• CA-Sen (pdf): The Public Policy Institute of California takes a look at the California Senate race, and find it a fairly close-looking race if ex-Rep. Tom Campbell survives the primary against wealthy Carly Fiorina and teabagger-powered Chuck DeVore. Unfortunately, it looks like he's poised to that, leading Fiorina and DeVore 27-16-8. Barbara Boxer leads Campbell 45-41 in the general, while she leads Fiorina by a more comfortable 48-40 and DeVore 47-39. (By comparison, Boxer leads Campbell by 10 in the most recent sample by the widely-respected Field Poll, who found Campbell leading Fiorina 35-25-6.) Another bit of bad news for Fiorina: apparently people at her former company doesn't think that much of her. Boxer has received the maximum $10K from Hewlett-Packard's PAC, while Fiorina has gotten nothing.
• IL-Sen: I don't know if anyone was banking on Jacob Meister and the 1% of voters he was pulling in, but the wealthy attorney running a quixotic bid folded his hand and threw his backing behind Alexi Giannoulias with only a day to go before the primary. He cited David Hoffman's negative ads and that Hoffman is "more conservative" than he lets on. PPP's Tom Jensen also has some thoughts on the Republican primary, wondering why Patrick Hughes fizzled while other tea party-fueled insurgent candidates (Rand Paul) have caught a spark; basically, it has to do with money, and not just one's own money (with Hughes has lots of) but institutional money (from folks like the Club for Growth) instead.
• KY-Sen: Speaking of Rand Paul, he got a top-drawer endorsement today, from Sarah Palin, as the common cause between teabaggers and Paulists now seems fully stitched-together. (Of course, whether that endorsement translates into dollars is another question, especially with today's revelation that SarahPAC spent more money buying copies of "Going Rogue" to push it up the best-seller lists than on contributions to actual candidates.)
• NV-Sen: While he hasn't taken any official steps, Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki is souding more and more like a Republican candidate for the Senate, publicly saying "I can beat Senator Reid." (And, the implication probably is, that the second-tier odds and ends currently cluttering the race can't, once the gloves come off.) With Krolicki being courted by the John Cornyn at the NRSC, that's just arousing the wrath of the anti-establishment set, though, and even some local bigwigs, like ex-Gov. (and current RNC committee member) Bob List, who's telling Cornyn to back off.
• NY-Sen, NY-Sen-B (pdf): No particular surprises in Marist's new poll of the Senate landscape in New York, finding that a hypothetical George Pataki challenge, rather than Harold Ford Jr., is the biggest threat to Kirsten Gillibrand. She wins the primary against Ford and Jonathan Tasini 44-27-4. Gillibrand loses to Pataki 49-43, while easily beating the only announced Republican, Port Authority commissioner Bruce Blakeman, 52-30. Ford also loses the general to Pataki, 52-35, while getting past Blakeman 39-35. They even test out the other Senate race, the one no one has been thinking about but that talk show host Larry Kudlow has made some noises about joining. Charles Schumer mops the floor with Kudlow, 67-25.
• WA-Sen: I don't know if this is going to strike much fear in the heart of Patty Murray, who has flattened three prominent Republican U.S. Representatives over the course of her career, but a poll from Moore Insight (a Republican polling firm in Oregon) clearly designed to lure 2004 and 2008 gubernatorial loser Dino Rossi into the race finds Rossi leading, 45-43. Rossi says "I never say never," but also says he has "no plans to run for any office at this point."
• CA-Gov: That same PPIC poll has gubernatorial numbers as well, finding that Jerry Brown shouldn't take his race for granted either. Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman has moved into commanding position in the GOP primary, between her outrageous spending and the disappearance of Tom Campbell from the race; she leads Insurance Comm. Steve Poizner 41-11 (an improvement from 32-8 in December). Brown leads Whitman by five, 41-36 (he led by 6 in December), while he leads Poizner 44-29. Calitics has some advice on how Brown should engage the race if and when he emerges from his Fortress of Solitude, and also some details on how Poizner isn't going down without a fight, calling for federal investigation into Whitman's efforts to push him out of the race.
• MD-Gov: Ex-Gov. Bob Ehrlich seems to be moving closer to a rematch with the man who defeated him in 2006, Democrat Martin O'Malley. He's been lining up fundraisers and a statewide "listening tour," although he says he wants to hear what people actually say on said tour before making a decision one way or the other on the race. Another indicator that Ehrlich is likely to run: the only Republican in the race right now, Larry Hogan, a close Ehrlich friend who said he's get out of the way for Ehrlich and was in the race as something of a placeholder, has ended his campaign, saying that he's convinced Ehrlich is getting in.
• MI-Gov: Lt. Gov. John Cherry's withdrawal from the gubernatorial race is certainly different from what we saw Connecticut and Colorado: instead of leading to an instant upgrade, we're just seeing a lot of confusion, with none of the options seeming that much better. The newest EPIC-MRA poll of the race finds pizza magnate Denise Ilitch in the best position in the scrambled Dem primary, leading state House speaker Andy Dillon and Lansing mayor Virg Bernero 23-8-5, with a majority undecided. AG Mike Cox leads the Republican field, beating Rep. Peter Hoekstra and Oakland Co. Sheriff Mike Bouchard 32-25-16. Specific head-to-head numbers aren't reported, but Ilitch reportedly trails Cox by 18 and Hoekstra by 7, with Dillon and Bernero faring even worse. (UPDATE: Thanks to RCP, those toplines are: Cox 48, Ilitch 30; Cox 47, Dillon 30; Cox 50, Bernero 28; Hoekstra 42, Ilitch 35; Hoekstra 40, Dillon 32; Hoekstra 45, Bernero 27.)
• PA-Gov: With rich guy Tom Knox suddenly out of the governor's race, another Philadelphian is looking to fill his void in a Democratic primary dominated by western Pennsylvania figures. State Sen. Anthony Williams has been sounding out the race; he'd be the only African-American in the field.
• AR-03: We've already dissected the possible fields in Arkansas' 1st and 2nd districts, but now that it looks like the 3rd will be vacant too, let's see who might step up. One top name is John Arthur Hammerschmidt, the son of the guy who held the seat for more than 20 years (and who notably beat a young Bill Clinton many years ago). A possible return engagement by ex-Rep. and ex-DEA head Asa Hutchinson is also mentioned. Other names for the GOP include former US Attorney Bob Balfe, state Rep. Jonathan Barnett, former state Sen. Dave Bisbee, state Sen. Cecile Bledsoe, former state Sen. John Brown, state Rep. Rick Green, city councilor Kurt Maddox, former state Rep. Doug Matoyo, former state Rep. Daryl Pace, current Senate candidate Buddy Rogers, retired general Bernard Skoch, and Rogers mayor Steve Womack. Fayetteville city attorney David Whitaker seems to be the lone Democrat interested in this dark-red district.
• CA-12: Nothing sets off a stampede like an open U.S. House seat in California, where term limits keep people cycling in and out of the state legislature. With Rep. Jackie Speier sounding likely to run for state AG, state sen. Leland Yee, state Assemblyman Jerry Hill, and Assemblywoman Fiona Ma also have said they're revving up for a run in the Democratic primary in this safely-blue seat.
• LA-02: Rep. Joe Cao seems to have gotten sucked into the downward spiral of direct mail marketing. He raised a pretty good $248K during the last quarter, but somehow managed to spend $283K, meaning he burned $35K and is sitting on only $316K CoH anymore.
• MN-03: Bad news in the 3rd: state Sen. Terri Bonoff, who probably should have been our candidate there in 2008, isn't going to run there in 2010, instead going for another term in the state Senate. Maureen Hackett and Jim Meffert are facing off for the Democratic nod, but neither of them has Bonoff's stature in the swingy suburban district.
• NY-15: The Memphis newspaper has an interesting profile of one of the candidates seeking to knock off increasingly-sketchy Rep. Charlie Rangel in the Democratic primary, Harlem community banker Vincent Morgan. What's the Memphis angle on all this? Morgan is really a Ford; he's the estranged son of currently imprisoned former state Sen. John Ford, and the cousin of former TN-09 Rep. and current possible NY-Sen candidate Harold Ford Jr. Morgan isn't close with the family, and prefers to downplay the link.
• PA-08: The minor GOP candidates in the 8th seem to be bailing out, in the wake of the entry of a relative heavyweight, in the form of ex-Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick, back to reclaim his seat. Attorney and Iraq vet Dean Malik, who seemed to be as close to a frontrunner as the GOP had pre-Fitzpatrick, dropped out last week and endorsed Fitzpatrick. The self-proclaimed teabagger in the race, Rob Mitchell, also pulled out and threw his support to Fitzpatrick.
• TN-04: Rep. Lincoln Davis had previously made it clear that he was running again, but it's official today: he filed his paperwork for another run. That's gotta be a relief for the DCCC, already trying to plug two holes in TN-06 and TN-08.
• TX-23: Former Bexar Co. Commissioner Lyle Larson, who torpedoed the GOP's preferred candidate (Quico Canseco) in the 2008 primary and then went on to get swamped by Rep. Ciro Rodriguez in the general, won't be running again this year. Instead, he's getting into an open seat race for a Texas state House seat instead, giving Canseco a clearer shot this time.
• WV-01: A last-minute primary challenge to Rep. Alan Mollohan sneaked in, and it's a rather serious one, from long-time state Sen. Mike Oliverio. Oliverio is giving up his Senate seat this year, maybe in hopes that Mollohan would retire; when Mollohan filed for re-election anyway, he may have figured he had nothing to lose by running anyway (although with Mollohan's ethical cloud having been recently lifted, I'm not sure what Oliverio's angle would be anymore). Also worth noting: state Sen. Clark Barnes, considering a leading GOP challenger, didn't even file to run, apparently thinking better of it after the party started touting former state Rep. (and more importantly, potential self-financer) David McKinley instead. (You can check out all the Kentucky and West Virginia filings action in benawu's new diary.)
• Facebook: Which political website are you? If you answered "Swing State Project," you can become a fan of us on Facebook and get regular updates in a largely quiz-free environment.
Alexi Giannoulias (D): 42
Mark Kirk (R): 34
Cheryle Jackson (D): 36
Mark Kirk (R): 38
David Hoffman (D): 36
Mark Kirk (R): 37
Surprisingly nice numbers from PPP on the Senate general election, with Dem state treasurer Alexi Giannoulias putting up a sizable lead against Republican Rep. Mark Kirk, while Kirk barely beats the two other little-known Dems. Giannoulias has favorables of 31/19 (suggesting he's been weathering the Broadway Bank brouhaha all right, although that may have gotten more amped up in the days since this sample was completed, reaching a climax with the consent order the Giannoulias family-owned bank signed with the FDIC on Tuesday) while Kirk is at 27/22. Jackson and Hoffman's main problem, vis-a vis Kirk, seems to be their lower profiles, as their favorables are 16/17 and 16/11 respectively. One other amusing little tidbit: it may be good that Roland Burris isn't attempting to stand for election; his approval is 14/60, the worst PPP has ever seen for a sitting Senator. (See also conspiracy's diary.)
Pat Quinn (D-inc): 35
Jim Ryan (R): 42
Pat Quinn (D-inc): 36
Andy McKenna (R): 42
Dan Hynes (D): 40
Jim Ryan (R): 35
Dan Hynes (D): 38
Andy McKenna (R): 36
It looks like Pat Quinn may have been fatally wounded by a combination of getting hammered by ads from both Democratic primary challenger Dan Hynes and potential Republican opponent Andy McKenna -- as well as the general anti-incumbent tide these days -- as his approvals have sunk to a dire 25/55. Quinn is also seen losing in November to both McKenna and Republican former AG Jim Ryan, while Hynes (the state's Comptroller) squeaks by both of them, suggesting the problem here is Quinn more so than the Democratic brand. However, it's looking likelier and likelier that Quinn doesn't even make it out of the Democratic primary, as seen not only in PPP's previously reported primary numbers but also new primary numbers from Rasmussen (1/25, likely voters):
Pat Quinn (D-inc): 37
Dan Hynes (D): 43
Some other: 6
Not sure: 14
I'd initially had my doubts about why Hynes would want to challenge a sitting Governor when there was an open Senate seat for the taking, but apparently he knew what he was doing -- he knew what Quinn's weaknesses were, how to hit them, and is peaking at the right time. I gotta wonder if Lisa Madigan is second-guessing herself these days for not wanting to take on Quinn when she had the chance.
UPDATE: Rasmussen also just came out with Democratic Senate primary numbers from the same sample, showing both of Giannoulias's challengers topping the 20-percent mark.
Alexi Giannoulias (D): 31
David Hoffman (D): 23
Cheryle Jackson (D): 23
Some other: 9
Not sure: 24
Interestingly, though Kirk edges indies 33-27, Alexi leads among moderates by 45-25. He also has slightly better favorables. I wonder if the airing of all the dirty laundry in the primary is helping get it out of the way.
Jackson and Hoffman trail but it is basically a statistical tie. Since Giannoulias has a clear lead in the recent primary polls this is probably academic.
Alexi Giannoulias (D): 32
Cheryle Jackson (D): 18
David Hoffman (D): 20
Mark Kirk (R): 42
Patrick Hughes (R): 9
Remarkably similar numbers from both pollsters in both primaries. It looks like teabagger extraordinaire Patrick Hughes has failed to take much of a bite out of Kirk's hide. The real question is whether Kirk's successful rightward march to head off the likes of Hughes will damage him in the fall - or if he can pull of a charade of Scott Brownian proportions.
On the Dem side, Giannoulias seems to be in the pole position, but the Tribune, at least, seems to think Hoffman is showing some momentum. Time is pretty much out for anyone to make a move, though.
PPP also took a look at the gubernatorial primaries:
Pat Quinn (D-inc): 40
Dan Hynes (D): 41
Kirk Dillard (R): 19
Andy McKenna (R): 17
Bill Brady (R): 16
Jim Ryan (R): 13
Adam Andrzejewski (R): 11
These numbers are also in line with the Tribune's, though Hynes is doing just a hair better here. As for the Republican slate, several of the places are switched from where the Trib had them, but all of the players are still jostling inside a very tight band. Both races are too close to call - but we'll know the answers on Tuesday.
And, as always, SSP will be liveblogging all of the Illinois primaries.
• CA-Sen, CA-Gov: There have been rumors about this before that didn't pan out, but based on the amount of chatter out there, it's seeming very likely all of a sudden: ex-Rep. Tom Campbell sounds poised to drop his gubernatorial bid (where he's been polling well, but is way financially outgunned) and move over to the Senate race. He sounds likely to announce this on Thursday, seeing as how he has said he will be appearing at a Los Angeles County GOP event then, but "not as a candidate for Governor." Weirdly, this could wind up helping Assemblyman Chuck DeVore in the Senate primary, as Campbell was one of three ostensible moderates (with no right-winger) in the Governor's race, but now Campbell and Carly Fiorina will be splitting the moderate vote in the Senate primary, potentially letting ultra-conservative DeVore crash the gate.
• FL-Sen: Marco Rubio has been winning his fair share of county GOP straw polls lately, but this one was more eagerly awaited than most, because it's Charlie Crist's home county. Rubio continues his winning streak, winning the straw poll in moderate-leaning Pinellas County (home of St. Petersburg) by a 106-54 margin.
• IL-Sen: This seems like a good get for David Hoffman, as he seeks to make up some ground on Alexi Giannoulias in the Senate primary: he got the Dem primary endorsements of both Chicago's major papers, the Tribune and Sun-Times (although getting the endorsement of the more conservative and anti-machine Tribune doesn't seem odd for Hoffman, given his reformist message). On the GOP side, Rep. Mark Kirk got an endorsement from one of his fellow moderates from the state delegation, downstate Rep. Timothy Johnson.
• MA-Sen: If you were thinking, in the wake of a couple good polls in Massachusetts, that it was safe to unbuckle your seatbelt and resume walking around the cabin, guess again. Republican state Sen. Scott Brown, taking a page from the Paulists, used the one-day "moneybomb" technique to good effect, raking in $1.1 million and basically ensuring he'll be able to stay on the air up until Election Day. Brown has yet another TV spot up on the air, in response to Coakley's first negative ad; Brown's firing back with the ol' "tsk, tsk on you for going negative" approach. Between the contradictory polls, Brown's fundraising, and other signs of life (like a Boston Herald endorsement for Brown - although that's not a surprise from the conservative Herald), the Beltway Dems have decided to leave nothing to chance, and are getting more involved, as the DNC is sending in some ground troops, and the DSCC is ponying up for $567K for more ad time for Coakley - meaning, in its own way, that the GOP already won a moral victory here by getting the DSCC to pry open its checkbook.
• NH-Sen: I don't know if anyone really cares one lick about what former Vice-President Dan Quayle is up to these days, but he popped up long enough to endorse Ovide Lamontagne in the GOP Senate primary in New Hampshire. Meanwhile, wealthy businessman Bill Binnie is tapping his own personal money to get a head start on the ad wars in the NH primary, with an introductory bio spot.
• NV-Sen: For a while there, it was looking like Harry Reid was even starting to have some trouble within his caucus, as Russ Feingold publicly criticized Reid yesterday over his insensitive language regarding Barack Obama, wondering out loud if he should continue as Majority Leader. Feingold dialed it back a little today, though, saying that he supports Reid staying on it that role. With Chris Cillizza today joining many other pundits in wondering if the fork is ready to be stuck in Reid, there comes word (buried in a longer Politico story), via anonymous sources, of a "a whisper campaign in Nevada that it would be possible for him to step aside and find someone else who could win."
• NY-Sen-B: Ex-Rep. Harold Ford Jr. is beating the Senate drum a little louder today, saying in a New York Post (interesting choice of venue) that he's "strongly considering" the race. In an interview with Chris Mathews, he also had his version of the "Ich bin ein Berliner" moment, enunciating that "I am a New Yorker, I am a New Yorker." (Although I believe, in the local dialect, that's pronounced "Hey! I'm a fuggin' New Yorker here already, now step off!")
• MA-Gov (pdf): Hot on the heels of the MA-Gov poll from the Boston Globe comes another one from PPP, part of its MA-Sen sample. Their sample finds incumbent Dem Deval Patrick in slightly worse position than the Globe (with an awful 22/59 approval), although he's still in the lead. Interestingly, this poll also sees the Republicans in much better shape than the Globe did, as independent candidate Tim Cahill slouches into third place here. Patrick leads GOPer Charlie Baker and Cahill 29-27-21, while in a Patrick/Cahill/Christy Mihos three-way, Cahill moves into second with a 28-25-21 outcome. (This certainly points to the composition difference between the PPP sample, which may have overweighted Republicans, and the Globe/UNH sample, which may have overweighted Democrats. The Senate special election results may give us a clue which of these MA-Gov polls is closer.) PPP also tested Democratic SoS William Galvin as a replacement for Patrick, finding little difference, with a 26-26-18 race among Galvin, Baker, and Cahill, and a 26-22-20 race among Galvin, Cahill, and Mihos.
• MN-Gov: The Republican field in the Minnesota governor's race may actually be dwindling down into the single digits, as things sort themselves out. Former Auditor Pat Anderson is dropping her gubernatorial bid, and instead is looking at a return to her old job. She'll be running against Democratic incumbent Rebecca Otto, who unseated Anderson in 2006.
• RI-Gov: Things are getting pretty dire for the Reupblicans in Rhode Island, where former Cranston mayor (and 2006 Senate primary candidate) Stephen Laffey decided for the second time that he isn't going to run for Governor. With businessman Rory Smith's dropout, the GOP still has nobody here, although salvation may be coming in the form of current Gov. Don Carcieri's communications director, John Robitaille, who is filling the gap by filing as a candidate. (Robitaille's only political experience is losing a state Rep. race in 2006.) Meanwhile, Josh Goodman has been wondering if independent candidate Lincoln Chafee, while a former Republican, might actually run to the left of the Democrat in this race (telegraphed by his statements on possible tax hikes). A local consultant tells Goodman that Chafee may in fact get labor backing on the race, perhaps depending on which Dem Chafee faces. (Chafee might get labor support if he's against Treasurer Frank Caprio, although the more liberal AG Patrick Lynch would probably have a lock on labor support if he survives the Dem primary.)
• LA-02: The prospect is lessening for a free-for-all Democratic primary in New Orleans for what's likely to be an easy race to defeat GOP incumbent Rep. Joe Cao. State Rep. Cedric Richmond seems to be locking down establishment support as a consensus candidate here, and that was underscored by an endorsement from former Sen. John Breaux. Fellow state Rep. Juan LaFonta is still in the primary, but state Rep. Karen Carter Peterson (who took Bill Jefferson to a runoff in 2006) is running for state Senate instead of LA-02, and none of Richmond's 2008 primary opponents seem to be getting in the race.
• PA-06: After earlier vows that he wouldn't get out the GOP primary in the 6th despite the re-entry of incumbent Rep. Jim Gerlach, yesterday state Rep. Curt Schroder saw the fundraising-related handwriting on the wall and got out of the race. With former Revenue Secretary Howard Cohen and Lower Merion Twp. Commissioner Scott Zelov already having stood down, that leaves only self-funder Steven Welch and several some-dudes in Gerlach's way.
• RI-01: Maybe he's been comparing notes with Jim Traficant on how to restart your political career after spending several years in prison. Republican former Providence mayor Buddy Cianci, fresh off of four and a half years in jail over criminal acts while mayor, is now considering a challenge to Rep. Patrick Kennedy.
• VA-09: Despite having dodged a bullet with state Del. Terry Kilgore deciding against a run, Rep. Rick Boucher may still have to avoid some incoming fire in November. The state House's majority leader, Morgan Griffith, said he's "considering" the race and may get in if someone stronger doesn't. (Since the only other person who's probably stronger is state Sen. William Wampler Jr., and it doesn't sound like he'll run in the 9th, as he's probably banking on a Republican takeover of the state Senate soon, in which case he'd become Finance chair, it may in fact fall to Griffith.) Griffith does have one slight problem: he doesn't live in the 9th, although he's apparently within walking distance of the district lines.
• FL-CFO: Florida Democrats finally found a CFO candidate to help round out their slate of candidates: former state Rep. Loranne Ausley, who decided on a CFO run and ended her state Senate bid. The bigger implication is that state Sen. Al Lawson - who's flirted off and on with a CFO bid - is probably staying for good in the FL-02 primary now. (Interestingly, Ausley, like Lawson, hails from the Tallahassee area.)
• OH-Auditor: Buzz in Ohio is that incumbent Mary Taylor (the only statewide Republican right now) is going to drop a bid for another term as Auditor and run as John Kasich's running mate for Lt. Governor instead. This probably strengthens Kasich's bid against incumbent Dem Ted Strickland... but an open Auditor seat is also good news for the Dems, as Hamilton Co. Commissioner David Pepper was already running a strong race against Taylor. Remember that the Auditor is one of the seats on Ohio's state legislative redistricting board, so an Auditor pickup would compensate there for a loss at Governor or SoS (but not both).
• MT-St. Sen.: The Missoulian has a very early look at prospects in the state legislature in Montana. Because of the open seat situation in the Senate, Democrats might have a shot at retaking that body (the GOP controls 27-23). Of the 25 seats up this year, 16 are held by Republicans and 9 by Democrats, with a total of 15 of the 25 being open seats.
• VA-St. Sen.: Two special elections are on tap for tonight, one of which is very interesting. The 37th, a swingy area in suburban Fairfax County, was left vacant by new Republican AG Ken Cuccinelli; it's being contested by Democratic Del. Dave Marsden and Republican former Fairfax Co. School Board member Steve Hunt. There are echoes of the gubernatorial race here, as Marsden is running a moderate-enough campaign that he may be at risk of losing the base's interest, while Hunt is trying to downplay controversial social conservative remarks from his past. Hunt has an internal poll showing him up, and Dem enthusiasm may still be down thanks to the post-Creigh Deeds hangover, so the GOP seems poised to eke this one out, helping them to keep holding the Dems to a narrow 21-19 edge in the Senate. The other race is in the solid-red 8th in Virginia Beach, where GOP businessman Jeff McWaters should have little problem beating Democratic Bill Fleming to replace Republican Ken Stolle, who just became Virginia Beach Sheriff.
• NRCC: The NRCC bumped up four more challengers in their "Young Guns" framework today, most prominently a move to "Contender" (the 2nd of three tiers) for Jim Renacci, challenging Rep. John Boccieri in OH-16. Also entering at the lowest level ("On the Radar") are former FBI agent Mike Grimm, running in NY-13, state Sen. Dan Debicella, running in CT-04, and state Rep. John Loughlin, running in RI-01 against Rep. Patrick Kennedy. That last entry may seem like the longest of long shots; it may in fact be more of a deterrent by the NRCC to keep Buddy Cianci (see above) from running here, and the accompanying bad PR that would go with that.
• Redistricting: Martin Frost's former CoS, Matt Angle, is the center of Democratic efforts to un-gerrymander Texas's House map after the 2010 census. Roll Call looks in depth at how he's built a complex fundraising network that's primarily aimed at Democratic gains in the state House (where they are down only 77-73), so Dems can get a better share of the four seats Texas is expected to add.
• Grant money: People with a professional interest in studying Congress might want to apply for research grants available from the Dirksen Congressional Center. It sounds particularly oriented toward graduate students and fellows, but I'm sure some of SSP's readership fits that bill.
• AR-Sen: We're up to eight Republicans packed into the GOP Senate field in Arkansas, none of whom are exactly top-tier but many of whom seem to have the capability to win both the primary and the general against Blanche Lincoln. The new guy is Stanley Reed, and although he hasn't held elective office before, he seems to have the insider connections to make a serious go of it: he is former president of the Arkansas Farm Bureau, and before that was chair of the Univ. of Arkansas Board of Trustees.
• CA-Sen/Gov: Here's an interesting rumor, courtesy of Chris Cillizza: moderate ex-Rep. Tom Campbell, probably the GOP's greatest threat in the general but an underfunded third-wheel in the gubernatorial primary, is considering moving over to the Senate race. Perhaps the news that Insurance Comm. Steve Poizner was planning to spend $15 million of his own moolah on his stalled gubernatorial bid was the last straw? It vaguely makes sense for Campbell (who has already run for Senate twice before, most recently in 2000), as he'd face off against underwhelming Carly Fiorina (who has lots of her own money, but no inclination to use it) and Assemblyman Chuck DeVore, who has nothing but the wrath of the teabaggers powering him.
• IL-Sen: The Chicago Tribune has released polls of the primary fields in the Illinois Senate race, revealing no surprises but also still a lot of people left to make up their minds. The Democratic field finds Alexi Giannoulias in the lead at 31, with Cheryle Jackson within kind-of striking distance at 17, David Hoffman at 9, and free-spending attorney Jacob Meister at 1 (with 38% undecided). For the GOP, the most notable number may be that Patrick Hughes, who's gotten all the buzz as the guy behind whom all the right-wingers are coalescing, is actually getting nowhere at all. Hughes is at 3, tied with virtually unknown Kathleen Thomas (a former school board member from Springfield). Mark Kirk is at 41, but with 47% undecided, he still has a lot of selling to do. Speaking of which, the DSCC has a new website devoted solely to the man and his nonstop campaign-trail flip-flops: Two-Faced Kirk.
• IL-Gov: The same Chicago Tribune sample also looked at the gubernatorial primary fields. Incumbent Pat Quinn seems to be having little trouble on his path to the Dem nomination, beating Comptroller Dan Hynes 49-23. (Hynes may be second-guessing himself for getting into this race instead of the Senate field.) On the GOP side, it looks like former AG Jim Ryan (and 2002 loser) is in pole position despite his late entry to the race, thanks to being the only figure with statewide name rec. He's at 26, with state party chair Andy McKenna at 12, downstate state Sen. Bill Brady at 10, suburban state Sen. Kirk Dillard at 9, businessman Adam Andrzejewski at 6, and DuPage Co. Board President Bob Schillerstrom at 2.
• PA-Gov: Rasmussen's poll from last week of PA-Sen had a governor question too, and it shows all of the Dems getting thumped by Republican AG Tom Corbett. That probably has a lot to do with name recognition (Corbett gets his face in the news every day with Bonusgate, which is good for a bizarrely-high favorable of 59/18, while Auditor Jack Wagner is the only Dem with a statewide profile), but the Dems are starting out in a hole here once campaigning starts in earnest. Wagner fares best against Corbett, losing 43-30, while Corbett beats Allegheny Co. Exec Dan Onorato 44-28, ex-Rep. Joe Hoeffel 48-26, and Scranton mayor Chris Doherty 46-23.
• NY-Gov (pdf): Breaking! David Paterson is still in deep trouble. He's at 23/76 approval, and 19/65 re-elects. He loses the Democratic primary to Andrew Cuomo 67-23 (and opinion is certainly solidifying behind Cuomo: 50% want him to run for Governor, while 31% want him to run again for AG). The good news is that Paterson still beats hapless ex-Rep. Rick Lazio in the general, 42-40, while Cuomo beats Lazio 68-22. Siena doesn't look at Rudy Giuliani at all, making his disappearance from the governor's race pretty apparent. Siena also takes a look at the Comptroller's race (although without any William Thompson or Eliot Spitzer permutations), and find Dem Thomas DiNapoli beating GOPer John Faso, 40-24.
• RI-Gov: One state where the gubernatorial race looks less and less likely to go the Republicans' way is Rhode Island, where their only announced candidate, businessman Rory Smith, quietly backed out of the race on Friday afternoon, citing his "limited political experience and political network." Maybe state Rep. Joe Trillo could get coaxed back into the race for the GOP -- or they could just throw their backing behind former Sen. and former Republican Lincoln Chafee's independent bid (although based on his recent comments about the state party, it doesn't sound like he'd want anything to do with their backing).
• SC-Gov (pdf): One more gubernatorial poll, leftover from last week. PPP polled South Carolina, and found numbers very similar to Rasmussen's numbers from last week. Basically, Democrats need to hope for a matchup between Jim Rex (the Superintendent of Education, and only statewide Dem officeholder) and hard-partying, car-racing, plane-crashing Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer; Rex wins that matchup, 37-36. Dems lose every other permutation. Bauer manages to beat state Sen. Vincent Sheheen 38-33, and Robert Ford 37-33. AG Henry McMaster beats Rex 40-31, Sheheen 41-27, and Ford 42-27. And Rep. Gresham Barrett beats Rex 40-33, Sheheen 41-26, and Ford 42-28. (By way of comparison, Rasmussen finds Rex beating Bauer 36-35 and losing his other matchups.) PPP didn't poll the primaries, but based on favorables, McMaster may be the likeliest GOP nominee, at 30/20, compared with Barrett, little-known outside his district at 14/17, and Bauer, toxic at 22/43. PPP also ran a generic D ballot against GOP Sen. Jim DeMint, who has no-name opposition so far, finding DeMint winning 47-38.
• TX-Gov: As expected, Kinky Friedman ended his Democratic gubernatorial primary bid today. Friedman declined to endorse either Bill White (whose entry probably precipitated Friedman's exit) or Farouk Shami, despite some connections to Shami. What may not have been expected was that Friedman dropped down to the Agriculture Commissioner race, where he'll join fellow gubernatorial race refugee Hank Gilbert. While Friedman doesn't seem to have an agricultural background, he does have as an advisor and backer former Ag Comm. and populist pundit Jim Hightower.
• ID-01: I hadn't heard any rumblings about this happening, but in case anyone was wondering, Larry Grant (the former software exec who barely lost the 2006 ID-01 race to Bill Sali) said he wouldn't primary Democratic freshman Rep. Walt Minnick in 2010. Minnick has raised some hackles for being the most conservative member of the Democratic caucus (not that that shouldn't be a surprise in an R+18 district, but he's been taking that to extremes lately, leading the way to scrap the new Consumer Financial Protection Agency). Grant also denied that he'd be running in 2010 as a moderate Republican (conceivably to Minnick's left?), although he seemed to suggest that he could prevail against that field of wannabes, accusing Vaughn Ward of being a "Sarah Palin Republican" and Raul Labrador a "Bill Sali Republican." (I wonder what that would make Bill Sali, if he decided to jump in?)
• IL-10: In the Democratic primary clash in the open 10th, state Rep. Julie Hamos scored a big labor endorsement today, from the AFSCME.
• IL-14: Ethan Hastert a moderate? Either the apple falls far from the tree, or the Main Street Partnership is having to greatly expand their definition of "moderate" is order to stay relevant in a GOP intent on purging itself into oblivion. At any rate, the Main Streeters' PAC gave to Hastert (making clear where the ideological fault lines lie in his primary against state Sen. Randy Hultgren), along with OH-15's Steve Stivers, OH-16's Jim Renacci, and NH-02's Charlie Bass.
• KS-03: The specter of Republican civil war in the open seat race in Kansas's 3rd is abating, as state Sen. (and 2008 loser) Nick Jordan has the respect of both the moderate and conservative wings of the state's party. Maybe most significantly, state Sen. Jeff Colyer, from the fire-breathing camp, said today that he won't challenge Jordan in the primary. Moderate state Rep. Kevin Yoder is still exploring the race, though.
• PA-10: Sophomore Democratic Rep. Chris Carney has been one of the juiciest targets with only token Republican opposition, but the GOP may have found an elected official willing to take him on: state Rep. Michael Peifer, who represents a rural portion of the district.
• SC-01: Another Dem is in the hunt in the 1st, for the right to go up against Rep. Henry Brown (assuming he survives his primary). Retired Navy officer and accountant Dick Withington is getting in; his only political experience is losing a state Rep. race in 2004.
• TN-03: The open seat in the 3rd should be attracting at least some Democratic interest, but following the withdrawal of establishment candidate Paula Flowers last month, now even the race's Some Dude bailed out: businessman (and 2006 loser) Brent Benedict got out, citing family health concerns. A few other potentially-credible Democrats are now looking at the race, though, including Chattanooga city councilor Andrae McGary and Hamilton County Democratic party chair Jeff Brown.
• TX-10: Democratic businessman Jack McDonald has gotten lots of buzz for solid fundraising for a potential run against GOP Rep. Michael McCaul, who looks increasingly shaky in the demographically-changing 10th. Last week, he removed the "exploratory" part of his campaign account, making it official, although clearly he's been acting like a candidate all year.
• VA-05: The Virginia GOP decided on a primary, rather than a convention, to pick the person who takes on endangered freshman Rep. Tom Perriello in the 5th. In a weird way, the primary is better news for the party's establishment, as the conventions tend to be dominated by the extremists who pick pure but unelectable candidates (recall last year's Senate flap, where the decision to have a convention drove out moderate Rep. Tom Davis and left them with ex-Gov. Jim Gilmore). With their top contender, state Sen. Rob Hurt, coming from the sane wing of the party, that increases his odds of getting through to the general -- but the downside is that this may drive dissatisfied teabaggers to the third-party right-wing candidacy of Bradley Rees in the general.
• WA-03: A journeyman Democrat is considering the open seat race in the 3rd, potentially setting up a primary with early entrant state Rep. Deb Wallace. Denny Heck was a state Rep. in the 80s, lost a Superintendent of Education race, became Gov. Booth Gardner's chief of staff, and then founded TVW, the state's local equivalent of C-SPAN. The article also mentions a couple other Dems interested in the race not previously mentioned, including state Sen. Brian Hatfield.
• Mayors: In a runoff election that had an undercurrent of homophobia thanks to the involvement of outside groups, city controller Annise Parker won on Saturday, making Houston by far the largest city to ever elect an openly LGBT mayor. She defeated former city attorney Gene Locke 53-47.
• Redistricting: The Texas Tribune takes a look at the many moving parts in legislative redistricting post-2010 in Texas. Factors include whether the Dems will be able to pick up the state House next year (sounding less likely), and which state officials are on the Legislative Redistricting Board (which takes over if the legislature can't agree, which seems likely anyway since there's a 2/3s requirement for the maps to clear the Senate and the GOP is short of 2/3s there).
• Demographics: Governing Magazine has an interesting piece on Gwinnett County, Georgia, which is as good an example as any of how suburbs, even in some of the reddest states, are becoming bluer as they become more diverse thanks to immigration. Gwinnett County has fallen below 50% non-Hispanic white, and it gave Obama 44% of the vote last year.
• Polltopia: PPP is asking for help yet again on which congressional district to poll next. This time, it'll be a GOP-held district: Michele Bachmann's MN-06, Lee Terry's NE-02, or Pat Tiberi's OH-12.
In the last few weeks, Rasmussen Reports - already among the most prolific pollsters - has released a torrent of new senate and gubernatorial polls. While political junkies might instinctively be grateful for all the data, partisans have to be concerned about Rasmussen's ability to drive the over-arching narrative. This is all the more so given widespread concerns about Rasmussen's methodology - concerns which have given rise to at least two new detailed analyses on Pollster.com this month, one by Mark Blumenthal and the second by Alan Abramowitz.
I personally think Rasmussen Reports has an axe to grind - their made-up way of reporting presidential favorables and their questionable non-electoral polls make me mistrustful. At the same time, we don't want to stick our heads in the sand, and 538.com's pollster ratings do indicate that Rasmussen seems to be interested in getting things right, at least as far as the horserace is concerned. So we've decided to package up the most recent Raz surveys and let 'em all at you in one blast.
Vincent Sheheen (D): 29
Andre Bauer (R): 39
Vincent Sheheen (D): 26
Henry McMaster (R): 43
For the final word, I'll turn things over to Jon Stewart. The ever-brights at Fox & Friends had some difficulty in retransmitting a misleadingly-worded (and dodgy) Rasmussen survey on global warming, leading Stewart to opine (at 1:50) that this poll had a margin of error of "monkey-fuck ridiculous":
• CT-Sen, CT-Gov: The rumors had been getting louder all week that ex-Ambassador Tom Foley would drop out of the complicated GOP Senate field, paring that field down to ex-Rep. Rob Simmons, Linda McMahon, and Peter Schiff, and head over to the seemingly easier Governor's race instead. (Easier in the primary, at least -- whatever Dem he faces in the general won't come in with the same baggage as Chris Dodd.) Today Foley made it official, getting out of the Senate race and into the Governor's race. Foley doesn't have the field to himself, though, and in fact faces a formidable challenge from current Lt. Gov. Michael Fedele, who'd also been rumored to run but made it official yesterday. Fedele claims to have outgoing Gov. Jodi Rell's support, but Rell is only saying that there are several well-qualified Republicans running.
• FL-Sen: Charlie Crist is red in the face today after it was noticed that his recorded message giving callers the number for Florida KidCare had several of the numbers mixed up, and the number he was giving out was a number for 'hot, horny girls.' And while we're talking about hot, horny girls, we might as well talk about Bubba the Love Sponge. Crist's appearance tonight on his endless fundraising carousel is being hosted by attorney Stephen Diaco. One of Diaco's most renowned clients is the aforementioned Mr. Sponge, who once famously asked Crist "Are you a homo?" (UPDATE: The St. Pete Times apparently got its shock jocks mixed up; that wasn't Bubba the Love Sponge, but rather "Randy and Dave" who asked that.)
• IL-Sen: With David Hoffman hitting the airwaves this week, it didn't take long for Alexi Giannoulias to respond with his first TV spot. While Hoffman's ad is just him intensely facing down the camera, Giannoulias is a more conventional touchy-feely bio spot that focuses on his efforts to save jobs at local company Hartmarx. Also, Jacob Meister has his own internal poll out of the Democratic primary field. Usually candidates don't release internal polls that show them polling at 1%, but, well, Meister's gotta start somewhere. It's pretty well in-line with the other candidates' internals, showing about half of voters still undecided, with Giannoulias at 33, Cheryle Jackson at 10, and Hoffman at 7.
• KY-Sen: An interesting National Journal piece on Rand Paul points to what we've been wondering about: whether the Paulists and the teabaggers can make common cause, despite the the ideological differences they bring to the table (if one can accuse the teabaggers' incoherent and paranoid set of grievances to be an 'ideology'). The answer is, yes, apparently they can, as they're sufficiently united in their hatred of all things guvmint. Paul has apparently had some success reaching out to the tea party wing of the Republicans, and lately has taken to comparing himself to another successful upstart, Marco Rubio.
• FL-05: Florida Republican Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite isn't really on anybody's list of vulnerable House members, but, in case that needed to be quantified, she released an internal poll proving that. A Tarrance Group survey found her with a 62/18 approval. Her greatest concern in 2010 in this GOP-leaning district may be a primary challenge from teabagger Jason Sager, but her approval is in "the 70s" purely among conservative Republicans, so she's probably safe on her right flank too.
• MN-06: It looks like the Democratic contest in the 6th is going to go to a primary, regardless of what happens with the DFL endorsement process. Maureen Reed says she's won't abide by the state party's endorsement (which was probably already going to go to the well-connected state Sen. Tarryl Clark). Minnesota has a notoriously late primary, which could leave the primary winner with little time to replenish before the general against Rep. Michele Bachmann, but it's possible the Minnesota primary may get moved earlier to comply with new federal election laws.
• NC-05: Rep. Virginia Foxx is protected by a deep-red district but has a great gift for inserting her foot into her mouth, so it's always good to have a Dem on tap to go against her. The rumored candidate for 2010 may be Billy Kennedy, a former state and county Democratic party committee member and the host of a local radio talk show.
• NH-01: Manchester mayor Frank Guinta is quickly going from a solo show to Three's Company, with businessman Rich Ashooh getting in earlier this week and now Fergus Cullen saying he's interested in the race too. Cullen is the former state party chair in New Hampshire, and points out that offers some contrasts to the other two candidates, in terms of being more socially moderate and also being from the district's rural part instead of Manchester.
• NH-02: Next door in the 2nd, it looks like we're also about to expand to a three-person field on the Dem side. Katrina Swett, an attorney who lost to Charlie Bass in 2002, says she's "very, very strongly" moving in the direction of running -- this comes after people were starting to wonder where she is, despite her long-expected candidacy (she says she's been busy with the Lantos Foundation, named after her father, former Rep. Tom Lantos). Attorney Ann McLane Kuster and state Rep. John DeJoie are already in, but Swett has the advantage of leftover funds that she stockpiled for a Senate run last year that never happened.
• NY-01: Here's an internal in a race where the incumbent is considered potentially vulnerable: Democratic Rep. Tim Bishop, in Long Island's 1st. The internal, taken by wealthy Republican Randy Altschuler by McLaughlin & Assocs. gives Bishop a big lead, 46-26. Still, Altschuler hasn't introduced himself to the district yet and is likely only to gain ground, so Bishop might want to take notice that he's polling below the magic 50% mark.
• PA-06: The Democratic primary in the 6th has suddenly escalated into a brutal barfight in the last few days, with both candidates' camps throwing the kitchen sink and everything else handy at each other. The initial sound and fury focused on abortion, but it quickly devolved into general impugning of each other's motives, and one of the issues then hurled by the Manan Trivedi camp via press release was the sockpuppetry engaged in here at SSP by a Doug Pike campaign official. So, that's some food for thought for all the campaign pros (and amateurs) among the SSP readership: don't give in to the temptation to sockpuppet, or it could actually wind up a campaign issue that bites you in the butt.
• PA-08: The Republicans found an elected official to go up against not-terribly-vulnerable Rep. Patrick Murphy in the suburban, Dem-leaning 8th: Judith Algeo, a lawyer who's also on the Warwick Township Board of Supervisors. Warwick Twp. has a population of 12,000, though, so what little name rec that generates isn't guaranteed to get her out of the GOP primary -- there are three other candidates already, among whom attorney and Marine Reservist Dean Malik seems to have gotten the most attention.
• TN-06: Things still seem to be full speed ahead for Republican state Sen. Jim Tracy, who's now meeting with the NRCC in Washington about the logistics of a challenge against long-time Rep. Bart Gordon in this increasingly-red district. He'd face a primary against former Rutherford Co. GOP chair Lou Ann Zelenik, though.
• TN-08: A couple more items about the newly-minted open seat in the 8th: state Sen. Roy Herron is already in the race (and out of the gubernatorial race), but he's going to be refunding the money he raised for his gubernatorial run. On the one hand, it's gotta suck to be giving back that $900K, but on the other hand, assumedly he can get much of that re-donated back to his new account and it does show that he knows how to raise the dough. Also, good news as the Dems seek to avoid a costly primary: fellow state Sen. Lowe Finney said that he wouldn't seek the nomination.
• GA-St. House: It's looking like Republican state House speaker Glenn Richardson's resignation is imminent. People on both sides of the aisle have been urging him to step down in the wake of Richardson's suicide attempt last month, although perhaps more damaging is the allegation that the suicide attempt was related to an affair with a utility lobbyist where there may have been some quid pro quos. (And I have to ask, thinking back to "Hot Mike" Duvall in California, is that just how utility lobbyists do business these days?)
• Election results: There was a grab-bag of southern state runoffs and special elections last night; the main event was the Atlanta mayor's race. It looks like Democratic African-American ex-state Sen. Kasim Reed defeated self-proclaimed-independent white city councilor Mary Norwood, but the margin is only around 620 votes (out of 83,000 cast). Reed has declared victory, but Norwood is talking recount.
There were also four legislative runoffs in Georgia; the only one that wasn't an intra-party affair was in HD-141 (a previously Dem-held seat) where independent Rusty Kidd easily beat Democrat Russell Black. Kidd is staying mum on which party he'll caucus with, although he's the son of a prominent long-time Democratic legislator (Culver Kidd) and a stem-cell-research supporter. In HD-58 in Atlanta, community organizer Simone Bell becomes the first LGBT African-American elected to Georgia's legislature. And in Tennessee, Republican state Rep. Brian Kelsey was elected easily in the vacant SD-31 in heavily Republican Memphis suburbs; he takes over for GOPer Paul Stanley, who resigned in disgrace after a sex scandal.
• IL-Sen: Former Chicago Inspector General David Hoffman is up with the first TV ad in the fast-approaching Senate primary. Hoffman lacks name rec, but uses the ad to highlight his corruption-fighting past (and take some implicit hits at Alexi Giannoulias's banking background).
• NY-Sen-B: You may remember Michael Balboni, who was pried out of his Dem-leaning Long Island state Senate seat by Eliot Spitzer to become the state's Homeland Security chief and paving the way for Democratic takeover of the state Senate. Now he's reportedly considering a run against Kirsten Gillibrand for Senate, as the New York GOP starts casting its net wider for somebody.
• UT-Sen: A Deseret News poll has bad news for Bob Bennett, in the form of perilous re-elects: only 27% support his re-election, and 58% want someone new. Nevertheless, he has a big edge over the field of nobodies circling around him: he polls at 31%, with Democrat Sam Granato at 14, followed by a gaggle of right-wingers: Cherilyn Eagar at 5, Tim Bridgewater and Fred Lampropoulos at 4, Mike Lee at 3, and James Williams at 1. With the Republican nomination potentially to be decided at the state convention -- dominated by hard-right activists -- though, these numbers don't help to project much of anything for next year.
• IA-Gov: Chet Culver's campaign manager Andrew Roos is out, as Culver stares at double-digit deficits against ex-Gov. Terry Branstad. Culver mangled his Shakesperean shrug-off, saying it's "much to do about nothing."
• TX-Gov: Press releases are already going out saying that Houston mayor Bill White is announcing something big on Friday, and now leaks are confirming what most people have suspected, that he's going to go ahead and jump into the Democratic field in the governor's race.
• FL-10: Sorta-moderate GOP Rep. Bill Young has another challenger -- this time from the right. Eric Forcade says he got interested in politics from participating in tea parties and the 9/12 movement. (In case you're having trouble remembering where all these random teabagger primary challenges are popping up, Think Progress has a handy scorecard of all of them.)
• IL-10: Little-known rich guy Dick Green dipped into his self-provided funds and laid out $100K for a big TV ad buy, introducing himself to Republican voters in the 10th. While Democrat Julie Hamos already has hit the airwaves, Green beats out fellow GOPers Beth Coulson and Bob Dold.
• KY-03: Rep. John Yarmuth may not exactly be intimidated by the first Republican to show up to go against him in Kentucky's lone Dem-leaning district. Jeffrey Reetz has never run for office before, but he does own 25 Pizza Hut franchises.
• MD-04: Rep. Donna Edwards, who got into office via primary challenge, is facing a big challenge of her own. Prince George's County State's Attorney Glenn Ivey has formed an exploratory committee to go up against Edwards for the Democratic nod. Ivey worked as a senior congressional staffer in the 1980s and 1990s; although he expresses enthusiasm for moving the "progressive agenda forward," he's probably running at least a bit to the right of Edwards, one of the leftmost House members.
• MN-01: This marks the third entry to the field against Democratic Rep. Tim Walz in about one week's time. Today, it's Republican Jim Hagedorn, a former congressional staffer and a one-time blogger under the name "Mr. Conservative." He joins ex-state Rep. Allen Quist and state Rep. Randy Demmer, although the party seems to still be watching what more moderate state Sen. Julie Rosen does.
• PA-11: Hazleton mayor and 2008 loser Lou Barletta is doing his best to stay in the news, announcing that he'll make another announcement on Dec. 9 as to whether or not he'll seek a third faceoff against Democratic Rep. Paul Kanjorski.
• TN-08, TN-Gov: In case you missed our late update last night, Democratic state Sen. Roy Herron got out of the governor's race where he was something of a longshot, and into the now-open TN-08 field, where he's probably the favorite to get the Democratic nod. (Although open seats are theoretically harder to defend, Herron's long district presence and lack of ties to Washington could conceivably help him to perform better next year than long-time Beltway creature Tanner might have.) Party officials (and outgoing Rep. John Tanner too, although he declined to endorse anyone yet) are moving quickly to keep a contested primary from happening, although state Rep. Philip Pinion has also been publicly letting his interest be known. Also, in discussing his sudden retirement decision, Tanner claims he wasn't scared off by the fundraising success of out-of-nowhere GOP challenger Stephen Fincher; he'd already been eyeing retirement and the challenge "got his competitive juices flowing" but finally decided to call it a career.
• UT-02: Morgan Philpot, a former Republican state Representative, is considering a race against Rep. Jim Matheson next year. Philpot is currently the state party's vice-chair, so he would bring some insider backing to the race.
• NY-Comptroller (pdf): With all the sudden talk of recruiting NYC comptroller William Thompson onto the Cuomo "ticket" to wage a primary fight against current state comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, it's worth going back and noting that the most recent Siena poll from a few weeks ago actually polled this permutation. They found a 31-31 tie in the Clash of the Comptrollers. They also found that both would beat Republican John Faso in the general.
• TX-Comptroller: In fact, talking about comptrollers is so much fun I'm going to keep doing it. Ex-Rep. Nick Lampson, who couldn't hold down dark-red TX-22 last year, says that's he's looking into next year's comptroller's race, which would bring top-tier Democratic talent to another statewide race in Texas.
• NY-St. Sen.: After a lot of optimistic predictions earlier in the day, the actual vote on gay marriage in the New York Senate today kind of fizzled. Eight Democrats voted against and no Republicans crossed the aisle, leaving it to go down 24-38. Ironically, Marist came out with a poll today showing public support in favor of gay marriage, 51-42.
• CA-St. Ass.: However, in the one-step-forward, one-step-back fight for LGBT equality, California looks like it's poised to have its first-ever gay Assembly Speaker. Los Angeles Assemblyman John Perez apparently has the votes locked up to take over as Speaker from Karen Bass, who's termed out.
• Nassau Co. Exec: Two-term incumbent Tom Suozzi, who was down by 377 votes to Republican challenger Ed Mangano after a recount, decided to concede rather than pursue legal options. Suozzi, who'd be considered a likely AG candidate next year, says he'll be back in politics but he can't "imagine it would be anytime soon."
• Mayors: It looks like a premature end of the line for Baltimore mayor Sheila Dixon, who was just convicted of misdemeanor embezzlement for helping herself to $1,500 worth of gift cards that had been donated to give to poor families. Dixon is supposed to be suspended from office, but post-trial motions and a possible appeal may push that until later. City Council President Stephanie Rawlings-Blake is in line to succeed her.
• DGA: There's new leadership at the Democratic Governor's Association, as fast-rising Delaware governor Jack Markell (who's been in office only for a year) takes over from Montana's Brian Schweitzer. One of the DGA's first orders of business as they prep for 2010: committing $1 million to the GOP Accountability Project, whose first ad target is Florida Republican candidate Bill McCollum.
• FL-Sen: The 99th-most senior senator in the United States, George LeMieux, has been working his new colleagues on behalf of Charlie Crist. After James Inhofe endorsed Marco Rubio, LeMieux began trying to play the role of gatekeeper, urging other fellow senators to see him first before picking sides. Supposedly, LeMieux has told some of these people that a "shoe was about to drop" in the race - but the Miami Herald's use of the past tense in that quasi-quote has me wondering if some expected bombshell failed to go off.
• IL-Sen: As the bank owned by Alexei Giannoulias and his family started failing over the last couple of years, it nonetheless paid out $70 million in dividends to him and his siblings. Giannoulias claims he only personally received a "minimal" portion of those dividends - except by minimal, he means $2.5 million. Unsurprisingly, his opponent David Hoffman is hammering him about this.
• NY-Sen-B: Chatter is heating up about NYC Comptroller Bill Thompson's future. The NYT reports that folks close to Thompson say he's considering one of three options: challenging Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, challenging state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, or taking a breather and running for mayor again in 2013. The article focuses most heavily on a potential matchup with Gillibrand. Not only have her poll numbers been anemic, but the White House would probably have a hard time trying to dissuade Thompson, given that their public attempt to push another African American, Gov. David Paterson, out of his race.
In related news on the GOP side, Larchmont Mayor Elizbeth Feld said she's considering a run. Feld got crushed in a run for the state Senate's 37th district seat last year.
• CA-50: Solano Beach City Councilman Dave Roberts is dropping out of the race against Brian Bilbray because he and his partner are adopting two more children who are siblings of one of their sons. Roberts declined to endorse either of the remaining Dem candidates, Francine Busby and Tracy Emblem, but pledged to work with the winner to beat Bilbray next year.
• FL-08: The Republicans have "finally found" a candidate to take on Alan Grayson, rich guy Bruce O'Donoghue. That attitude, though, is indicative of the fact that the GOP establishment is ignoring Armando Gutierrez, the young carpetbagging real estate developer who's been in the race since October. Who knows whether O'Donoghue will pass wingnut purity tests, but if he's wobbly, he may be vulnerable to getting teabagged to death by Gutierrez. And if the power players continue to diss Gutierrez, that's only likely to fuel teabag rage further.
• Polling: Another installment of Choose-Your-Own-Adventure from PPP. This time, the choices are Delaware, Georgia, Illinois primary, and South Carolina. Click the link to cast your vote.