• AK-Sen: To quote Troy McClure, "here's an appealing fellow... in fact, they're a-peeling him off the sidewalk." Yes, Joe Miller didn't even wait until today to make his decision about whether or not to appeal to Alaska's Supreme Court; he already pulled the trigger on his appeal (despite the fact that everyone but him knows that he's, at this point, roadkill). Arguments are set for Friday, so (since he can't introduce new evidence, which the trial judge found sorely lacking, at the appellate level) this should get resolved pretty quickly.
• CT-Sen: Linda McMahon is sounding very much like she's ready to run again in 2012 against Joe Lieberman and a Dem to be named (maybe she found another $40 million under the couch cushions). She has a meeting planned with the NRSC's John Cornyn, presumably to discuss her next move. Meanwhile, Joe Lieberman (who lost control of his own vanity party, the CfL) is seeming likelier to run again, thanks to encouragement from both sides of the aisle, and he may even have a useful vehicle to do it with: the new "No Labels" party-type thing courtesy of Michael Bloomberg. Meanwhile, there's more follow-up from yesterday that, yes, Rep. Joe Courtney is considering a run for the Dem nomination (which could set up a primary against fellow Rep. Chris Murphy); he says he's "looking at it" and, if he runs, will announce soon. That pretty much leaves Rosa DeLauro as the lone Dem House member in the state who hasn't said yes or no, and today, as you'd expect, she said a loud "no."
• ME-Sen: Roll Call seems to have read the same article as everybody else yesterday that had that baffling interview with Andrew Ian Dodge -- the tea party impresario who claims to be in contact with a killer-app candidate who will unite the teabaggers and defeat Olympia Snowe -- and just flat-out concluded that Dodge is the mystery candidate himself (meaning that he's spent the last few months talking to himself?). As added evidence, Dodge doesn't dispute a local blog's reports that he plans to run.
• MI-Sen: Despite his strong name-rec-fueled showing in a PPP poll last week of the GOP Senate primary (or perhaps because of it), ex-Gov. John Engler is now saying that he has no plans to run for Senate, and will be staying in his role as head of the National Manufacturers Association. Strangely, the biggest-name candidate beyond Engler associated with the race, soon-to-be-ex-Rep. and gubernatorial primary loser Peter Hoekstra, sounded pretty indifferent about it when asked by a reporter yesterday, saying "We'll see. I'm not sitting around yearning to get back into office."
• MN-Sen: PPP is out with GOP Senate primary numbers, and it's a familiar story: the GOP base is irretrievably enamored with a female politician who's poison in the general election. Rep. Michele Bachmann (who loses the general 56-39 to Klobuchar) leads the field at 36, far ahead of more establishment figures like outgoing Gov. Tim Pawlenty (20) and ex-Sen. Norm Coleman (14). They're followed by new Rep. Chip Cravaack at 7, Tom Emmer at 6, John Kline at 5, Laura Brod at 4, and Erik Paulsen at 2. There's not much indication that Bachmann is interested in a Senate run -- in fact, she's currently sending out fundraising appeals based on the threat of a rematch with Tarryl Clark -- but there's also word that Amy Klobuchar's camp is most worried about facing Bachmann of any of the possible opponents, probably because of her national fundraising capacity (although it may also be a bit of public don't-throw-me-in-that-briar-patch posturing).
• NV-Sen: Need some evidence that Rep. Shelly Berkley is planning a Senate run? National Journal looks at her repositioning, as one of the key members of the party's liberal wing in the House to break away and support the tax compromise, suggesting that she's trying to tack toward the center to play better in the 2nd and 3rd districts. (Of course, it's worth noting that she wasn't that liberal to begin with, as a member of the New Dems, not the Progressives, and with a National Journal score usually putting her around the 60th percentile in the House.)
• IN-Gov: Evansville mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel isn't in a hurry to declare whether or not he's going to run for Governor, although with Evan Bayh's recent demurral, the iron would be hot. The key indicator, though, will be whether Weinzapfel runs for another term as mayor; the election is in 2011, and it's assumed that if he does run for re-election a gubernatorial run is unlikely. He'll need to make a mayoral decision by Feb. 18.
• MT-Gov: The Dems have lined up a real candidate for the governor's race, maybe the best they can do if AG Steve Bullock doesn't make the race. Dave Wanzenreid, if nothing else, has a long resume: currently a state Senator, he served previously as a state Rep., as both minority and majority leader in that body. He was also chief of staff to ex-Gov. Ted Schwinden and then state labor commissioner in the 80s.
• Crossroads: American Crossroads, after its avalanche of late-cycle ads a few months ago, is already getting back in the TV game. The Karl Rove-linked dark money vehicle is spending $400K on radio advertising in the districts of 12 Dems who won by narrow margins, urging them to vote in favor of the tax compromise package. Tim Bishop, Jim Costa, Gabrielle Giffords, Gerry Connolly, Ben Chandler, Jason Altmire, Bill Owens, Maurice Hinchey, Heath Shuler, Gary Peters, Joe Donnelly, and Sanford Bishop are all on the target list.
• Votes: There's a strange array of "no" votes on the tax compromise that passed the Senate 83-15. The Dems have a few votes from the left (Bernie Sanders, Sherrod Brown, Pat Leahy, Russ Feingold (although it's gotten kind of hard to tell if he's doing anything from the left or not anymore)), but also some votes from some pretty avowed centrists (Jeff Bingaman, Kay Hagan, Mark Udall) too, of which Bingaman is the only one up in 2012. John Ensign was one of the few GOP "no" votes, although you've gotta wonder whether it's because he's trying to save himself in a primary by appealing to the far-right or if he's just given up and voting his conscience.
• Census: While you wait for the main course on Dec. 21 (the day for reapportionment hard numbers), the Census Bureau is out with a gigantic appetizer. They're rolling out their first-ever 5-year estimates from the American Community Survey (their one-year samples aren't that reliable, but over five, they are). The ACS covers a lot of the deeper demographic information that used to covered by the Census "long form," covering stuff like poverty, housing values, commute times, and education. Information is available all the way down to the block level, but here's an array of county-level maps to start with.
Amy Klobuchar (DFL-inc): 56
Tom Emmer (R): 38
Amy Klobuchar (DFL-inc): 53
Tim Pawlenty (R): 43
Amy Klobuchar (DFL-inc):: 52
Erik Paulsen (R): 34
PPP's latest has DFL incumbent Amy Klobuchar doing extraordinarily well a little less than two years out, besting all five GOP challengers by spreads of 10 to 18 points.
Klobuchar remains extremely popular, with approval ratings in almost unseen territory of +30, at 59/29! Her Class II counterpart, Al Franken, is barely above water at 45/42.
Also of note, Tom Emmer's gubernatorial campaign (and potential post-election monkey business) have not reflected on him well, he records favorables at 37/49...almost as bad as tea party queen Bachmann's 37/51.
• CO-Sen: Andrew Romanoff, who's had seeming trouble articulating a motivation for his primary campaign against appointee Michael Bennet (other than "it was my turn"), still seems like he's confident in his chances of winning the primary. He just doubled down by selling his house and lending the $325K proceeds to his campaign (or maybe he was just eager to sell the dump, anyway). Romanoff had $464K CoH on June 30, but most of that has been gobbled up by ad buys. Also on the ad front in Colorado, the shadowy, Ken Buck-backing 501(c)(4) Americans for Job Security is out with another anti-Jane Norton ad, attacking her over her support for anti-TABOR Proposition C.
• DE-Sen: Christine O'Donnell, the forgotten right-winger in the Delaware GOP primary against Rep. Mike Castle, keeps hitting wingnut paydirt. Having already secured the Susan B. Anthony List endorsement, she's now getting backing from two more of the engines pulling the crazy train: the Tea Party Express (the corporate astroturf umbrella org for the teabaggers), and Concerned Women for America (Phyllis Schlafly's group). The Politico article includes a litany of O'Donnell's baggage as rattled off by Delaware's GOP state party chair, so it seems like the establishment is taking note and starting to push back.
• FL-Sen: Well, that was fast; I guess when you have a few hundred million dollars at your disposal, you can whip up ads pretty quickly (or just have a couple extra sitting in the can, ready to go). With Kendrick Meek having launched his first Dem primary ad yesterday, a negative ad against Jeff Greene, today Greene hit back with two different anti-Meek ads. One focuses on Meek's family connections to a corrupt developer, and the other focuses on the cigar-maker carveout from SCHIP. As always, NWOTSOB.
• KY-Sen: The Jack Conway camp has leaked Daily Kos an internal from Benenson giving them a 44-44 tie with Rand Paul, and a 48-46 lead over Paul with leaners pushed. The poll's a little stale, having been taken June 26-29, but it's good news; if nothing else, it's confirmation for the most recent PPP poll, which also saw a tie. We have a copy of the full memo here. Another small reason for optimism in the Bluegrass State: there's word of a new (and apparently nameless, for now) 527 headed by former progressive Democratic '08 Senate candidate Andrew Horne, that will be playing in the Kentucky race. They have $2 million pledged by various business leaders to work with, and they've lined up Anzalone Liszt and Zata|3 to work for them.
• FL-Gov: Taking a page from Raul Labrador, Bill McCollum's out with an internal. His own poll from McLaughlin & Associates finds him trailing Rick Scott 37-31. (The polling memo actually has the audacity to ask, "Why hasn't Rick Scott done better?")
• MD-Gov: Local pollster Gonzales Research is out with their second look at the Maryland gubernatorial race; they find a 45-42 lead for Martin O'Malley over Robert Ehrlich, which very closely echoes the PPP poll from a few weeks ago. Their trendlines go back to January, when a Ehrlich re-run was only vaguely being discussed; then, O'Malley had a 9-point lead.
• MN-Gov: Fundraising reports in Minnesota were due yesterday. GOPer Tom Emmer might well need to use that giant jar of pennies he had dumped on his table in order to buy some ad time, as he's lagging on the financial front. Emmer has less than $300K CoH and raised under $800K in the first six months of the year, while DFL endorsee Margaret Anderson Kelliher has $385K CoH and raised about $1 million. Kelliher, however, still might not get out of her primary against two rich guys: Matt Entenza raised $360K during that period but also loaned himself $3.5 million (and spent $3.9 million, mostly on TV ads). Mark Dayton hasn't filed yet.
• OR-Gov: Republican Chris Dudley is padding his financial advantage over John Kitzhaber in Oregon's gubernatorial race: he's raised $850K since the May 18 primary, compared with $269K for Kitzhaber. Dudley has raised $2.6 million all cycle long, compared with Kitz's $1.7 million. (One historical note, though: Ted Kulongoski was easily re-elected in 2006 despite being outspent by opponent Ron Saxton and his $7 million.) Much of Dudley's money seems to be coming in from out-of-state, as the former NBA player and current financial advisor is getting a lot of Wall Street and sports industry money. Interestingly, the timber industry, usually a Republican force in the state, is staying largely on the sidelines this election, as they're fairly friendly with Kitzhaber.
• TN-Gov: Having nowhere to go in the GOP primary polls but up, Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey is going the out-and-proud Islamophobe route. Spurred on by the ongoing controversy over the construction of a mosque in Murfreesboro, Ramsey, in response to a question at an appearance, said, "You could even argue whether being a Muslim is actually a religion or is it a nationality, way of life or cult, whatever you want to call it."
• ID-01: Raul Labrador, a conspicuous absence from the NRCC's anyone-with-a-pulse Young Guns program, says that he "opted out" of the Young Guns. (Yeah... just like I "opted out" of junior prom.) He didn't give a specific reason why, although tensions between him and the NRCC have been high.
• MN-03: I'm not exactly sure why Jim Meffert thought it was a good idea to release this internal, but I guess he needed to let people know that he's actually contesting this thing. His poll (no mention of the pollster in the article) finds him trailing freshman GOP Rep. Erik Paulsen 44-27, with 7% for an IP candidate. The number he'd probably like us to focus on is that Paulsen has only a 33% re-elect (although only 12% say they're a definite "no").
• MN-06: Seems like Johnny Law doesn't like Michele Bachmann's particularly freaky brand of law and order: the state's police union, the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association, just gave its endorsement to Dem Tarryl Clark in the 6th.
• RI-01: The American Federation of Teachers, having just endorsed indie Lincoln Chafee instead of Dem Frank Caprio, also went for unconventional with their 1st District endorsement. They went for young up-and-comer state Rep. David Segal, who's tried to stake out the most progressive turf in the Dem primary, instead of Providence mayor and presumed frontrunner David Cicilline.
• TN-09: On top of having gotten SSP's annual John Hostettler Award for outstanding performance at filing quarterly reports (for failing to electronically file his FEC report on time, despite having only $19K CoH), Willie Herenton got a much worse piece of news: the Congressional Black Caucus either doesn't think much of his chances, or think much of him. Although they wouldn't let Steve Cohen join their club in 2007, they did just endorse him, and sent $5,000 his way.
• AL-Sen: William Barnes (D) 29%, Richard Shelby (R-inc) 59%
• AZ-Sen (D): Rodney Glassman (D) 15%, Cathy Eden (D) 11%, Randy Parraz (D) 10%, John Dougherty (D) 7%
• CO-Sen: Andrew Romanoff (D) 40%, Jane Norton (R) 44%
• CO-Sen: Michael Bennet (D-inc) 39%, Jane Norton (R) 48%
• CO-Sen: Andrew Romanoff (D) 42%, Ken Buck (R) 48%
• CO-Sen: Michael Bennet (D-inc) 42%, Ken Buck (R) 48%
• MA-Gov: Deval Patrick (D-inc) 38%, Charlie Baker (R) 32%, Tim Cahill (I) 17%
• KY-Sen: I've never heard of Bill Johnson before, but bringing six figures to the table is bound to gain some attention. The western Kentucky businessman, who's running in the Republican Senate primary, said he's loaning himself $250,000 to try and garner some notice in the big-$ primary between Trey Grayson and Rand Paul.
• LA-Sen: I never thought I'd see the day when urea formaldehyde would become a campaign issue, but Democrats are hoping to use it against David Vitter in the Bayou State. Vitter (who has the backs of Louisiana's large chemical industry) has been placing a hold on a new EPA administrator's nomination, partly over concerns that the EPA will more heavily regulate formaldehyde. Unfortunately for Vitter, more than 34,000 Louisiana residents have first-hand experience with urea formaldehyde, outgassing from the paneling of their FEMA-provided post-Katrina trailers.
• MA-Sen: Republican State Sen. Scott Brown has an uphill fight in this month's special election to overcome the state's Dem lean and perhaps sentimental desires to keep Ted Kennedy's seat in Democratic hands. Still, he got an endorsement from the state's most popular conservative: Red Sox great Curt Schilling.
• NH-Sen: Salt shaker at the ready? ARG has a new poll out of general election matchups in the New Hampshire Senate race, showing a single-digit edge for Republican AG Kelly Ayotte over Democratic Rep. Paul Hodes, 43-36 (their last poll, from September, also gave Ayotte a 7-pt edge). They also poll Hodes against conservative upstart Ovide Lamontagne for the first time, and, in a bit of a head-scratcher, find a similar margin for the less-known and, one would think, less electable Lamontagne, who leads Hodes 37-31.
• MI-Gov: Here's a Rasmussen poll that slipped our notice over the holidays; as one might expect, Santa Rasmussen had a big lump of coal for John Cherry's stocking. All three Republicans lead the Democratic Lt. Governor, as other pollsters generally find, but Rasmussen still manages to depart from the other pollsters' findings: AG Mike Cox, who has generally polled the best against Cherry, here has the smallest edge over him (only 39-34), while loudmouthed right-wing Rep. Pete Hoekstra has the biggest edge (46-32). (This poll was taken before Hoekstra's grandstanding over the attempted plane bombing, which would serve to raise his name rec outside his western Michigan home turf.) Oakland Co. Sheriff Mike Bouchard leads Cherry 42-32. One hope for Cherry, though, is that, in terms of favorables, he still has higher unknowns than any of the Republicans, giving him room to grow.
• RI-Gov: Jan. 4 has been penciled in as the official launch date for Lincoln Chafee's independent campaign for Rhode Island for a while now. With it comes news that (against a backdrop of mediocre fundraising so far) he'll be dipping into the family fortune to propel his race; he just lent his campaign another $200K after starting it off with a previous $110K. Compared with Dem state Treasurer Frank Caprio's $1.5 million, Chafee has a lot of ground to make up. Meanwhile, Republicans would still like a candidate... any candidate.
• AL-05: Looks like recent turncoat Parker Griffith is having a busy day today, answering his own phones and making his own coffee. Almost his entire staff resigned en masse today, unwilling to join him on his foray into the Republican fold.
• CA-19: Another sort-of-well-known Republican is scoping out the new open seat in the 19th: former SoS, former Assembly minority leader, and 2004 Senatorial loser Bill Jones is considering the race. Fresno city councilor Larry Westerlund is also looking at the race, which already has state Sen. Jeff Denham and former Fresno mayor Jim Patterson in the GOP field... and, as of this afternoon, former CA-11 Rep. Dick Pombo. (I wonder if Tom McClintock is interested in running here? He's gotta be feeling restless again, having represented CA-04 for a full year now.)
• MN-01, MN-02, MN-03: We might actually wind up with a Democratic former elected official running in John Kline's 2nd but not in the theoretically more-vulnerable 3rd next door. Former state Rep. Shelly Madore of Apple Valley (who was defeated by a Republican in 2008) has decided to get into the race in Minneapolis's southern suburbs. (H/t Andrew.) Speaking of the 3rd, Democratic challenger Maureen Hackett is the first to hit the airwaves with a new radio spot; she faces a primary fight with state PTA president Jim Meffert, and the winner takes on freshman Republican Rep. Erik Paulsen. Finally, as expected, it only took Republican ex-state Rep. Allen Quist a few weeks to start bringing the crazy over in the 1st, as seen in recent comments that beating "radical" Democrats in Washington is a bigger battle than beating terrorism.
• NY-20, NY-Comptroller: Republican John Faso (the former Assembly minority leader and 2006 gubernatorial loser) was getting touted for a number of different races: for a run for Comptroller, against Rep. Scott Murphy in the 20th, or maybe even for NY-Sen-B if no other Kirsten Gillibrand challenger stepped up. It looks like he won't be doing any of those things, saying it's "doubtful" he'll run for anything this year. State party chair Ed Cox is pushing Emil Henry Jr. for the GOP's Comptroller slot now (Henry, a former Lehman Bros. exec, had earlier been trying to generate some interest for a gubernatorial run, apparently to little avail).
• PA-04: Insiders are leaking that former W.D. Pa. US Attorney (and loyal Bushie) Mary Beth Buchanan is increasingly likely to run against Rep. Jason Altmire this year, although the word is she'll make her decision "soon." On the flipside, this may mean the likelihood of state House minority whip Mike Turzai running for the GOP is going down.
• TN-08: Jackson-area physician Ron Kirkland will be joining the GOP field, now that this seat is a more tempting target with the retirement of long-time Democratic Rep. John Tanner. Kirkland joins "farmer" (or agribusiness kingpin, if you prefer)/gospel singer Stephen Fincher, who's already off to a big fundraising start.
• TX-10: With a nasty hole in the lineup looming with the departure of promising candidate Jack McDonald, here's a big-time save by veteran Ted Ankrum, who'll file to take McDonald's place in the 10th. Ankrum, you might recall, was our 2006 nominee in the 10th, and his strong performance with almost no funding is what drew a lot of Dem attention to the potential winnability of this rapidly-bluening seat. (Speaking of filing, the filing deadline in Texas is today. Primaries are soon, too - March 2nd, with potential run-offs on April 13th. Check out SSP's full sortable primary calendar, if you haven't before.)
• GA-SoS: With current Secretary of State Karen Handel resigning midterm in order to pursue her gubernatorial bid, Republican Gov. Sonny Perdue got the chance to hand-pick a successor. 38-year-old state Rep. Jim Cole, a member of the House's leadership, will serve out the remaining year of her term and then run for a full term in 2010. (UPDATE: Or not. Cole has already turned down Perdue's offer; former state Sen. Brian Kemp now sounds likely to be offered the job. H/t RuralDem.)
• Mayors: Lt. Gov Mitch Landrieu's path to be the next mayor of New Orleans looks even easier now. His main opposition, state Sen. Ed Murray, opted to drop out, acknowledging that he didn't want to suffer through an expensive and racially-divisive (Murray is African-American) campaign.
• NRCC: Looks like we're not the only ones taking notice of the NRCC's cash-on-hand problems, as the legacy media start to take notice: Politico observes that right now the NRCC has enough money to fund about one big-name House race, not the dozens they're trying to put into play with various recruiting successes.
• RNC: Reid Wilson has an interesting catch: the RNC is sending money ($20K) to the local party in the Northern Mariana Islands (popu. 86,000), which, of course, don't have a voting member of the House or any electoral votes. It looks like it may be a little payback from Michael Steele, who owes his chairmanship to votes from the NMI and other insular territories.
• Polltopia: Politico also belatedly picks up on another favorite theme in the liberal blogosphere: what the hell is up with Rasmussen's numbers? Nate Silver judiciously examined the issue too, over the weekend, pointing out that Rasmussen's well-documented "house effects" aren't necessarily indicative of bias per se. Rasmussen's defenders, of course, will point to Nate's ratings of Rasmussen's accuracy, which are high; fitting, as their numbers do tend to converge with reality in a race's final weeks (as we saw last November in NJ and VA). Still, one question wasn't raised in either of these pieces over the weekend: how to hold Rasmussen to account for showing out-of-whack numbers long before the election, before they start to fall in line with everyone else (and when they, by virtue of Rasmussen's frequent polling, can play a large role in shaping the conventional wisdom about who's up and who's down)?
• Maps: A denizen of the forums at Dave Leip's site has put together an even better set of maps of presidential election results by county, dating back to 1840. (H/t metstotop333.)(D)
• Redistricting: A reminder - if you post an entry in the redistricting contest, please e-mail your .DRF.XML file to jeffmd [at] swingstateproject [dot] com. (Instructions for finding your file are here.) This will make it a lot easier for Jeff to judge entries. And the deadline to submit your entry is fast approaching - Sunday, January 10th at midnight Eastern time. (D)
Also, on the redistricting front, Politics Magazine has a lengthy piece on Democrats' efforts to avoid getting out-hustled by the GOP in both congressional and state-level redistricting. Hint to Bill Burke's Foundation for the Future and Brian Smoot's Democratic Redistricting Trust: Reach out to the redistricting geeks here at the Swing State Project. We're a great untapped resource. One interesting note: This is the first time since the passage of the Voting Rights Act that the White House (and thus the Department of Justice) will be in Democratic hands during the start-to-finish redistricting process. (D)
• Census: The Census Bureau is rolling out a $340 million ad blitz over the next few months to make sure that everyone knows about the Census and that they need to participate. The rollout includes two ads (directed by Christopher Guest and starring Ed Begley Jr., which ought to get the right-wingers a-foamin' at the mouth) during the Super Bowl, but also $80 million in ad outreach to non-English-speaking populations. Talking Points Memo also has a neat observation about Rep. Michele Bachmann, once the Census's greatest foe but who's been surprisingly quiet in her criticisms of it lately: she may need to rely on huge Census turnout by Minnesotans to keep Minnesota at 8 seats, and thus, keep her own seat (the likeliest target for elimination if the state needs to drop to 7 and Dems exclusively control the process).
• FL-Sen: Everything's coming up Milhouse for Rep. Kendrick Meek these days: Rep. Corrine Brown decided not to challenge him in the primary, he's watching Charlie Crist and Marco Rubio go hammer and tongs at each other on the GOP side, and now he has the endorsement of Florida's currently most successful Democrat, Sen. Bill Nelson.
• NH-Sen: Oh please oh please... the geniuses at the Club for Growth are considering getting involved in the New Hampshire Senate race, where the position-less campaign of Kelly Ayotte doesn't seem to be capturing their fancy. (This is buried at the end of an article on how they're still weighing involvement in FL-Sen.)
• NY-Gov: David Paterson is playing a different tune than before, sounding less defiant and ready to "reassess" if his numbers stay in the tank on into early 2010. Meanwhile, this may be a tea leaf that Rudy Giuliani isn't planning to run -- or simply one Suffolk County resident doing a favor for another one -- but Suffolk County (on Lon Gisland) GOP leader John Jay LaValle endorsed Rick Lazio last week, and now Orange County (in the Hudson Valley) GOP leader Bill DeProspo is also endorsing Lazio. (And with Lazio poised to get demolished in a Rudy primary, you wouldn't likely make that endorsement and risk the Rudy's wrath unless you had a sense that he wasn't running.) Finally, Erie County Exec Chris Collins had been considered a post-Rudy Plan B for the GOP, but he seems to have taken himself out of the running with bizarre remarks last weekend comparing Democratic Assembly speaker Sheldon Silver to both Hitler and the anti-Christ.
• VA-Gov: Two more Virginia polls to add to the pile today: Roanoke College (in its first and apparently only poll) finds Bob McDonnell with a 53-36 lead over Creigh Deeds. In another bit of bad news, Republicans lead Democrats 43-33 on a generic ballot question concerning the House of Delegates. Research 2000 also looks at the race, finding a 54-44 lead for McDonnell -- one of Deeds' best performances recently, although that's not saying much.
• IA-03: Republican state Sen. (and former mayor of the Des Moines suburb of Urbandale) Brad Zaun says he's seriously considering a run against Rep. Leonard Boswell in the 3rd next year. Mike Mahaffey, former state GOP chair, is set to decide by next week whether or not he'll run too.
• IL-18: Democrat D.K. Hirner will run for the nomination to face off against Rep. Aaron Schock in the Peoria-area 18th (who benefited from Democratic recruitment problems in his initial run in 2008). Hirner is the executive director of the Illinois Environmental Regulatory Group.
• MN-03: Democratic psychiatrist Maureen Hackett filed campaign papers to run in the 3rd against freshman Republican Rep. Erik Paulsen (who won with only 49% of the vote in 2008). Minnesota PTA president Jim Meffert-Nelson is also planning to announce his bid soon, while state Sen. Teri Bonoff, the district's heavyweight Dem, is still weighing the race.
• NH-02: EMILY's List has one more endorsee: attorney Ann McLane Kuster, in the open seat race in the 2nd. You may be wondering "Wait, isn't Katrina Swett going to run there?" While Kuster is officially in the race and has been fundraising well, Swett hasn't committed to a bid yet, though... and more importantly, supports parental notification for abortion, making an endorsement unlikely.
• OH-15: Here's a positive development at both the micro and macro levels: little-known anti-abortion Ron Paul-supporter David Ryon dropped out of the Republican primary field against state Sen. Steve Stivers (who's seeking a rematch against freshman Democratic Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy), and he's going to go the third party route. This is good at a micro level because it's similar to what happened in 2008, when two minor right-wing candidates siphoned off 9% of the vote, allowing Kilroy to get past the pro-choice Stivers despite an underwhelming performance (and without Obama on the ballot driving turnout in a university-dominated district, Kilroy is poised to underwhelm again in 2010). And at a macro level, it may be an indication that various wingnuts are taking stock of the Doug Hoffman situation and saying "Hey, that could be me!" (Thus further exacerabting the rifts in the GOP.)
• OH-16: Buried at the end of an article that's mostly profiling alleged GOP frontrunner Jim Renacci, there's news that conservative former Ashland County Commissioner Matt Miller is planning a third run in the primary in the 16th. Miller, if you'll recall, got 42% in the 2006 primary against long-time Rep. Ralph Regula (which was probably instrumental in prompting Regula's 2008 retirement), and then almost won the 2008 primary against state Sen. Kirk Schuring. So it's hardly a foregone conclusion that freshman Democratic Rep. John Boccieri will be facing Renacci next year.
• VA-07: Democratic real estate developer Charles Diradour has decided to scrap his nascent candidacy against Eric Cantor, so it's back to the drawing board for Dems in the reddish 7th. Cantor has the biggest bankroll of any House Republican, so it'd be an uphill fight, to say the least.
• NY-St. Sen.: With state Sen. Hiram Monserrate intending to stay in the Senate despite having been convicted of misdemeanor assault last week, the Queens Democratic Party (led by Rep. Joe Crowley) is taking the unusual step of recruiting and endorsing a primary challenger to him. Assemblyman Jose Peralta will be running against Monserrate with the local party's blessing. The Senate is also still considering whether to begin expulsion proceedings against Monserrate.
• PA-S. Ct.: Josh Goodman has a good catch on how the lone Supreme Court race on the ballot in Pennsylvania next week is actually a key race, in terms of state legislative redistricting in 2010. The state's legislative redistricting board has 5 seats, with two seats from each legislative chamber and the remaining seat chosen by the first 4. But if the two legislative chambers are controlled by different parties (as is currently the case), there's a deadlock, and the 5th member is chosen by the Supreme Court. However, the Supreme Court is also currently deadlocked between the parties (3-3, with the victor of next week's race the tiebreaking vote), so the Supreme Court race essentially is for control of state legislative redistricting for the next decade. In the one poll I've seen of the race, Democrat Jack Panella led GOPer Joan Orie Melvin 38-35.
• Polling: PPP is asking for your help again: they'd like to know what you'd like to see for a release schedule over the next week.
• FL-Sen: Marco Rubio continues to rack up goodwill among the far right, pulling in an endorsement from Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe. Rubio has already gotten a Jim DeMint endorsement; can Tom Coburn be far behind?
• LA-Sen: Southern Media and Opinion Research has a poll (conducted on behalf of local businessman Lane Grigsby, a big Republican donor -- you might remember he personally dumped a ton of money into LA-06 last year) of the LA-Sen race that shows numbers remarkably similar to what else we've seen. They have David Vitter beating Charlie Melancon 48-36 (while Rasmussen had it at 46-36 a couple weeks ago, and a Melancon internal from last month was 47-37).
• NC-Sen: Erskine Bowles, the guy so pathetic he managed to lose to both carpetbagger Liddy Dole and anonymous Richard Burr, now has nothing but praise for his one-time opponent, saying "I've had a chance to work with this guy for four full years and nobody works harder or smarter for North Carolina than Richard Burr does." At least the DSCC remembers how the game is played, taking Burr to task for voting against the stimulus and now touting his delivery of $2 million in grant money to a local fire department from the stimulus funds that he didn't vote for.
• NV-Sen: In an indication of just how deep the non-aggression pact between Harry Reid and John Ensign goes, now John Ensign's parents (who apparently just love to bail out troubled politicians) both contributed the maximum amount to Reid in the third fundraising quarter. Meanwhile, Ensign himself says he's still willing to campaign on behalf of the Republican nominee against Reid, if he or she just asks. (My advice to Ensign: don't sit by the phone waiting for those calls.)
• SC-Sen: This is the kind of praise you might not really want: two Republican party chairs from rural counties wrote an op-ed in the Times and Democrat defending Jim DeMint from charges that he didn't bring enough pork back to South Carolina, saying that Jews got wealthy by watching their pennies and that DeMint was doing the same. The authors later apologized, and, to his credit, DeMint deplored the remark.
• WA-Sen: Here's some help from Joe Biden for someone who probably doesn't need the help: Patty Murray, who's facing very little in the way of opposition and is sitting on more than $4 million CoH. Biden will be appearing at a Seattle fundraiser on Nov. 6. (If you're wondering who's stepped up to go against Murray so far, it seems like the GOP's best prospect right now is Chris Widener, a motivational speaker and president of personal development company Made for Success who's currently exploring the race. He'll have to sell a whole lot of Successories posters to be able to compete financially.)
• FL-Gov: Fresh off a disappointing third fundraising quarter, Florida AG Bill McCollum may be facing another dose of bad news -- state Sen. Paula Dockery says she is now "leaning very heavily" toward challenging McCollum for the GOP gubernatorial nomination. (J)
• MN-Gov: One more name on the already excruciatingly-long list of gubernatorial candidates in Minnesota: former DFL state Sen. Steve Kelley (who lost the 2000 Senate primary to Mark Dayton in an almost-as-large field). It sounds like he's trying to brand himself as the "green" candidate this time.
• NJ-Gov (pdf): One more New Jersey poll to add to the pile today, from Monmouth University. They find the race a flat-out tie, with 39 for Jon Corzine and Chris Christie, and 14 for Chris Daggett. (Christie led 43-40-8 one month ago.) In terms of favorables, they both suck: Corzine is at 37/51 and Christie is at 40/41. Corzine did make at least one new friend, though: Michael Kenneth Williams (better known as Omar from The Wire) offers his endorsement.
Meanwhile, Christie now is suffering from a further expansion of the Michele Brown story (remember, she's the one who got an undisclosed $46K loan from Christie), and, already losing ground in the polls, the timing couldn't be worse. The New York Times revealed today that, despite their claims otherwise, Brown in fact used her position as Christie's deputy at least two times to aid the campaign, taking control of a FOIA request about Christie's stint as US Attorney and pushing up the schedule on the arrests for the 40-person corruption sting so that the arrests would occur before Christie's permanent successor took over, so he could get the credit.
• NY-Gov, NY-Sen-B (pdf): Yet another Siena poll shows David Paterson in deep doo-doo. The most noteworthy thing about this poll may be that Rudy Giuliani seems to be improving his lot, although he still isn't taking any steps toward running for anything; Giuliani trails Andrew Cuomo only 50-43 (and beats Paterson 56-33, naturally), and also matches up well against Kirsten Gillibrand for the Senate race, winning that one 53-36. (Other matchups: Cuomo beats Paterson 70-20 in the primary. Cuomo and Paterson both beat Rick Lazio, 66-21 and 39-37. And George Pataki beats Kirsten Gillibrand, 46-41.)
• SC-Gov: Could the end of the road finally be approaching for Mark Sanford? (Assuming that Sarah Palin suddenly shows up and does something else stupid yet captivating, probably not.) A resolution of impeachment will be introduced in the GOP-held legislature during a special session next week. However, actual proceedings, if any, won't occur until the full session in January.
• VA-Gov (pdf): Two new polls are out in Virginia, and neither one offers Creigh Deeds much cause for optimism. Clarus finds a 49-41 advantage for Bob McDonnell (up from a 42-37 edge last month). And Christopher Newport University for WVEC and the Virginian-Pilot finds, in their first poll of the race, a 45-31 lead for McDonnell (with a lot of undecideds). Meanwhile, former governor Doug Wilder continues to somewhat less than useless in this race, saying that Virginia "won't sink into the seas" if McDonnell wins.
• AL-07: An internal poll from state Rep. Earl Hilliard Jr. gives us our first insight into the Democratic field in the open seat in this dark-blue district. Jefferson County Commissioner Shelia Smoot leads the field with 24, followed by Hilliard at 17, former Selma mayor James Perkins Jr. at 9, and attorney Terri Sewell at 4. Smoot, who may be the most progressive candidate in the field, benefits from high name recognition (68%), thanks to also being a radio talk show host. Sewell has much lower name recognition (32%) but a big fundraising advantage over everyone else; she's probably the most moderate option, as seen in her close links to outgoing Rep. Artur Davis and her connections to Birmingham's business community.
• CA-44: There seems to be some confusion as to whether or not the FBI is investigating GOP Rep. Ken Calvert. Calvert's investment group apparently bought land that had been slated for development as a public park, which a grand jury found was in violation of state law. Whether or not the FBI is now involved, it's the kind of publicity that can't be good for Calvert, who's facing a tricky rematch against Bill Hedrick in California's Inland Empire.
• KS-04: One other internal poll to discuss, this time in the Republican field in the 4th. State Sen. Dick Kelsey (who paid for the poll) leads the field at 17, trailed by state Sen. Jean Schodorf at 15, businessman Wink Hartman at 8, and RNC member Mike Pompeo at 6. Whoever wins faces off against Democratic state Rep. Raj Goyle, who's been on a fundraising tear all of a sudden.
• MN-03: State Sen. Terri Bonoff, who lost the endorsement to Ashwin Media in 2008, is still "open" to running against freshman Republican Erik Paulsen in 2010, which would boost this race back into the top tier. Other Democrats interested in the race include Jim Meffert and Maureen Hackett.
• ME-Init (pdf): PPP polls Maine on Question 1 (the gay marriage initiative) and finds the state evenly split. 48% are in favor, and 48% are against. With a clear party line vote set, it looks like it'll come down to independents, and they're currently 50-44 in favor of the initiative (and thus against gay marriage).
• NJ-St. Ass.: While everyone has been focused on the governor's race, there are also races for all the state Assembly seats in New Jersey in a few weeks as well. Republicans need to pick up eight seats in order to tie the Assembly (with a current Democratic advantage of 48-31). However, the fundraising advantage falls to the Democrats: taken together, Assembly Democrats have raised $6.8 million and spent $4 million, while Republicans have raised $2.9 million and spent $1.2 million. The financial disparity is especially pronounced in the "sleeper" districts where Republicans are counting on being able to make gains.
• Fundraising: There's an interesting CQ piece on the sudden burst of fundraising among the Indian-American community, as that affluent and educated group gradually becomes more politically engaged. As you might have guessed, strong nationwide fundraising among Indian-Americans is what's driving the surprisingly strong hauls from Ami Bera in CA-03, Manan Trivedi in PA-06, and Raj Goyle in KS-04.
• AR-Sen: Here's a tea leaf that state Sen. Gilbert Baker may be interested after all in getting into the Senate race: he issued a press release today going after Democratic health care reform and Blanche Lincoln in particular. He'd probably be the favorite to win the GOP nomination if he got in, if only by virtue of the rest of the field being gaffe-prone wackos.
• CT-Sen: Best wishes to Chris Dodd, who has been diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer and will undergo surgery over the August recess. He said he'll be back at work after several weeks of recuperation at home, and that he still plans to run for re-election in 2010.
• IL-Sen: Add one more GOP Twitter fail to the increasingly long-list. Rep. Mark Kirk, who is also a Naval Reservist, tweeted his location (the National Military Command Center) while on duty. The DoD is now investigating, as it's a problem on two fronts: one, the prohibition against using the media to give away your position, and two, the prohibition against, while on military service, updating a website established prior to the beginning of service. Complicating the legal question even further: it may have been a staffer tweeting on Kirk's behalf. Because, y'know, it's so hard to think up 140 characters of content on your own.
• NY-Sen-B: The confusion over the Carolyn Maloney campaign has reached epic proportions. Yesterday, CQ reported that Maloney had no fixed timeline for officially getting into the Senate primary, but that early August seemed likely. But today, Politico's Glenn Thrush is reporting that Maloney is "leaning heavily against" making the race at all, according to several prominent Dems.
• ND-Sen: The NRSC is flogging a new internal poll which claims Gov. John Hoeven has a 53-36 lead over Sen. Byron Dorgan. Both men are very popular, with Hoeven with an 86% approval and Dorgan with a 69% approval. A public poll from R2K in February found the numbers almost exactly reversed, with Dorgan beating Hoeven 57-35... but Hoeven hasn't taken any public steps to get into the race, so we may never find out who's right.
• AK-Gov: Local pollster Hays Research looked at in-state approvals for Alaska's incoming and outgoing governors, and found Sarah Palin leaving in net negative territory: 47/48. Sean Parnell looks bulletproof for the moment, at 67/8, but, having been in office for less than a week, hasn't had the chance to screw anything up yet.
• TX-Gov: A bit more egg on the Kay Bailey Hutchison campaign's face today, as the Austin American-Statesman found that her website had over 2,200 hidden phrases on it designed to steer traffic, including "rick perry gay." (This wasn't mere meta-tagging, but blind keywords invisibly put into the site's code, something of a search engine-optimization no-no.) A spokesperson said they'd remove "rick perry gay," although it sounds like the other 2,199 phrases stay.
• KS-04: Businessman Jim Anderson got into the overflowing GOP field in KS-04 to replace retiring Rep. Todd Tiahrt. He seems like he might get a little lost in the shuffle, in a field that already includes local GOP heavyweights RNC committeman Mike Pompeo and state Sen. Dick Kelsey, along with state Sen. Jean Schodorf, who recently began exploring the race.
• MO-04: Ike Skelton, who's held down the fort for Dems in dark-red central Missouri since time immemorial, has drawn a more serious opponent than usual (not hard, since his usual opponents are nobodies or no one at all). Vicky Hartzler is a former state Rep. who has also written a book called "Running God's Way," apparently a how-to guide to campaigning for Christian right candidates. CQ also mentions several other still-in-office legislators who could also take on the 77-year-old Skelton (especially if he hears the siren song of retirement): state Rep. Tom Self and state Sen. Bill Stouffer.
• DCCC: The DCCC has responded with its own ad offensive on the health care front, a day after the RNC targeted 60 districts. The DCCC's radio buy and robo-call package is a bit more targeted, focusing on 8 GOPers (not coincidentally, maybe their 8 most vulnerable incumbents running in 2010): Michele Bachmann, Joseph Cao, Charlie Dent, Dan Lungren, Thad McCotter, Erik Paulsen, Dave Reichert, and Pat Tiberi.
• Where Are They Now?: Former GOP Rep. Anne Northup found her way into the Obama administration, as a commissioner on the Consumer Product Safety Commission. This initially seems very odd -- she already lost KY-03, so there's no sense in appointing her to facilitate a Dem pickup -- but it's because the Senate GOP leader has a say in picking a Republican for one of the five commissioners, and Mitch McConnell opted to give the job to his long-time protege, who, having lost three races in a row, is probably finished with electoral politics.
Given the voting results in 2008, we should actually be very hopeful for 2010. Obama took 52.41% to McCain's 45.99%, while Paulsen took 48.48% to Madia's 40.85%. The outlier? An independent candidate taking 10.56%.
So, who are our best candidates going into 2010 to unseat this incumbent?
-Terri Bonoff (D), State Senator
-Ashwin Madia (D), Iraq War Veteran, past candidate in 2008
-Jim Hovland (D), Mayor of Edina
-Paul Rosenthal (D), State Representatives
All three of these candidates, except for Rosenthal, have "run" in the past, and are known in the community. If one has to handicap the race, it is clear that Madia was a disappointment to DFLers, which would give Bonoff the clear opportunity to step up and challenge Paulson.