• ND-Sen: This may be the earliest the air wars have ever been launched, especially in a Senate race, but there's already a major ad duel going on in the tiny (and dirt cheap) state of North Dakota, probably with an eye toward goading Kent Conrad into retirement (or backing him up so he doesn't get any ideas). On the GOP side, mysterious Iowa-based IE group American Action Forum fired the first shots (worth only $60K), hitting Conrad over TARP and HCR; Dem group Commonsense Ten fired back (for $30K, all radio), defending his fiscal hawkishness. And now comes word that Conrad himself is also going to dip into his war chest starting next week, also hitting back against AAF. NWOTSOTB, but it'll be a 60-second radio ad that runs all week. The bright side to the Conrad early alarm bells: that doesn't seem like the action of a man contemplating retirement.
• KY-Gov: In Kentucky, incumbent Dem Gov. Steve Beshear just filed his papers for re-election, coming up in November. As expected, his running mate will be former Louisville mayor Jerry Abramson, rather than Dan Mongiardo. Beshear is sitting on $3.5 million for the race; while that's a lot more than the $624K that the GOP David Williams/Richie Farmer ticket has, note that Williams only started raising in the last quarter of 2010 and pulled in $753K. Williams' tea-flavored GOP primary rival, businessman Phil Moffett, has only an $8K balance after raising $20K last quarter but spending $30K. (UPDATE: Here's one other breaking bit of news that's an interesting consideration: GOP Secretary of State Trey Grayson has sped up his getting-the-hell-out-of-Kentucky timeline, resigning shortly to take a job at Harvard's Institute of Politics. That means Beshear gets to appoint a Dem to the SoS position, increasing the chances of holding the position in 2011. Beshear just announced that Bowling Green mayor Elaine Walker will get the position.)
• MT-Gov: Also on the financial front, ex-Rep. Rick Hill is in pole position among the various contestants for Montana's open gubernatorial seat. He's raised $103K so far (Montana, of course, is a small and cheap state), compared with fellow GOP rival Corey Stapleton's $86K so far. The only Dem who has declared, state Sen. Dave Wanzenried, has raised a grand total of $2K, leaving me to wonder if insiders expect AG Steve Bullock to get in shortly. (Bullock has raised $73K, although that could be used for either a gube or AG bid.)
• GA-08: Add ex-Rep. Jim Marshall to the growing list of Dems interested in trying to fight their way back into the House two years from now, saying he's not sure but "won't preclude" another run. With the GOP controlling redistricting in Georgia, though, Marshall might find himself with an even-more-unfriendly 8th in 2012.
• OH-06: And here's one more to add: Charlie Wilson says "I would like to run again," but with one big caveat: that there's a district drawn that's "somehow fair" for him. The GOP also controls the process in Ohio but will probably also need to chop at least one GOP-held seat, which may well come out of the state's depopulated southeast quadrant. A mashup of the swingy 6th and the more-reddish 18th would be less favorable to Wilson than the seat he just lost.
• California: Finally, here's another interesting data dump from Greg Giroux, looking at how California's gubernatorial and Senate races from 2010 broke down according to congressional district. If you're looking for an indication of how polarized (and/or expertly gerrymandered for incumbent protection) California's districts are, there was almost no deviation between how the House races broke and the statewide races broke. The only deviations: Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina both won in Jerry McNerney's CA-11, while Jerry Brown eked it out in Dan Lungren's CA-03.
• AZ-Sen: Bad news! For John McCain! J.D. Hayworth still hasn't conceded. He's still waiting for those late-breaking absentee ballots to help him make up that oh-so-narrow 56-32 margin, apparently.
• CT-Sen: This doesn't seem like it'll end well for Linda McMahon, whose stance on WWE has been that it's harmless soap opera. Harley McNaught, the father of recently-deceased pro wrestler Lance Cade (who died of heart failure at age 29 in the wake of painkiller addiction), is going on the offense against McMahon in response to her comments that she "might have met him once." McNaught said that he'd been to several functions with his son where they'd met McMahon and she'd known him by name, and also ripped the company's "Wellness Program," which he says was more about PR than about helping employees.
• DE-Sen: There's no third-party fallback option for teabagger Christine O'Donnell, challenging Mike Castle for the GOP Senate nomination. The Constitution Party had nominated O'Donnell for its ballot line, but didn't even receive a ballot line after its membership dwindled to 287(!) members. (That's less than something called the "Blue Enigma Party," which still qualified for the ballot.) O'Donnell still can mount a write-in campaign after losing the primary to Castle (which she already did in the 2006 race after losing the primary to Jan Ting).
• KY-Sen: Our James L. summed this up pithily: "Douche Day Afternoon." Losing Dem Senate candidate Dan Mongiardo's latest statement of semi-support for Jack Conway was that Conway was "not the best" but that "he's a heck of a lot better" than Rand Paul, whose "scare[s him]."
• PA-Sen, PA-Gov (pdf): The newest Franklin & Marshall poll is another one of their choose-your-own-adventure specials, which shows the dimensions of the enthusiasm gap the Dems are facing, especially in the Keystone State. In the Senate race, Pat Toomey leads Joe Sestak 40-31 among likely voters, but only 31-28 among registered voters, which isn't much different from where we left off with their last general election poll in May. And in the gubernatorial race, it's similar, with Tom Corbett leading Dan Onorato 38-27 among LVs, but only 29-28 (probably the best showing I've seen in a head-to-head in this race) among RVs.
• FL-Gov: With Hayworth and Murkowski already mentioned today, it's just turning out to be the big day of GOP disunity and sour grapes all around. While figures like Jeb Bush and state party chair John Thrasher have gotten behind Rick Scott without any major hedging, Bill McCollum is continuing his sulk, flat-out not endorsing Scott.
• KY-Gov: The aptly-named Republican Agriculture Commissioner, Richie Farmer (I guess "Rich Farmer" was a little too overly descriptive), is still mulling over a run for Governor in next year's off-year election against Dem incumbent Steve Beshear, where early polling has shown he'd be competitive. He's also been linked to a possible Lt. Gov. bid, as running mate to state Senate president David Williams.
• SC-Gov: In another sign that a chunk of the local political establishment prefers Dem Vincent Sheheen to GOPer Nikki Haley, Sheheen just got the endorsement of 30 mayors around South Carolina. Most of these mayors are in nonpartisan elected positions, although one, Greer mayor Rick Danner, said he was a two-time voter for Mark Sanford.
• VT-Gov: Faced with the unenviable task of certifying her own gubernatorial primary loss, SoS Deb Markowitz says that the final certification of the super-close race in Vermont will be done on next Tuesday. All five candidates appeared amicably at a unity rally yesterday, but only shortly after Doug Racine's campaign manager called Peter Shumlin's declaration of victory premature, saying to wait until Tuesday. Shumlin currently leads Racine by 192 votes.
• AL-02: Rep. Bobby Bright caused some hyperventilating today when it came out that, in meeting with constituents, had punted on the issue of whether or not he'd be voting for Nancy Pelosi for Speaker next session. He did so by listing a number of reasons why that might not be an issue, including the decidedly morbid "heck, she might even get sick and die."
• CA-18: I don't know who looks worse in this situation, Mike Berryhill (the Republican launching an uphill, but generally credible, challenge to Rep. Dennis Cardoza), or his former campaign consultant John Villareal. Apparently they parted ways in unpleasant fashion, as Villareal blasted Berryhill's campaign as a lost cause... but did it in the form of a somewhat unhinged-sounding, 25-minute long rant posted to YouTube.
• OH-17: Jim Traficant may still yet be able to beam himself back into Congress. He just got an extension from Jennifer Brunner, giving him more time to prove that he did collect enough signatures to qualify for the November ballot as an independent. He previously got bounced for the ballot for not having enough valid signatures.
• OR-05: Hot on the heels of a too-good-to-be-true internal from Scott Bruun giving him a small lead a few days ago, Rep. Kurt Schrader hauled out his own internal from Lake Research giving him a pretty comfortable lead: 46-35. The poll's from late July, though, so one wonders if there's a more recent one that he's not sharing.
• PA-08: The ubiquitous POS is out with an internal poll on behalf of ex-Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick, giving him a 7-point lead (48-41) over Democratic sophomore Rep. Patrick Murphy. Murphy hasn't been one of the Dems' top worries in Pennsylvania, but as we've seen in recent weeks, the Dem brand in Pennsylvania seems to be waning particularly quickly.
• VA-05: Tom Perriello, in an interesting bit of distancing from national Dems that's ambiguous enough that it works from both right and left, called for the replacement of Treasury Sec. Timothy Geithner, at a local town hall. He didn't say who his preferred replacement would be (Robert Reich, anyone?).
• Ads: Lead-off ad of the day is from Alan Grayson in FL-08; the Hotline actually says it makes Grayson look "angelic" and they refer to it as the most positive ad they've seen so far from anyone. That Grayson... always zigging when everyone else is zagging. Other Dems out with their first TV ads for themselves today include Kathy Dahlkemper in PA-03, Julie Lassa in WI-07, and Tom Hayhurst in IN-03.
All the GOP ads today are anti-Dem ads being run by third party groups: America's Future Fund running against Bruce Braley in IA-01, the Heritage Foundation's lobbying arm against Mike McIntyre in NC-07, and Koch-backed Americans for Prosperity running against Gabrielle Giffords in AZ-08 and a weird two-fer (aimed at the Phoenix market, I guess) attacking both Anne Kirkpatrick and Harry Mitchell in AZ-01 and AZ-05. NWOTSOTB, on any of the ads.
• CA-Gov: Jerry Brown (D) 40%, Meg Whitman (R) 48%
• FL-Sen: Kendrick Meek (D) 21%, Marco Rubio (R) 40%, Charlie Crist (I) 30%
• UT-Gov: Peter Corroon (D) 29%, Gary Herbert (R-inc) 60%
• UT-Sen: Sam Granato (D) 29%, Mike Lee (R) 54%
• CO-Sen: It looks like the Michael Bennet camp, and his Beltway backers, are taking the recent polling surge by Andrew Romanoff in the Dem Senate primary, very seriously. Barack Obama just did a remote appearance on behalf of Bennet, for five minutes at a Bennet town hall.
• KY-Sen: Well, he finally got around to it. It was buried in the fifth and final paragraph of a press release. Nevertheless, Dan Mongiardo finally endorsed Dem primary victor Jack Conway. Despite previous rumors that he was holding out on his endorsement to get his $77K campaign debt paid off, a Mongiardo spokesperson says he didn't receive anything in exchange for the nod.
• PA-Sen: Bill Clinton will be in Scranton to campaign for Joe Sestak next Tuesday. Frankly, that's a really good fit of candidate, backer, and locale. I wonder if Paul Kanjorski will be allowed to tag along, though? Seems like he could use some Clinton love, too. (No, not that kind of Clinton love.) On the GOP side, Pat Toomey got some campaign fundraising help in Philly from moderate Maine GOP Senator Susan "Comrade of the Month" Collins, who seems to have forgiven or conveniently forgotten all those Club for Growth attempts to knife her in the back.
• WA-Sen: Patty Murray seems to be taking a page from the John Hickenlooper campaign in Colorado, dropping a huge amount of money right now on advertising reservations, all the way through November, while they're still cheap. She spent $3.4 million, nearly half her CoH, on ad buys in July. She can count on her coffers being replenished, though, as Barack Obama will be hosting a fundraiser for her later this month.
• WI-Sen: Dueling ads in Wisconsin. Russ Feingold is out with a sobering ad rattling his saber at Wall Street, while Ron Johnson levels accusations of being a "career politician" at Feingold. Double NWOTSOTB.
• CO-Gov: Is there blood here in the water, or what? Colorado Ethics Watch just filed a complaint with the state bar, which could lead to disciplinary action against Scott McInnis's license to practice law in Colorado, over his plagiarism scandal. McInnis's former campaign manager (until last December, so he was out long before the scandal) also just asked McInnis for a refund of all the contributions he's given him. The DGA is also starting to pour money into this race, striking while the iron is hot; they've plowed $100K into a new third-party group airing a new anti-McInnis attack ad. And if you were thinking that Dan Maes might turn out to be a reasonable alternative to McInnis, guess again. He ventured not just into Michele Bachmann territory (about how we'll all have to live in tenements and take mass transit to work) but clear into UN-black-helicopters-are-fluoridating-my-water territory. And what's the nerve center of the one-world-government's scurrilous plot against Coloradan sovereignty? Denver's program for public bike shares and more showers for bike-riding commuters!!!!1!
"At first, I thought, 'Gosh, public transportation, what's wrong with that, and what's wrong with people parking their cars and riding their bikes? And what's wrong with incentives for green cars?' But if you do your homework and research, you realize ICLEI is part of a greater strategy to rein in American cities under a United Nations treaty."
• GA-Gov: This seems like a big Deal for Nathan: the third-place finisher in the gubernatorial primary, state Sen. Eric Johnson, is backing ex-Rep. Nathan Deal in the runoff. (Oddly, Johnson hasn't said anything about it himself, but Rep. Jack Kingston, another Johnson backer-turned-Deal backer, made the announcement.) Johnson's support should help Deal in the Savannah area, where Johnson seems to have a strong base.
• MD-Gov: I wonder if Sarah Palin is playing three-dimensional chess here, in some sort of strange gambit to help Bob Ehrlich in the general election... or just playing tic-tac-toe, and losing badly at it. At any rate, she endorsed Ehrlich's barely-registering primary rival, businessman Brian Murphy, in the GOP gubernatorial primary. (Which, if you think about it, doesn't jibe at all with her endorsement of centrist and likely victor Terry Branstad in Iowa instead of wingnut Bob Vander Plaats... but then, Maryland's not an early presidential state.) Ehrlich is now publicly doing the happy dance over her endorsement of his rival, saying that it just confirms his moderate credentials for the general, where he has a shot at knocking off incumbent Dem Martin O'Malley.
• AZ-01: Rogue dentist Paul Gosar has a lead in the Republican primary in AZ-01 for the right to take on freshman Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, if his own internal is to be believed. The poll from Moore Info puts him at 30, with '08 candidate Sydney Hay at 10, Some Dude Bradley Beauchamp at 7, and, surprisingly, former state Sen. majority leader Rusty Bowers back at 6. Gosar seems to have consolidated many big-name movement conservatives behind him, ranging from Sarah Palin to Joe Arpaio. My main question, though, is: Sydney Hay is running again?!? Why weren't we informed? (You may remember her legacy of fail from her 2008 run.)
• AZ-03: This is at least the second time a childless GOP candidate has gotten busted for playing up his "family man" credentials by romping with children in advertising (the first time was Kevin Yoder in KS-03). At least Yoder was able to claim the kids were his nieces and nephews... Ben Quayle apparently had to borrow some of his aides' kids for his photo shoot.
• IL-17: After seemingly no one found their internal poll from last week credible (which gave the previously-unheralded, if not unknown, Bobby Schilling a lead over Democratic Rep. Phil Hare), there's another Republican poll out that seems to at least be on the same temporal plane as reality, in this swing district where the GOP hasn't competed hard in a while. POS (on behalf of a state party committee... Magellan did the Schilling internal) gives Hare a 33-31 lead over the political novice and pizza restauranteur. The poll also gives 7% support to the Green Party candidate, which somehow doesn't seem likely to hold.
• WV-01: As heartburn-inducing Mike Oliverio will probably be in terms of his voting record, here's some confirmation that we at least got an electoral upgrade here from the guy he defeated in the Dem primary, Rep. Alan Mollohan, who had ethical clouds following him and seemed to be phoning in his campaign. Oliverio is out with a new internal from Hamilton Campaigns that gives him a 52-36 lead over GOP opponent David McKinley. With Joe Manchin at the top of the ticket in a November special election, now, too, here's one Tossup seat where our odds seem to be getting noticeably better. (As a bonus, they find Manchin leading John Raese 62-30 in the district, which is West Virginia's reddest.)
• DCCC: CQ looks at the DCCC's attempts to enforce dues-payment this cycle. While their "Frontline" members (the ones in the trickiest races) are exempt from paying dues, they're winding up giving de facto passes to a number of other vulnerable incumbents, not having had any luck at stopping them from hoarding their own cash in preparation for tough races. 88 House Dems haven't paid any dues at all this cycle, while many others are in arrears. There's also, buried in the article, a statement that the DCCC doesn't plan to further extend its Frontline program, even as the number of potentially vulnerable Dems seems to keep increasing.
• California: For people who just can't get enough campaign finance reports, the Sacramento Bee has a helpful table of filings for all the candidates for the downballot statewide races. Dems have a cash on hand lead in most races, except for two (Secretary of State and Insurance Commissioner). It's particularly pronounced in the Lt. Governor race, where Gavin Newsom leads GOP incumbent Abel Maldonado $495K to $91K. In the very tight AG's race (also the downballot race that's seen by far the most expenditures), Dem Kamala Harris leads GOPer Steve Cooley $186K to $121K (and Cooley also has $170K in debt).
• Redistricting: Ohio, unfortunately, won't be having a referendum on a constitutional amendment on the ballot in November, that would limit parties' ability to gerrymander by requiring bipartisan support for new maps. The problem? The parties in the state legislature couldn't agree on the exact framework for the plan. At least there's good news on the better-districts front in New York, where the state Senate just passed legislation that will make sure that incarcerated persons are counted in their home communities, when legislative lines are redrawn next year.
• FL-Gov: Alex Sink (D) 31%, Bill McCollum (R) 27%, Bud Chiles (I) 20%
• FL-Gov: Alex Sink (D) 31%, Rick Scott (R) 35%, Bud Chiles (I) 16%
• OH-Sen: Lee Fisher (D) 40%, Rob Portman (R) 44%
• CA-Sen, CA-Gov: There's no shortage of pollsters looking at California, and now Canadian firm Ipsos (on behalf of Reuters) piles on. They find, like most pollsters, single-digits leads for the Democrats in both major races: Jerry Brown leads Meg Whitman 45-39 in the gubernatorial racer, while Barbara Boxer leads Carly Fiorina 45-41. They also find the proposed ballot initiative legalizing marijuana failing but by a close margin, 48-50.
• CO-Sen: The endorsement that seemed to blow everyone away yesterday was Bill Clinton's unexpected backing of Andrew Romanoff, who's mounting a primary challenge to appointed incumbent Michael Bennet in the Senate primary. It may not be that surprising, though, given Clinton's willingness to go to bat for lost causes who backed Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign in 2008, which Romanoff did. It sounds like Clinton's intervention will be limited to fundraising e-mails, though, rather than stumping with Romanoff.
• FL-Sen: The criminal case against former state GOP party chair Jim Greer is interesting enough on its own. But it could get even more interesting if Charlie Crist gets called to testify as a witness, which could happen, as his name is on a list of potential witnesses that's being circulated.
• IL-Sen: Mark Kirk, having offered some weak excuses ("I wasn't thinking") at his public appearance yesterday to apologize for his resume embellishments, tried to get back on the offensive against Alexi Giannoulias, rolling out two ads. That includes one that tries to get back to the whole "mob banker" meme. Giannoulias, however, isn't letting the resume flummery issue die; he rolled out his own attack ad today keeping Kirk's misrememberments front and center.
• KY-Sen: Charming: Lt. Gov. Dan Mongiardo, who narrowly lost the Democratic primary to AG Jack Conway, isn't going to endorse anyone in the Senate race. Also, he said he isn't planning to run for Governor next year. (Steve Beshear is running for re-election, but dropped Mongiardo from the ticket in favor of Louisville mayor Jerry Abramson, perhaps assuming that Mongo would already be Senator by 2011.)
Elaine Marshall (D): 40
Richard Burr (R-inc): 50
Mike Beitler (L): 6
We haven't been intentionally ignoring this poll from last weekend, just kept dropping the ball on getting it onto the front page. At any rate, this is one of those weird instances where Rasmussen sees a better race for the Dems than does SurveyUSA, although that may have to do with Rasmussen's odd tendency to see huge post-primary bounces.
• NV-Sen: Last night's title heavyweight bout was between Sharron Angle and Jon Ralston on Ralston's public affairs TV show. Angle tried to emphasize her softer side, walking back earlier vague threats about armed insurrection, but still voiced support for Social Security phaseout and, maybe even more fatal for Nevada, support for the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste site.
• WV-Sen: Don't get too comfortable in assuming that the West Virginia election to replace Robert Byrd won't be held until 2012. There are vague rumblings that, despite the SoS's decision, there might be a legislative special session this year to move the election date to November 2010. Bear in mind, though, that Dems thoroughly control the legislature so they'd be doing it only if they thought there was an advantage to doing it now instead of '12. As Aaron Blake points out, Joe Manchin is not only the heir apparent to the Senate seat but also the Governor, who has the power to move the special session agenda, so the whole thing is really up to him. (Manchin might figure his heavy popularity is more of an advantage in a shortened election season, instead of a multi-year ramp-up to 2012.) At any rate, Manchin seems content to take his time, wanting to wait until after Byrd's funeral next week to make any moves.
• MN-Gov: Mark Dayton is flying in the face of conventional wisdom (conventional wisdom that ignores the success of recent pro-tax ballot measures in Oregon and freakin' Arizona) by making tax increases for the wealthy a cornerstone of his gubernatorial campaign. Dayton also just landed endorsements from 2006 gubernatorial candidates Mike Hatch, and ex-Rep. Bill Luther.
• ID-01: Raul Labrador, the gift that just keeps on giving. Labrador, who just had to walk back criticisms of John Boehner, is now facing reports that he recently tore into John McCain at a pre-primary appearance and voiced his support for J.D. Hayworth. On a related note, the NRCC just promoted 16 more Young Guns to the top tier of their fundraising pyramid, but despite having won the primary here, Labrador's name is still nowhere to be seen on the list.
• KS-04: Here's some trouble for Wink Hartman, the businessman competing with Mike Pompeo for the GOP nomination in this Todd Tiahrt-held open seat. Pompeo's camp is making hay out of reports that Hartman, whom they've accused of carpetbagging in from Florida, is still taking a valuable homestead exemption on his expensive house in Florida, which would require that to be his primary residence.
• LA-02: State Rep. Cedric Richmond seems to have a big advantage in his quest to win the Democratic nomination in the 2nd; he's released an internal poll taken by Zata|3 (which you might remember polling the Arkansas primaries on behalf of Arkansas Business Journal), giving him a 53-13 lead over fellow state Rep. Juan LaFonta. No general election numbers for the battle against Republican Rep. Joe Cao were released.
• VA-05: Rep. Tom Perriello is out with what might get my vote for the best candidate TV ad of the cycle so far. (Well, the best ad not featuring Dale Peterson, I suppose.) It's attention-grabbing and light-hearted enough to break through the clutter, while still staying on-message on the issue of jobs.
• WA-02: Talk about an utter polling fail. John Koster, the Republican challenger to Rep. Rick Larsen, is touting a poll with a lead over Larsen but isn't giving the name of the pollster or even the specific numbers (saying he's "in the neighborhood of 53 to 47 percent" - wow... no undecideds?). Larsen's camp is saying the poll is crap, and they have a little more than the usual platitudes to back that up: Larsen was actually one of the persons polled, and he helpfully jotted down all 12 questions the poll asked. One of them identified Larsen as... a Republican.
• DCCC: Here's some good news; now that they're down to the final day of the quarter, the DCCC is actively twisting some arms to get recalcitrant House Dems to cough up their DCCC dues. So far, through the end of last month, House Dems have given $19.5 million over the cycle to the DCCC... but deadbeats still abound.
In his post, Markos has trend lines dating back to his last poll of this race, commissioned in March. However, R2K also polled this race just a week ago for a group of local news outlets. I've inserted those numbers in parens, and the March numbers in brackets. Between this poll and SurveyUSA's latest poll showing Mongiardo only ahead by a single point, I think we can say that Conway is making his move. But will it be enough on Tuesday?
General election nums (March in brackets):
Dan Mongiardo (D): 38 
Rand Paul (R): 43 
Undecided: 19 
The situation looks mildly better for Democrats against Rand Paul, but a looming weakness remains: both Mongiardo and Conway are fairly beat up, with favorables at 47-42 and 46-44, respectively. Grayson's at 52-27 and Rand Paul sits at 56-27. Hopefully the Democratic nominee can do a better job exploiting Paul's weirdo politics than Trey Grayson has been able to do in the Republican primary.
Dan Mongiardo (D): 38 (35)
Jack Conway (D): 37 (32)
Others: 13 (11)
Undecided: 12 (21)
Full crosstabs for the Democratic results are available here, and Republican innards are here.
Pretty bleak numbers for Trey Grayson, who was last seen trailing Rand Paul by 12 points in R2K's latest survey of this race. In fact, it's hard to remember the last non-internal poll that had Grayson in any sort of favorable position. (His campaign released a poll earlier this month showing the race tied, but that was drowned out by PPP showing Paul with a commanding lead the next day.) Well, at least Grayson will have more time to play with his toys pretty soon...
Meanwhile, on the Democratic ballot, Conway appears to be making something of a late surge. This should be a pretty fun race to watch on Tuesday.
• CA-Sen: Hell hath no fury like a teabagger scorned, and now the swarm is turning its anger on the queen bee. Even Sarah Palin's popularity apparently has limits, as she's getting all sorts of blowback (at her Facebook page, mostly) from California's right-wingers upset over her endorsement of corporate GOPer Carly Fiorina instead of true believer Chuck DeVore.
• KY-Sen: Research 2000, on behalf of various local news outlets, polled the primaries in Kentucky, finding, in the Democratic field, Dan Mongiardo leading Jack Conway 39-32 (with 12 opting for one of the three minor candidates). On the GOP side, Rand Paul leads Trey Grayson 44-32. The same poll has perilously low approvals for Majority leader Mitch McConnell, down to 41/49. And guess who's taking notice? Democratic state Auditor Crit Luallen -- one of our commenters, nrimmer, reports that she's sending out fundraising e-mails raising the possibility of a 2014 challenge.
Dan Mongiardo is also out with an internal poll, in the wake of the Conway camp releasing one with Conway in the lead. Mongo's poll, taken by Garin Hart Yang, has him up 46-34 (although he can't be psyched about the trendlines; his internal poll from February had him up 43-25). One other note from this race: an Iowa-based group, American Future Fund, is running an anti-Paul ad on TV. AFF claims to be about "free market views," so I'm not sure what their beef with Paul is (you don't get much more free market than that), but at any rate, their ad features a chiming cuckoo clock in it, which nicely underscores Paul's, um, cuckoo-ness.
• NC-Sen: Third-place finisher Kenneth Lewis finds himself in something of the kingmaker's seat, after preventing Elaine Marshall or Cal Cunningham from avoiding a runoff in the Democratic primary. Lewis says he's not sure who he'll endorse or even if he will endorse, but both camps are, naturally, reaching out to him and his supporters (including Mel Watt and Harvey Gantt).
• PA-Sen/PA-Gov (pdf): There's clearly a lot of day-to-day volatility in the Muhlenberg/Morning Call daily tracker of the Dem primaries, but you can't deny this is a blockbuster result: Joe Sestak has drawn even with Arlen Specter for the first time, as they tie at 43-all today. Maybe that ad with all those purdy pictures of him with George Bush and Sarah Palin is having the desired effect? On the gubernatorial side, Dan Onorato is at 35, Joe Hoeffel at 11, Anthony Williams at 10, and Jack Wagner at 8.
• UT-Sen: Tomorrow may well be the end of the line for Bob Bennett, the three-term Senator from Utah. He's poised to get kicked to the curb at tomorrow's nominating convention by his state's far-right activist base for the crime of actually trying to legislate. Bennett's getting some last-minute hits from robocalls from the Gun Owners of America, but that's pretty tame compared with some of the other over-the-top attacks being leveled at other candidates (like Mike Lee as Hitler?). Michael Steele, wary of treading on the base's toes in a no-win situation, has announced his staying neutral in the nominating process.
• MA-Gov: Looks like you don't want to get on Tim Cahill's bad side (or maybe more accurately, on the bad side of media consultant John Weaver, who's also working on the oddball campaigns of Rick Snyder in Michigan and Steve Levy in New York). After a hard hit from the RGA, the Cahill camp retaliated with a web video pegging RGA chair Haley Barbour as a Confederate sympathizer and corrupt lobbyist. The RGA fired back saying the Cahill camp had responded like "scalded apes" (strange metaphor, but it has a certain evocative charm).
• OR-Gov: That SurveyUSA poll that had Republican primary results that was leaked a few days ago is fully available now, and it also contains Democratic primary results. John Kitzhaber seems poised to roll over Bill Bradbury; he leads 54-16. (As reported earlier, Chris Dudley led on the GOP side, although only at 28%.)
• RI-Gov: The DGA is going on the offensive against independent Lincoln Chafee, seeing him (and certainly not Republican John Robitaille) as their main impediment to picking up the governor's office. They've launched an anti-Chafee site... and here's an indication of the candidates' positioning in this scrambled race: they're actually attacking Chafee from the right, focusing on Chafee's love of taxes.
• HI-01: One candidate who isn't running away from Barack Obama is Ed Case, who's up with a new TV ad throwing his arms around the hometown favorite. "Only one candidate is strong enough to stand with the President: Ed Case!" intones the ad. Despite the White House's behind-the-scenes finger-on-the-scale, though, Obama hasn't officially come out in favor of Case.
• ID-01: I wonder what think tank the right-wing's current fixation with the 17th Amendment recently bubbled up from? I thought it was a weird aberration when Steve Stivers started up about it, but now it's an issue in the GOP primary in the 1st, where all of a sudden the two contestants, Raul Labrador and Vaughn Ward, are trying to out-Seventeenther each other. Has Frank Luntz actually tried running the idea through one of his focus groups of taking away people's rights to vote for their Senators? Somehow I doubt it polls well.
• WATN?: Couldn't have happened to a nicer guy. Former Republican state Senate majority leader Joe Bruno just got sentenced to two years in federal prison for fraud and abuse of office. It's worth noting, though, that the sentence was stayed until the SCOTUS can rule on the "honest services" issue that's before it, so it could be a long time, if ever, before Bruno's wearing stripes.
Jack Conway (D): 34 (33)
Trey Grayson (R): 42 (40)
Jack Conway (D): 40 (36)
Rand Paul (R): 41 (42)
Dan Mongiardo (D): 35 (35)
Trey Grayson (R): 43 (44)
Dan Mongiardo (D): 38 (36)
Rand Paul (R): 42 (42)
PPP shows a dramatically different picture of this race than recent Rasmussen polls have portrayed, with Paul clearly the weaker general election candidate for Republicans. Paul's favorability rating among all voters has shifted from 26-23 in December to 28-35 now -- likely the effect of Grayson's attacks finding more resonance among the wider general election audience than the GOP primary electorate.
The problem, however, is that the leading Democratic candidate, Dan Mongiardo, is the least popular person in this four-man field with a favorable rating of just 24-36. Even with Mongiardo at the con, though, Paul's candidacy should at least keep this one interesting.
Meanwhile, Rand Paul received a bit of help today from Jim DeMint, who broke his neutrality to endorse Paul to try to balance out the many DC Republicans who have lined up behind Grayson.
UPDATE: The Conway campaign has released a new internal poll conducted from Benenson Strategy Group (5/2-4, likely voters) showing Conway leading Mongiardo by 32-28, up from trailing Mongiardo by 22-37 in March. With leaners, Conway is ahead by 37-31 -- and among those who know both candidates, Conway has a 50-30 lead. Spend it all, Jack!
Jack Conway (D): 27 (37)
Dan Mongiardo (D): 36 (33)
Undecided: 27 (30)
PPP finds Paul ahead by a mile in the Republican primary -- quite the contrast with Grayson's internal polling which purports to show a tied race. Still, Grayson's camp isn't going down without a fight -- they just unfurled an endorsement (and accompanying ad) from Mitch McConnell. (Though the only surprising thing about that is the fact that McConnell was officially neutral for so long.)
On the Democratic side, you have to wonder if Conway has a fighting chance. In his favor, a greater share of primary voters consider Conway to be a blank slate: 51% have no opinion of him, while 36% react the same way to Mongiardo. Perhaps Conway can close the gap by flooding the zone with his superior cash reserves in the final two weeks of the race, but it'll be tough.
Tom Campbell (R): 34
Carly Fiorina (R): 27
Chuck DeVore (R): 14
Tim Kalemkarian (R): 3
Meg Whitman (R): 49
Steve Poizner (R): 27
Others (R): 9
Jerry Brown (D): 63
Richard Aguirre (D): 6
Lowell Darling (D): 6
Peter Schurman (D): 1
Others (D): 6
Undecided (D): 18
It's nice to see SurveyUSA getting into the game in California (although this poll is primaries only); they find, as did Capital Weekly yesterday, that Meg Whitman's big lead over Steve Poizner is dissipating. However, with only a few weeks left until early voting begins (on May 10), it seems unlikely Poizner will be able to catch up all the way. Unlike Capital Weekly, though, they find, like most pollsters, that Tom Campbell's lead over Carly Fiorina in the Senate primary is down in the single-digits. And apparently Jerry Brown has some primary opposition. Who knew? Peter Schurman is one of the founders of MoveOn.org, who launched a last-minute candidacy, but his lack of name recognition seems to relegate him behind some other no-names who at least have more interesting-sounding names (Lowell Darling?).
• FL-Sen: Awwwwwk-ward. George LeMieux is Charlie Crist's former chief of staff and his hand-installed seat-warmer in the Senate seat that Crist assumed was his for the taking. But now, LeMieux is weighing whether he'll have to say that he'll endorse Marco Rubio for the seat if Crist pulls the trigger on his anticipated independent bid. LeMieux is reportedly interested in a 2012 Senate bid against Bill Nelson, and unless he too plans to take the indie route, can't afford to anger the GOP rabble. PPP's Tom Jensen takes a look at LeMieux and finds that, with his 13/33 approval (including 15/29 among Republicans), he isn't likely to be a viable 2012 candidate regardless of how he plays his cards next week.
• KY-Sen: It looks like the story about Dan Mongiardo's housing stipend may have some legs to it. It was revealed a few weeks ago that Mongiardo was living with his in-laws in Frankfort but still accepting the housing stipend that comes with his job, but now the news is that he used his $30K/yr. housing allowance to buy a Frankfort-area farm where he didn't live but that, in 2003, he looked into trying to develop as a subdivision. There's also a last-minute hit on the Republican side of the race, as Trey Grayson filed complaints with a variety of agencies alleging that Rand Paul hasn't been paying the proper withholding taxes on some of his campaign staff. (They're listed as "independent contractors," which means there's no withholding, but it's doubtful they meet the legal criteria for being independent contractors.)
• LA-Sen: Local Democrats are asking for federal investigation into allegations that David Vitter threatened to pull federal funds to the (private) University of New Orleans if it allowed Charlie Melancon to speak at a Democratic committee meeting scheduled on campus on April 10. The meeting was subsequently canceled.
• NV-Sen: There's a debate among the Republican candidates for Senate in Reno tonight; it's the first major public appearance for Sue Lowden after the chickens-for-care fiasco, so it'll be interesting to see whether her opponents shower her with derision or if they try to outflank her on the right by throwing even more white meat to the base. Here's a clue: one of Lowden's predecessors, former state party chair Chuck Muth, says "It is absolutely breathtaking at how badly the Lowden camp has mishandled the situation."
• MI-Gov: Ordinarily Mitt Romney endorsements don't get too much ink here, but this is an interesting one: he endorsed Rep. Peter Hoekstra for Michigan governor. This is relevant in a couple ways: one, Romney is the son of ex-Gov. George Romney and those are meaningful connections, seeing how he fared well in the Michigan primary in 2008, so it carries some weight. And two, if Romney is going to try to be the moderate, sane guy in the 2012 GOP primary, you'd think he'd find a different way to show it than by endorsing the hard-right, strident Hoekstra.
• MN-Gov: The DFL endorsing convention in Minnesota is tomorrow, and the main event is who gets the gubernatorial endorsement... which, given the big crowd, could require many ballots to decide. Six Dems are still left contesting the nomination: Minneapolis mayor R.T. Rybak, state House speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher (considered the two frontrunners, based on the precinct-level straw polling), state Sen. John Marty, state Reps. Tom Rukavina and Paul Thissen, and former state Rep. Matt Entenza. Former Sen. Mark Dayton and Ramsey Co. DA Susan Gaertner are also running, but plan to contest the primary no matter what and therefore aren't bothering with seeking the endorsement. (Entenza also plans to be in the primary no matter what, which means he's unlikely to get any support at the convention, but still is participating at the convention.)
• NY-Gov: Remind me again why Suffolk Co. Exec Steve Levy is running for Governor as a Republican? I suppose it was because state chair Ed Cox promised him a smooth ride to the nomination, but if the endorsements of the various county-level GOP chairs around New York is any indication, it looks like Cox sold Levy a bill of goods. Levy has been endorsed by only 14 county chairs, with a weighted vote of 26%, while ex-Rep. Rick Lazio has the backing of 27 county chairs with a weighted vote of 51%. 19 chairs remain neutral.
• OH-Gov: When we talk about the money chase, it's usually focused on the federal races, but Ohio is a good reminder that the money pours into the state-level races too. Big money is at work in the Buckeye State, as incumbent Dem Ted Strickland raised $1.6 million last quarter and has $7.1 million CoH, while GOP challenger John Kasich raised $2 million and has $5.1 million CoH. Even the downballot races aren't immune: GOP SoS candidate Jon Husted has $2 million in the bank (dwarfing Democratic opponent Maryellen O'Shaughnessy), while Democratic Auditor candidate David Pepper is sitting on $785K, giving him a huge advantage over his GOP opponents.
• FL-08: Former state Sen. Daniel Webster (who's known for not following through on his intentions to run for things) decided to go through with his threats to run against Rep. Alan Grayson, getting a late start on the race. Webster probably could have cleared the field if he'd gotten in the first time around, half a year ago, but now the various primary opponents (state Rep. Kurt Kelly, Bruce O'Donoghue, Todd Long) say they won't get out of the way. Webster comes to the table with two big-name endorsements, though, which might help him make up some fundraising ground quickly: Jeb Bush and Mike Huckabee. The local GOP establishment is fractured, though, as Mel Martinez is sticking with his ally O'Donoghue.
• GA-04: Rep. Hank Johnson, facing a competitive Dem primary with Vernon Jones, got a big endorsement today, from one Barack Obama. (Johnson was the first member of the Georgia delegation to endorse Obama.) With Obama having won the black-majority 4th by a 79-21 margin, it's an endorsement I'd expect that Johnson welcomes.
• NM-02: Apparently there had been some goading of Democratic freshman Rep. Harry Teague from Republican quarters for him to release his internal polling, which he hasn't done previously. Ask and ye shall receive... Hamilton Campaigns finds Teague leading ex-Rep. Steve Pearce 47-46. That compares favorably to Teague's internal from August, which, unsurprisingly, he didn't release; there, Teague trailed 52-42. The one public poll of the race, from PPP in February, gave Pearce a 43-41 lead.
• NY-19: Here's a weird story out of the GOP primary in the 19th, where ophthalmologist Nan Hayworth is already brandishing lots of money. Apparently there's a phantom candidate out there by the name of Kristia Cavere, who's claiming to have raised $300K in a matter of weeks and is now sitting on $400K CoH. That can't be verified, however, because Cavere's camp hasn't filed an FEC Q1 report yet, though, and her spokesperson pointed to a loophole that doesn't really exist. Furthermore, no one really seems sure what the 31-year-old Cavere does, other than having recently gotten a master's degree, or how she'd have access to such money.
• OH-13: This is one of those "huh?" moments that makes you check the calendar to see what century you're living in. The Medina County GOP sent out a mailer with a bullet-pointed list of to-do items. One of them was "Let's take Betty Sutton out of the House and put her back in the kitchen!"