• FL-Sen: This probably isn't the way that GOP state Senate President Mike Haridopolos, acting very candidate-ish this week, wanted to kick off a Senate bid. He just had to settle with the state's Commission on Ethics, admitting to a litany of campaign finance violations for failing to properly fill out financial disclosure statements. As far as a penalty goes, though, expect a slap on the wrist; the state Senate's Rules Committee, rather than the Commission, actually assigns the penalty, and Rules is now led by Haridopolos's GOP Senate President predecessor, John Thrasher.
• PA-Sen: There's word of a rather Ron Johnson-style random rich guy interested in taking on Bob Casey Jr. in 2012: John Moran, who owns a logistics and warehousing company in central Pennsylvania and is willing to spend some of his own money to get elected. In other words, another federal-government-hater whose riches are largely dependent on an infrastructure put in place by the federal government (in this case, ex-Rep. Bud Shuster, who's pretty single-handedly responsible for the creation of central Pennsylvania's luxurious web of highways and the rise of trucking as the backbone of that area's economy). Also, if you want to look back at a comparison of the 2010 Senate race vs. the 2006 Senate race (where Casey was elected), Greg Giroux has a very interesting spreadsheet showing which counties had the biggest drops in vote percentages and raw vote numbers.
• RI-Sen: We mentioned a few weeks ago that John Robitaille, last seen coming close in the gubernatorial contest won by indie Lincoln Chafee, was on the wish list for a GOP Senate bid against Sheldon Whitehouse, and now he's saying out loud that he's "seriously considering" it. (Of course, Robitaille's closeness mostly had to do with a split in the left-of-center vote between Chafee and Dem candidate Frank Caprio, but let's just let the NRSC think they can win this one in hopes they spend some money here.)
• UT-Sen: It looks like Orrin Hatch is not only running for re-election in 2012 (where retirement had been considered a possibility for the septuagenarian, no doubt facing a serious teabagging this cycle), but ramping up for a fierce fight at the state nominating convention (which is where Bob Bennett lost, not even making it to the primary). One of his key allies, state GOP party chair Dave Hansen, is reportedly about to resign from that position and start working directly for Hatch's campaign.
• MN-Gov: Tom Emmer held a press conference today in the face of a winding-down recount where the numbers didn't budge, and instead of throwing in the towel, he said he's going to fight on to the end, and threatened to keep on fighting even after the end, alluding to the possibility of legal action over the ballot reconciliation issue (saying the recount was merely "a step in the process"). Meanwhile, seeking to be the ones wearing the white hats here, Mark Dayton's team said they'll withdraw all their remaining frivolous challenges. That's a total of only 42 challenges, though, as more than 98% of the frivolous challenges came from Emmer's team.
• NY-01: After another day of looking at challenged ballots, Tim Bishop continued to add to his lead. He netted another 12 votes, bringing his overall lead to 271 over Randy Altschuler. Challenges to a total of 174 ballots were dropped by both campaigns, leaving about 1,500.
• NY-15: Usually there isn't much speculation that a Governor is about to run for a U.S. House seat, unless it's an at-large state or the Governor has fallen way down the food chain. If you're talking about David Paterson, he may have fallen even further down the food chain than that, though (into dogcatcher realm). At any rate, Paterson quashed any speculation that he would run for Charles Rangel's seat (despite his dynastic links to the seat, as his dad, Basil Paterson, is a key ally to Rangel as two of the so-called "Gang of Four"). It's not entirely clear that Rangel won't still be running in 2012, considering how he seems to utterly lack the 'shame' gene, although Paterson suggested state Assemblyman Keith Wright and city councilor Inez Dickens as possible replacments.
• Committees: Both the NRSC and DSCC are starting the 2012 cycle from a place of parity: deep, deep in debt. The DSCC has $713K on hand and $6.7 million in debt, while the NRSC has $519K on hand and $6 million in debt. Even worse numbers are in the House: the DCCC has $19.4 million in debt and the NRCC has $12 million in debt.
This is the title of an article in today's New York Times that details a severe issue that, if not addressed very soon, will have multiple political effects. I'll quote from some of the most important parts of the article and then talk about some of the effects I believe are likely in races for different positions.
• FL-Sen: Charlie Crist went the full-on "I" today; he made a big show of switching his own party registration to "no party affiliation" today, to match having filed as an independent to run for Senate. Free from his Republican shackles, Crist is also following through on plans to call a special legislative session on oil drilling, which could result in Floridians voting on a constitutional amendment to ban offshore drilling in Florida waters. And one final middle-finger to his former Republican allies: after previously saying he was open to refunding money to donors unhappy with his party switch, today he said he wouldn't be giving any contributions back.
• NC-Sen (pdf): PPP's out with another quick poll of the runoff for the Democratic Senate nomination between Cal Cunningham and Elaine Marshall. It's a tie, with Cunningham and Marshall both at 36. While this would initially suggest that Cunningham (who finished 2nd) is picking up the bulk of the also-rans' votes, that's not the case; Marshall is still leading among liberals and African-Americans, which probably means she's getting most Kenneth Lewis voters. PPP's analysis is that Cunningham's improved standing is a result of an enthusiasm gap between their supporters; Cunningham backers seem likelier to actually show up for the runoff.
• NV-Sen: Here's something we haven't seen in probably more than a year, which is half a lifetime in politics years: Harry Reid is posting a lead. Now, granted, this is a Democratic poll, although not a Reid internal; it was taken by Dem pollster Fairbanks Maslin on behalf of the New West Project. But still, this shows that the chickens have come home to roost for Sue Lowden, in the wake of her quadrupling-down on her HCR gaffe; she's now trailing Reid 42-35 (with 5 for Tim Fasano, 3 for Scott Ashjian). Reid is tied with Danny Tarkanian, who isn't gaffe-tainted (and in fact is now trying to tar and feather Lowden with it in the primary), at 37-37 (with 7 for Fasano and 2 for Ashjian).
• UT-Sen: One impure collaborationist down, one to go. With Bob Bennett out, teabagger frenzy is now turning to Orrin Hatch. Mason-Dixon finds Hatch's 2012 numbers pretty weak, with a 35% re-elect and 51% wanting someone else. And that "someone else" is already making his interest known, more than two years out (probably with an eye toward goading the 78-year-old Hatch into retirement): ambitious freshman Rep. Jason Chaffetz.
• WI-Sen: Wealthy businessman Ron Johnson, the teabaggers' horse in the Wisconsin Senate GOP derby, made it official, filing as a candidate today. He'll officially launch his bid next Monday.
• AL-Gov: Bradley Byrne, the supposed moderate (by Alabama GOP standards) in the race, has had to two-step to the right and defend his creationist cred, after an ad from the "True Republican PAC" attacked him for the unforgivable sin of teaching evolution in schools. Turns out that there's some tasty Democratic dirty pool behind all this: the True Republican PAC is funded by the state teacher's union, the Alabama Education Association (who are also Ron Sparks' biggest financial backer). Their rationale seems to be that they'd rather, Gray Davis-style, torpedo Bradley Byrne in the GOP primary, on the assumption that he'd be the most difficult Republican to beat in the general.
• CT-Gov: On the Chris Cillizza hierarchy of endorsements, I think this one falls under the category of "10) Wtf?" State Sen. minority leader John McKinney, who'd considered a gubernatorial run himself, endorsed neither of the GOP frontrunners, but rather the random businessman with the weird name, Oz Griebel. The former head of the Hartford Chamber of Commerce has been polling in the low single digits.
• OH-Gov: Lehman Brothers keeps turning into a bigger and bigger albatross around John Kasich's neck. It turns out that Kasich, while he was head of Lehman's Columbus office in 2002, tried to convince two state pension funds (OPFPF and OPERS) to invest with the now-imploded investment bank.
• OR-Gov: Yet another poll of the primaries in the Oregon gubernatorial race, confirming what's come into pretty sharp focus lately, that it'll be a John Kitzhaber/Chris Dudley matchup in November. Local pollster Tim Hibbitts, on behalf of assorted media outlets including Oregon Public Broadcasting and the Portland Tribune, found Kitzhaber beating Bill Bradbury 53-23 on the Dem side. For the GOPers, Dudley leads Allen Alley by a not-overwhelming 33-23, but there's little time left for Alley to make a move. (John Lim is at 8 and Bill Sizemore is at 6.) They also looked at the Dem primary in the special election for Treasurer, finding a competitive race with lots of undecideds: appointed incumbent (and ex-Multnomah Co. Chair) Ted Wheeler leads state Sen. Rick Metsger 29-24.
• WA-Gov: The rumor du jour is that Chris Gregoire is now on the short list to become Solicitor General, assuming Elena Kagan gets promoted to the SCOTUS. Allow me to say: bad idea, if only because it means at least several months of Governor Brad Owen. Under Washington law, though, Owen wouldn't serve for long, as a special election would be held. The timeline varies, depending on when Gregoire might quit as Governor. If it happens before May 31, a primary would be held, followed by a two-person general in November. If it happens after May 31 but before October 3, it would result in a jungle-style election in November. And if it happens after October 3, we'd be blessed with two full years of Owen. One other major wrinkle: if this looks like it has legs, it may shut the door on a Dino Rossi run for the Senate, as it's a poorly-kept secret that he'd really prefer another gubernatorial run rather than wasting his third strike on getting pasted by Patty Murray, and this would be the way for him to do it.
• NY-29: David Paterson did the unthinkable and called a special election for the 29th. Heh... except he called it for the regularly-scheduled election day in November, so the winner will get to serve for a few weeks in the lame duck session, Snelly Gibr-style. Smart move by the Gov, as it saves Dems from a potentially embarrassing special election on a day when that's the only story. Instead, the outcome will probably be that Tom Reed gets to start work a few weeks early.
• PA-12: Two polls are out today in the 12th, both giving a single-digit lead to Democrat Mark Critz. One poll is a Critz internal, so you'd expect a lead there: Global Strategy Group gives him an 8-point lead of 44-36 (up from 41-38 in mid-April). But the other is from Susquehanna, a pollster who often works for Republican candidates but here is polling on behalf of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (the GOP paper in town). They find Critz up 44-38, and Critz even leads by 19 among "super voters" (who've voted in 3 of the last 4 primaries). Interestingly, they find Republican Tim Burns' woes increasing on two different fronts: he's also in a "dead heat" with BaseConnect stooge Bill Russell (who got passed over for the special election nod) in the regularly-scheduled GOP primary on the same day. For some reason, specific numbers weren't available for the GOP primary or the Dem primary, although it says Critz has "a majority" against Ryan Bucchanieri.
• AZ-Sen, AZ-Gov: The signature by Gov. Jan Brewer (which may have helped her survive the GOP primary, but may also hurt her in the general) of Arizona's new aggressive anti-immigrant law was the key motivating factor in a new Democratic candidate getting into the Senate race: civil rights activist Randy Parraz. He'll face Rodney Glassman in the Democratic primary. (Why not the, y'know, Arizona Governor's race instead? Apparently Glassman looks like easier primary opposition than AG Terry Goddard in the governor's race... and at any rate, John McCain and J.D. Hayworth have both been beating the war drums on immigration.) And here's an interesting take on the immigration law: ex-Rep. Tom Tancredo just came out in opposition to it, saying, "I do not want people here, there in Arizona, pulled over because you look like should be pulled over." If even Tom Tancredo thinks you're doing it wrong... you're probably doing it wrong.
• CT-Sen: Linda McMahon's campaign doesn't seem to be doing anything illegal here, but there's still no good way to spin this: the campaign has been offering students an extra $5 bounty (on top of a flat hourly rate) for every Republican registered during a Univ. of Connecticut voter registration drive. It's a practice that the DOJ has frowned upon.
• IL-Sen: In the wake of the seizure of the Broadway Bank, Alexi Giannoulias wasted no time in getting an explanatory ad on the air, laying it out in easy-to-grasp points: one, he hadn't worked there in years and when he left it was fine, two, the broader economy took the bank down, and three, speaking of that economic downturn, don't vote for unemployment-benefits-denying Mark Kirk.
• MD-Sen: OK, maybe all those Barb Mikulski retirement rumors will finally go away. She just had her campaign's official kickoff event on Friday. She has 24 times the cash of her likeliest Republican opponent, Queen Anne's Co. Commissioner Eric Wargotz.
• NC-Sen: Elon University's out with another poll; they still aren't doing head-to-heads, but have some assorted other numbers that Richard Burr would probably rather not see. His approvals (among flat-out everybody, not even RVs) are 28/37 and 26% say he "deserves re-election" with 44% saying "time for a new person."
• NV-Sen: A poll for the Nevada News Bureau performed by PMI finds Sue Lowden leading the pack in the GOP Senate primary, at 41. Danny Tarkanian is at 24, Sharron Angle is at 17, and "someone else" is at 18. The poll was taken on the 22nd, shortly after Lowden laid out her support for trading chickens in exchange for poultices and tinctures.
• NY-Sen-B: Long-time Rockland Co. Exec Scott Vanderhoef has decided not to pursue a run against Kirsten Gillibrand, after having spent a month in exploratory mode, saying the money's just not there. Vanderhoef probably found he didn't have the name rec outside of Rockland Co. to have an advantage against the odds and ends in the GOP primary, let alone in the general.
• UT-Sen: Another poll of GOP delegates for the convention in Utah isn't as bad for Bob Bennett as the one leaked to Dave Weigel last week, but it still looks pretty bad for him. Mike Lee leads the way among first-choice votes at 31%, followed by Bennett at 22% (and then Tim Bridgewater at 17% and Cherilyn Eagar at 10%). 41% of delegates say they will "absolutely not" vote for Bennett, so even if Bennett picks up the other 59%, he still can't nail down the nomination at the convention (as there's a 60% threshold).
• WA-Sen: Everyone seemed a little taken by surprise by Friday's SurveyUSA poll of the Washington Senate race, which has non-candidate (for now) Dino Rossi leading Patty Murray 52-42 (and leading the various no-name GOPers actively in the race by 2 or 3 points). Even the Rossi camp is downplaying it, saying that their internal polling places Murray in the lead - which is an odd strategy for someone who got gifted an outlying poll, unless either he's trying to rope-a-dope Murray into complacency or privately cursing the results saying "aw crap, now I have to run for Senate." One of the no-namers, motivational speaker Chris Widener, got out of the race on Friday, which may also portend a Rossi run (or just having taken a stark look at his own finances). Murray's camp may have gotten advance warning of the SurveyUSA poll, as on Friday they leaked their own internal from Fairbank Maslin giving Murray a 49-41 lead over Rossi, very consistent with R2K's recent poll.
• IL-Gov: Oh, goody. Scott Lee Cohen, having bailed out/gotten booted off the Democratic ticket as Lt. Governor nominee after his criminal record became news, still has a political issue that needs scratching. He's announcing that he's going to run an independent bid for Governor instead. Considering how thoroughly his dirty laundry has been aired, he seems likely to poll in the low single digits; I have no idea whether his candidacy (which now appeals mostly only to the steroid-addled pawnbroker demographic) is more harmful to Pat Quinn, Bill Brady, or just the world's general sense of decency.
• MI-Gov: When I heard a few weeks ago that Geoffrey Fieger (the trial lawyer best known for defending Jack Kevorkian and second-best-known for his awful turn as 1998 Democratic gubernatorial nominee) was pondering another gubernatorial run, I laughed it off. The new EPIC-MRA poll makes it seem a bit more serious, though... which, in turn, if he won the primary, would pretty much foreclose any Democratic shot at winning the general. They only polled the Democratic primary and find, thanks to name rec within the Detroit metro area, Fieger is actually comfortably in the lead at 28%. Andy Dillon is at 20, Virg Bernero is at 13, Alma Wheeler Smith is at 8, other is at 2, and 29% are undecided. Fieger hasn't moved much to act on his interest, though, and has only three weeks to collect the necessary 15,000 signatures to qualify.
• FL-24: Karen Diebel earned the backing of Tom Tancredo in the GOP primary in the 24th, focusing on (with Tancredo, what else?) in the immigration issue. It seems less of a pro-Diebel endorsement than more of a slap against her GOP opponent Craig Miller, though; in a 2006 Miami Herald op-ed, Miller (who was at that point chairman of the National Restaurant Association) came out pretty solidly on the "cheap labor" side of the Republican split on immigration.
• GA-12: Democrats looking for an upgrade from ex-state Sen. Regina Thomas (who raised $10K last quarter and has $4K CoH) for a primary challenge to recalcitrant Blue Dog John Barrow are going to have to keep looking. State Sen. Lester Jackson decided to take a pass, and will stay neutral in the Barrow/Thomas race. He'll focus instead of supporting the Senate bid of Labor Comm. Michael Thurmond (another rumored, but no-longer, challenger to Barrow).
• LA-03: Bobby Jindal just appointed Scott Angelle, the state's Sec. of Natural Resources, to the vacant position of Lt. Governor. Why is this filed under LA-03? Angelle was rumored to be one of the top contenders to run for the 3rd (although it was unclear whether he was going to do it as a Dem or a GOPer... Angelle was a Dem in the legislature, but appointed by GOP Gov. Jindal to his cabinet). With Angelle saying he'll return to his job at Natural Resources after a permanent replacement is elected, that means that former state House speaker Hunt Downer is pretty well locked-in as the GOP nominee in the 3rd, and the Dems aren't likely to get an upgrade from attorney Ravi Sangisetty, making this open seat a very likely GOP pickup. (H/t GOPVOTER.)
• NY-01: Randy Altschuler got the endorsement from the Suffolk County Conservative Party on Friday, which guarantees him a place on the ballot if he wants it. He'll still need to overcome Chris Cox and George Demos in the competitive three-way moneybags duel in the GOP primary (where the county GOP recently switched its endorsement from Altschuler to Cox). It's unclear whether he'd keep the Conservative line if he lost the GOP primary, as that would create a NY-23 type situation and pretty much assure Rep. Tim Bishop's safety. (Unlike the patchwork of counties in the upstate districts, all of the 1st is within Suffolk.)
• NY-29: The GOP would really, really like to have a special election in the 29th, despite David Paterson's apparent intention to play out the clock until November (and prevent a possible GOP pickup, given the difference in strength between the likely candidates). Several GOP party chairs within the district are preparing a lawsuit that would force a special election; the state GOP plans to assist.
• OH-02: Bad news for Jean Schmidt: although she got the Hamilton Co. GOP's endorsement in the previous two elections, she's going to have to proceed without it this year. They're staying neutral as she faces several primary challengers, most notably Warren Co. Commissioner Mike Kilburn.
• PA-12: In battling independent expenditures in the 12th, the GOP went large, as the NRCC plunked down $235K on media buys. The DCCC also spent $16K on media buys.
• SC-04: The dean at Bob Jones University (the crown jewel in the buckle of the Bible Belt, in Greenville in the 4th), Robert Taylor, has announced he's supporting Trey Gowdy in the GOP primary instead of incumbent Rep. Bob Inglis. The occasionally-moderate Inglis (more stylistically than in actual voting substance, though) faces at least three right-wing competitors in the primary, but could run into trouble if he doesn't clear 50% and gets forced into a runoff with one of them.
• WV-01: There are dueling internal polls in the 1st, in the Democratic primary. State Sen. Mike Oliverio was first to release a poll, saying he led Rep. Alan Mollohan 41-33. (One caveat: Oliverio's pollster is Orion Strategies, owned by Curtis Wilkerson, who also just happens to be Oliverio's campaign manager.) Mollohan struck back with a poll from Frederick Polls giving him a 45-36 lead over Oliverio, with the primary fast approaching on May 11.
• MA-AG: Despite it now being widely known that Martha Coakley has a glass jaw (or what's something more fragile than glass? what do they make those fake bottles out of that they use in bar fights in the movies?), she may actually get re-elected Attorney General without facing any GOP opposition whatsoever this fall. Of course, that may have something to do with the fact that the GOP's entire bench in Massachusetts just got elected to the Senate.
• Pennsylvania: The Philadelphia Inquirer has an interesting look at the changes in registration in Pennsylvania over the last decade. The Democratic Party grew substantially in the state's east, gaining 550,000 registrations up to 4.3 million voters. The GOP shrank by 103,000 registrations down to 3.1 million votes. The Dems lost 20,000 voters in the state's southwest, though; in 2002, 27.8% of the state's Dems were in the Pittsburgh area, but that's down to 23.8%. Contrast that with the Philadelphia metro area: in its five counties, the number of Republicans dropped 13.5%, from a million to 873,000.
• Redistricting: Here's the last redistricting resource you'll ever need: a handy map showing congressional and legislative redistricting procedures for all 50 states. There's also an accompanying document (pdf) which goes into remarkable detail about the various processes, and even contains an appendix of some of the ugliest current gerrymanders.
• FL-Sen: The big rumor, all over the Interwebs today (courtesy of Southern Political Report/Insider Advantage's Matt Towery), is that Charlie Crist has fully resolved to run as an independent for Senate. The announcement will be "sooner rather than later," and he's drafting the speech for the announcement. There's no confirmation from anyone else, though. Crist's camp has denied they've been scrubbing all references to "Republican" from Crist's websites in preparation for the big switch. Meanwhile, GOP establishment support within Florida for Crist seems to be cratering, as current state House speaker Larry Cretul threw his lot in with Rubio today. John McCain also said today that he can't support Crist's independent candidacy. (Wow, that's really going out on a limb there, Mr. Maverick.)
• AK-Sen: Lisa Murkowski may be one of the least endangered Senate incumbents out there, with no Democrats of note stepping forward to challenge her. Her GOP primary may turn out to require at least a little effort, though, as a challenger of at least something-of-note has stepped forward: former judge Joe Miller, whose only elective experience is losing a Fairbanks-area state House race. Miller is sounding teabaggy themes about the Constitution and socialism, but has endorsements from three state legislators, all from the socially conservative side of the GOP.
• IN-Sen: Hey, big spender! John Hostettler reports raising $37K in the first quarter, spending $27K, and ending with $10K CoH.
• NC-Sen: Cal Cunningham's fundraising haul for Q1 was a weak $345K, leaving him $478K CoH. That's still more than Elaine Marshall, who has $181K. Pundits are left wondering if the DSCC (who seem to prefer Cunningham) will intervene on Cunningham's behalf to get him out of the primary, where polls have shown the former state Senator lagging behind Marshall, who as SoS is known statewide.
• NV-Sen: Sue Lowden would do well to heed the old expression about finding oneself in a hole and stopping digging. After her disastrous comments about bartering chickens to doctors in exchange for surgeries and MRIs, she was given ample opportunity to back down, but she doubled down yesterday, saying no, she was serious, and now her spokesperson is tripling down today, saying, no, she was still serious, and presenting a quote from one doctor who says that, yes, he does accept payment in alfalfa and bathtub form. Meanwhile, over in the other Senate seat, badly-damaged John Ensign is also on the receiving end of a lot of derision after reporting $50 in receipts in Q1. TPM actually tracked Ensign's one donor down, who shrugged off Ensign's problems, saying "All men are dogs."
• UT-Sen: Mitt Romney will be at the Utah Republican convention next month to lend his support to faltering incumbent Bob Bennett. I'm not sure if Romney will be able to vote for Bennett, though, as Utah may not be one of the approximately 14 states in which he has residency.
• WA-Sen: Dino Rossi seems content to pad out his waiting game all the way up to Washington's June 11 filing deadline (seemingly blissfully unaware that he needs to raise a metric ton of money ASAP if he's going to run). That's not sitting well with John Cornyn, who's amping up the public statements telling Rossi to get his ass in gear.
• CA-Gov: Meg Whitman's out with an internal poll via McLaughlin, giving her a 53-22 edge over Steve Poizner in the GOP primary. Some of you may also have noticed a Rasmussen poll out today showing the needle zooming back in Jerry Brown's direction in the general. I'm very puzzled about this one... why is Rasmussen, of all people, putting up better California results for Dems than the Field Poll? I'm wondering if California is intensely blue enough that Rasmussen's LV model works in Dems' favor somehow.
• MI-Gov: I suppose it was only a matter of time before someone went after Republican AG Mike Cox over the alleged coverup of a party-gone-very-awry at then-mayor Kwame Kilpatrick's place in 2002. The ad (a small buy on Lansing-area radio stations) attacking Cox is from Foundation for a Secure and Prosperous America, who, if the name sounds familiar, is the handiwork of Rick Reed, auteur of the Swift Boat Vets ads. Fingers are being pointed at primary rival Rick Snyder, but he says he didn't have anything to do with it.
• NY-19: This ought to ease the risk of a NY-23 type situation in the 19th: Nan Hayworth, from the county club wing of the GOP and facing some teabagging opposition in the primary, managed to nail down the endorsement of the Putnam County Conservative Party. Of course, exurban Putnam County is only a small minority of the district, so we'll have to see what happens in the other more populous counties.
• NY-29: Speaking of New York and teabaggers, it looks like Corning mayor Tom Reed -- a moderate who managed to deter bigger GOP names from jumping into the race following Eric Massa's implosion -- is now drawing some teabagging opposition in the GOP primary from small businessman Angelo Campini.
• NY-St. Sen.: It's kind of sad that I had to debate over whether a New York state Senate majority leader's office getting raided by the FBI and the state AG's office even qualifies as newsworthy because it's so totally expected. At any rate, Pedro Espada, who mere months ago held the linchpin of power in New York, now seems on his way to an ignominious end, as the scandal over Soundview Health Center heats up.
• NY-St. Ass.: This feels more like "Where Are They Now?" than an actual state Assembly story, but Dede Scozzafava, who went in a few short weeks from likely U.S. Representative to historical footnote, has decided that she's through with the Assembly (having gotten sacked from her deputy leadership position). She'll be retiring at the end of her term.
• Governors: Here's a fun conversation piece: CREW has released its list of the 10 worst governors, in terms of corruption, unethical behavior, and general malfeasance. In a surprise to me, Jim Gibbons didn't top the list. (I'll give you a hint of who did: he's thinking of running for President in 2012, and he seems to be made partly of Foghorn Leghorn DNA.) Only two Dems made the cut: David Paterson and Bill Richardson.
• FL-Sen: That bell is tolling pretty loudly for Charlie Crist right about now, although it's unclear today whether it spells a switch to an independent Senate bid (keep your fingers crossed) or an exit (if only temporarily) from politics. Crist's camp has pulled all of its GOP-primary-related ads from Florida television. Florida junior Senator/Crist errand boy George LeMieux is downplaying this, saying no switch is imminent, but the NRSC is leaning on Crist even more heavily than before, trying to disabuse their endorsee of the idea of an indie bid.
• IN-Sen: I wonder if this will boost John Hostettler with his fundraising by hooking him up with a national base, or if he's going to be more Peter Schiff than Rand Paul in the end? The former Rep., in his run for the GOP nomination in Indiana, now has the endorsement of Rep. Ron Paul, bringing together two of the very few GOPers to vote against the Iraq War. Meanwhile, state Sen. Marlin Stutzman, the dark-horse third-wheel in the GOP derby, is hitting the TV airwaves with an introductory ad, banking much of his small warchest on getting his name rec out of the basement with the primary only weeks away.
• KS-Sen: Rep. Mike Pence weighed in on the GOP field in Kansas, endorsing Rep. Todd Tiahrt over fellow Rep. Jerry Moran. There's something of a social/fiscal conservative split on this race, where social conservatives love Tiahrt but fiscal hawks don't, based on his long career on the goodie-doling Appropriations Committee. If nothing else, it's interesting to see Pence, who tries to have a foot in each camp, choose sides, as he gears up for a possible presidential bid. Meanwhile, Moran is going up with his first TV spot, with a big buy in the Kansas City market.
• KY-Sen: More tasty cat fud in Kentucky, where Rudy Giuliani just endorsed Trey Grayson and, in doing so, slammed the bejesus out of Rand Paul on the 9/11 front, saying that Grayson "is not part of the 'blame America first' crowd that wants to bestow the rights of U.S. citizens on terrorists and point fingers at America for somehow causing 9/11." Just the kind of softening-up of Paul we need for the general election.
• NY-Sen-B, NY-Gov: Siena's latest poll of the Empire State doesn't contain any big surprises; even David Paterson's 17/83 job rating isn't that surprising anymore. In their first look at the post-George Pataki Senate landscape, they find that Kirsten Gillibrand is cruising against all of her seemingly interchangeable third-tier opposition; she beats Joe DioGuardi 46-27, Bruce Blakeman 46-26, and David Malpass 46-24. DioGuardi, apparently with the name rec that comes with a celebrity daughter (or maybe it's from the two terms in Congress in the 1980s), has the edge in a Pataki-free GOP primary, winning with 24 to 7 for Blakeman and 5 for Malpass. On the gubernatorial side, Andrew Cuomo fares even better than Gillibrand, beating Rick Lazio 61-24, Steve Levy 58-23, and Carl Paladino 64-19. Lazio still has the edge in the GOP primary, at 29 with 15 for Levy and 13 for Paladino.
• WA-Sen: Strange that it takes a foul-mouthed blogger to notice the clues that Dino Rossi isn't running that the Beltway press seems oblivious to. Goldy notices that minor candidate Chris Widener, another personal friend of Rossi, is saying the same thing as state Sen. Don Benton: if he's running, why the hell isn't he doing me the favor of calling me up and telling me to get out of the way? (Well, maybe because he's a jerk?) Even more telling is that another minor GOP candidate, former NFL player Clint Didier, has commercial real estate mogul Kemper Freeman (one of Rossi's big-name donors and a major insider player in the state GOP), as his campaign chair.
• FL-Gov: I'm wondering if Bill McCollum's lead role in the pursuit of the GOP AGs' lawsuit over HCR is suddenly taking a toll on him (voters are opposed to the suit by a 54-40 margin), or if Quinnipiac got an unusually Dem-friendly sample (it's the same one that found Kendrick Meek with 4 of Marco Rubio in a head-to-head, and Obama gets a 48/46 approval). Either way, Quinnipiac has the nicest numbers we've seen out of the Florida gubernatorial race in a while. McCollum leads Democratic state CFO Alex Sink by just 40-36. McCollum leads state Sen. Paula Dockery 56-7 in the GOP primary; Sink leads Dockery 37-28.
• MD-Gov: Usually when a heavyweight jumps into the field, the random odds and ends get out, but the opposite happened in Maryland. Shortly after Bob Ehrlich got in, little-known rich guy Brian Murphy just announced his candidacy today. Murphy will be running against Ehrlich from the right and has the support of former state GOP chair James Pelura. Murphy also got a vote of confidence from former state Del. Carmen Amedori, who dropped her long-shot bid against Barbara Mikulski to sign on as Murphy's Lt. Governor running mate.
• CA-36: At the state convention, incumbent Rep. Jane Harman managed to ward off Marci Winograd's attempts to deny Harman the state party's endorsement. After a floor fight, Harman won the endorsement with a 599-417 vote. The two will still face off in the Democratic primary (in a rematch of 2006).
• GA-09: Here's a problem for Georgia Dems: they lost their only candidate in the 9th, pastor Mike Freeman. His name will still remain on the ballot for the May 11 special election to replace Nathan Deal, but he leaves behind a hole for the general election. Not that the absence of a Dem in this R+28 district would be noticed much, though.
• MA-09: Rep. Stephen Lynch has dodged a primary challenge so far, following his vote against HCR, but it seems like organized labor has found a candidacy that might stick. Mac d'Alessandro, a regional director for the SEIU, says he'll take a shot at Lynch in the Democratic primary, although he has only a couple weeks to round up the necessary 2,000 signatures.
• MN-01: The Republicans had their endorsement convention for the 1st District and gave their nod to state Rep. Randy Demmer. While Demmer is hardly anyone's idea of a moderate, he's less polarizing than his main rival, former state Rep. Allen Quist (a Michele Bachmann ally). Quist sounds like he'll honor the endorsement and not run in the primary.
• MN-02: On the Dem side, though, former state Rep. Shelley Madore has decided to keep running in the primary even though the DFL endorsement went to Dan Powers.
• NH-01: In a surprise to almost no one, Sean Mahoney (who made a big show of quitting his committee position on the RNC recently, ostensibly to protest Michael Steele) announced that he's going to run in the GOP primary in the 1st for the right to take on Rep. Carol Shea-Porter. The primary that looked like a victory lap for former Manchester mayor Frank Guinta last year is now a four-way bar brawl instead.
• NY-24: Rep. Mike Arcuri is, all of a sudden, sounding kind of Stupak-ish in the wake of his getting bruised by all ends of the spectrum after his ill-advised 'yes' to 'no' switch on HCR; he won't commit to running for re-election just yet. Either he's particularly thin-skinned and vindictive about getting his widdle feewings hurt, or he's looking at some particularly unappetizing polling numbers, especially if the Working Families Party runs someone against him.
AL-05: Wayne Parker, the GOP's 2008 nominee, is endorsing Madison County Comm'r Mo Brooks as a "consistent conservative voice" - and pointedly not endorsing the party-switching Rep. Parker Griffith, to whom he lost. Parker also seems to be trying to consolidate support behind Brooks, who also has to contend with businessman Les Phillip in the primary.
AL-07: Radio journalist Patricia Evans Mokolo is dropping out of the Dem primary to succeed Rep. Artur Davis. This doesn't really change the dynamics of the race much - the three main candidates are still Shelia Smoot, Terri Sewell, and Earl Hilliard, Jr.
MI-01: Cheboygan County Drain Commissioner (Drain Commissioner!!) Dennis Lennox, a 25-year-old Republican, won't challenge Rep. Bart Stupak, instead endorsing surgeon Dan Benishek.
MN-01: Michele Bachmann's toxic vapors are spilling over into the 1st CD: GOPer Jim Hagedorn, himself no stranger to inflammatory remarks, is attacking primary opponent Allen Quist for his supposed "allegiance" to Bachmann - and his propensity for outrageous statements. (Quist once said that men are "genetically predisposed" to be the head of the household.) This seems to be a case of the pot calling the kettle black, but it's also a rare instance of one Republican trying to not out-crazy another.
ND-AL: Criticizing the state convention which backed state Rep. Rick Berg as "exclusive," businessman (and, I'm guessing, Some Dude) J.D. Donaghe filed to run against Berg in the Republican primary. It doesn't look like Donaghe has filed any FEC reports so far - but then again, neither has Berg.
NJ-12: Fair Haven Mayor Michael Halfacre is dropping out and instead supporting businessman Scott Sipprelle for the GOP nod to take on Rep. Rush Holt. Sipprelle, who has given his own campaign a quarter million bucks, still faces real-estate investor Dave Corsi in the primary.
NY-02: The Suffolk County GOP is backing former radio talk-show host John Gomez to run against Rep. Steve Israel. Can't tell you much more than that, though, since the story is behind the Newsday paywall - and there are only 35 online subscribers!
NY-13: Rep. Anthony Weiner will fill in for City Council Speaker Christine Quinn at a fundraiser for Rep. Mike McMahon. Quinn, you may recall, pulled out after McMahon voted against healthcare reform. Weiner was an outspoken proponent of the bill.
NY-20: Looks like the GOP got their huckleberry: Republican county committees have rallied around retired Army colonel Charles Chris Gibson to challenge Dem. Rep. Scott Murphy in the fall. In response, Gibson's last remaining opponent, Patrick Ziegler, dropped out of the race, so it seems that there won't be a primary here. Not sure if that's a good thing, considering the poor success this same 10-county gang had in hand-picking all-time SSP fave Jim Tedisco last year.
NY-24: Epidemiologist Les Roberts is still weighing a primary run against Rep. Mike Arcuri, saying he'll wait until at least April 9th to decide. That's when the Working Families Party's executive committee will meet to discuss the race. Roberts is also waiting to hear from county Democratic committees and local unions.
NY-29: Citing the state's fiscal crisis and concerns about costs, a spokesperson for David Paterson is suggesting that the governor might not call a special election after all and will instead wait until the general election in the fall. This would also probably benefit Dems, who will (almost certainly) have Andrew Cuomo at the top of the ticket in November. (So, not surprisingly, GOP candidate Tom Reed is complaining loudly.) Here's a question I have: If things unfold this way, then would the candidate selection process instead be replaced by a normal primary?
SC-02: Sigh. The story of Rob Miller's campaign in one sentence: "The voice mailbox at his campaign office is full, and no one answered ITK's repeated calls."
VA-10: Navy vet and teabagger Jim Trautz has dropped his primary challenge to GOP Rep. Frank Wolf. I think we're going to see the vast majority of teabaggers fizzle out in one way or another.
1994: Pollster Stan Greenberg seemed to freak everybody out by saying at a recent breakfast that if the election were held today, it'd be 1994 all over again. But then he proceeded to explain why he thinks things might be different in November.
Census: Nate Silver, looking at state-by-state numbers, thinks there's no hard evidence that the black helicopter crowd is letting itself get undercounted by refusing to return census forms. I think the county-level response rates will be more interesting, though.
Polling: An interesting tidbit: Quinnipiac has been steadily adding cell phones to its call lists. This is something that only pollsters who use live interviewers can do, because federal law prohibits automated calls to cell phones. Also, some fun polling on the political preference of sports fans, broken down by sport.
• CA-Sen: Republican Assemblyman Chuck DeVore is still lagging in the single digits in polling, but prominent conservatives keep coming to his aid. He just got the endorsement of libertarian-minded Arizona Rep. Jeff Flake, and also of the Tea Party Express (the corporate wing of the teabaggers' movement).
• DE-Sen: "Repeal!" of HCR has become the rallying cry for almost every Republican candidate for federal office lately, but Rep. Mike Castle has stood out from the crowd with his reluctance, saying repeal is not "realistic." Now that's turning into an issue in his GOP primary, where his far-right opponent, marketing consultant and occasional Fox News contributor Christine O'Donnell, is accusing him of "breaking faith" with Delaware voters by not supporting it. A few other of the more sensible GOPers running in blue states, like Rob Simmons and Tom Campbell, are also keeping repeal at arms-length.
• FL-Sen: Good news for Charlie Crist, I suppose: Mason-Dixon has polled the GOP primary, and they find that he's losing to Marco Rubio by a mere 11 points (much less than a number of other pollsters, ranging from Rasmussen to R2K, have found): 48-37. Crist leads Democratic Rep. Kendrick Meek 50-26, while Rubio leads Meek 44-29, although half of respondents didn't know who Meek was. Meanwhile, you might have forgotten (as I often did) that ex-New Hampshire Sen. Bob Smith was, as far as he was concerned, in the GOP primary as well. Well, not anymore: Smith shuttered his campaign today, citing (big surprise) fundraising problems.
• WA-Sen: If there's one group that should be getting behind Dino Rossi's possible Senate candidacy, it's the Washington Association of Realtors. Not only are they a usually conservative-leaning organization with close ties to the builders' lobby, but also Rossi is one of them: his day job is real estate salesperson. So, hot on the heels of yesterday's R2K poll, here's another problem Rossi needs to seriously contemplate: WAR just endorsed Patty Murray.
• CA-Gov: Remember Pete Wilson? The former Governor is largely responsible for turning the California Republican Party's name into mud, among Latinos, in the 1990s with his support for anti-immigrant Proposition 187 -- a decision that may have had short-term benefits but has turned into a long-term disaster as the state's demographics change. The California Accountability Project is shining the spotlight back on Wilson in his new job: campaign chair for Meg Whitman.
• MI-Gov: Um, no. Just no. Mop-topped attorney Geoffrey Fieger is best known for his defense of Jack Kevorkian, but he also somehow wound up with the 1998 Democratic gubernatorial nomination and went on to lose to John Engler by a 62-38 margin after a slew of bone-headed remarks. Fieger now says he's considering another run at the Democratic nomination.
• NY-Gov (pdf): Marist has a new poll of the New York gubernatorial race, finding that party-switching Suffolk Co. Executive Steven Levy is in for a rude reception from the GOP. He's losing the primary to ex-Rep. Rick Lazio, 53-21. Andrew Cuomo dispatches either one, 61-30 against Lazio or 65-26 against Levy. Meanwhile, the saga of David Paterson (with a 16/80 job rating according to Marist) keeps getting sadder/weirder/yuckier, with a NYT article today about his attempts to secure an endorsement from the woman involved in a domestic dispute with one of his top aides.
• TN-Gov: The GOP side in the gubernatorial race shrank today, with the withdrawal of Shelby County DA Bill Gibbons from the race. He had the advantage of being the only western Tennessee candidate in the primary, but he never got very far on the fundraising front. Meanwhile, among what's left of the Democratic field, beer baron Mike McWherter just got an endorsement from Memphis's new mayor, A.C. Wharton. McWherter's only remaining Dem opponent is former state House majority leader Kim McMillan.
• AR-03, PA-07: Mike Huckabee offered up two different endorsements, one right on his home turf. He endorsed former state Rep. Doug Matayo in the open seat race to succeed John Boozman in the dark-red 3rd. The other place seems kind of odd: endorsing ostensibly moderate Pat Meehan in the Dem-leaning, heavily Catholic, decidedly non-Southern-fried PA-07.
• HI-01: The final candidate list for the May 22 all-mail special election in the 1st is out. The only three candidates of consequence are, as expected, Colleen Hanabusa and Ed Case for the Dems, and Charles Djou for the GOP. With the winner-takes-all nature, minor candidates may weigh heavily on the outcome, but there's a pretty even split with three extra no-name Democrats and four extra GOPers, as well as four independents.
• KS-03: Stephene Moore, the wife of retiring Rep. Dennis Moore, backed off slightly from reports yesterday that she was entering the race to succeed him. She said that she was going to continue thinking about it and would have a formal statement soon. Chris Cillizza has sources, though, who say it's a done deal.
• IL-LG: It sounds like Pat Quinn has settled on something of an outsider (albeit one with a famous family name) for his Lt. Governor running mate: Sheila Simon, the daughter of former Sen. (and former LG) Paul Simon. She's a law professor at Southern Illinois Univ., whose only political experience seems to be losing a race for Carbondale mayor. State Sen. Susan Garrett appears to have been bypassed over not supporting Quinn's income tax plan, which Simon supports. Meanwhile, supporters of African-American Rep. Art Turner are warning of depressed black turnout in November if Quinn doesn't opt for Turner instead.
• RNC: A decision from the trial-level U.S. District Court in Washington DC was a fundraising setback for the RNC, which wanted to be able to raise unlimited soft money from corporations and individuals but didn't receive the green light to do so.
AZ-Sen: Another Democrat, businesswoman Nan Stockholm Walden, is taking a look at the Arizona Senate race. Walden, a former staffer for Bill Bradley and Pat Moynihan, seems like she might be able to bring a good chunk of her own cash to the table (at the very least, she seems well-connected). Right now, the highest-profile Dem in race is Tucson City Councilman Rodney Glassman.
NV-Sen: Coming home to roost? One of those DOJ subpoenas in the investigation of John Ensign has landed on the doorstep of the NRSC. Ensign, of course, was chair of the organization during its disastrous 2008-08 campaign cycle.
PA-Sen: Reid Wilson takes a look at the divergent poll numbers between Susquehanna (Toomey +6) and Research 2000 (Specter +6). Susquehanna relies on voter lists and doesn't weight; R2K uses random-digit dialing and does weight.
IA-Gov: I guess this is a little bit of good news for Gov. Chet Culver - the gadflyish Jonathan Narcisse won't challenge him in the Democratic primary.
NY-Gov: I guess we should tag all David Paterson stories as "News of the Weird." Yesterday, he bizarrely claimed that he was the NYT's source for the exceptionally damaging stories about his administration which have led to the resignation of many top staffers and many, many calls for his resignation. Now the Times is saying "not so" - that Paterson was most definitely not their source. So, so strange.
GA-07: GOP state Sen. Don Balfour, who was considered a leading contender for the GOP nomination to replace retiring Rep. John Linder, has ended his campaign. Balfour also indicated that he won't seek re-election to the state Senate. (JL)
PA-07: Heh - GOPer Pat Meehan's motion to dismiss Dem Bryan Lentz's challenge to his ballot petition signatures was rendered moot almost the instant after he filed it. Meehan tried to claim that Lentz hadn't followed proper court procedures in serving him with notice of the challenge, but the court issued its own order saying that Lentz still has plenty of time to do so. Whoops.
IL-Lt. Gov: Gov. Pat Quinn apparently has a preferred choice for a running mate, state Sen. Susan Garrett, who as luck would have it is not up for re-election herself this fall. The IL Dem state party will pick a replacement on March 27th.
Healthcare: Greg Sargent has a source at the AFL-CIO who says that leaders of the umbrella organization's member unions will be making "direct appeals" to the following Dems, implicitly backed up by the threat of a primary or third-party challenges:
Dennis Cardoza, Jim Costa, Daniel Lipinski, Stephen Lynch, Michael Michaud, James Oberstar, Steve Dreihaus, Charlie Wilson, Marcy Kaptur, John Boccieri, Zack Space, Tom Perriello, Jason Altmire, Christopher Carney, Paul Kanjorski, Tim Holden, Jerry Costello, Alan Mollohan, Nick Rahall, Kathy Dahlkemper
Polltopia: Speaking of voter lists (see PA-Sen item above), Harry Enten at Pollster.com chides the NYT for claiming that it doesn't publish polls which sample from voter lists (like that Chamber of Commerce healthcare poll). Yet on the very same day it made that claim, the Times cited the results of the recent CA-Sen Field poll in another article... and Field uses, well, voter lists. At SSP, we have a simpler rule: Don't publish concern troll bullshit.
NRCC: Classic - the NRCC is touting ads its running against Dems undecided on healthcare, but they are spending just $3,900 per district. That gets you, what, a 30-second spot at 3am on the Smithsonian Channel, sandwiched between infomercials for the Flowbee and the Ronco Showtime Rotisserie? Props to the Hotline for unmasking this (typical) chicanery.
Passings: Memphis Rep. Steve Cohen gave a tribute yesterday on the floor of the House to the life of SSP hero and Big Star frontman Alex Chilton, who sadly passed away on Wednesday. (JL)
• NV-Sen: It's starting to look like the investigation into John Ensign may really take off. The DOJ is actually serving subpoenas to at least six different Las Vegas area businesses, as they expand a criminal probe into the tangle of quid pro quos that arose as Ensign tried to find lobbying work for cuckolded friend Doug Hampton.
• CA-Gov: Usually politicians wait to say this kind of thing privately instead of publicly, but maybe Jerry Brown, as is his way, is engaged in some sort of Jedi mind trick. Brown openly encouraged his union allies to start spending now in the governor's race and to go on the attack against likely GOP opponent Meg Whitman, so that he can stay "the nice guy" in the race.
• MI-Gov: Chris Cillizza has access to a new poll from Inside Michigan Politics/Marketing Resource Group, which looks at the Republican primary in the Michigan Governor's race. It's more evidence that businessman Rick Snyder's splashy spending and catchy "one tough nerd" ad has turned this into a real three-way race. The poll finds AG Mike Cox and Rep. Peter Hoekstra tied at 21, with Snyder right there at 20. Oakland Co. Sheriff Mike Bouchard trails, at 10.
• NY-Gov: Guess who doesn't like the idea of running a Democrat for the Republican nomination for Governor (even if NY GOP head Ed Cox seems to think it's the best idea since sliced bread)? The RNC has threatened not to put money into New York races (and note that says "races," not just the Gov's race) if Democratic Suffolk Co. Exec Steve Levy winds up the GOP's nominee. Meanwhile, David Paterson's case just gets weirder and weirder, as now he's saying he himself was the anonymous source for the NYT story on his interceding on his aide's behalf.
• WY-Gov: It's still not clear that state Sen. Mike Massie is going to run for Governor on the Democratic side, but it is looking like he's planning to move up. He confirmed he won't run for his Senate seat again, although he's interested in Superintendent of Public Education as well as Governor.
• NY-24: Chalk Rep. Mike Arcuri up as a "no" vote on health care reform. This comes despite the threat of losing the Working Families Party line in November, which will probably imperil his chances of re-election more so than any Republican votes he might pick up (which will probably equal zero, regardless of how he might vote on HCR).
• NY-29: Corning mayor Tom Reed has a bright idea on how to pay for the special election caused by Eric Massa's resignation: make Massa pay for it, out of the money in his campaign fund (which is roughly equal to the actual cost of holding the election). Not that it's going to happen, but it raises an interesting question: is there a legal mechanism for Massa to write a $644K check to the state of New York out of his account?
• PA-12 (pdf): There's a second poll of the 12th, from a slightly more established pollster (although one who still requires a grain or two of salt): Republican pollster Susquehanna. Their numbers are pretty close to the weird robopoll from yesterday, finding Democrat Mark Critz leading Republican Tim Burns 36-31. Bad news for Dems: by a 49/44 margin, voters want to turn away from a candidate who, in the John Murtha tradition, supports earmarks for the district. Good news for the Dems: of the undecideds, 67% are Democrats, meaning that Critz has more room to grow.
• VA-11: Rich guy Keith Fimian is up with his first radio ad in the 11th, attacking Democratic Rep. Gerry Connolly for saying, in reference to the stimulus, "I want to be there with all four paws and snout in the trough." Um, yeah... except Connolly was saying that long after the stimulus passage, making fun of Eric Cantor's hypocrisy on the issue. Too bad snark tags don't translate to radio very well.
• NY-Something: Former Republican Lt. Governor, and then unsuccessful former health care industry spokesbot, Betsy McCaughey, apparently is looking for a way into the Republican field in one of the various statewide races in New York; she's been polling both races. (There's one small wrinkle: she's still registered as a Democrat, and voted in the 2009 Democratic primary. She became a Dem after George Pataki dropped her from his 1998 ticket, and tried to run against Pataki as a Dem instead.)
• Votes: After all the sturm and drang surrounding the cloture vote, the final vote on the Senate jobs bill was pretty uninteresting, with 11 different GOPers crossing the aisle to vote for it: Alexander, Bond, Brown, Burr, Cochran, Collins, Inhofe, LeMieux, Murkowski, Snowe, and Voinovich.
• WATN?: A must-read editorial in today's WaPo comes from ex-Rep. Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky, whose despite her two years in the House looms large in history as the decisive vote on the 1993 Clinton budget, which is usually assigned as the reason for her loss in 1994. She pushes back against the mind-numbing Beltway conventional wisdom that your electoral survival depends on bucking the party line on the tough votes, and seems to be weighing on the minds of members like the aforementioned Mike Arcuri. A wave is a wave, and it takes out those in unsafe districts who vote for or vote against; the key is to not let the wave become a wave in the first place:
Votes like this are never a zero-sum game.... While it is easy to say my balanced-budget vote cost me reelection, that assumes the line of history that followed the bill's passage. Had I voted against it, the bill wouldn't have passed, the Republican opposition would have been emboldened, the Clinton presidency would have moved into a tailspin . . . and all of this could have just as easily led to my undoing.
Simply put, you could be Margolies-Mezvinskied whether you vote with or against President Obama. You will be assailed no matter how you vote this week. And this job isn't supposed to be easy. So cast the vote that you won't regret in 18 years.
There's still one strange contention in her piece: that "I was in the country's most Republican district represented by a Democrat." Sorry, not even close: that district would've been R+4 at the time, based on its 1988 and 1992 results, good for 51st most Republican held by a Democrat. Even though she famously got bounced out in 1994, the 13th was promptly back in Democratic hands in 1998, courtesy of Joe Hoeffel (and now, thanks to trends in the Philly suburbs and thanks to redistricting, it's a safe Dem district). The most Republican district held by a Dem in 1993? FL-01, then held by Earl Hutto, at R+20. (Hutto retired in 1994, giving way to... wait for it... Joe Scarborough.)