• AZ-Sen: The NYT has a piece about Dems tip-toeing around the Senate race as they wait for Gabby Giffords to recover (and make a decision), but I think it adds very little to the conversation. There isn't really any new information in the piece, so you can probably skip it.
• MA-Sen: Wow, the DSCC is doing a bang-up job on MA-Sen this week. A couple of days ago, they conned Roll Call into writing a piece which argued that the lack of a Democratic candidate was actually a good thing and all part of some devious plan. Now comes word that they've managed to leak a poll that shows Scott Brown with a ridiculous 73% approval rating and supposedly beating all comers by double digits. Aren't they supposed to only leak polls when they've got good news to share? Sheesh. This is just so sloppy. (Also, 73% approval? Really? Might want to think about hiring a new pollster for this race.)
Anyhow, another Dem is feeling out the race: Gerry Kavanaugh, who was once Ted Kennedy's chief of staff and is now a political consultant, says he's "thinking about" a run. Kavanaugh has never run for office before.
• MO-Sen: This is pretty weird. Tons of documents, including a lot of emails, generated during GOPer Sarah Steelman's tenure as state treasurer have disappeared, and the new treasurer (who is a Dem) is saying in response to freedom of information requests that they simply can't be found. As Catanese says, this ought to give Steelman's primary opponents some good fodder... especially if any of the missing docs ever turn up.
• NV-Sen: Rep. Shelley Berkley's leaked a poll (taken for her by the Mellman Group) which shows her up 42-38 over Republican Rep. Dean Heller in a hypothetical Senate race. The more I think about it, the more I feel this really is Berkley's moment and that she should definitely go for it. I think Obama's going to run a very strong campaign here, and I just think the timing is right.
• MI-Gov: Republican-linked pollster Marketing Research Group gives Gov. Rick Snyder the best numbers he's seen so far, with a 42-38 job approval rating. But spiderdem shows just how implausibly favorable to Snyder the sample composition is.
• UT-Gov, UT-01: Interesting: GOP Rep. Rob Bishop refused to answer a question about whether he plans to challenge Gov. Gary Herbert, instead seeming to make some crack about ex-Gov. John Huntsman's run for president. Herbert has raised some teabagger ire for signing an immigration reform package that would, among other things, allow for guest workers (the nutters call it "amnesty") - basically, the opposite approach from Arizona. I'm not sure if Bishop's expressed his views on this legislation, but he's definitely a hard-core anti-immigrant zealot.
• WV-Gov: Treasurer John Perdue is out with his first ad - and it's a two-minute long (!!) behemoth.
• AZ-01: This is an old (May 2010) but interesting article on ex-Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick's relationship with Apache Indians in her former district, who constitute an important voting bloc. I highlight it because, of course, she just announced her intention to seek a rematch against Republican Paul Gosar. Apache leaders, who supported her first election bid in 2008, felt betrayed over her support of a controversial copper mine on what they consider to be sacred land and walked away from her last year. However, as sacman701 points out, Kirkpatrick's vote drop-off in Apache County in 2010 was very minimal.
• MN-08: Here's something else interesting (okay, every bullet in the digest is an unparalleled gem and I love them all equally): Dem Lt. Gov. Yvonne Prettner Solon, who used to be a state Senator, is supposedly considering a run against freshman GOPer Chip Cravaack, according to a Politics in Minnesota source. One problem, as the piece notes, is that if she won, Republican Senate President Michelle Fischbach would become the new Lieutenant Governor. As someone who lived through the near-death experience of having Pedro Espada half-a-heartbeat away from the governor's mansion, I wouldn't blame Minnesota Dems if they wanted Prettner Solon to stay put!
• NY-01: I think a key reason why Dem Rep. Tim Bishop was able to hang on by the skin of his political teeth last year was because of the exceptionally nasty three-way GOP primary on the other side of the aisle - one which took place very late (September) to boot, giving eventual winner Randy Altschuler little time to recover. So it's very heartwarming to see that another 2010 candidate, George Demos, is already slagging Altschuler for failing to win "in a year Republicans couldn't lose." Both men are considering rematches, and according to Dave Catanese, are meeting with the NRCC. Cat fud comin'!
• PA-03: This is also interesting (there I go again!): Ex-Rep. Kathy Dahlkemper is considering a rematch against GOP frosh Mike Kelly. I say "interesting" because I wouldn't have considered her among the likeliest batch of people to seek a comeback, and I don't think I'd really heard her name since last November. Anyhow, Dahlkemper says she's spoken with the DCCC, and while she wouldn't announce a timetable for a decision, she doesn't want to wait until the fall (as she did in 2007 when she first ran). The same article also mentions another potential Dem candidate whose name has come up in recent days but apparently hasn't ruled anything out: Erie Mayor Joe Sinnott.
• WI-07: Sean Duffy's handlers seem to have a very 19th century understanding of the Internet: They've demanded the already-infamous video of him moaning about getting by on $174K a year get removed on copyright grounds. This is sure to make the story go away. Actually, I've changed my mind: They have a decidedly 21st century appreciation of the 'net: After they sent a takedown letter to Talking Points Memo, TPM re-posted a shorter version of the video - which now, in a reverse Breitbart claim, Duffy's people are saying was selectively edited. Of course, this is bullshit, but they've succeeded in getting CNN to repeat it as fact.
• Wisconsin Sup. Ct.: This is really interesting (wow, I just can't help myself today): Craig Gilbert of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel points out that there are two key special elections in the state's two biggest Democratic counties on Tuesday, which of course coincide with the Supreme Court race. One we've mentioned before: In Milwaukee, voters will replace their former County Exec, who was none other than Scott Walker. The Dem there, Chris Abele, has devoted his campaign to linking his Republican opponent with Walker. Meanwhile, in Dane County (home of Madison), the exec decided last year to leave in the middle of her term, prompting a new election. While Dane is reliably liberal, Milwaukee isn't always, but given the contours of this year, Gilbert thinks the voter surge in Milwaukee is more likely to be left-leaning. But you should really read the whole piece, as there's a lot of interesting data (and a cool chart) that I can't convey in one short bullet.
• PPP: Politico has a feature-type piece about our buddies at Public Policy Polling, with some details about the deal with DK/SEIU, and a longer discussion of how PPP really has not becomes viewed as a left-leaning Rasmussen... mostly because their numbers are actually, ya know, good.
• Arkansas: Despite strenuous GOP opposition, Arkansas Dems are moving ahead with their so-called "Fayetteville finger" plan that moves the city into Dem Rep. Mike Ross's 4th CD. They did pass a new, somewhat modified plan (you can see a map at the link), but it still preserves the extension into Fayetteville. (Several Republicans plans have gotten voted down as well.)
• Louisiana: Hah! Remember that fucker Michael Jackson, who ran as an independent in 2008 and cost Dem Rep. Don Cazayoux his hard-won seat in Congress? Well, in his role as state Rep., he's put out a propose congressional map that would create two majority-minority districts in Louisiana. I assume they have no chance of seeing the light of day, though. You can find it here.
• Missouri: The first proposed congressional redistricting plan has emerged from the Missouri state House, and it looks pretty much exactly like what you'd expect: Russ Carnahan's district has been flushed down the oubliette. (Map at link.) The state Senate plans to release a map soon, too.
• Mississippi: Mississippi has a serious redistricting logjam, and with the end of the legislative session fast approaching, no one seems inclined to give in. The article I've linked says that Gov. Haley Barbour could call a special session, but Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant (who after a big initial setback seems to have reasserted himself as the GOP's point man on redistricting) seems almost eager for the impasse to continue. If it does, that would mean two sets of elections: one this year under the old maps, and one next year under new maps. Bryant is really starting to warm to this, because Republicans would very likely take control of the state House this November under the existing lines, which would then give them a free a hand. But if a new plan (with a Dem gerrymander in the House) goes into place this year, it gives Democrats at least something of a chance of holding the House - which is why House Speaker Billy McCoy's over-reach was really so stupid.
• New Jersey: Things are coming to a head in the Garden State, with the final vote on a redistricting plan by the members of the state's bipartisan commission scheduled for noon on Sunday. What the maps actually will look like is anybody's guess, as the panel's leader/tiebreaker, Alan Rosenthal, has ordered repeated revampings. (Chris Christie has also been seen leaning heavily on the panel members.) Leaked maps (we haven't actually seen copies of them, but apparently everyone is willing to describe them to reporters) seem rife with intra-party intrigue, with several Dem state legislators who've fallen out of favor (including ex-acting Gov. Richard Codey) getting the short end of the redistricting stick. At the Congressional level, the same dynamic is playing out, with rumors that Rep. Frank Pallone of NJ-06 is the House member likeliest to get dealt the worst hand. Apparently he's also out of favor with the currently ruling Dem power brokers, who'd like to derail him from an anticipated statewide run. (The whole story is worth a read, for a guided tour of the byzantine behind-the-scenes working of New Jersey politics.)
• Virginia: The Virginia Public Access Project has some cool interactive charts you can play around with which show how the various redistricting proposals would affect the state legislature.
AR-Sen, AR-01: Bill Clinton is heading back home to Arkansas to do events for Blanche Lincoln (probably not a good use of resources) and Chad Causey (better use of resources). Incidentally, Politico notes that Causey's primary opponent, Tim Wooldridge, still has yet to endorse him. Jeez.
DE-Sen: It's official: The Tea Party Express has spooked Mike Castle into going up on the air before the primary, to a six-figure tune. In fact, the Hotline's Jeremy Jacobs has an unusual level of detail on the nature of the buy, noting that "Castle has purchased $113K worth of airtime for Aug. 31 to Sept. 6 in the Salisbury, MD, media market," as well as "$26K worth of time on cable in New Castle County and $42K on radio."
NH-Sen: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is throwing down for a big buy against Paul Hodes. As the Hotline notes, the Chamber's FEC filing says they're spending $1 million, but apparently the buy is for less - a spokesbot will only say that it's "sizable." You can see their ad at the link.
AK-Gov: Republican Bill Walker, who held Gov. Sean Parnell to just 50% in the GOP primary while taking 33% himself, is talking to the Alaska Independence Party about filling their ballot line, since the AIP's nominee, Don Wright, has withdrawn from the race. Remember that in 1994, Dem Tony Knowles very narrowly won the gubernatorial race because an AIP candidate split the right-wing vote, taking 13%.
FL-Gov: I'm not sure whether these are new names or not, but Alex Sink is trying to stick it to Rick Scott by putting out a list of ten Republican elected officials in central and south Florida who have endorsed her campaign. Speaking of Scott, he's reportedly going to tap state Rep. Jennifer Carroll, an African American legislator from the Jacksonville area, to be his running mate.
NM-Gov: Local blog New Mexico FBIHOP has two new ads, one each from Republican Susana Martinez and Dem Diane Denish. NWOTSOTB in either case.
AZ-03: Dem Jon Hulburd is hitting noted d-bag Ben Quayle where it hurts: on Christian radio. Politico has the audio of the ad, which of course references TheDirty.com, but NWOTSOTB.
CA-47: Ya know, usually when we do an Obama Alert! or a Biden Alert! we're at least a little bit excited at the prospect that the (V)POTUS is doing an event for some Dem or other. But once in a while, it just makes me nervous. This is one of those occasions. Joe Biden is headlining a fundraiser for Rep. Loretta Sanchez in DC on Sept. 15th. I'm thinking a rating change might be in order here soon.
MD-01: Dem Frank Kratovil is up with his first ad of the season. NWOTSOTB.
NJ-12: The so-called "Emergency Committee for Israel," led by jerkass extraordinaire Michael Goldfarb and backed by lunatics like Bill Kristol and Gary Bauer, is now targeting Rep. Rush Holt with their latest bullshit. Holt, for his part, is fighting back, calling the ads "blatant lies" and trying to convince cable companies to pull them.
ND-AL: A break for Rep. Earl Pomeroy: The House's Office of Congressional Ethics said earlier this week that they were dropping an investigation into Pomeroy's fundraising practices.
NY-01: If anything saves Tim Bishop's bacon, it might be the fact that the Republican primary has been a festering pit of raw sewage, with outraged attacks traded among Bishop's GOP rivals daily - or more often. In fact, the three-way nature of the race seems to have tripled the likelihood of open warfare at any given moment - and it also makes things damn confusing at times. Anyhow, it looks like Chris Cox is hitting Randy Altschuler for failing to show up to a debate... but then the third dude, George Demos, also had a staffer show up at Altschuler's offices and catch him on camera, right when the debate was supposed to start. Meanwhile, Cox also won a court ruling allowing him to fight Altschuler for the Conservative Party nomination, but he'll have to run as a write-in.
NY-13: Another nasty New York primary also continues to get nastier. Local establishment fave Michael Allegretti keeps piling on attacks against Mike Grimm, the golden boy of national GOP figures like Rudy Giuliani and John McCain. Among other things, Allegretti is pointing out that Grimm has never voted in a single Republican primary in the 13th CD.
OH-17: Jim Traficant got beamed back on to the ballot yesterday, running as an independent. He'll face Dem Rep. Tim Ryan and Republican Jim Graham, who has raised bupkes.
PA-15: PA2010 is reporting that Dem John Callahan is going up on the air with his first ad, perhaps as early as today. NWOTSOTB, and we also don't have a link to the ad yet, but we'll try to bring it to you once it's public.
TX-23: Republican Quico Canseco is refusing to meet with the editorial board of the San Antonio Express-News, claiming they have an "inherent bias" in favor of Dem Rep. Ciro Rodriguez. Only problem: The paper endorsed the last two Republicans who ran against Ciro.
WI-07: Republican Sean Duffy is finally scrambling on to the air with a positive bio spot. Dem Julie Lassa was up with her first ad last week, and the DCCC made its first independent expenditure (anywhere in the nation) here earlier this week. NWOTSOTB, though CQ notes the ad will air "in the Wausau-Rhinelander, Duluth-Superior, Minneapolis-St. Paul and LaCrosse-Eau Claire markets".
WV-03: Republican Spike Maynard is out with a new ad (watch it here) in which he says he wants to "stop the Obama-Rahall-Pelosi war on coal." That a serious mouthful, dude. (James Hell sez: "He should add Rand Paul to the list!") Anyhow, props to the Charleston Daily Mail for these details: "The ad is the first of two ads that will be released by Maynard's campaign as part of a $100,000 ad buy in the Beckley-Bluefield and Charleston-Huntington TV markets."
For Nick Rahall's part, he's apparently going to go on the radio with biographical spots to "familiarize folks with the congressman and his record." Uh, the guy has been in office since before I was born. The paper also reports that Rahall "is expected to run TV ads starting in late September." Can't say I love that pace.
Cat Fud: Think Progress has carefully stacked up an entire pallet's worth of cat fud tins in one of those lovely supermarket displays. They've assembled a long list of Republican primary losers who have refused to endorse the winners. I can think of two more off the top of my head: Pamela Gorman, who didn't want to catch Ben Quayle's cooties in AZ-03, and of course Lisa Murkowski, who maybe kinda sorta doesn't feel all that warmly about the guy who just called her a whore (or a john, take your pick) before the ballot counting was even over. Recall any others?
DSCC/DCCC: This is actually the same link that I got all emo about in that CA-47 item up above, but anyhow, uh, Obama Alert! The POTUS will be in NYC on September 22nd to do a joint event for the two congressional party committees.
AK-Sen: Just an FYI: The Tea Party Express has now spent $550K on behalf of Joe Miller - quite a sum in a super-cheap state like Alaska. (That means they've poured in about $200K in just the last week.) Remember, the TPX is the organization that helped power Sharron Angle to victory. Knocking off an incumbent senator is a much bigger task than beating Chicken Lady, of course, but the teabaggers are determined to keep this one interesting. (Also, any day I get to write about Chicken Lady is a good day.)
KY-Sen: Rand Paul, subjecting himself to a rare press conference, announced his preferred way of combating drug abuse in Eastern Kentucky. Instead of using federal dollars, he prefers church-based options: "I like the fact that faith is involved, that religion - Christianity - is involved, and I'm not embarrassed to say so. You have to have innovative local solutions to problems." Paul still called for the end of earmarks to fund Operation UNITE, an anti-drug program, which caused some awkwardness for his host, Hopkins County Attorney Todd P'Pool, who has made use of UNITE himself. (And yes, that awesome name is NOT a typo.)
NH-Sen: Paul Hodes has a new ad up, featuring music he wrote himself, which continues a theme we've seen elsewhere - namely, referring to Congress as some kind of daycare center for overgrown children. I'm not really sure how effective this characterization really is, given that it's been incumbents who keep deploying it. Anyhow, NWOTSOTB, though the Hodes campaign tells us it's "a significant buy in both the Manchester and Boston media markets" that's going up on both broadcast and cable today.
OR-Gov: Good news for Dem John Kitzhaber: The Oregon Progressive Party declined to nominate a candidate for governor, meaning that there won't be anyone on the ballot running to Kitz's left. Jerry Wilson, creator of the Soloflex, had been hoping for the Prog nod, and says he may run a write-in campaign instead.
AZ-03: Just a day before the primary, Dan Quayle emerged from his undisclosed potatoe to pen an email on behalf of his embattled, pathetic spawn, Ben. At this point, though, nothing can undo the Shame of the Super-Son.
CA-52: Democrat Ray Lutz has ended his 11-day hunger strike, which he launched in an attempt to get Rep. Duncan Hunter to meet him for a series of debates. Hunter actually did say he'd meet for an Oct. 15th debate, though he claims he was planning to accept that date even before Lutz went on his strike. Lutz, of course, is claiming victory - and if this tactic really did have its intended effect, I wonder if we'll ever see anyone else try it again.
IA-03: Rep. Leonard Boswell's been hitting Republican Brad Zaun on his flip-floppery over agricultural subsidies, and it seems like he's landed a solid blow. In Iowa, anything less than maximal statism in support of the ethanol industry is usually a political sin, but Zaun couldn't help himself at a teabagger debate earlier this spring. Zaun related a conversation with a farmer, who asked him "What are you going to do for me and the biofuels industry?" Zaun's description of his own response: "Nothing." Boswell's put out his first radio ad of the cycle (NWOTSOTB) featuring this very quote.
IL-11: Debbie Halvorson is getting a new campaign manager. Julie Merz, who has previously worked for Dennis Moore and Jim Matheson, is taking over for Travis Worl. It's always hard to say whether moves like this reflect campaign turmoil, a sign that the team is upgrading, or just natural turnover. The only tea leaf we have here is that Worl's departure was announced before Merz's hiring was.
LA-02: A good get for Cedric Richmond: New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu just gave the state legislator his endorsement yesterday. Richmond faces fellow state Rep. Juan LaFonta in the primary, which is this Saturday (note the unusual date).
NV-03: Republican media buying company Smart Media Group says that AFSCME has put down $240K for ads against GOPer Denny Joe Heck. The union hasn't filed an independent expenditure report yet, though.
NY-01: Republican George Demos is up with his first TV ad, attempting to out-conservative opponents Randy Altschuler and Ed Cox - and doing his best to make himself unelectable in the general election by painting himself as "pro-life." NWOTSOTB. Meanwhile, Altschuler succeeded in knocking Cox out of the Conservative Party primary, though Cox has vowed to appeal the judge's ruling.
NY-25: Republican (and Mama Grizzly) Ann Marie Buerkle says she won't rule out SSP - the bad kind of SSP, of course:
"There's so many options when it comes to privatization. I would have to look at each plan that's being proposed... but I would certainly consider looking at it."
AK-AL: After three years of anticipation and $1.2 million in legal defense fees, GOP Rep. Don Young's office is now claiming that the Department of Justice will not prosecute the crusty incumbent for his involvement in a wide-spanning Alaskan bribery scandal.
AR-01: Three aides to scuzzbucket former state Sen. Tim Wooldridge, who narrowly lost the Democratic primary to Chad Causey, have decided to endorse Republican Rick Crawford. Wooldridge is still staying mum on who, or when, he'll endorse, but this doesn't seem like a good sign for Democratic unity.
AZ-08: National Research for the Conservatives for Congress Committee (7/26-27, likely voters):
Jesse Kelly (R): 36
Jonathan Paton (R): 17
Brian Miller (R): 5
CFC's dog in the race against Democrat Gabby Giffords is clearly the tea-stained Kelly, as opposed to the NRCC-hyped state Sen. Jonathan Paton. Who knows if this poll is credible, but let's hope that it is!
NY-01: Hah, this is a pretty good catch by the George Demos campaign. They're hitting Randy Altschuler for sending out campaign emails cribbed from the notepad of NY-23 loser Doug Hoffman. Sure, it's not at the same level as Scott McInnis, but the more cat fud consumed in this race, the merrier for all.
NY-29: A hearing officer of the New York Board of Elections has invalidated enough signatures to knock Some Dude Janice Volk off the GOP primary ballot for the vacant seat left behind by Eric Massa. The NYBoE will issue its ruling on the matter today, but it doesn't look like the beleaguered Volk campaign has the resources -- or spirit -- to appeal the decision in court. Volk's exit will ensure a fight between Republican Tom Reed and Democrat Matthew Zeller this fall.
PA-06: Jim Gerlach is attacking his Democratic challenger, physician and Iraq War veteran Manan Trivedi, for not having lived in the 6th District in recent years. But of course, Trivedi was otherwise occupied with a little thing called military service during that time. Douche chill!
WY-AL: Mason-Dixon for the Casper Star-Tribune (7/26-28, likely voters):
RNC: The Republican National Committee has taken out a $10 million line of credit in preparation for funneling major resources to the party's efforts at winning Dem-held House and Senate seats this fall. There's no word, yet, if Democratic committees plan to follow suit -- you may recall that in the last cycle, both the DCCC and the DSCC took out substantial loans to help take advantage of the national climate.
CT-Sen: Linda McMahon has already spent at least $22 million on her senatorial bid - and though she has plans to shell out much more, she's already the fourth-largest self-funder of all time. The good news is that the top three are pretty uninspiring: Jon Corzine (NJ-Sen 2000: $60 million, 50.1% in general); Blair Hull (IL-Sen 2004: $29 million, 11% in primary); Michael Huffington (CA-Sen 1994: $28 million, 45% in general). Check out the second page of CQ's piece to see who rounds out the rest of the top 10. Only three actually won a seat in the Senate, and all of them served one term or less - by choice!
FL-Sen: Ah - live by the zillionaire asshole, die by the zillionaire asshole. Joe Trippi, who apparently thought he could make a buck by helping schmuckface Jeff Greene run negative ads against Kendrick Meek, has been axed. This is pretty unsurprising, in light of an in-depth story by the St. Pete Times which catalogs just how much of a jerkass Greene actually is. Here's a representative sample:
Adam Lambert worked as captain of Greene's 145-foot yacht, Summerwind, earlier this year.
"He has total disregard for anybody else,'' chuckled Lambert, who said he was Greene's 20th and 22nd Summerwind captain (No. 21 quit after a few hours with Greene).
"I don't think I ever once had an actual conversation with him. It was always, 'I should just get rid of you, what f------ good are you? You're just a f------ boat driver. You're the third-highest paid employee in my corporation and I should just get rid of you,' '' Lambert, 43, recalled by phone from a yacht in Croatia. "It didn't bother me. I just felt sorry for the man. He doesn't seem very happy."
Quite apropos of all this, Dave Catanese takes a look at the "band of others" which has come together to run Charlie Crist's campaign. Catanese says that Crist's team "is staffed by a collection of misfits who run the gamut from longtime loyalists to out-of-state hired guns. They have worked for Democrats, for Republicans and even for prominent independents. As with Crist, ideology appears to take a back seat to winning office."
MO-Sen: Mostly-failed teabagger Chuck Purgason has an internal poll out (at least, I think it's an internal) from Magellan Strategies... but that's not really the point. There are two super-huge problems with this poll. First off, there are literally zero undecideds - Purgason claims he's beating Dem Robin Carnahan 56-44. Secondly, releasing a general election poll just days before an almost hopeless primary looks extremely unserious. I don't give a damn about Purgason, but I don't think either of these issues make Magellan look particularly good.
GA-Gov: Barack Obama is visiting Atlanta to speak to a disabled veterans convention and to host a DNC fundraiser today, but Dem gubernatorial candidate Roy Barnes will be visiting other parts of the state. Several prominent Dems are planning to attend the events, including Labor Comm'r Michael Thurmond (our senate nominee), and Reps. David Scott and Sanford Bishop, the latter of whom has a competitive race this fall.
NY-Gov: Steve Levy has completed his transition from widely disliked xenophobic DINO to memorable Republican loser: He said he wouldn't seek the Independence Party's line this fall, and formally gave his backing to Rick Lazio. Meanwhile, Elizabeth Benjamin says a source tells her that another disgruntled Republican, the vile Carl Paladino, is doing the opposite - he's reconsidering his decision not to run on a third-party line and may run on his own "Taxpayers Party" line if he loses the GOP primary in September. Apparently, the teabaggers are taking the long view here, hoping that they can create a "true" conservative rival to the, ah, Conservative Party, even if that means helping Andrew Cuomo win the gubernatorial race.
WY-Gov: Mason-Dixon did a poll of the Wyoming gubernatorial primaries for the Casper Star-Tribune. On the GOP side, state Auditor Rita Meyer leads with 27, followed by former U.S. Attorney Matt Mead with 24, House Speaker Colin Simpson with 17, and former legislator and state Ag. Director Ron Micheli with 12. For Democrats, former state Dem chair Leslie Petersen leads pilot and former University of Wyoming football star Pete Gosar by a 30-22 margin.
FL-08: Franking - the privilege that allows members of Congress to mail out nominally "informational" materials to constituents at taxpayer expense - is one of those things that's usually a lame non-issue... until it's an issue. Incumbents have been pushing the boundaries of proper franking for centuries, and it rarely gets traction in campaigns, but I really wonder if Alan Grayson's gone too far with this one. He recently sent out a DVD to 100,000 homes in his district (at a cost of $73K) titled "Watch Congressman Grayson in Action!" featuring a few dozen clips of his greatest hits in office. Maybe the video will be popular, maybe no one will care, maybe some Republicans will howl and get ignored - we'll see.
IL-10 (PDF): It's a bit musty, but Mike Memoli got his hands on an internal poll from the Dan Seals campaign taken in mid-May by Anzalone-Liszt. The numbers are a damn sight better than most Dem internals, showing Seals with a 46-38 lead over Republican Bob Dold, and a 41-32 lead among independents. Despite the poll's age, I'd be surprised if things had changed a whole lot since then, given that the air war hasn't really been joined yet.
IL-13: Dem Scott Harper had apparently been trying to shop the results of an informed ballot test on a recent internal poll from Global Strategy Group but didn't seem to get many bites. So he finally decided to pull a Raul Labrador and release the proper toplines, despite their utter - almost extreme - suckitude. Rep. Judy Biggert leads Harper by a 55-29 margin. The most ridonc thing is that Biggert felt compelled to put out her own, not-exactly-dueling internal in response. I say that because the numbers in Biggert's survey (taken by American Viewpoint) show her up 61-28. This was really not a well-managed move by the Harper campaign.
KY-06: Republican Andy Barr, formerly a top legal aide to disgraced former Gov. Ernie Fletcher, is coming under fire for his shoddy handling of a response to a government records request under the state's equivalent to the Freedom of Information Act when he worked for Fletcher. In a 2007 report, then-AG Greg Stumbo (a Dem) said that Barr's failure to produce records on account of their alleged non-existence meant that he was responsible for "records mismanagement." However, Stumbo's office did not determine that Barr had actually violated the state open records law.
LA-02: The DCCC added state Rep. Cedric Richmond to its Red to Blue program on Friday. This tells me two things: First, the D-Trip doesn't think much of Richmond's primary challenger, fellow state Rep. Juan LaFonta. Second, DC Dems are concerned enough about Rep. Joe Cao's staying power that they're getting involved in a reasonably contested primary, something they have largely avoided this cycle. Now in fairness, Louisiana has a very late primary - August 28th - with an absurdly late runoff on October 2nd. So I can understand wanting to avoid a pressured one-month campaign. Still, this suggests to me that this race is not the "gimme" we might have once imagined.
NY-01: Stuck behind Newsday's paywall is a story which says that GOPer Christopher Cox has filed a lawsuit seeking to invalidate fellow Republican Randy Altschuler's ballot petitions. This is exactly the kind of war that Democrats in New York have been hoping for. I can't wait to read more about it. And don't forget that there's a third candidate in the race, George Demos, who is being publicly slammed for alleged ethical lapses while he was an SEC attorney by a former supporter, John Catsimatidis. You may recall that Cox is engaged to Catsimatidis's daughter, which explains the old man's turnabout.
NY-15: You've probably already seen this, but Barack Obama said in an interview with CBS News that Charlie Rangel should "end his career with dignity." Really wonder if the old bull is going to keep fighting this thing.
NY-24: Mmm... donuts. The owner of a local donut shop, Michael Sadallah, filed a lawsuit trying to knock Republican Richard Hanna off the Independence Party line. Sadallah, an Independence Party member, has also donated to Rep. Mike Arcuri. Oral arguments are this week - good luck, dude!
OK-05: True Some Dude James Lankford just earned the endorsement of third-place finisher (and state Rep.) Mike Thompson, who scored 18% in the first round despite spending $900,000. Lankford took 34% and former state Rep. Kevin Calvey had 33%. Lankford and Calvey face off in an August 24th runoff.
Kansas: A rare bit of good news on the voter registration front: Over the last year in Kansas, "Democrats gained 11,260 voters, rising to 460,318; unaffiliated voters increased 38,764 to 490,395, and Republican ranks increased 3,189 to 744,975." Obviously, that's a pretty sizable edge for the GOP, but it's still nice to see Dem gains both in absolute numbers and percentages outstrip the Republicans - especially in such a red state, and especially in a year like this.
• AZ-Sen, AZ-Gov: The signature by Gov. Jan Brewer (which may have helped her survive the GOP primary, but may also hurt her in the general) of Arizona's new aggressive anti-immigrant law was the key motivating factor in a new Democratic candidate getting into the Senate race: civil rights activist Randy Parraz. He'll face Rodney Glassman in the Democratic primary. (Why not the, y'know, Arizona Governor's race instead? Apparently Glassman looks like easier primary opposition than AG Terry Goddard in the governor's race... and at any rate, John McCain and J.D. Hayworth have both been beating the war drums on immigration.) And here's an interesting take on the immigration law: ex-Rep. Tom Tancredo just came out in opposition to it, saying, "I do not want people here, there in Arizona, pulled over because you look like should be pulled over." If even Tom Tancredo thinks you're doing it wrong... you're probably doing it wrong.
• CT-Sen: Linda McMahon's campaign doesn't seem to be doing anything illegal here, but there's still no good way to spin this: the campaign has been offering students an extra $5 bounty (on top of a flat hourly rate) for every Republican registered during a Univ. of Connecticut voter registration drive. It's a practice that the DOJ has frowned upon.
• IL-Sen: In the wake of the seizure of the Broadway Bank, Alexi Giannoulias wasted no time in getting an explanatory ad on the air, laying it out in easy-to-grasp points: one, he hadn't worked there in years and when he left it was fine, two, the broader economy took the bank down, and three, speaking of that economic downturn, don't vote for unemployment-benefits-denying Mark Kirk.
• MD-Sen: OK, maybe all those Barb Mikulski retirement rumors will finally go away. She just had her campaign's official kickoff event on Friday. She has 24 times the cash of her likeliest Republican opponent, Queen Anne's Co. Commissioner Eric Wargotz.
• NC-Sen: Elon University's out with another poll; they still aren't doing head-to-heads, but have some assorted other numbers that Richard Burr would probably rather not see. His approvals (among flat-out everybody, not even RVs) are 28/37 and 26% say he "deserves re-election" with 44% saying "time for a new person."
• NV-Sen: A poll for the Nevada News Bureau performed by PMI finds Sue Lowden leading the pack in the GOP Senate primary, at 41. Danny Tarkanian is at 24, Sharron Angle is at 17, and "someone else" is at 18. The poll was taken on the 22nd, shortly after Lowden laid out her support for trading chickens in exchange for poultices and tinctures.
• NY-Sen-B: Long-time Rockland Co. Exec Scott Vanderhoef has decided not to pursue a run against Kirsten Gillibrand, after having spent a month in exploratory mode, saying the money's just not there. Vanderhoef probably found he didn't have the name rec outside of Rockland Co. to have an advantage against the odds and ends in the GOP primary, let alone in the general.
• UT-Sen: Another poll of GOP delegates for the convention in Utah isn't as bad for Bob Bennett as the one leaked to Dave Weigel last week, but it still looks pretty bad for him. Mike Lee leads the way among first-choice votes at 31%, followed by Bennett at 22% (and then Tim Bridgewater at 17% and Cherilyn Eagar at 10%). 41% of delegates say they will "absolutely not" vote for Bennett, so even if Bennett picks up the other 59%, he still can't nail down the nomination at the convention (as there's a 60% threshold).
• WA-Sen: Everyone seemed a little taken by surprise by Friday's SurveyUSA poll of the Washington Senate race, which has non-candidate (for now) Dino Rossi leading Patty Murray 52-42 (and leading the various no-name GOPers actively in the race by 2 or 3 points). Even the Rossi camp is downplaying it, saying that their internal polling places Murray in the lead - which is an odd strategy for someone who got gifted an outlying poll, unless either he's trying to rope-a-dope Murray into complacency or privately cursing the results saying "aw crap, now I have to run for Senate." One of the no-namers, motivational speaker Chris Widener, got out of the race on Friday, which may also portend a Rossi run (or just having taken a stark look at his own finances). Murray's camp may have gotten advance warning of the SurveyUSA poll, as on Friday they leaked their own internal from Fairbank Maslin giving Murray a 49-41 lead over Rossi, very consistent with R2K's recent poll.
• IL-Gov: Oh, goody. Scott Lee Cohen, having bailed out/gotten booted off the Democratic ticket as Lt. Governor nominee after his criminal record became news, still has a political issue that needs scratching. He's announcing that he's going to run an independent bid for Governor instead. Considering how thoroughly his dirty laundry has been aired, he seems likely to poll in the low single digits; I have no idea whether his candidacy (which now appeals mostly only to the steroid-addled pawnbroker demographic) is more harmful to Pat Quinn, Bill Brady, or just the world's general sense of decency.
• MI-Gov: When I heard a few weeks ago that Geoffrey Fieger (the trial lawyer best known for defending Jack Kevorkian and second-best-known for his awful turn as 1998 Democratic gubernatorial nominee) was pondering another gubernatorial run, I laughed it off. The new EPIC-MRA poll makes it seem a bit more serious, though... which, in turn, if he won the primary, would pretty much foreclose any Democratic shot at winning the general. They only polled the Democratic primary and find, thanks to name rec within the Detroit metro area, Fieger is actually comfortably in the lead at 28%. Andy Dillon is at 20, Virg Bernero is at 13, Alma Wheeler Smith is at 8, other is at 2, and 29% are undecided. Fieger hasn't moved much to act on his interest, though, and has only three weeks to collect the necessary 15,000 signatures to qualify.
• FL-24: Karen Diebel earned the backing of Tom Tancredo in the GOP primary in the 24th, focusing on (with Tancredo, what else?) in the immigration issue. It seems less of a pro-Diebel endorsement than more of a slap against her GOP opponent Craig Miller, though; in a 2006 Miami Herald op-ed, Miller (who was at that point chairman of the National Restaurant Association) came out pretty solidly on the "cheap labor" side of the Republican split on immigration.
• GA-12: Democrats looking for an upgrade from ex-state Sen. Regina Thomas (who raised $10K last quarter and has $4K CoH) for a primary challenge to recalcitrant Blue Dog John Barrow are going to have to keep looking. State Sen. Lester Jackson decided to take a pass, and will stay neutral in the Barrow/Thomas race. He'll focus instead of supporting the Senate bid of Labor Comm. Michael Thurmond (another rumored, but no-longer, challenger to Barrow).
• LA-03: Bobby Jindal just appointed Scott Angelle, the state's Sec. of Natural Resources, to the vacant position of Lt. Governor. Why is this filed under LA-03? Angelle was rumored to be one of the top contenders to run for the 3rd (although it was unclear whether he was going to do it as a Dem or a GOPer... Angelle was a Dem in the legislature, but appointed by GOP Gov. Jindal to his cabinet). With Angelle saying he'll return to his job at Natural Resources after a permanent replacement is elected, that means that former state House speaker Hunt Downer is pretty well locked-in as the GOP nominee in the 3rd, and the Dems aren't likely to get an upgrade from attorney Ravi Sangisetty, making this open seat a very likely GOP pickup. (H/t GOPVOTER.)
• NY-01: Randy Altschuler got the endorsement from the Suffolk County Conservative Party on Friday, which guarantees him a place on the ballot if he wants it. He'll still need to overcome Chris Cox and George Demos in the competitive three-way moneybags duel in the GOP primary (where the county GOP recently switched its endorsement from Altschuler to Cox). It's unclear whether he'd keep the Conservative line if he lost the GOP primary, as that would create a NY-23 type situation and pretty much assure Rep. Tim Bishop's safety. (Unlike the patchwork of counties in the upstate districts, all of the 1st is within Suffolk.)
• NY-29: The GOP would really, really like to have a special election in the 29th, despite David Paterson's apparent intention to play out the clock until November (and prevent a possible GOP pickup, given the difference in strength between the likely candidates). Several GOP party chairs within the district are preparing a lawsuit that would force a special election; the state GOP plans to assist.
• OH-02: Bad news for Jean Schmidt: although she got the Hamilton Co. GOP's endorsement in the previous two elections, she's going to have to proceed without it this year. They're staying neutral as she faces several primary challengers, most notably Warren Co. Commissioner Mike Kilburn.
• PA-12: In battling independent expenditures in the 12th, the GOP went large, as the NRCC plunked down $235K on media buys. The DCCC also spent $16K on media buys.
• SC-04: The dean at Bob Jones University (the crown jewel in the buckle of the Bible Belt, in Greenville in the 4th), Robert Taylor, has announced he's supporting Trey Gowdy in the GOP primary instead of incumbent Rep. Bob Inglis. The occasionally-moderate Inglis (more stylistically than in actual voting substance, though) faces at least three right-wing competitors in the primary, but could run into trouble if he doesn't clear 50% and gets forced into a runoff with one of them.
• WV-01: There are dueling internal polls in the 1st, in the Democratic primary. State Sen. Mike Oliverio was first to release a poll, saying he led Rep. Alan Mollohan 41-33. (One caveat: Oliverio's pollster is Orion Strategies, owned by Curtis Wilkerson, who also just happens to be Oliverio's campaign manager.) Mollohan struck back with a poll from Frederick Polls giving him a 45-36 lead over Oliverio, with the primary fast approaching on May 11.
• MA-AG: Despite it now being widely known that Martha Coakley has a glass jaw (or what's something more fragile than glass? what do they make those fake bottles out of that they use in bar fights in the movies?), she may actually get re-elected Attorney General without facing any GOP opposition whatsoever this fall. Of course, that may have something to do with the fact that the GOP's entire bench in Massachusetts just got elected to the Senate.
• Pennsylvania: The Philadelphia Inquirer has an interesting look at the changes in registration in Pennsylvania over the last decade. The Democratic Party grew substantially in the state's east, gaining 550,000 registrations up to 4.3 million voters. The GOP shrank by 103,000 registrations down to 3.1 million votes. The Dems lost 20,000 voters in the state's southwest, though; in 2002, 27.8% of the state's Dems were in the Pittsburgh area, but that's down to 23.8%. Contrast that with the Philadelphia metro area: in its five counties, the number of Republicans dropped 13.5%, from a million to 873,000.
• Redistricting: Here's the last redistricting resource you'll ever need: a handy map showing congressional and legislative redistricting procedures for all 50 states. There's also an accompanying document (pdf) which goes into remarkable detail about the various processes, and even contains an appendix of some of the ugliest current gerrymanders.
• NC-Sen: The newest Elon University poll of North Carolina finds that, as with most pollsters, that Richard Burr is strangely anonymous for a Senator: he has a favorable of 34/17. His best-known Democratic competitor, SoS Elaine Marshall, is at 18/8. The poll doesn't contain head-to-heads, and also, bear in mind that it only polls "residents," not even registered voters, which would explain the super-low awareness.
• TX-Sen: 20 of Texas's Republican House members wrote a letter to Kay Bailey Hutchison, asking her to reconsider and stay on as Senator. (Recall that she planned to resign once she was done "fighting health care.") I wonder if the letter was signed by Joe Barton, who was pretty public about his desire to take over that seat back when a resignation seemed likelier.
• UT-Sen: Tonight's the night we get our first hard impression of what degree of trouble Bob Bennett is in. Tonight are neighborhood caucuses, where delegates to the state convention are elected. A particularly ultra-conservative-skewing convention could pose some trouble to Bennett, although with so many GOP challengers, it seems likely no one will hit the 60% mark at the convention needed to avoid a primary.
• CT-Gov: You might recognize these numbers from last week; we've been waiting for Quinnipiac to release general election numbers in the Governor's race but they just don't seem to be forthcoming, so here are their primary numbers. On the Dem side, Ned Lamont is leading at 28, followed by former Stamford mayor Dan Malloy at 18, Mary Glassman at 4, Rudy Marconi at 2, and Juan Figueroa at 1. (Susan Bysiewicz has a big edge over George Jepsen, 54-10, in the AG primary, despite concerns about her eligibility for the job.) On the GOP side, Tom Foley is dominating at 30, followed by Lt. Gov Michael Fedele collapsing down to 4, Danbury mayor Mark Boughton at 4, ex-Rep. Larry DeNardis at 2, and Oz Griebel and Jeff Wright at 2.
• CA-Gov: Wondering how Meg Whitman pulled into a huge lead in the primary and a small lead in the general in California governor's race? She's spent a mind-boggling $27 million on her race so far this year (for a total of $46 million), compared with Steve Poizner's $3 million and Jerry Brown's $142K.
• OR-Gov: Former Portland Trail Blazer Chris Dudley is the first candidate to hit the TV airwaves in the Oregon governor's race so far, touting his "outsider" credentials.
• PA-Gov: AG Tom Corbett, who oh just coincidentally happens to be running for Governor this year, finally got a conviction in the Bonusgate investigation, against former state Rep. Mike Veon and several of his staffers. The timing is certainly helpful to Corbett, for whom the investigation has been dragging out and the possibility of mistrials (or no convictions before November) was starting to loom. Trials against several other former Democratic House leaders, including GOPer John Perzel and Dem Bill DeWeese, are still in the pipeline.
• WY-Gov: The Democrats are about to land a gubernatorial candidate: attorney Paul Hickey, who plans an announcement later this week. If the name is familiar, he's the son of former Governor J.J. Hickey. Democratic State Sen. Mike Massie hasn't ruled out a run yet either, although he may run for one of the statewide offices.
• IL-11: Here's one more district that hasn't been high on people's watch lists but will need to be monitored, at least if a new internal poll from Republican pollster POS is to be believed. They find their patron, Adam Kinzinger, leading freshman Rep. Debbie Halvorson 44-38.
• MA-09: With primary challenges moving onto the radar against HCR "no" votes Jason Altmire and Mike Arcuri, another one may be taking shape: Needham Town Meeting member (and, well, college classmate of mine) Harmony Wu has pulled papers for the race and is gauging local sentiment for a primary run against Stephen Lynch.
• NY-01: Whoever faces off against Tim Bishop for the Republicans is going to have to fight through an arduous primary to get there. Any hopes of an easy coronation for Randy Altschuler seem to have vaporized, as now Chris Cox (Republican party insider and Nixon grandson) is setting his own Wall Street-powered fundraising operation in motion. And a 3rd option, former SEC prosecutor George Demos, has had his own fundraising success.
• NY-20: One more Republican, Queensbury town supervisor Dan Stec, bailed out of the field today, suggesting that the GOP is finally coalescing behind retired Col. Chris Gibson as a standard-bearer against freshman Dem Rep. Scott Murphy, in what's one of their slowest races to take shape.
• OK-05: Finally, we have a Democrat on tap for the open seat race in Oklahoma's dark-red 5th, where there's already a half-dozen GOPers jousting. Tom Guild is secretary of the Oklahoma County Democratic Party, and was a poli sci professor at Univ. of Central Oklahoma for many years.
• PA-11: Things got easier for Lou Barletta in the race in the 11th, where his Republican primary challenger, Chris Paige dropped out, citing family concerns. Paige, an attorney, was underfunded but had delivered some surprisingly-hard hits to Barletta, especially on Barletta's signature issue of immigration.
• SC-01: The Club for Growth weighed into another GOP primary in a reddish open seat, endorsing state Rep. Tim Scott. Scott faces off in the primary against several well-known last names: Carroll Campbell III and Paul Thurmond.
• HCR: The Republican pivot from health care reform to health care repeal has some implications in the gubernatorial races. Rep. Peter Hoekstra is going full-on repeal, stopping by Sunday's teabagger rally to pledge to fight that battle. It's also showing up in a number of races where the Republican AG is running for Governor and joined the multi-AG suit against HCR on easily-rebuttable 10th Amendment grounds (hint to teabaggers: read Scalia's opinion in Raich) - many in dark-red states where it probably helps more than hurts (like Henry McMaster in South Carolina). There are a few blue state AGs involved, though, like Tom Corbett (although he probably feels like he has a safety cushion to do so, thanks to his Bonusgate-related popularity). Most puzzling, though, is Washington's Rob McKenna, who got where he is only by acting moderate. Throwing off his well-maintained moderate mask and joining forces with the wackjob likes of Ken Cuccinelli seems like a weird gamble for his widely-expected 2012 run, where success is utterly dependent on making inroads among suburban moderates.
• AZ-Sen: CQ has an interesting tidbit about Rodney Glassman, the young Tucson city councilor who's the top Democrat in the Senate race right now. The general sense has been that it would be good to have someone with some self-funding capacity to be able to jump in and make a race of it in case the bombastic J.D. Hayworth somehow takes out John McCain in the GOP primary... and it turns out that Glassman has been that guy all along. He's been capping contributions to his campaign at $20 for now, but the Dems' state chair says Glassman can step in with his own money in case things heat up.
• IA-Sen: Rasmussen takes a pretty dim view of the odds for Roxanne Conlin (or any other Democrat) against Chuck Grassley in 2010. They see Conlin, a wealthy attorney last seen losing the 1982 gubernatorial race, losing to Grassley 59-31. The other less-known Dems, both veterans of the state legislature, fare only slightly worse: Bob Krause loses 59-26, and Tom Fiegen loses 61-25.
• IL-Sen: One last component from Rasmussen's poll of the Illinois primary fields dribbled in late yesterday: a look at the Republican Senate field. Like other pollsters, they find Rep. Mark Kirk way ahead of his nearest competitor in the GOP primary, real estate developer Patrick Hughes. Unlike others, though, they at least see Hughes in the double-digits, losing 53-18 (with 12 for "some other candidate").
• NC-Sen: Rasmussen also examines North Carolina, and while they find Republican incumbent Richard Burr with a significant lead, he's not quite in the safety zone. Burr leads Democratic SoS Elaine Marshall 47-37, and he leads former state Sen. Cal Cunningham 50-34. Rasmussen also finds Burr's knowns to be much, much higher than anyone else has found them: he has an approval of 56/32, with only 12% not sure (whereas most pollsters find his unknowns to be well into the 30s).
• NY-Sen-B: After rumors of his renewed interest in challenging Kirsten Gillibrand in a Democratic Senate primary, Rep. Steve Israel sounds like he's backing off. His chief of staff says "definitively that he's not running," although there's no comment from Israel himself. Israel, however, did commission another poll in recent weeks to take the race's temperature, so it's clear his interest was briefly re-piqued.
• AK-Gov: Former state House speaker John Harris had been a rumored candidate to oppose appointed Gov. Sean Parnell in the GOP gubernatorial primary, but has made clear that he won't run and will run for re-election to the House instead. Another former speaker, Ralph Samuels, was also in the race, leaving Harris little room to grab whatever anti-Parnell vote might be out there. (A PPP poll finds the uncontroversial Parnell with a 58/19 approval, so it'd be an uphill run anyway.)
• FL-Gov: Rasmussen has new numbers out for the Governor's race in Florida, and they're very similar to what Quinnipiac released yesterday. Republican AG Bill McCollum leads Democratic CFO Alex Sink 46-35. (Presumably, this means they'll have Senate numbers shortly.)
• MI-Gov: We're getting strange signals out of the Virg Bernero camp. The Lansing mayor sent out an e-mail soliciting interns for his gubernatorial run (which would be a strange way of announcing your run, which he hasn't done so far, although he does have an exploratory committee up). It was quickly followed up with word that Bernero hasn't decided whether or not to run, and it should have said interns sought for his exploratory committee only.
• NY-Gov: Here's a sign of how unenthused the state GOP is with the idea of ex-Rep. Rick Lazio as their standard-bearer for the Governor's race: they're actually sitting down with Suffolk Co. Exec Steven Levy, who has recently expressed some interest in the race, to discuss the possibility of him running as a Republican. Levy, of course, is a Democrat, although a rather conservative one (particularly on immigration issues) and one who received a Republican cross-endorsement during his barely-contested 2007 re-election. The crux of the matter may be that Levy has a $4 million warchest available, while Lazio is sitting on $637K. State party chair Ed Cox offered this stirring endorsement of Lazio on Wednesday: "At the moment, he is the candidate."
• WI-Gov: One final Rasmussen poll to look at today: it's the other half of their Wisconsin sample, the one that found 68-year-old ex-Gov. Tommy Thompson leading Russ Feingold in a hypothetical match. They find Republican ex-Rep. Mark Neumann leading Democratic Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett 42-38, while Milwaukee Co. Exec Scott Walker leads Barrett 48-38 (again, a much more Republican-favorable view of the race than other pollsters have seen it).
• AR-01: Dems won't be getting their most-desired candidate to succeed Marion Berry in the 1st: AG Dustin McDaniel already announced that he won't run. Possible Dem candidates sniffing out the race, though, including state Rep. Keith Ingram, state Sen. Robert Thompson, and former state party chair Jason Willett. CQ also mentions former state Rep. Chris Thyer, former state Sen. Tim Woolridge, and Berry's CoS, Chad Causey.
• AR-02: In the 2nd, Democratic state House speaker Robbie Wills seems to be getting into the race to succeed Vic Snyder. State Sen. Shane Broadway has also expressed interest, but says that he'll head for the Lt. Governor race if LG Bill Halter gets into the field in the 2nd. State Public Service Commissioner Paul Suskie is already putting campaign infrastructure into place, and a potential wild card people are eyeing is Little Rock's mayor, Mark Stodola.
• CA-19: Smackdown in the Central Valley! Retiring Republican Rep. George Radanovich lashed out at CA-11 ex-Rep. Richard Pombo, seeking to replace him, saying that he should have "run in his own district." Radanovich backs state Sen. Jeff Denham in the GOP primary, and was seeking to quash Pombo claims that Radanovich wouldn't have endorsed Denham had he known Pombo was going to run. In other news, Rep. Tom McClintock at some point endorsed Pombo, finally making it clear that McClintock, used to running for something new every two years, wasn't going to reflexively abandon his district and run in the 19th instead.
• GA-04: A primary is the only way to dislodge Rep. Hank Johnson in this safely blue district, and it looks like Johnson is poised to keep his seat even though he's drawn several prominent opponents (at least some of whom would be coming at him from the right), former DeKalb Co. CEO Vernon Jones and DeKalb Co. Commissioners Connie Stokes and Lee May. Johnson has an internal poll from Lake Associates out showing him with 47% of the vote, leading Jones at 19, Stokes at 12, and May at 5.
• KY-06: Just days after attorney Andy Barr was named to the bottom tier of the NRCC's "Young Guns" program, another Republican has jumped into the fray to take on Rep. Ben Chandler in this Republican-leaning district. Mike Templeman retired last year as CEO of Energy Coal Resources, and is touting his business experience.
• NH-02: Ex-Rep. Charlie Bass is touting an internal poll that has him in commanding position, at least as far as the GOP primary is concerned. He leads the 2008 Republican candidate, talk radio host Jennifer Horn, by a 42-19 margin (with 4 for state Rep. Bob Giuda). No numbers for the general election in this Dem-leaning district, however.
• NY-01: Rep. Tim Bishop is pushing back against, well, everything: he said, as far as retirement rumors go, he's "sure as hell" not going to back down from a fight now. He also announced strong fundraising (a $378K quarter) in the face of wealthy opposition, Randy Altschuler and George Demos. (There are also rumors that Chris Cox, the grandson of Richard Nixon and son of new state GOP chair Ed Cox, may get into the race.) Bishop's camp also alluded to (although didn't specifically release) an internal poll showing him over the 50% mark against his Republican opponents, in contrast to other recent polls.
• PA-03: I wouldn't have expected freshman Kathy Dahlkemper's 3rd to be only 4th or 5th among Pennsylvania Democratic seats in terms of vulnerability this year, but them's the breaks. The GOP hasn't found a top-tier recruit here yet, but another Republican got into the race: Mike Kelly, a car dealer from the suburban Pittsburgh part of the district. It sounds like he'll be able to partly fund his own way, which will help him compete against fellow businessman Paul Huber.
• PA-10: Former US Attorney Tom Marino finally announced his long-rumored bid against Rep. Chris Carney this week. While Marino seems imposing on paper, there are a number of problems here for him: for starters, Carney quickly used the December efforts of GOPers to recruit him to party-switch to boost his own bipartisan bona fides. Marino also faces questions over his relationship with Louis DeNaples, a developer who was the target of probes over links to organized crime, and particularly a casino license granted to him (where Marino was a reference on DeNaples' gaming application). And a number of state legislators - at least in the far western part of the district where Malcolm Derk is from - are lining up behind Derk instead of Marino in the GOP primary. With chiropractor David Madeira, who's been reaching out to the teabaggers, also in the race, even the primary won't be an easy ride for Marino.
• PA-15: One more internal poll, this one not looking so good for Democrats. Republican Rep. Charlie Dent, in his first competitive race, well, ever, against Bethlehem mayor John Callahan, has a big edge in his own poll conducted by the Tarrance Group. The poll gives Dent a 53-27 lead, with 8 going to teabagging independent Jack Towne. The moderate Dent pulls in one-quarter of all Democratic voters.
• TN-08: He's in like Flinn. George Flinn, that is: the official entry of the Shelby Co. Commissioner, who's also a radiologist and radio station owner in his spare time, expanded the Republican field in the 8th. With two money-bags candidates already in the picture, physician Ron Kirkland and most prominently farmer Stephen Fincher, Republicans look poised to bleed each other badly in an expensive primary while state Sen. Roy Herron looks to have the Democratic field mostly to himself in this open seat race.
• VA-05: Another primary that's getting out of control for the GOP is the one in the 5th, where there's a backlog of die-hards each claiming to be the "true conservative" as opposed to establishment fave state Sen. Robert Hurt. Real estate investor Lawrence Verga seems to have had the most success at gaining the attention of the teabaggers (although Verga's spotty voting record can't help his image much), but now rival real estate developer Jim McKelvey just slammed down half a million dollars on the table to up the ante. Even more delicious in terms of cat fud: McKelvey is also making threats that he'll run as an independent if things don't go his way in the primary. With right-winger Bradley Rees already running as a Tea Party-powered indie, there could be enough fracturing on the right to let vulnerable Democratic Rep. Tom Perriello have a shot at survival.
• VA-09: Here's a seat that would have been a bear to defend in the event of a retirement, but where we got the final word that the incumbent is staying put. Rep. Rick Boucher confirmed he'll go for a 15th term in the Fightin' 9th in southwestern Virginia. He's still not out of the woods, as Republican state House majority leader Morgan Griffith may get in the race, although for now Boucher doesn't have an opponent.
• WA-03: This caught me, and seemingly a lot of other people, by surprise: Gov. Chris Gregoire weighed into the Democratic primary in the 3rd with an endorsement, and she bypassed the two sitting state legislators in the field to go for ex-state Rep. Denny Heck, suggesting that rumors that he's got a lot of behind-the-scenes establishment support are quite true. Heck, who subsequently founded a public affairs cable channel and did a lot of successful for-profit investing as well, can spend a lot of his own money on the race, which is probably why he's getting the establishment backing despite having been out of office for decades.
• WV-01: After a rather protracted four-year investigation, the Justice Dept. ended its investigation of Rep. Alan Mollohan over earmark steering, removing the ethical cloud from over his head. Mollohan had been on retirement watch lists, in the face of several decent Republican challengers, but he recently filed for re-election and now his opponents have less ammo to use against him.
• OH-SoS: Progressives have been dismayed that socially conservative state Rep. Jennifer Garrison is the only Democratic option in the Secretary of State primary anymore, but that sounds like it's about to change. Franklin Co. Clerk of Courts (and former Columbus city councilor) Maryellen O'Shaugnessy is rumored to be about to enter the race, and it also sounds like she'll have the backing of the state party's power brokers, starting at the top with Gov. Ted Strickland (who can't afford to have progressives stay home in 2010, as he needs them to save his own bacon in what promises to be a tight gubernatorial race).
• Census: New York state Senate Democrats are proposing changes in the way that prison inmates are counted. They'd like for them to be considered residents of the district where their last known address was, not where they're currently incarcerated. It's actually a very important issue, considering that there are more than 58,000 state prisoners in New York, most of whom are from cities but are currently in rural Upstate, and it could tip the balance significantly in redistricting the state Senate. In other Census news, Robert Groves talked extensively to Pew about increasing participation, tracking turnout, and overcoming language barriers.
• Humor: Finally, here's a cartoon that SSP fans are uniquely positioned to enjoy.
• CT-Sen: Looks like the question marks that were raised a few weeks ago about all of the Linda McMahon campaign's hundreds of thousands of dollars in undisclosed in-kinds have trickled up to the FEC. They're now requiring her to disclose the recipients of more than $567K worth of mysterious payments (for services including consulting and legal fees) made over the brief course of her campaign.
• FL-Sen: After a lot of speculation yesterday that he was fighting for his political life, today Jim Greer announced that he's out as Florida's state GOP chair. Greer said it was his decision (in order to "reunite" the party -- although he launched a whole salvo of parting shots at the party's right wing on the way out the door) and that Charlie Crist didn't push him out. Still, it's pretty clear that this is a big victory for the Rubio camp and assorted right-wing allies, for whom Greer, a moderate and key Crist ally, was one of the biggest scalps they'd hoped to claim. Greer is being replaced by state Sen. John Thrasher, a Jeb Bush ally who, while not an explicit Rubio endorser, recently attended a Rubio fundraiser.
Anybody remember that there's still a Democratic primary going on in this race too? It's a sleepy affair, and may be getting sleepier, based on the sputtering coming out of the camp of former Miami mayor Maurice Ferre. Campaign manager Todd Wilder has departed, although he cites family health concerns.
• SC-Sen: Lindsey Graham just keeps racking up the censure resolutions from county-level GOP organizations for being insufficiently crazy. He got dinged by the Lexington County GOP (one of the state's largest counties, in Columbia's suburbs), largely over his immigration and TARP positions.
• UT-Sen: Rounding out the trifecta of GOP Senatorial cat fud, the insufficiently crazy Bob Bennett pulled in his highest-profile primary challenger since AG Mark Shurtleff departed the race. As expected, attorney Mike Lee officially got into the race today, and will be running to Bennett's right. Lee is the former counsel to ex-Gov. Jon Huntsman, and is the scion of a locally prominent family (his father is former U.S. Solicitor General and BYU president Rex Lee).
• WA-Sen: Add one more name to the list of never-before-elected retired jocks with a political itch to scratch. Former Washington Redskins end Clint Didier says that he'll run against Patty Murray. Didier does at least have experience speaking at the local tea party rally in his native Tri-Cities (in eastern Washington), though. With her gigantic fundraising advantage, expect the five-foot-tall Murray to clothesline Didier.
• MI-Gov: With the governor's race suddenly scrambled, Domino's Pizza CEO Dave Brandon -- an oft-rumored candidate for both Governor and Senate -- said that he isn't running for anything any time soon. He just committed to a five-year stint as the Univ. of Michigan's athletic director.
• NY-Gov: It sounds like David Paterson will get a primary challenge even if Andrew Cuomo doesn't step up: Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy is now publicly floating the idea of a challenge, and setting up an exploratory committee. The law-and-order, anti-immigrant Levy would be running to the right of Paterson (and probably to Cuomo's right too, if he stuck around in a three-way scrum). Paterson still seems to be planning to stick around, and he's getting some more verbal backing from Charlie Rangel, who's saying that Cuomo "wouldn't dare" run against Paterson, re-invoking the specter of Cuomo's racially-fraught 2002 primary against Carl McCall. Meanwhile, the NYT explores the train wreck that is the campaign of GOP candidate Rick Lazio, finding him getting a lukewarm reception even from GOP audiences.
• TX-Gov: Kay Bailey Hutchison seems to be pinning her dwindling hopes in the fast-approaching GOP gubernatorial primary on a big ad blitz. She's splurging for an ad buy during the college football championship game (which should have a big audience with the Longhorns in the game -- for whom she was a cheerleader decades ago).
• AL-05, AL-Gov: In the wake of his botched public I-might-switch-races-no-I-won't play, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ron Sparks has parted way with campaign manager Justin Saia. Not exactly the sign of a well-oiled machine, there. Meanwhile, turncoat Rep. Parker Griffith, still smarting from the resignations of almost his entire stafff, played the "excessive partisanship" card while ostensibly wishing them well yesterday.
• FL-08: Second-term state rep. Kurt Kelly made his campaign official, running against Rep. Alan Grayson in the 8th. That should come as no surprise given his previous announcements, but it's interesting to note that now he comes at it with the endorsement of a number of the other state Reps. that the NRCC had been working on to get into the race, who seemed a little higher up their wish list: Stephen Precourt and Eric Eisnaugle. Also noteworthy: businessman Bruce O'Donoghue, who'd been sounding like the NRCC's pick after they couldn't find anyone else, still sounds like he hasn't fully committed to the race; maybe he's having cold feet with Kelly in.
• FL-10: I don't think this is worth much weight, but the St. Petersburg Times found it newsworthy enough to mention, suggesting that there may be some conventional wisdom developing here. A local poli sci professor is convinced that long-time GOP Rep. Bill Young will announce his retirement in the next few weeks.
• FL-19: This seemed to elude almost everyone yesterday, but Rep. Robert Wexler's resignation was official over this weekend; he heads to the helm of a Middle East peace-oriented non-profit. His resignation leaves Nancy Pelosi short one "yes" vote for the upcoming post-conference HCR vote, meaning one less seat in the lifeboat for whatever vulnerable Dem wants to take a pass.
• HI-01: Also on the resignation front, Rep. Neil Abercrombie (who's leaving to focus on his gubernatorial run) has set an official last day in office: Feb. 28. As for a replacement, it sounds like new interim state election officer Scott Nago is looking at a special election date in May, probably an all-mail vote set for May 1. Nago said he was confident he'd find the money to hold the election (which had earlier been in doubt), although it might mean appealing asking the U.S. Election Assistance Commission for federal dollars. (I guess this means Kevin Cronin's time in charge of Hawaii elections is over. He'll still Keep On Loving You, though.)
• IA-03: One less retirement for the DCCC to worry about: aging Rep. Leonard Boswell confirmed that he's sticking around and running for re-election.
• IL-10: I didn't think that anyone other than me was making any sport out of GOP House candidate Bob Dold's name similarities to a certain presidential candidate, and I can't imagine anyone was actually confused. But Bob Dold actually came out with a jingle, complete with video, reminding voters that Bob Dold is different from Bob Dole.
• MN-06: Here's a big boost for state Sen. Tarryl Clark, who's been viewed as a strong contender against crazy Rep. Michele Bachmann but didn't put up impressive numbers in a recent PPP poll of the 6th. She got the endorsement of EMILY's List, giving her access to their nationwide pool of donors.
• NY-01: This is the first I'd heard of a contested GOP primary in the 1st (where the victor will take on potentially vulnerable Democratic Rep. Tim Bishop), but it suggests that the deep-pocketed Randy Altschuler is going to have to watch over his back for another well-funded rival. George Demos, a former SEC attorney who made his mark on the Bernie Madoff case, reports that he's raised more than $300K since launching his campaign in October, from more than 400 donors.
• PA-17: After downplaying earlier reports of his interest, now it's sounding like Republican state Sen. David Argall is going to go up against Democratic Rep. Tim Holden after all. Reportedly, he'll be announcing his campaign next Monday. Argall (newly promoted to the Senate in a special election, after many years in the state House) gets a freebie as his seat isn't up until 2012; he's from Holden's home turf of Schuylkill County in coal country, which may help limit Holden's usually wide margins in that part of the district.
• SC-01: As things sort themselves out following the retirement announcement of endangered Republican Rep. Henry Brown, 2008 Democratic candidate Linda Ketner is sounding a little more interested than she did before his retirement. She'd previously been unenthusiastic about another race (she'd relied a lot on self-financing in her previous close race, but her finances had taken a hit in the intervening year), but now she tells the Atlantic she'll "take the time to consider it." Also, frequent Mark Sanford critic state Sen. Larry Grooms is one other name to add to the speculation pile on the Republican side.
• TX-18: A Democratic primary is the only way we're ever going to see any turnover in the heavily Democratic, mostly African-American and Hispanic 18th -- and we've actually got one on tap this year. Houston city councilor Jarvis Johnson sneaked under the finish line for Texas filings; he'll take on long-time Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (who got into office herself with a successful 1994 primary challenge to Rep. Craig Washington).
• WA-03: State House minority leader Richard DeBolt had been on lots of watch lists as a possible GOP candidate in the open seat race in the 3rd, but today he declined to run. (He's a rather nasty piece of work who, while having better name rec than the GOPers in the race so far, probably wouldn't play too well outside his own dark-red slice of this swing district.) Here's one other interesting detail: rather than endorse fellow state Rep. Jamie Herrera (whose lack of experience has left many people uneasy), he threw his endorsement behind David Castillo, a former low-level Bush administration official who'd been running long before Brian Baird's retirement announcement.
• WV-01: I'd assumed that when state Sen. Clark Barnes got into the race for the GOP to go against entrenched Democratic Rep. Alan Mollohan, the NRCC would be happy (although there's little overlap between his turf and the 1st). But they kept looking, and now they're loudly touting their newest recruit, businessman and former state Del. David McKinley. He can partly self-finance, which is probably what's most attractive about him to them.
• Texas: As mentioned above, Texas had its filing deadline pass. All House members are running for re-election. In one small indication of a change in prevailing political winds, the Republicans managed to fill all the state's House races, while Dems left 7 openings (Louie Gohmert, Ted Poe, Kevin Brady, Mac Thornberry, John Carter, and unhappily, Kenny Marchant, in a rapidly bluening suburban Dallas district, and John Culberson, who faced a strong challenge in 2008). One other filing worth note: Dems fielded a strong last-minute Land Commissioner candidate, in the form of former state Sen. Hector Uribe (not only is it good to round out a competitive slate, but the Land Commissioner is one of the members of the Legislative Redistricting Board, which will be a big issue in coming years).
• NY-St. Ass.: The blowback from the GOP civil war in NY-23 just keeps flying. A key Dede Scozzafava ally in the state Assembly, Janet Duprey, is facing a challenge from the right in this year's GOP primary. She's being challenged by Plattsburgh town party chair Dave Kimmel, who was a Doug Hoffman backer. Like Hoffman, if Kimmel doesn't get the GOP nod, he'll continue on with just the Conservative party line.
• DGA/RGA: The DGA and RGA both reported huge year-end cash hauls, as the moneyed interests are well-aware that the gubernatorial races (with redistricting fast approaching) is where the real drama will be this year. The DGA reports $23.1 million raised over 2009 and currently is sitting on $17.5 million. The RGA did even better, reporting $30 million raised in 2008, with $25 million still on hand.