Boxer.
• IL-Sen: In the Democratic Senate primary, Alexi Giannoulias got an endorsement from one of the state's few well-liked politicians, long-time SoS Jesse White. His long-shot rival David Hoffman got an endorsement that comes with a lot of voters and organizational firepower behind it, though: the Illinois Education Association, the state's major teacher's union.
• NY-Sen-B, NY-Gov(pdf): Siena, following Marist from late last week, has gotten in the act, of polling a Kirsten Gillibrand/Harold Ford Jr. Democratic primary. Siena's numbers pretty closely match Marist: they find Gillibrand with a 41-17 lead over Ford (with 5 for Jonathan Tasini), where Marist gave her a 43-24 lead. Where Siena breaks with Marist is in seeing how a hypothetical Gillibrand matchup with ex-Gov. George Pataki goes; they see Pataki leading 51-38 (and Ford doing even worse, 54-32). Also a bit ominous: Gillibrand's negatives are creeping up, as she's currently with a 30/32 favorable. Pataki, however, still is showing no signs of interest, and it's getting late if he's going to make a move.
No real surprises in the Governor's race, according to Siena: Paterson's popularity, while still awful, is ticking up a little, with a 38/52 approval. Paterson ties Republican ex-Rep. Rick Lazio 42-42 and Erie Co. Exec Chris Collins 40-40, but he's very unlikely to survive the primary: he loses to Andrew Cuomo 59-21, with potential new entrant Suffolk Co. Exec Steve Levy pulling in 6. Cuomo stomps Lazio 66-24 and Collins 65-23, while Levy leads the Republicans too, beating Lazio 40-33 and Collins 42-26.
• CT-Gov, CT-AG: I'm labeling this as potentially "CT-Gov" even though SoS Susan Bysiewicz announced last week that she wasn't going to run for Governor (despite having command of the polls), in order to run for AG and, based on her coy responses to the question of whether she'd serve a full term, then run against Joe Lieberman in 2012. There's been some discussion of whether she even qualifies to run for AG, as one requirement is ten years of legal practice in Connecticut. She practiced for six years before becoming SoS, so the central question here is whether serving as SoS counts as the practice of law or not. This may need to be resolved by the courts - and given the timetable on running a campaign and that she may not be able to wait for a decision, she may have to swallow her disappointment and settle for having to be Governor instead.
• MI-Gov, MI-01: The DCCC may be sighing with relief at this: Rep. Bart Stupak (who holds down an R+3 district) is now sounding unlikely to run for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in Michigan, despite some interest last week. He tells Politico that it's "hard for [him] to envision" a campaign, as he's still bogged down with health care reform in the House and would be starting behind the 8-ball on fundraising and organization.
• NM-Gov: That was a strangely fast exploratory period: never-before-elected attorney Pete Domenici Jr. is officially launching his candidacy, after his name bubbled up from nowhere just last week. He has a lot of name recognition thanks to his ex-Senator dad, but it's still a question whether he has the chops to make it out of the GOP primary, let alone how he'd fare in November against the seeming juggernaut that is Lt. Gov. Diane Denish.
• PA-Gov: I didn't even know there were any "celebrity pathologists," but not only is there one, but he's planning to run a long-shot campaign for the Democratic gubernatorial nod in Pennsylvania. The "colorful" Cyril Wecht, Allegheny County Coroner for 20 years and a county commissioner for four more, is interested in the race. Wecht has drawn a lot of attention over the years for his skepticism over the Kennedy assassination, but his entry here is newsworthy because of his potential to split the Pittsburgh-area votes (already split between Allegheny Co. Exec Dan Onorato and state Auditor Jack Wagner). In fact, there's speculation he's running mostly because of his grudge against Allegheny Co. DA Stephen Zappala, and, by extension, Onorato.
• AZ-08: Here's another recruiting step-up for the Republicans in a potentially competitive race. They finally found a state Senator, Jonathan Paton, willing to take on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her sizable war chest. The GOP's best bet here previously had been 28-year-old veteran Jesse Kelly, who'd at least gotten some traction on the fundraising front.
• GA-09: If there's one open seat race I have trouble summoning up any interest in, it's the GOP primary in the 9th, where there are half a dozen indistinguishable wingnuts trying to out-wingnut each other to replace wingnut Nathan Deal in one of the nation's darkest-red districts. The field shrunk a bit today, with the dropout of the state's former Transportation Director, Mike Evans, despite his prior status in the field's top tier.
• NJ-12: A rich guy apparently with $250K burning a hole in his wallet has Rep. Rush Holt in his sights: Prinecton-area investment banker Scott Sipprelle has decided to take on Holt, and started his campaign with a jolt of self-funding.
• OK-01: I don't think Republican Rep. John Sullivan has actually voted the wrong way on anything, so I'm wondering if he did something behind the scenes to tick off the local establishment, or if it's just random teabaggery. Either way, there's a movement underway in Tulsa's right-wing circles to draft Dave Rader, who was the University of Tulsa's football coach in the 1990s, for a primary run against Sullivan.
• PA-06: Rep. Jim Gerlach seems to be retaining most of his establishment support as he reconnects with his district after pulling the plug on his gubernatorial campaign. For instance, he got the support of the Montgomery County GOP chair, Bob Kerns. Gerlach also won a straw poll among GOP leaders in Chester County, although Steven Welch made enough of a dent there (pulling in 40%) that he might be tempted to stick around.
• UT-02: Former state Rep. and current Salt Lake County GOP vice-chair Morgan Philpot has resigned his role in the party, giving rise to speculation that he's going to challenge Democratic Rep. Jim Matheson in this Republican-leaning seat. (Interesting trivia: the youngish Philpot is a graduate of Ave Maria Law School, the Domino's Pizza empire's attempt to branch out into legal education.)
• VA-05: With a substantial percentage of the losers of 2006 and 2008 now considering rematches, here's one more name who had earlier ruled out a bit but just won't stop sniffing around his old seat: Rep. Virgil Goode. He may be sensing an opening in the primary by being able to unify the squabbling factions in the GOP primary field in the 5th, torn between establishment fave state Sen. Robert Hurt and various teabagging insurgents.
• Census: One more state is getting into the act, of spending state dollars to make sure that state residents participate in the fast-approaching Census. Florida is starting a marketing blitz to make sure that hard-to-count groups (Hispanics especially, but also college students and farmworkers) respond. With the stakes including not only millions of dollars in federal grant money but also one or two more House seats, Florida certainly has incentive here.