• CT-Sen: Former SoS Susan Bysiewicz said that she raised over half a mil in Q1. She also continued a theme of attacking Chris Murphy as some kind of skeezy Washington insider, saying "I'm sure the corporate PACs and DC lobbyists are lining up to support other candidates." Murphy is the only other announced candidate.
• FL-Sen: Adam Smith of the St. Petersburg Times tweeted last Wednesday he expects George LeMieux (R) to announce "next week"... which means this week.
• IN-Sen: Rep. Dan Burton, one of the most disliked Republicans in the state of Indiana, channels his inner Tobias Fünke (the man inside him?) and says, "I'm supporting Dick - there's two Dicks in the race." That'd be Richard "Dick" Lugar and Richard "Dick" Mourdock. Oh Burton, you blowhard!
• KY-Sen: I can't really believe Rand Paul is serious about a presidential bid, but then again, I thought the same thing about Michele Bachmann and was clearly wrong about that. Still, I'm mostly amused by the fact that he met with Iowa Republicans (including Gov. Terry Branstad) in Des Moines this past weekend. Rand might be trying to set himself up for a run in 2016... or he could also be doing a good job of inviting a primary challenge if he seeks re-election.
• MA-Sen: Teabaggers being pissed at Scott Brown are nothing new - though I do find their naivety endearing. (What did they think they were going to get?) What's sad is that one of their self-anointed leaders, some guy named Judson Phillips, can only muster up this in response to Brown's latest outrage (calling to reduce budget cuts): "Perhaps the Massachusetts Tea Party will step up with someone to challenge him in 2012." A resounding call to arms this ain't.
• ME-Sen: Freshman Sen. Pat Toomey says he won't endorse Olympia Snowe in her bid for re-election. Toomey, don't forget, has some residual teabagger cred, given that he was president of the Club for Growth.
• MO-Sen: Citizens United (yes, thatCitizens United) just gave GOP Rep. Todd Akin $10K in the hopes of luring him into the Senate race. I was wrong about Trent Franks, but I really do feel like Akin will get in here.
• MT-Sen: Republicans think they get lots of mileage out of attacking "welfare," but Denny Rehberg took this trope several steps further, declaring that Pell Grants are "turning out to be the welfare of the 21st century."
• NV-Sen: Rep. Shelley Berkley says she's heartened by the internal poll numbers she put out last week (42-38 over Republican Dean Heller), she still hasn't made up her mind, though now says she'll decide "fairly soon," whatever that means.
• NY-Sen: Kirsten Gillibrand set a personal record with her 1Q fundraising, taking in over $3 million.
• KY-Gov: Despite opposing the expansion of gambling in the state - a very big and very contentious issue - State Senate President (and GOP gubernatorial nominee) David Williams lost over $36,000 in casinos from 1999 to 2002, according to court documents related to his divorce.
• MO-Gov: Did GOP Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder just neutralize the whole "Air Claire" business? It turns out that Kinder, widely expected to run for governor, has spent an average of two months a year staying at St. Louis luxury hotels, all at taxpayer expense, including trips for society balls and baseball games.. You really need to read the whole piece to get the full flavor of Kinder's abuse of his office. Kinder also told a reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch "I'm not talking to you," then hung up the phone. This story's going to get worse, not better.
• UT-Gov, UT-Sen: As we've noted previously, the teabaggers are gunning for Gov. Gary Herbert, thanks to his support for immigration bills that are insufficiently punitive, in their view. Now the name of another potential primary challenger has surfaced: state Rep. Stephen Sandstrom. The linked article also says that David Kirkham, a key teabagger who helped oust Bob Bennett last year, is suggesting that Herbert, rather than Orrin Hatch, may be his compatriots' number one target this cycle. Hatch previously refused to take a position on his home state's legislation, but let's see if he turns on Herbert in the hopes of re-directing the teabaggers.
• WV-Gov: Julie Sobel at the Hotline has a complete wrapup of fundraising numbers for all the major candidates, both Dem and Republican, in the WV gubernatorial race.
• Wisconsin Sup. Ct.: On Twitter, when Sarah Palin announced she was backing David Prosser, I called it the kiss of death. J. Pilmanis said no, she kissed a corpse. We'll find out for sure tomorrow! Anyhow, the ad wars have, of course, gone full-tilt in the final days of the campaign. Here's a roundup of some that we've seen:
FL-Sen: Suffolk (10/14-17, likely voters, no trendlines):
Kendrick Meek (D): 22
Marco Rubio (R): 39
Charlie Crist (I): 31
FL-Gov: Suffolk (10/14-17, likely voters, no trendlines):
Alex Sink (D): 45
Rick Scott (R): 38
Misc.: In the AG race, Pam Bondi (R) leads Dan Gelber (D), 38-30. Also, a poll by Voter Survey Service (aka Susquehanna) for the right-wing Sunshine State News site has Adam Putnam (R) leading Scott Maddox (D) in the Ag Comm'r race, 40-35. Tea Party candidate Ira Chester takes 14%.
Tom Barrett (D): 41 (28)
Scott Walker (R): 50 (44)
Undecided: 6 (17)
Margins & Errors: The Fix publishes an alleged WA-Sen poll without either field dates or sample size... Bill Kristol (yeah, that Bill Kristol) claims he has his hands on an OH-10 poll - he has the n, but won't say the pollster's name, who paid for the poll, or when it was taken... Pollster.com has a PDF from ccAdvertising with numbers for WV-Sen, WV-01, and WV-03 - but not only does ccA report to hundredths of a percent, they get taken to the woodshed by Mark Blumenthal for refusing to divulge the poll's sponsor
• IL-Sen: Serial exaggerator Mark Kirk has a new one on his hands: he was previously claiming that he was the driving force behind a bill that cracked down on companies that do business with Iran (but that got turned into a Howard Berman bill so it could pass the Democratic House, says Kirk). Berman says that's not the case at all, and that his committee didn't even consider the Kirk version of the bill.
• NV-Sen: Sharron Angle had possibly the weirdest ever visit to a group of Latino high school students, first telling them that those weren't supposed to be Latinos in her ad featuring scary-looking dark-skinned persons crossing the border. Maybe those are actually Arabs, and maybe they're crossing the Canadian border, she mused? She then turned the tables back on the students, saying that "I don't know that all of you are Latino. Some of you look a little more Asian to me." Asian like... Middle Eastern terrorists, maybe? With Sharron Angle speaking, who even knows?
• IL-Gov: Whitey no more? Green Party candidate "Rich Whitey" will apparently get ballots in select Chicago wards changed back to his actual (and preferred) name, Rich Whitney. Apparently there was enough time to reprogram all the machines if crews work overtime.
• SC-Gov: I'm not sure whose side to take here: on the one hand, it's good to see the DNC putting money into the late-breaking South Carolina governor's race, where internals see it as a mid-single-digits race and a real opportunity now. On the other hand, South Carolina Dems just sound pissed, saying the $100K expenditure is too little too late (which is probably true).
• CA-03: Here's an eye-catching independent expenditure: American Crossroads (aka Rove, Inc.) is pouring $682K into a TV buy against Ami Bera in the 3rd. That would tend to support the idea that Dan Lungren, who's lost the fundraising game to Bera every quarter, is also putting up some middling internals too.
• PA-07: Now this isn't good, especially this late in the game: the Pennsylvania state Teamsters suddenly revoked their endorsement of Bryan Lentz. There's no official word on what caused the rift, but it seems to relate back to Lentz's sponsorship of a bill that cracks down on construction firms that misclassify workers to avoid paying taxes.
• OH-St. House: The Cleveland Plain Dealer has a good profile of 10 of the most important races in one of our most important legislative chambers, where Dems have a small edge (53-46) and need to hold it for redistricting purposes. It's a mix of suburban Cleveland, suburban Columbus, and the rural southern part of the state.
• AFL-CIO: Here's an interesting memo out from the AFL-CIO's political director today suggesting that they've made a lot of under-the-radar progress in the last few weeks, redirecting members who weren't engaged or were flirting with the Republicans. In particular, Pennsylvania stands out, where they're finding that Joe Sestak now has a 55-26 lead among union members, up from only 45-39 at the start of September. They also point out that Joe Manchin now has a 40-point lead among union members in another union-heavy state, West Virginia.
• Early voting: Early voting gets underway today in Florida and Texas, along with five other smaller states. Adding in the states where voting has already started, that means the election is truly afoot in nearly half of all states.
• Debates: We're adding a new component to our digests: courtesy of our friends at C-SPAN, a list of all the debates that are on tap and on the air each night on C-SPAN. Because if you're reading this, we know you can't get enough politicking:
8 pm ET: WV-Sen
9 pm ET: WI-07
10 pm ET: IL-11
11 pm ET : AZ-05
• SSP TV:
• AK-Sen: Lisa Murkowski may be the only Republican running a pro-pork campaign, with her new ad talking about how Joe Miller will cut off the flow of federal funds to Alaska
• CO-Sen: Michael Bennet hits Ken Buck on Social Security privatization and his hardcore pro-life positions
• KY-Sen: Jack Conway moves quickly along from the 'Aqua Buddha' ad, turning the conversation back to mine safety, while Rand Paul continues to whine about it, spending an ad touting his Christian faith
• MO-Sen: Roy Blunt tries out a little Medicare sleight-of-hand (the whole HCR-cut-Medicare!!1! line)
• NH-Gov: The DGA, via local group Citizens for Strength and Security, hits John Stephen for retaining his campaign manager even after he received a restraining order for stalking
• NRCC: If you've ever wanted to watch 40+ Republican House ads in one sitting, here's your chance
• AK-Gov: Ethan Berkowitz (D) 39%, Sean Parnell (R-inc) 52%
• CO-Sen: Michael Bennet (D-inc) 45%, Ken Buck (R) 47%
• CT-Gov: Dan Malloy (D) 49%, Tom Foley (R) 45%
• HI-Sen: Dan Inouye (D-inc) 53%, Cam Cavasso (R) 40%
• MA-Gov: Deval Patrick (D-inc) 47%, Charlie Baker (R) 42%, Tim Cahill (I) 6%
• NV-Sen: Harry Reid (D-inc) 47%, Sharron Angle (R) 50%
• UT-Gov: Peter Corroon (D) 29%, Gary Herbert (R-inc) 66%
• UT-Sen: Sam Granato (D) 29%, Mike Lee (R) 54%
• WA-Sen: Patty Murray (D-inc) 49%, Dino Rossi (R) 46%
• AR-Sen: Mason-Dixon takes another look at the Arkansas Senate race, on behalf of Arkansas News Bureau. Blanche Lincoln hasn't gotten any deader than she was before: she trails John Boozman 51-34, with 4 for other minor candidates (no real change from the last time they polled, back in May pre-primary, where Boozman led 52-35). Lincoln's faves have improved a smidge: now 30/47, instead of 28/53.
• DE-Sen: Whooo, where even to begin? The national media is just starting to dig into Christine O'Donnell's gigantic and eminently mineable opposition file, with NPR and ABC detailing her history of getting fired from right-wing think tanks and her suing for discrimination in response, of IRS audits that she blamed on "thug politics" and liens that she blamed on "computer errors," of failure to pay for her college, and of using her campaign money to pay the rent on her house as it's also her campaign headquarters. We also know about her stance on AIDS prevention, thanks to helpful tipsters in the comments. At least O'Donnell's faring well in the fundraising department, raising $1 million since her victory (with Chris Coons raising only $125K, showing the harmful effects of a short-of-the-endzone victory dance). Not leaving things to chance, reports are coming in that Joe Biden will campaign for Coons "next week" and that the DSCC is starting to put money into Delaware, starting with an $85K buy in the Salisbury market.
The establishment isn't budging much on her: the state's virulently anti-O'Donnell GOP chair, Tom Ross, is staying in place (though calling for "unity"), and Karl Rove, although he sorta backed down in the face of a Rush Limbaugh broadside, is still challenging O'Donnell to be "honest" to voters about her difficulties... and again running through the list of all those difficulties in his media appearances. Meanwhile, O'Donnell strips.... her website, perhaps at the urging of the NRSC; after her nomination, all issues stuff vanished and it just became a donation ask. Still, Harry Reid seems to be doing all he can to fuck this up, issuing a strange quote that should play right into the whole "Obama/Reid/Pelosi agenda!!1!" messaging, expressing enthusiasm for Chris Coons but calling him his "pet."
• NV-Sen, NV-Gov (pdf): Part of the CNN/Time onslaught yesterday was polls of Nevada (which we're relegating to the digest, as this state, as we've complained before, is veering rapidly into over-polled territory). This raised some eyebrows for showing a Sharron Angle lead over Harry Reid (42-41, with 5 for Scott Ashjian) among LVs, but that's only a point or three off from the narrow band of results that Mason-Dixon and Rasmussen have been consistently generating. (Reid leads 42-34-7 among RVs.) Many people (starting with Jon Ralston) also seemed surprised by some crosstabs weirdness, showing the race a dead heat in Democratic-favorable Clark County but giving Reid a big lead in swingy Washoe County. Brian Sandoval leads Rory Reid 58-31 in the Gov race.
• CA-Gov: It's official: Meg Whitman is now the biggest self-funder in political history, having shown that piker Michael Bloomberg how it's done. She gave her campaign another $15 million, which brings her personal spending on the race to $118 million overall.
• CO-Gov: Dan Maes just picked up Scott McInnis's former campaign manager, George Culpepper, so it seems like the local GOP establishment isn't totally abandoning him. The Colorado Independent has an in-depth piece, though, with a more nuanced look, based on interviews with at least a dozen county GOP chairs. Some of them fully back Maes, some grudgingly do so, some back Tom Tancredo, and some are still in a state of shock.
• GA-Gov: After doing some pushback yesterday, Nathan "Let's Make a" Deal had to admit today that, yes, he is in some personally dire financial straits, saying his debts are even bigger than the $2.3 million loan that's outstanding... but also saying that he isn't releasing any more financial records to the press. It also turns out that he never disclosed that loan to the state Ethics Commission on his financial disclosure form, which he's now scrambling to update.
• MI-Gov: EPIC-MRA's out with yet another poll of the Michigan gubernatorial race; I think we can start relegating their frequent polls of this pretty-much-out-of-reach race to the digest, too. They give Rick Snyder a 53-29 lead over Virg Bernero (a slight improvement for Snyder over 51-29 three weeks ago).
• UT-Gov: OK, what kind of a world is it when we're faring better in the Utah governor's race than we are in Michigan? Not like this is a competitive race either, but it could be a good dress rehearsal for a 2012 rematch (remember that this 2010 race is a special election). Dem Peter Corroon trails Gary Herbert by "only" 21 points, 52-31, in a poll taken by Dan Jones & Associates for the Deseret News and KSL. The numbers haven't really changed since their previous poll in April (where Herbert led by 20).
• CA-11: As with 2008, Jerry McNerney rolled out endorsements from some local elected Republicans, as part of a list of 16 county supervisors and mayors who are backing him. Maybe most notable is the backing from the mayor of Manteca (or, in Spanish, Lard), Willie Weatherford, who had previously backed GOP primary loser Brad Goehring.
• CO-03: Here's a boost for John Salazar, in a suddenly-tough race in this rural western district against Republican Scott Tipton: he got the backing of the National Rifle Association, with an "A" rating.
• IA-02: Another warning sign for David Loebsack: the Mariannette Miller-Meeks campaign is out with another internal poll, showing her creeping closer than her previous one. The Tarrance Group poll has her trailing Loebsack by only 1 point: 41-40 (with 6 for a Libertarian). She could do some damage her with more money.
• LA-02: Lawyer Ron Austin dropped out of the LA-02 race today, where he was an independent candidate. This is really the first I'd ever heard of him, so I can't imagine he'd have been much of a factor here; I can't glean whether he was running on the left or the right, but he is African-American, so that in itself may shift at least a handful of votes in Cedric Richmond's direction in what may yet turn out to be a close race. Two other no-name indies remain.
• MD-01: One other internal poll got leaked to the Fix today, too, and this one's a pleasant surprise for the Dems. Frank Kratovil is still claiming a lead over Andy Harris, who just won the GOP nod for a rematch. Kratovil's poll by Garin-Hart-Yang gives him a 45-39 lead. (When I say "still," Kratovil released an earlier internal with a 5-point lead. Harris has released two internals of his own giving him a lead.)
• MO-04: Here's the good news: Ike Skelton got a shared endorsement from Missouri Right to Life, along with GOP challenger Vicky Hartzler. The bad news is: Skelton has generally had that endorsement to himself in the past.
• NY-14: Give Reshma Saujani credit for one thing: she's persistent. She's already announced that she'll try again in 2012 to unseat Carolyn Maloney in the NY-14 Dem primary.
• NY-23: Local teabaggers (or at least one of them) sound pretty upset with Conservative nominee (and GOP primary loser) Doug Hoffman, meaning that he, rather than the GOP nominee, may find himself in the third-wheel position this time around. Mark Barie, chairman of a local Tea Party organization criticized Hoffman for a listless campaign run by outsiders with little familiarity with the district. He threw his support behind Matt Doheny, who appears to have narrowly won the GOP primary despite a late close by Hoffman in late counting.
• CfG: The Club for Growth launched a five-state buy in Senate races, to a total tune of $1.5 million (no word on specific allocation). The states under assault are Colorado, Florida, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.
• NRCC: Two different rounds of TV ad buys came from the NRCC today. The first one was in WA-03 ($900K) and NM-01 ($300K), and a second one covers PA-10 ($595K), NH-01 ($1 mil), NH-02 ($1 mil), FL-08 ($817K), FL-24 ($817K), and VA-09 ($?).
• SSP TV:
• CA-Sen: Barbara Boxer goes negative against Carly Fiorina in a new spot, hitting her on (what else?) her failed tenure at HP
• MO-Sen: A new spot against Roy Blunt from Dem group Commonsense Ten (never heard of 'em, either) hits his consummate insider credentials
• PA-Sen: Yet another ad from Pat Toomey, this one featuring an oppressed doctor who doesn't like HCR (who just happens to be a big Republican activist too, not the ad says that)
• WA-Sen: Dino Rossi's first negative ad features him personally narrating an attack on Patty Murray (instead of using the off-camera voice of doom); he calls her "part of the problem"
• NV-Sen: Harry Reid's newest TV spot, by way of fighting back against Angle's attacks on immigration issues, just goes ahead and says it: it calls Sharron Angle "crazy"
• NY-Gov: Andrew Cuomo doesn't want to leave anything to chance despite his big lead (he has the money to burn, at any rate), and he's out with a new bio ad (not that he needs much introduction)
• PA-Gov: Dan Onorato tries introducing himself to Pennsylvania again, this time with a shorter 30-second ad that helpfully lets people know how to pronounce his name
• TX-Gov: Even Rick Perry's going negative: three different ads go after Bill White, two trying to tie him to Barack Obama and one attacking his handling of Hurricane Rita
• VT-Gov: The RGA wades into Vermont with a negative ad against Peter Shumlin, hitting him on taxes
• CT-04: Jim Himes has not one but two new ads, stressing his independence and debt hawkishness
• KS-03: Stephene Moore's first ad plays up her day job as a nurse
• ND-AL: Earl Pomeroy has two different anti-Rick Berg ads, one of which focuses on his crazy plans to drill for oil in Theodore Roosevelt National Park
• NH-02: Ann McLane Kuster (who's now rebranded herself as "Annie Kuster") goes negative on Charlie Bass in her first ad, framing him as failed retread
• NY-20: Scott Murphy's newest spot focuses on his own personal record of job creation as businessman before entering Congress
• TX-17: Chet Edwards is out with a positive ad, touting his work on veteran's issues like VA health care
• WA-02: John Koster tries to cram both a negative ad and a positive ad into a discordant 30 seconds
• WI-07: Sean Duffy plays up his lumberjack credentials, saying he'll "take an ax" to Washington (I'll admit, that's kinda clever)
• CO-Sen: Michael Bennet (D-inc) 45%, Ken Buck (R) 49%
• DE-Sen: Chris Coons (D) 53%, Christine O'Donnell (R) 42%
• NH-Sen: Paul Hodes (D) 44%, Kelly Ayotte (R) 51%
• NV-Gov: Rory Reid (D) 39%, Brian Sandoval (R) 52%
• PA-Gov: Dan Onorato (D) 39%, Tom Corbett (R) 49%
• WA-Sen: Patty Murray (D-inc) 51%, Dino Rossi (R) 46%
• AZ-Sen: Bad news! For John McCain! J.D. Hayworth still hasn't conceded. He's still waiting for those late-breaking absentee ballots to help him make up that oh-so-narrow 56-32 margin, apparently.
• CT-Sen: This doesn't seem like it'll end well for Linda McMahon, whose stance on WWE has been that it's harmless soap opera. Harley McNaught, the father of recently-deceased pro wrestler Lance Cade (who died of heart failure at age 29 in the wake of painkiller addiction), is going on the offense against McMahon in response to her comments that she "might have met him once." McNaught said that he'd been to several functions with his son where they'd met McMahon and she'd known him by name, and also ripped the company's "Wellness Program," which he says was more about PR than about helping employees.
• DE-Sen: There's no third-party fallback option for teabagger Christine O'Donnell, challenging Mike Castle for the GOP Senate nomination. The Constitution Party had nominated O'Donnell for its ballot line, but didn't even receive a ballot line after its membership dwindled to 287(!) members. (That's less than something called the "Blue Enigma Party," which still qualified for the ballot.) O'Donnell still can mount a write-in campaign after losing the primary to Castle (which she already did in the 2006 race after losing the primary to Jan Ting).
• KY-Sen: Our James L. summed this up pithily: "Douche Day Afternoon." Losing Dem Senate candidate Dan Mongiardo's latest statement of semi-support for Jack Conway was that Conway was "not the best" but that "he's a heck of a lot better" than Rand Paul, whose "scare[s him]."
• PA-Sen, PA-Gov (pdf): The newest Franklin & Marshall poll is another one of their choose-your-own-adventure specials, which shows the dimensions of the enthusiasm gap the Dems are facing, especially in the Keystone State. In the Senate race, Pat Toomey leads Joe Sestak 40-31 among likely voters, but only 31-28 among registered voters, which isn't much different from where we left off with their last general election poll in May. And in the gubernatorial race, it's similar, with Tom Corbett leading Dan Onorato 38-27 among LVs, but only 29-28 (probably the best showing I've seen in a head-to-head in this race) among RVs.
• FL-Gov: With Hayworth and Murkowski already mentioned today, it's just turning out to be the big day of GOP disunity and sour grapes all around. While figures like Jeb Bush and state party chair John Thrasher have gotten behind Rick Scott without any major hedging, Bill McCollum is continuing his sulk, flat-out not endorsing Scott.
• KY-Gov: The aptly-named Republican Agriculture Commissioner, Richie Farmer (I guess "Rich Farmer" was a little too overly descriptive), is still mulling over a run for Governor in next year's off-year election against Dem incumbent Steve Beshear, where early polling has shown he'd be competitive. He's also been linked to a possible Lt. Gov. bid, as running mate to state Senate president David Williams.
• SC-Gov: In another sign that a chunk of the local political establishment prefers Dem Vincent Sheheen to GOPer Nikki Haley, Sheheen just got the endorsement of 30 mayors around South Carolina. Most of these mayors are in nonpartisan elected positions, although one, Greer mayor Rick Danner, said he was a two-time voter for Mark Sanford.
• VT-Gov: Faced with the unenviable task of certifying her own gubernatorial primary loss, SoS Deb Markowitz says that the final certification of the super-close race in Vermont will be done on next Tuesday. All five candidates appeared amicably at a unity rally yesterday, but only shortly after Doug Racine's campaign manager called Peter Shumlin's declaration of victory premature, saying to wait until Tuesday. Shumlin currently leads Racine by 192 votes.
• AL-02: Rep. Bobby Bright caused some hyperventilating today when it came out that, in meeting with constituents, had punted on the issue of whether or not he'd be voting for Nancy Pelosi for Speaker next session. He did so by listing a number of reasons why that might not be an issue, including the decidedly morbid "heck, she might even get sick and die."
• CA-18: I don't know who looks worse in this situation, Mike Berryhill (the Republican launching an uphill, but generally credible, challenge to Rep. Dennis Cardoza), or his former campaign consultant John Villareal. Apparently they parted ways in unpleasant fashion, as Villareal blasted Berryhill's campaign as a lost cause... but did it in the form of a somewhat unhinged-sounding, 25-minute long rant posted to YouTube.
• OH-17: Jim Traficant may still yet be able to beam himself back into Congress. He just got an extension from Jennifer Brunner, giving him more time to prove that he did collect enough signatures to qualify for the November ballot as an independent. He previously got bounced for the ballot for not having enough valid signatures.
• OR-05: Hot on the heels of a too-good-to-be-true internal from Scott Bruun giving him a small lead a few days ago, Rep. Kurt Schrader hauled out his own internal from Lake Research giving him a pretty comfortable lead: 46-35. The poll's from late July, though, so one wonders if there's a more recent one that he's not sharing.
• PA-08: The ubiquitous POS is out with an internal poll on behalf of ex-Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick, giving him a 7-point lead (48-41) over Democratic sophomore Rep. Patrick Murphy. Murphy hasn't been one of the Dems' top worries in Pennsylvania, but as we've seen in recent weeks, the Dem brand in Pennsylvania seems to be waning particularly quickly.
• VA-05: Tom Perriello, in an interesting bit of distancing from national Dems that's ambiguous enough that it works from both right and left, called for the replacement of Treasury Sec. Timothy Geithner, at a local town hall. He didn't say who his preferred replacement would be (Robert Reich, anyone?).
• Ads: Lead-off ad of the day is from Alan Grayson in FL-08; the Hotline actually says it makes Grayson look "angelic" and they refer to it as the most positive ad they've seen so far from anyone. That Grayson... always zigging when everyone else is zagging. Other Dems out with their first TV ads for themselves today include Kathy Dahlkemper in PA-03, Julie Lassa in WI-07, and Tom Hayhurst in IN-03.
All the GOP ads today are anti-Dem ads being run by third party groups: America's Future Fund running against Bruce Braley in IA-01, the Heritage Foundation's lobbying arm against Mike McIntyre in NC-07, and Koch-backed Americans for Prosperity running against Gabrielle Giffords in AZ-08 and a weird two-fer (aimed at the Phoenix market, I guess) attacking both Anne Kirkpatrick and Harry Mitchell in AZ-01 and AZ-05. NWOTSOTB, on any of the ads.
• CA-Gov: Jerry Brown (D) 40%, Meg Whitman (R) 48%
• FL-Sen: Kendrick Meek (D) 21%, Marco Rubio (R) 40%, Charlie Crist (I) 30%
• UT-Gov: Peter Corroon (D) 29%, Gary Herbert (R-inc) 60%
• UT-Sen: Sam Granato (D) 29%, Mike Lee (R) 54%
• AR-Sen: The SEIU is turning their amps up to 11 in a final effort to beat Blanche Lincoln in the Democratic primary. They're ponying up another $1 million for a new TV ad blitz, focusing on Lincoln's support for NAFTA, CAFTA, and sundry other free-trade deals.
• FL-Sen: Looks like the "Help wanted" sign is going out at Charlie Crists's office. As expected, much of his top-tier staff evacuated en masse; he lost communications director Andrea Saul, spokesperson Amanda Hennenberg, and campaign counsel Ben Ginsberg (all Beltway types left over from when Crist was the NRSC's prize pony, who just headed back to the GOP's mothership). Also former Crist marionette George LeMieux severed his strings: the seat-warming Senator says he won't support Crist's independent bid.
• NV-Sen: Imagine that... a Democrat actually taking to the airwaves to explain the benefits of the broadly-misunderstood (or just plain not-understood-at-all) health care reform bill and not just ceding the discursive arena to right-wing radio and astroturfers? Better late than never, I guess. Harry Reid is forging ahead with that, launching three different new TV ads featuring stories from actual Nevadans actually benefiting from HCR.
• OH-Sen (pdf): There's one more poll of the Democratic Senate primary in Ohio, from Suffolk this time. They find an even bigger edge for Lee Fisher over Jennifer Brunner than did PPP; in fact, Suffolk has Fisher doubling up on her, 55-27. Voters may be thinking strategically: they also find that respondents feel Fisher has a better chance of beating Rob Portman than does Brunner, by a lop-sided 55-15 margin. Brunner voters report that, if Fisher wins the election, 74% will vote for Fisher and 8% for Portman.
• AZ-Gov: PPP has one more installment in its Arizona sample today: the Republican primary in the gubernatorial race. As other pollsters have found, once-wobbly incumbent Jan Brewer has strengthened her primary position (while destabilized her general election position) by signing off on Arizona's new racial profiling law. Brewer leads the pack at 38, over fractured opposition led by NRA board member Owen Buz Mills at 19, state Treasurer Dean Martin at 16, and former university regent John Munger at 3. (In PPP's last poll here, from September, Brewer was losing a head-to-head against Martin 37-26.) PPP also did a fantasy-baseball poll that included Maricopa Co. Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who, as he does every four years, has been expressing interest in the race but not moving forward in it. Arpaio wins that version of the primary, taking 33%, with 25 for Brewer, 15 for Martin, 11 for Mills, and 1 for Munger.
• MN-Gov: With the Republican endorsing convention in Minnesota already underway, most media accounts are focusing on Sarah Palin's last-minute endorsement of state Rep. Tom Emmer, but there's a more important endorsement at work here in terms of potentially moving some delegates: Norm Coleman is now also backing Emmer and privately making calls to delegates on Emmer's behalf. The GOPers have already endorsed in some of the downballot races, maybe most notably the Auditor's race, where they endorsed former Auditor Pat Anderson (who had been running for Governor for a while, until she decided to drop down and try to get her old job back instead).
• UT-Gov: Mason-Dixon, on behalf of the Salt Lake Tribune, took another look at the general election in the Utah governor's race, which is definitely looking like a heavy lift for Salt Lake County mayor Peter Corroon. The Democrat trails GOP incumbent Gary Herbert 61-30, an even better showing than Herbert's 55-30 result in January.
• FL-16: Whew. After making some noises about a possible comeback attempt, ex-Rep. Tim Mahoney decided on filing day that he wouldn't run to get his seat back. He still took a parting shot at Rep. Tom Rooney, saying he's part of the GOP's move to the "radical right." Some Dudes Jim Horn and Ed Tautiva are all the Dems have on the ballot in this R+5 district, unless something changes in the next few hours.
• HI-01: The Republicans continue to very subtly funnel money into the 1st, somewhat mirroring their stealth strategy on how they got similarly-blue MA-Sen off the ground. Rather than the NRCC charging in with both barrels blazing, instead there's a push for individual House GOP members to contribute directly to Charles Djou; about 40 have done so already.
• IN-02: The National Rifle Association slammed GOP candidate Jackie Walorski. No, that's not because the right-wing Walorski suddenly had a change of heart on the gun issue; instead, it was because she was claiming the NRA's endorsement. That was only for her 2008 legislative bid, the NRA said, and she has not been endorsed yet for this year for the different office.
• IN-03: Looks like Rep. Mark Souder isn't going to be in the House much longer, regardless of how next week's primary plays out. Brian Howey says Souder has been telling him that he'd already been contemplating retirement in 2012, and the stress of trying to win his unexpectedly-tough primary election has "sealed it" for him.
• PA-04: Here's a last-minute sign of life for Keith Rothfus, who'd been the leading GOP contender here up until the moment when former US Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan announced (although Rothfus beat Buchanan at fundraising last quarter). He got the endorsement today of Glen Meakem, a wealthy businessman and part-time talk radio host who's something of a behind-the-scenes power in Republican circles in western Pennsylvania and who had briefly considered a Senate bid last year.
• SC-04: Rep. Bob Inglis's main threat this year is in the GOP primary, not the general, and he launched two different ads reminding voters that he's actually pretty conservative. One ad touts his NRA endorsement, while the other runs down the litany of things he opposed (health care reform, stimulus, cap-and-trade, auto industry bailout).
• NY-St. Sen.: A long-time Republican stalwart in the New York state Senate is retiring: Dale Volker (in office since 1975). Democrats looking to pad their narrow majority in the Senate may need to look elsewhere, though; this district in the Buffalo suburbs and surrounding rural counties is one of the most conservative in the state, with a 79K-to-65K GOP registration advantage, and won 54-40 by John McCain.
• Arizona: Arizona has been doing all kinds of weird things lately, and here's one more to add to the list. One of the few states to not have a Lt. Governor (the SoS is 2nd in line of succession, which is how Jan Brewer became Governor), Arizona is planning to have a Lt. Governor... but only because they would eliminate the SoS position and give all those duties to the LG. What's even weirder is that they'd start doing what Illinois just decided to stop doing because the results were so uniformly terrible: the Governor and LG candidates will run separately in the primary, but be joined together on one ticket via shotgun wedding for the general election. The idea cleared the legislature, but because it's a constitutional amendment, the idea has to pass a voter referendum before it becomes law.
• Puerto Rico: The House approved allowing Puerto Rico to hold a plebiscite on its grey-area status (the last one was in 1998, where they decided to remain a commonwealth). It'll be a two-step vote, where the first vote will ask whether it should remain a commonwealth or not. If the answer is "no," the second vote will ask whether it should become independent, a U.S. state, still remain a commonwealth, or enter some other sovereign-but-connected-to-the-U.S. status. If it voted for statehood, Congress would still have to approve making it a state. Of course, this has to pass the Senate as well before the vote could happen, so it may get kicked down the road for a while.
• OFA: Nathan Gonzales has a thorough look at the Obama campaign's state directors, and how they're part of OFA's pivot to focus on turning out the same voters for the 2010 midterms. Here's a handy table of what all the directors are up to these days.
• History: Rhodes Cook has an interesting column that's been getting linked all over the place in the last couple days: a much more apt comparison for what the Democrats are getting themselves this year, rather than 1994, is 1966. The parallels are that the Democrats were facing some inevitable snap-back after overperforming in the 1964 election (winning nearly 2/3s majorities in each chamber), and the GOP quickly got back up off the mat after the Dems pushed the limits in passing a variety of Great Society legislation (most notably Medicare). Of course, the Democrats still took a bath, losing 47 in the House and 3 in the Senate, so it's still not really something the Democrats should aspire towards.
Only one digest a day this week. Too much candy is bad for you!
FL-Sen: Kendrick Meek will qualify for the ballot today in an apparently unprecedented manner. Rather than pay the $10,000 filing fee, he plans to submit 130,000 signatures from across the state. (You need 112,500, so he has some wiggle room.) While this obviously was a vastly more expensive undertaking, Meek's earned a bunch of free media as a result, and has also padded out his campaign database. On the GOP side, Marco Rubio and Charlie Crist squared off in their first debate yesterday. The Politico also has a take on the proceedings.
MA-Sen: Rachel Maddow took out a full-page ad in the Boston Globe to deny rumors that she had any interest in running against Sen. Scott Brown in 2012. But actually, it's much better than that - click the link and check out her letter for yourself. She lands some good blows on Brown, who had sent out a letter trying to raise money off the oogedy-boogedy threat of a Maddow run. Says Maddow: "It's standard now for conservatives to invent scary fake threats to run against." Like her.
UT-Sen: Republican Gov. Gary Herbert says he won't take sides in the primary battle against his fellow GOPer, Sen. Bob Bennett. Given that incumbents usually stick together, this seems worrying for Bennett - a guy who already has a long list of worries.
AL-05: Local conservative activist Hugh McInnish is seeking to bar Rep. Parker Griffith from the GOP ballot, calling him an "impostor." A petition he filed with local party leaders was shot down in January, but he's going to try to make his case to the state party next week.
CT-05: Former Hill aide Justin Bernier is complaining about how the House Conservatives Fund (a PAC run by Rep. Patrick McHenry) decided to endorse state Sen. Sam Caligiuri rather than himself. The HCF asked Bernier to fill out a survey and return it to one Evan Kozlow. The problem? Kozlow does work for the HCF, and he's also Caligiuri's general consultant.
MN-06: Dems in MN's 6th CD have given their endorsement to state Sen. Tarryl Clark. Clark will still have to face off against Maureen Reed (formerly a member of the Independence Party) in an August primary.
NY-29: Upstate Dems are staying tight-lipped about their pick for a nominee in the special election to fill ex-Rep. Eric Massa's seat. They are meeting today to interview six candidates, one of whom is Assemblyman David Koon. The other names are still unknown, though Paterson aide Mary Wilmot may be among them.
PA-10: A group called Catholics United, which pushed Chris Carney to support the healthcare reform bill, is now running an ad (on FOX News!) to thank him for his "yes" vote. No word on the size of the buy, but obviously it's a cable dealie, so probably not big.
WA-03: Nurse and Democrat Maria Rodriguez-Salazar is dropping out of the race to succeed the retiring Rep. Brian Baird. This cuts the Dem field down to Denny Heck, Craig Pridemore, and Cheryl Crist.
IL-Lt. Gov: Illinois Democrats went the ultimate outsider route to pick a replacement Lt. Gov. candidate, choosing... the child of a former senator. Uh, I'm sure Sheila Simon, the daughter of the late Sen. Paul Simon, is a great person. But considering the lengths IL Dems went to try to open up this process and look like they weren't just conducting another backroom deal (you could even apply online!), this almost seems like an absurd result. Not to mention the fact that this isn't exactly the kind of year where a gubernatorial candidate wants to remind voters of any ties to DC. Seriously strange move here.
DSCC: Joe Biden just did a Dallas fundraiser for the DSCC, which took in $250,000. He also did a DNC fundraiser the same day. No word on how much that netted, though.
• Site News: SSP is instituting a one-week waiting period for new users to post diaries. New accounts can still post comments right away.
• AL-Sen: This race has to rank somewhere around 32 or 33 in order of likelihood to change hands among Senate races this November, but at least we're showing up to compete: Birmingham-area attorney William Barnes announced that he'll run against Richard Shelby for Team Blue. It's his first run for office, and he says it'll be a "total grassroots" effort (which I think is code for "can't self-finance").
• AZ-Sen: J.D. Hayworth and Dana Rohrabacher always seemed like kindred spirits in their particularly loudmouthed version of ultra-conservatism. That seems to continue today, as the Orange County Congressman gave his former colleague his first big-name endorsement in his newly-minted primary challenge to John McCain.
• MA-Sen (pdf): There's a wealth of data in the Washington Post's post-game poll of the Massachusetts special election; it's well-worth looking through the whole memo. As with other polls, it points to a confluence of Republican enthusiasm and a Democratic failure to define the opposition (or themselves). Interestingly, only 60% of Brown voters say they favor Republican policies in Congress, and only 19% of them want him to work mostly to oppose Democratic policies instead of working to get Republican ideas into Democratic policy.
• NY-Sen-B: His helicopter's warming up on the launch pad: Harold Ford Jr. seems to be moving closer to a Senate primary run. An ally says he's "80 percent" likely to run, and various steps he's taking suggest he's getting his ducks in a row - reserving web domains, and even crisscrossing the state, visiting that previously unknown sixth borough of New York City known as "Buffalo."
• WA-Sen: Republican insiders seem to be wondering if they can use the Massachusetts results to coax a top-tier (or any-tier, really) Republican to get into the race against Patty Murray. The problem for them is that there are really only two GOPers who are appealing and moderate enough to play at the statewide level, and AG Rob McKenna already seems to have his ticket booked for a 2012 gubernatorial run. That leaves Rep. Dave Reichert, whose spokesperson made a run sound unlikely, while still saying he "is not one to shut doors on any opportunity."
• IL-Gov: It may be news to you that someone named Bob Schillerstrom was running for Governor. Apparently it was news to the people of Illinois, too, as he dropped out at a strangely late stage (after consistently polling in the low single digits) and endorsed ex-AG Jim Ryan for the Republican nod. Schillerstrom's lack of traction is kind of strange, since, as DuPage County Board Chairman, he has nearly a million constituents. His name will remain on the ballots, which have already been printed.
• MD-Gov: The one elected Republican who seemed to be following through on running for Maryland governor decided against it and opted for a different course instead. State Del. Patrick McDonough is now running for Baltimore County Executive. McDonough had previously said he wouldn't run if ex-Gov. Bob Ehrlich tried for a rematch, and while Ehrlich hasn't done anything public on that end, McDonough said he thinks Ehrlich is planning to do it.
• OH-Gov: More polling bad news for incumbent Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland: he's trailing ex-Rep. John Kasich 51-45 in the new poll from the Univ. of Cincinnati. (Strickland led 49-46 in their previous poll in October.) One bit of the poll gives Strickland a potential way forward, though, if he can get his messaging to work: "When asked who's to blame for Ohio's economic misery, Bush ranked first, at 24 percent, followed by Wall Street and financial institutions at 23 percent and the U.S. Congress, 19 percent. President Barack Obama got the blame from 13 percent while just 3 percent blamed Strickland."
• PA-Gov: Another poorly-kept rumor panned out to be true: that wealthy Philadelphia businessman Tom Knox was going to drop out of the race and endorse Allegheny Co. Exec Dan Onorato, which happened over the weekend. Knox said he could have funded a big ad blitz to get competitive (he'd been polling in single digits) but didn't want to hand ammunition to the Republicans. It's unclear whether the big beneficiary here is Onorato, though, or ex-Rep. Joe Hoeffel, who benefits from being the only Philadelphia-area candidate left.
• SC-Gov: Looks like Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer isn't going to lay claim to the mantle of "compassionate conservatism" any time soon. The would-be successor to Mark Sanford compared poor people to stray animals over the weekend, saying: "You're facilitating the problem if you give an animal or a person ample food supply. They will reproduce, especially ones that don't think too much further than that." He tried walking that back today, regretting his choice of words and also adding that he's "not against animals," either.
• UT-Gov: Enthusiasm about our chances in the Utah governor's race, thanks to the entry of Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon and a recent Deseret News poll showing a competitive race, has to be tempered by the new Mason-Dixon poll of the race on behalf of the Salt Lake Tribune. They find incumbent GOP Gov. Gary Herbert with a more substantial lead over Corroon, 55-30.
• WY-Gov: Former US Attorney Matt Mead made his widely-anticipated entry into the race official, as the backlog of top-tier Republicans running for the state house continues to grow. There's still no word from incumbent Dem Dave Freudenthal on what his plans are, regarding the possibility of challenging the state's term limits law and running for another term.
• PA-08: Ex-Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick had only a short exploratory period before an official launch of his campaign to get back his seat from Rep. Patrick Murphy; he announced his candidacy at a public appearance on Saturday.
• PA-10: Some Dude named Ted Yale announced his candidacy on the Republican side in the 10th. Considering that the news story doesn't even note his occupation, I'm not convinced Yale poses much of a threat, but there is something more interesting buried in the article... former US Attorney Thomas Marino is now "expected" to announce his candidacy next week.
• Retread watch: Can you believe that more than 20 former House Republicans are running again this year, either for Senate, governor, their old seat or, in the case of Richard Pombo, some completely other seat? The Hill runs down the full list.
• Redistricting: Republicans have realized that the way back to power lies in the state legislatures, via their control over the post-2010 redistricting process in most states, and they're budgeting accordingly. A new enterprise, the American Majority Project, and an old one, the Republican State Leadership Committee, are looking to get more involved in closely-controlled legislatures, and they have some big-name backers involved.
Peter Corroon (D): 35 (32)
Gary Herbert (R-inc): 48 (56)
In a state with a pretty limited Democratic bench, the recent entry of Peter Corroon in the gubernatorial race is a huge boon for Utah Democrats. Corroon isn't just another sacrificial lamb that Utah Dems have become accustomed to running against entrenched incumbents -- he's the mayor of Salt Lake County, which is home to more than a third of the state's population. While it goes without saying that this will be a challenging race, Corroon at least gives Democrats a fighting chance here, especially if some of the same budgetary problems facing many of the other beleaguered governors begin to take a toll on the freshly-minted Gov. Gary Hebert. SSP is changing its rating of this race from the sub-competitive Races to Watch to the more competitive category of Likely Republican.
• Redistricting contest: Attention all redistricting nerds! Our New York redistricting contest deadline is Sunday, midnight Eastern time, so get your maps done. Don't forget that people need to email their .DRF.XML files to jeffmd at swingstateproject dot com.
• AR-Sen, MO-Sen: Here's an interesting alliance between two prominent female Senate candidates, one perhaps our most vulnerable incumbent and the other our likeliest pickup. Blanche Lincoln and Robin Carnahan have formed a joint fundraising committee, the Missouri Arkansas Victory Fund.
• CT-Sen: I had almost forgotten about Merrick Alpert, a young entrepreneur who'd been trying to carve out some space for himself in the Democratic primary against Chris Dodd as the "clean" outsider (and had been polling in the low double digits in primary polls, by virtue of his non-Dodd-ness). With the departure of Dodd and his replacement with the squeaky-clean Richard Blumenthal, it looks like Alpert's going to need to do some message retooling. At any rate, Alpert says he's sticking around in the race no matter what.
• DE-Sen: A politician voting against something, and then take credit for its benefits after it passes anyway? Why, I'm sure that's never happened before. Still, it's not the kind of thing you might expect Rep. Mike Castle to do... but he's doing it anyway, touting $5 million in aid to the Delaware state government that came from the stimulus package he voted against.
• FL-Sen: I'm not sure if Charlie Crist actually thinks this'll work; it seems like a transparent-enough ploy that the teabaggers will see through it like Grandma's underpants. At any rate, he's spinning to the paranoid right as quickly as the newly-rabid John McCain, decrying "Obamacare secrecy" in HCR negotiations, and also engaging in a little revisionist history about his stance on abortion.
• MA-Sen: Everyone's getting Twitter-pated about PPP's early teasings of its poll of this race, which they say is "loseable" for the Democrats; the actual numbers should be out this weekend. Still, you'd think that if there were an actual fire going on here, you'd see the national committees getting involved, and they aren't (yet)... although the RNC has been sending around an e-mail asking for money on state Sen. Scott Brown's behalf. Meanwhile, Martha Coakley has a big fundraiser scheduled for next Tuesday in DC (with all the state's Congressional delegation and other moneybags luminaries like the Podestas) -- although, given how gigantic a cash advantage she already has for blanketing the airwaves, it seems like that day might be better spent actually working on the ground than heading to Washington.
• ND-Sen: It turns out R2K had a perfectly good poll of North Dakota in the field on Tuesday, which got spoiled when Byron Dorgan suddenly retired. Still, it sheds some light on Dorgan's retirement decision, as the final result is Hoeven 54, Dorgan 37 (which may be skewed toward Hoeven because they kept asking polling after Dorgan's announcement, but Dorgan was still losing before the announcement too). That's despite Dorgan's sky-high approvals of 63%... just what happens when the state's natural lean is against you, and someone even more popular than you comes along (just ask Lincoln Chafee). Remember that R2K found a 57-35 lead for Dorgan back in February over Hoeven; the flip was driven in large part by independents, who moved decisively from Dorgan to Hoeven over the year. One other Democratic name is getting floated as a potential Dorgan successor: former Dorgan aide and former state Senator Kristin Hedger.
• NY-Sen-B: Lots of New York's power players are trying to talk Harold Ford Jr. down from the ledge regarding his potential primary challenge to Kirsten Gillibrand, starting with Gillibrand's mentor Charles Schumer. Rep. Jerry Nadler, who came around late to supporting Gillibrand but is firmly in her column now, also joined in the chorus telling Ford (who's been huddling with advisors from Michael Bloomberg's coterie) to back off. The campaign against Ford almost seems to write itself, starting with his pro-life proclamations and the fact that he's been registered to vote in New York for only six weeks. That's only the tip of the iceberg, though; Campaign Diaries has the definitive takedown of his record.
• NV-Sen: Some more intraparty sniping in Nevada, where Rep. Dean Heller is still complaining that John Ensign continues to tarnish the GOP's brand in the state, which could hurt its chances in the Senate and Governor's races in 2010. Heller said he wouldn't call for Ensign to resign, "at least not on this show."
• PA-Sen: Former Commonwealth Court judge Doris Smith-Ribner ended her longshot bid in the Democratic primary in the Senate race, having made no fundraising progress. She made so little impact I don't see this changing much of anything, although maybe it helps Rep. Joe Sestak a bit via less splitting of the anti-Arlen Specter vote. She's switching over to the Lt. Governor's race, although she faces a longshot bid there too for the Dem nod against former Philadelphia controller Jonathan Saidel.
• UT-Sen: Maybe yesterday's news that Jason Chaffetz wouldn't challenge him was good news for Bob Bennett, but things aren't getting any better for Team Bob. He's now officially a target of the Club for Growth, unhappy with his occasionally moments of across-the-aisle comity. The CfG doesn't have a preferred horse in the race, yet, as they seem torn between Mike Lee, Tim Bridgewater, and Cherilyn Eagar; for now, they're calling all three of them "superior" to Bennett.
• NM-Gov: The New Mexico GOP has only a number of second-stringers running for Governor (with Dona Ana County DA Susana Martinez maybe the most interesting), so they still seem to be casting about. They've gotten a nibble from a local attorney with no electoral experience but a prominent family name: Pete Domenici Jr.
• SD-Gov: One more Republican got into the field in the South Dakota gubernatorial race, bringing the total to five. State Sen. Gordon Howie seems to be laying claim to the teabaggers' mantle in the race, via his presidency of the Tea Party-linked Citizens for Liberty. (I'd rather see him run for the House, where he could someday form the Guys Whose Names Seem To Be Out Of Order Caucus, along with Rodney Tom and Nickie Monica.)
• TX-Gov, TX-Sen: Kay Bailey Hutchison's gubernatorial run has been giving John Cornyn nonstop heartburn since he took over the NRSC, and now he seems to be strategically leaking that he'd prefer that she drop her gubernatorial bid altogether (despite the primary being only two months away) to avoid the prospect of an expensive special election. Note to Cornyn: she'll lose the gubernatorial primary anyway, and you'll have her back shortly. While smart Texans (see White, Bill) seem to be backing away from the Senate-Race-that-probably-won't-exist, one more Republican is floating his name for the hypothetical race. And it's a guy I didn't know even had any political inclinations: ESPN talking head Craig James.
• UT-Gov: Democrats got a good candidate to run in the 2010 gubernatorial special election: Salt Lake County mayor Peter Corroon confirmed that he'll run. Corroon still faces a steep uphill fight, given the state's crimson hue, but Dems have a better opening than usual, given the muddled Republican field in view of possible convention and/or primary challenges to appointed Gov. Gary Herbert.
• CA-19: Neighboring Representatives are taking sides in the Republican primary in the open seat race in the 19th. Kevin McCarthy, who leads NRCC recruitment efforts, is sticking with his initial endorsement of state Sen. Jeff Denham despite ex-Rep. Richard Pombo's entry to the race (although he confesses that he "likes" Pombo too), while Devin Nunes has endorsed his ex-colleague Pombo. Denham also benefits from endorsements from many of the other state GOP House members (Dreier, Royce, Campbell, Issa, and Herger), although Duncan Hunter Jr. switched to "neutral" from Denham after Pombo's entry.
• IN-09: It's on... for the fifth freakin' time. Ex-Rep. Mike Sodrel is launching another run against Democratic Rep. Baron Hill. (Hill has a 3-1 win record in their meetings so far.) The trouble is, unlike previous tries, Sodrel will have to get through a primary this time; attorney Todd Young has already raised substantial money and has many establishment endorsements (including some statewide officials). With Sodrel increasingly buddying up to the teabaggers, this looks like it has the potential to turn into one more skirmish in the establishment/movement battle.
• ND-AL: Republicans suddenly seem more interested in taking on the usually untouchable Democratic Rep. Earl Pomeroy, no doubt heartened by the knowledge that they'd be running downticket from John Hoeven in the Senate race and might benefit from coattails. State Rep. Rick Berg is sounding the loudest, although former Insurance Comm. Jim Poolman also is expressing interest. Public Service Commission member Kevin Cramer (who's lost twice to Pomeroy before) was scoping out a run even before Byron Dorgan's retirement.
• NH-02: With a crowd already formed in the NH-02 Democratic primary, Executive Councilor Debora Pignatelli declined to run. She didn't endorse attorney Ann McLane Kuster, state Rep. John DeJoie, or Katrina Swett (who hasn't formally declared yet), though.
• PA-04: There are rumors of a potential primary challenge from the left to Rep. Jason Altmire (despite the R+6 character of his suburban Pittsburgh district). Businesswoman Georgia Berner -- who lost the 2006 primary to Altmire, who went on to defeat GOP Rep. Melissa Hart in the general -- is dissatisfied with Altmire's Blue Doggish record and is considering a rematch.
• VA-05: Some more delicious cat fud in the 5th, where state Sen. Robert Hurt, the Republican establishment's pick in the race, has told the teabaggers to get bent. He'll be skipping two debates sponsored by Tea Party organizations (although he cites the legislative calendar as the reasons for not showing up).
• Polltopia: Nate Silver has a very interesting deconstruction of Rasmussen, one of the best things I've seen written about them yet. He looks at why they keep finding right-wing insurgent candidates (Marco Rubio, Rand Paul) overperforming against Democratic candidates compared to Republican establishment rivals, contrary to other pollsters. What he sees is that between their exclusionary likely voter screen and their one-day polling periods (with no callbacks), they're disproportionately reaching the most informed, motivated, and ideologically-driven voters.