• AZ-Sen: This is good news! For J.D. Hayworth! The right-wing anti-immigrant vote in the GOP primary isn't going to be split. Minutemen co-founder Chris Simcox ended his bid and endorsed Hayworth, not having gotten much traction on the polling front even before Hayworth's entry. In a close race, though, Simcox's few percentage points could make all the difference for Hayworth. Bad news, for the GOP, though, is that Hayworth and John McCain are planning to go all Mutually Assured Destruction on each other in the primary, with Hayworth threatening that if McCain brings up Abramoff, he'll bring up the Keating 5. Dems really need a marquee candidate here to be poised to seize the smoldering ruins.
• CO-Sen: Andrew Romanoff is rolling out more endorsements, as he seems to be finally getting his primary challenge to Michael Bennet into gear in the wake of recent polling showing him outperforming Bennet in the general election. He's claiming the endorsement of more than two-thirds of the Democrats in the state House, including current majority leader Paul Weissman, as well as state Senate majority leader John Morse and former House speaker Ruben Valdez. Romanoff, of course, is a former House speaker himself, so he's got an 'in' with the legislative types.
• NV-Sen: I wonder if this is the break that'll save Harry Reid's butt in November? (Especially if Sue Lowden winds up winning the GOP nomination, as she's public enemy number 1 to the state's Paulists.) The "Tea Party" has filed a "Certificate of Existence" (where can I get one of those, for whenever people doubt that I exist?) in Nevada, and will have its own candidate on the ballot in November. Jon Ashjian will reportedly be their candidate; the question still remains just how big a bite he takes out of the Republican column, though. In addition, there will also be a Reform Party candidate on the ballot and as many as five independents.
• NY-Sen-B: Mort Zuckerman? Really? Maybe he's taking a page from friend Michael Bloomberg and realizing that, with enough money, any political office is within reach for a restless billionaire. The 72-year-old Daily News publisher and real estate baron is considering a race against Kirsten Gillibrand, although there's no indication of which party label he'd use. He's known as a Democrat, but it seems likely he'd pursue either an independent or Republican bid to avoid the Democratic primary (where Harold Ford Jr. already seems to be occupying the turf Zuckerman would need in order to win).
• CT-Gov: Here's the top facepalm news of the day: Ned Lamont has hired a campaign manager as he officially kicks off his gubernatorial campaign, and he hired Joe Abbey, last seen... wait for it... helming Creigh Deeds' campaign.
• FL-Gov: This doesn't sound very promising either, as the St. Petersburg Times looks at the growing sense of torpor surrounding the Alex Sink campaign. Sink has had little trouble fundraising and a so-so GOP opponent, but operatives are starting to worry she's walking a Martha Coakley-ish line on focusing on insider connections and with a lack of interest in mixing it up with voters or even developing a resonant message.
• PA-Gov: The GOP state party endorsements came with a lot less drama than the Democrats', seeing as how they've had their candidates locked down for most of a year. AG Tom Corbett easily got the endorsement for governor over state Rep. Sam Rohrer, which was widely expected although it still piqued Rohrer's handful of right-wing supporters. The most drama was actually for the #2 slot; Bucks County Commissioner Jim Cawley managed to win the Lt. Governor endorsement on the second ballot out of a crowded field. On the Democratic side, Philadelphia-based state Sen. Anthony Williams is still expressing some interest in the race, although he's set a very high bar for entry for himself. He's sitting $1 million already, and he says if he can get that figure up to $4 million in the next few weeks, he'll jump in.
• TX-Gov (pdf): There's yet another poll out of the Texas gubernatorial primaries, from a coalition of newspapers, most prominently the Austin American-Statesman. It's right in line with the other polls out recently, with Rick Perry at 45, Kay Bailey Hutchison at 29, and Debra Medina at 7. (They don't poll runoff matchups, or the Dem primary.) Houston mayor Bill White continues to make this a competitive race for the Dems in the general: he trails Perry 43-37, and Hutchison 42-34. Meanwhile, Debra Medina (who recently seemed to blunt any late momentum by revealing her truly kooky side) may have some good company, in the form of Democratic candidate Farouk Shami: he came out with some statements putting him in truther-curious territory as well. Shami is also about to announce the invention of a blow dryer that actually grows hair. (Why aim low, for merely Governor, if that's true? If it's really true, he's about to become a trillionaire.)
• AZ-03: I'm not sure if this is the family name you really want, when running for office, but a new candidate is in the GOP field in the open seat race in the 3rd: Ben Quayle. The 33-year-old attorney, who hasn't run for office before, is the son of former VP and frequent punchline Dan Quayle.
• FL-24: With the former CEO of the Ruth's Chris Steakhouse chain, Craig Miller, planning to run in the 24th, Democrats are spotlighting his opposition to tougher laws on drunk driving. (As a restauranteur, he would have a financial interest in getting that extra drink into his guests.) "Once 0.08 becomes law, why not 0.05 or 0.02?" he asked in a 2000 interview.
• MA-10: The William Delahunt retirement rumors aren't going away, and now Glenn Thrush points to a Delahunt-out/Joe Kennedy III-in/Delahunt-endorses-Kennedy master-plan in the works. Kennedy, a Barnstable County prosecuting attorney, isn't the only Kennedy of his generation who's a possible House candidate; Politico helpfully provides a scorecard of various other Kennedys who might run for higher office in the future. At any rate, even if Joe III doesn't wind up in the next Congress, it's likely Congress won't stay Kennedy-free for very long.
• OK-05: There's one less Oklahoma Republican in the primary for the open seat in dark-red OK-05. Corporation Commissioner Jeff Cloud cited non-life-threatening health concerns in dropping out of the race, although he plans to keep serving in his current job. Six different GOPers are in the field (perhaps most notably, former state Rep. Kevin Calvey), but no Dem has gotten in yet.
• PA-03: One other dropout from a crowded GOP field, this time for the right to take on Rep. Kathy Dahlkemper in the 3rd. Tom Trevorrow, an ophthalmologist who made a splashy entrance recently with a big serving of self-funding and some expensive consultant hires, ended his bid just as quickly, citing his father's illness.
• RI-01: A couple big names have already gotten into the race to replace retiring Rep. Patrick Kennedy, the biggest possibly being Providence's mayor David Cicilline (who surprised many by turning down a gubernatorial run this year). Cicilline would be the fourth openly-gay member of Congress, if elected. He'll have to get past William Lynch in the primary, though; Lynch, the brother of AG and gubernatorial candidate Patrick Lynch, just resigned as the state's Democratic party chair in order to run. Pretty much every prominent Democrat around is also listed as a possible candidate: Lt. Gov. Elizabeth Roberts (who also decided against a gubernatorial run), ex-Rep. Bob Weygand (of RI-02, who lost the 2000 Senate race to Lincoln Chafee), ex-LG Charles Fogarty, and even state Rep. Betsy Dennigan, who's currently running a primary against Rep. James Langevin over in RI-02. (Rhode Island seems like Hawaii, where the boundaries between the two districts seem like they're of little practical importance.) On the GOP side, state Rep. John Loughlin is already in, while former Cranston mayor and Senate candidate Steven Laffey and state party chair Giovanni Cicione are also mentioned.
• TN-08: Everyone has pretty well coalesced around state Sen. (and until recently, gubernatorial candidate) Roy Herron to try to hold retiring Rep. John Tanner's seat. Democratic state Rep. Craig Fitzhugh just announced that he wouldn't run, and in a somewhat encouraging sign, said that his own polling showed that he wouldn't have trouble getting past the various Republicans seeking the seat in the R+3 (but historically Democratic) district. Instead, he didn't see a way past Herron in the primary.
• VA-05: PPP has some follow-up on its previous general election poll of VA-05, looking at the GOP primary, which has the potential to be one of the biggest flashpoints in the establishment/teabagger schism. For now, chalk this one up to the establishment: state Sen. Robert Hurt leads at 22 (leading among both moderates and conservatives), with Albemarle Co. Commissioner Ken Boyd at 12. The various members of the teabagging rabble all poll in the low single digits. With 51% still undecided, though, this is still anyone's game once the ad wars begin.
• CA-LG: So, Arnold Schwarzenegger dialed down his banana-republic dictator act from last week, deciding to resubmit Republican state Sen. Abel Maldonado for appointment as Lt. Governor, rather than deciding to swear him in despite not getting enough votes in the Assembly to confirm him. The legislature has another 90 days to decide what to do with him.
John McCain (R-inc): 45
J.D. Hayworth (R): 43
Chris Simcox (R): 4
Some other: 2
Not sure: 7
The good news! for John McCain is that ex-Rep. and current right-wing talk show host J.D. Hayworth hasn't made any moves toward running in a GOP primary. Hayworth has been rumored to be interested, but that may simply a way for Hayworth to yank McCain's chain. Former Minutemen leader Chris Simcox is definitely running, but this poll indicates he doesn't pose much of a threat. PPP -- the only other pollster to look at the GOP primary field so far -- found McCain leading Simcox by a closer 61-17 in September, so it looks like there's a hardcore base of anti-McCain votes who prefer Hayworth but would still go for the even more extreme Simcox. (PPP didn't test Hayworth.)
The bad news! for McCain is that Hayworth may see these numbers, see the general anti-incumbent, anti-establishment climate on the right, see the organizational pieces falling into place (Club for Growth, Freedom Works, etc.), see little Democratic general election opposition (up-and-coming Tucson city councilor Rodney Glassman is the only Dem in the race), see lingering conservative resentment toward McCain for his occasional bipartisan moments and his incompetent presidential campaign, and think well, why the hell not?
• AZ-Sen: It's been a rumor all year, but it just won't die: ex-Rep. J.D. Hayworth is reportedly still interested in challenging John McCain in the GOP primary next year. McCain already has a primary challenge from the fringey right, in the form of former Minutemen leader Chris Simcox.
• FL-Sen: Although Rep. Corrine Brown doesn't seem to be taking any steps to get into the Dem field, it looks like Rep. Kendrick Meek still may not get the primary all to himself: former Miami mayor Maurice Ferre is signaling his interest in the race. Ferre is 74; he was the first Hispanic (he's Puerto Rican) to be elected Miami mayor. Meanwhile, Meek is the beneficiary of yet another Bill Clinton fundraiser; this is the Big Dog's fourth on behalf of Meek, a prominent Hillary Clinton endorser in 2008. Finally, Karl Rove is weighing in on the Florida senate primary, albeit just with a $1,000 donation and no loud public pronouncement: he's backing Marco Rubio.
• IL-Sen: Rep. Mark Kirk says he's raised $1.6 million for the 3rd quarter, leaving him with $2.3 million cash on hand. State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias hasn't made any report yet, but ended the 2nd quarter with $1.65 million on hand.
• NV-Sen: The heat is getting turned up on John Ensign; Barbara Boxer confirmed today that the Senate Ethics Committee will be taking up the little matter of getting a lobbying job for cuckolded ex-staffer Doug Hampton and then steering him clients as a parting gift. Meanwhile, the GOP's new candidate in the 2010 Senate race, Sue Lowden, is still clinging to Ensign, standing by earlier pro-Ensign comments at an Elko appearance on Friday, saying that she hopes to have Ensign campaigning on behalf of Republican candidates (including, presumably, herself) next year.
• WI-Sen: Russ Feingold seems to be sitting pretty, with high favorables and little in the way of GOP opposition. His likeliest opponent is Madison real estate developer Terrence Wall, but Wisconsin's Blogging Blue makes a nice catch about Wall: he loves doing business in Wisconsin so much that all 16 of his business entities are incorporated in Delaware.
• AZ-Gov: Another minor GOP player is jumping into the gubernatorial primary against appointed incumbent Jan Brewer. Former state GOP chair (during the early 1980s) and former member of the university system Board of Regents John Munger is in the race. He joins Brewer and Paradise Valley mayor Vernon Parker, with state Treasurer Dean Martin and some other higher-profile figures considering it too.
• CA-Gov: Maybe this explains why alleged Republican Meg Whitman is running for governor and not for senate: turns out she endorsed Barbara Boxer in 2004 as part of Technology Leaders for Boxer, and gave her $4,000. No word yet on whether Whitman actually got around to voting for her, though.
• MN-Gov: A straw poll at the Minnesota GOP convention sees former state House minority leader Marty Seifert in pole position; he pulled in 37% of the vote among nine candidates. Little-known state Rep. Tom Emmer finished second at 23%, and former state Auditor Pat Anderson was third with 14%. Norm Coleman was also seen mingling with convention-goers (he got a few write-in votes although his name wasn't on the ballot); he says he hasn't fully ruled out running, saying he'll make a decision early next year.
• SC-Gov: Republican AG Henry McMaster, who's running to succeed Mark Sanford as governor, has run into his own little ethical snafu. He's having to return $32,500 in illegal contributions that came from five attorneys after he had hired them to work on cases for the state.
• SD-Gov: Republican Lt. Gov. Dennis Daugaard officially kicked off his campaign for the 2010 gubernatorial race. In an apparently all-Scandinavian-American rumble, he'll face off against state Senate majority leader Dave Knudson in the GOP primary, and the winner will face Democratic state Senate minority leader Scott Heidepriem.
• VA-Gov: The money keeps pouring into the Virginia governor's race. The DNC is throwing another $1 million into Creigh Deeds' kitty. Also, the RGA is going on the air with a huge ad buy in the DC market with an ad featuring a testy post-debate Deeds interview.
• WI-Gov (pdf): The Univ. of Wisconsin and Wisconsin Policy Research Institute poll the Wisconsin governor's race, but primary fields only. Unknowns rule the day: on the Dem side, Milwaukee mayor and ex-Rep. Tom Barrett (who hasn't confirmed his interest) beats Lt. Gov. Barbara Lawton, 38-16. On the GOP side, Milwaukee Co. Exec Scott Walker beats ex-Rep. Mark Neumann 39-14, with 4% to Tim Michels. (Barrett is the best known of all the candidates, with a 36/12 favorable.) Current Gov. Jim Doyle heads out of office in net negative territory, with a 43/52 approval, although that still beats a lot of other governors right now.
• WY-Gov: Most of the major players seem to be standing around and waiting to see whether current Gov. Dave Freudenthal challenges the state's term limit laws in court in order to grab a third term. One Republican isn't waiting though, becoming the first announced big-ticket opponent: rancher Ron Micheli. He was a state Representative for 16 years and state Agriculture Director under Republican Gov. Jim Geringer.
• NV-03: It looks like the GOP may successfully trade up in the 3rd District. With banker John Guedry bailing out of the race for personal reasons, now it looks like they've coaxed former state Sen. Joe Heck out of the gubernatorial primary (where he initially looked like he had a shot at taking out unpopular incumbent Jim Gibbons, but turned into a long shot with the likely inclusion of ex-AG, ex-judge Brian Sandoval in the primary) and into the race against Dem freshman Rep. Dina Titus instead. Heck is still officially mum, but will have an announcement later this week.
• PA-11: Democratic Lackawanna County Commissioner Corey O'Brien had been a long-rumored primary challenger to long-time Rep. Paul Kanjorski in the 11th, and he made it official over the weekend. O'Brien is clearly emphasizing what a young go-getter he is (compared with the aging Kanjorski), kicking things off with 30 straight hours of campaigning.) Kanjo remains undeterred though, reiterating that he's running for re-election and looking forward to the debate.
• Generic Ballot: PPP fires up another warning flare about 2010, looking at some of the generic ballot crosstabs. Among voters who don't like either party, they opt for the GOP 50-14. But there's a disparity by party line among unhappy voters. The unhappy Republicans will still vote GOP, 66-18, but the unhappy Democrats say they'll cross over to the GOP, 48-26. On the plus side, there aren't as many unhappy Democrats as there are unhappy Republicans (20% instead of 33%).
• House: Biden Alert! The VP has been working overtime in the last month appearing at fundraisers for vulnerable House members, helping nearly a dozen members haul more than a collective $1 million. He's also been assisting with recruiting efforts, most notably with the successful score of Bethlehem mayor John Callahan in PA-15.
Mmmmmm... own. In one more example of how an unglued GOP has developed a taste for, well, itself, a rather high-profile primary challenger has emerged to take on John McCain in 2010... and to drag the national face of the GOP deeper and deeper into right-wing nationalism and xenophobia even as the country becomes more and more diverse.
Chris Simcox, the founder of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps and a prominent figure in the movement to clamp down on illegal immigration, will announcing tomorrow at an event on the Mexican border that he's resigned from the group to run in the 2010 Senate primary.
There have been rumors of a primary challenge from the right before; there was a brief surge in J.D. Hayworth's stock a few months ago. Still, Simcox's entry seems a bit surprising, given that he has no political resume and he's best-known for founding a group that makes many people uncomfortable, to say the least. On the other hand, Simcox has a national profile to draw on for fundraising purposes. To me, though, he seems poised to go down the same road as Ron Paul's presidential campaign: he may be good at getting wackos all over the place to pry open their wallets for small-dollar donations, but he probably won't have the skills or connections for converting that into meaningful numbers of votes against an establishment candidate.
Still, it would behoove the Democrats to start thinking about fielding a serious candidate for this race instead of handing out McMaverick's usual free pass. Their chances in this race may have improved, with McCain having to run the right-wing gauntlet before even reaching the general. The erratic McCain we saw in the late stages of the presidential race may resurface if he faces a long, tiring, disspiriting campaign, and who knows how many gaskets he may blow between now and Nov. 2010. (Discussion already underway in Chad's diary.)